lifestyle
So I've been AWOL for quite some time again. I can't believe it's been a month since I last posted but here I am, once more explaining my absence. Sean and I went travelling. Not for very long, and probably not the usual way either but honestly it was fantastic.



We saved up for a while, and when I say saved, I mean we took the money out of our moving out fund to pay for our extravagant obsession. So we saved and planned, and planned, and planned. And then planned a hell of a lot more and off we flew to central Europe. Now I'll probably talk about all of that at some point but right now I want to talk about how it honestly changed the way I see my life and helped my mental health.

So before I start, I just want to put out a little disclaimer. I know travelling is a privilege that not everyone has access to. Although I slave away stocking shelves to pay for my travels I still understand how lucky I am to take these trips. I also just want to say that as amazing as they are, trips around the world cannot cure metal health problems, although I do believe they can give you a short break from having to deal with them.



So lets get to it; why was this trip so life changing? And why was it different from any of the other trips I've taken in the past? Well to start with it was the longest I've ever been away from home. We were gone for 18 days. This might not seem much to veteran travellers but to someone who suffers with anxiety, this is a long time believe me. I worried a lot about having enough money, catching the right trains at the right time, and, you know, silly things like getting mugged or losing my passport. Well we did have enough money, we made it on time to all of our trains, and we got to where we needed to be, even if things didn't always go right. Although I couldn't stop myself from worrying every now and then, I got though it, and I handled any problems we came across pretty well too. Although travelling is my passion and I love every second of it, by going on an experience like this I came home feeling like there's nothing I now couldn't do. For someone who is constantly drowning under self doubt and worry, thats a pretty nice feeling.

Like I said we had everything planned down to the tiniest detail which did make me feel a lot better, but there's no way we could plan for everything, that's just not how life works. We were bound to come across problems at some point and we did, but we managed them well and continued on our journey. I didn't have any major freak outs while we were away and that has given me a boost in confidence.



As well as helping me to overcome my anxiety by forcing me to confront situations head on, travelling for such a long period of time allowed me to take a nice break from everything that worries me at home. For 18 whole days I didn't have to worry about finding a new job, saving to move out, my parents' business closing down, and all the things that keep me up at night. The only thing I needed to think about was what I planned to do the next day. I know that isn't reality but to have such a long period of time without my everyday concerns was so refreshing. Although I came back home to my worries they weren't as built up in my head as they were before I left. I think I needed that break to reset my mind, give it a good cleanse, and come back to things when I could think more clearly.

By the end of our trip I came home with a new outlook on life. I realised there was more to it than working a shitey job to pay for a little relief every few months. I don't want to be another person living just for the weekends, especially when I have to work them. I want a good job, a well paying job, a job I like, a job that can allow me to afford these sorts of trips more often. I want to wake up everyday feeling like I did the morning after I got home, knowing that we overcame any problems that stood in our way. I want to be able to face situations that terrify me - like being in crowds, learning to drive, and going places on my own. I want to live a care free life like the one I had just a few weeks ago. This trip has given me the drive to push myself to be the best I can be. It made me confront situations that I would completely avoid here at home and it has given me the inspiration to try new things which is something I will always be grateful for.

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HOW TRAVELLING CHANGED ME AND HELPED MY MENTAL HEALTH


So a few weeks back Sean and I went to see Dinosaurs in the Wild at the NEC. I've been fascinated by dinosaurs since I was tiny so when I heard there was a dino related experience coming to Birmingham I knew I had to get tickets.

I decided not to do too much research into the experience as I really didn't want to ruin anything for myself. As I'd never seen anything like this before I wanted the whole thing to be a surprise so I really didn't have any idea what I was paying for.


As you can still go to see Dinosuars in the Wild I'm going to avoid spoiling it for anyone by talking about it in too much detail in this post, I will however give you a little run down of what I thought. I know I've shared a few photographs here but there are several little surprises that I just could not adequately capture on camera.

The tickets were around £30 each (or £25 with a little discount super savvy me found online) which I thought was pretty pricey if I'm honest. The whole 'show' lasted just 90 minutes and although I enjoyed every second of it, I don't think it was the most affordable thing to do. That being said, it really was one of the most unique things I've experienced and I would happily pay the same price for something similar in the future.


