Small Steps I'm Taking Towards Mental Well Being

A New Year brings new challenges and although my mental health has been overall pretty okay recently I'm terrified of it crumbling again. I'm always okay-ish when I'm at home and because I've been home for around three weeks now I feel good. I'm not pushed to do anything and I pretty much don't have to see anyone or do anything if I don't want to. However, I am going back to Galway on Sunday and starting lectures on Monday and I'm very scared. Semester one was the definition of a huge fail and although I think hope I passed, I don't think I can keep doing this 'bounce back' routine. If I don't pass everything this year I really don't think I will be going back for third year because it's too hard being a constant let down to my family and to myself.

DESPITE ALL THIS, I'm going to try reeeeeaaaally hard this semester, and with the help of my counselor, who has been the best person ever these past few months and the very limited support from my college, I will get through this year. With all this in mind I decided I would write a little post on the small things I like to do when my mental health is getting me down.

Drink more tea
When I'm down in the dumps I try my best to avoid caffeine. Coffee, in particular, makes me painfully anxious. I used to drink 5-6 cups per day, around the same time I was having 5-6 panic attacks a day. I don't think that's a coincidence. However, there's nothing like a cup of tea to make you feel better. I love green tea, chamomile, peppermint and the old reliable breakfast tea.

Talk more openly
It's a well known fact that I am not big into talking about my feelings and emotions, (despite the fact that I spill everything on my blog), and this can really take its toll. It really helps to talk, especially when, like me, you are an ear for everyone else's rants and problems. It's definitely something I'm working on.

Do more yoga
When I was at the pit of my mental health problems, mainly anxiety, I did a lot of yoga. I became a little bit addicted, which I now realise is how I lost so much weight at that time. Since going to college I've been doing yoga less and less but I really want to take it up again, just maybe not as intense, because it really helps manage stress and keeps you ~in the moment~.

Write more
I love writing. It helps me gather my thoughts and clears my head which is something that is so important to me. With anxiety and OCD comes racing thoughts and my mood fluctuates constantly. Writing keeps this under control and keeps my mind at ease.

Focus on completing goals
There's nothing more satisfying than checking off your goals as you accomplish them. This year I've set out some blogging goals which I want to carry out. As I said above, writing is so important to me so completing these goals will be a big step in the direction of a positive state of well being.

Are you taking any steps towards a happier you in 2017?

If you enjoyed this post, why not check out my post on: Bad Mental Health Days or Relaxing An Anxious Mind

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REVIEW | Beauty Essentials 'Shadow Switch'*

I'm not one to regularly wash my brushes. I try to do it as often as I possibly can but to wash all my brushes is such a task and I'm SO lazy when it comes to getting around to doing it. I can talk for days about how 'I'll wash my brushes this evening' but it takes a lot of motivational pep talk for me to finally sit down and actually start the seemingly endless chore. So, when Beauty Essentials (@BeautyEssUK) contacted me about their Shadow Switch Dry Brush Cleaner*, I was so excited to try it out.

The aim of Shadow Switch is to make chopping and changing your dark and light eye shadow shades a lot easier. With this tool you can use the same brush over and over without having to wash it between uses. I never realised how much I needed this product until I actually got it. Now I can swap shades as many times as I want without having to use every brush in my collection.

This beauty tool is extremely easy to use. All you have to do is swirl your brush into the slightly rough, wire-like sponge and all traces of the product on your brush is removed. It eliminates any possibility of transfer between colours and shades when applying and blending eye shadow. The wire-like sponge is gentle on your brushes and doesn't damage them. It makes cleaning my brushes so quick and simple. When the sponge gets dirty all you have to do is rinse it under warm with some soap (if you wish!) and leave it to dry. 

Obviously, I wouldn't recommend this over a deep cleaning of your brushes due to hygiene reasons but, for on the go use the Shadow Switch is a must-have! The Shadow Switch is available for purchase from Amazon for £5.99/roughly €6.70

If you enjoyed this post, why not check out my other reviews on: TanTastic Self-Tan Lotion or The Balm Mary Lou-Manizer

* indicates products that have been sent to me by brands however all opinions are my own and have not been influenced by outside parties. For more info, check out my full disclaimer.

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With 2017 finally here I decided I would sit down and think about what I would like to achieve blog-wise in the coming year. I'll admit that the last few months of blogging in 2016 have been a disaster but before I went back to college I was doing so well with my blog so I want to carry that out consistently throughout 2017. I am so determined to work hard on my blog this year as I got a boost of motivation and inspiration when I looked at my monthly stats for December and saw that I reached 10,000 page views in that month alone!!!! Usually I would manage to get 2,000 to 5,000 so I absolutely smashed my record and I really want to keep that up. 

Post more often
It's well known that I talk a lot about my post schedule and how I plan my posts. I'm so organised when it comes to planning content for my blog but finding the time to actually sit down and write is near impossible. This year I really want to post on a more regular basis, like I did during the summer, so I hope to do at least four posts per month. If all goes to plan that will hopefully work out as one post per week, but knowing me it'll probably go more like four posts in one week and then none for the rest of the month. We'll see...

Work with more Irish brands
When I'm lucky enough I get to work with some lovely brands and as my stats grow I get to work with more. I feel weird discussing this as it feels like I'm bragging but this year I'm hoping to work with more Irish brands as I work with a number of great ones last year including MyLadyBug and Olis Skincare, along with some other really nice non-Irish brands. 

