Christmas Markets – Frankfurt

Christmas Markets – Frankfurt

Last weekend we visited Frankfurt and its Christmas markets. We packed jumpers, coats, hats and scarves but the weather was just the same as the UK.

My aim was to have a Baileys hot chocolate, come back with a mug and have a pretzel the size of my face – which I did.

We arrived really late on Friday night and stayed at the Bristol Hotel next to the train station. After someone (Oliver’s dad) forgot the directions, we eventually made it to the hotel after 45 minutes but it should have taken 5 😂

We woke up, had breakfast and walked to where the Christmas markets are. We stopped in a store that reminded me of Flying Tiger before heading into the markets to grab hot chocolate with amaretto.

We stayed out for a few hours to take pictures, buy drinks and get some food. There were so many stalls, from food, drinks to hardware and Christmas ornaments. I’ve never seen a market so big. We also walked over a bridge the other side of the river where there were a few flea markets and we also went into a large church with a choir performing.

We went back to the room for a while and caught up on I’m a Celeb before going out again at 7pm to see the markets in the dark.

We ended up having a Maccy D’s. We always like to see the difference in food choices when we go away. You can make your own mcflurrys and get different types of burgers. In France you can even get seafood.

On Sunday we got up, had breakfast at the Bristol Hotel and headed off to the markets again. This is when I bought my pretzel (it only cost €3.50). I also managed to get myself a Baileys hot chocolate! First time I’ve ever tried Baileys and I definitely approve.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed attending my first European Christmas Market. It was so festive and I can’t wait to go to a new Christmas Market again.

A few tips for anyone thinking of going to a Christmas market:

  • If you buy a mulled wine or hot chocolate, you’ll pay more for the mug and get a token. If you take the mug back, you’ll get some money back. If you decide to keep it, just swap it for a clean mug.
  • Bring warm clothes such as a coat and hat but don’t worry about bringing gloves and scarves as it’s currently the same temperature as it is in the UK.
  • Check times of when markets open and close before you go and see if you can find any secret markets or indoor stalls.

Guest Post: Surviving Winter

Guest Post: Surviving Winter

This week’s guest poster is Jo who writes at her own blog, My Anxious Life. All her links will be put down below. Happy reading!

The weather has turned, Autumn is upon is. It gets lighter later, darker earlier, everything is a dreadful shade of worn concrete – and let’s not even mention the rain. Even if you don’t suffer with SAD, there’s no doubting that the Autumn and Winter months can have a negative affect on our mental health.

Personally, this time of year leaves me in a near constant state of exhaustion. I struggle to get out of bed at the best of times but in winter, when it’s still so dark in the mornings, it feels like a crime to leave the warmth and safety of my bed – and once I’m up, I begin the bedtime countdown almost immediately. I strongly believe that I’m some kind of evolutionary throwback with my intense desire to hibernate come winter!

I become sluggish, start comfort eating and claiming that red wine is medicinal. I get grumpy and, because I do like to get out and about, being cooped up indoors means I start to ruminate and overthink (even more than usual). If you’re like me and aren’t careful, these are all things that can lead you right into the hungry jaws of depression.

So I’ve put together some ideas to help you avoid the winter mental health slump and stay sane until spring.

Don’t Let Your House Be a Prison

If you’re going to be spending a lot more time indoors because of bad weather, cancelled activities or general winter malaise, avoid feeling anxious and trapped by making sure your home is a lovely place to be. You could do a bit of spring (winter?!) cleaning but personally, I’d rather stick to the fun stuff. Try experimenting with some seasonal accessories to liven up the place or buying extra blankets and cushions to make your pad super snuggly. If you have children, you could even invest in a teepee so nestling inside on a rainy day can be a fun game instead of a depressing bore.

Take Up a Hobby

Keep your mind active and avoid letting it wander by taking up a hobby – preferably an indoor one! It doesn’t have to be anything expensive or complicated, it could be as simple as experimenting with pencil sketching or trying crochet (you can now buy starter kits with everything you need in one box and it’s supposed to be an excellent pursuit to aid mental health).

