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Self-Love and Confidence Issue 7 | March – June 2016

How to be


What is


Dealing with Depression


Powerfull vs Powerless

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To share,

or not to share…

We asked our Shine ALOUD readers whether it’s ok for a partner to have access to their emails and social media accounts, here’s what they had to say…


- My partner having access to my emails and social media accounts isn’t actually a big deal. I have nothing to hide, so sharing my login details shows her that I trust her and I’m being truly honest on and offline. It makes me feel free and open and that’s exactly what a relationship should be. If I ever need someone to talk to about an argument or disagreement I’ve had with a friend or family member online, my partner can give me honest feedback and help to steer me in the right direction regarding what to do next, or if I’ve said the right or wrong things. A lot people I know wouldn’t agree to sharing their social media account with a boyfriend or girlfriend – but I think that’s based on what they’re using their accounts to do, which could be cheating or, but I truly believe if you’re honest and your accounts reflect that, it could open up a different world.


- Your privacy is important, so you need to maintain it as much as possible. You wouldn’t share your bank details, so why share emails and social media accounts? In a relationship it is normal to share and compromise, but if these compromises infringe your privacy or make your feel pressurised, then maybe it’s something you shouldn’t do. Sharing your account could reopen ugly wounds, cause rifts or jealousy and if you have secrets from your partner, not only will it bring those secrets to the surface, but it could even cause a break up. Your emails and social media is a part of your personal space where you can and should enjoy yourself and laugh with friends. If you want to share the conversations you’ve had with your partner that’s fine, but they shouldn’t have login access. We all need space from our partners at times and social media can be that space.

Shine ALOUD believes it’s up to you to decide what works best for your relationship. You should never feel pressurised to do anything you’re not comfortable with, especially in the case of compromising your privacy. A healthy relationship consists of space, trust and respect. If your partner doesn’t show you these qualities then maybe you shouldn’t be with them.

March - June 2016 ︱Issue 7


Self-Love and Confidence Issue Issue 7 | March – June 2016

Hi All, Welcome back. I know it’s been a long time since we produced an issue, but we’re back stronger than ever with the 7th issue of Shine ALOUD Magazine. The theme of this issue is Self-Love and Confidence, and I know I speak for many, when I say it’s something that even I struggle with. The idea of not being good enough for a job or a partner, or perhaps, not feeling confident enough to speak about how you really feel, or maybe not feeling great about how you look. I’m sure we’ve all been there once or twice, so this issue is here to help you to get rid of those feelings of scepticism and give you some tools to help you feel better, do better and ultimately be better in your personal and professional lives.

* Follow us @ShineALOUDUK

In this issue we’ll provide with some useful content on being assertive, power dressing, pleasure, managing personal hygiene and more, as well as give you some information on a few services you can access to overcome any health challenges you or a friend may be facing.

Like us Facebook/ShineALOUDUK Supported By...

Although we haven’t had a physical edition of the magazine out in a while, we hope you’ve been accessing our website to get all of our latest content were I and the rest of the team continue to provide information, guidance and support on anything and everything related to sex and relationships. Self-love. Self-respect. Self-worth. There’s a reason the all start with self. You cannot find them in anyone else. So start finding them in YOU! We really hope you enjoy reading this issue, just as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it! Thanks for following us on our sexual health and relationships empowerment revolution - we hope you stay with us!

Some images in this issue have been Ree xx Shine ALOUD UK - Empowering young people to make informed, and choices and decisions! 4 Issue 7 ︱ March - June 2016 sourced from,



3  DEBATE To share or not to share 6 INFORMATION Key Words 7 FEATURE Love Thyself Always 8 F  EATURE International Women’s Week – Gender Parity 10 FEATURE PowerFULL vs PowerLESS


12 SERVICE Ms Curvaceous UK - Changing the standards of beauty


16 FEATURE Asserting your Views – Yes, Maybe, No 20 SERVICE TiTo App – Find It. Create It. TiTo It.


24  FEATURE Power dressing 26 SERVICE Itrainer – Creating a better you


29 COMIC Social Media does not empower 30 FEATURE Masturbation 101 – Pleasure and feeling good 32 HEALTH Staying Fresh Always - Managing your personal hygiene 35 FEATURE Dealing with Depression 38 SERVICE Supporting our readers 40 FEATURE The Wrong Kind of Self-Love 42 SERVICE A Helping Hand Founder and Managing Director Rianna Raymond-Williams Content Editor Verity Nelson Design and Layout Catherine Murray at Piggle Design



Contributors Jade Benn, Moses Adeyemi, Blessing Odukoya, Reannah Yusuff, Dr Sarah Borg, Micaela Stevenson, Efosa Omorogbe, Michael Makinde, Verity Nelson, Asher Oliver, Elizabeth Battle, Julian Hall, Emma Burgess, Theo Ilori,-George Williams & Sea7Ming March June 2016 ︱Issue 5 Pak.

Information Our KEY WORDS

In this issue there are a few words that you’ll see more than once, so we thought it would be useful to give you the definitions of these key words. We know that many of you will know what these words mean, but just in case you don’t, here they are… ASSERTIVENESS: This is being able to assert your views clearly to people, whatever those views may be. This could be as simple as saying NO to something you don’t like, and YES to something you do. The important thing is that you’ve made your feelings clear saying YES or NO. COMMUNICATION:This is the exchange of views or ideas by speaking, writing, or using an alternative method of communication. In this fast paced era of social networking and smart phones, this could be anything from sending a voice message / note, WhatsApp message, text or email. CONSENT: This is when you give permission to do something or for something to happen. In the case of sexual activity, if you have not been asked, you cannot give consent. If you are not sober, you cannot give consent. In any situation, you have the right to withdraw your consent at any time, even if you said yes to start with. DEPRESSSION: This is one type of mental health condition that affects people in different ways and can cause a wide variety of symptoms. Being depressed is more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days. People who are depressed may experience low moods, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration. Everyone is different. GENDER PARITY: This is the term used to describe reducing the gender gap between women and men across the world. The aim is to

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increase gender diversity in education, politics, academia, civil society and business, giving women the same footing as men. Promoting gender parity across the globe increases the participation of women in the workforce, which in turn lays a foundation for economic prosperity across the world. MASTURBATION: This is the term used to describe the sexual stimulation of a person’s genitals region for sexual arousal or sexual pleasure, usually to the point of orgasm. It is healthy and natural form of pleasure for both men and women. SELF CONFIDENCE: This is being confident in yourself as an individual, even if other people around you are not. You truly and honestly believe in your ideas, visons and goals and use your abilities effectively, to make these aspirations a reality. SELF LOVE: This is actively taking responsibility for your health and wellbeing. If you don’t, who will? Some people often confuse this with arrogance and egocentricity, but this is really about loving all the things that make you, YOU - externally and internally - and taking care of them accordingly. SEXUAL EXPLOITATION: This is a form of sexual abuse in which a person is exploited for money, power or status. A person may be tricked into believing they’re in a loving, consensual relationship; however they are being used for sexual acts.

Love thyself

ALWAYS By Reannah Yusuff Self-love isn’t just about being okay with who we are as individuals, or liking what we see in the mirror but, truly and completely loving our mind, body and souls. Occasionally, we may experience moments of low self-esteem or unhappiness, which can have a huge impact on us, causing damage to our love lives, professional careers or personal relationships. Therefore how we deal with these emotions and how


Self-love and confidence are challenges that probably 99% of us struggle with at some time in our lives; maybe now, in the past or near future.

we manage situations, are very important to our health and well-being. We can be our own biggest critics at times, which isn’t always pretty. Once we start to feel low about ourselves, we can unintentionally bring others along with us, resulting in darker outcomes. But we all have to remember to take responsibility for who we are and how we feel, in order to live a happier and healthier life.

So here are 5 tips to help you live a happier life starting now


Love yourself first. It’s not easy, but it’s something we constantly have to work on. If you don’t love you, why should other people? The first step is reminding YOU of how great YOU are - DAILY. There’s a difference between being egotistical and loving yourself.


Own your journey. Life is not a race and we often forget it. We shouldn’t compare ourselves to others; we all have our own journeys. So what may work for someone else, might not work for us. Write your own play instead of following someone else’s script. Be the lead role in your story of life.


