Top 15 places to go on staycation this year

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Staycations are definitely the new holidays and something a lot of us are learning to appreciate more; the beauty on our doorstep. It's definitely something I've learned to love this past year and it has got me excited to see more of what's around me locally. As travelling around the UK is not my expertise, I'm more of a worldwide kind of traveller, I've asked many of my blogging friends for recommendations.

Whether you're looking for a city break, to beach it up for the week, or explore somewhere close to your front door, here are the top 15 places to go on staycation this year.

Swanage Dorset

Swanage, Dorset 

"Before 2020, I was of the mindset that a holiday could only mean getting on a plane and going overseas but after searching for a UK holiday with a friend last year, I was gladly proven wrong. My new favourite staycation spot is Swanage, a coastal town in Dorset. I and a friend stayed in the Swanage Bay Holiday resort park, renting a static caravan for a long weekend. The view of the coast from the caravan terrace was breath-taking, as good as anything I’d ever seen abroad and I couldn’t believe we were just 40 miles from home. With nearby viewpoints such as Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove, and Corfe Castle you have more than enough to see and do for a week away. 

Swanage Beach itself is lovely, one morning we woke up at 5am so that we could walk down to the beach and get some pictures of the sunrise, which was beautiful and I highly recommend it. I’ve been back a few times since and we’re due to go again in July and I'm really looking forward to it. Last year came with few positives but realising the beautiful towns, cities, and villages that are just a stone’s throw away from me was definitely one of mine." - Stacey from StaceyLBlogs.

Retreat East Suffolk

Retreat East, Suffolk

"I’ve just returned from a few days at Retreat East in the heart of Suffolk which felt like the ultimate staycation. We stayed in The Farmhouse which felt like a home from home meaning we could completely relax and unwind – just what we needed after the last year! It’s all set in the most beautiful location with rolling fields, morning birdsong, and a really sophisticated country aesthetic (perfect for the gram).

One of the reasons I loved it so much was that there was a tonne of things you could get up to but if you fancied it, you could put your feet up with a good book as well and you’d be just as happy! We went on lots of walks and even stumbled across some geocaches, visited nearby towns like Aldeburgh, Lavenham, and Woodbridge to mooch around the shops, and spent the rest of the time playing board games or taking advantage of the spa. Oh, and I can’t forget taking a trip to Southwold for some of the best fish and chips I’ve ever eaten (10/10 to The Little Fish and Chip Shop). Suffolk and more specifically, Retreat East, really is the perfect place for a social media detox or to spend some quality time with your family and friends!" - Katy from Katy Stephenson.

Portsmouth

Portsmouth

"One of my favourite places is Portsmouth. I actually studied for my degree there for three years and it was one of the best places I have lived. It is not only by the beach but it still has a city vibe (me being from London) so it had a tiny bit of home there. There are countless cute unique cafes, the beach, and arcades, and rides, and my favourite spot “The tenth hole” which is a cute tearoom adjoined to a small golf course- but it does some great cake! Not to mention Gunwharf Quays which is an outlet shopping area with food and drink places and the Spinnaker Tower (an observation tower you can go up). Overall a beautiful place to go!" - Gemma from GemmaJayne.

Oxford

Oxford

"Oxford is a beautiful, historic city where you will discover many hidden gems. This place is special to me because it was where I first learned to travel solo when I took a creative writing course there. Some of my favourite things to do in Oxford are to visit Harry Potter filming locations, watch a Shakespeare open-air play in one of the Colleges, and enjoy the breath-taking view of the Oxford skyline at St. Mary's Church!" - Izzy from Izzy Matias.

Brighton

Brighton

"My favorite place to enjoy a bit of a Staycation is anyplace with a pier - there is something magical about enjoying a bit of the beach - playing in the sand, splashing in the water, then exploring the pier. There are so many fun games, bits of food, and rides for any children that you take. Sitting on the beach at sunset is always a lovely time. My favorite pier to explore is in Brighton, right on the beach! If you are in the area, you can also go to the Artbox Cafe and get some ice cream! There is also the option to see Brighton from above in the sky coaster, go to Sea World to view some fish, and otherwise enjoy the lovely town." - Life with Jupiter and Dann.

North Wales

North Wales 

"I and my partner always have the travel bug. If in doubt or we are short on cash, a staycation is always the answer. The UK has so many hidden gems, and hands down, North Wales has got to be our favourite place. We visited in May 2019, and what really made it for us was the accommodation that we stayed in. It was the perfect location for us, two explorers, in an Airbnb with the loveliest most welcoming welsh couple - Paddy and Sue. They gave us the best welcome (free eggs from their chickens and some homemade scones too!) and helped us with some ideas for sightseeing.


