Hello!

Warning lots of photos! (I'm terrible at whittling them down. Trust me there were so many more!)

Welcome to another Travel Diaries. Over the last year you've seen some of more local travels but it's been a long time since I crossed the seas.


If you've been following me long enough you'll know that this time last year I had just returned from a two month trip to America. While I was there I travelled to just a few major cities, saw some beautiful sites and reunited with old friends. The last time you heard from me was in Eureka Springs, Arkansas on my way to the sunny beaches of California.


So to finally share with you the last month of my trip that's where we'll start. While in California I visits quite a few places, all very unique in there own right and first on my list was San Francisco.


When I first landed in California I flew into LAX but within just a few short days I heard from someone I'd met earlier in New York and we decided to head up to San Francisco for a few days of reunion and exploration. Travelling by greyhound we got into San Francisco at 6am (pretty exhausted too!) but we were met by the nicest guy who let us stay with him and his dog through Air BnB (If you're thinking of trying Air BnB for your next travels, you can get £13 credit with this link). Despite the time he got up and took us straight for breakfast at the nicest place. I didn't believe him when he said how popular it was but by the time we left (only an hour later) the queue was out the door and right round the corner!



The view from you Air Bnb

And so our short trip began. After a quick power nap we were out the door and off to explore the street of San Francisco. In our short trip we witnessed stunning weddings, artists fairs, explored nostalgic museums.




Finishing day one with fancy hot chocolate on the



Windy weather never makes for the most glamorous photos. Its was freeeeezing!

Of course we also immersed ourselves in the local culture, tried the local fish straight off the docks, took a boat ride past Alcatraz Island and of course walked the famous Golden Gate bridge.

Pink lemonade - pretty much the only American cold drink I can stomach!


On our final day it turned out I'd made a mistake with my booking so with my friend finally on his way back home to Australia, I had one more day to myself before I moved on to explore more of California.





I decided to explore the final famous region of San Francisco we'd not had the chance to see. China town. I'm so glad for that final day, exploring the maze of streets and rows of Chinese traditional stores was such a great adventure. I was able to hitch a ride on the tram to get myself there and also stumbled across this beautiful Church - Grace Church built in 1860.









Not only was the building stunning but inside was the most beautiful art exhibition. Each hanging string representing the wishes and prayers of a child.


I loved my time in San Francisco and my only regret was that the adventure was so short. I hope to return to America very soon and I know another visit will be on my list.


It's been so nice to revisit my travels to America and over the next few weeks I'll share the final few weeks of my journey. I'd love to know, in the comments have you ever been to San Francisco and if so what is your favourite memory? If not, is there anywhere you've always wanted travel to?


The hidden beach of San Francisco! Who knew?!

When I spoke out to the blogger community about my interest in getting passed the small talk and really getting to know each other (which can be pretty difficult on social media) I had a great reception.

Quite a few of you contacted me (on twitter ironically) saying how much you too felt the same. I was so comforted to know there are other people out there with the same struggles in really connecting online, but I was also inspired to try and see if I can do anything to make this community one that we are more able to connect and make closer friendships.

With that in mind I've teamed up with a lovely illustrator - Sarah Lovell Art (You may have seen her work on here before, I'm a bit of a fan!) to trial run a blogger snail mail group.

If you'd like to join in please do! Let's spread the word, share the post and help us all connect online and offline!



To get things rolling I'll happily start things off. I've got a selection of these beautiful Christmas cards* from Sarah Lovell I'll be sending out (These are a pack of six cards including three unique illustrations by Sarah. If you'd like to get your hands on some you can find them here)

If you'd like to get better acquainted leave a comment below and I'll send one your way. I'm hoping you'll want to join in and send out your own letters or cards too (of course I'd be super happy to receive one but I'm hoping we can get a group of us together and you can send out a few)!



The first snail mail will be going out in time for Christmas so it gives you plenty to talk about and an extra surprise for Christmas Day. (although if you don't celebrate please still join in just let me know so we can all be considerate when sending out our snail mail).

If there's enough of us I'll try to connect up like minded people and we can start a little community.

