3 things I've learned this month.

30 October 2014

So I’m back with my monthly learning, I left out September because there wasn’t a lot to share and I always want these to be authentic, so I am back to share what the life has been teaching me. I have done some serious learning this month. Things have happened that have just forced me to learn and I’m kinda glad for them in a way because actually, I can’t keep on going on the way I have been, so I’ve rounded up the 3 things I’ve learned in the month of October. 

1. A problem shared is a problem halved – Well sort of. Basically I have issues when it comes to sharing personal things. I barely share good news with people for fear of it going wrong, so I definitely don’t share bad news. But this month I did receive bad news and instead of bottling it up and pretending it didn’t exist, I shared it with people because guess what? I’ve realised I am not always right and most of the time when things happen I really do need perspective. It wasn’t a situation I ever had to deal with and therefore I was out of my depth so I asked people for help. This meant talking to people face to face about what I should do, and even e-mailing them. I emailed the lovely Michelle over at Daisybutter who replied to me and gave me some great advice. But the point I’m making is I saw past the bad news as a reflection of myself and reached out for help, and suddenly the news seemed manageable rather than devastating. I collated the advice I’d been given and I’m now in a much better place to deal with it. 

2. I eat out too much – I really do. So following on from bad news day I decided I needed a treat and happily jumped at the chance to eat out when I was invited. Thing is previous day I’d gone out to eat. And would be going out to eat again. This one isn’t anything deep but I really do need to stop spending my money in restaurants and start bloody saving! 

3. Reading The Secret was the best thing I did in October – I mean in terms of my mental health and just overall wellbeing. I probably did loads of good things this month, but this book, oh man. People have been telling me for like 2 years to read this book and it was always something I was going to do one day. I was at work towards the end of September and it had been sitting in my Amazon basket for so long, and even though I had several other books to read I thought ‘I really want to read this book right now.’ This book was just so great; if you’ve read it then you probably already know how good it is. But it just reaffirmed so much of what I already know and taught me new things that just made so much sense. It teaches such simple things and I really cannot believe it’s taken me that long to read it, but strangely enough I think I read it at the right time for me. I think if I had read it at any other point in my life it wouldn’t have resonated with me so much, but reading it now I can just see how frikkin true the whole book is. Luckily for me one of my friends who had been telling me to read it has just given me ‘The Power’ which is the second one to read, what I like even more is that it was bought in India! I don’t know why but to me that makes it so much more of a special gift! 

Et voilà! Short and sweet life lessons! I for one intend to really take these three lessons with me into November. They are all things that will do me good and I’m very proud of myself about the first one!  

What have you learned this month? I hope everyone is having a good Halloween (if you’re doing anything for it)!

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Recent purchases from Boots

28 October 2014

So on Saturday I set myself the mission of getting some things off my ‘to buy list’ so I took myself off to Oxford Street and ended up in the Boots near Marble Arch.

I have been looking for a deeper shade of lipstick for a while, I own a lot of deep purples but I really wanted something a bit vampy and red, after seeing ItsLinamar swatch Black Cherry I decided I’d check it out. I nearly didn’t buy this because when I got to Boots and swatched it, I though it looked similar to a lot of my other lipsticks, but boy was I wrong. I actually decided in Boots that I wouldn’t get Black Cherry but Va Va Violet, so I picked up that (or what I thought was that) instead. On my way home I decided to have a peek at my goodies and noticed that some cretin put Black Cherry in the Va Va Violet slot and I was indeed still carrying Black Cherry. I was already near my house and tbh going back was out of the question for me. Luckily for me Camden has a Boots so I decided I’d go swap it before I went home, so I walk in to Boots and of course they don’t even stock Va Va Violet. So Black Cherry and I were meant to be. When I got home and put it on I found that boy I was wrong, I did not have this shade at all. It was exactly what I have been looking for, so I’m glad I have this baby. It’s a crème finish so really is perfect for everyday. I shall most likely do a swatch and review of this a little later.

