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Tasty Tuesday: Red Velvet Valentine Cupcakes

Yes, you read it right…today is the return of Tasty Tuesday and it’s a Valentines special at that!! I may have mentioned my love for Cupcake Jemma before but I’ve finally got my hands on the cupcake book she’s done with Jamie Oliver and it’s fab! After some contemplation I decided to go with her red velvet cake recipe and not only make them into cupcakes, but use a tin mum and dad got me that makes heart-shaped miniature cakes!

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The only thing I would change is the amount of red food gel I used to make it a more vibrant red but other than that – they are yummy!

You will need:

For the cake (makes 24):

  • 235g self-raising flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 270g unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon red food colour gel
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar

For the butter cream icing:

  • 250g butter
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

If you prefer cream cheese icing:

  • 150g unsalted butter, softened
  • 240g cream cheese
  • 840g icing sugar

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Method:

  1. Pre heat your oven to 170fan/375F/gas 5.
  2. Line cupcake tin or any other tin you’d like – TIP OF THE DAY, if you’re using a tin like the heart one above that doesn’t use liners, use a cake release spray. It works so much better than using the normal greasing method and the cakes fall out when baked – it’s one of my must have items.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients (apart from the bicarb) and 3/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt into a mixing bowl.
  4. Add the butter and eggs and beat for 60 seconds.
  5. In a separate bowl mix the buttermilk, vanilla extract and red food colouring and then add to the cake mix and beat for another minute.
  6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and give it one more mix.
  7. In a cup, mix the bicarb with the vinegar – as soon as you do this it will start to fizz. Work quickly and add the fizzing mixture into the cake batter and combine.
  8. Fill you cases and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  9. Leave to cool and transfer to a wire rack.

 

For both icing options, sift the icing sugar and combine all ingredients, keep mixing until you get your desired colour. The longer you mix, the whiter your icing will become.

 

Finish off with sprinkles or any decoration of your choice and enjoy!

Happy Valentines you lovely lot!

#hairlesshannah

 

 

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Health Update Time

The time has come to publish a blog that I’ve been writing gradually over the last three or so weeks. If you’ve been with my blog since the beginning you will know that writing has been an outlet for my emotions and has proven to be very therapeutic. However, it also lays me bare and it can be quite daunting knowing that my life is out there for the world and his wife to access and judge. That’s why I haven’t pressed publish on this post until now because it’s been a tricky few weeks and my writing is quite raw, but, it is my way of communicating so it seemed silly to write it and not share. I have no idea why but I find opening up verbally to the people I love really difficult. Not because they won’t listen, support and comfort, simply because I find it hard to put into words sometimes – odd when I can write without difficulty right?!

I’ll start from the beginning. A couple of Fridays ago Dad and I went to London to see Lumiere London. It’s something I’ve always wanted to go and see and take photos of and this year I felt strong enough to go and see some parts of it.  I cannot explain how wonderful those few hours in London were. Although cold, London was still. No wind, rain, it was at night so no sun…I was able to walk outside without intense pain on my head and face for the first time in well over a year and it felt liberating. So much so that I ignored all the other symptoms as they began to creep up – knees piercing, muscles contracting, headache niggling and fatigue enveloping me with each step. But I didn’t want it to end, I wanted a normal night and to enjoy the moment, a day or two pay back would be worth it for this moment.

 

Nah. My body was not happy with me. Saturday lulled me into a false sense of security as I woke up feeling not too dissimilar to when I over do things but by Saturday night I was in a world of pain and this continued day after day for almost nine days. This is often the case with ME, post exertion malaise will often only properly kick in until 24 hours after the activity. With this pay back came a world of grey and I couldn’t shift it. I couldn’t really focus on anything other than the pins and needles, the joint and muscle pain, the fatigue on top of fatigue and simply how low I felt. I was well aware that I wasn’t really talking to anyone, friends or mum and dad and I know how frustrating, irritating and annoying that must have been to live with but I couldn’t face it any other way. By talking I would cry and crying is exhausting and I literally didn’t have the space to exacerbate the hell I was experiencing. I wanted to be alone, in silence and darkness and to hibernate until it passed.

