Health + relationships

Make the most of your physical and mental health and wellbeing and personal relationships with advice, guidance and thoughts from The LDN Gal.

How to deal with being an anxious mess

How to deal with being an anxious mess | The LDN Gal

How to deal with anxiety

There is nothing like a bit of brutal honesty at times. Aside from all the ‘new year, new me’ rubbish, anxiety is a demon many have to live with around-the-clock. Here’s how to deal with anxiety.

Many people would not see a person as anxious. In fact, most may even believe they are confident and outgoing – a shock to the system when this is further from the truth.

In the last few months, I have had to challenge my anxiety head on. I’ve had to do this for my own mental health and personal development.

See, anxiety is a nasty beast. It leaves you isolated, disconnected and quite frankly exhausted. So, I made it my mission to change my relationship with my mental health.

How to boost your mental health and mindfulness

Here’s how to centre yourself and deal with anxiety:

  • It is okay to not be in control 24/7 – so what if you are late or say something ridiculous?
  • You can trust people – let people know how you feel and most will be considerate.
  • Talk more – it helps to talk about how you feel and to get a wider perspective on your concerns.
  • Take better care of you – put the dry shampoo down, wash your hair – you’ll feel better for it.
  • Dress up and get out – socialising always does you good, it’s only scary at first – step outside the front door.
  • Make time for you – find something you enjoy and do it often. Mindfulness is key.
  • Enjoy nature – take a walk and reconnect with your thoughts.
  • Structure your day – structure your day but allow for changes when needed.
  • Record your worries – If it helps, keep a diary and include your happy moments too!
  • Challenge yourself – Tackle anxieties slowly but surely and challenge your negative thoughts.
  • Sleep – if you over think too much, go to bed earlier. Also, listen to sleep delta waves (a lifesaver).
  • Be healthy – eat well and work out when possible. As a result, you will feel a lot better in your mind and body.
  • Breathing exercises – take deep breaths in and out for 7 seconds till you feel calmer.
  • Relaxation training – tense each part of your body for 4 seconds head-to-toe.
  • Seek support if needed – there is no shame in speaking to a medical professional. If you need support, contact your GP or local mental health support service asap.
  • Realise it is okay to have bad days! – Give yourself a break and start again tomorrow.

If you incorporate the above, your anxiety should ease up. Learn to centre yourself when you get anxious and utilise breathing and relaxation exercises when needed.

What do you do to challenge your anxiety? Have you tried any of the above?

Stephanie xox

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I am not a medical professional, this is advice based purely on personal experience

Boobie Bears travel the world to raise breast cancer awarenesss 🐻

Boobie Bears for Breast Cancer | The LDN Gal

Scarlet’s ‘Little Orphans’ raise breast cancer awareness

Boobie Bears are from the creative genius of Scarlet of Scarlet’s ‘Little Orphans’. What started out as a fun pasttime to connect with friends exchanging ‘Boy Bears’, has turned into a micro movement.

In essence, the concept is simple. Scarlet sends out her travelling Boobie Bears from her home in Winterton, North Lincolnshire in the UK, with a very special mission.

After developing cancer herself in 2018, Scarlet decided her bears could help to raise awareness of breast cancer. Boobie Bears are sent out to travel the world, bringing a smile to all who come across them and their heartfelt message.

In February 2018, Scarlet was told she had Paget’s disease, a form of breast cancer that affected her nipple. When asked about her diagnosis, Scarlet said:

“I had a tiny flake of skin on my nipple that wouldn’t heal. Paget’s disease doesn’t show on a mammogram or ultra sound.”

After an operation in March 2018, Scarlet lost a nipple, lots of breast tissue and had to undergo a reconstruction. After three weeks of daily radiotherapy, the cancer was gone!

“I wanted to turn a negative into a positive and send the girl bears out for breast cancer awareness.”

Boobie bears are not looking to raise money, they’re simply on their adventure to raise awareness. Scarlet said: “We are asked all the time to donate money to what seems a million charities and I just wanted to raise awareness.”

So, where do Boobie Bears come from?  

Scarlet sources her bears from her own pocket, picking them up from charity shops and car boot sales. In addition, she asks her Facebook followers for teddy bear donations where possible.

