Saturday, 19 May 2018

Mental Health Awareness Week



This week it’s mental health awareness week; although I originally had a different post planned out, I think it’s incredibly important to write about this topic as it's close to mine and so many other people's hearts.

Mental health is a tricky thing. We all focus on our physical health by eating healthily and going to the gym, often disregarding our mental health. Thankfully, over the past few years mental health has been spoken about so much more, but there is still a long way to go with breaking stigma.

 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year (MIND)


Stereotypes of mental illnesses are a huge factor in the stigmatisation.
For example:
'The weather is so bipolar!'
'I like my room to be clean, I'm so OCD about it'
'They're crazy, they belong in a mental asylum'
Often, people don't realise how harmful these statements are to people who actually suffer from these mental illnesses. They aren't cool, quirky or trendy - they're debilitating and can ruin every aspect of someone's life, from their career to their relationships.
If you ever go to say something related to a mental illness like the examples above, just remember that anyone could be suffering, and there are more appropriate words to describe things :)


Mental health is something no one can see, which is why people find it so hard to talk about. It's such a taboo topic, and although more and more people are talking, as a society we still have a long way to go. When someone has a broken arm, everyone is sympathetic and caring, but when someone has a mental illness, it is usually a different reaction. Maybe if we talk more about what's going on inside our heads and simply educate others, there will be more understanding and compassion.

Remember...
Picture from Google Images

If you're having a day where your mental health isn't good, don't be hard on yourself! Here are a few things you could do to make yourself feel better.

Talk to someone 
Whether it be a family member, a friend or a teacher, talking about how you feel is so much better than keeping it bottled up.

Keep hydrated
Although this is a basic thing to do, being dehydrated can lead to irritation and other problems.

Write everything down
If you're anxious about a number of things, write them all down. Sometimes seeing your thoughts on paper can make you feel more balanced, especially if they are irrational thoughts.

Take a break
Sometimes our minds need a break to readjust and rest. Perhaps you could go for a walk or watch a movie.


Helplines / Websites

Mind: 0300 123 3393
No panic: 0844 967 4848
www.nopanic.org.uk
OCD action0845 390 6232
www.ocdaction.org.uk
Samaritans116 123
www.samaritans.org.uk
Beat0808 801 0677 (adults)
0808 801 0711 (under 18s)
www.b-eat.co.uk

There are plenty more places like the ones above on the NHS website - If anyone needs someone to talk to, I'm here :)

 - Charlotte x



Saturday, 12 May 2018

May Bank Holiday & Haul!




Saturday


I started off my weekend by life guarding wet-suit swimming 9-11am. This was the first lifeguarding session this year and I'm so thankful for the beautiful weather we had! I continued working until 5pm; in this time me and my colleague did some cleaning jobs and even went on a canoe for a few hours to scrub the bottom of the pool with a very long brush, something I've never done, which is harder than it looks! This meant we were in the sun for 2 hours - I couldn't complain!

After work I went to Pizza Hut followed by a long drive with my boyfriend to some fields, where we chilled, watched the sunset and saw some sheep.



Sunday


On Sunday I was life guarding again 9-11am with the same lovely weather (I even have a slight tan!). I worked until 3pm, and then I went to the gym because I haven't been in a while and I was feeling motivated, plus I was already there so I had no excuses! I spent around an hour in there; with hardly anyone in there, I felt more comfortable and did a lot. I felt so much better after going!

After this a small group of us went to Cosmos for our friends birthday meal. I'd never been there before, but I don't know how, because it is a-m-a-z-i-n-g! I absolutely love going out to eat and this had literally everything I could think of. I mainly had Indian food with a few other bits and pieces. For dessert I had marshmallows dipped in the chocolate fountain, icecream, and sweets. It was a shame I was full after dessert because I wanted to eat everything!



Monday


On Monday I went on a shopping trip with my boyfriend, mum and brother and decided to treat myself...

