Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017

Hello my loves and welcome back to my page. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and have a Happy New Year, how on Earth is it already the last day of the year? 2017 has been such a difficult year but I am looking forward to turning over a new page and going into a new year, leaving this year as well as all my teenage years behind me.

I have not only achieved a lot, but I have learnt so much throughout this year that has allowed me to mature and grow up very quickly. Although there has been tricky patches throughout this year, I am closer than ever to both my family and my partners family. I have proved myself wrong with being able to tackle harder issues than I have ever had to deal with before and I have learnt that I am stronger than I believed.

Looking back on my resolutions from last year, I have barely achieved any of them but having said that, I have also realised that I was headed for the wrong direction to where I wanted to be in life.

Resolutions for 2017:

Quit Smoking - Believe it or not, I have actually managed to quit smoking but am currently using an e-cig. However, I have managed to cut my nicotine down from 18mg to 3mg so have nearly managed to cut down completely. I have learned though, that someone telling you to quit smoking wont help you quit, it will make you want to do it even more, you have got to want it to be able to succeed. 

Getting my Provisional Licence and starting to learn to drive - This is one that I haven't yet managed due to not changing my medication that would allow me to drive. I haven't actually wanted to learn to drive over the  past year and didn't want to force myself into doing it without being ready. 

Finishing Sixth Form with grades that I am proud of - This is another one that didn't exactly go to plan, I left Sixth Form in early January to focus on my health and haven't yet managed to get back into education but I have learnt that sometimes the best thing you can do is take time out to focus on yourself.

Saving money - I wouldn't say that I have achieved this goal either most likely because I didn't have anything to save up for and decided to use shopping as a way to cheer myself up. I must try harder to save money, will it happen? Who knows.

Continuing my recovery and being able to manage and cope with my illness better - I would say that I have achieved this goal, I have had relapses but that is all part of recovery and I feel that I am able to control and deal with some aspects of my illness better.


What I did achieve during 2017:

I saw Olly Murs Live twice and was able to enjoy it without feeling uncomfortable with my surroundings. 

I didn't have extended sick leave off of work which is so good for me considering I did twice within the first year of my job.

I have grown an even bigger make-up collection and probably have enough make-up to last me the rest of my life due to my impulsive money spending. 

I turned twenty years old which is such an important milestone for me considering how rubbish I have found my teenage years.

Despite DBT not working out, I learnt so many new skills that have come in very useful when trying to avoid self-destructing habits. 


One of the best things I did throughout 2017 was a Skydive to raise money for Mind. It was such an incredible and eye-opening experience and I would love to do it again. I would recommend Skydiving to anyone as it really doesn't compare to anything I have ever experienced before.

Lastly, I have managed to get back into some of my old but favourite hobbies such as sewing and reading which I lost interest in after having difficulty concentrating.


What I hope to achieve throughout 2018:

Start learning to drive - I actually mean this one this year, all of my friends are driving and I just wish I could drive to be more independent and have more freedom. It'd be so useful and i'd be able to see my friends so much more considering that they live all over England. 

Join the gym/get back into exercise - If you know me personally, you're probably laughing at this one as I am currently the most unfit person however, I did used to be very sporty until I was about 16. I miss sports, I miss playing football and jogging and I want to get back into it not only to feel better about my body and shape, but to feel better within myself. Having said that, the gym is such an anxiety provoking task for me as they're always so busy and I hate the thought of people judging me.

Find a new job - Don't get me wrong, I love the job that I currently have and I adore the people but I feel like I am outgrowing the place and would prefer a more 'adult' job with shifts that fit in better with my life. I would love to stay where I am, but other places have better pay for the same or even less work, I don't feel like I will ever move up or get anywhere where I am and I would love a job that is the average weekdays with evenings and weekends off. I know that to some, that can sound impossible, but even if I find a new job with just one of those things, I'd be happy.

Visit Disneyland Paris - This is something that me and my boyfriend have been set on doing for some time, but we had to put a hold on it due to Birthday's and Christmas coming up. I would love to go to Disneyland Paris and am hoping that in 2018, we can make that happen. 

