I turn 22 tomorrow. Part of me is excited because, you know, presents but the other part of my wishes everything would just SLOW DOWN. The little 8 year old inside me still can’t quite comprehend that she’s an adult now, going to work and renting her own little house. When I first moved in I wasn’t ready for it, but I had no choice but to learn and learn FAST. That has often been the case with most of the lessons I have learnt throughout my 22 years on this earth. Life comes at you quickly and sometimes you just have to go with it and hope for the best. 

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Started from the bottom…

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Now we’re here.

  1. Always have a sanitary towel in your bag. You never know when mother nature is going to come-a-calling and you should always be prepared. After a few accidents and more than a few girls asking me if I had one spare in bathrooms, I learnt my lesson.
  2. You’re not going to ‘like’ everyone, but that doesn’t mean you cannot get along. Back in year 8 if I didn’t like someone they were automatically my worst enemy. As I have grown up I have learnt that I don’t have to ‘like’ someone to get on with them. It doesn’t mean they are bad people or that we have to be enemies, it might just mean we’re different and that’s okay – you’re not going to like everyone.
  3. Not everyone is going to like you. Following on from number 2, not everyone is going to like you and guess what? That’s okay too.
  4. Bitching says more about you than it does them. When I was younger everyone bitched about everyone. It was cruel and unnecessary. I learnt overtime that bitching about people said more about me than it did them. If you have a problem with someone the only way to resolve it is to speak to them.
  5. Pee after sex. This came as a shock to me but yes, pee after sex. Nobody wants a water infection.
  6. Relationships should be 50/50. You should never have to bleed yourself dry to maintain a relationship. Relationships should be an equal balance of give and take.
  7. Always have a bottle of water in your bag. Hydration really is key! Plus, bottled water is expensive and bad for the environment.
  8. Water looks a lot like vodka and lemonade – just keep your mouth shut. If you don’t want another drink just order tap water. Trust me, no one will notice and you’ll thank yourself for it the next day.
  9. Endings are a part of life. Endings aren’t always nice but they are a part of life and symbolise growth and change.
  10. There is no shame in vulnerability. I used to think that in order to get anywhere in life I had to be hard faced and emotionless. Remember all the Facebook quotes glorifying this? Turns out, there is no shame in vulnerability. In fact, I have grown up to find it an endearing quality in others. Without vulnerability I found that life was very lonely.
  11. Sex and self respect do not correlate. When I was younger I firmly believed that sex and self respect went hand in hand but overtime I have learnt that that is not the case. People have both self respect and sex – the two do not correlate. If they are happy and safe then it really doesn’t matter how many sexual partners an individual chooses to have.
  12. You’re going to need anti-ageing creams sooner than you thought. Okay so I haven’t got wrinkles and I’m not greying just yet BUT there is no harm in erring on the side of caution. I have recently brought myself an anti-ageing eye cream to help with early signs of ageing. Kind of expected that to be a purchase I made closer to my 40’s but there you go…
  13. Coffee is cheaper if you just make it at home. Yes I know this is obvious but honestly you will save SO much money if you cut down on your coffee shop habit and just make it at home.
  14. The laundry is not going to wash itself. Turns out it was Mum who did it! Who knew?
  15. You are your own priority. I spent a long time trying to be a people pleaser and it got me nowhere. The more I tried it seemed the less I was liked. I learnt that your happiness should be your first priority. The more I put me first, the more I found people like me who loved and supported me for who I am.
  16. Things hardly ever go to plan. Literally EVER. You really have just got to roll with every new opportunity. As a self confessed ‘planner’ this came as a shock to the system but hey, that’s life for you!
  17. Not everyone has the same heart as you. Sometimes people can be cruel and work from a different moral compass to yourself. Take lessons from these people should you come across them and remove them from your life. Do not sacrifice your inner peace for anyone.
  18. Mum knows best. It didn’t take me long to learn this but it did take me a long time to accept it. Mum’s really are always right. My Mum knows me better than I know myself and her advice always come from a place of selfless love.
  19. You don’t owe ‘looking pretty’ to anyone. Don’t want to wear make up? Don’t. Can’t be bothered to wash your hair? No worries. It took me a long time to learn this but you don’t have to ‘look pretty’. You do not owe being ‘visually appealing’ to someone – you are worth so much more than that.
  20. Heartbreak hurts but you get over it. I have had my heart broken. One time I never thought I would EVER get over it but I did. I still think about that person from time to time but it is usually with fondness. Heartbreak is a part of life. It sucks but you’re going to be fine.
  21. Dry shampoo is a gift from the gods. I thank the gods for the day dry shampoo was invented. Honestly the day I learnt I did not have to wash my hair every single day was a wonderful one.
  22. You’re never alone, even if you feel like it. There are times when I have felt very lonely but I have learnt that I am never alone. In a world where anyone is just a phone call away and friendships with your online pals are as real as friendships with those you have known in person you really are never alone. I promise.

