Choose your company

As the cliche goes, you are who your friends are. As much as we like to believe that nothing or no-one can influence us, this is simply not true. Who do you want to be? What are you aspiring to do? Where are you going? Ask yourself those questions when choosing your friends. Chances are, if the people you surround yourself are striving for the same thing as you, you are more likely to get to where you intend to get to.

I have had a lot of friends in my life and I have lost a lot of friends in my life. I like to think of my friendships as a circle within a circle. Who is on the inner circle? Who do you trust with your deepest and darkest secrets? For me, there may only be two or three people within that inner circle, and that’s okay, you can’t share your life with everyone. My middle circle is wider, these people sometimes are the biggest influences as they are usually your social group or close peers at school or work. Be careful with who you let in to this middle section of your life. There were some points where I had to leave these friends at the school gates (not literally, but metaphorically) because their behaviours and opinions would influence me so much due to spending countless hours with them. The outer cirlce, while still important, has more room for casual friendships. Your friends of friends, the guy or girl you pop up to on snap once a year on their birthday and perhaps even people in your class or on your university course are some of the people that might fall into this category.

It is inevitable that the amount of people decrease as you get deeper into the centre circle but that is also where the deeper, truer and more meaningful friendships lay. Choose wisely, because who you surround yourself with has a big impact on your mood and character. Friendships are so beautiful, so let’s make them worthwhile.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Relationship Advice: Let’s be real

I am only 19 years old and have my whole life ahead of me. Despite not being extremely experienced in the adult dating field, I still believe I am qualified to give advice based off of my own experiences. The idea of having a boyfriend or a girlfriend as a teenager can be thrilling, exciting, dreamy – but also anxiety-crippling, confidence-shattering and yes – heartbreaking. 12-17 year old me knows this first hand. Regardless of my parents advice to not have pointless, meaningless, teen relationships, I had my own ideas! Although they weren’t serious relationships, and I wasn’t actually heartbroken when they ended, there was probably a lot of stress that I could have saved myself. I don’t regret them at all though. Looking back in hindsight, I laugh at myself because at the time I probably thought they were the absolute love of my life, knowing full there was not a chance of it lasting more than a few weeks or a few months. However, there are some teen relationships that do go the distance, which is a rare and beautiful thing to find!

Having got out of such a childish cycle and mindset, I’ve began thinking more deeply about what relationships, in the romantic sense, actually mean and what I would want in the future. After talking with one of my good friends about this the other day I decided our conversation would be inspiration for my blog post today. This is all from my personal perspective, I believe everyone deals with things differently. And that’s okay. Our difference is what makes us beautiful as individuals!

Nowadays, I never see the point of setting myself up for heartbreak. If I know from the start that it won’t work e.g. if there are character traits that I can’t overlook or our intentions are not aligned, I don’t see the point in pursuing it. I’m ruthless in the sense that I will end something, whether it be a talking stage or anything else, as soon as I see signs that it isn’t going to work out. It’s harder when it’s an established thing, but I believe the quicker you are honest with yourself about a potential unresolvable problem, the less it’s going to hurt.

This generation is so driven by ‘the right timing’. It’s over generalised. “It’s too early to make it official”, “it’s too early to say ‘I love you'”, “it’s too early to catch feelings”. Now I’m not saying to marry a guy after talking to him for a day or so, that would just be a bit thoughtless, but at the same time stop being held down by societies perception of ‘the right timing’. Everything is relative. What is too early for one person is too late for another and vice versa. So long as it feels right for you, and whoever you’re engaging with, that’s all that matters. Stop worrying.

I also want to mention is the whole concept of being on the same page. This is so so so so so important. I cannot stress it enough. If the person I am talking to likes to get around a lot and doesn’t intend to stop, why would I, a person who is more inclined to settling, decide to take things forward with them. And vice versa. If you like to get around, explore a bit, I wouldn’t advise getting with someone who intends on getting into a serious relationship and settling down for the future.

