Touring Central Europe: Munich

munich

I’ve just got back from a touring holiday around central Europe with my boyfriend and it was such an amazing experience that I had to start a series of blog posts on it!

Our tour started in Munich, arriving at the airport at around 6:30 am (yes, we were very tired that day!). Munich is the capital of the German state of Bavaria, which used to be its own kingdom and was the main area where we spent the first couple of days of the tour. As soon as we stepped out of the airport we found an amazing sandwich stall which I can’t find the name of anywhere but I do remember it was near McDonald’s and the train station! I had ham and cheese sandwiched between lovely, fresh white bread and my boyfriend had a chicken schnitzel roll – it was a very tasty and affordable first German meal.

We then headed straight for the S-Bahn as it was a lot cheaper than getting a taxi to our hotel. The map was a little confusing and really made me appreciate the London tube map that I am used to but the German trains themselves were pleasant enough to ride. Econtel Hotel was conveniently close to Neuaubing station which was about a 20 minute train ride away from the centre of Munich. I really enjoyed our stay there, the hotel room was comfortable (we had two double beds!), breakfast was fairly basic but enough to fill us up for the morning and the staff were very welcoming.

After checking in we got the train to Marienplatz which is a central square in the city of Munich. From there you can walk to the town hall, or Rathaus as it is called in German, and watch the Glockenspiel clock chime on the hour. It’s a slow sequence but its quaintness made it very charming to watch. We had a wander through the city looking at the Greek and Italian influenced architecture which King Ludwig I of Bavaria had organised to be built during his reign.

We then headed to a beer hall for dinner where we had boiled sausages, mashed potato and sauerkraut. The food left a lot to be desired and the restaurant itself felt a little gimmicky but it was a cheap meal in a convenient location and it still gave us a taste of the Bavarian culture. We also had an amusing waiter who kept shouting out everyone’s orders and who mispronounced ‘prawns’ as “PROGS”. Plus the beer was great!

This saw the end of our day in Munich and we headed back to the hotel. I really wish I’d had more time to explore Munich’s famous buildings and beer halls as it struck me as a really beautiful city. If you are considering a trip to Munich, I’d definitely recommend Econtel Hotel and the S-Bahn but suggest looking at restaurant reviews before you go so you can find better quality food than we did.

Our next stop was Neuschwanstein Castle – post coming soon!

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10 Mental Health Blog Posts You Need to Read

mentalhealth

I did a poll on Twitter a while ago asking if anyone would be interested in reading a list of my favourite mental health posts from other bloggers. I have put together a collection of posts which include advice and personal stories on a variety of mental health issues. I hope you find them as interesting and useful as I do!

  1. Breathing in a Panic
  2. The Taboo of Tablets
  3. When Your Mental Health Affects Your Job
  4. Using Mindfulness to Choose Happiness
  5. 10 Things to Remember When You’re Having a Bad Day
  6. How to Deal with Anxiety While Living Alone
  7. Anxiety: 5 Positive Steps for Improvement
  8. Lack of Sleep with Depression: How to Cope
  9. Labels, Diagnosis and Mental Health
  10. The First Steps to Getting Help

Comment below if you have come across any posts that you think should have made the list!

The Liebster Award

It’s a double post day today as I’ve also been nominated for The Liebster Award tag by Zoe from No Light Without Darkness! The basic premise with this tag is you answer the 11 questions set by your nominator, create 11 new questions and nominate 11 more people. This one seems tricky as I’m not the most creative when it comes to thinking of questions and answers like this but we’ll give it a go!

1. Why did you start blogging?

A few of friends have started blogs and YouTube channels and it made me really want to get back into blogging again. I’ve been taking the summer off work so I thought, why not give it a go? I really enjoy writing and it’s such a wonderful feeling to write an advice post and receive a comment from someone saying that they genuinely found it helpful.

2. What’s one skill you want to learn?

I’d love to learn to play a musical instrument, the piano would be amazing! I’ve tried and failed in the past to learn the guitar but I just don’t have the patience for it. Maybe when I retire!

3. If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why?

I’ve seen this question asked a lot before but I’ve never really given it much thought. My favourite superhero is Spiderman but I’m not sure I’d like to be him! As long as I have the ability to fly I think I’d be happy as any superhero!

4. What’s your favourite quote?

I’ll be honest and say I’m not the biggest fan of inspirational quotes but there is one that comes to mind: “If you can’t change something, change your attitude to it”. I think this is such a worthwhile quote to keep in mind, especially for those of use that struggle with anxiety and other mental health issues.

5. If you could change anything about yourself or your life, what would you change and why?

I’d like to be less of a worrier! It’s definitely easier said than done but one of my main focuses right now is to stay mindful for as much of the day as I possibly can because if not my worries seem to spiral out of control! Otherwise, moving to New Zealand wouldn’t be too bad!

