Friday, May 26, 2017

Five Friday Favourites

Yesterday I did a post about not coping and a huge thanks to those who have reached out with their prayers and support. I just got sick of hiding that I'm not coping and realised that in order to be honest with myself I need to be honest with everyone else. I know we go through seasons of hardship but it just feels like mine are going on forever and I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. I guess all I can really do is keep praying and take it one day at a time until things get better.
I have recently signed up to the website NetGalley that lets you request books for review so if you start to see a few book reviews around here that is why. I will say that all my reviews will be 100% honest and my hope is that you guys get to discover a new author or two and I will push myself out of my reading comfort zone at the same time.

Moving onto Friday Favourites which are a bit random but that's just how my life is at the moment so it matches.

Adam Sandler movies - I've been needing a laugh lately and nothing makes me laugh harder than an Adam Sandler movie. I know some people hate on him but his films really make me laugh and are a great distraction. I really like Grown Ups, Grown Ups 2 (it just gets funnier every time I watch it), Blended  (Terry Crews singing really makes the film) and Just Go With It. I think everyone has those movies that they watch when they are down and these are mine.


All Things New by Lauren Miller - This book is getting released in August and its a great read! I've struggled with finding a books with a character that has anxiety, it seems like the other mental illnesses are easier to represent in writing. Yet Lauren Miller manages to create a character that has anxiety in an accurate light and shows the inner workings that someone with anxiety may go through. I managed to relate to Jessa or more her thought process easily and was thrilled that someone could create a character that not only has anxiety but shows it accurately.

The blurb reads:
Seventeen-year-old Jessa Gray has always felt broken inside, but she’s gotten very good at hiding it. No one at school knows about the panic attacks, the therapy that didn't help, the meds that haven’t worked. But when a severe accident leaves her with a brain injury and noticeable scars, Jessa’s efforts to convince the world that she’s okay finally crumble—now she looks as shattered as she feels. Fleeing from her old life in Los Angeles, Jessa moves to Colorado to live with her dad, but things go from bad to worse when she realizes she’s seeing bruises and scars on the people around her that no one else can see. She blames it on the accident, but as her body heals and the hallucinations continue, Jessa wonders if what she’s seeing could somehow have a deeper meaning. In her quest for answers, she falls for Marshall, a boy whose kindness and generous heart slowly draw Jessa out of her walled-off shell and into the broken, beautiful, real world—a place where souls get hurt just as badly as bodies, and we all need each other to heal.
ALL THINGS NEW is a love story about perception and truth, physical and emotional pain, and the messy, complicated people we are behind the masks we put on for the world.

I really enjoyed it and found that there was a lot more to this book than meets the surface. It was a fun read but was intense in some places, I never quite knew where the story was going and that was a plesant surprise.
The main characters were great and the way they were shown means that you could easily compare Jessa's thought processes to them and see just how anxiety affects people. If you come across this book I highly recommend that you read it.

Planet Shoes Town Boot - I hate getting my feet wet in winter so I mainly live in boots during the cooler months and I normally just buy a cheap pair because by the end of the season they are dead (as in I am gluing them together!) but this season I decided to treat myself to leather pair of boots. My Mum is a huge fan of Planet Shoes and these just so happened to be the first and only pair I tried on. They are super comfy and I love the height of the heel (not too high but it gives me a boost), they look and feel solid so I have high hopes for them this season. I have already worn them a few times and as the weather cools down I expect to be wearing them a lot more frequently. (I got them in black but I can only find stone on the website).

SpyFall 2 - if you know you will know that I love playing board games, a great Saturday night for me is me playing boardgames with friends and we love to try new games. I recently discovered SpyFall 2 and we all love playing it. It involves a lot of talking and asking questions and is quick paced game too. You can play with up to 12 players which means it is ideal for a big group. The aim of the game is that everyone gets 1 card with either a spy (there can be up 2 spys per round) or location you have to ask eachother questions to work who the spys are and the spys have to workout where the location is. The first rounds can be a bit challenging but once you get the concept its really fun.

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe - I made these last week and I am still dreaming about them! This recipe is super easy and really yummy to make, the result is chewy chocolatey cookie that you can't just have one of. I increased the yum factor by chopping up a block of hazelnut chocolate which also meant the nuts added some crunch factor. In my books Bakerella can do no wrong so if you are after something to bake this weekend these are it.



 


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Not Coping

Recently things have been a bit of a struggle for me, it seems like over a year of unemployment has caught up to me and I am finally breaking. For so long I have put up this mask, where I appear fine and act like being unemployed isn't crushing me but it seems as if the mask is refusing to stay put. I find myself loosing it day to day and would do anything for an escape. I now don't have good days or bad days instead I just have bad days with a few good moments mixed it. For so long I have been pushing away the tears and feeling as though they are sign of weakness but lately all I can do is let them fall.
I walked into my psychologists office on Tuesday and some of the first words out of my mouth were 'I'm not coping, I don't know how much longer I can keep doing this for.' because that is how I feel at the moment. It seems like everyone is getting a job except me, I'm not even getting job interviews at the moment! Of course my psych (have I told you how amazing she is?) pointed out that for anyone I am coping really well (even those without anxiety or a mental illness) and for the past year I have been coping at such a high level that now I have dipped despite still coping well it doesn't feel like it compared to the level I was on. I am allowed to feel this way and it's honestly expected after more than a year of unemployment.
I have tried so many times to write this post and it's been really hard but in order to be honest with myself I needed to write it down. So at the moment life isn't going well and I'm not coping, I am praying it will change but for now I am taking it one day at a time and trying to stay focused on the bigger picture.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Five Friday Favourites and a General Update

I apologise in advance is this seems a bit of a repeat of last fortnights Friday Favourites but its not!

Has anyone been watching Saving Hope? I am loving this season so much and will be sad when it ends, I have probably cried in every other episode so far but its been great how they have really gone deeper with the storylines. I always like it when series' get to end on a high note rather than get cancelled as I feel like you get to say a proper goodbye to the characters plus there's never any cliff hangers. I never in a million years thought that I would like Saving Hope as much as I do but there is nothing better than sitting down and watching the latest episode while trying to hold it together.

