Mental Health Matters

I went back to uni this week and it was probably the most stressful week of my year so far. Even more stressful than last terms exams. Although not that much happened, my mind has been filled with fear, panic and anxiety all week. It’s been my first time going back into uni in person since living under the safety net of my parents roof for the last 6 months. There’s something about hiding behind your laptop screen in your bedroom that you can’t quite get when sitting face to to face with lecturers that hold doctoral degrees in English Literature.

I tried to exercise, I’ve been eating and sleeping okay but mentally, it’s been on of the hardest weeks. I haven’t lost all hope though. I’m going to walk into this week with determination to smash all of my targets and to focus on my mental health. It gets better and the storms do pass.

I’m so sorry for the lack of content or formality with this blog, I can’t seem to put anything into words, but hopefully you understand and take something from this.

You’re amazing, never give up!

Love always,

Shadz xo

Quarantine Update: What’s Next?

What’s lockdown looking like for you at the moment? Have you got back into swing of a normal life or are you still feeling really cautious?

I’m sort of in the middle. Of course I’m still cautious and careful but yet I am thankful that I have been able to get back to normal living in some ways. The start of quarantine started off very slow. Family walks, endless Netflix, university assignments, blogging and filming at every possible chance. Things are looking a bit different now. I’ve been to see friends, I’ve completed the majority of my driving lessons, I’ve finished first year and passed with a 2.i!

During lockdown, one on the things I had time to give a lot of time and attention to was my relationship with God. After the ups and downs of first year, I felt very distant from God. Delving deep into His word, spending time in prayer, finding guidance in older mentors and sharing struggles with my Christian friends that a lot of young adults can relate to has really given me the push in my Christian life that I need. When a lot of people prophesied “2020” vision, I didn’t think this was what was meant, but now I understand. My eyes have been opened.

I am relatively excited about moving into a house next year. There will be challenges, I am sure of it, but I am confident that I will overcome them because of my reignited faith and not be overcome by them. I believe the next year will fly pass and I am excited to get stuck into some new books on my course as well as some personal reads.

In terms of my blog, expect to see posts, same with my videos, maybe not so frequent as you’ve been used to, as I would prefer to take my time to write genuine, honest blogs and create videos that will actually have some lasting impact.

Overall, I’m doing well, I can’t complain and I hope you all are making the most of your time right now!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Late Night Shenanigans: Rated Cringe Worthy

I’m not entirely sure who this is aimed at or why I am writing it but here it goes. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

I’ve finally found a platform that I can share what I love doing with other people. A lot of people who have known me on a surface level in real life, such as peers and acquaintances, probably see me as the girl who gets decent enough grades and is friendly to people without actually knowing too much about me. There is so much more to me and my life than my grades and my people’s persona. I have a story – a short one – but still a story, I have a life outside of education contrary to popular belief (shock horror), experiences, both good and bad, my own opinion, beliefs – strong ones and I finally have a medium to share it on.

This may come as a shock to people who know me properly but I feel like I have spent my life living in the lie of the perception that I think others have of me. Let me break it down. Anything that anyone has said to me, whether good or bad has formed the way I perceive myself. It’s been that way from ever since I could remember. From primary school when I used to be called “goody-two shoes” to secondary school when I would be called “not black enough” to sixth form where I’d simply just be called “different to the rest”. Now, the goody-two shoes thing was true, mostly in year six when I suddenly became quite shy and introverted for reasons I honestly cannot remember. I definitely lost the goody-two shoes label over the years though, not that I’m complaining. The “not black enough” label has sort have stuck in my conscience but I’m old enough now to know it’s absolute nonsense. But during secondary school it consumed me. My post titled “melanin” explains a bit more what I mean by that – so definitely check it out! What matters now is I know that my race is my race and I will never let anyone, including myself define me based solely on the colour of my skin. I’ve learnt to be me, simply because I’m me. But it still gets me down sometimes. I don’t want to be confined to the racial stereotypes that modern society has created – I wasn’t made to be put into a box. At the same time I want to embrace my race, my roots, my heritage freely and encourage others to do the same. It’s something that I’m honestly still figuring out.

