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 park  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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 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 of  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.

 

Autumn, Lifestyle

Christmas Countdown!

Aghhhhh! Here we are, 24 days until it is all over and eaten and drank. The countdown to the most wonderful time of the year has officially begun and I am beyond excited! Are you? For some crazy reason unbeknown to me, I seem to have some form of content planned for pretty much everyday of December. I know, stop the train! After a whole five-week of silence I have come back big in the craziest month of the year, however I am not going to be forcing myself to completing Blogmas so if I miss a day or two posting then so be it and if not then look at me being ridiculously productive at last, even if it has occurred at the end of 2018!

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I will probably be too crazy busy to post and promote my posts all throughout the festive period, which I am sure you will understand so I recommend clicking the follow button found in the right hand side column as it means you will get a little email pinging into your inbox as soon as I upload any content so you won’t miss a thing!

Why will I be crazy busy you may ask! Well I will be drinking my way through river of hot chocolate, baking up lots of jolly delights and obviously playing Santa by getting all the gifts ready for Christmas day. Hopefully I will find a minute or two to relax and check out Hadrian’s Tipi, Pizza Punks Christmas menu and many more festive activities on the run down to the big day!

Can you tell I am excited? Let me know what your most excited about now that we are entering the final few weeks of 2018.

Autumn, Lifestyle

10 things that have made me happy this week

The fun thing I have discovered about these posts is that I am starting to appreciate the little things I come across during the week. Once upon a time I would walk around with my head down, not really acknowledging what was going on around me but now I find myself stopping and taking a step back to actually look and take in my surroundings. It is a really nice feeling. So what little things have made me happy this past week?

  1. Church bells. Weird I know. But every now and again on the way home I catch the ringing of the bells that come from one of the churches in Newcastle. I’m not entirely sure what it is but when I do hear them on my walk home I just feel that little bit more happy and more aware of my surroundings, as strange as that sounds.IMG_20181007_133422_605.jpg
  2. Love Locks. Another one I see daily on my route home but have noticed more recently is the love locks that cover the high level bridge. There is one lock in particular that is HUGE and has a massive metal chain holding it up. The amount of effort that had gone into placing that lock on the bridge quite high up is wonderfully uplifting and never fails to make me smile.
  3. Changing colour of the leaves. Who doesn’t love Autumn? I know it is a little sad to see some parts of nature die off due to the changing weather and incoming cold temperatures but there is something wonderful about seeing the tree leaves turn from green to amber to crimson red before falling and littering the floor with such vibrant colours, don’t you think?IMG_20181006_203248_108.jpg
  4. Movie night! Seeing as we are now on the Halloween countdown, myself and little legs have decided to watch 31 movies over 31 nights. This has been so much fun from making sure we are ready and settled down in our PJs from 8pm every night to finding new movies neither of us have watched before or re-watching old classics we have loved for years.
  5. Blogtober! I know, a weird one. But I am absolutely loving taking part in blogtober and the fact I am so far managing to complete it. Fingers crossed I am still loving it and posting daily content in 19 days time!
  6. Birthday Cake. It was my little brothers birthday over this past week which meant birthday cake entered the house! I love birthday cake so much and honestly could and attempt to eat it for every meal along side a good cup of tea!
  7. Tacos! Yes, if you’ve been following this series for a while you may notice food makes me stupidly happy, and this week myself and little legs made tacos for tea. It was LL’s first ever tacos and he was well impressed and I have to say they were honestly the best tacos I have ever eaten!IMG_20181009_200448_014.jpg
  8. Coffee flavours. Now we have entered Autumn it seems all coffee is now laced with some wonderful sounding and tasting syrup, so it wasn’t going to be too long before I picked up a bottle to have stashed in the house for a more indulgent coffee first thing in the morning.
  9. The Rage Company! The bath bombs from this little Etsy store are litrally the bomb, pardon the pun. I was awestruck by how beautiful both the bath art and shimmer that swirled around me in the tub was.
  10. Ginger and Lemon tea! So I have started to get the grog, or a cold as other more normal people may call it and I have found that popping some ginger and a lemon slice in my tea-pot and drinking the infused warm water has slightly helped me feel a little better and it is now a night-time must have before bed.
Lifestyle, Summer

10 things that have made me happy this week

As if it is this time of the week again! I can’t be the only one who feels like these past two weeks have whizzed past ridiculously fast, even more so with the return to school chaos. Anyway! Here are the top 10 things that have made me feel happy over the past 7 days and please don’t forget to let me know what made you happy this past week as well.

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  1. Reading – There is nothing better than getting lost in a good book and that is what I have been doing these past two weeks. I am currently reading two cute little books, first up is the one I mentioned last week (The Little Book of Hygge) and the other is The Danish way of Parenting, both of which I wish I had found years earlier if truth be told and I fully recommend them both.
  2. Podcasts – These aren’t something I usually listen to, but this week whilst getting ready for work I felt I needed some background noise and my usual music playlist just wasn’t cutting it.  I stumbled upon Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast and I am absolutely in love with the entire idea of breaking down the Harry Potter texts chapter by chapter under a different theme each time. It is safe to say that I am obsessed!IMG_20180907_193145_895
  3. Pub Lunches – Last Friday I managed to toddle up to my local pub on my own and I really enjoyed just being out of the house and being in my own company for a change. Not only that but I also got to eat the best fish and chips I have ever had on a wonderful rainy autumn day in the cutest pub ever, accompanied with a gin and tonic of course.
  4. Bake off – I know I mentioned this last week, but it is obvious that an adorable baking show set in a tent is going to make everyone happy, so it was clearly going to appear here more than once. I think my favourite this year is Rahul, Kim-Joy also amuses me with her little cat creations. Who is your current favourite?IMG_20180914_174634_716
  5. Lush hair care – This time last week my hair was knackered. I don’t mean looking bit dull and lifeless I mean a full-blown frizzy dead mess! I ended up in Lush and picked up the H’suan wen hua hair treatment and that alongside a tiny sample of avocado co-wash seems to have brought my hair back into the land of the living thank god!
  6. Walking – Sounds a bit daft, I mean who likes walking? Me I must admit. I always feel a lot happier and more content after I have been out and about for a stroll, especially now the weather is cooling down. On the way to the pub last week it was fun to jump in all the puddles in the park in my wellies and I have walked part way home from work this week to. I will admit being in a Fitbit challenge with my bestie is the main source of inspiration when it comes to the after-work walks, especially after the long days we have had this week.IMG_20180914_174318_116
  7. Apple Pie – Is there anything better on a chilly Sunday night then a warm apple pie and some vanilla ice cream? The answer is no, no there is not. This week’s bake was just that, and it was magical.
  8. Stew – I know food appears a lot, but that is because food truly makes me happy, due to me being a little pig. The first of the official slow cook meals started this week with my mam making us beef stew with carrots, potatoes and green beans. I brought home some crusty bread from the Grainger market which went down a treat with mopping up the gravy in our bowls afterwards.
  9.  Infinity war!! Oh my god I almost forgot about this one. Sounds silly but I haven’t been to the cinema since before I got a bit fuzzy, and during that time Infinity war was released and I was devastated that I didn’t have the courage to go out and see it. But on Saturday night we had family movie night and after months of avoiding ALL spoilers I finally got to see the movie in all its glory with a G&T in my hand.
  10. Summer house – Our little summer-house is coming along nicely in the garden and even though it is only 40% complete I love toddling down and sitting in the doorway with my cup of tea and just watching the world go by. It will be amazing once it is finished.