Find your voice

Why are women so afraid to speak out? I’m not referring to harrassment and assault when I ask this, I mean in everyday life. Over the past while i’ve became captivated by powerful females, outspoken women, a ‘girl boss’ determined to own herself and do what she wants, when she wants. I still feel this is a niche within our society and it has led me to question, why?

Females are unbelievable, but for some reason we let our voice be drowned out. As a nurse I work within a female dominated environment and I see on a daily basis the strength of my colleagues who persevere in the face of adversity. Nothing gets in their way of what they have to achieve, but as soon as we leave the ward safety net that changes. I for one am a testiment of this and I see it in so many others daily. When I say we let our voice be drowned out I don’t mean in relation to what you are having for dinner or watching on television but more women’s views on equality, the environment, politics to name a few topics in an endless list.

Before anyone pipes up, I am aware of all the movements over the past few years such as me too, free the nipple and so forth but where are they now? They get a year in the spotlight and then it’s as though we are back to square one. What can we do that will actually make a permanent change in todays’ society? Women have been ‘fighting’ for their own right since 1848 and here we are in 2021 still doing the same.

I am a very outspoken and opinated person in everyday life with people I am familiar and comfortable with, but when it comes to speaking out about things I’m passionate about I shy away and become an introvert. Why? This is what I am questioning. I’m a manager and I’m great at my job but take me out of that comfort I let fear creep in and other peoples criticisms. Don’t let me tarnish everyone with the same brush because there are so many incredible woman out there who have this ability and I admire them so much.

My journey of self discovery has been boosted recently from watching so many female empowering roles, particularly ‘The Bold Type’ on netflix. Three 20 somethings working within a magazine in 3 different areas, owning it and achieving their dreams. They are all outspoken, ask the difficult questions and go for broke. It had made me reflect upon my 20’s, particularly as I’m in my last few months of them, and wonder what my purpose was? Yes I have had a great career and educational opportunities but I never wanted to be the person who got up went to work and came home and did that on repeat. So I feel writing this is allowing me to own my voice and make that change. I started out my 20s with a 5 year plan of where I wanted to be, did that come to fruition? Hell No! It imploded at the first hurdle and I had to adapt, which was a journey within itself.

As a women I feel it’s important we support each other and although at times we are great at doing this we are also quick to tear each other down, which lets others win and shows why we are still fighting for womens rights in 2021. Men don’t do this to the same extent. Even if men have had a disagreement they move past it and don’t dwell on it, women however will have examined every aspect of the disagreement and hold the grudge. We are such different entities, with different emotions, views and reactions which make the world run, making me question is this why we are still trying to find our voice? Is this the way it is suppose to be? I for one do not want to be defined by this and feel I have as much right to speak out as ‘Emma Watson’ or ‘Greta Thunberg’. Is it going to be on a worldwide scale, probably not but at least I have my voice and I refuse to let it be drowned out anymore.

So how do I make a change? Firstly I need to hear my own voice. Many of us don’t even listen to ourselves to understand our own point of view and what we believe it. We all have a platform these days through social media and I have often been one to try and not rock the boat. Why? I never wanted confrontation or any angst from people, well how I percieved it. Is it really confrontation or just different opinions and a constructive debate? This is where we tend to shy away because you often get so many ‘keyboard warriors’ who hide behind the safety of the keyboard and computer screen but when in the real world don’t speak their mind. If you aren’t willing to say it publicly, you shouldn’t type it, simple. A philosophy I will choose to live by.

My blog is my platform, although I may not have thousands of followers it has allowed me to find part of my voice and I’m going to keep using it for this purpose. Things I write won’t be to everyones’ taste but thats the point of being outspoken and having an opinion. As a woman who has choose to surpress her own voice due to fear, I hope me choosing to own my voice will encourage others to own theirs or will I still be saying in 2041 that women are still ‘fighting’ for their rights?

Now is the time to hear yourself, be heard and have purpose. People don’t want perfection they want honesty.

Stephanie xo


Black Friday Discounts

Right here we go…I should definitely be writing an assignment right now but I’m too intrigued by the amount of discounts on the go. I know some people say ‘ it’s no cheaper now’, ‘it’s a con’….(I could go on but I won’t), but that doesn’t stop me having a nosey especially in the run up to Christmas. With our current lockdown situation looming I’m all for shopping local and supporting small business, ( Click here to read my Christmas gift guide), but I am going to share my favourite places to shop and what discounts they have available at the moment. If you manage to pick up a bargain let me know!

  • ASOS – Up to 70% off – Prices are already marked down. Remember you can find & other stories, Adidas, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger….the list is endless.
  • Anthropologie – 25% off with code: OURTREAT *excludes furniture
  • Oliver Bonas – If you have an account you can shop up to 40% off NOW, otherwise you have to wait until midnight. When you sign in the discount is automatically applied.
  • H&M – Members are getting 20% off everything until midnight tonight.
  • & Other Stories – 20% Off with code: Friday20 or try NOIR20
  • Topshop – Up to 50% off, discount already applied, free delivery on ALL orders.
  • River Island – 20% off when you spend £75 using code: WONDER and free delivery
  • Zara – Up to 40% off – Begins at 2pm on the APP and 3pm on the website
  • Stradivarius – Discount starts at 1pm on the APP and 2pm on the website. No mention of how much discount there will be.
  • Mango – Up to 50% off, items already marked down. End 29/11/2020.
  • Boden – It appears to be only womenswear discounted. 30% off with code: C4L3 *exclusions apply
  • The White Company – 20% off everything using code: MAGICAL20 *Ends 30/11/2020.
  • Charlotte Tilbury – Up to 40% off on certain products. Eye Shadow palettes are also ‘Buy one, Gift one’. Ends 30/11/2020.
  • MAC – 20% when you spend £65 plus you receive a gift. Ends 30/11/2020. I would say look about for MAC on ASOS, look fantastic etc., I think you will be able to find it cheaper.
  • Glossier – 20% off certain products.
  • Astrid and Miyu – 25% off, discount applied at checkout. Ends 02/12/2020.
  • Spectrum – There are so many offers, Pink Wednesday and Green Thursday (today) which have up to 50% off. 4 for 3 on single brushes. Black Friday bundles with near 50% off.
  • All Saints – 30% Off everything, items already marked down.
  • Anine Bing – Up to 70% off, Items already marked down.
  • Missoma – 25% off everything, prices already marked down.
  • Monica Vinader – 25% Off everything, prices already marked down.
  • Net-a-porter – Up to 50% off on certain items, discounts applied at checkout.
  • The Outnet – Up to 70% plus an additional 25% off using code: BLACKFRIDAY
  • Selfridges – 20% off using code: SELFCCE
  • Moda Operandi – Up to 50% off, items already marked down.
  • Farfetch – An extra 20% off sale items.
  • Liberty London – Up to 30% off the majority of items and 15% off beauty.

**Not affiliated with any brand or store. I just like to shop.

If you come across any more discounts or deals to make people aware of let me know and I will keep updating this list.

