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Admitting something’s wrong

So I’ll never declare I’m good with helping people, or talking about problems, or dealing with mental health – I’m DEFINITELY terrible at that. But sometimes I do find it therapeutic to write about what’s on my mind, especially on my blog. Of course, writing on my blog could be a temporary solution or not a good solution for someone else. I think that’s a key understanding whenever you want to help someone with something – is realising not everyone’s the same.

My initial idea for this blogpost was to write up a few short ideas to help people who struggle with talking about their problems or asking for help but I don’t want to generalize. I know how tiring it is to seek help or advice and think ‘been there, done that’. So instead I thought I’d just try and talk about how important it is to realise there’s nothing wrong with admitting you’re not ok.

  1. Get rid of the idea that your problem or struggle ‘is overreacting’.

I do this all the time and sometimes keeping up this habit can be a problem in the long run. I’ve had things I’ve kept to myself before because I thought I was worrying over nothing and then when I’ve told a friend months after it’s happened, they’ve showed concern and told me I should of told them. Of course, you will get times where you confide in someone you trust and they might tell you something along the lines of ‘you’re working yourself up’ and honestly I’ve come to realise in my many years of struggling with anxiety, people say that because it can come to be true. Anxiety and similar mental health can make you feel like a problem is way  scarier than it actually is. Don’t let this stop you from confiding in people though. It’s better to talk about what’s worrying you and figure out later that you worried too much, than to bottle it up and find out later you could of done something to help your feelings at the time.

2. Remember you’re not weak for struggling.

This one is super important. Sometimes I want to shout it to the world to get people to remember. 1 in 6 people will experience a mental health problem this week. You are not alone at all. I know it can feel that way and sometimes the world won’t help – you’ll go on social media and see everyone having fun, looking attractive and having a good time and it can feel like you’re the only one struggling but that’s not true at all. People won’t admit the amount of times they’ve put up old photos on instagram alluding that they’re having the best time but they’re actually lying in bed watching TV and eating junk food – neither of these behaviours are bad. You are not weak if you need time alone or to rest. You are not alone if you have struggles. Struggling does not make you a weak person.

3. Any attempt at getting the problem off your chest will do more good than nothing.

Even if you write it down on paper, or write on a blog post, tell your friend, tell your mum, tell your dog – these are all beneficial to relieving stress. You don’t realise it when you do it and sometimes the feeling of relief won’t be there instantly but it does help. Imagine it as taking the problem/struggle from a book in a bookshelf, ripping up each part of the ‘book’ bit by bit and tossing them away into the wind.

4. People do slip up.

Sometimes people suck. Sometimes you’ll confide in someone and it’ll seem like they don’t give a crap. It’s absolutely rubbish – but sometimes even we do it without realising. Try and think of a time you basically mugged off a friend. They may have reached out to you in passing and you didn’t even realise. You may have been sat chatting and they’ve slipped in that things aren’t so good and you may have chuckled back and gone ‘same’. It’s so easy to focus on ourselves and our own problems, that we don’t see when someone is occupied because they’re worrying about something themselves. They’ll be focusing on their problem, we’ll try and talk to them and they’ll seem like they’re not listening and we’ll take it personally when we don’t see the bigger picture of it. I do it all the time and it’s useful to remember that people can’t be perfect listeners all the time. Of course, if a ‘friend”s behaviour or response to you confiding in them is hurtful or plain demeaning – then you can question it. But if someone doesn’t reply to your message right away or admits they don’t know how to help and apologises – do try to not take it personally. It’s still good that you tried to confide with them.

5. Admitting you’re not ok is a step in a good direction.

I’ll repeat – you’re not weak for struggling. Despite what some shoddy instagram post or that idiot on your Facebook feed who ‘doesn’t believe in mental health problems’ may tell you. Relapsing doesn’t make you weak. Having to take medicine doesn’t make you weak. Having to see a therapist doesn’t make you weak. Having a mental health problem doesn’t make you weak. Admitting something is up and asking for help never means you are weak. It is a step in a good direction to ask for help. You may find what you need to overcome your problem or feel better emotionally. Don’t be afraid to ask for help on things you may think are small because there will always be ways that you can get help.

