Nature’s Free Fruit – Four Reasons Why I Love Blackberries

Hey Sweeties,

We have been so fortunate this year in the UK, particularly in the south-east (I can’t speak for everywhere else) that we have enjoyed a super early, super bumper crop of blackberries. As spring turns into summer, I start noticing the hedges of bramble bushes begin to flower and then form into reddy-pink fruit; as soon as the blackberries ripen you can be sure I’m clearing space in my freezer, grabbing tubs and heading on out to strip all the local bushes. What’s even better this year, is that I managed to grow my own blackberry bush in my garden and train it up the back fence, and it has been such a pleasure watching blackberries form and ripen, before picking.

4 Reasons why I love Blackberries

 Picking blackberries

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How to find the Positives in the Everyday

Seeing the positives

Hey Sweeties,

Following from last week’s Sunday post, I thought I would perk things up a bit about how you can help yourself to see the positives.

For me, particularly several years ago when I was going through a pretty bad phase of depression, the worst thing people could –and some did- say to me is to ‘cheer up and remember that there are always people in a worst situation than you are’. This for the record, helps nobody saying that, nobody. I appreciate it is difficult for those who don’t understand to not get how some people can be low, almost for no real reason but sometimes that is just the case. Sometimes you are just sad.

Although it was an expensive solution, as you know from last week’s Sunday Chat the way I found to help myself out of feeling a bit rubbish was to book myself onto a Trek America tour next year; it gives me something to look forward to and a focus although I have sacrificed getting a new car in the process, hey ho! I may finish the trip with no lifelong friendships taken from it but I’ll have still spent two weeks travelling up the west coast of the USA with a totally new group of people to share the experience with which for me at least, I will never forget.

For quicker, less expensive perks, I couldn’t be more of an advocate about finding positives in the every day (bear with me). For example; the sky is blue today. Someone smiled at me. I heard something funny on the radio… you get the idea. Mostly I think it is visual triggers, things that you see that provide a moment of happiness or at least, make you smile. Last year on the short drive to work I would pass a bit of a clearing on the side of the road and most days –not every day- I would see some rabbits. I used to love this. It sounds silly but honestly, once you have trained your brain to see these things and you can appreciate how something so minor can be viewed as something positive you’ll be fine, even if it makes you forget for only a few minutes… it still worked.

For times though when feeling unhappy isn’t the problem, you’re just in moments of incredible stress and anxiety, another good exercise that is great that can apply to absolutely everyone and for a variety of situations, particularly when you know something is coming up (like an interview) where you’re nervous and becoming a little overwhelmed by it all is to break it/the day up into units. I heard about this exercise years ago and once you’ve got it, it can be used and applied to so many things. But let’s take an interview for the example. So, let’s pretend the interview is in London and you live outside of the city and will be getting the train in.

Unit 1: Getting ready -showered, changed, make-up etc.

Unit 2: Going to the station

Unit 3: On the train

Unit 4: In London, getting the tube(s) to the location

Unit 5: At the location, sat waiting to go into your interview

Unit 6: Interview time

Unit 7: You’re done! Now you can head home.

Usually my units would only go as far as the thing I was nervous about but of course you can keep them going for as long as you need.

The purpose of the above is to break the day into bite size chunks and as you complete each unit, you’re nearer the end than you were at the start of the process and they can be interpreted as mini achievements. Also, by the time you’ve got to unit 6/the main element you were nervous about, you’re more than half way through the day and the finish is in sight. It also helps focus the brain on the next stage rather than trying to take in and cope with the situation/day as a whole.

I apologise if you find these posts a little silly but I hope you can see the point in why I have written them and can actually see that for some, they may be seen as beneficial and for me certainly all of the above helps me and continues to do so.

(For those despairing): Today I have been out and done a little (but expensive) beauty haul so you can look forward to that post later this week along with another beauty review as well as a post commenting on something a little different… I am also soon attending another Elle Inside event so lots of fun things coming up on here over the next couple of weeks!

