Wednesday, 16 May 2018

MHAW 2018: All About Stress


One of the most common emotions that all of us have to deal with throughout our lives is stress. It can be debilitating, exhausting and overwhelming at the best of times, but how we learn to cope is what we should be focusing our attention on.

I have personally always been a very anxious, panic-stricken individual and no matter what happens, I can't ever seem to remain calm for too long. Over the years, I have thankfully improved, but I still have a way to go and many more issues that I need to work on, which is completely understandable.

We all have different experiences of managing with the difficulties that everyday life throws at us and some of us manage better than others. Some people might find mundane tasks too much of a challenge, causing them to enter panic mode, whereas other people might only start having a meltdown when things have continuously been going downhill for a few months. We all have different tolerances and that's just how it is.

I'm currently in Year 12, which is my first year of Sixth Form for anyone who doesn't live in the UK and to be quite honest with you, I am finding it a struggle in regard to the amount of stress that I'm feeling. At the moment, I also work once a week at McDonalds, have coursework and other bits to complete, go to personal training once a week, volunteer at a charity shop once a week, have DofE meetings once a week, have blog posts to work on and schedule and I also have to make sure I relax, spend time on myself and get enough sleep too, so that I can keep going. These past 5 months have been the most productive and rewarding for me, but also the most challenging. When you feel stressed and isolated with all of the demands that your life entails, it can be hard to remain positive and help yourself, because you might think that other people don't understand your situation and they could just assume that you're making a fuss out of nothing.

However, we are now in 2018 and mental health is becoming much less of a taboo topic. We have occasions like Mental Health Awareness Week, so that we can speak up and encourage others to do the same, regardless of whether they are struggling or whether they just want to make a difference to the lives of those who are. Things may have become too much for you, but you don't have to let them take over your life and cause your mental health and wellbeing to get knocked down. There are always answers and solutions to even the stickiest of situations and there is always support available, whether it's professional or non-professional.

I thought it would be a good idea to use my time wisely and share with you all a short list of the tips and the techniques that I use for myself when I'm feeling stressed in the hope that one of them could be beneficial to you too:

MAKE THE MOST OF TIME MANAGEMENT
Something that is so important, but so often overlooked is managing your time and sticking to some sort of schedule, whether it's rough or super specific. I used to be awful at this and I'm still trying to work on it, but things will seem a lot less complicated if you use to-do lists to your advantage and actually focus on tasks one at a time. Keep track of your deadlines and work on whatever is due first. Once that's completed to the best of your ability, put 110% into the next thing on the list. Don't take on too much and if you feel yourself beginning to slip into that bad habit, just remember that your mental health and wellbeing comes first and you will only become unwell if you don't listen to the signals that your mind and your body are giving off when they are too tired. 

TAKE BREAKS AND TAKE THEM OFTEN
Breaks are needed in every aspect of life, but they aren't always implemented into our routine as much as they should be. We need to take breaks in school, at work, from people and above everything else, when we settle down for the night. It links on to the previous point, but overworking yourself is never fun and if you become too ill because of it, then you'll end up in a worse state and you will be completely unproductive anyway. Even if you just take 30 minutes to read a book or 15 to practise your breathing and have a cup of tea, you will be surprised how much it will benefit you. 

DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP
Over the years, there has always been an attitude where we should be afraid to open up to others and ask for their help, especially when our mental health and wellbeing is concerned. It's thought that we will be seen as incapable, reliant or foolish, but that is so far from the case. A problem shared truly is a problem halved and people won't ever get anywhere in life if they are too afraid to confide in someone about what's on their mind. When I was going through what I refer to as my 'darkest time', I tried to talk to people about it, but I didn't feel like they understood or could empathise with me. Sometimes that will be the case and it can feel like a kick in the teeth, but it shouldn't put you off. If you are struggling to such an extent, you should keep persisting because even when it feels like 5 people don't get you on a deeper level like you wish for, there will always be someone that does. It may just take you a little longer to find them, but you will eventually if you keep searching and have patience. I have grown up to be an open-minded, straight-forward individual and since entering the latter part of my teens, I'll talk to anyone about anything. You may think that nobody in the world could possibly understand your current concern, but it's most likely more common than you think.

The point of this rambly post is to say that you shouldn't be ashamed if you are finding life tough right now. It is a challenge and nobody ever said it was going to be easy. You are here on this Earth for a reason and every single person has their own path to follow and their own purpose to discover. 
If you have nobody around you that you can talk to, you can always send me a message on Instagram or Twitter. My username is @simplyjadeyx on both of them and I will always aim to answer as soon as I can. Alternatively, you can write in a diary, draw your emotions, connect with song lyrics, get into a sport or a type of reflective dance or you can contact some helpful organisations which can provide you with more information should you need it.

