Saturday, 26 November 2016

The Body Positivity Tag!

Hi guys,

So if you haven't seen Michelle's Body Positivity tag, please give it a watch. Below is my response and I'm encouraging as many of you as possible to get involved! Film a video response, write a blog answering the questions, do an Instagram post answering them or even just a tweet answering one question. Let's get Body Positivity trending!





Visit my Twitter to see who I tagged but please do get involved in this in any way you can!


Love H
xxx

Sunday, 21 August 2016

I've started a YouTube Channel on Body Positivity!

Hi Guys!

Below is the first video I've uploaded to my YouTube Channel which is an extension of my blog really! I'm hoping to film lots of videos on Body Positivity and things that relate to it such as Intuitive Eating, self care and talking about clothing sizes etc.

Hope you like it!





Lots of love,
xxx


Saturday, 20 August 2016

You will never look 18 again...

And that is totally okay.

Two things happened this last fortnight which got me thinking about how things change in life and how your appearance changes; both in ways you sometimes can't control and maybe don't want to control again. 

The first:
I was having a spring clean of my room and whilst I was doing this I had one of those weird epiphany moments. On a mirror in my room I have photos of me with family and friends stuck all around it. I looked at myself in these photos, I mean I really looked at myself; then back at my reflection in the mirror and as cliché as it sounds, I suddenly realised that I don't look like that girl anymore. I took one of the photos down and just couldn't believe how different I looked in it. I was 18 years old, tanned, fairly toned, a size 8/10 and despite the big smile stretched across my face, I remember that I was very unhappy. 

The second:
I went to the counter of a well know French beauty brand to buy a mascara. The assistant seemed fairly friendly; she looked at my eyelashes and made a recommendation; I said I said yes that's great, thanks etc. but the conversation then took a dive; she said "you know, just looking at your eyes, you have a few fine lines around them and I think you would really benefit from an anti-wrinkle cream"; I laughed and told her my age thinking it was a joke, but no, she was actually serious; she then proceeded to tell me that an anti-wrinkle cream "could take five years off" me. 
I was flabbergasted. 
I'm not sure if it's just me but I didn't think it was the ultimate ambition of most 23 year old women to look 18 again. 
The whole encounter just annoyed me really.




So how do these two events link? 
Well I think they both made me realise that I will never look like the girl in those photos stuck on my bedroom mirror ever again. Fact. Because things change you. Things happen that you never even expected and once they've happened you cant go back. This is on both a deeper emotional level and on a more obvious physical level. They also made me realise how far I have come in reaching body acceptance and the profound effect this has had on my life.

After my mirror moment I had a little dig through my photos and found the below pictures. The first which I'll call the "before" was taken before a night out when I was 18 on my gap year. The second photo, the "after", was taken just a few nights ago after I'd passed my driving test (Ahhhhhhhh!).

My "before" and "afters":



There's no getting away from it; I look different.
In the "before" I'm wearing a size 8 dress and the in "after" a size 14. In the second photo I look a bit older than in the first, a tad (okay a lot) paler, less toned, I have more boobs, bigger hips etc.
Just different really.

I'm guessing these photos probably look wrong to some of you reading this, like they're not in the right order? As a society obsessed with bodily perfection we're almost conditioned to expect that the "before" photo will show an overweight, miserable woman and the "after" a sparkly, thin, happy woman.
People are quick to judge. Many would probably say I look "better" in the first photo but what people don't often see when they judge others on their appearance is what's behind the eyes of that person.

So let me tell you what's behind the eyes of my 18 year old self and the person I am today. What the "before" and  "after" of a journey towards self-acceptance looks like. 
Albeit eyes with fine lines...

The "before":
I was obsessed with my appearance. My thought process went like this: 
Do people think I'm "thin" or "fat"? Do people think I'm pretty? How many calories are in a pack of sushi? Oh my god my arse is enormous! Do men find me attractive? If I eat this yoghurt will I go over my calorie allowance for the day? Shit I need to lose 20 pounds before that party/date/my sister's wedding/I let the man I like see me naked. I wonder if I could get the fat sucked out of my bum and injected into my bee-stings? Am I tanned enough? Does my outfit look okay? Does my hair look good? Does my make-up look good? Do I look good?
Basically; am I good enough?

