Friday, 29 May 2015

Happy Friday!



This post is a bit of an apology, I've been a bit rubbish on the blogging front lately due to exams and I have just moved house into the middle of the country and am also in the process of moving into a new house at uni so things have been a bit mad lately! But I intend to be back to my normal blogging schedule very soon once a few boxes have been unpacked and I've had a couple more lie ins.

For now however here is one of my favourite quotes from good old Hemingway just to remind me that life isn't just about packing and unpacking and organising and being stressed. I hope it inspires you too! Have a good weekend. Let me know in the comments below your weekend plans.

Bye for now!  
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Monday, 25 May 2015

Bedroom Inspiration








Since my exams have finished I haven't really had a chance to just chill out and spend some time sitting in bed reading and Pinteresting but this weekend I managed to squeeze in a bit of me time. Next year I will be moving into a different student house with a bedroom which is a bit bigger than my one at the moment. And so I turned to pinterest for some inspiration for how to decorate and I've decided I'd quite like to go with a Moroccan themed bedroom.

These pictures are just a few I found on pinterest, I absolutely love the bright colours and contrasting patterns in Moroccan themed fabrics, I think it will give my room a nice happy feel which I definitely need when I am stressed up to the eyeballs at university. I also liked the idea's of creating quite a chilled hippy style space where I can just relax in the evening and enjoy.

The walls in my new bedroom are white and the curtains dark aubergine and so I've decided to go with white bedsheets and bright cushions and throws on the bed. I'd also love to buy some little plants for my bedroom as greenery always makes me happy especially flowers. I'm thinking I might knit myself a big brightly coloured blanket to go on the end of my bed as well and put brightly coloured frames around the room.

Do you have a theme to your bedroom? If you have any suggestions on creating a Moroccan style space I'd love to here them in the comments below.

Bye for now!
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Friday, 22 May 2015

The Good Life



I always new I was destined for a slightly different life. I've never been what people call "normal" (whatever normal actually is) and I have always deviated slightly from what my friends and others my age are doing. Firstly I chose to take a gap year when I was 18 rather than going straight to uni because I wasn't sure uni was for me, I wrote about that a little bit here. I then proceeded to go down the usual path - going to uni but soon realised it wasn't right and so quit and tried again but this time decided to do it my way and do a degree where I get to spend the majority of my rime actually working rather than in a classroom. However as the years have gone on after school I have started to realise what I want from life and that it is very different to what the world tells me I should want.






























It all started when I began to watch the 1970s sitcom The Good Life (which if you haven't seen get on it straight away!!). In the Good Life the protagonist Tom reaches his 40th birthday and decides enough is enough, he wants to start living rather than existing and along with his wife Barbara the two of them turn their suburban Surrey home into a model of self sufficiency. They earn no money and what savings they have they use to buy equipment to help them go off the grid and they buy pigs, a goat and chickens and plant vast amounts of vegetables. It was a completely radical idea to me and the first time I had ever heard of self sufficiency, it totally bowled me over and made me realise that there were actually many paths possible in life.

At first I ignored the niggly feeling the normal path of uni, 9-5 job, buy big house with lots of stuff wasn't what I wanted. But eventually it began to eat away at me. Having lots of money and lots of material possessions wasn't making me happy in fact if anything it was just making me worse. The nature of material possessions is that the more you have the more you want, after you have bought some expensive clothes in a few months you will only want more, when that iphone looks less shiny you will want another one and when the novelty of your new car wares off you will want to buy the latest model. I am not saying it is bad to have material possessions I myself have loads of technology and an expensive camera but ultimately they don't make you happy.

My boyfriend has a medical condition which we have been seeking help for from a neurologist at the local hospital. Recently the neurologist told us that for him to feel better and be able to function normally we must live a simpler life, one that involves lots of time outdoors doing exercise that isn't too strenuous like walking, hiking, gardening e.t.c. And as I have begun to discover recently this type of life also helps to keep my anxiety and depression in check. We therefore have come to the conclusion that we are going to say screw you world and live exactly how we want to live.




