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Sunday, 13 November 2016

Don't be S.A.D

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that affects most of us at some point during the change of the season. It is more prominent during Autumn/Winter time when the evenings are darker, the days are shorter and people are more susceptible to illness. A deficiency in Vitamin D (from the Sun) also contributes to lower mood. I know many people who suffer from S.A.D including myself. For me personally S.A.D flairs up the Abdominal Migraines otherwise known as Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome as stress* is often more prevalent at the end of year so as long as I manage life and use coping strategies (ie: remembering to breathe, remembering to say no and not bombard my spare time) in the present moment I should be ok!

*I use this term loosely as AM or CVS can be linked to a negative emotion or the flip side, positive over- excitement.

So this post on my blog is to combat these low feelings and find the positives in my day. Despite being affected by S.A.D I do love Autumn: the colours, the rain and most importantly I'm an October baby and I hope to also find lovely recipes, photos, past-times, gadgets to help me to become more 'Mindful' this season which I will add to the post!

Useful Links:

Last year I completed a similar project: 100 days of happy, aka 100happydays: a popular photo series on Instagram and also made the 100 days of Peggy

~12th-18th September~

  • Back at work after the long summer holiday: new staff, new kids.
  • Experiencing the freedom of going to a gig on your own.
  • A young, single man wanting to go dancing with me. Result!
  • A nap after work with this little furry one before going to my waltz and cha cha dance class
  • We made it! A full week back at work and a meet up with 'Mr. Cool'.
  • The Handmade Fair, Hampton Court: Art and Craft-gasms galore!
  •  With Bake Off batter-fever this week I had a go and made some yorkshire puds for the first time and they worked- star baker goes to me.

Amelia Freer (even her name sounds healthy) is a Nutritional Therapist and was a speaker at this year's Handmade Fair at Hampton Court. She works with her clients to rethink the way we eat and adopt that (trendy) 'clean eating' way of life. In turn the effects of this diet should combat health issues such as digestive issues and chronic exhaustion amongst other things. I'm especially interested in this due as during the winter months I am more prone to sickness- it is as if my whole body shuts down; my digestive system included so food that is natural, wholesome and good for me should help out my body a lot when my digestion becomes sluggish. 

I've bought her book: 'Cook. Nourish. Glow' so when that arrives I'll be able to update this a bit more on her ethos and tips and tricks but I loved her idea of using 'rice paper' wraps instead of bread (that makes you bloat) for my packed lunches. So watch this space!

Check Out Amelia Freer's blog HERE

~19th- 25th September~
  • A night in with the kittens! 
  • This came up on my newsfeed- just a comforting reminder.
  • Full of cold and guilt for missing dancing made better with a homemade cake accompanied by crucial Bake Off watching.
  • Tangoed and Jived at my advanced dance class- learning a slinky 'Brush Tap' after the 'Double Fan' and successfully practicing last weeks Waltz steps!! (see picture)
  • A great evening out where the Wombles live- I didn't meet one unfortunately. 
  • I made a flower crown!! 
  • A heart shaped bite- how disney-esque. 

I have been plagued by the dreaded 'Freshers Flu': Primary School Edition which often never quite leaves me until the next round of plague. However much hand sanitiser I use I will always become the victim of second-hand germs, you'd think my immune system was made of steel after 4 years of working in a primary school but apparently not. 

Echniacea (pronounced E-kin-nay-sha) is a herbal remedy used most commonly used to fight cold and flu symptoms either at the first signs of a cold or just after the cold has started. It is not to be taken long term. Since taking it twice a day for a week I have noticed that my cold has been less severe than usual. (Update: and cleared up a lot quicker too!) It has a very slight 'herbally/aniseedy' taste on the tongue but no after tastes and is swallowed easily with water.


~ 26th September- 2nd October~

  • It was time for the kittens to go for their pre-neuter check at the V-E-T. Leon fell for my trick of getting them in the carry-case and Miss Poppy was so good and patient throughout her check up- I wonder if the handsome vet made her examination a little more bearable for her. 
  • My (intact) Zoella Lifestyle 'My Eden' candle & diffuser arrived! Smells delish.
  • The musical, Ragtime is coming to London! I have listened to the soundtrack for years but have never seen the show so jumped at the chance to get tickets!
  • A spontaneous trip to Hobbycraft to find Autumnal crafts. Alas there was little choice on the rustic, leafy front but not a wasted trip! 
  • Working in Special Educational Needs is challenging but when you have a mini breakthrough it is the best feeling!!! So rewarding and makes you realise all the work your putting in now, pays off!
  • Quiz Night with the dancing lot :) 
  • I made an Autumnal wreath for my front door using a pre-made withy wreath, faux leaves, faux acorns, cinnamon sticks, a dried orange slice and a mini pinecone I found in my driveway! 

