Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Kawaii Box - November 2017 - Review and Giveaway

When our friends at Kawaii Box contacted us see if we would like to review their November 2017 box we replied "Yes please!" as we absolutely love their super cute subscription box.

Kawaii box is a monthly subscription box which contains between 8 to 10 cute hand-picked items direct from Japan. The box is affordable at under $20 a month and they ship for free worldwide.

This months box has the title Kawaii Thanksgiving Parade and is full of lovely surprises. Lets have a look inside:

The first item I picked out was this super cute seal plush - looking at the card that comes with the box which lists all the items I see she is a Techi Techi Gomarachi Plush. She is so soft and has such a cute face. I know one of my nieces will claim her as soon as they see her.

Next up is this Kanahei soft string bag. Again it's such a soft feeling bag and the picture on the front makes me smile. I think my niece will use it for make up or stationery (if I don't keep it for myself). 

I absolutely love stationery and so does my niece. The next items I took out of the box is this cute Let's Go Mini Notebook - this would make a great stocking filler and this super cute Rain Boot ink pen. 

Then out came the Kasugai Chibi Vege Ramune candies which is in a cute bag. My niece will definitely claim these for herself and the Harajuku food hair clips which I think are really fashionable. My younger niece will love these. 

And the final items in the box is the Twinkle Jewel Seal Deco diamonds set which are fab to bling items up and the Gudetama sticker set which I absolutely love. 

This is another great box from Kawaii. It is definitely the cutest box around!

*** Giveaway *** 

Kawaii box has kindly given us a box to giveaway. You can enter our giveaway below using the gleam widget. Open worldwide - Good Luck. 

Disclaimer: The Kawaii Box was sent to me for the purposes of this post. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Blippo Surprise Kawaii Bag Review and Giveaway

When I had an email from our friends at blippo offering me their new Surprise Kawaii Bag to review I jumped at the chance. My niece Lilly in particular loves all things Kawaii as it's always so cute. I was so excited for it to arrive and to share it with her. Blippo have also given us a bag to give away to our readers too. You can enter the competition at the bottom of this blog post. 

Here is what you get when you open your box in the post. A really cute blippo bag jam packed full of seriously cute Kawaii goodies. 

Blippo actually have four different types of surprise bags you can buy. There is the Blippo Surprise Candy Bag, the Blippo Surprise Kawaii Plush Bag, the Blippo Surprise Kawaii Stationery Bag and the Blippo Surprise Kawaii Mixed Bag which is the one that we received. 

I was so tempted to open the bag straight away when it arrived but I waited until the weekend for Lilly to come over and open it with me. We decided to do a Youtube video of us opening it which you can find here

So here is what we got in the bag:

We got a really cute Fresh Summer Juice Fan which Lilly loved so much she even took it out with us. Some really cute fruit hair clips. I especially loved the kiwi one. A comb and mirror which folds up into a chocolate bar shape which is handy to carry in a handbag and a cute bracelet with shells charms on. 

Next up we had three little purses/bags. I absolutely love the Pikachu one as I am a big fan of Pokemon. There was one with a cute face on and the other one was in the shape of a slice of watermelon. And we got a little ice cream charm that you could put on your bag and keyring in the shape of an Oreo which Lilly informs me is a squishy. She absolutely loves the keyring. It's one of her favourite items from the bag. 

Another favourite item of Lilly's is the little animal spray bottle which I think you are supposed to put perfume in but Lilly decided to fill it with water and spray her face when she felt hot. It's plastic so would be great to fill up with perfume for travelling. Then we got a luggage tag with macarons on which was cute. Has anyone ever tried a macaron? I haven't but I really want to know what they taste like as they are look really yummy. Then we got what we thought was another luggage tag with a CUTE lama on. We love the lama so much. On further investigating we found out the item is actually a credit card holder. We love it! We got some Hello Kitty geek glasses which were super cute and some little pearls that you can use to bling up your mobile phone. 

And finally we got this absolutely adorable soft plush cat which we just love and of course the cute blippo bag itself which can be reused for bits an bobs. 

