Why ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ is Basically My Favourite Movie Ever | #ThisGirlEats

Have you seen ’70s cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show? If not, do it. Like, right now. Why? Because it’s basically the best movie ever.

Okay, so technically, technically, Grease is actually my absolute favourite movie of all time. I watched it as a kid and completely fell in love with Danny Zuko and ’50s poodle skirts and have known every word of dialogue ever since.

It’ll always be my favourite at heart but, since growing up a little, I’ve realised that a movie about how the girl has to change herself appear sexier, more promiscuous and pretend to smoke like a chimney just to get the guy to like her while, in the meantime, the only effort he’s put in is wearing a cardigan – well, it’s hardly a feminist statement, is it? 🙄


But an incredibly close second, and probably my favourite movie as an adult, is Richard O’Brien’s 1975 B-movie parody horror rock ‘n’ roll musical, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Why, you ask, has this wacky, nonsensical, corset-and-suspender flick taken up such a beloved space in my heart? Well, because hidden somewhere in between Tim Curry’s unbelievable legs is a message that never fails to resonate with me.

The movie, at its core, is all about embracing who you are. Accepting every part of yourself, be it your appearance, sexuality, desires, ambitions, and welcoming them all with open arms, sometimes with reckless abandon but mostly with an open mind and big dreams.

You see it when the fabulous Frank N. Furter bursts out in the most exceptional sparkly corset and smashes down barriers – let’s not forget this masterpiece came out over 40 years ago, a very different time! You see it when conservative couple Brad and Janet have their sexual experiences broadened and, after maybe ten seconds of hesitation, happily go along with it. You see it in the whole idea that “freaks” and “weirdos” are out there living their best lives and not caring what the world outside thinks about them.


Don’t dream it, be it.” Of all the great Rocky Horror lines, that’s my favourite. I’ve even had it scrawled in a tattoo across my collarbone, I love it that much! It’s simple but to the point – whatever you want, whatever your hopes and ambitions may be, whoever you want to be, don’t just sit around waiting for the right moment, don’t just dream it. Be it.

Now, that’s a better message than sewing yourself into leather pants and getting a perm just to impress a guy, am I right? 



5 Things I Do Every Day to Help Me Love Myself | #ThisGirlEats

It might not look like much, but I try my best to do these five things every day because they genuinely push me to bring out my positive side.

We all know that learning to love yourself is a tough journey, but doing just a lil’ something every day towards achieving that is a step in the right direction.

1. Reflect – literally!

It’s not always fun, but I make sure I look in the mirror every damn day. I stand there, even if it’s just for a few seconds before bed or a quick check before I rush out of the house before work, and look at myself.

I do it because it’s a practise. It takes discipline, after years of abusively picking apart my reflection, to stand in front of the mirror and appreciate what is staring back at me. I might not be head over heels in love with it every day – let’s be real, who is?! – but I always take a moment to look at every lump and bump, every freckle, every stretch mark, think positive thoughts and shove that inner saboteur (thanks RuPaul 😉) out of my mind.

2. Tidy space, tidy mind.

If you’ve ever surprised me with an unexpected visit to my flat, you might not believe this next one. But I genuinely do feel that – when I’ve got the time! – having a neat, clean, tidy environment helps me thrive creatively and keep a clear head.

It’s hard to keep on top of chores and no-one wants to waste their free time doing housework, myself included. But I do make a conscious effort to do some kind of tidying up every day. Even something simple like finally getting to the bottom of the washing up, clearing away long-lost clutter, putting laundry away instead of just letting it pile up.. the list is, unfortunately, endless. But just doing a little something to organise my home really feels like I’ve got my shit together.

3. Make a list, check it twice.

I find lists incredibly therapeutic. Whenever I feel stressed or overwhelmed, I always write down whatever’s on my mind in a list that I can tackle bit by bit. It makes things feel more manageable and gives me a chance to stop suffocating and start breathing again.

