Healthy Living #8 Running 10k

Running has never been my thing, ever. In school I used to try every tactic to get out of running, in cross country me and a few friends would loop back round and find a bench to sit on while everyone else ran the full length. When I started to go to the gym the treadmill was either ignored or used as a last resort. I'm unfit and running would tire me out quickly and I felt embarrassed. 

So your probably wondering why I'm running 10 kilometres?! I was persuaded by a group of my friends that we should run together back at uni, that turned in to running a 5k race and then some how progressed into doing a 10k race at the end of September, which I reluctantly agreed to, being told that training wouldn't be that hard!

LIES. Training is hard. Especially when you're unfit like me and haven't run in years, but I've signed up and paid my money so the training is in full swing. My mum even treated me to a brand new pair of running trainers, which is these beauties above. I'm in love with them. 

I'm currently 4 weeks into my training and I'm following the NHS Couch 2 5k plan, where you do intervals of running and walking and gradually increase the running part. When I started running even a minute felt difficult, and although the start of each week and the increase in running feels impossible I've managed to complete each day and can feel my fitness improving. 

I've improved from running only 1 minute at a time to running 5 minutes, this is a huge step for me and I'm really proud that I've not only managed to stick to the plan but Im also pushing myself and improving daily. I'm aiming to finish the C25K plan by mid August as Im running 6 days a week instead of 3. After this I should be able to run 5k, I'll then work on improving until I can run 10k which should be about an hours run. 

I'm starting to enjoy running even though it can still be really difficult, especially as I run at night after getting home from work, and it can feel like a chore having to go out straight from work. I find running at night/the evening is better for me than getting up early in the morning, and the heat at the moment makes running in the day impossible! 

So wish me good luck in my training as I definitely need it. I'll keep you updated on how I'm doing, and I'd love to hear any tips you have for running a 10k, or just running in general. 

Outfit: Maxi Dress Loving

Dress: Primark
Shoes: Tesco
Bag: H&M
Watch: Marc Jacobs
Sunglasses: Australian market
Rings: Various

A maxi dress is something that is definitely out of my comfort zone and you'll usually find me in shorts or jeans, but as one of my summer goals is to be more adventurous with my clothing I knew wearing a maxi dress had to be done. My mum brought this dress for me after deciding I'd suit it a lot more than her, and I love it. It's lovely and floaty and is great in warm weather. I love how the top part isn't tight and skims over my tummy and the pattern is pretty without being too distracting. This dress makes me feel glamorous and grown up, It's a great dress as can be worn casual or dressed up a bit, it doesn't feel too formal though with the bottom half being more sheer with a slit up the side.

I wore this outfit for a day exploring the city of York with my boyfriend, luckily these sandals from tesco are really comfy and were great for a day of walking, this bag is also the perfect size and just fits all the things I need so I don't have to carry around a massive bag full of rubbish. 

This was my first time taking outfit photos, and it took a lot of encouragement from my boyfriend, but once we'd found an area where people couldn't see we got snapping. It took a lot of shots as I found it hard to pose without feeling awkward or giggling, but I'm happy with how these photos turned out and look forward to roping the boyfriend in to taking more photos for future outfit posts!

Castles, Boats & Photobombers.

A couple of weeks ago Josh and I took a little day trip out to Wales, a place that's been on my travel wish list for a while now. After a quick google and a few texts to my best friend who lives in the area we decide to visit Conwy, a little town on the North coast of Wales. Looking forward to castles, the sea and some beautiful views we started the 2 hour drive from Buxton to Wales. 

When we arrived in Conwy the weather wasn't great and we got out of the car to rain and cloudy skies. However not ones to be discouraged by a little bit of rain we strolled from the carpark towards the town, with our first sight being Conwy Castle which towered over the town. Our first stop was a little coffee shop down near the harbour, after a long drive a coffee and some lunch was definitely needed. After our quick lunch stop we made our way down to the harbour, where Josh gave me a quick lesson in photography, and lots of photos of boats were taken while I attempted to improve my pretty poor skills. 

After my photography lesson I decided it was castle time. As a kid I'd always had a fascination with history and castles, something which luckily Josh really enjoys as well. Conwy is surrounded by castle walls, as well as a bridge that crosses over the sea, it's a pretty impressive bridge, although we're unsure if it was built at the same time as the original castle, it's also obviously been updated to be made a bit safer. The arch did make for a pretty good photo spot, and my photobomber seemed to agree!