But for me, the hardest thing was a new symptom. Rage. Anger. I am not an angry person but honestly, I wanted to smash things. Break, punch, scream…I was so angry. Angry at myself because I hadn’t paced myself: I’d ignored all my CBT “training” and my body turned round and basically punished me for being so stupid. Then came the anger because I am done with this life I’m living in. For others I guess it’s easy to think I am doing well – I still smile, I’ve had a book published and I make cards and pom poms which is an improvement. I agree with that. BUT, and it’s a big but…I live every day at a level people take sick days for and when I push myself, what I experience is something most can’t contemplate because it’s hidden and it’s misunderstood. That place that I live in day-to-day is lonely and frustrating. I am not better, I am not well.

I did have a CBT session thankfully in which I cried…a lot…she knew something was up. And as always, she was fantastic at convincing me that I need to focus on the positive that I had such a lovely time in London and not to allow it to put me off doing it again because I need to throw caution to the wind sometimes and live. She explained it that if she, as a runner, suddenly went from running a mile and thinking she was doing well so went and ran a marathon the next day, her body would make her pay and that’s the equivalent of what I had done. And I get that, but as I said to her, what I did in London that night was a fraction of what I’d have done in my previous life and it just seems so cruel and unfair that this far down the line I still can’t.

I’m angry that the life I lead now when I have a good day, is like the couple of days after you recover from flu and think – phew I feel a bit more human today. We did laugh though when at one point she said – just tell me all the things you’re angry about, which I did and then added, “I hate that I’m making f**cking pom poms and I am capable of so much more!” It just sounded so juvenile and ungrateful that it jolted me a little. I love making crafts but I can’t make it into something I’d love to because I don’t have the brain or body capacity to, so when you break it down, I make pom poms when I used to teach and make a difference and I just feel like my brain and body is rotting and isn’t good for much.

It’s so hard accepting that you are experiencing a hellish few weeks but that when you feel “better” you will simply be back at the level that most people couldn’t cope with. I have forgotten what it feels like to wake up and feel refreshed from sleep, to have a day without pain, to wear make up or have hair, just to feel nice. It’s not a pleasant place to be and it’s a daily battle to keep taking steps forward and bury the negatives and focus on the positives.

I mean – I did warn you that this post is a brain dump of everything I’ve been feeling, it does seem over the top and desperate but I guess that is the truth of it at the moment. ME isn’t a straight path. You take a few steps forward and then from nowhere you are flung ten steps backwards. Being in such a dark place is scary which is why I am grateful for the antidepressants at the moment because I know I need them. It’s children’s mental health week this week and now, having lived with an illness that’s so hidden and misunderstood makes it so much more important to spread awareness for these types of illnesses because they can so easily be missed, misunderstood and belittled.

Thankfully, with the help of some puppy love, brownies and time, I am just about out the other side of the pay back from that Friday three weeks ago and I will now continue with my targets and pacing and claw back some of the steps I’ve taken backwards.

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Remember, be kind to everyone you see. You never know what they’re dealing with.

Happy Thursday.

#hairlesshannah

 

Siblings

February 1st 1993, the day my baby brother was born and the day my biggest wish came true! I had always wanted a younger sibling and was so excited to meet him or her. It’s funny because, when you’re younger you don’t really get what having a sibling means, you just see others around you with younger or older brothers and sisters and it looks like it would be fun so I guess that’s what I wanted too.

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I remember being given a bright pink jumper with – I’m the big sister – emblazoned on it and feeling proud as punch. I had the morning off school and went to meet my new best mate and honestly, that has never changed. Cheesy as hell but true, Jack and I have always been close, maybe that’s partly because there’s almost seven years between us but mainly because we quite simply get along!

 

Granted, when he was little I used him as a bit of a toy, dressing him up, teaching him dance moves – there’s plenty of embarrassing video footage – but then as he grew up, I would be goaly by the garage door whilst he practised goal shooting and we began our endless sibling rivalry with game upon game of swing ball.