6. What have you enjoyed most about the blogging experience?

The blogging community is by far the best thing about the being a blogger. People leave such lovely and supportive comments on blog posts and there are so many Twitter accounts now that run chats where you can get to know other bloggers who write about similar things.

7. What’s your biggest regret in life?

I don’t like to think that I have any regrets but there are a few things I wish had gone differently. I dropped out of university at the end of my second year as I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind for it. I always wonder if I had taken a gap year, or dropped out sooner and then started again when I felt better, things might have turned out differently!

8. If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you do?

Depending on how much money I won, I’d definitely like to buy myself a house in cash. Avoiding a mortgage would be amazing! I’d also probably take my family and friends on holiday to places I know they’d love to visit and then save up the rest.

9. What’s your favourite post you’ve written, and why?

I really enjoyed writing my first post, ‘How to Find a Job Fast With Little Compromise’, as I had first hand experience with looking to find a job as quickly as possible and wanted to share my tips with other people in the same situation.

10. What’s one thing you could you couldn’t live without?

My blanket! I love snuggling up under it all year round but especially in the depths of Winter with a cup of hot chocolate and a good TV show.

11. Who inspires you the most?

My mother is a big inspiration of mine. She’s a very independent lady and she’s always out doing different things and meeting up with friends. I definitely didn’t inherit her sociable trait!

My Nominations

  1. Eni’s Struggling Student Survival Guide
  2. Working it Out
  3. Copper Crown
  4. United As One Voice
  5. Mangled Flowers
  6. A Spoonful of Evie
  7. Nefarious Noms
  8. Your Time
  9. Confessions of a 20 Year Old
  10. Diary of An Introvert
  11. Whispers of Bliss

My Questions

  1. Which blog is your favourite to read at the moment?
  2. How did you come up with the name of your blog?
  3. What is your greatest achievement so far?
  4. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
  5. What is your favourite place that you have visited?
  6. What’s the most useless talent you have?
  7. Who would play you in a movie of your life?
  8. What is your favourite movie from childhood?
  9. What is your favourite dish and why?
  10. What is one piece of advice you wish you had been told 10 years ago?
  11. If you had to switch careers now, what would you do?

Make sure you let everyone know that you’ve nominated them and if you drop a comment below once you’ve written your posts, I’d love to read your answers!

Blogger Recognition Award

I’ve been secretly hoping someone would nominate me for an award tag soon as I love doing them! They’re a great way to help promote other bloggers, as well as your own blog. So without any further ado, here is my response.

Why and How I Started my Blog

I’ve been taking some away from work this summer to spend with my family so I thought I’d use the free time to give blogging a try. I really enjoy writing and I had a few ideas for advice posts that I really wanted to share! I had previously tried running a fashion blog through Blogger but never really got into it as I’m definitely better than writing than I am at photography! My first post was on job-hunting and it was fairly well-received so I thought I’d carry on writing and see where I can take the blog!

Who Nominated Me?

I was nominated by Lia from A Southern Girl’s Blog! Lia is a family-orientated and creative writing blogger. She enjoys poetry and inspirational quotes and is an avid book reader, you can check out her review of ‘Supreme Ambitious’ by David Lat here. Thank you so much for the nomination Lia, I’m looking forward to reading more posts from you in the future!

My Advice to New Bloggers

  1. Write content that you enjoy writing. There’s no point in writing posts just because they make for popular reading, it will become boring very quickly for you. If you have an interest, no matter how unusual, go ahead and write about it! Your passion for the subject will help keep you motivated to write more and eventually your following will grow.
  2. Use Twitter for promotion. The vast majority of the Twitter community are lovely and extremely helpful people. There are so many useful hashtags and RT accounts that will help get your blog out there and grow your following. There are also accounts that run regular chats that you can get involved with and find other amazing blogs to follow!

My Nominees for this Award:

  1. It’s Me, Colin
  2. Tea and Maz
  3. Beautiful & Mindful
  4. No Light Without Darkness
  5. Lucy Welford
  6. Chloe Isabelle Turner
  7. Cara Johnson
  8. inadaydreamx
  9. Mighty Mama Bear
  10. We Are Recovering
  11. Megan Tully
  12. Life Through My Dark Brown Eyes
  13. Anxiety in London
  14. The Sad Hippy
  15. Into the Wildish

Steps to Take as You Accept the Award

  1. Write about how and why you started blogging.
  2. Mention the person who nominated you and write a short description about them.
  3. Choose 15 other bloggers for a nomination for this award.
  4. Write two different pieces of advice for new bloggers.
  5. Let the people you have nominated know about you nominating them and send a link to your blog post.

Leave me a comment below when you’ve published your response post and I’ll check it out!

