28 September 2017

15 Reasons why Autumn is the best season

15 Reasons why Autumn is the best season

15 Reasons why Autumn is the best season

15 Reasons why Autumn is the best season
I know that I'm a lil behind on this one and everyone has already chatted about it, but as the days really are starting to get darker I thought we could all do with a pep me up and a reminder that there are definitely things to be enjoyed at this time of year. 

27 September 2017

What was starting to take Citalopram like?

What was starting to take Citalopram like?

Before I head off into this I'm just gonna give a lil bit of background into the medication I'm talking about. Citalopram is an SSRI anti-depressant. SSRIs increase serotonin levels in the brain, and as a result can improve your mood. Citalopram was offered to me to help overcome my anxiety and issues with self-harm. Now that I've been taking it for a few years and have finally started to cut down on my intake a little, I thought I'd have a chat with you all about what it was like to start taking this anti-depressant. Citalopram isn't always used for depression and anxiety, but this is what I was given it for.

I would like to say that I was concerned with the side effects of taking tablets every day that were designed to alter my mood, but that would be a lie. Something needed to change and I'd tried so many different things, but I was really, truly struggling. I was excited to try and see what would happen if I went on them. 80% of me was convinced that they'd be my miracle fix. The other 20% was petrified that I wouldn't feel any different.

Citalopram takes a little while to work. You're generally advised to give it up to a fortnight before you see some change. In the first two weeks of taking it you can experience suicidal thoughts. I told my housemates at uni and my boyfriend that I was going to start taking these anti-depressants, and asked them to keep an extra eye on me over that period to make sure my behaviour wasn't drastically changing. 

Luckily I didn't experience this side-effect, but the medication didn't have an instant effect like I was hoping it would either. For a couple of weeks I felt the same in terms of my mood, or even a little lower than normal because I was so disappointed. However, gradually my moods evened out. After a few weeks when I felt really low I didn't feel as low as I had done before. I was so worried that this would also mean that I wouldn't feel as happy as I had done before when I was in a good mood, but it was all fine.

In terms of side effects, the really noticeable difference was my sleep. I was so tired those first few weeks that I don't think I made it through a single day without napping (although let's face it, I was a second year uni student, so napping was my daily respite from life). This is the one thing that's really stuck around. I always take my pill before bed to help me get to sleep easily, but I've noticed that since I've cut down on my dosage a bit I'm a lot less drowsy during the day. 

To put it neatly, taking Citalopram was what I needed at the time, and still need today. There's no shame in taking anti-depressants, and I hope this post can help anyone whose doctor has suggested that they start taking this medication.

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26 September 2017

Homesense sheet masks (that actually work!)

Homesense sheet masks (that actually work!)

Sheet masks were something that I used to look at as a bit of a gimmick. I mean, they're fun to do with a friend as you chuckle at the way that the mask doesn't quite fit anyone's face just right, but they've never actually done anything for my skin. Or at least they hadn't before.

HomeSense is a treasure trove of weird and wonderful beauty products. After trawling the web for SO LONG, I've still not managed to find these anywhere online. Which 100% has not frustrated me at all. 

The masks come in a set of four; two charcoal and two tea tree ones. The former aims to detox your pores, whilst the latter clears your complexion up. I love both of them. My skin has seen so many breakouts recently, and I can feel that my pores are clogged up with a whole lotta gunk too. These sheet masks left my skin feeling completely cleaned out, weren't abrasive and definitely reduced the appearance of my pre-existing spots. 

These were totally a win, so excuse me whilst I frantically search through HomeSense to find a whole batch to stock up on.

What sheet masks would you recommend?

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24 September 2017

How to help someone with SAD

How to help someone with SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka SAD) impacts a great number of us, and starts to kick in around this time of year. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a term used to describe a condition in which you feel low in mood, and in which existing mental health problems become more intense during the winter months. 

SAD is such a natural thing to be inflicted by. As humans, we're used to living in a circadian rhythm, which essentially refers to the idea that we rise with the sun and go to sleep with it too. We also used to spend the majority of our time outside, hunting and gathering and all that kinda jazz. With modern work days often forcing us to leave the house in the dark and come home in the dark, our bodies are totally out of sync with their natural rhythms, and as a result, our mental health suffers. 

