Lifestyle, Winter

How I’m finding 2019 so far!

Hello, Hello, Hello.

I’m back at last from my mini hiatus. I seem to always become very uninspired during the winter months content wise, possibly due to the lack of sunshine, flowers and the daily slog of going to work and leaving work in the dark. But spring is almost upon us, the flowers are pushing their way out of the ground and the inspiration has began to slowly flow back into my finger tips.

So I thought I’d jump back in with a mini update of what I’ve been up to, which if truth be told isn’t an awful lot but here we go.

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I entered 2019 all ‘this is the year I will travel’ but it turns out this is the year I am going to explore my creative side instead. I’ve picked up knitting during my lunch break at work (when I’m not stuffing my chunky face with food that is) as well as being sucked into the world of Warhammer with little legs and my god is it addictive! I love painting my mini’s and watching as they come to life with each and every layer of paint.

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I hate being active. Like actually hate it. My body aches during exercise and after for DAYS. It is truly awful. However, I’m getting older which means I’m getting fatter so it is now becoming a must. I started (and failed) the couch to 5K straight after new year, but the awful weather and being full of cold made me feel really unwell so I’ve put that idea to one side and decided I will accomplish it once the light nights come in so I can go running more than twice a week. I have however picked up my hula hoop again! Last year I lost A LOT of weight just from playing with this outside for half an hour everyday during the summer so I am back on it! Granted not as much as I would like as it’s still cold and miserable outside and my house isn’t big enough to hula hoop indoors, but on the nights were the rain doesn’t fall I am straight outside with my music and a wooly jumper on hooping away.

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During the half term break we went away with my wonderful friends to Scotland for a few days and it was beautiful. We stayed near Galloway’s national parkย  in a small wooden barn that had been renovated into a fantastic but very back to basics lodge located on a working farm. It basically look’s very posh and swanky and we had a wonderful wood burning stove to keep us warm but my god when it wasn’t on it was bloody freezing and impossible to cook on. I think the only things we managed to eat from it was some sausages I prayed I had cooked properly and some giant marshmallows we had toasted in the flames. Thankfully there was lots of wonderful pubs around so we managed to keep our feet warm and our stomachs full.

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I have become more confident going out and about on my own which is fantastic, and I am very content just sitting on my own for an hour or two in a coffee shop with a good book to keep me company, as well as managing to go to the cinema alone for the first time in my life back in January. I have also started meeting up with friends once a month for food and a natter which is fantastic seeing as 2018 was the year I became a hermit. So yes! Out the house events! Lots of them, and hopefully lots more to come over the next few months.

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So far this year I have been trying to find more time to read as I find a good book will help you escape the realities of the world and your mind, even if just for a few hours. One of my worst traits I think is that I always have multiple books on the go at once, and I never ever end up finishing any of them. Yes, I am that person. Half read books litter my room and I am slowly trying to work my way to the end of every single one (before I add more to the pile).

And that’s that! What have you been up to so far in 2019 and what do you want to do in the next few months ahead? I am really excited to be back blogging and finding the time to bake again for the Lavender and Black bakes series, though I will admit topic wise will probably become a hell of a lot more scattered then normal, so let me know what post’s you would like to see.

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Lifestyle, Winter

my top 9 of 2018 & my mental health

So the end of 2018 and the start of 2019 seems to have everybody uploading their Top 9 posts and re-caps about their year. So here we go, below you will find my personal top 9 images linked to some but not all of my happy memories that happened last year.

But first a brief description of my year. 2018 was the year I had a breakdown, not my first and not my most spectacular but definitely the hardest one to bounce back from as leaving the house became a very, very hard task. It was also the year I discovered I suffer from Sensorimotor Obsessive Compulsion Disorder. I won’t go on too much about it but basically Sensory OCD is ‘obsessions which include a heightened awareness and focus on involuntary bodily activities and processes… Common examples include hyper awareness of swallowing, breathing or blinking’. It is also said that these types of obsessions can be particularly brutal as they involve everyday bodily processes that you need to do to survive which means there is no escape.

It is brutal, and hard to bounce back from. But I am, slowly. Happy Dance.

