Treasuring Memories

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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20 feelings that make me happy I’m alive

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So I guess you could jokingly say this is one of my lazier posts since it’ll basically be a list however I’ve had it in the back of my mind for a while as I really love trying to cheer people and myself up some days, and on really, really crappy days I can forgot about some of these lovely feelings and scenarios that make me feel alive and grateful to be where I am in that moment. If you have any you’d love to add on, do comment on my blog post or share on Twitter!

  1. Waking up naturally on a Sunny day and seeing the bright blue sky through your windows.
  2. When you’re baking or helping someone bake and you get to eat the excess icing or mix.
  3. Finding the perfect song or playlist to listen to on a long train/bus ride. Here’s one of mine!
  4. Watching ASMR or Bob Ross and the relaxing, calm feeling you get. The sound the paintbrushes make on the palette when Bob Ross is mixing paint really makes me relaxed, is that weird?
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  5. Going to the cinema and seeing a trailer for a film you’re insanely excited for. (Lately the Suicide Squad trailer with Bohemian Rhapsody always gets me pumped up!)
  6. When you’re walking somewhere and a kind-looking stranger smiles at you when you make eye contact.
  7. When you’re walking somewhere and somebody’s dog tries to come and sniff you as they walk past. I want to be your friend too, small pupper.
  8. Seeing little bumblebees chill happily in a bed of pretty flowers.
  9. When a family member, friend or such shows you something and says ‘this reminded me of you.’
  10. Seeing a cute photo of a corgi butt on Instagram. Believe me.https://www.instagram.com/p/BFsJss9jVI_/?taken-by=corgibutt_official
  11. Getting a massive hug of someone you love when you’re crying.
  12. The first gulp of a really cold drink when you’re dehydrated.
  13. Seeing a family of ducks in a river. Especially if there is a parent/adult duck and tiny ducklings.
  14. Getting a 99 whippy ice cream on a summer’s day. They’re my guilty pleasure – especially with all the sprinkles, flake and raspberry syrup.
  15. Finally getting an essay/homework piece done and knowing you can relax.
  16. Walking/cycling when it’s sunset and you get to see all the beautiful colours the sky can make.
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  17. When someone tells you randomly that you’ve made their day or you’ve been really helpful. Whenever I get a customer who says something like this to me when I’ve been working, my faith in humanity returns.
  18. Getting complimented randomly when out drinking. Especially going in the female toilets, you’ll get the occasional drunk girl saying they love your shoes or something and it’s the best feeling.
  19. Getting cosy in bed after a long day.
  20. When someone you care about says they’re proud of you. Even if it’s for something small like just passing an exam or even getting a high score on a video game. It makes me smile.

What things would you guys add?

Thanks for reading,

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2016 Films: Zootopia

(WARNING: Spoilers to the film will be in this post)

I’m a BIG fan of Disney films. You could tell me all the problematic things about Disney and their capitalist plans etc but honestly, when I walk into the Disney store and see the life size Stitch stuffed toys and the new Star Wars lightsabers and the mugs – oh my god the ADORABLE mugs – I just want absolutely everything.

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I didn’t catch the earlier Disney film out this year, which was The Good Dinosaur, but I made it my goal to see Zootopia (or named Zootropolis over here), as it looked so bright and bubbly. You can sense the aura of adorableness and good humour just from all the promotion and merchandise. The lead character of animated film Zootopia is a wee bunny named Judy Hopps. The film introduces Judy when she is just a young bunny and she performs with confidence in her school project discussing how prey and predators now live in peace and animals can be whatever they want. Judy announces her dreams to become a police officer and even though her parents and a bully try and put down her ideas, she doesn’t give up. You are shown a great training montage as Judy goes through Police Academy with a group of huge predators. Judy manages to use her strength to come top of her class, and honestly during this whole beginning part I was cheering her on. I fell in love with her character and the message the film was setting up. I could sense the underlying ‘adult’ message the film was trying to send off, which is that it targets bigotry in our society. Throughout the masterpiece, certain attitudes call towards the typical behaviours of sexism and racism we see in everyday life. There was tons of scenarios for characters I’m sure everybody will experience growing up and I’m glad certain scenarios can teach kids that they do not make you any weaker or different than everybody else; whether you’re female or male, white or POC.

