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Viewing the world from a different perspective is my secret superpower

Written by our Guest Author, Mellissa Mercury.

I’ve always been told that I’m unconventional. When faced with an office environment, I felt incredibly uncomfortable + always thought I did an okay job at hiding it. I observed the behaviour of others, picked up on body language, facial expressions + tone of voice, all a huge part of how we communicate. 

I became a chameleon, like most successful sales people. I mirrored those around me + at times, almost had myself fooled. On paper, my sales career was excellent, I worked for international media companies, managed a team, had big brand clients + pulled off six figure deals; but no matter which company or medium I worked within, something always felt off… even when sitting underneath a sign proclaiming ‘Be You, Belong’. Being myself felt wrong.

Like a lot of people, the pandemic forced me to reframe my life. I’d just started a new job when the first lockdown happened, so no time to bond with my colleagues face to face. I found the switch to being reliant purely on email + WhatsApp jarring. I’ve always struggled to read between the lines so frantic messages at all hours of the day from faceless managers + clients could make my head spin. Without crystal clear instructions or the opportunity to ask questions, I quickly found myself drowning, with no support or escape rope. It wasn’t healthy. 

Early in my career, I was often told that I’d misunderstood a situation. During the pandemic I’ve been told, as though I was a petulant child, that I asked too many questions. My frustrations grew. I could see ways of making things efficient but felt ignored.

After a year of overworking + bordering on burnout, I sought the advice of a careers adviser. A deep-dive into my career history, personal life + interests, threw up the possibility of me being on the spectrum. Automatically I wanted to shut the conversation down. I’ve always achieved good grades, have a high level of empathy + love being around people, so how could I be autistic?

I started researching + learnt about the difference in how autism typically presents itself in women vs men. Something clicked, this feeling of not fitting in + pretending to, wasn’t just imposter syndrome, it was ‘masking’ a common behaviour in women with autism + often done completely subconsciously.

I ended up contacting my local Mencap + had a positive screening for autism. Mencap work with adults with ‘high-functioning autism’ + in the last couple of years have seen a big increase in the number of women.

After my screening, I ended up leaving not only my job, but the entire sales + media industry. It didn’t fit my personality, all it did was amplify my feelings of being an outsider + made me feel drained. 

For years I’ve been reading tarot cards as a hobby, I don’t claim to be a psychic, but feel tarot is more psychology. The cards simply present you with a version of reality, if you can relate + see a way to take the advice on board, that’s great, equally if your instinct takes over + you want the opposite from the advice given, then you’ve also learnt something really powerful – the ability to trust your gut instinct.

Tarot has been a transformational tool in not only my journey to connect with my autism, but as a way for me to unpack my anxieties, explore my mental health + feel empowered when faced with difficult decisions. 

While my ability to see from a different perspective was not a right fight for the corporate world, with tarot I’m able to channel this into something beautiful. I’ve read the cards for over 1,000 clients from all walks of life, my empathy + outside the box thinking has helped others understand themselves in a new way. 

My journey here is just beginning but already I’ve been privileged to read tarot at Latitude Festival, started a residency at Lost Boys in Camden, where I also teach classes on how to read tarot + as a guest reader at private + corporate parties.

I’m much happier in life now that I don’t have to stress about holding myself to a standard which wasn’t authentic. I understand that autism is a condition for life, I’ve always had it + always will, so rather than suppress it, I’m embracing it. It is my superpower + I’m on a mission to empower others to champion their differences + find the positives in situations which otherwise could be overwhelming.

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Why It’s Necessary to Choose Yourself First with The Weekly Woman

As an avid, recovering people pleaser, I know first-hand how difficult it can be to put yourself first. 

You feel guilty for saying no. 

You question yourself and what you want. 

You subconsciously feel selfish for putting your needs ahead of others. 

When we start to set boundaries with ourselves and those around us, it creates momentum for creating the dream life we actually want to live, rather than allowing others to dictate how our lives should play out. 

Need a push on why you should take the plunge to prioritise yourself? 