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My last celebration living at home. 

I hope I never lose the little 8 year old inside of me who still jumps in puddles and will go out of her way to do the hop scotch on her route home from work. I might be an adult but I always want to be a child at heart. I always want to keep hold of that youthful, carefree fun whether I’m 22 or 82. Happy Birthday to me. 

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“We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public’ – Bryan White.

Jamie x 

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The public have voted.

No, no, not for Alex and Samira (although good work guys). The public have voted for more blog posts! Therefore I will now be attempting to post twice a week. So long as I can continue providing interesting (I hope) and high quality content, I will definitely give it my best shot.

So here it goes, I am proud to present the first ever Tuesday post – #HealthyHeadlines.  Keeping up with what is going on in the world of health can be tough so I thought I would share with you recent research and headlines to keep you on top of the latest in the fitness world as well as some of my thoughts on them. As always, my sources are down below so take a look to keep up to date with future #HealthyHeadlines and stay tuned as I am hoping to make this into a blog series. So, let’s get started…

Eating Salmon and Eggs can cut Colorectal Cancer by 31%

Nothing too surprising here but the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health has found that high vitamin D levels can lower your risk of colorectal cancer by up to 31%. The truth is most of us Brits are lacking in our Vitamin D – surprise surprise. With British summertime lasting a grand total of 3 days, it is easy to see why. However, you can also get Vitamin D from your foods, for example salmon, egg and cheese, meaning these foods can help to cut back on your risk of colorectal cancer.

If you’re a vegan, not to worry! The Vegan Society have a load of advice of how you can make sure you’re getting you Vitamin D so check that out here.

8 hours sleep might not be enough!

Penn State University researchers have claimed that the recommended 8 hours sleep a night might not be enough for us. In fact, they have suggested that we should all strive for an extra 30 minutes a night, making the new optimum sleep target 8.5 hours. I have written a lot about the important of sleep here on my blog, but the reality is 8.5 hours of decent sleep can be tough. I hate to be the one to break it to you though but this study also shows how you apparently cannot ‘catch up’ on sleep. Meaning that mid afternoon nap doesn’t count – darn it!

If you’re anything like me and this new target seems more than a little unachievable, here are some top tips on how to get a better nights sleep.

Love Island and the #bodyposi movement  

As always, ITV2’s Love Island has been causing a lot of controversy. This year it has faced a lot of criticism for its lack of body diversity, with many arguing that the programme is a huge step back for the #bodyposi movement, which encourages men and women to love their bodies regardless of their size.

With the average size in the UK for a women being a 16 size, the question is, does Love Island have a responsiblity to show different body types rather than solely that which has been deemed as an unrealistic portrayal of male and female bodies? I am interested to hear what you think – let me know in the comments below (or you know, if you just want to chat about the latest Island gossip I am up for that as well…) 

Women’s Health are back with their ‘In Shape My Shape’ campaign

It is not all bad for the #bodyposi movement! My favourite Health and Wellness magazine, Women’s Health are back with their ‘In Shape, My Shape’ campaign, showing us how ‘health’ looks different on everyone. This is the third year the title has ran this campaign and it just keeps on getting bigger and better – you go guys!

