LETTER TO MY SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD SELF

Recently, I have found myself sitting and thinking about my teenage years, specifically that time between 15 to 17-years-old. I was thinking about how much has changed since then, how much I have changed since then. I feel as though if my 16-year-old self could see myself now, at 21, she wouldn’t even believe what she was seeing. Last year, I watched a video from TeenVogue where Emilia Clarke is giving advice to her younger self, and I recently rediscovered the video/letter and it inspired me to write a letter of my own. I have also seen other posts similar that I have also taken inspiration from, so credit goes to those people as well for the idea.

Dear Molly,

You’re in your first year of sixth form, probably stressing and worrying about the exams that feel like your whole life right now, and pondering over where you want to go after A Levels are over. Well, those exams in Year 12 aren’t everything, you will get the opportunity to resit next year if you need to – and you will resit, but that’s okay because second time around, you will come out with grades that are much much better. And the future, just take each day as it comes and know that the journey you are on, the paths that you will inevitably be taking… they are the right ones for you – even if they don’t seem it right now. 

I know you are struggling right now and using a lot of energy trying to hide behind a fake smile and pretending everything is okay. If there is one thing I will say, it’s talk to people, I know you aren’t doing that but in time you will and you will see that it’s the beginning to a more positive mindset. The road there will not be easy and you will stumble along the way and feel like the world is against you. The pain you are feeling, the loneliness and numbness, it won’t last forever, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for you. Depression and anxiety will not define who you are, you ARE strong enough and you will come out smiling. Believe me, I’m here now, smiling!

These next few years, you will find out who your true friends are, the good ones will always be there, you know who they are! Losing certain people may feel like the end of the world at the time but trust me, you will feel all the better removing the negative energy from your life. You will face some situations that you think you cannot overcome but guess what? You have overcome them and soon, you won’t even be thinking about them. You will trust people who you shouldn’t and they will make you think they are your friend when really, they’re only being manipulative… you do not need these people so don’t waste your tears on them! 

Inevitably, you’re going to be stressing out about getting into uni and you end up only giving yourself one option, which was probably idiotic at the time. However, this leads to the path you are now on and you will be surprised how far you have come, even though it seems so far from what you wanted at the time. Girl, you’re killing it right now! The road to this will be tough and for a while you will be in a place you do not want to be and feel at your lowest, but everything will be okay in the end. It may be a dark time for you but you will come out of it wiser and more determined to achieve everything you want.

Relationships… I know there are times you worry that you won’t meet the right person or nobody will like you for you. But in fact, you will. They may not turn out to be right for you but that minor bump in the road will lead you to someone who is wonderful, funny and has a very kind heart… he’s a keeper 😉 He will stand by you through a lot of shit and make you feel incredibly happy, you only have to wait two more years!

I understand confidence and self-belief is a major issue, but you will see how much potential you have and others will see it too. It takes time but the anxiety will not defeat or define who you are, even if it does feel like that right now. You will be able to stand up and talk in front of people, and you will have the ability to speak up and meet new people who are on your level. It will take a little time and work from you, but your confidence will grow and you’ll grow and develop alongside it. 

On a final note… I know there are days where you feel like the world will end, days where you don’t see that light at the end of the tunnel and you just want to give up. Keep going, because that light, it IS there and you are going towards it, one step at a time. The people you love, never take them for granted because they are the ones who will be standing by you through everything. KEEP READING! Your love of writing will grow and you’ll need to keep practising, reading lots of books will help that. The job interviews that make you feel sick to your stomach won’t be as bad as you think, you’ll learn to say YES and take every opportunity you can, even if it terrifies you, and you will learn that life is way too short to worry and stress about the little things. Stay true to yourself and stick to the path you are on, great things are coming your way.

Seize the day, girl, make your life extraordinary!

Love,

Molly

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-Molly x

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My Reading List: March 2018

At the beginning of this year, I set myself a challenge to read 20 books – I know that doesn’t seem a lot but with uni, work and social life, it’s sometimes difficult to find the extra time – before the end of 2018. I also did this last year and ended up failing miserably due to events in my personal life, but this year I am more determined than ever to meet this goal.

Every month, I create a reading list of books I wish to complete within that month, and below are the books I have chosen for March – if anyone has read, or is currently reading any of these books, let me know in the comments and I would love to discuss your thoughts and opinions on them.