I was also on the hunt for Barry M’s Blood Red but alas I couldn’t find it. I did however want a burgundy shade and as I mentioned in this post, I have been craving a matte nail varnish. So I came across ‘Crush’ and it met both my needs, so I snapped it up. I’ve worn it already and absolutely love the shade and it’s perfect for autumn. It isn’t too dark and vampy but it being that reddish burgundy colour means it provides the autumnal feel whilst being sophisticated.

The last thing I bought was this by No7. I actually heard about this from Sian in her skincare video. I was really intrigued because this is a peel mask. I remember using peel masks back in my early teens and haven’t actually touched one since. I need all the help I can with my pores, so I was more than happy to snap it up. Call me weird but I was super attracted to the word ‘Vacuum’ in the title, anything that gives me the impression that it is going to suck up my pores can stay in my book. Anyway I’ve used this twice (the first time involved me having to open the door to the pizza guy – the shame), as instructed I use it on my nose and a small bit on my forehead. I also use it on my chin. I of course was not able to peel it all off in one go (can anyone actually do that) but I did enjoy the peeling element, and upon the first inspection of my pores they looked like they had reduced in size. If anything my nose looked cleaner and there were fewer blackheads! I will give a full review once I’ve been using it for a while.

And that was my Boots round up! I managed to get 10% off this because I had loaded the offer through the Boots app, so that was a nice surprise! I also snuck into Superdrug after buying the Barry M nail varnish and saw they were doing 3 for 2, so I think I might have to pick up some more colours!

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Pull Down The Moon 2.0

26 October 2014

Welcome to 2.0 of Pull Down The Moon. So because I’ve really gotten into blogging I decided that it was time to actually have a decent theme. I’ve been searching for the past two weeks and actually ended up buying two. The first one I bought I thought I loved, but when I uploaded it to my blog I really didn’t like it, I wanted something simple and clean. So I ended up with this gem from MangoBlogsShop and I absolutely love how simple it is. I still have a couple of things I'd like to add in, but for now I am so happy with it. 

I don’t have any grand news to accompany my new layout however; I’m still balancing everything whilst trying to produce good content. Considering how restricted I am in work when it comes to content creation, I really want to make sure what I put on here has my touch and is interesting. I have however, created a blog schedule which has been super helpful in mapping out my ideas and seeing how frequently I can actually post.

One piece of interesting news to note is that my friend and I have decided to start a YouTube channel! Her name is Antonette and she blogs over at Bazinga Buys. Please check her out especially the makeup she has been posting for Halloween – she is super talented and I’m so excited to work with her. We are just thinking about names at the moment and then we should be good to go. This is actually very exciting and should have been my grand news haha. But I never thought I would do YouTube so it’s very exciting to be putting myself out there and going on this journey.

The final bit of news I guess is my ‘voice behind the blog’ page, which is just below my banner. I’ve actually had the page for a while but never gave it a moment in the spotlight, but do go check it out as it’s my about me page and even explains the reason for my blog title.

I have some posts planned for this week as I had a lovely shop in Oxford Street yesterday and cannot wait to share some bits with you. Until then there is a range of posts in the archive to keep you busy and they’ll be more aesthetically pleasing with the new layout! I hope everyone has a lovely Sunday. 

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Let's talk about SAD or the 'winter blues'

21 October 2014

*Another lengthy post here, but it's packed full of advice for you.*

Ahhh the winter blues. How I loathe that term, but it's time to talk about it because those days are here. SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. I have to say I've never been diagnosed with SAD, I've spent the past 10years weeping all year round that it never occurred to me that I had it, or that I needed to get a proper diagnosis for it. But upon seeing my doctor and former psychologist they have always told me about taking more care of myself in the colder months, and shorter days. I sort of see their point, but you know I'm a depressive all year round; I don't need a change in season to spiral me into depression. I've always thought its cold and dark, how can ANYONE be happy in this, alas I am not the norm so you know...

Anyway I digress. We should really talk about what SAD is because sometimes it’s a bit confusing. SAD is a type of depression that occurs during the colder months in the year, typically winter but can start as early as the end of summer. It’s to do with the increased hours of darkness that autumn and winter bestow upon us, short days and the darkness (actual darkness) comes creeping in and it's all a bit shit really.

