It's easy for us all to get sucked up into the ginormous vacuum that is social media nowadays. I mean, hey, you've probably been sent to this blog post via Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, right? It's oddly a huge part of our daily lives now - something that we seem to feel a little astray without, something that feels like a 'need' to have, filled up with 'need' to be likes. There's just no escaping it... unless, of course, we all decide to all join hands as a society, ditch are high-tech savvy phones altogether, and live our lives like we did back in 2000 where all we could do was download mp3s on to our Sony Ericsson Walkmans, and, let's face it, that's pretty unlikely to happen.

Don't get me wrong, I love social media. It's a huge part of what I do and one of my favourite creative outlets, however over the years, things have changed on that side of the internet. Things have become idealistic and perfectionist and it's difficult not to try and rise up to the challenge of being a part of it too. After all, everyone's posting their *amazing* lives on there - long gone are the days of posting simple selfies and pictures of your favourite packet of crisps - it all feels like a competitive sea of far-fetched realities and sometimes I think we need to take ourselves out of it and look at the world around us too.





BLAZER - MISS SELFRIDGE (GIFTED) // BODYSUIT - NASTY GAL (GIFTED)

Now, I'm not going to sit here and type away as if i'm not party to this whole situation - of course I am, I'm a blogger for crying out loud! I spend my life posting pretty outfits and sharing with you the exciting things I get to do, mostly whilst sat at home, munching away on some digestive biscuits and staring blankly at Netflix playing on my laptop screen - I can be a big ol' phony too! But there are somethings out there, somethings that just completely cheat reality all together.

Here, undoubtedly, I'm talking about the likes of Face-tune, Photoshop and any of those other things out there that people are using to alter their appearances online. And, hands up, I'll openly say I've used Face-tune to airbrush a spot out of my photos, or to alter the colour of something in the background of a shot, but there comes a point where the photos out there online become so altered, so edited and tweaked, that the original photo and the edited one are just downright contradictory.







My friend Hayleigh showed me an Instagram recently, 'beauty.false' it's called, and it was a page dedicated to showing the difference between the way people present themselves online and the way they look, or are, in real life. On this particular day that she showed me, I was feeling SO down about myself. The kind of day where I looked in the mirror and couldn't see a single positive thing. It was a day spent scrolling through Instagram and comparing myself to each and every beautiful, thin, blonde, woman on there and wondering why life didn't let me come into the world looking like that too.

Yet, after Hayleigh showed this page to me, I had a sudden realization that everything I was looking at, comparing myself too, penalizing myself over, wasn't even real. Everything I had compared my body to had been photoshopped, everything I had compared my skin to had been airbrushed and everything I had spent hours stressing over wasn't even worth it. The people I was looking at, didn't even really look like that either!

All these people that I had been comparing myself too were, off-line from Instagram, just like me too. They all have spots, cellulite, stomachs that don't constantly look like washboards, up days, down days, messy hair days, good hair days, wear glasses, don't wear glasses, body hair, dark body hair, light body hair, eye bags, scars, chipped nail varnish, bumps and bruises, whatever it may be... but we just don't see it.





PHOTOS BY LAUREN WEARE 

Again, sure, I don't look like my Instagram photos 24/7 (god damn, I wish I did), but I know for a fact, and will safely assure you, that each of those photos goes through a process of editing before it's posted. Okay, maybe not the kind of editing that takes 20lbs off of me or plonks me in a different location than I actually am, but I use VSCO filters, I get rid of an annoying spot, and I've also spent 5 years learning my best angles, poses and understanding how to work myself best in front of camera. It's a photo at the end of the day - not me walking through the streets - I can't always be the perfectly posed, A6 filtered, version of myself.

Neither can you, neither can any of us.

Something I spend a lot of time doing now, is looking at the people around me. I look up, walking round town and notice each and every unique type of person there is out there. You realise that real-life is a completely different ballgame, and it's refreshing to kind of come back down to earth after feeling trapped in an online bubble.

I notice women in real life and see how I'm not so different from them. I notice thighs, bums and hips and the way that people's boobs don't sit constantly under their chins; I notice how clothes don't always sit flawlessly on bodies and the way that hair blows in the wind; I notice how we're all shopping for that perfect skin-care that will solve our acne woes and I notice how each woman, each person, sounds, moves and looks incomparable to another. We're all ourselves at the end of the day, and no amount of photoshop and good lighting can change that in the real world.

When everything is taken into consideration, there are sooo many people on this planet, and not a single one of us on it is perfect. We all have breakouts, cheat-days and our periods (bleugh), but at the end of it all, we're all individuals and I think that's really cool. Take a look around you the next time that you're out, and notice all the lovely characteristics each person has - some may be like you and some may be not, but either way, not everyone is the same and that's an important thing to remember.

Also, remind yourself to take everything you see online with a pinch of salt, especially when it comes to body-comparison. No one is going to post a photo of themselves where they feel like they look 'bloated' or it's a 'bad angle', so scroll past, enjoy the photo, but don't fixate on it. Instead, go hang out with your friends, be around people you love and focus on their amazing qualities - qualities that surpass someone's appearance too.


Look At Reality


It's easy for us all to get sucked up into the ginormous vacuum that is social media nowadays. I mean, hey, you've probably been sent to this blog post via Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, right? It's oddly a huge part of our daily lives now - something that we seem to feel a little astray without, something that feels like a 'need' to have, filled up with 'need' to be likes. There's just no escaping it... unless, of course, we all decide to all join hands as a society, ditch are high-tech savvy phones altogether, and live our lives like we did back in 2000 where all we could do was download mp3s on to our Sony Ericsson Walkmans, and, let's face it, that's pretty unlikely to happen.

Don't get me wrong, I love social media. It's a huge part of what I do and one of my favourite creative outlets, however over the years, things have changed on that side of the internet. Things have become idealistic and perfectionist and it's difficult not to try and rise up to the challenge of being a part of it too. After all, everyone's posting their *amazing* lives on there - long gone are the days of posting simple selfies and pictures of your favourite packet of crisps - it all feels like a competitive sea of far-fetched realities and sometimes I think we need to take ourselves out of it and look at the world around us too.





BLAZER - MISS SELFRIDGE (GIFTED) // BODYSUIT - NASTY GAL (GIFTED)

Now, I'm not going to sit here and type away as if i'm not party to this whole situation - of course I am, I'm a blogger for crying out loud! I spend my life posting pretty outfits and sharing with you the exciting things I get to do, mostly whilst sat at home, munching away on some digestive biscuits and staring blankly at Netflix playing on my laptop screen - I can be a big ol' phony too! But there are somethings out there, somethings that just completely cheat reality all together.

Here, undoubtedly, I'm talking about the likes of Face-tune, Photoshop and any of those other things out there that people are using to alter their appearances online. And, hands up, I'll openly say I've used Face-tune to airbrush a spot out of my photos, or to alter the colour of something in the background of a shot, but there comes a point where the photos out there online become so altered, so edited and tweaked, that the original photo and the edited one are just downright contradictory.







My friend Hayleigh showed me an Instagram recently, 'beauty.false' it's called, and it was a page dedicated to showing the difference between the way people present themselves online and the way they look, or are, in real life. On this particular day that she showed me, I was feeling SO down about myself. The kind of day where I looked in the mirror and couldn't see a single positive thing. It was a day spent scrolling through Instagram and comparing myself to each and every beautiful, thin, blonde, woman on there and wondering why life didn't let me come into the world looking like that too.

Yet, after Hayleigh showed this page to me, I had a sudden realization that everything I was looking at, comparing myself too, penalizing myself over, wasn't even real. Everything I had compared my body to had been photoshopped, everything I had compared my skin to had been airbrushed and everything I had spent hours stressing over wasn't even worth it. The people I was looking at, didn't even really look like that either!

All these people that I had been comparing myself too were, off-line from Instagram, just like me too. They all have spots, cellulite, stomachs that don't constantly look like washboards, up days, down days, messy hair days, good hair days, wear glasses, don't wear glasses, body hair, dark body hair, light body hair, eye bags, scars, chipped nail varnish, bumps and bruises, whatever it may be... but we just don't see it.





