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phone photography adventures and Easter laziness

Hey guys, long time no talk!

Lately I’ve been really missing blogging, art and just general hobbies I used to enjoy. That’s the annoying side of University life mixed with depression, it’s so easy to drop completely off the map when it comes to things that I really used to enjoy doing. Luckily I’m in the middle of a good 2-3 weeks off University and it’s been a mix of good and bad to my schedule. The first bad bit is that I’ve completely lost my sleeping pattern; maybe I didn’t have a good one in the first place but over the course of a week or two it’s definitely gone a bit tipsy. Although the bonus of being awake at 4am with your boyfriend watching Netflix and playing video games is you get to see how pretty the world is when it’s the dead of night. Especially in Manchester.

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I’ve been really enjoying taking photos lately. Now I’m definitely no photographer or skilled, especially with the fact all I have is my shoddy iPhone SE and editing apps/Photoshop – but it’s been something I’ve been doing a lot when I’m out of the house. Me and Will have been on three or four lovely walks during the Easter break which has given me a great chance to take some nice photos and it’s made me want to start doing photography again. Maybe fool around more with photo editing or even create some mixed media pieces if I can ever kick my butt back into art/drawing.

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Visiting Wythenshawe park provided me with a lot of lovely photos! We visited the Community Farm they have there so I got to see a lot of the adorable animals on the farm. Admittedly seeing the cows in their barn made me feel a little bit sad because it was hard to tell if they were happy or upset being there but a lot of the animals on the farm seemed very calm and were eating/just finished being fed.

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As well as picnics in parks and going for walks, I’ve been mostly lazing around playing video games. Persona 5 is my go-to game at the moment which I thoroughly recommend to anybody looking for a new PS4 game to play! It’s also available on PS3. It’s super unique and if you’re a fan of the Persona series, it’s definitely a step up from 4 and with a lot more gripping, darker storyline. The characters are super lovable and you’ll get instantly attached to them like I did. I’d also recommend it if you’re a fan of games like Pokemon or Final Fantasy because of the fighting and collecting monster themes but for anyone who enjoys games like Mass Effect or Dragon Age since they have a role-playing side to it where you can make personal choices to your game with some sides of it.

I hope everyone is having a lovely Easter holiday and I shall be back soon with another post!

Thanks 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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Teenagers in UK not being able to access sanitary products?

Despite the on and off stigma of periods and talking about them that you grow up with if you are a vagina bearer, periods are still a thing that half of the population get and cannot just turn off at the switch of a button. Everybody’s periods are different – they can range in how long they’re around for, how heavy they are, different intensity of period cramps, different period symptoms/PMS to go alongside it and the time between them can be different too. But almost every person with a menstrual cycle invests in some sort of sanitary product. Whether it’s towels, tampons, reusable cloth pads, menstrual cups etc. etc. It’s a necessity to bring comfort, hygiene and peace of mind to the person on their period. So how come access to sanitary products is starting to become harder for school girls in Leeds?

It’s not the first people have heard of teenagers missing out on education or school because of their body’s natural cycle. In rural Uganda girls miss around eight days of school due to lack of resources, in Garissa, Kenya 86% report missing school due to periods and in India 23% of girls drop out when they start menstruating. Isn’t that crazy? Girls/young people with vaginas should not miss out on getting an education just because of how their body works. Nobody chooses to have a period, right? This kind of problem is slowly creeping up on our doorstep! It’s been reported recently that in Britain, specifically Leeds, students are relying on their teachers to provide sanitary products or not coming to school at all during their period. Some of the students approached in this research explained they come from families maybe with a single parent or multiple siblings and when short on money it can be hard to get the sanitary products needed when they are on their periods.

I found this news quite sad because like I mentioned, nobody chooses to have a period and it must be quite upsetting to get into trouble for attendance when it’s just your body doing what it’s meant to do! So I decided I wanted to do something, even if it’s just blog posts to raise awareness, or get people talking more about periods and sanitary products, or try and raise some money to send off products to charities that specialize in providing people who have limited or no access to products with said products!

Today I put up a survey on my Facebook asking people to fill in a couple of questions that cover how many products you use on one period, have you ever found yourself in a place where you’ve had to makeshift something when you’re bleeding and can’t access a product, what age did you start requiring them and such. I got such a good response back, I’m so unbelievably happy and surprised! I hope to write a blogpost tomorrow, properly going over the numbers but so far I’ve noticed one common pattern – everybody agrees people should have access to free sanitary products and almost everyone feels like their high school didn’t do much to provide access to products/feel comfortable asking. Which made me kind of sad but more determined to start a discussion.

My survey is here to fill in! It’s only 10 questions and any response is useful! 

So what do I plan to try and do? Well tomorrow/Monday I will write up properly my findings on it! As well as that I’m trying to contact some local organisations that take in donations of pads/sanitary products for tips on raising awareness! Watch this space!
Thank you 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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Post-Winter with BDD

I used to love Winter as a kid/teenager. Christmas time, Halloween and the dark nights where you’d most likely be snuggled up inside with a cup of tea watching movies was the best kind of feeling. The whole season had the essence of comfort and celebration and lately I’m so nostalgic for those carefree Winters that I had up until about 2 years ago or whenever I started struggling more with eating and my body image. I never really like to talk about struggling with BDD or body image or self-esteem or eating, or to be blunt – my body. Why? I feel it’s because deep down I don’t think talking about it will do anything positive or encouraging aside from it being me wallowing in my own low self-esteem.

