Tuesday, 24 July 2018

I Feel Invincible

"One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don't throw it away." - Stephen Hawking

This quote could not be more apt right now in this moment in my life. Recently, I have been very reflective over the past year and how I got to the point I am at now. This time last year, I was in a very different place; I was in a relationship that was slowly breaking down and it left me feeling very worthless and used by a person who did not treat me with respect, I was fearing my last year of uni and the job hunt after graduation and just generally having a wave of depression and anxiety 24/7.
Fast forward to the present moment, I have graduated with a first class honours degree and I have been awarded the DM Trust Derek Holder prize for best dissertation in the area of data driven and digital marketing. I was headhunted for my dream job in an award winning media agency and have already been working since May, working with well known clients, as well as helped to set up the 2018 World Cup Rocket League ads which were viewed by millions during the live coverage of the World Cup. I have been the face of the Samaritans February and March direct mail campaign, I have been on Sky news, on the BBC Newsbeat website and in The Guardian, The Mighty, Mind and The Debrief. 

I have also met a man who has made me realise how strong I am. Whenever I am feeling mentally or physically unwell, he pushes me through it all. He makes me feel like I am invincible. He encourages me to be the best version of me and never lets me admit defeat. He makes me feel present in life; this time last year I was extremely mentally unwell and did not feel like I was living in the present moment, it was almost as if I was watching me live my life. But since I met Brad, I feel like I am living my life again. I don't feel like I need to rely on him for happiness, but he helps me get through all the hard times. 
Although, I would not have got to this point so soon after my mental 'blip' if it was not for Samaritans. When I was at my lowest last year, I did not want to live in the present moment. It was as if I wanted to flick the off switch for a bit and just escape the thoughts and the reality of what my life was at the time. One morning when I was home alone, I decided to call Samaritans. I had emailed them in the past and that helped me to some extent, but this time I needed immediate help and someone to talk to. I had been waiting 8 months for my CBT and it did not look like it was going to happen any time soon, but Samaritans where there for me. Today they are holding an event called The Big Listen, to raise awareness of the fact that they are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round, for anyone who needs help. Last year they answered over 5 million calls, however they need more funds in order to carry on helping everyone who needs them. 
A few months ago I visited the Samaritans head office and was interviewed by the CEO Ruth Sutherland on an onstage panel; we discussed how Samaritans has helped me and how we can raise awareness and funds to help others. Since visiting the office, they have all been so supportive of me (as they were before); they have continuously checked up on me and congratulated me when I graduated and got a job. Which is why I have been so eager to get involved in The Big Listen campaign. I have signed up as a Social Champion for them and will be helping recruit other champions and donors for the campaign. Would you like to join me? If you do, you can sign up here: I WANNA JOIN YOU
Throughout today, you can win prizes for spreading the word, and you will also get access to the special Champion Dashboard to help you measure your impact and see how your posts online have helped Samaritans be there for those who need them. It is such a rewarding way to give back to a charity who do so much to help others! 

You can also check out their S.H.U.S.H listening tips below!

Join me and be a Social Champion, also donate if you can by following this link: https://spsr.me/Xhwy

Thank you for all the continued support and most importantly, thank you to Samaritans for helping me get to this point in my life! 

Thursday, 10 May 2018

My Relationship With Food & Alcohol

*Trigger Warning: If anything food, alcohol or weight related is triggering to you, please click off of this post now*
We are constantly surrounded by 'thinspiration' posts on social media and social pressures to have abs and a tiny waist. I myself have battled with confidence issues since a young age; I was always the outcast at school and was picked on for my size. Looking back on it I was tiny, but at the time I was considered 'large' for my age within society. Growing up I have always jumped from clothes sizes and weights, but I have always been somewhat healthy. 

However recently in the last year or two I have let myself go quite a lot. In my defence I have been through a lot in the last two years, from deaths, family health issues, breakups, deteriorating mental health and the stress from university and finding a job. In addition to this, I have been on the contraceptive injection and the combined pill, which made me gain weight like crazy and made my mental health plummet! All of this has changed my relationship with food and alcohol quite a lot. I love food and drink as much as the next person, however I have found myself using it as a coping mechanism or a way to procrastinate. For the last few months especially, I have been extremely stressed with university and interviewing for jobs, so naturally and habitually I have turned to alcohol and snacking to 'calm my nerves' and 'keep me sane'. 
This has obviously resulted in me putting on some weight and leaving me feeling a bit sluggish! I only have myself to blame and I know I am the one who needs to make changes in order to be healthier and fitter. I want to be able to wear an outfit again and not worry about my arm fat, cellulite or stretch marks. I want to feel pretty for my boyfriend (even though he finds me pretty regardless of how I look). I want to feel confident and not be worrying about how I look or how others look at me. 

