Recovery // Generalised Anxiety FAQ & tips


As with any mental health problems,anxiety can take on many forms and be as complex as the sufferer. I've read so many inspiring stories on blogs recently that I thought I'd put together some information about my condition.Today I've decided to share my experiences with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (also known as GAD) and tips that I've been using to help keep it under control.Of course,I'm not a mental health professional,but I hope that by sharing my thoughts and advice I might help someone who is also struggling.If you are in any way having problems with your mental health,please visit your GP and/or confide in a trusted family member or friend.

What is Generalised Anxiety Disorder?

According to Anxiety UK,Generalised Anxiety Disorder is where the sufferer feels constantly anxious on a daily basis.Often called "chronic worriers",sufferers can be prone to thinking the worst is going to happen.

In my case,my worries are irrational and blown out of proportion.My mind makes up negative situations using "what if's" to keep me in a constant state of unease and worry.For the most part,my anxiety revolves around the thought that people are going to criticise me or shout at me.Also,being late,lack of sleep and large crowds can worsen my already anxious state.My thoughts often escalate out of control and I lose the ability to reason and make sense of the situation.

What are the symptoms of GAD?

This depends on the individual who may only have one or all of the following symptoms which can be physical and/or psychological.According to the NHS site,some of the symptoms include (but are not limited to);

  •  Irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
  • Sweating and shakiness
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling "on edge"
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Problems sleeping
  • Feeling sick
  • Muscle aches
  • Feeling tense
  • Withdrawl from social contact
  • Taking time of work/school due to stress

How do you manage your anxiety?

I've found it quite helpful to write down the dates and times of when I'm feeling anxious so that I can notice any patterns in my moods and try to make positive changes.For example,I know that catching a train is really hard for me,so I try to make the experience easier by standing by the door and always buying a ticket from the cashier not the machine.Also,if my anxiety is really getting out of hand I often repeat statements like "This is only temporary" and "I've done this before and I was OK" to reassure myself and keep myself focused and safe.Of course,seeking professional help and therapy if you're able to is always a healthy route to go down.

Have you received therapy?

Yes,I attended therapy for 5 months last year for anorexia and anxiety which I found very helpful in helping me figure out why I was using behaviours.I was given Dialectic Behaviour Therapy which is often used to help treat people with self harming behavior and/or people who can't control their emotions.I learnt breathing and other coping techniques that I've used during tough times.

What would you say to someone suffering from GAD (or any type of anxiety) ?

You're most definitely not alone! I know that having mental health problems can make you feel very isolated,but sadly disorders such as anxiety and depression are becoming all too common.I would 100% recommend going to speak to your GP who can provide you with the resources,insight and advice you might need.As great as medical professionals are,it's useful to build up a positive and encouraging support network who will understand if you need to take some "me" time.Don't feel guilty if you need to take some time out,your mental health comes first as it affects everything from your relationships,body and mind.

I've found some useful helplines,guides and tips on everything anxiety

No Panic :- helpline that offers support to those suffering with anxiety,OCD,panic and phobias.
Anxiety UK FAQ :- useful information and statistics on what anxiety is and how it affects the body
Moodjuice  :-Anxiety self help guide to help you identify feelings and symptoms
NHS UK :- information and self assessments from the NHS to help sufferers.

I hope this helps someone who might be suffering with their mental health,and I'd be more than happy to listen to any problems you have.Please feel free to email me over at whimsicalmrsw@outlook.com.

What tips do you have to manage anxiety?


Lifestyle // Black Sheep Coffee Review*

There's nothing better than the smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning,it really helps set me up for the day and I wouldn't be without my daily cup.If my finances could stretch I think I would visit Starbucks daily (so ready for gingerbread lattes!) ,but I'll settle for my favourite mug and a splash of milk and sugar.I live in an area that is really big on supporting indie brands,so I was really happy that the lovely people at Black Sheep Coffee sent me some ground coffee to sample.

I really enjoy using posh ground coffee in the cafetiere,it's all very fancy and novel to me as I've only recently discovered these! If only I had one of those milk frothers then I could have the full experience.Of course,no morning cup of coffee would be complete without a few biscuits for dunking.Anyway on to the main event,I thought I'd start writing reviews in a Q&A format so that they're easy to read and so that I don't forget the little details.

Who are Black Sheep Coffee?

Black Sheep Coffee are a London based company who pride themselves on offering high quality coffee at a reasonable price.They encourage people to "leave the heard behind" and enjoy a more flavourful and exciting coffee experience.

