Bye Bye Baby

Last Friday I said goodbye to my little girl for the next two weeks. Some parents in need of  break will probably be wondering why I have any complaints about this. Don’t get me wrong if it was a week I wouldn’t, but two weeks is just such a long amount of time to not see her little face, hear that dirty giggle and join in with random and baffling conversations.

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There is truth in the fact that I probably do need a break from the responsibility of parenting to be able to fully rest and recoup but unfortunately when you are in this position it never feels like that and actually the apprehension and worry has been a stress in itself. Over the last week I have been adding to a general ‘life’ to do list all the jobs that need doing around the house, the DIY, the trips that need to to be made and basically any job I can turn to in order to stay busy (which defeats the whole object of the break).

Muddy Boots family photography

My nature isn’t to relax it’s to ‘do’ so given this opportunity to slow down it’s unlikely to actually happen. I want to do silly mundane things like read a whole book, get up to date on social media, walk the dogs more (not things I can’t do with Arabella home) but more just enjoyable things for me to do. Being the absolute fashion addict one big task that needs doing in the next two weeks is going through all my clothes, so that can be a draw/wardrobe a night easily for a week of evenings.

Muddy Boots family photography

My prediction is that I will be absolutely fine for the fist 4/5 days and then it is going to start getting really hard. Being divorced I am very used to spending time without Arabella but when I say time, we are talking 2/3 days, hence my prediction of the 4/5 day wobble.

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Funny isn’t it, we always want what we can’t have. As parents we crave time to ourselves (well me and the friends I have asked do) But as soon as shes gone all I will want to do is eat popcorn and watch movies with her. within a week of Arabella getting back she starts her new school so I think getting on top of life/the house and possibly even starting the attic renovation will be a good thing in the long run. (I just need to keep reminding myself as I walk past her empty bedroom.

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The Country Life

Though I spend a huge chunk of my week in front of a computer linked to corporate entities and dealing with high flying clients, at heart I am a complete and utter country bumpkin.

We live in a breezy, character filled old cottage outside of Bristol in the UK and have enough animals to almost qualify as a farm (I’m not sure what the actual definition of a farm is but it can’t be far off our set up).

Muddy Boots family photography

What I love the most is the divide, and it’s quite possibly the only way I cope with such a busy life. During the day i’m dressed on trend (well ish, I like to create my own trends) clean shoes, made up face and technology at my fingertips (Two phones, laptop, Ipad, Desktop, Alexa in every room of the house) then by night i’m hand rearing weak chicks,  cleaning out chicken coops, collecting eggs, training the dogs, riding the horse or generally covered in mud somewhere doing something outdoorsy.

Muddy Boots family photography

I was lucky enough to grow up in various beautiful old houses, always rural and always waking to the sounds of cows mooing, horses whinnying or sheep bleating so living in a city is not something I think I could ever cope with. Don’t get me wrong i’m in no way remote to local towns but just having that little bit of space and daily interaction with a variety of animals is almost a coping mechanism.

I rode throughout my whole childhood, spending most weekends at shows, peeing in a buckets and always with the faint aroma of ‘horse’ lingering round me. naturally as I matured this lessened and I learnt about deodorant and started to venture in to the world of fashion (as a youngster on ‘dress down days’ at school I would literally turn up on my jodhpurs) that’s how bad I was.

So the natural progression saw me start to find other things in life that drew me away from the stables, work, socialising, boys (I was never that keen on them) but there were always animals involved. When I became a single mum in 2012 all of a sudden I didn’t have anyone to answer to or opinions to consider and ‘Life in the Cottage’ began. We currently have the following pets:

  • 6 Purebred Chihuahuas
  • Archibald the rescued cat
  • Fox the Gelding
  • Daisy the miniature Shetland
  • Pete the 100 year old tortoise (that we sort of inherited)
  • Olive the Syrian Hamster
  • 28 Chickens (12 newly hatched chicks)
  • And for the next three weeks until they go back we have Haggis the school bunny in the field too.

