27 Oct 2015

Plum Paper Planner Review

A few months ago I purchased Plum Paper's monthly planner from their Etsy store. And as we're now coming to the end of the year, a time where many people will be considering purchasing a new planner for 2016, I thought this would be a great time to review the product!

Firstly, when you go to Plum Paper's store to make your purchase you are met with a load of options as to how you would like your planner to look. There are dozens of unique cover designs to choose from, all including a space for your name to be added. Some cover designs also include a logo that will made up of your initials, or a place for a photo of your choice. I settled with this dark purple, dandelion cover design, with just my name at the bottom.

You also have a choice of 4 options as to how your day-to-day planner pages will be set out. Options include columns being divided up into hourly segments, or being separated into blocks pertaining to morning, afternoon, evening. I chose one of the options that excluded any time restrictions for more freedom, as I don't necessarily have a set time for things I need to do in the day. 

Personalisation options are easily selected before checkout. 

Something that's very handy is that you can choose what month your planner will start in, meaning you can make your purchase at any time of the year but still get a full 12 month planner. When choosing your starting month bear in mind that processing takes a few weeks. And if you are not in the US it can take 6-8 weeks for you to receive your planner. 

Above is an example of how I use my planner. Note: I have a dysfunctional breathing condition meaning that I have to do at least three breathing exercises per day, hence having to remind myself to breathe! The check-list boxes at the bottom of the page come in handy for little things like that. 


Notice how each month is colour coded!


There are many other features through the planner, meeting pretty much all possible organisation needs. There are pages set aside for notes that come before and after each month, pages dedicated to noting down passwords, spaces for contacts, yearly calenders, a space to write down special dates for each month and more. The shop also allows you to purchase extra add-ons such as to-do lists, a bill tracker, extra notes pages and even pages for blog planning! 

The planner I bought is their regular planner, but they also sell student planners, family planners, fitness planners and more. 

I fell in love with this planner as soon as it arrived and I'm still loving it months down the line. It has proved to be a very neat, practical and satisfying way to organise my life, whilst also being pretty to look at and small and light enough to carry around in my bag without hassle!

Disclaimer: A newer version of this planner has been released since this review was written

Amani x

17 Oct 2015

My Social Anxiety

I suffer from anxiety. My anxiety manifests itself in many aspects of my life, so it’s not a surprise that I would also have social anxiety on top of everything else. But though I’ve never managed to identify the root cause of my general anxiety, I can recognise the reasons why I have social anxiety.

During my late childhood and most of my teenage years I didn’t quite fit in. There were many occasions where both my peers and even total strangers would call me “weird”, “ugly”, “annoying”, and even much worse. I was made to feel inferior and ‘different’, and like I was someone whose company wasn’t worth having. From the age of sixteen I stopped being as negatively received, but as these experiences were so prevalent in my formative years, the beliefs that I had about myself as a result of how others had received me didn’t dissipate, and still haven’t.

I’m now in my mid-twenties (*has existential crisis*) and when I meet new people around 8 out of 10 times I convince myself that they automatically don’t like me. It isn’t even a worry that they may not like me, in my head it’s a 100% fact. I believe they find me “weird”, “ugly”, “annoying”. The vast majority of times I’m proven wrong, but that only confuses me and makes me not trust my own mind. And despite the fact I may be proved wrong in many cases my initial beliefs will have already left me withdrawn and cautious. Thinking that new people you meet do not like you leaves you with a huge lack of confidence which doesn’t just disappear when someone is nice to you. I still worry that people will learn not to like me. My reaction to this mindset is usually to stay quiet and keep to myself and become what a lot of people would call ‘shy’. But it only adds to the vicious circle. Because I retreat within myself so much and speak very little due to my fears of how I'm being received, I then worry that people think I’m boring and not worth hanging around with. I know my personality is far from boring but I’m not confident enough to even begin to show it to many people. There are times when I am fully myself in social situations, but it’s not consistent (which I think confuses people). For example, I could be having a conversation with two people I’m confident around and if a third person who I haven’t reached that level of comfort with enters the conversation I will retreat again. And the fact that I’ve become quiet will make me feel even worse about myself and confirm to me that I’m socially inept in comparison to others or that I'm being boring and my confidence will dip again.  I do have some good friends who I feel fully comfortable with and don’t feel socially anxious around. There are also acquaintances and strangers I meet whom I also feel comfortable with and don’t have any issues of shyness or anxiety with. But I don’t know how to extend that feeling of ease to all people.

