Time For A Change

As I said in my New Year, New You? post at the beginning of the year, don’t wait for a manufactured calender date to motivate yourself to make a change. Any day, month or year can be the perfect time to re-evaluate and reflect on where positive changes can be made.

Since February there have been many changes in my life – myself and my mother changing job, becoming single again and supporting my mother through a tough time – and in this period I have triumphed yet I have also made a few decisions I am not entirely proud of.

With regards to my career I made the decision to leave my old employment as its atmosphere was no longer one I wanted from a workplace despite making good relationships with my co-workers. Whilst I enjoyed the people I worked with and my role, I could feel myself begin to strain under the amount of pressure placed upon me. With 1 in 10 suffering from a mental health related illness in the UK many of you will be able to relate to the feelings of anxiety, stress and exhaustion in the workplace. A survey in 2017 resulted in only 13% of people feeling able to disclose a mental health issue to their manager or supervisor and within this statistic 16% received disciplinary procedures, demotion or even dismissal. Luckily in my previous job when I had a ‘bad spell’ of anxiety and low mood I was signed off of work for 2 weeks and given the opportunity to integrate myself slowly back into full time work. In this aspect my managers were great but it only took 3 months after this spell before I started to feel the stress and pressure again. At this point I knew it was time to make a permanent change if I wanted to stay on the right path. Deciding to leave was tough as it involved having to put me and my mental health first and this is something I am not always the best at doing.

Throughout this time my mother was also having a rough time with her mental health and grief as this was only a month after the second anniversary of my fathers death. As I have outlined before, grief is incredibly complex and never goes away fully. It was during this time that my mother also decided she wanted a job with less responsibility than what she had in her previous managerial role, merely being able to enjoy her job and know she is doing it well with no pressure. At the end of the day if my mother is happy and stress free that is all that matters to me and it is also what is best for her. Many surveys and research trials have proven that employees produce higher quality work when they are happier, stress free and confident in their job.

So already by February, my whole day-to-day routine, and my Mum’s, had completely changed. We were now able to spend more time doing things together and doing things for ourselves such as meeting up with friends and attending classes we didn’t find the time to do before, but really, we were just enjoying the simplicities of life like having a lie in on a Wednesday or going out on a ‘school night’ knowing there won’t be any repercussions the next day. I know I said managers should want their employees to be happy and stress free but walking into the office with sunglasses on, paracetamol in hand, stinking of alcohol, probably isn’t the best way to create a happy working environment.

Aside from my work life, as of February, I officially became a singleton! Like any of you who have been in a relationship will know, re-adjusting your life after coming out of a relationship is difficult. For so long your focus and decisions had been based on what’s best for you and your partner and then suddenly you only have yourself to think of – its a strange thing to wrap your head around. So not only had my daily routine now changed, a person who used to fill a lot of time in both my old and new routine was no longer there to fill it, which left me with even more time on my hands. As someone who likes to keep busy this change, alongside everything else, had a massive impact on me mentally, leaving me not wanting to get out of bed and wanting to constantly sleep as it meant I wouldn’t have to think or accept that this change was permanent.

After a few weeks I began to feel like myself again, finding ways to fill my time. For a while I pretty much saw my best friend every day, as when we are together, no matter what we are doing, it brightens my mood. She also happens to be insanely good with advice and comforting words which everyone knows always helps in a time where you need the reassurance that everything will be just fine.

Beginning to get back to normal, enjoying time with my friends

I remember the first night I went out clubbing with my friend as a singleton. We had pre drinks at my house before my mother drove us to the train station in which we would get the train that would take us to where we needed to be. I was excited but nervous at the same time of the idea of going out. Excited because I was getting some much needed quality time with my friend but nervous, because it meant I would have to answer some uncomfortable questions regarding my relationship status. When it comes to breakups I have met two different kinds of people. One, being the people who believe in order to get over someone you need to get under someone else, and the other being you just need to take your time. That night, upon seeing some friends I knew in the club, one of them quickly directed me to a boy I had only met that night, the second she found out I was newly single. Although I knew she meant well, I couldn’t help feeling uncomfortable and as if I shouldn’t be there. Luckily the boy was lovely and respected my situation and I carried on with my night, but it definitely highlighted to me that I was not ready for anything like that.

