It’s Okay Not to Be Positive (All the Time)

I was debating writing a post like this; one with less purpose and fact, but more feeling. 2020 has just not been the one for many of us and I truly admire those that have managed to inject positivity into their day from the minute they wake up. I’ve always admired those people. Growing up, I had a terribly negative mindset, particularly a self-deprecating one. Very much glass-half-empty rather than half-full. I would see the negatives before the positives, and be too realistic for my own good.

Since getting older and experiencing more of the ‘real world’ we’re always told about, I do think my mindset has grown with me. I allow myself to see the positives in situations and can reassure myself that things aren’t that bad, or everything happens for a reason, so trust and let go. However, this attitude only stretches so far some days. I’m human after all, not a robot programmed to see the good in all things.

Eventually, I do think I forced myself into seeing the positives and telling myself that someone else always had it worse. It turned into a type of complex whereby I’d feel guilty for being negative and honest with my emotions because there’s always someone in a worse position. I’ve come to realise just recently that this is so toxic and we’re all allowed to feel what we feel.

Photo by freddie marriage on Unsplash

It’s fantastic to have perspective, but it’s not everything

Acknowledging our own privilege and situation compared to others is of course not a bad thing. Belittling our own thoughts and feelings, however, is not so good. In life, there will always be someone that we believe is in a worse position than ourselves, or even in a better position. It’s all about the balance of appreciating this and allowing ourselves to feel valid at the same time.

Particularly with the whole Covid situation, there’s never been more opportunity to compare ourselves to others. Who’s had a holiday cancelled? Who’s lost a job? Who’s struggled the most transitioning into working from home? I feel so guilty sometimes when I want to share a bit of negativity rather than positivity – in my hopes of keeping my social platforms as real as possible. Why should I feel frustrated and anxious, when since March I’ve had a full-time wage working my job from home, surrounded by my pets and family with my own car?

Because yes those things have kept me sane and stable, but I’ve also had a holiday and day trips cancelled, my driving test postponed twice (thankfully I passed in the end), I lost my dog I had for 12 years and I’ve felt quite stuck in which direction I’m headed in. These things have induced sadness, frustration and anxiety. Even writing this is making me feel a horrible sense of guilt. This is because people have lost their jobs, family members, been lonely without help. I completely acknowledge the hardship others are experiencing, but I need to stop invalidating my own feelings and allow myself to be negative.

Is there a stigma attached to being negative and honest online?

Personally, I do think so to some extent. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good positive morning tweet or motivating insta post. But on the days where this is all I see, I feel like a dark cloud who doesn’t want to rain on everyone’s parade, so I swiftly move along and wait till the sun comes back. I don’t want to be the person to dampen someone’s day, but by sharing my honest feelings, I could be helping someone more than I know. Helping them to feel less alone, less frightened to share that their day is not so great either.

I love realism. Obviously, I don’t love knowing people are having a hard time, but I always appreciate their honesty. We can’t be our best selves all the time, it’s just not possible.

Photo by Abigail Faith on Unsplash

I’m not sure there was much point to this…

Truly, I just fancied a ramble. A bit of chatty honesty and a chance to open up a discussion. I wanted to share the fact that you are well within your right to feel what you want to feel, and when. There is no rulebook and we are all in this together (will I ever not think of High School Musical?!).

Despite social media often being a negative and scary space due to what’s going on in the world, that doesn’t mean we should ever feel obligated to stay quiet when we just want to share our true feelings. It’s healthy to be open with ourselves and others, and heck, it might even benefit us in the long run. Life is not simple and nor are we. Not everyone wants to share their not-so-sunny days, and there is nothing wrong with that either.

If sharing a down day on social media will lift even the tiniest weight off your shoulders, then DO IT. Do what makes you feel most comfortable and happy, I can guarantee there will always be a pair of eyes/ears waiting. I think the blogging community is fantastic for genuine support and friendship, no matter the following you have or whether you’ve spoken before.

