My Stephen King Reading Year

To say I love reading is a bit of an understatement. It’s a topic I’m trying to include more often on this blog, as it’s a huge part of my life. Every year, I love to set a Goodreads reading challenge and set myself some reading goals. This year, I have a very specific author-related goal that I thought some of you might be interested in.

My main reading challenge for 2020 is to read 25 books. In 2019 it was the same, and I managed to read 23, so I’m pretty confident.

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Aside from my numbers goal, I’m also planning to have a ‘Stephen King year’, which I have to say I am very excited about! I don’t have a specific number of Stephen King books I’d like to read this year, but my general aim is to read as much Stephen King as possible, around one book a month.

Why am I doing this? I love Stephen King! He writes such tense thrillers, scary horrors, and has a fantastic sense of humour. I would really recommend trying out some King if you haven’t before. He’s so prolific, there’s bound to be something you like! Because he’s so prolific, there’s a lot of novels for me to work through this year. In the past I have read:

  • The Shining
  • IT
  • Doctor Sleep
  • Misery (my all-time favourite!)
  • The Green Mile
  • Carrie
  • On Writing (the memoir)
Photo by Janko Ferlic on Pexels.com

So far in 2020, I have read Thinner and Mr Mercedes. I loved both of these novels, and it was great to read some crime by King, as well as the horror.

I am currently reading Gerald’s Game, which has a fascinating premise and I’m really enjoying it so far.

Also on my list for this year are:

  • Under The Dome (I’m saving this for the Summer holidays, it’s a chunky book!)
  • The Institute
  • Salem’s Lot
  • The Shining (re-read)
  • Revival

And that’s about it really. I’m planning on checking in on here every few months to see how my Stephen King challenge is going. If you have any recommendations for King novels, please let me know in the comments, or if you want recommendations, let me know what sort of thing you like to read. 🙂

A purple outline of a sloth hanging from a branch

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How To Survive A Blood Test When You Have A Needle Phobia

There are obviously big trigger warnings that come with this post – I am going to be talking about needle phobia, injections, doctors and blood tests. If, like me, these things trigger a panic, please feel free to leave now! However, I would also like to encourage you to try to read what you can. Take a deep breath, take your time, and see if any of these tips can help you.

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Hi. My name is Sammy and I have an almighty phobia of needles. That phobia extends to blood pressure cuffs, doctors, nurses, hospital waiting rooms… you get the idea.

The last time I was asked to go for a blood test, I had a panic attack in the waiting room, started crying in the chair, and got sent home before any blood was taken. Not my finest moment.
So, imagine my horror when I was told last week that I had to go for – you guessed it – another blood test!

I instantly panicked. And it’s okay if the thought of a blood test or an injection does that to you too. There are loads of people who suffer from the same fears and phobias that we do, and I promise that you can get through it.

I’m no expert, not by any means. But, on this occasion, I was able to implement a few tricks and techniques that helped me to have a blood test with minimal stress, and I’d like to share them with you. I know when I was searching for tips on dealing with needle phobia, I struggled to find anything very helpful in the short-term, that wasn’t just suggesting expensive phobia therapy. Speaking to a professional is obviously the best option, but if you need some tips just to get you through that appointment next week, hopefully these five tips will help.

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1. Limit Your Waiting Time

I think I have mastered the art of arriving perfectly on time for appointments! Waiting rooms can be really stressful places if you have a phobia, so it can be good idea to avoid long waiting times. Obviously, you don’t want to be running late and stressed, but I’d advise getting to your appointment with just a few minutes spare. This avoids that long panic-inducing wait, meaning you don’t have too long to get worked up before you’re called in.