We thought the bag which costs under £15 was great value for money and would make a lovely birthday gift especially for girls who love all things Kawaii and cute goodies. As you can see from the picture below Lilly loved it all and took it all home with her apart from the Pikachu purse which I have kept for myself.  We love love love Kawaii! 

***  GIVEAWAY ***

Blippo have kindly given us a Kawaii Suprise Mixed Bag to give away to one of our readers. The giveaway is open worldwide. To enter please use the Gleam widget below and good luck! 

BL Webkin's World Giveaway

Disclaimer: The blippo Surprise Kawaii Bag was sent to me for the purposes of this post. All opinions are my own.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Mental Health Awareness Week: Living With My Anxiety

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week so I thought it would be good to write a piece about how I have lived most of my life with anxiety issues. 

I can't pinpoint the exact time I first suffered from anxiety but as far as I remember I definitely had it when I was in my first year of senior school (so around the age of eleven). I started thinking I was different than everyone else and that I must be weird. I never opened up about my problems to the full extent of it until recently.In the last few months I chatted to my dad about it and he asked me why he didn't know about it until now. It's because I didn't want to tell people. I felt weird and like there must be something wrong with me. 

For me I really struggled at senior school in particular with assemblies and exams. But I even struggled in most lessons. Back then I would get into a room with my fellow students and all I would do is obsess with one of two things. It would either be needing to go to the toilet and worrying I wouldn't be able to hold it and that I would wet myself or that I was going to throw up. Both obsessional thoughts in my mind was "what if I did this? and what would people think?" I remember depending on which thought it was at the time that I would do certain things. Like I would go to the toilet a minute before the bell would go for the next lesson even if I didn't need to go or I wouldn't eat much at lunch if I was obsessing about throwing up. My grades at school definitely were affected by this. I would get into an exam and I wouldn't be able to concentrate because the thoughts were there constantly going around and around, what if? or I'm going to be sick or wet myself. Waves of panic came over me. I would go hot, I would get scared, I would talk to myself in my head saying "You are going to be alright Ellen, don't worry".  I tried to stop focusing on it and do the work I need to do but it was always there as my main focus. 

It was at this point that I started avoiding doing things if I could. Most kids loved a school trip but I would avoid it by pretending to be ill. I have to admit here I did a lot of skiving and played my mum a lot (sorry mum) to avoid going to school. If I had a way to avoid doing something I would.  

In my late teens and early twenties I had the darkest period of my life. I got glandular fever and then I hit rock bottom. I had a huge bought of depression which added to my anxiety. Some of the thoughts I had around that time were so dark and the slightest mention of anything affected me and away my mind would go, obsessing. All I thought was I must be a bad person and I wanted them to lock me away and throw away the key. At this time I was put on medication for OCD and I remain on it to this day. It takes away the really really dark and nasty obsessional thoughts. 

When most people think of OCD they think of people constantly cleaning or washing their hands but it can manifest in so many different ways. Imagine thinking the worst thing you could and then it going around and around in your head constantly. That was what it was like for me. My first bought began when I took the morning after pill and my tongue swelled up. At the time the doctor told me it wasn't an allergic reation to the tablet but stress. So I started obsessing that my tongue was going to swell up when I was out and about and how embarrassing it would be because I wouldn't be able to talk. I spent hours in front of the mirror checking the size of my tongue because I was convinced that if I got stressed it would swell up again. It never did swell up again.

I can remember another day I was sat at my computer and I had the thought "What if I screamed constantly? How embarrassing would that be?" it then went on from there to some really dark stuff which I don't want to write here because it's nasty and I find it quite embarrassing. Suggestions from things I would see in the media I would get taken away with and away I would go obsessing about it. The anti-depressants I am on have helped taking away the dark thoughts and whilst I have reduced my dose over the years I know in my mind that I will probably be on them for life. I would rather be on tablets my life though than feel like I am losing my mind completely. 

So in my mid twenties I started feeling a lot better as the nasty thoughts were under control due to the tablets but it didn't stop my anxiety about throwing up in public and to this day I am still suffering with this. 

