Thursday, 30 April 2015

One Size Does Not Fit All

In today's post I wanted to talk about something a little bit controversial but it is quite close to my heart. I have always been a curvy woman, I am quite busty and I have an hour glass figure, I don't have a gap between my thighs and yes my belly jiggles a bit. I have always struggled with my body like so many other women and I still struggle now but as I have gotten older it has really started to annoy me. Why do we have such an obsession in society with conformity? Why must every woman look the same? Why must every woman in the media be tall and skinny? The world is made up of millions of beautiful woman of all different shapes, sizes and colours. What makes us beautiful is the fact that we are all unique in our own way. They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder which means we all find different things beautiful and so why must we all aspire to one type of beauty?

And I know it is not just me who wants this to change, I recently read this article on Facebook and it made me so happy to see women uniting everywhere to fight against our media telling us how we should look. Whether you are short, tall, slim or curvy whether your have big breasts or little breasts whether your hair is long and thick or short and cropped it doesn't matter we are all beautiful. Wouldn't it be amazing if instead of trying to compete with each other we started to build each other up? If we all started to tell each other how beautiful we are instead of being jealous of each other then we might all start to believe it.

I have started to try and change this poisonous attitude towards my body and others that I have grown up with and I really want to encourage you to do the same. Here are a few of the things I am trying to do:

  • Stop saying negative things about my body and about my appearance.
  • Stop saying negative things about others bodies and appearance no matter whether they are right in front of you or on the screen in front of you or in a magazine. 
  • When you see something about a person that you like tell them! If it's some one you don't know you might want to be a bit careful but if you are at school or uni or work and you see some one wearing a nice scarf or you like their hair tell them! It might give them a little bit of extra confidence that day and it just encourages each other. 
  • This is the big one for me - stop saying negative comments around the younger generation. Why have we grown up with the idea that its okay to say such nasty things about our own bodies? Because we saw our mums, our sisters, our grandma's e.t.c doing the same. I don't want my future child boy or girl to grow up thinking its okay to talk about your body like that or for them to begin copying my behaviour.  
So I challenge you to unite and start celebrating our beautiful bodies and not be ashamed any more. If you want a bikini body go and stick a bikini on, if you want to wear that figure hugging dress then wear it. You should be proud of your beautiful and unique body. 

Bye for now! 
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Wednesday, 29 April 2015

My Struggle With Wanting To Live

Today's post is another personal one but I am hoping that by sharing it some of you will have had or are having the same experience and in that respect we can help each other a little bit. Today I am going to talk about how throughout my life and now I have struggled massively with what I am supposed to do with my life. This has and still is one of my biggest struggles and it has taken me quite a while to realise how much it has effected me throughout my life.

When I was little I loved performing more than anything, it started when I was at church and we would get asked to read passages from the bible or perform little sketches or stand up in front of the congregation and tell them what we had done that morning in Sunday school. I got used to standing on a stage and in school I began to act more and more. By the time I was 16 I had performed in multiple musical productions at school, competed in drama competitions and achieved my grade 8 in Speech and Drama and over the years I had told everyone that this was it. This was my big dream to be a professional actress on the stage and hopefully one day on the screen. I was then cast as the leading role in West Side Story at the biggest theatre in Liverpool. This was my dream, the chance to be the star of the show to perform in a real theatre in a proper show in front of thousands of people each night.

It was absolutely amazing and I loved every minute but when it was all over it soon dawned on me that this wasn't actually what I wanted to do. I couldn't do this as a job every day, although I loved it I felt like something was missing - it just wasn't right. Once I had that realisation my world started to fall apart a little. I had decided to go to uni and study something I enjoyed that wasn't drama so that I would have a sensible degree to fall back on when there weren't enough acting jobs around. My plan had been to act as much as I could at uni and then go on to do a year at LAMDA or RADA but now that plan was completely ruined and I was stuck with the realisation that I had no idea at all what I wanted to do with my life. I had a place at university to study archaeology and ancient history but I didn't want to be an archaeologist I wasn't even sure I would enjoy studying ancient history. I was totally stumped.

I then spent a gap year doing amazing things trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life but unfortunately I still had no idea. I decided I wanted to go into fundraising and so went to university to study Events Management which made me very unhappy and so after a year I left. I am now at university studying Social Work. This year has been amazing, I have met my boyfriend who I love very much and I have made amazing friends and most importantly I have grown in my faith in a way I never thought I would. I have changed a lot and I hope for the better. But I often think that I don't actually want to be at university, I know I am so lucky to have that opportunity and so many others don't get to go but I am not sure it is right for me. I think getting a degree is going to be very useful for me and so I intend to carry on for the next 2 years because I know that it will go quickly. I also feel whilst I am at uni I have a ridiculous amount of spare time and it is that spare time this year that has allowed self exploration and this has helped to make me aware of what I want in life.

