Not A Typical Teenager: May 2016

Sunday, 29 May 2016

8 Things I wish I'd Known When I Started Blogging

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I started blogging on the 29th of June 2014. It's been nearly 2 years now. I've learnt so much from doing this, although there are some things I wish I'd known before I started; and here they are.

1) Your email inbox will remain quiet
I thought I would be receiving comments and emails when I first started blogging, but it takes time before people start to comment on what you write.

2) It's about quality; not quantity
When I first started out, I was posting almost every day, and it was giving my page views a spike so I thought what I was doing must be right. However, it didn't take long for me to realize that quality is what retained your readers, not quantity. People won't keep returning for lots of bad content, but they will for good content.

3) Use social media in the right way
If your looking to up your views, social media is a great place to start. However, it's important that you don't spam people constantly with links to your blog. Be nice, talk to new people, comment on other blogs. Being nice will be helpful.

4) Be consistent
Don't promise your viewers a new post every week if that's not what they're going to get. Don't start a social media platform that you aren't going to use. Give your viewers consistency or notice if your going to be inconsistent.

5) A good quality post takes a long time to write
It can take all of 5 minutes to get down a quick draft, but good quality content takes time to create. Give it the time it deserves and your viewers will too!

6) Layout is important
The layout of your blog is what draws readers in. We all prefer to look at things that we find aesthetically pleasing, so make your blog something nice to look at. People are more likely to stay if the time you put in is visible on the page

7) Do an "about me" PAGE
It's easy to try and cram you "about me" page on the side of your blog and write something short and sweet. However, chances are if people want to know about you, they want to know more than your age. It's not limited to a character count; this isn't twitter after all. Make your "about me" section a page and talk about yourself. It's probably the easiest subject to talk about.

8) Be patient
So you've hit a creative wall? So what your views have taken a dip? It's not the worst thing in the world. The important thing is that you don't give up. If you don't keep writing, you won't break through the wall. If you take your blog down, you'll have no views. It takes time; all good things do.

These are a few things to remember while you get started. Do you have anything to add to this list of things for blogging beginners? Do you have any questions about anything on this list or anything else blog related? Let me know in the comments or email me at bracesandglasses128@gmail.com.

Stay Un-Typical

Ashleigh xxx

Sunday, 22 May 2016

My Mental Health Experience

My post on Wednesday (here), was about the introduction of a new hashtag to get people to talk about their mental health so we can all support each other and help remove the stigma around it, so today, I'm going to talk about my own mental health experience.

My mental health has always been good, and I've never really struggled to keep my mind in a positive state. My main mood is happy. Exams are stressful, and I put a lot of pressure on myself which can leave me feeling a bit negative, but on the whole my mental health is great.

I think this can make people wonder why I care so much about removing the stigma around mental health issues. It's mainly because lots of my friends have suffered and still suffer in silence because of the stigma around mental health, and it makes me feel pretty useless and unable to help. I can't relate to them. I just feel that if the stigma were removed, no one would have to suffer in silence anymore, and everyone could help each other.

Maybe I'm just really na├»ve. I'm a happy person. I love being happy; who doesn't? But I want to help other people feel the same. I did another post more in depth about a few of my friends I've spoken to about mental health (here).

I suppose it's difficult to feel helpless. It's awful to watch the people closest to you suffer, and I just want to help. I know how difficult it is to come out and talk about your mental health experiences if they've been negative, but your experiences might just help someone else through a tough time, and let you know you're not alone; because you aren't.

I challenge you to do something brave and share your own experiences somewhere. On twitter, using the #KeepThisConvoGoing, in the comments, on Reddit, wherever you feel most comfortable, and to also reply to someone else. Be there for them, or give them advice. Just please be nice and polite. Let's remove the stigma, and spread the love :)

Stay Un-Typical

Ashleigh xxx

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

#KeepThisConvoGoing

This week is mental health awareness week, and in honour of this I'm going to talk about mental health today, because why not. I know the theme of this mental health awareness week is relationships, but I'm going to stray away from that and just talk about mental health on the whole.

There is a stigma around mental health; it seems to be a kind of taboo thing to talk about. However, we can get rid of the stigma. The best way to get rid of this kind of stigma is to talk about it; but we can't just talk about the negative side of it. Most of the conversation is just about negative mental health; and that's if the conversation has been started in the first place! We need to talk about how we can change it.