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Even Jack will admit that he was a bit of a mummy’s boy as he grew up, he didn’t like watching the film Twister because it scared him and when my friends and I forced him to play the board/video game called Atmosphere I’m sure he nearly burst a vein from crying! But we were a team – we ganged up on mum to test out her theory that she wouldn’t be able to scream if she was ever jumped or attacked because she’d be so scared. So, Jack sat in the kitchen and I hid in the under stairs cupboard and when mum got home he acted normal, she came to hang her coat up and I jumped out, scaring her half to death and releasing one horrendously loud scream…Jack and I cried with laughter but mum didn’t speak to us for hours…one of our finest sibling moments!

We are different in so many ways but it’s always worked. He has always been popular, handsome, confident and outgoing.  Always been annoyingly able to turn his hand to anything and blitzed his school days with no worries – or at least that’s what he led us to think! He passed his driving test first time – after making me think he’d failed and I’d FINALLY beaten him at something! He made his leavers music video hit over 250,000 on YouTube and became the “fit bloke with the blue shirt on” in the comments!! He can handle his drink much more than his lightweight sister and made so much more of his uni days than I ever did. I’ve never been jealous of this, I’ve always admired his zest for life, give it a go attitude – this is something I have learnt from him for sure.

He will probably hate that I’ve written this blog about him because we don’t really do deep and meaningful conversations about our relationship – what siblings do?! But I am proud of him, not just because he’s my little brother, just because of the human he has grown into. He approaches life with ease and a sense of laid backness, I do think that sometimes this is a case of a duck gliding on the surface and frantically paddling underneath, but who cares – he gets things done, even if it is on the day or hour before it needs doing! However, teaching has definitely made him more organised and forward thinking!

 

Life has been pretty tough over the last few years but he has never failed to make me laugh. He doesn’t force conversations but I know he is always there. He doesn’t probe but always has a cuddle ready. He doesn’t ask how I am very much but that’s okay because he’d rather treat me normally and take the mickey out of something I’ve said or done and then wink at the end to let me know he loves me really!

I guess I wanted to write this blog post on his 25th birthday because he’s now moved out and has properly started his adult life and it feels like the end of a chapter. One of the blessings in disguise of my whole illness was that we all got to live together as family Green for a couple of years. Many families wouldn’t cope with that, and believe me, we did have our moments, but it just showed me how lucky I am. Lucky because we are so close, we do get on and we do all genuinely love each other. I am lucky because so many siblings don’t get on, argue and fall out and we haven’t – yet! We aren’t twins but there is definitely a twin thing about us, we know how we feel and think before speaking and can confide and trust in each other like only best friends can.

 

So there you have it Jack Green – an ode to us as siblings – you’re creeping up to your thirties now so make the most of every day!

Happy 25th.

#hairlesshannah

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What makes me, me.

The first task to tackle in my Dawn French ‘Me You Diary’ was to list everything that I am. I thought I’d find it quite difficult but actually, once you open your mind it’s easy to do. For example, I started with the easy things: a daughter, a sister, a friend, a teacher but then, having looked at Dawns very funny list I went to town: a baker, a music lover, a listener, an Idris Elba fan, a Neighbours watcher, an author…you get the idea. However, this then lead to me thinking about what makes me the person I am – partly a nature, nurture line of thinking but more intrinsically, it got me to thinking about the people who have helped me become the person I am.

Throughout our lives, from day one, we encounter people who will influence us. Some in a negative way but on the whole, no matter who we meet, they will teach us something. From a very young age I knew I wanted to teach or work with children and this was partly down to my parents but really it was down to the teachers that I had at Primary School – the ones who cared, were kind and helped me, accepted me for who I was and always encouraged me to try my best. I think throughout our school, college, university and work lives we will work with people who expand our knowledge, challenge our thought processes and teach us new ways to approach things. I really do believe you are never too old to learn something new.

