Emma Violet

Occasionally, I spend what feels like hours scrolling through the list of film titles available on Netflix, yet find absolutely nothing to watch. This has not been the case over the past few months. Netflix have seriously upped their movie game - which is very much a good thing when it comes to a movie binge, although I think my Masters dissertation work may say otherwise... 

I'm going to share with you some of the movies I have enjoyed watching on Netflix recently and that I strongly believe you should watch too! Please note, as always, there will be no spoilers in this post as we do not worship the devil and perform satanic rituals here. I'd also like to clarify that although the title of this post is 'Netflix Movies', I simply mean, movies on UK Netflix that I have watched - not that all the movies mentioned are Netflix 'Originals'.

*Descriptions appearing in italics were written by and belong to Netflix*

Brain on Fire

"A mysterious illness is devastating her body and mind. Her doctors are baffled. But she's determined to find answers." 

Honestly, if you only watch one movie from this list of recommendations, then please please do make it THIS MOVIE. It's based on a true story and accurately conveys the frustrations and challenges that come with fighting for a diagnosis for a rare, 'undiscovered illness'. Chloe's performance was absolutely phenomenal too, she had me feeling every single emotion her character experienced. Please watch this.

Wish Upon

"A troubled teenager receives a mysterious music box that grants her seven wishes. But she soon learns that there's a price to pay for having it all."

A horror movie? In a list of Emma's movie recommendations? No.... really? (*Please do take note of the sarcasm, if you know me you'll know I am always watching horror movies*). This film brings a whole new meaning to the phrase 'be careful what you wish for'. I have watched this twice already, I really enjoyed it as horror movies go and THAT ENDING THO.

Love, Rosie

"Over the years, as they come and go in each other's life, childhood pals Rosie and Alex struggle to resolve the lasting, intimate bond between them."

I have watched this movie so many times I have actually lost count. This is a major comfort movie for me and one I will always turn to when I'm feeling in need of a laugh AND a cry. What truly makes this film so special to me, is the on screen chemistry between Lily Collins and Sam Claflin. I think they are both incredibly talented actors who portray these fictional characters perfectly. I can hand on heart say that the film is SOOO much better than the book, which is something I rarely say. If you haven't seen this yet, go and watch it!

Central Intelligence

"A CIA operative contacts a former high school buddy with accounting chops to help dissolve a lethal plot against U.S. undercover agents."

If you put Kevin Hart and Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson in a movie together, what do you get? An action-packed movie that will have you chuckling on your sofa for its entire running time. This is one of my favourite comedies I have watched this year so far, and surprisingly, some scenes did make me a lil emotional! You also begin to question certain character's motives and trustworthiness, which added necessary depth to a fairly simple storyline. This is one to watch with the family!
(I don't know why the text is small here - I've tried my best to edit it but nothing makes a difference :( )

Don't Breathe

"He's blind and rich -- the perfect target for robbery. But the tables turn when three teen thieves find themselves in a lethal game of cat and mouse."

Don't breathe? I COULD NOT PHYSICALLY BREATHE throughout the whole 1h 28m the first time I watched this! If you are looking for a movie rich in suspense with the occasional plot twist, this is for you. It will genuinely have you on the edge of your seat.  

Identity Thief

"When Sandy Patterson in Colorado is accused of crimes he hasn't committed, he must track down the "Sandy Patterson" in Florida who has -- in his name."

 This movie is hilarious. Melissa McCarthy is phenomenal, as per. Watch this if you are in desperate need of a laugh because it will not disappoint!  


"Kidnapped by an inventor who uses her as a test subject to perfect his robotic AI, a street-smart young woman tries to escape her high-tech prison."

I really didn't think I'd enjoy this movie because I find the Sci-Fi/Sci-Fi Thriller genre to be a bit hit and miss. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the depth and uniqueness of Tau. To be honest, I found the very beginning of the movie pretty boring, but everything that happened after the 20 minute mark had me completely hooked. If you find artificial intelligence interesting, then you will most likely enjoy this movie. You will also most certainly come away from this movie needing your own 'Tau' in your life, f*ck Alexa! I will definitely be rewatching.

