The New Years Resolution that changed my life…

What’s up guys? Now Christmas is over, It’s safe to say that New Years Day is officially creeping up on us, and so I’m sure many of you are thinking about setting a New Years Resolution, or if you’re anything like me, just bracing yourself for the tsunami of inspiring “new year new me” status updates from those Facebook friends you just haven’t got round to un-friending yet.

In my adult life I never really believed in New Years Resolutions, and Quite Franklii (😉 she said it!!!) Every year without fail I would become increasingly tired of everyone indulging in some new ridiculous fad diet, and of middle aged women exclaiming how “naughty” they’ve been for eating all the mince pies. (Just so you know, every time you punish yourself for indulging in a tasty treat you deserve at Christmas, a piece of Santa’s soul wilts.) But, if you’re looking to try something realistic, meaningful and achievable this year, put down that Gym Membership you’ll use once this year and keep on reading to find out the one New Years Resolution that actually did change my life.

 


 

You reap what you sow…

Growing up, I was always a confident child. Then I got bullied, had abusive relationships and shitty/toxic friends. As an INFP, my thoughts have always been fairly altruistic and kind, so I struggled a great deal growing up and realising this was not inside everyone. I found myself listening to girls tearing each other down and speaking behind each other’s backs, often saying things I would never even think, let alone say. Though these experiences didn’t necessarily affect my thought patterns- they definitely did impact the way in which I viewed the world, I became more cynical and much much more ‘shy’ and ‘reserved’ with my opinions- mostly for fear of standing out, looking odd or weird.

In 2015, a friend made an innocent comment that really stuck with me. He said “I love it when you give compliments, because it happens so rarely I know when you approve of something you really mean it.” At the time, I was in a major depressive episode, and was on a really serious spiritual journey to find out more about who I really was. Naturally, this involved a great deal of self-reflection.

I’d always known I wasn’t the most demonstrative person, I’ve always been a little reserved, and consequently accused of being “cold-hearted” and detached. As I mentioned previously, though I would laugh and play into that stereotype, this was never because I didn’t have love to give, more that I was very guarded and careful with who I shared it with. (Now, actually, this is a trait that I’ve accepted and actually like about myself, as it provides an extra ‘security check’- My empathetic nature often means that people will take advantage of me and drain my energy.)

But- I didn’t realise I was withholding admiration for those closest to me.

This really got me thinking, when was the last time I complimented my mother? My grandmother? My closest friends? A stranger? The truth was, I’d become so paranoid about coming across as creepy, or weird, that I had begun to come across as cynical and cold.

Now, I don’t necessarily totally believe in ‘the law of attraction’, but I definitely do believe in karma. I try hard nowadays to be as kind as possible to people, because regardless of how much someone dislikes me, I never want people to be able to say that I was unkind. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” if you will. Thinking about this, It was then, that I made my New Years Resolution.

If you have nice thoughts, be kind and give compliments freely, (and the hard part) even if your anxiety tells you it makes you look weird.
This is about reconditioning your mind, and reminding yourself that no matter what your anxiety or your insecurities say, it doesn’t. By reaching out to say something kind, what is the worst that can happen? Perhaps the recipient does think you’re a little odd, or a little creepy- but at least you’ve maybe made them feel good and boosted their ego even the slightest bit.

I think so often in this world of social media, it can be so tempting to just give stuff a “like” and move on with your day. But what makes this Resolution so achievable is that you can even ease into it by exercising it on social media. Instead of just leaving a like- tell someone you love the way they do their makeup, their writing style, their work ethic.

The more you do this, the more you will be encouraged to continue doing it. It’s honestly so rewarding. 9 times out of 10, people will generally be so grateful, especially for the more thought out kind gestures, that it will really boost your confidence, ease your anxiety and actually make you feel good yourself.

So, if you don’t have a Resolution yet, you never usually stick to them, you don’t believe in them, or you think they’re all meaningless- think again, and maybe consider making a simple vow to work on yourself and try to give compliments and give love freely. You’ll be surprised by how instantly your own life will become more positive and light.

really hope you guys enjoyed this post, and that perhaps it’s inspired you to give kindness a little more freely in 2018. With the amount of hatred and the global political climate we’ve been left with after 2017, it’s more apparent than ever that there can never be too much love and kindness in the world. Pick up the phone and tell someone they are awesome today.

Happy New Year everyone!

Love from,

Frankii. X

Plus size me || bodies past, present and future

**TW: If you have issues with weight and/or body image or eating disorders there may be content in this article that you find distressing.** 

Hey guys!

Sorry I’ve been a little inconsistent with my blogging that past week or so, as you have may have seen on Twitter, I have a lot going on in my head at the moment, and I needed to take a brief step back for my Mental Health.

When I first started this blog, I had always intended for it to be purely lifestyle and beauty- but as time progressed I realised that in order to be authentic with my readership I couldn’t avoid talking about Mental Health. It’s something that affects so many of us, me included, and I have always been passionate and vocal about spreading awareness. My only downfall in this regard, has been my own pride. I have always been very supportive and try to be as nonjudgemental as possible of others when they come to me with Mental Health issues, but I’ve always struggled with taking my own advice. Since I’ve been particularly struggling this month, I thought I’d share with you what’s been going on.

Besides my decision to drop out of my MA, looking for jobs, considering a house move, and my husband being on nights, one of the biggest contributing factors I’ve always struggled with surrounding Mental Health is Body Image.


Past

I have always been, and probably always will be, a massive foodie. I love food, I love cooking, and I love the satisfaction that comes with making something great. I’m not throwing blame at all, but I wasn’t exactly brought up in a family full of healthy eating/active living role models. My Mum, a pescatarian (or as I like to call it, shitatarian) has neglected her own nutrition to make sacrifices for her kids for years. While she always cooked balanced meals, she definitely raised me with the “waste not want not” mentality, and sometimes I still feel guilty to leave food. My dad can easily eat enough to sate four men in one sitting, and when I moved in with my Grandparents, I learned to cook mostly because had I not I feel like we would have lived off M&S food that could just be thrown in a microwave or straight in the oven- Grandma is not fond of cooking!

