Craig Newman PT Experience: Half Term Results & Review

Craig Newman PT Experience: Half Term Results & Review

Good morning chicas!

This blog post has been requested so many times- even though I have been constantly updating you all about my PT experience over on Snapchat. I suppose sometimes it’s nicer to have somewhere a bit more permanent to upload and refer to, so I’m sitting down to answer your most asked questions about my personal training experience with Craig Newman in Ben Dunne Gym, Cherrywood, Co. Dublin.

I suppose I better start with how I came to a decision that I would like to go down that route and how, then, I availed of the services. A bit of it was luck, I must admit. Some of you might already know that I’ve been boxing on-and-off since I was eleven years old. I have been attending Ben Dune gym on-and-off for the last four years. Personally, I just find it really hard to seriously commit to not just fitness, but anything. And my most recent time rejoining Ben Dunne (June 2017), I made a promise to myself that I would make a real effort to turn fit into a lifestyle rather than a fad to spice up my Instagram or lose the Dominos that I have been so freely and frequently indulging in.

See, my mind is very good at talking me out of things that are good for me and talking me into self-destructive behaviors- so I kind of knew I needed a little bit of extra support if I was really going to make this work. My Dad has always been my coach but at the moment, he’s training for a competition in BJJ and is working shift so definitely wouldn’t have the time to help. Anyway, one day I was walking into the gym and I saw a clipboard on the desk asking people to leave their name and number to avail of a free consultation with a personal trainer.

Now, I always thought that personal trainers were over-rated but then again, I had never actually tried it. I always thought it was something that rich people or people that really struggled with their weight and fitness did and that I wasn’t bad enough or rich enough to avail of the service (and believe me, I know how ignorant that sounds now). I also thought that only people that wanted to participate in lifting competitions etc. would have a personal trainer. Basically, I had a whole load of misconceptions. But, for some reason I just put my name and number down on that list. I suppose it was down to the fact that I’m earning a bit more money now and I thought rather than blowing it on crap, I could invest in my body.

And real quick, I’m gonna tell you why that’s super important for me. My career goals include me being on camera and I am hella sick of asking people to delete photos and just generally being uncomfortable in my own skin. When I thought it through, it made a lot of sense that investing in my body could be considered investing in my career. I also realized that as your local blogger, it would be a cool experience for you to come on with me. I thought we could all learn something and a little part me also thought that I wouldn’t be contacted and none of this would matter. Then, about a week later, Craig text me and asked when I was free for my free consultation. We organized a meeting and it all began.

What happened at the consultation?

For some reason, I was actually pretty nervous. I kind of knew I’d be spending a bit of time with this person, had no idea who they were, knew they were gonna weigh and measure me, knew I was about to undergo and change in life and all of that just seemed pretty daunting. But when I arrived, Craig was waiting on reception and he was just so friendly. He brought me into a consultation room (which I liked because there was no way in hell he was gonna measure and weigh me in the middle of the gym) and it just started off with a general chat. He asked me questions like ‘What are your body goals?’, ‘How is your fitness now?’, ‘What would you like to achieve?’- and my answer was mainly that I wanted some support and consistency on my journey. That I wanted to tone up and get myself up to television standard and that I really didn’t want to talk myself out of it. Basically, that I needed an extra push. Then I was measured, my body fat percentage and lean body mass percentage were taken and my weight was also taken. Craig text me all of the results straight away so I had a reference point. I will be including these figures and my current figures at the end of this post! I asked about prices and schedule, meals and what would be expected of me. We spoke about dietary requirements and recommendations- he even gave me a dietary programme to follow and talked me through that, explaining it really well. I decided to book straight in and go ahead with it. The consultation took about twenty minutes in total.

Why choose Ben Dunne Gym?

I chose Ben Dunne Gym because it’s on my way to college and work and is super cheap with amazing classes and staff. The going rate is 20.95 a month and that includes all classes or you can pay 210 a year. I think it’s totally worth it as the equipment is great and the staff are so friendly. I actually couldn’t imagine myself going anywhere else at this point.

Who is Craig Newman and why did I chose him?

Essentially, I didn’t chose him to begin with. The way that list works is whatever PT is free or has free slots contacts potential clients for consultations. He contacted me. However, if I was uncomfortable or didn’t like his specialized areas I was more than welcome to request someone else.

Craig has a specialized background in weight loss, full body toning, strength training, muscle building, suspension training, sports specific training, group specific training and nutritional and diet advice. He essentially helps clients that are looking to get into the shape of your life or just loose those extra pounds. His spectrum is quite broad and if you visit his Facebook page by clicking here– you will find that his testimonials do NOT let him down. His career is based around helping people believe and achieve their fitness and weight loss goals and his program is designed with everyday advice for everyday people. He has been working in the fitness industry for 9 years now in both Ireland and the UK and is currently based  in Ben Dunne Gym, Cherrywood which is located in the Cherrywood Ind Est, Dublin 18.

Being 100% honest, I was really worried about training with a man. I was really, genuinely concerned that I would be distracted, self-conscious, embarrassed or just kind of in over my head. And I spoke to a floor manager about this a few days before my consultation and she just assured me that gender was not an issue, that it was about the area of expertise and the services that someone could provide rather than their gender. I don’t know why but I was expecting the experience to be so much more different with a male trainer. I was worried that I wouldn’t have a good connection with the person and that it would be awkward. But the floor manager spoke really highly of Craig and assured me that all freelance personal trainers are of a professional standard and specialize in ensuring their clients are comfortable. So, rather than base it on gender, I researched his specialized areas and testimonials and went from there. I decided that he was the way to go.

Probably the most requested question- how much does it cost and is it worth it?

Craig’s prices vary based on your goals and the amount of time and investment he would have to make. My goals were based around building some muscle and losing some fat, working up my fitness and just having some support available. I pay Craig 30euro an hour, we meet up twice a week and we have so far only committed to a six week trial run. So that’s a total of 360 euro. He asks that you pay the first half up front and the second half way through. So that is two installments of 180.

I understand that some of you reading are still in school and can not afford this or maybe you just think I’m crazy for paying it. But I found the installments really helpful. It gives me time to save up and have the money ready. Plus, I have never had results like this when training alone or with my Dad for that matter. The money is worth what you receive, in my opinion, because you’re paying for so much more than just two appointments a week. Craig provides his number and writes back to any queries immediately, there is constant advice on hand, he is always on time and has a really organized schedule for you to avail of. And the most important thing for me is that the results come. You’re paying for results. DISCLAIMER: Because the personal trainers are freelance, the PT fees and the gym fees are completely separate entities. However, if you were to simply ask the PTs for advice or to draw you up a program, to my knowledge you wouldn’t be charged.

What are the lifestyle/home requirements like?

