Saturday

Therapy Diaries // CBT Session 8

Good news! It wasn't my last session! I still haven't asked when that will actually be but, since she hasn't mentioned it, I assume it's just until further notice. What a relief! 
The Forms
I'd had a really bad week, with a few days off work so, predictably, my scores were very high. My therapist then said something really interesting that had only occurred to her after I'd left last week: A perfectionist is likely to wait for a "perfect" day before giving it a low score which makes perfect sense. Instead, we've agreed to adapt the forms in terms of how extreme the feelings have been. 0 would be very slight worry whereas 3 would be very extreme. This way it's going to be a lot easier to see how I'm making progress week on week.

Analysis
First of all, we looked at my homework from last week. I'd somehow managed to call Marie and it all went fine, of course. We drew a graph to show my anxiety levels before, during and after the call. Then my therapist explained that as I repeat the process, the habituation will bring my anxiety levels down as I get used to it.
We then looked at the problems I'd had during the week to write a thought record but this was harder than usual as I didn't have any active thoughts of worry. I was just aware of this sudden wave of anxiety that felt like it was punching me in the stomach. Looking at the model of perfection we'd created last week, we identified how my anxiety was causing avoidance since I was unable to work.

Homework
My homework is simple this week: Just carry on with what I'm doing! We're trying to get the habituation process in place so I'll be trying out another phone call. Oh, and I went to work yesterday and nothing bad happened, so there's that too!

CBT Session 3
CBT Session 4

CBT Session 5

Friday

FF CXXVI







Kat's post on PRs' experiences of working with bloggers is such an informative read!


Carrie experienced a husky ride in Finland and I'm so jealous!

I adore Ellie's London Fashion Week street style shots!

Lily visited Arnos Vale Cemetery and it's beautiful!

Other Favourites
Fat Zoella and Fat Alfie are hilarious! It's a shame so many people don't seem to understand satire.
Megan is in the top 25 for Curvy Kate's Star in a Bra competition. Go vote for her! 


Book Review // The Strange Library


The Strange Library*- Haruki Murakami
Can you believe it's been 5 months since my last Murakami review? That's crazy! By coincidence, I checked out the Waterstones website to find there was a brand new Murakami on sale. Of course, I snapped it right up without reading anything about it. So when it turned up, I was very surprised to find a tiny, 77-page illustrated hardback book. It's essentially a grown-up picture book with quirky illustrations on each page and an amazing three-dimensional library sleeve on the front cover.


The Strange Library tells the tale of an unnamed young boy who visits a library on his way home from school in order to find out how Ottomans collected taxes. Once there, he is led into a labyrinthine system below the library by a strange old man who holds him captive. While imprisoned, the young boy meets a kindly sheep man and a girl who speaks with her hands (whether this is sign language, or some form of hand-based telepathy is unclear), both of whom are unaware of the other's existence. Together, the three of them hatch a plan to escape from the clutches of the old man and free themselves from the prison of the library. 
I blooming loved this book! It would be a really great introduction to Murakami as it has all his trademark elements of surrealism and dreamlike parallel worlds but in a short, accessible text. This unusual style really appealed to me but, by looking on Goodreads, it seems some people were confused by it. For me, the illustrations added to the disorientating, surreal story which was still easy to understand. Unlike some of Murakami's work, there was nothing overly confusing or complicated which made the focus more on his beautiful storytelling. I also appreciated the hint of Dance Dance Dance and the other books in The Rat series, which I am yet to delve into. 

To be honest, I'm giving bonus points for the design. I'm such a sucker for visual elements that these really make a difference for me. However, the ease of the story and the beautiful language made it a really engaging read so I would rate it 8 out of 10.


I've read a huge amount of Murakami, so I won't list them all here. However, this book for me was particularly reminiscent of Dance Dance Dance, as mentioned above. If you're after some more subtle Japanese fiction, Kawakami's Strange Weather in Tokyo is beautiful!

*Affiliate links have been used in this post

Thursday

Camera Roll // February 2015


Me and Jamie with Myles on the pitch// Myles's dinosaur impression
Hipster beanie // Funky faces
My sister is beautiful // Trampoline fun!A gorgeous family!
Playing tourist with Helen // The empty cup on my table also belonged to a hot-chocolate-drinking Becky!Cheeky Valentine's card // Fashion bloggers fo sho!
Syphillis-ridden human skulls. Morbid or what!




My long-awaited haircut!


At the beginning of the month, I posted my hair growth story which mentioned my desperate need for a trim. I'm awful for getting haircuts (as in, averaging once every 18 months or so... I know, it's horrible but I do intend to change!). Finally- finally!- I got my trim last week and I feel so darn good!
My hair may be a couple of inches shorter but, my God, it's healthier! It just looks smoother, neater, shinier and I'm definitely going to keep this up! In fact, I'm really focusing on my haircare at the moment. I've ordered a couple of Lush hair products to keep it in tip-top condition, so look out for reviews!

If you've been putting your trim off, go and book it now! I promise you it will make all the difference! 

Wednesday

Can Fat People Wear Biker Jackets?

Can fat people wear pastel pink furry biker jackets, no less!
Can fat people wear...? is a series that roadtests current trends on a fat body. Of course, the moral of the story is "wear whatever you want", but I'll be sharing how I felt, how I looked and the reactions I received as a chubby girl in the latest trends. Fat is used here as a tongue-in-cheek, yet factual, adjective, rather than a derogatory term and always, always remember "If you like it, wear it". 

