It’s the little things in life

I feel like we spend a lot of our time nagging and complaining about things. I am extremely guilty of this. We focus to much on the negative stuff that goes on and not enough on the positive. If somebody does something for us, we do our best to show them appreciation. But sometimes I think we need to remember the little things in life, the small things that may not change our lives, but do in fact make us happy. The things that make our lives a little brighter.

When someone else cooks for you

Sometimes after a long day at work, the last thing I want to do when I get home is make my dinner. I absolutely love when someone else cooks for you. I always enjoy the meal so much more.

19022080_10158869120160512_2059237830_n

When it is sunny enough to hang your washing outside

Honestly, there is nothing better than the smell of freshly washed laundry that has been dried by the sun on the washing line. I absolutely love it.

The feeling of freshly shaven legs against clean bed sheets

I LOVE having a pamper night and shaving my legs, moisturising and getting into a freshly made bed. SO SOFT.

When the first day of a new month starts on a Monday

I told you it’s the little things…I love when this happens because it feels like I can start everything fresh. And it helps with actually knowing what date it is.

A perfect cup of tea or coffee

I absolutely love a good cuppa tea or coffee. Especially when you’re busy and sit down to relax and make a tea or coffee and just expect it to be average and then BAMMM. It’s a reallllly good one.

19046514_10158869120125512_2003197613_n

When you find a really comfy position as soon as you get into bed

I often struggle to fall asleep for a while when I’ve gone to bed. But the past week I have been so comfy that I’ve managed to fall asleep straight away.

Instantly falling in love with a book

See when you are only like 15 pages into a book and you just know it’s gonna be a good one? There is no better feeling.

When you come across a REALLLY good meme

What is better than a good laugh? I love these Theresa May ones so much right now.

When it’s pouring with rain outside and you don’t need to leave the house

9 times out of 10, I have to leave the house when it’s absolutely pouring with rain but on the chance that I can stay indoors and be cosy in pj’s when it’s raining, I love it!

When someone shares good news

I absolutely love it when I see that someone has been successful or something good has happened to them. Even more so when it is a friend or family member.

So there’s 10 little things in life that make me happy. What makes you happy?

Much love,

louise-x

May Reads

Another month has flown past so of course, another bundle of books have been read! Here’s what I’ve been reading this month!

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban / JK Rowling

hp3

Harry Potter, along with his best friends, Ron and Hermione, is about to start his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry can’t wait to get back to school after the summer holidays. (Who wouldn’t if they lived with the horrible Dursleys?) But when Harry gets to Hogwarts, the atmosphere is tense. There’s an escaped mass murderer on the loose, and the sinister prison guards of Azkaban have been called in to guard the school…

Okay, I love this Harry Potter so much. I love how yo get to know so much more about his parents and their friendships. It just makes everything make sense! I love Sirius SO much. Ahhh just read it already if you haven’t.

 

fatty

Good Luck, Fatty?! / Maggie Bloom

Spunky North Carolina teen Bobbi-Jo Cotton is overweight, oversexed, underloved and misunderstood. When Dr. Harvey Lassiter, her former high school principal turned bicycle shop owner—with the help of Lex Arlington, a hometown celebrity—sponsors a charity bike race, Bobbi sees an opportunity to test her Schwinn and her fortitude. And when Tom Cantwell, her best (and only) friend, reveals he’s crushing on her, Bobbi figures it’s time to quit passing out screws like they’re dentists’ office suckers.  What Bobbi is having a harder time letting go of is the resentment she feels toward her missionary parents, who, after abandoning her in the night, have flitted back into her life with a surprise: she’s about to be a big sister. Will Bobbi win the race (and maybe even lose the weight)? Can she overcome her promiscuous past and earn the trust of the boy she just may love? Will her parents care enough about her—or her new baby brother—to stick around (and if they don’t, will she be tough enough to survive another of their betrayals)? The only way to find out is to come along for the ride. The way Bobbi sees it, all of life’s questions can be answered from the seat of a bicycle. And if they can’t, at least your hair will look great fluttering in the breeze.

This was a light hearted easy read. I instantly fell in love with Bobbi, she was such a cute character. The plot isn’t the most riveting or interesting but sometimes it’s just nice to escape into someone elses world.