Let go of baggage. Whether it’s an ex-partner, stereotypes, regret, fear, guilt or something similar. LET IT GO. Stop carrying the past on your shoulders, trust me; you’ll feel a lot lighter. It’s not easy, but it gets easier when you free your mind and body from dead weight.


Celebrate your successes & failures. Be your biggest cheerleader. You tried and that’s what’s important, whether you’ve succeeded or failed, you’ve learnt something along the way. What does failure really look like anyway? Take every experience, positive or negative, and use it to do better than you’ve done before. If you succeeded at everything how would you challenge yourself?


Make time for things that are important. Being ‘too busy’ does not exist. You have to make time for the people and things you love. Be real with yourself and your diary and be responsible enough to admit that. Persistence breeds consistence, giving birth to habits and forming routines. Do yourself a favour and start now.

These are a few of the many things you can do to build a better relationship with yourself and others. The benefits will be unbelievable. We’re all facing our own internal battles, but it’s how we face them, that make us stronger.

March - June 2016 ︱Issue 7



International Women’s Day

GENDER By Rianna Raymond-Williams

The Gender Gap Every year International Women’s Day (March 8th) celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the globe. In celebration of IWD this year taking place on Tuesday 8th March, we will be supporting the pledge for gender parity, which aims to increase gender equality across the globe. Even in this day of so called “modernity” there are many rights and laws that infringe women

across the world. In addition to this, all too often, women and girls are discriminated against in areas of health, education, political representation, labour market and more. Ultimately, a woman’s lack of access to services and provisions can result in negative repercussions, which in turn impair her development capabilities and overall freedom of choice.


Here are a few things you can do now to speed up the process. Help women and young girls achieve their ambitions – Become a mentor or buddy to a young woman to help support and nurture her to be the best she can be. Women make up more than half of the world population, so if we can support and encourage young women to take on leadership roles and career advancement opportunities, it will only make the world a better place. Challenge conscious and unconscious bias – We need to contribute to building cultures in which people feel valued and welcomed. We must break stereotypes of women’s capabilities and build new ideas about what women do, instead of what they can’t. Call for gender-balanced leadership – Expose and encourage women and girls to take on leadership roles - whether it’s as a team manager or leader,

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co-ordinator or supervisor - women can gain skills in planning, delivering and managing a project in comparison to just working on the frontline. Value women and men’s contributions equally – Encourage women and girls to explore other job opportunities in comparison to working in traditional sectors - for example more male geared industries, such as mechanics, construction, science, technology, engineering and maths. Create inclusive, flexible cultures – Help to create a culture that reflects and includes everyone regardless of age, gender, rank or geography. As individuals, we can all create trusting, teamoriented work environments by encouraging flexibility regarding working times, work locations and productivity.

PARITY Follow us @ShineALOUDUK

In the UK, statistics show

n Seven women are killed every month by partners or ex partners n 27% of women (compared to 16% of men) are paid less than the living wage nGender-based abuse and violence is reported to the police every minute n There are unequal and limited representation of women in politics, business, sport and culture, social spheres Unfortunately, women are over-represented


in informal, temporary and low-productivity jobs with low pay and limited opportunities for advancement. All of the above and more needs to change. We can’t continue to live in a world that continues to breed injustice against women. Women’s equality isn’t just a women’s problem, but a global problem that affects everyone. Despite the work that is being done to address this issue, the World Economic Forum has estimated by 2133 – 117 years from now - the gender gap will close - 177 years!

LAWS AROUND THE GLOBE Here are a few laws from around the world that continue to infringe the rights of women. Saudi Arabia: Women are not allowed to drive. Women are also not allowed to open a bank account without their husband’s permission. Israel: According to the Rabbinical law that Jewish Citizens are married under, a woman can only divorce her husbands, if he agrees. Madagascar: Women are not allowed to work at night. According to Article 85 of Madagascar’s Labour Code: ‘Women, regardless of age, shall not be employed at night in any industrial establishment of any kind, public or private, secular or religious...’ Bahamas and India: In these countries marital rape is not recognised. Within marriage, it’s legal for a man to sexually assault his wife if she is over the age of 14, 13 in Singapore. Nigeria: It is legal for a man to beat his wife. According to the law, violence “by a husband for the purpose of correcting his wife” is permitted. Rwanda and Ethiopia: Marriage by capture or bride kidnapping is common in these countries.

This is where a man abducts the woman he wishes to marry and rapes her in order for her to fall pregnant. She is then forced to marry the man as a result of being pregnant as having a child outside of marriage in these communities is seen as shameful. Tunisia: In the case of a family death, women are only given half of an inherited estate. According to the country’s law, “…the male inherits twice as much as the female,” despite what the will says. Democratic Republic of Congo: A “wife is obliged to live with her husband and follow him wherever he sees fit to reside.” Therefore by law, it is impossible for women to own their own businesses or live independently. Egypt: A man is allowed to kill his wife if she is caught cheating. Egyptian law states “Whoever surprises his wife in the act of adultery and kills her on the spot together with her adulterer-partner shall be punished with detention,” usually for no more than 7 years.

Make your pledge now to gender equality via



Power is something that we as human beings have pursued for a long time, by definition power is ‘the ability or capacity to do something or act in a particular way’. Evidently, some of the world’s biggest tragedies and global episodes are a result of the pursuit for power. But how does power impact our daily lives? To have power over one’s self is very important. I don’t mean simply through the means of being able to look after yourself financially, I mean true power, the power that grants success, discipline, proactivity, hunger and a desire to create good habits. To build these positive character traits we need to be able to work hard, even when we don’t feel like it, to

Always remember that your present situation is not your final destination. The best is still to come.

If you don't see yourself as a winner, then you cannot perform as a winner.

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overcome the temptations of doing what 90% of the world do daily, in order to achieve what only 10% of the world have achieved. At Coventry University, I talked about three powers that will set students up for getting First Class Degree, but really and truly these principles can be used for achieving success in every area of your life.

The Power of Why?

When setting a particular goal, ask yourself ‘why do I want to achieve this?' Don’t just settle for the answer that’s on the surface like ‘I want more money’, dig a little deeper for the meaningful reason. Such as, ‘I want to achieve financial success so I can have more time with my family and friends’, or ‘I want to become an artist so I can serve the world with my God given talent’. Your why doesn’t have to be world changing or sound amazing, just make sure its important to you, and once you have it, never, ever let it go. That will be the fuel to your fire that gets you out of bed every morning.

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The Power of the Universe

Ever heard of the saying ‘ask and you shall receive’? Take it literally. This universe is a giving machine; whatever you ask for you will receive. The trick is to make sure you’re asking for the right things. Some people experience hardship and tend to focus, all their time and energy on complaining about bills and spending time with people in similar positions as them. Ask any successful person if they got where they are by spending their time focusing on what they didn’t have, they’ll say no. You have to focus on what you want and how you’re going to get it! If Thomas Edison – inventor of the light bulb - focused on the 1000 times he had tried to create the light bulb and failed, do you think he would have finally got it right? No. Instead he focused on bettering his chances every time, until he finally succeeded. In life, you have a choice to focus on one of two things, one is the things you can control - your actions, attitude and philosophy - and the other is the things you can’t control - other people’s opinions, external circumstances and the weather. Choose very wisely, because one is going to move you towards achieving your goals and being happy, the other is going to make you the type of person that always complains about the weather... no one likes those people!


You’ve got to see yourself as a winner before you’re given that title by the world, because that is what makes you a winner. Grab some magazines and newspapers and create a vision board – there is power in waking up everyday and seeing images of the life you hope to create. When I used to play football, my manager used to say ‘train as you play’; essentially he wanted us to train just as hard as we played on game day because every dress rehearsal is just as important as the real thing. Every decision you make, whether eating a salad instead of a burger or spending the weekend writing your business plan, instead of going out with mates, is moving you towards or further away from your goals, you just have to decide. Where you are right now is a result of every decision you have ever made in your life, so guess what, getting to your goals will be a result of every decision you make between now and your future.

Decide exactly what you want in every area of your life, you can't hit a target you can't see.

