Blogger Brunchin & Insta Launchin’

Welcome to the ‘Blogosphere.’

The beauty of having a creative mind means that I am constantly daydreaming, sketching and thinking of new ideas (98.8% daydreaming about food).  Recently I have been thinking about life living in the ‘Blogosphere.’ No matter which city or countryside that you choose to visit, there will be an abundance of beauty, fashion, foodie and travel bloggers.  However, each Blogger has a unique story to share. If you wish to find out more about my recent blogging and PR adventures, then you have come to the right place.  I have also included my all-time favourite ‘blogger girls.’

In November (3 months ago, I know I’m a bit late) I was encouraged to attend the ‘NI Blogger Brunch’ in Babel, Belfast.  I could write a single blog post about Babel itself as the interiors are just so dreamy.  Marble coffee tables, bubble gum pink and forest green walls with a splash of 1950’s & 60s design- let’s not forget the foliage, did I mention the cacti? Babel really was the perfect setting for this event and I instantly fell in love with this gem of a rooftop bar (even before glancing at the cocktail menu).

AZ1

AZ4

 

Ok so, I may have just got majorly distracted by all things interiors, however it played a huge role in the success of the event.  As Student Ambassador for CIPR NI, attending the brunch enabled me to network with bloggers, online influencers and PR professionals.  It was surreal meeting bloggers that I follow on Instagram. In fact, I felt as if I knew everything about them before we engaged in conversation.  A little bit creepy, right?  This is the beauty of the ‘blogosphere.’ Over the last decade blogs have evolved from glorified online journals to much more personified accounts.  It is something that we should encourage, we often perfect our CV’s ‘on paper’ (Amber Davies eat your heart out) and forget about building our online portfolios.  Showcase your writing skills, upload that cute picture of your Doggo and share your passion with others.  You never know what positive leads will evolve from a well written blog post.  On a side note, can you guess why I chose to include this Instagram account? Basic.

AZ3

Aware NI- It’s ok not to be ok.

The fabulous Sinead Doyle from MCE Public Relations and previous Chair of CIPR NI opened the Brunch, providing insight to supporting charity ‘Aware NI.’  This amazing charity aims to support those with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorders.  Many of the great workings include their support programmes which help to educate communities, schools, universities and the workplace. It is all too easy to feel disengaged from our social circles, feeling isolated online.  I believe that Instagram has advantageous frills however like all social media platforms it harbours bullying and negativity.  As someone who cares way too much of what the world thinks of her I have quickly recognised that I am not alone.  I used to care about those likes and comments to a point where I would question what I uploaded.  Now, I ask myself if I feel happy with the content that I am posting.  The bottom line, do not post for others as they cannot determine your happiness. Only you can.  Learning to be mindful and to relax has helped me immensely with my anxiety.  Take a step back and observe others, you might just gain much-needed inspiration!

AZ8

AZ9

An appetite for the ‘Digital Diet.’

Whilst I am trying not to type forever, I am a self-confessed Instagram addict and have no shame.  It is nice to know that your friends may worry about you if you haven’t posted in a while!  To some it may feel like I use Instagram every hour of my life, well you are not far wrong.  When I visit a small or local business, I feel an urge to share and promote their story online, especially if I feel connected to their brand/story. Sharing my experiences with others is something I value, we should inspire others through creative content. I pledged that I would spend less time on my phone this year (good joke Kathryn). It has been a challenge to say the least, especially when you are immersed and study in the world  of PR/Digital communication.

It is also important to note that not everyone will be your biggest cheerleader along the way, so keep it real. If you are honest what is there to fault? You cannot be someone who you are not, people are not so slow in this digital age.  One valuable piece of advice that I gained from the Blogger Brunch was to post what you want, when you want, do not be put off by negative judgement.  So, what if your post does not reach 150 likes or you have not hit the 1k follower mark?  If you post a photograph that you feel good about then let that be your success.  If posting boosts your confidence, then do it.  The basic algorithm behind a successful Instagram is authenticity, interesting content and engagement.