We should also talk about the positive side of mental health. There are many blog posts and articles which talk about negative mental health and people's struggles with it. However, why aren't we talking about positive mental health as well? Why don't we talk equally about both? It's strange because we talk a lot about what a healthy body looks like, and the variations of it, but not so much about what a healthy mind looks like.

I also think we need to tell people who don't know anything about mental health what they can do to help. I have seen so many articles about what NOT to say to someone with depression or anxiety etc. But not as many about how we can help people suffering with mental health issues and what we can say or do to help them. Telling people what they can do would be a whole lot more helpful and possibly even open up the conversation of mental health to people who don't have an understanding of it or an experience of it.

The main message through this; we need to talk about mental health. It may be mental health awareness week, but we need to keep the conversation going further than this week. We need to talk about our experiences with mental health and support each other. So let's do it. Share this post around. Write your own blog post about your experience or how we can help or something mental health related and share it around. Tweet about it. Comment your input. If you have anything shareable, tag me in the tweet @_not_typical_ and use the hashtag #KeepThisConvoGoing because that's exactly what we need to do. We can keep this conversation going.

Please share this idea and use the hashtag. Let's combat the stigma!

Stay Un-Typical

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Summer of Matcha: Raspberry and Mint

Obviously, I'm very excited
to be making some Matcha
Tea.
This week, I applied to the Summer of Matcha competition and
received my free sample of 10g in the post as well as instructions for when making the tea. I picked the original flavor of tea because I felt that this wouldn't limit me to just one flavor, and I could then experiment with a lot more flavor than I could if i'd picked the mint or ginger, because they are quite specific. I was very very excited to try and create a recipe that tasted great, but I still wanted the recipe to be healthy, as that's kind of the idea of Matcha tea.

So yesterday, I took a trip to Tesco and bought about £15 worth of fruit to experiment with so I could pick my favorite flavor of tea/smoothie/mocktail. I made a few different drinks and then picked my favorite.

From the title of this post, you can see the winner was raspberry and mint, so here's the recipe and the steps.

Ingredients
Blender before blending
  • Raspberries - 20
  • Mint leaves - 3
  • Ice cubes - 5
  • Honey - add to your taste
  • Milk - 2 tablespoons
  • Matcha Tea - See instructions
  • Boiling water - half a mug
Utensils
  • Blender
  • Sieve/Strainer
  • Glass
  • Spoon
  • Mug
  • Ice Cube Tray
Instructions - Before making
The Ice Cubes look pretty
awesome when they're done
  • Put the kettle on to boil
  • Fill your mug with two table scoops of Matcha tea
  • Pour half a mug of boiling water over the tea and whisk
  • Pour this mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze
Instructions - When making
  • Repeat the first 3 steps of before making
  • Put your raspberries, mint leaves, ice cubes, milk, and the Matcha tea you just prepared into the blender and blend for a minute then pulse for thirty seconds
  • Put your blended mixture through a sieve. This may take some time, and I suggest you mix the mixture while it's in the sieve to get out as much liquid as you can
  • Taste the strained liquid. Is it too bitter for you? If so, add a tea spoon of honey and mix thoroughly. Repeat this step to taste.
  • Pour into a fancy glass to make it look more like a cocktail than a smoothie
  • Take your ice cubes out of the freezer; they look really cool
  • Add them to your glass
  • Take a picture and tweet me your fantastic looking smoothie @_not_typical_
  • A smoothie in a champagne
    flute because it looks
    freakin' awesome!
  • Enjoy!
I didn't decide the ingredients based upon their health
benefits, but here are some health benefits of the ingredients.

Raspberries contain strong antioxidants like vitamin C and Gallic acid, which help to fight against cancer and heart and circulatory disease.

Mint helps to cleanse your palate and also aids digestion, and so is good for an upset stomach.

Honey contains both flavonoids and antioxidants which reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. They can ease your throat if you have a sore throat or cold, and it can help to improve your skin.

Thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post, please share it around and give it a try. Let me know how you go if you do try it.

Stay Un-Typical

Ashleigh xxx


Wednesday, 11 May 2016

6 Fantastic Artists That You Need To Listen To

Music is practically guaranteed to calm me in any situation: whether I'm listening or playing. Music has touched my life in so many different ways and I am so thankful for that. I can feel music in my bones when I listen to it, and there are some songs which just make my hairs stand on end.

