Eight Simple Things.

Here are eight simple things that have made me smile this week.

  1. This tulip, Tulips are probably one of my least favourite flowers, making a tulip bouquet will do that to do but I have fallen for this particular tulip amongst a bunch my mother bought, I love the slight colour change and the way it leans.
  2. Rusted Root- Send me on my way, probably my favourite song of all time but this week I have been listening to it whilst running and it keeps me going every time.
  3. Strawberries! They are finally starting to appear on the shelves and it is another sign of spring/summer time. I have been adding them to my breakfast porridge along with cinnamon.
  4. Coffee, I don’t drink a lot of coffee however this week I have found myself in love with going to a coffee shop, taking a little time to myself and watching the world go by.
  5. Original Source Vanilla and Raspberry shower gel, this again is another all time favourite but this week I have been using it in my baths instead and who knew? It makes the most deliciously smelling bubbles. (I don’t even like raspberry)
  6. This looks like a boring salad but I assure you it is far from boring. This has been my quick go to weekly lunch filled with Great Food Uk falafels, kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, carrot, parsley and tomato sauce, baked for crunch. I highly recommend these falafels.
  7. Vegan For Her, I didn’t read much before turning vegan and kind of went into unprepared with all sorts of health questions running around my mind, this book has answered so many of them and I am not even half way through. It is easy to read, very informative and interesting even for my non vegan family members.
  8. Thankful, grateful and blessed. Three words that mean a lot right now, as I read posts and articles about eating disorder awareness week I am reminded of my own personal journey and I can’t help feel very thankful, grateful and blessed for the life I have today.

Nicole 

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Now I see the good in me.

One of the biggest challenges and greatest changes I have noticed throughout my recovery is my ability to see the good in me. Before recovery and sadly through most of my life I have had a very critical way of looking at myself. I found it easy to see the good in others but never myself.

Everything I did was judged and when anorexia came along it became harder and harsher judgments. Nothing would ever be ‘good enough’ no amount of effort or hard work would ever be enough. I remember feeling so upset and angry with myself over little things for example not being able to draw a perfect drawing or bake the perfect cake.

Looking further back to my childhood I would beat myself up for not understanding maths questions or how to spell simple words. Sure these all sound like the normal frustrations of growing up, finding your strengths and weaknesses but what happens when all you find is weaknesses?

Soon these highlighted weaknesses turned into a feeling of worthlessness and so the things that I did that were never ‘good enough’ became me. It became how I saw myself, not enough, a trait common with people experiencing an eating disorder.

Throughout my recovery I have learnt the importance of seeing the good in us, not just for somebody with an eating disorder but everyone. We should praise ourselves for the good that we do, for our strengths, unique qualities and what makes us, us.

So I might not be able to spell every word in the English dictionary, who cares? I am good at baking cookies, I am good at photography and without this sounding too much like a CV, I am good at writing to.

Today I am able to say and fully believe that, I am enough.

Accept the qualities that make you, you. Never believe that you aren’t ‘good enough’. You are and always will be enough.

Nicole

EDAW 2016, Young Minds.

This week is about raising awareness of eating disorders, helping those who may be experiencing one, educating everyone and together help beat eating disorders. From looking back at my past with anorexia and by what I have learnt about mental health as a whole, prevention is key. I believe that with education we will be able to see a difference in the scarily increasing numbers of young people with eating disorders.

I could have made this post about how far I have come, what I have found helpful or even a before and after photograph but I am so very passionate about supporting what I believe can make a difference, starting from the beginning. I know I am only speaking from my own personal experience but if I had been taught about mental health when I was young there is no doubt in my mind I would have sought help and the illness would not have become so aggressive.

Speaking openly about mental health, learning what thoughts, feelings and behaviours are symptoms of a mental illness will give children the ability to control a problem, seek help, advice and support before it is too late. Not only will this help with the prevention but it will also reduce the stigma around mental health for generations to come.

The pressure on young people is higher than ever before and I can’t help but see this as a reason behind why more and more young people are experiencing mental illnesses. As children we are taught the importance of what lumps and bumps to look for but when it comes to talking about feelings and thoughts, it is often overlooked.

With eating disorders in particular children are bombarded with ‘too much sugar, too much fat, good foods, bad foods, skinny drinks, miracle slimming tablets’, magazines at child’s height with ‘X lost Y stone and looks better than ever before’, YouTube videos with ‘what I ate in a day’ and airbrushed photographs.

Children need to be educated on healthy balanced eating, all things in moderation and the ability to listen to your own body and own needs. Children should be taught about self-acceptance, positive body image, mindfulness and how to treat yourself with love, care and respect.

You would hope and some may even assume that parents teach this but in today’s society, who knows? When a child sees a parent stepping on the scales or buying slimmer’s bread, how does that make them feel? Do they understand or are they lead to believe it’s a persons destiny to obsess over weight loss and body appearance?

