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Bringing back the Diary

Between the years 2001 – 2007 I was an avid dairy writer and, although towards the ’06, 07′ years said diaries were practically incomplete, for the most part of my teen years I documented EVERYTHING.

The meaning of ‘diary’ is completely elusive in itself, it can be what we use to jot appointments and meetings in, (if you’re more organised than me that is) or it can be the outlet for all our hopes, dreams and secrets. Whilst my diary writing days followed the latter route, I managed to mix hopes & dreams with a LOT of factual, everyday descriptions… “Woke up at 7am, showered and had cereal for breakfast. I walked to school…” etc etc, I’m sure you get the drift, not riveting stuff. However whenever I’m visiting my family back in Cornwall and I come across the stack of worn away, W H Smith diaries, in the ‘junk’ cupboard above my bed it’s so easy to become engrossed reading through my mundane early years.

Memories are SO precious and (at the risk of sounding completely scientificly inacurate) the conscious part of our brain (you know the active bit we can almost speak thoughts in) is too small to deal efficiently with the HUGE catalog of memories we store in the other areas of our subconscious. So most of the time memories we have will never be recalled unless promoted or triggered.  I find this really sad, and I notice it more than ever when I read my diaries, there are events and feelings that otherwise I would not have brought to mind, that would have slipped through the cracks forever.

If this isn’t reason enough to put pen to paper then I don’t know what is, but it’s still easier said than done. For a start what is an entirely natural process for a socially-awkward, insanely crush-obsessed, teenage girl doesn’t sit so well with an older me. Dear Dirary… no longer flows so easily on to paper let alone an out-pour of your day and emotional state of mind. I don’t know if this is true for everyone but whilst I may of been more socially awkward as a teenager I still felt comfortable scribbling down my private thoughts, something that has been lost in the transition to 23 year old me. I feel a disconnection with writing down how I feel, I’m no longer inhibition-free and I struggle to begin a typical diary passage that my 14 year old self eagarly spilled onto the page (in a variety of colours and scents – gel pens were the rage.)

Secondly we just don’t have the time. It’s ironic how angst-ridden our teenage years feel, how we are, en-mass, being oppressed and persecuted by the adult population, by our peers, by our siblings – how burdensome everything is. When in reality we never have it so easy again. I’m generalising here of course but you get the jist. 13 year old me walked home from school around 3.30pm (no nasty hour commute), this was followed by dinner being made by my parents and a relaxed evening interjected occasionaly by homework or an argument about getting off the computer and going to bed. There was no cooking, laundry, commitments, appointments or stress. Chores that were given were completed with sulky, heavy steps, (how ghastly that I’ve been forced to complete this outrageous task of washing up after dinner. Ahkjags.) Life is tough. Yet there is always time for documenting how unfair it is. Once you wave goodbye to your last Summer/Christmas/Easter holiday (ah how good were they?) then life tends to get a bit more hectic and we know where diary writing falls on our prioirty lists…

However I love the rush of nostalgia you get from reading back over thoughts from the past. It’s similar to how I feel when I often flick through the photos on my phone or instagram account, or when I hear a story from my childhood, if it brings back even just one recolection from a certain day or event than its worked for me. Whilst it’s difficult, incorporating some element of the ‘Diary’ into our busy and stressful lives can be hugely rewarding in more ways than one. Collecting thoughts can serve to help us organise our worrys, it can help us make decisions  and I think it’s important sometimes to take a break away from digital documenting! Yes our facebook may have all our holiday pictures in, and yes twitter is an active timeline of the things we’ve done recently but there is something special about holding a memory in your hand, about it being a solid object!

This is why I’m champing for “Bring back the diary(Even as I write this blog I will point out I am nortoriously awful at keeping a project going, and so this is as much a challenge for me as it is for anyone who wants to give it a go.) I want you to tackle this in any way that suits you, it doesn’t matter how much or how little you are writing, you can get creative stick in some printed out photos you love, train tickets, cinema tickets – don’t be neat! 

♥ TIPS AND TRICKS: ♥

  Try and write something everyday. One thougt, one activity, one emotion.

