Everything 2020 has taught me

 Well hello to you my reader chums! 2020 has been a strange, hard, and unique year. It's not the year any of us planned as we shouted 'happy new year' on new years eve, however, it's nearly at the end now - and I can't believe how fast it has gone. Even though it's certainly not the year I expected it to be, and at times has been exceptionally hard, I've learnt a lot about myself, my life and also a lot of lessons in general.

What 2020 has taught me

Here is everything I learnt this year:

Taking a slower pace in life is healthy

I don't know about you but I'm one of those people that has to be busy all the time, whether that's with work, socialising, my business or my blog; I don't really have a pause button and I'm not very good at relaxing. However, when lockdown happened and I got put on furlough, for the first time in my life, I took a step back from not being manic busy. I started to have a few lay-ins, take the things that I was doing at a slower pace, enjoy the outdoors more and generally, calming down a lot more. 

As I started doing this, I realised how important it was for my mental health and for my life in general. It's healthy and okay to take a step back sometimes and especially, relax. Being stressed isn't good in any situation and I've certainly learnt this year to try to prioritise my feelings.

Never take time or freedom for granted

I was always that person, if I wanted to do something, I'd go out of my way and simply, do it. Whether that was a goal in mind, travelling somewhere or making a life-changing decision, I have an ambitious mindset like that. With this year, our freedom was taken away a lot in a sense as we had to stay in our homes, unable to travel or really do a lot of things we'd take for granted in regular times.

I've always been very grateful for the life I lead, always travelling and doing exciting things with my friends but I think this year has taught me to never take any of those moments for granted again, and really appreciate them.

I love where I live

As I've gotten older, I have appreciated where I come from, the Kent coast but I don't think I fell in love with it as much as I did in lockdown. Having plenty of beaches a stone throw away from my doorstep, I've refallen in love with some of my favourite beach walks but also discovered many other great places that I now adore. I feel so privileged to live here and spent lockdown exploring my local areas.

It's okay not to be okay

I preach this a lot but I think this year I've actually started to listen to my own advice. My mental health has been challenging to say the least this year as I was already going through a breakup and then the pandemic happened so it has been up and down. I've learnt though, on the down days or when my anxiety is bad, it's okay to have a day off and step back, and just feel all the emotions rather than suppress them. 

Don't put pressure on me 

This falls in line with the previous point. I always put too much pressure on myself to get things done even when I'm not feeling great. But, as I've taken a step back this year, I've also learnt to stop putting pressure on myself, to live in the moment more and relax.

Learning to rely on only me is important

This year has been hard for everyone and because of that, when I've been having a hard day, I can't really go to people or I feel like I can't as I know they'll be going through it and I don't want to emotionally dump on anyone. This is why it's been so important for me to embrace and learn to love my own company, but also being my own reason to smile, and be able to pick up myself.

To appreciate everything I've got

This year has made me the most grateful I've ever been. I've always been a grateful person and tried to stay as positive as possible, but with everything being stripped back this year in terms of what life is, I've really been able to look at my life for what it is - and I'm incredibly grateful. Even though I've been on furlough, I'm so grateful that I'm privileged for a house with a garden, I'm appreciative of all my family, friends, where I live and the memories I've been able to make this year.

Learning how to heal

All of us have some sort of trauma to deal with and often, we suppress it and don't actually deal with it as life gets too busy and it's easier to not have to face it. However, with all the distractions taken away this year and having more time on my hands, I could face everything head on. I was already dealing with a breakup but there are many other things that were troubling me, and I was able to take the time to get to the route of the problem and how to feel better - and really, after lots of different methods, I feel like I've grown a lot and have healed in many ways.

To be kind and understanding more

I've always tried to be a kind person and look out for everyone around me, but I think this year especially, we've all learnt how far kindness can go and affect somebody else's life. It's so important to listen to people, be understanding of their feelings and be kind in whatever way you can, whether that's offering support or throwing a compliment their way.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What things have you learnt this year?

