Posted in Book Reviews

The Silence Review: Katharine Johnson

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I know I have been away from my blog for a while, but I am back with a new review!

From the beginning, this book gives me a strong sense of what Abby & her friend are like as people. The author includes just enough description to get a true sense & understanding of the character’s personalities without giving too much away.

The book can be seen as surprisingly accurate to the world today even from the time it was written. A terrorist attack in London & Brexit are claimed to be the latest newspaper news & there was another attack recently unfortunately & Brexit is still being discussed. It’s upsetting how we can still relate this to what is going on today!

I think the fact I’ve been surrounded with popular slang for so long is growing on me. I saw the word “dabbing” & thought it meant the slang of dabbing! I blame Emma Blackery for that!!

The story is pretty easy to follow with newspaper articles written in italics & flashbacks being clearly dated by when they happened. I love how right from the start, we get an era of mystery & don’t know what is going to happen in later chapters. We are drawn in by the fact that something had clearly happened to Philippa but we don’t know what so will have to keep reading to find this out.

I love the way in which many themes are contributed into ‘The Silence’ which keeps the story fresh & interesting & makes the reader want to continue reading. I also really like the old fashioned theme going on here in the way in which the villa is described & the talk of things such as walkmans. It reminds me of my childhood & makes me feel slightly nostalgic.

When some books begin to switch between the past & present in their story, it can get really messy. However, in ‘the silence’ it seems completely natural & isn’t too difficult to follow.

The sense of Abby keeping secrets from her husband really strikes a bell in life. It highlights the fact that, one small action or person could come along & change the whole situation & threaten everything the secret keeper has known. It just goes to show, keeping secrets is risky & never a good idea.

I find myself connecting with Philippa’s dad in the sense that writing is difficult. A dream of mine is to actually write my own book but every idea I have had so far, I have started then exhausted the idea & given up on it. I have finally pieced together chapter titles for a self-help book I want to write aimed at teenagers but yet again not completely sure if it will span out an actual book!

I have written many stories which I have then scrapped in my desire to write my own fiction book & have therefore come to the decision that I would be better off starting with a book filled with short stories with my ideas. As a result of knowing how difficult it is, I relate to Philippa’s dad.

When reading this book, I can actually begin to imagine what the characters would sound like & even have images inside my head of who would play them. I feel this shows that the story is conveyed in an effective way because I can identify with the characters & gives me a strong visual imagine. It is written so effortlessly that anyone reading it can begin to imagine if this was to play out in a real life situation.

As the plot thickens, suspicions draw into my mind about who the second skeleton was. In my mind, I come to the possibility of three different people it could be. I feel this makes for a strong story as it allows me to come to my own ideas about what could happen while not knowing anything. Nothing is given away, the suspense is kept up, therefore, I am intrigued to read more to find out if my hunches are actually true.

The ending was completely sudden & unexpected, however, it was timed & planned perfectly. Something happens right at the end of the book that would spoil the book if I was to tell you, but what I can say is that it is a game changer. All along, there were new questions which presented themselves the more I read.

The way ‘the silence’ ends is well thought out. By this point in the book, a lot of questions had been answered. However, there were a few left unanswered. The ending speculates into something without giving you a solid fact & its timed so well that it could effectively lead onto another book if the author decided to write one.

You can purchase the book here: Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

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5-stars

Posted in Subscription Boxes

Gousto Subscription Box

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge to try out with no obligation to leave a review but decided to do one. All views are my own.

Firstly I was quite impressed with the quick delivery with it arriving only a few days after I ordered it with me also getting to choose what day I wanted it delivered. The one downside about delivery was how wide a delivery window it was. The box was estimated between 8am-7pm which isn’t really ideal for someone with a busy lifestyle which is the type of people who would mostly order this product. However, the product arrived around 12 pm so I wasn’t waiting the whole day thankfully!

Once opening the box I noticed how everything was packed carefully, kept separate with a clear instruction of where everything was to go. The meat and products that were to go in the fridge even came inside a special bag with ice packs to keep everything fresh which I was really impressed with.

I love the fact how I was allowed freedom in choosing the menus that I was interested in as well as the option to choose how many people I was feeding. All the vegetables arrived fresh as well which is a massive plus. I love how the recipe cards were hole punched in case you wanted to put them in a binder.

