The Greatest Day in History

“Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.”
Matthew 28:5‭-‬6

Happy Easter you lovely people!!! Resurrection Sunday is the most important day in the Christian calendar. This is the day that we celebrate the resurrection of our saviour Jesus Christ. I am eternally grateful for what Jesus did for me on the cross – he defeated sin and rose up up from the grave so that I can live in freedom. Tens of thousands of Christians across the UK and millions of Christians around the world use this day to remember what Jesus has done for them, not only in their personal lives but for the whole entire world!

I will never be ashamed of the gospel and I will never be ashamed to declare my faith both here, on my blog, and in my daily life. My blog, of course is not merely faith based posts, I post a bit of everything, from education to relationships to lifestyle but my faith is very central in my life and I would believe I would be hiding a huge, crucial part of myself if I did not share it.

Whatever you’re doing today or however you’re choosing to celebrate this bank holiday weekend I hope you are all keeping safe and staying happy – even in quarantine!

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

Unmotivated?

Yeah me too. I’ve been sitting in bed for the past two hours following my lectures this morning. Granted, I was tired, and had some shows I wanted to catch up on also but in all honesty I feel extremely unmotivated.

It gets like that sometimes. Sometimes, like this morning, I wake up and want to just go back to sleep. If it wasn’t for my 10am lectures I may have. As soon as I got back to my accommodation, I collapsed into bed and haven’t left since. I could be reading, researching, exercising, changing the world. But no. I’m writing this very blog from between my insanely cosy bed sheets.

I’m sure you all experience days like this sometimes. It’s okay to not feel 110% motivated all the time. I know some people do (or pretend that they do), and they are inspirations, but my reality is that some days I don’t want to face the day to day happenings of life, people or productivity.

So long as the unmotivated and withdrawn mindset doesn’t become a habit, doesn’t override your dreams and aspirations or distract you from the things you need to do, it’s okay to sit and do nothing sometimes, healthy even.

I will get up, just give me 10 more minutes…

Love Always,

Shadz xo

A Few Words…

You are you.

No one will ever be you.

No one can ever replace you.

And THAT is your STRENGTH.

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

Girl, those red flags…

I know first hand that it is so easy to ignore such explicit red flags when it comes to guys and dating. Sometimes it’s easy to not see red flags, but 9/10 times, we see a red flag…. and then ignore it. This is down to a number of reasons. We might reallyyyyyy want a guy to chat to, we might really like him, we might think we can ‘change’ him or we may just being ignorant.

I have been all four of those, many times over and it’s left me in the same position every time. Although people may say otherwise, I don’t think it’s bad to set high and strict standards when it comes to dating. I personally have a physical list, full of personal requirements that I would want a potential romantic interest to have. Some have a mental list, some just go with the flow.

However, there is a list of questions to ask yourself to notice red flags as early as possible.:

Do you trust him?

Do you feel safe with him?

Does he respect you?

Can you tell him the truth?

Obviously there are many, many more things you should look for in a relationship, but a lot of them are relative to each person. Don’t compromis your standards for anyone, date smart.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

What we try to conceal

Did you know that there is nothing wrong with the way you look? That spot, that scar, that excess bit of fat, the blemish on your cheek does not decrease your worth or your beauty. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

I know it can be so easy to look at yourself and compare yourself to the next girl; I do it too. I’ve had times that I’ve stood and cried at the parts of me that I didn’t like such as my spots and acne scars. I used to wear a thick layer of foundation or concealer to cover them up so no one saw. I have nothing against make-up, I love to wear it myself because it can be so fun and satisfying to try new looks. However, back in my younger teen years I used to wear simply because I didn’t like the way I looked, and that wasn’t okay.

I have met so many girls who cannot leave their homes without a full face of make up on, not because they genuinely enjoy wearing it, but because they think they are ugly without it. This saddens me so much because I hate that we as women sometimes hold the “ideal” standard of beauty to the highest regard. We compare ourselves to each other and to the media and then beat ourselves up when we cannot reach those standards. This has to stop. What are we teaching our daughters and our granddaughters? Our little sisters and nieces? We have to break this cycle.

Know one thing, you are beautiful, no spot, blemish or scar will ever change that.

Love always,

Shadz xo

Be the person you want to meet

Would you want to date or marry yourself?

Weird question, I know but hopefully I got your attention. There was an episode of First Dates where the woman had on a wedding ring and told her date she was married to herself. Different right? Search it up if you don’t beleive me! Aside from that crazy idea, I think so many of us would avoid seeing singleness as such a terrible state if we asked ourself that question more often. There are so many amazing examples of single people I know who are so career or education driven that their desire for dating or marriage isn’t at the forefront of their minds. Of course you get the few indivuals, (well actually quite a chunk), girls, in particular who scream “I don’t need a man” on a daily and to them I say “Yes, I love you independant women!” You queens are killing it out there! But this is for you lovely ladies (and lads too) who feel so held down by your singleness. Perhaps you feel unattractive, boring, unloveable, or as if you’re too difficult or complex to find someone who a) understands you and b) wants to be with you regardless.

