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Exciting news & an update!

Life has been hectic as of late but I promised you guys a blog post this weekend filling you all in so here I am!

There’s so much to tell you that I haven’t a clue where to start. It just feels like an abundance of good news has come my way lately (which is a vary rare occurrence in my life). Firstly, I’ll spill the beans on the exciting news, if you follow me across my social media channels then you may already know some bits and bobs about this news already as I’ve dropped a few tweets here and there. 

So, if you didn’t already know, I’m a Miss Glasgow Finalist for 2017/18. Yes, really. Me. I can’t quite believe I’m saying that; I can’t quite believe that I put myself forward for it actually and that I managed to make it through to the final. Mind-blowing! That’s not all of the good news: I’ve only went and bagged myself a role as lifestyle editor for the Strathclyde Telegraph! I know right, what is going on? I’ve been putting myself out there, giving myself a wee shove when I’ve tried to curl back in to my molehill of a comfort zone, and I’ve achieved such astounding things that I never even thought I would be able to do. Ever. Yet here I am.

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I won’t bang on about all of the things I’ll be doing in the run up to The Miss Glasgow final just now as I reckon I’ll probably do separate blog posts and keep you all updated throughout the journey. I’ll definitely be writing a blog post about the final, for sure! So watch this space lovelies. I’ll also keep you posted every month when the Strathclyde Telegraph is out so you can have a shimmy at the online version and check out what I’ve been working on. It’s all so exciting!

Additionally, I’ll be graduating college this month coming, and I get to go to a big fancy hall and receive my certificate wearing the customary robes that we all hope to wear some time in our lives. I’ve got 2 photoshoots coming up, my first deadline for the Strathclyde Telegraph, the Miss Glasgow final, assessments and essays to write for University, beechat to run daily and host twice a week, blog posts to write, people to see, things to do – I wasn’t lying with my opening line ‘Life has been hectic as of late‘. Honestly though, it’s propitious for me to be busy, it makes me feel good inside. It occupies my mind. It makes me feel like I actually  have a purpose; a feeling I’ve been lacking in my life for quite some time now.

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It’s all happening! I couldn’t be more excited to share my journey on here with you lovely lot who endlessly support and encourage me and make all of these things possible for me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’ll cut this blog post here before I start going all sappy and over-sentimental. Genuinely though, thank you.

Until next time

Charlene McElhinney

 

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A cure for chafing?

I’ve been pretty eager to write this post since I went on holiday to Benalmadena, in Spain, back in August. I’ve been putting it off for ages so let’s just dive straight in and not delay it any longer.

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I have never, ever, in my life suffered from ‘chaffing’. For those of you who don’t know what chaffing is: It’s when a part of your body becomes sore from rubbing against something i.e., your thighs rubbing together (a very common form of chafing), the collar of your shirt chafing your neck, a bracelet chafing your wrist from being too tight… it can be a number of things. Most commonly, chafing is notorious for being a rash on the inner thighs caused by them rubbing together in hot weather. Lots of people refer to chafing as ‘chub rub’ but I will not refer to it as that now, or ever.

I had my first chafing experience when I went abroad this summer to Spain. Now, I reiterate my statement earlier, I had never experienced chafing before so I had no idea how to combat it or how to deal with the pain it was causing. I didn’t really know it was a thing either; I recalled friends throughout the years mentioning it and now my heart goes out to them because it really is an awful thing to endure.

It interfered abundantly with the first week of my holiday. It ruined many of my days, and nights out. I even stayed in on one or two occasions because I couldn’t bear the pain or humiliation of walking like a cowboy down the strip due to my inflamed thighs. 

Every day I tried to find something that would help it; not necessarily heal it but just prevent it from getting any worse. I just wanted to be able to enjoy my holiday. I tried Lush’s dusting powder that I had just so happened to bring with me (it is a talcum powder substance – but fragranced & glitzy) but to no avail. I wore leggings for the majority of the first week to stop the skin-on-skin contact which ultimately made it worse – and this totally sucked as I had bought a plethora of pretty dresses with me to wear that I never got the chance to. I even wore my boyfriend’s boxers out one evening under a dress to try and stop the skin from rubbing but this just resulted in me stopping him every 20 or so steps to pull them down a bit and ask him to check if you could see the ‘boxer lines’ through my dress; how do men wear those things? They probably think the same thing about us with the likes of thongs… I digress!

It was just so disheartening and disappointing. I was on holiday. I shouldn’t have been worrying about what to wear and feeling restricted etc. It was really getting me down. 

