Thursday, 30 June 2016

July's To Read List

I think that I'm likely to get through July's to read list faster than ever - healthily spurred on I'm sure by my various travels this month. I have a journey to London and back, to Spain and back - and I'm sure I'll have plenty of time lying in the sun if the weather stays good and so I'm actually really excited to get through this stack of books this month!

1: Off The Page - Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
Now to be honest, this is the one that I'm most excited about which is strange as it's so not my typical kind of book. Jodi Picoult has always been one of my favourite authors, but this isn't her sad, thought-provoking usual offerings, instead - this is a book about a prince that comes to life from the pages of a fairytale and has to learn to assume the role of a real boy in a real world. It sounds very Enchanted, and I'm so not against that. I'm looking forward to a good chick lit, I only hope that it doesn't let me down.

2: Tell Me No Secrets - Julie Corbin
From one extreme to the other - because I'm pretty sure that this book is going to be about a woman who killed and buried her friend. What I do know is this is a book about a woman who has set out and created an entire life for herself only for her friend from her teenage years to ring and threaten to shatter it all. This sounds great, dark and everything that I normally look for in a book. I'm really excited to get reading this one and it'll definitely be one of my travel books, I think.

3: The Child's Secret - Amanda Brooke
I'm just no so sure about this one and I'm not sure why that is - but I'm giving it a shot none the less. i think that this is going to be pretty dark even by my standards. This is a book about a child that goes missing, and that creates a lot of suspicion around just about everyone that she came into contact with. I can't wait to see how this one pans out, and I think this is going to be one of those interlinking stories that throws clues in subtly from the blue. I think this is going to be one I'll have to force myself to read, but I bet that I enjoy it when I get to the end. We'll soon see, I supposed!

4: Somewhere Inside Of Happy - Anna McPartlin
I keep putting off reading this book and I'm not really sure why - it's exactly up my street; a strong woman whose life is falling apart when her daughter goes missing. This is exactly the type of heartbreaking thriller that I tend to go for, but I just can't bring myself to pick it up and get stuck in. I think this will be a holiday book - so fingers crossed that I get through it lying in the sun1

So there's my books for July! Let me know what you're reading so I can buy some in ready for August.

Sammy xo.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Aurelia Skincare

This month I've had the pleasure of trying out Aurelia Skincare - and although they're sample sizes and so I haven't tested these out for as long as I normally would test skincare; I feel as though I've tried them out long enough to put forward an opinion. I've been able to try out a fair bit of their range and so I've been incorporating it into my skincare routine to see how it works for me. Pretty packaging aside (but oh my god, it's so cute I can't even begin to explain) - this stuff really is pretty good. So, without further ado, let's talk a little about it.

Let's start with my favourite out of the products - the Miracle Cleanser. Now a full size of this is £38.00 and I do think that's pretty steep - this is good, by all means, it smells fresh (perhaps like eucalyptus? I can't quite place the strongest scent here), it takes off my make up easily (even eye make up) and it seems to last a serious amount of time. Having said that - I just don't think anything that's going to be washed down the sink within seconds is worth nearly £40. This is very reminiscent of the Camomile Butter from The Body Shop - if you have the money by all means go for the Aurelia, but otherwise stick with The Body Shop, because as good as this is, I just can't justify £40 on something that's going down the plughole with today's make up (it does come with a cute, and very soft, bamboo cloth though). They also have an exfoliator with the same scent, which I really enjoy, and that's their Refine and Polish Miracle Balm. This is a whopping £57.00 but I'd much rather shell the money out on this than the cleanser - this is a two in one scrub and/or enzyme mask and it really is good. It's gritty without feeling too much, and it leaves my skin fresh and soft. If you're looking to shell out on expensive skincare, I really would say put your money towards the Miracle Balm as opposed the the Cleanser.

Next up was a skincare offering that I tend to hate, and that was a facial oil - but I'm going to make an unprecedented U-turn and say that, actually, I really don't hate the Cell Repair Night Oil. This isn't greasy like all of the other oils that I've tried and hated in the past, this is actually a fairly dry oil and it settles down quickly without leaving any kind of residue on the skin. I've found that whether I mix this in with moisturiser or wear it under moisturiser or even wear it alone - it works really well. If I was a facial oil kind of person, given how long the sample bottle lasted - I'd almost definitely be happy to shell out the £55 to buy a full sized bottle of this (it does smell quite perfumed, almost like Jasmine flowers - so that's something to bear in mind). Next up is the Revitalise and Glow Serum - and this is the one product that just really didn't work for me. I think this is great - it sinks in quickly and settles well to form a base for moisturiser; but it just didn't do anything for my skin, either negatively or positively. Maybe if you had really dry skin this would work - but for me personally, I just wouldn't be able to justify the £57 that it would cost.

Finally - I tried out their Repair and Brighten Hand Cream; which I have to say that I really did like. I'm a sucker for a good hand cream, and this comes in a beautiful tube, it's strong enough to throw in my bag without worrying the tube might spit, and it settles in without being greasy or tacky. Now the full size of this is £28, and I just can't justify that for myself although I do have to say that I would consider buying this for my mum who is a nurse and really does need a good hand cream. 

All in all - I really liked Aurelia; and as soon as I have enough money to dive in further, I just might do that.

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

What I've Learned About Sex In My 20s

In the last few months (or years maybe, I've not exactly been counting) I've become a lot more confident in myself sexually - and this is natural, I think it comes from learning, from experience and from generally becoming more sure of myself as a person. Nevertheless, I thought I'd share some of the wisdom that I've learned about sex in my 20s (and there's a lot that I felt as though I've censored, because I'm sure none of you particularly logged on here to hear about any kinks).

1: Sex is amazing - sometimes the people you have it with? Not so much.
I've learned that I don't dislike sex, as I might have originally thought, I just disliked some of the people that I was having it with. I've found out that some people just don't do it for me - not looks wise, just it's the wrong battery in the wrong car (now how's that for a metaphor). Seriously though - don't let people who aren't good at sex for you personally fool you into believing that you don't like it; because one day you're going to see fireworks and you'll be annoyed that you were duped for all of that time.

