Anxiety: My Story

Monday, 3 August 2015

Hello everyone. I've been putting this post off for a very long time, but now I feel ready to talk about it. You've probably guessed what that is from the title anyway, yes, I suffer from anxiety. Generalised Anxiety Disorder to be exact, this also encompasses social anxiety and I also suffer from driving anxiety (I'm going to talk about that in a future post).
 I sound like a right barrel of laughs! All joking aside, like many other bloggers who've spoken out about their experiences, I wanted to share mine and hopefully encourage people to not feel ashamed about suffering from a mental illness and to remind people that they are not alone with their suffering. Anxiety is only a part of you, it doesn't define you as a person. It took me a long time to realise that. 
So if you're ready, grab a cuppa because this post is going to be a long one!

( All credit and rights go to Toby Allen at )

For as long as I can remember I've never been a loud or outgoing child, I was always very quiet and shy but never anxious, I never worried about anything because I didn't have anything to worry about.
Looking back I can remember it starting when I moved to a different primary school when I was about 7 years old. At first it was just occasional worrying and nervousness. I put it down to just being in a new environment with new people and eventually it would go away. 
It didn't go away, it got worse. When I reached the age of about 9 or 10 years old my anxiety began to rear it's ugly head. I began to withdraw and worry constantly about everything, especially about what other people thought of me or if I was going to embarrass myself during any interaction with another person. I stopped engaging fully in lessons, I never put my hand up to answer a question, even if I knew it was right. I was so scared of messing up my answer or finding out I was wrong. It was terrifying!
 I remember on my first day of starting Year 6 I broke down crying in front of everyone because I thought the teacher was going to tell me off for being late. Any form of confrontation or telling off was panic inducing for me. I never got told off by teachers at school, it was alien to me. This frightened me because I didn't know how to handle it. What would I say? What would I do? So I avoided confrontation as much as possible.  After that I felt like I'd set myself up to be the class freak (it still makes me cringe thinking about it now). I really thought no one would be my friend after that, however, I still made many friends and one of them is still my friend to this day. You can be socially awkward and still make friends, there's hope!

(Image credit goes to

When I started high school my anxiety got progressively worse. Not only was I dealing with being a hormonal teenager, I had this to deal with as well. At the time I didn't even understand what was wrong with me, anxiety wasn't really talked about then. It was seen as "oh they're having a panic attack", no one really spoke about the source of their panic attacks, I believe there were a lot of girls in my year that had anxiety but I still felt confused and alone. 
During my high school years I never felt like I could truly be myself out of fear of being judged or laughed at. I think the playground attitude of being the most popular and having the most friends amplified those fears and self doubt that I carried. It probably doesn't help that I'm quite a sensitive person anyway (I'm building up my confidence and learning not to take people's comments to heart). Just remember to always be yourself, never hide behind a mask just to fit in. I'd rather be a lone wolf than walk with a flock of sheep. 
My symptoms were becoming more prominent. I would panic if my friend's weren't in the same class as me and I'd be forced to speak to someone I didn't know. That was one of my worst nightmares. Eventually my anxiety became so bad that I stopped going out with my friends, if they invited me somewhere I would make up an excuse not to go, out of fear of embarrassing myself or being weird. Socialising became physically and emotionally draining. I'm sure my friends thought I was being a right twat, but that was my fault for not explaining my situation to them. I just kept it to myself, instead of seeking support. Which I recommend you all do, find your safety net, it could be a relative or friend but find someone you trust to speak to if you have any worries that you need to talk about. 
Luckily they are still my friends to this day and I'm so grateful for all of them. I missed out on a lot of fun things and creating great memories because of my anxiety.