When I was in Primary school I was bullied mercilessly until I had to change schools. I was the tallest in class, always seemed to have a coldsore on picture day, chubby, bespectacled and Mum waited far too long to introduce me to hair removal methods (I am still haunted by prepubescent photos that exhibit a rather glorious monobrow, lol)! Besides the bullying, I have very early memories of hearing the terms “big-boned” and “puppy fat” being thrown around.

Fortunately, as I reached high school and grew ever taller, eventually stopping at 5’10, I somewhat “grew into” my weight, (though unfortunately much before all the boys so I still stuck out like a sore thumb)! Also unfortunately, I also hit puberty early too. This meant that I went from being bullied to being one of the first girls to get breasts. Enter the dreaded male gaze. At around 13 I went from a B to DD in the space of two weeks. From then on they just never seemed to stop, and by the time I was 15 my body settled on a 30HH. This meant that while the measurements of my waist at the time suggested I should wear a size 8, my bust meant that I was a size 16. Looking back, I was a beautiful hourglass, but I always felt bigger than my friends. From ages 14-16 I remember skipping lunch at school, and refusing to eat breakfast, hoping that I could lose weight by only eating the one meal that Mum made at dinner time.

It worked somewhat, but at 16, with prom fast approaching, I started experiencing what I now recognise to be the first signs of anxiety. If I ever got particularly nervous or excited, I would feel nauseous and sometimes have to rush to the toilet to vomit. It was then that I started to experiment with purging. I was determined to lose weight, and mum wouldn’t let me live on those god awful SlimFast shakes. That was, until my Grandma heard me purging. My family finally accepted that I wanted to do this, and agreed. What I didn’t realise was how unhealthy this would make me. Recovering from Meningitis and on regular Codeine, I was feeling faint and lightheaded more than often. After all, I wasn’t eating proper meals. Not only this, but I have a (now very mild) intolerance to lactose, and also prone to tonsillitis, so I was living with an almost constant throat infection from the level of milk I was ingesting.

Fast forward to college, I was feeling a little more sure of myself and who I was. That was when things started escalating the other way. I remember eating my emotions each time a boy cheated on me, stress eating my way through all my exams/revision phases. I remember the look of shame and pity on my grandmas face when she caught me elbow deep in a bag of Doritios. “Ill lose weight when I’ve finished my exams”. Of course, there was always another exam. At least then, I was moderately active and had horse riding to look forward to.

This went on right into uni. On top of that I was going out clubbing and drinking at least 3-6 nights a week. I was awful in my first year, and really abused my body. My only exercise was making a fool of myself in clubs. I’d fill my body with crap and liquor. In second year it only got worse, when I had my first more “serious” wave of depression. Not only was I depressed, but in hindsight I was also agoraphobic. I hated myself so deeply I didn’t want others to see me. At one point this got so bad that I would hide in my room until I was sure my flatmates had gone to bed, and order takeaway food just so that I wouldn’t risk seeing anyone in the kitchen. I felt like I was eating to survive at this point, and my body didn’t matter. In final year I was better, refreshed and feeling right again. I signed up for Joe Wicks (the body coach) and lost 20lbs in a month, following a strict macro diet plan and HIIT exercise. Then, however, I met my now husband (who unfortunately is American with a lot of bad eating habits of his own, but rudely with the metabolism of Usain Bolt), and then was faced by my dissertation.


Present

Now, I find myself having put all that weight back on, plus a stone for good luck- I am bigger than I have ever been.

While I have always been an advocate for plus women and body positivity, I have struggled so hard with accepting my new reality. People treat me differently, I feel less likely to get jobs, afraid to do things where I’d “take up too much space”. I either obsess over or avoid mirrors at all costs, I never buy new clothes because I feel like everything looks awful, I can feel agoraphobia seeping in again, I feel like everyone is judging me, my family is ashamed of me and I haven’t felt “sexy” in about a year. I’ve always wanted a breast reduction because of my back pain, but they advise you not to get one until you’re “happy” with your weight, since if you gain or loose too much either way the shape will change. When I dream, I don’t appear the way I do in real life. I don’t even recognise who I am in the mirror, and honestly, I really don’t think I want to.

On top of the shallow reasons I have always wanted to lose weight, I am also now consumed with new symptoms and concerns about my health. I know if I don’t change my life soon I am going to eat myself to death. I’ve always had back pain due to the size of my bust, but now I can’t even stand for long enough to do the dishes without sitting down to avoid tears. I hadn’t realised how bad it had gotten until last year for our mini-honeymoon, merely walking around London I found myself clinging onto A’s arm with tears in my eyes because my back pain was so severe. Not only this, my resting heart rate is insanely high, I’m constantly fatigued and I’m beginning to see more and more symptoms of pre-diabetes, and it is making me insanely paranoid.

Honestly, I want to lose weight so that I can do the things I enjoy again. So I can feel confident in myself and wear the clothes I long to wear. So I can feel sexy and healthy and enjoy being active and going on adventures with my husband. I want to feel like myself again.


Future

My plans for the future are to take effect immediately. No more “I’ll start Monday”, or I’ll try harder next week. I need to make this commitment to myself and to the people who love me so that I don’t eat myself into an early grave. I miss doing the sports I loved so much but 4 years ago. I miss waking up and not worrying about being in pain every day. The worst part is, I know about nutrition and exercise, I just don’t do it, and while my mental health often causes my lack of desire, it’s often also the other way around. I need to force myself through the pain and the hard times to reach the size 10 jeans at the end of the tunnel.

I thought I would write this to let you all know, since you might be noticing some changes with my Instagram and other social media feeds. Of course I will still be doing beauty, but I’d love to start sharing my journey with you all, because I feel like through blogging I’ve found a space on the internet full of loving, supportive souls. Besides, there might even be a few recipes in it for you!