The worst places for my anxiety are cinemas, theatres or where there is a big group of people in one place. No matter how hard I try I still get the thoughts of "what if I'm sick? I feel sick" I then panic. I go hot, I feel like I can feel the sick coming up and I can't breathe properly. The worst thing about all of this is I have never been sick in public so I don't know why I think it but I do. It's like a switch as soon as I get in to the situation I start getting the obsessional thoughts etc. I've felt it at my sisters wedding, my grandfathers funeral and at family meals in restaurants. 

It's only recently I have talked more about my anxiety and decided I want to do something about it. I am thirty eight now and have had this for at least twenty seven years it's time to get help and try to overcome it. I am not living my life, I am avoiding it!

I want to be able to go to the cinema or theatre and enjoy it. I want to go and see Phillip Schofield film one of his tv shows (I actually told Phillip about my anxiety when I met up with him in my mid twenties which I never thought I would do and he was incredibly understanding about it. I just didn't want him to think I was a bad fan for not going to his shows). I want to go to a Boyzone concert in an arena. I want to be able to see some of the world and travel. Most of all I want to do all these things and enjoy myself doing them, not just survive them like I do at the moment. If I go to a cinema for example I spend ninety percent of the time panicking and the last few minutes of the film I calm down because I know the end is coming up and I will get out of there. Then I come out of the cinema and in my head have an overwhelming feeling of joy, like I have achieved something because I went to the cinema and survived without throwing up. Where as most people go to the cinema to have fun. 

I often wonder if I had spoken up about it when I was eleven would my life of been different. Would I have got help and sorted it out? Would I have succeeded more in life? Would I be happy and content with my life? Would I of had more happy experiences? One of the reasons I've never had children has been because I wouldn't want to hold them back and the way I am now I would of avoided certain situations because of the way I get and that wouldn't of been fair on them. 

So here I am now. I am finally asking for help with this. I have been to my doctors and I am waiting to see a therapist to learn some techniques to overcome the anxiety. I am also pushing myself a little more to do things that make me feel uncomfortable. I've started going to bingo once a week with my mum and sister. Every single week I sit there obsessing about throwing up whilst playing along. One week I got in a really bad state where I could hardly breathe but I make myself go every week because I do enjoy it and I think maybe it's good to push myself. To this day I haven't been sick in public but the thoughts are still there. I hope one day I will find a way to control the thoughts instead of letting them control me. 

If you too are living with anxiety please speak to someone and seek help like I am doing. There are so many people out there who can help you.  Don't suffer in silence like I have done for so many years. And most importantly know that you are not alone. 

Links to charities that can help: 

Friday, 21 April 2017

My Online Dating Experience

About a month and a half ago I decided to give online dating a go and sign up to a popular free dating site in the hope I would find a new friend and maybe build a relationship with him over time. I signed up open minded about the type of men who would message me and made an honest positive profile with plenty of pictures including full length ones to show that I am a larger lady. Over my time on there I discovered there are five types of men: 

Mr Jerk - there is no way you are going to escape these type of men on dating sites. The ones who think that sending a sexual message or talking about sex after one message or even on the first message is going to get them a shag. As my messages came in I could almost tell who was going to be a jerk by their picture. These tended to be the really attractive men who looked at my profile and thought "oh a fattie, she must be desperate and easy." To me the biggest turn off ever is a man who wants to talk about sex before anything else. Don't get me wrong flirting is fine but this was not flirting. I'm not interested in your foot fetish, that you like to give other men blowjobs or you want to cum all over my face. I want to get to know you and what you enjoy doing in life not in the bedroom. I also hate it when men over use the word "babe" or "princess" when they don't even know you. I clearly stated on my profile I wanted a relationship not a one night stand but you just can't escape these type of guys. 

Mr Waster - this one is hard for me to write about and I hope I come across the way I want to. I fully understand that people have illnesses and are on benefits. I know this because I am one of those people but these are the men who are on benefits and openly admit they don't mind staying on benefits for the rest of their lives. I personally hate the fact I am on benefits and I am doing everything I can to get help with my condition so that I am well enough and reliable to get a job even if it's just part time at first. I am very understanding towards mental health issues and serious disabilities but these are guys who with help and time could get back into work but just want to take the easy way out. For example I met one guy who has diabetes and he refuses to have treatment for it and said he was going to die young and was happy to be on benefits for the rest of his life. I'm sorry but I don't want to be with someone that has no ambition at all or won't even try to help themselves. 

