Friday, 18 August 2017

Advice To Freshers...

It's exactly a year since I got my A-Level results and secured my place at University of Sheffield to study my fave subject. Ahh how time flies.

Ever since the end of first year I've been feeling so reflective about the year. It's hard to believe that it's been a whole year, it only feels like a couple weeks ago that I packed up and moved to a city that I'd only visited twice before, and began living with nine strangers, embarking on living independently. I'm freshers recruiter for The Tab Sheffield, and seeing so many people tweeting about getting into Sheffield made me feel so emotional. I remember so clearly how I felt, but that girl feels like someone totally separate to who I am now. (cringe)

I think before you go to uni you hear a lot about how those years will change your life, or how you'll come back a different person. But it's true. Uni forces you to be ballsy. You have to throw yourself out of your comfort zone, talk to strangers to make them into friends, learn to be alone and thrive, learn how to handle a totally new level of socialising, teach yourself to be self-motivated. It gives you no other option but to grow to fit, but I think it brings out the best in you.

I don't want to just write out a boring, mushy run down of the ups and downs of my year. So instead, here's the best advice I can give to new freshers from what I've learnt.

You will be nervous, but you can trick yourself out of it

I won't lie, I almost dropped out before I got to uni. My anxiety and phobia were so so bad that I didn't think I could do it, and I was just so terrified. But everyone feels like that, but it is terrifying! Being thrown into a new situation is scary, but you have to push through and you'll soon forget that you're nervous. Offer to make a coffee for your flatmate, chat to the person in your lecture, find people on social media before you move and try to make some contacts. Act like you're not nervous, and you soon won't be.

Don't stick to your friends from home

It's pretty much guaranteed that you'll know people at your uni, whether it be a close friend or just someone you know from college. But don't spend too much time from them. It's too easy to stick to people you know like a safety blanket, but you have to get out there and spend time with your flatmates and new people. You don't want to stick too close to old friends, and miss out on the new.

Be somewhat shameless

Some of my best best best friends at uni are girls I stalked on social media and arranged coffee dates with. If you've just got your place, now is the perfect time to find your flatmates on facebook/twitter, find people on your course and get chatting. It will ease your nerves if you know people, and they could end up being your best friend ever. Literally, get on instagram and get searching your uni hashtag, or the location tag for your accommodation and follow some people. Social media is such a great tool, use it. There's no shame in making the first move and booking in some coffee dates or a pizza night, everyone else is just as nervous about making friends so be the one to make the move.

Do things

Uni offers you a ridiculous amount, everything from sports to arts, and societies for literally everything you can imagine. Going to freshers fairs and activities fairs is vital to get to grips with whats going on and integrate with the uni community, and societies are great for making friends outside your flat or subject. That's one thing I really failed at in my first year, but I'm determined to join more next year.

Explore the place beyond the uni

Uni offers loads, but the city you're in can offer more. Sheffield, in particular, has so much going on like poetry groups, gigs, talks etc. Make sure you go out and explore the city beyond your campus or immediate area. Go to all the parks and museums, walk everywhere to get to grips with the place, support local businesses; fully adopting your uni city will massively improve your time there and will give you so much more.

Make as many friends as possible

Never limit your number of friends. You have to abandon the 'squad' mentality, you can have friends in all different groups, doing all different subjects, and living in all different places. Yes have your best friend, but always make more. Never turn down an invite, always be kind, talk to everyone. But also, don't abandon your friends for anyone. Those friends will be your family, they'll be your support system and you'll be theirs, and no relationship or boy or girl or anything is worth sacrificing that. Friends first, always. 

Remember to settle down

Uni is fun, and freshers week is very very fun, but you do have to settle down. At some point you have to make your uni a home, rather than just somewhere you're staying for a while, you have to get into routines and eat healthy and look after yourself. This sounds super simple, but trust me it's harder than you think when you step out of a family setting and you have no restrictions, and no responsibilities beyond the couple hours of lectures and seminars. Eventually settling down and getting a night routine, and a somewhat decent bed time is super important for your mental health, and making sure you're eating well and caring for your body properly. 

If I hadn't gone to uni and took every chance it gave me, I wouldn't have released a book, I wouldn't be writing for The Tab, and I doubt Kiloran would've grown like it has. But mostly, I wouldn't have made the friends I have, or met some of the best people I've ever known. I've met so many inspiring, like-minded, funny, kind, amaaaazing people and I feel so lucky to call them friends. After first year I feel 100x more confident and secure in myself and my abilities. I'm less afraid, more social, and I'd like to think I've become a better person and a better friend. Best year of my life hands down, I hope the next two years go in slow-mo so I never have to enter the real world.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

No Banana Gets Left Behind...