Whilst it feels like so many people are welcoming Autumn in with open arms, the start of this season can bring with it a heightened anxiety in people suffering from SAD. So, here are a few things you can do to help a friend or loved one suffering, or yourself!

1.) Keep in touch. Summer seems to be the time for lots of activities and get-togethers, and it can make Autumn/Winter feel a little more lonely. Give someone a ring, Facetime them or just catch up with a message on Whatsapp. Remind them that you're thinking about them, and that the start of darker evenings doesn't mean that you can't hang out or have fun.

2.) Make your home more hygge. This obvs is one to help someone you're living with rather than a friend. Get all the cosy throws out, pop fairy lights around the place and take time out of your day together to have a hot drink and mull things over.

3.) Talk about SAD itself. Read up on what it is and the symptoms of it. If your friend/family member seems to always get really low in mood, tired and irritable around this time of year, talk to them about the possibility that they may be suffering from SAD, and whether they would benefit from visiting a doctor.

4.) Buy a SAD lamp or Lumie light. This isn't a #spon (although I wouldn't be adverse to the idea because I LOVE my Lumie clock). SAD lamps are a form of light therapy that can help sufferers to boost their mood. Me and my partner have a Lumie light and it's wonderful for fighting that feeling of utter dread when you have to force yourself out of bed on a dark winter morning. You set yourself an alarm (which FYI you don't actually have to have a noise for, which I adore), pop it on each evening, and in the morning the light will start to get brighter half an hour before your alarm is due to go off. In this way, it mimics a sunrise and helps you wake up a little perkier because your body feels as though it's getting a proper rhythm of waking up as the day gets brighter. You can also do the opposite in the evening to mimic a sunset. 

5.) Open all the curtains/blinds in the house. This is such a tiny thing that you can do, but it makes a massive difference. Days are getting shorter, and the more natural light you have shining into your home, the better. 

6.) Let someone be sad. This is sad as in unhappy this time. It's okay to feel shitty over the next few months. Let your friend, partner, co-worker or whoever it is cry it out with you. Be that shoulder to lean on, have a cup of tea and watch a cute film. Whatever you can do to help, even if it's just being there to make sure they get up in the mornings, do it.

7.) And then help them to change things. Mental illnesses are tough and unavoidable, but there are things you can do to improve things. Whether it's actually going to see what a GP can do to help, or joining a club that they've been wanting to join for months, see exactly what your friend would like to do to make things a little easier.

Do you suffer from SAD? What do you find helpful?

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23 September 2017

Trying out LUSH's Soak and Float solid shampoo

Trying out LUSH's Soak and Float solid shampoo

Trying out LUSH's Soak and Float solid shampoo

Dandruff has been the absolute bane of my life for the past few months. It started off with a lil bit of scalp sunburn and never really recovered. Brill. I've been desperate to try anything and everything to help out with it (hmu with your suggestions) and have finally found that using this solid shampoo and a weekly coconut oil hair mask improves the situation, even if it doesn't totally get rid of it.

I've been trying to cut down on my plastic waste recently too, so for the past six months or so now I've only been using LUSH solid shampoos. Soak and Float is their one that targets dandruff, which is obvs what I really need. It's full of cade oil to nourish the scalp as well as marigold and rose petals to soothe redness. 

Those marigold and rose petals? Yes, they get in the way a little when you're trying to rinse your hair but oh my god they smell AMAZING. As in full on dreamy. Using this shampoo bar feels like an absolute treat because it makes my hair smell like some sort of goddess' locks after I use it. 

I won't lie, it hasn't had any sort of 'miracle' effect on my dandruff. But, it has made my scalp stop feeling tight and itchy, which is a massive win in my book. So, if you're suffering from dandruff I'd definitely recommend giving this a go to help treat your scalp. But, in terms of a complete remedy for it? I'm still on the hunt ....

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22 September 2017

Dealing with a parent remarrying

I've been putting off writing this all day. I've cleaned my pets out, cooked a full on from-scratch kinda dinner, searched for a new place to move to and finally resorted to a bath to relax and actually do something enjoyable with my Friday night. 

