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What’s New: Things, Candle Creation, Support & Medication

By Health, Home, LifeNo Comments

What’s new? Lots. In this blog post I’ll be telling you all about new things I’ve bought (or been treated to by others), my latest batch of homemade and handmade candles, my experience of using Bipolar UK’s eCommunity, attending my local Bipolar Support Group and dealing with a change to my medication.

Things
I’ve got quite a number of new things recently. I saved up and bought-in-bulk the following Dorothy Morrison candles and oils from The Angry Cauldron:

Dorothy-Morrison-Candles-Big-Order-April-17

Photo above is of my candle collection.

Dorothy-Morrison-Big-Order-Oils-and-Others-April-17

Photo above is of my oils chest. Included are Dorothy Morrison limited edition oils and other essential oils.

My old hoover started making sounds like it was going to explode and takeout half of the town with it. So I bought a new one:

new-hoover-April-17

My New Hoover bought on Amazon: VYTRONIX VTBC01 1400w Compact Cyclonic Bagless Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner HEPA Hoover

Around the same time I treated myself to three Yankee candles (large) and one Woodwick candle (large). I bought Midsummer’s Night, Turquoise Sky and Flowers in the Sun Yankee fragrances. Patchouli was the Woodwick fragrance.

My mum recently got a new sofa. She kindly gifted me her old sofa. It was really appreciated as my old sofas were knackered. To protect the leather from scratches by my cats, I bought throws and rubbed lemongrass essential oil on the sofa in places they would be tempted to scratch. Cats don’t like lemongrass essential oil or at least mine don’t. I also dug out some old cushions to match the throws.

Here are the results, a lovely sofa and chair, which are both like new:

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New sofa with brown throw and red & gold cushions.

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New sofa chair with red throw and red & gold cushion.

My birthday came and went without any real celebration. Lots of people gave me money, which I am going to save for when I go away for a night in June.

But for the May full moon I’d burned one of my Dorothy Morrison Hot Damn candles. I had a load of wax remains on my altar and then came up with an idea: What if I bought a Wax Melter and burned the remains? I saw this gorgeous Yankee Candle Wax Melter on ebay and couldn’t resist:

wax-melter

This gorgeous Yankee Candle Wax Melter was what I bought with some of the money I got for my birthday. The orange wax burning is the remains of a Dorothy Morrison Hot Damn candle (purchased from The Angry Cauldron).

A good friend of mine got married yesterday. I needed a suit for her Wedding and I picked up this stylish and absolutely bargain priced suit:

suit-for-wedding-from-ASDA

I bought this Charcoal Grey suit from ASDA for a bargain price of £50 (£35 for the jacket and £15 for the pants) for a friend’s Wedding. It looks exactly like a Next suit but was probably around one third of the price.

Candle Creation
In January I made a batch of homemade and handmade White Champagne & Strawberry candles. I couldn’t blog about them at the time because a number were reserved as gifts for people. I gave one to my mum for Mother’s Day, one to my Grandma for her 75th birthday, one to Simon and two to my friend for her Wedding. Here is a photo of one of my candles:

candle-creation-white-champagne-and-strawberry

My latest batch of handmade and homemade candles. They are White Champagne & Strawberry Candles in a 500ML mason jars.

I’ve completely run out of wax and fragrance. I’m hoping to do a batch of orange Pumpkin Spice candles and possibly repeat the red Hot Cinnamon candles.

Support
I’ve been accessing Bipolar UK’s eCommunity and attending my local Bipolar Support Group for the last few months.

The eCommunity is an active forum/message board where users (who can be people with bipolar or friends or relatives of someone with bipolar) can ask one another questions, share experiences and share helpful information. It’s free to use, open 24 hours and 7 days a week, and goes a long way to reduce isolation people with bipolar can experience.

I regularly check the forum and have posted there and replied to the posts of others. You can access Bipolar UK’s eCommunity here.

My local support group meets once a month. It took a lot for me to go along to a meeting, but I’m so glad I did. Nobody can understand bipolar or a mood disorder as much as someone who lives with it.