 

Love,

Frankii xx

 

 

 

 

I know this post was a little long and a little personal, but hopefully now I’ve worked through my emotional turmoil (lol I’m so dramatic) I’ll be back to regular posting. My next installation of discounted beauty is coming soon!! Xx

Toxic Friendships Series | Cleaning Up Your ‘Squad’: Pt. IV


Regular readers, since in both my anxiety tips, and my graduate mental health posts, I touched on the importance of cutting ties with toxic individuals, I thought it only fair to share with you my own experiences, and some of the sorts of behaviours you should look out for and try to avoid when trying to lead a positive life. I created this series both as a form of therapy and a means of warning/advising others who may feel like they are in the same boat. I’m making this a series, as it was a little long to include several types of toxic friend in one post. I aim to post at 11am GMT each week until the series is done.

Ps. Please don’t be afraid to walk away if someone is damaging your energy. It does not make you a bad person to walk away from someone who is toxic. You deserve happiness! x


The One(s) I Hoped I’d Never Have To Write

For me, though I can be hard to get to know initially, my morals are such that after I’ve been with/through a certain amount of things with a person, I will generally love them almost as an extension of my family. This is something that never fully goes away. These are the most painful friendship breakups of all. The ones where you’ve grown together, but sometimes they start to grow in a direction you don’t like. The ones where the person in your memories doesn’t coincide with the person stood before you today. The ones whose energy has changed and become suffocating or poisonous to your own.

For me, and i’m sure for many of you out there, you may find yourselves holding on to the people in memories, even though they don’t exist anymore. You may try to turn a blind eye to the negative traits they’ve picked up, hoping and wishing for it to just be a phase. The fact is, that life changes us. Sometimes people grow apart, and sometimes they grow into people who- when you really make yourself face the music, you don’t recognise… or even like anymore. This whole series was inspired by a recent experience. If the person(s) concerned are reading this (which I doubt as the lack of support has been going on for much longer than I realised), know that I’m sorry.

This is to be my final post in the series, with a view to opening it up again later on if anyone has any ideas or requests on toxic friends I’ve missed. This one was particularly hard for me to write hence I saved it till last. I hope you all can build the courage to end friendships that are/become toxic no matter how long you have been friends, because ultimately holding on to people that don’t love and support you in a genuine, healthy way will only damage you, and impact your life negatively. It’s ok to let people go if their energy isn’t right for you.

 

Dear Ex-Friend,

Life changed us, stretched our relationship over distances that meant we grew apart. We saw each other less and less, and each time I would see you I would notice differences. Some subtle, the shifts in your energy… less so. Before long the person sat before me was someone I didn’t feel that I knew. The person I knew and loved was too crazy and fun-loving to even notice things that this new person would say out of jealousy or spite. We used to be like siblings, but we changed.

I grew drained as each time we met a new person would become the subject of your anger. I tried to love you through it, sometimes smiling through discomfort and worst of all joining in, really wanting to believe that these people deserved the words you were saying. Hoping that you’d only talk about people this way if they’d severely wronged you,  but before long I couldn’t miss the pangs of envy that tainted your conversations. The people you spoke of all had something that you wished you had, and though the picture of victimisation was one I wanted to believe, the green began to seep through the cracks.

Before long I couldn’t help but wonder what you’d be saying about me behind my back. As I distanced myself, I felt the hostility growing inside you. Instead of looking inwards to consider why someone wouldn’t want to be friends with you, you lashed out. Not to mention, as it turns out, I was right to wonder.

I cannot fathom what could have happened in a persons life, to turn someone I loved for their carefree attitude and mutual aversion to b*tching about others into someone who could be so nasty. I supported you through everything I could, and ignored new warning signs as long as I possibly could have. But even as I felt resigned to distance myself from the friendship, nothing could have prepared me for the betrayal I felt when I heard that I’d become the topic of dinner conversation.

When I started blogging, I knew I would be judged for it. That’s one of the reasons I made sure to really cut down my Facebook down to people that I know (or thought I knew) loved me. To be ridiculed for doing something innocent and productive with my spare time, to say things like “who cares what she has to say?” was bad enough. But to screenshot a selfie and to tear apart my actual physical appearance, my marriage, my existence… To be that spiteful towards someone you shared years of memories with- was unforgivable.

To you, dear “friend”, I honestly hope that some day you can fill the void or the chip on your shoulder and realise that the world isn’t out to get you. Treating the people who love you awfully isn’t going to wind up benefitting your life, it will only push people away till you wind up alone. I never thought I would have to say goodbye to you, and part of me hopes that in a few years time this will have all just been a phase. I truly hope you can recover the person you were, because I know that deep down this toxic person isn’t you. But until then, for my own sanity, I think I’ll have to put this one to rest.

I believe everything in life happens for a reason. I believe that soul-mates are not always romantic partners, or “the one”, or even necessarily friends made to last; but they may also be people you meet at a time in your life when you need each other for one reason or another. As they say, some friends come for a lifetime, and others just a season, but to me that’s no reason to say that you can’t cherish the memories you made together. Ultimately, you hold the pen to your novel. When I was younger, all I ever wanted was to fit in. When I met you, for what ever reason, I did. As we grew, our views on love, friendship and trust began to grow and change- and us with them. If you’re reading this, and you find I’ve left you behind, know that it was never easy for me. For me, when I love someone, I love them loyally and wholeheartedly. No matter what you’ve done, or how time has gnarled us, know that I wish you the best.

Love From,

Frankii x


**DISCLAIMER: This post is not directed at any one in particular, but there may be elements applicable to several people whom, for one reason or another, are no longer a part of my journey.**

5 Tips for Freshers/Freshmen!


Since I’m starting my Master’s at a new University next month (UEA), I was thinking about how daunting facing a new academic adventure is. University (NTU) held some of the best (and worst) times of my life, and your life really is about to change forever. Living away from home and studying something (hopefully) you love will help you to really grow and find yourself. It sounds cliché but though it’s certainly not for everyone, your experience really will be an intensely valuable one, and hopefully will contain some of the best days of your life. I’m genuinely very jealous that you are getting to do it for the first time! 

