How I Survive Being an Introvert

How I Survive Being An Introvert

The vast majority of the time, I enjoy being around people. I’m comfortable in most social situations, enjoy engaging in conversation and have no problem being the centre of attention. I love making other people laugh, quite often speak up in large group meetings and don’t generally shy away from gatherings where there’ll be a lot of people. I can be loud, I can be over the top and I’m not embarrassed to do silly things to raise a smile. If these facts were all you knew about me, I’d hazard a guess that you’d probably classify me as an extrovert. However, after getting to know myself over the past 23 years, I’d most definitely describe myself as the opposite.

At one time I was under the impression that extroversion meant that you loved being around people, and that introversion was the same thing as being shy. So whenever the discussion came up as to ‘what people were’, I’d confidently announce to the group that I was an extrovert. How could I, someone who enjoyed chatting and being social, who loved leading conversation and making others giggle, be an introvert? It didn’t seem possible. Yeah sure, there were a couple of times a month at which I felt an almost crippling desire to be by myself, to curl up in a ball and recharge my batteries without the eyes of other people on me… but, like, that wasn’t really relevant. If I loved people, I was an extrovert. Full stop.

Now though, now I understand what extroversion and introversion actually are, I’ve revised my answer to that ‘what are you?’ question. I’ve come to realise that it’s exactly those moments, the moments of desperately needing to be away from the hum of humanity, that make me an introvert. I love being around people, but they’re not where I pick up my energy. I might like to spend my energy on other people, however a group setting is not where I gather it. My energy is gathered when I’m by myself, doing my own thing, in my own time, at my own pace. Though I love a group, that group will eventually sap my energy away and there’ll come a day where I can think of nothing worse than being around other people.

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Goji Berry, Almond and Wheatgrass Dark Chocolate Bark

Goji Berry, Almond and Wheatgrass Dark Chocolate Bark

I think perhaps the thing I find hardest about striving for healthier eating habits is the controlling of my sweet tooth. I’m not really one for dessert (I’d seriously rather have another starter at the end of a meal than a pudding) but there are certain times of day (mid-morning, a couple of hours after lunch, when watching a film or reading after dinner, the list goes on…) when I find myself sniffing around for something sugary. I can start the day with all the best intentions, but I often find myself slipping up at these dangerous moments. Pair this with the fact that I’m not really one for moderation (if I have one, I want them all), and I end up really struggling to balance my wish for a cleaner diet and my contradictory ‘need’ for sweetness.

This rather annoying tendency to slip up led me to think about what I could do to control my lapses in a way that left me satisfied but also wasn’t going to completely derail a healthy eating plan. My mind immediately rested on dark chocolate. We’ve all heard that, in moderation, dark chocolate has a whole host of health benefits and I figured this would be a good ingredient to spring from… a quick brainstorm later and this superfood dark chocolate bark came to life. The almonds provide crunch, the goji berries a bit of chew and the wheatgrass powder an interesting depth of flavour, let alone numerous health benefits (if you haven’t tried it, it tastes a bit like a green tea). What I love about this, and what makes it so perfect for the moderation of sugar-cravings, is that the dark chocolate (the darker the better!) is so rich that this isn’t the kind of treat you want to sit and scoff; it’s something to be savoured a few bites at a time.

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Fresh Summer Pizza with Pea Pesto, Avocado and Mozzarella

Fresh Summer Pizza with Pea Pesto, Avocado and Mozzarella

If you’re thinking that it’s been a little while since I last wrote, you’d be perfectly right. Spot on, in fact. Over a year ago (1 year, 3 months and 22 days to be painfully exact) I shared my last post and, from around that point, life ran away with me. I got a new job, and a subsequent promotion. I moved from my family home to live in a flat with my partner. Things became all ‘adulty’ and the time I had previously been able to devote to making, creating and sharing was lost within all that. I was distracted by the newness. New people, new places, new experiences… I was out happily exploring the fresh path life was taking me on.