13 Going on 30

"When a geeky teen's birthday party goes awry and she makes a wish that she could be 40, she wakes up to discover she's flash-forwarded 17 years."

This movie is an oldie (released in 2004) but a goodie. I SCREAMED when I saw that this had been added to Netflix, because I first watched this movie when I was 9/10 years old and absolutely loved it. Watching it now in my early 20's made me experience all the nostalgia! I discovered it on Netflix at the perfect time too because it really helped lift my mood after a very difficult day. This movie will always hold a special place in my heart because I vividly remember this DVD being on my Gran's shelf. My Gran unfortunately passed away from cancer 7 years ago (in December) and when I miss her and want to feel close to her, I watch this. It's very cheesy in places, but what romcom isn't? This may have been released in 2004, but it's still very relevant. I urge you to watch this. 

The Intern

"Harried fashion entrepreneur Jules gets a surprise boost from Ben, a 70-year-old widower who answers an ad seeking a senior intern."

This movie made me laugh, cry and beam from ear to ear. This is such a touching and heartfelt film that conveys the importance of the older generation's experience and wisdom not only in business/work, but also just in life in general. Robert De Niro's character (Ben) is extremely lovable and cute and Anne Hathaway's character (Jules) is simply the definition of a GIRL BOSS. This movie will alleviate any stress after a particularly long or challenging day because it's lighthearted and amusing with little suspense or action (unlike the next and final movie on the list...)

The Belko Experiment

"Instructed via intercom to kill two people in the next half hour, 80 American expats in Bogotá turn on each other in a desperate attempt to survive."

This movie is not for the faint hearted. It's gory af (like seriously, if you don't like blood, do not watch this because it is SO realistic) and extremely violent. However, if you can tolerate those two things and enjoy a good thriller/horror, this is a movie you should definitely add to your watch list. I wouldn't say that the ending was particularly 'ground breaking', but it left me feeling a little uneasy. Watch this at your own risk *laughs nervously*.

So, what are you waiting for? Go and grab yourself a drink, some snacks, a blanket and cosy up with Netflix.You can find me over on my Twitter (@grandesmotel) or Instagram (@emviolxt) - let me know whether you watch any of my recommendations and send me your movie suggestions too! We can have a little chat over there. 

Take care, Emma x

God is a Woman - Ariana Grande

No Brainer - Justin Bieber, DJ Khaled, Chance the Rapper & Quavo

Home With You (Blu-Rey & Tone Terra Remix) - Madison Beer

You Say - Sarah Close

Eastside - benny blanco, Halsey & Khalid

Sober - Demi Lovato

Better Now (Cover - Recorded at Spotify Studios NYC) - Troye Sivan

Ocean - Martin Garrix & Khalid

You'll Never Know - Ariana Grande

Roses - Shawn Mendes

Lovely - Billie Eilish & Khalid

If you'd have told me three years ago or even last month that I'd successfully get the train home and manage it without, a) crying hysterically, b) having a panic attack, c) ending up on the completely wrong train or d) experiencing all of the previous scenarios - I would have most certainly laughed at you through anxious tears and told you that was never ever going to happen.

Well, guess what? Anxiety is a bully and a manipulative, little liar. 

None of those things ever ended up happening. Of course, they were highly possible and may still happen at some point in the future, but if that is the case, then that is something I'll deal with if and when it arises. 

I got the bloody train, I didn't have a panic attack nor did I end up North somewhere (although a trip to Manchester would've been nice). Did I have a few panicky moments and feel anxious? Yes. Was I covered in sweat, nauseous and shaking the whole time I was in the station/on the train? Yes. Did I have a lot of self-doubt? Hell yeah. Am I asking myself questions and answering them like the Love Island cast have a strong habit of doing? Most definitely. (Sorry, but why do they ask so many questions and answer them?).

 I wanted to write this post to share my victorious defeat with you all. 

