Dear Teenage Me

10 July 2017

dear teenage me, anika may, winter style, winter coat, blogger style, winter fashion, ootd, floral dress, winter florals
Dear Teenage Me,

It’s officially been two whole years since you were a teenager and so much has changed. Let’s just say I’m writing this from the future, and I have some tips to help you through those rough years.
So, you’re thirteen. You’ve been in school for about a year and a half and so far, you’re loving it. Here’s my first tip: stay positive, because there are numerous factors that will try to dim your light. Friends, teachers, family and even your surroundings. Don’t let those negative vibes get into your heart. One more thing… do not create a Facebook account and set a pair of Converse as your profile photo.

Now you’re fourteen. Your first crush just passed you in the hallway and he’s dating your best friend. Don’t stress about him, boys are trash. Actually, don’t stress about anything. You’ve already completed your first proper exam and to be honest: they all feel like that. They’re not that big of a deal and in five years you’ll look back and laugh at how silly you were.

You made it to fifteen. Life is shooting by, and you’re desperate for it to slow down. Right now, is the prime of teenage life so make as many memories as possible. Friends will come and go, but those memories will last forever. You’ll finally invest in that camera you were desperate for, and start up your first blog: Mannequin Mode. Oh, and you’ll discover Tumblr – that’s loads of fun.
dear teenage me, anika may, winter style, winter coat, blogger style, winter fashion, ootd, floral dress, winter florals
Hurray, sixteen! Bebo is long gone, and Facebook is pretty dead to you too. Now a couple of things are legal for you, but it doesn’t mean you have to do them all. I’m begging you, stop flirting with your science partner and focus on your GCSE’s. You know what you want to do, fall in love with it. And try blogging again, I really think you’ll like it.

So seventeen has rolled around and you feel no different. Although that whole adult thing is starting to set in. Don’t be scared! Remember when I said negative feelings have no room in your heart? That still applies. Sixth form is in full swing and it’s truly your time to shine. You may only have a few friends, but don’t lose that confidence. Don’t let anxiety win.

Congratulations, you reached eighteen. I guess you ignored my previous advice because it seems anxiety is ruling your life. But not to worry, you’ll start taking the steps to fight it, you just have to accept it. Everyone’s pushing you to go to university but you hate school and know you don’t want to go. Don’t bother with UCAS and don’t let anyone bully you into it. Now that you’re legally an adult, you can buy alcohol – not that you weren’t drinking it like orange juice before. Chill out with that. You know that blog, Anika May? Keep going with that.

Nineteen! Last year of being a teen and the time you want to mature and become more independent. You’ll get your first job during this year and hate it. But that’s normal. There’s people there that will trigger your anxiety and those down days. But focus on the good, and it’ll be over soon. That doctor’s appointment you booked? Go. Forget the opinions of others and you’ll soon start to see that confidence shine. Be happy with your body, your face and your mind. Once you believe it, you’ll see it. I promise.

There’s Just Something About Nature

6 July 2017

I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something about being outdoors that does wonders for my mind. And the weird thing is, I’m not an outdoorsy person at all. I’ve been camping once in my entire life, and it was for a Year 9 school trip… it was compulsory. And my experience wasn’t great, I was forced to eat Quorn (I hate Quorn) and had to take part in orientation: basically an activity which involves 14-year-old children running around a field looking for signposts – not fun.
I’m also terrified of most insects. In fact, all of them. Autumn-time is great, because they all disappear (apart from September which is known as #ScarySpiderSeason). Basically, I don’t love being outside. I can be a bit of a couch potato and once stayed in my room for 18 hours straight.

However, recently, I’ve been doing a lot more yoga and trying to get out more, especially because it’s summer. I live in one of the most scenic areas of West Yorkshire, so I’ve always loved exploring the woods and moors. But exercise is incredibly important to me too. I’m still working on the diet side, but taking a walk is easy and effortless. I’ve even started running! Since stepping out the door a little more, I’ve noticed how much clearer everything is when I’m surrounded by nature. A natural environment provides a clear mind and it’s astounding seeing the benefits. Not only on my physical health, but also my mental.
As we’re already into July and well into summer (how?!), I’m making it a goal to get out at least five times a week. You should join me, it’ll be fun! Now that I have my Snapchat up and running, I like to document basically everything. There truly is something magical about nature. The sound of birds singing, the way trees light up in the sunlight and even the smell of cow manure. It all delivers a fresh outlook. If you’re ever stress or struggling with something, I would totally suggest taking a walk, a jog or a run. Even if that means driving a little while to get somewhere quiet.