Happy Shopping!

Stephanie xo


Christmas Gift Guide

How could I not jump on the band wagon and share some gift ideas? I wonder if my husband will read this…maybe I should add a specific section for him.

Compresso – Water bottles and coffee cups…something that everyone uses. These bottles and cups are reusable, compact, and collapsible, ideal for everyone in this fast paced world. We all need to do our bit to help protect the world we live in, this can be your contribution. I love my coffee cup and use it on a daily basis. It’s great to throw into your bag and take on the go. Plus the idea arose from a young enterprise group and has grown with the help of Cathy Martin, homegrown and developing.

Treasure Gifts X That Belfast Girl – A local brand which has developed over the past year for kids and adults. Jumpers and t-shirts celebrate being from Belfast and not being afraid to show it. I purchased the ‘Honey I’m a Belfast girl t-shirt‘ and I love it. It’s easy to dress up or keep it causal. As a blow in to Belfast, (Antrim girl right here), it still allows me to feel part of the community and it is by no means limited.

Being a Belfast girl isn’t about about your location – it’s about your attitude. A Belfast Girl is whoever she wants to be.

That Belfast Girl

Le Contour is a local business which has been created during this madness of lockdown. I love to see were people find their inspiration and what can be born out of such uncertain times. ‘The Sistory Collection’ is the first from Le Contour which celebrates the female form, something both men and women can appreciate. I ordered the petit sister and the booty which are fabulous. Although they are candles, I don’t know if mine will ever be lit but they have took up firm residence in my home.

Repose Living aim to make exercise accessible to everyone. Another local business created out of the angst of lockdown and just launched it’s first products, perfect to keep everyone moving.

Pact Coffee – Is your other half a coffee lover? Why not get them a subscription? Jonny and I started this back in April after we invested in a coffee machine and it has been the best thing ever. As we both love our coffee, it is something we don’t like to run out off. We get a bag every 2 weeks but we can amend it if we have some and don’t need it. Plus at only £6.95 it is a bargain.

Why not get a Compresso cup to put it in?

Little Penny Thoughts is a family run business, two sisters with a passion for positivity and wellbeing, their website says so. This time of year everyone starts to become more reflective and organised, trying to plan the year ahead. Using the calendar and diary from Little Penny Thoughts can help!

Danni Simpson Art has lots of prints, cards, calendars and tote bags, you are bound to find something for everyone. I have the Belfast print on my wall and I love it. Plus you will see several murals over Belfast which Danni has done. You can keep up to date with her current projects via her Instagram, she recently done a commissioned mural for Charlotte Crosby.

Wee Belfast‘ is a unique approach to photography and prints within Northern Ireland. I love the concept and seeing what Claire, (the photographer) comes up with. These are definitely prints you must have, guaranteed to make stop and stare and a definite conversation starter.

Cowfield Design – If you are like me you will have seen products from cowfield design but you wouldn’t have known it. I have several of their items on my wish list, (hint hint husband).

Lines and Current is a minimal jewellery brand created in Belfast. It is very clean and simple jewellery which is affordable for all. They have rings, necklaces , ear rings….the lot! You will definitely find something for that lucky person in your life.

The theme of my jewellery collection dances between these two poles: clean lines and unpredictable flow, the dainty and the robust; the minimal and the earthy; the stillness and the wilds. Maybe there’s freedom in not having to be ‘one or the other’ in a world that sometimes seems polarised?

Rebekah, Lines and current

Other Ideas:

  • Gift Cards – Although they can seem impersonal at times, this year a gift card for somewhere local, whether it is a shop or a restaurant may be the perfect gift. It allows people to look forward to getting out and enjoying others company.
  • Magazine subscription
  • Personal Training Sessions’ – I did this last year for Jonny and we both are still doing it, great for the mind let alone the body.
  • Ticket’s for a show/sporting event – well when we are able to attend again.
  • Books – I love to get a good book. I know not everyone will agree but a book means so much and you can make it really personal to the individual.
  • Staycation – Normally a trip would be my first suggestion however as things remain so uncertain at the moment I wouldn’t be encouraging this purchase….yet!

Face Masks

As if I would forget to mention these….a new accessory for the ages. A great stocking filler or small gift for everyone.

Below are some local sellers to check out:

If you know of more share them with me and I’ll share the details!

What I have shown is by no means an exhaustive list….these are local brands and companies that I know of, but I know there are hundreds out there who need our support.

Shopping local is something I have never really done, I love a brand, a designer one at that however my bank balance tends to disagree. In saying this my thought process has changed somewhat over the past year. To see so many businesses suffering due to the pandemic and unforeseen lockdown periods is just heart-breaking. Although the hospital hasn’t been the easier time over the past year at least I can say I have a job and an income which many are struggling to right now. If I can urge you to do one thing this year…..SHOP LOCAL. Support those small businesses which are struggling at the moment due to uncertainty. As a regularly online shopper who frequently visits the larger convenient stores, I’ve now started searching for more local shops, (Esty has been great).

Also, Christmas can be a difficult time for a lot of people normally, let alone this year. If you want to help support others this year I would recommend visiting The Trussell Trust for more information on how to help people this year.

If anyone has any local stores/brands that people might want to hear about pass me their details and I’ll share on my page.

Stephanie xo


Jog On…

A book review…you read that right, a review of a book.

I’ve sat with a title and one line for days/weeks now.

Not knowing where to start.

Not knowing what you would want to hear.

Questioning why you would want to hear my opinion about a book?

We’ll I’m still going to give it…aren’t you lucky. Reviewing books aren’t really my first port of call but I couldn’t help myself. This book has resonated with me more than most, probably due to my history with anxiety and depression. It was actually my brother who recommended it. Many of you know I was off for a period of time back in May time and unfortunately I was struggling with my emotions, thoughts, processing…I could go on. Lets just say things were fuzzy at best. During this extremely difficult time I got help, as you do, tablets increased again, spoke to people again, I did every task possible during a lockdown. Yoga, baking, sewing….thought I was going to be the next big thing. Well I made banana bread, a dishcloth and I can do downward dog, however nothing was really helping. Reflecting on those few months I just feel like I masked a lot of my feelings and thoughts through activities’.

After reading an article about Jog on by Bella Mackie, (Click Here to read), which my brother had sent me, I knew I needed the book. The article made so much sense to me, it was honest, realistic and didn’t make me feel crazy for having mental health problems. A few clicks later and I had the booked purchased, ( Click here to do the same).

The book arrived and I was almost apprehensive to start it. I kept thinking was this the answer to all my problems? Was I going to become the next Paula Radcliffe, (minus the peeing incident)? My irrational thoughts put me off starting the book and so it sat for a few weeks collecting dust. I can’t quite pin point what made me start reading the book but I did and I’m so pleased I did. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t read it cover to cover in the first sitting but you’ll find out why if you keep reading…

I’ve recognised a good review shares the ‘blurb’ to entice you in, grip you to read on…so here goes.

