Becoming YOU: Goals and happiness in yourself

The past few weeks, I have been pushing myself beyond limits and heading towards goals I never thought would come true. After quite possibly the worst month in human history, I had to get myself in gear and go forward. This has been a mix of little things and huge steps for me, but really I am proud of all i’ve done and it’s fallen under achieving goals and finding happiness in myself in one way or another.

 

Over the past few years i’ve had a lot of goals and i’ve had to realise some, at the moment, are unachievable, but instead of being disappointed, I need to understand that they are not in my control.

 

This was really the first step to being more happy in myself rather than feeling a constant dark cloud hang over me and my already dark-feeling self. That doesn’t mean, however, that other goals cannot be reached! What’s holding you back? I’d ask my self. The clear answer was anxiety, but with a clear head and the gut to verbalise this dream to a close friend in contemplation, I decided that was the day to just screw those thoughts.

So, I hear you ask (or not, you’re probably not interested… sorry), what have I done, and what am I doing to make myself happier; to feel more like myself; to reach these goals?

  • Applying for new things at work
  • Eating changes
  • Risk taking with my appearance

Work, work (Angelica!)

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently got offered te role as ‘Supervisor’ at work, which is totally crazy to me. I’ve worked with Lush for less than a year and didn’t expect such an amazing opportunity so quickly! Though, of course, Lush are a wonderful employer in everything they do. Anyway, I hadn’t really considered the prospect. In my mind I did have a little thought that maybe one day, if it came up, I might want to be a supervisor, but last time it came up I didn’t apply as I didn’t feel ready. It now felt right. Also, I did regret not applying last time but kept it hidden as in the words of Albus Dumbeldore, “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” This was another reason applying was so important to me this time; living with anxiety (and other physical and mental health problems) means that I often refrain from living; I hold myself back and I fear failure. Due to my health, I also cannot tell what I am genuinely able to do. I fear the pain I face doing basic activities and the concept of pushing myself too far. What’s happened with my education is a clear example of something being out of my control- you’d think i’d be able to cope at school, right? That was not the case and it soon appeared to be out of my hands, hence not going to uni next year anymore. Without just focusing on the negatives, though, I took a huge leap: I was so desperate to apply for the role as Supervisor when it came up and finally fully felt ready for it. I wanted it more than anything. The way I decided to overcome my fear of being totally unsuccessful was by telling my dad’s best friend about it; it was sort of an accountability thing, and he made sure I applied. When I found out i’d gotten an interview, anxiety hit me, but I tried my hardest to transfer that into positive energy, and that came across quite well. The anxiety was worth how I felt when I found out i’d got the job. Any stress I will face, and the hard work I am going to put in in the future will be worth the outcome, worth the fact that I am now a supervisor and I am giving back to my Lush team.

I am 18 years old and I am on the management team of somewhere I have worked for 11 months. That’s something to be proud of, right?

Well, regardless of what others think of it, I am more than proud of myself.

Food, glorious, food!

I’ve made a few changes to my diet recently that has made me feel great; I am slowly working on becoming a vegan.

I have actually been advised against veganism by more than one medical professional (for health reasons) but I am so for the morals of veganism- environmentally and regarding the treatment of animals.

To overcome this issue, I have been eating vegan a lot more. This slow transition and gradual contribution means I, for now, can only think one thing: Every little thing helps. Every vegan meal has some impact on the world. For me, my health is not great and veganism is not financially viable as a constant at the moment, but any chance I get to eat vegan, I will take.

This has also been positive as it’s motivated me to eat meals. In my current mental state, i’m really not sure that this is a good thing, but i’m thinking more rationally here. I have been eating and I have felt somewhat positive towards vegan food, which I am going to claim to be positive towards food full stop. I won’t (for now) talk about this a lot, but I do suffer from issues (diagnosed) with eating. Looking at me and my rather large figure, and following me on instagram where I frequently post food pictures, you may not think this. Truthfully, if I post food on instagram, that’ll be all i’ve eaten. Hell, that’s a lie, half of the time I merely post it for show. I might not have eaten it in the end, or it’ll be someone elses. I do try and use it in a positive way and almost use it as an accountability thing (I’ve told the gram I’ve eaten it, so I must). It’s a cover. Anyway, this paragraph has made me feel uncomfortable enough, but you get my point, vegan eating has made me feel a little more positive towards food which is honestly great. Despite how I mentally may feel, vegan eating is good for me on paper.