You’re not a bad person if you’re struggling. Please don’t let anyone tell you different.

Thanks for reading,

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21.01.17 – Central Vegan Festival

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Hello lovely world,

So today me and my gorgeous friend Natt popped into Manchester to visit the Central Vegan Festival that was taking place! Manchester was extremely busy today and I’m glad to know one of the many things going on today was the Women’s March taking place. Now I’m gutted I couldn’t go, mainly cause I left it to late in the day to make it and my anxiety was acting up a bit so I was wary about going into big crowds but I hope in future I can attend more marches. Of course, Manchester’s march wasn’t as massive as Washington’s but I am so proud to see how many people attended the march in my hometown. It makes me so proud and even feel a little bit more optimistic that I know so many women of all types – black, Asian, Jewish, Muslim, white, disabled, gay, bisexual, trans, cisgender, mothers, single women, elderly women, teenagers etc. etc. are standing strong and looking out for each other after the news of Trump coming into presidency in the US. All the images and videos of marches around the world fill me with hope that so many people want to fight against the despairing, patriarchal presidency taking place.

I recommend taking a look at the images and videos on social media just by searching #WhyIMarch or #WomensMarch. It’s truly inspiring.

The vegan festival also took place in Manchester today and it’s my first proper vegan festival that I’ve attended. It was quite small and humble but very crowded and well-attended! It had that festival feeling where you’re shuffling around slowly and taking everything in, but I really enjoyed it despite the slow movement! There was tons of food stalls serving fresh vegan meals and although I couldn’t eat things from every stall I managed to try a gorgeous slice of ‘pepperoni’ pizza from Vegan Pizza Co.’s stall and I also treated myself to a batch of loaded nachos from Mex It Up‘s stall.

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The staff at both stalls were also super lovely! Next up me and Natt had a lovely look around the other stalls, I recognised a stall for Wear Your Voice UK, who do really nice vegan and anti-cruelty prints on t-shirts and jumpers. I already own two that I’ve bought online but it was really exciting seeing them at a stall in person.

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There was also a very cute stall there from a shop named Rogue Gypsy who did crystals and crystal jewellery. Now I’m a sucker for anything with crystals on so I had to buy something and me and Natt ended up deciding to get matching necklaces (cause we cute)! The man at the stall was super lovely and even told us about the crystals on our necklaces, and gave us a little slip with facts about the crystal with our necklaces.

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Finally, of course, comes the snack haul – because I love food and I can’t help hauling vegan snacks. I managed to nab up some vegan sweet treats from Ananda Food‘s and Forgot the Egg‘s stall which was exciting, as well as picking up some other treats as seen below!

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From left to right: two ‘Wheaty chorizo spacebars’ (they remind me of pepperamis but way better), Raw Cacao Ombar Buttons,, Ananda’s Choca Mocha marshmallows, a Marshmallow pop from Ananda’s, a gingerbread man from Forgot the Eggs and V-Bite’s dairy free Fudgee bites.

All in all I am extremely excited to try some of the stuff I picked up today and fully recommend popping to a vegan festival in future, even if you eat meat and you are curious about the food and such!

Thanks for reading and have a lovely day,

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a little Moana (2016) Review

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Growing up I was always enamoured by the aesthetic and art of Lilo and Stitch, there was never a Disney film quite like it. Lilo and Nani stood out as characters with their unique beauty and personalities. Admittedly a flaw of Disney female characters is they do tend to conform to western beauty standards of thin, hourglass figure with skin as pale as winter snow (no offence, Snow White!). The lovely Nani in Lilo and Stitch was definitely a good turn in direction for female character design and one of the first things I fell in love with in Moana was the character design because it brought me back to how much I adored Lilo and Stitch.