I love technology but nothing can beat an old fashioned letter in the post. You can share so much more than you can online, and you also get the added bonus of anticipation and a little giddy leap of excitement when your letter arrives in the post.

In the coming weeks I'll put together a group page on the blog, so you'll be able to see a list of all the community members and can get in contact with more people if you like.  Then, for those who'd like to join in but aren't sure what you'll write about I'll to put together a sort of "form" on the page so you can fill in the gaps so to speak, and get you going.

(I'll also put together a little rule book so no one gets offended or in trouble - Safety first and all!)

I really hope we can get to know each other better! If you'd like to join in leave a comment below with a social media contact or e-mail and I'll start my letters and get to putting you all in contact! Please share this with as many people as you can too to help spread the word and get more of us talking.

I can't wait!

p.s. to join in for the first Christmas snail mail group please let me know before 15th Dec so everyone still has a couple of days to send out their letters, last 2nd class post is 19th Dec!

UPDATE: For the full details of how to get involved and how to sign up, I've just posted all the details here.

*Items have been gifted to me (marked with *). All views and opinions are my own.
(Source)


Hello!

Today I thought we could do a little story time. With the recent disorganization and mass decent of my family into my little home I thought this story was pretty appropriate.

It's a little story of anxiety, so if that's t going to be a trigger for you please feel free to click away here, but if not carry on.

First a little background...

...Since as long as I can remember I've had Anxiety, but it wasn't until I was into Adulthood that I knew what it was.

A large part of my anxiety involves social situations. Based on that you might assume I'm not good in crowds, or maybe it's meeting new people, speaking in front of a group (you can read my introvert on the internet post here)? Well you might then be surprised to know that actually it's not really any of those things. Sure I get nervous, just like a lot of other people, I get cold sweats, increased heart rate, shivers, a croak in my voice, but actually I don't mind crowds (I love gigs), and I don't mind meeting new people. In fact on the whole I find it really fun to talk with fresh faces, and I certainly don't get stage fright! I've spent most of my childhood on stage, and I'm now a teacher to classes of around 100 students so, yes I get nervous but no those situations don't usually bring on my anxiety in the clinical sense.

What does bring it on, is friendship. Sounds strange I know - you might then see why it took so long for me to go and talk to someone about it, and why it didn't exactly make sense until much later in life. Meeting up with friends, nights out, talking with my colleagues, even with my siblings, can cause me so much anxiety I now choose to spend most of my time alone. If I get too anxious I have panic attacks. Again not something I realised I was having until about three years ago. I had this false impression that a panic attack was dramatic. In my head I thought panic attacks were obvious, attention drawing, women screaming "get me out, I need to get out" (of course an obviously very ignorant thought, no offense at all intended). I was holding a very illogical, inaccurate stereotype for panic attacks, as far as I could see I thought "well I don't do that".

So when this happened I didn't understand what I was experiencing was a panic attack...

First my heart starts to race, which quickly leads to palpitations, unfortunately these can last for hours. I start to struggle to breathe and can't take deep breathes no matter how much I try. This starts to make me panic. I feel light headed, get overwhelming head rush and start worrying that people can tell I'm acting strange. I get this incredible sense of paranoia and really I'm just thinking "please nobody look at me, please don't notice". I become embarrassed that somebody in the room must know what's happening and I want to do anything possible to stop it, control it, to act normally which of course makes it worse. Describing this it all seems like pretty obvious signals but its taken me a very long time, and some invaluable help to recognise.

Maintaining friendships has always been a bit of a challenge when even the thought of having a text from someone I knew could bring this on. Unsurprisingly I've lost friends, dear friends. It wasn't through actions or arguments, simply the more I thought about them my anxiety would go up, I'd become too overwhelmed and as time went on my communication dwindled. It got to the point I could no longer talk on the phone, e-mail, text, message online...any form of contact would bring on an attack. So I stopped, and I can say on the plus side my anxiety levels are much lower now, but my friendship circle is too.

OK cue story time...

So when an old friend contacted me not so long ago, I had a classic moment of panic (a long moment) but I also took the brave step to make a change. It's taken me years to get to this point. So I cancelled on him the first time, but I made plans to see him the week after.