PHOTOS BY LAUREN WEARE 

Again, sure, I don't look like my Instagram photos 24/7 (god damn, I wish I did), but I know for a fact, and will safely assure you, that each of those photos goes through a process of editing before it's posted. Okay, maybe not the kind of editing that takes 20lbs off of me or plonks me in a different location than I actually am, but I use VSCO filters, I get rid of an annoying spot, and I've also spent 5 years learning my best angles, poses and understanding how to work myself best in front of camera. It's a photo at the end of the day - not me walking through the streets - I can't always be the perfectly posed, A6 filtered, version of myself.

Neither can you, neither can any of us.

Something I spend a lot of time doing now, is looking at the people around me. I look up, walking round town and notice each and every unique type of person there is out there. You realise that real-life is a completely different ballgame, and it's refreshing to kind of come back down to earth after feeling trapped in an online bubble.

I notice women in real life and see how I'm not so different from them. I notice thighs, bums and hips and the way that people's boobs don't sit constantly under their chins; I notice how clothes don't always sit flawlessly on bodies and the way that hair blows in the wind; I notice how we're all shopping for that perfect skin-care that will solve our acne woes and I notice how each woman, each person, sounds, moves and looks incomparable to another. We're all ourselves at the end of the day, and no amount of photoshop and good lighting can change that in the real world.

When everything is taken into consideration, there are sooo many people on this planet, and not a single one of us on it is perfect. We all have breakouts, cheat-days and our periods (bleugh), but at the end of it all, we're all individuals and I think that's really cool. Take a look around you the next time that you're out, and notice all the lovely characteristics each person has - some may be like you and some may be not, but either way, not everyone is the same and that's an important thing to remember.

Also, remind yourself to take everything you see online with a pinch of salt, especially when it comes to body-comparison. No one is going to post a photo of themselves where they feel like they look 'bloated' or it's a 'bad angle', so scroll past, enjoy the photo, but don't fixate on it. Instead, go hang out with your friends, be around people you love and focus on their amazing qualities - qualities that surpass someone's appearance too.



And just like that, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and I'm sweating like Niagara Falls has relocated itself to the middle of my back... oh I love Summer. 

There's something about this time of year that really takes a hit on our self-confidence, doesn't it? Something that just gives us that little inkling of dread. Maybe it's the lack of cozy layers and scarves to hide behind, or the fact that having to whip our legs out, and show them to the world, is the only way we can stay at a comfortable temperature? I think it probably has something to do with the idea that we like to 'plan ahead' when it comes to Summer - to prepare our bodies for the unnerving idea of showing some skin on the beach or even in strappy cami whilst strolling round the city. The object of June/July/August approaching can be daunting when we're surrounded by 'Get Bikini Body Ready!' ads and diet teas are being shoved in our faces left, right and center.

I mean, I'll be honest, I don't feel 'bikini body ready' right now. God knows that social media or magazines wouldn't consider me so... My stomach isn't as toned as I'd like it to be, my thighs still wobble, and cellulite seems to be attached to my ass forever, no matter what I do to try and make it go away (disclaimer: absolutely nothing wrong with any of those things, these are just my own anxieties). It's like each and every insecurity becomes heightened as warmer weather approaches.  But, you know what? I probably never will feel ready - I'll probably never reach a point where I feel like I fit that crazy standard that the bikini-clad adverts want me to.






Now, I do have to say, over the past few years I've slowly gotten more and more comfortable with the approaching summer and the way I've dressed along with that. I no longer fear for my pasty white skin being shown, or my thighs peeking out of the bottom of my ruffle skirt, and I think that's simply something that I've processed over time and have began to care less about as I'm getting older. Plus, it really helps to just not give a fuck. Like, not giving a flying fuck really does help you to just enjoy yourself... and, if there's one thing you take away from this, I want it to be that.

Sure, we could all start hitting the gym in January, eating a set diet plan everyday and by the time July comes along, we'd all look like walking, talking copies of our favourite super models, right? But, that's pretty damn unlikely to happen, and almost 90% of the time, we still don't end up feeling amazing anyway. Like I said, I don't feel 'bikini body ready' at all, despite working on myself for the past year or so. There's just no way I could swan through life without drinking alcohol, munching on pizza and eating multiple entire easter eggs over the bank holidays. My way of living doesn't coincide with what I'd need to do to wake up one morning and look like a Victoria's Secret model (props to them, I couldn't do it).

That's not to say I wake up each sunny morning and feel fabulous about myself and my gin and tonic soaked body - I don't. Sometimes I'll pop on a pretty little sun dress, look in the mirror and think 'bleugh', fixating over my arms or telling myself 'if I just breathe in all day, I'll be fine' (ps, I do breathe out or else I would die). Even despite the 'give no fucks' attitude I try and enforce on myself, it's still hard sometimes to not scroll through instagram and think 'jesus, I need to look like that before I can wear this!'.





HAT - MELON SWIMWEAR (GIFTED) // BAG - CHARITY SHOP

The thing with Summer is, it rears it's head way too quickly, and before you know it, we're drowning in a sea of body-conscious anxiety and struggling to squeeze ourselves into a bikini we bought 3 years ago. But, I think we all need to realise that no matter what we look like, who we are or how we dress, we're all allowed to enjoy our summer, and not spend it trying to achieve some unattainable goal we've set ourselves for 2 days time (seriously, I thought I could lose 10lbs in 2 days once...*spoiler* it didn't happen).

I want to look back when I'm older and remember how much I laughed over my summer, or how I had amazing holidays with amazing people, not remember being engrossed in some diet pill ad from a magazine and hiding myself away until I fit back into clothes I owned when I was 17.

We can waste so much time fixating over this idea of the 'ideal self', that by the time we even reach a point where we're kind of content, Summer has pretty much been and gone anyway. What's the point? Why not just get out there and enjoy it, right?!

I get that we all want to feel confident, I get that we all want to look at photos of ourselves and think 'damn, I look good' and strut down the beach like a scene out of Baywatch, but at what price do we really want that? At what price do we want to put ourselves through so much misery? At what point do we say, 'do you know what? I look good as I am, and I'm going to go out and enjoy my life no matter what a magazine tells me!'... I think that point should be now. I think we should all, as many already are, embrace our unique bodies, embrace the way the sunshine makes us feel and wear whatever the hell we want.

"every body is a bikini body"






The pressure that surrounds this time of year and the way we look is so inescapable sometimes, so it's a completely understandable feeling to look at yourself and want to do whatever it may be to give yourself more confidence. However, life is so much less about what we look like, and so much more about what journeys we have, the people we meet and the beautiful weather we get to see and enjoy.

Try not to let the fashion of being 'thin' in summer get in the way of you living your life - no one looks back in wishes they'd gone to the beach looking slimmer, they look back and remember the people they were with and the fun things they did.

Go live your life and enjoy the sunshine!


The Pressure To Be 'Bikini Body Ready' This Summer


And just like that, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and I'm sweating like Niagara Falls has relocated itself to the middle of my back... oh I love Summer. 

There's something about this time of year that really takes a hit on our self-confidence, doesn't it? Something that just gives us that little inkling of dread. Maybe it's the lack of cozy layers and scarves to hide behind, or the fact that having to whip our legs out, and show them to the world, is the only way we can stay at a comfortable temperature? I think it probably has something to do with the idea that we like to 'plan ahead' when it comes to Summer - to prepare our bodies for the unnerving idea of showing some skin on the beach or even in strappy cami whilst strolling round the city. The object of June/July/August approaching can be daunting when we're surrounded by 'Get Bikini Body Ready!' ads and diet teas are being shoved in our faces left, right and center.

I mean, I'll be honest, I don't feel 'bikini body ready' right now. God knows that social media or magazines wouldn't consider me so... My stomach isn't as toned as I'd like it to be, my thighs still wobble, and cellulite seems to be attached to my ass forever, no matter what I do to try and make it go away (disclaimer: absolutely nothing wrong with any of those things, these are just my own anxieties). It's like each and every insecurity becomes heightened as warmer weather approaches.  But, you know what? I probably never will feel ready - I'll probably never reach a point where I feel like I fit that crazy standard that the bikini-clad adverts want me to.






