Changes that have helped me with my body image

Growing up I feel like almost everyone I know, at one point or another, has had issues with their body image. Even if, thankfully, it has not developed into anything that’s upsetting them or affecting their mental and physical health. It’s the societal norm to hear ‘my stomach is so big’, ‘I need to lose weight’, ‘I’m on a diet’ or ‘I feel ugly’. I can vouch that I have said all four of those sentences at some point in my life.

This year for Mental Health Awareness Week, the Mental Health Foundation (UK) shared some statistics relevant to ‘body image’. This included the fact that ‘one in eight adults in the UK have experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings because of concerns about their body image’. It’s quite upsetting to read, especially when you realise how young these obsessions, self-beliefs and worries can start. Among teenagers 31% felt ashamed in relation to their body image. (All stats can be found here.)

Mental Health Awareness Week has passed now, however as you will hear most advocates say – mental illness and mental health struggles happen all year round and can affect absolutely anyone regardless of lifestyle, age, race, gender, size and so on. Today, I thought I’d share with you some of the things that have helped me deal with body image issues and doubts as well as share a little bit of my story.

Growing up I’ve always been quite unhappy with the way I look. I distinctly remember drawing out a ‘self-portrait’ as a kid and exaggerating all the parts of me I really hated or thought made me ugly. Digging my felt tips into the paper with frustration and sadness because I felt like my appearance meant a lot more than it really did.

High school is when social media started to become a thing and I’d spend ages using the laptop webcam trying to get a perfect selfie, to then edit it madly – adding high saturation to my eyes to make them look unnaturally blue, blurring my skin. If the ‘popular girls’ complimented it, it only gave me more reason to keep obsessing over how I looked. I know it wasn’t just me alone in this though, thinking back every girl I knew had something they were insecure about. At one point one of the girls I thought was popular, confident and absolutely invisible asked me what editing app I used on my photos to then go and use it herself. It was almost like we were the generation to see the beginning of the addiction of basing our self-worth on Facebook likes and high school rating systems (Remember the ‘like my status for a rate? xo’, why on earth did any of us do that.)

In my later teenage years I found myself quite obsessed with checking calories, only eating so much a day, trying to cut out sugar, salt, bread, carbs – you name it. I’d follow ridiculous accounts on Tumblr that only pushed unhealthy images of girls who were underweight but labelled as ‘goals’. I’d tell myself off and mentally abuse myself whenever I ate something ‘unhealthy’ even if I desperately needed to eat.

Luckily, I realised I was very much treading in the deep end. One more step and I’d be underwater.

One of the worst things about dealing with body image, is that the problem is so accepted. It’s almost like if you don’t hate your body, you’re not human. If you go to a doctor and tell them you loathe your body to the point of pushing it through unhealthy diets and regimes, unless you’re drastically underweight, they won’t do much (in my experience anyways). I was lucky enough to tackle the very dark parts of hating my body mostly through sheer willpower, but a lot of people don’t always have that and will instead struggle alone and may even develop an eating disorder. It shouldn’t be like that.

Stop making food a villain

We need food to live. We literally need to consume food to keep us going and for the nutrients, protein and other good stuff that it provides. One of the biggest steps I needed to take throughout my life is learning to listen to my body. Even if I’ve already eaten today, if I start to feel hungry and fatigued, I need to eat. Never get into a routine of telling yourself you can only eat ‘X’ because you ate ‘X’ yesterday. Or that because you ate junk food today, you need to do 3 hours of exercise tomorrow. Stop making food a villain and embrace it.

I haven’t looked into it enough myself to completely vouch for it but intuitive eating is the best thing you can do for your body. Ditch all the diet books and listen to your body. Stop categorising food as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and make peace with food.

Let yourself enjoy delicious food

Unfollow any influencer or person that makes you feel bad about your body

Social Media controls more of your confidence, self-esteem and body image beliefs than you realise. This advice means a lot to me because taking it on has probably helped me the most over the past few years. As a form of self-care, I ensure that my entire Twitter and Instagram feed is solely full of content that inspires me, makes me happy and motivates me. I don’t even follow most of the celebrities from TV or films that I like just to prevent me from getting into the mindset of ‘why can’t I look like that?’.

