Thursday, 26 April 2018

Pay Day Crushes

If your anything like me then you are probably counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until pay day. I like to make a little list of the things that I have seen and pick something to treat myself with when pay day comes around. Here are some of the things I have my eye on.

Image result for yellow jumpsuit asos tea
I have been looking for a jumpsuit for a while now, as soon as I saw this one on Asos I knew that I just have to have it. Unfortunately it is sold out at the minute but as soon as it is back in stock I will be placing my order. I like how the model is wearing it with heels for a dressed up look but I think it could work just as well with converse and a denim jacket for a more laid back daytime vibe.

Image result for mini ghost perfume
I feel like I need a mini perfume for my hand bag and this size would be absolutely perfect, this scent screams summer to me and is one of my favorites. This one is £8 from Superdrug.

Image result for vans madewell
I think I have a slight Vans obsession at the minute but seriously how cute are these? Madewell and Vans have collaborated to create these camel mix colour block kicks. These would go with so many different outfits and they differ from any others I have seen. These are £49.72 from the Madewell website.

Joico K-Pak Deep Penetrating Reconstructor Treatment
This little bottle is a miracle worker, it has saved my dry damaged hair and given it a new lease of life. I love this product although I am running quite low on it and need to purchase some more. It was recommended to me by a family member which I am very grateful for. Also on a side note it smells amazing. This costs £10.20 from Beauty Bay.

I want this bag so much! I just love everything about it, the cute yellow handles, the toucan embroidery, the rope style strap but most importantly just the fact that it is straw. It is from Topshop and is £26. This would be perfect in summer while at a festival or holidaying somewhere hot. 

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Lovely Little Trip to Edinburgh

Why am I such a rubbish blogger? Ok don't answer that. A few weeks ago (I keep meaning to sit down and write this blog post) I went away to Edinburgh just for a couple of days. I love that city so much, I could genuinely see myself living there. I think I just love how friendly everyone is and the fact that everywhere you turn there is something beautiful to look at. It was really cold and I was constantly on the go to make the most of the time I had there, I smashed the steps on my fitbit. Here are a few pictures from my trip.

Visited my mate Bobby again, I saw him last year when I visited but I couldn't not go as I love the story of Grey Friars Bobby so much and it was a film my Nan loved.

This place is always manic, the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote the first few Harry Potter books. It is so inspiring that it was written or partly written while she was sat having a coffee.

I went to the Scottish National Gallery on my own as nobody else wanted to come with, I didn't mind. It was really cool to go and see it and it made me want to start painting again.

I went for a morning run and this was one of my views, it was nice to run with different scenery. 

There is something about the sound of bagpipes that I find quite relaxing, I don't know why I just quite enjoy it. 

I got a little glimpse of Prince Harry as they were leaving the castle which was really cool.

Finally a picture of my brother and I while out for a meal, it was nice to go away with my family as it has been a long time since the four of us have been away together so hopefully we will get to do that again in a different location. Edinburgh...I will be back again soon...I hope!

Friday, 16 February 2018

R.E.D January Diary - Raising Money for Mind

I decided to do R.E.D January (R.E.D stands for Run Every Day) when I saw it advertised on social media, It wasn't something I had heard of before but I loved the idea of it and that I could raise some money for Mind too. I didn't sign up straight away but once I started to tell people I was doing it there was no going back. I liked the fact that I would be helping myself to get through the January blues whilst raising awareness for Mental Health as well as setting up my just giving page to raise money. I enjoy helping others and also wanted a challenge for myself. I thought I would document my R.E.D January journey as something I can look back on and be reminded of this amazing thing I have achieved.

Day 1...Monday 1st January

The weather was not very kind to me for my first run, it was very wet and very windy but I think that spurred me on to run quicker. It was dark as it was about 5ish in the evening, I don't usually wear a coordinating running outfit however on this occasion I made the effort. The weather was a little off putting, once I was out there though I was absolutely fine. I felt unfit, I think I may have over eaten over Christmas so by the end of January I am going to be so much fitter. I followed the couch to 5k app which I have been following at my own pace.