The one list I check every single day is my ‘2019 GOALS’ list. It’s got several broad, open-ended goals – “Improve blog content and engagement”, “Learn to love yourself and your body” and “Save money and get out of your overdraft“, for example – to achieve this year. Every night, before bed, I ask myself what I’ve done that day to help towards any one of those bullet points. As long as I’ve helped myself get one step – even a teeny tiny baby step – closer to any one of those goals, I feel like I’ve done a good job for the day.

My '2019 GOALS' list
My ‘2019 GOALS’ list

4. Smile for the camera.

It sounds very stereotypical of the social media selfie generation but I do try, as much as possible, to take photos of myself. I know that makes me sound very “millennial” but it’s really not ’bout that – it ain’t all full face paint and insta model, let me tell ya!

The reason for this is to make sure I step up and be seen every day. It’s easy to let yourself fade into the background and shy away, especially if you’re introverted like me. But if you force yourself to point the camera in front of your face every day it means you have no choice but to really look at yourself. I don’t often do anything with these photos, they’re not necessarily for anyone else to see, but I can flick back through them anytime as a reminder of each day. I try to take photos of me, for me, as much as I can.


5. Make friends with food.

Girl, if I could count the hours I wasted stressing over what I ate… Well, I can’t find a funny way to finish that sentence but, trust me, it’s A LOT.

It’s been a long, long, loooong process, but these days I try to make food my friend instead of my enemy. It’s not always easy, and I definitely hear that lil’ devil creeping up on my shoulder trying to dupe me into feeling guilty, worried or anxious when I’m eating – that bitch just won’t back off! But I can honestly say that forcing my negative thoughts to change track when it comes to food has brought me closer than I’ve ever been to loving and accepting myself. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.



Don’t Blame People Who Buy Detox Teas – Blame the Culture That Promotes Them | #ThisGirlEats

Tea detoxes – skinny teas, tea-toxes, etc. – are a diet fad that has stuck around like a bad smell for years now, promoting flat tummies and rapid weight loss just by drinking a couple of magical cups of tea every day. Who knew it was so easy?!

Well, most of us know that, actually, it’s not. Almost all of these tea detoxes contain ingredients that work as laxatives and digestive aids which give the illusion of weight loss but, really, just make you go to the toilet all day. Makes sense that you’d loose weight if most of it goes down the loo!

Thankfully, people have started to see the light with these skinny tea diets and many influencers are now urging their followers to avoid like the plague. Loads of the brands that sell these “miracle” teas use celebs with massive online followings to promote them – Khloé Kardashian, Cardi B and Iggy Azalea are just a few recent examples – but, luckily, people are finally fighting back.

An unfortunate side product of this, however, is that some people who have joined the crusade against tea-toxes are directing their frustrations towards, in my opinion, the wrong people.

I’ve been there, in that place. I’ve been that young, insecure teenage girl with serious body image and self confidence issues, battling feelings of anxiety, desperation and helplessness. I’ve seen the ads for these “amazing” tea detoxes, sharing before and after photos with noticeably flatter tummies that I so badly wanted and testimonies from customers who swear they lost 20lbs in two weeks just by drinking a few cups of tea. I fell for it.

All it takes is twenty quid and a couple of cups a day, and all my insecurities would be gone? Sounds too good to be true – sign me up!

Shameless mirror selfie taken somewhere along my recent journey to loving myself.
Shameless mirror selfie taken somewhere along my recent journey to loving myself

When people see a young girl online tweeting about how she’s thinking of trying a skinny tea diet, or posting a photo of her tea-tox haul with a caption about how she’s excited to try it out, a flood of comments soon follow, brandishing her stupid, ignorant, unhealthy, all sorts.

But she’s not. She’s naive, sure, but she’s just another victim of this diet culture. She’s just a girl looking for a way out and falling into their traps. One day – hopefully – she’ll learn to love herself, she’ll realise that these fads are dangerous and looking after her body comes first. But she’s not the bad guy here.

If you want to blame someone, look at the companies that sell the damn things in the first place. Teasing audiences with photos of miraculous weight loss, tempting us with their discount codes and trying to promote products under the facade of health when, in actual fact, they are ridiculously dangerous.

