Alcohol and Anxiety

At uni, alcohol is probably one of the most and least talked about topics at the same time. Especially here in the North East, drinking culture is an essential part of student life, but the extremely damaging effects this culture can have on many people is only discussed on very rare occasions. This can be particularly challenging for students suffering from anxiety disorders such as GAD or social anxiety (as well as other mental illnesses, which I’m not going to discuss in this post).

The relationship between alcohol and anxiety is a double-edged one – on the one hand, alcohol can function as a sedative and make you feel more at ease, but at the same time, it can also become a trigger and increase anxiety. As someone who has always had issues with parties and social situations where I have to engage with people I don’t know or don’t feel 100% comfortable around, I often found drinking very helpful as it usually gave me the confidence I needed to engage in conversations and enjoy myself rather than spending the whole night worrying about saying or doing something wrong.

This worked really well for a while, but I soon noticed that I started to feel anxious when drinking, particularly when I’d had one beer too much and began to feel a little nauseous and dizzy. Since nausea and dizziness are also symptoms of anxiety, experiencing these feelings reminded me of having panic attacks  – and consequently triggered them. This seemed to get worse the more often it happened. While I tried to drink less, I was also more aware of the effects the alcohol had on me and often started panicking as soon as I experienced them because I felt like I was losing control and was scared of being sick. My alcohol related panic attacks seemed to be even worse than regular ones, and when they happened I would usually spend hours on the bathroom floor vomiting, shaking, and thinking I was going to die.

But even though this was absolutely horrific and it took me about 2-3 days to recover from nights like these, I still continued to drink. Since I drank fairly little and usually stuck to beer and wine, I thought I was being responsible, but I realise now that my behaviour was already quite problematic. I was so used to having alcohol to help me socialise at parties, that I frankly couldn’t do without it anymore.

Eventually, the panic attacks got so bad that they would start even after just one beer, meaning that I had no choice but to quit drinking completely. Luckily, I’d graduated from high school at this point, didn’t have to go to parties I didn’t wanna go to anymore and felt a lot more comfortable in myself as well as with the people around me. Thanks to all of these positive changes, giving up on alcohol wasn’t that difficult for me personally, but I also started to become more aware of how much it actually impacts our everyday lives.

At school, you are very likely to feel excluded if you don’t drink because this is the time when the majority of people first start experimenting with alcohol. At an age were everyone is trying to make sense of their identity, alcohol seems to become a big part of it. In some ways, people almost seem to define themselves through drinking.

Frequently, drinking also appears to be more like a competition than a way of having fun: Who can down the most shots in 5min? Who had more pints last night? Who can have 10 jägerbombs without throwing up? How much alcohol you had at the weekend becomes the number one story to tell, which normalises unhealthy behaviours like binge-drinking and results in many young people not acknowledging the seriousness of it.

You would think this would change at university, but sadly, most events at uni still very much revolve around drinking or at least encourage it, which makes it hard for people who have a difficult relationship with alcohol to participate, let alone feel comfortable (be it because of anxiety issues or for other reasons). Especially in Fresher’s Week, it can be really difficult to meet people and make friends if you don’t drink because the most popular socials are club nights (which can be challenging for people suffering from anxiety anyways) or involve alcohol in some way or another. Even during term, a majority of socials, particularly those of sports teams, consist of going to a pub or club and getting drunk together. So even though it’s very rare that people actively pressure you to drink, you can easily feel left out if you don’t. 

On these grounds, I believe we need to have more conversations about alcohol and how we can use it without abusing it. It’s a fact that many students have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and either don’t realise it or ignore the issue, which is why we need more education on how to recognise alcohol dependency and what can be done to tackle these problems. We also need to start thinking about ways we can create safe social spaces for people who don’t want to drink or don’t feel comfortable being around drunk people, ensuring that not drinking stops being a social limitation.


Christmassy Gingerbread

I’m not gonna lie, having an excuse to stuff my face with gingerbread every day is probably my favourite thing about Christmas time. I’ve recently moved out, and since I’m a poor student with no baking utensils (not even a whisk, can you believe this?), I needed to improvise – and this is what I came up with!

