Thursday, 8 October 2015

it's okay not to be okay

I am not in a good place in my life.

I feel very fortunate to be where I am. I have a family who loves me, a roof over my head, food to eat whenever I want and need it, everything I need to survive and be happy.

And yet, I'm not.

I "graduated" therapy back in early May, a little over a month before I moved out of my parents' home. My therapist told me I had come a very long way since when I first started seeing her. Even now, my anxiety is under control. That, however, is not what is bothering me.

I feel as though there is a cloud over my head. I feel alone, and I feel as though there's nothing going for me. I finally get a job, and they give me two shifts before cutting contact with me. I haven't even been paid. I finally meet people, but they're not really my friends. It's like I'm getting setback after setback after setback.

Today I almost got given a $100 fine for not having the right identification for the train ticket I bought. The truth was, I couldn't afford to spend $4.50 on a train ticket. It would cost me $9 to go a single lecture, but I have to go - education right? So I bought a concession, which saved me almost $3. I have student ID so I thought I'd get away with it - but I almost didn't.

I have tried and tried and tried with Centrelink (the Australian welfare), but they're just not working for me. I have to call them, but all their phone systems are automated and I can't get the robot on the other end to understand what I need. There goes any benefits I'm eligible for. It has been two weeks since my first shift at a local cafe, and a week since I texted the manager asking for more work. No response. A payslip from the accountant, but no pay to go with it.

The worst part is I really rely on my friends for support, but it's not the same when it's over text or Facebook. I don't really have close enough friends here to talk to. Scratch that, I don't really have friends over here at all.

So to me, it feels like my life kinda sucks right now. I'm not okay. I haven't been blogging because I really haven't been up to it. I hope there are a few of you who understand and will still stay along for when I'm mentally healthy enough to write (cheerily) again.

I hope that wherever you are, you're faring better than me - and if not, lots and lots of virtual hugs for you, because it's okay not to be okay. You can also shoot me an email from the sidebar if you need to chat about any problems you're facing. I'm by no means a psychologist but we can support one another.

Lots of love xxx

Sunday, 27 September 2015

i quit sugar - week two

I've made it! Week 2 is done and dusted, and I'm feeling proud.

However - that's about the best feeling I've had.

One symptom I've been really noticing is the fact that I'm lacking focus. At first I thought I was unmotivated, but for me that usually only lasts a couple of days before I can really knuckle down. However since about Friday last week I just haven't been able to concentrate properly - and when you have university assignments to do, that becomes a bit of a problem. My brain is hazy and my procrastination levels are at an all time high (in fact, I'm at the uni library now trying to work on one assignment and yet here I am blogging away). Usually when studying I have a bowl of lollies or M&Ms to munch on and keep me going, but I can no longer do that. Up until today (Monday) I haven't realised my lack of focus has been due to sugar withdrawals but it only makes sense. Luckily, this is the worst symptom. I've been told to expect nausea, headaches, fatigue, etc. and I haven't had any of those, but inability to concentrate is definitely going on!! I snacked on some cheese and crackers for hunger, and I have a small portion of greek salad and a boiled egg as a second lunch - I'm eating quite frequently nowadays, albeit in small servings - so hopefully that'll calm the cravings down and get me to whiz through this assignment.

Still craving sugar, which feels silly as I've only gone five days cutting all fructose, but it goes to show how addicted I was! I swear everything I see now is cake and chocolate and ice cream, and even "healthy" things like honey and fruit. In fact - this afternoon when I had peanut butter on toast it felt like a sweet!

There haven't been any real benefits this far. I'm eating healthier and becoming more aware of what I'm putting inside my body which is good, but as for weight loss, less lethargy, better skin, etc. I'm not seeing results yet. I do realise I am being impatient though! ;)

My meals for this week!