Now, I do have to say, over the past few years I've slowly gotten more and more comfortable with the approaching summer and the way I've dressed along with that. I no longer fear for my pasty white skin being shown, or my thighs peeking out of the bottom of my ruffle skirt, and I think that's simply something that I've processed over time and have began to care less about as I'm getting older. Plus, it really helps to just not give a fuck. Like, not giving a flying fuck really does help you to just enjoy yourself... and, if there's one thing you take away from this, I want it to be that.

Sure, we could all start hitting the gym in January, eating a set diet plan everyday and by the time July comes along, we'd all look like walking, talking copies of our favourite super models, right? But, that's pretty damn unlikely to happen, and almost 90% of the time, we still don't end up feeling amazing anyway. Like I said, I don't feel 'bikini body ready' at all, despite working on myself for the past year or so. There's just no way I could swan through life without drinking alcohol, munching on pizza and eating multiple entire easter eggs over the bank holidays. My way of living doesn't coincide with what I'd need to do to wake up one morning and look like a Victoria's Secret model (props to them, I couldn't do it).

That's not to say I wake up each sunny morning and feel fabulous about myself and my gin and tonic soaked body - I don't. Sometimes I'll pop on a pretty little sun dress, look in the mirror and think 'bleugh', fixating over my arms or telling myself 'if I just breathe in all day, I'll be fine' (ps, I do breathe out or else I would die). Even despite the 'give no fucks' attitude I try and enforce on myself, it's still hard sometimes to not scroll through instagram and think 'jesus, I need to look like that before I can wear this!'.





HAT - MELON SWIMWEAR (GIFTED) // BAG - CHARITY SHOP

The thing with Summer is, it rears it's head way too quickly, and before you know it, we're drowning in a sea of body-conscious anxiety and struggling to squeeze ourselves into a bikini we bought 3 years ago. But, I think we all need to realise that no matter what we look like, who we are or how we dress, we're all allowed to enjoy our summer, and not spend it trying to achieve some unattainable goal we've set ourselves for 2 days time (seriously, I thought I could lose 10lbs in 2 days once...*spoiler* it didn't happen).

I want to look back when I'm older and remember how much I laughed over my summer, or how I had amazing holidays with amazing people, not remember being engrossed in some diet pill ad from a magazine and hiding myself away until I fit back into clothes I owned when I was 17.

We can waste so much time fixating over this idea of the 'ideal self', that by the time we even reach a point where we're kind of content, Summer has pretty much been and gone anyway. What's the point? Why not just get out there and enjoy it, right?!

I get that we all want to feel confident, I get that we all want to look at photos of ourselves and think 'damn, I look good' and strut down the beach like a scene out of Baywatch, but at what price do we really want that? At what price do we want to put ourselves through so much misery? At what point do we say, 'do you know what? I look good as I am, and I'm going to go out and enjoy my life no matter what a magazine tells me!'... I think that point should be now. I think we should all, as many already are, embrace our unique bodies, embrace the way the sunshine makes us feel and wear whatever the hell we want.

"every body is a bikini body"






The pressure that surrounds this time of year and the way we look is so inescapable sometimes, so it's a completely understandable feeling to look at yourself and want to do whatever it may be to give yourself more confidence. However, life is so much less about what we look like, and so much more about what journeys we have, the people we meet and the beautiful weather we get to see and enjoy.

Try not to let the fashion of being 'thin' in summer get in the way of you living your life - no one looks back in wishes they'd gone to the beach looking slimmer, they look back and remember the people they were with and the fun things they did.

Go live your life and enjoy the sunshine!



I've grown up a somewhat pessimistic person. I'm going to put that down to my self-esteem being ruined by snotty little girls, picking on my tubby belly in primary school, or the reality that I did not in fact grow up to be a member of the Sugarbabes as I once so hopefully dreamed (that would have been cool though, right?). I've always immediately seen the glass as half empty rather than half full, and it's hard sometimes to scratch that idea of 'things could be better'.

Comparison is what I spend a lot of my time doing, and always have done. I'm terrible for wondering why someone else is doing better than me or looks better than me or has landed a no.1 hit on the radio and I haven't (seriously though, someone pass me a mic). It's definitely not helped by the social media suffocated world we're in nowadays.

I'll spend hours scrolling and scrolling, ending up in an abyss of beautiful girls who I'll never be (because, let's face it, I'm not Emily Ratajkowski) and it becomes an endless cycle of self-doubt. It's those small things we do so unconsciously day-to-day that can be so self-destructive, and it's hard to not feel like a failure when everyone's out there posting about all the brilliant things they're doing and you're sat looking at them, at home in your PJs and a face full of Sudocrem. No wonder we feel like we're not good enough when we're comparing our simpler moments to everyone else's highlight reels. 

However, I heard something recently, in Alice and Sophia's new podcast 'On The Outskirts' to be precise, that rather than us scrolling down on other people's feeds, looking at them, obsessing over their lifestyle, we should take a minute to scroll down our own feeds and look at ourselves - look at all the things we've done and all the happy days we've had. We can even notice days where we remember them being awful, yet we've posted some smiley 'instagram-mable' photo from that day.  Sometimes a bit of perspective is all that's needed and it can make you realise that, you know what? maybe the cup is actually half full and not everyone's social media is an exact representation of things because even our own feeds aren't sometimes.





SHIRT - GHOSPELL (GIFTED) // TROUSERS - GHOSPELL (GIFTED)

Now, not to blow my own trumpet or anything, but for a 20 year old girl from a little town in the North, I've managed to do a lot - I've managed to do things I could never have imagined. Scrolling down my own Instagram feed has shown me such. I mean, who would have thought I'd have grown a business from a hobby, met so many amazing people and had so many amazing experiences by the age of 20? Not me, I'll tell you that. 

Like I said, I've spent a lot of time being a bit defeatist and it's meant that I've not truly taken the time to look all those great things I've done and realise how truly great they are. BUT, I'm trying to change my perspective on things and support myself more. This is mostly because any time I'm negative now, my boyfriend throws his mantra of 'good vibes, positive energy' at me, but also because I don't want to spend my life not thoroughly taking in these moments and processing how great they are.




SHOES - KOI FOOTWEAR (GIFTED)

I think it's important to sometimes to take a step back and look at how far you've come. For me, this blog stemmed from when I was in the early days of recovering from Anorexia. It was something I began to give myself something to do every day that I enjoyed, and I can't imagine what 2015/2016 Holly would think if she could see all of the things this has lead to now. I know she'd be pretty mind blown to think that I just walked down a red carpet at the BAFTAs or just did a campaign with Calvin Klein, like, WHAT?!

I've started looking at every thing I've done from the outlook of that, you know. I've began to put myself back in those shoes, look through my Instagram, or even my emails or calendar (as mundane as that seems), and just see things from a different angle. It always leaves me feeling incredibly proud of myself, and that's something I don't normally feel.

When I look at the things I've managed to achieve now I think 'Oh my god, wow', rather than 'Well, she still has it better than me because she's doing this'. Your life is your life and their life is their's, and I think we all need to start fighting back through that constant feeling of self-doubt and focus more on self-care and celebrating the things we've done ourselves.


"life is way too short to leave the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket"

Over this year I've began to understand that no one can really make things happen in your life, but you. I spent a lot of time thinking that I couldn't take control, or at least thought I didn't have enough power within me to make things happen. I've let a lot of time pass me by where I've left the progress of my life in the hands of others, and when it's felt like other people have completely stopped trying, I've suddenly realised just how much I could have done if I'd have believed in myself more and put my own life first.

I'm always afraid of being too ballsy, or doing something wrong, to actually try and make things happen, but no one gets anywhere in this world without having to fight for their corner at times. When I really began to throw myself full-throttle at things, that's when my life began moving, I began to feel happier and I began to register just how much power I have over my own success and well-being. 

Like I said, we're the only ones who are fully able to influence the direction we go in, and I know for a fact that if I'd spent more time fully throwing myself in a certain direction, that I could have achieved a lot more by now. However, that's Holly thinking the glass is half empty again *slap on the wrist*Okay, yes, I could have maybe done more amazing things by now, but I also have managed to do loads of incredible things despite that still - I have to remember that.

