How to Deal with Burnout

How to deal with burnout, depression and mental health

Generally, I have a very blessed and wonderful life, but I’ve always been quite open about that fact that I suffer from depression. These ‘down days’ are always impossible to pre-empt, sometimes not appearing for weeks or even months at a time, but over the years I’ve been able to develop coping mechanisms in order to maintain some sort of functionality when a depressive episode strikes. 

This year, however, the down days were increasingly more extreme and lasted for much longer periods of time. I was dealing with a number of negative and stressful situations in both my personal and professional life over a number of months and was struggling with feelings of pressure and de-motivation, but I began to find myself unable to complete even the most menial of tasks. I didn’t particularly want to go outside, my appetite increased and I began comfort eating excessively, I felt physically and mentally tired all the time but couldn’t sleep, I felt physically unwell, eventually developing laryngitis which took several weeks to recover from, I couldn’t concentrate to the point where I even forgot what I was saying mid-sentence. I even started to lose interest in the creative things that made me happy, becoming disillusioned with my own blog and the community. For me, feeling low was part of life that I had learned to accept and work with when I needed to, but when the bad days turned into bad weeks I knew that there was something wrong.  Continue reading

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SERVE Birmingham: An Alternative Experience in the City

Ever played ping pong while drinking a pint?

Well, now you can! 

SERVE opened its doors in August in the underground space at 55a Temple Row, converting it into a ping pong bar and restaurant for a unique experience (the first of it’s kind outside of London), and I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch night. 

The concept of SERVE is to offer a hip, nightclub culture with an entertaining activity and is one of the latest alternative venues to arrive in Birmingham. It’s a rather fun idea – certainly not something I had heard of before – and I was keen to find out more about it. Continue reading

A Week in New York

Note: all of the images featured in this post are my own and are set as galleries – click on the images to see the full size.

The Bloke and I have just been to NYC for a week. We have visited once before on our honeymoon in November last year, but as we were there for just over four days we wanted to go back and attempt to see as much as possible that we had missed last time. We chose to go at the beginning of September – arriving on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend – with the hope that the city would be slightly quieter and the following week was back to school. 

We wanted to experience both the tourist and non-tourist places, so I spent several weeks before reading blogs and watching vlogs about everything to see and do, mapping out our activities according to each day. This wasn’t set in stone and would allow us to change each daily plan around according to the weather.  Continue reading

Start Spreading the News…

New York montage

It has been a little while since I last posted, predominantly because I’ve been on holiday in New York. The Bloke and I visited just under a year ago on our honeymoon, but as we were there for just over four days we decided to go back for an extended period of time and try and see some of the things that we missed.

It. Was. Epic.

We travelled by subway, water taxi and cable car. We saw a ridiculous amount of movie locations and sweltered in the intense heat. I ate a Cronut, gay ice-cream, pancakes, slurped on the most amazing pink lemonade and developed a rather worrying Snapple addiction. We missed an appearance by Hugh Jackman and Neil Patrick-Harris at different points, laughed (and almost cried) at Kinky Boots on Broadway and got a crick in our necks from looking skywards for so long.  Continue reading

A Wonderful Week and a Wedding

Last week was wonderful.

The Bloke and I watched Matilda on Monday night at the Birmingham Hippodrome. I’d heard endless good things and was intrigued to see how it transferred to the stage, and in many ways it didn’t disappoint. The set was incredible, the songs and choreography were great and some of the actors in particular (Bruce Bogtrotter, Miss Trunchbull and Miss Honey) were fabulous. However, it wasn’t completely my thing – I’m an enormous RENT freak and the shows that I have enjoyed the most have much more of a rock inspired content (Rock of Ages being one of my favourites) and while the child actors were certainly talented, I found it difficult to totally understand their dialogue at times. There was also a technical hitch in the second half which caused the show to be suspended for a little while, so by the time it finished it felt excessively long. It’s certainly something that I’m glad we had the opportunity to watch, but probably not something that I would rush to see again.

Continue reading

Cheat Days and Chinese Food

The Bloke and I made a decision a few months ago to change our dietary habits. We were both in a food rut – eating poorly, snacking often and gaining weight to the the point where we were both at our heaviest and most unhealthy. 