OK, I've set a date. I got to choose the day, the time, the place. I decided it wasn't going to be for long, maybe just an hour, I planned it for a work day so if I was overwhelmed I had a plausible escape route.

We met, and I was afraid but I decided to actually talk about it. For the first time in my life, I explained these feelings I get, it had never occurred to me to do so and I think I've always thought I'm come off weird. So I did - Why I find it hard to socialise, to see people I care about so deeply, and to my complete surprise, he was so understanding. I couldn't have asked for a better response, or a better friend.

For the first time in my life the pressure was off, someone knew how hard it was, and didn't just label me as a 'flake'.
I'd never thought someone would be so patient and so kind, about something that I thought sounded so weird!

It was a small step, but it's made a huge difference. I don't know how long it will take me to re-connect with lost friends but I'm hoping that with each person I tell a little bit of the burden and the guilt of appearing like a rubbish friend will ease.

Since then we've kept in regular but pressure off contact. He checks in every now and then but doesn't bombard me with messages. He's wonderful, and it's finally got to the point I can even reach out myself without feeling sick. The anxiety is still there but I'm finding better ways of coping, and learning not to beat myself up so much.

If you experience anxiety I hope my experience brings you some hope. Though it might seem terrifying to tell people how you feel, real friends will always support you. Don't rush it, but when your ready, just try it on someone, explain how it feels and you'll truly be surprised at how accepting and loving people can be.

And if you have a friend who seems like a bit of a flake, maybe they don't text back for a few weeks, maybe they don't go on nights out, or meet up every week, maybe cut them some slack. Maybe they're going through something just like me, and maybe you could even be the one who breaks the ice.

But I think one of the biggest take homes is also not to judge people on who they know. Someone might not have a big friendship group or have any interest in being the life of the party, but it doesn't mean anything about how nice, genuine or kind they can be. They may not have a lot of close friends but they might have a few great friends, or even simply not have met those great friends yet.

I'm hoping that through reading my story you might find some strength, reassurance or understanding that Anxiety is complex, it's not the same for everyone. Maybe you or someone you know has it and neither of you even realise, but with the right support system and tools it can be managed.

Let me know in the comments if your experiences of anxiety, of if you've got any questions feel free to ask!

Thanks for stopping by!
xx
This blog is becoming a place I take pride in. As I develop my writing style and my little corner of the internet, I'm feeling more confident to share myself, and taking greater pride in the content I create and the collaborations I make. There are always places to improve but in general I'm seeing progress that brings me great joy.

This week wasn't quite one of those weeks. I've had things come up that have taken my focus and time away, which has meant I've left the blog a little bare for the last few days. Not something I'd planned for but something that sometimes happens to us all (well most of us).

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As many of you know from reading my Introvert on the Internet post a few weeks ago (click me to read), socialising zaps my resources and this week has been filled with just that. The first two days I was surprised by the presence of two lovely people come to visit and stay with me. The next day brought three more surprise visitors (of course everyone knew what was happening except me!) and we can't forget I've also had the daily visits I receive from my Dad who likes to come round for a cuppa and a chat about his day. So for an entire week Ive had a house of 7 (poof!).

It's been wonderful to share such beautiful (if chaotic) time with the people I hold dearest but I can't deny my social fuse died on Monday and all life has been lagging since.

In the past I might have been a bit hard on myself but I shan't this weekend. I want to look back on times such as this with fond memories, so I'm being kind on myself and not worrying about the work that's lagging behind. I hope you'll not mind either and know I'll be back up and running next week (tomorrow if all goes to plan!).

Thank you for being so patient, and as always I hope you're happy and healthy and you'll hear from me very soon! xxx

p.s. If you read this far leave me a comment - tell me something lovely you did/eat/heard/saw/thought that brought you some sunshine, I'd love a happy boost!
Hi! I’m back with another Autumn Craft Tutorial for you!

I’ve really enjoyed experimenting with natural materials I’ve found on my autumn strolls this year and I think I’ve come up with one that’s not only great for Autumn but will carry you all the way up to Christmas too!

