5 motivational tips to get into a fitness routine

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I'm a big fan of working out, I used to love going to the gym after work most days and having that energised feeling once I worked really hard. When the first lockdown hit, the home workouts came into play and I fell in love with them, as it gave me a sense of normality each day.

In the second lockdown, I lost my motivation and really suffered with my mental health that I knew I needed to get back into fitness. Working out is one of those things that really helped my anxiety and keep my mind at bay. I then began utilising the daily walk ruling, and, started creating a workout routine schedule in a bid to get fitter.

5 motivational tips to get into a fitness routine

Whether you're looking to get fitter or have some sort of routine back, here are 5 motivational tips to get into a fitness routine.

Start off small

You don't have to go from zero to a hundred straight away otherwise, you'll burn yourself out but it'll also deter you from working out. The best thing to do is start small and then increase your workouts in terms of length or intensity, and over time they can get harder/longer.

Everyone has different levels of what's a little amount of working out and what's a lot, and it's down to you how you begin that process. I've been starting with a dance/hit workout, abs, and arms. Each stage of this workout has gradually gotten longer over time, and with the arms, I've increased the strength of resistance bands. As you increase intensity and length, your fitness and stamina will grow, and your motivation too.

Set a time each day to workout

One of the best ways to implement a workout into your day-to-day life is to have it a part of your normal routine. I have a time window in my day when I'm going to do my workout, either an hour or two before dinner or after, depending on what I'm doing that day.

Set a time window and add it to your to-do list each day/most days and then by writing it down and slotting it in, you'll feel more obliged to get on with the workout. And, you'll feel fab afterward.

Have a plan of what area to work on

Fitness and workout routine is a wide spectrum and there are lots of different areas you can focus your routine on, whether it's legs, arms, abs, cardio or more. Similar to how you plan when you do your workout, it's also important to plan the purpose of your workout - and try to change it up most days to keep it entertaining.

I love to start off with cardio and have been really enjoying dance workouts on Youtube. They're usually packed with songs to sing along to so the workouts go really fast and are a lot more enjoyable than cycling on a bike machine. I'll then focus on abs a lot of the time too or arms/legs. If you have a goal of what to get out of each workout then you'll have more motivation to do it. Plus, picking workouts you enjoy will also really help spur you on. 

Take progress pictures

We all work out for different reasons; some to lose weight, some to tone up but for a lot of us to build our fitness levels. Whatever it is, I've found taking photos of when I work out to be motivating as over time, whether that's a few weeks or a month, hopefully, I'll be able to see a difference - and then, it'll be so accomplishing seeing the progress. And, feeling that progress too in terms of growing my fitness level.

Buy cute gym wear 

Working out is an excuse to treat yourself to a pair or two of gym wear so you can look and feel good when you're working out. Whether it's a new pair of leggings or a sports bra, it'll give you the motivation to continue to keep working out. I love wearing gym stuff as it's so comfy but it also makes me feel motivated to work out more - and will look fab in your progress pictures.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other motivating tips do you have?

Thank you for reading <3

Why you shouldn't strive for 'perfection'

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Being 'perfect' and looking 'perfect' is something the media and society have tricked us all into thinking for years, and it continues day by day with representation and edited imagery.

I grew up in the Tumblr era where thigh gaps were the 'thing' and being skinny was everything to strive for otherwise you weren't society's idea of 'perfect'. It was exhausting and unnecessarily debilitating for my mental health at such an influential age, and really made me question my worth - and if I was good enough.

Why you shouldn't strive for 'perfection'

I spent years working on myself with my self-love and body-confidence journey to reach the understanding that perfection isn't real and is something we shouldn't strive for. We should aim to be our authentic selves, be happy with who we are, and do things that are right for us.

Whether you're questioning your self-worth or can't stop comparing yourself to the 'perfect' images on social media, here are all the reasons why you shouldn't strive for 'perfection.

Social media isn't real

This is a pretty obvious point, however, there are still plenty of us (I'm guilty) that sit and scroll on social media and wished we looked like the influencers in their tight bikinis on exotic beaches. Comparing ourselves is all part of human nature and having social media at the touch of a button, really doesn't help this. But I think what a lot of us need to remind ourselves is social media isn't real, especially Instagram. 

Every 'perfect' Instagram photo you see has been staged to show the right angles, planned for hours on end, and edited to match an aesthetic. The person behind it doesn't always look and live like that - it's their highlight reel, just like your accounts are your highlight reel. People aren't going to share the truth or 'imperfect' parts of their life online, as a lot of us don't want to be perceived as having a hard time.