What’s wrong with being confident?

I took a risk just over a week ago. For years, I’ve wanted a nose piercing and have slid back to fake hoops many, many times, but in an impulsive state and attempt to seek happiness, I went for it, and I am pretty much in love with it.

Money slipped out of my hand and now I've got a pretty looking hole in my nose X

A post shared by Laur | 18 | UK (@laurbethanyc) on

I am very, very happy with it and it’s made me feel actually very confident.

Also, shout out to my good friend Amber for the encouragement.

The day after I got this done, I also wore a crop top for the first time!!! Due to issues raised in the last paragraph you can imagine why this would be huge for me. I am super proud of myself and felt great. I even posted it on instagram to try and promote body positivity in myself! The LP cafe, a local cafe, has a vintage rail and I picked up a cute ‘GRL PWR’ top for £5! I wanted to channel the queer feminist vibes I possess. I also picked up the most beautiful oversized denim jacket and dressy skirt that I very much am in love with.

This style change is so important to me because it made me happy. I’ve really channelled my inner aesthetic the past few days, which is amazing news considering i’ve not felt comfortable in myself and my style in the longest of times.


So, these three things have been big for me. The past week has delivered me a glimmer of hope, and with things currently consistently going downhill, I’m just glad I have these to hold onto.

Love always, Lauren xxx

Blogging with style (through the darkest hours)

So, recently I’ve been feeling a little demotivated. Not with ideas , nor writing- more so posting. I’ve found that despite being able to freely write, I can’t spend a substantial amount of time behind a screen and logging on to post has made me feel a bit rubbish. 


This applies to everything- all social media, and I’ve more, texting (so if you’ve recently messaged me… apologies).

For some reason, despite it not being a screen, I’ve also struggled to journal (hence having to create a ‘creative hiatus’ page… I haven’t used it since 18th June. Over a month ago) 

It’s kinda an issue when I have a validation problem, too- I need validation and company to feel that, but can’t stick around for it. I also need to speak to my friends, and texting can be the only way when my best friends are on holiday currently and the others live miles and miles and miles away! I will happily meet anyone and have the best time, even if I am a little quiet on silently distant and playing on dark humour to get through, but despite my neediness, I can’t cope with messaging right now. 

It’s strange and horrible. I don’t like it. I like not being on my phone and that I can be entertained for hours by a sudoku instead, but I don’t like my lack of engagement with the people most important to me. It hurts me but I’m finding using such platforms distressing. 

Anyway, back to blogging. You may have noticed I peaked with weekly posts for about and now it’s gone dead over here, hence me writing this. That’s because I have several unfinished posts and lots of uncertain posts too (poetry I’m anxious to post, etc), and due to this, I decided to do something to get me out of this funk… BUY A SPARKLY NOTEBOOK.


How beautiful is that?! And only £2 from tiger*, too!

*Is it flying tiger now? I don’t know. Either way, it’s that funky shop we all love. 

Anyway, you’ll have some quality content again soon (if my previous content can be classed as ‘quality’), right after I start writing in this beautiful book. For some reason, I’m able to type up things from handwritten? It’s not easy, but it’s easier! And that’s about it. 

So, keep an eye out. I’ve got a few posts planned…

Is there anything you want to see? Drop me a message on any of my social media platforms, or in the comments with ideas or requests:

Twitter (here)

Instagram (here)

CuriousCat (here)

Oh, and sorry if things are a little slow or irregular for the next few weeks. Whilst it’s bad news for you, it’s due to good news for me; I’ve been promoted to supervisor at work! So I have more shifts and training to do, so it will take me a while to get used to. For sure it’ll be worth it, I just know it’ll be a step up from now so of course, that will be my priority. 

