If you are reading this article then more than likely you have found your way here because you struggle with anxiety, know someone who does or maybe you just want to know more about Anxiety HIT. Regardless of how you find yourself here, I just want to say thank you for taking the time to read my blog and I hope you find it helpful. My struggles with anxiety Let me explain a little about my struggles and how I found myself looking for help with anxiety. A series of difficult life events over the past five years, including, witnessing a family member passing away in front of me unexpectedly and having gone through two operations and two unsuccessful attempts at IVF, left me mentally exhausted, emotional, depressed and questioning the purpose of my life. I thought I had come to terms with the above and processed the fact, that most likely, I will never have children of my own but the stress and strain of this time lingered on in the background. Slowly but surely the depression and, laterally, anxiety got worse to the point in February 2017 I had what I can only describe as a breakdown where I stopped being able to function. I couldn’t eat, sleep or get out of bed for weeks at a time. I had regular panic attacks, a racing heartbeat and a constant feeling of dread every moment of every day. I began to have recurring intrusive thoughts which didn’t make sense and played on a loop 24/7 in my head. I was convinced everyone hated me, that I was a bad person and I didn’t deserve to be happy which eventually led to me wanting to end my life. Ever since this time, my life has been a minefield of appointments with mental health specialists, Psychiatrist’s, Psychologist’s, weeks of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), self-funded talking therapy and various medication. Almost two and a half years later, I found myself no further forward, barely existing and not wanting to be on this planet any more. I had no confidence or self esteem left. I didn’t go out, couldn’t work for the most part and I shut myself away in my bedroom fighting the urge to just end it. That was until May 2019 when I finally found something that worked. How did I find out about Anxiety HIT Therapy? Like most anxiety sufferers, I scoured the internet trying to make sense of what was going in my mind. I read article after article, joined numerous groups and discussion threads but I still couldn’t understand what was happening to me. I think I searched “anxiety treatment ayrshire”, or something along those lines and eventually found Serenity by Kevin on Facebook where I first heard about Anxiety HIT. Anxiety HIT is a new way of treating anxiety which was designed by Kevin to remove anxiety using a combination of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and hypnotherapy. My mum and husband also followed the page and continued to tag me in numerous posts and videos, encouraging me to contact Kevin but I wasn’t ready to and ever the pessimist, convinced that it wasn’t going to help me. Anyway, on 28 May 2019, I finally took the plunge and reached out to Kevin on Facebook. I wasn’t expecting an instant reply given it was late at night but that is exactly what happened and before I knew it I was on my way for a consultation the very next evening. I’m not going to lie. I was a nervous wreck sat in the car outside of the building with my stomach in knots and fighting the urge to turn around and go home, but I didn’t. Following a brief chat with Kevin, I decided I had nothing to lose and signed up there and then to the Anxiety HIT programme and it’s proved to be the best thing I ever did to tackle the anxiety that has plagued my life. What is Anxiety HIT Therapy? This is the hard bit! If you ask anyone who has experienced Anxiety HIT they will most likely struggle to explain exactly what it is and what happens. You have probably heard the word therapy used many times and probably envisage sitting down with someone talking about your life and reliving every painful experience that has gotten you to this point. Well, I can categorically state that’s not what happens. Of course, Kevin will ask what brought you to see him but all he really needs to know is how you feel and what anxiety stops you from doing. Anxiety HIT is designed to be fast acting over just of four sessions. Yes, you read that correct. All Kevin needs is four sessions with you to change your life. I had never really heard the term NLP used before but this is the basis of Anxiety HIT which also incorporates some hypnotherapy. NLP is basically understanding how people think and feel the way they do and being able to read the language and behaviour that someone uses in order to identify what is needed to help that person. The purpose of NLP is to change your behaviour so that you can basically take back control of your life. I’m no professional so this is the best way I can explain it. There are various techniques that Kevin uses during the sessions but they are not obvious to the untrained person. In all honesty, I wasn’t really aware of what they were at the time as all I could think about was