Nobody is perfect

Celebrities, your best pals, or people you're following on Instagram, none of those people are perfect, despite how much you admire them. They all have bad days, they all have self-doubt, question themselves, and have moments they want to give up. They all hate how they look sometimes, make mistakes, and really are just normal human beings. Making mistakes is all part of human nature and nobody can live up to a perfect expectation as the term doesn't even exist.

Nothing can be ever perfect

Similar to how nobody can be perfect, no situation in life is ever perfect. When you're fully happy, you can feel like you're on cloud 9, but that feeling can't last forever, as bad days are inevitable. That's not me trying to be negative, it is a realistic fact - as if you expect to be happy and live a perfect life 100% of the time, you'll just be disappointed. You need to expect that you'll face challenges, obstacles, and hardships - and the happy parts of life will fall into that and everything will work out.

Happiness is a journey

This point is so important to stress. In life, you'll meet lots of people, some who are pessimists and some who are optimists, and you'll find those who live a life trying to see the positive parts of life are generally happier. However, this doesn't mean to say they've always been happy and didn't have to experience hardship to get there. Happiness is a journey because you'll have to deal with things in life that will test your happy energy and you'll experience sadness - and that's okay. You'll get there in the end and all the pain will be worthwhile.

It's an unattainable goal

Trying to be perfect is unrealistic, unattainable and really, unnecessary. It's a waste of energy trying to be this perfect being as like I've mentioned, nobody can be perfect and nothing ever is perfect. Things can be good, great even and you can experience the best days of your life, but that doesn't make them perfect. Instead of striving for perfection, strive for working towards your best life and doing the things that make you happy in your soul - that's the real goal.

It will make you feel worse about yourself

I don't know about you but comparing myself to people around me is one of the reasons that it took me so long to learn to love myself and focus on myself and my goals. Once I changed my mindset away from that, I began to feel so much happier with who I was and the confidence came hand in hand with that. Like comparing, if you strive for perfection, you're just going to be left unsatisfied and feel worse about yourself. Work towards having fun, creating memories, and surrounding yourself with positive, uplifting energy.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other reasons do you have?

Thank you for reading <3

Book review: The Guilty Feminist by Deborah Frances-White

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I've been a fan of The Guilty Feminist podcast for at least four years now. I began listening to it in one of my first office jobs after a colleague recommended it, and it really opened my eyes from my sheltered life and into the world of feminism.

*This post contains an affiliate link.

I've always been a feminist, even before I knew what the word meant or everything that comes with it. I've always been headstrong, determined, and vocal of my opinion and believed I could do anything, despite the oppression I faced of being a woman. I properly first heard the term 'feminism' spoken vocally in my A-level English class when we were studying feminist literature and my teacher said 'you are all feminists.' I can remember vividly, the shameful stares everyone made at that word, like it was poison and wrong, when really, feminism is simply, equality and dismantling the patriarchy. However, it has many bad connotations around it and that's why lots of misogynists think it's barbaric that feminism is a thing.

But if it wasn't for feminism, we women wouldn't have gotten the vote, birth control, bank accounts, career opportunities and so much more. It's the feminists over time who have helped us gain our rights and opportunities.

Book review: The Guilty Feminist by Deborah Frances-White

The Guilty Feminist is my favourite podcast and I love nothing more than listening to the latest episode when I get a spare hour or two. The podcast is hosted by Deborah Frances White and features a panel of different speakers and musicians each week, all of who discuss the topic of feminism. And, talk about our noble goals and worst hypocrisies around feminism.

I've been meaning to read this book for ages after loving the podcast for so many years and it lived up to expectation, and here is my full review.

Synopsis

The Guilty Feminist is a book about challenging, reassuring and empowering its readers to view the world differently. The book talks about everything from intersectionality, the #MeToo movement, workplace inclusion, saying no, rom-coms to pornography and privilege, and really tackles the questions for the modern-day woman. It's packed with stats, historical facts, interviews with activists, businesswomen, and inspirational people - and discusses how women need to abandon the guilt, learn to say no, and ultimately, change the world, and ourselves for the better.

Chapter topics

The book is split into three different parts and then, sub-section chapters. Part 1 is all about how we got to this point and what feminism is for. Part 2 is called what do we do about it? This part discusses diet culture, speaking up in the workplace and putting our point forward (having confidence), the power of yes, and hearing us roar - which talks about women having ideas and making their voices heard. Part 3 is all about change and talks about the power of no, how the patriarchy affects men too, all the reasoning around 'I'm a feminist but...' and activism, and what we can do to dismantle the patriarchy.