2. If You Have To Wait – Have A Distraction

Always have a distraction. You could download an episode of your favourite comedy onto your phone, or have Youtube ready to play a new relaxing vlog. Take a book or magazine, or even a handheld games console to distract yourself. I love to read, but find that I can’t concentrate on a book while I’m panicking, so I have a few ‘waiting room’ TV shows downloaded on my phone, ready to watch if needed. If you’re like me and want something to listen to/watch – don’t forget your headphones! And on that note…

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

3. Play Calming Music

If you suffer from a needle phobia and need to have a blood test, I really recommend finding some music that helps you to feel calm. Then, all you need is one headphone in, and you can instantly feel a little more relaxed. You will probably need to keep one headphone out, in order to speak to your nurse or doctor, but you might be able to ‘plug in’ completely once they start the procedure. Play whatever keeps you calm – it doesn’t have to be spa music or whale song! For me, it’s Neil Diamond, for you, it might be Iron Maiden – whatever works!

4. Take Someone With You

If possible, take someone along to support you. My first question when I had to book my blood test was ‘Can I book it for next week?’ – because I knew that was when my husband would be available to come with me. If you have an understanding partner, parent, sibling or friend who can accompany you to an appointment, ask them if they could come with you. It helps to have someone to talk to, plus it can alleviate some of the panic associated with fainting or needing to leave, as you will have someone there to help you at all times.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

5. Lie Down

My last tip is the most simple, but possibly the most effective, if you are going for a blood test. Ask if you can lie down. I have found that this, without fail, is the easiest way for me to stay calm when having a blood test. Physically, it keeps your feet higher off the ground, so can stop you from feeling so faint. Psychologically, I know that if I do faint (a big worry-trigger for me), I’m already laying down – so I can’t fall!

I have had nurses tell me in the past that I can’t lie down. There is no reason (physically speaking) for you not to, so if that’s what you need, don’t be afraid to be a bit assertive. (Try channeling in your inner cat, like in my last post!)

I hope these five tips can help you, if you are scared of blood tests or needles and have to go for a blood test or injection.
And just remember – it will all be over in a matter of minutes. You’ve got this.

May Favourites

I’m going to do it. I’m going to start a favourites post by saying ‘How on earth did it get to June already?!’ I’m one of those people.

But, seriously. It’s June??
May has been a really busy month for me and I’ve honestly just felt like the whole month passed me by without me noticing. However, there have still been quite a few things that have made me smile this month or captured my interest.

Darkmilk bar, ginger shampoo and a book flatlay

Let’s start with one of my favourite ways to wind down in the evening – TV!

Game of Thrones

Yes, it was controversial. No, it wasn’t perfect. But I really loved watching the final season of Game of Thrones. I won’t spoil it for anyone (but seriously – have you not watched it yet??) so all I say is that although I wasn’t a huge fan of the final episode, the rest of the series really impressed me. The cinematography was incredible, the cast were amazing and I think for the most part the show was wrapped up well.

Chernobyl

So I’m not up-to-date with this one yet, so please no spoilers!
About a week ago, Mr W and I sat down to watch Chernobyl because we had heard so many people saying really great things about it. They weren’t wrong!
This show is so atmospheric, so tense, and just utterly heartbreaking. It is a fascinating drama based on the true story of the nuclear power station accident in Chernobyl in the 1980s and, although I don’t know an awful lot about the real story, I think they are doing an amazing job of telling it. Some of the characters make me so angry! It really is a heartbreaking story and, at times, quite hard to watch. But I would highly recommend it, it’s some of the best TV I’ve seen in a while. (It’s on Sky Atlantic, available via Now TV)

Cadburys Darkmilk

Cadbury Darkmilk

Yum!
Not much to say – it’s a really nice bar of chocolate! But I’m a huge chocolate fan, so I thought I’d give this a mention. It’s a mixture between dark chocolate and milk chocolate. I wasn’t sure if I liked the sound of it, but it’s really delicious. The perfect choice if you want something that is a bit decadent, not completely dark chocolate…. just, yum.

