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Some things unexpectedly just come to you, the best being ideas for blog posts. Am I right.

Mental Health & Social Media. This isn't a new thing. There have been plenty of posts & articles about this destructive relationship. For me it has been up and down and not so long ago I sort of did a cull. I went through my Twitter & Instagram and unfollowed the accounts that were just clogging up my feed. I deleted Snapchat altogether; I barely used it and it was just another thing I was wasting my time on. Facebook is something I'm still on the fence with. On one hand, I'm sick of seeing all the crap on there while on the other I have my blog page as well as being a part of blogging groups which is really helpful.

The problem with social media is that most of the time (especially on Instagram) it's everybody's highlights. So while you are having a bad day it makes it 10x worse to see other people showing how great their lives are.

With this blog, social media is kind of necessity. You gotta get out there and promote what you're creating in order to get readers. Brands, as well as PR companies, are also interested in it. Especially the numbers side of it. The bigger your audience is the more likely it is you'll get approached or they'll be more receptive to you. This aspect for me also messes with my head and just makes me feel low.

I have a quite a small amount of numbers on social media. Around 500 on Twitter, 360 on Instagram and 80 on Facebook. I find Facebook the hardest as with the other two you can use hashtags while if you want to attract likes you have to pay to advertise which sucks. I've been blogging for just over four years and it is something I really work hard on and at times it can get a bit depressing to see low numbers. It's also hard when you approach brands/PR companies and they tell you to come back to them when your following is bigger. It's definitely a 'goal', something to strive for but at times can get me down.

Things that make this worse is when other bloggers buy their followers or copy other bloggers work and get recognised by brands/PRs. It's heartbreaking to work hard at something only to get passed over by someone who is essentially cheating. This is what inspired me to write this post as I saw on Twitter that a blogger was buying followers as well as another blogger blatantly passing off another's post as their work. It's infuriating. At school/university, this would have most likely resulted in expulsion, a serious consequence. Why is it then that this has no real consequence. Thankfully there are tools to see if someone is buying followers. You can search someone's username on Social Blade and if you see numbers going up in big chunks, it's suspicious.

At the end of the day, I just have to remind myself that social media is not that vitally important. The world doesn't end if I lose followers. For me I know I have to take breaks from it in order to keep my sanity. I'll leave my phone in my room, go off and read a book, watch TV. Going out also helps especially if you don't have data on your phone. Especially for a walk, walks are good.

So yeah, that's my little spiel.

Ashley xx

Mental Health & Social Media

Wednesday, 14 February 2018


Some things unexpectedly just come to you, the best being ideas for blog posts. Am I right.

Mental Health & Social Media. This isn't a new thing. There have been plenty of posts & articles about this destructive relationship. For me it has been up and down and not so long ago I sort of did a cull. I went through my Twitter & Instagram and unfollowed the accounts that were just clogging up my feed. I deleted Snapchat altogether; I barely used it and it was just another thing I was wasting my time on. Facebook is something I'm still on the fence with. On one hand, I'm sick of seeing all the crap on there while on the other I have my blog page as well as being a part of blogging groups which is really helpful.

The problem with social media is that most of the time (especially on Instagram) it's everybody's highlights. So while you are having a bad day it makes it 10x worse to see other people showing how great their lives are.

With this blog, social media is kind of necessity. You gotta get out there and promote what you're creating in order to get readers. Brands, as well as PR companies, are also interested in it. Especially the numbers side of it. The bigger your audience is the more likely it is you'll get approached or they'll be more receptive to you. This aspect for me also messes with my head and just makes me feel low.

I have a quite a small amount of numbers on social media. Around 500 on Twitter, 360 on Instagram and 80 on Facebook. I find Facebook the hardest as with the other two you can use hashtags while if you want to attract likes you have to pay to advertise which sucks. I've been blogging for just over four years and it is something I really work hard on and at times it can get a bit depressing to see low numbers. It's also hard when you approach brands/PR companies and they tell you to come back to them when your following is bigger. It's definitely a 'goal', something to strive for but at times can get me down.

