Sunday, 29 May 2016

Currently loving..

I was going to start a monthly favourites feature on this blog, but I know what I'm like with keeping up with a series so have decided against a set in stone title and gone with a much more vague one!

I should also probably formally mention, that I've changed my blog URL and all social media handles to What I Know Now. After being accepted onto a social work MA, I think the right thing to do is keep my name much more anonymous because social workers are well known for getting a bad reputation, by the wonderful British press.

Anyway getting back on track...

1. Instagram

Not a shameless plug or anything but I've been really getting into Instagram at the moment! I've upped the filter and photo quality game, and made a more consistent posting schedule (which I am also totally fine about not sticking too). Sooooo, you fancy following me, you can do here ;)



2. Make up

Since come back from Sri Lanka, I had a random urge to actually start making an effort again. That's a full face of make up, hair done and nice clothes that haven't appeared from my wardrobe in years. I think having such basic necessities has taken it's toll a little bit!

3.  Zara Jacket

And obviously, along with point 2 has meant new clothes too. As soon as I saw this on my friend, I just had to buy this jacket.


4. Musical theatre

And as I've got my evenings to myself again, I've rejoined an amateur dramatics group and can't wait to perform again in September! I absolutely love musical theatre, and can't believe I spent so long away from it.

5. Weekends

New office job = weekends are mine! Nothing beats sitting in the sun on a Sunday afternoon in your own garden. I finally get that Friday feeling and Sunday night dread too- both welcomed, wonderful feelings after years of never having a weekend off.



6. Running

Finally, me and the brother signed up to a 10k a while ago, and it's only now that we've realised Sh*t it's only a few months away and we're still sat on our arses. So, we'e been running a few times a week, slowly increasing distance. I've actually been enjoying it after a day at work - you definitely let off some steam!


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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Dear Workaholic..


It's okay.

It's okay to go home at night and not carry on with work.

It's okay to go out for a drink with your best friend, even though you have an inbox full to the brim.

It's okay to make a mistake. You're human, not a robot.

It's okay to not work through your lunch break. Working through is working extra. It's not a requirement, remember that.

It's okay to spend time with your family this weekend instead of typing up your case studies. Your work will always be there, but those family moments may not.

It's okay to go on holiday and completely ignore your emails. You are entitled to a break. In fact, it's healthy.

It's okay to ask for help if you feel snowed under. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved.

It's okay to turn to your vices sometimes. Yes, that's chocolate and alcohol I'm talking about. Sometimes it's necessary.

It's okay to feel anxious, stressed or overwhelmed. Don't dismiss your feelings, you don't have to hold it together 100% of the time.

It's okay to enjoy Netflix binges and Harry Potter marathons. Don't feel guilty, you're taking time out for you, and that's pretty important.

Life is short; make memories, travel far, laugh often and 
don't regret a moment which makes you smile.

And don't forget..

It's okay to not be working. 
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Sunday, 22 May 2016

Blogs worth reading


I've recently come across some new blogs on evenings where I'm doing nothing but refreshing my twitter feed and definitely thought they were worth mentioning on here, because they deserve a much bigger audience in my opinion!

Firstly is Nicole from Ginger Kitchen. I've mentioned her before on here because I recently went to see her in Edinburgh, but honestly her blog is so good. She runs a vegan, health and recipe blog, and her pictures are insanely good! She recently wrote about why she has gone vegan, which is really interesting and has also been shortlisted for Best Vegan Blog in the Health Blog awards! Please do go vote for her here if you can because she deserves to win so much!

Secondly is Mimmi from Muted Mornings. I've only just found her blog but I love her already. She's also vegan but her blog covers lifestyle, health and books, so obviously it's a definite read for me. A great one to read to get to know her a little more is Taking Stock: April

And finally is Martha from Martha Jane Music. Martha's blog is a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog but also covers health and mental health too. I think I can really relate to Martha actually because she is a singer-songwriter (I'm not but used to sing classical like Martha did!), and she raises mental health awareness. She actually wrote two amazing posts on anxiety and taking outfit posts, and Dermatillomania, which you should definitely go and read.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do, and hope you've had a great weekend!