Monday ~
Breakfast: two slices toast with vegemite and avocado
Lunch: alfredo chicken breast with steamed veggies
Dinner: beef and cheese pie, salad, and roast veggies

Tuesday ~
Breakfast: two slices buttered toast, two soft boiled eggs
Lunch: chicken and cheese bagel with sun dried tomato and pesto (naughty)
Dinner: pasta with roast veggie sauce

Wednesday ~
Breakfast: diced tomato, poached egg, toast, feta - pictured above
Lunch: pasta with roast veggie sauce
Dinner: pasta bake and salad

Thursday ~
Breakfast: two slices toast with vegemite and avocado
Lunch: leftovers and garlic bread
Dinner: 1/2 chicken breast, steamed veggies, roast potatoes

Friday ~
Breakfast: two slices toast with vegemite and avocado
Lunch: 1/2 chicken breast, big serve of salad
Dinner: spaghetti bolognaise, garlic bread

Saturday ~
Breakfast: diced tomato, poached egg, toast, feta
Lunch: 2-egg cheesy omelette, big serve salad
Dinner: leftovers, big serve salad

Sunday ~
Breakfast: four asparagus spears, two soft boiled eggs, cream cheese on toast - pictured above
Lunch: peanut butter on toast
Dinner: homemade beef burgers

If you're wondering what I use to track my meals, I write it all down in this bad boy. I found this meal and recipe planner in Kikki.K on sale for $12 and couldn't help but pick it up. The Swedish design is very familiar to my Norwegian roots - I love it! I'm not sure if it's still being stocked but if it is - go get it!

As for snacks, I had to stay away from fruits this week so instead I had:
  • boiled eggs
  • carrot sticks
  • iced latte
  • cheese
  • crackers
  • homemade potato chips
Baking some coco-nutty granola for breakfast next week

The goal for this week was to up my fat intake (easy-peasy), and cut out all fructose completely (not so easy). I only slipped up once - sorta - and that was when I went out for a coffee with my gran and she ordered me a bagel with pesto and sun dried tomato, both of which have quite high sugar contents. However, I didn't want to seem ungrateful so I ate it anyway. I mean, what was I supposed to do? ;)

Besides that, I think I've done well with my quitting sugar journey.

Wish me luck for next week, strict no sugar policy!! I'm also going to try and stay away from overly processed foods, which may be a challenge, but I'm up for it. Hopefully my lack of focus will start to disappear soon as my uni assignment is due next week and I haven't finished yet... Oops!

xx Silje

Thursday, 24 September 2015

back 2 basics

As of late I have been loving my staples. I would never go so far as to say I have a minimalist wardrobe, but my clothing collection isn't exactly large, so I have to get quite creative in trying to make it look like I'm not wearing the exact same outfit every day.

About a couple of months ago I picked up a plain grey tee which I quickly fell in love with. It's the most basic shirt you'll find but it's super comfy and there's virtually nothing in my wardrobe that it doesn't go with. That's when I started playing around with the clothes I have to see how many outfits I could make with the basics of my wardrobe.

I think it's quite essential to have basic pieces that go with lots of different things in your wardrobe, those mainly being in neutral colours (white, grey, black, beige, navy, etc). The thing that makes them so different is the combination.

The pieces I have that I would call my staples are:
  • grey tee
  • striped tee
  • flattering jeans
  • black cardigan
  • denim jacket
  • denim skirt
  • black leggings
  • striped dress
Now of course, you don't want to spend the whole week wearing the same two shirts, so I have a little collection of tops - mainly all of them are striped. This is the same for bottoms as well - I like to have a couple of pairs of jeans and leggings.

Another few items I'd consider adding to your wardrobe are:
  • sunglasses
  • flat shoes
  • heeled shoes
  • large bag
  • small bag
Make sure these are also in neutral colours so that they fit with everything! This is the essence of having a capsule wardrobe - everything goes with everything.