After that little photoshoot we paid for our student ticket and wandered up the slope towards the castle. Being built almost 800 years ago, the outer walls and turrets are mostly all thats left of the castle, however it's still a great place to walk around, and you can climb the stairs up to different levels, taking in the views of the harbour and the hills. Whilst we were exploring the castle the clouds began to drift and the sun came out leaving us with a beautiful sunny day. 

Once we'd climbed the narrow stairs to the top of the tallest turret I persuaded Josh to take a selfie with me, something he's always slightly reluctant to do. We can never seem to just smile with one of us, or more usually both of us pulling a face, these usually turn out to be my favourite photos anyway. 

With such beautiful weather we decided to wander back down to the harbour and follow the path along the water. As a total water baby I love being at the sea, so when we reached a small pebbly beach we stopped so I could sit and enjoy being at the sea and Josh could get his photography on. 

One of the free things to do in Conwy is walk along the Castle walls which surround the town, and as students we love anything free. So we climbed the stairs and wandered along the walls enjoying the sunshine and the views. Something that always fascinates both me and Josh is thinking about the people that would have walked along the walls in medieval times. Bow and arrow in hand patrolling the perimeter keeping a lookout for Welshie rebels!

After a lovely day exploring Conwy we headed home, stopping in at Tesco on our way to grab some dinner as we're too poor to eat out! I'm happy I can now tick Wales off my travel wish list, but I still want to see more of the country, as well as visiting the area around Conwy, hopefully getting a guided tour by my best friend who is from the area.

Have you ever visited Wales? Is there any places in the UK you think I should visit? Anywhere with a bit of history or some pretty sights is good for me!

Sunday Catch Up #7

Well aren't I just the worst blogger, not posting anything all week! I've felt guilty all week, but I just haven't had the motivation to write, and this is ultimately a hobby and something I'm doing for fun, so forcing it isn't something I want to do. However I do really enjoy it and want to keep on going, so Im trying to be more organised. Although, organisation has never been my strong point. Anyway, less explaining, more blogging. This week I started back at work, and I am now working weekday evenings at Primark. I did this job last summer so I don't find it difficult, and I already know a lot of the people, which is great. However working in the evenings means missing lots of the blogger chats which I really enjoy.

So as my week has been filled primarily with picking up clothes from the floor and folding hundreds of T shirts, I've decided rather than I catch up I'll show you some internety things I've enjoyed this week. 
  • Im sure a lot of you will have seen this by now, especially if you're a lover of youtube, but JacksGap's 'A Film for Ella' made me feel all emotional and happy, whilst also wanting to moan at my boyfriend for not doing something as romantic as flying across the world to see me, even though we're only a few hours apart and I see him almost weekly.
  • This week the 50 Shades of Grey Trailer was released and It's all I seem to have heard about, people either love it or hate it, and I am on the side of hating it. I read the first book, and not only was it a pretty poorly written, obvious rewrite of twilight fan fiction, it was also just horribly abusive and so many shades of wrong. It would need a whole post dedicated to the reasons I don't like it. However one good thing to come from the release of the trailer was I found this blog by Jenny Trout. She has read and commented on each individual chapter of 50 Shades, and her commentary is great, she's funny and smart and as a writer herself she highlights all the mistakes made by E L James. I've only gone through a few chapters, but it's a pretty great find so far.
  • Lousie from SprinkleofGlitter is one of my favourite youtubers, and I recently saw her instagram post from a premier she attended, and immediately fell in love with the dress she was wearing. The dress is from ASOS and can be found here, I just wish I had a reason to buy it! 
  • A blog I've been loving recently and has made it firmly into my favourites list is Broomfie by Rachael. She blogs about lots of things, and although she had a blog before she's created a new one ready to blog about her adventures of moving to Vancouver. I'm especially loving her posts on books as Im on a bit of a reading craze. 
So that's a few internet related things I've been enjoying this week. If theres any random things you've been enjoying this week, videos, blogs or articles, send them my way as I always need something new to distract me from my growing to do list!  

Sunday Catch Up #6

This week I've not been feeling great, you know that sort of ill where you feel constantly tired no matter how much sleep you get, and you feel a bit weak and like you just want to curl up in bed? Well that's how I've been feeling. I haven't let that stop me though, and I've had a pretty good week.

