Animals, Author, Blog, Creative, Equestrian, Ghostwriting, Happiness, Life, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Positivity, Writing

Happy 2023!

Hi there – you amazing human being,

I know it’s a little late, but I hope you’ve had a wonderful welcome to 2023 ๐Ÿ™‚

Our festive season was so lovely – although, I’m not sure all of our furry babies were too impressed with their outfits… Haha!

Although I’m just getting over a horrible bought of the flu, which doesn’t help matters, I reckon January felt approximately 476 days long! While I haven’t had much opportunity to enjoy riding the horses, and Cai’s walks have mostly been on the pavements instead of fields as it’s so muddy, I’m looking forward to lots of adventures – with both the horses and Cai – as soon as the weather has improved and nights are lighter ๐Ÿ™‚

In the interest of transparency, I feel it’s important to shine a light on darkness as well as the brighter times. I’ve been struggling with high levels of anxiety for a few months – which has made the winter weather seem all the darker, at times.

I’m beyond grateful for my fabulous family and friends (including my gorgeous animal family!), because they support me through everything; and I take at least a moment to be thankful for all the beauty I’m fortunate to have in my life, every day. However, sometimes, getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of life can become overwhelming – especially when emetophobia is involved.

Having been held hostage by emetophobia, and its associated anxieties, for over quarter of a century, I felt enough was enough and finally dusted off ‘The Thrive Programme’ textbook I’ve had in the bookcase for eighteen months and made a start on the course. So far it’s been slow progress, but that’s because I haven’t dedicated as much time to it as I should be – though after having a setback while I had the flu, during which I had a terrible panic attack, I’m determined to push through and get on with the course.

Mental health should definitely be as highly regarded as physical health, and I’m done putting myself last all the time. I’ve had it pointed out to me by loved ones that I need to start considering myself and taking care of myself first – so, I am more determined than ever to get ‘The Thrive Programme’ done and dusted; it’s about time I took away the control emetophobia has over my quality of life ๐Ÿ™‚

I watched the impressive buzzard in the below photograph effortlessly lift themselves up and out of the fog encompassing them… Nature is on our side, if we take the time to learn how to harness our own power through being calm. Which is why, alongside vanquishing my demons, I’m going to do more of what I love (e.g. spend more time with my husband/family/friends, take Cai on more adventures, ride my horses more often, revel in my own literary creations, read more fantastic books, take up photography again, etc.) – since that’s the reason I work so damn hard constantly. So, please take this as your sign to do the same – life is too short not to relish the wonderfulness in your life; striving to reach a goal isn’t worthwhile if it costs you your health.

And, on an even more positive note, I finally have a plan for my own writing. This year, I’m focused on moving forwards with my literary endeavours; most namely, completing my YA series and its accompanying dyslexia-friendly versions. I also have sooo many other story ideas and endless scribbled notes that could prove to be the kindling that sparks my next novel or series of short stories. So, please ‘watch this space’!

In the meantime, I’ve edited typos in “Larry” and “Animals’ Guide to the Human Race” for the final time (I mean it! Haha) and they’re available in eBook format, as well as paperback and hardcover ๐Ÿ™‚

“LARRY” EBOOK LINK

“ANIMALS’ GUIDE TO THE HUMAN RACE” EBOOK LINK

When I get the opportunity, I’m also hoping to update The Emet. Review website and Instagram page – I’ve just been a little too busy to do so for a while, for which I apologise! Though in case you’d like to pay The Emet. Review a visit, here’s the website address: https://emetreview.wordpress.com/

Anyways, I’m going to stop typing now and spend some quality time with Gareth and Cai ๐Ÿ™‚

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Best wishes,

Dannika <3

Animals, Author, Blog, Book Publishing, Career, Creative, Equestrian, Fiction, Happiness, Horse Riding, Life, Positivity, Reading, Writing

“Larry” and “Animals’ Guide” have been Republished!

Hi Everyone,

Hope you’re well ๐Ÿ™‚

It has been exceedingly busy here at ‘D.E. Kendall HQ’ over the last few months!

