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Treasuring Memories

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I was only born in 1996 so I imagine a lot of people would laugh at me if I said I miss some of the traditions and stuff from when I was a baby since I can’t remember it – however, I absolutely miss the tradition of video cameras and taking home videos for memories. There are so many videos from when I was a baby and a child celebrating Christmas day or on holidays with my family and I love watching them and seeing my family in the past and almost being transported back to that day and the little things that disappear from memory so easily like what the living room looked like on Christmas day, what music we had on in the background and little things like that. Since the rise of social media, home films and photo albums feel like they’re being replaced by just saving photos to Instagram or Facebook or videos will just be small clips from nights out and such taken on Snapchat.

Now I’m not going to turn into a social media criticizing old bat all of the sudden, don’t get me wrong – I think social media has been beneficial and I love using Instagram to keep an online platform of photos and see what my friends are up to, but I always worry about how I’m going to look back on these memories in the future or if something was to happen to my phone or account. I always try and backup all my online photos tons just so I never lose them and recently I have been trying to keep physical stuff as well that feels a bit more sentimental and personal. I thought I’d share with you all how I treasure my memories and positive situations that I go through as much as I can, in case it inspires others!

First of all, I have had some form of a memory jar or box since around 2014. In 2014, I had a little jar in my room and I’d always try to write down good memories even if they were small days with my family or just going to see a film and put the snippet of paper with the memory written on in the jar. The catch to that was at the end of the year, I sat down with it and went through everything and it gave me such a warm feeling of positivity and achievement seeing what the year had for me positively.

Now, I have a memory box sat in my room that’s possibly a little more disorganized but can hold a lot more in terms of photos, things I’ve picked up on days and snippets of paper. It’s actually a big Ted Baker box I recycled from a Birthday present (so it always has a little hint of Ted Baker Blush pink stuff when I open it!), and I have been keeping a bag full of stuff I’ve written down when I’ve tried to write down memories, it has programmes and tickets from shows I’ve been to, cards from birthdays, wristbands from nights out and other bits and bobs! You could make a memory jar or box out of anything really! I remember finding the idea originally on Pinterest!

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Next, I’ve been trying to keep photo albums this year which I can fall behind on a bit since, for my bigger photo album, I now have to order prints of my phone photos so they’re a nice quality to put in there so I only have a couple of photos in there. I also have a smaller photo album that is a design my mum picked up in a charity shop I believe – you can tell it’s meant to be for a baby album or something but I think the design is so pretty! I keep my polaroid photos in here when I have chances to take polaroids! It’s really lovely flipping through it every so often to cheer myself up!

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Another way I tried to creatively express happy times and such is last year I made a couple sketchbook pages during the summer holidays which I’m actually quite proud of! I wish I had the motivation to get back into it and maybe this summer I will! This way you can use as many tools to your liking and use tickets, postcards or leaflets as pieces in the page!

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Lastly, I recently bought a gorgeous ‘memories journal’ from Paperchase and because I have signed up to student website UniDays, I got a discount on it so it was a lot cheaper than it appeared! It has a beautiful design on the front and inside there is a variety of pages including lined pages to write on, plain pages to stick stuff on possibly or draw and envelopes to tuck stuff into! I originally tried to put my polaroids in the envelope however, I had so many it ripped one of the envelopes in the corner already! It’s a gorgeous book for writing stuff down though and can easily fit in a bag to whip out if you remember or experience anything that makes you happy!

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I hope these may have given some people inspiration! How do you keep memories and snippets of stuff that makes you happy?

 

Thanks for reading,

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How I got the motivation back for reading and writing

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Long time, no blog!

Two days ago it was my 22nd birthday! It’s mad to think when I started writing this blog I was only 19 and still in the midst of figuring out if I wanted to go to University or carry on looking for full-time jobs, I remember being in the struggle of being made redundant from a dodgy apprenticeship company and just about finding what I loved to do – which is writing. So much has changed and I have changed a lot since being a teenager but I still sometimes feel like my 19-year-old self. However, I’m glad that writing and reading have become such a big passion in my life now whilst being in my early twenties (what a scary sentence to say!) and I feel it’s something that relaxes me and motivates me.