Mr Rude - these are the men who obviously think they are better than you that they don't even think you are worthy of a response. As I went through profiles I decided to message men who I shared common interests with. I am well aware that I am not the prettiest girl out there. I never have been a popular girl and now with my weight I feel worse about myself. I think I'm not like most girls as I am not into fashion and beauty etc. However I did find some people who I thought looked nice and shared interests with me. I guess I kind of veer towards the geeky type of guy. Anyway I would send a nice message about our common interests and then nothing. To them I obviously wasn't worthy of a reply. I guess they looked at my profile and judged me by my appearance. Whereas I replied to every single person that messaged me even the Mr Jerks. Even if it was to say thanks for the message but sorry I'm not interested. Maybe I was wrong to do that but I grew up learning to be polite and have manners and to treat people how you wish to be treated. I gave every guy I chance because you never know when something might click. 

Mr Time Waster - when I first joined the site I had quite a few responses. As a new fish in the pond everyone was eager to find out more. These are the guys who I have chatted to since I first joined but the chat goes no where. It's the same old. They come online every couple of days and message me to ask me how I am or what I am up to and then that's it. They don't ask anything about me or suggest anything more. They are happy to bumble along for months on end repeating the same old things. 

Mr Pushy - after reading about the time wasters it's probably weird that I am now writing about the pushy men. These are the guys who want to meet after one message. I understand it's frustrating logging in and chatting daily but as a woman online I have to be careful who I meet. I have been online since I was 15 years old and I have had some unpleasant experiences with some men I have met so I don't think it's unreasonable to ask to chat for a little while and then exchange numbers and chat on the phone for a bit before meeting up. You have to be careful there are some nasty people out there. These men tend to disappear when you ask them to talk a bit more before meeting.

Saying all that I did speak to two potentials. The first one was a guy I chatted to online and on the phone. We even planned to meet up. We had a lot in common and then on the day we were meeting he let me down. I was understanding that things crop up that can't be helped but then he left me hanging for five days waiting to hear from him. When he finally contacted me he was in a rush and things just didn't add up. I am not 100% sure if he was already in a relationship or what. I just didn't want to be left hanging like that and so I told him and then nothing. He just ignored me and never contacted me again. So that was the end of that. 

The second guy I really liked. Not necessarily as a date as I was pretty sure he wasn't interested in me in that way but as a friend. We got on well in messages. We had friendly banter and chatted about all sorts including how hard it was to find decent people on the site. He even admitted that I am the one person he found easy to talk to and enjoyed talking to. I know he wasn't sure if online dating was for him so he deleted his profile without saying bye or anything. Then a week later he popped back up again with a new profile and we chatted again then he did the same deleted it without as much as a bye or a way to keep in contact. So I guess I thought more of him than he did of me. 

Last night I decided enough was enough. I deleted my profile. I just got fed up with the same old and realised I am not unhappy on my own. I have my family and friends online. I don't need a man to be happy. I believe there is someone out there for me and that he will probably appear when I least expect it. I'm not saying online dating sites don't work because you do see many success stories but right now it's not for me. I know love will find me in the end it always does.  

Sunday, 12 March 2017

A Fun Weekend With Lilly

One of the things I love most about being back in Somerset is that I get to spend quality time with Lilly. Before I would only see her a few times a year but now I can see her whenever I want and she loves nothing more than coming over for a sleep over. 

This weekend she came over on Saturday morning and we decided to do another video for our YouTube channel. At the moment apparently it's all the rage to do challenge videos. So we decided to do the fizzy drink cocktail challenge where we bought a load of different fizzy drinks and mixed them all up into one drink and poured them out into coconut cups to drink from. We had a great laugh as always and Lilly is a natural on camera.  Here is our video: 

We then took the dogs for a lovely walk in the fields which they loved, especially Jack who loves to run after the ball. We then had a Chinese takeaway and watched Riverdale on Netflix. We really love this series but we didn't really get into this episode as much as others for some reason. 