On Tuesday evening I travelled up to Buxton where my boyfriend lives as we had planned a few days doing things. On Wednesday we drove over to Conwy in Wales and had a little explore. It was a gorgeous day, and we had a great time, I really recommend going and definitely visit the castle as it was awesome to walk around. Im hoping to go back and explore the area a bit more as my best friend lives there, but she wasn't there when I went to visit! Which sucks, but gives me an excuse to go back! 

On Thursday we drove to York to spend 2 days exploring there, we booked a hotel which was lovely and really close to the centre. We also had a delicious breakfast there which set us up for the day. York is a beautiful place, all the buildings are so old and quirky, and theres lots to do, it's a great place just to walk around and explore. We didn't get to do all the things we'd like to just due to money but even just walking around we had a great time. 

Now Im back home, and after a few days of not enough sleep and walking around all day Im feeling like I need a day in bed, so other than a quick trip out to the shops with my best friend thats whats happened today. 

Im determined to spend the rest of my summer being productive, and I've got myself a job back at Primark as I am getting dangerously close to my overdraft limit. I'm also looking at doing some volunteering, and getting some ideas down for my dissertation. My blog is also going to have a bit of a make over soon, I have no idea what Im doing so it might take a while, but Im going to have a read up on what to do and hopefully it will all work out. 

Hope you've had a great week, I've got lots of blog catching up to do, so please leave me links to your blogs or any recent posts you think I'd like.

Healthy Living #7 'Sugar Free' Chocolate Biscuits

Okay so the title may be a slight lie. These biscuits aren’t totally sugar free, but they are definitely a low sugar alternative, with the recipe coming from Sarah Wilson’s ‘I Quit Sugar’ book. You may know that I’ve previously posted about quitting sugar, and although I’ve had my definite slip ups and I still eat more sugar than I should, I am still attempting to cut down drastically on my sugar in take.

These biscuits are very simple to make, and don’t take long at all, but you’re left with a lovely simple biscuit. You can either make a plain version or one of the variations, but I decided to go for the chocolate ones, and it was a good decision. 

To make these biscuits you will need;
250ml Almond meal (Ground Almond)
Half a tsp Bicarbonate of soda
Half a tsp Sea salt
120g Butter, softened
75g Powdered stevia
1 tsp vanilla powder (I used vanilla extract)

60g Sugar free chocolate (I used 85% dark chocolate instead)
3 tbsp Raw cacao powder

To start preheat your oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper, I ended up needing two. Next, using a food processor briefly pulse the almond meal, bicarbonate of soda and sea salt so they combine together, then add in the butter, stevia and vanilla powder (or extract) and blend this all together until they are mixed together. 

The next step is to add your extra ingredients if you’re making one of the variations. For the chocolate biscuits, you need to chop your chocolate into small chunks, it does recommend using sugar free chocolate, but as this can be a bit more difficult to find I used 85% dark chocolate instead as this has a lower sugar content. Add the chunks along with the cacao powder to the mixture and blend this until it’s combined. It should look something like this.

Then take tablespoon sizes of the mixture and roll into a ball and spread out evenly on your baking tray, then press the balls down with your hand to flatten them. Then into the oven they go for 8 minutes. Once they’ve cooked take them out and let them cool down a bit before moving to a wire cooling rack to cool down completely. 

I found these biscuits to be slightly on the crumbly side, but they were still really yummy and a great way to get a sweet fix without such a high sugar content. I’d definitely make these again and try some of the other variations. 

What’s your opinion on low sugar alternatives? Would you try out a sugar free recipe? Let me know what you think and If you make these recipe be sure to send me some pictures on twitter or instagram.  

The Summer Bucket List

I know it's almost half way through summer, but I've decided to create a Summer Bucket List with a few things I really hope to do this summer. I've picked things that I can definitely do and nothing too unrealistic, but they're all things I want to do over the next few months. I'd love to hear what's on your bucket list for summer. 

Make new friends.
Be more adventurous with clothes.
Improve my blog.
Train for the 10k.
Meet more bloggers.
Save money
Read more books.
Visit the beach with my best friend.
Go on a bike ride.
Visits more places in the UK.
Start on my dissertation.
Get stupidly drunk with my friends.
Have a Picnic.
Visit London with Josh.
Meet up with Uni friends. 