“People in my village have been amazing and I often get up in the morning to teddy bears being posted through my letterbox.”

As the bears leave Scarlet and travel on, their adopted finders post on Scarlet’s dedicated Facebook page, Scarlet’s ‘Little Orphans’.

These prompted Facebook posts help spread the message. As well as creating an oh so cute travel diary. So, when it’s time for a Boobie Bear to move on, it’s carefully left in its next destination. Afterward, it’s ready to be adopted once more and continue its journey.

“I’m very proud of my Boobie Bears and their feedback. A few ladies have had their boobs checked after seeing one of my bears, which I think is amazing.”

Tracking Boobie Bears worldwide

Over 300 bears have been sent out so far. Unfortunately, they do not always turn up online. However, Scarlet keeps a track of the ones that do. She adds people’s photos to dedicated albums, illustrating their journeys.

“The bears are everywhere from Skegness to Australia, to the Caribbean and Europe – and lots of places in between.”

Scarlet will continue to send out Boobie Bears for as long as she can. With this in mind, she hopes her grandchildren will carry on her Boobie Bear mission when she is gone.

“It really is amazing to see where they go and what they get up to.”

She gives bears out to friends, family and colleagues to take on adventures, as well as leaving them wherever she goes. She’s been posting them to people all over the UK too, so that they can join in on the fun!

You can keep an eye on Scarlet’s ‘Little Orphans’ page for all of the Boobie Bears adventures. You never know, you may even find one of your own some day!

What do you think of the Boobie Bear concept? Where would you take your Boobie Bear?

Stephanie xox

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Get pearly whites with the Uber Sonic 👄

Uber Sonic Electric Toothbrush Review | The LDN Gal

Uber Sonic electronic toothbrush review

The Uber Sonic electronic toothbrush is sleek and efficient with an exterior crafted from brushed aluminium.

It comes as part of a subscription service ensuring your whites stay pearly with two replacement toothbrush heads being sent to your address each second month.

These refills are certainly a unique selling point, as well as the tooth whitening kit when you first sign up. You can choose to purchase these separately if you prefer.

Since using the Uber Sonic, I have noticed that my teeth do in fact feel great after each use when compared to my manual toothbrush.

So, what did I think of the Uber Sonic electronic toothbrush? 

The toothbrush has a timer inside that tells you every thirty seconds to change quadrant. The small toothbrush head makes it easy to reach difficult areas of your mouth.

Although the Uber Sonic is aesthetically pleasing, I would perhaps like a little more power. Nothing drastic, just a slight bit more intensity.

What makes the Uber Sonic oh so unique is its subscription service, gorgeous aluminium exterior and ease of use. You can buy the Uber Sonic here.

Have you tried the Uber Sonic yet? Do you prefer manual or electronic toothbrushes? 

Stephanie xox

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This Uber Sonic was sent in exchange for an honest review

High Intensity Hiit trampoline workout at Rebound Revolution Bicester 💪

Rebound Revolution Bicester

Rebound Revolution Bicester review

Rebound Revolution Bicester offers a selection of workout classes including a High Intensity Hiit Workout Class. On realising the newly opened trampoline park next door did fitness classes, I was intrigued and decided to take the plunge.

So, let me hit this post off by establishing something. I’m pretty unfit at the moment. You know when you get a little bit busier and a little more indulgent, well the lb fairy has certainly paid me a visit over the past few months.

I guess it’s time to do something about it and I’ve made the executive decision to get my backside into gear and shift a few pounds. Looking around, I was a put off by the local gyms which seemed to all want to wrangle me into a 12 month contract. No thank you.

So, what did I think of the trampoline fitness class?

I was pretty terrified walking across but what could be more fun than bouncing yourself fit eh?  Arriving, I was given a pair of grip socks (included in the price) and ushered over by the peppy and lovely instructor.

At times during this hour-long session, I could have dropped to the floor. However, the feeling afterward was incredibly euphoric. Essentially, workouts are great for your physical and mental health.

After an intense mixture of aerobics moves, circuits, stretches and yoga positions, resistance and core training, I felt sweaty as hell and pretty damn accomplished. I’ll be returning and would highly recommend anyone give trampolining workout classes a try.

