Buddy Box Lite

Last month, on one of those ridiculous-and-becoming-far-too-regular days where i foolishly decide that i have money to burn, i ordered myself a Buddy Box Lite from The Blurt Foundation.

I’ve ordered one of their regular Buddy Boxes before and, impressed by the contents, chose to treat myself to a little post goodness.

 

Unlike the regular box, the Lite box only contains around 3 items (as well as the standard postcards).

 

The box arrived on Sunday – or rather, I picked the box up from the nearest sorting office on Sunday after our postman chose that weekend to decide that ringing doorbells was clearly beneath him.. For shame!

 

Here’s what was cosied up inside, all based on the theme of “The Seaside”:

 

A Mug



Hm, ok so it’s just a plain, white tin mug. Not amazing but not the worst thing I’ve ever received. I guess this is related to picnics and camping.. at the seaside.. maybe. In a coincidence that I now suspect was planned, my work mug recently met its untimely end so this will definitely get some use.

 

Stickers


Definitely seaside related but not something that I’m likely to use. My niece, however, is going through a BIG sticker phase so she’ll love these.

A Sheet Face Mask


No. I’m out. I’ve got no idea how this relates to the seaside but it’s definitely a great self-care item. It’s also something I’ve been wanting to try for a while but haven’t got round to buying. Good work, Buddy Box!

The Postcards

 

What Buddy Box would be complete without the standard postcards. They include helpful advice, one specifically for committing a random act of kindness and a great seaside themed one.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this box. The selection might seem a little random but it’s all stuff that I’ll use and definitely helped cheer me up a little.

7/10 – would order again.

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Driving and Me 

There are few times that I am more at peace than when trundling down a motorway, the sunset in my rearview mirror and some decent music on the stereo. 

This is not to say that I am a calm driver. Oh no. During daylight hours I can road-rage with the best of them. Cut me up and I will curse your entire family. Get too close to my car at traffic lights and prepare to be slaughtered at the alter that is my steering wheel. 

And yet still, driving is my happy place. 

I passed my test at 18, a necessity due to the remote locale of my childhood village. However, with less than a year under my driving belt, I disappeared off to university and my 1984 Nissan Micra was sold to help pay my rent. (Note: my beautiful car was sold to another new driver who wrote her off within 4 months by driving straight over a roundabout island. I’m not bitter, just very disappointed.)

It would be 12-years and several refresher lessons before I scooted my butt behind the wheel of a car again. 12 long, public transport filled years in which I quickly learned the best walking routes around my city just to avoid having to take a bus. Urgh, city buses. 

In June of 2015, after much panicked calculations, actual panic attacks and crying fits, Slug joined our family. This shiny blue Fiesta has absolutely changed our lives. A bold claim that she more than lives up to!

I had forgotten how calm driving makes me, especially nighttime driving. When there is nothing but me, the street lights and some music I am perfectly happy. For all her flaws, my car is my temple of Mindfulness, the place where my head empties and is filled with satisfying silence. It’s my form of meditation. My own personal brand of Self-Care.

When I am alone and in need of a break from the relentless noise in my head, it’s not unusual for me to go for a destination-less drive. In the past year, I’ve driven to empty beaches, headed for the hills only to be distracted by driving along endless country lanes and discovered parts of Wales that I’d never heard of. Yes, it is an expensive way to find peace but it is my favourite way.

So, here’s to Slug. My beautifully flawed hunk of metal that has opened up a whole world of serenity and adventure. Long may you surprise us with your habit of cutting out the engine while going round corners and being a haven for spiders. 


Mindfulness Monday: Coping Mechanisms

I’ve been having a bit of a tough time of late, mentally speaking. It’s not unusual but that doesn’t make it any less annoying. 

I’ve overstretched myself and my mental wellbeing has taken the hit. I’m peopled out. I have no socialising left in me. Any fellow introverts and social anxiety sufferers will know what I’m talking about. 

Other the years, I’ve built up a small repertoire of helpful things to keep me sane(r) when out and about to minimise the fallout afterwards. You’ll find them below.

1) Breathe.

That’s right, remember to breathe. Obvious, non? Often when I’m in a social situation and can feel the panic rising, the first thing I notice is that my breathing becomes rapid. If you notice this happening, try to concentrate on slowing it down. Breathe in and out evenly, counting each breathe as you do. 

2) Listen.

Distraction is one of the most used tools in my mental health toolbox. When in a group of people, the best way to calm that inner whine is to concentrate. Focus on what the person you’re talking to is saying. Not only does it make you an awesome friend but it may stop you from dwelling on intrusive thoughts. 

3) Ask questions

You’ve upped your friend game by showing yourself to be actively involved in the conversation so why not step it.up a notch? BAM! Engage in the conversation. It might be the last thing.you even want to try to do but it will help.

4) Take a Break

Pop out for a smoke or a “vape” (ugh), nip to the loo or just say you need to make a quick call. Taking just 2-3mins to yourself can be enough to ground you and get yourself back under control. Make sure to use this time wisely though, with breathing exercises and the like. Try not to spend it obsessing over everything that’s been said.

5) Avoid Caffeine & sugar

Having given up alcohol for the year, this is one that I often struggle with. Most pubs will have a variety of soft drinks avaliable but these can still be quite expensive. Cola and lemonade, while the cheaper options, do come with the downside that you’ll be awake for hours afterwards.

I know these all seem super obvious but they’ve helped me in the past and sometimes it’s easy to overlook the simple things. If you have any other suggestions, let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear them.