The UK throws away £13 billion worth of food each year, including around 1.4 million bananas each day.

With around 8.4 million families in the UK struggling to feed themselves, this is such a huge issue, and so unnecessary. We're trapped in the confines of judging fruits and veg by appearance. We've all been guilty of throwing out bananas that are a little too brown, or a bit too soft for our taste. But unless you've got a compost heap, all that wastes is off to a landfill and adding to the growing issue of food waste as the gov failed to meet their targets.

The UK's household waste and recycling systems are pretty far behind. We're so stuck in our ways of just chucking stuff in the kitchen bin when we could be recycling more, and helping the environment through compost, or becoming more aware and trying to buy biodegradable packaging. Although the gov tried, launching voluntary contracts with supermarkets to avoid waste and send unsalable food to food banks, their target was missed as most shops still only sell the 'pretty' fruits and veg, and chuck food as soon as it goes past sell by. So it's up to us to try and do our part, starting at home.

A quick google and you can find recipes to use up pretty much every fruit and veg possible when it's a little past it's best. It's so quick and easy, and gives a new life to food you might have been temped to just throw out before. Enter the banana bread, the banana pancakes, the banana porridge.

I love bananas, but when you're a student, cooking and eating for yourself, it can be hard to eat them all before they get a bit too soft for my liking. So I always, always, always take to baking. It takes max 40 mins, and you've turned brown bananas into a cake to share. No waste, and a treat, WIN.

Here's the recipe I follow. It using mainly items you'll just have in the cupboard, and is vegan so you can lick the spoon to your hearts content.

You'll need...

225g of plain flour - or if you only have self-raising, you only need to use 2tsp of baking powder)
3tsp of baking powder.
100g of brown sugar.
3tsp of spices - I like to use 2tsp of cinnamon, 0.5 of ginger, and 0.5 of nutmeg.
3 super ripe bananas.
75g of vegetable oil.

How to make it

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.
2.Mash up the bananas and mix in the oil and sugar.
3.. Add the flour, baking powder, and spices.
4. Add anything else you want - it's good with dried fruit, walnuts, or choc chips.
5. Slop it into a loaf tin.
6. Leave it to bake for around 20 mins, then stab a knife into the middle to check.

Literally so easy, and you've saved some bananas from waste. But I'm not done.

Then, when the cake is starting to get a little hard and everyones bored of eating it, there's no need to waste. Turn that banana bread into some banana bread french toast. Unfortunately this isn't vegan, but it's a good way to use up those left over eggs wasting in the fridge.

You'll need...

Left over banana bread
1 egg - add more depending on how many people you're serving.
A splash of milk.
A sprinkle of cinnamon and a drop of vanilla extract - this is optional, but it makes it taste 10/10.

How to make it...

1. Put a little oil in a frying pan to heat up.
2. Whisk together the egg and milk, add the cinnamon and vanilla if you want.
3. Cut the banana bread into thick slices, and soak them in the mixture.
4. Fry it up in a pan.

I served mine with some left over mango. But it's amazing with some natural yogurt, berries and syrup. This is so good, like insanely good. Make it, please. You deserve this.

But that's just the bananas. Find some ways to save all the fruits and veggies from waste; start at home then start considering your buying habits and how you could recycle more.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

August Aims...

August has crept up on us, and honestly I'm glad. In short I haven't been doing so great lately so I decided to adopt the new month as a new start, as an opportunity to introduce new and healthy habits into my life, and work on areas to change. The 1st of a month is always a time to set new aims, so here are mine for August to help pick me up and power home.

Read everyday

At the start of July I set myself the challenge to finish Anna Karenina by the time uni started, and yeah it's not going great. I know when I sit and read for a while I instantly feel calmer, but I find it hard to just sit down and chill. But in August I'm going to try and take some time out of everyday to chill and work on my brain. 

Don't go on my phone before 9am

Lately I've become so aware that the instant I wake up, I go on my phone for like an hour in bed and while I eat breakfast. That's so bad, like I know how bad that is and this is the month I will stop. I'm going to try and avoid my phone until after breakfast, and stop instantly bombarding myself with social media and stress in the morning. I'm also going to get the Five Minute journal app, so when I do go on my phone I can start my day thinking about goals and thinks I'm thankful for. 