Every topic spoke about was written in so much depth and I especially found it interesting to read about the many interviews included as it offered a different perspective to Deborah's on each topic, and really, gave even more insight. The book is packed with knowledge, facts, and opinions and teaches everything to know about feminism.

Overall thoughts

Overall, I have too many good things to say about this book. As a fan of the Guilty Feminist for so long, I didn't think the book could top the podcast, but really, it was as if the podcast was right in front of my eyes on a page, and I took in every page with admiration.

The book is a combination of fact and experience and offers that personal insight into what feminism is to Deborah, how she had faced oppression, and also the interviewees in the book. That additional insight help gave me more perspective on what others have to go through, and experienced, and how I can use my privilege to help those not in the same position as me.

It's one of those books that with every page I felt as I was adding more knowledge to my feminist dialogue and grasped the history that shaped feminism into what it is today and the leaps and bounds many feminists/activists did to give us the rights we now take for granted. But, it also made me even more aware of how far we still need to go in terms of feminism, dismantling the patriarchy, and have society view men and women as equals.

I truly loved this book as not only did I learn a lot, it also gave me the reminder and encouragement that I can really do anything I put my mind to and women, in general, are the strongest humans around with everything we tolerate in day to day life.

Ending

With this type of book, there is no exact ending, however, the last chapter did end on a lovely and inspiring note. It was a chapter that said instead of the famous 'I'm a feminist but' used in the podcast, said 'I'm a feminist and...' And, then went on and listed everything that Deborah does as a feminist, and it was such an empowering section. The things that stood out were learning to say no, setting boundaries, being fearless, and the fact of not being perfect. But my favourite bit was when she writes about dreaming of ending the patriarchy and living in hope for the women of the future.

You can purchase your own copy of the Guilty Feminist here.

I hope you enjoyed this review. Are you a fan of the Guilty Feminist?

Thank you for reading <3

Top tips on dealing with anxiety | ft bloggers' advice

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Anxiety is something I have dealt with probably most of my life and got increasingly worse in my teenage years, and as a young adult. It's something I've always had to cope with but over the past five years, I've found myself overcoming it in more ways than one and being in a better place - and feel so grateful to have gotten to this point in my life.

Tips on dealing with anxiety

Anxiety still affects my daily life but now, I have more of an understanding of what triggers it off, how to cope with that, and look after myself. I've shared my experiences in an open letter about my anxiety and how I overcame it and overcame my travel anxiety too. 

Today, I wanted to share some tips from fellow bloggers on how they deal with their anxiety and what they do to overcome it. Everyone is different in how they deal with anxiety and the tips I've shared may not work for you, but hopefully having a variety of experiences means there is something in there that can help.

Here are some of the best tips from many lovely bloggers:

"I take anti-anxiety medication regularly and try not to miss doses. If there's something worrying me and I feel safe to do so I will seek reassurance. I try to be aware of when I'm living in the future or past and triggering an anxiety attack. I also have dead sea salt baths almost daily to help change how my body feels. Lastly, diffusing sweet orange and lemongrass essential oils helps lift my mood." - Athina from Black Pistachio

"I have suffered from Generalized Anxiety Disorder with a history of panic attacks for the last 20 years. 20 years is a long time and anxiety is different for everyone. My top tips for overcoming are medication (I take Paroxetine), therapy, and grounding techniques that involve the senses. So, the first grounding technique my therapist taught me is really helpful if I'm overthinking everything. Sometimes my mind feels manic with all the what-ifs and maybes. It helps to get out of my head to focus on reality and name one thing I can see (floor lamp), hear (traffic outside), touch (leather on my chair), and smell (coffee). Usually, that's enough to snap me out of it and help me focus on the present.

If not, another sensory grounding technique is to use a little bit of pain, snapping a rubber band on your wrist or holding an ice cube in your hand to force you to focus on the present and stop thinking of anxiety producing things. This method is not recommended for anyone with a self-harm history." - Jessica from Jessica Lasa.

"My tip is to see it as an unpractical, but effective way to release stress from the body. Although panic attacks and stuff like that feel horrible, afterward I often feel much calmer. By seeing it this way, I fear attacks less and they don’t happen that often anymore. It’s a positive spiral! " - Lisa from Mind and Body Intertwined.

" I suffer from anxiety and I do have some tips that do that help me out:
  1. Music
This has definitely been a life-saver for me. It really helps me with calming me down.

