Cattitude & CO.

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Copyright © Cattitude&Co., 2016.

Y’all need to check out the ever wonderful Cattitude & CO. Otherwise known as the lovely London based lady Tara, who set up the feminist lifestyle blog in August 2015. The blog covers a whhoollee range of topics from feminism and sexuality to lifestyle and wellbeing. It’s so wonderful to see a blog, as well as the start of the Cattitude & CO Youtube (get yo booty over there and subscribe…now!) inspiring and encouraging women in the 21st Century. Us ladies need that frank content to really live life authentically. We are surrounded by media and content that portrays women in a certain light that isn’t true. (Check out the latest post about the media on Cattitude & CO. here) We need more people like Tara to show us and now tell us with her YouTube, how we can support each other, as well have the discussions we wished we could actively get involved with in our teenage years. Having only just launched the YouTube channel 7 days ago…she is amassing followers already.
To top off the empowering, informative blog and YouTube channel, Tara co-founded a successful women’s lifestyle website Zusterschap in 2015. ZC is a fearlessly feminist blog where no topics are off-limit. As we confront stereotypes, social norms and just about everything we’re expected to swallow without questioning, Zusterschap aims to give an array of women a voice. In November 2015, Zusterschap was shortlisted for ‘Best Sex and Relationship Blog’ at the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards.

 Now this is a lady worth following.

What really struck a chord with me, is that Tara said that her main motivation is to be the woman she needed as a little girl. I think she’s definitely achieved that and beyond. We need more people in this world like Tara, who are showing girls and guys what feminism is and the discussion we need to be having as individuals in this day and age. She’s empowering, strong and really knows her stuff.

You can follow her here on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

You can also Subscribe to Cattitude & Co’s  Blog and YouTube!

 

cattitude
Copyright © Cattitude&Co., 2016.

 

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Interview with the Award-Winning Golddigger Trust

Ok folks, I am loving the fact I’ve been receiving messages and some of y’all got on my twitter poll to do more mental health tips. It’s all in the pipeline, so keep your sweet eyes peeled! But first…big news.

Today, my business Keep Real headed to Sheffield to film an interview with a wonderful award-winning organisation called The Golddigger Trust who are just…I have no words. Just incredible! I’ve admired this bunch of lovely folk for a while, and to be asked to collab with them via my brand was just great…and to interview them was just, well, greater. A big whole experience of inspiration. They do AMAZING work for young people (their tagline Unearthing Value, Transforming Lives is just so flippin wonderful) doing courses, projects, mentoring with girls and guys concerning self esteem. Golddigger Kimberley snap

We headed over to their offices and asked them a load of questions about the work they do, what inspires them and what’s coming up for them this year. It turns out they’ve got some incredible things that they’re working on (which you can find out for yourselves in the video we’ll be putting up soon!)

What I can tell you, is that th
ey’re aiming to raise funds for their Golddigger Trust Centre For Young People. They have said that ‘As the Trust has grown, we have long held a vision for creating our own ‘centre for young people’, somewhere that they can feel at home, and from where our award winning work can expand across the city and the UK.’

How amazing!? They need as much help as they can get, and would love for so many folk to get involved with what they’re trying to do.Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 20.24.55

These people are so inspiring, and continue to inspire so many young people every single day. Please check out their campaign here and fundraise or donate to their cause here. These guys deserve so much recognition and I am humbled to have interviewed them. Having had a really sweet talk about my business, what they’re getting up to and what we could potentially do together is just beautiful. I cannot wait to share with you what we’ve done and tell you more about the trust!

Sending all my love ❤

 

Aldred’s Artists 5- Kimberley Robinson — Natasha Aldred Illustration

I had the absolute pleasure to be interviewed by my beautiful friend (and fantabulous Illustrator/ Owner of Never Stop Zine), Natasha Aldred. Go check it out! And also go check out what Natasha is up to, a wonderful wonderful person doing such great things ❤

I am humbled to announce that my fifth Aldred Artist feature is with the lovely Kimberly Robinson. Kimberley Robinson is the founder, blogger and artist of the upcoming clothing brand ‘Keep Real‘. I’ve known Kimberley for a few years now and have slowly watched her grow into the strong independent business woman she is today. […]

via Aldred’s Artists 5- Kimberley Robinson — Natasha Aldred Illustration

Interview with Team Not Ashamed

Hi there lovelies. I had the pleasure of interviewing the wonderful Team Not Ashamed, who are a movement in diminishing the stigma surrounding mental illness, and are a great support network for those struggling with their health. Fantastic work by some wonderful ladies!! You can follow them here on Twitter, and their website. Here’s a little bit more about them, and what to look out for!Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 14.54.47