When I looked at my personal life, I thought about the people who are in my life now and those who aren’t and everyone that I though of, I could name something they taught me. Something that they contributed to making me, me. Granted some of these things started with, “They taught me to never be….” but that’s just life and negative experiences often mean you become a better, stronger person anyway.

For me, I have been shaped from a huge circle of my parents friends. My mum and dad have the most amazing group of extended family! They have taught me to cherish, respect and nurture my friendships, to never take them for granted and they have done that through holding parties, dinners, writing emails and letters and visiting people whenever they can. It’s so important to maintain friendships because they are what gets us through not only the tough times but are who you want by your side to experience all the happy times too.

I am lucky that I have a strong unit of close friends too and over the years they too have taught be invaluable lessons. One main one being, that you do not have to remain friends with someone if they cause you hurt and stress. Just because you’ve had good times, like with a relationship, sometimes things can’t be fixed and that’s okay. You wouldn’t stay in a relationship with someone who makes you unhappy so why do that with a friendship? It’s a really hard lesson to learn but one that many experience and eventually, you’ll remember the good times but move forward knowing that you only have friends that truly get you, understand you and accept you for who you are, faults and all.

My friends and family have also shaped me into a person who tries to see that the glass is half full. Being positive helps in so many aspects of life and whilst I am a terrible worrier and can have a moan with the best of people, I have definitely moulded myself into someone who tries her best to see things in a positive light. And that ties in with checking myself in terms of ensuring that no matter what I am going though, to still be aware of what is going on with others – we are all going through something or other and it’s so important to talk, share and face things as a unit.

Something I have learnt within the last 5-10 years is to stand up for myself more. To speak the truth, ask for help when I need it, be brave enough to speak up when something isn’t right, say no to things that I disagree with or don’t want to do and try not to feel guilty about it. These lessons have come from a whole range of people – work colleagues, therapists, parents but mainly it’s been something that I have wanted to change about myself. Being a ‘yes’ person can have many amazing connotations but saying yes all the time can also get you into a tired, bald, stressed out, ill human being state and nobody wants that! For a long time by saying no, speaking up etc I felt guilty and selfish but I now see it as looking after myself. Self preservation would now feature in my top 3 of what I do to look after myself. Making those simple changes are hard to do and you have to be brave enough to implement them and if you’re like me it’ll be a phased introduction into your life but believe me, it’s totally worth it.

Time. This is something we all have to give. It’s free and you can always make it. I am a real advocate that if you want to make time for someone, you can. Simple as that. No arguments, no excuses. If I can manage to stay in contact with one friend in Dubai and one in Chicago, all in different time zones, we can all manage a quick – Hi, thinking of you, how you doing? – text.

The majority of people who have been in my life have the most amazing sense of humour. Laughing keeps you going – living with my mum teaches me that every day! Yes, we all have days where we don’t want to laugh or be merry but if you can find humour in a situation, a smile will make you feel lifted and again, this is something that I try my very best to do.

Take opportunities that come your way. Sometimes you have to face your fears and do it anyway. My family has always been of the thought that you should try new things, stretch yourself and have adventures. Grasp opportunities as and when you can because you never know when you’ll have that chance again. Over the years I’ve had dance lessons, swimming lessons, singing lessons, become a life guard in America, learnt the violin (badly), flown in a helicopter, lived and worked abroad, sailed around the Whitsundays, hiked the Grand Canyon, helped in an elephant orphanage, seen the pyramids in Egypt…and in turn they have shaped the person I am. They’ve given me life experiences and memories to talk about with others and made me a much more rounded individual. I’d rather have an album full of photos and diaries full of memories than a bank full of money and nothing to talk about!

I could go on forever about other things that make me, me but put simply into a list, here are my top tips for what’s helped me become the person I am today.

  1. Surround yourself with family and friends
  2. Don’t be afraid of self-preservation
  3. Give time and spend time with interesting, fun people
  4. Have adventures and experience all that life offers you
  5. Laugh often
  6. Be positive
  7. Learn from others – let bad experiences shape you as much as the good ones
  8. Don’t be in any kind of relationship that is a detriment to your own happiness
  9. Keep learning
  10. Never apologise for being you.