I was so wrapped up in my physical self I failed to make the right choices for myself and take responsibility for my own life. I was forever doing what other people thought I should do and not trusting my own intuition.
I started my degree a year after that first photo and didn't enjoy it because I had no interest or energy for anything other than my pursuit for perfection. I did fairly well in my 1st year of uni but I knew I wasn't reaching my full potential. I had no real hobbies or interests. In fact, my main hobbies were baking myself on sunbeds, applying fake tan or flicking through magazines that rated/slated celebrity bodies. I've always been lucky in that I'm surrounded with amazing people that love and support me but I feel like I neglected them. I was never really "present" in my relationships. Instead of watching my nephews play, I was probably logging my calorie allowance on myfitnesspal.

I'm not going to lie, I actually feel ashamed writing that thought stream out. I would be thoroughly ashamed for anyone who knows me now but didn't know me "before" to meet that shallow, self obsessed person; but this was my reality and is the reality of so many women. 

The "after":
I'd say the turning point came on my 21st birthday. I looked around at my loving family and friends and felt that same shame I've just mentioned. Why shame? Well because I had been so obsessed with trying to "look my best" that I honestly feel I may as well have lived those years in a coma. I lived my life in a complete and utter haze. Moments to celebrate were losing weight, moments to despair were the times I felt unattractive.

The reality of my "after", of accepting myself and my body, has been life-changing. It has enabled me to take complete charge of my life.
I changed my course at uni to something I absolutely love and am incredibly passionate about. I'm doing better in my academic work because I'm actually interested in it now. I push myself in a productive way, going for any opportunity I can take. I have real hobbies and interests now; from things as light-hearted as baking, to blogging on serious issues like the one I'm discussing right now. I think about what's going on in the world because I truly care about other human beings. I question something other than how many grams of fat are in an avocado and am capable of feeling more than guilt for not exercising that day. When I get dressed in the morning I feel good about myself, not because I'm perfect, but because I accept who I am and everything I have to offer myself and other people. My relationships are real; there's no one in my life that doesn't add something to it and vice versa. Learning to drive recently and the freedom that has brought me was the cherry on the cake. I'm always busy doing something and I love that.

My life is full now.

So why this post; what's the point? 
I assure you, it's not to look back on photos of myself because I wanted to have a little Marcia Marcia Marcia moment. In all honesty, writing this post was actually quite a painful process. Looking back through old photos, there were times where I was thinner than the 1st image above and that makes me sad. I considered including them but decided against it because I look clearly unhealthy in them and "achieved" that body type through unhealthy means; I don't want to advocate any of that on my blog. All I remember when I look at those photos is feeling "fat" and "ugly". I was convinced that if I just lost weight, everything that was wrong in my life would be sorted.

Hand on heart; if Aladdin's Genie could click his magic fingers and take me back to my physical and mental self at 18 years old I would say thanks but no thanks. In the last 5 years yes I've gained a few pounds but I've gained a lot more than that. I actually like the person I am now and finally feel comfortable in my own skin. You can't even understand how amazing that feels until you start on your own self-acceptance journey. My eyes see the world in a different way than they used to and that's because I know now that looking thinner or younger isn't going to change your life. Whilst you are in this mindset you are wasting time; precious years you will never get back.

This socially constructed idea that women should try and "go back" to times where they looked thinner or younger is absurd to me now. The reality is that you will never be as you were at 18 because we are a specie that is forever evolving; both physically and mentally.
Ageing is a natural human process and no matter how many face creams you use or face-lifts you have, you'll never look exactly as you did in the past. The same goes for your body, no diet or exercise regime can wind back the clock and give you the body you had at 18. 

