films, general

My Scream Come True

So Valentines this year, we decided to do something different. Well, I did. My hubby took some persuasion but I got there in the end, and we went along to the Scream Factory ‘My Bloody Valentine’ Event in Redcar.

Yes, I know what you are thinking – Are you crazy? Of course I am.

I’m a massive fan or horror. Although I do have my limits, I don’t like gore. I decided whilst on a first (and I think last) date to the cinema to see Saw III, gore wasn’t for me as I spent the entire move covering my eyes and ears. But anything spine chilling and spooky, and I’m super happy.

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We arrived at the Scream Factory site which is in the grounds of an old nursery, half an hour early, parked up, and I decided to take in the atmosphere to get in the mood. We were pretty much in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by fields and it was getting dark, so just perfect. I got out of the car to take a look about, whilst Andrew decided it was too cold. I then though it would be rather funny to suddenly appear with my face and hands pressed on the car window zombie style. I have no idea why. Anyway, he was completely unimpressed and left me thinking  ‘I’m in for a right laugh, tonight’. Turns out it was him who was in for a laugh

Not going to lie, I’d gone from buzzing to scared whilst on the hours journey from home. The panic set in as we walked through the doors of the venue to the waiting area. And quickly multiplied when a clown and two other creepy characters appeared and menacingly began to pace the area,walking through the queue as we all quietly and patiently stood.

I repeatedly reminded myself they’re only actors, and told Andrew quite smugly I felt unafraid and surprisingly calm. Until I glanced around over my shoulder and screamed as I had one right behind me and my face met with theirs.

I’m not going to give too much away, but the experience begins in ‘Tates Hotel’, as we walked down a path and approached what looks like something from the set of strangely enough, of a horror movie. We then proceed through a slightly opened door, and the ‘fun’ began. We were in a group of six, two other couples, who we’d never met before, and no guide. We were on our own. Well apart from the characters lurking creepily around us. Some we could see, and some we could just sense.

We began our journey through a labyrinth of dark, dusky smelling rooms and narrow pitch black winding paths, with nothing but a glow stick we were each given for light. It felt surreal and just like I’d been submerged into some horrific dream.

Andrew told me to get off his hand as we passed through the very first room as I was squeezing so tightly, I was crushing his fingers. I’ve had two children with him present, and held his hand throughout both labours without any complaints, just to kind of put the fear and anxiety into perspective. I was also informed afterwards that I kept grabbing hold of the others in our group, I have no recollection of this.

I walked the whole horrific theatrical experience with my glow stick held out in front of me waving it about like I was in Star Wars. If I wasn’t pacing slowly and cautiously towards the door to the next room, I was running from a clown or a hill billy with a chainsaw.

I don’t want to give away too much about what you can expect to find as you find your way through a Scream Factory Experience, but I will say that I had an encounter with my hubbys ‘other woman’ who approached me screaming obscenities and brandishing a knife.  Angry demonic cursing nuns accusing us of living in sin as I was swore to them we were married when asked, and explained I just never wear my ring, and worse of all,  who I believe to be THE scariest horror movie character of all time. The one who I knew once faced with, I wouldn’t be able to rationalise as an actor, as to me, this dude is real.

I won’t say who again to avoid any spoilers, but the panic I felt when I heard the taunting chants from his iconic film, as I made my way towards the room in pitch darkness, knowing my only way out was straight ahead. And this was immediately after being tormented by a clown.

Andrew tried to walk quickly ahead of me at this point laughing, whilst I screamed for him to wait. Refusing to hold my hand once again, I took to holding the waist of his jeans and almost pulled them down as I grabbed him to protect me from my worst nightmare. That sounds corny. It’s not meant to. I don’t mean it in a ‘my hero’ kind of way. Had it been a real life scenario, I would’ve threw him in front of him in a heartbeat just to escape.

The whole experience lasted half an hour, and was possibly the longest half an hour of my life. Feeling pretty breathless as we reached the end and escaped the nightmare, we made our way back to the car. Well via the snack van outside the venue. But as traumatised and mentally exhausted as I felt, I still had no problem asking for a Mojito Slush.