Release an issue of Kiloran

Issue 5 of the magazine I edit is on the way, expected to be released on the 13th August! So I gotta work work work.

Don't stress about exercise
Eat healthy but don't restrict

I struggle quite a lot with my relationship with exercise and food. I have such an obsessive personality, so the second I start exercising or thinking about body image or what I'm eating, it becomes a huge thing. I start to obsess over working out and what I'm eating. I need to stop that this month, I want to learn how to exercise and make better choices without it becoming toxic.
Say only positive things about others

This is a forever goal of mine and I'm still on it. Trying to have positive vibes on both the inhale and the exhale.

Plan ahead

I've been getting myself down watch other people travel and experience things, while I'm just at home working. So I'm trying to plan ahead; think about the future and plan trips and holidays to look forward to. I'm trying to let that motivate me through this month of work, and try and fight off the jealousy.

Be happy with where I am

This is both physically and mentally. I want to enjoy this last month or so at home, make the most of my hometown and soak up the downtime. But mentally, I want to learn to stress about the future and next steps less. I want to learn to celebrate present achievements and victories, rather than brushing them off too quickly to focus on the next move. And I want to learn to be okay with having sad days and down moments rather than self-bullying and causing myself to spiral. BIG GOALS, lets try.

Find joy in simple pleasures

Pretty similar from before, while I'm at home I want to try and find happiness in myself and in simple things, like morning coffee, and going out for breakfast, and doing my nails. I'm struggling to not sink into a pit of sadness and jealousy of everyone else on hols, so to combat that I'll find joy in little things and look forward.

Go on at least 2 trips

While I can't jet off on hols, I can take myself away for a day. So the aim for this month is to go on at least 2 trips, even if it's just a day out to another northern city, and even if I go alone. It's little, but it's something.

Fingers crossed I manage, and fingers crossed it boosts my mood. But I'm feeling positive for the new start, we got this.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Simple Acts Of Self-Care...

If first year taught me anything, it's the importance of small, daily acts of self-care. Looking after yourself doesn't have to be dramatic or time consuming, it doesn't need to be a full regime or anything extravagant; simple and often is always best.

For me, weirdly, I normally feel the need to carry out self-care when I'm at home. In my last post I talked about how I feel unsettled when I'm not working, so it's during this down time that I make extra effort to do things that are mindful, calming and make me feel secure and chilled. Here's a couple little things I've implemented into my life, some that I do daily, some that I just try to do as much as possible.

However! It's important to work out what 'self-care' means to you, and what makes you feel the best. For example, I know my self-care involves alone time, but if you're more extroverted, your self-care might involve socialising. Get to know yourself! Work out how to make yourself feel comforted!

Have daily 'me time'

Every day I do my makeup. This is the simplest thing ever, but I try to dedicate this time to myself, and ease myself into my day by just spending time with myself. I've learnt to leave time for this in my morning routine, even if it means waking up early, it's worth it. So I make myself a coffee, moisturise and care for my skin, then enjoy the process of putting on my make-up while I listen to some music, or normally watch something on Netflix. 

For me, this is the perfect self-care; it's calm, cosy and organised. I have my set routine that I follow, and the organised process of my routine makes me feel so so subdued and lovely. It's also nice to just have some uninterrupted down time before I start my day properly; as an introvert, time with no socialising or talking is golden.

I do this before I get dressed. Personally, I love to do all this in my underwear; it's so much more comfortable and I think spending more time naked or semi-naked is a really great way to boost your self-love and confidence by just becoming more acquainted and less phased by your body. So I normally come out of the shower, throw underwear and my dressing down and spend some me time. 


If you'd said this to me a month ago, I probably would've screamed. However, lately I decided to try and tackle some self-esteem issues by being active, and started going running. I try to run daily or every other day, alternating between running and walking. There's loads of apps that help gradually build up your stamina that have really helped me keep at it, and so far, I'm v much enjoying it. 

Again, this is great alone time that you can spend just listening to music, or you can run with a friend or family member. But either way, exercise makes you feel so much more productive and gives you a great rush of endorphines that will boost your mood. It doesn't have to be running, you could do pilates, yoga, cycling, or even just make an effort to walk more; but upping your activity helps both mental and physical health. 