What products do they offer?

They sell ground and whole bean coffee priced at between £5.40-£6.40 per 227g.You can even buy 1kg of their coffee beans if you're serious about your caffeine habits.I think they're pretty good value as you could easily spend more than this on a couple of drinks at a coffee house. They even sell Black Sheep coffee t shirts so you can wear your love for all things java too!

What did you think of the coffee you tried?

I sampled the Robusta Revival ground beans (which you can buy here) and I was very impressed with how rich and deep the flavours were.I'm usually more of a instant coffee drinker, but I really enjoyed taking the time to make a more luxurious cup of coffee.It has a wonderfully smooth finish and it's very drinkable,I  love that the kitchen smells absolutely gorgeous now.These particular beans contain around twice as much caffeine as normal Arabica beans so if I wasn't awake earlier on,I am now! I'd say this would be the coffee to buy if you're a regular coffee drinker who is looking to get more out of their morning drink.

What else would you like to see from Black Sheep Coffee?

One thing I'm very impressed with is their social media interaction,sites like Twitter and Instagram are great ways to communicate with coffee lovers,and I think that will only stand them in good stead.I would love to see them release even more products,perhaps a caffiene free coffee for the evenings, or for those who aren't able to drink it.

I'm really glad I discovered this brand on Twitter.What's your go-to coffee order? I'm a latte girl myself.


Poundland bargains // Argan oil hair mask review

Being a teenager in the early 00's was awesome as I'm sure anyone around my age would agree.Busted were releasing some amazing jams,Mizz had all the style,beauty and boy information you could want,and GHD's were a staple in many girls beauty arsenal (I was always jealous of people who got the "limited edition" pink ones).I must have spent hours meticulously straightening my wavy hair into oblivion.As much as I loved the look then,years of frying my hair with no heat protection has left it looking a little worse for wear.It's much healthier now that I keep blow drying to a minimum though ,and I've been using this brilliant mask which has made a massive difference to the texture and look of my hair.

 Argan oil seems to be a bit of a beauty buzzword these days thanks to it's natural moisturising properties and antioxidants,you can see why it's often called "liquid gold".I'm happy that I can get involved too as Poundland currently offer a few different argan oil products for those of us on a budget.This pot contains 220ml of product in a sturdy plastic tub so not only is it butter fingers friendly,it's also a pretty cost effective way to perk up your hair.

I absolutely love the thick creme texture that glides onto my hair and really coats the problem areas,it feels like a very luxurious deep conditioning treatment.You don't need much either,I have quite long hair and I use about a 20p sized blob.I like to make it work a little harder by popping a shower cap on and letting it warm up.The scent is hard to describe but I'd say it smells very "professional salon quality" if you know what I mean,like those fancy products that hairdressers use.The directions suggest leaving it on for 7-10 minutes to let it soak in,but that's actually easy to do as it doesn't drip everywhere or irritate my skin.

After washing my hair thoroughly and blow drying,it feels so much healthier and in better condition.The ends are much less brittle and it has that after salon bounce to it! It hasn't weighed my hair down or left it feeling greasy,which was a concern for me with it being an oil based product.I think this mask could really give high end hair treatments a run for their money! I'm amazed that a budget product can offer these results.I'm definitely going to be repurchasing this.

Have you tried Argan oil products? What hair masks do you enjoy using?


Lifestyle // Charity shop & car boot haul

This week has been a crazy whirlwind of work,housework, and the kind of period that that only Cadbury's can fix (not that I'm complaining,yay recovery!) Thankfully things have calmed down a bit now, and I got out for a few hours to browse my local charity shops and car boot sale.Don't you just love it when you find exactly what you want for a fraction of the price? I've been unsuccessful with my shopping trips recently,but I've managed to pick up a few gems that I'd love to share with you.

I've seen this gorgeous looking cookbook from The Hummingbird Bakery retailing at Waterstones for £13, so I'm so happy I managed to pick this up in a charity shop for only £2.I have a massive sweet tooth and I'm always looking for new treats to bake and discover,even if they don't quite look like the beautiful cakes in the book.The photography and styling is so pretty,there's some definite photo inspiration here.I'm trying to build up a little cookbook collection and I think this book is a great one to add to my repertoire,I especially want to try the Green Tea cupcakes!