Here are 7 things to remember on your journey of choosing yourself first. 

  • When you choose yourself first, you get to be your most authentic self. 

From my personal experience, the people around me who inspire me most are the ones who are not afraid to go after what they want in life, even if the things they want seem wild to people around them. 

Going after what you enjoy and love to do will inspire so many others to do the same. 

  • The people who are meant for you will naturally gravitate to you. 

One piece of advice I heard recently which has stuck with me is that ‘people will only meet you as deep as they meet themselves.’  

It’s okay to be at different stages in your lives and for people to come in and out of your life as a result. I’m a big believer that what is meant to be will come full circle, but you need to build a life for yourself first and one that truly brings you joy, rather than focusing on trying to please everyone around you. 

  • Not everyone is destined to keep a seat at your table. 

Not everyone is going to agree with you. 

But when we respect our own boundaries and needs, we create space for new opportunities to come into our lives that fit with our ideal idea of our lives. We begin to care less about other people’s opinions because we are living a life that is truly authentic and true. 

  • It’s important to remember to forgive yourself first. 

On this journey of choosing yourself first, you’re going to make mistakes. You’re not going to get it right the first time. 

It’s human nature to make mistakes [and similarly to beat ourselves up over these mistakes]. 

Use this time to be compassionate with yourself – it’s not going to be a perfect streamlined approach or journey to your new destination. There’s going to be speedbumps. But forgive yourself and keep it moving. 

  • You do not need to ever feel guilty for setting boundaries for yourself. 

This goes without saying. 

And no one should ever make you feel guilty for setting these boundaries either. 

But when we’ve had these beliefs engrained in us for such a long time, maybe even decades, it’s natural to feel resistance to change. Start by getting comfortable with saying no to the small stuff and gradually build yourself up to the bigger things. 

  • No matter how good other people’s lives look on social media, remember we’re all creating highlight reels of the best moments. 

No one has their life together [least of all me].

Not knowing what you want to do in life has a bad reputation, but it should be an exhilarating feeling. It means you’re no longer willing to put up with the life you’ve been living. It means you want more for yourself. It means you’re about to start doing things to level up your life. 

Don’t fear change or the feeling of the unknown. After all, change is the only constant thing in our lives. 

Living a life that is someone else’s idea of happiness, is not a life you want to be living. 

  • It’s okay to ask for help and support through the process. 

Speaking from experience, choosing yourself and putting yourself on the self-development path can become a lonely process. Don’t make the mistake of isolating yourself too much at this time, especially at the beginning. 

Reach out to people you feel comfortable with or who you can trust. 

Or join groups and communities online to connect with people with similar interests.

If you remember one thing, it should be this: you have the power to create the life you want and deserve. Don’t let anyone tell you that going after what you want is selfish. 

Follow @theweeklywoman for more wellbeing and mindful living tips.

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The ever-changing versions of success

We are over the moon to showcase our guest author Emily, Founder, Business + Life Coach at Emily Button Creative. Emily supports women who feel stuck + helps them to be their own boss + create a purposeful life on their own terms. Let’s explore Emily’s ever-changing versions of success.

In my twenties, I thought I had my version of success pretty much nailed + was well on my way up the corporate career ladder. I wasn’t majorly driven by money [but appreciated what it allowed me in life] but more driven by what I could achieve if I set my mind to it [a lesson that first paid off at university where I left with a 1st class degree!] I soon started ticking off my goals – buying a house, getting engaged + then married, getting my Director position, + being the youngest compared to my peers by 10-15 years. But it never felt the way I imagined it to!

Through a turbulent Saturn’s return period in 2016 [for those of you heading towards your late twenties, I *implore* you to do some research on it even if you aren’t a huge astrology convert!] I embarked on a journey of self-discovery to make big changes in my life. Starting with working with a coach to help understand what is truly important to me + what I wanted to be doing from a career perspective.

