Try This: Fuss-Free Overnight Oats

For the last year or so I have been OBSESSED with overnight oats. Super quick and easy to prepare, this delicious twist on your morning bowl is basically porridge, but soaked over night to create a creamy, cake-like texture and means when you are in a rush in to get to lectures or work, your breakfast is already sat in the fridge waiting for you to enjoy.

Just like porridge, overnight oats are also super versatile, with a simple base you can adapt and add different flavours and toppings to mix up your mornings and satisfy your tastebuds.

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Overnight Oats – The Base
Serves 5ish – Depends how big you like your portions!

Ingredients  
1 cup/ 100g Porridge oats
1 heaped tbsp Nut butter (Almond, peanut, cashew etc.)
1.5-2 cups / 375-500ml Milk of choice (Almond, coconut, soya, rice etc.)
2-3 tbsp Chia seeds
2 tbsp Honey/maple syrup
1/2 cup / 125ml Any thick yoghurt- (Optional, it makes it thicker and creamier but if you’re on a budget its not an issue to skip!)
1 tbsp Vanilla extract (also optional, I literally never have this at uni but it’s nice if you do)
Pinch of salt

Method:
1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until combined
2. Add more milk depending on how thick you want your oats
3. Place in any sort of jar/container/tupperware and whack it in the fridge. Its best left over night but if you can’t wait that long and fancy it for dessert after dinner, around 2 hours should give it time to set enough!

 

 

At uni I put mine in a big tupperware container and take out as much as I fancy in the morning, but alternatively to give yourself even more time you can portion them out into individual pots. That way you can also make lots of different flavours or add your toppings before so you don’t even have to think!

Variations:
You can do SO much with overnight oats to tailor to your individual tastes.

Toppings:
First off, you can change your toppings every day, my choice is normally a banana, or a handful of raspberries and blueberries. But you can also add granola for some crunch, seeds, nuts, coconut flakes and literally any fruit that you can get your hands on.
Top tip: I can’t afford too much fresh fruit at uni so I buy bags of frozen raspberries and then defrost a handful in the microwave for 30 seconds.

 

 

Flavouring:
The easiest way to mix it up is to use a different nut butter or different kind of milk to give you that variation in your life so you don’t get bored, but the ‘world is your porridge-oat’ in terms of stepping up your flavour game. My all time favourite is adding a spoonful of cacao powder (or just regular chocolate powder), and tadahh you have chocolate overnight oats! Add banana and you’re looking at banana, chocolate and peanut butter oats, the perfect combo. Add grated carrot, cinnamon and chopped nuts to get a carrot cake flavour for a morning ‘treat’, or go one step further by having cheesecake for breakfast by adding cream cheese, some lemon zest and then your choice of fruit! For any protein fiends out there, you can also get your fix, add a scoop full of your favourite protein powder and you have super-charged your morning oats with minimal effort.

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So fill your boots, (or your fridge), with delicious, fuss free overnight oats to get you going faster in the morning and see you through till lunchtime!

 

Try This: 2-Minute Vegan Pancakes

So, pancake day is literally almost over and I’ve decided to add to the noise a little too late and give you my recipe, why? Because part of being an adult is realising that you can make pancakes any day of the year!

This recipe is completely fuss free, takes two minutes, vegan friendly, and tastes like heaven on a plate. Now I maintain the real heroes and make-or-break parts of the humble pancake are the toppings, so really, a pancake is what you make it. But it helps to have a good base.

A lot of vegan recipes for pancakes use banana instead of egg, which I personally really like, but I know it’s not for everyone, so I’ve gone for banana-free ones to satisfy all – but if you want, feel free to change the nut butter for banana, or chia seeds etc.

Go crazy and add some broken up dark chocolate or blueberries like I did to pimp-up your pancake, and marvel at how easy and stress free it can be!

2-minute vegan pancakes
(Serves: Literally depends on how greedy you’re feeling, I ate it all, but I went into a food coma, it made about 6 ish pancakes!)