Craig provided me with a pretty decent dietary guide with recipes and a program to follow- it based around a high protein and low carbohydrate intake. It does involve a fair bit of meal prep but I’ve kind of taken the diet and worked it around with my schedule. So I understand how much protein is in the diet, what things my body will need and when. And I tailor it to my busy life. Unfortunately, I can only prep food like once a week and this doesn’t last me all week so I’m kind of winging it sometimes. So far, it’s worked but it does bother me that I’m not getting the full experience I’m paying for due to the hours I work. It’s a commitment. The whole experience is. So, I would advise that you clear your schedule a bit before you consider taking it on. That would probably be my only downfall- still working mad hours and not getting enough sleep through all of this. Apart from that, all that is asked is that you take extra care of yourself at home and don’t over do it. I’m really honest with Craig about how many times I go to the gym, how many hours I work and sleep and because of that he’s able to help me around that. It is a lifestyle change and I have made changes like drinking more water, cutting down caffeine and just trying to work this program to the best of my ability.

I guess what I’m getting at here is although you’ve payed for a PT, they cannot do the work for you. Your life does have to change in a lot of ways and these can’t be half done. Your actual habits have to be deconstructed and rebuilt. The idea is that you have the right support and teachings while doing so. So, yeah, the lifestyle requirements are fairly hefty. But they’re included in your price. A lot of the work is done at home but I suppose before beginning your journey you have to decide whether or not you are willing to give your all.

How often do you meet?

We decided mutually that two sessions a week would fit both of our schedules. I do train on other days and Craig provided me with a workout schedule for the sessions that he can’t be present for.

Another really requested bit of info, what have the results been?

Right so I only got measured and re-weighed yesterday as a celebration of reaching half term- we are three weeks into our six week course and basically, it’s working. I’m gonna just pop in bullet points below with some of the results that came up.

  • On the first week, my body fat percentage was 22.62%. It is now 19.95%.
  • On the first week, my lean body mass was 44.3kg. It is now 46.7kg.
  • On the first week, my bod fat weight was 13.0kg. It is now 11.7kg.
  • And on the first week, my full body weight was 57.2kg. It is now 58.4kg.

So I have been gaining muscle and losing fat- which is exactly what I wanted to do. So, the results are in and the proof is in the pudding. Also, some of you may be concerned that my body weight has gone up. Muscle is heavier than fat. So that explains that.

All in all, this experience so far has been brilliant. For me personally, I’ve enjoyed it that bit more. I know this sounds mad but being young and sober can be really tough sometimes and I’ve realized that one of the only places I feel like I fit in is the gym. It’s where people go because they want to better themselves and push themselves and I just really love that atmosphere.

Obviously, the results are proof that this isn’t all for nothing. It is costly and it does take some commitment but personally, because I’m a career-driven person and this is all based around a long-term goal, I feel like it’s very worth it.

Not only am I having fun and seeing results, I’m also learning a lot about nutrition and fitness. Craig answers anything at all you ask with really well structured answers and sends on any information you ask for. Also, there are loads of exercises that I felt I knew how to do that I could have seriously harmed myself doing my way. So I’ve been taught a lot with regard to stature and stance, weight ability, fitness levels and general safety and boundaries when pushing myself. Craig is also just such a great lad and such good craic. We always have a laugh during our sessions but are definitely capable of having a serious conversation when we have to. He is supportive, professional and worth at least a consultation. I say that because I understand that it varies from person to person. Some people might not feel as comfortable with him as I do and some people will. It is a personal experience and it should definitely be tailored to your preferences. On that note, I will just say that if there are any issues with any PT you choose, do not spend money on someone that either you don’t have faith in or you believe don’t have faith in you. There are a other PTs at Ben Dunne that I have brilliant things about so if you’re having doubts or Craig’s booked up- it’s so worth doing some further research.

I know that Craig thinks I can achieve my set goals and I know he wants to help me get there. That has made this experience all the more magical and I am so grateful that it isn’t over yet. Knowing that I’m constantly learning and seeing results drives me more. I understand the benefits of the gym now, mentally and physically, and I don’t drag myself there because I hate my body. Today, I get excited about going because I love my body. And I want to benefit from nutritional advice and fitness expertise.

I would not only recommend Craig Newman as a PT, I would also recommend Ben Dunne Gym in Cherrywood as a whole. As I said, the classes are brilliant, the facilities are great, the staff are young, vibrant, super-friendly and willing to help wherever possible. I understand that these opinions may vary by the end of my six week trial but I will keep everybody updated (as I have been) over on my Snapchat and come back with a second, conclusive blog post on week six.

If you have anymore questions, ya can find me at the links below. Please do get in touch, I absolutely love having a laugh and chat with you and hearing about your experiences reading my posts! Also, it is my BIRTHDAY TOMORROW and that is definitely a reason to come and say hi! Also, don’t forget to like and share this post and tag a friend that would benefit from reading! Thank you so much for dropping by & if by chance you do head to Ben Dunne Gym or request a consultation with Craig or any other PT in Cherrywood- don’t forget to tell them I sent ya! Craig’s pages and the link to Ben Dunne Gym’s Facebook are down below, also.

Until next time,

J X

 

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MY CURRENT SKIN CARE ROUTINE- Affordable, Accessible & EFFECTIVE

MY CURRENT SKIN CARE ROUTINE- Affordable, Accessible & EFFECTIVE

Hey there babies,

HAPPY HUMP DAY! I hope you’re all doing well and slaying your daily goals. A few of you over on my Snapchat have requested this post as a result of me begging for some immediate skin remedies a few weeks ago and trying some new products. But ultimately what I decided to do was to go back to the products that were my holy grail in adolescence. And now, I’ve deciding to share them with you.

The reasons behind why I love and care for these products varies but mainly, they work and I can afford them. Not only can I afford them, I can afford to use and replace them- which is most important. It’s all well and good ‘treating ourselves’ to a skin care routine. The hard part arises when it works and we love it but can’t afford it again. These top products I’ve chosen (and definitely am using, by the way, not by sponsorship or collaboration but just because I like them) are available in ANY supermarket or pharmacy and can be bought for under 15 euro. Yes, you read that right.

I also want to state that what works for me might not work for you. And although I am certified in beauty and am well aware of the routine things should be done and how certain ingredient affect your skin blah, blah, blah… Sometimes I just enjoy convenience and immediate results. I work three jobs and am always on the go and these products fit that- FOR NOW. This skin routine isn’t perfect and I do not claim it to be. But for the moment, it’s keeping my skin absolutely lit. And that’s good enough for me. Now, as the weather changes and as my diet might (probably will, let’s be real), my skin will, too. And that’s alright. I’ll get back on track or find something else. But for now, this is what I have to share.