See this link for information about free online counselling: BetterHelp

The reason that I’ve felt prompted to write this blog post now is that I feel that over the last year or so my social anxiety has been getting a lot worse. There are some reasons for this which I can identify. One is due to recently being out of action for a year due to illness; it left me with a knocked confidence and new apprehensions. Another is (more recently) being in a phase where I’m not confident with my physical appearance (something I struggle with on and off). Since people have outright called me ugly in my past, feeling it definitely does not make me exude confidence around others, as I think they’re thinking the same thing. In the last year I've also started tripping up on my words a lot. I had no clue why, until I read up on it and discovered it was a symptom of anxiety. This contributes to me not wanting to talk unless I’m fully comfortable and adds to my typical socially anxious trait of fear of embarrassment and saying the wrong thing.

It’s gotten to the point where I feel like I don’t have a voice anymore. It's lonely and it's isolating and I want it to change. 

I’m sorry that this post is a mess. One of the aims of this blog is to help others, and I have posts lined up in the future that hold tips on how to manage general anxiety and panic attacks. But unfortunately social anxiety is something I don’t know how to overcome. Not yet. I wrote all this because I needed to get it out. But I also hope it might help people to stop and consider what could be going on behind the scenes of someone who appears to be quiet on the outside. And maybe there will also be people reading this that can relate to what I’m saying and find some value in it.

Amani x

3 Oct 2015

September '15 In Pictures

Gifts upon exam results, Gryffindor socks

Sunflowers in the street, Pizza night

Front garden roses in Hampstead, Home made Oreo cheesecake

View from my window, Black and white selfie

Houses in Hampstead, Afternoon tea

Afternoon tea

Afternoon tea

Early birthday celebrations 

Early birthday celebrations 

Kings Cross station

Keys to new flat, Drive through Nottingham

My 24th birthday

My 24th birthday, Dan and Phil are coming to Nottingham

Post-picnic selfie, Nottingham at night

Nottingham at twilight 

Amani x


1 Oct 2015

Back To Uni Haul

Firstly, sorry for the lack of activity recently! I've spent the last week moving to a new accommodation, getting settled in, and sorting out various other aspects of my life. And this sudden onslaught of stress can only mean one thing; it's 'back to uni' season! I start my 3rd year of university next week and have of course bought a few things to see me into the new academic year. Here are a few favourtes:

Owl Playing Cards - Paperchase

Playing cards are an essential for student life - coming in handy for drinking games and chilled nights in alike- and when I spotted these ultra-cute owl themed playing cards in Paperchase I decided they'd be a perfect addition to my new studio apartment! 

Turquoise Bird and Floral A4 Project Notebook - WHSmith

The item on the top of my to-buy list for the new academic year was a fresh new notebook. Though it proved surprisingly tricky finding an A4 notebook with separators (essential for all my modules) - and especially one that were aesthetically pleasing. But I ended up settling on this beautiful bird printed project book from WHSmith, which is not dissimilar from this notebook I recently bought from the same collection!

Black Floral Pencil Case - WHSmith

I actually spotted this pencil case early in the summer and purchased it immediately, as it was the perfect replacement for my previous yet now worn out pencil case. Black floral designs are something I'm loving at the moment as they perfectly merge together and satisfy the two opposing sides of me; the one that loves things all black and the one that basks in the pretty and the 'girly'. 

Mystic Rose Umbrella - Paperchase

Paperchase is currently holding a collection (Mystic Rose) that I absolutely love, and frankly, want to buy all of. And as the new academic year means that winter is also approaching, I was in need of a new umbrella, so bought one from the collection. Again, this fits in with my love of  'dark and floral', and the print is generally made up of great colours. I'm hoping to buy more from this collection very soon!

Black Polkadot Pyjama Bottoms - Primark

To me, relocating back to university prompts the need to do and purchase things to make me as comfortable as possible in my new place. So with that in mind I picked out these black, polka dot pyjama bottoms from Primark ,which are exceedingly comfortable as well as cute!

Have you made any great purchases upon returning to/starting uni?

Amani x

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