The science and theories around SAD are not solid. But here’s an overview for you. The lack of daylight affects the brains chemicals, such as serotonin, and when these levels are lowered low moods become increasingly common. Why the lack of daylight causes that is not exactly know. Now this isn’t directly to with Vitamin D, but more about daylight. The flip side of SAD causes is that the lack Vitamin D from the Sun causes SAD, but the studies on this are very conflicting and generally it’s very hard to link the lack of Vitamin D to depression. But it is not known what the exact causes of SAD are, so really it’s a bit of a murky area. I would encourage you to read Mind’s explanation of causes; it’s the best I’ve found in terms of detailing the different reasons.

*Disclaimer: I should just state that these are things I know from doing my research over the years, I’m not a professional, but at the bottom I will list resources to help you understand SAD.*

This is the first year I've ever been geared up to 'fight' SAD, whilst I acknowledge I have depression, I do know that winter seems to intensify it. Events such as Christmas and New Years also make this time of year hard for me because for me it’s never been something to look forward as a kid it never brought anything good but arguments and disappointment. So generally this type of year is awful, I’m reminded about how dysfunctional my family are and how much other people are having fun on the one day I am most certainly not. Granted I'm coming off the medication, so I'm not fully "doing it on my own" but it's the first time I've been very aware. So far I'm good and I'm determined to not let it get the best of me. Although now I'm dealing with news from work which is sure to make my winter even gloomier, but in light of that I've put together some tips to stop the scales tipping in favour of SAD:

Light up your house/room – Invest in some lamps or fairy lights or a brighter bulb. Yes electricity costs money but these small things can really help to improve your mental state. I have fairy lights I got from pound land 2 years ago and they add a wonderful bit of ambience to room, as well as brightening it up. Getting a brighter bulb for your normal light is also something to consider because light is very well proven to help reduce the symptoms of SAD.

Get lighter curtains – If you have thick or blackout curtains you may want to consider changing them, especially if you’re getting up around 8am onwards. Lighter curtains will allow the sunlight to show through the curtains and can make it easier for you to get up. Sadly if your work requires you to get up early (like me) this won’t help very much but it’s something to consider for the weekends. I haven’t even got curtains at the moment (out of sheer laziness) but on the weekend I really appreciate waking up to sunlight!

Watch your food – Saying this one makes me feel a bit funny, because we all know that eating healthy is important for our brain function anyway, but it’s all very hard when you’re feeling like crap and all you want is a pizza. I’m terrible at eating the right foods to give me the extra nutrients I need to fight my depression, so I can relate. The foods are pretty much similar to what they tell you to eat for depression, which are lean meat, folic acid and omega 3’s. Although do visit Bupa’s information about your diet and SAD. It also has good information on light therapy. But essentially be wary about what your current diet is doing to your mood, and stock up on the good stuff, taking it one step at a time by introducing foods daily. One thing I find is eating the right carbs (wholemeal pasta, wholegrain rice, quinoa etc) for dinner (as SAD really peaks around the evening) really helps, because it fulfils that crave for carbs whilst helping your body.

Get out – Okay so you can't go breathe the great outdoors in Ireland like I am in the photo there, but you get my point. If you work full time in an office make sure you use your lunch hour to get some daylight, it’s proven to help and you need all you can get so don’t spend it cooped up inside, wrap up warm and see daylight while you still can. Pop out during the evening too - even if it's just to pop to the shops for a hot chocolate or an avocado - DO IT. Supermarkets are generally well lit, so walking in and around can generally remind you of light and dispel those gloomy feelings. Also just getting that fresh air is also good for you and your body!

Socialise - It's so tempting to go home and sit with that hot chocolate and actually there's nothing wrong with that, but if you're running home after work/school/uni to wish the darkness away you're not doing yourself any favours. Still keep up your social life, it’s important to spend time with people who make you laugh and feel good and it can improve your mood dramatically.