2: Contraception is one of the best friends you'll ever have
I strongly believe this - and I learned it fast. Some people will convince you that nothing feels as good as sex without condoms; they're wrong. You know what feels better than sex without condoms? Not spending two weeks worrying that you might be pregnant, and not sitting waiting for an STD test because you're convinced you might fail. Condoms, the pill, whatever. Whatever you pick - just know that contraception is one of the best decisions that you will ever make for yourself long term.

3: It's not all about lingerie and silk.
For me anyway - it's just not. I always feel better about myself, more sure about myself, when I feel as though I'm not parading myself, as though I'm not on show. I've found that I'm much more comfortable and sure of myself when I'm wearing cotton and an oversized t-shirt, and I'm okay with that. I'm okay that I'll never be an Ann Summers model - and it's okay if that is you! - but it's not all about lingerie and silk; find what works for you and rock it.

4: All in all, sex is a personal thing.
I've learned that everyone likes different things - and one person's junk is another person's treasure, for want of a better expression. I've learned that it'll click with some people and not with others, and I've learned to have fun with it.

So all in all - that's the top things that I've learned about sex during my 20s; let me know what lessons that you've learned!

Sammy xo.

Monday, 27 June 2016

New In - Skincare

Skincare is sort of my thing at the moment - I go through phases of preferring make up to skincare or the other way around, but this month it's definitely my skin that has my attention (mostly as my skin is a ton of crap and I'll do anything to get it back in line). So, I have a fair few new pieces that I've been testing out. It's early days and so these are by no means final impressions or full reviews, but I thought I'd give you a few mini first impression type reviews as I've definitely been trying them out for enough time to write a solid idea of how they're faring up so far!

I'm going to start with the serums that I've been trying out - Valcena's Action Jeunesse Cream Serum and Kathleen's Silk Miracle Essence (which I've been using during the day and at night respectively). Let's talk about Valcena for a minute - I have to say my first impressions of this are pretty good; it has really distinctive, elegant packaging, a pump (which I always appreciate) and is a thick creamy serum that sinks in almost immediately without feeling tacky - which is pretty much everything that I tend to look for in a serum. I'm not sure how much this is, I'm getting conflicting amount when I look online - but from what I can see it's a drugstore price in France. It's good, but I can't use this at night because it's very heavily perfumed with a rose scent, so without make up on top of it I find that this lingers. I am hoping I'll build up a tolerance, however. Kathleen is perfect for the night however, it's an almost gel like feeling essence that's thin and settles in quickly. I've been using this for about three weeks and I've barely used any, so although it's £58.80 - this is definitely something that I'd be willing to shell money out on again; plus I love supporting UK companies where I can.

Next up a company that I've been working very closely with and that's Patisserie De Bain; they sent me over two hand and body lotions in Sweet As Cherry Pie and Lemon BonBon. I've only been trying these out for a week - but it's so far so good. Sweet As Cherry Pie isn't at all for the faint hearted - it's a very sweet, very artificial cherry smell, and although that's right up my alley - it's worth keeping in mind if you're not a huge fan. Lemon BonBon however is a clean, fresh, citrus smell that I'm a huge fan of - and both lotions are great for hands and body - not greasy and they sink in really fast, plus you can grab these for £4.99 from Superdrug which is a bargain in my eyes. I'm keen to see what else Patisserie De Bain has to offer in the future!

Next up is a cream I've been trying for a few weeks, but this is definitely still a first impression as I feel like I'm still getting to grips with it, and I'm definitely still on the fence about it, and that's the Aqua+ PM Zero Cream. I really like how this makes my skin feel - but it's definitely on a cream that I can use at night as this blends down into almost water and that watery feeling stays on your skin - at night this leaves me waking up feeling as though I've had a chemical peel without all the horrible bits, but during the day I find I look oily and slick. Definitely one I need to keep working on - but I'll soon let you know if I think this is worth the $60.00 price tag, I'm sure!

Last up, a company that seems to have become a solid favourite for my mum (who needs to stop robbing my things!) is Cellex-C. We seem to have a tug of war over these two products as we're both such big fans - but most notably is our love for the Speed Peel Facial. This is a chemical exfoliator and I've never used anything quite like it - I've been testing this for just shy of a month and I feel confident saying that my skin looks brighter, smoother and feels much softer (and even between the two of us we haven't finished the tub) and therefore it's worth every penny of the £28.95. I've also been trying the Hydrasmooth, which is a moisturiser that I've been loving for the day that is the texture of yoghurt; however it spreads out well and stays slightly tacky on the skin, but I don't mind that when I'm chucking a primer on top anyway as it's not too obvious - however, I can't find this online, although looking at similar products in the range, I'd say this retails around £40. This is quickly becoming a firm favourite with regards to skincare brands, for me and my mother!

What skincare have you been trying lately?

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Brains and Beauty

Twitter rants seem to be my thing lately - don't they? If you saw my twitter yesterday (cheeky plug) you will have seen that I was annoyed by someone who had suggested that you should marry a girl who has read more books than they have watched YouTube make-up tutorials. Now on a practical level, that's just ridiculous - I can watch a solid twenty four videos in the space I can read an average length book; but more than that, I found myself aggravated. I am a huge lover of make up, I'm quite openly a girl that won't even go down to the supermarket without perfectly matching eyebrows - but that doesn't mean that I'm not worth your time, that I'm any less intelligent; and this attitude is small minded and derogatory.

When I entered my secondary school I was tested and found to be within the top 3% of students in my year group in the country. I was bright and I worked hard - I read a lot, and I was uncomfortable; I struggled with my anxiety through school and it wasn't picked up on, so it wasn't treated. With that in mind - I turned to make up; the perfect war paint that gave me the confidence that I needed to continue going in to get the education that I needed. It was a small step forward, but it kept me in school for long enough to get three A Levels in three really good, essay based subjects (Government and Politics, History, and English Literature). I liked make up enough that when I was 20 I started a blog talking about it - and, it seems, by default I've therefore foregone all intelligence that I had before in favour of liquid lipsticks.

I'm joking, of course - but neither of these things are exclusive. I read a hell of a lot of books, and I own a hell of a lot of make up; I learned about migration during WW2 from When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, and I learned how to get a killer eyeliner wing from YouTube tutorials - these two parts of my personality have no correlation whatsoever; one doesn't negate the other. Some of the smartest women that I've ever met, I've met through beauty blogging. Some of the women in my life are killing it both with their flawless make up application and their knowledge and intelligence - so when you make these women around me seem as though they're fickle, silly and somehow unworthy? That makes me angry.

