Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy New Year!



I don't really like reflecting on New Year's Eve, yet for some reason I always do anyway. I don't like how people make resolutions or goals for the new year either.. to me it is merely another day.

However, there's no denying that 2014 has been the biggest year of my life so far. It's not like I've done anything 'big' as such, like move to University or get married, but I am honestly happier now that I have been in a very long time. It's crazy to think how much you can change in 365 days, and as an outsider looking in, my life probably doesn't appear to be that different. I'm still at Uni, I still work at the same high street store, I still have the same friends in my life.. but I am not the person I was when I entered 2014.

I think I owe a lot to my Thailand trip this summer. I learnt that life is too short to cling onto dangerous habits, which keep you miserable, cold and anxious. There is a huge world to see and explore, there are people to meet and things to do. I've managed to ride with the elephants, swim in waterfalls, cuddle tigers, eat dinner in the mountains.. things that some people can only dream about yet I have been lucky enough to do it. The love for life that I once had, has returned, and I want nothing more than to travel, explore and achieve.

In the past 4 months alone, I've gained over a stone in weight but that gain seems tiny compared to the confidence, happiness, cognition, energy and the smile I have also gained. I can think again when I'm writing my assignments, I dance when I'm drying my hair, I sing in the shower, and I now say yes to almost anything because I want to experience everything I possibly can.

I have realised that I have some of the most amazing people in my life, who I am eternally grateful for. In fact, I am grateful for life itself again. I never dreamed that I'd ever be so free again, but I took a risk this year and let things be which has turned out to be the biggest and best risk I've ever taken. In a way, I am saddened that this life changing year has to end but I know that 2015 will be equally as good if I let it.

As for resolutions, well I don't make them. If I wanted or needed to change something about myself, then I don't need to wait for a new year in order to do so. Nor do I have goals for 2015.. I think it's all a load of old tosh. I'll just see where my life takes me and play the hand I'm dealt!

So, Happy New Year to you. May 2015 be the best year yet 
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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Yearly Book Roundup


One thing you probably don't know about me is that I'm actually a bit of book worm. I don't read fast, and I don't read as often as I'd like (as I am doing full time degree and have a part time job) but when I do read, I love it. So, here's what I've read this year..

1. Bridget Jones, Mad About The Boy Helen Fielding
2. Sane New World Ruby Wax
3. How To Fall In Love Celia Ahern
4. The Rosie Project Graeme Simision
5. The Ocean At The End Of The Lane Neil Gaiman
6. Paper Aeroplanes Dawn O'Porter
7. Life After Life Kate Atkinson
8. My Mad Fat Diary Rae Earl
9. Sharp Objects Gillian Flynn
10. The Notebook Nicholas Sparks
11. Perfect Rachael Joyce
12. Eleanor & Park Rainbow Rowell
13. The Humans Matt Haig
14. Trick And Treat Barry Groves
15. An Idiot Abroad Karl Pilkington
16. We Were Liars E. Lockhart
17. Divergent Veronica Roth
18. Insurgent Veronica Roth
19. Allegiant Veronica Roth
20. The Shock Before The Fall Nathan Filer
21. Goose Dawn O'Porter
22. Before We Met Lucie Whitehouse
23. How To Build A Girl Caitlin Moran
24. Fangirl Rainbow Rowell
25. Larger Than Life Jodi Picoult
26. Thirteen Reasons Why Jay Asher
27. About A Boy Nick Hornby
28. Confessions Of A Shopaholic Sophie Kinsella
29. The Yellow Wallpaper Charlotte Perkins Gilman
30. The Skeleton Cupboard Tanya Byron
31. Across The Universe Beth Revis
32. Daughter Jane Shemilt
33. Geek Girl #2 Holly Smale
34. More Fool Me Stephen Fry
35. Leaving Time Jodi Picoult
36. A Song For Issy Bradley Carys Bray

I had a few books for Christmas lined up to be read in the new year, and I'm always open to suggestions!

What have you read this year? Did you read anything I read?

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Saturday, 27 December 2014

Christmas!

This year I have had the BEST Christmas day I've had in years. I spent the morning opening presents with my Mum, Brother and Step Dad, and then spent the rest of the day with my Dad and Nan. 

I received some absolutely beautiful gifts, which were all so thoughtful and relevant to me. I prefer to give at Christmas, and I love the look on someone's face when you've given them something they really love, but this year I'm sure people must have loved the look on my face because everything was just wonderful. I really am so grateful for everything! 

However, what made it the best Christmas day for me, was that I wasn't anxious at all. I ate what I wanted, enjoyed myself, and even now there is no guilt. I don't feel like I need to justify myself to someone if I say no, nor do I care if I am adding chocolate to my breakfast! It is some what surreal but I am relishing every moment and I really am happy.

In fact, I am enjoying this entire Christmas period. Despite working 37 hours this week, I am meeting up with friends old and new, relaxing by the fire with my family watching Christmas films and I'm slotting in revision for my final Uni exam. And last night, I finalised my plans for New York by booking tickets to see Phantom of the Opera on broadway! 

Yes, Christmas 2014 will be one of those that I'll remember as a great one.



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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

I feel like I've neglected this little space on the internet recently (It's probably only been a few days!), but the truth is, I have been too busy living. Work, catching up with family and friends, uni/exam work.. it's taken up a lot of time and I actually, really like that it has. There was a time where I'd never even dream of writing that sentence, so I am so grateful that I now can.

Anyway, I just wanted to wish and every single person who reads this blog, a very merry Christmas. Thank you for all of the support you have given me this year (especially helping me get to Thailand!), all of the comments you leave and tweets that I get sent. I read and appreciate every single one! So, do enjoy your day - relax, eat, drink, laugh, sing, and dance because I know I sure will be. It only comes around once a year, so make it a good'un!

Love Sam 
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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Christmas Advice


Having had my fair share of anxiety ridden Christmases, here's what I've learned about dealing with anxiety, stress and discomfort!