Any form of public transport (buses, taxis, trains etc.) has been a major trigger for my anxiety for practically my whole life. I have never had a traumatic or 'bad' experience with public transport before that stands out as a reason for my severe anxiety around train travel. Nevertheless, part of my train fear can indeed be attributed to my specific anxiety diagnosis, generalised anxiety disorder, meaning that I can and do experience anxiety about literally anything and everything (yes, it's exhausting and really annoying). Moreover, I personally believe that my anxiety surrounding public transport progressively worsened over time because I had simply been avoiding it for so long. This only increased my uncertainty around catching a train, escalating my fear and making it appear a 'bigger thing' than it actually is. The classic 'snow ball' effect.

My main motivation to face my train anxiety was due to new, exciting opportunities presenting themselves in my life and by not overcoming this obstacle, I simply wouldn't have been able to pursue them. I am most likely beginning a PhD in January and as part of my responsibilities as a new researcher, I need to be able to attend conferences (both in the UK and abroad), making public transport a necessity for my progression. Moreover, not being able to take the train has majorly restricted me from visiting new places in the UK and attending concerts, which in turn, has only made me feel more isolated and depressed. I was determined to challenge myself and take a positive leap in the right direction for my future self. 

For my own future reference, and to potentially help some of you with similar anxieties, this is what I did/put in place to help manage the situation better:

1. Wrote a list of things I needed and wanted to take with me. This helped reduce my fear of forgetting something essential and also made me feel more in control over the situation. I am a very organised person who likes to have many options available to them; I had my earphones to listen to upbeat music, a calming self-care book to read, a bit of Uni work if I needed a distraction and a few Lotus biscuits for when I got peckish (I was too nauseous to eat these, but hey, at least the option was there!). 

2. Booked my train ticket in advance and researched about what facilities each train station had. It provided me with more of an idea about what to expect, as I haven't ever been in a train station for a long period of time before. I looked at what platform my train typically departed from and also took note of the Starbucks not far from it! When I got to the train station, I felt like I had a better idea of what to expect and was able to orient myself in the train station a lot more quickly than if I hadn't familiarised myself with a map beforehand.  

3. Reaching out to someone who knows what they are doing and has a lot of train travel experience. The lovely Chloe, Twitter user osnapitschl0, helped me so much with this one and I honestly can't thank her enough. She voluntarily explained to me how the mobile ticket system works and gave me advice about the train station and what to do on the train itself. Having someone explain and visually show me through pictures how the tickets worked really helped to settle my anxiety before the journey and gave me the information I needed before proceeding to the train station. I am still so very appreciative that I received this support.

4. Starting off with a very short and direct train journey. The train that I took was the fastest, most direct route home and was only a journey of approx. 27 minutes. This was the perfect, most manageable step for facing my train anxiety. In the future, I will build myself up to longer journeys and transfers, but for the time being, I will stick to more direct and shorter routes to gain confidence and gradually work my way up to the more challenging journeys.

5. Distraction while on the train. I thought I was going to read or listen to some music, but I decided to opt for full on exposure therapy. I endured the horrid sounds of the train wheels screeching against the track and the sound of someone yelling down the phone at their partner. Luckily, I was fortunate to get a window seat, so I opted to just look out of the window instead. It was really calming watching the world go by. I saw people on boats, many cute sheep, people in their cars on their commute home from work, another train station that we whizzed by and so so many fields and trees!

So, if you're looking for a sign to challenge your anxiety, whatever that may be, this is it. It will be scary, anxiety provoking and extremely difficult, but that's kinda the whole point of facing your fears. If you didn't feel that way, it wouldn't be a fear or anxiety trigger now would it?

Please let me know if this blog post has helped or inspired you to challenge your own anxiety. I would love to hear your own stories, no matter how big or small. Even if you end up not achieving your goal or making the progression you intended to make, by planning to face your fear, you are already taking a positive step in the right direction that will ultimately help you feel more confident and positive for the future. To me, that is bravery and a victory in itself.

Take care,
Emma x

I feel lost and I don't know what to do.

I'm rapidly approaching the end of my Masters degree and I have no idea what path to take next. I am overwhelmed by the uncertainty of my future. The decisions I make now could change my life for better or for worse. 