how I was feeling. On reflection and having done a little reading on it, I can definitely identify one or two techniques that Kevin used with me. I’m not going to go into detail about what those were as this will be different for each individual. I also don’t want anyone reading this to over think the process if it’s something you are thinking of doing. All I can say is that it works and I began to feel different after the first session. I’ve been asked numerous times if I was hypnotised at any point and I would have to say yes. I definitely experienced something I’ve never experienced before. I wasn’t asleep but I was in a very relaxed state. I can remember some of what Kevin said to me during these times, more so in later sessions, but in the very first session I cannot remember any words at all. I just remember Kevin’s voice. It’s while I was in this relaxed state that Kevin spoke directly to my subconscious mind where all of these negative emotions and feelings reside. He removed and replaced this negativity with positive thoughts and feelings. I had mentioned that I had been struggling to sleep and that I often found myself awake for days on end. Kevin sent me a short recording to listen to every night before I went to sleep which helped me to relax and reinforced the positivity that had been absorbed by my subconscious mind during the sessions. I have listened to it every night since it was sent to me and I can honestly say that this has helped me massively and I am sleeping much better. I also find that if I’ve not had a good day, for whatever reason, and I’m still bothered by something when I am going to bed that it just simply fades away and I wake up fresh in the morning ready to face the day ahead. When did I begin to feel different? I began to feel different straight away but it was straight after the third session that I clearly remember a complete change in my mind set. I had no anxiety and I just felt really happy and like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. It was at this point that I began to open up on social media about my struggles. I had wanted to do this for a long time but just never felt confident enough to do it. I was afraid of what people would think and say but I have experienced nothing but kindness from both people who know me personally and those who don’t. I completed my four sessions of Anxiety HIT with Kevin on 19 June 2019 just two days before my 35th birthday. From start to finish, this was 20 days. Four hours over that 20 day period was all it took to remove my anxiety. What next? For the first time in a long time I am actually looking forward and making plans for the future. Being able to wake up and just get on with life is a feeling I can’t explain and not something I’ll ever be complacent about. I’m under no illusion that I will face challenges in life just like anyone else but I am in a much better place to be able to deal with whatever life throws at me. Kevin, through Anxiety HIT, has taken away the negative thoughts and chronic anxiety and replaced it with positivity. I am actually fascinated and it has really got me thinking about how I would love to be able to help people the way Kevin has helped me. I am seriously considering learning more about NLP and hypnotherapy and possibly taking steps to become a life coach myself in the future. I am beginning to think that maybe this was the plan all along for me and my experience and struggles have got me to where I need to be in life. Serenity by Kevin If you are in any doubt, please check out Serenity by Kevin at www.serenitynlp.com or go and follow Kevin on Facebook or Instagram. Read the posts, the many videos and testimonials and see for yourself how life changing this type of therapy has been for many people, including myself. Anxiety It’s Time to Go 4 For anyone who may be interested, Kevin is running an event in Glasgow on Saturday 3 August at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow. The aim is to remove anxiety on a large scale and to provide you with the tools to help you live your life the way you want. I have bought my ticket and very much looking forward to it. If you think it might be for you then tickets can be purchased here. Finally, I just want to say thanks to Kevin for helping me get back to who I really am. I appreciated your direct approach but also your compassion and understanding. I was made to feel comfortable as soon I walked through the door which makes all the difference when you are riddled with anxiety and self-doubt. I never thought that only 20 days after my first session I would be waking up feeling happy and content with a genuine smile on my face. It feels great to have the volume on those negative thoughts turned down so that I can no longer hear them. Thanks also for introducing me to the quote by John Green, “Your now is not your forever”. This is the motto I now live my life by. Laura *All views expressed in this article are my own and based on my own personal experience. I’m sharing my thoughts in the hope of helping people suffering with anxiety and negative thoughts.