All of this naturally leads to a bigger question: Why? 
Why should women be forever striving to achieve something completely impossible, essentially to go back in time? I mean when you think about it, it's completely ridiculous isn't it? We are never allowed to enjoy ourselves as we are because we should always be striving to look how we used to look or as good as someone else looks. We are never just allowed to enjoy our bodies and live our lives as they are now. 

So I say stop. Stop putting pictures of yourself when you were "thin" on your fridge as motivation to get back to how you were. Look after your skin if it that's what you want to do, but don't buy into this idea that you will somehow be more attractive the younger you look. Live every moment in the present and not the past. Enjoy your life and enjoy your body. 

Most importantly, remember that you are enough right now. 



Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Body Positive Basics: What is Self Care and Why is it Important?

Hi Guys!

Today I thought I'd write a blog on self care; what it is, why it's important and what it has to do with Body Positivity. It's going to be the first part of a mini series on the basics of Body Positivity, basics that you can explore and then utilise in order to reach a point in which you start appreciating your beautiful body.

When I first gave up dieting and excessive exercising a couple of years ago, I wish I'd known what I know now about self care. It is a way of looking after your physical, mental and emotional health so you feel more balanced and able to take on the ups and downs of life, of which there are many on the journey towards self acceptance. People often think that going against the grain by choosing to accept your body and everything that might entail (ditching food and exercise plans, giving up dressing a certain way, abandoning grooming regimes etc.) is the easy option. However, the journey towards Body Positivity is far from easy and that is where self care rides in like a knight in shining armour. 

Body Positivity means different things for different people but for ease I'll discuss my own approach to it. For me, becoming Body Positive meant giving up obsessive calorie counting and exercising for ridiculous amounts of time to change my body i.e. to be thinner. It meant accepting my body, my size and my shape exactly as it is. When I did give up the beliefs that I needed to alter my body, it was a complete shock to the system.

When you give up dieting you realise how much time and brain space it takes up; calculating the caloric value of every element of your sandwich, going on a three hour bike ride, calculating your daily calorie deficit and consequently how long it will take you to lose 10 pounds. It goes on.
Hating your body and attempting to change it is a great distraction and when you give those things up you're left with real life; no distractions and no solutions. You realise that getting that thin body isn't a solution to the fact one of your relatives is sick, that you hate your job or that you've just had a shit day. 

So what do you do to feel better when negative thoughts, feelings or situations arise?

You look after yourself as best you know how. 

Self care is your own little toolbox of activities that make you feel good about yourself and ensure that you look after your own well-being. It can be something as simple as taking time to enjoy a coffee in the morning to perhaps something more extravagant such as buying yourself flowers. It can be a physical activity or something slightly deeper such as checking in on your emotions and acknowledging how you feel.


A plant I bought recently for my dressing table

To start out, write a list of things you love doing. Make sure they vary in ease and accessibility so that even if you just have a minute to yourself you have something planned such as deep breathing. This will be your own toolbox, unique to you.


As a neat freak and obsessively organised person I love writing a good list

If you need some inspiration I previously wrote a blog post on seven things that are good for the soul which basically gave a list of some of the more standard self care activities. Search Instagram using the hashtags #selfcare or #selfcaresunday. You can also search Google images for a million more ideas of course. However, here are some ways of looking after myself that I've been loving recently.

1. Exercise
I never (ever!) thought I'd type these words but I actually enjoy exercising now. I used to use exercise as a form of punishment, either for eating too much or to discipline my body because I thought it was the wrong size. Now I see exercise for what it is; the chance to look after my body and create balance of both body and mind. Interestingly enough, I now move my body for so many reasons but none of them are weight loss. Recently I've been walking my sister's Shih Tzu a fair bit, going swimming and on bike rides. Why don't you give one a go and see how you feel afterwards!