Cut my hair short for charity - Cutting my hair off, is something that I have been planning since summer and that I am definitely going to do, it is just a matter of finding a hairdresser that I trust which is more difficult than it sounds. Saying that, I am excited to cut it all off and even more excited to donate it but I can't help being nervous that I'll hate it.

I hope to get back into education or at least look into it - Education is so important, I just found it impossible to do well within my education whilst also severely struggling with my health. I hope to be able to go back into education with the motivation and mindset to be able to do as well as I am capable of. 


My 2018 Blog Schedule:

I am also going to be trialing a new schedule throughout the beginning months of 2018 as I feel that some of my favourite things to talk about manage to get hidden or pushed aside to make space for other topics. If this schedule works well, I will continue it and if not, I will try to change it up. It's also important to know that I will also be uploading other posts here and there that don't fit into my schedule, I just didn't want to add a ridiculous amount of pressure onto myself.


Monday - Mental Health Related Posts
Wednesday - Book Reviews
Friday - Beauty Product Reviews

That is all from me today, I do hope that you enjoyed. How has your year been? What are your New Years Resolutions? What are your plans for this evening? Have a good one and be safe and sensible.




Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Holly Bourne: Am I Normal Yet? (The Spinster Club 1) | Book Review

Evie wants nothing more than to be a normal sixteen year old girl, she is desperate to put her OCD past behind her which led to her being admitted to a psychiatric hospital. She is starting to live a life without mental illness, she is coming off of her medication and has even started a new college where nobody knows her as "the girl who went nuts" but there is one thing missing from her so called normal life, a boyfriend. 

We all know that relationships can be tough, and I know for one that relationships whilst you're recovering from mental illness is extremely tough but that's not to say that it isn't do-able. This Young Adult Novel explores the stigma around mental illness, feminism, friendships and adapting back into the 'normal' world. We equally know that 'normal' isn't a thing, everybody has their own issues and we just need to embrace ourselves for who we are.

I adore the way that this novel is written, Bourne has turned into one of my favourite YA Authors and her style of writing is both addictive and unique. We learn on the first page of this novel that Evie is in therapy for her mental health problems, we take on the journey of recovery with her, through the ups and downs and even through a heartbreaking relapse. Alongside The Shock Of The Fall, this is one of the most relatable books I have read, regarding the fear of being judged for your mental illness, trying to start a fresh life whilst recovering, and the frustrations of a relapse. We even learn about the side effects of Evie's illness, the side effects of her medication and how "my drugs had made me a bit...puffy."

This novel holds a whole roller coaster of emotions from start to finish, I was gripped into this book almost instantly and could not put it down. We learn about every aspect of Evie's life and one of the main focuses is her new friends, Amber and Lottie who have no idea about Evie's illness due to her being too afraid to tell them but when they do eventually find out, they have no problems with this and support her unconditionally. 


Despite this, the three girls have built up an inseparable bond and have even created a group called "The Spinster Club" where they discuss the modern day issues surrounding feminism in an attempt to become stronger and more powerful women in today's society. 

Like almost every Young Adult/Older Teen novel written, there has to be some romance within this novel and we follow Evie's journey on dates with a few different guys, we experience with her, falling head over heals for some of the boys and absolutely messing up other dates, something that I am sure most teenagers have experienced. 

Overall, I fell in love with not only the story, but Holly Bourne's talent and I am eager to read the following books in this series. If you're looking for something relatable and about mental health problems, then this is certainly a book to read. I can't believe how much emotion was in this novel and I can't wait to read the next Spinster Club novels. I rated this book five stars on Goodreads, I can see this novel being one that I read over and over again. 



Reading Next: Holly Bourne: It Only Happens In The Movies

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

What My Teenage Years Taught Me

"Your teenage years are the best years of your life, don't wish them away", says every adult but are our teenage years really the best? You don't have bills to pay and you don't have an overwhelming amount of responsibility but being a teenage is tough, especially in today's society. Considering that tomorrow is my 20th birthday, I thought that I would reflect on what I have learnt from being a teenager before I leap into being a fully grown adult (maybe just a half grown adult). 

