Everyone's Christmas is Different (In Defence of the Boxing Day Sales)

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Today i'm talking about something that's close to my heart. 



Boxing day sales.

I love a sale me, just picked up an electric toothbrush £40 down from £80. Absolute bargain. My 10 year old toothbrush had been on the fritz for weeks so this was a lifesaver. 

But i get home and see a TONNE of tweets like 'god, can't think of anything worse than going out shopping on boxing day', and instagrams of the same tone.

Okay, yeah, whatever. you don't like it. you wanna stay inside snuggled up eating quality streets and watching telly.

But i don't!

Me and my mum go out every boxing day, do a bit of sale shopping, grab a bit of lunch. Had a dead lush chicken and vegetable soup today (look how happy i am about to eat it).

And yano what, that's our christmas.

Everyone's Christmas is different. And I completely understand that. but you still see tweets getting 20,000 retweets slagging off someone's roast dinner because the gravy's not thick enough or they don't have yorkshires.

Hold on to your hats everyone - we don't even have turkey. 

None of us like it, so why would we? for the sake of it? cause everyone else is?

No huns, we prefer beef so we have beef. 

And did anyone die? Nope.

But you'd think someone did for the sake of the agg going around online these past few days!! 

Not only that, I've seen arguments over people posting pictures of their Christmas dinners because it is making those without food jealous. And yeah, it probably is. But are we really going to be walking on eggshells forever? I've seen similar posts in regards to 'what i got for Christmas' blog posts and videos, because it's 'showing off' and 'not what Christmas is about'. But hey, most of us get presents, and if someone wants to post it online, you don't HAVE to look yano. 

I just don't know when Christmas got so judgemental, you can't do anything these days. You're a criminal for liking the strawberry cremes from the quality street tins the most! 

I would like to put forward that i prefer strawberry cremes. and beef over turkey. and i like yorkshire puddings and mash. and i like seeing what everyone got for Christmas. and i check social media on Christmas day. 

And it's okay if you DON'T do anything I do on Christmas. That's cool. You do you, B.

lizzie x 

A Look Back on 2018

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hi everyone!
as we sit here, in that lull between christmas and new year, we often start mulling over what we've achieved (or not achieved) in the last 12 months. 


and i thought i had given up to be honest. but taking a quick peak back i do feel i've improved. 
i said i wanted to take better care of my body, stop eating chocolate for breakfast, brush my hair more often, not wear the same dirty outfit 5 days a week. 

and honestly, i have done well with that. okay, i still eat choco hoops from aldi for breakfast. but they're a CEREAL helloooooo, i'm no longer eating a bar of dairy milk at 8am. 

i used to be RUBBISH at brushing my hair at the start of this year. cause my hair was so long it even covered my boobs, and the ends were so dry, and the entire thing was so blummin KNOTTY you physically couldn't get a comb through it. so you might have noticed by the pictures i now sport this FRESH 'DO that is so much easier. 

okay, i wanted to finish second year with a first. i didn't. i finished it with a 68. (70 is a first if you're out of the university loop). but hey ho. i've achieved so much more!

this year i started taking my blog seriously. i started writing regularly, made my own blog twitter account, became part of blogger networks, became affiliated with brands. i attended my first blogger events, where i met some of the MOST inspiring bloggers around. plus a personal favourite i met blogger Claire (steelcitymiss) at an event and now i've even met her dog so uhh, i think that means we're really friends now. the whole experience has really grown my confidence tenfold.


continuing on the friends side of things, i made some of my closest friends this year. i won't embarass them by naming them on here incase they don't like it, but i think they know who they are, and they know i'm grateful to have them in my life. 

this year got a bit tough at times. i got gastroenteritis (basically food poisoning) at the start of the year, which extended for about 8 weeks in total. i eventually went on to being diagnosed with anxiety-related IBS, which really knocked me. 

my anxiety was getting really bad thanks to being ill all of the time. which in the end pushed me to quit my summer job. 