1. You don't need to spend the most money or buy the most extravagant gift in order to put a smile on someone's face. If they are worth buying for, they will appreciate whatever you buy them, and the thought that goes into it. Don't cripple yourself with the idea of finding the 'perfect' gift because in actual fact, they will just appreciate you being with them on Christmas day

2. I know a lot of people don't enjoy Christmas and find it difficult for a whole host of reasons so make sure you look after yourself properly. Eat well, don't drink so much that you forgot who you are, and make sure you get enough sleep. Especially if you suffer with a mental health problem, whether it be anxiety, depression, eating disorders etc. If you are in a healthy place, then you will find the whole festive period far easier 

3. Don't let people force you to do something you aren't comfortable with. You don't have to partake in a mince pie eating contest if you don't want to. Nor do you have to sing karaoke if that's not your thing. Simply being present is more than enough! It's your Christmas day too, so that last thing anyone needs is added pressure and anxiety. 

4. A huge mistake people make, is bottling up their emotions. Show your excitement, happiness, negativity, anger towards Christmas and talk about it. Many people convince themselves that no one cares or that they are being a nuisance, when clearly they aren't. If you need someone, go to a friend. They will be more than happy to talk to you and help you in whatever way possible. 

5. Finally, Christmas is the perfect time to enjoy yourself. Embrace the food, drink, family, presents, music, films, jokes and games. Wear your Christmas jumper everyday (along with a Christmas pudding hat for me..)! It only comes once a year so challenge yourself, do something new, build a snowman, make some Christmas cards. Despite it sometimes being difficult for some, it really does only come once a year, and once it's gone, it's gone. You deserve to be happy at Christmas.
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Monday, 15 December 2014

Finished for Christmas


It's only the beginning of the week but today saw the end of semester one. Today I completed my final assignment of the term, which was a presentation, and then practically skipped home listening to Christmas songs. I am staying around until Saturday as I have to work but apart from that, I aim to spend my time watching Christmas films and listening to Christmas songs.

I am not entirely sure where this semester has gone, nor am I sure where 2014 has slipped away to either. Sometimes time seems to slip from us so fast, that we forget to embrace the moment and what really matters. Many of us, myself included, are too busy wishing time away - maybe getting excited for Christmas, the new year, a new adventure - but we are missing what is around us right now. 

My plan for the next few days is to enjoy the lead up to Christmas, work, the drive home and the reunion with friends and family. And mostly, enjoy a break, because I know the Uni will restart before I have had chance to think. This time of year is only once a year so it really is important to savour each minute.
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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Things I've been loving lately

I love these kind of posts so thought I'd let you know what I've been loving lately!


My Mum sent me this in the post during November, and it was the best piece of post I've ever received. It is the Yankee Candle advent calendar, which has a different Christmas tea light for each day of December, and a bigger surprise on Christmas eve. I have been burning one a day whilst doing Uni work and it's been the perfect accompaniment. It's definitely a good idea for someone who doesn't like a chocolate advent calendar too.. I have both!


Christmas cards - I've received two Christmas cards so far but one of them is from my friend Josie (go check out her blog). She makes cards herself and has an etsy shop which I think is just fab! I think the money goes to a Cystic Fibrosis charity and it's free delivery, so there is no excuse no to have a cheeky look! I'm definitely going to keep this card in my scrapbook after Christmas, because it's just so good!


Last week, on black Friday I think, my Uni was having a half price poster sale so I picked this up to remind me to save for my trip next year! I really do love it though because it's quirky and has all the landmarks on it. I think after I've been, I'll put it up at home as a reminder of what I did :)


And finally, I know I'm a little late to the party, but I've been loving Orange is the new black! I started season one last week and now I'm half way through season two! Nobody tell me how it finishes because I hate spoilers, but for anyone who hasn't watched it, just start. You won't regret it (unless you have a dissertation to write.. you might then!).


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Friday, 5 December 2014

Scholarship Evening

As I've mentioned before on this blog, I was awarded a scholarship this year for my volunteering efforts, both online and in the real world. It was mostly for blog posts for Youngminds, B-eat and then working with Mindfull and supporting a local mental health group throughout my second year. Oh and then Thailand this summer too!

Anyway, enough of that.. tonight was the presentation evening, so for the first time in 5 months, I straightened my hair and applied a face of makeup (being a woman is so difficult sometimes..) and put on a dress so that I could be presented with a scholarship from Professor Tanya Byron!

My Mum and brother came up from home to see the ceremony, which was really lovely as I've not seen them since September. Upon arrival we were greeted with a glass of fizz to celebrate the evening, and shortly after we'd finished, we went for a meal which included a shared chocolate brownie ice cream sundae :-)

It takes a lot for me to be proud of myself, but tonight I actually am. I think there may always be a part of my mind that niggles away, questioning every decision I make regarding food, but I celebrated properly tonight because I can. I wanted to go to the awards evening tonight, looking healthy. I want to be an inspiration to people, to be someone people come to for advice, a role model and most importantly, I want to be able to use my experiences to help others recover. In order to do that, I have to be completely healthy which includes enjoying social occasions/celebrations. 

So tonight, that's what I did!


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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

My favourite things about Christmas


1. Christmas Yankee candles. My favourites this year Angel Wings, Snowflake Cookie and Christmas Cookie - they make the room smell so sickly sweet and indulgent, which I know is really off putting for some people, but for me, it's heaven!

2. The frost. I am a creature of summer and loathe the cold weather but looking outside at the frost on the windows, cars and especially cobwebs is absolutely magical. 

3. Christmas songs. Yes, they are cheesy, annoying and over played but I LOVE it. I work in retail and should really be bored of them but no, I'm the annoying sales assistant begging to put the CD on again once it has finished ;)

4. Advent calendars. What is better than chocolate for breakfast? Thought so!

5. The decorations, tree and lights. There is something beautiful about seeing the reds, greens, silvers and golds as you walk down the high street or come in your front door to be greeted by a wonderfully decorated Christmas tree. I also love wrapping presents - the more stars, bows, tissue paper and string, the better!

6. Friends and Family. When I'm at Uni, I don't go home until the term is over because I have to work. So for me, I am reunited with my friends and family at Christmas, and it really is lovely. I love catching up with people over a gingerbread latte or hot chocolate, and exchanging gifts with others hoping desperately that they will love what I've bought them. These are the people who really do make Christmas special.

7. Christmas films. My favourites are Elf, The Grinch, The Holiday and Miracle on 34th Street :-)

What do you love about Christmas?
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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Mockingjay Part One

I am quite a big fan of the Hunger Games Trilogy. I read all 3 books when they became popular and have seen every film at the cinema, which is rare for me as I resent paying cinema prices! It has kind of become a tradition to watch these films with one of my best friends, so today we went to see the third installment!

