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7 months on from my break up

Hello lovelies,


It's an actual post written by me! 😁 I meant to write it at the 6 month mark but time got away from me. So, it's been 7 months since I've become a single unit, and this is a check-in to let you know how I'm doing.

When James and I split up I was so shocked I honestly didn't know how progress would take place, and to be honest, what progress there is has been made in my mental health rather than tangible things like getting the best job ever, or taking over the world. 😉 I can say now my bipolar is under good control and doesn't trouble me at all. It was confusing at first realising bipolar and depression are two very separate things needing separate treatment. My depression is still troublesome but I started a new antidepressant a few months ago which is helping a little. My psych has written to my GP asking her to up my dose of antidepressant and hopefully that'll equip me with the tools to make more progress in my life.

I'm still living with my aunt, thanks to her kindness. The plan is for me to get my own place at some point, but I don't think I'm ready for that yet. My mental health is still such that I don't think I can look after myself fully. I don't know when that time will be, but it'll happen when it's right.

James and I talk every couple of weeks and he came to see me the day before my birthday. I can see him now without wanting to punch him in the throat. He's dating, I've been dating, we're both moving on. Obviously the way he ended things will always be a sore point but it's not in me to hold a grudge.

My love life has been up and down. I have a couple of 'friends with benefits' and have been seeing a bloke local to me but I don't think it's going anywhere so there's nothing exciting to share. It's too early. I still have such a long way to go before I can offer anything to someone else. I need to work on me first.

Being disabled and not working is really, REALLY bothering me at the moment. I'm not sure what I expect to do about it, other than beating myself up constantly. I've got Fibromyalgia, ME, joint hypermobility syndrome, depression - and I found out recently after an accident in my 20s my left kneecap is in two halves and I have osteoarthritis in it. That'll be why it hurts like hell every day and seriously limits my mobility. I'm waiting to be referred to the hospital about it and my GP thinks I'm going to need an operation.

Since I stopped blogging regularly I've lost my purpose and sense of identity. When I was with James I was his wife and I was a plus size blogger. Now I'm no one's wife - or I won't be in 5 weeks time when the decree absolute is through - and I don't have my blog as a sense of pride any more. I've lost my confidence and my voice to write. I'm on a low income so I can't really be a fashion blogger any more - there's only so many times I can wear the same dresses.

The overriding thing screaming at me is I need to find OR CREATE my identity from the ground up and I don't know how to do that. I need to find out who I am again, not as an attachment to a man, but in my own right, and that is as scary as fuck. I need to build a life in this new place I'm living in, all my physical disabilities and mental health problems taken into account, and I don't know where to begin. But I know I DO need to begin, and that's half the battle, isn't it?

I hope my next big update at the year mark has some tangible progress to report, but as long as my mental health is on an even keel and I'm still here to write, that will be a bonus.

I hope this finds you well, and thank you for reading.

Leah xxx

The Quickest Ways To Change Your Look And Allure*

Hey lovelies,

This is a pre-written/collaborative post (not written by me).

Every woman wants to look and feel her best. While some aspects of your appearance require an ongoing investment of time and effort, it is possible to see an improvement in next to no time. The hardest challenge, however, is knowing which changes will bring the biggest and quickest impact.

Here are five simple ideas that will alter your look and general allure for the better.


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Alter Makeup Routines

The right makeup applications are a crucial weapon in any woman’s arsenal. With versatile and professional products, it’s possible to look like an entirely different person. While you won’t want to go that far, you can at least enhance your natural charms. Finding the right foundation for your skin tone is essential. When supported with the right lipsticks, eyeshadows and eyeliners, you can’t go far wrong. These are very affordable with online beauty retailers. In fact, you could alter your whole appearance in a matter of minutes.

Change Accessories

Accessories are crucial for making outfits pop. The right bags and belts are just the start, though. An online piercing shop enables you to find the right facial jewellery and items for a renewed look and energy. From nose rings to ear studs, having a few options at your disposal can put the power back in your hands. It may be necessary to avoid some products for certain situations. Nonetheless, adding or removing a piece of body jewellery can make a huge impact in an instant.

