Showing posts with label lifestyle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lifestyle. Show all posts

INSTAGRAMMERS YOU NEED TO FOLLOW IN 2022

Saturday

I find that the start of the new year is a good time for a social media clear-out. Whether that be unfollowing any accounts that produce content that is not really relevant to you anymore, or even archiving some of your own posts that just don't feel very you anymore.


It is also a good time to follow new accounts that lift your timeline up. This is why I am sharing some of my favourite accounts to follow on Instagram in 2022.


I wrote a blog post a while back about why social media doesn't have to be negative and this is exactly what I mean. A lot of people have negative experiences with social media, especially Instagram. However, you are in control of who you follow, so make sure it's accounts that add something to your life and make you feel positive after seeing their content.


Also, do you use TikTok? Let me know if you want to see a TikTok version of this post too since I am always scrolling on there and would love to share my favourite accounts on there with you too.


Anyway, here is a list of some of my favourite Insta accounts to follow at the moment that you should check out, categorised into the main theme of their content, e.g. fashion or food. Emphasis on SOME of my favourite accounts as I follow so many great ones, these are just my favourites of now.


woman holding iphone next to coffee


Instagram accounts you need to follow in 2022


Lifestyle


First up we have me!!! Yep that's right, why not put myself first? If you regularly read my blogs, chances are you follow me on Instagram anyway but if not, come and say hello at @_laurenken.



Travel (or people showing local hidden gems)


I feel like I don't see as many Instagram accounts solely for travel since covid, but I follow a lot of great accounts that show hidden gems around their local cities.


Foodie



Fashion


Related: 5 steps to taking successful Instagram pictures

Who are some of your favourite creators on Instagram at the moment? 

A-Z OF MOVIES YOU NEED TO WATCH

I love making A-Z lists of things but it can be quite hard when you get towards the end of the alphabet. Full disclosure: I do not have anything for the letter X.


A while ago for Valentine's Day, I wrote an A-Z list of date ideas and because I love films, I thought I could create a list for that too. Some letters of the alphabet have lots of really good films starting with that letter, so for some, it was really hard to narrow it down. For others, there were only a few that I'd seen beginning with that letter. For example, I'm pretty sure I have only seen about three films beginning with the letter V, but S had loads I wanted to share.


The films in the following list are all films I have seen, enjoyed, and would recommend to you. If you need watchlist inspo, then look no further. There is a range of genres, some new, some old.


Netflix on tv with remote


A-Z list of movies you need to watch


A - American Psycho

B - Back to the Future

C - Clueless

D - Do the Right Thing

E - Everybody's Talking About Jamie

F - Forrest Gump

G - Get Out

H - The Help

I - In the Heights

J - Joker

K - Knives Out

L - Legally Blonde

M - Mamma Mia

N - The Notebook

O - Only Yesterday

P - Prisoners 

Q - Queen of Katwe

R - Ratatouille

S - Schindler's List

T - Titanic

U - Us

V - The Vow (There are probably better films beginning with V but I have not seen very many beginning with V)

W - Wizard of Oz

Y - Yes Man

Z - Zootropolis (the only film I have seen beginning with Z but still cute).


There we have it, this list was so much fun to make so let me know if you enjoyed it and I can make more. There are so many films I would recommend and if you love films like me then follow me on Letterboxd here.


Letterboxd is an app where you can log each and every film you have ever watched. It's basically a social media channel where you can rate and review films and see what you're friends have been watching.

Related: What to watch on Netflix and Disney+

How many of these have you seen?

2021 Roundup

Welcome to my yearly roundup post where I share with you the highlights and lowlights from my year, 2021 has been a weird year, a lot has happened and although it hasn't been my favourite year, I have had some really good memories and some big changes have happened in my life.


My 2021 Roundup


January 


As usual, January was quite nothingy for me, especially this year as we were in lockdown for the start of 2021. I have to say after 2020 and being in lockdown over the new year period, I wasn't excited for 2021 at all. By this point, we had been struggling with the pandemic for so long I just had no hope that we would come out the other side.

For some reason though, I started being quite productive (I think to distract myself from these feelings) and I started my writing dissertation and also started planning how I was going to make money with my blog. 2020 was the year my blog really "took off" so I used the new year to see how I could make the next step with it. 

Girl at the beach putting her hand out

In 2021, I was able to make £500 through my blog and Instagram with lots of gifted campaigns dotted about too! This has been the first year I've made any money from it so I am very pleased with that! It did take a lot of work that I haven't really been able to keep up in the later part of 2021 though.

February


After planning how I was going to make money through blogging, February was the first month I actually earned anything. It was also filled with lots of freezing cold beach walks.

