Learning Tarot in Lockdown

Day 86 of lockdown… or so I think? I’ve completed an online course, upcycled a piece of furniture, baked a cake, cleared out some of my drawers, dyed my hair pink, done some drawing, followed youtube fitness videos, questioned my life choices, watched ALOT of tv and spent ALOT of time on the internet. So what next?

Well for the last month or so I’ve been learning to read Tarot! I’ve always been a secret hippy at heart and used to love browsing the alternative shops when I was on holiday in the UK as a child. I remember wanting some Tarot cards as a young teen but my mum wouldn’t let me and then I kinda forgot all about it until recently.

learning tarot in lockdown

After much research online I decided to purchase the traditional Original Rider Waite Tarot cards as they are the easiest for beginners to learn, however I have got my eye on a few other stunning decks so I can see why people get addicted to collecting them!

I also downloaded 3 books on my Amazon Kindle Unlimited trial, they are Tarot for beginners by Meg Hayertz, Tarot for beginners by Lisa Chamberlain and How to read Tarot by Jessica Wiggan. I then noted down key words from each book about each of the cards and tried a few of the spreads out.

I’ve been keeping a diary of meanings and readings I’ve done for myself. One really cool thing that’s happened is when I did a reading a couple of weeks ago something came up telling me that someone from my past may be in touch with me. About 6 days later I received an email from a childhood friend who emigrated to Germany over a decade ago!

I also did a Tarot reading for my cat which basically told me that he thinks I’m in control and a bit too forceful and cuddly. He’s bored and either wants a bit more playtime and adventure… OR he’s really just bored of me and wants me to go out more hahaha!

tarot reading for a black cat

Anyway I’ll keep you posted on my Tarot journey.

Are you into Tarot or Oracle cards? What decks do you own? Leave me a little love below x

Strange times… things to do in isolation

What strange times we are living in right now. The last time I dusted off my laptop and wrote anything on this blog, life was normal and now, now we’re living in what feels like a movie and all anyone can talk about is the virus.

Currently the UK is on lockdown. No one is allowed to leave their houses apart from getting necessities (food and medicine), getting necessities for a vulnerable person, going to work (if absolutely essential) and we’re permitted one walk a day for exercise. It’s like some sort of dystopian future where people are dying in their thousands while everyone else is fighting over toilet roll and hand sanitiser, except it’s not the future. This is now.

It’s my birthday next week. We had planned a getaway to Amsterdam but now it looks like I’ll be settling for a takeaway indoors (if restaurants are still allowed to offer takeaway services by then! Things are changing so fast!). I’m sure it will be memorable, if not a little boring considering what we had planned, but then things could be a whole lot worse, so right now I am grateful for what I do have.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

I myself have been on lockdown since Wednesday. I work with animals now (I had a whole big career change last summer) so obviously someone had to go in and take care of the animals, but now I’ve been told to stay away until further notice. Don’t worry though, my colleagues that are still working will take good care of the animals.

My husband is a Graphic Designer so at the moment (and for the last 2 weeks) he has been working from home, which means I’m pretty much left to my own devices during the day.

So here I’ve compiled a list of things to do in isolation.

1. Take an online course

I happened upon Centre of Excellence who are offering all courses for £29 each until the end of March using the code LEARNATHOME. I’ve chosen to do a course in Feline Behaviour and Psychology as it will be something I can add to my CV and will help me at work when I eventually go back. I am quite intrigued by a couple of other courses so I may purchase more.

2. Get creative

My weapon of choice is my ipad pro. I used to be a very creative child but lost that spark as I got older, however I’ve just got back into doodling again and have set up a new instagram account if you fancy a follow.

I use the Procreate ipad app to create my drawings and they’ve just launched a little treat – the Procreate Care Pack – which includes some limited edition brushes, a 2 month free trial of skillshare and a list of artwork prompts to create a bit of an online community in these stressful times.

3. Play games

My husband downloaded The Sims 4 for me onto his Playstation. I haven’t played that game since I had The Sims 2 on PC! I know I’m probably far too old to be playing that but it’s a nice little bit of escapism. And let’s be honest, they’re the only ones allowed out right now haha.

4. “Marie Kondo” my house

I am in the process of buying a house. I won’t bore you with the whole saga of it but now is the perfect opportunity for me to have a good clear out ready for when we do eventually start packing and moving. I spent a couple of hours sorting out just ONE DRAWER the other day but the way I see it is, that will save me time in the future when I will hopefully have better things to be doing.