HOWEVER. this ended up being a real blessing in disguise. i loathed the job i had, but the money was good and it's difficult to find somewhere that would give me so many hours in such a small town. by some kind of luck, the first place i emailed asking for summer work offered me a job, which i ended up loving.

throughout the summer, i underwent an online CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) course to help me overcome the anxieties i was feeling (i talk about this in depth in my IBS post but i started to struggle leaving the house). i returned to university with my mind ready to go.

and first semester has been tough, the jump in difficulty between second and third year is MASSIVE. especially because, at the same time i was applying for my PGCE course to train to become a primary school teacher. this is something i stressed about for a really long time, and dithered about going to the interviews because i was convinced i wasn't good enough. but i'm extremely happy to be able to say that Sheffield Hallam have offered me a place for next September!!

on top of that, I topped the year off by getting over one of my major fears - London. I went with my boyfriend and managed to stay calm on a BUNCH of escalators!! (I post about this here)

and after that, I managed to go down to london on my friggin OWN!!! even managed to use the escalators in st pancras completely unaided. and, what i did in london is quite possibly one of the most exciting things i've done in my life BUT i'm not allowed to breathe a word yet - so watch this space. 

honestly. if you'd have asked me about 2018. i'd have said FLIPPIN RUBBISH. DID NOTHING. CRIED A LOT. which okay, might be true for some of it. but helloooo i'm here in december, with a smile on my face, thanking god i got through everything i got through this year, ready to take on the next.

dear future lizzie, you got this.
X

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Making Calm My 2019 Focus

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2019 is the year of anxiety reduction and keeping calm

Hi everyone! Blog readers, nosey parkers.

2018 was a blumming anxious year for me. I had a really tough summer, I went through some health issues and that really weighed down on my brain. My brain always feels like it's going a million miles per hour especially with being in third year, having a job, and running my blog. 

So here are some things i'm gonna do to up my calm-game in 2019:

Use Headspace Daily





I downloaded headspace a couple of weeks ago when I was going through a rough patch. I was going through a time in my life where I felt disconnected from my body, like I was this mind forced to look after this big human creature when I didn't want to anymore, which was a really depressing and scary experience.

I'd always been the kind of person to dismiss these kinds of apps, because I thought there was no way that some app could help my levels of anxiety. but I downloaded this when I just didn't know what to do anymore to help me, and my god it's so helpful.

Since I'm a Spotify premium member (only 4.99 a month if you're a student), the premium headspace features are included, which I'd definitely recommend. However, the free version is still really good.

They have a daily programme which only takes 3-8 minutes a day dependent on how much time you have, but I've only been using this every couple of days. In the new year I'd like to start using it every day. And I've got to remind myself it's literally just 3 minutes a day! 3 minutes for a healthier calmer mind? Why not!!


Step off Social Media




Yeah, I love social media. I think most people my age do. But sometimes when my brain already feels like it's running at 100mph, the constant stream of content is overwhelming.

Plus, instagram isn't the best anxiety helper when everyone seems to be leading such blumming perfect lives on it now is it ?!

Use Yoga



I love yoga, but I'm so skint i hate paying for the classes. But I know I can do it alone but never do! This needs to be something I practice more in the new year.

It's so true that exercise helps with your mental state, I pretty much always feel amazing after a session.

BUT yoga isn't all roses, sometimes when I'm particularly stressed, the wrong kind of yoga can mess with me. If I'm at a class that's all breathing and laying on your back, my mind starts to wander to everything I'm overthinking, and I end up laying there trying not to cry. Not ideal. But I found a fun flow yoga class to be the right mix, giving us a small amount of time to focus on breathing and spending most of the time switching between movements.


What are you aiming to do in 2019?
lizzie x

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Overcoming My Fear of Escalators

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Here's something most people laugh at, I'm scared of escalators




Or atleast, I was. Okay maybe I still am a little bit, but I'm over it I swear. There's still that litttttle teeny tiny part of my mind that is like WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING YOU ARE SCARED OF THIS EXPERIENCE but I push her down and remind her it's just some moving blummin stairs.

I've been scared my entire life, possibly in part due to the fact there is one single escalator in my home town in Lincolnshire, which is an 'up' one - and no down. I must've been 8 or 9 before I finally experienced a 'down', with a family member who was not cool with my hesitation and thought the fear was funny, I remember being scared out of my skin the entire time and cried when I got home. 

I never decided to denounce them from my life or anything, I didn't state: FROM TODAY FORTH I SHALL NOT USE AN ESCALATOR. I always wanted to get over it, but living where I grew up, how was I meant to?

I saw the odd escalator on my infrequent trips out, I knew there were escalators in the shopping centre in Lincoln, which I went to a couple of times a year, but every time I opted to use the lift or stairs instead. any time someone forced me to go on one, I was overcome with fear, started crying, panicking, sometimes screaming. It was extremely embarrassing for myself and for anyone who was with me, I always felt ashamed that I was scared of something that some people think is an every day occurrence. People who use public transport for example might use 4 escalators a day and not bat an eyelid.

I didn't experience my first London underground tube until I was about 15, of which I thought was the most distressing experience of my life, I had no idea they were so large, so busy, there were rules about which side to stand on. It was too much. I remember feeling trapped in a tube station with the escalator being the only way back out and having to ask a security guard for help. They ended up stopping the escalator completely, cordoning it off, and letting me walk up it like stairs (which by the way, was still friggin scary). 

