Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo First Deployments

Now that the deployment has been and gone, I thought I would look back and share my experience going through my first long deployment, which I will admit was hella scary. Sure having gone through several short-term TDY's and being happy in my own space helped, but having this feeling that you will somehow fail.. was kind of overwhelming. 

A lot of thoughts go swimming through your head for a few weeks or even days before the actual deployment. Will you do something wrong, will you fail your service-man or let them down one way or another. Will I let myself go and entirely fall apart despite my brave bravado?  

These thoughts and fears are to be expected; many other spouses go through the same emotions, but here's the thing, these factors are all out of our control. I decided to try and focus on what I could control; as you may well know, Military life is unpredictable. You cannot plan anything; when we prepared for this deployment, the date changed at least three times, and while that gave us more time together before he left, it meant that those intense emotions you get just before they go the door happened three times over. Dates and times change continuously; the way you handle that is within your control, so take it as it comes and be happy for the day they come home. 

Now when I started this deployment, I had a plan - a plan to blitz the house, to clean the mess of the last couple of weeks before the deployment, and remove and sign of it. Here's the thing, after dropping him off and getting some time to myself (and the dog), I just didn't feel like it. I looked at the mess and thought f*** it, I have, however, many more months to clean this crap up, and in all honesty, I want to get some me-time in. I want to get some blog photos done, make some gluten-free cookie dough, put that in ice-cream and bake pumpkin seeds. 

The first week was tough, I still hadn't cried, and the time difference in the UK made it so we couldn't talk on the phone as often. I put my efforts into baking his favorite cookies to go along with his first care-package. This was going to be our first Christmas and Birthday's together; however, we weren't going to be together. I was determined to not let the distance stand in the way of these special occasions and got started on a Christmas package and a Birthday Package. Filled to the brim with lots of goodies tailored to him and a few bits he could hand out to his fellow Airmen. 

After we hit the first-month mark, I actually felt pretty good. We were strong, and he was doing his best to keep me reassured, ringing me regularly, keeping me clued in on future assignments and plans. The only thing I found hard was not being able to go to him for simple things, needing a hug when times were tough at work, and my anxiety played up. I couldn't fault him though he did his best to keep a smile on my face, to keep me laughing on the other end of the phone. That's the one thing I would say is to keep communication open, truly open. We found that I was still walking on eggshells around him, not because of anything he did but due to past relationships, and once we overcame that, the dialog became so much more fun. I can't really explain it. 

I celebrated my 30th birthday with a close friend of mine by going to Disneyland Paris. Something I had always wanted to do as an adult, having this little break away with my girlfriend, really cleared my head. There's nothing better than a good old girly chat, so keep those friends close.

Hitting the half-way mark had its challenges. Tensions were high where he was, and the work was pretty much 24-7, leaving him only a small window for him to actually get some downtime. Leading to miscommunication and upset between the two of us. I will be honest towards the end of the deployment, I was not sure we were going to make it. 

With ongoing work on both parts, we made it through. Sure it took a little while to get back into the groove of things once he was home, but with us, it didn't take very long. That doesn't mean that anyone of us will ever look forward to deployments or wish it upon anyone.

Always be kind; you never know what personal battle people are fighting.


Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Loving Your Home During the Lockdown*

Looking back to the beginning of the lockdown, compared to now, I have to say that I do have a greater appreciation for my immediate surroundings. Where you would normally not take much notice of the small details in your kitchen, such as having a utensil pot or how brilliantly white your bathroom is after you have given it a good clean; now I relish in it.

I know, I am sad, only just over 30 and enjoying the joys of a clean and tidy home. Since discovering my love for a clean home again and jumping on the Mrs Hinch bandwagon I have found that it does really help with anxiety and relieving stress. Re-directing those feelings into getting something spotless is so much better than dwelling on it. Being in an organized and clean home is so much better for your mental health, it generally keeps you happy with your surroundings and helps you get up and go. 

That being said, where I am currently moving in with my partner and we have little to no storage solutions - such as drawers and shelves. We are living in a fairly disorganized state, which again in a small space has inevitably caused some friction. 

Normally I would love to go and buy some furniture, after into storage solutions, but currently in this lockdown situation that is not always possible. It's the little things that make a house a home, such as a bedside table to allow one person to sit up and read by the lamp. This situation has prompted me to find ways to create storage, look for options that would be beneficial to both of us. 