Invest in a light box / Wake Up Lights - I didn't want to include this with the other lighting because it’s slightly different. One of the most effective treatments for SAD is light therapy, so if you find you’re really struggling I suggest you invest in a light box. They are designed specifically for helping with SAD and this simply involves sitting in a room with said light box. They have a higher wattage than your average bulb. Wake up lights are similar but designed so create a smooth transition from sleep to waking up. I slept in a room with the Phillips Wake Up Light in January this year and thought it was fantastic, its ability to gradually lighten up a room really does make waking up easier. Your health is important and getting the right start to the day is very important in shaping how the rest of your day goes. A lot of these boxes have added features of natural lights, radios and alarms so you have a range of things to choose from to ensure you wake up well rested. That being said you still need to make sure you’re sleeping the right amount of hours for your body to get the full benefits of this.

And those are my tips; I tried to be as practical as possible because things you can actually implement sooner, rather than later are the best. Let me know what helps you during these months!

Places to get more information & help:


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The Black Shopping Bag from H&M

19 October 2014

So my old bag was wearing away to bits and actually had rips in the inside towards the last three months. So I've been desperately hunting for a new one. Whilst I would have loved to have snapped up the MK Selma it was a teeny tiny (a lot) bit out of my budget. So I searched high and low, and even roped in the bestie to find some with me, but no luck.

So I had about a weeks resting period and then I was browsing the h&m website, which resulted in me finding 'THE bag' anyway I remember looking through some and thinking 'yeah this could do' 'like that' 'LOVE THAT.' I had clicked on a pink bag because I loooved the style and wanted to see if they had it in black and my heart jumped - they did have in black. However my heart quickly sunk because it was out of stock. All the cries. I ummed and aahed about the others but decided I just didn't like them compared to 'the sold out bag of dreams.'

Anyway not one to wallow (ha) I put the bag out of my head thinking I'd search another day. Then H&M dropped a 25% code off on an item of my choice in my inbox and the bag crept back into my thoughts again. The bag is actually only £25 which is a bargain in my opinion, but I do love a discount. So back on the prowl again and my bag is there in black. Only for me to click and it's not in stock but there is soon to be more. So I'm like fine, I'm sure it'll only take two weeks or something. So I use my code and ordered my beauty. THIS WAS ON THE 31st OF AUGUST.

Can you imagine? I almost forgot about the damn thing and very nearly bought another bag, but then they emailed last week saying it was on its way. I'm sure they saw my cancellation forming in my mind! So it's Tuesday evening when I'm feeling rather sorry for myself the bell rings and all hope and faith is restored in the world (well in bag world).

I'm sure my bag tale has been absolutely thrilling...but I do just LOVE the bag and sadly I think it was actually worth the wait. I love the size of it and just the simple design and best thing is, it looks much more expensive than it is! I think it looks so chic, so if I could just get the wardrobe to match it, I'd be super happy. The bag has three pockets on the inside; one has a zip where I just put my phone and oyster card. The other two are just really two little slots that you find with bags and there I keep my keys and work keys. Everything else just gets thrown in the main inside part and then the bag has one large zip closing it all up. It's a bit like a Mary Poppins bag, it very deep so you really can throw so many things in there.

I think I need to be clever and invest in another bag just so I have choice. I'm the type of person to have that bag that I'll use day in day out for a year, so it gets worn to death and ruined before its time. 

I have to thank my friend Ben for helping me do take some of the photos in this post - you absolute star. 


What bags are you eyeing up at the moment?

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Maybelline Color Show in '104 Noite de Gal'

12 October 2014

I have found my perfect Autumn / Winter nail varnish. Being someone who absolutely loves purple I have fallen in love with a purple nail varnish. It is the Noite De Gal by Maybelline from their Color Show range. I actually bought this one last year because I was on the hunt for different purple shades. Last week I was after a dark shade but didn’t want to go for blacks or dark reds and then I found this in my stash. It’s just perfect because it has that ‘vampy’ and autumn/winter vibe, but it isn’t a red or burgundy etc. 

It’s definitely going to be the one on my hands for the colder seasons! Can’t say it will stop me from going over to the darker reds or blacks though, I’m very much eyeing up Barry M’s ‘Blood Red.’ I’m also very much in need of their matte black nail varnish, I have the regular one but I think matte looks a lot better. 