This past week has been a bit busier than normal due to appointments and catching up with friends. I saw my psychologist on Monday and it was just what I needed, she had been on maternity leave since September last year so it was great to see her and get her views on a few things. I go back to see her Tuesday week then I will go back to every 3 weeks which I find works really well for me.
On Wednesday I got stabbed yet again by my doctor when he removed a cyst. Thankfully the procedure went well and I just get to endure 2 weeks with stitches. So I am trying to take it easy and keeping on top of the pain killers for the next few days. I will say my doctor knows what he's doing and even does a more complicated stitch to reduce the risk of scaring (I scar easily) so I am thankful for that.
The job hunt side of things is still quiet and it's so annoying! I had my fortnightly employment agency meeting today and left with tears in my eyes just because I feel like I am getting no where. I know its mainly due to how bad the job market is but it would be nice to have some sort of progress. Last week I did apply to a somewhat promising job so I am praying I at least get an interview and have asked (begged!) my employment agency to ring up them on Monday to find out what is happening with my job application (it closed on Wednesday). I just feel so lost during this whole process and I have been on the verge of giving up a lot more recently. I know God has a plan for me but its really hard to see it at the moment!

We've finally had some rain, which means Winter is on its way! I splurged (by splurged I mean I had a $50 voucher and if it weren't for that I would never had been able to buy these) on some new boots this week and can't wait to wear them.

Kiss and Cry - I watched this the day it came out and I LOVED it. Sarah Fisher does a beautiful job portraying her last best friend and the chemistry between her and Luke Bilyk was flawless. I laughed and cried in it. I felt so inspired by it and found it was a great movie and a real legacy to Carley's work. You could that the movie had a lot of thought put in it and that Sarah was giving the performance her all. Nothing was half heartedly done and there was added touches of using some of Carley's words she had written on  her blog (if you get the chance do read it, it will add another element to the story and give you an insight to just how much Carley went through). I highly recommend that you watch it and know that when you do, you're helping Carley further her legacy.

Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson - I LOVE Dee Henderson's books so much and despite not being a huge fan of mystery novels I can't seem to put hers down. Her latest book did not disappoint and while it did take me longer to get through it than normal (due to how intense it was) I loved every word of it. The blurb reads (taken from Amazon):
Evie Blackwell's reputation as a top investigator for the Illinois State Police has landed her an appointment to the governor's new Missing Persons Task Force. This elite investigative team is launched with plenty of public fanfare. The governor has made this initiative a high priority, so they will have to produce results--and quickly.
Evie and her new partner, David Marshal, are assigned to a pair of unrelated cases in suburban Chicago, and while both involve persons now missing for several years, the cases couldn't be more different. While Evie opens old wounds in a close-knit neighborhood to find a missing college student, David searches for a private investigator working for a high-powered client.
With a deep conviction that "justice for all" truly matters, Evie and David are unrelenting in their search for the truth. But Evie must also find answers to the questions that lie just beneath the surface in her personal life.

Bed Bath N' Table heat packs- I am always cold at night in Winter so a heat pack (or packs at times!) are a must for me (along with a cute ginger cat who does not know the meaning of personal space!) and last year I had to replace mine. I wanted something cute and couldn't resist this fox, when I first got Rikki I thought he looked like a little fox with his big eyes and white chest (he still does at times) so it seemed perfect (plus being orange means it won't get lost in my sheets during the really restless nights). The quality is great and the size is perfect to keep me warm at night, I find it really does hold onto the heat too. I was stuck at what to get Mum for Mothers Day when I saw this cute cat pack and know she will love it (I also love the bear and the owl packs). If you are after a gift or just want a pack to keep you warm I highly recommend these.

Elastoplast Sensitive Strips (and dressings) - I am allergic to latex and the one time its a problem is with band aids so for someone who is clumsy this isn't ideal. Thankfully I have discovered Elastoplast Sensitive Strips which cause no reaction and means I can leave them on for extended periods of time without a reaction. I also love their dressings for wounds (or stitches as the case may be at the moment!) as it means I can cut the perfect length for the area (I used this on my back when it was healing last year). I always make sure to have a stash with me and find that they stay on better than the normal ones.


Disney Descendents 2 trailer and music video - I loved the first film and the second film looks to be just as good :) so to end this weeks Friday Favourites on a high note here is the trailer and music video from the film:


Monday, May 1, 2017

Loosing It

I try to be positive about being unemployed but some days I just loose it, Friday was one of those days. I had had a discouraging employment agency meeting and just wasn't feeling myself, my anxiety levels were rising and nothing was going my way. Thursday I had a mini freak out about saying no to something and knew that my anxiety was rearing itself again and I could do nothing to stop except ride it out and take cover.
So Friday afternoon I let the tears fall, I was frustrated and annoyed and wanted an escape from this reality that is my life. I didn't lash out at anyone (thankfully!) but instead got annoyed at my situation and how maybe it was my fault for getting here, I should've fought more at my last job (we all know that that wouldn't have helped), I should try more to get a job (never mind the fact that that is what I am currently doing) and I should refuse to take no for an answer and stand up for myself (which would require confidence which I don't have). I got mad at God and told my mum how I felt he had forgotten about me because it seems like everyone is moving forward in their lives and that those who are looking for work get jobs within weeks and months (and deep down I still feel that way if I am being honest).
My anxiety was showing itself and it brought a lot of doubt which is still lingering along with feelings I thought I had hidden deep inside myself. I spent the weekend putting on an act that everything is/was fine despite wanting to run and hide. I found myself looking in the mirror and wondering who that girl was. I looked at my diary and reworked this week just so I can hide and get some down time in. I can't help but be thankful that I can use the excuse of catering a quiz night at church this Friday to avoid people, it gives me something to focus on and something to plan.
I am so so thankful that next Monday I have a psych appointment booked because I know that I need it now more than ever just to get over this bump in the road.
A lot of the time its easy to pretend that I don't have anxiety, but then I have these moments and my anxiety flares up for no reason and I am reminded that it's there and that it does affect me.
For now I am just riding out this phase and praying that in the near future I get a job.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Five Friday Favourites

I missed Friday Favourites last week as I was so busy and trying to finish this post but I am back again this week!

Mental Illness in TV - with 13 Reasons Why on Netflix there has been a lot of talk about how mental illness was portrayed in it and how it wasn't a great example of it (I have yet to personally watch it but I have read the book which I have mixed feelings about). So I turn your attention back to this post with a broad list of TV Shows all of which show mental illness well and realistically. I have also updated it to include a few more recent shows. I highly recommend you read this list if you are after something else to watch after 13 Reasons Why that shows mental illness in a different light.

Kiss and Cry Movie - I mentioned this in a prior post but I am super excited to say it will be released on Netflix on May 1! It's from the same people who did FullOut which Megan and I love to watch, so I know it will be great. Check out the trailer below:
Brooklyn Nine Nine and Riverdale inspired buttons - I saw these at Comic-Con when I was there but they only had the badge back so I was thrilled when I could order these online with a magnet back. I love these so much and have a complete set of each. They are great quality and I wouldn't hesitate to buy more for gifts. I only hope a few more different TV shows are released (thinking The Office and The IT Crowd would be great!) because they have made my door frame more fun and I would love to have some more.