 

 

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So first up! July, after a few weeks of going to therapy I took on head first the challenge of walking down to the Quayside from Newcastle City Centre to get some Halloumi Fries from The Little Fishy pop up bar next to the NE1 Quayside beach. I think this was my first and furthest solo outing, other than the trip to M&S a week earlier which had seen me fight through two panic attacks as I refused to turn back to work (aka my ‘safe space’). I remember the Summer sun had vanished and it was really dark and gloomy but it didn’t dampen my spirits or stop me from taking a photo to record my achievement.

 

 

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I text my friend as we were traveling to Brockbrushes saying how scared I was to be going but also so happy I had left the house and was going on an outing. It was also so warm which did not help my fuzzy brain issues but I didn’t die! Horray! I did however help pick enough raspberries and strawberries to keep us going for weeks.

 

 

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Holiday time! I was so lucky that after the most heartbreaking news I was able to escape reality for a week and hang out in such a peaceful setting. Ironically I was at my most anxious here, but also in the most safest and calmest space with my favourite people and I returned home feeling motivated to change my life and live everyday to the full.

 

 

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ย Jam! I made my first batch of blackberry jam (or just my first batch of jam full stop) and it was hella tasty too. My family is probably going to hate me this year as come the Summer / Autumn months I am going to be making jams and pickles like it’s going out of fashion.

 

 

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The day I decided I wasn’t going to sit in the house and be a hermit alone, no I was going to go sit in the pub and be a hermit alone with a gin, and some nice warm food. The weather was also crazy this day as well, I went out in my wellies and jumped in every puddle on the way to the pub and when I left it was lashing it down with rain! I was absolutely soaking by the time I got home. Well worth it though.

 

 

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My first night out in over a year! Where I was able to dress up nice and my god, I was SO nervous heading out alone as I was worried I had forgotten how to talk to people or that people would wonder why the hell I was there but I was overwhelmed by the amount of wonderful friends who took their time to talk to me like a normal person, which to them they would be thinking well why the hell wouldn’t we but to me it meant the absolute world. My skin was also so clear that night as I had been dairy free for a month and lost a crazy amount of weight due to hula hooping. I need to invest in contact lenses though as my dorky glasses ruined that outfit. Ha!

 

 

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Cake! My last bake of 2018 which was disgustingly only bake number 11 from my Mary Berry / Lavender and Black Bakes challenge I had set myself on halfway through last year. This one is here as it was the first thing I have ever baked where I have ever given it to anyone other than my poor family who get lumbered with my baking 24/7. It seemed to receive good comments back as well so it certainly boosted my confidence slightly. And as wonderful as the festive period has been I can not wait to get back into baking and catching up on this challenge.

 

 

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Aghhh! Fireball tour! This one made me feel sick for months on the lead up. It was my second night out in 2018 / since I became unwell and I was so nervous about being in such a crowded and busy environment but honestly I had nothing to fear. A few times I felt a bit uneasy but I just took myself off, calmed down and came back in and by the time the last band came on stage I was a lot more at ease with my nerves and ended up in the pub afterwards for a pint.

 

 

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I know, I know! All my top 9s are nights out. Sorry. But also not sorry! This one was amazing, my wonderful friend text me an hour before my crazy busy shift ended and asked if I fancied going for a pint. Well, we’ve all seen the meme. One pint means you wake up four days later missing a shoe and probably some of your dignity, I woke up the next morning massively hungover but absolutely over the moon that I had gone out for a spontaneous night out! No planning, no panicking and not a single sign of my anxiety when I was shit faced, just an embarrassing IG story of me screaming along to meatloaf and a memory of telling my brother I brought him some chicken nuggets home, when eating the last of said chicken nuggets.

 

 

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And finally, the last and most beautiful sunset of 2018. I was awe-struck at how beautiful the sky looked on the way home from work that I decided to sit on my doorstep and watch it play out. I thought of the year that had passed, the loved ones I had lost and what I want to have accomplished within the next 12 months. I probably also looked mental to my neighbour sitting on the cold, damp floor in the dark with a bottle of beer in my hand staring at the night sky, but whatever.

 

 

I think I’ve written 10 not 9. Oops… Oh well, have the last one for luck.

If you got this far through my post then well done! Please let me know your highlight ofย  2018 or what you hope 2019 brings you. I’m hoping to just keep continuing taking those little steps forwards, and to see my loved ones more often, because if 2018 taught me anything it is that life is far, far too short.