Hiking will be next for me. I’m definitely looking for some nice spots to explore around the UK, so if you have any suggestions let me know!

Have a great week!

3 Reasons Why Rejection Is a Good Thing

2 July 2017

Rejection is definitely a bitter pill to swallow. It’s not something that many take lightly, and certainly something many take personally. I’ve had my fair share of rejection in life, from quite a few angles, but it doesn’t always have to be the end of the world. Whether it’s from a job, a loved one or your pet cat – sometimes rejection can be a good thing.

It’s a chance to grow
Once rejection hits, you have the opportunity to let it destroy you, or make you stronger. Everyone’s heard the whole “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” motto, and it’s true. Self-doubt can be converted into self-reflection and provides the motivation to change those little things that would make you a better person, to your own standards of course. Sometimes, all that’s needed is that kick up the bum or slap in the face to alter an outlook on life or create room to grow.
It’s a chance to start over
Ever look back at rejection and think: “Thank goodness that happened”? I do. There’s been jobs I was desperate to have, thinking it was going to be the greatest step in my life. Then when I didn’t get the position I wanted, I thought “…oh well”. Now looking back, I truly feel grateful the opportunity wasn’t handed to me because I got the chance to start over, and find something better. It’s good to remember there’s always something better around the corner.
You took a risk
Life gets a little boring if you only ever play it safe. Although it’s good sometimes to refuse to gamble, at the same time, it’s important to take a risk and put yourself out there. That’s how we learn life lessons and figure out the type of person we want to be. No matter what form the rejection comes in, you still took a risk, even if it didn’t pay off. It’s something to learn from and something to remember.
Let downs make victories feel better
It’s known that you appreciate something more, after losing something first. Well, losing out on something, or being rejected in some way makes acceptance taste that much sweeter. It’s like the giant payoff after a long wait, or countless failed attempts. I always think of it as playing one of those basketball arcade games. I’m terrible at them, and hardly get any in, but the minute one ball falls through the basket, I feel awesome and I’m on a roll. The same applies to rejection! You may have faced your fair share of no’s in the past, but that one yes is going to mean so much more.

5 Achievable Summer Goals

28 June 2017

Eldwick, UK
Summer is well underway at the moment, and I’m loving every minute of it. Despite the sudden heat in the UK, which everyone seems to be dealing (struggling) with in their own way, I’m welcoming the rise in temperature. Summer for me, is the time to get stuff done. The days are longer, much lighter and easier to handle. As much as I love the cosiness of winter, waking up when it’s dark and coming home when it’s dark makes me want to curl up with a film, rather than run the world.

01. Put on a new personality.
Personally, I’m a little negative. I always say it’s me being realistic but actually I’m just being a bit of a downer. After taking inspiration from new friends, bloggers and public figures that I admire, I’ve decided to switch up the way I see the world a little bit. I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts that my aim is to be more positive, and summer is the perfect time to do so! It’s bright outside, and I’m like 80% sure that affects mood. I know all I want to do is sing, dance and have a good time when the sun appears, which means much more optimism.
Not that there’s anything wrong with my current personality, I’ve always been taught there’s room for improvement. Grab a mirror and take a look, what do I want to change inside. Maybe the sarcastic comments? The snappy attitude? The negative outlook? They’re just a couple of things I want to get rid of. I think in the long run, a little self-reflection is incredibly beneficial. I’m 21 and still growing, so summer’s the time to get that kick up the bum.
02. Take thousands of photos.
I feel like this goal is a very “just girly things” kind of goal, but it still counts. As a freelance photographer, I’m always taking photos. Like, constantly. But most the photos I take are for work or as a hobby. I have a DSLR, and I want to pick it up, get out of town and take a bunch of photos with my friends. Not some weak Snapchat videos with frilly filters and fuzzy audio. Some real photographs that I can look back on in thirty years and tear up at (awwwww). They say you should live in the moment, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I also think it’s important to capture the moment the best way you can.
Some are happy with the mental image that lasts forever. I have the memory of a goldfish and can’t even remember what I had for breakfast this morning let alone what I did with my friends last summer. Photos make me happy, so I wanna take waaaaay more.

