First and foremost, a big thank you to my gal Vix for sharing this idea with me after I had a bit of a rant about how bored I was of being uninspired. She’s a real star and so good to me. It’s very unlikely that you follow me and not her, as all of my traffic seems to stem from her insta shoutouts, but if you’re not then definitely go over there and take a peek.
No shade to Durham, but its kinda boring. I don’t have a car, rarely have the time to get away from the city, and have been to every single nook and cranny a million times. I often think the key to living somewhere like Durham is the ability to leave every so often. The North East is so gorgeous and I never get to see anywhere other than the Theology department in Durham. It’s a real waste, to be honest.
The issue with being trapped in a tiny city, as beautiful as it may be, is that inspiration quickly dries up. You use the same three walls as outfit backgrounds, and take the same insta shots of doorways a million times and hope that nobody notices. I always feel awful when I go to visit Ollie at home in London because it’s a whirlwind of taking instagram/blog photos that I can use as fillers if I need to.
The other issue is that I rarely have time to do any real exploring. Sure, I’ve been all over Durham in the last five years, but I’m here because I’m here for uni. I’m here because my department in the third best in the world, and I’m here because I love the college system more than I’ve ever loved anything in my life. Sorry, family, etc.
In such a small city, run basically by the university, it can be hard to break out of a boring routine and get a bit creative. There are only so many pretty routes to my department, and only so many flatlays of my breakfast that I can share with you. Life passes us by outside the bubble as we go to the library and mess about in college. Its incredibly easy to feel a little bit stale.
When I’m in a rut, and feeling a bit down on the whole ‘stuck in Durham’ thing, there are a few tricks up my sleeve that help. Not many, and one of them is definitely just to leave for a bit, but enough to keep me ticking over.
Go for a little walk around
These blossom shots are as the result of a little walk around Durham with Ollie, for absolutely no reason. There are beautiful courtyards and greens all over Durham, all covered in beautiful flowers and surrounded by gorgeous houses, but sometimes you forget that they’re there because they don’t make up your daily commute to lectures. This particular alcove is behind the cathedral and is equipped with the most fabulous blossom tree in existence. It was almost like waiting outside PeggyP in London for a photo – a legit queue had formed for snaps with the pretty pink clouds.
My no1 advice when feeling stale is just to go outside, obligation free, and walk around a bit. You’ll find something you just wouldn’t have noticed before.
Just leave, tbh
I mean, if that fails, just run. Go somewhere else for a day or two. Even if I spend an afternoon just in Newcastle, I always come back feeling a little more inspired. They say change is as good as a rest, and they’d be correct. You don’t have to go on a full-on minibreak, just go to the town over and do nothing for a bit. The thing to remember with feeling stuck in a town is that you can actually leave any time, you just have to figure out how. Newcastle is like ten minutes on the train, why do we never ever go there? Why have I been like six times in five years?!
Don’t worry about it – work on something else and it’ll come
I find my best ideas come as procrastination. A prime example is that I’m writing this in a bar on my way back from a dissertation meeting where I promised I’d go home and get straight to work. Here I am, however, 11am on a Thursday, with a pint of DC and the Arctic Monkeys keeping me company (not literally – I bloody wish). Focus on something else for a little bit, and you’ll be amazed at how many ideas spring up while you procrastinate.
All in all, the trick is to not let it get to you. It’s all about attitude. I love Durham very dearly and have never ever felt like I don’t belong here, or like I’d prefer a bigger city uni experience. Sure, I’m counting down the days ’til I can move back to London and work, but that’s only because all my friends are down there and so are the opportunities (sadly).
When you’re not based in London or wherever, and there isn’t a PeggyP or Somerset House or whatever around every corner, it can be really easy to assume that you’re not going to be as popular as the people that have easy access. Comparison is rife when all the blogging gals are taking flower wall shots at Elan and you’re trying to take the same photos of pancakes again and again, but from different angles.
What you have to remember, however, is that a lack of diversity is boring. We need to be celebrating bloggers that aren’t based on the King’s Road, bloggers that are POC or plus size or LGBTQ+. Diversity, in all its forms, is so so important.
Speaking as a massive hypocrite with blossom photos in this very post, when we’re all wearing the same thing, looking the same, and standing in front of the same stuff, it’s really fucking boring. Take inspiration from your difference and own it, even if it’s something as small as where you’re based. x
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