Lifestyle

On Therapy and Prozac

Photo by Holly May Wesley
Heres the thing about mental health…its a stubborn little bastard. 
Find out why I’m still on anti-depressants and still attend therapy, even after all this time. 



Statistics suggest that for everyone on earth theres at least someone in your life who has experienced mental health problems. You may have seen them through the highs and lows, and now assume the struggle is over. Its easy to miss the symptoms of depression, anxiety and eating disorders when the physical, visible signs are no longer there, and perhaps after some time and effort the sufferer has managed to keep their emotions under control, allowing them to lead a perfectly normal life, just like everyone else.


But there is so much more beneath the surface. Since I’ve passed that initial barrier to recovery for my mental health, including getting physically healthy and emotionally stable again, getting back on track with my career, studies, social life and relationships, it would be hard to guess there could be anything wrong. I’m a total overachiever and perfectionist, and I’ve learnt to channel this the right way now, but as I’ve often been told I’m like a duck or a swan; smooth and calm above the water but frantically kicking underneath.

I’m not ashamed to say that I still heavily rely on a high dose of anti-depressants to get me through the day. They say half the world’s on prozac, and well, I wouldn’t be surprised. Its given me my confidence and my ability to function back, and for me personally its worked well in tandem with other recovery efforts. But what I often ponder is what would happen if I stopped? How much of this ‘doing well’ phase is because of them, and how much is just me? Will I ever be able to shake the taboo or the labels?

I called this post ‘On Therapy and Prozac’ because I see them both as a kind of drug, to be weaned off, eventually. Therapy is another one of those taboos, which I would usually never bring up to people in real life (the joy of hiding behind a computer screen eh!)  But I’m at that odd stage where everything is totally fine- better than fine mostly- but after many years with various disorders, there is a very blurred line between identity and illness. Of course not one person would guess that my eating disorder (I really hate that phrase. I need a new name for it. A fellow patient in hospital hated the word anorexia so much that she called it ‘oil slick’. No clue why!) still sticks around at every mealtime, often in unexpected, newly evolved ways. I’m lucky enough to be inundated with support, but 


So I guess the point of this post is to read between the lines. People in your life may still need help, or at the very least respect, for their mental health problems, even if it may seem that they recovered years ago. And if therapy and prozac is what they need, then thats what they will still be on, despite all odds.
Photo by Daina Renton for Witch Way Magazine.
Ruth @ Urbanity xxx


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A Day in the Life of a Busy Blogger

Photo by Angus Blackburn for Scottish Field Magazine
Inspired by Scottish Beauty Blogger Make Erin Over, I thought it’d be fun to do a ‘Day In The Life’ post, as I’ve been super busy lately and have fingers in a lot of pies. Plus if anyone out there is as nosy as me, you’ll love finding out what people online are like in real life.  I currently study a full-time degree in Fashion Communication at Heriot Watt University at the Scottish Borders Campus, the school of textiles and design. I also manage fashion and textiles at The Scottish Design Exchange and do freelance social media and writing for various brands, magazines and websites. Hopefully this shows that the life of a fashion blogger (albeit not a full-time one) is not exactly glamorous, and takes a hell of a lot of upkeep! But anyway, here’s what my Monday looked like…

5:45am: Wake up, check Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Bloglovin, Niume, Campus Society, Stumble Upon, and all 4 of my email addresses. Brew a large pot of strong coffee, throw on some comfy clothes and a quick face of make-up, scowl at Jack for getting to sleep in the cosy warm bed, and run out the door for the bus.
7:30am: Jump on the train to Galashiels while munching on a bagel and sipping my second coffee (a chai latte if you will). While on the 45 minute train, respond to emails, messages and comments, post a photo on Instagram, and make an unachievable to do list for the day. Check university timetable and prepare for the first lecture.
8:30am: Start the chilly walk to campus with music blasting in my ears, usually Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, Lianne la Havas or Marina and the Diamonds. 
9am-12pm: Lectures, classes, tutorials meetings. Break for lunch and scoff a sandwich or a salad. During my break, hide away in the library with my laptop and schedule all tweets and Facebook posts for Urbanity, Scottish Design Exchange, Birds of Prayers and Made in Leith. Check Mailchimp for new email subscribers and send out the latest campaign. Scroll through Instagram to check on my feed and like and comment on shitloads of photos. Get my big fat diary out and make appointments and meetings for the next few weeks, including photoshoots, events, interviews and things to review. 
2pm-5pm: Meet with my class group and work on our fashion magazine project, writing articles, compiling the layout, editing pictures, researching trends, conducting interviews and making mood boards. Next week we are planning an interview with a vintage style blogger and a studio photoshoot inspired by 1950s vogue.
5pm-7pm: Run for the train home, and do my reading and studying on the commute. Post on Instagram again for @urbanity_blog @sdxedinburgh, @sdxfashion @birdsofprayersscotland and @made_in_leith. Respond to work emails about my new textiles department and contact some new designers I’ve discovered online. Start my articles for Fashion Fix Daily.
7pm-8pm: Hang out with my flatmates, eat a nice hot dinner (tonight its veggie lasagne) and maybe a glass of wine. Contemplate getting up off the sofa.
8pm-11pm: Write up and publish a blog post, and start up a few others to be finished later in the week. Share around on social media, and read the latest posts from my favourite bloggers. Do a bit of prep for my upcoming internship at Show Studio.
11pm-12am: Do a quick yoga practise to chill me out, and crawl under the covers with a cup of tea and something chocolatey to watch an episode of Simpsons or Archer, or a documentary on food, fashion or science if I’m feeling brave.
12am-6am: SLEEP and do it all over again.

