Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The final post of 2014 | New Year's Resolutions

Hello my Leaves,

Happy New Year's Eve! I can't believe we've made it to the end of 2014! Are you excited for the new year to begin? I'm going to celebrate welcoming it in by wearing my pajamas and watching a film with the family.

Every single year I make resolutions about things that are generally out of my control. I say that I'm not going to be ill. That I'm going to have another year without a panic attack etc. Although these things may happen, it's not necessarily something I have any control over. So, this year, I'm going to make resolutions that can be achieved. They may take a lot of determination and motivation, which I will lack at times, but they can be achieved.

1. Blog

I think it goes without saying that my blog is something I will be working on hard this year. I have been getting a lot of satisfaction from doing this and I have some great ideas for what I want to do for future posts and themes. I just need to keep focussing my little motivation towards it! Hopefully by this time next year I will have gone from 1,000 views per month to 5,000 or more, who knows! As long as I am still enjoying it I will continue to blog, it gives me a little glow to see how many of you are already returning each post to see the new content, so, thank you! I've always said from the outset that this has been for me but I love to see that my posts give something to you too, I hope that they continue to do so!

2. Videos

I know that I've dabbled a bit on YouTube this year (a lot of videos being removed because I didn't like them) but I really do enjoy making them. My favourite so far is my Mental Health Selfie, I could actually watch it whilst editing without cringing at my voice! 

I'm saving up for a better camera and microphone so please bear with me :) Any hints tips or advice that you can provide in this area are always welcome. If you're going to criticise then please at least make it constructive.

3. Overall health and skills

I think it goes without saying that top on my list for the New Year is sorting myself out! Alongside kicking the anxiety and depression I want to do some personal development too! This will be in the form of a sport, a language and an instrument. At present I have only started the cogs on a sport but more information about these will be coming up in 'January Journey'. I think these three things will also have an impact on my health as well as being enjoyable so my fingers are crossed that I keep committed!

So, here's my question to you for today, are you going to set resolutions for this year? If so, what are they? Did you keep the ones that you made last year?

Make your own choices

Keep safe & have a Happy New Year!

Toodlepip x

Sunday, 28 December 2014

December Favourites 2014

Good Evening my Leaves,

Happy Sunday!

I can't believe how close we are to the end of 2014 now! To celebrate another year passing I have brought my Monthly Favourites post forward so that I can focus on my New Year's Resolutions on Wednesday's post :)

As you can tell from the first picture I have quite a bit to get through tonight but I will be brief on each point for you :) This post will also incorporate gifts I received from my Family for Christmas as opposed to doing a Christmas 'haul' (the word makes me shudder).

1. Paint your own gnome

Yup. I received a ceramic gnome complete with felt tips to decorate as an ornament for the garden. As of yet I haven't touched it as I'm still deciding on whether to go a bit mad or traditional in the decoration ^^.

2. Ciate Nail Varnish

As you saw in a previous post, I bought the Ciate Advent Calendar for myself to count down to Christmas. I have adored their mini mani collection and have tried so many of the colours out this month :)! I only had one hiccup with a varnish that hadn't survived the journey but I am currently in touch with Ciate about this and they have provided wonderful service so far. The image to the right was Christmas Eve's number and it was full sized! A beautifully glittery and festive number!

3. Christmas Food

As you know well by now, my life is ruled quite largely by my stomach. Comfort food is both my lover and rival so the food at Christmas, well... The pigs and blankets are extra crispy (mm hmm). This year we had Capon instead of Turkey and I found it a nice compromise as it wasn't as dry as Turkey but also wasn't quite a chicken ^^.  I feel shout outs to the gravy, veg and Yorkshire Puddings are also necessary as they too were delicious! I do have a heap more food and leftovers to get through still :D.

4. Lock De-Icer

My car is, mature. She is temperamental and doesn't enjoy cold weather, to the point where she won't let me turn the key. This nifty little tool will hopefully be very handy though I hope the weather doesn't turn enough to need it!

5. Hotel Chocolat - Eton Mess Bites

I love Hotel Chocolat and its products. Do I honestly need to say anymore? White chocolate, meringue and dried raspberries...