Vans (finally!)

white canvas pair of vans with a bow

I have had my eyes on many different pairs of Vans over the years, but I’ve never been able to justify the cost of buying ‘branded’ shoes, unless they’re for running. But a couple of weeks ago, on the hunt for some decent shoes to replace by old New Look slip-ons, I finally bit the bullet.

I love that the colour of these Vans go with everything but the bow detail makes them just a little bit quirky. They’re really comfy, although I do need to get some new little slip-on socks to wear with them, to avoid blisters. I really hope these are going to last me a long time.

The Body Shop Ginger Shampoo

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This is honesty one of the best shampoos I’ve tried in years – I’m so glad I picked it up!

It’s actually an anti-dandruff shampoo, which I bought because I have been experiencing a really dry and itchy scalp recently that was driving me mad! So far, this shampoo seems to be doing the trick, and on top of that it makes my hair feel really shiny and healthy. I love The Body Shop and this is definitely going to be one of my new go-to products from their range.

And last but not least…

Hive

Hive the Game

Me and Mr W love a board game. Some of our favourites for two-player games are Forbidden Island, Pandemic and Plague. I might do a blog post soon about our favourites and why they’re so good!

This month we were in Waterstones and we picked up Hive.* I’d heard of it before but didn’t know much about it, but we played about 10 rounds of it as soon as we got home, and now we’re hooked!

It’s a two-player game, so perfect for couples looking for a new game to play. The idea is to use your pieces to surround the other person’s queen bee. Each piece can move in a different way, and the whole gameplay area becomes the ‘hive’. It’s really easy to pick up, quick to play, and comes in a really handy travel-sized bag that is definitely coming on honeymoon with us!

So they were some of the things I’ve been loving this month. More than I thought!
As always, you can see what I’m currently reading or watching all through the month here.

I really enjoyed writing this post, I hope you enjoyed reading it just as much!

Let me know what you’ve been loving in the comments 🙂

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*Please note – any Amazon links are affiliate, which means they won’t cost you any more, but I might earn a small commission if you buy the product

The Sunshine Blogger Award

First off, a huge thank you to the very lovely Sarah from Mommin’ in the Real World who nominated me for The Sunshine Blogger Award.

I love the name of this award, because it is so warm and friendly. I am loving connecting with friendly bloggers on Twitter at the moment. If you’re on Twitter, come and say hi! 🙂

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RULES FOR THE SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blogging site.
  2. List the Sunshine Blogger Award rules and display the logo on your site.
  3. Answer the Sunshine Blogger Award questions.
  4. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  5. Notify the nominees about their nominations – I will be using Twitter.

Okay, here are Sarah’s questions, let’s get going!

  1. What is your least favorite part of blogging?
    To be honest, I’d just say my own lack of confidence. I’m still new and find writing posts hard, as well as promoting them. Trying to spend enough time on my blog around work is tough.
  2. What has been the best way to promote your blog in social media?
    Definitely Twitter – I love taking part in comment threads, such as #TeaCupClub meetings, and I’ve found some great blogs to follow via Twitter too!
  3. Do your friends and family read your blog?
    No, I haven’t found the confidence to share my blog with people I know yet!
  4. What 3 things would you take with you on a desert island?
    How many books can I count as one thing?……
    I guess I would take a huge encyclopedia so I could try to read a lot and learn a lot too. An iPod full of Neil Diamond music. And a very large notebook… and pen… is that four? Whoops!
  5. Where is 1 place in the world you would like to travel to?
    I would love to visit Italy. I’ve never been, and it looks beautiful. Not to mention how good the food looks!
  6. Are you married and do you have any children?
    I am married – I got married just over a month ago! So it’s still very new! No children just yet though. Unless our very handsome cat counts…
  7. Do you prefer a bath or shower?
    Never thought I’d say this, but I definitely prefer a bath. Particularly if I’ve had a stressful day.
  8. Do you follow current events in your country/around the world?
    I try to, but if I’m struggling with my anxiety then I tend to avoid most news. It’s usually a real trigger for me, and very rarely is it positive news!
  9. Do you vote? If not, why not?
    Always. I think it’s so important to use your vote.
  10. What was your favorite subject to study in school?
    Drama – I studied both Drama and Music for my undergraduate degree, but Drama was always my favourite. I loved to act, direct and study plays.
  11. What are 5 words that describe you?
    Ooh, that’s tough! I would say…
    Stubborn. Funny. Anxious. Cluttered. Creative.

