Saturday 30 December 2017

My 2017 Highlights

2017, has been a crazy year. I'm not sure if you could call it worse or better than 2016, but hey, at least I'm still here. 2017 has been a busy year for sure. It's gone by in a flash. I know everyone says that but for me it really has. There's been some notable highs and some serious lows.

My mental health has been all over the place this year. If you follow me on social media, you would be very well aware of that. However, as I write this I really do believe I'm in a much better place then what I have been during some parts of this year, which is such an achievement for me. This year has been full of therapy, CBT and medication, all of which is currently coming to an end.

I'll be writing about my honest thoughts and feelings on the treatment I received this year, in January, so keep your eyes peeled for that. Mental health aside, for now, I've had amazing opportunities this year, including visiting some beautiful places and meeting some lovely people. My blog has also gone from strength to strength this year, giving me a chance to work with some amazing brands and charities. I could go on forever, so let's take it month and month before I waffle forever...


Wednesday 27 December 2017

December Book Haul

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December is always the best month of the year to accumulate books. What with Christmas and everything. For me, I have the added bonus of having a birthday in December which means extra books for me. Smiley face. There is no getting around the fact that books are expensive. Which is why I like to ask for them for Christmas and Birthdays. I always think they make the perfect gift. 

I am course super thankful and grateful for all the books I received this month. I realise how lucky and fortunate I am to have such a lovely and supportive family who can buy me all these fantastic books. But you guys know that I would never do these kinds of posts to brag or 'show off' I'm just dead excited because BOOKS! 

This year I got a fair few books, some of which I asked for, and some were surprises. Because this post includes both books, I got for my birthday and for Christmas I'm not going to be able to go into lots of details about each one because otherwise, I think we would be here all day. So, I guess we better get started. 


Saturday 23 December 2017

My Favourite Books I've Read In 2017

My Favourite Books I've Read In 2017

2017, was the year I properly got back into reading and I am so glad I did. It has been a fantastic way of coping with my mental health issues, something at times I have found very hard to do this year. But I won't go into that in this post as I did a whole post on the topic, which you can read HERE.

I didn't read massive amounts this year as I only really got back into reading half way through the year, however, in the second half of the year I read a lot of amazing books as well, of course, some not so amazing ones. Next year, I will be doing a lot more book blog posts including recommendations, reviews, TBRs and what I read. I will be carrying on with mental health and lifestyle posts, but as it is my blog and I want it to be a place where I can write about my passions I want to encompass another one of my new found loves; reading.

Reading is something I recommend to everyone. It has been a game changer for my mental health this year. It has done more for me than any anti-depressant has ever done. I've only included five books on the list as I wanted to tell you a bit about each book and why it is my favourite, if I added anymore, this post would go on forever. I'll stop waffling and let's get cracking...


Wednesday 20 December 2017

The Harry Potter Tag

The Harry Potter Tag

If you know me you will know that I love Harry Potter. I essentially live and breathe it. Harry Potter has to be my favourite film and book series that has ever been made or published. Although I didn't get into Harry Potter until I was a lot older than the rest of my friends and family. I definitely made up for all those missing years. 

Longtime followers of my blog know that I've visited the Harry Potter studios in London on more than one occasion because I loved it so much. However, one thing I've never done is actually talk about Harry Potter in terms of my favourite characters, books or anything along those lines. I know a lot of you guys are Potter fans too and like me love discussing Harry Potter. 

Today I thought I would answer the Harry Potter TAG. I just found these questions online and thought they would be great to answer. I'm planning on doing more Harry Potter related content in the new year so if you're a Potter-head, stay tuned. 


Friday 15 December 2017

8 Christmas Jumpers You Need In Your Life

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I love a good Christmas jumper. I mean who doesn't right? When it comes to Christmas jumpers, you are either a lover of the traditional or a fan of the wacky and tacky. If I'm honest, I love both. I have a mixture of both the conventional and the weird in my collection. 

Christmas jumpers are one of those critical items of clothing which can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. There are some really stylish Christmas jumpers out there which are beautiful and really do look classy. On the other side of the coin, you have all singing all dancing light up Christmas jumpers. The ones you wear to the office Christmas party or on Christmas jumper day. 

Talking of which, Christmas jumper day is actually today, and it's not too late to join in and donate to Save the children. Save the children run national Christmas jumper day every year. By donating £2 you could help give a child a hot meal, essential health care and education for those who are denied these basic needs. Every £2 adds up, so there really isn't a reason to not throw on your wacky woollies this festive season. 


Wednesday 13 December 2017

Is Having a Mental Illness Inspirational?

Is Having a Mental Illness Inspirational? depression anxiety mental health OCD help advice blogger UK thoughts

Often when you call someone inspirational or brave, it is meant in a complementary positive context. But what if the word actually does more harm than good? 

I’ve been blogging about my own mental health battles online now for quite a while. During that time I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been called an inspiration. I’m not doing what I’m doing to receive compliments like this. I candidly talk about mental health to raise awareness and normalise what is still a highly stigmatised topic in 2017. 

But why is it someone can only be inspirational when they’ve been meet with hardship or are handicapped in some way? And why is it only when the individual is defying all odds and doing something amazing despite their circumstances can they be classified as inspirational? Isn’t just getting through the day enough? 