From now on, Me, Msyelf and I are my priority. I want to succeed and thrive in what I enjoy and where I'm taking myself through life, and I want to celebrate every victory, no matter how big or small. 

Every time I do something now, whether it's simply a good blog post, or a campaign with a brand I love, or I attend an event filled with amazing opportunities, I stop and I take it all in. I take the time to process just how much I've managed to do, and the fact that I've managed to get here all by myself (albeit somewhat bumpily, but still, I got here). 





Ultimately, not every day is going to be filled with self-confidence and elated emotions, but at least we can all try and take the time to focus on ourselves a bit more. It probably sounds like a broken-record at this point, because I know everyone out there is discussing the effects of social media and the way it plays on our mental health, but I think it's an important discussion. And, not even just the way social media effects us, but just our self-doubt and comparisons in general. It's necessary to try and implement those moments where we support ourselves and sing our own praises, because we all do so much in our lives, and I think it's good to celebrate that.

To everyone out there, no matter whether you're a blogger, or something completely different - everything you do, from writing that important email, to getting a promotion at work, or even just waking up in the morning when you're going through a rough time, is an achievement. You're doing YOU and that's the best thing ever. 


"no one is you and that is your super power"

Be Your Own Cheerleader


I've grown up a somewhat pessimistic person. I'm going to put that down to my self-esteem being ruined by snotty little girls, picking on my tubby belly in primary school, or the reality that I did not in fact grow up to be a member of the Sugarbabes as I once so hopefully dreamed (that would have been cool though, right?). I've always immediately seen the glass as half empty rather than half full, and it's hard sometimes to scratch that idea of 'things could be better'.

Comparison is what I spend a lot of my time doing, and always have done. I'm terrible for wondering why someone else is doing better than me or looks better than me or has landed a no.1 hit on the radio and I haven't (seriously though, someone pass me a mic). It's definitely not helped by the social media suffocated world we're in nowadays.

I'll spend hours scrolling and scrolling, ending up in an abyss of beautiful girls who I'll never be (because, let's face it, I'm not Emily Ratajkowski) and it becomes an endless cycle of self-doubt. It's those small things we do so unconsciously day-to-day that can be so self-destructive, and it's hard to not feel like a failure when everyone's out there posting about all the brilliant things they're doing and you're sat looking at them, at home in your PJs and a face full of Sudocrem. No wonder we feel like we're not good enough when we're comparing our simpler moments to everyone else's highlight reels. 

However, I heard something recently, in Alice and Sophia's new podcast 'On The Outskirts' to be precise, that rather than us scrolling down on other people's feeds, looking at them, obsessing over their lifestyle, we should take a minute to scroll down our own feeds and look at ourselves - look at all the things we've done and all the happy days we've had. We can even notice days where we remember them being awful, yet we've posted some smiley 'instagram-mable' photo from that day.  Sometimes a bit of perspective is all that's needed and it can make you realise that, you know what? maybe the cup is actually half full and not everyone's social media is an exact representation of things because even our own feeds aren't sometimes.





SHIRT - GHOSPELL (GIFTED) // TROUSERS - GHOSPELL (GIFTED)

Now, not to blow my own trumpet or anything, but for a 20 year old girl from a little town in the North, I've managed to do a lot - I've managed to do things I could never have imagined. Scrolling down my own Instagram feed has shown me such. I mean, who would have thought I'd have grown a business from a hobby, met so many amazing people and had so many amazing experiences by the age of 20? Not me, I'll tell you that. 

Like I said, I've spent a lot of time being a bit defeatist and it's meant that I've not truly taken the time to look all those great things I've done and realise how truly great they are. BUT, I'm trying to change my perspective on things and support myself more. This is mostly because any time I'm negative now, my boyfriend throws his mantra of 'good vibes, positive energy' at me, but also because I don't want to spend my life not thoroughly taking in these moments and processing how great they are.




SHOES - KOI FOOTWEAR (GIFTED)

I think it's important to sometimes to take a step back and look at how far you've come. For me, this blog stemmed from when I was in the early days of recovering from Anorexia. It was something I began to give myself something to do every day that I enjoyed, and I can't imagine what 2015/2016 Holly would think if she could see all of the things this has lead to now. I know she'd be pretty mind blown to think that I just walked down a red carpet at the BAFTAs or just did a campaign with Calvin Klein, like, WHAT?!

I've started looking at every thing I've done from the outlook of that, you know. I've began to put myself back in those shoes, look through my Instagram, or even my emails or calendar (as mundane as that seems), and just see things from a different angle. It always leaves me feeling incredibly proud of myself, and that's something I don't normally feel.

When I look at the things I've managed to achieve now I think 'Oh my god, wow', rather than 'Well, she still has it better than me because she's doing this'. Your life is your life and their life is their's, and I think we all need to start fighting back through that constant feeling of self-doubt and focus more on self-care and celebrating the things we've done ourselves.


"life is way too short to leave the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket"

Over this year I've began to understand that no one can really make things happen in your life, but you. I spent a lot of time thinking that I couldn't take control, or at least thought I didn't have enough power within me to make things happen. I've let a lot of time pass me by where I've left the progress of my life in the hands of others, and when it's felt like other people have completely stopped trying, I've suddenly realised just how much I could have done if I'd have believed in myself more and put my own life first.

I'm always afraid of being too ballsy, or doing something wrong, to actually try and make things happen, but no one gets anywhere in this world without having to fight for their corner at times. When I really began to throw myself full-throttle at things, that's when my life began moving, I began to feel happier and I began to register just how much power I have over my own success and well-being. 

Like I said, we're the only ones who are fully able to influence the direction we go in, and I know for a fact that if I'd spent more time fully throwing myself in a certain direction, that I could have achieved a lot more by now. However, that's Holly thinking the glass is half empty again *slap on the wrist*Okay, yes, I could have maybe done more amazing things by now, but I also have managed to do loads of incredible things despite that still - I have to remember that.

From now on, Me, Msyelf and I are my priority. I want to succeed and thrive in what I enjoy and where I'm taking myself through life, and I want to celebrate every victory, no matter how big or small. 

Every time I do something now, whether it's simply a good blog post, or a campaign with a brand I love, or I attend an event filled with amazing opportunities, I stop and I take it all in. I take the time to process just how much I've managed to do, and the fact that I've managed to get here all by myself (albeit somewhat bumpily, but still, I got here). 





Ultimately, not every day is going to be filled with self-confidence and elated emotions, but at least we can all try and take the time to focus on ourselves a bit more. It probably sounds like a broken-record at this point, because I know everyone out there is discussing the effects of social media and the way it plays on our mental health, but I think it's an important discussion. And, not even just the way social media effects us, but just our self-doubt and comparisons in general. It's necessary to try and implement those moments where we support ourselves and sing our own praises, because we all do so much in our lives, and I think it's good to celebrate that.

To everyone out there, no matter whether you're a blogger, or something completely different - everything you do, from writing that important email, to getting a promotion at work, or even just waking up in the morning when you're going through a rough time, is an achievement. You're doing YOU and that's the best thing ever. 


"no one is you and that is your super power"


I have never been one to own expensive things. At the end of the day, I'm a 20 year old, self employed, girl, trying to 'adult' in the big wide world - I haven't got enough pennies to be treating myself to anything over the price of about £30 (seriously, even the idea of paying for online delivery stops me buying something). However, my Mum is a grown woman, powerful as hell, and has a love for a designer bag. She's forever lusting over pieces she can treat herself to on a special occasion: birthdays, Christmas, etc. etc. She has a love for the finer things, don't we all? She's the one who kindly gifted me this amazing amazing YSL piece (big up Momma Ange!) and I just had to share it with you guys!

I think she picked this little beauty up in... Italy? I remember her ringing me to tell me how she'd found a beautiful YSL bag in a little boutique shop and was going to treat herself to it (ah to be able to do that... one day Holly, one day...). She brought it home and I was the literal definition of the heart eye emoji. Months after seeing it, sitting on the shelf at home, staring at me with it's puppy dog eyes, I asked my Mum 'can I borrow that bag one day?', lust in my eyes, of course, and outfit ideas already in my head. 'Oh you can have it' she said, 'I haven't used it really anyway'.

My heart skipped a beat!






