Being Different: On Saying No To Alcohol – Ellie-Louise Des Baux

Featured, Lifestyle, Mental Health

Hi, I’m Ellie-Louise, a freelance writer and self-love advocate! When I’m not writing articles for my clients, you can find me writing for my blog, Ellie’s Entries, or practising yoga! Over on my Instagram (@ellie_desbaux), I talk a lot about self-love, body confidence and mental health, and what I want to talk about today ties into exactly that!

If you would like to see more from me you can check out my links here: https://linktr.ee/elliedesbaux

Before I dive into this article, I want to say a huge thank you to Chloe for this series and letting me tell my story! I can’t wait to read everyone else’s.

What makes you different?

Growing up I struggled a lot with my mental health and fitting in, so when my teenage years came about and everyone started drinking, I saw it as a safe haven for friendship and unity. I was finally deemed cool enough to be invited to parties. Unfortunately, a poor mental state and alcohol didn’t mix very well for me.

It’s like mixing red wine with vodka, been there, done that, I don’t recommend it! 

As the years went by I was labelled the ’emotional drunk’ and really didn’t understand what limits were. I didn’t know what to do. If I got drunk people, who didn’t know me very well, would complain about me being a wreck, but if I didn’t they would call me boring. It may sound crazy, but the latter scared me the most. I have always been the boring one, the one who didn’t dance, the one who didn’t take risks, I couldn’t chance it.

So, after years of regretting every night out and torturing myself mentally for the things I did or said when I was drunk – I decided to try and cut back on drinking. It didn’t happen all at once. I found it hard to visit old friends because it was easy to fall back into old habits and trips to the pub seemed alien without alcohol.

As I have grown and began to transform my mindset, I realised saying no to alcohol was the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s still a journey and some people don’t understand but it was a big part of me starting to love myself and forgiving my past.

What is bad about why you are different?

From growing up in London and working in Soho, you quickly learn that everything revolves around booze. The drinking culture was out of control and sometimes I still crumble under the pressure. I couldn’t keep up with the drinking, as soon as the words left my mouth, ‘I don’t drink’ their faces paled and any chance of friendship was lost. I ended up leaving my dream job in London because of my anxiety and fear that I didn’t fit in.

Working there was great and I’ll always be grateful for the experience but the mainstream culture around drinking just wasn’t for me and you had to participate to survive in the industry I was in.

Soon I realised it wasn’t just London, but it was a human trait to enjoy drinking. At first, I thought maybe there’s something wrong with me, but I soon learned it’s okay to be different.

Something I’ve struggled with is that people find it hard to relate to me when they find out I don’t like getting drunk. Even though I don’t drink, I don’t hold any negative feelings towards people who do! It’s fun for many people and I hope my sobriety doesn’t make anyone feel uncomfortable. I know a lot of people who like to drink but it doesn’t alter my opinion of them, there is so much more to us than if we like a drink or not.

The other struggle I have faced is sending mixed messages. If I go to the pub or it’s a special occasion, I might choose to have one drink. However, when I choose not to have a second or third, people think there’s something wrong with me and question me throughout the evening. They ask if ‘I’m sure?’ and say ‘I’ll have more fun’ if I drink.

What is good about why you are different?

Over the process of cutting alcohol out of my life, it has helped me practice keeping my boundaries. I feel healthier, I have a better relationship with myself and the things I consume.

When I go out, I know I have a choice and saying no is okay. I can now enjoy being my true self, without the regrets, self-hatred, and 2-day hangovers.

What is one thing you want someone to take away from this article the most?

My advice would be to do what makes you feel good! If following the crowd is not serving you, it’s ok to do your own thing! If drinking is something you’re struggling with, my biggest piece of advice is to remember you’re worthy without the alcohol.

You’re not boring, you’re a wonderful person and if anyone tells you otherwise, they probably just don’t understand. Stay true to who you are and what you want.

I also want to say, there is so much more to people than their drinking habits – we are all fantastic the way we are, alcohol or not.

 

A note from Clo

After a week break we’re back with a bang! A really interesting and insightful article from Ellie-Louise Des Baux! A huge thank you for writing this piece, I have really enjoyed it and hope others can learn from it too!

 

BEING DIFFERENT: Being Biracial – Maya

Featured, Lifestyle, Mental Health, relationships, Uncategorized

Tell me a bit about yourself:

I’m Maya, I am 21 years old and I have just finished my undergrad in Psychology! As for my next steps I think I am en route into a career in teaching and later educational psychology!

I have a blog which I post on whenever I’m inspired by the world and people around me mayacuthbert.wordpress.com and I am on Instagram @mayacuthbert 🙂

What makes you different?

I am biracial, my mum is white, and my dad is black. Growing up, I felt different to a lot of the people around me, because aside from my brothers and my other biracial friends, there weren’t many biracial role models for me to look up to. I was brought up around my mum’s side of the family, and unfortunately didn’t see much of my dad’s side. My mum raised me to understand that I was going to be treated differently and I’ll always value her for being open and honest about race in the world, and as my friend Bev said, ‘she’s very woke’. She would always try and teach me about my Jamaican heritage as much as she could, be that through cooking traditional dishes, or taking me there- I could never, and will never, fault her for that, and I am so grateful to have had the upbringing I did.

