Friday, February 27, 2015

Anxiety & Depression | How It Stole My Life For Two Years ♥

In my teens I was an outgoing person, I spoke my mind and never shied away from voicing my opinion when I thought someone was in the wrong. I was the thinnest I had ever been, went to the gym everyday, even if it was for just twenty minutes. I walked miles on end and enjoyed every minute of it. I had my first ever boyfriend, was always out and about and I was happy.

I didn't notice anything was wrong or that my personality was changing, I just thought I was becoming more reserved, part of growing up I thought - oh how I wrong I was.

In January 2012 I quit my job, a decision I chose to make after a series of events which devastated my world and made me not want to be around people anymore. I used to stay in my boyfriend's apartment all day watching reruns of old television shows and films and my only task in life was to have a dinner ready for him when he came home from work. I thought my life was great, looking back now I know different...

I became pregnant in May 2012. I was 22 and I felt like everyone judged me. I thought I would lose all my friends and was terrified of being alone, sadly I already was apart from my boyfriend, who I saw everyday.

Days would go by when I wouldn't even interact with anyone else other than my boyfriend. I lived like a hermit and withdrew myself from society. I didn't feel the need to leave the house, even popping down to post office under my boyfriend's apartment seemed like a massive journey for me.

If I did have to go out I would cover up, go out at times when I knew not many people would be around - early in the morning or late in the afternoon, and I didn't tell anyone about my pregnancy until I was seven months along.

Looking back I guess I felt as though I should be ashamed of my pregnancy, after all, I was unmarried and 22, I couldn't have imagined my friends becoming pregnant at that age and I thought no one would understand. I have one picture of me whilst I was pregnant and my face isn't even in it and I am so sad about this fact.

I'm sad that I felt as though I should be ashamed of my beautiful baby boy, who was planned and wanted from the beginning, and this is something which makes me incredibly sad. People's opinions about my pregnancy and relationship situation were so hurtful and made me incredibly angry, which I discussed in my post Putting the Cart Before the Horse - a phrase which I'm sure a lot of other younger mothers have heard also.

After giving birth to my son I withdrew even more from society, something which I didn't think was possible. I removed people from my life who I felt thought negatively about me. I was scared to leave the house with my son on my own, my beautiful high pram sat neglected in the living room, used only for rocking him to sleep - such a terrible waste.

In March 2013 I found some solace in the online community when I began this blog. I felt welcomed by certain individuals, sadly most have them have given up blogging now, but I felt as though I had a little space in the world to air my thoughts and communicate with people of similar interests all from the comfort of my own home. Blogging has been my sanctuary and saviour since that time.

I suffered with post-natal depression after having my son. It is the worst thing I have ever been through and I wouldn't wish those feeling of loneliness, uselessness and sadness for reasons you don't even know, on anyone.

I had a beautiful, healthy baby boy - what was there to be depressed about? I wouldn't open the curtains in the house, I just wanted to shut myself away from the world outside and be safe inside with my baby boy, I would only leave the house when someone was with me, which, as you can imagine was very inconvenient.

I lost all of my friends during this time, anytime they wanted to meet I would make up an excuse not to, not because I didn't want to see them but because I just couldn't even contemplate leaving the house, especially if it was to go out at night. They didn't understand and to be honest I couldn't really explain because I didn't (and still don't to an extent) know why I was feeling this way.

It was as if a giant wall came up in my mind anytime I thought of going out, it's the only way I can explain it and no ones seems to understand this analogy. It's quite funny looking back now as people always commented on how positive I was about life, I guess I became a fantastic actress with my pretend smile and fake laugh...

As my son got older I realised I needed to make a big change and push myself to interact with people and start going for walks. He's such a social little thing and in some ways I feel as though he's saved me from slipping deeper into isolation, he spurs me on to change how I think and actually socialise with people.

I made friends with two mothers in my area whose sons are of a similar age to my son, I can't even tell you the difference it made to me having friends who were mothers also. They understood me and knew how hard life could be with a baby in tow, it was refreshing to have their company to say the least.