Christchurch harbour uk

She might kill me for saying this but my mum had her 50th birthday in February and it was great fun. We all made one of those lockdown happy birthday videos for her (throwback!) and it was just great to celebrate something after a gloomy start to the year.

I'm not going to lie, February was probably the worst month for my mental health as I was just so fed up with lockdown and feeling isolated. I find it important to share lows with you as well as highs so you know I'm human and I'm not just showing off the best version of myself online.

March


March for me was mainly filled with socially distanced walks with friends. At the start of the year, I would just complain so much about all of the things we couldn't do but those walks with friends were something I really appreciated and it made me focus on the things that we could do to bring us joy at that moment in time.


Sheep in poole


April


April is my bday month and I had yet another lockdown birthday and turned 22 but this one felt way less restrictive. I was able to see my boyfriend and friends and a couple of weeks after, Joe and I went for an outdoor meal to celebrate when things opened outdoor seating. Classic me to make it a whole birthday month. Stay tuned to see what I do for my 23rd birthday and if we are in lockdown again (my luck). If not, I'm going big!


Girl clinking drinks with friends


Because outdoor seating started opening for restaurants and pubs and I was gagging to be anywhere but my uni bedroom, I went any time that I could for bottomless brunch or for food. But does anyone remember how freezing it was? I just remember thinking it was going to be warm and it really wasn't, I even had to wear gloves at one point.


May


So after all these months of writing my dissertation since January, I finally submitted it in May and basically finished uni. Throughout all of the other months, I was doing loads of uni work too but I didn't mention that because - boring. 


Girl holdinh up bournemouth university dissertation


When I submitted my diss, I got the standard picture with the front page outside my uni. Only the front page - because we submitted it digitally rather than on paper, which I think is so much better anyway.


After finishing, I was invited by the National Express to go on a PR day out with them, so Joe and I went to London for the day on the coach.


Umbrellas at camden market


We also went to a PR evening at Mbuntu's opening night in Southampton. So basically, I was feeling quite VIP in May. Uni was over, and there was a lot to look forward to re the world opening up.


June


First of all, in June, I celebrated three years with Joe. YAY! We went for a nice anniversary meal at Cote Brasserie and it was extra special because we didn't get to celebrate last year. Also, I started my graduate job halfway through June. I am now a social media and communications coordinator at the same place where I did my internship.

Girl and boy in garden

Because I knew I was starting soon, I tried to make the most out of my non-working days so Joe and I took a trip to Weymouth together. We both love animals so we went to the aquarium which was great fun. I also went to Ginjams in Westbourne with my friends which is a gin and cheese bar and had been on my Bournemouth bucket list for years.

Penguins at sealife weymouth

Cheese board from ginjams westbourne

One of my favourite days ever was in June, too. At our uni house, my two friends and me planned a sports day themed party at our house. It was the first party we could have at ours because of Covid and the people who didn't really like to party were away that weekend so it worked out well. It was so much fun and we did some classic games like egg and spoon race.


Another PR invite - My friend Maddie and I were able to try the lovely Greyhound Inn pub in Corfe. I can't recommend their pub garden enough, it was so stunning and there are great views of Corfe Castle.


Girl in summer dress at corfe castle


Also in June, I spoke on the radio for the first time. I was interviewed on BBC Radio Wiltshire as someone who watches Love Island to talk about the new show starting. Big deal for me as I hate speaking on things like that.


July


July was the month I moved back home from uni which was a weird experience. It still hasn't hit me yet that uni is over for good and it's been months since finishing.


As nightclubs reopened in the UK, I was able to go to my first ever drag show, and see my fave Scottish Queen, Lawrence Chaney. I love drag so much and I hope to go to many more drag shows in the future, it was so much fun!


Lawrence chaney in DYMK bournemouth


The day after (suffering from a hangover) I went on my first out of two student nights out in the whole of third year. I was so glad to go on a night out after months of not being able to.


This is the month Joe moved back to London for work too, so since then, we have been getting up to all sorts of fun things that I will let you know about.


August


In August, we celebrated Joe's birthday (he's a leo) and had a lovely meal in Fulham with his family. 

I also had my friend Maddie come to stay at my house so I gave her a very countryside weekend, there were chickens. We moved house last November and not many of my friends have been to my new house mainly due to covid.

Chickens at cholderton farm shop

After much anticipation on whether it would happen or not, my friends from uni and I went to Bournemouth 7s Festival. This is basically the event we look forward to every year and we couldn't go in 2020 so it felt even better to go this year - even if my feet did feel broken by the end of it.


Group of friends at festival

Bournemouth 7s festival


September


At the beginning of September, my mum, grandma and I went to see 9 to 5 The Musical. Going to see shows is a newfound love of mine and I have really enjoyed all the ones I have been to so far and this was no exception.