This recipe is not vegan, but you could easily replace the eggs with oil and the butter with margerine you’re good to go! Or just check out the vegan gingerbread I made 2 years ago here 🙂


  • 200g butter
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 225g golden syrup
  • 500g self-raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 300ml oat milk (regular milk works just as well but the taste of oat milk just goes really well with it!)
  • 4tsp ground ginger
  • 4tsp allspice
  • 4tsp cloves
  • 4tsp cinnamon (you can of course add more or less than 4tsp, depending on how much you want the spices to come through x)
  • bonus: add walnuts or salted caramel extract to make your flavour even more exciting!


There’s no method really – just put everything into a bowl and mix it till it’s an even batter and you can pour it into a baking tin (remember to grease it properly or line it with baking parchment though, otherwise doing the washing up will not be fun)! Bake for about an hour at 200C, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. And then simply make yourself a cuppa and enjoy! x

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Why We Should Talk About Asexuality

It’s October! That means: falling leaves, Halloween, pumpkin spiced lattes, cosy jumpers and – Asexuality Awareness Week! This week was founded 7 years ago with the aim to promote education about asexual and aromantic identities, and while there has been amazing progress already, people on the ace spectrum are still faced with quite a lot of challenges and difficulties, many of which are caused by a lack of education. I already made a post on misconceptions about asexuality last year, so this time, I’m going to focus on what particular issues people who identify as ace spec might be faced with and what we can do to resolve them. Let’s get started!

1. Defining your identity

One thing that’s very striking is how late many asexuals realise that they are on the ace spectrum. It doesn’t come as a surprise though, if you think about it: because of the millions of misconceptions and false assumptions that circulate about asexuality, many people have a wrong idea of what it actually means to be asexual. Personally, I’d always assumed that asexual was pretty much synonymous to antisocial and being incapable of loving other human beings, and therefore never considered to use the label for myself. Even though labels are of course not compulsory, I believe that it’s incredibly important to spread more awareness about what terms like asexual, aromantic, demisexual, grey asexual etc. actually mean. Sex plays a big role in most relationships that are portrayed in the media and is commonly believed to be an essential part of any romantic relationship, so you can easily feel like there’s something wrong with you if you don’t feel this type of attraction.

2. Medical recognition

It’s not only the general public that often doesn’t recognise asexuality as a valid identity. As of today, there’s only been very little medical research on asexuality, and it is often falsely assumed to be linked to physical or mental illness even by doctors. Physical and mental illnesses can of course co-exist with asexuality, but they’re two different things. For instance, someone might suffer from an anxiety disorder as well as being asexual. In this case, the reason they decide not to sleep with other people would not be that their anxiety is holding them back, but simply a lack of attraction. (Note: this is not to say that asexuals can’t have sex – many ace spec people feel neutral or even positive about it, they just don’t feel sexual attraction in the way that allosexuals do)

3. Space within the LGBT+ community

As much as I love the LGBT+ community, there’s no denying that it’s quite hyper sexualised. Not all asexuals necessarily identify as part of the LGBT+ community, but for those who do, it can be difficult to get involved. While I definitely encourage being open about sex at LGBT+ events and am all for sharing experiences and questions, I also feel like we need to put more stress on the fact that sex isn’t all that being LGBT+ is about. In order to include everyone, we really need to work on creating safe spaces for asexuals within the queer community as an alternative to events where sex is more of a focus.

4. Relationships

For most people, romantic relationships and sex go hand in hand. Two people are romantically and sexually attracted to each other, they start dating, sleep together and, if everything goes to plan, eventually settle down to marry and have kids. These sorts of expectations can put quite a lot of pressure on people with an ace spec identity because they might not want a “traditional” relationship in that sense. Real life is not a Romcom (even though I often wish it was, to be fair) and relationships can be very diverse – which is a good thing! For instance, people might have romantic relationship without sex, be friends with benefits, have polyamorous relationships or they might prefer to only have platonic relationships. What we need to be aware of is that it’s the connection between people, not the presence or absence of romantic or sexual attraction that makes relationships fulfilling.

5. Erasure and lack of representation

I’ve already touched upon this, but I feel like it’s too important not to get its own paragraph. The main issue, which I’m convinced is the cause for most problems asexuals face, is ace erasure. Have you ever seen a movie with an openly asexual or aromantic character? Was asexuality ever mentioned at your school? Do people around you know what exactly we mean when we speak about asexuality? In most cases, the answer to these questions will be no.

