Sunday, 26 June 2016

Generalised Anxiety Disorder - My Story so far



I wanted to paste in a post from an old blog. I posted it 8 months ago.

For context purposes I should tell you I was, like I am now, sitting up in the middle of the night & worrying intensely about nothing. For 9 months after the murder of my Uncle I suffered terribly with Health Anxiety and Generalised Anxiety Disorder. GAD has been present in my life for as long as I can remember. I've always been just a little bit too worried about the smallest things, but this particular period of Health Anxiety was literally taking over my life for the 9 months it took it's strongest hold. I made 2 videos about this on my YouTube channel if you'd like to check them out.

At the moment I'm feeling very 'generally' anxious, and writing to help others really helps shift my focus. I hope this helps at least one person realise they aren't alone.









OCTOBER 2015





HEALTH ANXIETY – MY STORY SO FAR…
As a believer that anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorders and mental health in general are issues that are (unbelievably in this day and age) still mindlessly stigmatised and hushed out of everyday conversation I would like to share this page to raise some awareness of a crippling condition I have developed (sometimes extreme, sometime less so) since the life of my uncle was mindlessly taken in June last year.





Please don’t mistake this condition (also known as hypochondria) for the occasional worrying about one’s health, or feeling a bit panicky every now and then. This is constant anxiety. Constant feeling of ‘This is it. I’m going to die’. Constant, and completely unescapable, most of the time.
At least 7 or 8 times a day, I worry that I’m chronically ill. I check my body all the time with out even realising I’m doing it now. It’s relentless. At my worst, I can be awake for 72hours+ because the worry of not waking up is so terrifying that sleep was not an option.
I’ve been convinced I have; a brain tumour, breast cancer, thyroid cancer, bone cancer, HIV, MS – not just a passing thought, but CONVINCED.
In the last YEAR I’ve had X-rays, ultrasound tests, heart and lungs tested multiple times, ECGs, at least 10 blood tests, blood clot tests, heart failure assessments, I’ve been prescribed and taken beta blockers, mood stabilisers, sedatives, anti-inflammatories, codeine. Side effects of my anxiety have been development of nerve sensitivity in my arms, headaches, chest pains, weight gain, depression, paranoia, insomnia and breathing issues. I’ve been laughed at, trivialised, ignored, mocked. The list of effects of health anxiety is almost too long to recall.
Writing this in black and white lets me see how ridiculous it all sounds, I do have a logical part of my mind that’s always hanging around letting me know I’m blowing things out of proportion, but when you are feeling this and your mind is so consumed that you block out and completely miss chunks of your life (I don’t remember October 2014 to March 2015 very much at all – I zoned out) it feels so real. The feeling of the panic attacks that occasionally come with the anxious feelings are true hell. I’ve rushed to A&E twice (consecutive nights, in fact) with the real fear that the sensation of the panic attacks was in fact a heart attack.
This condition, and so many mental health issues like it, really do ruin lives. Wreck marriages and tear families apart through lack of understanding. It’s almost laughable how often people tell me ‘just, try not to worry about it’. It’s like asking a cancer suffer to ‘just get better’. It’s literally the one thing in life I want to be able to do, but can’t.
So please, be aware of your own feelings and the feelings of those around you if you think anxious thoughts are occurring frequently or uncontrollably in you or someone you know. Because worry is a natural and essential instinct in us all, it’s so easy to glaze over or trivialise it. But please, don’t. The mind is a beautiful but powerful thing. If you start down the wrong path, it’s often when you’re way, way down the path that you realise it’s a problem. And it’s a long walk back.
I’m writing this now after I’m having some strong anxious feelings tonight after a fair few months of feeling strong. It’s done a lot for me writing this and setting my story down in words. So thank you very much to anyone who takes time to read it. I hope it helps someone out there to know they aren’t alone.
Just know, honestly, you’re going to be okay.
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Saturday, 25 June 2016

YouTube

S T A R T I N G    Y O U T U B E

I've been a massive fan of YouTube for years now, but only ever really used it for karaoke tracks, or for finding old nostalgic adverts & kids TV shows! But about 2 years ago I started watching more beauty & lifestyle videos, and quickly developed the addiction to my favourite Youtubers and their content!

I'd never really pictured myself starting my own channel, despite my performing arts background and my love of technology! It felt like another form of 'celebrity' that didn't seem all that accessible to a novice like me! Also, I'm a perfectionist, and knew I wouldn't be happy unless I knew I could produce good content, and devote lots of time to promoting what I was creating. But about 6 months ago I decided I'd give it a try. I watched hours of 'How to Start a YouTube Channel' videos, and swotted up on on the more technical side; cameras, lighting, audio equipment. I planned out my first ten videos, and then I bit the bullet and got on with filming!

I started with filming singing covers and collab challenges (and still really enjoy doing both!), but I've already started to incorporate a lot more beauty related content over the short time I'm had my channel. I'm really passionate about beauty as an art, so it's definitely always going to be a big part of my content in the future.

So that was the start of my YouTube journey! Let me tell you a little more about the equipment I use to produce content...



