Colouring In For Adults & The Practice of Mindfulness

Thursday 16 July 2015

Something that has become a super popular well-being trend recently, is colouring in for grown ups. I have been on this bandwagon for quite some time, and I can honestly say it helps me immensely!

Why have so many adults decided to re-discover their colouring books? Well, in my case, I have found it to be a great distraction when anxiety hits; plus, I've always loved doing anything creative and artsy.

Some psychologists have said that colouring has become such a popular form of therapy, because it coincides with the practice of mindfulness. The simplest way to describe mindfulness, is that it's the practice of staying in the moment; of not letting our anxious minds take us on a roller coaster ride, only causing us even more anxiety. Anyone who suffers with anxiety will tell you, it is no easy feat to achieve any kind of calm. So of course, any activity or hobby that helps to achieve this mindful state, is always going to be helpful in relieving anxiety and stress.

Another theory, is that colouring brings back fond memories of childhood, and in doing so it can give us a sense of calm or having "not a care in the world", like we did when we were children. It can create a feeling of security and make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

So it makes sense, right? Colouring is easy, it's creative, and it's a distraction. Even if you don't suffer with anxiety, or don't feel particularly stressed, we all still need a distraction at times.

Since this has become such a trend, there are so many beautiful colouring books on the market nowadays, designed specifically for adults. So no more colouring in Barbie or My Little Pony for me - I've moved on to the big kids books!

My little collection of colouring books.
I purchased three of these from Booktopia, and I find their prices to be really reasonable on not only these, but on most books.

I love these books SO much! Colouring might not be everyone's cup of tea, but if you have an artistic flare, and are on the lookout for something lovely and relaxing to do, I would absolutely recommend starting your own little collection of these beautiful books!
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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. Any mention of products or companies, is solely based on my own experience and opinion. I have not been paid to mention Booktopia or any of the books shown in this post.
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Botox Diary: Second Treatment

Friday 19 June 2015

Back in March, I posted about my first Botox treatment, and all that it entailed.  Now, being three months later, I have just had my second round of treatment this past week.  I wish I could say that since my last post on the subject, things have improved dramatically and that the results have started rolling in - but unfortunately, no such luck!

That's not to say it still won't happen, and I'm absolutely still holding on to that hope - positive thinking, right?

After the first treatment, I was asked by my neurologist to keep a "headache / migraine diary", which meant recording my pain levels three times each day, how many painkillers I took and how much relief they gave me, if any.  At my return appointment, that diary was then compared to the initial forms I filled out on my first visit, to determine whether there had been any significant improvement.  In this case, my pain levels had actually increased slightly from what they were initially - so unfortunately, there was no improvement to report.  I didn't really need the diary to tell me that, as I know exactly how rubbish I've been feeling, but never-the-less, I have been very diligent in writing down all the little details.

My doctor discussed these results (or lack thereof) with me, and assured me it is still early days, and that it is not unusual for many patients not to feel any benefits until the second or third treatment.  So he prepared the needles, and gave me another round of the dreaded thirty-two jabs.

I swore this time around I wouldn't cry, as I knew what to expect - but once those needles started hitting the nerves in the back of my head, I just couldn't hold it in any longer.  The tears started streaming, and I was so embarrassed, feeling like such a cry baby!

It's been a week today, and still I have had no improvement.  As it is today, here's where I am:

  • Feeling tightness in forehead
  • Neck and base of skull feeling very sore and tense
  • No pain relief as yet
  • Headache still constant and pain levels still high

It's so hard not to feel defeated by the lack of results, but I'm trying my best to think positively and remain hopeful that the results are still to come.  Even if not before another treatment session.

Here's hoping my next diary post will be a much more positive one! x

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Ladies Only - Endometriosis, Nasty Pain and Surgery

Wednesday 13 May 2015

I've posted quite a lot about my health issues over the years - both physical and emotional - but I don't think I've ever mentioned my diagnosis with Endometriosis.  This is probably because it falls into the category of "ladies problems", and therefore seems somehow inappropriate to go shouting from the rooftops!  However - being that this is something that's front and center in my mind at the moment - I think it's something I would like to talk about.