I have begun to realise that I have allowed my life to be dictated to me. I believed my school and my family when they told me the only way is to go to university, the only way to be happy and succeed is to earn enough money to buy cars, and a house and go on holiday. I don't blame them for this as we live in a society that measures success and happiness with how much profit we make. It values profit above everything else and that is not something that I believe in. I want to collect moments not things, I want to value people and experiences over money and I want to try to and make a difference in our world.

I have had such a difficult time trying to figure out what I want to do with my life and I still don't know and for years and years I believed that this made me a failure. I had failed at one of the most important parts of life because I did not want to go to university and I did not want to earn a lot of money. But no longer will I tell myself I am a failure and no longer will I let our society dictate to me the way I must behave. I won't feel upset or worried because I don't want a normal 9 to 5 job and I won't let anyone force me into doing it. I don't know what the next few years hold but I know it is time to take my life into my own hands and do what I want to do. I love the quote above from Oscar Wilde as it reminds me to say no, I don't just have to exist I can live if I choose to. It inspires me to make sure I do live to take the opportunities and not to waste this amazing life that we have.  
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Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Today Is Inspirational

Just a little quote I found on pinterest that I love. It reminds me to remember the important part of my dream to just think about how much I love it and why I want it to work. For me this is about writing my books, I've always wanted to be a writer but there have been many days I have thought I can't do it I can't write I'm not good enough to do it professionally. But this reminds me to not look at the bad things, not to look at the reasons it won't work but to look at why it will. 

What does this quote mean to you? What is your dream?

Bye for now! 
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Monday, 27 April 2015

10 Random Things About Me

Today is day 4 of my blogging challenge and today I am sharing 10 random facts about myself. I have never written one of these before so I'm a bit nervous but I thought it could be fun and so here it goes:

1. One of the top ten things on my bucket list that I really want to do is go skinny dipping. I just love the idea of wild swimming naked in a loch or in the sea, it seems so freeing and fun.

2. I am terrified of spiders. I used to go camping every summer when I was younger on a Christian camp for a week but I am still terrified of creepy crawlys especially spiders and if I see a big one I tend to scream.

3. My second name Burdett-Smith is not double barrelled because my parents put it together but because my great Granddad didn't want to be another private Smith in world war one and so he added his middle name to his last name becoming Burdett-Smith.

4. I have been suffering with depression on and off throughout my life since I was about 15. Sometimes I get super down and other times I'm fine but I am learning new and interesting ways to keep me happy and I have started to explore myself a bit more which has been fun.

5. I have been horse riding since I was 7 years old and one of my biggest dreams has always been to have a horse of my own.

6. My biggest dream since I was little is to have one of my books published and become a real writer.

7. I am a classically trained opera singer.

8. It often changes but my favourite place in the whole world is Scotland.

9. I really want a cocker spaniel when I have my own house.

10. I can't wait to be a mum and I have a pinterest board full of baby stuff and a small collection of books and decorations for the future nursery I will have in my house.

So there you have it! 10 completely random things about me. Hope you enjoyed learning something new about me. I'd love to learn about you guys please leave me a comment with one or many random things about you!

Bye for now!  
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Sunday, 26 April 2015

Cinnamon Flapjack Recipe

I love flapjacks! I only discovered this when I was 18 years old, before then I had only ever tried shop bought flapjacks and they were powdery and chewy and just not very nice. I then tried my friends home made flapjacks and I quickly realised how much I love flapjacks. Since then I have been an avid flapjack lover and so the other day when I was sifting through my cupboard I discovered a large bag of oats and decided to make some flapjacks. I then found some cinnamon and thought you know what why not add this too and so the cinnamon flapjack recipe was born. It's so easy to make and super yummy. 

What you'll need:
Grease proof paper
A medium sized square baking tin
12oz Oats
6oz butter
6oz Golden Syrup
6oz sugar
2 tsps cinnamon

1. Line your tin with greaseproof paper and preheat the oven to 180C.
2. Melt the butter in a pan on a low heat so it doesn't burn. Once the butter is melted add the sugar and golden syrup.
3.. Place the oats and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl and stir together. 
4.. Once the sugar has melted give the mix a good stir and add it to the oats and cinnamon stirring it all in well until the mix is sticky.
5.. Pour the mix into your pan and level it out with a spatula. Put it in the oven for 40 minutes. 
6.Once cooked leave it in the pan to cool. Once cool remove them by lifting the greaseproof paper and cut them into squares - the size is up to you! 

