Hey! Welcome to August!

For those of you that weren’t paying attention, in July I set myself a challenge. I’ve always believed that “glamour” is something for every day, not just for special occasions. It’s not about fur coats and champagne, the very definition of glamour is simply a quality that makes people or things seem appealing.

But sometimes life gets you down a bit, and it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. You do the same things every day and you feel a bit ground down.

So in July I set myself a challenge, or more accurately 31 little challenges. One for each day.

I wanted to make myself do something different. Focus on making myself and other people feel good, and challenge the bad and boring habits I’d got into.

Blue and White Striped Dress

I documented my attempts on Instagram using the Hashtag #GlamorousJuly. I was really excited to have Other people join in with the challenges each day as well. I hope taking part made them feel just a bit more Glamorous in July! Knowing other people were playing along really gave the challenge another dimension to me.

I also got a lovely message on Facebook from someone who was playing along but not necessarily using Instagram to document it (we don’t all have to live our lives on social meeja y’know)

“Hi just wanted to say how much your glamorous July post has inspired me…im wearing clothes I haven’t worn for ages….I looked up on my walk this morning and saw a barn owl….im getting pink in my hair and then trying steel grey….so thank you….I feel fab xxx”

That message made me smile for hours. If there’s one thing I ever wanted my blog to do, apart from bore people with pictures of what I did at the weekend, it was to make their days a bit happier. Whether that was just by knowing that someone else understood how they felt, or making them laugh, or even finding them a new frock that they could buy and would make them feel good.

Cheesy, but true.

What I learnt from Glamorous July

What did I learn from #GlamorousJuly

July was particularly tough month for me. It wasn’t necessarily bad, just there were things happened that took up a lot of my emotional energy. As I’d committed to #GlamorousJuly, and writing about it on the blog, I couldn’t just give up. So one of the first things I learned that was it’s even more important to make time to do good things when you don’t really want to.

On days when I was feeling a little blue and would normally have walked around with my grumpy face on avoiding human contact, it definitely made me feel better to have to do nice things for other people or just to break out of my normal routine. The day I walked a different way home from the gym, for instance, made me feel a whole lot brighter. I thought about it for days afterwards.

Summer Casual

I also learnt how those tiny connections with other people are really important. On the terrible day I found out there had been an arson attack on a shop run by a local Eastern European family I donated to a crowdfunding campaign and shared the link as part of #GlamorousJuly. Funds are a little tight now, so there’s every possibility that if it hadn’t been a Glamorous July challenge I might not have donated. I’d have been very upset still and probably shared the link, but not donated. I think donating even a small amount really gave me a sense of connection and helped me feel like I was being useful. Even just seeing other people using the #GlamorousJuly hashtag gave me a little warm feeling of connecting with other human beings.

On the other hand, I also learnt that people care about what you’re doing much less than you think they do! On the day I set myself a target to smile at 5 different people, I walked around the street with a grin plastered to my face. I tried to catch the eye of pretty much everyone I passed, and only 1 person smiled back.

Equally, on the day I headed out with no make-up on I felt really self-conscious. I’m not sure what I thought would happen, but no one cared about my lack of eyebrows except me.

It mind sound a bit sad to realise that no one cares, but if you’re a self-conscious person it’s quite liberating. Wear what you want. Go and do all those things that you didn’t do because you thought you might make a fool of yourself, because it turns out no one is watching anyway!

Sitting by the river

Lastly, I learnt that your attitude and the perspective you choose to look at things from can impact how you feel and make a huge difference to your life. Being in a motorway service station buying coffee at 8:30am is not one of the most glamorous things I’ve ever done. That day was “look up” day. Suddenly noticing the soaring glass ceiling and how beautiful the sky looked through it made it a whole different experience.

I know full well that there’s a huge difference between full-blown depression and anxiety, and those days that you just feel a bit down in the dumps. But when you’re emotionally and physically capable you can really turn a day around by actively looking for the good in it, creating positive situations for yourself, or switching your focus and thinking about doing something for other people.

What am I taking away from #GlamorousJuly

In future I’ll be a bit more wary of slipping into introspection and routine. Mixing things up occasionally, whether that’s with a full month of random challenges or just being a bit more mindful on a day-to-day basis about what you can do to make your day a bit more special is a good thing.

I’ll remember not to keep things for “best” and that doing nice things for others is as important as looking after yourself.

Finally I’ll focus on looking for the good things around me. My natural surly cynicism will save me from becoming too much of a little ray of sunshine I’m sure. Learning to turn a situation round in my head and look for the good things is something that I’ll be taking with me into Glamorous August. I’m sure it’ll be a much-needed skill!

I shall leave you with my contribution on the last day of #GlamorousJuly, I can’t deprive the world of my dancing. It’s a video, click play…….

Last day of #GlamorousJuly Is to dance! As you can see. I dance amazingly.

A video posted by Gemma (@retrochick_uk) on