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Thursday, 19 May 2016

Summer Accessories - Sunglasses*

I've tried quite a few pairs of sunglasses now, but never a pair that are blue tinted. However, these ones from the Glasses shop are actually beautiful!

I've said before on here, that sometimes I dislike ordering sunglasses online because you just don't know how they will fit your face but these actually fit perfectly on me. 


I chose this pair because they reminded me a little bit of Raybans, and I was actually so impressed with the customer service and delivery of the Glasses Shop. As I don't wear prescription sunglasses, the Glasses shop said that I could choose any frame, and then pick whichever lenses colour I wanted from the choice of yellow, blue, pink, purple, grey and brown. There are so many glasses frames to choose from as well, so you're bound to find something you like, if these ones aren't what you fancy!


These glasses feel really nice to wear too, as in I would put them on par with my Marc Jacobs pair. Obviously, the major difference being is that these glasses are really cheap sunglasses in comparison!


And if you do fancy buying your own, the Glasses shop have kindly provided me with a discount code for you 'GSHOT50', which will give you 50% off on eyeglasses and sunglasses, with free lenses (excluding sale items). Happy shopping!
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Sunday, 15 May 2016

Healthy food, healthy mind?


It's been a while since I spoke about food on this blog so this post is probably very overdue, and also sparked by a recent conversation with my friend Nicole, and the post written by Ruby Tandoh (which you can read here).

Before I start, I am all for living a healthy lifestyle. I love vegan and plant based dishes, fruits, vegetables, nut butters and wholegrains. I love smoothies or porridge for breakfast, courgetti noodles or baked sweet potato for dinner. I love cacao and dark chocolate or banana with nut butter. However, I also love creme eggs, reese's peanut butter cups, hot chocolate and stone baked pizza, and no I don't really feel bad for eating the latter.

Unless you are living under a rock, you are probably very aware of the wellness, clean eating, raw, gluten free [insert any other similar term here] food craze which has dominated society for a good few years now. I'm sure we've all heard of Deliciously Ella, Madeleine Shaw, the Hemsley sisters and Amelia Freer - just a few of the leading 'wellness' experts. Now, whilst I do love trying some of their recipes, even I have to acknowledge that this way of eating is yet again, another restrictive fad.

Following a 'wellness' diet, usually focuses on following a plant based diet. Blending, spiralizing, juicing.. we know the drill. And you know what, it is actually really great for your body. Eating this way will probably give you a sh*t tonne of energy and yes, you'll probably lose weight if you're going from a fast food laden lifestyle to this.

HOWEVER, is this really good for our brains? Is following a inflexible lifestyle which restricts you to certain foods, really something that should be advocated?

You've all heard of anorexia and bulimia, right? Well what about Orthorexia? I know I've mentioned it before but Orthorexia is defined as this..

Obsessive focus on “healthy” eating, as defined by a dietary theory or set of beliefs whose specific details may vary; marked by exaggerated emotional distress in relationship to food choices perceived as unhealthy; weight loss may ensue, but this is conceptualized as an aspect of ideal health rather than as the primary goal.  As evidenced by the following:
  1. Compulsive behavior and/or mental preoccupation regarding affirmative and restrictive dietary practices believed by the individual to promote optimum health.
  2. Violation of self-imposed dietary rules causes exaggerated fear of disease, sense of personal impurity and/or negative physical sensations, accompanied by anxiety and shame. 
  3. Dietary restrictions escalate over time, and may come to include elimination of entire food groups and involve progressively more frequent and/or severe “cleanses” (partial fasts) regarded as purifying or detoxifying. This escalation commonly leads to weight loss, but the desire to lose weight is absent, hidden or subordinated to ideation about healthy food.
So basically, Orthorexia is the preoccupation with 'healthy' or 'clean foods'. 

Does that not sound a little bit like the wellness and clean eating phenomena? 

I'm not saying that we can blame the rise in eating disorders entirely on this phenomena, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me if the two were linked in some way. Restricting anything usually leads to the rise in guilt and shame, if we go and break those rules or restrictions. Guilt and shame then leads to anxiety, body hating, self loathing etc.. you get the idea. By naming certain foods 'clean' we are then assuming that everything else is dirty or bad which again causes more guilt! But actually, these 'clean' foods aren't always necessarily better for us.