The Summer Tag

After seeing this post on Georgina's blog I thought I'd give it a go to get myself into the Summer spirit, seeing as the weather in the UK doesn't always make it feel like it's Summer! 

1.  What's your favourite thing about Summer?
The best thing about Summer has to be the sun, when we get it that is! Everything seems better when the sun is shining and the sky is blue without a cloud in sight. Being outside is also a great thing about summer, whether that's sunbathing, having a bbq or going for a bike ride, being outside after being stuck inside for months can feel amazing. 

2.  Do you have a favourite Summer drink?
I don't have a go to drink for summer, I'm loving Peach Ice Tea at the moment, and cocktails on holiday are a must, sex on the beach is probably my favourite. 

3.  Is there a location you like to go to each Summer?
I like visiting new places, so if I go away I try to go somewhere new each time, even if it is just a beach holiday and I don't get to see much of the country. Each Summer I do like to try and visit the south coast as I love the British seaside. 

4.  Favourite makeup look for Summer?
I like to keep it simple in the Summer, when I don't need to impress I try to stay away from foundation as it just slides of my face by the end of the day if it's hot. If I want to look a bit more polished I'll usually go for a bright lip and a golden eye. 

5.  Dresses or skirts?
Neither? I'm definitely a shorts and jeans kind of girl and during the hotter months I live in shorts, but If I had to pick it would be dresses as I own so many that I rarely wear, but I don't own many skirts. 

6.  Sandals or ballet pumps?
Sandals, my feet have been locked away all year, it's time to get those painted toes out in the open! Also when it's hot ballet pumps can get rather gross. 

7.  Do you prefer to wear your hair up or down for Summer?
I really don't like my hair up as I think it suits me more down, but as I've got long hair it can get unbearably hot and sometimes has to go up, I usually go for a messy bun, or a simple pony tail if I can't be bothered. 

8.  Deep smokey eyes or bold lips?
In general I'm all about the smokey eyes, I love experimenting with different eyeshadow looks, but I also love wearing a bold lip during summer as it can make a real statement.

9.  Favourite perfume for Summer?
I am a massive lover of Marc Jacobs and I am slightly obsessed with his fragrances. I think my favourite for summer would have to be the limited edition Daisy Sunshine from last year, or possibly this years edition. 

10.  Last but not least, favourite music for Summer?
Something fun and happy, either dance/pop music to put me in a upbeat mood, or chilled out acoustic stuff to chill out to. 

If you're a lover of Summer I tag you to do this. Leave me a comment if you do this post, and be sure to check out Georgina's blog.  

Sunday Catch Up #5

The last time I did a Sunday Catch Up was the beginning of June, so I guess we've got a lot of catching up to do, so heres whats been going on in my life the past month or so! 

Quit My Job
I did have a summer job working at centre parks, but this wasn't for me and I started to suffer more from anxiety and decided that I needed to quit and spend some time looking after myself, which I have and it's been great and i've been working on trying to cope better with anxiety.

Went to Cyprus
I was very lucky to get the opportunity to spend a week in Cyprus with a programme Im part of at uni. Our flights and accommodation were paid for, and although we had to spend 4 days in uni in Cyprus doing work it was still a really fun experience and I made some great friends. It was also pretty nice chilling by the pool and going out for cocktails! 

I Exercised
I've decided to use my summer wisely and get into shape which means eating less crap and exercising more, obviously I've had my ups and downs with this, but Im getting there, I'm starting to enjoy exercise a bit more, It's still struggle but Im starting to feel the benefits!

I got a First!
My second year results came back and I got an overall first for second year! I've worked hard this year so Im really proud of myself, and now Im determined to work hard and do well in third year. 

We had a 'Holiday'
The boyfriend and I had planned to go abroad for a holiday but after a long time trying to decide where we ended up deciding to stay in the UK and do some things here. So last week I spent a few days in Buxton in the Peak District where Josh lives, we had a really nice time and even managed to fit in a trip to Alton Towers. We've also planned a couple of days in York and we're hoping to visit London and see a show as well. 

Something that is super exciting for me is that this little blog reached 300 bloglovin followers! Im so happy about it and really proud of myself for sticking to blogging, I've had my up and down moments but I'd like to think Im improving. So thank you to everyone whose followed me, it really means the world to me! 

