Wednesday 24 February 2016

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I want to finish this post by saying a huge thank you. Thank you to my family and friends, and to all those who have supported and believed in me through my toughest times.

Thank you to those who have stuck by me on my path of recovery and working towards getting myself to a better, happier, healthier place.

Thank you to all of you who take the time to read my blog; those who have read right from my first post, and those that have started with this one. I couldn't be more grateful.

Finally a massive thank you to my incredible Mum, who has been there to put a smile on my face when no one else could, to give me endless hugs and to tell me that things will get better. Mum, if you're reading - you're my rock and I will never be able to express how much I appreciate the love and support you give me.

Now looking back to this time last year, or even to a few months ago, I feel such a wonderful, positive change in myself, and I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for the love and support I get from those around me. I've still got some way to go, but I just know that if I keep on my positive path, I can only go up from here; and as long as I take small steps each day I will get there.

Sending you all my love, and remember...


Monday 22 February 2016

Photo Update - A Stroll By The Beach Huts

Today I thought I'd share some photos I took last week when out for a nice stroll along the Seafront from Brighton along to Hove.

It was a lovely sunny day, the air was chilly, yet the sun lovely and warming. I'd definitely say I'm a summer girl at heart - I love the warmth and the long days, I especially love the Sea in the Summer and being able to go for a dip is just bliss. 

However I also love the winter sun; take this day for example. Although the air was cold and there was a slight chilly breeze, it felt refreshing. The sun shinning brightly giving out warmth and bouncing off the Sea, glistening beautifully. By simply acknowledging and admiring the stunning atmosphere around me I felt completely calm, peaceful and divine. 

So with this, of course I wanted to take some photos, to capture the wonderful moment I was experiencing. I love this about photos - how they can act like a visual diary. I will be able to look back in months and years to come and remember what a lovely moment this was for me. 

The other thing I love most about taking photos is being able to share them, with you reading this; with family, and with friends. 

I hope you like having an insight into my stroll by the beach huts - enjoy :)
I love the bright, vibrant colours of the beach huts. Somehow they help to remind me Summer is soon to come...
How gorgeous does the Sea look? Even better with the man paddle boarding giving a focus to this photo :) 
Again...loving the vibrant colours :)
There's always lots of joggers on the Seafront so I thought "why not get an action shot of someone for a change"...
A last glimpse of the days sun, as the paddle boarder floats into the distance...(he did come back to shore eventually!)

Thank you for reading! 

All my love xxx

Thursday 18 February 2016

Standing Up To What You Believe In

We are all very unique individuals, no one is perfect but that is the beauty of us. One of the components that makes us as unique as we are is the fact that we all have different opinions, and beliefs; we all have different things we stand up for.

Standing up to what you believe in is so important; as long as you have good reasonings behind your point and as long as you're not negatively impacting someone else then don't for one second let anything, nor anyone for that matter push you down, or make you disbelieve in what you stand up for.

Today I am going to with a post on a situation that I was in last weekend as an example of why it is so important that we stand up for ourselves.

So, last weekend I bought myself a new pair of small, gold, dainty hooped earrings from Topshop. When getting home, I went to put them in, but after several attempts and about half an hour I gave up as they were never going to fasten. A pair of earrings shouldn't take that long to try (and fail) to put in, and because of this I came to the conclusion that they were a faulty design.

So, the next day, I went back to Topshop and explained this issue with them, and that I wanted a refund as they weren't fit for purpose. 

The sales assistant at the counter said I'd need to speak to the Manger and called him over. After explaining the situation with the manager he was reluctant to give me a refund. His reason was that as the earrings are delicate thats how they've been made, the manager was even unable to fasten them himself (his excuse as to why he wasn't able to fasten them was that he is male, and doesn't wear earrings)...Seriously, is that really a reason? So even with his multiple failed attempts he still said to me that the earrings are fine, thats how they've been designed and therefore I am not eligible to a refund.