5. Watch tv

I’m trying to avoid the news for good reason but lately I’ve been enjoying Neighbours (Neighbours End Game was fantastic!). I’ve also found a new guilty pleasure in The Best House in Town on BBC2 – a bit of interior design inspiration! Netflix has also been a saviour with season 12 of Ru Paul’s Drag Race having begun, plus we watched Harlan Coben’s The Stranger and Safe. We’ve also started rewatching Come Fly with Me because it’s funny and silly escapism. Oh and Friday Night Dinner starts again on C4 tonight! yay!

6. Talk to people

Check in on people. We live in an age where there’s no excuse not to pick up the phone. I rang my Nan the other day as she’s isolating on her own and doesn’t have the internet. There’s Whatsapp and Facetime etc etc. Stay connected.

7. Use social media wisely

I’ve had to distance myself from Twitter a little but at the moment I am enjoying creating Pinterest boards full of interior design inspiration. Moving house and decorating will be a fun, albeit stressful, thing to look forward to once things return to a relative normality so excuse me while I get excited about wallpapers and lampshades!

Well I think I’ve rambled enough now. Stay safe, stay sane and stay at home!

Photo by BRUNO CERVERA on Unsplash

My mental health issues

With it being Mental Health Awareness Week, I thought it timely to write about what has been going on with me lately, in particular with regards to my mental health.

One week into the new year – my feet were itching and I was craving some sunshine and adventure, so we booked ourselves an amazing holiday to Malaysia in April, where we would celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. I was excited, I hadn’t felt this excited in a long time.

As January continued, a sense of unease came creeping in. Having dealt with (mainly social) anxiety for a long time I told myself that I always feel shit in January and February and that it would pass once March came along. I got myself some herbal remedies, went back to yoga class and brushed off that gnawing feeling as a seasonal thing.

Late February, one Sunday I had gone upstairs to lie down and read a book. My husband came up to check on me as I had just disappeared without saying anything… and that’s when it first flooded out. I was scared, anxious, crying. Something bad was going to happen. In the pit of my stomach I knew that something bad was going to happen. I didn’t want to go on holiday. I didn’t want to go to work. But I also didn’t want to cancel my holiday or quit my job. Something did not feel right. I am not an overly emotional person and I rarely cry in front of other people, including my husband.

Two days later I managed to get an appointment at a walk-in centre to see a doctor who referred me to online therapy. I began therapy but around five weeks after my first breakdown, it hit me again. That escalating dreaded, miserable, hopeless, nauseating feeling. I wasn’t eating properly. I wasn’t sleeping properly. And I had had a headache and jaw pain for about two weeks straight.

Cue another doctors visit. She asked me questions and sent me for a blood test, stating that I was showing severe symptoms of anxiety and depression. She also prescribed me anti-depressants and a sedative and told me to come back to see her the following week. As I was crossing the road from the surgery to get to the pharmacy my mind considered what would happen if I just stopped and let the oncoming traffic hit me. I didn’t want to die, quite the opposite, but if I got knocked down then I could rest up and not feel like I had to try to prove how bad I was feeling.

That weekend was my birthday and easter – two of my favourite things and yet I was in no mood to celebrate. I felt like a robot. Like I was physically present but void of any emotion, or any good feeling at least. Everything was going on around me but I wasn’t really there. Smiling was an effort. I don’t know how it looked from the outside but I ended up going AWOL from work because every day I woke up with a racing heart and a big black cloud over my head.

I returned to see the GP as requested and the reception I got was less than friendly. My blood tests were fine and it seemed as though she had more or less forgotten that she had asked me to return, she almost seemed angry that I was bothering her. My mum came with me so I know I wasn’t imagining the doctor’s unfriendly attitude. If I didn’t have white coat syndrome before then I’m pretty sure I have it now. I was in a much worse state than before.

What then followed was me being signed off work for two weeks and then cancelling our holiday. A holiday I had had on my bucket list for many years. Travel had felt like the only cool thing I had to show for my life and here I was not even being able to do that. I felt like shit. On top of the dread of the future that I was carrying, plus the fear of the ‘bad thing’, I was now laden with guilt for cancelling our wedding anniversary holiday, guilt about taking this adventure away from my husband and the sense I had let myself down.

