Showing posts with label lbloggers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lbloggers. Show all posts

Thursday, 27 December 2018

A Look Back At My 2018 || Love, Happiness and Success.

So here we are again, at the end of another year and what a year it has been. Looking back to this time last year, so much has changed. As I read my post from last year, it becomes evident how much I have grown as a person. This time last year I was depressed, lonely, fearful for the future and in a constant state of anxiety. 2017 was one of the crappiest years of my life so far, but I knew 2018 would be good to me.

The year began with getting back into the dating scene. I downloaded Tinder, Bumble,, and OkCupid. I mainly got the apps to help me gain some confidence back and to talk to new people, not intending to actually meet up with someone. I went from app to app speaking to a handful of people, and much to my surprise I actually enjoyed it. After about a week I had nearly 2000 men matching with me on OkCupid; I knew that a good 95% of these men probably just wanted to have sex and then be done with me so I was not very hopeful with this large amount. However, after a week or two I finally plucked up the courage to meet up with someone and go on a date. We dated for about a month but it just didn't work out. We were both at different stages in life and it would not have worked out well in the long run. However it reminded me how much I actually enjoyed dating and getting to know someone.
After that little knock back, in an act of strong womanly independence I deleted all of the dating apps and decided to focus on myself. Safe to say this did not last long... about a week to be exact. I was laying in bed one morning whilst still on my Christmas break from University and I decided to re-download OkCupid. That evening I was round my friend Katie's house and we were swiping through the men. I came across someone called Bradley, who was 22 and lived about an hour or so away from me. He instantly jumped out to me as someone I wanted to get to know. I vaguely remember saying to Katie how much I loved his smile and the fact he smiles with his eyes... you know, when they have that little twinkle.

The next day I was tidying my room, which I something I tended to do at the end of every week in order to start fresh the next week, and an OkCupid message popped up on my phone. I dropped everything and opened up the message... it was from the nice smile and eyes guy, Bradley! We began chatting and just had a general conversation about our interests and what we are doing with our lives, to which my mum came upstairs to my room and asked me why I looked so happy. I told her about Bradley and showed her his profile. She gushed about how lovely he looked and said I should go out on a date with him.
After what happened with the previous guy, I was very apprehensive about going on a date straight away... well, fast forward to the next week where I was being treated like a princess at The Bloomsbury Hotel in London by Brad. I have honestly never felt so comfortable on a date, he made me feel like the luckiest woman on the planet. He reminded me of how I should be treated, it was the best first date I have ever had (and I have had a fair few now).

Anyway, the next couple of months were filled with some unforgettable dates which helped keep me sane whilst I got through the last few months of my degree. In March I handed in my dissertation and was on the last stretch of assignments and revision for my exams. In April, I officially finished my lectures and tutorials and it was now up to me to revise for a solid month before my exams. Every day I worked my butt off revising and I actually surprised myself with how much I knew. However, the panic of job hunting fully set in. I didn't want to be sitting at home all alone, job searching for hours on end after graduating.
One day I posted on LinkedIn asking if anyone was looking for someone to work in their digital marketing. Almost immediately after posting, I got a reply from someone redirecting me to a digital executive job at an independent media agency called The Specialist Works. After researching the company I decided that this was the place for me. I applied for the job and a day later I got a call asking for me to go in for an interview the next day. My first interview went really well and I was asked to go back the next day for round 2. I had to prepare a presentation and pitch my idea, this is definitely where I was grateful for all of the endless presentations I had to do at University. Later that day, I got the call to say that I got the job! MY FIRST EVER JOB! I honestly could not believe it. I went home and cried with happiness for hours. To add to this happiness, my sister and her boyfriend also got engaged. It finally felt like life was falling into place. However, reality hit me and I had to carry on revising for my exams. I did give myself a break from time to time, in the form of dates with Brad. We were now a couple of months into dating and it was pretty clear where it was heading.
On the 22nd of April we went on a little date in my local village to the Caves and for a picnic in the park. We spent hours laying on the grass chatting about god knows what, eating all the nibbles, having a few tins (classy) and getting attacked by dogs from all directions. It got to the end of the date and I was cuddling into him, everything felt ok again. I had spent the last 6 months feeling like I was the loneliest human and now finally it felt like I had someone. He told me to sit up and face him, he took my hands, told me to look into his eyes and popped the question... and of course I said yes. Well, actually I think I said something like "Ugh if I have to I suppose"... and that was the start of our relationship.