Having my miscarriage in February 2014 set me back again. Once again I felt myself withdrawing from the world and in the weeks that followed I had feelings of abandonment from my partner, who was working all the time, not speaking with my family members and I felt as though I had no one but my son.

I felt so alone, let down and in despair. I don't know how I got through that time but thankfully I did and in the months that followed I tried making differences to my life and in particular my appearance. I began a weight loss journey and stuck with it for three months, I did really well and was so proud of myself for the first time in a long time. I felt the best I had done in years and it was great, however, in the autumn I began conversing again with someone from my past and it made me feel horrible.

I compared my life to theirs and how great their life and future seemed in comparison to mine, it put me in turmoil and although I pretended everything was fine it really wasn't. I just wanted to run away from everything and everyone, it was at this point that I knew I had to change for good.

As the new year approached I made the decision that I had to change and I'm very proud to say I have. I went into 2015 with a positive mindset, a mindset which has stayed throughout January. In December I began seeing someone for my anxiety issues and just this week they told me that it seems as if I've "turned a corner", words which I've been wanting to hear for a long time now.

The things I've accomplished in this month may seem like the smallest, everyday things for most of you reading out there but for me it was like climbing mountains. I now go out on my own without panicking or planning my route days in advance. I drive my car again without being terrified of crashing and am able to go places on my own and speak to people without feeling like an absolute idiot. February has been a very strange month in terms of how I'm feeling. My mood has been a bit down but I think it may be due to the events of last year and how they're still imprinted on my mind.

I wrote this post so that I can look back if things ever go badly again and realise that I never want to feel that helpless and alone ever again in my life. I want to be able to read the words "turned a corner" and remember all the differences having a positive mindset have made to my life. I still have a long way to go before I can say I am a truly happy and confident person but I'm getting there.

To anyone who suffers from anxiety or depression or both remember that it does get better but that you have to try and get out from that dark cloud yourself, no one else can make you appreciate the sunshine again when all you're longing for is the rain...


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Chi Chi Clothing | Elsa Dress ♥

 I'm such a dress lover, you'll rarely ever catch me wearing anything other then a dress and I'll admit that I have a particular penchant for anything floral. However, when I got the chance to sample one of Chi Chi Clothing's gorgeous dresses I was absolutely delighted when this stunning Elsa Dress arrived at my door. Elsa is the perfect moniker for this dress, it's elegant and beautiful just like the queen from Frozen. It has so many intricate details with lots of soft gold mesh detailing and capped sleeves, it really is such a beautiful thing to look at. The main colour is a stunning cornflower blue which I think is a fabulous shade for spring and summer. 

 I honestly felt like such a princess whilst wearing this dress. I think the dress is stunning enough to be used as a bridesmaids dress or even a wedding dress if you're wanting something a bit more unique than the usual whites and ivory. The dress is tea dress style and midi length which is the perfect length for formal occasions, which is where I'd wear this dress to. It has a mesh underskirt which gives great volume to the skirt of the dress and it's nice to twirl around in too (the princess vibe and all that!).

For me the dress has a real vintage feel to it. All the detailing takes me back to those amazing dresses you see from yesteryear that are just awe-inspiring to look at. So much detailing has gone into this dress making it something truly special. My favourite part of the dress is it's neck and back lines with their scalloped edging, it has quite a regal feel to it - definitely a nod to Elsa!

 The dress also has a padded bust which I have to admit I don't really need. The only problem I had with the dress is that it has a side zip at the bust. I know I'm not alone in thinking that side zips like this are no good for us larger chested ladies. A back zip is fine, I can get the girls into anything easily then but a side zip is a no go. 

 I absolutely love this dress and will be wearing it at some stage over the summer, hopefully for a romantic afternoon tea or meal with my other half. My mother has her eye on the dress too, she thinks it's amazing and she's not wrong!

The Elsa Dress is available in sizes 6 to 24 and is £66.99. You can find the Elsa Dress and browse the other beautiful dresses Chi Chi Clothing have to offer on their website.

Do you like the Chi Chi Clothing Elsa Dress?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Yankee Candle | New Scents For Spring & Mother's Day ♥

 I have made no secret of my love for Yankee Candle and their gorgeous scents, sharing my collection and hauls with you all on the blog before and whilst I've tried to curb my obsession and stop buying new candles and wax tart melts until I use up what I currently have, it's hard to resist adding to my collection when they bring out gorgeous smelling new collections. One so collection is their new Pure Essence collection, which embraces the essence of spring and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.