We’ve also got to point the finger at celebrities who are telling their young, impressionable followers that losing weight is apparently important enough to fill your body with laxatives twice a day and worth damaging yourself with quick fixes. I know advertising for brands helps you lot earn that dollar but, please, think about what you’re doing. Think about the times you’ve been in a bad place, when you haven’t loved yourself and would’ve risked anything to help you get out of that funk. Think about that before you propel this kind of bullshit to your fans (or at least be honest, as Jameela Jamil hilariously demonstrates in this parody video).

Young women aren’t the ones to blame here; don’t let the brands trying to sell unhappy people a fake dream and celebs refusing to take on the responsibility that comes with millions of followers get away with it.

Healing My Unhealthy Relationship with Food | #ThisGirlEats

Me and food, we’ve got a love-hate relationship. Sometimes it’s my best friend, sometimes it’s my enemy. The problem is, no matter how unhealthy my relationship with food might be, I need it to, y’unno, stay alive. That’s the bottom line, right?

I’ve got an ongoing battle between my love of food and the issues it causes me when it comes to weight, body image and self-consciousness. It’s something I’ve never known how to overcome and, truthfully, never thought I could.

But lately something has changed. I don’t know if it’s the conscious effort I’ve been spending on positive self-image, the incredible body positive women I follow online, or just the fact that I’ve coloured my hair recently and it looks great (not even gonna lie). We all know that when a gal changes her hair some serious shit is going down!

Pink and purple hair

Point is, even though I’m probably at my biggest right now, have stretch marks all over my body and took an incredibly lax approach to shaving my legs this winter, I have been feeling so much more positive about myself, my body and my relationship with food. My mind is like a sat nav, healing my deep-rooted problems with food and rerouting itself down a much better path.

I think this revelation started when I read Ruby Tandoh’s ‘Eat Up’ last summer. It made me start to listen to my body and really enjoy food instead of always fighting against it – you can read more about my thoughts on the book here.

Since then, I’ve definitely realised how negative it is to think some foods are “bad” and that I should feel “guilty” for eating, and that really made a difference.

For example, when me and my boyfriend go out to eat now it’s not about feeling bad for the three-course meal we’ve devoured and how we have to pop open the top button on our jeans on the car ride home. It’s about the quality time we spent together; the laughs we had trying to order items from the menu we couldn’t pronounce, the ideas we came up with for the future while dipping dough balls into garlic butter, the holiday we planned over a margherita pizza, the content quiet between us as we savoured delectable, sweet spoonfuls of chocolate ice cream.

Pizza Express margherita pizza
Pizza Express margherita pizza

It’s about getting out of the house and enjoying what life has to offer. It’s about loving food and company and conversation. It’s about caring for ourselves and nourishing our bodies, minds and souls. It’s about looking after relationships with each other, with ourselves, with food.

I currently have the healthiest view of food and myself that I’ve had in a long, long time. I don’t really know how it happened, or why it’s happening right now. But it is, and I’m happy.

Is There Really Such Thing as a “Healthy Weight”? | #ThisGirlEats

Before fitness fanatics, diet gurus and outraged lunatics on the internet start screaming at me, just HOLD YOUR HORSES.

I’m perfectly aware that, given our height and age, yes, there is an ideal healthy weight for each of us. I understand that, I get that, I agree with that. For our bodies to function at their absolute best, sure, figuring out a healthy weight plays a part.

But the real issue here is that, with nothing more than a look, people feel they can decide if someone is fat or thin and, in turn, determine their health.

That’s really, truly not the case.

More specifically, people will take one look at a bigger person and decide that they are definitely, undoubtedly, positively unhealthy. Full stop, no questions asked. If you’re overweight, you can’t be healthy.

Again, I completely understand and accept that being overweight can put physical strain on our bodies – as can doing shots of vodka until we black out, chain smoking Mayfairs and not peeing after sex. We’re all agreed there, I’m sure.


But the problem is our perception when it comes to body weight and what that means in terms of health. If you see a fat person and think, “Wow, they must be grossly unhealthy to be that size!” you might be right. Might be.

But what about when you see a slim person? Do you ever think about their health? When you see someone looking like Kate Moss in the ’90s, do thoughts about how healthy they are even cross your mind? No. Probably not.