My parents' breakup is something that I've never spoken about on this blog. To be quite honest, I'm not sure if I ever will talk about the ordeal itself. I've waited a long time to allow myself to be rational and fair with my thoughts on the matter. Today's post has been plaguing me for months, but until I experienced the 'big day' and had time to think about it in a detached manner I didn't want to write this. Ultimately, I'm writing this post so that young people going through this will have some tips on how to handle it; me writing this post from a negative space wouldn't help me and it wouldn't help anyone else either.

So, last month one of my parents got remarried. It's something that you never envision yourself attending. I mean, I've always thought about my parents being at my wedding, but the idea of going to one of theirs was just something that I never dreamed of.

At first I had no idea how to react. In all my wildest imaginings, I never thought up a protocol of what I'd do if this happened. Which is strange because my little anxious mind thinks up a protocol for everything. I assume this event seemed so out of the sphere of reality that it never occurred to me. But, all of a sudden it was a reality and I had to face it

None of my closest friends have gone through this as an adult, and I felt so isolated when I was trying to come to turns with it. Everyone's advice was something I just wanted to bat away because they couldn't understand if they hadn't been through it. Luckily for me, I have a sister that I'm incredibly close to who knew exactly how I was feeling and who was there to talk things through with. 

This post is here for everyone who doesn't have someone going through a parent remarriage with them, and who has no idea how to handle it. Here are some things that I've found useful over the past few months, or have learnt to avoid. 

Discuss what exactly is happening with the parent who's getting remarried. This is a major one. I kept my feelings about the whole situation hidden for months and it finally wore me down until I felt downright miserable. Tell them how you're feeling: are you happy, or concerned about how your life might change because of it? Let them know how it's impacting you. Think about what you want from the day: do you want to be involved or in the background? Give them something to work with so that they can make the day better for everyone.

Bring a close friend, partner or family member with you on the big day. It's so nice to have part of your support network with you. It means that you won't be left alone to dwell on things that you may find upsetting, and you've got a shoulder to cry on, or someone to celebrate with if you need to.

Avoid surprises. Find out the colour scheme, plan of the day, etc, for the wedding. Things can go downhill so quickly if what you've emotionally prepared yourself for isn't actually what's going to be happening.

Wear something that makes you feel hella-confident. Whack out your favourite makeup, prettiest dress and even your lucky pants. That little extra pep in your step might be exactly what you need. 

Don't cause a scene. If you think drinking might make you a bit more feisty, then avoid it. If something's upsetting you about the day, speak to your parent privately. In the end, you don't want to remember the day as being one where you publicly spoke out against something you actually agree with now.

Take some family photos. It's a tough day, and you might be finding it a bit hard, but it's one of your parent's best days ever. Let them have that photo together, and every time you look at it it'll remind you that you put their needs first when it mattered and supported them. 

Remember that it's okay to get upset. Before the wedding, during the wedding or after. It's absolutely fine. It's a life-changing day for you in which your family structure is changing forever. Allow yourself to grieve for the way things used to be. 

I really hope this helps any of you going through this, and if you ever want more advice on the topic then feel free to drop me a DM on twitter! 
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21 September 2017

Cosmetic Warrior LUSH Fresh Facemask

Cosmetic Warrior LUSH Fresh Facemask

Fresh face masks from LUSH are kinda my own personal skin saviour. I've noticed a massive (downhill) difference in the state of my skin now that I've been using them less frequently over the past few months, and I definitely need to get back into the swing of things. But, for now, we're chatting all about LUSH's Cosmetic Warrior face mask. I did a big roundup of all the LUSH face masks I'd used (which is scarily almost all of them) a few months back, but I hadn't picked this up before, so it escaped the post, which you can read here

This wasn't the nicest smelling LUSH mask I've ever used - I think Oatifix wins that category - but, the effects of it outweighed the slightly strange odour. It smelt very fresh with a little tang, which I can only assume is a combination of the tea tree and garlic in the mask. The mask also contains honey and egg, so it's one of the few LUSH products that isn't suitable for vegans

I've got super sensitive skin, and one of the main properties of this mask is its cooling effect. It worked as a little bit of a gentle scrub as well as helping to calm my skin, which made my skin feel as though it had a deep clean without being irritated. 

I loved this mask, and will be repurchasing it in the future when I feel as though my pores need a good ol' clean out without using something too abrasive. 

What's your go-to face mask? Have you tried any of the new LUSH jelly masks yet?