I have been using survey websites for around two years now to make some extra money im my spare time. I usually do this when I’m watching TV or before I go to sleep at night. I have compiled my top five favourites websites below. I have included referral links where I have one. Prolific Academy https://app.prolific.ac/studies Prolific Academy is one of my favourite survey websites as I find the surveys really interesting. This website is a bit different from some others as the surveys are posted by researchers and academics. The surveys are usually quick to complete, pay well and can be about absolutely anything. The reward and time to complete each study is detailed at the outset and rewards usually take between 24-48 hours to show in your account. Your response to the study requires to be verified. The threshold for withdrawing money from your account is £5 and can be paid via PayPal or Circle. Populus Live https://www.populuslive.com/Register.aspx Populus live is an online research community which provides insights for clients in business, culture and politics. The surveys are varied and cover a wide range of subjects. You will receive points for each survey completed and the reward is detailed at the outset. Once you reach 50 points, a £50 cheque will automatically be sent out to you in the post. Panelbase https:/www.panelbase.net Panelbase is a another firm favourite of mine and is a fast growing research community. I receive emails pretty much every day with survey invitations. They cover a wide range of topics and I’ve also had a few product tests. The reward and time to complete the survey is outlined at the start so you can clearly see whether it is worth your time and effort. Rewards are added directly to your Panelbase account immediately after you successfully complete a survey and are shown with a ‘pending’ status until the survey has been closed and all results are verified. Normally this process is completed within just 7 days of the survey being closed (not necessarily 7 days from your participation in the survey), at which time the status changes from ‘pending’ to ‘complete’. The threshold for withdrawing your reward is £10 and there are three ways to redeem. You can receive payment by BACS into your account, received a Love2Shop gift voucher or make a charitable donation. Valued Opinions Valued Opinions is a large paid survey panel that has been ongoing since 2004. Members who sign up can take part in online surveys, complete diary studies and test new products and in exchange receive gift cards and vouchers. There are many surveys posted online every day and you can choose which ones you would like to complete. It clearly states what the topic is about and how much you will receive on completion. In order to cash out for a voucher you have to have a minimum of £10 in your account plus an extra 50p for the admin charge. There are a number of vouchers to chose from, including Amazon, Love2Shop Argos and Sainsbury’s. There is also an option to make a charitable donation. https://www.valuedopinions.co.uk YouGov YouGov is an online panel which consists of approximately 6 million panellists across 38 countries covering the UK, USA, Europe, the Nordics, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. These represent all ages, socio-economic groups and other demographic types which allows them to create nationally representative online samples and access hard to reach groups, both consumer and professional. The UK panel has over 1 million respondents. YouGov conducts polls on the Internet about politics, public affairs, products, brands and other topics of general interest. YouGov polls are taken by people, from all over the nation, who have agreed to share their thoughts on a wide variety of important issues. It is free to join for anyone aged 16 plus and living in the UK. The topic of the survey, average time to complete and reward are noted at the outset. In order to cash out for a £50 cheque, you need to earn 5000 points. This is my referral link. If you use this link to sign up to the website, both of us will receive 200 points. https://yougov.co.uk/refer/jar75AN8NH5lP5xl-sgfbA/ I hope this has been helpful but feel free to ask me any questions. Laura x
Did you know that you can make money from receipts for your every day purchases? Yeah, those pesky bits of paper that fill every pocket and purse going (in my house anyway) can earn you some extra dough? Let me tell you how easy it is to earn some extra money or gift cards for just a few minutes of your time every day, or at least, whenever you have receipts to upload. There are a number of apps out there which allow you to upload receipts in exchange for points which can usually be redeemed for money, usually paid into Paypal, or for different gift cards for top retailers such as Amazon. I am currently aware of five different apps which allow you to upload receipts, Let me explain a little bit about each of them. Shopprize This app allows you to earn points in exchange for Amazon vouchers or a Google Play gift card. The threshold for redeeming a gift card on this app is 10,000 coins. All you need to do is take a photo of your receipt and upload it which earns you coins. These can either be saved or you can use them to enter sweepstakes to win prizes. It might sound like