Lastly, why are you getting into a relationship? Ask yourself this. If it’s because you are lonely or bored, it’s probably not a good idea. Using a relationship to fulfill your emotional needs can lead to disaster. Likewise if it’s just because you want someone next to you to make cute Instagram posts or to show physical affection to; these are not sustainable foundations for a relationship. Sure they can be bonuses within a relationship, but if it’s built solely on these things, it probably isn’t worth it. If you actually want to bulild something with a specific person and you can see them perhaps being in your future then you probably have a good thing going.

Romantic relationships are not the be all and end all. Ultimately, being young and single has so many pros. Get to know yourself first, make yourself into the person you want to be, and the right person will find their way to you.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

My faith and me: What do I believe?

The connatations of Christianity in the Western world does not euqate to it’s meaning or value to those who actually believe. Being born and raised in church I have seen so many variations and ideas regarding being a Christian. Living in a secular society, where faith and belief is seen as an outdated concept, it’s sometimes difficult to convey and declare my faith without being met with a bunch of complicated questions.

I can stand and say that now at the age of 19 that I am a firm believer in Jesus. He is my God, my saviour, my helper, my healer, my peace, my joy, my strength and He calls me His friend. I am who I am because of my faith, and I will never be ashamed of it.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” Romans 1:16 (NIV)

I love all people, that’s the main value of Christianty, and one of the most important commandments. I aim through my life and through my blog to spread the love that God has given to me.

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

When things don’t quite go to plan..

Throughout my A-levels I tried extremely hard. Choosing three subjects that had little relevance to each other and without having a clear career plan it was destined to be quite a bumpy road. And that it was just that. I chose English Literature, Maths, Psychology and Biology when I started sixth form and the first term was the hardest. I thought I wanted to be a psychologist before changing my mind and doing an English Literature degree. I thought those subjects would be best. After a tiresome struggle with Biology I chose to drop it after one term.

The rest of first year was pretty good. In our end of year mocks I got the grades I needed to pass onto year 13 so I was thrilled. Halfway through year 13, juggling being head girl, having a part time tutoring job and just trying to navigate becoming a legal adult (with all the emotions that come with it) I took a bit of a mental dip. At this point I had stopped writing, even journalling, and this blog came to a bit of stand still. I wasn’t very happy with how life was going. I wasn’t necessarily in a low mood or particularly anxious, I was just a bit blank. Despite putting in as much effort as possible, I didn’t get into my firm choice of university.

After many tears, many cuddles and a very over-dramatic phone call with my dad I finally gathered my brain cells and rung my insurance university. They immediately offered me a place. My insurance univeristy was my original first choice but I wanted to push myself in picking a different one, with higher grade requirements. I was of course absolutely gutted that I didn’t get in but I eventually realised that God had me and still has me right where He wants me. After a lot of self-doubt and a big knock of confidence I realised and understood that God was going to use my once perceived failure and turn it into something better.

Looking back in hindsight, I wish I didn’t get so upset. I’m so happy where I am. I have zero regrets and I don’t even think about the absolute disgrace of results day. When it seems as if things aren’t quite going your way, there is always a bigger plan. Don’t worry about the future too much and keep up the faith!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Baby Steps: Advice for people who want it all now.

We constantly hear the saying that ‘patience is a virtue’. Sometimes when we envision something, be it a new business idea, a new relationship or even a school project, we plan it all out and rush to finish. Or worse. We plan it out, try to rush it, fail to, and give up all together.

In my life so far I have begun many many novels and in that same life, I haven’t completed a single one of them. I have this massive idea, an epic narrative, the characters planned out, the setting, the climax, the resolution, the ending…. and then it never happens.

This is usually because I want to finish it immediately and don’t trust in the process. What I want to tell you guys is that sometimes the journey is the best part. Getting to know someone, building a buisness or creating the storyline of your novel can be just as refreshing as seeing something completed.