However, this post isn’t about a general update (hoping to write an update sometime in the next month), it is to celebrate the (FINAL) new editions of Larry and Animals’ Guide to the Human Race being republished ๐Ÿ™‚

The road to this point has been exceedingly long and winding, so it’s an enormous relief that two of my original books are finally finished…

So, I started writing Larry when I was 15 years old, and it has seen several versions in various states of quality/readability to reach its current edition – and I am delighted to have completed the journey, at long last! While I realise my perfectionism may not ever allow me to feel 100% proud of my work, because – as with every aspect of my life – I always perceive facets of myself through a highly critical lens (though I wish I didn’t!), I hope I have done the adaptation of Larry’s story justice.

After a close call with a vanity publisher in 2014-2015, Larry has been self-published, traditionally published, and has now been self-published once again for the final time. I’m tempted to craft a more in-depth blog post in future, to write about each phase Larry has endured to get here – please let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in reading ๐Ÿ™‚

For now, if Larry can inspire even one person to treat animals with more kindness and compassion, 15 years of hard work will have been worthwhile. There has been a considerable amount of research and editorial work poured into Larry, and I hope you’ll gain something positive from reading it…

Larry: A Rescue Pony’s Story

by D.E. Kendall

This third edition of Animals’ Guide to the Human Race has been completely transformed from its previous editions, thanks to my improved writing and editorial skills owing to four years of a creative writing degree and over two years of ghostwriting experience. Therefore, I hope Animals’ Guide will provide readers with some much-needed positivity, in a world obsessed with everything that’s wrong instead of celebrating the little joys in life. For those of you who are familiar with Animals’ Guide, please rest assured that this version is almost unrecognisable from previous editions; it’s actually readable now (I hope)!

The purpose for Animals’ Guide is to be read in small snippets as opposed to being read cover to cover as a novel. Therefore, Animals’ Guide has been designed to inspire positivity and laughter, no-matter where you are or whatever’s happening in your life – I hope Animals’ Guide becomes a form of comfort to readers, somewhere nice to turn when life gets overwhelming. Also, previous editions of Animals’ Guide have proven especially popular for those who don’t have the time to dedicate to reading, so it would be amazing if it appeals to an even wider audience moving forwards ๐Ÿ™‚

Please let me know what you think of Animals’ Guide to the Human Race – I’d love to know that it has made you laugh and/or brightened your day by even a teeny tiny amount…

Animals’ Guide to the Human Race

by D.E. Kendall

Infinite thanks for your continued support! ๐Ÿ™‚

Best wishes,

Dannika

Blog, Equestrian, Horse Riding

Eira Diaries – Post #2

Hellooo! Welcome to the second post in the ‘Eira Diaries’ series ๐Ÿ™‚

So, it has been waaayyy over a month since I last wrote about the adventures of my beautiful pony, and the reason for that is our distinct lack of adventure over the last few weeks. But I’ll get to that in a minute…

At long last, I discovered a gorgeous saddle that fits Eira perfectly. She’s so comfortable in the saddle, that we were actually able to enjoy hacking without napping! And we managed to go for a ride out with Kara for the first time ever, which reminded me why I work so hard and go without a heck of a lot to pay for Eira’s lavish lifestyle; I realised how much I’ve missed being in the saddle, and Eira was delighted to be getting out and about again ๐Ÿ™‚

Our schooling sessions were going superbly as well, and Eira finally seemed to feel comfortable as she worked in a lovely outline, showing off her floaty paces and seamless upward transitions.

Then, the weather couldn’t decide what it wanted to do, and switched from sunshine to rain and back again several times a day for a couple of weeks.

One especially sunny morning, I brought Eira in from the field and noticed that she was slightly uncomfortable on her right foreleg. I checked for a digital pulse (a tell-tale signal of laminitis), but couldn’t find one – and Eira was still able to put weight on her sore hoof without rocking back onto her heels, so I assumed it was an abscess.

Since Eira didn’t seem too uncomfortable at that point, I allowed her a couple of hours’ turnout the day after I noticed her minor discomfort – she seemed to improve slightly as I was leading her in. However, the following day, something definitely wasn’t right and both her hooves seemed uncomfortable. So, even though she was still putting weight on her hooves and there was no sign of a digital pulse in any of her legs, I created poultices and wrapped Eira’s hooves in vet wrap. We gave her a thick, fluffy, shavings bed while awaiting the farrier’s response to my attempts to contact him over the weekend.