We are not sure exactly what this will entail but we know we'd like to cut out processed foods, buy less and grow more, have a lot less stuff and make a lot more things that we need and spend as much of our time outdoors as we can. We'd like to make a difference in our community and create memories and moments rather than buy more and more. Our general idea is to save up, buy a small home in the country with land to grow our own veggies and keep chickens, a horse and maybe some other animals and to own our own local and sustainable business. These are very big dreams but what is the point in dreaming small, we know that together we have a possibility of making this a reality.

We are starting to make little changes now like I'm slowly cutting out processed and packet foods, I'm trying to buy more local, I'm making do and mending my clothes or buying them second hand. I have also started knitting a lot more with all the random balls of wool around my house. From September I am growing my own veggies back at uni and my own herbs as well as spending as much time as I can learning to cook new things and baking from scratch. I am trying not to buy anything new that I can get second hand and I am reading a lot about self sufficiency and owning my own business. I know that we won't be totally self sufficient we do want to own a business and make some money but the idea of that is just so we can survive.


I know its a bit of a crazy radical idea but I love it and it might seem like a crazy dream that will never come true to some people but its my dream and I intend to try my hardest to make it come true. What are your dreams? Are you also interested in self sufficiency?


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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Dementia Awareness Week: My Nana



This week is Dementia Awareness week and so I decided to share something a little more personal than usual. I am a social work student and therefore I come across a lot of people with dementia and often work closely with their family and relatives however for me dementia has hit closer to home. About 5 or 6 years ago my Nana was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease which if you don't know is a form of dementia or a deterioration of the brain. Most people associate alzheimer's disease or dementia with memory loss which is one of the big effects it can have, people do begin to lose their short term memory but dementia is so much more than that. Dementia is a disease of the brain and therefore it can effect everything - your speech, the way you behave, your thoughts and feelings and so much more.

Me and my Nana have always been incredibly close, she would often tell me when I was little how special I was to her and how much she loved me because she had been there when I was born (on the bathroom floor, delivered by my Dad who is a doctor thank goodness - sorry Mum!). She was the third one to hold me and I believe the third one after my Mum and Dad to love me the most. We had and still have a beautifully close relationship and I love her very much. She has always been a fun person, as a family we have countless stories of the hilarious things she would say and do. I have amazing memories of jumping up and down on the bed age 7 in a hotel dancing to "Hey Baby" on TV, of watching James Bond with Sean Connery eating malteasers and of spending every summer at Nana's house in Malvern running around the Malvern hills and eating Nana's chocolate cake. But as the Alzeihmer's developed she began to change, she began to become more and more frightened by the fact she couldn't remember things and her brain wasn't working the way it used to and she would become angry.

At first we didn't notice the changes as they started very gradually and as she was getting older we thought she was just becoming forgetful in her old age but soon we began to realise it was more than that. Worrying things would happen like my Nana crashed her car a couple of times and more than once she was found wandering around not knowing where she was luckily by our close friend. My Mum had always been the one looking after my Nana as she lived the closest but as things got worse my Mum had to take care of my Nana a lot more. Now I have grown up and I am a social worker I can see just how difficult my Mum's job was she was acting as my Nana's full time carer, social worker and daughter all rolled into one.  After having a diagnoses of Alzeihmer's disease from the doctor it made it a little easier as Nana could be given treatment and help from social services it made such a difference to my Mum that she wasn't just doing it on her own although she still did a lot of the work.

Eventually we realised Nana couldn't live on her own any longer, she had to have 24 hour care and so we decided a care home would be best and Mum found an amazing one in the village where she lived for most of her life before my Grandpa died. That was one of the best things my Mum could have done I think for my Nana, once she was looked after 24/7 all her fear went away and she felt safe again causing her to lose her anger completely. It was very strange how the Alzeihmer's worked it was almost as if the 10 years she'd lived in a retirement flat just a mile down the road from us had completely disappeared from her memory. But she could remember exactly where she used to work and that the post office in the village used to be in a different place and the names of the owners of the shops.

