Inspire Now Journal Review – An Impressive Self-Help Aid

In my previous blog post I mentioned about how I was recommended a journal to help me manage my day-to-day life and stress. I did a fairly extensive search on the Internet for all the different types and styles of these journals (I did like the one that was recommended to me but I was really looking for one with a bit of colour to it) and after hours of searching, I ended up choosing one that was fairly close to the top of the search list on Amazon.

A great addition to my little place of organised thoughts.

The Inspire Now Journal, which I bought from Amazon, costing a steady £24.99 (which I thought a tad pricey but this is seemingly the sort of price range for all of these types of journals), arrived yesterday.

It feels nice quality straight away, which I loved and is a nice handy size so that it fits in my bag and I can take it everywhere with me. It now also means that the Collins 2019 diary planner I had been using at work can go take a running jump.

This little book is jam-packed with all sorts of planning tools for your everyday life, from general monthly calendars, to birthday reminder tables, contact details pages, fitness trackers, weight loss plans, short and long term goal planners, project ideas and big blank spaces for ideas or doodling. I love it.

Even the colour of the cover appealed to me.

The start of the book gives you advice on how to use the resources insides and it’s quite thorough, giving you examples of where to put your ideas and the wording you could use to get the best out of yourself. I spent a lot of time meticulously reading all of this before I even picked a pen up to write anything, which is unusual of me because I like to just get stuck in there and crack on.

The book is filled with little motivational quotes to pick you up and keep you going.

I started by filling out the calendar (which is a bit of a waste for me because I use the calendar on my phone pretty much to excess and rely on it a lot, but I do really like having a handwritten calendar to refer to) because this seemed like the easiest section to me, since I didn’t have to think about what I was putting in because I was mostly copying from what was on my phone screen.

It’s not until you SEE a handwritten calendar that you realise how surprisingly devoid of action your life is.

With the easy bit out of the way, I then went on to the hard part – thinking about my long term and short term goals and how I would get there. This really had me scratching my brain (like Doctor Finkelstein from ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’). I decided that I definitely wanted to be debt free. That I wanted to save for a mortgage. And that I wanted to be healthier. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m signing up to the gym anytime soon, but I do want to start drinking plenty of water, walking more and doing some yoga. I also thought it might be prudent to set aside some reflection time and meditate, collecting my thoughts. I started to use the ‘Headspace’ app a while back and really found that it help me a lot, so I think this is something I want to do again.

You get a nice little weekly goal summary page at the start of every week.

Next was to plan my week. At the start of every week, you get a nice little summary page of your week where you can put your tasks, check off if you’ve completed the habits you set yourself and write down the reward you’re going to give yourself if you do all this. A habit I’m trying to kick is mid-week drinking, so I would say that I’m probably not going to get my Sunday lunch this week…

After you’ve planned your week ahead, you then get a daily sheet to fill out your daily activities and targets. I decided to do mine the day before so I can set aside some time to plan tomorrow out.

A really organised way of planning your day.

The book told me that writing down your thoughts, plans, tasks and ideas was a great way to make your brain act on them. I’m hoping that if I persevere with this, my stress levels will reduce, I will be more organised and will feel happier and healthier in myself.

But I probably won’t get that Sunday lunch.

Kate’s Diary – I think 2019 is my year

Wow! What a year 2018 was. Last January I swear I said, “2018 is my year”. It wasn’t. I lost a grandparent, my car died on me, we had vets bills coming out of our arse for our anxiety ridden cat (what the hell he thinks he has to worry about is beyond me) and Dave lost his dad. I also ended up in hospital with health issues brought on by work and all the other stress we were going through. To summarise, 2018 was really really awful. I did however, make a multitude of absolutely amazing friends last year, including my now best friend Jay. These people are truly a godsend to me (yes, I’m also including you in this Gods) and I am so thankful for them having came into my life. I once felt alone but now I am surrounded by all these wonderful people that I can’t help but gush about every single day.

That being said, I do think 2019 is our year. I think this year is going to be full of positivity, happiness and maybe even a little of financial gain. Our jobs (mine and Dave’s) are looking promising, we’re working hard on our little house, I finally have a (half) reliable car and I am starting the year full of positive thoughts. I realise that we’re only on day three of the year, but upon recommendation from a friend, I have invested in a year planner that’s a little different.

