you have a mental health problem? don't tell anyone...i'm kidding! speak up, be brave and be heard! beat that stigma!

This post idea has been swimming around my head for a while now, but after hearing a story the other week I felt even more pushed to write it. Someone I know has recently been having difficulties mental health wise, she's currently out of work and has been receiving help from support mental health people (I'm sure that isn't there technical title but we'll roll with it) who have been visiting her at her house to help reassure her, help her, give her advice and guidance. The people who have been going to see her have been supporting her with day to day things, for example going to the job centre. I've heard that signing on to job seekers allowance is an absolute nightmare. One of the support people (do we call them people or workers? I don't know), you know the ones whos job it is to support people who are experiencing difficulties with their mental health told her to not tell the job centre about her current situation, her current state of health. I mean really?! I for one was shocked that they told her not to tell them about it. I mean there is no wonder there is such a stigma surrounding the subject, hiding it only makes the stigma bigger and bigger. We shouldn't have to be silenced!

Work is a huge part of life, but so is our health. I know not everyone is comfortable with saying 'you know what, I'm struggling.' 'I suffer from Anxiety'. 'I suffer from Panic Attacks'. 'I suffer from Depression'. 'I suffer from Bipolar'. 'I suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder'. 'I suffer from Schizophrenia'. I've found my life and my health improve so much more by just being honest, not hiding from what's wrong/what's currently happening in my life. Don't get me wrong, not everyone is supportive. I've received remarks like 'what do you have to worry about?', 'what do you have to panic about?'. I've heard remarks many times like 'well what does she have to be depressed about?'. It isn't as simple as that, mental health is complex. It can be an absolute nightmare!

We live in a world now, where mental health is stigmatized (is that a word? I hope so) so much it is ridiculous. We shouldn't live in a world like this. You wouldn't hide away and be ashamed if you'd broken a bone or if you'd got flu, or any kind of illness that you can see would you? So why should we have to be ashamed and hide away if we have a mental illness? The answer to that is we shouldn't.

The truth is people don't want to know or understand unless it is affecting them. So is it the fact of they are ignorant? Or completely unaware of what is happening to others and could quite easily happen to them. We all have mental health, every single one of us and sometimes it gets poorly too. Unfortunately though it lasts alot longer than a stomach bug. Your mind is always there, it isn't going anywhere.

If you'd got a headache would you keep that to yourself? Period pains? Ear ache? Tooth ache? Pulled muscle? On the scale of things it is all health and it should all be talked about. Be open, speak up!

I've even gone as far as to add it into my personal statement on my CV, is that crazy? Maybe so, I'm scared about it. I'm scared of being judged but I'm also scared of lying. I don't want to live a lie. Anxiety affects my every day life, it's great (can you smell the sarcasm?). Some days I'm better than others, other days not so much. I'm not a robot, I'm not programmed a certain way, I'm human. I'm not invincible. I don't want to lie to people, I want people to understand me. I want to be able to get better, to improve my way of life. Will I improve that by being silenced? No, I don't think I will. I believe that regardless of me writing about mental health in my personal statement (it has affected me for around 7 years), there will still be a person with a heart behind the computer screen or opening the post with my CV and cover letter. I believe that someone out there will believe in me and just give me a chance.

10 things I want to change...

Blogging is just like an online diary, so tonight I'm creating a list of 10 things I want to change. It is actually my 'homework' from the lovely Kayla (my online friend from Philadelphia, crazzzy!). She has asked me to create a list of everything I want to change in my life, then narrow it down to 10 but instead I'm just going to start with 10 now (I'll put pen to paper later Kayla). Kayla is an extremely positive girl, such an inspiration too. We have a lot in common and can really connect, I'm finding the time difference a little tricky. Waking up in the morning and going to reply to her message and then thinking 'poo, it's like 4am...don't message her now, you might wake her'. Since Kayla is helping me, I in return offered to help her. She wants to start a blog, I'm super excited to help her start blogging again. She previously blogged and has a youtube channel too but as annoying as it is, sometimes life happens and things change. Fingers crossed Kayla will be back on the social scene soon. When she gets her blog up and running I'll be asking her to get involved and maybe do a guest post for me. In the meantime, let's get cracking on with these 10 things. I'll try and keep them short and sweet otherwise this will get looooonnnnggggg.