 

jb

I Followed the Rules / Joanna Bolouri

Rule 1: Never ask him on a first date. Rule 2: Laugh admiringly at all his jokes. Rule 3: Always leave him wanting more. … wtf?! Have you heard of The Rules of Engagement? It’s a book that promises to teach you to find the man of your dreams in ten easy steps. Unsurprisingly, I don’t own a copy. What is it, 1892? But I’m a journalist, and I’ve promised to follow it to the letter and write about the results. Nevermind that my friends think I’m insane, I’m stalking men all over town and can’t keep my mouth shut at the best of times. My name is Cat Buchanan. I’m thirty-six years old and live with my daughter in Glasgow. I’ve been single for six years, but that’s about to change. After all, I’m on a deadline. I Followed the Rules and this is what happened.

This is the second of Joanna Bolouri’s work I have read and it is just as funny as the last. I instantly fell in love with Cat, and of course with her daughter Grace. I can relate to Cat so much and when I can connect so well with a character, I absolutely hate finishing the book. I love how realistic most of the situation and dates are in this book and I fell in love with this fiction just a few chapters in.

 

18666181We Were Liars / E Lockhart

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

I think this is one of the strangest books I have ever read. I gave it 2 stars on Good Reads because I just didn’t know what to make of it. But I think that might be the point. For me, there were far too many characters to begin with but it was easier to remember them nearer the end. I want to reread it to see if I understand it any better. It is very well written though.

 

Wuthering Heights / Emily Bronte

11019333

Emily Brontë’s only novel, a work of tremendous and far-reaching influence, the Penguin Classics edition of Wuthering Heights is the definitive edition of the text, edited with an introduction by Pauline Nestor. Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, situated on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before; of the intense relationship between the gypsy foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw; and how Catherine, forced to choose between passionate, tortured Heathcliff and gentle, well-bred Edgar Linton, surrendered to the expectations of her class. As Heathcliff’s bitterness and vengeance at his betrayal is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.

I have not read Wuthering Heights since I was 16 and in high school. Analysing a book to the extent you do in Higher English, left me feeling extremely bored of this novel. Fast forward 7 years and I feel completely different. I absolutely loved rereading this and the book meant so much more than it did at 16. I enjoyed the characters so much and my opinion of them is now completely different than it was at 16.

Perfect (Flawed #2) / Cecelia Ahern

35051281

Celestine North lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed by a morality court, Celestine’s life has completely fractured–all her freedoms gone.
Since Judge Crevan has declared her the number-one threat to the public, she has been on the run with the complicated, powerfully attractive Carrick, the only person she can trust. But Celestine has a secret–one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground.
Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save only herself, or risk her life to save all Flawed…

I was SO excited for this to come out. My friend Katie was so so kind and sent this to me. As soon as I opened the cover, I could not put it down. It was so so easy to immerse myself back into Celestine’s world. JESUS IT WAS AMAZING. I really really urge you to go out and buy Flawed and Perfect.

How Not to Fall in Love, Actually / Catherine Bennetto

29991690

Emma has a job in television which is distinctly less glamourous and exciting than it sounds. She’s managed to claw her way up the ranks from Tea-Maker and Rubbish-Collector to 2nd Assistant Director (heavy on the ‘assistant’. Even heavier on the ‘2nd’).
 So when she finds she’s accidentally very pregnant and at the same time accidentally very sacked (well, less accidentally: she did tell her boss to stick his job up his bum), she knows things are going to have to change.
 Luckily she’s also accidentally the heir to a lovely cottage in Wimbledon, with a crazy Rottweiler-owning octogenarian as a neighbour and a rather sexy boy as an accidental tenant. But this baby is coming whether she likes it or not, and she needs to become the sort of person who can look after herself let alone another human being – and quickly.  
I absolutely love the protagonist Emma. And I also absolutely love this story. I love how all the characters are completely different! But all so likeable. I am definitely looking forward to Catherine Bennetto’s creating more wonderfulness in the future. 

What have you been reading recently?

Much love,

louise-x

The Power of Fiction

Fiction is my escape. Since a young age, I have always loved reading. Always. And I don’t remember a time that I haven’t had a book on the go.

For me, reading is more than just something to pass time, to entertain for a short while. It’s an escape. A sense of comfort. Reading brings me peace and tranquillity that I cannot seem to find anywhere else.

