SOME SORT OF A BEGINNING…

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It has now been over a year since I last posted on this site; that year has been incredibly hectic, in many different ways, and my entire life has been turned upside down. While there were many, many months where I barely had the energy to make it through each day, my life has recently started to settle into a calmer, more settled routine, and I have found myself coming up with blog posts and potential topics in my head on a fairly regular basis. I had been putting off writing because I felt pressured to start with a bang, to explain everything that has been going on in my life in one beautifully written post that summed up the last year in a way that was succinct, yet thought provoking, heart-felt and funny. Luckily, the more rational part of brain finally got around to analysing these particular thoughts, and I have (almost) completely dismissed these pressures. This blog is meant to be somewhere where I can relax and express myself, an outlet for the creative ideas I have that I’m not always sure what to do with, so I have decided to just start writing and see what happens. I already have a number of ideas rolling around in my head, some of them serious, some of them less-so, and in some ways I am excited to see what (if anything) develops. So for now, I am just going to say hello, and welcome. I have no idea what is to come, but I have feeling I will enjoy creating it, and really, isn’t that what matters most?

Where I Am Now – A Story and an Explanation

It has been almost two months since my last blog post, and at the moment I can’t make any promises that I will be writing regularly over the coming months. I have tried to write about this a few times, but every time I have given up. Today a number of factors have come together to mean that I feel ready to write about what has been going on in my life over the past few months, and why I am having so much trouble posting regularly.

At the beginning of this year, the clinical psychologist I was visiting decided that my depression and anxiety weren’t getting better, and that we needed some more help. So my GP did some research, called in a few favours, and wrote me a referral to a psychiatrist in Melbourne. We waited with baited breaths, and then had a little cheer when we heard that the psychiatrist had accepted to take me on as a patient. Then we just had to wait until I came back to Melbourne, so that I could see this new psychiatrist and hopefully start making some progress.

A few days before my fourth year of medicine started, I had my first appointment with my Psychiatrist. It was intense and slightly overwhelming, but it made me feel so, so good. I was diagnosed with having severe anxiety and depression, and having someone so important state my diagnosis to me gave me an amazing sense of validation for just how terrible I had been feeling. It also felt amazing to come to an understanding that how I had been feeling wasn’t normal; that I was genuinely sick, and more importantly, that I would be able to get better.

It has been a hard three months since that first diagnosis. We have gradually changed all of my medications, and we are still in the process of getting my medications right. I am having to get weekly blood tests to monitor the levels of one of the drugs, and I am constantly on the watch for potential side effects. So far things have been going well, and I haven’t had any side effects from my new medications. I did discover that the reason I have put on so much weight over the past year was because one of the medications I was on is notorious for causing weight gain. But we have reduced the levels of that drug, and I have stopped putting on weight, and even started losing it!

Things are so, so much better than they were three months ago, but I am still struggling every single day. I am constantly tired, and seem to be regularly on the verge of tears, but I am getting better, slowly but surely. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I know that I am going to get better one day. I just find it hard sometimes, because I know that I am doing everything I can to get to the end of the tunnel as fast as I can, but it is still going to be a slow process. There is no quick fix for mental health problems – it takes time, perseverance and hard work. But I know I am going to get there, thanks to the amazing people I have supporting me. But I have been overwhelmed with university work, and so haven’t been able to find the inspiration to blog. I am hoping that as things continue to improve I will be able to post more, and that this blog will become everything that I had hoped it would be. I see good things in the future!

What I Wore – Summer Edition

One of my favourite bloggers, Maja Huse (I don’t know how to make her name a link to her website, I’m sorry, but if you are looking for a good blog, I definitely recommend Googling her), has done a few posts like this, and I found them really, really interesting. It is so nice to see a genuine representation of what someone wears in a week, complete with bad hair days and lazy comfy-clothes days. I have decided to do two editions of my “What I Wore” series, one for summer and one for winter, and if I enjoy writing them as much as I think I will I might even start doing them every year. I think it would be interesting to see how my style changes from year to year, and to see what stays the same. There are pieces in my wardrobe that I do genuinely believe I will be wearing in 5 years time, because they are well-made classics that I adore, but then I also know that my personal style is still evolving, and what I like to wear in 5 years time might be completely different to what I like to wear now. But anyway, that is all looking a little too far into the future, so instead let’s look just a little bit back into the past at wore I wore last week!