In the interest of full disclosure (especially if you are of the male species), this will be a post about "lady problems", and maybe a little bit TMI for some!  So please feel free to skip over this one if you're not so keen on reading all the girly details.

Early last year - after complaining to my doctor about some severe pain I had been having for a while - I was referred to see a gynecologist.  After a very unpleasant examination, an extremely painful internal ultrasound, and a laporoscopy at the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne, I was given the diagnosis of severe Endometriosis.  I also had a large cyst on one of my ovaries, which was removed during the laporoscopy (surgery to diagnose and treat issues such as Endometriosis).

The diagnosis didn't come as shock to me by any means, as I had always suspected that was what it would be.  I knew others who had suffered with Endo, and I seemed to have all the classic symptoms.

The usual, "text book" symptoms that women experience include sharp, stabbing pains in the vagina and pelvic area, pain when using the bathroom (in either or both the bladder and bowel), painful and heavy periods, pain during sex, and just general discomfort in those areas.

Once I had recovered from the surgery, I found that most of the symptoms went away, and I felt a lot better overall.  I went straight back on the pill afterwards, as the doctors advised that this would help to suppress the Endo, and would hopefully mean that it wouldn't come back as quickly.  They told me it would be likely to recur with 2-3 years.

For the past few months, I have been experiencing an increasing amount of pain again.  It has only been a year since I had the laporoscopy, so I initially assumed it couldn't possibly be the Endometriosis coming back already.  But after seeing my doctor this week, and explaining to her how much pain I've been having, she tells me it's a pretty safe bet that the Endo does in fact need to be dealt with again.  So it's back to the gynecologist for me (the earliest appointment I could get is in July), to most likely go through the treatment process again.

I have an extreme amount of anxiety when it comes to this!  Not so much because of the operation - but because of the examinations!  These were extremely painful for me, due to the position and amount of Endometriosis I had, and ever since, I have been terrified of anything to do with anyone examining me "down there"!  So of course my anxiety is at an all time high at the moment, anticipating my appointment in July.  I honestly don't know how I will cope if I have to go through that entire, painful - not to mention intrusive - ordeal again!  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be able to skip that part and go straight to the laporoscopy - however I don't know how realistic that hope is.

The thing that scares me the most though, is the thought that this may affect my chances of having children.  My doctor has told me, now that I've hit my 30's, I can't afford to waste too much more time.  If the Endo continues to keep coming back so quickly, my chances of having a baby will decrease more and more as I get older.

So, it's time to get serious!  This year I intend to get married (after the world's longest engagement), become financially comfortable, get this Endo sorted out again, and then most importantly - get pregnant!  At least, that's the plan...

There are so many women who suffer with Endometriosis, and there are so many varying degrees of it - some women don't need to have treatment at all, and for others it can be devastating.  But, as with anything, if you are experiencing symptoms that you think could be Endo, definitely go and have it checked out sooner rather than later.

I hope this post will be of some help to anyone who either has, or thinks they may have Endometriosis.  I'd love to hear from you if you have your own experience to share x
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Brauer Natural Medicine 'Calm' Oral Spray Review

Monday 4 May 2015

Recently, the lovely people at Brauer, were kind enough to send me some of their 'Calm' oral spray to try for my anxiety.

'Calm' is an all natural remedy for stress relief, anxiety and insomnia, and is simply sprayed under the tongue every half hour initially, and then every four hours as needed.

In my case, I am already on prescription medication for depression and anxiety, however I love having natural remedies on hand to try, rather than rushing straight to the Valium if it's not completely necessary.  This spray is perfect for those occasions.  The little bottle is perfect to carry in your handbag, or keep in the car etc, for when you need it

I have found this one to be really helpful at times when I'm feeling just a little more stressed than usual.  It helps to bring me back down before becoming completely overwhelmed.  Anything I can do to avoid a panic attack is always worth a try, and so far I've really benefited from using 'Calm'.

