Current 'Shower Time' Favourites



Since moving into University halls not only am I loving having a bathroom all to myself (long gone are the days of screaming and banging on the door in a rush to get ready on time) but I am also enjoying having a shower for the very first time.

Having a shower is so much quicker and easier than the laborious task of running a bath for half an hour and then having to wash your hair. The novelty of being able to hop into the shower, stand there for five minutes, and then hop out again hasn't quite worn off yet, and I used the excuse of finally having a shower to buy tonnes of shower gel and other such products. After a run of trial and error here are my current top five 'shower time' (I willl never tire of saying that) favourites.

1. Lush 'Flying Fox' Shower Gel A shower gel that also doubles up as a shampoo, this luxurious smelling product packs a punch as well as leaving me squeaky clean. Perfect for decanting into a smaller bottle whilst travelling, this dual usage gel has a more musky scent that I wouldn't normally go for, but which is both sweet and sophisticated (product is not on the website, but here is a similar one).
2. Clean and Clear Morning Energy Daily Facial Scrub- £2.66 Usually a habitual user of Clinique's Anti-Blemish Cleansing Foam, Clean and Clear's daily scrub is just something a little more refreshing I have been using about twice a week. The tiny beads within the gel help to de-clag my face and leave me feeling fresh and ready to start the day. It also smells delightful, to the point where everytime I use it my boyfriend comments on how nice I smell.
3. Cocoa Brown Gentle Self Tan- £5.99 I'm not one to usually go in for the whole fake tan look (mainly cause I'm too lazy) but this grdual moisturisor is perfect for slapping on after getting out of the shower and great if, like me, you want to take the more subtle, less maintanence route to self-tanning.
4. Body Shop Tea Tree Face Mask- £10 A firm favourite, this tea tree face mask has been in my bathroom cabinent for years, but since moving to University I have been really slacking in my weekly pampering, so I restocked my cupboard with this cleansing face mask, and what can I say? My skin looks more refreshed, is less blemished, and generally this makes me a much smilier Hope. It's definitely worth the ten minutes spent looking like Shrek....
5. Body Shop Strawberry Body Polish- £5.00 Recently I've been feeling a little lack-lustrous and this amazing smelling body polish helps gently exfoliate my skin, leaving me silky soft and sparkly (ok, not actually sparkly, but its how I feel that counts).

If you have any recommendations on lovely and luxurious shower products I can use, let me know in the comments below. I must have them all!!

'Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me'

Name calling is something that often happens to us in our day to day lives. Ever since we were little we have been taught the rhyme 'Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me' and as a kid I used to chant it over and over again hoping it would be true, but it neber was. And it still isn't.

A few days ago I tried something that was very hard for me. I suffer from anxiety and any social situation puts me on edge, from going to a lecture to being in a club. My boyfriend had been asking me for months to come and pre-drink with his flat and go out with them, to get to know them and stop being so god damn elusive. Everytime he asked me I always managed to come up with some excuse, some reason I couldn't go, until it got to the point where I just said I was scared and didn't want to go. It's not just that I was scared of being in a small space with lots of people, drinking and playing personal and stressful games which are supposed to be fun, I was scared of letting him down. I wanted so badly to get along with his flat mates, to be a fun and interesting girfriend, and I knew how much he wanted me to get to know him too. So I went, and I tried, despite my shaking, and sweating and my lack of people skills. I lasted a while, I made it all the way into the club before I had to turn around, cry in frustration, and go home. And although I felt huge dissapointment in myself, as if I had let my boyfriend down and shown myself to be odd and shy infront of his kind and accomodating flat mates, that didn't turn out to be the biggest problem.

The next day when people asked me why we had left so early, my boyfriend would turn to me, and everytime I would just blurt out 'People scare me'. Not only was this causing confusion among his flatmates, it was firing up the name calling inside my own head. 'Odd', 'Weird', 'Awkward', 'Anxious'. Then the true blow came, words that certainly felt like I had had stones lobbed at me and sticks jabbed into my chest. Someone had actually called me a horrible name, a name which didn't even make sense but never the less still caused hot tears to fall down my cheeks. I had been called a prude. My boyfriend had explained to his team captain at training that he had to leave early to be with me, his girlfriend. He had explained my anxiety issues and how I was really pushing myself out of my comfort zone by going out, and he had turned around and called me a prude. Whether he had been joking or not, whether that word actually made sense, it rocked me to my core. And as I began to chant my childhood mantra in my head I realised there was no point, that I was lying to myself. It did hurt. It hurt more than I would've thought it would, and it made me realise how many names people get called for being different.

In todays society derogatory terms like slut, prude, faggot and gay get thrown around like thumbtack conffetti, little pin pricks everyday that can eventaully wear a person down. I had been called a prude for having anxiety, from someone who had barely met me and probably didn't understand a whole lot about mental health problems. People get hollered at and harrassed for being a different race, or having a different sexual preference, for acting or dressing a certain way or even for struggling with things that most people take for granted. We can all pretend that they are just meaningless words and chant that childhood mantra, and ignore the pain inflicted by a bunch of letters, but who is that really helping?

Dealing with Emotions


Learning to cope with my emotions is something that I have always struggled with. Since I was little I have always taken things too personally, been hurt and felt guilty about things that were totally unecessary. I thought as I grew up I would learn to deal with these emotions better, especially after having gone through CBT therapy to help me deal with clinical depression.

