Wednesday, 30 December 2015

A Winters Walk

I have always loved the countryside, I find there is something so special and therapeutic about the clean, fresh, crisp air, the countryside surroundings and the views of the landscape.

As it's the holiday's and my Mum has had some time off work we decided to go to a country estate just outside of Brighton called Stanmer House. It was lovely, very peaceful and calming. As I knew the estate would be very picturesque made sure to take my camera to capture the beauty.

Here are some of the photos I took - enjoy!

Stanmer Tea Rooms...
Cute cottages...
Private farmyards...
Lovely ponds...
Stanmer House Garden...
The festivity is still among us...
Thank you for reading :) lots of love x

Monday, 28 December 2015

Christmas Day

I spent Christmas Day this year at my Sister, Anna's new home with both Anna, and my Mum. My Sister's home is lovely, very warming and inviting; she made my Mum and me feel extremely comfortable and happy when staying with her. 

As Anna is a wonderful cook she was in charge of making Christmas Dinner, which she organised very well (even setting up a spreadsheet for the timings!) My Mum helped my sister with the cooking, but she really enjoyed spending her time relaxing and letting her kids (Anna and me) take a lead in organising Christmas!

So, with the task of making Christmas dinner in great hands of my sister, I made the most of organising the decorations, setting the table, and making the place feel a little more festive. I also decided to take on the task of making and decorating the Christmas cake, which I really loved as I am quite a keen baker! 

Of course I took this as an opportunity to take some photos of the table decorations and the cake to share on here - enjoy!

Thank you for reading, I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and I wish you a Happy New Year! 

All my love x

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Preparing For Christmas

Christmas is quickly approaching and I am feeling more festive than ever. From day one of being back in England from my travels I have wanted to start decorating my Mum's place to get it feeling nice and festive. 

If you know me well, you know I am a huge fan of Christmas and over the years I have also become a lover of interior design. So, come Christmas time and all I want to do is decorate, decorate, decorate! 

With this, over the last week or so I have spent my free time wandering the shops in Brighton and collecting a few decorations together; as well as getting a small Christmas tree, and then adding some finishing touches with a few ornaments I bought whilst in the U.S. 

I didn't want to make my Mum's apartment too over the top in festivity, but I wanted to decorate it in a way that it would feel warm and cosy, with a slight Scandinavian touch, and of course with a little special Christmassy feel.

I now happily feel I have achieved this, and thought I'd quite like to share my ideas on this blog.

Hanging from the door handle is a small Christmas tree ornament I got from Starbucks in Santa Monica; which was in fact too heavy for the tree but I quite like it hanging from the door handle like this.

This bowl is filled with some lovely Frankincense scented potpourri from Next. The succulent I brought back with me from the U.S, as well as the jug containing Gypsophila decorated using a sprinkle of glitter for a festive touch. 

I love hanging decorations from anywhere possible - for example the light switch in the top left of this photo, to give a small festive touch. The cute Christmas jumper draped over the chair is from H&M. A Christmas jumper is a must have every year, and this one is very cosy with some added sparkle! 

Another favourite of mine, and especially at Christmas time is fairy lights. I am over the moon about these I found (hanging from the mirror) from a small independent shop in Brighton; which tie in very nicely with the candle holder in the centre of the table.

Candles are wonderful all year round, and definitely so when its cold outside at Christmas time. They help to create a cosy, warming atmosphere to any room. The scents for candles this time of year are my favourite - from pine and gingerbread, to almond and sugar cookie...I love them all! I currently have a small yankee candle burning called 'snow love' which smells incredible! I also always like to have an advent candle (to the back of the table). Then to finish I've put some cinnamon sticks in a small trinket jar; cinnamon is another winter scent I love.

This mirror is an addition I brought back with me from America, and placed above hangs some decorative mistletoe - a very traditional ornament for this time of the year (bought from M&S Home).

Now to the tree! This year my Mum and I decided we only needed a small tree, which we wanted to keep quite simple. 

