Friday, August 18, 2017

Five Friday Favourites

I have managed to survive Winter without a cold until now, it's not uncommon for me to get at least one major cold a season (plus being an asthmatic it can mean once it goes to my chest it never leaves!) and I was so hopeful that I would escape the sickness trap but it wasn't meant to be. Colds are never fun but on the bright side it means I can spend all my time watching Netflix and not feel too guilty.

Still quiet on the job hunt front but praying that will change soon, though on Monday I was at the R U Ok day convoy representing ReachOut which was interesting. I had no idea what to expect but I think I did ok and had some fun chatting to people about mental health and why you should ask R U Ok.
I am also giving a presentation on Exam Stress at a mental health expo on behalf of ReachOut in a few weeks. I am busy writing that and trying not to stress too much about it myself. I actually enjoy public speaking and doing oral presentations at school was an assignment was something I could do and always got top marks in. I am so thankful that ReachOut has a load of awesome resources regarding Exam Stress so it means writing the talk isn't too hard and it will be a fun experience (I hope!).
The week after the presentation I have a ReachOut stall at a local school which will be fun. I love school events as they are more laidback and it's nice to chat to the students about mental health and any issues they are facing.
I sometimes joke that ReachOut is my job during this time of unemployment and recently I feel that it is true but no complaints as I love every minute of it :)

Moving on to Five Friday Favourites:

Pumpkin, Spinach, Feta and Pine Nut Quiche - I made this last Monday and I am still thinking about it! It does take a while to make but if you spread it over a day or two its not too hard to make. The cheese in the pastry really makes it for me as does how deep the actual quiche is so you get a good pastry to filling ratio which can be off in some quiches.

ATypical - I watched this last weekend on Netflix and really enjoyed it. It's about Sam (Keir Gilchrist who played Craig in It's Kind of a Funny Story) as an 18 year old high functioning autisic boy who decides he should get a girlfriend and what happens along the way. I loved how it gave you a look into his mind and his daily struggles along with how it affects his family and friends. I liked the touch of Sam's friend Zahid who didn't see him as an autisic person just his friend who is struggling with getting a girlfriend and it was great to show that people with autism can have normal friendships. I highly recommend this series if you are after something a bit different and will get you to think.

Papyrus Cards - I needed an anniversary card for my parents and could not find anything I liked. I was close to giving up when I found one, of course it cost a small fortune but it was a lovely card (I can't find it on the website to link) and very them. I love Papyrus cards and while I do find it hard to justify spending a heap on a card when it's for a special occaision or event I do feel that it's worth it. I could've spent ages looking at all the different designs and styles and they are really beautiful cards.

Diary of a Teenage Jewel Thief by Rosie Somers - this was my latest read and it was a fun read. It reminded me a bit of Ally Carter's books and while it wasn't up to her standard it was still an enjoyable read. It did take me a while to get going and was a lot slower paced that I expected but Mari was a great character it was great to see her come to life in the pages.
The blurb reads:
Most sixteen-year-olds shouldn’t know where museums keep their rarest jewels (the basement) and they really shouldn’t know that vans make the worst getaway cars. But for Marisol Flores, a life of jewel thievery is a birthright handed down from generation to generation, even if she didn’t ask for it. So when a rival thief targets Mari and her mother, Mari’s more than happy to flee to the anonymity of bustling New York City.
Blending in is a dream come true for Mari, but keeping her former thieving ways a secret gets way more complicated when handsome Will Campbell sets his sights on her. She can’t help but like his terrible puns and charming grin...but when her past catches up with her, it’s not only her life—and her anonymity—that’s at stake.
Will could be the next target

If you like Ally Carter's books then you will like Diary of a Teenage Jewel Thief which is out now.

John Crist UberChristian - I have never used Uber ever in my life but maybe I would be more inclined to if they brought out a Christian version? This video is so funny and if you haven't checked out John Crist then you are missing out!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Pumpkin, Spinach, Feta and Pine Nut Quiche

Everyone has their own types of comfort foods, for some its carbs - hot chips, rice, bread and pasta,
others its sugar - chocolate, ice cream, lollies and sweet treats and for others something completely different (cheese? meat? a mix of everything?). I'm in the sugar camp for sure when it comes to comfort food and am always up for a baked treat. But if I want real comfort food then I make this quiche, which is no doubt a surprise to all. Maybe it's the story behind it or how many steps there are so it gives me something to focus or just how good it tastes.
Across from my psych's office there was this café/retro and vintage gift shop, I used to regularly visit it and eventually got in to a routine of buying this amazing quiche for lunch before my appointments. It was a place where I could relax and I loved chatting to the owner and looking around the shop. Unfortunately the café shut down 2 years ago when the owner was expecting her second child and couldn't do both.
A while ago I was craving this quiche and attempted to recreate it, and I believe after many tries I have successfully managed to recreate it, which was no easy challenge. I was making it from memory, but I knew it was made in a deep dish and a spring form tin seemed like the perfect tin (though I am sure you could make it in a typical quiche pan but you would only be able to do one layer and not use as much egg mix). I started with the base which I knew had cheese in it as it wasn't a typical pastry and had little luck finding a cheese pastry recipe until I found Donna Hay's recipe which I have adapted. The filling was thankfully a lot easier and found that layering the ingredients gave a great result. The original version didn't have onion in it and while I think its a nice addition, though I am told it tastes better without it, so its up to you if you add it or not.
It does take a while to make (roasting the pumpkin, blind baking the base and over 1 hours baking time) it but it is well worth it and is great for dinner and lunch served on its own or with a light salad. I even made it on Monday night and served it with crumbed chicken which was a great meal.
It tastes amazing warm out of the oven but still nice cold. I would make it the day you need it but you can make the pastry and roast the pumpkin (and onion) in advance.

Pumpkin, Spinach, Feta and Pine Nut Quiche

Filling:
1/2 a (medium sized) pumpkin, peeled and cut into cubes
Garlic granules
1/2 red onion slice thinly (optional) - Jocelyn says to leave it out
block of feta (approx. 150/200grms)
1/2 cup pine nuts
120 g baby spinach
8 eggs
1/2 cups milk
pepper

Cheese Pastry
150grm butter
2 cups of plain flour
3/4 cup grated cheese
1/4 cup parmesan
1/2 cup milk

  1. Grease a spring form tin with cooking spray.
  2. In food processor combine butter, flour and cheeses blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs and slowly add in milk until a ball of dough forms (you may need more or less milk). 
  3. Roll out between two sheets of baking paper adding more flour as needed to prevent it from getting sticky. You want it to be between 1-2cm thick.
  4. Place pastry in tin. You can either drape it over the tin and press in or cut around the tin and press in, before cutting strips of remaining dough to line the sides.You want it to overlap it the sides by a little bit to stay up while blind baking it
  5. Blind bake it for 30 minutes by placing a piece of baking paper over the dough and placing a smaller size dish in the tin (I used a glass bowl) and using rice to fill the gap or just using rice or beans. 
  6. Grease a tray and spread the pumpkin out evenly, sprinkle with garlic granules if using. Place in moderate oven for 45 minutes turning over half way through baking. If using onion 10 minutes before the pumpkin is finished baking spread onion over pumpkin to cook.
  7. Take out the base and remove baking paper.
  8. Cut  3/4s of the feta into smallish cubes setting aside to crumble on top for the final layer. How much you use depends on your preference.
  9. Layer the filling going: Pumpkin (and onion), feta, pine nuts and spinach repeat once more finishing with extra crumbed feta.
  10. Beat eggs, milk and pepper (I don't add salt as I find the feta is salty enough) and pour over the filling.
  11. Bake in a moderate oven for about 1 - 1.5 hours until its set (depending on the depth of the tin it may take longer)
  12. Serve warm or cold.
*You can make mini quiches just don't blind bake the base first and only bake for 30 minutes.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Five Friday Favourites

Another fortnight means its time for another Friday Favourites! Winter was in full swing this past week, with a strong weather warning on Monday resulting in storms, followed by the coldest minimum this year on Wednesday which meant ice on my car. I am thankful that we don't get snow here and our Winters aren't really bad compared to some parts of the world.

