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

The A/W Coat Edit

Autumn weather has definitely arrived, which for me has always meant new outerwear. I have never been a person who put away summer clothes and pulled out knitwear, unfortunately I’ve never lived anywhere which allowed me to predict the sun or rain. The rain and colder weather tend to feature all year! I think that is why autumn and winter fashion has always been my favourite. Over the past few weeks I’ve been searching endlessly for what I want this season and I’m still none the wiser. The shops have so many different styles at the moment its hard to know.

I did however fall in love with this beauty below!

Essentiel Antwerp


And the reason it isn’t currently in my wardrobe is the price. I’m not one to shy away from a purchase, no matter the cost, but for some reason I haven’t branched out just yet. I have however noted plenty of high street finds which could make their way to my wardrobe very soon. Below are just some of my favourites…

Checked Coats:

Checks and tartans are a must have this season whether its coats, trousers or skirts they are everywhere. I am loving the brighter colours myself, yellows, pinks etc. The check pattern can dress up any plain outfit and keep it dressy or causal depending on the occasion. I can definitely see myself making a purchase or two…stay tuned.

Trench Coats:

So I had ordered the M&S Hooded Trench, I had been coveting it since the press day. It arrived, it looked lovely on the hanger….it was returned!! I felt like inspector gadget. I was just way to short for this. I felt swamped by it. It had a lot of material and is a very heavy jacket, good for the winter especially to keep the heat in but I definitely think you need to be fairly tall to make this a wearable jacket.

A trench has been a ‘must-have’ classic fashion item for very wardrobe for year. I am loving how they have mixed it up this year by adding cord and check versions, as well as capes and hoods. It shows how classic items continue to dictate the trend with a few modern adjustments.  I think every wardrobe should have a trench. Mine has one purchased from Topshop sale many moons ago, beige in colour with a flared skirt almost. I am still on the hunt for a straight one that suits me and doesn’t make me look like Inspector Clouseau.

inspector clouseau

Faux Fur Coats:

Fur, Fur and Fur….don’t worry I mean Faux. Fur style jackets are by far one of my favourite every year. This trend gets a revamp each autumn/winter season and this year it has been hit with colour and a lot of it. I’m definitely edging toward a pink fur to keep my autumn/winter wardrobe brighter than normal. If someone could fund these purchases though…haha

Animal Print: 

2018 obsession of the year so far has to be animal prints, other than the marks & sparks dress and jumpsuit! I am very partial to some animal print whether it is shoes or skirts or both, pass it my way. I’ve never had an animal print coat, it is usually my accessory however with all the statement pieces around, be bold, get the coat and make a mark.

From left to right:

  1. & Other Stories – Leopard Boxy Coat
  2. Topshop – Leopard Print Coat
  3. Zara – Textured Leopard Print Coat

Other Favourites:

 Below are just some other jackets and coats I’m a fan off, yes I know there have been plenty already…

  1. River Island – Check with Faux Fur Collar Coat £100
  2. Topshop – Front Button Shacket £69
  3. Topshop – Yellow Cord Double Breasted Blazer £65
  4. Zara – Tweed Jacket with Pearl Beads £49.99
  5. M&S – Wool Blend Coat £69 (Holly’s Must Haves)
  6. Topshop – Gem Boucle Bomber Jacket £59

This is just a selection of some of my favourite jackets and coats available now, lets be honest I could probably add more. You can probably tell I either go for plain and simple, or weird and unique, there is no in-between. If you can’t use fashion to express yourself what can you?

Hopefully this has give you some inspiration for this new fashion season! Let me know your thoughts and share any purchases you may make.

Stephanie xo

Round 2…

Here we go again.

I’m back!!

As you all know I attempted to start this last year with a few posts every so often, unfortunately life got in the way. This is by no means as easy as it looks! Trying to maintain a full time job, a life, a relationship, socialise, blog and make it all interesting whilst trying to get enough hours sleep…that really didn’t go to plan.

I’ve made a few changes over the past year in order to help me do the things I want to and the things I enjoy. The biggest thing is trying to worry less…haha Most might say I haven’t done this but in comparison to last year it has definitely improved. Most of you have been aware through personally chatting, insta or facebook that I have recently got a new job…which I finally got a date for!!! **Crowd Cheers**

Yes I’m a wee bit excited!