We made a day of it and ventured into Liverpool for a mooch around and spot of lunch. I love the city at this time of year, all the lights and Christmas gifts really do put you in a festive mood. I think the highlight of my day was getting free reindeer shaped chocolate from hotel chocolat on 02 (best thing I ever did was go on this network!). We stopped at YoSushi for lunch, which is hands down my favourite restaurant, and then ventured to the cinema.

I'm not going to lie, I could not remember what happened in the third and final book, so I had no idea what to expect. However, I really enjoyed this film. I'm not a huge film person but I definitely felt like I'd gone on a bit of an emotion rollercoaster. I won't really explain the plot, as I'm bound to spoil it but quite simply, it follows Katniss Everdeen into district 13, which is where the second films finishes. She becomes the 'Mockingjay', the rebel figure of the rebellion. I don't really laugh or cry at films but I became really involved in the plot because it was so tense, even gasping in places ha. It also finished on a really annoying cliffhanger so I will definitely go and watch the final one.

If you have seen the first two films, then you definitely need to see this one! And if you haven't seen any, I recommend you watch them all :) I think I'm going to re-read the final book before part two comes out because I don't think I can remember the end at all!


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Monday, 24 November 2014

10 things that will improve your mood


1. Remember Dumbledore's wise words 'Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light'

2. Bridget Jones's Diary. This film is one of those films in which everyone can relate too (especially us females), so whack it on and watch it. Her misfortune definitely cheers me up!

3. Chocolate. Need I say more?

4. Talk to someone. A friend, family member, a colleague. You may not feel like it, you might want to be alone in bed and wallow in self pity. You might feel like a burden for talking but it's absolute bulsh*t. If a friend was upset, you'd want them to come to you, therefore it's only fair you go to them! And trust me, talking about it helps.. a problem shared is a problem halved, right?

5. A hot bath with bubbles, face mask, your favourite candle and nail varnish. Pamper yourself and make yourself feel good. You deserve it!

6.  Dance it out. Put on your favourite childhood tunes - preferably ones from your primary school disco. Cotton Eyed Joe, S Club, Steps, Vengaboys, Busted, Bewitched, Las Ketchup.. the cheesier the better!

7. Read a chapter of the book that you're reading or read your favourite book. Escape to a fictional world so that you can forget about how you are currently feeling.

8. Stop procrastinating. That essay you were going to write a week ago, the laundry you should have done last weekend, the dance class you wanted to attend.. yeah, just do it. You'll feel 100 times better knowing you've ticked something off  your ever lasting to-do list

9. Keep a happiness jar. Every time you are happy or feel grateful, write it on a piece of paper and store it in a jar. When you feel unhappy, read one. It's bound to make you feel better.

10. Do not compare yourself to anyone else. It is the most pointless activity on the planet and one which only leads to jealousy, feeling inadequate and misery. Comparison is the thief of joy.
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Friday, 21 November 2014

When does money matter?


Yesterday, all of my housemates returned home for a 4 day weekend which meant I have 4 days by myself. Initially, I thought I'd despise being in my own company but today has actually been a lovely break for me and I think I've missed a little 'me' time. I've been to town twice, done a bit of dissertation work and wasted a few hours on Youtube! However, it's definitely not something I crave as much these days, and I definitely prefer it that way.

On Thursday morning, some of my housemates and I managed to get tickets for the S Club 7 reunion tour next year. What better way for 4 twenty-something year old's to relive their childhood? It also coincides brilliantly with my final week of Uni, so it really will be a celebratory night out and quite possibly the last time I see my housemates for a while. But the cost of this night, and the cost of experiences in general got me thinking. When is it that money takes back seat in the decisions we make? 

For me, and I know Thailand is a massive contributor for my newly formed morals and opinions, but I would now definitely prefer to pay for an experience over a new pair of jeans or make up. In fact, looking back to before Thailand, I would spend so much money on new beauty products, clothes and random tat that no one really needs - anyone need an apple slicer?! Thailand was expensive in itself but it was worth every single penny and it really was no object when deciding whether to go or not. Money will always exist, it can always be earned but experiences? Well, who knows if I'll get the chance to ride an elephant, cuddle a tiger or swim in a waterfall again..

I'm not saying that money is no object. I am a student and on the whole, I'm careful with my money. There is no way you'll see me in Waitrose doing my weekly food shop, or buying new perfume from Chanel. Yes, I save for a rainy day and one day hope to have a house etc but if an opportunity to experience something new comes my way, I'll rarely say no. After all, I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, and I don't want to be on my death bed regretting that I didn't live my life. No one regrets not working enough, being the healthiest eater you know, or even saving enough. More that you didn't spend enough time with your family and friends, didn't eat enough ice cream, didn't travel the world. 

I do think the best things in life are free but unfortunately, most things in life do cost money. I believe there is a need for balance when it comes to spending money and consequently, enjoying yourself. Memories and experiences are things that no one can ever take from you, whereas that new jumper? Well that could rip tomorrow. 


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Sunday, 16 November 2014

Guilt tripping

Despite my disordered history, I am not the healthiest person on the planet (and to be honest, I don't want to be). The only exercise I get is walking to and from uni and town, and yes, I am a bit of a chocoholic. I'm not saying that I don't eat healthily because I do. I love fruit, vegetables and nuts but I'd rather have chocolate over a superfood smoothie.

I could do something about this, and some days I DO fancy fruit instead, but right now I'm the happiest and healthiest I have been in years, so I'm not going to. But, what winds me up more than anything is when people judge others for eating junk. We see diets all over magazines and in the media, adding guilt to anything with sugar, fat or calories in it (god knows what we are actually supposed to eat!?). We live in a world where people try out ridiculous diets consisting of lettuce, grapefruit and rice cakes, who also happen to judge the rest of us for eating.

Well, you know what? IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.

If you want to be one of those people who allows themselves a biscuit at the weekend, then go ahead. I have no problem with you, as long as you keep your gob shut. What I don't like, is when you talk about unhealthy food obsessively and criticise everyone for eating it because a) you are starving and b) are jealous of the rest of us actually eating it. I hate how food and emotion are attached. How did we get to a point in life, where guilt and food go hand in hand? Guilt is something we feel, not eat!