And that's it! So easy and so yummy. Me and my boyfriend enjoyed these a lot. Let me know if you made them or if you do anything different when you make flapjacks, I'd love to get your tips.

Bye for now! 
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Saturday, 25 April 2015

Be The Change

For as long as I can remember I have always had a big passion for making a difference in the world. I know that I am incredibly lucky, I have been given so many blessings by God and I am truly thankful for all the amazing people and opportunities in my life. But I firmly believe that I should not just sit on those blessings and opportunities I believe that the gifts and talents given to me by God should be used to help benefit others less fortunate then me.

It all began when I was a child, my mother instilled in me the importance of helping others who are not as fortunate as me and to always be grateful for everything that I have. I became very passionate about helping others and when I was just 10 years old I organised my first charity event - a group of me and my friends went carol singing and we raised £70 for the RSPCA. And from then it spiralled, I organised multiple charity events, I volunteered with Sunday schools and rainbows and I actively campaigned in the fight against using trafficked children on coco bean farms (I still don't buy nestle's chocolate). When I was 16 I was appointed head of charities committee at my school and along with a group of volunteers from my school I organised and ran many different events from bake sales to fashion shows to talent contests raising over £10,000 over the 2 years I was chair.

My first charity event as head of the charities committee - A bake sale

Once I left school I had a bit of a difficult time, I didn't know what I wanted to study at university and so I had taken a gap year but it turned out a lot harder to find a job then I thought. And with all my friends gone and a long term teenage relationship quickly dissolving I found myself sinking lower and lower. I spent my days on my laptop applying for job after job and it made me so depressed that I was just miserable, It was then that my Mum once again picked me up, brushed me off and sent me back out into the world. She suggested that I volunteer at the local city mission something that I wrote about here. This completely changed my world, I was finally useful, I was helping people who needed me and it felt great. I then started volunteering one day a week in a children's hospice and then in the fundraising department of a charity that supports people with mental and physical disabilities to live independently.

Each day was spent doing something different to help others but I soon realised it wasn't just about helping people. In actual fact I needed them as much as they needed me, they had given me a purpose in life, a reason for living and that was what I really needed. I discovered that the thing that really makes my heart sing was making a change in peoples lives.

Yes that is me dressed as Claire Bear for Claire House in a tea cup waving at children.......

After spending a month in India where I taught English and Drama to children with HIV I was all set to go to university to study Events Management with the hope of being able to work in a charity as head of fundraising. However, I think I already knew before I went that something had changed, that being up in an office raising money wasn't actually what I wanted to do. I had realised being down on the floor, working directly with people getting into the knitty gritty was what I needed to do. So it was no surprise that within the first week I hated my degree and wanted to come home. I stayed for a year as my parents told me it might get better but I knew it wouldn't and so I began to look at other options. That is when I fell upon the idea of social work. I am now just finishing my first year of my social work degree and its been really amazing, I am not sure exactly what I am going to do but I know I will do a job that makes a difference.

Me with some of my pupils in India

This first year at uni has been an amazing year of self discovery. I have discovered new and exciting things I am passionate about such as living a more green life and going back to a simpler way of living. But the thing I have really discovered over the past few years is that if you want things to change you have to be the change. That is one of my favourite all time quotes and I know it is cheesy and I know it is used a lot but I really do believe that its true. I have a lot of opinions and I am quite passionate about making a difference in all area's of the world but it really wouldn't make any difference if I didn't act on them. If I didn't stop to buy a homeless man dinner, or take the time to split my rubbish into recycling and general waste or if I didn't willingly give up my time to volunteer with the elderly. None of the things that I talk about would make a difference if I didn't do them to. To make a change it must start with you. If you want your town to be cleaner go and pick up rubbish once a week, if you want people to have enough food to eat go and donate some of your food and/or time to the local food bank, if you want people with disabilities to be treated fairly and humanely stop using words like "retard". Be the change that you want to see and I am sure that eventually that change will begin to happen. It all starts with us.  

Bye for now!

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Friday, 24 April 2015

A Simple Introduction

So today I decided to invest in a bit of blog time. I started this blog just over a week ago and since then I've had a lot of fun writing and creating posts but I know from speaking to other bloggers and reading other blogposts that it is important to take some time out each week to look at how I can make my blog better and where I am going with it. I really feel like this is something I want to do each week as my blog grows and develops. Today I stumbled across this video which has inspired me to take the 7 day blog challenge. This is a challenge to post something every day for 7 days and as Alex suggested I have decided to start right away. So here is the #1 post of the 7 day blog challenge.