Hope you’re all doing well

Love always, Lauren xxx

The 13th Doctor

I was actually planning on writing up a post detailing my opinions on the bookies’ new Doctor’s bets, but what with work and moving house, i’ve been a little too tired and time consumed to sit down and even think before now. What I can say is, before the bets were even announced, I said I wanted it to be one Jodie Whittaker. Once Jodie was released as a bet, I prayed. I am a very happy Whovian right now.

Jodie Whittaker

Jodie is one of the most phenomenal actresses out there; you may have seen her in Broadchurch, Attack on the Block, Black Mirror, St Trinians or even One Day. The nation fell in love with her under the hands of Chris Chibnall, who just happens to be writing Doctor Who next series, too. It is pretty reassuring that Chibnall knows Jodie’s acting style well so will write for her Doctor, rather than trying to push her in a role that won’t bring out her best, but will contrastingly know how to push her in the right ways. Jodie has made an incredible impression on young people in recent years. My friends and I adore her, having appreciated her acting for a few years on a lowkey basis. Here’s to many more years of admiration.

The importance of the thirteenth doctor being a woman

Look, I’m a young girl. I grew up in an age where the only figures girls were expected to look up to were princesses. We all know I love Disney, and the princesses are great but hell could the princes be misogynistic! The females we admired were portrayed as weak without him or this or that. Almost as they were broken (implying all females were) and said storyline was to fix them. I mean, we had Belle- the lonely girl who reads- who I really identified with, but what about superheroes? I love comic books and always have, but my heroes were always men in the marvel universe (because that’s all we had, for years). My female superheroes came from other places. Jac Naylor in Holly City, and much later on Nurses like Cara Martinez, and my teachers were, and still are my heroes. But I was already perceived as odd being a girl who likes comics and Sci if, a girl who goes to comic con, having no sci fi heroes kind of hurt. Girls of the future aren’t going to face that.  Yes, female representation is still significantly low, but having a female doctor is going to make more people who love the show embrace who they are, defy stereotypes and love who they are and what they love more. I can’t wait to see more girls dress up as the Doctor at Halloween or Comic Con, or school dress up day. I felt at such a loss on my school superhero day I dressed up as Doctor Zosia March for half the day and Clara Oswald the other half to present people with strong, female characters rather than turn up as batman or spiderman. Man. Women are great and need to be inspired and supported by strong characters in science fiction. I hope this step forward brings more women into sci fi and this is a move towards a better future.

It’s been a long time coming

It’s been a long time coming. It’s been a viable idea for a significant amount of time. It’s been an idea i’ve strongly been able to get behind for a long time.

A nonsensical argument of a Time Lord’s gender and sex

Look, space has no binary. Hell, planet earth isn’t stuck to binary despite what people may think in their tiny little minds. But do we know a Time Lords binary? Hell no. As evident from Missy (who very much proved the idea that the regeneration of our favourite alien species could change sex or gender*, and most importantly in this case, be a woman), we know nothing about a Time Lord’s gender never mind bodily functions (I’m talking to all of you who for some odd reason believe gender is merely identified by sex). Why am I even talking about it like this? Time Lords are bloody fictional (as much as I hate to think about it). Anyway, actually being fictional means they can do whatever the hell they want. Regardless of your view on the binary, gender, and sex, Time Lords aren’t like us humans so your arguments on the above hold no relevance. If the writers want to regenerate them from a male into a woman, they bloody well can do just that.

*I say sex or gender as, as we know so little, I cannot and do not wish to specify which on presumption.

My point of the above is, people are genuinely upset at the doctor being a woman? That shows a problem with society and with them, not a problem with the show or popular television. It’s quite nice to expose the misogynists for who they are and not have to associate with fans who must have left the TARDIS in the wrong century.

I am personally very, very excited to see Jodie in action and hope that, even if you’re not her biggest fan or aren’t keen on the casting for other reasons, you give her a chance please.
Love always, Lauren xxx

200 years on: What Austen means to me

It’s July 18th 2017. A long anticipated date for me. Today is the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, one which she came to in Winchester. I’ve visited her grave, of course I have. I’ve even been to her mum and sister’s. But visiting her grave over a year ago now is something I found extremely emotional. I stood beside the stone in which her name is carved on the floor in Winchester Cathedral (the trip was planned, so I could visit her burial site) ad felt such a strong pang. Being there, I felt a strong emotional connection with my favourite author, one who’s been an incredible inspiration to me for years.

