A Look Back at 2017

Screen Shot 2017-12-26 at 13.00.22

2017 started off for me, cuddled up on the sofa with my dog – having turned down all New Years Eve social shenanigans because of my anxiety, and well I could think of a million other ways that I would have rather it started. Had you had told me back then, that 12 months down the line I would have moved out, started university, conquered some of my biggest anxieties, learnt to deal with various mental health issues, and run 10k in 47 minutes, I never would have believed you, yet here I am doing all these things.

The end of 2016 was when I finally opened up to my Dad about my mental health, which marked the start of me getting help, so the start of 2017, began with my mental health possibly the worst its ever been, and various different doctors appointments that confirmed what I already knew. Although these appointments, to me were a waste of time because, I didn’t want counseling (I don’t open up to anyone), and I also didn’t want to go on medication, as Dad and I had agreed this definitely wasn’t the right path for me.

I spent the first 4 months completely shutting myself of from most things, and just immersing myself in my college studies, which granted paid off, but it wasn’t healthy. I only saw my best friend Soph and would more thank likely turn down most social outings, so essentially I missed out on a lot at the start of the year. It wasn’t until April that something finally clicked and I decided I needed to get sorted, the way I was living was no fun, I was in a constant state of anxiety, and this mixed with depressive thoughts was no life to lead.

2 years ago I started up running, to begin with it was to help me let out my anger as to something that had happened a few months prior, but I quickly learnt that this helped my mental health massively, so I upped my training greatly, and pushed myself to lengths I never thought I would be able to, and this made me feel amazing. It’s a big statement to make but running essentially saved me and kept me sane.

Where I had upped my training, started to eat better, and began to notice a difference both physically, and mentally, this was when my year did a complete 360. I figured that if I could push myself to new extremes with training, then I could challenge my anxiety too. Slowly but surely I started to gain back my social life, immerse myself in college work in a much healthier and less obsessive way, and basically say a big fuck you to anxiety.

I started up my blog, another way for me to vent, and also calm me when I am anxious, attended festivals and gigs, ran some of my best PBs and left college with full marks and a distinction. August quickly rolled round, I turned 18, got my first tattoo, and had the most amazing night out with all of my friends, stumbling in at 3AM to drunkenly make toast and tell my dog how much I loved her – something I never would have dreamed of doing at the beginning of the year.

Then I guess what I would class as my biggest achievement so far; I moved out (3 hours from home) and started university, something that at the beginning of the year, I couldn’t see myself doing. Don’t get me wrong, I still get my fair share of rough days, and I am by no means completely cured, but I’m a hell of a lot better than what I was, I’ve also found ways in which I can help my mental health on the not so good days. Since September I have been introduced to some of the most amazing people, and have had the time of my life.

And that brings us to now. So what started off as a fairly dire year, ended on a much higher note, with less anxiety, less depression and much more happiness. I’m a completely different person to what I was 12 months ago, (get ready for the cringe) but in a way I have my mental health to thank for getting me to where I am today.

Here’s to 2018,

Han xx

 

An Open Letter to my Future Self

An Open Letter to my Future Self

Dear future Han, (written from 2017 Han),

2017 has been the year that shaped you into the best possible person you could be, it put you through some of the worst days, yet you also experienced some of the most incredible days too. I guess that’s the first lesson that 2017 taught you, that on the worst days, you always need to remember there are better ones to come. This is an open letter you, about all the shenanigans that 2017 had in store for you, how the year changed you and something to look back on in years to come.

BLOGPIC3

We’ll start with one of the most important things in your life, running. 2017 was the year you properly got your ass into gear, upped your training and ran faster than ever. This was the year you ran your first 10K race alone, without Dad, and completed it 48 minutes, your current race PB. Joined a running club, took part in training sessions that sometimes left you in tears, but it was all worth it, remember that. I hope your reading this years down the line, still a runner, never forget how much you love it.

