Monday, 12 February 2018

THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF CARE



I am a huge advocate for self care, in both my online life and in my professional life. It’s something I aim to address for myself and others, who may be suffering from a mental health difficulty in particular, however, regardless practicing self care is equally as important even if your mental health is okay. 
When I talk about self care or self soothing  I don’t mean *making sure you took a wash* of course that is important, and if you are not doing that, it should be addressed. What I really mean though is taking time for yourself. 


We live in a society where everything is such a fast paced environment, we have the pressure of just trying to live our life along with the pressures of social media endorsements, it can leave us feeling utterly exhausted. I know I often feel drained by trying to have a relationship, friendships, keep a house going, working full time, keeping up with social media. Even writing that list makes me feel overwhelmed, so chances are people aren’t taking time for themselves, because they feel they have so much to do. 



Do you find yourself saying “I just don’t have time” , “ I had to work late” , “i’ve not done anything to deserve a treat” ?



Well take a step back for a moment, and lets put things into perspective a little bit here. We as humans have this wonderful nature of caring for others, telling others they are doing well, but do we ever pat ourselves on the back, or take a 5 minute break? Probably not, I see it and hear it all the time in my professional life, which is why I feel so passionate about encouraging people to self soothe, because it can work wonders for your mental health. 


Doing something to self soothe does not need to involve money, going to spas or weekend trips away, no honey I’m talking little daily changes. Everyone is individual and what you enjoy, may not be an enjoyment for others, but I have come up with a small list which you can take some inspiration from.

SELF CARE IDEAS 

go for a walk 
take a bath 
paint your nails 
draw 
write in a journal 
light a candle
take some time (it could be 1 hour) office away from social media 
read that book you’ve been meaning to read 
buy a bunch of flowers for yourself 
meditate / do some yoga - you don’t have to be good
put on your favourite music album 
call a friend or family member 
laugh - force it out - trust me if you are having a bad day do this, it really works



Its not an extensive list, but it’s a start and hopefully it has got you thinking on some things you can easily do to be kind to yourself. 

Life is busy, unfortunately that is the way society is, but we can care for ourselves and find time to do these little things, the small things can make such a difference to our mental health and wellbeing. We often take ourselves for granted and don’t allow ourselves time to be kind, yet we all deserve it, no matter who you are in the world you deserve to be kind to yourself and allow yourself to self soothe. 



I challenge you to try at least one self soothing thing per day, and see if you notice a difference. 

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

FINDING A LOVE FOR INTERIORS

Well, here I am taking Interiors. 


A little fact for all you wonderful people: when I was little I always wanted to buy houses and do them up, like grand designs. I also was obsessed with watching 60 minute makeovers and still love that sort of thing now. 

So as you can tell, I have very much always been into interiors, however, its a hard thing to love, when your money is limited and you are wanting to save for bigger things i.e. buying a house. 

I’m trying to limit the homeware I buy, because lets face it, I would much rather hold out until we do have a house, however, for now I am still living in a wonderful rented apartment, and I am trying my best to style it well and affordably. 


There are some really affordable places that do prints and stylish homeware selections of bookshelf ornaments, or if you are like me you can try and draw your own art work. 




I have recently discovered Maison Du Monde where I caved in and bought a beautiful chair for my desk.

Well, I actually sat on my old one and broke it *read into that how you please* 

It is the small features, such as this beautiful vintage looking chair that adapt and change the aesthetics of the room, not to mention the plants I am still managing to keep alive. In comparison to some of the other companies out there, this chair was super affordable and stylish all in one. 


Erm HELLO what more could a girl ask for!




Due to the fact that we must save, and saving in your 20’s when you don't live at home is bloody hard, it means that I don’t have the interiors set up I would like or have set out in my mind, but it doesn’t matter because i’m building it up slowly and appreciating every thing I am able to purchase. 





I’m definitely on the hunt for more affordable interior brands, so if you are familiar with any then hit me up.

Are you into interior shopping?

Friday, 2 February 2018

A REVIEW OF JANUARY


Well, January was an exceptionally long month, wasn’t it!? I don't think I was the only one to be a little bit sick to death of January, which I feel bad for saying. I try to remind myself not to wish the days away, however, post Christmas and a very long stretch until pay day, January just felt a little much. 