Keep your Journal with you EVERYWHERE you go

When you hear a song you want to download later write it down same goes for movies, books, meal ideas, holiday spots – the list is endless

Don’t be afraid to ramble

Put down milestones – whether that milestone is the day you got engaged (time, place, how!) or the day you decided to quit your job or the day that boy you’ve had a crush on said Hey – it doesn’t matter how big or small, it’s fascinating to look back and read these things

Here’s a little sample of some notebooks and stationary you can use to inspire you to start your journal, scrapbook or diary! I’m a stationary worshiper (and I’m sure you can see the panda/cutsey/cartoon theme going on too hehe). You can find all of the above from either Artbox (my favourite site to buy kawaii themed bits and bobs from it is a m a z i n g) Paperchase, Urban Outfitters or Cath Kidston

Happy Writing! I will document how I get on with my journal/scrapbook/diary.

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It’s not just you…

I had a great time reading Thought Catalog’s  humorously entitled “15 Things That Make Us Paranoid… Or Is It Just Me? Crap, It’s Probably Just Me!”  Whether on not we all share the same irrational niggles in the back of our minds there are always some that overlap. I find there’s a great sense of community in reading personal anecdotes or thoughts from others that make you want to turn and nod to anyone nearby whilst you virtually scream ME TOO!!! in your head. I often feel that same sense of shared experience from stand-up comedians who focus on everyday life (their wives, children, commuting politics) as opposed to extreme comedic anecdotes that are more fiction than fact.

Glamour Hey It's Ok

This is me…

The quips they follow with vary from the self-indulgent: Hey, it’s OK to laugh at your own jokes…they’re hi-larious the irrational: Hey, it’s OK to be a little offended if he’s not completely all over you every single time you get undressed to those habitual, guilty things we find ourselves doing: Hey, it’s OK to switch off instantly the second
someone says, “I  had such a weird dream…

Best of all they make your actions feel completely excusable! Enjoy some more below courtesy of the Glamour Pintrest page! I’m thinking I might write a few posts detailing some of my own guilty confessions and irrational habits!

hey its ok starbucks

hey its ok audrey

Hey Its Ok to...

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The Host

If you are a twi-hard fan then back in the day you may have read Stephanie Meyer’s other novel, The Host (2008). However you may have stumbled across this book just as a lover of Young Adult sci-fi as it’s a pretty damn good read. I ended up flying through this book in one of those intense all night reading sessions after I’d bought it for a mixture of the two reasons above. It caught my eye because of the publicity it received, being from the author of the Twilight sensation, but it also fell into a genre I had a tendancy towards already.

There’s been a huge surge in dystopian fiction aimed at teenagers, to name just a few novels that have recently been gracing the ‘Top Seller’ lists internationally: The Uglies, The Maze Runner and Divergent. The genre, bench-marked by classics such as Orwell’s 1984 or Huxley’s Brave New World, has exploded in fiction aimed at young adults. Perhaps its popularity stems from a fascination about the state of our planet and a growing awareness of political and social fractures that might cause a modern-day dystopia. However not all dystopian themes mirror a future that could be possible many steering towards a very fantasy or sci-fi direction and might serve as pure escapism and indulgence in some pretty dark themes. Either way the genre is open to a lot of different themes and interpretation and if your looking for some good reads to ease you in then check out my recent post on some dystopian fiction I read when I was younger.

The Host is set in a future where a race of parasitic alien ‘souls’ have taken control of the majority of humans left on Earth, all except for small pockets of resistance. It is in the journey to find such a free community that the still-human protagonist Melanie is captured and taken over by a soul. The narrative centres on the battle of free will as Melanie refuses to completely lose herself to the ‘soul’ whose mission is to inflitrate the resistence and also the soul’s own conflicts of conscience. Along the way there is naturally love and heartbreak and a touch of action. Due for release later this month (March 29th 2013) I’m intrigued to see how they’ve adapted the novel for the screen.

In a similar vein the hugely successful trilogy The Hunger Games hit the big screens with its first installment last year. I always have mixed views when a novel I love is made into a movie. “They don’t look like that?! what happened to that bit!” are phrases that will often pass my lips after I’ve watched a movie adaptation. Preconceptions are shattered and that indulgence you share with a book in being able to visualise the words and characters and themes in your own way is ultimately gone. I’m not against it completely and there will be movies I watch where I’ve yet to read the novel and perhaps later do and enjoy in a different way. However for the most part I tend to seperate them as best I can. I personally felt that The Hunger Games movie was not a touch on the novel but can see why. There is afterall a complex world and fast paced plot to capture in 90 minutes or so.

