5 OF THE BEST BOOKS FOR YOUR MENTAL HELP

Mental health illnesses can be very isolating, whether you have depression, anxious, bipolar, OCD or an eating disorder. Disordered come in all shapes and sizes, however, they all have a way of making you feel claustrophobic and reclusive. One of the main things which helped me through my darkest time was finding books which

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

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As someone who suffers from anxiety, I often care too much about what people think – I give too many fu*ks about people’s opinion of me and it can leave me feeling sick and overwhelmed!

I was recommended this book by one of the girls I use to work with and I’m SO glad she did. As the book says, there are only so many things we can give a fu*k about.

And because there are only so many things we can give a f*ck about we need to figure out which ones really matter! I really connected with this book, it highlighted to me that while money is nice and obviously has its importance, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

Reasons To Stay Alive 

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I have so many things I could say about this book, the prerogative title caught my eye – in my darkest moments having something to relate to and give me a little bit of light is comforting. This book was honestly the first thing that made me realise I wasn’t crazy – I wasn’t alone and it was so freeing. There is a point in the book where Matt Haig says in his darkest moment he didn’t want to be alive – he didn’t want to kill himself, but he just didn’t want to be alive. When I read those words I burst into tears – I’m been feeling that way on and off for years, and to know someone else felt that way too was heartbreaking, it is also felt like I could breathe again for the first time in a long time – it was a release and relieving – I’m really interested in reading more of Matt’s work, it’s really rare that some-ones story mirrors your own and makes you feel less alone.

We’re Going to Need More Wine

GU.jpg This might seen like an usual choice, but I really enjoyed Gabrielle’s book – it was raw, honest, funny and incredibly touching. Fortunately there are experiences in Gabrielle’s life which I cannot and will not fully understand – but as a woman who has been in a dark place, I can empathise and sympathise with her. I think it’s so brave and moving when people open us and share their experience and tell their stories with others – it breaks down barrier and reaches out a hand to those who may be suffering. Throughout, she compels me to be ethical and empathetic, and reminds me of the importance of confidence, self-awareness, and the power of sharing truth, laughter, and support.

 

You Do You

ydy.jpg This book is written by the same author who brought us The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuckand Get Your Shit Together. Sarah Knight’s no-holds-barred method to helping you do you to the best and truest of your ability. Sarah Knight’s writing confronts the idea that “being yourself” is nowhere near as simple as it sounds, especially in an age of sky-high expectations fuelled partly by the growing influence of social media in 21st century culture. Here she builds people’s confidence to ditch perfect and rip up the rulebook that would tell us how to live our lives by sharing her own mistakes and embarrassments. You Do You is the proof you were looking for that, actually, we all mess up, and it’s fine. So stop beating yourself up.

 

The Mindfulness Colouring Book

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Finally, something a little light hearted – a mindfulness colouring book! The hobby is used as a calming relaxation tool with nostalgic undertones, people use them as a way to express creativity and unplug from the digital and screen heavy modern world.

 

 

So… it’s been a little while

So, it’s been a little while and I haven’t written a blog post in months and to be honest I’ve not really had the motivation. I’ve not had anything to say, and I’ve not had the time or energy to sit down and write.

As I’ve mentioned on my blog before I suffer from anxiety and depression and sometimes that can knock me off my feet completely! In the run-up to Christmas I was starting to run on empty mentally and my main goal was to keep head above water and enjoy the Christmas break, it was amazing and I relaxed with family and friends. During the break I promised myself that 2018 was going to be my year, I was going to conquer the next 12 months and improve every aspect of my life! Unfortunately, it been a tougher start to the year than I imagined and 2018 hasn’t kicked off with the force I wanted it to – my anxiety has come back in a dark and nasty way, leaving me powerless and a little bit of a mess – as I get older I find it more difficult to talk about my anxiety as I know some people will never understand and I know it will never go away. I’m not ashamed I have a mental illness, but from time to time I do feel a little pathetic and down on myself.

Firstly, I’m writing this post as a little bit of therapy, to admit to myself how I’ve been feeling and to stop brushing it under the rug as January blues or a couple of down days. Secondly, to hold myself accountable i’ve let things fall by the waste side, like seeing my family, posting on my blog and generally being positive. Thirdly, I want to be honest with my readers (if I have any left) because I know I’m not the only one feeling this way.

I am determined to turn this year around and not let January be the preview of 2018, so one of my goals is to keep my blog up and running! Not for the views, or the comments (although they do mean a lot), but instead, because I love writing for I was so proud of my blog last year. This year won’t be perfect and I’ll doubt I’ll be positive 24/7 but I really want to try to improve it. I’m working on some amazing blogs for this year and I can’t wait to share them with you and to make this year one to never forget.

If anyone reading this is struggling, please remember you’re not alone, people out there do understand where you’re coming from and are willing to listen. It’s OK not to be OK but it’s not OK to give up on yourself – just give yourself some time to heal and take care of yourself.

