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.

 

 

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.

HAIRCARE HEROES

When I was younger I use to have the most beautiful shiny thick long hair, but as I’ve got older and I’ve bleached it, dyed it, cut it and caused it a lot of damage it’s started to show the signs of wear and tear! So I decided it was time to invest some well needed time and research into making sure it got the TLC it deserved. Luckily, as fate would have it I’ve recently been sent some amazing products by a number of different companies to test and review which makes a happy Sarah and even happier hair.

I’ve tried to break down the products I tried into categories in the best way possible but as this is 2017 a lot of the products cross over into other categories, but I’ve tried to cover as many points as possible! Here is my round up and thoughts for these haircare heroes!

CLEANSE

Pantene Pro V has been a brand that I’ve used for years, my mum used to buy it when I was younger and I’ve used it off and on since forever! I like to think of Pantene as I brand I trust, an old friend which I can always rely on. Pantene is now launching a new collection which includes Micellar water within the products to cleanse and nourish hair – I know we’re all use to micellar water to remove make-up and cleanse skin, but apparently it’s a jack of all trades. These products have been created to help combat the issues that daily life throws at hair such as pollution… and as I live in Manchester there is definitely a lot of that.

I love these new products, they leave my hair feeling extra luxe, soft and shiny! Unlike traditional deep cleaning products, this formula lifts and captures impurities from the surface of the hair whilst maintaining the essential nutrients it needs, meaning the hair is left clean and strong. As some-one who washes their hair a few times a week, I worry I am stripping my hair of all its natural oils, but this product aims to remove styling residue, excess oils and unwanted minerals without over-cleansing and lifting nutrients that the hair actually needs.

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PROTECTS & REPAIR

I’ll admit it, I’m really bad for protecting my hair against heat – I use a hairdryer, straightener, curler and have my hair colour, therefore my hair has faced its fair share of heat so I’m always on the look out for amazing products which are quick and easy to use. The team from Andrew Collinge sent me this amazing hair moisturiser which is a great hair styling product to use for heat protection and shine and contains Argan Oils to hydrate, smooth and detangle the hair. I love using this before styling my hair as it calms down any frizziness and leaves my hair feeling healthy and shiny but doesn’t leave it feeling heavy or greasy with product. New heat protection product found – check!

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Envy Dual Fix 12 is a professional salon treatment that helps repair all hair types. Containing a perfect balance of silk proteins and keratin amino acids to target damaged areas and attract moisture to give long lasting results. 12 incredible benefits for smoother, glossier hair that’s easier to manage. This hair repair treatment is pretty much miracle in a bottle so get the instant WOW factor and get great hair in minutes. It leaves my hair feeling revived and much healthier – you can use it on dry or wet hair, I personally prefer using it on wet hair but the results are good either way – I just like to treat my hair while it’s wet for some reason – probably because I can pamper myself a little more.

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NATURAL PRODUCTS

I’ve never been a massive fan of 2 in 1 products for my hair, in the past, they leave my hair feeling lifeless and a little on the greasy side, however, the 2 in 1 shampoo and condition from Noughty leaves my hair feeling soft and looking shiny! It’s not a product I use everyday but I love popping it in my gym bag for a quick shower after my workout! The team from noughty also sent me the intense leave in condition, this is definitely one of my favourite products – I use heat products a lot such as hair dryer, straighteners and curlers and my hair can often become dry and damaged, therefore any products which can help bring back the shiny, bouncing and full of life hair I use to have I’m in!  One of my favourite things about these product is they are 97% natural meaning they have no sulphates or parabens in them – I’m really excited to keep trying these products and see the difference they make to my hair.

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MOISTURE 

One of my favourite brand Baylis & Harding stock up my wardrobe even more with some fabulous shampoo and conditions to try,

The first products from the Moisture Drench collection, the shampoo & condition are specially formulated shampoo with luxury Moroccan argan oil extract (which smells amazing and leave my hair feeling amazing). It nourishes and hydrates dry or damaged hair leaving it softer, smoother and healthier looking. The shampoo contains argan oil extract which boasts natural antioxidant and it contains pro vitamin B5 to strengthen and nourish. It is paraben free and ph balanced. It contains deep cleansing formulation and comes with natural betaine for moisturising.

I’ve also been using the Nourish & Hydrate shampoo & condition have been amazing on my dry and damaged hair, these products include coconut extract – and as we know is the magic ingredient of 2017! The products also include Vitamin E and essential fatty oils to help repair damaged hair! I love the smell of these products and they leave my hair feeling so soft and smooth – I love using the nourish and hydrate when my hair needs some extra TLC and since they are free from parabens they are much kinder to the hair.

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I’ve known the name Phil Smith for a while, whether I’ve been in a shop or salon, the packaging/nice definitely rang a bell so I knew I was in for a treat with these products! I love the formulation of both the shampoo and condition – because they include coconut water the texture is more liquid than cream, but I love this about them – it leaves the hair feeling more less weight and cleansed. I recently started to love leave in conditions, probably because I can pamper myself while being lazy (win-win). I didn’t feel that these products leave my hair as silky as some of the others, but that be because my hair was sick of being washed! However, my hair was really easy to style after using these products and my curls held all day without having to coat my hair in hairspray – my hair often loses curls quite easily so I was really happy with this. Also, the coconut smell from these products was delicious – always a nice added extra!

