a big week

It is not often you get two big events in your life taking place in the same week but that is the situation I found myself in when my graduation fell just a few days before my birthday.

Graduation is a weird day because you’ve been gearing up for it pretty much since the beginning of university. Every year that passes you see your Facebook feed flooded with cap and gown photographs as older friends graduate & you can’t help but think “that will be me soon”. So when that day finally arrives it feels a little bizarre.

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Despite the big build up & expectations, the ceremony wasn’t really what I expected. You don’t wear your mortar board during the actual ceremony (which makes me question why they cost so damn much to rent) & you are only on stage for a few short seconds before you find yourself descending the stairs back to your seat. However, the speeches given & the general atmosphere does fill you with a deep sense of pride of all that you have accomplished and what those around you have too. It is also really sweet watching all the parents as they get misty-eyed watching their little babies all grown up.

 

My best advice is take pictures BEFORE the ceremony if you can, especially if you’re going to be crammed into a stuffy hall in your heavy gown for two hours. Take as many pictures as possible because it’s your day and you deserve to have a full blown photoshoot. Especially as this will probably be the only time you graduate unless you go on to do more academic study. And, finally – let your professors know if you’re staying in your university city because chances are you’ll be invited to be on the alumni pub quiz team & that is the biggest honour they can bestow on you!

 

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As I said at the beginning of this post – it was also my birthday this week. I’m not gonna dwell on it too much because as a general rule people don’t really care about your birthday as much as you do. However, considering this was the first birthday I was spending away from my hometown, it was pretty fab. Despite a false start when the bowling alley was FULL, I had a great time eating vegan cake, shopping for books & having drinks in the many funky bars that Leicester has to offer with some fab pals.

 

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Sorry for the intermittent posting – just figuring out this work/life/blog balance thang. 

 

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june favourites

VEGAN JUNK FOOD

  • Sainsbury’s recently labelled their ‘fizzy fangs’ as vegan which was the best news for me because I had really missed the sour taste of sweets. It just reminds me of being a little kid! Thanks to vegantreasures on instagram for showing me so many foods I didn’t know were vegan!
  • If you ever find yourself in Leicester, take a wander down the Lanes & look out for a shop painted yellow called ‘Currant Affairs’. Not only do they stock lots of vegan friendly brands but they also sell sweet and savoury snacks including brownies and ‘sausage’ rolls. They are so inexpensive, run by lovely people & it is generally just a great place to shop.

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WELLNESS

  • I recently started doing some research around crystals and got completely in to them. They really help me to focus when meditating & of course they just bring a really great energy to my place.
  • One of my latest blog posts was all about kundalini yoga & that means it HAD to be featured in my favourites. Check out that post to find out more.

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OTHER

  • I recently joined an animal rights group in an attempt to educate myself and get to know more like-minded people. I helped out at their stall this weekend just chatting to the public about all kinds of things animal related and it was a really interesting experience. If you live in Leicester/Leicestershire – have a Facebook search for ‘Leicester Animal Rights’ – they are an amazing group!

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What have you loved this month?

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h o m e

The new issue of the Messy Heads  is all about home and it made me think about all the places I have called home.

We lived in an upside down house when I was tiny. By this I mean the kitchen, living room etc was at ground level and then you went down the stairs to the bedrooms. I don’t remember much about the house apart from the clips I’ve seen from home videos, although I very clearly remember falling down the stairs when I was trying to catch a big beach ball decorated with 101 Dalmatians.

I grew up in the same house from the age of 3 until I left for university. In that time we had sheep, goats, horses, rabbits, chickens, geese, fish, dogs & cats. It is hardly a surprise that I turned out be an animal lover & a country girl at heart!

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At 18 I flew the nest and moved into an apartment block with a bunch of strangers in a new city. We made our own little family and found comfort in each other whilst going through the biggest change in our surroundings in our young lives. It was a bizarre dynamic that somehow worked, if only for that single year.

I then moved in with two of the girls I had lived with in that apartment block in a weird house next to a creepy toy shop. We ate a lot of pizza and pasta bakes in that house. We saw people come & go in our lives a lot that year but we always managed to keep our friendships together. I had always been independent as a child but moving away from university made me even more so. I loved the freedom of decorating how I wanted, buying what I wanted and living with who I wanted.

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Moving back home on my year off was weird because the place that had been my home for so long felt different & I couldn’t put my finger on why. Going back for my final year of uni was equally as strange because I had been away. It is funny how time & space makes you see a place differently.