Moving into May, this was the month where my life was going to start changing. At the beginning of May I did my last few exams for my University degree, as well as my exam for my professional IDM Qualification, which I had been awarded a bursary for because of being in the top 10 students on my degree. Once all of this was over, I WAS FINALLY FREE! Three tough years of university had finally come to an end and it was such a bitter sweet moment. I celebrated both this and my 21st on the 19th of May by being surprised with tickets to one of my favourite musicals Wicked and a meal from Brad. We also went out for a family meal and cocktails in the evening after watching the Royal Wedding. It was the perfect day, the sun was shining, I felt the happiest I had felt in what felt like a year and I was surrounded by people who loved me.
Then on the 29th May, I started my job at TSW. I have never felt so nervous and excited in my life. It was mad to me that I hadn't even graduated yet and I had already started my full time job. It was tough and mentally straining because I didn't give myself a break from University but I am so glad I got a job straight away and started building my career. I have met so many lovely people at TSW, some of which I call my best friends (cough cough Lily). It has helped me grow as a person, I have learnt so much already and become an adult.
We are now in June and I'm sunning it up in Spain with my mum and dad. It's the world cup and spirits were high, everyone was happy! I was made even happier as I got an email from University saying that I had achieved a First Class Honours in BA Advertising and Marketing Communications at the University of Greenwich. I did it, I actually did it. Three very tough years of non stop tears after wanting to drop out within my first week. I actually did it even whilst battling with my depression and anxiety, alongside a tough year with my breakup and losing family and friends.

Fast forward to the 16th of July... Graduation day. The day I had been dreaming about since the start of my degree, I was determined to get to this day in my life. It was a boiling hot day, not ideal weather to be wearing a heat absorbing black gown and hat, but I did not let this stop me from having the best day. I was waiting in the chapel ready for the ceremony to begin, when my friend Kerry told me to look at the names of the award winning students in the program. I had only gone an won the Derek Holder Dissertation Prize for the best dissertation in the area of data driven and digital marketing. I had no idea that this was even a thing, let alone the fact that I had bloody won it! It was such a nice feeling to be awarded for something that I worked on for over a year and genuinely enjoyed writing. I am the crazy person who would quite happily do my dissertation all over again. My graduation day was the perfect end to my three years at Greenwich and I am so glad that I did end up sticking it out.
The next few months are pretty much taken up by work, work and more work. I was developing my role and finally beginning to feel part of the company. However after a busy few months, I needed a break. So, I decided to book a little weekend away for myself and Brad which you can read about here. Bath is hands down one of the prettiest places I had visited in the UK and I would quite happily rush back there tomorrow.

September, October, November and December all blurred into one. Work was especially busy at this time so I didn't really do much more with my life. My relationship with Brad was getting stronger by the second and life was all go, go, go. Christmas this year was perfect, the day was spent with family and I have well and truly recharged my brain (which was massively needed).

Although many momentous occasions happened for me this year, a lot of other events happened. I went to a handful of concerts such as; Dodie, Harry Styles, Enrique Iglesias, Carrie Hope Fletcher, West End Does events, Heathers the Musical, Wicked, wined and dined as Brad's plus one at Lord's, went to Revolution events and got dangerously drunk once again, I got invited to the Mind Awards and also the Vuelio Blog Awards and I was also awarded Best Photography in the MH Blog Awards hosted by one of my best friends Mike. I have also continued with my mental health campaigning work with Samaritans, Mind and Student Minds, as well as been on Sky News, on BBC Newsbeat and in other online articles.
As we bring 2018 and this blog post to a close, I can hand on heart say that I have everything I could ever want in life. I am the happiest I have ever felt, my relationship is only getting stronger by the day (to the point where my parents have said on a number of occasions that they can see us getting married - they would have never said this about any of my ex's), I am surrounded by people who love me and I have made friends for life. I am in such a different place to where I was this time last year and the start of this year and I am so grateful for that. I have become an adult and succeeded and excelled in every aspect of my life. I can't wait to see what 2019 will bring...