I think she was going to give it to me for my 21st birthday anyway, but obviously I had to go and ruin that by asking about it, didn't I? Ooops. But yeah, regardless of that, here we are, me and my new bag on it's first outing.

Instantly, this bag makes my outfits feel so much more 'special'. I could be wearing head-to-toe Primark, but still be strutting around like Naomi Campbell with my YSL sidekick on my shoulder. It's that amazing gold hooped strap that just makes it stand out from anything else I've ever owned before. It's so eye-catching, yet simplistic and I adore the way it goes with my gold accessories.

Here, I've simply teamed it with my trusty charity shop M&S coat, a simple black tee, linen trousers and my new favourite boots from Nasty Gal - it's safe to say, this is a very 'me' outfit, which the bag works perfectly with.




PHOTOS BY LAUREN WEARE

A lot of my outfits revolve around neutral colours, or a bit more pastel has been thrown in there now that Spring is here, and I've found I've been in a bit of a rut when it comes to the pieces I accessorize with. I always grab for the same bags, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes it's nice to shake things up. I always opt for a black tote bag or a little white handle bag to coincide with the neutrals in my outfits, but as much as I love those pieces, adding in this YSL beauty with this recent look was really refreshing. The gold hardware was a nice change to a black strap, which would normally fade into my outfit, and the 90's shoulder bag style is something I'm really into.

I loved this look, letting the bag do all the talking. There's something so empowering about wearing a simple outfit like this and getting to style up my new fancy bag at the same time.

This bag will never not feel special to me!

Have you got a piece in your wardrobe that makes your outfits feel a little more 'distinctive'? Is it a bag, a blouse, a skirt? Let me know!


The Vintage YSL Bag


I have never been one to own expensive things. At the end of the day, I'm a 20 year old, self employed, girl, trying to 'adult' in the big wide world - I haven't got enough pennies to be treating myself to anything over the price of about £30 (seriously, even the idea of paying for online delivery stops me buying something). However, my Mum is a grown woman, powerful as hell, and has a love for a designer bag. She's forever lusting over pieces she can treat herself to on a special occasion: birthdays, Christmas, etc. etc. She has a love for the finer things, don't we all? She's the one who kindly gifted me this amazing amazing YSL piece (big up Momma Ange!) and I just had to share it with you guys!

I think she picked this little beauty up in... Italy? I remember her ringing me to tell me how she'd found a beautiful YSL bag in a little boutique shop and was going to treat herself to it (ah to be able to do that... one day Holly, one day...). She brought it home and I was the literal definition of the heart eye emoji. Months after seeing it, sitting on the shelf at home, staring at me with it's puppy dog eyes, I asked my Mum 'can I borrow that bag one day?', lust in my eyes, of course, and outfit ideas already in my head. 'Oh you can have it' she said, 'I haven't used it really anyway'.

My heart skipped a beat!






I think she was going to give it to me for my 21st birthday anyway, but obviously I had to go and ruin that by asking about it, didn't I? Ooops. But yeah, regardless of that, here we are, me and my new bag on it's first outing.

Instantly, this bag makes my outfits feel so much more 'special'. I could be wearing head-to-toe Primark, but still be strutting around like Naomi Campbell with my YSL sidekick on my shoulder. It's that amazing gold hooped strap that just makes it stand out from anything else I've ever owned before. It's so eye-catching, yet simplistic and I adore the way it goes with my gold accessories.

Here, I've simply teamed it with my trusty charity shop M&S coat, a simple black tee, linen trousers and my new favourite boots from Nasty Gal - it's safe to say, this is a very 'me' outfit, which the bag works perfectly with.




PHOTOS BY LAUREN WEARE

A lot of my outfits revolve around neutral colours, or a bit more pastel has been thrown in there now that Spring is here, and I've found I've been in a bit of a rut when it comes to the pieces I accessorize with. I always grab for the same bags, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes it's nice to shake things up. I always opt for a black tote bag or a little white handle bag to coincide with the neutrals in my outfits, but as much as I love those pieces, adding in this YSL beauty with this recent look was really refreshing. The gold hardware was a nice change to a black strap, which would normally fade into my outfit, and the 90's shoulder bag style is something I'm really into.

I loved this look, letting the bag do all the talking. There's something so empowering about wearing a simple outfit like this and getting to style up my new fancy bag at the same time.

This bag will never not feel special to me!

Have you got a piece in your wardrobe that makes your outfits feel a little more 'distinctive'? Is it a bag, a blouse, a skirt? Let me know!


Before beginning any post like this, I always like to point out that there may be subjects in here that people may be sensitive too, find triggering or upsetting, so please be aware of that if this could possibly affect you.


I've been in my current relationship now for almost 8 months, although honestly it feels like a lot longer than that. I never thought I could have a relationship that felt so strong or safe, especially with an eating disorder or 2 floating over my head.

It's hard to think about going out with someone when you've struggled with eating disorders. It's hard to put yourself out there, do the 'normal' relationship stuff, without all those little thoughts swirling through your head.

Food, and my relationship with it, has always been something I've struggled with when it came to the prospect of dating. Someone would ask me out for food or to the cinema or something like that, and I'd be checking the menus and nutritional information like a mad woman beforehand, and absolutely crapping myself over the idea of them wanting to buy sweets and popcorn to snack on. I'd find myself worrying over the idea that if it lead to anything else (I'm talking about sex guys, I'm talking about sex) that I would have indulged too much and look hideously fat by the time anything like that happened. It didn't help with those pre-date nerves, let's just say that.

It took me a long time to try and get over that 'control' of food when it came to meeting potential boyfriends (or just one-date-wonders in most cases) and it would be silly of me to try and explain how I ever did it, because I'm not 100% sure how.

I find that I seemed to have still been very disassociated throughout a lot of my 'dating time'. I remember each of them, don't get me wrong (and if any of those awful tinder dates are out there reading, then don't worry hun, you're not forgotten about), but I can't quite remember how I dealt with the whole food situation back then, I think I just avoided it altogether.


Most of the dates I ever went on were when I was around 17/18, so a while back for me to even think about really, and most of them never lead to anything more than a peck on the cheek. I used to think that was because I was little bit scared of guys, which... yeah, I definitely was, but I also feel like it subconsciously had something to do with the idea of having to alter my life, and my rigid eating plan, around someone new, and I couldn't handle that yet.

I was ashamed of who I was and how I behaved, so letting someone into my life, letting someone 'get to know me', just felt so uncomfortable (despite how much I desired the idea of love, romance and simply a boyfriend to hold my hand whilst we strolled down the street). It all just seemed so far-fetched to be honest, and it never seemed to slot into my brain the right way.

Did I want to go for meals, eating in front of someone I barely knew? No. Did I want to drink copious amounts of calorific wine, in bars filled with people? No. Did I want someone to take my clothes off and see me naked? Hell-To-The-Fucking-No! All those things that build that connection between two people on a date, or even in a full blown relationship, just weren't enjoyable for me yet. I was subconsciously terrified of letting anyone in.

I think that it's important to say here that if you're not ready to do that either, then that's okay. I'm recovering at a really bumpy pace - I spent years eating the same foods, at the same times and planning everything meticulously. It's only after taking my time, doing what I was comfortable enough to do each day, and then occasionally pushing myself out of comfort zone when life presented itself as a challenge, that I'm able to sit here today and say I'm living a much more free life in that sense of things.

If you're not comfortable eating on a date, around someone you don't know (or what it might be that's that's giving you stress), then don't do it. Don't push yourself too far for the sake of someone liking you.


Nevertheless, lets fast forward to the age of 19. I was with my first boyfriend - not the best of relationships I have to say, but it was my first experience of having someone so close to me and seeing how they would deal with my eating disorder.

I'll be frank, it was shit and they were shit. This person wasn't made to care for another or to adhere to a partner in their lowest point. It was exactly the experience you DON'T need when you're opening yourself up to someone and leaving yourself vulnerable.

I'd open about aspects of my eating disorder to this person and it was like it was going through one ear and out the other. I'd explain how I felt confused by food, and the fact that when I was with him I felt 'out-of-control' because I couldn't eat exactly what I wanted or know exactly what x,y or z was in it. I confided in them about personal topics and they weren't dealt with with care, but aggression and frustration.

