General musings

Book Review: Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

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Elizabeth is Missing is about an older woman called Maud who is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. Throughout this book we experience her life both past and present. We travel back into Maud’s memories when she was a young girl, living at home, and trying to make sense of a family tragedy. Flash forward to the modern day, and Maud is trying very hard to comprehend the world around her. She seems to be obsessed with one thing, that Elizabeth is Missing.

The extreme confusion that Maud appears to be feeling is a very powerful observation of what it must be like to suffer from a memory related disease. Her utter confusion about everyday items such as pencils and umbrellas is very insightful. I remember when my grandfather’s memory was going and it was very difficult to watch, but how much more painful must it be to be the person experiencing it?

In the end, we come to understand where Maud gets her wires crossed, and why things such as planting marrows are important to her. Her daughter Helen and her granddaughter Katy do their best to ensure that Maud is kept safe and try to remain patient with Maud’s relentless questioning. Are all of her queries and statements just a confused old woman’s train of thought, or does Maud’s memory serve her correctly? Will she ever find out what happened to Elizabeth, and will she ever get peace from the past that haunts her?

This book is an eye-opening read. We often sit by and observe the effects of dementia, but never give much thought to the way that the individual affected by it must feel. I really enjoyed this book and was very impressed with the ending. The book will leave you confused at times. You’ll find yourself asking whether Maud’s memories can be trusted; is she a reliable narrator? Will we ever understand what happened in her past? And, where the hell is Elizabeth?!

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A great read! Definitely worth picking it up!

The Sunday Currently

The Sunday Currently #8

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R E A D I N G

This week I’ve finished reading Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, and a review is scheduled to go live tomorrow morning!

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I have since moved onto a new book called Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. I’m not too far into the book but it appears to be a very nice, sweet read. It’s about young Madeline who, due to an illness involving very serious allergies, is unable to leave her house.

She has, in the first few pages so this isn’t a spoiler, become attracted to the boy next door and I’m expecting that this book is going to be a YA novel about how love will always find a way. I may be proved wrong but we will just have to wait and see. Even though I feel like this may be a bit predictable, I’ve had a few laugh-out-loud moments and am really enjoying it so far! I’ve also just found out that it is being adapted into a movie and is due to be released on the 18th of August in Ireland! Don’t you just love when a book you’re reading is due to be a movie soon? It almost always means that the book is great!

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W R I T I N G

I’m currently writing the same assignment I was talking about last week. I’m 2/5 of the way through it thanks to a lot of time and effort put in over the weekend and I just cannot wait until it is finished. It is a heartbreaker!!

I also, when this bloody assignment is out of the way, want to work on a blog post schedule whereby I have regular posting days and can stick to that. For example, I always try to post a Sunday Currently blog post but would love to have that commitment to other days of the week too!

L I S T E N I N G

In the past two days I’ve been listening to a lot of instrumental, movie soundtrack type of music because that genre of music always helps me to focus. I also really like the song that won the Eurovision last night but think that the sister, the girl who wrote the song, sings it much better than the brother, the guy who performed the song! Have a listen below and see what you think! Is it just me or does she have a hint of Norah Jones about her voice?!

S M E L L I N G

This week its salt water, and fresh sea air! I’m at the west coast and I’m walking up to the beach every now and then to take breaks from my work! Nothing beats that smell!

H O P I N G

That this next 3/5 of the assignment will be a doddle! Then I will be celebrating being finally finished my Post Grad! (After already doing two Post Grads you’d swear I wasn’t educated enough!!!)

W E A R I N G

Currently in comfy gym gear! Nothing spectacular at all I’m afraid!

L O V I N G

I am loving the fact that I have a mobile home to escape to each weekend. I love getting away from the rat race, and away from the city; I am much calmer when I am surrounded by nature and am so grateful to have a place by the beach at my disposal! It’s a very special kind of anticipation, when you know that you have somewhere beautiful to go at the weekends; it makes the working week just that little bit more tolerable!