I realised that I was no longer connected to the work I was doing in the corporate world. I didn’t want more money or more things – instead, I wanted to do work that I loved + was passionate about, as well as the ability to work flexibly around a potential family. This change in thinking did cause quite a bit of inner turmoil as I felt like I’d come to a crossroads + didn’t know which way to turn – I just knew the path I was on workwise wasn’t the right one for me.

Falling pregnant in late 2018 + thinking about work post-baby further cemented the need to radically change things up + I fully immersed myself in the practice of coaching + made the decision to become self-employed. Early 2020 then saw me resign from my corporate job + become my own boss!

Having a baby + becoming self-employed meant I had to redefine what success meant for me. Becoming a first-time mum meant my ambition hadn’t waned [I wrote a blog feature on my website about tips for new mothers to keep mentally stimulated] but rather my priorities have shifted. I worked all hours + hard in my twenties + for me right now, with a toddler and another baby due in October that is no longer something I want to be doing. Success for me now is not focused on the tangible markers, but rather on how I want to be *feeling*. I think as a society we place too much emphasis on achieving something to give us a certain feeling, whether that be happiness, pride, etc, as opposed to chasing the feeling itself.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am proud of everything I have achieved + completely realise that what I built in my twenties has given me a solid foundation for where I am now + things would be much different if I didn’t have that.

Success has evolved for me now to look like striving for feeling content [my word for 2021]. It’s about doing work I am passionate about + supporting women to be the best they can be, it’s spending quality time with my son + family where I’m not worried about time, it’s looking after myself + resting when I need to + it’s about investing in my own development + happiness. 

I don’t know when the next evolution + adapting of what success means for me will happen, but I do know it will +  I am actually excited for what that looks like. So it is important for me to continually check in on it + to make changes + adaptions when things feel like they are no longer serving me.

You can find more about Emily here.

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The mental toll of being an entrepreneur + a working woman | By The Weekly Woman

Written by Michelle Blackwell, Founder of The Weekly Woman

With the rise in entrepreneurial drive amongst young adults and many taking to online platforms to build their own businesses and side hustles, are we doing enough to consider the mental toll this can have on us as individuals? Is there a dark side to creativity and pursuing an online presence? 

Last year during the pandemic, I started a side business or ‘hustle’ while working full time and studying for my law qualification. As exciting as this was to start a new venture, I also didn’t quite contemplate the negative effects this would have on my own mental health. 

Although the highs of gaining followers and making sales kept me motivated, I slowly began neglecting my physical and mental needs, running on only a few hours of sleep and burning out quicker than I could put out social media posts. I was stressed and irritable and tying my self-worth heavily to the success of something I had created out of thin air. 

From the dark side of a 9-5 and side business, I’ve acknowledged the three main things I suffered from: 

#1 – increased isolation 

It’s pretty lonely for a significant part of the solo-entrepreneurial journey.  Or for anyone who has been forced to work from home because of the pandemic. 

As someone who has been working from home full-time for the past year and a half, I can definitely vouch for the decline in my work colleague interactions and the incline in loneliness throughout this period, particularly during national lockdowns. 

At one point last year, I also deemed myself ‘too busy’ to facetime, text, or call my friends, which essentially resulting in me self-sabotaging myself and made me feel even more isolated. If you’re like me and find it difficult to ask for help when you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be comforting to just tell yourself to push on and ‘you just need to get through this next bit, and then it’ll get easier’. But when does this end? When is enough, enough? 

#2 – Lack of boundaries between work and ‘you’ time 

I’ll be the first to put my hands up and say I also need to set better boundaries for myself, particularly when it comes to the work/life balance. 

In an age where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to digitally disconnect and social media addiction seems to be at an all-time high amongst young adults, I often find myself reaching for my phone to mindlessly scroll when I could be using that time to have some real downtime (reading a book, meditating, going for a walk, listening to a podcast, writing). 

#3 – Burnout 

I’m also no stranger to burnout. In the past, I would wear it like a badge of honour, a sign that I had worked hard and pushed myself over my limits. 

But the long-term effects and anxiety that can come with it really aren’t something to be aimed for. 