But recently I have found myself unable to deal with the most common of emotions, hurt, anger and sadness. If I begin to feel angry, I will always turn it back onto myself, until tears of frustration are running down my cheeks and I have kicked or thrown something. If I begin to feel hurt by something or someone, I will turn that hurt into anger, anger at myself for being so stupid, getting my hopes up when it only hurts me. I will then vow never to hope or be optimistic, and do the opposite of anything that could potentially hurt me. All the while I am just hurting myself more. This makes it particularly hard for me to make friends and start relationships.

Getting to know someone, starting a relationship with someone whilst you are battling with clinical depression and anxiety is never easy. No matter how many times I do it, there is always that fear that they will leave, that being overly sad, or unable to go out with their friends will push them further away.

I worry that by being miserable or angry I will make them think that I don't care for them. I feel as if my whole body  screams 'I'm Sorry' whenever I am with them. I feel so guilty for being sad or angry, for having to stay in rather than go out, and for crying, a lot.

I know that being in a happy relationship is about accepting every part of each other, but when you are just starting out you just want things to be fun. And I can't do that, I've tried. So what should I do? Should I tell him my worries, how I really feel? I am still going to the doctors, and getting various forms of help, so I know that eventually I will get things back under control again, but I feel like this is something that I can't just ride out.

I would love any advice on this, whether you have been in similar situations or just have some great advice please write about it in the comments below!!

Love


Love. A four letter word that is so simple and so complex all at the same time.

There are so many different ways to love something or somone, and when it comes to falling in love with someone, it can be so exilirating yet so terrifying all at the same time. I always thought there was never a right or a wrong way to love something or someone, that love would conquer all and be the magical answer. But recently I have come to realise that that isn't always true. Love doesn't always conquer.

As a young girl I used to embroil myself in fictional romances, from Austen novels, to Baroness Orczy's Scarlet Pimpernel and Marguerite. I would spend hours imagining my modern day romance, that one day I would meet someone and loving them and them loving me would be the recipe for eternal happiness.

But life doesn't always work out like Jane Austen novel (and I am yet to meet anyone who has been so much in love with me that they have kissed my footsteps like Sir Percy did for Marguerite). Love changes meaning and grows as we do. The realisation that that 'first love' you thought would last for ever didn't in fact turn out to be love at all, or that loving someone wasn't enough to fix the cracks in a relationship can become unbearably painful.

It can cause you to mistrust love when it is truly there, make you fear loving someone ever again, or even make you grasp for love when it isn't there. But then you remember those moments, when being in love was the most indesribably happy, exciting and safest time of your life, and whether you are now hurting or still in love, you live for those moments.

Orange Shortbread





I love baking over Christmas, experimenting with festive flavours, and making a whole host of baked goodies for my family to gorge on.


With varying preferences and favourite flavours, it is hard to please everyone in my family all at once, but then I came across this Scottish Shortbread Recipe from Jamie Oliver. The great thing about this recipe is that it is so simple. There is also some great flavour combinations to add something extra special, such as Chocolate, Orange and Caraway, or Lavender and Honey.

I opted for a simple orange flavour, my Dad's favourite flavour for any baked good, chocolate or sweet.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 200g of plain flour
  • 50g of caster sugar
  • 125g of unsalted butter
  • Zest of 1 Orange
METHOD:
  1. Preheat the oven to 170c/325f / Gas Mark 3 and line some baking trays with greaseproof paper
  2. Add the flour and sugar to a bowl and mix well
  3. Rub in the butter by hand, creating a sandy texture
  4.  Add the orange zest, and incorporate, being careful not to overwork the mixture
  5. Press the dough together, and roll flat, using a little bit of flour to make sure the batter doesn't stick. (if your mixture is too dry, incorporate a little more butter)
  6. Cut out appropriately festive themed shapes ( I went for Snowmen)
  7. Bake for 20-30 mins, or until golden brown.
Serve with a cup of tea (or Eggnog if you are feeling super festive)

And to check out more beautiful flavour combinations, head over to Jamie's recipe here

A #DEBSSLEEPOVER with Dinosaur Dances




(Photo credits to Dinosaur Dances)

Recently I was asked by one of my bestest blogging friends, Lucy from Dinosaur Dances, to join her for a special Debenhams sleepover.

Debenhams had kindly sent over a huge parcel filled with onsies, chocolate, biscuits and tea, along with everything else you would need for a sleepover. All I can say is the Debenham Onsies are the softest imaginable and I thought I looked rather Christmassy wearing mine if I do say so myself!

I am actually organised for once this year, and returned home to all my beautifully wrapped presents, however if you aren't Debenhams are delivering till 10pm tonight, so get shopping!!

'Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!' (preferaby tucked up in a snuggly onesie)

*Products gifted to Dinosaur Dances by Debenhams, all opinions are my own.

Student Minds

Ever since being diagnosed, almost two and a half years ago I have always wanted to do my part to raise awareness for mental health, and help those who suffer from such illnesses. I have read books, looked up statistics, and bared my feelings on the internet, all in order to better understand and help those who suffer from mental health illnesses.

Recently I was given the wonderful opportunity to join Student Minds blogging team. Student Minds is a UK based mental health charity aimed at helping students, a long with providing information and support for parents, family and friends. Along with providing information and support, Student Minds also runs a blog, written both by a blogging team and annonymous writers.

I highly recommend that if you are ever in need of advice or support, as a sufferer, or as someone who's loved one is ill, to head over to Student Minds and check out their blog, with my most recent post here.

Together we can raise awareness and erase the stigma surrounding mental health, and petition for real changes, that will allow those suffering from mental health problems to get the best treatment possible