You can join loads of celebrities, influencers and avid Instagrammers and get involved with the campaign on social media using #InShapeMyShape and sharing what you love about your body.

 

Food combining both Fats and Carbohydrates are more beneficial than consuming the macros in isolation.

Journal, Cell Metabolism (not something I have a monthly subscription to, I’ll be honest) has revealed that foods that combine both fats and carbohydrates might be more rewarding for us than foods that contain these macros in isolation. A study of 206 adults supports the idea that foods containing just fat or just carbs hijack our body’s inborn signals governing food consumption. Basically, this means we are more likely to overeat due to underestimating the calorie content of our meals – it’s all psychological.

Hey, it means we get bigger meals so I am alright with it! 

Pip and Nut have announced a new Chocolate Orange flavour

Pip and Nut have got a new nut butter joining the family! If you love Terry’s Chocolate Orange, this is for you! (If you don’t, I have got some serious questions for you). The new spread is made from orange extract, almonds and cacao (sounds delicious – plus it’s not peanuts so it gets a thumbs up from me!) You can get your hands on some now for £3.49 from their website and on Ocado and apparently we will be seeing it in Sainsbury’s from the end of this month.

I’m not drooling, you are!

So there you have it! Some #HealthyHeadlines that have been popping up this week that I think you need to know about. Let me know what #HealthyHeadline caught your eye and if you have any thoughts on any of the ones discussed here. Stay tuned for more #HealthyHeadlines in the future, but for now, happy Tuesday guys and gals. 

Jamie x 

Sources

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/shortcuts/2018/jun/11/8-and-half-hours-optimum-amount-sleep-time

http://www.womenshealthmag.co.uk/health/symptom-checker/8616/health-headlines-one/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180614213837.htm

https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-tools-tips/healthy-sleep-tips

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/love-island-2018-contestants-body-diversity-criticism-dani-dyer-a8383811.html

Pip & Nut releases limited-edition chocolate orange almond butter

Why eight hours a night isn’t enough, according to a leading sleep scientist

Vegan. Once a word most people knew very little about, now fast on the rise, it seems that *everybody* is going vegan. Since trying my best to follow a plant based lifestyle, I can say with confidence that this is only going to continue to grow, which has great implications for the animals, the environment and for our health. You might be vegan, your wellness #inspo might be vegan, you may have even convinced your Mum to try whipping up a vegan take on her classics but… Is your vagina vegan?

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Time to abandon the always?

There are plenty of vegan sanitary products on the market right now. Towels, tampons. Menstrual cups and reusable pads. The truth is, I haven’t actually tried any of the products. This blog post comes from a curiosity more than anything and I wanted to share what I have found with you guys. Since doing this research I have decided that I will be giving some of these products a go so stay tuned as there will be a review coming up over the next few months.

My interest came when I came across TOTM on Instagram, a company making 100% organic, vegan sanitary products. I was intrigued. I have never really thought about what went into making my sanitary towels or my tampons, I just used them. Turns out I was not alone. In a survey done by TOTM, 9 out of 10 women did not no what tampons are made of. I am sure, like me, many of these women chose their sanitary products based upon names they know and trust. When you’re spending a week out of every month bleeding you want to be confident that you are not going to be having any accidents. It seems, however, that a large majority these brands do not provide a full list of ingredients. Surely they would have to? Nope. Sanitary products are regulated and approved a medical devices under the FDA, which means companies are under no obligation to share what goes into them. I had never thought about this before, but all of a sudden I felt very protective over my vagina. I decided this needed a bit more digging. I wanted to know about cotton.

Turns out cotton is the most heavily sprayed crop on the planet when it comes to pesticides and insecticides and a 2015 an independent study by the University of La Plata found 85% of tampons tested contained Glyphosate. What is that I hear you ask? Well, Glyphosate is the active ingredient within weed killers and according to WHO is classified as ‘probably carcinogenic’. Probably carcinogenic? I am going to need a little bit more information before I go putting a possible carcinogen up the most sensitive and absorbent part of my body thank you very much.  And then there’s rayon, a man-made material that’s been used since the 1930’s. If that wasn’t enough to make your legs clench, rayon is a material that has been used since the 1930’s and is produced from cellulose. This is a compound extracted from wood pulp and what happens during the extraction process? Well, it creates hydrocarbon dioxin as a by-product. These dioxins can be pretty harmful, not the mention the potentially harmful chemical additives and finishing agents.