So It's been an up and down month or so but I've had some really good times and Im proud of myself for my grades and my little blog milestone! Im determined to use my next few weeks of summer productively and also have a really good time too!

The 'To Read' List

Ever since I was a child learning to read I've been obsessed with books and have been an avid reader. I remember as a child doing the library's summer challenges and completing them in a few weeks. However since I started University I've found myself reading fiction less and less. Essays require lots of reading and I think the thought of reading a fiction book on top of all the research I was doing was too much, however I still kept buying, or being given books, and this has resulted in a growing 'to read' pile. So to help ease this pile I've decided over the Summer I need to get back into reading. 

So I've pulled out a few books from the growing pile, and this is my current 'to read' list. 

Life after Life - Kate Atkinson 
This book has had some great reviews and is one Im looking forward to reading. The book is about a women who keeps being born to the same family and living her life and dying before being born again. Each time her choices and reactions to events are different and this results in her living a different life each time. 

The Casual Vacancy - J.K. Rowling 
Last summer I started reading this book on my lunch breaks at work, however I never got round to finishing it. I've come to the conclusion that it needs to be read in big chunks and not chapters at a time. As a huge Harry Potter fan I had to read this book, the story is based around the death of a councillor, leaving an empty seat on the Parish Council. The story focuses on the differing characters who all have an interest in this seat, as well as the lives of the inhabitants of the small town. I'm really looking forward to getting into this book again, hopefully this time it will grip me and I'll really enjoy it. 

The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
This book was lent to me by my mum who had nothing but praise for it, it's also been recently made it to a film which I refused to see before I'd read the book. The book is unusual in that it is narrated by death during Nazi Germany, but focuses on the story on the life of a young girl living in Germany and how she steals books. I have a feeling this book will be one I can't put down, it has such an interesting perspective. 

Summer Fling - Sarah Morgan 
I picked this book up for £1 in Asda just as an easy read, although I love deep books I also really enjoy a chick lit. This story looks like a stereotypical chick lit read, with romance, secrets, scandals and love. I don't think this book will be a memorable one or anything to shout about, but It will ease me back into reading, and I've picked it as my first book to start reading. It also won't keep me up till 3am like some books that I just can't put down. 

The Shining Girls - Lauren Beukes 
A serial killer thriller isn't my normal pick, but this book I was given for Christmas and I was intrigued by the blurb. The story is about a guy who stalks 'shining girls' through the years and cuts the spark out of them but one survives. The surviver Kirby begins looking at the evidence around the other victims deaths and finds it... 'impossible'. The draw of time travel, unexplained crimes, and a slightly creepy thriller vibe has got me intrigued and excited about this book. 

The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith 
As a J.K. fan I had to pick up this book she wrote under a pseudonym. I've never had much interest in crime novels so this book will be something new for me. The main character, Strike is a private detective and war veteran, he begins an investigation into the death of a model who is believed to have committed suicide however as expected, all is not as it seems and as Strike begins to explore the model's life things become darker and he becomes at risk of terrible danger. 

The Charming Man - Marian Keyes
I've read a few of Marian's books and when I saw this at the free book shop in Preston (yes, books for free!) I decided to grab it. A chick lit with a bit of substance and drama, the story is about 4 women and their connection to a soon to be married politician. One women is his girlfriend but isn't the one marrying him, another women is a journalist looking for the inside scope, the other women is her sister who had once been in love with the politician, and the final women is his fiancĂ©. The story sounds like a fun, interesting story that hopefully isn't too predictable. This book will probably be a holiday read as it seems like an easy read, but not a boring one. 

So that's my 'to read' list. If you've read any of these books please let me know your opinions, no spoilers tho! If you'd like a review on any of these books also let me know, and if you've got any recommendations of books I need to add to my pile leave a comment or send me a tweet on twitter.

10 Things I Love About Being A Student

- Lie insSometimes my day starts at 7am, but most of the time it doesn't start until I want it to, I can even get up and go back to sleep half way through the day. Naps can be an everyday occurrence. 

- Freedom. But not too much. You get to live away from home and you're responsible for your own life and it's awesome. But you still get to pop home with a bag full of dirty washing that you immediately hand to mum, and then you lounge about on the sofa while she cooks up a roast dinner. 