I’ve often heard people say that asexuals are a bit like unicorns.  They’re lovable, strong, clever, unique, kind and most people don’t believe they exist. There is one main difference though: they’re real. And yet, unicorns probably get 274897987x as much media representation. Obviously, we as individuals might not be able to simply produce a new Netflix series with tons of ace characters or write a book with a demiromantic protagonist (even though that would be very cool, if anyone who’s reading this is a writer), but what we can do, is to keep the conversation going. It might not seem like much, but educating yourself on asexuality, whether you identify as ace spec or not, and sharing your knowledge with other people does make a big difference. And even if just one single person feels more comfortable with their sexuality because of it, that’s a huge achievement.

Source: onepercentworld

If you have any questions at all or want to share your own experiences, feel free to leave a comment below so we can have a little discussion! x

30 Signs You Have The Soul Of An Old Lady

  1. You love baking, and watching the Bake Off on telly is the highlight of your week
  2. You carry sweets in your handbag at all times
  3. Or even better, you carry cough drops or Werther’s originals in your handbag at all times
  4. You’re very forgetful
  5. You have more than 3 pairs of hand-knitted socks
  6. You were the one who knitted them
  7. You get emotional watching Location, Location, Location
  8. You love a bit of village gossip
  9. You enjoy playing bingo
  10. You take getting your minimum of 8 hours of sleep very seriously
  11. You’d choose a cup of PG tips over vodka any day
  12. You own several shirts with floral patterns on them
  13. You always force-feed your friends and family when they visit
  14. Mary Berry is your ultimate role model
  15. You own a heated blanket
  16. Your cat is your best friend
  17. You call people “hun”, “dear” or “love”
  18. You get excited by crossword puzzles
  19. People always ask you for advice
  20. You can’t stand for too long without your back starting to hurt
  21. You don’t remember the last time you went to a club
  22. You haven’t heard any of the songs that are currently in the top 10 of the charts
  23. But you know pretty much every single 80s song ever written
  24. You love gardening
  25. You always wear the same perfume
  26. You always know what the royal family is up to
  27. You still send letters and thank you cards
  28. Tea time is your favourite time of the day
  29. You always order the same thing at restaurants
  30. Everyone loves you for your kindness, loving nature and baking skills
Source: bellanaija

This is for you, book lovers!

I’ve loved to read ever since I was little, and even though I sadly don’t have as much time for it as I used to, it’s still one of my favourite things to do when I want to wind down and emerge myself in a different world. In this post, I want to mention a few tips on what you can do to make your reading experience even more enjoyable!

Write down your favourite quotes

There were so many times when I was too lazy to write down passages I liked while reading and regretted it afterwards when I couldn’t find them anymore, so I’d really recommend getting a notebook to put all your favourite book quotes in or to write them in your journal. You won’t only be able to find them again at a later time, but the passages you pick also say a lot about who you are and how you are feeling at that particular time in your life, so it’ll be really interesting to read them back in a few years time and see if they still speak to you in the same way. Alternatively, you could get a jar for collecting little notes with quotes on them or put up post-its on your wall or on a notice board.

The Odyssey Online

Mark your favourite pages

If writing down your favourite passages takes too long, you might as well just mark them with those sticky bookmark thingies you can get at any shop that sells stationary. (Does anyone know what they’re called? Do they even have a name?) If you don’t plan on reselling your books, it’s of course also always a good idea to take notes, underline things and write down what certain passages make you think of. You could also try to do this with sticky notes if you don’t want to write in the book itself.


Make a list of books you read every year

It’s easy to lose track of what books you’ve read and when you read them, so making a list of all the ones you’ve finished in chronological order is a great help. I also like to write the date of the day I started and finished a book inside the cover because I always find it really interesting to know how old I was when I read a certain piece of literature. Keeping track of your books might also help you be motivated to read more frequently, especially if you set yourself a goal.


Use goodreads

You can also set yourself a reading challenge on goodreads, which tells you exactly how many books you’ve finished and how close you are to achieving your reading goal. This is only one of the many useful feature goodreads has, though: You can add your books to shelves to organise them a little better, leave reviews for other readers and future reference as well as reading other people’s reviews, follow users with similar taste in books for reading inspiration and save books you want to read in the future so you won’t forget about them.