 Though I am still jittery with nerves and excitement this time around, I know that I can cope. I remember how anxious I was in the weeks leading up to my first day, so as an old Uni veteran now, I thought that I would share with you guys some tips and tricks I picked up in my first year that helped me survive the transition, and some of the things I wish I’d done differently! 

 


 

Ditch that fuckboy!

Starting off with a semi-serious topic, having seen many relationships fall to bits here is my advice to you: If you are not one hundred percent certain that your relationship was built to last, I would seriously advise you to consider entering University single.

The fact is, it is extremely difficult to make a relationship work long distance as it is, without the added burden of being a new student added on. Unless you are very lucky, chances are you will not be able to afford a social life on top of train tickets/fuel to go see your SO every other week unless he is attending the same establishment as you.

Then, from my experience, everyone in Fresher’s week is like a dog in heat. For many singleton’s, it is the ultimate opportunity to meet and *ahem* ‘connect‘ with new people. Even if you don’t think you are a jealous person, if there is even the slightest part of you that is insecure, ‘adulterous’ or jealous, Fresher’s week will probably bring that out in you. Temptation is everywhere, when you aren’t drunk you are probably very hungover and fragile, meaning that emotions will be running extremely high. You quite possibly may find yourself crying in the club bathroom arguing over the fit flatmate you saw in his pictures, even if there is nothing going on. (You have no idea how many girls I had to step over on the bathroom floor!) Sometimes however, you are right to be jealous. I’ve seen both boys and girls sleeping with other people knowing full well they were in a relationship.

Unless you trust them implicitly, please think about whether it’s worth it. Fresher’s week is such an incredible and fun experience for most, and I hate to think that you might spend it sad or jealous over someone who won’t even matter in 5 years time. I know many people who severely regret wasting their time in fruitless relationships that prevented them from experiencing Fresher’s to the full with a clean slate. I’m not saying immediately set out and ditch your partner of 7 years, but definitely talk about it and ensure you’re both on the same page. If this lad/lass is probably not the father/mother of your children, rip the band aid off early and ditch them.

 

Embrace the anxiety

This may sound strange, but anxiety is good. If you weren’t a little nervous, you’d probably be a psychopath. For many, uni/college is the first time they’ve ever lived away from home, let alone with a group of complete strangers. If not, it’s still an entirely different situation. Fortunately, adrenaline is a great confidence booster, and since everyone is probably feeling the exact same way, you will find that conversation starts extremely easily. If your Rep’s do their jobs right, they will get you all together and gently force you to engage with other people outside of your flat, provide ice breakers and drinking games. (My fresher’s reps at NTU were totally amazing and went above and beyond the call of duty. Remember that if you are in trouble you should definitely seek out someone in a Rep shirt and ask them for help. That’s what they are there for!) You will find you have new friends almost immediately, with everyone clinging to everyone and finding great comradery in your new situation! (If you do suffer from anxiety, you can find tips for coping here)!

 

Brace yourself for hangovers!

If your religion or beliefs dictate that you can’t drink, I would definitely recommend joining a club or society for people within your church or at the very least one for people who share similar interests.

If not, brace for impact guys and gals. You will be not just allowed, but encouraged to drink all week long, and to go out every single night. This is because it really does help loosen people up and makes making friends loads easier! This is amazing, but if you’ve ever heard the term “Fresher’s Flu” and thought it was a myth you were wrong. It is very very real. Because you are either drunk or hungover consistently, you will find your voice strained, you’re covered in bruises and probably very emotional and fragile for afterwards. Here are my tried and true livesaver’s for hangovers:

  1. Before you begin your sesh: place a 2L bottle of water, a banana and a glass of water with salt and sugar in it next to your bed every night. Down the glass and eat your banana first thing when you wake up. This sounds insane and gross, but its science. You lose potassium, salt and sugars from being drunk and dehydrated. Putting this back into your system first thing might help you recover quicker. Google it, its a thing. I promise.
  2. After your sesh: if you can stomach it, try and have eggs for breakfast. If you’re vegan or otherwise dislike eggs, oats/porridge contain something called ‘Cysteine’ that helps your liver to break down the toxins.
  3. After your sesh: not trying to turn you all into pill poppers and addicts, but pro-plus or caffiene tablets/coffee could be your saving grace if you feel your energy flagging as the week goes on. See also vodka redbulls/jagerbombs.
  4. After your sesh:  Have a warm shower, then flash it cold to finish. Again, maybe I am mental, but there’s a reason a lot of entrepreneurs swear by a cold shower. Consider athelete’s having an ice bath too. It just really wakes you up and helps to get rid of the brain fog.
  5. After your sesh: make a round of tea and discuss all the hilarity and probable bad decisions you made the night before! Nothing makes a hangover worth it like story time with your new pals.

 

Don’t just stick to people in your flat

Make sure you remember there are people outside your flat that you probably have way more in common with than the weirdo in room 6. If you’re lucky your flatmates will be great, but after a few weeks they will probably get annoying and you will need friends who don’t steal your milk and don’t argue over dishes for 3 weeks straight. I really wish I’d joined a society while I was at uni, or in the very least not been ill all the time so I could have attended more. Make the most of your experience!

 

Leave your door open!

Get decent and open your door as soon as possible. It makes you way more approachable. At my uni we got told off for propping all the fire doors open but it meant that it became a bizarre sort of hippy community with the whole block of flats. We made friends with most of the block and ended up walking in and out of peoples rooms when we were bored or hungover needing a pal. Harry Potter marathons are necessary in that first week, I’m telling ya. We even ended up pre-drinking to GBBO. No regrets.

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you guys found this post helpful or at the very least entertaining! If you have any questions or want any advice, especially if you’ll be joining the Trent Army in September I would love to hear from you! Either reply in the comments or find me on twitter @quitefranklii ! Be sure to share this with anyone you think would find this useful and i’ll see you guys in my next post! 

