Crabtree & Evelyn 'Everyday Nature Care' Collection*

November 3, 2017
Everyone knows I'm all about self care so when Crabtree and Evelyn sent me their press release about their new collection of products for the mind and body and asked if I wanted to receive some of the collection I couldn't say yes quick enough. They asked me which products I would like to receive but everything sounded so amazing I let them decide. I mean, how could I ever choose between Rosewater and Pink Peppercorn, Goatmilk and Oat or Lavender and Espresso? It all sounded so amazing, and each range offers different benefits to the mind and body to help you be your best self.

In the end, they sent me out the Lavender and Espresso Hand Therapy* for Calming, the Pomegranate and Argan Oil Soap* and the Pomegranate and Argan Oil Body Lotion*, both for nourishing. I've been trying them out for quite some time (mainly because it's taken me so long to get around to posting this) and I have honestly been long them so much.


Lavender and Espresso Hand Therapy*
I'm a huge fan of hand cream but normally I go for Soap & Glory's Hand Food, or I use my Mam's L'Occitane Lavender hand cream, so I was excited to try this hand cream in comparison. The main thing I love about this collection is the scents. Lavender and espresso really intrigued me and it really didn't disappoint. It smells like Lavender but it's just a little more bitter, which is actually a nice change. Any time I apply this hand cream I genuinely cannot stop smelling my hands and the scent lingers for hours. I don't think I've ever smelled anything so nice in my life. The actually product is amazing as well because it is so moisturising and it dries in immediately. Drying time, for me, regarding hand creams, is one of the most important things because I hate waiting around for it to dry in, and you can't use your phone and everything feels greasy but this hand cream dries in in seconds.


Pomegranate and Argan Oil Soap*
Call me old-fashioned but I love nothing more than a bar of soap. Give me a bar of soap over a bottle of body wash any day. Also, I'm obsessed with the packaging of this soap (I literally hate that I wrote that sentence but I actually do love it so much). At first I wasn't too gone on the scent of this soap, because I prefer warm scents and this, to me, was very summery, but the more I used it, the more it grew on me (similar to Orangeasm by Soap & Glory). Unlike a lot of soap bars. this one actually tends to the skin and doesn't feel as though it is drying your skin out. It's really calming and gentle on the skin and can be used all over the body or solely for the hands.


Pomegranate and Argan Oil Body Lotion*
Like the Pomegranate and Argan Oil Soap, I wasn't initially a fan of the scent of this product but, again, it grew on me and now I actually quite like it. The product itself is brilliant, although I still would refer something a little less 'fresh' coming into the winter months, I can't deny that it is super nourishing and my tan goes on so smoothly after using this, and I can still catch the smell hours later even after applying tan, which I've never experienced with other similar products.

All in all, I'd give what I've tried from this collection a massive thumbs ups because it honestly does feel a little more luxurious than other products I've tried. I'm still not 100% convinced on the Pomegranate and Argan Oil scent but maybe I would prefer it coming into spring and  summer, but I'm a massive fan of the hand cream, not only because it's a fab product but, because it smells so amazing. I definitely want to get some more of the Lavender and Espresso range particularly coming into the winter months.

Have you tried anything from Crabtree & Evelyn yet?


Love, 
A

OCD: What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

October 14, 2017
Hello, hello. It's been a while. Quick update before I get into the nitty gritty of this post. I've moved back to Galway and I actually have a HOUSE and a BED after sleeping on floors, couches and other questionable places for a month. I'm now working in Penneys and I actually really, really enjoy it. I broke my laptop so blog posts have been few and far between. Hopefully I can find some way of keeping up with my blog (I've written this blog post completely out with pen and paper and just transferred it and I feel ancient) but bare with me for now.

Despite smashing my laptop, I really wanted to get a blog post out this week because it's OCD Awareness Week, a topic that is very close to my heart. The first time I wrote about OCD on my blog I was just coming to terms with it. I had just been diagnosed and I was having a hard time understanding it. I wanted to get my thoughts out on a 'page' to kind of help me get a grip on it. The post was a bit incoherent, imo, although it is my most popular post to date.


This time around I feel like I'm a different person. Yes, I still have OCD and I still have to work on that every day, but now I feel like I am more in control, as opposed to it controlling me. Honestly, it used to control every single aspect of my life and it was constantly something that I thought about. It is still on my mind the majority of the time but I have overcome a lot of my compulsions and I've learnt to cope with the rest of them. I'm happier now and it is not something that I feel holds me back as much anymore.

I'm not saying I'm cured, because I still have off days and sometimes even weeks. I still have episodes of OCD which can be very upsetting, but they no longer knock me down to the extent that they used to. Because of all this I wanted to do a more detailed post about OCD, how I manage it and how it affects aspects of my daily routine, since I now have a greater understanding of my own OCD.

I was first diagnosed with OCD at the end of my first year of college and I honestly couldn't believe it as it was something that I didn't understand at all. For me, I really believed in the stereotype of OCD, i.e. wanting things to be in order etc. When people think of OCD they often think of people washing their hands or wanting things done a specific way and a lot of people tend to think that they are 'soooo OCD' because they are tidy. OCD is much, much more than that.

OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which I'm sure nearly everyone knows, but lets break that down and explain it properly.

