Goodbye 2016

I wasn't sure which emotion I'd feel when I came to write this post but as it stands right now all I feel is relief. I'm trying my best to separate specific allotments of time from circumstance (it's a bad habit of mine) but 2016 really has been pretty awful for me. I've been riddled with physical and mental health issues that don't compare to anything I've experienced before. I didn't know things could get this bad with my anxiety & depression and I didn't appreciate my good health until it was taken from me. Sometimes I feel like I didn't really do anything this year other than survive.

But it's not all bad. Some small but wonderful things happened this year and today I thought I'd write a little recap. I saw my angel Alisha write a post in this style a few months ago and I absolutely adored it so I thought I'd do one myself. I'm so guilty of forgetting the smaller moments because they're so easily overwhelmed by the bad but I'm hoping that writing and referring back to this post will remind me that 2016 hasn't been lost.

What I Got For Christmas 2016

It's that time again!

Merry Christmas ~

Merry Christmas one and all! ~

Well, the big day itself has finally arrived. I'm sure that no one is reading this because there's presents to open and people to cuddle amirite?! But I thought I'd pop up a little post anyway to wish you all a wonderful little day. If it isn't wonderful, then that's cool to. I'm all about that lowkey Christmas life these days.

I'm sure I'll check in with you all before New Year, hopefully with a 2016 Favourites and that good old classic 'What I Got For Christmas' post. But for now I'll wish you a Merry little Christmas and send you all manner of well wishes, kitty cuddles and high fives because I survived Blogmas after all!

The Sunday Post 19 (A Day Early!)

{ B l o g m a s :: day twenty-four }
I've only gone and completed Blogmas haven't I?!?!

I had all of this week's posts scheduled and ready to go last weekend but I didn't want to say I'd completed it until I'd written & scheduled this post! I had some seriously shaky moments this month but because I made sure I'd scheduled myself a week ahead at all times it meant that I could have bad days without worrying I'd fail which is what took me down last year. It's honestly been a lot of fun and I really hope you've enjoyed all of my posts because I worked really hard on them.
{ Yum vegan ice cream courtesy of my mommy. }

This week has been quite an important one for me and it seems like all of the issues I've faced and dealt with this year are finally resolving themselves in one swoop. I should say though that they aren't resolving themselves, exactly - I've pushed myself incredibly hard to get on top of things (finally) and I've been rewarded for doing so.
Tuesday was a pretty momentous day for me. I had a doctors appointment and I basically told my doctor a lot of things I'd kept hidden for the past year and I've been diagnosed with something other than anxiety. I'm sure I'll talk about it more openly in the New Year - I just want Christmas out of the way first - but despite it being a scary thing I actually am beginning to feel quite hopeful for the first time in a really long time. This entire year we've been treating the wrong thing but now I've been diagnosed with what I've actually been struggling with I can begin to get help and things can sort themselves out. After my appointment (and once I had finished crying) I treated myself to a Lush bath and I used So White which is my favourite from the Christmas collection this year.
I've been pretty absent online since then because I've just been working things out. I've already begun to set up support for next year (I've got an appointment in January, at least) which I worked out all for myself which makes me incredibly proud.

Blog posts this week ::
The Best of Blogmas 2016
The Happy List Project 04
Lush Shoot For The Stars
How I Can Tell It's Christmas
23 Books I Read in 2016

Watched this week ::
Sherlock season three.
Rise of The Guardians (it was on BBC1 and it was actually adorable).

23 Books I Read In 2016

{ B l o g m a s :: day twenty-three }

2016 was a pretty mediocre reading year for me. I spoke a lot about the reasons why I'd fallen out of love with reading way back in my 2015 Goodreads Reading Challenge update last year and the points I listed have only magnified this year. I did read a few really good books, though, and although I haven't completed my reading challenge for 2016 I'm pretty happy with the amount I have read. And I mean, there's still a little time left in this year. Maybe I'll read two books between now and then!

