I am Bronwyn. My closest friends and family call me Bee. I have a little scar next to my eye from standing on a chair in nursery, shouting at the top of my lungs for a marmite sandwich and an undying love for foam bananas. I’m terrified of zombies (despite the fact I know they don’t exist). Having worked in a baby shop and children’s nurseries- I know a ridiculous amount about babies without ever having had one (and for some reason I could list off 15 pushchair brands, but struggle to recall what I learnt last week at Uni). I love cats, but fear them equally- for I find them peculiarly unpredictable creatures. I study history because I enjoyed it and it seemed to close the least doors for me in life. I’m an open book, my emotions are splashed across my face the second I feel them, I’m oversensitive, silly 80% of the time, prone to over-apologising and ultimately imperfect, but not insignificant. I am a people person. I like to please. I am working on accepting that not everyone will like me all of the time- and that’s OK. I have been, and still am, vulnerable at times and have found confidence isn’t borne out of things going right, often confidence grows when, quite frankly, the shit hits the fan.
I am a work in progress. I am enough. I belong. I am me: perfectly imperfect.
Remember you are too. Your best is enough. You belong. You are fiercely loved. You are perfectly imperfect.
16 million people in the UK experience a mental illness. 3 in 4 mental illnesses start in childhood. 75% of young people with mental health problems are not being treated. Suicide is the biggest killer of young people in the UK. A study recently showed that more than A THIRD of teenage girls in England suffer from depression and anxiety.
These are some scary figures. Though social media is not the only reason for this, I think it has a huge impact. Our lives are not perfect, but nobody’s is. We’re humans, we all have sadness, worries, family issues, friendship struggles and all the crap that goes in-between. But we don’t publicise it online very often because it’s private, we don’t want people knowing.
Scrolling through your Instagram feed and seeing everyone else’s seemingly magical life can leave you feeling alone in life hurdles. It’s hard not to think everyone else’s life is perfect when you only ever see the best bits, the fun, the laughter, the happiness and the celebration of life. But this isn’t ReALiTy.
We all do it, we show the best bits of our lives. We need to talk more, and by talk I mean honest talk. Social media is never an honest representation of how that person really feels. Ask people how they are doing, even if their lives seem rosey through Instagram. A simple ‘hey, how are you?’ can open an honest conversation about LiFe.
Putting on a ‘brave face’ is so easy when you’re sat behind a phone, or a laptop, uploading to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. But let’s be ReAl, we all know its a bunch of fibs. Life is beautifully imperfect. You have to have the bad days, for the good days to shine so bright.
Yesterday, I posted on my Instagram about an email I got from my Dissertation Tutor, that quite frankly was a pile of poop (if you want to check it out, click here). Again, something I haven’t really discussed on Instagram, Twitter or my Blog is the University Strikes. Something that has affected me in a HUGE way. But I haven’t spoken about it much as it’s one of the naffest parts of my life right now. But yesterday, as I sat at my desk, opened up my emails and was told that my Dissertation (that I have practically written over the last 4 weeks) included themes my Tutor deemed ‘irrelevant’- I decided I would talk about it (following a melt down and a pep talk from my boyfriend). Due to the strikes, I have had little to no contact with her, so cracked on with my work, thinking all was good. I thought my dissertation plan had been approved- as I hadn’t received feedback- and I would make the most of the 4 weeks of strikes. Anyway, I decided to email back saying that I had already written these sections and I believed they were relevant. I even told her why, in depth. So I’m awaiting a response and hopefully I will have convinced her.
This totally HoNeSt Instagram post, written with puffy eyes and butterflies, gave me some of the best feedback I have had to date. People were so sweet, giving me encouragement and saying they had experienced similar things. It made me realise, people identify a whole lot more to the ReALiTiEs. These realities of life include the down days.
So if you’re feeling low and you feel comfortable sharing it on social media, you could touch someone else who is struggling. We all fight battles, some of which nobody knows about. Some days are a little bit foggy and we have to realise its OK not to be OK all of the time.
Forever a home bird, I found moving out and going to University difficult. Despite people telling me about this incredible new chapter/ season/ adventure I was about to experience, I honestly wasn’t overly buzzed to go. Which sounds dreadful, because most people I speak to are so excited for University. That’s not to say I wasn’t looking forward to it entirely, I just wasn’t as ecstatic as my friends. To me, it just felt like I was leaving behind my family and my boyfriend and stepping completely out of my comfort zone. It forced me to do things independently and my confidence in myself grew.