In the evening we decided to do the tin can challenge for our YouTube as we had bought some tins earlier in the day. Basically the idea was to take the labels off the tins and mix them up and put numbers on them and then draw numbers and eat spoonfuls of the contents of the tins. I absolutely hate fish so wasn't excited about that and we had a huge nightmare trying to find a tin opener that worked. And then to my surprise at the end of the video Lilly decided to feed me tinned dog food which she found totally hilarious! It was yucky but the video is quite funny. Here it is: 

Today we chilled out and went for another walk with the dogs. Now I am totally shattered but I had a really great time. Someone criticised me for doing the videos with Lilly but I love doing things with her that makes her happy and as you can see from them I had a great time too. It's all fun fun fun :) 

Sunday, 26 February 2017

New Beginnings

I didn't write on my blog much last year because it was the worst year of my life. The year started off with big changes that Neil and I didn't see coming that ultimately brought our relationship to an end. Well I say that but I never really found out what caused our relationship to go from happy to ending a week later whilst I was away on holiday with my family but I do know at least one other person was involved in Neil's decision. 

At the very start of last year my life was starting to look up. I had one to one appointments with a chronic fatigue therapist so I was looking forward to trying to learn to control my fatigue better and hopefully get back in to employment once I had a better sleeping pattern and I was reliable. Then after a few big changes in Neil's life on my birthday and after seven years together he decided to tell me he didn't want me anymore. My 37th birthday was the worst birthday of my life. I was heartbroken and spent most of the day crying. Neil did agree to try again but then after a month he decided to give up on us again. I do believe that other people influenced his decision and that a few lies were told but I am not really going to go into great detail because it's just not worth it.
Instead I am going to write a few things about what I have learnt from my experience: 

1. Never believe in promises made at the start of a relationship.  The start of a relationship is so exciting but things can so easily be said when lust is involved. I was promised so much from Neil including him moving to Somerset to be with me, marriage and trying for kids. I should of known after three years when he said he would move and he didn't that these things were just said to keep me interested. I don't believe Neil had any plans to marry me. In fact he confessed to me before I left that he didn't even want to get engaged. That hurt a lot because he knew how important these things were to me at the time. He may of been there before and done all that but I hadn't and I basically wanted what most women want in life. Right up to the day before Neil dumped me he told me he loved me daily and often. Those three words are so easy to say. 

2. Never move from your happiness for anyone.  For me I have always been extremely close to my mum, dad, sister and niece. I know a lot of people move away from their family when they are adults but for me it was the hardest thing to do but I did it because I loved Neil and wanted our relationship to progress and it was the next step for us but it lead to four years of unhappiness for me. Yes we had good times but I felt terribly homesick for my family and for Somerset. Kidderminster was never my ideal location to live. I think anyone will know there is a huge difference between Bath and Kidderminster. I just wasn't used to it and I saw things there I have never seen before in my life. I made a few friends there mostly through walking Shortie but they weren't really people I hung out with so I was incredibly lonely most of the time and the house wasn't my idea home, it was always Neil's house and I never felt I could make it my own. I just got on with it though because I loved Neil and I wanted to be with him. Only since moving back here I have fully realised how unhappy I was up there outside of our relationship. 

3. Good guys aren't always the best.  I've never gone for the tough type of guy and I am not going to go out now and find someone rough for my next relationship but there is such a thing as being too nice and I think Neil fell into that category. When we were together he was my rock and even when we split up and before I moved he was still kind to me but the problem with this is he had no balls. When we got together he promised me he would always be open with me if he was unhappy but he didn't tell me and right to the end he kept things from me because he was too scared to tell me. I was always totally open and honest about me thoughts and feelings but he couldn't do that which I found extremely cowardly. 

