Six Badass Babes You Need Advice From | What I’m Reading Wednesday

For a period of time all I read were self – help books. I can’t remember what one got me started, but I was hooked within no time. I really enjoy getting advice from others and a particular favourite mentor is a woman who is slightly older than me.

Books can be an amazing way to get advice and find inspiration to change things up. I often turn to reading when I need some answers or I’m simply looking for some reassurance. Here are six awesome books by some badass women that will change your life, for sure:

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Sarah Millican is my all time favourite comedian and I couldn’t wait to pick up her book. It’s a memoir about her childhood and her career so far, but interspersed with advice and life lessons. It’s a lovely, cosy, reassuring read!

The best lesson: There is nothing wrong with the hobbies, ideas and routines I have. Just because I do things differently doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Heavily inspired my post about accepting my boring personality.

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I adore Laura Jane Williams and all the things she posts on Instagram. I think she is a wonderfully intelligent, witty and approachable writer and this book came to me at the right time in my life. It’s a self – help book about slowing things down and deals with Laura’s recovery from a burn out.

The best lesson: Stripping things back to basics is the best way to recover. Inspired by the behaviours of children and how they don’t overthink things, being kind and excited about as much as you can (including yourself) is a better way to live life.

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I’ve already talked about this book multiple times on this blog, and it is probably one of my most influential reads ever. This was my first venture into feminism and Caitlin is such a funny and accessible author it was an absolute joy to learn with her.

The best lesson: There is nothing wrong with you or the way your body is. This whole book is an exploration into the ‘secrets’ women kept, such as periods and masturbation, and hearing other people talk and joke about these things makes you feel so safe and accepted.

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This is one of the most recent reads on this list and it is massively helping me in my recovery from mental health issues. Brene talks a lot about vulnerability and shame and how to simply accept whatever emotions you are feeling, in order to be able to deal with them more effectively.

The best lesson: That in order to truly love yourself you must accept all parts of you. Even those things that you may have been ashamed about in the past, the various different versions of you – all of it adds up to make who you are today and you should be proud.

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If you don’t already follow Megan (aka bodyposipanda) on Instagram then I don’t really know what you’re doing with yourself. Megan is an absolute goddess and holds all the wisdom to accepting and loving your body, regardless of shape, size and even health.

The best lesson: Your body is not, and has never been the issue. By looking into the way this society has always treat bodies that are not slim, we can be finally start make changes for a better future. Education is empowering and will result in self love.

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I have explored spirituality a lot this year and it is certainly something that has helped me in dark moments. This book is a really easy read and Rebecca has such a comforting tone throughout. It’s a beginners guide to intuition and soul work and it is guaranteed to make you see things differently.

The best lesson: There is great power in simplicity. The key to knowing yourself and unlocking your power is simply listening and being in tune with yourself and the world around you.


Currently Reading

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Last night I started reading The Selection by Kiera Cass, which is a YA trilogy that I’ve heard so much about online. I picked up the first book a long time ago for just over a quid at a charity shop and then, while out pottering last weekend, managed to get the rest of the series for very cheap.

I’m proper in the mood for some cheesy, classic YA and this one so far is giving me exactly what I want! Let’s hope I continue to enjoy it!


What are you currently reading?

Speak soon,

Rachael.

*affiliate links used

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Recovery and My Life Now | How Quitting My Job Saved My Mental Health #2

This is the second part of this mini-series. To see part one, the backstory, click here.

As I am writing this I am still unemployed. I have been out of work now for just over a month and this time has certainly had it’s ups and its downs.

I wasn’t sure if I’d even get through my final week at work, after crying a lot (often while working) and generally just feeling anxious all the time. But I did it and the relief that flooded me as I walked out of that building for the last time was unbelievable!

So what have I been doing with all this time off?

I’ve been back and forth with various doctors for a while over the last few months of working. I finally managed to find a doctor who would listen to me and who I felt like I could trust.

I finally found a doctor I could trust

Now I am in no way disregarding the work our health service does, but it can often feel like – especially in cases of mental health – that no one has time for you. If you’re in that situation now where you’re seeking medical help, please do not give up. You are allowed to change doctors as often as you need and I promise the right one will be out there for you.

Anyway, as well as doctors appointments I also starting seeing a mental health consultant through an NHS system. I did this mainly to please my GP to be totally honest with you, but I suppose getting as much help as possible was the right thing to do.

As well as flitting between various appointments I also starting spend a lot of time on myself. Because I no longer had any commitments, I spent my days sleeping as often as possible (something that I didn’t even realise I needed) and watching a lot of daytime TV!

