The little things of 2019 so far (Jan/Feb)

I might not express it too eloquently or obviously but deep down I am one of those people who tries their best to see the beauty in a lot of things and also gets easily excited and cheered up by little things. Whether it be seeing a cute dog when out and about or if the sunset looks really pretty that particular day. Although I suffer from low moods and mental health struggles, which I’m not really going to go into on this post, I do find a lot of things make me happy and cheer me up. One of my personal ‘new year’ resolutions coming into 2019 was to try and buy less and curb my habit of impulsive purchasing, purchasing things I don’t necessarily need and also just buying stuff for the concept of ‘cheering me up’. Although I am a big advocate of ‘treating yourself’, I want to recognise it more as treating yourself in a way that looks after my physical health and mental health first before you know, buying more clothes or something.

This post is going to be some of the things I’ve experienced over the first two months of 2019 that have made me happy, excited me or just cheered me up. You could call it another favourites post if you will. This is not to say I haven’t bought new things or given into that consumerist addiction yet in 2019 because we all fall of the horse sometimes. But this post and future ‘favourite’ posts I’m going to try and revolve them around experiences and habits instead of products.

Switching to loose-leaf tea

My first habit that I’m so glad I’ve brought into my life has to be loose-leaf tea. Now I’ve not managed to empty all my tea boxes I have sitting around both my student house and parents (I like tea ok?!), but I have managed to switch from using everyday breakfast teabags (my old reliable had to be PG Tips or Yorkshire Tea) to instead using loose leaf breakfast tea with a strainer. My main reason for trying to incorporate this switch was to be more eco-friendly. A lot of big brand teabags contain ‘polypropylene’ which is a sealing plastic, so even when you chuck your used teabag in the compost heap or food waste bin – it won’t all be broken down, thus contributing to plastic waste. Although there are some great brands who are making decisions to eradicate plastic from their teabags, I just thought it’d be nice overall to try the traditional leaves and straining. I bought my tea strainer and a bag of gorgeous Everyday Breakfast Brew tea from TeaPigs. Their teas are lovely, and I definitely recommend the switch! It barely changes the taste and it’s a good switch if you want to be a little more eco-conscious!

Next up I’d like to talk about a book I recently finished! My partner is a massive fan of the Cassandra Clare ‘Mortal Instruments‘ book series (most people would know it as the books Freeform TV series Shadowhunters is based off) and he has been very persistent throughout our relationship on getting me to start the book series; he gifted me the first book a while back for my birthday I believe and then gifted me the second one when I had gotten half way through the first book. I managed to finally finish book one, City of Bones, last winter and really enjoyed it! Last week whilst feeling quite under the weather I got around to completing book number two – City of Ashes.

Finishing City of Ashes

Although I have some points I could criticize about the Mortal Instruments stories, I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy City of Ashes. Cassandra Clare does an amazing job of describing the scenes and world inside her stories. Everything she brings to the supernatural world in the Mortal Instruments seems very well researched and is then described beautifully. I enjoyed the main protagonist, Clary Fray, a bit more in this book than I did the first one and I’m glad this second book gave more depth to other characters such as Alec Lightwood and Simon Lewis. If you are a big fan of young adult supernatural book series or perhaps enjoy TV series like Teen Wolf, The Vampire Diaries or even the actual Shadowhunters TV show then definitely consider giving this book series a read.

Lastly, I struggled when thinking of what this ‘nice thing’ should be for my last favourite experience of the past two months. I wanted to add something that might be relevant or relatable to other people, but I also wanted to be honest. My last thing would have to be handing in my dissertation (Sad, I know.)

Handing in my dissertation

The experience of planning, researching and writing this dissertation was stressful. I had weeks where I was scared I’d never finish it. I had times where I’d pick up a book to read and assist my research and it just felt like all the information was jumbled up mush on the page that I couldn’t understand. When my mental health was bad, I felt like giving up – emailing my tutors saying doing this was a mistake and that I wasn’t cut out for it. But when I came out the other end and managed to complete it and hand it in. I was so happy with myself, I was unapologetically proud of myself. This was a bloody lovely feeling.

Removed my university logo for privacy reasons – that’s why it looks a tad weird!

My dissertation was essentially using corpus linguistics to explore the themes in children’s literature over history – so I was looking at traditional 19th century fairy tales and then looking at modern/recently published children’s literature like Jacqueline Wilson’s books. Because I picked a topic that was dear to my heart and interests sometimes I found doing the primary research weirdly fun. Would I offer to optionally write a dissertation again? Probably not. But did I enjoy the process of writing this one and do I buzz with excitement every time I look at my bounded copy? Yes.