— —

Read more of Michelle’s journey via her channels.

@theweeklywoman

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Trends Volume III | Leila’s Spring Favourites

Written by our Leila Care.

Coming out of Lockdown, I’ve been on a path of self-improvement which has meant discovering new products + services (or revisiting old holy grails). I have listed my spring favourites + I cannot wait to share this one with you.

Skincare + Beauty

Wow, this has been a journey! Anybody who knows me well knows that skincare and beauty are two of my great loves. A little background, I started on Accutane back in April, meaning that my skin is going through big changes and sensitive, hydrating and natural products are essential – something that my once oily, acne-prone skin was absolutely not used to! My favourites are based on this new change to my skin, but all of them would be suitable to incorporate into your skincare somehow, no matter your skin type!

  • Erborian CC Water | this product just completely wowed me. When using this gel-like product, you burst the pods within the gel to release a slight colour, bringing an incredible amount of hydration and glow to the skin.
  • Hyaluronic Acid | my two favourites are Vichy’s or The Inkey List. The Inkey List provides products at an incredibly low price point so if you are just starting out I would definitely recommend checking them out.
  • Weleda Skin Food has been an absolute go-to for me this past month, priced below £15 for the full-size tube, this multi-purpose product can be used as a moisturiser or even makeup primer and has been a godsend for those extra dry Accutane days.
  • Another product I have been loving as we come into summer is Chanel’s Les Beiges Bronzing Cream. This really is a game-changer for warming up your complexion without looking overly powdery or dry due to its cream formula.
  • In terms of fragrance, I recently discovered Penhaligon’s Halfeti Eau Du Parfum in Milton Keynes’ new Harrod’s Beauty Store. I often find it difficult to find the perfect fragrance as a typically feminine fragrance doesn’t suit me, I prefer a more musky unisex fragrance. I bought home Penhaligon’s Halfeti on a perfumed handkerchief from the store and my partner has fallen in love with it just as much as me. If you find a Penhaligon’s counter whilst on your next shop, you just have to go and test it out!

Blogs + Audiobooks

My two favourite blogs + audiobooks are hardly surprising as they have been guests before at You & Me. The Weekly Woman has been a fantastic thought provoker and motivation to really push yourself to do what makes you happy and be your very best self.

The Secret audiobook has been something I have been listening to on repeat for the last few months and I don’t see this changing anytime soon. As someone who is trying to learn more about manifestation and bringing positive energy into my life, this in combination with The Weekly Woman is the perfect match.

Streaming

My favourite time to watch YouTube is over my morning coffee, a great way to take up and it comes at a time where my need for inspiration is at its highest. I have been loving Suzie Bonaldi [formerly Hello October] for all things petite fashion, Lydia Millen for all things home, fashion, and lifestyle, and Trinny [yes!] to help you with the logistics behind fashion. Trinny also does Zara edits for those Zara-obsessed, like me.

My partner and I have recently got back into binging Suits on Netflix and we have completely fallen back into love with it! I’d totally recommend watching if you haven’t already, the casting is 10/10.

Apps

I am a sucker for a good app! Working in the Social Media industry and also previously creating client apps, I can truly appreciate what makes an app user-friendly and useful. My favourite app has to be Think Dirty, this app allows you to discover the ingredients of your favourite beauty products breaking down whether they may be irritating to the skin, dangerous, or something to avoid. Think Dirty gives you a rating and a traffic light system on good/bad these products and their ingredients are for your skin, there is also the chance to view user reviews on products to give you further information. The amount of pennies that I have saved instead of blindly purchasing trend products is insane. 

Coming in at a close second, another favourite app is OneZone. Showing you all of the hottest eateries in London, whether it be 5* in Mayfair, cool rooftop bars in Shoreditch, quirky restaurants in Camden, or street food in Chinatown, OneZone gives you all of the inspiration, the information, and the reviews that you need to make an informed decision on where to spend your Saturday evening. Let’s be honest, after Lockdown, we want ONLY the best and OneZone is the way to find it.

