Monday, 16 October 2017

If It’s Not Intersectional Feminism Is It Really Feminism?

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No by the way. The answer to the question of this blog post is a no. I’m a feminist. For a long time, I thought that just meant ‘smashing the patriarchy’ campaigning for equal rights for men and women. In my understanding, there was radical feminists; those who wanted men to be banished from society. Liberal feminists; those who had a more gentle approach to feminism, often found recognising the march of progress and Marxist feminists; those who believed society works for the benefit of capitalism.

It wasn't till I started doing a bit of research and digging around the subject, more than just reading my sociology A-level textbook, I realised there was a whole other branch of feminism that we had never even studied or acknowledged. Intersectional feminism.

For those of who have no idea what I'm going on about at the moment, let me start with a few basic definitions. Intersectionally is a feminist theory which was developed by Kimberle Crenshaw in 1989. It argues that there are multiple facets to a person. For example; class, sexual orientation, race, disability, etc. Stereotypical white feminism ignores these facets of a person's identity which can contribute to social injustice and inequality, alongside and more so than just being a man or a woman.


Friday, 13 October 2017

Suicide- It's Not Just a Man's Problem

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Warning: This post contains detailed descriptions of suicide. 

Suicide is suicide. It doesn't matter if your black or white. A child or adult. Homosexual or heterosexual. Male or female. Suicide is a tragic and devastating sociological problem which 6,188 people felt like they had to result to in 2015. (source) But of course, it's not just the one person affected. The pain never ends it just passes on to the people left behind. 

It's a very well known fact that more men take their own life. In 2015, 75% of men took their own life compared to 25% of women. (source) But that's still 25% too many. The media likes to drill it into us that suicide is the biggest killer of men with those between the ages of 40-44 being at highest risk. But by constantly campaigning for more awareness around male suicide, people start to forget that it's not just men who are affected by this terrible circumstance. 

In fact, female suicide statistics are on the increase. In England, 2015, suicide rates had increased by 3.8%. The highest in the decade. (Source) But do we ever hear about this? No, we don't. The news is always dominated by stories which are affecting men. Like most industries and jobs, if there is a top spot it has to be filled by a white, abled bodied, cyst, heterosexual man. I'm by no means dismissing the tragedy of male suicide, but it has to be questioned if breaking everything including suicide statistics down into male and female, ignoring other intersects is actually counterintuitive. 

Friday, 6 October 2017

Who Run The World...Girls

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Well apparently if you ask Google, that's not strictly true. Let's look at fashion. 85-90% of sweatshop workers are women. Yet, who are the three most famous fashion designers that come up on Google? You guessed it, men! Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford. 

What about food? Who has made the most cooked meals through history? Let's face it, it's women! If women make the most meals then why the hell, does Gordon Ramsey, Paul Bocuse and Thomas Keller pop up as the most famous chefs on Google. 

Let me ask you another question? Who does the most organising in the family? Who actually makes sure Christmas happens every year? Women! Yet, when it comes to directing films, that's a male's job of course. Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino are the most famous film directors according to Google. 


Monday, 2 October 2017

5 Easy Fairy Light Hacks You Need This Autumn

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I love me a good set of fairy lights. When you think of fairy lights, you may think of Christmas trees. Of course, nothing can beat putting the lights up on the tree and then promptly getting tangled up in them. Nope, just me, okay then. But who said fairy lights just have to be for Christmas? As soon as the nights get darker, I make sure I'm fully stocked up on fairy lights. 

Nothing beats coming home, on a dark, cold, damp October evening and switching on the fairy lights around your house. They automatically make the cosiness factor jump from a zero to a solid 10. Although they, of course, don't produce heat like a candle or fire, they are safer. Which is key if you're clumsy like me and don't trust yourself with anything which could potentially burn your house down to a cinder. 

It can be difficult though to know where to put your fairy lights. You want to put them in a way that looks ascetically pleasing but also helps make your room feel nice and cosy. If you're a fairy light novice or just looking for inspiration on how to style your fairy lights this autumn you have come to the right place. Here are five easy fairy light hacks.


Friday, 29 September 2017

Five Easy Ways To Reduce Your Anxiety

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I know all too well what it's like to struggle with anxiety and panic attacks. Panic attacks can be terrifying, you feel like you are going to die. The reality is you're not. Although scary, panic attacks will not kill you. It often feels like you are having a heart attack, I know what that feels like but it's just your mind tricking you. 

Over time I've picked up quite a few little coping techniques to help keep my anxiety under control. Sometimes they won't work, that's okay because I learn from the experience and maybe sometimes I even pick up a little coping mechanism from it too.  

Keeping anxiety under control and dealing with panic attacks do not have to be complicated. Which is why all of these methods are very simple and to some of you will seem completely obvious. However, if anxiety is something you have only recently been struggling with, you may find these super useful.


Monday, 25 September 2017

We Are Not Your Stereotype

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I've heard time and time again from so many people that it's not always the mental illness that is the hardest part to deal with, but, the stigma that surrounds it. Whichever mental illness you think of there will be some stereotypes attached to it. These stereotypes are damaging, they curate stigma which makes it hard for sufferers to seek support.

I suffer from a range of mental health problems. Every mental illness has some kind of negative label or stereotype attached to it which makes talking about the problem a lot harder. I know all too well what the stereotypes are around depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder, as I experience them almost on a weekly basis.