  • Clean & Clear Blackhead Eraser Facial Scrub

I used to use this scrub when I was a really young teenager and to be honest, up until recently had just completely forgotten about it. But as you Snapchat fam know, I’ve been bangin’ on about my pores for ages. I’ve been trying everything to shift really stubborn blackheads around my nose and cheek area and it has been driving me demented. And I did not consider this product out of passion or nostalgia. I was strollin’ through Tesco and there was a sale. Yep.

Its consistency is a bit like toothpaste. It exfoliates in quite a subtle way and doesn’t hurt or tear my skin- ever. But it is effective. A lot of people think, and I used to think, that in order to exfoliate your skin you have to really scrub it and leave it raw. This actually doesn’t help at all. You’re not supposed to move your skin while scrubbing it, you’re supposed to keep a flat surface. A more subtle scrub is the best option. And I find that this scrub does that for me. It also lifts blackheads- FOR REAL. And it leaves a great squeeky shine, too. I just keep this bottle in my shower and use it when I can. It is perfectly fine to use daily- it says so on the bottle. But I have other products that I’ll list below that tie me over. I use this scrub about three times a week and worth noting: I started to see results after just one use. I paid less that 5euro for this product and it does last a good while. Each use requires a pea-sized amount of product and the bottle is 150ml- PLENTY! Definitely recommend!

Alternatively, you could try the Clean & Clear Blackhead Clearing Daily Scrub at this link. I’ve also included a picture of the Clean & Clear 60 Second Shower Mask because I have heard brilliant things and do believe it is worth trying along side this product- you can find out more about this product here. And alternatively again, I have included a picture of the Garnier (Skin Active) Blackhead Eliminating Scrub– which I have not tried but if for any reason you cannot use Clean & Clear, this could be a go-to for you. Click here for more info on that product.

  • Johnson’s Makeup Be Gone Refreshing Wipes (for Combination Skin)

There are pros and cons to this product, I will be honest. The main con being that each packet of wipes alone cost almost five euro. Which, let’s face it, is expensive for face wipes when you can pick some up in Penneys for A LOT less. BUT, lemme argue a case here. The product is worth it. That’s my case. There is moisture LOCKED in to each individual wipe and they smell delicious. They leave my skin not only squeeky clean but super moist- without contributing to oily skin. I use the the wipes for combination skin mainly because my skin can be any way on any given day. But also, I feel like they have the best balance. For some reason, whenever I use products that are designed for sensitive skin, I have a bit of a reaction. So for me, combination skin is the best option. But of course, that varies from person to person.

Along with using these products, I have completely minimized my makeup wear. I really try not to wear makeup on my skin at all now. I allow myself about two days a week with foundation and the rest of the time, I’m fresh faced with a bit of brow product and mascara. So, I carry these wipes in my bag. I use them morning, mid-day and night. Basically, whenever I think of it. They have a decent amount of moisture in them and are SO satin so you can literally see the dirt lift- even if there is nothing on your face! I love that because it really makes me feel like the wipes are working deep into my skin rather than just at a surface level. And the best part- there is NO ALCOHOL in these wipes. Which is super, super important. To find out about the effects that alcohol based products have on your skin- click here. ANYWAY, although these wipes are a bit pricey, I do think that they are definitely worth it. If you’d like to find out more about this product, click here. I picked mine up in Dunnes Stores but you can definitely find them in any good supermarket or pharmacy.

  • Simple Kind To Skin Hydrating Moisturizer

Holy grail! This is probably my favorite product out of this list. Basically because not only did it surprise me, it rescued me. For the last few months I was using a Benefit moisturizer that I did find really good I have to say, but it was more of a night cream as it was just too heavy and thick for my skin. It took ages to absorb and left my hands a bit sticky. But this product (for a fraction of the price) is everything I’ve ever wanted. Again, I used it as a teenager but had completely forgotten about it and came across it in a supermarket sale, decided to give it a second bash. At the time, I was with my cousin who swore that it was like satin on the skin and was really effective. I took a leap of faith and went out on a limb spending a whopping 3 EURO in the sale at the time and have not looked back since. It is really light on the skin and can be used both morning and night (which is so convenient), it really locks in moisture and leaves a gorgeous dewy glow WITHOUT looking oily or feeling greasy. It has a really subtle scent that is gorgeous but not too strong- which I think is really important in a moisturizer. There’s nothing worse than accidentally putting a strongly perfumed moisturizer on your lips, licking you lips and realizing that this might be how it ends. This product is the perfect balance and I cannot recommend it enough. I basically just massage this product into my face using my ring fingers in upward circular motions both in the morning before I leave the house (can be used before makeup application) and at night before I go to bed. This product can be bought in any good supermarket or pharmacy. Click here to find out more!

Although I do not use the cleanser, I have heard brilliant things so have included a picture as a recommendation for a sister product. If you’d like to find out more about the sister cleanser, click here.

And last but not least, my favorite lip product at the moment…

  • Maybelline Dr. Rescue Baby Lips in Menthol

 

If I’m being 100% completely honest, I actually bought this product a decent while back and did not realize or appreciate that I was sitting on absolute gold. I think I picked it up because I’d seen a pretty picture of it on Pinterest or something ridiculous and just forgotten all about it. I bought it in my local pharmacy for something like 2 or 3 euro. So, it was totally affordable. And, is TOTALLY WORTH IT.

I personally love the menthol flavor because it tingles my lips and kind of makes them feel that little bit more plump because of that. But the reason I love this product goes beyond tingly lips. It is full of moisture. It has changed the dry lip game. It literally makes my lips feel like silk. And I understand that this product isn’t exactly considered skin care, as such, but with the lack of makeup lately I’ve been wearing a balm rather than heavy product on my lips and I’ve been really trying to focus on rehabilitating my skin rather than drawing out of it all the time and expecting it to run on empty. It’s like a little promise I’ve made to myself. Mainly because I was sick of dreading up close no makeup photos or snapchatting on my makeup days off. I would definitely consider this lip balm a treatment. It does say on the label that it is a medical balm and focuses on bringing lips up to a healthy standard. It also just looks really cute! It leaves a really decent, non-greasy shine on the lip and does not look cakey or thick. I keep this product in my bag and just use it all day long. I even pop it on before bed and let it work some magic while I sleep. If you’d like to know more about this product click here. Alternatively, I would use Vaseline- which cannot be doubted or questioned in life, EVER.

What I really love about these products is that they are affordable and accessible and can be used by any skin type or age group. In my opinion, they’re almost universal and they really don’t put you out of pocket to try. I find that the hardest thing about finding the right products these days- a lot of them are just not affordable or realistically priced and are almost impossible to keep a constant supply of them. So, give it a bash. What have you got to lose?