I have been dreaming of spring ever since the 1st of February, following the Irish tradition that spring begins on February 1st and I've been wanting to put away the cinnamon scents of winter and make way for new, fresh, spring embodied scents in my home. I have three small jar candles, each with a different scent from the Pure Essence collection.

Aloe Water - "Clean, refreshing water blends with thick, soothing aloe to create a wonderfully relaxing experience". This mint green coloured candle is the perfect shade for spring, it smells so fresh and clean and has the perfect hint of Aloe to create a gorgeous hint of fragrance in your home.

 Cassis - "A luxurious indulgence...the lusciously rich, fruit aroma of black currant berries with a fresh burst of tartness". This deep purple shaded candle is probably my favourite fragrance from the three I have from the Pure Essence collection. I love fruity scents so this was a real winner with me and it's the perfect blend for spring.

 Shea Butter - "Pure contentment...indulge yourself in this creamy smooth scent with hints of beautiful fruit blossom". This white candle really does give the aroma of creamy shea butter. It's such a lovely scent with a hint of fruit blossom mixed with the richness of the shea butter. I have this candle in my bathroom for burning during a long soak in the bath.

I'm really impressed with the new Pure Essence collection that Yankee Candle have come out with. I think the scents really do embody the feeling of spring as they're fresh, clean smelling and perfect for airing out the scents of winter.

Mother's Day is happening on March 15th this year and although I would rather my other half and son didn't get me anything (as I said before in my post about what Mother's Day means to me), I do get my own mother a gift just to show her that I care. Luckily my mother is very easy to buy for her as her and I generally love the same things. She also loves Yankee Candle and always has a jar and various wax tart melts burning throughout her house. This of course means that she burns through them quite quickly and is always in need of a candle. I've picked her up the Fresh Cut Roses small pilar candle for Mother's Day. The scent is one of my favourites from the whole Yankee Candle range and I think she'll love it's floral and unbelievably fragrant heirloom roses scent too. I think getting a candle that smells of roses is far better than actual roses as the candle will last much longer than a bouquet! I love that the candle also has a little gift tag picture with 'Mum' on it too, it just makes it an all the more perfect gift for Mother's Day, don't you think?

Have you tried any of the candles from the new Yankee Candle Pure Essence collection? Do you, like me, think that Yankee Candles make great gifts?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Loving Lately | The Toddler Edition ♥

I wanted to bring this feature back to my blog as there are so many great products, toys and clothing which Tyler Lee gets to enjoy every week. I love sharing our finds with other parents and their children so hopefully you and your little ones may benefit a little from these posts and find some gems for yourselves in all the things we love for little ones. Below are just some of the things which Tyler Lee and I as his mama have been loving lately for toddlers...

 Burts Bees Baby Bee Range. I absolutely love using the Burts Bees Baby Bee range on Tyler Lee, the smell of the products is a delight - it has a slight sweet smell of honey and the products are all perfect for his sensitive skin. I know it shouldn't really matter as ultimately about the product inside but the packaging is really lovely too and it looks lovely on display in the bathroom in his little white wicker basket full of bath and body treats. It may not be proven but I am convinced that the wash/shampoo makes his hair grow quicker than other shampoos he has used in the past. The Burts Bees Baby Bee range is a bit more expensive than other baby bath and body products available out there but I think it's nice for my boy to have a little bit of luxury in his life. Also, the products have been great for his hair and skin so if paying a little bit more means that his skin reaps the benefits then I am more than happy to do so. Our favourite products from the range so far are the Calming Lotion which I massage Tyler Lee's skin with every night. The lavender and vanilla fragrance really helps him to relax and soothe him to sleep and the lotion itself keeps his skin soft, smooth and free from dryness. We also love the Cream-to-Powder which has been amazing at keeping Tyler Lee's bottom free from nappy rash. This is a cream which dries to a powdery formula keeping him dry and his skin free from irritation. Burts Bees Baby Bee range is a big winner with us.