#1 Eleanor Olphiant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

This book has been sat on my bookshelf since around the time it came out last year – I have a very bad habit of buying loads of books and then having to catch up on all of them – and I never managed to get around to reading it, until now. Since its release in 2017 as Gail Honeyman’s debut novel, reviews have been excellent, with a high rating of 4.3/5 on Goodreads, and strong recommendations from other fellow readers – as well as winning the 2018 Costa Debut Novel Award.

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Synopsis:

“Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live

She leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself.

Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – whilst searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

Widely hailed as the fiction debut of 2017, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a triumph of deft observation of everyday life. By turns laugh-aloud funny and deeply poignant, it is a book that champions everyday courage and the importance of friendship in a world where people are increasingly isolated. Challenging the stigmas that exist around loneliness in contemporary society, it is a gentle reminder of those we too easily overlook and how a life can be changed by small acts of kindness.” (HarperCollins Publishers, 2017)

The intriguing premise is what compelled me to pick up this novel, and with all the outstanding reviews, I’m thrilled that I did. The burned matchstick house on the cover is another factor that lead me to buying this book. It’s white with a title and that one image, it’s basic but it causes intrigue for a reader like me to find out more about Eleanor and why this was chosen.

#2 This Could Change Everything by Jill Mansell

I have been a fan of Jill Mansell’s romantic comedy, women’s literature for a number of years – it was her novels that hooked me into reading. Throughout childhood and my teen years, I despised reading, I wasn’t able to sit down and read a book for my own enjoyment – the only time I read was when I had to read in school. I loved writing and I found myself at a slight standstill, and I was unsure why. Looking back, I know that was because I wasn’t reading enough, and to improve your writing and your craft, you have to not only write, but read too. However, my loathing for reading ended towards the end of my high school years, year 10 and 11, when I started to read fanfiction. It’s obviously not

From there, I stumbled upon Jill Mansell – whose work inspired a fiction I had recently read. I came across a few of her books one day, at a bookshop and decided I would buy them. After reading those books, I bought more and slowly I expanded into different genres, thus blossoming my love of reading.

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Jill Mansell’s latest romantic comedy has been added to my reading list, considering my fondness for her previous works. The novel was released January of this year, so it is still fairly new, and has received an impressive rating of 4.2/5 on Goodreads.

Synopsis:

If only Essie hadn’t written that letter – the one that went viral…

On the one hand, if Essie hadn’t written that letter – the one that only her best friend was meant to see – then she’d still be living like an actual proper grown-up, tucked up with Paul in his picture-perfect cottage, maybe even planning their wedding…

On the other hand (if her true feelings hadn’t accidentally taken the internet by storm, that is) she wouldn’t have moved into the attic flat on the square. She would never have met Conor. Or got to know Lucas…

And she wouldn’t have found herself falling in love with someone she really, really shouldn’t fall in love with… (Headline Publishing Group, 2018)

There have been excellent reviews from fellow admirers of Jill Mansell’s work, which is another factor that attracted me to this book. The excitment of summer blooms with the vibrant oranges and warm tones on the cover of this romantic, summertime tale.

#3 One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One of Us is Lying, a novel released in 2017 about a group of five students who walk into detention but only four walk out alive. Immediately, my interest peaked when I read the premise of this novel. From analysing the cover and blurb alone, it appears to be a young adult, mystery book set in a detention room and based around the relationship between the characters in detention.

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Goodreads have rated the novel 4.1/5 and the majority of reviews have been positive, and I have even seen it said that it’s not the typical contemporary YA novel – I hope I haven’t bragged it up too much for myself!

Synopsis:

Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive. For fans of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars, this is the perfect high school thriller.

Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule. Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond. Bad body Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime. Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life. And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again.

He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. 

Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects. Everyone has secrets, right?

What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them. (Penguin Books Ltd, 2017)

I am hoping for tense mystery and strong character developments, I’m hoping that the novel will have me on the edge of my seat throughout. It has been described as, “The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars”, and I’m a huge fan of both so my expectations, in terms of enjoyment, are already high.

#4 Animal Farm by George Orwell

“All animals are equal – but some animals are more equal than others.”

It didn’t feel right for me not to have a classic in this list. I must admit, I have previously read Animal Farm and loved it, so I am quite excited to read it again. I don’t want to give too much away of what I already know but it is definitely a novella worth reading (separate to this, I would also recommend reading 1984 by George Orwell, if you haven’t already, as it is an incredible read – still very relevant).  The metaphorical plot itself is a retelling of the Russian Revolution, it’s simplistic and this made it easier to note the symbolism within the book, it’s a book that, similar to 1984, is still relevant today.