My boyfriend has always been super supportive in helping me overcome it, he knows I want more than anything just to be able to travel and use shopping centres without having a melt down, we've practiced so many, starting from small ones in shops, to slightly bigger ones in shopping centres, to some in airports, I only recently conquered the ones in the Birmingham Bull Ring after living here for almost three years. I learnt a lot about exposure therapy on a CBT course I undertook after being referred by my GP, as my anxiety about leaving the house increased following my diagnosis with IBS.  

And last weekend came the biggie. My boyfriend booked us a lovely trip to London. and I cried and cried the week before we went, I knew I needed to get over it, and I knew I wanted to enjoy the trip he'd booked us, but I was shaking with fear at the thought of it. 

But I did it. yeah, I was scared, but the biggest thing I\ve learned about anxiety recently is to FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY.

My heart was racing, my head was buzzing, my palms were sweating. and here's what I did:

I used one of my favourite breathing exercises, you breath in through your nose for 4 counts, then hold the breath for 4 counts, then breathe out through your mouth for 6 counts. 
(I'd always dismissed breathing exercises as a load of rubbish but listen, try it)

I remembered that I control my own thoughts, so I tried to replace all the horrible thoughts with other stuff, like about the pizza I was on my way to get. 

I noticed what was going on in my body. I took note of what was going on, I noted my sweaty palms and short breath. And I thought 'yeah, that's okay'. 

And instead of giving in to the physical symptoms, I concentrated on my mind, and my breathing, and before you knew it, I was at the bottom of the escalator. Completely harm and panic free.

And I can't even count how many I did this weekend, because eventually I stopped getting the physical symptoms, and just started going with the experience. And by Monday, I'd forgotten why I was ever scared.

lizzie x 

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saying no to blogmas

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dear friends, 

i have ummed and ahhed all blummin month about doing blogmas this year.


everyone seems to be doing it. and even those who can't do the full 24 days are still offering up 12! 

imagine, a blog post every day. i've probably not even written 24 this year!!
and i almooooost **almost** challenged myself to do it. i thought i could schedule half now and the other half would come to me before december. WELL I'M WRONG.

and why on earth would i put myself under that amount of stress!!

the thing with blogmas is, i could do it, anyone could. 

but should we?

24 days of content is a lot, and making sure all of it is 100% your best content surely can't be possible? 

i don't want to put myself on some kind of major high horse, and maybe if blogging was my full time gig it would be do-able, but for those of us will full-time lives i just can't see it being feasible. 

i worry about putting content out on my blog all the time, i worry about writing enough posts to be taken 'seriously'. but why?! 

i think i've realised something which it's taken me 20 years to conclude, that it really is quality over quantity. 

i'm a rusher, it's one of my worst traits. 2000 word essay? i'll write it all TONIGHT so it's over with. 

24 blog posts? NOW. 

CHRIST someone stop me!! 

i think it's safe to say, there will be no blogmas this year. and i'm trying to be okay with that. i'm still 'serious', i swear. 

yours sincerely,
'proper serious blogger' lizzie x

Not Drinking At University, Alcohol and Anxiety

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going to uni is all about getting drunk and partying, right?


yeah, i guess that's how the media makes it out to any prospective freshers.


students drinking alcohol for blog post about alcohol effecting anxiety and mental health


for me, being a fresher was my first real experience with alcohol. because i have a fear of sick, i'd been cautious about what i drank in freshers week, sticking to one type of alcohol and secretly only having a tiny amount. i still felt drunk since my system wasn't used to it, and i spent most nights tired and wanting to come home but unable to admit that getting drunk wasn't appealing to me. i think i sort of made myself believe that i liked it, and i went out loads and started drinking more and more to fit in.

and i wont lie, some nights WERE fun. i DO have some good memories!

but the bad times are also still there. 

having anxiety is a little bit like having someone in your head 24/7 telling you you're not good enough. and everyone secretly hates you. and you know it's not right but you sometimes fall into its trappings. 

lots of people with anxiety use alcohol as a way of calming down that anxiety monster, pushing it aside for a night. 

for me, alcohol fuelled the little guy.

students drinking alcohol for blog post about alcohol effecting anxiety and mental health


all of a sudden, you shouldn't have gone out tonight, something bad's going to happen, you're going to make a fool of yourself, you look ugly, none of these people like you, what if the nightclub sets on fire, what if you start throwing up, what if you lose control of yourself and can't get home? WHAT IF WHAT IF WHAT IF?? (those are the monster's favourite words).