Monday 11 December 2017

Why Reading Benefits My Mental Health

Why Reading Benefits My Mental Health

As a child, I was a complete bookworm. I loved reading so much. It would be rare if you ever found me without my nose in a book. I could not leave the things alone. Like most millennials, I grew up obsessed with Jacqueline Wilson. Jacqueline Wilson is to reading what Lady Di is to Britain. A well loved and appreciated icon. 

My life revolved around coming home to watch the latest episode of Tracy Beaker while reading one Jacqueline's books. I've actually still got all my books, and I will hold on to them for as long as I possibly can, as they were such important parts of my childhood that hold such dear memories in my heart. 

As I grew up though, I stopped reading. The internet came along, and suddenly reading took a back seat in my life. I was more interested in watching YouTube and chatting on MSN then reading. I found that as I got older, there weren't books suitable for my age group. I was getting too old for Tracy Beaker but too young for the chick lit in the adult section. I felt very lost when it came to my reading, and as a result, my reading journey ceased. 


Saturday 9 December 2017

10 Easy Ways To Support Charity This Christmas

10 Easy Ways To Support Charity This Christmas

For some people, Christmas is just another day. Their Christmas tradition isn't setting up the tree and making it look 'instagramable' it's putting down the mouse traps to stop the disease spreading around their family, in their mouldy, damp, cramped flat which the council has kindly given them. 

Some children don't wish for a sack full of gifts at Christmas from Santa, all they hope for is that this Christmas isn't their last. Christmas isn't a time full of joy, happiness and laughter for everyone. It can be the loneliest time of the year. For those on the streets, those spending it alone and those with mental health problems, Christmas can be a difficult time of the year. 

Of course, we all deserve to treat ourselves, and there is nothing wrong with spending your hard earned money on gifts for yourself and your loved ones. But as much as Christmas is for getting it's also about giving. Giving to those less fortunate than yourselves. As a society, we are consumed by consumerism. We are driven by the innate drive for the latest, the prettiest and the best. Gosh, you only have to take one look at the blogging community to recognise that. 

So amongst your social media feeds being bombarded with blogmas posts I hope this little post, brings you back down to reality. To just stop and take a few seconds to appreciate what you have and who you have. To be grateful for the little and big things this Christmas. And most importantly come to the reality that these things you take for granted now will not last forever.


Thursday 7 December 2017

When Mental Illness Becomes Your Identity

Raising awareness of mental illness, fighting the stigma and campaigning for better understanding and rights for those who struggle with their mental health, is something which I do on a daily basis. It is part of me. It is something which I feel very passionate about given my own experiences of mental illness. It is also something I enjoy. I wish I didn't have to, but I'm a realist and not an idealist. I know there is a problem, which I want to change.

Writing openly and honestly about mental health is very rewarding. When I see changes in the law or high profile celebs or even royalty,  doing their bit to end mental health stigma and improve the way in which the system works, it makes me feel proud of the community I am part of. When people tell me how much my blog or story has helped them, I feel delighted that I can help someone overcome a struggle which I know firsthand just how lonely and isolating it can be. 

But is there a line between where being open about mental health crosses over with your identity? Or when your mental illness becomes your identity? For me, I think there is, and I believe that in many aspects of my life that line has been crossed which can throw some pretty heavy challenges my way. 


Monday 4 December 2017

Harry Potter Primark Haul

Last Sunday, I went on a shopping trip to Oxford Street for my birthday. I really wanted to go because there are so many amazing shops in London, that I just don't have in my part of the country. Also, they have two hella big Primark, with dedicated Harry Potter sections. Which if you know me is like a dream come true.

I went to both the Oxford Street Primark at Marble Arch and the Oxford Street Primark at Tottenham Court Road. The Primark at Tottenham Court Road is the one with the huge dedicated section to Harry Potter. They have the suitcases and letters hanging from the ceilings as well as a much bigger selection of bits than the other Primark's I have been to.

I had such a lovely day out and I managed to pick up some awesome bits. Although by the end of the day my head was pounding and feet were killing, it was actually a lovely day. If you love Harry Potter as much as I do, you need to get yourself down to Oxford Street ASAP.


Saturday 2 December 2017

Why Everyone Can Raise Awareness Of Mental Health | Maison de Choup

It's no shock by now that I'm passionate about raising awareness around mental health. Bloody hell, I have a whole blog pretty much dedicated to it. It's important and a crucial step in ending the stigma. So when we think of ending mental health stigma, we often think we need to share our personal stories and experiences. Whether that be on YouTube, through blogging or even on Facebook for some. 

Some may even feel pressured into sharing their story even if they don't feel comfortable because 'how on earth can you spread awareness without baring your soul to the internet?'

Don't get me wrong raising awareness around mental health through sharing personal accounts and experiences is fundamentally essential. But for some, this isn't even possible. It's counterintuitive to expect someone to share their story even if it affects their mental health negatively. 

Fear, embarrassment, having an unsupportive family or even not having the platform to share their story are some of the reasons why raising mental health awareness in this very traditional sense is not going to be for everyone.


