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Lifestyle

How Being A Brownie & A Guide Helped Me Grow

Like a lot of young girls, I became a Brownie when I was 7 years old! I can’t remember where I first discovered that they existed but I do remember loving the idea of wearing patches! That and I loved the yellow! Clearly a Hufflepuff before Harry Potter existed! Haha.

I was a Brownie from 7 to 10 and then a Girl Guide from 10 to 14.

I think at a young age I knew how bad my social skills were. To have a place to go once a week and work on important skills was vital to who I became as an adult.

BrowniesPhoto by Pauline Loroy on Unsplash

Brownies

I was taught about how to be social with girls my age and a bit older than me. I’m actually still friends with the Guide who helped me and my Brown Owl! Considering that it’s been a while since I was that young, I reckon that’s good-going. I was able to learn how to be myself, look after myself and others and to have fun! One of the fun things I remember doing is going on nature walks behind the church where we had our meetings.

I fell down the hill into nettles but I quickly learned how to calm nettle stings with doc leaves!

Even when I moved to a new county when I was 8 I was able to connect with the girls there easily. It wasn’t always perfect since I did have a little bit of bullying while I was there, but that was mostly because I was quiet. We got the chance to take camping trips away from home and that was a massive step for me.

I still feel guilty about non-stop crying. Haha! Between being away from my parents for the first time and the creepy Daddy-Long-Legs flying around, I freaked out. My Brown Owl knew what I was like so, instead of sending me straight back to my bed, she made me a hot chocolate and let me butter jam sandwiches for the next day! She was a tough cookie but I respect her so much.

Still feel weird to call her by her first name even when I’m 33!

Guides

The same kind of feeling of being part of something special was there when I became a Guide. It was bittersweet leaving the people I knew when I moved to a different section, but I knew it wouldn’t be long until they followed me.

I’ll admit that I didn’t immediately take to being a Guide because I guess I started to feel like I was getting too big for things like that. It didn’t help that the ladies in charge actually stepped down. I swear we weren’t a bad group! They just couldn’t cope with all the things behind the scenes, I think. Who was the person who ended up in charge of the group next?

My mum!

If there was anyone that wouldn’t put up with my mood-swings, then I would be her. It was fun to see what happened and how things worked through her, though I could tell it was stressful. Being a Guide helped me to escape from the bullying I went through at school and the uncertainity of why I was different to others. I love how it’s evolved over the years since I left like the uniform and The Rangers! If I could do it all over again, I would!

Were you ever a Brownie or a Guide or both? Did you enjoy?

Lifestyle

What I Would’ve Done Different As A Beginner Blogger

Next month (March 18th) marks two years since I started this blog and that’s crazy to me. It only feels like yesterday that I came back to blogging from a two year break! If you put that break aside, I’ve been blogging for over 5 years. So much has changed since I started as a beginner blogger and, even though my style hasn’t really changed that much, I think I’ve gotten better in certain aspects.

With my little anniversary coming up, I’ve had a think back to what I would’ve done differently.

beginner bloggerPhoto by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Posted when I felt I could

Something that seems to come hand in hand with being a blogger is that you have to post often to get any results. I do believe that you have to post something to keep readers interested. They want to know that you’re active enough for them to subscribe/comment!

Back then I would post every day.

I did that for a whole year!

That’s something that blows my mind to this day. How the heck did I come up with posts for every day?! I wish I could go back in time to ask past me to teach me. Haha!

With everything that has happened over the last few years, I have chosen to give myself a break. Instead of forcing myself to write a post that I’m not enjoying to get views, I write when I feel I can. Even with this post I didn’t post it on the day I wrote it. I’d had a rubbish anxiety day so typed to distract and that was it.

Don’t compare don’t compare don’t compare!

I should write a whole paragraph with those two words because they never seem to stick!!

I constantly include this tip on every blogger tip post. It’s difficult not to compare yourself to other bloggers when there are so many of us. Way more than we first started! A lot of people feel like they have to do the same as others to get any traction with brands and that’s not the case. Being a blogger may make it seem like we’re similar but we all have our own voice and niche, even when we’re in the same category.

Though I still compare my blog to the success of others, I’ve made it a rule to be proud of whatever I create and know that I’m unique in my own way.