Francesca x

 

Toxic Friendships Series | Cleaning Up Your ‘Squad’: Pt. II


Regular readers, since in both my anxiety tips, and my graduate mental health posts, I touched on the importance of cutting ties with toxic individuals, I thought it only fair to share with you my own experiences, and some of the sorts of behaviours you should look out for and try to avoid when trying to lead a positive life. I created this series both as a form of therapy and a means of warning/advising others who may feel like they are in the same boat. I’m making this a series, as it was a little long to include several types of toxic friend in one post. I aim to post at 11am GMT each week until the series is done.

Ps. Please don’t be afraid to walk away if someone is damaging your energy. It does not make you a bad person to walk away from someone who is toxic. You deserve happiness! x


The Limpet

A “Limpet”, based on a crustacean that lives clinging tightly to rocks, this is my term for those insecure clingy friends. These are the friends who will bombard your phone/social media when they don’t hear from you for a while; send you on guilt trips every time you can’t hang out or need space; chastise you for having other friends, and require constant and consistent reassurance.

Dear Limpet, 

I’m sorry that life has been so unkind that you’ve ended up insecure. I’m sorry that you asked me if you were annoying so many times that it got annoying. I’m sorry that I couldn’t be happy for you when you entered new relationships, because I knew how your insecure attachment style made you think everyone who smiled at you was ‘the one’.

I loved you for your sweetness and your unyeilding loyalty, but soon I felt that you were becoming less and less yourself. First I felt you adopting my hobbies and interests, though never having experienced them before. Then I felt you adopting my mannerisms and opinions- never one to disagree or challenge what I had to say. I wanted to know you, and I thrive on intellectual discussions. I silently willed you to disagree with me even once, but it never came. I wanted to know you and grow with you, but I soon realised it is hard to be friends with a reflection.

The truth is, as a true introvert, we were never a friendship built to last. I need my own space, I crave it for energy. To me, my own company is like a cool breeze on a stifling summers day. To you, with a predisposed fear of abandonment saw this as a slight. Friend, though you were kind and constant, I could not sustain the amount of emotional energy your friendship required me to give. I found myself needing more and more time alone, time with friends who knew themselves well enough to trust that I would always return after a day or so to myself.

I hope that one day you find yourself and grow. I hope that you find opinions and interests that are authentic and your own. I hope that you stop trying to be everyone except yourself, because until then you will always feel insecure and unaccepted- since the person you are presenting isn’t the real you trapped inside anyway. I hope that one day you understand that I didn’t “abandon” you or “cut you off”. I hope that you can learn to put your insecurities aside in order to walk in my shoes and not feel betrayed by my absence. Perhaps one day when you know yourself we will meet again- and I won’t feel harassed or pressured every time I see your name pop up on my phone. x

 


Dear Ex-Friend,

I believe everything in life happens for a reason. I believe that soul-mates are not always romantic partners, or “the one”, or even necessarily friends made to last; but they may also be people you meet at a time in your life when you need each other for one reason or another. As they say, some friends come for a lifetime, and others just a season, but to me that’s no reason to say that you can’t cherish the memories you made together. When I was younger, all I ever wanted was to fit in. When I met you, for what ever reason, I did. As we grew, our views on love, friendship and trust began to grow and change- and us with them. If you’re reading this, and you find I’ve left you behind, know that it was never easy for me. For me, when I love someone, I love them loyally and wholeheartedly. No matter what you’ve done, or how time has gnarled us, know that I wish you the best.

Love From,

Frankii x

 


**DISCLAIMER: This post is not directed at any one in particular, but there may be elements applicable to several people whom, for one reason or another, are no longer a part of my journey.**

Toxic Friendships Series | Cleaning Up Your ‘Squad’: Pt. I


Regular readers, since in both my anxiety tips, and my graduate mental health posts, I touched on the importance of cutting ties with toxic individuals, I thought it only fair to share with you my own experiences, and some of the sorts of behaviours you should look out for and try to avoid when trying to lead a positive life. I created this series both as a form of therapy and a means of warning/advising others who may feel like they are in the same boat. I’m making this a series, as it was a little long to include several types of toxic friend in one post. I aim to post at 11am GMT each week until the series is done.

Ps. Please don’t be afraid to walk away if someone is damaging your energy. It does not make you a bad person to walk away from someone who is toxic. You deserve happiness! x


The Narcissist

Deceptively charming, these are the friends who genuinely lack the ability to care for anyone except themselves. You may think I’m being dramatic, in which case I’d suggest that you are just lucky enough to have never met a true narc. There is a difference between self love/confidence and narcissism. A narcissist will only “care” about you when you have something they want or need. If you cannot be used to inflate their ego in some way, you are an irrelevant afterthought. The issue with a narc is that they are some of the best actors out there. They will make you feel like your bond is unbreakable, but they are ruthless and remorseless. Their ego will always outweigh any affection they have for you. They are the eternal martyr, always wronged but never wrong, they make you feel special by saying awful things about everyone in their lives “except you”, all the while listening to and saving your weaknesses for later. Your harmony lasts until you stand up to them, or in their way.

Dear Narcissist,

I remember you most for the summer that I needed to laugh. Boy, did we laugh. I was your go to for fun, nothing serious, and in part, I knew that. I didn’t reject it because I needed it too. I could never have trusted you, because I’d seen the way you abused the trust of others. But we had fun. I knew then you could never really love me, because you were too consumed with yourself. You post pictures where everyone looked awful, spare you, then let your conceit grow into thinking you were always the best looking in the room. You had an excuse for every bad thing you’d ever done, and acted as though the world was against you when you felt the consequences of the negative energy you’d fed into the world.