But Jamie, people have used these things for years. Surely they can’t be that bad. Well, in terms of health, it probably isn’t as the amount of ‘bad stuff’ is pretty negligible. As Dr. Nita Landry said, there is no data proving that organic tampons are any safer than regular tampons and the FDA do check them for consumer safety so it might not be a shady as we first thought. However, it is not just our health that should be considered. For most people who go vegan, the decision is based upon a variety of different reasons including animal cruelty and the environment. The company, GladRags, known for their reusable pads have a lot to say on the environmental impact of disposable sanitary products. The average person who menstruates will use between 12,000 and 16,000 pads in their life time, which produces a lot of waste and has a huge environmental footprint. When not disposed of properly, sanitary towels contribute to the main source of UK coastal clutter, Sewage Related Debris.

 

A huge bonus with vegan sanitary products, for me, is the fact that animals are not harmed in the process of making them. These products do not test on animals or have any animal products in them, which is a huge selling point! Mooncup, for example, are approved by the vegan society and were the winners of the 2007 Best Buy Award for Ethical Consumers.  After having a browse, it is safe to say that these products are not cheap. However, many of these companies sell themselves on the fact they are an investment that will save people money in the long run. You only need one Mooncup and apparently that will pay for itself after 6-8 months, after that you’re then saving money. No need to go splashing the cash on always, instead you could throw it into a piggy bank and save up for something nice… like vegan chocolate to get your through the agony that is a period. Similarly, apparently these GladRags can last up to 20 years!

Where do I sign up? It is safe to say that I am sold and will definitely but giving some of these a try. I have yet to decide which of the products I think would be best for me but the sites have little quizzes and loads of information so you ca see which sanitary product will fit in best with your lifestyle. If you are interested in more vegan sanitary companies, I would recommend checking out CrueltyFreeKitty.com as this site has a fantastic comprehensive guide and loads of posts on different cruelty free products. As always, my sources are down below.

Jamie x

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Sources:

https://gladrags.com/

The Ultimate Guide To Having A Cruelty-Free Period

https://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/a13144732/best-organic-tampons/

Home

Mooncup Menstrual Cup

http://www.thisisinsider.com/are-organic-tampons-safer-better-2017-9

 

I want to talk about Vaginas. I write about health, fitness and beauty. I write about mental health and well being. I even write about periods. But today, my lovely readers, today I want to talk about vaginas. First things first, let’s get it out of your system. VAGINA. V-A-G-I-N-A. Had you’re little awkward giggle like you’re still in year 7? Good, now let’s get down to the nitty gritty. As someone who writes a lot about body positivity, I neglect the poor vagina and so I have decided it’s time for that to change. It’s a part of my body after all and I am sure it is part of a lot of your bodies as well and it’s time it got a bit of love. 

I want to talk about a few Vagina related topics today. 1) The stigma surrounding the vagina. 2) Unrealistic expectations and 3) Looking after your vagina. So sit back and enjoy.

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Butterfly cakes or vagina cakes?! 

The Stigma Surrounding the Vagina. 