Whats your daily routine?

Ruth @ Urbanity xxx
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Isle of Skye Candle Company

I first heard of, or rather smelled, the Isle of Skye Candle Company when I was working at Limited Edition, Scotland Redesigned’s Edinburgh Christmas pop-up shop, where we sold hundreds of these bad boys. Founded and based in the picturesque Isle of Skye, the environmentally-focussed brand produces candles, diffusers and  more in countless delectable fragrances and beautiful designs. Skye Candles have grown from a one-man-band in a grass-roofed bothy to an omni-channel company with stores all across Scotland. Here I discovered a little more of their ethical practise and found some new products that fit beautifully in the home.


I was totally thrilled to receive a reed diffuser from the wonderful Isle of Skye team, in delicate Bohemian Rose fragrance. As its so cold in my old Edinburgh flat that often after washing has been hung out it smells so damp and dingy, and we love having natural incense, candles and reed diffusers about rather than eco-unfriendly air fresheners and aerosol sprays. If you’re a fan of gentle, subtle aromas then Bohemian Rose is the one for you; the diffuser is so long lasting and you can get handy little refills when the smell fades. I’m also loving my Winter Warmer and Oriental Lily small tumbler candles, fab for burning to chill me out while I study!

Apart from the beautiful packaging, delectable fragrances and celebration of this beautiful country we call home, the best thing about the Isle of Skye Candle Company is it’s commitment to protecting the environment. From using only cruelty-free soya wax to fitting all their stores with energy-saving bulbs, renewable energy sources and recycling facilities, its clear that this is a brand that stays true to its humble roots despite rapid expansion. Whats more, at the moment they are working on the Lock Arkaig restoration project:

“After developing a new fragrance composed mainly of scots pine oil, and with a passion for our native woodlands here in Scotland, when we heard about the Woodland Trust’s efforts to buy and restore the Loch Arkaig forest we felt this was the perfect way to get involved and try to make a difference. With every sale of our Scots Pine candle, we pledged £1 of it to helping save the Loch Arkaig pine forest.”



The Winter Warmer candle, amongst many other wintery fragrances, is now half price, only £6.00! Check it out before the sale ends at http://www.skyecandles.co.uk/products/small-tumblers/winter-warmer-small-tumbler/

Ruth @ Urbanity xxx
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My Year in Blogging

Hello lovely readers. Its got to that stage in my blogging ‘career’ that I thought its about time I start blogging about blogging. It feels odd to be asked for advice on running a successful blog, as I still feel like a total small fry in the industry, but it was really helpful for me to get my thoughts down on paper about my little blog’s strengths and weaknesses, so I can see what I’ve achieved and know how to move forward this year. 

I hope that fledgling bloggers out there may find it useful too, as I know that the main blog posts I read these days are articles packed with blog advice! Its fantastic to see so many talented people rise to success and when they share their tips and tricks, it helps to strengthen the community, which, lets face it, can be daunting and unfriendly at first.

Anyway, here is a post about the past year, which for me has seen the rapid growth of my blog after the previous year of basically just blagging it. Let me know your thoughts in the comments…

 Photographs by Amelia Jacobsen 



My Year in Blogging
An overview of 2016

January
I started to dip my toe into sustainable fashion with 5 Ways to Clear out your Closet. As you can see, the layout is scrappy and the content is very bare. Definitely still finding my feet, but starting to get a better response. I later realised that 300 words was nowhere near enough to grab the reader’s interest, despite my instinct that millenials have short attention spans like me!

February
A slow blog month due to lots of stress in my personal life (dropping out of uni, having a nightmare with finding a place to live, battling a relapse of bulimia, yada yada yada). A few posts here and there about London and Edinburgh Fashion Weeks, but again the content needed beefing out, and my SEO skills were laughable, so I was still disappointed with my readership levels.

March
Things started to get personal, and I realised that I got a much better response when I wore my heart and true personality on my sleeve. I told My Eating Disorder Story and got more confident talking about mental health, and more confident in general as I attended fashion, blogger and press events, networking my ass off.

April
April was when I really discovered the power of collaboration, exactly a year after launching the site. I finally started collaborating with brands I loved, like Gant, Lucky Cloud, Hunted Vintage and Revolution. I also started collaborating with other bloggers, like this Street Style Photoshoot with Louise Brown (that still features on my business cards!), organising meet-ups with other Edinburgh bloggers and hosting events like the SDX Fashion Blogger party.