The job front has been quiet and on Thursday after a disappointing employment agency meeting I struggled to keep it together. Last year I thought I would surely have a job by my birthday this year (mind you I was thinking more March which has long gone) and with exactly 6 weeks until I turn 23 that's looking more and more less likely. I know God is in control but it's still hard to wait and trust in his timing.
I have applied to a couple of jobs recently and I am praying that one of those comes through with at least an interview, but again it's all in God's hands.

I am off to a Christian women's convention tomorrow which should be interesting, I haven't gone to one before though my Mum has been going since they first started and thinks it will be a great time. This coming week is a bit busy, with catching up friends and family along with psych and doctors appointments thrown in (#anxietylife). I like to have all my appointments booked in the same week if possible as it just makes things easier and I'm less likely to forget something at them as I'm in the correct head space.

Onto Friday Favourites:

Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason - I received this book to review and while I enjoyed it, it didn't quite live up to my expectations. I'm not a huge fan of crime fiction but I just found this book too busy and it had a lot of storylines which made it hard to focus on the main storyline. It was still an enjoyable read and Haley was a likeable main character, but it wasn't the book for me. I will say if you enjoy crime fiction with a strong female lead you will enjoy this book.
The blurb reads:
Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan may be in South Carolina, but when a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, her life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she’s made a career out of taking care of others. But after an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her–and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he’s not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.
In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories–and the depths of the heart–Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley’s past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won’t quit.

Chasing Secrets is out now

Backstage - I was after something to watch this past weekend that was fun and didn't require much attention and Backstage fit what I wanted perfectly. It's another Canadian show (are you really surprised?) and is like The Next Step meets Dance Academy meets iDream (if anyone remembers that show). There's 30 episodes and I am 2 thirds done and really enjoying it. If you are after something mindless to watch this show is it.

The Two of Us by Victoria Bylin - I really enjoyed this book and once I started I could not put it down. I loved the character of Mia and loved seeing her story play out throughout the book. Jake was someone who had clearly struggled and was questioning God with how his life was playing out. With both Jake and Mia they were convinced God wanted something completely different for them than what he had planned. The additions of Lucy and Sam were a nice touch and it was nice to see their story playout along side Jake and Mia's. I highly recommend reading this book if you love Christian fiction.
The blurb reads:
After two broken engagements, nurse practitioner Mia Robinson is done with dating. From now on, she only trusts herself and God, and she's focused on her eighteen-year-old sister, Lucy, and caring for patients. Just as she applies to work for an international aid organization, a phone call from Lucy, who's pregnant and running off to marry her twenty-one-year-old boyfriend, throws a wrench into all of Mia's plans.
Jake Tanner may have recovered from the physical injuries he sustained on the job as a police officer, but his heart has yet to heal from losing his former partner in the tragedy. He's poured himself into starting a camp for the sons of fallen officers and mentoring Sam, the adult son of his deceased partner, who's asked him to be his best man at his wedding.
Mia is expecting a mess when she arrives to sort out the situation with Lucy, but she wasn't expecting Jake. And Jake, who can't help envying Sam and Lucy, doubts he'll ever experience their happiness for himself. But maybe Jake's courage and Mia's caring spirit are just what they need to bring them a lifetime of healing and a forever kind of love. . . .

The Two of Us is out on the 8th August.

LOQI bags - there's been a lot of talk about banning the plastic bag and many of my friends were doing plastic free July. I am hopeless at taking my own bag so I decided as an incentive I should buy myself a reusable one I love and would actually use. I saw LOQI bags and knew that I had found my answer, not only are these cute they are practical, are able to hold 20kg and long lasting, they also weigh nothing which means in my bag where space is a premium I don't notice. There are many ways to fold it and roll it too (I like to fold it flat and stick it in the matching pouch provided) which means you don't need to have any origami skills to fold it. I got this cute one with cats on it but there are loads of designs, this one is fun and I would love to buy this one for my aunty who loves tulips.

You and Me - I watched Descendants 2 last week and really enjoyed it, I loved all the music numbers but my all time favourite was You and Me. It just looked so fun to shoot and I loved the song, which has been on repeat ever since!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Weekend retreat recap

Well I survived the weekend, despite being concerned that my anxiety would flare up it actually stayed in the background for most of the weekend.
Every year my church aims to do a young adult retreat and this year it was decided that we would have it with a country church to build some relationships. The numbers from both churches were equal and we had a good mix of people come which was good. We stayed at a resort down south in chalets, (I think there was a total of 5 or 6 chalets each sleeping 6) which had indoor and outdoor pools, gym, games room and squash courts when we retreat we do it right!
I was so thankful to get a lift down to the resort with a some of the other young adults from church, I'm not the biggest fan of driving long distances alone and rain was also forecast. We did end up driving through some big showers so I made the right choice with choosing not to drive and I found it made the retreat sooner rather than later. We got down there at around 6.30pm and then got dinner with the others who had already arrived. Friday night after dinner was spent settling in and meeting the young adults from the other church, this had been a concern of mine and a huge issue with my anxiety thankfully I got along with them all really well.
Saturday morning we did a devotion then after lunch we could do whatever we wanted, so a group of us went to the wineries and hung out, I'm not a huge drinker so I came along for the social aspect more than anything else (we did stop at some no wine places to taste the local produce too) . The rest of the young adults hung out at the chalets, some went 4WD-ing  (and got bogged because taking a Yaris 4WD-ing is a good idea haha?!) and some went caving. We then all met at the local ice cream place at 4.00pm as is our churches tradition when we are down there. Dinner was a busy fun affair with all of us crammed in 1 chalet enjoying soup and pasta followed by dessert (I made my famous caramel slice as if I didn't I was convinced I would be disowned my bible study group haha!) and then we played board games, chatted and hung out.
Sunday morning was spent packing before another devotion then lunch, we had a 12.00pm checkout and a few of us decided to play mini golf before we made the drives back to our homes. I'm normally against anything sporty but figured I would give it ago, I came last but still had fun and didn't injure myself or anyone else (yay!).
Today I crashed and if I hadn't needed to run errands (get fuel and buy blue paint while it was still on sale) I probably would've stayed in bed all day, which I think is a sign of a good fun weekend!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Five Friday Favourites

I am going away this weekend, I haven't been away in so long so I am excited for this brief break with my church friends. My bags are packed, new books have been downloaded, caramel slice has been made and my anxiety has been locked away in a box (I wish that were possible! So instead I am just doing my best to ignore it and put it out of my mind for the weekend).

The past couple of weeks have been highly emotional so last Sunday I just crashed and pretty much stayed curled up on the couch watching Chesapeake Shores. I saw my psych on Tuesday which was perfect timing and I found it was great to get her thoughts on a few things including the job hunt. I find with my anxiety I can dip at times and it takes me a while to get out of those dips so it's something I am working on and hoping that any more dips won't take me as long to get out of. My psych gave me some reading to do regarding negative thinking and just coping in general, which looks like it will be helpful.
My anxiety has been running rampant lately regardless of what I do and I am overthinking every little thing, plus feeling jumpy and just wanting to hide. A big part of me wants to just give up on everything and hide for the rest of my life but I know that isn't practical, so I am giving it all to God and taking it one day at a time.

Moving on to Five Friday Favourites:

Chesapeake Shores - I came across this series on Netflix last week and I really enjoyed it, it was good wholesome viewing and I loved getting to know all the O'Brien clan. It reminds me a bit of Parenthood but set on the coast and with a bit less drama. It's really nice getting to know all the siblings and how they each have their own struggles and where they fit in with the families dynamics. It's done by the same people as Good Witch so if you loved that you will love this.

Goodbye by Echosmith - Echosmith have finally released some new music and it was well worth the wait! I love Echosmith (Cool Kids, Safest Place and Bright are some of my favourite songs of all time), so I downloaded the song the moment it came out and it will now be in heavy rotation on my iPod. I can't wait for their new album to come out (29th September) and if this song is anything to go by it will be an amazing album.

Once and For All by Sarah Dessen - this is one of the books downloaded on my Kobo ready to be read. I love Sarah's books and find they are perfect holiday reads for when you want something light and fun. I first read Sarah's books in high school and I still love them, they are all standalone novels too but set in the same settings. If I need a break from the craziness of this weekend you can find me curled up reading this book.