An example, and beware spoilers, that I found interesting was Nick Wilde’s backstory. He advises Judy never let anybody see her struggle, after a small stand off with Judy and her Police superiors(who, unfortunately because of her being a small bunny, do not see her aspirations to help out on the force as seriously) which leaves Judy a bit shaken. Nick then opens up and tells her how as a kid he wanted to be part of a rangers group. A bit reminiscent of say Brownies or Scouts. It shows a young, enthusiastic Nick with his mumma fox in front of a mirror getting in his uniform and when he goes to the meeting, the other members(who are all ‘prey’ animals) turn on him and terrorize him because he is a ‘predator’. They pin him down and put a muzzle on him, which then leads baby Nick to run out into the street and break down in tears. This scene was very real and reminded me of how a lot of young boys can be bullied into these situations because kids are told all boys should not ‘show weakness’ and that crying or struggling is ‘weak’. Judy eventually warms up to Nick and together they become very close until a small hiccup where Judy publicly announces that ‘predators have a biological trait that makes them aggressive’, she groups predator animals under the term ‘them’ and this really hurts Nick because he thought Judy trusted him and believed in him.

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Obviously I won’t spoil the whole movie here but it was absolutely heartwarming when Judy finally apologized to Nick and they solved the case together and stuck by each other despite their differences and even learnt that they’d make an amazing cop duo. The whole film has small scenarios and moments that are important to both adults and children and I thought they were all very interesting and endearing. I am extremely proud of this film and honestly I recommend everyone thinking of going to see a film at the cinemas should go check it out!

Thanks for reading,

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Dear 11 year old Helena..

Dear baba me,

I miss you. I miss being you a lot right now. Sometimes when I look at my nieces I can see myself in them but I’m so proud of where they are. They’re a lot stronger than we were, I think. Not that you didn’t try your best, cause I know you did. But I know how easy it was for you to get upset. I remember when you looked at secondary school options and learnt that you had to learn about life and death in RE and you cried because it scared you. I remember when you used to offer to help the teacher with paperwork at lunchtimes in primary school, because you were too nervous to go outside. I remember when your sister told you she was pregnant with Ellie and you cried because you knew you weren’t the baby anymore. Can you believe that? Imagine telling Ellie that in a few years. She’ll find it hilarious.

Do you remember that last holiday in Clacton before you started high school and you were walking down a road from the beach holding dads hand and telling him how you were scared you wouldn’t make friends at high school? And he told you you’d be fine. Mum and dad had so much hope for you I think. I wish you had spent more time with them instead of hiding behind the computer or in your room. Mum used to think you were going to become a writer but you didn’t quite go for that option. I hope we didn’t upset her. I’m finally deciding I want to do something in English now and writing and I’m going to try and get in a big university and study it. Does that sound cool? Or scary?

Do the kids at school still make you cry and want to stay at home? I wish I could cuddle you and tell you it’ll be ok. A lot of people will make you cry as you get older. I wish I knew how to have prepared you, but even now I don’t. They really don’t matter though. Nothing is wrong with you and you are an absolute beauty. You know your gorgeous, curly locks? I cut them recently and I regret it. Hold onto those locks for as long as possible, they were lovely on you. Also if anyone says you’re fat or pudgy, ignore it. I envy the size you’re at because you were tiny and healthy. I don’t know why the other kids made you believe something was wrong with you. It’s something that stays with you for years sweet, believe me.

Little one, I wish I could go back and make things right for us. We got kind of screwed over a lot and it isn’t fair. You deserved better and you deserve better than how I’m treating us now. I’ll try and be better for you and try and look after myself.

Goodnight x

Sometimes being selfish makes me feel good

This post is probably more of a personal, ‘what I did today’ blog post than anything else. Lately in the run up to Christmas I think everyone’s getting a little more stressed and retail is probably not the most favourable place to work right now. Although I must say having little old ladies and men go ‘are they making you work Christmas Eve?!? bless you, you poor thing’ is kind of endearing – to which I halfheartedly laugh and go ‘Aw I know’, don’t think they’d bless me as much if I told them I said I’d work Christmas Eve if I could have New Years off so I can stay at home hungover..

But yeah today has been an up and down kind of day. I definitely started today off on a positive note – my UCAS application is almost sent off! I finished my personal statement and got it double checked at my old college (shout-out to Trafford College, my rights as a student to get help with University applications lasts up to 3 years after leaving!), paid for the choices and now I just await my tutor to attach a reference and off it goes! I’m feeling extremely excited about it.

Then at work I did get a slight bollocking about ‘wandering off’, when really I had gone to help on a department that had no staff. I thought I was taking the initiative and doing something that would be helpful to the rest of the store/staff but alas. I’ve never been good with being shouted at, especially in front of peers, so that did put a downer on my day.

So after work tonight when I went Christmas shopping with my mother – I decided to be selfish and treat myself. It’s very fulfilling ‘treating yourself’, even if it’s short lived. I do recommend having ‘treat yo self’ moments. Obviously not everytime can be self indulgent purchases BUT, you can try things like bubble baths, treating yourself to chocolate/cakes, watching your favourite movie, buying yourself some takeout – even I class having naps as treating myself after a long day cause it just relaxes me so much. Naps always give me a bit of an energy lift because I get so cranky when I’m tired.