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20 September 2017

August favourites and life update

August favourites and life update

August favourites and life update

August favourites and life update

August favourites and life update

August favourites and life update

August favourites and life update
August was an incredible month for me (and September's turning out to be even better eeeek). I know this post is massively overdue (just like last months, ooops), but as I said then, I love writing these posts and having a little catch up. So even if no one reads it, I still can look back and see what was going on for me.

In August I got my dream job. I've been searching for something new for what feels like forever, but is actually five months. Early in August I accepted a job at a place that was definitely not the dream, but was a step up from where I was. However, 2 days in I got offered the dream from a company that I'd interviewed at a few months previously. Yes, it was awkward, and after 4 days of my new job I quit. But, when an opportunity like this presents itself, you can hardly say no. 

I'm unbelievably happy and enjoying the new job so much. It feels like a perfect fit for me, and I'm finally actually doing something with my degree. It's been a bit tough getting used to a routine - I'm not sure how I feel about the early mornings yet, but overall it's fab.

I also visited Brighton for the first time in August and it was everything I had hoped for and more. We picked up the dreamiest 21st birthday cake for my sister from Choccywoccydoodah and had the best few days exploring the city. 

I've waffled on about my life for long enough now, so let's get down to the favourites.

I re-read Harry Potter 1 and 2 last month and 100% fell back in love with the world of Hogwarts. I now can't wait to read the rest and also I want to buy allll the merch I can get my hands on. Primark, here I come!

Autumn is starting to creep in now (finally), and when my mum popped down to visit she treated me to the most gorgeous little brown ankle boots from New Look. I love the gold detailing on them and they're comfy enough for my long-ass half hour walk to work. Win win.

I've got a few little beauty bits to chat about this month because I'm trying to get a skincare routine in place again. Send tips and advice on that one pls.

I am totally obsessed with my Bath and Body Works lavender and sandalwood shower gel. I got it when I was over in the States and it's the best thing I've ever smelt. It's a perfect little morning treat that keeps me relaxed as I get ready for work. I'm still praying for the day that B&BW comes to the UK and then I'm going to order this in by the boatload.

Another skin care related favourite is Korres' yogurt hand cream. I've spoken about this in more detail here, but I'll just say that it's very thick and creamy, so has been doing wonders at keeping my hands happy and chap free. 

My last beauty favourite is something that I honestly might have talked about before, but it would have been quite a while ago. I recently got back into using my Monsoon Rose Gold perfume, and remembered why I used it in the first place. It's such a sophisticated (for me) scent, and I love it. The bottle is small enough to slip into your bag easily and it's a subtle scent that manages to linger all day, which is exactly what I want. 

Aaaand my final favourite is the Zoella Lazy Days candle. This has become my go-to 'I'm having a pamper in the bath' candle because of its musky autumnal scent. It makes me feel completely zen, and I'm so glad I've got a couple of these tucked away around the house!

I filmed a quick favourites video for my Youtube channel too. Check it out below:


What were you loving in August?

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18 September 2017

3 bloggers whose content I've been loving this month

3 bloggers whose content I've been loving this month

I love sitting down to write these posts. They remind me of all the great posts I've read in the last month, and really help me think about why I love the blogging world. There are some people who are absolutely KILLING IT at the moment and I can't not share the love. I mean, my picks for this month (which was totally meant to be August, oops, I'm still behind), are three ladies whose blogs you absolutely HAVE to read. Like now. You won't regret it.

First up is someone I've mentioned before, but couldn't resist including again because her posts (and Insta stories) have been so damn funny and on point in the last month and a half. Nikki from Love Laughs Lipstick tells it like it is and it's so refreshing. Her post on '20 reasons why Autumn is sh*t' had me genuinely loling. I love Autumn, but you gotta appreciate the hilarious cynicism Nikki portrays in her writing, and I definitely agree with her on some of the points! 

Next up is Nicole from A Beautiful Chaos. I hardly know where to start with her blog and I'm honestly so surprised she's managed to escape being included in one of these little round-ups so far. Nicole is a mental health guru. She tackles key issues and taboo subjects on a regular basis and I honestly wonder how one person can manage to cover such a broad variety of mental health topics. From learning about CBT to how the internet can impact your mental health, if you want to understand more about mental illness then Nicole has your back. Her recent post on 'Not being ill enough to to be good enough' voiced thoughts that have been plaguing me for years that I'd never be able to put to paper with a tenth of her skill.