Nobody has a right to judge anyone when it comes to food or exercise. I will eat what I want, and if I decide it's unhealthy, then I will change it for me and me only. I won't be guilt tripped into changing who I am and what choices I make. And, this doesn't just apply to me really - none of us should allow someone else tell you what you can and can't do.

I think it says more about the person who is judging, rather than the person being judged. I wonder who is actually happier..
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Saturday, 15 November 2014

Big Apple



I have always said that there are two places in the world that I want to visit - Thailand and New York. With one of those ticked off my list, there is no time like the present to set about seeing the second one. So, after a few months of persuasion, yesterday me and my Mum booked a trip to New York!

I am soooo excited, I genuinely can't wait! We are going in May, the week after my final deadline, for 6 days. It feels like both an eternity away yet so close as I know that this final year of Uni will fly by. It will be a perfect way to celebrate my 21st Birthday, which is a few weeks beforehand, and the end of Uni!

It's also nice that my housemate has been, and is going again, so we are able to plan things together :-) Looking at the empire state building, statue of liberty, times square together has been so enjoyable. It is so strange to think that something I genuinely thought would remain a dream, is actually going to happen. My housemate has shown me stuff like passes and hotels etc which is really useful when you are unsure of what you are doing. However, one thing I am sure of is that I will have an great time!

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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

My love/hate relationship with Instagram

I am addicted to Instagram. I know I'm not the only one - society is obsessed with capturing the moment, whether it be selfies, a beautiful view, a new purchase, what we're eating, an achievement. You name it, we capture it. I love to scroll down my Instagram feed to see what other people are doing. I often see things that I want to do or try for myself and it's a very easy way of seeing it first hand. Also, not forgetting that I can look back at my own pictures and relive certain memories!

The problem with this app, just like many other social networks, is that comparison seems to be so high, and more often than not you can come away from Instagram feeling worse about your life than before you decided to log in. I see photos of new clothes, make up, shoes etc and as much as I do think 'oooh she looks nice', I am also thinking 'I want that' or 'I'd never look that good in that' which leaves me feeling very materialistic and ungrateful for what I have. 

Personally, it hits me hardest when I see people running. I've gone past the whole 'why am I not running that too?' phase.. I know it's not healthy for me hence why I don't do it. But I don't feel happy or supportive of these people either. I think 'NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR ABOUT HOW YOU JUST RAN TO AFRICA AND BACK'. It makes us feel lazy and inadequate, but more so, I feel negativity towards these people because it feels like showing off. Of course, for the most part, they aren't. They are simply proud of themselves and I should be spurring them on too!

I also need to think we need to remind ourselves that Instagram allows us a tiny snippet of someone's life. We see a hot chocolate and assume they are having a lovely, cosey evening by the fire with a good film, when actually they could be crying into this drink because their boyfriend just broke up with them. My point is, Instagram is not realistic. We filter the sh*t out of everything to make it look good, so when we do compare, we are essentially comparing to something that doesn't really exist and without knowing the full story. The girl that went on the 10 mile run - yeah, she may be overcoming depression and exercise is her only outlet. 

I personally am reminding myself of what I do have in my life, rather than what I don't. And rather than being negative towards someone's achievements maybe we should genuinely congratulate them. And remember that someone, somewhere, will be jealous of what you do and what you have. 

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Sunday, 9 November 2014

Why I will not be 'clean eating'

Firstly, being healthy is great. Eating healthily and working out is great for your mind and body. However, only eating 'healthy' food is not so great. Neither is working out obsessively. Going from one obsession (anorexia/bulimia) to another (orthorexia) is not real recovery. It's simply exchanging one coping mechanism for another extreme yet more socially accepted one. The likes of 'clean eating' and 'fitspo' may look healthy when you're scrolling through instagram and twitter, but if you are unable to eat the cake that your friend baked for you, then I seriously question how healthy you actually are.

To be honest, people can eat and do what they want, and for the most part I couldn't give a damn. But, it does bother me when so called 'role models' inspire others by consuming quest bars and protein shakes/powders, running 10k before I've even dressed myself in the morning, and honoring the new 'strong not skinny' mantra which has apparently replaced the infamous 'nothing tastes as good as skinny feels'.

Now, I'm sorry but this is not healthy. Having a low body fat percentage is not cool, even if it is disguised underneath newly formed muscles. Women need a certain amount of body fat to get their period, for their hormones to work properly, and for healthy bones. It would be a a great shame if you couldn't have children due to the fact you wanted toned abs and an ultra fit lifestyle, wouldn't it? Similarly, your body needs a variety of nutrients. Only consuming protein is not healthy, especially for those recovering from anorexia. Our bodies can only use x amount of protein a day compared to being able to use ALL of the carbs and fats we consume (which will then be used to repair the damage caused during the months/years of restriction). 

I am not against eating healthy foods. In fact, I love fruit, veg, wholegrains, nuts, fish etc (I'll be honest, I just love food!) but only eating these is not an obsession I will ever develop. If you can't eat Sunday dinner with your family, ice cream on a sunny day, chocolate when you're drowning in your dissertation (yep, my hands are up!), then you are not recovered. You are still consumed by rigid rules, fear and let's face it, an eating disorder. 

So please, spare me your quest bar. I'll take some dairy milk, thanks.
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Friday, 7 November 2014

10 Things I have realised this year



1. Friendship isn't something that should require constant work. The best friends are the ones who will pick up from exactly where you left off, rather than moan about how you haven't had time to contact them because god forbid, you have a busy life. They are the ones who can survive great distance, and who are genuinely happy for you and your successes. Rather than being jealous, they actually support you.

2. Having your hair natural is actually very liberating. Your hair will thank you for not burning it every 5 minutes and you won't really care if it rains because hey, your hair is already natural. Not to mention how much time you save on straightening!

3. Travelling is one of the most freeing experiences. There is nothing more satisfying about waking up somewhere new, not knowing what you will see or do that day. It is one of the best feelings I have ever experienced.

4. The older I get, the happier I am. Growing old isn't actually scary, it's exciting and welcomes so many new opportunities. Which leads nicely on..