Emma Mercury, editor of The Messy Heads, makes an interesting point about how it is not just the places but the people that make the homes. I couldn’t agree more – all these places I have lived would have been meaningless without the people I have shared them with, family & friends alike. I also have a whole host of ‘second homes’ that are the abodes of my closest friends and my boyfriend’s parents’ house. Where you are greeted with hugs when you answer the door, know where the essentials for making a cuppa live & where their pets love you just as much as they love their owners.

And now? I have my first flat with my boyfriend – I am living with a BOY!!

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It is tiny and things keep breaking but it is ours … I mean don’t get me wrong we are renting because Hi, I’m a millennial and that means I won’t be able to afford a house until I am 60!

Take some time to think about your home this week, not just the building in which you live, but the people that make you feel at home.

 

 

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kundalini: my new obsession

A favourite pastime of mine is walking around the park near where I live listening to podcasts in the evening sunshine. One day whilst doing this I heard Britt & Tara from High Vibe Livin talking to Jordan Younger (The Balanced Blonde podcast) about kundalini yoga. For some reason I had the impulse to google it and see if there were any classes nearby. Bear in mind that at this point I was about 10 minutes into the podcast and still didn’t even know what kundalini yoga really was! Anyway, I found a class nearby and after a few emails with the teacher I was signed up. I didn’t really know what to expect but I followed that earlier impulse and I have not looked back since.

Kundalini is all about energy: working on your own, learning to not absorb others negative energy and learning about how your energy plays a part in your life. As a very empathetic person and someone who is very sensitive to other people’s energy this has been such a breakthrough for me. I am starting to not let other people’s negativity impact on my day and am I learning to cultivate an amazing new energy within myself.I joined halfway through a 10-week program which worked on a different chakra each week, incorporating mantras, physical movement, meditation and relaxation. I think my favourite part of each class is the meditation that uses a specific mantra as a focus point. It really helps to keep me present and stops my mind wandering off.

I have been doing kundalini for a month now and let me tell you that this works FAST. From the first class I took I could feel energy really moving within me. I look forward to going every week and I always come out of each class so blissed out!

So that is what I have been filling my time with over the past few weeks. Have any of you done kundalini before? Or do you prefer something else to help tap into your spiritual self? Leave me a message in the comments as I would LOVE to know!

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If you are interested in learning more about kundalini yoga I would recommend looking at the High Vibe Livin website. They have a free 7 day programme to raise your vibration and they’ve just introduced a new ‘Intro to Kundalini’ programme too! They are also two of the loveliest people I have talked to on the internet – they are so welcoming and supportive and always answer any questions that you may have. 

*image: sat nam (pinterest / etsy print – no longer available)

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so you’re a vegan now?

Yeah this question has been asked and answered many times over the past few weeks. Just a quick disclaimer, I’m not trying to preach – it is your body and you can put it in what you like. This is just a little blog chat about my experience with moving into veganism.

I had been considering veganism for a while and whilst laying in bed feeling super ill and sluggish I just made the decision to try it out for a week and see how it went. Sadly, my biggest concern with veganism was the BS that I would get for it from my peers. I learned pretty quickly to just say “it’s my body and my decision isn’t affecting your life” and ignore the “I’m going to eat loads of cheese in front of you” jibes. Apart from that, my transition has been overwhelming positive. I tweeted out asking if anyone had any advice for a baby vegan like me and I had so many lovely DMs filled with advice.

Here are a few of the people who were lovely enough to help me out

Cattitude&Co: twitter // blog 

Hannah Sierp: twitter // blog

E Craves: twitter // blog 

My shops have been cheaper

*KLAXON SOUND* Yep, that’s right my shops are CHEAPER without dairy or meat products in my basket.

I have cooked the BEST meals

Honestly, turning vegan hasn’t stopped me eating my favourite meals. The other day I had popcorn chicken and garlic bread but it was all vegan and affordable (shout out to ASDA). Being vegan doesn’t mean eating a bowl of chickpeas and some avocado (although both are really nice but that is not the point I am making here). Supermarkets have so many affordable free from options – the other day I had vegan rocky road!! I have also experimented way more with cooking which has been really fun for me and a great distraction from revision.

I have discovered some amazing places

Who knew there were so many vegan places around where I live. Finding vegan food isn’t as hard as you may think, thanks to the internet. Trust me, you won’t miss out at restaurants either as people are actually getting with the times and offering amazing vegan options *insert confetti emoji*

I have energy, I have clearer skin and I just feel better

Cutting out dairy has made me realise how sluggish and ill it made me feel. The other day I ate a whole vegan pizza and whilst everyone else was clutching their stomachs complaining about being too full, I felt perfectly satisfied. In fact, I was really smug about not being in pain after eating because guys, guess what, THAT IS NOT NORMAL. Also my skin is GLOWING. Yes I still get spots, ya girl still got hormones but generally my skin is so much better!

