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Get to Know the Blogger 2017

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So I’ve almost had this blog two years now – which is mad! I still remember my boyfriend helping me come up with the ‘blogger bee’ name! Which obviously I give him massive thanks and all my gratitude because the name really has stuck with me and means so much to me. You can see a lot of change in my personality and such throughout my posts I believe, that honestly I could not identify if you just straight up asked me if I have changed since 2015.

I thought I’d make a little updated post with 10 facts about me – so you can get to know me, the blogger!

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1 – I’m currently studying a BA(Hons) in English Language and Creative Writing – I always loved writing growing up, but drifted away from it massively after high school even though it was my best subject – I’m so glad and do not regret going to do it in University and have pretty much finished my first year and just waiting on my final grades! It was such a good year.

2 – In my second year, I’m going to be doing an assorted pick of modules but have chosen to do a module called UWLP, which is a University Wide Language Programme, and essentially means I am going to be studying a second language for a module throughout the second year! I picked French and I’m honestly so excited but nervous for pushing myself to try to learn a second language!

3 – Since around 14 I’ve also been massively entranced by art & design, mainly focusing and switching between photography, illustration and 3D computer art. When I was picking my GCSE’s in school, I told one of the art teachers I was planning to pick GCSE Art and she actually told me not to and that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. But as of now I passed GCSE Art, I got a DMM in BTEC Level 3 Art and Design during college and did a year in a 3D Game Art apprenticeship!

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4 – You could say I started my working life when I was 16 and started doing volunteer jobs during college which included a volunteer receptionist in a holistic therapy centre in my hometown, cub scouts assistant and a couple of weeks volunteering in an animal shelter near where I live! I’ve had 8 paying jobs over the past few years of my life which have taught me a lot! I’ve worked in shops and a cinema, I’ve even been lucky enough to be part of the lovely Manchester vegan diner V Rev’s team for a while!

5 – I have four tattoos! My tattoos mean a lot to me because they are all things that represent me well, have special meaning to me, make me smile and make me feel more confident with my body! My favourite tattoo is the one on my arm that was done by the amazing Lauren Sutton, the tattoo is a lovely rendition of a sun and moon with the words ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’ written inside. I chose it because I believe the sun represents my dad and the moon represents my mum.
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6 – I’ve always wanted to try and help people/organisations in my own way growing up. I’m no saint or massively charitable as I’m still growing up myself and I completely understand that not everyone has the money to regularly give to charity but I always want to try and do something. I adopted a penguin from WWF last year with a monthly donation, for a year I had a monthly donation going to the Cats Protection and right now I have a small monthly donation going to the UK Bumblebee Conservation Trust! I recommend looking into all of them as even if you don’t want to do monthly donations they have lovely shops with great merch where the money paid goes towards the organisation!

7 – I’m part of my University’s wonderful theatre society! I was part of two after school drama clubs in primary school but was very shy onwards up until even now, I’m still naturally a very reserved person – but during the first few weeks of University I was so drawn in by Almost Famous Theatre Company that I couldn’t not join! They put on amazing shows throughout the University year and this year they’ve done 5 brilliant shows! I was lucky enough to be in 3 of them which were the Miscast Variety Show, the summer Variety Show and Company. I massively recommend checking out one of their shows next year!

8 – I have no idea what I want to do ‘when I’m older’ or when I leave University and whenever I’m asked I pull a face and shrug. It doesn’t necessarily scare me anymore as I know a lot of people are in the same boat even people who are older than me. I’m constantly reminding myself that I’m at the building block ages and I’m not meant to have anything set in stone or sorted out yet. However, a lovely job that would be a dream job of mine or something I’d like to achieve one day, is write my own children’s books and illustrate them. Reading is such an important part of childhood that all kids should be able to experience and access. It’s great for teaching so many things including actual academic stuff or morals and things to reflect on in the real world and I’d love to be able to contribute to that with my own art and writing. I actually wrote about my feelings on it once!

9 – I’m a sucker for learning new stuff but have always had really bad concentration and really bad at sticking to stuff which is a shame and if I could go back in time and give younger me a push to stick to things I would. Growing up I’ve had guitar lessons, keyboard lessons, ice skating lessons, trampolining lessons and even tried out at netball clubs and used to go to drama clubs and dance classes for ballet and tap. I’m really proud of myself for returning to a drama club in University but my last club I was regularly doing was a dance class that I left in 2014! I’d love to maybe try to teach myself something new or join a new class/club one day soon.