I start it in a approx 5-6 weeks which is really what I was hoping for. This job will hopefully bring about a new change and challenge for me. My current role and new one both have completely different responsibilities and although I will be sad to leave my current area and colleagues, I definitely need something different…for me!!

I haven’t tied myself down with endless projects and I took time out from uni, (although I am going back after Christmas). I have always been someone who needed to prove I could do everything and have control, well I really needed a break from that and a lot of time to personally reflect on what I wanted out of everything I was doing.

This has meant reevaluating relationships, personal and professional, working out what path to take in all aspects of life, questioning my decisions and then sometimes just winging it and hoping for the best.

Ultimately, I found I needed to do more stuff for me and things I enjoyed, spending time with people (this will get better…haha), fashion and blogging, having the odd hobby….I hope shopping counts!! Basically I think I’ve finally got my motivation and inspiration back for why I wanted to do this in the first place…not just the free stuff (FYI I haven’t got any…cough) ha.

So over the next while I hope to post a weekly blog for you all… fashion, beauty or lifestyle related. Same Day….hopefully same time! So watch this space….

Stephanie ~ The Fashion Hideaway

A Gift Guide for the special lady in your life….Yes your Mother.

Mothers Day is coming round fast, (11th March for those who don’t know), time to get your gifts purchased and days out planned.

Below are some ideas to help you out. I feel I need to take a look at this page myself.

1. Jo Malone Candle – £45.00, 200g, available in multiple fragrances. My personal favourite is pomegranate noir, (cliche, I know), the candle burns for 45 hours the only problem is you want to burn it constantly once you get it. Jo Malone packaging is divine, if you have never bought from it, i’d go just for the packaging.

2. L’Occitane Petite Hand Creams – £9.00, 3x10ml, Travel size hand creams suitable for you handbag. As a nurse i’m an advit fan of hand creams and I highly recommend L’Occitane ones. They are very nourishing for your hands and don’t leave them greasy. You can also purchase the larger size of hand creams, (Classic Hand Cream Trio, £22.00, 3x30mls).

3. Emma Bridgewater Mug – £19.95, 1/2 Pint mug. This lovely mug is available in multiple styles and the china is very hard wearing.

4. Carolina Herrera Good Girl Eau de Parfum – £50, 30ml. I have this, get it! I am usually one to stick to the same perfume however I got this as a gift, it is lovely. The bottle style is just an added bonus.

5. Chanel Gabrielle Eau de Parfum – £79, 50ml. How can you go wrong with Chanel? This is the newest perfume they have released. If this one isn’t for you why not try Chanel Chance or Coco Mademoiselle?

6. Gucci Bloom Eau de Parfum – £72, 50ml. Gucci Bloom is the newest fragrance and as the name suggests it definitely ‘blooms’ throughout wearing it. Very fresh and a good choice for spring.

The fragrances I’ve selected all tend to be on the higher end of the price scale, however I do feel if you are going to wear and smell of something all day its better to spend that bit extra to get better quality. The likelihood is it’ll last longer and make you feel better about yourself.

There are hundreds of perfumes available, I am just giving some ideas to help you along the way or else we’d be here forever.


Jo Malone have also introduced their new collection ‘English Fields‘. I have yet to smell these but the packaging makes me want to buy them anyway.

7. Benefit BADgal Bang Mascara – £21.50. I recently purchased this for myself and I think everyone should have it. I’ve always been a fan of Benefit mascara and this just ticks all the boxes for me, it lengthens, adds volume and is long lasting.

8. Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette – £39.50. This is the new eye-shadow palette from urban decay. It has such warm shades which are very striking on all skin tones. With matte to glitter shades you can use this palette to go from day to night. It is also available in the Petite Heat Palette – £26, it consists of 6 shades all very neutral based. If this is anything like the other palettes from Urban Decay it is sure to sell out.

tones urban decay

9. YSL Lipstick – Rouge Pur Couture Dazzling Lights Edition – £28. This lipstick is definitely a bit of luxury and surely your mum deserves that. If red isn’t her thing it is available in multiple other shades. Even try some of the other lipsticks in the YSL collection.

As you all know I am a massive fan of Charlotte Tilbury skincare and makeup range so to avoid turning this into a blog about that, just go and buy it. Trying to limit it to select products has been difficult especially as they have introduced new lipstick shades recently.