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Ingredients:

150g (1 cup) plain flour
2 tbsp caster sugar
2tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 heaped tbsp nut butter of choice
1 tsp oil (vegetable, melted coconut, whichever you prefer) – plus extra for frying!
300ml almond milk (or milk alternative of choice)
Toppings/ additions of choice (go crazy)

Method:

  1. Sift (or don’t, I didn’t because 1) I don’t own a sieve at uni 2) who really has time for that) all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl
  2. Mix the nut butter and oil together and then add to the dry ingredients
  3. Add the almond milk and whisk until combined
  4. Add in any additional flavours (I’ve chosen some dark chocolate and blueberries)
  5. On a medium/high heat add a little oil, enough to lightly cover the pan, once hot, pour in your batter to whatever size you want
  6. Once the pancake is coming away at the sides, is producing some bubbles and looks brown on the bottom, flip and cook on the other side (or try your best pancake-tossing tricks!)
  7. Remove from heat, get your pancake decorating on and enjoy!

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From the pictures you can also tell I went a bit ott… to the point you can’t really see the pancakes! So, feel free to indulge as little or as much (as much is encouraged) as you want!

Try This: Ultimate Shakshuka

Mornings are getting darker, evenings colder and for some, freshers week is around the corner. Summer may have only just left us, but as I do live in England, winter is very much making its way in, and I have already lit the fire twice this week. Dreary and wet days mean that a nice cold sandwich will no longer cut the mustard and some warm comfort food is on the menu.

I made this for lunch a couple of days ago and posted it on my Instagram stories and to my surprise, I had loads of people message me asking what it was, and for the recipe. (Side Note: When I say loads I mean 7. But that was enough for me to feel like I was Nigella Lawson and that I might as well make a blog post out of it).

 

Shakshuka is my new love affair. There are plenty of recipes online so you can adapt how you like as I sort of made this one up on the spot. The basis of it is a rich spicy tomato base with some runny baked eggs in the middle, this warming dish is perfect for brunch, lunch and dinner, and works as my personal favourite hangover cure. So if you are in need of a little comfort food, hanging from freshers week or want to mix up your mid-week meals, give this one a try.

Ultimate Shakshuka: 
Serves 1

Ingredients:

1/2 can of chopped tomatoes
1/2 can of chickpeas (drained)
1/2 pepper (chopped)
1/2 chilli (chopped)
Large handful of spinach
2 eggs
1tsp paprika
1tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
Bread (toasted)

Method:

  1. Preheat the grill to around 170. Place the chopped tomatoes, pepper and chilli into a saucepan and place over a medium heat to start heating through and reducing the tomatoes.
  2. Add all of the seasoning and chickpeas and place a lid on the saucepan and let it thicken up a little.
  3. Once thickened, add the spinach and stir until it had wilted and combined.
  4. Then transfer the contents of the saucepan into a bowl of choice.
  5. Make two small wells in the mixture with a spoon and crack the eggs into these wells.
  6. Place the bowl under the grill and leave until the eggs are cooked through.
  7. Garnish, and serve with some toasted bread to dip into the egg yolks as mop up the sauce.

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Super easy, and super quick, it probably takes me max 15 minutes to make. And you can play around with your ingredients; sometimes I use a tin of 5 bean mix instead of chickpeas, or you can go one better and get the 5 bean in a tomato sauce and then you have no need for the chopped tomatoes. Frying off some onion and garlic and adding to the sauce also gives some nice flavour, or my personal favourite, crumble some feta on the top after you have cooked the eggs!

 

 

5 Eco-Conscious Brands To Watch

Making more ethical and eco-conscious choices has been something I have been working on and becoming more aware of over the last two years. Simple things such as making more ethical food choices, being more conscious of the amount of food waste and general waste I produce, and working to reduce my plastic usage.

It seems that the world has also started to take note, more and more big name brands and small independent companies are priding themselves on producing ethical products or managing their waste more effectively.

This post is a shout out to a few brands and companies doing their bit to help the planet, whilst also producing some amazing products!

Toast (Beer) 

Beer lovers rejoice! You can now drink to your hearts content whilst also supporting the reduction of food waste. With the realisation that 44% of bread is wasted, Toast made it their mission to produce an ale using unsold loaves from bakeries and unused crusts from sandwich makers. In every bottle there is a slice of surplus bread – and better still, ALL of their profits are given to the charity Feedback to help tackle food waste.