How I Can Tell It's Christmas

{ B l o g m a s :: day twenty-two }

My Animal Crossing: New Leaf villagers are all wearing festive jumpers & keep dropping hints for Toy Day.
We've got the Gavin & Stacey Christmas special on repeat.
My little sister keeps randomly bursting into excited squeals / giggles when she remembers we're mere days away.
Everyone is off of work / school and we're practically tripping over each other in our little house.
Our dogs are wearing their Christmas knit jumpers out on our walks.
The kitchen cupboards, fridge and freezer are stuffed with food we're not allowed to eat.
My mum keeps making mad dashes to the Pound shop for last-minute stocking fillers, batteries and snacks.
Christmas songs are playing through speakers whilst I'm doing my weekly food shop.
There's a palatable buzz in the air, tinged with equal amounts of stress and excitement.
I've got my Christmas Day outfit washed and ready to go. (It's a bottle-green ASOS skater dress I found in a charity shop, if you're wondering)
My dad keeps threatening to 'cancel Christmas' next year, the same way he has since my brother and I were tiny.
I've uttered the word 'Blogmas' approximately 675483902 times within the past three weeks.
Ditto 'Vlogmas'.
My mum has been spending an hour every evening hand-making Christmas decorations for various friends and the school fayre.
There's a cream lantern filled with baubles standing by my fire place.
We've had the fire going every night for the past week.
Yells of "GET OUT I'M WRAPPING YOUR PRESENTS" have become a daily occurrence.
My Animal Crossing: New Leaf town is covered in snow.
My bedside bookcase is covered in pretty cards from my blogging pals.
My bedroom smells like Lush Christmas bath bombs, the scent coming from both my own collection and Luke's Christmas stocking.

How can you tell it's Christmas? Leave me your own little list in the comments ~

Lush Shoot For The Stars

{ B l o g m a s :: day twenty one }

Another Sunday has passed, another Lush bath has been had. This time I used Shoot For The Stars!

The Happy List Project 04

{ B l o g m a s :: day twenty }

We're in the final stretch!! I know Christmas Week started yesterday but it doesn't feel real to me until we hit the twenties. Today I thought I'd share what will probably be the final Happy List Project post of the year! I have another list of my own as well as two lists from my favourite blogger babes.

The Best of Blogmas 2016

{ B l o g m a s :: day nineteen }

I know that Blogmas isn't over yet but in just under a week's time most of the posts we've worked so hard on aren't going to be relevant anymore... until next year at least! Today I thought I'd put together a little post sharing (what I consider) the best of the Blogmas posts this year.  Of course I don't follow every blog out there and I'm sure there are some incredible posts I've missed out on but these are the posts I've been reading this December. There's a real mix of lifestyle, food, cruelty-free beauty, DIY and book-related posts and can I just say how well everyone has done! It was hard to whittle down my list, to be honest. Technically not all of these bloggers participated in Blogmas but I wanted to share their posts nonetheless.

The Sunday Post 18

{ B l o g m a s :: day eighteen }

It's a week until Christmas!! I genuinely cannot believe how quickly December has whizzed by but I'm also kind of grateful for it. I won't lie - I'm struggling right now, but I'm working on it. I'm getting by. I'm going to be just fine. To prove this - both to you and to myself - I'm going to list some happy things that happened this week.

Vegan Gingerbread Biscuits & Egg-Free Royal Icing

{ B l o g m a s :: day seventeen }

By popular request (I'm basing this on the 5 favourites my tweet received) I've decided to share the recipe for the vegan gingerbread biscuits and royal icing I made the other day!

Bookcase Tour 2016

{ B l o g m a s :: day sixteen }

I posted my first bookcase tour last Summer but it's changed multiple times since then! I used to have a three-shelved bookcase made from warm-toned wood which didn't suit me, my books or my décor style at all so I've since invested in two white bookcases from Ikea. A Billy bookcase replaced the one from my old post & I also got this tall bookcase that I've placed up against the side of my wardrobe. I did used to store my contemporary books on the Billy bookcase but I swapped them over to the bigger one recently because I needed the space! I've gotten rid of a ton of books recently and I've only kept my real favourites which all fit on it perfectly.