However, for this blog post, I thought I would spice things up a bit. Instead of reading me waffling on about OCD, I thought I would get some other people in who struggle with their mental health and different illnesses to talk to me about the stigma they face. When I sent out the tweet I got a fantastic response, thank you, everyone, who replied. Sorry I couldn't get back to everyone. I hope this blog post aims to educate you on the stereotypes attached to a wide range of mental health problems, not just the illnesses I suffer from. Sit back, grab a's going to be a long one.


Friday, 22 September 2017

My Hair Timeline (2003-2017)

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If there is one thing you need to know about me, it is that I LOVE dying my hair. I've been dying my hair for over four years now. I started with the natural colours, branched out to dip dyes and then full on bright colours. I know I don't normally do beauty related posts if you can even call this post, that but my hair is a very important part of my identity.

Dying my hair different colours, especially the brighter colours make me super happy. I love the confidence it gives me. The first time I dyed my hair bright pink all over, I felt like an entirely new person. My mental health improved so much, and I noticed the change in myself for sure, and so did the people around me.

Dying your hair bright colours isn't going to be for everyone. Some people like tattoos or piercings. My thing is dying my hair. I know people say I shouldn't because it's going to fall out from all the damage. But I'll rather have had fun with my hair while I can before I'm restricted with how I express myself in an office job. I hope you enjoy looking through these old hairstyles. I've included some right embarrassing ones. You are definitely in for a treat.


Friday, 15 September 2017

A Beginners Guide To CBT

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I feel like CBT has become quite a well known and frequently used term within society, nowadays. Lots of people know that CBT is a form of therapy for mental health problems and that NHS waiting list times are ridiculously long. You wouldn't be wrong there, but that's really as far as their knowledge goes. 

Maybe you stumbled across this post because you are planning on having CBT soon or are interested to find out more, to see if it's right for you. Maybe you haven't got a clue. You think CBT stands for something like changing brain time and believe that it involves a long black couch and a man with a long grey beard.

For whatever reason you've clicked on this post, don't worry you are in safe hands. I'm going to be taking you through the basics of CBT. Including; what it is, how it works and what problems it can be used to treat. I aim to provide an educational and informative guide for beginners to this what can seem alien concept at the beginning, a lot easier to understand. 


Wednesday, 13 September 2017

The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting

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It's not often that I find a book which it is so creepily similar to my life I have to double check it's not a biography about me. Obviously, not every aspect of this story resembles my life, thank God for that. If you've read this book, you will know EXACTLY what I'm on about. 

Holly Bourne is YA's answer to well the best thing since white sliced bread. Holly just gets it. I don't know about you but when I think of young adult fiction, I just think of the stereotypical and very over done storyline of boy meets girl, some friend drama, but everything always works out well in the end. Holly has a knack of easing on the cheese factor of YA fiction and actually making in modern and enjoyable while still including boys, school, and friendships. The three essentials on any YA novel.

The manifesto on how to be interesting is one girl's heartbreaking but equally heartwarming journey through romance, friendship and most importantly finding yourself. I couldn't put this book down, it was that good. Which is why I needed to dedicate a whole review to it.


Monday, 11 September 2017

My Favourite Podcasts

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I love myself a good podcast. I like to think of myself as some what of an educated young lady. I don't think I have ever said a more up myself statement, than that before on my blog but eh, there is always room for a first. Where was I? Oh yeah, podcasts...I bloody love the things! 

I listen to podcasts on a broad range of subjects, from mental health, books and feminism to name a few. I think podcasts are really underrated, most people just tune into to Youtube when they're bored or listen to music, but I have found listening to Podcasts a much more productive use of my time. Unlike listening to music or watching the same Jermery Kyle compilation videos on YouTube (Don't judge me) I actually learn something! 

Listening to podcasts broadens my knowledge and understanding on a wide range of different topics. I get to listen to others perspectives on issues, which I may not have thought of. I often learn new information and more importantly, they give me food for thought. They often leave me going away thinking about the topic they have discussed. More than any Jermery Kyle video will ever do. I've included a mix of well known and smaller podcasts in this list, I really hope you find one you like. Let's get amongst it. 


Friday, 8 September 2017

Not Being Ill Enough To Be Good Enough

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At school, I was involved in all kinds of competitions. Skipping, sports day and reading challenges to name a few. I still have all the certificates stored away in a dusty box in my attic somewhere. The general premise of most competitions is that you had to be good enough to win. Which I'm sure most people would agree with unless you're one of those who believes that every kid should get a medal for taking part kind of person.

I generally thought I left those competition days behind me when I hung up my school blazer for the last time. Turns out, I didn't. And it seems that more and more people with mental health problems are experiencing the same. Whether that be in heated disagreements on Twitter about who has had it worse or more importantly, when trying to access fundamental life-saving support.


( Trigger warning: This post contains mentions of suicide, which some readers may find distressing) 


Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Review: Washed Away From Darkness To Light: A Memoir By Nikki Dubose

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You know when you read a book, and once you've put it down, you're still thinking about it, yeah? Well, that was with me with this book. Washed away from darkness to light is one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. A heartwarming but equally heartbreaking tale of one girl's struggle through child abuse, addiction, a chaotic family life, rape, grief and complex mental health problems. 

A good book has to trigger emotions, whether that be happiness, sadness, anger or something else. I cried while reading this book, so I think it's safe to say what emotion it provoked. I was deeply touched by Nikki's struggles. I couldn't fathom how someone could go through so much yet still be fighting on. And for that, I only have admiration for Nikki. The courage it must have taken to keep going is unthinkable. 

Like Nikki, I had a childhood filled with trauma which has left me with complex mental health problems. Although under completely different circumstances, I felt a strong connection and great empathy for Nikki while reading, as her story unfolded. Whether you have mental health problems or not, I'm sure you will be moved my Nikki's stories as well as learn a lot about the devastating impact of childhood abuse and unresolved trauma.