6. Yankee Candles

Hehe always more candles. I feel I am slowly getting rid of my fear of flames, for candles at least! I now have a votive 'clean cotton' and a jar 'Vanilla Cherry' to enjoy when my current ones are done :)

7. Kipling Bag

Possibly the pride and joy of this post. I adore my bag. I am a very compartmentalising person and this bag has so many nooks and crannies to hide and separate items. The best part, it's washable! ^^,

8. Decorative heart reindeer ornament

I wasn't too sure what to call this but it's beautiful :) It has a ribbon tie at the very top and hangs to just under a meter. This is very pretty when the light catches it and will now be an annual decoration :)

9. Relaxing

I feel that this needs to be a part of my December Favourites. I have been blessed with not having to work over Christmas this year and have really enjoyed being able to follow my own schedule. It's not the easiest thing to keep 'doing' when you're not well but I have managed to keep a balance so far and hope to maintain it next week so I'm nicely recharged for work the week after!

It doesn't matter how much time you have off, if at all. Just please, please, make some time for yourself. You may have deadlines and commitments but you will much better going about them if you give your mind and body a little recuperation before entering the New Year!

I hope you've enjoyed my post today; what have your favourites been this month? Let me know in the comments below iron twitter @chezautumn :)

Make your own choices.

Toodlepip x

Friday, 26 December 2014

Weekly Update | 26.12.2014

Good Evening my Leaves,

Happy St. Stephen's (Boxing) Day! I hope you have all had a good week and haven't partied to the point of being ill! I was given Christmas Eve off by my work which was a wonderful treat! :)

I thought I'd have a go at making a photo collage for today's post, what do you think? ^^ Surprisingly easy to do, I hadn't realised there are apps that do all of this now! Technology at it's greatest! 

This week has been a mixture of emotion, as expected. I have felt very cherished and loved this week and am very grateful to all my family and friends for their kindness and words. I could really feel my mental health this week, feeling very lonely despite being a house filled with people, but I have still gotten stuck in with the festivities and began to feel much more cheerful and like my usual self.

I've been doing a bit of online shopping this afternoon with some christmas pennies and have ordered myself a fitbit flex! Its time I took better control in myself and exercise always helps my health. Hopefully this tracker will be the motivational nudge I need!

Sunday's post will be the Favourites for the month and then January's theme will begin. Do you want to know what it is? ... *drum roll* ...

January Journey

I will do an overview of what this entails in the first January post so keep your eyes peeled :)

For now though, enjoy your weekend, don't be alone (unless you want to be) & make your own choices!

Toodelpip x

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

December Decorations & Delights | Christmas Eve

Good Christmas Eve my Leaves,

How are you this evening? I realise this post is late and I apologise. I was having a strange moment where I had forgotten the day...

Today is a nice, quick, festive post to wish you all a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas (if you celebrate it)!

We have spent the day wrapping gifts and being generally lazy. The food has been prepped for tomorrow so we just need to turn everything on :)

I went for a walk this morning as I was feeling quite lonely and out of sorts despite being surrounded by people. It was so refreshing to be sat in a park with no one around. There were lots of ducks and swans around saying hello to each other and everything was so, peaceful.

Christmas Hat and Jumper at the ready!

I felt much better after my walk and after a long Skype to some of my family members I felt a lot more like I was back into the Christmas Spirit.

I always feel anxious when I have a long period of time off as it gives me a chance to fall into bad habits and avoid going out as I don't have to. The trick will be to keep finding things to do that require me to leave the house!

This evening we will watch a film, play some cards and generally relax. I can't wait!

What are your plans for this evening? Do you have any traditions?

Have a wonderful Christmas and stay safe!

Make your own choices.

Toodlepip x

Sunday, 21 December 2014

December Decorations & Delights | A look at 2014 Pt.2

Good Sunday my Leaves,

How has your weekend been? I can't believe I've reached 100 followers and almost 100,000 views on my profile! You are truly amazing and I wouldn't feel as I do today if it wasn't for all your support!

Today is part two of Wednesday's post in which I reflected on the first six months of the year. As I mention often, I'm a big believer in reflecting and letting go. I always do my best to live with no regret and have found that this method is helping me do that.

