It’s okay to be a total flake: reassurance from a total flake

Mental Health

Recently, it feels like there’s always someone who needs a bit of my time. There are emails to be answered, appointments to be made, catch-ups and study-sessions and coffee dates to be scheduled… I’m starting to understand why my lecturer’s always seem to have their ‘Out of Office’ automated emails switched on.

It isn’t a bad thing when this happens. I feel very loved and grateful that there are so many people that want thirty minutes of my time, but there aren’t really enough hours in the day for me to do everything I want to do as well as everything I need to. So, if you’re one of the people who feels like I’ve been ghosting you or being one of those friends that forever says, “We need to catch up, it’s been too long!” but is never actually available: I’m sorry. I’ll get round to you, I promise. In the meantime, I need a little time.

Anyone that regularly reads this blog will know that I’m currently trying to juggle a Master’s degree, a part-time job in my local bookstore, and getting manuscript edits sent to my agent so that we can try to sort the novel for publication soon. There are always things on top of this happening as well: meetings with lecturers and authors and doctors that I really can’t postpone. So, yeah, I’ve been terrible at replying to messages, and equally bad about re-arranging our catch-ups to later in the month when I’m convinced I’ll have a little more free time. It even took my mother a few days to get a call back from me. It’s not just you.

But the point of this post wasn’t for me to rant and bitch about how much work I have to do and how annoying it is that I have so many friends – trust me. The point of this post is to call out all of the flakes and ghosters and say hey, it’s cool. We need time for ourselves, time to recuperate, time to think and reflect and pretty much just get our acts together.

It’s really easy for me to catch myself in a web of guilt when it comes to my friends, family, and other commitments – and I’m sure I can’t be alone. Sometimes I’ll spend an evening writing, Netflix on in the background, wondering how I’ve managed to turn down so many plans with people when this is all I’ve ended up doing. I feel like I’m prioritising the wrong things, neglecting friends to stay at home, trading in human contact for the company of my laptop screen… But I have to remind myself: some people work nine to five in their careers, and this is mine. I don’t have your average working hours, but as a writer I have to find time to commit to my writing. It’s so important.

I have to remind myself that when friends message at six or seven in the evening and want to go out for drinks or just come round for a coffee, that’s kind of the middle of my workday. And alongside my career of writing, I’m also having to support myself by working part-time and also do, that, uh, university thing we’ve talked about. I can’t let myself continue to feel guilty because I’m working doing the thing I love most.

“But, Beth,” I hear you cry. “You need time to socialise – to have a life!”

I do, I promise you. I tend to schedule my phone calls and quick catch-ups in my lunch breaks at work or on the occasional evening, but if I haven’t found time for you, please don’t be offended! Please understand my lack of time and total disorganisation! I know I always end up neglecting my friends that live far away, but that’s only because I’d have to commit more than an hour to come see you (and, in some cases, a fair bit of cash that I don’t have either). I’m so grateful for the friends that understand I’m useless at keeping in touch; the friends that are fully aware of my busy life and accept the fact that I care about them, I’m just a big ol’ Cadbury’s flake most of the time.

And I’m grateful to my mum, for coming to terms with the fact that I’m probably alive and well regardless of whether I answer her phone calls or not. Probably.

So here’s a message to all of my fellow flakes: you’re not alone. We all do it, even those of us who seem like they’ve nothing better to do with their time than spend it with you. Every so often, everyone needs time to just go MIA. Ignore your phones, turn on your ‘Out of Office’ emails, and try not to feel too guilty about it. Your time is valuable and it’s always, always, up to you how you spend it.

Stay flaky,


(Figuring out) how to be organised


My current job is working on organising a local Literature Festival – which, don’t get me wrong, I love – but the festival starts on Friday… So, I won’t be having a day off for another two (and a bit) weeks. When I get home from work, the last thing I want to do is spend time thinking about all the other things I have to do. The novel I have to write for my MA, friends I don’t want to neglect, washing that really can’t keep gathering dust in the corner of my bedroom…

With this in mind, I want to be organised and prepared for the week(s) ahead of me. There are things I’ve done today to try and get myself in order, and there are things that I want to keep doing to save myself time, money, and energy.