Anyway guys & gals, as requested, that is my current, affordable skin routine. Please do drop a comment and let me know if you have used any of these products or anything similar. If you go ahead and try any of them- let me know how you get on! Even if you hate them and think I’m wrong- lemme know what your alternative products are. All I’ve done with this whole skin experience is go back to basics with skin care. Instead of trying really expensive and crazy products, like I have been doing since I left these ones behind, I just decided to try these again. For the price range that they are at, I figured I didn’t have anything to lose. A few weeks ago, my skin was rough and dehydrated. I had fine lines and really dark circles and freckles, I also had a yellow tone to my face. Today, my skin tone is more even, my dark circles have reduced and my fine lines are gone. I will admit that in addition to using these products, I have been drinking water with lemon slices in it (as an anti-oxidant) and exercising regularly. It’s really important to note that because more than anything, your skin reflects your health on the inside. Your skin is you largest organ is a complete mirror of your diet. So just to note that sometimes, rather than a new skin routine, a new diet or multivitamin is required.

If you have any questions about any of these products or anything else about my current skincare routine please do not hesitate to get in touch! And if you’d like to join in on daily vlogs, daily posts and so much more ultra-fun times, just click on the links below. Thank you for reading!

Until next time,

J X

 

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THE REAL BACK TO SCHOOL ESSENTIALS: MY TOP FIVE MENTAL HEALTH HACKS FOR GOING BACK TO SCHOOL!

THE REAL BACK TO SCHOOL ESSENTIALS: MY TOP FIVE MENTAL HEALTH HACKS FOR GOING BACK TO SCHOOL!

One of the hardest things that I have ever done was defer college. But I needed to admit to myself and to the people that cared about me that I just was not mentally stable or emotionally ready. And since I’ve been in recovery, I have needed to learn how to properly look after myself all over again. It was almost like I went straight back to childhood. But that’s what happens- sometimes, we forget the most simple but absolutely crucial things that keep us mentally well. We get caught up in the fact that our society tells us that our schooling will determine the rest of our lives, our standard of living, our place in that society. Trust me on this, there are ways and means around absolutely everything. And sometimes, we just need to do our best and leave the rest up to whoever is running the show. Because school does not define you. You define you. And your grades? Do not define how good of a person you are. How kind you are does, how genuine, how compassionate. Before we know it, all of this school business will be over. And what will really matter will be the same as before- our relationship with ourselves, our family, our friends and our morals and beliefs. Everything after that is an asset. THAT DOES NOT MEAN DON’T TRY. It just means that your best IS ENOUGH. So, give yourself a bit of a break. Be on your own team. And once you’ve done your best, let that shit go. Oh and while you’re at it, let go of comparisons. Stop comparing your pace to other peoples. We don’t all travel at the same speed- and it’s okay to go a little slower! Comparing yourself to other people will set you up for low self-esteem, anxiety and feelings of worthlessness. So before you even go there, DON’T. You are a unique little bunny and wanting to be like someone else is a complete waste of who you already are. So, let go of expectations. YOU AND YOUR BEST ARE ENOUGH!!

Some days are better, some days are worse. Look for a blessing, instead of the curse. Be positive, stay strong, and get enough rest. You can’t do it all. But you can do your best.

I get asked on a regular basis how I manage my stress around my college life. And I do try my best to, but sometimes I still get upset, worried and stressed. I’m beginning to see that that’s just life and it happens to everyone. However, there are certain tips and tricks that I have picked up over the last while that help me stay as grounded as possible while studying, working and keeping on top of my other bits. I am an extremely busy woman. I live with my partner, parents and brother. I have to keep on top of bills so working is not a choice. I have two ongoing college courses. I’m also training for the World Barista Championships. And my favourite of all, I have you guys to entertain and keep sweet! So, yeah, stress can be a factor. But, my recovery comes first. Because without that, none of the above would be possible. So here are the crucial basics that I keep in check to keep myself well throughout the college year!

5. SLEEP LIKE A BABY- LITERALLY!

I cannot stress how important it is to get at least eight hours of sleep each night- REGARDLESS OF YOUR DEADLINES. Sleep is your meditation- especially when your busy. If you have a life that is non-stop, maybe it’s the only time that you can truly just relax. Make it worth it! Sleep is the foundation of each day. And without a good foundation, how can you build your empire?  And I know what you’re thinking, too. This does not mean lying in bed on Facebook until 3am searching your crush’s ex partner and their sisters. This means phone off, lights off, TV off. Face washed, teeth brushed, pyjama ready. I can promise you, you will feel the benefits!

4. EAT THOSE NUTRIENTS!

I remember when my mental health really got bad initially and someone said to me that I should eat more vegetables. I actually lost my temper. I couldn’t believe how ignorant they were. I thought that they didn’t understand and that I most definitely was completely on my own. But, here I am before you quoting their very words. I’m not stating that eating more healthy food will cure you or keep you immune to a decline in your mental health- that’s clearly impossible. But, we are what we eat. If we are filling are bodies with junk food, chocolate (yum), crisps, chip shops… we are going to feel sluggish, our bodies are not being sustained. We are constantly putting crash foods into our system, and as a result, our systems crash. We get bouts of energy and then feel tired, we get bouts of happiness but then feel sad. And why? Because sugar and salt are powerful. They work, kinda like coffee, but not in the long run. So, if you’re planning on sustaining your body and mind for a whole semester, OR THREE, I suggest you consider filling your plate with the best options: veggies, fruities, beanies, ricies, oaties & nutties! These foods have been proven to be the best for slow energy release and system sustenance. GET A GOOD BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER AND DRINK LOADS OF WATER. Your body literally is your temple when it comes to your mental health. Anyway, don’t we deserve the best? Sp, if you’re in a hurry and need an  energy boost at lunch- grab a smoothie instead of a coffee. Grab a banana instead of a chocolate bar. You won’t feel as bloated, as tired or as miserable. I can promise ya that.

3. GET UP ON TIME & GET YOURSELF READY PROPERLY!

I’m an absolute devil for this. Waking up ten minutes before a lecture, being ten minutes late, leaving my bra at home, wearing crocks. But, I do find that when I get up on time, have a hot shower, pop a bit of cream on, a nice outfit… I feel so ready for whatever the day may throw my way. It’s almost like a little morning boost to just spend some time with myself, check in with Jade and just prepare for whatever may come. So, set that alarm, be in bed on time and get the HELL up. No matter how you feel. Make it to the kettle. Make it to the mirror. Make it to the bathroom. Once you start, all of the negative thoughts will lift. And by the time you arrive at your destination, you will be bright eyed and bushy tailed. You got this. Every day that you live is worth an amazing start.

2. LEARN TO RAISE YOUR HAND, ASK QUESTIONS AND SPEAK UP.

For so long, I was so scared to ask questions in school and especially college. I thought that if I made it look like I didn’t know, everyone would think I was stupid. But my Dad explained something to me and I soon got over that. He said that it takes courage to raise a hand and ask, but someone else in the class may be just like you, afraid, and maybe it’ll help them, too. You won’t be alone. You’ll just be a bit braver.