But as you can imagine, this lifestyle wasn’t really working for me. It was fun for the first week or so, where I could kid myself I was just on holiday. Then I found myself still feeling low and unsettled.

Like with everything, I had to start small

As I said in my last post, I am incredibly lucky with the people I have in my life. They weren’t going to let me fade away on my own! I started saying yes to seeing my closest friends; spent a week away with my grandparents and stayed at my partner’s house as often as I could. It took some time for me to feel confident with social situations again but I started small by being with only those I am closest too (ie. spending time with immediate family) and worked my way up from there.

GETTING BACK INTO THE HABIT

One of the biggest issues I still faced was my lack of motivation or enthusiasm for the things I had loved before – in particular reading and writing. Over the course of my low spell I found that I couldn’t concentrate on anything for long periods of time or I simply just didn’t care about doing anything other than mindlessly starting at the TV screen.

With all my time off, being around wonderful friendly faces and getting medical help (which included medication) I slowly but surely started to push myself to do things again. In terms of writing, I started scribbling in my journal again.

Like with everything, I had to start small.

Writing in a journal is something I have done on and off for as long as I can remember, but it had been months before I’d even picked up a pen. I thought that in order to get back into my love for writing I needed to take the pressure off myself. The scribbles and musings I wrote down in a private notebook were a way for me to be both creative and to get some things off my chest.

This habit of writing slowly lead to me posting a blog post and then another until I got to now, where I’m really trying to keep a routine.

THE LESSONS

Now I am aware that I am kind of brushing over all of this. It may seem like I recovered quickly and everything is hunky-dory again now, but there is simply no way I can express everything that has come together to get me onto the road of recovery.

This time away from work has allowed me to really, seriously focus on self – care and for the first time in my life I am taking care of myself properly. I am learning everyday what my triggers are, what signs show I’m having a bad day and how to deal with them in a safe way.

I thought I’d sum up the lessons I have learnt over all of this time to help anyone out there who might need it. Here are the three main things I learnt from falling and recovering with mental health:

  • You have so much support around you and you don’t even know it.

Prior to my issues this year, I thought I could handle everything on my own. I didn’t like opening up to people and ‘burdening’ them with my issues. This year has forced me to be honest and trust those around me and I am so overwhelmed by the kindness.

It can be so scary admitting and sharing that you are not okay, but trust me (and I meant it, trust me) those you hold dear only want what is best for you and everyone will come together to ensure that you get back to yourself again. There is always someone out there who will help (links will be left below if you’re struggling).

  • Everyone goes through it at some point

What made sharing my issues easier was the fact that everyone I spoke to understood. They too had been through similar dark patches, or knew someone who had. Doctors reminded me at every appointment that I wasn’t the only patient that had that was going through similar things – and I certainly wouldn’t be that last.

I know it’s a common thing to read on posts like this: you’re not alone. But you really aren’t! Everyone has a mental health, just as they have a physical, and in the same way anyone can get a cold, anyone can suffer from issues within their brain. The more we open up and get honest about our experiences, the less surprising this fact will be.

  • You need to trust yourself

You will get through any dark patch that comes to you, I promise. One of the most vital things I have learnt over this period is the fact that the road to recovery starts within.

Now not to sound to hippyish or anything, but I do think if I’d listened to myself sooner and paid attention to the warning signs I mightn’t have got sucked in so deep. Really take the time and have the patience to listen to your mind, body and soul. The first step to getting better is figuring out what it is you need. Only you have the answers to that, so how will you find them if you don’t look?

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My road to recovery so far has been a difficult and long one, and I know I still have a lot of work to do. But I am so grateful, after everything, that I now understand myself and my mind a bit better.

I want to continue doing things that make me feel good and continue to take actual care of myself.

I wish you all the best, reader.

Speak soon,

Rachael.


Helplines

Mind Mental Healthy Charity

NHS Local Services

Call Samaritans:

116 123 (UK)

116 123 (ROI)

How Quitting My Job Saved My Mental Health #1| The Back Story

I’ve been trying to write this post for weeks now. It was something I thought about even before I handed my notice in, but the words have just failed me.

As I explained in one of my latest posts (read here) I recently quit my part – time, customer service job due to mental health issues. This has been the first time in my whole twenty-two years of life where my mental health has effected me so much.