Reading is the biggest and most important part of my self care routine. If I didn’t have books, then I have absolutely no idea what would keep me half sane. Whilst writing this post, I’m counting down the minutes until I can be reunited with my current book and forget about the world. (Yes, I could probably read on this bus ride but honestly, my book would go flying if its anything to go with this guys driving.) I honestly don’t think there is a better way to wind down than cosying up with a cuppa tea and a fantastic book.

16776028_10158277675280512_495849209_o

When I read, I forget about everything else around me. It is the only time my mind fully switches off. I don’t even think about food and believe me, that is very very rare. Over the years, with the increased consumption of technology in my life, my attention span has considerably shrunk. I find it difficult to even watch a 45 minute episode of something on Netflix. I get bored very easily. Reading is the only thing that can occupy my mind for longer than about 10 minutes. I don’t know what makes it so much more different than other activities but a book can never bore me. Ever.

16805490_10158277680820512_1599260150_o

I don’t know what it is that switches me off so much better than anything else. It might be something to do with how much I need to use my imagination. I believe that reading makes us creative and more open minded. An author writes the words that describes places, people and plots. They paint the picture for us, we do the rest. It is up to us how we see the characters and their surroundings. I think that’s part of the magic.

Having to use our imagination to read the story that the offer has given us, requires quite a bit of concentration that takes us away from our own world. That’s my favourite part about fiction. That although plots and characters can be based around real life experiences and people, it is essentially made up.

When I was a student, I used to feel extremely guilty if I was doing anything other than uni work. Even reading fiction to wind down at the end of the night riddled me with guilt. So I never got to read half as much as I wanted to. Now though, I can read whenever I’m not working and feel 100% guilt free.

16763814_10158277675325512_323086296_o

For me, books are lifesavers. Not only do they distract me from my own bustling mind but they allow me to use imagination and creativity that is not used often.

What are your favourite books?

Much love,

louise-x

 

Music and Mental Health : Guest Post

Happy Monday guys! TodayI’m treating you to a wee break from my ramblings and I’m handing it over to my good friend, Harry at MindlessMuso. I’m just gonna hand it over to Harry, who has written about a topic that is important to us both, music. His links are all at the bottom!

haz

How music helps with my mental health

Music has always been a huge part of my life from being around ten years old. Growing up through my teenage years it was something I focused on so intensely, I was in a band at the time, and I wanted this to be my career. When I was sixteen I had an experience which would tear me down, but also rebuild me in a unique way. During the time all this was going on, I experienced my very first anxiety attack. I felt like I was going to die, I continued experiencing intense anxiety attacks for the following two years, and whilst I still can have them now, they happen very rarely compared to back then. Depression came along with the anxiety, I had let so many people down, people had let me down, I was lost and confused. I couldn’t get my head around what happened. The depression never really left. I have good days, don’t get me wrong. But it’s always there in the back of my mind, it really has ruined a lot for me. I’ve been in and out of therapy seven times over the past six years, each one with little effect, or if it looked like it was going somewhere, it would be cut short. I had no one to turn to, I was lost.

So I began to dive deeper into my music. Both listening and creating. Of course, music doesn’t fully cure depression. Not at all. But it can certainly help in such a huge way. I wanted to talk today about a few ways in which music helps my mental health, and if you’re struggling right now, maybe some of these things may help you too.

The emotional qualities of music

It’s pretty obvious that music is a powerful emotional tool. That’s why it’s used in films, to draw us in and help us really feel the emotion of the scene. Have you ever tried watching the same film with no audio at all? It’s a little different.

Sometimes you need to let it out. And when you’re feeling that way, I advise you to do so, bottling up emotions leads to your mental health deteriorating even more. But I get how hard it can be to actually let it out. Sometimes with depression being the bastard it is, we can’t. at all. But one way I’ve learnt how to get past that barrier and let everything out is by putting on a song that matches how you feel, or a song which you know makes you emotional. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to put this song or playlist on, and just have a good cry. Releasing, again doesn’t cure anything, but it can sometimes ease the symptoms once finished.

