My Festive Week

1// Lush Magic Wand. I've been loving bubble baths recently. So buying this Magic Wand seemed to best thing to do, for a more festive addition to my bath. It makes the whole bath pink, creates bubbles and gives off this gorgeous bubble gum scent. If you like Snow Fairy, you'd love this.



REVIEW: Thread & Beauty's New Lash and Brow Collection

I was kindly offered the opportunity to review Thread & Beauty's New Lash & Brow collection*.  I'm never normally a lashes kinda gal, as I naturally have quite thick, long and dark lashes (I'm lucky I know). But I thought I'd give them a try, as I'm always looking for ways to update my beauty and make-up stash.

The Charleston Lashes are probably the best lashes I've tried. No joke. I'm slightly thinking that they're even a teeny weeny bit better than Eylure's. And in no way was that sentence sponsored, it's my genuine opinion!  I didn't have to trim them down at all, and they genuinely look natural. I love how they just add a tiny bit of volume to my lashes, without looking OTT. Just pop them on with the glue provided, and add a touch of mascara and you're ready to go. I'm wearing them now as I type this, and I can't even feel that they're on my eyes. I'm so impressed. I'll definitely be purchasing these with my own money!

The Sex Kitten Lashes are the type of lashes you'd wear for a night out. Personally, I didn't get on with these as they're a bit too thick for my liking, as I already have quite thick lashes. They made me look a bit like Baby Bop from Barney the Dinosaur. But I'm sure they'd look amazing on others, they're just not suitable for me!

The next item I was gifted is this amazing eyebrow pencil. I don't normally use pencils, as I much prefer eyebrow waxes and powders. But I'm slightly obsessing over this pencil. It really does transform my brows without looking too dark, and I LOVE the eyebrow brush at the end of it. You really can tell it's grooming them.

What do you think about Thread & Beauty's collection?

*This post contains PR samples/gifts. Read my disclaimer for more information.


December goals

1// Finish all of my essays.  I really want to aim to finish all of my essays, and to start my dissertation before the 20th December. So I can fully enjoy Christmas and my 21st Birthday.

2// Drive more. At least twice a week. I'm starting to have the urge to want to drive again, so I want to build up my confidence in the car, so I can have a few wintery trips.

3// Build a gingerbread house. I've bought one from Ikea, but I'm still yet to build it. I want to decorate with all the sweets to make it extra yummy.

4// Decorate my Christmas Tree. I bought a wee Christmas Tree in Ikea, yet it's looking pretty bare. I want to decorate it with little copper fairy lights, and put some red baulbals on it.

5// Have a clothes & make-up clear out. I've realised I've got so much crap in my room that I don't wear or use. My make-up collection is ridiculous. I want to give some of my clothes to charity, and finally use up or give away make-up that I don't want or use.

6// Watch one Christmas film a week. Just because. I'm talking Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, Love Actually, The Holiday. I'm even getting excited just thinking about it.

7// Download Michael Buble's Christmas album. Again, just because. Blasting this every day will make me super happy, I really do love the build-up to Christmas.

8// Bake some festive treats. I've seen so many cool ideas on pinterest, yet I've been to lazy to bake them. I'm determined to bake at least one batch of something though! I'll make sure I post them on here.

What are your December goals?



An insight into how anxiety affects my life

This post has been sitting in my drafts for a few months now, but as my anxiety is at it's worse today, I thought it would be fitting to post it. Ironically, the thought of posting this is making me anxious, but here goes. Some days I can’t get out of bed. Not because I’m physically unwell, but because I’m mentally unwell. I’m too anxious to leave. The thought of having to go outside, makes my heart beat out of my chest. In fact, even talking about it is making my heart beat out of my chest. Everything seems to make me anxious in the outside world. From the littlest thing such as a door slamming, to busy overcrowded cities. I have panic attacks in public, crowded areas, so city centres are a ‘no go’ most of the time. I also have a car, but I rarely drive it. I’m too anxious to get in the car, as I fear I will crash, stall or break down.

I can't have a normal sleep pattern, as I'm up all night worrying about the next thing, or things I may have said previously. I cancel on job interviews, as the anxiety gets too much, and leaves me physically unable to take part. I’ve recently had to drop out of a work placement, because I was too anxious to do a 9–5 job. Not only was I anxious, but it also caused me to have physical symptoms. Symptoms which I still have now, as the doctors believe it could of triggered a condition called M.E. I use to cry every morning before I went, and cry of a night time when I got back. It wasn’t because I hated it, I loved it, but it made me so physically tired. It’s literally crippling.

I also can’t drink alcohol anymore, as it makes my symptoms ten times worse. The interaction between alcohol and my medication, makes me do things that I would never normally think of doing. So until I’m off my medication, the alcohol is a no go area for me. I also have to limit my caffeine intake, as that also makes my anxiety worse and causes me to think abnormally.
I regularly have to cancel on friends, as sometimes even just the idea of  socialising, or being in a crowded or loud place, heightens my anxiety. In turn, this leads to me feeling extremely depressed. I sit and cry, as I want to be normal. I want to be a normal 20 year old, who can drink and go to clubs, who can drink endless cups of coffee, who can socialise all the time, who can live off no sleep, who can hold down a 9–5. But unfortunately, I can’t. I guess the sooner I accept that, the happier I will be.