Muddy Boots family photography

as you can see it’s a full house (though there’s always room or an animal in need) Admittedly it’s very stressful at times, especially when there is illness or the Fox decides he wants one of my hens but i wouldn’t change it for the world. Every morning before work I potter out to the field in my dressing gown feed and water the chickens and just take a big deep breath of the countryside and it honestly sets me for the day (some of which can be incredibly stressful) At the other end of the day it’s the horses and again there’s peace and space. I struggle with Anxiety for various reasons but if I feel an attack coming you will find me sat in the field watching Chihuahuas trot about and chickens clucking away while they peck on their corn.

If any of you want to see our lives first hand and very raw, we share a weekly video on YouTube that covers the good, the bad and the ugly:

Thanks for always for coming to my little ivy filled corner of the internet

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My March Favourites

As you can see from my serious lack of posts in 2018 I have struggled immensely for inspiration. Last night I sat and went through page after page of ideas for lifestyle blog post ideas (400 in total) and have whittled them down to about 40 so i now have plenty of inspiration. One think I really like the idea of was Friday favourites every week. I spend most of the week screen-shotting things that pop up on either my Instagram feed, pintrest feed or generally in life so this post on a Friday will be those things!

Fashion, home and pretty much anything else. This first Friday favourites definitely has a theme of Easter going on! As always everything is great value (we all know i’m not a designer gal).

pink chelsea boot

Pink Chelsea boots
http://shopstyle.it/l/CDPm

I am totally fed up of wearing black or tan so this will make a nice change coming in to spring!

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Tan loafers
http://shopstyle.it/l/CDO1

Moving away from boots (which will be such a relief for our ankles) I found these gorgeous tan loafers for spring and summer.

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Tassel tee
http://shopstyle.it/l/CDQN

I think it’s official, my obsession for pom poms has now turned in to an obsession for tassels, they are everywhere at the moment and this T shirt is not only a bargain but amazing!

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Easter bunny
http://shopstyle.it/l/CDRh

Just look at this guy, he is so adorable. I am getting more and more in to actually decorating the house for Easter and this chap will be a definite buy for the festivities.

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Bunny mug
http://shopstyle.it/l/CDPG

How dreamy is this! love a bunny, love duck egg and love a cuppa! SOLD

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Easter stamp
http://shopstyle.it/l/CDPP

I won’t lie we don’t really do cards but I still absolutely love this stamp! The font is gorgeous.

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Egg decorations
http://shopstyle.it/l/CDPU

Other than my love affair with Mustard I am all about the pastel colours and these little eggs would be a perfect addition to the cottage.

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Cake stand
http://shopstyle.it/l/CDPX

I currently have this saved in my basket on Ebay and have every intention of buying it at the end of the month, there is ALWAYS cake in our house so it would be rude not to put it in something pretty.

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White clock
http://shopstyle.it/l/CDR2

I was led in the bath yesterday without my phone just reading and completely lost track of time, it occurred to me that there is no clock in my bathroom. I am loving this one as an addition so I don’t miss the school run!

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Mustard bag
http://shopstyle.it/l/CDQs

**She sighs** isn’t she s beauty. This colour is my life at the moment, it’s all over the house all over the pets all over my wardrobe and this bag has just topped it. Mustard is a great colour because it goes with black or blue which are my two staple colours.

There you go my Friday favourites, let me know what you think of the new weekly blog post and if you have any requested for themed ones just let me know. All my social channels are below, and thanks for reading.

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The Juice Box

If you are a follower of my Instagram channel you will already know I am well and truly on the OCD spectrum. I loathe mess, I loathe disorganisation and truly can’t stand not being able to find things.

In our house we have more technology that a post could even contain (partly due to what I do for a living) but this leaves me with the constant sight of cables charging various electricals everywhere. On top of annoying me immensely these cables get chewed by the puppy, played with by the cat and I’ve also been known to suck a few up the hoover (plugged in I might add) talk about hazards!