Divorced and struggling with deep-rooted mental health problems, Bella Mackie ended her twenties in tears. She could barely find the strength to get off the sofa, let alone piece her life back together. Until one day she did something she had never done of her own free will – she pulled on a pair of trainers and went for a run.

That first attempt didn’t last very long. But to her surprise, she was back out there the next day. And the day after that. She began to set herself achievable goals – to run 5k in under 30 minutes, to walk to work every day for a week, to attempt 10 push-ups in a row. Before she knew it, her mood was lifting for the first time in years.

In Jog On, Bella explains with hilarious and unfiltered honesty how she used running to battle crippling anxiety and depression, without having to sacrifice her main loves: booze, cigarettes and ice cream. With the help of a supporting cast of doctors, psychologists, sportspeople and friends, she shares a wealth of inspirational stories, research and tips that show how exercise often can be the best medicine. This funny, moving and motivational book will encourage you to say ‘jog on’ to your problems and get your life back on track – no matter how small those first steps may be.

Growing up I routinely did exercise, whether it was playing hockey, going to an exercise class or attempting to run, but I was by no means an avid athlete. Over the past lot of years I had found that being outside or going for a walk helped clear my head, so did wine but that’s a different story. I opted for the book initially…okay maybe with wine on the side. I thought it would encourage me to get back outside even just for a walk.

I began reading and was gripped for the first few chapters however I found reading about someone’s problems with anxiety and depression which I could relate too very difficult to begin with. I put the book down when this happened. It took me a few weeks to process it all and want to read again. Once I had processed it all I realised I needed that reality check as such, something to make me reflect on how I was feeling and what was causing it.

As a person I am by no means quiet, (**everyone who knows me begins to nod their heads and laugh**), however I don’t tend to share my personal thoughts and feelings on a deep level, everyone gets a superficial explanation or ‘I’m fine’ as a response. I need to process it myself or speak to a complete stranger as I worry telling people who I care about will cause them more issues or concerns. I was trying to find another way to help process my angst, while wine is fabulous, it wasn’t a conducive approach, ( I probably should tell myself this more). The other difficulty was ‘lockdown’! Nowhere was open! I had started to go to the gym albeit for a short period of time and I really found this to help but it had only been a couple of weeks and I hadn’t fully committed to the idea that I would be a regular.

You can guess what’s coming…the gym closed! I felt like I was back to square one and ultimately my mood, head and thoughts all suffered as a result. I tried to introduce different ways to help as I mentioned above but nothing really stuck. I found lockdown really difficult, not seeing anyone, going anywhere…it just played havoc with my head. For some reason when I was feeling this way I decided to start reading again. To tune out from the everyday annoyance of covid, focus on someone else’s life or story, so I picked the book back up. This time I was hooked. I couldn’t put it down until I had finished it. I needed to know what was coming next? Could anything else help me? Was I going to be the next Usain Bolt or just some crazy person, ( I say this about myself a lot)?

By the time I finished the book I had already started processing things in a rational manner, gyms were opened, lockdown was over and seeing people was the norm….well seeing half their face from a 2metre distance but potato, po’tat’o.

I was back at the gym once a week, which was enough with my schedule at the time. Now I find I’m making more time in my schedule for the gym ensuring I go twice a week at least. When I’m there I completely switch off. I leave my phone in the locker and put all my focus and energy into the PT session. I’m assuming this is my equivalent of running at the minute anyway.

I did laugh when we were on our mini break for our Anniversary we went to the gym…yes I know, who even am I? While I was there I decided to get on the treadmill and although I could do other exercises, running is always my biggest fear and great love. When I was younger I use to run the occasional 2/3miles….it had been a long time since I had done this. Plus lockdown had meant more food, more wine, reduced movement…you get the drift. So I go on the treadmill and I managed to run for a full 5 minutes, I was buzzing. This was huge for me. This reminded me on Bella Mackie going for her first run down an alley way listening to Puddle of Mudd and I felt a real sense of achievement and I knew I wasn’t alone. Yes I may not know Bella Mackie personally but I felt a connection to her story and her process. I had a feeling of belonging again, maybe not a consistent feeling but to know it was possible was everything.

Going to the gym does make me laugh though, I’m there drenched in sweat looking like I’ve just stepped out of a shower and then there are others in the tiniest clothes with a full face of makeup on! I just don’t get it! Make-up is expensive enough without wasting it on the gym just to sweat it off.

If it hadn’t been for reading Jog On: How running saved my life by Bella Mackie, I wouldn’t have progressed as much as I have. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who suffers with any form of anxiety or depression, it provides a realistic approach to life and isn’t generic, which I have found to be a common theme in books and counselling.

My Top 10 points to note about Jog On:

  1. The book is very down to earth, realistic and honest with simple language so you understand what is being said.
  2. Bella Mackie backs up information using statistics and facts however they are simple to understand and you aren’t bombarded.
  3. Although the book clearly is about running, (If you haven’t got that by the title or front cover you might have other problems), the focus on mental health is so refreshing particularly in todays society.
  4. The book incorporates other peoples journeys and stories as well, identifying something for everyone.
  5. It highlights that mental health isn’t ageist…it can happen to anyone young or old.
  6. The book is for everyone not just those who have mental health problems. I actually think my friends and family could learn a lot about mental health from it and how I am affected so I don’t just feel like the ‘crazy one’ all the time simply because others don’t understand.
  7. You aren’t told to give things up or that you are at fault. You can still have wine and a cry and feel everything is rubbish. That’s life.
  8. The book keeps its theme with chapter names which I thought was very clever. It’s the little details which makes all the difference particularly to those who are anxious at times as they focus on all aspects.
  9. You aren’t expected to be a marathon runner or even a runner for that matter, it’s just one persons perspective.
  10. It provides tips for getting started which are simple and effective.

Happy Reading

Stephanie xo


Top 10 things lock down has taught me

Lock down, what has it meant to you? Between baking banana bread, dalgona coffee and tik tok everything changed during lock down. Houses have been redecorated, gardens planted and coffee machines purchased, but what did you get up to over the past 16 weeks? The past few months have been very unusual for me and Jonny. Initially I was working, leaving Jonny at home everyday which was a new experience for us both. I think he found the change okay to begin with but like everyone else starring at four walls has got to everyone. I then had to take time off as you’ve already read, (if you haven’t, click here), which meant things were going to change for us again. It was time to adapt again, not just with lock down unfortunately which led to its own challenges.

Now that I seem to be through the worst, ( I think…or well hope for everyone’s sake, even my own) I’ve been able to reflect over the past few months and look at what lock down has taught me. So I’ve complied my top 10 highlights, so to speak, just to give you a giggle and clear the head…enjoy!

  1. I love my own company – Is this really a bad thing? No one to annoy you or frustrate you. You can pick a TV program instantly without spending an hour trying to please each other. You want a coffee, you make a coffee, you don’t have to offer anyone else. Choosing what to eat is simple! Wine time can be any time, no one to judge you….maybe this is just me! ha I can do blog things without people being nosey or questioning everything. It’s amazing what you can achieve on your own.