 

My Sunshine Blogger Nominees are:

Jenny in Neverland
Amie (The Curvaceous Vegan)
Milenka (Blushing Lately)
Ell (Boss Girl Bloggers)
Wellbean Blog
Jade Marie
Ruth In Revolt
Jo (Online Blanket Fort)
Emily Aagaard
Hello Bexa
Steph (Nourish Me)
Questions for my Nominees

  1. How long have you been blogging?
  2. What is a Youtube channel you would recommend?
  3. What is a podcast or audio book you would recommend?
  4. Do you prefer physical books, ebooks, or audio books?
  5. What is your favourite genre of books?
  6. What is the one activity that always de-stresses you or makes you feel better?
  7. What was the last film you watched?
  8. Do you watch Game of Thrones? If so, who is your favourite character?
  9. What would be your last meal?
  10. Do you have any pets?
  11. What is one of your goals for the next month?

 

I hope you enjoyed reading my answers. I would highly recommend heading over to all my nominees’ blogs – they are an absolute joy to read and some of my favourite corners of the internet!

Have a lovely weekend 🙂

 

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30 Before 30 - goals, dreams and aspirations

30 Before 30

I’m sure you’ve seen posts like this before – I know I have!
I used to roll my eyes at bucket lists, five year plans, ten year plans, and so on… I just thought that, seeing as life never really went to plan anyway, what was the point?!
But the more I’ve got into goal-setting over the past year, the more I have been thinking about where I want my life to be moving over the next few years. This has led me to reading quite a lot of blog posts that talk about a ’30 before 30′ list – simply, a list of thirty things you want to achieve or do before you hit that big 3-0. (I say ‘big’… I’m not sure that it is. But ask me again when I get there!)

I have really started to like the ideas of a 30 before 30 list, as a list of experiences, achievements and just general goals that I would like to achieve before I turn 30. For me, this has provided a good opportunity to sit down, reflect, and set goals. However, it has given me the same anxiety-inducing pressure that I have experienced before when trying to create a 5 or 10 year plan. My main inspiration for this post was a post written by the wonderful Zanna van Dijk, who as well as being the same age as me, is one of my favourite Youtubers/bloggers/fitness gurus. As I’m fast approaching 27, now seemed like a good time to take that inspiration and run with it.

So, without any further rambling, here are the thirty things I would like to do or achieve before my thirtieth birthday. Some are huge goals, some are tiny, niggling little wishes, but I would love to achieve them all…