(Warning, this review contains spoilers)


Monday, 4 September 2017

No More Boys And Girls: Political Correctness Gone Mad Or a Step In The Right Direction?

 Recently, John Lewis decided in the act of defiance against the gender stereotypes decided to remove all their 'boys' and 'girls' labels from their clothing. Instead, labeling their clothes for boys and girls. This means that dresses say they can be worn for girls and boys. Girls and boys can wear pink, blue, yellow or whatever colour they want under the sun. When they go into the shop, they can browse all the clothes and pick out what they like, because they like it, not because of it is what they think they should like or are expected to wear. 

I stand firmly supporting this decision by John Lewis. I think it is a fundamentally important step in the right direction to encourage children, just to be children and not be what society thinks they should be. Constant reminders of differences between boys and girls, sink in and have a lasting impact. One which many don't realise until it is too late. 

There are of course many people who are against John Lewis's decision, claiming that is is politically correct nonsense. Parents inflicting their views on children, who really don't care what they wear at that age. Some simply don't understand the argument and reasoning behind removing girls and boys labels from clothing because they are so blinded by society's beliefs of what a girl and boy should be like from the day they are born, what toys they should play with, what they should wear, right up to what job they should be doing in the future. 


Friday, 1 September 2017

Mental Health Self Care Wishlist

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We all need to treat ourselves once in a while. Something which I do not do enough. I preach self-care on here. I've done countless blog posts on the importance of self-care and sharing some of my self-care ideas. In reality, I don't practice what I preach. 

I want this to change though. Which is why I have compiled this list of things which I am going to buy in due course, to treat myself, in some much-needed self-care. If you know me, you will know that my methods of self-care are anything but traditional. Bubble baths and candles are just not me, which is why you may be scratching your head at some of the things listed in this post. But don't threat, they all help me. 

And that's the thing with self-care, it's so individualistic. What works for once person is not necessarily going to work for the next person. The most important thing is that you find what works for you. Whether they are cliches or not. I hope this list has inspired you to treat yourself and invest in some proper self-care time. 


Monday, 28 August 2017

Mental Health Favourites (August 2017)

Mental Health Favourites (August 2017)

It's that time of the month again where people wrap up what they've been loving. I can't do favourites posts every month because I just don't have enough to talk about. However, saying that the last couple of months I've had a lot of things that I've been enjoying and have also benefited my mental health. 

I've been enjoying books, apps, events and other stuff thrown in for good measure! August and even July, have been super busy months for me regarding blogging and magazine stuff but also personal, life and family stuff. I've had some incredible opportunities and days out planned this month, which I've loved. For once in a very long time, my mental health has been very good. Depression is not rearing its nasty head. OCD is not causing chaos in my life like it was this time last year and I can't even remember the last time I had a panic attack.

Although I worry about what the future holds regarding the state of my mental health, I'm holding on to the last couple of months with fond memories. Things have been superb! I would like things to stay that way, but if they don't, I'll be able to get through it because I'm one strong woman. Without further or do let's jump into these favourites, shall we? 


Friday, 25 August 2017

My Depression Story

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(Trigger warning: Depression and suicide are discussed in this post)

I guess it all started when obsessive compulsive disorder began to take over my life. Spending more time in the bathroom washing and bleaching hands than spending time with friends and family are very disheartening. As I spent more and more time as a recluse, my mood started to go down hill. 

I stopped enjoying the things I once did. I felt like a complete failure. All my friends were still at college studying for their A levels while I was at home really struggling. I felt this overwhelming sense of guilt. I had let my family down because I wasn't progressing like I should have been. 

Crying became a daily occurrence. I remember being set off by the littlest of things or things going wrong that definitely weren't worth crying over. Sometimes there wouldn't even be a reason. I would feel so sad, so hopeless that I couldn't help but cry.


Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Harry Potter Studio Tour: Photo Diary (2017)

If you need to know one thing about me, it is that I am a massive Harry Potter fan. I tend to conceal my love on my blog for all things Potter. However, hopefully, I'll be able to write some more Harry Potter themed posts in the future. I want to do a Harry Potter collection blog post but rounding up all my merch will be one hell of a task. I will do it one day though. 

Obviously, if you are a massive Harry Potter fan, you need to visit the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London. This isn't my first time visiting. I went back in 2015, for my 17th birthday. I actually documented my experience on my blog too. You can read my photo diary from that visit here. I went when it was all decked out for Christmas. Seeing the set covered in snow was purely breathtaking. Although this time it wasn't set out for winter it was equally magical.

The great thing about the studios is how they are always adding new features. 2017, saw the launch of the Forbidden forest, which spoiler alert is sick. They also added some new interactive elements and opened up Privet drive. I took hundreds of photos on the day but here are just a select few from my trip. I hope you feel pottered out when you get to the end!


Saturday, 19 August 2017

When The Internet Turns Nasty

When you share your life online, you have to prepare for people to pick and prod at everything single thing you do. If you have an opinion, you have to be ready for a backlash. People online don't like opinions. Especially, if your opinion doesn't match the majority. 

I am a human. We are all humans. Humans aren't perfect. They make mistakes. If you make a mistake online, it will be blown out of proportion. People won't listen. People won't accept your apology. It will be shared and spread to individuals who don't understand, who don't know you. You will be made to feel like the worst person on earth.