Since music is something I'm so passionate about, I thought I'd do a list of my favorite artists, so here goes.

1) Nina Nesbitt
I discovered Nina because one of the girls in school had raved about her and showed me her song We'll Be Back For More and I was hooked. Her voice is so great and if you like acoustic, positive stuff, Nina Nesbitt is the artist for you. Her music makes me so so happy, and I just ant to be her. Here's her album Peroxide.

2) U2
This one is my dad's fault. He used to put me on his shoulders when I was about 3 and dance about to the song Elevation. Since then, I've loved them. This picture to the left isn't of U2, (NO WAY!!!) but of a very happy Ashleigh while they played my favorite song  City of Blinding Lights (thanks to the Devil Wears Prada, which has an awesome soundtrack). Here's the album The Joshua Tree.


3) Avril Lavigne
I loved the song Skater Boy when it first came on the radio and when I used to listen to pop party 1 on repeat. Now I have 33 Avril Lavigne songs on my phone and cannot wait for her to tour the UK so I can go see her live. Her music is great, and I don't think she ages at all. I really enjoy her old stuff, but I do like her new album called Avril Lavigne.

4) 2Cellos
2Cellos are exactly what it says on the tin; 2 cello players. They play covers of songs on the cello. I first found them when I saw them cover Where The Streets Have No Name. They play so amazingly and it's so cool to think that it's just 2 instruments. The atmosphere that all of their live concerts looks fantastic. Here's their album 2Cellos.


5) He is We
This band originally came up on my news feed on Facebook with the song I wouldn't mind playing over an animated video (click here). I thought this song was very pretty and the vocals just incredible. I started listening to more of their stuff and still listen now.
Here's the link to their album My Forever.

6) The Vitamin String Quartet
I really enjoy classical covers of popular songs. I first heard these in the finale of a modern family season with the song Home, although I started to really listen to them after I heard their cover of the song Riptide. I can't link a specific album for these because they do such a mix and I can't pick, but I'm sure you can find one of you have a nose.

These are only some of my favorite artists. I thought I'd share this with you because music calms me, and I love finding new artists and new music to listen to. What music calms you down? Do you have any artists for me to listen to? Pleas let me know in the comments or on twitter.

Stay Un-Typical

Ashleigh xxx





Sunday, 8 May 2016

Black Magic - A Review

There's not doubt that little mix are a great girl band, and I'm going to start this by saying that because I genuinely think they are great.

For anyone who doesn't know who little mix are, they are a girl group who found fame on The X Factor in 2011, and have gone from strength to strength since they won.

Black magic is a song that they released in early 2015, and it has been a major success. It's catchy, has a very well put together music video, and the vocals are great, (like with all little mix songs). However, I do have some issues.

The music video starts out with four stereotypical nerdy girls (the photo above), pining after a boy who already has a girlfriend,(who isn't very nice to them). The four girls then proceed to visit the library where they find a book which contains "black magic".

They take this book home and recite a spell from it. When they get to school/college the next day, they look like the picture to the left.

This book has changed the way the girls dress and their fashion sense and the make up they choose to apply.

These girls then walk over to boy earlier mentioned who is with his girlfriend, and cast a spell on her which embarrasses her and causes her to run away looking quite upset. It then shows another group of girls laughing at a stereo-typically nerdy boy, who little mix cast a spell on and this new group of girls are suddenly attracted to the boy they were just laughing at.

My issue with this video is that it will be watched by young girls and young boys. This video teaches young girls who are nerdy and who care about their studies that if they want a boy they like, they should change. There is nothing to be ashamed of if you care about your studies. It's something you should be proud of and something you should keep doing, and if a boy wants you to change for you to be with him, he's someone you could do without in your life.

This isn't new idea. I could have picked on Grease, or Princess Diaries. I chose this particular piece of media because it was released so recently and we are now in the age of promoting gender equality. We shouldn't be teaching girls or boys that they need to change to find love, or that it's okay to shame someone in order to gain approval. We should be teaching them to be proud of who they are and to accept other people even if they are different.

I really do think little mix are a great group, and they have an amazing talent. I hope they carry on creating, I just hope it's more songs like 'wings';songs that promote being independent and chasing your dreams.

What do you think? Am I over-reacting? Should we be sending a more positive message to young girls and boys? Let me know in the comments or by email

Stay Un-Typical

Ashleigh xxx