How 'Dear Evan Hansen' helped me... || World Mental Health Day

This is a post I've been wanting to write since I first listened to the 'Dear Evan Hansen' soundtrack.
And now that it's World Mental Health Day, it seems only fitting.

If you've never heard of this award-winning musical, then I suggest you get listening, regardless of you being a musical theatre fanatic or not. Because this musical (written by the same guys who wrote the music for 'La La Land') challenges the social norms of mental health issues. It's about a teenage boy, called Evan Hansen, who suffers from social anxiety, and his neighbour, called Conor Murphy, who commits suicide. Wrapped up in the drama surrounding the events that follow this tragedy, Evan must also battle his own inner demons. 
All of the issues that affect each character, from the parents to the teenagers, are so real and can be seen everywhere today. We also see how through the medium of social media, we can help someone, no matter how small the problem is.

As people who have read my blog know, I have a very strong view on mental health issues, particularly anxiety. I'm always anxious (excuse the use of the word) to find ways of combatting these issues and how they make people feel. I'm a firm believer in talking to someone about your problems, or in worse case scenarios, writing them down. 
So when I clicked play on the 'Dear Evan Hansen' soundtrack for the first time, the opening song 'Anybody Have a Map?' came blaring through my speakers, and the first lyrics that hit my ears were:

"Have you been writing those letters to yourself? 'Dear Evan Hansen, today is gonna be a good day, and here's why!'"

 I was immediately hooked on this musical, without even knowing the plot. 
There was just something about the ease of these lyrics and the connection I had with them that gave me this eery feeling that I was meant to stumble across this musical.

I think the most important song for me that I want to highlight in this post is 'You Will Be Found.' This song comes at the end of Act One, and, for me, it begins to tie the theme of the musical into the plot. 
The main message behind this song is that nobody is alone. Everyone always has something they have to deal with in their lives, whether you know it or not. 

Through whatever darkness is in your life, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. 
I think that this is a statement that may sound easy, but is probably one of the toughest things someone who is suffering from a mental illness can achieve. 
Every time I'm feeling down, I think of the lyrics in this song and the entire meaning behind it. I may be suffering, but out there, someone else is suffering. And we need to be strong for each other and for ourselves if we are going to overcome this.



Sincerely, me.

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A month in London

It is August 5th 2017 and my four weeks in London is officially over!
I’m writing this blog post from Gatwick airport, as I sip on some (well deserved) Prosecco and wait for my flight home.

I had planned on writing at least one blog post a week with updates on how I was getting on and what I was doing, but blogspot was unfortunately blocked on the WiFi access I had in the school. As it turns out, I wouldn’t have had any time to post a blog post! I was busy pretty much 24/7!

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been working in a language summer camp just outside London for almost a month now. It was such an amazing experience and I am so sad to see it end.

I arrived on what was probably the hottest day ever, travelling on a sweaty train to Newbury with six other people I met for the first time at the airport. We reached at the school at seven o'clock and registered with the camp. We even received some very snazzy name tags, which acted as our key passes for the four week which let us get into the different buildings. V professional.

The school grounds were amazing! They reminded me of the holiday camp in Dirty Dancing. And yet, it's a boarding school! If I went to school there, I'd never want to leave!
We spent the first two days getting to know each other and having some training. Everyone I worked with was so lovely and we all clicked immediately! The training helped us understand what was going to happen once students arrived, but it wasn’t until we got stuck into the work we really understood how things worked!

I was working in the KIDS department, which I am forever grateful for! These little kiddies were aged 7 all the way up to 10 years old, and they were just too cute! I had a great time working as their house parent (their mammy for the four weeks!). So much so, I found it very difficult to leave them this morning!

I got to experience things I never would have done if I hadn’t been offered this job. I went to so many animal parks I declared myself a master farm animal feeder! I got to visit a child’s science museum, which was just as fun for us adults. I discovered how relaxing painting (especially ceramic plates) can be. But the most exciting thing I got to do was go to see two of my all-time favourite West End musicals – ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Aladdin’! Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Disney and musicals. Combining the two? Well, you can only imagine my reaction! Of course, I cried during the two opening songs of both (Circle of Life, I understand crying through. But Arabian Nights from ‘Aladdin’? Why? Just why did I cry?). Definitely one (well, two) of my highlights of the four weeks!

As I said, this was definitely one of the best things I could have ever done for myself.
I was worried coming over that I would get home sick and anxious (like I did when I was in the Gaeltacht for two weeks, which was a four hour drive away from home) but I didn’t! I was kept busy and didn’t have time to think about being away from home and my family, or anxiety in any form at all. I cried for the first time in four weeks last night, all because I said to my mam that in 24 hours I would be on Irish soil. It was the build up of emotions I didn’t have time to let out for a month, and honestly, it felt great. They weren’t sad tears (except for the ones that had to do with leaving), but happy tears. It was an amazing four weeks that I got to spend with amazing people!