Thank you for reading <3


Book review: The Twins of Auschwitz by Eva Mozes Kor with Lisa Rojany Buccieri

 Well hello to you reader chums! I've read a few books based on what happened in Auschwitz, the Tattooist and the Librarian, and now The Twins. When I saw this in my local bookshop, I had to pick it up. I'm really interested in that era of history, as although it's incredibly heartbreaking what occurred during the Holocaust, I find it interesting to learn about the stories of the victims and survivors - and their stories.

I'm a twin myself and I can really resonate with any book that talks about being a twin and that relationship, and that's why I loved this book so much. It's moving, powerful, inspiring and shows how far love can go for your twin.

Here are all my thoughts on the book.

Book review: The Twins of Auschwitz by Eva Mozes Kor with Lisa Rojany Buccieri

Story 

Usually, I would write about the plotline of a novel but this book is based on a true story of the twins Miriam and Eva. The story is told from the perspective of Eva who was sent to the Auschwitz camp with her family, where they were all separated - apart from her and her twin sister. Her parents and older sisters were taken to the gas chambers, while Eva and twin sister Miriam were taken into care by Dr. Joseph Mengele, who later gained the name of 'the angel of death.'

The girls were ten at the time when sent to the camp and were completely terrified but Eva always had the mindest of staying strong and the aim to get out of the camp which is so inspiring. Twins were granted the 'privileges' of keeping their own clothes and hair at the camp, which isn't the same as what other prisoners got. But, that 'privilege' also meant they were subjected to Mengele's dangerous medical experiments. They were forced to fight for survival daily, injected with many dangerous substances and many of the twins who went through this, unfortunately, died.

The narrative is told in such an honest and emotional perspective from Eva herself, who describes the pain, the hardship, and the heartbreak through her whole time at Auschwitz - and afterward too. It's an incredibly moving story about a child's endurance in the face of pure evil - and her ambition to get out with her sister and live a normal life once more.

Eva and Miriam - and their family

As I always say with any book, the people in it make the story - and this time because it's non-fiction, suppose to fiction, I was drawn to the people in the book even more. I felt their pain, their emotions, and their heartbreak, and couldn't even imagine dealing with what they went through

Eva is such a strong character who really holds everything together for her sister, even when she doesn't have the strength anymore. She and her sister are faced with unimaginable things done to them in the camp; losing their family, starvation, horrid experiments, and illness, it's hard to read about, truly.

The book also follows the girls after they leave the camp and what their life becomes. Unfortunately, they never did see their parents and sisters again, but they reconnected with other relatives, and built an inspiring life, even after everything they faced when they were only ten years old. Eva was an absolute saint and inspiration and I felt privileged, reading her story.

Book review: The Twins of Auschwitz by Eva Mozes Kor with Lisa Rojany Buccieri

Overall thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and read it incredibly quickly. Although it's really hard and tragic to read, it really taught me what true strength is and how willpower, determination, and forgiveness can get you everywhere you need to be. I think it's a must-read for everyone, especially those learning about Auschwitz for the first time. It offers a personal perspective, that raw honesty, and description.

Ending of the book

The book paces out in the stages of Eva's life an exactly what happened going to Auschwitz, in Auschwitz, and when she managed to leave the camp. The ending of the book was uplifting and really inspired me by everything Eva was able to do after surviving Auschwitz.

Book review: The Twins of Auschwitz by Eva Mozes Kor with Lisa Rojany Buccieri

I hope you enjoyed this review. Have you read this book?

Thank you for reading <3

Review: Thrive CBD Oil | Gifted

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I've heard a lot about CBD oil over the years and how it's meant to benefit the body and mind in so many ways. I never really thought about trying it out in all honesty as I hadn't researched it enough. However, when Thrive got in touch to review their oil, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to see if the oil would work for me and see what Thrive is all about.

Here is my full review and experience:

Review: Thrive CBD Oil

What is Thrive?

Thrive is a new start-up business in the CBD wellness space, and they offer a range of different, organically sourced CBD oils. Their aim is to design products that redefine our attitudes towards self-care and offering a solution to feeling happier and healthier. Their CBD oils are THC-free which means, they do not get you high. The organically sourced oil has two different flavours, peppermint and blood orange.

What are the benefits of CBD oil?

