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Oh Hey, Didn't You Write A Blog?

For the first time in nearly a year, I'm sat here writing a blog post. Remember when I used to write a blog? When I used to post regularly and tell you witty anecdotes about my life? Well you might have forgotten I ever did that, because I've not blogged properly in a year.

So what's been going on?

Well, the short version of the story is that I've had a pretty awful year, and well the blog just took a backseat while I was in my 'sad Lisa' phase. But that would make for a very short blog post now wouldn't it? So grab a cuppa and let's catch up.

Work

So over a year ago I left my lovely job of two years, because although I loved it, I needed a change, and well more money. I left a nice place where I worked with people I liked, for an absolutely awful company where I lasted 10 days at before I walked out. The company was beyond awful, and the managing director, well there's a whole Facebook group dedicated to him. It was a stupid mistake, and well started my chain of bad luck with jobs! I've since then had three more temporary positions, and my last place on the 3rd day of me being there announced the office is closing, just lovely. 

My heart broke

Probably the biggest thing that's happened to me this year is that my heart broke. It broke, and I honestly thought it would never ever feel better. My nearly 7 year relationship ended with the boy I'd met when I was 19 and he moved back halfway across the country. We had a mortgage, a home, and a whole life together, and sadly that's not an easy thing to just end and walk away from, and as I learnt when it falls apart, it falls apart and sometimes it can't be put back together. 

Sure breakups are something that everyone experiences, but there is no easy way to deal with it. For me this came completely out of the blue, but now I've had time away from it I can see in hindsight, that it was probably coming. Dealing with heartbreak is difficult enough, but dealing with betrayal ontop of it all was worse. Hidden messages, 'working late', hotel rooms and lies, it can make you suspicious and paranoid, and sometimes you just need to get away from it all and run away. Which I did, I ran away to Canada.

Canada

Canada for me is a big turning point in my life. I was beyond miserable, my mental health was pretty terrible, and so my life long friend suggested I came to visit her in Canada. So I booked a flight with 8 days notice, because my boyfriend had just packed up all his stuff and left and I couldn't deal with life. I'm terrified of flying, like actually terrified, and I have awful anxiety about being on my own in places I don't know, so for me flying all the way to Vancouver on my own and exploring the city on my own, was the bravest thing I've probably ever done. Canada was the first time after a very long dark time that I felt happy again, although when I came back to England and had to deal with my life again.

I sold my flat

So after the initial breakup had sunk in, we put our flat up for sale, I was heartbroken. I loved my flat, it was small, and it was in a crappy town, but I loved it. It was meant to be somewhere where I started a life with someone, and instead I was selling it to someone else to start theirs. My flat sold within a day, for the full asking price, but the whole sale process dragged out for 5 months. After 3 months of living alone (and actually enjoying it!) I moved back to my parents house as I thought the sale was finally ready, but hey I hired the worst solicitors ever and it took another 2. We finally completed last month, and that chapter of my life is now over.

But hey it's not all doom and gloom, while this has been a really hard, rubbish year, it's not been all bad. Although I did recently joke that nothing else bad could happen to me this year, and then I had someone drive into me at 60mph...

This year has had lots of adventures. Canada wasn't the only fun thing I did this year, I've done a whole bunch of things that I probably never would have done. I've made new friends, I've seen new things, I learnt how amazing some of my friends really are. I also started to enjoy being single for the first time in 7 years, and started dating new people, which was an adventure on its own, and in amongst that I met someone. He's lovely and makes me laugh, and seems to understand the weird things I do. Maybe it'll work out, maybe it won't, but right now I'm happy. 

This isn't the way I thought my year would go when it started, and I've learnt a lot, but I now think I can talk about it all and laugh. It's good to be writing again, and it's good to be out of the sad Lisa phase.

Make your new kitchen fit for a party

Make your new kitchen fit for a party
In most houses, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It needs to be fit for multipurpose – fit for a family by day and fit for a party by night, for instance. As the saying goes ‘you will always find me in the kitchen at parties…’


But how do you design a kitchen that can accommodate both whilst still reflecting the ‘wow’ factor? Kitchen design specialist Harvey Jones has utilised their expert knowledge to offer you the best advice and inspiration to help you create the kitchen that is the perfect medium between family living and a great party venue for all your guests.

1 – Add a peninsula or island for your guests to gather
 A kitchen work surface that can be accessed from both the centre of the kitchen and outside can be utilised as a breakfast station and yet can also be quickly transformed into a buffet station to hold all your party nibbles. Barstools can be added to accommodate those who want to sit and enjoy the party food with a glass of fizz in their hand too.

2 – Create a drinks station 
Every party needs a drinks station, or a bar. Tambour-fronted or double-doored breakfast stations are all the rage at the moment but can easily be turned into a bar for parties. Cereals, bread and biscuits can be easily replaced with glasses, snacks and cocktail-making essentials. Access to a plug enables you to add tech like a blender or ice machine to your bar, and incorporating a wine cooler or mini fridge into the design means your guests will always have access to their favourite tipple, chilled or poured over ice.

3 – Have plenty of places to sit 
You can add a new dimension to kitchen seating by adding a bench to your design, or ensuring you leave room for an extending dining table. You want to have a place for your guests to gather and socialise together. In the early stages of designing your kitchen, you should consider where you might store extra chairs. Fold-away chairs are the easiest to conceal and store away until a party. You might want to consider building in a multipurpose utility cupboard where you can store these extra chairs alongside your vacuum, mop and bucket and your ironing board though. It’ll be a space that hides them away out of sight, but leaves them right at hand when you need them.

4 – Light it up 
Nothing creates a party mood more than good lighting. Whilst you might not want funky, colourful lighting all year round, you may want to consider adding a few extras in the design process to make sure you have light settings for all occasions. Colour-change LED lights can be concealed underneath cupboards and island work surfaces, or below plinths and even behind glass splashbacks. This means you can have a little something up your sleeve to really help set the mood for your guests. Not only that, but zone lighting and dimmable switches help to define areas of the kitchen and create different moods suitable for any occasion whilst wowing your guests.

With a little help for Harvey Jones, you can design your perfect party kitchen in no time.

Taking Mental Health Seriously

Taking Mental Health Seriously
A few years ago now I got diagnosed with mental health problems. At the time I was pretty embarrassed of it, and didn't really speak up much about it. Once I decided to I learnt that actually a lot of my friends had similar problems, and really there isn't much of a stigma around them. 

In fact mental health is a lot more common than I first thought, with 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental illness each year. But still there's not a lot of awareness of mental health issues. I know personally I've struggled in the past to get help for mine, and I've found it's often because there's a lack of funding or research into mental health in young people. It often felt like I was fighting a never ending battle with my GP to even be put forward for CBT, and I honestly think it's down to a lack of awareness, and I know a lot of my friends have had similar problems. 

I came across this infographic from MQ Mental Health Charity and thought it raised some interesting points about mental health, particularly about the funding constraints meaning that some people aren't receiving the treatment and support that they need. 


MQ Mental Health are a charity that are all about understanding mental health, ensuring that it is treated, and ultimately prevented. And with the help of their supporters they can understand better mental health. Personally I am very keen to get involved with with supporting such a great charity, if you'd like to as well you can find more information here