A lot of these combination work well as day-to-night outfits. And last, but definitely not least, is accessories! I find that I like to express myself through makeup, so that's usually the bold colour for me, or I chuck on a large statement necklace to add a pop of something fresh.

for the effortless look:: grey tee, jeans, heels

for day to night I :: striped tee, denim skirt
day: black cardigan, boots, sunglasses // night: denim jacket, heels, clutch

for uni :: grey tee, denim skirt, boots

for running errands :: striped tee, denim jacket, black leggings, boots


For day to night II :: striped dress, heels
day: denim jacket, sunglasses, big bag // night: clutch

At least for me, the biggest difference between day and night outfits are the accessories and outerwear - you can hardly tell it's the same outfit underneath!

I hope this was as fun for you to read as it was for me to put together! Maybe this'll inspire you to stick to the basics in your wardrobe - it's surprisingly creative.

Much love,

xx Silje

Sunday, 20 September 2015

i quit sugar - week one

A delicious sugar free breakfast that kept me filled up for ages!

It's the end of my first week quitting sugar, and I think all up I've actually done alright. I thought it would be a lot more difficult, and although I did consume a little too much, this week was meant for cutting down sugar, not cutting out. Next week I go cold turkey!

I consumed a bit of natural sugar through fruit, as I have a massive sweet tooth (the reason for quitting sugar) and needed a little bit to get me going, and I bought some dark chocolate dipped mini rice crackers as treats for this week.

The only time I lapsed was Wednesday when I was stuck at university with a numb brain trying to get my assignment done and I may have had a cheeky raspberry and white chocolate muffin. I mean it was calling to me! However, for someone who consumed the equivalent of a muffin a day, I think one muffin in seven days is okay. I'm only human.

During the week, at least up until Thursday, I was feeling pretty confident and satisfied with my diet. Maybe it was the sneaky muffin, maybe not, but I didn't feel the need to consume sugar. I wanted to, but I didn't feel as though I needed to. Then came Friday... I went out for lunch with an old friend and I kept the meal sugar free, but there were so many yummy possibilities on the menu! When I came home I was still peckish, and I decided to try and keep my mind off it by watching some TV to distract myself, but I was really starting to crave something sweet. I warded those feelings off with a handful of spicy nuts, but there was a bit of willpower involved.

A hearty salad with a side of homemade paprika fries

I'm keeping a food diary to track my meals and sugar consumption, and I thought I'd post it here to show you examples of low(ish) sugar meals.

Monday ~
Breakfast: green juice (spinach, watermelon, blueberries, coconut water)
Lunch: chilli and lime chicken salad and a ham and cheese roll
Dinner: spaghetti bolognaise with a side of garlic bread

Tuesday ~
Breakfast: big bowl of salad
Lunch: leftover spaghetti bolognaise
Dinner: pesto and vegetable soup, a lamb chop, side of garlic bread

Wednesday ~
Breakfast: two slices toast with vegemite, two boiled eggs
Lunch: satay chicken and rice
Dinner: roast veggies with lemon (potatoes, asparagus, tomatoes, broccolini)

Thursday ~
Breakfast: omelette on toast - pictured above
Lunch: big bowl of salad and paprika fries - pictured above
Dinner: steak, steamed veggies, potato bake

Friday ~
Breakfast: steak sandwich (breakfast was at 12:30)
Lunch: beef slider with pickle, chicken slider with pineapple relish - pictured below
Dinner: tikka masala, rice, and naan bread

Saturday ~
Breakfast: two slices toast with vegemite and avocado, a surprisingly delicious combination!
Lunch: pad thai and garden salad
Dinner: tikka masala, rice, and naan bread

Sunday ~
Breakfast: two slices toast with vegemite and avocado
Lunch: egg and salad sandwich
Dinner: cheese and broccoli stuffed chicken breast with steam vegetables

Homemade potato chips! The dog also looks very hungry in the background...

I also had a lot of snacks to keep me full and keep the cravings at bay. I may have gone overboard with the snacking, but I made sure they were somewhat low in sugar, and as this week is the transition week, I decided to be lenient with snacking. Next week I'll probably cut it down to 1-2 snacks a day.