Disney Descendants 2 soundtrack - I loved the first movie and soundtrack, so I thrilled to be able pre-order Disney Descendants 2 soundtrack and listening to the songs that have been released. Its a great mix of tracks and its making me look forward to the movie when it comes out mid this year.

Unicorn Candle Holder - unicorns seem to be the in thing at the moment and a few weeks ago I couldn't resist purchasing this candle holder. It's super cute and best of all it will work with most birthday candles you get. I love how it adds a fun element to ordinary birthday cakes and I have received loads of compliments on it. The price may seem a bit steep but its really well made and I know it will be used a lot, I plan on breaking it out at every birthday possible.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Anxiety Day To Day

I recently had a comment on a past post asking how I manage my anxiety day to day so here is my
response. This was a long time in the works and I am warning you that it is very long! I thought about writing a 'day in the life post' but as my day's aren't really structured being unemployed and I do try to keep myself in a routine but its hard when I never know what a day will hold.
Firstly I have been diagnosed with anxiety for 11 year and been on medication for 10 (!) so its taken me a long time to get where I am today. My anxiety does fluctuate depending on what I have on and how busy my week is as a whole, so like everyone with a mental illness I can have good weeks and bad weeks (and good days and bad days).

Diet - I have noticed that what I eat does affect my anxiety levels. I aim to eat a high protein diet which really helps, I also do NO CAFFIENE which to some people is a big deal but for me having a diet coke (I used to be addicted to it) just isn't worth it when it makes my anxiety levels spike. I do have vices mainly in terms of chocolate (MandMs are a major addiction of mine!) and ice cream (if its not too cold out so in winter I rarely eat it) but being dairy intolerant means that I can never go too crazy.
Dinners are easy in terms that I just eat less carbs and we always make sure its loaded with vegies. I struggle with lunches a lot if I am at home but when I eat out I grab sushi, a bento box (but only eat half the rice) or Chinese (but loading up on vegies and other healthy options) . Breakfast is always a hard boiled egg which sounds so boring but it keeps me full and is healthy. Snacks can vary depending on what I am doing sometimes its a handful of almonds, other times its some chocolate or handful of MandMs (if I need a sugar fix), or some sweet and salty popcorn (seriously addictive but on the healthy side of snacks). I think if it was up to me I would just snack all day and not do lunch but snacking isn't always the healthiest option so I try to have decent meals to reduce it happening. I love to bake but I try to only bake when I need to (so for bible study, people coming over for dinner, going to a friends place ...) so I won't eat it all.
In terms of drinks I tend to stick to flavoured mineral water (like deep spring) when I am out, cold water and a mix of sparkling mineral water and diet lemonade when I am at home. I keep a couple of good metal water bottles in the fridge filled with water so I can grab a drink anytime (they are also Little Miss themed which makes drinking water fun). I also try to take a water bottle with me if I know I will be out for a long period of time.
I don't take any vitamin supplements but I do take fish oil tablets as more studies are showing that it helps with mental health and I do notice a difference when I take it (though I go through stages where I regularly take it and stages where I don't).
My diet is no where is near as perfect as I want it to be and lets be honest I probably eat way too much sugar but I am slowly making changes that are helping me long term.

Exercise - I don't play sports and I never will play sports, me and sports are not friends. So everyone's clear that I will never do sports unless I am forced to when I am in a life and death situation? My exercise consists of walking, I do some casual caring work 3 times a week and that involves a 30 minute walk. I have also just started walking for 30 minutes in the morning Monday - Friday, I set my alarm for 6.30am and leave the house at around 7.00am and just walk around the neighbourhood (I am lucky enough to live near a lake so I normally walk in that direction) while listening to my ipod. I also try and do sneaky exercise which is my way of making myself walk further without realising it- at shopping centres I try to park a good distance away from them which means I walk further, I will also walk long ways to stores if I have the time and I find certain chores burn calories too (like vacuuming, gardening etc.). I do find I sleep better if I do regular exercise, its just a matter of actually making myself do it.

Sleep - I aim for 10 hours but if I get 8 hours I am happy. I find if I read before bed I sleep a lot better and my quality of sleep increases. I can actually notice a difference in terms of the quality of sleep I get. I do notice a huge difference when I've had a few bad nights and it really makes my anxiety worse, so if it comes to it I will take something just so I can get a decent night's sleep and get my life back on track.

Down time - I am nor an introvert or extrovert it all depends on my anxiety and what has been going in my life at the time. Because of this I need to be aware of when I need down time and give myself a chance to recharge. Sometimes that means hanging out with friends other times it means taking time out for myself.  I also find that while I can function ok being physically exhausted if I am mentally exhausted I need to take time to recharge and make it a greater priority. An example is that a while ago I had to do a workshop for mentoring and by the end of it I was mentally exhausted as it was a
new situation with new people which made me feel on edge and wanting to hide so I ended up saying no to games night. Whereas the weekend before I was physically exhausted but still made an effort to go to games night.
I try to schedule in down time where possible and am aware that if I have anything where my anxiety levels will be high to schedule in more down time. I also make Sunday's my quiet day where possible, its just a day where I can unwind and relax with no pressure. I get up get dressed and just go with the flow which really helps me start the week on a good note.
Down time for me really varies on how I much need. I really enjoy reading so sometimes just being able to read my book for a bit really helps recharge my levels and face what's thrown at me, other times sitting down and watching a funny tv show (The Office, Friends, Greek, Baby Daddy, Brooklyn Nine, certain Degrassi episodes or Superstore are my goto's) or intense tv show (Saving Hope, Suits, Bones, Designated Survivor, certain Degrassi episodes or Riverdale are shows I really enjoy when I want to sit down and think about what's on tv) or if I have a huge block of time watching a movie (Adam Sandler's films always make me laugh) provide good escapes for me and I can just shut out the world. I also enjoy baking and doing something with my hands (like craft or painting) I can never just watch a tv show or movie so I often craft or bake while I am watching something which keeps my hands busy. I love to find a nice café and read for a couple of hours if I am given the chance and its a little thing that makes a huge impact on me.

Fake it till you make it - even when my anxiety is really bad I still make an effort to get dressed, do my make up and look somewhat put together. This helps me feel good on the outside which helps me face the day. It doesn't matter if I am feeling full of anxiety on the inside, if I can present to others that I am functioning despite it all then some of it eventually translates to the inside! I am not one of those people who can stay in PJs all day so even when I feel sick I will get changed into comfy clothes, it just makes me feel good about myself.
Recently I have been trying to start the week on a good note by taking a bit of extra time and effort on Monday's and it's really been helping me feel good about myself. I am big believer that sometimes a pop of colour with a lipstick or eyeliner can make your day brighter and on the days when I wear a bright shade of lipstick I do feel happier and a bit more confident.