So far they have saved over 6000 kilograms of bread, and are a fast growing and pioneering brand of conscious living. Their hierarchy in dealing with the surplus bread is Reduce, Redistribute, Brew, meaning that even before they use the bread to make their beer, they try to see if what they have collected is suitable to give to food redistribution charities first.

http://www.toastale.com/

Bees Wax Wraps 

Having only just discovered this company, I am now SO excited to share what Carly and Fran do. Everyone has at least one roll of cling-film or tin-foil in their home, constantly wrapping sandwiches, trying to preserve last nights leftovers can produce a lot of unnecessary plastic use. Enter handmade brand, Bees Wax Wraps, 100% natural made from cotton, bees wax, pine resin and jojoba oil, these wraps act in the same way as regular cling-film. Place over a bowl or wrap round a sandwich and the heat from your hands helps mould the wrap and makes it seal.

But wait for the best part, they are completely reusable AND biodegradable. Once you have used a wrap, you can give it a wash in some cold water and soap and its good to go again, and after a month stick them in the oven to re pasteurise and its like they’re brand new! I am definitely looking at investing in a few, and with such beautiful and funky colours, lunch will never be boring again!

https://www.beeswaxwraps.co.uk/

Pela

If you own a phone and admit to being as clumsy as me (or just don’t want to take the risk with your £400 phone) you will inevitably own a case, and like most of the population, it will probably be plastic. Traditional cases are made with a lot of plastic which contain toxins and are chucked away once we get bored of the design, meaning they sit in the ground or ocean for potentially thousands of years.

Pela have created a set of phone cases which not only protect your precious phone, but is also 100% compostable, BPA free and non-toxic, so you can save the world even when you’re taking a selfie.

https://pelacase.com/

Antibad

A friend I used to go to college with has been interning for this brand for a while and if you are a fashion lover, this is the place for you. Antibad are an online store and magazine which brings together sustainable clothing and accessories to challenge fast paced fashion and promote that sustainability can also be stylish.

From vegan bags to bamboo bras there is something for everyone. The website launches on October 1st so keep an eye on their social media and sign-up to their newsletter for offers and information.

http://antibadstore.com/

Chilly’s

The pinnacle of plastic use and waste comes in the form of plastic bottles. America throw away over 35 billion plastic water bottles every year. It is a huge waste of plastic, super damaging to the environment, not to mention it actually costs us lots of money. Chilly’s is a water bottle brand which aims to reduce single-use plastic bottles with their stainless steel ones.

The bottle is expertly designed to keep your drinks cool for up to 24 hours and hot for 12. With so many beautiful and stylish designs, you will want to be seen with this bottle, let alone that you’ll have that warm fuzzy feeling that you are saving the planet while you hydrate.

https://www.chillysbottles.com/

There are so many more wonderful brands out there but here was just a handful for you to check out if you want to do your bit for the world, enjoy!

Lessons from Abroad: Costa Rica

Last summer, after over a year of saving hard, team West travelled for a once-in-a-lifetime holiday to Costa Rica. To say it was an adventure would be an understatement. We were staying in a super rural part of the island, the roads should have come with a warning that they may be unsuitable for anyone with a nervous disposition, and we spent our days sharing sun loungers with the local iguanas. However, it was genuinely one of the most fun and exciting holidays I had ever been on, surrounded by the rainforest and its wildlife, amazing food and the most welcoming local community.

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The holiday came at one of the most perfect times for me personally. After finishing an exciting but really tough first year at university, moving away from home, and working super hard at my job, two weeks away from civilisation to explore and relax was just what I needed. And while we were away this phrase came up a lot: Pura Vida.

Pura Vida, is one of the most commonly used phrases in Costa Rica. Used as a greeting, farewell, to let people know you’re doing well, or just to say thanks etc. In its simplest translation, Pura Vida, means ‘pure life’, but it is also similar to sayings such as ‘real living’, ‘full of life’ or even our favourite Disney phrase ‘Hakuna Matata’. And like the Danish have taken Hygge, using it not only in its literal sense, but also as a basis for their way of life, so too, has Pura Vida become a way of life for the people of Costa Rica, which is something I think we could all learn from.