I mentioned in that post that I have never previous struggled with mental health – which of course was a lie. Everyone deals with their mental health constantly, but I had never really paid major attention to it. I was trying to deal with some issues like stress and nerves while at university, but – in the same manner as I’d dealt with everything else for as long as I can remember – I managed to just push it all aside to focus on what I needed to get through at the time.

This was probably the worst thing I could have done to myself.

When I finally left university I found myself feeling very underwhelmed with what my life became. I talked about it a little on this blog (here) and with my family occasionally but, once again, didn’t really think what was happening in my brain was anything I should worry about too much.

I thought it was just a form of relief; issues like stress, crying for no reason and being irritable were just the by-products of getting through my degree, and now I could finally relax they were coming out.

“Pushing it all aside … was probably the worst thing I could have done”

Two months after my graduation I finally got to leave the fast-food job I’d held throughout my A-Levels and degree. And although I wasn’t leaving to start a new career or move up in any kind of way, I felt like this was a small step towards progress.

Things started well. This new role offered me enough time to work on my personal writing and projects, as well as allowing me to earn more money than I had before.

But then as time progressed, so did the issues within my mental health. I found myself being low all of the time and unable to enjoy things the way I used to. As you may know, I’ve always been a massive reader but I couldn’t get lost in stories the way I used to anymore. I was far to preoccupied with feeling low, unsettled and anxious.

I’ve also talked about being an introvert on this blog, so it goes without saying that I haven’t always been a social person. But then, for standards that were low even for me, I found myself avoiding talking to or seeing friends; feeling scared whenever the option to go out came up. I just wanted to be left alone more than ever and to be totally honest with you, it was scary.

I just want to take a moment now to say that I am so unbelievably lucky to have such a wonderful groups of friends and family. Even, in the end, the majority of my work colleagues were super supportive too. Mental health issues like low mood, depression and anxiety can make you feel so alone. It makes you believe that no one cares about you, but let me tell you know that it is so wrong. And I’m a little bit embarrassed that it’s took something so low to happen for me to realise how lucky I am to have such amazing, kind and supportive people around me but I guess that’s how it works. 

Anyway, I’m sure you get the picture. I was spiralling into what my doctor now describes as a “really bad case of low mood/depression” and I just couldn’t see a way out. My family, who are literally the most supportive people ever, were becoming increasingly worried about me and urged me to see a doctor.

“I was spiralling”

For some reason, I felt ashamed going to see my GP. I didn’t want to have to seek help from anyone – I thought I could do it all on my own. Now I see how ridiculous this mentality was and, if I’d gotten help sooner I might now have been as low as I was. I definitely want to write more about shame and mental health, but for now just let me assure you that you have nothing to be ashamed about and please get the help you need.

It was a long journey, to be totally honest and there were times where I thought it was all pointless. But my family kept persisting and eventually I went on the sick and then made the decision to leave my job.

I just knew I wouldn’t get any better there.

Once again, I want to make a little disclaimer that I know I am so privileged and lucky to be able to walk away from a job that was my only source of income for a while. Like I said I have a very supportive family and I am so grateful for this time to be able to heal. 


This post is turning out to be a lot longer than I anticipated, so I’m going to turn it into a series. Please come back next Monday at 4pm to see what actually happened when I left my job and how I’m taking care of myself now.

If you are struggling with your mental health right now, let me tell you that you are not alone and there are so many people who want to help. If you want to chat to me feel free to drop me a message, tweet me or dm me on Instagram.

For professional help:

Mind Mental Healthy Charity

NHS Local Services

Call Samaritans:

116 123 (UK)

116 123 (ROI)


Best wishes. Stay kind.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

What I’m Reading Wednesday | A THRILLING Beginning

Hello and welcome to a new series that I’m attempting to produce for this little blog! As you might have guessed, if you’ve been here before or follow me on Instagram, I love books. But as much as I love them I can’t find a decent way to bring them to this site.

I’m going to try every fortnight to talk to you about the books I’m currently reading; what I’ve been buying and basically anything bookish that comes to mind. This week, as a starter I’m going to talk about four of my most recent reads because, for once, they’re all linked in genre.

THE BOOKS*

I read this one a couple of weeks back after picking it up in a ‘three for a fiver’ deal at a bargain bookshop. It’s one of the first crime books I’ve read in a long time! It covers the story of a missing little girl and deals with family secrets, which is one of my favourite themes in books. I found it an engaging read and the twist, although a little predictable, was interesting.