( All credit and rights go to Toby Allen at )

I didn't just hide my anxiety from my friends I also hid it from my ex-boyfriend. I didn't hide it completely, I mentioned that I had anxiety but I never explained or admitted the true extent of it. I was worried about what he would think of me (stupid, I know). I was worried he would think I was weird and wouldn't love me. However,I do want to make it clear that I never put on a persona or faked who I was. I was being my true self, but it was a side of me I just never let him see. I hid it from him for 4 years! Whether he thought something was wrong but didn't say anything I don't know. I regret not telling him everything but that's something I won't be doing again.
There were many things I missed out on during the relationship. I wouldn't go out to dinner with his family because I was too scared to eat in front of them and that they wouldn't like me because I'd be too weird or I'd say something that would be embarrassing. They probably thought I was so rude and ignorant. But my irrational fears stopped me from completely connecting with them. 
I couldn't even knock on his front door or have a phone call with him because the idea of waiting for someone to open the front door and speak to me or to have a conversation on the phone terrifies me (this is an area of my life I've been working to improve).
 I also wouldn't go out with or meet his friends because the idea of talking to them scared me. I didn't want them to hate me or make a bad impression, so not showing up seemed like a great idea Ashleigh?  I'm sure a lot of people disliked me because of it. But I can't take those years back. It just upsets me knowing I missed out on so many opportunities because I let my anxiety rule every decision I ever made. 
At the time I was ashamed of my anxiety. Don't feel ashamed to admit that you have a mental illness, behind that is a funny, amazing and brilliant person just waiting to come out. Always strive to be the best version of yourself no matter what!

(Image credit goes to )

Moving on from the misery. On to the diagnosis, I started researching anxiety when I was about 18 and found that I had pretty much every symptom of generalised anxiety disorder. About a year later I went to my doctor who confirmed this and offered cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as a treatment. It was a relief to finally know what was wrong with me after being left clueless for so long. 
Despite being offered CBT, I decided it wasn't for me. I wanted to be able to manage my anxiety consistently by myself, obviously some days are better than others. But I feel I have made the right choice. I have the support of my family and that's all I need. My mom knows I have anxiety and she suffers from it too, so we are each others support mechanisms and she has helped me better myself as a person in so many ways and I can't thank her enough.
I want to share some of the tips and techniques I found that work for me to manage my anxiety in my next post.

 (Image credit goes to )

Before I finish I just want to mention a negative side I experienced when researching anxiety.After my research (or excessive googling) I began to judge people who spoke about their experiences and their symptoms of anxiety like they were wrong. Looking back I find it utterly ridiculous that I even thought my anxiety was the "only anxiety". I should have been offering them support instead of dismissing their problems. It makes me angry with myself for behaving like that. Despite my past narrow mindedness, I have learnt to accept that anxiety can take many forms in many people and that we should all be supporting each other on our journey to overcome the monster that is anxiety. Whether you suffer from anxiety or not just be their to support someone who does and help them realise it's not as bad as it seems. 

If you've made it to the end, then I salute you! I'm sorry if this post got a bit rambley, I just wanted to cover as much as possible. Hopefully this encourages people to be more understanding of anxiety and really see it as a mental illness. Next time I'll be sharing some tips on how I manage my anxiety.If you have any experiences or opinions please share them in the comments. 

See you back soon for the next post!

How To Start The Day Off Right

Monday, 6 July 2015

Hello everyone! I like to consider myself a morning person, but my occasional night owl tendencies cause me to wake up some mornings feeling groggy and reluctant to leave the sanctuary of my duvet and pillows. If you have trouble waking up and feeling ready to take on the day, I have a few tips to help you get up on the right side of the bed.

(Image credit goes to: )

Stop Scrolling Through Social Media

I know most people (myself included) set their alarm on their mobile phones, that's great and all, but we then get a tendency to lie there and flick through facebook, twitter etc. once we've switched our alarm off. I do this myself sometimes but I'm stopping myself and taking the time to wake up properly and let my eyes adjust naturally to the change in light. Your eyesight will thank you. It also stops me from being overstimulated first thing in the morning. Next time you wake up and reach for your phone to look through facebook, leave it. Your social media profiles are not going to disappear for the first 10 minutes of you waking up. 

Breathe and Stretch

Sit up and take a few deep breaths. Breathe in and out in a slow and controlled manner. I find if I start my day off calm, I feel calm for the rest of the day. If you had a restless night taking  a moment to calm yourself does wonders, trust me.
Then take a moment to stretch, get rid of any tightness you may be feeling and get your muscles invigorated ready for the day. If you have time (like on the weekend) try doing a yoga routine, it will wake you up and stretch you out. I recommend this one linked below.