Unfortunately, feeling different lies in the weird discourses there are surrounding being mixed race that you hear coming from other people who are not biracial. It is those discourses that highlight how you can feel different and almost othered by a lot of the people around you, without them even realising that it can impact you.

What is bad about why you are different?

Race was not something that played on my mind a lot whilst growing up. Having grown up in London, and being surrounded by a huge range of cultures, races and ethnicities, it just felt second nature, to have a friendship group where none of us looked the same and where everyone was accepted regardless of the colour of their skin.

I think coming to university has really opened my eyes to the fact that not everywhere is going to be like my school environments, where race is more acknowledged and spoken of. While university is multicultural, there are noticeable groups, in contrast to my school, these groups tend to be race based. My dissertation research confirmed to me that people will typically create friendships with people who share meaningful similarities, and an important similarity is race. I think it is awesome that this happens, because this can really help strengthen things such as racial identity, provide support and mutual understanding, but as a biracial person it can feel hard to fit in.

I’m glad to say that I have found my niche, my friendship group now reminds me of my groups at school, which is great, but initially it was tough. I understand that race is a sensitive subject, so I do hope I don’t cause any controversy, I am just talking about the things I have been through relating to mine- and I hold nothing against anyone.

I think in this day and age, people are really good at applying stereotypes to different races. This is something I have had to face, and it is so apparent to me. To others I have two ‘sides’ (my white ‘side’ and my black ‘side’) people seem to comment on what are actually just aspects of my personality, turn them into racial stereotypes and use them as points of criticism, where I am not allowed to be both black and white, I am always reduced to being either black or white by others. A couple of examples being that on multiple occasions I have been told that I am ‘too white’ because of how I speak, even a past partner had told me that I was too white – something he even considered trying to change within me, or breaking up with me over…I also remember once being told, when I was angry, that that was my ‘black side coming out’.

These comments, and knowing this is how people think about you, can be so damaging to your self-esteem, especially when these comments are from the two groups that make up my heritage (white and black groups), it really muddled up my feelings, and made me feel as though I was not going to fit in anywhere at university because nobody would accept me! It was even more frustrating, because in my mind, I am not either/or, I am a mixture of both and if I were to identify as one ‘side’ or the other I would be dismissing one whole part of me, and that doesn’t feel right.  Those racially stereotyped criticisms really hurt me- because I was being criticised for being who I am. After hearing these things about yourself, you almost start to question who you are… and I’m sure it might sound slightly trivial to some, but I do struggle with those thoughts of like ‘Who am I?’  ‘Where do I sit?’ but most importantly, why do we live in such a modern-day society where people, REGARDLESS of their race, are still implicitly judged based on how they look?

It makes you feel so frustrated because we are supposed to live in a progressive society, but those implicit stereotypes people hold about other races, really highlight how, yes, we may have come so far, but we have clearly not come not far enough.

What is good about why you are different?

I have learnt a lot about identity, race, and society, simply because of the colour of my skin, and my existence being due to the mixture of two cultures. I think this has really helped and will continue to help me manoeuvre through life and make the right decisions about how I go about things such as teaching my own children about who they are.

I love that I have not only one, but two cultures that I get to embrace and learn about, and that I have two places I can call home. I like this idea of duality, where I am more than one thing, and although it can be confusing to manage at times, it is awesome! I am not just black, I am not just white, I am both- ergo, I am mixed, and I love it that way.

I love that, although I occasionally do have those ‘who am I?’ moments, that I can now recognise who I am, what I am here for, and why I should be and love myself, with none of this having anything to do with placing myself within one of societies concrete sorting boxes.

I don’t have to force myself to fit in with any group, I will always find other people with mindsets like mine. I must say I love that about my friendship group, we are a huge mix of races, and yet, we have such open, honest, respectful conversations about race, even when we disagree we don’t argue… we listen, we pull apart our own and each other’s ideas and thoughts and we learn from each other! I wish everyone was like that, because if people could put their differences aside and objectively talk about the issues surrounding race that everyone faces today with such understanding, I’d like to hope that the world could be slightly different.

What is one thing you want someone to take away from this article most?

I saw a quote in a journal article when I was carrying out my dissertation research and it read ‘biracial individuals are both black and white, in a world that only sees black or white’. Obviously, it is important to remember, that there are other mixes that make up a biracial individual, but this quote resonated so well with me. I would love if society could have more open and honest conversations about the reality of race in the society we live in, and that instead of trying to organise everybody into a radicalised box, that we could see each person as their own individual identity, with their own experiences of race and their own ideas and views.

A Note From Clo

Thank you so much to the lovely Maya for this insightful post! As she mentioned at the start she does have her own blog which I highly recommend you checking out! She has been writing some amazing pieces during this lockdown, so it will be a great use of any spare time you have!

The Being Different series will continue again next Thursday at 9pm. As always if you would like to get involved please contact me on instagram at Queen.clo or via the contact me form on here!

As always, stay safe and stay kind!!

All the love,

Queen Clo xx

Being Different: Partial Deafness

Featured, Lifestyle, Mental Health

Hey guys!

Welcome to the first segment of my new blog series! During the current climate, I think it is so important to be aware of the issues those face around us. So I popped onto my insta and messaged some people to find out about their stories! This collection will be weekly uploaded at 8.30pm every Thursday for as long as I have articles for! If you feel you have a story to tell then please message me on Instagram at Queen.Clo or email me on chloeenquires@gmail.com !

