Changing The World: One Book Date At A Time

PieLiving with a chronic physical and mental illness had led me to spend a lot of time managing feeling poorly and struggling. Having spent time in hospital, including a year as an inpatient on an eating disorder ward, I learnt a lot about self care and soothing myself when things are hard. Gradually I realised that I could come up with an idea that combined my love (and the boost it gives to my wellbeing) of craft, vintage and reading to come up with something that might help others who are going through a challenging time. #DateWithABook was born and it has continued to grow from there onwards.

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me– C.S. Lewis.

Illness can lead you to feel really isolated. You can face days where you are really limited in the amount of energy you have, or motivation to do the things you would love to be doing. This was one of the starting ideas for my book dates. I wanted to reach out to people who might be finding things tough and offer them something to help them through that moment. I’m a lover of everything old and vintage and the idea of rehoming a beautiful old book felt like the best way to go. Giving these books a new lease of life whilst helping others just seemed perfect! The idea is that a book date is a way to reclaim date night and rest and rejuvenate with a hot drink and a cosy homely coaster with your set.

We read to know we’re not alone– William Nicholson, Shadowlands.

So, what do I hope to achieve with my little book dates? Well… quite a lot! I believe that sharing a #datewithabook can be a huge act of kindness, offering someone who is struggling a piece of calm, distraction and an excuse to have a night off. Or it can be a perfect piece of self care for yourself, to help with the stresses that we face day to day. A date with a book can be a way of reconnecting with someone who needs some extra love or showing you care when you can’t ‘fix’ a situation someone is going through.

Praise for #datewithabook

I absolutely loved recieving my date with a book parcel in the post. Kate made one up based on my likes for me to enjoy on maternity leave. Good value for money and such a wonderful idea for a treat to yourself or for gifts to others. Will be ordering from her again in the future.- Jenny


I received my date with a book yesterday and it’s wonderful. I almost didn’t want to open it as it looked so pretty. I’m currently about to sit down and start reading. I will definitely be using you again. It is such a lovely idea.– Lindsey

Fantastic idea. Love this. Date with a Book. Something really different, original & unique. Brought for a friend, who Loved it to & has been showing friends. Whole thing arrives Beautifully packaged in soft tissue paper. Makes a Wonderful gift for Any occasion. Or No occasion at all.. Just to say, Thinking of you. Hello. Etc.– Annette

Such a unique idea! It was very exciting to receive the package as you don’t know which book you will get and I was not disappointed! I received a book from an author who I’ve never heard of, and I cannot wait to read it! Prompt delivery too!!– Bisma

There are lots of different #datewithabook sets available in my Conscious Crafties and Etsy stores. I’m just in the process of a big restock to make way for a beautiful array of Christmas gifts, ideal for the person who has everything. Use the discount code BLOG10 to get 10% off any orders over £10. I also have a #datewithabook advent calendar full of literary themed items.



I’m not responding but I still really care

BXqFCCBCIAAmL22I normally have texts to reply to, facebook messages to read, letters I ought to be writing and sending but sometimes I just don’t have the brain space to respond. It’s hard when you have a day when you’re feeling low or finding it hard to muster together the motivation to do all of the things you need to and then there’s being sociable added in too.

When I was first admitted on to Naomi (ED inpatient); I became a bit of a hermit, it was all too stressful and intense to think about any other aspect of life. I was attending to my needs and trying to get well; fighting the everyday battles, some of which took place in my own head. But throughout that time I appreciated the contact from my lovely friends and family. I couldn’t quite manage to respond or get into conversations about how things were or what it was like, how I was doing. But I took a great amount of comfort from the friendly messages from the people I loved.

Now I’m in the real world, again I still have day’s when socialising or getting in touch with people is just a little extra that is a bit of a struggle. The delight of replying to everyone, getting in touch but then getting replies and once again feeling a little snowed under is all too familiar. But again, it really really doesn’t mean I don’t care and don’t want to talk to everyone, I’m just not quite up to speaking right at that second.

I realise it must be really hard to keep trying to message and talk to a friend who doesn’t always reply, and no doubt a lot of my friends and family must have times where they think they won’t bother to keep trying. But know that your friend/family member will reply when they have the brain space to, and they will definitely appreciate knowing you are there, care for them and will wait until they are ready to talk.

Switch on the light!