At the start of this academic year (August-September 2017), I was adamant about pursuing a PhD in Psychology and securing funding for it. I found a very interesting research area with many potential avenues, as well as a fantastic supervisor who was very supportive. I worked hard on a PhD proposal and studentship/funding applications, alongside a highly-intensive and demanding Masters class/work schedule. Things were going pretty well... until the storm hit.

I pushed through the crippling anxiety and attended my first ever interview, for internal departmental funding. Despite receiving praise and positive feedback from that interview, I just missed out on the funding. Frustratingly, I was second in line to receive it. 

I then had my fingers (and toes) crossed for the Studentship I had applied for under the Research Council. Despite reaching the final stage of the competition, I got rejected. Apparently, it was a particularly competitive year for applications. That didn't really make me feel any better about the outcome though... 

I was devastated and the feeling of constant rejection sent me spiralling into further depression. Then, another lifeline emerged - the chance of receiving a bursary from my University! I spent the weekend working hard on the application, determined to pick myself up and keep going. But, following the dismal and depressing theme of 2018, I got rejected again.

At this point I knew the PhD wasn't going to happen without some form of financial help, so I started to look for jobs. I found two exciting positions that I was the ideal candidate for and worked hard on my applications for both, yet again taking time away from my Masters work. I was hopeful to reach at least the interview stage for one of the positions, given my qualifications and relevant experience. Nevertheless, my applications for both jobs were rejected - not even the chance of an interview to show them who I am and what I am capable of.  

Rejection is really difficult when you are struggling with poor mental and physical health. To be honest, I think I am handling it quite well and better than I'd imagined, but I'm still really struggling. Life feels pretty dark and hopeless right now. 

Following constant rejection, my parents have now very kindly offered to support the first year of a PhD through self-funding so that I can re-apply for a Studentship at the end of the year. If the Studentship doesn't work out, I can then apply for a postgrad loan to cover the remaining years (and get myself into further debt...). 

On the one hand I am excited about the prospect of pursuing my dream project in a fantastic department. I really don't want to risk losing this project or my supervisor by waiting a few years before re-applying (if I even can). The way my luck is going, I may not even be awarded the PhD place again! I would also be able to continue working in a department and inspirational research facility I have grown very fond of over my years of study. There are many safe spaces I can retreat to and the University, in general, means a lot to me.

However, I am extremely worried that I am not capable of pursuing the PhD due to significant physical and mental health problems. Can I attend conferences given my struggle with using public transport? Can I give lectures? Can I teach or will I have panic attacks and push myself to the ultimate breaking point? I am also worried about the further crippling debt I would be getting myself into. I would like to start earning a steady income, especially for the purposes of paying for private therapy, but I certainly wouldn't be able to do that whilst being a poor, overworked PhD student. 

I've also achieved top-grades and was second highest in my graduating year last summer. High calibre students are more likely to receive attractive funding offers and also receive a stipend whilst carrying out their research. Although I fit this criteria with my consistently high performance, I feel as if my Uni has betrayed me in some sort of way by offering me a PhD place but expecting me to pay for it and essentially become 'free labour'. 

Recently, I have been reading many raw and honest articles and blog posts written by past and current PhD students. The majority report that life as a PhD student can be isolating and lead to significant mental health issues. I'm extremely worried that following this line of work will worsen my existing depression and anxiety. Additionally, I'd like to have more of a social life: meet new people, make proper friends, date etc., but I'm 90% certain a PhD would hinder rather than facilitate those things. I don't want to be alone forever and at this rate, I feel like that's becoming more of a reality!

I know that this decision is ultimately my choice, but I'm extremely lost, overwhelmed and anxious about what the future might hold, whatever path I choose to take. I feel like my own doubts are being fuelled by other people's anxieties, making it hard to disentangle my own worries from theirs.

Is anyone else going through a similar situation? Are you unsure about what you want to do with your life next? Do mental health issues make it difficult for you to imagine a positive future? Or have you experienced a similar situation and lived to tell the tale? Please do reach out, it would be helpful to talk to someone about this and start a discussion.