The whole “different from the rest” perception is the honest reason why I’m up writing so late. I have always known I was a bit different. Not in a cool edgy, American teen rebel movie sort of way, not even in being extremely good at something or creating something incredible. I was just different. I felt distant from most of my peers in every stage of school life. As if they were experiencing a different world to them, that’s how it felt like. I wasn’t heavily restricted from doing anything, my parents were protective but I had freedom, maybe more than a lot of my peers did. But I never felt like I was in the group, nor did I feel particularly left out, but rather on the circumference of the circle (#GCSE maths). I spoke to everyone, got along with mostly everyone. Don’t get me wrong, I had great friends, no one purposefully or intentionally did anything to me but I felt this way pretty much all the time. I wasn’t happy being me because I felt people would judge the real me. I felt so pressured to conform to a standard that no one even expected of me while they were simply busy just being themselves. I put myself on the outside, I discluded myself because of fear of not being loved no matter how many compliments people showered me with. And even if I felt I wasn’t loved by the crowds I often ignored and disregarded my first love, Jesus.

I put the views and opinions of others above God’s view of me. And that is without a doubt what kept me in that dark place. If I had dwelled on my identity in Christ than on my identity in the eyes of the world my teenage years would have been different. I’ve obviously finished beating myself up about it now, and I know I have been forgiven for that 100 times over but sometimes I do look back and think what if. What if I spent my time resting in his presence than I did resting in other people’s satisfaction. What if I listened to His voice rather than the world’s voice. What if I spent my time in worship rather than drowning in sorrow. But then I remember, if it wasn’t for my mistake, I couldn’t be sitting here right now, writing this for you guys to read. I know everything I write and say won’t be relatable to everyone. After all, this is my story, not a projection of the whole world’s story. You may not believe what I believe or you may not be passionate about what I’m passionate about. But if I could ease the stress off of one area of one person’s life then I would write this blog one thousand times over (do you get the reason for my title yet?). You have to forgive me though, ahaha, it’s 3:38am on a Saturday and I am quite possibly in need of my bed right about now. So I’m going to wrap this up here with this:

I think I’m finally fine with being a bit different 🙂

Sweet Dreams and Love Always,

Shadz xo

Quarantine Talks: Reading, Writing and Watching Netflix

How have you been spending your lockdown? It’s become the new norm for me, I sometimes even forget I’m in lockdown until I get the daily news bullentine on the BBC News app. I’ve had a lot of astonishingly productive days so far where I’ve met personal targets and deadlines. And I wouldnt’ say I’ve completely gone mad (maybe a little) but I’ve honestly had days where I haven’t even wanted to get out of bed or do anything remotely productive. One of things that I was certain about when creating this blog is that I was going to be completely and utterly honest with my readers.

As you probably already know, I am far form perfect. I don’t have my whole entire life sorted. I don’t have all the answers to what I want to do in the future. I just don’t have it all together. Seeing as all the priorities that I have at the moment are inside jobs i.e. this blog, video making, attending online lectures and writing essay, lockdown hasn’t actually restricted my life as much as it has other people. But I’m not getting as much done as I thought I would.

I would say I’m a very driven and ambitious person – on one side. I have things that I want to do, improve in and complete. The other side of me is sluggish, demotivated and often too nervous to push the boat out just that little bit further. I’ve started making videos on my Instagram, but as soon as I post them I start worrying who will see them and what they will think. Will they think I’m boring, too serious? Or maybe over excitable and not sophisticated enough. Not so long ago this would have stopped me completely from posting anything! Including things on my PRIVATE snapchat story. Anxiety about what other people might think has been my biggest struggle throughout my whole life. It starts off as a little tickly feeling in my mind and suddenly it overcomes me like a big dark cloud. I’ve worked on it over the years especially in the weeks leading up into university and I am still working on it.