When I started blogging, I never wanted to put as much as a toe out of place. I never shared my opinions. I never spoke up about the things I cared about or the things that mattered. I just went along with everyone else. After a few years of personal character development, I became very outspoken about the things that mattered to me. I enjoy debates and discussions on current affairs, without feeling like I need to resort to name-calling or abuse. Unfortunately, not everyone can do the same.


Monday, 14 August 2017

Simple DIYS To Improve Your Mental Health

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Private mental health care is expensive, and NHS services come with a long waiting list. It's so disheartening to reach out for help which takes enormous amounts of courage, to only be told that you will either have to find the money for private, which for most families is just not possible or to hang on in there for months until NHS care becomes available. 

These simple DIYs are not going to cure your mental illness, but they definitely can help if you left to cope by yourself while you wait for NHS services. Alongside lifestyle changes and medication (if applicable to you and your illness) they can really help make a positive difference. 

Even if you don't have a mental illness, it's important to look after your mental health. Which is why you might find these super useful. If you are going through a particularly stressful time or a period of grief, these DIYs might help you get through the difficult patch. All of the ones I've included in this post are really cheap and easy to do, so they are suitable for everyone.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Making Sense Of Antidepressants

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Heads up, I'm not a medical professional, but I am quite experienced with antidepressants both as someone who takes them and has done for over a year as well as being a psychology student who knows the science behind them.

Making sense of antidepressants can be one difficult task. There is one hell of a lot of medical jargon online, making the experience of understanding antidepressants and deciding whether you want to go on them or not, that little bit harder.

So being the kind person that I am, I thought it would be helpful if I condensed everything down I've found online, into one simple, easy to follow guide. You can thank me later. It's going to be a long one so let's get amongst it. 


Monday, 7 August 2017

How To Encourage Diversity In The Blogging Community

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Diversity. A Hot topic in the blogging community at the moment. And no, before you say I'm not just jumping on the bandwagon to get myself more views. That would be wrong. I'm passionate about inclusion and diversity not only in the blogging community but in all industries. I want to see more people from minority groups being recognised and brands, networks, etc. listening to what they have to say.

When I talk about diversity, I don't just mean accepting more people of colour (POC) I mean recognising every minority group out there. Which includes the mentally ill, LGBT+, Plus sized, disabled, those who are chronically ill, those with autism and learning difficulties as well as those from less well off or working class backgrounds, etc. If you are part of a minority, you have a right to have your voice heard. You have a right to work with brands and PR companies and NOT be turned down because you don't fit in with the stereotypical blogger image.

As a white, middle-class female I like to think I'm hot on recognising my own privilege. I have had a lovely upbringing, one that wasn't filled with drugs, abuse or violence. I've always had food in my cupboards and shoes on my feet. I recognise just how fortunate I am to have had this kind of upbringing. However, I also have had a childhood filled with trauma and have been extremely mentally unwell at times, as a result of that. 


Friday, 4 August 2017

What I Learnt From a Digital Detox

So when I went on holiday between Friday 21st and Friday 28th of July and I decided to have a digital detox. A whole week without social media, internet or emails. I wanted to have a break from it all. Don't get me wrong, I adore the internet, social media and blogging, but sometimes it can all get a bit too much. 

I love social media, but sometimes it can really fog up your brain. Having a constant stream of news is very helpful, but it can also be a hindrance. Within seconds you can be aware of the latest news and events happening worldwide. Although helpful, it can be tiring. Our brains struggle to rest in a technology obsessed 24/7 society. 

The first thing I do in the morning is to check my phone, the last thing I do at night is checking my phone. Within that time, my phone is never far from my side. Before long my brain is swimming in notifications and hundreds of emails. Which is why I wanted a break from it all. To give my brain a rest. I thought of no better time than when I'm on holiday in the beautiful Lake District.  


Monday, 31 July 2017

Lake District Photo Diary

If you read my photo diary from last years holiday, you would know that things didn't go all that well. I was very ill with obsessive compulsive disorder. It took over my waking life. Along with getting lost, getting locked in car parks and nearly not making it to the ferry at all. Although the holiday didn't start all that well, by the end, it turned out okay. 

The Isle of Man was such a beautiful place, and it was so lovely to visit. Likewise, the Lake District was as equally if not more stunning. Surprisingly nothing went wrong on this holiday. We never got lost, the cottage we stayed in was adorable, and we had pretty good weather too. 

Everywhere you look in the Lake District your surrounded by incredibly beautiful and picturesque scenery. The lakes and mountains are breathtaking, the wildlife is outstanding, and the villages are so cute. During the holiday we also visited Yorkshire and Scotland. It's safe to say we packed it in this holiday. Here is a run down of what we did plus a lot of photos from the week too.


Monday, 17 July 2017

15 #BloggerProblems

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So...we have all heard about #firstworldproblems, but as if that wasn't enough, us bloggers also have to go through #Bloggerproblems. You will often find us tweeting or ranting about these so called blogger problems over on our Insta Stories because we are #relatable and know that it will give us an extra few faves and retweets if we talk about it. Just keeping it real...

Being a blogger isn't easy. I've lost count of the number of times when I've sat down to write a post, and I can barely get a word down on the screen, or I've planned to take photos, and every single one turns out crap. Being a blogger isn't just all about writing and taking pretty pictures though. There is also the added pressure of being contacted by brands and companies. *Bites nails* 

How can being a blogger be so hard, you say? You can work in your PJs all day, get sent free stuff and are essentially paid for browsing up and down Twitter which requires no brain cells.  Although there definitely are perks to the job, it's by no means plain sailing. I know you guys will be able to relate hard to these problems... so let's jump into it.