Vagina is not a dirty word. Your vagina is just a part of your body and yet society use it in an array of derogatory ways. First up, an alternative name for a vagina is probably one of the most offensive words in the english language – so bad, I have never and will never say it. The use of that word is arguably the worst offensive you can hurl at someone and if you’re not using that the other alternative, pussy, is not a lot better. Yes, yes, I know that dick isn’t exactly great but pussy, really? The connotations are of weakness and it is commonly used to put a man down. Putting a man down by likening him to a women and implying a passivity, something that is common amongst other offensive slurs. From the off, vaginas are a term of offence you do not want to be associated with – not a good start. Let me go on. As if it wasn’t bad enough that your vagina is used as a term of offence and weakness, you better make sure that thing is hair free because heaven forbid a fully grown person has pubic hair. I mean, it’s not like the male genitalia is hairy, right? Oh wait, it is. Would I expect a man to shave for me? Nope. And yet I shave my vagina just to make sure it isn’t offensive to anyone. You have hair on your vagina for a reason. It protects your private parts and if you don’t want to shave that off then bloody don’t. Lastly, what’s the issue with masturbation? It might surprise people to hear but, just like a penis does not require a vagina for pleasure, a vagina doesn’t require a penis. In fact, studies show that it can do a lot better without them. VAGINAS ARE NOT WEAK. VAGINAS HAVE HAIR. PEOPLE WITH VAGINAS MASTURBATE.

Unrealistic expectations 

‘Popping your cherry’. Something I was terrified about for years. I was terrified about ‘losing’ my virginity, as if it was what kept me honourable and to give it away was to give away a part of me. This wasn’t even just the media that told me this, SCIENCE told me this and what a load of rubbish it was. Bloody hell, I was terrified when I lost my virginity I was going to be in crippling agony, bleed all over the place and never feel the same again. I can in fact reveal, none of the above happened – unrealistic expectation number 1. The next unrealistic expectation is that all vaginas are neat and pretty and look the same. Just like penis’s, we are all different and that is absolutely fine. Let’s be honest, it’s not like penis’s are exactly a tidy work of art so who cares if your labia are a little longer than you expected? Your vagina is not there to please other people or be aesthetic. Whatever your vagina looks like, love and respect it just as you would any other part of your body. So how so we do this?

Looking after your Vagina 

Because of all the stigma surrounding the vagina, it can be difficult to know how to look after it properly. Let me tell you, it does not include the new vag makeup that is on the market – why would you want highlighted labia anyway? Here are just a few little tips to help you look after the land down under.

First up, ditch the douch (in every sense of the word, if you know what I mean) . Your vagina is actually able to clean itself. Yes, it might not come with it’s only built in cotton candy scent but I’ve got news for you. Intravaginal hygiene products can actually put you at increased risk of infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, and STDs.

Okay, now the next thing might not sound all that romantic but bear with me – order your sex life. Because what says sexy more than whipping out the evening agenda mid thrust? I know, I know. It’s actually really important for lots of reasons. First up, lubrication. You dry vagina during sex is not going to be pleasurable for one but it can sometimes cause abrasions. That agenda is sounding a lot sexier now, right? Also, if your sex life also involved anal, make sure that you are changing the condom if going from anal to vaginal sex. The condom can hold a lot of bacteria and cause some pretty nasty infections. Not exactly a turn on…

It wouldn’t be a Jamie Lee Jenkins Fitness post without a bit of fitness in there and actually, fitness can be really helpful for your vagina. Well, more specifically your pelvic floor but still… Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles is absolutely crucial for anyone with a vagina. Strong pelvic muscles are crucial for bladder control and, according to Women’s Health, mind-blowing orgasms. Who knew? 

Last from me today and something that you have probably seen a lot of on social media in the form of the smear campaign, make sure you’re going for frequent check ups. It’s really important and if you are over 25 you can get a smear test. Also, if you’re worried about anything or have any questions, don’t be embarrassed. Speak up.

So there you have it. My little exploration of the land down under. Vaginas are nothing to be ashamed of and ending the stigma I hope will lead more people to feel they can seek help if it is needed without any shame or embarrassment. Ending vagina shaming could save lives. Anyway, I’ve off to the gym to do some hip thrusts, for bladder control… obviously. 