A happy list #2

1// Hot bubble baths. I've been quite poorly recently, so bubble baths are my new favourite thing. Especially when they're teamed with my favourite Yankee Candle

2// Hot chocolates.  My Mom has gotten into a routine of giving me a hot chocolate very night before bed, and I'm not complaining. Can't beat a hot chocolate to get you into the Christmas/Winter spirit.

3// Earning money. I am finally making some money from doing what I love, writing. I recently became a freelance writer, and since then I've been working non-stop. But I love it, I'm finally getting some money for doing what I'd love to do for the rest of my life.

4// Pretty Little Liars.  I'm hooked. I've just started Season 4, and I feel like this is the best Season yet. Goodbye social life (not that I've got much of one yet, anywho).

5// John Mayer.  I honestly don't know how I haven't discovered him before now?! He has such a beautiful voice, and his songs are incredible. 



My Winter Everyday Essentials

1// The Body Shop Tea Tree Clearing Toner 
This toner makes sure I haven't missed any make-up, and you can really feel it tightening your pores. The smell is just insane too (in a good way).

2// The Body Shop Tea Tree Squeaky Clean Scrub
I know they say you shouldn't scrub your face everyday, but I find this scrub is the only thing that gets all of my make up off, and it makes your skin feel super smooth! 

3// The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash
 The face wash lathers really well, and makes me feel awake and ready for the day without being too much.

Okay, I'm a bit of a Body Shop fanatic, alright? Their tea tree range is my all time favourite skin care range, it's the only stuff that helps my skin clear and keeps the spots at bay! 

 1// Aussie Miracle Moist Conditioner & Shampoo
The aussie range is just amazing. You really can't fault it. It smells amazing, and really makes your hair feel super soft without having to put a lot of product on.

2// Radox Muscle Soak
Suffering with M.E, my muscles are constantly achey. I try and make sure I have a bath everyday, and this stuff really does help and relax them!

3// Radox Feel Calm Shower Cream
 The Radox Feel Calm Shower Cream is a new find, and although I can't say it makes me feel calm, it sure does smell good. It kind of reminds me of a Dove smelling soap - which I guess is calming for me in some ways as it reminds me of my Nan!


1//  Loreal Infallible 24hour Matte Foundation
 This foundation is my holy grail. It's the only drugstore foundation I've found that is really as high coverage as it says it is. It covers my spots up so well!

2// Benefit Brow Zings Brow Kit
 I never owned a brow kit before this one - and I love its so much. It fills in your brows without giving the overly drawn in look.

3// Soap & Glory Supercat Eyeliner Pen
 This. Is. The. Best. Thing. Ever. No joke. It perfects your cat flick, without it being 'too black'. The precision on this is amazing!

4// Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer
 I don't really need to go on about this do I? Every knows it's great. And it's amazing at conealing those dark circles/

5// Maybelline Color Sensational Mattes Lipstick in 975 Divine Wine
 This is my favourite lipstick for this time of year. I've blogged about it before here - but it really is amazing, and instantly pulls a look together.

6// Bobbi Brown No Smudge Mascara
This mascara is great if you don't want OTT lashes - so just your every day mascara. I woudn't recommend it for a night time look though.

Haven't got much to say about this product. It works. It smells good?

This spot cream is not as good as my panoxyl or quinoderm, but they've stopped selling it now. I still use this every day, though I'm not convinced it's doing a lot..

This stuff smells insane. And it really does do its job. It leaves my hair & body silky smooth.

This is the perfect autumnal/winter shade! It drys so fast, and leaves a gloss finish which I love.

PS- Sorry about the poor quality of the photos. I don't know whats wrong with my camera lately!

What are your every day winter essentials?


Birmingham: My favourite city

 As you all may or not know - I am actually from Birmingham in the UK. I love this city indescribable amounts, and I know people may slag it off and say it's horrible & the crime rate is high blah blah, but I don't know anyone that's actually from Birmingham who hates it. From the diversity, to the independent food stalls & vintage shops, to the attractions such as the Birmingham Wheel and the new library, and most importantly, the history..

Travelodge/Talented Talkers recently got in touch with me, to see if I wanted to talk about Birmingham and how it's evolved in recent years. Of course I couldn't say no, the evolution of Birmingham is just incredible. You can check out their interactive map here, which is so cool & interesting (and very informative I must say!).  The best fact I like telling people about Birmingham, is that we do infact have more canals than Venice. We once had 160 miles of canals! (only 100 now,sadly), but still, Venice only has 26 miles worth; yet - it's known for its canals, and Birmingham isn't, strange eh?!

One place Birmingham is famous for though, is the New Street Station. I don't know whether its famous or infamous, but either or, it's still widely talked about. When it was first opened in 1854, it was known as the 'Grand Central of Birmingham', and had the largest glas & iron roof in the world! Now, it's the busiest train station in the UK (that's not London of course), and is home to Grand Central (which I'm still yet to visit). I've heard Grand Central is amazing - with so many different shops & restaurants to offer! I'm sure I'll do a blog post on that soon.