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F E E L I N G

I am feeling very excited! There are lots of fun things on the horizon for me and I cannot wait! Not only is the upcoming weekend the end of my Post Grad, it is also my friend’s Hen Party and I cannot wait! It’s so exciting when one of your friends is getting married and I love how there’s a big girls weekend away to celebrate! I won’t post any details here today about the plans because it’s all a big surprise but I am really looking forward to it!

As well as that I have a pretty epic holiday planned for the summer. I am going over to Himself in Alaska for two weeks and then we will be spending a few days in Vancouver – my favourite city in the world – before coming back to Ireland together! I was there two years ago with my friends and am so excited about going back!

The countdown is on – only 36 days until I am getting on a plane to see Himself after four and a half long ass months!!

 W A T C H I N G

I’ve not been watching anything this weekend except for the word count on my assignment! It feels something like this:

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I hope everyone has a wonderful week – make sure you plan something to look forward to! It makes all the difference!

Cx

Positivity

Happier

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Happiness is a way of life. A habit. A mindset. It is something that we are all hoping to feel each day. When we die we want to look back and know that we have lead lives full of happiness, excitement and joy.

How do we make sure that this is our priority? How do we remind ourselves on a daily basis that we need to focus on the good things and be grateful for the little things in life? Let me share a very special tool with you: Happier.

Happier was set up by Nataly Kogan in 2013. The website shares many different articles about how to incorporate a positive attitude into your day to day life. One element of Happier that I absolutely adore is the theory behind the psychology of colour – something that I have always had a very particular interest in! There is also an amazing, free app which you can download where you can photo-document all of the little things in life that make you happy. It also has many short courses which allow you to explore different ways in which to bring more happiness into your life.

More than 11,000 scientific studies show that developing a gratitude habit helps you feel more optimistic, sleep better, be more creative, productive, and less stressed.

And it’s the smallest moments that have the biggest impact on how happy you feel.

Nataly was a refugee from Russia and truly knows how important it is to keep your head up and strive to do the best you can in life. Watch her Ted Talk below to find out more about this inspirational woman and the journey she has been on.

My advice to you is this; if you want to be happier, if you want to express gratitude, and if you want to recognize the little joys, the little things, then this is an app for you. I often download different apps and eventually get bored and decide to delete them. Thankfully this has never happened with the Happier App. I am so in love with it! It is very user friendly and is such a great tool to keep you looking at the bright side of life.

Take 15 minutes out of your day and watch this video, I promise you that you won’t be sorry!

 

Cx

General musings

Nature Therapy

Escaping to a place full of natural beauty has always been something that has helped me to de-stress. My places of choice usually include somewhere with lots of trees or somewhere with water. I’ve never been able to put my finger on it but these places make me feel so amazing.

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Galley Cove – West Cork


Going for a walk in the woods allows me to shake off all of the stress I’ve been carrying. I love to inhale the smell of the trees around me and feel disconnected from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Going to the beach always makes me sit back, inhale deeply, and realise that whatever is troubling me is not that bad. Perhaps its the blurry line of the horizon that reminds me that I’m a teeny tiny person on this earth and that my problems are really miniscule, or perhaps its the soothing sounds of the lapping waves that just allows me to let go. The point is I have no idea why these places cast a magic de-stressing spell over me, but they do.

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Sunset at The Lough, Cork


Being in nature really makes me feel free. I love to look at new landscapes and discover new sights. I’m the type of girl who would happily go camping in the rain instead of going to a 5* hotel, because I see it as an adventure and an invaluable way of making memories. Being disconnected from the stressful everyday is something that I think is absolutely essential. Busy has turned into something that appears to make us more valuable as people, however I am here to argue that this should not be the case.

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Lake in Killarney, Co Kerry


Being busy does nothing other than add stress and pressure. Yes you may feel that you are accomplishing things each day but I feel like there is no fun to be had in the Rat Race. We were not born to work, get burnt out, keep working, eventually retire, and then die! We were born to experience life in its most amazing form. Whether that is going on breaks away to see new places, having a BBQ on sunny days in your back garden, or travelling the world with your best friends. Life is meant to be a positive experience and not one that is dominated by stress and discomfort.