Take care,

Dance To This - Troye Sivan & Ariana Grande 
(They are my baaabies, I love them so much )

Lost in Japan - Shawn Mendes 

If You're Over Me - Years & Years 

Back To You - Selena Gomez 

Location - Khalid

We Are - Justin Bieber, Nas

Home With You - Madison Beer

Bad Vibe - M.O, Lotto Boyzz, Mr Eazi

Chun Li - Nicki Minaj 

Gorgeous - Taylor Swift

Heavy - Anne Marie

No Tears Left To Cry - Ariana Grande

Bloom - Troye Sivan 

Perfectly Wrong - Shawn Mendes

In The Dark - Camila Cabello 

Bed - Nicki Minaj & Ariana Grande

Just a heads up before you read this, these self-care strategies are not 'ground breaking'. I'm not talking colouring in art therapy books or slogging through 'cognitive behavioural therapy' worksheets.

I am certain that the majority of you reading this post engage in many of these behaviours without any conscious awareness or effort. However, for me (and lots of other people), these somewhat 'simplistic' and 'easy' ways of taking care ourselves can be extremely challenging, especially on days where our mental and physical health is at rock bottom. No matter how dull and straightforward they may appear to be, they all still constitute as us caring for ourselves and our wellbeing. I have recently came to the realisation that the most uneventful and 'boring' activities, actually can be the best forms of self-care.  

 Here are 20 'boring' self-care behaviours that represent me successfully looking after myself!

1. Taking my medication. I know that my physical symptoms will flare up and make the day completely unmanageable if I don't take my daily medication in the morning. I ensure this is one of the first things I do when I wake up!

2. Taking regular breaks throughout the day to watch my favourite YouTubers or TV programmes. I also put the subtitles on Netflix on days when I am really struggling with concentration (it does help!). 

3. Brushing my teeth. Yep, pretty simple for a lot of you I'm sure, but for me it can honestly be a nightmare to find motivation to brush my teeth at times. I know, it's pretty gross that I sometimes neglect my dental hygiene, but depression isn't as cute and 'relatable' as people portray it to be so there ya go - the honest truth! 

4. Going outside for a walk and listening to music. This helps to clear my head when I am feeling overwhelmed and/or highly anxious.

5. Eating chocolate (or any other sweet treat) whenever I feel like it. I could have it for breakfast or at 3am - time of day is not relevant. The rule is, if I fancy it, I now allow myself to eat it. 

6. Watching Ariana Grande's music videos and interviews. 

7. Spending time with my dogs when I'm at home or FaceTiming them when I'm at Uni. 

8. Writing in my Happiness Planner - I have videos on my YouTube channel about the Happiness Planner brand (I adore their products so much!). 

9. Treating myself to my favourite coffee at least once a week -- an Iced Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks!

10. Making the most of a lie-in when I'm able to have one. 

11. Keeping myself hydrated. 

12. Saying 'no' to things and people more often in order to create and maintain healthy boundaries. 

13. Going outside without plastering a full face of makeup on, so that my skin can breathe. 

14. Engaging in my skin care routine i.e. exfoliating, moisturising, using a black head nose strip, slathering on a face mask. This helps me feel detoxified and refreshed. 

15. Cleaning my room and bathroom (even though my motivation for this can be reaaally low, I always feel better when it's done). 

16. Having a shower or a bath. 

17. Speaking to someone I trust about my mental health and how I have been feeling lately.

18. Attending my GP and hospital appointments. 

19. Not drinking alcohol. Just because the majority of people do drink (especially with the huge binge drinking culture in the UK), that doesn't mean I should feel any pressure to do what everyone else is doing.

20. Blocking toxic people online and unfollowing social media accounts that make me feel bad about myself!

How many of these do you do without even realising? 
Let me know some of your 'boring' self-care behaviours/strategies in the comments or tweet me (you can find all my social media links and email under the 'CONTACTS' tab on my blog!). 

Take care,
Emma x

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