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Bubble baths are great for de-stressing

But yeah I went and got myself… (drum roll) ANIMAL CROSSING HAPPY HOME DESIGNER!

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Please excuse the bright pink pj bottoms…

It’s been so long since I treated myself to a video game; considering they are one of my favourite things. I’ve heard good things about this spin off and Animal Crossing is one of the most relaxing games I’ve ever played. I can’t wait to play it.

I also got myself a big ass jumper. Or in a less sweary description – a men’s medium size cream jumper from Tesco’s. I love getting men’s jumpers because they just seem so much more thick and baggy than womens. I do love the designs and cuteness of women’s jumpers but sometimes I can’t take the ‘fitted’ design. I look good in them in the daytime and then after eating or drinking, the fitted bit tugs over my little food belly and I feel so uncomfortable. Sad face.

But yeah! Always take time in a week to self care and treat yourself! I hope everyone else is having a good week in the run up to Christmas.

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Thanks for reading!
Helena x x

 

learning to love my smile

Smiles are one of the most adorable things on the planet. Whenever I see a little old lady or man grin or smile, when my nieces do the biggest smile they possibly can at me, when I make my parents smile, when I do something dorky and my boyfriend laughs and grins at me.

Smiles are really heartwarming and can make anybody’s day. If someone smiles at me in the street it instantly makes me a lot more happy. Not even an exaggeration, sometimes when people smile at me in the street I’ll spend a good few minutes after thinking how adorable their smile was and that I hope I responded with a nice smile and most of my negative passing by thoughts have disappeared.

But how come it was so hard for me to like my smile growing up?

I remember back when I was a pre-teen, I was in that phase of being a moody little nuisance who would throw tantrums and cry when I wasn’t treated like an adult and I’d ring my eyes in black charcoal and think I was hardcore for shopping at Affleck’s Palace in Manchester. I’d barely ever smile in photos and would instead opt for either a moody pout or keeping my mouth shut and barely letting the corners of my mouth even turn upwards. Why did I hate to smile so much?

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Growing up I did have to get braces eventually which obviously made me a lot more nervous about smiling, for some reason I hated my brace smile and would mainly stick to closed mouth smiles for photos.

Eventually when removed I had straight teeth, something most people would envy, but I’d still get the tease of “why do you never smile?!” whenever people took photos of me or if I posted selfies on Facebook, in them I’d always be pouting/covering my mouth or closed mouth smiles.

I can tell you off the top of my head most of the problems I had with my smile, or what I thought my flaws were. I always thought it made me look creepy or that my laughter lines looked way too creased and ugly. I remember smiling for a photo with a mascot at Alton Towers back in high school and my hooded eyes made me look like I had no upper eyelid and my laughter lines gave me a slightly ‘creepy’ grin. I remember my ex looking at and laughing too so I knew my smile looked very off in the photo. I deleted it off Facebook since then cause of how gross I believed I looked.

However in recent years I have noticed how self-conscious people can be about their smiles. Some of my friends hide their mouths or refuse to smile in photos and just pout instead. Even though at the end of the day I think their smiles are beautiful and whenever I managed to make them smile I feel so blessed and pleased to see the grin on their face.

Why would I want to hide what could possibly make people happy? Why would I want to hide the cheerful expression your face makes that fills other people with cheer? Why was I so against showing my teeth?

Since then I have tried to smile more. I practiced it every day. I’d grin at my parents, my boyfriend, my nieces, my cat, the dog living down the street, shop assistants, bus drivers – I would smile at everyone I possibly could until it just came naturally and my first thought was ‘make sure people see you’re happy to see them’ and not ‘oh god don’t smile your smile is ugly’.

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And now I look back and think, why did I hide this?! Seeing me smile in photos wants to make me smile more and wants to make me radiate brightness. Smiling can do that, can’t it?┬áThere’s benefits to smiling such as:

  • It lowers anxiety and stress
  • It releases endorphins that make you happier
  • It can help your immune system
  • You become more approachable
  • You feel more comfortable
  • Encourages trust
  • Encourages confidence
  • It’s contagious!!

So why not make it your goal to smile at as many as people as possible? Obviously you don’t have to smile at everyone. Growing up female I know there’s many times obnoxious old men have told me to ‘brighten up’ and ‘smile more’ and that’s made me want to scowl even more. But if you make it your goal to smile at every child you meet, every cat you meet, every dog you meet and all your friends – you’ll instantly see yourself become a lot more happy and comfortable with your own grin. And I’m sure everyone around you will see how beautiful your smile actually is.

Thanks for reading,
Lenah x x