One of my streamer friends recommended this website to me, to buy a 2019 journal that was a bit different. This one helps you make (and keep to) goals and practise stress management and maintaining upbeat, positive thinking. I will admit that it was a little pricey for me and when I looked at the images, the journals themselves seemed a little bland to me. I really liked the idea of them though so I hit up Amazon and came across this rather more appealing little number. It was a bit more colourful and the different, jazzy layout appealed to me a lot more than the first ones. I thought perhaps adding my motivational cat stickers that I bought on eBay a couple weeks ago would really make it enjoying to write in and update daily and that would help keep me in a routine of updating it, which in turn would keep me in a routine for the best mindset.

It’s arriving tomorrow so I’ll be posting a blog shortly all about it.

Kate’s Diary 18th October 2018 – It’s been kinda hard

Wow it’s been a while since I posted!  There has been so much going on / gone on that I’ve kind of had to prioritise and whilst I would have loved to have blogged to vent, I struggled to find the right words.  So I streamed instead.  I put a good deal of effort into streaming.  And when I wasn’t streaming I was trying to be there for my boyfriend, whose dad sadly passed away a fortnight ago so everything was a bit up in the air, we didn’t know whether we were coming or going and both our schedules went to pot really.  It was hard.  It was also exacerbated by the fact that my grandad also passed away and I wasn’t able to go to his funeral due to work commitments.  I’ve felt a little lost with ideas for blog posts to be fair, hence this one of mostly rambling.

I’ve met a lot of new people who have joined our little community of gamers so I have made a lot of new friends, which I am grateful for because they have all checked in with me regularly and made sure me and Dave are okay, especially godsendss and 50cal so I’m genuinely really really grateful to have them around.

We have the funeral to attend tomorrow so I’m not really sure what kind of mood either of us will come back in to say whether I will be blogging properly or whether we’ll just be chilling watching TV or whether he will stay out and get drunk and give his dad a good send off.  Either way, if I drop off the radar for a bit, you know why.

When it comes to beauty scoring, I’m a solid 6

I came across an article today about a site which analyses a photo of you and tells you how pretty you are out of one hundred. The site has recently come under fire because not only does it score you out of one hundred, but it also lists every single imperfection you have, so you can see exactly why it thinks you’re fugly (or not, if you’re lucky enough to be that person). Apparently it’s bad for peoples’ self esteem and self confidence.

Naturally I was intrigued and having had self image issues for as long as I’ve lived, I was pretty hardened to anything it could throw at me. I’ve been likened to Spock (cos of my right elf ear), Harry Potter (from when I had short hair and glasses), my dad once said I looked like E.T in skinny fit jeans (I can always rely on you to tell it how it is Dad) and my boyfriend describes me as “over the hill”. So it’s all good. Hit me with everything you’ve got PrettyScale.com.

So here’s my results. Woohoo, 60%, so not a total write off. It also specifically says I’m “good looking” – but I’m unsure if it actually means “goodlooking” or if they’re using “good” synonymously with “okay”. Like I’m “okay” looking, nothing to write home to your mother about when you meet me. The postcard home would say something along the lines of:

Mum,

Travelling the world is really great, I’m having such a whale of a time. Met this sweet girl called Kate, she’s not much to look at but she’s got a heart of gold and good sized birthing hips.

Hope to see you and Dad soon,

Love From Your Son

I can deal with that, it’s all good. But what kind of made me feel a bit taken aback and slightly hurt (by a goddamn computer algorithm, not even a human being) was the list of imperfections that came with my score. They couldn’t just give people a score and be done with it, leaving people to wonder what they lost points on, could they?

So let’s tackle my imperfections:

  • Face too long – I mean, I’ve never exactly been called “horsey” but I guess now they mention it, my face is kind of long… I’d never noticed that before;
  • Forehead too big – again, this is something I’ve never thought because I’ve mostly always had a fringe/bangs so my forehead was always covered. I even uploaded a different picture and did it again because I thought maybe the angle knocked it off, but no. Apparently my forehead is too big. Like you could park a car on it;
  • Big inter-ocular distance I had to Google this because it’s a big word, although I had an idea that it was something to do with my eyes. Basically, my eyes are too far apart. Which is weird because I actually always thought that they were too close;
  • Wide Nose – yeah, I have to hand it to ya PrettyScale, my nose is the one part of me that I can’t stand. It’s faaaar too big. But great for holding spoons;
  • Bad Face Symmetry – so wonky face syndrome. This isn’t something I had noticed before, but then again, when you look at someone else’s face in a mirror it always looks wonky. So this one kinda hurt my feelings a bit.