9 to 5 the musical southampton mayflower


In the middle of September, Joe and I went on a long weekend away to St Ive's in Cornwall. We had the best time there and this was the last of the sunny weather we had this year. Read about our St Ives trip in full here.


St ives cornwall


Towards the end of September, I visited Joe in London and we went to Spitalfields Market, where I had a pulled pork bun, and about a third of a crumble from Humble Crumble because it was so filling. After that, we went to a spontaneous comedy show at Vauxhall Comedy Club and had a really good night.


Humble crumble spitalfields market london


October


October was a month filled with lots of nights out and fun stuff. Firstly, I went on a trip to Incognito in Winchester. If you haven't heard about it yet, it was the best cocktail bar I've ever been to! They also have one in Kingston and the cocktails are just so cool and fancy. They are more than just cocktails and are presented with such cool effects. It is better if you just see for yourself on my Instagram reel here.

Cocktail at incognito winchester

I also took my friends from home on a night out in Bournemouth. We went to DYMK which is the gay club in Bournemouth as I had such a great time there seeing Lawrence Chaney earlier in the year.


November


I haven't stopped going on about this, and I'm not sure when I will but I graduated from uni in November, and this was probably the best day of the whole year. It just made all of the days of hard work and feeling like I couldn't do it pay off.



Friends posing


After graduating and celebrating with my friends, I also had a party a few days later to celebrate with my family friends at home. In true Lauren Kenny style, we had a huge brie centerpiece.


Another month, another visit to London, but this time it was to see my friends. We celebrated one of my friend's birthdays by going to Hijingo in Shoreditch, which is basically a really futuristic boozy bingo. I am yet to win anything at a boozy bingo - I'm starting to think it's a fix.


Friends posing


Towards the end of November, I just started getting into Christmas activities early, like Christmas shopping and going to the markets for mulled wine.


December


To kick off December, I was invited to a PR meal at Pizza Venti in Salisbury where we tried their amazing Christmas menu. The pizza was to die for!!


Pizza at pizza venti


I also went to my first book club meeting. I have been a part of the book club since September but there were various reasons why I couldn't attend the previous ones. It was really great to meet some new people in my home city.


As I said, I also try to share the low moments as well as the highlights, and in December, I spent a lot of time feeling really anxious. I have spent a lot of time trying to improve my mental health and going out of my comfort zone, but what I was hearing in the news about the new waves of Coronavirus made me really worried because of how much I struggled in the previous lockdown.

At this time of year, we usually go to the Dortmund Christmas markets but this year we went to the Birmingham one instead.


All in all, the year has been filled with highs and lows just like any other year. Has it been the best year of my life? Has it been the worst? Not really. A lot has happened that I'm grateful for and that's why I really like writing these posts. At first I thought this year had been a bit rubbish with Covid, but looking back through the year, I have some really fun memories and lifelong achievements that I am proud of.


What are some of the highlights of your year?

BOOKS I READ IN 2021

I have started doing a few book reviews this year and that's because, to be honest, I have only really started regularly reading as a hobby this year.


When I was at uni I had to read for my course so I didn't really want to do it in my free time, but I've actually been enjoying it since leaving. Does that mean I'm a real-life adult now?


So, I thought I would share my favourite books I have read this year with you.


Florence given illustrations in women dont owe you pretty


My best reads of 2021

1. Women Don't Owe You Pretty by Florence Given


This is definitely one of my favourite books I have read, ever. It's so important and covers so many different themes of feminism. I actually did a review on this one so if you want to hear my full thoughts then read my review of Women Don't Owe You Pretty.

Incidentally, I actually saw Florence Given (the author) in real life when I was walking through Shoreditch the other day. If you don't know who she is yet, I would recommend following her on socials she is COOL.

2. Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman


Humankind is another non-fiction book and it unpacks all kinds of anthropological themes. Basically, it talks a lot about human history and the main question asked is are humans really selfish by nature? If you are interested in social sciences or just history in general I would recommend this book.

I am aware I am not explaining it too well, there is just so much covered and I feel like I'd need to read it again to remember it all. If you read it, you will understand what I mean.

3. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris


I had literally started reading this book in 2019 but I finished it in 2021 so I have included it in this list anyway. Despite the length of time it took me to read (just me being on and off with it, nothing to do with the book) I really enjoyed this. I know I'm a bit late to the party with this but got there in the end!

4. Good Vibes, Good Life: How Self-Love Is the Key to Unlocking Your Greatness by Vex King


Another non-fiction book - can you tell which I prefer? I feel like this book unlocked something in my brain. The theme is basically good vibes only and tips of getting away from negativity and it all just makes so much sense. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. Who doesn't want to have good vibes and live a good life?

