Sunday, 20 July 2014

Super Gooey Peanut Butter Bars

This recipe comes from River Cottage and is definitely one of my favourite things to bake. These super gooey bars are jam packed with yummy seeds, fruit and nuts and perfect for anytime of the day (especially breakfast with a cup of tea!).

125g Unsalted Butter 
150g Light Muscovado Sugar
125g Peanut Butter (crunchy)
75g Honey (plus a bit extra to drizzle)
200g Porridge Oats (not jumbo)
150g Dried Fruit (I used cranberries and cherries)
150g Mixed Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, poppy etc)

Preheat Oven to 160˚c or Gas Mark 3 and grease/line a baking tin around 23cm square. Put the butter, peanut butter, honey and sugar into a sauce pan and heat gently. Stir occasionally until all the ingredients have melted together. 

Add the oats, fruit and 3/4 of the seeds to the melted mixture. Mix well until everything is coated. 

Place the mixture into the baking tray. Sprinkle remaining seeds and drizzle with honey. Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for about 30mins, until the centre is golden brown and the edges are darker brown. 

Leave to cool completely before cutting into slices. They will fall apart if you don't. These yummy bars will keep for about 5-7 days in an airtight container. Or better yet, pop them in the fridge once they are cool so they really harden up. 

Really hope you like this super quick and easy recipe. Try it with different fruits and seeds, you can even throw in some chocolate chips! 

Thank You For Reading 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Of Two Minds: A Insight To Bipolar Disorder

"Take your best day and your darkest moment...and multiply by a million"

Whenever I hear of a documentary coming out about Mental Health issues, I cringe. I've seen so many films that try to explain what having a mental illness is like but ends up just being full of cliches, poorly acted 'reenactments' and just plain bad advice. Then, one evening whilst flicking through Netflix, I stumbled upon "Of Two Minds'. Described as a documentary about Bipolar Disorder, I was hesitant to watch but as soon as I started to watch, I was hooked, educated and so surprised. 

The film talks to several different people who live there lives with Bipolar Disorder. Through following them day to day, revealing interviews and bravery to be honest and open, this film gives the viewer a real and raw look at what it's like to live with Bipolar. Each person lives very differently, has different history, race, background..showing that once again Mental Illness can affect anyone and Mental Illness should be spoken about. The person who really intrigued me and had me completely wrapped up in his world was, Carlton Davis. Without saying too much (you have to watch this film!), Davis is an extraordinary artist, showcasing his 'outsider art' throughout the film, it's beautiful and painful all at the same time. He also shows snippets of his journals, all full of sketches, writings, from time of mania and depression. 

There's a lot of controversy around documentaries about Mental Health. Same goes for memoirs/books and art about Mental Health. A lot people find them triggering, unhelpful but to me, that doesn't mean that they shouldn't exist. If you find something triggering, please think about your own safety first and don't watch or read. This documentary talks about some very serious issues, Bipolar Disorder, drug abuse, self harm and suicide. If you are a person who finds these subjects triggering, please, for your own safety and recovery, do what is best for you. 

This documentary really opened my eyes to Bipolar Disorder. Having mental health issues myself and having been misdiagnosed with Bipolar in the past, I knew a little about it but this documentary shows the real picture. What real life is like when you have this disorder, what day to day is like, it's raw, it's real, it's to the point. Please do check it out on Netflix. Mental Health isn't nearly spoken about enough but with documentaries like this one, we can start to open up, start to beat the stigma and start to honest with each other. 

Please check out the "Of Two Minds" website here for more information!