We couldn’t visit without making our way up Snowdon, could we? Honestly, the weather couldn’t have been more on our side. They say the chances of you being able to view much at the peak is fairly small, yet for us, the sky was crisp, clear and we could see for miles! Portmeirion was another favourite. It’s the ideal place to capture colourful, vibrant pictures full of life blooming at the seams. The plants and flowers that grew and bloomed all year round were breathtaking. It’s definitely a place I’d like to visit again in the height of summer." - Mary-Ann from The Lazy Chain.

Beaumaris on Anglesey

Beaumaris on Anglesey (North Wales)

"A staycation favourite of mine is Beaumaris on Anglesey (North Wales). Granted I am being a little biased here as I’m originally from a village 3 miles just outside, but every time I visit home the small little town gets even more beautiful. Being right by the sea you have an amazing stretch of beach combined with small little gift shops, coffee shops and so much more. The seaside town also recently gained ‘plastic-free status’ with a community campaign set which encouraged the town's residents and businesses to cut down on single-use plastic! Anglesey can sometimes be a little forgotten when it comes to staycations but it’s an incredibly beautiful part of the country, definitely worth a visit!" - Lisa from Low Waste Weekly.

Lock Tavern Camden

London

"The city that never sleeps, filled with hidden gems and great for any budget - yes you can be boujee on a budget. A unique experience could include a floating hot tub boat, The Alchemist creative cocktail bar, or the Junkyard for a fun photoshoot. There's plenty of rooftop bars, restaurants, and cinemas if the weather allows it. London is such a lively place all year round, but especially in summer. There are festivals, street parties, and picnics to attend. Anything you can think of, London most likely has it." - Tajinder from TajinderKaur.

Manchester

"There are a lot of awesome UK city breaks to choose from when looking for a lovely staycation, but Manchester should definitely be considered. While there’s quite a lot of things to do, it makes for the perfect weekend away. Manchester has a very strong contrast between the old and the new. Tall fancy skyscrapers stand right next to old factory buildings. It makes wandering around the city a real treat. If you’re visiting Manchester, make sure to stop by the Northern Quarter. This creative part of the city is filled with independent shops, cafes, and bars. Ezra & Gil and Foundation Coffee are two of my favourite cafes for a quick coffee or a snack.

In the Northern Quarter, you can also find Afflecks Palace. This three-storied building is filled with independent vendors - each room is a different shop. It’s a lot of fun to browse through all the crazy things they sell here. From the NQ, walk over to Deansgate. You can stop by Manchester’s cathedral and John Ryland’s library. Both of these are stunning pieces of architecture, and really show that contrast between the old and the new.

Manchester

Castlefield is another area that should be on your itinerary. You can find the canals, old mills, and the ancient Roman fort here. Apart from that, there are some great restaurants near the canals, which are perfect for dinner. After dinner, walk over to the Hilton Hotel on Deansgate. It’s only a few minutes from Castlefield. On the 23rd floor, you’ll find Cloud23. This sky bar gives you one of the best views of the city, and they also serve some fantastic cocktails - the perfect way to end your trip to Manchester." - Nele from the Navigatio.

Yorkshire coast

Yorkshire Coast

"My favourite staycation place has to be the Yorkshire Coast. I know this isn’t just one place, but the Yorkshire coast really does have so many amazing places to visit that it is hard to choose just one! From higher up on the coastline to Whitby to right down to Bridlington, there is just seaside town after seaside town. Who doesn’t love a walk along a promenade, visiting the amusements, and eating your body weight in fresh fish and chips? Well, you get it all on the Yorkshire coast. When you want a more chilled, less touristy place, there are a few coastal towns in between to visit, like Staithes. The view from the top of the hill is just amazing, and the town really does have that remote close-knit town vibe to it. Then there is Sandsend with a beautiful long beach, perfect for spending a day building sandcastles, paddling, and having a cheeky seaside ice cream.

If history is your bag, then the Yorkshire coast has an abundance of old castles and Abbeys to explore, as well as vintage/antique shops. I just love exploring places like this! The best bit is, the Yorkshire Coast is only a short drive away from my hometown of Leeds, which means the places are so easy to get to. You can base yourself in one seaside town and go explore the nearby ones so easily. The weather may not always be warm along the coast, but the welcome from the locals always are!" - Aimsy from Aimsy's Antics.