I saw this book in TK Maxx and immediately picked it up. It has 100 quotes and tips for confidence that are truly helpful and inspiring! :)
How to live a confident life - £3.99



















I also found these beautiful pens in TK Maxx. Anything creative I can't resist buying, and I knew these would be perfect for my scrapbooking.
£5.99

















I've wanted new nose accessories for ages - these were just what I was looking for! The flower is gorgeous and dazzling, so very suitable for summer, and the studs are just as pretty but slightly more subtle! Claire's is great for jewelry and I think it's quite underestimated for it.
Sterling Silver Nose Accessories - £8.00














I was on the hunt for new summer tops due to the sunny weather, and New Look have some bargains! This top was around £6 (I also got a baby blue top for around the same price that I completely forgot to take a picture of - oops!)






I recently ran out of heat protector spray, so I decided to go for a different brand this time. I've also had a few blonde highlights put recently because my hair went so much darker over winter, so this shampoo will hopefully keep my hair light. I found them both in my Body Care which is the best for products like this because they are slightly cheaper - they were both £2.39!












I got this lush room spray from Primark for £3; vanilla is my favorite scent so I bought it straight away!




















 My boyfriend and I then took a stroll  back to my house, where we ate ice cream and noodles, sunbathed, listened to music, and I did some scrapbooking... in my eyes, this is the perfect way to spend a day!





At 4pm I did a 2 hour driving lesson which I really enjoyed. I drove for the entire time and my confidence has increased so much because I'm now more comfortable driving among other people (despite an impatient man beeping his horn at me - chill, the lights had only just turned green!). I was shattered after this lesson because it required a lot of concentration.

After my driving lesson I had my favorite dinner - fajitas with salad ...


A small group of us then went round a friends house for a few drinks, which was a really nice way of ending the bank holiday weekend :)


How did you spend your bank holiday weekend?

-Charlotte x

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Silver DofE Practice Expedition

It has been well over a month since I last posted anything (although it seems like much longer!) and I have definitely missed blogging. Life has just been crazy, more so than usual, and I've been exceptionally busy. Hopefully I'll be back to posting weekly from now on!


From Thursday 26th to Saturday 28th of April I did my practice expedition for Silver DofE. Duke of Edinburgh is an award that people can take part in internationally, giving youngsters the opportunity to gain many skills for the future. I passed bronze in October 2016, so I had a vague idea of what I was in for and how to prepare. This post is going to be about my experience with silver so far and a few things I learnt from it.

The Experience 

For the real expedition in July, we will have to walk for a certain amount of hours for three days in total, however for the practice we only did 6 hours each day for two days to make the transition form bronze slightly easier. After a day of doing first aid and preparing at school, we arrived at the campsite Thursday at around 16:30, and thankfully the weather was bright which lightened the mood up.

Night 1

Firstly we set up our tents; us girls all put our tents in a circle. Setting up our sleeping bags, mats and settling in was the next part so we were ready for later. We cooked on our trangia at around 17:30. I had chicken flavored rice with sweetcorn, which was surprisingly good, with chocolate cakes for dessert and a hot chocolate - definitely the best part! 




As the sun set we sat at the top of a hill and played Cards Against Humanity whilst chatting. I then got my camera and head torch out and we had a little photo shoot which was so much fun. At around 10pm we decided to go to bed, which was quite early for me but I knew I needed a good nights rest for the next day. 

Of course, England can never stay sunny for too long, so the next day we woke up to rain. Putting away a tent and re-packing my bag in the rain was not fun in the slightest. For breakfast my partner and I had a chocolate brioche and a galaxy hot chocolate. When we left the campsite to do our walk I felt pretty miserable, but I think that was because I wasn't yet used to the weight of my bag, I'd had a rubbish nights sleep and it was raining. 

After a while I got used to the weight of my bag and only then did I start to slightly enjoy the walk. I was lucky to have a group where we all got along and could have a laugh, whilst working as a team. We got to our second campsite around 16:00 and set up our tents. At this point it was still raining on and off, so before it started raining again we cooked dinner. Me and my partner cooked pasta with a tomato sauce, which was my favorite dinner out of the two.




