5 ways to improve your wellbeing

5 ways to improve your wellbeing – tried and tested by me!

As someone who suffers from anxiety, I try what I can to improve my mental wellbeing. After one particularly unsuccessful and unsympathetic trip to see my GP about my anxiety disorder, I decided to look more into alternative ideas and therapies. So I’m here to share with you some ways to improve your wellbeing.

1. Reiki

What is reiki? Reiki is a Japanese technique that promotes relaxation, healing and stress reduction. You lay fully-clothed and your reiki healer places their hands, non-intrusively, on parts of your body to channel energy.

I visited a reiki healer last year that a friend recommended. After a brief chat and a quick form to fill in, I lay on my back on a massage table. My reiki healer dimmed the lights, lit some incense and played some soft music. She then proceeded to place her hands on different parts of my body.

I’ll admit it felt a little strange at first to be lying in some random lady’s house but having always been a slight hippy at heart it didn’t take me long to relax into it. The session lasted an hour and I felt peaceful afterwards. Some people say they see colours and hallucinations while receiving reiki treatment but I didn’t experience that. However, once I had left my reiki healer’s house, as I was walking back to my car, I began smiling. A big genuine smile. I don’t know why I was smiling (I think I’m more resting bitch face) but I’m putting it down to the reiki.

2. Yoga

I’ve mentioned yoga before and I’m trying to make it a weekly part of my routine by attending a class every Wednesday. I always feel much more upbeat after a class, so much so that I vow to myself that I will start doing some yoga at home, either practicing what I learnt in class or following some youtube videos. It’s easier said than done though when your cat makes himself comfy on your yoga mat as soon as you roll it out!

yoga cat sat on the yoga mat
Yoga cat sat on the yoga mat

3. Nature Therapy

Nature therapy, or forest bathing as it is known is Japan, is basically the idea that being out in nature is good for your well-being, both body and mind. Studies have shown that being in nature and among trees can lower your blood pressure, increase your self-esteem and generally ease symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. I can safely say that for me, nature therapy works wonders and during these last few weeks when my anxiety has been sky high, the only things I am interested in doing are lying on the sofa watching tv or going for walks – I know which one is best for me too!

Image via unsplash

4. Meditation

Meditation is one of those things that sounds easy but really isn’t. After trying it at home without much success, I decided to attend a drop-in session. The theme for the session was contentment but my main reason for attending was to learn how to meditate. There were about 12 of us all sat on chairs facing the front of the room while we were guided by a lady who had quite an air of wisdom and calm about her. There was a Buddhist poem sung at the beginning and then she told us to place our hands in our laps, close our eyes and concentrate on the cool air we breathe in and the warm air we breathe out. There was some thought provoking chitchat, another meditation session and then a Q&A session with tea and biscuits.

The session I attended gave me some food for thought but I think I would have preferred an environment that didn’t remind me of old school rooms or a doctor’s waiting rooms, some cushions and candles would have been nice! But it hasn’t put me off trying again at home, and there are apps you can download to help you get into the mindset for it.

5. Spa day

If all else fails, get yourself in for a spa day. My go-to treatments are a facial and a back massage. A spa day doesn’t have to be expensive either, there are plenty of deals to be had if you shop around. Even if the soothing effects of a spa treatment are short-lived, it is so worth it even just for one worry-free day.

Do you deal with anxiety? What would your personal well-being tips be? Sharing is caring 🙂

5 ways to improve your wellbeing

Alphabet Dating - T is for Tasting Tour

Alphabet Dating – T is for Tasting Tour

Copper Rivet Distillery Tour

There are many kinds of tasting tours you can do for alphabet dating letter T – tapas, street food, beer, chocolate… We chose to do the Copper Rivet Distillery Tour which is situated in the historic dockyard of Chatham in Kent.

The distillery is set in the Victorian Pump House No. 5 and brews vodka, whiskey and gin. Although the dockyard itself has a long history, Copper Rivet Distillery didn’t come into planning until 2005 and didn’t open for tours until 2016, so its relatively new.