I have uploaded many posts in the past about self-confidence, embracing yourself, talking about my insecurities, sizing of clothing, self-love and learning to love yourself again and this post is not much different. I want to love myself again and I want to feel comfortable at the size I'm at, but at the same time I want to change my relationship with food and alcohol and not rely on it as much as I have done. Binge eating and using alcohol to mask the pain and act as a comfort blanket, can be considered self-harm and I don't think it is spoken about enough! It's a lot more common than people think and you can find yourself in this downward spiral very quickly. 

In no means do I drink to get drunk, but I definitely turn to alcohol in social situations or when I am feeling particularly stressed. It has got to the point where I drink every day and I drink more alcohol than I do water. I need to change this habit and cut down. I need to get back my self control and not let alcohol be the first thing I reach for when I feel anxious or stressed. I need to stop binge eating to procrastinate or cure boredom. I need to change my relationship with food and alcohol and not let it control me. I have got to the point where I don't even care about the effects it has on my body. This needs to change! 
Today I decided to re-download 'MyFitnessPal' and track my daily intake. This stops me from overeating or drinking and allows me to gain some control back. I am not going to push myself to do hours of exercise a week, because it becomes a chore to me, but I am definitely going to gain back some control over my relationship with food and drink, in the hope that this makes me drop a few pounds. I don't expect it to happen overnight and I definitely don't expect to have a model figure, however what I do want is to love myself again and feel happy in my own skin. I don't want food and alcohol to dictate my life. I want to be able to have self-control and look after my physical and mental well-being. 

I've never spoken about my relationship with food and alcohol before, as I have never really seen it as an issue. However, I am beginning to see the effects of constantly eating and drinking and I want to nip it in the bud now, before it is too late. Hopefully when I start my job in the next few weeks, that will keep me active and busy and with hope I'll lose a bit of weight. For now I am going to do what I can to help cut down and feel happy in my body again. 

Any tips or advice would be great!
Have you experienced this?
Let me know in the comments below or Tweet me @petalsofperfect!

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Taboos, Trivialisation and Turn Ons

We often see articles online with the title "How Many People You Should Sleep With Before You Settle Down", or "The Ideal Number of People to Have Sex With". Sex is in the media 24/7; we are engulfed in explicit images posted by our most loved celebrities. It has become the norm to see a sex scene in any film you watch (minus the children's films of course). So is there still a taboo? 

It is evident that sex has been in the past, a subject that is not widely spoken about in public. It is something that has been seen as a taboo. My sex education at school consisted of gory images of STI's; merely showing us what sex was in the first place, and by that point most of the girls in my school were on their second pregnancy. 

We can fool ourselves all we want, by saying that the topic of sex is no longer a taboo. So many people are talking and writing about it, breaking the stigma that comes with such a natural act of love. But, this does not mean that there is no longer any stigma. (Included in this post, are quotes from a man *He chose to be anonymous*; as I wanted to give you all a point of view from both sides). 

I have been going on a few dates for the past couple of months. I have met new people, shared new experiences and just generally had fun! It has been nice to 'get back out there' and do what I want, while I am still young! So why, when the topic of sex comes up (excuse the pun), do we shy away with the fear of being judged? If it is something that is so openly spoken about, why are we worried about the reaction of our date, when we say that we've only slept with a handful of people, or hundreds of people for that matter? 

Someone I have been speaking to said, that they had only slept with one person and for me to not 'run away' when I hear them say that. He then went on to say, that many girls had dismissed him and turned him down after finding that out. Which confused me. Why would I run away, because a guy has only had one sexual experience? Which then made me think, why do guys feel under so much pressure to 'get laid'? Is it because people do not see them as 'experienced', therefore they do not want to waste their time pursuing something with them? 

"Unfortunately, as a guy, I can confirm that the whole “lad” culture surrounding sex is still very much a thing, even if more men aren’t so fixated on the idea of “conquests” determining manhood anymore."

In my opinion, no one is ever truly experienced or advanced at sex. Especially, when you bring numbers into the situation. I've slept with someone who has had a lot of sex, with many different people; and I've slept with someone who has been in a long term relationship and only slept with a couple of people. My first 'sexual experience' was not exactly the best, but it will always mean something to me. Each person I have been with, has had a different number of 'sexual experiences'; and do you know what?! They have all been completely different. No single person, has been the same as another person, or better than the other person. 