Pastel pink biker jacket- Dorothy Perkins (now out of stock)

I adore this colour and tend to think it looks quite good on me. The furry collar, when zipped up, gave my neck and jaw a more elegant appearance. However, because I have an insanely short torso, there was too much fabric around my waist and back and, since it's a heavy fabric, it stuck out like a cupcake. When I unzipped the jacket, this wasn't an issue, but it did end up disguising my waist and making me look a bit shapeless. The arms were also too long for my teeny tiny T-rex limbs!

I felt like a badass princess or a rebel Barbie. A good girl who's fed up with rules and wants to live a little! Although I felt a little uncomfortable at the amount of extra fabric puffing up the back, Badass Barbie wouldn't care about that so neither did I! Now I want to pair this with my leather leggings. Too much?
Erm, I had no reaction but, then again, I didn't really have many opportunities to garner reactions. Although I went to the shops, I didn't buy anything so there was nobody to make small talk with. It's almost like people didn't care what I was wearing. Who would have thought?

Wardrobe for sure! I blooming love it and I cannot wait to wear it more now the weather's warming up a little and leaving winter coat season! 

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Do you have any ideas for trends I can take on next? Let me know in the comments! 

Tuesday

Review // MAC Viva Glam Miley Cyrus


Although I'm not a particular fan of Miley Cyrus, I was really excited to hear MAC were releasing a Viva Glam lipstick fronted by the controversial popstrel. I do love her all-out sense of style and confidence so I had high hopes for this shade. 
As expected, Miley's lipstick is a bright, ballsy pink, although I was surprised to find it had a deeper red appearance in the bullet. I was expecting something a little close to Candy Yum Yum, so I initially thought this was quite safe for a product affiliated with Miley. 
As with all MAC lipsticks, it applies evenly and smoothly with that trademark vanilla scent, although I did find it clings to dry patches a little more than I would have liked. Once applied, the shade is a deep, reddish blue-based pink that has quite a heavy, overpowering effect. The opaque, amplified finish has a slight lustre to it but has a tendency to wander over the lip line as time passes, especially at the corner of the lips. However, it does last well and I find I can wear it all day without needing touch ups. Unlike some of the other long-lasting lipsticks, however, it is easy to remove and doesn't stain the lips for hours after.
All in all, it is a powerful shade that gives lips a strong impact. Although not a new favourite, I'll definitely be returning to it when I want to make a statement.

Monday

Harry Potter Studio Tour: Animal Actors

Guess where I went again? The Warner Bros Studio Tour, of course! I'd just booked the closest suitable date but when we arrived, it turned out that it was animal actors week. Very exciting!

CAUTION: Tarantula picture ahead!  



Of course, animal week means owls and owls mean breakfast post! The tables in the Great Hall were set up for the morning, complete with boxes of Cheeri-Owls and Pixie Puffs.
Mrs Norris was chilling out in the Gryffindor common room. I was surprised by just how well-behaved the animals were. I know they have to be but it was crazy how still they sat!
I couldn't resist touching the gloves of Snape's boggart outfit. We checked that nobody was around but, no sooner had I pulled my hand back then someone had popped up next to me asking me to keep my hands behind the barrier. Luckily she seemed to find it funny but I swear they are real witches and wizards! Where did she come from?
Fang was a gorgeous silver-haired boarhound. His fur looked so soft! I really wanted to stroke him but, alas, the animals were off limits! 
As it turns out, Gary Oldman has teeny tiny feet!

I've never noticed the Richard Harris Dumbledore lurking at the top of the stairs before!
Caution: The tarantula is coming up!
Trevor! 
Apparently this is Rosie the tarantula but I can't for the life of me think of any time when there is a tarantula! I'd imagine it was used as a basis for the acromantula.

These owl socks were used to hide tethers that secured the owls' feet to their posts.

Speaking of owls, they were everywhere!

The owl on the left was my favourite. He's an eagle owl called Jamie and could puff himself up like a huge owly balloon! Jamie, and the barn owl above, didn't have a particular role. He was just used when a general owl was needed, such as the owl post scenes. The owls were filmed against a green screen flying towards a wind machine so then they could be inserted against backdrops of Hogwarts.

This is the Weasleys' owl Errol, who was much bigger than I expected! All the animals used are healthy and well-groomed, so when the script called for a bedraggled owl, such as Errol, the trainers collected all their dropped feathers then bent and ruffled them before popping them back in between the healthy feathers. This gave a scruffy appearance without affecting the owls.

I thought the owls in these cages were models until they started moving! The one above is Ron's owl Pigwidgeon and was specially trained to sit still inside these cages which are much smaller than usual owl enclosures. Of course they got breaks and were carefully assessed to make sure there was no trauma involved!

Yes, this is Hedwig! The real live Hedwig! He's actually called Elmo but he's Hedwig to me!






A new addition to the gift shop is the Umbridge replica cat crockery. You can buy teacups with saucers or a side plate in one of four different designs. I may have bought one...

Next month, the new expansion opens which will include the huge Platform 9 3/4 set with the Hogwarts Express which you can actually board and a new station-themed shop on the platform. You better believe I'll be back again soon!

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