Friday, 14 July 2017

An Open Letter To NHS Mental Health Services

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In 2017, I can not fathom why so many young people are let down by the mental health services in the UK, alone. Why on earth 57% of trust bosses admit they are not meeting the needs of troubled teenagers and young people? (Source) Why a six to 18-month waiting list is seen as acceptable for treatment? Or the most worrying at all, why no one seems to be able to do anything about it? 

I ask you this, how many people die of a broken leg each year? Practically none because the waiting time for treatment is, well there isn't a waiting time for treatment. 

Now compare that to suicide. How many people die from taking their own lives as a result of depression or other mental health problems? According to WHO (The World Health Organisation), they estimate one million people in the world, every single year dies by suicide. Because waiting lists are unfairly long and individuals are denied the help they so desperately need. 


Monday, 10 July 2017

A Beginners Guide To Starting a Blog

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Okay, so I know a lot of you guys already have blogs and are pretty clued up when it comes to starting a blog. However, recently I've been getting more and more messages and tweets about what advice I would give to people who want to start a blog but have no clue where to begin.

There are lots to take into consideration when it comes to starting up a blog. Though I would like to point out that it doesn't have to perfect from the get-go. A look at my first blog post ( Read the first year of blog posts) will tell you that. If you are a long-term reader, you will know how many changes my blog has undergone in the last three years. Take it from me, it doesn't have to be perfect. Don't put unnecessary pressure on yourself. 

A quick flick through my archives would tell you that I haven't done a post like this before. So, yep you guessed it, today I'm going to be doing a post all about, my top five favourite TV shows. Only joking! Here is my step by step beginners guide to starting a blog. 

Friday, 7 July 2017

Why Quietness Speaks a Thousand Words

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Depression can take shape in many different ways. There isn't a ' one size fits all' umbrella that everyone fits under. Everyone will be affected differently. However, from my understanding of listening to people in my college class, as we talked about depression, many in society, only have a basic understanding of what depression is and are only aware of some of the more stereotypical symptoms of depression.

When you think of depression, you may think of someone who has not left their house in months, someone who you haven't seen them smile in a very long time or even someone who hasn't brushed or showered in days. For some, this is the harsh reality of living with depression, but it isn't the case for everyone. You probably go to school or work with someone suffering from depression. I have no doubts you've walked past someone in the street today struggling with depression. Yet, you probably don't look twice at them. 

Why's that? Because depression isn't something that is always visible. Depression isn't like a broken leg or bleeding nose, it's not always easy to spot which often means you have to read between the lines. That can be tricky sometimes. You don't know if the person is suffering from depression or is just having a bad day. You don't know if being quiet is just part of their personality or an indication of them facing an internal battle. Which is why I want to talk about some of the symptoms of depression that aren't always as obvious. By reading this, I hope it educates you, and you never know, you may help save a life. 


Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Let's Talk About Self Love

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So this post is actually a Tag. I know right, an actual Tag. I haven't done one of these in a very long time. In fact, I don't think I had done one since my beauty blogging days back in 2014. I find them quite cheesy, to be honest, not going to lie. However, when the lovely Becky from tagged me in this self-love Tag I checked out the questions and I actually really liked it, so I thought I would give it a go.

Self-love is incredibly important. Although I preach how important it is almost on a daily basis on social media, I'm not the best at it. I really do struggle with it. However, I'm trying my best to get better at it. I think doing this tag is a perfect step in the right direction.

Apparently, there are some rules to these things. I'm supposed to answer all the questions honestly. That's not going to be hard, for me, is it? I am the queen of honesty when it comes to chatting about mental health. Then I need to tag five people. I'll list five people at the end who I would love to see answer these questions. However, if you want to have a go at responding to these questions then please do and send me your posts. I would love to read them.


Sunday, 2 July 2017

Why Online Friends Are Just As Valuable As Real Life Friends

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Firstly, I wanted to say that I had a massive issue with knowing what to call this post. I hate the term 'real life friends' to describe friends you know, who you interact with in everyday life because it makes friends made online seem illegitimate. If I'm honest, I didn't have many ideas to get around this problem, so it is what it is.

If I said to 11-year-old Nicole, who had just started secondary school and friendship was at the pinnacle of her life that give it six or seven years, 98% of your current friendships were made online, I would have laughed at you. But here we are, in 2017 and that's 100% true. 

Maybe I've just had a string of bad luck when it comes to friendship. Or maybe it's me? Maybe, I can't maintain friendships because I'm not a good friend. Don't be silly, of course, I'm not. There is, in fact, a range of things which do cause friendships to break up or drift apart and that's just a fact of life. This post aims to examine those factors and highlight how online friendships are just as important as ' real life friends'


Wednesday, 28 June 2017

When I Grow Up I Want To Be Kind

When I grow up, I want to be successful.
When I grow up, I want to be famous.
When I grow up, I want to be rich.
When I grow up, I want to be powerful.

Being asked what you want to be when you grow up is not an uncommon question for children to be asked. These innocent minds have yet to experience how cruel the world can be so naively answered with doctor, nurse, superstar or astronaut. Yet if these children knew they may be caring for innocent young people's lives whose worlds have come crashing down because of a cowardly attack in the name of religion, would they still want the job?

From the day we are born, success, fame, money and power are engrained within our minds as the foundations for a happy and fulfilling life. As if nothing else matters. But let me ask you one question...

Who do you remember in your life fondly with the most undefinable feelings of warmth? The people who were kindest to you I bet. 