Start a book club

Do you ever finish a really good book and are just dying to talk about it to someone, but don’t know whom to? This is what a book club would be perfect for! Literature is written not only to be read, but also to be discussed and shared with each other, so why not ask some friends who like similar books as you to start a book club? You could agree on a book to read every week or month and have regular meet ups to chat about what you’ve read. I absolutely hated Kafka the first time I read it but became a fan after discussing different interpretations of his books with others, which proves that sharing ideas with others can really change your perception of a piece of literature. If your friends don’t like to read or prefer different books, you can of course also start a club with people on the internet, it works just as well!

Smith Publicity

If you have any more tips, do leave a comment below! x


Yummy & Healthy Vegan Burrito Bowl

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You will need:

  • 150g basmati rice
  • a can of black beans
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green paprika pepper (if you can’t find one, just get another bell pepper)
  • 1 onion
  • 2-6 garlic cloves (depends on how much you love garlic)
  • 2 big tomatoes
  • about 1/3 of a cucumber
  • 1 avocado
  • any other veggies you like and feel like would fit, kale and chard can work really well for example!
  • cumin or tortilla spice blend, salt (or even better, a salt and herb mix) and pepper to season
  • a splash of olive oil
  • optional: coriander leaves to serve



  1. Cook the rice as stated on the pack instructions. After draining it, put it back into pot to season with cumin or a tortilla spice blend and salt and pepper and keep it warm. (I also added a pineapple curry spread I still had in the fridge to the rice, so if you have something similar, do put it in!)
  2. Cut the garlic into tiny pieces or use a garlic crusher to press it and fry it in a frying pan with olive oil for about 2min. Meanwhile, chop the onion and add it to the pan. Chop your peppers and add them and the beans to the mix as well. Season with cumin,  the tortilla spice blend and salt and pepper. ( A bit of paprika gives it a nice kick as well if you happen to have that.)
  3. Leave your beans and pepper mix to warm for a bit while slicing the avocado tomatoes and cucumbers and assembling them on your plates and seasoning them with salt and pepper.
  4. Remove the rice and the beans and pepper mix from the heat and add them to your plates – time to eat!


Bonus: Guacamole

You can also make some guacamole to go with this dish or to serve as a starter or snack with some plain tortilla chips. It’s very quick to make and super delicious!

You will need:

  • 3 avocados (or 2 big ones)
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • juice of one lemon or lime
  • 5 garlic cloves (or maybe less if you have to go out later and don’t want people to run away)
  • optional: coriander leaves, peppers, chilis, cucumber
  • salt and pepper


Put on the Guacamole song for more fun, then start by cutting the avocados in half and removing the seed. Now you can simply take a spoon to scoop out the flesh and put it into a bowl. Chop your veggies and add them as well, then drizzle over the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Finally, mash everything together with a spoon until there are no big avocado chunks are left.

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25 Things To Do With Your Friends (In Summer!)

  1. Create your own lemonade recipe
  2. Read your favourite poems aloud and talk about what they mean to you
  3. Make a playlist of songs that remind you of each other and listen to it on repeat
  4. Make daisy chains and wear them around town
  5. Go for a picknick
  6. Have a cherry stone spitting contests
  7. Crush the patriarchy
  8. Go for a drive and sing along to the Backstreet Boys in the car
  9. Write cute little notes for strangers and put them up around town
  10. Start a contest about who can make the most puns in one day
  11. Pick some wildflowers and give them to someone you love
  12. Go to a free concert in your city
  13. Climb a tree like you did when you were kids
  14. Make a day trip to a place you’ve never been before
  15. Exchange your journals for an afternoon and let the other person write in it
  16. Start a debate club
  17. Write down all of your inside jokes and favourite memories together
  18. Go to a flea market or even sell some of your own stuff
  19. Search for Question Tags on Tumblr and use them as conversation starters to learn even more about each other
  20. Go to a garden centre, get cacti and give them names
  21. Make your own jam
  22. Play boardgames in your garden or a park
  23. Learn a Shakespeare sonnet by heart
  24. Have different flavoured ice cream every day
  25. And don’t forget to tell your friends how much you love and appreciate them 🙂