2. I hate my own company – Being alone is the worst, no one to talk too, ask questions, vent too. This was difficult. I had to get use to Jonny working at home which meant I had to leave him alone – I’m not good at that (I’m needy, some might say clingy – I don’t know who though). I had to sit in a different room and occupy myself, that initially meant online shopping, (amazon got hit big time – your welcome Jeff Bezo), then learning new skills, overthinking, breakdowns – you name it, I did it alone. Needless to say Jonny has been pestered a lot in the last couple of weeks, ( Sorry Stephen), but I really needed him, so now we are trying to get back into routine – hahaha, there are no words, Jonny doesn’t get a minute and I’m never alone!

3. Keep Busy – Staring at the telly was fun while it lasted. I lost the novelty after a couple of days but with everything going on I had zero concentration and focus. It took me a few weeks to realise that keeping busy would help my mind, this led to a lot of baking…..a lot. I have found routine really difficult as my sleep really suffered with the increase in the happy pills. I could be awake all night and sleep the entire day, it was night-shift all over again. I was either wide awake or dead to the world, (so to speak), you can only imagine how I was feeling. I learnt trying to fill my day helped and didn’t make me feel as lost. The past few months have been a free-flowing schedule with trying to keep to certain tasks during the day such as cooking dinner or cleaning, don’t worry I wasn’t drinking the dettol.

4. Stockpile flour and yeast if you ever want to bake – This is still the being of my life. I can’t get yeast anywhere, (except from Nicole Bell). I have always loved to bake and found during difficult mental stressors that it really helped. Unfortunately for me so did everyone else. Everyone began baking bread, banana bread, pizza….you name it, it was on Instagram. Much to my disappointment, it became impossible to get baking ingredients. I eventually got flour in a local corner shop and once supermarkets restricted items to 3 per person it became somewhat easier. I still can’t get baking powder or yeast mind you. And I don’t want to pay an absolute fortune either. If you do decide to bake make sure and find an exercise class or go for a walk. I usually shared all the goods but I couldn’t, so that led to me and Jonny eating everything…cue the biggest loser, ( Sorry inside joke…but you get the drift).

5. Go Outside – I need to do this more – I’m not going to say I did this because it was extremely limited. I really should of done this more considering it really helped me the last time I had issues with my mental health. In saying this, this is what limited me in going outside, I was scared, really scared. My anxiety was through the roof anytime Jonny mentioned going a walk or to the shop. Any shopping trip we had took a lot of coxing as I had multiple incidents on my own.

6. I’m more easy going that I thought – well at times – we now own a ps4 and a steering wheel, take from that what you will. This was a good thing and a bad thing for me personally. I was no longer highly strung but it meant I lost the need to want to do simple tasks, everything was put of for a while, or I used the line, ‘sure it can wait’. The importance of things were different and all seemed to have a different meaning. Now that certain things have became routine and I’m back to work I have definitely became a worrier again, in a good way, I think. Tasks are more focused, time is better utilised and well I’m maybe not as easy going as I thought haha.

7. Take up new skills – I’ve been knitting, sewing and yoga-ing, baking….you name it, I’ve tried it. I spent the majority of lock down trying to do new hobbies and learn skills I didn’t know. I’m very thankful for this time as I found it a good way to focus my head, however my concentration was limited at times and I found completing tasks hard. Baking was the one thing that I started and finished…because I had too. Plus it has a start, middle and end which really resonates with me. I like achieving something in its entirety and having an end result which is why baking works. Its time specific and you are aware of this before beginning. I know this all sounds simple but that works. Simple is good. I’ve also learnt I’m not very flexible and yoga is hard. Have a towel handy, you sweat a lot.

8. Drink Wine – Well this was no surprise was it! This obviously doesn’t sound like the most sensible advice….everything in moderation and all. My Christmas present from the hubby definitely came in handy, ( if don’t remember it was the wine subscription from Virgin Wines), but I think everyone over indulged during the lock down period, whether it was wine or chocolate or cake, we’ve all enjoyed the last few months and there was nothing wrong with that. Don’t be too hard on yourself. ( Drink Responsibly).

9. Personal hygiene suffers – How many times a week did you shower? I’ll be the first to admit once I was off work, lounging around so to speak, (this really means dealing with daily anxiety and constant emotional meltdowns), my want for a shower seriously decreased. I had gone from showering every day after work to once or twice a week. This didn’t help my mood and well my mood didn’t help my motivation to primp and preen. Plus the lack of hairdressers/beauty salons really took its toll. Hair grew, roots developed, lounge wear became life…..not what I imagined 2020 to bring. With everything beginning to reopen where are you hitting first? Hair had too go for me, not just the wait to actually get a hairdressing appointment.

10. Self-care – This has probably been the most important thing I’ve learnt and well still learning. Although I put a facade on that I like to take care of myself, I’m usually the last person I take care of. I love to look after everyone else and make sure they are okay. If everyone else has issues I usually have issues, if everyone else is concerned, I’m concerned and so forth. The fact I’ve started to identify this is definitely self-care for me itself. Take some time to yourself. Do what you enjoy! And try and not let others get to you….all easier said than done I know.

Well since lock down began a lot has change, a lot was unexpected and a lot was difficult. The silver lining however is we have all got to reflect on our lives, learn new things and spend more time with family. Always try and look for the bright side….yes even I’m saying this.

Here’s to the ‘New Normal’, lets see what it brings….

Stephanie xo


When life gives you lemons…

I feel I need to write this whether anyone wants to read it is another story.

I seem to always find the time to write when I’ve reached breaking point. Over the past while there has been a lot going on in my head but clearly there has been more important things going on in the world, *cough cough* CORONAVIRUS *cough cough*. This created a tricky task for me, dealing with my head myself. I didn’t want to be a burden on anyone else, lock down has been hard enough for everyone without me adding to their worries.

So I did what I do best….kept to myself, put on a fake smile and hoped for the best!

Of course that didn’t work and I became a mess. To top it all off it happened when I least expected it, in work. It simply took one question of ‘Are you okay Steph?’, to which I replied with a mass of tears. I just broke and I knew it but I was trying my best to say i’d be okay…my famous last words. I wasn’t okay, I didn’t know what to say and I just felt no one understood. How could they? They weren’t in my head, they didn’t know what was happening, so was I expecting too much from them?

My first instinct was to run and hide but I couldn’t do that, I was in work and no one got it, I had to stay and finish my shift which was so difficult for me. Thankfully I had Kirsty and Lucy there or else i’d have crumbled. They were so supportive, comforting and although they may not of got what was completely going on in my headspace, (not many do) they respected my process and I knew they were there for me which is hard in itself.