Laters xx 

Friendship

Friendship is a funny old thing, isn’t it?

As i stumble through my 30s, I like to think I’ve finally got a grasp on this human interaction shit. For a start, I’ve learnt to accept that friends come and go, that’s just life. Other stuff I’ve learnt can be found below. Read it.

1. The friends you have at school, you probably won’t have in you 20s. The friends you have in your 20s, may not be around in your 30s and on and on and on.

The people I thought were nearest and dearest to me during my most progressive years are no longer my friends. Looking back, most of them weren’t very nice people though so I’m ok with this. Have I upgraded now I’m in my 30s? I like to think so.

2. The petty bullshit never goes away.

People will always suck. There will always be that one flaky friend you keep around out of a misplaced sense of loyalty. Similarly, there will always be that one friend of a friend who no one likes and that everyone moans about behind their back. Snide comments and petty squabbles do not disappear because you’re “adults” now. They just morph in to “justifiable comments on the state of humanity” or some shit.

3. You probably won’t have a best friend.

I am very lucky in that I do and I like to think/hope/pray that I am her best friend too. It’s more likely that you’ll have a set of 3-4 very close friends who you use for different areas of your life. This is ok.

4. You’ll spend more time with people from work than anyone else but will never admit that they are anything more than colleagues. 

These people will never be part of your friend group, even thought they will undoubtedly know more about you than anyone you’ve ever met.

5. You can ignore social media friend requests.

You can also unfriend/unfollow anyone you haven’t spoken to in over 6 months and not feel guilty about it. Repeat: You do not have to feel guilty about this. Also, real friends don’t ghost. True friends don’t just drop off the face of the earth. Like any respectful relationship, if it’s time to call it a day – be honest. If you’re on the receiving end of a “ghosting” friend, delete their number. They clearly don’t respect you so cut them out of your life.

6. Some of the best friends you’ll have, you may never meet. 

Social media plays a HUGE part in our lives these days. Chances are, you’ll have a lot of people in your life who you can turn to who aren’t actually IRL. If, like me, you have anxiety issues, the online world can be a safehaven. Just don’t forget about those IRL friends.

7. Couldn’t think of a header for this one so.. I’ve learnt to tell a true friend by how you interact if you haven’t seen each other for a while. I have certain friends who I only see once or twice a year. We all have lives and this is just how it goes sometimes. What’s important is that when we do manage to get together, it’s as if only a day has passed since we last saw them. That’s pretty ace.

8. Seeing your friends become parents/get married no longer fills you with dread.

The prospect of undertaking any of these life changing events in my 20s made me shake with fear. They seem like such grownup acts. Now I’m in my 30s, I’m overjoyed at the prospect of my friends popping out sprogs and getting hitched. It makes me unbelievably happy to see them so happy.

9. “Ovaries before Brovaries”

This never changes. The old adage that boys will come and go but sisters are forever is true. No matter what happens in life, the friends who have stuck with you this far will most like be there until the end. Make sure to show them that you appreciate them.

10. It’s all unknown.

Whoa, curve ball! The fact is, all of this is crap. Friendships are different for everyone. As long as you’re all happy and respectful of each other, that’s all that matters. No matter how old you are, ditch the crap and keep the gold. Besties don’t grow on trees, you know. 

Laters xx

Stuff and Things

Ah yes, I remember now. I said I was going to blog more, didn’t I?

Well, balls.

I think the below might help to go some way in explaining why I’m being so hit and miss with this blogging malarkey lately. Maybe. Probably.. who knows. I just wanted to vent and here seemed like the place to do it.

Are we sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin.

In August last year, I started taking anti-depressants again. This time, the SSRI fluoxetine. Over a period of 7 months, I attended regular appointments with my lovely doctor (honestly, she’s brilliant!) and we slowly increased the dosage to a point where I didn’t feel like such a mess of a human.

Unfortunately, my body decided that this higher dosage was too much and, in March, I developed the delightful side effect of bruxism. This led to the even more delightful side effect of waking up at 3am with half a tooth missing. Joy! (I’m now on dentist appointment 3 of 5, all to fix this bloody tooth). With a stern talk from my dentist ringing in my ears, I went back to my doctor for a medication review. We chatted for ages about the options available and agreed that it would be best for me to change my meds. This time to Sertraline. She wrote out a plan of how to move from one to the other and apologised for the possibly rocky weeks ahead.

Gods be praised, I seemed to have no withdrawal symptoms. Well, except for some really nasty PMT but that’s neither here nor there. Wombs, yo. Ya feel me?

I started on Sertraline a month ago and am currently on the lowest dose. As my body’s adjusted, the main side effect I’ve noticed is tiredness. No, that’s not right – Full on EXHAUSTION. Oh sweet mercy, I am SO exhausted all of the time. As someone who has spent the majority of her life clocking up an average 5-6hrs sleep a night, I’m now sleeping so much!

9hrs sleep? Easy
10hrs sleep? What is this, amateur hour?
11hrs sleep? Fuck it, let’s aim for 12!

Lucid dreams are another fun addition and the stuff my brain is churning out is both impressive and terrifying in the attention to detail. And random, oh so goddam random!

That all brings us to here. I am still planning to blog more but until these side effects have settled down, which both the doctor and the internet assure me will happen, I’m ever so slightly distracted by sleep. By which I mean, if I’m not at work I’m probably snoozing. Actually, even if I am at work I’m probably still snoozing. Snoozing For The Win!

Laters xx