2. Spending time with myself
I suffer from social anxiety so being around large crowds can be scary for me. I tend to find a quiet space to sit or chill with a few of my friends." Anissa from Quiet Girl Blog.

"I've been dealing with anxiety ever since I was about 10 years old. Some things that help me are getting enough sleep and limiting my coffee intake to one cup of coffee a day instead of four. Yikes, I know. Caffeine is not anxiety's friend, unfortunately. Although, one of the main things that have been helping is positive affirmations! Saying statements such as "I am in charge of how I feel today." and "The past holds no power over me." Those statements are so powerful and can help calm an anxious mind." - Amanda from It's Amanda Burnett.

"I have suffered from anxiety for most of my teenage years and early adulthood. It got to the point where I was bedbound for days at a time, with a fear of leaving my room. I was critical about every aspect of myself, and it was crippling. In terms of coping with my mental state, it started with acknowledging the issue - I had to accept that this was not normal. I spoke to loved ones who had been at the bottom of the hole before, and step by step I worked my way back up. I also started blogging at 15 to force myself out of the dreaded comfort zone, and do you know what? It was not scary at all and it was the most effective remedy!" - Sophia from Sophia Patel.

"One tip that massively helped me was accepting my own anxiety. I found anxiety difficult growing up as I thought I was on my own in the way I felt. As I have got older my anxiety has eased through talking to other people who suffer, sharing experiences, and realising the way I am feeling is nothing to be ashamed of and much more normal than I originally thought. Breathing exercises are also a massive thing that helped my anxiety. Whenever I start to feel anxious I take myself away from others, sit down, put some music on and practice breathing deeply. I usually count my breathing as this helps me personally to take my mind off the anxiety I am feeling along with calming my body." - Rachel from Rach Talks Business.

"Well, exercise is definitely something that helps me. Before Corona, I used to go swimming 2-3 times a week for an hour and I benefitted so much from it. My moods were much better, my body felt better too. Ugh, can’t wait to be able to go back to it! But also lots of walks, in the fresh air. Whether it’s raining or not, it’s great to go simply for a walk - our friendships will love it too. 

Secondly, something I learned from therapy is to keep a diary of your “symptoms” and write if there is something that happened that could have contributed to it. And also write a solution on the side helps me if the situation happened again.

I am a little OCD, but I know that for me organising the day in the morning can help me massively. Write a list of all the things that you need to do without being unrealistic and go for it. Also, waking up early in the morning, like 7-7:30 helps me a lot! I used to wake at 4-5 for work and by 8pm I was dead. But waking at 7 makes such a difference!" - Fred from The Grumpy Olive.

"I’ve had problems with anxiety for the past 3 years and I’ve tried so many different things to try and help it, with varying levels of success. The thing that’s been really helping me lately is not to let myself overthink things too much in advance. When I am anxious about an event that is coming up, I often find myself visualising it, overthinking and worrying about it, and that makes me feel more anxious. But now, if I notice I am worrying about something in advance, I try to stop those thoughts and distract myself with something else or focus on what I am doing at that moment. Also, if I do start feeling anxious feelings, I try not to get worked up about them or let them affect me. I just carry on with what I am doing and try to focus on my current task instead of on the feelings. I also remind myself that those feelings always pass eventually!" - Sophie from Brilliant Day.

"One of the main triggers for my anxiety is attending school and social gatherings. Being in a big crowd can really set off my anxiety and give me panic attacks. In order to prevent this, I would usually avoid them, however, you obviously can't avoid school, and sometimes avoiding the situations can make them worse! For that reason, what I usually do is try and just tackle it! Although it may be hard to step in the door at first, once you're in, it will feel like an achievement and very rewarding. 

Another way of dealing with my anxiety is by using distractions and breathing techniques. These could be things such as square breathing, face-timing my friends, going out for a walk, etc. Just do something that you enjoy doing and makes you happy! One more tip I would like to share is having company and talking to people. Some people may find this difficult, however talking to others really lifts a weight off of my shoulder and gets me back on track! Why don't you give it a go? Talk to a friend, a family member, a professional, etc.

Overall, I would say when dealing with anxiety is not to avoid situations, try and tackle them in a sensible way. Note your triggers and things that will help you and do things that make you happy!" - Demi from Demi Le Huray.