One of the places I have been to visit though, is the new Resorts World. I live a 5 minute drive away from it, so of course I had to visit when it opened. I have to say, it's not as amazing as it looks, but there are still some pretty good shops & restaurants there! My favourite shop of all of them, had to be in the Lindt outlet store of course. Lindt chocolate is one of my favourites, and there was so much of it, for such a cheap price! Great for this time of year. I also loved the look of the Prosecco bar and the High Line bar - I'm sure I'll grab a glass of wine in both of those over the festive season. After me and my Mom were all shopped out, we grabbed a bite to eat in Starbucks. I love their menu around the festive season, especially their almond hot chocolate.

Thank you to Travelodge for inviting me to write about my favourite city! If you do decide to visit Birmingham, be sure to visit one of their 13 hotels in the city - to make your stay even better!

Have you ever visited Birmingham? If so, what's your favourite part?

*Sponsored post, in collaboration with Travelodge


What I'm wearing this Winter




These are just a few of my favourite outfits that I'll be wearing this winter, with my trusty New Look Camel Boyfriend Coat.  Winter's my favourite season of the year, as I just think the fashions the best, and what I feel most comfortable in. You can layer up, whilst looking fashionable. Also, there's no need to worry about shaving your legs, or sweat patches..(come on girls, I know I'm not the only one!).

What type of things do you like wearing in the Winter? Is Winter your favourite season too?


My (Ridiculously Pricey) Wishlist..

1  //  2  // 3  // 4  // 5  //6  //7  // 8

I'm vary aware that these gifts are excessively expensive, but hey, a girl can wish. Plus, this is just a bit of fun, and simply just a wish list if I had a lot more money! I've wanted a Daniel Wellington watch for God knows how long, they're just all so pretty, but ever so expensive. I like this one with a black strap the best. These beauty finds such as the Charlotte Tilbury foundation and her glastonberry lipstick, are typical blogger favourites. I've never had a chance to get my hands on any, as I just can't justify it, but I've heard great reviews! I might actually get these headphones quite soon, as I've got some Dr. Beats headphones that I want to return, so the cost of them might stretch to allow me to get this gorgeous pair in Rose Gold. Looking at this whole wish list - I am such a stereotypical blogger, aren't I?

What are your favourites?


A happy list #1

 I'm going to start making this into a series. As I believe noting happy things down every so often will not only make me happy writing it, but will also give me something to look back on and make me smile. So I guess you can say it's like a personal diary, that I get to keep and look back on? Plus, everyone needs a little pick me up every now and again. Here are a few things that have made me happy.

1// Busted. I've been listening to them again, in particular their 1st album.Because guess what? I got tix to see them next year! I'M SO FRICKIN' EXCITED. I found their albums on Spotify. It's making me feel all nostalgic, to my 7-10 year old days. I find listening to them so calming as it brings back happy days. Maybe they'll release a vinyl record..

2// Wax burners & Wax Melts.   I recently got gifted a gorgeous wax burner, and wax melts to go with it. They all smell amazing, & I'm ever so grateful. Thanks, Julie!

 3// Finishing my book.  I've been reading Gone Girl since July (I know, I know), and I've finally finished it. It's definitely one of the best books I've read in a long time. I wish I'd finished it sooner, but you know, I just didn't have the time!

4// Winter lips.  I do love a good dark lip. But my favourite is one of Maybelline's Color Sensational Mattes in Divine Wine. It's such a perfect lip colour for this time of year, and makes you automatically look 'pulled together', when you're having a lazy make-up day.

5// Finishing my essay.  After about a month of writing it, I have finally finished my first 3rd year essay. I'm not completely happy with it, but there's not much else I can do. All I know is that I've worked very hard on it (10 times more effort than any essay from 1st and 2nd year combined), so if I fail, at least I've tried my best (and that's all that matters eh?).

6// Salad Fingers.  This may be a weird one. In fact no, it is a weird one. I somehow found myself re-watching the Salad fingers series again. It still cracks me up each time. I guess you could say I have a morbid sense of humour?


A strange way to calm down a disorganised mind

I feel like such an eccentric human being for writing this. But I really don’t care if you all judge me for this post. In fact, I know you’ll all thank me for it. I know after reading this, you’ll research it for a few minutes after. And after researching it for a few minutes, you’ll spend hours watching videos on it, and reading upon it, ‘cause that’s exactly what I did. And  now, I am OBSESSED. This is why I love the internet, ‘cause you can find such weird yet intriguing stuff on here, and it’s totes normal.

Right, I stumbled across this thing called ‘ASMR’, after reading an article in The Guardian. ASMR is an‘autonomous sensory meridian response’– which is an enjoyable tingling triggered by visual or auditory stimuli, from whispering to the tapping of fingernails. It is literally the weirdest thing ever. I don't know how it works, but it does. I'm literally infatuated. I've watched a bout 5 videos so far. Each one has completely de-stressed me, and made me forget all my aches and pains, as well as my daily stresses.