Moving onto the music scene for 2017, the big artists of the year (that you had no interest in) consisted of people like Ed Sheeran, Drake, Post Malone (who?) and Sam Smith. None of these took your fancy, this was the year you started to develop your music taste, your favorite bands of the year were Blossoms and Viola Beach, you also took a liking to Liam Gallagher’s new album, you have Elliot to thank for that. Your soft spot for rap still never left though, you still waited up late to be the first to hear the new Eminem album.

You didn’t attend as many gigs as you had hoped this year; this is something that you should try to do more of in 2018, because I know how much you love them, the smaller bands are always the best. You saw Craig David with Soph at the start of the year, you wont say it aloud but you loved every second. You also attend Victorious festival with your family, a yearly tradition and had the time of your life singing to 90s classics, while drinking cider in a field full of like minded people.

IMG_2354

You worked your ass like never before when it came to college, you barely left the Mac suit, and spending hours and hours print designing. All of the hard work paid off because you left college with full marks and a Distinction, the stress and tears were all worth it.

August 2017 was the month you finally turned 18, the last of your friends to do so; you’ve always been the baby of the bunch. You had the best night out with your friends, got very drunk and danced until the early hours of the morning. Your 18th also marked the day you got your first tattoo, something you had wanted for years. You spent so much timing drawing your tattoo making sure it was perfect and it looked gorgeous by the end of it. This is when your love for tattoos took a new turn and you wanted countless different designs done.

Something that you did a lot more of in 2017 is read and I’m proud of you for doing this. 2016 you didn’t really make time for it, but this year you made sure that each evening you took some time to yourself to read. This was a really good way for you to switch off in the evening and also worked well to calm your anxiety, try to carry this on in 2018.

BLOGPIC4

You finally watched Gavin and Stacy, the last of your family to do so. It was a program you loved and never wanted to end. You should try and watch more box sets, and DVDs for that matter in 2018, then people might not look at you so strangely when you tell them you’ve never seen a massive blockbuster.

University was a massive learning curve for you. Moving out in September for the first time was something that at the beginning of the year seemed impossible. The first term was over as quick as it started, with a few tears, countless sketchbooks, multiple samples, an abundance of presentation boards, and only 1 hangover, I’m still amazed at how you managed this. You made some fab friends in the first couple of weeks, ones that I want you to make sure you always stay in touch with; you’ll thank yourself for it. You also only nearly set the kitchen on fire twice, that’s pretty impressive, for you. It taught you how to fend for yourself, make your voice heard, and also shaped you into an actual adult, though I know you didn’t feel like it.

2017 marked the year you FINALLY learnt your self worth. After a long 18 years, you learnt how you should be treated and not to settle for anything less. You’re worth more than someone who just wants you when it’s convenient for them, always remember this, its important.

Your biggest achievement of this year was learning how to deal with your mental health. At the start of the year, you were a mess; lets not beat around the bush. But as the year progressed you found ways to handle your anxiety and depression. If you ever forget what they were, they consisted of drawing, running, listening to music, and reading and long walks. Alongside this you also conquered your fear of foods, at the start of the year you were scared of anything with fat or sugar in it, you religiously counted your calories, you weren’t so bad at the end of the year, but its still something that you need to work on in 2018. Learn to enjoy food and not feel guilty for eating it, remember you’re a runner and you need your food, you know what happens otherwise.

IMG_1460

And then I guess that leaves us with your little blog. This was the year you started your blog, being very consistent with it throughout the first few months. Although you did neglect it slightly in when you started university, you finally learnt to balance blogging and studying towards the end of the year. Keep it up in the New Year; try to blog at least once a week, if not more.

2017 threw a whole bunch of emotions and challenges your way, plenty of tears, balanced out with plenty of laughs. You got through some of the darkest days where you were convinced you didn’t even want to live anymore, this I am proud of you for, because it was hard. You’ve laughed until your stomach hurt, made a rash decision to chop all your hair off, lost weight and got into the best shape of your life, not only this but you finished the year in the best head space of your life.

