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24   146

Katie Abey Magical Mystery Bag

Having an Instagram account has introduced me to a wonderful world of colourful creators. I’m forever stumbling across talented illustrators, admiring their beautiful feeds and wanting to purchase EVERYTHING in their stores. Katie Abey is one of my favourites. I have adored her bright, vibrant and witty designs for a while now, I mean how could I not love them, her work combines two of my favourite things: puns & colour.

So you can imagine my excitement when I saw a photo of Katie’s Magical Mystery Bag pop up on my Instagram. A whole bag of colourful surprises! £45 worth of stuff for just £25! Ahhh! I didn’t need much thinking time, I had already made my purchase and couldn’t wait to receive my selection of goodies…

From the Etsy description: You will get one of our tote bag range filled with goodies from our shop. Some of the items are discontinued stock and some are slight seconds but most is perfectly perfect stock, such as greeting cards, postcards, enamel pins, mirrors, patches and tea light holders.

I already have a few Katie Abey postcards from Paperchase, which I couldn’t help but add them to this bundle. It would be wrong of me to leave The Cheerful Chinchilla & Pig Of Persistence out of this blog post.

Who is Katie Abey? Katie describes herself as Illustrator human, Tea lover, Hogwarts alumni and mother of cat. Her products provide daily doses of motivation, happiness, sarcasm and a sprinkling of llamas and dinosaurs. Katie is the creator of the fabulous The Mug of Motivation, which appeared in my previous post: 5 Ways To Stay Motivated As A Blogger. Her team even have a high street shop in Alfreton, Derbyshire!

The first thing which made me smile was the brilliant Unexpected Item In Bagging Area Tote Bag. This has gotta be the coolest tote bag I’ve ever seen, look THERE IS A PINK CAT in the bagging area. Fantastic!

My enamel pin and badge collection is currently on hold at the moment due to trying to save money. But when you have just spent £25 on a mystery bag, I guess that plan goes out the window… hah.

You can check out the fabulous range of badges here – it’s cute, colourful and punny!

Be Nice Or Go Away Badge.

Check Out My Whiskers Badge.

Taco Cat Spelled Backwards Is Taco Cat, wow yeah, it actually is. This is my new favourite palindrome.

The Pad Of Productivity – I’ve actually had this on my wish list for a while now so was pretty delighted when one arrived in my goodie bag. I love love love the colours and the motivational characters. I can’t wait to write my to-do lists on here, and I’m sure this pad will indeed inspire me to do all the things =)

What do you need so many postcards for? I hear you ask. Well, when they are not brightening up my walls, I also use them for scrapbooking. Check out the post: Make Your Own Motivational Scrapbook.

As promised, Katie included a couple of her humorous greetings cards. Having a blank Christmas Card in February is the most organised I’ve ever been in my entire life. Congrats On Your Tiny Human card is ideal if you need to congratulate someone on their tiny human. See the full range of comedy cards here. 

If Snapechat isn’t punny enough for Harry Potter fans, you can also get a pack of 7 Severus Snape Illustrated Postcards (try saying that fast!). This pack includes funny illustrations and brilliantly witty word play such as Sellosnape, Snapes On A Plane and Severus Crepe (basically, Snape in a Crepe).

Finally, I received this cute Donut Worry Beanie Hat – designed to keep you cheerful in the colder months.

I hope you enjoyed having a sneak peek at all the fun and colourful treats I received in the Katie Abey Magical Mystery Bag! Which item is your favourite? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

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My Perfect Self Care Evening

I’m sure you have all heard of the term ‘self care’, it pops up on the internet every 5 minutes. No doubt you have also spotted something along the lines of “self care is more than a bubble bath, self care is more than lighting a candle” and so on, which in my opinion, just over-complicates quite a simple concept. To me, self care is whatever you need it to be in order to bring some calmness and clarity into your world.

If a bubbly bath with all the candles makes you feel relaxed, hop in. If binge watching Netflix helps you to unwind after a stressful day, go for it, I’ve watched an entire series in two days so no judgement here. We are all different, so you do you. Today, I thought I’d share my perfect self care evening, inspired after I picked up some discounted bits in the Boots sale which all came to an impressive total of less than a tenner.