I became comfortable in my own company.
It’s funny how our minds embellish things, when I think back to my parents dropping me off at my halls of residence, I picture me stood in my room, surrounded by my stuff- simply wanting to cry. Which is actually super sad. I remember forcing myself to walk into the kitchen, introduce myself and make a cup of tea. I wasn’t to know, at that point, that my flat and I weren’t going to ‘click’ (What People Don’t Tell You About University). I think this is a general misconception. I honestly don’t know anyone who has got along with everyone in their flat. But I know pleeeenty of people who met friends on their course and through societies. Anyway, I ended up spending a lot of time on my own- and most of the time I liked it. I got into YouTube (a lot) and I started blogging. I skyped my boyfriend and family once a day too. I was comfortable in my own company. Though, I did find it hard to adapt to. Now the idea of being alone doesn’t intimidate me, but I know for sure that I prefer being with other people.
I could start a conversation with anyone.
I decided that as my flat and I didn’t ‘click’ I would make new friends. I mastered the art of walking up to people I barely knew and inviting them to coffee. Maybe I did come across loopy. But I felt lonely. I liked being on my own for short periods of time, but I needed to socialise. Otherwise I would have gone crazy. I had recently watched ‘We Bought A Zoo’ and one of the characters said that all you need is 10 seconds of courage. And that’s how I justified it. Because once I’d said ‘do you fancy going for a coffee?’ it was out there and I couldn’t take it back, no matter how silly I felt. I went on quite a few coffee trips, meals out and started being invited to social events outside my flat. So it worked and it boosted my confidence! One of the things that bothered me most was that I worried I was the problem. This proved that I wasn’t.
I realised I was OK.
That was one of the biggest, and most important lessons University taught me. I had struggled at school and had quite low confidence. College was good for me in that sense, but I became far more confident at University. I ended up thinking that if I smiled, waved or spoke to someone and they didn’t do it back it was their problem, not mine. What’s the worst that could happen when you wave at someone and they don’t wave back? You look overly friendly? I mean over friendly has never offended me.
I was confident in my own decisions.
I didn’t particularly enjoy my Freshers, I had a rather unfortunate experience on my first Freshers event, and it really affected me. I felt quite uncomfortable on nights out and I realised pretty quickly I wasn’t going to be peer pressured into anything I didn’t want to do. This was something I felt really strongly about. I did, and still do, only go out if I have my ‘wingman’ (or woman!) with me. I’ve never felt entirely comfortable with clubbing, it’s just something I get quite anxious about- and my solution was surrounding myself in people I trust. People I know wouldn’t leave me alone in a club, feeling vulnerable. This confidence through making decisions for myself made me far more self confident. I socialised with who I wanted and when. Even now, I try really hard not to give into peer pressure.
University hasn’t been the easiest journey for me, but it taught me a lot about myself and what I want out of life. I would love to hear if you learnt any life lessons at University, had a bad experience or feel like an experience has shaped you as a person.
From a young age, the expectation to ‘be good’is something we have drummed into us. But sometimes our expectations of ourselves are simply too high. We’re perfectionists.
Perfectionism:Perfectionism means setting our goals too high and having unrealistic expectations. Being allergic to failure is often driven by an underlying sense of shame. If we can achieve some lofty goal and be perfectly successful, then no one can shame us. Failure is often a prerequisite for success.
Sometimes these high expectations of ourselves and want to ‘do good’can stop us from getting properly stuck into life. I have learnt that there are times to ponder over decisions and there are times to just do it.
If we let expectations rule our lives, we set ourselves up for disappointment.
I always feel so embarrassed when people ask me what I intend to do with my History Degree. As a Final Year Undergraduate, I really hoped I would know by now. I know what I want to do, in a generic sense- Marketing, HR or Advertising. But I’m not entirely set on anything. And I am not willing to make a decision, or even fib, just so that I don’t feel silly answering that question. Degrees are SO time consuming. I admire anyone who has something lined up after University, because the application processes are crazy long! But that’s the thing: I have time.
I’m itching to get a job, to have money and I want to travel and be one of those ‘free’ twenty-odd people I see all over social media. I was so set on having the above, and (for some peculiar reason) linked it with having a job lined up. But I have years to find the ‘perfect‘ job. And I will. My expectations, set by 18 year old me, of my 21 year old self, were too high.