My Nana's Alzeihmer's has now progressed so much so that she can't hold a conversation properly and I'm not sure she knows who I am exactly. I think she realises that I am related to her I just don't think she knows how. It is extremely hard sometimes and I often miss not being able to tell my Nana things like how I am doing at University or about my boyfriend and I know that when I get married she won't be able to come or even understand what is happening. But I still get to see my Nana, I still get to have cuddles from her and laugh with her and spend time with her even if sometimes she forgets who I am it is still precious time to me. People think that once you have dementia that is it but since the diagnosis although things have changed we've still been able to have fun. The Alzeihmer's has caused my Nana to be a lot ruder and very silly which can be hilarious and she still enjoys all the things she used to like singing, dancing and eating cake. We have all had to adapt to Nana's condition but it hasn't stopped us from having fun with her or loving her just as much as we used to. And I know that deep down inside she still loves me just as much as she always has even if she forgets for a little while.

I wanted to share my own story to help to raise awareness for dementia during dementia awareness week and to offer my support to those of you with family member's going through the same thing. I know it can be scary and I know its often very difficult but you're not alone in this. There are so many people out there to help such as Dementia Friends and the Alzeihmer's Society and if you feel you need help and support please contact them or your doctor. And believe me when I say life doesn't stop when dementia begins it just takes a different path.


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Monday, 18 May 2015

The Wild May Flowers




Finally my exams are over and I am completely free! It still hasn't really sunk in yet I'm still feeling all wired and nervy like I have been for the past 4 weeks, I guess it's difficult to shake off that stressed feeling. But in an attempt to get into relaxation mode me and Russell decided to go for a lovely walk in the countryside. Both me and my boyfriend go to university in Oxford and without a car its surprisingly difficult to get away from the business especially this time of year when thousands upon thousands of tourists descend on Oxford. But if you're are willing to walk a bit you can find some beautiful sights along the Thames path and after a while you begin to lose the people as well. 

Due to exams it's been a while since I went a wandering in Oxford and I was completely bowled over by the sheer amount of beautiful flowers every where. My favourite colour to see this time of year is yellow, I absolutely love the golden fields of rape seed that look like a river of sunshine and the wild look of the startlingly bright buttercups dotted all over the place. We also saw and smelt lilac which is another of my favourite flowers. 

The earth never fails to amaze me, with each new season we get completely new and beautiful sites in a multitude of colour all on display for us. I can't wait to spend as much of my summer out and about in it under the sunshine, smelling the roses.   



Hope you are all having a lovely time in the May sunshine! Let me know in the comments what you've been up to.

Bye for now! 
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Friday, 15 May 2015

Tips and Tricks For When You're Feeling Down



We all have bad days, and we all have times where we feel rubbish. For the past five years I have suffered from mental illness specifically depression and anxiety and there have been many days when I just feel like curling up in a ball and not moving. But as the years have gone on I've learnt ways to tell when I'm beginning to feel low and anxious. I can now tell my triggers and most of the time I know when I need to take some time out, when its all getting to much for me. I know that a lot of you will suffer with the same problems and if you don't have mental health issues you will have bad days because everyone does and I wanted to write this post to say that's okay. You're not alone. But also to share some tips with you. If you are like me and you can feel like everything is just getting too much for you then these may help you to take some time out and if you're just having a bad day I hope these will help to relax you too.

1. Be selfish, if you feel everything is getting too much and you're feeling anxious just say to people I'm sorry but I'm busy tonight and take a night to yourself to do whatever you love to do. Which leads me onto my next point.....

2. Make time to do what you love doing be that reading, writing, cooking or watching 24 episodes of Gossip Girl, take a couple of hours out drop all the to do lists, put your phone away and just enjoy doing what you love.