 

Sarah

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The Career Sweet Spot

From the suffragette movement to #girlboss, women have been breaking barriers and smashing ceilings for centuries. Despite what you think of our current PM there was a time where a woman being the leader of the UK was laughable and Hilary Clinton wouldn’t have been allowed to wear a pantsuit let alone run for President of the America – basically women are killing it and owning the new world! However, what about the women who are content? Who aren’t looking to smash ceilings or sit in the Oval Office? Recently I read an article in Glamour magazine about the ‘career sweet spot’ the group of women who are successful but also wanted to be happy in their personal life, they had no interest in progressing further than the heights they had reached and they were bloody happy with where they sat.

Should more of us be happy with contentment, is this the only possible way to have it all? A partner, a family, a ‘work-life balance’ (whatever one of those is). Are we chasing the ideals of our male counterparts forgetting the extra things we can have in life? Honestly, as a 24-year-old woman, I have no clue! I know some women do have their own businesses, lovely homes, supportive partner and adorable children but are they the lucky few and what about the sacrifices we don’t see? The missed bedtimes or office outings – it must be harder than we think to have it all and be truly blissfully happy and stress-free.

A massive impact on my generation or at least the women who graduated at a similar time to me was those who saw the whirlwind that was Sophia Amourous and the creation of the term #girlboss but is the idea of being a #girlboss a pipe dream for the most of us? Or do we need to redefine what a #girlboss is? Is it time to coin a few # – a #girlleader or a #girlinspo – just because you’re not at the top of the ladder doesn’t mean you’re not killing it – the world is full of supermums and workers who are closer to the ground than the glass ceiling because that’s where they are needed and happy.

At my age, without any real ties such as a mortgage or kids I naively want it all – I want to hustle hard, take on too many projects, travel to as many countries and make my stamp on the world, but this might change one day, and the ‘career sweet spot’ might just be what I’m aiming for – to have as much as I can and enjoy life.

What do you think? Is it time we defined #girlboss? What does it mean to be a #girlboss to you? Are you happy in the career sweet spot, is it time people stop looking down on it and started realising that life doesn’t have to be late nights in the office, long meetings and the 9-5 (normally 9-6/7) we are working?

Personally, I don’t know but it’s definitely an interesting concept and one I think women should think about! There is a lot of pressure on us to have it all, but honestly, I think we should be ticking the boxes which matter to us and not those around us.

REVIEW: TAMPOPO CORN EXCHANGE

A couple of weeks ago I was invited my Tampopo to come and try the new menu and as someone who often books people in for reviews, I jump at the chance to be on the other side! So I headed to Tampopo based in Manchester’s Corn Exchange to enjoy the delicious treats on offer.

Tampopo offers a wide selection of Pan-Asians delights and as a vegetarian I know this type of cuisine is always a pretty safe bet for variety.

The meal starting out with a vegetarian platter (sorry to the girl on my table to missed out on the meat haha) – the platter included Vegetable Tempura, Vegetable Spring Rolls, Corn Fritters and Balinese Tofu style! The selection on the starter was amazing and it was so nice to have as much variety as the meat eaters! The selection was the perfect mixed of fried, sweet, savoury and spicy – definitely would recommend.

To go along with my starter I opted for a Singapore Sling – the balance of sweet, from the cherries and pineapple and tart from the grenadine! It went down a little to easily if I’m honest.

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From my main course I had the Vegetable Spicy Rebus Noodle Soup – this dish can also be made for Vegans too! The soup is perfect for those who enjoy a little kick of spice, as my boyfriend think hotter is better when it comes to food I’ve slowly started to embrace the heat! The soup is topped with an hard boiled egg which I think is the perfect accompaniment as it offer a little relief from the heat. Our lovely server for the even explained that Tampopo had worked with a veggie/vegan chef who appeared on MasterChef (her name escapes me) to create some of the new dishes for the menu – which I think is great! It’s so excited when restaurants embrace everyone dietary requirements to create tasty and flavourful meals, rather than the simple and plain dishes other restaurants offer.

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Another note, the portion sizes are very generous! I couldn’t even finish all of my soup – which was not a reflection on the taste but just shows that my eyes are too big for my belly!

I really enjoyed my visit to Tampopo – the food, drinks and service was all great and there is a lot of options for vegetarian which makes me a very happy girl! I can’t wait to go back with my other half to try out some more dishes from the menu (to be honest I used to only having three options at a restaurant haha!) I would definitely recommend you go and try it out.

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COMPETITON! LIFESUM & THE NORDIC GUIDE

The lovely team at Lifesum & The Nordic Guide have teamed up with me to offer you lovely readers an amazing prize! You’ll be able to get your hands on a copy of The Nordic Guide to Living 10 Years Longer, as well as, a year’s premium membership from Lifesum lifestyle app.

Lifesum is an app which helps you track you eating and exercise habits by offering a number of different plans – one of my favourite parts of the app is the quick plan test! It’s a simple quiz which help you highlight the right plan for you – if your not interested in calories counter or your goal is to gain muscle rather than lose fat Lifesum can help! In summary Lifesum is healthy living, simplified. Lifesum is an app that helps you to get healthy your way, no fuss – here are a few screenshots of my favourite features.

