This month, I’m excited to introduce Cara from Cara’s Corner, a mental health and lifestyle blog. Let’s get to it!

Tell us a bit about yourself.

downloadI’m a mental health nurse by day and a blogger by night! I grew up experiencing lots of difficulties with my mental health, having an eating disorder for a number of years and eventually being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I am a passionate mental health campaigner and try my best to raise awareness and challenge stigma wherever I can! I always like to share a bit about myself outside of talking about mental illness because there is more to me than just that! I have pink hair (my favourite colour), I’m covered in tattoos and I am a hardcore cat lady. I am an animal love, vegetarian and proud feminist, and I absolutely ADORE travelling.

How did you get into blogging? 

I started using twitter a lot more and discovered loads of amazing blogs! I was using twitter mainly for mental health awareness and realised that I had a lot more to tell the word than I could say in 140 characters (or 280 now!).

Tell us about your favorite blog post.

Strangely, one of my favourite posts is one I wrote recently when things were going really wrong for me. But it was the first time I had been honest about relapse when it was actually happening, and I had so much positive feedback from it.

What are you doing when you’re not blogging? 

Mostly working! I try and go to the gym, see my friends and spend time with my boyfriend. I also love cooking, sleeping and watching a lot of Netflix!

What is one thing you wish more people understood about mental illness? 

That being high functioning doesn’t mean you aren’t ill. Most of the time, I am able to live essentially an entirely normal life, but I still have bipolar disorder. Being unwell doesn’t always mean constantly living in a state of chronic depression or heightened anxiety or any other obvious symptoms. You can’t see mental illness, which is why it’s so important to check in with people around you.

Where is somewhere you’ve travelled that you wouldn’t rush back to? 

Egypt. I found it really intimidating as a young woman and didn’t feel safe – so many older men touched me when I was walking around or offered to buy me.

Where else can we find you? 

Twitter || Instagram (personal) || Instagram (blogging) || Pinterest || Etsy

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The clock is ticking on my time left in the U.K. and I’m trying to make the most of it by visiting friends and seeing new places.

In this case, I got to kill three birds with one stone in Cardiff: exploring a new place, seeing my good friend Alex and going to a hockey game. I met Alex on my year abroad, in fact, we went to Newquay together but haven’t seen much of each other this year as he now goes to Cardiff University. Also, Diego is really into ice hockey but has never been to a game, and the closest thing to a professional game is in Cardiff… so off we were.

Tuesday, 16 October: We stopped in Bristol for lunch at ZaZa Bazaar, which was filling and tasty!

We arrived in Cardiff around 1700 at our AirBNB close to the city center (less than 10 minute walk) it the flat was absolutely lovely. Newly built, modern and simple, the perfect size for the two of us. I would love to live in a flat just like this!

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We then proceeded to town to Spillers Records, the oldest record shop in the world! Wouldn’t have known about this gem if it wasn’t for my friend Max, good shout Max (if you’re reading this). There, I bought a CD (’59 Sound by Gaslight Anthem) because… how could I not?

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Then, we made our way to Cardiff Bay

… and then to the hockey game! I have actually been to a CHL game before in Berlin (v. Ingolstadt) but was a bit lost as everything was in German. I like to think I got us good seats to watch the Cardiff Devils play the Vaxjo Lakers. Even though the good guys lost, the game was incredible: exciting and high scoring (5-6) with overtime. I’m glad Diego has so much fun at his first of many ice hockey games.

To end the night, we met with Alex in town at The Alchemist for fancy cocktails and a catch-up.

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Wednesday, 17 October: Diego and I started our day in Cardiff central market with Welsh cakes (basically a pancake coated in sugar) and coffee.

We then met Alex at Greazy Vegan for lunch. It was so good to see him twice this trip!

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To end our time in Cardiff, we went to Techniquest, a hands-on science museum. Naturally, it was crawling with kids which made me a bit annoyed, but there were some laughs to be had.

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I had a great time with Diego, especially at the hockey game, and hope we can do it again before I go!

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This month, I was finally able to properly keep up with reading your lovely posts!

Before we dive into my favorite posts this month, I was featured by Misadventures with Andi in her series of interviewing Arizona bloggers. Check it out here.

Here are my top five posts from all categories:

  • Ultimate travel bucket list: This is an amazing, well-rounded list. I’m happy to say we share quite a few of these dreams (e.g. hike Machu Picchu, see Northern Lights) and I’ve even done quite a few of these myself (e.g. African safari, Berlin Wall, Eiffel Tower)
  • In Defense of 9-5s: People who travel full-time think it’s something every wants to do… it’s not. I didn’t get my degree only to put myself in debt, I love what I study and do want to work hard at it. Let travel be a reward!
  • Four days on an Egyptian LiveAboard: My LiveAboard trip was one of my favorite trips of all time and this post did a lot of the same dives I did despite being based out of Sharm El Sheikh. So many amazing memories.
  • How to practice self care on low energy days: This is one of my favorite mental health-related posts I’ve seen thus far. I’ve been suffering with extreme fatigue recently and my bad days have never looked worse. I often get overwhelmed with self-care posts that include things like doing the laundry, changing sheets, etc. because on days I need self-care the most are the days I can’t even get out of bed. This post is very realistic for those truly awful days.
  • Norwegian fjords adventures: A few months ago, I went to Bergen with my grandma and two aunties and the fjords tour was without a doubt my favorite part! I’d love to go back and explore some more.

Science, sustainability and veganism

General travel and study abroad

Travel destinations

Blogging

Lifestyle

Photo by Andrew Knechel.

 

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Disclaimer: have very low expectations for this goals update. My dissertation took more time, energy and sanity from me than I expected and I’m still recovering.