Get A New Hairstyle

Most women have quickly revamped their look by altering their hair colour at least once. However, this isn’t the only way to let your hair set the tone. Hairstyles can help shape and define your facial features. Aside from the instant benefits, you’ll notice that the positive responses from friends and family boost your confidence. Given that this is one of the main reasons for wanting to change your appearance in the first place, this is a hugely important factor.



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Change Your Smell

It’s not all about the appearances, though. Your overall charm and appeal is influenced by all of the senses, which is why you must not forget the others. Smell is noticeable during all human interactions, and switching to a new perfume can make a significant impact. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of staying loyal to the brand you’ve used since your pre-teen years. As such, this is one step that many women can embrace for the better.

Live Better

While all of the above ideas are great ways to influence your aura, nothing impacts you look quite like a better lifestyle. Your home life provides the foundations of everything. This is why getting a good night’s sleep and maintaining a clean property can work wonders. You’ll see physical benefits to your skin, hair, and other features. Moreover, you’ll feel healthier and more energetic in the process. What’s not to love?
Thanks for reading. Leah xoxo

The Best Treatments For Ageing Skin*

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Hello loves,

*This is a collaborative/pre-written post (not written by me).

When you start to get older taking care of your skin gets a lot harder. The days of a quick skin routine with a couple of products are gone and if you want to keep on top of it, you’ll have to work a lot harder. That doesn’t mean you can’t have great skin still, you’ll just need to start using different treatments and products to what you normally would. These are some of the best treatments for ageing skin.

Retinoid Creams

The biggest skin problem that you have to face as you age is wrinkles. There are thousands of products on the market that claim to effectively fight wrinkles, but only a handful of them actually will. There is only one ingredient that has been proven to fight the effects of wrinkles; Retinol. A lot of the more expensive creams don’t contain Retinol while some of the cheaper ones do so there’s no need to break the bank to get an effective anti-wrinkle cream. There are loads of great Retinol based creams that you can buy for around £20 and the results will be far better than a lot of the more expensive creams.

Peptide Creams

Peptides are another chemical that claims to reduce wrinkles and while that hasn’t been proven completely, peptide based creams are great for reducing a lot of the signs of ageing. The reason that your skin starts to look tired and sag a little as you get older is that it doesn’t produce as much collagen. Peptide based creams encourage collagen production in your skin and stop that from happening.

Skin Peels

If your skin is blotchy and you’ve sustained a lot of sun damage over the years, it really shows your age. Creams and treatments can go some way to rectifying that, but if you want great results, you should consider getting a skin peel from somewhere like The Belvedere Clinic. It’s nowhere near as drastic as getting a surgical treatment but it gives you results that are almost as good. They’re also great for adult acne sufferers as well.

Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is another great skin treatment that can give you great results without having to undergo invasive surgery. It works by taking a hard diamond tipped wand to take the top layer of the skin off and encourage new, healthier looking skin cells to grow. It sounds a bit scary but it’s not painful, it might be slightly uncomfortable but nothing you can’t handle. The skin heals quickly so you’ll see a big difference almost right away. However, the only problem with microdermabrasion is that the effects don’t last that long at all. After about a week, you’ll need to have another treatment and they can be quite expensive. If you want to look your best for a special occasion then microdermabrasion is a good choice but it isn’t that practical as a day to day skincare solution.

Keeping on top of your skincare routine as you get older is hard, but these treatments and products can make it a lot easier.

Thanks for reading. Leah xoxo

Bipolar and learning to self-soothe


Hello lovelies,

This is actually a post written by me. 😁 I've lost my voice and don't have the urge or confidence to write much these days, but I've been mulling over this post for some time.

Before I had bipolar, I was really good at occupying myself. Housework, personal care, Netflix, reading, tv........there were any number of things I could do to take up time and keep myself busy. Now I have bipolar this has changed and I've reverted to a child-like state where I've lost the ability to self-soothe. 