Obviously going back to University and especially doing a course that revolves around language and literature helped me get back motivation in reading and writing, but I definitely don’t find myself reading non-ficiton and textbooks for fun and I do still dread coursework and essays and procrastinate. But now I find that reading regularly definitely improves my concentration and even my writing skills. Last Winter, I got a wonderful opportunity to write poems for a University exhibition and in one of my modules I had to write so many words of my own contemporary novel – when I took the drafts to my tutor to get the feedback he told me my writing has improved massively since my first year and I definitely think reading has helped without me even realising!

I’d recommend keeping track of what books you have enjoyed and read too so you can look back and remember the stories and how they made you feel. I use a GoodReads account to keep track of the books I’ve read but also love posting them on my Instagram and sharing little reviews of what I thought! I’d also recommend maybe trying beloved classics or new genres to mix it up and surprise yourself! Last year I made a start on Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and ended up falling in love with it and starting my own little Austen collection which I hope to get through this year! I’m currently in the middle of Emma and have a weird adoration for how Austen writes.

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When it comes to writing and studying, I definitely feel setting up your own little study area in your house or keeping your notes colourful and interesting! For a while, I’ve been absolutely obsessed with a theme on Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest called ‘studyspo’ (Study Inspiration). People post their notes, diaries, bullet journals, desk setups and the different techniques they’ve used and it’s just really motivating because I look at them and think ‘Wow I wish I had my stuff all together like theirs!’. You don’t even need to have the high-end stuff they may have, simply getting cheap colourful fine-liners, highlighters, a pen and a cute notebook and you can transform your boring notes to something you have interest in and keeps in your memory. Another tip that goes hand in hand with that is definitely taking notes by hand. It’s been said that writing your notes by hand and paraphrasing them in your own words helps facts and information stick in your brain a lot faster than typing them up. I personally like to try and scribble down all my notes in class or downloading what tutors have put up on the student access site (e.g Blackboard) and making time to carefully rephrase and write them out again in a cute notebook with pretty handwriting so I can spend more time taking it in.

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Finally, I started my own bullet journal this year. I tried a little one last year and decided to take the plunge and get a gorgeous hardback notebook in London which I have made my bullet journal. These are great because you can design them how you want, make the spreads whatever you want and cater it to you and your priorities. In mine so far, as well as typical weekly diary spreads, I have made pages to remind me what books and films I’d like to discover this year, a calendar where I can colour each day in to match my mood so I can keep track of it and even a pretty page for my dungeons and dragons character! So many people have gotten into this and you can get inspiration off youtube, pinterest and instagram!

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I hope you enjoyed this and that it may even give you a bit of inspiration! I may in the future share some of my favourite Instagram handles and Pinterest boards I’ve made that have inspired me and motivated me!

Thank you for reading,

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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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Small ideas to kick start productivity when you suffer from depression

This could be similar for people suffering with depression or people who have quite normal brain chemistry alike but a lot of days you just don’t have the energy to do anything. To me it makes me feel like my body is ill but there’s no symptoms I just feel drowsy and ready to nod off and you want to avoid everything. Sometimes on worst days, literally everything. Grossly enough, you might even avoid showering and feel content to just staying in pyjamas for a couple of days on end, making excuses not to see friends because you just don’t feel it’ll do you any good. You feel like your body is not up to it for some reason.

Anybody else feel this? It’s a bit of a pants feeling, but I promise you, some very small steps can help you boost your motivation and get you back on track.

  1. Wash your face – This is such a small step I know, but it will refresh you. There’s a good reason why it’s one of the first things you do to wake yourself up in the day. Doesn’t matter if it’s mid afternoon, evening or 2am, go cleanse your face with some water and exfoliate and then splash cool water on it. Your skin will feel clean and awake.
  2. Select a part of your room and clean it – Cleaning your room is a huge drain of energy when you feel like this, I understand. So pick a small part, this could be your desk, your bed, your bookshelf, wardrobe. Give it a good clean, for example your bed area: take your duvet off, sprinkle/spray a bit of essence or your favourite perfume on the sheets, make your bed again and then vacuum around it! Maybe even take it up a notch and budge your bed over if you can and vacuum underneath the bed! I’ll be proud of you even if you just make your bed!
  3. Shower – This speaks for itself. Take a lovely warm shower and use a nice smelling shower gel. If you have to go out and are in reach of a Superdrug you could pick up one of their shower gels for only 99p! Cruelty free and they will lighten up your mood with the delicious scents. The shea butter one will leave a sweet linger that will comfort you and make you smell as sweet as you are.
  4. Get dressed and take a walk – Taking even a small 15 minute walk burns around 60 calories and gives your body a good pump of blood circulation. You get some fresh air as well and if you take a walk in the day which is the best time for this productive walk – you’ll get some vitamin D from the sun which will improve your mood balance. Put on your comfiest, cutest jumper and take your music out with you and enjoy the scenery. Take a few photos of scenery you like for yourself. No need to put them on Instagram or get sad if they’re not good images. This is all for you.