The issue here is the assumption that size must ALWAYS equal health and how our perception is that big people = unhealthy and slim people = healthy. That’s simply not true.

Of course there are overweight people who are unhealthy and slim people who are healthy, but you can’t know these things. Take me, for example. I’m somewhere in the middle – definitely not slim, on the bigger side of the scale but not really “large”. I don’t struggle to find clothes on the high street, put it that way (and yes, there are plenty of high street shops that don’t stock over a size 18 and leave many women at a loss – but that’s another issue for another time!).

I’m not particularly active. I don’t really exercise much, I sit on my arse all day at work and I’d quite happily mooch around at home doing absolutely zilch in my downtime – not very healthy, right? When it comes to food, I don’t eat meat, make lots of fresh, home-cooked meals and vegetables make up a huge portion of my diet, but I also would like to be drip-fed chocolate and can consume an entire large pizza like no-one’s business. In my case, my weight probably does reflect my health – not great, but not the worst.

Me eating a cheeseburger at Byron Burger last year
Tucking into a burger at Byron Burger last year

But I know people the same size as me who run every week, are regular gym-goers and climb mountains on their days off. I also know people much smaller than me who basically live off McDonald’s, act like they’re allergic to exercise and would snort sugar like cocaine if they could.

Is that healthy? No, obviously not. But it’s funny how people only seem to pipe up about someone’s health if the person in question is – you guessed it – fat. It’s like you’re allowed to eat all the junk food in the world and be as lazy as you want, as long as you stay thin while you do it.

The point is, you just don’t know. People of any size can be unhealthy, and in lots of different ways too. It comes down to so many things, not just fat or thin. Our weight isn’t the only determining factor in our health.

So, until you do know, please don’t comment on whether you think someone is or isn’t a “healthy weight”. In fact, unless you’re a healthcare professional, don’t do at all, because commenting on someone’s weight is just a pretty shitty thing to do.

Sitting in the sunshine
Sitting in the sunshine

25 Things That 25-Year-Old Me Would Tell My Younger Self | #ThisGirlEats

I just turned 25. How did that happen?!

It really feels like it’s time to get my shit together, and that’s pretty nerve-wracking to me because I still feel completely baffled by it all, if I’m honest.

Instead of freaking out about how on earth I ended up here, I decided to look back on my life so far and think about the things I’d change. I know people say things like no regrets, don’t look back, wouldn’t change anything, etc., and that’s all well and good – but it’s not me.

I’m perfectly happy to accept that things haven’t always gone the way I’d liked, or the way I’d planned, and there are absolutely things I’d change if I could.

But hindsight is a wonderful thing, right? I’m well aware I can’t change these things, but I’ve really enjoyed thinking about all the things I’d go and warn my younger self about if I could.

It’s distracted me from how old I’m getting anyway!

1. Don’t be scared to be different. You’ll be different to the crowd all your life anyway, might as well embrace it.

2. Do not listen to other kids. Everyone knows kids are mean, but what you don’t know right now is that they’re also really dumb. They literally know nothing. Ignore them.

3. Be more sociable. Get out of the mindset that making friends is scary. I mean, it is, but it’s also pretty awesome.


4. Blue eyeshadow is a bad choice. You think you look so cool and ‘scene kid’, but you actually look like a teenage streetwalker. Just stop it.

5. Every time you think you want to cut your hair short, don’t. It doesn’t suit you.

6. Every time you think you want to dye your hair a new colour, do it. It’s fun!

7. Being single is fine. It honestly is not a big deal.

8. Don’t go to uni. Or, if you do, choose to study something useful.

9. Spend more time in London. You won’t always live just outside the city, it won’t always be a 20-minute train ride into central London, and you’ll miss it. So for the three years you’re there, make the absolute most of it!

10. Networking is important. You don’t want it to be, because you suck at it, but you’ve just got to throw yourself into it and accept that networking can really help you out.

11. Blog at uni. I will never, ever, ever know why you waited until you had no money, no free time, a full-time job, relationship commitments and had moved away from London to start blogging…

12. Do work experience and internships. While you can live off of student loans and part-time, zero-hour contracts (ah, those were the days…) take up any internships and work experience opportunities that come your way. These will help you out way more than a degree.