Finally, the fantastic class aside, the trampoline park itself is great. It offers 50 trampolines, a climbing wall, giant leap platform and airbag, wipeout area, basketball hoops and foam pit.

Book a Rebound Revolution Bicester workout class.

Would you ever try a trampolining fitness class? How do you stay fit? 

Stephanie xox

Looking for more things to do in Oxford?

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Why #MeToo is so important

#MeToo

Social Media and the #MeToo Hashtag

Spreading around the social media world in a frenzy, the #MeToo hashtag has caused some confusion.

So, what does it mean? Well, anyone keeping up with the latest Hollywood news will be familiar with the Harvey Weinstein scandal circulating and worsening each day.

For those who are unfamiliar with the story, here is a quick recap. Weinstein is a very famous and influential film producer with a lot of power in the entertainment circuit. In the last few weeks, many an actress (nearing almost 40 now) has come out against him, speaking of his sexual harassment in one form or another.

This unification has led to a string of accusations, with many women detailing their harrowing experiences at the hands of the producer.

The #MeToo hashtag is an extension of this unification. Originally, it begin circulating on social media, a declaration from women who have faced similar experiences. The sad reality is that the #MeToo hashtag applies to the majority of females on the planet (and many a male also).

So, why in this day and age are we still afraid to speak out against predators? There are two reasons, power and fear.

Power: Power is a terrifying thing and many try and attempt to justify the abuses of power they have had to ensure in order to progess with their lives and succeed.

Fear: Fear that you will not be believed and your complaint disregarded.

It is a truly terrible combination, especially when looking at this particular case and all of the women who have spoken out, all too afraid that their careers would suffer and even more worringly that noone would believe them.

The #MeToo hashtag continues to encourage, shaking away the ‘shame’ and enabling women to come forward in their masses.

Everyone has a #MeToo story and the more we condemn the perpatrators of these stories and speak out against them, the less of a norm these stories will become. No person should ever fear for their personal integreity, no person should ever feel unsafe.

#MeToo

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Why it’s important to say goodbye to toxic relationships 🙅

Saying Goodbye to Toxic Relationships | The LDN Gal

How to say goodbye to toxic relationships

Sometimes in life, it’s necessary to rid yourself of toxic people, be it in a platonic, romantic or professional relationship. Unfortunately, family can prove a little tougher to deal with.

If a relationship is no longer bringing you joy, then how are you benefiting from it? Holding onto toxic people and relationships only prolongs your pain. At times, you truly need to get out of your comfort zone and put yourself first.

Entering adulthood, you realise that sometimes you just cannot relationship work. If your friends are not supportive of you – are they really your friends?

In essence, life can be difficult enough without having to worry about those who are meant to care for you mentally dragging you down.

To summarise, there are many different types of toxic relationship. Someone can be mentally damaging towards you, emotionally and on the worst end of the scale, physically. Abuse is still abuse no matter what form it takes – and it isn’t acceptable.

Advice - Saying Goodbye to Toxic Relationships | The LDN Gal

The benefits of saying goodbye to toxic relationships

Here are the warning signs of behaviours of toxic people. If any of these are present, then it’s time to get rid. A person who:

  • Undermines you
  • Tries to compete with you
  • Is unnecessarily jealous or envious of your successes
  • Clouds you with negativity (every day seems to bring with it a new tragedy)
  • Gossips incessantly (if they gossip too often to you, they most likely gossip about you)
  • Are not supportive of your goals
  • Act possessive or incessantly needy of your attention (all friends are there to offer mutual emotional support but relationships should not leave you feeling burdened or be one-sided)
  • Are inconsiderate and/or critical
  • Prove to be a bad influence (we inevitably become influenced by our environment)
  • Are at times just downright manipulative

When to say goodbye to a toxic relationship

Indeed bonds can deteriorate, and once someone begins to grate at your patience and sanity, they’re not worth hanging on to. With friends, you should never feel wary. In fact, you should be able to be open-minded without feeling conflicted or irritated.