Over the past week the snacks I had were mainly all the same so instead of putting them with each respective day I thought they might as well be listed here.
  • chipotle spiced peanuts and cashews
  • dark chocolate dipped mini rice crackers
  • apples
  • soy lattes (no sugar or syrups)
  • homemade potato chips - pictured above
While going out to eat I tried to look for something relatively sugar free and these sliders were so damn good!

All in all, I'm kinda proud of myself for coming this far. Next week is cutting out all sugars - whether it's added or natural occurring. Goodbye fruit, honey, dark chocolate, juice, all the good stuff! Are you going on a similar journey? I'd love to hear from you, and read your blog if you have one!

If you want to follow my journey more closely you can find me on Instagram or on Bloglovin! Feel free to find me on any of the social media links in the side bar.

That's all my sugar-free talk for this week, I'll be updating my journey every Sunday for the next seven weeks. So until next time!

xx Silje

Thursday, 17 September 2015

i like mondays

Yep, I said it. Sorry to all you Monday-haters, but it’s true. Maybe I’ll feel differently when I have a 9-5 Monday to Friday job and I love my weekends too much, but at this point in my life Monday is just a great day for me. Of course, I don’t have work and I don’t have university on Mondays, but even Wednesdays, which are my Mondays, I love too.

To me, Monday is the start of something new (cue ‘High School Musical’ getting stuck in your head). I am obsessed with new starts. Not that I necessarily need them, and not that my past is bad or something, but I love the idea of beginning afresh and having a clear slate that you can draw out and create something wonderful with. I love sunrises for this same reason; it’s a new day to do something. Begin again.

Monday is the perfect day to do this. It’s the start of the week, a reasonable period of time to achieve something - maybe not something great or huge - but enough that’ll make you proud of yourself. It’s not so long that you lose focus on your goals a while in before you even begin to make progress (we're looking at you, New Years resolutions), but long enough that by the end of it you’ll have something to be proud of.

Monday is the weekly sunrise. It’s the day to start afresh. It’s a day to reflect on what you want to achieve in the next seven days and how you can do that. It’s a day to begin. What do you want to do this week? Cut out alcohol? Cut out sugar? Maybe have smaller portions, just for a week. Finally finish that paper that’s due. Wake up earlier. It takes seven days to break a bad habit - start that on a Monday.

It’s the Monday motivation that gets me going and makes me like them so much, but there’s also other factors I like about Monday. It’s when uni is busier and actually open, so I can see people and have access to the great library. It’s when the shops have normal business hours again, so I can post that letter to my grandmother. It’s the potential that a new week brings, and so much more.

The point of this post is, feel free to have that extra large soy cappuccino, but stop grizzling so much about the fact that it’s back to work or back to uni or back to school, and think about all that lies ahead. And no, I’m not talking about the weekend. Stop thinking about those glorious Saturdays and lazy Sundays and create something wonderful with those weekdays. Monday included.

The lake is still going to be there for you to walk around after work. You might have to attend three different lectures and a tutorial, but there’ll always be a friend free to grab a quick coffee and chat. Your family is going to enjoy that beautiful dinner you cooked regardless of whether it’s after work, school, or if it’s on a weekend.

Do something with your Mondays besides groaning about it while slumped over your desk. For your sake, and Monday's sake - I mean think about how the poor day feels. ;)

xx Silje

Sunday, 13 September 2015

i quit sugar - an introduction

CONFESSION: I am addicted to the sweet stuff.

I will not shy away from the sugar-laden syrups added to my latte. M&Ms and jelly babies are my study snacks. Ice cream is my ultimate downfall. If it has sugar in it, it will soon be in my stomach.

There is no self control when it comes to me and treats. I really cannot help myself – put a huge slice of cake in front of me and I will eat the whole thing, scrape the plate clean, and ask for more. I’m the kind of girl who makes any sort of baked goods and eats half of it before it’s even cooked. Oops.