Jamie x 

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Don’t worry guys, this is not as the title may suggest the start of a really cringe horror. Nor is it the start of something you would only find on the adult channels after the watershed (I don’t know, do they show this sort of thing?). Anyway, that’s enough of that thought for today. No, this post is not about either of those things but rather my first ever hostel experience. Two disclaimers before I start… I wasn’t actually sleeping with six strangers; there were five of us but you know, alliteration. Also, I have been in a hostel before on a University trip, however, I was with people I knew and there was a massive group of us so it was a very different experience. Anyway, I thought I would share with you how I am finding sleeping with six strangers.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t have very high expectations but, at £27 a night in central London, I couldn’t really say no. The Hostel is called SoHostel (it’s in Soho – clever I know). The hostel itself is actually quite nice. There is a room to get ready with funky mirrors, straighteners and a few other bits and bobs. There’s a bar with a happy hour every night and a karaoke night every Friday. You can get food pretty much all day and even the showers are private and pretty decent (albeit quite small). The location couldn’t be better. I am literally across the road from a Tesco Express, round the corner from my Internship and in the middle of Soho about a five minute walk to Oxford Street. If you’re looking for a hostel in London, I can’t really fault SoHostel. But, let’s be honest, you’ve not come to read about how clean it is. You want to here about what it’s like sleeping with six (five) strangers.

Here’s some pictures taken from Sohostel’s website. You can check their gallery out here. (I am not sponsored by Sohostel, you know, just incase you thought I’d become a travel blogger or something. Just helping you picture the scene…) 

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So when I first got there I was in a bit of a mess. Anxiety had really kicked in about the whole experience and the only person in my room at the time was a boy with very little English. He tried, which was really kind of him, but I felt very uncomfortable and didn’t really know where to put myself. Are we supposed to speak? Can I speak on the phone? Are they going to snore? I literally just sat on my bed and scrolled through Instagram wanting it to all be over. Later on that evening three girls came in from all over the world. We chatted for a little bit and then we all kind of got on with our own thing. A difficult thing to do when you’re in a tiny room with five other people who you have never met, all speaking different languages. I didn’t expect to get much sleep that first night but, to my surprise, I didn’t sleep too bad (despite the snoring and people coming in and out all night). I was dreading being the person with the early alarm that was going to wake everyone up so I woke up frequently to check the time and my alarm hasn’t needed to wake me up yet, which is good (although copious amounts of coffee is needed to get me through an eight hour day). Everyone there is bag packing so they’re heading out and drinking and loving life. I’m working and so, as you can imagine, our sleeping schedule is a little different, but I just put the torch on my phone and do my make up in minimal light. It’s not too bad, unfortunately I’m not sure the same can be said for my contour but never mind…

By the second night I had kind of got used to it a bit more. We chat a little bit but most of them don’t get back till late (or early, however, you want to look at it) and I get some time to play on my laptop and ring home. It’s lonely, particularly when everyone else is there with friends exploring a new country, but learning to be on my own is something I need to get better at so I’m seeing it as a good challenge for my mental health. As it the total lack of control. Since been here there has been 4 people leave and 4 new people arrive from literally anywhere and everywhere. Both male, female, students, adults. Literally anyone. It’s certainly an experience and I have learnt so much in my short space of time here about people, cultures and how much I appreciate my personal space…

I was meant to be staying in the hostel for a full 11 nights, however, I’ve decided to head home at the weekend and come back ready for work on Monday. This isn’t because the hostel is bad. Not at all. If you would have asked me on Monday it would have certainly been because it was awful, the worst thing ever! But now, it’s okay. It isn’t ideal but it is what it is and it gave me the opportunity to work for my ideal magazine so I can’t complain. However, as much as a mental challenge is good, I also don’t want to push it too far. I have felt my anxiety creeping back and unnecessarily sitting alone will be counterproductive. I don’t want to have taken a step forward over the past year, only to take ten steps back for the sake of two weeks. I’ll be back again Monday night, but then I’ll be more prepared for what hostel life has in store for me.

If you’re looking for somewhere affordable to stay, go for a hostel. Honestly, for the money, this has been ideal. However, most people will be travelling and be there with their with friends so keep that in mind if you’re going to be on your own. For people travelling alone it’s great as they’ve met new people to explore new cities with. For me, it is a little isolating and a huge challenge for me mentally. However, it’s alright. It’s clean, it’s affordable and, most importantly it has super quick internet speed… Priorities ey’? 

Jamie x 

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