a lot but if you upload receipts every day it adds up quickly. Each receipt is worth 100 points. The more you snap receipts, you move up levels which then gives you a higher bonus. You can upload a maximum of five receipts per day and they have to be dated within the last 30 days. There are four sweepstake prize draws per day for various different prizes. You can use your coins to enter and the number of coins required is dependent on the prize up for grabs. Currently the cost is around 80-100 coins per entry. If you don’t happen to win a sweepstake that you have entered, then you are given the spin of the wheel of fortune to win some coins back. My referral code for this app is 21yaq. This gives you and I 200 coins. The app is only available on Android. Unfortunately, Shopprize is fully subscribed at the moment but keep checking as it’s one of the best receipt snapping apps. Shoppix Shoppix works exactly the same as Shopprize. Take a photo of the receipt and upload it to earn tokens which are redeemable for vouchers or a Paypal payment when you reach a certain amount. 3200 token will get you £5 6000 tokens will get you £10 11500 token will get you £20 You can upload as many receipts per week as you like but you will only receive tokens for the first 30 approved receipts. The cap is calculated over the previous 7 days rather than a fixed Monday to Sunday. A receipt is worth 25 tokens but if you upload it on the day of purchase you will receive an extra 5 tokens time bonus. You will also receive notifications to complete surveys where you can earn scratch cards worth 0 to 100 extra tokens. My referral code for this app is BQH5ISNI. This gives you and I 200 free tokens. HuYu HuYu is exactly the same as the first two apps, however, it is specific to the following retailers at the moment:- Tesco Morrisons Sainsbury’s Asda Waitrose Aldi Lidl Coop The do accept receipts for online grocery shopping from Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose and Ocado. Receipts must be dated within 7 calendar days or they won’t be accepted You need to earn 500 points from receipts and surveys before you can redeem them for shopping vouchers. Each receipt is worth 5 points so it might take a little longer than the previous two apps to earn a reward. It’s still worth it if you are uploading receipts anyway. You can refer three friends to the app but once those codes are gone you need to wait until they give you more. They do no state how long it takes to receive more referral codes at this time. I have no referral codes left for this app at the moment. Receipt Hog This app works pretty the much the same as the previous three apps above. I would say that a common criticism of this app is that it is a slow burner when it comes to earnings. It takes a lot longer to reach the points level to be able to redeem a gift card. All receipts need to be dated within 2 weeks and you can only upload a maximum of 20 receipts each 7 days. Only 3 receipts from an individual store are permitted each day. If you spend less than £10 you will earn 5 coins. A £10-£50 spend will get you 10 coins, a £50 -£100 spend will get you 15 and £100 or more will get you 20 coins. There are also opportunities to earn more coins. For example, linking your email will earn you 100 and if you link your Amazon account, you will earn 36 coins and 5 sweepstakes each month. Sometimes, instead of earning coins you will receive an entry to the hog slots. This is basically a wheel of fortune where you can earn bonus coins. Each day, one person will get their last shopping trip paid for. The more receipts uploaded the more you will level up ad receive extra hog spins. Every receipt that you upload enters you into a monthly prize draw to win extra prizes. To redeem an Amazon voucher or Paypal payment, you require the following number of coins:- Amazon 1000 coins – £3 2850 coins – £10 5300 coins – £20 12,000 coins – £50 Paypal 1500 coins – £5 2850 coins – £10 5300 coins – £20 12000 coins – £50 Receipt Hog no longer have a referral scheme. SnapMyEats Snap My Eats is a little different to the other apps in that it will only accept receipts from the purchase of food and drink. Upload receipts, take surveys and earn Amazon e-gift codes. You can earn up to £5 per month and it only takes 3 receipt to earn your first £1 reward. All you need to do is locate the SnapMyEats receipt survey located within the app, answer five short questions about your food or drink purchase, take a picture of the receipt and upload. This is a pretty easy way to earn Amazon vouchers and as most people regularly eat out or on the go then there are always receipts kicking around. You just need to remember to ask for receipt when buying that tea or coffee! There are no referral codes for this app. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I hope you enjoyed this post and that it demonstrates how easy it is to make money from something that is usually thrown away. As always, if you have any questions please leave a comment or drop me an email. Laura x