However, I’ve also suffered from a fair few things that I really don’t like. I have acne which isn’t so bad on my face, but is pretty terrible on my chest and back (being honest here!), and it’s looking pretty stubborn. I’m moody a lot of the time and easily irritated. I have days where I’m completely lethargic and devoid of any energy, but I’m up until two o’clock in the morning. Most of the time, I’m lacking in motivation and focus. All of these things can be linked to poor diet, and after being in denial for a long time, I’ve come to realise that to change myself, I also have to change what I’m putting in my body.

Now (if it wasn’t obvious), I’m no health freak. Today my breakfast had chocolate chips in it. But I also know myself, and I really am addicted to sugar. Last May, I managed to stay healthy for quite a while, and it was honestly quite a challenge. It took a good week for my cravings to not be so overwhelming, and about a fortnight for them to completely disappear (well, almost). So when I picked up the I Quit Sugar book, I decided on a whim to purchase it and actually try. Sarah Wilson, please be my saviour.

For the next eight weeks, I am going to (try to) follow the I Quit Sugar detox plan and cleanse myself of sugar. It actually doesn’t look too harsh, and it’s definitely doable. The only concern is to actually curb your addiction, you have to go cold turkey on all sorts of sugar. The main sugar the book tries to get you to quit is fructose, which is the “bad” sugar, but you find a lot of fructose in fruit. And I love fruit! Especially with the weather warming up, there’s going to be a lot of summer fruit coming up. However, I believe I can do this and I really hope I have your support too!

This means that my blogging is going to be a little different to usual. I will continue to post on Thursdays with regular lifestyle posts, but I will also be updating my sugar-quitting journey every Sunday with a weekly recap of how I’ve felt during the past seven days/what I’ve been eating, etc.

I’d love it if you followed along!

xx Silje

Thursday, 10 September 2015

opening of H&M perth

Ahhh! H&M has finally launched in Perth! It was only a year and a half ago that H&M came to Australia and settled its first store in Melbourne, before opening stores in Sydney and Brisbane. To say that people were excited for it to come over to the west coast would be an understatement. Perth's H&M opened its doors at 9am, but people had been queueing up since 6am, taking up most of the floor space available in that section of the shopping centre.

What's really lucky for me is that specific shopping centre that houses H&M just so happens to be right outside the train station I get off at for uni. Well, lucky for me - not so lucky for my wallet.

I invited an old friend that I'd be catching up with lately to the opening of the store, who gladly accepted, and we decided to leave at nine. Neither of us were particularly interested in queueing up at six in the morning. Especially not me, with my awful sleeping schedule, haha. My gran had offered to lend me her car for the day, but as we wanted to head into the city for another event (which was a total flop, but we got a free cinnamon scroll, so who's the winner here?), I thought public transport was a better option. I am so glad I did, as anyone who caught public transport received a $10 voucher to spend at H&M!

Once we queued up...

We received a free goodie bag! You may know that I love tote bags and use them for everything, so this was a happy addition to my bag family. Each one contained a bottle of water, a little pouch-like bag, and an umbrella. The last item was a bit of an odd one, but hey - free stuff, right?

The day was off to a great start. We had a DJ rocking some tunes nearby as we waited to get in, and it actually didn't take too long in the line. I reckon it only took twenty minutes at most, but it went pretty quickly. Before we knew it we were in!

There were some ridiculously good deals. I'm talking $2.95 tops. Seriously. Everything was very reasonably priced, and I managed to pick up a couple of items (cheeky spend) for a decent amount. They were just basics, and in all honesty I could have spent a lot of money there, but I controlled myself. Mainly because I don't have money to spend.

It was really nice to catch up with my friend too, even if it was so loud we could hardly hear each other. In fact, more than once I actually lost her in the crowd and had to look around for a minute before I found her again. It was ridiculously packed.

But that's okay.

