Monday, 21 May 2018

Hidden Gem Holiday Destinations*

Source:Holiday Gems

I'm not going to lie to you but I must spend about 80% of my time pricing up holidays, I mean who doesn't have mad wanderlust these days especially when it seems like everyone on your insta feed is always on holiday. I don't know about yours but I know my feed is full of holiday destinations filled with colour, grammable beaches and just everything looks super aesthetically pleasing that usually I end up googling all the destinations I see and doing research on them. I love a pretty city or beach but for me a holiday needs some culture, I'm not really the type of person who could go away and just lie on a beach or by the pool all day, eat, drink and maybe read a book nothing else. I love exploring, I love finding local places to eat, I love history and museums I love a good bus tour that kind of thing. If you want a relaxing do nothing holiday I am really not the person you want to go with haha. When I saw a campaign to write about finding those hidden gems on holiday I knew I had to give it a shot because I am forever holiday shopping and well I like dipping into travel blogging.

Source:Holiday Gems

Holiday Gems are a company I hadn't previously heard of, I'll admit I'm very guilty of going to the big names when looking into holidays, these however seem to always cost an absolute bomb. Holiday Gems have some amazing value for money deals, with flights from most major UK cities including Newcastle! For me being able to fly from Newcastle for a low cost is a big deal 'cause personally I find it difficult to find flights to most places for under £200! Holiday Gems have destinations everywhere from Florida to Mexico, Egypt and Africa. After spending a short while looking at their destinations I knew where I wanted to talk about, I mean yeah Florida is at the top of my list of places to visit because hello Disney World and Universal, Mexico too who doesn't want to visit the Mayan ruins?! However I saw Greece and was like yeah I wanna visit Greece I wonder what hidden gems they have there?

Source:Holiday Gems
Source:Holiday Gems

What I love about Greece is that it's not just attached to mainland Europe but also has tons of Islands that belong to it. Of course it has it's main Islands which are well known holiday destinations such as Zante which is highly popular with hen/stag parties and younger groups for lads/girls holidays as it's known for beaches and its party resorts such as Laganas. Mostly though Greece is filled with history and culture, and that's what I want to visit for.

Of course we all know about Greek Gods and how the Olympic Games originated there, the ruins but there is so much more than this, Greece has so much hidden beauty and history. The island of Crete is one I didn't realise had so much history, its filled with ancient ruins like those of the Palace of Knossos which are ruins of the Minoan Civilisation who were known for their pottery and with links to the mythological story of the labyrinth and the Minotaur. Elafonisi is a small Island just off Crete that holds a lot of history, there's war memorials from the Greek War Of Independence, you can visit the old ruins of the Light house which was destroyed during WWII by German Troops. The light house was built on the island purely because of a Ship known as the Imperatix was wrecked in the Islands waters, the wreckage of which is still there to this day waiting for divers to visit. Wreck diving is a huge thing in Greece, not only are there ships to visit but also planes, I would love to go diving and see how the sea creatures have taken over the wrecks and made their homes. Not only does it boast history but it also boasts beauty, they have pink sand. Pink Sand!! How amazing is that, imagine all the instagram worth snaps you could get there! It's very easy for you to day trip between the Islands around Crete as they're very popular tourist destinations, you can even walk to some when the water is shallow enough! The other Greek Islands are also beautiful several of them such as Skaithos were even used for filming of Mama Mia, now wouldn't you love to visit and dance around the streets pretending you're a part of the film? Haha.

Thanks to Holiday Gems I now really need to go on a trip to Greece and my bank balance is probably going to hate me since I discovered their amazingly priced City Break deals! My holiday window shopping is definitely going to get worse since discovering them. 
Do you have any holidays coming up or are you just window shopping like me?

*This post is a sponsored post and I have been paid to advertise Holiday Gems however all writing is my own as was the research into the country. The photos belong to Holiday Gems I take no credit for how beautiful those photos are!*

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Something a little personal for Mental Health Awareness Week.

With it being mental health awareness week I've been humming and harring about writing a post not really knowing what to say or how to share without sounding quite frankly pathetic and repetitive. Then I realised I shouldn't feel like I need to apologise about my mental health or the issues I have with it, yet apologising is something I constantly do, like I know a lot of people say they apologise a lot but believe me I am terrible. I swear 'I'm sorry' is my most used phrase along with 'but are you sure I'm not bugging you' both are these most definitely link back to my anxiety and the fact I never feel like I'm 'enough'. 1 in 4 people suffer from mental health issues which when you look at it is a big statistic, its more than likely you know at least two people who are effected maybe more that you don't know of. 