Book Review: Behind Closed Doors

★★★★☆

‘Behind Closed Doors’ by B. A. Paris is a psychological thriller told from the point of view of a young married woman called Grace Angel. To the other characters in the story, Grace and her husband Jack seem to have the perfect marriage. However Jack is a high-flying lawyer, while Grace stays at home all day, not even owning her own mobile phone or her own email address. Is there something more sinister going on behind closed doors? And why is Jack so eager for Grace’s sister Millie to come and live with them?

This is B. A. Paris’ debut novel and I am very excited to read her second novel, ‘The Breakdown’, as I found her writing style and the story itself extremely gripping. The chapters are relatively short and alternate between the past and present tense which made it easy to read large chunks in one sitting. I do however wish that the past tense chapters had caught up with the present tense chapters sooner as it felt as though the ending of the booking was revealed earlier than it should have been.

The novel largely focuses on the relationship between Grace and Jack, and demonstrates how differently they behave when they are with the other characters compared to when they are alone. There are many intense scenes that will either leave you glued to the book or putting it down in horror! The characters of Grace and Jack are relatively well-developed so it is easy to see why they act the way they do, while being nonetheless shocking. I found very little fault with this novel and would recommend it to anyone, especially if you are looking for something to help get you back into reading or for a short book to take on holiday.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on ‘Behind Closed Doors’ in the comments. You can also read El’s review here.

Anxiety Crutches: What They Are and How to Avoid Them

Anxiety Crutches

I have often fallen into habits that may help my anxiety at the time but are unhealthy in the long term. These habits are referred to as ‘crutches’ and we use them to relieve the feeling of anxiety when it becomes overwhelming. However these actions can disrupt our lives in ways that make the initial relief not worth it. Below are a list of crutches I have developed on and off over the years and what I do to avoid them.

Carrying A Paper Bag in Fear of Hyperventilating

I used to have regular panic attacks and though I rarely reached the point of hyperventilating, I felt the need to carry a small paper bag with me just in case; if I left it behind, it would worry me until I got home again. The best way to deal with panic attacks is to learn coping mechanisms so that when you start to experience one you know exactly what to do and that way there is no need for a crutch, such as a paper bag, in the first place.

Avoiding Eating Food with Nuts

I have eaten peanuts and various types of nut in the past with no problem but I still prefer to avoid them in fear of having an allergic reaction. As a result of this fear, If I do eat something which contains nuts it will often lead to a tight feeling in my throat and other symptoms of panic. This is of course purely psychological and a direct result of the worrying thoughts. The only solution is to start eating nuts regularly to remove this association which is something I still need to push myself to do.

Checking Where the Nearest Hospital is

I often do this when I am on holiday or staying in a new place as it is comforting to know that I can easily get to a hospital in the unlikely event that something were to happen to me. If I become anxious and it leads to physical pain my first thought is often “How close am I to the nearest hospital?” and if it is not nearby, my anxiety worsens. This is another example of worrying thoughts leading to physical symptoms of anxiety. By avoiding any thoughts about hospitals when there is no emergency and instead focusing on relaxing, you can begin to combat the anxiety.  

Avoiding Eating in Fear of being Sick

Previously I have avoided eating a meal before doing something/going somewhere that makes me anxious as I would worry about being sick in public and embarrassing myself. Getting into a habit of doing this can be toxic as the more you worry about being sick and expect it to happen, the more chance it will. As silly as it sounds, just reassuring yourself that if you are sick it will not kill you nor anyone else can be a huge help.

I hope I have been able to give an insight into why we look for crutches to alleviate anxiety and why this isn’t always the best solution. Please share in the comments what you have done to overcome your own crutches!

Experiencing Physical Pain Caused by Anxiety

Physical Pain Caused by Anxiety

It was around the age of 11 that I first started to experience anxiety manifesting itself in the form of pains in my chest. I remember feeling convinced each time it happened that I was having a heart attack but I didn’t say anything to anyone about it because my childhood logic told me “if you don’t acknowledge it, it won’t be true”. Instead I just sat there feeling very anxious and, of course, the pain lingered.

These pains have been coming and going, both regularly and irregularly at different points in my life, ever since. As well as in my chest, I sometimes experience pains in my head which then leads to the disastrous thought of “I’m having an aneurysm”. In more recent years, I have learned to take a different approach when I begin to feel a ‘stress pain’, as I like to call it:

  • Fully engaging in an activity e.g. a board game so my mind is distracted and I am less likely to have dramatic, unhealthy thoughts.
  • Using meditation or just simply paying attention to my breathing if the pain worsens and the feeling of anxiety is overwhelming.
  • Going for a walk to help clear my head while I wait for the pain to pass.

These are just a few tips I have found help ease my mind in situations where it is easy to lose control and trigger your fight or flight response. This is something that I am still battling so please do comment with your own advice/experiences!