What I’m trying to get at is I’m not exactly where I want to be in most aspects of my life – in my creative passion, in my confidence, in my fitness, in my relationships, in my finances or in my mental wellbeing – but I am certainly not where I used to be. Reaching the end goal or target doesn’t matter as much as the progress or the journey. At the start of quarentine I had started none of my full-term essays written, I was slacking on instagram and blog posts and I hadn’t even made a video yet. Now, I have consistently been writing blogs, I’ve produced two mediocre videos and worked on all of my full-term essays, with one completely finished. It’s not a lot for 7 or 8 weeks of lockdown, but it’s something. I’m learning to trust that God is the one who hold the plans for my future. All I can do is rest in His strength and follow where He leads me to go. This has brought me great peace in all of the uncertainty. He promises His children rest. Even when anxiety is closing in on me, even when I want to reach something that seems untangible, even when I feel I’ve failed, I have learnt to rest in His presence. And it’s okay to stop, to scrunch up your schedule and press reset for tomorrow. It’s okay to switch off and binge watch Netflix series for hours and it’s okay to not quite reach your standards of perfection. What is meant for you is already yours.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Quarantine Talks: Let’s be honest: Being home and the reality of living away.

It’s probably obvious that because of the pandemic I have had to leave university early and come back home. But do I like being here? Or would I rather be there?

The short answer to my title is yes. I am a total homebird. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love university, I love the independence and the responsibility of being able to choose what to do and when to do it. I’m an adult so it’s not to say that I don’t get a lot of freedom at home, because obviously I do, but it’s different at university. I can only speak for myself but when I’m at home, I wouldn’t get up at 3am and go for a walk with my friends – not because I’m not allowed, but it would be weird, for me. At uni, me and my flatmates did that plenty of times, not alone of course, that’s too far for me. But certainly with my friends I would, and it wouldn’t be weird. At university, I choose to eat what I want, when I want, regardless of what anyone in my flat is doing. I choose when I shower and how long for (en-suite benefits), I choose when I want to shop and what I want to shop for, I get to buy what I want to buy. In essence, I do what I want, when I want without it affecting anybody. And that’s exactly why I prefer being at home.

I love the hustle and bustle of family life, I love cooking for my family, I love sitting around the table, laughing and making jokes. I eventually love the sound of someone running to the bathroom even when I’d planned to go in, I love hearing my mum scream “DEL DEL WHERE ARE YOU!” even if it’s just to ask what chores I’ve done today. I love the silly and sometimes annoying altercations with my little siblings. I love hearing my big brother blasting out his music out full volume from his bedroom. I love hearing the deafening sound of my dad sneezing and snoring on the couch ever so often. Now most of these things may seem strange to love, but what I didn’t understand when I left to university is that I wouldn’t have these things anymore. You just don’t have it. The things that maybe you would have seen as being inconvienient at the time, end up being the things you miss. And I miss them when I’m away.

So yes, I do miss being at home when I’m at uni perhaps more so than I miss uni when I’m at home. And I’m glad I’m home for the time being.

Uni students – do you prefer home or uni?

Love Always,

Shadz xo

What am I planning to do next?

Hey guys, bit of a quick one today. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can expand my platform to reach and reflect more people. Not only this but I do a lot more than writing and it’s quite difficult to cover everything I do simply through my writing.

Expect to see:

IGTV videos on my Instagram (I’ll publish them on here too)

Recipes (I love to cook)

And….. Music covers of my favourite songs – this one might take a bit longer. I’m currently re-learning the guitar and would love to show you all what I’ve been up too.

Hope you’re all doing okay.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

When the start stops

In the midst of a pandemic I’m going to write. The last two weeks have been hectic. My first year of university finishing prematurely, coming back home two weeks before easter, online studying and to top it all off, being on lockdown for at least three weeks.