So without further ado, here is my July - December:

1. Moving

As you're all aware by now, I relocated at the very end of June to Surrey. Moving into my new room wasn't the toughest part. I thought it would be being down here that I would struggle with but the problem was physically leaving Lancashire. I cried, a LOT, that day and spent most of the journey down in my mind. I had Houdini sat in his home on my lap and the car was rammed full of all my worldly possessions, it was a very strange feeling. I did my best to explore the area at the beginning and just tried to make my new 'home' a little more familiar. I went for lots of walks trying to find places that would give me the same peace as places up north. Now I feel a lot more settled and have little places I can go when I just need to sit.

2. Volunteering & Finding a job 

Although I was keen to find work, I decided to take two weeks to adjust prior to looking for employment. I'm very glad that I did this as it's not as easy to stop once you are working again. I contacted local seamstresses to see if they would mind me gaining some experience them. Luckily I found someone quite local who was needing help during the wedding season. I really enjoyed my time and learnt a great deal, I also learnt that I would keep sewing as a hobby rather than a career (unpicking lace embroidery from a fabric of the same colour can take its toll on your eyes!). From there I began the hunt for employment and luckily found something within two weeks. I enjoy my job and gives me a lot of satisfaction, it has changed a lot since I began but I'm happy with the direction it is heading. :)

3. The return of anxiety

Naturally, all the change of the year caught up with me at the beginning of October. I'd had a few niggles of anxiety but I could feel it growing. Thankfully I am better equipped this time around and made the right decisions faster. I have seen a doctor and am waiting for the call to therapy (8 week+ waiting list at present). I'm glad I have this little blog to help me track progress!

4. Starting a Blog & Time to Change

As you know I started this blog when I moved and I haven't looked back. It takes a lot of patience, perseverance and motivation to keep it going but I also gain a lot of satisfaction from it. My first proper theme was 'August Awareness'. I spent a lot of time trying to decide if I wanted to be so open on a blog but I'm glad that I was. Even if it only helps one person at some point in it's lifetime, thats one more person who will have less feeling of isolation, perhaps one less person who encourages the stigma. We are all afraid of the different, the unknown, but this is spiralling out of control like a ginormous elephant in the room (we now need a mansion to accommodate the elephant). I hope that you have enjoyed my blog so far. If it has had the slightest bit of effect on your life, let me know. Pass the hope forward, help to make a difference.

How have your last 6 months been? Is there anything that you have learnt? Would you say that your year was balanced?

Make your own choices.

Toodlepip x

Friday, 19 December 2014

Weekly Update | 19.12.2014

Hello my Leaves, 

Happy Friday!!!! Hoorah! It's almost the end of the year :) I have two and a half days left at work and then I return on the 5th January 2015 :)

This week has been a week of success and achievement for me :) I have navigated a weekend of exploring with one of my Northern friends  around the local area and TWO christmas do's! One of which was today but as it started at 1pm I now feel like it's past midnight xD I left everyone on their merry journey to bars and opted to come home and write this (if that's not commitment...).

Ooh and here's a picture of my outfit:

Red and Black Dress (QUIZ)
Jacket (online/old)
Shoes (Dune)

I have successfully travelled in four different cars this week without feeling too much anxiety. I'm currently on a mood high because of this xD I always tend to dwell on the negatives so I am making an effort to highlight that not all my weeks are low!

So. My challenge to you is to comment below with your positives for the week! Keep smiling and have a safe week, no matter the plans :)

Make your own choices

Toodlepip x

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

December Decorations & Delights | A look at 2014 Pt.1

Good Evening my Leaves how are you this Wednesday?

Today I've decided to take a look back on the first six months of 2014 to gain closure of this year and prepare for the next :)

Things I will be answering which you can ponder and apply to your own year too are:

1. Lessons learnt from the first 6 months of 2014
2. Highlights of the first 6 months of 2014
3. Lows of the first 6 months of 2014
4. Significant memories made?
5. Overall rating

1. Lessons learnt from the first six months

Life is for living each moment, not waiting for events to happen. 
Don't be afraid of saying how you feel.
You're stronger than you think.