Whitby

"Whitby is one of our favourite seaside holiday destinations in the UK! There are lots of things to see while you’re there and unique souvenirs to purchase too. The Whitby Abbey, which stands on the cliffs above the town, is definitely one to visit if you love historic ruins. While in Whitby, be sure to climb the iconic 199 steps and take a walk down donkey road which runs parallel to the 199 steps. The Whalebone Arch, located on Whitby’s West Cliff, is another landmark you should see while in Whitby. As well as providing great photo opportunities, the arch represents Whitby’s history (the town used to be a whaling port). If the weather is on your side, a visit to the beach and harbour is a great way to spend the day. Take a walk along the piers in the evening to take in the views. 

If you're looking for some souvenirs to remember your trip, you can pick up a lucky duck from The Whitby Glass Shop. These lucky ducks are made from the colours of the gemstones for each birth month. Another great souvenir is Whitby Jet (a fossilised wood usually incorporated into jewelry), which can be purchased from various shops. Finally, no UK staycation is complete without eating some fish and chips!" - Lottie and Lauren from Twins Gone Roaming.

Whitby

"Located on the East coast of the stunning North Yorkshire, there’s plenty on offer for a staycation in Whitby. I have been visiting the town every year as a family tradition for as long as I can remember, and it has everything you would want for a quintessentially British break: fresh fish and chips, real ice cream, and beautiful stretches of perfect beaches. Get your walking shoes on and amble down to the end of the windy West Pier, before exploring the traditional fish market, where you’ll catch fishing boats bringing their catch in; the famous 199 steps leading to the Grade I listed Whitby Abbey; and Tate Hill Sands, the beach where Bram Stoker’s Dracula famously landed. A drink in one of the town’s great pubs will be needed after a day of walking, and our favourites have to be The Black Horse along the cobbled Church Street, or the Abbey Wharf on Marketplace. And for us, the fish and chips have to be from Silver Street Fisheries or Trencher’s, and make sure to pick up some freshly-smoked kippers from Fortune’s to take home with you!" - Ryan from A Single Step.

Ireland staycation

County Roscommon Ireland

"As lockdown 1 came and went, we thought it was the end of the world, how will we travel? Where will we go? We decided to research and see what's on our doorstep. and a staycation became a possibility.

We stayed local in County Roscommon in the midwest of Ireland, a county rich in history with castle ruins, archaeological sites at Rathcroghan, see the mines of Arigna, wander the Mote Park bluebell forests, and finally to add a bit of fun Lough Key Forest Park where adventure is the number one priority. We love the county and its rich history can't wait to explore more. Stay local, you never know what you may find." - Richard and Michelle from Chalk and Cheese Travels.

Liverpool cathedral

Liverpool

"In my opinion, Liverpool is one of the greatest cities in the world. I may be biased because I live here, however working in a city centre University has proved just how wonderful the City of Liverpool really is. Every Liverpool newcomer makes a comment on how friendly and approachable the people are. Not only are the people incredible, but the city has a plethora of delicious independent cafes and restaurants. Liverpool also has many astounding musicians and music venues. Liverpool has some very iconic and historic architecture, including The Liver Buildings, The Albert Dock, and St George’s Hall, just to name a few. The city is filled with rich history and has its very own Museum of Liverpool dedicated to the city’s culture. You will never be bored in Liverpool, there is always something to see and do. If you are looking for a vibrant city to visit on your next UK break, Liverpool is the place to go." - Kelly from Until Another Day.

Swansea Bay

"If you are looking for a scenic staycation destination within the UK, then Swansea Bay should be on the top of your list. Whether you enjoy long walks, love relaxing by the sea, are into adrenaline-fuelled activities, or want to immerse yourself in culture/heritage, Swansea Bay has plenty to offer. We visited Swansea Bay recently and loved how scenic it was. It has miles of stunning coastline, varied landscapes, endless water sport activities, loads of walking/biking trails, and is a real paradise especially for those who love nature.

Swansea Bay offers excellent opportunities to try out water sport adventures like surfing, windsurfing, coasteering, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), canoeing, kayaking, kitesurfing, and more. For those who love art and culture, there is much that Swansea Bay offers in this aspect too. Swansea is the birthplace of Dylan Thomas (famous poet and writer) and you could follow the Dylan Thomas Trails that will take you around familiar Dylan Thomas landmarks around Swansea, Gower, and South Wales. Swansea Bay also has a number of castles, museums, and galleries for the art/culture lover.