Been wary of my photography

Like a lot of us who were once a beginner blogger, our photography was pretty shocking. I cringe every time I look back at what mine used to look like.

I cringe at the teeny size of the picture and the low quality. No-one is expecting someone starting off their blog to have all the latest equipment and know-how because that’s just silly. That said it is good to do a bit of reading for tips on how to improve.

I’ve been using tips from JennyInNeverland, various posts on Pinterest and Grow&Glow and I’ve loved learning new things!

Been more confident of what I posted

This kind of goes with the comparing problem.

I always thought that no-one would like my posts and that any comment I did get was one out of pity. I didn’t have much confidence in what I wrote because they were different. No-one else at the time was writing about theatre unless they wrote for The Stage or created posts on fandom unless they worked for Mugglenet.

I’m still not confident in my posts but I’m accepting them for what they are: different. They may not get hundreds of views but that’s okay. People seem to enjoy what I write from the comments I get so yay!

What do you wish you could have done differently as a beginner blogger?

Lifestyle Mental Health

5 Things You Should Try To Do Every Day

do every dayPhoto by Emma Matthews Digital Content Production on Unsplash

Every one was taught as a child to do certain things every day to be healthy. I can remember being taught how to properly brush my teeth at school, eat a balanced diet and even dealing with periods. It was like having a third parents in my life!

The problem is that, as soon as you reach adulthood, things start to lack. You wish that there were lessons for you to do every day to maintain sanity. Those lessons could be super simple or they could be tricky like money! I still don’t get money. I guess it’s a good job that I don’t earn a lot. Haha! I thought I’d try to come up with things to do every day that you might not think of yourself.

Stay hydrated

You would think that this would be a super obvious one to do every day but you’d be surprised! I don’t even do it and I know that I should.

The recommended water intake you’re meant to have is 8 glasses a day. It isn’t that Sometimes you have to be creative with how you take it in. You could have cups of green tea, buy a hydro-flask that tells you times to drink at or just always have water near you. That way you’ll see it when you look up and will be able to sip.

Since you’re reading this post, why not go grab some water now?

Laugh

This is another simple yet tough one to do especially if you suffer from mental health or struggling. Apparently 3-4 years old laugh up to 300 times a day and adults only 17! That’s crazy when you think about it, right? It’s sad that we lose that sense of fun as we grow up. I can understand why since life happens but still sad.

While I doubt we’ll be able to get you laughing as often as a kid, maybe these ideas could help:

  • Watch a comedy film you haven’t seen in a while
  • Watch a cat/dog video
  • Tell a loved one ‘bad jokes’
  • Look back at old photos/watch home videos

Make at least one meal at home

So many of us either eat out or order in and that’s understandable. We have busy lives and don’t always feel like cooking.

You don’t have to make a four course meal! You could easily make something quick like scrambled eggs or a salad. The meal doesn’t have to be hot, just homemade.

Walk 30 minutes a day

Something that has made life easier for me or at least feel accomplished is walking 30 minutes a day.

If my legs aren’t declaring war on me and the weather is behaving, I walk. There is something really relaxing about walking in the sun. You can get away from social media and clear your mind. Not everyone can walk 30 minutes in one go so you could try doing it in 10 minute intervals.

Hug a loved one/pet

Apparently it’s been shown that by hugging someone your blood pressure goes down. Don’t quote me on that but I’m sure I heard that fact on some scientific show! Haha! It could be your pet!

Even though I can’t do this one every day, I do try to visit my local cat cafe once a week to hug cats. They keep me calm and ease my anxiety. If I can have at least one day with being anxious I’ll be happy! You can never go wrong with furry cuddles! Though you have to catch a cat at the right moment.

Talk to someone

It isn’t just the elderly that can get lonely. Any person of any age can suffer from loneliness. I myself suffer with it almost every day since I don’t have any relatives closeby. It’s why I try to take myself out of my flat and do something. I go to craft classes, visit my local library or just walk around town. Along the way I’ll eventually chat with someone and that is a good thing.

Try not to exclude yourself for people. You matter.

Oh, and talk physically! We’re all online way too much methinks!

What things do you think we should do every day?

do every day

 

Lifestyle

10 Sustainable Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas For Her

It’s almost that time of year that you either dread or look forward to and that is Valentine’s Day! I wish life could be as easy for single people since you usually feel a little left out.

