Book Review: Jacqueline Pirtle’s 365 Days Of Happiness *

Book Review: Jacqueline Pirtle’s 365 Days Of Happiness *

One of my favourite pastimes is immersing myself in a book, to me there is nothing quite like being able to slink off, forget all your troubles and worries and absorb yourself for a little while into a different world. I’ve been this way since I was a child and I’m still one of those people that could pick up the same book and reread it time and time again. This year in an attempt to try and cut down my screen time I’ve set myself a challenge of reading 25 books in a year. To some this may seem simple to others it may seem mammoth but i’m hoping it could be an achievable goal.

I’m trying to branch out in what I read rather than the usual fiction or chick lit I’m trying to broaden my literary horizons and add some different genres to my bookshelf.

I was lucky enough to be gifted this particular book from one of the nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of speaking to. I know that probably sounds false or like a massive cliche but Kelsey from Book Publicity Services in the States is a literal ray of sunshine. Which was totally apt considering she sent me over Jacqueline Pirtle’s book 365 Days Of Happiness to read and review.

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They say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover but when there’s a gorgeous cupcake that looks too good to eat how can you not want to dive in head first? From the description and the blurb I was already super interested in what this book had to offer. Jusr from reading that I learnt that Jacqueline is a holistic practitioner, healing arts teacher, mentor, author, all round cool chick, need I add more to the list?! She has published this book as a step by step guide to happiness. She spent every day throughout 2017 dedicated to her own happiness. Noting down the things she did that improved her wellbeing or sparked joy. 

I’d never read a book like this before and I must admit to being a bit sceptical at first. I suffer with low mood and anxiety and am also a natural cynic so how much would this book realistically change the way I think? Is she going to tell me surefire ways to win the lottery, wake up looking like Charlize Theron with Tom Hardy running upstairs bringing me breakfast in bed? Well…sadly not. But, Jacqueline will teach you the very easy, subtle art of changing the way you think to a much more positive happy outlook on life.

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I’m the type of person who can often find herself in a more negative head space and that can be a funk that can be quite hard to break out of. This book teaches you simple ways to rethink normal, day to day life and before you know it, it’s slowly seeping into your normal way of thinking.

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A lot of the teachings in the book really resonated with me and definitely made me sit back and reorganize my thoughts or the way I think about things. This passage above has made me look at situations I’m presented with in a different way. Sometimes when you’re faced with difficulties it can be hard to raise your head above it and think of the bigger picture in life. That someone somewhere will have it better and someone somewhere will also have it a lot worse. What you think or what you see as a problem someone else could see as a blessing.

This isn’t the sort of book you would necessarily read all in one go but perhaps place on your bedside table or your kitchen counter so when you wake up first thing or have a few minutes with a cup of tea and your breakfast you can spend a moment or two dedicated to yourself, your thoughts, gratitude and mindfulness. As someone who can often feel quite pessimistic this book taught me that sometimes you have to adopt a mindset in seeing positivity in things you might not normally.

I really liked this book and I feel like Jacqueline’s personality and soul shines through so warmly. It’s like she’s an actual friend and is offering life advice and cheering me up a bit every morning! If you’re looking for a book along these lines I would wholly recommend this one. I’ve actually lent it to a friend and he really loved it and tries to put the teachings into practice each and every day.

*this book was gifted to me but all of my thoughts, feelings, opinions and pictures are completely genuine and completely my own.
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Blogtober day 19.

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Hiyaaaaa can you actually believe it is it day 19 of Blogtober and I haven’t forgotten/given up/been blocked by the whole entire Internet for constantly rabbiting on, on here. I’m not going to lie, there have been occasions where I’ve come close, overcome with the thought of what am I ACTUALLY doing this for, all it’s doing is clogging your reader page and probably annoying you. Plus I’d usually get way too deep into the thoughts of why I’m actually blogging and whether it’ll ever really pay off for me or whether I am just genuinely wasting my spare time by talking about cake and cheese on the internet. The latter is a thought I try and quash quite regularly just in case it’s the truer of the two options.

I was hoping to use this month or Blogtober debacle to showcase my writing, my skillz and impress you all with some thought provoking, good fun, good humoured content that would result in at least 5 Pulitzer prizes. It’s built in my very core to aim high even if I’ll spectacularly fail. I’ve got an embarrassing amount of drafts on here filled with half written entities that I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do with. Some of them are complete jargon I was writing at about 5 am when I wake up ridiculously early, some of them read like the ramblings of a drunk crackhead and some of them are just dog memes I don’t know where to save. Maya Angelou eat your heart out, I think not.