The Power of Visualization

I can’t stress the importance of seeing and believing that you will achieve your goals. A goal without a plan is just a wish, and your plan has to start with writing your goals down. Take some time to think about what it is you want to achieve in life, separate them into personal, career, health, financial and family goals. There is something special about seeing your goals written in your own handwriting, and it feels even more special when you start to make them a reality.

Everything is a choice.

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Ms Curvaceous U K

By Theodore Ilori and Rianna Raymond-Williams Ms Curvaceous UK is a model management company that hosts an annual modelling competition to encourage young women to celebrate their beauty. Despite what the mainstream media portrays, beauty isn’t defined by a shape, size or colour. This is the message Theodore Ilori aims to communicate through Ms Curvaceous UK. Since starting the company in 2011, finalists have gone on to do amazing work with recognisable brands such as George at Asda, Simply Be, River Island and ITV This Morning. We decided to speak to Theo to find out about his motivations for starting Ms Curvaceous UK and his future plans.

No limits to beauty Initially, we started out to create more representation for plus size women who had no visibility in the fashion

industry. But since 2011 we have grown to do so much more. We don’t believe in limitations, but seek to encourage others to become the best version of themselves - both inside and out. Through our body confidence and modelling workshops we teach these values to women. Our winner of Ms Curvaceous UK 2015, Cerise Cross, has excelled since auditioning for Ms Curvaceous UK. She went from not thinking she would win, to being featured on Vogue’s website,

published in Slink Magazine – one of the leading plus size magazines in the world - being a part of a modelling campaign for Scarlett & Jo, working with a renowned choreographer who has worked with the likes of Beyoncé and Usher, and now launching CeCe Prestige Hair Collection, a collection of short and bold hairstyles, with luxury hair company Pride and Prestige (see more at www. This in itself is amazing, but we know we have more women to empower. By 2020 Cerise Cross

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we aim to empower 1,000,000 women directly, or indirectly through our work. Through our models and their success, we teach people to believe that there are no limits. Our target audience are mainly females size 12 and above. Unfortunately, there are not as many modelling and representation opportunities for females who are size 12 and above relative to those who are size 8 – 10. There are also not many women size 12 and above seen in the fashion industry and the media when compared to those who are size 8 – 10. Our aim is to introduce successful full figured women who are a sizes 12 and above to act as role models in the mainstream media and fashion industry, so that younger women growing up - who don’t fit the size 8 - 10 profile - will have someone they can relate to and won’t feel pressured to make any unrealistic or unnatural changes to their bodies. We host regular body confidence & modelling workshops, provide a platform for aspiring plus size or fuller figured models and partner with brands who embrace our vision. It

Cerise Cross and & Vinicia Prah

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Join us on Facebook/ShineALOUDUK is our purpose to empower women worldwide by redefining beauty standards and boosting confidence & self-esteem in women.

The Annual Competition We run the Ms Curvaceous UK Final Show & Model competition every year. The fashion show has a unique fusion of entertainment and modelling where contestants work the runway and showcase fashion collections. It’s beautiful to see confidence in all the participating models and we often find that spectators change their perspective on the standards of beauty and fashion. Additionally, we find that many spectators, who thought being a model was unattainable, become motivated to give it a go themselves, and end up joining our next cohort. As well as the impact on others, it gives the models in the competition further exposure and opportunities to become more successful in the industry. They are trained to a very high standard by Ruben Joseph, a globally known choreographer and runway coach. Taking part helps the models to leave with enhanced modelling skills and a higher level of motivation to pursue a career in modelling. They also gain amazing opportunities to network with key decision makers and influencers within the fashion industry. Our workshops are aimed at

Olakemi Anigiobi


Follow us @ShineALOUDUK for anyone who wants a fun day out, a boost of confidence, a place to make new friends or an opportunity to get started in the world of modelling. We find that people leave us armed with a network of strong and useful contacts, enhanced skills and a real passion to continue developing themselves. Ms Curvaceous UK also hosts masterclasses that enable women to gain a unique advantage to learn skills that will enable them to stand out from the crowd. Classes in advanced make-up application, fashion styling and modelling, allow our participants to gain abilities that will give them confidence and increase their chance of becoming professional models.

"Our aim is to introduce successful full figured women who are a sizes 12 and above to act as role models"

No standard or benchmark The media tend to present the ideal of beauty as a very tall and slim Caucasian female. Although there are very beautiful women with this profile, there is an absence of a balanced view, which is inclusive of different shapes, sizes and colours. As a result, younger women growing up are made to feel they are not ideal or beautiful unless they meet these perceived standards. Unfortunately, this often results in self-hate and eating disorders amongst other challenges with confidence, personal relationships and progression at school or work. Ms Curvaceous UK remains unique as we are focused on changing the way people perceive beauty through empowering women who don’t get the opportunity to show their true talents. As we are not a beauty pageant, we use modelling as a way of creating positive role models. We introduce the largest amount of plus size or

fuller figured models into the industry every year and we train everyone who auditions or attends our workshops to give them a better chance of success when they leave. We work hard to ensure every women we come into contact with leaves with more confidence and skills they can use to take on the world and be a part of a much needed change.

You are unique and no one is born like you. No one will ever be able to be a better version of you in your truest form. Being the best version of yourself that you can be will ultimately always make you number one. Trying to be like someone else will always brand you as the copy-cat and you will never be as good as they are at being themselves. The journey of becoming the best version of you will be fulfilling and rewarding. Trying to achieve a stereotype is likely to be a painful journey and ultimately it’s a waste of your time and true talents. Believe in No Limits and be the best version of yourself. Ms Curvaceous UK is taking place this summer alongside a range of body confidence & modelling workshops, and masterclasses. You can sign up for a workshop or to be in the annual competition at

Pictures by Mekx Photogrpahy. Make Up by Shiama Young. Hair by Pride and Prestige. @MsCurvaceousUK

March - June 2016 ︱Issue 7 15




Join us on Facebook/ShineALOUDUK

: Yes, maybe, No : By Micaela Stevenson


Building relationships with people can be hard. At times, we can give so much of ourselves to others, without getting the same in return especially in sexual relationships, where we are sharing deep feelings and parts of our bodies that we wouldn’t usually share with just anyone. Understandably, it can be a tad scary and it can definitely get awkward, but that’s exactly why communication is extremely important. We need to be able to tell our partners, lovers and friends, exactly what we want by saying ‘YES’, and what we don’t want by saying ‘NO’, and here’s how. Saying YES Saying ‘YES’ is very important. It shows that we are happy to go ahead with something; therefore we understand what is being asked of us and what we are agreeing to. For example, if we agree to help a friend plan a birthday party, we might accompany them to buy decorations or help them to secure a venue. This is pretty much the same if we agree to become intimate with someone. We are giving consent to engaging in intimacy such as kissing or touching or sexual activity which can take shape in a variety of forms such as foreplay, mutual masturbation, oral sex or penetrative sex. Agreeing to help plan the party, means we are happy to support our friend as well as enjoy the experience with them, this could include tasting

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a variety of foods or choosing different colour balloons. Similarly, when agreeing to be intimate with a partner, we are agreeing to share this intimate experience with them where we’re excited to please them, but also excited that they are happy to please us in the same way. For example, we may kiss them passionately, and they kiss us back in the same way. During party preparation, our friend might check in on us and ask us how we’re feeling; this would be the same during intimacy. Our partner might check in on us and ask us if we are enjoying the experience. It is important here that we are vocal saying ‘Yes I’m fine,’ or ‘Yes, I like what you’re doing’. There’s nothing more fulfilling than knowing that you both are enjoying the experience.


Follow us @ShineALOUDUK Whether it’s planning a party or being intimate, if we’re having a good time, it’s important for us to say so. A huge part of this process is honesty. If you’re saying ‘YES’ it’s important that you meant it and it comes from a place of honesty.