Everybody and their mum knows that a good chunk of Instagram is full of lies, facetune and fakery. Don’t even get me started on influencers who push ‘weight loss shakes’. You don’t need that on your feed! Follow mental health advocates, positive body image advocates and inclusive artists and creatives. Most people spend a large percentage of their day scrolling through social media, the best thing you can do is make sure what you see isn’t reinforcing those negative self-beliefs.

Make sure you enjoy your exercising

I hate the gym. I hate running. These are the two exercises that physically drain me. The only endorphin I get from the gym is when I leave and get to be by myself.

An exaggeration of my dislike, I know. But, taking up exercise that I actually love, enjoy and look forward to has done so much more for me than the years where I’ve forced myself to go to a gym only to feel miserable, anxious and bored. If exercise feels like a chore, what’s the point? Growing up, I always heard 30 minutes of exercise a day is the minimum that is recommended. Now if you want to do exercise you just need to find something that you’ll find fun for that 30 minutes, and eventually it won’t even feel like exercise and you might want to do it for an hour or even more!

It’s also important to remember that it’s ok if it takes you a while to find this or a couple of tries. My personal favourite is dance. I only started dance fitness last year and I feel genuinely sad whenever I can’t make a class. I also find swimming, yoga and long walks enjoyable. I don’t worry too much about exercise now because I acknowledge that going for an hour’s walk is doing something. Enjoyable exercise is different for everyone, there is no one ‘correct’ exercise routine.

Before Dance Fitness, I even tried Pound Fit! Good way to work up a sweat

Shop for comfort, not to fit in

I think I can speak for myself and numerous other girls when I say the crop top trend can be a pain in the arse sometimes. You go shopping, you just want a cute new top but for some reason my entire stomach has to be on show? Trying to stay on trend can be actually nerve-wracking because you feel so uncomfortable in what you’ve put on. But in your head you just want to look like one of the models on Instagram. In my mid-teenage years (17-19 years old) I spent ridiculous amounts of money on crop tops, mini skirts, short-shorts and such that I could just never wear because I felt absolutely stupid in or if I did wear them, I’d spend the entire time scared that I was flashing someone, or that people would laugh at me. Eventually I began to tell myself before going out or whilst getting changed in the morning: if I don’t feel comfortable in this, I don’t have to wear it. Nobody is forcing me.

I started telling myself female clothing sizes mean absolutely nothing and that I should invest in jeans that feel nice to wear whether they were a size 10 or a 14, and not bully myself if I can’t fit into a size 8. I made sure when I was buying clothes that I was happy, felt cute and comfortable. The number on the sizing and trend means nothing.

It might not be a stylish outfit but it made me comfy and happy!

What steps have you taken to make your body image journey happier and easier? Feel free to share in the comments. 💌

Thanks for reading,

Header Image taken by self

How to Study Comfortably

It is starting to get closer and closer to the end of the Summer break and depressingly enough that means for some people it’s getting closer to studying again. Whether you’re starting afresh at college or university and you’re full of excitement and curiosity about your new course or you’ve already settled in and you’ll be revising for upcoming exams or you might be in my boat and about to go into your final year and you’ll be having to prepare and study for upcoming projects or dissertations.

It’s not a very comforting thought knowing how much stuff you’ll need to do and how much of your time you’ll have to take out to contribute towards essays, projects or other things related to your college course/university degree, however there is some ways you can make the task of studying/revising a little less daunting and I thought I’d share them today!

  1. Find an appropriate study space

It’s not exactly a lie that cosying up in bed, sticking Netflix on and at least having a text book open in front of you, whether you’re reading it or not, is the ideal situation to be ‘studying’ in, however unless you’re extremely dedicated to the fact you’re going to study and you can promise you definitely won’t get distracted by the interesting documentary you’ve put on or find yourself dozing off in the comfort of your duvet – it’s not going to help you study. If you have your own desk in your room, tidy it up and organise all the essentials you need onto it. Having everything ready in front of you and keeping yourself sat upright will keep you alert and focused. If you don’t have a desk to allocate studying too, back at my parents I always found it useful to bring my laptop and everything downstairs and sit at the dining room table, this also helped keep me far from the temptation of just crawling into bed and napping whenever I got bored.