Self-Care at Christmas & How I Cope

{ B l o g m a s :: day fifteen }

Christmas is a time of joy, love and family but it's not always so easy if you struggle with a mental illness. Last year I found Christmas Day & Boxing Day extremely difficult because of my depression, anxiety and the issues I was having with food at the time, so I thought I'd write this post to offer some advice and comfort to anyone else struggling this year.

How I Organise My Blog

{ B l o g m a s :: day fourteen }

I've been blogging for over two years now and I've finally sussed out exactly how I organise bloggy things the best. The habits all evolved quite naturally, it wasn't like a "Right, I need to sort all of this crap out." kind of thing, more like something that came to me over time. I find it helps me a lot if I'm feeling overwhelmed and it helps to streamline my ideas in a way that makes sense to me. Today, in the spirit of Blogmas, I thought I would share my routine with you!

ACNL | Winter In Hogwarts

{ B l o g m a s :: day thirteen }

I've wanted to do a tour of my Animal Crossing: New Leaf town for the longest time and now that it's Winter in Hogwarts it seemed like the perfect time to do one. Winter is my favourite time to play Animal Crossing because my town is covered in snow and it just feels very nostalgic. I think this might be because I got my 3DS & New Leaf for Christmas a few years ago so it was the season I started with!

Gifting | Bloom Candles

{ B l o g m a s :: day twelve }

I've finished my Christmas shopping!! And as I mentioned in my 'Why I'm Buying Second-Hand Gifts' post, what I didn't buy second-hand I wanted to source from small businesses. Instead of buying Luke's mum a Yankee Candle like we do most years I placed an order with Bloom Candles and today I'm here to rave about them!

The Sunday Post 17

{ B l o g m a s :: day eleven }

How are we liking Blogmas so far then gang?! This has been the first full week of posting every day since it started and I think it's going pretty well. I'm really proud of all of the posts that have gone up so far and I'm even more excited for the ones to come. I just hope you're not sick of me yet! (Genuinely tho, I'm terrified.)

Let's Talk About The NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams

{  B l o g m a s :: day ten }

These days is make-up isn't matte then I'm not interested in it. Matte lipstick, matte nail varnish, matte bronzer, matte highlight... you name it, I love it. But one of the things I'd been craving the most was a matte red lip, especially for the festivities, so I placed a Boots order for two of the Nyx Soft Matte Lip Creams. I chose the shades Madrid and Copenhagen.

Easy Vegan Banana Bread

{ B l o g m a s :: day nine }

Since my visit to VX Bristol a few weeks ago I have been craving banana bread like there's no tomorrow. The only issue was that bananas disappear so quickly in my house. We could buy two bunches of six on Monday and they'll be gone by Thursday, so we never had any hanging around that needed to be used up. Thankfully my Dad doesn't like bananas once the skin gets brown spots (whatta weirdo, that's when they're the nicest!) so he passed them over to me and I stashed them in my cupboard away from my fam. To bake the banana bread I followed this recipe from BBC Good Food but I did stray from it a few times.

Christmas Gift Guide | £1 Stocking Fillers

{ B l o g m a s :: day eight }

Now we're almost halfway towards Christmas Day I'd like to think that most of us have the main bulk of our Christmas shopping done, but there's still a little time to pick up stocking fillers. I did a gift guide like this last year and the idea of it went down really well with you guys so I thought I'd revive it for 2016!

Things I Need To Start Doing

{ B l o g m a s :: day seven }

Following on from last month's post sharing Things I Need To Stop Doing, I thought I'd write a little list of the things I need to start doing.

Implementing a morning routine.
♥ Taking more personal photographs.
Believing in myself.
♥ Saving more money than I spend.
♥ Leaving the house every day.
Reciting positive affirmations that don't make me feel like a knob.
Riding my bike once a week.
Calling my Nan once a week.
Getting into bed by 10.30pm.
Turning off my social media notifications.
♥ Posting on Instagram more often.
♥ Feeling the fear & doing it anyway.