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I remember my first words as we’d ‘escaped’ were, ‘I am never, ever doing that again’. However,  an hour later, I was checking out when the Halloween tickets go on sale. I’ve come to the conclusion that I am just an absolute adrenaline junkie.

 

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Baking, food, general, lifestyle, review

Coffee and Chimney Cake at Carpathian Speciality, Whitley Bay

I try to keep my life as balanced as possible. I think the two things which I am known most for is my love of working out, and my love of food. I do the former, to enjoy the latter, and last week I enjoyed a coffee and a Chimney Cake with newly opened cafe ‘Carpathian Speciality’ Chef and owner, Tibor, and found out more about the popular Hungarian sweet snack.

Chimney Cake is a popular pastry specific to Central and Eastern European regions. What was once more traditionally a wedding pastry, then became a Hungarian street snack, and is now available in Whitley Bay.

A Chimney cake is essentially a donut, but rather than deep friend, the pastry is coiled around rolling-pin shaped moulds, then grilled on a rotisserie until golden, and finally dusted in sugar or other toppings, such as nuts, coconut, chocolate or sprinkles. The end result is a chimney shaped cake with a caramelised, sugary, golden-brown exterior and a soft and chewy bread like strip interior.

The Chimney cakes at Carpathian Speciality are entirely fresh as they are made to order. Ready in minutes and come served with a pot of freshly made custard, the cake is eaten by unwinding and dipping into the custard, and they are just divine. I’d possibly say even nicer than a donut, and healthier being grilled rather than fried. Bonus.

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Or if you’d prefer something to take away or which you can walk about with, a Doughcone may just be your thing. Once again, made using a yeast dough, it’s then rolled around a cone shaped instrument, and grilled. The cone I was kindly given was then filled with a layer of chocolate spread, then rice pudding, and topped with a whirl of cream and a maltezer.

I can’t wait to try one of these in the summer filled with ice cream. I felt less guilty for sabotaging my diet once again, upon being informed the Doughcones are only around 450 calories. Other fillings offered at Carpathian Speciality include Dark Bounty, Banoffee, Peanut Butter and Banana, Rafaello and Fruity.

Carpathian Speciality also has a wide selection of teas and freshly ground coffees which you can enjoy with your pastry or cheese or pesto scone, including Hawaiian coffee made with coconut milk, and Affagato, which is vanilla ice cream soaked in espresso.

Tibor is hoping to expand his menu to include Langos – another Hungarian food speciality. |A deep fried dough with savoury and cheese topping so quite similar to a pizza. And Milkshakes, Juices and even a range of fruit soups.

The Chimney Cake was absolutely delicious, and my two girls children thoroughly enjoyed the doughcone and we will definitely be back to try with other fillings.

To find out more about Carpathian Speciality and opening hours, then check out the Facebook Page

Baking, general, hosting, lifestyle, party, party ideas

Our Sunday Superhero Party with Baking Mad

If there is one thing I love, it’s a party. But I’m more of a party goer than a host. I’ve only ever hosted one at home party before, and that was for my daughters 6th birthday last year. However Sunday gone I hosted a party for friends, family and their little ones, with no other reason than to pretty much showcase my baking skills.

Ok, I will admit, I have never made a cake before. Not from scratch anyway. Sure I’ve bought a ready mix and added an egg, but that’s as far as my baking skills go. I’ve always imagined it to be too much stress and too much mess.

However, when this beautifully packaged box arrived from Baking Mad  containing all the ingredient needed to whizz up a cake (except the eggs and butter), I was more than prepared to get stuck in and give it a go.

The box contained a booklet containing very easy to follow instructions and I had the ingredients thrown together and ready for the oven within minutes and just over half an hour later, I had three layers of a cake to throw together and decorate. (Apologies for the untechnical baking terms. I’m no Nigella). Ok, within an hour as when I went to check after 20 minutes, I realised I hadn’t turned the oven on

From a variety of themes which included Peter Rabbit, Pirates, Unicorns and Princesses, we opted for Superheros. My daughters love an opportunity to dress up as a Superhero, and let’s be honest, so do I.