For example, a pet hate of mine at the moment is the current gluten free fad that people have rapidly jumped onto. Gluten free bread, pasta, cakes etc are brilliant IF YOU ACTUALLY HAVE COELIAC DISEASE. For the rest of us, we don't need to cut this out of our diets at all. In fact, opting for something that is gluten free, probably means opting for something with more chemicals because how else do you think they create a similar flavour?!

I think the thing with being healthy and well, actually depends on the individual. Healthy minds don't come from clean eating, they come from being able to eat what you want and know when you've had enough. They come from being able to sit around the dinner table with your family, laughing and joking about the day instead of inspecting exactly what's on your plate. What's healthy for you, probably isn't healthy for me, and you know what? That's 100% OK. We are all individual with different bodies and needs, different likes and dislikes. 

So, if clean eating, raw or gluten free isn't for you - well, I think that's more than OK, don't you?
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Saturday, 14 May 2016

Books // Delirium


Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Lena lives in a world where feeling or being in love, is a disease. Love is deadly - it kills you when you have it, and when you don't. It causes pain and heartache, appetite changes and mood swings. Before scientists realised there was a cure, people thought love was a good thing but now the world is much better.

When you turn eighteen, you are cured. You are matched with someone suitable, and are free to live your life with your spouse without feeling love or hate. In 95 days, Lena will go for her procedure and she'll be safe from the disease. She will no longer be afraid because can't ever be infected. 

But what happens if you contract the disease before your procedure? With only weeks to go, Lena falls in love, and is left with the decision of staying with her family and the town she's only ever known, or making a run for it and never being cured from the deadly disease.

I actually downloaded this book onto my kindle in January, when the lovely Sarah recommended this book to me, and I've just gotten around to reading it. And, it's a really, really good read. It's probably not for everyone because it's definitely a dystopian romance, and quite easy to read but I know a lot of people want that when they've come in from a full day at work. Lauren Oliver writes so beautifully, and the ending was something I was actually really surprised about. It's probably really obvious to everyone else but this book definitely tugged at my heart strings!




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Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Spring Wishlist





Whilst I was off from work, a common past time of mine was online shopping (or mooching at least). I found a few bits for work that would definitely go down well now that I'm working in an office, including the t-shirt, pencil case and sticky notes! Does anyone else feel the need to update their office wardrobe when they start a new job?

I also still think I'm dreaming of the sun and another holiday as I really want a Triangl bikini - how beautiful are they?! And I've wanted a pair of sparkly vans but this pair of Daniel Footwear trainers fill that void nicely. 

Not forgetting the home decor - the prints and candle would definitely go down well in my room! 3 months of not burning a candle is definitely getting to me now!

*This post is sponsored by Daniel Footwear but all views are my own


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Sunday, 8 May 2016

A Little Trip to Edinburgh





You know what I love most about blogging? You guys. Especially when you actually get to meet the people that you've become friends with via your blogs.

I've been talking to Nicole now for over a year, and this weekend it was time for us to actually meet. I've never been to Scotland so on Thursday, I took the coach to Edinburgh from Birmingham, and it was so nice to be greeted by such a welcoming and friendly face. It's really surreal writing that when you've never actually 'met' but it was honestly like we'd known each other for years. No awkward silences, just two friends laughing and enjoying good conversation.




As I only really had one full day, we woke up early on Friday and headed to Hula Juice Bar for an amazing breakfast. Nicole is vegan and actually has an amazing new food blog (which you should definitely check out!) so I'd said I'd happily eat at vegan places too for my time here. And then we basically saw ALL of the tourist sights - the castle, the royal mile, parliament, princess street and Morningside, as well as climbing the cliffs and Calton hill. According to my iPhone, we walked 13 miles throughout the whole day which is INSANE. We also did a bit of shopping, and I managed to pick up a book I'd wanted for ages, really cheaply in a charity shop, and some foodie bits from a health store. We ended the day with dinner at Henderson's vegan restaurant, before basically collapsing into bed with exhaustion. 