I’m not going to tell you the logistics of the virus or the main points of Boris Johnson’s new orders to the public because I’m sure you’ve heard all of this. I’m not even going to tell you to stop stock piling! But what I am going to tell you is what you can do in this time of a worldwide crisis.

We’re indoors. For a long time. There’s so much you can’t do, but there’s so much you can do. For writers like me, we have no excuse not to write – I’ve been putting off blogging for two weeks because of deadlines and the changes to life because of the virus. But I can’t let these circumstances become excuses for not fulfilling what I want to fulfill. Use this time to read more, make a life plan, learn something, watch something inspiring. Although this isn’t an ideal situation and EVERYONE’S lives have been flipped upside-down – some worse than others, we can really make something positive out of it. It’s so tempting to binge watch series on Netflix all day (personal dig) but I definitely don’t want to look back after we’re all free again having done absolutely nothing.

Let’s do something great with a not so great situation.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Sometimes it’s too much….

I think sometimes the subjects that are the hardest to talk about are the most important.

Obviously I took a week off writing this week. I got really ill, with a stomach bug and was bound to the bed until Thursday. Getting up to my laptop to write a blog was just not an option. So I didn’t.

I have battled with stress, overthinking and anxiety for as long as I can remember. It’s not something that I let define me but it takes up a lot of my day.

The thought of not writing made me anxious. The thought of not writing when incredibly sick made me anxious. That’s not normal. It may have prolonged my recovery period because I couldn’t rest properly. I felt like I was failing and that I would never be successful. I missed a whole week of lectures. 101 bad thoughts ran through my mind. And I couldn’t stop them.

So I faced my biggest fear. And stopped. Completely. Stopped worrying about missing lectures, stopped worrying about blogging and about all the other things going on. I’ve just put it all out of my mind. This is an ongoing battle and I’m only a growing human.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Change of Plan

I’m so glad that I enjoy writing on the spot. Today took an unexpected turn. I planned a blog to write on “Redefining Feminism”, I scheduled it to be written, finalised and publish by 10pm tonight and as you’ve probably noticed – it hasn’t happened.

My day just went differently, and although I could be writing something engaging and meaningful about how there have been multiple waves of feminism which have all been a refinement on the last, I am instead writing about why that hasn’t happened. I planned to be home by a certain time tonight, I had a list of things to do and suddenly me and my housemates for next year get a call from the landlord of the most ideal student property for our second year. Of course we rushed at the opportunity, put an offer for the house and sorted out our finances surrounded it. That was the first thing.

Secondly and lastly actually, I realised I had something to prepare for one of my seminars tomorrow morning. I realised halfway through that I’ve missed the point completely and had to start all over again! I can be so clumsy sometimes but I’m also incredibly particular when it comes to being thorough and correct in my work.

This blog means a lot to me, and although few at the moment, I love my readers too. I can’t promise to always be on time or to have things completely together despite my constant and endless creations of list. This blog is my life, my real life, the good and the not so good. I will always update you on my Instagram but I will be always posting something on the days I’ve planned! I can’t promise to always have it together, plans sometimes change.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

1 Day of Love?

February 14th. The best days for some, the worst for others. Some hate it… too much, some love it… again, too much. For the whole of my teenage years I hovered somewhere in between. Regardless of whether I was talking to a guy during that time or not I never really saw it as a big deal but I definitely wasn’t the grinch of romance.

I love romance, I love romantic novels, romantic movies and hearing about other people’s romantic dates but Valentine’s day was never a reality for me. I feel like love should be displayed every single day to family and friends as well as towards significant others’. Aside from the historical significance, I never understood, and still don’t understand why one day of the whole entire year is centred around romance. At the same time, the idea of a day dedicated to flowers, teddy bears, chocolates and restaurant dates really does entice me.