What better time to write a piece about Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) than when my anxiety is really bad. I have been feeling anxious, on edge and nauseous all day and I decided to write down what it feels like while I’m in that state of mind. It’s really difficult because this is the last thing I want to do but I think it will be helpful and insightful to read at a later date when I am feeling better. What is Generalised Anxiety Disorder? This is how the NHS website describes Anxiety in adults:- “Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life – for example, you may feel worried and anxious about sitting an exam, or having a medical test or job interview. During times like these, feeling anxious can be perfectly normal. But some people find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and can often affect their daily lives. “ This is how they describe Generalised Anxiety Disorder:- “GAD is a long-term condition that causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event. People with GAD feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed. As soon as one anxious thought is resolved, another may appear about a different issue.” This is exactly how it effects me. It’s not just feeling a little worried or nervous it’s feeling so worried that I struggle to function or cope with every day life. I often don’t know what I am worried about. I am in that constant flight or fight mode and feels like something bad is going to happen. For a long time I struggled to allow myself to be happy as I felt that I did not deserve to be happy and the moment I let my guard down is when something truly awful would happen. The feelings of anxiety can sometimes last for days on end and can get too much for me. I’ve struggled for the past two years with many periods off work because of it but luckily I have supportive managers who have provided the best support they can. A lot of people who suffer anxiety struggle with the “what if’s”. For example, I often think things like “what if this happens?, what if I did this? or what if I’m a bad person?” I hope this makes sense. What triggered my Anxiety? I am really not sure why I am feeling this way today. It started yesterday evening and got a little worse as the night went on. I had been watching a Channel 4 series called “Pure”. It’s about a young woman who suffers from unwanted intrusive thoughts and how she comes to understand that she has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It is really good so check it out if you get the chance but it may trigger people who suffer unwanted intrusive thoughts especially those of a sexual nature. I think I recognised some characteristics which I share with the main character and that stuck in my mind a little. I suffer intrusive thoughts. I can’t work out whether the thoughts cause anxiety or my anxiety causes the thoughts. I also don’t know if this could be OCD or a trait of OCD. These are discussions I need to have with my Psychiatrist and Psychologist. I will write a blog about intrusive thoughts another time as there is a lot to say about it and it’s kind of personal. There are lots of thoughts about the reason why people suffer from GAD. The NHS website suggests that it can be due to the following:- “overactivity in areas of the brain involved in emotions and behaviour an imbalance of the brain chemicals serotonin and noradrenaline, which are involved in the control and regulation of mood the genes you inherit from your parents – you’re estimated to be 5 times more likely to develop GAD if you have a close relative with the condition having a history of stressful or traumatic experiences, such as domestic violence, child abuse or bullying having a painful long-term health condition, such as arthritis having a history of drug or alcohol misusemany people develop GAD for no apparent reason.” I am still unsure about why I have GAD. I often think it’s partly genetic as I’ve been a worrier and over anxious my whole life. I also think it could be due to a lack of Serotonin which helps regulate moods. I guess it could be due to a number of different things that I might never fully understand. All I know is that my life is on hold because of it and I sometimes I feel like I can’t go on. What does Anxiety feel like? Everyone experiences anxiety differently but for me the main physical symptom is a pressure on my chest. It almost feels like a heavy rock is on my chest and I can’t get it off. I sometimes have butterflies or a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach too. Depending on the severity of my anxiety, I sometimes feel like I have a rapid heartbeat and my heart feels like it is thumping out of my chest. When this happens I can get a bit breathless which can escalate into a full blown panic attack. I haven’t had one for a long time because I recognise the symptoms now and can usually slow my breathing down and stop myself from panicking. I recall having a panic attack at a concert a few years ago. It came out of nowhere and I fainted. I didn’t realise that’s what it was at the time and the paramedics thought I had maybe been drinking or taking drugs but I hadn’t. I had only been in the venue for a short period of time when it happened. Anxiety also causes me to be restless, tired and fatigued. It’s not a normal tiredness. My mind works over time and I constantly overthink and the constant internal battle and dialogue is very tiresome. It affects my memory and a lot of the time I have no energy to do anything. I struggle to sleep and find myself sitting up to all hours