Obviously, if you find yourself dreading to see a friend, making excuses to avoid doing so and feeling drained if you do eventually meet, then it all becomes pretty self-explanatory.

In short, relationships are complex and require a bit of give and take at times. However, if your relationships are starting to drain you and stop bringing you emotional reward and joy, then it is a drastic warning sign to let that person go. Equally, do so without speaking badly of them, negativity never breeds happiness.

Essentially, friends should make you happier and help you to escape or solve your problems, not cause them.

welcoming happy relationships

Healthy relationships are the only relationships you need. Surround yourself with those who value you and you will soon start to feel a lot better in yourself. All in all, your relationships should bring out the best in you and your own character.

Finally, be sure to remember, “you are only going to be as good as the people you surround yourself with. So, be brave enough to let go of those who are weighing you down.”

Have you ever experienced a toxic relationship? How did you let that person go? 

Stephanie xox

Interview: Diane Blood, A Mother’s Love…

diane-tile

An interview with Diane Blood

With Mother’s Day looming it’s that time of the year where we all start reflecting. Thoughts of childhood memories, times of laughter and everything our mothers have done for us and helped us to achieve.

We often take it for granted, but on that one Sunday a year in March we stop to think a little and appreciate all that we have.

Just how far will a mothers love go?

Diane Blood sits nervously, fidgeting with her head low in front of a large group of students. “This is the first time I’ve been in front of so many people since 1999”, she says.

Twenty years ago she was used to this kind of attention, the press intrigued by her erratic life.

Diane is an ordinary but unconventional mother-of-two adolescent boys, Liam aged fifteen and Joel at the delicate age of eleven.

Their father is Stephen Blood whom she met at sixteen while at school, marrying him eight years later in 1991.

It sounds like the perfect nuclear family. It isn’t. In fact, you are to be told that Stephen died of meningitis at just thirty, before his children were even born.

The couple had been trying for a child for some time before his unexpected and immediate death.

Diane comments that he would have been thrilled to have children, although he would have liked to have been around to raise them.

She took the decision to take her husband’s sperm while he was comatose in hospital, placing it in a fertility clinic for later use.

After three months of grievance for her husband, Diane asked and was denied the usage of his sperm – there was an issue of whether Stephen had given consent and the sperm was to be destroyed.

Horrified, Diane sought the legal help of Michael Fordham, now a close family friend and godfather to her first born, resulting in a monumental legal battle.

“I played everything by the book all my life”, she says.

Although supportive, her and Stephen’s family had their concerns. Concerns for her mentality and the fear of bankruptcy, which could result in her losing both her home and life savings, everything her and Stephen had worked so hard to achieve.

“I couldn’t have walked away and spent the rest of my life not knowing, to me it just wasn’t an option”, she says.

However, pressure loomed as she lost her first legal battle. The choice was to call it a day without a financial penalty of up to £30,000 or to appeal. Determined, Diane chose the latter.

With the choice to lift her anonymity after the first case came the intrusion of the press. A choice she made in order to raise public awareness and to gain their support.

Diane reflects on her instability during this time, listening out for the persistent ringing of her phone as she sat upon the floor in her lounge rocking backwards and forwards.

“I’m less emotional now”, she says.

Diane won on appeal due to European law and admirably her case set precedent with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Deceased Fathers) Act.

On reflection, Diane states it was an entirely selfish battle, she wanted children and did not think of the impact her determination would have on society, or the inspiration that she would become.

Defensively, she says: “I wanted the baby in spite of the fact he had died, not because he had”.

Her persistent and brave actions have encouraged other women to fight. Beth Warren followed in her footsteps as she got into her own and rather similar legal battle.

Diane cried at the declaration of Beth’s successful judgement. Due to her Article 8 rights (Right to respect for private and family life) in the European Convention on Human Rights Act she was now legally allowed to attempt her own family.

“We are massively privileged, there is an awful lot of people who don’t succeed”, she says.

Diane believes that her own and others cases have lessened the societal prejudice when it comes to IVF treatment. That the publicity from her case has raised awareness and changed ethical opinions.

“It’s not damaging to society”, she says.