Since last year I’ve really found myself thinking. I’ve been reading Greta’s book and it really gets you thinking! There are so many of my favourite bloggers and vloggers who are giving great advice to be more sustainable. My favourite definitely has to be Niomi Smart.

It got me wondering whether I could come up with a gift guide with a difference. It would still be romantic and everything but you would be helping the planet too! I never realised that there were so many easy ways to be sustainable in your life. You could get bamboo straws, glass eco travel cups and more!

Sustainable Valentine's Day

Josephine Thomas Soy Candle | La Aquarelle Eco Sleep Mask | Haoma Organic Perfume | Biodegradable iPhone Case | Kantha Connection Bracelet: Unity, Strength, Hope, Energy, Serenity and Compassion | OneNine5 Wash Bag | Olivia Burton Snowglobe Vegan Watch

You wouldn’t believe that that the pieces in my gift guide were great for the environment! I never realised that big brands such as Olivia Burton had vegan watches so that was a brill find! I hope that these give someone an idea on what to buy their loved one this Valentine’s Day!

I’ll be your eco cupid! Haha!

Josephine Thomas Soy Candle

I first heard about Wearth while reading Vogue and I loved the ethos behind them!

When I think about Valentine’s Day, I immediately think about candles. They’re romantic, right? You see in films a room with lots of candles or a prepared bubble bath. This Josephine Thomas candle caught my eye! It’s rose gold (SO PRETTY!! I kind of have a thing for rose gold items!), it’s a handmade candle with natural soy wax, essential oils and 100% cotton wick!

The fact that it’s made with natural ingredients in the UK and is plastic free make it the perfect candle!

La Aquarelle Organic Sleep Mask

The best gift you can give your wife/girlfriend in 2020?

Sleep!

If it was possible to marry my bed, I would do it in a heartbeat! I might have insomnia but I still love my sleep. Something popular I’ve seen with friends are sleep masks. I’ve heard that they’re great to make everything super dark and relaxing. According to the site, the mask has a choice of 2 natural fabrics: organic cotton jersey or bamboo silk for people with sensitive skin!

Haoma Organic Perfume

Every time I see a woman’s gift guide, there is always a mention of perfume somewhere. Not all the time but there is something special about having a gorgeous perfume. Even the perfume bottle makes a fancy little decoration for your room/bookcase!

The perfume is made from cruelty-free ingredients in a glass bottle (begone plastic!!) and comes in a bunch of fun scents such as:

  • Ylang Ylang
  • Lavender
  • Orange
  • Frankincense & Myrrh

Biodegradable iPhone 11 Pro Case

One thing that we always have in our hands at all times is our phone!

You only have to look around you when you’re out to see someone with their phone. Since that’s the case, some people are a little clumsy and end up breaking the screen. I’ve managed to avoid that (touch wood) but I have to have a case just in case. It protects and also looks fun!

What I find incredible about these particular iPhone cases is that they are not only made of bamboo straw but PBAT bioplastic! That means you’ll be able to compost it at home! Now that’s sustainable at its very best!

You can get different cases depending on what iPhone you have.

Kantha Connection Bracelets

You can blame Jenny (JennyinNeverland) for my interest in these.

She chats a lot about yoga and crystals on her blog and that kind of thinking seemed like an amazing gift to have. I saw these bracelets and the concept behind them is inspiring. The bracelets are sustainably handmade by a group of women in India to improve lives through fair trade.

The beads are made from recycled saris and dhoti scraps. Knowing that you are supporting these women makes my heart feel warm. You can get different bracelets with different attributes so have fun!

OneNine5 Wash Bag

I always saw a washbag as a vintage idea. That could be because I hardly ever travel anywhere so never need to use one. I’ve started looking into getting one though after seeing one of my favourite travel youtubers, FlyWithStella, chatting about hers. It’s amazing how you get influenced by people! I’m doomed! Haha!

The washbag itself is made with an 100% recycled plastic lining. It comes with a detachable airport bag so you don’t have to have single-use plastics! When you’re done with the liquids bag, you can post back to OneNine5 and they’ll recycle it!

Olivia Burton Vegan Watch

The final sustainable gift you could buy for your girlfriend/wife/significant other is this gorgeous Olivia Burton watch. I’ve always wanted one of these watches because they look amazing! All of the designs seem elegant and luxurious. The design on this particular watch is adorable with the deer and it automatically made me think of Snape’s patronus.