10 – Video games have always been a massive part of my life and something that makes me happy. A fond memory of mine is honestly staying over at my eldest sister’s house and playing on the Gamecube or coming home from school and playing games on the family computer. I grew up on the Sims, Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life, SSX Tricky, Mario games, Pikmin and I even remember playin some really lesser known PC games like Spy Fox, Beach Life and The Movies! My current favourite games that I recommend everyone try include Persona 5, Persona 4, Bioshock, Animal Crossing New Leaf, Borderlands 2 and any Pokemon game!

So I hope you enjoyed getting to know me!

Thanks for reading,

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Little Update Regarding Sanitary Donations

Hey guys,

So if you’ve been following my posts, you know a while back I looked into the fact that an increasing number of people in the UK are finding it harder to access sanitary products and that some school children have had to miss days of education or makeshift products just so they can go about their day as they can’t afford or access sanitary products. I also did my own little survey to see what kind of periods people I know go through – how long their cycle is, if they’ve ever had to makeshift or use something that isn’t a sanitary product to clean up/absorb menstruation. Then, from there, I made my own Just Giving page (that is now closed) to raise some money so I could get together lots of products and donate them out to a couple of organisations that I believe are great organisations and causes who are out there trying to get sanitary products, help and comfort to people who cannot access them – especially in this social climate where youth homelessness is on the rise!

So I was going to save this for the big post I was going to make, but I was so grateful that by the end of my Just Giving page closing – we raised £35! I know my target was £100, but anything is so much better than nothing and I can’t thank the people who came forward and donated enough! You are such lovely people.

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So last week, when the money had reached my Paypal, I sat down and split up where the money was going and in the end the four organisations I am giving to is

Monthly Gift MCR

The Booths Centre in Manchester

Every Month MCR

Bloody Good Period

I have linked to their pages, where you can look for yourself in detail about how you can donate and what they do.

So, without spoiling much for the big blog post where I talk about it, I have already gone and sorted out the donations for 3 of these organisations and it was so uplifting sorting it out. Unfortunately, you may have heard about the incident in Manchester the past week. It was absolutely horrible what happened and absolutely heartbreaking to think of the parents who have lost their beautiful children in what happened. It’s been a few days since and I am only now just feeling comfortable about going back into Manchester City Centre and feeling safe – the community of Manchester is definitely what makes you feel safe. Hearing the news about queues at blood banks, queues at tattoo studios for the Manchester tattoo appeal, the amount of donations and money raised, the outcomes for vigils – it’s all so amazing and really shows how close Manchester is and it makes me proud that I was born and raised here.

The last organisation I need to sort out donations for is in Manchester City Centre you see, so I have not yet got the chance or felt up for going into the Arndale and getting all the bits together and taking it to the donation box. Monthly Gift have a lovely pink bin situated in the shop Oklahoma in Northern Quarter and that’s where all the donations will be taken, so because of the fact it’s not something I can do online, that’s the reason for my delay. I know it’s a terrible reason and hopefully this coming week I will be able to go into town.

Once again, I can’t thank everyone enough who donated or shared my Just Giving page – every little helps makes a small difference!

Have a lovely weekend,

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Period Survey Update

Hello guys, sorry it’s been a bit of a delay from my last post where I spoke about looking into the recent reveal of young people not being able to access sanitary products in the UK. In good news I read about how Bodyform are planning to donate 200,000 free sanitary products to people who are unable to access them by 2020. The products will be donated to ‘various charities who support women and girls affected by homelessness, poverty, disabilities, illness and domestic violence’. I read that story not long after I made my post talking about it so it makes me happy to know it is being taken as a serious problem. You can read the article about Bodyform’s plan here!

This’ll be a quick post where I lay out the statistics and data I got from my small survey, which got 62 responses! I’m so happy that people filled it in and wasn’t expecting that many responses so thank you to people who filled it in and took the time.

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So for example the first two questions where I asked how many tampons do people go through in one period and how many pads and I noticed a majority of people in the 62 responses don’t actually use tampons and when it comes to pads, majority use 11+ sanitary pads in one period. But still even in the tampons question a good 22.58% of people use 11+ tampons. I feel this starting data proves why not being able to access sanitary products is a bigger problem for young people than others may think. Most basic packs of sanitary pads have around 14 pads in them, so a lot of people would need at least 1 or 2 packs of pads a month.

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The next question is looking at the average of how long periods last to put it into perspective why people need 11+ tampons or pads in one period. Only 3.23% of 62 people have very short periods. So this starting data is all very basic but if I was to go through with an idea of donating products to a charity or saving up for some it gives everyone a brief idea of how many products each person may want for one period.

Other data we look at is putting into perspective how real the problem is, even when you are luckier than most. Out of 62 people only 1 person has never had the ordeal of having to make shift something to replicate a pad when bleeding. A lot of the open answers discussed having to use toilet paper or making a ‘pad’ out of toilet paper when they couldn’t get a pad or tampon. I feel this data shows us maybe making pads/tampons accessible in toilets, schools and work a lot easier when people are not carrying the products or have the time/money to go and buy some.