13. When that trip to study in America comes up, don’t even question it. Just do it, it’s one of the best experiences you’ll ever have.


14. Stop being lazy, exercise more! While you have the time, space and a great place to go running (because you’ll eventually move somewhere ridiculously hilly and impossible to run without getting exhausted after about 30 seconds) DO IT!

15. Save up before moving out. Trust me, moving out is more expensive than you know, so save up while you can.

16. Family is precious. Things can – and will – change for you and your family, in lots of ways, in a matter of moments. Sometimes you see it coming, sometimes you don’t. No matter how much you might want to, you can’t go back and change those things. Just be prepared, and value them as much as you can.


17. Judge less, enjoy more. You’ve learnt this now, but it took a long time to get here. Just live your best life and let others do the same.

18. Water is not a mixer. Especially with vodka.

19. For the love of god, take your make-up off before bed. ALWAYS.

20. Go on, get your lip pierced. Your parents said they’d kick you out, but they probably wouldn’t have gone through with it and now you’re way too old to get it done.

21. You don’t have to know what you want to do with the rest of your life. Barely anyone knows what they actually want to do with their lives, their careers, their passion. And that’s okay!

22. Cooking is your skill, embrace it! You spent years convinced all you were capable of was oven-cooked pizza and Pot Noodles, and look at you now!


23. Being drunk and stupid is allowed. Go out, have a laugh, drink too much, take selfies, do something stupid, throw up all night, go to work hungover, regret it, do it all again. Because you can.

24. Social media is not real life and basically means nothing at the end of the day. You’ll get sucked into it anyway, but at least I tried.

25. Talk to that guy at work with the tattoos and lip ring. It’ll be the best decision you’ll ever make.


Guilt Shouldn’t Have a Place in Food – But It Does. A Big One. | #ThisGirlEats

The minute that clock strikes midnight on December 31st, all you see is diet, diet, diet.

Companies spend weeks leading up to Christmas encouraging you to indulge and then use the entirety of the following month convincing you to lose weight you might’ve gained from – you guessed it – indulging.

It really revs up in January, but you don’t have to look too hard to see this diet culture drip-fed to us all year round. There’s one word in particular that gets thrown around, and it’s recently started to really bug me.


“Feeling guilty after the weekend?”
“Guilt-free food!”
“Don’t feel guilty, you deserve a treat!”

You hear it all the time. Heck, excuse the pun but I’m ‘guilty’ of it myself! I’m so accustomed to this way of thinking, I associate foods like salad, vegetables, whole grains, etc. with being “guilt-free” and the likes of pizza, chocolate and wine (aka, everything I love) with a real, genuine feeling of guilt.



I can’t count the nights I’ve laid awake beating myself up, feeling guilty and thinking of all the awful things that will subsequently happen as a result of eating something “bad”. When I really think about it, I don’t know if I’ve ever associated anything with such a strong sense of guilt as I do food.

Language like this has to have an impact, surely?! Surrounding food, something we need to literally stay alive, with negative thoughts can’t be good for us.

I’ll be completely honest, I have considered – more than once – making myself sick after eating because I’ve felt so disgusted. That’s not because of food. That’s because of guilt.

I’m grateful I haven’t gone down that route, but I can absolutely understand how easily the belief that we should feel guilty, ugly, greedy, embarrassed, unattractive, weak and, ultimately, worthless after eating certain kinds of food could lead to a very dark place.

I hold my hands up. I’ve used language like “guilt-free” in my food writing; you can probably find examples in this blog. But not for much longer. Diet culture plays tricks on us and, if you’re anything like me, odds are you’ve been conditioned to go along with it from a young age. As soon as I’ve got time, I’ll be going through old blog posts and correcting anything I feel fuels this “food = guilt” idea, because I’m so over it.


Life is a learning curve. I’ve learnt I shouldn’t feel guilty about eating, because there’s no such thing as “bad food”. I’ve also learnt language like this is dangerous, whether in my own head or written down in a blog post. I’m still trying to change my way of thinking and actually enforce this newfound knowledge into my old habits, but I’m getting there.