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To Costa Ricans, Pura Vida means that no matter what your situation in life is, someone could always be less fortunate. They believe that no matter how much or how little you have in life, life is too short to worry about it and that we should just live it as optimistically and fully as possible.

And wouldn’t the world be a much happier place if we didn’t worry about how much stuff we do or do not have, and instead appreciate our lives for what they are. And the Costa Rican people seem to have it pretty sorted. They have no standing army, (and haven’t since the 50s), they are one of the most valued environmental destinations, with a quarter of the country consisting in protected forests and reserves, and they have one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world. They live healthy, balanced lives, with respect for nature, one another and themselves.

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Even just being there for two weeks I felt I began to understand this deeply ingrained value more and more. Half way through the holiday, the internet at our apartment stopped working for an entire week and as more time went on, the less fussed I seemed to become. I was enjoying time with my family, seeing some of the most amazing views I have ever experienced and really understanding how fortunate I am to have the life I do.

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So one of my first lessons from abroad, is Pura Vida. Appreciation, optimism, and living life for the now. And so I here I am sharing my lesson with the rest of the world (or just my parents, who make up 85% of my page views). But I feel like in the interesting and sometimes scary time we are living in, some lessons from places and people who seem to be keeping pretty happy and out of trouble, couldn’t hurt.

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Much Love x

Naughty but Nice: Revision Snacks

Snacking during long periods of revision, hard days at work or when you are just plain bored is the biggest weakness for most of us. It is so easy to reach for a handful of biscuits or a packet of crisps, which gives us a spike of energy, only to make us crash an hour later. I know for a fact that staying relatively healthy around deadline season is near impossible, after I post this I am probably going to dive into my bar of salted caramel chocolate which is just staring me in the face. However, if you’re like me and like to pretend that you can fight the urge and remain healthy for a little while longer, here are two great, easy to make and store snacks to keep you going.

Roasted Chickpeas

Once again my favourite versatile legume takes centre stage for this super easy savoury snack.

They say having a handful of nuts a day is really good for you (so while I’m at it there is a great fuss-free revision snack right there), but if you are anything like me and want to save a few pennies here and there, a bag of almonds or pistachios can be pricey sometimes. Not to mention they’re only really good for you if you get them plain and not swimming in honey or salt.

Enter the mighty chickpea. Packed with protein and fibre, these little wonders are the new, cheaper replacement for nuts, trust me.

Ingredients:

1 can of chickpeas
1 tbsp smoked paprika
Pinch of salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200’c, drain the water from your chickpeas and then place them on a couple of sheets of kitchen roll to soak up excess water
  2. Once they’re mostly dry place on a baking tray and cover in the salt, pepper and paprika
  3. Chuck them in the oven for around 30 minutes – you basically want them to dry out, go golden brown and be crunchy when you eat them

Place them in an airtight container and keep them in your bag for the perfect on-the-go snack to see you through revision, work, long train journeys etc.

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The best part about these is you can experiment with lots of different herbs and spices mix up your snacking. For example, try adding some mixed herbs, cayenne pepper, chilli flakes, lime or garlic, the world is your chickpea!

Apple Crisps

Perfect for the times where you just want to reach for the packet of biscuits or a chocolate bar when you are seriously slumping during revision, or 3pm on a work day, these apple crisps are naturally sweet and easy to keep in your bag.

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Ingredients:

2 apples
1 tbsp cinnamon

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 120’c
  2. If you have access to a mandolin/ some form of slicer, then make use of that bad boy now. If not, (like me) using a knife, cut the apple into thin slices, the thinner the better!
  3. Arrange on a baking sheet and dust with cinnamon, and a bit of sugar if you want them extra sweet
  4. Place in the oven for about 40 minutes and then remove and leave to cool. This is the crucial bit, leaving them to cool is where most of the ‘crisping’ will take place, so don’t be tempted to move them straight after you take them out of the oven or they will remain slightly soggy!