Saying MAYBE Saying ‘MAYBE’ is just as important. Your ‘MAYBE’ could mean that you don’t really want to something, but you don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings – if this is the case, then you should really say NO, but we’ll come to that later, - you should never say ‘YES’ just to please others. Or possibly your ‘MAYBE’ means ‘YES’ but, ‘YES’ based on specific conditions. For example, your friend invites you on holiday, you want to go, but it’s around the same time as your aunt’s birthday. Bearing this in mind, you might say, ‘I really want to go on holiday with you, but I can’t it’s my aunts birthday,

but we can plan something at a different time, maybe later on in the year.’ This way you’re saying, I want to go on holiday, but the time isn’t right. Clearly your friend can see that you’re not saying ‘NO’ you don’t want to go with them, instead just when you’re less busy. This ‘MAYBE’ can also be used in intimate relationships. For example, your partner may want to have sex with you, but the last time you had sex you didn’t enjoy the position. So when they ask you to have sex, you say ‘MAYBE’ instead of saying ‘YES’ or ‘NO’. You enjoy having sex with them, but just not in that position. It’s important you make this clear to your partner. Here it would be great to say something along the lines of ‘I didn’t enjoy the last time we had sex because of the position we were in - I would like us to try something different’. By saying this you are

: : :


We need to be able to tell our partners, lovers and friends exactly how we feel.

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Join us on Facebook/ShineALOUDUK assume that overtime is something you would usually want, but on this occasion you’re busy.

Sharing deep feelings can be scary. making it clear that you ‘YES’ you want to have sex, but you want something to change. So as a result you might change position, engage in foreplay or oral sex instead of penetrative sex, or even ask your partner to slow down. Again your consent is based on conditions, you agree, but only if something changes. This could be the same if you don’t like a certain type of food or a film. You’re not saying ‘NO’ completely, just saying you want something different. We need to be clear if we like something partially or not at all, and if it is partially, what needs to change for us to completely and honestly say ‘YES’.

Saying NO Saying ‘NO’ is very important. This means that you do not enjoy something, nor do you agree with what is on offer. It’s not easy saying ‘NO’ sometimes because we don’t want to hurt or offend people, but we need to be honest with ourselves first, before thinking about anyone else’s feelings. For example, you and your friend work together at Tesco’s. They ask you to cover a shift on the weekend because they want to go raving and you usually do overtime at the weekend anyway. But this weekend, you’ve already made plans. It’s fair for your friend to

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In this situation you have two options. Saying ‘NO Thanks’ plainly, or saying ‘NO’ with an explanation, something along the lines of ‘…you know I’d usually be up for it, but this weekend I’m going out with friends’. What ever option you choose, just make sure you say ‘NO’ clearly. If this isn’t clear the first time around, make sure you repeat yourself so you are heard. You can also use the same techniques with a partner during sex. Maybe you had sex on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but on Thursday they want to have sex and you don’t. Just say ‘NO’. Just because you had it yesterday and the day before yesterday, it doesn’t mean you have to have sex again today, especially if you don’t want to. Whether it’s your friend assuming you want overtime at work, or it’s your partner assuming you want to have sex. If you don’t want to, just say ‘NO’.

Using The I Statement Understandably, saying how we truly feel isn’t always going to be easy or comfortable. But there is a tool called ‘I Statements’ that might be useful for you to use in the future. You can practice this in your own time and then when you get the hang of it, you’ll have no problem asserting how you feel to others. For example, if you have a problem with a friend who always askes to borrow money from you, you could say: “When you keep asking me for money, I feel like you are using me for what I can give you instead of being my friend. This hurts and upsets me, what I want from you is to stop. You should try to get a job or save your own money, and then you wouldn’t need mine when we’re out.”

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This is the same method you could use in a sexual relationship. For example, if you have a problem with your partner continuously asking you to have sex, when you don’t want to, you could say: “When you continue to ask me to have sex, when I don’t want to, I feel like you’re not listening to me and I feel like my opinions and desires about my body do not matter. So what I want from you is to stop asking. When I want to have sex, I will tell you.” It doesn’t always have to be used in negative situations, for example, you might like or admire how well your friend is able to organise their diary. “I really admire how organised you are with college and work, it gives me motivation that I can manage my diary better too. If I did, I think I would be less stressed and tired. Would you mind helping me prioritise my commitments?” The ‘I Statements’ tool is helpful in saying ‘YES’, ‘MAYBE’ or ‘NO’ to others. It allows us to clearly state the positive or negatives of the situation, followed by how it makes us feel and then ending with an action - what we want the person to do as a result of how we feel. There’s nothing wrong with telling someone how you feel. If you feel happy embrace that, if you feel unhappy embrace that as well. Remember that we are all entitled to our emotions. The best thing to do in any situations is to let the person know how you’re feeling and why. If they don’t know how you feel, how can they stop hurting you or continue to make you happy? Often people have the best intentions so telling them honestly, but respectfully how we feel is extremely important.

I Statements When you... ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………… I feel... ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………… And what I want from you is... ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………

Safe and healthy relationships are marked by an ability to talk to each other openly. Our enthusiastic ‘YES’ and our detailed, kind and assertive ‘NO’ do matter! March - June 2016 ︱Issue 7 19


Find it. Create it. By Efosa Omorogbe, Michael Makinde and Rianna Raymond-Williams

In an era of mass youth unemployment, job insecurity and raising tuition fees, it is clear that young people need a new offer. An offer that allows them to showcase their skill sets and talents without embarking on traditional educational or vocational pathways, and instead allows them to celebrate their transferable skills sets and talents, thereby create new roles for themselves and others. This is exactly what Efosa Omorogbe and Michael Makinde have created with TiTo, the exciting new app that allows users to do all the above, and more. We spoke to them to find out about their motivations for the app and future plans.

Changing the current model Our mission is very simple: “To empower young individuals to utilise their skills to create and maintain their dream jobs and to become the last stop shop for creating and finding services.” Find it. Create it. TiTo it.” TiTo will allow all users to find and create freelance services everywhere! The acronym stands

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TiTo it.

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for, Talent In, Talent out, which represent our sole purpose. To bring in all talented individuals and empower them in turning their dream jobs into reality. We focuses on ‘the work first, work-experience after’ model, which should appeal to the forgotten demographic of young people who usually have little to no ‘official’ work experience. This means that they can compete for work in the greater market by being visible, increasing their chances of acquiring paid work and thus evening out the unbalanced playing field. We recognize that there are a few companies or apps out at the moment, which might do similar work to us. Namely, PeoplePerHour, Fiverr, Upwork, Tispr and a few others. Howevre the difference between TiTo and its competitors is that we focus on young or inexperienced individuals that have a varied skill but don’t the opportunity to showcase it. A lot of these other services all focus on a “credentials” first model and individuals being able to market their perceived “experience” on a platform, and some of those services even make it harder to find an individuals work, which is usually placed all the at the bottom of their profile. This makes it even tougher for people as their experience doesn’t match that of somebody who has been in industry longer than them. And what better way to judge a persons work other than by the work they’ve created themselves?

Follow us @ShineALOUDUK It’s a no brainer really and that exactly what all these services seem to recognise. For example, something as basic as a few friends organising a high-school reunion. Someone may take on the role of promotion, another person takes on the role of decorations and another person takes on the role of organising the food and drink – so on a so forth. From this experience the participants learn a range of skills in communication, networking team building and more, but because they haven’t worked at a high profile events company they have ‘no experience’, yet many of there skills would say otherwise. Similar in the case of being a team leader for a sports team. A person would have developed a range of skills in organization, public speaking, and leadership. But because they haven’t got a formal coaching qualification, professionally they’re not formally recognized as a ‘team leader’, yet many of there skills are attributes of a manager or leader. With TiTo we are putting your work first before anything else, not credentials, not words, not what others say about it. Just your work. Everything else follows along after. We are levelling out the playing field to give everybody the same fighting chance of acquiring paid work in any field.


whilst studying a 3 year degree before he could get a job that he wanted. This made no sense to him. He also noticed post-graduation that so many individuals are skilled in various areas, but there lacked a platform to easily showcase their talents to everyone else. He says “I noticed this while attending various startup events and business seminars, after speaking and networking with people who had a lot of skills, it gave me a brain wave. How could we make this process simpler?” “It became obvious to me that with TiTo we had to make skills a core functionality, as well as knowing what individuals and services are offered in your immediate area. We expanded on this by including a users friends and  allowing them to showcasing their skills to also, or having the ability to view what past services they’ve used so that they can be a point of reference to anyone wanting to use that service.” The job market has taught me that there is an unbalanced need for experience that will not change unless somebody dares to change it themselves, or reinvent the wheel. Or at least disrupt it.