On the plus side, I have a “normal mouth size” and “normal chin size”. They evidently don’t do compliments because it doesn’t say anywhere anything like “your little chin is adorable”.

60% is kind of neither here nor there, nothing to shout about but also nothing to cry solidly into my pillow at night about.

My boyfriend will be happy to know this score because he always said I was a “solid 6/10”.

Update:

I’ve decided this site is bullshit. I uploaded a different photo and got this result:

Here are the two photos I uploaded.

How social media and online friendship can aid mental health and positivity

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about the rough times that lots of people around me are having, myself included. This month seems to have been a particularly crappy month for everyone in general. It’s easy to forget that most people wear their “mask of happy” (please don’t buy yours from the Happy Mask Salesman from The Legend of Zelda – he’s a bit of a con merchant) on a regular basis, purely to hide the perfectly normal and understandable emotions that we all have to deal with as part of everyday life. These feelings, until very recently have been a bit of a societal taboo and are often not widely acceptable topics of discussion. They should be. We all have shit days. We all feel down from time to time. Even people who already own a Nintendo Switch and Breath of the Wild (I promise I’m not jealous).

Mental health has started to become more acceptable in modern day life, as social media makes it easier for us to Tweet, “I need a hug, having a rubbish day”. Thankfully, because social media makes it so easy for us to reach out, it also means that the people watching on the other end of their screens can keep our chins up and make us feel better. I have lots of online friends who rather frequently find themselves sending me virtual hugs because I’m down. I do the same for them.

I find I’m genuinely surprised at the amount of people who come across as happy-go-lucky and upbeat, only to discover that it’s a facade because they’re having lots of life issues and are trying their best to maintain an appearance of Teflon – that everything bounces off them. It kind of makes me sad because those people are my friends and they’re so lovely and I hate that the world can make them sad and I can’t physically be there to give them a hug or take them for ice cream and make them feel better. But from a personal perspective, I do find that social media helps when I’m down.

This month has been a particularly difficult one for me. My boyfriend’s dad is in ill health, my immediate family are going through some tough times and we had my beloved cat at the emergency vets last weekend, to the tune of £400 in vet’s fees. He was in such distress that we couldn’t sleep for days.

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been getting by on roughly three hours sleep a night, hardly eating because my appetite is close to non-existent and to top it all off we are now totally skint until payday. To say I am almost defeated is a bit of an understatement. It’s times like this that I feel as though it is never going to get better and I will be on rock bottom forever.

The reality is that it is normal for me to get the entire year’s worth of bad luck all at the same time and then be spiffy for the rest of the year. Whilst this sounds ideal, it’s pretty rough when the bad times arrive.

I once read a series of books by Phillipa Gregory based on the Plantagenets. In the series, one of the characters is alleged to be a sorceress and talks about the “Wheel of Fortune”. She claims that everyone rides the Wheel of Fortune and eventually we all get to the bottom and have a run of bad luck, but eventually, at some point, we will ride it back around to the top. I live by this because it is entirely accurate in my life. We seem to be riding the wheel at the bottom pretty hard this month. It keeps me going to think that it’s not forever and will all go back to normal soon, but I’m still battling through each day and so I appreciate the messages I get from my friends, or the video calls I get where my friends are telling me jokes or singing at me, or the stupid games of golf that have me howling laughing so quickly.

You’ve probably been in the same position, where hope seems lost. Always remember that you should never judge a person’s story when you’ve only read one chapter and that despite the fact that people might be wearing their mask of happy, doesn’t mean that you can’t still be there for them and make them feel as though they can show their real emotions in front of you and you won’t run away, you’ll be supportive and try and cheer them up and pick them up as much as you can.

Let’s start spreading that love and making sure all our friends, online, in real life or otherwise, know that we have their backs and they can lean on us. Mental health matters as much as physical health and can be the cause of a lot of physical ailments so let’s get spreading that love!

To Live Again and Again – Past Life Regression: Great Imagination or Pseudoscience?

Around fifteen years ago I decided to try out ‘Past Life Regression’ (PLR).  I’d seen tons of stuff on TV about it and I was a bit of a skeptic but I did a bit of searching and found a nice lady who carried out her PLR sessions from her house (which was very nice, in a very nice housing estate) and me and my mum ventured over.  I went in open minded, bearing in mind I had never been hypnotised or regressed or anything like that previously so I really genuinely had no idea how it would go.