So what did I think of the show itself? Honestly I loved it. Without giving too much away, each section of the tour had a lot of thought go into it and the attention to detail was pretty incredible too. I also thought our guides were pretty good although one of ours had a very strong accent that could be hard to understand occasionally. The technology side of things was also quite exciting and I really hope more shows like this pop up in the future.

Although I thought the experience was amazing for adults, I can't even begin to imagine what the children thought of it. Not only was it pretty educational, but a lot of it was incredibly realistic and I have no doubt that many of the kids on our tour genuinely believed they were surrounded by living breathing dinosaurs.


Would I go again? Although I've seen it now, so nothing would be a surprise for me, I would go back for the tour again. I did however receive a voucher for a half price return ticket so I do think that would influence my decision to return. It's probably not a show for everyone but I would highly recommend it if you were looking for something unusual to experience and as I said previously I wouldn't hesitate to purchase tickets for something similar in the future!

Have you been to see Dinosaurs in the Wild? What did you think?

Thanks for reading!


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DINOSAURS IN THE WILD

For a long time I've really stuggled with my weight. Its not until quite recently that I've learnt to love my body but I do still have off days which I talked about in this post earlier in the year. Sometimes I just need to look at some other curvy ladies to remind myself that its okay to be chunky. Here are some of my all time favourite body positive Instagram accounts..



So I just wanted to address that fact that I've picked all curvy girls for this list. As I'm a bigger girl myself it isn't always productive for me to look at slimmer ladies as I find it all too easy to compare myself to them. I'm a big advocate for all bodies being beautiful no matter the shape or size and I do understand that slimmer girls are starting to be shamed the way bigger girls are. Its not my intention to single out one body shape, I just wanted to share the girls that help me to feel good about my own body.

I'd love for you to share your favourite body positive accounts as I'm always looking to follow happy, confident ladies on Instagram!


Thanks for reading!


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BODY POSITIVE INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS


So here is the second part of our amazing trip to Disneyland Paris. I can't believe it was almost a month ago now that we were living the dream! We honestly had the best time and I can't wait to go back! Me and Sean are planning to go back for halloween but in the meantime I'll be returning next week with my family who have never been before! 


I really hope you've all enjoyed watching my Disneyland vlogs as I plan to make so many more! I'd love to get some feedback on them too as I always want my content to be the best it can be!


Thanks for watching!


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DISNEYLAND PARIS JUNE 2017 VLOG - PART 2


So as I'm sure you guys already know, me and Sean spent an amazing 6 days in our favourite place on earth. Its the longest time we've ever spent in the park in one go and we had an absolutely amazing time. I've wanted to start vlogging for years now but I never really had the confidence until recently and so I decided to film all of our fab break away. I might seem a little nervous, thats because I am, ut I'm hoping that will improve with time!


This is just part one of my mega long vlog so don't forget to keep a look out for part two which I will be uploading very soon!

I would love to hear any thoughts or feedback on this video by the way. I really want to start putting more time into youtube so if you guys would like to see more of this kind of thing please let me know.

Thanks for watching!


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DISNEYLAND PARIS JUNE 2017 VLOG - PART 1

So I've been AWOL for a while now. I've not published anything on here and I haven't even looked at Twitter for weeks. I've managed to post a little on Instagram but for the most part my social media has been quiet. Well I'm back now so I thought I should explain what I've been up to in my absence. 


End of year exhibition
While I was still rushing around like mad to complete any left over work I also had to concentrate on our end of year exhibition which our uni hosts ever year for the creative students like myself. Opening night was just fantastic if not a little emotional. I made a couple of decent contacts through the exhibition, and even though I didn't really agree which how the whole thing was run I definitely learned a lot.  


I finished uni!
I finally handed all my overdue work in and I've now completed my course. For those of you who didn't know I've been working towards my HND in photography for the last two years and honestly its not always been easy. I've had my ups and downs while at uni and I even considered not going back for my last year but now its done and I'm just waiting for my graduation in October! Oh and I can now proudly say I earned a distinction which is the top grade you can get and not one I thought I would ever be able to achieve!


Disneyland & Paris
You might have seen on Instagram that me and Sean went to Disneyland Paris for 6 days at the end of June. We'd had it booked for quite a while but the timing worked out perfectly - we went just two days after I handed all of my final work in. Having so much time to explore our favourite place was just incredible. It was tiring I'm not going to lie, but even with my aching legs and blistered feet I enjoyed every second of my trip. I actually managed to vlog the whole week which is something I've wanted to do for a very long time now and I'm really happy with how the footage turned out. Keep a look out for that over on Youtube in the coming weeks!