Point 10 is one I am beginning to take on board more. We recently went to the cinema to see ‘The Greatest Showman.’ If you haven’t seen it yet – GO! The main song has become a bit of a personal anthem! It’s called This is Me. The more I listen to the lyrics, the more chords are struck within me. I’ve hidden away so much because of how I feel about myself – “I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars, run away, they say, no-one will love you as you are.” That sums me up in so many ways. But it turns into a song that is about empowerment, taking strength from bad experiences and that we are all glorious in our own ways. So I’ll end the blog with a verse and chorus of the song that brings tears to my eyes but also gives me strength…check out the video on YouTube of Keala Settle singing the song in the audition room to get the film green lit…if that doesn’t make you cry, I don’t know what will!

“Another round of bullets hits my skin, well fire away, ‘cos today I won’t let the shame sink in. We are bursting through the barricades and reaching for the sun, we are warriors, yeah that’s what we’ve become.

I won’t let them break me down to dust, I know that there’s a place for us, for we are glorious.

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down, gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out. I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be…this is me.

Look out ‘cos here I come, and I’m marching on to the beat I drum, I’m not scared to be seen, I make no apologies….this is me.”

Happy Thursday.

#hairlesshannah

 

My baking essentials

2018 is going to see me trying my very best to get a blog post up every week and have a mixture of topics again to get my creative juices flowing. So, we are starting today with a post about my baking essentials, things that I need when I’m baking and would recommend you have too if you’re looking for an easier baking life!

  1. A decent mixer.

I’m lucky enough to live with mum who loves to bake too and several years ago invested in a Kenwood mixer which is a-maz-ing! But you don’t need to spend hundreds of pounds, I just think, for me especially, having a mixer do the hard work for you eliminates a whole load of time and stress!

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2. A range of spatulas, spoons and pallet knives.

Regardless of what you’re baking, at some point you are going to need to scrape out that tiny morsel that’s left in the bowl or smooth on some icing onto a cake. Therefore, having a range of equipment is always handy.

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3. Weighing scales and measuring jugs and spoons.

We have electric scales which I find to be much more accurate and reliable (unless the batteries run out halfway through the weighing process!) A decent measuring jug which you can read clearly and spoons to get those table and teaspoon measurement just right are also important to have to hand. I recently got some cup measurements from Tiger because so many recipes that I find online often come with American measurements and rather than having to figure out the English measurement, its easier to have your own cup measurements. I think I only paid £1 for it, so it really didn’t break the bank.

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4. Turntable.

This changed my life! Seriously, I am not exaggerating here! Putting a crumb coat on a layer cake and then finalising the icing takes a lot of work and turning so being able to pop my cake on the turntable and spin away makes the whole process SO much easier – if  haven’t got one, this would be my top piece of equipment I’d advise you to buy!

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5. Side scrapers and icing smoothers!

I feel more like a painter decorator here and believe me, until a year or so ago, I wouldn’t have had these in my cupboards but they do make icing cakes and finishing them professionally much easier. Before getting a scraper I used a pallet knife to smooth the side of my cakes which does work well but can take a lot of practice and patience where as with your cake on a turntable you can scrape away quickly and efficiently and feel like a pro at the same time! Also, since starting to make cakes covered in fondant icing, I purchased an icing smoother to get rid of any little lumps and bumps and ensure the surface is ready for decorating. Again, I got mine from Home Bargains for around £2.

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6. Cake lifter and cake leveller.

These were two of my Christmas presents and I must admit, I haven’t used them yet but can’t wait to! I find levelling cakes quiet tricky and seeing a leveller used on Bake Off  made it seem so easy – I’ll let you know! Also, one of my issues tends to be lifting and moving my iced cakes from surface to surface so again, this should help me a great deal.

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7. Decorating stock!