What makes you different?

I had spent 20 years of my life pretty ordinary. However, life changed when I went on holiday to Zante last summer. During a paint party in a club, I got shot in the ear with a paintball gun. At the time I was drunk and apart from some slight ringing in my ear after the event, I felt fine. The next morning I woke up with the most severe earache of my life. As I was in a foreign country I couldn’t access a GP as I would’ve in England, so I popped to the pharmacy who gave me some ear drops. I was in severe pain all day and was struggling to hear out of my left ear. The next day the pain had become even worse with fluid dripping out of my ear, resulting in a trip to the doctors on the strip. These doctors sent me straight to hospital where they found I had a severe inner ear infection and upper respiratory infection. They drained my ear with lots of pink and green paint coming out. I was put on a drip of IV antibiotics and sent home later that evening. The doctors were unsure originally about flying home, but a check on the day of my flight showed my ear infection had decreased slightly. I was allowed to fly home under the guidance that it would be a painful flight.

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Upon arrival, back in England, I took a trip to my GP who told me to continue to take my antibiotics but that the infection seemed to be improving. A few weeks passed by and I could not shake the non-stop ringing from my ear. Several specialist doctor appointments later and I was diagnosed with Tinnitus and High-frequency hearing loss in my left ear. This means that all day, every day I have ringing in my ears. A few more doctors appointments later (with many months passing by) and I was given hearing aid maskers, which help to reduce the effect ringing has on my ear. At a follow-up appointment, it was found that I had the same issues in my right ear which I may have had all my life but never noticed, so now I have hearing aids in both ears. I tend to forget to wear them some days because they’re still a new thing for me, but I am slowly getting used to them.

What is bad about why you are different?

I think the worst thing is that new people cannot always see that I wear hearing aids, and so do not realise that I cannot understand them. In the current pandemic, face masks make life incredibly hard. A lot of the time I will rely on lip-reading to understand what people are saying to me. The face masks are a barrier for sound too, so people talking comes across as a muffle to me. It’s frustrating to have to keep repeating to people that don’t know me that I am partially deaf and can make me feel quite insecure. I worry that people grow tired of me asking them to repeat things and talking to new people can make feel anxious.

People also tend to forget that I struggle to hear so will try to talk to me when I am not looking at them. If you’re talking to me from different angles then I stand no chance of a) knowing you’re talking to me and b) hearing what you are saying. So I tend to have to constantly remind people I cannot hear them. If you ask family and friends they’ll probably tell you that I talk loudly and have to have the television on loud. Both are annoying to other people, but it is not something I can help.

The Tinnitus makes me quite irritable and has an effect that I will not be able to go into deep periods of sleep. I have a box that produces white noise to lower out the ringing. In times of stress or quiet, the ringing becomes louder and is overbearing. I have to try to make my brain not notice the constant hearing that goes on. The best way to explain this feeling to people is if you have ever been to a concert and experienced ringing afterwards, that is a mild form of tinnitus. I have that but constantly, there’s no chance for a break from it and it can be incredibly suffocating.

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What is good about why you are different?

When people are being incredibly annoying or mean I can turn my hearing aids off to ignore them, which is always a pro. If the conversation has grown boring, then there is always an escape route of saying sorry I don’t understand you because I cannot hear.

It has lead me to not take things in life for granted. I have a newfound appreciation for my other sense and it has allowed me to see the positives in situations. For although in Zante I lost my hearing, I still had an incredible time with friends. The support my friends and family have given me over the last 10 months has been incredible. They have had to make changes to help me, in group situations my friends have been making sure I do not get lost and have not grown tired when I have needed them to repeat things. It has taught me that every bad situation always has a positive.

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What is one thing you want someone to take away from this article the most?

I am trying my best to adapt to the changes life has thrown at me, so I want people to know they need to be patient of me. That life isn’t easy for everyone and simple tasks can be harder when you cannot hear.

Thanks for reading!!

All the love,

Queen Clo

The Perfectionist killed her brain… (and how she began to save it)

Featured, Lifestyle, Mental Health

I lead a life that is filled with a lot of expectations. Expectations that I push on myself. My whole life my parents have always told me that my best is good enough for them, but my best seems to never be good enough for myself. While it seems unlikely to people around me, I am low key a perfectionist. A lot of the times my perfectionism is what leads me to my failure. I want every situation in my life to be perfect and when I feel like it’s not going to happen, I sometimes will quite literally RUN from situations. If I don’t run, I self-sabotage or tell others I don’t care. It’s a weird defence mechanism I’ve picked up. Where if I tell others, I don’t care enough then in turn maybe I truly won’t care enough. If I know something isn’t going to be how I pictured it, I’ll just pretend I don’t give a shit. Not only do I set bars high for myself, but I also set bars high for how I think others are going to treat me. The bar that I set for others means it makes me constantly unhappy and filled with loneliness mixed with disappointmentIMG_2467

An example is, I’ve had shitty friends in the past and so when it comes to birthdays, I always plan something big, but then when people bail, and plans go to shit I pretend I don’t give a shit about my birthday. It’s a big lie. I love birthdays! I think birthdays are a day you truly should feel so loved, but some of my recent ones have been filled with more heartbreak than love. Last year I was quite literally bricking it for my birthday. I planned different things for home and for my other friends, but it scared me how easily others will ruin the perfect birthday I’ve created in my head. Despite some hiccups, I had an incredible birth fortnight and made memories that will last forever. It leads me to wonder why I crave perfection. I know nothing in life is perfect but it’s so hard when everyone around me seems to lead these perfect lives.