Now, I understand the earrings were very delicate and dainty, but my point was and is, that earrings are made to be worn and I wouldn't have been able to wear them as they were impossible to faster. 

The Manager somehow ended up turning the situation around on me, saying for example, "don't you have friends or family that can help put them on for you" in an extremely patronising way, which I thought was completely unnecessary. 

Yes...I do have friends and family, but I'm not going to ask them to come and help me put a pair of earrings on every time I'd like to wear them?

The manager then said I could call customer services if I wanted to take it any further. Which I did, in the shop. Customer services asked me to hand it to the manager, the manager went to the back room to talk, came back and said "the customer service team have left the situation in the shops hands, and we're sticking to our decision that we will not be happy to give you a refund".

By this time I was feeling quite patronised and humiliated as it started to feel like I was being questioned in court, when in the first place I was the one complain about a faulty product they are selling. 

Before leaving the shop, feeling upset and let down, I asked if the sales assistant could perhaps show me how to put the earrings on. I knew she wouldn't be able to physically put them on for me (due to health and safety reasons). But I thought maybe I wasn't putting them in right. So, she took me over to the mirror and again, even with her instructions the earrings were impossible to fasten. 

So I left feeling very let down by Topshop.

When I got back, I explained the situation with my Mum who was incredibly understanding and after speaking about it she had an idea. She got out her iPad and after typing for a few seconds she showed me a website page - 'Consumer Rights Act 2015'.

The website shows that under section 10 of the Act goods need to be fit for the purpose for which they are sold. Seeing this website in black and white helped me see that I wasn't in the wrong and that I do have the right to return the earrings.

With the information from the website my Mum and I came back to my initial decision. The earrings are not fit for purpose as it's impossible to fasten them without a time-consuming struggle, and under section 19 of the Act, I had the short term right to reject the goods (30 day limit).

I understand going this much into the situation, just for a refund for a pair of dainty, hooped earrings costing under £10 may seem a bit ridiculous. But I was genuinely feeling pretty upset. Surely it isn't right for a shop Manager to make their customer feel so patronised, humiliated and upset.

After a good night sleep, the next day I used the small bit of confidence and bravery in me to go back to Topshop, this time with the legal information, and I did just that. I spoke to a different manager who was in fact very understanding, she could see exactly where I was coming from and apologised for what happened the previous day, and hooray...she gave me the refund!

Not only was I delighted by this but going back the next day, and standing up for myself helped rebuild the confidence I lost and reminded me to believe in myself.

So the point of me sharing this (perhaps silly) experience on my blog?

To remind you reading this, that if you have something you believe in (even if its something as silly as this example), hold on to that. As long as you have points backing you up, don't let go of your belief and don't let someone or something make you feel you're in the wrong. 

You deserve your individuality and your uniqueness which is built from what you stand up for and what you believe in.

If you don't give up and you continue to believe in yourself your confidence will inevitably grow in time.

If I didn't have the little bit of confidence and bravery left in me to go back to Topshop the next day I just know that the negativity from the situation would have caused me an adverse effect. 

I held onto my belief; I stood up for myself and I'm so happy I did because the final outcome really helped boost my confidence which is always a positive in my eyes.
Thank you for reading :)

I'm so grateful to those who carry on following my blog and reading my posts - it means the world!

Make sure to leave a comment below letting me know what you think, or if you've ever had to deal with a similar situation! I'd love to know :)

Love you all, millions!

Monday 15 February 2016

A Trip To Yorkshire

Today I am going to write about a trip I took this weekend to Sheffield, Yorkshire. I went to visit one of my closest friends Gemma, who is currently studying at the University in the City. Then met up with my cousin Beth who lives close to Sheffield near to York.

Before I get into writing about the lovely time I had with them both (which I really, really did!!) I want to touch on the struggles I faced up to, coping with and managing my anxiety, panics and feeling nervous. 