Saturday, 24 June 2017

Mental Health Diagnosis: One Year On

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A year ago today I was formally diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, although I knew that I was suffering from the illness long before that. It was also the day that Britain found out they were leaving the E.U so a pretty awful day for most of us in the U.K. actually? I remember the day vividly. I had an 8:30 am appointment which is just as well really because I had a three-week wait before then and it was the longest three weeks of my life.

I got up, found out we were leaving the EU and then made my way over to the doctors. I was a nervous wreck, but I knew I couldn't carry on the way I was. I needed help. And help I got. A prescription of 25mg of fluoxetine was put in my hands, and I was told to make an appointment with a counsellor at the surgery. 15 minutes later I was on my way home, partly relieved that he didn't dismiss my condition but also scared. 

I knew I couldn't keep it a secret from you guys. So I sat down and wrote a blog post about my experience. It's incredibly raw and honest. You can read that blog post here. I can't remember the rest of that day to be honest. It's all a bit of a blur. I remember being frightened that I was going to be taken away and locked up for admitting I had something wrong with my mental health. Of course, that wasn't the case. 


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

10 Problems Only People Who Dye Their Hair Bright Colours Will Understand

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It's been a while since I wrote about anything other than mental health. I know that's what I'm kind of known for now, but I had this post idea come to my mind one day, probs when I was in the shower, and I was like yes, this is quality content, I need to whack out this post. 

Mental health awareness is so important don't get me wrong, but I'm not just a noisy, angry mental health campaigner all the time, I do have other interests. Dying my hair is one of them. Don't threat I'm not going back to my cringey beauty blogging days #RIPthriftyvintagefashion but ya know I thought it's good to break up the seriousness of my blog from time to time with a bit of light hearted fun.

I've been dying my hair for around four years now. I've been golden blonde, dark brown, black, auburn, bleached blonde, an amalgamation of those whose colours in one. I have also dip dyed my hair green and purple. It's safe to say I have my fair share of hair dying experience, however, it wasn't till I decided I wanted to experiment with unnatural colours that I unveiled a whole can of worms which come with dying your bright hair colours, I naively had no idea about. 


Sunday, 18 June 2017

Fashion To Die For

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On the 24th April 2013, 1,129 people died, and 2,500 were injured when a building called Rana Plaza collapsed in Bangladesh. This eight-floor building collapsed despite numerous safety concerns about appearing cracks in the walls from the workers. Their worries were ignored, and they were sent back into the building to carry on working.

The top three floors were added without permission. This extra pressure upon the already unstable foundations contributed to collapse during the morning rush hour. 5,000 people mainly women were employed in this factory. These women were not just women they were wife's, daughters and mothers. They slaved away for an unprecedented amount of hours, in unsafe working conditions for minimum pay just so they could make your clothes and feed their families. The clothes you buy from the likes of Primark, Matalan and Mango. 

On a tragic day in 2013, hundreds of kids were made orphans. Hundreds of women suffered life-changing injuries, and all the workers lost their job. Their only source of income that was paying for the food they give their children. That £5 Primark dress doesn't sound so appealing now does it? 


Wednesday, 31 May 2017

My Favourite Films Which Accurately Represent Mental Illness

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I love watching films. It's definitely one of my few methods of 'self-care' I use to make myself feel better when I'm having a rubbish day. I like all genres of film really. I love horror and thrillers to distract me and give me that artificial anxiety, if you like, which I like because it's controlled compared to real anxiety I experience in panic attacks, which I have little control over. I love comedy's and Disney films to make me laugh, and I also love films about mental illness. 

When done right, films about mental illness can be fantastic. Mental health is such an important topic, which we all need to be talking about. However, sometimes you need to implement it within mass media to get people's attention. I mentioned this in my post all about TV and mental health, which you can read here. It's the same with film. To get people's attention and get meaningful conversations started you need to target what people know already. Far fewer people will watch a documentary about mental health than the number of individuals who will see a blockbuster movie, with a lead actor which focuses on mental health in some kind as a theme throughout.

There are a lot of films out there which really don't do mental health justice. They inaccurately display mental illness in some way which subsequently adds to the stigma. However, there are some films which do an excellent job. These films need more recognition and acknowledgement, which is why I'm sharing three of my favourites with you today. I hope you enjoy.


Tuesday, 30 May 2017

10 Things You Will Understand If You Struggle With a Mental Illness

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One in four people struggles with their mental health, in any given year. That statistic is so well known now it has almost lost its meaning. Sometimes you will never know what it is truly like to struggle with a mental illness until you have been through it yourself or watched a loved one go through it. The media, mental health charities and bloggers can throw stats at you left, right and centre all day long about how many people struggle with a mental illness, etc. but I truly believe you will only understand what it's really like to suffer from a mental illness, once you are on the inside. 

I find comfort in talking to people who also struggle with their mental health or a mental illness, whether it is OCD or not. There is something magical and unifying about listening and sharing your problems with people who really understand because they have been through what you have been through. Even if it's a completely different mental health issue to what you struggle with, there are some very common problems and features, that nearly everyone will experience when they struggle with their mental health.

This leads me on nicely, to today's post. I often read Buzzfeed when I'm bored, I mean who doesn't? In particular, I love reading the articles or watching the videos about 'things you will understand if...' these are often quite trivial things. For example, things you will understand if you live in the south or things only girls understand, etc. I think the same can be applied to people with mental illness. Which is why I came up with this list of 10 things I know I have experienced through being mentally ill and I'm pretty sure others would have too. 


Monday, 29 May 2017

Blogging: Three Years On

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Just a little side note before I get started. This post isn't strictly about mental health although I am going to go through the highs and the lows of my blogging journey so far which includes mental health.