I think I write about love a lot on my blog, and this is one area of my life that scares me. I don’t have love from a guy, I haven’t for a very long time, and it scares me that I may never find the perfect guy for me. What if I’ll spend the rest of my life craving guys who won’t want me and never fulfil the perfect life I’ve created in my head. I go for guys I can’t have because it hurts less when they are not the perfect person for me, it’s like I allow myself to pre-hurt, before they actually hurt me. I have an intense fear of abandonment., I have lost a lot of guys I have dated, but I’ve lost a lot more friends. This leads me to be fearful of relationship because I think that no one will stay due to me being imperfect. If I have a crush on a guy, I become obsessed with how I look because I fear if I don’t look perfect then they won’t want me. I like to push guys I care about away in fear they’ll see the perfect exterior I show to them is a lie. It scares me that all my friends are dating guys and girls that seem truly perfect for them. While I know they all have their ups and downs in relationships, it makes me feel like a failure. I can’t seem to get a guy interested in me long enough to want me, and so sometimes I’ll kill relationships before it arises in fear they won’t be perfect. Sometimes it feels like I am truly alone in the world and I’ll be perfect for no one.


I set unreal expectations on myself on how to be a perfect friend, which leads me to burn myself out quite easily. I have had many friends come and go in my life. Situations that some I couldn’t control and some I could. Which means I tried my best to do everything for everyone and then worry when I don’t succeed in the million tasks, I’ve given myself. Truth is no friend is perfect: everyone ends up saying a bitchy comment about a friend or bailing on plans. It doesn’t mean they don’t care about you. Sometimes we expect too much from our friends because we’d do everything for them, but that’s an unfair mindset for both parties. You’ll lead yourself into a lot of heartbreak if you expect everyone to have the same heart as you. I’ve learnt instead of trying to be a perfect friend, to just be me. To be there and to care but to not put pressure on me. When a friendship does end, I’ve learnt instead of being hurt, to take it as a learning curve and know that I still have many other incredible friends who love and support me.

Why am I writing this you may be wondering? Well, when I started writing this, I was sat on a plane on the way home from my first girls’ holiday. I booked this holiday about 11 months ago and during those 11 months I hyped it up into a holiday it could never have been. I thought the holiday would cure some of the sadness that has haunted me the last university year, I always feel happiest in the sun and just wanted the sun to cure me. While I had some amazing times on the holiday, the down days had been bad. I got taken into hospital after having a very bad inner ear and respiratory infection, which has now resulted in me having double hearing aids. It crushed me because the ‘perfect’ holiday had slipped away, and I felt like it was my fault. I couldn’t have factored in that I’d get sick, but it made me regret the earlier nights that I’d came home early from nights out in the week instead of staying out partying with my friends. I kept telling myself I had plenty of nights to get super drunks but putting them off lead me to miss them. I don’t know what I was expecting from this holiday and I don’t think it would’ve ever been perfect, but I can’t help the feeling of failure. That I somehow failed myself and ruined a holiday. Don’t get me wrong I’ve enjoyed some parts of the holiday but I’m also sad that the things I looked forward to most were not what I expected.

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Now you may be reading this and thinking ‘ah but if you’re a perfectionist you JUST want to do a good job at everything, so what’s the harm in the issue?’ The issue is whatever job I do will never be good enough for myself because there are always ways it could have been more perfect. Maybe I could’ve taken less time to complete it, maybe there are more aspects I could change to make it perfect. There’s always a maybe that could make the situations ‘better’. Meaning my best will never be good enough… Any feelings that come with accomplishment are sabotaged by my brain telling me that things could’ve and should’ve been done better.

So I decided to find out about how to stop letting my perfectionist habits kill my brain and this below is what I learnt:

One thing I noted was that I say ‘should’ a lot. Should is a horrible word that adds too much pressure on us. Like I should have a boyfriend now, I should be happier, I should have a better grade, I SHOULD be better. Truth is I shouldn’t be anything than who I am right now. Instead of dreaming my life away with unreal expectations I need to be accepting all that happens currently and be grateful for it. This last few months I began to remove the word should from my vocabulary, and it has allowed me to live in the moment more.

Next, quit comparing ourselves to everyone else. Nobody on this planet leads a perfect life and everyone is facing their battles. Some people I thought lived the best lives, actually were struggling just as much as I was. Stop comparing your behind the scenes to people’s edited and perfect life they show online. News flash: very few will share the bad parts of their life on the internet. I share some of mine, but I don’t share the nitty-gritty, simply because I don’t think that’s what people need to know about me. I’m a sucker for thinking that just because someone looks better than me in their no-makeup selfie means they lead a better life than me. They don’t. Your self worth is worth more than other people’s social media lives. If you’re struggling, in particular, with comparing, take a social media break. Sometimes I’ll take a week from Instagram and I have seen how much better I feel in myself. Social media has ruined some of our generations, I am telling you now the pictures on my Instagram are not how I look every day. I will take between 20 and 100 shots to get the ‘perfect’ Instagram images. The pictures I post I will scrutinise myself because I don’t think it is good enough for my followers to see. Truth be told none of you cares if I look a little chunky or if my pose is ‘awkward’, but the worry that I am not posting the perfect feed did lead me to be stressed. Now, while I’ll still take many shots, I post photos that I like of myself, even if they aren’t Instagram Perfection. Just remember as you scroll through the feed tonight that people will have spent hours on that photo, even their ‘woke up like this’ selfie.

