Book giveaway: Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig (NOW CLOSED).

21.6.15



I recently finished a book which I thought was pretty fan-bloody-tastic so I picked up another copy to run a little giveaway with you lovely lot.

It's called Reasons to Stay Alive which is the story of Matt Haig's depression and how he got through it. It has been incredibly helpful to me (and the friends who have bought it on my recommendation) and it has given me lots of hope and ideas for my future. The reviews speak for themselves; it really is a must-read!

All I ask is that you leave a comment below telling me how you cope with depression, whether it's your own or that of a friend, partner, family member. That way there will be ideas and help for anyone out there who needs it (me included!) in the comments section. Then I will pick one person to win the book and a few other little bits and bobs. If there are lots of entries I may pick another couple of winners - watch this space on that one!

Leave your comment on this post before midnight on Sunday 28 June 2015 ensuring there is a way for me to contact you if you win, and make sure you check back to read the other comments.

P.S. This is open to anyone, not just UK peeps.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

5 good things.

19.6.15

It has been a couple of months since my last "5 good things" so it's about time I put another list together. I managed to survive last Saturday (aka the would-be-wedding day), my hangover has just about worn off from spending the day (and night) in the pub with friends, and after a pretty rough week I am ready to look forwards and stop looking back. Here goes!

1) I reached 4000 subscribers on Bloglovin' which I am pretty damn happy about.

2) Orange is the New Black is back and I plan to binge-watch as many episodes as I can over the weekend.

3) I have said it before and I will say it again, I LOVE Bath & Body Works candles. Having one or two around the house is always guaranteed to make me happy (plus it cancels out Puggy smells rather well).

My sister went to Dubai recently and brought some goodies back for me. The scents are so strong and they burn down evenly - I can't stand wasted wax! The Watermelon Lemonade is a firm favourite but the Cinnamon Sugared Doughnut is a lovely sweet scent which isn't sickly at all. It makes my bedroom smell like a bakery - not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing! I am constantly craving doughnuts but what's new there! :)
 

4) Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Just because.

5) Having a spring clean and finding things to keep my hands and mind occupied like all my craft supplies and my adult colouring book. The one I have is by Johanna Basford - Secret Garden - but I would love to get my hands on a book full of mandala patterns. Although I fear I would become obsessed and get nothing else done!
 
Now all I need to do is learn to colour in the lines...



Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Deliciously Ella: raw coconut and cacao bites.

7.6.15

Another day, another Deliciously Ella recipe! I had a mad spree a few weeks ago, trying out lots of her evening meal recipes and some sweet treats too. These raw coconut and cacao bites were super easy to make and I will definitely give them another whirl.

This batch were a tad dry but I think I know where I went wrong; I'm not sure that I used enough coconut oil to bind them together so I can fix that for next time. They're also quite moreish so perhaps if you make them try to exercise more self-control than I've got! They're a handy treat to pop in the fridge and have as an easy snack when you want something sweet.

I adore anything coconutty so these were always going to be a winner for me!

Have you ever tried making anything like this? Any good coconut recipes you can share with me?
 

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Isle of Man May/June 2015 - the Instagrams.

4.6.15

I just returned from a 5 day trip to stay with my sister and brother in law in Peel, on the Isle of Man where they have lived for the last few years. My sister is pregnant so it was great to see her and the bump and it was just what I needed to recharge my batteries. It's amazing what a few days off work, lots of fresh air, coffee and cake, shopping, oh and a nose piercing(!) can do.
 
Just a short stroll from their house is the beach and some amazing views out to sea so every day we took a long walk with their dogs, Snowy and Peanut. I tested out some local ice cream on one of the strolls and fell in love with the Turkish Delight flavour. SO good!
 
My sister and I visited the Rest Home for Old Horses and Donkeys and made a few friends by feeding some of the friendly/curious ones. Our favourite was a particularly old chap who hobbled over to us to see what all the fuss was about. We had planned to go to the cat sanctuary too but it was closed so we'll save that for my next trip which will hopefully be in a month or two!

  
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Deliciously Ella: pea and spinach pesto pasta.

20.5.15

I have been experimenting in the kitchen a lot recently and one dish which has made a recurring appearance is the pea and spinach pesto pasta by Deliciously Ella (recipe here!)

It's so easy to make and that's coming from someone who used to be fairly hopeless at making meals. I halve the recipe and make two servings which means I get the leftovers the next day. I found brown rice pasta in my local Waitrose and it has replaced white or wholemeal pasta for me. I like the taste and texture and it's wheat free so it's a no brainer! The pesto can be whipped up in seconds and is delicious - really thick and creamy.

It's not something I make too regularly as pine nuts are quite expensive for a teeny tiny bag, but it's definitely a firm favourite. It feels like comfort food but it's all vegan and healthy. Winner!