The scans you will see next are the original scripture taken down by the therapist’s hand while my session was in progress and I can verify that they are all real, no voice recording needed to be taken because I was conscious as I was saying them and I remember every word and it was all noted down correctly.  These papers have never been seen by any person other than myself and the therapist, until now.

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I’ll be honest, I found it really difficult to drift into the hypnosis.  I felt a bit pressured to start “seeing past lives” and I wasn’t sure if I would just start talking randomly, or if pictures would randomly come into my vision, so I sort of stayed quiet waiting for something to happen.  To begin with, I did envision what is noted down, but how much of that was down to pressure and forced imagination I’m not sure.

The later stories really started to get me into it.  There was no effort, I was just talking through a process and I could see places and people in my head and could rhyme off the year, date, location and all the names of the people and the places where I was.  You will note that the therapist also wrote down that my voice even changed to a “southern drawl” at one point.  Please bear in mind I am British.  Not American.

Now again, I’m a history nerd.  I’ve been to a lot of historical places and watched a lot of documentaries.  I could easily have unknowingly retained little bits and pieces and regurgitated this information during my session.  I will say I have a great imagination, however the death scenes I was taken to were extremely vivid for me.  I will also say I have tendencies to have extremely vivid dreams where I can actually feel physical things and I am also a lucid dreamer so can quite often change my dreams (or nightmares usually in my case) to my own making.  So I’m not saying that I was really envisioning a past life I had, it could easily have been an incredibly vivid, lucid and conscious dream, but as I jumped from that medieval tower, I could feel the wind whistling past my face and the cold water as I hit it.  Then nothing.  The life from the 1960’s; I could see my hands in front of my face and blaring headlights from the lorry as it hurtled towards my car dash.  Then blackness.  At neither point in these situations did I feel any pain whatsoever.  Which naturally peaks my skepticism.

I’m aware that PLR is often used in much the same way that ordinary regression is, which is to bring to the conscious surface underlying problems that you may subconsciously have, which may be impacting your life currently.

As you can see from the list of names at the start of the sheet, I have spent a good deal of years obsessing over relationships.  Since I was fifteen, I have only been single for a matter of a couple of months before going into a new relationship.  I am now thirty-two, so two months out of a whole seventeen years is hardly enough time to get my head together and think about my relationships and what I want out of them.

The therapist also expressed to me that this may be the case, that my mind is creating these visions to try and help me understand the underlying problem – that I am afraid to die alone or be alone throughout my life.  I therefore overcompensate for this by never being alone.  Which of course is also unhealthy.

The subject of PLR is always a bit taboo I find and people tend to give me funny looks when I tell them about it.  You see stories on TV where five year old children talk about “past lives” and accurately state dates and names which can be factually checked and are often correct.  I am not disputing that PLR isn’t a real thing.  I’m still open minded about reincarnation in general and the whole subject of PLR.  I have heard too many strange tales to write it off as made up.  My own experience still leaves me confused to this day, wondering whether I have a better imagination than I thought or whether I truly was so alone for so many lives, dying unloved and unmissed.

Standing Up to Bullying (I Realise I’m Late to the Party)