Monday

IMG_1312As most of you probably know by now, I am currently studying my fourth year of medicine. We do four rotations in fourth
year: General Practice, Psychiatry, Women’s Health and Medicine of the Mind. I am insanely excited about the topics we get to study this year, but I think I will go further into that in another post. For now I will just tell you that I am currently on my first rotation, General Practice. On this rotation I spend two days a week (Monday and Wednesday) at one of the University campuses attending lectures and tutorials, and then for three days (Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) I spend all or part of the day placed with a General Practitioner in the community. Monday was a Uni day, so I didn’t have to worry about dressing in a way that was clinically appropriate. Instead I wore my favourite denim shorts and one of my favourite shirts, both of which are from Just Jeans. I wore these with my newest, and current favourite, shoes, my Melissa Campana Papel’s in Black Multi Glitter. I love these shoes so, so much! I am actually planning a whole post around these shoes (I love them that much), so I won’t say anymore, but just know that they are amazing!

Tuesday

IMG_1314On Tuesday I am with one of my General Practitioners from 8 until 4, so I need to be dressed in a way that was clinically appropriate. On this particular Tuesday I chose to wear a Veronika Maine dress and a pair of little Aldo leather flats. I actually worked at Veronika Maine and Cue over the last two Christmas holidays, and one of the many perks of working there was that we got an amazing staff discount, so I was able to buy some of their incredible clothes at a price that didn’t damage my uni-student budget too much. Cue and Veronika Maine are Australian owned companies, and the clothes they sell are designed and made in Australia. The clothes are of a really high quality, and they last really well. This particular dress is great example of just how well the clothing ages – it is almost a year and a half old, was worn almost once a week for a good eight months, and yet still looks almost new. I love this dress for a number of reasons – it is pink (like a good proportion of my wardrobe); it is cotton, so is comfortable to wear whatever the weather; and most of all – it has pockets! My opinion of any skirt or dress instantly improves when I discover that it has pockets!

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After I finished at my placement, I came home, spent some time relaxing and internetting, and then went to the gym. I decided that I would try and capture pictures of my gym outfits as often as I could, because I thought it was important for people to see someone perfectly average, like me, wearing workout gear that isn’t particularly fancy or expensive. As much as I love some of the upmarket workout gear that is available, I just can’t justify spending that much on something that I am only going to wear for one very sweaty hour. My workout gear is a combination of K-mart exercise wear (like the pants I am wearing here) and T-shirts from my rather impressive T-shirt collection. On this particular day I was having a rather bad day, so I decided to wear my very favourite T-shirt emblazoned with the Hogwarts crest. I have owned this shirt for over 5 years now, and while it is starting to get a bit sad looking, I doubt I will ever be able to bring myself to throw it out!

Wednesday

IMG_1318This was another uni day, so again I didn’t have to dress clinically. The Melbourne weather had been its fickle self and gotten rather cold and windy, so I brought out my trusty Jeanswest jeans, a simple black Dotti tank top, a red Cotton On cardigan that someone (I could never figure out who) left at my house some four years ago, and my Melissa’s. I bought these jeans last year after I put on a bit of weight (which I have now discovered was actually due to a side effect of a medication I am currently taking), and I was lucky enough to get a really amazing sales person to help me find the perfect pair. In the end I actually bought the first pair I had tried on, but the sales girl was wonderful, and let me try on about 10 different pairs, so that I could be certain I had found the perfect pair.IMG_1320

I went to the gym again on Wednesday. I was wearing another pair of the K-mart pants I love (they are just. so. comfortable!), this time with my Minions/Doctor Who crossover T-shirt. This T-shirt is one of the only items of clothing I have ever ordered online, and I love it – I also love the reactions I get from people who understand the reference! It has proved to be a great conversation starter with fellow Whovians.

Thursday

IMG_1321Thursday was another clinical day. I was determined to try and cheer myself up, so I wore my newest, and current favourite, dress. This one was my final purchase from Cue over the recent Christmas holidays, and I absolutely adore it. I love the colours, the vintage-style cut, the fact that it is 100% cotton, and, yet again, the fact that it has pockets! I paired it with my Melissa’s (again), and a simple ponytail, which is how I wear my hair almost every day that I am on clinical placement. I find my hair can be a bit unruly, and likes to fall out at the most inconvenient times, so I just prefer to have it up when I am on placement, and a ponytail is the most complex hairstyle I have the patience for at 7 o’clock in the morning!

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My last day of placement for the week is also my favourite, as it is with my favourite General Practitioner. I decided to wear a new outfit from Jacqui E that I had bought while sale shopping with my mum at the end of last year that I hadn’t yet had the chance to wear, and I very quickly fell in love with it. There is something about the fit of the skirt and the lovely round neck of the cardigan that just make me feel rather elegant and stylish, and I love how bright the colours are! I didn’t think my Melissa’s would quite work with this outfit, so instead I work another pair of Aldo leather flats. These ones have patent leather fronts and little patent leather bows on them, which I adore!