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I searched on Ebay and various other sites for some kind of ‘charger organiser’ plenty came up, there were colourful plastic ones, holder ones that held various things up, but nothing shouted out at me ‘i’m great value and I will fit with the country chic theme of your house’. I went on to pinterest and searched various options these ideas all amalgamated in to ‘The Juice Box’ so i moved over to Ebay for my supplies.

The box was just over £11 with a fast and free delivery option: here’s the link

The multi USB charger stand was just under £10: here’s the link

You can use any paint or colour you want, I went for chalk paint in antique white as i’m pretty much obsessed with the stuff, and the writing is optional (if anyone want’s to know how I did that just ask and I can put together another blog or video).

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Here is what the box looks like when it comes, there is an option to have a lid or no lid but wanting to hide it all away I went with a lid.

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Measure out where the power cable needs to feed in and with a wood bit drill out until you have made a whole big enough. I know there are big drill bits that would make a much bigger hole but I wanted to keep this low cost (and realistically when would I use it again).

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Once you have made your hole then it’s time to paint, I painted the whole box inside and out for a nice fresh finish but it’s up to you what you want to paint and the colour.

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Next I added my text (this is totally optional) but like I mentioned earlier if you want to know how I did it just ask). This was sanded to finish hence the dust everywhere.

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Attach the power cable and fix the USB tower in place with  little bit of double sided tape then add as many cables as you plan on using (as you can see for us it was rather a few).

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Done an in place without a cable in sight when the box is closer. It really was so easy. If I haven’t made sense or can give you any more tips please just get in touch or leave a comment!

Enjoy and thanks for reading.

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Shein Wishlist

Ok it’s safe to say that over the last three months i have become totally obsessesed with Shein. A friend told me about them and when i got the app i was dubious, i really had no need to be. All the clothes do come from China but the wait is at most 10 days and in the three orders i have done it has been between 5-8 so i can vouch for he delivery being ok.

The next issue when you are buying clothes from China is the quality, we’ve all made a cheeky ebay purchase and waited 6 weeks to open an item that looks nothing like it does in the picture, Shein have solved this risk because on every item there is a review section with peoples pictures of what they received and how the sizing was, this gives you complete confidence in what you are ordering. Once you have the app you receive notifications every time there is a sale, free postage or anything else going on so i personally always wait for free delivery and then bam that full basket is checked out.

Here is currently what;s in my basket (and unless there are no huge opinions against anything will probably be checking out in the next few days!

Here is the current top 10 (and yes this look alot of procrastination and whittling down as i would have easily had this list at 30.

white drop shoulder swester

 

White V Neck Drop Shoulder Sweater

£14.80

 

Plain White Casual Acrylic Pullovers Oversized V Neck Long Sleeve Fall Winter Fabric has some stretch Sweaters.

http://rstyle.me/~adD0W

I am well and truly in winter mode at the moment and at the sight of any lovely fluffy chunky knit jumpers I will be guaranteed to go weak at the knees. White is a colour I love to wear but do have to be careful as with a flock of Chickens and three dogs I am constantly being jumped on. I have visions of this with some dark wash skinny jeans and a big chunky scarf for a more casual day, or on the flipside with a midi skirt tucked in an some biker boots. The options are endless with a simple tip like this.

boat line neck

 

Boat Neckline Polka Dot Top

£6.66

 

White Black and White Casual Boat Neck Three Quarter Length Polyester Polka Dot Regular Fit Fabric has no stretch Spring Fall Top Blouses.

http://rstyle.me/~adD0Z

Naturally I am drawn to polkadots, much the same as with pom poms (I honestly think it’s a diagnoseable problem) Black jeans, black pointed boots and a black blazer would be my outfit of choice for this all day long. And it would also double up as a smarter work top on the day i have to adult.

burgundy dress

 

Tiered Frill Sleeve Long Hijab Dress

£14.80

Burgundy Polyester Dresses Aribian Clothing.