What inspired Team Not Ashamed? When did you start?
Team Not Ashamed was started by Rachel Griffin, this is what she has to say. “I wrote an article for the Huffington Post “5 Reasons Why I’m Not Ashamed of My Mental Health Condition” and started the hashtag soon after that. I knew how detrimental shame had been in my own life and how liberating it was to let it go. I wanted to invite others to do the same and stand proud in who they are regardless of a mental health condition. 5 amazing ladies joined and took it to the next level and we made the movement more organized.”

You have six lovely ladies who are leading this lovely movement, can you tell me a little bit about each of you?
Here are all of our names, twitter account and blogs
Justine- @JMcNeil_ http://www.justinemcneil.com and http://www.jsdaze.wordpress.com
Rachel- @rachelgriffin22 http://www.wehaveapples.com
Carly- @karbarr2
Nicole- @soupernic http://www.soupermental.wordpress.com
Mar- @mar_andras
Megan- @mentalmetanoia http://www.mentalmetanoia.wordpress.com

What are your main aims with your movement?
To spread the message that mental heath conditions are nothing to be ashamed of! They are not a choice, character flaw, or a weakness. We are helping end the harmful stigma associated with mental heath conditions and advocating for better and more accessible healthcare.

What helps you manage your mental health? i.e any books, therapy you can suggest, or tips on staying well.
Things that help us manage our mental health:
A good support group (like Team Not Ashamed!)
Exercise
Self-care…knowing when you need to spend more time taking care of yourself (this could mean staying away from social media for a few days, taking a day to yourself etc)
PETS!

It’s wonderful that you’re spreading the message that mental health conditions are nothing to be ashamed of! What advice do you have for those struggling with mental health problems?
Know that if you are struggling with your mental health and/or have mental health conditions that it is not character flaw, it does not mean that you are weak and that it is not your fault. There is a large mental health community that is here to support you, know that you are not alone.
Any favourite quotes that get you through the day?
Not necessarily to get us through the day, but one that aligns very well with the campaign is ‘Don’t be ashamed of your story, it will inspire others’

Do you have anything upcoming for Team Not Ashamed? If so, what can we look out for?
We will be making #imnotashamed bracelets and other fun goodies that will be available on our website. We hope to start a blog on the website as well. We have “trending days” once a month on twitter where we try to raise awareness about mental health by trending #imnotashamed

Trusted Clothes and Keep Real!

The wonderful Canadian non-profit Trusted Clothes are documenting my brand Keep Real’s journey of sustainability and inspiring wellness. So sweet! Please go ahead and check it out.Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 16.06.15

It’s no good promoting mental well-being as a business, if the business doesn’t have the foundations of trying to be the best version of itself either. So we expanded the definition of wellness to include our sustainable souring policy within our supply chain.

Here’s the first blog post I did as the founder. Excitingggg!!! ❤

Challenges of Starting a Sustainable Fashion Brand

Emma’s Story: Navy to Never Giving Up

Emma’s Story: Navy to Never Giving Up

Hey folks! I had the pleasure of interviewing the very inspirational lady Emma Macdonald, who is embarking on a new journey after her time in the Navy. Through her personal struggles, she is aiming to set up her own coaching business called ‘Seize the Day Performance’ working with individuals who struggle with self-esteem and mental health issues. A story of true determination, resilience and over coming personal experiences ❤

Hey Emma, please tell me a little bit about yourself!

Allow me to introduce myself… My name is Emma MacDonald. I grew up in small village outside of the city called Perth (East coast of Scotland). School was a little bit of a challenging time in my life, not really knowing who I was, or what I wanted to do with my life. I also still carry a belief around that I wouldn’t amount to anything due to not going to university, Crazy right?? I also found myself growing up really fast, being introduced to drinking & drugs at very early age (15). I worked in retail for the majority of my time selling phones for o2, up till I joined the Navy at age 22.

What inspired you to go into the Royal Navy?