I have a lot more foodie posts coming up so keep your eyes peeled for those! Now I'm well and truly starving and craving pasta at 9pm.... oops!
 

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Life lately (skydiving, scoffing and an extra stone...)

17.5.15


It has been a couple of months since my last "life lately" post (click here to have a read) so I thought it was about time I updated you on what I have been up to. A lot can happen in 2 months. There have been ups and downs, highs and lows, weight loss and weight gain (oops). I'm hoping the next 2 months are a bit more settled but with another house move looming I'm not sure it will be. Keeps things more exciting though I suppose!

Skydive

A month ago I did a skydive for a charity called Rain Rescue and it was an absolutely incredible experience. When I went up in the plane I thought I was going to throw up, I can't put into words how nervous and scared I felt, but the jump itself was amazing. After screaming for a few seconds on the freefall I took some deep breaths and the falling actually became quite peaceful. I was able to have a good look around and enjoy it! My instructor really looked after me and we have since become friends so I hope to go back again soon to do another.
 
 
Dating
 
I have entered the world of dating and boy is it hard work. I'm sure it wasn't like this last time I was single?! I have met all sorts of weird and wonderful people (mostly just weird) and all I have established so far is what I don't want and that I am probably not going to find Mr Right until I'm happy in my own skin, which is going to take a little more time. Luckily I have a lovely housemate who looks after me when things go t*ts up.
 
 
Amber the cat
 
My parents recently adopted a cat called Amber who is the most beautiful thing. Can you believe she was in a rescue centre? Madness! She is very sweet and likes being cuddled, which is a good thing really because the first time I met her I couldn't stop cuddling her. She is so fluffy! That face
 
 
Experimenting in the kitchen
 
I have acquired a stone in weight over the past few months and it might have something to do with all the endless scoffing of my kitchen experiments. I have been obsessed with trying Deliciously Ella recipes and have been even more obsessed with eating them. I am going to do blog posts about the things I have made so far, which have all been delicious. But I think a break from anything food related is on the agenda until I can fit back into all my clothes again!
 
 
Working out how to be okay on my own

I have been trying to have lots of "me" time to get to grips with my own company. My housemate has been away quite a bit recently and I easily slip into feeling lonely but I am slowly getting there. I dug out my adult colouring book and my felt tip pens yesterday and it is amazing how relaxing it is colouring in flowers! Haha! It helps me to focus and clear my mind for a little while.
 
I am also going to be better at blogging. Promise!
 
 
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Jameson's Cafe & Tea Rooms - Sheffield.

15.4.15

Last Saturday my friend and I visited Jameson's Café & Tea Rooms in Sheffield, somewhere I heard about a while ago and had been dying to visit. The words "afternoon tea" and "cake tapas" are music to my ears so I was really excited to visit for some tasty treats.
 
We planned to get the standard afternoon tea but my friend had the "Now Then" app which meant we could get the slightly fancier "splendid" afternoon tea for the same price as the standard one - result! This meant better sandwich fillings, lemon curd with our scones and jam/cream, a "posh pop" soft drink and some chocolates.

The selection of cakes was huge! I tend to panic when given lots of choice so I opted for the raspberry and white chocolate cake and my friend went for the Malteser cake, but I definitely missed a trick and wish I had tried the Pimms cake. Alcohol + cake = two of my favourite things!

We were incredibly full by the end. Top buttons were undone and everything. We both agreed we would go back for the cake tapas or another afternoon tea. I would quite like to get the option that comes with Prosecco next time. Why the hell not! :)

 Image and video hosting by TinyPic

5 good things.

12.4.15

1. Douwe Egberts vanilla coffee. I used to be a tea drinker and had a coffee once in a blue moon but just before Christmas I wasn't sleeping properly and I turned to coffee to power me through my working days. Now I am addicted! The last thing I needed was to find these amazing pots of coffee (£3 for the teeniest jar) but when I saw the advert I knew I had to try it. It is seriously so good. I don't think I can go back to regular coffee now! I plan to pick up the other 3 flavours asap!
 

2. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I finished off the series recentky and it has become a firm favourite. I am really looking forward to more episodes. Someone on IMDB describes it as "a delightful and heartwarming light dramedy" which I think sums it up perfectly.
 
3. Discovering the Spotify app. I am embarrassingly behind the times but I downloaded it recently and have discovered so much great music. It's great for the gym too as I was getting so fed up of listening to the same songs over and over. Now I have ready made playlists for literally any kind of occasion. Winner!
 

4. I have raised over £580 for my skydive, all of which will go to Rain Rescue. I really hope to reach £650 in the next week. I would be over the moon! 

5. Getting back into cross stitching by stitching this little house keyring for my parents. I just need to find an awesome pattern to kick start my love for it again. I have lots of time on my hands now and I could do with something to keep my mind and hands busy.


Image and video hosting by TinyPic