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Synopsis:

When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master Mr Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But gradually a cunning, ruthless elite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control.

Soon the other animals discover that they are not all as equal as they thought, and find themselves hopelessly ensnared as one form of tyranny is replaced with another.

A quote from Orwell for the first edition of Animal Farm, in 1945: “It is the history of a revolution that went wrong – and of the excellent excuses that were forthcoming at every step for the perversion of the original doctrine.”

That brings to an end my 2018 March Reading List. I also have a fifth, honourable mention that I read on-and-off and that’s The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight. I have picked up so many tips from this book and it is one that I would recommend skimming through now and again.

As I mentioned above, let me know your thoughts on these novels, I would love to converse with fellow readers and discuss shared, or differing opinions. I am hoping to post a reading list every month, and maybe even start a book club at some point (if there is enough interest).

I also wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has followed my blog, and keeps reading and liking my posts. Last week we reached a small milestone in follows – in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t seem like many, but for someone who is just starting out, this really makes me happy. It’s really exciting and motivating to see that people enjoy what I write, so thank you very very much for that!

-Molly xo

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Movie Review: The Shape of Water

*ALERT: POSSIBLE SPOILERS*

American fantasy drama, ‘The Shape of Water’, directed by Guillermo del Toro, follows a mute cleaner called Elisa, portrayed by English actress Sally Hawkins, who also starred in Submarine (alongside Craig Roberts), Happy-Go-Lucky and Made in Dagenham, who falls in love with a mysterious amphibious creature, portrayed by Doug Jones. Set in Baltimore in 1962, Elisa works as a cleaner for a high-security government lab, along with her friend Zelda (portrayed by Octavia Spencer). One day, while at work, scientists reveal a creature they have found in the swamps – their plan being to experiment and learn about this amphibious specimen. Elisa takes an interest in the amphibian creature and they begin communicating through sign language. Their bond blossoms and the two quickly fall in love.

Elisa doesn’t appear to have a lot of friends, the only two being her neighbour, Giles, and Zelda. This appears to be due to the fact she is mute. People don’t seem to understand her and this slightly isolates her from society. In comparison, this is how the creature is portrayed, being seen as a scientific experiment rather than a living being. This isolation and loneliness is what brings both characters together in their evolving love story. The premise behind this improbable fantasy story is peculiar, to say the least. However, I found myself becoming immersed within the narrative a lot more than I did when I first read the synopsis. When I left the cinema, I discovered no questions were left unanswered, no sub-plot left open, this wonderfully shot, fantasy romance provided all elements of storytelling, along with a satisfying ending.

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The film itself is a work of art by del Toro, the strong introduction and development of Elisa’s character is what draws us into the journey she is taking. Elisa has a sweet father-daughter relationship with her neighbour, Giles, they both live alone but share each others company, and enjoy it. Their relationship develops throughout the film and portrays the bond between them. At one point, Giles says that he find Elisa is the only person he can talk to, even though she doesn’t say much. Sally Hawkins’ promise far from sacked, even with her lack of dialogue, every action moved the narrative along and, as an audience, we felt every emotion with her through Hawkins’ splendid performance.

All characters within the film develop well, except for Richard Strickland who remains an evil narcissist throughout the entire film, becoming seemingly more unstable towards the final act. With a detachment from his own family and convey zero emotion, other than anger/violence, throughout the own flick (not even when making love to his wife), he is the representation of evil.

The only people within the film world who Elisa was able to communicate with and who were able to communicate with her, were Giles and her friend Zelda, who also worked as a cleaner in the government laboratory, so the unexpected romance, between human and fish, blossomed through both their inability to communicate with others, but the ability to communicate with each other, and share an understanding – an unspoken bond that only they share.

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Although I enjoyed the film, there were elements of the plot that, I personally felt, were implemented and exaggerated in order to move the plot forward, for example, allowing the cleaners to be inside one of the laboratories while unveiling a highly secretive creature, to be exploited and experimented upon. In a facility, such as the one depicted in ‘The Shape of Water’, I would imagine the cleaners would not be allowed near a creature such as this, especially since it could also be highly dangerous to them.

With great pace, the film seemed to move swimmingly, and every aspect added a new, budding flavour – nothing felt sour or pointless. The 1960s aesthetic was portrayed well through the stunning cinematography, mise-en-scene and set/costume design, and this all enhanced the realism of the film. The altered colour grading differentiated the settings, from when she was at home to when she was at work. The blue/green tones depicted a cooler environment, where she was less safe compared to the neutral, warm tones of when she was at home. The blue/green tones also portray the water and the amphibious creature she falls in love with.