Now that it’s all calmed down though, I’ve come to miss my creative outlet. I had been considering getting things going again here for a while, but it wasn’t until last week that I decided to just get on with it. No worrying about plans, no schedule, no endless brainstorming sessions. Just me, doing what I love, like it was back when I first started blogging (nearly 5 years ago now!). I’m in my element again and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

And what have I chosen to return with? A pizza, of course. Pizzas are a firm favourite dinner at our place. For one, we have a bread-maker, which makes the whole process an absolute breeze, and two, they’re the perfect dish for using up whatever bits and pieces we have lying around in the fridge. Whip up a tomato base (or not!), shove on a few veggies (or anything else!) and you’re away. This particular pizza is super fresh and summery, perfect for the warmer evenings we’ve been enjoying recently. I replaced our usual tomato base with a homemade pea pesto and piled on a beautiful lineup of toppings – avocado, mozzarella, pea shoots, vine-ripened tomatoes, pine nuts… I wanted to perfect the look and flavour of this pizza, so eventually ended up with four of them piled up in my fridge – and no one was complaining! I hope you enjoy this recipe, I’d so appreciate your thoughts! And tell me, what are your favourite pizza toppings?

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DIY Uplifting Geranium and Orange Candle

DIY Uplifting Geranium and Orange Candle

I’ve been keeping these little blue glass jars aside for making candles for what must be six months, and I’m proud to say that I finally got my act together and used them, as intended, to make candles! I’ve been such a fan of sleepy scents recently (see my lavender and bergamot sleep spray) but with these candles I wanted to try something a little different, creating an uplifting, reviving aroma rather than a totally calming, bedtime one. I must admit I’ve taken total inspiration from Neal’s Yard here, one of my favourite products of theirs is the geranium and orange shower gel, so I gathered the ingredients (plus the necessary essential oils from my collection) and set to work making a candle that would bring my desired scent to life.

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One-Minute, Emergency Meditation Routine

One-minute, emergency meditation routine

Most of the time I’ll meditate because I feel like meditating. I’ll meditate in the morning before work because I feel like it. I’ll meditate in the evening before bed, again, because I feel like it. The times where I actually need to meditate, where I need to take a few moments to step back, breathe and reset myself are more rare, but I have to say that it’s at those times I find that meditation comes into its own, truly showing me what an indispensable part of my life it’s become. Moments of anger, frustration, confusion or sadness can come at the most inconvenient points in the day, points at which I don’t have instant access to my Headspace app or the time to sit for twenty minutes with my eyes closed. When my brain feels as if it’s about to implode but a full meditation session isn’t possible, I turn to this one-minute, three-step, emergency meditation routine; I’ll slip away for a few moments, carry out the steps, and come back with a clear head and refreshed mindset.

Before you begin, find a safe, private space where you’re comfortable meditating and know you won’t be disturbed. Sitting or standing, close your eyes and work your way through the routine, spending however long you like on each section – as little as 20 seconds per step can work wonders! 

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Almond, Cinnamon and Goji Berry Granola

Almond, cinnamon and goji berry granola

I’ve tried and failed so many times to make my own granola. To be fair, I’ve never taken the process that seriously, quite often simply stirring up a bunch of oats with a few almonds, coconut oil and honey, shoving it all in the oven and hoping for the best. Each time I’d somehow expect a different outcome, but without fail I’d end up with a flavourless, sometimes-burnt mix that’s only destiny was to be thrown directly in the bin. Seeing as my oven-made granola was turning out to be a failure, I thought I’d give making it on the hob a go; turns out, I wildly prefer this method. Here you’re totally in control, able to watch over the mix to prevent it burning and only adding in ingredients exactly when they need to be added. This creates a gloriously nutty, cinnamony mix (the smell while cooking is just heavenly), the addition of goji berries giving the perfect amount of chew. Enjoy!

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