at night and then struggling to get up for work in the morning. This is something I really need to change. How do I manage my Anxiety? I have been taking medication for both Anxiety and Depression for about two years. It takes a while to find the right combination and dose but it seems to be taking the edge off just now. I have also had a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). This was helpful for me and I learned coping mechanisms which help me to rationalise my thoughts as when the intrusive thoughts take over I cannot think straight. Sadly though, my anxiety never seems to fully go away. Self care is very important. It’s important for me to keep my mind occupied and I think that’s one of the reasons I started getting into blogging, and product testing etc. It provides a welcome distraction plus I get paid and get to test lots of amazing products. I wrote this blog post tonight so I could get it out of my mind. One of the hardest things to do is exercise when you have anxiety but it really is important to try and get out of the house and into the fresh air. It’s too easy to become a recluse in your own house. The hardest part is getting out the door but once I am out I just keep walking until I get tired. I have a dog and she needs out so I have no option but to go outside. The routine of walking the dog after dinner helps me. I will also go for bath, pamper myself and binge watch Netflix. I try to rest as much as I can, drink a lot of water and make the best choices I can with food but it’s very difficult. I crave chocolate and often binge eat in the evening. When I have anxiety I talk to my husband about it. Getting it off my chest and sometimes having a good cry usually makes me feel slightly better. Plus copious cups of tea! I spoke about how I was feeling last night and this evening and I am feeling better than I did. It’s true what they say though, “a problem shared is a problem halved.” I might have GAD my whole life, who knows, but I’m just doing my best to manage it at the moment. I have slowly made a little progress but it’s took two years to reach a point where I can actually get out of bed and showered. I guess accepting that I have a diagnosed disorder was half the battle as for a long time I thought it was normal to feel the way I did. Anyway, I think that’s all I have to say for now. This is just a snapshot of how I am feeing at this moment in time and there is so much more I could say. If you are reading this and you have been feeling the same way then I hope it provides you with some comfort knowing that you are not alone. Go and speak to your GP about it or to someone you trust. Laura x
I had never heard of the Versatile Blogger Awards until I was kindly nominated by Caledonian Kitty and Miss Jo. The Versatile Blogger Award is an award which is given to bloggers by other bloggers in recognition of all the hard work that goes into their blog and content. I am a new blogger (I’ve only been blogging for about 1 month) so I am pretty delighted to have been nominated for this award by two bloggers. Thank you so much. It means a lot to me. As part of the nomination, I have to publish 7 facts about myself and nominate 15 other bloggers for the award. So here are my 7 facts:- I love all things true crime, serial killers, forensics and the paranormal. I think I have watched every related series and documentary on Netflix.I am a product tester/reviewer and have been fortunate to test lots of different products including, a vacuum, blender, iron, epilator, various perfumes, cosmetics, skincare, food and drink.I proposed to my husband at New year in 2003 after 9 months of dating. He said yes! We have been together 16 years and happily married for 10.I love tattoos and piercings. I have 2 tattoos, 1 on my left wrist and the other on my right forearm. I have a belly button piercing and used to have my eyebrow pierced.I had the fab opportunity to perform in the closing ceremony of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. I learned a routine and got to dance with the athletes.I love to travel and my favourite place is the USA. I have been to New York 3 times and Florida 5 times. My next trip is a city break to Berlin, Germany and a holiday to Cancun, Mexico later in the year. I would love to visit the Maldives.I have a love for handbags and trainers. I have quite a few nice handbags and about 20+ pairs of trainers. My favourite handbags include a black leather shoulder bag by Vivienne Westwood and a cream, leather bag by Moschino. I have read so many different blogs so it has been hard to choose just 15 to nominate. After much deliberation, here are my nominations for the Versatile Blogger Award:- Jo at Caledonian Kitty @CaledonianTweet Miss Jo @MissJoBlogger Kat @femenish Tinka @tinkableeblog GemLou92 @gemlou921 Emily @brightercraft That Skint Gal @thatskintgal Frantasmagoria @Frantasmagoria Sharpaige @sharpaige Shona Marie @Bell_chic94 Andrea Wade @itsOkaytoTalk Live The Frugal Life @FrugalLife7 Lei Esther @eskinita23 Tea and Cake for the Soul @teaandcakesoul Pat Horn @PatHorn65 I have chosen these accounts for many different reasons but mainly because I enjoy the content, interaction and support from these bloggers. Please check them out and give them a follow. Laura x