Poor mental health is something we've always been told to hide or made to feel ashamed of, to keep quiet about. To plaster a big smile on your face to get on with your day like there's nothing wrong saying you're 'fine'. When in reality you really aren't, Personally I've suffered with mine for a very long time yet never did anything about it until I hit 21 and was at my worst and decided it was time to speak to my doctor after the push from a close friend and a university lecturer. Since then I've been a lot more open about it and when I'm struggling, yet still I feel like a burden or a disappointment and still like I'm not good enough. This is especially true when I randomly burst into tears over something that seems so meaningless and pointless or when people catch sight of the bruises and scabs on my legs from scratching till I bleed, a side effect of my anxiety that I try so hard to curb. But do you know how hard it is when your stomach is in knots and your mouth is dry yet too wet and you can barely breathe and you know you're going to throw up if you don't stop thinking but then you start to itch and once you start you can't stop. You know you're probably going to leave scars and the next time you get a bath it'll sting or you can't wear that cute dress at the weekend because your legs look disgusting but you can't stop because it eases the sickness, it makes you feel better even though it hurts. This is what anxiety really looks like. It's not just feeling a little sick and worried, it's laying awake all night trying not to throw up, its pretty much damaging yourself because you have so many things going through your head, you over analyse every single thing, become convinced that a certain unfavorable outcome is going to happen and then drive yourself to illness over it. 

This is one of the things that makes it hard to talk about, the fact that people use mental health terms flippantly. They have 'anxiety' because they're feeling worried for a day or two about one subject, they're 'depressed' because something sad has happened, they have 'OCD' because they like order and cleanliness, they're 'anorexic' because they skipped one meal.  By doing this they are undermining the seriousness around mental health making it harder to speak about. Sadly most mental health disorders link together, so what you see on the surface someone saying that they suffer depression or anxiety may not be the whole story a lot of them don't come without another. I know personally I never tell my full story, a select few people know I have some major food and eating issues, most just think it's an annoying quirk or thing with me, some don't even know it 'cause around them I eat far too much. The same with being depressed, I tend to hide that side too and just make a joke about how I'm always miserable haha. As for anxiety I'm fairly sure everyone knows about that because if it's one thing people know about me it's that I am a worrier, I do nothing but worry and then I get stressed out and then I upset and worry some more round and round in a circle until I'm ill. 

We really need to lose the stigma around it and learn not just to talk to each other but to also listen, sometimes someone is trying really hard to get something out and seek some help by speaking and all they need is for you to listen. They don't need you to tell them it'll get better, to lighten up or my least favourite just completely ignore what they said by talking about your issue which you feel is related to theirs but usually isn't and is like an 'oh ok' kinda moment. For me letting my feelings out was what made me realise I really wasn't okay, finding someone who I could trust and speak to completely openly without my guard up and without judgement helped me go see the doctor. This without a doubt was probably the lowest point in my life. I was 21 I had 2.5 months of university left, 3.5 months before I had no where to live, no job/income and a mother who wanted nothing to do with me because she had a boyfriend she wanted more than her children. 

This situation definitely did not improve my mental health it pushed it over the edge, I'm shocked I even got through my third year of university if I'm honest. I barely ate or slept I was running on nothing, yet on the outside I was out with my friends and I was 'happy' you wouldn't have known that I was crying every day and felt like there was no way for me to get past or through this. I eventually saw my doctor who gave me the diagnosis I expected, anxiety and at that time some bad depression he prescribed some medication for the anxiety and suggested CBT or counselling. The medication has some grim side effects and I try to take it more when I know I'm going to be in a situation that will make me extra anxious or when I'm really not feeling great, it works for me it would probably work better if I did take it every day but I couldn't deal with those side effects all the time, props to the people who do though I don't know how you guys do it! 