I didn’t intend on this turning into a ramble and I do apologise for my slight ranting. If this post can do one thing please let it encourage you to see how simple things can affect young minds today. Let it show that speaking about mental health with a child or young person does not need to be difficult and that it will make a positive difference to their health and wellbeing.

Here are some great ways of educating children about eating disorders, mental health illnesses and therapies to:

‘Sitting Still Like a Frog’ by Eline Snel, Although I have only read reviews and articles about this book and audio CD I think it is a truly wonderful way of engaging children aged 5-12 in mindfulness practices. Mindfulness has been proven to help people of all ages deal with anxiety, improve concentration and handle emotions, which may be difficult.

‘How Are You Feeling Today?’ by Molly Potter, This book looks like a great way to introduce young children to feelings. I am by no means a child expert however I am sure that learning about feelings, how to express them and speak openly about them is pretty important. This seems like a first step towards speaking openly about mental health and the book is adorable to.

‘Ana’ by Lilac Sheer, I was recently contacted by Lilac, a singer song writer wishing to raise awareness and bring forward the subject of eating disorders to young people. Using animation and music Lilac has created a wonderful video to help do this. The video is relatable, moving and doesn’t sugar coat the affects of eating disorders. Perhaps suitable for elder children rather than young children but a great way to give an insight and create a little understanding.

Disney’s ‘Inside Out’, this film is a very clever and beautifully written way of introducing children to emotions, feelings and thoughts. Both old and young including myself have found this film beneficial in feeling more self-aware. It’s easy to follow and relatable for all, I can’t recommend this film enough.

These are just four of the many ways that we can begin to educate young people about mental health. There are plenty more books, films and videos that will help children develop an understanding, giving them the ability to build resilience and protect themselves from such illnesses. This week I will be writing a couple of posts in the hope to raise more awareness of eating disorders, I hope you find them helpful in some way.

Nicole

Lets do the timewarp again.

This Saturday my friend and I went to Liverpool for the day, we shopped, ate and saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show at The Empire theatre. From beginning to end it was a truly lovely day. Shopping wise we weren’t so lucky, the high street seems to be holding on to wooly jumpers and I am very ready to say goodbye to winter and hello to spring, along with a new spring wardrobe. For a late lunch we went to Las Iguanas, I had the sweet potato, butternut squash and chickpea chilli with tortillas instead of rice along with these fruity mocktails which made me crave summer so very much.

As for the show, it was wonderful. To my embarrassment I have never seen the film, The Rocky Horror Show but I was kind of glad as usually I tend to compare shows to the films and it was really nice to see it as a show and not have anything to compare it to. I had heard about the storyline so it wasn’t a complete shock although I wasn’t expecting to see so many bras, corsets and hot pants, I wish I had dressed up to. The atmosphere was very fun and the audience really made the night. From not seeing the film I found myself really following the storyline and the script which again were wonderful. I highly recommend going to see the show if you get chance whilst it’s still touring. I would even go to see it a second time and of course I will be watching the film.

I hope you also had a lovely Saturday, Nicole. 

 

What happened to romance?

I have always felt I was born into the wrong generation, this feeling gets surprisingly strong as the 14th of February approaches. Yes, Valentines Day will soon be here and I find myself asking the same question, what happened to romance?

This could be coming from a childhood filled with romantic films and happily ever afters or the fact I wish I were born a good few years ago. Either way I am left longing for something that doesn’t seem to be anywhere. In fact is seems to be very far from anywhere.. as I recall being prepared for flower orders from the same man for two different woman and no one wasn’t for his daughter.

Surly there must have been a time when two people met each other without knowing or seeing a single thing before hand. No Facebook profile to review, no picture to swipe yes or no, just two people meeting whilst walking their Dalmatians… Too far? Okay so maybe not walking a Dalmatian but I wonder what it was like before the time of judging people based on an online profile was like.

What was dating like before the revolution of ‘Netflix and chill’? Did couples really go for picnics, bike rides, roller skating and of course drive through movies to? Are those wonderful things really a thing of the past? (I write sitting next to my pair of roller skates)

Styles and trends often come back into fashion, from outfits to hairstyles it all comes back around but we never seem to see the things that make a difference return. Values seem to stay in the past and I can’t help feel that technology has something to do with it. I mean even when couples are on dates they seem to be checking in on Facebook, Instagraming their meal (guilty) and even Tweeting the restaurant. I can’t help wonder what those from the 1940s would think of our generations so called dating etiquette.

Maybe old-fashioned romance will return someday, until then I think it’s best I stop watching such romantic films. If you are sharing Valentines Day with somebody special maybe think about what you would have done before the days of technology. If your not sharing valentines with anybody why not treat yourself? Just not with a romantic film.