I am a bit of a tea jenny and can get through a lots of cups of tea in a day. I am always looking to try new flavours, particularly, varieties of green tea as I really enjoy the taste. I came across Shibui Tea on Twitter and responded to a tweet offering samples for people to try. They kindly replied and sent me some pyramid teabags to review. Shibui Tea are an independently owned, family run business based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Their teas are sourced from all over the world and they have over 200 varieties to choose from. Originating from Scotland myself, I felt like a had a bit of a connection and was very excited to try their tea. Something that I found very interesting and appealing about Shibui Tea is that the tea bags come wrapped in compostable packaging. It looks very much like plastic but is actually made from something called, Natureflex, which means it can be put into food waste or compost heaps. The pyramid tea bags are also biodegradable. They can be put in with food for commercial composting but they are not suitable for home composting. I was kindly sent eight different varieties to try, which I have offered my opinion on, below: English Breakfast Who doesn’t love a good breakfast tea? I enjoyed this with a good hearty breakfast and it was delicious. It was full bodied and flavoursome and just really set me up for a busy day. It’s just what you expect from a good quality tea and I could drink endless cups. Early Grey This has that classic aroma of an Earl Grey and I could definitely smell an taste the Bergamot. I don’t like my teabag left in for too long so it was just perfect but I think if I left it any longer it could have been a little strong for my taste. A very nice heart warming tea all the same. Rooibos and Orange Organic (Caffeine free) Ok, I’m not going to lie. I had never heard of Rooibos before so I had to look it up. I was interested to find that it is South African in origin and often compared to Hibiscus tea. I can see the similarities actually. It has an earthy feel to it but with a kick of citrus from the orange. It was different to what I have tasted before but in a good way. Chocolate and Ginger (Caffeine free) I’ll be honest. This tea has both my favourite and least favourite ingredient in so I was intrigued to find out what this tea tasted like. The most notable flavour was the Ginger (my least favourite) and I really struggled to taste the Chocolate. If I were asked to describe it, it would be that it tastes like a warm Ginger Snap biscuit. It’s definitely one for a cold Winter’s night. Not something I would drink all year round but I would buy it in for the festive season. (more…)
Some of you may have heard about The Insiders before but for those of you who have not, it is a community whereby members have the opportunity to try different products in exchange for their opinion and feedback. I have been a member for a while and have had the opportunity to try a number of different products. All campaigns are published on their website and all you need to do is apply for whichever ones you fancy and wait to see if you match the brand’s criteria. Sign up here if you are interested:- https://www.theinsidersnet.com/. I was lucky enough to be one of 2500 insiders to be selected to try new Perrier & Juice fruit drinks. I was sent the fantastic package below which consisted of 6 multipacks of Perrier’s new juice drink. The juice came in 3 different flavours; Peach & Cherry, Strawberry & Kiwi and Pineapple & Mango. They are made up of 77% Perrier sparkling natural mineral water, 17% fruit juice and natural flavours. I have now had the opportunity to try this new juice drink and would like to share my honest review. Perrier & Juice campaign pack I was really excited to try the drinks as the packaging was so vibrant and inviting plus each can was less than 50 calories. I also like that it contains no artificial sweeteners. The first flavour I sampled was the Strawberry & Kiwi which I had chilled in the refrigerator. I really enjoyed the drink and could definitely taste both fruits but predominantly, the strawberry flavour. I love anything strawberry so this did really appeal to my taste buds. It had just the right amount of sweetness for me and I found it very refreshing with the bubbles from the sparkling water. Unfortunately, I wasn’t so keen on the Peach & Cherry and Pineapple & Mango flavour. They were nice but not quite as flavoursome and enjoyable as the Strawberry & Kiwi. Maybe, it’s because I’m not a fan of they particular flavour combinations but I just felt they were lacking a bit of punch. I shared the cans with my family and I received a mixed response from them too. All of them liked at least one flavour but not them all. In summary, the Strawberry & Kiwi flavour came out on top, Pineapple and Mango second and Peach & Cherry, last. In short, I love the concept of the new juice drink but I have mixed feelings towards the flavour combinations. I am impressed that there is less than 50 calories per can which is great for people looking for low calorie options. I would probably purchase the Strawberry & Kiwi flavour again but I think it would really depend on the price. I would give Perrier and Juice fruit drink a 3 out 5. Strawberry & Kiwi flavour Have you tried it? I’d love to hear what you think if you have.