Change your stance on your expectation. This is hard because if you’re anything like me you’ll give yourself incredibly high standards for what you want from life. This leads us to kill our self-worth when we (or others) don’t get to them. Instead of having our expectations as absolute goals, make them a guide. So that means if you don’t reach it there is less disappointment. If there a goal, just because you haven’t got to it today, doesn’t mean you won’t achieve it in the future either. The only true absolute goal is to prioritise self-love and continue to grow to be the best version of yourself.

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Fight the inner voice that makes you question your achievements. Just know that what you have achieved now is the best you could have done in this state you’re in. I used to think for so long that when people said just do your best, that it meant the highest grade, but doing your best actually means do as well as you can in this situation. I got an A in my GCSE maths exam, which was my best then, if I resat it now I would 100% get a better grade, but that is because I have 5 more years of maths knowledge since then. Justify your actions to yourself by reminding yourself that whatever you’ve achieved is amazing and is one step closer to something even better. When I didn’t get the GCSE results I wanted no-one is going to ask me about them once I finish university this year. Lose the thought of you can always do better and replace it with thinking the things you have achieved currently are incredible.

Learn to say the word ‘No’. ‘No’ scares me and I’m not sure why. However, saying yes to every situation leads me to do an average job for everyone, instead of a good job for select jobs. Remember when saying no you do not need to justify yourself afterwards.

I guess this was a lot of rambling but what’s new on my blog. This next year I want to learn to accept the events of life for what they are and stop overthinking them. Which is going to be harder than I’ve made out it to be. I’m going to learn that perfection isn’t going to ever happen and that I should roll with what happens. I can’t change the way people treat me or how life treats me but what I can change is how I approach situations. I can change the craving of perfection and instead crave situations to bring me some happiness. After all, happiness is far more important than a ‘perfect’ life.

All the love always,

Queen Clo x

 

 

 

Love Island IS NOT Reality

Lifestyle, Mental Health

I am the biggest optimist who loves LOVE. So, I immediately fell in love with love island. There are many things that I’m not too keen on though…

When I first started watching love island a few years back I was in a poor mental health state, and really disliked my body. In magazines there were nothing like me and I could get over that because magazines were full of celebrities. However, a villa full of ‘normal’ people broke my self-esteem a little because I didn’t look like the normal person ‘should’. I have stood at a size 18/20 for a long time, partly cause I’m chunky but partly because I’m very tall too. When looking at love island there is no one who is as chunky as I am, they were all very pretty petite women which I couldn’t relate to. I read recently that love island bosses said the reason there was no bigger girls is that they want people to fancy each other… I as a big girl can assure you while I am still single, I have had many people fancy me regardless of my size.

Here’s me in a bikini last year in Florida. For so long shows like love island made me think my body was not a bikini body. Adverts on trains even showed me I could lose weight to gain the perfect bikini body. In reality, we all have a body, and we can all wear a bikini, therefore news flash we have bikini bodies. So while mine may not be what the love island bosses find attractive to look at, I know I’m proud of it. So, you know what, fuck you love island bosses for thinking that boys on the show wouldn’t fancy me. Remember, body confidence is embracing your body and not changing it to meet other people’s standards of beauty. There is no perfect body.

I hate that the world thinks it’s okay to scrutinise people on how they look and act on the show, we forget it is edited to manipulate what we think of the people, and we fall straight into the bosses hands. It’s important to remember that these are real people and when they come out they can see all your mean comments. So just remember if it isn’t kind it’s not worth tweeting, your few favourites, and retweets are not worth destroying someone else’s self-esteem. While you may say well they put themselves up to this by signing up to the show, you’re wrong. They sign up for fun (and maybe to get a little famous), they don’t sign up to be bullied. Let’s remember the tragic deaths of previous love islanders due to depression and anxiety, we never know what is going on inside someone else’s life, so remember always be kind. Also when we are unkind about the way people on the show look, it proves the love island bosses right and will push them further away from added real bodies to the show.

Some days, I feel so single, but it’s important to remember that love is hard to find. The people on the show seem to fall in love in under a day which in the real world is very unlikely (but not impossible). In the real world we don’t spend every hour of every breathing day with a guy or a girl we think is fit. So while you may think it’s taking ages to get the one, know it’s normal for love to take time. I have been single for pretty much my whole life and sometimes there feels like there is a pressure to be in love. It’s taken me a long time to accept there is nothing wrong with me for being single. Sometimes hard to understand that it’s okay to be single, but know while you’re waiting and enjoying life the right person will come!

Let’s enjoy this season and all it has to entail. Let’s hope for more ‘bevvy’ boys and girls, and that maybe, just maybe it may become more inclusive!