Hope you guys had a great weekend!

Until next time x



The Unfortunate Incident of the Mr Whippy

Hey Sweeties,

To be honest this wasn’t going to be something I blogged about but… I think not to acknowledge this recent ‘incident’ would be a missed opportunity and something I may later need to draw upon in the future by which I mean touching upon anxiety. I am very conscious that this is an issue that tons of people are discussing and I would hate to appear like I am jumping on the bandwagon for the sake of joining in on something topical. But then again on the other end of the spectrum, it’s good to know I am not alone and that what I am currently experiencing isn’t abnormal (far from it), and for you guys you can see how something like anxiety takes on many different forms with many different people in as many different situations.

So, let me explain the unfortunate incident of the Mr Whippy.

Icecream cone -melting

Last Friday it was the annual Hartley Wintney vs. Hampshire twenty-twenty match on the green and although Ian and I have now moved away from the area, we’re unlikely to not continue to go to this each year while we can.


We’re a couple of hours into the afternoon, the game is in full swing and Ian asks if I fancy an ice cream. To be honest I was prepared to wait another hour or so but if he was going to get one himself as well, then why not! A few minutes later he returns with one giant Mr Whippy (because for an extra 50p you could get an extra scoop –fair play). The additional factor I forgot to mention was that it was a hot afternoon but for some reason no sooner was the ice cream purchased, it began melting so by the time it got to me it was a dribbling mess.

*Let me just interrupt proceedings here and quickly highlight that what was to follow was by no means responsible of Ian, it was just an unfortunate outcome to what was otherwise a very innocent and well-intended situation and he knows this*

So why this became an unfortunate incident is because I went from happy and content (watching the cricket) to stressed, embarrassed and anxious instantly. Why? Because if it was just Ian and I it would have been ok but it wasn’t, we had a couple of acquaintances with us who (as anyone would) were laughing. If Ian had got an ice cream as well and it was also melting, then the situation would have been funny and shared. If the ice cream wasn’t a double scoop, then I wouldn’t be sat there noted for eating a big ice cream and wouldn’t have had to have dealt with the scale of melting that was happening. When you have something like an ice cream, or anything that you don’t have very often (if at all), you want to enjoy the experience and savour it, not have to rush it owing to things out of your control. The situation became quickly embarrassing for me which made me anxious as I had too much attention for the wrong reasons. Also, like thousands of other people, particularly women, I hate attention drawn to me when it concerns food. If people are commenting on something amazing I have ordered that’s fine. But if it’s because the portion is too big (or bigger than average) then that’s not good and it stresses me out quite understandably. So I am sat on the edge of the green trying to quickly devour a double Mr Whippy while it furiously melts and being laughed at… then I am afraid it was one drip too many and I threw the rest of the cone into an empty plastic beer cup and walked away, refusing the offer of tissues. Fortunately there was a pub just opposite so I headed there to wash my hands and get away from the situation but I was upset, I needed to get away and calm myself down and I went for a quick walk around the block afterwards before heading back but even when I sat back down I had to keep my sunglasses on to cover my tears. Silly isn’t it?

On reflection I can now see the funny side but I can also see how badly I am reacting to certain situations and environments right now. I say right now because I have only recently become really aware of it, I have always suffered with a bit of insecurity but on the whole I would say I am (was) a confident individual who actually quite enjoys my own company but lately not so. I find myself feeling nervous, mostly when I realise I am quite exposed and by exposed that could be me just walking to Asda and back on my own. I like anonymity; I like running my errands and having a coffee in Costa with a good book unnoticed and for the most part I am never disturbed or even seen by someone I might know. But sometimes, depending on where I am, the thought of being randomly pounced on gets the better of me and this can apply even to the phone. I hate unplanned conversation which sounds totally bizarre and to be honest it’s stupid but it’s how it is. If my Mum calls me out of the blue, absolutely fine but if someone says to me, “I’ll call you later” that freaks me out and puts me in a panic as no matter who it is, I worry about the conversation and struggling for things to say. How often though do I struggle for things to say, like really? I don’t.