Saturday

IMG_1324Saturday was a study and chores day, so I wanted something that was comfortable but that I was still happy about going out of the house in, because I needed to go grocery shopping. I ended up wearing a Midi skirt I got in Bali with another one of my simple Dotti tank tops. You can’t tell in the photo, but this skirt is made of an amazing irredescent material that looks in purple in some lights and green in others. It is really beautiful, and being a light cotton it is really comfortable to wear. I did actually put on my Melissa’s when I went grocery shopping, but as you can tell from the photo I spent most of the day barefoot!

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My Sunday morning started with a gym class. This time I paired (yet-another) pair of my K-mart workout pants with a K-mart shirt I bought about a month ago. I love the colours in this shirt, and it makes me feel like a “real gym person” with its racer back and fancy material. But mainly I just love it because it has pink on it!

IMG_1326After the gym I spent a good proportion of my day sitting at my desk studying. It was disgustingly hot, so I wore my favourite round-the-house dress. When I first bought this dress 2 and a bit years ago it was my favourite going-out-to-dinner-etc dress, with its spinny circle skirt and beautiful floral pattern. Unfortunately, the extra weight I have put on in the past year or so means that this dress is now scandalously short, and the pattern has sadly started to fade as well. It is still amazingly comfortable though, and being 100% cotton it is perfect for those stinking hot days when you want to be wearing as little clothing as is socially acceptable!

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Sunday evening was a bit special for me, as I had a friends birthday party to attend in the city. This meant that I had the chance to get a bit dressed up, and I really enjoyed it! I wore my strawberry dress, which my mum made for me from a vintage 1950s pattern, and paired it with red lipstick, a flower crown and those ever-present Melissa’s. I had to walk a reasonable distance from the train station to the party, and as I was walking I passed two elderly individuals walking with a little girl whom I assume was their granddaughter. The little girl had stopped to look at my flower crown, and I heard the grandparents comment that “yes she looks very beautiful, doesn’t she”. I was absolutely touched to hear that, and was floating on a little bubble of happiness for quite a while after that! The bubble was helped by the wonderful party I got to go to – I got to sit in the sunshine, eating delicious food and catching up with friends I hadn’t seen in much longer that I would have liked. It was a really lovely way to end the week, and I still got home and in bed on time. Yay for bed!

Well, that’s it – every single outfit I wore for one entire week. Wait, I lie – there was one extra gym day where I forgot to take a photo before I went to the gym, and then I was too icky and sweaty after the gym to want to take a photo. So I guess I can only say that this is almost every outfit I wore for one entire week. I actually found it really enjoyable to write this post, so I hope you enjoy reading it, and find it interesting. I am really interested to see how much things change in the next six months, to see which outfits I can make winter appropriate and which ones get delegated to the back of the wardrobe.

My Skincare Routine

A few months ago, around exam period, I started to have some trouble with my skin. It was looking really dry and lifeless, and I was getting slightly more blemishes. I had never really had a skincare routine – I had a cleanser, a moisturiser, and a makeup remover, and that was it – so I decided I would try out some new products. I went to one of the big warehouses here, looked through the entirety of the face care aisle, and eventually decided I would try out the Palmer’s Cocoa Butter range. I started with a face mask, and instantly fell in love. Gradually I integrated almost all of the Palmer’s products into my daily routine, and so far I have absolutely adored them!

I think it is important that I tell you a little bit about my skin, before I start telling you about the products I use, so that you will get some idea about whether the products I use will suit you. I will be the first to tell you that I won the genetic lottery when it comes to my skin (at least on my face) – I rarely get blemishes, and my skin is generally fairly even-toned. That being said, my skin is often quite dry, and can be very sensitive to certain products. My skin will often get quite red, especially around my cheeks, and I have found that some products aggravate this rednesss. When it comes to skincare products, I am looking for products that won’t aggravate my skin in any which, and which are intensely moisturising. I think I have fount that in the Palmer’s range, and I am really enjoying using them!