Something that I also needed to understand was that I have just as much as a right as anybody else in the classroom to learn. With regards to college, I pay my fees. I’m there to learn. If I don’t understand and I leave without asking, what am I going for? Why am I paying my fees? Why would I bother applying for a grant? Or going to work? Doing any of it!?

Have enough respect for yourself to get the best of the services provided. When it came to school, I decided to mess. Deep down, I didn’t feel good enough so I didn’t do my best (all of the time). But, I should have. I was there regardless of what I did so, I should have just taken part and got the best out of it.Do not regret sitting on the sideline! You deserve a good education. And you’re not stupid. You’re not worthless. And you are only as good as you paint yourself. Don’t be afraid. Be brave. It is within your rights- the ability to use your voice. Use it!

  1. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT WHAT YOU CANNOT CONTROL!

When people tell me not to worry, it just doesn’t help. But what does help, is differentiating what is worth worrying about. If you’ve already handed the essay in, fuck it, it’s done. If you’ve already sat the exam, IT IS IN THE PAST. And it is no longer worth your pretty little head space. If you have an upcoming assignment, be organised, get yourself prepared. But once it’s done, it is done. Things that are within your control, are yours to dictate. So, if you’ve an exam tomorrow but a party tonight, miss the party- there’ll be more. Study instead. Because you will be the first to cry if you fail. Do things today that your future self will thank you for. And if you complain about the harvest, always remember that you reap what you sow. ON THAT NOTE, I will be the first to say that sometimes certain subjects just don’t suit people. For example, in school I really liked languages. But maths? I cried and had panic attacks and left the room COUNTLESS TIMES. I just couldn’t grasp it. And that was out of my control. I learned to just pass ordinary level and be okay with my best. Because my best was enough. It had to be. It’s all I have!

Just to keep it in the day. Remember that yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn’t happened yet. So, keep your abilities within the day. One step at a time. You can’t run unless you learn to walk first. You can do this. This is all for you. You are worth this much. Mind your own goddam business. Look after yourself. Love yourself. Give yourself a break. The rest will follow. You will be okay. This just a chapter, not the whole book.

On another note, MENTAL HEALTH LETTERS ARE BACK IN ACTION. If you or someone you know could do with a little inspiration, motivation & sparkle, please send the name & address to my Facebook page and a magic bundle will land on the requested doorstep- FREE OF CHARGE!

AND AS ALWAYS, all of my social media platforms are open to messages, questions & queries. EVERY SINGLE PERSON receives a genuine reply.

FACEBOOK: NOT ANOTHER BEAUTY BLOG

INSTAGRAM: JAYDAMCCANNX

SNAPCHAT: JADEMCCANNX

TWITTER: JAYDAMCCANN

 

 

 

 

HOW I OVERCOME BREAKOUTS & MANAGE OILY SKIN- DRUGSTORE STYLE! (FULL PRODUCT LIST WITH LINKS INCLUDED)

HOW I OVERCOME BREAKOUTS & MANAGE OILY SKIN- DRUGSTORE STYLE! (FULL PRODUCT LIST WITH LINKS INCLUDED)

I think I had only ever had about three spots in my life. I had never encountered a breakout. I had never had oily skin. I didn’t even know what skin type I was! It didn’t concern me. I never had a particular skin routine or ritual because, to be honest, I didn’t need one. I literally just washed my face, moisturizer when I felt I needed to, kept a clean canvas before and after makeup applications. But that went all downhill a few months ago.

I decided to change my diet. Sure, why not? I wanted to feel a bit less bloated, save some animals & try a new lifestyle. So, I tried on the vegan hat. But literally within a month, my forehead, jaw line, cheekbones, eyebrows, temples and CHEST were just completely covered in greasy face produce and probably the ugliest spots and blackheads I have ever seen. I have no photographs because I literally couldn’t help but cry about it the majority of the time. For so long, I felt like it was out of my control. That my body was adapting to a new diet, that maybe I was stressed, that I was doomed and was getting some kind of karma for all those years of skin privilege.  I also didn’t even want to hear people talk about it or get recommendations because I was almost blocking it out. I actually couldn’t, and still can’t, believe how much it shook and affected my confidence and personality. I felt I couldn’t wear makeup because it would worsen. I felt I couldn’t go without because I was hideous. I was constantly battling with myself. At one point, I thought if I went to a cafe for lunch, I would put people off their food or tea. But enough became enough. I left my little pity party (population: 1) and decided to have a look about some shops to see what might help. And yes! I found some amazing, AFFORDABLE products that are EASILY ACCESSIBLE and ACTUALLY WORK. But some of the best remedies are free, and I came across them completely by accident. But, I wanted to share them all with you. I’ve had a lot of questions sent in on my Snapchat & I’ve been emailing a few of you about the new beauty regime and products I use…so why not just have it public for a constant point of reference?

I really hope this helps at least one person because I can absolutely assure you, these products and regimes are completely my own choice and my own combination. I am not sponsored by any of these companies or lying about my results. So, invest and feel your best. Because these tricks worked for me!

So, as I said above, I literally did not know what to do on a daily basis. But the first helpful product that I came across was suggested to me by my local beautitian just as a toner. However, me being a complete nerd and having researched it, it turned out to be a magic substance for all skin types. So, I visited my local health food store and got some. And if you follow me on snapchat, you are gonna know that I am talking about rose-water.

I cannot stress enough how amazing this stuff is. When I first started buying it, I was picking it up from health food stores and it was costing a fair bit. But I did my research, and turns out you can pick it up online from Salon Services (you get a whole load for a tenner!). I STILL USE THIS RELIGIOUSLY. Every morning (EVEN IF I’M IN A HURRY), I quickly get some cotton wool and rose-water and just rinse my face. I do it on my break in work to get rid of excess oils and cleanse all redness and it works. I do it every night before bed. I do it sometimes in the car, without a doubt before and after every make up application & wear. It just breaks through all grease, and even when I’ve got the biggest, most ugly spot, it takes away the redness and swelling and almost makes me look presentable. Also, while I was doing my homework for this post, I discovered that rose water can be used as A SETTING SPRAY FOR MAKEUP. I will most definitely try this & report back. In rose water I trust. And the best part about this product? You can make it at home. CLICK HERE for an easy guide on how to boost your beauty and save your skin.

So, after I realised that rose-water helped me cope on a day-to-day basis, I also realised that I really needed something affordable that would take all of the gunk out of my face. I asked some of you over on my snapchat what kind of masks you used and got some amazing suggestions! But a lot of them were expensive and not within my shopping perimeter. So, I went to Boots and spent about two hours reading labels, googling reviews, reading blog posts, walking isles, asking staff members and almost dying inside. I finally picked one.