~ 3rd October- 9th October~

  • Lavender essential oil drops on my wrists have helped me this week to remember to breathe and resume a level of calm whilst at work. The job is often very fast-paced and I spend most of the time worrying about how the children feel and forget about my own needs. 
  • This is the first year where I've indulged in a Beauty Advent Calendar. They sell out so quickly and in past years I've always missed out. Yes, they are nothing to do with the true meaning of Advent and all about commercialism (boo, hiss) but aside from this I just want a mini present everyday for a month and I'm really into the Body Shop at the moment so it seemed fitting!
  • Mini smarties in hollow milk chocolate pumpkins aka A little treat- or Mum reminding me I'm still her child who needs nurturing at times. 
  • A gruelling Foxtrot class became a good'un with the appearance of a (below the age of 40) male competitor who was getting in some more practice before the big Blackpool competition this weekend. We glided around the hall! It is such a great feeling dancing with people who can lead and can keep up with my gigantic strides. Young, Tall, Male Dancers- do you exist?!?!?!
  • A meal out with some family friends before seeing the play, Quartet (you may know the film). Lovely way to spend a Friday evening. 
  • Hedgehog-bonding
  • My current-view: I'm currently reading Jessie Burton's second novel 'The Muse'.

I used to despise the scent of Lavender. It is definitely a more mature smell however as I have discovered the benefits of it in recent years for relaxation purposes I have grown to like it. 

Lavender (a herb from the Mint Family) contains an oil with sedating effects: it has a huge range of medical uses from digestion, hair loss, aches and pains but it is most notable for it's uses for restlessness, insomnia and depression. I personally use it in the form of a bubble bath for a relaxing wind-down, a pillow spray to aid sleep as well as essential oil drops that I apply to pressure point (ie my wrists). The smell is quite potent so reminds me to breathe it in during the high pressure working day. I bought mine from Holland and Barratts- they have a wide range of aromatherapy/essential oils. 


~ 10th October- 16th October~

  • It's the 30th anniversary of my all-time favourite musical, Phantom of the Opera! My newsfeed has been full of backstage photos of the show from past performers. 
  • It's my 26th Birthday!! 
  • I put up my favourite present from my good friend, Anna who painted this for me! It's very calming and lovely to look at on my wall. 
  • When there's no milk in the staffroom but I have my own secret stash for my leisurely breakfast. The calm before the storm. 
  • Friday evenings are the best time of the week and made even better when your sharing them with friends, yummy food (and lots of wine!) 
  • A colourful array of healthy food to make weird and wonderful concoctions with my new nutri-bullet. 
  • Miss Saigon at the cinema for the 25th Anniversary. I sobbed all the way through it- such a brilliant musical!!! 


~ 17th October- 23rd October~
  • Taking my new Converse shoes out for an Autumnal walk. 
  • A new (upcycled) giant litter tray for my giant cat! At last there won't be poo spillage!
  • What a crazy day- so good to come back home and cuddle a kitten. 
  • Advanced Ballroom Tango class- we learnt a 'Fall away Whisk' spiny thing that they do on Strictly- it feels and looks so amazing! 
  • The Best Sight in the World! This screenshot signifies a week off work on half term holiday, which is muchly needed! 
  • I went to the Charing Cross theatre to see Ragtime The Musical. It was so good! Earl Carpenter of Phantom fame is starring in it. 
  • A duvet cocoon day.

This Danish lifestyle trend embraces all things comfort. It's about really experiencing; being in the moment, making the ordinary special. Whether it be devouring a hot chocolate- using all your senses to focus your energy on this one source of comfort: the taste, the smells... making a ritualised behaviour -ie making a cuppa or brushing your teeth- more meaningful or surrounding yourself with the people you love and staying away from social media/ technology. We live in such a fast paced world that even when we sit down for a moment to eat or to watch a movie we're often multi-tasking which is far from relaxing! We forget to enjoy our moment of peace in our lunch break or before bed because we're all so wired up to what's happening online or what we're planning to do later on. Let's not forget the small things in life that when given focus and priority will make us happier in the long run.  