Since the ordeal, Diane has focused wholeheartedly on her own family, raising her ambitious and vibrant sons who have desires to work in computing and science – something neither her or Stephen were particularly interested in.

The boys know everything about their father she says, told as soon as they began questioning. They still visit his grave on special occasions and the home is surrounded in pictures, his memory far from forgotten.

Diane has also continue to work extensively to raise awareness of meningitis, participating in charity events and giving public talks, her campaigns continue.

As Mother’s Day looms, the family prepare for a quiet meal this Sunday to celebrate all that they have achieved together.

As Stephen’s mother looks into her grandson Liam’s eyes and their long lashes, she sees her own boys peering back at her.

Never underestimate a mothers love or determination when it comes to her children.

Dressing for your body shape, not dress size

Body Shapes-tile

Why you should be dressing for your body shape and not your dress size

Dressing for your body shape is so important. The amount of times I’ve been out with my female family members and friends and heard the frustrated cries from their dressing room while jumping about in an outfit is ridiculous.

Worst thing is, I too have been guilty of exclaiming ‘why doesn’t it look right?!’ before giving up and slinking off for a coffee and depleted chat.

Shopping can be both a pain and a joy. When it comes to finding the perfect outfit, the amount of damage changing room blunders can cause us girls is shocking.

I’ve decided to take Trinny and Susannah’s 12 body shapes as a definitive guide to help you dress to suit your body shape. It’s time to avoid body criticism and dress to show off your best assets!

A guide to different body shapes

APPLE: Average chest, larger tummy, flat bum and average legs.

BELL: Small shoulders and chest, small and short waist with large thighs and bottom.

BRICK: Broad shoulders, undefined waist, average tummy, flat bum and large thighs and calves.

CELLO: Large chest, hips, bottom, and thighs with a  short waist and slim lower legs.

COLUMN: Slight waist, long legs, same width shoulders, and hips.

CORNET: Broad shoulders, small breasts, undefined waist, slim hips, and long slender legs.

GOBLET: Broad shoulders, large chest, undefined waist, narrow hips, and long legs.

HOURGLASS: Large chest, small and short waist, big hips, and generous thighs.

LOLLIPOP: Large chest, slight waist, slim hips, and long legs.

PEAR: Small chest, long waist, flat stomach, and large legs.

SKITTLE: Average chest, slim waist, average stomach, large thighs, and calves.

VASE: Large chest, longer defined waist, hips to match, slim thighs and legs.

Which body shape am I?

Still confused about your body shape? Use the Body Shape Calculator based on Trinny and Susannah’s shapes or the diagram below.

Trinny and Susannah Body Shape Quiz

Dressing for your body shape

Now, onto dressing for your body shape. Here’s what to opt for to flatter the following shapes:

Apple: 

To avoid attention to your midriff, wear clothing that elongates your figure and adds structure. Items such as blazers, ruched dresses and shirts, tunics and empire tops that gather below the bust and flow outwards. ‘Opt for bootcut and flat fronted trousers to lengthen and compliment your legs. The use of large vertical print and patterns also works a treat on highlighting your best assets. Avoid baggy, tight and high-necked clothing that will swamp your figure.

Bell: 

The bell, like the pear and skittle, means you’re bigger on the bottom. As bells naturally have a narrow top half, balance needs to be restored to keep you in proportion.  To do so, use volume in clothing to increase your upper half. You need to avoid use of the same colour, v necked clothing and long jackets which will emphasis. Use of turtle and cowl necks, vests and frilly shirts will make your upper half appear larger and your lower half smaller. Wearing pleated heavy fabrics and wide trousers will cover and compliment your widest parts.

Brick: 

Draw attention and create the illusion of a waist with the use of belts and dresses that clinch your midsection. Avoid shapeless clothing and opt for well fitting and structured items that compliment your figure. Strapless items will broaden your shoulders and mini skirts will throw off the proportions of your lower half. Opt for draped fabrics to create curves. Fitted tops and knitwear will compliment your figure. In addition, patterned items will create shape and panelled skirts will define your waist and elongate your body.

