Last week we marked the official changing of the seasons as we sprung into Spring so as well as moving forward into new changes, it is equally important to reflect on what has been. Instead of the old monthly favorites you might see on many blogs I’m going to choose my favourite Winter Warmers, all the things I’ve loved since last December.
First of all, in the past eight or so months a large portion of my life has involved me reading again. Some of my highlights include A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, an emotional tale of a young boy coming to terms with grief using his imagination but also an honest raw account of human nature. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanthi is a heartbreaking book of two halves whereby a Neurosurgeon talks about his reasons for turning to medicine as a career to suddenly becoming the patient and having to face death himself. Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly is a re-imagining of the classic Disney cartoon as Belle escapes into books to live her dreams only to be faced with her worst nightmares. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is an honest account of depression, suicide and mental health illness when trying to manage grief and the crushing world of puberty and facing adolescence. Plus many others I’ve enjoyed include The Lie Tree by Frances Hardance, Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz and jumping back into my old favourite novels by Alice Hoffman. My bookcase is filling up nicely with plenty to keep me going but it sure doesn’t stop me keep adding to it!
The Blurt Foundation is a phenomenal resource for anyone dealing with mental illness and has the option to pay for a monthly subscription box filled with treats and goodies to help encourage self care and a better frame of mind. I’ve been receiving boxes since last October with my favourite being the January Buddy Box that encouraged all things hibernation and finding calm in the smallest of moments. You can jump on that link above to my full review of the January box and all the wonderful little bits it contained including The Little Book of Hygge which is an excellent read and one worth googling about. Christmas can be a difficult period for so many, especially regarding the impact it has on mental health so having these treats packed and sorted for you is always a good reminder to just keep moving forward. If you haven’t done so yet then I highly recommend you join the Blurt Foundation mailing list for weekly pick me ups that deliver straight to a wounded heart (and mind).
Adventures were little in some aspects as the majority of February was spent with my Pa having been moved into hospital to recover from a devastating bout of influenza of which he is still recovering. If anything the NHS we have in the UK is a huge gift to us because of all they’ve done during the Winter time which is anything but a walk in the park for them. I am hugely indebted to their service and the wonderful people I’ve come across in the past few months who have done nothing but provide love, patience and support.
However, it wasn’t a complete lack of adventure as for my best friends thirtieth I decided a proper knees up was in order. Neither one of us is the go getting clubbing type so instead I booked us a weekend in London seeing Phantom of the Opera, having afternoon tea at The Globe and spending a day gazing at the wonders of Harrods. It was a whirlwind which meant it was no rest for the wicked but worth it to spend time with my bestie and to celebrate the good things we have to share in life. You can read all about that weekend here.
Unfortunately not all has been plain sailing with my own mental health. I posted recently about feeling lost and in a daze, my self discipline has never been great and I’ve always had to deal with a heavy dose of scatter brain. I’ve been avoiding important things for myself in favour of wandering aimlessly and now I can sense that anxiety building as everything becomes a mad dash to the finish line. Being a commitment phobe is something I came to terms with years ago. I quickly lose interest and feel a failure for doing so, for losing momentum and in essence give up on anything that I’ve opted to having a go at. Winter was definitely a struggle and I have to focus on getting there in the end and for not allowing my own mind to control my every move going ahead. I can never be perfect, I will never be an A grade student or be the most memorable person but it doesn’t mean these qualities are something I should bully myself for not achieving. It’s okay to simply be, limited.
What else am I grateful for this Winter? Clippers Snore & Peace tea, Lavender essential oils, Night Queen incense sticks, candles dribbling wax into star trinkets, big sturdy Emma Bridgewater pint mugs, baggy black comforting jumpers, Moomin pyjamas, Yankee Candle Spiced Cinnamon candles, Alice Hoffman novels, Gilmore Girls, rollerball black ink pens, Lush bath bombs (particularly Northern Lights), log fires, robins, wildlife, the moon and semi-permanent turquoise hair dye.
What am I taking with me? All of the above plus fresh clean scents, basking in the sunlight, long walks in the light evenings, planting pumpkin seeds, being honest and true to myself and not giving up.