Setting myself a to do list - ever since I can remember I have always used lists and even now I find they are a great coping tool. I use a diary and write any major events that are happening and also list any plans I have for myself. This means I have a vauge idea of my weekly schedule and I feel happy knowing I won't forget anything. I also write down lists of what I need to do during the day and I find I get a sense of achievement ticking off the jobs as I complete them.

Volunteering - I have been a Youth Ambassador with ReachOut for almost 2 years and it's been a huge confidence boost and has helped me challenge my anxiety while also having great support. Being unemployed means it can be hard to have a purpose (so much value is put on our jobs) so being able to do ReachOut has really helped me feel like I am part of a team and gives me something to focus on. I also do mentoring at the local youth centre and am involved in my church (projector, kids church, helping at events etc.).

Psychologist appointments - if you read this article you will know that a few years ago I had to see a psych (where I was diagnosed with severe anxiety attacks which while similar to anxiety are actually a separate diagnosis) and its been one of the best decisions I have made for my anxiety! I see an amazing psych every few weeks and she has been priceless for helping me deal with my anxiety and getting through any tough patches. It's great to be able to have someone to talk through various issues and since seeing her I am able to recognise unhealthy thought patterns and help manage my anxiety better. I highly recommend seeing a psychologist (even if you don't have a mental illness) as it will help you understand your mind better.

I could go and on with this post as there are so many factors that affect my anxiety but I will stop while I am a head and will aim to do a few follow up posts as circumstances change (please pray I get a job soon!).
Everyone is different so what works for me may not work for you at the end of the day its all about realising your limits and working out what you need to do to stay on top of it.
I'm not going to pretend that I don't have bad days or days where I just want to hide but by doing the

above I do feel like I have a greater control on my anxiety. There are days when nothing is going right, I obsess over every little thing and can't switch my brain off from overthinking mode, so I just need to ride them out, go to bed and realise that tomorrow is a new day and it will be better. There are other days when I feel on top of the world and that I can handle whatever is thrown at. Then there are days when I just feel ok, when things could be better by they're not so I will just focus on the moment and not worry about what comes next. I am slowly teaching myself that if I can't control it, I shouldn't worry or obsess over it, at the end of the day God has a plan for my life and he knows what he's doing even if I don't.


Friday, April 7, 2017

Five Friday Favourites

 It's Friday so that means that its time for another Friday Favourites in the past 2 weeks I have seen 2 equally amazing but very different movies so I couldn't resist doing a mini review of each and adding them to this weeks post. The job front is still super quiet so I would appreciate your continued prayers in that area.
Last week my family returned from being overseas so the house is now super loud and busy! Though it's nice to have them home, so I'm sure it's only a matter of time until I get used to them again haha.
Now onto Five Friday Favourites:

Power Rangers (movie) - the other week I saw this and my mind is still blown away from it! Its a great film
and I enjoyed every minute of it. The character chemistry is great and the special effects are really well done too. I wasn't a huge Power Rangers fan when I was younger but I did grow up with it on tv and like all 90's kids played it in the playground, I found it still captured the essence of it but added to it in ways that made it seem relevant. I highly recommend you go see it and I am hoping for a sequel.

Engaged in Trouble by Jenny B Jones - so I haven't read this yet but its on my list and looks like a great read. I LOVE Jenny B Jones and I reread her books at least once a year so I am thrilled to add this one to the pile.The blurb reads:
When a washed-up pop star inherits a wedding planning business, it’s all bouquets and bliss until a bride turns up dead.
Paisley Sutton shot to stardom as a teenage rock sensation, but ten years later that star has fizzled out, just like her bank account. When she unexpectedly inherits her aunt’s wedding planning business, Paisley leaves the glamour of Los Angeles for a charming small town in Arkansas. Thinking she’ll arrive in Sugar Creek and liquidate the moldly property, Paisley’s shocked to find Enchanted Events has experienced a major makeover and is now the place for brides. She’s got two months to keep Enchanted Events afloat if she wants to sell and rekindle her music career with the profits.
Paisley’s tossed into a world of vows and venues, but her most difficult challenge comes in the form of one demanding bride. When this Bridezilla’s found facedown in her cake, all fingers point to Paisley as the prime murder suspect. And she does not look good in prison orange.
This former pop princess will need the help of her gun-toting, ex-CIA grandmother and her handsome neighbor, Beau Hudson, to unravel the mystery and clear her good name. As she and her unruly posse dig into Bridezilla’s life, she discovers the woman had a long list of enemies. The closer Paisley gets to the truth, the more her own life is in danger.
Love is in the air this wedding season, but before Paisley can help the ladies of Sugar Creek say, “I do,” she’s got to unveil a killer. Or find herself the next target.
When I Realised That My Anxiety Medication Just Wasn't Enough (story on The Mighty) - this was complete surprise on Tuesday when I went to check my emails and found out that this article of mine was published. I wrote this one afternoon and the words just flowed, it gives a deeper look into my anxiety and the moment I first say my psychologist. A lot of people fail to realise that often medication just isn't enough when it comes to treating a mental illness and often you need a combination of therapies to get on top of it.

Dance Academy: The Movie - this show was a huge obession for me during high school and still is in my all time favourite tv shows list. I loved all the characters and I spent many days after school laughing, crying and holding my breath while watching it. This movie is based 18 months after the show ended and asks the question 'What do you do when you realise that what you have always dreamed of isn't what you really wanted?'. I loved reuniting with the old characters and it flowed nicely while also taking me on a rollercoaster of feelings much like the tv show did! I can just see myself curling up and watching the whole series back to back followed by the movie in the coming future (yes I am already counting down the days until it comes to DVD!). A great review of the movie is here and all 3 seasons of the show are currently streaming on ABC iView until the 1st of May.

Pandora Piglet Charm - I was never a huge fan of Disney Princess movies growing up, sure I watched them but lets be honest certain scenes scared me, so I tended to watch a lot of Winnie The Pooh instead. I always found myself drawn to piglet as he was always worrying about something but despite that was a loyal friend and when the time needed it he would get over his fears and do whatever he could to help. I have a small stuffed Piglet that still sits on my bed which I have had for many many years, I even dressed up as Piglet to a friends Disney themed 21st!
I later read somewhere that each of the Winnie The Pooh characters represented a different mental illness and Piglet's was anxiety (I have no idea how true this is) which explained why I related so much to him. Recently Pandora has been releasing some limited edition Disney charms and I always said if they released a Piglet version I would buy it, well the other week they finally released one! It was perfect timing as for once I had the spare money and just so happened to be going to a shopping centre where a Pandora was. I love this charm so much as not only does it mean so much to me, it is super cute and the detail is amazing (photos don't do it justice!).