Pump House No.5 - home to the Copper Rivet Distillery Tour

When you arrive at Pump House No. 5 you walk straight into the bar which proudly displays some of the awards that Copper Rivet have won. There’s a nice relaxed atmosphere there with a vibe of old-meets-new. The bar acts as a waiting area before your tour so if you’re early enough you can have a drink beforehand.

Dockyard gin - bar display

The tour was interesting. We learnt about the process of making the alcohol, the Russell family who set up the distillery and a guy named Abhi, the head distiller at the Copper Rivet Distillery and a bit of a genius in his field from the sounds of it!

The stills at the Copper Rivet Distillery Tour in Chatham Dockyard

The stills are all named after members of the Russell family who are no longer with us (but here in spirit. Pun intended). ‘Sandy’ the whiskey still, ‘Joyce’ the column and ‘Janet’ the gin still. Janet is a bit of a special one (I think our guide may have even said the only one like it!) and is a patented design. The other thing Copper Rivet are immensely proud of is that they are one of only a handful of distilleries in the UK who control the whole distillation process from grain to glass!

Janet the gin still

After being shown the stills and learning the history and processes, we were able to sample the vodka and the gin. The whiskey is busy maturing so won’t be ready until around 2020 so whiskey fans may wish to wait! I must admit I didn’t really enjoy the vodka, but vodka is not my tipple of choice. However the gin was pleasant and what we were really there for anyway. The Dockyard Gin is flavoured with 9 botanicals too – orange peel, orris root, lemon peel, elderflower, angelica root, green cardamom, coriander seeds, juniper and grains of paradise.

Copper Rivet Dockyard Gin

At the end of the tour we were given a full glass of gin and tonic to savour, complete with a slice of grapefruit – how Dockyard Gin is recommended! You can also buy bottles of the spirits to take home too.

After our tour we stopped off at one of the local restaurants in the dockside for some burgers and cocktails to round off a fun afternoon out!

The Copper Rivet Distillery Tour at Chatham Historic Dockyard - excellent idea for a date or fun afternoon out.

The Copper Rivet Distillery Tour lasts for around 1 hour and costs £12pp. If you enjoyed this you might like reading about the time I got tipsy at the XXXX brewery in Brisbane or some of my other Alphabet Dating adventures.


#GIRLBOSS – Book Review

I’m about a year too late to the party, but having recently watched the Netflix series I felt inspired to read the book itself. I am of course talking about #GIRLBOSS.

#GIRLBOSS book review
Background image via unsplash

You probably already know by now, but #GIRLBOSS is written by Sophia Amoruso, founder of multi-million dollar fashion empire Nasty Gal, and is a bit of a rags to riches kind of story. Sophia tells her tale in this book which is part autobiography, part motivational speech.

I didn’t know much about Amoruso or her Nasty Gal empire before I watched the tv series, but I felt that the book was kind of like getting a pep talk from your sassy, savvy (and very rich) friend. I enjoyed the first half of the book and it made me feel inspired and wanting to get up and go do something extraordinary but unfortunately my interest dwindled towards the end of the book… there’s only so many times you can read “I am the CEO of a $100-million-plus business” and not grow jaded.

This is not a self-help book in the sense that it will give you insider info to help you run your own empire, but it will give you a bit of a pep talk to go out there and get shit done.

Here are some of my favourite quotes:

“The energy you’ll expend focusing on someone else’s life is better spent working on your own. Just be your own idol”

“It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission”

“Focus on the positive things in your life and you’ll be shocked at how many more positive things start happening. But before you start to think you just got lucky, remember that it’s magic, and you made it yourself”

“When your goal is to gain experience, perspective, and knowledge, failure is no longer a possibility. Failure is your invention”

“It’s cool to be kind. It’s cool to be weird. It’s cool to be honest and to be secure with yourself. Cool is the girl at a party who strikes up a conversation with you when she notices you don’t seem to know many people there”

“Clothing is ultimately the suit of armor in which we battle the world”

Have you read #GIRLBOSS? What motivational books would you recommend? Feel free to comment below!