So you’ve done all that? That is incredibly productive and you should feel proud. You should never force yourself to do too many things in a day if you don’t want to. Taking a walk, showering and cleaning is productive enough! I hope these small tasks make you feel a bit more motivated to do other stuff. Maybe invite a friend on your walk, maybe do some small exercises in your room or even clean more of your room!

Is there any small things you do to motivate yourself?

Thanks for reading,

Helena x

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Skin Picking

So my disclaimer to this post is that it might gross people out a bit. It’s a habit I’ve had for a good few years now that people always give me disgusted looks for or even get impatient with me when they catch me doing it.

Since puberty my skin was obviously cursed with the despicable teenage acne. I used to get really bad crowds of whiteheads on my back, chest and face. My nose and upper lip has always had blackheads and my face would always get those annoying under-the-skin, throbbing pimples at least every other week. I am thankful my acne is not as bad as it was when I was in high school or college, however every often I still get bad spots. Makes it even worse that I pick. I scratch and squeeze at spots that I get and if I don’t do that, I spend the day stroking and touching the bit of skin that has the blemish on it. At first when growing up, I used to pick and scratch at acne because I wanted it gone, part of me thought if I picked out the gross pus or dirt underneath the spot, I would help get rid of it quicker.

However now in recent years, I’ve noticed I do it when I’m stressed or anxious. If I’m anxious about going out and getting ready I find myself scratching at spots. When I’ve had a bad day, going up to a mirror and squeezing and roughly picking any blemish I can find on my face – even a blackhead not even someone with perfect vision would probably notice – distracts my mind and calms me down. Doing my own research, the skin picking seems very relevant to my anxiety and possibly ‘BDD’. When I am anxious or stressed, I become preoccupied with my skin and picking and scratching feels like I am getting rid of dirt or bad stuff on my skin. It is almost relaxing to me but at the end of the day I really damage my skin and end up with scabs and wounds that last longer than a spot would or even acne scars that last months.

I write this post today because, although the past few months I’ve gotten way better at not picking at my skin, I am having a regression week where two spots on my face I  can’t stop picking and the day after they heal with yellow scabs and I end up picking them off again. I hope maybe admitting to my problem on ‘paper’ might kickstart me not doing it again. But I also wanted to share some tips I have, in case anybody else believes they might have a problem with acne/skin picking.

  1. Putting plasters on pimples or blemishes when at home/in private to prevent picking.
  2. Face masks! Not only do they help cleanse and soothe your face but also prevent mindless picking.
  3. Always clean your makeup brushes and take makeup off before sleeping. This prevents any blemishes from dirty makeup. Which then prevents picking.
  4. If you do unfortunately scratch, wash your face and then finish washing with cold water. Cold water helps close open pores preventing further dirt entering.
  5. Gloves – admittedly I don’t do this often, but I’ve heard on other blog posts that people with compulsive skin picking have written, gloves can create a barrier.
  6. When you feel like picking, paint your nails. This gives you a reason to keep your hands still.
  7. Continuing the painted nails – if you feel like picking your skin, pick at the varnish on your nails instead.
  8. If you can, stroke a pet when you feel like picking. This is a numbing situation in which you can zone out whilst stroking your pet, much like you might zone out and relax when picking or after squeezing a spot. Plus your pet will love you!

If anybody else can share any other tips – believe me I’d appreciate them!