I've decided to do a little bit of a look back over January, I might try and do this for more months. Whilst I was planning this post, I realised how easily things happen, yet I completely forget about them, so in a way it is nice to have small achievements documented. 


First up, my mental health. 2017 was a bit up and down with my mental health, although may I point out, the downs were never as severe as historic downs I have experienced. Nonetheless, I came off my anti depressants which felt like a bad idea at the start, considering I also came off the contraceptive pill at the same time. Roll on to January of 2018 and I have had a really great month with my mental health, for once in my life my brain has felt mostly levelled, I haven’t cried at the drop of a hat, and I’ve taken things in my stride. I am so proud of this, I know its only been a month, but I am feeling positive to continue this journey, it’s early days but I’m hoping the things I am doing will continue to make my mental health continue in a positive direction. 

Which leads me nicely into my next achievement, I strongly believe this accounts for the large majority of my good mental health days in January. 
I have been exercising again, in 2017 I completely lost my motivation, albeit going to the gym here and there. It got to January and I gave myself a good talking to, In my mind I always know the gym and exercise makes me feel good, so I decided to make a real effort to make it there. 
Now don’t get me wrong, this has been difficult, with a stressful job, coming home and going to the gym is not something I wish to do (i’d rather lay on the sofa in my comfy clothes) but I am so proud of myself, I have been going to the gym 4-5 times a week, i’ve been doing around 45 minutes to 1 hour on those days, with a mixture of cardio and weights. I feel fantastic for doing this, and I am 90% sure this is the reason my mental health has been so good in January. 


I’ve also pushed myself out of my comfort zone and socialised, I was invited to a dinner and drinks night with some of the girls from work, the majority of these colleagues I do not know particularly well, I was nervous, I felt sick and my anxiety was through the roof on the evening. But my gosh am I proud, usually if my anxiety was so bad I would have a tendency to make an excuse like sorry i’m sick. I didn’t do that, I got ready and I went, I chatted, I drank and I had a fantastic night. I felt such a strong sense of achievement that may seem so insignificant to others, but for me this was a big deal, especially as I didn’t know these people very well and normally I find comfort with someone I know well who usually understands how I may feel, but they had no idea. We now have another dinner night booked, and I am going to that as well. 


Finally, this achievement sounds a little bigger than the rest, In January I got the email to say I graduated from my post graduate. I am absolutely over the moon, and looking back it makes me realise I can do anything I put my mind to (sadly I have a tendency to be negative towards myself) but I did it, I worked so hard on my post graduate, whilst working a full time job, and I feel so much pride. I look back to my younger years and never thought I would make it through school or college but here I am, graduating with a post graduate, and helping others in the best way I possibly can, and that makes me so proud. 

All in all, it seems that January has in fact been a great month for me. I have some trips coming up in the next few months which I am so excited for, so stay tuned for those, and hopefully for me to continue working on these small achievements (well for now I am nursing a cold and cough). 

What are your achievements in January? 

Sunday, 28 January 2018

THE ANIMAL PRINT BLOUSE




How beautiful is this shirt, I am absolutely in love with it, not to mention it feels so luxurious! I recently picked up this beauty whilst I was browsing Topshop, and I just couldn't resist. At first I was concerned with the tie up detail down the middle it may be slightly too revealing, however, I tried it on and realised getting a smaller size was utterly perfect.
As I said it feels so much more expensive than it is, it has a silk feel, although it is 100% polyester, and costs only £34. I really love how the bluson sleeves also add a little extra detail, and in this weather the long sleeve is very welcomed.
I decided to team this with a pair of high waisted black trousers, however, you could easily create a more causal look with a pair of skinny jeans, or even a pair of mom jeans would look really cool. I'm excited to style this a number of different ways. 
If i'm honest animal print isn't usually my thing, although I think what helps for this one is that its got that beautiful blush pink, and the pattern isn't harsh or overwhelming in any way.

What are your thoughts on the animal print blouse?

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

JANUARY BOOK REVIEWS




I have told myself in 2018 I want to find time to read more books, and I’d like to share those books with you lovely people. 

Today I am going to share 3 books I have recently read, please do let me know what you think. 


The couple next door : by Shari Lapena 

Synopsis: Anne and Marco are new parents to their baby daughter, Cora. One night Anne and Marco head over to their next door neighbours for dinner and drinks, however, Cora isn’t welcome. Marco assures Anne that Cora will be fine, and decide to check on her regularly. Anne and Marco head home late that evening, to discover that Cora is missing. 