2. Highlights of the first six months

Completed my first year on the Graduate Training Scheme.
Had a firm handle on my anxiety to the point that I could go about living my life without thinking about it.
Houdini turned 2!
I reconnected with some people I had lost contact with.

3. Lows of the first 6 months

A lot of change in personal circumstances.
My second placement on the GTS fell through with only weeks to transferring.
Loss of a friend I was at Uni with.
Experienced a loss of goals and direction, found it very hard to make a decision about what I wanted.

4. Significant memories

The decision to relocate. (and telling everyone / seeing their reactions)
Buying my macbook after years of drooling and finding reasons why I couldn't buy it.
Starting to pack up the house and downsize possessions to fit in one room (two cars).
Saying 'bye' to everyone and everything that made my life what it was.

5. Overall rating 

Probably a 4?

The first six months of this year are ones I will be glad to not repeat. I learnt a lot in this time and had to make a lot of change, something I don't enjoy (being a creature of stability and comfort). Writing all this down is giving me a very weird feeling, I don't think I would live those months in a different way if I could, and I'm happy with the decisions and actions I did. I remember just sitting in the dining room one day and staring at the ceiling trying to remember how I had gotten into the situation I was in. The answer is that, it's life. Life doesn't give you a plan to follow and it's up to you to make your own way. Keep your eyes and ears open. Check to see how those close to you are doing. Most importantly, be honest with yourself. If something is unpleasant, don't ignore it. I found a lot of strength in myself over those months that I hadn't realised I possessed. It gave me the momentum I needed to regain control over my life and I'm just slightly frustrated that it had to get to a point like those months for me to see it.

How were your first 6 months of 2014? How did you find answering the questions?
Part 2 will follow on Sunday and it all gets better, trust me :)

Make your own choices

Toodlepip x

Sunday, 14 December 2014

December Decorations & Delights | Juggling time at Christmas

Good Evening my Leaves,

I hope you've all had a lovely weekend, I have :)

To follow on the Christmas theme today is all about Time. It's not something we always make the most of and, with a week and a half off for Christmas, I intend to make the most of it.

A lot of my family are scattered across the country so for me to see everyone for Christmas would mean I'd spend a lot of time travelling around instead of relaxing and enjoying the time. 'Why not get everyone in one place?' I hear you ask, well, that would be tempting fate far too much ^^ I have lots of branches of family and I don't think it would be fair to ask them all to be in the same place and enjoy the company of people they don't usually see!

I have found a solution though :) the internet!

I first did this last year and found that it was a good compromise. By use of Skype and FaceTime I was able to see everyone and catch up over the Holidays but no one had to go out and drive in the inevitable bad weather! Technology truly is amazing and although we complain when it is slow, the feats we can accomplish just make me very happy :)

So, here's my question to you, how do you juggle your time at Christmas? Do you keep yourself to yourself, do you have a huge family gathering or have you tried to see people over the internet?

Make your own choices.

Toodlepip x

Friday, 12 December 2014

Weekly Update | 12.12.2014

Hello my Leaves,

12 12 teehee I can't believe how fast this week has gone!

Apologies for this post being published so late but I was out socialising... *pause for stunned silence* ... yep. That's right. I left the house for something other than work :)

Go Chez!    Go Chez!

 \O            O/           \O
   | >        < |               | >
  / \            / \             / \

I wanted to try out a self defence & MMA class a few weeks (read: months) ago but chickened out due to my anxiety. It (the anxiety) has actually been worsening but my determination has increased in unison. I was a bit skittish at first but by the end of the one to one I felt like I have really achieved something, despite feeling physically and mentally wiped! Today was just an induction but I now need to decide which class I'm going to do :)

Also, it was Christmas Jumper day at work today so here is the obligatory photo:

We were raising money for Save The Children so I also HAD to buy some of the yummy cakes that colleagues had made...

I think today was the most exciting day of the week ^^, I was in a bit of a funk over the weekend but managed to turn it around for work and get all my work done. I also bought some Quentin Blake designed Christmas Cards AND managed to write and send them all. If that's not being organised and speedy I don't know what is!

