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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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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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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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Youtube vs. WordPress

Youtube is an extremely popular social media/blogging platform in these recent years and a lot of ‘youtube stars’ can go on to amazing opportunities like appearing on tv shows, radio appearances and invitations to premieres and events. It seems like a dream job for a lot of teenagers to make videos discussing  their favourite things or joking about like stars including Danisnotonfire or having a youtube channel with tons of subscribers watching as you play video games and commentate however it is a massive struggle to get to the place some of these people do. You can hardly just quit your job and depend on running a youtube channel when you only have one or two subscribers.

Lately I’ve pondered working creatively on both my blog and a youtube channel and tried to explore the process of making videos, talking to a camera and video editing and I am on and off about it. Some of the differences I’ve noticed from doing one or two videos is that, personally, I feel it’s a lot less pressure expressing through writing. Maybe that’s based on my personality and comfort zone. I am quite an introverted person but I love expressing my feelings, opinions and talking about stuff, however growing up quiet and shy, talking for long periods of time can end up with me stammering, falling over my words a bit and going off on a tangent.

My latest video I uploaded last night was me talking about my favourite phone apps – something I believe if I had written this piece, maybe I could of gone into more descriptive reviews of each app, however when you are making a video, you feel you’re on a time limit and to captivate and draw in a new audience – nobody ever really wants to listen to someone drawl on unless they’re already along for the ride of a youtuber. Let’s be honest some youtube videos I only watch the whole thing and stay until the end of the video because I like the personality and as someone who is introverted, my personality isn’t going to be fully presented to somebody watching me however through writing is might be. I can’t mispronounce or forget what I had to say as I type and if I feel I have missed an important point, I can go back to it later.

Another difference to youtube expression vs. writing expression is possibly it is easier for a lot of audiences to sit down and read my blog. When you’re commuting, scrolling through a post and skimming it allows people to take more information in than a video where you may have to concentrate and have the volume up. Blogging is also a lot easier process for someone with a busy schedule or impulsive ideas, such as myself. A lot of effort has to be put into a good video where you are discussing a subject. You think of your idea, make notes or even a script for your video, sit down, get the lighting and camera ready, film, put your film on the computer, go through all the editing, rendering and then finally upload/process on youtube. However, say I want to talk about something important or I have a writing idea randomly, I can easily sit down and write about it.

Finally, the one favouring point that draws me towards writing is that I can be a lazy bum behind my laptop, however if I want to make a youtube video I feel very pressured to make sure I look decent and pretty in my videos. I am extensively picky about how I look in photos and videos and after I’ve uploaded my videos, a bad habit of picking out flaws in the way I look or act in my video kind of overcomes me. I do not have that insecurity with my writing which means I feel much more happy, proud and comfortable with it.

So yeah, thought I’d share my feelings about writing and youtube! Feel free to check out my youtube videos if you want, I may upload some more in the future but I definitely feel dedicated to my writing.

Thanks for reading,

Helena x

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5 Youtubers I’m glad I discovered in 2015

Youtube is one of the most defining forms of social expression currently in our day and age. You have such a variation of creativity and discussion on Youtube, where individuals can dedicate their channel to vlogging and discussing topics important to them, sharing their talents whether it’s poetry, singing, art etc or even creating a visual diary of good times in their lives. I feel weirdly comforted watching youtubers make video logs of their days out whether it’s at conventions or concerts. Recently a lot of ‘youtube-celebrities’ are up and coming in fame and even get to expand their opportunities by being on the radio (Dan and Phil are a great example of this) or even interviewing the president (Seeing Ingrid Nilsen interview Obama was something I didn’t expect to see on my facebook feed today).

In 2015 I subscribed to quite a few new youtubers I hadn’t really watched before and I thought I’d share them here! Check them out if you’d like some new content to watch whilst on a train journey or just when you have some free time.

(Note: this list isn’t really in any particular order)

  1. Rose and Rosie (can I class both of them as one?)

I’m really surprised I only just discovered Rose Ellen Dix and Rosie (theRoxetera) last year as they come across as both the loveliest people ever. Not only are they an adorable couple and their wedding video made me cry, but they are hilarious and their sass with each other is just great. Rosie has her own blog which I have read a couple of times and I am very inspired by her, especially some of her posts on veganism and helping elephants with the company ‘The Elephant Pants’. They both just come across as lovely, humble people and whenever I watch their videos I really hope they have the great future they deserve ahead of them as a family.

2. Leena – justkissmyfrog

I discovered Leena mainly from her video celebrating her achievement of completing the ‘National Novel Writing Month’. She literally managed to write a novel in 30 days. How incredible is that?! I was massively impressed and just had to explore her channel when I saw this. She is a massive lover of books and often does reviews and book hauls. I actually took in her review of ‘How to Build a Girl’ by Caitlin Moran and actually put it on my wishlist for Christmas! So I can’t wait to read that!

3. Game Grumps

I used to rarely watch gaming channels although I appreciate them on youtube because they help give genuine reviews and opinions of games, as well it is also hilarious to see people experience shocks and twists in your favourite games and see their reactions. However Game Grumps was a channel I vastly appreciated being around in late 2015. I had a lot of rubbish experiences in the Autumn/Winter of 2015 with apprenticeships being unprofessional with me and other low moments, and on some evenings when I couldn’t sleep, as cheesy as it sounds, I would find comfort in watching Game Grumps because I would always end up in tears from laughter. Arin and Danny (the main members in Game Grump videos) are hilarious and always have great stories to tell during videos. The Wind Waker playthrough above is one of my favourites as Danny talks about growing up with OCD and Depression, and it’s a nice video because it really gives you hope that things can get better.