Day 2...Tuesday 2nd January

I wasn't so keen to go for a run, I went about 6 in the evening. Again the weather was not so great! It rained non stop, I wore my running headband that I got for Christmas. To be completely honest I wasn't that sure about it at first but it kept the wind off my face and kept my ears nice and toasty. I decided to run the reverse route to the previous day just to switch it up and I actually remembered to take water with me which I am usually terrible at. Yay! Day 2 done...29 to go!

Day 3...Wednesday 3rd January

Day 3...Lets do this! I opted for an early morning run before work, it was a nice dry day too. I decided to do a shorter less intense run just round by where I live. Going for a run in the morning isn't usually something I would do as I prefer running when it is completely dark but it gave me motivation for the whole day. As you can see in the picture below I had a nice little bowl of porridge afterwards.

Day 4...Thursday 4th January

I really, really, really, really did not want to go today. I hadn't had the best sleep and all I wanted to do was stay in my bunny rabbit dressing gown curled up with a coffee however that was not an option. I reluctantly put my running clothes on and stepped outside. It was a little windy but there wasn't any rain which was good. I was able to run pretty much the whole time which was progress for me and despite not wanting to go for a run it only took just over 20 minutes out of my day and made me feel better as a result.

Day 5...Friday 5th January

It was just going dark when I headed out for my run, it was so much chillier than I had expected. It didn't look cold outside so I forgot my running gloves and a hat or headband. I followed the couch to 5k app at the point I am up to. I actually really enjoyed it and could have happily stayed out longer, how my Friday nights have changed!

Day 6...Saturday 6th January

I managed to get a quick run in before work, I really liked my outfit today which you can see in the image below. I wasn't sure about the leggings at first but I love them now!

Day 7...Sunday 7th January

I absolutely love going for a run when the sun is just setting, I don't know why it is just my favorite time to go. The pink tones in the sky are so beautiful so I took a few images, it never looks as good as in real life. I was actually motivated to go for a run after work even despite having not really eaten anything, it was absolutely freezing but I just put extra layers on and my running hat. Week one..all done, I can't believe how quickly that went.

Day 8...Monday 8th January

Today was the first day that I didn't want to go, it was absolutely freezing outside and I had been in work all day. I did a shorter run, once I was out there it actually wasn't that bad. I was so excited to get home and have a hot drink.

Day 9...Tuesday 9th January

A nice pleasant evening run, it wasn't too cold either which was good. I really need to change my playlist as Christmas songs keep popping up...oops! I also found that wearing my brothers sock kept my legs so much warmer, I may not have looked as cool but I think I'm ok with that.

Day 10...Wednesday 10th January

I had a really good run tonight, I can't always run for as long as the app I follow wants me to but tonight I smashed it. I changed my route to a slightly flatter one which may have helped. It is so nice to see when I have made progress, it makes me feel like I have achieved something. I ran at a faster pace than usual too!

Day 11...Thursday 11th January

An eventful Day 11 of RED January for me, after a more intense run yesterday I thought I would take it easy today. My legs were quire sore as I don't think I had stretched them out properly, I was running down the road near where I live and went flying landing on my knees and the palm of my hands. I won't show the more graphic images but I grazed my knees quite badly and have cuts on my hands however the thing I was more bothered about was the massive hole in my brand new running leggings that my boyfriend had bought me for Christmas. I looked around to make sure no one had seen which I don't think they had and carried on with my run. I couldn't really concentrate properly after that as it was right at the start of my run but I got through it and am ready for day 12...just about!

Day 12...Friday 12th January

After a traumatic run yesterday I was a little afraid to go out running again I’m not going to lie but I’ve committed to this so I need to complete it. My poorly knees were a bit sore, I managed to run through it and I actually enjoyed today’s run. I wore a brand new pair of leggings which I am kinda in love with. I do love a jazzy running legging, I feel like it makes me run better...right? 

Day 13...Saturday 13th January

Good Morning from Shropshire, I am currently away with my boyfriend and his family. I started the day with a nice run, I thought if I did it at the start of the day I didn’t have to worry about it for the rest of the day and could spend time relaxing with everyone. The scenery was absolutely beautiful, it was nice run in different surroundings.  

Day 14...Sunday 14th January 

Another pleasant run in Shropshire. I tried to convince someone to come along for a bit of company but I didn’t manage to succeed. It was chilly but I enjoyed it, I needed to run off all of the food I have been eating whilst being away. 