  1. Go camping. (Me and Mr W have a tent and we’re ready to go, we just haven’t gotten round it to yet. I have been camping before, but not for many years!)
  2. Climb another mountain. (Earlier this year, we climbed Snowdon. It inspired me to keep hiking as much as possible.)
  3. Own a brand new, high quality mattress. For all that beautiful, quality sleep.
  4. Perform in a choir again. (This one should be ticked off pretty soon!)
  5. Pay off my credit card.
  6. Have a healthy savings account. (These two are both a little more serious… I haven’t been very financially secure or confident for most of my twenties, so it is important to me to enter my next decade of life with a bit more money behind me, just in case. On that note…)
  7. Buy a house!
  8. Start a family. (I’m broody as anything – but, following the last few goals, we want to be a bit more financially comfortable before we start having children.)
  9. Visit Italy.
  10. Travel solo for a long weekend. (Either on an organised retreat, or just taking myself away to read and write for a weekend in the countryside.)
  11. Write a novel. (The ultimate dream!)
  12. Go on a spa day with my Mum.
  13. Go on a cookery course.
  14. Make gnocchi from scratch.
  15. Make an entire lasagna from scratch, including the pasta.
  16. Clear all the unnecessary clutter from our house so we only own what’s needed.
  17. Study some more. (I see myself doing some more formal study at some point in the future, most likely in Education and aspects of Child Psychology.)
  18. Put more time and effort into my blog posts and accompanying photos, hopefully growing my audience more.
  19. Eat at Dans le Noir in London. (A restaurant in London I’ve been dying to visit for years!)
  20. Make some kind of income through this blog, through any channel, and any amount.
  21. Have a solid, calming, morning routine in place.
  22. Invite friends round for dinner.
  23. Invite family round for dinner.
  24. Finally finish the cross-stitch map of Westeros that I’ve been working on for five years…
  25. Pay off my car!
  26. Take my sister on holiday somewhere, just us two.
  27. Find the perfect winter coat.
  28. Run a marathon. (I’ve done a half marathon, and I’m going to do another this year. I think it’s about time I progressed on to the full marathon!)
  29. Get the two matching tattoos I want. (One with Mr W, one with my sister.)
  30. Secure some kind of extra responsibility at work.

 

There they are – my 30 before 30!

Are any of these the same as your goals? I would love to see some posts from you guys sharing your list as well.

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My Checklist For A Perfect Weekend

Having just thoroughly enjoyed the long weekend, I’ve been considering what a perfect weekend would look like to me…

I do like to have something to do at the weekend, and to be honest I usually have preparation to do for the working week ahead, but to have at least one day that is totally free for me to do what I want with is absolute bliss. When I have that time to myself, these are the things that make it a perfect relaxing weekend:

  1.  A good book

    Reading a book
    This has to be top of the list! The weekend is the time that I get most of my reading done and one of my favourite things is to spend a lazy Sunday morning in bed with a cup of coffee and my book. And on that note…

  2. A strong cup of coffee
    I am a coffee-lover and so my ideal weekend usually involves plenty of cups of the stuff! Me and Mr W love to go out for coffee, but we are trying to save a bit of money at the moment, so we are tending to opt for a cup of coffee at home. We were really lucky to be given some ground coffee by Bill’s when we went there for breakfast after our wedding, and that’s a firm favourite of mine at the moment.

  3.  A workout
    Ask the sloth of five years ago if her perfect weekend would have included a workout and she’d laugh in your face! But now I really love to go and get my sweat on to feel like I’ve used my weekend wisely. At the moment I’m loving either hitting up my local parkrun (I’d really recommend them if you haven’t tried it before!) or going to the gym for a Les Mills class early on a Saturday morning. Getting a workout in early just makes me feel productive and energised for the rest of the weekend.

  4. My cat

    F2AF6CBD-0207-41A0-A2D9-E987253A8FA0
    As well as being an avid reader and a coffee-lover, you should also know that I am a massive cat person! I love my cat and the weekend is when I get to curl up and spend some quality time with him. (Usually with my book and coffee too, all in one!)
    His name is Felix and we rescued him last September, at the age of 7. He was seriously overweight and very nervous, but with some love and care, we’ve now got a very loving, friendly, healthy cat who I love spending time with. Self-care = cat cuddles!

  5. Chocolate

    Yep, another food one! Honestly though, who doesn’t love chocolate? Add it to the book, coffee and cat combo up above and you’ve got a 100% perfect Sunday morning.

  6. A pub quiz

    There’s a really good pub quiz at one of our locals every Sunday evening and I’ve recently started to really enjoy going along. It’s a cheap and cheerful night out, a great conversation starter and a bit of healthy competition never hurt anyone! If you like learning new things and can get a team together, I’d really recommend seeing if there’s a good quiz near you.