and all of a sudden the physical sensations come on too. like a little switch being clicked in your brain, like oop, she's ready now, best start shaking uncontrollably, don't forget to hyperventilate. 

it's taken me a LONG time to realise alcohol was fuelling it. and even if the nights had been okay, the following few days on the comedown were hell, i became irritable, nasty, tearful.

and i think it's time to stop making myself feel like this for the sake of 'fitting in'. 

this is not to say i'll never go out again or anything, i might, and i might not drink at all, or i might drink. but i'll be very cautious. i worked with my counsellor to learn when the thoughts start happening and how to respond quickly to any bubbling panic attacks, so i'm doing pretty good right now. 

and hopefully i'll continue doing good, maybe having a small drink with people i trust in situations i trust.

to anyone in the same position right now, feeling like they 'have' to go out, like they 'have' to drink, you don't, you really don't. it's not okay to feel that sort of pressure, and the media make it so much harder on new students these days. but 18-24s ARE drinking less than ever! because we're making informed choices about what alcohol does to our bodies and soooo importantly, our minds!

what are your thoughts on the pressure to drink alcohol at university?

lizzie x 

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all the best advent calendars that won't break the bank

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hi everyone!


i'm sure we've all seen some AMAZING niche advent calendars this year. but BLOOMING HELL they're all about £100?! these are not advent calendars made for the normal person on a budget, that's for sure. so i trawled the shops to find some that were.

haribo advent calendar - £5! *
who wouldn't want this? i'm going to get it for my boyfriend since he's a haribo obsessive.

link here 

i haven't tried this, and it's a bit annoying you have to buy two. but it seems like a sweet advent calendar for those a bit more adult and not wanting chocolate every day!

link here



this one's a lil bit more expensive but you get a LOT in it. you get 24 products, so less than a quid each. this one is perfect for the beauty lovers.

link here




this one is super cute! i'd personally love to receive this advent calendar. you get 24 little bath bombs, one to use each day in the run up to christmas. perfectly relaxing and festive for this stressful time of year!

link here 






there's not many non-chocolate advent calendars out there that won't break the bank, but these are some good ones!! 

let me know in the comments, are you getting an advent calendar this year? 

lizzie x

**all prices correct as of 15/11/18** 


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*this post may contain affiliate links* 


christmas shopping with accessorize

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hey guys, long time no chat. 
i was lucky enough to be invited to accessorize's christmas event last night with brum bloggers, and the place was decked out with all their best christmas stuff.

i put on my winter-chic outfit, which had me feeling all festive. i know it's all black, but that's my style, yano?

(if you're wondering, top is noisy may, the skirt is ASOS design, boots are from deichmann)





i literally never would have even known that accessorize sold christmas baubles?! but they do. and they're friggin GORGEOUS. who wouldn't want that unicorn hanging on their tree? 



and of course, they had the classic christmas earrings. my mum always likes to get a pair of these for christmas day. it only comes once a year!



they also had some of the coolest little bags (perfect size for going out), that were only £19 and then had 20% off on them - making them only £15.20! 
i mean, you'll need a new clutch this christmas season, right?



even outside the bullring was decked out in its christmas garms, ready for the arrival of birmingham christmas market this thursday. 

i met the loooooveliest girls last night! to be honest, i was a bit worried beforehand that no one would like me. i was a bit worried everyone would be mega serious bloggers with 1 mil followers and laugh at my teeny tiny blog. but in the end everyone was so nice and normal!! it's hard to remember that bloggers are normal sometimes, since they always look amazing and seem on top of everything. but they're real. and all the brumbloggers were so sweet.

i had such a lovely evening!!
will you be shopping at accessorize this christmas?
lizzie x 

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Clinique X Bobbi Brown Event in John Lewis Sheffield

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hi guys!!

so i thought i'd do a lil post today talking about one of the best afternoons i've had in a little while. i was invited through sheffield bloggers to attend a clinique X bobbi brown event in john lewis, which i was a little bit worried about since i'm a bit rubbish when it comes to makeup. i slap on the cheap stuff, yano. i'm hardly qualified to be talking clinique. 

i arrived a little early so i went for a cuppa in the john lewis cafe, so obvs i needed a wee afterwards (i have a v small bladder). and after i have my wee, i go to zip my jeans up, and the friggin ZIP BREAKS OFF. 

and i'm stood there, in a cubicle, knowing i had 5 minutes before i had to sign in for this bloggers event, knowing absolutely no one there, thinking christ. shall i go home? shall i buy some new jeans? course i can't bloody afford john lewis jeans! and i've only got five minutes! 