I used the fairy lights I bought back with me from America and bought a selection of mix and match decorations from Zara Home - I love the home-made feel to them. I also got a simple white star for the top which I decorated a little more by wrapping around some grey ribbon; I feel this helps it stand out.

I covered the base of the tree using some hessian material which I then secured tying a bow using the left over ribbon I used to decorate the star. I used some more cinnamon sticks in another little trinket jar here and added a dusting of christmas confetti around the bottom of the tree.

Above shows the pretty Zara decorations that I love a lot.

As well as the interior decor, I've also started wrapping some presents which I also enjoy very much and get quite excited about in fact! I wanted the style of wrapping to keep to the simple Scandinavian style similar to the decorations around the apartment. The stockings above are from a small independent shop I found in the Lanes in Brighton. I've reused some gift bags I collected in America and finished off using plain white and brown paper, then some grey, cream and silver ribbon.

I added some candy canes to the smaller gifts for a cute finishing touch.

The gift tags I bought from Paperchase which I feel is another lovely finishing touch!

Thank you for taking a look at this post on my decorations and preparations for Christmas this year. I hope you've enjoyed this little insight and that this may even help inspire you with getting ready for Christmas!

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas! 

All my love x

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

What's The Next Step?

For this post, I'd like to write a little on the subject of making decisions and deciding "whats next". Having finished A Levels, and now being in my gap year; I do often think about what my next big step may be. I don't have an exact path on what I'd like to do in the years to come; but that is okay. There are very few people who know exactly what the want for their future from my age of 19.

The most important thing for me at the moment is to ensure I continue with the focuses, changes and new interests I made and discovered whilst away in the U.S. To continue with Yoga and Meditation; with reading, blogging and taking photos. Also to continue working on my health in a positive way and to live a calm and simple life and so on. I have learnt an awful lot about myself over the last 6 months especially, and to this day I'm still finding out more...aren't we all? 

There are people who know what they want as a career from a young age...sometimes even before they've started GCSE's! This percentage of people is very small, and if you are one of those're very lucky! Others have a rough idea from high school, and go onto sixth form or college with that idea of a career in mind and later on may go to University to get a degree in the area they're particularly interested in. Some decide they'd like to take a year out to go travelling, or to go straight into the world of work, to do an apprenticeship or similar.

Then there are others that find it difficult to decide exactly what they want to do after school; to decide what their next step may be. Constantly thinking of all the possibilities, such as...Do I go to uni? Do I go travelling? Shall I continue my part time job, until I've decided? Then, with feeling stuck, and indecisive they may choose one of the above but later think, was that the right decision? 

Making decisions can be so difficult and one of life's challenges, I feel that there often isn't one correct way, no exact path, no simple answer. With making a decision and therefore trying something new and different is always positive in one way or another, even if it doesn't feel like it at the time. Sometimes there is no easy way, but even small decisions will inevitable mean small steps forward. We learn new things all the time, about ourselves, about life and so much more; everyday is a new page to our story.

I am one of the people that isn't quite sure what my next big step is, before I became ill I was planning on going to University, but I'm no longer planning on that; I find the thought of the whole idea too stressful. Not going to Uni is ok and University isn't for everyone; the difficulty I find myself in is figuring out what I do want.

Saying I've been completely stuck for any idea would be a lie as I did make a decision, a pretty big one in fact...that being to go to America for 6 months for the reasons I've mentioned in previous blog posts. To take some time out, to recuperate, to find my independence, to gain confidence...basically, "to find myself".

Making the decision to go to the U.S. on my own with the many everyday life challenges we all come across, and to do so with being an already very anxious person; not only that but also with being in recovery from my illness...if I'm honest, to say a big step would be the least.

Luckily, my time time in the U.S was incredibly wonderful, it helped me grow with confidence, independence, strength and I was able to really relax and learn so much about myself, about life, and so, so much more, which I am over the moon about. However, it wasn't all easy, oh no. But I was prepared for that, and having been through the difficult times whilst away I can now see such times helped me grow even stronger.