  7. A nap

    Now, I know I’m not alone here – as a grown woman of 26, I can’t explain how much I love a nap on a weekend afternoon. After a long week of work, it’s all I need!

    white bed comforter
    Photo by Jaymantri on Pexels.com

 

So they’re my seven ingredients to make a perfect weekend. What would your ideal weekend look like? I’d love to know! Maybe we can all get some new ideas for weekend activities in the comment section?

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P.S – I now have a ‘Currently’ page if you want to know what I’m currently reading, watching and enjoying.

Trying out Baking for Self-Care

Quite often, when I’m having a down day, I find myself drawn to the idea of baking.

Do I ever usually bake? Nope. Have I ever leaned in to this feeling and tried baking myself out of a slump? (Well, the way I’ve worded that sounds painful…) Nope!

The truth is, I’m not a very natural baker, I can’t usually decide on a recipe and when I’m having a bad day I’m far too lazy to shop for ingredients!

But today, I decided to go with my gut and see if it worked. Surely, if my brain kept turning to baking when I was in a slump, it must mean something? It might make me feel much better. And if not, at least I might get some cake out of it!

So I turned to the ever-trusty BBC Good Food and chose this recipe for banana and blueberry muffins. (I’m in no way sponsored or supported by BBC Good Food, I just love their recipes) I won’t talk through the whole recipe in this post, so if you want to have a go yourself then please head over to their website.

Banana and blueberry muffins

First mountain to climb – going out to buy the ingredients.
I really wasn’t feeling like facing the outside world this afternoon, so I asked my fiance to come with me. We quickly had everything we needed (plus a few things we didn’t need!) and I could get home to start baking. Getting out in the fresh air did actually help to pick my mood up, and I found that I starting to feel excited to get back to the kitchen and start creating – maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea after all?

ingredients in trolley
Ingredients found – and mini eggs to eat whilst baking, of course!

Once I got home, I laid out all my ingredients. In all honesty, I think that going through the process of laying out the ingredients and taking pictures for this post really helped me to see the process through and make sure that I was being methodical about it. (By the way, please don’t expect very professional-looking photos! No idea how you baking bloggers do this!)

banana and blueberry muffins ingredients

The ingredients you need for this recipe are pretty simple and easy to get hold of. Just what I needed for an easy Sunday self-care bake.

The Baking.

This was such an easy recipe. If I can do it, anyone can!

All you had to was mix together the dry ingredients and leave them to one side whilst you mashed the banana and mixed that together with oil, buttermilk and egg whites. The hardest bit was separating the egg whites – look what a mess I made of it!

stages of baking muffins
Nothing looks good before it’s cooked!

What I really liked about this recipe was that it included hints and things to look out for. For example, it warned me that the muffin cases would end up very full with this amount of mixture. This was helpful, because otherwise I would have under-filled them and been left with leftover mixture.

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Ready for the oven 🙂

In the end, I don’t think I did such a bad job. These were tasty, not too sweet, and just the right size for a Sunday-blogging snack.

Conclusions

So… was it therapeutic getting the kitchen messy and making muffins? Actually, yes it was. I can see why so many people turn to baking and cooking to calm themselves down or cheer themselves up. I felt productive, creative and purposeful. I did cheer up and I enjoyed the process. Of course, having delicious baked goods at the end of it is always a bonus too!

I think that I’d always avoided baking or cooking when I felt depressed because I was scared of it going wrong – I’m not a natural cook – and then feeling worse. However, if I give myself a little bit of forgiveness to make mistakes, go with an easy recipe, and just let myself enjoy the process – this could be a good new hobby for me!

I was surprised just how much this picked up my mood on an otherwise gloomy Sunday.
Do you like baking? I’d love to know what you like making and any tips you have for a novice like me.

Banana and blueberry muffins

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What I Learnt from Being Stuck in Bed for Four Days.