Stress is such a normal thing but it can escalate if it isn't dealt with properly and quickly. If you need to do further research or find support, here are a list of different contact details for you:

Websites
https://www.childline.org.uk/
https://www.samaritans.org/
https://www.mind.org.uk/
https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/

Numbers
0800 1111
116 123 
0300 123 3393
020 8215 2356

I really hope you can take something away from this post. Just remember, you are not alone.

Lots of love always,




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Wednesday, 2 May 2018

A Letter To My First Love


Dear C,

We first met in February 2014 at our local park, where we later created many more memories. You were on a dog walk and I was hanging out with a friend, not knowing that you were also friends with her. I was incredibly socially awkward at this point, but I got a certain vibe off of you and I knew you were the sort of person that I would want to explore. I'm not saying that I felt a particular spark ignite between the two of us or anything of the sort, but I had hoped that there would be something at least.

After that, I desperately tried to somehow find contact with you again. I searched through Facebook for hours on end, but your profile was nowhere to be seen. Surely our meeting wasn't just a one off? All I could do now was wait and hold onto the theory that what's meant to be will always find a way.

Rightly so, I stumbled across your profile a couple of months later during the Summer holidays and I was excited beyond words. Finally, I'd be able to talk to you and get to know more about what sort of character you were. I assumed that you would remember me and be just as ecstatic as myself, but when you came back questioning whether you knew who I was, I was a little bit taken aback to say the least.

Anyway, over the coming months, we were both on our Summer holidays, you just about to start Year 7 (at my secondary school, of course) and I was just about to head into Year 9. We met up at the same park twice during that Summer and although I was at first ever so shy and awkward, I felt like we really 'hit it off', as they say. There was something so enchanting about your sense of humour, the stories you would tell me, the way you would just always have something to say, no matter what the situation. I was going off to Devon to stay with family, but we tried to message each other as much as we could, particularly at night when everyone else was asleep and I was just laying in bed, not doing anything else. You asked me out at that point and I said yes, despite the fact I was 6 hours away.

It was kind of strange to say the least when you joined my school as a cheeky Year 7 and you boasted to all your new mates about how you had an older girlfriend. I must say, it wasn't exactly my best highlight in life. I couldn't go out with another younger boy, so count yourself as an exception. I'd get judged on the daily and I'm not going to lie, it did really get to me, but the more time went on, I just accepted it and tried to not let it get to me as much. However, that didn't really work for long and I ended things out of nowhere about a month and a half after we got together. We repeated that cycle again, but then in February 2015, I decided that it would (hopefully) be 3rd time lucky and I was old enough to give it a proper shot. Well, I was to be turning 14 the next month, so that was old enough for me to be serious!

During the 9 months that we were 'properly' together, you could say that it was a rollercoaster ride at the very least. It was traumatic at times and there were enough tears and tantrums (on my behalf at least) to last a lifetime. It's fair to say that you were unfaithful and you caused me a lot more stress than what was actually necessary. I got deeper and deeper into my feelings whilst you gradually became more and more detached. You would get with my friends and equally my enemies behind my back, betray my trust and laugh through every situation, denying your wrongdoings.

It wasn't all doom and gloom though. Throughout the 2 years where I struggled the most, we were on and off for the most part and there were many occasions where I'd open up to you and cry into your arms, wondering how I was going to find the strength to fight through the days. That sounds dramatic to anybody else reading this, but you and I both know that's how bad things had got. I will never forget staying up all night messaging you, phoning you for 5 hours straight, getting endless Dominos and Pizza Gogo with you to take back to my house, all our inside jokes (literally thousands), going to our secret place in the woods with our snacks to spend the whole day doing barely anything and I'll never forget all those deep chats we had, how we planned to move to Spain when we were older, the fact we wanted to get married and have 4 kids and a dog. It's quite sweet, as I do look back with fond memories, but things had actually ended a long time before I finally let go.

Truth be told, I didn't 'let go' until around February this year. You kept flirting with me and every time I'd go through something difficult, I'd go running back to you, begging for your support, crying down the phone to you in the hope that you would drop the drugs and come to look after me. That never happened - not once. It took me almost 4 years to fully close the chapter of you and I. You hurt me in ways that I could never explain and you really did act in unforgivable ways. Things were never quite the same after all of the drama happened, but even when we weren't going out, we were still flirty, we were still close and we somehow managed to build up what we had into something different, but something equally as special. I lost the romantic type of trust for you years ago, but I've always trusted you as a person - almost in a friend way. I always thought you were different to the other guys and on a deeper level, you were.