As time went on I began feeling more comfortable and happy at the thought of being out with my friends who were also all single at the time, getting the opportunity to speak to new people and just let my hair down. However as the weeks went on and time went by, going out and drinking started causing drama and stress that I just do not need or want in my life. Some decisions I have made and some that I can’t even remember making – let alone doing – have been awful and I have ended up hurting people who have been caught up in it. As someone who never wants to hurt anyone or cause any negative connotations with myself, seeing the impact of some of these decisions was devastating. In reality I know a lot of people do silly things when they are drunk and people have definitely done way worse than me, but me being me I feel everyones pain times ten and knowing I’ve hurt someone in any way plagues me with extreme guilt.

I remember when I was 12 and getting an operation, my father said to me he would do anything he could to stop me from feeling the pain and nerves I had surrounding it all and I shook my head and said ‘no, you have had enough experiences with pain, I would rather go through this then you ever experiencing anymore pain.’ and I still live to that this day. It sounds silly and maybe to some people weak as I don’t stand up for myself sometimes but I would much rather take someones pain and bare it on my shoulders then watch them have to suffer. Then again maybe thats me being selfish by not wanting to witness anymore suffering that I can’t do anything about.

Sitting here writing this is me turning the page, starting a new chapter with more clarity for what I want and aim for in the near future. No matter how much I sit in my room riddled with anxiety over the thought of being a bad person for some of the decisions I have made recently, it won’t undo them no matter how much I wish it would. From here on I now know where I am career wise, friendship wise and relationship wise as well as knowing when to be able to say no to another drink when out clubbing. I always knew as someone with anxiety that alcohol doesn’t exactly help but I had never seen the effects it truly does have on my body until now. I am definitely more conscious of the amount I drink now due to being unable to sleep or eat the next day because of my mind and heart racing.

To anyone who has been affected by my bad decisions lately just know I am sorry from the bottom of my heart and I promise I will do better. The last few months I have lost my sense of self and my identity. I no longer knew what I stood for or what direction I was wanting to travel in. Now I do and I will never stop learning and trying to improve myself.

Thank you for being patient with me in terms of my decisions and blog posts! Inspiration hasn’t been coming lately yet here I am writing this at 2am because my mind needed a blank page to spill on before settling for some much needed sleep! As always I am open to any feedback/suggestions you may have and I have left some informative links below.

Ellie

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The C Word – Grief

When it comes to grief no feeling or emotion is invalid. Anger, sadness, frustration, avoidance, contentment and everything else will hit you at some point or maybe they won’t. The process of grief is different for everyone and every situation, there is no right or wrong way of dealing with it.

The reason I wanted to include the topic of grievance in my C Word series was because even if the person affected by Cancer recovers, feelings of grief can still arise which will bring confusion to many as it may not be obvious it is grief that is being felt.

My experience with grief started around one year after my father was given his terminal prognosis and his health was starting to deteriorate right in front of my eyes. I too didn’t realise I had begun the process off grieving until my psychologist at Maggie’s helped me understand it. The way she described it was that even though my father was still there he wasn’t the same person who had raised me. He was no longer the humorous, care-free, fully functioning man anymore but instead a man who could no longer communicate with his loved ones and relied on others to do simple day-to-day tasks.

My father was always a very proud man, he was the one who took care of his family and I swear he could’ve independently taken on the world. As I stated in my previous post, my father was the rock of the family always being our shoulder to lean on. This can be a difficult role for people to have as it can have the tendency to weigh you down as you are constantly having to take on the worries for others, however this was not the case for my Dad, he rarely worried.

Even though this trait was embedded within him, when his health began to deteriorate it completely changed and this ‘killed him’. He no longer had the freedom or capability to do as he pleased or to provide for us in the way he wanted. This led him to become sad and frustrated with life. Although technically my Dad was still with us, which I was so grateful for, he was no where near the same person.

I remember when I was little and the summers we spent at our family chalet in Norfolk, where he would run around after us, joining in with the many water fights we would have over the course of our holidays. In the evenings he would be the BBQ king, cooking up hot dogs and burgers for everyone, before settling down with us all for games like Uno or a quiz. Back then I didn’t even look to the next day let alone years in the future, it never even occurred to me that these summers would end let alone what our lives would become. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be sitting across from my Dad in the living room and seeing him struggling to lift his mug and then being unable to communicate to us what he was wanting to watch on TV. I remember thinking in that moment that even though he was sat merely two metres away, the father I knew had already gone, and I missed him more than ever.

https://medium.com/the-mission/resilience-a-new-grief-myth-that-can-hurt-you-40af29639e62

When my Dad died a few months later it didn’t hit me right away like I thought it would. Looking back on it now, it was probably because I had already been mourning him for a while already. I was sitting in my Christmas assembly at school when my guidance teacher came and got me. I had a good relationship with her by this time so I innocently assumed she just wanted a catch up before we broke off for the holidays, however, as soon as we started walking to the front of the school – which was the opposite direction to her office – I already knew what I was really about to be told. When we reached the Headteacher’s office I was met with my tearful mother, clutching to a tissue box she had been given. At this point no one had to say a word to me, I already knew that Dad had died. Before going home I had to go back in to the assembly hall to get my bag where I was met with a worried face from one of my best friends. He simply asked ‘everything okay?’ and all I responded with is ‘he’s gone’. My best friend went into more of a panic than I did but I asked him not to tell anyone.