After decorating the cake with buttercream, and a variety of superhero coloured sprinkles which I added (Halloween sprinkles), and finishing off with cake toppers, I then had a further task of making cup cakes. Which was actually again a doddle and mainly left upto my daughters age 6 and 9 to do.

Once cooked and again, decorated with buttercream, sprinkles and cake toppers, we were all set for our Superhero Party.

A few brightly coloured Superhero decorations also from Baking Mad, added an extra touch to the living room where I was to host my party, and at 1pm, my guests began to arrive.

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We had a fab two hours playing pass the parcel, musical statues, having a mini disco and of course enjoying the party food and the star of the show, the cake, which I have to say  was delicious. As were the cupcakes and went down really well with my guests, even my hubby who is often harsh with my kitchen skills. I did good.

Each child left with a superhero goody bag, again supplied by Baking Mad which I’d filled with sweets and pocket-money toys. The adults a Baking Made goody bag containing oven gloves, a tea towel and donut fridge magnet, kindly supplied by Baking Mad. I did also buy chocolate to add, but sorry guys, I ate it.

Although I will probably stick to a shop bought birthday cake in the future, I enjoyed having the opportunity to make my own cake and bake with my two girls. The kit is brilliant if like me you’re not familiar with baking, but wanting to give a homemade cake a go, as it was definitely so much less stressful than I imagined.

The kids retail at £44.99 but are currently 25% off  and can be snapped up online for £33.74.

The bunting and accessories (including paper plates, napkins, party bags, party masks) retail at between £4 – £10 but again, are currently 25% off

This is a sponsored post and I was also gifted the products, however opinions are completely honest and my own

Contact me at loualexa77@yahoo.co.uk to work with me

 

general, lifestyle

Meet Scott of Hamiedog Menswear

1. Tell me briefly a bit about yourself?

I’ve lived in North Tyneside all of my life and currently live in North Shields. I’m *just* on the right side of 40 and work for a local charity full time so most of my spare time and weekends is spent looking after the business.

2. What made you decide you wanted to start up a business in retail?

I have always been a follower of men’ fashion and just got a bit bored of the offerings and the limited choices available. I like to try things on rather than shop online and I hate huge big shops which are always too busy, too warm and have too many items on the rails so you can’t even look properly. It was never a long term plan however, I just had a bit of a ‘lightbulb moment’ when I was out shopping one day and that’s where it all started from.

3. What was the idea behind Hamiedog?

I’ve always thought that menswear was terribly under represented on the high street. Often in department stores, the mens section is in the basement or in a little corner of the first floor after being forced to walk through the ladieswear. There aren’t a great deal of menswear stores around anymore, less so for independent retailers. I really wanted to change this by being able to offer something which was fashionable but also affordable and perhaps a little bit different to the mainstream offerings. There are a few other independent menswear retailers here in the town but I think we complement each other very well and there’s not really any overlap with the type of goods we sell.

4. How did you get started in this business?

Sourcing funding was the biggest task for me because I had no savings that could be used so I started looking at startup business loans and support. There’s actually plenty of support out there and the process was much easier than I had thought. It does involve lots of preparation though, including writing a business plan and making predictions for sales and cashflow. Before any money is offered, they need to see that you’ve done the hard work and thought everything through properly. There’s only so much you can do of course, but I also had free sessions from business mentors when I was starting out and these were very useful.

5. What about your location. What made you decide on Whitley Bay as an area to trade?

The location of the shop was one of the most important elements for me and Whitley Bay was always at the top of my list. I had to balance things correctly because I didn’t want to start with too big a unit but also didn’t want to be away from a high street out of sight. Park View is a wonderful street and is full of independent retailers so when I saw there were a few small units available I knew that I had to have one of them. I did plenty of research to look at footfall and competition and realised that Whitley Bay was ideal. The shop unit that I chose did need quite a lot of work before it was ready to move into, so a lot of my budget went on rewiring, refurbishing and decoration and making the place secure. Prior to me moving in the unit was a chiropodist and has also been a barbers, sweet shop and offices so it has seen quite a few businesses come and go. Hopefully we will be here to stay for a long time because I can see that 2018 is going to be an exciting time to be in Whitley Bay when the Dome and sea front developments are complete.