Things that make this worse is when other bloggers buy their followers or copy other bloggers work and get recognised by brands/PRs. It's heartbreaking to work hard at something only to get passed over by someone who is essentially cheating. This is what inspired me to write this post as I saw on Twitter that a blogger was buying followers as well as another blogger blatantly passing off another's post as their work. It's infuriating. At school/university, this would have most likely resulted in expulsion, a serious consequence. Why is it then that this has no real consequence. Thankfully there are tools to see if someone is buying followers. You can search someone's username on Social Blade and if you see numbers going up in big chunks, it's suspicious.

At the end of the day, I just have to remind myself that social media is not that vitally important. The world doesn't end if I lose followers. For me I know I have to take breaks from it in order to keep my sanity. I'll leave my phone in my room, go off and read a book, watch TV. Going out also helps especially if you don't have data on your phone. Especially for a walk, walks are good.

So yeah, that's my little spiel.

Ashley xx

January lasted for what seems like forever but yet it still feels like February came too soon. Before I know it my birthday will come rushing through and I'm just not ready for it. I try to ignore my age, I don't really feel connected to it and when I do it just gets me down. A good way to distract myself is with books and these are the ones I'm getting into this month.



The Boat Runner by Devin Murphy*
The story is set during WW2 and follows Jacob Koopman who was living enjoyable with his brother in their small Dutch town. His life is thrown into chaos when the war breaks out and we follow Jacob through the dangers of war. I've always been interested in historical/period stories and there is also some intrigue with Jacob being confronted with a moral dilemma. It will be interesting to see what it is and how he deals with it.

Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane*
I already started reading this and I was intrigued since the first page. The story follows Rachel who hits rock bottom. Her husband is there for her but his mysterious behaviour forces her to look for the truth about him. That's the blurb on the back but so far the story is more centred on Rachel and the relationship with her mother, and importantly the secrets she kept from Rachel. Secrets are great, they make me want to keep reading so I'm looking forward to getting through it.

What books are you planning to read this month?

Ashley xx
* Review Copies

Books to Read in February

Tuesday, 6 February 2018


January lasted for what seems like forever but yet it still feels like February came too soon. Before I know it my birthday will come rushing through and I'm just not ready for it. I try to ignore my age, I don't really feel connected to it and when I do it just gets me down. A good way to distract myself is with books and these are the ones I'm getting into this month.



The Boat Runner by Devin Murphy*
The story is set during WW2 and follows Jacob Koopman who was living enjoyable with his brother in their small Dutch town. His life is thrown into chaos when the war breaks out and we follow Jacob through the dangers of war. I've always been interested in historical/period stories and there is also some intrigue with Jacob being confronted with a moral dilemma. It will be interesting to see what it is and how he deals with it.

Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane*
I already started reading this and I was intrigued since the first page. The story follows Rachel who hits rock bottom. Her husband is there for her but his mysterious behaviour forces her to look for the truth about him. That's the blurb on the back but so far the story is more centred on Rachel and the relationship with her mother, and importantly the secrets she kept from Rachel. Secrets are great, they make me want to keep reading so I'm looking forward to getting through it.

What books are you planning to read this month?

Ashley xx
* Review Copies

I'm not the only one who felt like January lasted ages. My perception of time is pretty much all out of wack so I mostly have no idea what day it is. I got some cool things for Xmas as well as some Boxing day deals which I have been enjoying using the past month. These were the things I managed to come up with.

iPhone 6
My iPod bit the dust a while ago and I've been wanting to get another. However, Santa thought an iPhone would be better so I've been adjusting to it. At first I was hesitant but then I was excited to finally get the apps I couldn't download on Android. I now mostly take Instagram pictures on it as well as using the photo editing apps.

Laptop
My laptop had some issues so I'd been looking at getting another for a while. I got another HP from The Warehouse Stationery where it was on special and it's going great so far. I don't know how but all my bookmarks were transferred to this one so I didn't need to go through and redo everything. Another cool thing is that I can send photos from the laptop to my phone (with an app) so I don't have to connect it to a USB. Oh, and it's much faster too which is a plus.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman*
I might as well review it now. The story is very unique, it's not one which I've read over and over again which is amazing. The story follows Eleanor who sticks the same schedule; same outfit, meals etc. She believes her life is fine until an event disrupts her path and she discovers other joys to life such as friendship. We see her adjust to this new thing in her life and as you get through the book we learn what made her want to live her life like this. Eleanor is a unique character which I loved and there was also a bit at the end which surprised me which I very much enjoyed.