Wednesday 29 November 2017

3 Netflix Originals You Need To Watch

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I haven't long had Netflix, but boy have I made up the time where I've been missing out. I'm definitely not a film or TV buff but as an introvert and well just someone who is kinda intolerant to most humans I spend a lot of time alone and therefore have more than enough time to watch TV and films. Some might say too much time. 

I would like to think I have quite varied tastes when it comes to TV and films although my favourite genre by far is horror, sci-fi and well anything spooky and weird. That being said I will give almost anything a go within reason, of course. 

I do love Netflix. It's reasonably cheap for what you get. It's got a large catalogue of movies and TV catering to all needs and interests. And no this post isn't #spon I just really like Netflix. I've picked my three favourite shows for this post although there are so many others I could have included, I'll probably make this into a series if that is something you would like to see. 


Monday 20 November 2017

Why Catching Your ZZZ... Is Imperative For a Good Mental Health

Why Catching Your ZZZ... Is Imperative For a Good Mental Health sleeping insomnia depression help anxiety tips advice

There are lots of factors that contribute to a good mental health. Having good quality sleep regularly is key. This comes from having a good sleeping pattern. Getting yourself into a good sleeping pattern is not always easy, not in productivity obsessed 2017 it isn't, anyway. When you have a mental illness, getting the right amount of sleep can be tricky, but it is even more paramount that you do.

I've wanted to do a post on mental health and sleep for a while now, but I've not known how to go about it because I don't really think I've got any groundbreaking tips to share with you guys which you wouldn't have heard before. But when the lovely Steph Tagged me in the bedtime tag it gave me perfect opportunity to discuss my sleep patterns and what I do to ensure I get a good night's sleep as possible to benefit my mental health. 

I'm definitely not a sleep expert by any stretch of the means. However, I do think I have quite a good sleeping routine which benefits my mental health. These questions mainly focus on what I do around bedtime which may be helpful if you're looking for some ways to improve your sleep or bedtime routine. There are also some questions which are just for fun to satisfy you nosy lot.


Friday 17 November 2017

Turtles All The Way Down Review

Turtles All The Way Down Review John green books blogger reading fiction OCD

Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a borderline obsession with Hank and John Green. Not only are they YouTube pioneers but also have made my psychology and philosophy a level a whole lot easier with their crash course channel. Vlog brothers are hands down one of my favourite YouTube channels. They are both hilarious and so easy to watch.

John Green is probably best known for his last book 'The fault in our stars' a modern day classic that took the world by storm. That was six years ago. His next book has been long awaited. The success of the fault in our stars was a lot to live up to. I can only imagine the pressure on John to write the next best seller. 

Earlier in the year when John made a video about his OCD, I was pleasantly surprised. I was obviously saddened to hear about this battle with a crippling mental illness. But I also pleased he was using his incredibly large platform to raise awareness of such an important subject. When I found out that the main character in John's new book 'Turtles all the way down' also suffered from OCD, I was incredibly hopeful that obsessive-compulsive disorder would be portrayed accurately.

Monday 13 November 2017

The Gruesome Keddie Cabin Murders

The Gruesome Keddie Cabin Murders  buzz feed unsolved murderers

This is my first post in a new series on my blog. It doesn't currently have a name so any suggestions would be much appreciated. I put out a tweet a few weeks back saying I wanted to start covering paranormal, conspiracies, horror films and true crime cases on my blog but I wasn't sure if there was an audience. Turns out there is. I got an overwhelming response to that tweet, so here I am with my first case; the Keddie Cabin Murders. 

I chose the Keddie Cabin Murders to cover first because it's one of the most compelling cases as well as being one of systematic failings by the police on a whole new level. It's an eye-opening one for sure. So without further or do, let's jump in. 


Friday 10 November 2017

What’s In My Mental Health Crisis Kit

What’s In My Mental Health Crisis Kit mental illness depression anxiety OCD help SANE time to change support tips

Mental health crisis kit? What’s this girl on about? You may or may not have heard of mental health crisis kits before, but I just know by the end of this post you’re be making one for yourself. They may seem like such a simple idea but can be super efficient if you struggle with a mental illness. Or even if you don’t I reckon it would help you out a lot. We can all have bad mental health days, so it’s key to have something up your sleeve to support you during the more difficult days.

Okay, so I actually haven’t explained what a mental health crisis kit is. Great start Nicole. Okay so essentially what they are is a first aid kit for your mental health. Instead of being filled with plasters and tweezers, it’s filled with the things you will need that help ground yourself when you hit crisis point.

The most important thing is that if you're going to create a kit, it includes things which will help you. This post looks at what I have in my mental health crisis kit because it helps me. That doesn’t mean that it will help you too. There are so many things you can include in your kit. If you are stuck for ideas, a quick Google will give you the answers. You can include anything. The only criteria are that it helps you. Let’s delve into my crisis kit, shall we?


Wednesday 8 November 2017

Christmas Gift Guide For The People Who Have Everything

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We all know that one person who is impossible to buy for. They have everything that you could ever want and yet every Christmas you're expected to buy them something new and exciting, a task which often seems impossible. If you don't know someone like this, you probably are that person. Sorry to break it to you. Why not be kind and send a link to this post to your friends and family, to make their job a little easier this holiday season?