1. Who are you?

My name is Rachel, I am 21 years old and I live partly in Oxford where I go to University to study Social Work and partly in Hereford with my parents. I love the outdoors, going on adventures, eating yummy food and helping to make a difference in the world we live in. I am also a writer and have been writing all sorts of short and long stories since I was about 5 years old. I am a singer and a book worm and I can't wait to buy a house in the countryside, get a puppy and grow my own vegetables.

2. Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging because I love to write. For the past few years of my life I have suffered on and off with mental illness and I recently went through a very low time. I seemed to have lost my love for life, my ambitions and everything I love that makes me me. I am an avid believer in creative therapy helping all sorts of problems including mental illness and so one day I decided to practise what I preach. I started writing and slowly I began to feel myself heal and I realised this is something that I love and would like to do for the rest of my life. I want to write about the things I love the outdoors, living a simpler and greener life and writing other peoples stories that would inspire not only me but a whole range of other people too. And so I started my blog to write about all the things I love and the things that inspire me. 

3. Who is your blog for?

I would say my blog is for young women who are interested in green living, the outdoors and making a difference to peoples lives or being inspired by others stories. 

4. What is something you've been working on lately that you are proud of?

As I said I love to write and so recently I finally started to write one of the children's books I've been wanting to write and I am really excited by all the ideas I keep on having and the ways I feel it will develop over time. 

5. What is the one message that you really want people to take away from your blog when they visit it? 

I would really love people to be inspired my blog to want to get outdoors and enjoy Gods beautiful creation. I would also love it if they are inspired to live a greener life and to want to help others in our world as I really believe we are here to help each other along the way.
Bye for now! 
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Pretending To Be Barbour Models.......A Sort Of Outfit Post

The other day it was my birthday and we went on a picnic and a walk around the meadow. This blog is not really a style blog I tend to like to be behind the camera taking pictures of the outdoors and wildlife rather then having my photo taken. But I decided to brave it and have a go at an outfit of the day post and forced Russell to do it with me. Standing on logs and posing was a fairly new concept to me and I ended up giggling a bit too much and not really taking it as seriously as we could instead we oppted to do our best Barbour model impressions and this is the result. 

It was really hot on my birthday and so I chose to wear this floaty Greek style dress from new look. It's very comfortable with an elastic waist and so perfect for a birthday binge of yummy caterpillar cake and posh sandwiches from sainsburys. It was also incredibly cool which was essential for the hot weather. And on my feet I wore my super comfy gladiator sandals that I bought in Macy's when I visited New York 3 years ago. The back pack is probably my favourite part of this outfit I bought it when I was in Portugal from a shop down a little cobbled street in Lagos that sells everything you can imagine made from leather.

I'm not sure how I feel about outfit posts, this was fun to do and I am sure I will do a few more in the future. What do you like to wear in the sunshine? Would you like me to do more outfit posts?

Bye for now!
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Thursday, 23 April 2015

St. George's Day

Taken in the Lake District near Ambleside

 Me and my Mum dressing up at Lyme Park 

A tea party of course

The little bridge house in Ambleside                                    Good old English!

"We may be a small country, but we're a great one, too. The country of Shakespeare, Churchill, the Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter. David Beckham's right foot. David Beckham's left foot, come to that." The Prime minister - Love Actually 

Proud To Be English.....

Today is St George's day, a day that we don't seem to take all that seriously here in England and yet it is a day in which we can and should celebrate being English. I love England, I love the beautiful countryside, the idea we have that tea has magical healing powers that can heal whatever ales you and the constant need to apologise to everyone and everything we come into contact with. I love that we have a royal family and an amazing history that spans back thousands of years with castles and palaces and little cottages meticulously preserved by the National Trust or English Heritage so that we and future generations can enjoy a piece of history. I love that we have birthed some of the greatest writers the world has ever known, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, The Bronte sisters, Shakespeare, Hardy, C.S. Lewis, Jk Rowling and so many more. I love the amazing and sometimes baffling food that we are famous for Yorkshire puddings, roast dinners, afternoon tea, jam roly poly, scones and that one of the biggest debates of our time is whether its jam and then cream or cream and then jam. 