Although I've previously blogged about meditation, and it did work for me occasionally, it never fully had my attention. So, whilst listening to all them mindfulness tapes or podcasts, I could still hear all my worries in the back of my mind (which I guess isn't what you want when you're meditating eh?). But this, this is completley different. My whole focus is on the video, and my whole body tingles. MY WHOLE BODY. Sorry about the caps. I just can't even begin to describe. You need to check it out. It's almost like a sense of relief, or like a release. Like when you take your make-up off after a long day. Or when you put your hands under warm water after being in -3 degree weather.

You can get podcasts of them, or videos. I haven't tried the podcasts yet, but I'm pretty sure they'll have the same effect as the videos. There's one video that particularly amazed me. And I think I've watched it about 10 times. Ah fuck it - here's the link, so you really get what I'm getting at. Like, how does she make you feel like she's checking your scalp? And I swearrrrr I could feel the thermometer under my tongue. Baffled. Absolutely baffled. I feel lke this is definitely going to be my new meditation - and I'm going to show everyone I know.



My favourite winter candle

I'm already getting excited about Christmas and winter, are you? I know it's pretty early, but all the shops are selling Christmas decorations, and the festive tunes are being played. So, I thought I'd buy a festive candle. I mean, why not? It's not that early (38 days till Christmas to be exact!!).

I stumbled across this Yankee Candle, in the scent 'Snow in Love', and, as cheesy as it sounds, I really did fall in love with it. It's not a typical winter scent, as it's quite perfumed, but it's such an addictive scent. I even find myself sniffing it when it's not lit! (I swear I'm normal..). It also makes your room smell lovely, and rather quickly too.  I know I'll be burning this candle right through till Christmas, and perhaps right into spring too..

What's your favourite winter candle?


An Asda Christmas Haul

Asda Christmas

Asda Christmas

As you all know, I haven't been very well recently. So whenever I do manage to leave the house, it only ever gets as exciting as a trip to my local ASDA (not that I'm complaining!). I couldn't help but get overly excited at all the new Christmas stock, it's all just so pretty & sparkly & cosy. Christmas really is my most favourite time of year! If I had it my way, it would be Christmas/ Winter/ The build up to Christmas all day every day...

I thought I'd treat myself for the week, and get my self some Seasonal goodies; and of course, I had to share them with you all! The first thing I picked up was this gorgeous Yankee Candle in the 'Christmas treats' scent. It really does smell like heaven. Kind of has a baking mix scent to it, in my opinion anyways. I just love how it makes my room smell like baking! And for only £1, you can't go wrong.

Of course, I had to pick up a nakd bar. I practically live off nakd bars at Uni, as they're so yummy and such a good snack. They may be a bit on the pricey side (around 80p I think), but at least I'm paying good money for natural ingredients. They're better for me than my usual pack of chocolate fingers, which are in fact the exact same price! This takes exactly like a christmas pud, in fact, even yummier than a christmas pud! And I never thought I'd say that..

As you all know, colouring books are my fave. It's a perfect way to settle down before bed, or even if you're a tad bored and feel like doing something productive (kind of). So, I couldn't resist when I saw this Winter Wonderland edition. All the pictures are beautiful, and are making me ever so excited for this time of year! I also have lost my pencils, so I had to pick up this ever so glamorous and adult-like set of 'cool' colouring pencils. It's a bit expensive at £8, but it's so worth it!

You can't go into the festive season, without a new set of jammies, I say. This set is so pretty, and ever so cosy! Perfect for a night in with a hot chocolate! And a £8, I just couldn't say no.  They didn't have a matching top, but I just picked up a simple grey one for £4.50. Bargain!   Also, before I go.. HOW CUTE ARE MY NEW BED SHEETS. These are also from Asda. And I just love them. They're adorable and cosy and so festive. And only £12!

What do you think of my Christmas Haul?


A little life update..

I'm very aware that I haven't written a post in nearly a month now. I feel bad, but in all honesty I just haven't been well enough to write; and when I've been well enough, I've been too caught up with the social side of Uni, or my 10 million assignments I've got going on.

  I was officially diagnosed with M.E yesterday, which explains why I've been so ill the past few months, and even the past few years. At the moment I have more good days than bad days, but I really don't want to over do it and make myself ill. Unfortunately, it means putting my blog last, and my education first. So, I'm apologising if there is a lack of content in the next couple of weeks! I'd love to be able to write 3 times a week like I used to, but I just physically haven't got the energy! Hopefully that'll change soon!   On the plus side - my mental health has been at the best it's ever been (silver linings and all that!). I hope you're all well, and I'll be back soon!


5 things to do when you fuck up

5 things to do when you fuck up

We've all been there. It's just a part of life. We all make silly mistakes (some bigger than others), you may have pissed off your boss, said the wrong thing, cheated or lied. It's not the end of world, everyone fudges up. But here are 5 tips on how to act, after you've messed up.