Its safe to say that for me, being a teenage was quite a disaster from beginning to end and I am more than thankful to be putting these years behind me. My teenage years have been spent in crippling anxiety and depression, spending more time wishing I was dead than alive, numerous visits to my local hospital, trying to grow up and become independent and trying to find the best way to balance my illnesses and a life worth living. It's tricky. But I have almost made it out of this part of my life so without further ado, let's get straight in..


  • People come and go, even the ones that you didn't expect to and this isn't always a bad thing. I cannot express this enough, I have friends who I have grown up with and known almost all my life but who I rarely speak to now and it isn't either of our faults, we have just drifted apart and gone separate ways in life. There is no point in holding grudges over something that can't be helped. I still hold a special place in my heart for these people and do still consider them as friends but you never know, we might cross each others paths again in the future. It is so important to remember that in regards to friends, quality over quantity is the best approach to have. During school especially, I had a huge amount of friends but only a couple that I was extremely close to. Some of these people are no longer a part of my life but I have also met other friends along the way, again some of which who have left but others who I am more close with than I ever have been to friends before and who I couldn't imagine my life without. I have also realised that some of the people who walked out of my life, despite it hurting at first, was for the best as I am much better off and happier without them.
  • Although education is important, your health is a bigger priority. I spent too many years allowing my health to deteriorate in order to make my education succeed. Funnily enough, I was still failing most of my subjects and in the most recent years I have learnt that being alive and healthy, is far more important than getting amazing grades. This realisation only hit me when I missed six months of year 11 (essentially, the most important school year) to focus on my health and receive intense, 24 hour treatment. I sat my GCSEs in hospital and only passed five of my subjects, each one getting a lower grade than my target. Your education can be redone at any age whereas there is no redoing life if you end up dead.
  • If you've noticed that you constantly feel rubbish or are struggling with your mood or school, you must tell and talk to someone, no matter how hard it seems. I know that everyone says this, and it is hard to believe that telling someone will help, but it really will. I wish that I had spoken to someone when I first realised I wasn't well because it could have prevented things spiraling even further downhill. On the other hand, you need to realise that there isn't a quick and easy fix and there will be people who you put all your trust in for them to leave your life, leaving you wishing that you still had your secrets. There will also be people who have helped you just by supporting you and who you with be thankful for throughout your future, despite losing contact with them. Talk to someone, your parents, a friend, a teacher, a doctor or anyone that can support you with starting to get help, it'll be so beneficial in the long run.
  • Not everyone understands, but it isn't always their fault. Throughout my teenage years, I have come across so many different people who simply don't understand me or my illness. I have had friends who have left, because I was too much to handle and they didn't know how to support me which isn't their fault, because how can they support someone who won't let them in and tell them what's going on? However, I have also come across many professionals who don't understand. I have had teachers who was certain that there wasn't anything wrong with me and that I was just attention seeking, I have had doctors refuse to give me pain relief because I did this to myself, I have had other doctors tell me that I clearly don't want to die if i'm receiving treatment and I have even had fully qualified mental health professionals tell me that I am going to be this way forever and there isn't anything that they can do to help or support me, unless I know what I want or what will help, which I obviously don't know because if I did, I wouldn't be there in the first place.
  • High-school is hideous. I despise high-school, it was such a bad time in my life and I think that people can be so cruel without even realising that they're doing so. High school is full of drama, rumors, bullying, judgement, bitching and hormones. People can be mean and comments can be easily made that can affect others so negatively. Luckily, I didn't have an awful time at high school, the only rumor that got around about me was that I was locked away in a nut hut, but I suppose that meant that I didn't actually have to tell people myself, so I am quite thankful for that one. However, I wasted so much time worrying and being upset over small, irrelevant things that really didn't matter, so irrelevant that I can't even remember most of the things I used to get upset about.
  • Alcohol is over-rated. I didn't really start drinking alcohol till I was about 16, and even that was only at parties. When I turned 18, I didn't really see the hype and realised that the majority of the time, alcohol makes me feel worse, especially considering that I am on medication that I'm not supposed to drink with. I think I can count on my hands the amount of times I have been clubbing, it's just not as good as people make out, but it's one of those things that you've got to try for yourself, just don't drink too much because being sick isn't as enjoyable. 
  • Drugs are illegal for a reason. It's no secret that I am against drugs, I have seen what they can do to people and as someone who has struggled with mental illness, I don't think that having a good night is worth gaining long term mental illnesses. Everyone thinks that it'll never happen to them, but it really isn't worth it, they are illegal for good reasons, even the ones that don't have direct side effects of death. Don't use drugs out of peer pressure, even if people laugh at you, walk away and leave those people in the past because they clearly aren't good friends.
  • Family is everything, and so important. I can understand why not everyone will agree with this point, I am very lucky to have the relationship with my mum that I do but it wasn't always that pleasant and I, like most teenagers, did go through a phase (quite a long one) of despising her. We clashed a lot, she was trying to help me when I didn't want to be helped and she didn't let me do everything that I wanted to (funnily enough). But we got there in the end, and I would be so lost without my mum and brother.
  • The only person that can help you, is yourself. This is such an important phrase and it is so true. If you want to get better, the only person who can fully change things and help you is yourself. Doctors and professionals can support you along the way, they can give you coping methods, medication and therapy but in the long run its you who have to do all the hard work and you who have to want a change. If you don't want to get better or for things to improve, then it's not going to happen. It is hard, everything about recovery is hard and there are good and bad days, but it really is down to you to want things to change. It also takes a long time, it isn't a quick process but it will happen.
  • Independence is freedom. Being independent is something that I have only been able to do recently, mostly due to the fact that I had to be checked on and watched to ensure that I was keeping myself safe but it is essentially freedom, you can go out when you want, you can make your own choices and decisions and within reason, can do what you want. I couldn't imagine going back to being young and having to tell my mum everything that I was doing, although I do still tell her everything, both bad and good but the difference being, that she no longer tells me off and instead tries to guide me in the right direction. Trying to be independent can be daunting and difficult at first, but it gives you so much privacy and space. Having said that, it is important to know that your family will always take you back in if things go wrong.
Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Birthday & Christmas Wishlist/Gift Guide 2017