When I arrived home I walked into the kitchen where my grandmother was crying. My brother and grandad were in the lounge in silence whilst my mother was asking if I wanted to go and say goodbye to my father. He had passed away at home in is sleep which is exactly how he would have wanted it to be. I still think my father decided it was his time to go as he had always said he didn’t want to be in a hospice or have carers coming in and out of the house. He died 1 day after Marie Curie nurses began coming into the house twice a day to care for him. As well as this, the night before he had asked to talk to me before I went to bed. It was the night before my school dance so he sat me down and told me how proud of he was of me and how beautiful I was going to look the next day. At the time I didn’t see it for what it was, he was saying goodbye.

After I had seen Dad and my family, all I wanted was to go back to school. I didn’t cry or breakdown like I thought I would, all I could think of was how he no longer had to suffer and be stripped of his pride. So I went back to school, after my family spent a long time making sure that I was fine to do so. When I arrived back at school my best friend was surprised to see me. It was apparent he had been upset, leading my other friends, who knew about my situation, to realise what had happened. When he saw me he got upset again, apologising for people knowing since I had told him not to say anything but I wasn’t angry, everyone was going to have to find out eventually.

That night I still attended my school dance with my friends and had a great time. Just like any other interesting piece of information in high school, it didn’t take long for the news to spread. However, my attendance to the dance made people believe it wasn’t true, so I didn’t have to put up with the pitying eyes or sad smiles and I was glad. Looking back I don’t regret my decision as it was what I needed at the time. I needed to be surrounded by my friends and have a night as a teenager before having to think about how I was now going to live without my Dad. It wasn’t until 3 days after my Dad died that I got upset for myself and my family, realising our family would never be the same. Up until that point all I felt was relief for my Dad knowing he was no longer in excruciating pain.

As I am writing this it has been just over 2 years since my Dad died and trust me when I say I have felt every feeling under the sun. There have been times where I have been so sad I never thought I could live without him, times where I have been so angry at the world for taking him from us yet times where I am so unbelievably grateful that I even got to spend nearly 17 years with him.

Grief is a complex thing and something you can’t understand fully until you have experienced it. It does not go away, it is something that you learn to live with. Some days you’ll feel it intensely and others it will just sit at the back of your mind but it is always there. Before my Dad died, when people said they thought of people who they had lost everyday, I struggled to believe it, especially as the years go on. However, I can now vouch for every person who has lost someone close to them that it is true. Whether you look at the photos still hanging on the wall or if in a conversation with someone, something they say reminds you of that loved one, I am constantly saying ‘oh yeah my Dad does that’ or ‘my Dad says that’ before realising that it is no longer ‘does’ or ‘says’ but now it is ‘did’ or ‘said’.

To anyone going through grief, whether that person is still sitting in front of you or they have passed years ago, everything you feel is valid and completely natural. For those of you lucky enough not to have experienced grief all I ask is that you are patient with those of us who have. No matter how happy or ‘fine’ we seem and can be, we are still processing and trying to understand everything we are experiencing. Grief is something that you can live with, it will bring good days and bad but it will never go away fully.

A Note From Me To You:

Writing this series has hugely benefitted my understanding of my own feelings and emotions surrounding what has happened to my family in the last 6 years. Although, taking my mind back to those times has been difficult it has brought me a sense of closure. Even if no one had taken the time to ‘click on’ or read this series it still would’ve been hugely helpful for me. However, the C Word series of posts have been some of my most popular and the feedback I have received has been heartwarming. My aim when starting this series was to help one person who may have experienced similar life events as me and for them to have someone they can relate to. I was recently approached by someone on a night out who is currently going through a similar experience to me and he told me that he could resonate with how I felt during my family’s illness’. Hearing him say that to me made me extremely emotional yet proud of what I have produced. Just knowing that one person was able to feel like they were not alone is more than satisfying for me. I can whole heartedly say I have achieved my aim.