Nightly down time

The complete opposite as exercise, you've gotta chill too. This is something that I've done as a child as my family have always had cool down time on an evening, and I've carried on into my adult life. Having a super calm evening and just watching TV or a film, reading, writing etc will help you relieve the stress of the day and wind down to help you sleep better. Exactly what your parents used to do when you were a baby, learning to do that for yourself is super important! I like to watch some TV with my parents, have a warm drink like chai tea and probs a biccy or two, then go up to my room and get cosy with some fairy lights to either watch a film or read. It helps me drift off easily, and it's great down time to consider how your feeling and check in with yourself and your thoughts.

Stroke your vanity a little

I dunno about you, but sometimes I want to slap on loads of makeup and see just how banging I can make myself look. This is pretty much the same as my morning me time, but sometimes it's nice to just play with makeup like you would as a child. I like to put on some trash tv like Gossip Girl or Kardashians, and do some heavy contouring. Again, this can really help boost self-esteem, make you less self-critical, and is definitely a mood boosting, calming boredom killer. But like I said before, work out what works for you!

Do mindful activities
You've probably heard a lot about mindful activities, but in short they're basically just doing things that give you time to check in with your thoughts and mood, so simple activities that require some level of concentration and attention. I like to do my nails for this. It's simple and easy, but requires calm concentration. So I dedicate some time each week, usually on a sunday when the new The Michalak's video goes on YouTube cause they're super soothing, and just sit and do my nails. Easy. Dedicating periods of time like this is SO easy but SO important. Make time for yourself.

Read for pleasure

Spending some time each week to engage your brain in something that isn't school work, or essential work or homework, is a great self-care activity. I like to take myself on reading dates with a good book and a nice coffee shop, or park on a nice day. Having alone time that still engages with your intellect and makes you feel productive is the best thing ever for spending some down time and doing self-care without feeling lazy. Also, reading is proven to help relieve anxiety and stress as it is a safe form of escapism, and combats mental decline so is beneficial in the long term. I love this, it feels like such a little treat when I get myself a good coffee and just sit for an hour or so. But you can do this anywhere that suits; in bed, on your sofa, in the garden with a glass of rose. But maybe don't choose Anna Karenina to read as I'm STRUGGLING.

However you do it, you are so important and you are worth your time. Make sure you look after yourself, and dedicate time to just making yourself feel good, and checking in with the thoughts and feelings you're experiencing that may go unnoticed in the hustle of a busy life. 

Sunday, 16 July 2017

You're 19 Lucy, You've got time...

Internships finished, house all moved into, and I'm now back home with nothing in front of me but 3 months of looming summer, interrupted only by loose plans and rough dates still in pencil.

A year or two back this would've been the best thing in the world. Time off school is always the greatest thing ever when you're a kid and you're learning things you only minimally care about, or totally hate. You're school friendships are half-fulfilling and a little tainted with bitchiness, and the chance to escape that with months of holidays, days out, sleeps in, seems dreamy. But I've found myself in a situation where I'm completely in love with my life. My uni course is fascinating and perfectly suited to me, my house there feels like a home, my relationships are rich and challenging and loving, so months away is a chore.

But more than that, uni is an automatic sense of achievement, as I'm constantly working and learning. And that's the kind of person I am; I need to be pushing forward and grinding. Trying to get into an industry where a career can't be granted by a degree is scary and stressful. It's really hard to know if you're doing enough or what you should do next, there's never anyone that a perfect example of how to get the dream job as everything is so relative and too often luck dependant.

I've always had this blog, I run Kiloran, I'm an editor for The Tab, I've released a book and work hard to get as much published elsewhere as possible. But at the moment I can't shake this lingering feeling that it's not enough. I feel like I should be levelling up but I have no idea what that is, or how to do it. I'm working on issue 5, sending articles and poems off, I'm even sitting on a finished second book, and a half collection of poetry. Honestly, I'm probably doing the most, doing too much. But I've always put so much pressure on myself to do more, be better and bigger at a younger age, that it's hard to just chill. And now, without the added work of uni, the feeling is getting worse and worse, even though I'm working harder than ever on my projects, writing a lot, doing what I should be.

When I was younger I wanted to be famous. And in a way that definitely remains, but with an aim to be more respected and admired, like Patti Smith; loved but regarded as an artist. There's nothing to teach you how to do that, or any exams you can do; so I work. I'm gathering achievements that I'm proud of, but at the moment they seem to just brush over me so swiftly as I'm rushing to make another. I think I need to just relax a little. Or maybe release something new. Or maybe sit in my garden, read a book and drink some wine.

There's a lot coming from me; articles and poems dotted about, a magazine issue, and hopefully, maybe a new poetry collection in the coming months. I also want to dedicate more time to falling back in love with this blog, get back into fashion, and playlists, and film. But I want to do it out of passion, not fear.