The facilitator and all participants of the group that I have met have been really friendly. I have found conversations there to be very useful and learned a lot just by listening and talking to others.

My group isn’t well attended and I think Community Mental Health Teams could do more to promote these local support groups (both in terms of posters/leaflets in waiting rooms and speaking to patients about them). These groups are free to access and go along way to reduce isolation. You can find your local Bipolar Support Group here.

Medication

venlafaxine-antidepressant-medication

I’ve recently started on Venlafaxine (antidepressant).

I’ve been in a depressive episode since at least last November. So I’m currently in the process of cross tapering, off Mirtazapine and on to Venlafaxine (NHS). So far the side effects of Venlafaxine have been quite severe. My side effects have included:

  • Dilated (large) pupils.
  • Daily headaches.
  • Being tired but wired.
  • Waves of nausea & dizziness.
  • Decreased appetite (not always a bad side effect).
  • Huge yawns.

Apparently Venlafaxine withdrawal is very severe. So I have two hopes for this medication. One that it improves my mood. Two that it is several years before my brain develops a tolerance and I have to be weaned off it and on to something else.

Blog soon,

Antony

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15 Non-Essential Items in my Home

By Amazon, Friends & Family, Home, ThinkingNo Comments

We all have non-essential items at home that hold great sentimental value to us. Here are 15 of mine:

Crystals-In-Bowl-Aug-16

15. Crystals

15. Crystals
I love crystals. This bowl of crystals (my friend Jayne bought me the bowl as a Yule/Christmas present) is just the tip of the iceberg.

My home is filled with various types of crystals (clear quartz, smoky quartz, rose quartz, amethyst, lapis lazuli, citrine, turquoise, loadstone and many others), in various forms (tumbled, natural, points, beds & raw).

Each crystal is unique, with its own energy and feel, which is what I love about them and why they hold such sentimental value.

Amethyst-Tree-Aug-16

14. Amethyst Tree

14. Amethyst Tree
This Amethyst Tree was one of the first ‘pagan’ things I bought, when I was sixteen years old. I had to save up for it for weeks. It’s only small and wasn’t expensive. But it holds great sentimental value.

It reminds me of my past. How much I’ve grown and continue to grow. In every aspect of my life.

Sun-Wall-Plaque-Aug-16

13. Sun God Wall Plaque

13. Sun God Wall Plaque
I love this sun God wall plaque that I bought myself on my recent adventure to India. It celebrates the sun, which I worship in all senses of the word.

You can read more about my India adventure in my eight part series of blog posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7 & Part 8.

gay mirror fabulous multi-coloured

12. My Fabulous Gay Mirror.

12. My Fabulous Gay Mirror
Two years ago, before Simon and I went away to Wales (see Mid-Wales Part 2: Aberdovey Beach & King Arthur’s Labyrinth) I bought a lottery ticket. Then we went away. While away I bought this fabulous gay mirror. I was reluctant to buy it because I didn’t have much money. But the lottery ticket turned out to be a winner and covered most of the cost of the mirror.

I like the mirror just as much as I did on the day that I bought it. I love the bright colours, the shape and it’s weight. It is hung on the wall in my bedroom. The mirror also reminds me of the good memories Simon and I created on our trip to Wales.

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11. Pentacle/Pentagram Wall Plaques

11. Pentacle/Pentagram Wall Plaques
Pentacles and Pentagrams are symbols of protection. I bought the bronze pentacle for myself, as a moving in present, when I bought and moved into my apartment 7 years ago (see The Move). It is hung above the door to my master bedroom.

The wooden pentagram was bought for me by the Watts family, at a gay pride stall of all places. The Watts family and I have mutually adopted one another. It is my priviliage to be considered part of the Watts family. The pentagram is hung above my front door in my hallway.

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10. This Handmade Box

10. This Handmade Box
My friend Simon bought me this handmade and unique box for my 21st birthday. It is beautiful. I keep an array of essential and magical oils in it.