Even though you knew I was bruised from being cheated on numerous times, you insisted on tarnishing my belief in humans even further, and I found myself lying to partners for you out of love. Innocent people who loved you. People you would later claim were ‘crazy’, or terrible when they stood up for themselves or realised they were worth more. I found myself saying words I promised myself I would never say. I hate to lie, but I did for you. “No, she’s not cheating on you! She would never!“, “No! Of course he hasn’t been flirting with me, or telling me he wished you were ‘more like me”! That would be awful!” I coached you through your grief when your best friend died. I stayed up to talk to you every night you were struggling, while you told your [ex]-girlfriend was some crazy stalker. The same way you talked about her, even when you shared her bed.

I accepted all your flaws, and told family who hated you that they misunderstood you, because we had too much fun. Because you made me feel special. Before long, I realised that all conversation between us had one common ground- you. I became tired of treading on egg-shells, and for being berated for standing up for myself or giving you advice. I became tired of listening to you talk about the things you had been bought by lovers, and family you admitted to caring little for. Tired of you belittling my relationships based on the material value of yours compared to mine. Carefully and subtly reminding me that I was less. I only realised what you were because suddenly when the sun wasn’t shining you weren’t there. When I needed you most, you were absent, because you couldn’t feed from my energy.

But then I realised. I didn’t need you. I never did. I found myself, and did it when I was far away from you. I realised I was not less. I am beautiful. My soul will always be a breath of fresh air compared to your toxic radiation cloud. My relationships, though few, are healthy and whole- and that makes me the richest woman in the world. My friend, I met you in the summer and we had a blast, but when the winter came you were nowhere to be seen. I hope one day you become as wealthy as I am.

Dear Ex-Friend,

I believe everything in life happens for a reason. I believe that soul-mates are not always romantic partners, or “the one”, or even necessarily friends made to last; but they may also be people you meet at a time in your life when you need each other for one reason or another. As they say, some friends come for a lifetime, and others just a season, but to me that’s no reason to say that you can’t cherish the memories you made together. When I was younger, all I ever wanted was to fit in. When I met you, for what ever reason, I did. As we grew, our views on love, friendship and trust began to grow and change- and us with them. If you’re reading this, and you find I’ve left you behind, know that it was never easy for me. For me, when I love someone, I love them loyally and wholeheartedly. No matter what you’ve done, or how time has gnarled us, know that I wish you the best.

Love From,

Frankii x

 


 

**DISCLAIMER: This post is not directed at any one in particular, but there may be elements applicable to several people whom, for one reason or another, are no longer a part of my journey.**

Mental Health: The Graduate Crisis

Set up by Sophie over at One Unique, Huddle and Cuddle is a campaign to help raise awareness of mental health issues buy using the means of social media. Influencers have teamed up to help this campaign and to spread the word, allowing people to never feel alone by sharing their experiences with you. Huddle and Cuddle wants people to get involved by talking to people, whether it be an influencer, family member or a helpline about their thoughts and challenges they may come across. (See the end for links!)

Until getting in contact with the lovely Sophie, i’d started this post and had it sitting in my drafts for the longest time. As a new lifestyle and beauty blogger, I was concerned that talking about mental health would detract from what I intended my blog to be about. However, about a month ago now, I wrote a blog tips for managing your anxietyand was actually really surprised by how much love and support that post received. I actually even received a few private messages from people thanking me for talking about my struggles, and sharing their experiences with me. It’s so important to talk about mental health, and that’s why when the lovely Jess (Queen Sapphire UK) suggested that I wrote a piece for the huddle and cuddle campaign, that I decided to stop worrying about what people would think and do it. Mental health is something that affects hundreds and thousands of people every day, and it should be talked about candidly, as though it was just another part of everyday life. Because, it is! 

What I’d like to discuss with you guys today is the issue of mental health surrounding graduate life and my experiences with anxiety and depression; as I feel that this is an issue that’s becoming very real, and very common in today’s social climate.

When I was younger I had always been a “gifted and talented” child. If you don’t know what that means, in some UK schools they have special groups or classes to recognise those with the highest academic potential/achievements. This was great, though when it came to high school and trying to fit in with a peer group who weren’t yet old enough to view smart as sexy – it meant mostly that I was viewed as different. Kids don’t always like different. Since I had already been bullied quite heavily in primary school (so much so I was moved schools), I started to resent this, and rebelled. I turned my back on my studies so that the other children wouldn’t tease me for being a nerd. Unfortunately, I was a very tall girl, with glasses, enormous eyebrows and a tiny top lip. Now, I still joke with Mum that sending me to high school without introducing me to tweezers and a razor was basically child abuse.

However, no matter how much I pretended, the damage had already been done. I’ve seen memes about the internet that say something along the lines of:

“Raise your hand if you were a gifted/talented child who grew up to be an anxious adult with fragile self esteem and a perfectionist streak that makes you abandon things if you’re not good at them.”

I think the fact that I’ve seen this shared several times suggests to me that putting this sort of pressure on people so young has a really lasting effect. No matter how much I fought I always would put immense pressure on myself to excel at everything I do. This is both a blessing and a curse, as though it means I am very hard working, it also means I am very reluctant to try and do anything new or fun if there is a chance that I will be bad at it. Throughout my whole life it was a case of “you did good, but you should be doing the best”, “I just think you’re capable of more”. At one point, on receiving a B in Maths (despite this being my worst subject by far, and on top of that having meningitis during my GCSE’s and missing half my school year) my Grandad smiled at me, and said “Why wasn’t it an A?” I knew he was joking, but it was something that stayed with me for longer than it should have. Because of this, I have always been anxious and jittery about school and my academic prowess. Good is never good enough. 

When it came to university, I couldn’t wait to escape my small town and the small town mentality that comes with living in rural Norfolk.  (It isn’t stereotyped as being full of inbreds for no reason!) I wanted to get OUT. 

University was sold to me like it was the only logical path of progression for someone of my caliber. I would make friends, finally find people on my wavelength and be guaranteed a great graduate job when I graduated.

For me, since I hadn’t had a gap year like most of my new friends, I spent my entire first year partying, because I knew the grades didn’t count. The best part about being naturally intelligent is that (admittedly somewhat conceitedly) I knew that I wouldn’t even have to try just to pass. I was out in the clubs 3-5x most weeks, and saw this as my equivalent to a gap year. However, I knew that when I went back the following year I would have to seriously step up my game.

