Hello! Is It Me You’re Looking For?

I must apologise for my absence, although it has been rather heart-warming to see the number of emails I’ve received from people saying they’d like to see more blog posts from me. In fact, these messages are part of the reason I’ve finally got off my backside to get writing on Butterflyist again. So here I am. Hello! And did you miss me? (Please say yes, please say yes!).

It’s mainly the case that I have been sidelined elsewhere for a while. Since ‘coming out’ as vegan last year on this site (you may remember my post ‘Vegangelical‘), I’ve revamped my old diet-ditching blog Chocolate and Beyond and turned it into vegan food blog. This has really been taking up all my extra time.

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Surviving Death: Seeing The Gifts Of Opportunity A Loved One Has Left

When my son’s dad died, my world crumbled. Actually that’s untrue – my world collapsed in apocalyptic proportions and I felt like I’d be taken into the vortex of a black hole, lucky if I got spat out in shreds.

At this time, there wasn’t the slightest, most fleeting thought that I would ever see how this horrible tragedy in our lives could be viewed as an opportunity. It was living, stomach-wrenching, chaotic hell, and I wasn’t sure how I would see the light again.

I did though. And part of that story I have already documented here on my blog, when I told you about how I went from a nervous wreck into being commissioned for the Guardian.

Why am I writing this post now, though? Maybe because this year I know at least a couple of people who have lost partners or close relatives, where their circumstances have particularly reminded me about where I was, ten years ago.

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Revisiting Rome Solo – Capturing The Eternal City In Images

Getting squiffy on champagne while reading the hilarious rants of Caitlin Moran AND wrapped in a fluffy hotel robe? Not to mention that I was sitting on the sunny, private terrace of my room in the understated luxury of Hotel dei Borgognoni, close to Rome’s Trevi Fountain. What more could a girl ask for on her birthday?

Not a lot more. Except maybe to round it off with a world class performance of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony conducted by the famous Yuri Temirkanov? Oh, but I would be doing that later! Perfect.

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Why I Love to Roam Alone: Reasons for Relishing Solo Travel

I’m about to go on a solo jaunt to Rome, a city I have visited several times, flying there tomorrow. I was supposed to be going to a travel bloggers’ conference in Umbria, but due to some recent personal upheavals, I no longer feel up to being with hundreds of people.

So rather than waste my flights, I decided to take ‘time out’ on my own in a city that I know and love. I’ll even spending my first ever solo birthday abroad. My boyfriend thinks it’s unusual to have had a trip planned which would have included lots of socialising, but then make a decision to go wandering in solitude instead. Not at all.

I find it harder to be in big groups when I have a lot of stuff going on in my head, and therefore prefer my own company at such times – or at least, just the very occasional company of strangers. And while other people may dread the thought of having a week alone in a capital city, I’m relishing the idea. I always gain a real sense of self-achievement when I travel alone.

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Butterflyist Of The Month: Elite Marathon Runner & Athletic Wonder Fiona Oakes

As part of a new series on Butterflyist, each month I’m going to be featuring a wonderfully inspiring person who I think is everything a ‘Butterflyist’ should be.

To launch this series for March, I’ve interviewed elite marathon runner and holder of four marathon course records, Fiona Oakes. An incredible woman, Fiona hasn’t had a holiday in over 16 years due to her devotion to Tower Hill Stables, the animal sanctuary she runs. And Fiona is currently training for the Marathon des Sables, which as she describes as the “toughest foot race on the planet.” While doing so, she wants to achieve two things – one is fundraising for the charity Facing Africa who support people afflicted by NOMA (a terrible infectious facial gangrene), and the other is to be the first vegan woman to complete this super-hard endurance race.

Having been vegan since the age of four, Fiona has already proven that athletic excellence can be achieved on a vegan diet, and has no doubt that she’ll be complete the 6-day Marathon des Sables in early April through the hot Sahara Desert in Morocco.

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My Vegangelical Metamorphosis: From Animal Consumer to Soya Warrior and Proud

I have to say, it’s not entirely accurate that I’m a ‘soya warrior’. I don’t have soya that much, but it’s my other half’s new name for me. That’s because in the words of a wonderful Manchester poet called Dominic Berry, “I’m coming out as vegan.”

But why am I writing about this on Butterflyist? Because I can’t really think of any other lifestyle and philosophical change that has caused me to move so far out of my comfort zone, and into a whole new way of thinking and behaving.

The very idea of being vegan even a few months back seemed almost impossible, and stupidly, I also was worried how others would react if I did go vegan! Even though it seems people’s reactions are actually the most difficult thing for me to deal with, now I have actually ‘crossed the bridge’ to the vegan side, I realise being vegan only appeared to be harder than it is.

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Here’s my eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Landing the Big Commission

If you’ve been following my tweets @thebutterflyist – you’ll know that I’ve been spending a lot of time writing my eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Landing the Big Commission. In fact, it’s the reason I’ve not managed to blog since my ‘big break‘ post a couple of weeks ago (aside from launching my very successful blog competition, of course! Though it is now closed).

This book is a guide to help newbie writers and those who haven’t yet ‘made it’ in freelancing to get on their feet. It’s full of tips and advice on how to secure that all-important first ‘big’ commission. You know, the one that will actually change it all for you in writing, and help you move up the ladder.

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