Another bargain buy, but unfortunately I enjoyed this one a little bit less. Along the same kind of theme theme, this book covers some family secrets (I told you I love that!) and involved a bit of kidnapping too. I was first attracted to this book because my edition was a nice, floppy paperback which excited me no end! The writing was very accessible but I found too many tropes to be fully engaged. I did get into it by the end, however, and found myself rooting for the fairly two-dimensional characters nonetheless.

This book has been sitting on my shelf for a long time! I was so excited to get it after being followed around by it’s Instagram advert – oh the powers of social media! – and to be totally honest it was the title that captivated me. If you’ve ever read any one of my book posts before then you’ll know I love a bit of YA – especially when it’s done well. Although this book did have a lot of cliches to it, I found myself getting hooked into the mystery and was desperate to know who had killed Simon.

  • The Virus : Sarah Langan (4.5/5)

I’ve talked about this book a little on my Instagram, but boy did I just devour it! I haven’t read something like this – creepy and mysterious – since I was a young teen and I didn’t realise how much I missed it. The story takes place in a small town where a young boy goes missing in the woods. When he returns, he brings with him a strange virus. I don’t really know why I loved this book so much, but I found myself delaying finishing it because I just didn’t want it to end! For fans of Stephen King and the like, it’s perfect for this grey, autumn season.

THRILLER, CRIME AND DRAMA – OH MY!

I don’t know if it’s something to do with the changing seasons or the fact we’re now officially in the ‘spooky’ month, but thrillers have been my favourite thing to read at the moment.

This genre is something I used to read a lot when I was a teenager, but I haven’t found anything that’s tickled my fancy until now. My biggest bug bear with this genre is the fact all the books seem to be the same. They’re often written in the same style and follow the same patterns, but luckily I’ve found a few exceptions to get me back into the swing of things.

Now I’d love to know what you’re favourite crime/thriller books are? I have a couple of recommendations already but I’d love any excuse to find more books.

What’s your favourite genre to read?

CURRENTLY READING…

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As I’m writing this post, I have just started reading The Bees by Laline Paull. This is another charity shop find and I first heard about it from a lady called Becky M on YouTube. I’m not that far into it yet, but it covers the story of a bee in her hive…

I thought that sounded pretty unique for a novel and I’m sure it’s going to cover a lot more than what I’m expecting!

What are you currently reading? 


I’d like to try continue this series, covering all kinds of bookish topics every fortnight. I adore books and have finally found my mojo again! I can’t wait to keep this conversation going.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

*affiliate links used

Who’s To Say You’re Boring? | A Talk About Habits, Self – Esteem and the Wonders of Social Media

I have always considered myself to be boring. For the majority of my life, I have been a (fairly) quiet, studious person who likes my own company. I enjoy reading, as you know, and staying indoors – like any stereotypical introvert would be proud to share.

As I explained in a recent post, where I come from that’s not really the stereotypical habits for someone my age. In a city like mine it’s expected that there’ll be lots of social events, drinking and generally just being pretty adventurous.

There’s been so many times that I’ve wished I was that person and on many occasions I’ve tried so hard to be her. I went through a period in my late teens of experimenting with who I was, what I liked and the friends I held close. And although I’m grateful for this time, because it’s taught me some valuable lessons, when I look back now I just see me desperately trying to be something I’m not.

Now there’s totally no shame if being a party person is your thing – you do you and all that – but today I wanted to talk about the other side of us all, the side that you’ve never really seen publicly until now.

The side that you too have maybe been trying to push aside.

BORING HABITS

boring

adjective

‘not interesting; tedious’

As I said, when I was growing up I thought I was the most boring person in the entire world. I had a close-knit but not large group of friends and, unlike seemingly everyone else, we didn’t go out together all the time. I’ve always spent a lot of time with my family, at home and I thought that was so tragic.

Flash forward to university where I started meeting new people and we swapped stories about growing up. ‘Never Have I Ever’ was a game I dreaded because I never had anything to say – I hadn’t done anything that would appear scandalous or make a good story. 

I started to resent myself and my past decisions because I wasn’t like everyone else. I thought I was boring.

LIFE IS JUST A CLASSROOM

A major issue for me is the fact I still think I’m in secondary school sometimes. I expect people to treat me the same way I was treated back then.

At school I was a geek, a nerd, a teachers’ pet – call it what you want I was one of those kids. And I always have been; it’s just my nature. If you’ve ever seen any teenage movie then you know these kids are the boring ones. The only time they become interesting is if they have a makeover and get noticed by the popular kids.

But being a geek isn’t a bad thing. In fact, as I get older I’m starting to see it as a good thing! I’m starting to see that it’s not as rare as I thought and everyone is a little bit geeky in adulthood. It’s what makes us interesting.