I make sure I have lots of different cupcake cases, sprinkles, flags, boxes, gel colours all ready to go to suit the orders I get or what I fancy making that day. If I see a bargain in a shop, I tend to buy it and keep it for those being emergencies. They don’t take up much space but enable you to get creative when baking and of course, make it colourful and look inviting which is what you want for your bakes.

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8. Cooks blow torch!

Now, this is not an essential but it’s what my brother got me for Christmas because, quite simply, I liked the idea of having one! In the next few weeks I will be making some lemon meringue pies and will use it on them and will let you know what it’s like and if my house is still standing at the end of it!

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9. Decent baking trays and tins and pre cut baking paper.

Having a variety of tins, trays and moulds allows you to have at your fingertips what you need. I am lucky to have inherited several moulds and tins so do have a vast collection. I must admit I don’t use the silicon ones very much but mum always raves about them so I should give them ago.

Again, a little cheat here, but I do like to use the pre cut baking circles for tins as it’s quick and easy but obviously having a normal roll of baking paper is always needed for differing shapes of tins and trays. Little hint – if using a mould shape such as a pram or dinosaur – you know the ones I mean, please don’t just use your normal wipe of butter to make it non stick – it doesn’t work! You can buy a special anti stick spray, make sure you get all the nooks and crannies and it’ll work a treat!

10. Piping bags, nozzles and other decorating tools.

Since baking a lot more I have taught myself how to pipe a lot better and that works much more easily if you have piping bags and nozzles to choose from. As always, practice makes perfect but it’s a fun hobby to have! I have used a dual piping bag once to get two colours piped on to create an effect but this is something I need to rehearse more. I also have letter stencils, little plastic knives to work fondant details with, edible glue and paintbrushes which mean I can paint on details if needed.

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11. Something nice to display your bakes on or in.

Spending so much time on baking needs to be rewarded with displaying your creation beautifully. We used Lakeland vouchers we had to buy a display dome but we do also have several lovely air tight tins and plates which make all the difference when you open them to reveal your creation.

So there you have it. My top 10 baking essentials – what are yours? Have I missed any that you wouldn’t dare miss off? I’d love to know!

Happy baking all!

#hairlesshannah

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One Second a Day

So here we are, 2018…how’s it going so far?! It’s been pretty drizzly, grey and windy here which always makes these dark January days harder to cope with.

One of the things I struggled with at several points last year was keeping positive. It’s hard to maintain that sunny disposition day in day out. I have learnt that this is okay but I do still struggle to strike up a conversation with friends and family when I’m having these days, there’s always the element of not wanting to sound negative or bring their days down as well. Through CBT and medication, I feel slightly more balanced now and use my newly found skills to try and turn things on their heads to find good points and happy things. Changing the way we think about things, for me anyway, really has been enlightening. You don’t realise how much baggage a negative/worrying thought can bring until you channel that energy in a different way.

As well as implementing these new skills, I searched for activities I could do to put positivity and happiness into action. Since I was twelve I have kept a daily diary and I find that very cathartic, there’s something about writing, getting things out in a pen to paper way that really helps me. However, what with keeping a diary and writing a blog I felt like I was at my limit with writing. So, what else was there? I love photography and memory making and one day I was watching a vlog and they mentioned an app called one second everyday and that was it – I was hooked!

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I think I mentioned it as one of my favourites last year, but honestly, I love 1SE. It’s such a simple idea and so easy to do. Yes, you’ll irritate your friends and family to begin with because they won’t be used to being filmed during the happy times but even my most reluctant friends were happy to participate by the end of the year!

To start with I used it as a video diary depicting something, anything that had happened in my day. I was learning how and why I wanted to use the app and during January there are some days when I documented tough days, sleepy days and even turned the camera around to say something! I also shot all the videos with my phone in portrait. However, as the days went on, I figured out that I wanted to use the app to find the happiness or positives in every day, no matter how small they may be – the weather, a good meal, a favourite TV programme. I also found out that if I shot the videos landscape, it filled up the screen and was easier to watch back.