Also, I will be reading Vex's new book Healing is the New High very soon.

5. His Other Woman by Louise Voss


This book is actually written by a lady who is local to Salisbury (near where I live) which made me interested in reading it. It is a fictional book about a couple in Salisbury. The husband goes abroad by himself and is involved in an accident where he loses his memory. I will leave you with that description and the name of the title for you to work out the rest of the storyline. Very good, would recommend reading.

6. Drag Queen of Scots: The Dos and Don'ts of a Drag Superstar by Lawrence Chaney


Lawrence Chaney of one of my favourite drag queens to ever set foot on the main stage of RuPaul's Drag Race. They are also the winner of RuPaul's Drag Race UK Season 2. If you know me, you will know how much of a fan of the show I am and at every opportunity I tell people I did my dissertation on it (there we go, just mentioned it for the 497th time).

For this reason, I loved hearing about Lawrence's experiences before the show, during and after. I also wrote a review of this one too so if you'd like to hear more about what I thought, read my review of Lawrence Chaney's book.

7. Release the Beast: A Drag Queen's Guide to Life by Bimini Bon Boulash


Similar to number 6, this was written by Drag Queen, Bimini Bon Boulash from Season 2 of RuPaul's Drag Race UK. I loved reading this book, it was a mixture of biographical content and advice, life lessons, etc. There is a lot to be learnt from this book. 

Bimini covers a range of sociological concepts meanwhile their drag persona is branded as a 'bimbo'. Spoiler alert: the term 'bimbo' is unpacked in this book. Bimini also identifies as non-binary and seeing the world through their eyes definitely teaches you a lot about how gender-reliant the world we live in is.

Basically, Bimini can do it all by teaching you stuff, talking about their life and drag while generally just being iconic. There are also cool illustrations.

8. Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard


OK so I am a fan of the TV show so I thought why not try the books and see what they're like? I have to say, I am a bit obsessed at the moment. Pretty Little Liars is one of my comfort TV shows that I watched as a teenager and will watch over and over again now, so I find it really interesting to see what is different/the same in the books. I have read book 1 and 2 so far but there are so many, it depends if I can be bothered to read all of them,

When I asked earlier if I'm a real adult? The answer is no.

And there we have all of my favourite books that I've read this year. I'd love to hear your thoughts on book content as I'm quite new to it so please let me know if you like seeing it.

LOCAL SALISBURY CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE

I was debating doing a Christmas gift guide this year as I did one last year, but I thought since I created the Salisbury Bloggers network this year, it would be great to share some local businesses with you, whether you are from the Salisbury area or not.


If you are not yet aware of the Salisbury Bloggers network, this is an Instagram account I created over summer with the aim of connecting creators and local businesses in Salisbury and the surrounding areas. While being at uni in Bournemouth, I was part of the Bournemouth Bloggers group and had some great opportunities from being part of it, so I thought Salisbury needed something similar. Follow the Salisbury Bloggers network on Instagram here.


Another aim of the group is to create opportunities for Salisbury creators, similar to the opportunities I had from Bournemouth Bloggers. So, if you are a local business wanting to work with influencers and creators, or if you're a creator looking to work with local businesses, get in touch and see more information here.

Salisbury Christmas Gift Guide


So, I am going to be sharing my favourite local businesses with you where you can get great gifts for loved ones for Christmas.


1. Wolf Cabin Wax Melts


Glittery wax melt in burner

I recently ordered some wax melts from Naomi at Wolf Cabin Wax Melts and they smell amazing. Wolf Cabin is a small wax melt business local to Salisbury which was started in 2020 and the name of the business inspired by everything cosy, just like you would find in a cabin.


Their wax melts would make great Christmas gifts and stocking fillers. They have such a wide range of scents - Christmassy and non Christmassy and they are so affordable too.


2. Rosebourne


If you haven't been to Rosebourne at this time of year yet then you need to! It is not in the centre of Salisbury, but if you are looking for a day out that is not too far away then it's definitely worth a visit. It is in Weyhill near Andover.

They have so many luxury gifts to choose from - foodie and otherwise. They also have gift vouchers and if you prefer to gift people experiences rather than items, you can get someone a voucher to have a lovely afternoon tea at Rosebourne.

Even if you don't end up getting presents there, the Christmas section looks amazing and you can check out their cafe for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea.

3. Ginkgo Accessories


Ginkgo is a small business on Etsy started by a lovely lady called Hollie this year who is local to Hampshire. Hollie makes her lovely earrings by hand and these would make beautiful gifts for people who love jewellery.

4. Crystals

Crystals is one of my favourite shops in Salisbury. It is a physical shop near The Maltings by the river and as far as I'm aware they don't have an online shop. It is a jewellery shop again but slightly different styles to Ginkgo. 