Swansea Bay

As for places to eat, Swansea Bay has a large number of restaurants, bars, cafes, and bistros. You can enjoy traditional British food or choose from various international cuisines or go for local seafood. It is a great place for a staycation within the UK. Plan your visit with our guide on how to spend two days in Swansea Bay." - Deeptha from The Globe Trotter.

Lincoln

"With 1000 years of history, Lincoln is a city with so much to explore. Situated in the East Midlands (140 miles north of London), Lincoln is a hidden gem in the centre of England. Did you know that Lincoln Cathedral was considered the world’s highest building for nearly 240 years, following the Pyramids of Giza? It also holds a copy of the Magna Carta – created to ensure the rights of the people 800 years ago.

Lincoln

This is the perfect city for escaping the busy life of major cities and exploring the cobbled streets of old England, then Lincoln is the one for you. You will never be short of tea rooms and boutique stores to keep you intrigued!" - Sophia from Sophia Patel.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Where are you planning a staycation this year?

Thank you for reading <3

The pressure of achieving everything in your twenties

 Well hello to you my reader chums! When I was younger, by the age of 25 I thought I'd be married, with kids, have the house of my dreams, and a career that made my heart soar, but in reality, it's far from the truth. We're always told our twenties will be the best years of our life and there's a 'timeclock' on when to achieve everything by - but what I'm realising going into my mid-twenties, is that it's all a social construct, and there's no time limit on your goals and being happy.

If you're like me and feeling a little lost in your twenties with a huge amount of pressure to get everything achieved as soon as possible, then this post is here to give you the reassurance that you're going to be okay.

The pressure of achieving everything in your twenties

Why you don't need to achieve everything by your twenties

Firstly, you are so young. When you put your twenties into the perspective of your entire life, you'll realise how young you really are and how you literally have the rest of your life to grow, achieve your goals and do everything you put your mind to. 

Your twenties are the decade to find yourself; to figure what you love, what you hate, make mistakes, travel, create lifelong memories, make friends, realise some people aren't for you, and just be you. This is a decade we should appreciate and take everything on board that we go through, whether it's good or bad. The lessons we learn when we are young shape us as we grow older and turn us into better, more rounded people.

Rome wasn't built in a day and your goals are the same, they don't need to happen all at once, especially at such a young age. Everything is a process, whether that's finding your dream job, learning to love yourself, or buying a house. The most successful people are the ones that take the time to figure who they really are, what makes their soul happy, and work at a life they dream about. They're not the people who try and cram every dream to be fulfilled into their twenties. If you achieve it all now, what are you aiming for?

My point being, live in your twenties. Live whilst you don't have big responsibilities. Try the things you always wanted to do, love hard, travel freely, make spontaneous choices and enjoy the beauty that life is - your twenties won't always be easy, no decade will but there's no point trying to put pressure on yourself to be the most successful person in your twenties. Instead, focus on the person you're aiming towards and accept the fact that not every day will be a rainbow, but every day is a blessing and here to teach you something.

Every older person you meet, they'll always tell you to live and enjoy it when you're young as when you're old, all you want to be is young. Cherish every day, ride the waves, and know, you've so got this and whatever life throws at you.

Top tips on dealing with the 'twenties' pressure

Stop comparing your chapter 1 to somebody's chapter 20 

Comparison is the killer of all joy, I've said this in many posts but the notion weighs so true in every situation. Every single person is different and everybody's journey is different. You do not need to be the same as everyone else. There is only one you and that is so special. You shouldn't compare your chapter 1 to somebody's chapter 20. Just because someone has found their career or met their dream partner and you haven't, it doesn't mean you're not good enough, it's just not your time yet. We all have different paths and what is right for us, will find us.

Keep believing, keep dreaming, and keep focusing on yourself to create a life you will love. If you focus on who you are and what you want, you'll also stop comparing as there will be no need to. You deserve to love yourself and your life.

Do the things that make you happy 

Life is short and your twenties will sweep by quicker than you think. It feels like yesterday I turned twenty and now I'm in my mid-twenties, life really is that fast. And that means it's too fast to live a life you're not happy about.

By putting pressure on yourself to try and achieve everything in your twenties, you take away the joy of the moment. The fun of spontaneous beach trips, getting so drunk you're cry-laughing or screaming your heart out at a concert. All these moments are what make you happy and should be what you focus on. Once you practice gratitude and live for the things that make you happy, the pressure should subside slightly and you can experience everything life throws at you.