I'm like a newborn baby who needs everything brought to them. I'm very dependent on my family to keep me 'entertained' for want of a better word. On days where I see my mum and step dad and we go for drives I feel at ease in myself. When I'm stuck indoors I struggle to keep myself busy and entertained, and I want to cry or sleep, just like a baby. When I'm left indoors on my own it's even worse, I just lay around feeling miserable unless I can force myself to go out for a walk.

I know when I'm bored or sad that reading, watching a film, doing some personal care (or anything else at all) will make me feel better but it's like I'm caught in a quicksand of inertia and doing things I know will make me feel better is really damn hard.

I'm writing this after discussing it with my lovely friend Faith and hoping that it can bring a bit of solidarity to anyone else with bipolar who struggles to keep themselves busy or look after themselves. I do believe I'm getting slightly better at self-soothing and Faith's idea of a self care box to reach for when I'm feeling particularly down is a great idea. I could fill it up with books, dvds, self-care items and so on to help me feel better.

If you had a self care box, what would you put in it? If you've got bipolar, do you find it hard to self soothe?

 Thanks for reading. Leah xoxo

A Luxury Wardrobe On A Not-So-Luxury Salary? No Problem!*

Hello lovelies,

*This is a pre-written/collaborative post (not written by me).


Photo - Pexels

What would you do if you won the lottery today? If you’re a fashion lover, you’re probably already daydreaming about that fantastic designer wardrobe. Sadly, winning the lottery is a one-in-how-many-million chance, making those designer items feel far out of your reach.

But what if there was a way to get a designer wardrobe for less? Believe it or not, it is possible - you just need to hone your shopping skills!

Start bringing affordable luxury into your wardrobe with these amazing tips for scoring cut-price designer goods.

Make yourself a luxury wishlist

Buying designer for the sake of buying designer is not going to be a good use of your money. Is it really worth spending your hard-earned money on a bargain designer item simply because it comes from a good label? While yes, you want to get your hands on some luxury goods, you don’t want to fill your wardrobe with unwanted items you’ll regret buying.

Make yourself a luxury wishlist filled with items you dream of owning. Be it a black designer handbag, a sleek leather jacket or a certain pair of heels with the red sole - write down the sort of items you’d love to get your hands on. Start off small and realistic, these need to be achievable goals after all. With a wishlist in hand, you can set off on your mission to owning those coveted luxury items and raise the bar for your wardrobe.

Focus on accessories and classics


Photo - PxHere

Trends will come and go each season, and most fashionistas will warn you to avoid investing a lot of money in trends if they’re likely to disappear by next season. Accessories, bags and shoes, however, have much longer staying power and can easily become a part of your wardrobe staples.

Luxury items like shoes, handbags, sunglasses and classic Design watches are easier to pick up at a bargain price than a dress or a pair of jeans might be. Each new season brings a new selection of must-have accessories, while the styles from the previous season can come down much lower in price. As accessory styles tend to be timeless, you won’t be considered ‘last season’ by picking up an item from last year’s collection.

Try ‘reverse credit’

Credit and designer spell a recipe for disaster - you don’t want to end up thousands of pounds in debt because you went overboard at Selfridges. Reverse credit, however, is an entirely different concept.

Reverse credit essentially means investing in gift cards for a particular store, treating them as a savings scheme so that you can buy the things you want. This little trick means you won’t be tempted to spend your savings on Friday night prosecco and will have a nice amount to work with. £30 on a gift card each month for a year could give you £360 - not a bad start for your fund, while asking for the same gift cards for birthdays and Christmas could also help to boost your total. Most designer stores like Selfridges, Net-a-Porter and Harrods, offer gift cards, so that you can have your pick of the top designer labels.

Start using cashback websites

If you’re not using a cashback website, then make sure you sign up to one as soon as you’re finished reading this article! Cashback websites essentially give you money for nothing by carrying out your usual online shopping through their portal. The money you make is credited to your account that you can have as cash or in gift vouchers, making it an ideal savings scheme to put towards your designer goods.

Cashback is not only awarded for purchases, but things like renewing your car insurance, signing up to Sky and taking out a new phone contract - so even life admin can prove to be rewarding! Some of the best cashback websites include Quidco and Topcashback, which offer various rewards to take advantage of.