Potter on the brain at all times!

The strap on the watch is vegan so score!

What sustainable gifts would you love to get on Valentine’s Day?

sustainable valentines day gift

Lifestyle

4 Strange Habits That Make Me Question My Sanity

habits

This post was inspired after watching of my favourite art youtubers, Emirichu! If you’ve never heard of her or not subscribed, check her out! She’s hilarious and comes out with some amazing stories! Last year she did a video talking about some of the strange habits she has.

We all know that I’m a quirky little spud so is it really a surprise that I have some odd habits?

Not really.

I’ve chatted about habits that I wanted to cut out of my life so I promise that this won’t be as deep as that. To be honest you’ll probably either relate to these or speed-dial my therapist. I can say that now I have one! Haha! If you enjoy this, let me know in the comments because it’ll make me feel less weird!

Double-checking my oven/front door

I swear that my memory has been getting worse as I’ve been getting old. Maybe I need to start doing brain games to keep it alive!

Anyway, I’ve always to double and triple check that I’ve done something. It isn’t that I always forget and more often I not everything is fine, but I get anxious. Both of these have happened at least twice and that has me freaking out that I’ll forever forget. I can remember last month that I seriously triggered my anxiety after convincing myself that I had left my cooker hob on. I gave myself a pretty nasty attack (breakdown and all) and had to postpone an appointment to check.

A tip that I learnt in Emirichu’s video is to make a silly noise after turning off/locking. That way you remember the noise and that means you don’t have to check. I tend to do ‘boing!’ and it does work!

Having to have the volume on an even number

I bet there is something psychological behind this but yeah…

I can’t even remember when I first started needing to have the volume on anything on an even number. I just know that I used to do it when I turned it up and down on my Mum’s car radio. There is something weird about landing on an odd number for me and I’ll admit to cringing when I turned 33 this year!

I’m not obsessed on making it every time because that would make me stressed out but I do it when I’m on my own. It makes me feel better and means that I won’t think about it. I bet that I heard a negative thing about it when I was younger and it must have subconsciously stuck with me!

Bringing the front of a top to my mouth

Okay, this definitely has to have a childhood thing to it! Psychology friends, let me know!

I can’t believe I’m actually admitting this on the internet. I never had a blanket when I was a kid and tended to seek comfort in either a soft toy or in my mum or dad’s side. Contrary to what people might see with me, I love hugs. Well, I love them from people I trust but really squirm when someone I don’t know well touches my arm or shoulder. Makes me shudder just thinking about it.

I did mention this to my psychologist yesterday and she said it’s just what I think it is: a comfort thing. She says that it’s normal for an adult to have one of these and do it without thinking. Usually when you’re watching TV or focusing on something else. I tend to do it more when I’m watching TV or a film. Since we’re all about honesty here, I think there are a couple of reasons I do it.

  • I usually have some of my Mum’s perfume on and the smell makes me feel safe.
  • I like the way a fabric feels against my mouth (a sensory thing)

Use cold water to wash my hands

Not sure if this is one of those strange habits to have but I’m wondering more and more.

The funny thing is that I hate being cold. I prefer to be wrapped up warm or have a hot shower or even wrap myself up in my duvet. Yes, even in the summer! However I only use cold water to wash my hands. Unless I’m out and only hot water is there.

I don’t know if it’s a good thing for my skin and is probably what makes it so cracked but there you go.

Please tell me one of you guys does this too!

What strange habits do you have?

 

Lifestyle

The Importance of Connecting With Other Bloggers

connecting with bloggers

One of the first few things I’ve noticed when someone becomes a blogger is that they don’t realise the importance of connecting with other bloggers. Connecting with bloggers has to be at the top of my list of things new people should know. We spend most of our times by ourselves typing away posts and editing photos, but we also have a social element to it too!

Whether we chat online or at brand events, we meet people.

When I first met bloggers offline, I was terrified. It was my first event blogger event with Crabtree and Evelyn and I had zero clue what to expect. I think I was still expecting to be sent home for not looking ‘blogger enough’ which is just silly. No blogger has a specific image! How many niches can you name that people blog about these days? There are so many.