When I picked this up, it was mainly because the label was fairly specific and suited my skin type. It was so affordable that I really didn’t have an excuse not to try it. And nearly every review that I saw online was spectacular. And from the very first application, I was so content with my choice. It’s a standard clay mask, so there is no confusion. A simple apply, dry and wash. But the aftermath of this product is unreal. Similar to the rose-water, it calms all breakouts and redness. And I’ve found that if I use a cleansing brush to scrub it off, it takes away a lot of my blocked pores. It also really helps with oil control for days following the application. SUCH A GEM. The label told me everything, including how many applications I’d have. For 6.99 (euro), I’d have ten applications. If I were to apply twice a week (which I do), I would have a five-week supply of face mask. And the best part is, I’ve managed to get myself to seven weeks by not using as much on some applications. CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE OR ORDER THIS PRODUCT ONLINE. 

So, although both of these products were working absolute wonders and I was feeling much better in myself, I was fairly sick of having to wash with rose-water and spare a half an hour most evenings for a mask. I realised that if I had a good moisturizer that would mattify my skin, it would save a lot of hassle. Also, most of my breakouts were due to the oil, so if I could control the oil, maybe the breakouts would stop. The product that I chose does not only contain no animal bi-product or have no animal testing affiliation, it actually works. And it’s all natural. I even use it on clients!

 

I  carry this product in my handbag. I’ve also purchased one for my makeup kit. I’ve got one in my car. It is so refreshing, it smells absolutely UNREAL. It really is a total miracle worker. I thought that I would forever be controlling my oil, and never actually be rid of it. Products like this genuinely give me hope. Also a drugstore product, a little bit pricier than the two before costing me 13.99 (euro). But, in my opinion, totally worth it. You only need a pea size for each application as it spreads so well.  CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WEBSITE, FIND OUT MORE OR EVEN PURCHASE THIS PRODUCT.

Lastly, I just wanted to share with you some of the makeup products that have helped my full face applications stay, not slip, not sweat, not dewy and just fab. It’s difficult to find products suited to everybody’s oily skin because well, every person will have a different balance or a different texture. But given my research there are a few products that cannot be faulted and I thought pinpointing them might help someone on a similar journey. Also, a lot of the online info that I find on topics like these are super out of my reach. I totally cannot afford Laura Mercier powder or ABH setting spray. It’s just not a reality for me, and I bet a lot of people feel the same way. So drugstore style, I conquered my oily skin makeup nightmares.

 

Firstly, let me say that the L’Oreal Infallible Mattifying Base Primer has literally saved me from actual meltdowns. There is nothing worse than having a night out planned and literally considering not going because of how you feel about yourself. This primer just fills in EVERYTHING. It also blends all of my humps and bumps in with the rest of my face. I picked this up in Boots for 11.99 (euro), which is more expensive than most drugstore primers. But, given the results, I regret nothing. Also, just as I got the link for this product, I realised these is a current sale on it- it’s now £7.99 on the Boots website! CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS PRODUCT.

I’ve also included a picture of the twin foundation, incase you thought of teaming them up or what might go with it best. For me, I use the Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation, which is a tad pricy. But I also love the Catrice range in Even Sand, and even Rimmel have a fabulous Stay Matte option which I LOVE. As I said, everybody has different oil ratios and different experiences with makeup. But these mattifying products have worked for me in the past and continue to do so. CLICK HERE to find out more about the Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation. CLICK HERE to read up on some Catrice foundations that helped me keep everything under wraps (this link will help you find a fitted foundation based on your exact skin tone & type). & CLICK HERE to find out more about the wonderful, and affordable, Rimmel options available in most pharmacies and online (Rimmel also have an amazing Stay Matte powder to match the foundation!).  As far as I know, NYX also do an amazing Shine Killer range that is totally worth looking into.

Lastly, I understand that the Ben Nye products have mixed reviews. I know that a lot of really highly regarded beauty bloggers and makeup artists have claimed them not to work, or to take terrible pictures, or to leave blotches. But for me, in all my oily skinned glory, both the Translucent and Banana Ben Nye Powders continue to save my face daily. I purchased them both from Camera Ready Cosmetics online and they were totally affordable, which I wasn’t expecting due to how popular they are! I think they cost me about 10.oo (euro) per medium pot. But hey, I use them daily. I even use them on my clients for baking and contouring- and there are plenty of amazing tutorials online if you struggle with anything like that. But picking myself up a decent powder really improved my finished looks and confidence through all of this. CLICK HERE to see the purchase link for the Ben Nye Powders.

And VERY lastly, on some of the hottest days over summer I forced myself to conquer my fear and jump in the sea, only to find out that salt & mineral water is a perfect, amazing, easily accessible, flawless and dependable, oil-busting, skin-clearing MIRACLE WORKER that I have ever come across. So now, I find myself in the sea a lot. Try it, it’s free, organic… VERY COLD but it sure as hell works!

 

So, there you have it. My research and experience so far in the life of oily skin. It is a total journey. And one of the main reasons that I wanted to share all of this is because, when I realised my skin had problems, I genuinely didn’t know what was wrong with me. I even did a skin patch test in Boots to figure out my skin type. I really struggled with finding information and getting help. But there are affordable options and free public platforms that offer information, you just have to reach out and ask for help, or pick yourself up to go and find them. And with regards to the mental aspect of it, I’m really just trying to learn to love myself regardless of how I look. That’s where the answer is, it’s where the hardship is, but it’s where the growth is. At the end of the day, we’re all human. We get gross sometimes. Society might tell us that spots are ugly, skinny is better, collar bones are a must, eyebrows are more important than our actual intellect and all other sorts of nonsense. But, sometimes it’s just about accepting that we’re never going to be perfect. Nobody is. And we can’t always correct or abolish our flaws, but we can cope with or work on them.

And as always, feel free to get in touch on any of my social media platforms. Thank you for your constant love, acceptance and support.

CLICK HERE to find me on Facebook.

CLICK HERE to find me on Instagram.

CLICK HERE to find me on Twitter.

SNAPCHAT- jademccannx.

 

 

Self-Doubt | Not Another Beauty Blog

Self-Doubt | Not Another Beauty Blog

Self-doubt (noun): lack of confidence in oneself or one’s abilities.

One of the hardest things I have ever had to try and learn to do is just trust myself. Trust how I feel. Trust who I am and what I know. For some reason, ever since I can remember I’ve asked for second opinions, followed everyone else’s advice. I could never just accept that maybe my own thoughts on a situation were alright, enough. Of late, I’ve had a lot of self-doubt and not around any particular situation or topic, just in general. I can doubt my thoughts, my opinions, my wants. I feel like I never really know what I want or where I need to be. And that can really panic me. When it comes to thinking about the future, I worry that I won’t accomplish all of my goals and the ‘not good enough’ monster jumps on-board. But I’m learning that it’s okay not to have it all figured out. It’s okay to want something else. It’s okay to be confused. Life wouldn’t be any fun if everyone knew exactly what they were supposed to be doing all of the time! Nobody would learn, be, or feel anything different. And on that point, it is also okay to be different!