Christmas shopping is stressful at the best of times, which is why I've teamed up with Uncommon Goods to make your life a million times easier this Christmas. Uncommon Goods is an environmentally friendly business who aims to bring you the most exciting and innovative gift ideas. They work with small manufacturers and artists, which is always a winner in my book. Got to support the little guys. They offer an extensive range of gifts for all occasions and age groups at reasonable prices, what is not to like?

If you are feeling stressed with the looming festive season approaching fast, don't threat- Uncommon Goods has you sorted with their impressive Christmas gifts selection. They have everything under the sun which you could ever want. Got a difficult teenager to buy for? No problem! Uncommon Goods have an amazing selection of gifts for teenagers who seem more and more impossible to buy for each year. If you have stumbled across this post for some last minute stocking fillers, don't threat, there is plenty to choose from too. They've got your back.


Monday 6 November 2017

9 Emails Every Blogger Is Sick Of Receiving

9 Emails Every Blogger Is Sick Of Receiving blogger lifestyle UK lists buzzfedd funny relatable

As a blogger, I get my fair share of emails on a daily basis. I can't lie to you, I love getting emails, where the person has taken the time to research my blog, address it properly to my name and proposes an idea to me that actually fits in with the niche of my blog. Ask any blogger, and they will tell you there is nothing better. 

However, of course, this doesn't happen all the time. For every email like that, we get countless spammy, annoying, junk emails that we never signed up for and we never want, yet our inboxes are graced with their presence every single day. 

So I thought I would do a quick roundup of 9 (because I couldn't think of 10) types of emails, which my blogger inbox receives very often, a little bit too often if you ask me.


Friday 3 November 2017

Why Finding The Right Counsellor Is Like Dating

Why Finding The Right Counsellor Is Like Dating mental health illness depression anxiety help support

I find it really strange how counsellors, therapists, psychologists or whatever you care to call them, know everything there is to know about you, yet, you know nothing about them or at least very little about them. I don't know about you, but the more I think about it, the weirder that is. 

It's also kind of strange that you could have a therapist, who you don't really connect with, yet see them most weeks. If you've ever been through therapy, you will know that in the first session they will often ask you if you want to keep working with them. If you're anything like me, polite and incredibly British the mere thought of turning them away is scary. 

So you keep on seeing them because you feel obliged to. I would love to know if anyone has ever had the guts to say, nah love, I don't want to work with you anymore because I reckon that would take pure courage to do such a thing. The more I think about how odd counselling is, the more I realise the strange similarities between finding the right counsellor and dating. 


Monday 30 October 2017

My Top 10 Favourite Horror Movies

My Top 10 Favourite Horror Movies  reviews DVD films slasher purge thriller scary blood guts gore

What I'm about to tell you might surprise a lot of people especially considering I have had a lot of anxiety problems. I'm a massive horror fan. I absolutely love anything with blood, guts and gore. There is nothing I like more than a horror movie marathon. It's not just around Halloween when I love horror movies. I will happily watch them all year round.

I haven't always loved horror films, don't get me wrong- I was one anxious child. Even my own shadow would scare me. However, once I watched one I was hooked. I couldn't get enough. The more blood, violence and gore the better. 

My favourite type of horror films has to be ghost, slasher and psychological thrillers. Although saying there I pretty much like all kinds of horror films. Obviously, there are some terrible ones out there, and it does take a lot to get a horror film right. But when they do get it right, THEY GET IT RIGHT! And without further or do, let's jump into my top 10 horror movies.


Monday 23 October 2017

Don't Judge a Book Or a Person For That Matter By The Cover

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I'm a bit of bookworm I have to admit. I love reading, and a massive part of my love for reading is choosing my next book. Nothing beats going into Waterstones and walking peacefully around the shelves studying the books as you go. Without fail, I'll pick up a few books for closer inspection. 

I'm guilty of choosing books because of their covers. Whether it's the colours used, the eye-catching images, the name or the brilliant reviews highlighted on the front. There I said it. However, I do make a conscious effort to buy books I've done research into whether that be through Goodreads, YouTube or even through word of month. I refuse to buy the books which look the best and neglect the unloved treasures on the shelves. 

Unfortunately, this blog post isn't really about books. Sad face. In my eyes, books are like people, which is why I use them as an analogy to describe human behaviour. You see for the most part we're a hugely judgmental society completely oblivious to it. Humans are like the books on the shelves. Often left for a constant game of who gets picked first to be part of the PE team in school. But they are also like the humans, choosing the best ones by simply what they see externally. Picking your mates for the sports team instead of people who have genuine talent. 


Friday 20 October 2017

How To Look After Your Mental Health In The Colder Months

How To Look After Your Mental Health In The Colder Months SAD depression Heat holders socks blanket review blogger mental health advice tips winter

Looking after your mental health can be a tiresome task all year around for some. For others, who suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective disorder) autumn and winter are their worst enemies. I love autumn and winter. They are my favourite seasons of the year. Not only because my birthday and Christmas fall within the same month, but I also love the change in weather, bringing out the warm jumpers and of course, not forgetting my favourite holiday of the year, Halloween! However, I'm fully aware not everyone shares my excitement for this time of the year.