One thing I will say is, the timing it said on each recipe to cook was less time than it actually takes, however, I put that down to the fact I hadn’t made the recipes before. When I cook something for the first time, it takes me a lot longer than it normally would. You also don’t really know how much food you will produce when making it until the end. Both recipes were enough food for two people but if you only are cooking for one person like I was, it will fill you up if you have it with nothing else with it. Onto the recipes.

Recipe One ~ Easy Lamb Biryani:

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It’s no surprise by this point that one of the recipes I picked was Indian and the other Chinese, let’s talk about the Indian first.

Just looking at the recipe card made my mouth water. The instructions were fairly easy to follow and step-by-step which is perfect for a novice cook like me. I began by peeling and dicing the onions and for once my eyes didn’t well up doing this so I guess there’s another plus.

I really loved this meal although it looked nothing like the picture and took a lot longer than 15 minutes for me to cook and prepare.

It was really tasty and filling and all the ingredients were fresh with it being an easy to follow recipe.

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Recipe Two ~ Hoisin Meatballs and Chinese sesame rice:

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Now, this was the recipe I learnt the most from. Firstly, I learnt how to peel ginger, who would have known that the job becomes so much easier using a spoon? To be honest I haven’t really cooked much from scratch before and when I have I’ve never used ginger.

I also learnt that it’s possible to grate the garlic. Yes, you heard me correct. This recipe requires you to grate the garlic. It was easy enough, although garlic really does stink. I love the taste of things such as garlic bread but I never till now realised how smelly it is when you are cooking with it from scratch!

This is also the recipe which has awoken my hunger for cooking meals from scratch (like what I did there?) Ever since cooking this recipe, I have been pinning recipes like mad and been researching how to make some of my already favourite foods from scratch.

You don’t have to be a food lover to fall in love with this subscription box. Such a wonderfully varied selection of recipes to choose from which are being updated every week. You also get the option of how many people you are cooking for: 2 or 4.

It would, however, be good if there was an option to cook a one person meal for those that either lives alone or don’t share similar taste buds to their family members, therefore, having to cook separate meals anyway. I suppose you could half the ingredients and kept the rest for a separate time or freeze half of the food but it’s not the same. It requires even more effort.

I’ve never been a fan of ginger previously but I didn’t taste the difference in this meal. The spiced hoisin sauce and meatballs were simply divine. However, I wasn’t so fond of the Chinese Sesame Rice. I thought that adding lettuce to rice was a bit of an odd call.

One thing that wasn’t so clear was when it came to coating the meatballs in the spiced hoisin sauce it tells you to heat a pan and then add the spiced hoisin sauce and meatballs to this to coat the meatballs in the sauce. When I tried to do this, instantly the sauce started fizzing. It could have been more clear to let you know if you should remove the pan from the heat once hot to add the meatballs and sauce or what otherwise it started hissing and essentially burning.

Other than this I loved the meatballs but perhaps if I was to make this recipe in future I would make it without the Chinese sesame rice because I really didn’t think this rice added anything special to the meal and I didn’t really like it.

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All in all, this was a memorable experience, has taught me a few things about cooking as well as sparking an interest in me to cook from scratch more often in the future.

Would you like a £20 discount on BOTH your first and second Gousto orders? Enter code: TORNADO at checkout for your discount. With this discount code, your first two boxes could cost as little as £7.49 each!

You can sign up here: Gousto

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Posted in Thoughts

The Student Lifestyle

I did plan to have today’s blog post up at the start of the week but due to having no internet at home I’ve only just uploaded it. Therefore, as a special treat I am now uploading a second blog post for today! The daily prompt is Lifestyle so today I will be revealing an insight into my student lifestyle most days.

Morning: 

What morning? Students don’t get up till at least 12pm and even that’s pushing it. Unless I have something important I need to be rushing to, I will most likely wake up between 1pm-4pm. This is the reason why I ended up either late to a lot of university classes or not turning up. If it got to 15 minutes past the hour the class was supposed to start then I most likely wouldn’t turn up. I am often seen making most of my appointments/etc for the afternoon so I can have a lie in.