For the first time in my life I had a “real” Valentine’s day experience with someone really special to me. It was the most amazing day, something I had never had before and I will never forget it. However, the day itself was merely an expression and an enhancement on what we already were building between us. It didn’t necessarily change how I felt about him – not that it was meant to. He was amazing before and he is amazing now. I feel like what you have with another person, be it a friend, family member or a romantic interest overrides everything that is external e.g. fancy dates and gifts.

It may be so much different for you, your outlook on the day may be so much different to mine. What I took from it is that the concept and the whole season of Valentine’s day is lovely – at face value. What I also learnt is it has nothing do with what you do, what you receive and where you go but has EVERYTHING to do with who you do it with and how you feel.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Take Time

Yesterday, I went back to my home town to visit my family. I havent’t seen them since Christmas time and had been missing them all so much. Despite having tons and tons of reading to do, having some events to squeeze in and having some jobs to run, I was determined to see my family this weekend.

I think it’s important to take time to do things that we genuinely want to do. Not because we have to, but because we want to. We get so caught up in doing the things on our list, sticking to our schedule and being productive that we forget to take time to be with the people who really matter.

As a university student, time isn’t always on my side. Whether it be completing endless reading lists, rushing between lectures or deciding which societies to go to, it’s so easy to forget where I really want to be. And that’s at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love uni, I love my course and all the wonderful friends I have made, but there really is no place like home.

Remember to take time out form your busy schedule to do the things that really matter this weekend!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

My University Experience: Semester 1

Today I started semester 2 of university! I thought why not write about my experience during semester 1 on my blog today! So here we go…

Driving to university on the first day was nerve wracking, as expected. All of my things were jam packed in the back of my dad’s car and it was time to say goodbye to my sheltered London life and embark on new adventures elsewhere. Arriving in Guildford at the University of Surrey was… interesting. We arrived within the wrong time slot (my bad for not double checking) but it turned out alright in the end. I knew I was staying in some temporary accomodation on campus for the first four weeks while they finished building the new accomodation in the student village, but I had no clue what it looked like or what was going to happen. It turned out sharing 3 showers amongst 14 people wasn’t as bad as expected, but yet, I am so glad to now have an ensuite!

I feared Freshers’ Week more than actually starting my course – in fact I almost forgot that I came here to study because I was worrying so much! However, I had no reason at all to worry! I met some lovely people, tried new things and finally begun living life as a student away from home.

Lectures, seminars and pre-reading was a different story. I think it’s such a student-y thing to be so passionate about a subjuct but lack the drive and motivation to actually want to do the diffcult part! I study English Literature, so I am nearly as passionate about reading as I am about writing. I made quite a few friends on my course which has honestly made the whole experience 100 times more worth it – shoutout to them and I would totally recommend making some course mates!

I thought exams and coursework submissions would be so much different to what I was used to at GCSE and A-Level, but honestly, once you get your head around the websites/processes they use, it is pretty straight-forward. Exams, however, are still exams, and like at GCSE and A-Level, I was glad for exam season to be over!

The social side of university is, as many people say, what you make it. I live in a smaller town to what I am used to but there is still so much to see and do. Being so close to a lot my flatmates makes arranging days and nights out so much easier – I’ve been so blessed to be placed with people who I can call friends!

I am actually looking forward to Semester 2 and all the excitement and adventure that may come with it! University has been one of the best choices that I have made in my life and honestly wouldn’t want to change where I am right now.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Give or Take

I often find myself wondering why things don’t go the way that I want. Sometimes I work towards things that I want to achieve and for one reason or another, they just don’t work or even happen. It’s as if I think that the world owes me something and when I don’t get it or things don’t go to plan, I throw a strop, like a toddler who doesn’t get their own way.

One of the most valuable things that my beloved mother has taught me in life is that you gain so much from giving. By ‘gain’ I don’t mean gaining assests, appraisal or pride but rather character, genuinity and selflessness. My mum is such a giver: not only to my family, but to her friends, the strangers around her and the church family she is in. I’m learning that you get so much more from giving than you do from taking and recieving. I’ve found that a life without giving to others is not a life that I want to be a part of – it’s somewhat miserable.