Personal experiences TiTo it is based the personal experiences of the founders. After Michael graduated from a top ten university in 2014, he found it difficult to find a job that was inline with his degree. He describes ‘for many years, experience was used as a noose around his neck’, pushing him further away from his dreams. Apparently he was meant to have 3+ years of work experience

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Why should a superficial number of years studying determine my actual experience, when all of that can be displayed through the things that I’ve actually done? Why should we have to take up job roles that do not reflect our life goals and ambitions? Why is it so difficult to find information or the people to talk to within your desired industry? All of the questions above are a reflection of my motivations for starting TiTo. I needed to answer these questions for myself, which in turn have inspired me to bend the rules.

Moving forward In our opinion life is a journey. You need to follow your heart in every situation you encounter in life. Always be open to networking with people, you will never know how resourceful someone can be in your life, until you are brave enough to put yourself out there and find out. If you feel you can’t  live life fully without thinking about fulfilling your dreams or chasing a passion, my advice would be to pursue it. Effort is free; it’s cheaper than table salt! The key thing to take from our journey so far is determination and hard-work, including teamwork, will ensure your dreams work. Money is meaningless if you don’t have a value that will improve your life or the life of others around you. Once you find value in your product, the money will find its value in you.

Join us on Facebook/ShineALOUDUK changing companies and technologies available to us now. The only downfall would be people are part time entrepreneurs that only see money and not the greater good or value behind their product or concept. This leads to many wasted opportunities. We are planning to host various workshops at different universities and college to encourage young to get themselves on the app and start using it as they would any other. Their work is the most important asset they can have and we want to shine light on that. We aim to take TiTo globally and  solidify our movement that redefines the employment industry and rids it of the ridiculous need for experience that is not based on your work. We want to make it even more obvious to individuals that their life dreams or passions can be easily reached. We are  empowering individuals in creating their dream jobs.

For more information log on to Find it. Create it. TiTo it.

The rise of tech has been amazing as it has opened doors to so many creative or life

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Power Dressing What do your clothes say about you?

By Julian Hall Within 3 seconds of meeting someone they’ve already started to form a picture of who you are and what you’re all about. Much of that is down to your physical appearance and the clothes you wear. So how does what’s in your wardrobe, change what’s in the minds of others when they meet you? Many studies have been done around the topic of ‘power dressing’, but there hasn’t been much research done specifically for young people. So let’s talk about it! Power dressing is really about empowerment, it’s about how you can use fabrics, combinations, colours and accessories to make yourself feel great and leave a lasting impression on the people you meet.

"Dress how you want to be addressed"


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So here are 5 golden rules of power dressing that will make you turn heads wherever you go and make you feel ultra !

2 3

Dress for your shape – “Dress gives one the outward sign from which people

in general can, and often do, judge upon the inward state of mind and feelings.” H.M. The Queen (Yes the Queen!). We’re all very unique and so are our bodies! For women, body shapes generally fall into one of five general categories: pear, wedge, rectangle, apple and hourglass. For men body shapes generally fall in one of three categories, Ectomorph, usually a man with a small delicate frame and bone structure, Mesomorph, usually a man with an athletic and welldefined body and lastly, Endomorph, usually a man with a round and soft body. Once you’ve figured out your shape, you can then start to think about which fashion trends accentuate that shape or clash with it.

Time and place – Business people and professionals everywhere! Don’t show up for a business meeting in casual gear, it sends out the wrong message, it just does. Now that doesn’t mean rock a 3 piece suit every time, but it does mean being sharp, smart and respectful. As they say, “…you’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression…”. Colour me bad – Having a good appreciation of color provides you with a great foundation to dressing well. Colours have to be married in the right way; if a color is too different from the other ones it relates to, you end up clashing and looking like an amateur. For the end result to look hot, the colors have to fit together really well. Usually black and white go with everything.

4 5

Be an accessory – Must have

accessories for men are; a great watch, killer tie, proper wallet, bad boy bag or sexy socks. Women must haves are; picture perfect heels, dangling earrings, plain belt or ballet flats.

Be true to yourself – Last but not least, human beings are not only different in their looks and shapes but also in their DNA. Your character and personally are a combination of traits that make you, you. So when you’re standing in front of your wardrobe, or deciding what to buy, think about your favourite outfit, what you can’t stand and what says ‘you’ all over it!

"You are never fully dressed without a smile" March - June 2016 ︱Issue 7 25


CREATING A BETTER YOU with Itrainer Fitness By Moses Adeyemi and Rianna Raymond-Williams Over the last few years fitness and health have become part of the public agenda in an attempt to encourage people to take better care of themselves. With the rising statistic of obesity and cancer diagnosis’ across the UK, there is a push to promote a healthier way of living to all, specifically young people under the age of 25. We spoke to Moses Adeyemi, founder and owner of Itrainer Fitness, a health and well-being social enterprise in East London, about why creating a healthier lifestyle is so important. 26 Issue 7 ︱ March - June 2016

The Itrainer team at a Body Power Event.

Sharing the burn In three words, Itrainer Fitness is inspiring, encouraging and experienced. As a personal training company, we aim to inspire and motivate individuals to be the best they can be by taking on the role of personals trainers and life coaches, in the lives of our clients. We aim to empower and assist clients to meet their personal fitness goals, as well as encourage them to


Follow us @ShineALOUDUK overcome any personal development barriers they may be facing. Each person in the team has their own story; we didn’t all wake up one day fit and toned – as many people might think. It’s so important for us to share our stories, with our clients, so they have an idea of where we’re coming from, but also understand where we’re going.

We don’t have a specific target audience; we work with anyone who wants to improve their health. We only ask that our clients are 16 years old and above. We use various social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to reach out to people, in addition to distributing leaflets in different locations across East London.

This is important, because everything in life is a journey, so although our clients may not be where they want to be, yet, we are happy to help them get there. Each of us in the team have come from different walks of life and have gained great knowledge and experience along the way, this is why sharing our own stories are so important.

Lessons Health and fitness is important to me personally as it has helped me stay focused and grounded, in addition to relieving stress and helping me to manage different situations. It has taught me to be disciplined, and without that I wouldn’t be where I am today.

"We aim to empower and assist clients to meet their personal fitness goals." For someone who is starting or wants to continue to manage his or her health, I would say consistency is key. Small changes make a difference. You should not lose motivation, especially if you don’t notice progress instantly. Getting and maintaining a healthier lifestyle it is not an overnight process, so do not give up.

Here to help you on your fitness journey.

Social media has definitely played a primary role in shaping peoples believes of what is attractive - and what is not. The images that circulate around these networks can be considered unrealistic to many. However, some people view these images, and believe that what they see is achievable and attractive, which in turn encourages them to get this “look”. Yet, unbeknownst to them, these people or images March - June 2016 ︱Issue 7 27


have been enhanced or modified in one way or another, therefore this is not normal or natural and is unattainable, which is something some people fail to realise. Social media has also changed what we perceive to be the norm in terms of images being sexually explicit. For example, there are many pictures people would usually take in private, that are now being shared publically online. This can be very damaging. The only way to change this is to encourage people to think more carefully about what they choose to share online and send to others.

Making changes Two exercises that can be done from the comfort of your own home are squats and press ups. (I have enclosed images below to demonstrate how this is done) These exercises can be easily performed without the use of equipment and don’t require a large amount of space to complete. These are also great forms of cardiovascular exercises - usually referred to as Cardio - that help to increase heart rate, which if practised over a long time, can result in positive health benefits such as better blood circulation throughout the body, increased metabolism and improve heart

Reaching out to the local community in Stratford.

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Partnership meetings with Ian Mikardo Xtra. health. The heart is similar to any other muscle in your body, the more you work it, the stronger it becomes.