Grab a cuppa – this is a long one! 🙂

About a week ago, I was more ill than I have been for ages. (That is an occupational hazard of teaching though – a lot of sickness bugs get shared around the school!) I had some kind of bad cold/flu that knocked me sideways for most of the week. I fell ill on the Saturday afternoon, and by that night I was feverish, coughing, and generally just feeling pretty awful. I stayed in bed all of Sunday and then, quite reluctantly, dragged myself to work on Monday. That was a bad idea.

I struggled through Monday at school, feeling lethargic and low in energy. I was coughing and wheezing through all my lessons, trying desperately to seem upbeat and positive. By the end of the day, I felt 10 times worse and my line manager promptly sent me home under strict instructions to get better.

So, I spent Tuesday and Wednesday at home. In bed. Feeling utterly useless.

And here’s what I realised – although I knew that I needed to rest, and I would be advising anyone in the same boat as me to do exactly that, I felt incredibly guilty for taking two whole days out of work and out of my routine just to rest. I tried to go ahead with a personal training session but was luckily told by my trainer not to turn up at the gym, I felt awful for ‘making’ Chris prepare dinners and sort out the house, when actually it was totally his choice. I really didn’t know how to handle being this ill or, more accurately, how to hand over the control of my life to other people. I felt lazy and was itching to get back to school so that my colleagues wouldn’t think the same. (Spoiler: They are lovely, caring people who would never say that about anyone who was ill.)

So why all the worry? Why did I find it so hard just to rest and recover?

I suppose I’m just so used to being busy.
My job means that I’m on the go all day, often taking work home with me as well. I work at weekends, go to the gym when I can, wake up early to fit more into my day and spend my evenings wedding planning. I love being busy and it’s just become part of who I am. However, the shock to my system when I was forced to give all this up for a few days was unbelievable. I couldn’t adjust to suddenly feeling helpless and out of control. All I had was a cold, why on earth couldn’t I just get out the house and get stuff done?

Then I realised – I needed the rest.

My body needed to rest. It was unwell and it was never going to get better if I forced it through a school day, a workout and a few hours of admin. I needed to sleep, relax and recover.

Once I found peace with that, I coped a lot better.

I’m interested to know if any of you have been in the same situation – I’m sure that any of you who, unlike me, are self-employed or work from home, have certainly felt this guilt when you can’t do anything. But it is so important to give your body what it needs. Whether that is good food, lots of water, some exercise, or just complete rest. I got back to work on Thursday and now feel pretty much back to normal. If I hadn’t let my body recover for a few days, I’m certain that right now I’d feel just as awful as I did last weekend. If not worse.

Next time you’re ill and stuck in bed, try to see the upside. If you can, read a book. Or watch Netflix, or listen to a podcast. Enjoy whatever hobbies or relaxing activities you never normally have the time for, but can do with very little energy. Have a bath, curl up with your pet, eat comfort foods and drink Lucozade. When you decide to see this as a self-care opportunity rather that forced bed-rest, your mentality shifts to one of positivity and health, rather than negativity and sickness. (Remember, self-care doesn’t have to be really indulgent, sometimes it’s 100% necessary to just include low energy options to make you feel better.)

I hated being forced to rest, until I saw that it was exactly what I needed and that I could draw some positives from it if I really tried. I hope that in the future you can do the same 🙂

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50 Things That Make Me Happy

50 Things That Make Me Happy

Two tag posts in a row? I know, lazy blogger! But I couldn’t resist jumping straight into this wonderful post, listing 50 things that make me happy. I was very kindly tagged by Colourful Hope, whose post is here.

I think the idea of listing 50 things that make you happy is brilliant. It’s a list, so it sounds simple – but 50 is a pretty big number! (The most I’ve dared so far is 26!) Having to think of 50 individual things that make me feel happy can only be a good thing for my wellbeing. So, here goes!