i mean, it wasn't exactly my lucky bloomin' day, but i was lucky enough that my jumper was massive enough to cover up my crotch area. but i did look like a bit of a melon in the world's largest jumper all day. and i was sweating my tatas off being unable to take off the cosiest jumper ever. 


here's me in the jumper BEFORE i became trapped in it.

but ANYWAY.

i still had a really lovely day. this was my first event with sheffield bloggers and i was a bit worried everyone would know everyone. but everyone was super friendly!! 

plus, the event started out with free prosecco so i was hardly going to say no to that. it soon got me calmed down...



the event started off with a skin-care routine from the amazing clinique ladies. i'm a bit rubbish with my skin, some days i don't even moisturise let alone cleanse, tone, clarify... what on earth. (i obviously didn't tell them that!!). 

the girls showed us how to use their amazing looking fresh pressed powder vitamin C booster * which looked INCRED. i'd literally never seen a powder cleanser (you mix it with water, don't just shove the powder all over your face). they gifted us a few samples and i might have to get myself a full size asap. 


while we were there, i treated myself to their 'moisture surge hydrator' * which i already LOVE. we talked about how with all the cold weather and alcohol we consume around christmas our skin really takes a beating, so we need a bit of this 'paracetomol for the skin' as they put it!




then the girls at bobbi brown took over to show us how the real party looks are done. the pallettes they showed us were to die for. and oh my GOD check out the sparkly highlighter packaging down below... hello top of everyone's christmas list?! 






overall, the day was really really lovely. i had to throw out my jeans and panic order the first pair i saw on ASOS (arriving tomorrow hollaaa next day deliv). but i met the loveliest bloggers! and saw the most gorrrrgeous products!

you win some you lose some!
this post is dedicated to my £12 primark mom jeans, only 1 year old (ancient in primark years). may you rest in peace.

lizzie x 
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links marked with * are affiliate links 

easy student meals ~ halloumi and lentil bake

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cooking as a student sucks. you have like no time and no money. your student house is dead cold and you just want a friggin' dominos. i hear you. 

but try this halloumi and lentil bake... 

~ ingredients ~
  • a red pepper and a yellow pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 125g red lentils
  • 125g halloumi cheese
  • fresh parsley 

~ method ~

  • chop up the peppers into little chunks
  • pop them in a roasting tin with some olive oil and cook them for 10 minutes (on 200 degrees)
  • add a can of chopped tomatoes then cook for another 10 minutes
  • pop in the lentils 
  • slice up the halloumi and pop it in too, along with some fresh parsley
  • return to the oven for 10 more minutes 
  • et voila!
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candle lighter ~ https://amzn.to/2z09qUH

remember, remember, the fifth of november

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dear friends,

today is a post about one of the most magical nights of the year. bonfire night.

and i know, a lot of people don't celebrate it. and a lot of people bloody hate it because it sends their dogs skitty or the youths throw eggs, i know, those things suck. 

but i've gotta say, i love it. maybe a lil more than christmas??

no, wait, probably not.


for me, the fifth of november is a real family event. we get together to try to make a half-decent bonfire (this year's attempt above - pretty good right? yeah, it had nothing to do with me). we have hot dogs and potatoes and amazing puddings. we laugh about the year someone forgot to put raisins in their tiffin or the year my grandad burned his eyebrows off. we fight over whose fireworks were the best. we see who will be bagatelle champion (sorry if you've not heard of this game, no one ever has, give it a google). 

the air is just getting cold, and since it's only just started you don't quite resent the cold yet, and putting your bobble hat on is still a novelty. 

and you feel like a kid again because every year it still feels the same. 

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the 2018 home stretch

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OH MY GOD CAN YOU BELIEVE 2018 IS ALMOST OVER.

image: laurenconrad.com



i'm actually like ... shook. and i hate that word but i think it's the most appropriate to describe the emotion i'm feeling right now.

i actually hadn't even realised it was practically november until i saw hannah witton's recent post about the 2018 home stretch and the goals she wanted to achieve before 2018 was over.

and i was like what?? over?? help. 

and i thought, gosh i need some goals for the end of 2018. i need to achieve something. i made a post earlier this year about how i'd totally failed all of my resolutions already, and i never made any more.

hannah's goals are quite good. like running 5k and reading 8 books. mine definitely aren't going to be that good. i'm pretty much drowning under a big pile of university dread that basically takes over my brain.

so i'm gonna make some small goals that will really incentivise me to reach them. cause i should be actually able to!!