First things first, you are beautiful, you have purpose, you are interesting and you are loved beyond all measures. Second of all, do not be defined by your relationship status. I know it can be hard when all we see in the media is: “baecation”, “cuffing season”, the dreaded “#relationship goals” and whatever other cringe-worthy trends that have found their way into our lingo. The next day we’ll see non-stop quotes about how “men (or women) are trash” and how relationships are a waste of time. We need to stop succumbing to what is seen as approved of at any given time. I am 100% that some people have never had an issue with this and we need to honestly take a leaf out of their book because they are the ones who are winning, whether single, dating or married.

The point I’m trying to make ultimately is that instead of constantly seeking the next best thing, particularly when you’re unhappily single, is to start not only appreciating the time you have to nurture and develop as an individual, but also to work on becoming the person that you would want to meet. Look at it this way, would you be attracted to someone wallowing in a pit of sadness because of their relationship status? Waking up everyday complaining about their singleness? If you’re answer is yes to that, I mean – I guess everyone’s type is different…. But I am assuming that at least 97% of you wouldn’t be attracted to someone like that. Sometimes it’s hard to look at ourselves, reflect and critique parts of us that we could improve on. For me it’s my lack of patience, self-doubt and wavering self-esteem that I need to get a grip on before I can even start looking to spend and share my life with somone. But hey, that’s just me.

Lastly, be you, bright and beautiful you. Your skin is fine, your hair is fine, your height is fine, your body is fine. There’s nothing more attractive than a person who appreciates themself for who they are. Accept the things you cannot change and have the wisdom to change the things you can.

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

What society dictates

We live in a paper world. I don’t say that to limit the beauty of creation but rather to question humanity and the arguably universal societies in which we live. Perhaps you could call this ‘social satire’; it’s an absolute joke. First of all, I want to address the big obsession that we as a collective have on this concept of aesthetics. Physical aesthetics. It is hard to understand why there is a narrow box that one must fit in order to comply with societies standards of beauty. ‘You’re my type on paper’ is a phrase that I am certain you are all aware of. Is that what we as human beings are defined by? And here I am not referring to the few individuals who wholeheartedly find all people beautiful regardless of their front layer, I’m referring to the majority, I’m referring to society. The wicked truth is that in the eyes of society, we are defined physically by whether or not we meet a particular criteria on a metaphorical piece of paper. Paper standards guys. And who creates these standards? Celebrities? The media? The Government? Queen Elizabeth? No, none of the above. The truth is you make them. I make them. We make them. We are society.

The ironic thing about it is that although we as a collective set these standards, we struggle to uphold them. Only a few, though lightly, manage to play by the rules in the public eye. It’s a game that we created but cannot seem to play. We try to sugarcoat it, with various paper protests regarding ones physical appearance trying to undo the damage done. In turn we as individuals feel obliged to join certain movements which yet again causes those who object to be looked down on. We then end up in a vicious cycle of finger pointing and trying to decide which is the ‘right’ way to think. It’s always ‘us against them’ and proclaiming that ‘not everyone has to be slim and fair’ whilst simultaneously potentially insulting those who fit in those categories. Why the fixation on looks? Why don’t we set societal standards based on respect, love and cooperation?

We need to break these cycles, there’s a dying world out there, a real world, not the paper world we’ve created. The key to life is kindness, being kind to ourselves despite the way we look and being kind to others despite the way they look. Let’s take appearance out of the equation. Truth is you’re all beautiful; that’s a fact. But what really matters is the society that we create for our children and grandchildren. Let’s leave them more to cherish than a paper society.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

A matter of connection: A bit of friendship advice….

Friendships and human connection are a major part of the lives of the majority of people living amongst us. Humans are social creatures and thus desire to connect with others. Many people, more specifically teens, have the mentality of “group=safety” whereby they spend the majority of their teenage years thriving on the idea of “fitting in” rather than being an individual.

Now, there is no issue with wanting to fit in and there’s no problem with wanting to find friends that resemble oneself but the toxicity comes when the desire to fit in puts your happiness at stake. In essence, it becomes an issue when you go out of your way to change yourself in order to gain respect and admiration from those who you associate yourself with. This can be in the form of changing your passions or interests, compromising your personal morals and adapting your appearance. These are all toxic signs. I’m not generalising all circumstances and I’m not dictating that all people who experience this are in toxic friendship groups, but from personal experience and from the tales of those close to me who have also encountered these situations, it is a good sign that you may need to reassess your friendships.

Friendship should not be competitive regarding things that you cannot control; ie: looks, weight, popularity, intelligence, family life, but instead ones friendship should encourage you, support you, value you and of course help you to believe that you can reach your goals. We should be quicker to listen to others than we are to speak and I believe this is important, especially when one requires the care and attention of the other.

Everyone is an individual, so it’s by no means a 1-for-all topic. It’s not always a matter of acquiring meaningful friendships overnight. It does happen though, that people meet, unexpectedly, and become the best of friends but also note that friendship is a journey, not a destination. You’ll meet many amazing people as you go about your teenage years, and some will become lifelong friends. However, do not live in blatant ignorance. Although I value all people regardless of their past actions and do not believe that a person alone can be toxic, I do strongly understand that not all friendships you encounter will be sincere, so just be mindful. Ultimately, friendship and human connection is so important and I hope and pray that you all develop powerful friendships that will lessen the downsides of this beautiful life.

Love Always,

Shadz xo