Three things you can do to get healthier are: 1. Increase water intake to at least 2litres of water a day. 2. Limit or stop drinking alcohol and smoking altogether. 3. Reduce the amount of junk food in the diet Most fitness companies share a common goal, which is to ultimately change the lives of clients through fitness and of course to build a strong clientele. However, at Itrainer Fitness, we go that extra mile to ensure all clients are made to feel valued and important. We are not only here to train and offer nutritional advice, but to also provide a strong support network for clients throughout the duration of their health journey, helping them to grow, share and enjoy with others. We hope to continue to inspire and encourage others to take an active role in changing their health habits. It’s never too late to start that journey, setting and achieving goals are a reality, for us every day. We hope that in the future Itrainer Fitness will be nationally recognised as the #1 fitness provider. @itrainer_fitness @itrainerr1

Social Media does not


Think before your share! March/April 2016 ︹Issue 7





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Masturbation 101 Everything you need to know about

FEELING GOOD By Elizabeth Battle

Masturbation is one of those topics which has been wrapped up in taboos, shame and rumours. But there is absolutely no reason it should be! So here we are giving you the real info on everything ‘self-pleasure’ so you can have an informed, happier, healthier sexuality.

The Facts.

What is masturbation? n Masturbation (or fingering or wanking) is the act of pleasuring yourself. Whether male or female, it usually involves touching your genitals, commonly aiming to reach an orgasm. n It’s totally normal and really common. 62% of women in the UK revealed they like to masturbate at least three times a week. Even kids are known to play with themselves from a young age to explore their bodies.

Is it wrong? n Like anything, it’s all up to personal belief. But frankly it’s all just self-pleasure. It’s perfectly safe, legal and very common. n You may hear many ridiculous rumours about masturbation: that it will make you

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go blind, grow hair on your palms, means you’re not a ‘virgin’- but this is all madeup. If you’re in a relationship or not – it’s totally cool to masturbate. It’s harmless and completely normal. n It’s important to keep in mind that, some do it a little, some do it a lot and some don’t like it at all. Whatever you feel is right for you is okay, no one should feel bad about what they choose. How do I start? It can seem daunting to begin with and honestly there is no right way to do it, but here are a couple of things to give you an idea. nG  et horny! People do this in all sorts of ways, often this will involve fantasising about things which turn you on.

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n To start, you might find it easy to just feel around different parts of your body with your hands - rubbing, stroking, flicking, squeezing- see what feels good. n Start gently exploring your genitals - this can be over clothes if that’s what makes you feel comfortable.

Once you’re horny n The penis will enlarge and become stiff (otherwise known as a boner). People with a penis will often use their hands to rub the shaft, moving their hands up and down rhythmically. n Vagina’s will ‘get wet’ when horny - this is a natural lubrication that will increase sensation. The clitoris is the sexual organ and the key to masturbation - This is the little hooded triangular mound at the top of the Vulva, which becomes more enlarged the hornier you are. n Many people will rub with their fingers, against pillows, or use their shower to get started. n You can also try rubbing or gently stroking the clitoris in circular motions or inserting a finger in to the vagina if this is comfortable. n Feel free to change what you’re doing and experiment with different techniques. n Some people will do it with partners or introduce sex toys to their self-play.

Orgasms n Having an orgasm - climaxing or cuming is often described as the height of sexual pleasure. It is the sudden release of muscle tension in your whole body alongside a rush of hormones causing intense pleasure. n If you have a penis, reaching orgasm will usually cause you to ejaculate a small amount of liquid known as semen or cum.


However, if you’re body hasn’t fully gone through puberty yet this might not happen and is nothing to worry about. n For biological females, it may feel like you need to pee, sometimes women can ‘ejaculate’ but this is rare. Usually you’ll experience an intense release and a feeling of happiness. Even though it’s a cliché, you’ll know you’re having one. n It’s important to say that when you first start, don’t expect to have an orgasm. It can be difficult to achieve them when first starting. Just focus on the sensations that make you feel good and build on that. The Benefits n Benefits? There’s benefits to masturbating? Yes! Not only is it harmless but it’s also really good for you. n It actually makes you healthier. It can reduce chances of yeast infections, improve sperm quality and alleviate stress. n It helps you sleep. The chemicals released from masturbation will relax your body and mind, making it easier for you to drift off to sleep. n It reduces pain. Yes, the chemicals released will help the pain from headaches and even menstrual cramps. n It helps you have better sex! When you know your own body it makes it easier to let a partner know exactly what makes you feel good, resulting better sex for both of you! The most important part of self-pleasure and masturbation is learning about your own body. Doesn’t it seem crazy to have someone else touch your own body when you’ve never done it yourself before? So get experimenting! Masturbation is about making yourself feel good - plain and simple. Now that you’ve got the first steps down, there is a whole world of sexual pleasure to explore! March - June 2016 ︱Issue 7 31


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Staying Fresh


10 tips to manage your personal hygiene By Emma Burgess Staying clean is so important. When we look after our bodies in the right way, we feel much better about ourselves, which in turn has an impact on how others see us. Unfortunately much of how we feel about others, is based on our first impressions, and as they say, you’ll never get a 2nd chance to make a first impression, which is why it’s important to make that experience as positive as possible.

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Growing up, some people are taught pristine hygiene rituals, whilst others need to find their own way. Whatever the circumstances of your childhood, or pubescent cleaning regimes, we’re here to try and make the process of looking after you and your body straight forward! Developing a hygiene routine is a vital part of self-love. The time you take to keep your body fresh is precious YOU time, protecting your health inside and out, as well as the health of those living around you. Here are 10 top tips on how you can stay fresh – ALWAYS. We hope these tips are helpful


YOUR BODY – You don’t have to shower or bathe every single day, but you need to find a schedule that works for you - matching the season, and your activity level. Some people prefer to have a shower in the evening and wash in the morning or have a bath in the evening and shower in the morning; it’s totally up to you. Whatever you do, let warm water run over your body for at least 2 minutes to help loosen dirt and residue. Save shaving and washing your face until the end of your shower when your pores open up. Also don’t just soak your feet in the water, scrub them with soap!


YOUR FACE – Showering every other day = okay, but still wash your face every day. It gets make up, cream and sunscreen off and helps to fight against acne. Washing your face daily should become a habit, helping you to have healthier skin. But, you have to find the right products for your face, especially if your skin is sensitive. Be open to trying to face washes and cleansers, this goes for men and women.


YOUR HAIR – This really depends

on your hair style and texture. Generally, to protect your hair use natural oils and avoid the millions of creams, greases and gels that have a list of additives longer that your arm. Shampoo, condition and trim regularly to maintain your hairs strength

and length. But also be experimental with different hair styles, add some colour or cut some off. The choice is yours.


GENITALS – If you have a penis wash it with plain soap when you shower, if you have foreskin just pull it back to wash underneath to avoid the buildup of dead skin cells. If you have a vagina don’t douche, just gently wash the area with plain soap or hot water. Vaginas have their own cleaning system and disrupting that system can cause irritation, such as thrush or BV. It’s also best to wipe from front to back to prevent the transfer of bacteria.


YOUR TEETH – Usually the most

neglected aspect of bodily hygiene, you should brush 2-3 times a day for 2 minutes. Divide your month into bottom leftright, and top left- right and spend 30 seconds on each (don’t forget your tongue!). Flossing daily between your teeth and over them is the key for fighting plaque and bad breath as well as is investing in a tongue scraper and good mouthwash!


YOUR HANDS – Washing your hands often is essential, especially after using the bathroom, after touching public spaces, and when you’re sick. Don’t forget to keep your nails trimmed to avoid hangnails and infections. March - June 2016 ︱Issue 7 33


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SHAVING – An area of constant debate. Do what makes YOU feel comfortable since shaving offers no hygiene benefits. Keep that leg and armpit hair if you want, grow a beard, landscape your genitals if you feel like it. Whatever. Just make sure all your areas are clean from residue, e.g. deodorant residue in armpit hair or left over food in beards. CLOTHES & SHEETS – When was the last time you cleaned your sheets (be honest)? A good rule is every couple of weeks and pillowcases even more! Wash your gym clothes and underwear after 1 use. Bra-wearers, avoid long periods between washes, an easy habit is to hand wash them in the sink, then let them soak while in the shower, then hang to dry. Don’t forget your winter jacket, hat, mitt and scarves; they need to see the inside of a washing machine too!