Redesign aillyx
I've had the same header on my blog since I basically started blogging and my template is so boring and out of date. As other bloggers progress in their blog designs I feel as though I'm stuck in a rut and I hate the look of my blog. I literally never go on my own blog because I find it so boring. Not only that, it looks unprofessional. It was fine when my blog was a lot smaller but now that I'm making more money off it I want it to look better too. I hope to do this before summer. 

Work on my blog photography/Instagram 
I am so lazy when it comes to taking pictures for my blog and Instagram. I take them in bulk and usually just take generic photos so I can match them with whatever blog post fits best. I also never, ever edit my photos. This is something I really want to change as it is something that I find so important when I'm reading blogs. I'll be more likely to read your posts if you have pretty pictures so I need to start putting in the effort. I have tried a lot more on Instagram recently by using more hashtags and actually attempting some form of a 'theme' and it HAS made a difference so I hope to keep that going. 

Attend the events I'm invited to
This is something that I really, really want to do. I got invited to a number of events throughout the year and I didn't attend ANY OF THEM. I always feel so lucky to be invited to these events, and I usually have hopes to go but my anxiety ALWAYS gets the better of me and I pull out last minute. In 2017 I want to attend at least three events that I'm invited to. 

Do you have any blog goals, or goals in general, for 2017?

If you enjoyed this post, why not check out my post on: Blogging Pressures or My Life With Trichotillomania

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Blogging Pressures & Update.

Okay so this year I vowed to do really well during Blogmas. I had all my posts planned up until Christmas Eve and although I was behind from day one, I was trying so hard to catch up. I was backdating those posts I actually managed to write but every time I tried to write one, nothing would come out. I was so uninspired. If you look at the few posts I did do during my six days (yes, I gave up after six days) of Blogmas you'll see that I didn't do much writing. They were pretty crap, if I'm honest. This was due to my lack of motivation and inspiration, working early mornings and sleeping through to the evening and the pressure behind Blogmas.

I put a lot of pressure on myself when it comes to my blog. I know it's only small, and it doesn't get thousands and thousands of page views per day, but it's something that I have finally admitted that I'm actually quite good at. I'm bad at lots of things - I can't do college, I have no hobbies or past times. I am pretty much talentless so when it comes to my blog, I push myself to do the best I can and, as a result of this, I have achieved quite a bit regarding this including becoming a finalist in the Irish Blogger Awards 2016. That was a big achievement for me and this motivated me to write more and more. I set myself a goal to keep writing in college but this didn't happen. Last year I didn't blog for three months, and this year I blogged maybe, once or twice a month. I can get over not attending lectures and classes, but when I stop blogging I know that my mental health is not in a good place. Likewise, when I do blog, my mood improves and I'm so much happier.

Anyway, I've decided to give up on trying to catch up with Blogmas, seeing as it's over very soon. After I made this decision, the blog posts ideas came rolling in and I feel a lot more motivated. I've planned posts up until the end of the year and I'm already thinking of ones for the New Year. I'm excited.

If you enjoyed this post, why not check out my post on: Reviewing Autumn Goals & NEW WINTER GOALS

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Little Things I Love About Christmas | Blogmas Day 6

Everyone knows that I am, without a doubt, crazy at Christmastime. I love Christmas. I look forward to the festive months all year long and as soon as Halloween is over Christmas, for me, is in full swing. I woke up feeling really festive this morning and thought it was a good time to write about the things that I love about Christmas. Fancy gifts and presents are lovely and everything but it really is the small things that make me happy at Christmastime and I wanted to share them with you.

1. Fairy lights, glittery baubles and tinsel. I love putting up Christmas decorations and I've decked my house in college out with sets upon sets of fairy lights and EIGHT meters of tinsel just in the kitchen. Tinsel is so tacky. I love it.

2. Christmas music. I spoke about my favourite Christmas songs in this post yesterday. I love it all. The cheesier, the better. 

3. Same goes for Christmas movies. I love them. From It's A Wonderful Life to The Polar Express. I will watch hours and hours of remakes of A Christmas Carol and never get bored of the story. 

4. Ice-cold mornings. I used to love going to school on mornings that the air was so cold and I could see my breath when I spoke. I don't even care if it doesn't snow (even though that is the dream) I just love very cold, dry, crisp winter mornings. 

5. Christmas cake. Since forever, my mam and I would make Christmas cake together just after Halloween every single year. This year was the first time I didn't get to help her because I'm working in Galway but still, I can't wait to eat it. We always make way too much and are still eating it well into the New Year. It's my fave,

6. Cinnamon. I hate the taste of cinnamon but I can't get enough of the smell. We always have SO MANY Cinnamon Stick Yankee Candle's in our house during the winter months. 

7. Christmas pyjamas. My pyjamas, pictured above, are from Pennys/Primark. This year I've also developed an unhealthy obsession with Christmas slippers. I want all the comfy clothes, please.

8. Wrapping presents. A lot of effort is put into wrapping presents for me. I need to get it just right, because it's the first thing people see when you give them a present and I always think it's nice to go the extra mile when gift-giving, especially at Christmas (and I generally just love it.)

You wouldn't believe how difficult it was to keep this list short. I literally love everything about Christmas. I didn't even get to mention Christmas dinner, or the fact that my birthday is in the month of December but that's my list.

If you enjoyed this post, why not check out my Ultimate Spotify Christmas Playlist

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