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  1. Have a nice drink and snacks on hand

My ideal study drink is either a brew or my water bottle as both will keep me hydrated or awake. Preparing a little bowl of snacks and a drink before you sit down to study will help you keep the focus on your work instead of getting a couple of minutes in and using the excuse of being peckish to get up and procrastinate work. BrainMD explains that a proper diet built on protein, omega-3 and other healthy fats as well as high fibre will help your energy and concentration. They also say high sugar, high fat and high caffeine treats only give you a temporary boost in energy and can lead to a crash which isn’t ideal for studying for long periods of time. Snacks like blueberries, apple slices, nuts, cucumber slices or carrot sticks and hummus are great possibilities for a healthy, energy-boosting study snack. (However, I won’t judge you if you have that one packet of crisps or can of Coca-Cola!) Eat and drink what works best for you and your study situation, however listen to your body. If you feel drained, that is not a hint for you to down a fifth mug of coffee – go get a glass of ice cold water instead.

  1. Stick on some good music

The trick here is that music could either be a great motivator and help calm any anxiety or stress when studying or it could be an absolute distraction. I have been in both these situations, so I completely understand but there is a way of combatting the distracting side of it. When you have music on in the background, don’t have the music video on YouTube or the TV. Don’t give yourself a reason to switch tabs to watch the video for the song or to be distracted by changing the TV channel because something rubbish came on. In advance when you have the time, make a long Spotify or YouTube playlist of songs you like. (In Youtube’s case add on lyric videos as it’ll give you less reason to switch tabs to watch the video). See if you can make your playlist the same amount of time as you wish to study each day, so you never have to switch over to change songs. In some cases, people have found music to aid memorizing stuff whilst they study. Because the music creates a positive mood whilst studying, they find remembering the topics they were looking at easier.

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  1. Use an app to prevent you from getting distracted by your phone

My phone is my worst nightmare when it comes to getting distracted whilst studying. I always find myself just picking it up and unlocking it without even thinking whenever I’m waiting for something to open on my computer or if I’ve put my pen down for one minute. Although you can use your phone to aid your studying or perhaps you’ve got a notification for an important email you need to respond to. There is a very cute phone app out there, available on both Android and iOS, to encourage you to not pick up your phone for set amounts of time. ‘Forest’ is a wonderful free app, where you metaphorically can grow a tree by not picking up your phone for a set amount of time, but if you pick up your phone and unlock it you kill the tree. I did a review on the application back in 2015 and it still holds up on how amazing it is.

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  1. Do not compromise your sleep for studying

Studying and revising is going to be extremely important no matter what year of college or university you’re in. If you want good grades you’re going to have to put the extra studying in and you’re going to have to work your butt off for results. But at the end of the day, your health – both physical and mental come first. If you’ve had a long day or you’re ill or it’s 11pm at night and your eyes are literally forcing themselves shut – go to bed. If you have a deadline the next day, I understand you’re going to want to finish and keep going but this is why getting most of it done before the day before deadline is so important. You should never have to compromise your sleep for studying. If something has been going on personally that has affected your ability to get work done for a deadline, I encourage you to talk to your tutors and explain the situation because it might be possible to get extra time and your body’s health is way more important than trying to convince yourself you don’t need extra time. If you are just revising and studying in general and your body is not feeling up to staying up another half hour and you can feel yourself falling asleep – let your body rest and start again tomorrow. Put yourself first.

I hope some of these tips help because they have helped me throughout my second year of University and I am going to try and follow my own advice going into third year and doing a portfolio, dissertation and other essays. If you want me to share more study tips and how I go about preparing for uni/college work – please comment and let me know!

Enjoy your day and thank you for reading!

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#TimeToTalk Day

Mental Health (n): In regard to an individual’s psychological and emotional well-being.

Mental health problems can affect anybody. Sometimes it can be triggered by something or develop at any given moment. Nobody has a choice in how their well-being is affected and it is nobody’s fault if they develop a mental health problem. People with mental health issues can be as strong and kind as people without any.

If you suffer from mental health problems you should never sit alone and blame yourself. You are not alone and there is nothing wrong with you. However I know when your mental state takes a turn, the world can feel completely different.

It is actually a myth that depression is highly uncommon. According to statistics recorded in 2014, there was around 1.6 million people got in contact with mental health specialists. Obviously all of these cases won’t always be depression. They can be related to bereavement depression, post-natal depression, anxiety, OCD, schizophrenia, a range of personality disorders, PTSD, sleeping disorders, eating disorders, stress, addiction, body dysmorphic disorder, bipolar or even trichotillomania. A lot of these can even interchange with each other and that is highly common. Some of these disorders can even be symptoms of another thing.

