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

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‘Big Issue Guilt’ and Why It’s Okay to Start Small

The world is a big scary place.

A hand holding a small globe
Sometimes it feels like you have to carry all the problems in the world… Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

 

Let’s be honest, there are a lot of things to feel worried, annoyed or stressed about at the moment, outside of the bubble of our own lives. Politicians are making some pretty dreadful decisions on our behalf, the planet’s falling to pieces and sometimes it feels like we’re taking a backwards step in our battle for equality and fair rights.

I know that’s a pretty negative way to start a blog post, but stick with me if you can.

I know that all the negative news stories and bad things happening around the world can be make us feel really, really bad. I’ve recently deleted the news app I had on my phone, because I found that scrolling through it every day just made me feel sad and overwhelmed. As soon as I deleted the app, however, I felt guilty. Shouldn’t I be taking an interest in world news? Shouldn’t I be educating myself as much as possible so that I can help people to make the world a better place?

Here lies the problem.

I call it ‘big issue guilt’ – that guilt you feel when you can’t single-handedly solve the huge problems that the world is facing. When you feel like you’re never doing enough.

You’re using metal straws and re-usable coffee cups. You buy eco-friendly cleaning products and none of your make-up is tested on animals. You adopted your pet cat from a rescue, rather than buying from a breeder. You avoid ‘fast fashion’ as much as you can within your tight budget. You celebrate LGBT authors and try hard to buy books with diverse characters at their heart. You vote in elections and don’t eat meat.

But somehow, it just doesn’t feel enough.

a thick scarf and a hand holding a hot drink

You can’t fix climate change by using a metal water bottle.

So part of you starts to think, what’s the point? You get overwhelmed by ‘big issue guilt’ and your anxiety starts to spiral.

Sound familiar?

I’m hoping it’s not just me that feels this way! I am always trying to improve my awareness of the world’s issues and see what I can do to help. I am that person I described above, always making sure to vote, educate myself, and change my purchasing habits to try to help. But I quite often get paralysed by this fear and guilt that I can’t ever do enough. And no, I can’t fix climate change by myself or stop the beauty industry from testing on animals ever again. I can’t make politicians see the sense in allowing abortions or gay marriage, but I can do my part.

At the end of the day, all we can do is start small. If enough of us are making small changes to our day or speaking up now and then, it will all add up and, hopefully, start to change the minds of the people in charge, whose changes really matter!

It’s okay to start small. You can’t solve every huge world problem. Your anxiety is not going to thank you for trying. But you can…

  • Make eco-friendly and sustainable purchases where possible.
  • Go vegan, vegetarian or try meat-free Mondays.
  • When you go out for coffee, take a re-usable cup. Maybe even try a non-diary milk alternative.
  • Save up your money for a bit longer and buy from an ethical retailer, rather than a high street store.
  • Recycle what you can, when you can.
  • Eat your leftovers.
  • Sign petitions for things you really care about.
  • Vote in elections whenever you are able to.

If we all do the small things, it’ll all add up. Spending all your time feeling guilty is exhausting, and I promise you, you are doing enough as long as you are trying.

I hope this made sense! Do you feel the same way? Is there anything small that you do to try and help with a ‘big issue’?

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big issue guilt

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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What Self-Care Looks Like To Me

Well, it’s been a while!

I haven’t written a post in quite a few months, which I’m sure not many people have noticed, but I wanted to get back into the swing of things and start blogging more frequently again.

So, this #SelfCareSunday, I thought I’d talk a little bit about what self-care looks like to me…

Preventative Self-Care

barbell on the floor
Photo by Leon Martinez on Pexels.com

I’ve been trying to put more of my time this year into preventative self-careThat is, taking care of myself to keep my body and mind healthy, to avoid any down-turns in my mental health, rather than waiting until I feel the need to use self-care to recover.

One of the main ways I’ve been doing this (hint the picture above…) is heading to the gym. I have a real love-hate relationship with exercise on the whole, but I do know that if I drag myself out the house and go for a jog, or sweat my way through a gym class, I do feel better. This works if I’m in a bad mood, but I have also noticed that on the weeks that I put the effort in to work out more often, I feel better on the whole.

I also like to make sure that I am always getting enough sleep. I am someone who needs plenty of sleep to function properly! I know this fact about myself, so why starve myself of sleep? For me to feel calm and prepared for the day ahead, I need to have had a good night’s sleep.

Self-Care First Aid

white bed comforter
Photo by Jaymantri on Pexels.com

Sometimes (frequently) you have a bad (awful) day, filled with stress and panic, and you need some serious self-care time that evening to recover.

On those days (and there are plenty of them, believe me!) I like to take time to myself to calm down, relax and repair. This will look different all the time, but it usually involves some of the following:

  • Climbing into bed early.
  • Curling up with a good book. (Have you read my post on The Best Book Genres for a Cosy Night In?)
  • Watching Netflix. (I might write a Netflix recommendations post soon, if you’d be interested in reading that then please let me know in the comments!)
  • Cuddling my cat.
  • Cooking up some delicious comfort food.
  • Taking a bath with lots of Dead Sea salts.
  • Stretching/attempting some funny-looking yoga.

 

I have found that doing some more pro-active and preventative self-care has lessened the frequency of those ‘first aid’ days, but sometimes you just have to spend a few hours recovering.

What does self-care look like to you?

 

If you want to read more about my self-care habits, I have written posts before on winter self-care ideas and low energy self-care activities.

 

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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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How I’m Dealing With Stress

How I’m Currently Dealing With Stress

Spoiler alert – I’m not dealing with it very well!

stressed lady with laptop and planner, clutching her head
Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

I’ll apologise now to anyone who thought that this was going to be a self-help advice post about how to deal with stress or some more self-care advice. Honestly, this is just a bit of a self-indulgent post to help me get my head out on to the page, and to reflect on what my reactions to stress have been recently.

Over the past month, I have not only been trying to get this blog up and running, but I’ve also started my first year as a qualified teacher and had a heck of a lot to think about! On top of a pretty hefty workload, there have been family emergencies and a fresh new batch of anxiety…

So how have I been coping? Let me see…

  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Ugly crying
  • Chocolate
  • Gin
  • Lots of to-do lists
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate
  • Hot chocolate

Have you noticed a theme?

It’s not been good – let’s be honest – excessive quantities of chocolate and coffee is never the way to get through a tough week! I’m sure my anxiety is worse because of coffee and I’m feeling worse because I know I’ll be putting weight back on that I only recently battled to lose. The only positive thing on that list is my obsessive use of to-do lists to stay on top of things. I’ve been trying to take part in the #SelfCareTogether challenge but I’m honestly struggling to make any time for self-care.

So why am I writing this post? I’m not exactly an inspiration to anyone at the moment!

Maybe I just needed to get things out of my head. Perhaps I was hoping that this would publicly shame me into getting my act together. Honestly, I think I just wanted to say “Hey, we all have those weeks where we want to give up and stay in bed all day. We don’t all deal with it by drinking green tea and doing yoga, and it’s okay to feel like you’re not coping right now.” Hopefully this will resonate with someone and we can all get past these bad days and come out the other side.

Hopefully next week I’ll be feeling a bit more on top of things and I can write a post titled ‘How to deal with stress’!

How do you stay on top of things and start feeling better when things get too much?

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