IMG_1304[1]These are the products that I use in the morning. Most mornings I will use the Palmer’s Creamy Cleanser and Makeup Remover, but two to three times a week I will use the Palmer’s Microfine Exfoliating Scrub. Both of these products are really gentle on my skin, and I find that the cocoa and shea butters they contain prevent them from being too drying. The exfoliating scrub uses cocoa powder and walnut shell as exfoliants, and I find these to be much less irritating than other exfoliants I have tried in the past. Once I have washed my face, I use the Palmer’s Skin Perfecting Moisturising Day Cream. Oh, how I love this moisturiser! It feels absolutely lovely as you rub it in, and it leaves my skin feeling silky smooth and intensely moisturised. Oh, and something I forgot to mention – all of the products from the Palmer’s Cocoa Butter range smell like chocolate!

IMG_1307[1]These are the products that I use on my face at night. I am currently using the Garnier Gentle Cleansing Milk makeup remover to remove eye makeup, and while I am finding it quite good, I do think I will try another makeup remover when this one runs out. While it is quite moisturising, I find that it can cause my eyes to sting, and it doesn’t completely remove stubborn makeup like eyeliner. After I have removed my makeup I then wash my face again with the Palmer’s Creamy Cleanser and Makeup Remover, and then I use the Palmer’s Moisture Rich Night Cream. While I don’t love this moisturiser quite as much as I love the day cream, I do still quite like it. I find it to be really cooling, and I feel that it has quite a calming effect on my skin, which feels really nice when I am going to sleep.

IMG_1310[1]Last but not least, I thought I would show you the products I have been using on my body lately. I have been a lover of The Body Shop’s Shea Body Butter for around a year now, and for Christmas a friend gave me a bottle of their Shea Shower Cream, which I am also loving. I can’t use soaps on my skin, as it doesn’t react well, so soap-free body washes such as this one are wonderful, and I love that both my body wash and my moisturiser smell the same! As I said, I have been using the body butter for about a year now, and I can’t see myself changing moisturiser any time soon. I often have problems with dry skin, especially on my arms, and I find this body butter to be rich and creamy enough to actually provide enough moisture. And of course it smells divine!

And that’s it! I am only use a few products at the moment, but that is still a big step up from what I was using a year ago, and I can see myself gradually adding more products over the coming months. I am slowly finding products that I love and which work for me, and I really do think they have made a big difference to the state of my skin.

Do you have a skincare routine that you find works well for you? Do you have any products that you would recommend?

My 4 Month Shopping Ban

I spent yesterday unpacking my suitcases and a whole lot of boxes, and have now almost finished unpacking and sorting out my new bedroom. As satisfying as it was to get everything neatly sorted out, it was also quite confronting to see exactly how much stuff I own. I have done more shopping the past three months than I usually do in a year, and while I am really happy with the purchases I have made, I think it is about time I stopped shopping, and I want to try and save some money. I have reached a point where I feel like my wardrobe is just about right, and apart from a few key items I have nothing else that I really need. After some consideration, I have decided that I will make a dramatic reduction to my shopping, and I have decided that I will set myself a 4 month shopping ban. The reason I have decided on a 4 month ban, rather than the more common 6-month time frame, is that I am going to France and London in June for just under 3 weeks, and I expect I will be doing a reasonable amount of shopping while I am over there.

I know I won’t be able to go 4 months without purchasing a single item of clothing, accessories, makeup etc, so I have come up with a few rules to follow which I think should allow me to get through these 4 months without much trouble.

1. I can buy basic essentials. Things like tights, socks, and basic, practical underwear are okay, but only if I need them.

2. If something breaks or wears out, I can replace it, but only if I don’t have something similar. I don’t see this happening very often, but if something I wear regularly does become unwearable and I don’t already own a suitable alternative, I am allowed to replace it.

3. When it comes to makeup, I can only replace things I use on a daily basis. I own a rather small amount of makeup as it is, and I am interested in building a better collection, but I think I will wait until I am in London to do that. Over the next 4 months, the only makeup I buy will be replacements for things that I use on a daily basis. I know my primer will run out soon, and I can see myself needing to replace some of the lipsticks that I wear on a near-daily basis, but apart from that I shouldn’t be buying too much makeup.

4. I can buy myself one black coat and one pair of black boots when winter gets here. At the moment I only own one winter coat, as my old black one became too small, and my current black ankle boots have gotten very sad looking, so they will need replacing. I will make sure that both of these items are high quality pieces that will last me for years, and I will take the time to find something perfect, not settling for anything that doesn’t tick all the boxes.

5. No magazines except Frankie, and minimal books. I have limited time to read during the semester due to my high study load, and I am now living very near to my favourite library, so hopefully I can make it through these 6 months without buying any books, but I refuse to set myself a complete book ban.