They have such beautiful jewellery made from a wide range of gemstones and they sell crystals by themselves too. I have given and received lots of gifts from here in the past so if you are in Salisbury, it's definitely worth visiting. I try to get in there where I can and support them where possible.

5. My Mini Wardrobe


If you are looking for handmade knitted clothes for little people in your life, then look no further than My Mini Wardrobe on Etsy.


These items are handmade in Salisbury and you can personalise and chat with the business owner to collaborate on the perfect pieces.


6. Weathered Knots


Paige from Weathered Knots creates and sells the most amazing home decorations made out of Macrame knots. So much talent goes into these items, and again she is local to Salisbury.


Paige's website is definitely worth a look. There are so many unique gifts you could buy for a loved one to spice up their living space.


7. Army Flying Museum


The Army Flying Museum in Stockbridge is offering gift vouchers and they have a shop with all things army. The museum would make a great day out for anyone who is interested in flying.

8. Ruby and Moon


OK this is another jewellery business, but can you ever have enough jewellery? Also, the ones I have included are all so different.

Ruby and Moon have some really beautiful pieces that would make great gifts for jewellery lovers and is an Etsy business run by Nikki from Salisbury.

9. Maul's Cheese and Wine Bar


So it's no surprise that Maul's is one of my favourite places to go ever because I love their cheese! But did you know they have a shop? That's right, you can purchase the most amazing cheese and wine from them and give someone a cheese and wine night of their own at home.

You can go into the bar and buy cheeses or you can order from a wide selection of cheese, wine and pate online. (If anyone is reading this may want to buy me a present for any reason, this is definitely NOT a hint).

10. Chalke Valley Soaps


Handmade in Wiltshire, these luxury soaps would make a great Christmas gift for anyone who loves to indulge in self-care at bath or shower time. The soaps look so good that I want to eat them (don't do that) and they even have soap for dogs? I'm sold.

11. Artisan Wine and Spirit Co


If you're looking for a boozy gift then why not support local at this Salisbury shop? You can look in the store or order online and choose from a wide range of wines and (you guessed it) spirits.

12. Bluestone Vineyards


Bluestone Vineyards is local to Salisbury in the nearby village of Cholderton. Here, you can go on wine tasting tours or visit their online shop with local English sparkling wine. You can purchase wine tasting vouchers for loved ones which would make a great experience gift.

While you're at it...

13. Cholderton Rare Breeds Farm


Right by Bluestone Vineyards is Cholderton Rare Breeds Farm, which offers a range of experiences for animal lovers. Again, this would make a great experience gift for children and adults and you can even walk with alpacas here.
I couldn't include all of the amazing businesses in and around Salisbury because there is just not enough time! But make sure you are following @SalisburyBloggers on Instagram to see all of our favourites showcased on the page.

DRAG QUEEN OF SCOTS BY LAWRENCE CHANEY - BOOK REVIEW

Now that I have left uni and don't have to read for my dissertation anymore, I am actually enjoying reading as a hobby for the first time really. One of the books I have really enjoyed reading lately is Lawrence Chaney's first book, Drag Queen of Scots: The Dos and Don'ts of a Drag Superstar.


Lawrence chaney drag queen shipwreck look
Image from @lawrencechaney on Instagram.


If you don't know who Lawrence Chaney is, they are a Scottish drag queen who won RuPaul's Drag Race UK Season 2 and I have been a fan since watching the show. I have also seen Lawrence Chaney perform live which was fabulous.


I haven't really read a biography until this one and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so I had to share my thoughts with you.


What was the book about?


The book does what it says on the tin. It is an autobiography mixed with advice for drag queens who want to start out. As Lawrence was only 24 at the time of writing, the book is about their childhood, teenage years and how they got into drag, and ultimately winning Drag Race.

Related: Women don't owe you pretty book review

After watching Lawrence Chaney KILL IT all of season 2, it was so interesting to read about their childhood. As with many drag queens, they were bullied throughout most of their childhood, mostly for being gay, being fat or being Scottish. Although it was hard to read about, Lawrence made light of this and in the end, the bullying lessened at school due to their sense of humour. Being funny and making fun of themself was a way out of being targeted and I resonate with this a lot.


After that Lawrence wrote about getting into drag and gender identity. They said at one point that they are still on a journey with gender so even though I have heard Lawrence be referred to as he/him out of drag and she/her in drag, I am using gender-neutral pronouns in this post such as they/them/theirs.


The book had a lot of content about mental health but it was a light read due to a balance of talking about important subjects whilst also injecting comedy into the book.


Should you read this book?


The answer is 100% yes! Even if you are not into RuPaul's Drag Race, it's still so interesting to read about how an ordinary person pursues their dreams and becomes a drag superstar. 