4. Some mothers need to let their sons grow up and fight their own battles.  When I was with Neil I really liked his parents and respected them but that when down the pan when Neil's mother decided to take it upon herself to quite frankly butt in to our relationship and be totally disrespectful to members of my family who she had never even met. I understand that everyone is going to protect their child but Neil is in his forties yet his mother still treats him like a little boy sometimes. It wasn't needed. The thing that really showed her spitefulness was when she gave me a gift before Neil dumped me and then as I was leaving she demanded it back. Lots of my friends said to just take it but I decided to leave it because I am a better person than her. I would never do that to someone. She has to live with that though. I believe in what goes around comes around and maybe Neil's next partner won't be as kind as I was and maybe can tell her to back off a bit and let Neil be the man I believe he can be. 

5. I deserve better and happiness.  Over the months that I remained at Neil's looking for somewhere to move (which wasn't easy due to my health problems and my dogs) I did a lot of thinking. Every day for months I had to watch the man I loved move further and further away from me and leave me alone every night whilst he went up to the attic to sleep in the other room in the house. At first it hurt a lot. Neil withdrew from me so much in the end that I'm afraid to say I doubt we will ever have the friendship I had always hoped for. He started walking the dogs alone for longer and didn't want me to go so he could talk to other people on the telephone. He even left me to spend most of Christmas and New Year alone. 
The biggest thing I have learnt is I deserve better than Neil. I have my problems and faults but that doesn't mean I am a bad person that doesn't deserve to be loved and happy. Right now I'm enjoying time alone, being just me, but in the future I do believe I will find happiness with someone else. During my early adulthood I spend my whole time searching for "the one" then when I hit 25 I decided to take time out and just have friends and find myself. At 31 I met Neil and I believed he was "the one".  Now I am not sure I believe in "the one" theory. I to believe that people can have more than one person who is special in their lifetime. I live in hope I will find something special again in the future. 

Despite everything that has happened I will always think highly of Neil because we had some really good times together and like I said he is a nice guy he just needs to be a little more open with people. I wish him well and happiness too. 

So at the end of January I moved back to Somerset. When I was getting towards the moving date I was so worried that I wasn't going to cope and that my depression was going to flare up in a big way but when I moved back it was almost like an instant switch in me. I became this new and more positive Ellen. I still have really bad fatigue days but for the most part I am happy. My family says even my voice sounds different. I am far more confident and don't wake up thinking I have nothing to live for or look forward to. 

I didn't write on my blog that last year Neil and I adopted a new dog. He belonged to my friend Debs but he just wasn't that happy with some of her other dogs so she did the kindest thing for him and gave him to us. We knew Jack from the age of 8 weeks and to be honest I fell in love with him instantly. He is such a special boy. He loved Neil a lot but when we split up there was no way Neil could keep him with work commitments and I wanted to keep him so he moved back to Somerset with me and Shortie. 

The hardest thing I had to do was leave my Tiggs with Neil. Tigger was my cat for 16 years but I had to do what was best for him. Some people criticised my decision on Facebook saying they could never leave their cat but I had to do it for him and I know Neil will take good care of him. As Tiggs is an older cat I thought it would be unfair to take him away from where he was happy. If he had come with me he wouldn't of been able to go out and Tiggs is such an outdoors cat. He loves to roam about. I cried a lot over my decision and not a day goes by when I don't think of him. I really hope he would forgive me and know that I had to put his happiness first.  

I love being back in Somerset. I love it down here. I love living in an uncluttered home. 

I am enjoying lovely countryside walks with my dogs, Shortie and Jack. 

And most importantly I am loving spending time with my family. I go to bingo with my mum and sister Anna every week and I go walking in the fields with Anna, my niece Lilly and our dogs often too. 

I also get to have sleep overs with Lilly which is so much fun. We do things like go geocaching or make funny videos. Today we decided to do the smoothie challenge where we got some yummy and yucky goodies to put in and made smoothies. It was very messy, gross and funny. Here is our video if you want to see what we put in the smoothies. 

One thing for sure - I wouldn't change my life for all the money in the world right now. Home is where the heart is and my heart is with my family and Somerset. I would never go back now. 

"It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life for me.....and I'm feeling good"