My favourite phrase recently has been‘but we’re millennials’. My friend, Hannah, uses it all the time, and I kind of love it. I use it almost as an excuse! Us ‘millennials’ are pretty fortunate, we can have multiple jobs in a lifetime, we’re supposedly more self-assured and have a stronger sense of ‘civic responsibility’ and a healthy work-life balance. So, as a ‘millennial’ I want to focus on the now. I want to be my own kind of ‘good’.
(Note: having googled ‘millennials’, i am not one. How tragic. For the purposes of this blog post I will pretend I am. Though I am actually Generation Z. How naff does that sound? Lol.)
I want to ‘be good’ in my own way. What does this mean?
I will not be letting my own, or others, expectations of me rule my life. This is a vicious cycle, whereby I set myself up for disappointment. Then judge myselfharshly for it.
I am going to try to think of life in terms of adventures and ditch my ‘expectations’ and instead set myself realistic ‘goals’.
I will be hopeful that I exceed these ‘goals’ and will happily make way for something bigger and better.
I plan to trust that everything will work itself out, it always does. I’ll just keep working away.
When things go ‘tits up’ I am going to try my darned-ist to remain positive.
I want to enjoy the little things in life, and look back with achey cheeks and wrinkles from a lifetime of smiles and have zero regrets when reflecting bad on my ‘good’ life.
This blog post was inspired by Natalie Leanne’s Blog Post that I read on the train journey home the other day. I’m super nosy and love learning more about people. Natalie’s Blog is so open and just so relatable- I highly recommend checking her blog out (natalieleanne.com).
On that note, I am going to share some of my defining moments in life and hope that others can relate!
Defining Moment Number 1: University. Seems pretty straight forward, but actually this was a defining moment for me in a way I totally didn’t anticipate. My first year of university I found really tough, and I know I’m not alone in this. I just felt so alone. I missed home, my family, my friends and my boyfriend. Plus I didn’t “click” with my Flat as much as I had hoped. My first year of university was a defining moment because it taught me so much about myself. I realised I am OK on my own, completely capable, but I wanted to be around people. I spent so much time alone, that now I try to make plans all the time, so I’m not. I almost exhausted my own company. Having said that, being alone doesn’t scare me as it used to. University also taught me to be independent. I didn’t automatically have those “life-long” friends from uni in my Halls, so I became that person who walks up and introduces themselves, asked if people to wanted to grab a coffee after lectures or meet up later on. This was SO out of my comfort zone, but I knew I didn’t want to feel isolated, so I did my best to make lots of friends. It actually worked and I met my two best University friends through having that little bit of extra courage. I came to the conclusion that being overly friendly isn’t a bad thing, that if all people can say about me is “she’s overly friendly” then I’m 100% OK with that. My initial sense of isolation and home sickness actually just pushed me to question myself, ask me who I wanted to be. Lonely wasn’t on my list, and friendless wasn’t either. So I forced myself out of my comfort zone. I still do this now. I have an added confidence in the fact that I’m a good human being. And if anything I’m more aware of other people’s feelings because of my experience.
(My University best friends, the ones I forced myself upon and have absolutely no regrets about!!!)
Defining Moment Number 2: is a rather random one. I can’t remember where we were when I heard it for the first time but I watched “We Bought a Zoo” a few years ago and the phrase “all you need is 10 seconds of courage” popped up. And since then it’s stuck with me. Through the difficulties at Uni, I would convince myself that all I needed was 10 seconds of courage. Once you’ve said “hi” that’s the hard bit out of the way. I used it for my first job at 15/16, in a huge store with loads of people I didn’t know. It helped me with handing in CVs (and resignations), with interviews, and dealing with situations I wasn’t comfortable in. 10 seconds, and it’s done. No take backs, just dealing with the consequences.
Defining Moment Number 3 is a little bit different. During my Freshers week I experienced something that a lot of women unfortunately experience in clubs. I had gone out with my flat and it was my first night of Freshers week. This experience really knocked my confidence. But it also proved to me that I knew what was and was not OK. And I like to think it’s made me a stronger person. I am very conscious in clubs, I’m constantly aware of my surroundings and actually find it quite hard to let my hair down and enjoy myself if I’m not with Jack. But it made me realise my worth. This is my body. I think recognising your worth, your value as a human being, is so important to a happy life. I genuinely believe I can do anything I want if I put my mind to it. I know I am as good as any man. This experience simply raised the question: are you ok with this? And the answer was hell no.
(This is a picture of Jack and I, in 2015, 1 week after Freshers. My family and him came to visit, and they were my rock!)
Of course I still have my insecurities, I most definitely have my (weekly/daily!) wobbles. But I would say that, now, I am confident in myself, as a person. I try hard to be the best version of myself.