http://rstyle.me/~adD11

I have steered clear of midi and maxi dresses my whole life on the basis that at 5’3 i m a bloody midget and i don’t need any help looking short. This year i have binned that insecurity and with the inspiration of pintrest have fully embraced the long dress, biker boot look and really love it. It’s warmer it means i don’t have to shave any part of my body in preparation for leaving the house and in all honesty is much more comfortable than skinny jeans.

pearl beading ruffle top

 

Pearl Beading Tiered Ruffle Sleeve Jumper

 

£16.28

Plain White Elegant Acrylic Pullovers Regular Fit Round Neck Long Sleeve Beaded Pearl Spring Fall Fabric has some stretch Layered Sleeve Flounce Sleeve Sweaters.

http://rstyle.me/~adD13

Another one of my huge fashion go to’s is Pearls. Classic, classy and lets face it really pretty. Another risky white jumper but justifiable because it’s so damn pretty. One to dress up or dress down but beautiful none the less.

stripe top

 

Striped Waist Tie Dip Hem Top

 

£8.88

Black and White Casual Cute Round Neck Sleeveless Polyester Striped Peplum Ruffle YES Fabric has no stretch Summer Blouses.

http://rstyle.me/~adD14

Totally out of season for this one but that’s not going to stop me, add a cardigan and the problem of cold arms is solved. Stripes are flattering, frills are flattering and blue and white is such a nice colour combination. Add some dark wash jeans, a tan boot and  navy cardigan and some pearls and you’ve got yourself a rather beautiful look.

embroided jumper

 

Embroidered Flower Patch Jumper

 

£16.28

Floral Green Casual Acrylic Pullovers Oversized Round Neck Long Sleeve Applique Embroidery Spring Fall Winter Fabric has some stretch Sweaters.

http://rstyle.me/~adD16

Dreamy or what! I won’t lie this is not my normal colour choice but with the floral detail I was really drawn to this jumper. Again I would put this as a skinny jean combo casual jumper but still with that floral detail it would make it a pretty one at least.

full length skirt

 

Crinkle Elastic Waist Full Length Skirt

 

£10.36

Grey Polyester Long/Full Length Shift Casual Plain Fabric has some stretch Spring Summer Fall YES Mid Waist Skirts.

http://rstyle.me/~adD19

Back on to the obsession with midi skirts. Grey sits nicely with black which is my preferred colour at the moment, no one has died i think in winter it is just the safest colour. I love midi skirts with oversized jumpers and this skirt looks so damn comfortable, it’s stretch allowing for a big lunch and comfort and with the pleats at the top it is really pretty.

floral sports set

 

Floral Print Sports & Leggings Set

 

£11.84

Pants Multi Polyester Floral Scoop Neck Sleeveless Sports Fabric has some stretch Spring Summer Two-piece Outfits.

http://rstyle.me/~adD1f

I have every intention of getting my workouts back up and running in January so this is clearly a must. I know it’s highly ridiclious to worry about what you are wearing when you workout but i honestly do. It makes me feel better, more motivated and much more likely to take a progress pic if i’m covered head to toe in floral lycra (and £11.84 for a two piece set is an absolute steal).

polk dot dress

 

Bell Sleeve Open Back Scalloped Polka Dot Dress

 

£14.80

Black and White Elegant Polyester Round Neck Three Quarter Length Sleeve Fit and Flare Short Knot Cut Out Zip Button Scallop Belted Polka Dot YES Fabric has no stretch Spring Fall A Line Dresses.

http://rstyle.me/~adD1j

This dress I LOVE, and because it has the black detail i’m pretty confident a pair of black tights on my hairy legs would be absolutely fine. It would be  no bra dress of course but that doesn’t worry me with my noobs (no-boobs) and would make a lovely outfit to a party of some description or a night out.

drop shoulder mustard

 

Lantern Sleeve Drop Shoulder Sweatshirt

 

£9.62

Pullovers Long Sleeve High Neck Yellow Plain Polyester Fabric has some stretch Spring Fall Casual Slim Fit Sweatshirts.

http://rstyle.me/~adD1m

If you follow me on Instagram @lifeinthecottage you will have seen this colour feature quite a lot. In Autumn I started becoming very drawn to this colour and that has continued in to winter with now sign of lessening. It is gorgeus with both black and navy (which isn’t easy to do) and with a dark bob is a nice colour to contrast. The high neck (not rolled neck as i have now learnt) it keeps you warm but doesn’t make like you have no neck at all (some of us need all the help we can get to look elegant.