Bonus video TV Show Theme Song Mashup - I couldn't resist including this clip as its hilarious - how many theme songs do you know?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Being a 'ReachOut Hero' for a day at Comic-Con

I was recently given the opportunity to volunteer in the ReachOut ChillOut room at comic-con. I have never gone to one of these conventions before but I do know that a lot of people cosplay and dress up. I wasn't planning on dressing up until some other YA's in another state mentioned they wanted to when their comic-con was happening so I figured I would give it a shot. It was loads of fun and a bonus was that I fitted in with so many people wearing costumes (there were some AMAZING ONES) or other 'geeky' attire.

This costume is all DIY and I will list resources where possible. The most expensive thing to make was the mask but that was because I wanted something different and cute to wear. I ended up wearing jeans, flats and my ReachOut shirt as the base then completed it with the cape, mask and cuffs.
I have also included links to substitutions/alternatives that I bought for back ups just in case nothing turned out as pictured. I would recommend that if DIYing isn't your thing to check out the costume and party section in both Big W and Spotlight as they had a load of budget friendly costume accessories.

Cape (not the best photo sorry!) - I used 3 metres of Sequin-Mesh in royal blue, I was lucky enough that this was half price at
the time which cut down on costs. I choose the fabric as it doesn't fray, is softer than tule, not too heavy to wear and sparkly. All I did was fold it in half and stitched a straight line across (using a sewing machine) 5cm's down then grabbed some blue ribbon and with the help of a safety pin threaded it through so I could tie it round my neck. I then trimmed it to the length I wanted, I didn't want it to be dragging on the floor so I trimmed it to around my mid thigh. If you wanted to cut down on costs you could only do one layer and just fold over 5 cms and sew that down.

Mask - the fabirc paint I used made this expensive (though I was able to make a back up and still have some leftover) but it turned out cute wasn't too hot or heavy to wear either. I followed the instructions and template here due to the tip size on the tubes I couldn't get all the detail on the template so I did do some improvising where needed. Also as I used 2 colours it meant I could add some extra detail/fill in areas with the alternative colour which I really liked. I did one with the base colour blue and details silver on white tulle and the other base colour silver and details blue on blue tulle so I could have some options and a back up. I recommend using 2 layers of gladwrap as a base rather than one as it makes it easier to peel and adds extra stability. I used this silver paint and this blue paint both did their jobs and held up great (though when I do one next time both of these sets here and here look like great value for money). I left the masks to dry overnight then carefully peeled them off and cut them out the next day before sewing (you could totally glue it too but I hand stitched it) leftover ribbon from the cape so I could tie it around my head. I also went over some areas that needed it with more paint and added some jewels with glue. I got loads of compliments on it and its such a simple concept so I have a feeling I may be making more masks using this technique in the future.
If you think that it sounds like too much effort and/or money my backup plan was one of these masks - they come in loads of colours and are only $2 so its a cheaper option (though I would've coated mine in blue glitter to match with the sparkly cape).

Cuffs - these was super easy and I used a metre of  this trim in blue, I just wrapped it round my wrists and cut the lengths I needed (with a decent overhang) before hand sewing (again good quality superglue would be fine here just do a test run first) them together. I loved how thick it was was and how it could cover my watch, plus it was sparkly and elastic to easy to put on and take off.
My initial plan before I found the trim was to wear these in blue, which still would've worked but it just wasn't my style (and I found them hard to get on with all my bracelets and my stacking rings).

I also wore blue eyeliner, silver eye shadow (I got a silver long lasting eyeliner and coated my lids which meant it stayed on all day), blue mascara, tied some blue ribbon in my hair and wore some blue earrings to complete my look.

While this wasn't a super cheap DIY it was fun to make and I now have the pieces for any other ReachOut events that may require some dressing up or if I ever just want be a superhero for the day.

Other advice:
If you are doing the ChillOut room at Comic-Con here is some things I have learned from the
weekend:
  • Wear comfy shoes - I wore my comfiest flats and my feet still got sore, so wear something you will be fine wearing all day and won't kill your feet.
  • Come early and look around - I had never been to a comic-con so I had no idea what to expect so I arrived early (my shift wasn't until the afternoon) and wandered around. I also let myself buy a few things (an art print and Dobby toy cause Treat Yo' Self!) and sat down doing some people watching (this is the perfect event to do it).
  • If you are handing out fliers walk the outsides - so many people were sitting down around the outsides so they were easy targets and also looked like they could use a comfy place to chill out and relax. Also target kids they will take anything from you and the parents are more likely to pay attention to what they have rather than you giving them something.
  • Its totally fine to use the ChillOut room beforehand - I had 30 minutes before my shift started and had no idea what to do so I decided to use the ChillOut room myself. A bonus is that you get to know what you are promoting and are able to tell people just how awesome it was.
  • Have fun - while you are there to work during your shift have fun while on it, laugh and dance, take selfies with awesome costumed people and don't be afraid to stand out.
I highly recommend volunteering at the ChillOut room if you get the chance, it will be an experience you won't forget anytime soon!




Thursday, March 23, 2017

Five Friday Favourites

I can't believe my family gets home in less than a week!!! I am so tempted to do something similar to this but I don't think I will have a chance with getting the house sorted to do it:
This coming weekend is busy but fun, with starting to clean the house, plus I am helping ReachOut in the ChillOut room at comic-con which will be interesting to say the least. I've never gone to any of these conventions before but figure it will get me out of my comfort zone. I am going as a ReachOut hero so wearing a cape and a few other pieces over my ReachOut shirt, jeans and flats (post on that coming next week) so at least I will have a disguise.
After that I am going to see PowerRangers with a friend which I am really looking forward to and can't wait to see how awesome it is.
Moving on to Five Friday Favourites:

Jeanswest - with cooler weather starting to come in, I am starting to think about my winter wardrobe and grabbing a few pieces as I see them. I love Jeanswest and have picked up two long sleve tops (this one and this one) for everyday wear, one more dressier top and a couple of pairs of jeans (I LOVE the Tummy Trimmer in straight leg). The quality of the clothes always impresses me and despite wearing the clothes non stop they are still holding up great even after a few years.

The Next Step: Show The World - as many of you know Megan and I went to see The Next Step in concert last year and we loved it. I am thrilled that they are releasing behind the scenes footage of the tour in these episodes on youtube. Check out the first one below:
Apples to Apples Disneyed - I am a huge fan of the original Apples to Apples and when I saw the Disney version I couldn't resist buying it to play to Megan and her friends. Its more basic than the orignal so less reading but still fun and I love the pictures on the cards. Plus its bit cheaper than the orginal at only $25 so it would make a great gift for any Disney fan out there.