It’s okay not to be okay. And it’s okay to share that.

What are your thoughts? Until next time,

Emily x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delving into The World of MLMs

“Hey babe! I’ve just been taking a look through your feed/blog/account and think you would be the PERFECT addition to my team. Are you looking to quit your 9-5 and make money from home?” if the latter rings a bell (a potentially alarming one), then you my friend, appeared to have stumbled across an MLM scheme.

Disclaimer: There are some legitimate MLM programmes available, and by no means am I tarnishing every person and every business with the same brush, nor shaming anyone if they want to participate. I just disagree with the fake-friendliness and programmes that have negatively affected people’s lives.

What does MLM actually mean?

MLM stands for multi-level marketing. It’s a controversial method of network marketing and the illegal versions are called pyramid schemes. The most common form of MLM is for a person to be ‘recruited’ into a team; to sell products/services to family and friends. Doesn’t sound too fishy just yet? Well, they can be fraudulent and can cause the recruited member to actually lose money rather than make anything back. Losing money can also consequently land people in debt.

MLM participants and recruiters can come across very friendly, approachable, likeable and honest. It is a clever technique to lure people into the depths of a scheme that can cause more harm than good. Often the targets of these schemes are students, stay at home mums and people looking for additional income.

It’s a system that preys on the vulnerable and makes a mockery of true, hard-working business owners. It takes advantage of those less financially advantaged and with little to no knowledge on the truth behind MLMs. It’s not dissimilar to a form of brainwashing.

So what does MLM involve?

From my research online, and vast personal experience of coming across these participants daily, is that it works by signing up, paying for a ‘starter kit’, and selling *cough nagging* your family and friends into buying your products and/or joining your team to gain commission and profit. Can you see how the cycle continues? It appears most money comes from the recruiting aspect and the commission gained from recruiting others into the business. This is where the ‘pyramid’ aspect starts to make more sense.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

 

So what is a pyramid scheme and how does this differ to MLM?

If you picture a literal pyramid shape, it starts at a point at the top and gradually widens out into a lower, wider level. So business CEOs recruit and enroll people at the top-level and work their way down continuously in a chain. All the while promising payments and rewards for recruiting others rather than selling a product/service.

An article by Randy Duermyer states; “To be legal and not a scam, money needs to be primarily earned from the sales of products and services rather than the recruitment of new members. MLM programs with no or a low-quality product or a focus on getting paid per recruit could be an illegal pyramid scheme”.

The lower level earns little to no money, and the big bosses at the top walk away with the cash. Some invest thousands into these businesses with the hopes that they can quit their job and get rich from home. But they don’t get rich, and they end up worse off. It’s a false sense of security.

So in short MLMs are pyramid schemes, just not always illegal ones.

How do MLMs/pyramid schemes work?

If you know what warning signs to look out for – you can become a pro at spotting an MLM recruiter from a mile away. I delete multiple DMs a week, which have all been from young women. They claim to be business owners, travel agents and “entrepreneurs”, but this could not be further from the truth. You may be enticed into what seems like a generic, friendly conversation. The second you reply, you are bombarded with over-friendly, pushy messages.

A few messages in, you may be hit with “have you considered earning extra money from home?” or “I’m part of an amazing business opportunity I think you would be great at, would you like to hear more?”. Their pitches are quite obvious, so shouldn’t be hard to spot. Voice messages are now a common form, which makes your invite look personalised when they’re more than likely following a script and changing the name each time.

The so-called “benefits” of these schemes can involve all expenses paid trips, winning a car and luxury prizes. So to people who are struggling to put food on the table and have no idea what MLMs are, it looks like a life-changing opportunity. The problem is how morally wrong they are, as well as financially.

Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

Examples of MLMs that you may recognise are:

  • Avon (who have built reputability and personally, I have used and still use Avon as a consumer, as it’s a better established, legitimate business that just uses MLM techiques with its Avon reps)
  • The Body Shop has been a new and upcoming one
  • Arbonne
  • Herbalife
  • NuSkin
  • Juice Plus

How did it all begin?

