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Strength as a nation

Living through a nationwide “lockdown” in 2020 has revealed many things to a lot of people. For me, the first word that springs to mind is resilience. As a nation, we have demonstrated strength, solidarity and sheer bravery to prevent and protect ourselves and loved ones from the coronavirus strain, Covid-19. Sadly, many lives were indeed claimed by the virus, and life as we once knew it has been drastically transformed. This feeling of anger, upset and heartbreak will never go away. Let us not forget these people that will remain in our hearts and minds.

Adjusting to the “new normal” has been difficult for many people. Freedoms that we once had now feel manipulated, and in some cases, taken away entirely (depending on which side of the fence that you sit upon). But it is so important that we do not lose sight of the positive things that we have done and learnt in this global crisis. Children from Generation-Z won’t ever forget the time in their lives that they had school at home all day, or stood on their doorsteps each Thursday evening at 8pm to applaud the NHS staff and careworkers who were working tirelessly to protect and save lives.

Adults have also learned plenty during this lockdown- if they let their minds relax and open to new possibilities. Whether it was a new language we picked up, or finally started reading that book we have been meaning to start for months. There have been so many opportunities to better ourselves and channel our enthusiasm in an array of different hobbies throughout these past fifteen weeks.

Above all of the extra-curricular skills that we developed this year, the biggest skill that we cultivated was our resilience. Not old-fashioned ‘stiff upper lip’ Britishness, but an explosion of togetherness, working alongside our front-line staff and community to keep the country moving. If there is one thing that we should be proud of in years to come, it is the way in which we linked arms, chanted, dance and sang our way through the Covid-19 crisis of 2020.

Source for Generation Z: Kim Parker and Ruth Igielnik, What We Know About Gen-Z So Far’, Pew Research Center, 14 May 2020.

11 things I have learned in my twenty-two years on Earth

I have recently celebrated my twenty-second birthday, (on the eleventh of August) and although I am not one to celebrate birthdays so much, having a birthday in these circumstances has caused me to stop and wonder- what have I done in my life? Sometimes it is the tough experiences in life that enables us to break the mould that society and personal expectations holds us in, and we manage to break free… we are ALL channelling Freddie Mercury here. We then see more clearly and allow ourselves to cast our own judgement on life. The important thing is to not dwell on the negative, and to put a strong emphasis on the good, positive elements of our life. Here are some observations and lessons I feel that I have learned so far in my time on Earth:

  1. You do not need other people’s validation.
  2. No one is paying attention to you, so do it and do not give a sh*t. Take every chance that you are given in life.
  3. Your weight does NOT define you. (I would highly recommend you grab a copy of Megan Crabbe A.K. A Bodyposipanda’s fantastic ‘Body Positive Power’).
  4. Not everyone is bad. It was one bad experience, do not tar everyone with the same brush. *Therapy taught me this. See also point 8.
  5. Life goes by SO quickly, make the most of every moment.
  6. The amount of effort you put in will dictate the results that you get. (this one needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, as you cannot burn a candle at both ends. However, if you want to do well in your chosen field, you need to put the work in. Success takes hard work, not laziness and leniency).
  7. You cannot blame others, you need to accept responsibility for your actions and behaviours.
  8. Therapy is GOOD. (but it does require point 7, and your therapist cannot do the work for you).
  9. Apologise for the wrong that you did.
  10. People rarely post their real lives on social media. (not every ‘real’ picture that people post online is the true representation of their situation. We all like to highlight the best bits ourselves, just remember that when you’re scrolling at 3am).
  11. Never forget who lifted you up when you were down. Repay the favour. Pass on the kindness and wisdom that you experienced.


Bonus: Get enough sleep, hydrate (water over caffeine), and remember to properly nourish your body and soul.

Let’s learn to say ‘I love you[me]’

Praising yourself is difficult. Telling yourself lovely things and building yourself up is extremely hard, especially if you’ve been doing the opposite for so long. I understand. I’ve done it myself. But you know what, it isn’t worth it.