Share your favourite spring finds with us! Y&M x

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5 must-reads for a mindful + positive 2021

By now we have started to settle into 2021 and our New Year’s resolutions have slightly dwindled. Yet, we’re ambitious, focusing on mindfulness whilst entering another year of predicted confusion and uncertainly. 

Reading is proven to reduce stress, fights depression symptoms and improves brain connectivity – keeping our minds active during a furloughed season, or allowing us to ‘take a break’ from our home offices.

With this in mind, we have collated a list of our top five mindfulness reads.

5. ‘Goodbye, Things: On Minimalist Living’ By Fumio Sasaki

If you are looking to simplify your life and escape normality and the materialistic nature of today’s society, ‘Goodbye, Things: On Minimalist Living’ is the book for you. Teaching that less definitely is more, Fumio Sasaki teaches his incredible theories on living a simplified, cleaner and more meaningful life.

4. ‘Your Illustrated Guide To Becoming One With The Universe’ By Yumi Sakugawa

One for the dreamers. This book combines beautiful words with even more beautiful illustrations; helping you on your way to self-discovery *listen up Pisces people, this one’s for you*. Reviews of ‘Your Illustrated Guide To Becoming One With The Universe’ have expressed the inevitable need to read this book over and over, to continue reaping the benefits.

3. ‘Tiny Habits’ By BJ Fogg

If you are looking to improve your lifestyle but do not have the time or energy to reinvent yourself or pick up a new hobby, ‘Tiny Habits’ is for you. Fogg encourages just that, ‘tiny habits’ to help you make BIG changes to your everyday life.

It wasn’t until we read this book that we noticed it’s the small things, getting up slightly earlier, moving a little more each day, completing that one extra job that really helps your motivation, productivity and consequently your positivity.

2. ‘Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want To Come’ By Jessica Pan

A hilarious story surrounding the life of an introverted woman who challenges herself to leave her comfort zone and pushes herself into an extroverted life for an entire year.

Combining complete empathy for shy introverts, with useful advice on how she came to push her limits and live a life with no restrictions, this fiction novel is one to add to your list for sure.

1. ‘The Secret’ By Rhonda Byrne

And in the top spot, of course, Rhonda Byrne’s classic, ‘The Secret’. Now this book is renowned for its themes of manifestation and the law of attraction. Allegedly used by the most successful people on the planet, the teachings in this book are ones that we cannot turn a blind eye to.

I’ve recently started reading ‘The Secret’ and I totally recommend, having a positive attitude, whilst difficult to harness at the beginning, is now second nature.

We would love to hear which top five you picked, and the benefits you reaped from them. As always, if you have any recommendations for us to add to our list, we would love to hear from you. Happy reading!

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Loungewear brands for your WFH wardrobe

With most of us WFH, we wanted to share with our favourite chic loungewear brands to serve you in style.

With sustainability at their core.

Tula and Tye are a fabulous unisex loungewear brand, that focus on slow fashion through the use of sustainable and ethical manufacturing. Their main aim is to recirculate waste materials to avoid them going into a landfill. Inclusive and eco-friendly – we love it!

Going one step further, Tula and Tye use recycled materials for labels and tags, reusable packing and even biodegradable bags when it comes to packaging. If that wasn’t enough, 5% of all of Tula and Tye’s profits go to non-profit organisations to help remove the plastic from the planet’s oceans.

 

Trading since ’95

Thought have been trading since 1995 and pride themselves on using sustainable yet luxury-feel fabrics, hemp, bamboo and organic cotton. Their hashtag #StyleWithThought really says it all, and to add they have a wonderful blog which helps you live more thoughtfully and as a result more sustainably!

Now, Thought offers a huge range of different sustainably made items therefore we recommend having a browse as you won’t be disappointed! They also offer Blue Light Discount for all of you heroes out there (NHS, police, emergency services, social carers and armed forces).