For me, I just love writing. Even Christmas cards, notes to the DPD driver as I’m just heading out or customer feedback surveys for restaurants and stores I’ve shopped in. I suppose one of the side effects of becoming/being a writer is the inevitable ‘struggle’ that you have to go through or face at one stage or another. Struggling writers and struggling artists are what the creative arts are almost built on. No one wants to know about Little Miss Sophia that had it all. People like to hear stories about someone that worked tirelessly, that came from nothing, that typed their fingers to the bone whilst working 3 deadend jobs and an internship, raising triplets and living on the streets all for the off chance it might make a difference and they might actually do that thing, where they work their dream job. No pressure huns.

I think I read something online recently that said that the majority of Millennial’s (‘scuse me whilst I go gag,  I actually hate that word so much. Usually because it is twinned with an equal ridiculous sentence like ‘..Millennial’s can’t afford to get on the property ladder because they’re buying too many avocado’s…’. Firstly who is making these correlations?! Secondly unless you haven’t noticed rising house prices and a dire minimum wage don’t exactly go hand in hand. Thirdly….Iceland sell a bag of 8 avo halves for £3.50.) are a lot more likely to be working in jobs they don’t want to be doing compared to the older generations. I went to a school where they practically drummed it into you to aim high, aim high, aim high and basically saying that you don’t want to aspire to work in McDonalds or as a bin collector. Shady school I know but that’s a subject for another day. But can *every* single person chase their dreams and get what they want? Surely someone has to aspire to be a happy go lucky bin collector. The ones who do it in my village look like some of the happiest people I’ve ever seen. They’re always smiling, laughing and joking with each other. They carry dog treats in case they see a dog and they get to hang about in the fresh air for a living.

Has this sense of seeking perfection always been prevalent or is it because it’s nearly 11pm on a Friday night and I’m overthinking and questioning all of my life choices up until now. Like if only I stuck with my recorder lessons back at primary school I could be the first person in the world selling sold out stadium tours with me and my recorder. If only I actually paid attention in History in my GCSEs rather than looking out the window and trying not to drift off under the spell of my teachers monotonous voice. I swear that man could make a chess game between a seal and a top hat wearing grizzly bear sound dull.

Or maybe it’s just me, overthinking everything as per usual. Feeling very much like I’m the only person in the world that isn’t living their best life or travelling Greek islands via super yacht every single summer. Wondering what if I never achieve these hopes, goals and dreams and will spend my final years cursing my younger self in my youth for not working harder and for wasting too much time toiling away in a job I despise. But maaaaaybe it’s also the weather. Like I’m just feeling a little bit lacklustre at the moment. Almost as if it’s the calm before the storm and I’m waiting for something huge to come along and shake me up and set me in a new, much more exciting direction. Or maybe I’m just sleep deprived. Who knows.

So for now, I’m going to bid you goodnight.

MUCH LOVE. X

 

My Self Care Routine & tips.

My Self Care Routine & tips.

I often find myself thinking whether anxiety, stress and other mental health problems are more common these days or whether it’s just something that is much more widely discussed and something people feel a bit more comfortable talking about or sharing their stories. I suffer with anxiety and low mood and have done for as long as I can remember. I would usually put it down to me being overly sensitive, overthinking things or being a bit antisocial when I wouldn’t want to see anyone else. It’s only taken me 23 years to come to the realisation that no one is perfect and no one is living the perfect life.

The older I get the more normal I’ve come to realise these feelings are, how I’m not the only person in the world that feels this way and I’ve come to accept this is me and how I can best cope with this. I’m going to share with you some of my best self care tips both for you or how to help someone else.

 

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Switch off.

I’m probably way too proud to admit to this but sometimes I love nothing more than when my phone runs out of battery and I don’t feel the need to run and go get my charger. I love being able to literally switch off for a bit and not feel compelled to check my phone every 3 seconds as per usual.

Block if needs be. 

Don’t feel bad or that you’re being shady or creating drama by deleting/blocking/leaving group chats that make you miserable. The mute button is a wonderful thing but if you’re like me and often find yourself being drawn back to it like a moth to a lamp (if u know u know) so have to block. Just to stop myself from creeping ever 28 seconds.

Pamper.