Whilst The Host may be one I save until DVD release (which seems to come around so fast these days) I’m keen to check it out and hopefully be plesantly surprised! You can watch the trailer below.

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Motivation for March

It’s safe to say this past winter has felt incredibly long. It creeps up on us early November and before we know it we’ve all been hibernating for the past 4 months. If you’re anything like me the benefits of those chilly, dark nights may be cosy evenings in. However it’s not easy to avoid the winter blues that often go hand in hand, and even harder to shake them off.

Seasonal Affective Disoryesyoucander (SAD) is a form of depression characterised by its tendency to cause anxiety and depression at certain times of the year. This is especially prevalent during the long winter months when we have low exposure to natural sunlight. Whilst we don’t all suffer from SAD the short days and freezing temperatures we’ve endured can take a toll on our mental and physical wellbeing.

It’s typical to feel a sense of lethargy, lose interest in everyday projects and worryingly neglect physical activity. But now spring is finally on our doorstep here are four areas we can adapt in our lifestyles to give us that all important boost of energy perfect for the coming months.

Eat Better!
You are what you eat, or so the saying goes. If there’s a healthy eating regime or a diet you’ve been meaning to put into action there’s no better time than the present. To lose the sluggish feeling that winter brings, lose the junk and the sugar first and focus on finding a balanced meal plan that makes you feel better.

Catch Some Sun
Now the days are getting longer and we are seeing glimpses of our long forgotten friend the sun, there’s no excuse not to get out and about. Just a brief spell in the sun (even when it’s still cold) helps our bodies produce vitamin D and releases endorphins. If long hours at the office still steal you away from day lit hours grab lunch and eat it outside with a colleague.

Get Physical
January might seem like the best opportunity to make get-fit resolutions for the coming year but it’s often difficult to put things into action. Take the time to introduce more physical activity into your everyday routine. On your commute to or from work try getting off a stop earlier than you normally do and briskly walking. When we get the blood pumping in our bodies we feel more stimulated and happy. With many studies showing the positive link between mood and exercise there’s no better way to shake off any seasonal blues.

 Organise and Prioritise
When the environment around us is cluttered it can have a proven negative effect on wellbeing. Take on new tasks and projects, whether it’s a spring clean around the house or making time to focus on a relationship you’ve been neglecting. Evaluate your life and organise what needs doing. Add a time scale in which it can be accomplished by and this will provide a sense of calm, lift spirits and make us even more motivated to pursue goals in other areas.

Whilst I don’t have the best track record for following my own advice I’m keen to see how these techniques can be put in to action. I’ve definitely been a bit of a coach potato these last few (long) months, and felt pretty awful too. If you have any motivation tips please share!

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Indesign magazine layout

This term we got instructed on how to use Adobe InDesign software in order to create magazine layouts and spreads. For one of our assignments we had to write a feature article on an aspect of Bournemouth (I choose the music scene and you can read the full feature here) we then had to produce a double page magazine spread for this feature. See what you make of mine below.

comments appreciated, to download the full PDF for a closer look click here

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Get happy

In light of my recent post I thought I’d share with you ten tips to pick you up when your feeling down.