5. Saying yes to every opportunity is the best thing you can do. If you don't like it, you can stop or pull out, but chances are you'll have the time of your life.

6. Peanut butter isn't scary, it's actually really good for you. It's full of healthy fats, makes your skin glow, provides you with energy and satisfies your hunger. I am now addicted.

7. Comparing is the most pointless activity on the planet. There will always be some one who is thinner, taller, more intelligent, prettier.. you get the idea. However, as soon as you start focusing on yourself and stop giving a flying f*ck about anyone else, you'll be one million times happier.

8. I am not as independent as I thought I was, and that is OK. Family and friends are much more important than trying to prove to the rest of the world that you are a strong, hard working, stone cold wonder woman. 

9. I have actually done extremely well over the past few years and I'm allowed to be proud of that, rather than ashamed. People look up to me, and yes it's overwhelming, but it's much better to take compliments gracefully rather than fight back and tell someone it's not true. Let's be honest, it's so annoying when you compliment someone and they say 'don't be stupid' or 'I don't feel it'. 

10. Eating a chocolate bar everyday won't make you fat. I do it most days and yep, my jeans still fit!
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Sunday, 26 October 2014

End of British Summertime

Today the clocks went back an hour, and at 5:15pm it was dark. It really is the end of summertime.

I'm not sure why I feel so reflective today but oddly, I do. Summer 2014 really has been a major turning point for me, and it is one that I will never forget. However, my thoughts have been with winter and more specifically Christmas for a while now. Maybe because I work in retail and I've been selling roll wrap for weeks, or maybe because I am an organised biatch who has been Christmas shopping for about a month now, but I really am looking forward to enjoying the festive season. I think if I'm honest, it's because I'm looking forward to embracing Christmas properly this year.

For an eating disordered person, Christmas is hell on earth. The food is a nightmare, and nothing else gets a thought. But, I'm not that person any more and therefore, food isn't an issue or a priority. Yes, I AM looking forward to mince pies, tubs of minature heroes, Christmas dinner, Baileys etc but more than that, I'm looking forward to enjoying it all without anxiety! I can't wait to see the look on my family's faces when they open their presents, teasing my dad about the crap toy he gets in the Christmas cracker, singing and dancing to the ridiculously cheesy Christmas songs that I love.. yes I can safely say that this year, I'm having my Christmas back.

I think Christmas needs that magical air about it for it to become exciting, and after a conversation with a good friend of mine today, I've realised that the magic I once possessed, got a bit lost. The magic we start out with as a child, usually vanishes in our teenage years when we become cynical, sensible or the nightmare teenager that our parents pray not to have. Although I know that I'm a very mature 20 year old, I'd not really acknowledged the sadness behind that until today. I was forced to grow up fast, resulting in lost childhood and freedom. I learned how to be responsible and to take life seriously, I gave up emotion (laughing and crying) because I forced myself to show the world that I could take care of myself. But with freeing myself from this eating disorder, I'm beginning to regain that magic, laughter and warmth. The behaviourist in me know that it is possible to unlearn these attrThe inner child in me that never once had a chance to live, needs to show her face again and take life less seriously - enjoy life again.

The festive season is the perfect time to regain that excitement for life again, and I think the dark nights, cosey fire and hot chocolate that I'm consuming, highlight how close Christmas really is.

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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Free Speech

Last night, BBC3 Free Speech was aired from a mental health hospital in London. I was a little late to the party, so had to watch it on iPlayer, but the audience used for the debate were 100 young people with experience of mental illness.

Firstly, I applaud the BBC for doing this! It was refreshing to see an audience made up of what you would describe as 'normal' people. Nobody looked ill and everyone who spoke, gave interesting, intellectual and thought provoking comments - I really hope that this alone has managed to open people's eyes to how mental illness is invisible and it really can happen to anyone.

Some of the topics covered were also very thought provoking, starting with 'Can you ever like your mental illness?'. This question is something I've never actually thought about so I was quite interested in the answers which were given. For me, I believe Anorexia can be both your best friend and your worst enemy. At the worst phase, you lose all of your friends and family because you isolate them, leaving you with only your mental illness for comfort. I guess at this point, you actually learnt to like your illness? However, in retrospect, I'm not sure it was me actually liking my illness.. more that I was so consumed by it all that I had no idea what I really liked, therefore proving that an illness is also your worst enemy. From the present day perspective, yes I like that I was so ill. I would not be the person I am now without going through what I have experienced. Despite not wishing it on my own worst enemy, I would not change it all for anything.

Another comment that I was extremely fond of, was that mental illnesses should be treated in just the same way as physical illnesses. We do not choose to get depression, anxiety or an eating disorder, just like we do not choose to break a leg or fall ill with cancer or diabetes. Controversially, I (we) believe I do have the choice as to whether we recover or not, which is perhaps dissimilar to a cancer patient. I do think that as soon as people starting realising that mental illnesses are illnesses and not choices, the stigma will reduce.

Hopefully, the BBC have now got the snowball rolling and other programmes tackle topics like these in a similar way. Obviously, I know I find it interesting but maybe people who are less aware will learn something and there opinions will change.
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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Change

'The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change' - Carl Rogers
Today I was reminded of why I am a Psychology student. Sat in a lecture, listening to the different approaches to personality is not a passionate interest of mine, but I am always intrigued by the humanistic approach and how it places value on the self, uniqueness and self-actualization. For me, this is one of the approaches I like the most and definitely try and apply to myself when I can.

It is the above quote that sent my mind into a spiral of thought because it is undoubtedly true. I am definitely feeling the pressures of third year already - the overwhelming amount of work to do combined with what feels like a short supply of time - and along with stress brings out those unhealthy coping mechanisms that we all have in one form or another. However, it is only when I accept that those mechanisms are my way of coping, rather than brushing them under the carpet and ignoring them, then I can acknowledge and change them.

I am also beginning to think that my rigid way of thinking is becoming more flexible because I am starting to accept myself. The fewer comparisons I make, the more time I spend looking after myself. It may seem selfish but it has meant I am more happy and content. I know what is right for me, and accepting this has meant I have been able to make changes for the better. It has also meant that my outlook on what 'recovered' looks like, is far different to how I initially envisaged it. I no longer believe that recovery just stops when we declare ourselves 'free', but more that we always continue to grow, develop and change.