There are loads of great YouTube channels to help guide you in activities like yoga or meditation – you could even do an online course.

Or, if you’re like my husband and have a garage full of equipment from a variety of abandoned hobbies, try getting back into something you already started. Your other half will thank you for finally getting some use out of that glue gun.

Get Out When You Can!

When the crisp, sunny winter days do make an appearance, get out and enjoy them! Walking in the forest is one of my absolute favourite things to do at any time of year – it’s great for grounding, which can help reduce stress, improve circulation and inspire calm and tranquility. And the fresh air, Vitamin D and feeling of being surrounded by nature works wonders.

They might end up being a washout, but also look out for local outdoor events like apple harvests, scarecrow festivals, guided foraging or star gazing. Sometimes getting out with a group can do you the world of good and help you make it through the particularly dreary days.

winter self care anxiety

Create a Self-care Box

Through the winter months, the chances are there will be fewer social engagements and trips out, so it’s the perfect opportunity to take care of yourself and get into good habits so that your self-care routine continues to stay on point well into the new year. Get a nice box or basket and fill it with everything that makes a special evening for you. It doesn’t matter what it is, and it’s not for anyone else to judge. All that matters is that when you come in from work, soaking wet, after a particularly bad day, your personalised kit is ready to take the edge off. Just make sure you have a Do Not Disturb sign for your door…

Self care

Experiment with Some of Those Wellness Techniques You’ve Been Reading About

You’ve spent most of the year reading blogs and magazine articles about all these things you should be doing to aid your mental health and overall well-being, but you’ve been so busy you’ve barely had a chance to scratch the surface with any of them. Well now’s the time.

Get stuck in with anything that might have caught your fancy. Try creating your own personal affirmations, starting a diary, or practicing meditation. Do some research into any holistic therapies that you’ve found interesting, like essential oils, crystals or CBD. Start a gratitude journal, set personal goals or just explore the benefits of taking a nap.

By using this time to experiment, you’ll figure out exactly what works for you – and what doesn’t – by the time spring starts to bloom.

Get into Reading

I love a Netflix binge as much as the next person, but it’s probably not the best thing for our mental health to just take shelter in a box set until next April. Reading can help reduce stress, improve our memory and inspire relaxation. But perhaps most importantly, it gets us away from the pull of our phones and TV’s and the blue light they emit, which can have a negative effect on our sleep and circadian rhythms.

If you’re not sure you can commit to a novel, you could always try magazines like Happiful, In the Moment or The Happy Newspaper to bring some much-needed sunshine and mindfulness into those dark winter days.

Get Creative in the Kitchen

If you’re anything like me, the onset of Autumn leads to insatiable hunger and major carb loading. But whilst it might be comforting, acting like we’re storing nuts for the winter isn’t good for our mental (or physical) health.

winter food surviving self care anxiety

You might associate all the most colourful and delicious foods with spring and summer, but loads of gorgeous and nutritionally rich fruit and veg come into season September-December. And because of the season, they tend to be nice and hefty..! So whether it’s apples and pears, or beetroot, cabbage, kale and swede, you’ll be able to create a variety of soups, stews and pies that will fill you up and warm the cockles without the junk food comedown afterwards. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or struggle not to burn cereal, the winter months are a perfect time to start experimenting.

What are your top tips to surviving the winter slump?

Jo writes the blog My Anxious Life, where she talks with honesty and humour about her personal experiences with mental ill health, and her journey towards self-development, wellness and happiness.

Her Links:

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Facebook

Instagram

What is SAD?

What is SAD?

Trigger warning. This post contains talk of suicide and depression.

SAD is short for Seasonal Affective Disorder. 29% of adults will experience SAD during the Winter months, especially when the clocks go back – 1 in 3 adults now experience and suffer from SAD.

Have you felt that your depression worsens in the colder months? Or that you have no energy whatsoever and no motivation to get up and do anything? This is how I’ve been feeling for the past few weeks. I asked my Twitter followers whether they experience Seasonal Affective Disorder and I was surprised at the amount of people who responded with yes or offered to collab on a blog post. Therefore I took them up on the offer and I asked them to write a short paragraph on what SAD means to them.