I've been blogging three years! Three years can you believe that? Like if my blog were a child then it would be walking, talking and probably being a right pain in the bum by now. My blog has come on leaps and bounds over the last three years, more so in the last six months. There have been highs and lows. There's been changes in direction and a whole lot of content written.

It's so strange to think that such a large fragment of my life is documented online, for everyone to see and read? Isn't that kind of scary? I don't know about you, but that freaks me out. On this day, three years ago I decided to start a blog, and I'm still doing it three years later. I'm amazed at myself how I've kept going for so long, the time as flown by. I thought we would pause time today ( metaphorically speaking) and take a trip down good old memory lane to reflect on my blogging journey so far.


Sunday, 28 May 2017

Mental Illness And Labels: Helpful Or a Hindrance?

Mental Illness And Labels: Helpful Or a Hindrance?  mental health wellbeing support help OCD psychology depression anxiety time to change mind blogger UK

This isn't something I've really given much thought of before. That was until we studied, Rosenhan's study; on being sane in insane places (1973), in my psychology class. Rosenhan conducted two experiments. In the first one, he gave confederates, acting as pseudopatients the task of getting into a psychiatric hospital. They complained of hearing voices. In particular, hearing three words ' Hallow' 'empty' 'Thud', they reported no other symptoms. All eight of the patients were given the diagnosis of schizophrenia and admitted to hospital although this symptom alone is not enough for someone to be diagnosed with schizophrenia

Once the patients were in the hospital, they started to act as normal. They said they were fine and reported no symptoms. Yet on average, the number of days someone stayed was 19, with the most being 52 and the least being seven. While in the hospitals they took detailed notes about what they were observing and their experiences. Firstly in secret, but once they realised no one was fused, they did it in public. However, the nurses in the hospital saw this behaviour as a symptom of their disorder calling it excessive writing. They also believed queuing for lunch was unusual and another symptom of their disorder.

In the second experiment, Rosenhan said he was going to send pseudopatients to the hospitals, and they should look out for them. 193 were reported as fake by at least one member of staff. Yet, Rosenhan sent no pseudopatients. In experiment one they made a type one error; diagnosing healthy people as sick and in study two a type two error; diagnosing ill people as healthy. You may be wondering what on earth has this got to do with mental illness and labels, but let me explain.


Saturday, 27 May 2017

My Mental Health Goals

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I'm not a very goal oriented person usually. I'm more of an ' I'll just do my best, and that's all I can do' kind of person. Which if you ask me, there is nothing wrong with that at all. Try telling my teachers that though! Ha! Most assume that because I'm predicted an A that's what I'll get at the end of the two years of A levels. Not taking into consideration any personal or emotional factors which may hinder my success.

What is success anyway? Like seriously. Am I only worth the letters on a piece of paper? Is my value just a percentage or success rate? I'm a figure at the end of the day, to my college. The more people who go to top universities, the better the college looks. That's all they care about at the end of the day. At college, they consistently set us targets and goals to achieve. Most of which I ignore and forget about.

I will always do the best I can on the day. That means sometimes I will underachieve and sometimes I will overachieve. That's just how it is, but I will always do my best. Nothing becomes before my mental health and wellbeing. Although I do not like educational goals, I do think it's important to set goals relating to your mental health. *Segway into the point of this post* Which is why I thought I would share with you, a little update on how I'm doing with my mental health and what I'm hoping to achieve in the future.


Friday, 26 May 2017

What I Wish My Friends Knew About My Struggle With Mental Illness

What I Wish My Friends Knew About My Struggle With Mental Illness depression OCD anxiety help support panic attacks uni school teenager mental health wellbeing

 For all those lessons I've walked out of. For all those days where I've blanked you and for all those where I have been so hyper I've been bouncing off the walls. I'm sorry. For the times you saw me cry my eyes out over nothing or the times I've been too anxious, too out of touch with reality, to understand what's going on around me. I'm sorry. 

I'm not a reliable or dependent friend. As Forest Gump once said; life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get. I guess I'm that box of chocolates. You don't know if first thing on Monday morning, I'm going to be happy and cheery or coming in crying from a panic attack. You don't know if by Wednesday I will talk to you or if I'll blank you yet again. 

Most people have mastered the art of hiding and covering up emotions in public places. If they are feeling sad or anxious, they will push it under the carpet until they are home and cry there. But not me. When you struggle with your mental health, there comes a time where you get sick of putting on a play every day to fit in with everyone else because that's what you think you have to do. Because that's what others do.


Thursday, 25 May 2017

Why It Is Okay To Put Your Mental Health First, Over University

Why It Is Okay To Put Your Mental Health First, Over University college uni tips advice mental illness wellbeing depression anxiety panic attacks eating disorders OCD

University! The thing that is at the centre of my nightmares most evenings! Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating slightly, but seriously university scares the hell out of me! Even without my OCD, I don't think uni is for me. Like seriously, uni and I just won't mix! Alcohol, sharing things with other people, loud music, late nights, vomit- the list could go on! Let's be Frank here; it's not going to be for me!

I know that university isn't right for me now, and I still have a year before I go. Unfortunately, some people won't realise that university might not be for them until they are actually in the middle of it. Whether that be because of stress, homesickness or the onset of a mental illness. Mental illness can hit anyone at any point in your life. Including while you are at university. Mental illnesses are very likely to occur while you are university due to the large amounts of things happening all at once and it just being a huge period of transition for you. 