Whether you struggle with a diagnosable mental health disorder or you just find your mood lowers and motivation decreases during the colder months, it's important to acknowledge that and take steps to look after your mental health. We all have a mental health. Therefore, we can all take steps to ensure we look after it. Just like we wouldn't go out in shorts and a vest in December in fear of catching a cold, looking after our physical health- we can do the same for our mental health.

Of course, taking steps to look after your mental health in the darker, colder months of the year isn't going to always prevent depression and SAD. Instead, it's about being prepared and taking time to help minimise the risk or the impact it has on your life. Think stock pilling Lem Sip in the cupboard for an inevitable sore throat. Here are just a few simple things you can do to look after your mental health doing the colder months. 


Monday 16 October 2017

If It’s Not Intersectional Feminism Is It Really Feminism?

If It’s Not Intersectional Feminism Is It Really Feminism? house of wonderland necklace Etsy review jewelry

No by the way. The answer to the question of this blog post is a no. I’m a feminist. For a long time, I thought that just meant ‘smashing the patriarchy’ campaigning for equal rights for men and women. In my understanding, there was radical feminists; those who wanted men to be banished from society. Liberal feminists; those who had a more gentle approach to feminism, often found recognising the march of progress and Marxist feminists; those who believed society works for the benefit of capitalism.

It wasn't till I started doing a bit of research and digging around the subject, more than just reading my sociology A-level textbook, I realised there was a whole other branch of feminism that we had never even studied or acknowledged. Intersectional feminism.

For those of who have no idea what I'm going on about at the moment, let me start with a few basic definitions. Intersectionally is a feminist theory which was developed by Kimberle Crenshaw in 1989. It argues that there are multiple facets to a person. For example; class, sexual orientation, race, disability, etc. Stereotypical white feminism ignores these facets of a person's identity which can contribute to social injustice and inequality, alongside and more so than just being a man or a woman.


Friday 13 October 2017

Suicide- It's Not Just a Man's Problem

Suicide- It's Not Just a Man's Problem depression OCD anxiety help support death facts stats

Warning: This post contains detailed descriptions of suicide. 

Suicide is suicide. It doesn't matter if your black or white. A child or adult. Homosexual or heterosexual. Male or female. Suicide is a tragic and devastating sociological problem which 6,188 people felt like they had to result to in 2015. (source) But of course, it's not just the one person affected. The pain never ends it just passes on to the people left behind. 

It's a very well known fact that more men take their own life. In 2015, 75% of men took their own life compared to 25% of women. (source) But that's still 25% too many. The media likes to drill it into us that suicide is the biggest killer of men with those between the ages of 40-44 being at highest risk. But by constantly campaigning for more awareness around male suicide, people start to forget that it's not just men who are affected by this terrible circumstance. 

In fact, female suicide statistics are on the increase. In England, 2015, suicide rates had increased by 3.8%. The highest in the decade. (Source) But do we ever hear about this? No, we don't. The news is always dominated by stories which are affecting men. Like most industries and jobs, if there is a top spot it has to be filled by a white, abled bodied, cyst, heterosexual man. I'm by no means dismissing the tragedy of male suicide, but it has to be questioned if breaking everything including suicide statistics down into male and female, ignoring other intersects is actually counterintuitive. 

Friday 6 October 2017

Who Run The World...Girls

Who Run The World...Girls feminism pay gap difference gender inequality feminists

Well apparently if you ask Google, that's not strictly true. Let's look at fashion. 85-90% of sweatshop workers are women. Yet, who are the three most famous fashion designers that come up on Google? You guessed it, men! Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford. 

What about food? Who has made the most cooked meals through history? Let's face it, it's women! If women make the most meals then why the hell, does Gordon Ramsey, Paul Bocuse and Thomas Keller pop up as the most famous chefs on Google. 

Let me ask you another question? Who does the most organising in the family? Who actually makes sure Christmas happens every year? Women! Yet, when it comes to directing films, that's a male's job of course. Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino are the most famous film directors according to Google. 


Monday 2 October 2017

5 Easy Fairy Light Hacks You Need This Autumn

5 Easy Fairy Light Hacks You Need This Autumn cheap easy lifestyle blogger Primark

I love me a good set of fairy lights. When you think of fairy lights, you may think of Christmas trees. Of course, nothing can beat putting the lights up on the tree and then promptly getting tangled up in them. Nope, just me, okay then. But who said fairy lights just have to be for Christmas? As soon as the nights get darker, I make sure I'm fully stocked up on fairy lights. 

Nothing beats coming home, on a dark, cold, damp October evening and switching on the fairy lights around your house. They automatically make the cosiness factor jump from a zero to a solid 10. Although they, of course, don't produce heat like a candle or fire, they are safer. Which is key if you're clumsy like me and don't trust yourself with anything which could potentially burn your house down to a cinder. 

It can be difficult though to know where to put your fairy lights. You want to put them in a way that looks ascetically pleasing but also helps make your room feel nice and cosy. If you're a fairy light novice or just looking for inspiration on how to style your fairy lights this autumn you have come to the right place. Here are five easy fairy light hacks.