Oh and the doctors went well - ish. They've confirmed that anxiety has reared its ugly head, as expected, but they also said I'm showing symptoms of moderate depression, not so expected. I know I've been a bit low lately but I never wanted to hear that term ever again, almost in denial :/ I feel like I'm approaching it in a much better frame of mind this time though and I want to do this without medication so here the journey begins...

How has your week been? Do you have plans for the next? I have a friend visiting this weekend and then the Work Christmas party on Friday which will be a barrel of tension until (and when) I get there :/

Have a lovely weekend!

Make your own choices!

Toodlepip x

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

December Decorations & Delights | Felt Presents DIY

Hello hello hello!

It's Wednesday! Yippee! This is my last full week of 2014 at work! I managed to save up quite a few holiday days so although I have a few working weeks left none of them are five days :)

With all the extra time I've been able to be more creative in my posts for December which is why you are able to see today's post :)

I know decorations for trees are nice but sometimes you want something different but without spending a fortune in the shops! Here's one of my ideas, felt presents!

A word of warning before I begin, the quality of the present I made isn't the best! Once I had decided this is what I was going to do I ended up chasing daylight to get it completed for you, I'm sure your own productions will be much prettier :)

For this project you will need:

Felt (size depends on the size of a present you want to make :))
Something for the ribbon, I opted for a different colour of felt!
Stuffing, I opted for an old cushion as it was cheaper :)
Thread (cotton)
Dressmaking pins
A needle 

Step One

Cut out six identical squares of felt. I did this by folding a shape into a triangle to ensure it made two right angled triangles :)

Step Two

With the pins, carefully, pin the squares together leaving about a centimetre gap or less to sew the sides together :) DON'T PIN one edge as you will need access to reverse and add stuffing :)

Step Three

Sew all the pinned edges, I managed to sew the box with a single thread but you may want to double it up and make the stitches tighter for it to be more durable :)

Step Four

Turn your box inside out so it's not the right side out :) You may need to use your hands to push the sides and corners :)

Step Five

Stuff the old cushion innards into the box and sew the final edge. I folded the edges over and did 'sort of' invisible stitches :P

Step Six

With your second material wrap two strips so they look like the ribbon on a present :) I sewed them to the 'base' of the box so they weren't visible.

Step Seven

Cut out two strips and add a triangle cut out to create the ends of a ribbon. You will also need to sew a loop with some felt and cut out a small strip wish will be used to wrap the middle of a loop :)

Step Eight

Create the bow. I used the small strip and sewed it to the middle of the loop piece before I added the 'ends' of the ribbon. Attach this to the present.


You can change shapes and sizes of gifts as well as materials! I opted for felt as opposed to cotton as its firmer but you can always use an interfacing if you want to get fancy :) You could even make tiny presents to use as tree decorations if you want to!

And that's it! Let me know how it goes for you in the comments below :)

Make your own choices.

Toodlepip x

Sunday, 7 December 2014

December Decorations & Delights | A non-traditional Christmas

Good Evening my leaves! 

How has your weekend been? I've had a very lazy weekend reading the rest of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy books :)

Anyway that's not for today's post :) Today I'm going to make you all warm, fuzzy and festive :) Let's talk about plans for Christmas!

This year I am celebrating Christmas at home with some of my family, the last 5 years have been spent away from home so it will be nice to spend time with my family :) Saying that, this will be the first time I have had a Christmas with my family, at home, sine 1998. Why is that I hear you ask? Why because we are usually away. I have been very blessed and fortunate to experience christmas' in other countries and I've found that there are alternative ways to celebrate as opposed to running to the living room in the morning, having a massive meal, followed by dancing around like loonies and watching everyone get hilariously drunk. Which, don't get me wrong, is still a fantastic way to spend Christmas!

This was me after completing one of my first black runs
(It started at the raised tower you can see at the top of the mountain ^^)
My most memorable christmas' have been spent in snow :) To avoid the planning and preparation of Christmas we would go away, usually skiing in the Alps. I loved it! 