It's the simplest step but probably the most effective tip if you want to feel good when you wake up. Have you ever noticed how good you feel after someone smiles at you or you smile at someone? It makes you feel all fuzzy inside. That's why I think it's a great way to start your day. You don't have beam like the Cheshire Cat but a small smile will be enough to trigger your brain into thinking you are happy. So, show off your pearly whites!

(Image credit goes to )

(Image credit goes to:

Make a To-do List

If you tend to lose track of all the jobs you need to get done in a day, write them down. If you make a note of it as soon as you get up you'll be more likely to remember to finish them. 
If you've already written a list, then go over it and check if you need to add anything to it. Start your day off productively!

Hydrate Yourself

Finally drink a cold glass of water when you get up. I've started doing this myself recently and at first it seemed strange to me but it has changed my mornings completely and it has a whole heap of health benefits!
It hydrates your body, especially your organs after losing fluids while you sleep. By hydrating your organs, it kick starts your digestive system, which makes digesting your breakfast easier. It also boosts your metabolism and won't cause your blood sugar levels to spike. So avoid sugary tea and coffee as your first drink of the day.

I hope you've enjoyed this post and let me know if you use any of these tips yourself. Also if you have any other tips leave them in the comments below. 

See you back soon for the next post!

George Get Set! Mineral Setting Powder Review

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Hello everyone! I hope you're all well. Before I get into the post I want to let you know that I've set up a JustGiving page because I'm raising money by taking part in The Color Run for Crohn's and Colitis UK. It is a charity that is very close to my heart because I have two family members who suffer from IBD and thousands more people go undiagnosed. If you could take a moment to donate that would be amazing! If you can't donate please share my page (Link Here ) to those who can. 

On to the review, I actually purchased this product yesterday after going to see the Minions film, which was so cute by the way! Highly recommend going to see it, it will put a smile on your face. I'd forgotten my face powder and it was red hot, so as you can imagine I was a sweaty, oily mess. I stopped off at Asda because I knew it sold cosmetics and being the only shop open at the time I didn't really have a choice. 
The cosmetics on offer were either Rimmel, Maybelline or George (Asda's own brand). I don't like the Stay Matte powder from Rimmel and they didn't have any light enough for me in the Maybelline section. Then I noticed the translucent setting powder by George. I've never tried any cosmetics by Asda before so I was a bit sceptical but for £2.50 I thought I'd chance it.

The packaging is pretty standard but for £2.50 i wasn't expecting gold plating. The fact that it can be refilled makes me nervous that it will shatter easily. Just one poke in the hole in the back and it's all over (that sounds so wrong when read out of context, get your minds out of the gutter). Trust me, it has a hole where you can change the refills over. 
Moving swiftly on before I make any more shameful remarks. The shade is translucent so it won't interfere with colour of your foundation and you won't have to worry about potentially looking like a wotsit! 
The powder itself is finely milled but slightly powdery so you do get a bit of cloud when applying it. I like to apply a thin layer all over then add another thin layer over my T-zone where I get the most oily. It doesn't feel powdery or chalky but you can tell it has set everything in place. It doesn't cling like crazy to dry patches either,for you dry skin people this may be a good one to look in to.
This doesn't last as long as my trusty Collection pressed powder. This product lasted a few hours and my nose was shining like a beacon! If you have normal skin this will probably be fine but for me and my oily skin it's not hardcore enough. I think I'm going to reserve it as a winter powder when my skin is a bit drier.

If you're in the market for a cheap setting powder, pop down to your local Asda. 

Please check out my JustGiving page.
See you back soon for the next post.

Top Tips to Combat Stress

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

No one is immune to stress, I myself have been dealing with a lot of it in my personal life lately, stress along with many other factors took me to a very dark place emotionally. I was becoming a very negative person, loosing my temper, snapping at people I know. At one point I got so overwhelmed I broke down in tears. 
 That was the turning point for me, I knew I had to take real action to deal with my stress and manage it effectively.
After a lot of trial and error, I've discovered a few techniques (if you can call them that) that have minimised my stress significantly. I'll never be able to eliminate stress completely from my life. I think stress can be beneficial in small doses but these techniques have definately helped to minimise the stress in my life.