Nokia 6 - yesterday I finally got a new phone! You know how some people are loyal to iPhones, Samsung's etc I am loyal to Nokia. My old phone was Nokia Lumia 520 and it was still going strong (despite being dropped multiple times) after 3 years but it was 2g and as of the start of August that would be switching off so I needed a 3g phone or higher to keep getting decent reception. I was thrilled when it was announced they would bringing out new Nokia's that would be android (my 520 ran on Windows which was not fun!) and for $400 outright for the top model I could actually afford a new phone. It's a great phone and with it being a Nokia I know it will last (though I have ordered a case for it), my parents already have their eyes on buying themselves one. I will say it uses a Nano SIM but some googling showed me how I could cut my micro SIM into a nano and I have had no problems with it.

Descendents 2 - so I was minding my own business out and about and I spotted this poster on the side of a building. It was so funny to see it (and unexpected, apparently putting posters up on buildings is still a thing?) and I sent the pic to Megan (who is obsessed with the movie and even insists on getting called Mal at times!), it made her day. You can also download the complete soundtrack and if that's anything to go by the movie should be amazing.




Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Book review: The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck

 Today is a very special day as its the release day of The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck. Rachel is
one of those authors who once I discovered her I read all the books of hers I could find, she has also been the only author to ever get me to read (and enjoy!) historical fiction. She is also an amazing person all round, who is very active on Twitter and will respond to tweets, she even sent me a book when I tweeted that I couldn't justify buying it at the moment even though I wanted to read it. I don't know many authors who would do that and I have no doubt if I met her in real life we would be friends.
The Writing Desk is written in the same style of The Wedding Dress, The Wedding Chapel and The Wedding Shop as in the story is based round an object and it's history and links two very different stories together. I am not a fan of historical fiction but I love how these books jump from past to present and vice versa easily, you get a better view of the story and just how important the object was to people.

About the book (taken from here):

Tenley Roth’s first book was a runaway bestseller. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who has run out of inspiration?
With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missing.
A century earlier, another woman wrote at the same desk with hopes and fears of her own. Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she’ll marry. But Birdie has dreams she doesn’t know how to realize. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has taken extreme measures to manipulate her future, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.
Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds, but fate has bound them together in a way time cannot erase.

Where do I get started with this book, the characters were all amazing and the storyline was complex but easy to follow, with these types of books its easy to get lost amoung the different stories but I never once felt like I was.

I loved Tenley and how despite having had a somewhat broken childhood she was using her potiential to be the best writer she could be and wasn't letting anything get in the way of it.
Jonas had had his recent share of struggles in the past and was trying to get back on his feet. He is extremely loyal to his family and is willing to do whatever it takes to help them out, even if it means putting his own dreams and desires on hold.
Tenley longs to have what Jonas has in terms of his family and the stability that it brings, as while she had a loving father he has since died and she is now trying to get to know this stranger who is her mother.
To see how Tenley and Jonas relationship forms is really fascinating and it kept me on my toes throughout the whole book!

Birdie was an intriquing character and I loved getting swept up into the Gilded Age with her. She was full of fight and as the story goes on you get to see just how strong she really is. She never sat around and felt sorry for herself instead she realised that there was more to life than just being a housewife and marrying someone of status and got to work proving herself.

The story had lots of twists and turns and I loved seeing just how important the writing desk was to everyones stories throughout the book. It was a book that got me thinking and comparing the differences between the Gilded Age and current age. Overall the book was very enjoyable and I wouldn't expect anything less from Rachel Hauck.
If you are after a great standalone book to read then this is it and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Spoiler alert! Interview wasn't successful.

I guess this was to be expected and if I am being honest I know this was for the best. I didn't get the job I interviewed for last Tuesday. I was one of ten to be interviewed so the odds weren't in my favour at all and the more I thought about the job the more it made my anxiety levels rise. For starters the whole one week training on the otherside of the country gave me so many doubts and I know that deep down I wouldn't have coped (anxiety issues). I wanted to believe myself when I told people I would be fine with it but a huge part of me knew that my anxiety maybe wouldn't cope (and that's ok!). The hours were long and the location wasn't ideal but I knew that if I got the job I would make it work.
I was trying to prepare myself that I wouldn't get it, but when I got the email today saying I hadn't been successful, the tears just started to fall. I felt angry and like a failure, I started to doubt myself and if I will ever get a job.
On the plus side it was my first interview in 8 months! 8 months with nothing happening on the job search front, at least now I know I have skills that people are looking for and hopefully I will get some more interviews sooner rather than later (please pray that I do!). My resume has been revamped and I am hoping/praying that that will give me an edge and make me standout among the other applications.
I have been so thankful to have some great friends, I immediately messaged my bible study group telling them the news and they were so supportive. It was nice to have people telling me that I could cry and asking if I really was ok and that I will eventually get a job.
I don't know what the future holds, what I do know is that tomorrow is a new day and that means more jobs to apply for and I'm one day closer to finally finding that perfect job.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Five Friday Favourites

Another week another Friday Favourites, this past week has been rather quiet compared to previous weeks and due to the rain my early morning walks haven't been happening so I have been enjoying staying in my warm bed :) I love the rain and hearing it on the veranda is the perfect sound as I drift off to sleep.

Of course Tuesday I had my job interview and I will find out next week if I have the job or not, a recap of the interview can be found here, if you want to know how I went. I am just giving it to God and continuing to pray that if it's the right job then God will help me ease into working life, and if it's not the right job he will comfort me and show me what my next step will be.
My anxiety has been showing itself because of the interview so feeling jumpy/on edge is now a normal part of my day at the moment! I am thankful that new episodes of Good Witch are on Netflix so it's been nice curling up on the couch and escaping for a bit.

Last Saturday night I had a murder mystery party to go to for my cousin's 18th, which was fun. I had no idea what to dress up as (the invite said, jillaroo, outback animal, criminal, serial killer, police officer, backpacker or other outback themed character) and my original plan was to wear my flannelette shirt and go as a jillaroo but I soon realised that that had paint on it and I really didn't want to buy a new one for the sake of the party. Thankfully I remembered that one of my wardrobe staples is a trench coat and a quick Pinterest search gave me the idea of becoming a detective. I borrowed a magnifying glass, spent $3 on a reporters notebook, carried a small torch, wore all black (my trench coat was black, so just wore black jeans and a black long sleeved top) including high heeled boots and finished the looked with red lip tint and my glasses. I have to admit I looked really good, it took me no time at all to put it together and only cost me $3 out of pocket. It was fun to channel my inner detective for the night and I had loads of fun.
(The key necklace pictured was a gift from a friend and I LOVE it, it has inspire printed on it and I find its the perfect thing to wear when I need a pick-me-up or just want to change things up.)

Power Rangers - I was stoked when this was released last week on dvd and bought it immediately. I really enjoyed the film despite it not being something that I would typically watch. I loved the characters and how they were all people from different backgrounds who had to work together to save the earth. If you have a movie night coming up and are unsure what to watch I highly reccomend it and the chances are everyone will enjoy it regardless of the genere that they prefer.

Dance Academy: The Movie - another awesome film which is out on dvd! I loved this film so much that I even saw it twice in the movies. It was great to reunite with Tara and the rest of crew and see how much they had grown and matured since their time at the academy. It's an amazing film and if you loved the series (and if you haven't watch the series then get to watching it!), the movie is a must watch.

ReachOut.com Revamped - ReachOut.com has had a makeover and it looks amazing! Its so much easier to use and makes it easy to navigate to the parent specific and school specific sites with links up the top of the pages which contains a wide range of information and tools to help them understand mental illness in young adults. I was able to have a sneak peak at the new forums during the process and so while I knew what they would be like the rest of the website was surprise. I am a bit fussy when it comes to websites and if they aren't user friendly then I won't use them, ReachOut was great before but now its a whole new level of awesome. Plus its easier to use on smartphones now too, as ReachOut understands the need for young people to be able to access it 24/7 no matter where they are (this was one of the reasons for the revamp). If you haven't checked out the new version of ReachOut.com I highly recommend you do. To learn more about the revamps and changes ReachOut has made to their website click here for all the information (and to see some awesome gifs!).

