Happier Thinking by Lana Grace Riva

In the photo: Build Your Own Treatbox

Self-help and personal development books are my favourite kinda books. I first saw Happier Thinking by Lana Grace Riva on Melanie’s blog (Frasers Fun House) and after leaving a comment, Lana herself got in touch offering to send me a copy of the book to review too. Yes please!

Happier Thinking is a book which contains a collection of tips and suggestions to help retrain your brain and see more of the good. Lana has suffered with bouts of depression in the past and is now sharing the things which worked after years of mindfulness, therapy and educating herself on mental health. It’s a short read (50 pages long) and I actually finished it in an hour or so as it is definitely a book that I couldn’t put down. There are 12 chapters which are easy to read, offering a range of inspirational ideas on how to lift your mood and think happier.

It’s packed with simple and helpful advice on things to do when faced with everyday challenges (big and small). My favourite chapter is ‘Turn negatives into positives’ where Lana gives typically negative situations and encourages you to see the hidden positives in each one. This part reminded me of the time when my boiler broke and I had to shower everyday at my local gym. A normally frustrating and annoying situation made me realise I was fortunate enough to have a gym membership, access to leisure facilities so close to home and in that week I got in more exercise than I normally would have. Win.

The book includes alternative ways of thinking when it comes to unexpected changed plans, comparing ourselves to others and making assumptions. I know I sometimes get caught up overthinking about the worst case scenario or worrying what people think of me. Lana reminds us that our thoughts are not reality, and is it really worth dedicating your energy to worrying over something that may not happen?

Happier Thinking is an handy companion to have when you need a quick boost of positivity. It isn’t swamped with scientific facts and statistics, instead it’s written in a clear, relatable and easy to understand way. Since reading this book, I have been putting the theory into practice: this morning I felt myself getting anxious about the amount of things on my to-do list. Once I put it into perspective and reasoned with myself, what is the worst thing that can happen? I’ll just carry it over to tomorrow. I stopped feeling so overwhelmed and just got on with the first thing.

Have you been able see a positive in a negative situation? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your stories! Why not order yourself a copy of Happier Thinking by Lana Grace Riva. 

*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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Back To Uni Essentials: Ryman Stationery

In October, I’m starting my very last module with The Open University. I’ve been studying with them for many years now, completing my Health Science degree and now finishing my Post Grad Diploma in Medicinal Chemistry. Admittedly, I’m more excited about new stationery than the course itself, so when Ryman contacted me asking if I would like to review their Back To Uni Essentials, I was like wow, yes please!

Ryman sent me the blue pastel stationery bundle to review which included a Lever Arch File, A4 Notebook, A5 Notebook, Stapler & Holepunch. Everything else you see in this post is Ryman stationery I already own (stationery addict here). Click here to see the full pastel range at Ryman.

The quickest way to jazz up any plain notebook is to add stickers! Here I have used Bright Owls, Cupcakes, and Woodland stickers. These sticker packs are only 99p and can really transform your stationery. Check out the other stickers Ryman have in stock and add some cuteness to your covers.

Studying science is fun when you have a purple pastel notebook covered with cupcakes and gingerbreads!

My study notes are more like an art book, I can only learn if everything is bright and colourful. 

In my opinion, my stationery life has got significantly better since the introduction of pastel highlighters.

Grab yourself a pack of 4 or pack of 8 of pretty pastel Stabilio highlighters.

You could argue that these fun-sized milk and juice cartons are not a back to uni essential but hear me out. These are the cutest novelty erasers you can put in your pencil case. I picked these up in store and can’t find them online but do not worry, you can still get coffee cups, drinks cans and colorful cactus.

Why would I need fun-sized milk and juice cartoon novelty erasers? Well for these pastel pencils of course!

And where I am going to put these pastel pencils and novelty rubbers? In this Strawberry Milk Pencil Case! How ridiculously cute is this. If the strawberry milk flavour isn’t for you, there is always the Llama Drama Energy Drink With Added Fizz and Unicorn Milk With Added Magic.

Live demo (these pencils didn’t actually fit in here but you get the idea).

You know beauty bloggers have a favourite lipstick, well I have a favourite pen. The Pilot G-2 O7 has been my inky friend for many many years now. I have so many of these in pencil cases, bags, notebooks, just lying around the house. I’ve yet to find a better one. Do you have a favourite pen? (or is it just me, ha ha).

I’m pretty lucky that I don’t have anymore exams! Yay! I did have 6 exams during my degree and still have my hundreds and hundreds of revision cards as study souvenirs. For each exam, I used index cards to test myself and these Pack of 100 Assorted Coloured Pastel Record Cards are perfect for the job.

You can either get small (5″ x 3″) or big (8″ x 5″) depending on how much you want to cram onto your card.

Whatever size you prefer, the more colourful the better! 

I love Matilda Myres stationery so I’m super happy that it is available at Ryman! You can choose the Matilda Myres Butterfly Diary in either pink or blue and it’s the perfect size to pop into your handbag. As this starts in 2019 I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do about Oct, Nov & Dec so I hope my memory is good.