The list of what I loved in Moana is exceedingly long, and I imagine if I was to see it again I would find more and more little details that I absolutely adore. Moana’s character design for a start was gorgeous and she has definitely hit top spot of favourite female characters. She has so much personality and curiosity. Right from the start when ‘crazy grandma’ – Grandma Tala is telling the young babies of Motunui the story of demigod Maui and the heart of Te Fiti, you instantly spot Moana’s unique charm as she is the adorable baby sat at the front taking everything in with intrigue. The beginning sequence of baby Moana wandering off on her own and looking after the little turtle back to shore made me fall in love with her as a character. Boy, do I want a kid with that kind of adoration for her environment. I was literally squee-ing into my hands watching that whole sequence as not only was it adorable, but it made me excited to see the rest of the story. The art also put it right out there, that you could be damn sure the rest of the film was going to be stunning.

The soundtrack was an absolute dream, to be blunt. Every time a musical piece started up, a smile instantly lit up on my face. ‘Let it Go’ from Frozen might as well be forgotten and dead because ‘How Far I’ll Go’ is absolutely beautiful. I’m going to be listening it to weeks at this rate, so if you ever see me on public transport trying my best not to dramatically dance? I’m probably listening to that. Maui’s solo ‘You’re Welcome’ also brought a grin to my face, which leads me to one of the other good points of this film. I absolutely loved the Rock playing Maui, he played the character so well and really brought Maui to life. As well as Auli’i Cravalho playing Moana. It really surprised me to learn that Auli’i hasn’t been in anything else and didn’t even think of auditioning for her? I’m so glad she did because I couldn’t imagine Moana with any other voice!

The other characters stood out as well, despite Moana and Maui being the mains. I loved Moana’s grandma and thought her little parts in songs were really sweet, they even gave me goosebumps. The mascot characters were hilarious too and didn’t get old, although I would of loved to have seen more of Moana’s pet pig Pua.

Would I recommend Moana for all ages? Of course! Maybe I am biased because of my eternal love for Disney musical films and awesome female characters but I think Moana is my favourite film for 2016. It has such a good message that you should follow your dreams but not forget your roots or where you come from. I would definitely take my nieces to see it because I think they would equally fall in love with Moana and Maui. There are some parts in the underwater world thing, when Moana and Maui seek out Maui’s hook, where the ‘evil creatures’ seem quite spooky because of the ‘bioluminescence’ style colouring but aside from that the film is so amazing for both children humour and adult humour alike.

If you’re looking for a lovely film to see this weekend with your partner, family, friends or even just taking yourself to see a film, I definitely recommend Moana for a heart-warming, inspiring tale with humour and an amazing soundtrack!

Have you seen it already?

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How To Survive the Sun in Manchester

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So if you live in Manchester right now you’re probably thinking, what in god’s name is that massive glowing orb in the sky and where have all the clouds gone?! First of all, don’t panic people of Manchester – this is called sunshine, and god – it is BOILING.

And what’s even stranger is that Manchester has been blessed with a good couple of days of sunshine and rain-free days, which must be a sign the end is nigh, am I right? So get ready to see Piccadilly Gardens invaded with people in swimsuits as if they’re chilling in Spain, get ready to have almost all of the supermarkets on Market Street sold out of ice cream and get ready for a very crowded Deansgate and Northern Quarter full of day drinkers enjoying the sun. Although it can get annoying – it wouldn’t be a Manc summer without it all!

1.Get out the comfy shoes 

Honestly, I have only recently discovered how much walking I do when I’m out in town due to the heat. My feet get sore way faster and I pray that nobody can smell the sweat accumulating in my socks. Now you’ll see a lot of people whip out the flip-flops and sandals for this kind of weather but all in all, make sure your shoes are comfy. If you’re out in Manchester for a day out and don’t want to be wanting to sit down every 10 minutes; please put on your comfy shoes. Primark do thin cotton trainer socks for under £4, wear them and some comfy trainers and trekking all the way from Deansgate-Castlefield metrolink stop to Northern Quarter should be a bit less sore.