- Even those with the best hygiene intentions will still have days with stains, leaks, greasy hair, and smelly armpits. Having these items tucked in your bag can save you or friends from unwanted disasters: invest in tissues, baby wipes, a mini hand sanitizer, a stain stick, travel deodorant, extra underwear, panty liners, tampons, comb or brush, sanitary towels, and travel dry shampoo.


nicely! Before talking to someone carefully consider how to bring it up without hurting their feelings. Be genuine and make it obvious that you’re trying to help them because you care, not to make fun of them or call them gross. Try to show them a new product you’re using and ask if they have tried it, or ask if they knew that it’s recommended that everyone brushes their teeth for 2 minutes, flosses after every meal, because you just found out! ;)

"When we look after our bodies in the right way, we feel much better about ourselves, which in turn has an impact on how others see us."


e f i l y m d e v a s g n i t Wri By Blessing Odukoya

Unfortunately, mental health affects us all, statistics show that at 1 in 4 of people will experience a mental health problem at one stage in their lives. Although there are a variety of coping strategies, there is not a one size fits all rule, as all conditions are different. Blessing Odukoya, speaks to us about creative writing and how it has helped her deal with depression, and ultimately save her life. A lot of people will experience a mental health problem every year and far too often it takes something drastic to happen before we realise. Suffering from depression, I know what it feels like to be that one in four. Rather than just detailing my experiences, I’m also going to suggest a few coping strategies.

My experience

I remember when it finally clicked in me that there might be something wrong. I was asked to showcase one of my poems at an exhibition aimed at raising awareness of mental health amongst young people. It was when they began discussing symptoms and the constant feeling of being trapped came up that I froze. Someone used the example of a maze and the idea of always trying to find a way out, but not succeeding. After that everything seemed to change and I felt like I was being attacked. I knew I felt like that, but didn’t want to admit it, so I plastered a smile on my face daily and

went along faking my happiness when all I really wanted to do was cry. After that, I just ignored it, I supressed the emotions and went on with life thinking it wasn’t a big deal. I had a few episodes here and there, where I would cry for an entire weekend and refuse to leave my bed or even to eat. But, living in a studio flat at university meant that I could easily get away with this, when people came round I would just fake a smile and carry on. My best friend suggested counselling, initially, I brushed it off until she convinced me to try it. This was my first time talking to a professional about my condition. During our conversation, she made hints that I had depression, but I think she could sense how terrified I was, despite her trying to ease


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me into the reality of accepting it. Once this happened, I refused to go back. That’s the thing with mental health, I think I speak for many when I say – as a sufferer – we don’t want to accept that somethings wrong, and someone telling us that something is wrong makes us feel uncomfortable. To add to that, the thought of confiding in someone else about our condition makes us feel embarrassed and scared, which is why many of us tend to face it alone. At the time when I was suffering, only two people knew I was going to counselling and whenever they asked how it went, I would lie and say it was fine just to avoid going into detail about how torturous it really was and how some stranger made hints that I was depressed - nope, I couldn’t accept that. The real catalyst happened last year, a week before my birthday. I was sitting in my room crying my eyes out with pills sitting on my bedside table. I had written my first suicide poem, I intended on taking the tablets and never waking up again. I remember falling asleep and feeling at peace that it was finally over, I felt as though I had disappeared and the feeling of sadness would finally stop. A few hours later, I woke up and that’s when it finally clicked. I needed real help. I had unsuccessfully tried to end my own life, I didn’t want to feel like this again.

there, she suggested a form of expression to deal with my condition, drawing links to things I generally liked doing. I knew I loved writing, so it was after this experience that I decided to invest my emotions into writing a lot more. I started a blog where I posted all my poems, and whenever I felt down I went to my blog for support. I can’t say I haven’t had slip ups since then, I most definitely have slipped back, to the point where recently I have had to check myself into counselling again, but I’m certain that it has helped me feel better from time to time and that’s what’s important. I’m not ready to go to the doctors and have a clinical diagnosis, but talking and writing has helped. It’s not easy to admit you have a mental illness, but once you do it’s just about finding ways to manage it. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learnt is the importance of a safe haven, for me this has been writing.

"It saved my life. Not once, or twice, but on numerous occasions."

Making Progress

Have somewhere where you can get away, for example, reading a book for a few hours each day or maybe something physical like going to the gym. If there is something that gives you freedom, be it writing or talking, find your passion and invest all your energy into it. When you are feeling down take yourself out of the situation, go for a walk and take some air. I’m speaking to myself, as well as all of you, when I say self harm nor suicide is NEVER the answer.

I checked myself back into counselling and actually stuck it out for a few more sessions. We discussed me wanting to commit suicide, despite me never openly telling the counsellor I had actually tried to end my own life. From

It saved my life. Not once, or twice, but on numerous occasions. The simple task of putting pen to paper, whist in fits of tears, is one of the major reasons I’m still here.

36 Issue 7 ︱ March - June 2016

I Shi ssue 8 n Mag e AL of azin OUD e wi l Ju out in l be ne 201 6

We produce 4 magazine issues a year. We update content on our site weekly. We have over 50,000 readers internationally. We produce a Monthly Newsletter (sign up if you haven’t already joined our mailing list) We are supported by over 30 youth groups, sexual health organisations, enterprises, trusts and charities. All our content is created by young people, for young people.





Self-Love and Confidence Issue 7 | March – June 2016

How to be


What is


Dealing with Depression


Powerfull vs Powerless

The theme of the next issue will be ‘Habits’, looking at changing and forming habits as whole, discussing topics such as addiction, public etiquette, routines, friendships circles and MORE. Overall we will be looking at how you can maximise your productivity as a young person, as well as shake off any negatives – people and actions.

Can you help us to create it?

We’re always looking for creative minds to join our team, please get in touch if you are a writer, videographers, graphic designer or photographer. Whatever your interest, share your views, suggestions and submissions with us via


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Jade Benn, is here to support our readers to deal with everyday challenges. Alternatively, you can also visit our website for more information. The questions below are a reflection of the most popular issues our readers have contacted us about. This month’s questions are themed around Language and Virginity.


A lot of musicians and celebrities refer to women as ‘hoes’ or ‘bitches’, is it OK for me to do the same?


The fact you’re asking this question suggests to me that you have reservations about how acceptable these terms are. Factually, these words are better knowns as ‘rude’ or ‘swear’ words. You wouldn’t usually use in everyday conversation, so why use them in music? Referring to a woman as a ‘hoe’ or ‘bitch’ is only really normal in rap, trap and some hip-hop genres. So only the listeners of these genres accept these terms. Across the wider music

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spectrum, this is not the case. The shocking reality is nobody really has said it’s OK to use these terms, it’s just become accepted over time. Unfortunately, the fans that listen to these artists have continued to embrace this music, along with the lyrics, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK. In my opinion, these words are not ok. If I were an artist, I would think carefully about my use of language and choice phrases. In the future, I may want to meet people of substance that I can share my ideas with and impress, with my music. How can I do this if my content is vulgar? Also thinking about my family and friends, would I want them to hear me brazenly swearing or disrespecting women? I don’t want to have to hide my music because it’s offensive.

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If you are an aspiring artist, I think it is worth looking for other references you can use that fit the music you want to make. It might be useful to listen to other artists, specifically those who sound just as good, but choose not to opt for derogatory references, e.g. Akala.

a 25 year old virgin and still Q I’m haven’t lost it yet. When is the right time to have Sex?


Why does your age matter first? I know there’s pressure to live up to the popular image of being seductive and sexually experienced, the meme’s all over social media related to sex makes it seem as though there’s an entire world you’re missing out on. But the truth is; only a MINUTE minority of people air their sex lives, or sexual orientation on the internet and an EVEN smaller portion, and who know is any of it is true? FUN FACT: 27% of young people aged 20 - 25 in the UK are still virgins.


