Dress: Eudon Choi / Bag: Theory / Shoes: Chanel
I've sat on these photos for months, nearly five to be exact, not really knowing what to do with them. They were taken during a press trip to Salcombe, with Liz Earle alongside a group of awesome woman and have collected dust ever since. This happens to me a lot though, I document outfits or moments and never publish them. I don't know if it's the pressure of executing a perfectly eloquent blog post with a purpose, my terrible tendency to procrastinate or my inability to put aside dedicated time to enough sit down and share these moments, either way, I want to start sharing and creating more on this platform no matter how big or small the moment is.
Looking back on these photos reminds me of a special time spent on a grey and windy beach, giggling away with some women who I feel incredibly lucky to call my friends (not just acquaintances). I have a lot to thank Instagram and blogging for because finding friends in your mid 20's is no mean feat and I'm not afraid to admit before all of this started I felt very lonely, and I was struggling to make female friendships as an adult.
Don't worry; this isn't a 'woe-is-me-I-didn't-have-any-friends-growing-up' type post because the truth is I did; this is more of a 'who-else-finds-making-friends-as-an-adult-tough' ramble.
When you're younger you can't move for friends, the world revolves around playground hangs, begging your parents to let you sleepover mates, and weekends down 'the field'. I had a relatively regular female friendship group from high school right up until university, yes they chopped and changed, but albeit I always had women I could depend on, but come graduation things changed. The people I'd spent the last three years were moving away, moving on, slowly drifting away one by one while I was staying put in Norwich, chuck in a year travelling around Australia into the mix and you can bet I returned home to a much different landscape, one of crippling loneliness. All of a sudden I was in my mid 20's, working a job I didn't very much like, experiencing a severe case of the travelling blues and living in a city without a single female pal to reach out to. Yes, I had Dean by my side, but I didn't realise how important female connections were until they'd gone. People around me were growing up, getting married, having children and in general being 'adults' while all I craved was to have a group of girls again. I didn't enjoy clubbing; I didn't enjoy drinking and had terrible social anxiety. (Makes for an appealing BumbleBFF bio, right?). So what was I to do? Trying to make friends as an adult is TOUGH, because strong friendship is quite often formed through a shared experience which are way more common in our younger years and it's certainly not as simple as walking up to someone in the playground and blurting out 'Do you want to be my friend?!' (or maybe it is that simple and we're all too shy) instead you're forced to put yourself out there in what can feel like unnatural situations almost infiltrate existing friendship groups and starting the process from scratch, which when you're shy, lack confidence or feel like you don't fit in a certain box can feel really daunting.
Enter Instagram. My deep dive into the world of sharing photos of 'stuff I liked' started in 2013 long before we knew what it would become today. I loved posting just about everything and anything, but what appealed to me most was the escapism and how the space enabled me to make a connection with like-minded women (and still continues to). Yes, it felt totally weird talking to people through social media, especially a photo sharing app, but fast forward four years, and I can gratefully say I'm now surrounded by a phenomenal group of women who I meet up with regularly and class as pretty close pals, all thanks to the world wide web and that little app we all love to hate. These connections have completely changed my mindset for the better. Guiding me through wobbles of self-confidence, work rants and fears of going freelance; they've been there, and (I hope) vice versa
The internet can be a tough place, and as Instagram increasingly continues to get a bad rap, it's easy to lose sight of the good that can come from it. Deciding to walk away from traditional employment and stay in Norfolk to invest in a property with my boyfriend led me to feel quite isolated in the beginning, I genuinely started to think maybe I was destined for a solitary life and that was that, but finding a good group of girls who I can message and talk to about everything and anything has been exceptionally good for the soul. It's stopped me from getting lost in my own company, which eventually leads to wallowing and a lot of self-doubts. Instead, it's helped restore self-confidence and motivate me to continue navigating this ever-changing online landscape.
Female friendships and making them as an adult is an incredibly meaty topic, which I could continue to ramble on about, but for now, I'll leave it here as a small ode to social media and a reminder that loneliness isn't inevitable. Making new friends takes bravery, I was terrified when meeting some of these girls for the first time, but you never know who might also be feeling lonely and in need of a new friend.
My biggest take away from my time in Salcombe and the below images; always surround yourself with women who lift you up.
(Shout out to Lindsey for always documenting these moments and letting me pinch her photos.)