  1. Pump up the music: It’s good for you! When your feeling sluggish put on some of your feel good favourites and turn up the volume. Music stimulates the part of your brain that releases endorphins (you know, happy chemicals) and there’s nothing like a good old sing along in the privacy of your room to perk you up.
  2. Get physical: Exercise gets the blood flowing in our bodies making us feel instantly more stimulated and healthy. It’s great for the mind too. If you’ve got a million thoughts running through your head take your body for a run too, the fresh air and change of scene will help you think clearer and allow you to really reflect on whats bothering you and how you can change it.
  3. Spring clean: If the environment around us is messy and cluttered its not going to make us feel any better. Make lists of what you need to do around the house and get sorting and cleaning. It may feel like the last thing you want to tackle right now but believe me, once you get stuck in, it really helps. It will not only take your mind off of things but afterward you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment that will leave you glowing. Its surprising how a clean environment can lift the spirits.
  4. Smile even though… You know how the song goes: “Smile though your heart is aching, Smile even though it’s breaking… Smile and maybe tomorrow, You’ll see the sun come shining through for you” The smile is a powerful gesture that is often underestimated. Even when its the last thing you want to do smiling can trick your mind into making you feel happier. Also take the time to smile at others because when a smile is returned it is uplifting and rewarding.
  5. Eat yourself happy: You are what you eat is how the saying goes, while not entirely true I definitely believe what you eat affects how you feel. When your feeling low you often feel sluggish, tired and unmotivated as well. Whilst tempting, its important not to over indulge on sugary foods and instant meals. You’ll end up with a short lived amount of energy and a nice sugar crash which will ultimately make you feel worse as a result. Eat healthy and eat fresh is your best option. Get plenty of foods rich in antitoxins and vitamins. Just have a look here and here for some great mood enhancing foods and before you wonder whether its all vegetables chocolate is definately mentioned 🙂
  6. Get some sunshine: Getting out and about in the sunshine helps us produce vitamin D and also releases those happy chemicals again (yey) If you want the scientific reasons why sunlight is beneficial its because the bright light from the sun makes a difference in the chemistry of our brain. The bit that controls the nerves and stimulates our moods. And if that’s not enough to motivate you think of it as a chance to improve on your tan, spend some time outside and get fit and healthy!
  7. Happy is as happy does: Watch uplifting films, read some motivating books, immerse yourself in feel good projects, basically urge yourself to do all those things that you don’t feel like doing. Whilst the temptation is to curl up in bed in a dark room and listen to sad songs remember just how strong will power can be. Try having a look at www.happiness-project.com Gretchin Rubin, best selling author of ‘The happiness project’ (a book accounting the year she spent test-driving studies and theories about how to be happier) has put together a blog in which she shares her insights to help you create your own happiness project. Look under ‘Archives’ for hundreds of articles on every topic imaginable you’ll be sure to find some inspiring content that will keep you motivated and give you the boost you need.
  8. Get Involved: When there’s a lot on your plate two things help above all, keeping busy and keeping involved. Make time to spend with your friends or loved ones. If a lot of your friends are busy or you feel like you don’t have anyone don’t shy away and let misery take over, join some societies and clubs, meet new people. Take part in proactive projects aimed to help others, volunteer or do charity work. The feeling of helping others is not easily substituted and will make you feel great.
  9. Write it all down: Just getting things out of our heads and onto paper can be a step in the right direction to helping us feel better. Clear some space, sit down and really think about your life. Write a list of all the good things in your life and everything you have to be grateful for, write down what your problems are and possible solutions, set yourself goals and targets. Now put all this somewhere you can look at regularly to remind yourself that things can be sorted and positivity gained.
  10. Read Edward Monkton: He writes beautiful little stories that are truly inspiring and are sure to make you smile. With cute pictures accompanying his tales whats not to love. Be sure to check out ‘A lovely little love story’, ‘let us be lovely’ and ‘the pig of happiness.’ you wont be disapointed.
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The weight of feeling blue

We all have days when the thought of even getting out of bed seems an impossible task. When everything feels like it is getting on top of us. When we begin to ask the age old question, in regard to anything and everything, what is the point? For some people days such as this are a rare occasion and all that is needed is a bit of TLC from our loved ones. But for others this scenario is frighteningly familiar.

I looked at some statistics on mentalhealth.org and was shocked at what I found. Mixed anxiety & depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain and directly affects 1 in 5 people at some point in their lives. After a bit more digging on depression statistics I discovered the following…

  • 54% of people believe depression is a personal weakness.
  • 41% of depressed women are too embarrassed to seek help.
  • 80% of depressed people are not currently having any treatment.

Just knowing that there are people out there suffering who aren’t getting the help they need and importantly deserve made me feel saddened. Awareness needs to be raised so that the consequences of this very real and very present illness are made apparent. 15% of depressed people will commit suicide and it has also been estimated that by 2020 Depression will be the second largest killer after heart disease. With stats like these staring us in the face how can such an issue be disregarded by anyone? But worryingly people still feel ‘silly’ for having the blues whilst others are too embarrassed to approach their GP’s with such problems because they feel it reflects badly on them.

If you or anyone you know is suffering, whether you are just having a bad day, going through a bit of a rough patch or have been feeling low for quite a while bear the following in mind…

  • No GP should ever fail to take depression seriously. If they do then they aren’t doing their job right and you should find another.
  • Seek help from friends and loved ones around you, never feel like your problems are insignificant – they are not. Just talking things over with someone can often be the first step to feeling good again.
  • Remember you are not alone, stay strong, and stay positive.