Network Experience state “The first direct seller that made the breakthrough was the “California Perfume Company” established in 1886. California Perfume Company was renamed as “Avon Products” in 1939 and is still at the top of the MLM industry. ” so they weren’t the creators of this type of business model, but they seem to have paved the way. In 1945, another company changed its name from the California Vitamin Company to Nurti Lite, which practiced MLM strategies still used today to sell their products.

It appears the earliest MLM business was JR Watkins Medical Company in 1886, explained by Tony on Quora.

But WHY can they be so bad?

The primary reason is because it’s a predatory method that preys on unknowing and vulnerable communities worldwide. It seemingly offers care-free income and great prospects which most of the time, is not true. A fantastic in-depth article I came across by Eliza Romero describes that “Using the language of third-wave feminism and borrowing quotes or phrases from real female CEOs helps recruiters and recruits see themselves as legitimate professionals, no different from a founder of a startup company”.

It’s all a facade and a beautiful lie. It is psychologically manipulative too, giving people sales pitches and leading them into a false sense of security. They have also kept going since the start of the Covid pandemic, which I think is a disgusting technique when people are facing so much personal and financial devastation.

It’s hard to locate UK statistics for MLM schemes, but they are vast across the US.

“Among the more than 20 million Americans who participate or have participated in multilevel marketing (MLM) organizations, 90 percent say they got involved to make money. However, nearly half (47 percent) lose money and a quarter (27 percent) make no money, according to a new study released by AARP Foundation.” – quote from PR Newswire

Where can I find out more?

I remember watching the BBC documentary by Ellie Flynn which gave an insight into the households directly affected by MLMs and it was shocking. One of the young women involved ended up £3000 in debt due to the false promises of an MLM scheme. She invested expecting to seek results, and gained nothing in return.

I, among many, find the fake friendly conversations by MLM recruiters insanely tiresome and annoying. I know family and friends that are involved who thankfully, do not seem disadvantaged thus far. There are some legitimate schemes, but please do your research if you are interested. I am not here to promote these models of “business” but to raise awareness into the dangers and toxicity of the majority of them. The truth behind the true earning success rates of these businesses needs to be shared more publically to avoid others falling into the same trap.

I’m really interested to hear your thoughts and experiences with MLM in the comments down below.

Until next time,

Emily x

Why and How You Should Check Your Boobs

*Statistics provided in this post are in conjuction with information shared at the time of posting. For updated figures, please do research those if you would like*

I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty of not checking my boobs enough, or at all. I’ve always been told it’s important, but I have been lazy about it which I am not proud of. It takes a couple of minutes each month, so really there are no excuses. I’ve taken the time to educate myself and decided to compile a post about it for my fellow breast bearers.

Feeling your breasts is a key way of detecting breast cancer, so if taking some time in the shower to check around for anything anomalous – it could literally save your life. CoppaFeel! are the UK’s first breast cancer awareness charity with a sole aim of educating and installing the correct knowledge from as early an age as possible, to ensure that we are confident to check our breasts regularly.

So what do the statistics show?

It’s not just women that can suffer from breast cancer, it can also affect men. Statistics shared by Breast Cancer Now state “Around 55,000 women and 370 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK” and 4% of those cases in women are from those aged under 39. As a woman in my early 20s, that is a scary statistic to swallow. Breast Cancer Now also added “Breast cancer survival is improving and has doubled in the past 40 years in the UK due to a combination of improvements in treatment and care, earlier detection through screening and a focus on targets, including faster diagnosis.”

So in reference to early detection, it is vital to CHECK YOUR BOOBS. It’s important to note that breast tissue also reaches under your armpits and up to your collarbones so do check the whole area.

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

What if I’m forgetful?

Fear not, one quick and easy way to start checking your boobs today is to sign up to reminders. I’ve opted for the monthly text option, but will also make a conscious effort to do more in between.