May

June
I had finally started getting more readers and subscribers, which motivated me to create regular, consistent content on topics that I actually cared about. I certainly dipped my toe into more controversial subjects, like Brexit’s effect on fashion, Gucci ripping off indie designers, and the risqué antics of Urban Outfitters.

July 
July was all about celebrating great Scottish brands, from fashion (Nu Blvck & One Memoir, Edinburgh International Fashion Festival) to food (Pitt Street Market, Tuk Tuk and Edinburgh’s Best Coffee Shops).

August
I enjoyed a jam-packed summer (the final freedom before I started studying/working full time again!) visiting Blow, Naf and Bobbi Brown for a much needed new look, and travelling to Belfast for fashion and fun. I also had a rant about Bad Brand Relationships after a couple of really bad experiences (cough cough Coconut Lane). 

September
In September I started my monthly series ‘Odes’ celebrating independent creative publications, and had a few brilliant trips to London, Manchester and Paisley. More confident than ever about my blogging abilities, I was thrilled to see 10,000+ views a month!

October
I started an ongoing project with cinematographer Perry Jonsson for the BBC, Illuminate, all about Scotland-based artists and designers, and also compiled a master list of Scottish fashion, jewellery and textile designers, recognised by Creative Scotland. 

November
The most eventful month ever for Urbanity, with the Herald Fashion Awards and winning Blogger of The Year for Scotland (see what I wore here). To be honest, I’m still in total awe that I won, I have to touch the trophy every now and then to remind myself that its real. Finally, a winner at something in life!

December
I rounded up the year with an overview of the global fashion industry and an Edinburgh Christmas shopping guide, plus collaborated with some awesome Scottish brands like Mandi Candi Boutique and Lynne McCrossan’s Cross Cashmere.

My Blog Goals for 2017

Increase social media following (mainly Instagram and Twitter)

Learn more about the techie stuff (coding, SEO, analytics, html)

New logo, branding and theme (time for a fresh look I think)

Get into photography (severely lacking in this department)

Learning from my mistakes

Networking – I wasted a lot of time early on being too shy to introduce myself to new people at industry events, but now I’m usually one of the chattiest bloggers in the room. As my mental health improves, as does my self esteem, and thus my blog.

Time Management – I’m still awful at organising my time, what with a full time bachelor’s degree, part-time job, endless freelance work, social life and a pining for travel and adventure, sometimes blogging has to take a back seat. To-do lists, spreadsheets, social media scheduling and bullet journals are my new bibles.

Value – I’ve spent hours creating content for no reward, believing I wasn’t good enough. Read Why I Don’t Work for Free by Forever Amber to find out why you should value yourself as a blogger.


Advice for newbie bloggers

Find you niche – Today the blogging world is more crowded and competitive than ever, so its vital to stand out. Having a niche doesn’t mean sticking strictly to one category, it just gives your blog a greater sense of direction and feels more cohesive.

Find your voice – I think something thats often overlooked in blogging is actual writing skill, which sounds silly, but theres a reason journalists train for years. Develop a style of writing that feels right for you and your followers, and remember that quality is usually better than quantity.

Stay true to yourself – Its exciting when you begin to get contacted by PR companies, but be sure to only accept if the brand’s values are in line with yours, and you know your readers will enjoy the content.

Recommended Reading 

To finish, here are some really helpful blog posts for those that want further insight into the the blogosphere and need more support on how to start and maintain a successful blog.
Be sure to browse through these blogger’s archives too!

Ruth @ Urbanity xxx

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Made.com Edinburgh pop-up

Made.com is an interiors brand that totally revolutionised the industry, working with talented furniture designers to create weekly collections of small-batch, limited edition products made sustainably to order. Design lovers like me, but with a tighter budget, rejoiced when Made.com finally released their new home accessories range, which includes the gorgeous vases, candles, crockery and cutlery in this picture. Also, Edinburgh folks rejoiced when Made.com announced a new pop up shop in Scotland’s capital, Made x Unboxed, which is running from now until the 5th February 2017, Open every day at 17 Dundas Street, a short walk from the Princes Street. 


I was lucky enough to attend a press dinner the night before the Made.com pop-up shop launched, where delicious food by Edinburgh foodie masters Dram & Smoke was served. We found out all about the concept, and chatted about great, affordable, accessible design over Hot Toddies and Haggis Bon Bons! Thank you Made.com for a fantastic event.
The main part of the pop-up shop is decorated like a living/dining room, with cosy armchairs, wall art and beautiful lamps, and through the back there’s a beautiful, luxurious bedroom. Made.com have totally transformed the space (which was previously Makers and Friends) into a stunning showroom; definitely worth popping along this month to browse!
This was my fab veggie menu on the night, served on beautiful teal dishes, modern glassware and gold cutlery. Vegetarian haggis bon bon on chestnut puree, crispy poached egg on pearl barley risotto, and Scottish cranachan/pannacota. Totally delicious!
All photos by Simon Williams
More information about the Made.com Edinburgh pop-up shop:

Ruth @ Urbanity xxx
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