I don't have to pick between being intelligent and liking make up - the foundation that I choose to wear doesn't somehow create a forcefield that stops my brain being able to work; it simply boosts the features that I have (shock horror, I can even still read a book with my make up on!) I am fierce because of my eyeliner and lipstick, and I'm even more fierce because I know more than most people about how politics works across the world, and about Irish and Italian unification, and about tsardom in Russia. I am a girl that loves make up, and I'm a girl that reads a lot - more than anything though, I'm a girl that knows that she's better than someone who thinks it's okay to judge people based on their book to YouTube ratio. Beauty and Brains aren't exclusive, so let's celebrate our ability to do beauty based things, and let's celebrate our intelligence - because god knows we have both.

Sammy xo.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Angelfall Book Review

There are some books that I just seem to pick up on a whim - and Susan EE's Angelfall was definitely one of them. For somebody who spends her life watching Supernatural on TV, supernatural fiction just really hasn't tended to be my thing and so I tend to stray away from it. I'm not sure what made me pick Angelfall up - a book offer, or a random choice by my mum perhaps - but I do have to say that the whole point of reading a book a week was to step outside of my comfort zone and start to read offerings that I might not read otherwise, and this fits into that perfectly.

Angelfall follows our heroine, Penryn, as she tries to get her sister back after she is taken by the angels that have returned to Earth. In a dystopian Earth that has been torn apart by creatures we previously thought to be calm and protective - Penryn must use a broken angel to her advantage in order to get Paige back before it's too late; and the book is harrowing and sad and beautiful in all the right ways. Maybe it's a throwback to all of those times in school I used to sit in registration and read The Vampire Diaries, but I just feel as though something about this book really appealed to me (so much so that I finished it in a single night.)

Now, this started as an internet phenomenon, and I have to say that it's not a surprise for me to hear that - and as someone who's much better versed in fanfiction than she cares to admit, I have to say that this definitely reads like some good fanfiction; that beautifully written and yet slightly reminiscent of something that you can't quite put your finger on without using the characters original names kind of feeling is definitely something that lingers pretty heavily around this book. With such prominent angels and demons it's hard not to compare this to Supernatural fanfic, but whether that's intentional is something I'm not quite sure of.

All in all - I enjoyed this a lot more than I might have imagined. I felt like it was sort of like a guilty pleasure read, and yet I found myself gripped until the beautiful cliffhanger of an ending, and I'm already out searching to see whether there are other books in the same series. It's not a book that I'm going to go back and read over and over again by any means - and yet I find myself wanting to pass it onto friends and quote it on social media; and isn't that a very modern day way of telling you that I approve?

All in all - it's worth a read, and if you have read this or any others in the series, please let me know your thoughts!

Sammy xo.

Friday, 24 June 2016

New Additions To My Room

You all know that I fought tooth and nail to get myself a perfectly white bedroom - white walls, white furniture, white accessories. This was great when I was only staying there a few days a week, but now I'm back living here full time it all feels a little clinical to be honest with you. So, with that in mind - I decided that I was on a mission to add a little more me to an otherwise perfectly clinical room. So, with a little help from some of my favourite brands, I've finally managed to get it sorted - here's my favourite new additions at the moment.

First up - an unexpected pop of colour came in the form of candles, and one of my top picks definitely comes from Produce Candles. Some of you might know that I'm weirdly in love with apricot yoghurt, and that's exactly what their Peach scent smells like. This is in an adorable printed jar, it adds a pop of colour to my room and although it's fairly expensive at £21.99, it has up to 70 hours burn time and so I'm not complaining. I'm looking at adding some more of their candles to my shelves to add more bursts of colour, my favourites at the moment are Coriander and Wildflower - so if anyone's tried them please let me know what they're like, I have high hopes!

Next up are some prints that you're going to see in a gallery wall post on in the next few weeks - but I thought I'd still pick a few of my favourites out to feature within this post because I'm such a big fan of them. First in my Jollysmith print that says "Can't See The Wood  For The Trees" - this sucker is absolutely huge and adds a gorgeous pop of colour and costs around £15. I'm so excited to get this up and I think it's going to be the main focus of my gallery wall. I also have two other smaller prints that I'm completely in love with - an A4 print from Martha and Hepsie that very accurately says "Great Things Are Going To Happen" and an A3 Thumper quote print from Brambler that's so cute and says "If you're scared just be scarier than whatever is scaring you!" (£17). All of these are on good quality card and it's been easy to find clip frames for them - all of mine are from Dunelm. I can't wait to get my gallery wall up and write a post so you can all see!

Lastly I have a few practical bits from Store which are a shop actually based around by me and so I'm pleased to give them this little shoutout - they sent me a small set of drawers and a wooden drawer and I'm excited to clear everything out and make room for these so I can hoard much more make up than I need. I think these seem really good quality so far - but when I do an updated room post I'm sure that I'll be able to better comment on how they've handled a ridiculous amount of cosmetics.

So that's just a few of my favourite bits to add to my room - I have tons more in the way of pictures, photographs and wall stickers but now it's just a case of actually getting everything up onto the walls - as long as I don't do any serious damage during my DIY attempts, I'll pop a new post up when it's all ready.

Do leave me any of your favourite homeware stores below, in any case!

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Lessons From The Last Six Months

I feel like in the last six months I've become a completely different person. I mean not so much of a different person that I no longer stay up until the early hours of the morning watching bad TV series on Netflix, but a different person none the less. It's natural that alongside recovery I learned a whole variety of lessons - but that was just the start. The last six months have been a learning curve - I'm now actually closer to my 25th birthday than my 20th; and I feel as though I've had to grow up a lot in a really small amount of time. So, I thought I'd share some of my lessons from the last six months with you.

1: I'm stronger than I think
I have proved this to myself over and over again within the last six months - I've come through tough times, and I've not backed down in the face of pretty much anything. I've gone through uncomfortable times, sad times and difficult times - and I've survived them all and I've come out the other side stronger than I ever imagined being. Every new experience that I've survived has only served to make me stronger, and I've come out a competent human being (well, almost.)