CBD, short for Cannabidiol is one of the cannabinoid chemical compounds found in the Cannabis plant. CBD isn't like actual Cannabis the drug as it doesn't get you high or have any mind-altering effects. CBD is designed to work with our bodies - our bodies will produce cannabinoids which are used throughout our endocannabinoid system (ECS.) This system contains receptors that regulate our mood and emotions - and CBD helps those receptors restore beneficial changes in the body.  The oil is vegan, gluten-free and GMO-free. And, it's been lab-tested twice and is 100% safe.

The benefits of CBD oil are all about finding the balance within your body. The whole idea behind it is to do everything you need to do, but feel better whilst doing it.

Review: Thrive CBD Oil

The taste and scent

The oil comes in two different flavours peppermint and blood orange. I chose the peppermint flavour as I loved the idea of a fresh, minty taste. The scent of the oil is very natural and has a fresh hint of mint running through it and when I place it under my tongue, it tastes exactly the same as the scent. The taste lingers in my mouth for a few minutes until it's absorbed and then the taste goes soon after, so it's like I haven't even placed it in my mouth.

The experience with the oil

I didn't know what to exactly make of the oil. I've heard lots of good things prior to using it, and I decided to start using it before I went to bed and first thing in the morning, and tested it over the series of a few weeks to see how things would change.

The bottle recommends using 4 full pipettes spread over 2-3 doses per day. They also advise to slowly build the intake up, until you figure out if you need more or less as part of your daily dosage. I liked to use it twice a day as that was best for my morning and evening routine.

The process of using oil is really simple. I give the bottle a shake and then drop the oil underneath my tongue and wait 60-90 seconds for it to fully absorb.

I really enjoyed the process of taking the oil and some of the effects I began to notice as I made it a more prominent part of my routine.

Effects of the oil

I really love this oil and I'm excited it's part of my daily self-care routine. I've found since using it at night before I go to bed, it's really helped my sleep. Not so much getting to sleep, but I find I'm sleeping more deeply and it really helps send me off into a deep slumber. I feel a lot more awake when I get up and energised, ready to take on the day.

I'm excited to continue to use it as part of a daily care routine and see how I can get the balance right for me.

Review: Thrive CBD Oil

I hope you enjoyed this post. Have you tried CBD oil?

Thank you for reading <3

5 things I've learnt about myself this year

 Well hello to you my reader chums! 2020 has certainly been a combination of a unique and difficult year, but although it's not what I expected it to be in any sense, the year panned out with a lot of positives and it's helped me grow in many ways.

5 things I've learnt about myself this year

I've had a lot more time to work on myself this year, pursue different passions and goals, and learn to take a step back. Here are 5 things I've learnt about myself this year.

I've got the strength I didn't even know I had

The year has been incredibly difficult at times, mainly due to my mental health and it's taken a great level of strength to get out of those hard times, I had to face day after day. Some days, I would physically force myself to get out of bed to go to work and I'm so glad I did, as it gave me something to focus on and in the long run, really helped me. As I look back now, feeling a lot better and happier, I admire the strength I had to pull myself through those harder days as if I didn't, I wouldn't have experienced all the amazing things I have this year - and the love of the people I have around me.

The healing process isn't linear

I've learnt a lot about my mental health this year and the whole concept around healing from the breakup to different areas of trauma I've experienced. I've had help with a lifecoach who has really taught me all about my triggers, the way I think and generally how to change my mindset towards living a happier, and more positive life. With all that teaching, I've also learnt that my healing isn't linear and sometimes I can be triggered and experienced a lull again - but as I have more knowledge around triggers, I also have better coping methods.

I don't need to be doing something 24/7

I'm known to be such a busy person and either working, working on my blog, my business or socialising, that I'm not very good at experiencing down time or relaxing. But lockdown and furlough gave me the opportunity to live a slower pace of life and I learnt to relax a lot more - and it benefits me a lot. I've learnt how important it is for my wellbeing and I really don't have to be constantly busy to stay fulfilled.

It's okay to feel all of my emotions

Growing up, I was never one for expressing how I felt as I didn't want to be a burden on anyone else. But this year I've learnt, talking to people and asking for support/help is incredibly important and okay to do. It's okay to feel every single emotion and live through it - it's about how you deal with those emotions is what's important.