4. Dodie – doddleoddle

Dodie is an actual cinnamon roll in the world of youtube. Her vlogs and ukulele covers are really pleasant to watch and she has a lot of talent. I followed her on twitter for a while before I actually got around to watching her covers and honestly I kick myself for not watching her earlier. She definitely deserves a lot of the opportunities she will get in the future as she is extremely talented. Her cover of La Vie En Rose gives me little goosebumps and reminds me of sitting in the sun on a warm day – when there’s like occasional cool breezes and the air smells of clean, cut grass. If someone would like to make me a mixtape of Dodie’s covers so I can listen to them in the summer, I’d vastly appreciate it.

5. Savannah Brown

Go and listen to that slam poem. The first time and every time I listen to it I am left absolutely speechless. Savannah manages to cut through me with the way she projects that poem, she oozes the emotion and frustration behind every woman who has felt those things. Every girl who has been called a slut, every girl who’s been told they’ve been ‘asking for it’ when they’ve been cat called walking home from school, every girl who has been tricked and manipulated into toxic relationships with people who did not deserve their kindness and love. The line ‘Even though you keep telling me I shouldn’t be making noise in the first place / keep your mouth shut, unless I’m the one putting something in it. / It’s funny, the ones who cry whore the loudest, are the ones thirstiest for my blood.’ really hits me hard and makes me want to show everyone this poem. Savannah deserves a hell of a lot of praise and recognition for her slam poems and even her discussions on topics such as not pleasing everyone or gender are really inspiring and I just love listening to them so much.

 

Definitely check these great channels out! Feel free to share any youtubes you love with me!

Thanks for reading,

Helena x

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Dear 2015..

Dear 2015,

You’ve been a roller-coaster of a year. It’s like you weren’t exactly certain where you wanted your head to be at and kept changing your mind every month. I understand cause I am like that too. January and me had a bit of an argument this year, do you remember? I was finally coming to terms with how and how I shouldn’t be treated – I was questioning a lot of what was going on and at one point January didn’t seem to like it. In fact January seemed to want to see me crying on the bathroom floor with left-over tacky Christmas drinks at one point – which I still don’t appreciate January, but I am eternally thankful for when you turned around and pushed me in the right direction near the end. The year was extremely different to others since then and I know it was for the best.

February dived in with a lot of adventures up it’s sleeve. I got to explore the beautiful city of Edinburgh and see my lovely sister and brother-in-law. I got to visit the small, hidden village of Todmorden and meet some funny people and my confidence was slowly growing. Like a small seedling. Admittedly some days it’d have troubles uncurling it’s leaves – scared it was showing off too much growth when other people were not ready for it. But small progress is better than nothing. March was fizzy and sweet like pink lemonade and the spring definitely blossomed some optimism inside me. I began a second game project at my old job and saw a great band live. March was the bittersweet month of this year and I was comforted by her visit.

April showers mostly reflected my stress levels. Some days everything would be clear and other days you’d be stuck trying to fix a broken umbrella torn apart from the wind and reckless rain. Luckily April lectured me in the importance of people’s intentions. Some people will not need or want you when you can’t give them anything and other people will expect things from you that you never promised them. April’s tough love at the time felt cruel and hurt my head, but now I look back and see how much progress I made and I wonder if April knew how her tough attitude made me stronger. May was like a softer twin of April – still wanted to push me to extreme lengths but was full of understanding when it became too much.

June and July were blurs of sweat and motivation. Admittedly in July, I had a lot of hope for my career – then it was unknown to me what turns the Winter would give me. But I am nostalgic for that relaxed feeling I would have surrounded by friends I had made for the past year. I wish July would tell me if I had done the right things or if there was anything I could of done to ensure I would have more times like I did the past year, with those same people. But July was quite secretive and would only tell me so much. In future, I must learn to be patient but plan ahead.

August put me on a plane and taught me to conquer my fears. “You need to do these things once”, August pleaded with me. I guess August was right. There’s something about going through an airport and to a new country alone that strengthens your bones. There’s also something about standing in a hot, stuffy crowd at your first ever festival that makes you fall temporarily in love with the world. Hearing a massive amount of people sing their hearts out to one of your favourite songs along with you is almost overwhelming and I think even next August won’t let me forget the thumps in my chest as the blurs and bright lights of festivals span around me like neon ribbons.

September, October and November all hid under a blanket together and invited me to come and sit with them. I wonder if it was fun for them to watch how patient I could be over three months. The months all merged together with their mild, crisp airs and constant flickering of my phone on and off as I waited for emails. I hope they wanted to punch and kick as much as I wanted to when the long wait came to an end. I wonder how they felt when they saw me in tears questioning why I wasn’t good enough to continue my career. They had no answers. Quiet pats on the back followed and the small, tender push to go and find something else. I remember it was November’s pale, cold hands that were the hands that pushed me forward to my current career. Although I think November didn’t know me well enough to make that choice, I still thank her for getting me out of my self-pity.

December’s eyes glowed amber colours symmetrical to the street lights on a Winter evening. She was perfectly still and reserved like a magical fountain of some sort, but every so often she’d open her eyes wide and they’d shine like tinsel and glitter and hypnotise me. My heart and head would become jumpy and excited and convince me I could do anything. But then December’s eyelashes would crinkle with frost and everything came to a halt again. I think December knows how much I rely on other people and that when it comes to looking after myself I can instantly stop dead in my tracks and crumble. Instead of waiting on the year to validate me with gold, shining eyes, I must understand that I can do great things without the nod of approval.

So thank you 2015, for teaching me confidence. Thank you for giving me the strength to come away from relationships that were hurting me. Thank you for giving me the hope of new friendships and relationships that make me more happy and push me in the right direction. Thank you for keeping me humble and making me tread through storms to realise what I have the strength to do.

I am excited to see what 2016 brings. I know I am going to do great things.

Have a good one everybody,

Helena x x