Me, at Austen’s grave

In this post, I’m going to talk about my own personal Austen experiences; how she became so important to me and what I’ve done to celebrate her life and works. There’ll be a follow up series of posts related to Austen over the summer, but this is the first, on this important day, as that’s what you guys asked me to write on twitter, and I am more than happy to. 

My first experience involving Austen was when I was in year 9. I was 14 years old and having been put off Jane Austen by others for years despite being curious about the much talked about ‘Pride and Prejudice’, I decided to ignore others’ claims of boredom and read the novel. This came about as I volunteered to do my school’s ’12 hour read’ event (6am to 6pm- a whole day of non stop reading novels, poetry and acting out plays) due to loving literature, and Pride and Prejudice was on the list. I decided to, as I was familiar with most of the other texts, read this Austen person’s novel. Instantly, I fell in love. I was engaged. I loved the period. I loved her writing style more than explainable. I truly fell in love on the first read, so was more excited to be taking part in this event. I seem to remember on the day I read the parts of Mrs Bennett and was more than happy to be acting out the part of such an extravagant character as people read and listened to the novel. After the event, I took it upon myself to read the novel again over the summer. It was then that I was first familiar with, and fell in love with Jane Austen and her beautiful writing.

Although I adored her, I didn’t necessarily talk about her frequently after that due to the summer holidays approaching and the next memory I really have is an encounter that happened between my friend, a teacher and I when I was still 14, but in year 10. Adelaide and I waited outside our English classroom a lot earlier than the lesson was due to start (both a little keen with nothing better to do with out break) and we were told we could go into the classroom. I said to Ad about how I was jealous of a certain class because they were doing the syllabus’ best play (A View From The Bridge), and best novels (To Kill A Mockingbird and Pride and Predjudice) and the teacher that called us in was still there and overheard our conversation. The teacher happened to be the new head of English and Drama, Ms Sutherland, and I think this was my first ever encounter with her (before she became my favourite teacher and couldn’t get rid of me). Ms S turned to me and said something along the lines of ‘Just because you’re not studying them doesn’t mean you can’t read them!’ And I told her how I’d already read and loved both, and that Pride and Prejudice was actually my favourite book and Austen subsequently my favourite author. I remember little more of the encounter than being told I’d made a good first impression, and advised to delve further into the works of Austen. That’s when I got Emma out of the library. It wasn’t long before I’d read every Austen book, the letters she’d written and mini astories and in-competed works followed by a wide arrange of ‘follow ups’ (which makes me laugh because even PD James’ Death Comes To Pemberely is essentially a form of fan fiction). 

I fell in ove with Austen then, and don’t think I could ever fall out of love with her. Any mention of her name, books or even the tiniest reference or quote will attract my attention from the other side of the world. 

I’ve actually been lucky enough to have a family that allow me to love her; they don’t get annoyed about this, like they might with my love of eg. Lush and Doctor Who. My parents and grandparents have done a lot to fulfill my obsession, especially by going to Austen locations.

I have so far, following the trail of Austen, been to;

  • Bath (her houses, the museum and locations from the novels)
  • Lyme (locations from her novels and to an Austen themed house)
  • Basingstoke
  • Alton (her house and the museum, her church and mother and sister’s graves)
  • Winchester (acclaimed Austen locations and her grave)

Every one of these experiences have meant a lot to me; be it pretending to fall off the Cobb in Lyme Regis like Louisa does in Persuasion, or visiting her school or bedroom, I’ve always felt extremely emotional, but at home. It feels like she’s there, and like I’ve always got her. I’ve got this human on my side who died 181 years before I was even born, but she’s there.

Austen has helped me through a lot. Be it with my constant re-reading of her novels, or my favourite quote,

None of us want to be in calm waters all ours lives

Or my love for literature and aspiration to be an author and/or English teacher, or the fact she didn’t hide the fact she was a lady (women are great!) writing in the regency era, she has a massive impact on my life. 