2: Friends come from the most unlikely of places
Friends have come into my life from twitter, from years past, from dating apps - friends have come into my life and I'm so happy that they have. I finally feel as though for the first time in my adult life I have legitimate friends, friends that I can count on and turn to and speak to about just about anything. I've learned to open up to my friends, and I've learned that there are always people around me willing to give me support. I'd name you all but honestly, I don't need to because you all know exactly who you are - thank you for everything, I appreciate it.

3: My voice is important
This sounds totally full of myself - but if there's one thing I've learned since blogging through my mental illness and my recovery; it's that my voice is important. Every day I am thankful for every difficult post that I've ever written, because I know that it likely helped someone, no matter how slightly. My voice has made, and I hope will continue to make, at least a tiny bit of a difference and that is the lesson I've learned and cherish the most - the fact that my words can have such an impact.

So there's just some of the lessons I've learned over the past 6 months - thanks for every single minute of your support, guys. What lessons have you learned in the last 6 months?

Sammy xo.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Sexuality, Validity, And What People Need To Understand

Coming out was one of the hardest things that I ever had to do. It seemed so redundant, and yet at the same time I felt as though a lot rested on it at the time - I felt like to live authentically, and as my true self I need to say openly; "hey, I fancy girls." When I did, it all went well - sort of. Mostly, people assumed that by admitting I liked girls, this meant that I exclusively liked girls. At the time, it was easier to just agree that this was the box that I fit into - maybe I did exclusively like girls? Maybe everything had just been building up to this point here and now I was living as I was meant to be? As it was, I let it slide. I didn't know what I'd correct them to even if I'd wanted to correct them and I so I accepted my label as a lesbian and moved forward without giving it much though.

Until suddenly I didn't feel like a lesbian anymore - I was interested in men, and women, and I was torn between the two. I didn't feel like bisexual fit, I didn't feel straight nor lesbian - so where did that leave me? Pansexual fit - I fall in love with people irregardless of gender - and yet this was something people didn't seem to understand.

"But you're seeing a boy now, right? So it was just a phase?"
"Oh I assumed you were straight, I didn't know you'd had a girlfriend!"
"But you'll likely end up with a boy in the end right?"

People say things like the phrases above without realising how derogatory they're being to my sexuality, how invalidating that this is to me and everyone else who falls within the less typically accepted brackets of the LGBTQA+. This heteronormative way of thinking - that if we see someone with a member of the opposite sex they must be straight, or if nobody explicitly tells us otherwise they must be - but that isn't how the world works. Sexuality is fluid for a lot of people, for a lot more people than we might think on the whole, and this attitude to sexuality is damaging in more ways than one.

We are not straight until we have had sex with a member of our own gender, or another gender, in the same way as we are not asexual until we lose our virginity - sexuality exists within us and it's something we'll explore when we're older; it's not something that is created dependent on our experiences with different genders. We need to stop putting onto children at a young age that the normal sexuality for them is straight - because there is no normal sexuality; it's tailored personally for each person, it's slightly different for each human being and these attitudes, or rather a change in these attitudes, could change many people's lives for the better.

Sammy xo.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Trying Something New With The Stockroom

To those of you who told me the masturbation posts were a bit much - you're probably going to want to click off this at the moment; normal business will be resumed tomorrow (probably) but this one definitely isn't going to be one for you. Now that the disclaimer is over, let's talk sex toys. Well not toys so much as accessories - because in the words of Rihanna; "sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me" and so on and so forth. I'm always eager to branch out and so when The Stockroom offered to send me some goodies to add to my toy collection, there was no way that I was going to turn it down.

So - we settled on some bits and pieces that were the most inclusive, the ones that most people were likely to be brave enough to add to their collection. So let's start with my favourite, and the ever popular Riding Crop ($12.93). This is pretty basic as crops go - the looped end means that it makes an impressive swish noise, but it's wide enough that the sting isn't too intense, nor does it leave too much of a mark unless you get really out of hand with it. I will say though, it has some downfalls - you can't travel with it, if that's your jam, as we've tried to put this in just about every bag that I own and we can't fit it in any at all - so it's definitely a stay at home sort of piece; however that's not enough to put me off. In addition to this, as it has quite a short length to the actually leather piece that you want to be hit with, you've got to be pretty careful not to be hit with the actually cane piece; fine if you're into that and looking for the sensation, but a bit of a shock if you're expected a sting and it's replaced with a completely different feeling altogether. A good starter crop, as long as you're careful and not planning to massively travel round with it.

The other two items fit together to form an experience of sorts - a padded blindfold ($18) and a wartenberg pinwheel ($9.50). After digging the pinwheel out of a box, and then a bag - I found out the hard way that although this isn't sharp enough to break the skin, if you accidentally jab it into your fingers when you're not expecting it, it's less than pleasant - so, word to the wise, it comes with a tough sheath to put it in for a reason. That aside, the blindfold is comfortable, and when you add in the sensation of the pinwheel, it's enough to feel as though it's an extra added sensation, without actually hurting to any major degree. This is definitely one that's scarier that it looks - but having tried it just about everywhere from boobs, to the soles of feet, to backs; there's nowhere that feels so painful that you wouldn't do it again (it does tickle the soles of your feet though).

So all in all - The Stockroom actually really impressed me. Their shipping and customer service was fabulous and they were really helpful when we talked about what kind of things I was interested in and how they would appeal to a wider audience and generally? I'd say give it a go. It's cheap enough that if you don't like what you tried it's no big deal, and hey - you might just find your new favourite thing.

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Making A Difference

I guess when I look at the rest of my life, I only have one really big goal - and it's to make a difference. I've wanted to do something selfless and worthwhile for a fairly long time now - and so I decided to set up an event. Some of you will already know about #LivHelps, you might already be coming, but in case you don't - here's a rundown of what the event will be.

The event is a blogger event like you'd expect, only on the day you'll have plenty of chances to learn how you can help those around you in the Liverpool area. On August 20th, 40 bloggers will be getting together and although we'll have fun, hang out and take countless selfies - it's going to be more than that; it's going to be an event focused on giving back, something I think all of us are keen to do at least on a small level.

So here's your chance - if you're interested in making a difference and you can get to Liverpool on August 20th, leave your email address and I'll get the information over to you as soon as possible.

Look forward to seeing you!