All my love,

Queen Clo xx

Positivity Scrapbook

Mental Health

A few months ago I was sat in my friend Kirsty’s room, she was scrapbooking for her degree and I was lying on the floor with nothing to do. It hit me then that I did not have any real hobbies, and so thats when I decided, I take soooo many photos but never do anything with them. So I copied Kirsty’s degree coursework and started my very own scrapbook. When I spoke to my therapist she suggested that I make a ‘positivity scrapbook’ and include quotes to make the pages feel more comforting during sad times. I got my friends to pick quotes and I also picked some that I loved.

I think it is very important to capture as many moments as I can,  I enjoy photographing my friends and I enjoy looking over photos of happier times. I like to take photos on my phone and on my camera. For scrapbooking it is quite important that the photo has a high quality so it does not print blurry, sadly your phone just doesn’t get the quality that cameras do. My favourite type of cameras are Mirrorless Cameras, I am currently dreaming over this Panasonic Mirrorless Cameras.

A key section in my scrapbook is my freshers pages, a time I experienced some real highs and lows, you can read all about them here . The cutest page of this section has to be my school disco one, purely because I loved the outfit I wore and my lovely friend Meg helped make the title look super cute.

Photos are important to me because they capture moments that I want to remember forever. One of my favourite sections of my scrapbook has to be my Christmas time pages, I wrote about the photos in more detail here, but below is my favourite December double spread page! Firstly my Christmas Eve night out, we made our costumes just before the social (a hot glue gun may have been up there with the top purchase of 2018) and has to have been one of my favourite nights out of the year. Secondly, is my Edinburgh double spread. I visit Edinburgh every other year to visit family, but have never been at Christmas time. It was filled with the cutest markets and Christmas lights, which really put me into the Christmas spirit (a spirit hard to be in as a retail worker). I didn’t realise I could fall so in love with a city, but Edinburgh will forever have my heart. Who knows, maybe one day I will live there…

This scrapbook is almost finished and on bad days it is helpful to flick through and remember happier times. I can gurantee I will continue to scrapbook as it brings me a lot of joy. I even have my own little craft box now, filled with everything from lollipop sticks to tissue paper. It has been one of the greatest hobbies I have ever picked up.

Here are some more of my favourite pages or cutest pages:

I am vain so have some of my favourite photos of myself in opps😉

Was ironically very difficult to photograph the scrapbook pages!

All the love,

Queen Clo xxx

Struggling with Happiness

Lifestyle, Mental Health

I craved happiness just as much as the next person, but the past few weeks I realised this was making me feel more broken.

When you speak to many people about life, the vast amount of them will probably tell you the fundamental objective of their life is to find happiness… (and I was one of those people too). I think the thing that people forget most is that happiness is not a destination. It is a socially constructed mood, and like all moods, it is not going to last forever. It will come and go. It is NOT a permanent state. I honestly do understand why people crave it to be a destination, why would you not want to feel ‘happy’ all the time… but it’s not and it is incredibly hard to accept that. Until people understand this they won’t be able to truly get to grips with happiness.

We seem to spend so much time and effort forcing ourselves to find this feeling, and in the process make ourselves sadder than we started. Happiness is not a choice, and is not as easy to find as people lead themselves to believe. Having an attitude is a choice, being happy is a feeling, and people seem to get feelings and attitudes muddled up. Please remember that there isn’t ever going to be this cure and everything in your life is perfect. Happiness is simply a by-product of living, and not a state of mind you can force yourself to be in. What you can force yourself to have is a more positive ATTITUDE, which well help you find more frequent periods of happiness.

If you were to search happiness online on Amazon, I am certain you will find many books on how to transform your life in order to be happy. They all seem to miss the point that it is okay to not be happy all the time. It is okay to feel like absolute shit. BUT it is NOT okay to feel like shit because you cannot find happiness.

Some days I feel so awful and wonder what is against me. What is stopping me from finding this amazing feeling? Other days, I’ll feel on top of the world and wish I could bottle those thoughts and feelings. It’s called balance. As cheesy as it is, it is ok to have bad days in order to find good days. I can find it such a battle when I am sad for a period of time, and the pressure to be this ‘happy’ cheery person is sometimes made worse by feeling like I need to feel like this for others. Half of the battle with myself is wanting to be happy so others don’t worry about me. Lately, I have become good friends with my sadness. Sadness visits me quite regularly, some days it breaks me and some days I break it. I used to feel incredibly scared to have periods of sadness, not knowing what to do with myself and would desperately crave to feel better. It took some understanding in to why I didn’t want to be sad to change my mindset.

One thing that consumed me about not wanting to be sad, is the worry of how my friends will feel about my sadness. In my life at the minute, I have some very accepting friends, who love me even when I am sad but I also have some friends who don’t understand my sadness. I hate that when I am sad  I need constant reassurance that I am still loved, and my sadness sometimes clouds the judgement I hold. That’s what scares me with my sadness and why I used to fight to be happy, is I am not sure what’s real and what my sadness has created. The thing I learnt is true friends don’t mind reassuring you that everything’s okay, and these friends have made the sad periods I have to be slightly less scary. I worry about my friends an incredible amount, I think because I know the battle with sadness can be hard, that I want to be there for them, like I needed past friends to have been there for me. I think I’ve got to the understanding that it’s okay to tell my friends I’m sad but it’s not okay to depend on them to make me feel better. For I have learnt that in the end, I can eventually feel better and HAPPY on my own. So, in short, what I’m saying is allow sadness to visit and then allow it to leave for happiness to come back. Don’t chase or crave the happiness, just wait patiently for it to return. Breathe. Spend time alone or spend time with friends. Go for a walk…. The other early morning sadness had gripped me hard, so I took myself on a walk of my TINY university campus (its actually quite scary in the dark lol)…. just to clear my head so I could sleep. The thing is I didn’t walk in order to become happy, I went on a walk to find some peace and then the next day I woke up feeling a little brighter.