The cute mini stapler and hole-punch in pastel blue and washi tape (non-essential but necessary).

Revision tip: scan your index cards into the computer and save in a Word doc. You can then e-mail the document to yourself and have a copy of all your revision cards on your phone. It’s perfect if you are out and about with a spare 5 minutes and want to quickly test yourself.

If you got to the end, well done and thank you. I can honestly write about stationery for hours! Have you got your study supplies ready for university yet? Why not check out the Ryman Back To Uni and Pretty Pastel range to grab yourself a bargain. Good luck to all those starting their courses soon! Let me know what your favourite essential back to uni item is 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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5 Ways To Live A Healthy Lifestyle

In the photo: Notebook & confetti from BlogBox / Postcards from Heleen Van Den Thillart

Something I don’t often mention on the blog, but something I am hugely passionate about is living a healthy lifestyle. Quick story: At 23, I went on a weight loss mission and completely changed my lifestyle from boozing, partying and 2am steak and cheese Subways into yoga, vegetarianism, fitness and healthy eating. In the process I lost 4 stone and developed an interest in health and the science behind weight loss.

Fast-forward a few more years, I completed a Health Science degree with The Open University whilst running another blog that shared my fitness journey and weight loss tips in the hopes to inspire and encourage others. Even though my blog now is more washi tape than weight loss, living a healthy lifestyle is still very important to me and something which I continue to work on daily.

Here are five suggestions which I do regularly to live a healthier lifestyle:

Eat More Plant-Based Foods

When I cut out meat from my diet, I found I was naturally eating more plant-based foods. I found there are plenty of tasty alternatives, my favourites include tofu stir fry, sweet potato fries (insert heart eyes emoji), mushroom burgers, butternut squash roast dinner, veggie sushi, and falafel + salad wraps. Eating plant-based has so many benefits from improving skin and digestion, increasing energy, lowing blood pressure & cholesterol and aiding in weight loss.

I was contacted recently by a company called HealthLabs.com who offer online lab testing to check for a whole range of disorders and deficiencies. HealthLabs.com are the first ever service to offer tests tailored towards vegans and those considering the health benefits of a plant-based diet. Being a vegetarian, I feel that eating a plant-based diet has greatly improved my health and I’m often considering whether I should go vegan. If you are the same, there are simple laboratory tests you can do to check for a range of meat and dairy allergies in their Should I Be Vegan? test. To receive 25% off all vegan tests use the code: BEXA25.

Yoga

Yoga, or more specifically Yoga With Adriene on YouTube, has quickly become a way of life for me. I try to do a daily video if time allows, if not, I’ll fit in a short 10 minute meditation practice. Yoga brings so many benefits both physically and mentally: it tones and strengthens the body whilst calms and quiets the mind. In November, I am going on my very first yoga retreat with the lovely Jenny from Jenny in Neverland which I am super excited about. I’m meeting a blogging friend AND we are doing yoga together, how awesome is that! Click to read: 10 Amazing Benefits Of Yoga.

Get Moving

Get moving but make sure it’s doing something you enjoy. Can you put exercise and enjoy in the same sentence? Personally, I think there is an exercise out there for everyone so keep trying new things until you find what works for you. My current favourite activities are walking, swimming and badminton. I’ve also tried gym and fitness classes, but at the moment, as it is hot, I’m preferring being outside or in the pool. Does anyone else change their exercise routine depending on the weather?

Stay Hydrated

You have probably heard this one a thousand times but it does work. If I make an effort to drink more water throughout the day, I have more energy and I feel more alert. On a biology level, water is good for pretty much everything: the skin, digestive system, cardiovascular system, kidneys, joints and cartilage whilst helping minerals and nutrients get to where they need to go. Our systems do not function well without proper hydration, so drinking plenty of water is one of the easiest ways to stay healthy.

Remember To Relax 

Last but no means least, taking time out to chill is so important for a healthy lifestyle. Stress can cause all sorts of problems to the body so finding ways to wind down and relax is good for you. My favourite things to do are: having a bath and watching YouTube, reading a book, colouring (why not get yourself a Wellbeing Journal), watching a film, having lunch with my family or just simply having a nap. Click to read: 30 Simple Self-Care Ideas To Improve Your Mental Health. What are you favourite ways to relax?

I hope you have enjoyed my five suggestions to live a healthier lifestyle. What do you do to stay healthy? 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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The Thought Book 2: Book Review & Interview With Jay Mullings

In this photo: Motivational postcards by Katie Abey.

Over on Twitter, I really enjoy posting inspirational tweets in the hopes that it encourages someone and brightens their day. After posting one particular tweet, I was messaged by Jay Mullings, author of The Thought Book 2, suggesting that if I like these kinda things, I should check out his book. Being the impulsive kinda girl that I am, I did, and a short while later I had my very own personalized copy in my hands.

As well as being the author of The Thought Book series, Jay is a blogger and screenwriter (winning 25+ awards internationally) and with a 2019 novel in the pipeline, it seems he always has an exciting & creative project on the go. Jay has written many philosophical quotes, poetry, travel related articles, sports analysis and music interviews. I was excited to read his book and hear some of the wisdom he had to share.