I'd do the usual 'I feel ugly today' thing, and be greeted with a 'do something about it then?', 'lose some weight', rather than a comforting 'well, you're not, that's what your head is telling you'. Because, IT WAS, it was my head feeling messed up. Sometimes you just need reassurance that you're not all that bad - sometimes it's all you need to get you through the day - and I didn't get that.

I felt this person didn't understand what I was actually dealing with, and didn't seem to care about wanting to. They didn't want to sit down and let me try and explain what the demons inside my head were saying, they didn't want to try and make me feel more comfortable at their house in terms of food. They just let the whole thing swallow me alive. I was left feeling so messed up in terms of how I saw food, how I saw myself and how I saw the idea of a 'relationship'. And, unfortunately, the words said to me over that course of time, were the things that lead to a pretty messy relapse last year.

It was ironic that prior to this relationship, I was doing so so well in my recovery. I ate well, looked after myself and didn't let the fear of food stop me from going out, working and seeing friends. I barely partook in any ED behaviors and I could almost see a light at the end of the tunnel - what a relief. I was at the highest, content point that I'd been in a very long time.

It's a shame that this relationship tore me down so much. I wonder how I feel now if all that hadn't have happened? But, we live and we learn, and it truly was a huge learning curve to me about trusting people or confiding in them because, sadly, some people don't want to help you. That's the sad truth. Some people don't want to understand why you think the way you do or nurture you into your best self. Some people will find you a burden, or think you're doing it for attention, but fuck them. Find yourself someone who's going to listen to you, and listen well. We all deserve someone who's human enough to want to understand.


When said 'ex' and I broke up, I was heartbroken.

You know how first heartbreaks are? I sobbed like someone had died, sat in bed staring blankly at Netflix for hours on end. It was a feeling I had never dealt with before and never would want to experience again. The thing that was strangest to me though, was that my appetite completely disappeared. It vanished. I didn't want to eat a thing.

Now, there's this weird stereotype that people with ED's don't want to eat, but the irony is, WE DO. We love food, we thrive off those small tiny meals we let ourselves have on our rigid little meal plans. We can't wait till it hits 6pm so that we can finally get to snack on that 75 calorie apple. The whole thing is that we love food so much that it terrifies us. It terrifies us that we have this huge obsession with this thing that can make us look or feel a certain way.

Even at my absolute lowest weight, I would eat. I would eat very little, sure, but I would count down the hours until the next time I would allow myself to enjoy some kind of food.

It's an obsession, it's a fixation on your body and your 'emptiness', it's not a hate for wanting to eat, it's the feeling that eating gives us afterwards.

I mean of course, I can't group everyone together, but as someone who's discussed this for a while, I've learnt that that's a lot of people's outlooks on things.

Anyway, back to what I was saying, this 'lack of appetite' was new to me. I had always been so obsessed with food, thinking about when the next time I would eat would be. But this, this was like my Anorexia's Christmas's had all come at once, screaming 'yay, she finally doesn't want to eat' and fantasizing about this new tiny body I could have. I found myself loving the emptiness I was feeling, thriving off the idea that my body didn't feel hunger anymore. For about a week after that nightmare of a break up, I think the most I ate was a Boots meal deal on my way home from London one evening, but it felt *toxicly* liberating.

I told myself, 'fuck him, I'm going to get really skinny and really pretty'. I thought this lack of appetite was going to last forever and I was going to finally be that tiny anorexic girl again. Obviously eventually, my own brain decided to over-ride that. Thankfully I was at a point where I didn't truly want to go back down the rabbit hole. But, it's interesting to me to think about not just how that relationship affected me, but the break up too. It all in all, was the worst thing that happened to my mental health - it's sent me on a slippery slope - the lack of love and nurture I experienced swore me off trusting anyone with that side of myself and my emotions. I never thought I'd get into a relationship after that again.

"Even though you might feel weary of it all, there will be room in the future to know love again."

The end of 2018 hits and Josh and I get together. I won't bore you with the details of how, but it happened. I got over those trust issues and opened myself up to someone new. Thankfully, this time, it was the right person.

As I said at the beginning, we've now been together for 8 months (despite it feeling like 2 years), and I can't honestly express to you how grateful I am to have met someone like him. The past 8 months have had their ups and downs eating disorder-wise, of course, but to have someone beside you who's willing to help you piece yourself back together is what anyone who is dealing with something like that truly deserves.

Oddly, I was nervous about dating Josh. He was the 2nd person I'd been on a date with since my ex and I really wasn't sure if I wanted to 'burden' someone with all my issues again, but I couldn't help it, I fancied him... I fancied him a lot.

Our first date was dreamy, (I want to go into detail and tell you all about how cute he is, but I'll save it for another time), he asked me all about my writing, how honest it was and how I have the confidence to write about the things that I do (I'm still at it now, clearly haha) and I got to explain myself, my experiences, my eating disorders, in the most comfortable way possible. And, I felt calm discussing it. I felt like he wanted to know and wanted to listen. It was refreshing, honestly. Even when the prospect of food came about, I didn't panic. I had a twinge of 'do you really want to let this hunky boy see you scoff down a cheese burger?' but all in all, I just wanted to be in his company. Luckily, we both just decided to go for another drink instead, so there was no cheese burger scoffing that night.

I'd never had a first date like it. I'd never sat there and opened myself up like that and felt like someone had reciprocated it so kindly. It was clear to me that he was a caring person, and after feeling like a neglected puppy for so long, it was nice for someone to kind of say 'I'm here, I'll listen'.


Let's time travel our way to the present and I'm in a very confident (yet, occasionally all over the place) mindset around food right now. I eat as well as possible, yet still allow myself to have treat if I fancy it (sometimes I find that triggering, but I've gotten to place where I always seem to pull myself back on track.) I'm still kind of uncomfortable with my body - I say 'kind of' because, it's still hard for me to not sit (or lie-down *wink wink*) without thinking about what I look like, wondering what I look like from x,y or z angles or worrying that I'm squishing someone cause I'm 'so fat' *rolls eyes*. I'm very hung-up on my appearance still, but considering I never took my bra off, treated myself to sexy lingerie or found myself taking a naughty picture in the past (lol, I'm sorry mum), it's safe to say I've come a long way from where I was.

Josh has been through a lot with me since we got together. I've had points where I've been starving myself, where I've hated myself so much I've almost drowned myself with packets of pills, where I've been purging food and where I've binged and binged for weeks on end. Yet, there has not been one moment where he's not wanted to help me.

A while back, I was upset about something (probably the size of my thighs, let's be honest) and Josh said to me 'I'm going to read about this, I want to understand this better', and he did. He took the time to figure me out. No one, besides my Mum and Dad, had ever gone to that length to understand me before. No one had put that effort in to try and make me feel better again.

He's the kind of guy that kind of gets when I say 'I feel ugly today', that I'm actually saying 'help, I'm spiraling, I feel down about myself and just need you to tell me it's okay'. And he always makes me feel better, and reminds me that I'm not losing my mind like I feel I am.

Since the day I met him, I felt like I could trust him and I think that's extremely important. When you're dealing with something like an Eating Disorder in a relationship, the best thing you can do is trust and be open with the person your with. Obviously, it's good to know if their the right person to trust first of course, but being honest with this kind of thing is the only way the person your with can understand you, or at least try to.

Naturally, on occasion, Josh still doesn't get what I'm thinking sometimes. Why would he? He doesn't think the same way about food or himself as I do. For example, I had an absolutely crappy day the other week and when I went to meet Josh at work, he told me to pop to ASDA and get something for us to cook for tea. I panicked. I walked to ASDA, picked up a basket, turned round and instantly went lightheaded. 'I DON'T WANT TO BE IN A SUPER MARKET', I thought. The last thing I wanted at that moment, was to be put in charge of picking ingredients for food, or to be walking round isles of confectionery - chocolate taunting me from the shelves. I picked up some random stuff that I know we'd cooked before and left. Josh couldn't sense that I wasn't feeling that great... again, why would he? He only asked me to go to ASDA. So, that's when I had to explain. I had to dissect the situation and make it clearer to him.