(Image credit goes to )

Before I share these tips with you I just want to remind everyone that I'm not a counsellor or a psychologist ( I did study psychology as an A level ), so just take everything I say with a grain of salt.
 If the tips I share below don't help you and stress is hindering your life significantly I strongly advise you to seek professional help, there is no shame in asking for help with any mental condition and chronic stress should be treated with the same care and attention. 

Now that's cleared up, lets move on to the real reason you're here. You might want to grab a drink before you start because it's going to be a whopper!

Remove yourself from the situation

Whatever is the source of your stress get away from it as soon as possible or remove it from your life. Of course this has to be done with reason, if your sibling is stressing you out because they're being annoying then removing them from your life would be ridiculous. Evaluate your situation and if it is perfectly reasonable and justifiable for you to get away from the situation then do so. This leads me on to my next tip.


I know what you're thinking not this new age, spiritual enlightenment stuff again (I'm a spiritual person and I was sceptical at first). Don't worry meditation isn't used like that for dealing with stress (it's also useful when you have anxiety as well). It's used as a tool to bring you back to the present moment and ground your thoughts. 
I know when I'm stressed I have a million thoughts racing through my head, it strips me of any focus or clarity. Meditation will restore your focus.
I use meditation apps because you can use them anywhere, at any time. I highly recommend Headspace (it's free to download on Android and IOS). It's easy to use and has cute little animations that explain the technique and how it will affect your mindset. You get a one week free trial to test out, after that you can choose to subscribe to their website for ongoing sessions (it will cost you £4.99 per month for a 1 year subscription). 
If you don't want to fork out any extra cash and want a quick fix the Take a Break app is also a good option. It comes with two meditation exercises and a variety of relaxing background sounds such as the forest, the ocean or rain. 
Both apps use the breathing meditation technique. If you are unsure of how to do this check out the video below for more help. 


It probably seems counter-intuitive because it doesn't deal with the problem outright. You do want to deal with the root cause of your stress but taking up a new hobby or carrying out a very minor task will help keep you calm.
I've recently started an adult's colouring book ( don't laugh, it's actually really relaxing ). 

The one pictured is from Amazon
Research has found that focusing on small tasks helps to reduce stress by your focus is solely on that task and you are not letting your mind wonder towards restless thoughts. So pick up a new hobby, let your imagination flow. Even if it's as simple as reading a book.

Keeping Fit

Exercise seems to be the ultimate cure for all of life's problems lately. It's not only a good distraction but exercising also causes your body to release endorphins (those little feel good hormones) which are a natural painkiller. So get your butt down to the gym!
If you don't want to join the gym and want something less intense I love Blogilates and Yoga With Adriene
I find exercise helps to remove any tension that I carry when feeling stressed and flushes out any toxins in my body.
Not only will you be relieving stress, you'll be getting a smoking hot bod in the process!

Nourish Your Body With Good Things

Along with exercising, eating healthy also minimises the effects stress has on the body. Eating foods high in carbohydrates (the healthy, wholegrain kind) helps the brain to produce more serotonin; a hormone that helps us relax. High fibre foods also help with constipation (gross, i know) which is a common side effect of stress. Try incorporating foods such as whole grain rice and pasta, sweet potato, and quinoa into your diet.
Stress has a major impact on the immune system (that's why you feel so run down during stressful times) so you want to up your intake of fruits and vegetables, especially those that contain vitamin C.
Also stay hydrated, drink plenty of water and try to avoid consuming large amounts of caffeine, if you are prone to stress you may want to start cutting back on the tea and coffee.

We've made it to the end of this post! If you got this far give yourself a pat on the back,I know it was a long one.
I hope these tips will help you out and if you have any other tips for dealing with stress please leave them in the comments below. 

See you back soon for the next post.

New Beginnings

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Hello everyone! I bet you're surprised to see a post from me in your news feed. I have been MIA for what seems like forever. I'm not going to make up excuses about assignments and work, I've basically been in a blogging rut. 
I've stepped away from the keyboard for a while to really take some time out to decide what direction I want to take this blog and of course I'm going to let you all in on it.