Goodbye 2018, thank you for being one of the best years yet. 2019, you better be bloody good to me. 

Monday, 20 August 2018

12 Things to Do in Bath

Over the weekend, Brad and I jumped on a train at London Paddington to go on a little romantic getaway to Bath (not a dirty weekend away as my nan described it). I have been lusting over this breathtakingly gorgeous city for years now, so I am so glad I finally got the chance to go and share the experience with someone who means a lot to me. 

I feel like this break away is exactly what I needed; I have been feeling very stressed and I needed to get away from everything for a bit and just get lost in a new place. I particularly wanted to go this weekend as I have some pretty bad memories associated with the date, therefore I wanted to make new happy memories to replace the bad ones. When we spontaneously booked the trip a couple of weeks ago, I did my research and also asked for recommendations from you guys on Twitter and Instagram and you did not disappoint me! 

So I thought I would throw together a little blog post of some of my recommendations, in case you wanted to get away for the weekend! 

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

I Feel Invincible

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

This quote could not be more apt right now in this moment in my life. Recently, I have been very reflective over the past year and how I got to the point I am at now. This time last year, I was in a very different place; I was in a relationship that was slowly breaking down and it left me feeling very worthless and used by a person who did not treat me with respect, I was fearing my last year of uni and the job hunt after graduation and just generally having a wave of depression and anxiety 24/7.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Taboos, Trivialisation and Turn Ons

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

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

Thursday, 1 March 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Give yourself a break!

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

3. Ask for help!

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

4. Make time to do things you enjoy!

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

5. Talk to people!

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 22 February 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You are letting your mental illness hold you back” 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Sharing The Love

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

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

My family. 

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

'Offline' Friends. 

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

'Online' friends. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Valentine's day!

Sunday, 11 February 2018

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

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

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

The mute button is your best friend. 

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

Block that b***h!

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

Try to ignore. 

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

Think before you Tweet. 

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

Take time out!

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

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

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

5 Reasons Why I Am Basically Bridget Jones

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

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

1. I get carried away way too much. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Some Reflection On 2017

As I look at the raindrops trickling down the window of the bus, I reflect back on everything that has happened over the past year. When this year began, I was honestly the happiest I have ever been in my life. I was in a happy relationship, I was doing well at university and everything had seemed to have fallen into place. 

It was around the summertime when things seemed to fall apart. My relationship ended horribly and it felt like my life had been taken away from me. It was a downward spiral from there. A lot of things happened in my personal life and with my family. We sadly lost a family member, members of our family fell ill and it just seemed to be one thing after another. 

However, recently I have been trying to reflect in more of a positive way; as hard as it is, but I have achieved a lot in a year. From working in Heat magazine and the UKs leading barter company, to getting a number of volunteer jobs with Student Minds, Samaritans and Time to Change. I also launched my own mental health project 'Student Stigma', which was awarded funding by O2's Go Think Big. 

I finished the second year of university with another first, I bought my own domain after 4 successful years of blogging, I am working on some really exciting campaigns with organisations and I have raised £670 for Cancer Research UK and completed the 5K Race for Life 'Pretty Muddy'. I have also been nominated for a UK Blog Award and I have also shared my story in an interview with the Guardian newspaper and lastly, I have met some amazing people who have become my best friends. 

There is a lot more that needs to be added to this list, but even reflecting back on some of my achievements has made me realise that I am doing so well. This year I started CBT and my therapist has been encouraging me to positively reflect. Looking back on everything has made me realise that I'm not doing too bad for someone who is only 20 years old. 

It is safe to say, I have been through a lot this year, some things made me not want to live the life I was living. But I have come out of the other side a stronger person. I am still very much struggling with my mental health as of late and I have been on the hunt for more help, however despite all of this, I am still fighting. 