1. Apologise.
One of the best things you can do in these situations, is saying sorry. It really is the best policy when you screw up, no matter how bad. If you don't apologise, and act stubborn, it's often seen as insulting. The other person may also think you don't even care (basically, bite your tongue and be humble).

2. Get a reality check.
If you can fix your fuck up, you should be enternally grateful (that doesn't happen often). Although it might have an effect on the people you care about,you can probably resolve this problem within time. Lets face it, you haven’t killed anyone, ruined anyone’s life, or caused anyone major distress (here's hoping).

3. Make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Everyone screws up once in a while,screwing up is inevitable, but it’s what we do to make sure it doesn’t happen again that really matters in the long term. Think about exactly what you did wrong, and really think about what you can do in the future to help prevent that from happening again. Even go to the person who you affected with your screw-up, tell them what you’re going to do to prevent it from ever happening again, and let them decide what happens next. It’s human to make mistakes, but just make sure that you never hurt the person like that again.

4. Take a break.
Go for a walk and take a deep breath. Get yourself out of that environment where it happened (office,home, uni etc). Get yourself out of that negative headspace. Take a solid 15 minutes to gather your thoughts, and begin to think about how you're going to apologise.

5. Be kind to yourself.
Practice a bit of self-compassion following a moment of guilt and sadness over a mistake. You’re human. It’s okay to mess up. Don’t go beating yourself up, and pleaaase don’t dwell on your mistake as it will have a detrimental effect on your mental health or your ability to be yourself. The person you've affected is a human too, so they'll understand and hopefully accept your apology. Take a deep breath, try to calm yourself down, and remember that it isn’t the end of the world.


4 Reasons Why B12 is Beneficial for your Mind and Body

1)Vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins play a role in producing brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions. Low levels of B-12 and other B vitamins such as vitamin B-6 and folate may be linked to depression.

2)Many symptoms of B12 deficiency are debilitating but there is an incredible lack of knowledge of this condition within the mental health community. Sadly our health professionals are not simply not taught enough, or at all, about the impact low B12 can have on mental health.

3)As well as depression, psychosis can be one of the first presenting symptoms of this condition. Many health care professionals would be shocked to learn that B12 deficiency can also cause this.

4)Having a diagnosis of bipolar, means that patients may be very rarely assessed again. B12 deficiency is commonly misdiagnosed as various mental and physical health conditions due to the lack of education on this subject.

Since taking this Vitamin, I can definitely tell a difference. I feel so more alert, have had less 'down days', and even have been sleeping better! I highly recommend. You can get yours, here.

*Sponsored post


5 Tips on How to be a Happier Person

These are tips from mental health professionals, so are by no means are my own words, or words that I'm trying to pass off as my own! They're just a collection of tips that I've found and put together for you guys, I hope they'll help as they've certainly helped me!

1. Remember that your negative thoughts are not true. They’re just thoughts.
 "Sadly, many people make the mistake of believing the negative things that their ‘inner voice’ tells them, often without even being aware of their right to question whether these things are accurate! When it comes to mental health care, many people still think you will need to spend years exploring your childhood or past in order to get better. That’s simply not the case nowadays. Catch, challenge, and change negative thoughts.” - Simon Rego, director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.

2. Start your day by reminding yourself one positive thing about your life.
"This can be a small observation like enjoying beautiful weather or something more profound like recognizing you have achieved one step towards a life goal (working in the industry you always dreamt of, have a best friend who you are grateful for, etc). We tend to hold onto negatives a lot stronger than positives so this can be a small way to give yourself a moment to check in with the ‘happier’ thoughts and realities.”
- Jess Allen, NYC-based cognitive behavioral therapist

3. Anyone can benefit from therapy, so consider making an appointment for a checkup.
 "There is a stereotype that many people have about the unique person who chooses to see a therapist. ‘They must be an emotional wreck,’ or ‘they can’t take care of their own problems,’ or ‘they must be crazy.’ That last one is probably the most popular and worst misconception of them all!
It takes a lot of insight and emotional awareness to realize that you want to enlist the services of a trained mental health therapist to get the right help you need. Yes, there are some clients who seek therapy when they are at the absolute lowest emotional point in their lives, but there are also just as many who simply want to become emotionally healthier people to enhance their work and intimate relationships. No problem is too small or large when you come to see one of us. It’s all welcomed because our job is to meet you where you are at in life, not where we or anyone else thinks you should be.”
—Gabriela Parra California-based counselor

4.Don’t think about your work responsibilities at home, and vice versa.
"Be present when present, which requires dropping the guilt. Guilt has no benefits for anyone. When you are at work, stay focused, when you are home, give it your undivided attention. Doing your best in each place will keep you sane and feeling good about your output.”
—Samantha Euttus, work-life balance expert

5.Stop checking your smartphone randomly. Instead, give yourself specific times to catch up on social media and email.
"Most people would be happier (and less stressed) if they checked their phone less. A study of college students at Kent State University found that people who check their phones frequently tend to experience higher levels of distress during their leisure time (when they intend to relax!).
Instead of willing ourselves to just check less often, we can configure our devices and work time so that we are tempted less often. The goal is to check email, social media, and messages on your phone just a few times a day — intentionally, not impulsively. Our devices are thus returned to their status as tools we use strategically — not slot machines that randomly demand our energy and attention.”
—Christine Carter, Ph.D., happiness expert at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Cente.