Thing is, we like what we like. We need what we need. Some days, a bowl of vegetable soup and a fruit smoothie are wonderful, nourishing, soothing. Other days, we crave salty, golden fries, maybe sweet, luxurious ice cream, or even a huge pizza with heaps of stringy cheese all to ourselves. We like what we like, we need what we need, we’re all different and our relationships with food are too.

That’s just life, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.


My 48-Hour Guide to Brussels | #ThisGirlEats

* I’d just like to point out that I only spent a long weekend in Brussels and definitely don’t claim to know the city well. There are probably hundreds of great places to visit that aren’t mentioned here. These are just a few of my great experiences while I was out there that I’d totally recommend if you’re only in Brussels for a short stay!

I recently spent a great post-Christmas break in the beautiful city of Brussels. Although it was my very first visit, I knew straight away that I’d definitely make a return trip someday.


Everything about it, from managing to capture the last few days of the Christmas markets to the crazy beer menus and endless chocolate shops, it quickly became one of my favourite European cities.

If you’re thinking of heading to Brussels for a weekend, here are just a few highlights from my trip that I’d definitely recommend squeezing into your stay if you can.

Delirium Café
If you’ve ever looked into Brussels, particularly the bar scene, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Delirium Café. It’s probably the most popular watering hole and, yes, okay, it is something of a tourist trap – but with three huge floors and an outdoor smoking area, we easily found our place here. It was no effort at all to settle in and take our pick from over 2,000 different beers, surrounded by bric-a-brac decor and jukebox music. It was the fun, chilled vibe that kept us coming back again.. again.. and again!


Le Cercueil
Translated as ‘the coffin’, this place was an unexpectedly spooky delight. I’d describe it as a Halloween-themed cocktail bar, with dim, blood-red interior decorated with skeletons, creepy paintings and coffin tables and a menu sporting cocktails such as ‘Devil’s Sperm’ and ‘Corpse Juice’. Sounds horrific, I know, but it actually turned out to be a really friendly, intimate bar that made us all feel instantly comfortable. Let’s call it an alternative drinking experience, shall we?

This is the main square of the city, guarded by magnificent buildings and a bustle of restaurants, shops and bars. We managed to just about catch the last of the Christmas festivities while we were there, which meant we saw the beautiful light show that takes place here. It’s like being at Disneyland (but with less Mickey Mouse ears) as the buildings all around you begin to glow and light up to the music. It’s truly spectacular. On top of that, Grand-Place and the surrounding areas have just about everything you need, so it was the perfect base for our trip.


I didn’t know this until I went there myself, but apparently Brussels is famous for their chips. Not the greasy, newspaper-wrapped, fish-‘n’-chip style chips we’ve got here in the UK, but crisp, crunchy fries doused in sauce. One such place serving just that is Fritland, where you can grab an enormous cone of chips smothered in their popular mayonnaise (another thing I didn’t know Belgium was celebrated for!) on the go for €4. Trust me, they really hit the spot!

Cabaret Mademoiselle
Every city has its own nightlife scene, and the clubs you find here in Brussels are definitely something special. We went to some truly awesome places, but the most interesting one making it into this guide is Cabaret Mademoiselle. A free entry – yes, free entry – cabaret club showing the alternative talent Brussels has to offer. Drag, burlesque, comedy, dance, it’s all going on in here! Short bursts of performances come and go every hour or so, giving you time to drink and chat with the locals in between. It’s a true Belgian experience.

Brussels Vintage Market
Every first Sunday of the month you can find the fabulous Brussels Vintage Market. Time it right and you could easily spend hours perusing the endless stalls and their vintage wares. Once you get tired and all the denim jackets start to blur into one, you can take a break at one of the tables smack-bang in the middle of the market and just take in the sights with a coffee and some flaky pastries. It’s a brilliantly unique shopping experience in the city.


Side note: Also indulge in the incredible waffle stands, drool over the delectable chocolatiers and gaze at the gothic architecture dotted around the city if you can.