5 stars

That's all I can think of at the moment. I blame the heat, I just can't function properly. Bring on Autumn.

Ashley xx
*Review Copy

January Favourites

Wednesday, 31 January 2018


I'm not the only one who felt like January lasted ages. My perception of time is pretty much all out of wack so I mostly have no idea what day it is. I got some cool things for Xmas as well as some Boxing day deals which I have been enjoying using the past month. These were the things I managed to come up with.

iPhone 6
My iPod bit the dust a while ago and I've been wanting to get another. However, Santa thought an iPhone would be better so I've been adjusting to it. At first I was hesitant but then I was excited to finally get the apps I couldn't download on Android. I now mostly take Instagram pictures on it as well as using the photo editing apps.

Laptop
My laptop had some issues so I'd been looking at getting another for a while. I got another HP from The Warehouse Stationery where it was on special and it's going great so far. I don't know how but all my bookmarks were transferred to this one so I didn't need to go through and redo everything. Another cool thing is that I can send photos from the laptop to my phone (with an app) so I don't have to connect it to a USB. Oh, and it's much faster too which is a plus.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman*
I might as well review it now. The story is very unique, it's not one which I've read over and over again which is amazing. The story follows Eleanor who sticks the same schedule; same outfit, meals etc. She believes her life is fine until an event disrupts her path and she discovers other joys to life such as friendship. We see her adjust to this new thing in her life and as you get through the book we learn what made her want to live her life like this. Eleanor is a unique character which I loved and there was also a bit at the end which surprised me which I very much enjoyed.

5 stars

That's all I can think of at the moment. I blame the heat, I just can't function properly. Bring on Autumn.

Ashley xx
*Review Copy


It's half past one and I'm sitting at my computer silently panicking. As it gets closer to two my anxiety climbs higher and higher and I feel like I want to run from the room. My chest starts to feel tight and I feel like the only way to relieve the pressure is to scream.

Hey there demons. It's me, ya boy (if you understand that reference, let's be friends).

You're probably wondering what dangerous thing I was doing. Well, I was waiting for a Skype call in which I was having a chat with the coordinator of the programme I'm planning on doing (I told the parentals and they didn't take it well). It was the very first time I used Skype which was exciting but also stressful as I wondered whether or not I gave the right address and if she would hear me just talking towards my computer with no microphone. And of course the other factors of saying the right things etc. One of the things I really stress about is the whole questions thing. They ask you if you've got any questions and for me, I'm so worked up I can't think of anything and feel kind of stupid saying no.

It's not long into it where I start to relax a bit, there's a lot of listening which I am good at. I also get this weird out of body realisation that I'm speaking to someone via my computer, technology am I right.

When it ends I realise it wasn't as bad as I feared. I stumbled over my words one or two times but otherwise, it was fine. Afterwards, I read a bit of The Anxiety Solution and get to a part which says how you should just ride the wave of anxiety rather than stop it. Wish I had got to that part before the meeting but oh well.

This is a completely random post but I just thought it was a different idea. Trying to be more creative with the blog this year.

Ashley xx

Story Time: First Ever Skype Call

Thursday, 25 January 2018



It's half past one and I'm sitting at my computer silently panicking. As it gets closer to two my anxiety climbs higher and higher and I feel like I want to run from the room. My chest starts to feel tight and I feel like the only way to relieve the pressure is to scream.

Hey there demons. It's me, ya boy (if you understand that reference, let's be friends).

You're probably wondering what dangerous thing I was doing. Well, I was waiting for a Skype call in which I was having a chat with the coordinator of the programme I'm planning on doing (I told the parentals and they didn't take it well). It was the very first time I used Skype which was exciting but also stressful as I wondered whether or not I gave the right address and if she would hear me just talking towards my computer with no microphone. And of course the other factors of saying the right things etc. One of the things I really stress about is the whole questions thing. They ask you if you've got any questions and for me, I'm so worked up I can't think of anything and feel kind of stupid saying no.