Sammy xo.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Royal Afternoon Tea at Browns

My family have this thing about afternoon tea. Ever since I was a teenager, all of my aunties and cousins (well, most of us ladies in any case, the men are more than welcome but never seem to take us up on the offer...) go out every few months for a different afternoon tea. It's mostly an excuse to gossip about what's happening in our lives and have a few glasses of bubbly but, irregardless, I'm definitely no stranger at all to afternoon tea. So, when Browns in Liverpool invited me (and by extension my mother) over to try their Royal Afternoon Tea for the Queen's Birthday - I jumped at the chance; any excuse to add another restaurant to my ever growing list of places that I've tried (I should have an elaborate rating system at this point).

Now, not unusually for Liverpool, when we got there it was absolutely chucking it down - and so although we'd planned to walk around the shops, it didn't work out quite like this and so, instead, I decided to try my luck and turn up half an hour earlier than the slot that we'd booked. I knew I was being a bit of an annoying chancer, I've worked as a waitress and I get how frustrating people like me can be when you're busy, but the staff were really pleasant and understanding and wasted absolutely no time seating us - it seems like something tiny, but we were really early and the weather was terrible, so we really appreciated it. Off to a good start.

One of the bonuses of the Royal Afternoon Tea vs. the regular one is that you get a British Royal cocktail as well as your hot drink - we opted to have these first and have our tea with our cake afterwards and so they brought these over to us whilst we waited for our food. The British Royal is the perfect name for such a delicately flavoured, really light drink - this is vodka with rosehip and rhubarb cordial and apple then all topped with prosecco and topped with blackberries. These were the perfect, clean tasting start to the meal and we couldn't wait to get stuck in to the actual food part of the afternoon tea.

We started off with the light, brioche buns that are in place of the traditional finger sandwiches - filled with delightful fillings such as coronation chicken, cream cheese and salmon and egg mayonnaise, these are light, but tasty and leave plenty of room for the scones. We had two plain scones, and two fruit scones (I took the plain ones as I fully believe that raisins shouldn't be cooked or baked) with jam and cream, and then it was time for the cakes. Oh, the cakes. From red velvet sponge, to salted caramel profiteroles, to earl grey and lemon tea sponge and finally (and probably our favourite out of all of the desserts) were tiny pots filled with a creme brulee type filling topped with pimms jelly. Everything was floral and tasted amazing whilst still tasting subtle and not too overwhelming.

Not only was the food amazing, but so was the atmosphere, and the staff were friendly with everyone around which is always a really good thing in my opinion. Generally, we had an amazing afternoon at Browns, their afternoon tea was one of the best I've tried so far, and I absolutely can't wait to go back!

Where are your favourite places for afternoon tea?

Sammy xo.
Contains a meal provided for PR purposes however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Quicksand Book Review

There's not many books (in fact, I think this is literally the first one that I can think of off the top of my head) that I've hated so much that I absolutely couldn't continue reading them, and there was no way they were going back on my shelf -  but Quicksand by Steve Toltz is definitely one of those. It frustrates me to not like a book - I love words, and I want to like whatever set of words anyone puts together, but some books just aren't for me. Words, it seems, are subjective and this set of words just aren't really for me.

I can't quite put my finger on why I don't like this book - and I tried, I really did; I got to within 45 pages of the end before I gave up for good. It's not the writing, I actually really enjoy it, it's flowery and descriptive and beautiful - a little over the top, but still enjoyable to read, the kind of quotes that you want tattooed on you. The story itself isn't even offensive, it could be captivating and well written - there's just something about the two of these things that don't seem to click together in the way that I'd expect them to. I started the books with high hopes and sort of almost ended it feeling as though, at best, I'd kept reading through good intention.

The book follows Aldo Benjamin - a chronically unlucky man - through his life. Although the book mostly focuses on his murder trial, and the situations that led him to be standing in the dock, it's actually rooted in the idea that Aldo is so tragic that he has become a muse for his best friend, writer Liam, who is keen to set a book around Aldo's life. Through disaster after disaster, we see the life that made Aldo the man that he is; and it's not a pleasant one.

Mostly I want to say this should come with trigger warnings for just about most things, but most notably rape, self harm and suicide. It's a tough read, and for me it just wasn't worth it. I gave it a good go, but I'm calling time on this one. If you've read quicksand, I'd love to hear what you thought, surely it can't only be me?!

What books are you reading at the minute?

Sammy xo.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Life Is Still Happening Even Though I'm Anxious

Time, or so they say, waits for no man; or, in my case, woman. It seems ironic to write this as I'm sitting her in my Moofia pyjamas, surrounded by bits of crumpled up paper and watching Breaking Bad for the upteenth time - but I've just had an epiphany. I don't want to leave the house today; recovery has been kind to me so far, but it has it downs as well as it's ups - and I'm not overly sad or panicked today; but I'm reluctant. To face the world outside, I'm reluctant; the idea of new people, new places, new experiences - it all seems very overwhelming, and I'm reluctant.

That's not my epiphany - to clarify - that's just a bit of back story. I'm setting the scene for you, if you will, because I've just realised that part of my recovery is doing things even though I'm reluctant; because time isn't waiting for me. Life is still out there happening even when it isn't happening to me; the minute hands still click past on each clock whether I'm watching them or not, people fall in and out of love around me, events that I don't feel up to going to still happen - life is still happening out there whether I want to be a part of it or not. I am doing better than I ever was - but to make the most out of life, I need to make sure that I'm pushing through even when I feel this reluctant about life.

When I used to sit in therapy to try and battle the worst parts of my anxiety my councillor (shout out to Kate for getting me to where I am now, by the way) used to have me write down the worst outcomes for events that I didn't want to go to; they could be obscure or likely, it didn't matter - but they usually ranged from embarrassing myself to none of my friends ever speaking to me again. After I'd written down all of the outcomes that I could think of, I had to rate them - with anxiety, there will never be an option that quells those panicked feelings when you have to do something that you don't want to - but to get through it, Kate recommended that I pick my least shit option.

In this case, it's life. Life is my least shit option. Going out and doing things even when I don't want to, living life instead of letting it pass me by - that's my least shit option. It's not my best option, or at least it doesn't seem like it right now, it'll be tough and nervewracking and I'll have to push myself - but by far it's my least shit option. For a long time life has still gone on whilst I've been sitting on this same couch watching bad shows on Netflix - and I don't want this to happen forever; that's my most shit option. I don't want to feel that life is passing me by and I'm not truly seeing any of it - I want to live.