Interviewing for a job when you have an anxiety disorder - this is the article I wrote that has been published on The Mighty and I reccomend that everyone checks it out. This is a huge deal for me and so proud of my writing and for me to be published on such a great website. Being unemployed while having anxiety is tough and not many people understand just what you go through before even getting a job (which is a whole nother story!).

Changing Places movie - this is my movie for tonight and I am looking forward to sitting down with some ice cream and enjoying a fun film. It looks like a great family film and with a few Degrassi and Lost and Found Music Studios alums the cast looks like something I would enjoy.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Article on The Mighty

I really enjoy writing and when I discovered that you could submit articles to the website The Mighty I thought I would give it a go. Well I am pleased to say that my first article has been published! It's all about applying and interviewing for jobs when you have anxiety. I had no idea what to write about but decided that I should stick to something I know, I mean I have anxiety and I unemployed so they seemed like safe topics. I figured if they didn't publish it I would just share it here and move on but when I got the email a couple of weeks saying they had decided to publish it it was an amazing feeling.
I still can't believe it and want to shout it to the world that my words meant enough for a website to publish!
I am hopeful that this isn't the only article of mine that they publish but for the time being you can read all about it here and please tell me what you think.
***For those wanting an update on the job hunt situation it isn't really happening despite applying for 3 promising jobs. There are days when its really hard to stay focused on the big picture and other days when I am fine. I am still praying for the phone to ring regarding 2 of the jobs and I would appreciate prayers that they will ring soon! For now I am just reminding myself that God is bigger than all of this and in his timing I will get a great job soon :)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Five Friday Favourites

I was meant to do Five Friday Favourites last week but it slipped my mind completely as I had church camp that weekend. It was so nice to get away for a few days and just relax, I was lucky enough to get my own dorm which I really enjoyed as I never had to worry about waking anyone up in the middle of the night and I could spread my stuff out. The talks were good too and I really enjoyed the fellowship, plus the food was amazing and it was a wonderful weekend. I was in charge of doing the quiz on the Sunday night which went really well and everyone said how good it was, I made sure to have a good range of questions and kept it short (45 minutes) so no one lost their attention spans. Being me and having a target on my head I managed to get hit by a Frisbee which was a low point but I did get a free ice cream from the kid who did it so I guess it was worth it, though it could only happen to me - this is why I avoid sports!
Moving on to Five Friday Favourites:

Friends - this is my current TV show of choice (I got the boxset as a gift) and I am halfway through season 8. Despite it starting the year I was born, I am really enjoying it and find myself laughing non stop. I really like Chandler just his comments and how despite having a rough childhood he can laugh it. I also like Joey and Chandler's pet duck and chick(en), though how they manage to have them in an apartment is beyond me!

Lego Friends Cupcake Café - yes I am 22 and yes I did just buy this Lego set for myself but it is super cute and something I would've LOVED when I was younger so I bought it for my inner child. Plus you are never too old for Lego! I really love all the detail it has, also if you follow the instructions it isn't too hard to put together despite looking tricky. I also bought this set which is super cute too and kinda goes with it. I am so happy that they have brought out the Lego Friends range even if it is a few years too late for me really to enjoy but for now I will just buy a few sets here and there so I can relive my childhood years.

Scented 3D owl alphabet keyring - I went into Smiggle the other day and saw these cute keyrings so I got one for me and one for my Mum. They are super cute and a bonus is that they are rubber so if you drop them they won't break. I always get loads of compliments on mine (I have 2 on my keys, 2 on my bag and 1 on my backpack not including this one which has yet to find a place to go) and love them so much. If they have a new alphabet keyring chances are I will have it because they are great way to personalise your keys/bag/backpack but not being in your face about your name.

Fun cheap pranks to pull on your family reddit - while I like to think as myself as a prankster I am really not but after reading some of these I might just have to give pranking another go. What's good with most of these is that while they will be annoying they won't hurt anyone's feelings and everyone should have a good laugh. It's also really funny to read about the elaborate pranks people have pulled on each other and how somethings the simplest pranks are the best.

Finally I saw the below picture this past week and it really made me laugh, I never watched a lot of Vegietales growing up but as with any Christian kid I knew who they were. Occasionally I watched it when Sunday School wasn't on in the holidays or in Christian Ed when I was in high school (no idea why but hey if it keeps the kids entertained for a period then that's a good thing right?!). Photo originally seen here.


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Another Challenge Conquered - No More P Plates!

Driving has always been one of those things I have struggled with, I knew from the moment I sat in the drivers seat things wouldn't be easy. I struggled at the beginning of going round the local uni carpark at 5kms an hour and the thought of even going on roads scared me.
My parents had to find a driving instructor who had experience with people with issues like Dyspraxia because they knew any ordinary instructor wouldn't do. It seemed like whenever I felt I was making progress a setback would happen and I would have to work twice as hard to achieve basic manoeuvrers.
When I finally pass my practical driving test I wanted to shout from the rooftops that I was road worthy and despite all the difficulties I faced I had passed the test. Of course once I had had my license for less than a year I lost it for 3 months, which was a huge set back and one that filled with me with a lot of anxiety. Of course God had a plan and I didn't need to resit any tests to get it back despite being told that I would have to.
Well as of yesterday I have conquered another challenge, I am on my full license! No more P - Plates or limited points on my license, no more feeling like a target for road rage because of the p plates and no more people joking that I am a bad/inexperienced driver because I don't have my full license.
It was strange taking off the P-Plates on my car yesterday morning, they had been a permanent fixture on it since I got it and it was strange looking in rear view mirror and not seeing one as I was reversing. I also felt really exposed like I can't use the excuse 'I am on P-Plates and am still a new driver!' when something happens (which is rare now thankfully!).
Once again despite having Dyspraxia (and anxiety) I have proven to people that I can achieve things even if they just take me a bit longer and I need to work slightly harder to do them.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

If I can't control it, I won't worry about it and leave it up to God

 'If I can't control it, I won't worry about it and leave it up to God' - this has become something I keep telling myself during this time of unemployment and uncertainty. Late last year it hit me that I can't control the job market or the interviews I get (or don't get) or the jobs that I can apply for. I mean I would love to get a job but I can't control when I get one so I won't try or even attempt to control it. God is so much bigger than people give him credit for and he has the situation under control even if I can't see it.
I have spent the past couple of weeks filling out job applications, updating my resume and writing selection criteria (which I am convinced will be the end of me!). Selection Criteria is one of those things that I always second guess myself on, mainly because you never what exactly the company is looking for in terms of answers, plus it makes the job application process drag on even longer. I triple check my selection criteria and know that I have done my best, then I leave it up to God. I put it out of my mind and just go on with my life knowing that if it's meant to happen God will do the rest of the work.  My employment agency has also been looking over it and they are impressed with each one I email to them, but I can only pray that the companies are too!
I have dreams of landing a job in the next few weeks in the near future but know that it probably won't happen, but with God never say never. I know that starting a new job won't be easy and I will struggle but I also know that this time will be different and that I have better support and my overall mental health is in a good place. If anything this time living alone has really helped me push myself and see just what I can do (of course I miss my family and can't wait to have them home) so going into a new job I will be more confident and aware of just what I can handle.