So now being back in the U.K I find myself still unsure about exactly what I want for the times to come, but I'm only young and have time. There's no point in rushing and making an irrational decision. But in the meantime I will continue with what I mentioned above...Yoga, Meditation, writing this blog, taking photos my health and so on; which is more than enough for now.

What I want people who read this to understand and to take away is that wherever in life you may be, whatever age it is okay to not know exactly what you want for the times ahead. However, if you do find yourself feeling stuck, maybe try making a small change, a small decision, a small step forwards; what's the worst that could happen? If you continue to feel you're struggling or you feel as though you'd like help with decisions then seek advise, speak out. Bottling up feelings, emotions and questions does no good.

Remember to take time out every now and then to overlook your accomplishments, your interests and what you're looking forward to, etc. Also, to acknowledge the things getting you down and the things that aren't working out for you. When looking at both the good and bad you will hopefully be able to make some small changes in order to help yourself focus on the good; and if its difficult to change the bad stuff, maybe this is the time to seek help.

Thank you for reading, lots of love x

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Festivity In Santa Monica

A lovely end to my time in America was being able to enjoy and join in with some of the preparations  and celebrations for the Holiday season. Spending my last weeks in Santa Monica during this time I was able to soak in the festive atmosphere. From talking to a few of the locals in Santa Monica I found out that Thanks Giving is in fact a bigger celebration than Christmas for many in the U.S. So for me, the Thanks Giving celebration felt a bit like an early Christmas, which was great! 

I've always been a lover of Christmas; I find it a wonderful time to celebrate with family and friends. I love December especially, and the lead up to Christmas Day as I find many people are too feeling very merry and festive, and sharing the cheer and joy is wonderful. 

I love wandering the streets filled with lights and decorations; on one of my last evenings in Santa Monica I went for a stroll with my camera to capture some festive photographs, and now that I am back in England and feeling more festive than ever I thought now would be a great time to share these with you! I hope you like them :)

Walking along Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica...while enjoying the Guitarist and of course, the beautiful Christmas lights.

A very festive coffee shop along Third Street

I love how the trees are decorated with fairy lights all along the Street - so pretty!

Fairy lights make everything look pretty :)

Finally - the massive Christmas tree in Santa Monica Place - and wonderfully decorated!!

Thank you for taking a look!

Lots of Love x

Sunday, 6 December 2015

America - An Inspirational Interlude

My 6 month stay in the U.S. has now come to its end, this time away has been life changing, a once in a life time experience, an opportunity I feel blessed to have had. I feel a changed person and so much happier in myself. I feel more confident, independent, calm and content and so much more.

Now that I am back in good ol' England I feel some questions may arise, ones I am thinking; as well as ones my family and friends may ask.

So, the first of these being something like...will I miss Santa Monica? 

Yes, I will for sure. Santa Monica is somewhere I have grown to feel very close to, I felt very comfortable there; it was a magical time for me and I am extremely lucky to have been able to spend several months there. 

With that said, although my time away has been a fantastic experience over all and has helped me in so many ways. That doesn't mean it's all been easy, I've had down days, I've faced up to difficult fears and challenges...I've had to deal with homesickness and being completely independent...not only that, I've had to do all of these things on top of still recovering from my illness.

I feel the several months I had away was the right length of time for me and I'm excited for the times to come now back in England. 

How has this time in California helped?

My time aways has helped in more ways than I could have ever hoped for, with the main being in helping me understand 'me'. This space away has enabled me to clear my head and to start a fresh; I've gained interests and hobbies I never thought I'd like, such as reading, meditation and yoga. 

I've found that I really enjoy the simple things, such as spending time in a coffee shop with a nice cuppa, watching the passers-by, or reading a book. I love going to the farmers market - a time to join the community. Another special time was just simply heading to the beach and watching the sunset; I love this peaceful moment; a time of calm and tranquility, a time to collect thoughts on the day.