To be me - and fully love everything that comes with that

The best thing I've learnt this year is accelerating forward in my self love journey. I've gone through a lot of mental change and lifestyle change; cutting out toxic people, setting boundaries, putting my own needs first, prioritisimg my goals and really focusing on me. By doing all this, I've really learnt to fall in love with myself and also learn the good/bad things about me, and how I can work on them. There has basically been a lot of sorting and healing for me, and I feel so grateful to be where I'm at right now.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What have you learnt about yourself this year?

Thank you for reading <3

Book review: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I've seen this book hyped all over Instagram and heard raving reviews that I couldn't wait to read it - and the book didn't fail to disappoint. I loved every single word of this book, especially how the chapters and characters developed throughout.

Here is my full review of Girl, Woman, Other.

Book review: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Plotline

The plotline isn't one distinct story, it's broken up into many different narratives that somehow intertwine into one. It tells the story of Britain, how you've never read it before or heard it been told before. The book tells a tale from the top of the country to the bottom, across a century of change, and follows twelve individuals on their journey of discovery. It's a book about the future and the past, and an overall tale of history, and growth for women in society.

Characters and relationships

This book warmed my heart in so many ways and opened my eyes in a lot of ways also. I was able to learn about 12 unique and wonderful women, and how although they led completely different lives, they all had the same strength, the same drive, and headspace for growth.

I loved each character for many reasons: Amma, Yazz, Dominique, Carole, Bummi, LaTisha, Shirley, Winsome, Penelope, Megan/Morgan, Hattie, and Grace. Each chapter is set in a different decade to the next and when I read it, I was able to grasp what went on in that decade from the lack of rights for women and other minority groups to how the patriarchy was - and still is.

It's hard to pinpoint who my favourite characters were as I love them all dearly but Amma, Yazz, Carole and Hattie definitely were the characters I connected the most with. Amma and Yazz both had this fiery and sassy energy which I admired a lot, Carole had that geekiness to her which I could relate to and Hattie had so much wisdom to learn from her 94 years. 

Overall thoughts 

Overall, I loved every word of this whole book. It's liberating, triumphant, powerful and truly shows the strength of minority groups in society. Us as women have struggled all through the centuries for an abundance of reasons and this book highlights that - but it also shows the strength of our gender and how we can overcome anything.

I particularly loved the flow of this book and how each of the woman's stories was paced out, describing the course of their lives and how they got to where they are today. I also liked how each chapter panned out, I learnt that the previous woman had a connection with the new woman's story, and exactly how they interlinked into each other's life. It truly shows the powerfulness of the women we all have around us, even if they are long-lost relatives.

Ending

I won't lie, I cried at the ending. The last chapter brings together all the characters, a few in the same location and others in a narrative perspective. It's incredibly beautiful and humbling to read but also very emotional. I won't reveal the ending, but what I will say, everything came together just how it should and I got overly emotional after forming an attachment to each and every one of the characters.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Have you read this book?

Thank you for reading <3

My travel goals for 2021 ft Photowall | Gifted

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Travel is my biggest passion in life and something I've missed so incredibly much this year with everything going on. The best way for me to not miss travelling too much is to focus on where I am going to travel when it's possible again.

I've titled the post for the goals to be in 2021 as I really hope, things get a bit better next year and I'm able to go on a plane. However, if they aren't, these goals are something, I can do the next year or year after that.

Disclaimer - This post contains affiliate links and a gifted product.

My travel goals for 2021

I was inspired to write this post when Photowall got in touch about gifting me one of their prints as part of a collaboration. I jumped at the fact as I really wanted to have a large print that represented my love of travel and that of course was a world map. The map now gives me something visual to look at every day whilst I'm dreaming about where I can go next.

Photowall is a custom wallpaper and print company based in Sweden which offers a range of wall murals, posters, wallpapers, canvases, and the option to personalise your prints. I absolutely adore their website and was very impressed when my print turned up. I love the quality of the world map and how it blends in well with the colour scheme of my room - plus it adds the travel vibe to my bedroom space also.