Me and my beautiful mum, 2004

Obviously there’s limts, there’s no point rinsing yourself dry and not be able to sustain yourself because you’ve spent your weeks wages or student loan on surprising people with gifts. I’m not saying to sacrifice the time you should be spending working or studying to be running errands for every OAP on your street either (no matter how much of a procrastinator you are)! But in the times where everything on your mind is saying “me me me” – “my benefit”, “my desires “, “my satistfaction” are the moments where you maybe should consider “What could I do for their benefit? What do they desire? What would satistfy them?”. You may gasp and shudder at the thought of putting someone else’s needs before your own, believe me I can be very much like that, but in being self-sacrificial, that is, putting others before yourself, the effects can be powerful towards your own unconcious needs. Give more, take less. Thank you Mum for teaching me this.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Slow Starts, Things Change

At the start of last year I set myself a number of goals. Looking back in hindsight, although some of them were reachable and I did achieve some of them, a lot of them I’m yet to achieve. The truth is last year didn’t go quite how I expected. It wasn’t awful, but I believe I built myself up to believe that I would accomplish much more than I did. I went through a long period of time that I wasn’t even writing at all, not even journalling. By the grace of God I made it into university and have started my new adventure there. However, I was determined to do so much more and reflecting on my goals for 2019 I was disappointed on how little of them I achieved. I couldn’t bear to log back into this blog, I went through some extreme writers block, I even deleted my writers Instagram page. Although I am absolutely heathly physically, in a mental and emotional sense I felt unable to pursue what I needed to pursue. This year my main goal is to write more. Or better yet, write. It’s difficult to open up and be so raw and honest about how displeased I am with my progress this year but I’ve decided it’s time to stop dwelling in regret and self-doubt and just get on with it. I’m excited for what lies ahead and approach this year with faith and confidence.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

melanin.

For the majority of my life I have been surrounded with people from all over the world. In fact my friendship circle consists of British, Hungarian, Nigerian, Indian, Polish, Pakistani, Dutch & Bengali people and many many more. The clash of cultures has taught me to not merely tolerate and accept race, but to completely submerge into the cultures of others, embracing every difference. My problem, however, was never ‘getting used to’ or ‘blending in’ with people from other cultures as I was born into a multicultural society. My insecurities lay not within how I responded to others but rather how I perceived the way that other people would respond to me. This led to a tainted view on how I viewed my race and thus a large part of my existence. Of course now, as I’ve grown older I’ve learnt to embrace my own race just as I have everyone else’s. My puffy hair and hot chocolate coloured skin is nothing for me to be ashamed of, I am BEAUTIFUL and so are you.

Truthfully and thankfully I have never experienced hardcore racism of any sort. Throughout secondary school, particularly during the earlier years, I was labelled as an “Oreo” by some of my white peers (which I embraced) and “white” by my some of my black peers (which I didn’t embrace). In hindsight, it’s hard to pinpoint why exactly the different names had opposite effects on me. Perhaps being called an “Oreo” by white friends seemed playful, perhaps affectionate and accepting into their race (but I still couldn’t understand why I had to be an Oreo and not a chocolate digestive). On the other hand being labelled as “white” by my black friends came across as an insulting, cold hearted and rejecting from people of my own race. (I did have Asian, Mixed race and Hispanic friends, but they never labelled me anything in regards to race.) After a while I internalised these labels and saw myself as being black on the outside and white on the inside. Daft right?! I jumped on the bandwagon by starting to see race as a personality type, defining my racial identity by the interests I had and the labels set upon me. I often felt “too white” for my black friends and “too black” for my white friends. These feelings were and always will be a mistake. It is toxic to believe that hobbies, passions and interests are stamped with a racial barrier. I assure you that you can do and love ANYTHING that you want to do that empowers you regardless of your race and how others may perceive it. I begun to distance myself from many of my black peers (bar a few who I’m still friends with to this day, shout out to you gals!) because I didn’t feel as if I could relate to them. I often felt different from my extended family (we are Caribbean) as I felt that the perception my classmates had on me shone through at family gatherings. This caused me a lot of anxiety and led to me feeling very lonely within the most loving family for a period of time. I could not fathom why enjoying different types of music, speaking in a sophisticated manner, enjoying ballet and contemporary dance, hanging out with different people and speaking openly about mental health was classed as ‘white’ and why being or ‘acting white’ was seen as a betrayal to my heritage by my peers of colour. Likewise, I didn’t understand why my white friends felt they had to announce that I was a black person who perhaps enjoyed and embraced things that were stereotypically part of British culture. I just wanted to be me. I no longer feel any sort of anger or resentment towards any of these people for labelling me, they were (and many still are) my friends. We were all conditioned by the standards of society and I understand that they did not say it out of malice but rather because of societal pressure to conform to the norms.