And finally we have the queen of the blogosphere, Hannah Gale. I'm obsessed. I don't think I've ever come across a blog where every single post screams out at me to read it. One quick glance at all the topics she covers so eloquently will show you why she won Blogger of the Year at the Blogosphere Awards recently. As well as growing a human baby (eeek), she posts about important lifestyle topics alongside giving some much needed heads-ups about all the new fashion you need to know about. Fab new slogan tee out? Hannah's got your back. Her post titled 'my relationship with alcohol' has made me think so much about my own relationship with drinking and how it's changed over the past few years.

This girls are all 100% worth checking out if you don't follow them already! Who else have you been loving recently?

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17 September 2017

Did my mental illness make me a monster?

Did my mental illness make me a monster?

Looking back on times when my mental health was at its worst, all I can think of as an answer to this is 'yes'. But in reality, it's a no.

16 September 2017

A First Look at My Zoella Christmas Lifestyle Picks

Zoella Christmas Lifestyle picks

Zoella Christmas Lifestyle picks

Zoella Christmas Lifestyle picks

Zoella Christmas Lifestyle picks

Zoella Christmas Lifestyle picks

Zoella Christmas Lifestyle picks

Zoella Christmas Lifestyle picks

Zoella Christmas Lifestyle picks

Zoella Christmas Lifestyle picks

Zoella Christmas Lifestyle picks

Zoella has been releasing a wave of new products recently, and whilst it's been seen with a backlash of anger at pricing and the sheer volume of ranges, this is one range that I really wanted to try. I agree that some of the products were overpriced, and I'm not sure why her marketing team thought it was a good idea to release summer beauty, general lifestyle, Christmas lifestyle and Christmas beauty in a matter of weeks (SURELY sales would have been better if it was spread out?!), but I'm totally feeling the hype for this range. This is the one I was genuinely excited for, and I've picked out some fab products which don't bear a shocking price tag.

I've been SO excited to share this post with you, and these pictures have got me feeling all the Autumn vibes. For real though, the cosy vibes mug is something that I already know I'm going to use all the time. I'm ready to fill it with hot chocolate and hundreds of mini marshmallows on chilly evenings. It's such a nice size, and the design of it feels so me. Cosy vibes are what I'm allll about, and I've got a feeling you might see this used as a blog prop all over my Insta over the next few months. 

Candles are kinda my thing (says me and every other blogger ever). I've got a cute little collection of them and I find lighting a couple around my office the best thing for getting a happy, productive vibe going. Zoella's Festive Cookie candle smells incredible. It reminds me a little of Yankee Candle's Snowflake cookie (which I LOVE), but just less sweet. If you've got any of the last lifestyle collection candles from Zoe, then this one is a bit bigger than them, and has a bit of a stronger scent. I'm kinda in love with the packaging - there's nothing cuter than tiny little gingerbread men - and the gold design makes it feel fairly luxe. 

On the candles front I HAD to get the cosy Christmas sock and candle set. And this time it wasn't particularly for the candle. These socks are one of my favourite things I own. Seriously. They're the same ones that she released last year and I've honestly never put anything more comfy and cosy on my feet. So much so that I genuinely save them for days when my mental health is low as a kind of 'treat yourself' moment. They're soft and warm and just trump any other bed socks I've ever tried. FYI, the candle in this set is fab too. It smells like a Christmas tree and the design reminds me of a Christmas jumper, which is hella cute. 

My final pick was my only stationery one. I've got so many notebooks and cute stationery bits at the moment that I didn't need anything else from this part of the range. But, now that I've got my new job I wanted a desk calendar, and the 'This is Your Year' Zoella one has motivational quotes for each month. It's exactly the kind of calendar I had in mind, and I love the fact that you can pop each card in and out easily, so it's perfect for using as an Insta prop at the start of the month! 

I've filmed a first look at/unboxing of my picks from the range over on my Youtube if you fancy a watch:


Have you bought anything from the range?

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12 September 2017

Does mental health blogging worsen stigma?