Being excited about something that means a lot to you should never be a shameful experience. If you love science-fiction, for example, then you should love it wholeheartedly. Let yourself be excited about that new book, movie, convention or whatever it is. There is nothing wrong with that! Let’s face it, in this current climate we need a bit of excitement and joy.

THE WONDERS OF SOCIAL MEDIA / THE CLEANING REVOLUTION

There’s a particular influencer going around at the moment who is getting everyone excited about cleaning. You know exactly who I’m talking about, and if you don’t have a cheeky Google – I’ll bet you’ll get sucked in too.

But yeah, cleaning is now a popular topic and people are genuinely getting excited by detergents, powders and scrubbers the same way, a few months ago, they’d be getting excited about a new makeup palette or a celebrity baby. And it makes my heart so happy!

Who knew, eh?

Cleaning seems like such a basic, boring thing. It’s such an old stereotype and yet here we are in 2018 getting excited about it. The same can go for books too. Have you ever seen  booktube? There’s a whole online community dedicated to reading, finding new stories, authors and generally just being excited about words – and it’s amazing!

All these quiet hobbies are taking up space online and connecting people. After years of only ever seeing the highlights of others lives, like when they’re going out for cocktails in their best dress or when they’re at some amazing event, we’re now getting to see the small everyday tasks that we all participate in.

I think that’s the absolute best thing that could ever come from social media – the communities. Literally no matter what makes you happy, there’s an online place for you! Whatever quirky, geeky, funny little hobby you adore there’s thousands of people online loving the same thing and encouraging you to join in.

So please don’t push away that part of yourself. It’s these little things that make us who we are and now we’re finally getting to a time where everyone can be involved.

From one nerd to another, keep doing you.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

A Geordie Girl’s Take On Alcohol | A Story About Love and Hate

It seems pretty funny to me that I’m writing this post while hungover. But what could possibly be a better time to overthink my relationship with alcohol then now, eh?

Living in the North East of England, and specially in Newcastle Upon Tyne, alcohol has always been around me.  My city, in case you don’t know, is famous (or should I say infamous) for it’s drinking culture. There’s even been a very successful show based on just that, Geordie Shore, where it seems that the only goal of each episode is for the characters to get as ‘mortal’ as possible and cause a lot of drama.

“We’re here for a good time!”

It’s called reality television for a reason. Drink is a massive part of our lives in this city. And I don’t mind that – I love my city, in all it’s glory. It’s something I’m used to now.

As any Northerner will tell you, the stereotypes surrounding drink are something we’re strangely proud of. We like being known for drinking and partying – we’re just here for a good time!

At least, that’s always how it starts isn’t it?

GETTING PERSONAL

Even though drink has always been around me, I didn’t drink myself until I was eighteen and at university. And boy did I make up for lost time with that one!

In the UK the legal age to purchase and drink alcohol is eighteen, which means that people start way younger than that. Especially where I’m from.

My parents never hid or banned drink from me when growing up and because of this freedom around alcohol,  I never thought it necessary to drink until I was legal.  To be honest I wasn’t too bothered about the whole thing then because it had been so normalised for me.

Then I went to university. And the drinking culture at university is insane. Now I’m not there anymore I can finally look at it and feel a bit shocked with how rife it is. It makes sense though  –  this is the first bit of freedom for most young adults and that freedom extends to what they consume. Of course alcohol is going to be a big deal!

And that’s how it was for me. Freshers Week is your first week of university and is basically a full week of parties and getting drunk. I loved it! Every year I threw myself into the festivities and, because this was really the first time I had drunk to excess, I was still excited by it all.

I didn’t really think seriously about alcohol until I was in my third and final year of university. This is, of course, a particularly stressful time and it’s something you’re warned about from day one. So it’s pretty reasonable to imagine that this was when I first started suffering with my mental health too.

“Going out and getting drunk can be a very dull cycle”

I was stressed out all of the time; I felt very lost and I was just generally unhappy a lot that last year. Scarily, I started turning to drink to pick me up.

It was normal for us to have regular nights out all throughout uni, but things had slowed down a little in our third year due to the work load and, to be honest, we were getting a little bored of it all by then anyway.

Going out and getting drunk can be a very dull cycle and my flatmates were getting sick of it. But I still kind of liked it then. I found myself at my ‘happiest’ when I was playing stupid drinking games and chugging cheap vodka.

So I started drinking as often as I could. And most of the time I was alone while doing so.