Of course, change isn't always easy to accept, and changing traits we don't like isn't the simplest of things to do. However, if we allow change I believe we lose a huge weight of negative, destructive energy and it is possible to become the person we want to be.
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Friday, 10 October 2014

World Mental Health Day 2014

Today is World Mental Health Day, and it's something I've seen trending over twitter all day (and week actually). I felt quite honored to be mentioned in certain tweets and I love that as a community, there are many people myth busting, trying to decrease stigma and generally raising awareness. I love that people are talking to each other about mental health, offering people an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on - it's definitely a step in the right direction.

However, for me today is a day that could have gone by without me even knowing about it. Part of me is ashamed to admit that but actually, most of me is rather happy. I'm too busy living, to have to time to get involved. I think for me, and I've said previously, getting involved in mental health awareness is a way of clinging onto unhealthy behaviours and means I still be attached to 'safety', without it becoming destructive.

Even though I'm contradicting myself and I'm actually writing about today, it's more to write about the one thing that still annoys me. How as a society, mental health and physical health are separated. We all have both a mental and physical health but at the end of the day, health is health. It all equally as important, and the sooner we understand this, the less time we waste prejudging people. Just like I can break my leg tomorrow, it is just as easy for you to be struck with depression. It's so important to take care of our brain as well as our liver, kidneys, heart etc. Looking after ourselves seems to have become something many people find difficult or not worthy of, yet I cannot think of a logical explanation as to why this is acceptable. We need to learn to take time to look after our brains more, as I feel we definitely neglect them.

So, my mental health is actually pretty good right now. How is yours?
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Sunday, 5 October 2014

I Hope You Dance

Recently, I heard from my old EDU therapist. We exchanged emails about my trip to Thailand and how well I was doing, and she told me that she was extremely proud of me. She told me to listen to a song, so all I want to do is leave the lyrics on here because they have really touched my heart.

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin' might mean takin' chances but they're worth takin',
Lovin' might be a mistake but it's worth makin',
Don't let some hell bent heart leave you bitter,
When you come close to sellin' out reconsider,
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance. I hope you dance.
I hope you dance. I hope you dance.
Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along,
Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone.

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance, 
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance. 

Dance, I hope you dance. 




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Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Hello October

I think October is my favourite month of the year. I adore the sunshine beaming down on the trees, highlighting the autumnal colours. I love seeing conkers as they remind me of the days I spent with my Dad and brother, collecting millions only to throw them over the fence as we didn't know what to do with them any more. I love that it's now perfectly acceptable to come home from Uni at 4pm and immediately change into pyjamas, drink hot chocolate and burn my 'Fireside Treats' candle. Yes, I do love October.

It's only Wednesday, but as far as Uni goes, my week is over. I am quite fortunate of my job at the moment, as having 5 days a week purely for Uni work seems a bit unnecessary right now. However, I'm sure as deadlines creep closer, I shall cherish all the time I can get. My time at Uni this week has been productive though - I have been introduced to new modules and I'm very happy with the content that I shall be learning. I have also been to two successful meetings, one with my dissertation supervisor and one with my personal tutor. I already feel raring to go with my dissertation now, which may seem very over prepared but I hate stress, so it's definitely right for me.

I have been met with a few doubts this week but have been overwhelmed by how kind people have been to me. Comments including how well I look, and how I'm glowing would have previously caused anxiety, but now I am embracing the compliments and actually feel proud of them. Not to forget how awake and alive I feel. I am no longer struggling to concentrate in lectures, and stayed up laughing and dancing with my housemates to some old yet brilliant tunes. Who'd have thought I'd be yee-haaing to 'Cotton Eyed Joe' at 11pm last night? Either way, that's how I want to remember my final year of Uni!
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Sunday, 28 September 2014

Third Year

This weekend has been a manic one, as I've made the final journey up to Uni to move into my new house. I arrived one day earlier than my other housemates, as I worked all day yesterday, but it gave me a short amount of time by myself, which I very much appreciate, to unpack and settle in.

Today has been a chilled Sunday. I woke the latest I've woken since coming back from Thailand, which only tells me that I was definitely exhausted after working pretty much everyday this week. I have spent most of my time catching up with the girls and settling everything in. Our new house is absolutely lovely, and it still feels very much like we're staying in a hotel rather than our home for the next 9 months.

Tomorrow is the first day of my third and final year at Uni. It feels very surreal to be going back - the summer has been life changing but also very long, so getting back into an academic routine may take longer than I think. I also still can't believe how quickly time has flown as it really does feel like yesterday that I was a vulnerable fresher, embarking on a new adventure in the big, wide world. However, I am looking forward to it - I am in the best psychological place that I have been for years, which really I am very grateful for. Third year is by far the hardest and most demanding year, and it will require energy and hard work to be able to meet my own expectations. But not only that, I want this year to be memorable too. I want to socialise with friends, discover new places and be able to enjoy my final year here. I want to create a good work/life balance, as it's the one thing that I believe is missing. I am an all or nothing girl, which leads to either exhaustion or insanity, and that isn't healthy for me.

My instinct tells me that this year is my year. I have the ability to fuel myself correctly, enjoying learning and being a student once again, and embrace life. It really is time to roll my socks up and make every minute count.

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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Coffee, Conversation & Company

I have spent the past two days mixing work with seeing friends for coffee, conversation and a goodbye for a few months as Friday sees me move to Uni for the final time. I say coffee, but really I mean that I have embraced the autumn flavours, and sipped pumpkin spice and gingerbread lattes.

This afternoon was especially lovely, as I saw a friend that I have not seen for many months. She is one of those people that I can see after a long time, and it's like we've never been apart - an oldie but a goodie! After catching up on each other's lives, the conversation turned towards how she thought I inspire people. I find this extremely flattering but sometimes it can be a struggle because people compare their lives to mine. They see that I went to Thailand and had the time of my life, and whilst this is completely true, it was also the hardest thing I've done and the biggest risk I've ever taken. My life is far from perfect, and it most definitely hasn't been easy. I sit here thinking as I type, that yes I may have done one thing, but there will be things that those people have done that I haven't. We are all different, have achieved different things so therefore, comparing is utterly pointless.