It's not long into it where I start to relax a bit, there's a lot of listening which I am good at. I also get this weird out of body realisation that I'm speaking to someone via my computer, technology am I right.

When it ends I realise it wasn't as bad as I feared. I stumbled over my words one or two times but otherwise, it was fine. Afterwards, I read a bit of The Anxiety Solution and get to a part which says how you should just ride the wave of anxiety rather than stop it. Wish I had got to that part before the meeting but oh well.

This is a completely random post but I just thought it was a different idea. Trying to be more creative with the blog this year.

Ashley xx


January is usually the month you want to start doing the things which you want to keep up throughout the year. Usually, for me, it's the same thing/things. Anxiety and all the way it manifests. That then leads to stress which just takes up too much mental space as well as time worrying about stuff.

My doctor suggested I read up on anxiety so I got a couple of books. One I just couldn't get into, it was a bit too impersonal and more on the medical side (which makes sense since it was written by a psychologist). The other however I am LOVING and am actually getting out a pencil and underlining bits that really resonate with me. It's The Anxiety Solution by Chole Brotheridge* and I got it after hearing her episode on Ctrl Alt Delete. Chole herself has struggled with anxiety and it was great to read a book from someone who knows what it's like. As of yet, I'm only up to chapter 6 but I've taken away some great points which I hope will help me bring my stress levels down.


I would continue to feel insecure for as long as I sought security outside myself, because external things - and that includes people - are, essentially, outside of our control.

A possibility and a probability are not the same thing.


I definitely spend a lot of time stressing and obsessing over things that I cannot control. Things such as other people and other uncontrollable events just make me over anxious and I start to think about the possibilities which just makes me want to curl up in a ball and hide away from the world. When I try to block all that out and remind myself I can get through it my mind starts to calm and I can relax.

One thing Chole mentioned is to swap the word anxious with excited, to stop seeing something as a nightmare and instead see it as an adventure. The two are closely linked in terms of how they feel and apparently studies have shown saying 'I feel excited' before something can help calm yourself down. Instead of diminishing the anxiety you're turning it into a positive which I thought was cool.

There were some other bits that stood out to me but these are the two main ones for me to work on. Like I said I'm only up to chapter six so I'm excited to read more.

Relax, nothing is under control

Ashley xx
*Affiliate Link

Learning how to Stress Less

Tuesday, 23 January 2018



January is usually the month you want to start doing the things which you want to keep up throughout the year. Usually, for me, it's the same thing/things. Anxiety and all the way it manifests. That then leads to stress which just takes up too much mental space as well as time worrying about stuff.

My doctor suggested I read up on anxiety so I got a couple of books. One I just couldn't get into, it was a bit too impersonal and more on the medical side (which makes sense since it was written by a psychologist). The other however I am LOVING and am actually getting out a pencil and underlining bits that really resonate with me. It's The Anxiety Solution by Chole Brotheridge* and I got it after hearing her episode on Ctrl Alt Delete. Chole herself has struggled with anxiety and it was great to read a book from someone who knows what it's like. As of yet, I'm only up to chapter 6 but I've taken away some great points which I hope will help me bring my stress levels down.


I would continue to feel insecure for as long as I sought security outside myself, because external things - and that includes people - are, essentially, outside of our control.

A possibility and a probability are not the same thing.


I definitely spend a lot of time stressing and obsessing over things that I cannot control. Things such as other people and other uncontrollable events just make me over anxious and I start to think about the possibilities which just makes me want to curl up in a ball and hide away from the world. When I try to block all that out and remind myself I can get through it my mind starts to calm and I can relax.

One thing Chole mentioned is to swap the word anxious with excited, to stop seeing something as a nightmare and instead see it as an adventure. The two are closely linked in terms of how they feel and apparently studies have shown saying 'I feel excited' before something can help calm yourself down. Instead of diminishing the anxiety you're turning it into a positive which I thought was cool.

There were some other bits that stood out to me but these are the two main ones for me to work on. Like I said I'm only up to chapter six so I'm excited to read more.

