My Top 15 Moments of 2015!

I wanted to write a 'year in review' post to round off 2015 nicely (inspired by the fabulous Olly - you can read about his amazing year here) but it turned into more of a timeline of all of the foods that I've discovered this year and subsequently, a semi embarrassing photographic journal of how much weight I've gained. Can I hashtag #bootygains in a blog post? But then I came across Charlotte's wonderful post and thought that it was a much more manageable way of summarising what an incredible year I've had! So here are my top 15 moments of 2015 :)

How To Survive Freshers' Week


If you're really excited for Freshers' Week then not a lot of this post will apply to you (although you may find some points helpful) - continue to do your thaaang and have a blast!! However, if the idea of Freshers' Week brings you out in a nervous rash and you can think of at least eight things you'd rather be doing then this is the guide for you!

Leeds: A Tour Of Good Coffee

There are A LOT of awfully good coffee shops here in Leeds (and I'd definitely be lying if I said that wasn't part of the reason I decided to move here for university...) and I knew I'd have my work cut out for me trying to narrow them down for this post. However, when I started trying to compile my list I realised that amongst the many good coffee shops I've visited there was only one real contender for the top spot on my Good Coffee List - Laynes Espresso.


Eating Disorder Recovery: It's Okay To FEEL.

[POTENTIAL TRIGGER WARNING: I have tried to cover all topics in this post as mindfully as possible but if you are particularly sensitive to discussions about eating disorders and think you may be triggered by any of the following content then please don't read it!! Look at my room tour instead.] I'm bombarded on a daily basis with questions about recovery. Lots of them are from people who don't suffer with an eating disorder but maybe know somebody who does and want to educate themselves a bit more in order to try and offer support. The majority, however, are from people who are either contemplating giving recovery a go or have begun recovering and are looking for some reassurance to continue. I've been a bit hesitant to discuss recovery in depth on my blog because despite having extensive treatment for anorexia nervosa for the last 4 years I'd only consider my recovery to have started in October 2014. Prior to this I was discharged in late 2012 with a big "RECOVERED" label stuck to my forehead and sent on my way to deal with life by myself.

Asking For Help Is Okay

Today I did something that I've done less than a handful of times in my whole life: I recognised that I needed help and I was able to unashamedly approach somebody and ask for it. It might not sound like a big deal to some people but I'm usually dead set against letting people know the full extent of my problems for fear of looking weak or not in absolute control of myself. I'm the kind of person who will tweet about how bad I'm feeling but never bring it up in "real life" conversation with anyone, let alone people who are supposed to be there to help me deal with problems like therapists or teachers. It makes me feel embarrassed that I'm not able to cope with things and it's not something I really want to talk about with people I'm close to for fear of judgement or rejection. I've always been very aware of my own thoughts and emotions even if I'm not very good at fully understanding them. I know that they're there and can usually decipher the source of the feeling if I'm honest enough with myself. However, 95% of the time that I recognise that I'm struggling with something - whether it's educational, relationship or mental health related - I just bury my head in the sand (I've actually had friends refer to me as an "emotion ostrich" in the past so take from that what you will) and hope that it goes away. Which it never does, of course.

PLEASE STOP BODY SHAMING

I wasn't planning on writing this post. In fact, I'm a bit nervous about publishing it. Although I talk A LOT on social media about weight, body image and why I think it's important to not alienate anybody because of something as unimportant as their body shape/size I'm usually limited to 140 characters (thanks, Twitter) and so I'm used to writing everything as concisely as possible in a way that might make people WANT to educate themselves more on the subject of body image. Writing a blog post where I have more of a chance to explain my views and subsequently more of a chance of accidentally offending someone, which is not my intention by any means, is a bit scary. I am by no means an expert on issues like this but having suffered with anorexia for 5 years now I have frequently been on the receiving end of some quite nasty, uninformed and stereotypical comments regarding my condition and my size as a result of this which means that I have a lot of personal experience with how things like weight SHOULDN'T be dealt with.

body shaming weight sizebody shaming weight size

My University Room Tour

university room tour
I've been wanting to do a room tour for a while now but with less than 2 months left in student accommodation (!!!) before I move into my new house I thought I better get my butt into gear and actually do it! I wanted to make it a bit more fun for you guys to read so I've made it semi-interactive, meaning that if you hover over each image you should be able to see annotations of where certain items are from. If you're on a mobile or touchscreen device you'll have to click each image to be able to see them. Scroll to the end of the post for a few quick tips and tricks that I've picked up this year on turning your bedroom into somewhere that feels homely and relaxing! I hope you have as much fun reading this as I did making it :)

HELLO :)

coffee macbook planning
I'm sitting down with a delicious cinnamon latte in a huge double handled Costa mug that somehow made its way into my possession (*shifty eyes*), my yearly planner and my trusty macbook to restart my blog... AGAIN. I know I've done this multiple times since I created this blog back in 2012 but I think this academic year has been a really pivotal time in my life. I've moved cities from Birmingham to Leeds, been lucky enough to join the Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Design course at Leeds College of Art and started getting the support I need to properly recover from anorexia. It's been an extremely challenging yet exciting six months and I feel more comfortable being me than I ever have done before. Which is kinda really super nice. To put it bluntly, I think I've finally got my shit together. Sort of. I've been keeping a blog since last September to document my artwork in order to fulfil part of the criteria of my course and I've really enjoyed seeing the progress that I've made and reflecting upon the things that I've done, which has made me want to start doing that on a more personal basis too. I've always been one to try and document as many memories as I can, whether it's through a quick photo (which may or may not make its way to instagram - gotta keep that aesthetic goin' strong) or through a tweet, but some things just can't be expressed in 140 characters. I don't want to pigeonhole myself with this blog too much as I want it to be more of a collection of things interest me, places that I've been and people that make me happy so I guess I'll just go with the flow and see where it takes me! (Side note: writing a blog post is extremely difficult without emojis, I feel like I'm being really blunt - please imagine me looking very friendly and smiley whilst typing this)

Love, Hails.