Related: 5 books I wish I'd read sooner

Have you read this book?

I'M A GRADUATE

Since starting university I have written a few blog posts about student life, so I thought I also need to write about it all being over as sad as that is.


I finished university in May but I have only just had my graduation.


If you are reading my blog for the first time, I have been studying Communication and Media at Bournemouth University for the past four years (including a placement year) and have recently graduated!


Girl in graduation cap and gown bournemouth university


About the day

First of all, there was a huge storm a few nights before the big day and we were completely without power the day before and the morning of my graduation. I had to do my hair at my grandma's house before we could make our way down to Bournemouth.

Our ceremony was at 16:30 so my parents and I went for a lovely lunch at Miller and Carter beforehand. Then, I was able to collect my gown and hat, get my professional photography done, and see all my friends.

Bournemouth university graduates in cap and gown

Bournemouth university graduates

It was an emotional day and I'm still not over it. It was amazing being able to attend graduation after the uncertainty of Covid and see my friends graduate too. But, it is so sad thinking that is the last of uni for us.
After the ceremony, where we all walked across the stage and collected our diplomas, there was free fizz and snacks in another room. Did I need the free fizz? Definitely not, but did I enjoy it. Then, my friends and I went out to celebrate.

Onwards and upwards

Since finishing uni, I have been working full-time as a Social Media and Communications Coordinator. Although I am really sad that uni is over, I will look forward to what the future holds and there are lots of positives. One being that with working full-time, I have more money to do fun things that I want to do.

A lot of people have been saying, does this mean you're a real adult now? And I am thinking, no probably not. I don't actually feel much older than I did when I started uni at 18, I am wondering if that will ever change.

Girl in graduation gown with parents

There were a lot of times at uni where I just thought is this even worth it? And there have been times where I didn't want to do it anymore. I'm sure every student has felt this. But now I can say, it was all worth it and I am so glad.

Towards the end of my degree, there were a few times where people made me feel like I was stupid and not clever enough. I don't know why, because I was clearly at university for a reason and I ended up getting better grades than these people anyway. What can I say? Karma is real.

For those of you who have been reading my blogs all the way through uni, thank you! It definitely is the end of an era but now I will cherish the happy memories I had and remember that I overcame the not so happy ones.
I am thinking of writing graduate content too so please let me know if you would like to see this.

5 WAYS TO BEAT THE POST-SUMMER BLUES

We are definitely in the swing of autumn now and a lot of people will be excited about this change, but if you're like me, you might be sad that summer is over.


There are lots of things to enjoy about autumn, nice-smelling candles, Halloween, and the lead-up to Christmas may all get you excited. However, there are natural reasons as to why you may be happier in summer.

Cars and rain drops on camera lens


The sun is great for so many things but it is also good for your mental health. Getting sunlight can increase serotonin levels. Serotonin is a mood stabilising hormone that is often known as the happiness hormone.


Naturally, as we see less sun and sunlight hours in autumn and winter, we are less exposed to the sun. This is one explanation for why you may not be as happy in the colder seasons, and this is completely normal.


Some people have what's known as SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. Find out more about symptoms for SAD on the NHS website. 


I am not a mental health professional, but I am going to share some ways to help with beating the post-summer blues that help me. If you think you may have symptoms of depression, please visit your GP.


5 ways to beat the post-summer blues


1. Get out and about

When the weather is rubbish and it's dark, it can make you want to stay inside which is fine. However, knowing what we know about sunlight and serotonin levels, it's important to try and get out in the sun when you can.

Although it is not as warm as before, there is still chance to get out, whether that is for a lunch time walk or a trip to the shops.

Sometimes I find it hard to go out when I really don't want to go, but I usually feel better for doing it.

2. Natural sunlight lamp

One way to treat SAD according to the NHS is to use natural sunlight lamps. These are designed to make your room look like natural sunlight is coming through even when the weather is bad outside or if it's dark. You can purchase these lamps from a range of places including Amazon.

3. Embrace the new season

One of the main reasons I prefer summer is because I seem to like so much more about it than the other seasons. That doesn't mean I hate autumn and winter though. I try to pick out the things I like about the new seasons and focusing on that rather than focusing on why I'm sad that summer is over.

4. Plan things to look forward to

My favourite thing to do is plan things to look forward to, this always helps my mental health. This can even be small things like planning a film to watch after work. This forward-thinking helps to get you away from missing the past activities.

5. Summer can be a state of mind


It may not be summer right now and the weather may not be good enough to do a lot of activities that are usually associated with summer, but that doesn't mean you can't remind yourself of summer.