Walking the Shih Tzu

2. Craft
This is a more unusual one that you might not find in most self care suggestion lists. However, recently I've been restoring old bits of furniture and doing a couple of DIY projects as I plan to redecorate my room at the end of summer and thought it would be nice to have a few unique pieces to add to it. I've been painting an old metal mannequin, creating flower vases out of jam jars and turning cake tins into storage boxes ( I am planning on writing a blog piece to show you how I've done it once my room has been decorated so watch out for that!). Taking time out to be artistic enables you to be present, to be mindful of that current moment and it's incredibly satisfying. Why don't you see if you could restore some old furniture? Or perhaps take up knitting/painting/card making etc. Whatever you fancy! Enjoy the simple joy of being able to create something unique with your own bare hands.

The mannequin I've been repainting


3. Baths
Last but certainly not least is having a bath. It's one I've mentioned before but have to mention it again because, if I can, it's the first thing I will do to relax. I think it's because you can incorporate so many other self care activities into it. When I have a bath I like to read or listen to music, use an indulgent bath bomb from Lush, do a face mask, have a nice hot drink (or a rum...) etc. Basically all of my favourite things. All of that takes care of the mental side of things and as for the physical, I think there's a real feel good factor in just lying there naked, really seeing all of your body. To pamper your body and see it in all its glory can be incredibly empowering. So make the time to have an indulgent bath; pick an amazing bath bomb, your current read and just enjoy relaxing.


Geneen Roth = widsom of the world


FYI: All the above photos are taken from my Instagram page, where I regularly post self care activities. 

So there you go, the basics of self care which in itself is a basic part of becoming Body Positive. I honestly believe that self care is the foundation of a happy heart and body acceptance. Self care is not  just something you engage in only when you've encountered something negative, it is a daily commitment to yourself to look after your own interests.

Self care is not a luxury, it is not an indulgence; it is absolutely necessary.






Wednesday, 22 June 2016

That Girl Looks Like A Vampire...

Moi?

So I'm really pale. 
You know, the kind of pale that means when I pick a foundation I go straight for the lightest shade and it's still way too dark for me. The kind of pale where facial features such as my nose disappear when I take a photo in full daylight. The kind of pale where if I don't wear a full face of make-up people ask me if I'm 'okay' or if I am 'ill'. The one that bothers me most however, is that I'm so pale people often feel the need to comment (quite loudly) on how pale I am and I have been referred to as a vampire on more than once occasion.

I began using fake tan at the age of 11 and what started out as quite an innocent desire to get a 'natural glow' turned into the most ridiculous obsession. By the age of 19 I was fake tanning every single night without fail. Various life events happened which started me on my Body Positive journey (talked about in more detail here) and the bottle of fake tan got left behind with the 4 hour bike rides and obsessive calorie counting. 

Loving Fake Tan back in Barcelona 2013


Fast forward 4 years and I can honestly say that I thought I had cracked the whole self-acceptance thing. I can say confidently that I really do love my body; my shape, my size and my clichéd 'perfect imperfections'. I thought that included my pale skin too, but alas I was wrong.

For reasons I struggle to understand, today I walked to the beauty salon in my village, went in and paid £3 for the pleasure of lying on a sunbed for 6 minutes. It was done in a haze, kind of like when I used to cram a handful of marshmallows in my mouth to numb the fact that I hated my body and to put off the inevitable guilt I knew I'd feel about ruining my diet (yet again). Lying on that sunbed today reeked not only of my burning flesh, but of the days where I would only eat a pack of sushi for the entirety of the day because somehow, somewhere, I had been led to believe that mantras like 'no pain no gain' and 'there's no beauty without pain' were truths.  

I thought I'd quashed these ridiculous notions when I started my Body Positive journey. However, lying there on that scorching hot sun-bed and trying not to think about Final Destination 3, I realised the obvious. Body Positivity isn't just about weight, shape or size. It's about accepting every element of your physical and mental self and to be perfectly honest, it's bloody hard. I had to question my beliefs about why I think I look 'better' tanned. The top three flawed beliefs were as follows:

1. You look slimmer with a tan.
2. You look more attractive when you're tanned.
3. You look healthier when you have a tan.