That’s the scariest bit I think. Alcohol has always been a social tool for me and yet there I was drinking it on my own just to feel happy.

I am proud to say that this spell didn’t last long; I did manage to pull myself away from drinking as a relief.

But that doesn’t mean that all my issues with alcohol have gone with it.

BECOMING BETTER

To be totally honest, I do like the feeling of being drunk. The early bits at least, when you’re so happy and excited and you just want to be friends with everyone. But I know better than most that it never stays that way for long.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve started experiencing blacking out and it’s such a terrifying thing. I really hate waking up in the morning not knowing where I’ve been, who I’ve been with or how I got home.

I also really, really hate hangovers. I can’t cope with the sickness, the shakes and the headache and there’s been more times than not that the morning after has ruined the night before for me.

So why do I still drink?

If there’s so much I hate about it, surely I should just give it up? It’s something I’ve considered a lot. Especially when hungover! This whole blog is basically a documentation of my journey of trying to better myself. Giving up alcohol would be a sure-fire way to put my physical and mental well being first.

But just when I think I’m being reasonable, a million excuses come to mind. I’m frightened that without drink I’ll be boring; I’ll have less friends and certainly less of a social life.

“I’m frightened that without drink I’ll be boring”

In a world that constantly encourages us to drink and be merry; where alcohol plays a massive part in every kind of adult occasion, it’s so hard to try to change your mentality and attitude to it.

But I’m trying.


And that’s where I stand today. I don’t have any answers for this one and it’s certainly going to be something I try to work on for a long time yet but you can bet I’ll be documenting it here.

What’s your relationship like with alcohol? Are you a big drinker or teetotal?

Whatever you do, stay safe and respectful.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

My Social Media Is A Lie and I’m Proud of It

This title is a little dramatic, but this is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. It’s recently come to a head with my sudden burst of love and motivation for Instagram (follow me here).

Everything I post on social media is a lie – of sorts.

Scrolling through my feed, these bright and heavily contrasted images of my days seem to portray a ‘perfect’ life. Alright, maybe not perfect but at least a constant happy and fulfilled one.

And that’s just not the case.

I like to think that I am a pretty transparent person; I’m very honest and try to be as open as possible with those around me. Yet I’ve still managed to curate these images to make it seem like I’ve got my life together and I’m having a great time.

Which is of course true at the time of capture, but I want to take this time now to say that it definitely is not me all of the time. Sometimes it’s not even most of the time. Some of those images may only capture the two seconds of the day where I was happy, or even if I was unhappy I still managed to get a nice picture of the sky or the coffee I was drinking. It doesn’t show the full picture.

Stop comparing your behind-the-scenes with everyone’s highlight reel

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Even though I don’t have many followers and I’m certainly not in a position to influence people, I still know that what I put out there could effect someone – even if that someone is myself.

Sometimes on bad days, I’ll scroll through my own feed and wonder why I’m not happy like I was four months ago, or why I haven’t gone out since last September. It’s pretty self-absorbed I know but hey, that’s just what my brain does sometimes.

I just wanted to put a little note out there to say that my social media does in no way reflect the way I am everyday. I don’t overly edit my own pictures or try to make myself something I’m not, but I do only show the very best bits and that can give off the impression that my life is somewhat ‘perfect’.

It’s aspirational. The person I am on my Instagram feed is who I’d like to be most of the time. The girl who’s happy with her face, her outfit; who’s seeing her friends often and being down the beach on a regular basis. But I also know that it’s just not possible to be that upbeat all the time, and it’s those low or boring moments that make everything else so special and worth sharing!

I love Instagram. I love taking photos and documenting my life through them; I like to cement my memories by cropping, altering and applying an C1 filter to them. And I don’t think that’s the worst hobby to have.

I just think a little bit of honesty is important now and again to remind myself and anyone else who might be reading that we’re doing fine, even if our lives don’t match up to what’s on our social media feeds.

Come see what I’m up to on a good day over on my Instagram here.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Am I A Failure? | A Quarter-Life Crisis / Mental Health Chat

It’s been such a long time since I’ve even thought about writing, let alone had any kind of motivation to open this site up again, that I’m not quite sure what to do now.

Actually, I tell a lie. I’ve thought about writing every single day, but berated myself for not being able to and not doing ‘enough’. And that’s sort of what I wanted to talk about today. This will in no way be my most eloquent post but I have some things I finally want to get off my chest.