Well, that is it. From today onward, I will be dramatically cutting down my shopping. I am feeling really good about this ban, and I do think that I will be able to maintain it. I find I get enough retail therapy from just doing the grocery shopping, and I do believe I have reached a point where there is almost nothing that I actually need. I will keep you updated about how I am going on a monthly basis, and after 4 months I will most likely write a post about my experience.

Have you ever placed yourself on a shopping ban? If you did, what did you find the hardest to avoid? Are there any pitfalls I need to watch out for?

My Everyday Makeup

I feel the need to begin this post by telling you that I am no makeup expert. The makeup you see here in this post makes up the majority of the makeup I own, and I am still only just starting to learn how to use it all to my best advantage. For the majority of last year I only wore makeup about 1 day in 7. I have been lucky enough to be blessed with quite good skin, and I simply couldn’t be bothered to wake up any earlier than I had to each morning. It is only in the last two months that I have started to develop some love for – and skill with – makeup. In early December I started a Christmas casual job in retail, working in an Australian women’s clothing store that sells beautiful, high quality Australian made clothes. It is a requirement of my job that we are well presented, and this includes wearing makeup every day. I work with some incredibly stylish, elegant and beautiful women, and seeing the way they wore makeup inspired me to try and improve my makeup routine. This inspiration, combined with a sale at a large chemist chain that meant all my favourite drugstore brands were half price, meant that my makeup collection improved quite significantly in a few short weeks. I have discovered some products that I absolutely love, and I get a lot of happiness from playing around with my makeup in the morning as I get ready for work.

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The first thing I wanted to show you is the makeup bag I use to carry all my everyday makeup in. This Peter Alexander bag was a Christmas present (I got the matching toiletries bag as well!), and it is the perfect size to fit all my everyday makeup. It has two sections, one for makeup and one for my brushes, and I absolutely adore it!

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These are the products I use on my skin everyday. I have been using the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Primer for years. I have been using it for so long that I honestly don’t know if it makes my makeup last any longer, but I do believe it gives me a much smoother finish, and it feels absolutely wonderful. The Revlon Colorstay Foundation in Ivory is one of the newest additions to my makeup collection, and I have fallen head-over-heels for it. It is a perfect colour match for my pale, pink-toned skin, and it is SPF20, which I think is really important for a foundation. My Revlon Photoready Powder in Fair/Light is another very new addition to my collection, and I am still learning how to use it. I had been thinking about trying a powder for a while, as I had heard some wonderful things about how it improves the longevity and finish of your makeup, and once I tried this powder, and felt how silky smooth it was, I decided I had to try it. I love finish this powder gives, and I am so glad I decided to try it. The last product I use on my skin is my Loreal Paris Perfect Match Blush in Sandalwood Pink. I have been using this blush for almost four years now, and I think it is the perfect colour for me. I got a set of makeup brushes for Christmas, including a blush brush. I had only ever used the little brush that came wit h the blush, and I was astounded by how much of a difference it made using a proper blush brush! Seeing the way it emphasises my cheek bones has made me itch to try some proper shaping with a highligher and a bronzer, but I think I have bought more than enough makeup for now, and will wait a few more months until I try my next adventure!

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These are the products I use on my eyes, and they all actually came in one kit that I got for Christmas. My mother knew I had my eye on the  Revlon Photoready Eyshadow in Impressionist, and when she found it as part of a kit, on sale and for less than the cost of the eyeshadow itself, she decided I had to have it. I didn’t have the highest expectations for the Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner in black or the Revlon Lash Potion Mascara, but they have both proved to be wonderful products. I find the eyeliner so much easier to use than any other eyeliner I have ever tried (not that I have tried that many – I am a tad scared of eyeliner), and I adore the mascara and how long and thick it makes my eyelashes look. I will definitely be purchasing both of these products again! I did have quite high expectations for the eyeshadow, as I had done some research and tried it out, and it has definitely lived up to my expectations. I really love the colours, and I loved trying out the different combinations and effects I could achieve.

I have always found makeup to be a powerful thing, a sort of armour I could wear when things when I have been having a tough time and I don’t want the world to know, and it is also something that can be incredibly fun. I get a little thrill every time I get out my makeup bag to get ready now, and I am hoping that over the coming year I will be able to further develop my skills, and slowly grow my collection.

What makeup products do you use? Do you use any of these? Do you have any products to recommend, or any makeup advice to share?

The Doctor Who Tag

My favourite YouTuber, itswaypastmybedtime, recently posted a video where she answered the questions of the Doctor Who tag, and I instantly thought it would make for a great blog post. Doctor Who is one of my all time favourite television shows, and I have many wonderful memories that involve watching it with various people. So without further adieu, I give you: the Doctor Who tag!

