Saturday, 30 December 2017

2017 - an emotional recap

2017 is drawing to a close now, and what a hell of a year it’s been. Rather than diving in immediately to resolutions and things I’d like to work on in 2018 I thought I’d reflect on what the heck I’ve done this year. This year has been the biggest rollercoaster (not literally unfortunately) for me. Here’s some achievements and things I’ve done which I’m pretty damn proud of.

Said goodbye and hello
I had a tough run at the end of 2016. My head wasn’t sure where it was and I didn’t really know what to do, so in 2017 I needed to make sure I was being quietly selfish, focusing on myself for once. I left behind toxic friendships and a relationship, and now, nearly 12 months on, I’m so much more confident and happy in myself. The anxiety was such a massive weight to shift and even though it didn’t fix everything I definitely am happier. Saying goodbye to people is hard but doing it is bloody liberating. I’ve made so many amazing friends in the last few months which is something I really struggled with when I was younger and my boyfriend is a pretty swell guy.

Changing career goals
I made the (stupid) choice of going to university, and I hated it. I’m not someone who thrives well in an educational place, I like to be free and follow routes career wise and I definitely felt limited when at Uni. I discovered make-up was more so a hobby than something I wanted to professionally get into (plus all those PowerPoints I had to sit through about being self employed really scared me). I’ve actually more-so gone down an acting route now but I get to use my make-up when needed in my jobs, but ultimately I’d like to get onto more creative and social media type jobs. 2018 is the year I apply for literally anything fun I want, despite lack of experience, because fuck it. Life is for taking risks, and I like this risk more than jumping off a cliff blindfolded. And obviously I moved 100+ Miles which I can’t seem to shut up about, and there’s so many more job opportunities in the London area compared to Somerset. No tractors for meeeee!

Confidence
I was someone who’d rarely every mix up their look. Skinny jeans, a t-shirt and a parka was what I used to wear for about 2 years of my life. I’d never DARE dream of wearing bright and clashing colours, I wouldn’t wear shoes that weren’t vans and I sported a winged eyeliner look every day. But this year I’ve put my foot right in it- my make-up is completely experimental. I even wear glitter and shimmer shadows in my crease (shock horror sorry) and black lipstick is my new best friend. In fact, I barely even have wings anymore. PVC, fur, mesh, denim, anything a bit ‘alternative’ is something I feel incredibly confident in, which makes a change from the days of hiding in oversized shirts. I would say scene kid Amy is dying out but I keep changing my hair colour every 2 weeks so we all know that’s a lie.

Planning
Wow adulting is FUN. In the past whenever I’ve been on holiday I’ve always had someone to kind of steer me in the right direction, but this time I pretty much planned the whole trip by myself. We only made a short trip to Disneyland Paris, but going to a foreign country can be quite scary. I didn’t kill anyone or die so I must’ve been ok at it! Not to mention we hit barely any queues and got to ride everything in one day. I’m really looking forward to planning more holidays in 2018, and getting to some new parks cough Phantasialand cough.




Looking back on this I want to make some goals for 2018 that are achievable and for my own benefit. Cos I’m a hot pot of rice who don’t need no side dish.




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Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Theme Park Prep


Going to new places is exciting and fun, but can also be super stressful, especially when going to a Theme Park. Even I, someone who thinks they know everything, get a bit flustered at the thought of a new adventure, so I'm gonna write down a few tips and tricks I've picked up on over the years to help any park virgins to give the best experience you can.

First of all which seems really obvious, know what park you're going to. Find out transport details and where it actually is. Some parks can be a short walk from stations whereas others you may need a bus or a taxi for. As I'm not legally allowed to drive in other countries I have to go the normie way and look at other means of transport, but luckily in the UK they willingly gave me my license so I'm pretty much sorted. How much is parking? (too much) How much is the bus? How much is my will to live? Blah blah, all adult questions but all ones that'll save you money in the long run. When going to other countries looking up on coaster forums will really help you understand what you need to do to get to said park.

Crowd calendars! Now, crowd calendars can really help when trip planning. When I went to Disneyland Paris this year we checked the times we could go then compared them to a crowd calendar to get the full potential from our trip (hint: DLP is super quiet just after the Halloween period and just before the Christmas Period in November. Space Mountain = 10 minute wait *heart eyes*) Also, when I went to Florida last year, I worked around how busy the parks were going to be as I wasn't really fussed when I went, I just planned for it, and because of this I hit soft opening on Reign of Kong and got to ride Mako just after it opened when it was super quiet! They work by collecting data from previous years and doing an average or some high tech data stuff.  The websites I normally use are https://www.undercovertourist.com/orlando/crowd-calendar/December-2017/ and https://queue-times.com/parks. Also downloading any park apps on your phones will help keep track of queue times whilst you're on park to keep an eye on that coaster you wanna re-ride.