Underestimating the Value of Being Productive, Proactive and Preoccupied | #ThisGirlEats

This time last year, I made absolutely no secret of the fact that I hated working in retail. I mean, who wouldn’t?!

retail gif

I hated the hours, working weekends and bank holidays. I hated the work around Christmas. I hated being on my feet all day. I hated the busy days. I hated the rude customers. I hated the random shift patterns, sometimes working until 9, 10, 11 o’clock at night.

In December last year, I found an office job that fixed pretty much all of those problems and, most importantly, took me away from retail hell. Nice, normal shifts, a comfy office chair, only having to talk to customers over the phone where you can eye roll to your heart’s content… I also had plenty of time on my desk computer to write, research, keep up with social media, etc.. Living the dream, right?


Well, now it’s nearly a year on and I’m starting to think that perhaps having such a chilled out job isn’t all that good for me. Don’t get me wrong, I like where I work for a whole bunch of reasons, and all the benefits that lured me to the job in the first place are still true. But at the same time, it’s left me at a bit of a loss.

My old job wasn’t exactly fulfilling but it kept me busy, there’s no doubt about that. I was always rushing here, there and everywhere, and I had responsibility on my shoulders; if I wasn’t there, certain jobs wouldn’t get done. I’d walk into work with a to-do list and, at the end of the day, I’d ticked it all off. I never quite realised the value of doing a productive days’ work, thinking on your feet and having a shed-load to do, and what it was worth to my mental health.

Now I’m in very much a re-active job role; I wait for people to come to me with their problems and I help solve them. There’s not a whole lot else to do in between.


Doing very little and getting paid for it is an absolute dream for some people. It is a pretty sweet deal and, as I said, I really do like where I work. But my mind is crying out for some stimulation. I need to be challenged. I need to feel useful. I need to use my initiative. I need to feel like I bring something to the table, like if I hadn’t been there things wouldn’t get done. Right now, I feel like a zombie.

I’m not saying I’d like to go back to retail – god no! But I really do miss feeling like I’ve done a productive days’ work, knowing I’ve been a proactive worker and being preoccupied for eight hours a day instead of wrapped up in my own head. I never appreciated it at the time, but I definitely miss it now.

Does Anyone Else Get “Sick Day Guilt”? | #ThisGirlEats

In lots of ways, I’m very lucky. I don’t have any ongoing conditions that keep me off work for extended periods of time, nor do I have to explain mental health days to people who don’t see past the stigma. On the whole, I’m pretty healthy (touch wood!) and very able to work.

But I do have a weak-ass immune system 🤒 I don’t know why – maybe I just need to eat more oranges or something! In the past year I’ve picked up colds, flus, sickness bugs and a viral infection and when I’m ill, of course, I call in sick. If I’m just a little under the weather I’ll go into work – it’s close to home and not a physically demanding role – but if I’m ill to the point where I know it’ll have an impact on my working day and make said day incredibly tough, I’ll call in sick and take the day to recover.

But I always feel bad. Even when I’m stuck indoors all day feeling really, truly awful, I still feel guilty about not going into work. It’s as though I’m just taking a day off, which isn’t the case – trust me, any girl will tell you being doubled over with period pains so bad that you can’t get out of bed is NO FREAKIN’ HOLIDAY!

baby box

It’s just an underlying sense of guilt which I think (or at least hope!) other people feel too. Of course I know it’s important to look after yourself and if you need to take a day to care for your own wellbeing, be it your physical or mental health, then you should definitely do it. People understand. Colleagues understand. Any good employer will understand.

I just get this horrible voice in my head asking “what if..?
“What if it gets busy and I’ve left my work friends in a sticky spot?”
“What if people think I’m faking it?”
“What if my boss is annoyed at me?” 
“What if I miss a day’s pay?”

I spend so much time worrying about things like this – and I’m sure I’m not the only one – that I forget about what’s really important: my health.

You can’t guarantee anything in life. You can’t guarantee your health will last forever. You never know when something might come along out of nowhere and destroy your happy, healthy life. We need to look after ourselves; yes, we want to work hard, do our bit, take responsibility, but we also need to make sure we’re in a good, fit, healthy place to do just that.