Explaining yourself is honestly so key in letting your boyfriend/girlfriend or whoever recognize what is going on. At the end of the day, eating disorders are confusing as fuck, and everyone's head doesn't work the same. People have different habits, people have different 'fear foods', some people eat more, some people eat less, some people weigh more, some people weigh less - no matter what you do, what you look like or who you are, your eating disorder is valid and explaining yourself and confiding in your partner is the only way they're also going to understand just how valid it is.


Being with Josh isn't going to be the answer to all my ED related prayers. He's not come into my life to fix me and make my life all rosy again, I'm in charge of that, but he can be right by my side whilst I do it.

Before I met him, I was terrified of cooking, being in the kitchen, people watching what I cooked or what I ate. I told him this and over the past 8 months, although I've not become Gordon Ramsay, he's helped me try and get over that. Sometimes it involves tough love, mostly about how irrational I'm being sometimes, but it's made me grow as a person and I really appreciate that he was willing to help stop me feeling that way.

I know it's within our ED nature to hide things, there are still some little things that I keep hidden deep down inside me, but to make a relationship work, you have to let your partner in. You have to let down those walls and let them support you, or at least know what's going on.

If I couldn't explain to Josh that 'today I would really like to eat a little healthier because the other day I treated myself to a take away with my friends and it's left me a little anxious and guilty' then he wouldn't know and would probably suggest something more indulgent than what I was comfortable with, leaving me feeling worse.

Me being able to confide in him like that, means he's able to say 'okay, cool, let's look at some recipes and make some good for us' and I don't spend the rest of my evening planning how I'm not going to eat for a week.

"I don't need a love that sweeps me off my feet, I need one that tends to my roots."

If I think back to 4 years ago, I would never have imagined that I would be living the life I am now. Yes, eating disorders are still in my life and yes, sometimes it's hard not to let that get in the way of my relationship, but at least I'm trying my best with it.

It helps to have someone close to you, to confide in and let all those confused thoughts out.

Let your partner know what you're going through and don't let yourself go through it alone, and equally, if you're in a relationship with someone with an ED, learn about it, let them tell you what they're thinking (no matter how irrational) and try to be understanding. Put yourself in the mindset of someone who's afraid of spiders, and just replace the spider with food... sometimes even something as simple as that can make the whole thing easier to look at.

Dealing With Eating Disorders In Relationships

Before beginning any post like this, I always like to point out that there may be subjects in here that people may be sensitive too, find triggering or upsetting, so please be aware of that if this could possibly affect you.


I've been in my current relationship now for almost 8 months, although honestly it feels like a lot longer than that. I never thought I could have a relationship that felt so strong or safe, especially with an eating disorder or 2 floating over my head.

It's hard to think about going out with someone when you've struggled with eating disorders. It's hard to put yourself out there, do the 'normal' relationship stuff, without all those little thoughts swirling through your head.

Food, and my relationship with it, has always been something I've struggled with when it came to the prospect of dating. Someone would ask me out for food or to the cinema or something like that, and I'd be checking the menus and nutritional information like a mad woman beforehand, and absolutely crapping myself over the idea of them wanting to buy sweets and popcorn to snack on. I'd find myself worrying over the idea that if it lead to anything else (I'm talking about sex guys, I'm talking about sex) that I would have indulged too much and look hideously fat by the time anything like that happened. It didn't help with those pre-date nerves, let's just say that.

It took me a long time to try and get over that 'control' of food when it came to meeting potential boyfriends (or just one-date-wonders in most cases) and it would be silly of me to try and explain how I ever did it, because I'm not 100% sure how.

I find that I seemed to have still been very disassociated throughout a lot of my 'dating time'. I remember each of them, don't get me wrong (and if any of those awful tinder dates are out there reading, then don't worry hun, you're not forgotten about), but I can't quite remember how I dealt with the whole food situation back then, I think I just avoided it altogether.


Most of the dates I ever went on were when I was around 17/18, so a while back for me to even think about really, and most of them never lead to anything more than a peck on the cheek. I used to think that was because I was little bit scared of guys, which... yeah, I definitely was, but I also feel like it subconsciously had something to do with the idea of having to alter my life, and my rigid eating plan, around someone new, and I couldn't handle that yet.

I was ashamed of who I was and how I behaved, so letting someone into my life, letting someone 'get to know me', just felt so uncomfortable (despite how much I desired the idea of love, romance and simply a boyfriend to hold my hand whilst we strolled down the street). It all just seemed so far-fetched to be honest, and it never seemed to slot into my brain the right way.

Did I want to go for meals, eating in front of someone I barely knew? No. Did I want to drink copious amounts of calorific wine, in bars filled with people? No. Did I want someone to take my clothes off and see me naked? Hell-To-The-Fucking-No! All those things that build that connection between two people on a date, or even in a full blown relationship, just weren't enjoyable for me yet. I was subconsciously terrified of letting anyone in.

I think that it's important to say here that if you're not ready to do that either, then that's okay. I'm recovering at a really bumpy pace - I spent years eating the same foods, at the same times and planning everything meticulously. It's only after taking my time, doing what I was comfortable enough to do each day, and then occasionally pushing myself out of comfort zone when life presented itself as a challenge, that I'm able to sit here today and say I'm living a much more free life in that sense of things.

If you're not comfortable eating on a date, around someone you don't know (or what it might be that's that's giving you stress), then don't do it. Don't push yourself too far for the sake of someone liking you.


Nevertheless, lets fast forward to the age of 19. I was with my first boyfriend - not the best of relationships I have to say, but it was my first experience of having someone so close to me and seeing how they would deal with my eating disorder.

I'll be frank, it was shit and they were shit. This person wasn't made to care for another or to adhere to a partner in their lowest point. It was exactly the experience you DON'T need when you're opening yourself up to someone and leaving yourself vulnerable.

I'd open about aspects of my eating disorder to this person and it was like it was going through one ear and out the other. I'd explain how I felt confused by food, and the fact that when I was with him I felt 'out-of-control' because I couldn't eat exactly what I wanted or know exactly what x,y or z was in it. I confided in them about personal topics and they weren't dealt with with care, but aggression and frustration.

I'd do the usual 'I feel ugly today' thing, and be greeted with a 'do something about it then?', 'lose some weight', rather than a comforting 'well, you're not, that's what your head is telling you'. Because, IT WAS, it was my head feeling messed up. Sometimes you just need reassurance that you're not all that bad - sometimes it's all you need to get you through the day - and I didn't get that.

I felt this person didn't understand what I was actually dealing with, and didn't seem to care about wanting to. They didn't want to sit down and let me try and explain what the demons inside my head were saying, they didn't want to try and make me feel more comfortable at their house in terms of food. They just let the whole thing swallow me alive. I was left feeling so messed up in terms of how I saw food, how I saw myself and how I saw the idea of a 'relationship'. And, unfortunately, the words said to me over that course of time, were the things that lead to a pretty messy relapse last year.

It was ironic that prior to this relationship, I was doing so so well in my recovery. I ate well, looked after myself and didn't let the fear of food stop me from going out, working and seeing friends. I barely partook in any ED behaviors and I could almost see a light at the end of the tunnel - what a relief. I was at the highest, content point that I'd been in a very long time.

It's a shame that this relationship tore me down so much. I wonder how I feel now if all that hadn't have happened? But, we live and we learn, and it truly was a huge learning curve to me about trusting people or confiding in them because, sadly, some people don't want to help you. That's the sad truth. Some people don't want to understand why you think the way you do or nurture you into your best self. Some people will find you a burden, or think you're doing it for attention, but fuck them. Find yourself someone who's going to listen to you, and listen well. We all deserve someone who's human enough to want to understand.


When said 'ex' and I broke up, I was heartbroken.

You know how first heartbreaks are? I sobbed like someone had died, sat in bed staring blankly at Netflix for hours on end. It was a feeling I had never dealt with before and never would want to experience again. The thing that was strangest to me though, was that my appetite completely disappeared. It vanished. I didn't want to eat a thing.

Now, there's this weird stereotype that people with ED's don't want to eat, but the irony is, WE DO. We love food, we thrive off those small tiny meals we let ourselves have on our rigid little meal plans. We can't wait till it hits 6pm so that we can finally get to snack on that 75 calorie apple. The whole thing is that we love food so much that it terrifies us. It terrifies us that we have this huge obsession with this thing that can make us look or feel a certain way.