I vow to spend the summer working and trying to gain that sense of productivity and satisfaction. But I also vow to spend the break trying to actually calm down a bit, you're 19 Lucy, you've got time.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

A week in London...


I've just returned home from a week in the haven that is London. Being as far north as I am, and going to uni in the north, I don't often get the chance to visit, and if I do get the chance to go it's usually a fleeting visit with no time for exploring. So the chance to spend a week in Shoreditch (heart eyes) interning for The Tab (double heart eyes) was heavenly.

I worked full time Monday to Friday writing articles, talking about love island, and learning more about media. It was dreamy, hard work, but dreamy. However, I still got about and did some exploring. Here's a quick guide.

Where to eat

Boxpark: Shoreditch is the home of boxpark, a pop-up mall made of shipping containers. There's endless food and drink options from so so many independent businesses. You could be there months and still not have tasted everything. Treat yourself to some ice cream from Soft Serve Society. They've got sundaes and freakshakes, but simple is best with their ice cream. Try the insta-famous charcoal and coconut flavour, or ask for the flavour of the week. I had miso caramel and it was INSANE.

Grind: Grind has several branches, but me and my best friend who came to visit hit up Shoreditch Grind for a breakfast date before work. The 7am open make this the perfect spot for an early coffee or pre-work catch up. Holly has a smoothie bowl, and I had the french banana toast which was possibly the best breakfast I've ever had. French toast made with banana bread? heaven on earth.

Homeslice: A friend recommended this to me and I can't thank them enough. £4 per slice is pricey to my little northern self, but o m g. I had the mushroom, ricotta, pumpkin seed and chilli pizza and it's probably the best pizza I've ever had. Smokey, cheesey, with a lil bit of balsamic yaas.

Where to drink

Department of coffee and social affairs: After discovering this place on my first day, I went every single day. Their coffee is glorious, like I can't praise it enough, and they offered oat milk which is my faaaave dairy alternative. I had an oat milk cappuccino every day of my visit, and it's not a decision I regret in the slightest. Also, their peanut butter and banana loaf was the best banana bread I've ever had and I've had a lot of banana bread.

AIDA: Rose is one of my fave flavours so I've always wanted to try a rose latte. Discovering a place that did them right around the corner from work was the best thing ever. Honestly, this latte was art. I've never seen anyone put so much care into a coffee, the barista even put the milk on the top with a spoon to create the right pattern, and garnished it with petals, like seriously, beautiful. But it also tasted incredible, like drinking Turkish delight. If you like rose, you'll love this. If you don't like rose, yeah maybe not for you.

What to do
National Portrait Gallery: I really wanted to explore some galleries while I was there but so many of them close at 6pm, just when I was leaving work. However, National Portrait Gallery says open till 9pm on a Thursday, so I got the tube to Charing Cross for a look. Free entry, huge range and right next to Trafalgar square; easy evening option. 

See friends: London is so well connected that it makes it so easy to see friends, or have them visit you. My bestie from uni, Holly, got the train in for a sleepover and breakfast. It's so easy to get in and around the city, go see some people.

Walk along the embankment: One night I got the tube to embankment and literally just walked. You see so many sights and landmarks along the river, but it's generally just a lovely stroll and super refreshing after a day in the office. I walked from Embankment, across a bridge, then along pass Shakespeare's Globe to London Bridge station, got some food from Leon and got the tube back to Old Street. Easy exercise, and good photo ops.

I'll be back soon London, I love ya.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

The Power Of Positive Affirmations...

Positive affirmations are specific, empowering statements used to overcome self-sabotaging or negative thought patterns. The idea of writing out 'you're great!' or reciting compliment in the mirror can seem a little cringe or daunting, and I was definitely sceptical, until recently.

 If you think about it logically, it makes so much sense. The majority of us would agree that we respond well to praise, while criticism has a negative affect on our mood. Good breeds good, bad breeds bad when it comes to mentality. But it's so important to remember this, and reflect it into your own inner voice, which is wear affirmations come in.