F I L M I N G   E Q U I P M E N T 

OUTPUT & INPUT OPTIONS

MIC & Remote input, HDMI and A/V output (great for using an external monitor to see your shot in more detail as you film it!

CANON 700D


I use the Canon 700D as my main filming camera. I won't go into too much detail about the spec, but some really great features of this DSLR are:
Flip-out screen - This is obviously a massive help as I film on my own, and the screen saves a lot of time by allowing me to always have an eye on the frame as I'm filming!
Interchangeable lenses - There are other camera available that will record video to a decent standard (iPhones too!), but having the option to change lenses gives you so many more options! It also means that even if the lens breaks, your camera body may not have.
MIC input - The sound on DSLRs are not great, so having the option to plug in an external mic really improves the audio quality of my videos!
Remote input - I'm able to use a remote to take photos, rather than use the shutter button, so I don't get that MySpace, arm-in-frame look when taking photos for thumbnails!


CANON 24mm LENS


I have two lenses that I use with the Canon at the moment; the 18-55mm & the 24mm lens. They are both great for filming, but they have their own set of pros: 
The 18-55mm is;
+ Able to zoom, so I don't have to move myself or the tripod around to film things at varied distances, or to zoom in close
+ Has auto-focus, which is great for showing products in my videos
The 24mm is;
+ A fixed distance lens - great for sitting and talking in front of the camera!
+ Shallower, and contains less glass. I think this makes the image a lot sharper.

CANON KIT LENS: 18-55mm EFS
LED LIGHT WITH HOT-SHOE ATTACHMENT


I use two box lights for filming usually; they're surprisingly cheap at around £60 for the pair! But when I'm vlogging, or filming cut-aways for products a poratable LED light really comes in handy! I think mine was around £20 from eBay. It can be powered by AC adapter or AA batteries, and has a dimmable option. It also came with a clear white light and an orange warm light filter.

Lighting is the cheapest but most important thing you can change to achieve an instantly better image. You can have the best camera on the market, but if you don't have enough light hitting you, the subject, the result won't be as great as it can be. You can achieve an awesome quality by filming on your iPhone just by improving your lighting. Natural daylight is best, of course, but daylight bulbs are second best, and are obviously a little more controllable than the ever changing sun!
UV FILTER FOR LEN PROTECTION

They cost just a few pounds from eBay but can save you from scratching a much more expensive lens! I highly recommend buying one the minute you buy a lens! Your new lens will tell you what (thread) size that you'll need .
TWO AUDIO QUALITY SETTINGS

RODE is a pretty standard brand for YouTubers. I think they have 3 video mics; one is super cheap, there's a middle of the road option (this is the one I use), and a much more expensive option. This Video Mic has 2 audio sensitivity settings that are useful depending on where you're filming (inside or out). You can also get an attachment called a 'Deadcat' for when you film in windy conditions.
RODE VIDEO MIC
BLOGGING BACK-UP CAMERA - NIKON D70

This an old but reliable DSLR with no video capability. The image quality is great for it's age. Unlike my Canon, it uses Compact Flash cards, instead of SD cards. These are a little more pricey.
I have a kit lens on it, a 28-80mm zoom lens. 
NIKON D70

NIKON 28-80MM LENS

Thanks for checking out this post, everyone, Please let me know if you have any questions, and any YouTubers out there be sure to let me know what you guys use! I'm always looking to improve my set up!

Lx
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Monday, 20 June 2016

Tattoos



In 2007, I was 19 years old. I was mad at the world (especially my parents) and I was looking for pretty much any way possible to retaliate against my very strict up-bringing. And, boy, did I find a way to do that...
I went out with all the 'wrong' boys, chose a degree that my parents really didn't want me to take, smoked in secret, and I drank like a fish. 
Oh, and I got two tattoos.
My foot tattoos then

My foot tattoos now
My first tattoo (or tattoos?) were on my feet. There was a cool girl at college who had her name tatted on her feet, in massive, black, Times New Roman font. Now, my adult self seeing that now would laugh and make a joke, but 18 year old me though this was the best. idea. ever. Who tattoos their own name on their feet?! I only hope I don't loose my right leg, and I'm just stuck with "Anne" on my left foot (Anne is my middle name).
I 'designed' them myself and took them to the artist I chose in Sunderland. They hurt SO much! I went by myself and could barely walk afterwards. I had a complete loser of a boyfriend at the time too, who obviously thought they were great....
Nearly 10 years on and the lines of the text are spreading and the colours are all starting to merge just a little...ugh. 

My back tattoo then
My back tattoo now
My second tattoo is at the bottom, right-hand side of my back, and was a lot less thought-out than the first experience! I was living with uni friends, and during a trip to the newsagent we decided to de-tour to the tattoo shop. I literally chose a design off the wall and sat down to begin the process within 5 minutes. Personally, this is the one I regret most because it's so badly done. Although my other one is almost just as ridiculous, I think this one is no where near as well executed - I mean, what are those strange things sticking out from the purple and orange flowers?!