Simon and I have a close relationship and share a wide range of interests. He always buys tremendous gifts and presents, many of which could have made it on to this list. Each gift or present is chosen or made with great care.

Like this box, my friendship with Simon is handmade, unique and beautiful.

Glass-Candle-Holder-Aug-16

9. This Glass Tealight Candle Holder.

9. This Tealight Candle Holder
This handmade glass tealight candle holder was bought for me as a Christmas present by younger brother Alex, prior to his death. So for obvious reasons it holds huge sentimental value.
Apollo-Statue-Aug-16

8. Apollo Statue.

8. Apollo Statue
Every time my friend Kay goes on holiday, she brings me back a wonderful souvenir. I love the god Apollo, so one year when she was going to Italy, I asked her to bring me back a statue of Apollo. She brought me this statue back. It is among my prized possessions.

Kay has brought me many lovely things back over the years. Each of them has found a place in my home. Each makes me smile and think of Kay every time I see them.

Kay is a amazing friend and one that I am very lucky to have.

Altar-Aug-16

7. My Altar – here is a photo of my Altar, which has a various items for various reasons.

7. My Altar
My altar is ever-changing. It changes with the passing of the seasons and according to pagan festivals. I’ve had altars on and off over the years, usually depending on physical space.

Although having an altar isn’t essential, it reminds me that I am a Witch and to practice meditation, spells and other spiritual endeavours.

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6. An Illustration of Me – drawn by my good friend Sye Watts.

6. An Illustration of Me
For Christmas in 2011, my friend Sye, who is a superb Illustrator, drew this illustration of me. It is framed and hangs on the wall in my hallway.

It makes me smile every time I see it. It always reminds me of what a wonderful friend I have in Sye.

Monkey-Aug-16

5. My Childhood Teddy Monkey.

5. My Childhood Teddy Monkey
This is Monkey, my childhood teddy, bought for me by my Auntie Sue. Monkey has velcro hands and as a child he came everywhere with me. Once my mum even had to rescue Monkey from under a bus.

These days Monkey lives quite happily on my bookshelf.

Brother-Willow-Statue-Aug-16

4. This Willow Tree Brothers Figurine – given to me by my long lost brother.

4. This Willow Tree Brothers Figurine
My brother Shaun bought me this Willow Tree Brothers Figurine for Christmas one year. Shaun is my Long Lost Brother. He’s my older brother and despite not growing up together, we’re really close. Shaun is supportive, loyal, makes me laugh and always has a story to tell. I’m so glad that we met.

I just wish we had met sooner, so that my younger brother Alex and Shaun could have had more time together.

Photograph-Aug-16

3. This Photograph – a rare photo of two of my brothers and myself.

3. Photograph
This photograph. It’s a photo of two of my brothers and myself. It was a photo taken on a family meal for my 21st birthday. Alex, my younger brother (on the very left of the photo), died a few years after this photo was taken (see My Darling Baby Brother). It’s been 5 years since Alex died and I am so glad I have this photo of us brothers together.
February Photo Challenge 10th

2. iMac – my writing tool.

2. iMac
I bought my iMac in January 2012 (see iMac Part 1 & iMac Part 2). It is so many things to me: a tool for writing and for sharing my writing through my blog & creative writing page; a visual collection of memories via my photos; an entertainment station playing music, films, DVDs, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube; a tool to communicate through Facebook, Twitter, email, forums, Skype, FaceTime; and a tool to learn through the Internet.

It is one of the best things that I’ve ever bought myself.

Books-Aug-16

1. Books (image is part of my top shelf where all my favourite books are kept).

1. Books
The photo (left) is a photo of some of my favourite books. Books that I have read again and again. For me books inspire creativity, educate and inform, but mostly: ignite my imagination.