Thankfully, I found some box shelves which allowed for a simple, yet versatile look in the room. Coupled with storage boxes and brand new duvet covers, it made the bedroom more homely. These simple shelves also added a little extra space, to get free from the clutter, which in turn helps to ease some of that tension. 

Simple solutions generally are the best, if I was able too, I would certainly tackle the curtains which are currently up. At present-giving off a care home vibe, especially within the new office area, I would opt for something a little more modern. 

My best home improvement inspirations come from research, blog posts, and mostly Pinterest. That's how I discovered vacuum bags, which are weirdly satisfying to use. Filling the bag and watching it shrink down to beyond 60% of its original size is amazing. You then find you have a lot more space for the items you use every day, without having to sift through winter clothes in winter or having nowhere to put the dogs Christmas jumpers. 

Many people keep to the home improvements within the home itself. Forgetting about the exterior, giving your front door a new lick of paint or replacement sash windows will almost certainly make your house look completely different. Although such a major change isn't always required, it may be a change of pace. 

How has the lockdown affected your relationship with your home? 

* This is a sponsored post. Please see my Disclaimer for more information.

Always be kind, you never know what personal battle people are fighting.


Friday, 8 May 2020

Relationships During Covid-19*

Who the hell knew this pandemic would get this bad, ha ha, well I guess the smart ones, the ones that stockpiled loo roll. Joking aside, here in the UK where we have been told to stay at home and given restrictions in our movements; which has obviously forced a lot of couples, families, and housemates to spend an inordinate amount of time together. Something we have never had to do before.

This in itself is daunting, with completely natural concerns on whether you can actually stand to be around these people 24/7? With the restrictions, I am sure everyone was thinking the same thing.. what on earth are we going to do with all this time????

Initially, I was worried, having lived on my own for so long and being stuck in my ways.. were we actually going to survive the time together? We had never officially lived together and spent half of our relationship apart I choose to take it as a kind of blessing. Not only to finally get lost time together but to see whether we could actually live together. Us both being homebodies, I cannot say that much has really changed, but what I can say is I have honestly enjoyed this time.

Whilst there are some couples out there like us, who have found a new appreciation for one another, there are obviously still a lot of singles, ones that were ready to meet people before all this lockdown happened. Maybe some people had arranged to meet or were contemplating it until the news struck that we weren't to go out unless it was for specific reasons. This lockdown will have inevitably caused some tension, where we as humans beings are not able to get the physical contact that we generally need.

That being said for those still looking for a no strings attached good time, there are sites such as Cornwall sex site and that, if used cautiously within the COVID-19 guidelines may be able to help a specific market.

The issue we have is not being able to go and physically meet anyone until the tests have reached us all and we know for certain we are all safe from contracting or passing on the virus. I do hope that individuals are respecting the guidelines and try their best to stop the spread as much as possible. Now more than ever we have started to realize the capabilities of technology, which allows us to see those we can't currently get close to.

I know my brother has not let this pandemic get in the way of his love life, whilst he has not met his date in person as of yet, he has made sure to speak to her, using facetime and other social platforms. In all honesty, this will set most relationships up for the better, communication is key and once you have that down you can pretty much overcome anything.

* This is a sponsored post. Please see my Disclaimer for more information.

Always be kind, you never know what personal battle people are fighting.


Monday, 4 May 2020

Mental Health Check In | Covid-19

Originally I set out to raise awareness around the whole social media thing with Caroline Flack and everyone going insane and posting shit like “Don’t be silent, talk to me” “You’re not alone” blah blah blah. I think you may remember. But now we have this whole pandemic going on that we are focusing on that, we are very fickle creatures by nature and to be quite honest when this ends we will go back to our old ways and forget all that we have learned in this time, to be kind, to care, to generally not take for granted the small things.

I have asked my very close friend Christie from Christie's Lifestyle to collab with me on this, as this is something that is very close to my heart and hers because of where I was a few years ago. Again her contribution was written before the major outbreak of COVID-19, however, I feel still drives home the point to this post.

“In a world where you can be anything, be kind”. This is a phrase that has been shared a lot recently and after recent events surrounding a celebrity suicide, it also brings about many people sharing quotes on social media which brings the question, do they really mean it? Social media is full of vultures ready to use death for their own gain. They use it as a chance to look good, and share posts that offer support to anyone in need. Admittedly I too am one of those people sharing posts offering my support for those who need it, but the harsh reality is the people that need help do not reach out.