So as today is Time to Talk day, I’ve decided to write this post to encourage people to speak up and talk to others. Whenever I suffer from symptoms that affect my well-being and mental health I do find it helpful to talk to someone I trust and have a discussion. Bottling things up is never healthy and can even cause more anxiety or stress. Even if it’s not you personally who is struggling, if you believe someone else is, the best thing you  can do is try and encourage them to talk about it or even speak to their GP if they have continuous symptoms. A lot of excellent organisations including Rethink Mental Illness, BEAT, Mind and Time to Change talk about symptoms and different disorders on their websites.

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Illustration by Stephen Collins

I am someone who suffers from mental health disorders and struggles with my mental well-being. Some symptoms I have never been able to pinpoint the name for them or get a diagnosis but I know I am not the only one who suffers with these battles.

So this is my personal message on Time to Talk day to make anyone feel less alone and know they have someone like them. I know what it’s like to feel so extremely low you feel like there is no point in getting up to the day, I know the effort there is to get yourself out of bed to college or work and not let yourself get overwhelmed by other people and their attitudes, I know what it’s like to look at yourself in the mirror and not like what you see, no matter what exercise you do or food you eat. I know what it’s like to binge eat without even realising what you’re doing and then suddenly crash and feel guilty and sick. It feels like your stomach is filled with toxic material that you just want to release. I know what it’s like to want to scream but know nobody will hear you. I know what it’s like to feel alone.

But I promise you, you are not alone. There will always be somebody out there to talk to. Whether it’s family, friends, your doctor or a counselor. There is so much in the world for you to explore.

You are a warrior and you can do it.

So try and find someone to chat to, in person or online and have a brew. Have a conversation.

It’s time to talk.

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Helena x

 

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

how to make retail workers love you

I always get a laugh seeing memes and jokes on the internet or in tv sitcoms about the typical attitudes you come across when being a retail worker. Recently I’ve been lucky enough to start a new part-time job that I’m really looking forward to because I’ve missed having little fast-paced tasks to do to keep my hands and mind busy. When I was younger I always had a weird habit of tidying shop displays whenever my parents dragged me around Tescos and in my new job I get to constantly serve customers and organise displays which keeps me busy, so it should be great for some experience!

However typical satire about retail working is never wrong! There is many little things that happen whilst working on a shop floor that all sales assistants have come across. You’ve got the customer who thinks the stockroom is Narnia. You’ll sometimes get asked by customers to look for things ‘in the back’, even when you tell them that for definite either an item is out of stock or discontinued but they get more agitated. I’m sorry to break the myth, the stockroom is not made of magical trees that grow every product we have sold when a customer clicks their finger. My favourite is always the customer who bitches to you about prices. One of my favourite stories to tell is once in a past shop I was an assistant in, I was minding my own business tidying a display when a customer came up to me and told me how one product she was looking at is ‘well cheap somewhere else, these prices are ridiculous!’, the look on her face when I went to the cashier to serve her was hilarious to me.
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But there are customers who make my day. Whenever a customer tells me to have a nice day it does make me smile! Customers who are patient and appreciate the most you can do for them without huffing or expecting things that aren’t possible. So I decided to share some secrets, from someone who has been a sales assistant to anyone who are constantly in stores..