Who is your favourite Doctor?

David Tennant. He was my first doctor, and I have always, always loved him. I did really start to love Matt Smith about halfway through his time as The Doctor, but the 10th Doctor will always be my favourite.

What is your favourite Doctor Who story?

I think my favourite story is probably the 50th Anniversary episode, The Day Of The Doctor. I have wonderful memories of watching this episode in a theatre, in 3D, while eating delicious homemade dark-chocolate and raspberry brownies with three very close friends, who were also big Whovians. I actually rewatched the episode only yesterday, and I had forgotten just how well written and well filmed the episode was.

Who is your favourite companion?

This is a hard one for me, and I think it has to be a tie between Donna Noble and Clara Oswald. Donna was my first companion, and I absolutely loved her, but I have fallen in love with Clara over the last few seasons. I love the fact that they are there as friends to the doctor, with almost no hint of romance. And they are both such wonderfully comedic characters, who have brought me plenty of laughs!

What was the first Doctor Who story you ever watched?

I was a late bloomer when it comes to Doctor Who, and my first episode was the first episode of Season 4, Partners In Crime. It was a wonderfully comedic episode to start my Doctor Who journey with!

What is your favourite series?

Season 4 was my first season, and it has always been my favourite. While my favourite stories are almost all in other seasons, I loved Season 4 as a whole. Donna Noble’s story was absolutely heartbreaking, but I remember Season 4 fondly, as one that could always make me laugh.

What is your favourite pre- or post-regeneration story?

David Tennant’s post-regeneration story was wonderful – I laughed every time I watched it, especially when he started quoting The Lion King!

What is your favourite TARDIS desktop theme?

I think my favourite would have to be the 12th Doctor’s, with all those wonderful books! I thought it looked really warm and cosy, and a little more well-put-together than some of the previous desktops.

What is your favourite villain or monster?

Don’t. Blink. Whatever you do, don’t blink. Blink and you’re dead! I made the mistake of watching Blink by myself in a dark room the first time I saw it, and I was terrified! While I don’t think any of the following Weeping Angel episodes were as scary, they are still my favourite villain by far!

What’s In My Bag?

I am a naturally very curious person (often, I will admit, bordering on nosy), and I absolutely love reading ‘What’s In My Bag?’ posts. When I wrote my New Years resolution to w start seriously writing this blog, and sat down and wrote a list of potential blog ideas to get the ball rolling, and this was at the very top of my list. So, without further adieu, here it is!

IMG_1255To start with, the bag. I got this bag for my 20th birthday, and I absolutely love it. I ummed and ahhed about it for a while before I put it on my birthday list, as I knew a bright pink bag wasn’t as versatile as a plain black one, but in the end I decided that it was worth it. I have been using the bag for about 7 months now, and while it is starting to show its age (and not particularly stellar quality), I can see myself getting quite a bit more use out of this. It is exactly the right size to carry everything I like to carry on a day to day basis, and it has lots and lots of pockets. The number of pockets is one of the main criteria I consider when looking at bags – I like to be organised, and I find it easier to keep things organised if I have lots of pockets, so that everything has a place and can stay in its place. When it comes to the actual contents of my bag, I try not to carry too much (and usually fail), but these are things that I will almost always have with me:

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My Wallet: I absolutely adore this wallet, even more than I love the bag. I love the fact that it matches the bag (I have a bit of a thing for matching things; my suitcases match and I get extremely excited every time I get to walk with them through an airport), but I also love the wallet independent from the handbag. I tend to carry quite a lot around in my wallet, and over the past few years I have developed a love for big double zippered wallets like this one. They fit everything!

My Diary: I started using a Paperblanks diary last year, and I was incredibly excited to get my new one for 2015. I love the beautiful vintage-style design of these particular diaries, and I think the size is perfect – small enough that it can fit in a handbag, but large enough for there to be enough room for me to write everything I need to.

My Phone: My phone is always either in its special little pocket in my handbag or in my pocket – I am terrible at answering my phone when someone rings, but I am working to get better! My phone is an old model, the Samsung Galaxy S2, but it works perfectly and does everything I need, so I see little need to update it just yet. My phone over is looking very battered now, but I have yet to find another one I love as my trusty TARDIS, so I suspect I will keep using it until it becomes unusable – hopefully that doesn’t happen too soon!

My Sunglasses: I wear a pair of classic RayBans, and I adore them! We brought the first really long road trip where I could drive, as mum thought it would probably be a good idea for me to wear something with actually protected my eyes, rather than the $5 sunglasses I had been wearing. I was terrified that I would damage them, as I don’t have the greatest track record with sunglasses, but so far so good!