By Monday, Eira hadn’t improved. The farrier visited and removed Eira’s shoes, which instantly caused her to portray ‘that’ stance. There was no denying that Eira had laminitis – a word dreaded by horse owners the world over. Despite our best efforts to avoid it, and the seeming lack of grass in her field, laminitis reared its ugly head for the second time in Eira’s life ๐Ÿ™

This photo was taken on the first day Eira started to seem uncomfortable on one of her front hooves. As you can see, Eira developed a ‘crest’ overnight, thanks to the rain and sunshine causing a sudden rush of sugars in the grass of her field.

Eira was stuck in on complete box rest, until the farrier gave his permission for Eira to be walked in hand for a few minutes a day in her hoof boots (which protect the sensitive soles of her hooves from stony ground en route to the soft, spongy arena). Poor Eira hasn’t been able to enjoy much of the glorious sunshine we’ve been having, and hates that she’s now on a severely restricted diet of soaked hay. We’ve tried to brighten up her box rest experience by providing mini haynets dotted around the stable (which also prevents her from standing in one place all day) though she can’t enjoy her usual boredom-breaking toys, such as her Bizzy Bites toy, Likit, and Decahedron treat balls – and the poor girl can’t even enjoy apples and carrots in her haynet anymore. Eira is getting plenty of cuddles and lots of attention from everyone, however. And she’s enjoyed time out of her stable, being brushed and pampered on the rubber matting of the wash bay next to her barn. Though she’s not so keen on having a bath, it is the longest I’ve ever managed to keep her tied up!

We hope to update the Eira Diaries with exciting adventures in the very near future…

Though until Eira has recovered, we won’t be getting up to much unfortunately. I do, however, hope to write some product reviews at some point, so please check back soon ๐Ÿ™‚

My Beautiful Eira ยฉ D.E. Kendall

Thank you for reading! <3

Best wishes,

Dannika & Eira

Animals, Equestrian, Happiness, Life

Eira Diaries – Post #1

Welcome to the Eira Diaries!

Why the ‘Eira Diaries’? Not only does the title sound poetic, but both words contain ‘Eira’ – which, I think, earns extra ‘writer points’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

This series of blog posts will feature not only my beautiful pony, Eira, but also our family’s handsome horse, Tรขn, and, from time to time, my sister’s gorgeous horse, Kara.

The reason I’ve decided to create a blog post series is to document the journey Eira and I are taking to get fitter and healthier, after many years of struggling to get moving with our adventures.

Throughout this series, I hope to include stories of both mine and Eira’s past experiences, alongside the tales of our – inevitably winding – road to fitness. I also hope to include some useful product reviews ๐Ÿ™‚

So, this first post of the series will focus on the beautiful pony herself…

I rescued Eira when she was 11 months old, in the summer of 2013. Destined for the meat market, Eira was bought at auction by landowners who were inexperienced in caring for horses, but longed to save horses from slaughter. Eira was turned out in a huge field with countless other horses who had been rescued from various auctions. The people who’d bought Eira thought it was a great idea to leave the mismatch herd of horses and ponies (from huge cobs to teeny tiny miniature Shetlands) fight over crates of bananas left in their field!

Perhaps naively, I purchased Eira without being able to get anywhere near her. There were several horses and ponies available to choose from, though even from a distance, I fell in love with Eira’s scruffy chestnut foal coat and near-white flaxen mane. The next day, it took us hours to get her into a trailer. When we arrived at her new, temporary home, she was so terrified of us that she hid in the corner and trembled whenever we tried to approach her.

It only took a couple of days for Eira to realise that we weren’t going to hurt her, and, once she’d learned how to eat from a bucket, she decided she was happy to let us near – after all, someone who feeds you three times a day can’t be that bad, right?

By the end of her first week with me, I’d managed to remove the scraggly foal coat still clinging on since winter (it was June), and I couldn’t believe how beautiful my new pony was underneath all that grime and dust!

I chose the name ‘Eirawen’ for her because it means ‘snow white’ in Welsh, and at the time her mane and tail were so bright they looked almost white. Plus, it was clear from the get-go that Eirawen believed she was a princess, so the name suited her. It didn’t take long for her name to be shortened to ‘Eira’ – the name ‘Eirawen’ only resurfaces when she’s acting like a diva, or decides to stand on my foot.