Afternoon:

When I finally make it out of my bed I am more often that not watching Netflix, playing online games or some other fun activity. I often leave all those uni assignments until last minute. I tend to waste away most the day doing nothing. Oh to be a student.

Evening:

If I have an assignment due the following day this is when I start it, or in other words finish it. I stay up the whole night in order to finish the assignment then submit it right before the due time.

If I don’t have an assignment, I get my dinner and then end up yet again watching Netflix, or blogging or doing something fun while leaving those emails I need to reply to until last minute like everything else. Perhaps this isn’t healthy.

This was meant just as a fun “I do nothing” piece. I suppose I am slightly more productive in reality. Depends on the day really. Like last Tuesday night I had an important meeting for three hours. Just depends on the day.

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Posted in Thoughts

Lack Of Internet

I planned to have a blog post up since Tuesday but I’ve had no internet since Tuesday. The last time the internet went down was when Cheryl released limited edition signed copies of her last album which of course was all sold out by the time the internet was back up. This time? I was expecting an email to give me the details about the VIP upgrades for Emma Blackery. The email was getting sent out on Tuesday, and the VIP upgrades were going on sale the next day. As a result, I ended up getting a bus into university at 5.30am on Wednesday just to check my emails in case the VIP upgrade went on sale really early. LUCKILY, I managed to get my VIP upgrade by using my friends internet when it went on sale at 5pm on Wednesday BUT I could of missed out and I did everything I could to make sure this wasn’t an option.

I bet you can sense my frustration! This got me thinking how much we actually do rely on the internet after all. You don’t realise how important having internet is in your life until moments like these. Also on Tuesday, I was late to an important meeting for my new volunteering job and since it’s new I didn’t have anyone’s phone numbers. Therefore, the only option was…you guessed it: the Facebook group we were all in. Luckily, my bus had free wifi so that I could connect, let them know I was going to be late and ask which room it was being held in. A classic example of internet reliance.

Further, I could have missed out on a meet and greet with Emma Blackery because BT internet was and still is down. To continue my bad luck, I was supposed to be helping a friend with her college graded unit on Wednesday. She needs to interview people on a specific topic and I said I’d help. I have no call time, texts or internet on my phone currently so I couldn’t phone my friend to confirm the details therefore I had no idea what time I would be meeting her. Also, in order to top up my phone, I either need to go to the shop and get a voucher or I need to connect to wifi in order to do it from my phone. Do you understand my dilemma? It was nearly 9.30pm at night on Tuesday and I had just finished my dinner after a productive meeting so was not intending to leave the house again that night. It is moments like these I get envious of overnight buses in London, whereas here I need to wait till about 4/5am to get a bus. If I’d have gotten the bus back into university, I would have most likely missed the last bus home again. Damn you public transport in Scotland!

I also had plenty of emails I needed to be responding to which I was going to do but had to put on hold. I also needed to log my hours for my volunteer job and communicate with the team over Facebook not to mention communicate with countless other people all over the internet. I had also hoped to blog and update social media for my blog which is another thing I was unable to do.

Also, what do you do for entertainment when your internet is down? Stare at walls? No seriously, you take so much for granted when you have working internet and you forget that previous generations had to go about life without internet and without cell phones.

Normally at that time of night after I’d done all my work/communicating/what I need to do I would either be playing games over the internet, watching Youtube, blogging or watching Netflix. There are countless other forms of entertainment I also do, but these are normally all over the internet. I had written this blog post on a word document and aimed to post it on Wednesday. This was also delayed because of the internet being down. As I upload this blog post, I am in university using their internet. BT are supposed to be fixing my internet this afternoon and here’s hoping they do.

I also listen to most my music on spotify so therefore ended up hunting out all my CD’s of which I haven’t used for a long time due to the use of spotify.

Thanks BT internet, you’re a star.

Sincerely,

A frustrated media student/Emma Blackery fan.

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Posted in Thoughts

Perfume

I have never been a strong lover of Perfume. Throughout my childhood and growing up I was always a tomboy. In my teenage years, my grandparents got into a habit of buying me a really nasty smelling perfume every Christmas for years on end. I, of course, pretended to like it as I didn’t want to upset them. It would then go into the back of the wardrobe to be forgotten about never to be seen again.