3. Spend time outdoors, I cannot say this enough spending time outside is amazing! It has been scientifically proven to help your mental health and to release happy hormones. You'll get some fresh air and a bit of vitamin D as well and if you spend a little bit of time outside every day I always tend to find you sleep better and deeper.

4. Do a little bit of exercise, when you exercise you release hormones which make you happy. I personally am not a big gym bunny but I love yoga and I find it very relaxing and so each morning I do yoga outside in my garden. You could find a class you enjoy, go swimming with some friends or just go for a nice relaxing walk in the sunshine. Whatever works for you try to do a little bit each week.

5. Treat yourself for cheap, run yourself a bath fill it with your favourite bubble bath, put a face mask on and soak up in the tub with a book. Then when you get out you could paint your nails and give yourself the full spa treatment.

6. Invite a friend over, ring a loved one that you love having a natter with or meet up with the girls for a drink. Spending some time with others out of the house can often be a big help and take you out of yourself a bit. Don't wait around for someone to invite you get on facebook or text them and see who is around.

Those are just some easy idea's to help you when you're are feeling unhappy and need a little pick me up. What do you do when you are feeling down? I'd love to hear your tips and tricks.

Bye for now!
   
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Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Have Courage And Be Kind


Last month I watched the new Cinderella film and as I had predicted I fell absolutely in love with it. I love all things Disney and princess and being a writer has meant that I have gotten to carry on living in my own fantasy fairytale world. My favourite thing to write even now as I am working on my novel and my children's book is a fairytale. Sometimes when I need to just take a break I love to just sit pen in hand and fall into a fantasy world of dragons and princess, fairies and goblins all wrapped up in a happy ending. 

But this got me thinking, I often think how wonderful to live in a world where people are good and honourable and courageous and kind. But I believe that so many people already are like that we just often need a little reminder. I absolute love the slogan from the movie - Have courage and be kind. I think its a great little motivational motto to live by. The world is a tough place and it can be hard and it takes courage and strength to persevere through and what a better way to do so then to be kind to all you meet. We live in a world that is often very unkind and sometimes it even takes courage to be kind to some one. I really want to get a print of this phrase and stick it on my wall at uni as a reminder to keep on being brave and to keep on doing what I love to always have courage and be kind. 

Bye for now!  

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Monday, 11 May 2015

Easy Ways To Be More Green Today



Hello everyone! So for the past few years I have slowly been trying to live a more green life style and make less of an impact on the environment. I feel that saving the environment is something that often gets pushed to the side and is associated with hippy's and do gooders but really it is an issue we should all be passionate about. We live in a country (Britain) that has already lost 80% of its forests and woodland to make way for "developments" causing thousands of species of animals to be wiped out completely. Our sea's are being pumped full of improperly disposed waste, and rubbish such as plastic bags and balloons are harming and killing so much of our marine wildlife. And that's before you even look at how much air pollution we are creating, I was shocked to find out a few weeks ago that people in London had actually been told not to do exercise outside due to the air pollution.

In a society that values profit above everything else it can be very hard to live a greener and simpler lifestyle but really it should be everyone's top priority. When it comes down to it if we have no trees, no clean water, no animals and the air is so polluted we can no longer breath oxygen it won't matter whether you have £1 or £1 million the damage will be done.

It has been hard for me to start to live a much more sustainable lifestyle and I still have a long way to go but I thought I'd share a few tips and tricks on how to be more green in the hope that it will encourage you to make a change.


Transport:

This is an easy one stop using cars as much. If you need to get somewhere far away try to get public transport - yes its more of a hassle but its also a lot cheaper than owning a car. Or if you have a car why don't you try car sharing with your friends or work colleagues. You could easily take it in turns and it would probably be a lot of fun driving to work together each morning. Or even better try walking or cycling if its too far to walk, not only will you be decreasing the effect you have on the environment but you will also be getting in some fresh air and exercise which is something everyone could do with getting a bit more of.