The more I think about the film, the more I realise how much I enjoyed watching it. It is sweet and sexy with brief sadness, the bizarre love story between human and fish makes this film unique, and also adds another way of portraying the “boy meets girl” movie trope. This is more than just a love story; ‘The Shape of Water’ conveys, to me, a story of strong woman who doesn’t allow her inability to speak to stand in the way of what she wants. Elisa is an incredibly strong female character that develops further through her peculiar romantic relationship with an amphibious specimen. Guillermo del Toro takes a uniquely unrealistic concept and crafts it in such a way, it becomes oddly believable.

Rating: 8/10 

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-Molly xo

*Disclaimer: All opinions are my own, some may not agree with what I have said or my rating but that is my personal thoughts on the film. Film’s are all down to interpretation and I appreciate not everyone will feel the same way as I did about this film.

Also, the images used are not my own and borrowed from the film, etc! All rights reserved!*

 

 

It’s okay to have a bad day.

“A bad day is like a bad hair day. Tomorrow, it will be better.”

Life takes its toll on all of us, the pressures found at every corner can have a major impact on us from time-to-time, and having to keep up with the day-to-day can be difficult. Reminder: it’s okay to have a bad day once in a while. When you have been working hard day-after-day, soon your energy will decrease and you find yourself burning a candle at both ends – we have all been there.

Bad days can sometimes feel like the end of the world – I know it has for me in the past – please remember, it’s not the end of the world, you will get past it and it is certainly not a sign of failure, but more a sign of strength. Whenever I’m not feeling particularly good, I say to myself, “I’m not feeling the best today, but that’s okay, I’ll get through. I can do this.” It’s always easier said than done, and it’s difficult to push through the negative mindset and see the bigger picture, but with time, it gets easier. Tomorrow is another day and another chance for you to conquer the world.

Bad days aren’t failure, and we shouldn’t pressure ourselves to feel okay all the time because it’s unrealistic and not always possible. Whenever I have a bad day, I find talking to my boyfriend and family can really help and takes away some of the stress I put myself under. Talking, sharing your feelings and thoughts can be a massive weight off your shoulders and may also turn your mindset around.

Take time for yourself to unwind, relieve yourself of the pressures of life and surround yourself with positive energy. We seem to prioritise other things before ourselves and forget the importance of self-care and self-love. Taking that time away for ourselves can help increase our positive mindset and general well-being – never ever feel guilty for it. Bad days are inevitable, but it’s how we choose to deal with them.

***

In case you need it today:

  • You are not useless
  • You are not worthless
  • You are beautiful
  • You are loved
  • You are enough

 

I hope you all have a lovely weekend.

-Molly xo

 

Why We Need to Stop Caring So Much

So, after what feels like a long absence, I am finally managing to post again, and I’m going straight in with a deep subject. I had some unpleasant experiences at the end of last year and I felt that it was time to stop giving a shit about the small things and focus on myself, focus on my future and aspirations, but most importantly, focus on the now, my happiness now, and living in the moment. It’s genuinely so important to stop caring about the little things, that in the long run don’t matter. It’s important to focus on what truly brings happiness and positivity into your life.

Pressure is projected onto us all our lives, no matter the circumstances, in one way or another, we all feel a sense of pressure. Whether this is a pressure from work, university, school, to look a certain way, dress a certain way, act a certain way – we all feel it in some form. People are pressured to hide who they are, hide any sign of vulnerability with the fear of coming across as weak or dependent on others. This is simply not the case, there is really nothing wrong with showing vulnerability. If someone shows their vulnerable side, it shows they have courage, it shows they are strong – not weak.

For as long as I can remember, I have always been overly sensitive, overly caring and worried about what people thought of me – appearance and personality. I always worried that I was too plain, too boring. I worried that nobody would ever love me and that I would never get married and have a family of my own. Looking back to those thoughts from where my life is at the moment, I think, “how silly was I?” But in that moment, at that time, how did I know that this is how my life would be?

Some people genuinely hate how they look, the shape of their body, etc. If you asked most people if they would change something about themselves, the majority would change at least one thing, and this comes from pressure. The pressure to look a certain way, act a certain way. Take Instagram, for example, one of the prime social platforms for hyperbolic lives, editing every photo, depicting an unrealistic reality, adding to the pressure we are under. Everyone wants to show off how amazing their life is and how busy they are all the time, working, vacationing, hitting the gym, when in reality, possibly only a quarter of what you see is accurate – even I have been guilty of this from time-to-time. There is an award winning short film called ‘A Social Life’, which portrays a social media depression in a strongly accurate way, about working woman Meredith who is “living the life she has always dreamed of… online”, and I would recommend watching it, if you haven’t already.