You helped me in ways nobody else could. You helped me to gain confidence, you helped me to believe in myself, you helped me to break out of my comfort zone, you helped me realise that not everybody has the same intentions as me, you helped me realise that my kindness is invaluable and more than anything, you helped me recognise my worth. It's just obvious that you couldn't treat me the way I deserve to be treated.

I will always hold you and our memories in a special place in my heart. You were my first love and you were the first boy I ever shared more than a kiss with. Things were said and done, but at the end of the day, you were always my best friend - above and before anyone else. I will always be in awe of your confidence, your independence from such a young age, your easy going nature, your generosity (sometimes) and your ability to be so loyal to your friends and family. For all them years, you were my inspiration, but now I'm strong enough to be my own inspiration.

Thank you for everything. For the good times and the bad, the heartbreaks and the happiness. I appreciate it all and you are the human that's shaped me more than any other human has.

I wish you all the best in your future endeavours, but I will not allow myself to be your backup anymore.




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Sunday, 29 April 2018

A Short Stay In Port Lympne





During the Easter holidays a couple of weeks ago, my Aunt and Uncle very kindly took both my sister and I away for the night to Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve, situated in the Kentish countryside.
If you have been a reader of my blog for a while, you will know that I've already been to 2 different towns in Kent, which are Dover (read that post here) and Edenbridge (read that post here) and I loved them both equally, but for different reasons. Some family friends had been to Port Lympne themselves and were convinced that we would love it just as much as they did, so of course we had to plan our visit.






There are a variety of different accommodation options available at the reserve, ranging from glamping to hotels to a treehouse, which is the option that we went for - and wow, am I glad we did.
What I loved the most about the choice we made is that it's completely out of the ordinary compared to anything that you would experience in your day to day life. You only live once and so it would be foolish to let any unique opportunity pass you by, right?

My Aunt and Uncle stayed in the main bedroom (of course) whilst my sister and I shared the second one. It was really nice to actually spend some quality time in a relaxing environment with some of my favourite people, because it's not something that we get to do that often, as we all have busy schedules, but we definitely created memories that I'm sure will last a lifetime.



When we first arrived and parked the cars, we dropped off our bags near the reception and went to go and explore a large part of the park by foot. We saw gorillas, other varieties of monkeys, pigs, rhinos and so much more! It was an incredible experience and one that you can't quite believe you have had, because it just seems so surreal and extraordinary! Gorillas in particular are so intelligent and similar to humans in their mannerisms and their behaviour that it was actually quite scary as well as fascinating to see. For both the animals and the visitors safety, they obviously have to all be caged up to some extent, but it wasn't in a cruel way at all and you can still get close enough to be snap happy.



 After our little adventure, we were taken by the golf buggy type ride to this gorgeous little lobby area just opposite where all the treehouses were located. As you can see, there was a massive fire in the middle alongside luxurious sofas and so we sipped our champagne (very fancy) whilst eating our toasted marshmallows - it was lush and such a nice way to kick start our stay.
We then walked up what felt like a million steep steps to get to our treehouse, where we relaxed for a while until it was time to change for dinner. We had booked in at the infamous Babydolls Restaurant, which is actually named after the 55 year old gorilla with that exact name. She is the last of the Howletts gorilla and she was raised from an infant in the cottage at Howletts too.


We all enjoyed our pizza's and it was absolute bliss to be able to soak up the bustling but quaint atmosphere. We had a reservation made for 8pm and we had breadsticks and a drink (or two) back in the treehouse, so once we were done, we simply took a ride down on the golf buggy (a rather bumpy one, might I add!). It was past closing time for day visitors and quite dark at this point, so it really did feel like we were on a wildlife holiday and it was such a laugh getting there and riding back!



The next morning came around and we had a leisurely breakfast of pain au chocolat, fruit and orange juice, courtesy of my wonderful Aunt. It was delicious and exactly what we need to keep us going for the rest of the morning.
We had to take our luggage down and check out of the room by 11, but then we had a couple of hours spare before heading back home to go on the safari, which was what I was most looking forward to!
You have to wait in a queue for about 15 minutes or so, but then you have these big safari trucks, as if you're actually in South Africa or something incredible like that and you drive around seeing baby bears, camels, giraffes, red deer and so many other rare but equally as beautiful wild animals.
Although it was freezing cold up top, it was a pretty memorable experience to say the least!


We may have only been on our little countryside break for 1 night and 2 days, but I absolutely loved it and I know I can vouch for the others when I say that too! We had so many laughs and so much fun seeing things we had never seen before and it's certainly a trip that I won't ever be forgetting.