Even at my absolute lowest weight, I would eat. I would eat very little, sure, but I would count down the hours until the next time I would allow myself to enjoy some kind of food.

It's an obsession, it's a fixation on your body and your 'emptiness', it's not a hate for wanting to eat, it's the feeling that eating gives us afterwards.

I mean of course, I can't group everyone together, but as someone who's discussed this for a while, I've learnt that that's a lot of people's outlooks on things.

Anyway, back to what I was saying, this 'lack of appetite' was new to me. I had always been so obsessed with food, thinking about when the next time I would eat would be. But this, this was like my Anorexia's Christmas's had all come at once, screaming 'yay, she finally doesn't want to eat' and fantasizing about this new tiny body I could have. I found myself loving the emptiness I was feeling, thriving off the idea that my body didn't feel hunger anymore. For about a week after that nightmare of a break up, I think the most I ate was a Boots meal deal on my way home from London one evening, but it felt *toxicly* liberating.

I told myself, 'fuck him, I'm going to get really skinny and really pretty'. I thought this lack of appetite was going to last forever and I was going to finally be that tiny anorexic girl again. Obviously eventually, my own brain decided to over-ride that. Thankfully I was at a point where I didn't truly want to go back down the rabbit hole. But, it's interesting to me to think about not just how that relationship affected me, but the break up too. It all in all, was the worst thing that happened to my mental health - it's sent me on a slippery slope - the lack of love and nurture I experienced swore me off trusting anyone with that side of myself and my emotions. I never thought I'd get into a relationship after that again.

"Even though you might feel weary of it all, there will be room in the future to know love again."

The end of 2018 hits and Josh and I get together. I won't bore you with the details of how, but it happened. I got over those trust issues and opened myself up to someone new. Thankfully, this time, it was the right person.

As I said at the beginning, we've now been together for 8 months (despite it feeling like 2 years), and I can't honestly express to you how grateful I am to have met someone like him. The past 8 months have had their ups and downs eating disorder-wise, of course, but to have someone beside you who's willing to help you piece yourself back together is what anyone who is dealing with something like that truly deserves.

Oddly, I was nervous about dating Josh. He was the 2nd person I'd been on a date with since my ex and I really wasn't sure if I wanted to 'burden' someone with all my issues again, but I couldn't help it, I fancied him... I fancied him a lot.

Our first date was dreamy, (I want to go into detail and tell you all about how cute he is, but I'll save it for another time), he asked me all about my writing, how honest it was and how I have the confidence to write about the things that I do (I'm still at it now, clearly haha) and I got to explain myself, my experiences, my eating disorders, in the most comfortable way possible. And, I felt calm discussing it. I felt like he wanted to know and wanted to listen. It was refreshing, honestly. Even when the prospect of food came about, I didn't panic. I had a twinge of 'do you really want to let this hunky boy see you scoff down a cheese burger?' but all in all, I just wanted to be in his company. Luckily, we both just decided to go for another drink instead, so there was no cheese burger scoffing that night.

I'd never had a first date like it. I'd never sat there and opened myself up like that and felt like someone had reciprocated it so kindly. It was clear to me that he was a caring person, and after feeling like a neglected puppy for so long, it was nice for someone to kind of say 'I'm here, I'll listen'.


Let's time travel our way to the present and I'm in a very confident (yet, occasionally all over the place) mindset around food right now. I eat as well as possible, yet still allow myself to have treat if I fancy it (sometimes I find that triggering, but I've gotten to place where I always seem to pull myself back on track.) I'm still kind of uncomfortable with my body - I say 'kind of' because, it's still hard for me to not sit (or lie-down *wink wink*) without thinking about what I look like, wondering what I look like from x,y or z angles or worrying that I'm squishing someone cause I'm 'so fat' *rolls eyes*. I'm very hung-up on my appearance still, but considering I never took my bra off, treated myself to sexy lingerie or found myself taking a naughty picture in the past (lol, I'm sorry mum), it's safe to say I've come a long way from where I was.

Josh has been through a lot with me since we got together. I've had points where I've been starving myself, where I've hated myself so much I've almost drowned myself with packets of pills, where I've been purging food and where I've binged and binged for weeks on end. Yet, there has not been one moment where he's not wanted to help me.

A while back, I was upset about something (probably the size of my thighs, let's be honest) and Josh said to me 'I'm going to read about this, I want to understand this better', and he did. He took the time to figure me out. No one, besides my Mum and Dad, had ever gone to that length to understand me before. No one had put that effort in to try and make me feel better again.

He's the kind of guy that kind of gets when I say 'I feel ugly today', that I'm actually saying 'help, I'm spiraling, I feel down about myself and just need you to tell me it's okay'. And he always makes me feel better, and reminds me that I'm not losing my mind like I feel I am.

Since the day I met him, I felt like I could trust him and I think that's extremely important. When you're dealing with something like an Eating Disorder in a relationship, the best thing you can do is trust and be open with the person your with. Obviously, it's good to know if their the right person to trust first of course, but being honest with this kind of thing is the only way the person your with can understand you, or at least try to.

Naturally, on occasion, Josh still doesn't get what I'm thinking sometimes. Why would he? He doesn't think the same way about food or himself as I do. For example, I had an absolutely crappy day the other week and when I went to meet Josh at work, he told me to pop to ASDA and get something for us to cook for tea. I panicked. I walked to ASDA, picked up a basket, turned round and instantly went lightheaded. 'I DON'T WANT TO BE IN A SUPER MARKET', I thought. The last thing I wanted at that moment, was to be put in charge of picking ingredients for food, or to be walking round isles of confectionery - chocolate taunting me from the shelves. I picked up some random stuff that I know we'd cooked before and left. Josh couldn't sense that I wasn't feeling that great... again, why would he? He only asked me to go to ASDA. So, that's when I had to explain. I had to dissect the situation and make it clearer to him.

Explaining yourself is honestly so key in letting your boyfriend/girlfriend or whoever recognize what is going on. At the end of the day, eating disorders are confusing as fuck, and everyone's head doesn't work the same. People have different habits, people have different 'fear foods', some people eat more, some people eat less, some people weigh more, some people weigh less - no matter what you do, what you look like or who you are, your eating disorder is valid and explaining yourself and confiding in your partner is the only way they're also going to understand just how valid it is.


Being with Josh isn't going to be the answer to all my ED related prayers. He's not come into my life to fix me and make my life all rosy again, I'm in charge of that, but he can be right by my side whilst I do it.

Before I met him, I was terrified of cooking, being in the kitchen, people watching what I cooked or what I ate. I told him this and over the past 8 months, although I've not become Gordon Ramsay, he's helped me try and get over that. Sometimes it involves tough love, mostly about how irrational I'm being sometimes, but it's made me grow as a person and I really appreciate that he was willing to help stop me feeling that way.

I know it's within our ED nature to hide things, there are still some little things that I keep hidden deep down inside me, but to make a relationship work, you have to let your partner in. You have to let down those walls and let them support you, or at least know what's going on.

If I couldn't explain to Josh that 'today I would really like to eat a little healthier because the other day I treated myself to a take away with my friends and it's left me a little anxious and guilty' then he wouldn't know and would probably suggest something more indulgent than what I was comfortable with, leaving me feeling worse.

Me being able to confide in him like that, means he's able to say 'okay, cool, let's look at some recipes and make some good for us' and I don't spend the rest of my evening planning how I'm not going to eat for a week.

"I don't need a love that sweeps me off my feet, I need one that tends to my roots."

If I think back to 4 years ago, I would never have imagined that I would be living the life I am now. Yes, eating disorders are still in my life and yes, sometimes it's hard not to let that get in the way of my relationship, but at least I'm trying my best with it.

It helps to have someone close to you, to confide in and let all those confused thoughts out.

Let your partner know what you're going through and don't let yourself go through it alone, and equally, if you're in a relationship with someone with an ED, learn about it, let them tell you what they're thinking (no matter how irrational) and try to be understanding. Put yourself in the mindset of someone who's afraid of spiders, and just replace the spider with food... sometimes even something as simple as that can make the whole thing easier to look at.

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