Car boot sales are an untapped resource for hidden treasures on a budget,so they're a great place to go if you love a bit of haggling or you're after a bargain.This Werthers toffee tin really caught my eye,I love the bright picture postcard design that instantly takes me back to my childhood.I think everyone's grandparents or elderly relatives have had these sweets on them at some point! I'm always looking for boxes and cases to store my bits and bobs in, and this was only 50p so I snapped it up.I was thinking I could use it to store my many USB cables,trying to find those is like looking for a needle in a haystack sometimes.

These gorgeous shoes are definitely the icing on my shopping cake! I'd been looking for some mid height
black heels that I could pair with anything,and still be able to walk in them at the end of the night.I've never owned a pair of "high end" brand shoes before and these are Kurt Geiger and they were in my size! I think the shoe gods were looking down on me.They are so comfortable and they don't really look like they've been worn very much,a quick scrub and they should be good as new! I'm so glad I carried on looking as I'd almost lost hope amongst the pairs of '80s trainers and mismatched boots.The bonus is they were only £1! A quid! 

Now that Car Boot sale season is in full swing,I'm definitely going to make sure I go to a few.I'd suggest getting there quite early though,because some people were already packing away by 11am.I'm hoping to build more of an autumn/winter wardrobe without breaking the bank too much! Luckily,there seems to be quite a few car boot sales down here,so I'll keep my eye open.

Do you ever go charity shopping or to car boot sales? What has been your most loved bargain?


Lifestyle // Tuesday Treasures #2

Here's the second edition in my Tuesday Treasures series and I'm sharing my latest Internet favorites with you all! I'm always super excited to make new discoveries,so here are the newest bits and bobs that I've been watching,reading,wanting and laughing at.

After binge watching season 2 of Orange Is The New Black, I'd been looking for a gritty comedy-drama to watch to fill the Netflix void.Like most things I've enjoyed watching,I have heard so many great things about this show,and I haven't been dissapointed so far! It's really well written and the actors are so believable.Bryan Cranston plays a troubled middle aged man who gets into a bit of a pickle (I won't spoil it for you!) very well,I've only ever seen him in Malcolm in the Middle,but he is a very versatile actor.I'm a bit slow on the uptake as there are five seasons,but if you're into crime dramas full of suspense and dark comedy then I'd check it out!

I've just discovered some beautiful illustrations by a Mexican artist called Ilse Valfre and I'm really glad I came across her work! I love quirky illustrations,and these adorable and wonderfully drawn characters are really striking.I'm looking to buy some art so it's great that she has an online store where you can buy clothes,accessories and prints all covered in her offbeat style.

When I scroll through Instagram,I definitely notice a bit of a pattern going on! I've seen a Starbucks cup have tons of like before,throw in a cute cat and artsy food shots,and you're a fully fledged IG addict! Satiregram is an account full of witty sentences about our favourite and most cliched Instagram snaps.

This beautiful bunting necklace is just too adorable for words! I love subtle jewellery that you can wear with everything,and this is a great budget piece at only £12.You can buy it from Ji Ji Kiki which is an awesome independent online store selling wonderful vintage bits and bobs.I had the pleasure of hearing Emma,the lovely owner of this shop give a talk at the South West Blog Social,she's so genuine and hard working!

I don't really know how I'd describe my interior design style,but I love anything cute,vintage and completely unnecessary! I've seen little deer figurines all over the internet and on blogs recently,and I think they would add a lovely touch of kitsch to any home.I reckon I'd be able to find some in a charity shop,that's going to be my next mission.

There's more!

If you need any proof that elephants are awesome,here are 22 photos of them making the world a better place.
I keep wanting to play the indie horror game Slender, but I keep chickening out! Has anyone had a go? I'm a big fan of first person survival games.
This hilarious video by Brett Domino will show you how to make a pop hit song
SimplyNoise is a great site that plays white,pink or brown noise which is great to relax your mind or help you concentrate.
Taking myself back to my tween and teen years with 31 things that always got '00s girls in trouble.I think I was surgically attached to my GHD's.

What are you loving this week? I'd love some more things to check out!


Food // 2 ingredient Virgin Pina Colada Lollies

If you like Pina Coladas,and getting caught in the rain then today is probably quite a good day for you as we seem to have had all four seasons the past couple of days! I was after something to relieve my wisdom tooth pain (why do we even have these?) that still tastes good.I mean clove oil is working well, but it's no dessert.I decided to go with a simple lolly recipe made with pineapple which is good for reducing inflammation,and coconut milk which contains an antiviral and antibacterial compound called monolaurin.