I am keeping up with my volunteer work and it seems that everywhere I look I have something happening with ReachOut (organising stalls, helping run chill out rooms at events and getting ready for the workshop this weekend) or with mentoring (organising craft activities, helping out at events and attending it every other week). I highly reccomend that if you are looking for work to do some volunteering as it helps build your confidence, learn new skills, meet new people and just keeps you occupied. I use Seek regulary to find job opportunities but have since discovered that they have a volunteer section of the site which is great and well worth checking out if you are unsure how to go about finding volunteer work. ReachOut actually advertises on it when they need casual and one off volunteers for events which is how I heard about it but there is a wide range of volunteer opportunities you just have to find them.

I don't know what the coming weeks will hold but I won't worry about it because afterall: If I can't control it, I won't worry about it and leave it up to God.


Friday, February 10, 2017

Five Friday Favourites

 Its been really odd cold and wet weather here, which has meant I have had to break out my winter clothing. I am a bit annoyed as I swear it's meant to be Summer but then again I would rather the wet weather than the hot dry weather we normally have this time of year. I have been staying inside quite a bit so this fortnight's favourites reflect that.

Riverdale - I had no idea what to expect when I watched the first episode on Netflix but it has me intrigued. I like how it has a mystery element to it but there is something deeper under the surface which I am sure will come out eventually. I am looking forward to seeing where it goes and counting down the days until the next episode gets released!

Ask Reddit - want a fun way to procrastinate that isn't Facebook or Netflix well then Ask Reddit is your solution! People ask interesting questions and the answers are always a suprise. I always find I learn something too from the answers espicially when it comes to questions asked to certain professions regarding interesting situations they have been in (like this one and this one). I will warn you once you start reading it can be really hard to stop!

Maybelline Colour Drama Lipstick - I have been using this in minimalist for quite a while now and I have to admit that its been one of my go to lipsticks. It provides great long lasting colour without drying out my lips and the colour looks good on all skin tones too. I'm not a fan that it needs to be sharpened compared to a normal lipstick but that's more an inconvenience thing than anything else.

The Office boxset - so I took the plunge and bought it! I am seeing many afternoons filled with laughter in my future and can't wait to relive all the fun times, like the clip below.
When the road rage doesn't match the playlist John Crist video - no words needed such a relatable funny video!


Friday, January 27, 2017

Five Friday Favourites

Every week I think maybe I will have a chance to blog more and every week it never happens! I am sure once all my regular programs start with the new school term, things will get back into routine.

Goodness Me Box - Jocelyn is a bit of health nut and loves experimenting in the kitchen with various healthy recipes and products but it can be super hard to stay on top of all the new health food trends. We've since discovered Goodness Me Box and it's a great to discover new health food products without a huge cost and they even include recipe ideas and ways to use the products. It's also extremely cost effective at $25 (or less if you choose the 3/6/12 month subscription packages) and every box is easily worth double that in value! Febuary's box is sweet treats and looks like a great way to treat yourself minus the guilt :)

Paper Pretty Happy Mail - I love to craft and make cards, so it was fun to discover that for $10 a month I can get some fun craft things mailed out to me. Mine just arrived today and it was filled with loads of cute card making items, its a great pick me up and for the price it's not a big purchase either :) I can't wait to get creating and I loved the papers and washi tape I received.

Dusk Candles - I've never been a huge candle person but recently I have been loving dusk candles and enjoy the scents and designs. I grabbed quite a few on clearance and I love how they make the house smell. I tend to stick to sweet scents and while they can be overpowering these candles aren't and give a nice subtle scent.


Nude by Nature Natural Wonders Eyeshadow palate - this is probably my most reached for eyeshadow palate and the pigment and quality is great! I was really hesitant to buy it mainly because I didn't need another eyeshadow palate and would I really use it that much but I am glad I did. The colours are great and ones that I actually use on a regular basis and its mineral makeup so great for your skin.

I am currently keeping a list of upcoming movies I want to see in cinemas in the next few months and at the top of my list is Power Rangers. Which is an odd choice for me but it looks like a great film and its not a chick flick so I should be able to convince some people to come see it with me (why are people so against chick flicks these days?!).

Friday, January 20, 2017

A year ago today

Today is the 20th of January a day I don't think I will ever forget (not just because its my best friends birthday!). On this day last year I walked into the (scary) driver and vehicle licensing centre prepared to take the theory test the first step to getting my license back after loosing it (which we won't go into!). I had arrived before work trying to ignore the anxiety in my chest and doubts that I may never get my license back (and thinking that maybe it was worth selling my car which I had just paid off). I walked in there took a number and had this urge to pray, I don't think I had felt such a need to pray like this before so there in the licensing centre I started to pray shutting off the world around me and asking that if there was any way possible that I could get my license back that day. In my mind it was so far fetched that I had more of a change of winning a million dollars (which I could then pay for a chauffer to drive me around!) than getting my license back.
I remember doing my breathing exercises as I walked up to the counter when my number was called and anxiously waiting as the lady at the counter said there was a chance I could get my license back while continuing to pray that I would soon be on the roads.
The joy I felt when she told me that I could get my license back that day was indescribable and that moment it really sunk in that all along God had a plan and would provide for me.

I am currently in a transition season with being unemployed, I never wanted to be back here but I am trying to find any job. Yet even though I may not have a job yet God has been providing for me, I have an amazing employment support agency I cannot sing their praises highly enough! They are the people that see me as not just a number on their books but as a person who has struggles but with enough support I will get through them. They push my resume on any company that may be suitable and believe that its only a short amount of time before I get a job. Whenever I feel the doubt start to creep in that I won't ever get a job, I just have to remind myself that God provided for me in what seemed like such an impossible situation and he will once again provide for me in this situation. God provides for us even when we have no idea what he is doing and are starting to doubt it and this time last year was a huge reminder of that fact.

A year ago I got my license back, a year ago I rang my Mum up with tears of joy in my eyes telling her to think of the impossible and that it happened, a year ago I texted my Dad the good news who then texted as many people as he could telling them, a year ago I wanted to shout it from the rooftops that my God is an awesome God and a year ago I learnt what it means when God provides even though at times I doubt it.
Here's the post I wrote on this day last year.