Men usually give it the 'big I am' when they talk about their sex life. Explaining in graphic detail, how they have had sex with multiple people in one night; or saying that they had sex in, said unique place. I've been told by a guy that his group of friends share who the last person was to have sex, and they then give them a nickname of some sort. I don't know about you, but that kind of thing does not impress me. I will not judge someone purely on the amount of people they have been with, because that feeds into the taboo even more. 

"There is a pressure, often more subconscious and unspoken than explicitly outlined, amongst single men to go out and sleep with as many people as you can, playing the field."

Someone could sleep with hundreds of people and class themselves as a 'sexpert', when in reality, no girl or guy is the same; we all get turned on and off by different things. To me, I see sex as something that should have no pressure. Something that is fun and a connection between two people. Having said that, it is so important that you are on the same page. Sex is about learning and experimenting; finding out what works for you. So, why should guys or girls feel embarrassed when they share their 'magic number'?

"The idea pervades that the more people you sleep with the more successful or desirable you are, if you aren’t doing so (even if you aren’t that fussed) you are viewed in a slightly different light to everyone else."

"Nights out for a group of single men, for example, can be wholly focused on “conquests” - the pressure being that there should be nothing stopping you from adding to your “total”, even if you don’t want to. The culture still inherently suggests that this is the done thing to do."

I started this discussion on Twitter and I had mixed reactions. Most people did not care about how many people their date had slept with (and rightly so, in my opinion). However, others (mostly men) said that they feel embarrassed that they've only slept with one or two people, due to being in long term relationships. Which raises another question... why should people feel embarrassed for being in long term relationships? 
I've been cheated on by someone who had admitted to having a very sexual past. I was not fazed by that and did not judge them. However, since this has happened, I have found myself wanting a guy who can show they are loyal. So, when a guy says they have slept around and disrespected girls, this does not impress me. The 'alpha male' vibes they are *trying* to give off, do not do anything for me. But at the same time, there is nothing wrong with someone who sleeps around and does not want anything serious. The main thing is that they are honest from the start. If you want a hookup, just say it; it is normal and fine! 

However, when I brought up the conversation about women sleeping around; men didn't seem too keen. Society has made us believe, that women need to be 'pure' and are deemed 'sluts' if they have had a lot of sex. So why do men feel the need to either lie about how many people they have slept with, or express that they have slept with hundreds of girls, in order to impress their date and make them think they are more experienced? 

The point I am trying to make with this post is, no one is classed as 'experienced'. Having sex with hundreds of people, does not make you experienced, as everyone is different. Sleeping around does not make you a slut, slag, whore... whatever you want to name someone who is carrying out a 'natural act'. Sex should not be the be all and end all of a relationship. Men or women should not be embarrassed to tell a girl or guy that they have only slept with one person. Men or women should not be embarrassed to tell a girl or guy that they have slept with hundreds of people. Sex is sex. Make of it, what you will. 

Sex is still very much a taboo, especially if men feel the need to lie and say they have slept with hundreds of girls, in order to look impressive and experienced. Sex is still very much a taboo, especially if women feel the need to lie and say that they have only slept with a handful of people, due to the fear of being called a slut. 

We need to start being more open minded when it comes to sex. Do not feel the need to hide who you truly are, or lie about your experiences, in order to fit in with society. Those who judge others based on their sex life, are not worth your time. So let's stop fooling ourselves when we say that, sex is no longer a taboo. Yes, we may have come a long way (clean minds please haha), but it can still be very much a taboo. 

What are your thoughts?
Let me know in the comments below or Tweet me @petalsofperfect!

Thursday, 1 March 2018

How Sharing Your Story Can Empower Others || Uni Mental Health Day 2018

With it being University Mental Health Day, I thought I would take this opportunity to give you an update on how my university journey is going, and as the main aim for this year is to 'empower', I hope my story empowers you to keep fighting on!

As my time at university comes to a close, I can't help but go into 'panic mode' and worry about what the future has to hold. Recently, I have been struggling to cope with not having a plan and a path for my life, as in a couple of months' time I will be unemployed and on the job hunt! This is normal to feel like this, but for someone who has a mental illness, it can be ten times harder.

If you have followed my university journey since the beginning, you will know that it has not been easy for me. When I began in 2015, I felt like a tiny fish in a massive pond; I was not quite ready for the jump from my small school, to a university with over 20,000 students. During my first year, I struggled to cope with the work load and my mood dropped dramatically. I hated going there every day. I live at home, so I also missed out on the Freshers events and I found it hard to make friends. This left me feeling very isolated and depressed.
It was in the summer after my first year where I was 'officially' diagnosed with social anxiety and depression. Even though it was great to get a diagnosis, it did leave me with that 'now what' feeling. You've suddenly got this label that you have to live with. Going into my second year of university was scary! The pressure built and suddenly everything seemed a lot more difficult, now that I had the diagnosis. For the majority of the time I was fine, but then other days I couldn't even leave my bed or show my face in a lecture. I would be crippled with anxiety or dark thoughts.

