Sunday, 24 January 2016

10 Ways To Beat The Winter Blues

Winter is my least favourite season and January is far from my favourite month. It's the one season I nearly always wish away and I know I'm not the only one. January is especially known as the most depressing month of the year. At some point nearly all of us will find ourselves desparing with this cold, dark, miserable month. They don't call it 'January Blues' for nothing and let's face it, post party blues and ice cold hands were never going to be a recipe for a happiness.

Here are ten ways I personally use to try to combat my own Winter Blues.

1 Treat yourself to fresh flowers
January is the perfect month to go ahead and treat yourself to some lovely fresh blooms. The more colourful the better, they will brighten your home and make you smile. This bunch of pink roses and white freesias is by Debenhams Flowers. Roses are one of my favourite flowers and the stunning white freesias make the whole bouquet look fresh and spring like. The bouquet looks stunning on my chest of draws and every time I look up I smile. I find it unusual these days to purchase flowers that have a scent but these roses smell amazing, transporting my mind to lazy warm summer days and to walking around the rose garden at Polesden Lacy, National Trust garden. This is one of six bouquets that come with a box of free Guylian Belgium Seashell chocolates.  Prices start from £19.99 with free delivery. If that hasn't persuaded you, there's also a little special code for all my readers to get 25% off. Just use DFBLOG25 at the check out. 

2 Wear a pretty dress
The power of dressing up for no reason at all other than my own happiness is something I've found really helpful since being chronically ill and less able to socialise. We all have our favourite item of clothing, often kept for best and sometimes consequently forever sitting at the back of the wardrobe. It might seem silly sitting around the house while wearing your favourite dress but I bet you anything it will lighten your mood and make you feel pretty.

3 Watch something funny
I'm a big sucker for a sad emotional film or dramas but they can be so draining, especially if you're feeling a bit down and blue. Trying to be more conscious of your watching habits will really help you beat the Blues. Try picking out something that will make you laugh, maybe a comedy you've not seen, a feel good movie or search YouTube for funny videos. This is one of my favourites because you can spend as little or as much time as you want laughing your head off watching funny videos. Personally I love watching cat videos!

4 Indulge in some sweet treats
Chocolate has the ability to make us happy, it tastes amazing and also the chemical compounds found within make us feel happier. What's not to like about that?! So wether you choose to take time out to curl up under a sea of blankets with a lovely warm hot chocolate topped with fluffy marshmallows or to indulge in a box of your favourite chocolates, this indulgent treat really could help you beat the blues. I nearly always have a little stash of my favourites hidden away. Hotel Chocolat are one of my favourite chocolatiers, not only do they make chocolate that tastes amazing, but often their chocolates are stunning to look at. As a January treat I'm tucking into a box of Caramel Sweethearts (here) covered in a beautiful design of humming birds, foliage and hearts. I'm also guilty of starting the free box of Guylian seashells which came with my Debehams flowers. Whatever your favourites are a little in moderation will really help you survive this winter.

5 Curl up with your favourite books
Dig out your favourite old and new books and have a good read - this is also a good time to have that hot chocolate! What better way is there to spend a dull, cold afternoon than getting lost in a good book? I'm currently half way through an old favourite, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It might sound silly but the Harry Potter books are like old friends to me and very comforting when I feel down. Getting lost in the magical world is one of my favourite ways to cheer myself up. For baking inspiration and fun photos I've been thumbing through Francis Quinn's recipe book (here) which is full of fun, creative ideas. I'm also excited to start reading about one of the worlds most loved screen and humanitarian icons, Audrey Hepburn, written by her son, Luca Dotti, I hear Audrey At Home is a great read (here).

6 Have a New Year clear out
As we spend a lot of our time indoors over winter it's worth making our surroundings as comfortable and eye pleasing as possible. A messy room can really effect our mood, decluttering and tidying up can make you feel a lot better by creating an environment you want to spend time in. 

7 Treat yourself to a new perfume
Surrounding yourself with a new beautiful scent such as Marc Jacobs Honey (here) has the power to transport your mind to summer and better days. It's the most indulgent treat on this list price wise but if you're anything like me a little perfume will go a long way in making you feel more like yourself whilst giving you a taste of seasons to come.