Of course 3 years on, my life has improved I have a full time job and somewhere to live but I do still struggle I had to get myself into debt to be able to have somewhere to live and not be homeless and getting myself out of that is a struggle which definitely triggers my anxiety because sometimes I just feel like there's no way out of it. The other issue is I never really felt like I had much self worth to start with I've never felt good enough, never felt like I was the person people wanted me to be. This started when I was younger, I was constantly made to feel bad about how I looked, what I enjoyed and how I spent my free time like I wasn't good enough. And then my own mother kicks me out and now even though we talk and stuff I still feel like I'm not enough, if I was prettier or better or the person my mam wanted me to be then maybe it would have been different. If I change who I am maybe everything would be different I'd be enough for a lot of people, what if I didn't worry so much or have these mental health problems then maybe I'd be enough and I wouldn't always have a niggling worry in the back of my head that I'm going to be abandoned and completely lost and alone again. I mean yeah I am stronger because of this situation but I guess I still have some mental scars that I need to work through, but don't we all. 

I started writing this post with the intention of it being a short little one with mentions of my own struggles to help those who feel they need to speak out some courage to maybe do it or to not feel so alone. But it's ended up being a lot more personal than planned and a lot more therapeutic. Family if you read this please do not be offended by anything I have written or get mad at me cause I can't be arsed with that. Also do not be concerned right now I am chill just know that sometimes I'm not and I need you to understand that. Also I know these photos are more outfit post based but I wasn't really looking at the camera on any of them and I thought they suited this post better, because I'm practically hiding on half of them haha. 

If you or someone you know are struggling or something just doesn't feel right, there are people that can help, seeing a councilor is great even if you just sit there and ramble and feel like they don't really give a shit but getting it all out is so therapeutic and truly does help. Don't hide yourself or feel like your feelings are invalid speak out please by doing so you may not just help yourself but also someone else. Even write it all down, that helps me a lot I struggle to open up face to face and I really struggle to trust people so for me writing it down or on here helps me process my thoughts. If you do want to speak to someone professional though the UK has some wonderful mental health charities such as Mind and Mental Health UK. Please remember though you are not alone, there is a way through it and there is help.

We all have struggles just someone of us keep them hidden, try to be kinder and just listen sometimes what may seem like a tiny irrelevant problem to you could be way bigger to the person speaking out. Mental Health Awareness Week is now at an end but hopefully it has helped to get rid of some of the stigma surround MH and help those struggling. I hope my post either helps someone or helps my friends understand a little why sometimes I just seem like an absolute mess haha. 

Kloe. x 

Friday, 11 May 2018

Homeware With Old English Company

I don't know about you but I feel like I spend ridiculous amounts of my free time searching online for new home ware, especially mugs and prints even though my shelf is practically breaking with mugs and I have no where to hang anymore prints yet I physically cannot stop myself from looking. So when Old English in touch with me about reviewing some products I jumped at the chance, I spent waaaaay too long on their site looking at everything because let me tell you they have everything you could want for your home to have pretty accents.

The first items that caught my eye were obviously the kitchenware I am a sucker for place mats and coasters and chopping boards especially if they're pretty. The board I got however is sadly no longer in stock but they do have one very similar with different cheeses all over which I may have to get because pals it is way too nice. I was also drawn straight to the mugs, I absolutely love this one Buy Me Pizza & Tell Me I'm Pretty is probably going to be my life motto from now on, along with 'Bring Me Coffee and I'll Love You Forever' I swear Old English Co. have the most perfect typography prints, mugs and coasters with quotes which will forever be relevant to my life. Speaking of the mug though, I am actually in love with it, I cannot stop using it I love how it stays hot with it being enamel I take forever to drink my coffee on a morning so this is perfect for me.

Not only do they make amazing homewares they also make some amazing stationary I may have to get one of their planners because they are so pretty and I am forever forgetting what plans I have. Out of their stationary range I did get chance to use some of their wrapping paper which is such good quality its properly thick and the print is so simple but effective. I also love their range of greeting cards I'll definitely be heading back to their store to purchase a few for birthdays, I'm a big fan of minimal cards.

I absolutely love the products I was gifted and all opinions on them are my own, I'll definitely be purchasing many items from Old English Co. in future because everything is so nice. If you want beautiful but simple homeware, gifts or stationary I couldn't recommend giving them a look enough. Let me know what you think of them and if you buy anything because I'm very nosy and personally want pretty much everything! Haha

*I was gifted these items in return for writing a post on the company and take some photos all opinions and words are however my own.