Ultimately, we spoke about comparing and how we should not compare our lives with someone else. I have been having doubts about returning to Uni, where the environment can sometimes include diet/exercise conversation. But, I am reminding myself daily that comparison is the thief of joy. We are all surrounded by negative energy, and it is very individual as to how you define that. What is healthy for me isn't necessarily healthy for you, and that is OK. For as long as I live on this earth, there will always be someone smarter, smaller, bigger, have more freckles than me, a longer nose...

I am currently the happiest I've been in years. I am laughing again, my smiles reaches my eyes and for once, I'm being honest with myself. If I feel those comparison doubts creeping in, then I know that the healthy thing to do, is indulge in good coffee and company. It's what is right for me.
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Saturday, 20 September 2014

CATs the Musical

My first love in life has always been musicals. Before going to Uni, I was a member of a musical society, jazz singer and part of a choir that toured Europe. I absolutely love to sing and dance! It's a little sad that I had to stop really, mostly due to lack of energy and enthusiasm for life, but these days I find myself singing and dancing again whilst waiting for my kettle to boil!

Back in February, it was one of my best friends Birthday and I bought her tickets to see CATs with me at Birmingham Hippodrome. She is also a musical lover, and still performs in the society we met, so it was the perfect night out for us both. I decided to make an effort and wear my new duster coat, with my favourite dress (forever pretending to be fashionable!). We began the night in Wetherspoons, accompanied by burgers and chips, laughter and a long overdue catch up, before heading to the theatre.

The show was absolutely incredible. CATs has never been a favourite of mine as there is no plot really. It's all based on poems written by T. S. Eliot, so can get a little confusing BUT if you can look past that, you are left with the most amazing songs, dances moves you've probably never dreamed of and incredible costumes. The entire cast are cats, so they are all unbelievably flexible and dressed in extremely tight leotards.. so when you're faced with dancers legs above their heads - let's just say that some of the men caught our attention ;) Ice cream had to be eaten at the interval, just to cool us down! Any excuse.. ;)

It was definitely one of those evenings to treasure. Seeing a show with good company isn't a rare occasion for me, but being happy and content within myself is something I am beginning to embrace more and more. Living life in the present is something I am constantly training myself to do, and last night I managed that wonderfully.




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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Note to self..

It is already Mid-September, and although I hate to write it, I feel like this month has been wasted a little. Apart from working and catching up with friends, I have spent a lot of my time with a lot of free time, and I really am not very good at the whole 'relaxing' thing. I am indulging in books mostly, but am not ashamed to admit that I ordered my first two Christmas presents this morning! I keep reminding myself to embrace this time, as I move into my new house in 9 days, and I will struggle to find any free time.

I have been doing my best to catch up with friends, and always find it odd when you have a deep conversation with someone, only for that theme to then pop up in the most random of place. I really am awful when it comes to taking my own advice, but recently, I feel as though it is actually a good thing to be doing. I know I am not the only person who is guilty when it comes to not listening to themselves, but why don't we? If we don't look after ourselves, we really are no good to anyone. I really do believe we should make it more of a priority to give ourselves more TLC, especially when it comes to health. I am someone who expects the very best of myself and will beat myself up if I don't meet my own expectations. 

A very good friend kindly reminded me this week 'Would you speak to a friend in the same way that you speak to yourself?' A very powerful question really, and for me, and maybe many of us, the answer is a definitive no. So, why is is acceptable for us to be harsh on ourselves? It's not..

Strangely, I came across this today. I am not a believer in fate and I'm sure it's pure coincidence, but a spooky coincidence nonetheless. I am going to actually try and take my own advice.


Treat yourself the way you would treat a small child.
Feed yourself healthy food & make sure you spend time outside.
Put yourself to bed early & let yourself take naps.
Don't say mean things to yourself & don't put yourself in danger.
(Your skull and your heart are still as fragile as eggshells).





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Sunday, 14 September 2014

Au Natural

I think it's only normal to experience a change in the way you think about certain things, when you go and live in a completely different place, with completely different values. I know I went to Thailand for what I assume were different reasons to many other of the volunteers, but my attitude towards food isn't the only thing that changed.

I'm not saying I can now live without all things western - internet is one thing, I am ashamed to say, that I can not live without. But one big change for me, is my attitude towards my appearance. Before going to Thailand, I was a girl who would not been seen in public without a little make up. Usually though, it would be a lot of make up - usually far too much. I enjoy applying make up, and I am proud of some of the pieces that I saved for - especially Chanel polishes and the Urban Decay palettes! Not only make up, but as someone who has naturally big, wavy hair, I could not leave without straightening it..

However, since being back, I have had no desire to do either of these things. In Thailand, it felt good to be completely natural. My skin felt fresh and my hair definitely thanked me for the lack of artificial heat. So, I've kept it up. I've only worn mascara and eyeliner, and my hair has been natural. And, you know what? I actually prefer it! I have waaaay more time in the morning to do other things, and I've received so many compliments! 

It got me thinking as to why I even wore make up in the first place? I think make up is something that definitely makes a woman appear more professional in today's society but it's also used to cover up insecurities. I think, for me it was a bit of both. Maybe I wanted to hide away and appear more grown up at the same time? I know I used to long to wear make up for ages, admiring woman who applied it so well. I'd envy those who had fantastic winged liner and bold red lips because I felt like they were both skilled and really looked after their appearance. But actually, maybe it's the women without much make up that I should be admiring. They feel confident enough to show people who they really are - and actually, I think I'd like to be one of those people too.


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Monday, 8 September 2014

Raspberry & White Chocolate Blondies

Today I did something that I've not done in years - I baked some delicious treats. I bought a recipe book during recovery and never actually used it so thought it was time to end that stupidity. I chose a recipe but changed the flavours to my favourite fruit, raspberry instead of strawberry and pistachio (and increased the amount of fruit which did result in a soggy bottom!). The outcome, although not perfect, was still a delicious one! I've included the recipe, with the correct amount of fruit. I'll definitely learn from my mistakes..