There. Right there.
The three things women have drummed home to them every single day. Every time they watch television, open a magazine, see an advert on the bus. Women must be slim. Women must be attractive. Women must look healthy, regardless of whether or not they're putting their body through gruelling diet and exercise regimes or burning their skin on sunbeds to do so. As long as we look healthy doing it, that's all that matters. 

Media and advertisement brainwashing aside, what do these three these things have in common? 
They are all subjective.
None of these are facts, truths or realities. Not one. 

They are beliefs; socially constructed ideas about what it is that makes a person attractive.

When you think about it though, I mean really think about it, it's absolutely nuts. We go to the lengths of actually changing our skin colour because society sends out messages that this is what must be done to be sexually attractive. Frankly, it's absolute madness. 

Perspective is important however. Am I saying that when I go on holiday I will smother myself in SPF 50 and hide from the sun at all costs? Or that I will never wear fake tan again? No. I like to compare this situation to the outlook I have on food and exercise nowadays. Deciding not to go on that walk you said you would go on, just because you're feeling a bit lazy, isn't going to do any harm in the grand scheme of things. Just like eating a slice of birthday cake at someone's party, when you're not particularly hungry, isn't. I believe wearing fake tan to get a bit of a glow for a special occasion is A-OK if that's what you like. As is sunbathing sensibly on holiday. What concerns me however, is that there are young women out there taking it to the extremes, as I once did. Fake tanning every single night or doing permanent and serious damage to your skin on sun-beds is where I draw the line. That's because I believe that such extreme behaviour comes from a deep belief that because you are not tanned/thin/pretty enough, you are not good enough.

So many women think they're 'ugly' because they do not conform to the harsh expectations demanded of them by society, but I know now that it is society that's ugly.

So thank you to the two girls last week that said I was so pale I looked like a vampire. Thanks to that annoying relative that said I always look pasty. Thanks to all those adverts that tell women they can only be considered attractive if they have a certain skin tone and that being attractive is the be all and end all of existing in this world. Thank you truly for your concern, but I think I'll stick with the colour my skin was meant to be, even if half my face does do a disappearing act on snapchat...


Friday, 29 January 2016

I'm backkkk...

Hey guys!

So as you know I created a "new blog" before Christmas on Wordpress. I thought this would be really professional and exciting, but it's just not turned out like that. I didn't like the layout, found it hard to use etc. But the main reason I'm back here is because a lot of people were still coming to this blog and for me personally, writing on it feels like coming home. Cheesy but true!

I'm in my 3rd year of uni so things are really hectic but I do plan to start posting fairly regularly. In the mean time, if you're on Twitter and Instagram, start following me because I post daily!



Stay tuned!

Love, H x

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

"Rape-y" Songs...

So, I was in the car, happily driving to Uni when Chris Brown's latest tune "Back To Sleep" comes on the radio. Cue inspiration for a blog post.

Before I start talking about songs that advocate rape, let me just run some of the lyrics by you. 
The main chorus goes something like this:

"Just let me rock, fuck you back to sleep girl
Don't say a word no, don't you talk
Just hold on tight to me girl"

This is bad enough for me because it implies that women don't need to say a word; because after all, sex is entirely about male pleasure right? 

I really hope you understand sarcasm people, because this post is going to be dripping with it.

But alas, back to the song which actually gets worse if that's even possible:

"I know you're almost half asleep but you know I might need ya
Girl I need ya, oh"

Oh right, sorry Chris, if you need me that's OK then. It doesn't matter that I'm half asleep, of course not, why would it?
I don't know about you, but I always thought it was more fun for both parties when a woman was actually conscious during sex. Maybe that's just me? 

Then it just gets plain stalkerish:

"But if you keep the door unlocked, be ready, oh
I know you got work pretty early, I'll be around by 3:30
Usually you're done by one, so baby when I wake you up..."

Ladies, be warned: Chris knows your entire daily routine so if you leave your door unlocked, be ready... even though you'll most likely be asleep. But fear not, Chris is here to "fuck you back to sleep, ohhh".  

Okay so let's just draw a line under all this sarcasm and get to the point, which is serious I promise.