If you haven't yet visited Port Lympne, I highly, highly recommend it, as you'll have as much of a blast as we did - I guarantee it!

Lots of love always,


P.S. all photography is my Uncle's! He did give me his permission beforehand ;) 

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Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Why I'm Proud To Be A Woman (+ A Giveaway!)*


I was initially supposed to schedule this post for the infamous International Women's Day, which was back on the 8th March, but as I've been inundated with other commitments (which unfortunately doesn't include blogging), I'm only just getting the chance to put my words together now!

Being a woman is a part of my identity which is very valuable to me and something that I will always be proud of. I'm not sexist in any way, shape or form and I respect (most) men as much as I respect (most) women, but having grown up without a significant, influential father figure, it would be fair to say that I am slightly bias in a sense. I have seen my Mum struggle to provide for me and although she has been with her partner for almost 11 years now, he will never be my Dad and he will never provide for me in the way that she does. I'm grateful to have my Grandad and my Uncle present, but yet again, they won't ever be able to fully fill that father shaped hole within my heart.

At the young age of 17, I have dealt with my fair share of shitty boys and shitty men. Some of them are quite literally just dicks, who only think with exactly that. We can all name at least 5 notorious fuckboys that we have come into contact with throughout our lives, especially if you're growing up within my generation!



Nobody in particular has ever encouraged me in life to such a great extent, aside from myself. Of course, my family wants me to do well and go on to be successful and independent, but they have never really put pressure on me or placed a great emphasis on the grades that I get. If I want to revise, I organise it myself. If I want to research Universities, I'll find out myself and then tell my family after to get their opinion. I try to do things off my own back, as much as I love them, because in regard to my future, it kind of is just me against the big wide world, as people always say.

This is no disrespect whatsoever, but I don't want to rely on a man - ever. My worst fear is depending on my future husband for a solid income, expecting him to sort out all of our finances, fluttering my eyelashes, so he gives me his credit card and allows me to splash the cash on Balenciaga, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. It's completely fair enough if that's what some girls like though!

Personally, I want to be able to build my own future for myself. I want to be my own person and I want to be motivated and determined on my own without such an influence from outsiders, whether that be positive or negative.
Women have come a long way as a gender over the past 100 years alone and now we are rapidly challenging the stereotypes and any stigma that still remains within today's society.

It's okay for women to want to be their own boss. It's okay for women to work within a sector that's considered to be 'male dominated'. It's okay for women to wear what they want, regardless of how men *may* perceive them. It's okay for women to live their life however they choose to!


JEANS - TOPSHOP JAMIE
SHOES - NEW LOOK (baso fake converse, shh)


As a little self-love gift to all of you, myself and the Good Girl Gang want to give you the opportunity to win your own tee and tote by entering our joint giveaway! It's going to run from Saturday 28th April to Saturday 12th May, so you have a whole 2 weeks to be in with the chance to win.

If you do wish to enter, all you have to do is leave a comment after Saturday 28th April or anytime within those 2 weeks on this blog post or on the specific post on one of our Instagram accounts (available after this coming Saturday) telling us what it is that you love most about yourselves (think personality AND looks!) and why. It's that simple! The winner will be generated at random and announced as soon as possible after the giveaway has closed.

The only rules are:


  • You may only enter once
  • You must be following both @simplyjadeyx and @goodgirl_gang on Instagram

I  can't wait to read your replies! Good luck to you all <3

Lots of love always,


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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Old English Company: A Brand Overview*


At the end of March, I was fortunate enough to be contacted by Old English Company, who very kindly wanted to gift me a selection of products that I had chosen, which I could review here on my blog.  We had been following each other on social media for quite some time and when I knew that I'd get the chance to work with them, I was so excited!

Described on their website as a 'stationery and homeware brand', they create all of their products by hand in their Stamford studios. They didn't want to incorporate any particular calligraphy rules to their designs and they wanted to use their own personal lettering to come up with stylish, innovative ideas that contained relatable messages for the public to connect with.

I wanted to have a look at a variety of the items on their website, as that would allow me to give a much more thorough overview of the whole brand and what they have to offer to potential shoppers. In total, I was sent: 3 greetings cards, a coaster, a mug, a notebook, a pocket mirror, a cosmetic bag and a pin!