@chloemetzger at Chloemetzgear.com

 

@chloemetzger at Chloemetzgear.com (2)

 

Symptoms of SAD

Here are just some of the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Have you experienced any of these?

  • Low energy
  • Feeling depressed most of the day
  • Losing sleep
  • Feeling sluggish or irritated
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Changes in appetite or weight

Do you have any symptoms that aren’t listed on here?

Did you know there is such a thing as Winter and Summer depression? There are different symptoms for each one. Such as Winter, you may experience oversleeping, weight gain, tiredness or appetite changes. Whereas in the Summer you may find yourself experiencing these symptoms: insomnia, loss of appetite, weight loss and anxiety.

Causes of SAD

If you have sudden onset SAD, you may wonder why this is. Sometimes to relieve anxiety, it can help to know what the cause is. SAD can be brought on from a range of things such as:

  • Your biological clock. Because of how dark it gets in the evenings in Winter, this can mess with your internal body clock, therefore making you have depressive thoughts/episodes.
  • Your serotonin levels. Serotonin is responsible for your feelings such as happiness. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in your serotonin levels which could trigger depression.
  • Melatonin levels. Melatonin plays a vital part in your sleep patterns and mood, therefore a change in season can make these levels unbalanced.

How to Beat SAD

If you experience SAD you won’t be looking forward to Winter. Which is why I have come up with a list of things to help you combat SAD and live your best life (as much as you can). Here are just some of the things you could do to relieve the stress of SAD:

  • As much as we all hate it –  exercise. I go swimming every week which helps release serotonin in the brain which essentially makes us happy. Even a walk in nature will do!
  • Wear warm clothes. It’s proven that being cold can make you feel more depressed, so wrap up warm, drink plenty of hot drinks and cosy up by the fire if you have one.
  • Eating healthy. As much as I love my chocolate it makes me feel depressed after I’ve eaten it. You don’t have to go around eating salads five days a week for lunch, but switch up your meals, do meal prep with your partner or friends and try something new.
  • It’s proven that having a light box or dawn simulator (can be bought on Amazon for under £30) can help improve your mood.
  • Take up a new hobby. It will help distract you from your SAD thoughts (get it? No okay) and help you concentrate.
  • Socializing is a great way of warding off SAD (all my fellow introverts out there, I feel you)
  • Join a support group, or any group for that matter!
  • Make sure to take your Vitamin D.
  • As hard as it is to sleep with SAD, going to bed and switching off your phone at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning will help your sleep schedule and make you feel less tired, which in turn will help your mood swings.

I hope this post has helped at least some of you! If you have SAD, what are some ways you combat it?

Sources:

https://getridofthings.com/get-rid-of-seasonal-affective-disorder/ 

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/

How to Stay Cool in the Heatwave

How to Stay Cool in the Heatwave

I know we all feel like we’re melting and all we want to do is cool off and for it to be Winter again but slow down peeps. I love Summer and I found a few “hacks” on how we can enjoy the heat without looking like a melted snowman.

151999

  • This may be a simple one but stay hydrated – if you don’t enjoy gulping down plain old water all day then buy some of your favourite squash to add some flavour
  • Make sure to buy yourself a fan – you can’t survive a heatwave without one
  • When you’re working in a sweaty office with no air con (like I was last year) make sure you bring your own little desk fan and some ice packs with your packed lunch – you never know when you might need them
  • Make sure you always have sun cream with you – you can get pocket sun cream to make it even easier to fit into your bag or glove compartment
  • Swap your duvet for a sheet: it’s way too hot for duvets so if you still feel like monsters are out to get you in the night, take the sheet off the duvet and sleep in that. Better yet, get yourself a fan and make a little wind tent