It turns out, that some super smart scientists did some research and found that as people craved to be happy, they became more unhappy. The pressure and feeling of desperation to be happy makes people less happy. How ironic. Getting these books, losing that weight to make you happier, forcing yourself to do activities because you will think they will make you happier will get in the way of you feeling good.

I recently saw an article about ‘Post-Olympic Syndrome’, it spoke about the sadness that athletes feel after the Olympics. They have trained so hard for many years with their eyes on GOLD, and then after that, it is hard for them to see what is next. They’ve ‘lost their purpose of life’. It takes some time for them to get back to normal and understand that winning was not the happiness, yes it would have been amazing, but there were milestones and events that made them happy on their journey to the Olympics which they can focus on instead. My point is, that even after an athlete has won, there’s still a feeling of emptiness and what’s next. It is okay to feel empty after you’ve been happy, accept the period of emptiness but don’t stop living, keep going on with life till it returns… We need to put more emphasis on each journey of finding happiness rather than actually finding it. The journey back and forth from happiness is truly more significant in our lives than the actual feeling. We will always face sadness, but we will also always get periods of happiness too.

If you’re sad right now, it may not feel like it, but happiness will be on its way. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but she’ll be back soon.

As usual, enjoy some of my favourite photos of the past few weeks:

BRING BACK MY PINK HAIR?????

When your little cousin is also your best friend. What more could you want on a Saturday than a pj party with a unicorn…

I was bloody freezing in this outfit, but big love to Meg for taking me to Bristol to have a day away from university issues.

Army social was sooo much fun, however don’t send any of us to war, especially not Mollie Dicks….

I look like a toe but my favourite babes to not watch football with.

Jumper weather is here and I’m loving itttttt! My current favourite is this one, which my dad picked out when we were on holiday in Florida!!! CUTE!

All the love,

Queen Clo xx

Just uploaded this while at 5sos gig, please give it a nice comment and follow my blog💗

The freshers I fell back in love with my body….

Lifestyle, Mental Health, University

Before I actually start on this post, I need to discuss something else. I have had sooo many of you message over on my Instagram and by email, so here is me making a separate note instead of writing the same thing multiple times. Fresher’s can suck. Uni can make you feel lonely and can drain you, but it can also be the best time of your life. This fresher’s I have experienced big highs and the worst lows. I have had cocktails with the girls and been to some lush places with them, but have also cried in the smoking area on them. It is one or two LONG weeks of events, where you are constantly having to put yourself out there to meet new people. I struggle to gage where I stand with new people, and it makes my anxiety go wildddd. I worry that I am not spending enough time with people, I worry that the people I am spending my time with people who do not actually like me and I worry that at the end of it I will be left lonely. If you ask some of my friends I have panicked over very trivia things because there seems to be this constant pressure that you have to make fresher’s perfect. Spoiler alert, you do not. If you check on my Facebook and Instagram, you’ll see that I say am having the time of my life (a lot). That’s not a lie. Some days I am having the best time, but other days I am really not. However, it isn’t what I write on Facebook because it isn’t what I want people to know. SO what I want you to take is that, yes I loved fresher’s but at times I really hated it too. Understand that fresher’s will not be this miracle where by the end of it you have made all the friends you need for the year and you’re done. Its normal to feel homesick and contemplate why you’re here. Eventually this place your living will feel like another home and honestly when it gets to that stage you never want to leave.

This is my second freshers, and while last year I went to some events and made new friends, I can’t say that I loved it. This year it has been totally different. I have a new group of friends, my very own girl gang, and while we have now only been friends for 3 weeks, I couldn’t quite imagine university life without them. Its thanks to them that I feel more empowered (and that my bank balance is looking slightly poorer).

I would never wear crop tops, in fact I actually used to hate them. I didn’t feel I had the stomach or belly to make them seem attractive. Thanks to some drunken antics I wore a crop top on the first viper Wednesday (student night out), and while I did look fat, I didn’t hate that. We seem to shy a way from calling others fat, I always say wow I look so chunky but funky, and my friends will always be like oh no, don’t say that youre not fat. Truth is, I am, I stand at a size 18 and have more rolls than I will ever have abs, but I am okay with that. While I will rejoin the gym at some point, it is not because I want to be skinny anymore, id just quite like to be fit enough to climb stairs without getting out of breath…. (maybe that will never happen we will see). The thing the media has implanted into our heads is that we need to be skinny to wear certain types of clothes, we don’t. Why should I not wear what I want in fear of not being attractive to guys? Confidence is more attractive than my body ever will be.!!?!?!?!

I have learned to love my body, it is my home and it has looked after me. The thing is I have had to learn to love my stretch marks and my rolls, and it took me a long time to be comfortable. That’s why it used to scare me that people in the club would look at me and judge me, for they have not seen the stories that have lead to my body looking like this.