1. Have A Bath

I often wonder how much of my life I’ve spent in the bath. I would be a serious contender for a Guinness World Record as the longest bather (my personal best is nearly two hours). I find it is the perfect way to switch off and let the stress melt away. I’ll either watch a YouTube video or listen to a Spotify playlist. It’s blissful and I feel like a brand new person afterwards (or at least a more relaxed warmer version of myself).

2. Do Some Yoga

Admittedly, sometimes I skip this step and head straight for the Netflix phase of the evening. Although, when I’m feeling it, doing some yoga can increase relaxation levels dramatically. My go-to yoga is Yoga With Adriene on YouTube – there are tons of different videos to suit every level, every mood and every schedule. On self-care evenings, I opt for a more chilled, cosy, restorative routine and let the yoga work it’s magic.

3. Treat Yourself

As I mentioned at the start, self care can be whatever you need it to be. There are no rules to say you need to be super healthy, drink a litre of lemon water and meditate for 30 minutes, if that is not your thing. Self care can be an indulgent hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows, self care can be a takeaway pizza or simply your favourite home cooked meal. Whatever makes you happy, that’s caring for yourself.

4. Netflix And Duvet

Netflix is a wonderful invention, isn’t it? I’m relatively new to the world of Netflix, having only stole my sisters account a few months ago, but I’ve made it my goal in life to catch up. Netflix And Duvet is now an essential part of my self care evening. A few recent favourite lighthearted films have been: Dumplin, The Fundamentals Of Caring and How To Be Single. The series ‘You’ is pretty addictive too. What are your faves?

5. And Sleep

I would totally add ‘napping’ to my CV if that kinda thing was appreciated in the workplace. Sadly, it’s not seen a respectable employment skill but still, I am very good at it. Sleep is basically one huge extended glorious nap and the more time we allocate to this activity, the better we feel. Going to bed early gives the opportunity for a longer sleep and longer sleep = happiness. It’s that simple, in my world it is anyway.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my perfect self care evening. I’d love to hear what your perfect evening looks like and do you have any Netflix recommendations too? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!

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5 Ways Creativity Improves Mental Health

The link between creativity and mental health has always fascinated me. For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed getting creative, whether that is through scrapbooking, drawing, writing, digital design, photography, I’m happiest when I’m making something. I’ve also been through periods in my life where I’ve suffered badly with depression. But whether I am feeling good or bad, I’ve always found that getting arty and crafty goes a long way in boosting my mood and making me feel a little brighter. So today I thought I’d share with you some ways which creativity has and continues to improve my mental health.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying just pick up a paintbrush instead of getting professional help. If you struggle with depression, speaking to your doctor is the first step in getting the right treatment for you.

1.  Re-focuses the mind

Doing something creative is a great way to distract yourself from overthinking and worrying. If my mind is swimming with negative and anxious thoughts, I tend to pick up a colouring book and focus on making the pages bright and colourful. It’s the perfect activity to release stress and calm the mind.

If you don’t want to think too much, there are even Colour By Numbers books to help you switch off completely. Tracing Books are another therapeutic way to de-stress and unwind.

2. Enables self-expression

Sometimes when we feel depressed, it is hard to articulate how we feel and open up to others. Writing in a journal is a fantastic way to try and make sense of thoughts, feelings and emotions. It puts worries and anxieties into perspective, as leaving words on paper means there is less chatter going on in your mind.

The mental health charity, Mind, have created a beautiful Wellbeing Journal which includes colouring pages, writing prompts and activities to inspire creativity and express yourself a little more freely.

3. Gives A Sense Of Achievement

Making something from nothing is such a rewarding and satisfying feeling. It is a sure way to enhance your mood and you don’t have to be a talented artist to be creative. You can get a kit for anything and everything these days so you can get making something straight away without feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

I’ve made Unicorn Confetti Cupcakes, Choc Marshmallow Cookies and Rainbow Cakes all from different baking kits. If baking is not your thing, how about a Paint By Numbers kit or a Card Making kit.