We decided not to follow a specific plan or count calories. After watching the documentary ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’ on Netflix we were inspired by the idea of a diet of no processed food. We took it a step further based on the fact that I seem to have developed a minor lactose intolerance and The Bloke has rosacea and cut out sugar and dairy too. So, for the last few months we have eaten nothing but fruit, vegetables, nuts, white meat and fish, except for the occasional cheat day that we allow ourselves the chance to eat what we want. We usually don’t eat past 6.30pm, have extra smoothies if we are feeling particularly hungry or have food cravings, and our snacks consist of fruits, nuts and vegetables too. Instead of focusing on the idea of a ‘diet,’ we consider it to be more of a lifestyle change. Continue reading

The Kindness of Neighbours and Arnold, the Pot-Head Rescue Tortoise

I was too busy telling Arnold how handsome he is to take a picture, but stick a pair of shades on this one and you get the idea…

I live in a street of terraced houses on both sides. The residents are a mixture of home-owners and renters, mainly comprising of young families, professionals and retirees. Generally (aside from my next-door neighbours who appear to be in training to become the next big DJ’s) it’s pretty quiet. We say hello, put the bins out for each other, take in each other’s packages, but aside from that we all pretty much keep ourselves to ourselves.

Today, The Bloke and I heard shouting outside. A man was pacing back and forth and banging on the doors and windows in front of a house across the road, getting more and more agitated when nobody would let him in and eventually he lost his temper. He kicked down a piece of the front wall down and launched it at the door with such force that it flew open, and then he ran away. Continue reading

50 Useful Tips to Boost Your Organisation and Productivity

50 useful tips to boost organisation and productivity

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small amount of money if you make a purchase from any of the Amazon links included

A routine is incredibly important to productivity, motivation and organisation and a morning routine (even if you aren’t a morning person) followed by further preparation in the evening is more likely to encourage a successful day. 

Avoid focusing on the idea of perfection. There’s no such thing. Avoid getting caught up in fussing over the insignificant.

Plan your month in advance. Using a calendar, phone, diary or Bullet Journal, map out your month. I like to see an overview of everything on one page, so I create a linear list in my Bullet Journal for the entire month of dates when I have an appointment, event and a birthday to remember. I duplicate this list onto a single piece of paper that I put up on the wall at home. This allows me to see at a glance when I am free and gives me the opportunity to get ahead for times that will be busier than others. 

Create a meal plan, buy and cook food in bulk and freeze as much as possible. It’s surprising how many healthy meals can be prepared using minimal ingredients and frozen afterwards in Ziploc Freezer Bags and Food Storage Containers and even Mason Jars ready to use later. Here’s an incredibly useful list of ideas. Continue reading

Victor: The Second Eden East Novel from Sacha Black

I always like to promote the accomplishments of members of the blogging community, and I was delighted to see that Sacha Black (author, blogger and brainchild of the Annual Bloggers Bash) launched her second fiction novel – Victor – yesterday. I was on a writers retreat with her a little while ago when she was in the process of finishing the final draft of this, and I learned so much about how much it takes to create a novel from scratch just by listening to her conversations with the others authors… mind blowing.

Victor is the second novel in her Eden East Fantasy YA Fantasy series, following Sacha’s best-selling debut fiction novel, Keepers.

Victor by Sacha Black

When Eden East kills someone, she expects them to stay dead. It’s only polite, after all.

Exhausted from battle and finally bound to her soulmate, all Eden wants to do is attend university and spend time with Trey. When her demon-ex, Victor, suddenly returns from the afterlife, Eden’s convinced he’s out for revenge. The last thing she expects is for him to ask for help, especially when he’s being controlled by evil forces.

But when an enchanted lock and key go missing, she’s no longer sure who she can trust. If Eden can’t find them in time, not only will her life, and her heart, be torn apart, the very world she lives in could be destroyed – forever.

Victor will transport fans of The Red Queen, The Young Elites, and The Lunar Chronicles to a world unlike any other… Continue reading

A Summer Catch-Up

I was delighted at the fact that I regained some of my blogging mojo recently, only to then promptly trek up north to spend some time with family and friends for four days, most of which I didn’t have access to the internet.

A little while ago I received an invitation from some friends to meet up for a meal in Manchester. I’ve known them for twenty years, meeting them when I was sixteen and studying at sixth form college, and a few of us have kept in touch and meet up on an annual basis. I realised that it would also be a good opportunity to spend some time with my mum and sister, who I haven’t seen since before Christmas, and also arranged to meet my oldest friend (who lives in the city centre) for breakfast on the morning when I was travelling back. Continue reading