Until next time.
Fifs xo

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"Doing It" by Hannah Witton || Book Review

*WARNING* If you are under the age of 14, I suggest you do not read any further. Not that I can stop you, because I don't know who you are. This book is aimed at readers ages 14+.

I've always loved Hannah Witton. If you don't know who I'm talking about, then I suggest you check out her YouTube channel here. So when I heard she was bringing out a book, I just knew I had to buy it. 
I've never owned a sex education book before, so to go up to the counter and purchase it was a little bit embarrassing. But then I realised that there was no need to be embarrassed - I'm a 22 year old female, who just wants to buy a book of her own choosing. I told my mam with pride that I was after buying a book on sex and relationships, although she had a little giggle while I was telling her. But once I told her that it wasn't just about sex, she seemed interested in it.

Hannah's book is one of those that you wish you had going through puberty. In it, she talks about sex (obviously), relationships and break-ups, the LGBTQ+ community, body image and much much more that you probably wouldn't think of reading about (because they are such taboo topics in general day-to-day conversation, e.g. porn, masturbation, rape etc.). 

I actually learned a lot from reading 'Doing It,' especially the bit about relationship abuse. I didn't know that if your partner goes through your phone without permission was a means of relationship abuse. But it turns out it is, and I can understand why after reading this book. There's also so much information on the LGBTQ+ community (I learned how important it is to include the 'Q+'). This was definitely the chapter I was most interested in, and thankfully it was written so well with lots of information. 

Probably one of the best things about this book, is the fact that the writer doesn't pretend she knows everything about everything. If she doesn't know something, she brings in someone else to write on the topic. For example, Hannah couldn't write about the experience of someone who is of the LGBTQ+ community, because she isn't. So instead, she asked some friends to write on their life as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. I thought that this made it a much more interesting read, as you weren't just reading one person's perspective, but a number of perspectives. 


So if you are looking to learn more about sexual education, I would definitely recommend this book. It's educational, brilliantly written, amusing at parts, but also serious when it needs to be. The perfect balance really. There's also a list of 'resources' and contact details for different aspects of the book at the back, which could come in useful if you want more information. 

Until next time.
Fifs xo

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Top 3 Skin Care Products || Acne Prone Skin

I was never a good one for skin care routines. 
I had acne as a teenager and I still have the scars from it, which I am desperately trying to get rid of! I tried everything from antibiotics to special creams to whatever I could find in the chemist. Some things worked, others didn't. To be honest, it wasn't until I started on the contraceptive pill things started clearing up. 
After years and years of trying different products, I have finally found what works best for my skin. Here are my top three skin care products!



1. Cleanser: A good cleanser should be the main thing in your skin care routine. I take off my makeup with the old reliable Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water before using the La Roche-Posay Cleansing Gel. This combination is the best for making sure all of my makeup is off as well as cleaning away any dirt and oils. 

2. Facemask: This is a new thing for me, but I am so glad I discovered it! I had heard so much about the L'Oreal clay face masks so I decided to try one for myself. I use the detox mask which promises to detoxify and purify your skin. So far, it's working well enough! I use it three times a week after a shower when my skin is super clean. It has stained my face cloth grey though...

3. Moisturiser: Something I use every morning and every night is moisturiser. My skin is very strange. I used to have oily skin, but now it seems dryer that the Sahara desert! I use a Nivea Anti-Wrinkle moisturiser (never too early to fight back wrinkles...) and it works like a charm! My skin is moisturised and I do feel like it gives off a healthy glow.

What are some of your go-to skin care products?

Until next time.
Fifs xo

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Female Emergency Kit || DIY Kit

I'm that girl that is always stuck for a hair tie, or a tissue, or some painkillers. I just never seem to have them on me when I need them. 
I had seen a few of these emergency kits floating around Pinterest and even saw one in Penney's a while back. So I decided to make up my own!


The best thing about creating your own emergency kit is you can put whatever you want into it! Think you'll need a hairbrush? Put one in. Some hand sanitiser? Yep, go ahead. Make it your own! I just got a smallish makeup bag that I had lying around which fits into my hand bag nicely. And then I just started filling it with the things I think I'll need.

~ Pads & Tampons: kicking it off with the ultimate 'girly things'! Such a taboo topic when you think about it.... but you never know when you or a friend is going to need a pad or a tampon in an emergency situation! I, for one, prefer wearing pads during my period, so I have more of them than tampons, but I still have one or two in there just in case. 