I love the theatres, the churches, the houses of parliament and Buckingham palace. I love the fact that the English language is a magpie language taking from the languages of others and evolving over hundreds of years to then create words like "spiffing" and "Tally-ho". I love Bruce Forsythe and Julie Andrews, The Beatles and Paddington Bear, Colin Firth and Miranda Hart. I love taking afternoon tea at Betty's in York, standing to sing "God Save the Queen" and the way everyone decides to dress as though they were in the Caribbean as soon as the sun pops up to say hello regardless of the fact its only 10 degrees outside.      

 Much Ado About Nothing by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2012 in Stratford upon Avon

 The Marine Lake West Kirby

London Bridge

Tintagel Cornwall

 Yew Tree Farm in Coniston - Used in the film Miss Potter

Yorkshire Lambs 

 Sizergh Castle in Cumbria 

 Taken in the beautiful gardens of Sizergh Castle

View from outside Sizergh Castle

I love England. I love everything about it. I have been lucky enough to travel to many beautiful and inspiring places where I have seen wonderful things but I find when I return I am always so glad to snuggle back into my comfy cosy England. To put a woolly jumper on, snuggle down into a big leather arm chair with a cup of tea and a bun, turn the television on to Strictly Come dancing and make a passing remark about the weather. Ahhh it's good to be English.  

Bye for now!
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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

One Mans Junk........

The Big Clear Out 

At the moment me and my family are in the process of piling everything up into boxes in preparation for the big move to Hereford. This has meant I have been forced into sorting through the piles and piles of junk that have just been compiling dust over the years. However once I started to go through it I realised most of it wasn't junk, what was no longer useful to me could in fact be exactly what some one else needs.

During my gap year I worked for the Charles Thompson Mission, an organisation that tries to help people in poverty and be a witness for Christ. Every week day morning they offer people a hot meal and somewhere to sit and socialise, they also have a clothes and home ware store open so that anyone in need can come and get clothes, toiletries, furniture, make up, cutlery, plates, towels, bedding and anything else a person may need. It is a fantastic organisation and they work tirelessly within the community to help alleviate poverty and make a positive change in society. I absolutely loved working there and fully support all the work they do.

It was whilst I was going through all the random stuff I had accumulated over the years that I remembered the importance to other people of all these things. I didn't need this blanket I had when I was 9 years old or a load of children's picture books but to some one who is expecting a child and unsure of how they will afford all the costs that this comes with this can make a real difference. Some of the clothes I was finding I thought could be sold in a charity shop but I knew a lot of it wouldn't be taken by a charity shop but to a mission these things were perfect.

The goal of this post is to encourage you to not just throw things away, not only will you help the environment by not creating more landfill but you could also make such a difference to some ones life. If we all take the time to go down to the local charity shop with our unwanted things or do some research and find a homeless shelter that takes the things you don't want any more. There are city missions all over the UK or contact the Salvation Army.

Imagine how many people could be helped and how much less of an impact we would be making on the environment if we stopped throwing things away and gave them to others. Let me know if you have had a clear out recently, where would you like to or do you send your unwanted things? Let me know in the comments.

Bye for now!

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Monday, 20 April 2015

A Birthday Picnic And Wild Swimming

The other day was my 21st birthday and to celebrate my Mum had organised a party back home for family and close friends on the weekend after my birthday. This meant we got to dress up all fancy and go to a fancy restaurant and eat lots of scrummy food and drink lots of champagne! But on my actual birthday I was still in Oxford having had lectures on the two days prior and so it was just me and Russell. I thought of a a few things I would like to do but what appealed to me the most was having a completely chilled day outside enjoying the spring weather. Luckily the weather on my birthday was the hottest we have had yet this year so me and Russell bought ourselves a snazzy picnic (Sainsburys taste the difference sandwiches don't ya know!) and went to Port Meadow in Oxford. It was glorious.

 I had never been to Port Meadow before but I had seen on the wild swimming England website that this part of the Thames was a good place to go for a dip. So after eating our picnic by the river and soaking up a few rays I decided to brave it and go in. It was absolutely freezing. In these pictures I look very serene and calm swimming about but believe me there are many more pictures of me flailing my arms about and screaming from the shock of the cold. Needless to say I didn't stay in the water long but came out to do some more sunbathing.

After eating some very tasty caterpillar birthday cake we went for a little wander down the river and saw all sorts of wild life from cows, to geese, to rabbits and even a herd of horses grazing. It was very beautiful and a really nice place to just kick back and relax - just what the doctor ordered during this time of assignment hand ins and exams at uni.

I had a fantastic birthday chilling out and can't wait to go back again in the summer maybe after my last exam. Are any of you holed up surrounded by revision and exams? What do you do to chill out during stressful exam times?

Bye for now! 
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