My counsellor spelt it out quite simply in 2 analogies- 

  1. If your best friend was upset, you would take on a calming, positive voice. You would try to comfort them, build their confidence and make them feel secure. You wouldn't stand there and insult them, or point out more negative things. Be your own best friend, treat yourself with the same courtesy. 
  2. As children, we respond to the comforting voice of our mothers. The soft voices you use around babies, and the simple compliments and praise you give them, are scientifically proven to soothe them. We're all still children at heart and still respond in the same ways, so talk to yourself like your mother. Talk to your inner child in a soft, appropriate voice.
It's so easy to slip into and be consumed by negative thought patterns, perpetuated by self-bullying. For example, you're having a bad day and feeling down, then you burn toast and suddenly you're telling yourself that you're trash and an awful person. That's what I'm talking about. A train of thought that gets more negative and becomes embedded into your self-worth. Positive affirmations are proven to combat this by training you to take on a more uplifting inner voice, gradually dispelling self-bulling. Good breeds good, bad breed bad!

After going through a break-up, I started writing out a post-it note each night before I slept. They're simple comments like 'You're worth more than this', 'don't burn yourself down for anyone', 'you are excelling' etc. I'd write them out last thing before I slept, then stuck them to my phone to read first thing when my alarm woke up. But even just the act of think up a statement, and repeating it in your head as you write it down is so beneficial. The act of writing further embeds the thought into your head, but also really helped calm me before bed which is normally a time when I'd usually get caught up in over thinking. Then in the morning, I'd read the statement 4 times before sticking the post-it on my wall.

Gradually I filled the wall with positivity with my affirmations and post-cards from loved ones. I repeated this routine of writing out the statements for a couple weeks until I no longer felt the urge, but continued to read them aloud each morning for about a month. I can now say without a doubt that it helped. Before, my self voice was incredibly over thinking and bullying, especially after the hurt of a break-up. But daily affirmations help combat that thinking first thing in the morning and set a positive tone for the day. I found it so beneficial not only for my mental health, but also my motivation and productivity as it created a nice little routine. 

There are so many simple ways to incorporate positive affirmations into your life. It's important to find what works best for you, for some people visual affirmations are better than written etc. You could put up images, or make a manifestation board of positive quotes and photos of people that empower you, or write out your affirmations directly onto your mirror. If you search on pinterest there's sooooooo so so many suggestions, but also some basic affirmations to get you started if you're struggling to think of your own.

Regardless of how you do it, combating self-bulling and self-sabotaging thought is so important to boost your mental health and esteem. Learning to become your own cheerleader, and relying on no one but yourself for praise is an incredible life change not only for your personal thought, but is beneficial for your relationships and friendships. There's so many pros, and I can't recommend it enough. 

You're great, you're excelling, you're beautiful.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Revision Playlist ~ soft and calm...

We've reached the stagnation period of the exam/revision time, when you're probably burnt out, definitely bored. Nothing inspires you anymore, your motivation is non-existent. You're basically done.

But here I am with a new playlist of fresh noises for your ears.

I think a good soundtrack is vital to revision. Something mellow but not sad, calm but not slumberish with regular pace changes to speed up your writing to. Soft, unoffensive songs that you won't want to skip or spend too much time finding the perfect one.

Ta-da, here it is. A 3 hour long playlist of soft and calm songs to bring the inspiration back in the final stretch. Featuring some of my fave artists and fave new finds. Regularly added to so follow the playlist for new songs to fuel you.

Another really good option for revision soundtrack is listening to your spotify discovery playlist which is based on what you listen to, so is bound to match your taste. Pre-made playlists are a saviour to minimise procrastination time. And you're welcome for this one. I think it's pretty 10/10.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

What I Ate This Week ~ #NationalVegetarianWeek...

It is currently national vegetarian week and hello, I am a vegetarian.

I've been veggie for about 3/4 years now and I find it so ridiculously easy. I don't want to be that preachy vegetarian, but I, personally, couldn't be happier with my diet and couldn't endorse it more. Since moving to uni as a veggie I've grown a real love of cooking and created a couple staple dishes. Cooking is such an amazing mindfulness exercise which I find really comforting, and I definitely pride myself on eating good, healthy foods but making hearty meals that fill me up and make me feel happy inside.

If you're not vegetarian, try it out for a day, a week! This week I made an effort to cook for and with friends more, encouraging them to try and ditch meat for the week and prove that your meals really don't need it. But I thought the best way to speak of the beaaaauuutttyy of a veggie diet, it so actually show it. So here's what I ate this week. (obviously I snack like MAD, I mean its revision season guys. But here's the meals I had.)


On Monday I cooked my signature dish for my best friend Holly- Mediterranean fajitas with tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, olives, tofu, salad, avocado and hummus.