 

As I said at the beginning of this post, I am not about to preach to you about animal cruelty, the destruction of the environment and so on because whilst these are all valid points people tend to get freaked out when faced with the ugly truth. And like I said earlier, it is your body and you are in control but if you are considering veganism or even just going vegan once a week, I completely recommend it. 

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toxic friendships

*please note that the people in the featured image are NOT toxic friends. I just thought it was a good image. if you are featured in this image don’t worry I love you* 

The whole concept of toxic friendships has been playing on my mind recently and I realised that a blog post about them would have been so helpful when I was in the midst of my toxic friendships. So this is a guide for all you who are like a sponge and take on the energy of others  and emotionally invest in people so much that you end up draining yourself.

There is a difference between putting yourself first and being selfish

I wish someone had told me this when I was younger. No matter what I was going through, if a friend rang me I would push aside all of my stuff and listen to their problems and help them. Of course, being there for your friends is important, especially if they’re going through stuff BUT you also have to be there for yourself. If you are having an awful day and you know that you don’t have the capacity to help someone else at that moment…be honest. Check that the problem isn’t life-threatening and ask if you can call them back tomorrow / when you’re feeling a little better.  SET BOUNDARIES. If the person is really your friend, they will understand. There were so many times as a kid when my mum had just died when I was in pieces but would sit and listen to everyone else’s problems that seemed so tiny in comparison and it used to upset me so much that no one stopped to consider me. It upsets me even more that I never stopped to consider me!

Surround yourself with positive people

I am an extremely empathetic person and I am highly susceptible to other people’s energy. If someone I am close to is stressed, I take on that stress. If they are sad, I am sad too. It has taken me a long time to realise this and learn that if you surround yourself with people who are always miserable, negative and angry it can be so damaging to your own mind. Obviously people cannot be positive all the time, it just isn’t possible but it is possible to not be negative ALL of the time. Question how you feel whenever you have hung out with them. Do you feel exhausted, drained or sad?

Assess your give and take ratio

Do you devote yourself fully to a friendship whilst the other person only really bothers when no one else is around to entertain them? Are you there for them but they don’t really reciprocate, even when you ask for help? My counsellor highlighted to me that most of the friendships I discussed with her had something in common – I put in all the leg work and didn’t really get any of the reward. This kind of ties in with the other points I’ve made but I thought it was important to say it in very black and white terms. Reevaluate friendships that you put a lot into and don’t get a lot out. It really shocked me how often I have done this with previous friendships that have ended and even a couple that I still have. You can’t expect someone to be there for you all of the time (see point 1) but you can expect them to be there for you as much as you are for them.

I hope this has helped you if you’ve needed it today

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(updated) favourite podcasts

Just over a year ago I wrote about the podcasts I was enjoying and looking back on that post I realised it definitely needed updating. Podcasts are still a very large part of my evening routine as well as the soundtrack to long drives home. Whilst the podcasts I mentioned last time are still high on my list, there are definitely a few new ones too.

You can listen to podcasts on the podcast app which is free on iTunes. If you don’t have an iPhone, Podbean is another great app for listening or SoundCloud.

Carl Donnelly & Chris Martin Comedy Podcast

Just two best friends having a chat with their comedian friends. I love this podcast because they always go off on random tangents & they have anecdotes for every topic. If you’re not British there may be sections of this podcast you just don’t understand because there is a fair bit of British banter but that’s one of the reasons why I enjoy it so much. They also have a new podcast called Babysitting Trevor where they try to help a fellow comedian be a little more cultured and less reliant on his wife. It is VERY funny.

their twitters: @chrisMcomedy // @CarlDonnelly

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News Roast

This podcast just finished its first season and I cannot recommend it enough. It is a metaphorical meal with three courses and they invite a public figure to bring these three courses to the table to discuss. It is a great current affairs podcast with some really interesting guests and the hosts are also the masterminds behind The Revolution Will Be Televised. I’ve been listening to this whilst I’m on walks and I have found myself discussing the topics with friends which makes me sound way more knowledgeable than I actually am!

their twitters: @JolyonRubs // @HeydonProwse

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The Political Party

If you live in the UK you will be well aware of the upcoming general election. I saw a statistic the other day that said over 1 million young people who are of voting age have not registered to vote. I know that voting can seem overwhelming so I really recommend this podcast for getting to grips with UK politics. It also presents the facts without being biased to one particular party.

matt’s twitter: @mattforde

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** photos not mine, from google images**

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if you want to work with me  / write for the blog / talk to me email me at: completelyrambling@gmail.com