Don’t rush. Trust the process. And take baby steps.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Take a breath….

Does it ever feel as if you are running a constant race? As if even if you lay completely still, you’re still exhausted? Me too. Someone asked me that about two years ago, when they saw I was stuck in a constant cycle of overthinking and never getting the results I want to. I wish I knew then what I know now.

I know it can be difficult to make your mind stop going. And thoughts aren’t always that bad. It has been estimated by experts that the average human being has around  60,000 – 80,000 thoughts a day. That’s a whole lot – our brains are incredible! It is without a doubt that everyone worries about something a few times a day. But I know for me, and for a lot of you too it is sometimes just pure worrying a large majority of the day, most of the week. It’s easy for someone to come along and tell you to “slow down, “chill out” or “stop worrying”, but a lot harder putting it into action.

The best and most practical way, for me, to calm my brain and stop so many anxious thoughts passing through is to fill my day doing things that occupies my brain capacity. Yes, that may mean taking random trips to places, doing extra studying, reading, writing, drawing, exercising, getting a brain-stimulating job, cutting up fresh fruit (that has helped me!) or planning exciting things to do with friends. I had anxiety for a long time and every now and then it tries to rear its head but I am so concious of not leaving too many long empty gaps in my day because I know that it’s within those times, my anxiety creeps up on me.

Writing lists also helps me structure both my day and my mind. I would previously get stressed if I didn’t complete everything on my list or if my day took a U-turn. I’ve learnt now that it’s okay to crumple the list up at the end of the day, even if it’s not completed, and start another one the next day. (Though I would suggest you meet that homework/coursework deadline!)

This last tip that I have, and probably most hardest on the days you just want to be alone with your thoughts, is that when feeling stressed or thinking too much is to do things that completely oppose what you’re feeling. It’s so typical to go to your cringy break-up songs or sad songs playlist when you’re feeling terrible – I know you have one! Or even watching a really sad movie, like Titanic, might be the first thing you go to. Although these songs and movies are really good, they’re probably not the best thing to feed your mind with in this state. Give yourself a bit of time to collect your thoughts and slap on a comedy or some cringe worthy, cheesy and overtly happy songs. It might help more than you think!

I’m not a doctor, a therapist or a counsellor and none of these methods are in any way scientifically tested or proven, but rather they are my own ways of dealing with my overthinking.; I believe entirely that mental health is so so so so important and you should seek professional help if stress, worry and anxiety consumes your life completely. However, if it’s a mild thing that you can deal with but still gets you down, I would totally recommend trying these tips. They may not all work but hopefully you find something that helps you! Contact me if you have any great tips you can share!

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

So who’s going to break the cycle?

Nowadays everyone’s got a lot to say about social media. Snapchat. Instagram. Twitter. YouTube. A lot of the younger generation, myself included can’t go a day without scrolling through our feed, flicking through stories, liking, commenting and reposting. But is it really all that bad?

It without a doubt that social media is used to do a lot of bad. There is a vast number of people, particularly teens and young adults who develop increasing bad self-esteem issues and mental health problems due to an over-indulgence on social media platforms. This is as a result of not being able to meet the standards that some influencers insinuate. But this is only a limited view.

Amongst ourselves, we peer in on each others lives, relationships, homes, meals, businesses, lifestyles and compare ourselves to our followers and the people we follow, including our real life friends. Without even realising sometimes we fall into the toxicity of comparison. And comparison can kill.

However, there is so much positivity that comes with getting stuck into social media, it’s not all that bad. And we need to teach this to not only our generation and the generations to come but also to the generations before us who are certain “our stupid phones” are the cause of all the worlds problems (metaphorically of course). Promoting hobbies, spreading encouragement and making people laugh are only some of the ways in which social media is pushing this generation forward. We need more of this. Let’s be mind changers. Let’s be cycle breakers.

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

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