I hope you enjoyed reading today’s blog.
What are your Defining Moments? Have you experience something similar to me? Let me know in the comments!
This is my all time favourite go-to milk. It’s the one I always have in my fridge and it tastes exactly the same as normal milk. Unlike quite a few dairy free milks, the lacto-free milk doesn’t congeal or separate.
It also comes in long life little sachets, so you can carry it with you wherever you go.
The chocolate milk is a perfect treat and I seem to consume far more when I have deadlines. What can’t chocolate fix?
Soya milk is sweeter than lacto-free milk and has a thicker consistency than almond milk. Whenever I am out and about, and I fancy a drink from a coffee shop, I always order soya or almond milk.
Soya is fattier than almond milk, but more nutritious. If ever I have something chocolate based, such as a Frappe, I choose soya, as it’s the creamier alternative.
I don’t, however, enjoy having it on my cereal, and sometimes it has the tendency to separate in drinks- so I make sure to keep a spoon by my side if ever I use soya.
This is the bees knees in a Frappaccino- almond is even sweeter than soya milk. I prefer having almond milk in warm drinks or on ice. Again, it can have the tendency to separate, but tastes delicious. Starbucks is the best.
Lacto-Free Cream Cheese
Is the boss. It’s great for cheesecakes and with crackers. I have (over the last year) got into chutneys, and lordy the cream cheese and chutneys go together brilliantly. This is a dairy free diet must-have.
Alpro Soya Cream
It can be simply poured, put on deserts and in main meals. Sometimes it quite easy to rule certain meals out, whether they are cream, milk or cheese based. But these alternatives are so good.
This is my preferred milk (other than lacto-free milk) in cereal. Though, once again(!), it can separate- but for some reason it doesn’t in cereal!
This is my entire family’s favourite milk to use with our coffee machine- it froths so well and tastes just as good as any alternative milk.
This with granola, as a snack or even to have with fresh fruit is so scrummy. It’s coconut based, really smooth and the berry yoghurts are my favourite.
This is a vegan alternative to cream cheese. I love the taste, but the consistency is a little bit jelly-like. That’s my only complaint.
Feta is so fresh and actually quite a strong flavour, so you don’t need much on top of pasta, or as part of a meal.
It also lasts a long time.
Plus, I prefer feta to goats cheese. I do eat goats cheese, and quite often, but feta is creamier! My all time favourite salad (of which I have uploaded the recipe on my blog) consists of feta, watermelon, cucumber and fresh mint. It’s the best combination.
This is super yummy and super creamy, You can heat it in the microw
ave or just have it cold. Some things I really missed when I first started a dairy free diet, things such as cream and custard on deserts were one of the big ones. This is so yummy and is by the same brand that creates the lacto free milk!
I think that when you have to rule out such a seemingly large part of your diet, it can sometimes seem rather limiting. But I think, especially in today’s food domain, having a dairy free diet is actually pretty easy. If anything, you learn more about flavours, about nutrition and alternative food groups. Whether you are trying new foods, getting used to a dairy free diet, or simply want a healthier lifestyle, try some of these products. They are so yummy- trust me.
If you enjoyed reading this, please like and subscribe, and comment below!
I always say how much I love the beach. One of the biggest reasons is that it never fails to brighten up a day (no matter how grey or rainy) and makes me feel super fresh. I had been in the house pretty much all day and I was in need of some vitamin sea (punny).
I found out today there is a name for beach lovers- Thalassophile. Meaning: a lover of the sea.
Here are a few of the photos we took today!
A walk on the beach just never fails to blow the cobwebs away!
Whenever I come home from University, I try to be as realistic as I can when it comes to work. I think: ‘give yourself a week off, get back into the zone, then you’ll be ready to smash the deadlines.’ Nah. It just doesn’t seem to work like that. My ‘week off’ of University work has turned into 2 weeks off.
I seem to be able to fill my time with the most random of things, for example rearranging my bedroom. At the time this seemed like a necessity- in hindsight it probably wasn’t.
Likewise, I started to watch Broadchurch, the third series. Having been pretty gripped, I decided to watch the first and second series too… and then moved onto Happy Valley. Essentially, I have been doing anything but work.
I went holiday shopping with my Mum and sister and visited the cutest coffee shop in West Quay, Southampton. As you have probably gathered, I am a complete sucker for coffee shops.