I love these as there's so so much good stuff in them but they take like 5/10 mins tops to cook as you just fry up the tofu, then add in the veg and season, then let that all fry up. I had 2 faaattt wraps, but you can really just eat and eat until you feel full as there's nothing in these but goodness. Fill yourself up.

Tofu is such a good meat substitute. It's easy to cook and is obviously so much cheaper to buy than meat. It's super versatile, but I like it best cut into strips and fried until it's slightly crisped. If tofu ain't your thing, try these out with halloumi or quorn chicken.


On Tuesday, I went to the library all day. Fuelling your brain for work is VITAL so me and Holly started our day with natural yogurt porridge. 

This was a first for me after seeing a recipe online. But you literally just make porridge with water, then mix in a couple huge spoons of natural bio yogurt. It makes the porridge super creamy and soft, so easier to digest. But also flavours the porridge, bonus. I topped mine with bananas, berries, chia seeds and a little bit of golden syrup. This is so easy to make vegan by swapping natural yogurt for soya yogurt. Morning fool is morning food, so don't skip breakfast guys!

For dinner, I cooked my friend Sophie a pasta bake. Pasta is such a student staple, and I love using lentil pasta which is higher in protein. I cooked that up with loads of broccoli, then added in a mushroom pasta sauce, fried tofu, and cheese, and baked it with more cheese and some pepper on top. This is such a home comfort meal for me. Classic and absolutely no need for meat. You could recreate this with literally anything- quorn chicken, veggie sausage, veggie mince. Anything!


The best thing about the rise in vegetarianism/veganism in the past couple years is the increase in amazing options in restaurants. No matter where you go, there will be a veggie option.

After my final lecture of first year, we went out for lunch and I had this insane vegan enchilada filled with loads of veggies and sweet potato and vegan cheese. Oh man. I love vegan cheese so much, the texture is identical and it tastes so similar. This meal left me pretty much paralysed for the rest of the day, stuffed.


For Thursdays library session I put together a super quick sandwich of hummus (my fave thing ever), tomatoes, olives and salad. So easy but so much flavour. Simple.

Then for dinner I wanted something easy but hearty. So I cooked up a quorn chicken fillet in a tomato sauce with carrots, peppers, olives and chickpeas, and then added some tomato puree and a splash of balsamic vinegar for flavour. 10 mins, boom, done. Demolished this on a bed of salad with feta and a lil bit of toast for them carbs. Glorious.


On Friday I ignored my own rules and skipped breakfast to preserve precious stomach space for my parent's visit. In true northern style we went out for pie and chips, and I had a mushroom and asparagus pie. Mmmmm baby. There's nothing like comfort food, and you don't have to miss out on a veggie diet. 

Later, much much later that night after reviving from my food coma, I cooked up a quick supper. A go-to of mine, as you can probably tell, is stir-frying up a whole bunch of veg in whatever seasoning I can find. So on friday it was tomatoes, pepper, mushrooms, broccoli, chickpeas and olives all fried together with a dash of balsamic and plenty of seasoning, then slapped onto some toast with red pepper hummus. So much goodness, so easy, so tasty. Meals like this are my absolute favourite thing ever, I feel so good after eating veg like this.


Tonight I had the pleasure of a friend cooking for me! My meat-eater friend Sophie dived into the world of quorn and cooked up this bolognese with loads of veg and red wine. It was divine, and I went home with a full stomach and a take-away box of leftovers. Having meals with friends and sharing the joy of food and cooking is the best ever. I think learning veggie recipes is so good not only for yourself, but it means never again will your veggie friends be let down. 10/10 Soph, well done.

My tummy is happy, and I feel so much better knowing I'm limiting my impact on the environment and not funding practises and things I don't believe in. Your money is your vote, what you buy, you endorse.

Try going veggie for a week, see if you feel like you're missing out. Bet £10 you don't.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The Final Copy Of Chrysalism...

8 days post-release and there is only one copy of chrysalism left. Oh my.

As cliche as it sounds, I never expected this. My initial plan was to make 18 copies, expecting to have a couple left over but maybe be able to sell a few on the fad of them being 'limited edition'. If someone told me when I first decided to make the book that I would sell out, or that I would have to print a second batch even before release date, I wouldn't have believed them. Never ever.

The level of support I've had, and the beautiful things people have said about my work and this book that is essentially my diary, it means more than I'll ever be able to articulate. I'll keep trying but I'll never quite be able to do it.