  1. Take a flask of coffee and a packed lunch to work every day. Today, I managed to scavenge an SU travel-mug from a Uni freshers fair (I still look 18, right?), so hopefully I’ll save some money on my morning coffees by taking them myself. I also need to invest in a lunchbox, so I can take some nice lunches with me and don’t have to feast on pathetic squished sandwiches at midday.
  2. Get to bed by 11pm each night. This one is going to be tricky, as I am the definition of a night owl… and I have far too much fun with my housemates. We’re going to have to schedule our deep late-night therapy sessions a little earlier in the evening so I can make sure I’m ready and refreshed for the next day.
  3. Find 30 minutes each day to read. Whether this ends up being half an hour before bed, during my lunch break at work, or on the morning commute, I want to make sure I’m taking the time out of my day to read. After all, I’m a writer – and I’m working at a Literature Festival. If there’s one thing I should be able to find time for, it’s reading.
  4. Write to-do lists for the next day before leaving work. In my job, there are always a lot of last-minute ‘Can you check this for me?”s at the end of the day, and it’s such a source of anxiety for me that I might forget something or do something wrong. I have a notebook that I leave on my desk at work, and I want to write myself a little list each evening, so I know exactly where I’m supposed to be the next morning.
  5. Use evenings wisely. This week, before the festival actually starts, I finish work at 5 every day. I want to make sure I see my friends, as they are all so wonderful, so I need to find the odd half an hour to schedule a coffee & catch up, or even a quick phone call. Finishing at five means I have plenty of time to have a shower, have food, tidy my room, do some reading, bash out a quick blog post… Usually, I find it so easy to sit and watch Netflix until midnight and then feel like I’ve wasted my evening, which I really want to avoid.
  6. Only spend money on necessary things. Costa, Beth? Not essential. No Starbucks, either. And steer clear from Waterstones. I need a coat, because it’s getting cold and I don’t have one, and I need a bag that’s big enough to carry all of my Uni stuff. Don’t waste money on stuff that isn’t 100% necessary for your survival. (You are skint.)

Anyway, I’m sure I could think of more ways for me to be organised, but it’s already almost midnight so I’ve broken one of my rules already. Sigh. Well, there’s always tomorrow! Bring on Monday.♡



Self-care Sundays


If there’s one day a week that most of us (minus the unlucky few) have off work, it’s a Sunday. The day of rest – and the day of taking care of yourself before you have to start your busy life all over again tomorrow. I’ve compiled a little list of things I do on Sundays that help me prepare myself for the week.

  • Tidy the house. 

Sundays are my day for tidying: I clean my bedroom, do my washing, and make sure everything is organised and ready to go for the rest of the week. I work 9-5 during the week, and the last thing I want to do at the end of the day is come home to a messy bedroom. A quick tidy will make you feel productive (even if you stay in your PJ’s the whole time and dance around to Abba whilst hoovering) and get the chores out of the way so you don’t have to worry come Monday.

  • Make to-do lists.

Speaking of organisation – writing little lists really helps me to make sure I’ve remembered everything I need for the week. Even if it’s just remember to take your umbrella to work, I feel more prepared if I write things down.

  • Leave the house.

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of just lounging around watching Netflix all day. Lounging around watching Netflix is 100% acceptable for the most part of the day, but I always feel a bit groggy and out-of-touch if I spend my entire day indoors (unless the weather is terrible – this is the universe giving you permission to stay in bed). Pop to the corner shop to stock up on stuff for the week, go to Church in the morning if that’s your thing, take a nice 10-minute walk around the block, arrange to go to a friend’s house for coffee… anything!

  • Relax.

This should be obligatory for every Sunday. My favourite self-care routine is lighting candles, taking a bubble bath, and sticking a face mask on while I zone out to re-runs of Friends or The Office.

  • Have ‘me time’.

I love spending time with the girls I live with, but I feel like it’s important on Sundays to spend a few hours to myself, reading or writing or painting – doing a solitary activity to clear my mind and chill me out before I have to handle the week again.

Sundays are You days, so spend them in whatever way best prepares you to start the week.♡