I'm not going to say that this is something that will cure an anxiety attack - it won't, at least not in my case - however, when you're feeling stressed, or you can feel the anxiety building, this is a great little remedy to help nip it in the bud before it gets too much.

I would absolutely recommend giving it a try if you suffer from anxiety, or even just to have on hand for stressful days or sleepless nights.

To find out more about the 'Calm' spray, and other natural products by Brauer, you can view them all at

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Disclaimer:  This product was provided to me by the brand, however all opinions expressed are my own and are based solely on my own experience using the product.
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Botox Diary: First Treatment

Friday 13 March 2015

A little while ago, I mentioned that I had been approved as a candidate for Botox treatment for my chronic migraine.  I had my first round of injections this past week, and - knowing how incredibly anxious I was, leading up to my appointment - I thought it might be an idea to start a 'Botox Diary' series, so that I can share the process with you step by step - and perhaps I'll be able to help out some other "Nervous Nellie's" out there, who are most likely Googling frantically, the way I have been for the past couple of months!

I am notoriously guilty of consulting "Dr. Google", on just about everything, which is never a good idea - especially for an already very anxious person, like myself!

As soon as I was given the approval for the treatment, I jumped straight online and found as many forums, message boards and blogs on Botox as I could.  Of course, the majority of what I found was quite negative - because really, who ever posts anything positive on those review boards?  It's usually people who have had a bad experience, that end up posting to warn others.  The logical part of me knows that, however the anxious part of me just can't stop reading, and in turn worrying about every little thing anyone has ever said!

The main things that concerned me were the stories I read about patients ending up with droopy eyelids, and/or being unable to lift their head after treatment.  There were also a couple of reviews that mentioned patients feeling worse, pain-wise, after the Botox.

I cannot even explain how terrified I have been over this whole thing!  I've laughed and joked around with friends and family about it - but I have also locked myself away and cried many times, purely because of the anxiety I've been feeling.  It may sound silly to most people, but anyone who suffers anxiety will be able to imagine exactly how stressed this has made me.

I decided the best way to go about it, was just to do it regardless of what may or may not come about.  I figured if I didn't go ahead with the treatment, I would always be wondering if this could have been the one thing that could actually have given me some relief!  So I opted to go to my appointment, ask every question I possibly could to the doctor about my concerns, and pray that he'd be able to set my mind at ease.

Image by Sarah G... used under Creative Commons license.

When I asked my doctor about the drooping eyelids and neck etc., he told me that he had experienced three to four cases of this happening, out of around two hundred.  He said it was very rare, but of course these things can happen, and I was required to sign a consent form before receiving the injections.

After discussing my recent MRI, different medications and possible side effects etc., I was asked to lay down for the first few needles.  Luckily, my fiancee had made sure he could be there with me, as he knew how terrified I was - so he held my hand while the doctor went ahead and started injecting my forehead.  I'm not going to lie - it hurt!  The needles themselves were not so bad, but the Botox really has a sting to it as it goes under the skin.  The stinging seems to last for a while afterwards also.  But the pain is bearable - and let's face it, the majority of people who undergo this treatment, are people who suffer chronic pain, so our tolerance is already reasonably high for the most part.

Once the facial injections were done, I was asked to sit in a chair and pull all of my hair up into a high pony tail.  Then the doctor started with the injections to the neck, head and shoulders.  There are thirty two injections in total for each session.  Ouch!

I felt quite tender, and a little bit sore in some spots for a day or so after the treatment, but not as badly as I was expecting.

It has been just over a week now, and so far I haven't felt any relief.  After about three days, I noticed that the skin on my forehead was feeling a little bit tight - nothing major, but enough to notice.  Also, I can't raise my left eyebrow, which feels quite strange and has made me a little self-conscious.  But apart from that, no bad side effects so far.  My head has been extremely sore though, but I'm unsure as to whether that has something to do with the Botox, or if it's just coincidence that it's been particularly bad this past week.