As a child I loved it because it was fun and in Italy you got to open presents on Christmas Eve! (I don't know if this is a tradition?) As a bigger kid I loved it because there were no expectations. You could get up and just go skiing at any time, it would be a normal holiday day. I particularly loved that you could have anything for Christmas day lunch (insert picture of little Chez post-pasta, at the top of a mountain, on Christmas day ^^).

Yep, sat outside in the sun and snow :)
Spending Christmas away from home really gave me the reason I love Christmas. For me it's not the religion, it's not the dinner, its not the rushing to get up early and open presents and then get ready for family. Its the feeling. I don't know if I can describe it, hopefully you will know what I mean. Everything just falls into place. It doesn't matter what your plans are for the day you just get a little reminder that you should embrace your inner you and appreciate life. Not just your own lives, life as a whole. When you go for your post meal walk just stop and look around you. Close your eyes. Just listen. I think that's the closest I can get to helping explain it.

I hope you know what I mean and, if you don't, I hope you will feel it this year. 

Do you have any non-traditional things you like to do at Christmas? Maybe it's become a tradition for you? I know a few of my friends go to the cinema on Christmas eve? Perhaps you don't celebrate Christmas, can you relate this to another event?

Make your own choices!

Toodlepip x

Friday, 5 December 2014

Weekly Update | 05.12.2014

Good Evening my leaves, how are you today?

This week has been, draining. I had today off from work but have lacked the motivation to do any of the wonderful things I've had planned.

The weekend was spent decorating my tree for Christmas though which was a strange yet fun experience!

I had bought all the decorations in the January sales so it was nice to unbox everything for the first time and work out where to place them on the tree! It's lacking lights but considering my fear of fire I don't mind :)

Work has been busy too but I feel like I've made a real impact in my workload this week and felt nicely productive despite working whilst it darkens outside!

I have an appointment at the doctors down here tomorrow which will be interesting. I'm going to take steps towards handling my anxiety and I haven't seen anyone down here so I'm curious to see if the system is much different to the attitude up north, wish me luck!

I've also acquired a slight obsession with Richelle Mead's 'Vampire Academy' books after renting the film. Have you read them? Do you have any recommendations from there?

I'm quite excited for you to see the rest of December's posts and I hope they come across as well as I have planned and written them :) I have lots left to write but, judging from the plans, I think you will enjoy them!

How has your week been? Do you have plans for the weekend?

Make your own choices.

Toodlepip x

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

December Decorations & Delights | Films for the Holidays

Good Evening my Leaves,

I hope you're having a lovely week so far! To make it a little brighter, here's the first December Decorations & Delights post, Films for the Holidays :)

I always enjoy the build up to Christmas, sometimes more than the day itself! Here are the films I like to watch to get into the Christmas Spirit :)

1. Love Actually

Perhaps an obvious one to start with! Love actually is such a wonderfully christmas film :) I love watching how everyones lives collide and change for better and worse. If the story isn't enough to tempt you then Hugh Grant dancing should do it ^^,

I take the message from this to be, don't be afraid to share your feelings :)

2. Edward Scissorhands

Now for a less obvious one maybe. Edward Scissorhands. I love Tim Burton's films and how they all have messages hidden in them. I love the idea that the snow is made by Edward carving ice sculptures :) I think this film also shows that we should accept people for their unique qualities and not try to change them and shun them if they don't follow our own thoughts.

3. Frozen

Let's be honest, you knew this was going to appear ^^. If you haven't seen Frozen yet, go watch it :) Its perfect for the little ones and you will find it amusing too :D If I haven't sold it to you yet then go to YouTube and watch the 'How It Should Have Ended' version :P

4. The Holiday

Another predictable film to be in this list. For those that just want to escape the madness and bustle of the holidays. I find this such a feel good film! It keeps you hoping too, that one day you will have that connection with somebody if you don't already. Remember, if it gets too much, step back and remind yourself what you want to achieve :) You don't always have to travel to the other side of the world to do this :)

5. Anastasia

The film I currently have in the background, Anastasia. I miss the traditional Disney musical films and old animation. This film brings back so many memories from childhood :) A lovely way to portray a myth and make you feel good :)

I shall most likely have these films on a loop now until Christmas ^^ Do you have certain films that help you feel the Christmas Spirit?

Make your own choices.

Toodlepip x