Don't set your heart on a certain date/age on accomplishing 

We're all at different stages in our lives. I have friends that have a long-term partner and a kid, friends who are happily single and focusing on their career, and friends who are living for their travels and making memories, and we're all still the same age. There is no age limit on when we should achieve our goals. You can find love in your 50s, you can buy a house when you're in your 40s, you can have kids at whatever age suits you and backpack at whatever age, the main thing is that you're content in whatever stage you're at.

Setting an age on an accomplishment is something we're taught at a young age. I can remember being in school and thinking by the age I am now, I would have achieved all the textbook things like marriage, having kids, and having a house. But now, at this age, all of those things are far away from what I actually want, I just want to live for my travels, live for the days that make me happy and build a career I'm proud of, and surround myself with people who get me. Instead of saying 'I want to achieve this by the age of 25', say 'these are my goals and I'm working towards them.' Avoid limiting yourself as the pressure will be a lot more.

Make decisions right for you

In your twenties, you will hear so many opinions, whether that's from your parents, your friends or your colleagues but the opinion that is the most important is yours. Always go with your gut, whether that's deciding on a cake in a coffee shop to leaving your job and making your next big career move. Your instinct is there as it knows what you truly desire in your heart and you should follow that path, whatever the situation.

There are things in life that are for us and you'll know it's yours when it feels right in your heart, whether that's a job, house, friendship, relationship, or a life choice. Making decisions for you will help the exterior voices silent slightly.

Understand the privilege of failure

I hate failing, I think everyone does. It hurts my soul and my pride and knocks my confidence. But failure happens because it's meant to, it's meant to teach you a lesson or guide you on the right path for you. When you fail, take it as a privilege rather than well, a failure. As they say, when one door closes, another one opens -  and this is a phrase that should be applied always.

When you realise how much of a blessing failure is, the pressure you feel about achieving everything will lessen as your focus will change. The failure will divert your focus to pick yourself up and work harder, and push you even closer to what is for you.

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

Thank you for reading <3

Review: Temple Spa Skincare | Gifted

 Well hello to you my reader chums! There's nothing more refreshing than discovering and trying new skincare products. When I got gifted* some of the Temple Spa products, I couldn't have been more excited as I've heard many good things about this brand. Temple Spa definitely has that luxury appeal to it with a higher price tag but the quality is truly worthwhile.

If you're looking to purchase some new skincare products with a more luxurious feel, here is my full review of the Temple Spa skincare range.

Temple Spa Skincare

Deep Cleansing Melt

Solid cleansers are always a product I've loved to use in my skincare routine as I find they feel a lot nicer on the skin and really cleanse the way they should. Temple Spa's Deep Cleansing Melt is a luxury solid cleaner that is recommended to use day and night and how I've been using it as part of my routine.

The cleanser is branded as a 'facial in a jar' and I definitely see why. When I use a pea-sized amount of product and massage it into the skin, it feels rich, soft, and has the lingering scent of a spa. The cleanser is slightly oily and creamy in texture but I like that as it makes it quite movable on the skin. The product is recommended to take off with a damp cloth but I find by washing it off normally, it washes off nicely - and leaves my skin feeling revitalised and nourished.

Glowcolic Resurfacing Toner

The toner comes in a spray style bottle and has a similar lingering scent to the cleanser: like the freshness of a spa. I find the toner works really well to swipe over the skin after washing off the cleanser as it gets the remnants of dirt and cleanser off of the skin.

The toner is really refreshing and light on the skin and is a lovely addition to my skincare routine. Once the toner has been wiped all over my skin, it adds to the refreshing feel and my skin is nourished. Although, I wouldn't say it's much different from the Pixi Glow Tonic which I much prefer.

Purification Deep Cleansing Mask

I have a lot to say about this cleansing mask, it's honestly the mask of dreams. Not only does it have the luxury appeal of the packaging and the overwhelming scent of spas and tea tree oil, it feels like heaven on the skin. When I apply it, the mask smooths so easily across the face and the smell transports me to an actual spa day.

I usually leave the mask on for around twenty minutes or more and use it once a week for the best results, and I can assure you, it leaves my skin feeling happy, refreshed, and like new. It's one of those masks that have so much goodness in, when washed off, it's as if I went for an actual spa treatment. It has to be my favourite product of Temple Spa's and I'm surprised I haven't seen more hype about it as it really does make a huge difference to my skin in how it feels. I even lent it to my friend and she applied it to the sunburn on her face, and when she washed it off, it had really calmed the sunburn down and it wasn't sore anymore.