As hard as I found it connecting with bloggers that I had only spoken to on Twitter, I did it. I was so proud that I pushed myself to do something out of my comfort zone. That was over 4 years ago and I need to figure out if I can do that again. Now I just need to get invited to an event! Haha! Do I need to get myself a neon arrow saying that I’m free?!

Why do I think that it’s important to chat with others?

You meet like-minded people

Let’s start at the beginning of the blog journey.

You have a blog and you want people to read it. The best people to look to are bloggers since we not only love writing posts but reading them too. Some of us have no social lives and I love seeing what other people are up to or feeling.

Who else relates?

I never suspected to find and make blogger friends who loved Harry Potter as much as me and put up with my gif usage too. They even read my posts and comment which still makes me happy to this day. It might take a little time to gather around you that group of people but it’ll be worth it. Though, knowing us, you’ll find people like you within a day!

You get help with any problems

Since there are so many of us, there will be at least a handful of people who will be able to help you out if you needed it. There have been so many times when I’ve gone on Twitter to rant a little about my blog and someone will ask if they can help. No problem is ever too big or too small. Maybe an image doesn’t work, you can’t get an idea typed up or numbers aren’t going up.

We aren’t perfect but we’ll see help.

Never be afraid to ask someone if you know they might have experience to help.

You learn things that might help you in the long run

In the last decade or so that blogging has been around, it’s been changing.

One minute you think you know something and the next minute it’s been updated. I’ve had a few occasions when I’ve had to be helped. More recently I had to ask for some advice from both Jenny and Vix about the right guidelines with advertising. I’d only done a couple of sponsored posts and wanted to make sure I didn’t make too many mistakes.

Not only do you have to be a blogger but you also have to have an idea about some legal things. You see people who forget to put an ad on their post/image even though it is obvious. You can get in trouble if you’re careful so bloggers can let you know some of the guidelines.

Learn about opportunties

Something that I think a few bloggers love to do is working with brands we have respect for.

Let’s face it: we all have brands that we would love to work with one day and would make us feel a great deal of achievement. We have our dream brands and we have the smaller ones who we think look and sound incredible. There are so many ways you can find out about these opportunities but a lot of them come through word of mouth. Connecting with other bloggers gives you access to possible collaborations you wouldn’t have considered.

Twitter is a great place to find these! Your friends might either retweet them for others to see or send them to you because you’re a good fit. A blogger might even work for a brand so connections are great to have!

Support each other through tough times

We might be nearing the end of January but I’ve already seen so many struggling friends.

Some have lost a relative, some have been in hospital and others have been fighting their mental health. I definitely fall into that bracket of people. There is something very special about knowing that you have people who have your back. When my mum died, so many people were there for me. They not only sent me their condolences but they sent care packages and made me feel as if I had an extended family.

I do consider my blogger friends as my family.

Never feel like you’re alone in a tough situation because we will always have your back in the best way we can.

We’re not perfect and there will be some people who only think of the worst of people. However we try and that’s all that we can do.

Do you think connecting with other bloggers is important? 

Lifestyle Mental Health

5 Ways On How To Support An Introvert Friend

introvertPhoto by Prasanna Kumar on Unsplash

I can remember a moment in school when I was taught the words ‘introvert’ and ‘extrovert’. They didn’t mean much to be at the time but now I know that it can be a handy word. If you don’t know what an introvert is, it’s basically someone who prefers time to themselves and find busy social situations difficult. If you looked it up in the dictionary, I’m pretty sure you’d see my face!

I’m pretty socially awkward and have been for years. It isn’t that I haven’t tried being social but they’re just not my scene. Unless it’s a Harry Potter quiz or I’m surrounded by friends, then I can handle. A lot of the time people automatically think that introverts are mousy and boring. That’s so far from the truth!

We can be just as fun as extroverts! You just have to take the time to learn how to love being friends with an introvert!

Spend 1-to-1 with your friend

If you know that your friend happens to be an introvert, try spending specific time with them.

There’s something nice and safe about not having to cope with a group of people and trying to make conversation with them all. That’s more likely going to put your friend off coming. You could go for lunch somewhere, look around some book-shops or even go to the cinema.

You’ll have their attention and they will have yours.