(with flash)

I hope the colour translates well in the pictures, taking lovely photos of nail varnish is actually a little bit hard! 


What shades are you reaching for, now that we’re heading into the colder months?

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World Mental Health Day - Recovery & Ramblings

10 October 2014

So I am lacking in the blog post department, but regular(ish) posting will resume when I’ve decided I come up with interesting topics to writing about. However today is World Mental Health Day so I decided I’d write some sort of update my own mental health. Just a warning that this is going to be lengthy!

The theme for WMHD is actually Schizophrenia, however I don’t have any experience with that, but do visit the site to find out more about Schizophrenia and why it’s been chosen as this months theme.

So some background on me, I have depression and social anxiety. I’ve had them both for over 10 years and have received therapy (CBT) and medication for both illnesses. I actually wanted a write a post like this about 2 weeks ago, but then I changed my mind, but I thought it would be fitting to go ahead with it considering the day.

I use to volunteer with Time to Change, but now that I work full time I can’t do that. I joined TTC to find out more about the community around mental health and to fight the stigma that was attached to it. I was an involvement worker at TTC, so this involved going around to schools or youth clubs and sharing my story, which included the help I received and the bouts of stigma I had experienced. I really enjoyed it and I really credit the campaign and the work I did , as helping with my recovery. I met so many different people and put a lot of my life into perspective by writing and sharing my story. However about 4 months ago I did stop doing this because it all became too much, sharing my story was exhausting. Being a private person, it was really taking a lot out of me sharing these really intimate and dark moments of my life, and truth be told I was starting to become ill again. Since then I’ve dabbled with volunteering with TTC and other charities in other ways, however encouraging people to talk openly about mental health will always be on my agenda and that’s why I want to share today.

In the past two weeks I have felt that my life is one big balancing act. I feel like I have been shoved on this earth, and I really have NO idea how to handle anything, I panic if anyone asks me a question, even if it’s something I know the answer to. I watch people around me sometime sand I’m just there ‘like how are you all okay? How do you know how to be a human?’ Sometimes I just don’t know how to handle family, friends or work colleagues, I just feel like there’s an invisible barrier. Don’t get me wrong there are times when I manage and I just able to be carefree, but for the most part I am very overwhelmed on a day to day basis. I know it’s because my brain has a lot to manage to keep me well. I’m constantly applying my CBT to situations to ensure I’m being rational. But in addition to all of this, I am coming off my medication, the thing that has played a large part in my mental shift. I’m not going to go into the science of anti-depressants, but I’m essentially saying “goodbye, I’m going to see if my brain can now produce happy signals all by itself.” It isn’t as hard as I thought it would be because I am still in the midst of cutting down, but what happens when my brain is off it fully? Alongside this because I know I have to take care of myself and keep those endorphins buzzing about I’m trying to motivate myself to exercise and eat right, to support my body and my mind. Managing anxiety is also the other thing, if I’m not plagued by depression it’s the day to day anxiety, the panic over small things like having to get off at my stop when I’m on the train to work. Working full time is also another thing, it’s not the first time I’ve worked full time, but now I’m “beginning my career” and although it’s thrilling it’s also scary. When I last worked full time my days were measured by how many days I actually went into work “today I managed 2, at least it was better than last week when I was just there once”. So it’s about balancing all the aforementioned with being well enough to work full time. I have frequent panic attacks at work and although I have no idea why, I’m learning to manage them because there is no threat here.