So how exactly do we check our boobs?

If you’re more of a visual learner, CoppaFeel! have a short but sweet educational video that explains it all. It’s all about looking and feeling so there’s no definitive way of how to check, but here are some pointers:

  • Look to see if there is a change in size or shape
  • Look to see if any parts of your skin are puckering or dimpling
  • Feel for any lumps and bumps
  • Look for nipple discharge, redness or abnormal crustiness
  • Look for rashes
  • Notice any new pain or discomfort in one or both breasts (you can get boob pain on your period, but you will know if the pain is prolonging after your period or is unusually intense)

You can examine your boobs both standing up and lying down, so perfect for in the shower or before going to sleep at night. Ideally use three fingers to work in circular motions (also up and down) across your breasts, collarbones and armpits. Do what makes you comfortable, just as long as you are thoroughly checking all areas.

What do I do if I feel like something isn’t right?

ALWAYS book an appointment to see your GP or gynaecologist as soon as possible. They will be more than happy to check for you, it’s their job after all! It is better to be safe than sorry.

Examining your own breasts regularly is an effective method of early breast cancer detection

T-shirt from Pink Clouding. Purchases from the Tits collection mean a donation is made on your behalf to CoppaFeel

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month each year, but awareness is, of course, raised all year round and I wanted to use the small platform I have to share what I’ve learnt and instil confidence in those that were unsure how to check their breasts. You are never too young to start checking and there is technically no right or wrong way. You spend the most time with your own body, so are more likely to know when something isn’t quite right.

You can monitor any noticeable differences for 5 days, but if they don’t change, please do seek guidance from your GP.

I hope this has helped provide a guide on how best to check the breast. Do you regularly check?

Until next time,

Emily x

Why don’t I have a “girl squad?”

Disclaimer: This post is in reference to friendships I’ve had in real life as opposed to online friendships. I have some lovely friends in the blogging community, but it’s time to switch off and talk about offline life.

I’d like to begin by saying I have no idea where I want this post to take me. It’s been a topic on my mind for the longest time now and I’ve debated talking about it due to not even understanding my own thoughts and emotions. This topic has made me laugh and made me cry, and it really hits home sometimes. I want to talk about what (the f***) happened to my “girl squad” and why I feel somewhat to blame.

I’m writing this post to really attempt to get things off of my chest. Most importantly, it’s to let you know that you are not alone if you too feel like this. I’m not a sympathy seeker, just a storyteller with some experience behind me. So without further ado, let’s get started.

Friends sitting under a tree talking

Photo by Harli Marten on Unsplash

Growing up, I always remember having a solid group of friends. I was never part of the “popular” group because I don’t think this really existed in my school. There was a true mix of friendships. However, I did have friends from the same sort of group for years and years. Despite growing up and changing from the ages of 11 to 18, we were always at least acquaintances with each other. I still talk to a few nowadays about what we’re “getting up to these days?” and “remember this funny moment?” *insert photo/video that brings back shocking waves of nostalgia and a yearn for simpler times*

School life was saturated with smiles, belly laughs and pinky promises. Eventually, that turned into drunken nights out, late-night walks and work shifts together after we’d put the pen down on our final exams. Looking back, the friendships I formed aged 14 and then aged 18, were the most significant for me. However, these friendships post-education were so different. So I guess my speel is more aimed towards that life change.

Genuinely, I did not think finishing school would affect my friendships that much, but boy was I wrong. Within 6 months of leaving school, I’d whittled my group down from maybe around 10 people I socialised with, to 1. It was heartbreaking to sit and think that it wouldn’t be the same if I were to message or call them. Our walks would now be awkward with little to talk about. Yet, it all felt confusing and almost accidental?

We didn’t fall out or have an argument, so what went wrong?

Did I say something to upset them and not realise?

Did 1 or both of us simply stop making the effort?

Why does rekindling the friendship not feel like the right thing to do?