Thank you so much to everyone who has taken the time to read, like or comment on this post, it has truly warmed my heart.

Links For Grief Guidance and Advice

The C Word – Maggie’s Centres

As it is World Cancer Day I thought it would be fitting to continue ‘The C Word’ series. This second instalment is about a charity which first opened a centre in Edinburgh in 1996 using the ideas of Maggie Keswick Jencks surrounding the care for cancer patients and those effected by the impact of cancer.

Before having personal experience with the effects of cancer I had never heard of Maggie’s or what the charity stood for. Upon struggling with dealing with the anxiety and depression battling cancer my Mum was introduced to Maggie’s for support. The charity offers free emotional and practical support to cancer patients as well as their family and friends.

At Maggie’s there is a variety of services provided including professional support, groups, workshops and classes. Some of the classes Maggie’s offer include mens only groups, yoga, sleep workshops, hair loss workshops, nutrition workshops and creative writing. I remember my Mum attending a makeup workshop where she attended a masterclass to learn new skills and techniques. Seeing as cancer and treatment can have a huge impact on your physical appearance this class pushed self love and confidence. Although it was teaching how to apply makeup, it wasn’t about covering up their illness, it was allowing women to feel ‘normal’ and more like themselves before the dark circles appeared following chemo. I remember how excited my Mum was that she got to keep some products from the workshop. She sat with me, showing and telling me her newly learnt techniques. It was the first time in a while that I had seen my Mum passionate about something, reverting back to the talkative person she usually was.

Aside from the workshops and groups, for emotional and mental support my Mum received counselling and therapy from a psychologist. Maggie’s enabled her to access this easily without having to go through referrals or a hospital environment which can make a huge difference especially when you are receiving treatment, up and down the hospital just as much as the nurses working there. The way the centres are built and furnished truly demonstrate the aim and the aura Maggie’s wants to create. Our local Maggie’s is open and light with separate rooms for privacy or communal areas like the kitchen where anyone is free to sit for a coffee and a chat. There is nothing clinical about how the building is designed in the slightest, filled with homely features and welcoming faces.

https://www.maggiescentres.org/media/cache/38/02/3802992f039b138691a9dc8519dd7bb2.jpg

Towards the end of my Mums illness, continuing through her recovery and then eventually after my Dad’s diagnosis, I also had the support of a psychologist in order to help me understand everything I was trying to process. Having someone to talk to and vent to, someone who wouldn’t judge but understood the mixture of emotions I had inside of me was exactly what I needed. To this day when I go to meet my psychologist I have no idea what I am going to say but she has mastered the way I think to a T, often knowing more about what I’m thinking than I do. She allows me to properly delve into the root of any thought or emotion, showing how it is effecting me and then guiding me to process it in a way that is personal to me. Our 45 minute sessions are always filled to the brim as both conscious and sub-conscious feelings are released from me. I once said to my Mum that before a session I feel like a blank drawing by numbers, but afterwards, all of the dots are connected. Minds are complex things but my psychologist has mastered mine. I always feel about 2 stone lighter walking back to my car after a session.

The amount of gratitude I have for the support my family has received from Maggie’s is immense. During the years where I felt as if I had no one to turn to or no friends who understood, the people of Maggie’s were there listening, never judging or pitying. To this day when I walk into my local Maggie’s centre I feel at ease knowing I am in a safe place where even though cancer is the reason we are all there, the atmosphere and mood is never depressing or sad. It is a place where everyone effected by cancer comes together as people and not just because of an illness. Yes it helps to have people who are in a similar situation to you and with similar health worries but it is also nice to sit down with people for a chat or participate in a group where people aren’t struggling what to say to you or tiptoeing on egg shells in fear of saying something wrong. At Maggie’s it feels like there is an understanding that cancer is a part of your life but it doesn’t define it. It is somewhere that you can feel most human – someone who still stresses about what to wear, when to do the shopping or help the kids with their homework – but is also dealing with a horrible disease. In my opinion it is the best of both worlds as you get the professional support to help you cope but also make friends and bonds with people who don’t just look at you and see a disease, they see a person still with interests and a day-to-day life wanting to live life to the full.

Here is where you can find out about Maggie’s: https://www.maggiescentres.org/about-maggies/

Here is where you can donate: https://www.maggiescentres.org/how-you-can-help/ways-give/

The C Word – How Cancer Has Affected My Life

In 2013 my world started to crumble around me. At 13 years old I remember being sat down with my brother and told that my 40 year old mother had breast cancer. Nothing could have ever prepared me for the feelings and devastation I felt when those words left my father’s lips. After being told this heart wrenching news my flight response took over causing me to run to the garden where I sat for hours trying to process what I had just been told. I spent the rest of the evening crying for my beloved family.