Degrassi: Next Class season 4 - if you need me this weekend I will be watching the latest season of Degrassi: Next Class and then once I am finished watching it rewatching it. Degrassi is my all time favourite show, if I need a pick me up I watch it, if I need an escape or distraction I watch it, if I want to cry I watch it, if I want to laugh I watch it, if I can't find anything to watch I watch it ... You get the picture. I started watching it in high school and I haven't stopped watching it. This season looks amazing and should be filled with ups and downs. Degrassi: Next Class season 4 comes out on Netflix either the 7th or the 8th of July depending what timezone your in.

Board games - I am a bit of a board game addict and recently it seems I have been buying a lot of them. I have yet to play any of the following but they all look like good games and have decent reviews. I am going away for a weekend in a couple of weeks and I have a feeling that along with my usual favourites (Coup, Codenames, Spyfall 2, Apples to Apples) these will be coming with me.:
Game of Things - you get given a topic and everyone has to write something related to it down and you then have to guess who wrote what. It sounds like a good ice breaker game for a party and is bound to bring out some laughs.
Fluxx - (original one linked but I have the Zombie Version) - the card game of ever changing rules! A friend played it and told me about it so I decided to buy a copy for myself. There are so many versions out there including: pirate, star, zombie, Monty Python and Oz (as in Wizard of Oz) just to name a few! Each have the same base rules but with different action cards, I chose Zombie because why not? But they are all bound to be fun.
What Do You Meme? - I have just ordered it so have yet to see it in person, but it looks like Apples to Apples but with memes and as a millennial my friends are all obsessed with memes! It should bring a few laughs and will be fun to see what type of memes they have included (I am hoping for some funny cat ones).

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Interview Recap

Well today was interview day! My anxiety (no surpise really) decided to show itself with vengence, last night I had some anxiety induced wacky dreams and managed to sleep through my alarm (which wasn't a huge problem just meant I didn't go for a walk this morning).
My mum is actually on holidays so she offered to drive me as she had to pick up something near where my interview was, which was nice as while I like to drive myself, the roads were wet and I knew parking would be a bit difficult where the interview was. My employment agency likes to drive their clients to interviews, which may work for most people but it doesn't work for me. I do enjoy driving myself to interviews, as gives me a chance to clear my mind and just pray about all my worries. Thankfully as it was my mum driving I didn't feel the need to make conversation or go through interview questions/what if scenarious, which has happened when my employment agency has driven me in the past.
I got dropped off near the cafe where the interview was going to be 30 minutes before and it was nice to wander into shops and just give it all to God. I walked into the cafe 15 minutes before the interview and sat down, pretending to look at the menu and my phone. The people who were doing the interviewing noticed me straight away and before long I was in the middle of it all.
They were really nice and I felt comfortable with them all, I got asked all the standard questions and could see myself working there.
I was one of ten to be interviewed and the second person to be interviewed. I find out in a week or so if I have been successful or not and I am trying not to focus on it at all.
If I do get the job, I would be working 3 days a week (8.30-5.30) which is ideal, but I would need to complete training at their head office for a week on the other side of the country which I will face if the time comes. I would also start as soon as possible which isn't a problem for me as I really want a job and feel that once I get a job the sooner I start the better.
I didn't mention my anxiety as it never came up in conversation and felt that I didn't need to mention it either.
I am so thankful for those who prayed for me and were a huge support leading up to the interview. Those who know me know I like to overthink things (anxiety life haha!) so it was great to have a few people who I could talk through things with. I received a text from a friend this morning which was exactly what I needed to hear and really gave me some peace.
All I can do is wait, pray and know that God has a plan for no matter what happens!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Five Friday Favourites

Another week another Friday Favourites, I meant to get this out last Friday but life got in the way and I somehow got roped into baking for the youth group and joining them for croquet (yes you read that right!). So my day just got swept away from me and by the time I remembered I needed to finish this post it was Saturday so I figured I would just wait a week.

For those who haven't read this post, I finally have a job interview on Tuesday! My anxiety of course has made itself at home and I am overthinking every little thing to do with the interview (What will I wear? How will I do my makeup? What if I say something stupid?...) but I keep reminding myself that it's all in God's no matter what happens. Though I would appreciate your prayers regarding it if you remember :)

Now onto Friday Favourites for this week:

Osiris Envy glasses - a couple of weeks ago my glasses came! I am loving them so much, but I am finding it hard to wear them most of the time. I have always just worn them for computer work, but with these I can wear them all the time if I want/need and while I do notice a huge difference when wearing them it just takes effort. I live in sunglasses when I am outside (my eyes are super sensitive to light) so it just takes a bit extra to switch them over and remember to do it. They are also bifocal (so along with not being covered by insurance) which means that they are taking that much more time to get used too. I love the frames and have gotten loads of compliments on them by friends and family, I think the dark blue brings out my eyes and the shape really works with my face too.


Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh - I really enjoyed this book and found it a great read. Once I started I could not put it down.
Ryan and Lane are great individual characters and I loved reading about them both alone and together as they restarted their friendship together. I really related to Lane with how she saw herself and it was great to see Ryan break down the walls she had put up.
Ryan is struggling to break free of his past, but he can't let go of it no matter how much he tries as he is such a caring guy. I loved reading about his relationship with his sister and nephew and you could tell that he didn't want his father or his messy upbringing to define him.
Both Ryan and Lane don't have perfect pasts which adds another layer to the story and the more you read it the more you love them and want them to follow their hearts.
The story wasn't really fast paced either so by the end of it, I felt I really knew Lane and Ryan well
It did not go in the direction that I thought it would and the story had so much depth to it.

The description reads:
 After tirelessly climbing the ranks of her Chicago-based interior design firm, Lane Kelley is about to land her dream promotion when devastating news about her brother draws her back home—a quaint tourist town full of memories she’d just as soon forget. With her cell phone and laptop always within reach, Lane aims to check on her brother while staying focused on work—something her eclectic family doesn’t understand.
Ryan Brooks never expected to settle down in Harbor Pointe, Michigan, but after his final tour of duty, it was the only place that felt like home. Now knee-deep in a renovation project that could boost tourism for the struggling town, he is thrilled to see Lane, the girl he secretly once loved, even if the circumstances of her homecoming aren’t ideal.
Their reunion gets off to a rocky start, however, when Ryan can’t find a trace of the girl he once knew in the woman she is today. As he slowly chips away at the walls Lane has built, secrets from his past collide with a terrible truth even he is reluctant to believe. Facing a crossroads that could define his future with Lane and jeopardize his relationship with the surrogate family he’s found in the Kelleys, Ryan hopes Lane can see that maybe what really matters has been right in front of her all along—if only she’d just look up.

If you are after a new read to help get you through Winter, Just Look Up is it you will be surprised with how much you enjoy it and just how big an imprint it will leave on your life well after you've finished reading it. Just Look Up is out on the 4th of July and its a must add to book to your 'to read' piles.

Despicable Me 3 - last Tuesday I had no energy so I thought I would to the movies because why not? I really enjoy going the movies alone as there's no preassure to talk to anyone, you can pick the movie you want to see and no one will judge you for eating a whole pack of M&Ms. I have enjoyed all the Despicable Me movies so it was a natural choice to see Despicable Me 3. I really liked the film and it was funny, fast paced and just a feel good movie in general. I loved seeing Gru, Lucy and the girls return and the minions were a scene stealer too (I will say you do not want to mess with the minions in jail as while they look cute and innocent they can be evil/terrifying in their own right!). I also found the music was really well put together and made the film. If you are after a fun movie and loved the first 2 films Despicable Me 3 is must see.

Scunci braided elastics for thick hair - my hair is thick and fine so when I want to wear it up I have 2 options 1) use 3 elastics to hold it up which takes forever to do and not may not give me a good result or 2) use one of these elastics. I go the latter and since discovering these guys years ago I refuse to use anything else. 1 elastic lasts for months and is really strong and can hold my hair with no problems. I have never come across any elastic that is even half as good and they look really cute and stylish too.