My Umbrella: You can’t tell when it is all rolled up, but my umbrella is actually a Doctor Who one, with a TARDIS design. Have you guessed yet that I am a big Doctor Who fan?

My Keys: At the moment I have one of mums spare sets with the keys for the house and car in Darwin, but usually I am carrying my own set with the keys for my house and car in Melbourne.

My Headphones: I am never one for expensive headphones, and I have a bad record for lost and broken sets, but I will always have a set in my bag, so that I can always listen to music.

Daisy Travel Perfume: I have been wearing Marc Jacobs Daisy Perfume for about four years now, and I don’t see myself changing anytime soon. I have two big bottles, one of the traditional scent and one of a limited edition scent, but I like to carry this little roller bottle around with me in case I ever feel like I need a refresher.

Paw Paw Ointment and Lipstick: I always carry Paw Paw ointment, as I find it works wonders on sore or chapped lips, and I will usually have a lipstick or two in my bag at any time. I am currently wearing Revlon Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie, which has quickly made itself my favourite lipstick. It is a gorgeous sheer colour, which I find looks almost like I’m not wearing any lipstick at all – like I just have naturally pink lips a few shades darker than my own.

Lacteeze Tablets: I am lactose intolerant, and these tablets mean that I can eat things that contain dairy without feeling sick. Yay for icecream and milkshakes!

Worry Stones: I have a habit of fidgeting whenever I feel anxious or worried, and I find having one of these stones (or both) in my hands, so that I can run my fingers over the different smooth sides, helps to calm me down a little.

There are a few other things I often have with me that I forgot to photograph. I always have bandaids with me, in case of blisters or cuts, along with some ibuprofen and paracetamol. I usually have at least one reusable foldable shopping bag as well. The Northern Territory no longer uses disposable shopping bags at places like grocery stores, so these foldable shopping bags come in very handy! One thing I definitely don’t have in my bag very often is rubbish. I always try to throw out rubbish as soon as I can and keep my bag as tidy as possible.

What is in your bag? Are you as big a fan of these sorts of posts as I am? If you have any suggestions for blog posts you would be interested in reading, please let me know!

My 2015 New Year’s Resolutions

I am still finding it a little bit hard to believe that tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. In some ways this year has flown by, and looking back I am a little amazed at all that I have achieved, and I am honestly really proud of where I have gotten myself over the last 12 months. I am hoping that next year will be another good one, and that I will be able to make some positive changes to my day-to-day life that will make a big difference to my health and wellbeing. This desire to make some positive changes has motivated me to sit down and have a real think about my resolutions for the coming year, and in the end I have ended up with the following 5 resolutions.

Resolution 1: Meditate daily

Earlier this year I started using a mobile app called Headspace, which is a mindfulness meditation app which is meant to encourage daily meditation to improve mental health. I did manage to use the app almost daily for about 2 months, and I do believe that it really did help. Unfortunately I have really dropped the ball in the past month, and have gone days at a time without even thinking of meditating. My aim for 2015 is to try and meditate every single day, with the hope that by the end of the year it will have become a habit, something that I don’t have to actively try and remember to do.

Resolution 2: Exercise 5 times a week

During the recent examination period, I started exercising on almost a daily basis as a way of escaping study for periods of time, and it really helped me to feel better, both physically and mentally. I have been told by a number of wonderful people I really trust that exercise is one of the most effective ways of fighting depression, and next year I want to make the effort to make exercise an even more regular part of my day to day life. My aim is to try and get at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. It doesn’t always have to be intense exercise like kickboxing or  a workout at the gym – a brisk half hour walk singing along to my favourite music is enough to do me wonders.

Resolution 3: Eat even better

I have had a relatively healthy diet for a number of years, but I don’t think there are ways I could improve, and I am going to try and enact some of those changes this year. I am going to try and decrease the amount of chocolate and sugary things I eat, and try and improve my snacking habits so that they become a lot healthier. I am always, always hungry, so I want to try and get better at always having healthy snacking options, so that I have something other than brownies and chocolate to reach for when I get ravenously hungry and 3:30 in the afternoon.

Resolution 4: Be more social

The last year was really hard for me in some ways, and I have realised on recollection that I wish I had spent more time socialising and catching up with my friends. I feel like I have lost contact with some of my closest friends, for a number of different reasons, so in 2015 I am going to make a real effort to organise to do things with all of those people who mean so much to me. I am hoping I will be able to combine this resolution with resolution number 2, and get some of my friends to join different exercise classes with me in the New Year. I have a friend who is excited to come to kickboxing with me, and another who is interested in joining a swing dancing class with me, which I am really excited about!