After her diagnosis my Mum was told she would need an operation to remove the cancerous tissue from her breast (a mastectomy) as well as 6 rounds of chemotherapy spreading over the course of 6 months. It was at this stage that her and my family started to notice the real changes and horrible side effects of chemotherapy.

My Mum is a cheery, bubbly, positive person, always caring for everyone before herself, but when she was receiving treatment this all changed. The up-beat, brunette that used to sit across the living room from me was now frail, anxious and wearing cotton hats to cover her balding head. Her confidence had been completely knocked coming to terms with her new body and image that was staring back at her in the mirror but she got through it thanks to my Dad.

13 year old me with Mum after giving her a makeover to help her feel a little more like herself.

Throughout my Mum’s treatment my Dad was her rock and strength to get her through the day. He attended every appointment with her, held her hand through surgery and helped her to rationalise her anxious thoughts that hit her like a tonne of bricks at various points of the day. It was through this period that I truly recognised the amount of love they had for each other and truly honouring their vows ‘through sickness and in health’.

Alongside supporting my Mother my Dad was also the rock for my brother and I. Seeing my mother suffering from this horrible disease as well as struggling through anxiety and depression impacted me greatly causing my Dad to urge me to seek help at Maggie’s Cancer Centre where I was able to pour out every ounce of sadness, anger and anxiety that seemed to be consuming me.

Luckily, my Mum was deemed cancer-free at the end of her chemotherapy which was a massive relief for my family. It felt like the awful life we had been living for the last year was now coming to an end. I felt lighter and so grateful to still have my strong Mum to guide me through life.

Although we thought our bad luck was over, it turned out it had only just started. Less than two years after my Mum was given the all clear my Dad began suffering severe headaches and loss of speech. After originally being signed off work with stress, further investigation and more crippling headaches led to the discovery of a tumour in my Dad’s brain.

It would’ve been easy to go into panic mode at this point but we all still remained hopeful that the tumour was benign and it could be removed through an operation, however, only 95% could be removed. During my father’s stay in hospital after his operation the medication and steroids he was on turned him into a paranoid wreck thinking he was unsafe and never going to be able to leave. This was the first time I had ever seen my Dad truly vulnerable and scared as he pleaded for me and my mother not to leave his side.

After the tumour had been removed the conclusion of the biopsy taken was that it was indeed cancerous, meaning he would require further treatment in order to try and get rid of it completely. His treatment consisted of 3 rounds of chemo followed by daily radiotherapy on weekdays for 3 weeks. I remember accompanying him to the hospital for radiotherapy a couple times on the bus where he told me how much he dreaded going each day. I tried to reassure him telling him that it would soon be over and he wouldn’t have to wake up with it looming over him for much longer.

Unlike my Mum the chemotherapy and radiotherapy didn’t have a huge impact on my Dad’s day to day life aside from having a decreased appetite and being more tired compared to normal. He didn’t suffer sickness, dramatic weight loss or mouth ulcers which can be common side effects of cancer treatment. After treatment was completed all that was left to do was wait for the results of a brain scan to see if it had worked.

Everyone involved in Dad’s treatment were convinced he had reacted well to both the chemo and radiotherapy yet the scan showed that the cancer had spread. At this point he was told things weren’t looking hopeful but he could have another 3 rounds of chemo to see if it would make a difference. Unfortunately it did not and my Dad was given a terminal prognosis being told he had just months left.

Despite this my Dad was with us for another year and a half making the most of the time he had left. Towards the final 8 months of Dad’s life he started to deteriorate quite quickly. His speech began to be less understandable, he was unable to climb up the stairs, his memory began to fade and towards the end it was difficult to manage the pain he was enduring.

Dad celebrating his 51st birthday two weeks before he died.

Whilst my Dad was ill I didn’t struggle as much as I did when my Mum was ill. It sounds awful but having the experience of cancer and its effects enabled me to be stronger the second time around. Don’t get me wrong it was the hardest time of my life but to this day I have no idea how I made it through without crumbling.