Prior to Eira’s first vet visit, it was obvious she had conformational issues. As the years have passed, she’s developed a plethora of health problems that have meant her insurance costs are ridiculously expensive (#cry). Aside from having wonky legs that require specialist front shoes, Eira has very sensitive skin that turns into sweet itch over the summer, she had laminitis around 4 years ago so is now prone to that, she has cysts on her ovaries, a few small sarcoids, dodgy teeth that require 6-monthly check-ups, a flat back that makes it really challenging to find saddles to fit her, and she can’t seem to keep more than half of her mane at any given time. (Oh, and she likes to sit down in the field, like a dog!) So, all things considered, she looks pretty darn good for a pony with all those issues, if I do say so myself ๐Ÿ™‚

Eira has a naughty streak and can be stubborn when she wants to be – she also loves a buck when asked to canter, whether under saddle or on the lunge, which I’ve learned has nothing to do with discomfort or imbalance and everything to do with overexcitement. For all her cheekiness, Eira is the most gentle pony – no more so than when she’s with my niece, whom Eira adores. Of our family’s horses, Eira is the one we introduce visitors to, because she’s the only one who can be trusted not to accidentally headbutt, nip, or squish them! We may not be flying around show-jumping courses or dazzling in the dressage arena, though I am incredibly proud to have produced such a kind, willing – if a little stubborn at times – pony whose fate could’ve been totally different if I hadn’t taken that leap of faith 9 years ago…

Due to a hand injury 7 years ago (that still isn’t better 3 surgeries later) and having such a hectic life since Eira was old enough to ride, my poor girl is still extremely green under saddle – through no fault of her own. My parents and sister help take care of Eira when I’m unable to due to my ridiculously long work hours and when my hand is too painful to move, for which I am eternally grateful.

I wish I could wave a magic wand to fix her health issues, fix my hand, and add a few extra hours into every day, but for now, we’ll just have to settle for trying our best under our given circumstances.

I’ve ordered a saddle for Eira that should be arriving tomorrow, so *fingers crossed* it fits because it’d be fab to finally return to ridden work after a month-and-a-half of lunging!

Anyways, I hope you’ll look forward to the next instalment of the Eira Diaries ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you for reading!

Best wishes,

Dannika & Eira

Animals, Mental Health Awareness, Uncategorized, Writing

On the Importance of Self-Care

Heyy, hope you’re well ๐Ÿ™‚

Self-care sounds so indulgent, like it’s some sort of ethereal gift allowed only on special occasions – well, that’s what it seems to me anyway. I take care of my personal hygiene (perhaps a little too much, given my OCD for cleanliness), exercise, eat as healthily as I can and manage my responsibilities, but rarely do I spend time truly enjoying my own company.

Here’s what Google has to say about the definition of self-care:

The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress. “expressing oneself is an essential form of self-care”

I love my family (including the animals!), I love my boyfriend, and I love my friends, so any time I can I spend soaking up their company and making the most of that ‘togetherness’ we’ve all been without for so long (although sadly, we can’t yet see all our family and friends in person). For me, this is a form of self-care, because I relish being surrounded by loved ones.

When alone, however, I am absolutely rubbish at taking breaks whilst I’m working. I get so absorbed by what I’m doing, that I just let time run away with me; then when I’ve stopped working, all I can do is plan and think about work. On the surface, this is great in terms of productivity – because I am a perfectionist, I try my best to create quality, meaningful content, so being able to get projects completed in a timely fashion is a great feeling. Unfortunately, in the long run I find myself physically and emotionally drained all.the.time.

On Monday I decided this is no longer sustainable. I had to get my backside in gear and organise myself properly if I’m to make the most of my life. I’m missing out on a heck of a lot because I’m so damn focused on earning money to keep my animals, and my everyday life, going. I am fed up of living in a constant state of anxious stress. I admit, having my new car stranded in a garage for the last week after it broke down three times within the first two days of owning it has done nothing to help my anxiety or stress levels… Though I took my first steps toward enjoying myself more by making time to enjoy riding my horses and walking my dog instead of just doing so for exercise, I spent quality time cwtched with my boyfriend as we ate great food, watched films and celebrated being together for a whole year; and I actually read a book for fun as opposed to just reading for work or studying.

Taking time to breathe in your life is not a luxury, it is vital.

Making time to nurture your mental and physical well-being is allowed.

Please, don’t ever feel guilty for wanting to make the most of time for yourself.

Self-care is different for each of us. So, here is a brilliant article by Anna Borges that might help you along the path of contentment & if you’d like further advice, you can find some here from mental health charity Mind.