Autumn Tealight Baubles!     



OK truth be told between brain storming, coming up with ideas and actually trying them out, I've gone from fancy to rustic. I tried all sorts of ideas but just loved the natural look the most so that's the one I'm going to share here. The good news is this means you'll be able to do this whole DIY in less than an hour, but if you want to add your own touches these would still look great with a sprinkle of glitter, or a splash of metallic paint or festive colours. It's completely up to you!

For this one you’re going to need:

  • Your choice of conkers, acorns, dried leaves, pine cones or whatever you can get your hands on from around your area (Hunt around your local nature hot spots or you can buy these easily online or in your local craft shop, real or artificial if you prefer)
  • Glass or Acrylic bauble terrariums (Splittable baubles or even a mason jar would look great too!)
  • Battery powered tea lights (do not use anything with a real flame for this)
  • Twine

You could also recreate these as standing candle holders, or a beautiful large centre piece for your table!

Honestly and simple, all your need to do to make these is arrange your choice of natural materials in whatever way that makes you happy, place your tea light in the middle, tie a long length of twine to the top, and decorate your home! Honestly, that's it!





It couldn’t be an easier DIY.

TIPS:


  • This can get pretty fiddly so first things first, get your patience out you're going to need it!
  • If its getting too fiddly and you find placing your tealight too difficult, you could use a strong clear glue to fix your leaves etc inside the glass, and use a piece of blue tack to keep your tea light in place.
  • I quite like to white of the candle, but if you prefer you could also paint them to blend in with the foliage.
Really, it's up to you. There’s so many different things you can do with this, the possibilities are endless, and with the right colour scheme these could last you all the way through to Christmas and take pride of place on your Christmas tree (if you celebrate of course!).

I hope you have fun experimenting with different mediums and containers, and remember if you have a go tag me @theasthinkings and share your masterpiece on twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!

Are there any Autumn/Winter inspired crafts you’re dying to try? Let me know in the comments below.


Until next time!
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This Sunday I was going to share with you my relaxing week of time out and reflection but with recent events in Paris I just didn't feel it would be appropriate. Instead I might share this week in a double-up next Sunday.

Instead I thought I'd pass on my condolences for those who've been caught up in those tragic events, and for all those loved ones mourning their loss.

I can't imagine what those involved went through and only hope a feeling of safety can be restored to those still in Paris.

I also want to take the opportunity though to send thoughts out to those who are experiences similar events on a daily basis all around the world. I'm only too aware of the limited coverage we receive of world events, and with no intention of diminishing those tragic events in Paris, would only wish to highlight the reality that these things are happening everyday elsewhere.
My thoughts go out to them all, wherever in the world they may be and I hope you can join me in that.

I feel so fortunate to have lived the life I have, regardless of other events that may have been challenging or even life changing, but I'm so thankful that I do not live in fear.

I'll leave this weekends post there, and hope that whatever your Sunday's bring, I hope you are safe, that something might bring you joy today but that you might take a moment to think of those experiencing these tragedies everyday too.

xx
Lately I’ve wanted to share a lot more about the parts of life I love, the stuff I can’t live without, and the things that make me, Me.

So to introduce you to another side of myself we’re going to delve into the wonderful world of Anime!

If you’d asked me what anime was when I was younger I would have had no idea what you were talking about, but little did I know I was already watching it!

When I look back at the movies that remind me of my childhood one in particular stands out above all the rest. It’s the film I watched the most, remember the strongest emotional response to and has to be my earliest memory of ever watching a film.

It was Laputa: Castle in the Sky by Hayao Miyazaki.



It was the most enchanting world I had ever envisioned and it filled me with the most powerful feelings of hope, excitement and anticipation. It wasn’t until I started my teens that I think I ever thought to question if there actually was a castle hidden in the clouds (because of course there is!), and to this day I always look up to swarming cloud forms and imagine the possibilities hiding within their depths.