Thank You For Reading

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Asylum: Inside The Closed World Of State Mental Hospitals

"We tend to think of mental hospitals as 'snake pits' - places of nightmarish squalor and abuse - and this is how they have been portrayed in books and film. Few Americans, however realise that these institutions were once monuments of civic pride, built with noble intentions by leading architects and physicians, who envisioned the asylums as places of refuge, therapy and healing"

I've always had a morbid curiosity when it comes to abandoned mental hospitals. I have no idea why or when this weird fascination began but it's something I've been interested in for a long time. I guess having spent time in a psychiatric hospital for my own personal demons and visited my family for theirs, it's always been interesting to me to see what treatment used to be like, how this whole 'asylum' business started and who thought it was a good idea! For my birthday just gone, Deccy got me this AMAZING photography book called Asylum: Inside The Closed World Of State Mental Hospitals. The books goes deep into the abandoned world of America's Mental Hospitals, photographing everything from the beautiful, gothic architecture, to medical equipment, beds, gardens and patients belongings left behind. What intrigues me most about this book is just the sheer amount of things, personal belongings etc that are left behind. Tennis shoes all neatly put away, medical tools still lined up as if ready to be used for surgery, restraint jackets hung up delicately on's odd but eerily interesting! The thing about Mental Hospitals that keep me hooked is the history. These hospitals weren't always the awful, terrifying places of doom and gloom that we are led to believe today. A lot of these places were a safe haven for the ones who felt unsafe. A place to feel a sense of community when their own community had cast them aside. A place for people who could not deal with the outside world, but where given the chance to work and feel like a part of something good. Yes, asylums were closed down, abandoned and demolished for good reason but they were certainly not all like 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest'

Please check out the website for this book HERE

Thank You For Reading

Monday, 30 June 2014

Happy Birthday Haul

Last Monday it was my Birthday! Usually, I'm not a fan of my own birthday, I love spoiling and surprising other people more but honestly, it was one of the best birthdays ever! The day itself was really chilled, I got up early and had birthday cuddles with my furbabies and then I opened presents with Deccy.

 I got a tonne of beautiful books from Deccy and his family. In October, I'm starting my degree so I'd had a pretty large reading list planned for summer, all psychology related and I can't wait to dive in! I also got some super cute Little Twin Stars pieces and my first ever piece of Chanel.

This is the only thing that I asked for and I'm so, so happy that Deccy bought it for me. It's a beautiful, pastel pink Roberts Retro Radio. I have wanted one of these for years but never got round to buying one. I first saw it when my sister had a red one in her kitchen and I was forever playing Gold (a 60's radio station) whenever I could. The colour is so cute too.

Of course Bilbo had to get in on the photography..

On Thursday, Deccy took me out for the day and his mum came up to look after Bilbo and Dusty. I had no idea what we were going to do so I was super excited. A car ride later, we arrived at the SeaLife Centre and I got told that I was going to be feeding the Sharks!!!! OMGEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE I couldn't believe it! Sharks are one of my favourite animals (next to sloths and lions) and I have always wanted to feed and cage dive with them. I just think that they are such beautiful and misunderstood creatures so the opportunity to actually get close to some and feed them..well, it was a dream come true! After we fed them, the trainer actually had another surprise and took me and Deccy 'behind the scenes' to hold and stroke the baby sharks. Oh my goodness, the babies were so adorable, they look just like adult shark but with tiny teeth. After that, we got to go and stroke some of the bigger sharks and that was amazing. They are so smooth to touch head to tail but stroke them the other way and they feel like sandpaper. They were so chilled and relaxed though, it was just incredible to be that close to them. I'm so grateful to Deccy for surprising me and making this the best birthday ever.

Thank You For Reading

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Photo Diary: My Little Life

Lately, blogging has taken a bit of a backseat but I've still been keeping up to date on Twitter and Instagram so I thought I'd put together a little photo diary of what I've been up too.

1: Spending time with my little bundle of joy Bilbo. He hadn't been with us a week and he's already turning into the biggest softie ever. 

2: My other little bundle of joy, Dusty. She's slowly getting used to Bilbo now and she's still very much the Queen of the house. 

3: A beautiful bouquet of flowers that Decs mum got for me. I love flowers so much, they instantly cheer me right up! If you ever want a quick fix for a dull room, FLOWERS! 

4: A little bit of treat shopping. The Barry M Brow Kit is amazing. Such good value for money and so easy to use too. I've been trying to grow my brows a little and now they are starting to look a lot more natural. 

5: My two addictions, Skinny Vanilla Chai Tea Lattes and Cats!

6: A mew (see what I did there :/) t-shirt that I got from Camden Market. It's so comfy and oversized, perfect to throw over shorts or leggings. 