Day 15...Monday 15th January

Back home today after a lovely weekend, quite sad to leave but lovely memories made. I went for a run before I had to go to work, it wasn't too pleasant as it rained quite heavily and I wasn't fully in the mood. 

Day 16...Tuesday 16th January

My R.E.D January t-shirt arrived yesterday which I was so excited to receive, I had already been for my run when it came so I wore it today. I absolutely love it, thank you so much Mind. I had a really enjoyable run and made some good progress.

Day 17...Wednesday 17th January

I went for a run with my mum who has just started running. We followed an app at her pace, it was nice having no pressure or expectations and to just enjoy it. It was freezing but I wrapped up well, I enjoyed having a running a partner as I have always ran on my own.

Day 18...Thursday 18th January

I practically had to drag myself out of the door today, I liked my outfit which I always finds helps. A little Instagram upload and I was off, I have managed to reach my target of £100 on my Just Giving page which is absolutely amazing so I have now raised my target which will hopefully be reached by the end of January.

Day 19...Friday 19th January

I went for a run before work, normally I would go on a route where I wouldn't really be seen by people. It is quite deep and complex, to simplify it doing anything that draws attention to myself is something that triggers my anxiety because I have a distorted view on how others will view me. It is something I worked on in my therapy sessions, today I ran along a main road in daylight which may not be such a big thing for some people but for me it is. Initially I decided to commit to R.E.D January to help other people and to raise money for Mind, I never thought it would help me in the way that it has with my own anxieties and mental health.

Day 20...Saturday 20th January

I found it very hard to get motivated for this run, I had been up really early for work and was so tired when I got back home but enough of the excuses. I thought about why I was doing this and that was more than enough to encourage me to get my running trainers on. The weather wasn't actually that bad, I have been out when it has been colder. I hadn't warmed up as I just wanted to get out there but my lower back began to hurt which hasn't happened before, I took it as a lesson and hopefully it will be ok for tomorrow.

Day 21...Sunday 21st January

It had snowed quite heavily in the morning so I had put off going for a run pretty much all day. I finally braved the weather and it was bitterly cold but it actually wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The snow had melted which was good as I was worried about slipping over, I had nipped out earlier and it was really slippy. I think I stepped in about 100 puddles.

Day 22...Monday 22nd January

Nice little run with my bobble hat on, I went for a longer run today and on a slightly different route which always helps to keep it different.

Day 23...Tuesday 23rd January

I stepped out of the door and was pleasantly surprised at how mild it was, I am used to running in the cold resulting in cold ears and a numb face. I wasn't feeling so good but I think the fresh helped with that.

Day 24...Wednesday 24th January

I still wasn't feeling too well, I have a little bit of a cold so that isn't helping to get me motivated. I wasn't having a very good mental health day either, I felt quite low and teary. I managed to pick myself up and go for a run, I felt so much better afterwards. Going for a run manages to clear my mind especially when I need it the most and it just makes me feel so much happier, like I have achieved something for the day. I can't believe there is only a week left of R.E.D January, I think I am going to miss it in a weird way.

Day 25...Thursday 25th January

It started to rain as soon as I left the house but it was only a little shower. I had a good run today, I had a nice relaxing bath last night and I think that really helped especially with the achy leg situation. I'm going to be so sad when R.E.D January is over, as much as there are days when I lack motivation I have really enjoyed doing it. Such an amazing idea and I'm happy it has been so well supported. I have managed to reach my target again on my Just Giving page which makes me so incredibly happy, thank you so much to everyone who has donated. As you can see I am running out of ways to take pictures on my runs.

Day 26...Friday 26th January

I went for a nice little Friday evening run, I always find it strange when I go running on a Friday evening as it makes me think about how they have changed over the years. There was a time where I would be out every single Friday Night without fail with a new outfit on. I enjoyed my run and didn't feel guilty about the pizza I ate afterwards.

Day 27...Saturday 27th January

Got my run in before I had to go to work, I always feel motivated after running and if I run in the morning I find that it sets me up for the day ahead. Below is my I don't want to run in the rain face.

Day 28...Sunday 28th January

It was nice to run in a slightly warmer temperature, even though it was dark in the evening it was pleasantly warmer. I had to force myself out of the door as I may have had a little afternoon nap and was perfectly happy wrapped up in a pink fluffy blanket.