Try to understand what it’s like to be an introvert

One of the best ways to know how to be with an introvert friend is to picture what it’s like to be in their shoes.

Take time to see how overwhelming social situations can be for them, know what their boundaries are and find others to be social with them. Not every person will be a shy little butterfly and can probably handle being social, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a limit.

You’re not being over-the-top by understanding. To be honest, I’d be somewhat flattered that you’ve tried to find ways to help our time be fun for both of us.

Let them have alone time

Ugh.

I’ve had a few friends in the past who have pushed and pushed and pushed for me to come out. One of those friends turned up to my house without ringing first and starting banging on my front door. It was 8am on a Saturday so I didn’t answer. They then started knocking on my downstairs windows. Mum was not happy with her at all and I ended up cutting ties with that person.

I can’t deal with pushy friends.

If a friend prefers not to go out often, don’t push or try to ‘persuade’ them to go. There’s a difference between being geniunely understanding and allowing your friend time and not listening.

LET US BE BLANKET BURRITOS!

Don’t make them feel as if they need to be fixed

This is something that really frustrates me. It’s not just the odd friend who does this but family as well. I do know that most of the time they are only trying to help but it makes you feel like you’re a problem.

You don’t need to be fixed.

You aren’t being awkward.

Being an introvert isn’t some kind of character flaw. We do need pushes to get out there and not disappear into our little comfort zones. Believe me, I would totally love if I could stay home under my blanket reading. If your friend/loved one ever feels like this, try and help by reassuring them that it’s okay. If they don’t want to go out, that’s fine.

It might take us time to open up to you

I like to think that if a person is a real friend then they’ll have patience with someone.

Some people might mistake being introverted for being cold, distant or seemingly uncaring. That is so far from the truth! We just take our time to get used to a person and, if we feel safe, then we’ll open up. As soon as we do, you have us! Our loyalty, our true personality underneath the quietness and more!

Be honoured if you ever see what I’m really like.

I’d love to know if you’re either an introvert, an extrovert or even bits of both. I guess I do have extrovert tendencies whenever I feel really safe with someone. That’s normally when I do non-stop chatting, let you into my thoughts and…you’ll know.

What do you consider yourself as?

 

Lifestyle

Who Would I Have Nominated For This Year’s Oscars?

oscars

So…the nominations for this year’s Oscars were released today. A lot of people, including myself, are wondering what is going on with the voting these last few years. It’s like someone takes a look at the short-list and purposely hides all of the POC/female participants. Why else would the Oscars completely ignore some incredibly talented people? Other than being either racist, chauvinistic or picking while blind-folded.

Haven’t they learned over the last decade that white-washing and male-dominating categories doesn’t work?

It’s a new decade, Academy! You need to learn to look everyone.

With all of this happening, I decided to take it upon myself to teach the Academy what the nominations would be if I’d been in charge of deciding. All of the people I’m going to pick are my own opinions and sorry if I didn’t include your favourite person!

Supporting Actress

Nazanin Boniadi – Hotel Mumbai
X Mayo – The Farewell
Janelle Monae – Harriet
Brie Larson – Just Mercy
Florence Pugh – Little Women

Leading Actress

Awkwafina – The Farewell
Lupita Nyong’o – Us
Jennifer Lopez – Hustlers
Cynthia Erivo – Harriet
Saoirse Ronan – Little Women

Best Director

Lulu Wang – The Farewell
Jordan Peele – Us
Marielle Heller – A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood
Greta Gerwig – Little Women
Lorene Scafaria – Hustlers

Supporting Actor

Leslie Odom Jr. – Harriet
Jamie Foxx – Just Mercy
John Lithgow – Bombshell
Timothée Chalamet – Little Women

Best Actor

Winston Duke – Us
Taron Egerton – Rocketman
Robert Downey Jr. – Avengers: Endgame
Michael B. Jordan – Just Mercy
Daniel Kaluuya – Queen & Slim

It would literally take me so long to explain my reasons for the people I’ve picked. To keep it short, all of the people I mentioned really stood out to me for different reasons. They all either pulled at my heartstrings, got me thinking or all of the above. That’s one thing that the Oscars are pretty decent at and that’s showcasing the odd film that shows a big transformation such as Renee Zellweger in Judy!