6 Ways to Look after Your Mental Health at Uni

As Uni is starting back now, I thought I'd dedicate a post about suffering with mental health problems whilst at Uni. I suffered with severe depression throughout my 2nd year at Uni, and I honestly think if I didn't have the help of therapists, lecturers and flat mates/course mates; I would of dropped out. Hopefully, this post will help you all throughout the year!

1. Seek Help for Your Problems
This is such a big thing at Uni. Remember, you're not alone. Wether that's telling your parents, your house mates, your course mates, or your lecturer; they will help you, I promise. I told my lecturers to start with, and they were so reassuring and helpful (it also stopped them bugging me about my attendance if I physically and mentally couldn't make it out of my bedroom that day). My friends at uni were so supportive, I can't thank them enough (if you're reading this guys, much lovin'!). I also visited the University mental heath/counselling service, and they were also great, but I went home to get my proper therapy instead as I felt more comfortable.

2. Try and force yourself to socialise
This was a hard one for me. When I felt really low, the last thing I wanted to do was to go out of my room and sit with my friends (no matter how much I loved them). But, when I actually did, I felt so much better for it.

3. Try and excercise
I know you've heard it all before, so I won't bore you with it all. But even just 20 minutes of excercise a day can really boost your seratonin levels - and get rid of that horrible mood! I know most Uni gyms give you a year free if you're in halls (that's what I did), and after that they give a discounted fee. I joined a different gym in second year though, as it worked out cheaper at only £17 a month with the student discount! It was even great to just getting out the house or away from the library!

4. Try and cut down on stimulants
 I know as a student, it's extremely hard to do this. But trust me, your mental health will thank you for it. As much as I love coffee, it really does ruin my sleep pattern and increases my anxiety. By cutting down on tea, coffee and energy drinks you will have a much better sleep, and less stress in the long run!

5. Don't drink all the time
Again, this is extremely hard to do as at student. But alcohol can make your depression and even anxiety 10 times worse. It's okay to socialise with your friends over a few drinks, but don't make it a regular habit, as it can lead to other health problems as well as a decreased mood.

6. Keep an eye on your sleep patterns
The first week or so at University will stretch all sorts of boundaries, including how long you can manage without sleep. I'm terrible at this, but napping throughout the day and a poor sleep routine can affect your mental health (who would of thought napping was such a bad thing eh!). I also found getting some fresh air and light in the morning helped me start the day with a smile.


5 Myths about Anxiety

1. It's uncommon 
 Let me just say, this is soooo far from the truth! Like, every man and his dog (okay, not every man and his dog) has a bit of anxiety in their life. No, they may not of been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder etc, but I've realised that most people do suffer from some sort of anxiety. So if you do suffer, you're really not alone!

2. Alcohol and drugs can help Anxiety
Now, I've learnt this the hard way. Kids, don't do it. It won't make you better, it'll just make you 10x worse. I mean, I find that temporarily the booze helps me calm down and gives me a little bit of confidence. But after the drunkeness wears off, my anxiety is at it's highest. Imagine being startled and screaming at your phone lighting up? Yeah, that's me.

3. Some people are just worriers and can't be treated
Though there probably is a genetic component to anxiety, it's not to say it can't be treated and kept under control. Effective treatments, ranging from medication to various types of therapy (like CBT), can help keep anxiety at bay. I know CBT has really helped reduce my anxiety.

4. You can only get anxiety if you are a nervous person
The truth is, anyone can suffer from anxiety. Believe it or not, it is one of the most common mental health problems, with  than 1in 10 people diagnosed with the condition at some point in their lives. 4 million (bloody hell) people in this country also suffer from phobias (which is a type of phobia) which can be an irritation fear of flying, or moths (picked these two cause ya know, I'm scared of 'em both). You do not have to be a nervous person in general to suffer from any of these problems.

5.Having an attack of anxiety can lead to a heart attack
You may laugh at this one- but I actually got asked/got told this one before. Believe it or not, a panic attack will not give you a heart attack. Yeah, panic attacks can be extremely frightening experiences. You will most likely have chest pain, feel breathless, and have a rapid heartbeat. You may even feel like you are going to die because your heart is beating so fast. But besides all this, during a panic attack you are not in physical danger.



4 Tips to Help Manage Anxiety

1.Distract yourself
For the past 9 months, I have been influenced by my therapist who has always said, “distract, don’t think.” My thinking (even though I thought I was doing the right thing by using cognitive-behavioral techniques)was actually making things worse. He told me to stop reading and analysing all those self-help books, and to work on a word puzzle or watch a movie instead. He also suggested that I surround myself with people as much as possible. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for cognitive-behavioral techniques and mindfulness. But when I reach a point of disabling anxiety, it’s more beneficial for me to just distract myself.