Another depressing statistic is that 16.13% of my responses said they have had to skip school because of lack of sanitary products. Majority of respondents felt like their school didn’t do enough to provide sanitary products.

From reading all the respondent’s answers to each question (again, very grateful to everyone who took time out to answer), I feel it opens up the reality of the situation and what it’s like growing up and requiring sanitary products. I’ve been a bit busy the past week but hopefully this week, using this data and having a look at what suitable charities and donation boxes there are in my area I will then type up what my plan is to try and do my own contribution! I’m thinking of maybe setting up a small donation/sponsors page so I can get sponsors if I was to make period packs or buy bulk sanitary products to donate to charities!

Thanks for reading, I’ll keep you updated!

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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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It’s almost August and I don’t know where the year went?

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Honestly by this point I need a kick up the arse really don’t I? In regards to blogging and writing, I have been so terrible lately and procrastinating every day. It’s not that there isn’t ideas for posts in the back of my mind constantly, every week there’s normally some things that make a little voice just go ‘oooh! ooh! write about that!!” in my brain, however I never get round to doing it and by the time I sit down and remember it feels too late. Admittedly since this is my personal blog, I guess there’s no deadlines, no obligations and I run this blog myself single-handedly, so I can organise the posts when I want them to be; however I really wish I could get into a habit of doing them reguarly. I hold this blog really close to my heart and my confidence gain over the past year so I want to dedicate more of my time to it. So please, someone give me a kick up the arse!

To give you an update on what’s been going on with my life, if you are interested – I am still loving my new job at my favourite cafe. I’ve been able to try a lot more vegan snacks and meals and I may try and write another post about there soon as I am so proud and grateful to be a part of the team there. I start University in T-minus 1 month and 23 days, counting from this post, and I’m so excited but nervous! It’s going to be so weird going back into an education/scheduled system after almost 4 years. I’m also eager to get back into writing constantly for essays and such. If I get into the right mindset, I can really put a lot of energy into an essay; especially if I enjoy what I’m writing about.
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So my life at the moment is mostly working day-to-day at the cafe and preparing for University! I really cannot believe it’s already pretty much August, I feel like moving out for University is going to hit me like a rocket. I might do a ‘University Wishlist’ post of cute, quirky items I’d like (and probably won’t, because you know, money) to take to university for my room, in the future. I am also going to attempt to plan some future posts to queue up for you guys to have a read! Including some book reviews as I recently finished an amazing book and I am close to finishing a book called ‘We are All Completely Beside Ourselves’ – which I am also loving a lot right now. I also plan to hopefully go and catch the new Star Trek: Beyond film, Ghostbusters and maybe Suicide Squad, so I might review them. As well as that, obviously if anybody has any suggestions of stuff they’d like to see me write about or review – just leave me a comment!

Keep your eyes peeled for more posts!

Thanks for reading,

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Bee Talks About Anxiety: Part 1 (?)

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Invisible illnesses and disorders are very hard to notice and can be really well concealed. A lot of which are spoken about more now but they’re not things you can tell when first meeting someone. To some people with invisible illnesses, it doesn’t feel well hidden. You don’t trust yourself to hide your anxiety and it feels like your body has been painted with sweat and blush that truly expose the anxiety; when really that’s not how it seems to the person you’ve just met. It’s really bizarre but even when you know truly that it works like that, it’s still the same nervousness and adrenaline that peaks inside you when meeting a stranger.

Anxiety is a broad term as well. People will describe their emotions as anxious, generally when something goes wrong or might go wrong, when they feel scared or unsure of what could happen. It’s the emotion you tend to feel before an exam or before telling someone a big secret or before going on stage. However this is normally quite a human emotion that people only feel for a small amount of time. An anxiety disorder however is much different. Psychologists normally separate anxiety-based disorders into 6 common types – Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety/Phobia, Specific Anxiety/Phobia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder/OCD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/PTSD and Panic Disorder. I also believe that a lot of other anxiety, panic and stress related disorders can fall onto the spectrum or that symptoms in other ‘mental health disorders’ can be anxiety-related. For example, it’s extremely common for people to suffer from both generalized anxiety disorder and moderate-severe depression. It is the most common mental disorder in Great Britain with 9% of people meeting symptoms and criteria.