Obsessive is the unwanted and intrusive thoughts and ideas that the sufferer experiences. Compulsions are the rigid behaviours and routines the sufferer needs to carry out repeatedly, and not doing them can cause great anxiety and distress. A diagnosis of OCD requires a presence of obsessions and/or compulsions which are carried out daily and majorly interferes with the daily life of the sufferer (takes up over one hour of their daily routine), so keeping your room tidy does not warrant a diagnosis of OCD.

For me, my OCD varies depending on my surroundings. Usually my obsessions are regarding germs and bacteria, which is why I spend a lot of time cleaning (not nearly as much as I used to thank goodness) but I also have a lot of intrusive thoughts regarding harm coming to family and friends, and I often imagine myself getting attacked when walking alone, or getting hit by a car or bus when crossing the road. I also sometimes feel like I am not in control of myself, so I fear that I will be the one to cause harm to my family and friends, or that I will accidentally walk out onto a busy road without realising. I like to plan and make lists and I get extremely upset when these change, to the point of tears at times. When I've been drinking, my OCD increases a lot and I tend to do a lot of counting. I've counted people, tiles and on my fingers in the middle of a nightclub, which is very distressing and usually ends in a panic attack. I've also been convinced that I had murdered someone before and I had to draw out a diagram of the people I had been talking to in the group to make sure that they were all there and that I hadn't actually killed someone. There is a lot of fear surrounding OCD and I am scared that I am in danger in some way. I can feel absolutely insane at times.

There are also other illnesses closely linked with OCD, including Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Hoarding, and skin picking and hair pulling. I have Trichotillomania, which is hair pulling, which I've also written about here. 

''Obsessive compulsive disorder statistics from the world global health organization indicate OCD is ranked ten among all diseases as a cause for disability. This includes physical diseases.'' (Saxena 2009)

OCD is a tricky thing to treat. I've been to a lot of counselors and gone through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, but mainly only for my Anxiety, so for me, OCD often takes a back burner. However, I have been able to learn to manage it in some ways by exposing myself to situations that make me uncomfortable and that trigger my obsessions and then attempting to not carry out my compulsions. It's difficult and can be extremely upsetting, but it is something that works for me. I like to wait it out until I get through an episode so I feel like I am in control of it. Each time it gets a little easier and I am on the right path to being unphased by my obsessions and compulsions. 

That was such a long post. I'm so sorry for literally being MIA and coming back with this monster of information on such a touchy subject. I really hope this post was more informative than my last one and that you can take something away from it. If you are struggling with OCD, just know that it does get easier, just keep working towards getting better and don't give in. You can always send me a DM on Twitter or Instagram if you've got any questions or if you just want someone to talk to when you're having a hard time. 




ANXIETY

September 19, 2017
During my blog rebrand I had mentioned that I wanted to talk less about mental health and focus more on fashion and beauty as that is what I started out writing about. I felt as though I had lost myself along the way and, although I found writing about mental health helped me, and others who had messaged me telling me that my honesty and openness encouraged them to speak out, I found myself writing about mental health for the sake of it and it was almost making me feel worse. After a summer at home, with little blogging done and a lot of work, I'm feeling pretty good. I'm shocked. I really wanted to write this post as I've documented my mental health journey on my blog from the beginning and it wouldn't feel right to just share the lows. Sharing my high points is important to prove that things can get better and even in the darkest of times, it's important to remember that things can do a complete U-turn.


Although I'm feeling good, I still have my off days. This isn't a post to shout 'I'M CURED, I'M BETTER', because that's not the case, it's more of an update about how I'm dealing with my anxiety (and OCD, although it has been behaving very well lately!). 

From the beginning of my journey to now I feel like a completely different person. When I was first struggling with anxiety, I never went out and I ended up not going to school because it was easier and less stressful for me. College was next to impossible to attend and I had panic attacks on the regular. It was exhausting. I found it hard to sleep and I was living on four hours sleep a night, if I was lucky. 


Nowadays, I'm sleeping soundly almost throughout the night. I'm up on about seven hours sleep per night. My panic attacks are few and far between and I am excited about doing things out of my comfort zone. For example, I went to visit my friend Laura in Louth last week and I travelled on the bus ON MY OWN and although it was stressful, I can't believe I actually did it. 

The thing with anxiety is you can become quite dependent on people to be there for you. I used to feel like I needed my mother to (metaphorically, sometimes literally) hold my hand everywhere I went and relying on my mam so much is not exactly what I wanted to be doing at 18/19 years old. Now I feel like I can walk beside her, instead of hiding behind her. 

All that being said, I can't say I'm 'fixed'. I don't think that's possible because I'm so used to living with this now. I will always feel a pang of fear when I look at my watch and realise I'm only ten minutes early for my bus, not fifteen. I will always need to take a few moments in a night club to gather myself and talk myself out of a panic attack. I will always avoid phone calls as much as I possibly can and I will always over think every single word of a blog post I'm writing. And, that's okay because I feel as though all these things are no longer controlling my life.



This could all change in another few weeks, and I could be back to writing 'I'm having a really hard time and here's why' but for now I am getting on with things and it feels so good not to feel trapped by my mental illness.

Outfit details:

Topshop | Milan Slogan Tee
Topshop | MOTO Jamie Jeans
Bag | Sold out but similar here

Thank you for reading, I hope you're all well and please follow me on Instagram (lol) 'cos I'm putting in a lot of effort recently lol. Thank you. 

Much luv,
Aileen x