However, going into my last and final year, things have improved massively! I am now no longer in a relationship, where looking back on it, I felt like I was not able to be myself and I became very unhappy. I am now independent, strong and ready for the future (however scary it may seem now)!

So, you may be asking how I managed to improve so much this year.

Well, I am going to give you my 5 top tips to coping with life stress whilst at university:


1. Don't look at the year as a whole!

Every single year at university begins in a blind panic. I list all the deadline dates for the whole year and completely overwhelm myself. This is definitely something that you should NOT do. Break the year into terms, weeks or even days if you need to. Take it deadline by deadline!


2. Give yourself a break!

Admittedly, I did not give myself enough breaks in my second year of university. I would work pretty much 24/7. Any free time I had was spent writing assignments. This left me having a lot of sleepless nights and panic attacks. This year however, I have noticed that I am letting myself have a break, if I feel like I need it. When I feel myself getting too stressed, tired or anxious, I stop, close my laptop and go to bed. Pushing yourself, will only make things worse.


3. Ask for help!

In my first year of university, I felt ashamed to ask for help. I would suffer in silence. However, halfway through my last year, I began cognitive behavioural therapy and told my lecturers about my mental illnesses. This helped massively! It took the pressure off and the CBT trained my brain to think more positively!

4. Make time to do things you enjoy!

When you're at university, you can isolate yourself in your work and forget that you do have a life outside of your studies. Make sure you do things you enjoy! Keep your brain active and engaged in leisurely activities. This could be something simple like having a bath, seeing some friends, writing a blog post or going on a run! Don't lose who you are!

5. Talk to people!

When I shared how I felt about university at the end of my first year, I had such a massive response. So many people felt the same way as me, including one of my friends at university. Everything you are feeling and experiencing, might be how someone else is feeling. The best thing I ever did, was share my story and talk to people about how I felt. This opened up so many doors for me, as well as allowed me to meet new people and make so many friends! I no longer felt isolated and it helped me rationalise my thoughts and stress!

This last tip in particular is something I am very passionate about. I have been blogging for 5 years now, starting off as a beauty blog and now developing into a lifestyle and mental health blog (with the occasional bit of beauty). When I hit 'publish' on my first post about my mental health, I did not think it would open as many doors as it has done for me. I have become a sub-editor and press ambassador for Student Minds, a media volunteer for Time to Change, I have been featured in the Guardian, BBC Newsbeat, The Mighty and filmed a documentary with the BBC, which should be hitting your screens very soon *squeals.

However, one recent thing I am particularly proud of, is my work with Samaritans. On one day in the Summer when I felt particularly depressed and wanted to do something with my day, I emailed Samaritans my story and they decided to make me and my story, the face behind their February Appeal Campaign! I did not expect it to happen at all! Samaritans have helped me a lot in the last 6 months. As some of you may know, I went through a lot of personal issues in the summer and I'm still going through a lot of them now. However, Samaritans were there to help me through it all.
On days where I'd wake up feeling helpless, I'd give them a call or email and they'd give me a reason to fight another day! This is why it was such a privilege to work with them on their recent campaign! We had been working on this since around September, so it was so nice to see everything come together, and the feedback we have had so far, is so heartwarming! I was even more proud at the fact that, I did this all off my own back! I can't wait for everything else I have planned with them for this year... so, keep your eyes out for future projects!
Sharing my story has also inspired me to create my own mental health project, Student Stigma. I was awarded £250 funding from O2's Go Think Big, in which I have used to set up this project. I still have a lot of plans in the works, but it is doing well so far! By starting this project, I have allowed others to have a safe place to share their story and help others in the process! I am so proud to say that I have given people this opportunity, and I think it is so important to raise awareness about student mental health, in schools and all the way up to university!

So, if you are starting university in September and you're feeling anxious and worried about the whole process, PLEASE look after yourself. Talk to people, ask for help... do whatever you need to do, to make your university experience worthwhile and rewarding!

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Having A Mental Illness Doesn’t Mean I’m Unemployable

As I approach my last few weeks at university the job hunt has well and truly begun. Perfecting my CV and head hunting anyone I physically can on LinkedIn, it is all becoming very real! 