03. Be an adult.
I guess this is an odd one, but a truthful one. I’m 21-years-old, which is classed as an adult pretty much everywhere in the world. But sometimes, I live like a 12-year-old, depending on my mum and not wanting to face a very fast-paced life. That’s got to stop, or at least chill out a bit. Being older definitely scares me, and I know I’m not alone in that boat. There’s something about being independent that’s empowering but terrifying. I’m always crazy shocked when there’s a 18-year-old living on her own, with a job, a car, and a dog named Bentley.
Comparison can certainly be a mood-killer, but not if I use it for inspiration. Sometimes I need to grow up a bit, and aiming to be a little more independent and being open to growing is the way to do that this summer.
04. Party hard. Work harder.
As I’ve said 300 times, I’m 21, which also means I can drink all over the world (whoop)! I’m a bit of a party animal when I want to be, so every opportunity to have a good time is going to be taken this summer. It’s an easy goal to have and one that’s definitely achievable. Whether it’s a one-woman rave or this season’s coolest after party – I’m there.
At the same time, I also want to dominate my secular game. I currently work for a Yorkshire-based charity that’s kind of like my baby. As its non-government funded, I work my bum off with the staff to keep us afloat and it’s very rewarding when we receive a donation for our hard work or an extra like on Facebook. That feeling is only felt after working hard, so even though the sun’s out, I might not always be. I totally want to have fun, that’s part of being young, but at the same time it’s important to build a foundation for life and something to be proud of.

05. Read a ton of books.
Maybe not literally, but close. I bought a whole shelf’s worth of books in the spring, with the intention of finishing them all by then end of August. So far, I’m three books in and have quite a few to go but I couldn’t be happier. One of the main reasons I read is for entertainment, but I also love to expand my vocabulary and have something else to think about rather than the mess the world is falling into. One thing that’s different about my choice in books this year, is that I’m reading them for me. A lot of the time, we’re influenced by other people into what we think we should be doing.
Well I’m done with that, I’ll read whatever I want to read and do whatever I want to do. Maybe I don’t want to read 13th century literature while I lounge in the sunshine – doesn’t mean I’m any less of a person or book-lover and the same applies to everyone else.

One thing I noted while writing this post, is that it’s my summer. And your summer is your summer. Set your own goals, achieve your own dreams, and imagine whatever makes you happy, because without that, it’s very hard to have a hope. Happy summer!

Ten Thoughts for Thursday

22 June 2017

Leeds, UK
#1 You are not alone
It’s always good to remember there are other people in this boat with you. I often put myself in my own little bubble, and it’s not the best way to deal with things. You’re never alone!

#2 There’s room for improvement
I always like to think there’s a chance for something to get better. There’s growing space in most situations, so it’s time to notice that space and use it.

#3 It’s not the end of the world
Although it may certainly feel like it. It’s difficult to find comfort in the mess of today’s world, but it certainly isn’t the end.

#4 Smile back
There’s something really special about smiling back when you make eye contact with someone. In Yorkshire it’s a normal thing, but I think the whole world should do it.

#5 Just do it
Quoting one of the biggest brands, but one of the best sayings. That thing you’ve been avoiding all week – get it over with.

#6 Do what brings you joy
I hate anything that feels like a chore as much as the next person, which is why it’s vital to save some time for the joyful things in life.

#7 Watch some cartoons
I’m a big girl but SpongeBob will always make me smile. It’s an odd fact, but I know I’m not the only. Throw on an animated series and have a laugh.

#8 Forget the past
What’s done is done. Just take the lesson, accept the principle and move on. You only ever move the direction you’re facing, so turn around.

#9 Value everything
Sometimes it takes a shock in life for us to focus on what’s really special in life. Why not just value those things, or people, while they’re there?

And finally, #10 Pizza is awesome

Unless you seriously hate pizza, pizza is the best. I had a Domino's this week, and it brought me so much joy I just had to add it to today's post. 
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