The time came when I got to leave and I was so relieved, I was going home to Jonny, someone who got me, understood my ways and what to say to make me feel a bit better. This was the first I had felt any since of normality all day. I knew no one had hidden agendas when chatting to me. No one was going to try and ‘fix me’ and no one was going to patronise me or diminish what I was feeling.

Of course that evening involved hugs and tears..lots of them. I felt completely lost and wasn’t really sure what to do. Part of me didn’t want to tell my parents as I didn’t want them to worry, particularly as they can’t visit, plus mum is high risk so needed to stay at home, (try telling her that). But I was missing them, not seeing them had really took its tole on me. I didn’t want to admit it but I was struggling without them. I’d already been on the phone with the GP but of course I couldn’t see him directly, so after a long discussion we both felt increasing the ‘happy pills’, (read previous posts to get the just of these). So I then faced another dilemma, when collecting my prescription did I go and visit the parentals or not?

Keeping 2 metres apart, I visited, but I didn’t want to burden them so it was more just a social catch up, burdening them comes a few days later. It was good for my head and my car as my dad washed it! #dadgoals

I started the meds and well it all hit me. They knocked me for six.

Sunday night came which meant work on Monday. My anxiety set in but I tried to ignore it and pretend it wasn’t happening. Monday morning was a different story, I was trying to get ready for work, 1 hour later I still hadn’t managed to get dressed. Next was make-up, the brush touched my face and I fell to pieces. I couldn’t do it, I wasn’t ready to face people, let alone have to manage a ward. Trying to stay together made falling apart so much worse. I had to finally admit to other people I wasn’t okay, as much as I already knew I wasn’t, this was when reality set in. I rang the one person I knew would understand, Bex, and of course she was how I expected, kind, compassionate, understanding, helpful…the list could go on. In my state this put me at such ease knowing she got me and was there for me.

I came to the realisonation I needed my mum and dad but I couldn’t speak to them, I didn’t know what to do. Thankfully my husband is so supportive and wonderful, he contact my dad because he knew I needed them. It took me until the evening to be able to talk, Jonny by my side and I rang, I spilled my guts. I opened up and shared how i’d been feeling for the past number of weeks. It was the best thing i’d done. It really helped me but I knew I’d a long way to go. When your mum wants to take on the whole world for you, you know you’ve a good one. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive network and I would suggest that is something people need when they feel like this. It is important to know some people won’t understand what is going on and I learnt that the last time and that is okay. It doesn’t mean the don’t love you and don’t care for you but they might just show that in different ways and you need to respect that.

The last few days admittedly haven’t been good. The tablets have hit. I either feel wide awake or I’m out cold. My head constantly feels like it’s spinning and I have zero concentration, (it has took me multiple attempts to even sit and write this). I feel like saying this is all normal but what is normal? I’ll just leave this one here as I could be there a while.

When I experienced this before I gravitated towards baking, low and behold I’ve done it again. Banana bread, (were you even in lock down if you didn’t bake banana bread), scones, brownies, lemon drizzle…you name it I’ve done it. Don’t get me wrong that isn’t a completely bad thing but my jeans might not thank me for it. Baking is the only thing I feel I can do as it allows me to see a task through from start to finish. I thought this might help with building up my concentration and focus again. I have also took up knitting – No I’m not 90 – the idea being when I’m really good I can knit all those expensive designer pieces i’ll never afford. I’m enjoying learning a new task but it takes time and I can’t do it overnight so my focus fades. Never did I expect to say I miss the gym. Sorry if you’ve just fell over mum & dad. I lack the motivation myself to do exercise at home and a few weeks before this all started I had started going to a personal trainer. Although the aim would be to see great physical differences, I underestimated how much it was doing for my mental health and how much I actually needed it. I’ve tried to go outside and walk but it isn’t the same these days. There is no one about and I get lost in my own thoughts instead of people watching which at the minute isn’t ideal for me.

I still haven’t pinpointed what caused this all again as I felt I was doing pretty good. I guess that’s what it does, convinces you that you are okay. I’ve tried to compile a list of things which probably have contributed and rationalise them in my head but some things I can’t actually do anything about. There are things if I did something about might hurt someone else and contrary to popular belief I’m not that person. I hate friction and I will always apologise and cave even if it isn’t my fault, it’s just who I am. Life has changed so much over the past year and I feel as though I’ve been in a bubble which is slowly bursting, not in a bad way but just reality taking effect. From getting married, moving out and getting a new job, (Yes I don’t do things by half, I never have), I’ve let the stress and emotions build up instead of dealing with them as they arose, I’ve let the thoughts of doubt and guilt creep in making me feel like i’m not good enough or that I can’t do my job – the rational side of my brain knows this isn’t true but it tends to get compressed. I now need to try and combat all of that which to others may sound crazy but when it’s all you think about and everything you do you can relate back to it, it consumes you. I find it amazing how life can just change in a moment and although it may stand still for one person it continues on for everyone else. I guess this is what makes me feel so lost at times.

So for now i’m taking it day by day, talking to Jonny and the parentals, taking the happy pills, baking and now writing. No doubt you will see plenty more bakes and hopefully more upbeat blog posts over the next while.

Stephanie xo


Adulting….the real truth

From a young age I always wanted to be older. I always wanted to do those things you were always just to young for. In my house growing up it was always sitting up as a family late in the evening usually after my sister came in from work (she worked in a chinese restaurant in her teenager years), with takeaway. It use to be my mum, dad, eldest brother and sister, then as my other brother got older he joined. I never quite got there.

Oh how time passes and you view things when you are older. Nowadays I don’t have the fear of missing out because I’m too young. In fact it’s quite the opposite. I’d give anything sometimes to be sitting on the stairs again ease dropping, mainly due to having responsibilities now. I’d gladly be older sans the adulting requirements.

I was very lucky growing up, being the youngest I never had to do to many chores around the house, the most I usually got stuck with was making a cup of tea – this was the job of the youngest in our household!

Compared to many I didn’t leave home until this year, yes I’m 28! I did leave for a short period during university however it wasn’t the right time for me to leave, I wasn’t ready. This time was completely different for obvious reasons – Jonathan. I wasn’t doing this on my own and I actually felt that I had achieved a few things in life so I could manage anything else, well so I thought.

I have had so many things change over the last few months, new job, new apartment, wedding planning…I don’t do things by half. You’d think by 28 I would know how to be an adult? Until I added all this to the mix I definitely didn’t. My day to day life has changed so much……!

Gone are the days of going to work and coming home to a dinner already made, clothes washed and lunch in the fridge for the next day. Now it’s up to me to do a food shop, choose and make dinners, wash and iron clothes, clean the apartment and pay bills – how things change! This adjustment has been okay so far but there are some days I don’t want to do any of it. Trying to manage finances has probably been the most worrying (Yes I worry in case you forgot), definitely reducing my shopping habit a lot.

It amazes me how they don’t teach you any of these things in school. It would of been so useful to know the difference between mortgage types, life insurance, oil or gas – the list is endless. We have already turned into the people who watch shows about ways to save money. Does everyone go through this?