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COLOURED HAIR

As I mentioned I’ve coloured my hair for a number of years now, it went from a few highlights to all blonde (big mistake) and now I have a balayage, I love colouring my hair and added blonde into it but dye can be really damaging to your hair. I’ve recently been using Joico K-PAK colour therapy which is an instant shine and repair miracle for colour-treated hair that unlocks the secret to out-of-this-world vibrancy, while providing deep repair and illuminating shine treatment – from the first use my hair felt incredibly soft and hydrated – it helped bring the thickness back to my hair (well the feel of it anyway). It’s the perfect choice for all colour treated hair – from blondes to brunettes, lowlights to highlights.

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Let me know if I’ve missed any haircare heroes which you love and i’ll be sure to try them out.. once I’ve run out of these!

WHY IS SELF-CARE IMPORTANT?

The definition of Self Care is:

The actions that individuals take for themselves, on behalf of and with others in order to develop, protect, maintain and improve their health, wellbeing or wellness.

Why is self-care important?

Whether you’re some-one who suffers with an illness (physical or mental) or not self care is really important. All of us are constantly on the go with our social lives, work, families and other commitments and from time to time it can all become a bit much. As some-one with a full-time job, a blog, a social life, a boyfriend and family who like to see me (for some strange reason), and a mental health issue I think it’s really important that I give myself a break from time-to-time. I know the above paragraph makes it seem like i’m throwing myself a pity party but i’m definitely not! I know there are people out there who have 10x the amount on their shoulder that I do and it so important to recognise this and check out for a moment or two.

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There are a number of things which I really enjoy doing when I need some self-care, firstly, I love going for a run or a really long walk – nothing makes me happier than plugging in my music and just losing myself for an hour or two – i’m really lucky that my parents live in an area which is close to the countryside! I believe getting out into nature with fresh air and time away from your phone and laptop is really important – it give you time to think, re-evaluate and get a little bit of light exercise which help the endorphins to start pumping.

The second I do when I need some time out is a digital detox! I believe all social media apps from my phone (if I still need to have my phone on me), I close my laptop and forget about the world online. I know this might sound strange or drastic but comparing yourself to the lives on people you see through a filter (mostly Valencia or Ludwig) is not healthy and it’s easy to forget that everything you see has been brighten, tighten and whatever else you can do with editing app these days. So turn off your phone, unplug you computer and give yourself a breather – then you’ll realise that you’re probably smashing it!

Another tip which I find really effective is to mix up your routine once in a while, this doesn’t have to be finding a new job or moving country – it can be really small but  something which will re-stimulate your mind, it can be simple like finding a new way to work, buying a new outfit or going out for some food or a drink afterwork if you normally rush home! As they say variety is the spice of life.

Last, but definitely not least is pampering – it’s important to take pride in your appearance, not for vanity reasons but to re-establish your self worth and how f*cking amazing you are (pardon my language). I love to take long hot baths with essential oils, bubble bath, bath salts and all that fun stuff. Recently I’ve been struggle with my self-worth and I’ve seen a few red flags of my anxiety and depression, so the lovely team at Baylis & Harding sent me a little care kit which included a linen rose and cotton bath and shower creme, linen rose and cotton bath salts (actually incredible), a exfoliating mit, three gorgeous luxury bath soaks, one of which has grapefruit in it and it’s actually heavenly! To top it all off they came in this gorgeous basket which I can store all of my products in! I used some of the products tonight after a run and I literally could feel my stresses melting away, therefore, I thought it would work perfectly for this post. It’s little simple things like this which can make you feel so much better! I find soaking off a long hard week really therapeutic.

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ENZO MANCHESTER

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I was invited by the lovely team at Enzo to head down to the launch party and try some of the delicious pizza and pasta dishes from the menu, and as a girl who never refuses free carbs how could I resist?

Enzo’s Manchester site is bright and spacious, the restaurant is colourful and has a light laid back atmosphere – perfect for a quick bite, a coffee with a friend or even a first date venue!  The venue also has seating outside which will be perfect for lazy summer days (fingerscrossed we get more sun).

When we entered the restaurant we were met with smiley and welcoming staff who offered us a cold glass of prosecco to start the evening.

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As a vegetarian I was really impressed with the menu, there are so many options for veggies, vegans and anyone who is gluten free – it was refreshing to have exciting and tasty options – not only just a standard cheese and tomato pizza.

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As a lover of pesto I really enjoyed the Pesto Genovese which is made with fresh penne, homemade basil pesto, toasted pine nuts and rocket – I really enjoyed the flavours and the pasta tasted really fresh and the texture was just perfect.

One of the most popular items on the Nantwich menu is the all-day-breakfast pizza, which features two fried eggs as well as all the usual breakfast trimmings. This was made clear as when the breakfast pizza arrived it was met with cheers and excitement from many of the other guests.

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The first pizza I tried was the Pesto Genovese which is made with pesto and feta base, peppers, cherry tomatoes, rocket and basil olive oil. As mentioned before I LOVE pesto and the feta cheese was the perfect pairing! The base was lovely and thin, as pizzas go this is definitely one of my favourites and I’ll definitely be ordering this again.

I also tried the bread twists which are made with chilli, rosemary & sea salt and oregano. These were served with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic glaze and tasted amazing! Definitely worth the extra hours in the gym! One of my favourite sides of the night were the dough balls which are served with homemade garlic mayo and they can also be made cheesy! Mozzarella and dolcelatte inside a warm dough ball? Hell yes! (sorry for the lack of pictures of these – I just couldn’t help myself)

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I also tried the Veggie Feast pizza which is made with lashings of fresh vegetables and topped with fresh basil oil – this version of the pizza was also made with vegan cheese! As a veggie, I’ve often thought about becoming a veggie but the thought of giving up cheese was also the deal breaker! However, after trying this pizza I could hardly tell the difference – the cheese wasn’t as strong but topped with veggies it was beautiful.