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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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This post contains affiliate links which means I will receive a small commission for each purchase at no extra cost to you.

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Huge Christmas Hamper from Jet2.com

This year, I have been struggling to get into the festive spirit. I mean, I’ve only watched one Christmas film so far in comparison to the twenty I watched last year. I’ve not wrapped any Christmas presents and the only festive song I’ve voluntarily listened to is the punk version of Fairytale of New York, which is a tune. Anyway, my festive spirit increased substantially when this absolutely ginormous Christmas Hamper arrived for me from Jet2.com – it was jam packed with so many Christmas treats! Wow!

I challenge you not to feel 25% more festive with all these amazing goodies. There were Christmas decorations, a baking kit, an advent calendar, a cosy hot water bottle, candle, mugs and so many edible delights – I was in chocolate/gingerbread/mince pie heaven! Thank you so much Jet2.com!

If you follow Jet2 on Twitter, they are doing a daily Christmas Cracker competition to win a holiday! The last three destinations have been Fuerteventura, Greece and Ibiza, can you even imagine the awesomeness of winning and what an amazing way to start the new year. Click here to pull a cracker!

This gingerbread biscuit only lasted five minutes after the festive photo shoot. Spoiler: it was delicious. 

Any blogger/social media addict will know how handy a phone charger power pack is.

This hamper is a chocolate lover’s dream. I didn’t know what to eat first (what a happy dilemma).

There’s 4 of these little chaps, comment below with your best group of 4 name suggestions please!

Christmas isn’t Christmas without Christmassy candles, this is the highly festive cinnamon & cloves. 

Make your own mulled wine and/or hot chocolate (lol at the solider protecting the premium hot chocolate).

Oh yes, I love these Bakedin Kits! I’ve previously made Choc Mallow Cookies and a Rainbow Cake using these kits, and they turned out better than expected so I’m really excited to do some Christmas baking!

Whether you like them or not, you cannot get through December without encountering a mince pie. 

Jet2.com thought of everything and even included a couple of Christmassy mugs for the hot chocs! Perfect! I’m going to use these all year round because a mug is for life, not just for Christmas ya know.

Getting an advent calendar half way through the month simply means I have some important catching up to do (excuse me whilst I deal with my chocolate admin). So there you go, what an absolutely AMAZING Christmas Hamper and a real treat to be sent all these goodies from Jet2.com!

Don’t forget to pop over to Twitter and check out the Jet2 Christmas Cracker Competition for a daily chance to win a sunny holiday! What are your favourite goodies from the hamper? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!

*This is a sponsored post which means I received a product/payment in exchange for an honest review. All views are my own.

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Christmas Stocking Fillers With Bilou

Please don’t ask me anything about beauty blogging because I won’t be able to help (my makeup bag has like 3 items). However, I do know an awesome looking brand when I see one. I’ve noticed bilou products pop up around the blog world for a while now and I’ve always admired their cool and colourful packaging. The other week, I was asked if I’d like to review their shower foams and body sprays and even though I don’t blog about beauty, I do wash and like to smell nice, so I thought go on then, it’s Christmas!

Don’t you think these would make the cutest stocking fillers? All bilou products are made with love and passion, taking inspiration for fragrances from all that is delicious and fun. The brand is 100% vegan and cruelty free, plus it’s all silicone, paraben, mineral oil free as well. bilou is super kind to the skin and make the most creamiest, sweetest smelling shower foams, ever. You can buy bilou products from Superdrug.

I was sent two creamy shower foams in Cotton Candy and Tasty Donut, plus the Coco Cocktail 2 in 1 Body Spray. The packaging is totally Instagram-worthy, I love the cute little doodles, yay for rainbow candy floss!

Cotton Candy smells just like a mix of candy floss, sweets, marshmallow and caramel – absolute heaven! It reminds me of those fruit salad chews that always came with black jacks, but everyone knew the fruit salads were the nicer of the pair. It’s super creamy (a little goes a long way) and made from all good things like aloe vera, almond and avocado oils to gently cleanse and nourish the skin.

Tasty Donut smells deliciously like a big bag of strawberry laces, it’s delightful! I love that each of these shower foams remind me of being a kid again and take me on a 90’s nostalgic trip back to the newsagents, buying pick’n’mix and getting a copy of Smash Hits Magazine. As well as the sweet stuff, it also contains almonds and olive oil to keep the skin soft and healthy.

You can follow bilou on Instagram and keep up with the delicious range!

Coco Cocktail 2 in 1 Body Spray smells like a Caribbean party of sunshine, reggae music, coconuts and Piña colada cocktails. It’s a little bit of tropical paradise on a Wintery day. The 2 in 1 part means that it can be used as both a nourishing perfume spray and a deodorant too. The moisturising ingredients reduce the tightness of dry skin, leaving it feeling silky smooth and coconutty.

I hope you enjoyed my bilou review and maybe it’s inspired a couple of cute Christmas stocking filler ideas! Thank you to bilou for sending me these wonderful products, I’m very much loving the summery beach vibes during the colder darker months. You can see the full range at Superdrug and check out the other scrumptious flavours such as Fizzy Berry and Pink Melon. Have you tried bilou shower creams and body sprays? Which flavours are your favourite? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!

*This is a sponsored post which means I received a product/payment in exchange for an honest review. All views are my own.

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