  • read one book. this sounds really bloody easy but i actually haven't read a book since may. i am possibly the worst book lover ever. i just bought hank green's an absolutely remarkable thing and i've heard AMAZING reviews so i really do want to read it soon. i just have to get off my friggin phone all the time!! 
  • get my budget in order. last year i was super good at writing absolutely everything down, every penny. this year i'm tapping that contactless card like it's going out of fashion. i need to slow down and re-make my budget sheet and stick to it.
  • stay on track with university reading. every year without fail i get weeks behind on the reading and because everyone else does too i'm like eh, i'll catch up. and i DO, but like at the end of the year, when it's way more beneficial to read as you go. it's week 4 and i'm still on track. only 7 more to go. 
and i know these sound simple but come on guys, we only do have 2 months. there aren't any big crazy goals this time but this is about achieving what i actually want and need to achieve, not running a marathon for the sake of it. 

do you have any #2018homestretch resolutions?
lizzie x

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No Friends Are Better Than Bad Friends

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Dear blog readers,



I was prompted to write this post when i saw a tweet about cutting out 'toxic' friends. I've refrained from using the word 'toxic' in my description of these kinds of friends, because, well, does anyone even know what this word means? it feels like it's being thrown around willy-nilly on my twitter feed. almost everyone's had 'toxic' thrown at them. 

I recently read huffpost's 'warning signs' of a toxic friend, and it all seems very vague to me. I mean, number 2 on the list is 'they're smart'. If that's enough of a warning sign I best not make friends with anyone at this russell group university. 

But for real. Whatever you want to call them, so many of us have had BAD friends. 

And to be honest, in my experience, it wasn't always their fault. i'll admit it, i'm a clingy friend. I post stupid memes in groupchats every day and I send snapchats of whatever I'm doing and DAMN, I must be hella annoying. Quite a lot of my 'bad' friendships included me forcing a friendship upon them and being pretty much ghosted.

But that's okay, no big loss. The real bad friends are the ones who act like your besties. 

And it's hard, I know. How can you possibly tell who's a real friend and who's not? 

But I think I've realised, your gut knows.

Even in school, I had so many friends that I had a gut feeling weren't good to me. Whether that was not saving me a seat in class, not adding me to groupchats, not inviting me to parties. But somehow I still kept making excuses for them, they're my friend, they wouldn't purposely leave me out.

I spent so much of my school life feeling 'left out'. It's probably why I still get this crazy FOMO if I miss an event or imagine my housemates snuggled up watching telly while I'm at work. 

Up until about now, I really thought feeling 'left out' was just a part of life. I thought secretly everyone felt like their friends hated them, and that I'd never be the sort of person who got invited to parties or saved a seat. 

But, it's sort of happened. When I look at my friends around me now, they could never do enough for me, if I shed a tear they're right there, if I need a chat they're there, I've never worried about being pushed out or purposefully ignored. 

And to be honest, I don't know how it happened besides I became okay with myself. 

I stopped trying to be someone I wasn't to fit in with the people I thought i should be friends with. I'd actually myself pushed a lot of people away in favour of other "friends".

I became okay with my own company. I began not feeling so sad when I was left on my own. I stopped wanting to find a friend to fill up every corner of myself I was scared of. 

And then somehow, the friends found me.
Sort of in the same way they say you find love when you stop looking.


lizzie. x

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world mental health day

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hi everyone,


today is a special day. in a way. it's world mental health day. but for someone struggling with mental illness, it always sort of feels like world mental health day, maybe universe mental health day. 

i've been pretty honest on the blog lately. i've been getting real with struggling with anxiety and the added pressure of an illness on my little brain. 

this summer, i honestly got as low as i thought i could go. i thought about never going back to birmingham to finish my final year, i thought about staying inside snuggling my dog forever. 
and as much as i would looooove to give my dog a big snuggle and never let go, it's just not real. i realised i couldn't miss out on the world, i love travelling around the uk, i love going out with my friends, but my anxiety was stopping me even dare. 

i'd like to say that not every tactic works for everyone. but for me the thing that really got me out of a hole was exposure therapy. i worked on a step by step plan with my counsellor on how to work up from small car journeys (even they were freaking me out) to eventually taking long train journeys with several changes. it took a lot, and my body didn't like it, but i did it. the hours of anxious thoughts before stepping on a train now hardly even cross my mind. 

my point is, it really can get better. and it's super hard. and no, i'm not free from anxiety. and i'm still struggling in so many different ways. but i have hope. and i have so many good friends that don't mind talking about mental illness with me, who love and support me no matter what i'm going through, and without them i wouldn't be where i am now, i'd probably be somewhere in that hole still.

if you do anything to support world mental health day, message a friend and ask how they are, take them out for a coffee, let them open up to you, or just let them know you aren't ashamed to talk about mental illness, because no one should be.

lizzie.