I hope you read this in the future and realise how far you’ve come. Enjoy 2018, make it your year, make time for all the things you love, see all the people you love, and fill it with happy memories.

Lots of love,

2017 Han xx

Christmas Day 2017

After successfully completing 12 consecutive days of blogging for Blogmas, I vowed to myself that I would take a bit of a break, but I’ve caught the bug – I’ve also got some lovely pictures from the big day that I was itching to post too.

Christmas2

Having grown up being the eldest of 3 siblings, I’ve always been woken up at approximately 5:30AM by my two very excitable brothers, though this year having all grown up a bit, they gave my parents and I the privilege of laying in until 7AM; still early, I know, but it made the world of difference. I’d also like to point out that my eldest younger brother (the middle sibling) normally stays in bed until around 11 and will only rise prior if he absolutely has too. So the fact he too was awake at 7 surprised us all, a christmas miracle I guess you could say.

Christmas3

I know some families wait until after they’ve eaten to open their gifts, but the unwrapping always happens before breakfast in our house, it always has done and probably always will. An hour of excitement and happy faces, lots of thank you’s and hugs, leave a hefty pile of crinkled wrapping paper in the middle of the floor, which my dog seems to be more interested in then her own edible gifts  – anyone else’s pets more interested in the wrapping paper than the actual gifts?

Christmas9

It has always been a tradition for my Dad to cook dinner and after every Christmas my Mum and him have the same conversation about how next year Mum should have a go, they agree for that to happen, but it never actually does, Dad will forever be head chef on Christmas day in this house. Having said that, this year he did enlist the help of me, the girl who nearly set her flat on fire through making pancakes? Yep thats right. I mean I was given the fairly simple jobs, but I’ve convinced myself that had my help not been enlisted, Christmas dinner would have gone to pot, and thats it, Christmas ruined.

Christmas-8Christmas10Christmas12Christmas15

I’ve had a very chilled day with just my little family, Mum and I walked the dog and got very windswept, getting a white Christmas was never going to happen, it’s the UK after all, its been grey and horrible all day, whats new. I’ve eaten SO much food, I am now sat writing this feeling like an actual pig in a blanket, I think its safe to say thats when you know you’ve done christmas right. Although I have no shame feeling like a little piggy because todays dinner was easily the best dinner I have EVER eaten, like ever.

The evening has been spent sat around the TV watching all the classics like Doctor Who and Bake Off. Complaining about how full we all feel and the dog looking mardy because she did’t get any Christmas dinner, it’s quite the sight. I say this every year, but this Christmas really has been lovely, over too quickly, but when isn’t it. My family have spoilt me rotten and I will be forever grateful for that. I’m incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such a wonderful family throughout this time of year. Okay, cringe section over, I’ll get back to being a sarcy so and so now.

Christmas4Christmas6Christmas7Christmas11Christmas13Christmas14Chrsitmas1

Happy Christmas,

All my love, Han xxx

Chocolate Orange Millionaire Shortbread

One of my all time favourite sweet treats is millionaire shortbread and with it being the festive season I wanted to attempt to make one of my favourite snacks, into something a bit more christmas appropriate – which is where I came up with the idea of making the shortbread into a chocolate orange version; as chocolate orange had always been something I’ve associated with the christmas period.

