Lifestyle, Fashion and travel

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Am I a Freak?

*Goes to any family gathering*

Family Friend/Member: 'So have you found yourself a boyfriend yet?'

Me: *shrugs and laughs it off* 'Oh no, not yet'

A big insecurity of mine has always been relationships. And this post is quite difficult for me to write and share on the internet for all to see, but I came across this draft from a while ago and thought maybe, just maybe, it's not just me feeling this way.

I think a lot of kids - teenagers - go through the 'boyfriend' phase - you know the one where you don't actually talk to each other, but you got your friend to ask them if they want to 'go out'/'go steady' with you and then you add their name with a heart on your MSN tag line and it's official! 

We all I think - or at least our peers at school - go through it. And it's around about year 7 which is also the step up to a new school - and I think it somehow got drawn into me that this was a measure of worth, of being desired, of being cool!

As the title suggests, this never happened to me. And it's not a huge issue - I haven't been totally consumed by this idea, because I've always been quite a smart and logical person, so I know now and I knew back then - that seeing this a measure of worth is total bollocks! 

And I can go into my sassy, girl-power mode and say 'You don't need a man to make you happy', 'having a boyfriend doesn't impact your self-worth' and yes I truly believe that and that's why this isn't a massive issue and I can live a long and happy life, succeeding as I have and will do in the future. 

And yet, it's been an insecurity of mine ever since then, and I won't deny that's it's knocked my confidence slightly in the past and no doubt will do in the future. And although I only really get down about it when I'm already in a bad mood or upset about something (and tend to fall into that lovely spiral we all love so much!) it keeps coming back to me. The idea that there's something wrong with me? Why am I 21 and never had a boyfriend? Does it make me weird/odd that I'm in my twenties and I've never had sex? 

Which spirals into a field of ongoing questions that my over-thinking, scientific brain likes to analyse like;
Am I disgusting? Am I ugly? Is there something wrong with my body?

Or worse; Is it me? Am I just unlovable? Am I the 'nice' person who no-one ever really has as their first choice? Am I too boring or uncool?

And luckily I'm in a good place right now that I can write this logically and know that everything's fine. I'm content with the faith that really, the person that's right for me is out there and to quote Mr BublĂ©, I just haven't met him yet. And at 21, I've got my whole life to go out and meet different people, all of them right for that time in my life. It's easy to get caught up in the superficial things like sex or the relationship label, but at the end of the day I'm the soppy one who just wants love and I can wait a lifetime for that!

I'd like to point out that this doesn't rule my life - I just realised that it was a recurring thought over the years and wondered whether anyone else had ever felt that sense of doubt?

Also a little reminder, that you're the main person who deserves your undivided attention and love and you're totally amazing no matter your relationship status!


Monday, 24 April 2017

How I feel about Travelling Alone

So as my final year at university is creeping to an end (so close yet so far...) I'm starting to get pretty excited for my freedom and therefore plans to head off to the land down under and have a bit of fun!

Of course, we'll ignore the crippling fear of no job, no prospects or any ideas of what to do with my life - that's for future Josie to worry about! For now, I'm going to totally let go, be wild and do whatever the fuck I want! Because I've earned it!


Friday, 14 April 2017

Baking Easter Brownies

Happy Easter to all!

So I was procrasti-baking last week and thought I'd make them Easter themed, using an idea I got from a Facebook video and thought I'd share the idea with the internet if anyone fancies anything different to the standard Chocolate-Cornflake mini egg nests (although I'll admit this was my first thought when deciding to get baking)!

As I've been quite tight for time lately, I picked up a cheat version and got one of the brownie packets by BakedIn where you just add 3 eggs and 200g unsalted butter, cook for 40 minutes in the oven and hey presto, 12 deliciously tasty brownies!

The idea I got to make them Easter-themed, was to use white chocolate and orange food colouring to coat some strawberries and make them look like carrots! However, unfortunately, when mixing in the food colouring, the melted white chocolate seemed to congeal (apparently don't melt it in the microwave?) so plan B was to make some orange icing to coat the strawberries and I think I just about saved them (however my presentation isn't always immaculate so I'm sure you could do a much better job!)