If you have a lot of followers on social media, then be sure to share your referral code - you can make a lot of money from generous referral fees, helping to grow your cashback quicker.

Find discounts where there aren’t usually discounts

When it comes to your regular high-street shopping, it’s easy to save money on full-price items thanks to the wide range of discounts available online. Sadly, luxury goods will end up on the ‘exclusions’ list 99.99% of the time. But there is another way to save money without a discount code…

Did you know that there are websites that resell unwanted gift cards? Well they do, and they offer them at a discount. Websites like Zeek sell gift cards with a certain percentage saved on the regular price, so you can save 5, 10 or even 15% on the value of a gift card. 5% might not seem like a lot, but if you’re eyeing up some £500 shoes, that’s a £25 saving - every little helps doesn’t it?

You can also use this trick to save money on your regular purchases, essentially giving you a double discount if you can combine it with a coupon code or student discount.

Forget eBay, it’s all about Depop now

While eBay might have been the place to pick up second-hand designer goods - it’s now so oversaturated with fakes that it can be difficult to spot them. Enter Depop, a great website that’s loved by bloggers to help them sell on their designer loot. Depop is simple quick and fun - helping you discover fantastic designer pieces easily from people wanting to sell their treasures on.

Of course, as with eBay - Depop is home to plenty of fakes, but there are some good tips out there for helping you avoid a Depop scam. More often than not, you’ll find sellers easily on social media to get an idea of who they are and whether or not they buy genuine goods - ideal for grabbing a bargain.

And there you have it! With a bit of savvy saving and knowing where the bargains are, you could soon be the proud owner of the designer item of your dreams. Discover some great new looks to pair them with on the fashion pages. Mixing up designer and high-street is a great way to create on-trend looks, using pieces you’ll be able to cherish forever.

Thanks for reading. Leah xoxo

Habits To Help You Take Control Of Your Health*

Hello loves,

*This is a pre-written/collaborative post


Having a chronic illness or an invisible illness can be tough to live with day in and day out. So it can be completely understandable that from time to time, it can be something that can get you down. Feelings of helplessness can be tough, and can actually make things worse in some instances. For example, a study found that cancer patients that who were feeling helpless got worse or even died sooner than their more positive counterparts that were looking to make changes in their life. So how you embrace your illness and health in general can have a part to play in how well things go.

With that in mind, here are some ways that you can take greater control in your life, especially when it comes to your health, so that you can move from despair and helplessness into action and making changes.


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Stay Informed

Being up-to-date on all of the ins and outs of your condition and health in general is a really good idea. A site like patient.info can help you identify any new symptoms, as well as be in touch with a whole community of people that can be experiencing the same thing. You could also read up on a site like pubmed.gov as it will have all of the latest scientific and medical articles. You can easily search for something relating to you and see what the latest studies have been showing. When you’re more informed, you’ll be much more motivated for change.

Keep Active

Modern life is wonderful in many ways. But it is also part of the problem in a lot of other ways. Think about how inactive modern life can make us; we drive from one short destination to another, as well as being sat at desks in a lot of work places, and then sat on tablets or scrolling screens in our spare time. So you have to make an extra effort to be active, especially if you have a pretty sedentary job. Even just waking for thirty more minutes a day can have a big impact.

Stress Management

If you are feeling stressed, for whatever reason, then it can leave you in a constant ‘fight or flight’ mode, with your adrenaline high and your hormones all over the place. This can weaken your immune system and leave you feeling worn out even when you’ve been doing very little. So look for ways to combat the stress in your life, so that you have more chance to rest and heal, rather than constantly feeling ‘on the go.’

Relax

In a similar vein, being able to relax and unwind can be just what you need. So choosing something that works for you is a great idea. Think about meditation or yoga, for instance, as well as a craft or hobby that gets you to focus on something other than everyday life. That time to be you and to be alone can be just what you need to help you to heal from the day and feel a little better.