Ideally, I don't like to get people those bog standard birthday cards from Clintons or Card Factory. I like to be a bit more adventurous, a bit more unique and get them something special that (hopefully) stands out from the rest! Equally, if I know a family member or a friend is feeling down, I'd like to be able to get them a card, just to say that I'm thinking of them and to try and lift their spirits. I think all 3 of these cards are absolutely perfect for that. They aren't too flashy or colourful, but they have classic, simplistic designs that still mean a lot to the person on the receiving end! If someone you know or even someone you have occasionally chatted to on Twitter is having a particularly bad time with their mental health as of late, you could send them one of these cards with an encouraging message inside and a little handmade self-care box or something of the sort! If one of your friends has got a promotion at work or has set up their own business or something, you could send them one of the 'SHINE BRIGHT' cards, as that's guaranteed to show them that you're super proud! 



To those who know me personally, it won't come as much of a surprise to you that I ask for a coaster and a mug when the opportunity arises as I'm obsessed with drinking tea. It's more likely that I would give someone a mug with a quote on like this rather than keep it for myself, but I thought it was too cute not to get! Every time I have a cup of tea, I always allow myself the treat (okay, the habit/requirement) of having at least a couple of biscuits to dunk, because how could I possibly have a satisfactory cup of tea without them?! If you're wondering, my personal favourites are digestives, ginger nuts or the classic hobnobs (which I haven't had in what feels like a few years). Anyway, I digress. This mug is super cute and also a good size for drinking out of! I then chose the coaster to go with it (even though they have completely different quotes), because I've never owned my own coaster before and as it has one of my favourite quotes ever, I thought it was only right that I get a coaster which I can put my brand new mug on! I think it's lovely, affordable and it even has a pretty design on it, so what more could you want?!


Although I'm pretty much obsessed with all stationary in general, I genuinely do have a real addiction to notebooks. I'm not sure what it is, because half the time they just collect dust and sit in my house somewhere (oops!), but I can't help myself from wanting more. At the moment, I've been going through quite the "motivational" phase. I'm super focused on my education, my future, my own personal growth and progression and I'm not going to let anything, not even myself, stand in my way. I always look to inspiring, empowering quotes, as I think they are so important in guiding you and making you want to be the best version of you that you can be. "JUST OWN IT" is a simple enough quote, but it holds a lot of meaning. You should be who you are and have faith in yourself and in everything that you set out to do. Be proud and feel sassy, always. This notebook can be used to jot down any "change the world" kind of ideas that you have, any career plans that you want to put together or anything else that will help you to get on the right track. You will be much more productive and successful in reaching your goals if everything is in the same place!


Whenever any of us girls are out and about, we should always want to carry a pocket mirror! Although in this day and age, we will have our phone on us most of the time, what would we do if it ran out of battery or it was switched off at the time we needed to see how the enormous spot on our chin looked? My point is, a pocket mirror is always handy to have, as it can just be thrown in our handbag or our coat pocket and then we can easily see how to touch up our lipstick, pluck that stray eyebrow hair or get food out of our front teeth. Who doesn't love something that's compact and a pretty pink anyway?! I'm sure there will be many times that you're grateful you took this product out with you and the words on it will boost your self esteem and pop a smile on your face too! 



Now, don't get me wrong. I love absolutely everything that Old English Company gifted to me, but one of my personal favourites (if I had to choose!) would definitely be this makeup pouch. Although some people might think  that black isn't their cup of tea, as it can be seen to be quite a dull and dreary colour, I actually really like it, because it won't stain as much as a brighter bag would and the white contrasts really nicely too. The material feels like it's super high quality, which will last you a long time, so that you can get endless usage out of it! I also think that it's the perfect size for travelling or using on a day-to-day basis, because it isn't too bulky due to its shape, but its just enough to fit in your essentials (and a bit more on top of that!). The quote is uplifting in regard to your self esteem, as is the pocket mirror and it fits in well with the idea of it being a make up pouch. 

As someone who has never owned a pin before, but who has always wanted to build up a collection, I was super excited to see that there was one on the website with my go-to girl power quote on it! I think that through this post, we can all see the sort of style that I like to go for (bad-ass, sassy, inspiring - you get the gist!) and it's obvious that this quote in particular resonates a lot with me, especially considering I want it as a coaster AND as a pin! Ever since I saw other people buying pins, I've always wanted to have a few which I can wear on my basic tees, my dungarees or my denim jacket or even to stick on the memory board next to my bed if I need a motivational morning pick me up. As I mentioned with the coaster, I love the little detailing around the edges and I really do think that I will get a lot of use out of this beaut!

So, that's it for today's post! Do let me know what you think about this brilliant brand and if you have heard of them or ever purchased anything from them before. If not, would you be willing to now?

Lots of love always,


*This post contains gifts from Old English Company. All photographs, words and opinions are my own.*

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