My inspiration for joining the navy was that I had enough of living in the same town I grew up in, doing the same un-fulfilling job, heavy partying. I was just wasting my life… So on the 3rd March 2010, I joined HMS Raleigh to start my training for the navy. From here, I joined a ship in 2011, which was a type 23 frigate called HMS St Albans. We were tasked to do a 6 month deployment of the gulf, patrolling areas where drug trafficking was rife, at threats of piracy to container ships was also a threat.

What were your highlights of your career?

I have managed to visit some incredible places with my time on board St Albans. Dubai, Greece, Lisbon, Malta, Iceland, Hamburg, the list goes on…

Tell me about your experiences concerning mental health.

In late 2012, after being attached to St Albans for nearly two years, I was playing football when I incurred an injury to my right knee, rupturing ligaments and tendons.  This was severe injury, so I was then taken off my ship and landed shore side. While I sought medical treatment & rehab, during this time I have to say I had bit of a breakdown. Many things came to my head, which had been building for quite some time. I became very withdrawn, sleeping a lot, drank a lot, thoughts of killing myself. I knew this was only going to get worse unless I sought out help.

I was referred to the Defence Centre of Mental Health. This is where I underwent treatment for my then diagnosed depression. For around 6 months, it only involved talking therapy, which I kept to myself.  As you know yourself, the stigma involved in mental health, is not something I wished to talk about with others back then. During this time, I resisted going on medication. After 6 months of some mild improvement, I was told that medication alongside therapy is the best chance of my recovering from my depression.

For many years during this time, I must admit I was going to pursue a career in the navy as a Physical training instructor.  I came up against massive amounts of resistance, and lots of hurdles I had to jump through. This went on for a few years, all with still being injured due to my knee and mental health. I eventually had surgery in March 2014 to repair my damaged ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament).

With this added stress and uncertainty regarding my future, all the added worry of gaining weight while recovering (not being able to exercise fully) I developed what you might call an eating disorder…

As someone who was seen to be fit and healthy on the outside, this was a very hard thing for me to get on board with. I fought the system hard believing that there was nothing wrong with me, it was just who I was…

After some time now, I have come to realise that some of my behaviours are not normal, then what’s normal? Who wants to be normal!!! As my current condition does not fit with in military life, I will be discharged in June 2016. If I am going to be completely honest, this is something that my psychologist and I have agreed on. I have had the most incredible life changing experience while being in the navy, I just feel it is time for me to know move on, and pursue my passion…

Tell me about your passion!

I am in process of setting up my own coaching & mentoring business called  ‘Seize the Day Performance’.  The name comes from my thought process of being in tune with the here and now. This is because all we really have is this moment. If you can do the best you can today then tomorrow will be even better, so seizing today, tomorrow etc.  It’s all about making this day count, however small that little triumph is!

My coaching business is aimed at people who have or are still suffering with mental health issues. Empowering others, to then empower themselves through sound nutrition, movement and mind-set… These three key elements have helped me get where I am today, stronger in body and mind. I truly believe that if these three things are not practiced, you will have a very slim chance of recovering from mental health issues…

Do you have any advice or guidance for people struggling with these issues?

My advice to others would be…

I have been on such a journey, I have been in some very dark places, so I know what it feels like to feel you have no one or nothing to live for. As I gradually introduced these practises in to my life, things began to change.  I didn’t bombard myself with trying to juggle as many habits as I could. I slowly implemented small sustainable habits, which have now led to me feeling like the person I am today. Things like reading for 15 minutes a day (mindset books), implementing protein & vegetables in to one meal at a time until I was eating protein/vegetables with every meal.

Also if, you can afford the investment hiring a coach or mentor to hold you accountable, to give you guidance a help hand, I also highly recommend this investment. This is something I have been undergoing for nearly two years now, being coached & mentored by Wildepreformance.. I could go on and on!

The key is small changes, Small daily changes = big results!

What are your aims after your time in the Navy?

My aim within the next 5 years, is to help as many people as I can, get unstuck from destructive behaviours, for them to see that life doesn’t have to suck. There are ways and means together, and we can aid you back to becoming the awesome self you once were.

 

Check out what Emma’s up to on her social media platforms (Check out here Instagram account)! She’s going to be some amazing and inspiring work, and I wish her all the best for the year! Go Emma!

