A New Found Fitness?!?!

During university, I put on a load of weight. Beforehand I wasn’t necessarily a gym fanatic but I certainly did a lot more than I did once I begun my new chapter at uni. It got to the point that I hate looking at the group pictures I took on my 19th birthday. My diet changed, obviously cooking for myself and only myself I naturally ate more and without having anyone to stop me I ordered a lot more takeaways.

This affected me a lot because I have always been an active person. I danced for many years both at school and at an academy. From the age of 8 until about 14, I participated in both football and athletics competing at a borough level on school teams. I took GCSE PE in year 9 and completed it in year 10 so that was two years of intense gym and various training in various sports. Even after that was over I continued dancing until year 13. I was always quite healthy and I never really had body confidence issues regarding my weight.

After seeing the pictures on my birthday I was absolutely horrified but still didn’t feel motivated enough to anything about it. I wasn’t incredibly or overtly massive but because of how fit and active I was used to being, it was hard to look at myself and not be happy with what I saw. I spent weeks being upset about it, comparing myself to all the beautiful people around me and even shutting off opportunities of talking to people and going to social events at university because it begun to affect me mentally. One day, before I came home I decided it was time to change and I started working out in my room a couple times a week.

Coming home from university has been a blessing in disguise. I’ve established a workout routine using videos from YouTube and go on runs (only once a day maximum and maintaining social distancing) on some days. Check out Rebecca Louise’s fitness videos btw! I’m eating healthier, drinking lots of water and I’m beginning to feel stronger and a lot happier mentally.

Some people want to gain weight, and some want to lose it. Some people are bigger than me and are happy and some are smaller than me and are happy. What’s important is that you’re healthy and that you are confident in your body and how you look and more importantly how you feel. It’s a journey for me. I love working out now. I love the sensation in my muscles the next day. I love seeing the progress! You’re all beautiful the way you are but sometimes a few lifestyle changes can have you feeling that little bit more amazing!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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