Day 29...Monday 29th January

I went for a morning run despite being put off after looking out of the window, I couldn't think of anything I wanted to do less. There was wind and rain and it was generally a dark day. R.E.D January has helped me to get out there in all weathers, the next time I think oh well it's raining I can't go for a run today I can now remember that I have been out in worse conditions than that and actually once you get out there it isn't that bad. Only two runs left.

Day 30...Tuesday 30th January.

Here I go on my second to last run of the month. It was a little chilly, I'm still not 100% ok with running in daylight. I still have those anxious thoughts telling me that people are staring at me, judging me or reminding me that I could do something embarrassing. CBT had me testing out these thoughts by doing experiments to see what peoples reactions actually were which made it slightly easier for me go out in public. It is still difficult at times but I am going to have bad days, they make the good ones happier.

Day 31...Wednesday 31st January

I made it, we made it, the last run of the month completing R.E.D January. I'm not going to lie, despite it being the last run I really lacked motivation but felt such a sense of achievement once I had arrived back home afterwards. I'm not going to lie it wasn't always easy but remembering the reason why I was doing it made it all worth while. It was amazing to see the amount of people who took part and it helped motivate me to continue to put my trainers on each day. It definitely helped the long month of January be a bit more enjoyable and my mental health improved. This month has taught me that I can do anything that I put my mind to, the hardest part of running honestly was getting out of the door and it also helped with my own anxiety.

Massive congratulations to everyone who took part and thank you to those who donated to my Just Giving page. There is still time to donate, the page will stay open until the end of February. The link to my page is:

Monday, 18 December 2017

Anxiety Journey Update

I thought I would do a little follow up on the post I did about suffering from anxiety and panic attacks. It felt a bit like therapy writing that post, I wasn't even going to upload it as it was just intended for my own benefit. The response I got was quite overwhelming, I had messages and texts of support, messages from people that understood as they have also suffered from this and I just felt like my post helped people.
I want to apologise for not being the best blogger right now, it's hard to focus my attention on something when all I have on my mind is each hurdle I have had to overcome throughout my journey and ultimately my aim is to get better.
I wanted to let you know where I am up to now and the journey I have been on so far which I hope will encourage others to get help if they have this and also ease peoples mind if you are about to embark on the same journey. I'm not going to lie it hasn't been easy but it is darkest before dawn.

After I went to the doctors I received a letter to ring up and make an appointment for an assessment. It took a lot for me to make that phone call. I am not comfortable with making phone calls at all, after 5 days of it being on my mind I eventually made that call and it was absolutely fine and nowhere near as bad as I had built up in my head. The receptionist was nothing but lovely and my top tip would be to have a pen and paper with you to write down your appointment date and time. I think they send you a letter of confirmation anyway but it just helped me as I would have forgotten otherwise.

I was in a good place when I had my assessment as it was the day after I got back from a hen weekend in Ibiza and my mood in the summer is generally higher. I had had a really good time and managed to try and not let my anxiety affect me too much. I went for my assessment which I almost had a break down/panic attack at, I had to fill in a form which was covered in tears. The form is nothing complex it just asks you to rate certain feelings and anxieties. I would take a friend with you if you can or a family member. I didn't actually tell my family so I took my boyfriend with me, he was amazing even when I had a mini breakdown. He was even there for me when I came out of the room which wasn't part of the plan, I was supposed to meet him at his house but as he had seen me so upset he wanted to make sure I was ok. In hindsight I know that it was nothing to worry about, it was essentially just a chat which I found surprisingly easy about how my anxiety affects me and what makes me anxious. As soon as I started talking I felt at ease, even though I didn't know the guy that I was talking to he understood how I felt and was completely non judgemental. After my appointment I couldn't believe how worked up I had got over it as it was nothing to worry about. There are different types of CBT (Cognitive Behavoural Therapy) which is what the assessment is for to point you to the correct therapy for your needs. There is CBT stage 2 which consists of up to six sessions which last up to half an hour or there is CBT stage 3 where you get hour long sessions and you get up to 20 of these sessions. CBT stage 2 was recommended to me and appealed to me more because the waiting list was only a couple of weeks where as stage 3 there is at present a 19 week wait.