While all this was going on, I was doing my internet research on how to keep it all under wraps and how to, in time, change all of this confusion and self-questioning. Not because it’s not okay, but just because it can be a bit of a bother. As I grow emotionally and spiritually, I really want to be sure that everything I’m doing is the next right thing. I, personally, don’t want to look back at my life and have everyone else’s advice to credit for where I am. I want to be sure of myself and be well enough to get where I am on my own advice and initiative. So, I’ve decided to share what I’ve found with you all- just in case you ever have a time that you’re just a little unsure of yourself. Always know that you are never alone.

“When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.”- Honore de Balzac

  • Ground Yourself

Sometimes I can be sucked into other people’s drama and opinions and I may not even realise but within a few days I genuinely do feel heavier, like I’m carrying a bag full of rocks. Own what you own and leave everyone else’s belongings with them. To bring me back to myself, I like to have a hot bath or shower and have an early night. Some people like to meditate. Some love to venture in to nature. Every little helps! Basically, just try staying in the moment and taking things as they are. Carrying around the negativity will not help you focus on and care for yourself.

  • Balance The Negative

If your bad thoughts are becoming too loud, argue them with some self-praise. It takes me a while, but sometimes I nit pick my life and write down a huge gratitude list. It really helps me to be more grateful and appreciative of what I have achieved so far- helping me to feel better about future Jay.

  • Take A Break

If you’re really giving yourself a hard time about something and you can’t shift it no matter what way you think about it, let it go and do something else for a while. Jump, sing, paint, online yoga, stretch, draw, ANYTHING! A fresh head might have some better ideas.

  • Nurture Yourself

It’s easy to doubt ourselves when we forget to look after our basic needs. Have you been sleeping okay? Eating right? Have you had enough down time? These are things to reconsider when we get ourselves into emotional frantic. Keeping a diary helps me to organise me time. Although, I’m not always so strict on it. The thought does stick and I do get around to it!

  • Let Go Of Comparisons

You are not her. You are not him. You are not them. You are you and that is more than alright. You have something that nobody else has- your own person. Why would you want to be like someone else when you can be even more spectacular just by being exactly who you are? I can fall into deep comparisons and I find a lot of it is based around social media and how people present their lives. It is so important for me to remind myself that social media is not real and how I am in real life, without filters & likes, is perfectly okay.

  • Connect

Self-doubt, for me, usually kicks in when I’m living up in my head or in isolation. It is a clear indication that I need to spend time with friends or family, and distract myself from my negative thought patterns.

What helps you overcome self-doubt or negative thoughts of self?

Reach back on Facebook or Instagram.

For business or collab enquiries: jadeshannonmccann@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

What Is Mental Health? | Mental Health Awareness Week w/Not Another Beauty Blog

What Is Mental Health? | Mental Health Awareness Week w/Not Another Beauty Blog

 

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Hello darlings!

I’m just gonna get straight into the writing without an update for two main reasons: 1) Absolutely nothing important has happened in my life & 2) We have A LOT of work to get through!

So as we all know, I work around mental health all year long. However, due to the fact that it is MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK 2016, I have a special week planned for all of you wonderful readers that keep me afloat during my tough times. You are all fabulous and I appreciate every single reply, response and kind message or thought you send in. It really does mean so much to me and to show you just how much, there will be a HUGE competition on my Facebook page at the end of the week- the cherry on top of a week full of wonderful reading!

Read more

A Letter To My Fifteen-Year-Old Self | Not Another Beauty Blog

A Letter To My Fifteen-Year-Old Self | Not Another Beauty Blog

I was scrolling through Facebook a few days ago and came across an apparently therapeutic method of counselling toward self-acceptance. It was recommended (and I can’t remember who by) to write letters to your past and future self, to encourage engagement with past and future emotions. Apparently, it helps to move towards self-acceptance in the present and create an understanding of emotions, lessening guilt, regret, anger and pressure that may be built up inside. And boy oh boy! What have I got to lose!? Obviously, this can be done within the comfort of a diary or your laptop and doesn’t have to be published online. But, I’ve decided to make mine public in hope that someone out there may relate. I feel like this is going to be fun for both the writer and reader! I’ll also include some pictures for a giggle!

I did ask a few of my SnapChat friends what they would tell their fifteen-year-old self and I received a LOT of replies that have led to beautiful conversations. If you would like to take part in my SnapChat engagements, add Jademccannx. See ya there!

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Dear fifteen-year-old self,

I am writing this letter to you today in hope that I may get some things of my chest. I feel as though I need some forgiveness for just how hard I’ve been on you in the past, and continue to be right up to this present day. In order to forgive myself, I feel as though I need to address each issue individually and talk through all of the ‘little’, HUGE things that I have held you responsible for. Let’s begin.

The first and most important thing that I would like to point out to you is your beauty. Naturally, you are so radiant. Inside and out. Unfortunately, you’re a sensitive soul and allow people to dim your radiance. But let me remind you, aesthetically and through personality, you are beautiful. The picture above is a selfie you took before you boarded a plane to New York with your distant cousins. You spend the entire holiday in a complete daze and fell in utter love with the city. You deserved that holiday and you deserved that happiness. You deserved that peace of mind, you deserved those beautiful memories. You are not ugly. You do not look ‘butch’. You look absolutely stunning and your cornrows are hella cool. And anybody that tells you otherwise are simply jealous. And I know how hard that is to believe. All our life, our mama and papa tell us that ‘people are mean when they feel threatened’. But if you have been told something repeatedly and if you are treated a certain way by certain people for a long period of time, you begin to believe it. But you should rise above it. You should be stronger. You should believe in yourself that little bit more. You hold so many keys to success and you don’t even know it yet. You, are, beautiful. Inside and out.

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At the age of fourteen, you put yourself out there with your own organically written music productions. You released an E.P and gigged in some really amazing places. You met wonderful people and grew in so many ways, ways that don’t seem imaginable for such a young girl. You uploaded videos to YouTube of your songs, your covers, your thoughts. And then at fifteen, you let bullies take all of that away from you. You began to believe that you were bad at singing. You began to feel like the loser they framed you as. You found it harder and harder to fit in. Anxiety developed to larger scales. You blamed yourself for bothering to put yourself out there in the first place. You blamed the victim for the perpetrators actions. You took a step back from your dreams for four years. For four years you were filled with fear and shame. You developed paranoia, you allowed people to speak down to you and leave you out. You found comfort in loneliness and alcohol. 

Dear fifteen-year-old self, fuck them. They ARE jealous. They are jealous because they are not as brave as you. They are jealous because you are adventurous, you are honest, you are inspiring, you are interesting- and all they can do is watch because they are everything that you are not. 