These are questions that invade my thoughts on the regular. The reason for this being I feel so bloody lonely sometimes! I’m sure I’m more of an introvert and definitely enjoy my own space, but I have a non-existent social life and it’s so saddening at times. Without an online community to turn to, I don’t know what I would do.

I understand I’m sounding like a Negative Nelly here, but I just wish I had that friend who I could visit after work, go shopping with at the weekend and ask to be my Maid of Honour one day. (Honestly, I will have no bridal party at this rate). Making friendships once you leave the routine of education is really hard and something I wish I had been more prepared for. I have 3 friends from my old job that I still speak to and plan to meet up with soon, we just sadly all live quite far from each other and so meeting up together is difficult.

Photo by Yanapi Senaud on Unsplash

Is there something wrong with me?

I do feel eternally grateful for what I do have; my mum who is my best friend, my boyfriend that is my soul mate, online friends I know that are there for me and a handful of people that still check-in. I’m alone, but I’m not alone if that makes any sense? I hope I’m not coming across badly, but I think this feeling is quite common. Instagram is riddled with girl squads and physical friendships and it’s understandably difficult to not feel left out.

Comfort is gained in knowing that my old best friends and I didn’t argue to the end, we literally just stopped speaking. It was nature taking its course because what is meant to be will be. We took different paths and our pace at life didn’t match anymore.

What I’m trying to say is I don’t have those 1 or 2 people I can visit around the corner who are more like family than friends. Don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather have 1 or 2 genuine friends than a large group that is disingenuous. Unfortunately, I do doubt and critique myself and wonder what I’m doing wrong. Where are my girl’s trips to Ibiza? Why don’t I have tapas nights? Why do I feel like the stray sock that gets lost in the wash?

Despite this, I’m determined to come to terms with the fact that not having a girl squad is perfectly okay. Societal pressures do not help, but I’m not going to let this eat away at me like the last slice of pizza. I can’t shame myself for not being a massive people person or eager to join clubs and groups. I hope in years to come, I meet more likeminded people that I can look at and say; “you’re a bit of me”.

“Good friends are hard to find, harder to leave and impossible to forget” – G.Randolf

Thank you if you read my rambling to the end, I really appreciate it. Having an online community is something that will forever amaze me. So thank you to those that have made my days feel less lonely with kind words or just a simple “have a good day!”. If you relate to any of this post, I’d love to open up a discussion in the comments. My blog is a safe space where we can all be friends.

Until next time,

Emily x

 

 

 

Ways To Relax During Lockdown

Lockdown; A security measure taken during an emergency to prevent people from leaving or entering a building, thanks dictionary.com. It doesn’t sound pleasant by definition and most certainly is not pleasant in reality. Self-care (and the importance of it) has become more prominent over the last few years, and it’s needed now more than ever. Whether working from home or not, it’s important to find the best ways to relax that suit us best.

We’ve spent a lot of time not being able to escape our four walls. It’s understandably going to take a toll on our mental health. It’s not like booking a week off of work where you’re able to visit family and friends and actually do things and go places. This is not an easy time, so I think it’s important we’re still taking time out to just allow ourselves to truly relax. If you’re stuck on ways to wind down after a long day of doing lots or doing nothing, then I hope this post offers some helpful ideas! Thank you to a lovely bunch of bloggers that also contributed to this post, sharing the ways they enjoy relaxing during lockdown.

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Chatty Tuesday: Ways I Calm Myself Down

Sometimes things can be too overwhelming and I find myself feeling flustered, anxious and uncomfortable with my own emotions. Over the years, there have been a few methods I’ve culminated that have helped to calm me down when I’ve needed it most. This can be from one end of the spectrum to the other. It’s been before jobs interviews, exams, driving lessons and even for no reason.

Anxious thoughts and feelings can pop up unexpectedly and leave us feeling confused and out of our depths. The methods I use to calm my anxieties down that I keep returning to, have lessened my anxiety as a whole for me. I think it’s important to note that I have never been diagnosed with anxiety, I am just referring to it as general anxiety that can peak especially with events that are commonly anxiety-inducing. These methods won’t work for everyone, but if they help even one of you – that’s good enough for me.