Although I’ve had some weeks of pure stress where I’m worried that the anxiety and low mood are being clear indicators of what 2019 is going to be like for me. I’ve actually seen a lot of positive changes and experienced a lot of lovely feelings so far going into the last part of the winter. I’m excited to take on the Spring and possibly have new experiences or see better lifestyle changes in my day-to-day that I can share with you soon! What kind of positive changes have you made so far in 2019 and what little things have made you smile? Feel free to share in the comments.

Thank you for reading,

Header image: rawpixel on Unsplash

February Updates✨

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I feel like I’ve been neglecting my blog a bit lately, but I’ll be honest I’ve been having a bit of a low moment the past few weeks and a very bad case of writers block. As well as that, on the upside, I have a new part time job! Which I’m enjoying a lot and gives me a bit of pocket money whilst I wait for University to start. Also have some possible writing opportunities coming up that I’m trying to plan for and hopefully when my writers block goes away I should be able to focus on that! But for now I’ll give you some updates from myself about what I’ve been up to in February and what stuff I’ve enjoyed!

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I got my nostril pierced! I did this piercing on a massive impulse, and didn’t really plan for it at all – although I’ve considered a nostril piercing on and off for a while, since I got my septum done. The guy who pierced it was really kind and comforting, and it definitely didn’t hurt as much as my septum did. However somehow my nose/skin did not react well to the jewelry and the skin somehow flared up/got swollen and then started to almost swallow the stud. It was kind of scary! Google reassured me that the piercing sinking into the piercing hole, is quite a common mishap in nostril piercings so I went to a local piercer to get them to have a look at and they changed it to a much better jewelry piece for my nose and now it has started to calm down!

Next up, over the past month I’ve been trying to get back into reading. I suffer from depression and sometimes I can get really drowsy and have no energy to concentrate on anything. It is an unfortunate symptom as it draws me away from doing things I really enjoy including reading, writing and even playing video games! I miss when I used to be able to focus on a video game for hours on end. But a week or so back I picked up a book in Waterstones called ‘Too Close to Home’ by Aoife Walsh, and so far I am really enjoying it. Growing up I was a massive fan of book series including Ally’s World and Sadie Etc by Karen Mccombie, books by Sarah Dessen, ‘Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging’ – basically any book with a teenage female protagonist. I really like reading books from a teenage girl’s POV, because well I am one. It somehow helps me imagine the characters a bit better and Aoife definitely paints a really good picture of the characters in Too Close to Home. I admittedly find myself sometimes reading it, getting a bit annoyed at the main girl Minny for thinking poorly of her family members but she is an interesting character and her family are definitely interesting. I can’t wait to read more of it.

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Lush is still one of my beauty obsessions of course. Recently they released a bubble bar shaped like a Unicorn horn and there was no force on earth to stop me from picking one of these candy-coloured, ‘bubble-mania-in-a-stick’ beauties! Annoyingly, I’m not sure if they are still available as the website won’t let me on the page for it which is a massive shame because I’d recommend them to anyone who is a big fan of the candy-scented stuff at Lush. Did you like Snow Fairy or Prince Charming shower gel? Do you like the pink heaven you get in the bath from Sex Bomb or Twilight bath bombs? The unicorn horn bubble bar would be amazing for you! It does not leave any glittery/cream residue in baths and makes the water a gorgeous pink colour. If your local Lush store still has them, I’d definitely recommend picking one up!
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So last but not least of my February favourite products is a cruelty-free, vegan beauty product that I definitely recommend for any vegan/cruelty-free makeup users who want a cheap BB cream/foundation that includes SPF 15, UVA filters and ‘antioxidant protection’. Now I can’t say I swear by this BB cream to make your skin flawless – because it’s a very light coverage. However it definitely makes my skin feel moisturized but does a good enough job to make my skin tone seem even and lessen any redness.

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As someone who isn’t a massive fan of heavy makeup and wanted a cheap, cruelty-free alternative to my foundation this definitely is something I don’t regret buying! Hurray for Superdrug and their cruelty-free branding.

And finally I leave you with a link to a couple of songs I’ve really been enjoying this month! Have a listen and comment any songs you like too!

Hope you guys enjoyed your February!

Thanks for reading,

Helena x