Unfortunately, because they are so colourful it would be really hard to remove them fully, but it's definitely something I want to do in the near future. I'd love to hear your tattoo removal stories if anyone would like to share. I'm scared of the pain, but I'm even more scared of being stuck with these things for the rest of my life, ha!

Lx
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Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Review // Kylie Cosmetics - Lips & Gloss

My Kylie Purchases!
Like all products, the Kylie Cosmetic products aren't without their faults, (although these have been pretty well documented in other reviews) the stopper lets a little too much product out, the tubes don't feel all that full, there was additional customs costs once it arrived in the UK. But all in all, it's an aesthetically pleasing, staple beauty range, from what I can tell. The two products I've tried so far have definitely made me want more!



KYLIE LIPKIT - POSIE K
In short - I love it! I think I meant to order Koko K, but I ordered Posie K... and, heck, it's a real beauty! The colour is beautifully rosy & works great with my fair skin! I'm not sure how I'll look when I have a tan, but I'm assuming (as Kylie is tanned) that it'll look A-Okay. The lip liner is so creamy, and I'll definitely be wearing it on it's own in the future, as it has just a slightly different colour result to the liquid lipstick - two looks for the price of one, winner! The liquid lipstick compliments the liner perfectly so obviously they work really well together. The lasting power is impressive! I got a good 5 hours out of one application, with a meal involved in there for good measure. Oily food might break it down a little faster. I think ignoring the length of time it took to arrive (about 3 weeks, to the UK) and the customs fee involved (£14 for me), it's a great product that is definitely worth trying if you haven’t already. The shade range isn’t great, but I doubt Kylie will wait long to create more colours for us to enjoy!

All in all, I give the Kylie Lipkit in Posie K 4.5 out of 5. Give me mooore!


KYLIE GLOSS - LIKE
The second product I tried is Kylie's gloss, in the shade 'Like'. First let me mention the packaging; the tube feels 'pricey' - it feels like a premium product, but I don't know if that is all psychological, though... The design is sleek and simple.
The gloss isn't all that sticky, but it takes a few applications to suss out how to control the product coming out and going onto your lips, with the stopper seemingly missing. The first time I definitely put too much one and it felt uncomfortable. After that I felt like I was being instinctively more light-handed with it, and it didn't seem to be a problem from then on. This colour was okay - Although I love brown shades for lips, I felt a little bit too much like I had fudge sauce on my lips. I think I'll try a pinker and a deeper brown next time! 

All in all, I'd give it 3.5 out of 5, but I think this would definitely go up if I tried a more suitable colour for me.

Lx




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Thursday, 2 June 2016

My Tips for Finding the Best eBay Bargains

I have always been a lover of bargains - who isn't, right? - but eBay takes it to a whole new level for me. I've been using eBay as a buyer for years, but I have only ever used it's for very particular items up until recently, but now it's my first go-to for most things before looking elsewhere online.

Obviously there are a few downsides to opting for these bargains; they often take weeks to arrive (when ordering from China), and usually there's a lot of scrolling through millions of listings until you find exactly what you want. So, to avoid as much disappointment and time-wasting as possible, I've put together a list of my top tips for finding exactly what you want, for a great price!

These metallic geometric sunglasses were around £2.50!
 Search 'sunglasses' and get scrolling!

1. Decide what/if you can compromise on - time, price or quality.
Let's face it, if you're buying a baggy jumper for £3, it's not going to be cashmere, and buying from China won't have the option for next day delivery! Depending on the product you're looking for, you can decide for yourself if there are any compromises you can make. For example, I know that it's not going to cause me any harm (hopefully) if I wear cheap sunglasses, like the ones above, but I would never risk buying, say, diet supplements from China as I have no idea what their regulations are over there and there's no way for me to be sure they'd be safe!

2. Scroll then scroll some more - some sellers have the same product cheaper the further down you go.
Now don't quote me, I don't know this for sure, but I'm pretty sure it's a thing! Otherwise, it's just a total coincidence that the exact same product is cheaper the further you scroll through the listings...!

3. Beauty Products from a store rather than an individual
I can't say it's totally reliable to buy beauty products from eBay, as there are a lot copies around. But if you choose to, it's best to buy from 'stores', with lots of good reviews. I guess this goes for any product really; to help eliminate the chances of the product being naff, go for a seller with a lot of sales and a lot of good feedback.

4. Check the description!
There are some sneaky suckers out there that have really misleading photos and product titles, but if you haven't read the description it's difficult to raise a complaint with eBay when you receive a crappy product.

5. Try misspelling or using alternative words
Especially if you're looking for auction items, as it normally means there's less competition as no-one else can find it!

6. Be both non-specific & really specific
For example, I wasn't sure what style of sunglasses I was looking for when I found the glasses in the photo above, so I literally just typed in 'sunglasses' as a search. But if you know exactly what you want and you want to spend less time looking, then make your search more specific.

7. Specify 'UK only'
If you want to ensure you aren't waiting weeks for an item, you can refine your search to 'UK Only' by using the location preference.

8. Specify 'Buy Now' 
If you're anything like me,you forget to do this at first, then get overly excited when you see a product for mere pennies with free shipping...then you realise and sob into your pillow while you scroll on...

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