Living with Regret


Regret is something that everyone lives with. It can be the simple things we regret, like eating that extra cookie at lunch, to the big things, like having not revised enough for an exam. Parents and friends teach us to let go of that regret, to stop holding on to something you can't change, to forget the big regrets that when thought about can eat away at us. But what if, like me, you can't forget about that regret? What if you carry the burden on your shoulders, until the crushing weight is just too much to bare?

A few days ago I found myself lying awake in bed thinking about all the major things in life that I regret. I mean, I've had some horrible break ups, to the point where I'm actually ashamed at who I was and how I reacted,where the regret wells up inside me and produces tears. Even the one break up that I thought was healthy, where we were friends, good friends, has ended up turning sour. And it was this regret, this feeling that if I had behaved differently, acted differently, then maybe I wouldn't be lying in bed now, crying my eyes out at something I couldn't change.

I'm the type of person when if something doesn't turn out right, if someone gets hurt or is unhappy, I blame myself. I always have, and its a contributor of my social anxiety and depression. Always trying to make things turn out perfect is unsustainable, and not being able to cope with the regret is a huge part of this.

My boyfriend is always telling me that I need to try and forget my regrets, the little things such as giving up ballet when I was 6, to the big things, such as not pushing my anxieities during my first term at Uni leaving me with little friends. It is not so much that I regret my life, there are plenty of things that I wouldn't change, that I don't wish I could go back and repeat, that I don't regret. But more and more, as I am left with my own thoughts and worries, I find myself travelling my well trodden path to regret.

I feel in part that I am writing this post in an attempts to make me stop regretting my life, as if typing and seeing the words in front of me will make me change my ways. I also feel as if I am writing this post for all the things, all the actions, and to all the people that I regret.

So, to all the hobbies I quit, to six year old me quitting ballet, thirteen year old me quitting the cello and eigtheen year old me quitting Chinese, I am sorry. But at the time you were miserable in ballet, had so much stage fright that you were afraid to play to your own cello teacher, and stressed so much about Uni work that extra Chinese lessons were just not plausible. They just weren't right for you at the time, now you are picking up ballet again, and you can always learn a language or an instrument in later life. Just stop regretting them!!

And to all my human interactions I regret, to that first boyfriend who broke my heart, who I acted so crazy to whilst desperately trying to cope with my depression, that they no longer wanted to associate with me, I'm sorry. I was hurt, I was very sick, and I've spent years regretting it, but now I'm going to stop, whats in the past is in the past. To my friends who I have treated badly, especially during the worst year of my illness, I've regreted you having to see me like that and how I behaved every day, even if for the most part I couldn't help it. But instead of regretting you, I will move on, and actively try to improve these relationships.

To all the things I didn't try, to all the socieities I didn't join, to all the people I was afraid to talk to, and to all the times I desperately wanted to go out, to party with my friends or watch a movie but was too anxious too, I am sorry. Yes perhaps this fear of socialising has impacted on your life to such an extent that you barely go out, that at Uni you have little friends, that even your own mother is concerned about your lack of social life, but there is no point wishing you could go back to the start of Uni, to the start of sixth form, there just isn't. So stop living in regret, and actively change it, go out, try to socialise, and talk to people!!

And finally to my most recent break up, and my best friend, I regret everything that transpired with us, from attempting to be your friend, to breaking your heart all over again, to now, where you aren't allowed to be my friend. This regret is a little raw and fresh to bare, but over time, like the rest of my regrets, I'll find myself writing a letter to myself, and moving on.

If everyone were to hold onto their regrets, no one would live, no one would try new things or actively seize the day. We would sit at home, curled up in fluffy socks and animal themed pyjamas (maybe that is just me, but you get the idea) and wallow in our losses, our regrets, and our grief over them. But instead, as I have seen, life moves on, people actively take the reins over their life, they learn from their regrets and mould themselves into the person they want to be, someone their friends, family and most importantly themselves can be proud of. So I encourage everyone out there burdened with regret to join me in this journey, it'll be tough, but hopefully we'll all come out of it lighter, happier and with a new sense of freedom.

