Saturday, 29 June 2013

The Impossible Task of Accepting Compliments Graciously

I woke up early this morning with, miraculously, no hangover (last night involved cocktails and Meat Mission), and an overwhelming urge to bake. This used to happen a lot. I'd spring out of bed on weekends, pootle about in the kitchen and magic up some bread or breakfast muffins or MORE PLEASE brownies before anyone else in the house had even considered opening their eyes.

It didn't take long to decide what to make. I've been dreaming about Amy from She Cooks She Eats' Peach and White Chocolate Blondies ever since I ate one (ok, three) at an AWOT meet-up last month. I had almost all of the ingredients except white chocolate, kind of an essential in this recipe! There's a shop across the road so I threw on my jeans and tried to dash out without waking my guy (unsuccessful).

"GOOD MORNING" I bellowed at the woman behind the counter because this is a thing I do. I like to have a bit of chit-chat with shop assistants to make up for the hoards of insufferable miserablites they have to deal with all week. Saving the world one cheery interaction at a time, y'know? As I was paying she said "Oh I just love your hair colour" which was a delightful thing to hear and made me beam and feel like a superhero.

And yet for some stupid reason I replied "Oh thank you, it's not my natural colour so the upkeep is a right pain in the arse".

WHAT THE HECK IS THAT?!

Am I so graceless that I can't accept a compliment without responding with a LOOK AT MY FLAWS comment? Apparently so. It usually goes something like this:

Complimenter: "Oh your dress is gorgeous"
Me: "IT'S FROM PRIMARK!!!!!" or worse, "Cheers, it's got a hole in the armpit!" *shows everyone the hole*

Complimenter: "I haven't seen you wear lipstick before, it looks great"
Me (external voice): "Thank you!"
Me (internal voice): "AAARRGH!! EVERYONE THINKS I LOOK LIKE A CLOWN!"

Complimenter: "New haircut? Really suits you!"
Me: "Thanks, it was long overdue, I hadn't had it cut in 8 months and it was a right state."

Thankfully, I am concious enough about my woeful attempts to accept compliments that I don't veer into the territory of "Oh this? I bought it in a tiny boutique in Paris ten years ago which has now sadly closed. And it still fits like a dream." SUBTEXT - HA! In your face! You will NEVER be able to buy this and I still have the body of a seventeen year old, fatty.

I've been trying to get better at accepting compliments by responding with a simple thank-you-very-much and a pleasant smile. Yet there seems to be a sort of dance to partake in, caused by Britishness I think, whereby you must elaborate and provide background information on your purchase history and decision making. On the occasions I've tried the thanks and smile approach, I've been met with blank stares having brought the interaction to a sudden close. I should start carrying a bit of tumbleweed.

I wrote last month about paying killer compliments and the importance of finding non-material ways to praise, but clearly I've got a little bit of work to do when on the receiving end.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

5 things I learned from Blog Every Day In May

It's now a week since Blog Every Day In May challenge ended and in the non-blogging parts of my life, that week has been manic. I've had numerous social events, lots of uni work, a big work thing to prepare for and my Mum has come to visit for a week. Blogging has been quite low in my list of priorities.

May was GREAT though and Elizabeth timed this challenge perfectly, it was just what I needed to kick start a new blog after a two year break. I loved the various themes and had plenty to write about, although I did fail a bit towards the end when days just ran away with me and there wasn't time to post. So what did I learn?

1. Blogging is really exciting!
I missed it a lot! It feels great to have my own space to write again and the more I post, the more I feel like I have to say. I'll definitely be sticking around!

2. I am not as good at writing as I want to be
Some of the themes I found a bit difficult to interpret. I'd love to be the kind of person who could be given any word or theme or phrase and go "BAM! Here's 500 words for ya!" I'm not that person though and, although the themes were really inspiring and varied, one or two of them really stumped me and there were a few posts that I probably wouldn't have published were it not for the challenge. I hate to lose a challenge.

3. People actually care what I have to say
There's always a worry that nobody will read your posts, so it was genuinely heart-warming to see how well my return to blogging was received. Lots of people shared my posts on Twitter and commented. In fact, in one month my blog had 7000 views which I think is pretty fantastic and has definitely given me the inspiration to keep going!


4. I am a crap commenter
Blogging isn't just about pumping out content, it's about nurturing your little bit of the internet, interacting with people, taking the time to get to know the people who comment, read their blogs and leave a comment back. I feel quite guilty that I read comments but kept forgetting to reply and I barely had any time to read many of the other brilliant blogs taking part. When I started this blog I almost thought about disabling comments, simply because I know how much time they can take up. If someone tweeted me about a post, they always got a response. It's a dilemma I'm still pondering.

5. My technical skills have grown a lot
Through my day job I've developed lots of technical knowledge that will help me with running a blog, like writing, SEO and analytics. It's great to be able to put these to use here and try out some things I wouldn't be able to do at work. I'm looking forward to tinkering about with it and making it a blog I'm really proud of!

Thank you so much to everyone who read my posts over the past month. Please do stick around for more! I also hear that there might be a Blog Every Day in November challenge later in the year. I don't think I'll be able to take part as I'll be in Australia for half the month but it's definitely a challenge I'd recommend.