I have found only one full-proof immediate solution to anxiety. And that is exercise. Wether thats running, waking or swimming.t doesn't matter what you do, as long as you get that heart of yours working hard. You don’t have to be training for a marathon to feel the antidepressant effect of exercise. Even picking the weeds and watering the flowers has been shown to boost moods. Aerobic exercise can be as effective at relieving mild and moderate depression as SSRI's.

3.Use visual anchors
My therapist told me that he looked up to the clouds.For me, it’s a candle. I don’t now why, but just staring at fire really calms me down. I also love staring at bonfires when I have the chance, as I love the feeling of warmth on my face and the beautiful colours of the flames. I gueess this is how I can justify my love for candles! If I don't have a candle handy,  I downloaded an app called 'Virtual Candle' which calms me down when I start to feel anxious.

4. Laugh
 I don't know about you, but even just whacking on a funny film, programme or even Youtube video, immediately makes me feel better. Though, it does much more than relieving any crushing anxiety. It diminishes both physical and psychological pain and fights viruses and foreign cells,. You have no doubt experienced a moment when you were crippled by anxiety until someone made you laugh outloud, and in doing so anxiety lost its hold over you. Just another reason to laugh all the time, eh?

Do you have any tips on how you manage your anxiety?


Moments of Serenity

I picked up this book in a Glasgow gift shop, and I just had to share it with you. Its by Esme Fielding, and it's definitely the best 'serene' book I've seen and read. It's not exactly the cheapest I've found, at £6.99, but it certaintly is worth the price tag. The synopsis at the back of the book, pretty much describes the whole book; 'It can sometimes be hard to escape from life's little pressures. Let the beautiful photographs and words of wisdom collected in this book bring you peace, help you appreciate the wonders of the world around you and allow you to approach those daily challenges in a calm and measured way.'

Personally, I think it's nice just to read a page a day, so the book lasts longer (as it's not a big book) and so it also gives you something nice to look forward to every morning. I find by even just reading one page a day, it really does make me calmer and happier. It sounds mad, but it's actually working! The photography is just beautiful, as are the words. You can buy this book here.

What do you think? Will you be buying this book?


How an Activity Diary can help reduce depression..

One of the useful things I got told to do by my therapist, was to create an Activity Diary or an ACE log. I simply just logged what I did daily, and rated how much I enjoyed the activity, and how much I felt I achieved from doing the activity. Yep, it's as easy as that. It really helped me realise, that by doing just 1 thing a day that I enjoyed, it really improved my mood.

It's important to get a healthy balance of activities which give you a sense of achievement and enjoyment.  Choose activities which are important to you, have positive meanings, or are purposeful, and you might want to plan rest periods too. Keep your goals realistic – set achievable limits.  For example, aim to walk for 15 minutes each day rather than running for 1hour (guilty), or wash the dishes rather than spring clean the whole house. You can find links to download your own activity diary here or here.

One last thing - I was thinking about starting up my own 'self-help box', where simply, you guys would get a box full of goodies that have helped me in the past, or I think will help you. You don't have to have the box for yourself, it could be for a friend who you think needs cheering up! Think chocolate, colouring books, candles etc..  What do you all think? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below!


5 Natural Remedies for Anxiety

If you have an anxious moment, a cuppa' chamomile tea might help calm you down. Some compounds in chamomile (known as matricaria recutita, a bit of a mouthful I know), tie to the same brain receptors as some drugs do, such as Valium. It's also a mild muscle relaxant, that can help relieve stress, anxiety and even depression. In addition to being calming, chamomile tea also offers health benefits for helping cure a cough as severe as bronchitis, a fever or an inflammation of the skin.

2) Green Tea
They say that Buddhist monks could meditate for hours, being both alert and relaxed. One reason may have been an amino acid in their green tea called L-theanine. Research shows that L-theanine helps curb a rising heart rate and blood pressure, and a few small human studies have found that it reduces anxiety. It's been proven that just 200 milligrams of L-theanine can really help you focus! You can get that much L-theanine from green tea, but you'll have to drink around 5 cups of it!

3) Excercise
Exercise is safe, good for the brain, and a powerful antidote to depression and anxiety, both immediately and in the long term. It's universally known that if you exercise on a regular basis, you'll have more self-esteem and feel healthier.One of the major causes of anxiety is worrying about illness and health, and that reduces when you are fit.

4) Lavender
Lavender's one of my favourite remedies as it really helps me sleep. Just putting a drop of this on my pillow each night really helps with my anxiety and insomnia. Research shows the scent lowers heart rate and blood pressure, putting you in a relaxed state.

5) The 4-7-8 breath
Ok, I'm not recommending that you turn blue, but breathing has been shown to be effective in lowering stress and anxiety. This technique was told to me by Mom, and really does help! One reason it works is that you can't breathe deeply and be anxious at the same time. To do the 4-7-8 breath, exhale completely through your mouth, then inhale through your nose for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Now let it out slowly through your mouth for a count of eight. Repeat at least twice a day.


My week in pictures

1. Las Iguanas
I recently visted Las Iguanas for the first time, and I am in love with the restaurant. They provide options for any dietray needs (i.e vegan, vegetarianism, gluten free etc), and all the food is and looks delicious. They also do 2 for 1 cocktails, to which I was sold by. So yes, I had to have 2 Pina Colada's, it'd be silly not too..

