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

x

72 HOURS IN MAJORCA

As the summer changes into autumn me and three of my friends decided to book a relatively last minute trip to Santa Ponsa in Majorca for a couple of days! I’ve never been to this part of the world and it wasn’t necessary on my bucket list but I am so glad we decided to go.

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When we first arrived in Majorca is was nighttime, pitch black and we were in the middle of a thunder storm, not exactly what you want for your summer holiday – however, we decided to make the most of it – we had to! So when you woke up the following morning we decided to take of the rain – we started drinking quite early (in hindsight too early haha) and then went to a local tapas bar and ordered basically everything on the menu – cheeses, olives, bread, sauces, oils, Patatas Bravas and the other girls order some meat/fish dishes too. We eat everything and washed it down with wine and cocktails! The food was amazing and we were definitely feeling the effects of the alcohol now. In the evening we visited a few bars and ended up in a karaoke bar until 3am – less said about that the better haha!

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On our second bar we decided to enjoy the sun by lying by the pool and then venturing down to the beach which was literally a 5 minute walk from our hotel! The weather was perfect, almost too hot for the white girl. As a kid I never understood the appeal of lying on a sun lounger and enjoying the blistering rays while enjoying a book, music or just silence, but as an adult with often too much on my plate it was perfect! I even caught a little but of a tan – more freckles than tan but a win is a win! We decided to have a quite night after the mayhem of the night before – a nice meal, a few drinks and off to bed! I think everyone was flagging to be honest.

On our last full day we headed into Palma – it was only 25mins drive from our hotel and with another amazing sunny day on our side we took full advantage. We walked around for a little enjoying the site, doing some shopping, eating more tapas/drink more cocktails, walking along the water and enjoying an ice-cream on our last day. I really enjoyed going into Palma, there was so much going on from street performers, culture, sights, boat trips, restaurant etc – I would love to go back and spend more time there, I can imagine it’s perfect for a city break.

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I love our little trip away – the island is beautiful, the weather was amazing (apart from the little bit of rain), the food, drinks and company was all just spot on – i’m a big fan of little trips away as you haven’t been away from work for too long, and you come back refreshed, recharged and ready for work! I’m already looking at more holidays I want to take! Pray for my bank account.

x

 

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!

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!