Clothes:
We live in a society where fashion is disposable and cheap. For years and years I would buy cheap clothes wear them a few times and then throw them away. I really hate the disposable attitude of the fashion industry and its one of the huge changes I have made. Try shopping in shops where the clothes are ethically made and/or fairtrade, places like Fatface and Marks and Spencers are great for fairtrade cotton and ethically made clothes and their clothes are made to last. They are more expensive but they will also last longer, I have started to realise quality is a lot better than quantity and buying two good t shirts that will last is  a lot more effective than buying cheap t shirts that will get holes in quickly. The same goes for shoes and bags. Where I live in Oxford I have found a fantastic fairtrade shop that sells all sorts of accessories, food, wrapping paper and cosmetics which has been a real help in buying greener things. It is harder and more time consuming and may mean you need to buy clothes online in fairtrade shops but it is so worth the effort.  

Recycle, Recycle, Recyle:
This applies to clothes as well! I recently did a post about this here and I talked about how much more effective it is to give your old clothes away instead of throwing them in bin. You can also upcycle old clothes and shoes - there are loads of ideas on pinterest and its a very relaxing way to spend an afternoon believe me.
And of course recycling as much of your waste as possible. More and more I have been trying to buy less in plastic containers and more things in tins or glass jars so that they can actually be recycled. The charity Marine Conservation Society is actually holding a plastic free month where you challenge yourself to live without plastic for as long as possible if you want to be more green but not sure how to start this challenge would be a great incentive for you and you can raise some money for a great cause too!

Food:
As above buy things in recyclable containers or better still buy things that aren't in containers at all. Stock your trolley up with fruit and vegetables not only will this give you a good healthy boost but will make a massive difference to the amount of waste you dispose of. Eating less meat is also very good for the environment and if you can getting it from a local butcher rather than the super market will not only boost your local economy but be better for the environment. Buying things like dolphin friendly tuna is also easy to do just check for the picture on the tin. Also invest in a few bags for life or go and buy yourself a couple of large fairtrade cotton bags to carry your shopping in whether it be food shopping or clothes shopping come October England will be charging for plastic bags anyway so best to start now and get used to it.
Take a packed lunch! Stop buying sandwiches in packets that can't be recycled and buy yourself a good set of tupperware this will also make a difference to your bank balance and is likely to be a healthier option.

In the home:
I recently started buying all my beauty products in Lush and the Body Shop and it has been amazing. The difference in my hair and skin has been wonderful thanks to the sudden use of products using all natural ingredients. All the products from these two wonderful shops are ethically made and environmentally friendly. I'm not suggesting you go and throw out all the beauty products you have at the moment that would be silly but once they have run out why not buy from Lush or Body Shop instead and see what a difference it could make.
Another great way of being green is to have screenless days, not only will this benefit your health but it will help to save energy. Pick one day a week and turn off all laptops, ipads, tvs and phones and go outside in the fresh air or if its too cold light a few candles in your bedroom snuggle up under the duvet and enjoy a good book. I promise you that very soon you will begin to see the wonders of tecno free life!
Shut your doors, keep the heat in and turn your lights off. These are simple ways of helping the environment and saving you some money. Taking a shorter shower and not wasting water when you brush your teeth will also make a difference. I also try to only put one wash on a week and then dry all my clothes on a rack or on the line outside rather than using the tumble dryer. This often helps to flatten out the creases too so you don't have to iron as much and that not only saves you time but saves energy too.


These are just a few ideas of how to be a bit greener and make a positive impact on your environment. If you have any other tips and tricks I'd love to hear them. Hope you are all having a happy Monday.

Bye for now! 
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Friday, 8 May 2015

What I Got For My Birthday




If you have been reading my blog you will know the other day was my 21st birthday. I had a really lovely day spent picnicking and wild swimming in a meadow in Oxford. I was an extremely lucky girl and got a lot of lovely presents from friends and family and I thought I would share a few of my favourites with you.