Then i decided to try out Mitchum’s roll-on deodorant on the inside of my thighs. I ain’t usually a fan of roll on deodorant but I was running out of ideas and i was desperate. I layered it on over the parts that I knew were hurting already and covered all of the areas I thought might be the mighty curse of chafing’s next victim. And honestly? It was a life saver. Well, a leg saver, but you catch my drift?


The deodorant is more like a creamy-substance as opposed to a liquid one (that you would imagine a roll-on to feel like). The application was so sleek and my legs didn’t feel sticky or horrible at all. More importantly, it wasn’t even visible. Result. Now just to put it to the test.

My boyfriend and I went out for dinner and drinks and guess what? I didn’t complain once. As I walked my legs just brushed off one another, silky and smoothly, and I didn’t even need to reapply. Did I just discover a cure to chafing? A few cocktails in to our night and I couldn’t stop ranting and raving about Mitchum roll-on deodorant. It was literally a God-send. I couldn’t have got through my holiday without it. 

So, if you suffer from chafing, definitely pick it up. I got mine from boots for £2 and it was two of the best pounds I ever spent. No word of a lie.

The second week of my holiday was fantastic and I had zero bother with chafing again. Who would have thought it, eh?

Hope this helps someone out there! Have you ever experienced chafing? What have you tried to combat it? Let me know in the comments below!

Charlene McElhinney

 

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It’s more than procrastination.

I’m the worst person in the world for putting things off. There, I said it. I’ve been in denial about it for so damn long. I don’t know how to explain it, or even what I’m trying to explain, but I’m going to give it a bash anyway.


I guess I developed this proclivity of dragging things out and prolonging the inevitable when my anxiety and depression hit rock bottom. Now, it’s just a part of who I am. A very large part of who I am and I hate it.

Let me give you some examples: Reading and replying to messages, meeting up with friends, visiting family members, spending time with people I desperately want to see, making appointments, making phone calls, tidying and organising my room, hitting the gym, reading a book, painting my nails, updating my phone or an app, applying for a job or a position, applying for anything, submitting any of my work to publishers or online magazines, putting myself forward, picking up a guitar – these are just a handful of things that I put off on a regular basis that I so desperately want or need to do. Some are just everyday basic tasks or things; some are important and necessary. Either way, I put them to the back of my mind and try and tell myself that I’ll deal with it tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next. 

It’s not just procrastination. It’s a much deeper level of delaying than an average procrastinator. I wonder if there is a name or definition for such a thing. I put things off, and I don’t sit around not caring about it, I literally beat myself up about it on a daily basis. It’s always on my mind. Constantly. And I’ll tell you what makes it worse – nobody understands.

My friends don’t understand why I haven’t seem them in a while. They think I couldn’t care less or that I’m too caught up in my own world. I’m not. I think about it all of the time. I torture myself. And then it results in me getting even more anxious to do these things the longer I prolong them. It happened with me leaving high school and wanting to take a gap year because I didn’t believe I was ready for further education yet. This set me back even more. People kicked me when I was down, humiliated me on social media, made me feel like a bum because I wasn’t doing anything with my life. Nobody knew what I was going through. But they stuck the knife in deeper and held me back for longer. Yet I blame myself. It happened again when I knew something wasn’t right with my mind or myself so I delayed the inevitable and I didn’t seek help, I didn’t go to the doctors, I suffered in silence for at least a year before I got help. It happened again when I wanted to go and visit my Gran McElhinney, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave the 4 walls of my bedroom for months and months on end, and then I lost my favourite lady in the whole wide world. I never knew the last time I seen her it was going to be the last. She didn’t know how badly I was suffering. She didn’t know how badly I wanted to go and visit her but it was just that I couldn’t bring myself to leave the house…


I know I’m not the only one who feels like this. There’s got to be someone else out there who puts things off as much as me. Who has 100+ unread messages on their emails, texts, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. yet can’t bring themselves to just open the message and reply. It may take you weeks, months or even years to open that message. Or you might never. You put it off because your mind tells you it’s the right thing to do. People think you’re rude, ignorant or that you just don’t care. I can’t stress it enough, you have no idea how badly I just want to be normal, to just do these average everyday things like everyone else. You have no idea how badly I want to go and visit my neighbour, who lives a few doors down and is a very dear friend to me, that I have been meaning to pop in and see for ages. But. I. Just. Can’t. Something is very wrong and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

My best friend always grills me and tells me ‘I know you like to put things off’. I promise you all that this is not the case. I hate it with every single inch of my every being. How can I ever expect to be successful when all I ever do is let people down? I let myself down.