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Sorry before the serious bit, can we all just laugh at Chris Brown's cover photo for the single. Let's just take a moment to crease at his silly pose and jacket. 


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So onto that serious note.

The thing is, I just don't understand why music like this is allowed to be produced when the rape references are so explicit. I think part of the problem is that songs are often sold to people by the tune. This is exactly what happened to me with Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams' "Blurred Lines". It is undeniable that the tune is catchy. So much so, I found myself singing along to it for days when it was first released; until I saw all the controversy. It's only then, when you break down the song and see the lyrics for what they are, that you realise through music you're advocating an act which is absolutely abhorrent in any other context. 

This story has been covered a lot but to refresh your memory; the chorus of "Blurred Lines" consists of the following lines, repeated over and over again as if to drum in the message:

"I hate these blurred lines 
I know you want it"

Which is later followed by lines like:

"I'll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two"


So we all know that shit like this is not okay, no matter how catchy the tune.


One of my main worries is for young girls listening to songs like "Blurred Lines" or "Back To Sleep", because songs like this promote a concerning attitude to sexual relationships and the issue of consent. 
The really sinister thing about Chris Brown's song is that the woman in it isn't even conscious. This has horrible connotations of the suffering women endure through date rape drugs; I can't even imagine how it must feel to know you have been sexually assaulted but not remember. So to make a song about half-asleep women being "fucked" is worrying to say the least. 
Songs like "Blurred Lines" trivialise the issue of consent. No means no and there's nothing else to say on that.

People might argue that by discussing Chris Brown and his terrible song that I'm drawing attention to it, promoting it even, but I believe that until we start talking about this issue, nothing will change. Rape isn't going to go away but maybe by discussing it, some of the bad attitudes towards it will. Maybe more women will feel like they will be "believed" when they report a sexual assault. Maybe more women will feel confident enough to recognise what has happened to them was wrong and the perpetrator should be punished for it. 

Ultimately, what it comes down to is that rape is rape; there are no "Blurred Lines". 

So let's start singing about that. 

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Suffragette


"Never surrender, never give up the fight"


This weekend I went to see the film Suffragette. I'm sure most of you have heard of it or at least have some idea of what it's about, but for those of you that don't; the film depicts the early suffrage movement of the 1910's involving a group of working class women. The plot centres on Maud Watts, a fictional character who embodies the hardships a majority of women at the time had to endure. The film focuses on a number of important issues including the plight of working class women, female rights over their children at the time and it also alludes to the issue of sexual abuse. I don't actually want to go too much into the film because I think it's so brilliant you should just go and see it for yourself and I'm not aiming for this to be a film review - I want this to be more a collection of thoughts and feelings on the film and where women stand today.



 I'd been looking forward to the film's release for a long time, because learning about the suffrage movement of the early 20th century when I was in high school was where my interest in feminism and gender equality began. I knew I'd love the film and that it would be an incredibly moving and powerful story, but I wasn't expecting the reaction I actually had to it which was a very emotional one. I can't even tell you how many times I teared up during the film and by the end of it the tears were streaming down my face.

 I think what was so striking about the story was the portrayal of  just how hard women's lives were in comparison to today. I'm not saying we've reached absolute gender equality worldwide, but I can't help feel so incredibly blessed that I am alive in Britain in 2015 and not 1915.

I am a young woman that has control of my own money. I am being educated at a university where my views are respected as equal to my male classmates. Next year I will graduate and be able to apply to any job I desire. I can live on my own (well, perhaps with a cat or two). I'm not being forced by my father to marry and have children at a young age. 

Above all else, I have a say in what happens politically; I have the right to vote. 
Watching women like Maud Watts (played by Carey Mulligan) imprisoned, force fed and beaten during their quest to secure the vote, something which is today considered a basic human right, was both disturbing and humbling for me. That I believe is part of the film's magic; this film is a reminder of what women endured so we could vote today and that is what makes it such an incredibly powerful experience, because sadly we often take our right to vote for granted today.