Friday 29 September 2017

Five Easy Ways To Reduce Your Anxiety

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I know all too well what it's like to struggle with anxiety and panic attacks. Panic attacks can be terrifying, you feel like you are going to die. The reality is you're not. Although scary, panic attacks will not kill you. It often feels like you are having a heart attack, I know what that feels like but it's just your mind tricking you. 

Over time I've picked up quite a few little coping techniques to help keep my anxiety under control. Sometimes they won't work, that's okay because I learn from the experience and maybe sometimes I even pick up a little coping mechanism from it too.  

Keeping anxiety under control and dealing with panic attacks do not have to be complicated. Which is why all of these methods are very simple and to some of you will seem completely obvious. However, if anxiety is something you have only recently been struggling with, you may find these super useful.


Monday 25 September 2017

We Are Not Your Stereotype

We Are Not Your Stereotype mental health illness OCD depression anxiety PTSD

I've heard time and time again from so many people that it's not always the mental illness that is the hardest part to deal with, but, the stigma that surrounds it. Whichever mental illness you think of there will be some stereotypes attached to it. These stereotypes are damaging, they curate stigma which makes it hard for sufferers to seek support.

I suffer from a range of mental health problems. Every mental illness has some kind of negative label or stereotype attached to it which makes talking about the problem a lot harder. I know all too well what the stereotypes are around depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder, as I experience them almost on a weekly basis.

However, for this blog post, I thought I would spice things up a bit. Instead of reading me waffling on about OCD, I thought I would get some other people in who struggle with their mental health and different illnesses to talk to me about the stigma they face. When I sent out the tweet I got a fantastic response, thank you, everyone, who replied. Sorry I couldn't get back to everyone. I hope this blog post aims to educate you on the stereotypes attached to a wide range of mental health problems, not just the illnesses I suffer from. Sit back, grab a's going to be a long one.


Friday 22 September 2017

My Hair Timeline (2003-2017)

My Hair Timeline (2003-2017) pink blue green red dip dyed blonde black brown copper bleached short long bob fringe

If there is one thing you need to know about me, it is that I LOVE dying my hair. I've been dying my hair for over four years now. I started with the natural colours, branched out to dip dyes and then full on bright colours. I know I don't normally do beauty related posts if you can even call this post, that but my hair is a very important part of my identity.

Dying my hair different colours, especially the brighter colours make me super happy. I love the confidence it gives me. The first time I dyed my hair bright pink all over, I felt like an entirely new person. My mental health improved so much, and I noticed the change in myself for sure, and so did the people around me.

Dying your hair bright colours isn't going to be for everyone. Some people like tattoos or piercings. My thing is dying my hair. I know people say I shouldn't because it's going to fall out from all the damage. But I'll rather have had fun with my hair while I can before I'm restricted with how I express myself in an office job. I hope you enjoy looking through these old hairstyles. I've included some right embarrassing ones. You are definitely in for a treat.


Friday 15 September 2017

A Beginners Guide To CBT

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I feel like CBT has become quite a well known and frequently used term within society, nowadays. Lots of people know that CBT is a form of therapy for mental health problems and that NHS waiting list times are ridiculously long. You wouldn't be wrong there, but that's really as far as their knowledge goes. 

Maybe you stumbled across this post because you are planning on having CBT soon or are interested to find out more, to see if it's right for you. Maybe you haven't got a clue. You think CBT stands for something like changing brain time and believe that it involves a long black couch and a man with a long grey beard.

For whatever reason you've clicked on this post, don't worry you are in safe hands. I'm going to be taking you through the basics of CBT. Including; what it is, how it works and what problems it can be used to treat. I aim to provide an educational and informative guide for beginners to this what can seem alien concept at the beginning, a lot easier to understand. 


Wednesday 13 September 2017

The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting

The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting review book blogger Holly Bourne YA young action fiction story blogger UK

It's not often that I find a book which it is so creepily similar to my life I have to double check it's not a biography about me. Obviously, not every aspect of this story resembles my life, thank God for that. If you've read this book, you will know EXACTLY what I'm on about. 

Holly Bourne is YA's answer to well the best thing since white sliced bread. Holly just gets it. I don't know about you but when I think of young adult fiction, I just think of the stereotypical and very over done storyline of boy meets girl, some friend drama, but everything always works out well in the end. Holly has a knack of easing on the cheese factor of YA fiction and actually making in modern and enjoyable while still including boys, school, and friendships. The three essentials on any YA novel.

The manifesto on how to be interesting is one girl's heartbreaking but equally heartwarming journey through romance, friendship and most importantly finding yourself. I couldn't put this book down, it was that good. Which is why I needed to dedicate a whole review to it.


Monday 11 September 2017

My Favourite Podcasts

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I love myself a good podcast. I like to think of myself as some what of an educated young lady. I don't think I have ever said a more up myself statement, than that before on my blog but eh, there is always room for a first. Where was I? Oh yeah, podcasts...I bloody love the things! 

I listen to podcasts on a broad range of subjects, from mental health, books and feminism to name a few. I think podcasts are really underrated, most people just tune into to Youtube when they're bored or listen to music, but I have found listening to Podcasts a much more productive use of my time. Unlike listening to music or watching the same Jermery Kyle compilation videos on YouTube (Don't judge me) I actually learn something! 