 

So whether you are slaving away in the library, stuck at your desk all day or just need some better ways to snack, give these a try. They are perfect in an airtight container left in the bottom of your bag, so when that inevitable temptation to reach for the biscuit tin creeps in, you have something delicious to stop you, at least for a little while!

 

Lent: Rebranded

As Shrove Tuesday has come and gone as quickly as we could shovel down ten pancakes dripping in lemon, chocolate and all things delicious, you wake up on a Wednesday morning, with a food hangover. Memories are blurred from the night before, where you seemed to be drunk on maple syrup, and as you look down at your stomach, disgusted, you vow, ‘I am giving up chocolate/ sugar/ fat/ carbs etc. for lent!’. Six whole weeks you spend torturing yourself at the sight of a crème egg, crying internally when a friend offers you a biscuit and then when it’s all over, you scoff six weeks’ worth of your beloved, in one sitting, feeling just as grim as you did on pancake day.

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I mean, six weeks without this?!

 

Now don’t get me wrong, lent does have a genuine and significant meaning to those who follow Christianity, however, as in line with many occasions on the British calendar, religion doesn’t really play a part for much of society today. We give up chocolate because we want to be healthier, have a detox, or just to set ourselves a ‘challenge’. Some attempt to be more inventive, they proclaim six weeks without Instagram, Netflix, alcohol etc., and I highly admire a lot of people that do deny themselves of something they probably do daily, because it’s really hard!

 

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And really, how can you give up booze when you are a student

 

But here is where I differ in 2017. Every year, many of us will spend six weeks having pangs of misery not being able to enjoy something when they want, guilt when we fall off the wagon, and more often than not, feel worse once we binge at the end of our struggle. Why would we put ourselves through this pain and discontent to then inevitably reverse the effects on Easter Sunday?

 

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I’d love to say this was after indulging in too much chocolate, but sadly, it was after too much wine. And it wasn’t even for lent…

So my decision is to do something positive with lent. Every day I am not going to deny myself of anything, I am instead going to DO something. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all use those six weeks to do some thing positive, such as learning a new language, creating a new (good) habit, de-cluttering your house (for a few off the top of my head examples!).

And so, for lent this year, I have decided that I am going to perform a random act of kindness every day. Be that as small as complimenting my housemate’s hair, or as charitable as helping my university donate food to the homeless. But my aim is simple, to remove the typically negative uses of lent and make it positive. That is 42 days I can use to perform 42 acts of kindness to make someone, a group of people, my family, friends and myself, happy, even for the briefest amount of time. And the same goes for any of these ‘positive lent’ actions, after 42 days you could be able to say a few sentences in Spanish, able to juggle on one foot, or have a stupidly clean downstairs cupboard, my point is, you’ll finish those six weeks not being glad it is all over, but perhaps glad it happened.

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Example: This was in a library book I took out a few weeks ago which made my afternoon infinitely better.

 

And so I challenge you all not to give up something for lent, but to start something new, do something positive, and make your life, or someone else’s better for six weeks, not miserable! Now go and have that chocolate biscuit you have hidden in the cupboard, guilt free and happy.

Much Love x

P.S. I’ll be posting all of the acts on my Instagram feed/ stories so for anyone who is interested, bored or just plain nosey (I would be) – go have a look https://www.instagram.com/hollyambwest/

Scientific Monday Blues

So, its Monday 16th January 2017. In my eyes, and I am fairly sure to the rest of the world, a fairly normal Monday, the same kind that comes and goes every seven days, and the same kind that marks the start of a new week. However, I was surprised to realise, that this Monday was apparently not an ordinary Monday, it was in fact the annual occurrence of ‘Blue Monday’.

So I feel like I am a bit behind the hype of this anniversary, but with the help of some quick googling, today, or most specifically the third Monday of the month has been SCIENTIFICALLY labelled the most depressing day of the year. A group of scientists actually came up with a formula back in 2005 that calculated when the population of the Northern Hemisphere would be feeling at their lowest. And I am not sure about anyone else, but my goodness the fact someone wanted to calculate that made me sad!