This could be as simple as using summer-scented candles. One thing that makes me really think of summer is the smell of aftersun. It's a bit weird but sometimes I put it on even in winter just so it can make me feel like I have just been to the beach.
Which season makes you the happiest?

14 NON-SCARY FILMS TO WATCH THIS HALLOWEEN

Sunday

Love or hate Halloween, there are still lots of good films to be watching this season. To be honest, I rarely celebrate Halloween. I know some people will carve pumpkins every single year but I only really celebrated it at uni when there were parties to go to.

Halloween sweets and lollies in a bowl


That's not to say I don't like Halloween, I just don't treat it how I'd treat Christmas, as I love Christmas so much! This year, I'm not really doing anything for Halloween so I will probably be watching some of the films from this list.


I'm also not a massive fan of scary films so I have created a list of non-scary Halloween films for people who maybe don't want to be too scared this Halloween.


Without further ado, here is my ultimate Halloween watch list and where to watch them.


15 non-scary films to watch this Halloween


Netflix


1. The Addams Family

This is probably the first film I would think of when someone mentions Halloween to me. It's definitely one of my go-to's at this time of year.

2. Corpse Bride


Corpse Bride was one of the films I used to watch over and over as a child. I think that probably says a lot about me.

3. Ghostbusters


Is it even Halloween if you don't hear the song from Ghostbusters everywhere you go?

4. Birdbox


Not technically Halloween-themed but one of the only 'horrors' I can watch because it's a little scary but not too much for me. There are differing opinions on this movie but I really liked the storyline and it kept me on my toes.

5. Midsommar (OK this one is a little scary)


This is probably the scariest film I have seen but that's because I don't watch horrors. It was more weird than anything else but really good and highly rated. I think it was described as a daylight horror because it's not really that scary but a lot of horrible stuff happens.

6. Labyrinth


Not technically Halloween again but David Bowie in this would make a really good costume.

Disney+


7. Halloweentown


How better to celebrate Halloween than throwing it back to your younger years? I swear this film used to always be on Disney Channel at this time of year.

8. Nightmare before Christmas


One of the better animated Halloween films, if not the best. AND it has Christmas in it as well which is perfect for me.

9. Hocus pocus


When I said The Addams Family was the film I think of when I think of Halloween, this would be the second one.

10. Twitches


Another Disney Channel Halloween film and I used to love Tia and Tamera.

11. The Rocky Horror Picture Show


This is a personal favourite out of this list!

Amazon Prime Video


12. Knives Out

Again, not technically associated with Halloween but it is a great murder mystery story.

13. The Joker

This is in here because is there ever a Halloween party where someone isn't dressed as The Joker? Also, it's a great film.

14. Us

OK, this film was a little scary for me too but the storyline was great and outshined the horror aspect of it.

I wish I could watch all 14 of these films on Halloween but it's not going to be possible, I will give it a good go though I'm sure.
What's your favourite film to watch around Halloween?

SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN'T HAVE TO BE NEGATIVE: THE LOW DOWN

Saturday

Welcome to another post in my The Low Down series, where I give you the low down on important stuff.


When social media first became a thing, it was a great way to keep in touch with friends and family. Over the years, it has developed so much that there are so many different functions and reasons to use social media. I work as a social media coordinator, so I find that I am always using it as I use it for business, but also in my free time.


Iphone with social media apps on screen

Negativity in social media


As we know, as well as being a great marketing tool and a way to keep in touch with friends, or even stay up to date with your favourite celebrities, it can also be a toxic place.


It's so easy to let social media rule your life and compare your life to the perfect lives of others, or compare the way you look to the heavily edited Instagram pictures. We have all looked at pictures and thought I really wish I had their life, right? I get it so bad with travel photos or just any boujee photos in general, I'm like I wish I was doing that right now.


But we need to remember, people only tend to share their best moments on social media. It's so easy to take it as fact and think wow that person's life is so good - why isn't mine like that? The truth is, they are probably only sharing their highlights with you.


Tips for creators


If you are a creator, the best way to exude positivity in your posts is to sometimes be a bit negative - if that makes sense. The more real you are on your platform, the more people are going to relate to you. If you share real-life things that maybe aren't highlights, this will help remind your audience that social media creators are real people.

Related: Toxic positivity: the low down

My favourite creators on Instagram, are the ones who are just honest and real. Or, it's ones who use their platform to try and normalise things that the media usually tries to push out such as larger body types and disabilities.


Tips for social media users


For anyone using social media, even if you are just scrolling, you will need to take care of what you are doing. When you are mindlessly scrolling, you are not in control of what you are taking in. You may not think anything of it, but all that you are taking in while scrolling could subconsciously be damaging.


You need to set boundaries and remember that using social media is ok in moderation. Moderate what you are looking at and try to only look at things that make you happy.