Anyway, here is a breakdown of some of the clothes that I have worn this freshers, bare in mind these were for themed events, I am mental but I wouldn’t normally dress up as Wally for night out by choice. For those of you that haven’t had freshers yet, be confident and stand proud.

Follow @charles_hammond1 on Insta x o x 

All the love,

Queen Clo xx

World Kindness Day

Lifestyle, Mental Health

I have had this post about kindness in my drafts for a little while now and was unsure when best to post it, and at dinner being told today was ‘World Kindness Day’, it seemed like the perfect day. Enjoy.

I want to live a life that is beautiful.
A life that is worth people reading about, something that shows how successful I can be, and how I have accomplished many tasks. When thinking about if I was to write a story on my life the bits I’d include are the exciting and successful things. But thinking about the small acts of kindness I do on a regular basis, I question how much of a book they’d fill. I think kindness is beautiful and is worth reading about, even more than the greatest successes. Make kindness your plot of the story, the one thing that keeps you going when nothing else you do is going right. Make your whole life story be all about kindness, devout your life to it.

Kindness blog xIt may seem extreme to devout your life to kindness, and you may think ‘well people have not always been kind to me, so why should I be kind to them’, but that’s the key to kindness, it’s something you do that makes you feel good too. The stance of they’re not kind so I won’t be kind leads to a negative situation for you and leads to negativity creeping into your mind. I urge you to continue to be kind even when others are not to you, spread kindness around like it is Nutella on toast.  When you get up instead of focusing solely on your aspirations, you should focus more on how you can do them kindly and how you can have an attitude of pure kindness. When someone hurts you in any way, instead of finding ways to get back at them, refocus your brain and teach it to show kindness. It is more important to spread love and kindness than being mean to someone to hurt them too. Being mean may feel like a win at the time but in the long run, it’s not good, it doesn’t show you off in the light you wish to be shown in. Not only will you feel good about your actions if you show them kindness, you will maximise the amount of love you can achieve from the nasty situation.

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While I think it is important and beneficial to be kind to others, it is crucial to also be kind to yourself. I was once told ‘If you were speaking and treating your friends as you treat yourself would they still think you were kind?’, it made me see that I was always trying to be kind to others but was neglecting myself. In between being a kind person to others and running errands, are you treating yourself with the same amount of care? If not today is the day you start being kinder to yourself more too.

 

We live in a time where the world is so cruel, and it’s the small acts that people do on a regular basis that keeps the world going around. So today, at the end of world kindness day I ask you to do one kind act for someone else and one act of kindness for yourself. Life is too short to be a mean and uncaring person.

 

All the love,

Queen Clo xx

 

Cry Baby Acceptance, Please?

Lifestyle, Mental Health

Hello friends! March seemed to have flown by and I’m not ready to be a month closer to exams… (Boo!!!)

“We need never be ashamed of our tears.” ~Charles Dickens

Anyone who knows me will know I’m the most tearful person to have ever walked the earth… I don’t even have to be sad to be crying. Anything and everything will make me spill tears. I like to think I’m the biggest crybaby… and yes, I am proud of this…


The above picture is when I heard One Direction’s new album, a year and a half ago, and it is safe to say I was very emotional… I was so happy that I couldn’t contain my tears. I think these tears were for the song ‘If I Could Fly’.

I HATE HATE HATE how people believe crying is a sign of weakness. I have many weaknesses, but my tears are not one of them. We seem to live in a society that is becoming more and more emotionless. We want to fit the mould of being happy and jolly humans, whose lives are perfect. However, this is not the case. We’re not happy all the time. It’s totally normal to be upset and to cry. It’s totally normal to need to cry every day too. We need to allow each other to cry and cleanse. We need to allow men to openly cry more too! Men have been taught for so long that if they cry, they lose their masculinity. Which is so wrong. We need to teach them that it’s okay to cry and it doesn’t make them any less of a man. Instead of laughing or mocking when they cry, we should simply offer support. Crying is not being weak, it’s being human.

Personally, I struggle explaining why I’m upset to people. I find it very difficult to articulate the right words to get across my emotions. Instead, I tend to bottle things up, which isn’t entirely healthy, but that’s just what happens. I know in my heart it is probably better to face the feelings head on, and so I have learnt to find my own way to cope. For me, crying is the way, it allows me to release the emotions I have stored up. The act of crying helps me to confront the issue I’m facing and eventually will help me move forward. It can help calm me down from the situation and make me feel at peace again. It’s like my own therapy.  Sometimes, all I need is a long cry from a situation and then I’m perfectly fine. If you feel the same, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. Carrying around emotional baggage is not good for your emotional health, so really, if you want to improve your health and you don’t want to talk about it, crying can be the best way. If crying makes you feel better then do it. Cry as much as you need. Cry cry cry!

I believe that crying can be a way to show great strength. It takes a lot for people to be able to cry and show their vulnerability to others. One that Just because I cry at everything, doesn’t mean I’m not strong or fierce! My tears do not determine my strength. I’m a strong queen, who just likes to cry. Deal with it!

So I ask, please don’t make fun of me for being an ’emotional wreck’. Just accept that I am. I’m okay with being one, and if you’re not okay with me being one then I don’t need you. (Bye hater😉)

All the love,

Queen Clo xx