Once cooled, I covered them in chocolate spread and sprinkled on crushed Cadbury flake to look a bit like soil and then added the orange strawberry 'carrots'. And for a couple I used mini eggs, because you can't very well bake Easter themed cakes without them!

And voila, double chocolate brownies perfect for Easter - if they last until then?!

Disclosure, this post isn't sponsored by BakedIn, it was just the one I picked up from Tesco!

 My brother and I are kicking off Easter Weekend by heading up to London tonight to watch Part Two of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and OH MY GOD It was so amazing last night I can't wait to see the rest!! How's everyone celebrating their Easter Weekend? 


Friday, 7 April 2017

How University harms Mental Health

So after the term I've had and things I've experienced, as well as yet another piece of devastating news, I realised some of the serious dangers to mental health the university can cause and so I wanted to do a post to try and voice the issue.

When a lot of people experience mental health problems, a common feeling is loneliness and shame; feeling as though you're not allowed to feel weak and sad because everyone else is coping just fine.

However, I've noticed this year, that there have been a lot of issues with mental health, not just at my university but among family and friends too, and this has devastatingly resulted in suicides. It's extremely hard to attempt to help someone when they're in that place, however we can do our very best to try to prevent it getting to that stage.

University is hard, and it's different levels of hard for each individual depending on the subject, their work ethic, the way they deal with things and of course external and social influences. But it is hard. And yes it's meant to be hard so that it's worth more when you come out and yes I've definitely grown as a person and will be better equipped in the real world knowing I got through it. And don't get me wrong, I don't regret it - I've met some incredible people and am a stronger person because of it.

 But I came pretty low this last term - I mean very low, too low in fact for it to be worth a 'degree' (oh and life long debt), and I'm evidently not the only one. Just looking around at my friends - not to mention hearing about other students from mine as well as other universities in England - I can feel the stress, despair and worry (and not going to lie we're all pretty smart and hard working) and through meeting with a university counselor, they've been chocka-block all year with concerned students.

In my opinion, it's a little bit too far. In some ways I think it's good that young people can experience and learn to handle stress and a busy workload while they have the support easily accessible and 'free' (cough cough £9000 a year) so that they're more prepared for the future. However, there's a line. There's a line where a degree, £27,000, relationships, bullying, body confidence etc etc IS NOT WORTH IT!  And it seems that a lot of students either don't want to or don't know how to find the help they need and it all gets a bit much. And unfortunately crossing this line cannot be undone.

Universities have an obligation to their students to support them and unfortunately some of these support services are not well promoted or potentially not equipped enough to deal with the demand. Now I'm writing this post thinking, well there are plenty of support services at my uni, we've each got a subject supervisor who's with us all throughout university and a project supervisor who's meant to guide us through our dissertation project. But the thing is, being at a Russel Group University, everyone has their own research, i.e. they have their own work to do on top of, marking endless essays/exams, planning lectures, they're own life. Everyone is stretched so thin that I have felt that I can't go to these people when I need to, leaving me to deal with it on my own.

Mental Health and Mindfulness is becoming a new hot topic so I'm hoping that things will start to change and ideally become more relaxed and focused. Not only in universities but school as well, young people are so vulnerable and are learning new things everyday - we need the support of family and friends, who not everyone has support from making the support from the community/institution so much more important.

At the end of the day, a degree/exam is a piece of paper, it doesn't not signify your worth. Nowadays there are plenty of opportunities for everyone. Nothing is worth ending your life for. Nothing. 

If you're feeling down or stressed and feeling like you're not coping here's what to do. First, don't feel ashamed, we all (really, all of us!) go through it - I always thought university memes were a bit drastic, but nope we genuinely feel like that. Second, talk, it really does help, seek out what support your university/school provides (you should have a subject supervisor, of if you want more anonymity there may be counselors on site) and if they don't - make it happen! Third, if there's really no support, there's services like The Samaritans that provide free counselling. 

*Little disclaimer to point out that I didn't personally know the people who have recently passed very well, and therefore don't know the reasons for their actions. But simply based on their occurrence, mine and others experiences, I strongly feel that this is an issue that needs addressing urgently.
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