In reality, we all have to face struggles and hard times, as well as having the good, enjoyable and lovely times. There are times where we feel the struggles are all too much, and it isn't easy getting through them, I know that for sure. But if you, like me do struggle with, or know someone that struggles with anxiety, panic, nervousness or similar (which, lets face it, a lot of us do, or will at some point in life). Then I am writing about my experiences to help show you that there are ways of coping, and you can learn to manage such difficulties. It's not easy, and its not all plain sailing, but it is possible.

I've learnt that my anxiety is strongest mostly when in situations I feel trapped or unable to get out of; or situations I feel I am being a burden on, or a nuisance to others. This includes a number of scenarios such as being amongst a crowd of people when out and about, in a busy shop, on public transport, and even when out for a coffee or a meal with loved ones, and more.

So, basically, a lot of the time I tend to feel anxious, and because of this I find it extremely difficult to plan things to do, especially things in advance as I worry I won't be up to what I have planned.

There are a number of reasons as to why I now feel this way, this hasn't always necessarily been the case. If you've known me for a while you'll know that I was an incredibly outgoing girl and on the surface I did seem confident. 

But, mainly throughout the years of high school, this slowly started to change (on the inside to begin with). I started to feel less confident in myself, and over time this got worse. Certain experiences at home and in school caused the confidence within me to plummet, eventually causing me to be mentally and physically unwell. This is something I will have to work on for years to come now. But I can definitely say I am on my path of recovery, and with time, patience and determination I will get to a much better place, and now, when looking back I have already come an extremely long way.

So, getting back to my trip...if you've read my older posts, including the posts when I was away in America, you may be thinking - but Emily, you planned yourself multiple things to do, trips out and so on...and you did them too; so surely you'd find it easier now especially being back in the UK?

Yes, I know I did plan and do some great things in America and I am over the moon with my achievements and the experience I managed...but they weren't all easy for me. Each day, let alone each trip out was a challenge for me. Learning to manage anxiety takes time, and there are ups and downs. One day I can be feeling super confident and up for almost anything, the next not so much. 

I am continuously facing challenges, but I won't lie and say, yes...after each challenge I face I feel things are suddenly a lot easier - that isn't the case. What I will say however, is that after each challenge I conquer I feel I learn more and more about myself and how to manage my feelings, which is definitely very positive.

A huge help will such struggles is having great supportive friends and family around, it really does make a massive difference being surrounded by wonderful people, positive vibes and helpful advise. I am fighting my way through and step by step I am definitely finding my way to better cope and manage.

So travelling to and from sheffield, getting on two trains, for over 3 hours, both directions (so four different trains and over 6 hours), and staying on each train was a massive achievement in itself for me. Doing so was most definitely worth it as my time with both Gemma and Beth was pretty magical. 

On day one, with Gemma, I was treated to a great pot of good ol' Yorkshire tea at a very lovely, rustic little coffee shop on a pebbled street, in central Sheffield called 'Marmadukes'. We had a much needed catch up talking about anything and everything, after our tea and chat she took me for a lovely wander around the City. It was so lovely spending this time with Gemma, we spent lots of time together in school, but now that we're in separate counties time like this together is a rarity. This also makes our time together that even more special, and Gem, if you're reading - thank you so much, I love you!

It was very sad having to say bye, but after such a great successful trip I just know I'll be going back to Sheffield in no time!

Then, my time with Beth was also very special - I hadn't seen her in such a long time either (I think it must be about 3 or 4 years since we last met up!); we really did have so much to catch up on. 

So, the next day, as I loved the coffee shop Gemma took me to so much, I suggested it to Beth and it was just as lovely the second time! It was great getting to know one another again and finding out about whats been going on in each others lives over the last few years!

We then headed to the Peace Gardens, which is a pretty courtyard area with a fountain in the middle; also to the Winter Gardens which is a little indoor garden sort of like a greenhouse (see photos below).

There's something vey special about time with family, and it's even more special when you get on so well, which is definitely the case for me and Beth.

Saying bye to Beth was just as sad as saying bye to Gemma. But I know that we'll meet up again again sometime this year which is definitely something to look forward to. 