Even with things that are little such as fashion! I’ll look for shirts with regency collars and cuffs whenever I’m shopping because I love it. I really wish I could experience the life of the period, and Austen life for just one day. But as my blog title says; History’s a burden… Stories can make us fly!

And stories really can make us fly. Austen’s words make me soar high and escape to a land where all things are good, even if in reality they’re not. 

I wish I had the talents to write as incredible as the woman I’ve admired for years and hope to many years into the future (though I have pinched a few techniques from her and it’s drastically improved my writing).

I could talk about my love for her and each individual experience at her houses etc for longer but I’d be here typing until the 300th anniversary! I just have so much admiration for her and not the words to truly release the love from my heart. 

So, Happy 200 years, Austen. Although you have been gone for that long, your work lives on. You literary legend and inspiration, thank you.

Lauren Curr 

Aromatherapy: Scents for sad times (a mini haul)

If you know me personally, you might know that the past few weeks haven’t exactly been amazing. It’s just been one thing after another, and I can’t say that anything has really been good. Anyway, when the first bad thing happened, I didn’t quite realise that would be the case but still, it broke my heart significantly and plummeted me into a state I didn’t appreciate being in. 

So, what did I do?

Aside being a wee bit reckless, I turned to the world of smellies for a bit of a lift. Come on, you can’t say that nice smelling candles don’t make things a little bit better, can you? Even if you can, it’s better being miserable and smelling the sweet scent of limes than straight up being miserable. 

I truly can say that due to my slightly impulsive buying just after I got paid, I’ve gotten through these past few weeks. Baths and burning wax are my favourite comfort activities and each has given me a little lift. 

So, what did I buy?

  • Lush Great Balls of Bicarb gift set
  • Home Inspiration by Yankee Candle Perfect Margarita and Cherry Vanilla wax melts
  • Tesco Lavender and Chamomile Room Spray


My good friend Saskia dragged me out of the house on the first day of my wallowing in self pity and into town, and of course, I popped into Lush. I’ve been a lushie for years, and everyone knows that Lush products make me feel extremely happy and comforted (hence the amount I spent today, too! But that’s a post for another time). Not only that, but the staff never fail to cheer me up, and now I work there, those staff members are my friends. My dear friends and colleagues never fail to put a smile on my face, so I just as much went in for a hug and a bit of validation as well as to spend money. Anyway, eventually I decided to treat myself and get not only one product, but a Great Balls of Bicarb gift set. I, in fact, bought the old version of this gift which many shops don’t sell anymore (my store has both on sale, still), retailing at £22.40, but the new tube retails at £24.95. The old great balls, which I love with all my heart, contains 5 bath bombs: Avobath bath bomb (£3.50), Blackberry bath bomb (£3.50), Honey Bee  bath bomb (£3.50– since discontinued), Dragon’s Egg bath bomb (£3.95) and Sex Bomb bath bomb (£3.75).  This gift set contains the more simple, but very classic Lush bombs. For example, Blackberry has been around from the start! My favourite ballistic from this set has to be Avobath, it’s actually one of my all time favourite bath bombs and scent-ranges! It’s a tough call between that and Honey Bee, however. When Honey Bee was mainline, it was one of my faves but due to the simplicity of it I feel like I really betrayed it. I neglected the beautiful bath bomb, so I’m now even more gutted; Luckily you can still grab it in old great balls sets and the Blooming Beautiful gift (£9.50- also including the Rose Jam Bubbleroon). 

I feel as if it would only be right to give a little shoutout to the contents of the new Great Balls of Bicarb! This, slightly more expensive tube of wonder also contains 5 bath bombs, but these are Dragon’s Egg (as in the old one), Frozen, The Experimenter, Intergalactic, and Twilight. My favourite has to be twilight, with Frozen being a close second behind it, but I adore the Twilight scent family. I also want to add that Intergalactic contains cedarwood oil as well as being full of minty goodness, and that’s wonderful for chronic pain.

Anyway, following on from Lush, I later popped down to Tesco with my mum. This is where I got the other three items. 