It wasn’t until the beginning of this year, I was sat on the bus on my way home, thinking about all the assignments I needed to finish for uni and work, thinking about some difficult times I had been through towards the end of last year, realising that people you thought were there for you and cared, actually don’t, and possibly never did, and that’s when I felt it. A sudden wave washed over me and I thought, “stop carrying, just stop giving a shit. Molly, you really just need to stop caring so much”. I was sat on the bus, anxiety building due to the pressure I was putting on myself, wondering why people act the way they do, and I just knew it needed to stop – it was making me feel unwell. I wasn’t sleeping through the night, I found myself having panic attacks during the night and headaches I could never get rid of. I lost motivation in a lot of the interests I had (even blogging) and couldn’t bare to think of any work I needed to do. I just wanted to sit and exist.  I really needed to stop caring about things that didn’t actually matter at all. As my boyfriend once said to me, “If it isn’t going to matter in 2 weeks/2 years time, then it really doesn’t matter now”… and from now on, I am trying to live by this. It’s not always easy, far from easy at times, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible.

We all care too much about they way other people see us. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to portray ourselves in a positive, professional light for work purposes, when meeting new people, but we shouldn’t overthink it. 99% of the time, people really don’t care if you are wearing make-up or not, whether you can apply it like an MUA or not. People don’t care what size clothes you wear, or your style, and people don’t really care about the ins and outs of your personal life – maybe a little, as we’re all nosey. What people do care about is how you treat others, your kindness, your caring nature, that is something people will think about and remember, not particularly the brand new, high-end shirt you wore to work the other week. If anyone makes a comment about you in any way, it’s them. It’s not a reflection on you, but on them. Don’t focus on the comments of irrelevant people because it is the people in your life that truly matter, the people who really care about you, not idiotic trolls who go out of their way to purposely make people for insecure about themselves out of pure jealously and pettiness.

We focus so much on the materialism when we should be focusing on the amazing qualities we have. We get so wrapped up in technology, that sometimes we forget the beautiful world and people that are staring us in the face. It’s genuinely so important for us to remember the real meaning of life, to focus on our own happiness rather than everyone else. It’s important to be ourselves and not try to live someone else’s life. As Herman Melville says, “It’s better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”

Your job is not worth risking your health and happiness, that friend who suddenly stopped talking to you is not worth risking your health and happiness, staying up late, stressed, because of the work you have to do is not worth your health and happiness. Your health and happiness pressure, never take it for granted. Never allow family, friends, strangers, society to make you feel worthless, because you are amazing, you are you, and nobody can ever take that away from you. Nobody should ever make anyone feel small and worthless, nobody should ever try and tell you how to live your life. Your health, your happiness, the people who love you for who you are, they are the things, the people, that are important in life. Let us all remember to not give a shit and be our 100% unique, and in my case weird, selves.

Remember, you are strong, you are wonderful, you are enough.

“Be yourself, because an original is worth more than a copy.”

-Molly xo

Taking People for Granted

Taking people for granted – we are all guilty of it. Whether it be loved ones, work colleagues, or even strangers, we are all guilty of taking people for granted in some way or another.

We go about our daily lives, in our own bubbles and own thoughts, thinking about work, school, what we are going to make for tea? There are so many things that race through our minds while we are going about our day. It is rare for us to stop and think about what we are doing or what is going on around us – I guess, as human beings, we are all selfish, even the most selfless of people have their moments – whether conscientiously or sub-conscientiously.

I am going to bring mindfulness into this and suggest that if we were all more mindful, if we sometimes came to a halt and took in the environment around us, and what we were doing, then maybe we would take people for granted less, and be more grateful for the people and things we have in our lives.

“Sometimes we spend more efforts with people that are strangers in terms of making an impression than the person that’s closest to us. And you just gotta remember not to take for granted that person that’s closest to you.” – Michael Douglas, (2014)

It is very common to ignore the beauty something holds when ignored and taking it for granted. When we see something every day, we tend to forget just how precious it is, we tend to forget that one day it may not be there anymore, because we become so used to having it around. We focus more on the things that make us feel anxious, stressed and exhausted, than the things that bring us joy, happiness and love – it only requires effort and taking a step back to realise what we have, and how lucky we are to have it.