Since returning from honeymoon I’ve spent a lot of time trying this whole “adulting” malarkey. Lots of washing and ironing, food shopping/prepping and sorting all our finances – I wouldn’t have it any other way. Although you go through many, many emotions and thoughts during the transition from living at your parental home to being independent, it shows how much you learn growing up – even though you think you don’t. Your perspective changes as does your priorities over the years, which we often don’t realise.

Whats next in the ‘adulting’ stakes then? I’m currently focusing on cooking and making lunches, it may seem trivial but we have often choose the simple option of buying something instead of being prepared. I wonder how long we will last? The most exciting thing on the agenda is actually Christmas decorating. It’s our first Christmas as a married couple and our first in our apartment, so it will be lovely putting our spin on Christmas and spending it as us.

Watch this space for more adulting highlights…haha

Stephanie xo


Shoe of the Month – June 2019

I think I need to pay homage to one of the most popular trends of the past couple of years – ‘The Ugly Shoe’ also know as ‘The Dad Shoe’, very apt name if I do say so myself.

Just look at what comes up when you type these so called trends into google.

The Dad Shoe
The Ugly Shoe

Personally, I am not adverse to this trend if anything I love the triple s Balenciaga trainers in pink but it’s not happening – especially when they cost £645, if only.

Balenciaga - Triple S Logo-embroidered Leather, Nubuck And Mesh Sneakers - Pink - IT38
Balenciaga Triple S Trainers

When these first appeared on the scene, they were very much like marmite – love or hate. As with many items celebrities flocked to them, then influencers and eventually they became a success, everyone and their granny had to have them. This ultimately led to every brand developing their own version in order to compete in such a demanding market.

High street shops definitely had an inside edge with this trend as the cost was a massive draw for savvy shoppers. Adidas, puma, and fila all jumped on board, providing another market for them to dip into. At a fraction of the cost ranging between £60-£100ish, why wouldn’t you purchase a different brand? You are still getting a much loved brand which have proven success within the sneaker area, plus you aren’t following the herd and buying because a celebrity/influencer has worn them, some food for thought right there – I need to listen to my own advice haha.

I have a very unique fashion sense, some might say weird, purely depends on your interpretation but I am definitely a convert to this trend and with the comfort wearing trainers provides who wouldn’t be?

Throw them on with jeans and a chunky knit or a spring floral dress, whatever the style these shoes are very adaptable. Why not even throw on a pair of sock? Live a little.

This trend isn’t going away any time soon – join the epidemic, get your Ugly shoes on!

Stephanie – The Fashion Hideaway


My Ultimate shoe wish list

Over the years I have always been very keen on a handbag however, lately it has been shoes which have took over my wish list. These aren’t just your average shoes, I am talking designer mostly, all the items which don’t necessarily fit the necessity category unfortunately.

In No particular order….(because I want them all)

  1. Gucci Marmont: How could I not want these? I have loved these shoes since they were released. Originally I wanted the red suede mid-heel or high-heel however they aren’t as easily accessible these days. Then Gucci added these beauties to their website:

Yes Navy suede! I adore these shoes. Priced at £540. They are also available in a open toe style and ankle boot version.

2. Balenciaga Trainers: Triple S became the shoe of last year and are still going strong. ‘Ugly trainers’ so to speak, are very on trend currently although I feel these won’t last forever. It still doesn’t make me want them less. Many other brands, both designer and highstreet have since made their own version to appeal to everyone’s budget. Priced at £645 in most places. These shoes are sold out on Balenciaga website itself therefore if you were to purchase you would need to look elsewhere.

3. Chloe Susanna Boots: These boots are an iconic item and a must-have for every wardrobe. Priced at £850 they won’t be an everyday purchase however from reviewing lots of information online about these shoes, they seem to be worth the money. Hard wearing and long lasting, what more would you want from a pair of boots? These boots have been around for many seasons and seem to become more popular the longer they are. My sister owns two pairs….I can’t believe I’m writing this. I’m just a wee bit jealous. From seeing her boots, I can safely say I will be purchasing at some point.

The black with gold hardware are my favourite and definitely what I would purchase. A top tip would be to keep an eye out for discount codes and sales on other sites such as farfetch or mytheresa, you never know you might get lucky.

4. Chanel Espadrilles:

Espadrilles the perfect shoe for summer and your holidays. Chanel are very popular among celebrities and influencers. Priced at £495. The price has went up over the years as with many other chanel items. I would say though they retain their value and any Chanel piece is really more of an investment….well I’ll be telling myself that anyway.

5. Sophia Webster Bibi Butterfly Flats: Sophia Webster shoes to me are so fun and quirky, very unique and out of the box. I fell in love with Bibi Butterfly flats when they were first launched. Priced at £250, I have almost made the purchase a couple of times and then I felt I should of being using the money for something more practical. They come in an aray of colours and fabrics, with new ones released each season. Some of my favourites so far have been the red velvet and royal blue shades. The black is so elegant though and can turn a causal day outfit into something a bit more dressy.

6. Christian Louboutin Décolleté 554 Patent: No Shoe list could be complete without having Christian Louboutin on it. The red sole alone makes me want them. Although there are many unique and adventureous styles, I believe having the basics would be perfect in any collection. These would enable you to dress up any outfit keeping it simple and classy. This is my favourite style, 100mm in height and priced at £495. This style is available in black, nude and red.

7. Chanel Slingback Pumps: Another classic shoe which has recently made a comeback after being seen on my influencers as of late. A simple shoe but with a name such as Chanel attached to it takes it to another level. The infamous “CC”, can make anything more desirable. I prefer the 65mm heel version, although flats are available. These are priced at £650.

8. Jimmy Choo Romy: My love affair with Jimmy Choos continues. I another these shoes, I think they are stunning and so elegant. That being said I previously purchased a pair of Nude Patent ‘Anouk’ shoes. They were stunning. They were also 120mm in height and extremely difficult to walk in. Also being size 4/37, I ordered that, however I found them to be slight big so the one or two times I wore them I had an insole in them. These shoes are no longer with me unfortunately, they just sat in a box and I would prefer shoes to be loved and wore. So my next pair are going to be ‘Romy’, 85mm in height, priced at £475. Navy and nude for me please.

9. Adidas Stan Smith: I have these and they are my favourite. They go with every outifit whether it’s jeans or dresses. Extremely comfortable however they squeak until you break them in. Plus you can find them at really good prices and they never go out of style. Priced at £74.95 on Adidas website. If you have small feet you might felt into junior sizes which can go up to 5/38 and these are priced at £44.95. There are also plenty of styles and colours available, these are the originals below.

10. Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Classic:

A firm favourite of most, who hasn’t had a pair at some point in their life. I’ve definitely had several. I’ve never been a fan of hi-tops mainly because i’m short and they make me look shorter. I normally went for the dainty style however more recently I’ve picked these. Extremely difficult to keep white however they are unbelievably comfortable. Priced at £50, you definitely get value for your money. I think I need another pair!