Pitch Perfect 3 trailer - they're back and after loving the first 2 movies, I am looking forward to the 3rd (and final) instalment. The trailer looks like it should be a funny film and I can't wait to see more of Rebel Wilson's (Fat Amy) one liners!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A step in the right direction

Being unemployed is hard, being unemployed in this job market is harder. I have applied for so many jobs and when you get no response it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. So many people have their opinions on what I should be doing to get a job and it's hard when no one knows what you are going through or what its like to have to be picky when applying for jobs. I have always said that God has the right job out there for me and no matter what I will trust him with this stage of my life. A few weeks ago I started praying that God would guide me in the right direction and show me that I am doing the right thing with continuing applying for admin jobs (I've also expanded to applying for retail jobs but its been a dead end there).
Last Wednesday my phone rang, I didn't recognise the number and was surprised when it was from a company about a job I had applied for at the start of the month. I had been shortlisted and they were chatting to all potiential interviewees to find out if they had what they were looking for and they would call me on Friday with the results. I was pretty sure I had made a fool of myself and would no way get called back for an interview but it felt like an achievment just to get a call.
Friday moring I was in the car with a friend (and her two adorable kids) and had just finished telling her how I was finally feeling confident in my job hunt and had applied for a few potiential jobs that I felt I had a chance in getting an interview for and I might have a potiential job interview which was a huge deal for me. When my phone rang, I recognised the number from Wednesday so answered it and could not believe it when I was told I had an interview for the 4th of July if I wanted it (I was free but I would've cancelled anything because an interview in admin in this job market is unheard of). I told my friend who shared my excitement and wanted to know all the details. Having someone who knew my struggles (and whom I had confided in) celebrating with me made it feel more real.
It's not a job but it's an interview and that is something amazing, being able to tell people that I have a job interview when asked how the job hunt is going and the feeling of knowing that I have beaten out hundreds for the chance to sell myself is the best. I have no idea how the interview will go but at the end of the day it's a step in the right direction and I know God will guide me through this next step, no matter what the outcome is.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

An update on coping

Thought I would just do an update on how I am going since this post. Nothing has changed on the job front which is hard, but I am keeping on praying and I know God has the right job out there for me. I have been chatting to lots of people and using their skills to help me. I recently reformatted my resume after talking to some people at church who gave me some advice and I am really happy with it and feel that it's so much more professional now.
I am currently walking the fine line of wanting to apply for any job possible but also realising that I have to be picky. I am applying for a much broader range of jobs, not just admin and customer service. If a job is part time, in a supportive environment and I have the skills I apply for it. I applied for a job last week that looks promising so I am praying that that leads to an interview. My employment agency has also been putting my name forward for a few jobs that also look promising, so praying that they lead somewhere too.  I have no idea when I will get a job but I am trying to do everything that I can to land a job soon.
I do feel as though I am coping better, but I do have my moments, I also find I have these moments filled with anxiety for no apparent reason which are challenging and I never know how long they will last for. I am trying to get more in a routine with my sleep and along with regular exercise I am hoping these anxiety moments decrease.
I am realising that I am just in a time of my life where I need to take it one day at time and if I have days where I'm not coping then that's fine, things will eventually get better even if only God knows when that will be.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Five Friday Favourites

I have decided that every second week is always crazy for me and it was this week for sure! Sunday and Monday I reformatted my resume on the advice of some friends, while it took me a while I am hoping the improvements will be worth it and I will hopefully get some interviews soon.
Wednesday I had a long overdue optometrist appointment and then proceeded to spend $200 on a new pair of glasses. I hadn't had a new pair since I was 14 and my prescription had changed majorly (as you would expect) so I figured I had better get a pair that I really loved and would actually want to wear (I got these). I wanted something a bit different than what I had previously had and these just made me feel myself. I tried on a heap of different pairs but kept coming back to the first pair I tried on. Apparently I have trouble focusing my vision plus the stigmatism I have always had (which means I will always wear glasses to some degree) means I will be looking at wearing glasses 60%-80% of the time depending on what I have going on during the day.
The rest of the week has been just as busy, with employment agency meetings, baby sitting and running errands, I would much rather have a busy week than a quiet one though!

Moving on to Five Friday Favourites:


Sadie Robertson - Be You - Scripture Cards (here's the link for an Australian seller)- On Tuesday I made the drive to Koorong, the only Christian bookstore around. I maybe go 3 times a year if that as it's out of my way and a decent distance to drive for just a bookstore, also its a dangerous place for my bank account! I walked in there with a list and left with a few additionial purchases (all good I had money set aside from doing a few odd jobs so the damage wasn't too bad) these cards were one of them. If you recall at Christmas time I got given a Sadie Robertson calender which I love and it makes me smile whenever I see it and when I saw these cards I knew I had to get them. They are great quality and its such a cool idea how you attatch them to the stand with the gem magnet. I also couldn't resist getting 2 packs of these (photo here) to put on gifts and give to people.

Fairy Bread Cheesecake - I had a bible study dinner on Wednesday night and I brought dessert (which is no surprise if you know me), I wasn't sure what to take but when I came across a recipe for Fairy Bread Cheesecake in the latest copy of Super Food Ideas magazine I knew I was onto a winner. It looked and tasted amazing plus I have no doubt you could leave out the sprinkles for a plain baked cheesecake or mix in some melted chocolate for a chocolate cheesecake. I swirled through some melted white chocolate just before baking which added a nice element to it. Then with the remaining chocolate spread it on some baking paper and sprinkled on some sprinkles before leaving it to set and breaking into shards which I put on top.

Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter book review - if you are after a book to read that's perfect to curl up in front of the heater then this is it. I loved this book and highly recommend it to anyone who is after a good read. Check out my review for more details and info.

NIV Pocket Floral Notebook Bible - I've never been a fan of huge bibles, they are just hard to carry round, heavy and I find them hard to handle (don't get me wrong I own a large bible but I rarely use it) and when my Grandma got me my first backpack bible for my birthday many years ago I haven't looked back. Recently the time had come for a new bible and I wanted the replacement to be a similar size, I had seen this bible a while ago and I loved it so when the time to retire the bible that my Grandma had given me (the Soul Surfer backpack bible) I knew this would be the one. It's small but the font isn't too small, had a ribbon bookmark, back pocket (I am always storing bits of paper in my bible!) and it doesn't look like a bible. While I am sad to retire my current bible I am happy to start a new journey with this one.

Rainbow Brolly by Smiggle - with Winter upon us, it means we will soon some get some rainy days which I love but I also seem to get stuck in rain showers so I always make sure to have an umbrella with me. I love the colours of this one and think it adds a pop colour on an otherwise grey day. It's small and compact so it can fit in your handbag for those moments you get stuck in showers and you need to run from the car to shops, race into work or fill up your car with fuel (the other week I got drenched filling up my car as the shelter at the petrol station was useless). Plus Smiggle umbrellas really hold up well, I have one that is 4 years old and still going strong. I can't wait to use this umbrella this Winter.



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Book review: Sweetbriar Cottage

I have a list of Christian authors that I will read every book they publish without question Denise Hunter is one of those authors and I find her books are really good reads. She tends to write series but her latest book, Sweetbriar Cottage is a standalone novel and it's an amazing read.

The description reads:
When Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down.
Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job, settling at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married. When he confronts Josephine for the first time in months, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.
Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage—and okay, the botched divorce—was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.
But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife—still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.
As they find themselves confronted with each other and their shared past, old wounds surface and tempers flare. But when they are forced out into the storm, they must rely on each other in a way they never have before. Josephine finally opens up about her tragic past, and Noah realizes she’s never been loved unconditionally by anyone—including him. Will Noah accept the challenge to pursue Josephine’s heart? And can she finally find the courage to trust Noah?

I really enjoyed this book and loved how it jumped between the past and present, it really gave the story some added depth. It was also good how it jumped between Josephine's view and Noah's view so you could see the story from all angles instead of one sided.