So there is is my current top 10 Shein favorites, now i’ve written this I feel like it’s ok to hit checkout. (I will never learn)

Thanks for reading and speak up if you have used Shein before.

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Solo Christmas

I know full well that a lot of my followers are mums and some even single mums like me. Speaking from experience It is such a daunting prospect facing Christmas as a single parent (especially a new one) but i’m about to give you a little vote of confidence on this one because it’s not that bad.

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Ok so my first solo Christmas, this was the hardest. I pulled the Christmas hamper out brimming with sparkles and glitter to find memories of family life, Surname based signs and I sobbed, I sobbed my little heart out. I wondered how it had all gone so wrong and how I ended up alone. I really did my absolute best to create the worlds biggest pity party, which all my family and friends were of course invited to. I think on your first solo Christmas everyone is fairly understanding of the change and the upset (but let me tell you this won’t last).

Come January all the decorations came down and went back in to the hamper and the year carried on, every day with me getting stronger and stronger.

Christmas year two I started to create our own traditions, cried less and started caring less about which parent had spent the most money or bought the best gift. (At the age of two lets face it Arabella was happy with the wrapping and the box). The next two Christmases moved forwards in a similar fashion until Christmas number 5 (which is the present day).

Christmas-dinner

Initially I just want to say it’s amazing how much good you will find if you start to look for the positive in any given situation.

We have always split the day 50/50 one of us will have Arabella on Christmas eve and in the morning, the other from Lunchtime on Christmas day through to Boxing day. Initially of course this was terrible and having to make the order in court was even less of a joy, but now I wouldn’t have it any other way. Arabella is actually with me this Christmas eve and Christmas Day morning, but when she goes to her dads at lunch time, do you know what…I’m going to crack out my pyjamas and binge watch Christmas films (something I wouldn’t be able to do if she was with me) I could go out for festive drinks, i’m basically a free agent. You can view this as  good or a bad thing ‘woe is me I don’t have my child on this magical day‘ or ‘Ok I’ve seen her on this magical day but now I’ve got 8 hours to be selfish, post Christmas day selfie pics on Instagram and generally bum around doing whatever the hell I want’ It’s entirely up to you whether you go for the positive or the negative but you will soon realise the easier road to go down.

My top tips for coping with a solo Christmas:

1.Chuck out anything that resembles the old relationship you had (take as long as you need to do this but believe me it’s easier when it’s gone)

2. Start creating your own traditions with your children, ones that only involve you and them (or maybe even your family) basically people that will be sticking around.

3. Get social, go out see friends, stay busy at the beginning an don’t sit and dwell.

4. Don’t get in to a present war with the other parent. Who cares who bought what as long as they get something, fill themselves with turkey an watch some sort of Disney Christmas film (these are kids it’s not an interview for the apprentice)

4. Turn off your ‘on this day’ setting on Facebook or you will be inundated with reminders of what you were doing last Christmas (and who with) who needs that shit.

5. Look for the positive, for example: ‘yes this is a shitty situation but in what way could it be seen as positive’ (silver linings do really come with every cloud)

5. And lastly an probably most importantly, put yourself first, have some downtime, do whatever makes YOU happy at Christmas, this can be anything from sleeping to getting blind drunk on Mulled wine (the choice really is yours).

I hope this helps you if you are going through your first, second or perhaps third solo Christmas. And like I said at the beginning it really isn’t that bad. (I promise)

Thanks for reading and as always speak up if you’ve got something to say.