Thanks for reading. Leah xoxo

Seven Ways To Balance Your Emotions*

Hello loves,

*This is a pre-written/collaborative post

Life is not an easy thing to cope with. As a person, you are equipped with the whole range of human emotion, from happiness to rage. Our emotions are ever present, ever pressing and ever painful. They’re always there and our moods don’t always fit the situation that is present in front of us. We get excited about new things to have. We cry when we get overwhelmed, hurt or angry and we smile when we love. No matter which way that you try to swing it, our emotions are an overwhelming rule over us, dictating our thoughts and actions. The problems arise when we act on our emotions far too quickly or wrongly. Regret is a strong feeling and it’s one that you can feel often, especially when you’ve made the wrong choices.


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Emotions and mood can swing from one extreme to another, and it can be really tough, sometimes, to regulate that mood. If you swing too far one way, you’re met with extreme anger and rage. Too far the other way, and you’re in a moment of pure euphoria. Finding a balance is the hardest thing that you could possibly do with your emotions, but once you find it you can live it as your new normal. Not everyone is born constantly feeling happy or sad; we are slaves to our surroundings and if you feel one emotion more often than others, you’re going to eventually forget how many others you have.

So, how do you start finding that balance in your moods and head toward a calmer, happier existence?

Watching how you react to a situation is probably the first place to start. Are you someone who is quick to temper? Perhaps it’s time to tame that fire in your belly and wait for your logical mind to take over before you allow your reactive mind to decide what to do. Making rushed decisions now is a sure-fire way to have regret later. Always take a deep, cleansing breath before you react to a situation, and this includes happy ones. You could be offered the job of a lifetime or a new house, but you have to take pause and think about how your decision is going to affect your future.

Ask the open air for guidance. You don’t have to be a religious person, or believe in a higher power, to ask out loud what you should do. Every single human being is equipped with a conscience, and more often than not, your conscience is the voice of reason in your life. Making your peace with your conscience and trusting your instinct is important, and when a decision arises that you are conflicted about, you should be able to ask yourself what you would like to do about it. Instincts are very powerful.

Ensure there’s no medical reason for your moods. It isn’t uncommon for teenage girls to need the help of Microgynon to help regulate their mood as well as their periods. If you find yourself feeling your emotions to the extreme, then it may be a good idea to ask for some help. Being on a total high and acting impulsively isn’t always a good thing, especially if it’s joined with a dramatic low, where life doesn’t feel worth living anymore. You are an important person in the world, and you need to remember that you count. Once you accept that about yourself, then you will notice when there are huge mood swings that just don’t make sense. Seek medical help.


Image credit /Source

Finding an outlet for how you feel is important. For some, it’s the gym. The adrenaline rush can be burned quicker through exercise than it can through the power of thought. Managing a feeling of rage is far better than taking it out on the people in your life that you love. Channelling your emotions into a constructive avenue is so important if you hope to understand yourself. Meditate, take up art classes or try a kickboxing class. All of these are the perfect way to let go of emotions that are overwhelming you.

Be wise about how you handle yourself. Every single thing that you do in your life has a purpose. The good, the bad and even the ugly all mean something. There doesn’t have to be a huge reason or message in what you do, but you have to believe that every event that happens in your life is for a purpose. If you can understand this, then you can have the wisdom to see the bigger picture. Sweating the small stuff can really put a huge downer on your day. You get 86,400 seconds in a day; do you really want to allow yourself to feel anything other than happy for those seconds? You don’t get this time back. You don’t get these days, these moments and these feelings back. Choose happiness and not sadness. It’s not easy. In fact, some days it can be too hard to comprehend. But you stand up, chin up, and tallyho!

Channel positivity through your heart. If you are faced with anger, stress, sadness and depression, find the light. Being stuck in a dark hole is not something anyone wants to deal with. You can push past it with distraction and making yourself feel happier. Take your negative thoughts and push them into something that you love. Go to the gym and for every punch on the kick bag, let go of a negative thought.

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Forgive your triggers. Emotions are complex. Allowing yourself to feel guilty for a burst of rage or tears of happiness is not okay. Guilt has no place in your well thought out emotions and when you forgive yourself, you detach yourself from the guilt. Let it go – it’s not the end of the world.