I left yesterday morning quite early, but before I left, Nicole served her amazing banana granola recipe for breakfast which was so good! I honestly had the best time in Edinburgh and completely fell in love with the city. I love that it has everything from city life to countryside with just a small walk, and the atmosphere is just so friendly. 

And it goes without saying, I had the best time with Nicole. She is one of the most lovely people I have ever met, and I'm so grateful for our blogs for bringing us together! 


So, until next time Scotland. You were amazing. 
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Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Crobar Energy Bars

I am turning into someone who loves trying new health foods. I won't ever be vegan or paleo, and I won't ever stop eating pizza or creme eggs, but for the most part, I love eating 'whole foods' or whatever other label you want to give it..




I recently came across Gathrfoods and saw that they had created the UK's first ever energy bar which uses cricket flour. And the be honest, my first thought was 'what the f*ck?!'. I mean, who really wants to eat Crickets? I was initially a little repulsed by the idea but then I did a little research and soon realised I wanted to try them.

So why eat Crickets?

Crickets are actually a really great alternative dietary protein, and unlike plants, do contain all 9 essential amino acids. They are also high in iron and vitamin B12, and have a better omega 3 & 6 ratio (better than hemp, soy and whey). They also have half the amount of fat that beef does, but personally I'm not sure why this is a good thing..

Eating crickets is also much better for the environment. There is less food waste, less air and water pollution, provide a lower risk of diseases and are farmed using no antibiotics, hormones or pesticides.. so much better animal welfare!

Anyway, lecture over..

The bars come in two flavours; Peanut and cricket flour, and cacao and cricket flour. The peanut bar is made from peanuts, sultanas, dates, sunflower seeds and cricket flour, and the cacao bar is made from
cashews, sunflower seeds, sultanas, dates, chia seeds, cricket flour, cacao powder, goji berries, cacao nibs and natural flavouring. Both bars are therefore gluten, soy and dairy free!

I absolutely love both bars. My favourite is the peanut one but that's not surprising as I love peanut butter! The cacao one is also nice but may seem bitter if you're not used to eating cacao. Neither of them taste like crickets (not that I've eaten one to know what they taste like!). 

They are both really great bars and are definitely an alternative energy bar for those who are looking to try something new. You can find out more here









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Sunday, 1 May 2016

Trust the process


It's been a while since I just sat down and wrote, but April has been very odd for me. It's only been three weeks since I returned from Sri Lanka, but it seems like an eternity already and I miss the beautiful island so much.

I'd be lying if I said that returning has been easy because I feel constantly deflated at the moment. Going from an exhilarating, busy set up day in, day out.. to nothing has been a huge shock to the system. I was exhausted everyday in Sri Lanka but I now feel even more exhausted, from simply doing nothing. I always think it's weird how it's more tiring to do nothing.

I don't really believe in fate, but there has to be something said for the quotation I just found whilst scrolling Facebook.

Trust the wait.
Embrace the uncertainty.
Enjoy the beauty of becoming.
When nothing is certain, everything is possible.

Those words may mean nothing to you but whenever I begin to question my life choices, a very good friend of mine (who also happens to be a therapist) would always tell me to trust to process, which is a pretty similar message to those words.

In the past three weeks of uncertainty, I've managed to secure a place at the University of Birmingham to do an MA in social work, and get a new office job working for a good friend of mine at the NHS. I'm so proud of myself that I'm going to going to buy a designer handbag this week and pretend I am top class, mega rich business woman. 

When I read that sentence back, I have everything I could have asked for, and yet I'm sat here feeling pretty neutral about it all. And I think I'm putting it down the sense of freedom I feel when I'm travelling, whereas right now I feel very stuck in no man's land. This grey area between returning home and working towards creating the life I want. Being stuck or trapped is an all too familiar notion, which doesn't sit well with me, so as much as I dislike wishing away time, I can't wait to begin this new job. I need a purpose to my life because sitting around trying to make myself busy is not who I am or how I roll.

So today is May 1st, and as with anything new, it usually allows for reflection. Therefore, this post can be a reminder to myself to trust the process because the universe usually has a way of working everything out for you.
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