7: Hanging out with Totoro and doing some reading. I was thinking of doing a book review if anyone would be interested? I absolutely loved 'The Skeleton Cupboard', I seriously couldn't put it down. 

8: My favourite author Marya Hornbacher recently re-released her first book 'Wasted' with a brand new extra chapter all about Recovery! I haven't started reading it yet but I'm so EXCITED! 

Well, that's my little life all summed up in pictures with filters. I'm an instagram addict, I can't help it! If you guys have an instagram account, let me know and I'll stalk you. I hope that everyone has had an amazing weekend and are enjoying the sun. 

Do you have an instagram account?

Thank You For Reading

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Introducing Bilbo

Life has gotten a little crazy over the last month and I've had zero time to blog but things are slowly starting to settle and I really wanted to write this little update. Recovery is going ok, it's messy, it's complicated, I've changed therapists and well, maybe I'll do a separate post on that!

The biggest news is that me and Deccy have a brand new member to our family. He is very fluffy, he's very small, he's 11 weeks old and he's called Bilbo!

Yes, we have a new furbaby! He's a Pomeranian and we've had him for a week now. If you follow me on twitter or instagram, you're probably bored of my new mum/puppy updates but I can't help myself. He's just so cute! We have been spending the last week training him with toilet training, it's going pretty well, not many accidents anymore. For the first 2 nights, he cried his little heart out but now he seems to be settling in just fine. Yesterday, he went for his first walk on a lead and while he was a little unstable, he finally cracked it and was running about in no time!

Dusty, our kitty isn't too sure of Bilbo just yet. On the first night we brought him home, she was so stressed but now she's settling slowly. She keeps coming into the kitchen/lounge to have a sniff around and see what's what. I think (I hope) with time, she'll be ok with him.

So, that's little Bilbo. I'm sure that there will be more posts about his adventures and Dusty's too. At the moment, all my time is being spent keeping my eye on him, training him and just making sure the fur family is happy and healthy.

I really hope that everyone is ok and I miss blogging so much. I really hope that as he gets older and things start to settle, it'll free up more time for blogging. Take care and have an amazing week!

Thank You For Reading

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Mental Health Awareness Week 2014: Anxiety United

This week is 'Mental Health Awareness Week' and the focus this year is Anxiety. Anxiety is something that can affect anyone, at anytime and comes in many different forms. There's a huge difference between 'having a bit of nerves' and having a diagnosed anxiety disorder. Anxiety can be extremely debilitating and is often misunderstood but that's why we have 'Mental Health Awareness Week' to help raise awareness and bust some myths.

Anxiety is something I've suffered with for many years and then a few years ago I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and Emetophobia (phobia of vomit). I've been on a bumpy ride with anxiety, with my lowest point being threatening suicide because I believed I had a stomach virus but with therapy, challenging my behaviours, determination and a loving support network, anxiety can decrease and you CAN get better. Today, I wanted to mention an amazing online organisation called 'Anxiety United'. This group was set up to unite anxiety sufferers together, to share their stories, tips, advice, to talk to other people and to gain extremely useful knowledge about all types of Anxiety.

The site is set up so that you can join for FREE and gain access to a lot of support. On the site, you can post blogs about your own experience of anxiety, share your story, post advice blogs. You can also get involved in Podcasts, get access to 'Soothing Breathing' techniques and have a look over a huge list of therapists, therapies and clinics all treating anxiety. This community is one of the best online support groups I've come across and they've helped me so much.

Last week, I took a trip to London and as I arrived I could feel my anxiety start to kick in. Rather than immediately panic, I went onto Twitter and asked for tips from Anxiety United. Within seconds, I got a number of replies, with helpful messages, advice and just kindness and I instantly felt much better, safer and ok to carry on with my trip. I honestly couldn't recommend this site enough, it's an absolutely wonderful community and I truly believe that they will continue to do many good things.

If you suffer from Anxiety please go and check out the website, join as a member (it's free) and become part of a community that want to help. Remember, you don't have to suffer in silence, Anxiety isn't something to be ashamed of and you CAN get better!

Be Well.

Thank You For Reading