"My advice would be to write down all of the things that are bothering me, almost like a brain dump. I then go away and do some exercise, usually either walking or yoga for an hour. I then go back and look at what I wrote and most of the time, when I read it outside, it seems trivial. I can usually talk myself out of those thoughts.
The main thing is that I get the thoughts out of my head and then do something calming and distracting. I tend to have a knot in my stomach and a tight chest which isn't good for everyone. My first priority is to get through that stage as quickly as possible. If all that fails, talking to somebody who also suffers from anxiety can really help because they know where you are coming from." - Kelly from Kelly Diane Report.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other tips for anxiety do you have?

Thank you for reading <3

How to keep motivated during furlough

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I've been on furlough since April 2020 and first, it felt like a blessing as I got a bit of time off work and a chance to relax. However, the days then turned into months on furlough and I've only recently got back to work on a flexi-furlough scheme working 11 hours a week, compared to my usual 40.

Now, it's safe to say, I've been on furlough for a very long time and it feels like forever ago that I did a 40-hour working week. As the length has been so long, I feel like I'm in the position to share my experience on furlough and how I've managed to keep motivated and productive.

Furlough hasn't been an easy experience. I'm used to having a very busy life of work, socialising, my blog and really, always doing something so when the pandemic started and everything came to a halt, it was a strange adjustment period.

How to keep motivated during furlough

Being on furlough gave me the time to work on myself in terms of healing and confidence but also a period to pursue different projects, and have more time to focus on friendships. That's not to say it was easy to stay productive and motivated and some days, I really did struggle to keep my head up, and stay positive.

Whether you're new to furlough or have been on it for some time, here are my best tips on keeping motivated.

Take one day at a time

This piece of advice can be applied in all aspects of life, as sometimes, overthinking the future and what is to come can really make your anxiety spiral. I found it especially to take this advice on board during furlough as each day can mean something new and will be different for my mental health, as I'm out of whack with no routine. Taking a day at a time means if you don't feel like doing much that day, simply relax, or if you have a spur of motivation, run with it.

Don't put pressure on yourself to be productive

This leads me to my next point to stop putting pressure on yourself to be productive. Furlough is an uncertain and worrying time as a lot of us are unsure whether we have a job at the end or if/when we'll be called back into work. And, therefore doesn't mean you have to spend every minute of every day being productive to compensate for the fact you're not working. Once you take the pressure off, you'll find, you want to be productive.

I'm massively guilty of this and kind of pushed myself a little too much during furlough to work on other projects and write books, but that's just the way I am. You can use it as a time to focus on you, chill out or really, do what makes you happy.

Write a to-do list

The best way I've found to keep myself motivated on furlough is to write a to-do list each day. This can be anything from getting the housework done, journalling, going for a walk to writing a blog post. Your to-do list will be unique to you but try and fill it with realistic goals of how you're feeling that day, and then you have something to work towards.

Separate your days 

This is one thing that has helped me massively. With furlough, you need to have that separation of what is a weekday and a weekend - as if you're like me with a typical 9-5 job, it's important to treat your weeks like that too, to keep in that frame of mind. What I've been doing is on the weekends, trying to do more fun activites, have lie ins and really separate my routine from what I'm doing in the week.

Try and have a routine

Having a routine has never been more important as it'll give you some structure into your week like separating yoru days. I'm not saying you need to make sure you have the same routine every day but have some loose structure to give the day a puropose, and you'll feel more motivated. For instance, set time for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a window for when you do your work out - this will help reinforce the idea of a routine.

Get out and about

The one thing that has kept my mental health at bay is exercising and getting out. I like to work out everyday and do a routine and on the days when the weather isn't bad, I'll go for a walk outside. With lockdown, it has really helped to utlise the one walk a day as it gets me out into the fresh air, which not only boosts my mental health but keeps me motivated to get other things done.

Stay social

Due to the pandemic, staying social wasn't what it used to be and I think we've all become more accustomed to speaking vitrually to our family and friends. However, ensuring you're staying social by checking in with family and friends will keep you motivated as it'll give you that does of human interaction we all need.

Have time away from you phone

I'm guilty of the fact that furlough has caused me to spend an unnecesary amount of time on my phone, scrolling endlessly on social media. It's not healthy at all and makes me a lot less productive. To battle this, I would recommend having times in your day when your phone is not in sight so you don't have the temptation to go on it.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other tips do you have?

Thank you for reading <3

Book review: Women Don't Owe You Pretty by Florence Given

 Well hello to you my reader chums! This book has been raved about on the internet for a while now and I was constantly seeing it on my Instagram feed that I had to give it a read. I finally received it at Christmas and couldn't wait to see what the hype was all about - and everyone was right, I fell in love with this book from the first page. It's one of those books everyone needs to read for education about feminism, the patriarchy but also for figuring out who you are. 