In the end when I graduated I walked away with a 2.1. 2% off a 1st Class Honours. I tried not to think about that 2%, and focused on achieving a great grade despite battling quite severe depression and agoraphobia in my second year. Then, I didn’t go to my graduation over a misunderstanding with my mother- who meant to express concern about my self-esteem, but that I shouldn’t go because I’d put on weight and I’d hate the pictures. I also, subconsciously felt like no one wanted to go because of that 2%. I didn’t get the highest grade, so why would anyone want to watch me go up on stage?

In retrospect, I was worried about going on stage. Deep down, I’m about as introverted as they come, and I did (and still do sometimes) despise my post-depression body. I was worried about all those things, but I secretly wanted someone just to be so proud of me that they would convince me to change my mind. Of course, since they didn’t realise anything was wrong, and they just thought that it was an extension of my introversion, no one did. I didn’t go- and between you and me, I spent my graduation day alone, and cried myself to sleep.

Missing out on graduation I think made it a bit difficult to really feel like a ‘graduate’. It was a few months before I even applied for my first job, because on top of this, in all honesty, i’d never really given myself a chance to get over my mental health and experience life feeling like myself again. (On top of this, I was busy planning my marriage after a whirlwind romance with my husband). However, when I did start applying for jobs, I had one choice word.

“shit.”

On top of all the stress I went though at university etc. graduate life left me feeling useless, stupid, lonely and unmotivated. I had never even felt like I was average before (academically), and now I was feeling lost, confused and betrayed. I wondered what life would have been like had I never gone to university. I wondered if I would have been better off just stacking shelves at 16 rather than spending so long in education when I clearly wasn’t employable. I felt so horrendously alone, and no one really seemed to understand what I was going through. At times I felt as though I genuinely was unworthy of oxygen. As I replied to 27 jobs in a month, I only heard back from one. Out of TWENTY-SEVEN! I was called to an interview, an hours commute away. I was offered a job on the spot, and was asked to come in the next day to shadow someone else. However, though it paid well, the position had been grossly mis-advertised. It was in sales. I had applied for digital marketing. Something I was well versed in already. When I inquired about this, I was told that that was a position I would have to work up to, and that I would be starting off handing out leaflets and making sales. Handing. Out. Leaflets. Had I REALLY just done 3 hard years at university to be told that I’m only good enough to hand out leaflets!? B*llocks. I thought, and politely and professionally told them to shove their leaflets up their arse.

After that, I became very, very low. This is a situation that’s becoming more and more familiar with this generation. The fact is, that so many people have degrees now compared to years ago, that there are just simply no graduate jobs. The ones that do appear, especially in small rural areas like mine, end up going to older people, or people with my whole lifetimes worth of experience. This is because people move to areas like mine for two reasons: to have children, or to retire. “Graduate” jobs are being given to parents and/or more… ‘seasoned’ professionals.

This means that I, and many graduates just like me are essentially left high and dry. I don’t want this post to be too political, but in this economic and political climate, (shout out to George Osbourne for adding further interest onto my already huge student loan) many of us feel alone, broke, and betrayed by an older generation that constantly tries to call us entitled when we are just trying to get by in the world THEY left us.

Now, this post has already been a lot longer than I ever intended, but I wanted to speak candidly about my own experiences. The whole point of this post was to chat to you guys about the methods I have/still use to cope. So, with no further ado, here it is!

 


 

5 THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT LIFE POST-UNIVERSITY

 

1. “Life is not a race. It’s a journey.”

This is one that I still struggle with to this day. As I mentioned, it is a constant internal battle sometimes for me just to be ok with not being “the best” at everything. However, it’s so so important to listen to your heart, your body and your soul and to appreciate that everyone’s journey is different, and everyone’s journey happens at different speeds. It’s OK not to have your sh*t completely together in your early 20’s.

2. Don’t doubt yourself.

No matter how many times you are rejected in your relentless pursuit for a job, please don’t let it knock your self-esteem like I did. The fact is, sometimes maybe it is something beyond our control. If one place turns you down, there might be another one far more suited to you right around the corner. You know the old saying! “When one door closes another opens”. Honestly, you have as long as you need to peak behind all the doors you want!

3. Do something productive with your extra energy

GURL. This one is SO important. I spent so long being miserable about my circumstances that every day I could literally feel my creativity being siphoned away. Then one day someone suggested for about the hundredth time that I should start a blog. So I did. Honestly, it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

4. Don’t be afraid to take time off

Though it may be tempting to jump straight into the first job you are offered to feed your bank account, remember that this isn’t likely to be a job that also feeds your soul. For me I was forced between the choice between money and leading a the life I wanted to, and when it came down to it there was no question. Depending just how money orientated you are- you may want to think twice about a job handing out leaflets that would probably mean you were told to f*ck off approximately 100x per day.

5. Surround yourself with great people. 

I know I said this in my post about anxiety too, but it’s genuinely so important. When you are going through tough, life-changing periods of your life you want people around you who will love and support you no matter what. You need people around you who want to help you, to build you up and to listen to you when you’ve just been to your 5th crappy interview in a week. Honestly,  you need friends who understand and just get you. You’d be better off with no one to talk to than you would with that chick you used to party with in high school. You know the one, the one who feigns interest so that she can run to your other small town friends and talk about the fact you’ve still not got a job. (Never mind the fact she failed out of her degree and lives off her daddy’s money!)

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Thank you to Sophie from One Unique for giving me the chance to feature on a campaign as meaningful as #huddleandcuddle. PLEASE head over to www.huddleandcuddle.com and check out more pieces from some great people about their experiences with MH. Also, feel free to follow @huddleandcuddle over on twitter for regular updates.

 

So there it is you guys! I’m sorry if this post felt super long, but I hope it was honest and detailed enough for some of you to be able to relate to this post! Let me know in the comments if you liked this post, if you have any similar experiences, or even if you found this post too long! You guys know I always love to hear from you! 