Someone who knows, all too well what is like to struggle with a mental illness at University is Sophie. I am so proud of Sophie for sharing her story, as I am sure SO many of you will be able to relate to her experience. University isn't for everyone. Sometimes it is but your mental health gets in the way, and your studies need to be put on hold. That's totally okay! You should not feel guilty for putting your mental health or physical health first above a degree! I hope you enjoy reading Sophie's experience as part of mental health awareness month. 


Wednesday, 24 May 2017

30 Things I Have Learnt From Struggling With My Mental Health

30 Things I Have Learnt From Struggling With My Mental Health Depression anxiety OCD panic attacks help support mind time to change wellbeing blogger UK

Struggling with your mental health or being diagnosed with any mental illness is often perceived as being a very negative thing. Which yes, I completely can understand why. I wouldn't wish any mental illness upon my worst enemy. OCD, depression and anxiety from my experience are hell. OCD, in particular, has ruined and ruled my life. It's stopped me doing the things I loved and left me in a constant state of heightened anxiety.

However, mental illness is not a choice. Contrary to what some people think. Therefore, because I didn't decide to have a mental illness one day, I have to accept and deal with the fact that I'm part of the one in four club, the best that I can. Struggling with any mental illness is never easy. Understatement of the year there. 

But on a serious note, it's a huge learning curve for anyone. I've developed a lot as a person because of what I've been through. I've learnt a lot, through the years of struggling with my mental health. Both positives and negatives. However, I firmly believe that in every negative, a positive can be found. Without going through the debilitating lows, I wouldn't be passionate as I am today about ending the stigma around mental health and supporting those who also struggle daily with their own battles. That's got to be a positive right? 


Tuesday, 23 May 2017

EMDR Therapy | What Is It And How It Benefited My Mental Health

EMDR Therapy | What Is It And How It Benefited My Mental Health CBT OCD PTSD panic attacks phobia help support depression anxiety mental illness wellbeing

If someone told me that I would be paying £60 to watch a butterfly go back and forth on a screen for an hour a half every week, I would think you are joking but in reality that is actually what I do. EMDR is a type of therapy used for the treatment of a range of mental illnesses including PTSD, phobias and OCD. I have used EMDR therapy for my OCD since the start of the year, and I have found it particularly successful.

So what actually is EMDR? EMDR stands for eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing. Which I know sounds dead confusing and complicated but let me break it down a bit. The idea of EMDR is to change the way the brain thinks by reprocessing old memories which are particularly stressful or distressing. By working through them with a trained professional, EMDR helps you change the way you interpret the memory with the aim of making in just an ordinary memory and not one that scares you.

This is why EMDR is particularly useful for people with PTSD or who've developed phobias after particularly stressful events in their life's as it allows you to rewrite them if you like and understand how and why they've developed. By changing the unconscious mind, you can change the way the conscious mind understands these memories. I've not heard many people talk about EMDR in the mental health blogging community which is why I thought I would share my experiences today.


Monday, 22 May 2017

Why We All Have Beautiful Minds

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I was in two minds about writing this post, and I definitely had no idea what I should call it. If you didn't know, I don't just blog about mental health, I also run my own business; Beautiful Minds. Beautiful Minds is a shop selling mental health awareness products which include stickers, prints and in the very near future a magazine, written by fellow mental health bloggers and individuals who struggle with some form of mental illness. 

The aim of this business is to spread awareness, support and reduce the stigma around mental health. After experiencing the mental health stigma myself and struggling with OCD, depression and anxiety for quite a few years without getting any help, I decided that this isn't right. Mental health is just as important as physical health, yet a stigma around mental health exists but not physical health? I don't think I will ever be able to understand this. 

We all have beautiful Minds. 

Even those with mental illnesses. 


Sunday, 21 May 2017

How I Cope With Bad Mental Health Days

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Bad mental health days suck. There is no denying that. No one wants to feel rubbish all day, I know I definitely don't. We all have good days, and we all have bad days, that is just part of being human. But when you struggle with mental health problems your bad days can seem a million times worse. 

These days can be really hard. They have you feeling like you want to keep up and live in a hole forever. I know this is how they make me feel most of the time. However, you can get through them. You just have to find the right strategies to cope and help you push through the hardest and darkest of times.

To deal with these bad days, it's paramount that you find a few ways which you know help boost your mood and get you out of this negative state of mind. Obviously, they are not always going to work. Life is unpredictable, and sometimes it can be really horrible. On those days no amount of funny TV or chocolate will make a difference. However, I think it's always worth having a few strategies up your sleeve if you need them. To help you find what works for you, I thought I would share with you what I do on a bad mental health day. I hope you find this useful. 


Saturday, 20 May 2017

My Relationship With Social Media And My Mental Health

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I want to say I've grown up with the internet but technically I haven't. When I was younger, the internet wasn't really a thing. I grew up in a time where the only device connected to the internet was a huge computer in the office that you played computer games on. If you so dared as to go on to the internet you were faced with the screeching racket that was dial up. The actual pain was unbearable.

As I got older, technology progressed, so did the internet and along came social media. I was a little bit too young for MySpace or Bebo but I remember vividly creating my Facebook and Twitter accounts for the first time. Little did I know that they would take up such a massive part of my life all these years later. Then came Instagram, Snapchat and all the others who made a considerable effort but failed.

All these years later, social media is part of my job, I guess. If I want to get my voice heard in this fast paced industry, I have to tweet, post and share my life online. I have to promote my latest articles and posts. Share what I'm up to on Instagram stories and make sure I tweet and interact with everyone regularly. If I don't, I'll lose my place in this ever expanding community.

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