Take care of your self <3

Best wishes,

Dannika

Animals, Author, Ghostwriting, Mental Health Awareness, Uncategorized, Writing

About Inspiration & Silliness

Two words unlikely to appear in the same sentence, yet have a fascinating connection, are ‘inspiration’ and ‘silliness’.

When we feel inspired it’s supposed to move us, to motivate us, to keep us moving forward in our lives. Whereas silliness seems to have little substance in adult life, apart from acceptance on television or during peer-pressured drunkenness.

So you may be wondering why I have chosen to write a blog post about these words.

Well, now I’ve officially been an adult for over a decade, I have learned many valuable lessons – one of the most interesting being that silliness can evolve into inspiration.

Anyone who knows me knows I love to make people smile and laugh. It drives me to do all I can to make our world a brighter, more cheerful, kinder place. Although it happens frequently, I still get a wonderful buzz when someone approaches me for help or advice. And to be able earn a living doing something I’m passionate about, whilst making other people’s dreams come true, is an honour as well as a privilege.

A lot of the time adult life calls for us to be serious. Whether that’s maintaining professional mannerisms when dealing with clients, or deciding which provider to choose for your mortgage, or even managing the expectations of those around you because even though you love them dearly and know they love you no-matter what, you still don’t want to disappoint them. All this seriousness means we live 90% of our lives in a heightened state of stress – the other 10% is spent sleeping, or trying to sleep. Some people deal with this stress better than others – I am reminded of this on a daily basis, since sooo many people I know ‘have it together’ according to social media, whereas I still forget to eat lunch most workdays, and have been known to accidentally use deodorant instead of dry shampoo.

This got me to thinking, why does life have to be this way? Why must we all be seen to live such bustling lives to be regarded successful? Why do I allow myself to feel like a blob, and want to cwtch up in my baggiest jumper, whenever I see photos of confident women, wearing whatever the heck they want, even when they’re curvier than I am and have already had like three kids? Why do I beat myself up about not being able to ride my horses often enough, let alone compete them like I used to, despite the fact I have a chronic hand injury that drastically limits my capabilities?

Realisation struck today that the answers to those questions lie heavily upon the curse of social media goggles. It’s that ‘rose-tinted glasses’ affect, but far worse. Glasses grace your face and help you see whilst allowing for peripheral vision, yet goggles give you no choice as to your peripheral vision since they’re strapped tightly to your head. So tightly in fact, that when you eventually take them off, you’re left with red marks around your eyes, the effects of which take time to fade.

Maybe it’s about time we removed those goggles and viewed social media in its true light – as a form of media. When you read a fiction book or watch a blockbuster film, you fully expect scenes written to perfection, every detail taken care of, every character the idealistic image of an aspect of humanity. Despite the fact social media was designed to represent our everyday lives, we forget that it is just another form of media. People won’t share what they don’t want us to see (unless they’re really, really brave!). Silliness seems to have no place in a world striving for perfection. But, just as with fiction books and blockbuster films, we shouldn’t trust what we see on social media as being the full story. Behind every book you read there’s been an entire production team, often including authors or ghostwriters, editors, agents, and publishing companies. Same goes for blockbuster films – I guarantee if it’s big budget, there’s an entire team dedicated to each minuscule portion of that film’s development and production. And whilst we’ve been fooled into thinking social media harnesses each individual voice, algorithms working behind the scenes are what determines the content we see. Therefore, it shapes how we feel about social media, as opposed to allowing us to connect directly with the hundreds of people we ‘follow’ or are ‘friends’ with, and making our own minds up about them. That masterful direction means we are being exposed to an edited version of people, even people we see every day in person. For all its awesomeness, social media cannot replace true human connection.

Social media should not dictate that which defines us as ‘successful’. We are unique. Success is different for each of us.

So, actually, life doesn’t have to be stressful in order for us to be regarded successful. If you look back over your life and recognise that you’re in a healthier, happier place than you were a year or two ago, then congratulations – you’re winning!

Social media makes me feel like I should be going to a gym then sharing my sculpted form with ‘followers’ or ‘friends’, and buying expensive clothes that flatter my figure that I should post all over my social media profiles to show off, and I should learn to perfect make-up/camera-angles in order to attract higher-paying clients, and I should be posting 50 updates a day about what I’m doing to reach to a wider audience, and I should have my life in such great order that every day is prosperous. But do you know what, my respect for all these amazing women and men who seem capable of juggling every aspect of their life shouldn’t end with them, it should extend to myself.