4. Less Screen Time

Whatever your creative pursuit, whether it is baking, playing guitar, writing, painting, gardening, sewing, it means less time in front of the screens, which is a good thing (unless you watch TV at the same time, hah). You are creating your own positive mood, rather than letting the TV or internet tell you how to feel.

5. Inspires New Ideas

When we feel down, it is hard to feel enthusiastic and think too far into the future. But creativity inspires creativity and the more we do, the more our ideas will flow, discovering different projects to try and new skills to learn. If I have something creative to look forward to, my day always feels that bit brighter.

I find scrapbooking is a great place to start to get those creative juices flowing. Why not have a flick through a magazine and see what inspires you, maybe there is a new recipe or craft you could try?

Have you found that creativity has improved your mental health? What are your favourite creative hobbies? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!

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Quiet By Fearne Cotton Book Review

As soon as I saw Fearne Cotton had released a new book, I thought ‘yaaaass this is going straight in my virtual basket’ *happy dance*. I am already a fan of Fearne’s previous books, having enjoyed Happy and Calm last year and found them both to be equally inspiring, uplifting and beautifully designed.

So, I was especially excited about reading the third in the series, Quiet, a whole book on challenging the mental chatter in our minds. You know, that negative voice in our heads which holds us back from living our best lives and achieving our fullest potential. The one that tells us we aren’t good enough, we can’t cope, we will never be successful, blah blah, yeah that one. It needs to be silenced and I was up for the challenge.

Firstly, can be just appreciate how gorgeous this book is, I love love love the colourfulness.

Fearne explains: this book is all about taming the bad inner voice – the one that has the power to overthrow gut instinct and talk us out of new adventures. We are all brimming with inner wisdom, yet we allow negative thoughts to confuse us. We forget how capable and strong we can be. There is confidence there even if it’s hidden; there is courage, beauty, wisdom and belief – we just need some quiet to notice it.

The book is organised into 7 sections covering topics on self-awareness, confidence, self-love, courage, trust, sleep and stillness. It is the kinda book where you can read a few pages for a quick dose of daily inspiration. It would be one of those coffee table books, if I actually had a coffee table.

Throughout the book, we can read insightful interviews with celebrities, authors, neuroscientists and even dream experts. It was interesting to learn that our minds never stop working, even when we are asleep – the average person has around six dreams a night (2,000 a year!). Dreams emerge from our unconscious, acting as mirrors to reflect where our life is currently at, our relationships with others and our deepest feelings.

As well as expert advice, there are thoughtful quotes, ideas to put into practice and activities to complete.

I found the section on identifying negative chat triggers really helpful. For example, if I spend too long on social media I start to compare myself to others and feel quite down. Facebook is the WORST for this, it’s crammed full of people getting engaged, small children, travel photos, happy families, the lot. Whilst it is nice to see (stalk) others happiness, if too much Facebook makes you feel negative, simply log off.

Writing down our thoughts, worries and anxieties can be a good way to put things into perspective.

We often hear the term self-love, but Fearne introduces a new concept of self-kindness. Self-kindness seems more doable than full on LOVE and there are plenty of opportunities throughout the day to put it into practice. If you think you could have done something better today, forgive yourself and know you can try again tomorrow. Don’t talk badly to yourself, just be kind and move on. 

Challenging negative talk with rational thoughts is a good way to shift to a more positive way of thinking. “I can’t do that, that’s way out of my comfort zone” can be replaced with “I know I have been courageous before so I can be again”. It’s takes practice, especially if we are in the habit of thinking negative.

Overall, I found this to be an inspirational and insightful book. Whilst I don’t think my negative self-talk will ever vanish completely, I do think this book has given me some good practical tips and encouraged me to become more aware of my thinking patterns. Fearne offers easy to understand advice coupled with so many relatable and amusing stories, all on beautifully coloured and illustrated pages.

It’s the perfect book for a dose of positivity and understanding our minds a little better. Have you read Quiet? You can pick up a copy here. 

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