Life has been a bit mad for me these past few months – a statement I’ve definitely said many times on this blog! But this time I mean it, officially. To cut a very long story short, I have been struggling with my mental health so much that I am no longer working in my part-time customer service job I’ve had since I finished university over a year ago.

That’s kind of all I want to say on that at the moment, but just know that it wasn’t a decision I took lightly and is something that has caused great anxiety and stress for me over these past few weeks.

However, now everything is official and I am free from something that became so negative to me, I am finally starting to feel hopeful once more. It’s only a tiny glimmer, like a penny at the bottom of the wishing well shining brightly in the right light, but it’s more than I’ve had in a long time.

Along with that hope though is my familiar companions; fear and worry. Now I don’t have a job to go to everyday I don’t have anything to shut them up with. Although the job seemed to only add to my issues, at least feeling like I was making some kind of progress by earning money kept these thoughts at bay every once in a while.

Now, for the first time in my life, I have no plan, no direction and no ‘next step’. I don’t even have any ideas for what I want to do. And this is so difficult because I’ve always been that kid. You know the one, that kid that’s always known what they’re going to do in life. I knew what I’d study at university since the age of nine!

Yet now I have no clue and it’s terrifying. I worked so hard for so long to get good grades and my degree and now I feel like I’ve stopped. I have no where to go anymore and it’s terrifying.

But I also know that I’m not the only one who feels like this, despite what I see on Instagram or Twitter. Not everyone is productive and successful all the time. I think it’s perfectly normal to have lulls and lows in life but when it’s happening to you, you feel so alone.

Take it from me, the girl who has always had a plan and had no previous issues with mental health, we all feel like this sometimes. We all struggle sometimes and that’s nothing to be ashamed about, regardless of what that voice in your head says.

There’s been so many stories of young people in the public eye struggling with mental health issues recently and I think it’s time we all clue up. Mental health isn’t something that only a few people have to deal with. We all have a mental health that needs to be taken care of and some times we need more help with that.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this now, but I just wanted to put some thoughts out there and get myself writing again. Hopefully hearing my story might help someone feel less alone. I may feel like a failure, I may feel like a mess but that doesn’t mean I am and that doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with that.

There’s nothing wrong with what you’re experiencing either.

Take care.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

The Brands I’m Still Using | Cruelty Free Makeup

A good few months ago now I did a huge cull into my makeup collection and checked up on all the brands I currently use. In a bid to become better, I promised myself that I would only use cruelty free brands. I documented the whole thing here (see part 2).

As you can imagine, things haven’t gone quite as smoothly as I hoped in those initial posts. I don’t think I have intentionally bought another product that isn’t cruelty free since but the whole game is such a minefield that it’s only expected for their to be slip ups.

My main issue, however, has been how hard I was on myself when writing those posts. Some of my favourite brands that I had believed to be cruelty free were being banished because one website said they were’t sure on their status.

(I’m not bashing the site I used by any means. It is a wonderful source. I’m just saying I was able to do more research after)

Basically, since I discovered that I could not longer use some of my favourite brands or products I did a bit more research and discovered some happier news. Following this extra research, which is a combination of searches and listening to my favourite influencers’ opinions, I have concluded that I can still use:

  • Revolution (Superdrug)

IMG_2379.jpg

This brand is so wonderfully affordable and I really like how they’re trying to make quality makeup accessible to everyone. Have been a huge fan of this brand since the beginning, and all of their products are now labelled cruelty free.

RevolutionxSoph Highligher Palette

RevolutionxSoph Extra Spice Eyeshadow Palette

Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer

  • MUA (Superdrug)

This is basically in the same kind of boat as Revolution, but I’m sticking with MUA more for the price rather than the quality. It’s still great and I get a lot of basics from there but I think Revolution is slightly better. None the less I love this brand and once again all products are now labelled as CF.

– Lip Liner in Caramel Nougat

  • Fenty Beauty 

Although I wasn’t sure what to do with this brand in my previous posts, I have come to the conclusion that it is cruelty free. Plus what the brand stands for and the inclusion it offers is a good enough reason to continue supporting it too.

Killawatt Highlighter in Metal Moon

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  • Glossier 

I basically just really like the products of this brand. I think, similar to Fenty, they are trying to make beauty more inclusive and I really like the whole idea of keeping things simple to highlight everyone’s natural beauty.

The Balm.com 

Priming Moisturiser 

AN UPDATE

Primark Beauty is now cruelty free too! They are Leaping Bunny approved and this happened at the beginning of the month. Read about it here.