 

2.Be prepared for the pit stank on the Metrolink

Now, a lot of people who’ve grown up in Manchester know how ridiculously unreliable the Metrolinks are. But we still take them, right? They get you into Manchester, Eccles, Altrincham, Rochdale, Bury etc. a bit faster than some buses and the route map is pretty easy to understand. I can’t vouch that the tickets are cheaper than bus tickets (honestly, the amount of times I’ve collected my tips from work and just thought ‘ok that’s half of my tram fare for tomorrow sorted’), but I can imagine that I’d be pretty lost getting to places without the tram. However, busy trams in the hot weather are a good definition of nightmares. Especially if you have a massive pet peeve for B.O. This advice can go both ways; obviously if you’re gonna be travelling during a peak time on public transport – do yourself a favour and wash so the smell of your sweat isn’t getting up anyone else’s noses or prepare for the smell on the trams. When you jump on try and avoid standing under anyone’s armpit range; maybe even open a window on the tram to help cool the air.

3.Practice your resting bitch face mixed with power walk for Market Street

Market Street is probably the worst place to try and get down when you’re in a rush as there’s such a mess of different people on there you’re most likely going to stop every 2 minutes to quietly grumble and dodge around that one person that’s decide to stop dead in their tracks in front of you to check their phone. Don’t forget the groups of people who think they’re having a casual stroll down an empty beach, the people who see you coming towards them but then walk right in front of your path, the people who stop you and try to charm you into buying an overpriced magazine. The list goes on, if you haven’t experienced any of these, have you really been in Manchester? The best thing is always to just storm through the crowd, when people even come towards you with ‘hey, got a minute?’ go ‘sorry, going to work’ and quickly move on your way. Or you know, dive into BHS and use the Arndale as a shortcut.

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4.Don’t miss out on Manchester’s great places that serve ice creams, milkshakes and cold drinks!

At the end of the day, if you’re out for a shop or catch up with friends in Manchester – sitting down for a drink or some food is the best way to relax and chat in the sunshine. Of course there’s plenty of brand names chilling on Market Street including Starbucks, Costa, McDonalds, Nandos etc. But don’t waste the gorgeous day by hiding in Arndale’s food court queueing up for Mcdonalds. It’s just not worth it. There’s plenty of amazing places to stop by in Manchester – a good example for the weather is Ginger’s Comfort Emporium in Afflecks Palace; totally quirky and equipped with unique flavours such as Golden Syrup, Salted Caramel & Peanut Butter (a.k.a the Chorlton Crack) or even Apple Pie Sorbet! If you’re a fan of cold drinks, why not visit Mooboo in the Arndale and try a bubble tea; or head to Fuel Juice Bar located near the Arndale markets for a smoothie if you’re feeling fruity! Of course I can’t not mention my beloved V Revolution in this post – their milkshakes and soda floats are amazing. You can get milkshake flavours like vanilla, chocolate, raspberry and blueberry (you can also ask for a chocolate mix of chocolate with raspberry ice cream or chocolate and blueberry ice cream) which are all made in the cafe and made entirely vegan. Cruelty-free milkshakes for the win!

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But yeah, what do you like to get up to in the sunshine to survive the insane heat? Any places in Manchester or your home town you favour for ice cream and cold snacks?

Thanks for reading!

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Things I’ll Never Understand at Jobs

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Luckily for me, from February to now I’ve had two excellent job opportunities and I am currently juggling both of them happily. Of course, there is the cinema job which I enjoy a lot and now I have a job at one of my favourite cafes in Manchester! All is positive in the career department of my life currently and I know I won’t be looking for any new jobs any time soon. However, my two jobs have very different atmospheres to both of them, which I realised today when I had a shift at the cinema after a week of working at the cafe. In retail/brand name jobs I’ve noticed there’s a lot of rules and regulations; and I mean quite a lot. It also got me thinking which ones make sense and which ones are necessary.