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May 2019 Review

Well hello to you. Welcome to the fifth instalment of my monthly reviews. WHERE IS MY LIFE GOING. I am genuinely going to sound like a broken record until the end of the year – blabbing about how quickly this year is going. I think when life is so hectic and go go go all the time, it’s hard to take a break and before you know it it’s the end of the month. I am mighty happy about that, because the end of the months brings with it payday. A very special day.

May has been a very beautiful and bright month. I spent most weekends back at home with my family which always make me feel refreshed and renewed. I had a lovely meal out with my mum at Middletons Steakhouse (drooling as we speak), a summery walk with my love and a big ole pasta bake. The small things really do make me smile. I had a trip to Rushden Lakes and gathered some final bits for mine and Lewis’s holiday to Spain soon – I haven’t had a beach holiday abroad since 2006 so this is well needed! It’s been a month of good food and laughs. I finally booked in to get my half sleeve finished, roll on August for some more ink. So how about those goals?

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Chatty Tuesday: 5 Ways To Unwind After Work

Happy Chatty Tuesday everyone! Believe it or not, today’s blog post came about whilst I was sat at my desk at work, thinking about how I can unwind as much as possible when the clock ticks past 17:30. Sitting on my bum for 40 hours a week doesn’t sound like a strenuous job, but it’s mentally rather taxing. I’m not one for wishing precious time away, but I do find myself daydreaming about all of the things I’d much rather be doing. Winding down after a long day at work or even university can be quite difficult, so I wanted to compile a doable list of things you can try to relax that extra bit more.

I’m not currently at university and never have been. I chose to work full time instead, so I can’t speak personally from a student’s perspective so this post will be aimed more at those in work with a bit less free time. As a bit of context, I currently work full time in an office. I leave the house at 8am every day and get home around 17:50. So, before bed that gives me around 5 hours to “unwind” in. This is the tricky part. When you have to wedge relaxing and me-time around doing the washing, cooking, cleaning, washing yourself or even putting the kids to bed, it can be difficult to know what winding down even means when before you know it you’re up and on the go again. Here’s 5 ways to unwind.

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Chatty Tuesday: Sunshine Blogger Award

Good day to you and Happy Tuesday! We’re back with a chatty post, but this time something a little different! With many thanks for the nomination by Shannen, I bring to you my Sunshine Blogger Award post. Being nominated for awards such as these, make my insides feel all warm and gooey. What a lovely image. To gain recognition for simply doing my hobby each week really makes it all worthwhile when people enjoy what you write. The blogging community has its downsides, but the upsides outweigh them by a mile and allows you to connect with some beautiful people.

The rules of the Sunshine Blogger Award is to of course thank the blogger that nominated you and include a link to their blog. Then the fun task of answering their 11 questions begins before you can issue your own questions to your 11 nominations. Including the logo is a cute touch too! So without further ado, let’s get stuck in.

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8 Signs It’s Time To Quit Your Job

We’ve all been there. That wave of emotion that washes over us when we wake up – “I don’t want to go to work today”. This is normal and probably happens to most people on most days. However, where do we draw the line between just generally not having the get-up-and-go and genuinely dreading the day ahead; wishing you were anywhere else? That’s where today’s post comes in. From personal experience (and from a friendly recommendation to cover this topic), I wanted to compile my personal experience into one place to help you work out if it’s time to leave your current job.

We as humans are constantly changing and growing. Therefore, our surrounding environment needs to adapt with us to create a balanced lifestyle. That could mean more hours, better pay and a healthier working environment. Do you find yourself looking on Indeed “just out of curiosity”? If so, I hope this post helps you make a step in the right direction. Leaving a job should take careful consideration depending on the situation. Make sure you consider all routes before reaching your final decision.

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