You can read more about Jay and his creative projects over at The Written Mirror and on social media: Twitter / Instagram / Facebook

Even though it seems like Jay is a busy guy, he still made time to write a personalized note inside my book in my favourite colour, PINK! I was really touched by the sweet and thoughtful message. The book itself is packed full of inspirational thoughts designed to inspire, motivate and lift your spirits. I love that you can just open up a page at random and read something positive on topics like growth, self-belief, confidence, individuality, perseverance, overcoming obstacles and reaching your full potential. As this is exactly my kinda book, I thought it would be cool to add in a little interview with the man himself.

Questions for Jay:

Hi Jay, Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. So my first question is: describe yourself in 3 words.

Enigmatic, Truthful and Creative.

What has been your proudest achievement so far?

Wow, I’m like Ryu in Street Fighter; as soon as one challenge is complete I begin setting the next one. Hard to choose, but I guess it would be winning The Barcelona Film Festival in three consecutive years for three completely different screenplays. Tree House (Coming of Age TV Drama), Feminunity (Feature Length Film) and The Boys Are Back (British Comedy).

Wowzers, those are some pretty big achievements. If you wrote an autobiography, what would the title be? If it was made into a film, who would play you?

Truthful Fearless Creativity – Denzel is getting a little old and I’m more handsome than Idris (just playing). Truthfully I like a few actors the most suitable would probably be Daniel Kaluuya I think he would be able to put himself in my shoes a bit better. Although John Boyega would most likely mirror my accent the best.

Hopefully I’ll be reviewing a copy of Truthful Fearless Creativity in the future. Describe your perfect day?

Haha well it starts at night and stays dark until I say when! Seriously though, I’d say warm with a gentle breeze for the weather. No traffic, not a single red light on my journey. Free parking, deserted tennis courts and my first serve working. Come home to my place tidy as ever, curry goat and rice for dinner. Strawberry cheesecake for dessert, some PS4 games I wasn’t expecting on the store for free! 12 year old Single malt whiskey on my wind down and a decent movie with sweet and salt popcorn. How’s that? Okay I’m not done, 3 hours of crystal clear writing and a neck and shoulder massage with some sweet reggae music in the background. PERFECT!

STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE. Yes please! A massage with reggae music sounds proper chilled, I like your style. This sounds like an awesome day! If you could invite any famous person around for dinner, who would it be and what would you cook them?

First of all why must I cook? It’s my dream coming true so dammit they better not come empty handed! My first answer would be Bob Marley! I don’t know what exactly he eats but we’d work it out. If it’s someone alive, I’m going with Missy Misdemeanour Elliot and she gets whatever she likes to eat no problem!

Ha ha! Good answer, maybe you and Bob could get a takeaway! What advice would you give to others out there who are thinking of writing a book but don’t know where to start?

Jump off the cliff and worry about landing later. Honestly, you can paralyse your own growth by not taking the bull by the horns so to speak. Start writing, start thinking about form and when it’s good enough; then you worry about publishing, agents, so on and so forth. Get on with writing and start teaching fear to obey your commands, if you let it grow it will never let you go…

Great advice! As you are also a blogger, can you share any tips on how to stay motivated and inspired? What do you do when you are feeling stuck for new ideas?

Yeah sure read my blog! Ha! Staying motivated is less about force and more about observation. Learn the depths of your own thoughts and feelings. It will tell when you can press forward at max power and when to nurse it through. No one is 100% on all the time but you can still be productive if you understand how to channel these feelings. The second part of your question; I can’t relate I’m never stuck for ideas. Not even joking I almost have too many at once. Books, Screenplays, Blogs, Clothing, Films etc. If I was to run out of ideas I would go back to the beginning of my old ones and flesh them out more or write the counter to them.

Sounds like there is always something exciting happening! And finally, if you could tempt people to read your book by sharing just one thought from The Thought Book 2, which one would it be?

Ha! You do like to ask these tough questions. There are so many good thoughts and perspectives in The Thought Book 2 and instead I think what would be nice is for you as a reader Bexa to do the honours. Is that cheating? I don’t think so! On a serious level, I wrote it with the people that are reading it in mind. It’s less about ME and so much more about YOU! Those thoughts helped ME but what really would swell my heart, is if they somehow helped YOU! That’s why I give a unique inscription and page dedication to every book I sign. People have said I have an almost psychic level ability to pick ones that mean something to them.

I hope this helps Bexa! Can I just say thank you for extending the courtesy of inviting my onto your blog and also for your kind support. This blogging community is really amazing and it is even richer for having a beautiful soul like you aboard! Keep up the great work and thanks again!

Thank you so much Jay! Of course, there are so many thoughts I love, but this one is my favourite: 

If are impulsive like me, you can grab yourself a copy of The Thought Book 2 right now by clicking here. Don’t forget to check out The Written Mirror and follow Jay on social media: Twitter / Instagram / Facebook to keep up to date with all his latest creative projects.

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