What lifestyle changes do I hope to continue with?

A main change I feel in myself and will continue learning about and practicing is living in the moment, and to worry less about the past and future - to be with what is and live a much calmer and peaceful life. Learning to live in the moment is a journey, and with practicing comes knowledge, ability and understanding.

I will of course continue with my passion for yoga and meditation and I hope to find a Yoga and/or Meditation studio new to where I now live. Both of these practices have played a huge part in helping me grow to understand myself for who I am and have helped me an incredible amount with my recovery too.

Keeping pressure, anxiety and stress to a minimum and to continue with what I love most; with the time to come being as simple, calm and peaceful I hope to find myself feeling up to trying some sort of part-time job. Perhaps sometime next year I could see myself working in a coffee shop, or being a dog walker, or similar - a job that isn't too demanding and one that I feel I am helping others - that would make me very happy.

Will I continue with my blog, now that I am back in the U.K.?

Of course, and I look forward to sharing the times to come! 

Hopefully, I have helped answer some questions, or helped you reading this understand more about what I'm thinking about with now being back from my travels :)

Thank you for reading :)

All my love x

Tuesday, 1 December 2015


Pressure is something I find very difficult to manage. Feeling under pressure causes me a lot of stress and anxiety. It is something we all have to cope with everyday...from dealing with exams, work demands, time pressure and so on, it is always among us.

If you're like me, and find being under any type of pressure very overwhelming to comprehend there are strategies that can be learnt to help manage and cope with being in situations of feeling under pressure.

Whilst being in California I've wanted to conquer certain goals, I've wanted to take time to face up to challenges and to learn more about myself. To learn what works for me and what doesn't. This goes from finding what hobbies I enjoy, to realising what causes me stress and anxiety. 

Pressure in my eyes is something that isn't needed. When I look back on circumstances where I've felt under pressure, it has only caused a negative effect, making me feel distressed, anxious, panicked and so on. As I can now see how badly pressure effects me I've started to work on learning how to manage such times; to acknowledge and to accept the feeling and to let it go. 

We all have good and bad moments...I used to find myself getting extremely frustrated when things didn't go completely to plan, therefore putting pressure on  myself and ending with feeling even worse about the situation. But I am now learning to stop worrying so much, to not put pressure on myself, to keep calm and to stay in the moment.

Moreover there are some situations where it is possible to minimise feelings of pressure. For example with time pressures, say if you need to be in a certain place at a certain time, mange your time effectively and schedule your timing so that you arrive early. 

I understand that some feel pressure can be a good thing. They feel it can help with motivation, determination, and staying focused. I do appreciate those who believe this - for my opinion isn't necessarily correct; it comes from from my life experiences, from learning through reading a few books and with speaking to others around me. 

For me motivation, determination, focus and so on, all come from within me...I feel motivated most when I feel good about myself, when I feel confident. I feel focused most when I am in a good mindset and can set myself an achievable goal. Pressure comes from outside situations and only causes me negative effects.

With having learnt this about myself, I can see where in the past pressure was unhelpful and often not even necessary. So it is best for me to stay clear of any situations where I may feel under too much pressure. Of course I will come across times where I find myself feeling under pressure for something I have no control over (for example, running late for something). In such situations I can use what I've learnt - to acknowledge, to accept, and to let go.

I hope me writing this helps in some way. If you're like me and struggle with feeling under too much pressure, just know you're not alone; there are ways to learn to manage and cope with such feelings.

Remember to follow your heart and believe in yourself, you can do it!

Thank you for reading, all my love x

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Distance Can Be Okay

Today I thought I'd write a post on something I've been learning over the last few years through my own experiences, with speaking to other people, and more recently through reading about. This being how to manage and cope with my feelings of anxiety when in a difficult situation; and better yet, how to stay clear of such unmanageable situations.