I can’t remember how I initially got involved with Body Gossip, I seem to remember it started with a tweet and a link to the incredible ‘This one’s for you’ video. I got talking to Ruth and Tash, and later Sarah and Charlotte; and eventually made plans for Body Gossip on Tour @ York University 2011. I had a wonderful time putting on the ‘show’ and looking back, I can now see how my involvement and the friendships I developed with Team BG became an instrumental part of my own recovery journey. The wonderful body gossipers showed me that recovery from a mental illness (mainly an eating disorder) was possible and the process of doing so could then be used to help so many others. I think it was a real point for me where I began to think about the life I could be leading… granted it took me quite a few years to then get the support I needed for my own eating disorder and be able to openly talk about it to my family and friends, but these gals really helped me to realise that I wanted to recover… so thanks!!

Anyway, since BGOT@York, Tash has become a bit of a celeb, I knew her before she was on the telly box and my claim to fame can now be that I drank room wine and ate McDonalds with her before she was famous! Anyway, Tash is now part of the absolutely rocking Self Esteem Team who are basically the Charlie’s Angels of mental health; travelling the country educating young people on mental health issues, kicking the arse of stigma and generally just do an amazing job for young people they work with.

Their awesome new #SwitchOnTheLight campaign aims to encourage men to talk about their feelings because of the high rate of male deaths to suicide in this country. It’s amazing, the video is amazing and hopefully it will do the job of helping men to realise it’s ok to not be ok and talk about that.

So watch the video, share the video or one of your male friends or family members how they really are.

In memory of Matt Ryd

Now first of all I would like you to watch the video above. This is a video of a wonderful musician, Matt Ryd, and his story of having an eating disorder. I think his explanation and the things he says (or writes as the case might be) are truly amazing and very brave. 
My introduction to this wonderfully brave and talented musician came about in a very sad way indeed. I read a blog post by MGEDT (Men get eating disorders too) that was written in memory of Matt who very sadly lost his battle with an eating disorder recently. Initially the idea of watching the video knowing that this brave man had passed away felt wrong and wasn’t something I wanted to do. However, I did go ahead and watch the video and I was glad, feeling really privileged to see what he chose to share as an awareness for eating disorders. 
MGEDT have a really important role to play in raising awareness of male sufferers of eating disorders. In their report of eating disorders in the media ‘Warning this picture may damage your health’  B-eat found that the majority of individuals surveyed (72% in fact) could name anorexia as a type of eating disorder and only 3% said binge eating. The thing is, only 10% of eating disorders present as anorexia! There is also the common misconception that most eating disorder sufferers are female and are underweight, when in fact 80% of people with an eating disorder are overweight. 
Eating disorders do not just affect teenage girls. Anyone can be affected at any age, regardless of their gender, race, culturally upbringing or background. It is important to think about those individuals who may be suffering in silence as they don’t feel they fit into the stereotypes so are ashamed to seek help or feel that they don’t fit with what is expected so therefore don’t have a problem. 
Matt Ryd’s death is horribly sad, but hopefully some awareness may come from this tragedy and help more people to seek help that need it. 
Kate xx

Appearances can be deceiving

I was inspired to write something this evening after reading my wonderful friend Anna’s blog. Anna has already featured in my blog recently… but hey she’s so freaking awesome that she might as well have another mention! Anna blogs about mental health in a really brutally beautifully honest way. I think it’s really reflective of how we should all talk about mental health issues. There’s way too much stigma and avoidance about talking about it and as these issues can affect 1 in 4 people…. that’s a BIG reason we should be shouting about it and making sure everyone knows. 
Anna’s recent blog post chatted about the misconceptions of mental health. I came across this Marilyn Monroe quote recently and thought the two fit together beautifully. There always seems to be a certain element of surprise when people ‘come clean’ about having a mental health issue. Even I HATE that turn of phrase… but I’m using it to kind of reinforce and demonstrate my point. There’s a feeling of ‘wow… but you don’t seem mad’ or just a lack of realisation that people who struggle with mental health can totally look like normal people… Shock horror I know!!! I realise it’s rather unbelievable that all people with a mental health problem don’t wear a sign or a badge that says ‘hey, I’m cray!!’ but they don’t… and often a huge part of the problem is hiding the fact there’s a problem!!! 
So today I want to chat about a wonderful project called Time to Change  one of their current campaigns is called ‘Talk about mental illness: we dare you’. I personally suffer from some mental health problems… not quite ready to completely talk about them out in the open… but I’m getting there and I think it’s massively positive to do so. So yeah…. let’s all talk mental health and move away from some of these crappy preconceptions and misconceptions. 
Loves xx