One thing that is always playing on my mind, is the fact that the employers may look at my volunteer work with mental health charities and read my blog, and automatically think that I am ‘unfit to work'. Even though, under the Equality Act 2010 it states, that it is against the law for employers to discriminate against you, if you have a disability/mental illness. 

So, to any future employers reading this post, these following statements have either been said to me, or to others. This is why I am NOT unfit to work. If you are currently looking through people's job applications and wondering if they are suitable for the job, due to having a mental illness, please take the following into consideration.

“You won’t get out of bed for work, because you are always depressed and stay in bed”

Just because I have had the odd day off of university due to anxiety and depression taking over, this does not mean I am not able to get out of bed and go to work. You have had a day off for a simple cold or flu, does that mean you are going to have a day off everyday? No! So, why do people think it is so different for people who have a mental illness? Is it because you cannot always see the physical symptoms of our illness, because we usually hide behind a smile? Or, is it because there is still so much stigma? I will let you decide. 

“You won’t be able to handle the work load and stress” 

Anyone, regardless of their mental health being ‘good’ or ‘bad’, is going to get stressed. We are all still human! Believe me, I have been under A LOT of stress and pressure, even when my mental health has been at its worst! But, surely someone who can still overcome all of the stress and pressure whilst having a mental illness, is just as capable, if not more capable of doing a good job than anyone else! We are able to complete the work, whilst having dark thoughts telling us we’re not good enough, or anxiety ridden nights. Give us a chance! 

“You are letting your mental illness hold you back” 

Yes, this may be the truth sometimes, but that does not mean I have chucked my whole life away because of my unwell brain. If anything, sharing my story and speaking so openly about my mental health, has opened doors for me that would usually be closed! I am able to say that I have worked with Samaritans on a direct mail campaign. I have been featured in the Guardian and on BBC Newsbeat. I have filmed a documentary with the BBC, I have set up my own project and been funded by O2, and I have a lot more plans for the future!

By doing all of this, I have built contacts, seen first hand how campaigns are put together and strategically planned, I have shown my abilities to publicly speak, despite having social anxiety. I have also shown my creativity and have created a brand for myself. 

Employers need to stop having this warped view of people’s capabilities when they have a mental illness. If someone applies for a job and they say they have a mental illness, do not dismiss them. By them applying for the job, they have shown that they are capable and want to succeed in life. If someone felt that their mental illness would get in the way of a job, they would not apply for it in the first place. 

I asked on Twitter, how many people felt they were unable to disclose that they had a mental illness when applying for jobs, due to the fear of being rejected. Out of 55 people, 84% said yes! This proves that this stigma is definitely still there to some extent. 

Why should we feel afraid to show who we truly are? Having a mental illness has not held me back at all. I have achieved a lot in just the last year alone. So please, when you’re employing people, do not dismiss them when they disclose an illness. Do not label us as “the one who has... x,y,z” like we are the next episode of Friends. 

Give us a chance to show you what we are capable of, despite our brains telling us that we are not good enough! Having a job or even just being accepted for an interview, can be a big achievement for anyone. It may even be that little glimmer of hope, that someone with a mental illness needs. I am in no way saying that people with illnesses deserve some kind of special treatment, but I am fed up of feeling like I have to be someone else, in order to succeed! 


What are your views on this?
Have you ever felt like you have been looked down on, or rejected due to disclosing a mental illness? 

This is not a collaboration or sponsored post with Time to Change, but I thought it would be fitting to add the 'Employer Pledge' at the end of this post, if you and your company want to get involved!

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Sharing The Love

With today being Valentine's day, I thought I'd do a little post about sharing the love around! I've only been in a relationship once on Valentine's day and I can quite honestly say, that I am much happier being single this year for it. To me, it is an over-commercialised (not to mention, made up) day. That might just be because I am a marketing student, so I can see it from a marketers point of view, but I really do not understand why we put so much pressure on ourselves to 'find a valentine'. That being said, I am not trying to s**t on anyone else's day, so if you want to enjoy it with your loved ones, then please do! I'm sure when I'm in my next relationship, I will be doing the same! 

Valentine's day is so heavily focused around relationships, but the day is about love; so why are we limiting it to just relationships. My friends and family have shown me more love and respect than any man has done (so far in my life). So in this post, I am going to share the love to all of the people who have been my absolute rock over the last year and throughout my life so far. 

My family. 