My travel goals for 2021

Travel goals for 2021

Vietnam - I've dreamt of going back to Vietnam ever since I've landed returned to England after visiting there. I was only In Vietnam 10 days and visited Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Hanoi, and Halong Bay, and loved every single moment. When I left, it's as if a bit of my heart is still there, and I need to explore more. I'd love to go to Da Nang, roam around Hoi An and hike up the Sapa Valley. There are so many beautiful areas of the country I'm yet to see and I'd love the opportunity to go again as soon as I'm able to - and absorb the wonderfulness that is the Vietnamese culture.

Dubai - My best friend lives in Dubai and I've already visited her out there once and I'd love to be able to go again, and spend some quality time with her and see her favourite spots. I've done all the typical 'tourist' things in the city and it'll be great to go back and brunch in plenty of places, relax on the beaches, stay in luxury accommodation and experience the sweet sunshine. 

Sri Lanka - I've been dreaming about Sri Lanka for ages now. Every person I've spoken to who has been as saying it's their favourite place and makes me want to go more. Sri Lanka has so much to explore, plenty of hiking location and natural beauty, plus I'd love to learn more about its culture and history. I feel it's a country I don't really know much about which makes the idea of visiting it, even more mystical.

Italy - Ah Italy will forever have my heart and it feels weird not visiting the country this year. I love to go every year and see a new city. I've done Rome twice, Venice, Milan and Florence, and a few other towns in Tuscany - and I loved every minute of it. There's something about the food, culture and people which gives me a nostalgic and homely feel. I can't wait to go back and experience the 'at home' feel. I'd really like to visit Bologna next.

Bali, Indonesia - Indonesia has been on my travel list for a long time and I'd love the idea of backpacking around the whole country for a few weeks. However, I don't think a long trip there will be on my agenda for a few years but I'd love to still explore a small dose of the country and take a holiday to Bali over my birthday in June. It's a dream but I think it'll be pretty cool to turn 25 in Bali and stay in one of their treehouses on the beach.

My travel goals for 2021

I really hope I'm able to travel to a few of these places safely soon and that the world opens up once more. We'll see what happens in time but for now, I'm glad I've got an imagination and a matching world map to dream up my adventures. Thank you Photowall! You can use my discount code 'dellalovesnutella25' and receive 25% off on any product. The code is valid for a month.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What are your travel goals?

Thank you for reading <3

6 ways to look after your mental health over Christmas

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Christmas is nearly here and although it's not the festivities we were planning for and I'm not entirely sure what's going to happen over the festive period, it's important now more than ever to put your mental health first.

For me, although Christmas is a happy time and it's filled with joy, it also holds a lot of pressure. There's so much pressure on being happy the entire time, on presents, and having the best day ever that often, I have a lot of anxiety around the holiday.

5 ways to look after your mental health over Christmas

However, there are some things I've done over the years to really look after my mental health at Christmas, and here are my top 6 tips: 

Planning is key

One of the big pressures around Christmas is present shopping and ensuring you see everyone. Although this year seeing everyone physically may not be possible and it can take away that pressure, the virtual option is still there. My best way to keep this under wraps is to plan as much as you can and stay organised. When it comes to presents, I like to make the list as early as October with ideas of presents and how much money I'm going to spend. This will give me time to plan and shop but also figure out how much money I need to put aside each month to be able to afford Christmas.

The social aspect of Christmas I find intense as there is always so much family and friends to see during that period, it's like the time everyone comes together. Even though this year, everyone wants to do just that and socialise, I feel there is more anxiety around it. The rules may be lifted and that means social events could happen but if you don't feel comfortable for your own safety, simply don't go. My advice would be to arrange virtual Christmas dates or parties online, or if we're able to, social events outside (that's pretty hard with the weather though.) Keep to the rules and do whatever you feel comfortable in, in whatever way shape, and form that comes in. Try and organise to talk to people but if you can't, arrange something in the new year - this will help take the pressure away from you.

Rest up as much as you can

At Christmas time, it's a time of year a lot of us take off work to relax and spend quality time with our families. But make sure during that period to also rest up and sleep. I don't just mean sleep, but really take the time to take a step back from the busy everyday life moments. Enjoy the slow movements, watching films in your pyjamas, and chilling out.