75g Unsalted Butter
175g White Chocolate
75g Caster Sugar
3 Eggs
3 Tbl spoon Plain Flour
1 Tbl spoon Baking Powder
Pinch of salt
100g Raspberries

1. Preheat the oven to 170C (150C Fan), Gas mark 3. Grease line a baking tin.
2. Melt butter in a small pan, on a low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and add white chocolate to melt
3. Whisk eggs in a bowl. Add sugar and whisk until the mixture is mousse like - a quick test to see if it's whisked enough is see if the mixture can stay on a spoon for 5 seconds (or longer!)
4. Stir and blend the butter and white chocolate (I had to melt the chocolate on the heat for a bit extra), and then gently fold into the mixture. Also fold in the flour, baking powder and pinch of salt.
5. Finally, fold raspberries into the mixture. Then gently spoon into the baking tin and place into the oven for 30-35 mins. The recipe makes 8-16, depending on how big you'd like them.

Enjoy!


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Friday, 5 September 2014

Autumnal Air

I feel as though I have hit the ground running this week, and that reality has set back in immediately. It feels like I returned from Thailand 5 months ago rather than 5 days!

Ever since Sunday, I have been rapidly sorting through documents for the new academic year. I move into my new house at the end of the month, and I'm now faced with the dreaded Oh my gosh, I'm now a third year and have to do a dissertation, so have been swamped by emails, phone calls and preparation for my final year at Uni! I have also managed to sort out my job at home and at Uni, revamp my CV, get a hair cut, book an appointment for my final vaccination, and catch up with some of my friends and family! Yes, reality really has kicked straight back in but receiving a phone call from Uni with news that I've been awarded a scholarship for my mental health volunteering and work in Thailand, really does make it all worth it.

However, the change in season is something I am totally embracing. I'm aware that the UK hasn't really experienced much heat this summer, but I certainly have so the cooler autumnal air is actually quite welcomed. I am beginning to think that Autumn is my favourite season - I love the chunky knits, hot chocolates, colours produced by nature and cosy fires. Not forgetting my love for candles! Those who know me well will know that September means that it's now acceptable for me to start burning my favourite Yankee Candles, usually something resembling a cake or sweet treat. Yesterday I met a good friend for a wander around town and purchased 'Fireside treats', which smells absolutely divine. It's definitely put me in seasonal mood, because I type this now whilst thinking of bonfire night, hot soup and sparklers! 

I did manage to take time off from my harsh reality last night though, with a good catch up and dinner at Pizza Express. It was an absolutely wonderful evening, full of great food, stories and laughter. It was the perfect way to celebrate everything we have both achieved this year.

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Monday, 1 September 2014

Acceptance

"I think that many do want to be helped, but they have too much stacked against them and also don't know how to accept help. Being cared for is alien to some people"
- The Skeleton Cupboard by Tanya Byron

I actually had a lot of free time during my weekday evenings in Thailand. What with no wifi or anywhere to really go, I turned to books as my primary source of entertainment - 10 books in fact! However, one in which I managed to read in about a day, was The Skeleton Cupboard written by Tanya Byron. The book is about the experiences she endured whilst training to be a clinical psychologist in the 90's. This book really struck a chord in me for a number of various reasons. Firstly, the only career I wish to pursue is that of a clinical psychologist, and this book has 100% confirmed that. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, I really was intrigued by her words surrounding loneliness and accepting help. 

Half way through my 6 week adventure, I was surprised by how I had actually become homesick. It's something I've never experienced before, and something in which I didn't think I would have to experience. With living away at University, and being quite content with my own company, I considered myself to be quite independent and satisfied with that. However, after reading this book, I actually realised that I'd distanced myself from almost everyone as a way of coping. It was a way of protecting myself as I begun to recover from a mental illness, so that I didn't get hurt. Also, as I didn't receive treatment, I never really learnt how to accept help and nor did I allow people to care for me. Sure, I have a great set of friends and family, but I never really allowed them to access what was really going on - if they got too close, I'd push them back.

In Thailand, I was cared for. I had the most amazing host Mum who did everything for me. She cooked, she took me to see things and resolved any of the problems that I might have had. She was in control and I accepted this from day one. I took a risk and it was the best decision I ever made because consequently, I learned how to accept help and care, and I actually liked it. I am now looking back on how isolated I forced myself to be, and that it wasn't that great at all. In fact, it could get quite lonely at times and I don't want my life to be like that any more. 

So guess what? It won't be. 
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Saturday, 23 August 2014

730 days

2 years ago today, I was diagnosed with Anorexia. That's 730 days I've spent trying to overcome this bitch of an illness. Gaining weight, losing weight, restricting, eating more, socialising and learning to live again..

It's only now that I can say, 730 days later, that I'm beginning to blossom. These past 5 weeks of my life have been perhaps the most life changing few weeks I have ever had. I have started to learn now to listen to my body. Listen when it's crying out for food and stop when I'm satisfied. Whether it be early morning or late afternoon, and learning that no day is the same. I've learnt that it's OK to be hungrier one day, and less hungry on another. That I don't have finish my plate for fear of others thinking that I'm slipping backwards, and that if I want pudding then that's OK too. And also, that it's OK to be hungry when others are not. There is no point in comparing or becoming jealous. Everybody is different after all.

I have learnt that I don't have to miss out if I don't want something. I've been living without this illness in Thailand, I have felt the freedom for 5 weeks. I've no idea what I weight but ultimately, it doesn't matter to me because I feel free. I'd be lying if I said that I have doubts about returning to the UK but I have the tools now to continue with this life. I have done it here so I know I have the ability to apply the same principles at home.

Life isn't about food. It's about experience, friendship, family and happiness. And so, this blog may change a little from now on. I hope to not talk about anorexia any more, because I don't want to have anything to talk about. I'll just be talking about my life, and you know what? I'm quite proud of myself.
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Sunday, 17 August 2014

Weekend in Pai

The road to Pai is a long and difficult one, but my goodness, it's worth it.

On Saturday, we all met up as a group and embarked on a 5 hour trip to Pai. It's a beautiful, little town up in the mountains, in Thailand, and is absolutely gorgeous. The view is more than words can ever explain, and the village itself is a cute, hippy area full of shops, bars and cafe's.

After a late lunch and delicious banana and cocoa shake, we ventured up to the grand canyon which was just breathtaking. We explored the canyon, climbing many steep hills and rocks, before heading to a cute strawberry cafe.

The evening was spent drinking more banana shakes and sitting in chilled bars in the town centre . I am fully focused on embracing this last two weeks as much as possible now because like I keep saying, I don't want to regret a single moment of this adventure.





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