I then melted chocolate and dipped marshmallows in it which was lush!


Night 2 

After dinner I straight away washed my feet because they felt awful and dried out my boots. I replaced my wet clothes with dry ones and then headed off to bed around 9 pm because it was too cold to stay outside like the night before. We were all aching and shattered by this point, and there were a few tears.

I would love to say my second night in the tent was great and I had a peaceful sleep, but unfortunately, it was the opposite. I was freezing, cold, damp and very uncomfortable. I think I woke up every 10 minutes, wishing it was morning. As soon as I saw it was light outside, I got straight out of the tent and started getting ready - at 6:45 (very early for me!!).

For breakfast we again had a chocolate brioche and a hot chocolate. I was honestly dreading this day, because the previous day had been so tough and we were all hurting. Luckily it wasn't raining too much, so we stayed pretty dry.


We set off around 9:15 after cutting down our route. The only thing that got us all through the Saturday was the fact that we were going home later on that day, and we would be in our warm beds with endless supplies of food. We saw lots of super cute lambs and so many pretty flowers, which outweighed the painful climbing of steep hills.


When we saw the campsite at 3:45 I could've cried with happiness; we'd made it! We had a quick de-briefing session with our teachers, discussing what went well and what didn't.

In the mini bus on the way home I couldn't stop singing to the radio, much to my groups dismay, but I was just over the moon that we had done it (and probably sleep deprived!). As soon as I got in the house I had a shower, put warm clothes on, and ordered a Chinese. Doing DofE really made me realize how much I take a warm bed and great food for granted!

........

What did I enjoy?

- Being away from my phone for 3 days was something I didn't think I would enjoy, but I did. It was nice to be away from social media and the outside world for a few days.

-Being in the countryside and with nature - despite the sleeping in a tent, I enjoyed having fresh air and being in a new environment - it did wonders for my skin!!



-Not caring about what I looked like or what I do - I was able to be myself and sit in mud without a care in the world.

- It pushed me out of my comfort zone - quite literally!

- I spoke to people I wouldn't usually speak to and got to know everyone in my group

What would I have done differently?

-Taken sun cream - although it was windy and rainy, I either got wind burnt (I didn't even know this was a thing!) or sun burnt without realizing because when I returned home my face was very red and peeling by the next day :(

-Taken more savory foods and less sweets - by the last day I'd ran out of proper food and was left with just sweets, which made me feel a bit sick. Next time I'll take more crisps, fruit and cereal bars.

.....

Despite the weather and the aching I felt for the next few days, I would say that doing DofE is worth it, and if you ever get the chance to do it, go for it! Not only does it look good on your CV or university application, but it teaches you life skills that will help you in many ways in the future - plus, it's fun and you usually make new friends!


See you soon :)
-Charlotte x


Sunday, 18 March 2018

Tips On Saving Money

Since earning my own money I have definitely realised the value of it and the work behind it. Today I'm going to share 6 tips with you for saving money that have helped me.


Savings Account
This may seem like the obvious way to save money, but I didn't realise how helpful having a savings account would be until I actually got one. Every month I put a certain amount of money in there; watching it build up over time is so satisfying and motivates me to keep saving - plus, they're easy to set up.

Smash Pot
I bought a smash pot last October and still haven't smashed it open (can you believe it?!). A smash pot is basically a money box without a lid, so once you put money in there, you can't get it out until you smash it. I put £1 coins in there only, and I will smash it when it's almost full up. This is a great way of saving money because you can't get the money out or spend it until you actually need it for the thing you're saving up for. There is a wide range of smash pots available, so buying a pretty one will make you less tempted to smash it early because it looks so good!

Money Box
This is similar to the smash pot, but I use my money box for any spare change I have. Over time this change builds up and I will end up having £10 or so to spend. I usually save this money for times like Christmas when I know I will need a extra cash.