I liked Josephine from the moment I met her in the book but it was clear that she felt she didn't deserve to be loved. It was great seeing her develop and realise that her past didn't affect her future or her happiness.
Noah took me a while to warm up to and it was clear that he had isolated himself from people and distanced himself from the ones he has loved since the divorce and that the last thing he wants is to be stuck with his ex-wife. You get to see varying sides of him throughout the story and just how much he doesn't want to let go of Josephine despite what he has convinced himself to think.

This book isn't a typical love story like I am used to reading, but a story about forgiveness and healing. It's about how you can think people will judge you because of your past but sometimes once they know the full story you will not only receive forgiveness but also healing. At times I wasn't sure where the story was going but everything worked out in the end as should happen in all good stories.

Denise knows how to write a story, I finished this book in 2 days and was on the edge of my seat for most of it. I loved every minute of reading it and it was everything and more I hoped it would be.

If you are after a good read that will stay with you long after you've read it, I highly recommend Sweetbriar Cottage.

Sweetbriar Cottage is out June 13th from all leading book stores

Monday, May 29, 2017

Book Review: When It's Real

I was recently given the opportunity to review When It's Real by Erin Watt. I'm not going to lie this
book is a bit predictable but its still a fun read.

The description reads:
From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt comes the addictive contemporary tale of a teen rock star in need of an image makeover and the teen girl hired to be his fake girlfriend.
Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley’s team decides it’s time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he’s settled down.
Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of “normal.” Under ordinary circumstances she’d never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn’t have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley’s team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley’s a shallow, self-centered jerk? It’s not like they’re going to fall for each other in real life…right?

There are some books that you read because you want to think or want something more intense (looking at crime fiction here) and other books that you read because you want something fun and mindless, this book falls in the latter. Which means it perfect to take on a holiday because while it's a page turner it's light and fluffly and there's no intense parts.
I really enjoyed reading it and found the charcters really well presented. Oakley is a rather complex character and each time I thought I knew who he was there was another element to him. Vaughn is trying to find her place in the world and is a creature of habit. Together these two characters help balance eachother out and its great to see their personalities start to change (for the better) because of their interactions.
The story was good and fast paced, a lot was packed in but there were no major plotholes. I will say I knew where the plot was going from the moment I read the description but all in all it was a fun book and I have no major complaints.

When It's Real comes out on the 31st of May and is available where all good books are sold.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Five Friday Favourites

Yesterday I did a post about not coping and a huge thanks to those who have reached out with their prayers and support. I just got sick of hiding that I'm not coping and realised that in order to be honest with myself I need to be honest with everyone else. I know we go through seasons of hardship but it just feels like mine are going on forever and I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. I guess all I can really do is keep praying and take it one day at a time until things get better.
I have recently signed up to the website NetGalley that lets you request books for review so if you start to see a few book reviews around here that is why. I will say that all my reviews will be 100% honest and my hope is that you guys get to discover a new author or two and I will push myself out of my reading comfort zone at the same time.

Moving onto Friday Favourites which are a bit random but that's just how my life is at the moment so it matches.

Adam Sandler movies - I've been needing a laugh lately and nothing makes me laugh harder than an Adam Sandler movie. I know some people hate on him but his films really make me laugh and are a great distraction. I really like Grown Ups, Grown Ups 2 (it just gets funnier every time I watch it), Blended  (Terry Crews singing really makes the film) and Just Go With It. I think everyone has those movies that they watch when they are down and these are mine.


All Things New by Lauren Miller - This book is getting released in August and its a great read! I've struggled with finding a books with a character that has anxiety, it seems like the other mental illnesses are easier to represent in writing. Yet Lauren Miller manages to create a character that has anxiety in an accurate light and shows the inner workings that someone with anxiety may go through. I managed to relate to Jessa or more her thought process easily and was thrilled that someone could create a character that not only has anxiety but shows it accurately.

The blurb reads:
Seventeen-year-old Jessa Gray has always felt broken inside, but she’s gotten very good at hiding it. No one at school knows about the panic attacks, the therapy that didn't help, the meds that haven’t worked. But when a severe accident leaves her with a brain injury and noticeable scars, Jessa’s efforts to convince the world that she’s okay finally crumble—now she looks as shattered as she feels. Fleeing from her old life in Los Angeles, Jessa moves to Colorado to live with her dad, but things go from bad to worse when she realizes she’s seeing bruises and scars on the people around her that no one else can see. She blames it on the accident, but as her body heals and the hallucinations continue, Jessa wonders if what she’s seeing could somehow have a deeper meaning. In her quest for answers, she falls for Marshall, a boy whose kindness and generous heart slowly draw Jessa out of her walled-off shell and into the broken, beautiful, real world—a place where souls get hurt just as badly as bodies, and we all need each other to heal.
ALL THINGS NEW is a love story about perception and truth, physical and emotional pain, and the messy, complicated people we are behind the masks we put on for the world.

I really enjoyed it and found that there was a lot more to this book than meets the surface. It was a fun read but was intense in some places, I never quite knew where the story was going and that was a plesant surprise.
The main characters were great and the way they were shown means that you could easily compare Jessa's thought processes to them and see just how anxiety affects people. If you come across this book I highly recommend that you read it.

Planet Shoes Town Boot - I hate getting my feet wet in winter so I mainly live in boots during the cooler months and I normally just buy a cheap pair because by the end of the season they are dead (as in I am gluing them together!) but this season I decided to treat myself to leather pair of boots. My Mum is a huge fan of Planet Shoes and these just so happened to be the first and only pair I tried on. They are super comfy and I love the height of the heel (not too high but it gives me a boost), they look and feel solid so I have high hopes for them this season. I have already worn them a few times and as the weather cools down I expect to be wearing them a lot more frequently. (I got them in black but I can only find stone on the website).

SpyFall 2 - if you know you will know that I love playing board games, a great Saturday night for me is me playing boardgames with friends and we love to try new games. I recently discovered SpyFall 2 and we all love playing it. It involves a lot of talking and asking questions and is quick paced game too. You can play with up to 12 players which means it is ideal for a big group. The aim of the game is that everyone gets 1 card with either a spy (there can be up 2 spys per round) or location you have to ask eachother questions to work who the spys are and the spys have to workout where the location is. The first rounds can be a bit challenging but once you get the concept its really fun.

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe - I made these last week and I am still dreaming about them! This recipe is super easy and really yummy to make, the result is chewy chocolatey cookie that you can't just have one of. I increased the yum factor by chopping up a block of hazelnut chocolate which also meant the nuts added some crunch factor. In my books Bakerella can do no wrong so if you are after something to bake this weekend these are it.



 


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Not Coping

Recently things have been a bit of a struggle for me, it seems like over a year of unemployment has caught up to me and I am finally breaking. For so long I have put up this mask, where I appear fine and act like being unemployed isn't crushing me but it seems as if the mask is refusing to stay put. I find myself loosing it day to day and would do anything for an escape. I now don't have good days or bad days instead I just have bad days with a few good moments mixed it. For so long I have been pushing away the tears and feeling as though they are sign of weakness but lately all I can do is let them fall.
I walked into my psychologists office on Tuesday and some of the first words out of my mouth were 'I'm not coping, I don't know how much longer I can keep doing this for.' because that is how I feel at the moment. It seems like everyone is getting a job except me, I'm not even getting job interviews at the moment! Of course my psych (have I told you how amazing she is?) pointed out that for anyone I am coping really well (even those without anxiety or a mental illness) and for the past year I have been coping at such a high level that now I have dipped despite still coping well it doesn't feel like it compared to the level I was on. I am allowed to feel this way and it's honestly expected after more than a year of unemployment.
I have tried so many times to write this post and it's been really hard but in order to be honest with myself I needed to write it down. So at the moment life isn't going well and I'm not coping, I am praying it will change but for now I am taking it one day at a time and trying to stay focused on the bigger picture.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Five Friday Favourites and a General Update

I apologise in advance is this seems a bit of a repeat of last fortnights Friday Favourites but its not!

Has anyone been watching Saving Hope? I am loving this season so much and will be sad when it ends, I have probably cried in every other episode so far but its been great how they have really gone deeper with the storylines. I always like it when series' get to end on a high note rather than get cancelled as I feel like you get to say a proper goodbye to the characters plus there's never any cliff hangers. I never in a million years thought that I would like Saving Hope as much as I do but there is nothing better than sitting down and watching the latest episode while trying to hold it together.