I honestly do not know what I would do without my crazy family. They have stuck by me through everything. From broken hearts, to university breakdowns, they have been there. My mum has always given me all the hugs I have ever needed and more. My dad has supported me with every life decision I make. My sister has been the perfect role model and never fails to make me laugh. Nathan has been the big brother I have always wanted. And lastly, my nan and grandma have kept me company and pushed me to do well in life. Without this love and support, I would not be who I am today. 

'Offline' Friends. 

I don't have many friends 'in real life' (meaning, people who are not part of the blogging world). But the ones I do have, are pretty special. 
My uni friends, Lais and Kerry have been with me from the first day of university. Listening to me nag about men I'm dating or having a go at someone for not participating in the group work. Whenever I feel a bit down, I can always count on them to cheer me up, whenever I step into the university grounds. 
Kate (Katie or whatever else you want to be called), has been there literally from day one (Well, week 2 of my life). We've grown up together as babies, to now fully grown adults (well, attempting to be adults). She has helped me when I've been so paralytically drunk, that I can't even walk to the station, to being a shoulder to cry on when life gets a bit too much. Words cannot describe how much I love this girl and I can't wait to carry on growing up beside her.
Nicole has been my friend for 16 years or so, and it is safe to say that we have made a lot of memories together. From her farting in my (then) boyfriends face, to crying at a sticker for hours on end in Ibiza (you had to be there). We've both had our fair share of s**t in life, but one thing we can always count on, is our friendship and love for each other, even if we do live hundreds of miles away from each other. 

'Online' friends. 

When I started blogging 5 years ago, I did not think that I'd meet some of my best friends because of it; I didn't even know that it was possible. When I joined Twitter, I'd spends hours talking to new people and making new friends. But when you take that friendship 'offline', it becomes one of the best friendships you can ever ask for. 

Macey, my lil American dream. We've been friends for nearly 3 years now (How has it gone that quick?). From sharing our love for Hobbie, to now crying down Snapchat to each other. You have been there for me through thick and thin. You've supported me during my school days and my transition into university. You've listened to me cry for hours about the next guy to break my heart. You've given me some of the best advice I have ever been given. You are so beyond wise for your age and you're adulting better than I am! I've seen you grown up into a beautiful, strong an independent woman. I honestly cannot wait until the day we meet! I will show you all of the best places in London and Kent, and you can show me the beauty of California! Here's to many more years of friendship! I love you Moo Moo! 

Mike, when I first met you in real life, I was a shy and timid girl who was hiding behind others. Oh how that has changed. A lot of people think you're a d**k and rightly so ;) but it's only when I got to know you, that I realised you had the kindest heart. We've grown a lot closer over the last year and I am so thankful for having you by my side through all of the crap that has happened. You're one of those friends who I can just spend hours chilling with, without the pressure of having to make conversation (lol we just sit on our phones). Whether you (and your cats) fall asleep on my bum while we watch Dirty Grandpa, or become my personal photographer in the chaos of London, you will always be 'that' friend who I can just be 'me' around. 
Rebecca Marie, aka my stalker. You came into my life when I felt at my loneliest. You were like my little glimmer of hope in my darkest of times. Little did I know, that glimmer of hope had been stalking/crushing on me for years! It is safe to say that our friendship is unique. From ass grabbing, to ugly selfies. I wouldn't want any other girl groping my ass in the middle of a busy event. You have been my rock and I would not be here today without you pushing me on. I love you! 

Shannon (Nuggs), I am pretty sure we are the same person. You make me feel less alone! You're equally as dramatic, bats**t crazy and an absolute p**shead, but that is why I love you. You're like my little cheerleader. Even though we are yet to meet, I already know that when we do, we are instantly going to become best friends (even more than we already are). Thank you for being the only one to see what I can see, and letting me become 'me' and not just someone else's shadow. I love you, as much as you love chicken nuggets!

Sarah, you have been like a big sister to me over the last few years. We may not talk much, but when we do, it is like nothing has changed. You give me the best advice and you truly are such a great role model for me. Let's make 2018 the year we FINALLY meet each other, please! I have your letter that you sent me, framed on my wall... but I'd happily change that for a picture of us, so GET YO BUTT HERE!

Georgie, I know we don't talk a lot, but you are an inspiration to me. The support you have shown me over the last few months, has made me feel less alone. You helped me pick up my tiara when it fell, you've shown me how to love myself for who I am and not let anyone take that away from me. Thank you for teaching me, how to be 'me'. 

This could honestly go on forever, but I'd spend hours listing everyone! If I haven't mentioned you in the post, that does not mean I don't love you, or that you haven't helped me... but, I'm sure you know who you are when I say 'thank you for being there for me and for loving me regardless'. 