The older you get, the more sensible and responsible you become. So your choice of partner will probably matter more, so will the circumstances under which you have sex for the first time. Therefore the likelihood of regretting a rushed and meaningless decision will be more significant. So I would advise you not to think about it too much – it really isn’t that important. Just because all your friends are having, it doesn’t mean you should too. Finally, a ‘right time’ is subjective – it ALL depends on YOU! You can identify a right time when you are sure the person cares about you, understands you and accepts the importance of your virginity. But more importantly, you feel comfortable around the person and you can trust them, and choosing to have sex with them is a decision you believe you will not later regret. Don’t be pressurised into doing anything you’re not happy with. Take your time and don’t rush, everything will fall into place.

Email us any questions you want answered at

March - June 2016 ︱Issue 7 39


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SELF-LOVE By Verity Nelson

Self-image When I was seven, I gained a lot of weight. It was something I never expected. I went from being a skinny girl who trained in ballet, sang in school choir and performed in school showcases to this overweight sad child. It was almost like a Hollywood film. I went from skinny and happy to fat and sad.

I’m 26 now and I am still big. I can’t even say the word ‘fat’. I say ‘big’ or ‘chunky’. I think it’s unfair to call myself ‘fat’. Even though I’m a size 24, I will say big. I grew up in a world where magazines featured thin white girls, the people in movies were white and “perfect” and models that were black or mixed race had long flowing straight hair. I never saw anyone who looked like me, for me to look up to. That’s not a new experience. Not in 2016. It’s all you hear about; a severe lack of visual representations that illustrates diversity and inclusivity that helps those who aren’t “perfect” to feel good about themselves. I still don’t know what self-love is. When someone compliments my afro, I say “Thanks! It’s so much harder to deal with, than it may look like”, or something to that same sad effect. I cannot take a compliment because I do not love myself.

Words have power Fast forward to 2011, I met someone who has never stopped complimenting me. Before that, I was used to only my family telling me I was beautiful, but rarely ever heard it from anyone else. My father always told me that I was beautiful but I just needed to lose the weight I had gained. He’d say, “you’re a

40 Issue 7 ︱ March - June 2016

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beautiful girl and I want others to see it too”. My mum thinks I’m insanely beautiful because she loves me and my brother doesn’t notice. He’s grown up with me this way and he just sees his big sister. My new best friend says I’d look beautiful in a sack. My new friends that I made through this new best friend never stop complimenting my hair, my clothes and my make-up - when I wear it. I’ve officially heard that people want my hair, over four hundred times. And yet, I only just bought my first mirror from Ikea two weeks ago. I look in the mirror and I see the issues I have and all I think about is changing them. I don’t love myself and that does not allow me to be free or happy. Growing up, I thought that if I squeezed myself into smaller clothes, got braces to close the gap in my teeth, straightened my hair and bought eye cream for my circles, I would be perfect. I had no idea what self-love was. I bought jeans the wrong size and had to put them away for ‘one day’. I straightened my hair so much that some of it fell out. I cut myself. My mother was dead set against braces and no cream ever worked on my circles. I thought that if I fixed all the small things I hated, I would end up as this perfect being. I saw me wanting to change everything about me – even the things that were not wrong - as a form of selflove. It wasn’t. It’s self-hatred. Self-hatred is not self-love.

Moving forward Burning your hair off your scalp or lightening your skin tone, is not love. Squeezing yourself into the wrong sized clothes because you think your body is a different size, is not love.

Self-love is accepting yourself, flaws and all.

Self-love is accepting yourself and being brutally honest. Seeing your flaws and being ok with them OR doing something about them because you want to – not because others tell you to – which helps you grow and move on to a better you. Don’t be like me. Love yourself. Be honest with yourself. Circles are fine. Gaps in your teeth are fine. Hair that’s not straight is fine. If you’re not skinny, that’s fine. Dark, brown or uneven skin is fine. You are fine. Self-love is about reminding yourself that you must work with what you have because it’s what you’ve got.

It’s not wrong. It’s right. You're perfect. March - June 2016 ︱Issue 7 41


Young People’s Services

A Helping Hand

By Dr Sarah Borg

There are plenty of fantastic health and wellbeing services available for you as young person living in the UK. Whether you need to book your next sexually transmitted infection (STI) test, get advice on a mental health condition, want to start volunteering, or need help with anything else, there are a variety of services you can access according to your needs. Here are few you may want to engage with:

Brook -

VInspired -

Brook provides confidential sexual health and relationship information for young people under 25 across the UK. The site has an interactive contraception quiz to help you figure out which method is right you and your partner. There is also information on STIs, pregnancy, healthy relationships, and much more. Brook offers an interactive Webchat, Textchat, and a 24/7 “Ask Brook” service to assist with questions on sex and relationships. This is all offered in a colourful, inviting and easyto-read layout.

VInspired provides young people with volunteering opportunities. Volunteering is a great way to help others, meet new people, learn new skills and build experience for your CV. The site offers a comprehensive volunteer search database to help you look for opportunities in your area that match your interests. There is a large and varied list of opportunities including, but not limited to: vintage shop assistant, dementia advisor support volunteer, and London Marathon finish line marshal.

Mind -

Frank -

Mind provides confidential mental health support and advice to anyone experiencing mental health issues. The site provides easy-to-navigate guidance regarding what to do if you or a friend requires urgent help, including access to websites, and a 24-hour phone help line providing legal, emergency, health, and medication advice. If you ever experience a mental health problem, even if you are just feeling down, this is an incredibly resourceful site. Their site also links to a range of useful selfhelp websites for young people.

Frank offers friendly and confidential drug advice, providing you with all you need to know about drugs and substance misuse. The service also offers a 24-hour help line, live web chat, text and email service. If you are a drug user, or have had a bad experience with drugs, you have the opportunity to share your story, as well as read the stories of others, giving you the opportunity to be part of an online community. The site also details what to do if you require help or are worried about someone else.

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Beat -

Samaritans -

Beat provides support for anyone affected by eating disorders or difficulties with food, weight and shape. The service provides confidential help lines, message boards, a directory for eating disorder services, online support groups, peer support groups, and specific programmes in different areas of the UK. The site has recovery stories and blog posts related to eating disorders. It also details information on eating disorders, notable signs of someone suffering from an eating disorder, how to seek help, what treatment involves, and provides reviews of self-help books related to eating disorders.

Samaritans is a confidential helpline and outreach service that provides support to people experiencing distress, recovering from self-harm, or contemplating suicide. The service has 201 24-hour branches across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Callers are provided with support and are even able to just have a quick chat about something on their mind. Trained advisors are available to talk for as long as needed, with the aim of helping callers overcome any difficult situation. Samaritans also offers an outreach service, allowing callers to meet advisors face-to-face in hospitals, schools, or community centres.

The Site -

The Havens -

The Site provides generic support to young people aged 16 - 25 in the UK with the aim of helping them better manage their lives. The service focuses on providing relationship support to young people experiencing relationship challenges with their friends, family, and/ or partners. Young people can participate in message boards discussions, using the “Ask a Question” service, or engage in online chat services delivered by experts. The Site has recently joined forces with Get Connected, a free help line and counselling service for young people under the age of 25.

The Havens provides specific information and support for anyone in the UK who has been raped or sexually assaulted. The service provides three 24-hour confidential service centres in London offering first aid, advice, emergency contraception, diagnostic tests, treatment, forensic medical exams, follow up, and specialist support and counselling, with translators available. You are able to use the services even if you do not want police involvement.

All services listed above are strictly confidential and run by professionals who are easy to talk to and dedicated to improving the life of young people.

March - June 2016 ︱Issue 7 43


Young people using their past to fix the future...

• feel passionate about an issue and want to make change?

• Aged 16-25?

become a fixer!

Fixers are young people from all over the UK who use their past to fix the future. They are all from different backgrounds, have different interests and life experiences, but share one thing in common: working on a Fixers project. Fixers choose the issue they want to fix and, using the skills of creative experts, they work out how to get their message is heard by the right people. This can be achieved through a unique film, a leaflet or poster campaign, a website, an event or workshop.

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Shine ALOUD UK - Issue 7 - Self love & Confidence  

This is our Self-Love and Confidence issue were we will be grappling with the ideas of self-love and confidence and what impact they have on...

Shine ALOUD UK - Issue 7 - Self love & Confidence  

This is our Self-Love and Confidence issue were we will be grappling with the ideas of self-love and confidence and what impact they have on...