This past week has been a bit busier than normal due to appointments and catching up with friends. I saw my psychologist on Monday and it was just what I needed, she had been on maternity leave since September last year so it was great to see her and get her views on a few things. I go back to see her Tuesday week then I will go back to every 3 weeks which I find works really well for me.
On Wednesday I got stabbed yet again by my doctor when he removed a cyst. Thankfully the procedure went well and I just get to endure 2 weeks with stitches. So I am trying to take it easy and keeping on top of the pain killers for the next few days. I will say my doctor knows what he's doing and even does a more complicated stitch to reduce the risk of scaring (I scar easily) so I am thankful for that.
The job hunt side of things is still quiet and it's so annoying! I had my fortnightly employment agency meeting today and left with tears in my eyes just because I feel like I am getting no where. I know its mainly due to how bad the job market is but it would be nice to have some sort of progress. Last week I did apply to a somewhat promising job so I am praying I at least get an interview and have asked (begged!) my employment agency to ring up them on Monday to find out what is happening with my job application (it closed on Wednesday). I just feel so lost during this whole process and I have been on the verge of giving up a lot more recently. I know God has a plan for me but its really hard to see it at the moment!

We've finally had some rain, which means Winter is on its way! I splurged (by splurged I mean I had a $50 voucher and if it weren't for that I would never had been able to buy these) on some new boots this week and can't wait to wear them.

Kiss and Cry - I watched this the day it came out and I LOVED it. Sarah Fisher does a beautiful job portraying her last best friend and the chemistry between her and Luke Bilyk was flawless. I laughed and cried in it. I felt so inspired by it and found it was a great movie and a real legacy to Carley's work. You could that the movie had a lot of thought put in it and that Sarah was giving the performance her all. Nothing was half heartedly done and there was added touches of using some of Carley's words she had written on  her blog (if you get the chance do read it, it will add another element to the story and give you an insight to just how much Carley went through). I highly recommend that you watch it and know that when you do, you're helping Carley further her legacy.

Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson - I LOVE Dee Henderson's books so much and despite not being a huge fan of mystery novels I can't seem to put hers down. Her latest book did not disappoint and while it did take me longer to get through it than normal (due to how intense it was) I loved every word of it. The blurb reads (taken from Amazon):
Evie Blackwell's reputation as a top investigator for the Illinois State Police has landed her an appointment to the governor's new Missing Persons Task Force. This elite investigative team is launched with plenty of public fanfare. The governor has made this initiative a high priority, so they will have to produce results--and quickly.
Evie and her new partner, David Marshal, are assigned to a pair of unrelated cases in suburban Chicago, and while both involve persons now missing for several years, the cases couldn't be more different. While Evie opens old wounds in a close-knit neighborhood to find a missing college student, David searches for a private investigator working for a high-powered client.
With a deep conviction that "justice for all" truly matters, Evie and David are unrelenting in their search for the truth. But Evie must also find answers to the questions that lie just beneath the surface in her personal life.

Bed Bath N' Table heat packs- I am always cold at night in Winter so a heat pack (or packs at times!) are a must for me (along with a cute ginger cat who does not know the meaning of personal space!) and last year I had to replace mine. I wanted something cute and couldn't resist this fox, when I first got Rikki I thought he looked like a little fox with his big eyes and white chest (he still does at times) so it seemed perfect (plus being orange means it won't get lost in my sheets during the really restless nights). The quality is great and the size is perfect to keep me warm at night, I find it really does hold onto the heat too. I was stuck at what to get Mum for Mothers Day when I saw this cute cat pack and know she will love it (I also love the bear and the owl packs). If you are after a gift or just want a pack to keep you warm I highly recommend these.

Elastoplast Sensitive Strips (and dressings) - I am allergic to latex and the one time its a problem is with band aids so for someone who is clumsy this isn't ideal. Thankfully I have discovered Elastoplast Sensitive Strips which cause no reaction and means I can leave them on for extended periods of time without a reaction. I also love their dressings for wounds (or stitches as the case may be at the moment!) as it means I can cut the perfect length for the area (I used this on my back when it was healing last year). I always make sure to have a stash with me and find that they stay on better than the normal ones.


Disney Descendents 2 trailer and music video - I loved the first film and the second film looks to be just as good :) so to end this weeks Friday Favourites on a high note here is the trailer and music video from the film:


Monday, May 1, 2017

Loosing It

I try to be positive about being unemployed but some days I just loose it, Friday was one of those days. I had had a discouraging employment agency meeting and just wasn't feeling myself, my anxiety levels were rising and nothing was going my way. Thursday I had a mini freak out about saying no to something and knew that my anxiety was rearing itself again and I could do nothing to stop except ride it out and take cover.
So Friday afternoon I let the tears fall, I was frustrated and annoyed and wanted an escape from this reality that is my life. I didn't lash out at anyone (thankfully!) but instead got annoyed at my situation and how maybe it was my fault for getting here, I should've fought more at my last job (we all know that that wouldn't have helped), I should try more to get a job (never mind the fact that that is what I am currently doing) and I should refuse to take no for an answer and stand up for myself (which would require confidence which I don't have). I got mad at God and told my mum how I felt he had forgotten about me because it seems like everyone is moving forward in their lives and that those who are looking for work get jobs within weeks and months (and deep down I still feel that way if I am being honest).
My anxiety was showing itself and it brought a lot of doubt which is still lingering along with feelings I thought I had hidden deep inside myself. I spent the weekend putting on an act that everything is/was fine despite wanting to run and hide. I found myself looking in the mirror and wondering who that girl was. I looked at my diary and reworked this week just so I can hide and get some down time in. I can't help but be thankful that I can use the excuse of catering a quiz night at church this Friday to avoid people, it gives me something to focus on and something to plan.
I am so so thankful that next Monday I have a psych appointment booked because I know that I need it now more than ever just to get over this bump in the road.
A lot of the time its easy to pretend that I don't have anxiety, but then I have these moments and my anxiety flares up for no reason and I am reminded that it's there and that it does affect me.
For now I am just riding out this phase and praying that in the near future I get a job.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Five Friday Favourites

I missed Friday Favourites last week as I was so busy and trying to finish this post but I am back again this week!

Mental Illness in TV - with 13 Reasons Why on Netflix there has been a lot of talk about how mental illness was portrayed in it and how it wasn't a great example of it (I have yet to personally watch it but I have read the book which I have mixed feelings about). So I turn your attention back to this post with a broad list of TV Shows all of which show mental illness well and realistically. I have also updated it to include a few more recent shows. I highly recommend you read this list if you are after something else to watch after 13 Reasons Why that shows mental illness in a different light.

Kiss and Cry Movie - I mentioned this in a prior post but I am super excited to say it will be released on Netflix on May 1! It's from the same people who did FullOut which Megan and I love to watch, so I know it will be great. Check out the trailer below:
Brooklyn Nine Nine and Riverdale inspired buttons - I saw these at Comic-Con when I was there but they only had the badge back so I was thrilled when I could order these online with a magnet back. I love these so much and have a complete set of each. They are great quality and I wouldn't hesitate to buy more for gifts. I only hope a few more different TV shows are released (thinking The Office and The IT Crowd would be great!) because they have made my door frame more fun and I would love to have some more.

Disney Descendants 2 soundtrack - I loved the first movie and soundtrack, so I thrilled to be able pre-order Disney Descendants 2 soundtrack and listening to the songs that have been released. Its a great mix of tracks and its making me look forward to the movie when it comes out mid this year.

Unicorn Candle Holder - unicorns seem to be the in thing at the moment and a few weeks ago I couldn't resist purchasing this candle holder. It's super cute and best of all it will work with most birthday candles you get. I love how it adds a fun element to ordinary birthday cakes and I have received loads of compliments on it. The price may seem a bit steep but its really well made and I know it will be used a lot, I plan on breaking it out at every birthday possible.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Anxiety Day To Day

I recently had a comment on a past post asking how I manage my anxiety day to day so here is my
response. This was a long time in the works and I am warning you that it is very long! I thought about writing a 'day in the life post' but as my day's aren't really structured being unemployed and I do try to keep myself in a routine but its hard when I never know what a day will hold.
Firstly I have been diagnosed with anxiety for 11 year and been on medication for 10 (!) so its taken me a long time to get where I am today. My anxiety does fluctuate depending on what I have on and how busy my week is as a whole, so like everyone with a mental illness I can have good weeks and bad weeks (and good days and bad days).