Sometimes, even the strongest feelings expire when we ignore them and take them for granted, it is all about putting in the effort to make the ones we are closest to feel special and loved, every day. It is so easy to get caught up in daily life but we should all take the time to stop and think about how we treat the ones we love, how we make them feel and how we should be making them feel. Appreciate those who will go to the ends of the Earth for you and beyond, because no matter how much someone loves you, eventually they will get tired. Take the time and imagine your life without them, and how you would feel if they were no longer around. Remove yourself and take the time for those who grant you theirs.

I came across a quote on Pinterest that partially inspired this post: “Never go to sleep angry, because you never know if the person you’re mad at will wake up the next morning. Always forgive someone. You never know if you’ll speak to them again. Always forgive. You may not forget but it’s better than knowing you’ll never get to tell them you’re sorry, or that you still love them. It might be too late.” (I am unsure who wrote this but when I find out I will reference below.) It really hit home for me, and I assume it will for others too, because I believe in never going to bed on an argument, always kissing your loved ones goodnight and never allowing someone to go to sleep upset, you really don’t know if you will see them the next day. Life has so many twists and turns, we don’t know if we will see someone again and we don’t want to live wondering “what if” or wishing that you said sorry for the fight you had last night. Life is too short to hold grudges, life is too short to not forgive the ones you love and make amends before you go to bed – life is far too short to wonder “what if” and to not live in the moment.

-M xo

World Mental Health – Every – Day.

As most of you know, Tuesday was World Mental Health Day, so I decided that it was important for to write my post this week focused on mental health. It is a subject that needs to be discussed, within our society, without the cloud of stigma hanging over it. We should never have to fear opening up and talking about the importance of our mental well-being.

We turn out heads away from mental illnesses and devalue their existence, as though people suffering are exaggerating their illness or simply seeking attention, and as someone who suffers with depression and anxiety disorder this enrages me greatly. We live in a society where conveying any sign of emotion or discussing feelings makes us weak, as though depicting vulnerability is a weakness. That’s the stigma. We live in a world where everyone runs to your aid when you’re suffering physically, however, when someone is suffering with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, and so on, people run the other way.

Speaking up is not easy, far from easy. If it were easy, everyone would do it. There are far more people discussing mental health, however, it still continues to be overlooked within society. It is a topic EVERYONE should be talking about, and not just on World Mental Health Day – World Mental Health Day should be EVERY DAY! We should never be made to feel afraid to speak up, we should never be made to feel like attention seekers for trying to seek help, and we should never be made to feel weak. “Your mental illness does not define you. Your strength and courage does.”

They are disorders, not decisions, and “to not have your suffering recognised is an almost unbearable form of violence”.

-M xo

The Importance of Communication

What’s the most important thing in a relationship for you? Is it the sex, the romance, the flowers he/she brings you when they come home from work? The cute good morning/good night texts? Talking? Do you ever feel like anything is missing? Do you ever feel like sometimes you don’t talk enough or you don’t actually let each other in? Well, that’s when your relationship is lacking one of the main factors for it to work, and that’s communication. Don’t get me wrong, sex, romance, etc are important, of course they are but it’s communication that makes your bond intimate and different from any other friendship you have.

It is important to share your emotions, stress and worry with your other half. I feel like the intimacy is never fully there unless you are sharing those important emotions and thoughts – you know, the ones that keep you awake at 3 a.m. Most relationships end due to the lack of romance and forgetting to communicate. Communicating is what keeps the romance alive too, it makes your partner feel wanted and important, they know you are going to them because they are the person you trust most.

When you become comfortable, you start taking your partner for granted, and we are all guilty of this. People kid themselves, thinking that exciting, honeymoon phase at the start of the relationship will last, it doesn’t and you have to work together to keep that romance alive. Romantic love isn’t just a feeling, it’s a choice.

Women and men think differently. Women tend to be more emotional in situations whereas men tend to be more logical thinking, and this is something that causes communication breakdown. If your partner makes a comment, you may take it the wrong way and take it to heart when the comment didn’t actually mean what you thought it did. No relationship is easy, there will be bumps in the road but it takes the two people within the relationship to overcome any hurdles and carry on going.

Communicate with your partner, tell each other how you feel about things – even the little things – it is so important that you are both on the same page!

-M xo

Stress, Fear & Anxiety – Today’s Thoughts!