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Panic at the Disco

No idea why I have named this blog what I have, I just thought it sounded catchy (it’s the marketer in me).
So this post is basically just a little bit of anxiety update, I don’t really talk as much about anxiety and the huge pain in my ass that is panic attacks, as much as I should. Potentially as I am becoming a lot better at handling them/it or because it’s an avoidance tactic to not even say the word (who knows).
So on the whole over the last six months I think I can say my anxiety has been better, I have probably had less than five panic attacks and I honestly think I am starting to just accept it as part of my life. I don’t think anxiety is something that comes and goes, I think that once your body has worked out that stress response you are stuck with it but I do think you can learn how to cope with it.
I remember my first panic attack, it was about three years ago and I honestly thought I was dying, I had never had one before, heart was racing, felt like I was going to simultaneously vomit and shit my self, pins and needles in my arms and legs (the lot, and yes a lot like how having a heart attack feels apparently) It came on for no reason and lasted about 20 minutes. I reacted so badly thinking there was something seriously wrong, I went to the doctor in an absolute state and insisted he checked me for everything (is that even possible).
I ended up going home with a prescription for Diazepam which truth be told was never going to solve the issue (it takes 20 minutes to kick in and a panic attack will rarely last over 20 minutes) great suggestion doc, I ended up taking half a tablet to see how I reacted, which apparently was to slur my words then pass out mid evening for the rest of the night on the sofa) not really the reaction I was after. Never the less I haven’t taken one since and they are most likely out of date now.
So basically at that point I realised that I was pretty much on my own with the panic attacks and there wasn’t going to be a medication option only a self help one. With a crippling phobia of being sick (emetophobia if you haven’t heard of it) the nausea involved with a panic attack is a HUGE problem for me and will make my panic 10x worse instantly, for the last 10 years I have been prescribed an anti-sickness drug called Buccastem (anti emetics) this I would take if I started to feel really bad, this was up until about a year ago when my side effects to taking that were that I would be really drowsy and basically go in to a coma when I slept (no alarms would wake me) so another medication that is really only used in an absolute emergency. So again back to square one. So here’s how they happen and how I deal with them:
‘I start to feel a bit odd, and my legs and arms go a bit weak and shaky’ Breathe and remember I am in control of my mind and body
‘My heart rate starts to pick up and I feel like I need to run as fast as I can (nowhere which is actually pretty funny)’ Start taking deep breaths, always making sure to breathe out for longer than I breathe in
‘My body temperature starts to rocket’ This is when I start taking clothes off and head for outside (still breathing properly)
‘I start to feel nauseous ad my chest and neck go tight’ Lie down on the floor in the cool with barely any clothes on (yes a hilarious sight if you are in public) and keep breathing
‘The next bits come in waves, heart rate goes mad, breathing goes mad and my body starts vigorously shaking (potentially because I’m in my underwear outside the back door) This is the point I normally try to speak to someone, having someone with me is the ideal situation but otherwise just calling someone works a treat. Sometimes just having someone at the end of the phone talking at you helps as a distraction. I cry, I wail, I moan and then all of a sudden everything slows down and within 10 minutes I am carrying on with my day a little shaken.
All I really try and focus on is breathing and remembering that ‘this will end’ I can’t stay on a panicked state for the rest of my life ‘it will end’.
My worst time of the day for this to strike is last thing at night or on waking in the morning so I am particularly mindful about keeping myself cool and calm in the morning (oversleeping is not a good situation to be in). I can’t give a magical solution (god I wish I could) but I guess I have just learnt to live with it, I have had them in public but they mainly happen at home a few days after I have been in a very stressful situation, it’s almost like my body saves up the anxiety in a little pot (I would like to think it’s called the anxiety pot) then one tiny addition and bam there’s the panic attack.

My only advice other than BREATHE is talk about it, talk to your friends let the know what’s going on, call them if it happens and most importantly DO NOT feel embarrassed, it’s a known fact that 1 in 4 adults will have an anxiety disorder in their lifetime.

I hope this in some way is helpful and of course if you have something to say or can relate pop a comment below.
Thanks for reading
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