Diet - I have noticed that what I eat does affect my anxiety levels. I aim to eat a high protein diet which really helps, I also do NO CAFFIENE which to some people is a big deal but for me having a diet coke (I used to be addicted to it) just isn't worth it when it makes my anxiety levels spike. I do have vices mainly in terms of chocolate (MandMs are a major addiction of mine!) and ice cream (if its not too cold out so in winter I rarely eat it) but being dairy intolerant means that I can never go too crazy.
Dinners are easy in terms that I just eat less carbs and we always make sure its loaded with vegies. I struggle with lunches a lot if I am at home but when I eat out I grab sushi, a bento box (but only eat half the rice) or Chinese (but loading up on vegies and other healthy options) . Breakfast is always a hard boiled egg which sounds so boring but it keeps me full and is healthy. Snacks can vary depending on what I am doing sometimes its a handful of almonds, other times its some chocolate or handful of MandMs (if I need a sugar fix), or some sweet and salty popcorn (seriously addictive but on the healthy side of snacks). I think if it was up to me I would just snack all day and not do lunch but snacking isn't always the healthiest option so I try to have decent meals to reduce it happening. I love to bake but I try to only bake when I need to (so for bible study, people coming over for dinner, going to a friends place ...) so I won't eat it all.
In terms of drinks I tend to stick to flavoured mineral water (like deep spring) when I am out, cold water and a mix of sparkling mineral water and diet lemonade when I am at home. I keep a couple of good metal water bottles in the fridge filled with water so I can grab a drink anytime (they are also Little Miss themed which makes drinking water fun). I also try to take a water bottle with me if I know I will be out for a long period of time.
I don't take any vitamin supplements but I do take fish oil tablets as more studies are showing that it helps with mental health and I do notice a difference when I take it (though I go through stages where I regularly take it and stages where I don't).
My diet is no where is near as perfect as I want it to be and lets be honest I probably eat way too much sugar but I am slowly making changes that are helping me long term.

Exercise - I don't play sports and I never will play sports, me and sports are not friends. So everyone's clear that I will never do sports unless I am forced to when I am in a life and death situation? My exercise consists of walking, I do some casual caring work 3 times a week and that involves a 30 minute walk. I have also just started walking for 30 minutes in the morning Monday - Friday, I set my alarm for 6.30am and leave the house at around 7.00am and just walk around the neighbourhood (I am lucky enough to live near a lake so I normally walk in that direction) while listening to my ipod. I also try and do sneaky exercise which is my way of making myself walk further without realising it- at shopping centres I try to park a good distance away from them which means I walk further, I will also walk long ways to stores if I have the time and I find certain chores burn calories too (like vacuuming, gardening etc.). I do find I sleep better if I do regular exercise, its just a matter of actually making myself do it.

Sleep - I aim for 10 hours but if I get 8 hours I am happy. I find if I read before bed I sleep a lot better and my quality of sleep increases. I can actually notice a difference in terms of the quality of sleep I get. I do notice a huge difference when I've had a few bad nights and it really makes my anxiety worse, so if it comes to it I will take something just so I can get a decent night's sleep and get my life back on track.

Down time - I am nor an introvert or extrovert it all depends on my anxiety and what has been going in my life at the time. Because of this I need to be aware of when I need down time and give myself a chance to recharge. Sometimes that means hanging out with friends other times it means taking time out for myself.  I also find that while I can function ok being physically exhausted if I am mentally exhausted I need to take time to recharge and make it a greater priority. An example is that a while ago I had to do a workshop for mentoring and by the end of it I was mentally exhausted as it was a
new situation with new people which made me feel on edge and wanting to hide so I ended up saying no to games night. Whereas the weekend before I was physically exhausted but still made an effort to go to games night.
I try to schedule in down time where possible and am aware that if I have anything where my anxiety levels will be high to schedule in more down time. I also make Sunday's my quiet day where possible, its just a day where I can unwind and relax with no pressure. I get up get dressed and just go with the flow which really helps me start the week on a good note.
Down time for me really varies on how I much need. I really enjoy reading so sometimes just being able to read my book for a bit really helps recharge my levels and face what's thrown at me, other times sitting down and watching a funny tv show (The Office, Friends, Greek, Baby Daddy, Brooklyn Nine, certain Degrassi episodes or Superstore are my goto's) or intense tv show (Saving Hope, Suits, Bones, Designated Survivor, certain Degrassi episodes or Riverdale are shows I really enjoy when I want to sit down and think about what's on tv) or if I have a huge block of time watching a movie (Adam Sandler's films always make me laugh) provide good escapes for me and I can just shut out the world. I also enjoy baking and doing something with my hands (like craft or painting) I can never just watch a tv show or movie so I often craft or bake while I am watching something which keeps my hands busy. I love to find a nice café and read for a couple of hours if I am given the chance and its a little thing that makes a huge impact on me.

Fake it till you make it - even when my anxiety is really bad I still make an effort to get dressed, do my make up and look somewhat put together. This helps me feel good on the outside which helps me face the day. It doesn't matter if I am feeling full of anxiety on the inside, if I can present to others that I am functioning despite it all then some of it eventually translates to the inside! I am not one of those people who can stay in PJs all day so even when I feel sick I will get changed into comfy clothes, it just makes me feel good about myself.
Recently I have been trying to start the week on a good note by taking a bit of extra time and effort on Monday's and it's really been helping me feel good about myself. I am big believer that sometimes a pop of colour with a lipstick or eyeliner can make your day brighter and on the days when I wear a bright shade of lipstick I do feel happier and a bit more confident.

Setting myself a to do list - ever since I can remember I have always used lists and even now I find they are a great coping tool. I use a diary and write any major events that are happening and also list any plans I have for myself. This means I have a vauge idea of my weekly schedule and I feel happy knowing I won't forget anything. I also write down lists of what I need to do during the day and I find I get a sense of achievement ticking off the jobs as I complete them.

Volunteering - I have been a Youth Ambassador with ReachOut for almost 2 years and it's been a huge confidence boost and has helped me challenge my anxiety while also having great support. Being unemployed means it can be hard to have a purpose (so much value is put on our jobs) so being able to do ReachOut has really helped me feel like I am part of a team and gives me something to focus on. I also do mentoring at the local youth centre and am involved in my church (projector, kids church, helping at events etc.).

Psychologist appointments - if you read this article you will know that a few years ago I had to see a psych (where I was diagnosed with severe anxiety attacks which while similar to anxiety are actually a separate diagnosis) and its been one of the best decisions I have made for my anxiety! I see an amazing psych every few weeks and she has been priceless for helping me deal with my anxiety and getting through any tough patches. It's great to be able to have someone to talk through various issues and since seeing her I am able to recognise unhealthy thought patterns and help manage my anxiety better. I highly recommend seeing a psychologist (even if you don't have a mental illness) as it will help you understand your mind better.

I could go and on with this post as there are so many factors that affect my anxiety but I will stop while I am a head and will aim to do a few follow up posts as circumstances change (please pray I get a job soon!).
Everyone is different so what works for me may not work for you at the end of the day its all about realising your limits and working out what you need to do to stay on top of it.
I'm not going to pretend that I don't have bad days or days where I just want to hide but by doing the

above I do feel like I have a greater control on my anxiety. There are days when nothing is going right, I obsess over every little thing and can't switch my brain off from overthinking mode, so I just need to ride them out, go to bed and realise that tomorrow is a new day and it will be better. There are other days when I feel on top of the world and that I can handle whatever is thrown at. Then there are days when I just feel ok, when things could be better by they're not so I will just focus on the moment and not worry about what comes next. I am slowly teaching myself that if I can't control it, I shouldn't worry or obsess over it, at the end of the day God has a plan for my life and he knows what he's doing even if I don't.