50 Things That Make Happy

  1. Spending time with my cat
  2. Autumn walks with my fiance
  3. Wedding planning
  4. Reading a good book
  5. Smashing a workout
  6. Finding an outfit that looks really good
  7. Chocolate
  8. Catching up with old friends
  9. Going to the cinema
  10. Big bowls of pasta
  11. A clean and cosy house
  12. A clean car
  13. My hamster
  14. Seeing my family
  15. Having a cup of tea with my mum
  16. My job
  17. Running with my best friend
  18. Music
  19. (more specifically) Neil Diamond’s music
  20. Watching comedies (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Friends, OITNB…)
  21. Libraries
  22. A good cup of coffee
  23. Comfy blankets
  24. Learning something new
  25. Being brave and it turning out well
  26. Giving people gifts
  27. Coffee shops
  28. Looking at homeware
  29. Theatre
  30. Watching stand-up comedy
  31. Singing along to musicals
  32. Falling asleep watching a film with my fiance
  33. Setting goals and planning
  34. Listening to My Favourite Murder
  35. Long, lazy mornings with breakfast in bed
  36. A really tasty cocktail
  37. Playing board games
  38. Pizza
  39. When there are amazing vegetarian options at a restaurant
  40. Pretty book covers
  41. Recommending books to people
  42. Comfy jumpers
  43. Playing Skyrim
  44. Hot chocolate
  45. Museums
  46. Disney films
  47. Ticking off my to-do list
  48. Roald Dahl books
  49. Stationery
  50. Spending time with my friends

 

Well, that was great! It pushed me to think about everything that makes me happy and now I feel really good. I’d like to pass that good feeling on, and I tag:

Kelly at Paperback Adventures
Pigletish
Nic’s Healthy Life

The Blogger Recognition Award

I cannot tell you how much it made my day to get a notification on Twitter telling me that the very lovely Kelly over at Paperback Adventures had nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award.

I haven’t been blogging for very long and I am often only able to post once a week due to work, so I know that I’m not the most active person in the blogging community. So to know that Kelly thought my blog was worth reading and recognising like this means loads. 🙂

So here we go:

THE RULES

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you
  • Write a post to show your award
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers
  • Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you’ve nominated them, and provide a link to the post you’ve created

HOW MY BLOG STARTED

Over the past 5 years or so, I’d say that I must have started and abandoned nearly 10 different blogs. I’ve tried book blogging (and for a short while, Booktubing…), mental health blogging, writing about my studies… and honestly, I think the timing was just never quite right. I’ve had a very busy few years and I never found a passion that I was inspired by enough to write about every week – nor could I think of enough content to do so!

The Self-Care Sloth started in August 2018, during my first summer holiday as a teacher, whilst I was looking for a more creative outlet and also a way to track my own progress on a self-care journey. I started my blog with a post about journalling that has since been deleted – but I haven’t looked back since!

ADVICE

I don’t feel very qualified to give advice, because I’m still so new to this world myself. But I guess the advice I would give to someone as new as me, and the steps I’m trying to take myself would be:

  1. Try to have a post in your drafts or scheduled at all times. That way, when life gets busy or you’ve run out of ideas, there’s always a post ready to go.
  2. Write about what you want to write about, not what you think will be ‘popular’. People will find it, people will read it, and it will feel great because they’re like-minded people who might come back to your blog later on.

NOMINATIONS

I’m really not part of the blogging community very much yet, so I don’t think I know 15 people! I’m going to nominate 10 people and I hope that’s okay! (and sorry if you’ve already been nominated! But you’re all fab, you write my favourite blogs, and deserve every nomination or award going!)

  1. Hello Bexa
  2. Emily Aagaard
  3. Jade Marie
  4. Adventure & Anxiety
  5. Chloe Elizabeth
  6. Pigletish
  7. My Lifelines
  8. Alternatively Speaking
  9. Ruth in Revolt
  10. Blushing Lately

 

Thanks for reading! x

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