~24th October- 30th October~

  • My Xmas present finally booked: a visit to Dennis Sever's House
  • A day out in London at the 1920's Jazz Age exhibtion at the Fashion and Textiles Museum
  • Wedding dress shopping for my sister
  • A few days in Dorset with my good friend, Anna. We had a BBQ on the beach at Studland Bay
  • A visit to Corfe Castle with a cream tea. Nom.
  • My dancing school's first Social Dance- was so much fun with a great turn out! 
  • My pumpkin carving efforts

I stayed with my friend, Anna at her parent's B&B in Swanage for 2 days. Being by the sea was such a novelty for me- it was great to get away from urban life in London! We had a BBQ on Knoll Beach, Studland Bay and visited Corfe Castle and the Model Village, took a ride on the Swanage Steam Railway as well as walked along the beach and pier. Cue beach/Railway posy pictures --> 

Photo Credit: Anna

~31st October- 6th November ~
  • Stocked up on sweets, primed my pumpkin outside and looking forward to scoffing these later after a abysmal turn up of trick or treaters.
  • Rocked up to Bell-ringing practice tonight to learn how to be the leading bell during call changes. 
  • A great way to lose yourself and forget the day- patchwork! I've finally finished my cushion cover project. 
  • A cosy cave to fall asleep in after an extremely tough day. 
  • Days like today need to end with some muchly understated 'me time'. Having your own space is so important. A great way to cool-off after a stressful day is playing the piano. It's theraputic and hightens that happy hormone especially when playing nostalgic peices of music. 
  • I have been a great downloader for sleep/relaxation/meditation apps since getting an Iphone. Headspace is a app to help you develop strategies to keep calm and relaxed in everyday activities. It is now run on a monthly subscription basis but it's so worth it! 
  • No surprises here. Woke up in the early hours of the morning with an Abdominal Migraine. They always strike me down at this time of year and is my body telling me (in a pretty disgusting way) to slow the hell down! My kittens: Poppy and Leon have been keeping watch over me all day! (or have been thankful for the cosy bed warmth) 

~7th November - 13th November~
  • My first Sourced Box- a monthly health food subscription box- came in the post! 
  • The children's (I teach) topic this term is Ancient Egypt so of course I spent my evening making cardboard pyramids for the children to paint! 
  • Bit o' blogging this evening- Autumnal Favourites post coming up soon.
  • I made Toad in the Hole from scratch and it wasn't raw! 
  • Finally I could take off Poppy's oneise, she's so much happier and back to her bubbly self.
  • The kitten's first full day outside. 
  • A time of Remembrance. This week I lost a friend to cancer but I'm so proud to have known her since I was young. She was so talented and a great inspiration- her spirit will live on and she'll always be remembered fondly. This morning for Remembrance day I was part of the band of bell ringers- we ran the bells muffled which was very special. My Grandpa then read out the list of the fallen from World War 1 and 2- some of the names were his school friends- it was very moving. 

~14th November - 20th November~
  • The result of my Dad finding a stone in his fudge! wahoo! great start to the week for me :) 
  • Down time in the bath with a very calming candle 
  • A crazy stressful day all but forgotten after a vat of tea in my favourite mug! 
  • Toffee Nut Latte (note to self: add cream next time), love the red cups! 
  • TGIF
  • home-day with the kittens 
  • Lunch with the sister at Bill's

~21st November - 27th November~
  • Obsessing over Ragtime: The Musical score so bought some of the best vocal numbers: Back to Before, Wheels of a Dream and Sarah Brown Eyes. 
  • Just chilling with my bae
  • My Grandpa turns 98!! 
  • Christmas decoration shopping loveliness :) 
  • A great catch-up with my good friend from college and a made myself a Winter superfood smoothie! 
  • Pokemon themed Party!! So much fun dressing up as Eevee.
  • In the early hours of the morning I won Best Costume award at the party and today devoured my medal :) Also it's officially Advent! Wahooo now I can listen to John Rutter ad nauseam and hang up my wreath!