6. How long have you been in business?

I got the keys to the shop in July 2016 and opened for business at the end of October 2016 so we’re still new and still getting established.

7. How do you go about getting the clothing which is in your store?

Initially, as a new business that was quite a challenge so I started with using wholesale suppliers for my stock. But after around four months I was approached by a local clothing designer and realised that using local suppliers was going to be a much more beneficial way of doing business. As we began to get more established, more local designers got on board and this has definitely been a massive turning point. Working with local businesses means that you have a much better relationship with your suppliers, on a personal level rather than on a corporate one. We’re really lucky to now have 8 clothing labels in store, all based in the north east.

8. What would you say is unique about Hamiedog Menswear?

The ‘shop local’ approach is something which has become very important for us. Because we have such a good relationship with our local suppliers it means that we can sell clothing items which are totally exclusive to our store that people can’t source from anywhere else. Fashion can sometimes be a bit too serious and we have proven in our first year that people like to wear things that are a little bit different to what everyone else has got on. Any t-shirt that has ‘Whitley Bay’, ‘North’ or links to Newcastle on it immediately becomes a best seller. People are proud to be from this part of the country and some of our pieces have made their way as far across the world as Australia. I would say that 80-90% of the stock that we currently have in store is sourced from our local suppliers and this has been so well received by our customers that sometimes it is hard to keep up with demand!

9. How do you market your business?

Marketing is always a bit of a tricky one but I have found the power of social media to be amazing. We post several times a day on Facebook and also use Instagram and Twitter. You have to make things interesting and appealing to users and ensure that you are responsive to any interaction on your pages. I have experimented with paid advertising in magazines and local publications but have found those to be disappointing so social media will be how we continue to market the business in 2018.

10. What made you come up with the name Hamiedog?

Coming up with a name took ages! I thought about using my own name but it just didn’t sound right, and I wanted to use something which was unique that nobody would have ever heard before. Then I remembered about my first pet dog when I was a young child – a Westie called Hamish. We used to call him Hamiedog and the more I thought of that name, the more I liked it as the name for the business. It is often a topic of conversation in the shop, people like to know the story (and how to pronounce it correctly) so it’s a good talking point.

11. If you had one piece of advice to give to someone just starting out in retail, what would it be?

Follow your dreams and don’t give up. There were times when I thought I’d made the biggest mistake in my life by starting a business, and then subsequently being made redundant from my only source of income just as the business had opened, but I’m a firm believer of putting in the hard work and it will pay off. You’ve got to accept that you will make mistakes, it is totally natural and is part of the learning experience but it makes you stronger and helps you to plan for the future. But if you want something to work, you’ve got to put in the effort and give it time.

12. Do you trade only from the shop?

No, we’re online as well at http://www.hamiedog.co.uk.

13. How would you describe Hamiedog in 3 words?

Small, independent and funky!

14. What are your visions for the future with Hamiedog?

I’d like to continue to grow the business and would love to move into larger premises at some point, but larger premises bring larger challenges so we’ll see how this year goes before making a decision on that one. Our online store has started to become more popular so we’ll be investing in improving our website and building our current customer base. We also will continue to get involved in more local community events and shouting about how important shopping local is. I’m also planning on using more local lads for modelling and am always interested in hearing from local designers who need an outlet for their range. I think the future is bright, we just need more people to get on board and celebrate local businesses and our wonderful shops here in Whitley Bay.

For more information on Hamiedog, check out their website or Facebook page

 

Blogmas, general, lifestyle

Besties, Balloons and Blogmas Day 6

I realised last night just how much in need I was of a good night out and catch up with friends. We do see each other quite often, but we don’t always get time to sit down and talk about what is going on in our lives, and last night we got to do that.