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But it wasn’t until about half-way through my day that I knew Blue Monday was a thing, and before and after then I had actually had an alright day. I woke up, (however I had a small adult headache due to enjoying a couple glasses of wine last night to celebrate finishing my exams and getting some good essay results), walked onto campus and sat and did some uni work, went to a lecture about something that genuinely interested me (that was however interrupted by a fire alarm half way though so we had to stand out in the cold), and then I went to do some more work before walking home and retreating to my room to write this. Now, while that doesn’t seem like a spectacular day, and I could have done without the headache and the fire alarm, and the uni work to be honest, I didn’t once think ‘ugh well it’s blue Monday so that explains it’. It got me thinking, if we weren’t aware of it being said dreaded day, would we see the not so great things that happened to us as bad and depressing? Or would we do what I did and not even register them as anything.

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Me enjoying that wine…

But there are two outcomes I have seen come out of today, one of which I found frustrating and the other filled me with a bit more hope.

  1. The first, sadly, goes back to good old consumerism. Whilst flicking through my Instagram feed I noticed that any company/ clothing brand/ anyone that sells anything had latched on to this ‘Blue Monday’ idea with a firm grip. All would tell you that if you’re feeling blue, buy some clothes to cheer yourself up, grab some product to make you look or feel better, buy some food to comfort your sorrows. Anyone and everyone had used this ‘scientific discovery’ as a marketing push to get you to bust those blue with spending money – something which seems illogical because the ‘formula’ actually takes into account your debt at this time of the month.

I guess the real point I’m getting at here is it made me pretty sad that once again, like many things, this piece of research has been turned into a mass marketing campaign set to drive us to spend money.

 

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But if there was a cocktail deal on this evening, I probably would have been there quicker than you can say ‘2 for 1’ 

However, in a very non-cynical frame of mind, people have to make money somehow and its actually quite clever of them to use this to ramp up their numbers after January sales finish, which sort of leads me to my next point…

2. Blue Monday is actually going quite far in raising awareness for mental health and just the populations’ general well-being. So, its sad that someone has formulated when the most depressing day of the year is, but, does that not mean that people can look out for each other at this supposed ‘trying time’ in our lives? Charities are promoting mental health awareness, universities are offering free yoga classes, bloggers and websites are offering their tips to help beat the blues and promote healthy mental well-being.

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I go for walks with my family to cheer me up and have some thinking time.

So, yes, it seems as if Blue Monday has fallen prey to the world of consumerism and marketing just as all things do. But not all marketing is bad, to see that people were using this research to try and help and support others, filled me with an enormous sense of pride and hope in people, which made my ‘Blue Monday’, decidedly less blue.

So if you’re feeling glum, hug a friend, hug a pet, do some yoga, eat a pizza, call your mum, have a nap, talk to someone, read a book, dance around your house naked, you get the picture. Do whatever you want to do and what makes you happy, don’t sweat the small stuff and look for the positives in life, no matter how much adversity you face, but ultimately, stick together and support each other.

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

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But sometimes staying positive can be really tough so here are some really great people/charities to call, get in contact with or check out if you ever need that extra support:

Mind: A charity and place for advice and support for anything mental health related http://www.mind.org.uk

Young Minds: For information and support for anyone concerned about a child or young person http://www.youngminds.org.uk

Samaritans:For anyone feeling distressed, needs support and someone to talk to http://www.samaritans.org

PANDAS Foundation: A charity focused on helping mothers with pre and postnatal depression  http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk

Nightline: For students who need someone to talk to if they are walking home alone or just need someone to listen http://nightline.ac.uk

(Note there are a lot of worthwhile charities that help with mental health and these are just a small selection and mainly UK based)

I realise again that this was a pretty hefty post, so thank you if you stuck with it, but I hope that at least one of you found it interesting or helpful… It’s my first sort of ‘opinion’ piece that I’ve ever really written/posted so its a new adventure for me to write and you to read!

Much Love x

Older, But No Wiser?

It is fast approaching my 19th birthday, meaning it has nearly been a year since I legally became an adult, and 19 years since I popped into this world, clueless and crying. I would love to say that the cluelessness and crying has ceased, however as I begin to make my way into the adult world, I feel it has only increased!