I cannot talk for all of these disorders, all of the symptoms or all of the emotions that are involved with all of these. I have never had PTSD as far as I am aware, much like some people can have OCD or panic disorder but never really feel the effects of a social anxiety disorder. But I can share the perceptions of generalized anxiety disorder. Most websites, including the NHS, will list generalized anxiety disorder symptoms as:

  • Restlessness
  • Feeling ‘On Edge’
  • A Constant Sense of Dread
  • Concentration Problems
  • Irritability
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Feeling Like Everyone’s ‘Against You’
  • Trouble Sleeping/Insomnia
  • Easily Fatigued/Feeling ‘Drained’ After Big Tasks
  • Muscle Tension

All of these can be very overwhelming and almost emotionally painful to someone who deals with generalized anxiety on a day to day basis. Of course there are some people diagnosed who will only have some of these symptoms in certain scenarios or once in a blue moon. But a lot of these symptoms can be stressful and since anxiety is hardly an obvious illness; I’d like to shed a light on what it can be like. Like most mental disorders, you don’t get the obvious, ‘oh-no-something-is-wrong!’ symptoms like a physical disorder or illness. It can be aggravating when your anxiety is giving you a rough time and people respond to your symptoms like you do them on purpose.

“You only got 2 hours sleep?! That’s your own fault.”

“I’m not mad at you!! Stop apologizing, you’re getting on my nerves!”

“Your head hurts? Just take a paracetamol, you’re overreacting”

It can feel like a heavy weight on your shoulders throughout the day because sometimes the anxiety becomes more and more prominent as you do stuff throughout your day. My main example is when I have anxiety at work. I can go to work feeling like a Disney princess ready to sing with nature and smile at everyone, and come home feeling like everyone hates me, that I’m going to get fired because I missed a spot cleaning up, feeling on the verge of tears and feeling like I haven’t slept for at least a day. Sometimes you don’t even see it coming, sometimes it’s there when you wake up. Like I mentioned in my previous post, it’s like a little monster that follows you around. I am definitely trying to learn to love my little anxiety monster because it’s a part of me, and I am happy when I go through days with it being calm and content. I am proud of myself on those days. I feel in control and feel like I have made progress.

I try to avoid calling myself strong when my anxiety doesn’t hit me, because lately I have learnt that it’s not a switch I can turn off at my demand. When I wake up on a random day with the dizziness and shakey hands and the feeling that everybody’s staring at me. I definitely can’t just switch it off, although I’d like to. But that shouldn’t make me weak.

I hope this sheds some ideas and light onto emotions you may be feeling, if you haven’t been diagnosed with anxiety, you think you may have it or you’ve just been diagnosed. I remember when I first got diagnosed I thought it was me being a massive baby, but it was very heart-warming to realise it was a thing other people my age deal with. My anxiety monster doesn’t make me weak, if anything I am strong for carrying my anxiety monster around with me everywhere, trying to get it used to life. Those times I’ve taken it with me into shops I’ve never been in before, or the first time I went to a gym alone, or the first time I phoned someone important/of authority before instead of getting my mum to do it, my first tattoo, applying for university etc., I’ve had to literally drag the monster as it grips to the floor screaming to go back to my comfort zone and I’m glad I did it. It’s calmed the monster down little by little and I think even the smallest achievements with anxiety monsters are things to be proud of.

How do you picture your anxiety? Do you have any memories of being proud of something you’ve done that you wouldn’t expect your anxiety monster to let you do?

Let’s start a conversation

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5 Accidentally Vegan Items and 5 I wish were

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One of my favourite Instagram account findings since I took upon myself to go vegetarian and incorporate more vegan/cruelty-free stuff has been an account named AccidentallyVeganUK. They post and collect products found in the UK that are accidentally vegan – hence the name. So somehow these products don’t include any meat, gelatine, milk, cream, eggs – no animal product to be found! A lot of the finds on this page are also treats, cheap snacks; which makes it great for vegans/vegetarians/people with dairy allergies who are on a budget. I decided to share with you today some items I am so happy and surprised are vegan and 5 items I love snacking on/having in the cupboard that I wish were vegan. I hope this list is useful for anybody vegan, vegetarian or omnivore!

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1 – Parma Violets
2 – Double Stuffed Oreos
3 – Propercorn Sweet & Salty
4 – Cheetos Twisted Flamin’ Hot
5 – Nik Naks Nice N Spicy
6 – Pringles Paprika

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1 – BN Chocolate Biscuits
2 – Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli
3 – Super Noodles Curry Flavour
4 – Thorntons Fabulous Vanilla Fudge
5 – Maynards Wine Gums

I’d be so happy and greedy if these junk items were vegan. It’d be great to eat sweets like Wine Gums or Haribo without the worry of gelatine. Have you guys got any stuff you wish was cruelty free at all or are you surprised some of your favourite stuff is accidentally vegan?

Thanks for reading,

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