Books in this photo: Wannabe a Writer?, Sane New World, The Graveyard Book, The Humans, The Time of My Life, The Magician’s Assistant, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Born This Way, Split, Best Gay Romance 2014, OMG Queer, Franky Gets Real, In His Secret Life, Above, The Gay Man’s Kama Sutra, Elements of Witchcraft, Advanced Witchcraft, Utterly Wicked, Witchcraft: Theory and Practice & Everyday Magic.

What sentimental items do you have at home? Leave a comment below.

Blog soon,

Antony

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The difference between a House and a Home

By Home4 Comments

home-apartment-mill-large

My Apartment is in a former Cotton Mill. Image Illustrated by Sye Watts.


A house is a building usually with four walls, a roof, windows and doors that people live in. Whereas a home can be any sort of dwelling and is infinitely more. A home is:

  • A destination that you always look forward to arriving at.
  • A sense of belonging.
  • A place where kin come together to socialise, share meals, drink and be merry.
  • A place filled with laughter.
  • A place where birthdays, Christmas and other events are celebrated.
  • A place of mental and emotional comfort.
  • A place of physical comfort.
  • A place of good memories.
  • A place of love, affection and sex.
  • A place that can be quiet or noisy.
  • A place that may have children, pets and plants that need caring for.
  • A place of growth.
  • A place of life and death.
  • A place filled with sentimental items: photos, ornaments and artwork.
  • A place of safety.
  • A place where you can be yourself without fear of judgement.
  • A place where you can feel exactly as you do without having to explain.
  • A place you feel yourself immediately relax on entering.
  • A place of mediation and reflection.
  • A place where you can dance unobserved.
  • Somewhere that there’s always a cup of tea on offer.
  • A place where good meals are made and devoured.
  • A place filled with sentimental items: photos, ornaments and artwork.
  • A place where personal hygiene takes place.
  • A place where pyjamas are worn.
  • A place where books are read and your imagination is ignited & stimulated.
  • A place where TV and films are watched.
  • A place where music is listened to and enjoyed.
  • A place of privacy.
  • A place where some practice their faith, religion or magic.
  • A place where more than one language may be spoken, sometimes in the same conversation.
  • A place that is part of a vibrant and diverse community.

I am so fortunate. Seven years ago I bought my own apartment (see The Move) and it quickly became my own home. But what makes me feel really fortunate, is that I have several other places that feel like home. Places where friends and self-proclaimed-adoptive-families live.

Take care,

Antony



I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:


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Charitable Donations 2014

By Gay, Health, Home, Life, Money / Finances, ThinkingNo Comments

Last year I was Thinking About Homelessness and made donations to The Albert Kennedy Trust and Shelter. I aim to donate to these charities again this year. But this year I’ve also made donations to:

JDRF-logo After reading this blog post: Why EVEN I’M excited about the beta cell breakthrough for type 1 diabetes – and why your £10 donation today will go further than ever before. By JDRF’s Head of Research Communication Rachel Connor, as a Type 1 diabetic, I felt compelled to donate towards a cure for diabetes.

I hope to buy or be bought a JDRF onesie from Onesie Warehouse to make a further £5 donation.

tom-daley-dustin-black-video-screenshot After watching Tom Daley’s and Dustin Lance Black’s heart-felt Youtube video, I decided to donate. My donation supports The Human Rights Campaign in the US and The Brain Tumour Charity in the UK. Both worthy causes that deserve support.

Plus by donating I’ve got a chance to win a double date with Tom & Dustin which includes: a photoshoot, going on the London Eye, going for dinner with Tom & Dustin before being shown around some cool places in London by them.

To find out more see: Omaze – Go on the best double date ever with Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black in London.

sell-off-nhs-header I’ve made a donation to help make the film Sell-Off – The Abolition of Your NHS.

I am seeing the results of The Health and Social Care Act (2012) on the NHS firsthand. We are quickly moving towards the American model of healthcare, driven by profit not medical need and I think it’s wrong. This film will hopefully show the general public the truth, which is being widely under reported in the media.

All these donations have been relatively small. But even small donations help, and if many people made small donations it would soon mount up.

Write soon,

Antony

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