We went out to celebrate some good news our really good friend Jeannie has had this past week. First of all let me tell you Jeannie is the kindest, most caring person you could ever meet. I’ve known her about two years I think and I can’t even remember how we became closer as friends.  But she is just sunshine, and she’s there whenever you need a friend. Obviously I’m not going to mention what her good news is, that’s not my story to tell. But she has so much to look forward to and last night we wanted her to feel like the special lady that she is.

So I popped out yesterday afternoon to get some helium balloons to decorate our table, and diamonte confetti. I chose three, two stars and a heart. Only I hadn’t realised how huge the heart was till I went to pick them up, so trying to navigate my way home with that flying in my face was interesting.

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I later on dropped them at the restaurant, went home to quickly get ready, and about three hours later (not even joking) I was good to go.

Jeannie chose to book a table at newly opened Italian and Mediterranean restaurant. I arrived first, then Jenny then the lovely lady herself along with Debra.

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We chose our food, then we were very kindly brought a garlic bread over to enjoy whilst catching up. The food was so nice and we all thoroughly enjoyed. And of course with it being a special occasion, there had to be desert. And there has to be food pics

The night went by too fast as we shared news of whats been going on since we last all got together, our plans for Christmas, and our excitement for getting together with even more of our friends at a party Saturday night.

As the night was coming to an end, we were kindly given a shot of Amaretto each. Jenny was driving so Jeannie decided we should share the third shot. j5 Then we left, balloons and all. We had issues getting the heart balloon in the car so decided it should fly out with window, me holding it. Which was fine until it blew off the ribbon and headed for space.

Reading over this blog it’s pretty boring. But I don’t need to include details of the night or any attempts at humour, or any major excitement. I just want to make it about Jeannie and for her to know just how awesome she is and we can not wait to watch, love and support her as she starts on her new journey xx

Blogmas, christmas, general, lifestyle, review

The Inventors’ Ball @ Enchanted Parks 2017

Tonight was the night myself and my two girls Jessica and Emily, have been really looking forward to. The opening of Enchanted Parks.

This annual 5 day event, once again sees the already beautiful Saltwell park come to life in another after dark adventure.

Last year was the first year we visited, being too late to purchase tickets previously. I was surprised to see feedback that it didn’t meet its usual standard, we thoroughly enjoyed it. So this year I expected they may have upped their Enchanted Park game

This years ‘Inventors Ball’ themed event tells the story of Ursula – the eldest daughter of William Wailes and Heiress to the Saltwell Estate.

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Ursula greets visitors upon the start of their magical adventure, and using image projection, Ursula is brought to life. Ursulas’ wandering mind reminds us all that ‘the body is a machine, a fleshy container for the intellect’, and whatever she thinks she is, she becomes, which she then goes on to demonstrate.  I was impressed already as I truly believe that, too.

Whilst mesmerised by the beautiful Ursula, thunder could be heard in the distance, along with lightning in the trees – and we could see electrical sparks and crackles projected upon the façade of Saltwell Towers.

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This was probably my favourite piece this year. We spent a good while just watching and taking in the atmosphere felt by the excitement of both children and adults.

We then continued our adventure through the park, meeting many characters on our way which my children loved and stopped to speak to every single one of them.

Throughout the park we winded our way through many more beautiful installations, including giant illuminated bunnies, and night creatures down by the stream.

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My girls particularly enjoyed walking up the winding path alongside flower stems which when we shook, fariesreleased a fairy.
My husband however, wasn’t impressed one of our girls was a little over enthusiastic and he suffered a few bumps on the head as Jessica gave it a shake shouting ‘Come on out, fairies. I want to see you’!!

Singing and dancing also filled the park, as we saw silhouettes of beautiful ballerinas, whilst enjoying the tones of a very cheerful pineapple.

The lake at Saltwell was lit up this year with the moon which Ursula cleverly managed to capture with a lasso to dazzle us all.