 Weleda Marshmallow Face Cream. This is a product which I wouldn't normally buy as I find is very expensive at €14.99 but Tyler Lee needed it as he had patches of dry skin on his face from the cold and over-reliance on his dummy when he was sick. I picked this product as it has marshmallow in it and I used a marshmallow face cream on him before and it made his skin super soft. I have now been using this product on his face in the morning when he gets dress and at night when he's getting into his pyjamas and it has done wonders for his skin. It got rid of the dry patches instantly and it has left the skin on his face soft and supple. I will be purchasing this product again once it's gone.

 Teddy Mountain. We took Tyler Lee to Teddy Mountain on his birthday as he loves his cuddly toys and we wanted to get him one as a keepsake and also let him have the experience of seeing it being made up, etc. The experience was fantastic, the staff were so friendly and Tyler Lee really enjoyed making his cuddly toy adoption certificate, seeing it being stuffed, putting in a little 'wishes and dreams' label in the inside of it and we also chose a baby powder scent to go into the middle of the cuddle toy which you can really smell on it, it's so lovely. We called the dog cuddly toy Tilly as it looks a bit like Tyler Lee's grandads dog, he loves it and it was cheaper than Jacek and I were expecting too.

 Cuddledry Apron Towel. I wish I had discovered this towel a lot sooner because it would have been a godsend to us these past few months for bath times. The feel of the Cuddledry Apron Towel is super soft and is so lovely against baby's precious, delicate skin. It's made from natural bamboo fibre and cotton and I'm a big fan of baby clothes and products made with bamboo as they are so soft. I love the design of this towel, it's made so that parents can wear it as an apron, perfect for keeping themselves dry whilst taking their little ones out of the bath but also great for snuggles too - my boy loves the feel of this towel on his face especially which makes for lots of post-bath time snuggles - they didn't name it Cuddledry for nothing! Cuddledry have a fabulous range of towels, robes, wash cloths and more for little ones and I have to say that everything looks fantastic quality and so sweet. I just love things like this for little ones, I think they make the experience of bath time for them all the more special. I now have my eye on their snuggle bunny towel, it's so adorable!

 Slumbersac Winter Sleeping Bag - Pirate. Tyler Lee has been in sleeping bags since he went into his cot at six weeks old. Sleeping bags like the Slumbersac winter sleeping bags really give me peace of mind that my boy will be warm, snug and safe while he sleeps. The Slumbersac winter sleeping bag in pirate design is the first sleeping bag he's had that has arms attached and I thought the design of this was great as it has kept him so warm during these cold winter nights, to which there doesn't seem to be an end in sight! The pirate design is so sweet with it's blue and white stripes, decals of a pirate ship and treasure chest and 'ahoy captain!' embroidered on the breast. With an approximate tog rating of 3.5 t's the perfect sleeping bag for keeping little pirate loving girls and boys warm and snug at bed time. I know my boy is as snug as bug in his and thankfully it's super long still meaning that it will do him for next autumn and winter too. You can also get your little ones name embroidered on their sleeping bags to make it personalised to them too.

Have you or your little ones ever used any of the above products before? Did you love them as much as we did?


Sunday, February 22, 2015

The #CorkBlogMeet15 | Croissants, Chats, Makeup, Cocktails & Goodie Bags ♥

 Being a blogger means that you become part of a wider community of people all with a common interest to yourself. I'm lucky enough to have three genres in my blog - parenting, beauty and lifestyle, meaning that I get to talk to a lot of different people with similar interests to myself on a daily basis. These chats usually take place online but once and awhile us blogging folk like to get together in person, to celebrate the brands we love and to enjoy some chats and giggles. Yesterday I attended the #corkblogmeet15, organised by Zoe from Zoe With Umlauts and I loved the fact that there was another meetup happening in Cork after mine and Sarah's The Cork Meetup last July, only this time I could sit back and enjoy the day to it's fullest, without having to worry about organising everything!