First of all, at quite a few of my jobs I’ve been restricted from having a drink with me whilst working. Two jobs, it’s been OK for me to grab myself a coffee or tea or even a soft drink whilst doing work and of course bottles or glasses of water is OK. Despite that, in a lot of my retail jobs, it’s a very ‘staff room’ only thing. If I’m on the tills at my job, I have to go to the staff room to take a quick gulp of water. I admittedly can understand the reasoning behind other drinks; soft drinks and hot drinks can stain and hot drinks are a safety hazard as they can burn. Yet it still doesn’t make sense why sales assistants can’t bring a bottle of water on tills with them to sip from every so often. Are staff not trusted enough with a drink at work? The worst case scenario is, most likely, a staff member might spill their water, causing a puddle, which somebody could slip on; however surely most people with common sense would quickly tidy up a spill near their workplace.

In addition, why are tattoos and piercings frowned upon in work environments? Again, piercings have their limits; jewellery that could easily be caught or fall out is a hazard and definitely should not dangling around during jobs that include food. But why are tattoos a restricted thing? I remember once I did a shift at Primark, the regulations were that I had to have my hair tied back (I guess that made sense), no jewellery and no tattoos on show. Now if anybody has visited a Primark you’ll know it’s full of cheap clothes, some of which with tacky, ironic, ‘popular’ references on, for example emoji leggings. How come the company believe customers would be turned off or that they’d lose a sale because one of their employees has a sleeve of tattoos? It just makes no sense to me. Of course, like most rules, I’d understand the scenario if an employer had a massive tattoo on their arm which express rude, inappropriate ideas – but a flower tattoo? That’s not hurting anyone.

Lastly is the ideology, that I’ve mostly experienced in retail stores, why are the staff working on checkouts for 6+ hours a day not allowed to have a chair? Whenever I visit supermarkets and shops where this is allowed I think that the company seem a lot nicer to their staff. Apparently it’s because ‘sitting down seems unprofessional/lazy’, but I don’t see that at all?  Yes I know that sedentary jobs are known to maybe be unhealthy since you’re just sitting around all day but, if you’ve ever been in a retail job, you’ll know you wouldn’t be sat around. You’d be able to rest your feet and concentrate on customers whilst sat at the checkout and then when you need to take stock out to the store from the warehouse or tidy up or some other tasks, you would be standing up and moving about. It’s already been researched and proven that being stood up in the one place for hours on end can put stress on your legs and posture.

Is there anything you think work places should stop forcing on workers? Or unnecessary rules you’ve had to go through in past jobs? Do tell!

Thanks for reading,

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Favourite places to visit in Manchester City Centre

I’d say I’m at that age where I’m quite adventurous. Much like an angsty pop punk song I sometimes feel sick and bored of my ‘hometown’, I feel like going somewhere new and travelling and just getting out of the same old that I see everyday. The adolescent angst is more persistent when you’re in a bad mood – you just want to get up and disappear, make new friends, meet new people, go to a town where nobody knows your name.

But obviously it’s never that easy and it’s never the medicine you need when you’re fed up and melancholic. If you’re like me and live in a city like Manchester, chances are you’ve probably not explored everywhere. The daydream of travelling to another little city and sitting in a dainty little cafe is lovely but what about all the little cafes and stores you haven’t already found in your hometown? Maybe you should make your new goal to explore your hometown a bit more. Recently that’s what I’ve been trying to do and I get very restless when I haven’t got money because there are so many places I want to visit in Manchester but I can’t yet! I decided on this post I’d share some of the nice places I have visited in Manchester because I think you should visit them too!