A couple of years ago, Kim came to me and opened up about how she was feeling. A bit of backstory – myself and Kim have been friends since high school and I thought I knew her like the back of my hand. Surely if something was up, I would notice. I knew she was suffering from feeling low, but when I spoke to her about it, she reassured me everything was OK, and just like that I believed her. Little did I know things were a lot worse than she led on, and it had gotten to the point where she had contemplated suicide and even planned it out. I was genuinely shocked when she told me what she had thought about, as I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. When people are suffering from mental health issues, they do their best to cover it up. They will portray a happy life to the outside world but won’t openly admit how they are really feeling.

Thankfully Kim did reach out, open up, and got help. I do kick myself sometimes for not noticing more, as the Kim back then is a completely different Kim to the one now, the happy bubbly Kim that I had slowly forgotten existed. So next time you share a post offering support to those to reach out to you who need it, just think maybe it should be you reaching out instead and checking in on your friends/loved ones." - Christie 

Now more than ever we need to remember to keep in touch with those we know to be indifferent, the ones who have started to act a little distant. I will be honest and tell you it is not always easy to tell who is feeling lonely, who is ready to step over the edge. Some of us have learned for years how to hide behind the perfect smile and a flawlessly timed laugh, you know the only place you can never hide, is the eyes. Which, I guess right now is fairly ironic because at least here in the UK you cannot get close enough to see that. 

The only advice I would give to anyone right now, in the conditions we are in, use what you have to talk to one another. Send a little note in the post, let the ones that need it know they are loved and thought of. If we can, we should remember to continue this treatment of kindness well past this pandemic and then hopefully break this cycle of madness in the world. All it takes is one person.  

Always be kind, you never know what personal battle people are fighting.


Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Get Monogram Crafty in 2020

No no, this isn't a new logo for Romanovs Views, but this is an example of something you could create. I had to have a little play and see what I could come up with, so if you give this a read and come up with some cool designs be sure to add the links below for me to check it out!

I am certainly one for handmade and homemade gifts, creating something special for someone you care for is that extra bit personal when you put your own personal grit and touch into it. Even creating something for yourself can give you that sense of achievement when you put in the work, put in the finishing touches all your own and have something unique just for you. 

With the ease of the internet, access to so many videos and tutorials, creating something from scratch has never been easier. I, for example, have crafted giant paper flowers to handmade cards and scrapbooks after looking up templates and examples on platforms such as Pinterest and other bloggers sites.

But not everyone finds it that easy to do things with their hands, or get intricate details like drawing a Yoda and peony flowers from scratch; so what do you do? Where do you turn? Especially if you are wanting to design something for a brand, such as your blog or even a school project; which is required to look professional. 

You can turn to computer software such as Photoshop, free online designers and lots of free apps that allow you to come up with many designs, for a wide range of projects from Instagram templates, grids to t-shirt designs and so on.

One great way to personalize your design is to incorporate your own monogram, which simply put is a symbol made up of letters and elements, like frames and/or brush strokes, etc. They are generally used for a business logo, however, these days many people use them personally for many reasons. You may wish to create a personal monogram for your girls' trip or a family trip away which can be transferred onto a piece of clothing for example. The possibilities are pretty much endless, just look at the personalized cups, pens, cards and so on you can buy.

For me, instead of using these platforms for gifts and logos, I love to create images like the one a the beginning of this post. Where I use elements from sites such as design bundles and put it all together on photoshop. 

You can turn to many online creative tools, such as a monogram designer, where you can create an amazing imagine much like this one.

With a monogram designer, you will be asked to input your text first. This will give you a chance to play around with the fonts. After that, is the frame, depending on your end design this may or may not be for you. Finally, you can add a background, for me, I skipped this step as I would prefer to have a blank background to apply my monogram to any surface or platform.

There are many other free sites you can check out, such as chicfettidesignevodesignmantic and monogramframes.

If you are new to creating monograms, here are a few tips that should give you the best outcome;

Experiment, you wouldn't go with your first pick in a store without browsing first, so why not have a play and see what works for you.

Keep it simple, you don't want it to be too crowded. Remember the old saying less is more and the same goes here.

Try not to go overboard with the colours, this tip goes hand in hand with keeping it simple. Finding the right colour palette can be difficult and you want to find one that will go with your overall theme/ look. Colours are a great way to get across the message you want to convey, however, try to keep to just a few and not use every colour under the rainbow.

When choosing your font you need to be careful to not go too intricate with it, once your monogram is printed it may not be legible. Depending on what you are putting it on, the scale may be different from that of the one you are using to design it, so once it has been scaled down to fit your object it may just look like a blob.