I spent that year and a half living a double life not even telling my friends the extent of Dad’s illness, only revealing his terminal prognosis 4 months before he died. I went to school where I played the happy, laid back teenager and then somewhere on my walk back home would turn into a teenager caring for her dying Dad. Some days I had to stop before entering the house, shedding my school character and bracing myself to step inside my house where my worries were now administering painkillers, translating Dad’s limited speech to people who couldn’t understand him and helping him into bed. For a long time a double life is what I needed to feel ‘normal’ so I could still enjoy part of my youth. Even the day my Dad died people at school didn’t believe that he was dead as I still attended my Christmas dance the evening of the day he died. For days after his death I refused to think about how it impacted my life, all I was focused on was that he no longer had to suffer.

Another reason I hid my home life from everyone out-with my close inner circle is because I didn’t want people’s pity or for it to change the way I was viewed. I didn’t want the label of ‘the girl whose Dad is dying’ or for anyone to see me any differently. No one my age understood the life I was living at home and I didn’t want the awkward responses and smiles that would follow if I told them about my Dad. I was not ashamed, lets get that straight, I just didn’t see the point in sharing my pain and worry with people who couldn’t relate and would feel bad about not knowing what to say.

This brings me to why I am writing this post in the first place as I wish I had been able to know there was someone out there who felt the same. Someone who knew what it felt like to feel like none of your friends could relate through no fault of their own. In a way I didn’t want to burden my friends with the horrific details of cancer when they were able to live not truly knowing the destruction it can cause. It was an unnecessary detail they didn’t need in their lives.

To anyone who has watched someone close to them go through cancer or has seen the havoc this horrible disease can cause I hope you can relate to even a little of what I have said. Everyone deals with these things in their own way and there is no right or wrong way to process what is happening. I want you to know you are not alone with this and that cancer is not a taboo subject. It has had a huge impact on my life but I’m not going to let it define it.


The C Word – Series

Currently in the UK Cancer Research states that every two minutes someone is diagnosed with Cancer with 163,444 dying from the disease in 2016 alone. In 2015 38% of cases were preventable in some way. Unfortunately in my short life I have experienced the affects of cancer with three family members – both my parents and my Nanny.

Stand Up To Cancer – UK charity aiming to raise funds to help cancer patients.

Recently on Twitter I asked my followers if they would be interested in my personal experiences and any advice/suggestions for others going through a similar thing. At this moment I am thinking this series will consist of three parts focusing on different things. The first part will focus on my personal experience and timeline of events in the periods I was mostly affected by Cancer.

Maggies Cancer charity has played a massive part in helping me come to terms with and coping with the trauma of watching a loved one suffer from Cancer. In the second part of this series I will go into detail about Maggies offers and my experience with the charity.

The final part of my series will be based around grief as through cancer you witness the disease change your loved one which is extremely difficult. Even if the person doesn’t pass away or have a terminal prognosis, grief can still take ahold of you as you remember and miss the ‘old’ and healthy person you knew and loved. This final part will probably be all over the place as I am still in the early stages of grief myself.

Writing this series is going to hopefully allow me to help and reach out to people suffering from the pain of cancer, as well as help myself understand and accept what has happened in my life in the past 5 years.

Let me know if there are any topics or questions you would like to be involved in this series.

Would You Rather? – Challenge

The lovely Millie from msblife.home.blog tagged me to do the Would You Rather challenge that has been going around the blogosphere!

Reading these posts have allowed me to get to know bloggers I follow online a little better. Hopefully by the end of this post you will all know a little more about me!

So without further or do here are my answers:

1: Would your rather be confined to reading a book, or your phone?

Although I love a good book when I read one I become addicted to it very quickly – but not in a good way. When reading a book I am so eager and determined to find out what happens next and to finish it, I might as well be in space away from any human being or distraction. My productivity dramatically decreases when reading as it consumes my life. Maybe if I ever train myself to stop being book greedy I would read a lot more. My life quite literally comes to a halt whilst reading so I’d have to say my phone as it would still allow me to socialise and write blog posts.

2: Would you rather only be able to listen to one album, or never be able to choose what you listen to again?

This question is a tough one as I love all sorts of different music and the thought of only listening to one album or potentially not being able to listen to my favourite artists is saddening. I think I’m going to have to go with the second option of never being able to choose what I listen to as at least there would hopefully be some variety of genres and songs since I listen to a mixture currently. Honestly my music taste is all over the place, one day I’ll be jamming out songs from musicals and the next I’ll be listening to hip hop.

3: Would you rather be able to run and never get tired – but not be able to swim, or just be mediocre at both?

As a child and early teen I was a competitive swimmer making it to regional and national competitions. Even though I am no longer with a club or compete swimming is a hobby and passion I could never stop. Living up to my Aquarius sign I feel at my calmest and freest in the water it’s my safe place where I can vent and think. Despite being super fit in my swimming days I have always struggled with running and was always something I wanted to improve having a balance of both would be the best option for me.