Cornwall 
Just as I was arriving back into the UK from my amazing Disneyland break my parents told me they were planning a trip down to Cornwall. I'm not one to ever turn down a holiday so just one week after my last trip I was back on another. We stayed in Northern Cornwall in the Tintagel area which is notorious for its rain. We did have a few showers but we also got a fair bit of sunshine too and we all come home with sunburn!

So that's what the last couple of months have been like for me. Honestly its been completely hectic but in a good kind of way. It's been none stop for months but now everything is back to normal and I'm feeling kind of empty. Now its time to be an adult and get a proper job but I will make sure I find time to blog in the future!

I hope you've all had a fantastic few months and I look forward to catching up with you all!

Thanks for reading!


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WHERE HAVE I BEEN?

I'd not eaten Spanish food since I went to Barcelona last April and honestly I was desperate to get my fill of some tasty Paella. I've not found many places in Birmingham that specialise in Spanish food but I did know of at least one; Tapas Revolution.


Me and Sean had walked past Tapas Revolution a hundred times coming and going in Grand Central but we'd never really had the time to stop and eat there. We had tried the takeaway Chocolate Churros before and were pleasantly surprised so one Sunday we decided to grab a table and sit down for a proper meal.

Now I will admit at this point that I had read the menu wrong and I thought I could order a full plate of Paella from the set menu. Turns out you can only order a small Tapas sized bowl, who would have thought? Disappointed but determined to eat something other than a burger for once we ordered the cheaper set menu for two people. For £20 we got one Pan con alioli, one Croquetas de jamón, one Tortilla de patatas, one Chorizo a la sidra, and one Paella Valenciana. The 5 plates were easily enough for two people. As well as this we were given a small dish of pork belly to try, it was nice but it was a bit too rich for me. 


The food was pretty nice. I was happy to finally have Paella, even if it was just a small bowl and Sean was happy to eat a plate of Chorizo Sausage as it was a bit too strong for me. I would say the tastiest dish was the Croquestas de Jamon which seemed to be fried battered potato balls athough I wouldn't bet my life on it.

As well as our Tapas dishes we each had spanish drinks. I opted for a few glasses of grape juice which were honestly delicious and Sean chose a pint of Estrella. I thought the drinks were pretty pricey, a pint of draught beer coming in at £5.25, but I guess this isn't a place you'd eat at all that often.


Overall I really enjoyed my meal. Although I'm probably not used to some of the strong tastes in Spanish food, I'd definitely like to try Tapas again as I love the idea of picking at a few bowls of food while you drink and chat away. I thought the service as Tapas Revolution was also pretty good, our server was lovely and if he hadn't have gone off shift I doubt we would have waited over 20 minutes to pay the bill. That was the only downside to the evening really, but apart from that I enjoyed my night.

Have you ate at Tapas Revolution before?

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TAPAS REVOLUTION BIRMINGHAM

I've seen a lot of people blogging their goals recently so I thought I might as well jump on the bandwagon. It's been a while since I set myself some aims; every year I think I'll loose weight or do something else I've been meaning to do for a while, but in reality I just kind of drift along. I thought it would be a nice idea to set myself several goals which I can achieve within 6 months.


1. Graduate with a merit - So you might know I'm currently studying photography at University. I'm not completing my third year so I'll be leaving with a HND. I guess I should be aiming for a distinction but in reality I'll be very happy with a merit.

2. Move out - I bet you lot are fed up with me going on about flat hunting and moving out, but honestly its hard work. Me and Sean have been debating moving out together for a couple of years but now it's really time to do it. There are 5 adults living in my house at the moment and it's just not comfortable anymore. Although I'm sure all we will be able to afford is a shitty little one bedroom flat in a horrible neighbourhood it will be our shitty little one bedroom flat in a horrible neighbourhood and I'm okay with that.

3. Get some bloody driving lessons - I'm 23 this year and it's definitely time to get on the road. A lot of my friends have been driving since they were 17 so this is getting a bit shameful now. I hate public transport and I don't like relying on other people to drive me around either so its time to learn to drive!