I can't get over how adorable this lolly molds from Poundland are,when I was a child I remember those ones with the little straw so you could sip the juice,ahh the 90's.These are really simple to make,and as I bought the cheapest ingredients they only work out at around 49p per lolly,which is much cheaper than a Magnum.I know they don't look the most appetising right now,but neither do kebabs and they're fricking gorgeous.Trust me,they're going to taste awesome.I love everything tropical,so I'm going to pretend I'm in the Caribbean and not overcast Devon.Here's a quick how-to on how I made them.

For 6 lollies you'll need

carton Pineapple juice
pouch of coconut milk

I filled each mold with a mixture of half pineapple juice and half of the coconut milk,making sure to leave a little gap at the top so that it doesn't overflow when it freezes.Coconut milk can have lumps of coconut cream in it,but you can just stir this in or leave it for some texture.texture. I've found these take around 6 hours to fully freeze and then you're good to go.I'm sure it would taste really good with some pineapple or other fruit chunks in there too.

Here's the finished result! I'm really happy with how they turned out,although I'm still partial to a Zap lolly now and again.

What ice lollies are you enjoying this Summer?


Beauty // Timeless Truth Face Masks review *

There's nothing nicer than the feel of a face mask doing it's magic and wiping away the days make up and stress.That's why I'm very happy to share with you these Timeless Truth masks that I was sent to review.I've been trying to include more masks in my beauty routine because I'm lazy,and I love anything that I don't have to fuss over and it means I can watch Netflix at the same time!

I love that they come with a little booklet which details all the information about the masks they offer,they've definitely thought this through! These sheet masks come in individual pouches and retail on thebeautymask anywhere from £4.95 to £7.65 each.This seems a little pricey,but they do focus on using high quality ingredients to create the "ultimate mask experience"

Miracle Rejuvenation Mask  £6.45 *

I thought I'd start with the mask that I enjoyed the most,which is targeted towards dry,ageing or  pigmented skin.This is the first mask I've used that has really clever ear hooks to allow the mask to stay in place-genius! As with all the masks,it's heavily saturated with serum that sinks into the sink easily and feels very nourishing.It contains a wide range of useful ingredients including m-Tranexamic acid to help fight inflammation,Argireline to reduce lines and Salicylic Acid,which I love as it's a really effective spot fighter and manages to reduce my pores.I kept this on for 15 minutes before removing it and my skin felt wonderful afterwards and very "glowy".I think this would be a great mask to prep your skin for Summer.

Herbal Rejuvenation Imortelle Mask £4.95 *

I love anything that uses Vitamin E as it works wonders on healing skin and keeping it in good condition.This not only contains Vitamin E, but also incorporates herbal essences and Immortelle Extract to deliver a big moisture hit to ageing and/or dry skin. Apparently, the Immortelle flower is a very versatile plant whose extract can help calm and revive tired skin,although you won't find any in your garden as they're a Mediterranean flower,it's great to have the wonderful benefits of this flower in a handy and easy to use mask.The formula feels very hydrating and leaves my skin feeling really plump and even,so much so that I didn't even wear make up afterwards.I would definitely recommend this mask if you need to give your skin a pick me up,or your suffer from dry,irritated skin.

Bio Cellulose EGF Mask £7.65 *

Honestly,I don't think I'd ever get botox in the future,as tempting as it may be I'd be worried something would go wrong.Saying that, I'm always looking for lotions and potions to help my skin stay looking fresh and renewed,that's why I really enjoyed using this EGF Bio Cellulose Mask which is full of ingredients to aid in collagen production and reduce lines.Hylauronic acid helps the skin hold onto water which means a more youthful and firm complexion, and ECF or "Epidermal Growth Factor" repairs cells and supports their growth.It all sounds very sciency but it really does work to even and soften all of my problem areas.I also noticed that my t-zone wasn't as shiny and my foundation glided on more smoothly than before.

Tip: After removing the mask,I rubbed the sheet over my skin so that any excess serum soaked into my skin and it doubled up as a massage too-bonus!

I've really enjoyed using these masks,I think they'd be great before an event,or just to have a relaxing night in.They're really easy to use and they definitely feel like they have done my skin the world of good.I thought i'd document some of my "ultimate mask experience" with selfies (of course)

I'm really happy with the results,I'm make up free in the last photo,and my skin hasn't felt this good in ages.I suffer with temperamental combination skin that can get irritated quickly,but you wouldn't know! I'm going to try and keep my skin in this condition by drinking lots of water and not relying on make up wipes at the end of the day (bad blogger).Watch this space!

Are face masks a regular part of your beauty routine?