Plan plan plan. To an extent. Planning your day can really help, working out what side of the park you wanna start off in and then working your way around can help make the day run smoother and ensure you get any creds you want. Just remember you don't have to follow this completely, keeping an eye on queue times will probably change your initial plans quite quickly, but in doubt you can always refer back to it. Checking the weather forecast beforehand for the area will also give you an idea if any rides have to shut due to wind speeds or lots of rain. If it's super sunny in the morning do those flumes and if it gets cloudy in the afternoon get the #creds. Also jotting down any food places you wanna go to and finding the menu's beforehand can save hassle as most theme park food is hit or miss. If you've got any travellers with allergies or dietary requirements too it's also really nice (wow me, be nice? shock) to find somewhere which can cater for them. You'd be surprised how many places now work for vegans and GF people!

Have a day bag ready too, whether it be a rucksack or a holographic fanny pack. Pop in essentials such as painkillers (trusssss me for those Gerstlauers), phone chargers, make-up top-ups, a raincoat and money. You don't want to be walking around parks forgetting a cheap £1 poncho you were supposed to pack then having to fork out €5 for one. Be the mum of the pack, make sure everyone is suited and booted before you leave, it'll save you so much effort and un-needed stress. Pick up all of the maps you can find, too! Not only are they actually helpful but they're a cute little thing to make a collection of to reminisce on the times you actually did something with your life.

Sounds pretty simple but just having these things in a little mental checklist can make things run as smooth as possible. Also don't forget park entry because I know that pain. And always wear waterproof make-up. Always



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Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Moving on part II

I moved out of my parents house back in May. Now, bare in mind I’m an only child and I’ve been spoilt my whole life, little old naive me has found ‘adult’ life interesting. Here’s a few things I’ve discovered and learnt whilst being somewhat independent(?)

1. The expense of cleanliness

Washing machine capsules + fabric conditioner = NO FOOD FOR A WEEK. My god I didn’t realise how much money a washing machine literally eats in the space of a month?! I’ve never hunted out cheap deals for bio pods in Tesco so savagely in my life. I see someone eyeing up the last 38 pack of capsules for £5? Oh no I’ve accidentally slipped and pushed your trolley down the entire aisle. Whoops. Better get that. I’ve also never had such an urge to EAT said capsules before. What is it about brightly coloured liquid in a beautiful shaped firm pod makes me want to put it in my mouth so badly? Also, does ANYONE know the right amount of fabric conditioner should go in because I feel like that’s a life long mystery I should go to the mountains of Peru or something and seek out. Hmu on my gofundme to send me on a washing machine/finding myself journey.




2. Expiration dates

So moving up from Somerset to Surrey I knew there would be obvious price changes in fresh produce etc, but I never thought the death of me would be expiration dates (maybe literally???) Myself and my boyfriend like to experiment and make fresh food from scratch a lot as it makes us feel like real adults, so that includes buying lots of fresh ingredients. You’ll normally see us in Tesco at 11pm picking up every crate of red onions trying to find the best expiration date. If we can find some that last for more than 6 days it’s a party, and at least half of our meals for that week have to incorporate red onion just to really embrace the fact the onion won’t start smelling of fart after 3 days.

3. WHY DOES TOILET ROLL DISAPPEAR SO FAST

I say this as I’ve just had to venture to a 24 hour Tesco to pick up a 9 pack of toilet paper just so I can take a piss in peace. Back when I was a wee child I’d have friends who’d parents wouldn’t allow you to use more than a certain amount of strips of toilet roll when you went to the loo and I always thought it was fucking weird. It still is fucking weird but now I understand why they did it, to save precious pee time rather than crying your way to a shop in the middle of the night.

4. Deals are bae

£3.01 for one pack of toilet roll or £6 for 2??? Bargain. Sign. Me. Up. Due to the amount of deals pasta sauce always has on we’ve literally got 6 jars of it in the fridge right now, all of which have been opened and slightly used but it’s fine because iT wAs On A dEaL.

5. Takeaways know you

So, every now and then we’ll get a takeaway as a treat because sometimes washing up is hard, but the other week my worst nightmare came true. Ordered a bad takeaway from JustEat and told them about it, and they replied with ‘I can see you've had a few orders with us now, so I appreciate how unexpected this must be.’ That’s it, they’ve become self aware. Now I feel like my parents whenever they order a Chinese and the person on the other end of the phone goes “OH MR HORRILL!” Although I would like free prawn crackers for this recognition.

6. Glitter is Satan

Now I love a good bath bomb, in fact, for the last few years I’ve been a self acclaimed ‘lushie’ and have taken numerous baths with an obscene amount of bath bombs, but my god the glittery ones cause me headaches. Mum, I’m sorry for all the times I’ve used a bath bomb and left the glittery residue in the bath. No amount of my tears can help remove gold shimmer from the crevices near the taps.


There we have it, a few moans and groans that I’ve developed since being alone in the big wide world. Soon I’ll be talking about taxes and the weather. Sigh.



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Monday, 8 May 2017

Moving on

As I'm writing this it's my last official day of 'living at home'. I was born and raised in a cottage in Somerset and we've never, ever moved. Driving 1 1/2 hours to the East is a complete culture shock to me, it's genuinely as if I've risen in some weird alien country and no one knows what a Combine Harvester is??? What's that all about huh?? 