First of all, I just wanted to say how I am sorry for the non-existing Christmas posts this year, I have been so busy and December has just zoomed by. Secondly, a little disclaimer is that I don't expect to receive the majority of the things on this list, but I created it both to give my friends and family some ideas of what I'd like and secondly, so that whatever I do get, will still be a surprise. Thirdly, this is a joint list because my birthday is on the 20th December, so there really is no point in doing separate lists. Lastly, I am aware that this is very late, my family have had this list for a while but I thought it would be a good idea for a last minute gift guide, so I hope you find it helpful. Everything mentioned is listed down below, not everything on my list is included but the main things are. 














Morphe X Jaclyn Hill Palette, £37 from Beauty Bay UK.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Prism Palette, £43 from ABH UK.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette, £41-£43 from ABH UK/Beauty Bay.
Kat Von D Lock It Setting Powder, Translucent, £22 from Debenhams. 
LUSH Cosmetics Snow Fairy Jelly Bomb, £4.95 from LUSH.
No7 Illuminated Makeup Mirror in either Silver or Rose Gold, £19.99 from Boots.
Roberto Cavalli Perfume, £64, most fragrance stores.
Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy Gold Couture Perfume, £50, perfume shops.
Pandora Linked Love Ring in Rose Gold, £40, Pandora UK.
Pandora Disney Expressive Mickey Charm, £55, Pandora UK.
Ikea Alex 9 Drawers, £95, Ikea. 
Disney Classics DVDs in Classic Sleeves, two for £12 in Tesco. 
'T Initial' Mug, £5.99 from New Look, but other places sell them too.
The Locked Ward: Memoirs of a Psychiatric Orderly Book, £10 from Amazon.
Gift Cards for pretty much anywhere, Primark, Debenhams, Boots, New Look, Zara, H&M etc. 

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Monday, 11 December 2017

Cat Clarke: Girlhood | Book Review

I stumbled across this novel whilst browsing my local library and was instantly drawn to it after seeing the unique cover and reading the blurb. I quickly became aware that this novel was on the Zoella & Friends 2017 Book Club; a club that I trust after previously finding some of my all time favourite novels through it.