The store is actually double-levelled, with menswear and childrenswear up the top, and womenswear and accessories down the bottom. It really had everything - jewellery, bags, swimsuits, workout gear, business wear, casual wear, shoes, underwear, the list goes on. Once I actually get a job I'm definitely going to have to go back because there was such a wide variety of things available for such great prices.

The line to pay for your items was literally almost as long as the line to get into the store. Some people had really gone crazy with their spending. I'm talking a full shopping bag full of stuff! I only went away with a striped tee (gotta love stripes) and a scarlet cardigan, but I was very happy with that. My friend bought the cutest phone cover, which had little cats ears on it and said 'meow' on the back. I was very tempted to pick one up myself!

Waiting in line ... to pay

All in all, I think it was a lovely opening, and a certainly very successful one for H&M. I also think it would be great for the surrounding businesses, as there were a couple of cafes handing out free mini drinks and little chocolates. I would've had one but I'm a poor little soy drinker. :(

I would definitely recommend you checking out H&M if you can! It's currently located in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and now Perth. All the addresses are available on their website.

And if you go - happy shopping!

xx Silje

PS. I am not sponsored to publish this post, all of this is just my opinion (even though it sounds otherwise).

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Life Lately Vol. 3

Had a 27C day which was spent at the beach with a very happy dog // Went out for morning tea with my gran and her friend and had the yummiest pineapple, raspberry, and coconut smoothie // Iced coconut latte by the sea with my darling cousin

  • I keep on shopping! I know I shouldn't be but sometimes it's hard to resist sales. I'm talking to you, $80 down to $30 boots. And two-for-one deal at Dotti. And the really good salesperson at the make up counter. :(
  • Turns out a class about research methods is not going to be fun. Like really not fun.
  • I've been trying to eat healthier lately and I think it's working. I'm not restricting or only eating healthy foods, just making sure I don't overindulge in the sweet stuff, and getting fruit and veggies in every day. Those little things add up, y'know?
  • I had a trial hour at The Coffee Club and I'm hoping that'll lead to something, even if it's temporary. I'm writing this post quite a bit before it'll be published so I might even have had more success with it by this time. I also met someone who works at Myer and said they had vacancies at her store. I would love to work there, think of the staff discounts! Of course, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself here.
  • One of the coffee shops on campus do the most ridiculous coffees - in a good way. The other day I had a 'bounty latte', which was like a mocha but with coconut syrup added. They also had black forest flavouring as well as a whole range of syrups, and an 'apple pie coffee', which had apple syrup and was sprinkled with cinnamon. I'm not sure how that would work out.
  • Before I say anything on this next topic, I have to mention quickly: don't you dare give me any spoilers! I have just started watching Pretty Little Liars and oh my god, I did not think I'd become addicted. It's such a problematic show. It really annoys me how the actors are portraying sixteen year olds when they themselves are twenty five, and the fact that a young girl is hooking up with her much older teacher kind of creeps me out! Also, everyone is so bitchy and sneaky and the whole concept of the show but it is still so. Damn. Addictive. Like I have not stopped watching for one day. I'm already up to episode sixteen of season one, and I only started a few days ago. Thank the lord for Netflix! And my boyfriend, too, since he lets me share his account!
  • I'm still a little bit lonely over here by myself, but I'll slowly get there friend-wise. I have people I can sit with at my lectures, but that's not the same as friends. I just really want a group of friends that I can ask out to coffee, or to a movie, or to go for a run with me. There's such a cute cafe nearby that does amazing breakfast but I don't have anyone to take there! I have an old friend from my youth that I like to catch up with, and we're planning to go running or something once a week together, so maybe something will stem from that. She's really lovely so I'd like to hang out more.
Well, I think I've rambled enough! Please let me know if you know any Perth bloggers, and if you are one yourself then please please comment, and I'll definitely check out your blog/Instagram/Twitter. Friends of any kind (online/IRL) are much appreciated! Tell me in the comments what you've been up to lately. :)

xx Silje