14 June 2015

Managing Stress and Depression: Adult Colouring Books

I've written before about my long term battle with depression. Unfortunately, I just happen to be one of many people who are affected by the condition. Part and package of dealing with life these days seems to be a large amount of stress for everyone, especially when also trying to manage a mental illness that causes a large amount of anxiety during, what many people would consider, everyday tasks. I've always found activities such as drawing, colouring and painting relaxing and a great distraction from the real world and it seems that a lot of people are beginning to agree. In fact, the influx of art therapy colouring books targeted to the adult market that have hit the shelves within the last 6 months is astounding.
 I first came across the concept of adult colouring books around a year ago when, as part of my job working with adult learning, I assisted with an art therapy course being run with The Stroke Association. One of the learners who had a lot of issues with communication and expressing himself, brought in his copy of the book photographed above to show us. As I flicked through the pages and saw beautiful pictures filled with patterns and intricate lines I could see exactly why he loved this book.
The reason art therapy and adult colouring in particular are so effective is because they allow you to become completely immersed within the activity. Colouring is something that you do quietly that requires no thought other than which colour you might use next. Although you may not notice it happening at the time, this allows your brain to take a deep breath. Simple tasks are one of the most well recognised ways to achieve a calm mind as they stimulate the brain enough to keep it from wandering to things that you don't want to dwell on, yet don't over stretch your mental capability. Interestingly (or at least, I find it interesting!) Tetris is also used in a very similar way to help those dealing with extreme trauma. Combining this calm with the satisfaction felt at creating something beautiful, you have the recipe for a very healthy mind state.

You can now buy colouring books covering a wide range of subjects such as birds, flowers, animals, mandalas, stained glass windows, scenery, insects and make believe worlds so it is totally possible for everyone to find something that they are drawn to.

Of all of the books that I have seen, my top recommendations would be the Art Therapy book photographed above *find here*, the Colour Therapy book *find here* and the Creative Therapy book *find here* all of which contain beautiful, specially designed pages to colour and doodle without feeling remotely childish.

Have you tried any of these books? What are your thoughts on Art Therapy? Would you give it a go?

Annie xxx

10 June 2015

My Little Box: The Provence Box

I jumped on the beauty box bandwagon when they were still  pretty new concept to the UK a while back now but eventually stopped receiving any because they just got too boring and samey. However, recently, I started noticing people picking up My Little Box and found myself interested once again because I love that they offer a mix of fashion, beauty and lifestyle in their boxes. I've been subscribed for a couple of months now and have really been enjoying receiving my box of pretty surprises through the post.

The theme of this months box was Provence, with all of the items drawing inspiration from the beautiful sun drenched region of France.
I was really happy to open my box and find nestled inside a cute drawstring bag (which is now being used to store our sewing kit) lots of little L'Occitane goodies.
L'Occitane originated from Provence so what better brand to feature! From their range each subscriber received a 50ml Mer and Mistral shower gel, 25g Verbena soap, 30ml Verbena body lotion and a 10ml Roses et Reines hand and nail cream. Tom already has his eye on the shower gel but as a big fan of L'Occitane, I know I will use up all of these very happily. They make some of the very best hand creams and body lotions in my opinion!
As well as the L'Occitane goodies, there was also a My Little Beauty eyeshadow crayon in a pretty bronze shade that will look perfect with most things in the summer. I wear a lot of gold and bronze so I was really happy with this too. It is soft and creamy and has great staying power. At the moment you aren't able to purchase from the My Little Beauty website in the UK (apparently they're working on it!) so it is nice to receive an item from the My Little Box beauty range in each box.
There was also a rather cute sheet of magnets featuring a doll who you can dress up in Provence inspired attire. I wasn't overly fussed by this but I've plonked them on the side of the fridge for the time being, leaving Tom a little dismayed.
Finally, inside the little box which say "Sunny things inside" was a little gold coloured cuff bracelet with two pretty blue threads to use to DIY your own little accessory. This I did enjoy. As I've been stuck sat on my bum in silly amounts of pain for the past two weeks I welcomed the distraction. The result is photographed below. I also used the pink string necklace from last months box to add a bit of extra personality to my bracelet.
I think this box was great value and once again, My Little Box have come up with something varied, unique and that will be enjoyable for subscribers.

You can join My Little Box for £11 plus postage per month and also check out their free app My Little App which updates daily with fun and interesting bits and pieces. I do think that out of the current beauty box selection available, they offer the best boxes, but that's just me :)

Do you subscribe to any beauty boxes? Which ons do you rate the most highly? What do you think of this months box?

Annie xxx

8 June 2015

Look and Feel beautiful with Adore Me

Everything in Weymouth is pretty beautiful at the moment. The sun has been shining, the garden is coming into flower, my pain is getting less so I'm needing less medication, and our little house is all clean and tidy again after the departure of the beautiful but messy retriever that we have been doggy-sitting.

I find that as summer arrives, I take notice more than ever of how I present myself. The sun and heat just make you want to look and feel your best. So, at just the right time, I was inspired by the brand Adore Me, after discovering some of some of their beautiful collections.

My look is usually bright and bold and influenced by different cultures around the world so I took an immediate liking to their Spring Brights collection. The deep pinks, vibrant teals and sun drenched yellows are totally my style.
Aren't they just beautiful? Both the blue and the coral pink go perfectly with my usual looks.
At the other end of the scale you find their classic and very feminine items which are perfect for a more romantic, special occasion. One of my favourites is from their bridal collection. It is the perfect combination of dainty and pretty but I like that they haven't stuck to the traditional pure white and instead added the touch of dusky pink that gives it character.
Classic, dewy skinned, natural makeup is the perfect partner for this pretty chemise because it doesn't take away from the delicate nature of the garment. I also think it is a great option when you are fair skinned like me.
I would definitely recommend taking a look at the Adore Me website. Their ranges are beautiful and their prices very reasonable.

Do you own any Adore Me pieces? Where do you shop hen you're looking for beautiful and affordable lingerie?

Annie xx

4 June 2015


Where to begin?
I mentioned in my last post that there is a reason that I have been silent over the last couple of months and I was planning to follow up and explain that a lot sooner than this but I have been in and out of hospital for the last week with kidney problems and in too much pain to get around to it.

Well, at the end of April I left my job with the City of Bath College, completed my qualifications and moved down to Dorset to start a new life at the seaside with my lovely boyfriend. I now live in the beautiful seaside town of Weymouth in a little house that is two minutes from the beach and I have begun re-training as a dental nurse.
It's still pretty exciting to be able to pop along to Portland Bill for an hour after work and read, which has become one of my favourite things to do, or open the curtains in the morning and see the sea from our bedroom window.
I'm also enjoying making our little home nice and cosy. Since I've moved in, we have had a constant supply of flowers for one reason or another which have helped give the house a bit of a feminine touch, along with my candles and extensive stash of toiletries which have, of course, moved with me :P
But what I love most is living with someone who makes me so happy, and starting our little adventure together properly and training to go into a profession that I can stay with for a long time and progress to take me in lots of exciting directions.
I feel like I have been really lucky to get such exciting chances and so far I am loving it!

Of course, now that I have settled into my new life and started to get to grips with what's where, how to do my new job, and generally how to cope somewhere that isn't Bath, blogging is back on my agenda. I've been up to all sorts that I want to share so I have some catching up to do!

Annie xxx