1. No drinking fizzy pop.
This has to be the first since we came up with the idea of the list when I was feeling absolutely rubbish on Saturday night, thanks Kayla for being there by the way. Fizzy pop makes me feel soooo poorly and anxious, yet I still drink it...makes no sense to me.

2. Leave the past in the past.
No social media stalking ex boyfriends and old friends (hey, I'm human...don't make out like you don't do it). Focus on the now, need to focus on my own life and moving forward.

3. Exercise more.
I walk alot, but that doesn't really get my heart pumping so I'll be using our exercise bike to get my heart pumping more. Exercise is good for anxiety?

4. Stability? What even is that?
It's great that my days are never the same but I need some flippin stability and routine. I'd say blogging can give me that but then I freak cos the pressure.

5. Focus more on myself.
Well, that could come across as really selfish and rude but sometimes you've got to put yourself first. I can feel myself slipping back downhill and I don't want that so I'm going to focus on myself and build myself back up. I'm the main person in my recovery.

6. Spend a little less time on social media.
Social media can be great but it can also be the devil. I find myself automatically checking instagram and twitter in the morning like it's a daily paper, last thing at night it's the same. Whenever I'm bored during the day I'm back to refreshing my instagram feed. Too much of that isn't good.

7. Step out of my comfort zone.
I would say more but I hardly step out of it at all so we'll just opt for stepping out of it.

8. Manage my finances.
I'm not the best at this, hence why I want to change it. I don't have any savings so that will certainly be something I can start doing too, save them pennies. Save them pennies and they'll make pounds.

9. Get into work.
Work that I know the hours, work that I know I'll have plenty to do, work that doesn't involve my parents. I absolutely love them to bits but living with them and working with them is driving me crazy!

10. Gain a voice.
I'm very much a nodding dog sometimes, I don't like confrontation. When I say gain a voice, I don't mean be nasty, I just mean to stand up for myself.

Ok, my homework list of 10 things is complete now Kayla. Now I'll be able to keep coming back and giving updates cos that's what blogs are for, right?! Speak to you soon and by soon I mean when you decide to reply! p.s. I know you're probably busy nannying, that made me sound rude...I didn't mean it rudely! X

- A

When Pretty Little Liars came onto our screens in the UK a couple of years ago I was so excited, it was such a good programme. I would easily go to say I was hooked, then for some reason the UK stopped showing it after 2 series...thanks for that UK TV.

Fast forward to January this year, I discovered Netflix have all the series up to date. Well, you can imagine my excitement. Every spare half an hour I had would be spent glued to the TV, only when I was home alone and not too late at night. I can't watch it when anyone else is in unless they are really quiet. If my mum is pottering about in the other room there is no chance of me watching it, it requires my full attention.

Now I'm all caught up until they upload a new episode, I thought I'd fill the Pretty Little Liars hole inside me with a Pretty Little Liars post. A little note before I go onto the post itself, if you don't watch Pretty Little Liars what are you playing at? It is fantastic, I bloomin' love it and it has got sooooo much better as the series have gone on.

I've decided to create a post sharing the things I've realized after watching a little bit too much of Pretty Little Liars...

- You knew exactly what this post was going to be about just by looking at the title.

'A' has a whole new meaning! It isn't no longer just a letter, it doesn't just start the alphabet or the alphabet song, no, no, no. Far from it!

- You start to question literally every single character in the entire episode. I'm not kidding you, at all.

- Black gloves? Did you just think of something you wear to keep your hands warm? If you answered no then you too have watched too much pretty little liars! (Really glad I'm not alone in this addiction). Black gloves mean an absolute mystery, plus totally creepy and scary.

- When you wake up in the middle of the night, close your eyes to go back to sleep again and you see the black hooded figure. A faceless black hoody wearing figure, who happens to also rock a pair of matching gloves with their hoody.