On the other hand, maybe you want to feel uplifted, inspired, motivated. In which case, putting on a song or playlist which is happy and you know you just can’t help but sing that song or dance to, can really help create those feelings inside you. Even when you don’t feel like dancing or singing at all, forcing yourself to move and sing, the stupider the better can help. The stupider you look, the more you’ll laugh at yourself, and the more you laugh at yourself, the more these feelings of darkness will be quietened for a while.

know that both things I’ve mentioned are quite obvious, but I know that a lot of us seem to forget it sometimes. Sometimes it’s not about having a song to make you dance or make you cry, sometimes it’s just about connecting with the same energy as a song. Once you connect with that energy, powerful things can happen. You can begin to feel comforted by its presence, just by listening to it.

2v1uq_vp

 The power of creating music

I’ve been creating music for almost ten years now, and it is such a powerful thing. Whereas in music listening, you are passively engaging with the music, by actively creating, you are physically releasing yourself into your creation, every strum of a guitar or bang of a drum or whatever instrument it maybe, whatever your feeling is being channeled directly into the music. I make different types of music depending on how I feel, sometimes it’s acoustic, sometimes I’m screaming down a microphone, it’s all about whatever I need to release at that time. The act of letting how you feel out through music can be so cathartic. There are times where after a show I feel lighter, more at ease because I’ve screamed my lungs out, or just played as hard as I could. It’s a similar feeling to watching a gig, you’re getting direct energy from the music on stage into your body, you as an audience member give off that same energy back which feeds the band or artist on stage. It’s amazing.

Anyway, I digress.

 The first thing I normally hear people say is: ‘I’m not talented enough to make music’ or ‘I haven’t got any instruments to play’ or something along those lines. But you don’t need talent or instruments to create music. The Sex Pistols didn’t necessarily have ‘talent’ and they were amazing. Sometimes the simple stuff is the best, talent is subjective. And when you’re creating for yourself, to release energy and emotion, who cares what anybody else thinks? For me when I can’t use words to describe how I’m feeling, my music speaks. Music becomes a natural extension of you, unafraid and pure. Music making is one of the rawest forms of art there is.

So if you don’t know how to play drums, bang some sort of beat on your desk and shout over the top of it, find a few notes on a keyboard and play them till your hearts content, whatever it is you feel you need to do, do it, and don’t let anything stop you. It’s just you releasing emotion. If you want something a little more melancholic, write some words down that you’re feeling and see if you can form them into lyrics, sing them to yourself in your own tune, as powerfully or quietly as you feel. It’s all about the creation.

I’ve currently been working on a project which aims to support, inspire and uplift those suffering with mental health issues, and when this blog post will be released, the first song from the EP will be out! It’s all to raise money for Mind the charity, and the amazing work that they do. I’ve recently realized that, while music can be an amazing releasing tool for me, it can also unite others and help keep them going through dark times. I really wanted to help people in the best way I could, so to match music making with this cause was a really interesting idea. I’ve focused a lot on making the lyrics and music as powerful and heartfelt as possible. I’ve used my experiences of creating music in the past to inform this project, allowing myself to be fully open with my experiences with the hope it will resonate some of you. My aim for this EP, is for you to be able to listen to this in your time of need and feel less alone, and feel like you can take on the world again, and I hope these intentions are shown in the music. All money made goes straight to Mind, so I don’t take a single penny from it. Music not only helps my mental health, but I truly believe it can help yours too.

Check out the first single from the EP!

Follow Harry on Twitter and check out his blog and YouTube channel!

Twitter: mindlessmuso

Blog: mindlessmuso.wordpress.com

YouTube: Mindlessmuso.

Mindfulness – Ruby Wax

Mindfulness? You what? It’s a term that’s thrown around quite often especially regarding self care. I kinda thought I had an idea what it was but I had no idea on the depth of the term.

I was so excited when I received Ruby Wax’s new book ‘A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled.’ I thought the book would just be an account of problems that she herself had faced, due to suffering from depression. OH how I was wrong. It was SO much more.

As soon as I read the blurb I was intrigued. I was hoping this book would help even just a little, as I struggle with coping mechanisms. I absolutely loved the foreword as to be quite honest, I didn’t know too much about Ruby’s personal life. I was instantly hooked as I knew the rest of the book would be so relate able as she describes such a normal life, especially when dealing with depression. I completely agreed with her viewpoint on instead of trying to escape our illness, we need to learn how to live with it.

All through the book she says talks about the things that go through your head when living with a MHI. I have never laughed so much when reading something about living with depression. The lightheartedness certainly helps when talking about such a sensitive topic.