4: Would you rather only be able to complete one game (and when you did you could never play another), or be able to play lots of games but never finish them?

Quite honestly I have never had much interest in games, even on my phone I think there are only 2/3 games that my boyfriend downloaded to entertain him. I played on things such as the Wii and Nintendo DS’ when I was younger with my brother but I think that was heavily down to wanting to be the same as him and the competitiveness between us. Saying that I still like to partake in games at Christmas or occasions for the social side so since I’m not too fussed I’d happily play games but never finish them.

Courtesy of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74nypW5fVDI Pass the Pigs is my favourite game to play with family

5: Would you rather have an incredible understanding of the past, or a clear view of the future?

Compared to the past I am more worried and focused about what the future holds. You can never go back and relive the past no matter how much you want to so moving on to bigger and better things helps you not to dwell. In my life I’ve accepted I won’t know every detail of my past and why it panned out the way it did so being able to prepare and know what was in store for me in the future would definitely ease a lot of anxiety. Even if my view of the future showed a lot of pain and suffering to come at least I’d have more time to come to terms with it and live the best life I could.

6: Would you rather live in the city or the countryside?

When I was younger I dreamed of the idea of living in a big city such a London or New York but as I grew older I realised the daily hustle and bustle of a city would be too overwhelming for me. I love being close to the coast and having to walk to my local shops. As much as I love cities when I visit I don’t think I could live in one full time, I like having peaceful surroundings far too much.

Beaches are my favourite to visit any time of year.

7: Would you rather meet your ‘idol’ in person and never be able to speak or consume their media ever again, or your ‘idol’ not know who you are but you are free to consume as you like?

If you had asked me this when I was 13 the first option would’ve won hands down. In my early teens I was a huge fan girl for bands and singers, often waiting outside hotels and venues with the hope of getting to meet them or even just a glance in my direction. However now, I would say the second of my idol not knowing who I was but still being able to consume their media as there’s a possibility of meeting your idol and them being the complete opposite of what you hoped. I know from my 13 year old experiences that people are a lot different in the mainstream media then they are in person. I’d rather be naive to how they are in reality but still be able to find happiness from their media/content.

8: Would you rather be forced to laugh or cry, at everything?

This is an easy question for me as I am a person who no matter how much I want to cry, I don’t, especially in public. Aside from my boyfriend and mum, who probably think I cry all the time, no one else in my life gets to see my cry all too often. Being upset is not something I accept that well, I would much rather force myself to laugh than cry. For some reason I always like to appear strong and fearless to others even though I definitely am not. In the last couple of years I have softened slightly however I still hope to become better with letting people see the softer side of me.

9: Would you rather enjoy the taste of everything but be colour-blind, or see the world in the highest definition but not be able to taste?

Now this question is difficult! Food to me is not something that I need to survive but a hobby. Sometimes it feels like my life revolves around food as I’m constantly thinking what to have for meals and what new things I can cook. Trying out and tasting new things is a passion of mine which probably comes from working in hospitality and restaurants in the past. Although my love for food is never ending so is my love for being able to appreciate the wonders that this earth creates. Some of the natural and man made sights are breathtaking and just wouldn’t be the same not in colour. Saying this, I don’t get to experience these everyday of my life but food is something the differs every meal. I would rather enjoy the taste of everything.

The lightest soufflé I have ever tried from my trip to Thailand last year!

10: Both options coming with their natural benefits and downfalls, would you rather have to exercise for 1 hour every day, or never be able to exercise again?

In the last year I have got myself into a good exercise routine which has really benefited me in terms of physical strength as well as mentally. Cutting this out would have a detrimental effect on my wellbeing. Exercising has so many forms that an hour a day could just be going for a walk or it could be a full body gym session which leaves you aching for days. Now I know how positively exercise has benefitted my life I couldn’t possibly give it up.

Thank you for reading, I hope you now all know a bit more about how my weird mind operates. Thank you again to Millie for tagging me it was a great challenge and really made me think.