(Photo credit goes to 

I know you're all probably wondering why the emotional/motivational quote? Well, I've been a bit scared about changing the content of my blog. Wondering wether or not people are going to like it, is it going to work. Well, I'm saying sod it! If I want to have a change I'm going to do it! 
Now I will say that I'm going to be keeping "The Reading Corner", "What I Spent Sunday" and some reviews thrown in as well. 
That being said there are some new topics I want to start introducing. I definately want to start incorporating fashion posts (you thought I would have done that from the start seeing as it's in the title), I've just got to convince a few people to help me get the photos I want. 
I don't think I've mentioned this on the blog ever (correct me if I'm wrong) but I'm a bit of a fitness fanatic, I love keeping fit! So as you've probably guessed there are going to be some fitness related posts creeping in. You never know I could end up motivating one of you to join the gym! 
Finally I want to start writing more lifestyle and motivational posts, I don't know about you but I think everyone deserves positivity in their life and I want to help in any way I can, one post at a time.
I hope you're all ready to join me on this new journey into undiscovered (for me at least) territories and by all means make me accountable for my actions. If you want more motivational posts let me know! Anything you want to see on the blog don't be afraid to tell me. 
Now that we're all up to date, I hope you all have a great week.
Untill the next post, bye.

Yes To Carrots Moisturising Eye Cream

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Hello everyone! I hope you're all well. I've recently changed up my skincare routine and one those products has been my eye cream. I'm a big advocate of using eye creams, not just to prevent premature wrinkles and fine lines but also because the skin around my eyes gets very dry which is unusual because the rest of my face is very oily. Due to the cold weather my under eye area has gotten even drier. I wanted an eye cream that would be nourishing but also light weight. I opted to try out the Yes To Carrots eye cream. 

I was drawn to this product mainly because of its packaging. I don't know what it is but I like the thin, sleek tube. It's nice. You get 15ml of product which will last months because you only have to use it sparingly.
As for the product itself, it's light and has a water-like texture. It spreads nicely across the skin and is easy to pat in. It has a slight tacky feeling just after application but that disappears after a few seconds. 
 It sits well under makeup and doesn't cause any creasing or patchiness. 
My only gripe with this eye cream is that I wish it had spf. Is it me or do beauty companies seem to forget that the skin around your eyes needs protecting from the sun as well. 
 If you have dry under eyes I highly recommend giving this a try. 
 It can be purchased from Boots for £9.99 .

What is your favourite eye cream?
Thank you for stopping by!
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Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Blusher

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Hello everyone! Lately my skin has been getting drier due to the colder weather, because of this I've been opting for more cream makeup products to give my skin a dewier look. My favourite cream blush at the moment is the Sexy Mother Blusher from Soap and Glory.


We've had chubby lipsticks and now we have chubby blushers (Clinique have also recently brought out a chubby stick bronzer and highlighter). I was umming and awwing about this blush for a while but I finally gave in and got it. I chose the shade Pinker Belle (such a cute name) there are 3 shades all together, one is a bright peach shade and the other is a darker more berry toned shade. 
 When i got home, I was having my doubts. I just thought this isn't going to work, how am i meant to use it? However, after having a play around with it, I have to say it's very nice. 
 The packaging was unimpressive for Soap and Glory standards, it's just a simple, matte black tube with a colour coordinating lid and the Soap and Glory logo printed on the side in pink letters. The packaging gets dirty very easily due to its matte texture which can be annoying to clean all the time. 
 As for the blush itself, I was a bit intimidated by it because it is so vibrant in the bullet. It's a bright pink with a slight red undertone. However, it blends out to give a natural flush to the cheeks, it's very pretty. To apply it I apply it to the back of my hand and warm it up with my fingers, then dab it onto my cheeks, I find this warms the product up and stops it applying patchy and uneven which happens when I use a brush with this product. 
When first applied the finish is very dewy but it settles down to a more satin finish. It's not sticky but I do have to set it with powder because it has a tendency to move around and smudge if I don't (problems of being a chronic face toucher). This blush lasts about 4 hours on my skin after that it's usually completely disappeared. So it's not the most long lasting blush but I haven't used enough cream blushers to really rate it as either good or bad. 
 Overall, it's a great blush if you want a more natural look and want to add a slight dewy glow to the skin. It can be purchased from Boots for £9 .
 I definately want to try out more cream blushers, if you have any recommendations feel free to leave them in the comments. 
 Have you tried this blusher yet?
Thank you for stopping by!
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