10. Hollywood Flawless Filter – £30. This is new product for Charlotte Tilbury, defined as a ‘complexion booster which has the versatility of a face primer, with the mega-watt glow of a highlighter and the perfecting properties of your favourite digital filter’. There are multiple shades available for you to find the perfect match. I have definitely added this to my wish list.

11. Wonderglow – £38.50. Wonderglow is a face primer which has been talked about by so many people. I have only ever had a sample and I loved it. Primer is one thing I don’t normally wear but feel I may have to. What are you thoughts? Could this be next on my list?

12. Pillow Talk Lipstick – £24. This is just one of the many lipstick shades which are fabulous. I would say it is reasonably priced for a lipstick, it really depends on your own budget. It doesn’t dry your lips out and lasts which is one of the main concerns for lippy these days. If this colour isn’t for you check through the site and see what else you like or go to the counter, staff are very helpful.

Why not send your mum some flowers? Let her know you are thinking off her. One of my favourite ways to send flowers is through Bloom & Wild, they come via the post. This still seems like a novelty to me. Or why not pop down to your local florist and get some? Flip even Tesco and Asda do flowers….!

You could even take your mum out for afternoon tea? Head for dinner and drinks? A spa day or even a spa voucher? Is your mum a book worm, how about a kindle? Or does she love to bake? What about an apron?

There are so many different things available and at the end of the day it is the thought behind it all that really counts.

These are only some small suggestions to help get you all started!

Let me know you all get on shopping!

The Fashion Hideaway xo

P.S. Don’t forget a card!!

The Trench is back.

You’ve guessed it…the infamous trench is back again. After hitting the catwalks over the past few weeks it has took the high street by storm. Below are my top 12 trench coats available…I couldn’t stop at 10.

Lets be honest if I was able to i’d be rushing to Burberry to get one but that isn’t going to happen, so these are the next best thing.

  1. M&S – Cotton Rich Puff Sleeve Trench, £89


2. TOPSHOP – Batwing Trench Coat, £79


3. RIVER ISLAND, Navy Belted Trench Coat, £85


4. ZARA – Faux Suede Trench Coat, £69.99


5. MANGO – Flared Sleeve Trench, £59.99 reduced to £29.99

mango 2

6. STRADIVARIUS – Lapel Collar Trench Coat, £29.99


7. H&M – Trenchcoat, £79.99


8. M&S – Limited Edition Gingham Trench Coat, £89


9. TOMMY HILFIGER – Heritage Trench Coat available at Next, £230


10. ASOS – Longline Classic Trench, £65


11. & OTHER STORIES – Double Breasted Trench Coat, £110


12. ZARA – Trench Coat with Trims, £79.99


The trench coat is an iconic wardrobe staple, i’d be surprised if you didn’t have one already. They are an elegant and sophisticated outerwear which is great for transitioning through seasons. It seems very fitting that the trench coat has made as appearance again with Christopher Bailey, who helped to make it a legendary must have item, having finished his final show with Burberry.

What are your favourite trench coats? Make sure and share them with us.

The Fashion Hideaway


Abnormal but yet normal…

Church is just over, and I feel like I need to write this now or I never will. The opportunity arose to tell my story or testimony if you like. I however chickened out and didn’t. Everyone who did speak, mentioned taking risks, stepping outside your comfort zone and recognising your own importance. All things I find difficult to say the least.

Over the past year or so I haven’t really been myself. I suppose I’m doing this as therapy and reflection for myself more than giving you all a reason to think I’m crazy. Well crazier than you already do! Life definitely has its ups and downs and I suppose it’s how you handle those which helps create your path in life.

As many of you know I’m a nurse, I managed to change my job role about a year ago and went from being a staff nurse to deputy sister within the same area. This has not been without its issues for me. At the same time as doing this, I have also been completing my masters at university, I’m on the society of vascular nurses’ council, I took part in youth groups at church when able (which wasn’t very much might I add) and I worked. The hardest thing for me has been learning to  say no to taking tasks on or doing shifts. I’ve struggled a lot with this as in my view of myself it was seen as a failure or letting others down. Little things have become major things in my head and this still continues to happen unfortunately but thankfully not to the same extent. Throughout the first 6 months or so of my new role I was quite happy pretending I was ‘fine’ and nothing was affecting me. This wasn’t the case. I had become very isolated as a person, going between work and home, back to work and to see my boyfriend, (thankfully I didn’t forget about him as he’s the only one who would take me) and so on. This was unbeknown to me at the time. I seen very few other people, if any and became secluded in social settings, so much so that invites weren’t even offered anymore. This made me feel much worse as I felt as if I’d offended people, that they didn’t like me when in actual fact I started to overthink every situation, making them into mountains. I found stepping into management difficult and having to create boundaries with friends I worked with. Greater responsibility made me more stressed and I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. I didn’t know how to switch off when I left work and I still find this hard to do, but I’ve seen myself at my worst, so I am trying. Everything made me become very irritated and on edge, 24/7. It never turned off. I was extremely emotional and cried at the drop of a hat or became angry and annoyed over nothing. I felt that at times I was watching my life happen and I had no control over anything. I like to be in control.  My whole outlook was so abnormal but yet felt so normal to me.