Another thing to throw into the balancing act is making friends. I’ve always been a solitary person, as a kid I just read and played by myself. Now I don’t see anything wrong with that being by yourself is good, but for me it wasn’t it’s because I was so petrified of people finding out I wasn’t “happy” that made me keep to myself. I’ve always been quiet about my depression and never wanted to let people in, I know it sounds cliché but it’s the truth and it is a lonely one. I hate when people try and shutting people out is cool or something, if you really do it because you dislike yourself it’s not cool it is lonely. Anyway I always thought if people knew the “real” me they would back away and then I’d really be left alone, so I’ve always kept people at arms length. I can’t even say that’s changed, but I am working on it. But what’s thrown me is making friends at work, I’ve always held the belief that people don’t like me, but at work I’m actually making friends with people . You’ll probably gather from what I said before that I didn’t grow up with a lot of friends, I didn’t have a close knit group of girl friends who all hung out together. I do have friends dotted about that I spend time with one to one, but they all have their own friendship groups that they are all very much a part of. I’m not even complaining as it suits me just fine now because I know I mean something to them, but what’s weird is coming to work and suddenly there is a friendship group forming. I like it, although I’ve never been used to it. But sometimes managing social expectations is exhausting for me, because like I said before – I don’t know how to handle people.

I’m writing all of this because I don’t want to become so overwhelmed that I take several steps back in my recovery, but I’m also writing this to talk about recovery and its stages. When you have depression and then you’re going through recovery, naturally you don’t want to revert back to your old ways. It’s all about “I’m not going to be sad, I’m going to think positive, and I’m not going to self harm” And yes they are things you should no go back to/do/not do, but sometimes I sit back and think what’s the different between now and then? I think the behaviours but now I don’t do them, is that actually recovery? Granted I am so much better now but I struggle to understand whether things like this means I am not recovered and have not left my old ways behind, or whether my version of recovery is unobtainable. If it is the latter, I am at risk of becoming unwell again.

Often depression is described as your reality not being what you expected, whilst I disagree with that definition, I do know a large proportion of my low moods stems from “I thought this would like this now. I thought I’d be happy now etc etc” Whilst I know this sort of thinking is not limited to depressives, when you are depressed these feelings are amplified. Although I know I am better off now, part of me thinks really? Is this constant balancing act the better? Instead of juggling dark dark thoughts and pretending to be happy, now I’m juggling everything else and trying to be happy. It’s still a lot of work, and sometimes I feel like I will cave.

I wouldn’t class myself as depressed right now, but sometimes I feel like I am bridging the gap back to that place. But in the end I think it’s a case of reality vs expectations, yes I am recovering but no my recovery is not what I thought it would be like. There is a lot to balance, but it’s a good balancing act. I’m desperately telling myself that “it’s okay that I’m 23 and have only started my career, it’s okay that I’ve actually had a long term relationship that I have felt respected in, it’s okay that I’m a little bit broken,” because I have been through a lot. It’s so easy to let these thoughts drag you down to the place of ‘don’t bother’ but I am fighting them. I do often wonder if the fight is worth it, because it seems I will always be fighting, always be balancing but I guess it’s better to be coming from where I am now, than from the deep pits of depression.

I hope the majority of this made sense. As much as I love writing, sometimes trying to be coherent with these things can be difficult.
Places that can help/provide more information Mental Health Foundation, Rethink, Mind.

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October Book List

1 October 2014

So I am back again raving about books. Before we move onto what I plan to read in October, I thought I'd recap on my September book list and say how I got on. First of all I managed to read 3 out of the 4 books I set myself. I didn't manage to read The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, really this was due to the fact that my Kindle App kept removing the book from my list. But either way I would have not met my target, because I only finished the last book about three days ago.

You can see my ratings on my Goodreads page, but to summarise I found Gone Girl the most exciting of them all. Funny right, considering what I actually said about it when I wrote the September book list, but it turned out to be really good! I now want to see the film, although I'm not sure how that will happen considering I haven't been inside a cinema for 3 years! Human Remains was okay and 52 Changes was also okay (am I not just full of the most excellent vocabulary right now).

So onto this months reading list:

The Memory Child by Steena Holmes - Kindle Daily Deal 'nuff said. Although I have read a previous book from this author and I thought that was good, so I figured I would give it a try.

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne - I have been wanting to read this book for SO long. I've had so many people recommend it to me and the other day I just went on Amazon and bought it. I'm really looking forward to this one!

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson - Yes again, might as well get through it.

So that's it, I know super short right and only three books?! I have a feeling it might take me a while to get through 'The Secret'. 

 What are you reading this month?

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