They checked on her every 30 minutes, how could she be missing, surely they would have heard something, who would take a little baby? 

These questions are faced regularly throughout the book, when detective Racbach gets involved and tries to piece together what has happened, the relationship dynamics and who is to blame, but most importantly, where is Cora and is she still alive? 


I liked this book, however, written at most points in third person is something I have definitely struggled with, this gave a distant feel to the characters, in comparison to other psychological thrillers written from solely a first person perspective. Nevertheless, this book explores post-natal depression and the effects this can play, its queried whether this is the answer for Cora’s unexplained disappearance. 

Throughout the book and building upon the characters it becomes clear dirty secrets can be hidden behind closed doors, and what is presented in front of us, is not always as it seems. 


It isn’t the first time I have read a psychological thriller, I usually have a love for them, as they can be so dark and gripping, drawing you in and giving you this unsure sense of what will happen at the end. There was elements of this book that i was surprised by, however, I found the ending to be rushed and in some ways expectable. 


I liked the concept of revealing someone dark secrets, and how they usually remain hidden, it makes you question this topic in every day life, and how far people are pushed may depend on what they will become capable of. Despite this, It has not been my favourite book, but nonetheless I definitely enjoyed it. 


Small Great things: by Jodie Picoult

Synopsis: Ruth Jefferson is a labour and delivery nurse at Connecticut hospital, where she has worked for the past 20 years in this role. Ruth has wealth of experience and knowledge and deemed one of the best by her colleagues. Ruth comes on shift one day to perform routine check ups post delivery on a baby boy whose parents are white supremacists. Ruth is African American, and the parents of the little boy request that Ruth no longer cares for their baby son. 
The little boy is taken for a routine circumcision, however, after procedure the labour suite becomes highly busy and understaffed, Ruth is asked to watch over the baby boy, whilst another staff member goes to a c-section. Ruth knows this is not right, but thinks everything will be fine, until the little boy goes into cardiac arrest. What does Ruth do, does she comply with orders not to touch the little boy, or intervene?

I absolutely loved this book, I have to say I am not surprised in the slightest. Jodie Picoult has to be my favourite author, I have read all of the other books she has written, and loved them, and small great things was no different. 

Jodie is able to take raw, and often controversial topics and allow them to become  the basis of her books and this one is absolutely no different. 
Small great things explores prejudice, race and justice, it is done in the most wonderful and raw way. You feel the characters pain they are experiencing for different reasons and it makes you evaluate your own preconceptions you may unconsciously hold. 
I had an idea in my head of what I wanted to happen to each character, but I began asking myself the question of why did I want that. 
I think what makes this another fantastic book of hers is that their is so much knowledge and research that has gone into understanding the history of race, and this is built up around each character and the relationships they hold with others. I was able to put myself in the shoes of each main character and almost physically feel the pain they would have been experiencing, and therefore in my opinion this is down to the work of an incredibly talented author. 
I would highly recommend this book, at times it was truly heartbreaking to read, yet an ultimate page turner, I had to continue reading. 



Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine : by Gail Honeyman

Synopsis: Eleanor Oliphant has learnt to survive, not live. She lives the same routine week after week, she eats the same food, wears the same clothes, buys the same 2 bottles of vodka and has the same scheduled weekly chat with mummy. Eleanor Oliphant, lives in a world of isolation where she struggles to engage socially with peers and hides behind a wall which protects her from her darkest secrets. One act of kindness encourages Eleanor to re-evaulate her life, and breakdown the barriers she has so strongly built around her. Can this change be good for Eleanor? 

This book is utterly fantastic, I could not put it down, and read it in the space of 4 days, each page I turned I would say to myself “I will stop here and continue reading tomorrow” Yet I couldn't, I had to know what was going to happen. Gail Honeyman creates a beautiful and quirky character in Eleanor, you feel true pain from her current difficulties and the harrowing experiences of her past. You will laugh and cry. This book made me feel so many different emotions, and I couldn’t work out what was going to happen to Eleanor, or what her secrets may be. The ending totally shocked me, and I thought it covered some truly difficult topics in such a sensitive and beautiful way. 