Temple Spa Skincare

Moisture To Go Balancing Moisturiser

The moisturiser is a brilliant product and probably one of my favourite moisturisers I've tried. It has the perfect combination of lightness, nourishment, and the loveliest spa scent like the rest of the products. It applies super quickly to the skin, sinking in almost immediately which I love before putting on my makeup for the day.

The moisturiser leaves my skin feeling super smooth and soft to touch and hydrates it, ready for the day. I particularly like that it's not oily or thick but still gives the right level of hydration to the skin.

Overall thoughts on Temple Spa

As a slightly pricier brand to those sold on the High Street, I was quite skeptical that the products wouldn't live up to the price tag, however, I've been incredibly impressed by each of the products, especially the purification mask and the moisturiser. The quality is high, they do what they say on the tin and I'd definitely repurchase some of them again as a treat. Although, it's also worth noting that even though I loved these products, there are cheaper alternatives that have done a similar job to my skin.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Have you tried Temple Spa products?

Thank you for reading <3

How to help a friend with anxiety | my top tips

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I've had anxiety for as long as I can remember and it hasn't been an easy road to learn to firstly accept my anxiety but secondly and mainly, deal and cope with it.

Living with a mental illness isn't easy for both me, my family, and my friends and often, I can't help feel like the one with all the 'problems' or the person who needs 'extra reassurance' and, it has taken me time to realise that's not the case.

If you have a friend or family member who has anxiety or another mental illness and are unsure how to help them, here are my best tips on helping a friend with anxiety.

How to help a friend with anxiety

Offer a helping hand

A helping hand can go a long way especially for someone with anxiety. Most of the time, those with anxiety are looking for someone to be there for support, give them some level of reassurance or help them in any other way, it depends on the person. But if your friend is suffering, simply ask them how you can offer that helping hand; they may need a chat, someone to go for a walk with or simply, someone just to be by their side. 

Give them the reassurance they need

Reassurance is vital for someone living with anxiety. Anxiety is constant thoughts that overplay and make you overthink again and again, which means even the smallest of things are A LOT. And that means when a friend asks 'are you mad at me?' Reply to them with the reassurance they need - think of the response you'd want and then add even more reassurance. Then, if they ask multiple times, instead of getting annoyed, continuously try to reassure them in every way you can - it'll mean more than you think.

Understand why if they cancel last minute

The thing about anxiety is it can be triggered with the smallest of things or flare up when you least expect it and that's why a lot of anxious people may cancel plans last minute or make excuses or why they're not coming. If your friend does this, instead of getting mad or annoyed, try to listen and understand their point of view, and why they did this. It may not be exactly what you want to hear and you may get frustrated with them, but that'll only make them feel worse - try and be calm and approach the response nicely.

Be a listening ear

Adding to the other three points, being a listener is the best thing you can do for your friend with anxiety. Anxiety can be isolating, and often makes you feel like you're a burden so sometimes, you need someone to simply listen to you. This could be to vent or to get the words out of your mind, and feel as if someone is listening to you. Rather than trying to rationalise an anxious person's thoughts, just be a listening ear and be supportive in the way they need.

Come up with coping mechanisms

Those who live with anxiety have many methods that they would have developed in order to cope with their anxiety - and it's dependant from person to person. However, when they're in a social setting with you and they're triggered, these methods may not work, or they may need a method which you can help them with to cope. My friends have been so helpful over the years in developing ways for me to tell them I'm triggered and creating a safe space for me to cope. You need to do the same for your friends - ask them what will help them cope if they're in a setting when their anxiety may be triggered.

Avoid making them feel worse about their anxiety

I cannot stress this point enough. People with anxiety already doubt themselves enough by questioning every single thing they've done and every single conversation they've had, that by saying mean comments will add to their anxiety. Try and avoid telling someone with anxiety that they're being 'overdramatic', 'overthinking' or to 'stop worrying.' Treat every one of their concerns normally and constantly reassure and be empathetic.

Don't push them into things they don't want to do

Those living with anxiety are battling their mind every single day and the worst thing you can do is push an anxious person into doing something they're not ready for. There's a difference between giving someone encouragement and pushing someone, and it's important to know where to draw the line. Keep at their pace and cheer them on, and wait until they're ready to cross the finish line. Don't ever push.