I really hope 2018 will be a much better year. I will be turning 21, I will be graduating and hopefully starting a full time job in something I love. Although, the future scares the absolute hell out of me and in the last few months I have even struggled to see a future, I know that whatever life throws at me, I will fight on. 

Vote for me in the UK Blog Awards 2018:

Friday, 17 November 2017

Moving Onto Bigger and Better Things

We live in a world where social media equates to 99% of our daily life. From 'Instagramming' that perfect cup of coffee, to Tweeting about the latest drama! We are totally immersed. There's been quite a few things flying around online and in my mind and I really feel like I need to get things off of my chest. 

'Just because it's not on social media, that doesn't mean it's not happening.'

I know people who will tweet about how they're feeling, as a cry for help or to simply just get the thoughts out of their head. I do it, but there are times when I simply can't put into words how I feel. People just assume you're ok because you haven't tweeted about feeling down or that you're struggling. This is where you really see who actually cares about you. The people who check up on you or just start a general conversation with you, without the prompt of a 'negative' tweet are the ones who matter. Recently, I have felt that whenever I tweet something positive, it is seen as a way of 'rubbing it in people's faces'. 

This brings me on to the topic of 'communities' ...

'Just because we are all part of the same community, it doesn't mean we all have to get along.'
'Communities' on twitter can be a great thing. They're a way of meeting new people, engaging in their content and sharing similarities. However, these 'communities' aren't always the best things to be a part of. I'm using the word 'communities' lightly because I really don't like the idea of how they operate. I have been a part of the 'mental health community' for the past year or so. At the beginning, it was a great place to connect with people who also struggled with their mental health; it made me feel less alone, however things don't seem to be this way anymore. 

I feel like if I am not tweeting about how depressed or anxious I am, I simply don't 'fit in' with the community. Another person on Twitter also said that they feel that are not 'unwell enough' to be part of this community. This is where the idea of communities is all wrong. The idea of these communities is to connect people together, however it is doing the complete opposite, in my opinion it is excluding people. This is why I have completely detached myself from any kind of 'community'. A community is just an adult way of saying 'clique'. 

I don't want to feel pressured into posting particular content just to fit in to that group of people. I want to post things for me, engage with whoever I want, say whatever I want! I use social media and an outlet to express how I am feeling, whether that be happy or sad. If I am going through a difficult time, I don't want people feel pressured to ask me if I'm ok just because I am part of a particular community. I'd rather people genuinely care and ask if I'm ok because they actually cared about my wellbeing. 

I recently went through a difficult time in my personal life as some of you may know and I used my
Twitter as a way of expressing how I felt. In no way was I using it as a way to seek attention or force hate on other people. If anything, I did the complete opposite and didn't want anyone to be negative. Some people may say, 'Don't put your personal life online' and the truth is, whatever I put online is such a small part of what is actually happening or how I am feeling. NO ONE knows what went on/goes on behind closed doors. The things you see online are a moderated and edited version. 

We also need to remember that we are all just humans on Twitter. When we signed up, we didn't sign a contract saying that we had to be part of any community. I'm not going to get along with everyone and I'm definitely not going to agree with everyones opinion. If you simply don't want to see my content, unfollow me... believe me, I won't cry about it :') We are all becoming too obsessed with likes, follows and blocking. If someone blocks me, I don't care! I've blocked people or muted them and sometimes I can't even remember why, but I obviously needed to do it at that time... and that's ok! 

'I've moved on, in more ways than one.'
This brings me on to my last point. I have moved on in both my 'online life' and my personal life. My online life started to take over my life and I began to be obsessed with sharing everything online and spending every waking moment online. This was actually doing more harm than good. Being clouded by the mental health topics made it harder for me to recover. Don't get me wrong, it is SO important that we raise awareness, but if you let your mental illness be the only thing going for you in life, you need to take a step back and realise that it's not healthy. Being immersed in it 24/7 made me fixate on it all even more and I forgot that I actually am 'Sophie'. I became 'Sophie, the girl who has social anxiety and depression', I lost the Sophie that has so much more going for her, but was being held back by mental health. 