Does mental health blogging worsen stigma?
The title of this post seems like a total contradiction, I know, but hear me out on this one. I've been mulling over this idea for months now, and it's bothering me more and more. Mental health blogging is definitely a big step forward in the world of stigma in some ways. It encourages discussion on taboo topics such as less well-known mental illnesses, self-harm, addiction, and a whole range of other diverse sub-topics. But, as more and more people start to talk about it, there seems to be more vitriol surrounding the subject. 

11 September 2017

Dealing with weight gain part seven: staying body positive whilst trying to lose weight

Dealing with weight gain part seven: staying body positive whilst trying to lose weight

Can you believe I've actually stuck to something long enough to give it seven installments? I've spread out this series over the past two years now, and each piece tackles something that I've really struggled with to do with my weight gain. You can have a read of all the previous posts here (I've linked them all in the last post).

10 September 2017

KIKO's gel face wash for combination/oily skin

KIKO's gel face wash for combination/oily skin

KIKO's gel face wash for combination/oily skin
I'm a big fan of KIKO's makeup, but to be quite honest I had no idea that they did skincare until very recently. They've got a whole range of bits and pieces for different types of skin, and now that I've tried this face wash out I'm definitely going to look more into what else they offer!

9 September 2017

What happened when I went cold turkey on my antidepressants

What happened when I went cold turkey on my antidepressants

I've been taking anti-depressants for three and a half years now. They're so SO helpful; I honestly don't know where I'd be, or what I'd be doing without them. But, about a year and a half ago now, I got sick of taking them. I was out of work because my mental health was bad, and I thought that they were making me put on weight. I convinced myself that I was 'better' and so when my prescription ran out I simply didn't refill it. 

8 September 2017

16 things you'll only know if you've worked as a waitress

16 things you'll only know if you've worked as a waitress

Waitressing is something that I always thought I'd hate. But, as it turns out, it's something that I love doing ... most of the time. As I've ended my waitress career for the time being (RIP), I thought I'd share this fun little post on things you'll only know if you've been a waitress/waiter too. 

1.) Within 5 minutes of a customer being in a restaurant you already know whether they'll be difficult or not. You're not fooling anyone hun.

2.) The pain of polishing cutlery. NOT. OKAY.

3.) The joy of having a regular customer who actually tips.

4.) The rage that pops up when someone 'kindly' says to keep the change and you realise it's 15p.

5.) The horror of dealing with chefs on a hot day.

6.) The way that customers seem to think that chefs are reasonable people who actually care about what the customer really wants.

7.) The intense pleasure of pouring an absolutely perfect pint, mmm.

8.) The hilarity of a 'posh' customer asking for a pinoT griGio, pronouncing all the letters.

9.) The annoyance of having to remind customers that no, you are not personally responsible for creating the food and so, no, they shouldn't be shouting at you.

10.) Just how angry people get about food.

11.)  The fact that you and your fellow waitresses gotta be sisters with each others backs. You're working all the time and you need someone to keep on your side of heated customer debates.

12.) The fact that the customer is almost always wrong.

13.) Having to pretend that you're the one who's a little slow on the uptake so the customer doesn't think you're (rightfully) blaming them for the problem. This happens more than you would think. 

14.) The fear of carrying a massive tray of glasses around small children running around. Because if one of them trips up, you know whose fault it's gonna be ...

15.) The myth-busting of the fact that young people are rude. If there's a rude customer, 90% of the time they are definitely not a young person. 

16.) How nice it is to put your feet up at the end of the day. PURE. BLISS. 

This is obviously a bit of a tongue-in-cheek blog post, and isn't meant to offend anyone.

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6 September 2017

I FINALLY got my dream job

I FINALLY got my dream job

I've got some pretty exciting news to share with you all, and I'm sure you've guessed what it is from the title by now, but I just wanted to touch base on this one. I love discussing things I'm passionate about on my blog - that's what it's really here for - and this is something that I feel so intense about. I've spoken briefly about it here and there, but basically, after months of fruitless searching, I finally landed myself the kind of job I've been dreaming about since I was 15.

5 September 2017

7 reasons to get excited about the start of a new term

7 reasons to get excited about the start of a new term

7 reasons to get excited about the start of a new term

7 reasons to get excited about the start of a new term

The start of a new term (be it at school or uni or college) can be hella daunting. It's something that can cause a lot of anxiety and even a bit of a mental health flare-up. But, if you're in need of a little pick-me-up this week as you go back to school/college or prepare for university, I've got a list of good things about a new term that *hopefully* will help ease some of the concern. 