Taking inspiration from this funky lady.  A groovy gran with style that would put your own wardrobe to shame!  ‘Baddiewinkle’ rose to fame after her granddaughter created an Instagram account for her.  What can we conclude from this? Age has no limit. Do you really think ‘Baddie’ cares about the negative comments? Absolutely not. She’s living her best badass life with no shame!

AZ6

AZ7

Finally, for a nosey…

To round off this post I have picked out four special ladies that I feel I can relate to the most.  Each of their Instagram accounts are a true representation of just how lovely they are.  First up we have Niamh Serena.  I am proud to call Niamh a friend and what she has achieved so far is amazing, recently collaborating with ‘Pretty Little Thing.’ For fabulous fashion and outfit inspiration take a peek at ‘Niamhserena.’ For all things lifestyle, blooms, family life and fashion follow Anna (‘blossomingbirds’).  This girl has the most amazing interiors and collection of Emma Bridgewater mugs (an obsession of mine) I just love how humble Anna is.   She fosters an incredible work ethic combined with family life but is never afraid to voice the blips along the way.  Last but certainly not least twins Lucy and Zoe (‘allthingsbeautifullymade’ & ‘alittlebitoflife’). These ladies are incredible.  Once you visit their blogs you will understand how brave, courageous and beautiful they are.  With every story that they post I feel inspired and empowered.

If you would like to check out some of latest illustrations, fashion posts and travel adventures then hit me up at ‘the_fashion_fairypr.’

AZ2

Warning: may contain the occasional photograph of the Eiffel Tour.

Love,

K x

Kathryn Bigger is a third year student on the BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations at Ulster University. She is currently undertaking her placement year at Marks Design Collective. Kathryn can be contacted on: Instagram – the_fashion_fairypr / Twitter – @KatieB_05 / LinkedIn- Kathryn Bigger.

 

Dealing with depression and anxiety-A letter to someone who “worries about nothing”.

I was overwhelmed and blown away by your honesty and openness when talking about your struggle. I thought I knew you inside and out. Your accounts of your fight to survive triggered a feeling of guilt and shame. Shame that I couldn’t ‘pick up’ on the signs and support you like a best friend should. To me, that day was just like any other, a few laughs and the typical rants about our daily lives. Laughing was far from my mind once you spoke those three little words; “I CAN’T COPE”. Three little words with such significant meaning but that are used so often in everyday life it devalues its meaning.

Once you began to explain how you felt it suddenly all made sense. Your need to be out all the time, wasn’t to do with you ‘having a drinking problem’-it was so you didn’t have to be on your own with your own thoughts. You being late to work every single day wasn’t because you were ‘lazy’ but because you struggled to get any sleep the night before. Why didn’t you talk to me before? Was the only question I could ask out of fear of saying something wrong. Here is when I got a true understanding of why you didn’t want to talk about it before-people just don’t understand or don’t know what to say. They think you are just ‘worrying about nothing’ or ‘you are just stressed out’. Even people normalising depression and anxiety by saying things like, ‘I’m going to take a nervous breakdown’, when something so trivial happens in their lives. I too am guilty of this.

The mental health foundation states that depression is the main mental health problem worldwide, with anxiety disorder close behind. This asks an important question- why is depression and anxiety still so stigmatised? Why do people feel ashamed to talk about their mental health? The way we pre-judge others and your daily struggle with depression and anxiety inspired me to do this blog. In the hopes to inform others of the signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety and not to judge people based on these symptoms.

AWARE states that the main symptoms of depression are;
• Loss of confidence and low self-esteem
• Tiredness and lethargic
• An unusually sad mood
• Difficulty sleeping
• Loss in appetite or eating more
• Feelings of guilt
• Wishing you were dead

AWARE is a fantastic charity that focuses on depression and is Northern Irelands only charity to do so. It offers support groups where you can talk to people who know exactly how you are feeling. It also allows for your family and friends to get a better understanding of depression, so we can support you like we should through your daily life.

To get more information on the signs and symptoms of depression and where to access AWARE’s services visit: https://www.aware-ni.org/

If you could do one thing in life, be kind, you just never know what other people are going through.