Friday, January 13, 2017

First Five Friday Favourites for 2017

It's the first Five Friday Favourites for 2017, this almost didn't happen as on Thursday morning the house lost power and it finally came on late this afternoon! Thankfully nothing defrosted in the freezer and the worst damage was to my budget as I had to eat out for 3 meals to avoid opening the fridge and freezers.

Skype - so if you don't know all my immediate family is in Peru at the moment and Skype has been a big help in helping us stay connected. Its amazing how I can have conversations face to face despite them being on the other side of the world.

Degrassi Next Class - I almost jumped for joy when I saw that this on Netflix and the latest episodes are really good (watched them all in a day). I love how they aren't afraid to face the big issues that young people face and it provides a way for these issues to be brought up in conversation. I can't wait to see what next season brings.

The Women's Weekly Best Ever Kids Cakes - growing up my bedtime stories were more often than not cake decorating books, so I couldn't resist getting this book. Its an amazing book and I love reading it and planning what cakes I should do (now if only I could find someone who has a birthday soon!). It's a huge book and weighs a tonne but it's been a great coffee table book and conversation piece, people see it and they immediately want to open it and look at all the cakes (also I have no where to store it as of yet so the coffee table is where it lives). It also includes some of their vintage cakes from the first book they ever did (which my Mum owns). I purchased my copy from Big W for $30 but you can get it from all good book stores and websites for between $30-$45, its a purchase that I know I will have for some time.

Alphabet Sprinkle Ball Keyring - these are super cute and the perfect back to school gift for the student you know! I just love how bright and colourful these are, plus if you went to school like mine where everyone had the same backpack then its a great way to personalise it :)

John Crist - this guy is a Christian comedian and his videos and facebook posts are hilarious. I find it can often be hard to find things that are genuinely funny and clean at the same time and his posts are stuff I want to share Facebook because they make me laugh. Plus he's a pastor's kid so he gets points for including some of that in his videos too :)







Saturday, January 7, 2017

New year new goals: a list of what I hope to acheive in 2017

I wasn't too sure whether to post this or not but I figure I might as well. I don't do New Year resolutions I just find that they are so easy to break and once you break them that its over so instead I set goals. I never set anything major but things that I would like to achieve and are doable so here are my 2017 goals:
  • Eat healthier and get into a regular exercise habit - I am pretty sure everyone has a goal similar to this and while last year I did start to do it this year I want to step it up.
  • Go to events where I know very few people and push myself out of my comfort zone - I honestly didn't realise just how my anxiety affected this until recently. I don't like going to events where I don't know very few people or with people I haven't seen in ages, so I make excuses. I think it would be good if I said yes to more of these events and it would help with my communication skills.
  • Find a job, get the job and stay in the job - of course first I have to find a job first (praying for a miracle here!) but once I do have a job I have no intention of leaving and will do everything I can to keep it.
  • Grow more as a Christian - self explanatory, I want to read my bible more and just lean on God on not only the big things but the little things as well.
  • Listen more - I talk a lot and 98%  of the time its because I am anxious or in a new situation and I have no idea what to do. I want to be able to listen more and direct the conversation back to people (if you see me often, feel free to remind me of this!). My eye contact has slowly gotten better in these new situations so this is the next step.
  • Do a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle - no idea why but I would like to do one, of course that would be made easier if a certain ginger cat didn't sit on the pieces in the box consistently! (see photo below for evidence).
I have no idea how much of the above I will achieve, but I am looking forward to seeing what 2017 has in store for me.
You can read my recap of 2016 here.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Dear 2016

Dear 2016,

I can't believe you are finally over and I am super happy for it to be 2017!

This past year has been hard and I have felt like I have reached breaking point so many times.

Lets start at the beginning, on the 20th of January I walked into the licensing centre expecting to have to resit many tests to get my license back but by something that I can only see as an act of God I got it back that day. I couldn't believe it and even now many months later it still feels surreal (here's the post I wrote on it).

In February things just went downhill I made the decision to leave my job on the advice of my doctor, psych and employment support agency. This came as a shock to many people as I didn't talk about just how much I was struggling and refused to let anyone fight my fights. It had seemed up to that point I always had someone to fight for me (which is in no way a bad thing) but when I got that job I had made a decision that I was going to handle it the best I could and stand up for myself.
It took me quite a while to rebuild my self confidence back to the low level it was initially at when I started the job and my mental health took a beating because of it.
Looking back that job clearly wasn't right for me and I had no voice there and got very little support.

The rest of the year on the unemployment side has been uneventful and the job market is non existent, I've had a couple of interviews (including a somewhat disastrous group interview) but they have lead to nothing.  When I left my last job I decided that I would trust God during the whole process and not stress about it, which is easier said than done but I KNOW that God has a plan and he has a hand in everything.

At church this year's focus was on prayer and I have definitely learnt to pray more! I find myself praying non stop during the hard days and as I am drifting off to sleep I find myself praying and just getting rid of anything that is worrying me. I have prayed a lot but its been great to focus on it and get to hear about people's stories when it comes to God answering their prayers and their prayer life.

This year I said goodbye to some friends as they moved away, reconnected with others and met some awesome new people. I find when you are going through tough times you discover who you're friends are and its been great know that I have all these people I can call on when I need it.

I am still single and sure I would've liked 2016 to be the year of the boyfriend but hey maybe 2017 will be the year (a girl can dream haha!) :)

I continued with being a ReachOut Youth Ambassador and I am so thankful for the opportunities its given me. I ended giving up my laptop for the month of May to raise some funds and was mentioned under the fundraising section on ReachOut.com! I also ran a few stalls and did another 5km walk, all while getting to raise awareness for mental illness and the awesome work ReachOut does.

Two huge posts were written on this blog both covering my experiences and struggles with anxiety and bullying. I never in a million years thought I would be able to write these posts but I did and its been really therapeutic and just great to share my story in more detail.

Of course lots of fun things happened in 2016: I got to see The Next Step in concert with Megan which was an amazing experience and I was in awe of the talent of the dancers. I played lots of board games and had many laughs with friends on Saturday nights. I binge watched way too many tv shows. Sat in cafes and read, prayed and just watched the world around me go by. Experimented in the kitchen and baked some yummy treats. Attended an ethics and the bible course, just to name a few things which made 2016 a memorable year!

I feel that I have come out of 2016 stronger and more determined, 2016 has proven not to be easy but its also shown me that God always come through even if at times we can't see it.

Thanks 2016 for a mixed year, here's praying that 2017 is better.

Love Erin

*new calendar was a Christmas gift but you buy it here - pictures don't do it justice it makes me so happy to look at it!