I feel like all I ever do on this blog is post pictures of walks and beaches, but I can honestly say the beach is my happy place. The beaches near me aren’t typically ‘scenic’, in fact they’re stony and have huge vessels sailing past all the time. And the water can be pretty gross at times too if I’m honest. But it’s almost always sunny, most definitely windy, always noisy and you can see the Isle of White across the boaty water. It’s somewhere I always drag Jack out to, to grab a coffee- surprise surprise!
Yesterday we took a stroll with some friends to the beach and sat on the stones for a while, before heading back for a roast. It was my favourite kind of Sunday.
I’ve spoken quite a bit about my lifestyle, but not so much about me as a person, so today I’m going to share with you 25 things you probably don’t know about me!
I’m scared of horses- when I was 7 I was at a party and the supervisor let go of the reins and the horse ran, with me on it. We were in the New Forest and it was terrifying.
Crossing fingers, or toes, makes my stomach flip.
When I was 3 I fell into a tank full of crabs at a Nursery Trip to the Aquarium.
I have an overly sensitive nose and have an obsession with candles, especially cinnamon and apple flavour.
I am horrendous when it comes to spicy food- my nose runs, I sweat and sometimes my eyes run too.
I suck at long distance running. But was always good at sprinting and high jump at school.
I’m hangry 99% of the time.
I have been attacked by dogs on 3 separate occasions and am a little apprehensive around dogs I haven’t met. However, big, fluffy dogs are my favourite. Beside my little Border Terrier Jim, he’s pretty damn awesome.
I am obsessed with Grey’s Anatomy.
I used to do singing lessons from age 11 to 14. I love to sing, but mostly in private.
The biggest thing I miss (apart from my family of course!) when I’m away from home is the Sea- it’s just my happy place.
I met my boyfriend, Jack, on a bus, first year of college, aged 16. Now we’re at University together!
When I was 5 a boy at my school pushed me into a tank of sting rays- another School Trip.
I hate spiders.
When I was 12 I sold cup cakes at my Dad’s offices and that was my first sort of job.
I learned the clarinet from age 8 to 13.
I am not a big clubber- I enjoy drinking and socialising, but don’t enjoy the being drunk aspect. Or the cramped spaces. I prefer coffee shops and cake.
Anything Avocado I adore.
I have a fair size list of allergies: food colourings, dairy, a large amount of fruit, in particular peaches. Peaches and I do NOT get along #anaphylaxis
I have a ridiculous amount of blond moments.
Sea food is my favourite- especially mussels.
I like/attempt to play Fifa with Jack, and I’m getting pretty damn good at it- I think!
I hate, hate, hate confrontation. I just cry.
I drink a ridiculous amount of tea each day.
I am the worst person to go clothes shopping with. I am not remotely claustrophobic at any other time, but if I get caught in a top in a changing room its freak-out time.
I hope you enjoyed learning that little bit more about me.
I have been pretty absent recently, but plan to reboot this blog and start writing more frequently again. I’m certainly not making excuses, but Second Year of University is proving to be pretty challenging… really, really challenging actually!
I often make New Years Resolutions but never seem to stick to them and just end up feeling rubbish by the next New Year when I realise I’ve not achieved the goals I wanted. But I have been thinking and a lot of New Years Resolutions are about taking away or stopping things, so I am going to try to make a list of 5 things I want to add to my 20th year on Earth. I have recently turned 20 and aim to fulfill these resolutions by 21.
So onto the Resolutions!
Make the most of University– I worked out I’m over half way through my Degree and by my 21st birthday I’ll be in my final year! At the moment I am pretty overwhelmed with work, both University, blogging or magazine articles and working out what I’m actually doing with this degree- and I feel like sometimes I need to take a breather. So my goal is: go out for more coffees, go to as many Student Union Events as I can, take part in Puppy De-Stress Days (because why the hell not?) and fun memories.
Make more friends– I have so many people that I see on a regular basis but never seem to go out for coffee with them, or organise to meet up outside of a Seminar.
Take more photos. Capture the special moments in my life.
Be happier with me. This is a pretty standard one: ‘get fitter’etc, but I’m more concerned with feeling good in my own skin. Maybe that means I need to buy more clothes that make me feel good? Or maybe eat a few less cakes… and crisps.
Commit to my Blog and start a Vlog... This is the one I’ve wanted to do for the longest but have never had the guts. I’m pretty rubbish at sitting down and writing everything that happens in the day, but actually I like to think my life is pretty interesting, and I’ve got a pretty exciting year ahead of me. So I’m going to give it a go this year.