I have to stop caring what social media has conditioned me to believe represents success. I am a powerful woman because I have overcome some horrible experiences and worked unbelievably hard to get to the fortunate position I am in today. I shall continue to work tirelessly to inspire an even better tomorrow, so I am going to stop allowing social media to make me feel like I’m not worthy, because you know what? I damn well am! Are you with me? I’d love to hear your success stories – whether that extends to writing a bestselling novel, or running an excellent charity, or something as seemingly humble as being a good person in a self-centred world. Because you, my friend, are marvelous and it’s about time someone noticed ๐Ÿ™‚

And just so you know this isn’t empty narrative, I’ll include some of the silliness I’ve participated in over the last few days that inspired me to write this post…

Life can be tough, but it can also be amazing.

Stay well, stay safe, and please, keep smiling… <3

Best wishes,

Dannika

Uncategorized

Again!

Hi Friends ๐Ÿ™‚

Sooo sorry for taking ages to write another blog post!

I hope you and your loved ones are still staying safe and well ๐Ÿ™‚

Having been inundated with (awesome) ghostwriting work, I’ve neglected my blog – for which I apologise. Please remember that if you’d like to get in touch, my email address is d.e.kendall@outlook.com

As I’ve been doing with previous posts, I shall update you on what I’ve been up to – aside ghostwriting work obviously, for I’ve signed Confidentiality Agreements for all ghostwriting projects ๐Ÿ˜‰

I recieved my last assignment score for my second uni module – I am super pleased with my results! I’ve worked exceedingly hard to achieve those scores, so I hope I pass with a good grade when I find out my overall module result in July…

Second Module for BA(Hons)
English Literature and Creative Writing

My certificates finally arrived for the two courses I’ve completed during lockdown! I keep on top of CPD by taking courses to continually improve my knowledge and enhance my skills, to enable me to provide a better service for my clients. Also, I love to learn – so I jump at any opportunity to do so! Since uni isn’t starting again until October (when I shall be embarking on two modules instead of one), I’m either searching for a new course or completing one ๐Ÿ™‚

Ohh, and I attempted to cut my fringe again – unsuccessfully… o.O

2 weeks have passed and I have *almost* mustered the courage to leave the house without my fringe flicked away from my forehead!

Realised I needed to find a way to carry stuff around, whilst walking Cai and looking after my horses, that didn’t warrant wearing a gilet with pockets in hot weather. On the recommendation of friends who also have dogs and horses, I purchased a ‘bumbag’ – Cai was not impressed! Haha.

I haven’t managed to ride my horses as much as I’d like unfortunately. Though they were amazing every time I have ridden them lately ๐Ÿ™‚

Due to a drastic change of circumstances through changing my job – so I work entirely from home – and the challenges of lockdown, I’ve been feeling rubbish about my weight recently. Turns out I’m 58kg, the heaviest I’ve ever been, and whilst my loved ones kindly say I don’t look overweight, I really don’t feel as fit and healthy as I should. I eat a fairly balanced diet and exercise daily, but because I get so wrapped up in work I can’t help myself and struggle to stop working, so felt I needed some advice. I took to Facebook and my wonderful support network shined once again! In no time I was overwhelmed with tips, diet advice and at-home exercise plans to follow – I am going to complete a small ghostwriting project I’m working on, which should be finished in a couple of days, then I’m getting myself into gear. I am determined to feel fitter, healthier and more toned ๐Ÿ™‚

What have you been up to? I hope you’re coping as well as possible right now – we’re nearly there, hopefully not long before we can see our loved ones again ๐Ÿ™‚

Take care <3

Best wishes,

Dannika

Uncategorized

An Update

Hi Everyone ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m sorry it’s been a while, I have been *exceedingly* busy – I hope you’re staying safe and well!

That’s why I decided to write about some of what I’ve been doing the last few weeks. I will admit, however, that I cannot share anything about the ghostwriting projects I’ve been working on, aside the colouring books I produced on behalf of my Mum ๐Ÿ™‚

The royalties from these colouring books are being donated to the NHS until 1st June (and beyond if sales remain steady), as even though my Dad works for the NHS, my family wanted to do something more to help toward the pandemic situation. In case you might be interested, Mum’s colouring books are available here.