4. Visit a new country - You know me, I love travelling, I love exploring, and I love seeing new places. I jet off every chance I get but I haven't visited a new country in ages. I'm always going to different places but this year I really want to go to a country I haven't been to before. Italy, Croatia, Portugal, they've all been on my list for some time but as of yet I've not been.

5. Get a full time job - Easier said than done I know, but if me and Sean are going to have our own place I need to be bringing in a good wage too. I've always worked part time in retail and I've honestly hated it, but it was money and that's what I needed. Thanks to my student loan I managed to leave work this year and focus on my degree but I can't live the lazy life forever so I better get job hunting!

So those are my reasonably achievable goals. I'm forever setting myself short term goals at uni but I never really set personal ones. It's about time I gave myself a kick up the bum and start doing the things I want to do!

Do you have any personal aims at the moment? 


Thanks for reading

x

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6 MONTH GOALS

So I wrote this a few weeks ago when I got back from my doctors appointment. I was feeling very emotional and I needed to get a lot off my chest. I didn't think I would actually end up posting this as it is just so personal, but it really helped me to get it all out and it might help someone else going through something similar. 


I'm not sure if I will actually press publish on this but I'm going to write it all down anyway because I think it will make me feel better in the long run. So today I went to the doctors. I went because for a long time now I've been anxious and nervous with no real cause. I mean I worry about general things, we all do, but in reality I have a pretty cushy life.

So I've been anxious. Not all of the time, and not always in the same way but it's kind of always there in the back of my head. Sometimes I'll be able to hop on a flight and have a fantastic weekend in a new country and sometimes I'll get there and I just can't hack it. In Dublin last year I was so excited to explore and see the city but a mixture of the crowds around us and being in a new place for the first time just got on top of me. I couldn't cope and I let it ruin a few nights of our holiday. Fast forward to our trip to Disneyland Paris this year and a similar thing happened again. After being in a ride queue for over an hour I just started to freak out. I was surrounded by people leaning on me and getting in my space and I just couldn't deal with it.

Now last night I was supposed to meet Sean in town; we were going to see an artist talk about their exhibition in the city centre and we were both very excited. Sean was coming from work so I had to get the train in and meet him there, it wasn't ideal but it shouldn't have been a problem. I got on my train - later than I would have liked - and ordered a taxi from the other station when I arrived. On exiting the station to get my taxi I tripped over a bike and it sounds silly but in front of so many people it really flustered me. After that my taxi decided to ring me to say he wasn't coming to where I was stood as there was too much traffic, I had to find him. I was running late by this point and really starting to get wound up. I ran around the station which was full of commuters but I couldn't find him. It was pouring down as well and I was starting to get in a mess. I couldn't deal with it all and I just stood crying and breathing rapidly outside the station. It just came over me and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Sean had to collect me and we never made it to the event.

This silly little thing which mostly stayed at the back of my mind was starting to effect my normal life. I should be able to go out on my own without panicking but I just can't. That being said, I'm not prepared for that to happen to me again. I need to be able to lead a normal life and so I went to see the doctor. All morning I've been anxious about telling them I'm anxious, which is crazy, but I'm so glad I went.

They asked me normal things like what I do for work, if I exercise, if I'm depressed at all. It was a bit of a blur to be honest, I spent most of the time replying through a stream of tears which I couldn't stop. I saw two doctors, both of which were incredibly friendly and emphasised how important it was that I've took the first step by seeing them. One thing I was worried about before making the appointment was sounding silly. I mean I'm a grown woman and I've struggled with simple things like standing in a queue, but the doctors made me feel like I had a genuine issue that they could help with.

I left the appointment with a prescription for some pills so ease the effects of anxiety and the promise of a call back from a councillor who would book me in for cognitive behavior therapy. I'd never heard of it before but after being explained that it will help me to understand my mind and teach me how to control my anxiety I'm very excited for it to start. I will start my pills tomorrow morning after breakfast and they can take a while to kick in so I probably won't feel the benefit for a few weeks. I have scheduled another appointment for a months time to review how well everything is working and honestly I'm really hopeful. 

Maybe I'll write more about this in a few weeks and maybe I won't, but it has been nice to get it all off my chest even if it never makes it onto my blog. 


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GETTING TREATMENT FOR ANXIETY

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