Journal Entry Featured PostI realise I’m a little late to ‘Stand up to Bullying’ day, which was 13th June. But I recently read a blog post on The British Nerd Network which inspired me to talk about my own experiences with bullying.
My parents moved us from the North East of England to the Midlands when I was three years old. My sister was only a baby and I would be starting school the following September. First year of my first primary school (which was around a mile away) was difficult and my mum said I would constantly come home from school saying I hadn’t made any friends because nobody could understand what I was saying (I had a broad Northern accent at the time). I remember sitting on the curb of the playground every dinner time by myself, while all the other kids played together and pointed and laughed at me.
My mum transferred me to a different primary school which was closer to our home and there I found a firm friend, Sam. She and I were inseparable for years, but she was accepted a lot more by the other kids because she was so laid back and quiet, whereas I was more likely to state my mind. She was always invited to play with the other kids but I never was. A particular playtime sticks in my mind, that sounds so stupid but at the time was really a big deal for me (how the problems of a seven year old differ to a thirty-two year old!) – a group of girls were re-enacting the Disney Beauty and the Beast movie (which I was obsessed with) and they asked Sam if she wanted to play. She said yes and asked if I could join in. They told me there weren’t any characters left for me to play. Sam said she wouldn’t play unless I did. So they told me I “could be the wardrobe”. Need I say more. As stupid as that sounds it really crushed me back then. I was also bullied from year 2 all the way to year 6, relentlessly. Jamie I hope you never go through what you put me though.
By the time I reached the age for high school, my mum had firmly decided I wasn’t going to go the local school where Sam was going. I would be going to an all girls’ school right across town that no one I knew was going to. It took me over an hour and three buses to get to school every day. And every day a couple of girls, Tiffany and Louise, made my life a living hell with their constant name calling, ridiculing and general humiliation of me.
I came home from school in tears most days. One day I came home and my mum told me that we would be moving again, this time to a place near Wales in the countryside. I would be transferring to yet another school, a much smaller close-knit one. One where not only did I not know anyone, but I couldn’t even find my way home once I got there because I wasn’t familiar with the area or the mile and a half walk to and from school.
I will remember my first day at that school for the rest of my life. It was like a scene from ‘Mean Girls’. I walked into the classroom and for a change I was the popular “city” kid that everyone wanted to know. I thought everything would change because all the girls were clinging to me asking me tons of questions about the city. I had nothing in common with any of them and although I felt completely out of my comfort zone, I thought for once I might have an easy life.
The girls showed me around school and demanded I sat with them at dinnertime. I happily opened my lunchbox and listening to them chatting away, when a girl came up to the table and was greeted by everyone. There was nowhere for her to sit and every single girl at that table (all ten of them) turned and looked at me and said “you’re in Kate’s (not me, that was the name of the girl who had nowhere to sit) seat, you’ll have to move”. I said “where will I sit?” to which I just received blank stares. I collected my stuff, got up, left the canteen and spent the rest of my lunch in the girls toilets, locked in safe, alone. This became the norm for me. I had no real friends until much later on in high school life, whereupon I befriended a group of nerds who took me under their wing and looked after me for a while. I was ridiculed in P.E (because I sucked at it), ridiculed for playing video games and ridiculed because I had never had a boyfriend (this finally happened when I turned fifteen). I hated the entirety of my school life and couldn’t wait to leave.
By the time I reached college, I thought life would be a little easier as I went to college with my boyfriend at the time. My mum didn’t like how clingy I was with my boyfriend and had placed a call with the college to make sure we were in separate classes at all times. So I was back to square one of not knowing anyone. Luckily, I met a guy there who would later become the surrogate big brother I had always wanted. We have been close since the day we met and he all but lived with my family for a long time. He moved away when I was nineteen and we lost touch for a while but I saw him recently and it was good to catch up.
Getting back to my point, a guy in college who seemed to be the leader of a clique decided I was an easy target. Tom, you also made my life hell.
Mid way through college I had had enough. The bullies had targeted me throughout my entire life because I HAD LET THEM. I was finally pushed to breaking point and exploded in class one day. The shock on the faces of the bullies was just priceless. They attempted to push me only once more but by then I had hardened myself up and I never let another snidey comment go unpunished. The bullies began to be afraid of me calling them out with sarcastic remarks to which they had no reply, looking like fools in front of their friends and the rest of the class. They eventually left me alone completely.
From that day I became an advocate against bullying, sticking up for the kids who still got bullied or were targets, looking after them and knocking the bullies back down for them, time and time again, showing them how to create their own armour, like I did.
My entire personality changed and I became extremely outspoken, brutally honest and a force to be reckoned with. I brought this into my adult life, refusing to be made a pushover of and standing my ground in every situation I got thrown into.
I found out the hard way that the only way to beat the bullies is to “beat” the bullies. I don’t necessarily mean give them a good thump, although by all means, this does also work. I mean beat them at their own game – a sarcastic put down can be battled with a sarcastic put down of your own, a harsh word can be thrown back in their face with raised eyebrow and a single profanity or an extremely loud and bored sounding sigh. Once they realise that they don’t hurt you or bother you, only bore you and mildly amuse you at their weak attempts, the comments and attempts will die down and eventually stop altogether.
Stand up for yourself! Don’t let them get away with it and be like me, regretting my childhood for the plain reason of being too weak to make a stand and fight back. I’m more than making up for it now.