I’ve spent quality time with my gorgeous dog and beautiful horses. They help me deal with anxieties, stresses and pressures of the current situation, as they’ve helped me deal with so many difficult times throughout my life. Not only are they a comforting presence, their lives are my responsibility – so even if I feel like cwtching up in bed with a blanket and Disney films all day, feeling sorry for myself because I’m missing loved ones, I can’t. Because they need my care and attention no-matter what ๐Ÿ™‚

I did have a near-miss when riding yesterday though; I failed to thoroughly check my horse’s bridle, and thankfully I’ve trained her well enough for an insecure bridle not to pose a problem, because I didn’t have cause to notice until I removed her bridle!

Moral of the story = ALWAYS check your tack before riding… o.O

As my family have done for the last decade, we continue to help look after the sheep at the farm we keep our horses at. The girls have only produced one lamb between them this year – though he’s been castrated and the lady who owns the farm decided we’re going to keep him, which is lush! She named the lamb Osian – and he’s *nearly* brave enough to approach us ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve also taken some time to enjoy photography again, an interest of mine I have been tempted to take up professionally though never have. I love the beauty of nature and wildlife, as well as getting used to all the features on my mobile phone camera that I’ve not yet spent the time doing – I suggest having a go at photography if you’re in need of a new hobby during lockdown, it’s fun; I also made friends with geese living at the farm ๐Ÿ™‚

I had a go at applying make-up once too; I am definitely not skilled at that! Haha. And whilst I respect anyone able to apply make-up to perfection, it made me realise the finances and time such people must have to invest to be able to do so. I sincerely hope that people applying make-up do so because they enjoy enhancing their features, as opposed to hiding their real self. If confidence is dependent on one’s exterior, that isn’t healthy. So I hope that one day I’ll be able to help people feel more comfortable and confident to be themselves; using make-up as an enhancement to their already perfect features (if at all), instead of a mask behind which to hide with their insecurities.

I have exterior insecurities of my own – my nose, for one. My nose was broken by my family’s horse when I was 10 years old; I remember the pain as though it were yesterday! (#owch) Though in dealing with the feelings of having what I always used to perceive as being a ‘larger-than-average’ nose, I learned that actually, there’s nothing much wrong with my nose. Every person is different, as such, their bodies tell the story of their life. I realise now that I shouldn’t be anymore ashamed of my nose than I should be of the surgical scars I have on my right hand, because they’re part of *my story* – and if I’m honest, when I look back at my story and everything I continue to strive to achieve, I am proud of who I am becoming and how I’m getting there. That’s not to say I don’t have my wobbly moments when I completely lack any sense of self-confidence, I’m human so of course I am naturally self-critical, though I’ve mustered the strength to stare adversity straight in the face as I kick it in the nuts, before making the decision to walk on by – if I can do that, there’s nothing stopping you either ๐Ÿ™‚

Something I did that I still don’t do often enough is practice self-care. Obviously I shower every day, brush my teeth, look after my hair, try to eat healthily, exercise, etc. – though self-care is so much more than that. In my case, self-care meant that on a day I felt burdened by pressures I put upon myself, I decided to take a step back to have a relaxing read in the bath, then dress in colourful clothes and remind myself that it is absolutely alright to allow myself time to deal with anxiety, stress, worries, and feelings of alone-ness (not loneliness, however; since I am fortunate to be surrounded by family and able to see friends from a distance at the farm) that accompany being away from my boyfriend for such a long time. I was working in excess of 12 hours a day, and I’m sure it doesn’t take a genius to work out that staring at a screen for that long is bound to have a detrimental impact – for me, that happened to be headaches and dizziness; symptoms I am lucky to have only ever experienced rarely. In attempt to work instead of addressing my anxieties, I accidentally forgot that unless I took care of myself, I wouldn’t be able to give my all to anything – ghostwriting projects, writing my novels, caring for my animals, helping my loved ones through this lockdown, etc.

Lesson learned here was that we are allowed to take time to recharge. One should never feel guilty for having to indulge in proper self-care ๐Ÿ™‚

Finally, I try to keep my social media content positive as possible during these turbulent times. Though I tend to neglect social media posting in favour of completing work most of the time, I have created a few posts as my own little contribution toward the sense of community seeing us through this awful pandemic and lockdown. So, in case you needed some thanks for all that you’re doing to save lives, here’s my message to you…

Thanks for reading my latest blog post!

Please stay safe and know that we’re all in this, together <3

Best wishes,

Dannika