“To escape fear, you have to go through it, not around.” – Richie Norton

We live in a society where we fear vulnerability, we fear opening up and being true to ourselves because we are scared of judgement and mistreatment from others. We are afraid of portraying who we truly are to those around us, for fear of being wounded and disappointed. It is a funny old world we live in. A world where we tell people to be themselves and be true to who they are, and when they are, we judge them for it, we say horrible things and put them down. This is not how we should live, this is not how life should be. Nobody is better than anybody else, we are all born and we all die.

Our fear is what is causing an increase in mental illnesses, we have become more anxious and stressed, currently worrying about others and what others think of us. We shouldn’t have to live in a society where we fear looking a certain way, dressing a certain way, doing our make-up a certain way; we’re all different, we all like different things and not everybody suits everything that’s “on trend”.

The increase in technology and use of social media is one of the main factors that is causing this. We are all guilty of creating a hyperbolic version of ourselves on social media. We are all in competition, all attempting to one-up each other at every opportunity. If we do not have something or we aren’t living life a certain way, then we feel as though we’re failing. But this really isn’t true. The online world has given people an excuse to treat people awfully, people can hide behind their computer and say whatever they want, not thinking about the consequences and not thinking their words will hurt people. But they do, their words do hurt. People need to start thinking before acting/speaking because it’s this behaviour that makes others think it’s okay to make judgements and not take mental illnesses seriously.

Life means something different to everyone, and everyone wants to get something different out of life. Not all of us want to be big-shot lawyers, or beauty guru’s, or thrill seekers. Some of us want to be family orientated, some women want children and some women don’t. None of us should ever feel we are failing if we are not doing something that someone else is. For example, some women feel like they have no fulfilled their true potential, as a woman, if they do not have children, but the truth is, some women simply don’t want children, some women wish to focus on their career, or other ambitions, and you know what? That’s okay! A woman should not feel any less a woman for not wanting children, and others should never criticise that choice.

We all have freewill, we all make our own decisions, and we make the decisions we believe are right for us. There is no right or wrong way to live – obviously you shouldn’t live breaking the law, but you know what I mean. Society need to stop judging each other on the shape/size of their body, on the colour of their skin, on their sexuality, on the way they choose to live their lives.

Anxiety comes from fear, we fear someone/something is going to hurt us so we go into “fight/flight” mode. I will use myself as an example, when I am in a crowd of people on my own, my heart begins to beat harder in my chest and I feel a lump form in my throat. I struggle to breathe and sweat uncontrollably (apologies for the not-so attractive image), and for the longest time I allowed this to consume me. Recently, I have taken on strategies to help, it does not happen overnight, there’s no miracle cure, it’s changing the way your brain thinks in those situations. The strategy I use, I know it doesn’t work for everyone, is pushing the logical side of my brain forward and thinking “why are you scared?”, “what is the worst that can happen?”, “nobody is going to care, everyone has their own agenda” – and that’s true, nobody is focused on you, nobody is trying to hurt you. For that example, that’s my personal point of view and how I’m trying to overcome it, not all strategies work for everybody as we are all different but it’s about finding what works for you. Find what works, and never allow anyone to make you feel as though you are small, never worry about what people are thinking when you’re walking down the street because they aren’t actually bothered by you, or even looking at you. It’s the way people portray themselves online and those judgemental people that make us feel like everyone is looking at us and judging the way we look.

Be who you are, not who others want you to be! We continue to complain about how hard life is and how others judge us and yet we continue to make living difficult for ourselves. The only people who can make a difference is us, we are the only ones who can change the judgemental frame of minds we have. We need to stop making people feel self-conscious for who they are, stop promoting a “perfect image” that everyone should have – WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT – and let’s focus on being kind and loving each other, but most importantly loving ourselves. In this cruel, violent world we are living in, love and kindness is necessary.

This is my brief thought for today – I hope this has given a little insight!

-M xo

My Top 5 Ideal Apps for Students!

Are you a college student struggling to stay organised? Are you struggling with the increasing workload and need a way to help yourself de-stress? Or maybe you want to save on items of clothing or food (we all know the struggle of being a poor student)! In this post, I will show you my top five favourite apps that I like to use. These selected apps have helped me while at uni, but I find they also come in handy in every day life, work, etc.