I'm seriously considering adding a number of these things onto my 2017 goals list as they're things I really feel I need to work on. Hopefully starting them now will make them easier to achieve next year ~

Fictional Women Who Inspire Me

{ B l o g m a s :: day six }

Whenever I'm having a particularly hard time I tend to run head first into my favourite fictional worlds for a lil bit of escapism, but also for inspiration. I love that by reading or watching a story, you can see not only the problem but the cause, struggles and resolution. I find comfort in seeing exactly how a character has overcome something and how their life carries on afterwards. Today I thought I'd share with you a few of my favourite fictional women and the ways they inspire me. (Lil warning: this post will contain spoilers.)

Things I'd Like For Christmas 2016

{ B l o g m a s :: day five }

The Sunday Post 16

{ B l o g m a s :: day four }

Hihi! Happy Sunday! Welcome to another Sunday Post ~

Lush Never Mind The Ballistics Bath Bomb


{ B l o g m a s :: day three }

Never Mind The Ballistics is one of the new additions to the core Christmas range at Lush this year and it's one that drew my attention right away. The design doesn't scream Christmas in the traditional sense like Golden Wonder or Father Christmas but I do think it's festive. It kind of reminds me of Nutcrackers and the kind of sweets you'd get in a pick-n-mix. It's quite simple but the vibrant colours make it exciting.

Why I'm Buying Second-Hand Gifts This Year

{ B l o g m a s :: day two }

I have been met with nothing but positivity following my announcement to buy 90% second-hand this year, but I thought I would pen this post anyway to give a little explanation as to the exact reasons why.

My December To Do List

{ B l o g m a s :: day one }

Um, how is it December already please? I for one am pretty damn happy to be in the final month of 2016 and am more than ready for this hellish year to be over. Before that though there are lots of lovely little things happening... including Blogmas! Yep, I've decided to go for it again this year. Last year I was struck down with mental and physical illness and failed on the 21st of December so I'm trying again this year as a bit of a 'fxck you' to my depression. It's not going to be super festive and I'm mainly planning lots of lifestyle content but I hope you (and I) will still enjoy it. Wish me luck! ~

3 More New-To-Me Blogs

2016 has been the year I've stepped away from 'niche' blogs and have truly fallen for the personal, comforting art of the lifestyle blog. A few months ago I shared 3 new-to-me blogs and today I'm here with another round!

The Sunday Post 15

Hihi! Happy Sunday!

Can we just appreciate the fact that this is one of two posts prepared to go live before Blogmas starts?! I have a post coming on Tuesday sharing a few of my new favourite blogs and then Thursday will have rolled around and it'll be December. Say whut.

The Happy List Project 03

Hihi! Today I'm here to deliver another load of happiness to the blogosphere through the medium of another Happy List Project post. Today I have another list of my own as well as three lists from a few of my favourite blogging ladies.

Christmas Gift Guide: Gifts for Harry Potter Fans

I'm really into Harry Potter again at the moment (scratch that, aren't I always?) and I feel the releases of The Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts have also re-ignited the spark in a lot of other people across the word. Today I thought I'd share some gifts perfect for the budding wizard in your life ~

The Sunday Post 14

Hihi! Happy Sunday! I hope you've all had a lovely little week.

This Moment

In this moment I am sat on my sofa, wrapped in a blanket and wearing the snuggliest turtleneck jumper. I'm surrounded by animals : Bailey, Luna, Mickey and Thor are all in the living room with me. They're all sleeping, separately - Mickey in her bed, Thor on the sofa, Bailey on the pouffe and Luna on the Virgin Media box. My stomach hurts, a result of my indulgent eating yesterday, but it's not a pressing pain. It's there, hovering, but it's alright. I can hear the tumble-dryer, full of clothes and bedding, working away in the kitchen. There's a vegan banana loaf baking in the oven, but I'm not sure how it's going to turn out because I forgot to grease the tin. There's a timer on my phone ticking down until I'm supposed to check on it.