We deal with our emotions every single minute of every day. It’s not going to be something that you can always control, but you should remember that you are human: you’re entitled to your feelings.

Thanks for reading. Leah xoxo

At This Moment #9 | Lifestyle

Hello loves! I'm back with my monthly-ish heads up of what I've been up to.

WATCHING

I've seen a couple of films at the cinema recently. A few weeks ago I saw The Commuter, with Liam Neeson. I dare say he's getting a little old for these action roles now but it was an enjoyable enough watch. Less than a week ago I saw Den of Thieves, the new Gerard Butler film. It was really good - lots of action and foul language - right up my alley! Pablo Schreiber played one of the lead roles. You may know him from his comedy role Pornstache in Orange is the New Black but he's so beefed up in 'Thieves to be virtually unrecognisable. Hubba hubba!

I've just started watching Altered Carbon on Netflix. I've loved Joel Kinnaman (the lead role) since I saw him in another Netflix drama, the American version of The Killing. That's well worth a watch if you've never seen it. Here's a teaser trailer for Altered Carbon. I've only watched one episode so far so I don't really know what's going on, but I'll get stuck into some more episodes soon. My current mental health battles bring short attention span so I only watch 1-2 hours of Netflix a week, compared to probably 3+ hours a day before the split with James.



READING

I'm not reading anything at the moment, for shame, although I did pick up Patricia Cornwell's Red Mist in a charity shop last week. It was only £1 so I couldn't resist, although I don't have an attention span for reading (or writing, or anything else) at the moment either. A few people have lent me books which have gone unread. It's a little annoying as I'm bored a lot but can't get into things.

MAKING

I'm not making anything currently, although I'm enjoying the app Sandbox, which is a colour by numbers app. I usually pick small and easy things that I can deal with (attention span again) but sometimes I get my teeth stuck into a big project on there.

STARTING

I've just started a new anti-depressant after a month without any. My old ones were making me very ill (nausea, etc) and although I'd come up with some coping strategies, I was still really suffering. I'm taking Sertraline (Zoloft) and have been warned the first couple of weeks will be rough. I'm feeling quite low, but then I was before I started them. I hope to feel better soon - I'm a week in today.

FINISHING

Umm, I wouldn't say I'm finished with social media, but I'm certainly on it a lot less than before, with regards to Instagram particularly. I don't love my face as much as I used to so I'm not such a selfie queen, hahaha! I'm on Snapchat more than anything these days - I love those flattering filters!

ENJOYING

I've just started seeing a new man, so I'm enjoying that a lot, lolololol. It's casual but enjoyable.

LISTENING
(This section used to be TEXTING but music is far more interesting than texting).

I LOVE this song by The Fallen State. The lyrics are so sad though, and I'm glad they brought out a second video because the first one was of a little girl who died of cancer. 



These lyrics get me in the feels every time:

Why are you always on my mind?
In my solar system you’re the sun
My supernova
And those heavy hearts
Refuse to run
In my solar system you’re the sun


LOVING

Sleeping! Last month my love was napping and this time it's sleeping. Life is still really tough for me and I'm doing my best to cope but sleep is the best escapism. I love my bed. Well it's my aunt's bed, but let's not be pedantic! 😆

HATING

I don't really hate anything. My new antidepressants bring really low appetite so that sucks a bit, and I'm still adjusting to life without my husband (soon to be ex husband). It's been 5 months - it feels like 5 years - and I never thought splitting with a partner would break me, but it has. I've a long way to go to rebuild myself and I'm still under an awful lot of stress, but there are people far worse off than me. I'm not liking life, but I'm not hating it either. It just is, and it'll get better.

You can read previous posts here.
One Two Three
Four Five Six
Seven Eight 

Tell me what's new with you.

Some of my comments have disappeared from my fat girl in horizontal stripes post. Dandi and Dianne - thank you for your comments. I can see them in my email but they haven't posted on my blog. I'm so sorry! I was very touched by both of them.

Thanks for reading. Leah xoxo