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After walking thorough the Apothercarist’s Garden full of enormous illuminated plants full of healing properties, an animal menagerie of a string quartet playing by the waterfall and the flowers for Ursula,

we’d reached the end of our Enchanted adventure, and joined a crowd of visitors gathered together, anticipating what was about to happen as a clock in the trees displayed a countdown. Then as the timer hit zero, a character appeared and began to pace up and down with a machine producing smoke. And then, we watched as the Spirit of the Cyclone appeared before us.

This was spectacular and happens every 15 minutes. We had just over a minute to wait, which was fine. But please don’t be put off if you have to wait much longer. It really is worth it and would be a shame to miss and it ends the magical experience just perfectly.

Well done NewcastleGateshead Initiative and Gateshead Council. You completely blew it out the water with this magnificent event. My two girls aged 6 and 9 loved every single second of it as did I. My husband although tired after a long and cold day at work and hungry, thoroughly enjoyed it too.

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Excited for next years already, although I have no idea how you can top this.

Thank you so much to Rachel Horton of Gateshead Culture Team, for the opportunity to blog about and share my experience of this fabulous event.

Tickets are still available for this event, running until sunday 10th December, and purchased here http://www.shopnewcastlegateshead.com/tickets/enchanted-parks-2017/

dance, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, parenting, wellbeing

Clubbercise Mush Event

I know I should’ve written this way before now, but with it being the summer holidays and having two children to entertain, it’s often hard to find the time

But, as I mentioned in my previous blog, to wrap up the two weeks of promoting Mush – the free app for mums, I’d planned another Clubbercise event. I’d chosen the same venue as the previous one, as Flares as it is just the perfect venue for what I was looking for.

So after weeks of first of all getting myself in a right panic nobody would turn up, deciding what to wear and spending a small fortune on accessories and decs for the venue, the night was just brilliant. 

Along with Mel I arrived early to set up the venue. We thought having an electric pump, 45 minutes before the doors would open, would be more than enough time to inflate a variety of animals, palm trees, sharks and lilos and even a giant donut. However, the pump failed to do it’s job and I think we had our work out before it even began, by inflating them ourselves.  However, once done and put in place the venue looked ready for us to rock a Caribbean Neon party.

I think there was around 30 of us ravers who turned up in the usual neon, but this time with grass skirts, garlands and even flowery bras, to go with the Caribbean theme. 

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We were all just as rowdy and excited as the last event, and did our dance workout for around 45 minutes (I spent a lot of it taking pics/videos. Dancing wasn’t easy, and far too sweaty under a lot of pink and purple clip in hair pieces, a flower hairband and sunglasses)

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The girls were awesome, with their smiley faces, singing cheers and whoops. Seeing that alone made the night for me, as this is what it was all about – having fun with friends. And I know it’s always gonna be a good night with this crazy lot

The event itself definately ended on a high, with some of us even getting frisky with or riding on the ‘Dophin of Clubbalove’. You’re right Mel, Dave the Dolphin should to be your mascot and join us in every class.

We all stayed around for drinks afterwards, (like we were ever gonna just go home). My lovely friend Jeannie was lucky enough to have won us a VIP booth so there was 2 bottles of fizz and a giant Partini and a booth for us to sit and chat afterwards. We also decided rather than keep going to the bar, we’d all just order a cocktail jug for ourselves. So I was classy as always sat drinking 2 pints of Woo Woo, straight out the jug.

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We also found ourselve having a bit of a dance off with another group of girls in the VIP area, which is always fun. 

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I said from before I started my 5 weeks of marketing with Mush, I wanted to host an event which was all about forgetting about parenting duties for one night, letting our hair down, having a laugh, and remembering us mums can have fun too. Smashed it. Thank you girls all so much, for helping me do just that.

Thank you to Melanie once again for leading (and putting up with my often outlandish ‘Lou, we can not do that’ ideas), and Flares for their hospitality. The guys at Flares really are ace and could not do enough to help make us feel welcome, and the event a success. And they do awesome cocktails.