The main thing I've learnt, and something that has stuck with me is that it is okay to take some distance; to keep clear and to save yourself from feeling a mixture of bad emotions such as anxiety, negativity and even feeling a wave of depression.

I understand however, that it is possible to take too much distance, which can lead to isolation, and for some isn't helpful when feeling down and can worsen negative feelings. But, there are situations where distance is okay, such as from someone saying something unhelpful; you may need to take a step aside to acknowledge the bigger picture.

Is this always realistic? In some cases, maybe not. In reality distancing yourself from every bad situation you may come across in life just isn't realistic. Everyday we face both good and bad experiences, and it's pinpointing the ones that will cause a detrimental negative impact on us. However, if you're like me and you find yourself getting anxious very easily, which can really make you feel incredible low; when possible, taking a step back is okay...just make sure to not take a step back too far.

To pinpoint such situations can be very difficult and not always achievable. In some cases, say if you found something someone said unhelpful, instead of instantly distancing yourself, it may be best to speak to the person or to someone else to get a second opinion, which can often be helpful.

So yes, it is okay to sometimes distance yourself, especially in situations that may effect you in a negative way; in turn this will be positive for your mental, emotional and physical health. Then the rest follows - when you're most content, happy and healthy within yourself, you'll feel stronger inside and out. Therefore more able to be there for those who are important to you in your life, such as family and friends.

You may also find you enjoy your interests more; you may find yourself feeling more confident and are up to trying new things. Furthermore, this can also help to make you feel better ready to conquer the things you find more challenging.

Space, distance, taking time out is so important. When you get a moment to take a distance; to take some time out; to take some 'you' time. Do, because it could help you so much more than you'd ever imagine.

So why have I written this post? Because it's something I've struggled with for a very very long time and I feel I'm finally moving forward and learning how to manage and cope with some of the difficulties I come across in my everyday life. I know that I'm not alone with this and there are so many other people who also struggle with anxiety, with feeling in a very low mood, with feeling panicked and so on. I wanted to share what I have learnt, and if I am able to help one person by sharing this, to me that would be amazing.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post - it really means a lot.

All my love x

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Amongst The Hustle And Bustle Of Downtown L.A

Today's post is about my recent trip to Downtown Los Angeles.

I hadn't been right to the centre of L.A yet as it was another very daunting concept for me. However, I feel so different now compared to when I first arrived here back in June. With feeling a little more confident in myself I've decided that before I head back to the UK, l I'd like to make sure I do a few of the things I've wanted to do, but haven't yet done due to feeling too anxious and nervous.

Of course there's only so much I can fit in and manage; the last thing I want is to overwhelm myself with a tonne of trips out and for them to cause a negative affect on my confidence. So, my plan is to just do a couple of final trips out, by doing so I am facing up to challenges I never thought I'd manage to conquer, which will hopefully help me grow stronger within. 

So, with Downtown L.A being the next place I wanted to explore, I made sure to do lots of research and planning, to help me feel more comfortable with where I'd be going. As well as to know which buses to take, where the best sites were, where to grab lunch and a cup of tea and so on. By doing so I felt a lot more confident and happy with the idea...I felt organised and ready!

Having my plan in place I felt this week was the right time to take my trip; the bus was simple to catch and took me straight from Santa Monica to the area I wanted to be in Downtown L.A.

Once I arrived I headed straight towards MOCA (Museum Of Contemporary Art) and the Walt Disney Concert Hall which were both fantastic, the Concert Hall is a very impressive building - the architecture and design are just incredible - so unique and vey modern! MOCA was also lovely, I didn't spend too long there but I did manage to see some of the wonderful contemporary art, from sculptures to paintings. 

After that, I made my way to the Jewellery, Flower and Fashion was...urrrr...crazy! I won't lie, I felt very anxious whilst there. It was very crowded, with loud music and noise...filled with stall after stall...some of the sellers even tried to shove items in my face. I also felt a bit disorientated as the streets and alley ways were all very reminded me a lot like the souks in Marrakesh; very busy and crazy!!