This whole experience has been mental and has made me feel so much more confident. I want to plan my second book and share literally EVERYTHING. I was so scared before release, the thought of giving these really personal pieces to the world and having no control of them made me want to run and hide, but there's something so beautifully intimate in it. Each time I seal a book into an envelope, I feel like I'm sharing a secret, I get a bit smiley and emotional each time. I want to seal them all with a kiss and a hug. And all I can hope is that everyone else feels the same, I hope that the book feels a bit like a kiss and a hug. I hope it's sitting on shelves, waiting on bed-side tables, a little bent around the corners. Oooo I hope it's being underlined and scribbled in, in true English student style. I hope it's being enjoyed.

All I can really say is thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I doubt this will be the complete, total, full-stop end of chrysalism. I'll probably print more at some point if it's wanted. But for now, there's one copy left. I can't wait to send it to a good home.

Otherwise, if you're in Sheffield; the glorious, delightful La Biblioteka have a stock of 5 copies. Go grab one.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

In My 19th Year, I Will...

Today is my 19th birthday. 

It comes at the end of one of the most emotionally draining, challenging, strange months I've ever lived. I recently talked about how I was struggling massively with conflicting situation and feeling (read here). Balancing the pain and upset of an unexpected, hard breakup, with the excitement and pride of my book and career success left me feeling honestly quite broken. I won't lie to you, I've spent the last couple days crying on facetime to my Mum like 3 times a day. But today I draw a line.

Yesterday I released a book. A BOOK. THAT I WROTE. 

Yesterday I completed a life-long dream. People are paying for and supporting and enjoying my art, my words from my head printed into a book. I don't even know if it's hit me fully yet, but I'm so proud and honestly I'm so in love with it. And it feels good, to have this product of my hard work in my hands that I'm completely happy with and proud of. But more than that, in this hard month it's been so empowering to see the book as a product of situations just like this. I wrote those poems in times of intense emotion or struggle. I made something amazing from that, I can do that again. Grow flowers from the dirt. 

You can purchase your copy here :

I celebrated last night surrounded by friends who told me again and again how proud they were of me, and reminded me that this is an incredible achievement so long. But I felt heavy, their words went through me but didn't stick as I was still so caught up in sadness over a breakup, a breakup that left me feeling stranded and honestly pretty disrespected in a time that should've be celebratory. I got home from my party sad and angry at myself for my own lack of excitement. Then I watched this video by Lucy Moon:

I had a realisation moment. Here I am, just turned 19, with a book, a magazine, a blog, an editorial job, an amazing group of friends and an amazing family that are proud of me, excelling at uni etc etc. I'm worth so much. I've got too much going for me to be defeated and crushed in this period of my life, this time when I should feel nothing but intense self-respect and almost adoration for myself. I watched in 5 times, and today I feel great. I spent time with empowering women, I started reading a new book, I ate cake. I feel good. Today I draw a line. I am worthy.

As I sat with a coffee waiting for a friend, I wrote out some aims for this new year, my 19th year;

In my 19th year, I will...

1. work to be more aware of myself, and the impact I have on the lives of my family and friends.

I will learn to recognise how my emotions affect others, and work to be a positive influence, a support, and make them feel how they make me feel.

2. become more politically engaged and active.

There's an election coming up, and I will talk about it.

3. continue to seek opportunity to grow and make friends.

I will not stagnate.

4. allow myself space to change.

I will not put myself in situation that don't allow or encourage change or growth. I will allow myself to grow into myself and change, but only positively.

5. forgive myself for bad days.

I'm allowed to have bad days. I'm allowed to feel negative emotions and process them, but I'll try to push through them and limit their affect on others.

6. learn to think 'what if' less.

aka. learn to let the past be the past. I won't beat myself up for things I did or didn't do, or over-analyse the way I reacted to situation.

7. read more.


8. ask people how they are more.

Be more attentive of my friends and family, and don't ask it as a gateway to talk about my situations.

9. celebrate myself and my achievements despite other things going on - make room for myself.

Regardless of what is going on, or what other things I'm dealing with. If I do well, or achieve something, I will celebrate myself. I will always leave room for self-care and self-appreciation and not seek by affirmation in others.

10. make more physical things.

Use my hands more. Make more of my achievements into physical, hold-able things as there's nothing quite like it.

11. love, love, love - but also learn when to walk away.

I will not become guarded or cold, or lose my softness. But I will not put myself in a situation where my whole being is invested in another, I will learn when to know when to move on and how to pull myself away.

Today I feel good, I feel empowered. I will enter my 19th year like this, as I intend to carry on.