I feel like I have needed to write this post for a while now to almost acknowledge and to be able to admit to myself that I suffer mental health difficulties. This is only a brief post as there is so much to talk about when it comes to mental health and mental illness. I’ve been in denial for a while and it’s taken me almost two years to reach a point where I feel able to put into words what I have experienced. I’ve been reluctant to share it so publicly but I feel like if I write it down then I will be able to let it go and hopefully move on from it. I was diagnosed with Depression and Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) almost two years ago when a series of stressful life events led to a mental breakdown. I have been prescribed medication, been under the care of a Psychiatrist and I have also had a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help me deal with my Anxiety. It’s hard to put into words how Depression and Anxiety make me feel. When I am depressed I have no desire or motivation to do anything. Some people might think it’s being lazy but believe me it runs much deeper than that. I have never been a lazy person and before my mental breakdown I was very driven and ambitious. It is very difficult to get out of bed and almost impossible to get in the shower when I am depressed. I can’t explain why but I just can’t do it sometimes. I have no energy, my limbs feels heavy and I literally feel empty inside. I don’t feel anything emotionally and I can spend days just lying in bed, sleeping. Anxiety is different and probably what I have struggled with the most. My Anxiety affects me in different ways. The hardest thing for me is being constantly worried and having a feeling that something bad is going to happen. I have a knot in my stomach every day and constantly feel on edge. I struggle to let myself be happy as I fear that something bad will happen if I do. I also experience intrusive thoughts. I plan to talk about this in further detail another time but I basically have horrible, disturbing thoughts that can plague my mind 24/7. They are completely irrational but when I am in that mindset I truly believe the things I am thinking, even when I have been told they are not true. This has led to suicidal thoughts because it is so draining having a constant internal battle and having negative thoughts playing on a loop. Although I have not been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) I believe this could be a trait of OCD or a form of OCD referred to as “Pure O”. I also have a bit of Social Anxiety. I find it hard to be around groups of people as I can never relax especially when alcohol is involved. I am pretty much tee total now and I only ever feel safe and relaxed when I’m at home. Many Anxiety sufferers struggle to leave the house and my home really is my safe haven. It’s difficult to arrange plans with friends and family because I never know day to day how I am going to feel. I have also been off work on and off over the last two years as a result. I am lucky that I have a good support network and an amazing husband who has been there for me through it all. The one thing I would say is that talking about it helps. If you are reading this and can relate, then please know that there is help available even though you might think there is no hope. I get it. I have been there. Talk about it with someone you trust, go and see your GP and do what you need to do to get through the day. I didn’t think I would survive it but I have. I still have struggles but I am able to manage it a lot better with help from medication and therapy. The funny thing is there are people who know me who have no idea about my struggles. That’s the thing about mental health, a lot of people put on a mask or hide behind a smile even when they are suffering. You never know what’s going on in someone’s life and mental illness does not discriminate. Right now, I am feeling well and a lot better than I have done for a long time. Long may it continue. Please drop me an email if you ever need to talk to someone who understands. Laura x
If you follow me on Instagram and Twitter you have probably seen me post about this fabulous website, Boom25. What is Boom25 I hear you ask? Well, let me explain a bit about how it works. What is Boom25? Boom25 is a cashback website with a difference and is also available to download as an app. When making purchases online all you need to do is shop via Boom25 and every 25th shopper has the opportunity to win their money back. Quite often the odds are even better than 1 in 25. There are regular deals and promotions posted on the website. Search for the retailer on Boom25, follow the link and make a purchase and your transaction will be recorded. Then you just need to wait for the email inviting you to Spin the Wheel to see if you have won. This is the fun part! It really is as simple as that. Which retailers can I make purchases with via Boom25? Boom25 has partnered with over 800 retailers, including Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Boots, Superdrug, eBay, Just Eat and TUI to name but a few. There are many well known retailers which are listed by category and there is also a handy search function which makes it quick and easy to look for a particular retailer. What is the catch? There is no catch. There are no hidden fees or subscription charges. I would not post about this if I did not have experience of using it myself. I have won my money back on four occasions now, totalling £155.78. These were for purchases I was making online anyway. My most recent win was for a purchase on eBay for £39.95. You can read about my most recent win on my Instagram post below:- https://www.instagram.com/p/BtLnvgxBNgn/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet How do I receive payments? The only requirement for Boom25 is that you must have a Paypal account as this is where winnings are transferred. If you don’t have an account, it is quick and easy to set one up. Visit the Paypal website at www.paypal.com for further information on how to do this. Refer a friend If you fancy getting in on the action, then I would be most grateful if you could sign up via my link below. I will receive £3 from Boom25 on your first approved purchase over £10. Once signed up, you can then share your referral link and earn bonuses too. https://boom25.com/?referrer=018b3196-36ee-4326-917d-12f65bd208d6 As I have won a few times and regularly post about it on social media, Boom25 kindly sent me a t-shirt which I am modelling in the picture above at Universal Studios, Orlando. Please note that these are my own personal views and I am in no way being paid or sponsored to write this post. Thank you for reading my first ever blog post 🙂 Laura x http://www.boom25.com