 

As seen on Instagram

One of our luxury favourites, Intimissimi! Worn by Social Media stars Lydia Millen and Suzie Bonaldi, this brand provides the most beautiful and self-indulgent pieces – with the price tag to match! Beautiful silks in daring red, classy pinks to classic black, Intimissimi will leave you feeling elegant, there is no doubt.

If pyjamas just won’t do, Intimissimi’s range is far and wide, spanning from luxurious natural cotton underwear, modal and cashmere bodysuits, bamboo playsuits and silk trousers.

 

Something for everyone – all included!

Here’s one targeted towards the young adults, Oh Polly produces cosy yet stunning loungewear sets. Comfies but make it fashion. Oh Polly are known for their inclusive sizes and ranges they have to offer. Oh Polly offer a petite range for those 5 ft 3 and under, and their size range goes from size 4 – 18. Fashion combined with inclusivity? We LOVE that!

Not only this, but Oh Polly’s business model allows you to mix and match your sets to suit your needs. Leggings and hoodie? Hoodie and shorts? Shorts and Bralet? They’ve got you covered.

 

Honouring Mother Earth

Christy Dawn are one of those loungewear brands that you cannot fault. The materials? Beautiful. Finished product? Stunning. Our favourite is the ‘Sonny Set’ in ‘Oatmeal’. What’s yours?

There’s eco-friendly and there is Christy Dawn. Sourcing ‘dead-stock’ Christy Dawn aim to repurpose fabrics to avoid to need to reproduce where possible. They also stress huge importance on the community that they build with their suppliers, farmers and weavers to ensure fair trading and minimising impact on the ecosystem. An investment that comes with a peace of mind, knowing your loungewear was ethically sourced.

 

An announcement coming soon…

Kiki Loungewear are keeping their new release under wraps.. which makes it all the more exciting. However if you look at their Instagram, you can take a guess at what to expect! We’re anticipating neutrals, fine yet expensive-feeling knits, borg sets, cosy sweaters and matching co-ords!

Kiki Loungewear are what we imagine to fall onto our Pinterest feed, simple, elegant and a classy. Whilst we cannot advise on prices for the upcoming release, we suggest heading over to their site to sign up for first news.

 

 

As seen in Vogue.

Their renowned 100% Mulberry silk pillowcases and scrunchies have taken Social Media (and print by storm) and what would you expect with their anti-aging and anti-frizz claims? Who wouldn’t want to look ten years younger?

The Nap Co. produces simple yet elegant silk nightwear sets which you won’t want to take off, and now thanks to your home office, you won’t need to. An interview with Founder, Siobhan coming very soon.

 

Self-development.. and a comfortable set.

Of course we had to spotlight one gymwear brand, who doesn’t love a multi-use loungewear set? 2021 is the year for money saving and self-development. AYBL pride themselves on their amazing quality, squat-proof design offering fabulous comfort at attainable prices in size range 6-14.

A charitable magic.

Lounge is a fashion brand that has really grown, offering flattering full loungewear sets. What’s more, they offer a diverse range of styles which means that there is pretty much something to suit everyone!

Lounge have been working hard to raise awareness for important causes, such as Breast Cancer Awareness raising £128,513 for Coppafeel and Trekstock charities. It’s always easier to invest in a brand that has your best interests at heart!

The brand that just keeps giving…

Beaumont Organic is a beautiful brand. You can expect beautiful fabrics, ethically sourced and put together with stunning craftsmanship. All of their organic cotton is GOTS certified which specifies where and how it was grown, ensures no chemicals or pesticides and is rotated to reduce water consumption. As for wool, only EU wool is used to follow stringent laws, non-mulesing practices are used to ensure animal rights are at the forefront of the production and where possible Beaumont Organic reuse wool or make use of the often wasted ‘end of roll’ to reduce the need to produce more wool. 

You think it ends there? Of course not! Beaumont Organic increases lead times to avoid overworking their staff and ensure that prices mirror the high standard of work met by their staff to ensure fair wages and eradicate exploitation of workers. You also have the option upon checkout to donate to the Fiji Loloma Foundation to help provide infrastructure and support to communities in Fiji!