I don’t know if them buying me the perfumes was a last ditch attempt at trying to get me to act more girly but it didn’t work. It wasn’t until my later teenage years when I began to like girly things all of my own accord. I was never going to be persuaded to act a certain way by anyone, family or not.

Perhaps it was the awful perfume from my grandparents that put me off perfume for life but even today I don’t tend to use perfume. However, I do make the rare exception when it comes to Kylie Minogue and Cheryl.

If you don’t know, I am a MASSIVE fan of both Kylie and Cheryl. My aunt gave me two Kylie perfumes when I was younger that I didn’t use, but once I actually became a fan of her I began to use them and liked the scents.

The same can be said about Cheryl when she released each of her three perfumes I, of course, had to buy them. I even donated £100 to her charity as part of a competition once to get a signed bottle of her perfume. It may seem mad but I have a strong support for my role models/idols/inspirations and firmly believed in what she was doing with her charity. That and the fact I loved the scents.

Apart from this, I have never really been a perfume person, I just see it as a waste of money if I am brutally honest. I will continue to use my Kylie and Cheryl perfumes and will probably re-purchase when I run out. However, I won’t pursue the interest in buying other perfumes as I am a student without much money and don’t think it is something I can justify spending my money on.

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Picture credit: Cheryl promotional material for her perfume range

Posted in Top 10 Lists

April Favourites

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Picture credit: Emma Blackery who is mentioned in this blog post.

Favourite videos are something I have seen many of my favourite vloggers do on their Youtube channels but is something I never thought I could turn into a blog post myself. For once I actually have quite a large list of favourite products in one month so I will share them for the first time in no particular order.

  1. Mallow & Marsh vanilla marshmallows coated in milk chocolate – these are an absolute FAVOURITE that I’ve just discovered this month. Great for studying in the uni library as they don’t crunch when you munch! Buy here: Vanilla Mallow & Marsh.

  2. Mallow & Marsh raspberry marshmallows coated in 70% dark chocolate – for when you want to mix the first one up a bit. Buy here: Raspberry Mallow & Marsh.

  3. Rub, Rub, Rub shower scrub – This is a MUST and it has such a soothing smell. Thank Emma Blackery for introducing this to me as she mentioned it in a video. Buy it here: Rub, Rub, Rub Purchase.

  4. Grammarly chrome extension – a browser extension added to chrome which identifies wrong grammar and spelling on anything I write on the internet and suggests the corrections. I hate grammar and I am also really bad at it so this is a life saver! Sign up and add for free here: Grammarly

  5. “Nothing Without You” song by Emma Blackery. Yes, I had to include this! Listen here: Spotify or here: YouTube.

  6. Speaking about music, I can’t forget Hard Times, the latest release by Paramore. Listen here: Spotify or here: YouTube. I had to include this since I’ve had it on non-stop repeat since it’s release!

  7. Hero Wars Facebook game – I play this game EVERY day – check it out on Facebook!

  8. White Russian cocktails – I know there may be people who read this and don’t drink but near the beginning of the month I went on a rare night out with my uni friends to a lovely bar which had white Russians on reduced price and I already loved them. I drank more of these that night than anything else! I also find it exhilarating to watch them making them since they set them on fire, I know I’m strange!

  9. Thai Sweet Chilli crisps by Sainsbury’s taste the difference. These are now my all time favourite crisps. Buy them here: Crisps

  10. Finally, Haagen-Dazs mango & raspberry ice cream. I tried this at the start of the month and it has overtaken Ben & Jerry’s as my favourite ice cream. Buy here: Ice Cream

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Posted in Thoughts

Blanket Of The Heart

My heart is almost enclosed within a blanket protecting it from the dangers of the world. The more living and growing I do and the more I learn, the stronger that blanket becomes.

In other words, the blanket around my heart is like a restrictive barrier you can’t see that stops you from getting too close to me and stops me from letting you into my heart.

It’s the way I have learned from experience when you give too much of yourself, to begin with, there is a high likelihood of that reflecting back and hurting you instead of helping you.

You don’t know someone’s personality the second you meet them, you may think you do but you don’t. It may feel as if you have known that person a lifetime when the reality is you haven’t.