I'm moving up to Surrey to a place that's around 35 min train from London. To get a round of drinks I'd honestly have to sell my kidney whereas a £10 note here would get me a round of drinks AND a kebab. There's actual real public transport here and I don't have to drive 20 mins to get to a train station. In fact if I jumped over the fence next to my flat I'd be IN the train station. It's going to be so different for me and amazing, but also there's a bad part.
I suffer from intense anxiety. I dwell on everything. Remember that time a mum shouted at me 2 years ago for not giving her a 5p bag? Oh you don't? I do. I have panic attacks when I'm away from people for too long and sometimes my body is like "Wahey Amy! Let's go lurking to see what can upset you today!". This is gonna be the hardest step for me. It still hasn't really clicked that I'm actually moving out and I can't rely on my parents anymore, and that's a part of my anxiety. It separates situations and as I suffer from derealisation it makes things x10 worse. Will Amy die from anxiety? Find out next week!

All in all I am extremely excited to start this new chapter of my life. I get to be up by my friends and be involved with things. I might even get a social life. Probably not. I've also got a shit tonne of homeware including a COFFEE MACHINE!! And a BEAN BAG!! Look at me, adulting n' that. 


Cool bye 
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Sunday, 23 April 2017

Mental health/looking up

Bit of an emo post but I think it's needed, sometimes it's good to open up. Unless you're opening up a body, in which case maybe  s t o p.

For as long as I've known in my teenage years I've suffered with panic attacks. First record of it was when I came across an old facebook status on timehop from 2009. In 2011 I got depression and in 2012 it became very very bad. I went to the doctors numerous amount of times, first they ignored me, then they blamed it on hormones so I was put on the pill, then after that it was just a case of 'It's all in your head, have some awful CAHMs counselling so you can be reassured you're just a moody teenager!'. Anxiety was a crippling thing, too. Refused to ring anyone, leaving the house just to walk up town brought on even more panic attacks and I'd cry myself to sleep most nights because I just couldn't physically handle the thing known as 'life'. Along with the depression and anxiety I also self harmed and my mind became incredibly suicidal. It's not that I wanted to kill myself, but I definitely didn't want to be alive, and I think that's another thing people can't grasp at. To make things worse my nan passed in 2012, she had bi-polar and was my closest family member (excluding my parents). Death doesn't really hit me because I know it's unavoidable but that's the one death I will never, ever, ever get over, and no amount of therapy will ever fix that. 

It wasn't until I came clean about my self harm that the doctors actually thought "Shit, she's our responsibility now". By the age of 18 I'd been on 3 different types of anti-depressants, 3 anxiety meds and had CAHMs counselling, school counselling and CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy). Things got better to an extent, I learnt ways to calm down my anxiety attacks, the self harming stopped and I managed to get a job that I loved that would help me develop and grow my social skills. Fast forward to just before my 19th birthday and I'd pretty much broken again. The constant panic attacks and crying began, my relationship was falling apart and I didn't know what direction I wanted to go in life. I just kinda sifted through it all, blamed it on hormones and at the fact I'd started University, but in reality I knew what was up and I shouldn't have been ashamed. I got assessed at the adults mental health centre of which we discussed depression, bi-polar and anxiety, but as I put up a strong front and I wasn't actively trying to kill myself no further action was taken on their part.

February/March 2017 has been a really tough time for me. I'm now on an SNRI called venlafaxine, taking 112.5mg a day, I still take propanol for my anxiety and I have weekly doctors check ups. My self harm has been quite bad but I know how to control it and for once I'm being selfish in my life. I've stopped caring about what others think of me and I've started caring about myself, because in the long run I'm the only one that matters. It may sound selfish, and it is selfish, but it's also very important. We preach about loving each other, but loving yourself is something so much more important. Like RuPaul says, if you can't love yourself, how can you love somebody else? I've also come to terms that my mental health problems will never go away. I was always under the impression that one day I'd be 'fine' but the tough reality is that I will never truly be fine, and that's okay, in fact, it's perfectly fine. It doesn't make me a bad person, it doesn't make anyone a bad person, it just shows that you've beaten a hard time in your life and you still can beat those hard times. 

Because I've started to be selfish, I've started to be happier. I'm leaving University and moving up to the London area to work at the place I feel most at home. I've made some wonderful friends in the last few months and I finally feel like I can be who I am. Independence is scary, but also very fucking brave, and I really feel like this big step is the best thing that will ever happen to me. I'm so glad I didn't succeed in killing myself because sometimes life can be pretty cool. Plus it would've been a massive waste because I'm at least a 4/10 on my funny days.

There's not exactly a moral here, because everyone is different and handles their mental health differently. It's good for me to get this off my chest because I feel like this new chapter is going to be the best thing ever for me. If you're going through tough times it's okay and it's cool. You're allowed to be down and sad, but make sure you look after yourself. Do things for you and know that there is a blinding light at the end of the tunnel. 
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