Listening to podcasts broadens my knowledge and understanding on a wide range of different topics. I get to listen to others perspectives on issues, which I may not have thought of. I often learn new information and more importantly, they give me food for thought. They often leave me going away thinking about the topic they have discussed. More than any Jermery Kyle video will ever do. I've included a mix of well known and smaller podcasts in this list, I really hope you find one you like. Let's get amongst it. 


Friday 8 September 2017

Not Being Ill Enough To Be Good Enough

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At school, I was involved in all kinds of competitions. Skipping, sports day and reading challenges to name a few. I still have all the certificates stored away in a dusty box in my attic somewhere. The general premise of most competitions is that you had to be good enough to win. Which I'm sure most people would agree with unless you're one of those who believes that every kid should get a medal for taking part kind of person.

I generally thought I left those competition days behind me when I hung up my school blazer for the last time. Turns out, I didn't. And it seems that more and more people with mental health problems are experiencing the same. Whether that be in heated disagreements on Twitter about who has had it worse or more importantly, when trying to access fundamental life-saving support.


( Trigger warning: This post contains mentions of suicide, which some readers may find distressing) 


Wednesday 6 September 2017

Review: Washed Away From Darkness To Light: A Memoir By Nikki Dubose

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You know when you read a book, and once you've put it down, you're still thinking about it, yeah? Well, that was with me with this book. Washed away from darkness to light is one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. A heartwarming but equally heartbreaking tale of one girl's struggle through child abuse, addiction, a chaotic family life, rape, grief and complex mental health problems. 

A good book has to trigger emotions, whether that be happiness, sadness, anger or something else. I cried while reading this book, so I think it's safe to say what emotion it provoked. I was deeply touched by Nikki's struggles. I couldn't fathom how someone could go through so much yet still be fighting on. And for that, I only have admiration for Nikki. The courage it must have taken to keep going is unthinkable. 

Like Nikki, I had a childhood filled with trauma which has left me with complex mental health problems. Although under completely different circumstances, I felt a strong connection and great empathy for Nikki while reading, as her story unfolded. Whether you have mental health problems or not, I'm sure you will be moved my Nikki's stories as well as learn a lot about the devastating impact of childhood abuse and unresolved trauma.

(Warning, this review contains spoilers)


Monday 4 September 2017

No More Boys And Girls: Political Correctness Gone Mad Or a Step In The Right Direction?

 Recently, John Lewis decided in the act of defiance against the gender stereotypes decided to remove all their 'boys' and 'girls' labels from their clothing. Instead, labeling their clothes for boys and girls. This means that dresses say they can be worn for girls and boys. Girls and boys can wear pink, blue, yellow or whatever colour they want under the sun. When they go into the shop, they can browse all the clothes and pick out what they like, because they like it, not because of it is what they think they should like or are expected to wear. 

I stand firmly supporting this decision by John Lewis. I think it is a fundamentally important step in the right direction to encourage children, just to be children and not be what society thinks they should be. Constant reminders of differences between boys and girls, sink in and have a lasting impact. One which many don't realise until it is too late. 

There are of course many people who are against John Lewis's decision, claiming that is is politically correct nonsense. Parents inflicting their views on children, who really don't care what they wear at that age. Some simply don't understand the argument and reasoning behind removing girls and boys labels from clothing because they are so blinded by society's beliefs of what a girl and boy should be like from the day they are born, what toys they should play with, what they should wear, right up to what job they should be doing in the future. 


Friday 1 September 2017

Mental Health Self Care Wishlist

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We all need to treat ourselves once in a while. Something which I do not do enough. I preach self-care on here. I've done countless blog posts on the importance of self-care and sharing some of my self-care ideas. In reality, I don't practice what I preach. 

I want this to change though. Which is why I have compiled this list of things which I am going to buy in due course, to treat myself, in some much-needed self-care. If you know me, you will know that my methods of self-care are anything but traditional. Bubble baths and candles are just not me, which is why you may be scratching your head at some of the things listed in this post. But don't threat, they all help me. 

And that's the thing with self-care, it's so individualistic. What works for once person is not necessarily going to work for the next person. The most important thing is that you find what works for you. Whether they are cliches or not. I hope this list has inspired you to treat yourself and invest in some proper self-care time. 


Monday 28 August 2017

Mental Health Favourites (August 2017)

Mental Health Favourites (August 2017)

It's that time of the month again where people wrap up what they've been loving. I can't do favourites posts every month because I just don't have enough to talk about. However, saying that the last couple of months I've had a lot of things that I've been enjoying and have also benefited my mental health. 

I've been enjoying books, apps, events and other stuff thrown in for good measure! August and even July, have been super busy months for me regarding blogging and magazine stuff but also personal, life and family stuff. I've had some incredible opportunities and days out planned this month, which I've loved. For once in a very long time, my mental health has been very good. Depression is not rearing its nasty head. OCD is not causing chaos in my life like it was this time last year and I can't even remember the last time I had a panic attack.

Although I worry about what the future holds regarding the state of my mental health, I'm holding on to the last couple of months with fond memories. Things have been superb! I would like things to stay that way, but if they don't, I'll be able to get through it because I'm one strong woman. Without further or do let's jump into these favourites, shall we? 