So this is my declaration to try harder and take my least shit option forward, because life doesn't stop just because I'm anxious, and I don't want to miss out on everything. Here's to picking the least shit option.

Sammy xo.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

SBC Gels - Cotton

I'm all about a good body lotion but I absolute hate feeling sticky or if the lotion doesn't have the smell that I expected it to. So, when SBC Gels offered to send me out a skincare gel, I was intrigued and I opted for the ominously sounding "cotton" scent - figuring that if I didn't actually know what the smell was it probably couldn't disappoint me (there's some logic there somewhere, I promise, I'm just not quite sure it's logic to everyone reading this!) When this arrived, I was intrigued to get stuck in and I have to say that it hasn't let me down yet.

This is a cold, gel - which actually is really pleasant when you're getting out the bath as you can avoid that gross like sticky-skin-in-my-pyjamas feeling - so that already made me kind of fall in love with it, especially given the fact that we're getting into Summer and a lot of the time I'm sticky enough (that sounded dirtier than I'd anticipated or intended) without adding a gross, too thick moisturiser into the mix. Added bonus that this is cold - I'm sure that'll be a negative when the winter rolls around, but right now I absolutely want to smother myself head to toe in it every ten minutes.

Now the smell - this is going to be a divider for most people - because for all the world, this smells like bubble liquid. It's a really clean, really fresh smell - but it's also so distinctive and undeniably the smell is of either baby shampoo, baby bath or bubble solution (you know what smell I mean, right? They all smell pretty similar). I don't hate this - but I wouldn't say that the smell is particularly "cotton" in it's essence (although I'm not really sure what that smells like, so maybe the cotton flowers actually do smell like this?). I think it's fresh on the skin, and it's really comforting when you're settling into bed and you can smell it on yourself - but just aware that if you gag at the smell of bubbles, you're probably going to hate this.

All in all though, this has a lot of good things going for it - the pump bottle is a big bonus because I much prefer that to scooping out handfuls of body lotion and layering it on (also it means that I used less, so it's economically helpful), it's mild and gentle, it's comforting and I genuinely do really like the feel of it - SBC Gels have created a whole range of body lotion gels that just seem to sink in immediately with no tackiness, and I'm all over it. I'm already looking for my next addition to the collection.

Added bonus - a bottle of this stuff (which will last you close to forever when I look at how much I've used in the last month or so) will only knock you back £9.50 per 100ml, and for what you're getting I'd say that was a really solid deal. SBC, you're a new favourite of mine - but I do honestly need someone to let me smell a cotton plant so I can tell whether or not this is accurate.

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

My Summer 2016 Netflix Picks

I love a good Netflix binge - and if you follow me on Twitter then you'll know that there's pretty much nothing at all that I take more seriously than whatever series I'm watching on Netflix at this current moment in time. My favourites fall in and out with the seasons, and what's on at the time, but I'm come up with a few favourites lately and so I thought I'd share them with you. They're not Pretty Little Liars and Kimmy Schmidt, but they're definitely enough to keep you preoccupied if you have no want to leave the house for the whole of Summer.

1: Scream
That's right - Scream's back with a new episode of series 2 available every week. A TV programme resurgence of the popular film; I was surprised by how much I actually liked it. Following in the footsteps of Teen Wolf or Bates Motel, it takes a traditional film storyline and works it into a TV show that will keep you gripped until the very end. Scream was good, although I guessed the murdered it wasn't until the very end - and I felt like it lead you to suspect everyone; which undeniably makes a very strong horror story. It's not excessively scary, but it is jumpy in parts so probably not one to watch in the dark on your own. So worth watching, though.

2: Prison Break
An old favourite, but a favourite none the less. I'm currently rewatching this and if I had a single piece of advice, it would definitely be pick this if you're looking to watch an excessive amount of programmes in one single sitting. Maybe it's Wentworth Miller that so quickly gets people hooked on this one, maybe it's the suspense or the idea that you just don't seem to be able to second guess it - but there's a reason that Prison Break was a cult classic for so long, and you'd be soft to miss it this time around when it's sitting waiting on Netflix, just begging for you to consume it in one sitting (unhealthy, split it into at least two).

3: iZombie
I've saved the best until last here, because my last pick is the one that took over my life and has since taken over all of my friends lives because I haven't spoken to anyone about this programme without excessively insisting that they must also watch it for themselves. Think Dawn Of The Dead meets CSI - this is a bizarre, funny and easy to watch Zombie programme. It also brings forward a surprising amount of recipes with brains as the main ingredient (it's boss, honestly).

So there's my picks - see you in 5 months when you get through them all! If you have any picks, make sure that you leave them in the comments for me.

Sammy xo.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Satiate Food

You all know that I love a good food box and so when Satiate asked if I'd like to review one of their low-carb food boxes, I obviously jumped at the chance and when it arrived I delved right in. Now for this one, I've had to get my dad on board as I don't eat meat - but he was more than happy to be a guinea pig for the meat based products in the box. So, Smeth family Satiate review coming right up.

First thing, and probably my favourite thing from the box, were the Clearspring Tamari Roasted Soya With Tomato and Herb. Now I'm a huge fan of soya beans anyway - but these were amazing; full of flavour and almost like amazingly healthy croutons (seriously, who wants stale bread anyway?) If there was one thing out of the whole box I'd go out and bulk buy - it would definitely be these. A great alternative to peanuts and so on, and I didn't feel like I was eating total junk, which is a bonus.

Next up are my favourite food of all time - Peanuts. In this case, Chika's West African Peanuts. These are hand toasted peanuts that are salted and have the skin left on - and they're actually surprisingly tasty. Normally I'm a little dubious about skin on peanuts because I never know whether it's meant to be there - but the packet assured me that it was this time and it certainly adds to the texture. All in all, a solid packet of nuts.

Now onto the meat products - which I passed over to my father to test out (cheers, dad). First up were the Deli Farm Charcuterie Pork Chips - which are cuts of dried ham dried enough to make them a crisp like texture. I'm told they weren't all that crispy - but the meat was good quality, wasn't chewy and did have a really nice taste. You can put these in soups or salad but I know for a fact that my dad didn't bother, he just ate them out of the bag.