- You find yourself casually,  randomly singing the theme tune. 'better lock it in your pocket, taking this one to the grave...'

- A red coat no longer reminds you of Santa, not at all. Red coat and black hooded figure are best friends...but who the hell are they?!

- When you catch something in the corner of your eye, automatically think it's red coat. No, it's just the postman. 

My fellow Pretty Little Liars watchers out there, could you relate to any of these? Could you share your own? Let me know, I'd love to hear what you think!

p.s. if you don't watch Pretty Little Liars, give it a try...I don't think you'll regret it at all!

Red Nose Day inspired nails.

Ok, ok, firstly I did plan to put this up before the day itself but sometimes life doesn't go to plan. But yesterday morning I finally got round to creating the look and photographing it step by step. I've gone for a simple yet impressive look. p.s. please ignore the little imperfections on some of the photos, I'm not a professional. :)

To create this look you will need...

  • A base coat.
  • A red nail polish.
  • A white nail polish.
  • A black nail polish.
  • A top coat.
  • A dotting tool with a large end and a smaller end.
  • Tin foil.
  • Something to watch, read or listen to (completely optional).

Let's get on with the tutorial then shall we?

Really hoping you said yes!

Firstly, you need to prep your nails. File them, shape them to the right length for you, even out bumps, remove all your old nail polish and protect them with a clear base coat.

Once the base coat has dried you're ready for the next step.

Let's get adding some colour to them nails.

For this look I used all Barry M, you don't have to use Barry M. Barry M is just the majority of my polishes and my favourite go to. I used Bloody Orange, Matt White and Nightshade (later on).

For a better coverage be sure to apply two coats. If you decide to ever use one of Barry M's gelly polishes I'd definitely try to use less polish, I've found it's better if you use a couple thinner coats otherwise chances are it'll be so thick, it'll just smudge very easily. Take my word for it, I'm still to learn from this mistake.

Once you've left your nails to dry for plenty of time, we can move on to the next stage. When painting my nails I always find it a lot easier to watch something whilst I'm doing them because atleast you can leave them a lot longer without getting bored of waiting. It is quite literally like watching paint dry.

Before I created the dots I decided to give each nail a layer of top coat thinking it would save time later, think again. You can still do the top coat now and then at the end too, it's up to you.

Let's get dotty, spotty...

I decided to start with the big red dots. When I have dots on my nails people are always amazed that I've done them but honestly they are so simple to create. All you need is a dotting tool, some tin foil and your nail polish you're going to use for the dots.

The dots are created in 3 easy peasy steps.

Step 1. Blob some of your nail polish on to the tin foil.
Step 2. Dab your dotting tool end into the nail varnish.
Step 3. Dab it on to your nail.

tip: once you've dabbed it into the polish I find you have enough on the dotting tool to create atleast 2 maybe 3 dots before you have to re dab. 

Repeat the 3 steps as many times as you'd like until you have enough dots. I decided to start with 2 dots at the bottom then go into 3 dots, then back to 2, then back to 3 to make a pretty pattern.

Your nail should look like this...

Now we're on to the red dots. If you want to you can wipe your dotting tool clean to get rid of the previous polish. Admittedly I don't do this every time because it dries pretty quick and I just tend to forget.

Repeat the same 3 steps as before with your polish, dotting tool and tin foil. You'll be left with your mix match nails.

Are you mastering the dotting tool yet?

I hope so, if not we've got more practice coming up.

Again with your white nail polish, take your dotting tool, dab it into the white (you might want to add more white to your tin foil, the other one might be all dry now). This time round you only need to do 2 dots, on your thumb.

This reminded me very much of Mickey Mouse's shorts.

Once you've created your two dots, these are going to be the eyes of your red nose. Leave them to dry for a little while, 5 minutes to be on the safe side. If you're watching something on telly or a youtube video that 5 minutes will fly by.

Five minutes has passed? On to the pupils of the eyes.

I blobbed some of the black nail polish on to the tin foil and then switched the dotting tool around to create smaller dots.