Whenever I’m feeling a bit down, my old habit used to be nipping into a Boots or Superdrug buying an actual tonne of bleach and a hair colour and dyeing my hair a funky, wild colour. To me there was something quite cathartic about being able to make a radical change and completely overhaul the way I look with a simple box of L’oreal. It’s frazzled my hair to bits now so when I’m feeling like I’m in need of a treat or a pamper, I love scrunching my hair up on my head, taking of all my makeup and using a nice face mask. The one pictured above is FOMO from Lush’s Jelly Face Mask range. It’s gentle and floral leaving my skin feel smooth like a baby’s butt.

Skincare.

I won’t lie, as soon as I have got my skincare routine together I feel like I can actually take on the world. If any of you have the time and energy to cleanse, smooth, buff, exfoliate, polish, tone, moisturise every morning and night and not feel like they’re living in a constant Groundhog Day then you’re a better person than me. But when I do make the effort to do this, I feel like Mariah Carey on her Birthday.

Have a relaxing bubble bath.

Is it me or has Lush all of a sudden gotten a liiiiiiittle bit more expensive with every visit? If I’m feeling a little bit poop I would normally make sure I’ve got a good pile of Lush goodies to choose from. Just realised how annoying that makes me sound I promise I don’t have a mini Lush shop in my bathroom.

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But to me, there is nothing more relaxing than soaking into a hot bath, with plenty of bubble bath, a bath bomb and some bath oils or bath salts. I don’t mess about when it comes to my bathtimes.

Comfort food.

I am definitely the type of person that would overeat when I’m feeling a bit rubbish, which then makes me feel a bit more rubbish when I’m feeling bloated and chubby making me feel more down in the dumps. Such a vicious cycle that I really need to snap out of! Especially going into the colder months of the year, I find such joy in settling into the sofa for the night with a warming dish like a big bowl of hearty soup. Food for the soul.

Read.

I have always loved reading and immersing myself into a new book and living vicariously through their lives. Sounds mad but I literally soak it up so much I am right there with them, planning what I’d do next if I was the protagonist. My favourite feelgood books are usually anything written by Sophie Kinsella. I just find her style of writing so easy and pleasurable to read.

Playing The Sims. 

Oh my goodness it is actually embarassing how much time I could waste playing on The Sims. I could lose DAYS just building the house and pretending I’m some sort of interior designer and Motherlode my way through building the most obscure house in the neighborhood. But I will admit I do go a little bit crazy with all the power I have and tend to make my Sim the worst person in town, stealing all the husbands, having all their babies and generally being a bad bish. Btw life is definitely not imitating art here.

Talk.

It sounds dead simple and a little bit patronising, especially coming from the girl that would rather choke on her own vom than have to open up or talk about my feelings. Most of the time when I do talk to someone it’s just to vent or to get something off my chest and just need someone to just listen to what I’m saying or trying to say  rather than jumping down my throat with advice or what they’d do. That makes me sound so obnoxious and I’m sure they’re only trying to help.

There’s always someone to share with.

If you’re a bit like me and find it difficult opening up to people, write it down in a letter/text email to a family member or friend. Whether it’s a big thing, a little thing a seemingly silly thing a whatever you want it to be thing you can always ring/text or even email The Samaritans for someone to listen to you.

Get out the house.

When I’m in the midst of a really bad low mood it is a complete effort to even get out of my bed to shower let alone get out of the house. But I have a little doggie that loves being walked so getting out in the fresh air is good for me, and good for him too.

Bake.

I find baking really therapeutic and calming. Aside from the washing up obvs. Plus you get a yummy cake at the end. Win win.

Literally take 5. 

A cup of tea or any other drink of choice and just take 5 minutes out just for yourself. Focus on something small like just breathing in and out. Phone a friend for a chat, browse instagram for cute kittens and puppies whatever makes you relax and chill and all warm and fuzzy inside.

My advice (as a completely untrained person) for someone who wants to help someone through a more difficult time is just to simply be there for them. Not everyone copes in the exact same way. Having a solid group of loving family and friends surrounding you and helping you nourish and flourish can help a multitude of problems.

MUCH LOVE. x

Friendship breakups and why they’re totally ok.