Friday 25 August 2017

My Depression Story

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(Trigger warning: Depression and suicide are discussed in this post)

I guess it all started when obsessive compulsive disorder began to take over my life. Spending more time in the bathroom washing and bleaching hands than spending time with friends and family are very disheartening. As I spent more and more time as a recluse, my mood started to go down hill. 

I stopped enjoying the things I once did. I felt like a complete failure. All my friends were still at college studying for their A levels while I was at home really struggling. I felt this overwhelming sense of guilt. I had let my family down because I wasn't progressing like I should have been. 

Crying became a daily occurrence. I remember being set off by the littlest of things or things going wrong that definitely weren't worth crying over. Sometimes there wouldn't even be a reason. I would feel so sad, so hopeless that I couldn't help but cry.


Wednesday 23 August 2017

Harry Potter Studio Tour: Photo Diary (2017)

If you need to know one thing about me, it is that I am a massive Harry Potter fan. I tend to conceal my love on my blog for all things Potter. However, hopefully, I'll be able to write some more Harry Potter themed posts in the future. I want to do a Harry Potter collection blog post but rounding up all my merch will be one hell of a task. I will do it one day though. 

Obviously, if you are a massive Harry Potter fan, you need to visit the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London. This isn't my first time visiting. I went back in 2015, for my 17th birthday. I actually documented my experience on my blog too. You can read my photo diary from that visit here. I went when it was all decked out for Christmas. Seeing the set covered in snow was purely breathtaking. Although this time it wasn't set out for winter it was equally magical.

The great thing about the studios is how they are always adding new features. 2017, saw the launch of the Forbidden forest, which spoiler alert is sick. They also added some new interactive elements and opened up Privet drive. I took hundreds of photos on the day but here are just a select few from my trip. I hope you feel pottered out when you get to the end!


Saturday 19 August 2017

When The Internet Turns Nasty

When you share your life online, you have to prepare for people to pick and prod at everything single thing you do. If you have an opinion, you have to be ready for a backlash. People online don't like opinions. Especially, if your opinion doesn't match the majority. 

I am a human. We are all humans. Humans aren't perfect. They make mistakes. If you make a mistake online, it will be blown out of proportion. People won't listen. People won't accept your apology. It will be shared and spread to individuals who don't understand, who don't know you. You will be made to feel like the worst person on earth.

When I started blogging, I never wanted to put as much as a toe out of place. I never shared my opinions. I never spoke up about the things I cared about or the things that mattered. I just went along with everyone else. After a few years of personal character development, I became very outspoken about the things that mattered to me. I enjoy debates and discussions on current affairs, without feeling like I need to resort to name-calling or abuse. Unfortunately, not everyone can do the same.


Monday 14 August 2017

Simple DIYS To Improve Your Mental Health

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Private mental health care is expensive, and NHS services come with a long waiting list. It's so disheartening to reach out for help which takes enormous amounts of courage, to only be told that you will either have to find the money for private, which for most families is just not possible or to hang on in there for months until NHS care becomes available. 

These simple DIYs are not going to cure your mental illness, but they definitely can help if you left to cope by yourself while you wait for NHS services. Alongside lifestyle changes and medication (if applicable to you and your illness) they can really help make a positive difference. 

Even if you don't have a mental illness, it's important to look after your mental health. Which is why you might find these super useful. If you are going through a particularly stressful time or a period of grief, these DIYs might help you get through the difficult patch. All of the ones I've included in this post are really cheap and easy to do, so they are suitable for everyone.

Friday 11 August 2017

Making Sense Of Antidepressants

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Heads up, I'm not a medical professional, but I am quite experienced with antidepressants both as someone who takes them and has done for over a year as well as being a psychology student who knows the science behind them.

Making sense of antidepressants can be one difficult task. There is one hell of a lot of medical jargon online, making the experience of understanding antidepressants and deciding whether you want to go on them or not, that little bit harder.

So being the kind person that I am, I thought it would be helpful if I condensed everything down I've found online, into one simple, easy to follow guide. You can thank me later. It's going to be a long one so let's get amongst it. 


Monday 7 August 2017

How To Encourage Diversity In The Blogging Community

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Diversity. A Hot topic in the blogging community at the moment. And no, before you say I'm not just jumping on the bandwagon to get myself more views. That would be wrong. I'm passionate about inclusion and diversity not only in the blogging community but in all industries. I want to see more people from minority groups being recognised and brands, networks, etc. listening to what they have to say.

When I talk about diversity, I don't just mean accepting more people of colour (POC) I mean recognising every minority group out there. Which includes the mentally ill, LGBT+, Plus sized, disabled, those who are chronically ill, those with autism and learning difficulties as well as those from less well off or working class backgrounds, etc. If you are part of a minority, you have a right to have your voice heard. You have a right to work with brands and PR companies and NOT be turned down because you don't fit in with the stereotypical blogger image.

As a white, middle-class female I like to think I'm hot on recognising my own privilege. I have had a lovely upbringing, one that wasn't filled with drugs, abuse or violence. I've always had food in my cupboards and shoes on my feet. I recognise just how fortunate I am to have had this kind of upbringing. However, I also have had a childhood filled with trauma and have been extremely mentally unwell at times, as a result of that. 

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