The first item I picked up was Tesco’s own Lavender and Chamomile room spray (£2). As a chronic insomniac with little relief from even medication, I knew this would not exactly put me to sleep, but as I’ve mentioned before, scents give me a positive and comforting vibe so I knew that the Lavender would make me feel a little more at ease. No kidding though, I feel physically uncomfortable if I can smell Jasmine. It makes my stomach churn and for some reason brings on my anxiety. Anyway, back to the product. This spray is incredible! It’s a water based room spray which is good for someone like me who suffers with asthma and therefore takes ill to aerosols (which is unfortunate considering most people use air freshener), and I’ve mostly been using it at bed time. It’s been a good alternative for my Twilight Body Spray (£20, Lush), which I adore but is a little sweeter and stronger so not the best for nighttime (and I want to save the precious thing for my body- it’s an exclusive, so why waste it?)- it’s a lot calmer and just makes you feel relaxed and soothed.  I would totally recommend this if you have anxiety or insomnia! I can’t say it knocked me out but it’s so comforting. 

The last thing I bought was wax melts; I’m a huge candle and wax fan so spend a lot of money on it! I was actually really concerned recently as I’ve just moved to a place you can’t have candles, and thought I would have to get rid of my precious wax melts (which I’m even more attatched to than candles, for some reason), but luckily I ordered a Glade Wax Heater (£5, but usually £12, Wilko) which means I don’t have to part with any melts and can still burn them here! The electric burner was bought on the recommendation of my friend Laura, @moon_made_lushie on instagram. Anyway, what I bought from Tesco was 2x Pack of 6 Wax melts by Home Inspiration by Yankee Candle in Cherry Vanilla and Perfect Margarita. I have to say, I actually love Yankee’s ‘Home inspiration’ range more than their general wax melt range for burning, but even so everything they sell is incredible. My preference at the moment is, however, six packs of wax melts (which look like bars of chocolate)- I’ve also tried Air Wick’s Apple and Cinnamon melts before, from Wilko- they were glorious! I think my favourite melt-set is the Perfect Margarita ones. They’re a sweet lime and go perfect with any Calacas (from the Lush scent family) bath (it’s my favourite ever lush scent). The Cherry Vanilla ones however are gorgeous. They’re so strong but not overwhelmingly so, and it sends you off to a total dreamland! 

So, as I said, smelliest aren’t exactly life saving, but hell do they help you feel comforted through a tough time. Aromatherapy has been a go-to for me for years, be it regarding my anxiety, depression, or chronic pain amongst other things, and I really do think it does somewhat help! 

Are you like me? What’s your comfort product or scent? Love always, Laur xxx

Nas Paracha and sexuality; LGBT representation in popular television

As the last episode of Series One of Channel 4’s ‘Ackley Bridge’ airs tonight, I feel this is a key post to be sharing.

Ackley Bridge has been wonderful for representation; BAME characters, LGBT issues, different cultures, and combining all, showing cultural and religious attitudes towards different issues. Nasreen’s character has been vital in portraying this.

I have to say, hearing about the show I was skeptical; I followed the ‘it’ll just be another Waterloo Road’ with a clear view it ‘wouldn’t be as good’ right up until it aired and then I realised. Yes, it was similar, but it was it’s own show, tackling new issues. I initially only tuned in for Sunetra Sarker (Kaneez Paracha- Nas’ mum and school dinner lady) and Jo Joyner (Mandy Carter- headteacher of the school), and was happy to find out that Amy–Leigh Hickman was in it… I used to be a huge Tracy Beaker Returns fan. Little did I know how important her character would be.

It’s in the second episode that Nas comes out to her best friend, Missy Booth (Poppy Friar) and Missy’s reaction: “What, are you some big hairy les?”

Missy’s attitude towards the idea of her best friend being gay quickly changes when she realises that it is a reality. This is likely caused by her upbringing in a hetero-normative society, meaning she has barely been exposed to the idea of being LGBT and the potential for a girl to like someone of the same sex. She soon realises that no-one ‘looks’ like a lesbian and the demonisation of homosexuality is not rational, as well as soon (after questioning her best friend) realising that just because you’re gay, it doesn’t mean that you automatically have a crush on every person of the same sex you come into contact with; homosexual love is no different to heterosexual love. Missy’s character also sheds a sense of lightheartedness on the situation by asking Nas ‘Why?’ she doesn’t have a crush on her. You can see a clear change in Missy’s attitude here.