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Being Diagnosed with IBS

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Ok, so, it's been months of tests, GPs feeling your tummy, specialists feeling your tummy, specialists putting cameras where cameras don't belong, to be told 'It's just IBS'.

And you feel... what exactly?

So, it's just IBS. Just. 

No biggie, right?

2 in 10 people in the UK have IBS. Now you're just another.

It's the 'just' that kind of hurts here. Doctors act like you should be super relieved, I mean IBS won't kill you. And you should be relieved!! It could be way worse!! But does that mean I can't still be upset that my bowels don't work properly? That I deal with horrendous stomach cramps almost every day, that my bowel habits are completely unpredictable, that I have to spend hours and hours on the toilet daily?

I know, it really could be worse.

But that doesn't change the fact that this has really affected me, and so many others living with IBS in the UK. There's no known 'cure' exactly for IBS, and everyone has their own ways of relieving the symptoms. I personally decided to try peppermint tablets after reading recommendations online, and hello honey this made things a million times worse. The only advice my doctor gave me was to learn to manage the pain and go on with my daily life.

And yeah, I'm trying.

But the thing with IBS is that it comes out of nowhere, it creeps up on you when you least want it to. It reacts to anxiety and stress, worrying about a big event? Here are all of your IBS symptoms to go along with that stress!! Good luck!!

I had personally been seeking help for anxiety since my teens, and my recent IBS diagnosis has flared up my mental health tenfold. I became afraid of being anywhere that was not somewhere where I was familiar with the route to the nearest bathroom that I could access at a moment's notice. This made any public outing feel distressing, particularly those including being in cars for any length of time, I became terrified of being stuck in traffic for fear that I would begin having an IBS emergency and have nowhere to run to. Nausea is also a common symptom with IBS which meant any sort of journey made me feel sick, which made my anxiety hit the roof, so I stopped wanting to go anywhere at all.

But, y'know, it's just IBS.

It's been six months now since I first started experiencing serious symptoms of IBS and three since my formal diagnosis. For the first time in six months I am not having panic attacks about going on public transport, I am learning to use medication to manage my symptoms, and I am continually tracking my diet for ways to improve the pain. I am almost starting to feel like myself again, but like a *new* self - one who just has to regularly deal with this stuff.

This post is not to ask for sympathy or try to say that IBS is any worse than any other disorders. Because it's true, many people DO have it worse!! I do feel lucky that my diagnosis is not serious, but that does not change what I'm going through at the minute.

Big love to all my readers, especially those dealing with any sort of physical or mental health issues. If you think you have any symptoms such as bloating, cramping, changes in your bowel habits, indigestion, fatigue, please see your GP. <3 nbsp="" p="">


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I failed all my 2018 resolutions - but I don't care!!

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Hey everyone still reading this. Friends, followers, nosey parkers.
If you can cast your mind back to January, which actually feels like last week, I made a blog post detailing my 2018 goals. And now it's September and I am writing a similar blogpost detailing how so far I have failed at exactly ALL of these goals...



'Take Care of Myself'

Ok. This one I *might* have succeeded in, in a way, but not in the way I intended. The main goal was to stop eating and drinking so much crap, and it's now September and for lunch I had two Mars Bars. Soooooo probably not? But in a way, I am taking care of myself. My previous anxiety strategies were to IGNORE THE FEELINGS AND THEY WILL GO AWAY. Honey this ain't truuuuuuuue!!! This year I made a really big step and started seeing a counsellor. Albeit, they are telephone and online appointments which can't hold a candle to some face-to-face talking but they are helping incredibly. I never wanted to go into counselling again after having a poor experience with CAMHS as a teen, but this time my GP picked up on an anxiety attack when I came in to discuss stomach pains. Since then I've been majorly taking care of my mental health, getting enough sleep and drinking a lot less alcohol. I still eat tonnes of chocolate and sweeties and skip meals but hey, we gotta start somewhere.

'Read More'

This one is a big fat joke. I've read a grand total of 2 books in the last nine months. Someone slap me on the wrist right here right now. I own so many books too! And they're all so interesting! But I just want to scroll social media all the time or be asleep!!

'Finish Second Year With A First'

Yeah, nope. But I did finish the year with a 68. 2 marks off my precious first. It stings a bit because I know I tried to put my all into it this year. However in May I received my first ever 2:2 grade and honestly thought of dropping out altogether. A 2:2?! How could I cope?! It seems dramatic now but this was a piece of work I'd put my ALL into - blood, sweat, tears. I felt so down reading the comments about how I'd produced a good piece of work but completely missed the point of the assignment which had apparently been made 'explicitly' clear (not to me CLEARLY). I missed several seminars due to my looming anxiety and feeling too down to face my peers so I must have missed something and felt too nervy to speak to any of my lecturers to admit what was going on. In hindsight, I now know how loving the EngLang department is at my uni and I hope that if I feel like this next year I'll have the balls to speak to my lecturers to catch up on what I've missed. But hey - 68's still pretty damn good (will still cry if I don't get 70 next year).