A gesture can go a long way

I'm a big fan of gestures. As someone with an anxious mind, when someone offers a gesture, whether that's inviting me somewhere, giving me an unexpected gift, or writing a lovely paragraph, I remember it. I remember all the ways people make me feel, especially the good times - and that's why gestures are important. If your friend is feeling anxious or has been triggered, a gesture can go a long way.

Read up on their anxiety

The thing about mental illness, it's often misunderstood and people don't take the time and care to read up on it, the way they would with a chronic physical illness. But, if your friend has anxiety, one of the best ways to understand what they're going through is to read and listen. And, I can assure you that they'll appreciate the fact that you took the time to read up on what they're going through as a way to understand.

Appreciate them a little bit more

This may sound a bit weird as I'm sure you love your friend dearly that's why you're pals. However, sharing and showing that appreciation can go the extra mile to let them know, they're loved and worthy of being your friend.

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

Thank you for reading <3

Let's talk about diet culture

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Diet culture is a topic I've been wanting to speak about for the longest time. I've touched on it in my post about thin privilege and body acceptance, however, I think it needs an entire, dedicated post to it, to bring the awareness it needs.

Trigger warning - This post talks about the topic of eating disorders.

Whether you're in the process of learning to love your body or like me, hate the idea of diet culture, here is everything to know about diet culture.

Let's talk about diet culture

What is diet culture?

The definition of diet culture is simply 'diet culture is the glorification of losing weight at all costs.' Diet culture is a part of the entire diet industry which profit of people's insecurities and enforce the idea that 'losing weight and being skinny is the most important thing.' It's a toxic method that's implemented more in our everyday life, than we may initially realise and is something we all need to make a stand against. Diet culture promotes and glorifies weight loss as a means of attaining a higher status - and views skinner people as prettier, better, and more worthy.

Diet culture leads to many buying into an 'unhealthy way of eating' and what I mean by that is yo-yo dieting, trying to eat 'clean', labelling foods as 'good' and 'bad', starving yourself or living off liquids because we've been marketed the idea that this is how you lose weight and that we all need to be skinny. And, that all of those 'diet' methods are a healthy way of eating - which surprise, they're not and they do your body more harm than good.

This unhealthy relationship with food and the whole industry it has created leads many to have an eating disorder and become chronically unwell and it's honestly, one of the things that really breaks my heart. There are millionaires out there making money off impressional young women/men falling into eating disorders just because they're told they don't fit society's idea of 'beauty'. It's disgusting. We live in a fatphobic society and it really needs to change.

Examples of diet culture

You may think diet culture is when weight loss companies promote 'weight loss' shakes or a celebrity talks about 'skinny teas' and it is, but it's also so much more than that - and often or not, it's internalised in how we speak every single day. Here are a few examples:

Representation in the media - This is the biggest way we see diet culture in front of our eyes at the touch of a button and it's the information we're digesting without even realising it. Diet culture is promoted across social media, print media, by celebrities, and really in a lot of marketing techniques which are to do with selling a product; it's disgusting. Influencers are often seen advertising fad diet products, skinny models are often praised over other body types and calorie counting is plastered so often in front of our eyes, it makes us seem odd if we're not calorie counting. But all of these things and the way it's represented is showing an unhealthy mindset towards foods and our bodies. At the end of the day, if we all ate exactly the same, we still all wouldn't look alike. Every body is different. 

Praising weight loss - Now, I'm all for praising people for losing weight, I think the acknowledgment of that is really important, especially when someone has worked so hard on it. However, there is a way and a time, and a place to talk about it properly. The way we talk about weight loss is construed; it's said in a way that it's the most important compliment any of us can receive, and that's why I lot of us always think we need to lose weight or 'not eat that treat', because it's a way of feeling validation (something we've internalised). But, there is more to us than our bodies and what we look like. We're often praised for dropping the pounds but shamed if we put a little bit of weight on. For instance, all those adverts and social media posts promote the idea of 'losing the Christmas pounds' which to me is the most barbaric thing. Food is fuel, it should be fun and enjoyed and not have to be restricted, especially in times of celebration - and the industry needs to stop making us feel guilty for that.

Promotion of fad diets - This ties in with the representation in the media. But fad diets aren't just advertised online or TV, they're in places like supermarkets, in restaurants, and in any circumstance where we need to think of food. Fad diets do not work. It's that simple. All these juices, shakes, and diet pills are only a quick solution - they're not going to help you maintain weight loss. They're sold in a way that makes you feel like you need to buy into them to lose weight fast, but there is no healthy way to lose weight fast. It's a process and should be done slowly and gradually in the right way. Promotion of fad diets is done cleverly as it's plastered and advertised subtly but also obviously in places in order for you to think you need it - WHEN YOU DON'T.

