Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 31 December 2014


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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Yearly Book Roundup

Tuesday, 30 December 2014


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

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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Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

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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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Christmas Advice

Wednesday, 17 December 2014


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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Finished for Christmas

Monday, 15 December 2014

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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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Things I've been loving lately

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

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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Scholarship Evening

Friday, 5 December 2014

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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My favourite things about Christmas

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

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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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