Resolution 5: Blog

I have really loved following my favourite blogs and vlogs over the last year, and I always get so excited when I realise one of my favourite bloggers has a new post out. My aim for 2015 is to post once a week, and I have already sat down and written out a list of some of the blogs I would like to write. I think blogging could become a really good creative outlet for me, and I am hoping that this new resolution will help to inspire me to really get into the habit of writing on a regular basis.

Well, I think that’s it! I think these resolutions are reasonable – most of them involve me improving on habits I already have, and the blogging one is really the only one that will having me starting something from scratch. I think 2015 has the potential to be an incredible year, and hopefully these resolutions will set me on the right path. I hope you have a wonderful New Year, and that your first few weeks with your new resolutions, whatever they might be, go well. I’ll see you in 2015!

Keeping My Grass Green

I have just finished my third year of university (yay!), which basically means that I have spent the last few weeks battling stress, anxiety, tiredness, and lack of motivation in an epic struggle to pass my exams without having a complete breakdown. The joys of studying medicine! As someone suffering from Depression and Anxiety, exam periods can be particularly hard, and I have developed a lot of different strategies for keeping myself sane and getting through these stressful times without (too many) meltdowns. I don’t profess to be an expert in mental health and well being – we don’t do psychology until fourth year, and there is a hell of a lot of specialising for me to do if I do decide to become a psychiatrist – but I do have a lot of personal experience battling with mental health issues, and I though I would share a few of things that I have found work well for me.

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Food

Food, glorious food! I have a passion for food, and everything to do with food – I love cooking, and baking, reading cookbooks, and of course eating! I love surrounding myself with fresh, healthy (mostly) and delicious food, and I find cooking to be a great form of stress relief – it is something I can that isn’t study that I don’t have to feel at all guilty about. I tend to find that, if I eat a relatively healthy day-to-day diet with a lot of fruit and vegetables, I don’t feel guilty about having regular treats. I have a massive sweet tooth and a weakness for chocolate, and while I know my diet could be better, I like to think it is good enough, and I refuse to deny myself the foods I love.

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Exercise

I am going to be honest with you – I have never been particularly athletic. I tried every sport under the sun as a kid, but, apart from netball, I never really enjoyed any of them. I always felt slow, unfit, and not good enough, and exercise was never something that I particularly enjoyed. While exercise still isn’t high on my list of favourite things, and I still have a hatred of running, I have slowly developed an appreciation for exercise and the benefits it can have. I have come to understand that getting regular exercise has really positive effects on both my body and my mind, and I have slowly been incorporating near-daily exercise into my life.

This year I found an incredible kickboxing gym where I started taking lessons, first weekly, then twice a week, and now sometimes three times a week. I find these high intensity sessions to be almost a form of meditation – concentrating on the position of each part of my body as I work through an exercise, while trying not to puke, forces me to stop thinking and worrying and just focus on the here and now. Going to these classes, and taking long walks around my neighbourhood with my music blaring in my ears, really helped me this exam period, and I do honestly believe that I wouldn’t have gotten through everything if I hadn’t kicked my exercise regime up a notch.

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Meditation

I have recently discovered a meditation App called Headspace, and I have fallen a little bit in love. I have always wanted to take up meditating, but have found it hard to find the motivation. I think I will write a whole post about Headspace once I have been using it for a little bit longer, but I will tell you that I love it, and that I really think meditating regularly has some really positive effects on my state of mind. I like to meditate just before I go to bed, and I find that it really quietens my mind down and helps me to fall asleep.

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People

Last, but definitely not least! I am insanely lucky to have some really wonderful people in my life, and I honestly don’t think I could get through all the drama of life without them. I have a bad habit of internalising a lot of my thoughts and emotions, and letting them build up until I am a complete mess. There are only a few people I trust enough to be completely open with, but these people mean so, so much to me. Being able to talk to someone about the confusing tangle of thoughts and emotions in my head often allows me to start untangling them and making some sense of the jumble, allowing me to see things with more clarity and be more rational. Having someone I can talk through any problem with makes such a difference, and I am so lucky to have people in my life who I can talk, laugh, cry, and just be myself with!

So, I guess that’s it. While there are lots of other little things that help to make my days brighter and keep me sane, these are the four big things which I really think play the biggest parts in keeping my grass green. It has been rather cathartic to sit here and write this. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some after-exams celebrating to do!