So do I suffer with anxiety? I guess I do, but like I said earlier, anxiety affects many different people in many different ways for as many different reasons so although I don’t get panic attacks (yet), this condition still feels quite debilitating and something I have to learn to deal with and get over.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this and your own experiences so please do share them.

Until next time x


Anxiety & the Importance of Friendship

Hey Sweeties,

2014-03-09 13.52.44Apologies I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks, I’ve been incredibly consumed with houses, work and just life really. But the sun is out, spring is here and I’ve just come back from a lovely long walk and ready to blog! Here goes…

So, what’s new? Well… house wise, we thought we found our dream house and over a period of 2.5 weeks we put down an offer, then upped it, and upped it and upped it again to at the last hour get rejected. Nothing more heart breaking! Then, we found another house a couple of days ago and we’ve placed an offer and hopefully we’ll find out the outcome tomorrow, fingers crossed sweeties! I have plans to dedicate a whole post to buying houses so I’ll leave all the juicy details for then 🙂

Spring is here!

Spring is here!

Aside from the anxiety of knowing I have to relocate in a couple of months which for me really is a big deal, February marked 7 years since flying the comfy nest of my family home and going it alone and since then I have moved somewhere completely different every 2 ish years -London, Leeds, Bath, North Hampshire (where I am now) and true to form, I’ll have been here 2 years in May but will be off somewhere else come then… at the moment it looks like Slough! Anyone been or already live there? Advice? So yeah, aside from this moving anxiety, two great things have happened this year, one happened right at the beginning and the second one happened yesterday…

My Best Friend is getting married in 2015 (uber exciting!!) and just after Christmas (I think?) she asked me the most amazing thing a best friend could be asked… would I be Maid of Honour? Of course I would!! Prior to this I offered and commited to designing her Save the Date and wedding invites, partly as my contribution to the wedding (pre Maid of Honour) and partly so that I am building experience and my portfolio in design work (why not eh?). I can’t wait to help her create and bring to life her dream wedding and be right be her side at the alter as she becomes a married woman (wow, that actually sounds scary when you say it out loud!).

The second incredibly exciting thing is that another very close friend of mine who is otherwise affectionately known as ‘Wifey’, had an utterly gorgeous baby boy last summer. I have had a few friends give birth to bundles of joy in the last couple of years but (without offending the others) Wifey’s little boy is an amazing baby, he’s just so happy and cuddly and brilliant! So, quite out of the blue yesterday afternoon Wifey called me up and was like, “would you (me) be God Mother?” AHHHHHHHH, couldn’t be more honoured and I can’t believe that I have been so blessed with this responsibility! *Wipes away happy tear* Bring on the Christening and a lifetime of watching this little baby turn into a young man and beyond and being there to support him all the way!

One big thing that has really suffered or rather, I have had to sacrifice as part of moving around (did I mention pre flying the nest I had attended 4 Primary schools, 1 Secondary and lived in 6 houses across a variety of locations in the UK?!) is that I have made friends and then upped and left them time and time again. I am incredibly fortunate in that I have a small handful of very valued friendships but none of them know each other, and none of them live near me. This of course opens opportunity for fun days out and trips with each of them when we catch up but a quick drink down the pub or a nice dinner one evening is a no no which I desperately miss. It’s this lack of socialisation that brings me down some of the time as like I have said previously in an earlier post, Ian is great and the phone is always there but it’s not the same as regular face to face conversation. So, despite all this, to be in a position as I am today where I am Maid of Honour and a new God Mother is a tremendous feeling of love and emotion. It actually just shows that you don’t have to be living next door to your friends for them to still consider you so highly as to involve you so intimately with very important areas of their lives. I really do truly feel blessed.

Until next time, Sweeties xx

Friends forever