Well, there you go. These are my top 10 must-have shoes, donations are welcome. I’d say it’ll take me like 20 years or more to have them all, I may get a few extra shifts booked in.

Let me know what shoes would make your top 10!

Stephanie xo


Style Sunday Flashback

I know, I know, you don’t need to say it….I’ve been slightly MIA again from writing. Trying to organise time is not my strong suit. Even trying to find time to go to events is difficult let alone writing about them. People always say trying to break into the fashion/film industry is difficult…try blogging about it. Gosh there has been a lot going on lately but if you follow me on instagram/facebook you’ll already know that – Hint Hint….Go Follow!! Clearly I meant getting engaged when I began this!!

I did manage to find time to go to Style Sunday at the end of last year. It was part of the events organised for Belfast Fashion Week. Last year I had went to the highstreet fashion show however it was my friends birthday this year so thought we’d treat her to something a bit different. Plus trying to rally people to go is more difficult than i’d imagined. So Style Sunday it was…

First up…trying to decide what to wear! Was everyone going to be overly dressly/casual, a mix of everything? It turns out everyone just wore what they wanted. There was a mix of trainers to heels, trousers to dresses which made it easier for me when choosing something to wear.


I opted for the Topshop dress of the season, (okay like 2 seasons ago now but it was a while ago), yes the polka dot delight. I loved this dress when it first hit stores and then the black version arrived, then the printed ones and so forth, I did just stick with the one print though. Due to the time of year I decided for warmth so threw on a plain black polo neck jumper and over the knee black boots. I completed the look with my short leather biker jacket and my crossbody black Moschino bag.

Style Sunday was held at the fabulous Fitzwilliams Hotel, which is stunning. On arrival we got a beverage and headed to our seats for a meal and fashion shows. Unfortunately we didn’t get the goodie bag although everyone else did. There seemed to be some fabulous items in it, a Lulu Guinness key ring for one, well from what I could see. This was slightly disappointing especially as this event was more expensive than the rest.

The show included items from boutiques such as blush and boux avenue. The styles on show were stunning and I wanted so many of them. It’s a shame my bank balance wouldn’t allow. Haha

How amazing are these outfits? And the models? They all look stunning. I need some of their motivation please. I find it hard to put tan on let alone all of this prep.

It just kept getting better and better. Look at how stunning the last outfit is. Gosh I wish I had somewhere to go just to wear it. Reflecting on all the highlights from previous shows makes me more excited for this year.

Well I need to go to the gym! Fair play to all these ladies, if you could pass your motivation this way please.

All the items in these photos where shown in October so I am unsure if the stores still have all the items.

Style Sunday was a very different type of event, it was lovely to have a meal and see all the outfits up close, however the layout for me was a bit restricted and you felt slightly isolated depending on where you were sitting, (though this could just be because I was shy and couldn’t talk to anyone else – recurring theme!).

Belfast fashion week is always something I look forward too. I use to follow all the shows on Instagram but since going it’s something I aim to go to each season now. This year is no different. Make sure you check out my Instagram this Friday and I will try and show you some sneak peeks!

Enjoy your week!

Stephanie xo


Fashion Week Revisited

Belfast Fashion week events begin this Friday, so I thought it was about time I shared some photos and highlights of my first event last year. I was overly excited and booked FROW seats (Front row for all you non fashion show goers haha).

I had a lot of trouble getting someone to go, unfortunately my friend cancelled last minute so roped Suzie who I worked with at the time into it. Thankfully this year my bestie is good to go!! Trying to be a blogger and attend events can be difficult when you don’t know anyone and attending on your own can be very intimidating. My aim for the year is to branch out at some point and go no matter what! You’d think as a nurse i’d be able to talk to anyone but it just isn’t the same.

Anyway back to Fashion week…oh it was great. I loved it. I was completely in my element. Everyone was dressed in the latest trends with their own spin and interpretation which I love.

Sponsored by west coast cooler, on arrival you got a glass of rose or original, very tasty. Then there was a lot of mingling…well being nosy more like ha, then it was show time. We took our seats, got a lovely goodie bag and then had reems of high-street goodness to view and awe over.

Yes, there are a lot of picture. My photography skills are not that to be desired. Oh it makes me excited to see this years fashion and styling.

Maybe this year I’ll take better photos…ha

Stay tuned to see more from fashion week!

Stephanie xo


Afternoon Tea at The Corintha, London

Well if you haven’t guessed from the title what this post is about then you need to read it again. If you follow me on Instagram and Facebook, you will know that Jonny and I were in London over the weekend, (depending on when you are reading this March 8th-March 10th, 2019), which was my Christmas present from Jonny.

I absolutely love London, there is no hiding it. To me, it has everything, sights, shops, restaurants, cafes, bars….oh the list goes on. When I opened my present I was over the moon, who wouldn’t want to go to London and to The Corintha as well? I’ll just drop in we weren’t staying in the Corintha, lets face it we haven’t made our millions just yet.

My slight obsession with the Corintha began after watching the show on BBC one about it, “The Hotel for the Super Rich and Famous”, (I did look iplayer to see if it was still there but unfortunately I couldn’t find it, if I ever do you lot will be the first to know). It was a 2 part documentary, (don’t worry, it’s not boring), with a behind the scenes look at what goes on and how they created their afternoon tea, hence why I wanted to go. At one point during the show they had mentioned the meeting they were having regarding afternoon tea was the 21st meeting….yes 21st.

The novelty of having afternoon tea in London definitely played a part in the whole experience for myself. Traditional afternoon tea was £55 per person with champagne version being £65 per person…of course we went for the champagne.

Once we arrived and checked in, where they took our coats, we were seated and menu’s provided. The hostess explained how their version of afternoon tea ran and said all we were required to do was select our tea. This in itself was a task as there was a wide selection. I decided to go for ‘mango black blend’ while Jonny picked a bespoke tea blend called ‘mellow’. After ordering our tea, champagne arrived, Laurent-Perrier, I was definitely in my element at this point never mind what was too follow. I lifted my champagne flute to have a sip, well the weight of the glass was completely unexpected and then we remembered each glass was £200….do not drop the glass!!

First arrived our sandwiches, finger sandwiches…there was 10 altogether, so they cater towards 5 per person. Next up was warm scones, both fruit and plain, each person got 2 each. These were served with strawberry jam, Cornish clotted cream and rhubarb and tonka bean jam. I adore a scone, especially with clotted cream, the fact Marks and Spencer cafe sell it sends me over the edge so you can only imagine what the real thing done.

Following the scones, it was time for the sweet treats. In order to serve these, a 100 year old silver tea trolley is pushed round and served in front of you, allowing you to pick your selection. The waiter/waitress explained what all the cakes and patisserie items were and then plated them for us. There were 6 items each and then homemade marshmallows also, (when you didn’t finish everything they boxed the rest to take home).

