28 July 2017

The responsibility of being a mental health blogger

The responsibility of being a mental health blogger

I LOVE writing about mental health. I love challenging people's stereotypes about MH sufferers, I love spreading awareness and I love tackling taboos. It's something I bring everywhere I go. I chat about it in the workplace, in my relationship, with my friends, on social media and of course on my blog.

BUT

I definitely feel inhibited in terms of chatting about it on my blog. For me, it's my most important platform (even more so than vocally talking about it to people), because it's there on the internet for everyone to see. It's not a conversation that happens and is forgotten, or a tweet that goes missing amidst a sea of thoughts and blog post promos. Instead, it's something that people can look for, and come back to when they need it.

I'm not saying that I think people use my blog as some kind of mental health bible, or that I don't feel comfortable sharing my story on the internet. I firmly believe that personal tales are key to reducing the stigma around mental health, which is why I spoke about my own struggle with self-harm. Instead, I'm saying that I feel an immense amount of pressure to say the right thing. 

Usually I find writing blog posts fun and carefree. I love letting you guys know what kind of lipstick I'm loving at the moment, and I honestly do not feel guilty if someone bought it because of my post and hated it. It's rubbish, but it happens, and it's not my fault that we don't enjoy the same things.

With mental health posts it's different. I read and reread and consider every single word I say. I'm permanently conscious that every word is a potential trigger. My self harm story post was probably the hardest post for me to write for this blog. Not because it re-surfaced old traumas that I'd put behind me, but because I was trapped between not wanting to say too little or too much.

I didn't want to talk in-depth about how awful I found recovery at first; I didn't want to put anyone off attempting it. Equally, however, I didn't want to pretend it was easy; I didn't want anyone trying to recover to think that they were strange or isolated for struggling with recovery. It's exactly this trying to create a balance that makes things hard when writing mental health posts. I want to be honest, but I don't want to trigger people. I want to talk about things in depth, but I don't want to encourage people to do the things I have. I worry that I'm being selfish by not helping others by creating MH posts, and worry that I'm being selfish by using my blog as a space for my own catharsis, when it could trigger other people.

There's so many things I would want to talk about, but know that I would have to spend hours finding the right words, or even deciding whether it's a safe topic to talk about. I want to spread awareness about helping others who are suffering from self-harm. I want to write about how to potentially spot whether someone may be doing it, so that someone could be stopped from taking it one step too far, but I equally know that I would have HATED this when I was struggling; I would have been angry, mortified, and it would have triggered me to be worse. 

I'd love to talk about other mental health concerns. I've had some incredibly close friends that have suffered with eating disorders. I'd love to work to reduce the stigma against these types of mental health issues, but I feel like I can't because I haven't suffered from them myself.

All in all, I'd like to do more, but this concept of responsibility plays on my mind all the time. I want to make things better, not worse and I feel as though it's often a very fine line to tread.

Would you like to see more open or explicit MH posts? Do you blog about MH too? What are your thoughts on the whole notion of responsibility?

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25 July 2017

How to keep a rabbit safe in the summer heat

How to keep a rabbit safe in the summer heat

How to keep a rabbit safe in the summer heat

How to keep a rabbit safe in the summer heat

How to keep a rabbit safe in the summer heat

Before I launch into this (what I consider) very important post, can we just take a minute to appreciate how cute this little floofer is?! His name is Ted. He's an almost 4 year old male cross-breed bunny. And he's the calmest, friendliest lil bun that I've ever cuddled.

I always get worried about him and our other small furries in the warm weather, and the heatwave we had a few weeks ago had me in overdrive making sure he was always okay. If it's hot enough for us to pass out or get ill in, then it's definitely hot enough for your pets to suffer too. So, here are some things you can do to help keep them safe and healthy in the summer sun:

1.) Make sure at least one part of their hutch is always shaded. Most hutches have a 'bedroom' area with an opaque door, but if yours doesn't, then make sure the hutch is positioned so that your bunny can get out of direct sunlight if he or she needs to.

2.) Ensure that their water is always topped up. This seems obvious, but it's important to keep an eye on it. Ted prefers to drink out of bowls rather than bottles, so we fill one up in the morning and top it up in the evening so he doesn't end up thirsty overnight.

3.) Protect them against fly strike. This is really important, and my family had a bunny that actually passed away due to this before we had Ted. Fly strike is more likely to happen in summer as there are more flies about. The flies are most likely to be attracted to your rabbit's anus due to its warmth and wetness. Once there, they will lay eggs in and around the anus, maggots will hatch and they actually eat into your bunny's flesh. We've got a fly strike spray that we use once a week all over Ted's fur. It repels the insects, and can be used as a treatment once fly strike has set in. Obviously if you notice that it has take your bunny to the vets straightaway. Ensuring that their hutch is disinfected weekly and soiled bedding (which attracts flies) is removed regularly helps a lot too.

4.) Brush their fur daily whilst they molt. Ted is actually still getting his summer coat in at the moment. Brushing their fur means that they won't end up with matted fur, and will help them stay cooler, as you brush out their loosened winter coat.

5.) Place a frozen water bottle in their hutch. They can lie against it if they need that little something extra to cool down. I usually place one in a bit of hay so that it doesn't sit directly against Ted's fur. He seems to really enjoy lying against it during the heat of midday. We take it out again in the evening, pop it back in the freezer, and bring it to his hutch again in the morning.

Do you have any small pets? How do you keep them cool?

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21 July 2017

Trying out a bee venom sheet mask*

Trying out a bee venom sheet mask*

Sheet masks really have taken over the entire beauty market recently, as more and more Asian beauty inspired products are becoming popular. I'm still not 100% on them, as I love a good mud mask to de-clog my pores and soften my face. Plus, I have a huge mouth (fo real) and the mouth hole is always too small for me and I end up with the sheet mask liquid in my mouth. Gross.

But, when Shills offered to let me try their bee venom infused sheet mask* I knew I had to try it because when else would I get a chance to use something like this? Plus, I've been obsessed with the idea of trying out a bee venom formula ever since Nip + Fab released a range containing it. 

This hya-dermis mask is designed to give your face a bit of a lift and soften it. I was a little worried that the mask would make my face sting, or at least tingle a little, but it honestly didn't do that at all. It looked and felt similar to any other hydrating sheet mask I've ever used, but I have to say that the formula was quite nice and thick, rather than runny. I imagine this has something to do with the manuka honey in the mask (which totally drew me to it as well). 

I wasn't expecting to suddenly have the shiny face of 12 year old me back, and I'm very glad I didn't, but I did definitely notice some improvements. Once I took it off, I rubbed the excess moisture into my skin, and unlike other sheet masks I've used before *cough I'm looking at you Garnier cough*, it didn't leave my skin feeling sticky or tacky. It felt plump and clean and fresh. 

My skin is really hit and miss at the moment. Some days it's like full on chip shop grease (grim, I know), and others it's like the Sahara desert. Summer is not doing wonders for me at the moment. But, for the few days after I used this, it felt like my skin actually settled down to a happy medium. I would definitely use it again to help my skin find a nice middle ground.

Have you used something similar before?

*Although this post contains a product that has been sent to me, all opinions are my own*

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