Thanks for reading,

Helena x

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peeing in the shower is great

Last night I posted on twitter a tweet concerning doing your liquid business in the shower. Bizarrely enough, my friends responded as if I was absolutely mad which left me quite surprised. How has someone never purposely done a pee in the shower?

It led to me to thinking some of the weird things people do either in habit or with effort that is eco-friendly. ‘Weird’ things I do that I consider quite simple or ‘weird’ things other people do that I’m not sure if I could ever get behind.

  1. Pee in the shower!!
    I will fight for this idea until the end of time. If you are going for a shower and your bladder is ready to go, just save it and go in the shower. Why? Well why not? The liquid all goes down the same plug-hole and will be rinsed quickly if you don’t keep your shower drains clogged. You will save water by not using the toilet flush, you will save waste and money that is spent on toilet paper and you will save time! Now if you plan on doing a number two; please definitely use the actual toilet as that is not a liquid and if it is you should see a doctor.
  2. Coconut Oil instead of Makeup wipes
    If someone said to a younger me to wipe coconut oil over all my makeup and wash it off with water I’d probably grimace and think they’re a bit peculiar. But now the internet really does love coconut oil. I have never gone about trying all of the amazing ‘wonders’ coconut oil apparently has but I can tell you from trying and testing that makeup literally slides off my face with coconut oil! You just rub it onto makeup areas (avoid getting it in your eyes) and rub it off with a damp flannel! Voila! Make sure to splash your face with some warm water when done to prevent oil getting in your pores! Saving waste from wipes!
  3. Toothpaste Tabs
    I am not a dentist so I can’t tell anyone if this is a good way to go with your dental health but one of my favourite companies Lush Cosmetics, known for their eco-friendly, cruelty-free range, have a collection of solid tasting tabs in recyclable, reused cardboard boxes called ‘Toothy Tabs’. With these you basically take one of the tiny tabs crush it with your front teeth and then stick your damp toothbrush in your gob and start brushing! The tab will disintegrate and froth up like normal toothpaste! I have used a box of ‘Dirty Toothy Tabs’ by them before, mainly because of their gorgeous spearmint taste and I am currently using the ‘Sparkle Toothy Tabs’! These are really waste reducing and if you do the traditional idea of not running water whilst brushing – you’re a step closer to being more eco-friendly!
  4. Old clothes or knickers as cloths for cleaning
    Got any old t-shirts, underwear or cotton material that is just messed up and you could never get away with handing it down or giving it to charity? Cut it up and use it as cloths! For wiping down mirrors, polishing furniture, dusting – could save you a couple of quid on buying new ones and you recycle!
  5. Reusable sanitary pads
    Now hear me out, as I can already visualise people going ‘Eww!’ in the distance. Let’s push away the stigma on vagina-owner periods right now. Yes the body randomly decides to expel a huge load of blood from the vagina once a month. Yes this is slightly strange if you have a penis and this doesn’t happen. It’s biology, get over it. Most people are taught how to use a sanitary pad and a tampon. We are not really educated though on how much these disposable products contribute to waste a year though, and the bleach that goes into pads and tampons. Bit gross right? Bleached fabric that we have to stick up our hoo-has?! Maybe reusable sanitary pads are the eco-solution! These ‘pads’ are made out of soft, ‘hoo-ha’ friendly material with no bleaching or chemicals and you essentially wear them like normal pads, you bleed onto them, but instead of chucking them away you wash them(first soak in cold water and then you can chuck it in your washing machine) and you can re-wear them! Personally I’m not using this method right now but people make pads in different thicknesses and sizes and small, light ones are very comfy for those ending days of your period where you’re not really bleeding but don’t want to risk it!
  6. Uhhh… re-usable.. diapers?
    One for the mothers out there. On the topic of re-usable pads, apparently you can get re-usable diapers for your babas! I can see the appeal as sometimes disposable diaper material is bleached much like disposable pads and your baby’s skin is precious, but I’m not sure if I could ever do it. I feel like there is a line between cleaning off my own blood and cleaning off another tiny human’s poo. But that’s just me and I am nowhere near a mother yet! But there is another way to save your tiny baba’s skin and the environment! Plus saves money!

I’m sure there are a lot of other quirky ways to help out our mother Earth but there are a few simple ideas!

Thanks for reading,
Lenah x x