– Highlight in Mink Pink (link to Instagram)


So there we have it, a little update on my fairly popular series looking into the wild world of cruelty free beauty.

As I explained in my previous posts, becoming vegetarian or vegan just isn’t something I am interested in or would be able to do, but I’m going to do my bit however I can.

What’s your favourite cruelty free brands?

Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

Never Been Heartbroken…? | Love + Life Lessons

What a statement, eh?! Imagine never feeling heartbroken. I don’t think there’s a person alive right now who hasn’t felt this feeling at least once.

My first true heartbreak was probably when the pop-sensation band Steps split up in the early noughties, and this pain continued as every band I loved through my childhood took the same fate.

(Little did I know, years later that most of them would reunite in some way. Doesn’t that feel like a brilliant metaphor for all heartbreaks? Everything that is meant to be, will come back again)

But if you’ve ever watched a movie, read a book, binged a TV show or even just listened to those around you, you might be under the impression that heartbreak can only be experienced by those in love. Like romantic love. Like, like like, you know?

Which is so far from reality! I feel like most of the heartbreak we experience comes from everything else outside of a romantic relationship – yet that’s the only thing we see.

Heartbreak comes in so many different forms and I think the more we talk about it, the easier it’ll be to get through it.

UNROMANTIC PAIN

Some examples of the way I personally have experienced heartbreak, that are not involving a romantic relationship:

(truth corner: I am currently still in my first relationship, and so far so good. I am hoping that I will not have to experience this kind of heartbreak anytime soon!) 

  • Family grief

Not to get too deep, but my family has experienced a lot of loss through my lifetime. Loss can sometimes not even be death, but rather illness or something extreme that changes a person you love so that they will never be the same.

And let’s not even get into the loss of pets!

  • Rejection from work/school

This is my main source of heartbreak at the minute. Getting rejected from a dream job, when you’ve worked so hard and put every bit of effort in is the worst feeling ever. And I’ve faced that a canny bit recently – the joys of post-uni life!

  • Friendship breakups

To be honest, I think a friendship breakup must be as painful as a romantic breakup. When you’re so used to seeing someone every day for however many years, it’s really hard to just walk away. I’m quite a sentimental person and find it hard to just let go of shit even when I know that it’ll be so beneficial in the long run (see my post on toxic friendships here for more).

  • Getting the wrong idea

This one is just a generic one, but sometimes just being in the wrong or getting caught up in the wrong idea is heartbreaking too. When you genuinely thought you were going to get something (it could be a job, a friend, a partner or even a trivial material thing) it can be so awful to find out you’ve been wrong. Especially in this world where we’re told we can get everything we want if we work hard enough.

BUT WHY?

Heartbreak happens when we have passion and expectations. Whether that’s passion for someone else or passion for a project; expectations for ourselves or of others, when there’s a lot of big emotions involved we’re probably going to get hurt.

One of the most dangerous reactions to heartbreak though is shutting yourself down. If I don’t feel it, then I can’t get hurt right? WRONG.

Being vulnerable, feeling things deeply and honestly is the way you’re supposed to be. Sure you might get hurt but you only get hurt if you cared in the first place and that’s a wonderful thing to experience.

I think that anything bad that may happen, including heartbreak, brings it’s own lessons that you needed (but might not have wanted) to face. And that overall is a wonderful thing, and what we’re all about.

HOW TO DEAL WITH [UNROMANTIC] HEARTBREAK

This may also work for romantic scenarios.

  • Allow yourself to be hurt for a while

I think there’s a lot of shame around feeling sad and it’s so ridiculous. If you’re feeling sad, or rejected, or upset, allow yourself to experience that! For a little while at least.

The more you try to push it away and hide it, the harder it’ll be to move on.

  • Talk about it

Or write about it, or vlog about it. Do whatever you feel like you need to do to get these thoughts and feelings off your chest. I do recommend talking to an actual human being about it at some point though, but if at first you don’t feel like it; document it for yourself.

It’ll allow you to reflect and grow and ultimately result in you becoming better.

When you’re feeling down, there’s nothing better to do than indulge in self-care. You should definitely do the essentials, but you can also use this time to pamper and really treat yourself. After all, everything needs to come from within so you might as well take care of yourself.

  • Get back out there

This is the final step. Once you’ve allowed yourself to feel everything; you’ve documented it and reflected on it; you’re all preened and pampered now is the time to get back out that. Start dating again, apply for more jobs or courses, continue creating.

Don’t let heartbreak get in the way of living your life.


You got this.

Speak soon,

Rachael