In hindsight I should have seen this coming and believe me, I spent plenty of time punishing myself about it. In all honesty I haven’t been truly happy for a long time for various reasons but thankfully I got help before it got any worse. I would urge anyone who is feeling low to talk to someone about it, you may be surprised just how many people have been in the same boat as you and I’m forever thankful to my friends and family who have supported me over the last few months. I am also grateful that mental illness is spoken about more and with campaigns such as mental health awareness week it allows for more people to seek the help that they require.

For more information about mental health awareness, try mentalhealth.org

2017 Resolutions… How did I do?

Hiya!

I’ve been rubbish at blogging again haven’t I? Oh well, maybe I’ll try better next year?! LOL.

I thought it would be interesting to revisit my 2017 New Years Resolutions and see how I fared. And you know what, I did much better than I would have thought!

So, what were they?

1. Follow a passion and learn something new – I mentioned that I was doing a distance learning course. Well I am still doing the course. It’s taking ages but I’m almost there and not to blow my own trumpet but I’ve done really well at it! It’s for a diploma in zoo animal care, behaviour and welfare – something totally different to my day job but I’ve always had an interest in the animal kingdom so perhaps a future career change?! Who knows! It might not amount to anything but at least I’ve given it a go.

2. Reignite my creative spark – This was semi successful. Me and my husband enrolled in a local art class that lasted from February until July. It was great to get out of the house for a couple of hours on a Monday evening and experiment with paint and pencils etc. However the subject matter (imaginary spheres?!?) got quite tedious. I did come away with quite a nice drawing of a giraffe so I guess that’s something right?

3. Look after my mental well-being – Hmm. Not sure what to say about this one. I guess anxiety is one of those things that’s with me for life, it’s just down to whether I control it or it controls me. More on this shortly.

4. Be more conscientious – The big focus here was cruelty-free cosmetics and toiletries which I’ve stuck to. With all this recent news of plastics choking our oceans, my next focus will be to try and cut down my use of plastics – starting by using the rather pretty Chilly’s water bottle my hubby bought me instead of using plastic water bottles.

5. Do more volunteer work – The best thing I did in 2017 was volunteer at a wildlife rescue centre in Costa Rica. If you want to read about it then check out my post A girl’s guide to volunteering in Costa Rica. Coinciding with my interests in all things zoological, I ended up volunteering at two other places in the UK, unfortunately though on top of my day job and life in general it all got a bit too much and I burnt out, so at present I am not doing any volunteer work but I’m sure I will again when the time is right.

Volunteering in Costa Rica - caring for howler monkeys among other animals.
Chew with your mouth closed! – Me in with the Howler Monkeys

So what about 2018?

I am making one resolution for 2018 – to try and be more positive.

I’ve been in quite a negative place this past year and I wasn’t alone. Unfortunately negativity breeds negativity so I need to try and distance myself from bad vibes and attempt to keep my head above water. This all goes back to my mental well-being point above. I have a few ideas so watch this space and wish me luck!


How did you do with your 2017 resolutions? And are you making any for 2018? Leave me a comment below x

I went phone free for 48 hours

i went phone free for 48 hours
Image via Unsplash

I went phone free for 48 hours. And I liked it.

I haven’t been a very happy bunny lately. I got home on Friday evening feeling quite deflated and low after work and decided that I really wasn’t in the mood to talk to anyone, look at social media or waste my time reading banal rubbish online. So I text my mum and told her if she wanted to contact me to call the house phone, then I switched off my Samsung and tucked it away in a drawer. Out of sight, out of mind.

And you know what, it was easier than you might think.

Yes I admit, I had a little moment where I did a bit of online shopping on the Asos app on my ipad, but other than that there was no waking up and seeing what was trending on Twitter, no mindless scrolling of my Instagram feed, no Facebook (although I hardly use FB these days anyway), no looking at jokes or motivational quotes on Pinterest to lift my mood and no constant checking for messages.

And you know what, I only really missed the BBC weather app. I don’t know if that’s sad or refreshing, but either way I don’t care.

This isn’t me going phone free forever because I admit, they are useful. I would literally be quite lost without google maps! But this is me being more – dare I say it – mindful about how much time I may or may not waste with my head bent down staring at my phone. Time to stop reading the garbage they churn out on Buzzfeed as my bedtime reading and actually, you know, read a proper book.

I would encourage everyone to put their phone down and appreciate their surroundings a bit more. Go for a walk, hug a tree, admire a flower without the need to instagram it – go on, I challenge you!