  • If staff come up to you constantly in a shop and ask if you need any help, don’t get angry at them. Some people really do not like being bugged and I am the same sometimes when I’m window shopping cause I don’t want shops to expect me to buy something, most of the time I’m broke! But never get angry at these staff please – it is our job to do this! It is literally in our policy and sometimes the managers will really get on our backs if we just ‘ignore’ our customers. It’s also a policy to ensure customers know we are there, to try and prevent any shoplifting!
  • Try to make an attempt to fold clothes/displays back up after going through them. I’ve discovered this pet peeve when doing my recent job. I understand t-shirt displays where everything is folded do get messed up cause people want to look at what they are buying but I have more of an appreciation for customers who fold it up or put it back where they found it. It’s just plain rude if you literally chuck the clothes back at me or chuck them on the floor. If you really can’t use the energy to put a t-shirt back where you found it at least just give it to me so I can put it back and we can both get on with our lives.
  • If a sales assistant says they can’t do anything without a manager, don’t shout at them – we can’t lie to you! In some store policies there are genuinely some routines only managers can do, for example in an old workplace only supervisors or managers could deal with returns and exchanges and sometimes I’d get the odd customer who would get proper huffy and puffy with me when I told her I couldn’t so I’d just ‘take a min to get the manager’. I wouldn’t lie to you ma’am, I really want to do my job well.
  • We don’t appreciate your little gifts of litter. The other day I went into The Body Shop with my dear boyfriend and I noticed some utter arse had chucked their left over Costa cups in the baskets! They’re not bins! I was so angry about how gross some people can be. In my new job I’ve found half full Starbucks cups hidden under displays too and it is soul crushing. Can you guys really not carry your cups for a few more minutes to go and put it in the bins outside? If it’s REALLY that much of a strain for you to hold them just ask a member of staff to throw it away for you. We’d love that much more than you leaving it somewhere – cups with drink still in them are a slip hazard as well please remember that!
  • Ignoring us whilst you’re on the phone when we serve you is kind of, sort of rude. Tell your bezzie on your friend to hold the story about how drunk they got last night for 5 seconds whilst I check you at least know what your purchasing, if you want the receipts etc., we are humans too! Just giving us a smile, putting your phone down from your ear and talking to us for a second and giving us a thanks and then going back on your phone when you’ve paid and left is enough to keep our annoyance levels down.

So yeah, follow these tips and you’ll never have to be that one customer that makes retail workers get on the verge of crying. We really want to do well at our jobs and follow all the policies correctly! Think about if you were doing these jobs!

Thanks for reading!
Lenah x x

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 RevolutionThis 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 CafeThis 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 CafeMy 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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  • COWIf 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 PalaceAfflecks 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.
  • MOSIThe 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

Tea Hoarding

The most common stereotype about Britain is that we absolutely love tea. Celebrating something? Have a cuppa. Long day at work? Get snug with a brew. Just another lazy Sunday? Put the kettle on.

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It’s not really a lie, in my 19 years of life I don’t think I’ve ever seen the kitchen cupboard without tea bags. I’ve been raised as a tea lover since young. I remember when I was tiny I used to love drinking the cold little drop of sugary tea left at the bottom of my mum’s mug when she had finished the tea. Since then I’ve always had cups of tea when I get up in the morning and when relaxing in the evening.

Since I started getting my own money, I believe I’ve developed a slight habit of tea hoarding. Green teas, ginger teas, peppermint teas, white teas, black teas – even chocolate orange tea. There’s a shelf in the kitchen dedicated solely to my so-called ‘fancy teas’. Having a sweet cup of herbal tea is one of my favourite self-care routines. Most of my teas I don’t have extra sugar or milk in so they’re very guilt-free but still contribute towards my sweet tooth. Coming home from college or work, sticking the kettle on and having the air fill with the aromatic, fragrant scents are just lovely and then the warm tea is like a cuddle for your tummy. It’s bliss.

There’s many great benefits to drinking tea, obviously remember to drink tea in moderation (especially if you add dairy or extra sugars) and let the tea cool to prevent burning your throat.

  • Antioxidants in Green tea increase the body’s ability to burn fat as exercise fuel.
  • Antioxidants in tea may help protect against cancers such as skin, colon, lung, oral, prostate etc.
  • Tea helps fight free radicals.
  • Green tea may possibly improve bone mineral density.
  • Compounds in tea can help to lower levels of inflammation/inflammatory reactions.

As well as ensuring moderation if you add sugar/dairy to your drinks, it is also a good idea to invest in organic brands of tea, as bleaching is sometimes used on tea bags and obviously less chemicals the better! The following brands are apparently rated for being ‘organic’ brands – Pukka Tea, Qi Teas, Clipper Teas, Dragonfly Teas and Heath and Heather Teas! Obviously if you own a tea strainer and like to use loose leaves, these are a lot more organic and chemical-free too!

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My top favourite 5 teas at the moment are:

  • Dragonfly Tea Organic Moroccan Mint Green Tea
  • Higher Living Green Chai Tea
  • Cosy Blueberry Tea
  • Pukka Cleanse Fennel, Nettle & Peppermint
  • Twinings Gingerbread Green Tea

Obviously Twinings isn’t a very organic tea brand so I’m hoping to invest in more teas to taste and find a winner to get on the top list. A good excuse for more fancy tea hoarding!


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Thanks for reading,
Lenah x x