So, overall, this is where I stand a week after my first treatment:

  • No pain relief as yet, and pain is currently very bad
  • Slight tightness in forehead
  • Unable to raise left eyebrow
  • Neck is a little stiff and a little bit more sore than usual

So, at this point I don't have anything positive to report, but I'm still crossing my fingers and toes!  People react very differently to this kind of treatment, and my doctor warned me that I may not see any results at all with the first treatment - whereas some patients feel some relief within only days.  I have to report back to the doctor after two weeks, with a detailed headache diary, and from there I will have another round of treatment in three months time.

Here's hoping I'll have some positive things to report in my next Botox Diary post!

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My Experience With Obsessive Compulsive Self Harm - "Picking"

Wednesday 18 February 2015

I'm always the first one to advocate being open and honest when it comes to mental or physical illness.  One thing I've never really been, is ashamed of the problems I have, or have had in the past.  But I have to be honest and say that this is one issue I do feel ashamed of.  Or maybe it's more embarrassed, than ashamed.  I don't know.  I just know that this is the one thing I am constantly trying to cover up, and not let anyone see.  It bothers me, and it bothers others also, which is why I feel the need to keep it hidden.

It's something called Excoriation Disorder.  It goes hand in hand with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and basically it means that I pick at my skin.  When I feel particularly stressed, or when my anxiety is running high, I pick at my skin to the point that it bleeds, and of course hurts.

This disorder can be considered a form of self harm, although of course it is not to the same degree as cutting or burning.  It can however, be purely an obsessive behaviour in some people, and have nothing to do with wanting to self harm.  It really depends on the person, and the reasons behind why they began "picking" in the first place.

In my case, it's almost like a coping mechanism.  It's a sense of control, and a release when I'm feeling stressed and hopeless.  It has also become a habit, where I often don't even realise I'm doing it.

In all honestly, I didn't even realise this was a problem - or how bad it had become - until people started noticing the sores on my arms.  I felt so ashamed when friends started to ask me what had happened, or if I'd been bitten by something etc.  The looks of horror on their faces broke my heart.  I had no idea it looked so bad.

Nowadays, it's something I think about every day.  I feel embarrassed to show my arms, so I am constantly trying to cover them with long sleeves.  It's not always easy during Summer, but at the end of the day, I would rather swelter in the heat, than for another person to notice and be horrified by my sores.

My right arm
I'm doing my best to start healing myself from the inside out, and to stop hurting myself on the outside.  I am also trying my best to heal as much of the damage I've already done to my skin.  I'm using Bio-Oil each day, and praying that I won't be left with permanent scarring.

I'm no expert on this disorder, so this post may not be so helpful for those looking for facts and medical information.  But I just felt it was something I wanted to put out there, to share with whoever may or may not read it, and be dealing with something similar.  Just know - you really aren't alone x
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Glamour Affair Blogger Event in Melbourne

Wednesday 11 February 2015

In January, I was lucky enough to attend a blogger event in Melbourne called Glamour Affair.  It was run by two lovely bloggers, Melissa and Erin - hover over their names for links to their blogs!

The event was held at the Elephant and Wheelbarrow pub in St Kilda, and the turnout was great - about 35 bloggers and YouTubers.

I love these sorts of events, because they are such a great opportunity to network and get to know different people involved in different kinds of social media.  Not to mention the AMAZING goodie bag we were sent home with!

Some of the brands we walked away with were Benefit, Lush, Shanghai Suzy, LonVitalite, Schwarzkopf, The Body Shop and Skindinavia... to name only a few!

When we arrived, we were each given a small box, with a heart shaped USB stick on a chain inside.  On the inside of the lid, was the name of one of the other guests at the event.  We then had the challenge to find that person and take a photo with them.  The photos were then uploaded to Instagram and two were chosen to win a beautiful necklace from Bevilles!  It was a fun idea, and a lovely way for us to break the ice and get to know one another.