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Beautiful sky over Garretstown Beach, Co Cork


Taking the time to experience nature has so many benefits. Personally, I always feel much calmer, more relaxed, and far more optimistic on days where I take the time to go out and get lost in nature. It’s got this great sense of healing that I just can’t explain. I’ve never once regretted deciding to go out for a walk or drive across the county to the sea because afterwards I always feel rejuvenated and free!

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Sun shining over the Lee Fields, Co. Cork


The other day I listened to a podcast on my way to work. The podcast, Adventures in Happiness by Jessica Ortner, interviewed Jean Haner in its episode entitled Clearing Negative Energy. In this episode Jean talks about the healing energy that nature has, telling us that it will cleanse away what negative energy we might be holding on to.

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A hidden gem by Inniscarra, Co Cork


I listened to this podcast and felt that it resonated with me so much! I’ve listened to every single episode of this podcast to date and this episode was one I have taken a lot from! Nature, for me, is therapy. I can go into the depths of nature and do whatever it is I need to do; sometimes I might talk myself through a difficult situation, sometimes I might spend time with friends laughing, and other times I might be extremely mindful and soak up every ounce of the beauty that surrounds me.

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Sunrise in Cork City


Sometimes that beauty can be in the midst of the city. Whatever the beauty, as long as it’s natural, it is a gentle reminder that we are more than our jobs, more than our stressors, and more than we allow ourselves credit for. Nature and natural beauty allow me to be myself, wholly, truly, and completely. Unapologetically me. I can cry, laugh, sing, shout, and nature will still be there and will still be beautiful.

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Borghese Gardens in Rome, Italy


Do you feel that nature has a therapeutic role in your life? Let me know in the comments below! 

Sending love,

Cx

The Sunday Currently

The Sunday Currently #7

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R E A D I N G

I’m still reading Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey. It’s a really good book! I’m 70% through it and am really enjoying it. I don’t have any idea where it is going though and I’m excited to find out how it will end! I’m hoping to finish the book either tonight or tomorrow and will post a review during the week!

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W R I T I N G

Another assignment is on the cards! But it is my last one! Yay! I’m not doing much writing apart from that! I’m considering writing an open letter to my anxiety because it has been a pain  in the ass lately. As with all mental health issues, exhaustion doesn’t help! And I have been seriously run down. To the point where I’ve just broken down in tears because I hadn’t the energy to do anything else! And so, as a consequence to my exhaustion, my anxiety has raised it’s ugly head and resurfaced. Perhaps it would be a nice idea to let it all out sometime soon…

L I S T E N I N G

I am loving, loving, loving Harry Styles and Niall Horan’s new music!! As a 28 year old I probably shouldn’t be too into them but I honestly don’t care! They make me feel good! Here are some of the songs that are making me smile lately:

S M E L L I N G

Lavender Oil (to calm me down) and freshly washed hair!

H O P I N G

To get my assignment over and done with and with as little stress as possible so my course will finally be completed!!!

 

W E A R I N G

I took part in Darkness Into Light this weekend for Pieta House. It’s a 5k walk to raise awareness around the issues of mental health, particularly depression and suicidal ideation. The walk takes place at 4.15am and as you walk the sun rises, symbolising that there is light after the darkness. It was a very powerful walk and one I am so glad to take part in. I’m currently wearing the t-shirt I received for the walk.

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L O V I N G

I am loving my new purchases. I’ve been trying to try out new make up instead of sticking to the brands I always use. I’ve branched out and bought some new items and I’m loving stepping out of my comfort zone! The Real Techniques sponge literally makes my make-up flawless. Such an amazing buy and it was only €7.99!

I’ve also invested in an electric toothbrush and it is unbelievable! I’m going to be getting braces soon enough (which terrifies me completely) so I’m trying to take extra good care of my teeth in the lead up to the big day….! I bought this Oral-B Pro 3000 and it’s so good! It has three settings; regular brushing, sensitive mode, and gum care. There is a light that goes off when you’re applying too much pressure on your teeth to prevent damage, and it also has a timer to let you know how long you should be spending on each quadrant of your mouth! I don’t think I could ever go back after investing in this!