This book has to be my current favourite out of these and my favourite book in a very long time, I usually wouldn’t ever read a book twice, yet this is a massive exception to the rule. 


I hope you have enjoyed reading these little reviews, have you read any of these books? If so what are your thoughts?


If you have any book recommendations you think I should read please let me know, I need to fill my reading list. 

Thursday, 18 January 2018

WHY I DON'T HAVE AN INSTAGRAM 'THEME'

Hey everyone, 
So today I wanted to talk about something which has been bugging me for a while, and that is Instagram 'themes'. I see so much talk about it around different platforms, and this made me think "should I have a theme?" "If I don't have a theme will people even want to view my Instagram feed?"
I realised I was being fed into this idea of making something 'perfect', may I just add what is perfect!? I get for some people they have a specific style, and that is the way their feed comes out, but for me, reading so much on creating a theme or a certain look made me feel as though I was incorrectly achieving something. Or my use of Instagram was wrong.
Now, Instagram is one of my favourite social network platforms, I am a very visual person and I love looking at photos of daily life, lifestyle, nature, food, beauty, pretty much anything.
I've used Instagram for a good few years, but its only over the last year or so that i've put more effort in.


Now I admit, I do not have an Instagram theme, and the reason ladies and gentleman is because I am not that type of person, I love all different forms of photography and I don't want to disregard posting a photograph I love and am proud of, because it doesn't go with the rest of the photos I already have.
A lot of my photos are resembling my daily life, and if I were to create that or alter it so significantly to include into a theme I feel as though I am stripping away the rawness of Instagram.
Another reason is because I cannot be bothered, I am naturally a perfectionist and I don't want to strip the fun away from using a social network I love because I am constantly worrying if someone will like my post, or does it go with my whole feed. It for me is too regimented, I love the art of free flowing form with my Instagram, I love to be raw and honest and that is showing my personality and honestly, a specific theme doesn't fit into that for me.

This is my personal thoughts for my Instagram, I love looking at themes people have, I think it looks amazing, but for me it isn't something that would work, possibly in the future it may be something I would like to try out, but currently I am happy and content posting whatever I please. If you want to check out my Instagram a little more my username is @Jessicalaarr I'd love to check yours out too!

Do you prefer an Instagram theme? What are your thought's on themes, I'd love to know!

Sunday, 14 January 2018

MY NEW FAVOURITE EYE CREAM



 Something I have come to love over the years (as I become more adult) is eye creams, anything that claims to reduce those pesky eye bags is something I am always drawn to. I have tried and tested a number of eye creams, possibly a review of my favourites would be appropriate, if that is something you would be interested in!?


Today, I want to share with you one of my all time favourite brands, Liz Earle. I discovered Liz Earle back when I was around 17 years old, and as a brand it has to be a firm favourite of mine, even now at the age of 25 years old.
I was lucky enough to receive the Super skin eye cream for Christmas (thanks mum!) and wow, what a luxurious product it is. This particular product came as a set with the eye bright soothing lotion and eye mask, I mean what a perfect present, right!?


 The Superskin eye cream is utterly beautiful, it's quite a thick consistency which works very easily into the skin around your eyes, it sinks in and leaves your skin feeling soft and revitalised. It instantly brightens my eye area, which is really important for me when choosing an eye cream, because sadly I was not blessed with bright under eyes and I am often sporting very dark circles, so an extra helping hand is always very welcomed. The ingredients of the pomegranate and green tea focus on the brightening. I often get dry skin around my eyes, and this instantly fixes that. I have found that it works well applied underneath makeup, which I was so impressed with considering it's consistency.


The product itself is packaged in this beautiful bottle, it looks expensive, which for 15ml it is fairly expensive at £35 however, in comparison to other eye creams it is not overpriced, I personally don't think. I am a sucker for packaging, and I definitely love that about the Superskin range, it looks much more high end, but is by no means a rip off. It definitely does what it says on the tin, so to speak. 
My sign of loving a product is asking myself "would I buy this again" ABSOLUTELY! is the answer, I never want it to run out, and I will certainly make a quick repurchase once the bottle is empty. 


Personally this eye cream definitely sits up there in my top three products, it is so soft and gentle on a sensitive area of skin, it can be used on all skin types as well, and I would say if you do have sensitive skin then this is definitely a safe option to go for, I am utterly in love. 

What's your favourite eye cream?