Lisa Corrigan is a final year student on the BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be found on Facebook @facebook.com/lisa.corrigan.372  

Mental Health Awareness

What is mental health illness to you?

A question I have asked myself many times before… until I began to have an in-depth understanding last year when I undertook a placement year in a chemist.

There are many different types of mental health illnesses a few to state of the top of my mind;

*Anxiety *Depression *Post-traumatic stress *Eating disorders

The list could go on and on….

I googled ‘what is mental health illnesses’ and the response I received was, ‘Mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in thinking, emotion or behaviour (or a combination of these). Mental illnesses are associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities’.

A lot of people don’t understand what mental health illnesses are, and this is why I think mental health awareness needs to be promoted a lot more especially to the younger generation like myself. Social media is massive as we all know, and is an incredible communication source to get a message across.

This year on social media especially Facebook and Instagram, individuals promoted, ‘World Mental Health Day’ on the 10th October.

BH1

I myself posted an image to my Facebook profile, and my Instagram account as recently mental health illnesses have touched me very close to home this year. (I am never one to post much)

I used the hashtags #FightTheStigma #BeKindAlways which were trending for Mental Health Awareness Day

BH2

I got a great response from younger people. One simple post could save someone, explaining to them that they are not alone or discovering helpline numbers they can call which they may not have known about before.

It really is the simple things in life that can help someone.

World Mental Health Day provides an opportunity ‘for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide’.

Mental health illnesses are real conditions. People need to stop and think before they speak, get to know someone before they begin to prejudge them. You don’t know what he or she has been through until you walk in their shoes.

We need to break the stigma and speak out, nobody is alone.

Many celebrities, bloggers and many more posted on social media about mental health illnesses, and this is where the young generation will learn about these conditions.

‘Little Penny’s book of Thoughts’ is an inspirational book full of powerful and touching quotes, which many of us know. This is a woman called Annette who posts every day little inspiring quotes, that people know as a ‘pick me up’. She is an amazing woman as mental health campaigner, with 264k plus page likes and 265,000 plus followers on Facebook alone. She posts ‘daily pockets of positivity’.

BH12

On World Mental health Day she posted the below post which got 1.6k likes and 1k shares. This post was truly amazing. Annette is a Compiler of Little Penny’s Book of Thoughts. ‘Mind-set mentor/speaker and workshop facilitator and a Mental Health Advocate’.

BH14BH15

BH16BH17

People who say that one harsh comment in passing could completely ruin someone’s self-esteem whereas that simple compliment, ‘your outfit is gorgeous’ could literally make someone’s smile light up a corridor.

As a 22 year old girl, I have had an absolute roller coaster of a year BUT that’s a story for another day. From one extreme to the next, I eventually seen the, ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. Which has been an eye-opener to say the least, from claiming what was the ‘worst year of my life’ to the biggest learning curve I could never have imagined, I can eventually stand strong and believe it eventually does get better.

‘Hard times will always reveal true friends’

BH13

Time is a healer

Saying goodbye to the negativity in your life is the first and hardest step of your journey, speaking from experience, you can do it!

Progress takes time and time takes patience (I was never a patient woman). Every day is a new beginning and the light will always shine bright even if you can’t see it.

It’s okay not to be okay. Nobody is alone #FightTheStigma #BeKindAlways

As part of our PR module this year we are making a campaign for ‘AWARE NI’ to bring awareness to the public of who AWARE NI are and what they do.

AWARE NI are the national depression charity for Northern Ireland – and the only charity working exclusively for people with depression and bipolar disorder.

If you are in need of help with mental health illnesses please look into this amazing charity, whether it be to donate, attend a support group, fund-raise, or simply needing someone to contact when you are in need they are outstanding.

Check the charity out on; http://www.aware-ni.org,

Email; info@aware-ni.org 

Call; 028 7126 0602

Possibly attend a support group within your area, avail of their online support groups or whatever it may be, AWARE NI are more than happy to help!!

If you take anything from this student blog please know that no matter how bad things get you will survive to tell the tail and things can only get better… TRUST ME 🙂

Breige Hollywood is a final year CAM student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/breige-hollywood-a7b035116/ and Twitter @ HollywoodBreige