Love, Francesca! x 

10 Tips to manage your Anxiety!

#1 Close your eyes

When I first feel a bit anxious I like to close my eyes and make myself think of 5 things I’m thankful for that day. What this does for me, is brings awareness to the way I’m feeling, but slows down my thought process and reminds me that it’s probably not the end of the world. Sometimes when my husband is stressed I’ll do this by asking him questions like:
“are you healthy?”
“Are you otherwise happy?”
“Do we have a roof over our heads?”
“Is it going to change our lives as we know it?”.
Normally then, he will slow down and be able to articulate more fully what’s going on.

#2 Pour a hot drink (Not caffeine)! 

I like to sit with a hot chocolate, or a herbal tea. This is because if you’re verging an anxiety attack, caffeine is our enemy. Caffeine will accelerate your heart rate and probably stimulate your senses which are already in overdrive. Take a minute to appreciate the mug warming your fingers, inhale the smell deeply and exhale. You might just feel better already!

#3 Meditate

I know this one is a bit more on the hippy side but trust me, you should try it at least once! You can grab guided meditations on iTunes or Apple Music so easily these days. If not, hit up YouTube. I highly recommend this, not only for spiritual development but for your general health too. I try to set aside at least one time slot a week to really sit cross legged on the floor and become better acquainted with myself.

#4 Go swimming

 

For me there is nothing more spiritually healing than water. Get in the water and really concentrate on the feeling of the smooth water between your fingers, between your toes. Get some endorphins going, and then concentrate on your breathing. The way I see it is – if you keep breathing calmly and deeply, you can never really sink. 

#5 Channel your energy into something positive

This blog post was actually inspired by myself having a slightly wobbly day. I was feeling anxious and irritable and all I could think about was how much I wanted to kill my cat, who was yowling incessantly at the door despite having only just come in. Instead, I took a breather and did a few of the aforementioned coping mechanisms, then decided to share them with you! If you’re creative too, now is the time to write, paint, make. Throw yourself into a different world and really harness that energy. Once you’ve completed a project you will be able to stand back and appreciate your anxiety as a motivator. It doesn’t have to be a hinderance all the time!

#6 Pets

Whether you are a dog person, a cat person, a horse person, or even one of those freaks who likes snakes! (lol), I guarantee if there’s one being on earth who can make you feel better on the brink of an anxiety attack its your pet. Or your friends pet. Your family pet. Whatever. Whatever is going on in your life at the time, that being will look into your eyes with TRUE unconditional love and admiration- that is, unless of course you’re a cat/snake kind of person. (I KID!) But honestly, you are that little beings whole life, it’s family, it’s friend, it’s snuggle partner. Talk to them, stroke them, play with them. They understand so much more than you know!

#7 LIPSTICK.

I cannot stress enough the power of a boss lipstick. Got an interview? Boss lipstick. Got a date? Boss lipstick. Feeling insecure? Boss lipstick. I have two types of boss lipstick, I have a red for that classic Hollywood vibe that can turn me from “don’t look at me” to “don’t you know who I am?” I also have a dark which says “don’t mess with me today girl I will own you”. If I feel good on the outside, my confidence will almost always eliminate or at least neutralise any feelings of impending doom or self doubt. Have a selfie photo shoot. Remember you’re a god/goddess. Try it. Promise.

#8 Pamper yourself

On a similar note, take a moment to run a hot bath, pop a face mask on and cover your whole body in moisturiser. Burn candles, use the expensive bath bombs you’ve been saving for a rainy day. LOVE yourself. Really go to town and have an “I deserve this” day. Because chances are, if you’re reading this post- you do. It’s ok to have some down time and to really make time in your day to make sure you feel on top of your game when you wake up the next day. Skin care is my favourite because the next day when I’m glowing I like to think that I brought my inner glow outwards!

#9 Reach out

If you are feeling anxious it is always useful to talk out loud, it helps you to really slow down and find a solution, or at the very least comfort or peace. Sometimes bad things happen, and that sucks, but you should always surround yourself with a support system that’s genuine and that loves you. For me it is my husband and my close family. My grandma and my mum are my best gal pals in the whole world- which is something I’ve definitely realised since I entered my twenties and left my teenage self behind. It’s an unconditional friendship with someone who will always offer you honest advice. In my case I have a northern family who don’t sugar coat things, and sometimes I need that. Don’t bottle it up!

#10 Remove toxic people

This one I saved till last because it 9 & 10 are two of the most important in the long run, but this one is definitely the hardest. It might hurt at first, but it is so worth it. You are worth it. Anxious people are very often givers, or empaths. This means that naturally we can be quite naive and also sensitive. I will almost always recognise a change in tone, or a slight shift in a person- and yet sometimes I still struggle to cut ties with negative energies because I want to “fix” or at least “help” people. While this is often one of my greatest strengths, it has also been one of my greatest weaknesses, as it has left me prone to narcissists and “takers”. These are people who will be there for you particularly when the sun is shining but disappear when you need them most. People who if you pay attention, only have time for you when it suits them, or when they want something from you. This is so bad for your energy because it means you are literally feeding your energy and your lift into a bottomless pit, often for people who can’t or don’t want to be “fixed” or “helped”. One of the biggest life lessons I ever learned is that that’s ok! It is perfectly reasonable to want to surround myself with people who are genuinely as caring as I am. This may mean you end up with fewer friends than you thought- but my god will you notice a difference. You will instantly have more energy to put into healthy, sustainable relationships- without the gangrenous limb of a user weighing you down.

I really hope you learned something or at least enjoyed reading 10 ways in which I deal with my anxiety! Let me know in the comments any of your favourite techniques, I love hearing them! See you next week!
Francesca x
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Disclaimer: Just because these suggestions work for me doesn’t mean they will work for everyone. Everyone’s anxiety operates differently and has different triggers, for example- some people may find water claustrophobic where I find it relaxing and peaceful. x