With having a successful time in Sheffield I feel I'd love to take small trips out and about to see more of my close friends and family. At the beginning of this post I mentioned how after each challenge I face there isn't the instant feeling of "BOOM I can conquer the world". For me, it's more a feeling of, "wow, I actually achieved that with no major problems, and if I can manage that I could in fact manage it again; I can manage it again, and I will manage it again." This trip is an exact example of that; I have the confidence and knowledge in me now do a similar trip again, which is exciting! 

What do I say, ey...its a step by step process that takes determination, and time. I can do this! 

Finally, of course I'd love share a few of the photos I took...

The lovely coffee shop...
Peace Gardens...
The Winter Garden...
Inside the Winter Garden...
 (Pink water for Valentines day!) fountain by Sheffield Train Station...
As always...thank you for reading!
Don't hesitate to comment, and let me know your thoughts on this post :)
Make sure you check out my previous posts, if you haven't already!
Love you all xxx

Tuesday 2 February 2016

Note To Self - Tough Times Never Last

I've always wanted to be completely honest on my blog, so today I am going to write about something I am finding a little difficult at the moment. In turn this will hopefully help others who perhaps feel in a similar position, and also help me out a bit by "getting things off my chest".

As you'll know if you read my previous posts such as "Ideas, Plans and Moving Forward', and 'New Year, New Resolution?', something I'm currently working towards is deciding what I want my next step to be, in regards to a job, work experience, further education or similar. I am very lucky to be in a position where I haven't a need to rush with this as I have incredible support from my family and friends. For this I feel very grateful, and if you are reading - thank you.

Nonetheless, at the moment I feel I am in an uncomfortable "limbo" type situation, with feelings of uncertainty, and in a time period awaiting a decision, or resolution. I am continuously thinking of possibility upon possibility, worrying about the future, that I'll never find 'my thing', and yes, the list goes on.

For the last couple of years, and especially since travelling to the U.S. I have learnt to focus on minimising pressure, stress, and anything that will impact my health negatively; to stay as calm and positive as possible. Of course the odd occasion of feeling not so good is only normal and thats fine - no one can be completely jolly, calm etc 24.7, we only human, ey! But over time I've learnt a great coping mechanism when feeling down, or under pressure etc. This being to acknowledge and accept these times, then to remember to breath, to let go and eventually move on. Since learning this I have definitely improved with managing my feelings. Don't get me wrong, over all I do feel a lot more content happier, and better in myself, and those close to me can see how much so. 

With that said, recently I have found myself worrying and stressing etc more so than not. Therefore making my focus on keeping calm and not rushing to make any decisions for my near future is currently proving to cause more negatives than positives, and I find myself in a counterproductive position.

This is annoying, and unnerving, but instead of letting the feelings of not knowing, of worry and of upset get me down from right this second I am going to start looking at the situation from a different perspective. 

Let me explain...maybe, this counterproductive position is a way of telling me my next step is nearing closer, and soon awaits me. And maybe this is that time just before; like when boiling a kettle, the bit where the water starts to bubble and the kettle starts to shake a little, right before the water is ready to pour. So what I'm thinking, is that that's where I am - at the shaking and bubbling stage, and like with the kettle, its right to wait just that little bit longer until it has settled down again. 

As well as writing this to share with you reading, this post is also here for me as a milestone to show me how far I have come, and to look back on once I get past this unnerving yet slightly exciting time. I feel I am edging nearer to that next step, and I needn't stress as I will find my way at the right time.

The worst thing to do at this stage is to try and rush anything; although I must say I think I am almost ready. For now, perhaps in the meantime I can start looking at more ideas, and possible options. Then when I find the 'shaking and bubbling' has stopped, that will be my time. That will be when I'm ready. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

As always, thank you so much for reading! Especially today as I know its been a long one!
I'd love to know your thoughts on this post, as well as the other posts on my blog :)

All my love x