  • V Revolution

    This is definitely one of the nicest places I’ve started visiting this year. Maybe I’m exaggerating, maybe I’m a little bit obsessed with their food. But the place is so nice! Located on Oldham Street in Northern Quarter, V Revolution is a little diner that specializes in vegan Junk food. Most non-vegan people do have the expectations of vegan food being maybe bland or mainly veggies but no way is that what V Revolution is like. They do hot dogs, milkshakes, burgers, nachos and all of them are vegan! But do not taste much different from normal, in fact I’ve never been a massive fan of hot dogs – but V Revolution’s regular hot dog is mind blowingly delicious. Whenever I’m in Manchester I’m always tempted to run down and get one. The staff in V Revolution are also very lovely and friendly! The whole cafe/diner is clean and comfortable and definitely my favourite place to go for a bite to eat and a drink. You can check them out on Instagram or Facebook!
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  • Nexus Art Cafe

    This adorable cafe is also hidden in Northern Quarter, not far of from Afflecks Palace and situated literally next door to Travelling Man(if you’re a Mancunian comic fan you’ll know where this is!) the Nexus Art Cafe is a little creative community venue for art displays/exhibitions, group meetings, events and obviously it’s lovely little cafe! I’ve only been here a couple of times for coffee chats with my best friends and significant others but the whole cafe is just so snug and relaxing to be in – with a lot of places to sit including tables, sofas etc., even visiting here by yourself would be a lovely thing to do. They also have free wifi if you want to pop in and bring your laptop whilst getting a cup of tea and some lunch! The menu is located on their website! They do a lot of yummy sounding sandwiches. Their twitter is also here!

  • Night & Day Cafe

    My sister took me here once and I really need to go back at one point when I have money, but I absolutely fell in love with Night & Day Cafe when I walked in. Also near Northern Quarter(I’m sensing a pattern here), this gem is a cafe in the daytime and an atmospheric bar with live music at night! You can get tickets for upcoming shows on their website as well as view their menu. When I went in I had some of their cinnamon french toast and it was so delicious and tasty. The atmosphere in general in Night & Day cafe is pretty funky, with lots of arts and neon signs on the walls. You can find information about them on their website, facebook or twitter!
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  • COW

    If you’ve read one of my previous blog posts, you’ll know how much I rave about COW. It’s definitely a great place for anybody that is a fan of vintage clothing. You can sometimes find some really awesome, unique finds in COW and the staff there are really sweet too. I’ve gotten some clothes from here and they’ve become very beloved clothes to me so in return for their awesome vintage clothes I must spread the love! Visit Manchester COW’s Instagram or Twitter!
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  • Afflecks Palace

    Afflecks palace is a unique, store-filled building in Manchester. Growing up Afflecks would always be joked as the ’emo’ place to shop, but there is definitely something for everyone in Afflecks. There’s three stories of different shops and cafes. On the second floor you can find Black Milk Cereal cafe which is known for its amazing cereal concoctions. On the third floor there is also another cafe but without a sole focus on cereal! You can also find retro game stores, crystal stores, bead stores, poster stores, vintage clothes and cool jewellery in Afflecks! I’d definitely visit it if you were having a day trip to Manchester as there is so much in Afflecks! They have a website with directions to it, and individual descriptions of all of their shops.

  • MOSI

    The Museum of Science and Industry is a great museum that tends to almost all the senses. I haven’t been in years but it holds such good memories, there’s so many interactive displays that people of all ages can get involved with and learn from. They have the air and space hall which is filled with massive aircrafts that are amazing to look at, they also have the science experiment hall, which is my personal favourite because of all the interactive stuff in it, as well as the Manchester mills exhibitions and power halls! Entry to the museum is free, and a lot of the events they have going on tend to be free too! So feel free to visit their website and find out about it!

So yeah that’s some nice places to visit in Manchester, obviously there’s so many other places unique to Manchester that I want to visit like North Tea Power, Sugar Junction, Home Sweet Home and even Hula Bar! And when I do I will keep you all updated on where I recommend!

Thanks for reading,

Lenah x x