All you've got to do is blob them onto the white dots. They don't have to match, I always go for the googly eye look.

The look is almost complete!

I would say don't bother applying another top coat, cos I mean really? What are the chances of you smudging the dots?...

Cute googly eyes turn demon...not good! Just from putting on my boots to leave the house.

Learn from my mistake and apply a top coat, your look will last a lot longer. Trust me. :)

Finish off by removing the extra bits of polish around the edge, if there is any. I always manage to have polish around the edges, every single time.

Well there we have it, step by step guide to create my Red Nose Day look for yourself. I hope you enjoyed it, waffle and all. If you decide to give it a go or are inspired by the look and create something new, share that with me too. :)

one year, twelve goals...third month in.

At the beginning of the new year I decided to create myself a list of twelve goals, one goal for each month. Every 3 months I'm going to recap/catch up on them to see how I'm doing. We've just come into the 3rd month of the year already, crazily quick but what better time to recap than on a lazy Sunday? :)

Here goes then...

1. meet atleast 3 online friends.
Total of online friends I've met you ask? None, not a single bean. Hopefully that will begin to change over the upcoming months. Especially since there is talk of a meet up, yes Amy I'm looking at you! :)

2. attend one or more concerts.
Concerts attended? None.
Concerts planned? Three, three?!
Watch this space for more updates on that, I'll more than likely be blogging about them. Fingers crossed by the next catch up I'll have been to two of them. *crosses everything*. Number 3 on my list this year is The Vamps. It's an outdoor concert, my favourite kind so I'm going to love it, hopefully! The album is on repeat in my car at the minute, last summer it was my album for the summer and this year is going to be no different.

3. save more money than I spend.
With car insurance, road tax, mot, new tyres and wiper blades in one month I'm pretty sure that answers itself. No, so far I haven't managed to save more money than I've spent. Bank balance is looking extremely poorly. I need to learn money doesn't grow on trees, nor do I need to buy so much rubbish when I'm out and about.

4. take a weekend break.
No weekend break has been taken yet and none are planned for the near future neither.

5. read one book every month.
Third month already? Easy peasy, I'm on to my fourth book this year. I've read Girl Online by Zoe Sugg (Zoella), an extremely easy read book with a lovely story behind it. The Best Of Me by Nicholas Sparks, not his typical complete lovey dovey love story...watched the film afterwards, one word to sum that up, beautiful! Third book is Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey, I'm not too sure how I feel about this book in all honesty. It left me feeling the same way that The Perks Of Being A Wallflower left me. Now I've started reading If I Stay by Gayle Forman.

6. tackle the stigma surrounding mental health more.
How can we tackle the stigma? Just talk, speak up. I've got a new blog post idea ready in my head, just need to get round to typing it up. This goal is pretty much just an ongoing, yearly goal.

7. drink more water.
It's a work in progress, I'm trying to drink more but sometimes other drinks just seem alot more appealing.

8. spread my blogging wings a little more.
I guess you could say I've spread them a little more, I've given another 'fashion' post ago (still struggling to refer myself to fashionable and fashion). I'll be trying to spread these little wings a little bit further.

9. keep my diary up to date.
What diary? Oh, that book that tends to just get switched from bag to bag and occasionally gets wrote in. Yeah, that's the one and no, it's not up to date.

10. cook more meals.
I'm trying to get better at this part. Over the past two months I have made a pretty good tuna pasta bake, without a jar or packet in sight...ooh check me out! I've also made lasagne from scratch, *high five*! All thanks to this book, I'm trying to work my way through it...hence the yellow sticky note strips.

11. enquire more about braces.
Check. Consultation is over £50, costing is around £3,000. I'm not exactly rolling in it at the minute so I'm opting to get my oral health routine to its best in the meantime. Why couldn't I have a bloomin' dentist in my teens, under 18 and it's free...what?!

12. move...more.
Last week I ran three times, this week I've run....none at all. I've been on a few hour long brisk walks though so I'm moving, moving a little bit is better than not moving at all.