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F E E L I N G

 

I suppose I’ve already said that I’ve not been the best. It’s been a really rough two weeks because I’ve been feeling burnt out and as a result my anxiety has been a pain in the ass! I went away for the night last night in an effort to clear my head and get back in a good place, and while it was amazing to escape, as soon as I came home something came up that triggered my anxiety again. I had been feeling amazing today; really relaxed and calm and able, and it was all shot to hell. So I’ve been sitting on my bed, focusing on this blog post and trying to come up with a pro-active plan to take care of myself in the week ahead.

 W A T C H I N G

 

In an attempt to boost my mood I’ve put on 13 Going On 30. I was thinking of it as I drove home today because I was listening to some old music in the car. The scene where Jenna is dancing in her bedroom to old music came to mind and I knew I just had to watch it when I got home! It’s such a feel good, embrace life, kind of movie and that’s exactly what I need at the moment!

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If you have any tips or tricks to help me shake this funk please let me know! I would be very grateful!

Sending love,
C x

Motivation Monday, Positivity

My Guide To Feeling Good

Happiness is a state I’ve always strived to achieve. Almost like a medal. Something I would have forever and never have to give back! How wrong was I?!

In 2009, after I turned 21, I decided I was going to change my life for the better. I decided that constantly feeling anxious and down was no longer good enough. I was going to pick myself up, dust myself off, and find the life I had been searching for!

The first thing I realised was that I would never attain happiness the way I had imagined. I had to get rid of my “if/when” mindset and came to see that I had to find joy in the everyday things.

Here are some tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way:

My Guide to Feeling Good
1. Get up early!

This is just a recent endeavour of mine but it has made such a huge difference! Getting up early in the morning and doing a few different bits and pieces allows me to set my mindset for the day ahead, whilst also allowing me to have a peaceful and relaxing morning! I always feel very proud of myself too because I know that I’m up before most other people and have already accomplished so much before they’re even out of bed!

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2. Have a morning routine.

Every morning for the last 40 days, thanks to Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning, I have been getting up early and engaging in the following practices: Meditation, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Journaling. Every night as I lie down I look forward to getting up and doing my SAVERS each morning! I feel both energised and calm, knowing I’ve started my day well!

3. Go to bed early!

Getting up early inevitability equates to going to bed early! I get up each morning at 5am (except the weekends which is usually around 7.30 or 8.) Going to bed early ensures I get enough rest and am prepared for the day ahead. I usually aim for about 7 hours sleep.

4. Have a Nighttime routine 

Routines just seem to work well for me! Every night I take care of my skin: I cleanse, tone, moisturise, and apply a serum! I then tackle my teeth; brushing, flossing, using teepee sticks, mouthwash etc. Then I like to go and make myself a cup of chamomile tea, hop into bed and read my book for a half an hour. I follow this with a nighttime meditation and go to sleep!

5. Read every day 

Reading is my passion. I love to read! By setting aside time to read everyday I am able to enjoy my favourite pastime and escape the real world for a while.

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In the mornings I choose to read Self Improvement books and I love how I get to expand my knowledge and better myself in as much as I can!

6. Get fresh air! 

I love to get fresh air. At night we are stuck inside, as well as all day and we generally don’t get any fresh air. We’re stuck inside at work, and for the majority of us, our commutes are the same; stuck in cars, tubes, trains or buses. However, when you consciously decide to step outside, be it to read or walk or sit, you will find that you feel instantly better, calmer and more relaxed. Win/win!

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7. Set little goals 

A little goes a long way. Setting small, measurable, and achievable goals can work wonders! I’m going to use myself as an example here and look at weight loss. Instead of thinking “I want to lost another stone and a half” (which, I might add seems impossible when you’re longing for that weight to be gone!) I will say to myself “My goal is to lose 2lbs this week.”

Setting goals that feel more manageable lead to a more positive mindset. They allow us to see results and monitor progress as well as the final result. If you are someone who beats themselves up over all the little things then I highly recommend this tactic! Lots of little goals such as lose 2lbs this week, go for a walk today, ring Karen… these little goals give us a great sense of achievement! If crossing things off a to-do list gives you satisfaction then I highly recommend this goal setting strategy!