This post contains affiliate links.

I adored and appreciated all the topics spoken about in the book and here is my full review.

Book review: Women Don't Owe You Pretty by Florence Given

Synopsis

Women Don't Owe You Pretty is a game-changing book written for those who are looking to challenge the out-dated narrative supplied to us by the patriarchy. The book teaches a lot of different things including feminism topics, protecting your energy, self-love, learning to be the love of your own life, about toxic relationships, identity, and as a reminder that you don't owe men anything, least of all pretty.

The book is filled with Florence's personal experiences and how it has shaped her view on the world, the patriarchy and herself, and tips/lessons that all of us need to hear in order to be our best selves.

Chapter topics

The book is broken up into twenty-one different chapters, some lengthy and some pretty snappy, short, and to the point of what that chapter is all about. The book starts talking about feminism after the introduction, Florence's journey into being, and learning more about feminism and how it'll change your life in the best way possible. It then goes onto talk about external beauty and how everything stereotypically 'feminine' and what women 'should' do in order to make themselves look 'pretty' is all deemed for the male gaze.

Book review: Women Don't Owe You Pretty by Florence Given

There are lots of other topics including learning to love yourself (which was one of my favourite chapters as it's something I talk and preach about a lot), finding yourself, cutting out toxic energy, sexuality, dating, sex and orgasms, relationships, and knowing when to break up, marriage (and why you don't need to get married), accountability, privilege and letting go. There's a bit of everything in the book and various life lessons that I think a lot of us can resonate with and truly need to hear.

Overall thoughts on the book

Overall, I absolutely loved this book and it's definitely something I wish I had when I was a teenager to teach me all the life lessons that I needed to hear at such a vulnerable age. The book isn't revolutionary as such as a lot of the things in it I knew or have grown to appreciate about myself, but it's definitely a source of a reminder and for those struggling, and starting their journey with feminism, it's an incredible read.

Book review: Women Don't Owe You Pretty by Florence Given

There were many moments when I was reading it that I was shouting 'yaaaas, this' at the page as it's everything I resonate with and it's like being understood as I read the book. It also filled me with lots of different emotions as some of the things Florence went through and has shared, is exactly the same as me - so at points, I was crying sad and then happy tears, realising how far I've come in my healing and self-love journey.

The book hits you with lots of uncomfortable truths, it has triggering warnings usually around sexual assault and really, is a wealth of knowledge all about the patriarchy, how women are viewed and growing to learn all that is you. It's one of those books that I wanted more and more of with each page as talking and learning about dismantling the patriarchy is something I'm truly passionate about, making every ounce of knowledge I can learn, very important.

Women Don't Owe You Pretty and the crux of it teaches about the importance of being you, learning to work on your own healing journey, cutting out things in your life that aren't right for you, and most importantly that you don't owe anyone pretty. Your external beauty isn't what is important, it's who you are and how you value yourself which really counts. Everyone is beautiful.

Whether you're a mum, a single lady like me, or have a group of gal pals, this book is something we women and non-binary individuals (and men too) need to read and take on board. Let's smash the patriarchy together, learn to love ourselves, and do whatever the hell we want - it's our life and our right to live exactly the way we want to.

Book review: Women Don't Owe You Pretty by Florence Given

Ending 

With these types of books, there's not exactly an ending, however, the last chapter really warmed my heart. It was all about letting go, learning to heal, and tips on loving yourself. But, the last page is what really made it for me. It had me in tears, tears of happiness and pride for the journey I've been and how everything that's included in this book, I wish I knew in my teens.

I hope you enjoyed this review. Have you read this book?

Thank you for reading <3

Let's talk about thin privilege

 Well hello to you my reader chums! As a huge feminist, I spend a lot of time reading and educating myself on different topics that fall under the 'feminist' or 'patriarchal' umbrella and the terms and topics which are talked about - and brought into the light.

I've seen the term 'thin privilege' circulating around a lot recently and many opinions that circulated with it - some positive and some not. I'm by no means an expert on this topic, it's what I've learnt but also what I've experienced that I'll share and explain.

Let's talk about thin privilege

What is thin privilege?

Thin privilege is a term that refers to thin or skinny people who have privilege compared to their larger counterparts in terms of not being oppressed because of their size. Larger bodies face constant discrimination by body shamers but also a whole society that views 'thin' people as better and more worthy. 

Let's talk about thin privilege

I've always been a slimmer girl and I'm writing this post from that perspective and how the term sits in my opinion and what I think of it. 