tent fan

  • Make sure you’ve got ice in the freezer!
  • Keep the house/flat cool by shutting all curtains and blinds so the sun doesn’t get in
  • Stay outside at night when it’s cooled down
  • Go swimming to cool off
  • Make sure you always have a water bottle handy when out and about – you don’t want to waste money or plastic
  • If you work from home or use a laptop at work then buy a fan for your laptop as well so it doesn’t overheat
  • Try to avoid hot or spicy food – now might be the time to start that salad diet!
  • It’s not just us humans that are getting hot though; think of your pets, they can’t tell you they’re too hot. Make sure not to walk your dogs in this heat, not to leave them in a car or in the garden. You can also put ice in their water bowl to cool down, dogs love licking ice. Make sure to leave water bowls outside for your dog/cat and maybe out the front of your house in case an animal needs it
  • It may sound awful but take a cold shower and let your hair dry on its own
  • It’s always time for ice lollies!
  • Make sure to wear sandals and flip flops as much as possible as well as having an umbrella or parasol because your feet and head are where all the heat gets trapped in
  • Don’t leave doors and windows open as once the warmth gets in your house will become a suntrap
  • Make sure to eat lots of fruit in order to keep hydrated e.g. watermelons, nectarines, grapes and peaches

That’s all for now folks! What are some tips/hacks you know of to keep cool in this heat? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

 

 

Why Your Job Will Never Make You Happy

Why Your Job Will Never Make You Happy

Did I get you with the clickbaity headline? Good, now I have your attention, let’s dive in.

Now, I’m not saying you’ll never be happy with the career you’ve chosen, the people you work with or some of the tasks you do. But, in my experience, no matter what job you’re in, there’s always bad parts that come with it.

I have waitressed, worked in retail, in marketing, admin, social media and volunteered. When I was in retail, I hated it, I wanted to move and become a waitress. But then the hours were shit so I moved back home and became an apprentice on little to no money. Again, I moved, worked in marketing and had to work with women who didn’t like me. While I was working this marketing job I was looking into becoming self employed because I had wanted to make the leap and become my own boss for a while.

I knew that because of my mental illness and the negative experiences I’ve encountered over the years, that I didn’t want to ever experience it again. So I delved into freelance work and left my job.

Now, freelance is great. You get to work from home, choose your own hours, answer phone calls in your PJs. But the harsh reality is that you may still have to work with people you don’t like. Or you’ll have to attend meetings with pretentious people or work on weekends. Unfortunately, no matter whether you’re self employed or work full time in an office, as a waitress, in retail ect, you’re always going to encounter issues.

I was naive when it came to becoming freelance. I didn’t realise how lonely it would be, the amount of motivation you have to have and the amount I’d have to deal with.

I just want to tell you not to have high expectations for every job because there will always be something to make you upset. It’s unfair, but I’m learning that that’s the way life is. There are hard parts, but the hard parts are outweighed by the good.

The advantages for me are that I get to spend time in the place I feel most comfortable in; I don’t have to ask if I can eat or use the bathroom and I don’t feel like I’m doing something wrong if I finish work early. I get to spend more time with my partner, have more holiday and control my future. And that makes me happy. What makes you happy in your job?

A Trip to Nice

A Trip to Nice

For Oliver’s 21st, Oliver’s parents took us to Nice in France for the weekend.

Day One

We took off to Gatwick at 3am for our flight at 6am. We arrived in Nice around 9am and made our way on the tram to Hotel Brice.

For a while we pottered around the town and had pain au chocolates. It was rainy but it was lovely to explore.

We had some lunch in McDonald’s while it poured down and went back to the hotel for a nap before going out to pizza.

Day Two

Oliver’s birthday! For his birthday I got him basketball tickets for London and his parents got him a lamborghini experience in Monaco.

We went into the Monte Carlo casino and had some lunch in Cafe De Paris before getting the bus back to Nice. We had some delicious hot chocolate and an ice cream to share.

We all got a gift from Oliver’s parents saying we were going to Frankfurt in December to see the Christmas markets!