Be kind to yourself

You always need to look out for no1, yourself but especially during Christmas season. As although it's a period of great joy, it can also be a time of pressure and a triggering time for those who have mental illnesses. Take the time for yourself and be kind to yourself - it's okay not to be okay.

Practice your usual self-care routine

I can often find during the festive season, self-care is more important than ever. There's more to self-care than just bubble baths and face masks, it's about prioritising your mental health, setting boundaries, and listening to your body. Try and do this by practicing daily affirmations, resting when needed, and socialising when you feel like it.

Write a gratitude list every day

Chrismas is a beautiful time a year and it's a period where a lot of us express our gratitude more often. Keeping a gratitude journal is good mental health practice in general but, at Christmas when tensions can be high, it can be more important than ever. Each morning or night, write down a couple of things you're grateful for and read them every now and then, to keep more of a positive mindset.

Enjoy it as much as you can

Let's not forget, Christmas is the season for celebration and this year, in particular, is going to be harder than other years, so take it for what it is and try and enjoy it the best you can. In whatever shape or form the festivities will look like, it's a time for families to come together, to eat good food, and most importantly, share your love for one another.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other tips do you have?

Thank you for reading <3

5 things I'm looking forward to doing when I can travel again*

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Travel is my biggest passion and is really apart of me. I don't know how to describe it but by not travelling this year, there has been like an empty void inside of me that I'm unable to fulfill in any way; I'm sure other travel bloggers understand what I mean.

Disclaimer - This post contains affiliate links.

5 things I'm looking forward to do when I can travel again

I'm extremely lucky to be in the position I am when I know others have had it a lot worse this year, and I don't want to come across ungrateful that I can't do a luxurious thing of travel. However, for all you fellow travel enthusiasts, here are 5 things I'm looking forward to when I can travel again.

Booking a trip with ease

I miss the freedom of travel and how I used to be able to search for a flight and hotel and book it with only the worry of getting the time off work and making sure I had travel insurance. Now, with limitations to travel, I can't wait to be able to search for flights and accommodation with complete freedom and book my trip. Booking and researching adventures are some of my favourite things in the world so when I'm able to do that again properly, I'll be the happiest girl alive. Whether it's a backpacking adventure, interrailing, a city break, or summer trip.

The airport journey

Travel is very exciting, and more so every time I experience it. It's the opportunity for a new adventure, discovering new things and creating new stories to share when I return home. The preparation for the trip is always an exciting prospect and that includes the airport journey. I cannot wait to set my alarm for 3am, knowing I'll be hopping in my car and driving to the airport, ready to see what's in store. I'm excited to get there, see the sea of travellers roaming around, and even going through the mundane experience of passport control and security.

I can't wait to buy myself a Pret meal, take that must-do airport outfit photo and sit in my seat on the plane, ready to jet off into the air.

The new culture and experiences

Travel is all about experiencing new things and learning about different people and cultures, which I adore. I love to open up my mind to the wonders of the world and that's why I'm so excited to go again and see what's out there. There is still so much of the world I'm yet to see, so many cultures I'm yet to learn about, and billions of people I haven't crossed paths with. I'm looking forward to the learning side of travelling around the globe.

Making memories

2020 has been a slow year in terms of doing exciting things as simply, we're not allowed to. It's not to say I haven't made some memories, I have, just in a different way to how I would prior to a pandemic. But, when travel is back to normal and the world goes back to how it was, I can't wait to make memories travelling the way I would have. I can't wait to meet fellow travellers and exchange stories, roam off the beaten path and see what I can discover, and explore new cities with freedom. There's nothing better than arriving home and telling all my stories to family and friends about what I have experienced.

The wholesome feeling travel brings

Travel is where I feel fully me, it's the one thing in life that truly makes my heart completely soar and I adore the joy it brings me. I feel the happiest when I'm jetting off to a new destination and experiencing things I haven't seen before. I'm so glad I found my thing and I can't wait to experience that wholesome feeling again when I can travel.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What are you looking forward to when you can travel?

Thank you for reading <3