It’s sad that some of the films I loved last year and even this year haven’t even been nominated! I’ve heard so many incredible things about Just Mercy that I can’t wait for it to come out this week! I’m planning to do my annual ‘Oscar Winner Predictions‘ post later on in the week so look out for that!

Sorry that the post is really short but I have had a challenging weekend. That said, I still wanted to post something because I still think it’s unfair how the nominations worked out this year! It’s all about balance and opportunity, not just money. If you’re wanting to read some amazing film reviews from a passionate company, you need to check out Cinematic Faves! Billie really loves films and you can tell that in the way she talks about the films she’s watched. She’s recently started a book giving initiative for Just Mercy to highlight the importance of the story.

Who do you think should have been nominated at the Oscars this year?

Lifestyle

How To Wake Up Refreshed & Ready For The Day

wake upPhoto by David Mao on Unsplash

Following my post on ‘What Keeps Me Up At Night?‘ and after reading a post by TheModeEdit, I wanted to touch upon on what I’ve recently been doing to help me wake up feeling more refreshed and less like I want to curl up and sleep more. I’m not always successful (Netflix controls my night!), but it has been working over these last few weeks. If even I can wake up well, anyone can! Remember: everyone is different so what works for me might not work for you.

Contrary to what social media likes to tell us, no-one has the answer to what makes the best morning.

Humans are unique and that means that it takes trying and testing different things to see what fits and whether those things would be beneficial to your morning.

Write down your thoughts before you sleep

This has been brilliant for me to have in my night-time routine!

I’ve been writing diaries on and off for 10 years and properly got back into writing in September. Writing every day has helped me remember any great days that I had. It also helps me recognise when I’ve had a serious struggle and left me with a lot to think about. I know what it’s like to think too much so, if I write down absolutely everything, I know I’ll sleep better. That in turn means I’ll have more energy in the morning when I get up!

At least that’s how it’s meant to work! Haha!

Stay off your phone when you wake up

I see you with your phone! Step away!

We’ve become a generation where we immediately grab our phones to check what’s been happening on social media while we’ve slept. A lot probably has happened and you probably have tweets and messages to read. However try waiting an hour before you grab it.

You don’t necessarily need to meditate in that hour. You can do whatever else you want. Make breakfast, exercise, listen to some music or sit and just listen to nature. I love listening to the birds and the wind. I find it resets my mind for the day and I’m more likely to get stuff done!

Drink water before bed and drink water first thing

You’ve all heard that we have to drink 7/8 glasses of water a day, right?

Well I can help you drink at least 2 glasses with this tip! If you don’t mind getting up during the night (unless you have a bladder of steel!), then a glass of water will end your day perfectly. The reason for having one first thing is because we all tend to dehydrate over night. I mean…we don’t drink anything for 8 hours!! A cold glass of water will not only wake us up but your body will thank you!

Keep your room dark and quiet

One thing that may leave you grouchy is waking up way too early.

There are a lot of people who love getting up early and, on occasion, so do I. What I’m not a fan of is having the sunshine blazing into my room at like 5am. It’s not fun! I can’t do super quiet but I can’t sleep if it’s super noisy. If I can have a dark room that is relatively quiet, I’ll get sleep!

How do you like your room to help you sleep?

Don’t have anything heavy to eat before bed

My mum unfortunately had this problem and she had a good reason. She was a nurse and, if you know anything about nurses or anyone else in the medical profession, they rarely get a chance to sit down on time for something to eat. They might sit down to have something but then an emergency comes through and they have to go and sort out that.

I can remember making my mum something to eat to take with her so she was able to munch when she could and she would come home without eating it. She would then end up either eating that or eating what I’d made for dinner at around 9pm.

No wonder she was kept awake!

It doesn’t necessarily matter what time you eat at, but more what you eat. If you’re hungry, grab some fruit like kiwis or bananas. You can also try walnuts (if you’re not allergic), yoghurt, trail mix and edamame.

Try not to nap during the day

This can prove to be a difficult tip if you have a mental health or chronic illness. If I’m seriously struggling, all I want to do is sleep. It’s a major challenge to get out of bed and get myself motivated.

What I have heard is that napping isn’t a great thing to do if you want to get a good night’s sleep. It feels great at the time but you won’t be tired before bed and so end up having to wait until early in the morning. As hard as it might be if you’re super tired but try to keep yourself awake as late as you can.