Anyway, here is how my third term goals translated into reality:

  • Continue to work between 20-25 hours a week: I worked just enough, but had to take off a few extra days and refuse covering shifts to have enough time for my dissertation.
  • Continue to meet with an academic adviser once every other week: Did that. She was largely useless. Good with practical advice, but a bit disappointing with project-specific questions (“this isn’t my field”… then why did you agree to mentor this project? Ugh).
  • Travel to one new U.K. city: Diego and I went to Kew Gardens and Alyssa and I visited Stonehenge, so I’m counting those.
  • Stretch for five minutes everyday: Didn’t happen.
  • Cut back on cheese, dairy chocolate and soda: Didn’t happen either.
  • Read two books a month: Just about! I think my recent favorite is This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay.
  • Listen to new music (two albums a week): Done! My recent favorites are Hellions, Orchards and The National.
  • Complete a new T.V. series: I’ve been watching a lot of Wentworth, but still a few seasons from the end. I rewatched The Good Place if that counts?
  • Apply for two jobs a week: I have been too busy with dissertation until recently, but finding a job here seems unlikely due to immigration barriers. Sigh.
  • Blog for about five hours a week: Nope.
  • Watch more films: Somewhat. My recent likes have been A Quiet Place and Million Dollar Baby

Here are my goals for the next two months:

  • Work 40 hours a week
  • Travel to one new U.K. city
  • See a musical
  • Travel to one new country
  • Read two books a month
  • Complete a new T.V. series
  • Apply for five jobs a week (until mid-November)
  • Blog for 5-10 hours a week
  • Watch more films

Photo by Laura Cros.

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There has been a post floating around on Twitter that has been getting a lot of attention asking people to name an album, any genre, that you think is 100% perfect – where you don’t skip one track.

I retweeted saying Revolutions Per Minute by Rise Against, but upon further thought, there are several albums that are “perfect” in my eyes.

Disclaimer: these are not my favorite albums. Confusing, I know. But, there are some less than amazing tracks on some of my favorite albums, but the other songs make up for it.

Additionally, there are some “perfect” albums that I could easily listen to all the way through, but don’t actively enjoy. For example, I consider By the Way by Red Hot Chili Peppers a perfect album, but I wouldn’t call it groundbreaking. Here is a (somewhat out of date) page of all the concerts I’ve been to.

Anyway, here we go:

Revolutions Per Minute by Rise Against (2003, punk). This was the first album that came to mind when I thought about “perfect” albums. Of course, I couldn’t not include my all-time favorite band in this list. Although it’s dangerously close to The Sufferer and the Witness, the tie breaker is probably the songs live. I would (and have) lost my mind every time they play something live from RPM. I have seen Rise Against live seven times, you can read about them all in this post. Favorite tracks: Blood Red White and Blue, Heaven Knows, Like the Angel

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Rise Against live in 2014

Menos El Oso by Minus the Bear (2005, indie rock). I’m quite sad because this band recently broke up before I got the chance to see them live. Favorite tracks: Drilling, Horray

Fluorescent Youth by Conditions (2010, rock). This album never fails to lift my spirit and bring a tear to my eye. It’s simply so powerful. I was lucky enough to see them live in 2013 before they broke up. Favorite tracks: Better Life, Comfort Far Away

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Me and Conditions in 2013

Born to Die by Lana Del Rey (2012, indie pop). Her voice is absolutely mesmerizing with such range. Favorite tracks: Video Games, Born to Die

Still Searching by Senses Fail (2006, post-hardcore). I couldn’t not include my other favorite band. My favorite album of theirs is undoubtedly Life Is Not a Waiting Room, but I feel this album is better well-rounded. I have actually seen this album in full during their anniversary tour in March 2017, where they also played my two favorite songs from Life Is Not a Waiting Room, so needless to say it was a perfect show. Favorite tracks: Cinco de Mayo, Mason’s Revenge, Calling All Cars, Bonecrusher

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Understanding What We’ve Grown to Be by We Came as Romans (2011, metalcore). This is also a sad one: this band meant a lot to me in my teen years and the lead singer, Kyle, has recently passed away. I have seen them live a handful of times and even won a bit to bowl with them for charity in 2013. This album is now especially heavy since Kyle’s passing, but still as amazing. Joshua Moore is a lyrical genius. Favorite tracks: A War Inside, Understanding What We’ve Grown to Be, What I Wish I Never Had

Beggars by Thrice (2009, rock). Although I consider The Artist and the Ambulance “peak” Thrice (their subjectively best album), there is something I can’t explain that always draws me to this album over the others. I have seen them twice. I was actually meant to see them in London a few months ago but lost my ticket… bummer. Favorite tracks: In Exile, Wood and Wire, At the Last

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Only Revolutions by Biffy Clyro (2009, alternative rock). I have been lucky enough to see this massive Scottish band in an intimate venue back home in 2017. Favorite tracks: That Golden Rule, Many of Horror, Booooom Blast and Ruin

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Favourite Worst Nightmare by Arctic Monkeys (2007, indie rock). Although I was only first introduced to them with their mainstream success of their self titled album, this album deserves more recognition. This album is a good bridge between their rougher, primitive old sound and their more tame and sometimes, sorry about it, watered down new sound. Again, not outright calling any of their work bad, just very different, but this album is certainly their best, even if Fluorescent Adolescent is overplayed at clubs. I saw them live in 2013. Favorite tracks: Do Me a Favour, 505, Balaclava

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Everything Goes Numb by Streetlight Manifesto (2003, ska). An absolute gem of a debut album for this ska band which contains arguably their most powerful song, A Better Place A Better Time. This album is so high energy and yet thoughtful at the same time, truly one of a kind. I have seen them live twice. Favorite tracks: A Better Place A Better Time, A Moment of Silence, Here’s to Life

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