16111643_10158115058080512_1091094139_n

This books also teaches you about mindfulness. This chapter interested me as to be honest, I didn’t actually know much about it. I find it really hard to concentrate on anything so I was intrigued to see if I could find an answer to why I’m like this. I found it really useful. I never knew just how good it is to practice mindfulness every day. And I certainly had no idea it would help making thinking and concentrating easier.

I absolutely loved reading parts of Ruby’s personal story. I always get such a sense of belonging when I read such relatable stories. It helps ensure you that you’re not alone.

The 6 week mindfulness guide that Ruby gives you in the book is extremely beneficial. I’m working my way through the exercises and making mindfulness part of my daily routine.

I’d honestly recommend this book to anyone who wants to focus on awareness, feelings and thoughts. Practising mindfulness has allowed me to take control of certain situations in my head which is helping me a lot. Before reading this book I had no idea what mindfulness even was so yeahhh, it’s worth it.

Much love,

louise-x

The Power of the Outdoors 

I don’t know what it is but there’s just something about the outdoors that completely soothes me. Whether it’s a 10 minute walk or a whole day outside exploring, there’s just something there that completely puts my mind at ease.

I live in Scotland so it can sometimes be difficult to spend time outside without being drenched by the rain. It must be one of the only places where you can experience all four seasons in half an hour. Despite the unpredictable weather, it is so beautiful. You can be in the worlds worst mood and come back completely forgetting what you were so worked up about.

14808835_10157690736005512_1639026611_o

I’ve not always been someone who just gets up and decides to go for a walk, to be honest, I used to think of that as pretty pointless unless I was doing it with someone. But in the last year, I’ve grown a strong desire to spend a lot of time outside.

Suffering from anxiety is an absolute nightmare when it comes to trying to slow your mind down and trying to think rationally. If I’m feeling particularly anxious and cannot pinpoint what is causing it, I simply go for a walk. And no, it doesn’t always make me feel better but how do you know it won’t unless you try it?

14796083_10157690736010512_1930778041_o

 

To some people, when in such a anxious state of mind, they could not imagine anything worse than leaving the safe confines of their home and I understand that. I too, have had those feelings. But in these situations, when I decide to go outdoors to calm myself down, I don’t think about the other people that could be walking around. I concentrate on my music and mind. (Regularly checking I’m not going to bump into anyone when carried away singing to myself.)

I understand it is difficult but if this becomes something you do often, your mind forgets about other people surrounding you. Going for a walk puts me in a zone, a place where I can unwind and simply step away from my irrational thoughts. It was when I started going for regular walks outdoors that I noticed my anxiety around people in the street was a lot more controlled. I never ever forced myself to go outside and conquer the anxiety but doing so in a manner that I enjoyed, certainly helped.

14799759_10157690735930512_1255278973_o

Yes I know, going for a walk is not gonna free you from all your problems and it’s not going to make them disappear. But it will let you take a step back from the situation and give your little brain a bit of a rest. I think that taking at least 10 minutes out of your day and being disconnected from the rest of the world can really help. It means you can relax. And 9 times out of 10, when I return form a walk, the things that were bothering me beforehand don’t seem as big of a deal. Yes, they still exist and I need to try and find a way of dealing with them, but taking a step back to breath can sometimes help you recharge and figure things out in your head.

“I’ve never found time spent amongst nature to be a waste of time”

I want you to try it. If you’re feeling low or feel like you have a lot on your mind, stick some shoes on, grab a set of earphones and go for a walk. Whether it’s 10 minutes or an hour, I promise you it’ll feel so good. Don’t spend the time looking through your phone or updating your social media accounts, just relax. Unwind. Sing along with the music playing and completely forget about your troubles for 10 minutes.

 

14808696_10157690735820512_1264966663_o

 

Take in your surroundings. Even if it is somewhere you walk everyday, by switching off, you will probably notice things that have always been there that you’ve never really considered before. The fresh air is so liberating and makes you feel much less trapped than in the four walls of your room. Just look around at all the different colours around you and the beauty of nature.

14799921_10157690735810512_572332791_o

It won’t solve all your problems, I know that. And I know that it won’t work for everyone but I want to share what I do to help myself. If sharing my experiences helps at least one person, then that’s a start yes?

“Log off. Shut down. Go outdoors.”

Together, we can do this!

Much love,

Louise