Feeling like this continued for weeks and months and unfortunately the closest people to me had to deal with me at my worst. It finally came to a head when myself and my other half had headed away for the weekend and I was very sick….in reality I was extremely anxious and uneasy. Panic set in. This was not the first time this had happened however it was going to be the most life changing for me. I knew I needed to see the GP and everyone urged me to go. I did. I came out with a diagnosis that was life altering for me and somewhat unexpected. After explaining how I’d been feeling, the sickness, weight loss, lack of sleep, rapid mood changes, just some of what I’d been experiencing and ignoring, he told me he felt I had depression. Well you can only imagine how I felt. I cried, I was in shock, I felt crazy and isolated. I just wanted to runaway and hide. Life for me just felt like it was crumbling, and I didn’t know what I was going to do.

Trying to somewhat compose myself I got started on tablets…yes happy pills. I knew I had to try them, if not for me for everyone I’d affected and not acknowledged. Initially I felt horrendous and that I needed to stop them. I read so much about feeling sick and drowsy, all of which were true. I just wanted to hibernate. With a lot of encouragement from my parents and boyfriend, I kept going. I had regular check ups at the GP to see if they were helping and yes they did a bit but I didn’t feel how I thought I would. I had been getting out to see people, most of which where very understanding. I will say not everyone was and that was difficult to accept especially not having straightforward thinking. My tablets continued to be increased in dosage and others introduced to help combat other issues. Sleeping tablets were added to see if my sleeping pattern improved…it didn’t and still isn’t great. I continue to wake up once or twice a night. I find nighttime can be really hard as your mind goes into overdrive. You assess your whole day, relationships, plans, conversations, the list is endless. I still do this. I can’t seem to switch off. Also, nearly every thought is negative. I will always be pessimistic than optimistic. Trying to adapt and change this is not going well. Anti-anxiety medications and anti-sickness where also added. I already took a beta-blocker or that was going to be introduced…a silver lining…possibly. Adjusting your life to taking medications is difficult enough without knowing if they are going to make a difference.

4 months down the line I can safely they have helped me, whether that is all psychological, I don’t know. I’ve adjusted my life. I’ve taken up hobbies, excessive baking and running occasionally is allowing me to direct my emotions and energy into a task. I have been trying to message people every so often…I will get better. Regular coffee dates and catch ups have helped and allowed me to vent and not keep everything built up. I never wanted to tell anyone how I felt and buried it all down, just regularly saying ‘I’m fine’ which I obviously wasn’t.

The encouragement and support from my boyfriend and family has been without a doubt the greatest help. I am difficult to deal with at the best of times and they have had me at my worst. The past year has had many peaks and dips which I doubt will disappear completely. Many have said bad days still occur but it’s how you learn to cope in situations will help. I don’t think I’m better yet and for a period of time I had removed everything from everyday life, re-introducing them has been very trying. I do think I will get better over time, but I know I have to do a lot of work myself to achieve this.

Over the past while I have seen plenty on the internet regarding mental health and sharing my journey almost feels insignificant compared to others. This is where I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone. Many people have question why I started a blog and for me if was an outlet and a distraction. It has allowed me to escape from everyday life and do something I enjoy. I did decide initially to make it about clothes and fashion however life creeps in and I feel its important to address that aspect as well.

I hope speaking out about having depression…yes, I said it, will help address the stigma which I even have regarding myself. Accept others for who and what they are. Don’t label or judge them, (easier said than done, I know). Lean on others for support, you can’t do this alone. Make sure and speak out. I hope in a year I will be writing and acknowledging how much better I am coping but for now I’ll continue to take it a day at and time.

Thanks for taking this journey with me!

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