 We all met in Debenhams at 11.30 and our day was kicked off with a bloggers brunch of croissants, Danish pastries, juices and Prosecco - once again Debenhams had outdone themselves with their displays and hospitality for all us bloggers. I enjoyed some giggles with the lovely Kayleigh from Cheerful Beauty Nerd before we headed down to the cosmetics hall to see some new releases from Elizabeth Arden, Urban Decay and Clarins. The Debenhams staff are always so lovely and friendly and I thought it was great and a huge testament to them that they remembered some of us from last year - it always feels good to be remembered. 

 My favourite picks from what we were shown were the Clarins Blue Orchid Oil for dehydrated skin, the smell was just gorgeous and I'd love to use something so luxurious on my skin everyday, although I was well informed that their Lotus Oil would probably be better suited to me and my oily skin. I also loved the new range of Sheer Revolution Lipsticks that Urban Decay have to offer. I'm such a fan of Urban Decay anyway, you may have seen me mentioned them on my blog a few times before... and I really couldn't resist picking myself up one of their gorgeous new lipsticks in the shade Obsessed, a real Barbie pink as the lovely makeup artist Carolyn put it, expect a review on this very soon. The lovely girls on the Urban Decay counter also treated us to an eye shadow and eye liner each, I was given Laced and Yeyo, two products I have never used before and at this part of the day I was feeling extremely lucky. Debenhams very generously gave us all a €50 voucher to spend on the day too so I swiftly picked up another beloved Naked3 palette for myself - a girl can never have enough of it's prettiness, right?!

 My lucky stars were in on the day too as I won 4th prize in Debenhams mega prize raffle. I won three Estee Lauder lipglosses which have the most pretty packaging ever and two of Estee Lauder's advanced repair eye creams. Funnily enough I knew I was going to win this prize before my name was called out, I even said it to Kayleigh - psychic I am!

After Debenhams we moved onto The Body Shop and I have to admit that this is where my picture taking stopped - shame on me being a blogger and all that jazz. I was just enjoying myself too much chatting to the other girls to stop and take pictures. We were all kind of let down by The Body Shop and their lack of anything happening for us, as well as being told that the two girls working there didn't even know that we were calling in there until that morning... however, we did receive some lovely, bright and cheerful makeup bits from their spring/summer range so thank you to The Body Shop for those treats.

We then moved onto Suas where we were able to quench our thirst and hunger with some cocktails and food from Captain Americas. I sat next to the lovely Rebecca from Give A Posy and Aine from Social Onya, who made me want a selfie stick of my own so bad! After some much needed water and taco fries we got to enjoy demos from Inglot - a brand who I've never used before but am now lusting after their Sparkling Dust - Inglot Ireland website why won't you work for me, why?! We also saw demos by two of my favourite cosmetics brands right now - MeMeMe and IsaDora. MeMeMe and IsaDora were very generous to us all too, they showered us with goodies from their ranges and I really can't wait to try out everything and share my thoughts with you all, everything looks amazing! We were also treated to some Strawberry Daiquiri's by the lovely Aine from IsaDora, she wanted us all pepped up for her demo and these really did the trick, they were so delicious, thanks Aine!

I am so glad that I got to experience another blogger meetup and in my home city too - I love when events happen in Cork because I can't easily make it up the country to attend other events due to childcare and other restrictions, ah the joys of being a mammy not wanting to leave her baba eh?! I would love to attend another event in Cork sometime in the near future or even organise my own again, but we'll see... 

 The goodie bags were absolutely amazing, filled to the brim with some fab products from some of my favourite brands. WaterWipes, Wet n Wild, Rimmel, Elizabeth Arden, Urban Decay, Physicians Formula, Emma's Soy Candles, Dream Dots, IsaDora, Daisy Mae Jewellery, The Body Shop Ireland, Eylure and Paese all made contributions. As you can see we were all very much spoilt so a huge thank you to these fantastic brands for giving us all these treats to try out.

A huge thank you to Zoe for organising such a fun day, all the other bloggers who were up for the chats and giggles (nothing worse than being left to sit on your own at an event), Debenhams for another great slice of hospitality, The Body Shop Ireland, Suas, Inglot, MeMeMe and IsaDora. As you can see we were given a day full of chats, laughs, great experiences and happy memories. It's a day I won't forget, that's for sure!

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