8. Meditate

When I was studying for my Undergrad, I took Psychology as a minor subject. One of my modules was Positive Psychology. That one module set me on the right path. I learned more in that one module than in any other class. It was not so much educational learning (if that makes sense) but life-learning. I learned all about being positive and how to learn the required skill set that would allow me to lead a more positive and fulfilling life.

My first ever experience with meditation was in this class. We meditated with raisins. Yup… raisins. I know it sounds crazy! It was a mindfulness meditation and at the time I thought it was absolutely ridiculous. However, as the term progressed I could see a noticeable difference in my mood after these classes. I approached the lecturer to discuss meditation and the effects it can have on a person and it was then that I realised that I was a highly anxious person, on constant high alert each moment of every day, always afraid of what lay ahead. In the times that we meditated, I was able to leave all of that aside and focus on the here and now. There was nothing to fear in the here and now. I was not a horrible person in the here and now because all I was doing was sitting and breathing. I could not be afraid in the here and now because, again, all I was doing was sitting and breathing.

After this module was completed I decided to take some action and went about seeking help for my anxiety. And I have never, ever looked back.

Here are some meditation podcasts, YouTube channels, and apps that might help if this is something that you would like to try out:

The Meditation Podcast – Podcast
Meditation Oasis – Podcast
Headspace – App
Buddhify – App
Jason Stephenson – YouTube

9. Use affirmations 

This is something I feel I still haven’t mastered. I’ve tried writing affirmations and have felt like an absolute idiot. Telling yourself how wonderful you are can feel pretty strange at first! YouTube can be your friend here! Louise Hay has some great affirmation videos as do many others. I’m going to post a video below that is by Jason Stephenson who I mentioned above. I like to listen to this in the car on the way to work to try to set myself up to have a fantastic day.

10. Plan Happy Things 

I truly believe that you should always have something to look forward to. I’m not talking anything extravagant here. It could be a Prosecco Picnic with your girlfriends or a dinner date with your SO; a walk in the countryside or a DIY Spa-night with your bestie. All it needs to be is something small, at the end of the month, that you have to look forward to!

11. ALWAYS make time for your friends.

I’m talking quick coffees, Whatsapp group chats, nights away, endless FaceTimes, midnight phone calls, work-day ranting, general banting, long car drives filled with deep conversations, and days and nights full of fun and laughter. Once you have your tribe you’ll never be running solo.

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I am very glad to say that we are now in an era where women seem to be more empowering to one another than ever before and because of that I feel our connections run deeper than ever. Shout out to all my girls – ye know who ye are and I’d be so completely lost without ye!

12. Don’t Watch/Listen to the News! 

The news… there’s no doubt we’re lucky where information is so freely and widely available but for me, I’ve found that the news makes me really down. Have you ever noticed that the news is always full of negativity?! Always!! There’s always something about war, corrupt politicians, natural disasters, etc. And I’ve just found that listening to this information makes me unhappy. I don’t like being reminded of all the negativity in the world. I need to be shown the good things, the happy things, the inspirational things! So now I just turn down the radio or change the channel! Cutting the news out of your life might sound drastic and might leave you wondering how you’ll find out about the world but lets face it, if it’s big news you’all hear about it anyway!!

13. Unfollow People on Facebook! 

Personally I would delete my Facebook account in an instant if I could! But with so many friends of mine living in different countries it’s not practical to delete it! However, I’ve started unfollowing people who make me feel annoyed, sad, or uncomfortable. For instance, a woman I know kept posting images of animal cruelty. I am all for promoting animal rights but when I’m constantly seeing things such as dogs with their ears cut off it makes me really upset and brings me down for days, so I’ve just started to unfollow these people. It’s meant that I’m essentially censoring my news feed and it’s making me a much happier person!

14. Dance it Out

Meredith and Christina were onto something with this one. When you’re starting to notice your mood deflating, throw on one of your favourite songs, shut the door and dance your ass off. Grab a hairbrush if you want to and sing your heart out! Moving your body releases happy hormones and you’ll soon be feeling better in no time! Have a Happy Playlist ready on Spotify for this one!

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With Love,
C x

Let me know what you think of My Guide To Feeling Good in the comments below! I love to get feedback!