2.Cuttin' n' Stickin'
This may seem like a weird one, but it's actually so therepetuic. My friend Emily came round last Sunday, and we spent the whole day cutting and sticking and laminating. Later on my Mom joined in, and also agreed how thereputic it is. Plus, you're also helping a friend. Win win situation.

3. Lazy (Dominoes 2 for) Tuesdays
After a long day at work, I wanted a lazy evening with an easy watching film and junk food. As it was Tuesday, I ordered a dominoes (2 for the price of 1). I went for a ham&pineapple pizza, which is definitely going to be my new favourite. I also popped on the new Disney film, Inside Out. I absolutely loved this film, definitely going to buy it on DVD when it comes out!

4. Ed's easy Diner
At the weekend, I flew up to Glasgow to see my sister & her financee. I introduced them to Ed's diner (one of my favourite places to eat), and they were thrilled with the juke box! It's such a nice touch, and it only costs 20p a song - which all goes to charity!.

5. Whole Foods
Whilst in Glasgow, we visited Whole Foods. I've been obsessed with Youtuber's Whole Foods hauls recently, and have been so jealous of the fact they have a Whole Foods in their city or near them! So, when Sarah said she had a voucher for Whole Foods, I was so excited to go!  The food is a bit pricey, but the whole store is so unique. Look at all the cool fruits you can get!

6. Public Gardens
It was also nice to visit the touristy parts in Glasgow, including these lovely gardens. The park was huge, and this was only just a little snippet of how beautiful the park was. I wish we had places like this in Birmingham!

I also thought I'd mention my blog header. This was created by the lovely Conor Adams, who does lovely illustrations. So talented! He's open to requests.



A few happy links to kick off your September

Be Happy   - Here, you can sign up and get an inspriring, positive quote (or a 'daily delight' as they call it), directly in your email box each day. I love little things like this.

Calm - This is one of my favourite websites. I've got the app, but for some reason I just prefer the online site. I love how you can flick between a variety of soothing backgrounds, depending on whatever mood you're in. I also love the relaxing sounds the site provides. Just perfect for a quick 5 minute meditation.

Pinterest -  Not your conventional 'happy site', but for some reason pinterest has me captivated recently. Whenever I feel down or sad, I just decide to make myself a new board, or add to an old one. Getting myself all excited over interior ideas or baking recipes distracts myself from the stresses and downs of daily life.
Spotify - This is my go-to playlist at the moment. It has me dancing around my bedroom constantly, and instantly lifts my mood. Though, I really need to remember that my next door neighbours can see me from their kitchen!

 Feel free to post some happy links in the comments below, I'd love to check them out!



Life Lately

1. Evening drives.  I just had to capture this moment. Look how lovely the sky is?! I wish I had chance to stop and take a proper photograph, but this had to do for now.

2. Reading my favourite blogs. I had a bit of spare time on Friday, so that consisted of reading some of my favourite blogs. This beauties blog is Josie's, she's one of my favourites to read at the moment (and has been for a long time!). She also sells awesome homemade cards, check them out!

3. Listening to records. Neck deep released their second album recently, so I had to add it to my record collection! I don't know what it is, but theirs something much better about listening to an album on a record player than listening to it on your iPod, laptop etc.

4. Drinking beer.  Coventry had their own little Oktoberfest this weekend, so it would of been silly not to pop along for a beer (or two). I loved these little half pint glasses - wish I could of took it home with me!

5. Meditation. I've been trying to fit in a teeny bit more meditation into my daily routines, and my mind is thanking me for it. This book is awesome - definitely the best thing I've invested in!

6. Berry picking. Although it was a rainy day, me and a friend decided to troupse around our local park and go berry picking. Unforunately, there wasn't a lot of berries there, but I managed to grab a few! I found it very therapuetic, and was still nice to get out the house. Maybe I'll make a pie out of them!


REVIEW: A product that boosts my self-confidence

Dermatique recuperating cream

Dermatique recuperating cream

I am aware that this is going to sound really petty and silly, but it's just how I feel; and blogs are all about being honest, right? I hate getting my legs out, for the pure reason that whenever I shave, I have hideous red bumps that cover my legs, and they just never seem to be smooth. Not to mention shaving makes my legs itch like hell. It makes me want to always wear jeans, leggings or tights. Even when it's scorching hot outside.

So, when I got asked to review Dermatique's recuperating cream, I jumped at the chance. The cream claims to 'deeply moisturise the skin, by helping to repair the skin’s protective moisture barrier to prevent dryness from returning in the future'. The cream also 'provides immediate relief from itching and becomes rapidly absorbed'. Just reading these two statements made me so excited to put this on my legs, I had high hopes.

From the first application, my skin felt solf, moisurtised and immediately less itchy. I literally can't believe how less red my legs were! I don't know how, but they just felt less irritated and so smooth. For the first time in about 10 years, I feel comfortable with getting my legs out. I'm so unbelieveably happy. Mad how the small things help, eh?
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