Even so, I don't at all regret going; it was very eye opening and an experience, that's for sure! I only stayed in that particular area for a very short time, which was definitely the right thing to do as I feel if I was to stay any longer it would've been too much!

After that craziness I headed back towards where I'd be catching the bus back, passing some gorgeous little parks and extraordinary buildings on my way. I think this wander was probably my favourite part of my day; the parks are each like a little oasis in the middle of the hustle and bustle of L.A. 

Those working, studying and living in Downtown L.A are able to use these parks as a place to find peace, calm and tranquility...three words; three feelings that are so special to us all. We live in such a fast paced society which makes it sometimes feel impossible to find our place of calm; of peace; of tranquility.

I felt so much better after my blissful stroll, and was ready to head back to Santa Monica. So I found my bus stop and headed straight back home.

I feel I have now conquered another challenge and am so happy I bit the bullet and just went for it!

With that said, it wasn't all plain sailing and was a challenging day. But now looking back I feel the outcome of it is very positive and I feel chuffed with what I was able to achieve! I can now tick it off my list with a big grin on my face! 

To end this post I'd like to share with you something I remind myself when I feel a little down, or am going through a tough day. 

Getting through the bad times, will inevitably help you grow stronger, so long as you don't dwell on such times. So don't dwell and stay positive. Just remember non of us are perfect, we're only human and with that we will have ups and downs. The main this is to accept the downs and instead of dwelling, look past and beyond them; once conquered, down times, difficult experiences and so on will help build on your inner strength. So keep faith and believe you can!

I will now share a few photos I managed to take whilst out - I hope you like them!


Walt Disney Concert Hall

The Fashion District

The Santee Alley - Fashion District

On my stroll - many tall buildings!

And again!

A surprisingly quiet road for L.A!!

Glimpses of sunlight - wonderful!

And a couple more interesting buildings :)

Thank you for reading :) all my love!

Saturday, 7 November 2015

The Griffith Observatory - An Incredible Experience

Today I'll be writing a post about a trip I took out to the Griffith Observatory.

Wow - what an incredible experience! 

The observatory is well known for having spectacular views of Los Angeles and beyond, the Hollywood sign, as well as the mountains all around. Inside the observatory is an exhibition space full of information about the sky, stars and planets, as well as two main planetariums. The architecture of the building is beautiful and the grounds are absolutely stunning too. 

This was one of the places my sister had been to when she travelled around California last year, and said if I got the chance I should go as she found it to be a lovely experience (another big thank you to Anna for the fab recommendation!)

I honestly never thought I'd be able to manage it as I felt it would take a lot of planning, being quite far out from Santa Monica. Just thinking about the idea caused me to feel a wave of nerves and anxiety...with many thoughts spiralling my mind...what if I can't find the right bus stop? What if there's crowds of people? What if I get lost? What if I freak out and panic? 

But with the other trips I'd planned for myself I felt a little more confident about the idea and it was something I desperately wanted to do. So I thought to myself, right...stop thinking of all the what ifs! I really want to do this; I can do this; I am determined to do this!

So I started to plan, researching which buses I needed to catch and which day would be to go. I also thoroughly read through the information about the observatory on the website, and by doing so I felt a lot more confident about the idea.

With my planning and research I knew the best day to go would be a Saturday, and this week felt like the right time to go. I felt very anxious but determined. The journey there was very difficult and I almost couldn't go through with it. But I stuck with my determination.

Yay! I did it! 

Now looking back on having achieved something that felt very out of my comfort zone I can delightfully say I feel I've made a big step forward. I was able to enjoy myself for the time I was there, and I even managed to take a few photos! Plus I now have this incredible memory to look back on and to share.

I hope me sharing this with you may help inspire you in some way to try something out of your comfort zone; with belief and determination you're all capable of anything you set yourself up to do! 

I will now share some of the photos I took - enjoy! 

Thank you for reading,

Lots of love x