A few weeks later I was sent a letter to make an appointment for my first session but when I rang the therapist I was supposed to be seeing was having some time off and I got told that she would ring me. (Again that phone call was really difficult for me to make and took a while for me to gather the courage.)
A few weeks had passed and I hadn't heard anything, I always got scared as on every letter it states if they haven't heard from you after so long you will be discharged which certainly helps to encourage you to ring up. After a lot of tears Marcus rang up for me and an appointment was made with a different therapist.

I was really scared at my first ever appointment, I didn't know what to expect and I had never met the person I was going to be seeing who I obviously won't name. I think I even text Marcus' Mum I was that scared but she reassured me. From what I remember the first appointment was a bit of a blur but it was a bit of an assessment of what I find difficult and why. I got homework at the end of the session and an email address for if I needed any help or support.
I had 5 of these sessions all together spread over 3 months. They were quite brief and I felt as though there was always so much more I wanted to say and I wasn't really getting to the route of my anxiety. During session five I discussed how my mood had dipped and how that was making my anxiety worse, we decided that I probably wasn't going to reach recovery which was the end goal and that stage 3 CBT would be the next step. I hadn't anticipated that it was going to be my last session so I went and got a thank you card and dropped it off a few hours later just to thank the therapist that had helped me.

My mood progressively got worse throughout the winter as it always does and so did my anxiety. My medication helped to a point, it was the best winter I have had in a long time anxiety and mood wise but still it wasn't that great. I got a letter a few weeks later to arrange an appointment for a CBT workshop which without attending you won't be able to have the CBT. I attended this in January, there were around 12 of us all together and it lasted a couple of hours. It basically explained how to get the most out of CBT, it talked about planning goals and also talked about looking after ourselves properly

Finally a few months later in April I got a phone call which I had missed and an email from the person I had seen at CBT stage 2. They were training at the next stage and wanted to know if I would be happy to have sessions with them again. I was so happy and excited to be getting help again and relieved that it was with someone I already knew. I had 20 one hour sessions which ended a couple of weeks ago, the first few sessions I was assessed and talked about what I find difficult, the way in which I think and the things I avoid. I was in the middle of having general anxiety and social anxiety but we decided to go down the treatment route of social anxiety as this seemed worse. Be prepared for lots of homework which I actually enjoyed, say goodbye to any safety behaviours and get ready to put yourself in the situations you would usually avoid. I don't really want to go into too much detail of my sessions as I am sure everyone's CBT treatment will be different to be adapted to them and their anxieties. I had some weeks where I felt like I was progressing and couldn't wait to go in there and show off my homework but there were also weeks I felt like giving up and would cry my eyes out in front of my therapist. I feel like I came such a long way during the time that we worked together and I have been doing things I never thought I would be able to do. I am scared of going back to the way that I was so it is so important that I keep going out of my comfort zone which is something I find quite difficult. Half way through CBT I was suffering from really low moods and had to re visit my GP to have my dose of medication reviewed. I am now on a higher dose which has helped with my mood. There is also another thing I have started to do since I started the sessions which is running, I used to run when I was younger but hadn't ran for years until I was told that it could really help with my anxiety. I thought I would give it a try but never in a million years thought it would work, my mind feels clearer after I have been for a run and I feel like I have achieved something. It somehow manages to improve my mood and makes me feel more motivated. I started by using the couch to 5k app which I think is really good, I am able to see my progress and if I am unable to go for a run after a couple of days I start to miss it.

I really wish I could say that I am all fixed now and that CBT has solved all of my problems...however, the reality is that I still feel like I need some more help. I have come such a long way and am so grateful for all of the treatment I have received but I just felt like my sessions ended and I was left to fend for myself. The idea is that I am now able to act as my own therapist and review my own progress but I have no idea how to do that and how to improve my mood when it is low. My anxiety is not so great at the minute and I am finding work quite difficult. I have found it really hard to adapt from having someone there for me for the last 8 months then suddenly having nobody to turn to. There are still some strong beliefs that need working on so hopefully another trip to the doctors will be helpful in making that happen so that I can carry on from where I left off. Everyone's case is different and what works for one person may not work for another. I wanted my story to encourage people to get the help they need as ignoring it will only make things worse. If one thing that you try doesn't work then it is about finding the treatment that does, it may take longer and more trips to the doctors but it is better than giving up and feeling this way forever.