Theories of being ‘colour blind’ are untestable. The key is to see race fully and actively choose to not define people by their outer appearance or cultural background. Understandably we live in a diverse society and so it should be without a doubt that we no longer define ourselves or each other by our race but I know some people around me still struggle with race and that’s okay. If I were to teach my younger, more insecure and vulnerable self and others one thing about race, it would be this. Cultural differences exist, but we all have the opportunity to unite. Dialect varies, but meaningful communication is universal. Traditions vary, but good morals are reflected in every nation. Racial history varies between cultures but unconditional love is what should bring us together and set us free. In essence the differences between our cultures should not tear us apart or cause us to fall into hatred and intolerance but rather bring us together, allow us to learn more about each other and cause us to grow in love and acceptance. There are more similarities between us all than differences. The YouTuber, ‘Prince Ea’ published a video a few years back about race and it was one of the most heartfelt videos I have ever come across. He posed the question “who would you be if the world never gave you a label?” His answer was “we would be one, we would be together” which as a girl who had struggled with societies interpretation of racial identity, spoke a lot of truth to me and was very comforting. (I’ll link the video down below).

I can only thank God for freeing me from the pressures of the world and allowing me to see myself as I was made. It was a journey to acceptance that I will never forget, one that I’ll cherish forever and one that I will use to help others who are going through the same thing. The human race in all it’s forms is beautiful. The multitude of cultures, races and nationalities that have surrounded me in my life this far have shaped who I am today. Forever and always embrace who you are and be open to learn about and love others.

Love Always,

Shadz xoxo

Prince Ea – I am NOT Black, You are NOT White http://youtu.be/q0qD2K2RWkc

How do I juggle life as a sixth form student?

There are many aspects to my life currently as a sixth form student. Many of these exist within the realms of academia but there are other parts of my life that happen outside of school. Everyone’s experience with sixth form/college differs, depending on how they have chosen to navigate life. But here’s how I do it!

School Work

Week upon week I spend around 30 hours in school and I dedicate a decent amount of time (usually :/) per week to revision. For someone so engrossed in their studies like me, stress is inevitable, especially when the desirable outcomes aren’t produced. I try to balance all three of my subjects evenly but it’s difficult when perhaps I favour one subject (obviously English Literature) more so naturally, out of pure interest, I put more effort in or become so concerned with falling behind in a weaker subject (Maths) that it compromises the amount of time I get to put into the remaining subjects. I somehow managed to dedicate the right amount of time to each subject by assessing my strengths and areas of improvement and revise according to my weaknesses rather than constantly revisiting topics that I already have mastered.

Part time job

When I begun sixth form I promised myself (and my parents) that I would get a job. It was only then that I realised the value of money and could truly appreciate how hard both of my parents work for us. The cliche that “money doesn’t grow on trees” suddenly made sense. Being in charge and responsible for my own money prevented me from spending unnecessarily. Although it can be hard sometimes to juggle full time education and a job but it’s good preparation for real life – it doesn’t hold me back. I enjoy my job, I enjoy the company of the people I work with and I feel blessed to be in the position that I am in.