Thin privilege has received a lot of positive and negative comments from both sides of the coin as I can understand why - as when I first heard it, I felt personally attacked as a skinny person. I was annoyed as I knew that even though I was skinny, I had gone through a huge body confidence journey to get to the point I am and how I feel in my body.

However, after reading more into it, I realised, the term, doesn't necessarily link to the body confidence movement and saying how thin girls shouldn't feel good in themselves, it's about how people who are not thin are perceived by society, and looked down upon. It's discrimination and not seeing someone as equal or worthy just because of how they look.

Thin privilege is something now I know more about it, I realise has been around me my whole life without even realising. It was in magazines, plastered all over the media, social media, and in everyday conversations.

How many times have we praised someone for losing weight or going on a diet to get thinner? Always. There's this constant 'goodness' around becoming thinner and seeing it as a massive celebration. Don't get me wrong, losing weight and becoming fitter is good, when it's done in a healthy manner and for good reasons. However, it's the diet culture and how it's marketed to us which is what makes us feel bad about our bodies - and feeds into the idea of 'thin is best.'

Diet culture is a huge thing that markets into body shaming. Growing up, I was always taught 'good' or 'bad' foods and to eat things in moderation, which is really important. But, it's diet culture that highlighted restricting the 'bad' foods and making us feel guilty for eating them. These sort of messages and replacing meals with liquids is what leads people into eating disorders and unhealthy relationships with food.

Not only does diet culture 'praise' thin people, as a society we do and even how we shop. There are plenty of famous shops out there that only do clothes up to a size 14 and don't even consider producing larger sizes - which is disgusting. I have thin privilege as I know, I've never gone into a shop not even thinking about if my size won't be available. Whereas, those who have larger bodies, have to question whether a shop will have clothes designed for them. And, let's not also forget in some shops, they charge more for bigger clothing items, which means thinner people get their clothes at a cheaper cost. In 2021, I still didn't think an issue like this will be around but it's more common than you think - and this needs to be changed.

And, this leads on to how clothes are presented on clothing websites and in-store windows. I know there are brands out there like 'Girlfriend' who highlight a diverse range of bodies but, there are still a huge amount of brands that only showcase thin people or 'perfect' bodies. This then reinforces the idea, people have to have a 'perfect' or 'thin' figure to wear these clothes - and makes a lot of people feel bad about their normal bodies.

Thin privilege is also something apparent in a lot of ways we don't even realise. For instance, seats on public transport, chairs, seatbelts, rollercoaster rides, and various other day-to-day things that have a weight limit to them are all in favour of thin people. We live in a fatphobic society, where the thought of gaining a few pounds is one of the most shameful things and it needs to stop. Normalise normal bodies, eating intuitively, and accepting everyone for who they are.

From an early age, we're taught 'fat' and being 'fat' is bad and lazy, but really, your body size has nothing to do with who you are as a person or your self-worth. We should be teaching each other to be kind and happy, and focusing on that rather than fitting into certain size jeans.

How to beat the patriarchal views of the 'perfect body':

  • Fill your social media feeds with diversity and normality - We all spend a lot of our time scrolling on social media and without us even realising, what we see and engage with goes into our brains - and this means all the 'picture-perfect' and edited bodies we see on Instagram. By having these as a constant source to look at, we find ourselves comparing and not feeling good enough. I've felt a lot better about myself when I've unfollowed people or celebrities that constantly look 'perfect' on my feed, and instead, now follow normal and happy looking people, who promote real life and real bodies. It's so important to be looking at something every day of a variety of people rather than just the people who have the patriarchal standard of beauty.
  • Feedback to brands about diversity - I could name plenty of big branded names that only showcase their clothes with thin, white, and blonde models, and to be honest, I'm tired of seeing the same type of people and being taught this is what 'pretty is.' If you see this on brands you love, message them and highlight the issue on social media - it all starts with a conversation.
  • Praise yourself about your normal body - As a society, bodies are constantly shamed unless you're skinny like I've mentioned but it's so important to ignore the constant marketing telling you to diet and shaming you. Instead, praise your body for everything it does for you. It's healthy and it looks after you, and that's all that is important.
  • Don't put too much pressure on losing weight - There should be a fine line around losing weight and how you go about it - and this also comes with the pressure of losing it. Weight can fluctuate, hour upon hour in the day, and really doesn't define you. If you're looking to get healthier, focus more on how you feel when you're exercising or cooking, rather than what you look like. It'll take that pressure away from weight loss.
  • Avoiding fad diets - Fad diets are one of my biggest hates in life as they promote an unhealthy attitude towards food, eating, and what's normal. Fad dieting isn't normal in any sense - and often or not, doesn't actually work as you haven't lost the weight in a healthy way/timeframe. If you're serious about wanting to lose weight, do it safely and healthy manner to ensure you're nourishing your body.
  • Educating people about thin privilege - I wanted to write this topic today to raise awareness really and educate, and you can do the same by talking about thin privilege to those around you or on social media.
  • Hype girls/boys up of all sizes - Last but not least, be a hype girl/boy that you are and praise everyone around you. You'll have people around you who are totally confident in their bodies and those who aren't, and as a friend, it's important to hype either of them up - and ensure they know how beautiful they really are. Your size doesn't define your beauty.
I hope you enjoyed this post. What do you think about thin privilege?