I thought I would start off with the most relevant and, for me, most important – UNiDAYS. We students know that money isn’t always no object so we’re always looking for ways to save a few £. Personally, I am always looking to save money wherever and whenever I can, and UNiDAYS is perfect for that. Are you even a student if you don’t take advantage of the discount? Always, ALWAYS use discount! UNiDAYS also has a website and is completely free to sign up to, as long as you’re a student, obviously. It offers discount on Fashion and Beauty, Lifestyle, Food, Health & Fitness, Technology and more, allowing you to make those extra little savings that, I find, as a student, go a long way. It provides discount on brands, such as Urban Outfitters, Adidas, TopShop/TopMan, Missguided, ect. If you’re one to enjoy a nice meal out with your friends, you are able to get money off at Zizzi’s, Bill’s, etc, or even picking up a quick lunch between lectures, they offer discounts at fast food restaurants also. Come on, who doesn’t just love discounted food? I know I do.

I’m unsure whether UNiDAYS is internationally accessible (I will have to find out later), however, if you are able to access this app and service then I highly recommend it. So many of my friends, and friends of friends, use it and benefit from the discounts they provide. The discounts do change now and again, so if a discount for somewhere isn’t there you may have to wait, but most brands and restaurants will be included. The codes can be used online or in store, just use the app to activate the code and it is ready to use when you are out and about shopping or dining.

The next app I use frequently and really enjoy is Headspace. Taking 10 minutes out of your day to meditate, relax and wind down is incredibly important with the amount of stress and pressure uni work puts on you. No matter how much fun you have at uni, it is very stressful and it’s important to look after your physical and mental well-being while studying for your degree. I struggle with stress and sometimes find it difficult to remain level headed in certain situations due to the amount of pressure I put on myself to do well. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I take myself away to a quiet room and listen for 10 minutes. Before I discovered the app, I always thought “nope I don’t have any extra time to do that, I’m just so busy” but once I started taking myself away from situations and having some time for myself, I realised I felt so much better and there is always time for yourself. It is so important to look after yourself amongst the pressure, the partying, everything, to take time for yourself and make yourself number one priority. If you’re not well, you won’t be able to work to the best of your ability or do the things you enjoy, whether that be going out or joining societies.

I do appreciate that some people do not enjoy meditation and that is completely fine. There are alternatives to meditating, but the main objective is looking after yourself and having the “me time” you deserve (AND REQUIRE). The pressures of life get to us all at times but we should never allow it to consume us.

Next, we have Turboscan, an app that turns your phone into a scanner for documents, receipts, books, photos, whiteboards, and other text. In just one click, you can turn your documents into high quality PDF’s and/or JPEG’s. You can send these documents, photos, etc, anywhere, and it all goes straight from your phone. It is perfect in lectures if you need to take a quick photo of a white board that a lecturer is presenting on or sharing your lecture notes with friends/classmates. The app also allows you to connect to a printer so you can print your scans out straight away. It really does take away the hassle of having to copy and re-write notes, you can print the document and put it into your folder. Again, I highly recommend this app, especially for students, it is definitely an app I urge you all to download – it has come in handy for me on multiple occasions. Why wouldn’t you want a scanner built into their phone?

Another app that I use, and I feel is important to have is Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive. I personally use Dropbox, but it’s whatever works best for you, or whatever your preference is. It is incredibly helpful and so easy to use, if you need to move documents from one place to another and do not have a USB stick and it also allows me to access my documents and folders from my phone and on any computer, so they are always available to me when I need them. I also carry around a USB stick on my keys, however, if that were ever to be lost and I hadn’t backed up my work, or I didn’t have another way of accessing it, let’s just say I wouldn’t be too happy. Most of us have made the mistake of not backing up work, losing it and having to start all over again, ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR WORK!!! Dropbox helps me keep my work organised and this lifts a lot of pressure, a tidy workspace is a tidy mind.

Last, but by no means least, I do not have one specific app that I’m going to share but I suggest downloading a workout app. Like I have said previously, it’s important to look after both your physical and mental well-being, and exercising regularly is one of the ways to keep your physical self healthy and well. We all know, as students, how difficult it is keeping a 100% healthy diet – COST – so embedding a 7-10 minute workout routine into your day will assist you with maintaining a healthy body and mind. Exercise releases positive endorphin’s into your body that keep your mind happy, as well as your body. Push ups, sit ups, etc, aren’t for everybody so try and find an activity you enjoy, e.g. I like going swimming because it’s excellent cardio, I can really feel all of my muscles working while I’m doing it and that motivates me to continue.

So there are my Top 5 Ideal Apps for College Students! I really hope you download some of the apps I have suggested – excellent if you already have them – and I will be writing another post to upload tomorrow!

-M xo