Most of all have fun with it, let me know if these tips have helped you out and if you find any other useful tips along the way. Just drop a comment below.

* This is a sponsored post. Please see my Disclaimer for more information.

Always be kind, you never know what personal battle people are fighting.


Friday, 24 January 2020

Where's Your Head At?

Where is my head at? I don’t even know, I’m up, down, three times turned around. For those that know me all too well, they can vouch for the fact that if I get turned around just the once; well I don’t know which ways left or right let alone where I began. So to even comprehend where my head is at and get my thoughts to align and stop coming up with these stupid unrealistic scenarios is just downright mental. I guess that’s the case with anxiety, especially when you try to carry and ignore you have it. Doh, run yourself ragged, keep saying yes I’m fine over and over, just cracking on will eventually fuck with your head! Insert facepalm emoji here!

No, I do not want sympathy, nor am I blaming or using the anxiety as an excuse.. I, for all intents and purposes, like to vent on my blog. It’s my platform, so if you don’t like it move on, think I’m whining move on, feel like you relate, read on and I may find an end or not - who knows...

I hate starting sentences with I, but the thing is when you’re talking about this kind of thing, what else are you supposed to start it with? Myself? It just sounds so self-centered, that’s vial to me. Though lately, I have realized that I do need to be more selfish, think more like “look after number 1”, it makes me feel sick to think this way even if I need too. I don’t know how many times I have said this, that’s the thing I just can’t switch off from caring.

Don’t get me wrong I can switch off from almost everything else, but being able to turn those close to me away? Never, wish I could, it would make like soooo much easier. Maybe it’s selfish deep down, never having anyone around that would ever take that step to help me unconditionally without any want for anything back, perhaps I overcompensate for that by never saying no and giving more than I have. Who the heck knows.

I honestly have no idea what the point or conclusion of this post is even meant to be... just had a little thought in my head about feeling like I’m turning round and round and had to write it down. Then all this spiel started coming out! I suppose that's the one thing I can control what words spill out on here, so often you find yourself worrying about what someone may construe from it. At the end of the day, that is on them, people tend to take offense to the slightest little thing and if you feel that anything anyone writes or says is aimed at you. Well, perhaps it's time to take a closer look at yourself rather than slamming the person trying to just let go of their thoughts.

People tend to forget that we are all the same and tend to have the same in life. So why is it so damn hard to be kind and supportive to one another? Is it such a stretch to want to have that and start to feel secure rather than this upside down, left, right, quantum leap? 

Always be kind, you never know what personal battle people are fighting.


Sunday, 5 January 2020

Sending Hugs, Love and Hope

A lot of the time I say nothing, I keep quiet and carry on. Though I am sure I am not the only one, what a lot of people don't know is the fact that I have been through something like this before a few times. Being British with a US military father that I have only in recent years gained some form of relationship with, is difficult. 

I still remember the Iraq war back in 2003 onwards, when my father was still in active duty, although I wasn't as close to him at the time, that didn't mean I didn't care. Didn't worry or feel scared for him, that we wouldn't get the chance to have that father-daughter connection. 

At the time I was only a teenager and had little to no support around me, with the majority of those around me not wanting to discuss or acknowledge my father's existence. I was lucky in the fact that we still wrote letters to one another and I was able to contact some of my other US family, but I was still left having to deal with the emotions of not knowing where he was stationed and how he was in the long arse gaps between letters. 

Watching the news unfold, having people talk around you, speculate and judge. I must admit I always wondered whether I would have been able to talk to someone had I have lived in the US or even closer to the bases. Would I have had more support? Hearing the news of soldiers being killed and at the time I didn't have an understanding of how the ranks worked, or even what role my father played -  it was extremely hard for me to know what to react over. Even when I did have a gut-wrenching feeling I had no one to let that out too. Even my young friends at the time couldn't quite comprehend how I felt, I don't think you do unless you actually have some in the forces. 

Having a partner in the military is just as hard, you worry just as much and walk around with that hollow feeling anytime you hear something that could take them away. I'll be honest when we first spoke, I didn't know he was in the military much less American and I never expected to fall for a military guy! But here I am, like so many others who never anticipated this lifestyle. 

It doesn't get easier, but the more support you have around you the better off you will be. That I do know. Never feel alone, talk to those around you and if you don't feel like you have anyone around find support groups online. There are secure ones!

Finally - Sending Hugs, Love and Hope to all Service Men & Women! Come home safe to all. 

Always be kind, you never know what personal battle people are fighting.

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