Throughout the afternoon, we took part in other activities and saw presentations by representatives from Benefit, Lush and LonVitalite.

We were extremely lucky to be given three full-sized Benefit products, including Puff Off, which had only been released that day!

It was a really great day overall.  We enjoyed great company, yummy food and learnt a lot about some awesome brands and products!

Unfortunately, my photos aren't the best - but if you would like to have a look at some of the other pictures from the day, head over to Instagram and search the hashtag #GlamourAffair xo

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Beautiful Bullies

Monday 12 January 2015

Something has really been bothering me lately.  It's the way women (in particular, but not solely), are treating each other via social media, forums and just online in general.

I have found this to be true, particularly amongst the "beauty guru" group.  Whether it be bloggers or YouTubers, it just seems that we as females, genuinely enjoy tearing shreds off each other in public forums for the whole world to see.

One gossip site in particular (which I won't name, but am certain any bloggers/vloggers/youtubers reading this will know the one I'm referring to), openly admits to serving one purpose, and that is to publicly humiliate popular "social media personalities".  I had heard others talk about this site many times, so I decided to check it out for myself and see what all the fuss was about.  I was genuinely surprised at how harsh, and downright mean, some of the comments and threads were!

Maybe I'm just naive in my thinking, but I truly can't understand why we feel the need to do this to each other.  Why can't we be happy for each others successes?  Why is it as soon as someone puts themselves out there, doing something they love, someone has to knock them down and trample them with cruel and humiliating remarks?  Why can't we just be happy for them and move on?

YouTubers in particular seem to bare the brunt of the abuse.  I love YouTube, and have many channels that I watch regularly.  I can't even count how many of my favourites have, at some point in time, had to "take a break" from filming, or even permanently delete their channels, because the tormenting has become too much for them to handle!  It truly baffles me that people take so much joy in making others miserable.  Throwing insults at them for their looks, the way they speak, the way they dress, how they raise their children, what they eat, what they do for work, their personal relationships, their family members, and the list goes on.  What gives any of us the right to comment on any of those things to begin with?

How do these women - usually beautiful, talented, young women - turn into such mean and spiteful people?

Please be kind, ladies.  Let's remember what our mothers taught us - "If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all"!  It really is that simple.

Image by Amy Clarke used under Creative Commons license.

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D.I.Y. Holiday Gift: Peppermint Twist Christmas Cocoa in a Jar

Monday 5 January 2015

This holidays, I decided to be a little more creative with some of my gifts.  I always like to give everyone at work a little something at the end of the year, but it's not always easy to think of something that will suit everyone, is nice, and won't break the bank!

So this year, I opted to do something a little bit different, and fun - these cute little jars of cocoa mix (with a Peppermint twist for the holidays).  I realize I'm posting this a little late, but I was so happy with how they turned out, I thought I would still share them with you - better late than never!

To make these, you will need:

Milk powder
Cocoa powder
Mini choc chips
Candy canes (crushed) and
A jar of your choice

You will need to adjust the amounts of each ingredient, depending on what size jar you decide to go with.  Based on a 1 quart size jar, you would use:

1 cup each of milk powder, cocoa powder and sugar, 1/2 cup mini choc chips and crushed candy canes to top.

Layer the ingredients, one by one, being careful not to mix them together.  Also add a pinch of salt to the mix.

The top layer should be the mini choc chips, and finally the crushed up candy canes - as much or as little as you like to make it look pretty, and add the Peppermint twist.

Once the jars are filled, you can decorate them however you like.  I kept mine simple, with just a little bit of coloured raffia, tied around the top, and then I attached a labeled tag to the lid.

I used plain brown paper bags to present them in, and attached another tag to the bag.

Be sure to also include the following instructions on how to make up the cocoa mix:

"Mix contents in a large bowl.  For each serving, place 1/3 cup cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup boiling water.  Store remaining mix in airtight container".

Everyone seemed to love these, and I really enjoyed making and decorating them.  Nothing beats a gift made at home with lots of love! x
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