Unfollow Unfollow Unfollow


If there are accounts that make you feel negative, even if they don't mean to, you are within your rights to unfollow these people. For example, if someone is posting positive highlights about their life and it starts making you feel bad about your own life, unfollow.


You don't owe these people, even if you know them personally, you are free to pick and choose who you follow to make using social media a positive experience for you.

Related: My journey to confidence: the low down

What measures do you put into place to ensure you have a better experience on social media?

9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL AT THE MAYFLOWER

Sunday

After waiting a year and three months to go due to the pandemic, I finally went to see 9 to 5 the musical and it definitely did not disappoint.


9 to 5 the musical mayflower southampton

As the show was at The Mayflower in Southampton, we headed over by train and went to a few shops and had some food and drinks before going to the event.


For lunch, we went to Zizzi in West Quay and I had the chorizo carbonara, so nice would definitely recommend! The burrata salad starter was so nice too. I also had the passion fruitini cocktail.


The show started at 2pm so we walked over to The Mayflower after lunch and getting in was super easy there weren't really any queues. There were no empty seats though as so many people must have been waiting to go since 2020 like us.


I had seen 9 to 5 the movie with Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin which I loved, but this was my first time seeing it as a musical on stage and it was amazing!


It was a really clever adaptation of the film and it was so funny too, at one point I think tears were coming out because I was laughing so much.

Related: Women don't owe you pretty book review

The characters were fab too. Franklin Hart Jr, the misogynistic CEO of the company is definitely more exaggerated in the musical than in the film which really helped to get the point across of how women have been treated in the office compared to how men have been treated.


I'd like to think the way women are treated in the workplace has improved since the 1980s but there are still some improvements that need to be made in certain workplaces I would say.


The three women main characters are so empowering and it's great to watch their journey and see a happy ending for each of them.


There was a great balance between comedy, and also keeping focused on the serious themes of misogyny throughout. Every so often, Franklin Hart Jr would make sexist jokes about women to one of his male coworkers, Bob. At the end of the show, Bob then hit him back with my favourite line: "What do you call a female CEO? A CEO."


I definitely need to see more musicals, I always love them! So far, I have only seen 9 to 5, Mamma Mia, The Rocky Horror Show and Shrek The Musical - all of which were so good.

Related: A-Z of date ideas

Are you a fan of musicals, which is your favourite?

MY TIME AT BOURNEMOUTH 7S FESTIVAL

Saturday

Over the August Bank Holiday weekend, I spent the Saturday and Sunday at Bournemouth 7s Festival. I had my ticket booked so long ago and was due to go in May 2020, so I felt like writing about my experience there.


Group of people at festival

If you have been following me for a while, you may remember that in lockdown last year, I tried recreating Bournemouth 7s Festival in my back garden.

Related: Throwing a festival lockdown party

Luckily I was able to stay at a friend's house so I didn't have to do any camping. I'm so glad, it was such a tiring weekend so I needed the proper sleep in a bed.


Day 1 


For day 1 my friends and I went out for breakfast so we could line our stomachs and started drinking pre-lunch time. No judgment here it was a big weekend! We had some more pre-drinks at the house before heading to the festival at around 2pm.


The queue for day 1 was pretty long as we had to show covid passes or test results, tickets, ID, and our bags all in different places.


When we arrived we tried out all of the different music tents and got the drinks in. The sponsored drink this year was White Claw, which I really think helped me out. Because it's a hard seltzer which is quite watery, it was so easy to drink all day and was quite hydrating. They were also not too strong so I didn't overdo it too early. Incidentally, water was £3 and these cans were £4!


The headlining act on day 1 was Ella Eyre. She was good but the main tent was so full and we were so far back that we couldn't really see that well and it was getting a bit crowded, so we ended up just going to an RnB tent which was so good.


Day 2


Again, we had a couple of drinks before leaving for 7s, some of us were more hungover than others (I am smug because it's usually me but I felt amazing - thank you White Claws). We left for 7s earlier and there was no queue as we all had wristbands by that point so got in a lot quicker.


We did actually watch about 5 minutes of rugby on Sunday, I know it's mainly for sports but I much prefer just dancing and listening to music to watching the sports (sorry!)


After that we did a bit of the Bingo Lingo which was good, my feet were killing from the day before and there was still so much walking be done so I was just grateful for sitting down really.


As for the rest of the day, it was pretty much the same as the day before, just going between tents and dancing listening to the different music.


We didn't end up seeing the headlining act, but I can't remember who it was anyway and the other tents had such good music anyway that it didn't really matter.


It feels quite weird now because that was the last event in Bournemouth that I'll probably go to for a while because I've finished uni there now. But I'm looking forward to more events in the future.


Have you been to any festivals this year?