 

Interview with Joe Sheridan

Hey folks! Hope you are all well. Today I’m sharing with you a wonderful interview I did with Joe Sheridan, who is a freelance photographer and videographer, hailing from Manchester here in the UK. One of his projects he works on aims to promote mental health, and I had the pleasure of getting to know him and his work a bit more! You even have a wonderful peek at some of the shots Joe has done for his project dedicated to mental health. Hope you all enjoy! ❤

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself!

My name is Joe; I’m 24 years of age and currently hail from Manchester. I guess you could say I’m a musician, I like to write music almost everyday, sometimes even in my dreams I conjure up chord progressions and lyrics, it never stops! Besides that my past degrees, especially politics has inspired me ironically to be interested psychology, and led me to the author Simon Baron Choen and his series of books on the human mind. You could say many things easily inspire me.

2. What inspired you to start photography?

I got started with photography almost two years ago now. I got started by basically using an old iPhone around the summer of 2013, and I steadily became more interested in capturing compositions. Shortly after the summer that year, my dad and myself pooled our money together to buy an old Pentax Film SLR, and I absolutely loved using it. From then on for Christmas that year my dad lent me his Pentax KX DSLR, eventually I commandeered it and found that I loved photography by accident really. Since then I guess you could say I have amassed an amount of experience that has seen me photography gigs in and around Manchester, from small pubs, to small concert venues to the largest in Manchester. All in all I am very lucky, these opportunities have been of a consequence of hard work, but the one thing I always try to do is persevere, always get better and hone my craft.

 

3. What are your favourite aspects of photography?

I love the moment when you capture an emotion in the subject, because when you look through the viewfinder and see something special about the composition, it just brings something out in me that I can really on describe as something that makes me very happy.

 

4. Is there anything particular you like to shoot? And why?

I like in particular when I capture human emotion, there is something in the way that when a face is contorted, especially in a live concert setting, it can be something quite special to capture. In general though, in any environment light can be a huge factor, most notably I enjoy composing subjects in silhouettes whether that be from natural or manufactured light.

5. You have an ongoing project promoting awareness of the affects of mental health. Tell me more about it!

Well I got my inspiration was from a photographer called Adam Elmakias and the illustrations he did with some portraits for a band called Citizen. The link can be found here – http://www.adamelmakias.com/live/photos-of-citizen-at-warped-tour/

The band themselves have been quite autobiographical in their music, especially on a release called ‘Youth’; the lyrics themselves are quite emotional. When I saw them used with these portraits that said photographer took I was instantly struck by how the context for the lyrics, and the photos worked together perfectly. It was so seamless how they fit together, and I’d never seen it done before either.

From then on, to this past October is when the idea came to me. As to why I chosen this project, I guess like many creative, whether they be musicians, photographers, painters, etc.. I like the allure of an artists work that is shrouded in some mystery, where you can’t quite put your finger on why they created what they created, and I’d partly like to rein that true with myself. I digress though, I had been feeling as though I had become quite self indulgent with my work, that I was only doing it for me, for my benefit, so when this project came to mind I wanted to do something that I hoped would be of benefit to the lives of other people. Photography has a way of capturing a moment in time, arguably one composition can say a million different things to the person looking at it, but I hope that if I am fortunate enough to exhibit my work, that when people see these photos that it makes them think about those issues that we sometimes push under the carpet and don’t talk about. I want to take the conversation of the issues surrounded people with physical and mental issues out into the public, not just have them stay online.

 

6. What changes would you like to see in mental health services?

I know myself alone cannot change things overnight and, it’s much more than people’s minds I am looking to change, but If this project were to be a success then I would like to think what else I could do, ideally, I’d like to take what I have done and use it as a plan of action to change how the system works, i.e. waiting lists, but that is just an idea, but it’s something I do think about doing.

7. What impact would you like to have in mental health with your photography?

I hope that it most importantly gives the people who have given me their time to feel a sigh of relief that they have had the confidence to open themselves who to the wider public, and tell some of their story. Past that, I hope that whoever comes to visit what I hope to be an exhibition, that they get a better understanding of the sensitivity of theses issues at hand, and maybe that it will translate to people who are un-aware or ignorant to these issues and educate them. All I can do is hope, but that is what I wish to happen.

You can follow Joe here on Instagram, and check out his website here. You can contact him on his website if you’d like to be involved in his project!