~ Panadol: I tend to get headaches when I least expect them. I could be out shopping and I'll get a headache, and surprise surprise, I'll have no painkillers with me! So I feel that this is a must in my emergency kit.

~ Hand sanitiser: you know when you touch something in public and you just feel dirty after it? Like an old park bench. Or maybe you just want clean hands before eating in public. Hand sanitiser to the rescue!! I use the Soap & Glory Sugar Crush hand cleansing gel, because I just love this scent! The size of the packaging is perfect, but I know there are plenty of other scents and brands out there that do handbag size bottles if this one is not for you.

~Tissues: runny nose? Grab a tissue. Watery eyes? Grab a tissue. Need to get rid of chewing gum? Grab a tissue. The use of a pack of tissues is endless so these are definitely a must!

~Hair-tie, hair grips, hairbrush: whenever I go out with my hair down, I instantly regret it and then, of course, I never have a hair-tie to hand. I decided to throw in some clips and a tangle teaser just to be on the safe side.

~Powder & powder brush: this is probably something that isn't going to be very practical to most people, but I think it is going to come in handy at some stage. Sometimes when I'm out and about, especially on a hot day, I can feel my makeup starting to sweat off my face, and I always wish I had powder to hand to counteract this. Hence, the reason I have put my favourite face powder and a brush into my emergency kit.

~Lipbalm: always a staple in any girl's handbag! No matter what, everyone needs a lip balm in their life to keep their lips from drying out. My lipbalm of choice at the moment is Carmex, but I also use Vaseline and eos lip balms.


And the best thing about these emergency kits? Because everything is in the one bag, it can be easily transferred between handbags on a day-to-day basis!

What would you put into your emergency kit?

 Until next time.
Fifs xo

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Where have I been?

Hello everyone!


Yes, I'm still alive. No need to panic.

I have just been way too busy with college stuff, exams, assignments, college balls, moving back home - just the usual stuff. And to be honest, I wasn't really in the mood to write a blog post. I even missed the two year anniversary of when I started this blog. So...
HAPPY 2 YEARS JUST FIFS!!


College is finished. 
Finally!
I went to the Gaeltacht for two weeks of the Easter, which was basically just two weeks of going out with friends, speaking a bit of Irish, and soaking up the gorgeous Donegal scenery! 


We got back to college and it was straight into finishing off assignments and getting ready for exams! But not before we got all dolled up and had a ball... No, literally, we had a ball. The Education Faculty Ball to be precise!
It was a brilliant night, with lots of dancing, plenty of alcohol, and dressing up as the classy gals we all are!


Then there was my birthday weekend! 
I didn't do much for it. I went out with some friends at home on the bank holiday Sunday, but other than that, it was a regular weekend! I spent my actual birthday away from my family for the first time in 22 years, and by God it was difficult! I was lucky enough to have my friends in college to spend it with, but with assignments and exams, we couldn't go out and celebrate properly so once I got back to the house in the evening, I literally spent it by myself. It didn't even feel like my birthday, but I had celebrated it at the weekend so I wasn't too put out about it. I also had my Irish oral that day, so that really kept my mind off everything!


Exam week came around too quickly for my liking. Between having to finish assignments during study week and actually studying, I was pretty stressed out. I hadn't sat a college exam in two years, due to repeating second year with no exam. But I got through them and hopefully I've done enough to progress into final year!

And here we are! 
SUMMER!!!
Nothing much to report on here so far. I'm working away at the weekends in the restaurant, trying to keep myself busy during the week.
Which is where this blog is going to come into play. 
I have a lot of plans for the blog and my YouTube channel for the summer. I plan on writing more reviews on products, maybe places I visit over the summer. I'm going to England for the month of July to work in a summer camp, so hopefully I'll have plenty of opportunities over there to get this up and running again! 

If you have read this far in my ramblings, I applaud you! 

Until next time.
Fifs xo



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Twenty-two things I've learned at 22.

Hello everyone!