Next up is my idea of a nightmare because I have traumatic childhood memories of hot pepperamis, but nonetheless the Serious Pig Snacking Salami seemed to go down an absolute treat. This was my dad's favourite out of everything that he tasted - it was much like the aforementioned dreaded pepperami, only much better quality meat and the seasoning seemed a lot more pleasant - all in all, Pete was a fan.

Last but by no means least was the Honey and Sesame Seaweed Snack from Selwyn's, and honestly I'd say this was a hidden gem in this box. I'm not normally into seaweed, like at all - but I love sesame seeds and this was the perfect sweet/salty/savoury cross - and it definitely left me wanting more. Overall, this was the underdog of the box - it's the less safe option in the whole box and I think that really works for it - a lot of food boxes aren't willing to take the risk, but in this case it definitely paid off!

Have you tried Satiate? If you have, what was your favourite food item in the box you got?

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Starting Over

After you've been ill for any period of time, you sort of have to start over. With my illness, I was ill for such a long time that it sort of felt like kick starting a life that didn't feel much like mine when I was 22 - and it was a weird feeling. It was trying to work out what I wanted when I'd missed out on so much, it was going out and patching up relationships, reconnecting with friends, but it was more than that - it was trying to find out who I was as a person when I'd seemingly been anything but that person for the last 11 years, half of my life.

It's been the most bizarre feeling - to try and feel out and discover a life that just doesn't feel like yours - and it's been a learning curve; but it's been so worth it. Starting over has included learning to sleep properly, keeping up with my work and my commitments - but more than that, it's involved making new friends, and it's involved going out at 7am to see people before they leave for the day, or going out driving at 12am. It's not easy to plan for a future that you didn't think that you'd get, if you were honest with yourself, and so it's taken a lot of reflection.

It's not the cool sort of starting over, like Serena in Gossip Girl, it's a hard slog. I didn't have a Blair to integrate me back into society and forgive me for all the crappy things I'd done - instead, I just had a year of not talking to anybody under my belt; and no apology in the world could make those relationships fall back into the place that they were before I left. Starting over has meant just that - not falling back into the place that I was before I was ill, but rather finding a new place where my feet have yet to tread. It meant becoming an adult in the space of a few months - but I did it.

It's meant reevaluating all of my life choices - is university still the best option for me? Am I making the best decision for myself? Are these things still what I actually want for myself in the long run? My life is no longer disposable, and forgettable, and unimportant - it's precious, and I want to live it in the best way for me, I want to make it something that I'm truly proud of. I've wasted too much of my life being unhappy, and too much with people who didn't care enough about me, and too much doing things that meant nothing in the long run - and I want this new start to be the best part of my life, I want to look  back on the fact that I had to start from scratch and be thankful because it was the start of something bigger - something much more productive and worthwhile than what came before it.

I know this has been a word dump - but it's a bear with me; I'm trying to work out who I am in a world I'm seeing properly for the first time since I was a kid. Stick with me, I'm going to get there.

Sammy xo.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

May Degustabox

One of my favourite days of the month is the day when my Degustabox arrives. We all know that I'm an absolute sucker for food, and when it's a mystery box of food, you better know that that only adds to the whole experience. This month was one of my favourite Degustabox to date, and that's honestly based solely on one absolute genius product - however, without further ado - let's talk about the amazing food that I got delivered to my door this month.

I had to start with the aforementioned amazing product that so easily swayed my opinion and that was the Pechkek's Misfortune Cookies. Now I'll admit that I absolutely love fortune cookies anyway, but these are something else - jet black cookies with sinister notes inside such as "you have a face only a mother could love" (thanks guys) and you truly won me over. Laughter is the way to a girl's heart and all that - seems that it's pretty true! Seriously though, these made me howl with laughter, and they were pretty tasty too (also they'll only set you back €1.50 and I think they'd make a fabulous present.)

To be honest, most of the information that I've come across for this Garofalo Fusilli Bucati Corti pasta has come from a particularly badly translated page (thanks Google translate) and so I honestly can't tell you much about it from that aspect. What I can tell you, however, is that this is amazing pasta - dense without being massively heavy but just better than standard fusilli that we get over here. It does have a slight undertaste that I can't place, sort of like when you have wheat free pasta, but it's definitely tasty and I'd buy it again if I ever saw it around.

I was actually really excited to see Jack Daniel's Honey Barbecue Glaze when I dug it out of the box, but given that it took so long to actually get a little bit of sun around here - I haven't actually gotten around to using it yet. I have to say I have high hopes though, my favourite things are honey jack daniels and pasta with barbecue sauce, so the two of them mixed together do some sort of unholy thing for me. I'll try and then update when I finally get the sun long enough to put it to it's best use.

Next up is the Get Fruity Juicy Apricot, Orange and Ginger Bar - now I am so not about oranges, and so this wasn't for me; but as it contained only good things, I passed it on to my health obsessed brother and asked him to come back to me with a verdict. The verdict was that it's good, it has an unusual texture but a nice kick (presumably the ginger?) that adds a little something different to it. I can't account for it personally, but it has at least one of my family member's thumbs up.

One that's been begging for a sunny day that just hasn't come round yet is the Cranes Cranberry Cider (one original cranberry, one strawberry and kiwi.) Like I said, these are still chilling in the fridge waiting for the illusive thing that we call Summer - however I have to say that they're intriguing. 1.1 alcohol units per bottle and less than 100 calories - it seems that they could quickly become a favourite Summer tipple - expect to see me downing them on my instagram in the glare of the sun.

I am a huge fan of Kallo and so it was good to see my old favourite Milk Chocolate Corn Cakes in there (seriously, they're like adult cornflake cakes, they rock, go and try them), and I was also excited to see the Yoghurt Topped Rice Cakes because I haven't actually tried them yet. I'm a bit wary about that hardened yoghurt topping that breakfast foods are so keen on - however, I'm a big fan of rice cakes and I trust Kallo so we'll just have to see how that one goes.

Pomegreat is something I wasn't going anywhere near I'm afraid - Pomegranate just really isn't my thing - but I popped this in the fridge and it was promptly finished by my brother and my dad so we can assume it's good on that front. My dad has been mixing it in with sparkling water and, although not enough to tempt me, that does look like it'd make a good outside-in-the-garden-in-the-sun sort of drink if you weren't drinking.