- Staying up late on a school night. When you work full time theres no way you wanna be staying up partying the night before a shift, but when you're a student you can stay up late every night. Whether it's going out clubbing or staying up till 4am watching Netflix, even if you do have a lecture the next day it doesn't matter because it's probably only an hour, and thats if you even go!

- Summer. It's 4 months long and if you don't want/need to work, it's basically 4 months of sleeping, sunbathing and chilling with friends. And you're at home so you don't pay rent, and the food is a lot better!

- Living with friends. Living with friends is a lot more fun than living with your family. It means there is always someone around to force into going out, or to stay up have chats about rubbish, or to persuade you into a midnight ice cream run. 

- PJs & comfy clothes. Nobody expects you to turn up to a 9am looking good, so you can quite literally role out of bed, and the same with the library, especially around deadline time. Being comfy is the most important thing when studying so nobody is judging you when you look like hell, and if they are, well they're just missing out!

- Student Discount. I now resent paying full price for anything thanks to student discounts. Even if it's only 10% off, that's still 10% that can go towards food or alcohol. 

- Loan & Overdraft. Loan days are the best days of the year, even if you have to transfer it all out to your landlord the next day. The moment you check your bank balance and see it's gone in you get a feeling of pride, like you might actually have worked for that money. Nope you did nothing, but don't worry you'll pay it back eventually. The other great thing about student banking is overdrafts that don't charge you. I spend most of the year living in my overdraft waiting for my loan, yet it still doesn't stop me spending. Oh how I love you overdraft for allowing me to carry on shopping. 

- Friends. Probably one of the best things about being a student is that you meet so many people and make so many friends, and they all live within 10 minutes of you. They make uni the amazing experience it is and you have some of the best times of your life with them. Also if you're lucky you'll have friends across the country that you can go stay with for free!

- Learning. Probably not one of the things you'd think you'd love about being a student, but for me I really enjoy how life as a student means you're constantly learning new things. Whether thats related to your degree, related to your friends degree, or just general life lessons. Theres always something to learn and everyone can teach you something new. It's brilliant. 

Not a full list, but just some of the things I love about being a student. It's a pretty awesome life we lead. Let me know your favourite things about being a student, or what part of student life you wish was part of your life. 

Healthy Living #6 Keeping Mentally Healthy

Being healthy and living a healthy lifestyle is an important part of looking after ourselves, however people forget that looking after your mental and emotional wellbeing is a vital part of keeping healthy. 

Mental health is still a relatively taboo subject and people are often hesitant to talk about it and also hesitant to ask for help. This is obviously something that needs to change, but I personally think it's on the right track with more and more people opening up about their experiences surrounding mental health problems through their blogs, on twitter, through the media or person to person. The conversation is happening, more people just need to get involved. 

As someone who has struggled on and off since I was a teenager with mild mental health problems I have some insight into how it can feel and also I've developed some ways of coping with things. I've put together a few tips on how to keep yourself mentally healthy. 

I believe one of the most important things you can do to keep yourself mentally healthy is to talk to people about how you're feeling. Whether you suffer with a mental health problem currently, you've previously suffered, or you've never had an issue before, it's important not to bottle things up. Find someone who you feel relaxed around and you can trust and just have a chat with them about how you're doing, if you've got some specific issues you want to talk about try and bring them up, if not then just having a chat with someone will make you feel better any way and help to keep your mood up. 

Eat & exercise 
Good food and regular exercise is a great way to keep yourself mentally and physically healthy. Food has an effect on your body and your mind, your brain needs the right nutrients to keep it working, and eating the right stuff will make you feel great. Exercise is also important as it releases chemicals into your brain that make you feel good and happy. It can also help improve self confidence and can be something you really enjoy. 

Take time for yourself
Being with, and talking to people is really important however it's also important to take some time for yourself. Do something you really enjoy, whether that's painting your nails, reading a book, drawing, walking, or making castles out or cardboard boxes. Whatever it is, make some time for it, you might find it's a great way to escape for a while and just enjoy yourself by yourself. 

Set yourself goals
For some people this might not appeal, but for others it could be great. Set yourself an achievable goal that's relevant, something that you have to slightly push yourself into doing, or pick something you're good at and enjoy doing. Having a goal gives yourself purpose, and when you achieve that goal you'll feel pride and self esteem, and be happy that you worked hard and reached your goal. Goals don't have to be huge, they could be getting out of bed and going for a walk, or completing a book you've been meaning to read. It could be joining the football team, writing a blog post, or tidying your room. They can also be bigger things like getting a job, or winning a race. Whatever you want to do, if it  is truly achievable and not unrealistic try and challenge yourself to complete it.  