We spend so much preaching self-love and building up other strong, talented and incredible men and women in society, yet we neglect ourselves. We’re being hypocrites. Why are we telling other people how beautiful and accomplished they are, when we don’t even do it to ourselves.


Honestly, when was the last time you looked in the mirror and said ‘thank you’ to your reflection?

Thank you, body, for carrying me every single step I make.

-Thank you, heart, for pumping that much-needed blood and oxygen around my body every single day.

-Thank you, brain, for storing wonderful memories that I have made today, yesterday and since the day you started working.


I have started including gratitude time’ into my mornings for about a week now, and already I feel a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I feel lighter, more patient, kinder and mentally ready to accept the challenges that the day ahead will bring for me.

So, go on, give it a try. You might just learn something about yourself that you never knew was there.

 

 

 

Eisteddfod Essentials

It is officially that time of year, people! Our beloved two legged ‘gwyn, coch a gwyrdd’ friend has emerged out of the dark shadows.Mr Urdd.jpgRhowch groeso cynnes mawr i…….MR URDD!

I just want to put it out there that although I am fluent in Welsh and am passionate about being Welsh, this post will be written in English. #NoConfidenceWhenWritingInWelsh

Seeing as Eisteddfod yr Urdd is quite literally around the corner, I have decided to come up with an Eisteddfod Essentials post, because trust me, girlfriend, you’re gonna need it.

When I was competing in competitions throughout primary and comprehensive school, the highlight of my year was most definitely going on a road-trip with my friends to the Eisteddfod. Now if you’re not Welsh, or do not know what Eisteddfod is…think of a cross between Britain’s Got Talent and Glastonbury. Got this image in your head? OK, cool.

Without further ado, I am going head-first into my list:

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If you’re prepared and have backups, then it will 100% make your time far more enjoyable!

  • Rain poncho/Rain coat

 

So, like all good festivals and outdoor events, there is a very high probability that it’s going to rain. Add Wales into the mix, and you’ve pretty much got a 99.9% chance of rain. In my previous experiences of Steddfods, sometimes there are free rain ponchos provided (YES) but it is better to be safe than sorry. I picked these up about 3 years ago from Poundland’s camping section. Personally, I would wear a little rain mac that can just be rolled up and placed into your rucksack, as there is a chance that the 50p plastic rain poncho will rip.

  • Colouring book/Reading book/Kindle

Oh deary me, yes. If you’re only participating in one competition and are up there all day, then you’re definitely going to need something. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things to do there which will be fun and stuff, but if you’re 16 years old, I highly doubt that you’re going to want to sit in a tent with Jac y blydi Jwc and Sali Mali, singing songs and having arts and crafts sessions. If that kinda thing floats your boat, you carry on.

  • Spare coins

Now I’m not talking about £2/3 for something to eat, because to eat at an Eisteddfod is the kinda thing you wanna re-mortgage your house to fund. I’m talking about coins to spend on the Waltzers and Beach Party!

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TIP: Do NOT go on the funfair rides if you’re due to get on llwyfan! Leave at least 1 hour before you lose yourself on these rides.

  • Emergency/Safety Bag

This will be your absolute life saver at an Eisteddfod, or indeed any festival/event. Heck, I shove this in my daily handbag so I always know that my girl’s got my back. You’re not going to need a huge makeup bag or extra bag for these things, I have used a small beauty bag that I had as part of a Christmas present.  I’ve just provided a general idea of things that may be handy, but of course tailor it to your own needs.

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For me, these are rather essential things to make everything a little bit easier at an Eisteddfod.

  • Body spray/Mini perfume
  • Hand sanitiser (!!)
  • Tissues
  • Hairbrush compact
  • Medicine (paracetamol/plasters/prescription medication)
  • Lip balm
  • Shine absorbing sheets (especially convenient to ensure your makeup looks flawless)
  • Hair ties/bobby pins and dry shampoo

 

  • WELLIES

Wellies are an absolute must for Eisteddfod/Glastonbury/Download/V Fest/ Weddings/Bar Mitzvahs – OK, the last two were an exaggeration.. Picture the scene, guys. You’re in a muddy field, wearing your smart uniform to compete, and your tights/trousers/best shoes get absolutely filthy.. our conductor would not be pleased, and I very much doubt yours would be either. Don’t risk it, be prepared.