Until next time, love, Vee x

Blogmas: Christmas on a Budget

Hi everyone! I was thinking up Blogmas ideas and I thought that because Christmas is such an expensive time for so many, that I would create a budget post to help you at this time of year! I’ve struggled over the years and have managed to do Christmas on a very tight, apprenticeship wage. I know, magic. But this is how you can do Christmas on a budget, too.

 

Christmas on a Budget

  • Make things instead of spending a fortune – such as Christmas cards (if you have children, get them to do some artsy drawings for you), tags, gifts and even wrapping paper. Pinterest has some great ideas on what to make at Christmas time.
  • Save pennies up in your money box throughout the year – it all adds up!
  • Make a list (yes, I know I love a list) of who you’re going to buy for and what you want to buy for them. Work out how much you want to spend on each person and break down the costs.
  • Avoid going out to shop; do as much online shopping as possible to avoid impulse buys.
  • Shop second hand – buy from CEX, eBay etc. You can find some great bargains on electronics and games.
  • Avoid buying decorations for the table such as candles, napkins or paper plates – ask yourself if you really need them.
  • If you’re looking for a Christmas tree, shop around locally but I recommend investing in a fake otherwise you’ll have to keep buying trees for £60-100 each year when that money could be spent on gifts.
  • Pick up gifts in the after Christmas sale for next year – you’ll be glad you bought those cards half price. If you can remember where you stored them!
I hope this post was helpful to you and if you have any Christmas budget tips yourself, please share them in the comments! Until next time, love Vee x

Blogmas: My Favourite Things About Winter

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hey everyone! As it’s nearly December I wanted to share some of my favourite things about Winter with you all. Don’t forget to let me know your favourite things about Winter in the comments! If you’re still missing the Summer, I hope this post reminds you of the good things to come in the Winter season.

My Favourite Things About Winter

  • Thick blankets 
  • Cosying up with a good book and a cup of tea
  • Snow and building snowmen/throwing snowballs
  • Hot drinks on cold nights
  • Watching Christmas movies with my partner and his family
  • Listening to Christmas music in the car on long drives
  • Shopping and wrapping (minus the stress and money)
  • Onesies and comfy socks
  • Log fires
  • Christmas craft and baking
  • Oversized jumpers
  • Going to London at Christmas time
  • The smell of cinnamon and pine needles
  • Cute outfits
  • Decorating the tree and the house
  • The general magic feeling I get at Christmas time
  • Crunchy, icy leaves 
I hope you all enjoyed this post and it reminded you of some good Winter memories. Until next time, love, Vee x 

How To Achieve Your Dreams

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hey everyone! For those of you who know me, you’ll know that my dream is to become an editor/writer. I have recently decided I’m going to do anything it takes to get to where I want to be, even if it means sacrificing my time, money or anything else.

I have been trying to gain experience in publishing and editing because to become an editorial assistant, you usually need to have a degree and some relevant editorial experience. And after weeks of feeling low, I’ve managed to secure myself an editorial internship with Society19, a student magazine. I’ve submitted a few articles already which is very exciting! 
The great thing about this internship is that I don’t have to be a student or a graduate; usually, to do an editorial internship you need to have a degree. I’m so excited about this journey that I’m going on at the moment. Good things are coming.
I never thought I could succeed because of my education and lack of qualifications but I managed to achieve one of my goals! And you can too. Don’t let your negativity, background or anyone stop you from achieving your goals. 
I’m going to be an editor one day and no matter how many times I get knocked down, I’m going to get back up and fight for what I want. I’ve had so many fantastic opportunities in my life. Some things may be rubbish, such as a job or a negative person in your life, but I promise you that you can do whatever you set your mind to. You just need to believe in yourself.

Stay positive and remember to take time for yourself. There’s no point stressing over things right now; good things are coming, just believe in that. Surround yourself with like-minded, positive people who want you to be happy and you’ll start to feel more confident and positive in yourself.

Remember, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You are your own person and you can tell people what you think. Speak up for yourself and be heard. You have the power to do anything with your life! Isn’t that exciting?

I hope you take away some positivity from this post and work hard to achieve your dreams. It may be difficult but I promise every hurdle will be worth it. Until next time, love, Vee x