Unfortunately what people who don’t struggle regularly with body image issues whether it’s just low confidence or further on an eating disorder scale is that compliments or ‘reassurance’ doesn’t do much. You tell someone, ‘god I just don’t like my body lately, I’m so unhappy with it’ and they’ll go ‘well don’t worry I think you’re beautiful!’ or ‘no don’t be silly, I’d kill for your body’ and it really doesn’t do anything. BDD or eating disorders or confidence related anxiety is a selfish monster but at the same time maybe it’s society’s lack of knowledge on understanding different kinds of anxieties and eating disorders?

That always bugged me as well, when people bring up the ‘I’d love your body’ kind of compliment. When you grow up with body image anxiety, the biggest advice given to you is ‘don’t compare yourself to anyone’ and it is very good advice. You shouldn’t compare yourself to anyone ever because it’s such a toxic habit that when out of control you can end up upset. From my experience I’ve been continuously trying to ram this idea into my head which is even harder with society throwing magazines, billboards, social media posts and the lot in my face of different ‘perfect, unique aesthetics and bodies’ and then I’m sat in my BDD anxiety state feeling completely alien cause I can’t even relate to the beautiful bodies that aren’t your ‘stereotypical Kate Moss model skinny’. So when someone picks up on my low self-esteem and tells me they wish that they had a feature I had, it’s like reverse psychology to compare myself to them again. I never win.

Lately my BDD has been crushing me because of the winter. The winter term of University meant going out drinking more which leads to weight gain/acne etc., and then poor eating habits leads to the same and then Christmas lead to more and now I’m sat wanting to physically slit off my own fat because I can’t stand being in it. It’s not even the problem of not liking what I see in the mirror, it’s like you can physically feel the fat and lack of health in your body. What I can only describe as a beer belly, feels like a mass on my stomach about to explode. Whatever clothes I put on I feel like my body is trying to eat it alive because everything just clings to my fat. I feel like a potato. An alien. I don’t feel like my body shape is even human. This is the pain of BDD and I hate it, I wish it would go.

I hope soon I can maybe sort myself out and eat better or exercise more but everything feels like a giant mountain to climb right now and when I reach out to people, it seems like people think it’s almost ridiculous. When really the BDD makes it feel like something that’s eating my body alive.

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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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2017 Wishes: January

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Hello it’s me! Long time, no blog!

Happy New Year to everyone, I have a feeling this year will be better than the last. Last year had it’s ups and downs, it felt more of a year of downs in general but I hope this year will be a lot more positive for everyone I love.

A lot of cynics will take the new year resolution tradition as a ‘pointless gimmick’ but I’ve always liked the idea of making goals and resolutions at the beginning of the year, admittedly I never stick to them but it’s nice to sort out your priorities and know what you want by the end of the year. Admittedly I’m terrible at sticking to one idea at a time and always change my mind every month let alone year. I’m very impulsive and get inspired easily which is both a weakness of mine and a strength. So I thought this year I’d start off by making ‘wishes’ or goals for the first month of January – not the whole year. I want to take one month at a time to try and get to where I want to be.

Photo 02-01-2017, 21 19 38.jpgSo where am I starting? Of course, I want to get back into my vegetarian lifestyle. I am massively inspired by the cause Veganuary, in which people go vegan for just a month but as I am living back at home for the first month, it’s a bit harder when my parents buy the food and I’m very against turning away food. It’s a lot easier on me and my family to request to be vegetarian for the first month of 2017, plus hopefully if I succeed at this, I can transition to a more vegan lifestyle later in the year! As well as a more healthy, meat-free diet, I would love to incorporate a nice exercise routine into my every day life. I’ve always been rubbish at having an exercise routine but swimming has always been appealing to me. If I can build up the guts to visit my local leisure centre or the one at my University, I think swimming laps in the pool a couple of times week for just an hour a day would be a great health benefit.

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For Christmas my parents got me this beautiful Paperchase Planner as seen on the left and a cute dainty little bee-themed (spot on, mum) notepad with a bee pen and it’s inspired me to keep a lot more organised and jot down as much things as possible to keep me up to date with my own life. I was the most unorganised person last year and obviously it hasn’t changed over night (I mean I did wake up at 1pm today), so I hope to start using my planner to start making baby steps to a more sorted life. This planner has a pages for my diary, budget planner, meal planner, shopping list and notes. My lovely little C3PO is attached to it as well to give it my own personal touch!

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Organised work ethics are something I aspire to have this month as well. I’ve got my first University exam coming up, as well as revising for a performance in the drama society I love being a part of and I’ll be going back to work and generally throwing myself back into a busy bee lifestyle, after a good two weeks of napping more than usual and eating my own body weight in chocolates and leftovers. If I can go an entire month without accidentally napping through rehearsals or having 100% attendance at my classes I’d be so proud of myself. I know I can do it, I just need a good kick up the arse.

And finally as you can see, I want to write more blog posts. Last year whenever I heard people say they’ve read my post or they like reading what I write or even accompanying my writing/blogging to me, it’d give me such a warm feeling inside. I really enjoy my writing and I’ve missed it so much in the past few months and I’m sad I got so overwhelmed that I’d push my blog away from me and avoid trying to write. I hope this month I get a good few posts done.

Oh and of course, I started Mass Effect 3 and I want to finish it, wee!

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Happy New Year my lovelies!

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