Sheta! It’s time for breakfast
My father took that picture from an airship.
He loved to fly.
It’s Laputa—the floating island.
An island that floats in the sky?
Yep. Most people think it’s just a legend… but Dad actually saw it.
That’s a picture of his airship.
[Wind whistling] [Thunder] He said it was the most amazing thing he’d ever seen.
[Click]
And that’s the only picture he was able to take.
It looked like a castle just floating there in the sky.
But take a look at this, Sheeta.
Dad kept a journal, and he made all sorts…
Of drawings of Laputa, see?
There it is. He drew the castle…
And also what he thought the people’d look like.
He was sure the castle was filled with treasure…
But nobody believed him.
They called him a liar.
Being called a liar is what killed him.
But I am gonna prove that my dad was no liar, Sheeta.
As soon as I’m done building this plane…
I’m gonna take off and find Laputa myself…

I think that’s what gave me the goal to learn to pilot a plane. Getting my licence is still on my to-do list for the future!

It started my love affair with Anime, and over the years I’ve grown to love it more and more, in all its colours and characters. But a few of my other favourites films are Nausicaa, How's Moving Castle and 5 Centimeters per second. Everyone can make me cry!




I’ve got a great and growing love for all things Anime, so hopefully I’ll share a few more in the future! Do you like Anime, and have you got any favourites? Let me know, I’m always looking to find something new!

Hello! How’s your week been?

I’ve had a week of reflection and anticipation! Guy Fawkes marked the end of Autumn and the beginning of the Winter festivities, jeesh I’m excited!

Guy Fawkes in Chez Price is never a fancy affair. Hot dogs, a bonfire and family fire works make for our perfectly simple celebration. Everyone gets stuck in, someone’s on tea duty, someone’s setting up the garden with old oil lamps and bonfire essentials (including hedgehog hunt of course), someone takes the “Chef” post, and everyone pitches in to making the biggest bonfire and of course the fireworks display. It’s the perfect way to say farewell to Autumn and relax into the new season.

I also hit my two year blog anniversary. In a way it doesn’t seem real that I’ve been doing this for two years, but at the same time I couldn’t imagine ever being without it again. I try to wonder what I did before and I can’t quite work it out.

So to christen the new season I've been busy Christmas shopping and otherwise doing very wintery things. My head has been in books, my feet have been walking and enjoying my lovely home. I've also been extra creative in the kitchen and in making decorations (I'll be sharing these in a DIY very soon. Make sure you're following on bloglovin' so you don't miss it!), and I've also been inspired to work on some more music which I'm super excited about.


Overall it's been a lovely gently week and a nice change of pace. It won't be long lived so I'm going to pick up my book and take advantage before the bustle begins again tomorrow!

I hope you've taken some time out this season, and whatever your bonfire night plans I hope you had fun!

Don't forget I'm blogging four times a week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday! I've a real mix of travel, crafts, personal and festive posts coming up, and I'll be back next Sunday with another Lately!

I was musing over my time here in the blogosphere and decided to take a look back at some of the first posts I ever wrote to see where I’ve come from and if anything’s changed.

It was on this day, 6th November 2013 I began blogging (Happy Blogiversary me!). I'd  had a lot on my plate in the year leading up to that day (and plenty more still to come) so after months of consideration I decided it was time to start my space and reflect on all that had bought me to that day and where I wanted to go from there on out.

Being new to the world of blogging I started simple, venturing out into my surroundings and sharing my musings on life and things. My first post was published exactly two years today marking looking back at Bonfire night the day before.

In the same vein of though my second post was a look at Autumn, my favourite time of year and a season of reflection and change. So in the throws of nostalgia I've once again taken to walking the same path I did that day to re-live my early blogging memories. Wrap up warm and come along…




Autumn has certainly come later this year, and the leaves are still very green, but things are turning. I'm not sure my photography has improved that much in my two years of blogging, but I know its had a much greater impact on my sense of self. Blogging has given me a wonderful platform to reflect on life, love, loss and taking control of my future.

Blogging has become a key part of my life and I can't imagine that changing any time soon, but wherever I go and however long this journey may be I'm thankful for the experience and the learning I've achieved.


All the signs of change that Autumn brings give me a nervous energy that something new is on the horizon and I can’t wait to experience it! Wherever you are in your journey I hope that something good is around the corner for you.

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