8 Call a friend
Think of a friend that alway makes you smile and make time to call them. Social media is great but sometimes you just can't beat a good chat on the phone, especially to those who make you feel good. January is also a great time to cut out or distance yourself from those who always bring you down. It might sound mean, but a draining friendship is never going to do you any favours.

9 Make some art
Wether you're an artist like me or not, making art can be fun for everyone. Pinterest has lots of crafty ideas for all abilities and if that's out of your comfort zone try an adult colouring book. They're great way to destress and fill your day with colour. Millie Marotta's Animal Kingdom book (here) is an inexpensive way to cheer yourself up at £3.99.

10 Get some D
On a more serious note, a big reason for feeling rubbish and sluggish in the winter months is due to the lack of vitamin D. When I was diagnosed with ME I was also diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency. It is thought that one in five British adults suffer with the deficiency and don't even know about it. D is very important for energy and healthy bones but in winter it can be really hard to get enough. Only 10% of D comes from foods such as oily fish and eggs and the rest from sun exposure. If you can, try to get 10 minutes of natural light exposure on your face everyday to help combat this energy draining deficiency. I would also recommend asking your doctor to run blood tests to check your levels, especially if you've been feeling fatigued and blue.

I hope you find some my tips helpful. What do you do to beat the Winter Blues?

Emma Xx

Flowers c/o Debenhams, thoughts and tips all my own.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Hello 2016

Cath Kidston pyjama set on sale (here)

Cocooned in my duvet and blankets seems like the right time to reflect on 2015 and a way of keeping my hands away from my big pile of Christmas chocolates. Seriously, I have enough chocolate to fuel a family of four for a month! It's quite disgusting but also very deliciously tempting.

I admit I was more than ready to wave goodbye to 2015 and welcome a new year filled with hope and fancy new pyjamas.  Last year wasn't my best, it definitely had its ups and downs. Despite my health being on a downward spiral since May, I feel I've managed to achieve a few good things especially through my little blog here. In May I joined forces with a group of chronically ill girls all fighting ME/CFS. We dressed up as princesses for a day and raised money for our chosen charities. It was really fun to create such a special outfit post (here). I'm really proud of the whole group and especially of my personal total of £1189.04, raised for ME Research UK. Thank you to everyone reading this who sponsored me, I was really overwhelmed with your support and love. Every time I've felt useless because I've been too poorly to do anything I try to remind myself of this achievement and of all the other blog posts that I've managed to produce last year. I'm excited to see what 2016 has in store for my little page on the internet and to get to know you lovely lot more. I really appreciate every single one of you who reads my blog.

I know I'll be facing many hibernation days to come, but I'm hopeful 2016 will be full of fun and joy too. Whatever happens, I'm determined to make this year better than last. I've not made any resolutions to quit anything, instead I've set myself a few goals and I'm working on a mini bucket list too.
Here are my top five goals I've set myself for 2016.

Get crafty
I would love to get crafty on my blog with some simple DIY posts. Craft is my middle name, show me a glue gun and some glitter and I turn into an excitable five year old!
So it's surprising to me that I'm yet to post anything other than recipes here. I have one or two ideas up my sleeves already! 

Some people laugh when I tell them I meditate, I'm not overly sure why because I think they're the ones missing out! I started meditating over five years ago but more recently I haven't done as much as I would like so this year I want to get into more of a meditation routine. Maybe try a meditation class. 

Eat healthier 
I'm not planning on attempting clean eating again anytime soon,  but to make better choices and balance out the chocolate. If that's possible! I've got a stack of healthy cook books ready to be bombarded with sticky notes and handed over to my mum!

Time to dust off my juicer. I love the concept of juicing along side eating well. It's so full of nutrition and goodness. Last year my energy wasn't great so I didn't fancy cleaning my "easy clean" juicer which is why I've got out of the habit. I can't wait to try my favourite juice of carrot, apple and ginger juice and to fuel my body.

Spread a lil' love
With everything going on in the world right now I feel it's so important to spread a little joy, to help others and let those who might not feel it know that they are important. So this year I will do my best to write even more letters and send some surprises to brighten as many days as possible. This is also an excuse for beautiful stationery.

Even though we're two weeks in, I just want to wish you all a happy new year! I hope 2016 will be kind to you. Have you got any goals or things you want to achieve this year? I would love to know!

Emma Xx