Following on from this, I have also moved on with my personal life. I have been speaking to new people, I guess you could say I'm now back on the dating scene (scary but exciting)! Speaking to new people who are not connected to my 'online life' in any way, has been so refreshing and has really made me take a step back and realise that I do have a life outside of social media. One person in particular who I've started speaking to has made me realise how fixated I am on the online persona I have created. He even told me that he was worried about me and I haven't even met him yet... that's when I realised that I really do need to take a step back from it all. 

No matter how much people will want to try to hurt me or bring back bad memories, I am not going to let it stop me from living my life. I'm proud to say that I'm a 20 year old woman, who has already achieved so much in her life and has so much going for her.

On to bigger and better things... 

Friday, 20 October 2017

I'm Not Amazing

"You're so strong and amazing" 
"You're doing amazingly well" 
"You've been so amazing with how you've dealt with this"

Over the past year or so this is what I have been hearing. Don't get me wrong, I am so thankful for all of the support I have, I wouldn't be here today without it but it does get to a point where they're just words. 

I know I am guilty of just saying the generic "You're amazing" advice but like other people, in some situations I just don't know what to say. When does this supportive advice just become the automatic response? 

I am constantly having people tell me that I am strong and amazing but it comes to a point where I just can't even begin to believe it. Yes, sometimes I do feel like the strongest woman in the world and I do think I have handled things in a grown up manner, but how can I listen to someone saying I'm strong when all I feel is defeated and weak? 

I will be lying in bed crying my eyes out, with people sending me the most heartwarming messages telling me how wonderful and inspiring I am. If I was really strong, inspiring or amazing... why am I in bed sobbing until my face is blotchy and I've got snot bubbles blowing from my nose (you're welcome for that lovely image). 

I don't know why I'm like this. I don't know why I can't trust and accept what people say (I mean lets be real, I probably do know why). Am I alone in feeling like this? I guess sometimes what I say or do online is the 'better' version of myself. I might say that I have achieved a lot but what you don't see is the panic, anxiety and struggle I have had to get to that point.

So when you tell me that I'm strong and amazing, don't be offended if I disagree with you. 

Thursday, 12 October 2017

"I felt dirty, I didn't feel like 'me' anymore."

A year ago today I became the girlfriend of a man (if you can call him that) who I thought, I was going to be with for a very long time. As you will know, I'm now no longer with this person due to their selfish and thoughtless acts. Since about the age of 12 years old I have really struggled with my confidence. I was picked on at school, called fat and ugly and that stuck with me for a very long time. Around April last year when I was going through another break up, I took it upon myself to change my attitudes and my body and begin to love myself. I accepted that I wasn't going to be the next Victoria Secret model, I accepted that I wouldn't have men falling at my feet, but I did accept that this was me and I loved myself.

When someone has been cheated on, they often seek for revenge or send hate to the person in question. However with me, I just did not have the energy to stoop as low as he did. We rarely talk about the other factors that come with being cheated on. Yes, we've lost someone who we loved and cared for. Yes, we've lost the future that we had planned and imagined. But, the main thing I've lost is my own self love and confidence. As I'm writing this, my eyes are beginning to tear up because at the moment I feel as if I'm never going to get that self confidence and love back. He has taken that away from me and that is one thing I will never forgive him for. He spent the last year telling me how beautiful I was, how lucky he was to be with me (which he definitely was)... even the morning after he slept with her, he was looking at me while I was looking at myself in the mirror and he was telling me how pretty I looked... knowing full well what he had done to me the day before. 

When I found out what he had done, I felt physically sick to think that I kissed and touched him after he had been with her... I didn't know where she had been and neither did he, he put my health at risk. Which makes this even more confusing for me because it was difficult for us to even sleep together because of what he has, yet he managed to jump into bed with her in a heart beat. That made me feel like I wasn't good enough, like I was doing something wrong and he can tell me time and time again that it wasn't my fault; but there has to be a reason for him to do what he did and I still haven't got an answer. A lot of people have said to me that this is a reflection on him and not me, which I'm trying so hard to believe but my mind does not want to accept that. 