Budget
Planning ahead for the month has helped me a lot. If I'm going shopping, for example, and I know I will want to buy a lot of stuff when I'm there, I'll set myself a budget of something like £40 and won't allow myself to go over. Also, when I go out I've started to take cash instead of my card so I have a limit on how much I can spend that day.

Only buy necessary items
This is easy in theory, but hard in practise for me and I'm sure many of you can relate. Recently I've made a list of things I'm not allowed to buy until I've used my remaining ones up (sprays, notebooks, moisturisers, etc) and as a general rule I'm not going to buy a new item unless I desperately need it.

UniDays and Loyalty Cards 
If you're a student like me, UniDays is an app I would recommend. It gives you discounts in a variety of shops which is very helpful for saving money. Loyalty cards are helpful, because once your points add up you can buy things with them. 

When saving up for something, just keep in mind what the outcome will be and how all the sacrifices will be worth it.
Have you got any other tips?

- Charlotte x

Sunday, 11 March 2018

My Thoughts On 'The Comforter' From LUSH

Recently I've decided to have baths more frequently, for 2 reasons - 1. because they great for relaxing and unwinding after a long day, and 2. because I have an entire drawer full of bath products that need using up!


Of course, a bath isn't a bath without a LUSH product, right? I recently took a trip to Oxford and dived straight into LUSH, because unfortunately my town doesn't have one, and bought a few products... one of which being The Comforter, which I have wanted to try for ages after hearing so many people rave about it.

There is honestly nothing bad I can say about this product - it's just as fabulous as I knew it would be!
I used the entire bar in one bath because I didn't know you could use it for multiple baths, but that just meant an insane amount of bubbles, which I am not complaining about. 


As soon as I opened the packaging I could smell the blackcurrant fragrance; LUSH definitely know how to make their products smell gorgeous. It turned my bath a stunning shade of pink (my favourite colour - bonus!) and gave me lots of bubbles, forming a blanket over my body. It left my skin feeling extremely soft.

I would 100% recommend this bubble bar - I can't fault it, and £4.95 is a reasonable price considering you can use it more than once.

Have you tried this product?
-Charlotte x

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Monthly Goals

I always make new years resolutions, but never actually stick to them no matter how hard I try, so this year I thought of a new way for me to reach them. I wanted to share this idea with you guys because it has helped me, so hopefully it will help someone else too!


I have a small notebook that I can take anywhere with me that has basically has all the information I need - I call it my organiser. It has important dates, things I need to buy, etc. In this book I have a page for my monthly goals.
I draw the month's calendar at the very beginning of each month and grab some highlighters, my goals in mind.

My main three goals for this year in terms of my physical health were:

1. Drink more water
2. Eat less chocolate
3. Go to the gym more

I know they're the typical goals everyone sets for themselves, but last year I hardly went to the gym, ate way too much chocolate and drank mainly fizzy drinks. This year I wanted to change this.



At the bottom of the month's calendar I will colour code each goal.

1. More water = purple
2 = no chocolate = yellow
3. gym = pink

(I also did the days I work as orange, just to see how much I worked over the course of a month)

When I complete one of these goals, for example if I go a whole day without eating any chocolate or a whole day drinking water only, I will highlight it in the goals colour. Simple, right? My aim for each month is to make it as colourful as possible, which motivates me further. As you can see above, at the start of the month the page looks dull and boring.

Each month I increase the number of days I want to be highlighted with each goal. For example:

February:
1. Water only = 15 days
2. No chocolate = 10 days
3. gym = 5 days

I've started off with a realistic number of days, because of course I won't completely cut out chocolate or go to the gym 4 times a week overnight. Each month I will increase the number of days slightly, so hopefully by the end of the year I can go everyday drinking just water and eating a lot healthier. At the end of each month I will tick the goal off if I managed to reach the amount of days, so I have something to work towards each month.

You can do this with any goal, and it doesn't just have to be for physical health. Having everything logged and written down motivates me further, plus I love everything to be colourful in my life so adding colours helps a lot!

-Charlotte x
 

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