Without all of this support, I would not be able to do the things I have done in my life. So, if you're single this Valentine's day... that does not mean you are alone. I have felt more alone when I have been in a relationship, than when I have been single. Surround yourself with people who care about you and spread the love! 

Happy Valentine's day!
xxx

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Your Guide to Battling the Twitter Timeline

With Twitter being at the forefront of our daily routines, it's only natural that we all get engulfed in the 'drama' and negativity. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one to say that everyone needs to be positive and friendly with everyone, but the negativity can get too much at times.

I have spoken about my views on social media in the past and how much it has affected me in both good and bad ways. Also, considering I want to work in social media, I naturally spend 90% of my time on it. But, I think we've all seen our fair share of negative tweets in the past week, and rightly so. It is not my place to say what has happened, but I know that a lot of people are seeing what I'm seeing; and if you're anything like me, it may have a negative effect on your mental wellbeing. 

So, I thought I'd put together a little 'guide to battling the Twitter timeline'. (This is a lighthearted post, but you never know, it may help).


The mute button is your best friend. 


This is hands down the best feature that Twitter have ever introduced. I use it pretty much everyday. I know for a fact people have muted me and that is fine! The main thing to remember, is that your timeline is YOURS. If you're seeing Tweets that you don't want to see, then mute! It's the perfect way to keep your timeline 'tidy', without having to break up friendships with people. 


Block that b***h!


Again, there is nothing wrong with using the block button. Social media opens you up to the whole world and it can be a very vulnerable place. You are literally laying your cards on the table for the world to see. Regain some of that power over your timeline, by blocking anyone who is either causing you upset, or just simply someone who you do not want following you. Remember, you are not obliged to let everyone know every detail about your life. You still have the power to 'hide' from certain people. I have blocked people in the past and still do now, purely because I do not want them to see my content, or they have a negative effect on my mental health.

Try to ignore. 


I know how easy it is to become engulfed in the 'drama'. It's normal, we all do it. But, obsessing over it and making it your life is not healthy. I know people who will try to create 'drama' for amusement. Some people do like to create something out of nothing. But, if it is beginning to take over your life, or just simply your timeline, IGNORE! By getting involved, it can escalate and get turned on you. It's nice that you either want to stick up for someone or support someone, but sometimes getting involved publicly, can cause more harm than good.

Think before you Tweet. 


I have been guilty of not thinking before I Tweet and it usually gets turned back on me. Once again, this is something that we all do, so it's ok! But, sometimes taking a step back and asking yourself "Would I be offended by this if someone else Tweeted this?" is the best thing to do.


Take time out!


It is perfectly ok to sign out. Take time away from Twitter and focus on you. Live in the moment and don't feel pressured to share it with the world.

So, that's your guide to battling the Twitter timeline!
Again, this is a lighthearted post and not directed to anyone. I think we all need reminding that, it is ok to take control of our social media. 

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

5 Reasons Why I Am Basically Bridget Jones

As I neck my glass of red wine, I sit here thinking 'this is it, I am literally Bridget Jones'. And, do you know what? I am perfectly ok with that! Most people see Bridget Jones as the definition of a human car crash. Me? I see her as a strong, independent woman, who messes up sometimes but always picks herself back up (with help from a bottle of wine of course).

So, I thought it would be fun to list the reasons why I am basically Bridget Jones. Maybe you can relate?

1. I get carried away way too much. 

This one is definitely a big problem for me at the moment. After dating someone new for the past month, it is safe to say my mind gets the better of me and I start worrying. Don't get me wrong, I can have fun but I'm a girl... it is what we do. Right? RiGHt? 

2. I often turn to vodka (or any other alcohol on offer). 

If the tiniest thing goes wrong, vodka is always the answer. It not only numbs the pain, but it makes me proper flirty. What could go wrong? *Spoiler: A lot. 

3. I don't know when to hold back my emotions. 

I mean, I did have therapy for a few months! 

4. I am a socially awkward mess. Even in bed. 

I do have social anxiety so I guess I'm 'allowed' to be a bit of a mess, but I genuinely do wonder why/how people find me sexually attractive.

5. I am always going to be a bit podgy. 

I don't think I'm ever going to be the next Victoria Secret model, and that is ok! I love my body. I love me...


Can you relate to any of these?
Please reassure me that I'm not the only adult who is a total shambles?
Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

'Why can't I rewind to when my life was ok?'

Do you ever sit there and think 'yep, this is it. My life is finally ok'. No? Well, me either!

A year ago, my life seemed pretty perfect. I thought I was happy, stable and planning my future. Turns out I was miserable, isolated, unstable and the future I had planned, was not going to exist. Fast forward a year on, I can now only see how unhappy I was because I am now out of that situation. This all proves that we are maybe never actually *that* settled. 