Sweet Delicacies:

  • Exotic Fruit Coconut Choux
  • Alpaco 66% Chocolate Brownie and Chocolate Cremeux
  • Coffee and Hazelnut Mousse and Golden Raisin Sponge
  • Apple Tatin Verrine and Calvados Chantilly
  • Lemon Drizzle Cake
  • Canele
  • Marshmallows- Orange Blossom, Red Apple, Tonka Bean

I have such a sweet tooth and always prefer a dessert, so this was absolute heaven for me. My favourite was definitely the exotic fruit coconut choux, the flavours were unbelievable. The attention to detail was second to none, very small aspect was covered, tea was refilled when empty and the staff were so helpful and friendly. I’m still gutted I didn’t get to see ‘Thomas’ from the show. The show highlighted how even selecting the chinaware that was going to be used was very unique, as well as how it would be presented. Throughout the entire afternoon they had a pianist playing which made the atmosphere.

This was a real dream for me, for those few hours we were treated like royalty and made to feel so special, yes we were paying for it but I’d do it all over again in a heart beat.

Stephanie xo



I’m sitting here contemplating my blog and why I started doing this. Initially I wanted to do this as a way for me to relax and have a hobby. For me not to be consumed by work and my own emotions. For me not to overload my head with endless thoughts and worries. Have I done this? Not at all.

So this is the new chapter of my blog…..I hope.

This time I have a plan. I’m trying to be structured and give myself time to do this. I have always loved fashion, beauty and lifestyles (of the rich and famous and the normal person), so I’m determined not to give up this time.

I love meeting people with the same interest and passion and learning from them. People are so quick to judge in this environment and make out that everything is a competition. That people are doing this for the financial reward or so called perks. The reality is most people who are called a ‘blogger’ are doing it being they enjoy it. Most of them have a full time job and aren’t going to become financially independent from having a blog. When I say this i’m talking about your average Joe who has a blog not the likes of London socialites or overnight celebrities. Don’t get me wrong I think if someone has the opportunity given to them by all means jump at the chance, it has probably taken a lot of work and dedication for them to be noticed. Having a blog with a reasonable following takes a lot of commitment, planning and time. Many of the individuals who decide to make comments, don’t necessarily realise this. I for one didn’t anticipate how much time I would require to even take a stab at some continuity.

It has taken me the first month of 2019 to work out what I wanted to do this year and by no means do I want to get rid of my blog. I may have 100 and 1 things to do but I’m going to do it.

Here goes…

Stephanie xo

When a pandemic hits…

I don’t really know where to begin with this post….for some time I haven’t really felt like writing/blogging whatever you want to call it. I always found it a release from everyday life which can be stressful to say the least. The last couple of years has changed that for obvious reasons. I found work was becoming my life and I didn’t realise how much that affected everyone else, not just myself. I am a self confessed recluse at times and love my own company….what can I say I’m fabulous. I began to lose a lot of myself due to this which I didn’t realise.  Life has changed a lot for everyone over the past couple of years with being in and out of lockdown, isolation periods, wearing masks, distancing…the list is endless, however this really let me feel that being a recluse was okay…..which for me it isn’t.

Lets be honest living through a healthcare pandemic is hard but working as a nurse through it has been horrendous. I don’t think I actually realised how difficult it has been until this year. When your day to day job changed to looking after patients with covid, living in constant fear you might get it or give it to a loved one, constantly struggling to go into work but knowing you needed to…..every day became a constant fight. As a manager I found it even more difficult because I had to go in and be a reassuring ear for my staff, constantly making sure they were all okay even when you knew they weren’t but there was very little you could actually do to help. It was awful. This is still something I struggle with.

Our daily schedule changed to going to work and coming home. We all worked 13 hour shifts and did constant overtime to help. We wore PPE for the entire day. Everyone had to have their breaks apart to maintain social distancing and prevent the risk of infection. Our hands became more raw from hand sanitiser. People had their skin damaged due to constant FFP3 masks being wore. We didn’t see loved ones at all because we didn’t want to risk giving them a virus we didn’t even know if we had. Swabbing patients nearly every other day has became routine. This is still our ‘normal’ for everyone which shouldn’t be normal.

Because our daily life changed instantly our mindset changed. Coming home after a 13hour shift and sitting on the sofa having that glass of wine and watching tv devloped into our new routine. I found I didn’t want to talk when I got home because no one understood what work was like except your colleagues. As a profession we have always relied so much on each other but the pandemic amplified that requirement 10-fold. After a while it felt automatic, doing the same thing day in day out. When I was off I found I didn’t even want to go for a walk, my head wasn’t functioning the way it normally did…well normal for me. I became so introverted that when everything began to seep out…..booooom.

Looking back on the past year and a half I started to become so irritable, angry with the world if you will. I was processing information differently, my rational side was non existent at times. I took this and directed it at loved ones, colleagues, friends…myself. At the time though you don’t see it. I didn’t realise how I was at times, how emotional I had become, how unmotivated and sluggish I was, how I had became so sedentary…….and when I did, it was hard. It is so hard to admit to yourself that you have changed and need to look at everything. It is so hard to admit to yourself that you aren’t okay, it is even harder to tell someone you care about that you aren’t okay. I can honestly say it was the best thing I done.

Talking about everything is never easy, I’ve been there several times and I seem to fall into the same old patterns however this time feels different. This time was me choosing to do something about it rather than being ‘forced’ or ‘encouraged’ to do it. Because I have done everything to make myself feel better of my own accord and I can say I feel the best I have in a long long time. As much as the pandemic has been an absolute ‘shit show’, it has really allowed me to reflect on what is important in life and what actually matters. As much as I love being a nurse, the friendship from colleagues is the best part for me. Family will always be there and support you no matter what. My husband is my absolute rock and takes me as I am…the good and the bad. Reminding myself that work is work and you can also have a life has been the best thing.

I woke up today feeling so movativated and empowered. This week has been great for me. I still worked but I also went out with my husband, seen my best friend, did something else because I wanted to and didn’t feel like I had to. Have I sat on the sofa, of course, but I know I can get up when I want to. I have started to read again and take time for myself but in a constructive way. I feel like I have so much zest for life again and feel so inspired to get going.

Hummus – Mango & Chilli


400g chickpeas
60ml extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp crushed garlic
30ml lemon juice
4 tsp tahini
2/3 tbsp mango and chilli chutney


1. Drain a can of chickpeas and add to food processor with oil, ( I don’t actually have one of these so I used a mini chopper). Blend until smooth, it might look a little grain-like.

2. Then add garlic, lemon juice and tahini. I tend to be a bit ad-hoc with my measurements but I added these and blended until mixed.

3. I then added 3 tablespoons of mango and chilli chutney – probably the easy way. Then blend until smooth.

4. Add to a container and keep refrigerated. Use within 7 days. I have also frozen some to see how it turns out.

I love hummus and thought it would be easy to make…it is. Plus it is so easy to adapt to different flavours.

Let me know if you try it.

Stephanie xo