On the morning of my birthday one of my best friends at uni turned up to my house with a bottle of pink champagne from Bettys in York which is one of my absolute favourite places in the world. I had a few glasses at my party the weekend after my birthday and it was delicious. I also got a beautiful scarf which I was told is fair trade which I love as I am trying to buy all my clothes and food ethically. The book is a penguin cloth bound classic and it is Lady Chatterley's Lover, I have a love for books with beautiful covers and so I am collecting all of the cloth bound classics, I now have four of them! I also got a copy of my new favourite film Paddington, I literally cannot describe how much I love this film it just makes me so happy when I watch it - happy and hungry for marmalade sandwiches.

I really wanted a large A3 sketchpad as I write children's stories and I like to write out story boards with time lines and doodles and things that give me inspiration and so my boyfriend bought me this sketch pad made of recycled wood and paper (bit of an ethical theme going on here). My boyfriend also bought me a beautiful bunch of flowers and a collection of Beatrix Potter books which are another of my favourites. I know I am now 21 but I will continue to read children's books for the rest of my life.


These are just a few of the lovely presents I was lucky enough to receive. Have you seen Paddington? Is it just me who thinks it is the best film ever?

Bye for now! 
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Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Saying Goodbye









"At the beach, life is different. Time doesn't move hour to hour, but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides and follow the sun" - Unknown.

A couple of weeks ago I spent the last few nights in the home I grew up in. It was incredibly sad having to say goodbye to a place where I have lived my entire life. I found myself wandering from room to room caressing walls, breathing in the scent of the house and nuzzling into the carpets with my toes. Its strange how you can love something so inanimate as a house but I do love it. I love all the little crevices I used to hide in as a child, all the rooms I created imaginary games in and the places where I have laughed, played, cried, shouted, sung, prayed and smiled for the last 16 years. I am excited to move into the new house in Hereford and for some time we have been backwards and forwards whilst waiting to sell the house so it didn't happen suddenly but that doesn't make it any easier saying goodbye.

One of the hardest things for me was knowing I would no longer be living right next to the sea. West Kirby beach has always been one of my favourite places, it isn't a particularly grand beach, it doesn't have white sands stretching for miles or a good surf but it was the beach I grew up on. It was where I walked when I needed space, where I had picnics with friends, it was where I played at being an explorer or a mermaid or a lost princess when I was child and it was where I first fell in love with the outdoors. It is a place very close to my heart and so the day before I left me and my boyfriend went for a nice relaxing walk along the sand.

It was a beautiful sunny day and so I did what I have done for the last 21 years of my life, I took my socks and shoes off, rolled my trousers up and felt the sand squish into my toes. It was blissful. We spent an hour snapping photos, soaking up the sun and paddling in the little puddles left behind by the sea. As always we took nothing but photo's and left nothing but footprints and I like to think those footprints will remain there for a little bit, a small imprint of me left behind in the place I love so much.




I hope you are all enjoying the sunny weather, have you found time to go for little wanders in the places you love?

Bye for now! 
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Monday, 4 May 2015

The White Hart




The other day me and Russell went to one of my favourite pubs in Oxford - The White Hart. Now if I wasn't dating a boy who seems to have a 6th sense for finding beautiful old local pubs serving amazing food in the middle of nowhere I never would have found this place. It is situated in old Headington just outside of Oxford city centre meaning to get there we walked down lots of wiggly little lanes past beautiful old cottages in true Oxford village style and a lovely little church just opposite the pub.

It is very much a traditional pub and I am told by my boyfriend sells a lot of good pints (I wouldn't know as I don't actually like alcohol!) but what I do know is that the food is amazing. The first time we went just before Christmas I was utterly amazed by the list of award winning pies that they serve (see above) as I strongly believe there is nothing better than a good pie and chips in winter. However this time we both decided to go for the burger and the meat sharing platter to start. The portions are huge but the food is so good that you can't help but keep eating until you are completely full. Both me and my boyfriend agreed we probably could have shared the burger and still have had plenty to eat.



I can't wait to go back again possibly post exams and assignment hand ins. What's your favourite place to eat? Do you like pub food too?

Bye for now!
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