What tips do you have to wake up feeling refreshed?

 

Lifestyle Mental Health

What Things Keep You Up At Night?

night

I would sit up at night reading books or magazines to try and get myself sleepy. Sometimes it worked and other times I ended up with nightmares.

My brain can be so weird sometimes. There are a number of things that keep me up so maybe we can be insomnia buddies.

If you do struggle a lot with sleepless nights, don’t be afraid to go and see your GP about it. There could be other reasons for it such as pain, mental health and more. You can get help! Now that’s out of the way, I’m going to look at certain things that might keep you up and try and come up with ways to overcome them. I’m definitely not a medical professional! Just a person whose body hates sleep!

Negative thoughts

Everyone suffers a form of these. You don’t have to suffer from mental health to have negative thoughts about something. It’s unfortunately what makes us human.

My mind never shuts up with all the negative things it believes I’ve done that day. Maybe I forgot to let an elderly lady onto the bus first, maybe I lied about feeling good, maybe I didn’t go out. It could be the littlest thing ever and you get made to go over that thought over and over and over.

You can tell why I don’t get a lot of sleep.

What I’ve recently done to try and combat this is to start both writing in my diary and jotting down anything positive that happens in my day. I have to accept that I will think negatively about things, but that doesn’t mean I have to let it control me.

Being on my phone before bed

Yeah…I’m one of those that brings their phone to bed and plays on it before they sleep. I know I shouldn’t have any electronics in bed and there is a whole scientific research saying that the blue light keeps you awake. I do have a method to my madness, I swear!

Some of the ways I fall asleep is by listening to music.

I can’t do with solid silence. My brain automatically tries to add different sounds into the silence and they are nightmare fuel! During my childhood I used to be terrified of a guy I would call ‘The Tamberine Man’. I would never see him but I would hear the sound of his tamberine and awful things would happen soon after. My adult brain now tries to undo all that conditioning by saying that the sound had actually been people outside my bedroom window making noise. I think my half-asleep brain just made it into something it wasn’t!

Still hate the sound though!

My iPhone has a setting where I can time it to turn the light from blue to red. The red helps make you tired so, between that and the music/Calm app, I would feel very sleepy. You’d think I would sleep after that but nope.

Pain

Enter the life of a chronic illness sufferer!

My fibromyalgia is such a party pooper when it comes to me trying to sleep. I’ve had so many nights when my legs have either be super painful or so restless. One of the reasons why I can’t go on coaches is the fact that their leg-space isn’t much. You used to have pitstops to service stations where you could stretch your legs but there isn’t anymore. At least on the coaches I go on. Sitting in your seat for 4 and a bit hours is not fun!

Back to sleepless nights!

My legs do the exact same thing they do on coaches. They become painful and very jumpy. You could be lying in bed and your leg suddenly jumps. I can usually feel it growing in my foot and then it travels up my leg. It has had me in tears on a few occassions.

Currently on medication (gabapentin and baclofen) to help combat the muscle spasms and the pain. Not perfect but better than agony!

Can’t get comfortable

There are other reasons other than pain that keep you up at night.

Apparently the top reason for not being able to sleep is because you can’t get comfortable in bed. The main cause for that? An out-of-date mattress. This isn’t a sponsored post (though I wouldn’t mind the opportunity! Haha!)…just passing on what I discovered from my local mattress man. He said that you have to change your mattress every 8 years since it can get out of shape after so many years.

It gets bumpy because of springs and it sags, doesn’t support you as well as it used to and might even make your allergies worse.

Noisy neighbours

Oh, do I have experience with this one!

If you follow me on Twitter, you will probably have heard that I’ve had quite a few problems with noisy neighbours. They would blare their loud music for hours! The longest was just over 6 hours! It’s bad enough when you have to deal with this music during the day, but when you have it at night? Ew. It doesn’t help that I’m sensitive to loud noises.

I’ve had to go down to talk to them at 11pm to tell them to turn it down! You can imagine how difficult it would be to sleep with something like a party happening down below you.

How do you cope with this?

You can either buy some ear-plugs to block out some of the noise or wear some noise-cancelling headphones. These are kind of more temporary options. You could report them for nuisance noise or let them know personally how the noise is affecting you!

What tends to keep you up at night and how do you deal with it?