I remember just after the UK election earlier this year I was in a seminar class where we were discussing the outcome of the election and one girl in the class said she "didn't get all this politics stuff", that she had no interest in it at all and that she hadn't voted. I never want to come across as being harsh on someone, especially another woman, but I do vividly remember feeling really sad for her. I think I felt so strongly because I knew she wasn't the only young woman, or man for that matter, that felt disillusioned with today's politics. The channel e4 actually shut down on voting day to encourage its viewers, primarily young adults, to go and vote.

Whether people didn't vote because they couldn't be bothered, they didn't think it would change anything or because this man/plonker told them not to...


Seeing this film only strengthened my opinion that even if it doesn't go your way, at least you've had your say. I do feel our voting system needs a lot of change but by voting your voice is heard. My right to vote is one of the most powerful rights I feel I have and I am eternally grateful to those women for what they went through to get it. Of course their achievement runs so much deeper than attaining the right to vote; it changed the way women were seen in the world. It ensured women were not just seen as wives or mothers, but human beings in their own right. 



I am well aware that I am lucky: I'm lucky to have been born into a democratic country, with access to education and to have been raised by parents who encouraged and supported me and my sisters. I say this because not only does "Suffragette" make you grateful to be alive today, it also reminds us that there are still places in the world where many women do not have the freedom I am blessed with. After the final scene of the film, a timeline is shown of when different countries gave women the right to vote. Shockingly there are countries in the world where women didn't get the vote until recently and there's some countries where women are still struggling for this right. 

There are women in this world that are still being forced to marry men they don't know or even their rapist to avoid "family shame", there are women that can't leave the house without a male chaperone, women that can't hold a driving license or even choose what they wear. 


I think that's what it all comes down to; choiceI am lucky in that I choose a great deal of what happens in my life and that choice feels so incredibly valuable to me after watching this film. But until every woman in this world has that power to choose, the job started by the women's suffrage movement is not yet finished. 

"The Cause" goes on. 

Monday, 8 June 2015

Seven things that are good for the soul!

So exams are finally over and that's my second year of university all finished which is really exciting, but also really scary thinking that this time next year I'll finally be graduating. Then it's going to be all about job hunting in that big, bad, adult world. Scary stuff.

Anyway, enough of the serious talk. Today I wanted to write a really light hearted post about self-care. Self-care is basically a term for doing things that make you feel good; things that are "good for the soul" or just keep you plain sane in times of stress (i.e. revising for exams). It's so important to look after yourself so you're less likely to turn to unhealthy habits to soothe any discomfort. Making the time to do little things for yourself each day can really add up and improve your mindset. 

With that said, here are seven of my favourite things I to do to look after myself:


1. Cook a New Meal
I'm not sure if it's just because I personally enjoy cooking and baking, but I really do think there's nothing more satisfying than cooking a new meal from scratch. There's something so rewarding about going out, acquiring the ingredients, following a recipe and creating an entirely new taste experience. It can take up as much or as little time as you want and the same of course goes for cost. You can cook for yourself, for your partner or your entire family, whatever you fancy. 
I've spent so much time in Greece I like to think of myself as an honorary Greek citizen and that of course means I love Greek food. This weekend I went to an amazing Greek restaurant with my entire family for a Greek banquet and the food was absolutely amazing! I've attempted a few dishes previously but have never made Beef Stifado, which is one of may favourites "When in Rome Greece" and it's now on the top of my hit list to cook next.



2. Tea
It might be a British thing, but the comforting feeling a hot cup of tea gives you can't be denied. Whether it's your typical English Breakfast tea or something more exotic; green tea, vanilla tea, peppermint tea etc. It really is like a hug in a mug. Put it in a pretty cup and saucer or your favourite mug and enjoy!
 Mine is a standard English tea, with lots of milk and a pinch (yes a pinch) of sugar, please. Oh and I'll have a chocolate Hob Nob with it if you're offering.