Phrases like 'nothing tastes as good as skinny feels'  - When you look at films/media over the years and the way food is portrayed especially for women, the phrase 'nothing tastes as good as skinny feels' is thrown around a lot. And it feeds into the days where models were unhealthily skinny on the catwalk and people aspired to be them - and it's an unhealthy way of thinking and something that is still joked about today. How many times have you gone to a restaurant and said out loud 'I won't have dessert as I'm trying to be good?' That my friends is diet culture as we're told from a young age that indulging in treats is bad as it'll make us fat. And we live in a fatphobic society. But food is fuel and we all deserve our indulgences.

How can we make a stand against diet culture?

I could speak for days of the examples of diet culture but the best way to talk about is to share what we can do, to overthrow the idea of it and normalise eating intuitively and being happy in our own bodies.

Education - With any topic or issue, the best way to make a change is with education. And that means educating people about how toxic diet culture is, how it's feeding into many of us being unhappy with our bodies, and leading to many people developing eating disorders. It's all about unpicking a system that has spent years making money out of people's insecurities - and teaching each other about what's really healthy. Eating intuitively, getting out and about, and understanding that cellulite, hip dips, and 'flaws' on our bodies are all normal.

Spread awareness - Once you begin reading and learning more about how toxic diet culture is, it's time to spread awareness about it. You don't need to be an influencer to do this, it's all about starting a conversation with your friends and family. By talking about it, you can make more of an effect than you may realise - and help those impressionable people in your life who are easily influenced by the media.

Normalise normal bodies - It took me to my adult years to realise how normal cellulite and a womanly figure were. Growing up in the 'thigh gap' era where that was heavily praised, it was something my teenage self longed for, which was such an unrealistic expectation. And that's the same with all these 'Instagram ideals' today. It's important to start normalising normal bodies. Normlaise cellulite. Normalise stretch marks. Normalise bloating. Normalise imperfections. When we start doing this, it will help us all accept our bodies for what they are: healthy and working to make us who we are.

Look at your relationship with food - Diet culture can really affect our relationship with food. I've always been against calorie counting and all these foods which claim to be 'low fat' or 'low sugar' as often these foods are just packed with chemicals that are actually not good for your overall health. Calorie counting is restrictive as you're constantly watching what you eat and preventing yourself from what your body is really craving and this can lead to a disordered style of eating. This is why it's so important to look at your relationship with food and if it's healthy or not - because often a lot of the time we have a bad relationship with food is due to diet culture and what we see, or what we've learnt growing up. 

Work on yourself - This may seem a bit of an odd point, but, it's hard to help spread a message or talk about a topic if you're not 100% feeling yourself. Learning to love yourself is so important and that means accepting your body and all your flaws. If you're comfortable in yourself, it will help you have more of a clear vision of how toxic diet culture is and the wrong message it is spreading.

Throw out the scales - Since I was a teenager, my parents made the decision to throw the scales out as they didn't want me to be concerned about my weight, which is one thing I'm really grateful for in an impressionable time in my life. And to this day, I don't have scales in my house. I don't like the idea of knowing the weight and I don't like to discuss weight at all. The concept of weight is barbaric to me, as your weight doesn't necessarily mean you're healthy. Weight fluctuates throughout the day and also, just because you're skinny, it doesn't mean you're healthy. You shouldn't measure your health on the scales. You should measure your health about how you feel physically and mentally - and not compare your weight to anybody else. Discussing weight is toxic and it's important to be aware of that when you open a conversation about the idea of diet culture. You never know who may be triggered.

Talk to an expert if you want to lose weight - Losing weight can be needed sometimes if you're looking to improve your lifestyle but, it's about doing it in a healthy way and ensuring you're not restricting yourself or using fad diets to go about it. If you're looking to get healthier, it's important to speak to a professional about going about it as they'll inform you of the right and steady way to do it rather than going down the unhealthy root of ditching pounds fast. Speak to your doctor, a nutritionist, or a dietician, someone who has the right experience and knowledge to ensure your relationship with food stays as a good one.

If you're struggling with an eating disorder or need to talk to someone, call the Beat Eating Disorder hotline on 08088010677 or visit their website.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What do you think about diet culture?

Thank you for reading <3