This novel follows the life of Harper, who has made the decision to go to an expensive boarding school after the death of her twin sister, Jenna, to escape her past. Harper struggled to explain to her parents why she wanted to go away, "if i'd have told the truth it would have broken them. I couldn't bare to be around them anymore. I could not stay in this house without Jenna." Duncraggan Castle Academy isn’t exactly what Harper was expecting when moving to boarding school but she soon finds herself an inseperatable group of friends, her own sisterhood, a friendship group so close that nothing would tear them apart, or so she thought.

That was until the new girl arrived, Kirsty Connor who took a sudden interest into Harper’s life, a girl who Harper spent a lot of time with and thought she could trust. Kirsty was just like Harper, she wasn’t rich and she had also lost a sister. Little did Harper know that Kirsty’s life was made up of lies, lies that make her fit in. 

When Harper and Kirsty’s friendship grows, it starts to put a strain on Harper’s relationships with her old group of friends, who could see straight through Kirsty and was concerned that Harper was losing her identity, and becoming somebody else who they didn’t like. They knew that Kirsty was trouble and for us readers, it was very clear from the beginning that there was something off about Kirsty. Harper learnt the hard way that she couldn’t trust Kirsty after the news got around the school that her parents are only wealthy after winning the lottery, which ironically happened to her father "the day after his daughter died." Kirsty was one of the few individuals who knew this about Harper. But what do you do when you've put all of your trust into somebody who you feel like you know so well, for their whole identity to be fake?

At times throughout the novel, it is clear that Harper feels a large sense of loneliness, especially when she thinks of how she was meant to be having all of these new experiences with her twin sister by her side. However, she always feels alone to some extend at boarding school, as though she doesn't fit in due to her background. "They don't care about money, because they've never had to think about it." 

As we read through the novel, we learn more about Jenna and about her Anorexia, which ended up killing her. Harper blames herself for her sisters death, making her grief much more difficult and keeps her from telling people the truth. "It's too tiring, telling the story over and over again. Working so hard to make sure you don't tell the whole truth." I believe that Jenna's illness is an important aspect of this story as it proves just how dangerous eating disorders can be, and how innocently they can start. We learn why Harper blames herself and she often talks about how she could have prevented her death, if only she caught onto her twin sisters eating disorder sooner. "My twin sister was fifteen years old when she died. She weighed just under five stone. It had started as a post-Christmas diet. A diet that was my idea." Books that show mental illness in their true forms are some of my favourites, as awareness is essential. Anorexia is such a serious disease that does kill, and more people need to be aware of it, as well as how easily and unintentionally it can start. Anorexia isn't the only modern day topic that needs more awareness to be included in this novel, a large mention of LGBTQ+ as well as Sex and Anxiety are spoken about and all of the characters are so understanding about all of these issues, this is how the modern society should be. One extract in particular that I noticed within this novel, was when Harper explains how Jenna had sent an 'after' photo of herself to one of her 'ana' friends, who praised her on how she looked. We are all aware that there are various websites that promote self destruction and mental health problems, we all know to stay away from them but unfortunately some people do fall into their traps and this does allow other people to promote and worsen their conditions, in Jenna's case, leading to death.

This novel is overwhelmingly full of emotion, you experience everything with Harper, her anger, sadness, loneliness and guilt. You feel not only her loss of her sister, but of her friends as they all go through the highs and lows of being teenage girls, all living together. It has been a while since I found a book as emotive as this one. The tension and mystery within this novel is used in such a unique way that you really don't know what direction the next page will take you in. There are definitely highs and lows and at times, the emotion really did feel raw and real. I really love the style of writing used, this novel was addictive, exciting and so easy to read, I loved not only the writing, but the variety within this book, the characters who were so easy to relate to and even the cosy, stereotypical boarding school setting.

I must admit, one thing that puts me off loving certain novels is their ending. I usually end up so disappointed with endings of novels as I usually hope for it to be different. With this novel, I had no idea what to expect at the end, it was a complete mystery to me and I couldn't have guessed, I actually did enjoy this ending. I adored this novel the entire way through and am keen to have a read of some of Cat Clarke's other books. Have you read this novel? What did you think? I rated this novel 4.5 stars out of five and would highly recommend. 

"One day, I hope to leave the shadow behind me. I choose to believe in the possibility, and that's enough. For now."


Thank-you for reading, Tay x
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