You don’t have to be precise in shooting a one second video, you can take videos and then within the app, edit them down to the singular second you want to keep. That part is quite fun because sometimes snapshotting the perfect second is tough. The app has recently been updated so you can include 2 seconds a day if you want to. Most days I won’t do this but it was something I’d wanted for a while because there will be some days you do something in the day and the evening that you want to capture…and now you can!

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It doesn’t have to be a video second, you can also use photos which I know some of my friends have down and it works equally as well. If you do use photos, you can insert music over the top to make it more watchable.

If you’re feeling adventurous you can have several projects going at once. For example, I have a 2018 project started for now, but if I wanted to start a project on all the bakes I make, I could create a separate file. I also recently saw someone using the app to document their weight loss and once it’s all put together you can see the progress made. The options are endless. You don’t have to use it every day either, you could just use it when you’re on holiday to document your travels!

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I love using this app because it helps me focus on the good even when my day has not been. It’s so important to turn things around and find the positives because more often than not it’s easier to think about the bad things you’ve experienced in the day and that doesn’t help anyone in the long run.

I haven’t been able to upload the video on this post but I will on my Facebook so if you want to, head over the see my 2017 one second a day Hannah Green.

If you do use the app, let me know, I’d love to see your projects when they’re done.

Happy Thursday.

#hairlesshannah

 

 

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Goodbye 2017

I’ve been sitting thinking about the past year today in all its glory; highs, lows and the many inbetweeny bits. It really has been one hell of a year!

I feel I’ve learnt a lot more about myself again this year and grown stronger in many ways. CBT has helped me greatly, I’ve learnt that it is okay to put yourself first sometimes without calling it selfish and that if you want to say no to things, that’s alright too. Self preservation is much higher on my list of priorities now, I have always been a people pleaser and a guilt feeler so this has been a hard one to master and continues to be a work in progress.

Last year I felt a totally loss of independence however, this year I have managed to get some back. A random conversation planted a small seed in my mind earlier in the year, to use my creative skills to a) give me something in which to channel the energy I have and b) to maybe earn some money from it. And that in turn became ‘Sunshine Makes and Bakes’ which has been a life saver in so many ways. I have loved making and baking and it really has given me a purpose.

However, my biggest achievement of 2017 has to be the publication on my first children’s  book. I didn’t think it would be out before the end of the year but it is and I haven’t quite come down from my little cloud of happiness yet! To see my words accompanied by my vision of illustrations and be able to hold it and put it amongst all the other books I love and cherish is just a dream come true. And on top of that, to see my book being read and going into people’s home is just mind-blowing! I’ve already received a few messages from total strangers who live with alopecia or have children who do, who have said how the book has helped them talk about the condition openly and how the book has brought them real happiness. That is my job done – hairless Hannah is happy!

Having said that, 2017 has been a horrendous year in terms of the loss of loved ones. Not only have we lost my dear Grandma and Auntie Pat, we have also said goodbye to several close family friends this year. It has struck me how lucky I have been in my 31 years to have known so many wonderful people and realise how much they have impacted my life. In terms of family, I have a relitively small one. Yet, my extended family is huge. Just days ago I was at a celebration of life of a family friend whom mum and dad met when they first started teaching. Regardless of the fact that Henry was 58 years older than me, he kept young and always engaged me in enthralling conversation, always paid a huge interest into my life, always made me feel special and loved – he, along with the others we have bid farewell to this year, will remain with me for the rest of my days as I carry with me and implement the lessons I have learnt from them into my daily life.

I am only making one resolution this year; take each day as it comes. I feel like looking forward too far and setting big goals only ends in failure and disappointment therefore, if I only take one day as it comes, celebrate all the little things and concentrate on taking steps forward, only good can happen…right?! I definitely am one to think New Year, New start…but in reality, when I wake up on January 1st, it’s just another day, no different to the day before. I put too much emphasis on time and dates and I must try to stop that. I will take with me the people, memories and things I want to from 2017 and leave behind the rest, it’s no good carrying that around with me when there’s so much more to gather up in 2018.

So, here’s to 2018, many more good days than bad and to health and happiness.

Happy New Year.

#hairlesshannah