Missy and Nas’ friendship is beautiful and shares a clear message of tolerance; Missy realises that Nasreen is the same Nasreen that she’s been best friends with her whole life, and that how she feels is love, not hate. Missy helps her embrace how to be herself by taking her to a gay nightclub in the centre of Leeds- though it was less Nas’ scene that Missy’s, things did work out for her and Missy still tried to help Nas feel accepting about her sexuality.

In contrast to this quick change, her mother’s reaction to Nas coming out in episode 5 is totally different. A few episodes prior, Kaneez comments on her not having an issue with Lilla being gay, however her attitude changes when it is her own daughter. This raises issues of being simultaneously gay and Muslim; the sexuality and faith clash (which not only occurs in Islam but many religions and cultures). Understandably, for someone of faith it may not be easy to accept, but Kaneez’ secondary reaction is what is truly important. Nas’ mum takes a step to educate herself about homosexuality and meet with some adult religious gays, as well as think of prospects for her daughter. The idea of being able to still embrace family life (eg, having two couples whom are both gay join to raise children who are biologically theirs) and keep up with Muslim values is seen in a character with a partner and a husband (whom also has a partner). Although this generally seems as if it could be non-accepting and essentially homophobic, Kaneez suggests this as it will allow Nas to stay in the community she has grown up in without being subject to hatred , which is what her mum wanted. Kaneez telling Nas she will always be her daughter no matter what is extremely significant.

I feel like Nasreen may help many young girls and boys come out to their parents or friends. Seeing the reactions of friends and family initially, but also seeing the latter outcomes, where the barrier falls and Nas suddenly becomes free to be who she is more openly and not have to lie about who she loves. I feel like this will be particularly helpful for people of faith and allow them to take the leap, and also having the programme as something they can show to their parents to help understand and be accepting is so important in a society where LGBT people are still so marginalised.

Of course, there are holes to pick, still: Why is every TV lesbian relationship student/teacher?, but that’s for another time. Of course, this upsets me, however, it doesn’t stop it the good representation and LGBT representation on television. With that and Bill and Heather’s Doctor Who kiss, popular television is finally portraying LGBT relationships in a positive light and well (and yes, that is a hint at my favourite show, Holby City, for making every one of Dom Copeland’s relationships abusive or problematic in some way).

I hope this positive representation will continue to rise: Be it a story of coming out or allowing a character to date someone of the same sex without making it an issue (oh, you’re gay? Why don’t people say oh, you’re straight?), we deserve this. LGBT people deserve this. Allies deserve this. Society deserves this.

Love always, Lauren xxx

A pawprint shaped hole in my heart

Today, a hole has been left in my heart. No, this is not in reference to my recent visits to hospital regarding my heart, but in reference to the loss of someone very important to me; my beautiful little cousin.

Now, when I say cousin I fear you’ll expect my dear cousin to be a human being, but no, she is a dog. Tasha, Tashington, Tashabear, whatever you’d like to call the black spaniel who’s been in my life for more than half of it, she means a lot to me.

Tasha passed away yesterday morning. She was 16 years old, which for a dog, is impressive, but still, you can’t help but be upset.

Tasha was older than my sister. She’s been my uncle’s for 10+ years and i’ve seen her almost every weekend and looked after her countless times throughout that period.

There’s nothing I can say that can do her justice, but i’m extremely heartbroken about the loss of my cuddliest, fluffy friend.

RIP my beautiful baby 🐶 Words cannot describe how much I’ll miss you. They say dogs are a man’s best friend and it’s true, my loyal pupper of a little cousin 💖 thank you for being a loving, loyal little bundle of cuddles (even having no ability to catch a stick!) for the 10+ years you’ve been in this family, you’ve left a paw print shaped hole in my heart and it won’t be the same without your fluffy existence 🐾

I will miss this beautiful girl immensely and am too emotional to truly say anything else, but I think it’s important to remember her, so have written this tribute.

RIP Tasha, love always, Lauren xxx