If you’re looking to make new mum friends, check out the app which can be downloaded via Play Store, and if you’re still to try Clubbercise, and think it may be the work out for you, click this link to find your nearest class.

Please excuse the poor quality of the video, but it’s from a Facebook Live

 

anxiety, depression, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, mental health, wellbeing

Dear Anxiety

Dear Anxiety,

It is not often that we personally address something which we cannot physically see, but I can feel you, and I have been able to for as long as I can remember. You’re part of me and I dislike you as much as the lumps, bumps and flaws I’ve beaten myself up over for the longest time, which I can see. The lumps and bumps and flaws which aren’t even half as bad as you’ve had me believe. I was even convinced at one point in my life that I was too ugly to leave the house, so would spend my days in doors, hidden away from the world. But I wasn’t too ugly, I was too anxious.

I have periods where your toxic thoughts take over my mind and fill my soul with negative feelings and take away every bit of self-belief I have strived to gain. I have no photos of me holding my three children as babies, not one single photo.  No visual memories of days out or birthdays with their proud mum – until this year. I did not want to look at myself as I could not deal with the repulse I would feel, or have anyone else look at me and squirm. And I hate you for that.

You’ve stolen hours, days, weeks and months from me,  even a large part of my childhood where I struggled to make friends. The school days where I sat in my chair with my head down avoiding any kind of eye contact with the teacher during reading, filled with dread and fear that I would be asked to read aloud to the class. My heart pounding. My head spinning. Sitting knowing the answers to questions, but not daring to raise my hand for the fear, the absolute humiliation of being wrong.

University wasn’t easy either. Believing I wasn’t smart enough to be on the course and I was heading for a fail from day 1. Luckily, every single assignment I got back, proved you wrong. I graduated with a 2:2 which I worked so hard to get, and around being a single parent. I was good enough, and my confidence hit an all time high. I thought I’d beat you.

I hadn’t. You’ve been the most prominent part of my life for the last three or four years in particular. Where I have battled with you literally every, single day. You’ve made me tear myself up inside to the point where when asked what it is I don’t like about myself, I had a list. I hated everything from the colour of my hair to my overly bitten fingernails. You had messed with and taken over my mind to the extent that when I looked in the mirror I didn’t see what everyone else saw, but a horrific, distorted image. You made me want to hide away. So I did. I isolated myself. I couldn’t deal with the world of thinking people are pointing and laughing at me. Thinking that everything that came our of my mouth was just plain, insignificant rubbish. Convinced I’m unlikable, and undeserving of friendships, which I find incredibly hard to make and maintain.

Eventually I went for help. And it’s from that help I was given the ammunition to fight you. I was put in a position where I had to identify and talk about my positive qualities, and given the tools to challenge negative thoughts. I was given enough self-belief to realise I can be anything I want to be, and began to pursue my dream.

I’m fully aware of you now. I can feel how you flood my thoughts and infest my mood with dark paralysis and despair. You are literally a demon.

I’m now at a place where I’ve become completely mindful. I’m finally in tune with my body and emotions. I can feel you creeping up on me, and as recent as three weeks ago, you had me convinced yet again that I’m a failure. You drained me for days. All the tears, the effort of pretending I’m fine when around other people whilst forcing a smile. The listening to my husbands words of positivity but choosing to ignore them, makes me exhausted, and him frustrated. But just like any illness, I knew it would pass and just had to ride it out. You’ve gone now and yet again I’ve gained more strength. I’m winning.

So thank you anxiety, for giving me the courage to chase my dreams. I wouldn’t be writing this if it wasn’t for you. I wouldn’t be working my way towards a diploma in journalism, and I wouldn’t be taking care of myself and working out so much to release the natural endorphins which help to keep your evil thoughts at bay and act as a must needed distraction as I feel you creeping around me, smirking.

I’m taking back my life, anxiety, so next time you try to worm your way in, don’t worry, I’ve got this.

(Origionally Published on Cultnoise Magazine)