Relax, nothing is under control

Ashley xx
*Affiliate Link

These books are all ones I finished last year so here's hoping I manage to remember the plots. I didn't really have the drive to read over the Christmas/New Year holidays so I've got a lot of catching up to do. I didn't reach my Goodreads goal so this year I'm going to attempt it (I also made the goal lower so hopefully that helps).


But Then I Came Back by Estelle Laure*
I hadn't read the previous book but they're kind of stand-alone stories so it didn't really matter that much. The story follows Eden who has an accident and wakes up from a coma after a month. She had her life all planned out and after the accident found it hard to go back to her old life and her plans didn't fit anymore. She becomes lost in her new reality and it's even harder with her family & friends expecting her to be the same. She finds comfort in Joe, whose friend Jasmine is in a coma and who Eden has a connection too. She & Joe share an understanding that helps her feel less alone.

I enjoyed the story, the connection between Eden & Jasmine was interesting as was the Eden herself. Trying to go back to her former self but just getting lost.

3 stars



These Dividing Walls by Fran Cooper*
I love any books to do with France/Paris so I was really looking forward to this one. The plot is centred around an apartment building and intertwines the stories of the people that live there. They've each got their own separate storylines alongside the main theme of the Paris of today, dealing with the aftermath of terror attacks. I love the concept of showing the separate lives of the people contained in one building, isolated until the realities of the outside world come through.

The residents are a wide variety of people whose stories are heartbreaking but also endearing.

3.5 stars



Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau*
This is another fantasy novel which I'm always a fan of. The story is set in the fictional kingdom of Eden where twins Carys & Andreus are forced to compete against each other for the crown after their older brother and father are killed. The murders are suspicious and Carys especially is determined to find out the truth. The twins have always been close but the trial as well as those invested in who gets the crown drive a wedge between the two of them.

There are a lot of secrets in this book, none of which are revealed. It's safe to say I'm really looking forward to the sequel where hopefully there will be some answers.

4 stars

Have you read any of these books?

Ashley xx
*Review copes from Hachette NZ & Harper Collins NZ

Review | But Then I Came Back, These Dividing Walls & Dividing Eden

Friday, 19 January 2018


These books are all ones I finished last year so here's hoping I manage to remember the plots. I didn't really have the drive to read over the Christmas/New Year holidays so I've got a lot of catching up to do. I didn't reach my Goodreads goal so this year I'm going to attempt it (I also made the goal lower so hopefully that helps).


But Then I Came Back by Estelle Laure*
I hadn't read the previous book but they're kind of stand-alone stories so it didn't really matter that much. The story follows Eden who has an accident and wakes up from a coma after a month. She had her life all planned out and after the accident found it hard to go back to her old life and her plans didn't fit anymore. She becomes lost in her new reality and it's even harder with her family & friends expecting her to be the same. She finds comfort in Joe, whose friend Jasmine is in a coma and who Eden has a connection too. She & Joe share an understanding that helps her feel less alone.

I enjoyed the story, the connection between Eden & Jasmine was interesting as was the Eden herself. Trying to go back to her former self but just getting lost.

3 stars



These Dividing Walls by Fran Cooper*
I love any books to do with France/Paris so I was really looking forward to this one. The plot is centred around an apartment building and intertwines the stories of the people that live there. They've each got their own separate storylines alongside the main theme of the Paris of today, dealing with the aftermath of terror attacks. I love the concept of showing the separate lives of the people contained in one building, isolated until the realities of the outside world come through.

The residents are a wide variety of people whose stories are heartbreaking but also endearing.

3.5 stars



Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau*
This is another fantasy novel which I'm always a fan of. The story is set in the fictional kingdom of Eden where twins Carys & Andreus are forced to compete against each other for the crown after their older brother and father are killed. The murders are suspicious and Carys especially is determined to find out the truth. The twins have always been close but the trial as well as those invested in who gets the crown drive a wedge between the two of them.

There are a lot of secrets in this book, none of which are revealed. It's safe to say I'm really looking forward to the sequel where hopefully there will be some answers.

4 stars

Have you read any of these books?

Ashley xx
*Review copes from Hachette NZ & Harper Collins NZ

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