 

Secondly, I have a copy of The Nordic Guide to Living 10 Years Longer to give away along with a subscription for the app! If you’ve lived the hygge way, it’s time to take some inspiration from Sweden and find out about lagom – a well-balanced approach to living a healthier and happier life.

Written by Dr Bertil Marklung, a doctor and researcher at Gothenburg University, this essential book makes the most of contemporary research to provide you with pragmatic and realistic advice that will make a difference to your future.

Debunking many myths (it turns out coffee is good for your health, after all!), the compact guide explains how the things we have been told are bad for us can sometimes be quite the opposite.

The book is split into 10 different sections such as time for recovery, be an optimist, eat yourself healthy and choose the right drink.

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To win and get your hands on this book and fabulous app like this post, comment! I’ll be picking a winner on 31st September – good luck!

HOW I FEEL ABOUT MY BODY!

Ah, body positivity – the hot topic of recent years! From Tess Holiday, Ashley Graham, Iskra Lawrence & Rihanna body positivity has been hitting the headlines for the last couple of months, and while a lot of the press are praising women of all sizes for embracing their bodies there is still a lot of issues around body positivity.

As I’ve spoken about openly on this blog at the age of 19 I developed (or first noticed) I had a number of mental health issues which hit my like a tonne of bricks, but what I haven’t really discussed is my relationship with body dysmorphia and eating disorders – my main issues surrounded restricting calories and working out obsessively which at the time I thought was great because I was losing weight! However it was really unhealthy and clearly unsustainable. My weight has yoyo’d over the years but I’m finally starting to develop a healthy relationship my body and food – however, I do have low moments from time to time.

Naturally, I’m a pear shape which people seemed to disagree with sometimes but my hips are bigger than my waist and boobs – making me a pear! It took me a long time to come to terms with that because for so long I considered myself an hourglass shape, like the old school glamour girls with a tiny waist and perfect curves. I’ve internally fought with myself about what I want my body to look like, there are times when I wish I had bigger boobs to complete my curves like the Kardashian clan or Beyoncé, but there are also times when I so desperately want to be slender – like the Gigi Hadids and Kendall Jenners of the world – I wanted the VS look because I personally thought that looked the most appealing to me mainly because I have small boobs. (P.S This is not me saying other body types aren’t appealing or beautiful because they bloody well are! This is just talking about me and my body.)

 

I work out a lot and sometimes I feel like I’ve been on a diet since I was 15 – I think I’m slowly coming to terms with what my body is/isn’t and I know I should appreciate it more. I struggle to remind myself how amazing my body is – it has walked me to the Everest Base Camp, ran for miles, it has danced (not very well), swan, jumped and so much more – sometimes I forget how lucky I am to have this body and how incredible it is – even if I do have a stretch mark or two. My body is more than its measurements and I realise how abusive and ungrateful I have been in past – I use to feel that my body had betrayed me when I put on weight or got stretch marks but then I realised I was putting on weight because I was binge eating and comfort eating and there was nothing wrong with my stretch marks, they are just a part of me (even if I do use bio-oil to lighten them).

It’s hard to admit but I’m still not happy with my body and I suppose they will always be a part of me that wishes for something different – but this is my body and it’s perfect the way it is because it’s mine!

What are you body positivity tips and advice? Do you struggle with anything or do you have a mantra?

 

 

WHY I DECIDED TO JOIN ELITE

Elite Together describes its transform programme as an intensive 6 week programme that is designed to discover your true potential! The goal is to lose 20lbs in 6 weeks and if you do you get your money back!

When I tell people that i’ve joined this programme I’m met with a lot of confused faces, a lot of people telling me I don’t need to lose 20lbs (which is very sweet) and a lot of laughter because I can’t drink alcohol or have sugar for 6 weeks (yes, really). So why did I join? I’m suppose i’m not in desperate need to lose weight and as some-one who can run a decent distances my fitness levels are OK..ish but I still felt like I was missing something within my workouts! Once I’m in a routine I love the gym, especially classes! Being shouted at by an instructor and having people around you to suffer with and inspire you is great – it helps motivate you and keep the atmosphere light, I believe exercising should be challenging but fun – what is the point in doing something you hate? You won’t keep it up or get anything from it long term.

I like to see exercise as therapy and to challenge how far I can push my mind as well as body, I wrote a blog post a little while ago about the benefits exercise on my mental health which you can find here: http://bit.ly/2raXIQ5

I’ve just completed my first week at Elite and it has been amazing, the workouts are killer and the meal plan means that i’m eating better and not stuffing my face full of chocolate or any junk foods, sadly for my boyfriend takeaway Friday is out of the occasion. My first weigh in is on Monday so I will update after that and i’ll keep writing about my experience and how the weight loss/fitness aspect of the training goes.