Cello: 

The cello is voluptuous and often tall. Everything remains proportionate with a defined waist which needs to be focused on. Wear fitted items that flatter your figure and chest and stand tall. Items such as scooped and V necks, long fitted jackets, empire waist clothing and wide-legged trousers will define and flatter your slim torso, long legs, and large thighs.  Avoid mini skirts, skinny jeans, and polo-necks as these will draw attention to larger areas.

Column:

Like the brick, you must draw attention and create the illusion of a waist. It’s key to use belts and items that clinch your midsection. Use solid colours when choosing clothing. Be sure to avoid prints which will fail to highlight your slender figure or create curves. Opt for high waisted or wide legged trousers. These will frame your waist and show off your legs. Additionally, you can get away with wearing round necklines which will balance your frame. However, avoid cropped items as they’ll elongate and emphasise your long limbs.

Cornet: 

Cornets have athletic and slender figures. Be sure to draw attention and create the illusion of a waist with belts and dresses that clinch your midsection. Shapeless clothes are a no-go. They will throw off your proportions even more. Opt for asymmetric clothing that creates shape and proportion. Skinny jeans will give the illusion of curves and show off your long and slender limbs, as well as flared dresses.

Goblet: 

Known for larger upper halves and slender legs, goblets must take the emphasis off their upper body to create proportion. Avoid baggy clothing (such as shift dresses and wide legged pants), bright colours that will create emphasis on your top half and create disproportion and high neck lines. To compliment, choose empire waisted tops that cinch your waist and flatter your midriff. Wide-necked tops compliment your chest and low-rise trousers skim your hips to compliment slender legs.

Hourglass: 

An evenly proportioned shape that needs simplistic and fitted clothing that works with your natural curves. Opt for items that compliment your chest, hips, and waist and avoid shapeless items. Wrap dresses work well to define your shape, as do scoop and v necklines, three-quarter length sleeves, small belts at the waist, pencil skirts and skinny jeans. Hourglass shapes must avoid layering, baggy clothing, tunics, chunky knitwear and high necklines. These will swamp and covering up throws off proportions and can lead you to feeling and looking frumpy.

Lollipop:

Lollipop’s are tall and slender with long limbs and a sizeable chest so the idea is to broaden your hips and shoulders to maintain proportions. Avoid high necked and high waisted clothing that will over emphasise your chest, long legs and create unbalance, shapeless items are a no go also. Opt for fitted items and draping fabrics to create curves, wide neck lines that will compliment your chest and bring in your waist and flared trousers to balance out your chest and make the most of your slender legs.

Pear: 

Pear are a slim shape with wide thighs, not necessarily hips (a common misconception). To create proportion you must balance your small upper and wide lower half. Opt for items that compliment your chest, hips and waist and avoid shapeless items such as tunics and wrap dresses. Wide and straight-legged pants are great for slimming thighs and adding length to legs, especially dark colours. An A-line skirt works wonders too when covering thighs and creating a classic look. High necks are good to broaden your torso. Avoid skinny jeans that will hug your wider half, mini skirts that will elaborate your thighs and bright colours on your lower half. These will draw unwanted attention and throw your proportions off  balance.

Skittle: 

Similar to the pear, skittles have wide thighs and calves along with voluptuous legs. Once more to create proportion you must balance your small upper and wide lower half. Opt for fitting clothing on your upper half to draw attention away from your lower, detailed blouses work wonders also. The addition of a flared skirt will skim your thighs and highlight your enviably small waist. Like the pear, wide and straight-legged pants are great for slimming your thighs and adding length to your legs. Avoid skinny jeans that will hug your wider half, mini skirts that will elaborate your thighs and calves and bright colours on your lower half that will draw unwanted attention and throw you off balance.

Vase: 

A vase closely resembles an hourglass but with a much longer and gently curving torso that must be complimented in similar ways. With long limbs, it is best to show them off with straight leg trousers and high waisted pencil skirts. Opt for fitted shirts to compliment your waist. It’s best to keep clothing simplistic and to avoid covering up with layers, especially baggy or high necked items that will swamp you.

The key to dressing for your body shape is to understand your proportions and flatter them. At the end of the day, wear what makes you happy and confident!

What do you think of the Trinny and Susannah body shapes? Do you dress to suit your shape?

Stephanie xox

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