Christmas Gift Guide: Gifts to Calm & DIY Self-Care Hampers

Welcome to my second gift guide of 2016!

Things I Need To Stop Doing

A little list of things that I need to stop doing.

The Sunday Post 13

Hihi! Happy Sunday! I feel like this week has passed so quickly but also so slowly. I've been notably down most days, although I think my general feeling has been 'blank'. The US election made me very anxious mid-week, although I can't even imagine how those in America must feel. Similar to how we Remain voters felt about Brexit, maybe. I also felt quite unwell this week which in turn made me more anxious... or maybe my anxiety made me unwell. It's hard to tell sometimes when I get trapped in the circle.

The Happy List Project 02

Welcome to the second instalment of my new Happy List Project! I feel the idea went down really well with all of you guys and I've had a lot of people interested in submitting their own lists so it looks like this little series is going to become a real ~thing~ which makes me v happy in itself. I wasn't going to put up this post for another week or so, but after recent events I feel like it's needed. Today I'm going to be sharing another list of my own as well as one from my nine year old sister and two new submissions!

Lush So White Bath Bomb

Apologies for the poor quality of the first photo in this post - I wasn't planning on reviewing So White at all! I took a few photos of it on my phone for the ol' Instagram feed but had the good sense to use my proper blogging camera to take some in-action shots of it in the water, which I was planning on using in a Sunday Post or something. But it ended up being much prettier and more exciting than I expected and I felt So White deserved its own post!

Things To Do On A Down Day

I'm doing pretty well with my depression at the moment, but sometimes I just wake up and the entire world feels grey. I can liken the 'sensation' of depression to wearing a heavy dark uncomfortable fur jacket that pulls down at your shoulders and smothers you. Of course mentally it's a whole other story, but I do feel like my body is weighted by it, too. Sometimes it makes it impossible to do things, but here is a list of twenty-something things I do on days like today when the world just seems a little darker.

Christmas Gift Guide: Gifts For Cat Lovers

Welcome to my first Christmas gift guide of 2016!

The Sunday Post 12

// I moved my tootsies away from the fire right after taking this photo, don't worry!
I've been feeling pretty rubbish mental and physical health-wise this week but instead of doing what I usually do when this happens (which is nothing) I've been keeping myself busy despite being unable to leave the house.

On Self-Love and My New House Colours

Something I feel at least 90% of my generation has in common is Harry Potter. We grew up with the books and the films, and experienced Hogwarts as Harry himself was experiencing it. The youngest among us had a chapter read to us at bedtime by our parents, whilst the oldest devoured each book as they came alone. There's something so innocently magical about Harry Potter and the way wizarding life wove its way into our mundane. I especially take it more seriously than I arguably should, but I'm not embarrassed or ashamed by it.

I was intending for this post to be quite light-hearted but as I reached the final paragraph I felt a surge of sadness, relief and liberation. I'd thought my journey of self-love and self-exploration was going quite well, on the surface at least. I indulge in self-care often and tend to my anxiety every day. But I think that mental health aside I have a long way to go in terms of truly loving who I am and honestly wanting the best for myself, and bizarrely enough something as little (although big to me) as changing Hogwarts Houses has sparked something that I've been in need of for a long time.  

VX Cafe, Bristol

123 East Street, Bristol BS3 4ER | Tel: 0117 329 1610 | Mon-Fri 10am > 5pm ; Sat 10am > 6pm ; Sun 11am >5pm.

When my Dad told me a few months ago that a vegan cafe was opening in Bedminster, I was excited although a little dubious. Bristol has its fair share of vegan eateries, but they're usually in Clifton or in town and East Street seemed an odd place to put one. My first impression has since been dashed, though, because it's always busy whenever I walk past! It's been on my to-do list forever but I never had occasion to go, what with my anxiety and it being too far from home but too close to my Dad's, until my Mum, sister and I went on a little charity shopping expedition last week.