I know from experience that there have been times I have felt a strong emotional connection and understanding with someone right from the moment I have met them. As a result, I’ve jumped in the heart over head and given them everything, every little piece of me just handed to them on a plate. This is the case for friends, relationships, the whole lot.

As a result, those people gave everything to from day one have turned out to not be the person I thought they were, have let me down or worse, seriously hurt me mentally. There are even times where I have taken a long time to trust someone than when I’ve eventually trusted them they’ve changed and let me down or hurt me.

Nowadays, I keep that blanket around my heart for a lot longer until I am 100% sure I can trust that person. I have discovered from experience that personally it seems to hurt more when it’s someone I have given everything to from the start who has hurt me. I guess that’s because right from the start I have perceived them as someone they were not and then there’s the shock and hurt when I realise they are not the person I thought they were.

At least if someone hurts me who I took a long time to trust, I know within me that they were the person I perceived them as and they either made a mistake or changed as a person and I guess that is easier to accept. So in life, I will keep that blanket protecting me from pain until I know I can trust you. Cause I can’t keep opening me heart up, again and again, to be broken. At least this way, it hurts less, at least this way I have the chance to find those that mean what they say and are who they say they are. At least this way I can find the ones that are true and keep them close instead of letting the fakes in only to hurt me. It’s a happier life this way.

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Blanket

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Posted in Thoughts

Roots As Deep As They Go

Roots. Roots to me are more than just the grassy, muddy variety of roots. The grassy muddy kind of roots is quite frankly boring unless you are a gardener. Quite frankly, I doubt anyone would want to even read this blog post if those were the type of roots I was writing about!

Fear not, my life hasn’t suddenly become that black and white……YET.

Today I will be talking about two different type of roots. 1) Family/Friends roots and 2) Career roots.

Family and friends roots are the deeper type of roots, the type of roots which inspired the title for this blog post in regards to today’s Daily Prompt: Roots.

Family and friends I feel are really the people that shape us and help to define us as people. They are the ones who pull us up when we’ve fallen down and always have our backs when something goes wrong. I know that today, I would most likely not even be alive if it wasn’t for those I am blessed to call my friends, my real friends, my true friends.

I’m sure I can say that for most people they always have that one person who puts on the front of being a friend when in actual fact they have never been there for you and you have still to realise this. Unfortunately, enemies can be hidden in disguise as the people you think will stand by you when things go to shit, I should know.

I’ve had plenty of those people who promise they will always be there and then the second I actually need them, they are nowhere to be found. I think that is a learning curve though, those people have made me stronger. Even though it may hurt like fuck at the time, those people have taught me how to see through people’s bullshit. Occasionally someone will slip through, someone will abuse my good nature, win my support and then desert me but that is becoming rarer and rarer the more I grow and the more I experience.

Family and friends are rooted within our hearts, within our souls and help us develop and grow and we wouldn’t be the people we are without them. You may find me constantly moaning about my family as I don’t get on with most of my family but despite this, I know that they will be there when I need it most and for that I am grateful. We need to hang onto those that matter for as long as possible because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring and we don’t want our last words with someone we care about to be an argument.

Now onto the other type of roots: career roots. Within the media industry especially, it isn’t always about what you know but rather who you know. Another thing is, word of mouth goes a long way into getting your foot in the door within the media industry.

I feel that once you establish that initial introduction with a company you wish to work with in the future that is you beginning your roots. That is you planting the seed for progression and potential experience or a job. Once you are working for that company, that is your stepping stone to move onto the next thing: think bigger. You need to do a lot of rooting within various companies as well as networking from the beginning in order to succeed, grow and develop. As long as you have the motivation, the drive and a strong passion you can succeed.

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Posted in Anxiety/Mental Health/Stress Management

Grey VS Colour

Grey, life is grey: always grey.

When you are mentally low you don’t see the colours in life, life becomes one dank dark place and you see the world in black and white instead of colour.

Mental illness has become a sort of taboo subject to talk about and it doesn’t help when some people in school see mental health as a way to manipulate others. There’s no wonder that many young people don’t talk about mental health because they see is a subject that can’t be approached and we need to work to change this.

I know from experience that any kind of mental health or depression is a difficult subject to talk about and something we should embrace more. When my Bipolar comes into play, I cease to see the joys in life.