I have now reached the end of my list! Of course there are plenty of other things which you can take with you, but if you’re not going to use them then you’re pretty much stuck with them in your bag all day. I would recommend a comfortable bag to use as well, because unless you live in the place which the Eisteddfod is held, you can’t just pop home for something etc. Plus, we need a comfy bag for all of the FREEBIES! #BestPart OfEisteddfod #NoJoke

http://www.urdd.cymru/en/eisteddfod/eisteddfod-2016/

What is depression at night?

I really have been desperate to write for a long while now, but I haven’t felt motivated to do so; although I am laying in bed wide awake at 02.52am when I have an exam in a few hours, I will still write this post.

I just want to clear a little space in my mind and get my thoughts out, so they stop zooming around my head. That really is one of the worst feelings ever, right? I think that is a massive misconception about depression, you know. People assume that “depressed people” over think and worry about a certain thing for a brief time, and then feel fine. Let me inform you, guys and dolls, that is desperately not true.

I’m not a doctor/therapist or qualified in psychiatry, but I can share my views from a personal experience. Yes, people do have different experiences with illnesses and suffer from varying degrees of depression/anxiety/other mental health illnesses, but it’s safe to say that I speak for a lot of people when I say this: LAYING IN BED WIDE AWAKE AND OVER THINKING IS A NIGHTLY BATTLE. It would be a gift if this happened once a week, you know! If I could only have one interrupted night of sleep a week, I would accept that. But every single night? It is hell.

Have you considered going to sleep earlier and taking out all distractions from your room? That will obviously work.

Thank you for your kind advice, but it does NOT work. The ticking clock is probably the only thing that calms me down and regulates my breathing. As I listen to the tick tock, my body synchronises with the rhythm of the dancing hands.

Depression at night is laying down and staring at one spot, registering nothing and not acknowledging what it is your eyes are gazing at. It’s looking at one thing, and literally feeling the poison fill your mind with its evil and nasty thoughts. It’s closing your eyes, and still feeling the powerful force of the metaphorical black cloud rain on any ounce of positivity your mind had that evening.

It is now 03.07am and nothing has changed.

I hope you can all stay strong 💖

*this is my experience and my interpretation only; everyone experiences depression in varying degrees.

 

 

Love Yourself

Why are we so obsessed with how we appear in other people’s eyes, and let  slip how we appear to ourselves when we look in the mirror? People are becoming fixated on ensuring that they’re “perfect” for other people, and that on the surface there are no flaws- which contradicts with the image beneath the mask. Why do we spend so much of our time prepping and planning for other people, and forgetting about the most important person: OURSELF. Me. Number 1.

It’s not as if we can just shut off from it one day, either. Once you fall into the grip of that Evil, it isn’t quite as easy to get out of there. And that is main issue that we need to address; managing situations before they become a handful and difficult to get out of. If we can work towards focusing more on ourselves from the beginning, then it makes the job 100% easier in the long run.

Imagine that you’re revising for an exam- are you going to cram in a year’s worth of learning the night before? (I am guilty of doing this.. it doesn’t work, people!) Or are you going to plan in advance and study a little bit every week, before exam season? The latter does sound easier, doesn’t it?

So why can’t we do that when it comes to taking care of ourselves and loving ourselves? If we conscientiously decide to make a difference in our lives one day, and then  sit down to write a plan of action, it will help so much. It only takes one small thought or idea to change and improve ourselves. Each day, try to say something positive or do something which makes YOU feel good, and keep it up for a few weeks. After 21 days- yes, 3 weeks! That’s all it takes for a new habit to form- things will come naturally to you. You’re walking past a mirror and like what you see, compliment yourself! You’ve achieved a higher grade in a subject you study? Praise yourself!

Self love and self-appreciation is such a mammoth task, don’t get me wrong- but it is so worth it. Because at the end of the day, who are you with 24/7? You. Yourself.(Apologies for the overused, but true cliché) If you don’t love yourself, who will?