Where to watch Sumo Wrestling in Tokyo

Where to watch Sumo wrestling in Tokyo

Sumo wrestling is a big part of Japanese culture and is actually Japan’s national sport. If you have a ‘Japan Bucket List’ of any description, then watching a bit of sumo is likely to be on there.

Of course, the ideal scenario would be to get tickets for a tournament. There are three main tournaments in Tokyo every year, held in January, May and September. But what if you happen to visit Japan outside of these three months?

My answer is – visit a sumo stable.

Where to watch sumo wrestling in Tokyo

Sumo stables are where the wrestlers live and train together, and you can go along and watch their morning practice. It’s not really touted as a tourist attraction as such but we went along to one and were able to watch the wrestlers through the window.

Sumo is the national sport of Japan

We went to the Arashio-beya which is around a minutes walk from the A2 exit of Hamacho Station on the Toei Subway Shinjuku Line. Practice takes place between 7.30am and 10am. Their website does have a Japanese script and a phone number to call so you can check in advance if the practice is on the next day, which I did but unfortunately I couldn’t understand the response despite following the script! I can’t remember if we asked our hotel to call on our behalf or just showed up but it all worked out ok.

You’re unlikely to stay and watch the full length of training as it can feel a little crowded by the window standing among the wrestler’s bicycles and other gawping tourists, but it’s definitely worth stopping by for the experience.

Watch the sumo wrestlers training in Tokyo

If you liked this you might like some of my other Japan posts or you might like might Japan in less than 60 seconds video.

Where to watch sumo wrestling in Tokyo

Alphabet Dating S is for Stranger Things

Alphabet Dating – S is for Stranger Things

How to host your own Stranger Things themed party

I’m a bit late writing about this now the hype around season 2 has kind of ended, but in a similar vein to the Elf night we hosted the other Christmas, we thought we’d invite people over and host a Stranger Things themed party.

So, if you fancy doing it yourself or perhaps want a head start before season 3, here’s how to host your own Stranger Things themed party…

Step 1: Channel Joyce channeling Will
Take a queue from Joyce Byers and string up a whole bunch of fairy lights. You don’t have to go as crazy as she did but at least get some nice coloured ones on your wall. We also hung some from the ceiling in our hallway too which culminated into a ball of light, you know, incase Will got in touch.

As for painting the alphabet on the wall like Joyce did, we just cut out some big black paper letters and taped them to the wire on the fairy lights so as not to damage the paint work. If you don’t want to draw your own letters, you can buy printable replicas of the tv alphabet here.

Host your own Stranger Things night

Step 2: Add some decorative touches
We printed out a couple of posters to stick up, one of which was Will’s missing poster, the other an E.T. inspired Stranger Things poster designed by my very talented husband. We also gave everyone temporary tattoos of the number 11, just like Eleven had.

Another idea would be to create a Stranger Things playlist (such as the theme tune and ‘Should I stay or should I go’ by The Clash) to play while you’re greeting your guests and eating dinner, kind of as a prelude before watching the show.

Turn your home into 80s Hawkins, Indiana with these Stranger Things inspired posters

Step 3: Create a menu
You can go even more extra than sticking ’11’ tattoos on your guests, by printing your own Benny’s Burgers stickers and then sticking them onto a retro style ketchup bottle and burger bar style food baskets. Not only did we do this, but my husband also designed a menu which consisted of Stranger Things themed food: Benny’s Build a Burger (burgers and fries served in baskets, add your own toppings such as onion rings, gherkins etc), Elle’s Eggo Delight (waffles, obviously, except we don’t have Eggos in England) and then to wash it down “Hawkin’s Lab Cola” aka cans of coca cola.

His creativity puts me to shame.

Be sure to create a Stranger Things inspired menu for your theme night

Step 4: Sit back and enjoy the show
In all the excitement of making everything themed around Stranger Things, don’t forget to actually sit down and watch the show!

"Will? Are you there?"

If you liked this, why not pin it!

How to host your own Stranger Things themed party