That however, does not stop me thinking, 'Why can't I rewind to when my life was ok?'. 2018 is the year of big changes for me. In 8 weeks time, I officially finish my formal lectures at university, with only months until my graduation day (where have those 3 years gone?). I am already applying for jobs. I am back in the dating game and just generally having fun. But there's still that uncertainty of life and what it has planned for me. 

I wake up everyday with a pit of anxiety in my stomach, which is something I had not had for a while. I am constantly worrying about what is coming next, like waiting for a jump scare in a horror film. 'Am I saying the right thing?', 'Should I have sent that message?', 'Will I get a job when I graduate?'. EVERYDAY. It is tiring and I know it is never going to end. Life is full of uncertainty. 

Basically, what I am trying to say is that, life is never going to be stable. Even the times when I thought my life was stable, it turns out it was far from it. Life will never be plain sailing. There is always a wave to ride over or storm that will drown you. BUT, if you take it day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, or even second by second; life will work out. 

Hang in there. In the words of Ronan Keating, 'Life is a rollercoaster just gotta ride it!'

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Why I'm NOT Another Blogger Just 'Looking For Freebies'

When I started my blog nearly 5 years ago at the age of 16 years old, I did not expect it to grow to the point at which it is at now. It was purely my way of creating my own little space on the internet, where I had full control. It was my creative outlet during a difficult time in my life and remains that way to this day. But the only reason why it has grown, is all down to my hard work. 

My blog has taken a step back whilst I have been at university, however over the years I have dedicated hours upon hours creating content for the world to read. Whether it be a makeup review or simply one of my 'write it in the moment' posts, I pour my heart and soul into it. I have sobbed, laughed and have had to relive some of the most difficult times in my life, when writing posts. So when people say that my blog is a waste of time or it is simple to do, it can be disheartening. 

Recently, there has been a lot of talk circling Twitter about bloggers and how they utilise their blog and work with some amazing brands. According to a lot of people, blogging is easy. It is simply writing down your thoughts and clicking upload. But I bet all the bloggers reading this post will agree with me when I say that, it is not easy. 

When you set up a blog and spend hours or even years creating it, it becomes your own business. Whether, it be a business that generates income in the form of payment or not. I have worked with some brands over the years, most of which have approached me. Some I have been paid for, some I haven't. In no way did I think that by setting up my blog, I would become successful overnight and be earning a solid wage. To be honest, I don't think my blog will ever get to that point and that is purely because that is not what I personally want. If it does then great, if it doesn't it just simply doesn't. 

What I think we need to remind people of, is that our blogs are not just words on a screen. They're hours of photography, editing, planning, scheduling, creating, promoting and replying. I put my blog at the forefront of my CV, as it is one of my greatest achievements. It is one of the main platforms that has given me a chance to showcase my talents and ability. I am my own boss and I have done this all by myself. 

By starting this blog, I can say that I have created a brand. On my own I have set up the design, I've built my audience of roughly 10.8K followers, I have planned content, planned collaborations, scheduled content across all social media platforms, engaged with my following on all of those platforms... the list can go on forever. 

So when the next person or even brand says to you that you're not good enough and your blog is pointless, you can tell them that you are;

  • A blogger (obvs)
  • A content creator
  • A writer
  • A manager
  • A photographer
  • An editor
  • A business owner
  • A branding specialist 
  • A marketer
  • An Advertiser
  • A promoter
  • A social media content creator
(Feel free to add more) 

After saying all of this, someone might say "You don't need to do it" and that is right, I don't. But I chose to do it. I am not moaning about the fact that I have a lot to do, because my blog has given me so many skills that I am able to transfer into the working world, as well as my Advertising and Marketing Communications degree. But, I just want to make people aware that blogging isn't something you can just start one day and expect it to take off overnight. It is something you need to put a lot of hard work and effort in. 

So, if you're sitting there thinking that you are going to become the next big blogger after days of setting up your blog, think again. The reason why I decided to write this post, was because I have had a lot of people asking me how I grew my audience and whether they should include their blog on their CV. And the answer to that is YES. Your blog is the one thing that makes you stand out. It is a creative portfolio of all of your greatest skills. If a brand ever turns you down because you're 'just another blogger looking for freebies', remind them that you're more than a blogger; you are a business owner who can offer a lot of opportunities for brands. 

But most of all, remember that you blog for you, no one else. If you start a blog purely to get money or 'free things', give up now. 

What are your thoughts? 
Let me know in the comments below!