Beloved is a brand that I've had in Degustabox before, and so you might know that there is nothing in the world that I dislike more than dates. However, Date Nectar is actually really helpful for me as I bake a lot, and for a paleo brother that isn't always an easy task, so I'll be chucking this in when I make banana bread later this week and we'll see how that goes (if it's good, I'll post a picture on instagram, if it goes badly let's just make a pact that we'll never talk about it again from here on in.)

Now it's time to fess up - I used to live on a diet of Mrs Crimble's gluten free coconut macaroons - they're probably one of the best foods to grace this world, and so when I saw that Mrs Crimble's had their Classic Madeleines in the box this month it was one of the first thing that I ripped open. These are amazing, soft and yet dense in all the right ways and sweet without being overpowering - and they were easily the product out of the whole box that got snapped up and finished the quickest. They were amazing, and bonus - they're gluten free. I'm gutted they're all gone, to be honest, because writing about them I could totally go in for another one.

Getting close to the end, now! Another product that is long gone is Brioche Pasquier and their Croissants au Beurre. For a few days I feel like I probably only ate these - for breakfast, as a snack and with sandwich fillings on for lunch. They were truly amazing and really versatile - and I did enjoy them - but I have to say that in the long run, I feel like croissants are just croissants. Sorry, is that a faux paus? I'm sure one of you will tell me! Last in this month's box were Wonderful nuts (ooer, Matron) - and I plan to bake with these next week so keep an eye on my instagram and I'm sure you'll see more (I love the branding on these, though.)

So there's May's Degustabox - let me know if you've tried any of these and what you thought. If you're interested in getting a box for yourself use the code BLDEG15 (not sponsored, they don't pay me, you just get a good deal) for a huge £6 off.

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

A Man Called Ove Book Review

I strongly believe that there are books out there that can change your life. They're few and far between, but they undoubtedly exist - the kind of books that have you sobbing your heart out, the kind of books that you want to make sure everyone reads before they die, purely so they can have that moment of feeling like you did when you finally got to the end and wished that you'd read slower so you didn't have to turn that final page. It's been a while since I've had one of those books - but A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman firmly planted itself as one of those books, and similarly planted itself deep into my heart. Unexpected, but I'm less than displeased by this turn of events.

(TW; Suicide mentions) Reminiscent to me of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time (another life changer to teenaged Sam), I knew I was going to like this from the very start. Written in bursts of chapters dodging between the current day events of Ove and the past that made him the man that he is today - it's hard to like Ove from some chapters, and equally hard to dislike him from others. It follows Ove's day to day life as he plans to kill himself after the death of his wife and how, irritatingly enough for the grumpy man, life seems to consistently get in the way of his death.

It's beautifully written and charming whilst still being frustrating and funny - and I don't know what I'd expected from Ove as a character, but it wasn't a grumpy old man I wasn't even sure I liked until the last chapters of the book. This isn't for the faint hearted; it had me tearing up more than once, and it's strangely emotional for a book that has such a dark, dry humour behind it - but it's a book that I want everyone around me to read, purely because I don't want to stop talking about it any time soon.

This sounds dramatic - but there's not many books I want to sit down with and refuse to put down until I've finished, and that's what I felt like here, as though there was no way I could possibly rip my eyes from the pages until I knew exactly what had happened to Ove to make him the hostile person that he is - both past and present. Beyond that, I found myself gripped by the subplots of the families and people in the houses around him in his area - and by the end I felt invested, as though I'd given something to these beautifully written, strong characters.

I don't know what more to say except read the book - no spoilers, no nothing; just an opinion; read the book, it'll make you think twice about the older people in your life, and it will genuinely make you feel as though something had potentially changed within you. Beautifully written, an even more beautiful story - Backman has knocked it out of the park with Ove, and whoever comes next on my To-Read List definitely has some big shoes to fill.

Have you read A Man Called Ove?

Sammy xo.

Friday, 10 June 2016

I've Lost My Blogging Edge - But That's Okay

I know that when I started this blog - I had an edge. That edge, for better or for worse, was one of a girl who wouldn't back down - opinions on everything and a willing openness to talk about even the worst parts of my life. I guess it was those long, bitterly honest posts about my mental health that got me to where I am now - I was unapologetic, blunt and it was no coincidence that these posts were the ones that did better than any others. So when I ended up in recovery, there was a tiny part of me that wondered what I was without my depression and anxiety - in terms of life, but also in terms of blogging. Without this edge, as unpleasant as it was, could I still continue to keep up the reputation that I'd built?

I am thankful for recovery every single day - I wouldn't swap it for any amount of followers, for anything at all. But, I felt lost. I had lived my life like this, documented my blog like this and suddenly everything was different - and it was confusing, and it led me to wonder; where do I go from here? Cue days sitting in front of my laptop wondering what more there was to say, whether it was time to sign off from my mental health posts and leave them behind for good - but after a few weeks though, I realised that it's okay that I've lost my blogging edge.

There is more to life than my blogging edge, and worrying about it was (well...) fickle. I managed to live, to come back from all odds - and so what if I lost my niche in the process; because now I have a whole new one. I am The Girl Who Lived, and I'm not sad and lost anymore, but that doesn't mean that I'm irrelevant - I am a warrior, and I will continue to teach people that they can be too. In the same way that those who could relate and had come through it gave hope to me, I will continue to write about my progress, my life and my achievements in the hope that I will be that glimmer of light for somebody else in the same way that people were for me.

Recovery isn't a straight line - I will delve back into the posts that got me here again, and I will delve into this new idea of a life that I never truly believed that I would have the chance to experience. I will see where life takes me and I will document it along the way - and maybe these posts won't be brutally honest about my mental health, but they'll be brutally honest in a million other different ways. My illness wasn't all there was to me, and it won't be now it's gone. I am good at a million other things, my voice is as strong as it ever was, it's just strong in a different way; that doesn't mean that I'm any less proud of it.

So there it is - I lost my blogging edge, but that's okay - there's more to me than my depression and anxiety, and I will thrive and blossom more than I could ever have imagined now that I'm in recovery.

Sammy xo.