It's my birthday today! And yes, I am feeling 22. (I've waited 5 years to be able to say that...)

 happy party birthday excited celebration GIF

I've decided to compile a list of twenty-two things I've learned over the last 22 years of my life, seeing as I am now a mature, all-knowing adult (lol). 
Let's get right into it:
  1. Say yes to more things.
  2. Do things for you and no one else.
  3. Anxiety sucks - but it is something you can live with.
  4. Don't get stressed over the little things in life.
  5. Don't be afraid - do things you never thought you could.
  6. Do the impossible - surprise yourself (and others).
  7. Cut the unhealthy people out of your life - you'll feel much better without them.
  8. Work hard, but also play hard.
  9. Don't regret the college years.
  10. In fact, don't regret anything you do.
  11. Find your passion early in life - I only discovered mine at age 13 and I wish I discovered it sooner.
  12. Reconnect with childhood friends - they're truly the best friends you could ever have.
  13. Heartbreaks are tough at the time, but it does get better.
  14. Don't lose touch with your school friends - make plans every so often to meet up.
  15. Your parents are your best friends - don't take them for granted.
  16. Smile more - you never know who could need it.
  17. Don't be afraid to cry - everyone needs to let out their emotions every once in a while.
  18. Stand up for yourself and what you believe in.
  19. Talk to someone when you need it.
  20. You're never too old for Disney.
  21. Believe in yourself.
  22. Never give up on a dream.
Until next time.
Fifs xo

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Dodie Clark || Who inspires me?


Hello everyone!

I may be a day late for International Woman's Day, but that doesn't mean I can't talk about what women inspire me, because we shouldn't just narrow something like that down to one day.

So I'm going to take this opportunity to talk about a woman who inspires me every day. And that wonderful lady goes by the name of Dodie Clark.

For those of you who don't know, I'll just give a brief bio of who Dodie is.
Dodie is a 21 year-old singer-songwriter who has a YouTube channel under the name of 'doddleoddle.' On this channel, she showcases her musical talents (obviously). But, she also has a second channel where she talks about everything from her sexuality to her anxiety to just plain silliness with her friends. She released her debut EP in 2016 and has grown from strength to strength since. Have I mentioned she's only 21?

I started watching Dodie's videos about two years ago now. I don't remember how I came across her, but I do know that I have never looked back. 
All of her music spoke to me on some level. I genuinely love all of her songs and unique style of music. 
Which brings me on to how she has inspired me with my music. 
As some of you may know, I received a ukulele last Christmas. It is because of Dodie that I wanted a ukulele in the first place. She inspired me to extend my musical abilities (I also play piano and guitar FYI) and to just enjoy playing music. I have now found an instrument that I really enjoy playing that relaxes me as well.

I wrote a complete blog post on Dodie's song 'When' a few months back when she first released it, so I don't think I need to go into detail about her music inspires my life. I will just mention her song 'Absolutely Smitten,' because it is a song that has helped me get through some tough times. Every time it comes on, I instantly become happier. I could be sitting on my bed, crying/feeling down/angry/whatever, and that song would come on my Spotify and I just start smiling and singing along, completely forgetting about my previous mood. So a HUGE thank you to Dodie for making me feel happy through that one song.

Moving away from her music, Dodie talks about some serious issues on her second channel as previously mentioned.
I just love how open and honest she is about everything. She talks about her mental issues, such as anxiety, depression and (a new term for me) derealisation. She is open about her bisexuality, her issues with alcohol, her breakups and makeups. The list is endless. 
Dodie inspires me to be more open about my life, which I like to think that I am. I don't mind talking about my problems (which some people find annoying... I know...). I don't mind answering questions I get from people about what I go through, what I think of a topic. And I like to think that it was because of this wonderful, open human that I am like this. 

She always appears to be the most positive person, even when life is going to shit. 
In every video (or almost every video - no one's perfect!) she has a smile on her face. She wears YELLOW for goodness sake! It's basically her trademark at this stage, and if that doesn't scream positivity then I don't know what does. 

Image result for dodie clark yellow

I could talk for hours on this topic. 
But I shall leave it there.
Because I know most of you probably don't know who I'm talking about.
But I needed to write this. Because more people need to know about Miss Dodie Clark.

"there will be a day when you can say you’re okay and mean it" ~ dodie

Until next time.
Fifs xo

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February (2017).

Hello everyone!

Two months down.
Only eight more to go.

The fact that I already feel much better about life than I did in 2016 after only two months is proving that 2017 is a good year. I genuinely feel so good about myself; I'm happy, I'm relaxed (if you don't count the stress of college of course!) and (mostly) anxiety free!

Nothing much happened this month. 

I dove straight back into college life. 
I made some new friends. I actually started my readings for lectures when I was supposed to rather than leaving them until last minute. I'm thoroughly enjoying college again, and it feels so good to have some form of a routine/schedule.

I'm still in my waitressing job. 
I only work for about 6 hours on a Saturday, but it's money. My own money, that I earn myself. I also started teaching my younger cousin piano, which is something that I've been meaning to do for a while now. Maybe if it goes well, I might start teaching other kids. Guess we'll see.