Thank you for reading <3

My top 5 favourite travel memories

 Well hello to you my reader chums! It's no secret that I'm missing the travel way of life and craving my next big adventure. Travel is something that's part of my everyday thinking, either I'm on a trip away, preparing to go, or planning one - I just adore every aspect of it.

2020 was a difficult year for us all and one thing I missed was getting on a plane and exploring the unknown. I'm hoping this year's travel picks up and I can get back to it, but for now, I thought I'd look back and share some of my favourite memories and moments.

There are plenty of countries and cities I've adored exploring for a multitude of reasons but the experiences I got up to there, topped everything. Here are my top 5 travel memories.

Meeting the elephants in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Elephants are my favourite animals; they're such gentle and beautiful creatures and when I was travelling, I had the opportunity to meet them at a local sanctuary in Chiang Mai. I went to the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary on a day trip and it was located around an hour and a half out of the main city of Chiang Mai. I did plenty of research before I headed to a sanctuary as I was fully aware a lot of the sanctuaries weren't legit and I wanted to go to a place that would properly care for the elephants.

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Chiang Mai Thailand

The experience was something I'll keep in my heart for the longest time. I was able to make the food for the elephants, feed them, stroke them, bathe them and learn all about the beautiful creatures. The day was once in a lifetime and I'd love to relive it again. 

Stepping into Time Square, New York for the first time

The Big Apple is a city like no other; the hustle and bustle, broadway scene, shopping centres and bucket loads of attractions to see. I adored every minute of New York when I went for my 21st birthday, I didn't want to leave. It's a city packed with so much excitement and fun - and I would love to do it over again.

My top 5 favourite travel memories

As much as I enjoyed every minute of it, my favourite had to be seeing Times Square for the first time and attending a Broadway show. The overwhelming senses of flashing lights, loud talking of people and bustle of the traffic, filled my heart with joy and I loved it. There's nothing that comes close to it.

Kayaking in Halong Bay, Vietnam

There were so many favourite moments in Vietnam and I long to go back but one that will always stick with me is kayaking in Halong Bay. I did a day trip to the bay from Hanoi and even though it was a long day, it was worth every single moment of travelling.

My top 5 favourite travel memories

Halong Bay is one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen. I was able to climb to the viewpoint above it all to get the full birdseye view of it and I was actually able to be in the bay with a kayak. The experience was memorable for two reasons: firstly as it really helped me overcome my fear of being on open water and secondly, the surrounding views were something out of a postcard. The bay and its crystal clear waters are something locked in my brain forever.

Looking over the Tuscan hills in Monteriggioni

Italy will always have a place in my heart. I'm lucky enough to have visited Rome twice, Venice, Milan, Florence and a couple of the other towns in Tuscany. I've loved every minute of all of those trips and it's hard to pinpoint my favourite memory as there are plenty.

My top 5 favourite travel memories

However, when I was in Siena, I took a trip up to Monteriggioni which is a gorgeous, walled town, located above the Tuscan hills. It's tiny and filled with stunning Tuscan architecture, churches, a couple of restaurants and shops. I loved being in this town as it was away from the bustle of Florence and I was able to experience the most beautiful sight of the Tuscan hills.

Watching the sunrise above Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia

I feel like I only scratched the surface with Cambodia. My favourite moment without a doubt had to be visiting all the temples in the Angkor Archaeological Park - they were so incredibly beautiful and packed full of history. 

My top 5 favourite travel memories

One morning, I got up and booked a tuk-tuk for 4am to watch the sunrise over the famous Angkor Wat. I adore a sunrise; the combination of reds, purples oranges and pinks is a glorious sight and seeing that above the Angkor Wat was even more magical. A once in a lifetime experience. 

I hope you enjoyed this post. What are your favourite travel memories?

Thank you for reading <3