3. Do something that makes you feel good about your appearance
Of course I know that appearances aren't everything, but things like a bright shade of lipstick or a dress you feel amazing in can really brighten your day. Or even something like wearing beautiful underwear in the most humdrum, everyday-life situations. There's nothing more uplifting and slightly amusing than sitting in a lecture or at work knowing you're wearing the most spectacular underwear. No one is going to see it but that doesn't matter. It's not for a man or for anyone else, it's solely for you. Only you will know how exquisite you look underneath your clothes and that's enough to leave a little smile on your face and a spring in your step. Trust me and try it ladies. 



4. Reading 
It's hardly surprising this is one made the list with me being an English student, but I don't really sit around reading Shakespeare in my spare time...
I recommend that you find a genre you love and completely devour it. If for example you like Romance books, look on Amazon top sellers, buy three or four books and really get into them. I love books and always have because stories are such powerful things. They have the ability to take you to another world, but they also open your mind up to how other people think which is a valuable life skill.
I personally enjoy books on body image, women in the media and anything on "New Feminism". I've just started a book by Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project. The book itself is called "Everyday Sexism" and I'm only two chapters in but I really recommend it. This woman talks a lot of sense and I think that I'm slightly in love with her. I'm also thinking of writing a post about my favourite books on body image, eating disorders, anti-diets etc. so keep a look out for that.



5. Have an amazing bath, with bubbles, candles and music
 This can seem like a bit of an effort when you're short on time but make the time and make the effort, because you deserve it. Pick your favourite music, a scented candle, settle down and relax. 
I love Yankee candles and my favourite bath products are basically anything from Lush, because they're natural and most importantly they don't test on animals. If you haven't bought anything from Lush before I suggest a bubble bar!
If you have the time, turn that bath into a pamper session. After a bath I love smothering myself head to toe in moisturiser. I'm not talking about a light lotion here people, I'm talking about that rich body butter in a tub that leaves you so slippery you feel like a wet seal sliding around your bed. No really.



6. Take on a new challenge
As I write this, I've just got back from my first ever driving lesson. I figured at the ripe old age of 22 it was about time I started learning to drive. It was so scary but so exciting and it's all I can think about now. Starting a completely new challenge can be so refreshing and really give you focus. It can be anything you fancy, learning to drive, starting a blog, learning a new language, learning to cook etc. Just choose something you've always wanted to do, but is also fairly realistic, and get stuck in because you never know where it may lead.



7. Family, friends and pets
Now this is a cheesy one, but nothing makes you feel better than spending time with your loved ones. I don't care if you don't have a "nuclear" family, if you consider your friends to be your only family, or even if it's just you and your cat against the world. Spend time with those people (+fur babies) and cherish them. We live in such a fast paced world we're all guilty of putting other things before our loved ones but it's never too late to start appreciating others. When I'm a bit down or stressed having a good laugh with my family and friends is the best thing in the world.


 Also I'm sure you've guessed by now that I have cats. The number depends on if we've taken another stray into our make shift cat rescue centre, but that number stands at seven right now. 
This little man below is possibly the love of my life. His name is Teddy Bear in case you were wondering, but he goes by the name of Ted to those who know him best.



And that's a wrap.

I hope you guys enjoyed these tips. I wanted to include some more personal information about my life and the things I like to do because I don't want this blog to feel anonymous. I mean I'm discussing some pretty serious and personal stuff, like eating disorders and body image, and I want you to feel like you know a bit more about who I am.

With regards to future posts now I'm exam free (did I mention I've finished my exams?) I've got so many exciting ideas. I want to write articles about so called "plus-size" models, disparity in clothing sizes, books reviews and a lot more so stay tuned!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Sorry!

Hi guys, this is just a really quick post to explain my absence these past few weeks!

I have two weeks left before the end of my Uni exams and I'm currently in revision hell. I'm a hermit: A dressing gown wearing, chipped nailed, greasy haired, stressed and slobby hermit.

I finish on June 2nd and I promise after that I'm all yours. I have so many ideas for posts and I just can't wait to write them, so watch this space!

H x