1.) New stationery. Folders, pens, pencils, notebooks, the list goes on. There's SO much beautiful stationery out there to help get you motivated. Having a fresh start with a set of new things can really help to settle you into the idea that no matter what happened last year, you've got a fresh slate now.

2.) You get a routine back. It feels nice being away from having to do things in a set pattern every day, BUT, it means that you have to structure your own day, which can be quite draining. A new term means a new daily plan that you can stick to and keep your life in order.

3.) You're far away from exams. The beginning of an academic year = not having exams. You can take your time to adjust to the syllabus. Plus, the stress of examinations is not on top of you whilst you settle back in to an academic routine.

4.) It's a chance to start afresh academically. You've had a long break, and now it's time to get stuck in. Last year's results can always be improved upon, and you can leave them behind you. This is your year to shine.

5.) You've got your mentors back. Whether they're teachers, personal tutors, or members of a mental health team, you've got a support network back in place that you can see whenever you need them.

6.) Learning. I know, I know, this isn't *too* exciting, but if you're heading into your A-Levels or uni, you get to study subjects you love (and if you don't love them, you might need to think about what you're gaining from the experience). 

7.) If all else fails, it's not too long until half term/reading week. I went through periods of really hating and really loving being in education. Sometimes going through a whole day seemed too hard, and crossing it off on my calendar as I edged towards a break felt like such a weight off of my shoulders. If you are really struggling with the idea of going back, then talk to someone about it, and see what help you can get. 

What are you excited for?

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4 September 2017

Mental Health Resources Available to you at University

Mental Health Resources Available to you at University
It's that time of year again: kids are back in school, and students are getting ready to head back to uni, or go for the first time. University can be incredible daunting, and even if you're excited about going, it can have an impact on your mental health. 

I was ecstatic to be going to uni. I was ready to embrace my new-found freedom, study a subject I loved and create a whole new me. At the time, it seemed like it would only help my mental health problems, but in reality they got worse before they got better. The freedom I found allowed me to engage in more self-destructive behaviours, with no one who knew me to keep an eye on me. I really needed help, and thankfully I found a good set of friends to keep me in check, but I totally relied on the resources my uni offered to help keep me afloat.

So, if you're worried about losing your support network from home, or think you'll be struggling with your mental health when you start uni, here are some really important resources that may be available. Every institution is different, so I'll cover as much as possible, but just be aware that you might not have access to all of these.

1.) Nightline. This is one of the best services some universities offer IMO. Nightline is open at night, and trained students are there to talk through any problems with you. You can email them, text them, call them, or drop in to wherever your Nightline is. It's a completely safe space. If seeing or talking to someone out loud makes your anxiety flare up then this is a great option. It also means that if anything goes wrong on a night out, or you feel alone and concerned, there's always somewhere to go where you'll be looked after.

2.) GPs. They can be a bit hit and miss, granted, but student GPs tend to be more aware of mental health problems that being at uni can exacerbate. They can also refer you onto other services like CBT (read about my experiences with it here) and CRISIS teams.

3.) Student counselling. This is something I was too nervous and unstable to take up when I was at uni, but I wish I had. Most institutions offer some form of counselling, and often they have a variety of forms. There can be one on one, group and email counselling. Look into what your university offers to see what would fit your needs most.

4,) Talk to your personal tutor or resident tutor. If you feel unsafe, or think your MH is going to start affecting your ability to do work, then talk to a mentor. They can advise you on how to proceed, and, if you need it, authorise things like deadline extensions.

5.) Visit a MH drop in centre. These offer you the chance to head into a safe space a couple of times a week to talk confidentially about what's affecting your mental health. 

6.) Call the Samaritans or 111 if you're struggling and nothing else is available at that time. The Samaritans is an invaluable resource. They're able to answer emails as well as phone calls, and are all fully trained on how to deal with crisis situations. They're there 24/7 and no call is unimportant: if you feel unsafe with yourself and your mental state, then contacting them can be incredibly useful. Their number is 116 123.

I really hope this is helpful! 

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