When you get dumped by a boyfriend or a girlfriend there is practically a whole shelf or two in Waterstones on what to do, how to dress and how to think so you can carry on living your best life. You can reinvent yourself giving yourself that full fringe you’ve just decided upon, grab your gals and that new LBD you’ve seen in New Look and paint the town red. Or just head into your local Vodka Revs and cry into several pornstar martinis whilst spamming pics all over your Insta feed of just how FIIIIIINE you’re looking. OK I digress but you get my point. As I sit here typing this, as someone who’s gone through the besties forevz cycle several times, I wonder why there isn’t a book, a notice, a giant banner somewhere to say, breaking up with a friend is totally OK. Better than okay in fact, sometimes it’s simply just life. As I get older (listen to me eh!?! I’m only 23 sounding as if I’m 57 years old sat on a porch decking in Alabama telling you all my wisest thoughts) I’ve come to realise that it gets so much harder to actually meet people and make proper true friendships. Especially if you’re an extroverted introvert like me. I like to go out but I also like coming back home to my comfy bed just that little bit more. Ya feel me? There’s a plethora of apps out there to meet the person of your dreams, or nightmares whatever you’re into I guess, but what are you supposed to do when you’re in your twenties, you don’t want to join the W.I and have grown apart from all your school friends because you’re not the same person you were 6 years ago?

There is no secret in the fact that I spend the majority of my life and my time online. Just take a look at my Instagram or Twitter feed which shows some sign of life on the daily. You see what I have for breakfast, me live tweeting my commute to work and a sneaky snapchat update of me filtered to the max complaining about another humpday slump. For me it was only natural I fell into a blogging community as I love, love, lurrve writing and reading interesting blog posts. But similarly because I have a about 3 real life friends and count you folk online as some of my closest pals. It was an easy gateway into chatting to and making internet pals with some of the loveliest, funniest likeminded people dotted all over the planet. Even though I’ve never met some and they could be the world’s most extravagant catfish stunt posing as a lifestyle blogger from Dorset. Imagine that eh!? I hasten to add I am not. I am me, I am the girl in the pics, writing these nonsensey essays in the hopes that y’all are reading/liking/wishing we were IRL besties too. If only there was a tinder or plenty of fish app so you could swipe right on potential pals. If you’re into trash tv, copious amounts of alcohol, being a bit of a dork and eating lots of food then please enquire within.

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I’ve always known I wasn’t a normal child and not quite the same as the others, maybe it was the day I shoved a jewellery bead up by nose aged four just to see if I could and actually got it stuck and could have potentially died. It is funny, you can laugh, I am, we can all gather round and have a good old giggle about it now, laugh at baby Abbie doing something silly for a lol and almost dying in the process. I should have known from a young age my inability to fit in and also my complete lack of common sense when it comes to doing anything to make myself and others chuckle, whether with me or at me, would run throughout my life. I’ve always been fairly outgoing and sociable for as long as I can remember really. My mum is probably one of the chattiest people in this entire universe so either my sister or I were bound to inherit that trait. She’s the type of person who could go to the supermarket to grab a few bits on a whim and come out with a new best friend, the phone number of a long lost relative she happened to have bumped into in the frozen aisle (arguably the worst out of all the supermarket aisles in my opinion) and a pen pal from Outer Mongolia who’s just visiting for the weekend. It became a bit of a running joke in my household the way in which my madre can just speak to people and develop almost genuine bonding moments and friendships. Something I’ve always been a wee bit jealous about.

I’ve always found it quite difficult actually keeping and maintaining friends. I am a bit of a chatterbox once you get me going and could quite easily sit for hours discussing anything from conspiracy theories to Eastenders to any random thought bubble that pops into my brain like why the chocolate chips don’t melt when you bake yo cookies?!?That’s probably one of the only reasons I liked working in retail is that I could talk to people and pretend I was actually doing my job but in fact I was having a chinwag with Judy in payroll about Eastenders that week. Is it any wonder my former employer then started logging phone calls that were longer than five minutes??? Sorry about that one Judes. I have had as many ‘best friends forevers’ as I have had lip balms both holding stark similarities to how I quickly lose them before long. Oh the LOLs. But to tell the truth, when I see those interactions between lifelong friends, sharing in jokes from actual DECADES ago, their families being close, sharing pivotal life moments from first crushes, to first relationships, from first hangovers, to work dramas, to real life dramas and all the boring little bits in between that actually mean a lot. Like what their Starbucks order is (mine is either a skinny vanilla latte, iced peach green tea lemonade or the gingerbread latte. Depending on the season obvs. Or what snacks to bring when your bestie is going through a really sucky life crisis and you know only a big tub of Ben and Jerry’s finest Phish Food will get them through. I get so jealous knowing that I’ll never properly have that. *CUE MAJOR DAILY MAIL ESQUE SAD FACE*.