Here are my questions:

  1. Would you rather give up driving and cycle everyday or drive but can only do 20mph everywhere?
  2. Would you rather always have to eat strict clean healthy meals all of the time but never look healthy and fit or would you rather eat takeaways for every meal and look healthy and fit?
  3. Would you rather never travel but be extremely wealthy or travel the world with a very restricted budget, only ever being able to afford the minimum?
  4. Would you rather achieve all of your goals in one year but never get any recognition for them or never achieve any goals but are hugely remembered for your work when you die?
  5. Would you rather delete all social media and keep only your blog or delete your blog and only connect through other social media?
  6. Would you rather only be able to communicate through your phone (excluding physically talking on the phone) or never be able to communicate through text/email/letters and only being able to talk verbally on the phone or in person?
  7. Would you rather no one you knew personally know about your blog but not be successful or being well known and judged for having a blog but be successful?
  8. Would you rather have to wear formal clothes everyday or wear pyjamas everyday? (Both whilst everyone else is wearing normal clothes)
  9. Would you rather speak out on important issues that mattered to you but receive backlash or never speak of issues that you felt strongly about to keep a positive image?
  10. Would you rather only ever read mainstream media such as the newspaper or only ever read social media for news updates?

I tag:

The Cysters Tribe (@thecysterstribe) – thecysterstribe.blogspot.com

This Brilliant Day (@ThisBrillDay) – thisbrilliantday.com

Roses + Rogue (@RosesNRogue – linktr.ee/rosesandrogue

Johnny (@DJ_247_96) – johnnysadventures.com

Lena Dee (@LenaDeexo) – lenadeexo.com

Julia (@ALushIdea) – alushidea.wixsite.com/website

Rhi Crooks (@CrooksRhi) – therwordblog.com

ThatGuyBry (@blogthatguybry) – thatguybry.com

OffHerMocha (@offhermocha) – Offhermocha.wordpress.com

Alexx (@AestheticsAlexx) – aestheticsbyalexx.com

Tanologist Tan – Review

For a long time I never understood the hype of fake tan. All of my friends would spend hours perfecting their tan before a night out while I sat watching TV in my pyjamas with hours to kill. Last summer my Mum picked up a bottle of Bondi Sands 1 hour express tan for our holidays which sat in the cupboard unused until November. Before the festive season my curiosity got the better of me and the time had come for me – a pasty, red head – to try fake tan. After using it once I completely understood why everyone loves to be tanned and glowy.

Whilst I liked the Bondi Sands, it wasn’t my favourite and a new tan on the market had caught my attention of Instagram. This brand was Tanologist created by Lottie Tomlinson, a fellow blogger and. makeup artist.

Tanologist has a range of products including Gradual Tan, Tanning Drops, Tanning Mousse and tanning primer/eraser. I picked up the Tanning Water in Light which claims to be streak free and odourless as well as being a completely transparent liquid. The formula is designed in a way which allows you to control the darkness of your tan dependent on time, with 1 hour being the lightest and 4 hours being the darkest shade and everything in-between.

The formula is what drew me into this product as there is plenty of photographic evidence of streaky tans and horror stories of girls ending up 10 times darker than they wished to be. Since I’m a naturally a fair skinned girl I don’t want anything to drastic or end up matching my skin to the colour of my hair so having control of how dark I want to be eases my mind!

I prepped my skin by taking a bath and using the Avon Moroccan Bath and Shower Oil to moisturise my skin. This allowed me to shave and cleanse my skin ready for tan to be applied whilst moisturising my skin to prevent the tan clinging to dry areas. Using the oil allowed me to cut a step out of my usual routine of getting out the bath then slathering on moisturiser and waiting for it to soak in.

The bottle of Tanning water comes with a spray pump which makes application super quick and easy. Following the directions on the bottle I then used a tanning kit to rub in the water all over my skin in big circular motions. Compared to may usual tanning routine this took half the time which I was really impressed by. It was so quick I questioned whether I had applied it correctly. Whilst applying there wasn’t a distinct tan smell or fragrance to water which I was impressed with since I always make fun of my friends for smelling like beef hula hoops.

I didn’t know how long I was going to keep it on for but ended up leaving it on for the full 4 hours which left me with a subtle yet glowy and natural tan. Towards the end of the 4 hours there was a little bit of an odour to the tan however it was very weak compared to other tans I have used in the past. Since many tans claim to be streak free I was really intrigued to see if Tanologist actually lived up to what they are promoting to their customers and I can 100% say that I have no streaks on my body whatsoever, I don’t even have the darker knees, elbows and ankles which normally comes with tanning.

Before and After
Although subtle that is exactly what I wanted for my fair skin. Honestly this before photo doesn’t show my true pastiness! If you want to be darker there are the medium and dark ranges.

Overall so far in my tanning journey the Tanologist Tanning Water is my favourite so far. It left me with an all over even tan and streak free. Its safe to say this will be one of my go-to’s whenever I am wanting a tan.

You can purchase Tanologist directing through their own website or at Superdrug.