Tiny Tea Detox




Recently I have been feeling really tired, a bit sluggish, and incredibly self-concious, to the point where I tried on about 5 outfits until I resorted to a baggy jumper and jeans in order to hide my bloated belly. The combination of being rather poorly, looming exams and the murky Spring weather had left me feeling down, and in desperate need of a little shake up.

I'd been considering doing some kind of detox for a while, and had read a lot about various ways to eat healthy, exercise and generally just feel better about yourself. But with the amount of caffine I was consuming via my daily cups of tea, along with the numerous cups of coffee I was drinking to stay awake, I was still feeling sluggish, stressed and bloated.

Tea toxes have been flying all over the internet, and I thought substituting my normal caffine fuelled drinks with a detoxing tea would be the perfect start to a healthier me. Originally I was planning on buying Bootea as I'd seen it everywhere and it was easily accesible due to it being sold in Holland and Barrett, but the whole concept of a 'Night Tea' which sounded a lot like a laxative wasn't for me. Then, whilst scrolling through The Little Magpie's snap envy Instagram account I saw her using a product called Your Tea, which was a company specialising in various herbal teas to help you with anything from weightloss to fertillity, happiness to sex.

I purchased the 28 day Tiny Teatox as I felt it was an all rounder sought of tea, helping with indigestion, bloating, cellulite, bad skin and energy. Taken three times a day, half an hour before each meal, this tea has made me feel so much more energetic and happy about myself. I even managed to do a bit of cardio, strength and yoga every day. The fact that you take the tea three times a day also made sure I ate three meals a day and gave my day some sort of structure. I would highly recommend this tea for anyone who wants a little bit of a detox, whether for weight loss reason, or like me, just to put that extra spring in your step.

P.S. For those busy boddies out there I highly recommend the 'Sworkit Lite' app, which allows you to do short workouts when you are pushed for time, working on various different areas from strength to cardio, pilates to yoga. I've been opting for three short 5 minute workouts a day, but the app allows up to 60 minute workouts in the various categories.

Care Packages at Uni

I have now come to the end of my second term at Uni, and let me tell you, its been a busy one! With work really picking up, and tonnes of essays and reading to do I've barely had time to sit down and write, as my lovely followers may have noticed. Drowning my laptop didn't help either, who knew water and electrical items didn't mix!? Joking aside it has been really hard to cope with daily life and Uni without a laptop and internet, from not being able to check my bank balance to reading my degree articles. My anxieites over using the Library haven't helped, but luckily my boyfriend and flat mates have been super helpful whilst I've been sans laptop. How my parents got through three years of Uni without a laptop or internet I'll never know.

Now, ramblings aside, todays post is about creating themed care packages for your friends or loved ones whilst they are away at Uni. I have received some incredible care packages over the past two terms, from a 'Tacky Christmas' gift box to a 'John Hughes Movie Night' so here are three ideas for themed care packages to make the stressful studying of student life that little bit bearable.

1. John Hughes Movie Night- The first themed parcel I received and would highly recommend is a themed movie night. Featuring the movies Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Sixteen Candles, Say Anything and The Breakfast Club, complete with a Waitrose Chocolate Selection, Percy Pigs, Popcorn and some money for a bottle of wine, the perfect movie box is created. A love of John Hughes movies has always been something me and my Mum have loved, but you could easily mix up the movies to suit your recipient.
2.  Tacky Christmas- For those students you know who are missing home over the festive season, and who are envious of their younger siblings getting to decorate the tree at home, this box is perfect. Head to pounland and fill with tonnes of tacky Christmas decorations, and some festive chocolate, a ginger bread house and some snow in a can, and your recipient and their flat mates will be singing Christmas carols the whole term through.



3. Rocky Horror Picture Show- Everyone needs a night off then and again during the exam season, and what better way than with a Rocky Horror Movie night. Along with a copy of the movie, add a sparlky top hat, feather boa, chocolate, Test Tube Shot Glasses, and copious amounts of alcohol. Just make sure they invite you to stay when they celebrate the night!!
There are so many unique and creative ideas you could do, and they are so easy to personalise to whoever is receiving it. Whilst at home over Easter I am even sending my London boyfriend a North-East care package, full of Newcastle Brown Ale, a Newcastle Shirt and other great Geordie themed items!!

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.