At the humble age of 23 it’s starting to make me wonder. Is it me? I seem to be the common denominator here. When I was at primary school I was best friends with a girl called Hattie, we went round for tea at each other’s houses all the time and I remember sleepover’s at hers playing with her huuuuuuge Betty Spaghetty dolls collection (who needed an iPad back in those days?!) However she moved to Texas when we were about 10 or 11 and we kept in touch for a bit sending each other letters and parcels but after a couple years the effort on each end lessened and well we kinda got on with our lives, I was starting secondary school and well she was in America after all. I couldn’t be *that* weird kid at in a big new school of over 2000 kids who’s only friend lived about 5000 miles away. I went through secondary school with a fair few different friendship groups not really fitting in or sticking with a particular set. Looking back now, really I’ve got to give credit to my family for actually remembering their names after a while because it was almost a new person every week. This theme pretty much carried on throughout sixth form having a group of pals but not being particularly close to that one person in particular. I had friends but like I didn’t have that close bond I really wanted. Part of me thinks that’s just life and discovering who you are and your actual self. I don’t think I should feel shamed or that I’m fickle for flitting from one to the other. It’s not like I abandoned a friend in a foreign country cos I couldn’t be bothered and someone much better or shinier came along. Like I’m not that bad.

I’m a big believer in that everything happens for a reason whether that be you walking into a glass door twice within the space of about 11 seconds (true story it was embarassing it was in Accessorize in Salisbury, Wiltshire and it hurt my pride a heck of a lot more than it hurt my face tho) or whether that be the people or your experiences of things all play an important and equally vital part of who you are and what you’re like. Friends, family, colleagues, bosses (both the grumpybum ones and the kind ones) mistresses or lovers whether they are part time people in your life or full time can all hold an equally positive or an equally negative effect on you. Experiences shape you like work and university or whatever you go through so the things you have in common with someone are no longer the same anymore.

I’ve got to the point in myself where I can kinda say I’m quite happy on my own. I mean at the back of my mind I sometimes think or wonder whether in the future I’ll ever be someone’s bridesmaid or who would be mine? Jumping the gun a little bit there as a single woman but I hope you get what I mean. When I was in my teens this type of thing would have probably really affected my mental health and would have left me feeling really rubbish and like it was all me and not like a normal thing the majority of people go through.

I haven’t always been the perfect friend or pal either and I can admit that. I’ve been selfless and I’ve been selfish. I’ve cut people off of literally ghosted the pants off a friendship as it was easier than having it out with them. I’ve ignored messages hoping that the other person would just realise that my week long replies aren’t because I’m really *really* busy (no one is that busy I mean especially not me) and eventually give up. And the same has happened back to me so you could quite easily sit back and read this all and say well this is all karma. I’m only 23 years old. That’s practically foetal still in the grand scheme of life living. Yes I’ve probably hurt people, upset many and annoyed plenty too so I want to take this space to apologize for that. Truly.

With some people; I just simply grew tired of putting up with bad behaviour. Nothing illegal like but just toxic friendships like someone not treating me the way a friend should. Not making the effort or blowing me off at the last minute to do something else with someone else. I put up with that type of thing for ages because I didn’t have any other friends or any other choices. I grew fed up of always being the one putting the olive branch out to negative people and then getting slapped in the face with it. Some say I’m fickle for how I can give up on a friendship but I’ve spent the majority of my life trying to fit in for other people. pleasing other people and not myself.

Sometimes it’s all just about cutting the wheat from the chaff and seeing people for what they are or for what their purpose in your life is. Some people are your friends because you went to the same school together and played in the same hockey club and both watched tracy beaker, some people you just bonded with whilst you were at uni and it would be you and them against the world out every night at your local Oceana cheese rooms and some people are your friends because you worked in the same place and both didn’t like the boss and could take longer lunches together. Buuuuuut once you leave those places and surroundings it can grow harder to keep those common things between you both, well….in common. This shouldn’t be seen as a fault on you or them, but just a factor of life and simply how the oat and raisin cookie crumbles. Like rather than seeing it as a bad thing, see it as a I had such a lovely time at X place because Y would make me laugh so hard I sounded like an overjoyed seal every single damn day.

This is all probably going to sound like the ramblings of a mad woman but I don’t really care because it’s heartfelt. Everybody deserves the good things, the nice things, the shiny, pretty things. So if you a gorgeous abundance of friends that has such an unbreakable bond I hope you know that I’m a wee bit (ok totally) jealous. And if you notice me liking the ultra cute pics of you all together all dressed up before a night out, know that I probably smashed that like button a little bit too passively aggressively wishing it was me photoshopped in the background looking amazing and a little drunkeyed.