February was a party month. 
Every weekend, I had something on. I had two of my best friends' 21st birthday parties, I went to the local GAA Social (which is a Dinner Dance for those who do not know) and I went out the other weekend with my cousin for the bants. Going out at the weekend made up for the fact that I wasn't out during the week, which is one aspect of college life I am not back into (yet...).


I discovered my new go-to movie when I need a pick-me-up.
Trolls.
What a movie!
I watched it twice this month, listened to the soundtrack pretty much every day, have started learning one of the songs on the ukulele (which is also going very well I might add...). It is genuinely one of the happiest, feel good movies ever. I absolutely love it - there's nothing much more I can say about it!
And when I heard they were making a second one?



There's a lot that I want to achieve this month.
For starters, I want to do my driving theory test. And pass it. I already have a date in mind for this, now it's just to book it and study.
I also want to use my reading week wisely and actually do college work this year instead of taking it as a week off. I want to be productive during that week and keep the stress levels to a minimum.
I guess you'll just have to wait until my March update to see if I achieved anything (*plug plug plug*).

Like last month, I will leave a list of the things that gave me positivity this month down below.

"Be in love with your life. Every minute of it." ~ Jack Kerouac

Until next time.
Fifs xo

Positive things this month:
~Trolls
~Catching up with old friends
~College
~New friends
~Ukulele
~Reign (TV series)
~Music lectures (seriously)
~Making time for family

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January (2017).

Hello everyone!

Well that's it. 
2016 is well in the past and 2017 is so far so good!
January was a great starting point to what I feel is going to be a good year! 
"Start as you mean to go on."
I guess a good place to start off my January review is my attempt at the so-called 'Dry January.' I decided that I needed a break from the auld alcoholic beverage after the Christmas period, and I lasted 27 days out of 31. I am very proud of myself for that! I could have gone longer, but college started back up and, well, student nightlife and all! But at least I know that I can give it up if I really want to! 

I got a new weekend job! I'm still waitressing, but in a different restaurant. So far, it's going pretty well and I've made some new friends there and gotten comfortable with the place. More updates on that in the future I reckon.

My anxiety wasn't too bad this month. If you read my blog post about my day trip to the beach with my friends, then you would know that I am trying to get to grips with it all and finding ways to help myself when I'm not feeling too good. I've discovered that talking to friends is a lot of help, and that was a great day had by all four of us!


One of my New Year's Resolutions (as much as I hate making them) was to get fitter. I started a 20 day exercise challenge half way through the month. I could really see the progress as the days went by. I could really see changes in my posture more so than anything else. I really want to keep up the light exercises and maybe build up to more strenuous stuff. But for now, a bit of stretching at night and a short work out in the mornings will do me just fine.

I started learning how to play the ukulele! I got one for Christmas off my parents and it is my new favourite past time. It's so simple to just pick up and strum a few chords (after you've learned them obviously!) and I think I'm going to have a lot of fun with it!


Looking well..... Photo taken from my January Favourites video

I started bullet journalling this month. And one of the things I wanted to include in my bullet journal was the positivity in each month. I'm not going to go into any detail about how this stuff brought any ounce of positivity into my January (tbh, a lot of them are self-explanatory!). I'll just leave a list at the bottom of this blog post for future reference.

I tried to pack a lot into this month, but the lead up to college excited me too much and I literally spent the whole month obsessing over going back to Dublin! I moved back up on the 28th of January and I am so happy to be back! Getting back into the swing of college was tough during week one, but I think I'm getting the hang of it.

And that was my month of January 2017!
Let's just hope the rest of my year goes as good, if not better!

Until next time.
Fifs xo

Positivity this month:
~ Meeting up with friends
~ Starting a new job
~ Sandy 
~ Dodie Clark
~ Moving back to Dublin
~ Making new friends
~ 20 Day Challenge

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Blue Monday.

Hello everyone!

Blue Monday. 
The third Monday in January.
The most depressing day of the year.
Apparently.

Every year, I hear about 'blue Monday' but I never know when the day falls until it's here. Basically, it's just another Monday in my eyes.
And yeah, Mondays can be tough at the best of times. But they can also be a great excuse to start again. 
A new week = a new beginning. 

Most people have given up on their New Year's Resolutions by now, according to 'research' which determines when Blue Monday falls. Everyone is back to work, school, college, wherever you are in life. You're hitting a low after the Christmas season, which was 3 weeks ago by now. 
I can see how it would be a tough time, but I don't see why you should make it a tough time.


Picture sourced on pinterest.

Get out there. 
Keep going. 
Get motivated. 
Do something. 
Enjoy your Mondays. Make them worth while. 

Until next time. 
Fifs xo

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