'Put myself out there when I don't want to'

Yeah, mmm, no. Not really.
I'm putting myself out here right now, writing this post sharing way too many private details about my life, which is exactly what I wanted. However up until this point it's been a hard year for my self esteem. Illness really knocked me down this year and I've found it hard to get back on my feet, let alone then SHARE it all on here or apply to stuff I didn't have the confidence to follow through with. Maybe this can improve in the last 3 months of the year.

I suppose the take away from this blog post is maybe that time is arbitrary, the idea of '2018' means nothing and I am not going to feel like a failure thanks to some little goals I wrote down. I have had a hell of a year and I am actually just happy I'm still here smiling. 

Lizzie

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one small step for man, one giant leap for liz

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dear reader,

ahead is a tale of incredible bravery. 



this weekend i conquered some of my biggest anxiety triggers.

in the last six months, i have avoided almost everything i was even mildly afraid of. since being diagnosed with IBS - i've been afraid of alcohol, eating out, being away from home. 

and this weekend i did ALL of those things.

i took a train to Birmingham, went out for dinner, drank alcohol, ordered Dominos (takeaway is a major fear too) and woke up the next morning and got back on another train.

(!!!)

to so many people, these seem like such simple things. to myself a year ago, these were simple! going out 3 times a week and waking up and using public transport was easy! but as my anxiety began to take over my brain this year i found myself having panic attacks at the thought of most of these things, especially if they were without my boyfriend by my side.

but honey I did it !!

i can't wait to keep pushing myself in the future.
here's to the rest of 2018.

lizzie x 

on finishing second year

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~~~~ i wrote this blog post on the 17th may 2018, but felt too scared to upload it because i felt ashamed of talking about my anxiety publicly. today i decided to push myself and put this out there ~~~~~



last year i wrote a bit of a soppy nostalgic post about finishing first year.
i talked about highs and lows and how overall i thought i'd miss the comfort of my halls but i was excited for the future.


my thoughts on second year are a bit jumbled.
this has been one of those weird years where i feel i've retreated back into my shell.
at the start of the year i was up for anything, i completely balanced getting good grades with loads of nights out, feeling incredible in myself and loving every second.



the second half of the year took a sharp turn, i started doubting myself, i started becoming less up for nights out, more scared of the effects alcohol could have on my anxious thoughts, i stopped wanting to take selfies, to tweet, to blog, to bump into people i knew on campus.



uni started feeling like a chore. i completely threw myself into my work because i didn't know what else to do, but still my grades began to slip compared to the previous semester, my panic attacks became more frequent and the snow was a welcome excuse to not leave the house.

i had my last exam of second year on monday and i felt nothing but relief. now, a few days later, looking back on the past year feel sad that i let myself push everything away. the people i stopped messaging because i thought i was bothering them, the way i continually compared myself to everyone else, the times i was too shy to branch out.

but sadness is a waste of time. if i spent all day looking back at the good times with rose tinted glasses i'd never move on. there have been so many good times this year that have been swarmed in my memory by the bad, but there's nothing more to do.

i considered leaving a parting message on this post about looking forward to third year, but i don't have any coherent thoughts on that right now.


~~ tabby teas cat cafe sheffield ~~

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hi guys!! 
long time no see. thought i'd share a new post about one of my fave spots in sheffield since i went back again today, and that's tabby teas!! 



nestled in cemetary road, tabby teas is sheffield's first cat cafe, home to twelve permanent kitty-kat residents. 

the cafe has a lovely relaxed feel to it, and i can't see why anyone wouldn't want to spend their afternoon with some purry pals and a good coffee!

if you have a spare afternoon in the area... why not spend it with these little loves?


(i feel you kitty, zzz......)

lizzie x 

new years day ~ a look

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Hello again beautiful blog followers !!
This post is something I've not done in YONKS because I've been too conscious that my personal style is poo and no one would be interested but in the interest of my new mantra 'feel the fear and do it anyway' here is the outfit I wore for a meal on new years day 2018. 

top, jumper and culottes are all primark, jewellery is from maude's (boston) and argento (doncaster) and the shoes are classic vans. 
the nail varnish is barry m's molten metals collection in shade 'copper mine'. 





lizzie x