Smile & laugh
Doing something that makes you smile or laugh will make you happy. Some of my favourite things to do when I need to find something to make me smile are; singing loudly to songs from musicals, watching funny videos on youtube, calling a friend, or remembering a time when I was really happy. 

Obviously mental health problems can be a range of different issues and these tips may not be useful for everyone. But they are a good place to start in trying to keep yourself mentally healthy.  If you are suffering with your mental health don't be afraid to speak to someone whether thats your doctor, family, friend or someone else you trust. People are here to help and there is a lot of support available out there. 

A few great websites to check out if you want some information or support are; 
CCI - Great self help workbooks 

I hope these tips have been helpful, and remember to always look after yourself and stay mentally healthy. If anyone wants to chat, feel free to send me an email at, send me a tweet here, or leave me a comment. If you've written a similar post, or spoken about your experiences with mental health please leave a comment so I can have a read. 

Beach Bag Essentials

So it's finally Summer! For lots of people this means escaping the UK's unpredictable weather for warmer climates across Europe and the World. Beach holidays are very popular as who doesn't love a bit of relaxing by the sea, so I've put together some beach bag essentials that are needed for a trip to the beach. 

A necessary item if you don't want to be constantly covered in sand or sticking to an uncomfortable sun lounger! If possible you want a slightly larger towel that you can fully lie on without your legs and head getting sandy. 

Sun Hat
A sunburnt head is never fun, especially when trying to brush your hair! So to minimise the risk a sunhat is useful, also great for keeping your face out of the sun, and keeps you looking super stylish. I love ones with wide flopping brims, but anything that covers your head does the trick. They are a bit of a struggle to pack though and I usually carry mine in my hand through the airport.

Cover Up
Another item to minimise burn, something that covers your shoulders is the best option. It's also a great option if you're a bit self conscious and don't feel comfortable wandering around in a bikini. Also great to chuck on for the walk to and from the beach, or to the cafe to grab a ice cream.

Protecting your eyes from UV rays is as important as protecting your skin. So make sure you've got your sunnies with you and that they block both UVA and UVB rays. They're also a great way to people watch (check out the hotties) at the beach without looking like a creep.

A Good Read
Sunbathing can be boring so something to pass the time is usually a good bet. I always take at least 3 books with me when I go away as I spend most of my holiday reading! I like most genres but find a good chick lit is an easy read when you're lounging by the pool or sea. This is one of my favourites and I really recommend it; You don't have to say you love me by Sarra Manning.

Whatever genre it is music is a necessity. It can put you in a great mood and also fill the hours of sunbathing where you would otherwise have to make conversation! Nobody wants that!

You don't want to take your whole purse down to the beach with you, firstly for security reasons and secondly, are you really going to need your library card?! I like to take a small purse with a small amount of money for essential purchases like ice cream. 

Probably the most important thing in your beach bag. Firstly, burning is painful and looking like a tomato is not cool, but even if you don't burn you should be wearing suncream to help prevent skin cancer. Try to use a SPF of 30 or above to make sure you're fully protected. I also think suncream on your face of 30+ is important to minimise the signs of ageing. You should also take a Lip balm with SPF in it to protect your lips, also make sure not to use a lip product that will attract more sun and result in burnt lips!

Keeping fresh is always difficult in hot countries, but making sure you've got some deodorant or body spray with you can help combat the sweat and smell. The new compressed cans are perfect for travelling due to being that bit smaller.

Face Wipes
A pack of face wipes will definitely come in handy, when your face starts feeling like it needs a bit of a break from all the cream and sand and salt just give it a wipe and reapply a fresh layer of suncream. They're also useful for cleaning mucky hands and wiping off those sand grains that just won't brush off.

Hair Bands
Beautiful beach'd hair is basically impossible no matter how many products you put in your hair. At some point you're going to need to tie your hair up, whether thats in a bun on top of your head so it doesn't get wet, or in a pony tail just to get it off your sweaty neck. Hairbands are always useful so make sure you've got some stashed away in your beach bag. 

If you're off on holiday or going to be heading to the beach make sure to include all these essentials in your bag.