I have learnt a lot over my few short years of living, but there are also a plethora of things I am yet to discover and understand so here is a post about the first 18/19 years of my life, lessons I have or have not learnt and I guess advice for those experiencing the same.

  1. Never will you have so much free time

    I am still getting the hang of this one, but between the ages of 0-22 (ish) never will you have so much time and so little responsibly to do absolutely anything you want. In-between the times you are at school/college/uni you have 6+ weeks of summer where 9 times out of 10 you do not have any work to do apart from a part time job which means the world is your oyster. Unfortunately I can remember a few summers where I have worked ridiculous amounts and then on my days off stayed in bed because I am knackered and by the time its up I wonder where all the time has gone. But as I am fast approaching the end of a very intense year at uni, I am ready to make the most of every free day I have in the summer and I advise all those who can to do the same.

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2. You can’t make everyone happy, and not everyone will like you

I really struggle with this one a lot because I always want to make everyone happy and to feel liked. However, I have learnt that it is impossible to be liked by everyone and that is ok. Sometimes people will disagree with you but as long as what you are doing what makes you happy, the people that matter will stick by you.

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3. A postive outlook on life makes positive things happen 

I know this sounds a bit hippy-dippy and like I am advocating karma, but I am not. This is something I believe in quite heavily, even if I do not practice what I preach sometimes – If you have a positive mental attitude, and see the bright side of things, 90% of the time good things will ‘happen’ to you. Not in a karma sense, but in the sense you notice more good and positive things when you think in a positive way. Now I am famous in my family for being good at getting in a grump, but when I do remember to keep positive, it helps.
A smile goes a really long way. 

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4. Admin days are bloody great

If you are in that college/uni stage, you are gradually having to do more ‘adult’ things such as book appointments, write important emails, pay bills, buy essentials etc. Setting aside a day to get all of these things ticked off a list is one of the most satisfying things and makes you feel incredibly productive.

5. Do not pay attention to the media

We all fall victim to it, I do all the time, but if you can help it, stop valuing yourself based on what you see in magazines, on tv, Instagram, Facebook etc. IT IS NOT HEALTHY. Sure the internet and media can be a place of great inspiration and motivation, but it is also a breeding ground for unrealistic expectations and a large kick in the teeth for self esteem. If you want to feel good about yourself spend time with your family and friends, go for a run or eat a piece of cake, whatever floats your boat but the media is not the place to look for validation.

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6. Tea is glorious

I am British, and I am sorry, I have not grown up enough to condition myself to like coffee even if I wanted to, but tea on the other hand is a gift I wish I could give to everyone. Cold? Cup of tea. Feeling sad? Cup of tea. Having a afternoon snack? Cup of tea. Tea is like having a warm hug on the inside, comes in many different varieties and if made correctly is a sure fire way to cheer me and much of England up. Take note.

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7. It is far better to be fool for a minute than it is to be a fool forever 

I can recall more occasions than I wish where I have stopped myself from asking a question to clarify, understand better or just because I simply did not hear which has caused me more grief than it was worth. So I have learnt the hard way, many times, that it really is so much better to be a fool for a minute and as a question than it is to suffer in silence and be a fool forever.

8. Dishwashers are amazing 

For real, after moving to uni halls this year and having no dishwasher I have never appreciated one more.

9. “I am only going to have a couple of drinks tonight” is the biggest lie ever 

Everyone has good intentions when they have stuff to do the next day or are short on money, so we vow to take it easy on the drinks and have an early night. Oh how we lie to ourselves. 90% of the time this is the night you get so drunk that you end up with half a burger in your bed and not a clue how it got there (guilty). And so accept it and quit lying to yourself, its ok that you spilt that tequila down your top at 2am, everyone does.

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10. Enjoy the little things 

I may have stolen this from Zombieland, but it is still valid. Enjoy the little things in life that make you happy and you will appreciate life and everything that comes with it.

So here are a few of the many things I have learnt over my short existence. Some were a lot more soppy than I intended but life is great and we should all take the time to reflect every once in a while.

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Much Love x