For around a few weeks after everything had happened, I could barely look at myself in the mirror, I couldn't sleep alone in my bed and I had to have my mum sleep next to me, I could barely touch my own body because I felt like they were both on me... I could have endless showers but I'd still feel dirty. I didn't want to put makeup on for a while because all I could keep thinking was that this makeup was on my face when it had 'her' on it. I know it may sound stupid but I know that Rich, if you're reading this, you can definitely understand how this feels... I don't want to make you feel even more guilty than you already feel but the thoughts you've struggled with for a very long time, are now very similar to how you have made me feel. I am in no way saying that I'm suffering in the same way you do, because I've lived with you and I know how hard it is for you... but the same feelings are still there. I can accept what you've done with her because you were clearly very desperate for whatever you did with her, but I can't accept how you have made me hate every single inch of my body. 

I spent hours doing what I could to try and feel clean again. I scrubbed and scrubbed my lips until they were red raw, split and bleeding. I just wanted to get them off of me. My lips used to be my favourite feature about myself, now whenever I look at them, they just look dirty. When I knew every single detail of what they did... from the moment they got naked, to the point where they finished, all I could think about was where I touched him or where he had touched me a few hours after he had been with her. I scrubbed my body to the point it was painful to touch, I didn't feel like 'me' anymore, I lost a sense of who I am. 

I now get too scared to talk to guys and when they compliment me, it just makes me feel sick. I can't trust what they say and I feel like I'm being lied to all over again. I know I shouldn't hate all men for one man's stupid actions, but that is how I feel. It has made me feel vulnerable and lost. 
I'm now at the point where I want to love myself again. I want to spend time doing my hair and makeup and to leave the house feeling confident. I want to get to the stage where talking to a guy, doesn't fill me with anxiety and fear of getting hurt again. I want to wear things I wouldn't normally wear and just have fun with clothes, hair and makeup and just create a new 'me'. I am beginning to lose weight and feel a bit more confident in clothes, which I guess is one good step towards recovery.

It's time to get Sophie back...

If you have experienced something similar, please don't hesitate to comment on this post or message me on Instagram or Twitter. It'll be nice to know I'm not alone.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Student Stigma || WMHD17

With today being World Mental Health Day, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to highlight the importance of mental health awareness and spotting the symptoms early. As many of you may know, I have recently launched a project called Student Stigma which has been funded by O2's Go Think Big. The reason I set up this project is to highlight the importance of student mental health. 

I feel that there is a lot of stigma surrounding students and their mental health. When I say that I'm a student who suffers with depression and social anxiety, I get the odd comment stating that what I am experiencing is just the 'normal' stress and worries that a student faces. Comments like this is the reason why Student Stigma is so important. I know that I definitely have social anxiety and depression and I'm sure my doctor agrees considering I've been backwards and forwards to her for the past couple of years now.

When a lot of people say the word 'student' they immediately think of university students, however we forget that children in primary school, secondary school and college are also students. The reason why I wanted Student Stigma to be for people of all ages, is because my 'mental health story' began at the age of 7 years old when I had my first ever panic attack. If you would like to know more about my story, you can either watch my , read my story on Time to Change or my interview with the Guardian

At the time of my first panic attack, I was unaware of how I was feeling and what was happening to me however *luckily* my dad had experienced panic attacks before, so he knew how to look after me. If my family did not have the knowledge of mental health and illnesses, we would not have been able to see the early signs of my anxiety. 

One thing that I think needs to change, is the lack of mental health education in schools which is why I hope Student Stigma can allow me to go to schools and campaign to raise awareness of mental health. Being able to see the early signs of a mental illness can be life saving and it definitely makes the process a whole lot easier. Growing up can be a traumatic, exciting and a whirlwind experience for many children and young adults, so it's no surprise that many suffer with a mental illness later on in life. 

This is why I thought this would be the perfect day for me to encourage you to share your story and raise awareness! 

If you would like to share your experiences of having a mental illness throughout education, whether that be past or present, please join in campaigning with Student Stigma. Share your story, share your advice and chat to others! This is a safe place for everyone and especially for students who may need more education about mental health. 

Lastly, do not be dismissive of students when they say that they're struggling. Unless you have been in their situation, you do not know how tough it can be!

Share your story here!
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