Family and Social Life

My family are my best friends, my favourite people ever. However, in the midst of life, between work and study, it’s easy to neglect, yes neglect, those close to you. Upon realising that I couldn’t constantly use my education and exams as an excuse to not spend time with my family, I switched up my priorities. And guess what? My grades didn’t suffer. In fact, I believe that the positivity of my family actually benefitted my study. As for my social life – personally, is not a big aspect of my life. I love my friends to bits but most of them are from my sixth form or other sixth forms with similar targets and aspirations. We’re not the biggest party animals so prefer to sit at home together and eat pizza but we have the best time. Everyone’s social life is different and balance doesn’t always mean 50/50. Although studies may take out a fair chunk of your time, always give some time to your loved ones.

There are other parts specific to my own life e.g being head girl, driving lessons etc but I think I covered most of the main general points. Feel free to comment if you want advice on any more aspects of life.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

What do I want to do within the next 365 days?

2018 has been a rollercoaster of a year. Some elements were amazing, others I have learnt valuable lessons from. Nevertheless I am blessed that I have made it successfully through another year. I have strengthened relationships in all aspects of my life, grown on a personal level and developed a whole new skill set that I never even knew existed. I still have a long way to go to reach the person I want to be but I believe that will be an everlasting journey through life.

So what do I want to achieve this year? Many set new years resolutions, and some do achieve every single one of them, and I can’t wait for the day that I meet every single person who has completely smashed those resolutions. In all honesty, I told myself last year that I would be exercising everyday, eating healthy, reading constantly and looking after my mindset everyday. In short, I haven’t done any of those to the max. Luckily for me, I recognised that those targets were perhaps a little to overboard, and not very SMART. So this year I have made targets more reachable and hopefully more relatable to what I am physically and mentally able to achieve. Here we go!

1) Pass A-Levels (with flying colours)

2) Start University!!!!!

3) Write and read more

4) Practice gratitude and general mindfulness

5) Give more

6) Save money

7) Learn to drive

8) Best to last: Spend more time with loved ones

Some of my goals are pretty personal, but others are quite general, so I hope you all can relate to them!

Happy New Year and bring on 2019!!!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

The Beauty of Christmas!

Hey guys! Merry Christmas!! What’s your favourite part of Christmas? Is it the decorative lights? The presents? Spending time with your family and friends? I love all of these aspects, as most people do, however, as a Christian, Christmas to me is so much more! Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ through joyful songs, generous giving and all round fellowship and collaboration with those in my community is what truly makes my Christmas special. This year, today in fact, I had the absolute pleasure in helping out at a Christmas party/meal for those who are less fortunate than myself which was organised by my incredible church family. Giving back to the community and sharing this special holiday with those who are short of either company or money has definitely been one of the major highlights of my Christmas.

Christmas for most is a season of peace, love and joy regardless of faith and beliefs. I hope all of you out there experience the peace, love and joy that you well and truly deserve. I wish endless laughter and happiness to you and all your families!

Will be back with another blog in the New Year!

Merry Christmas!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Welcome & 10 Facts about me!

Hi everyone!! I write EVERYTHING… from lifestyle tips, to motivational speeches, to spiritual advice. Follow my blog to come along on my journey!

Here’s 10 facts about me!

  1. I am a sixth former studying English Literature, Psychology and Maths
  2. I hope to study English Literature at university next September
  3. I was born six days before Christmas
  4. My favourite hobby is of course writing
  5. I LOOVVEEE Netflix
  6. I love rearranging my room (all the time!)
  7. I am the head girl of my school
  8. I laugh and smile wayyy too much
  9. I am a Christian – my faith is very central to my life
  10. I love to dance!

Love Always,

Shadz xo