I think of my life as a dank and miserable existence in which I can’t anticipate the future and just want out. Life becomes bleak and grey with no hope left. You start to over-think and analyse everything even coming to conclusions about people based on non-existent reasons.

Bipolar can make you imagine what is not there, imagine people you care about being nasty about you and warp your conceptions on why people you care about have acted in a certain way, therefore, causing you to treat them differently, call them out for it or stop talking to them completely.

It can also make you assume that other people know what they have done to upset you when in actual reality, they probably don’t know. Of course, there are always people who will upset you on purpose but you have to separate them from the good that generally does care about you and didn’t mean to hurt you. Mental health, therefore, makes this process and practically any other life process a lot more difficult for you.

Obviously, if you call someone out for a reason your mental health has made up you can be seen as crazy or else that person will leave you because they don’t know why you are going off the rail. Also, mental health issues can make it a lot more difficult to work your problems out with others.

Bipolar can cause me at times, to even see people in grey. Whereas another person might always see the good in the people around them, someone with Bipolar can change their view of people if that person does one thing that hurts them deeply. I don’t mean to do that, I do mean to give the person a chance to explain but there are times when that doesn’t happen.

Another issue I have is trusting people, although this isn’t just reliant on my Bipolar. This is also because of the people who have hurt me. When I was in my younger years of high school, the teacher I trusted most let me down and wasn’t there for me when I needed her and essentially had a negative effect on my life at that time.

Before I met her, I trusted people way too easily. When bullies tried to get information out of me, I just offered it up not realising they were just looking for a topic for gossiping and being mean about me behind my back.

Since then, it can be said as both a positive and a negative thing that I don’t trust people as easily now. I can see through most people’s bullshit, and I can protect my heart from being crushed by being selective with who I trust. However, the negative side of this is that as soon as someone I trust does the smallest thing to hurt me, I get defensive and shut them out instead of talking to them and telling them why they hurt me. Also, because it takes me longer to trust people when I start a new experience: everyone around about me establishes their friendship groups before me so therefore I feel like an outsider who is not welcome.

Life with a mental illness is difficult and gives a different perspective on life – sometimes positive and sometimes negative when my mental health gets low. I begin to see things in grey instead of colour as if I am wearing tinted sunglasses to view the world but when I am well I can see the joy and that is the moments worth living for.

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Gray (Daily Promt, Written in American spelling)

Posted in Anxiety/Mental Health/Stress Management, Thoughts

Unzip Those Feelings

Today I will be talking about my feelings in the sense that I have always been the type of person to bottle up my feelings until they become too much and I then end up almost exploding and breaking down because there are then too many things that have caused me to get low.

It’s no secret that I have major trust issues thanks to the people in my past who have hurt me and let me down when I needed them. As a result, I began to bottle up my feelings even more and it is only recently that I have started working on dealing with my issues at the time that they become an issue.

I think that is partly to do with the fact that now I’m at university, I have become a lot busier and as a result, have to keep a calendar. As a result of this, I realise that I do not always have the time to have a breakdown or stop what I’m doing to deal with a mess of problems. Therefore I have to start dealing with my problems there and then which is something I have always struggled with.

Life is difficult, and I know changing things will be difficult at first but it’s got to get easier. Hasn’t it?

I can’t continue to bottle things up as it has a negative effect on both my mental health and my attitude. Most my arguments I’ve started unreasonably with other people have been because I’ve bottled my feelings up.

I’ve let whatever that person did or said to upset me play on my mind for weeks if not months. As a result, I become a very angry and upset person until one day I can’t hold it in anymore and I have to release.

As a result, I end up flying off the handle with people I care about instead of just talking about it like a grownup. Recently I had a go at someone because they did something which reminded me of someone who hurt me.

The thing that happened with the person who had hurt me was something I didn’t talk about for over three years. As a result, I began to lash out at anyone who would remind me of them and then stop trusting that person.

I have now realised this is an unhealthy attitude and perhaps if I’d have just spoken about the issues at the time, it wouldn’t have come to this. Therefore, zipping up my feelings has also had a negative impact on the way I deal with others, and I want to change that!

Do you have any tips that I can use in order to deal with my problems easier and more efficiently? I want to know. Comment them below!

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