Image2

Ingredients: 

  • 175g Unsalted butter
  • 225g Plain flour
  • 75g Caster sugar
  • Caramel
  • 2 Large bars of orange chocolate

Image4

Method: 

  • Begin by preheating the oven to 180 degrees and also lining a lose bottomed square tin.
  • Into a bowl, add the unsalted butter, plain flour, and caster sugar, and mix together until they resemble bread crumbs.
  • Once the mixture in the bowl resembles that of bread crumbs, pour into the tin and push down to compact it into the tin. Then put into the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes, I usually find that 13 is perfect in my oven.
  • Once the shortbread has cooked, you then want to remove it from the oven and add the caramel on top, then place back into the oven for a further 5 minutes.
  • Take the shortbread mixture out of the oven and leave to cool. While this is cooling, melt both bars of chocolate over a pan of boiling water, making sure to keep it moving so it doesn’t burn.
  • Once melted pour over the shortbread, then leave to sit in the fridge until it sets.
  • When it comes to cutting the shortbread, I would suggest taking it out of the fridge 30 minutes to an hour before cutting, so that the chocolate isn’t too solid.

Image3

I’m a sucker for anything that involves chocolate orange, so I’m utterly obsessed with this shortbread, it is also so quick and easy to make, which is perfect for this time of year when everyone is pushed for time!

Han xx

My Favourite Instagram Accounts of 2017

2017 seemed to be the year that every blogger across the world turned against Instagram, with the algorithm playing havoc with everyones posts, it seemed to be at the forefront of a lot of bloggers minds and also the stem cause for their anger. As a blogger I can see why this is disheartening for a lot of people, but often I think people need to remember why they are posting on the platform.

That being said Instagram is by far my favourite social media platform, and being a creative person, this also means I’m very visual so Instagram is a near perfect platform for me. I thought with it being christmas, I would share the love on some of my top favourite Instagram accounts of 2017.

You can find me over on Instagram HERE. 

Screen Shot 2017-12-17 at 16.32.50

Something that I love is when an Instagram has a set colour scheme, I’ve tried this countless times with my feed, but I just can’t seem to stick to it. So when I came across Samantha’s account I just had to follow it. It’s so pleasing to look at because every photo fits well together, something that I have always failed at!

IMG_0895.jpg

When I first began blogging back at the beginning of this year, one of the very first Instagram accounts that I came across was Rebecca’s and I am forever aspiring to have a feed like hers. We were both part of the same Instagram bloggers pod, and she was always very supportive of everyones posts, which was lovely to come across.

IMG_0896.jpg

As you will most probably know, in September I moved up to Leicester, which prior to doing so, I went on a little hunt to find some bloggers from that area and this is when I came across Maya’s account. Maya has been incredibly supportive of both my blog and other social medias right from the start, she also has one of the sweetest feeds, that anyone would be mad not to follow!

IMG_0897

There has always been something about bright white Instagram feeds that just draws me in, so when I came across Chloe’s account I just had to follow it, it’s an account that definitely deserves more recognition too! Not only does Chloe have a lovely feed, but also a lovely blog, possibly one of the dreamiest blog layouts I’ve come across!

IMG_0898

Lucy was another account that I came across from an Instagram pod and I absolutely live for her outfit posts. If you’re looking for some outfit inspiration, then Lucy’s account is the one for you. Alongside her gorgeous outfit shots, she also has some wonderful product photography on their as well!

IMG_0899

So that rounds of nicely my top 5 favourite Instagram accounts of the year that I definitely would recommend you check out also! Let me know some of your favourite Instagram accounts, so that I can discover some more!

Han xx

Christmas Wish List 2017

I feel like it wouldn’t really be Blogmas if I didn’t include somewhere in the mix a Christmas wish list! Don’t get me wrong, I much prefer shopping for other people and gift giving, but along the way I do enjoy adding things to my own wish list.

Superdry Coat

If you’ve been an avid follower of my blog for a while now, you will remember this little number featuring in a previous wish list. It’s making a reappearance at the top of my Christmas list this year! It’s no secret that I’m a lover of anything red, so when I saw this, I instantly needed to add it into my ever-growing coat collection.

Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 10.38.27

Embroidered Boots

I have wanted a pair of embroidered boots for the longest time –  I fell in love with them when they started to come into shops last year, but ever since then I’ve struggled to find a pair that  I think would suit me. But long and behold, Zara has the answer to all my problems. I definitely already have too many boots, but there’s no harm in adding these on to my wish list, right??

Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 10.43.24

Gymshark Flex Collection

Something that I have spoken about before on my blog is that I am rather into my fitness and I have wanted to add the Gymshark flex collection to my ever growing sportswear shelf for the longest time. I’ve heard mixed reviews on this collection, I’m determined to get my hands on it at some point and see whether it really is worth the hype.

Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 10.44.57

Pandora Halo Ring

So a couple of months ago I lost one of my favorite rings ever, which can’t be replaced. But when I came across this one on Pandora it looked like the perfect one to take the spot where I used to wear the one I lost.

Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 10.40.58

theBalm Nude Beach Eyeshadow Palette

I recently bought this as part of one of my friends Christmas presents, and as soon as I bought it, I wanted to keep it for myself. I’m not a massive wearer of eyeshadow, but because these colours are so neutral, I would defiantly be inclined to wear it more often.

Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 10.47.39

So that rounds off my final wish list of 2017, which I am in no way expecting everything from, I mainly just do these for the enjoyment of writing them, also for future reference.

Han xx

Surviving My First Term at Uni

BLOGTOMO

Yes, I’m still alive, I have to apologize for my lack of posts since October, life and university just got in the way and I just seemed to have no time, but I’m back finally, and desperately trying to get back into some sort of blogging routine, so bare with me!

But, I did it! I’ve successfully completed my first term at university, with only 1 hangover, impressive, I know. Admittedly there have been a few bumps along the way, but all in all I’ve had the best 3 months of my life. At the start of the year university seemed to be something far in the future, but September rolled around quicker than I could’ve imagined and now I’m sat here saying I’ve completed my first term, if time could just slow down, that would be great. My first 3 months at university have taught me that time goes ridiculously quickly, another reason to make the most of my experience here.

I’ve managed to survive freshers, overcome freshers flu, cook for myself and only nearly set fire to the kitchen twice, hand in 2 projects and receive a high 2:1 for my first submission, something that I am immensely proud of, despite wanting a 1st, I’m sure this will come in time. Learning how to manage my new workload was a challenge and a half, but once I got into the swing of things I soon learnt the best way to do so. Admittedly I still struggle to balance my social life, with work, training, and clearly, blogging, but I’m getting there…she says.

In terms of work, being on an Art and Design course, I’ve literally not stopped working for 3 months. I’ve completed 2 projects, and learnt a lot about myself while doing so. Incase you didn’t know, I’m studying Textile Design at University, so I arrived with it set in my mind that I would be a printer, as this is what I had specialized in at college. But my second project introduced me to weave and also knit, which I’ve fallen in love with, so who knows, maybe I’ll be converted and choose to specialize in knit, my Nan will be happy about this!

University has introduced me to so many new opportunities and I have made some of the best friends along the way. From the girls on my course to those in my accommodation, they are all the most fabulous people I’ve ever come across. I’ve also been lucky to live with flat mates that aren’t too messy, although I have had to leave multiple passive aggressive notes around so they don’t eat my food, but lets not talk about that.

Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 15.28.35

Mental health wise university has done me the world of good. I honestly think I needed to get out of my little hometown for my mental health to improve. I don’t know what has done it, but since moving to Leicester and starting my new life my mental health has improved massively as has my confidence (I’m literally a different person) and I can’t tell you how thankful I am for that, considering just a few months ago I thought I wouldn’t ever get over it. I’m no longer the shy, and easily intimidated, and overly anxious girl I was a not that long ago, if anything you’re lucky if I ever shut up now. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my bad days, but I’m just better at dealing with them now and I’ve learnt that it’s okay to have bad days, something that took me far too long to learn.

Overall I’ve had the time of my life, what started off as a not so good year for me, has ended up finishing as a pretty good one. I’m so excited to see what the rest of my time at university has to hold for me, the people I’ll meet along the way and opportunities I’ll be offered.

Han xx