Dear fifteen-year-old self, do not be so mean to yourself.  Do not let people take the most precious thing about you and destroy it. Do not blame yourself. Do not hate yourself. Do not stop your tracks in the hands of bullies. You are allowed to feel sad. You will find that in your life, there will be worse situations than girls making a video mimicking you. You will find that there are more petty and horrible people and things out in the world. You will find that not everything is worth fretting over. You will find that no matter WHAT you do, be it spectacular or mediocre, there will be someone waiting to drag you back, hold you down. So just do you and be the beautiful person you are. If you had not have stopped, you would be so much further right now. You may even have reached your goals. Somewhere in an alternate universe, you are standing on a stage playing in front of thousands with a huge smile on your face and a heart full of bravery.

 Dear fifteen-year-old self, do not let them stop you from being who you are, from getting what you deserve.

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Dear fifteen-year-old self, please stay as wise as you possibly can to peer-pressures. There are people that will pose in photographs with you, holding cigerrettes and alcohol, pretending to be your best friend- but they couldn’t care less if you succeed in life or not. Real friends are the kind that push you to go to training and pratice, come to see you fight and play music, stay on your back about focus and goals. Music was not your only asset. You were an incredible 247781_132282706848517_191937_nfighter with huge potential. And although to this day you’re still fit and practice, there is no doubt that you would have exceeded all expectations within that ring. Instead, you chose to spend time with people that had not your best interest at heart. People that held the key to escapism. People that provided alcohol, drugs and cigarettes illegally. You chose to pose for profile pictures instead of news paper articles. At this time, you want to fit in. You want to feel a part of something. You want to make friends. But those people are not your friends and your self-worth is more important. Funnily enough, you learned this the hard way. You really should listen to your parents more. Fitness is a wonderful thing and although your ‘friends’ may tell you so, it is not for losers. Drinking and drugging is not for the cool kids. You will see this unravel later in life. For now, have faith in your decisions and passions. Let people be who they are and focus on your strong points, your talents, your goals. Don’t let them take things from you.

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Dear fifteen-year-old self, although there are people that pose in pictures and are not your true ‘friends’, there are also people that are the purest of pure. Unfortunately, being caught up in all that is society, you can’t really tell the difference. My advice would be to hold your family close. The word family suggests that they will never leave, that you will always be this close. Unfortunately, that is not the case. You will grow up and find that every single person you know, at one stage, decides to focus on themselves. Every single person that you cherish will move on, find partners, find new friends, new hobbies, new jobs and new happiness. And that is perfectly alright. They deserve that and more. But cherish them while you can. Because although you may believe that they are forever, they aren’t. Hold the good times close to your heart and create as many as you can while you have the chance. Some people really are worth your time and really do love you. I know that it’s difficult to tell the difference between everyone’s intentions right now. But if you’re going to do one thing for me, hold your family as close as you possibly can. Say thank you. Hug for longer. Kiss harder. Laugh harder. Be there more. Don’t get angry when they borrow your clothes. Don’t argue over petty things. Let them be who they are and love them, pride and all. This is important.

 

383962_215508468525940_1586876393_nDear fifteen-year-old self, I understand that Gaffer has been your pet since you were six years old. I understand that he may annoy you when he growls and trips you up, I understand that he’s getting old and bothers you are the best of times. But can you please understand that he will not be alive forever? At times, he may feel like an extra limb. At times, he may feel like the annoying sibling. But through all of these times, remember to capture photographs in your precious little mind. Photographs of your favourite walks, your funniest times, your hyper shenanigans. He will pass in 2015. You will be hard on yourself for not being more mindful throughout your teenage years. You will remember those times that you were crying over boys and mean girls and he sat at the end of your bed like a guardian angel. You will remember how he licked a cut when you fell as a child. You will remember how he hated the bath. You will remember how you were that little bit distracted and could have cherished him more. Dear fifteen-year-old self, kiss him goodbye for me.

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Dear fifteen-year-old self, you do not need to grow up as fast as you may think. You do not need to have the most fashionable hair style, you do not need to wear heeled-boots and huge handbags, your mom’s clothes and you most definitely do not need makeup and hair-dye in abundance. Dad nags you. He pleads with you to be natural. I know that you truly believe it’s because he doesn’t want boys to like you. But fifteen-year-old self, he just wants you to be the best you that you can be. He wants you to live as innocently and pure as you possibly can, for as long as you possibly can. Because once you cross the line of adulthood, there is not one chance that you can go backwards. Accept that you’re young, embrace it. Be a beautiful fifteen-year-old. Stop trying to be twenty-odd. That day will come. And when it does, you’ll be willing to sell your soul to go back in time. Live in the moment.  Accept your age. Accept yourself as you are. Be fifteen. Boys can wait. Boys aren’t all they crack out to be anyway! Someday you will meet the most amazing man, that will never lead you to question yourself, that will love you and honestly adore you. Until then, fuck them. Let them line up. Let them want you. Let them have someone else to use, to call names, to mentally abuse, to claim and move on from. You really don’t need it that kind of negativity in your life. 

Dear fifteen-year-old self, sex can wait. Sex doesn’t matter. Stop reading magazines that are directed at grown women. Stop letting yourself be encouraged by public forums that do not concern a fifteen-year-old girl. Read KISS, or Mizz. Fuck Cosmopolitan. Fuck Soap Operas. All of these factors may seem small, but they build and develop into a huge influence of expectations for young women. It’s just not realistic. And unfortunately, you’re caught up in that. But dear fifteen-year-old self, be smarter than that. Be smarter than them. Be yourself.

 

Dear fifteen-year-old self, you have a lot to learn. Alcohol and cigerett228383_128377717239016_402150_nes aren’t cool. Makeup isn’t compulsory. Fashion isn’t a ‘follow or die’.  You’re not fat. You’re not ugly. You’re not a loser. You’re just different, beautifully!

Boys can wait. Sex can wait. You are talented in more ways than one. You can sing. You can model. You are athletic. You are clever. You don’t need negative people. You don’t have to be your own worst critic. You don’t have to spend your days comfortably alone. You shouldn’t let bullies control your success. You shouldn’t allow other people’s opinions to have such a high impact toward your future. You should listen to your family more. You should take more photographs in your mind. You should lighten up a bit. You should walk away from people that are upsetting you, block them out. You should move on more. You should let go more. You should care a lot less. And for God’s sake, love yourself. Learn now. It will make the future a hell of a lot easier if you develop the foundation of self-acceptance right now. Trust me, I’d know.

The list is endless. I could write for years about your true worth, your potential and your lessons that you’ve yet to learn. But how would I be where I am if you weren’t who you were? What’s meant to be won’t pass you. Just don’t lose who you are.

What would you tell your fifteen-year-old self?

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