Oh, it’s bloody awful. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. It seems like such a simple thing: Answering a message, meeting a friend for a coffee, phoning a doctors appointment… but I can assure you – for someone like me, these tasks are like sticking needles in my eyes and my tummy ties itself in knots just thinking about it. Isn’t that terrible?

I just want to take this opportunity to apologise to each and every one of you because I am a hopeless case. If you’ve ever commented on a post and I haven’t replied – it’s not me being ignorant. If you have ever sent me a message and I haven’t got back to you – it’s nothing you have done. If I haven’t seen you for a while and I regard you as my friend – I promise I do still care about you very much.

It’s just something I’ve got going on inside which is unexplainable but I’ve tried my very best to tell you what it is. I just hope that you all understand.


Charlene McElhinney


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100 thoughts that went through my head before starting University

Starting University is a very daunting experience. I’m sure everybody’s mind works ten to the dozen when they are taking the leap to University for the first time – mine certainly did. Here are 100 brief thoughts that rattled through my mind continuously before becoming a uni student…

  1. What if nobody talks to me?
  2. I am not going to make any friends.
  3. I’m undoubtedly going to get lost.
  4. I’m not a City girl; I will never get used to the City.
  5. Commuting is going to make it difficult for me to meet people.
  6. I’m going to be inferior to everyone else.
  7. I’ll stand out like a sore thumb.
  8. Everyone is totally going to know what they are doing and I’m not.
  9. This is going to be so awkward.
  10. Where am I going to eat my pieces at lunch? I don’t want folk watching me eat.
  11. How do lectures work?
  12. How do seminars work?
  13. Should I say hi to the person sitting beside me or wait for them to say hi to me?
  14. I am never going to be able to do a presentation.
  15. What do I wear to lectures and seminars?
  16. Will people know that I’m extremely anxious?
  17. I’m going to be sweating like mad.
  18. I’m going to talk too fast when I’m chatting to people.
  19. I’m going to talk too much. I don’t know when to stop when I get nervous.
  20. Are people going to notice my spot breakout? (another nervous side affect)
  21. I’ll just plaster make up on. Will I be judged for wearing loads of make up?
  22. I won’t wear any make up.
  23. People are going to think I’m ugly.
  24. I don’t care what people think – I’m there to get an education not make friends.
  25. I want to make friends so badly. HOW DOES ONE GO ABOUT DOING THIS?
  26. I’ll just be myself.
  27. What if people add me on social media and judge me because of my blog & other online presences?
  28. Do people still take notes on pen & paper or should I take my laptop to lectures?
  29. Oh wait. The typing on keys might annoy the person beside me. Perhaps not.
  30. Who do I ask for help if I’m struggling? Where do I go?
  31. The library is huge – it seems so intimidating.
  32. Is everyone else as nervous and unsure as me?
  33. What if I’m not ready for University?
  34. I’m 21. I should have went to University when I left school. I’ve left it too late.
  35. I feel so out of the loop.
  36. I’m definitely going to have to wear trainers every day. Hills galore.
  37. Why does my uni have so many buildings? Why not just one campus?
  38. I actually like the less buildings idea. Less people. Less intimidation.
  39. But when there’s a crowd of people I blend in.
  40. Will I like my lecturers and tutors?
  41. Will they like me?
  42. Am I going to be the oldest in the class because I’m 21?
  43. Am I classed as a mature student?
  44. Where has my life went?
  45. Is this really for me?
  46. I’m going to work so hard and make myself proud.
  47. I love being in education.
  48. I hope I find a study buddy.
  49. I wonder if my University will have a cat club/society.
  50. I wonder if I’ll have a night out with my University buddies.
  51. I hope they’re lightweights too.
  52. Am I the only one not doing anything for fresher’s week?
  53. I wish I was doing some fresher’s events.
  54. Am I even a ‘fresher’? I don’t feel like one.
  55. University is going to be a total lifestyle change.
  56. What if I can’t handle it? What if I totally fail and let everyone down?
  57. 5,000 people applied for the place I’ve secured. I should be proud to be here.
  58. I feel so bad for the other 4,599 people that applied (400 – including me – got places). They were probably more deserving than me.
  59. I want to get to know the staff. I want to know there’s someone I can talk to.
  60. I wonder if the University support people who suffer from Mental Health issues?
  61. I wonder if I can get some sort of counselling within my University to help me stay on track and not go back to where I once was.
  62. I hope there’s a shop nearby so I can grab a drink. I get so thirsty when I’m nervous.
  63. I can’t believe I’m going to University. Me.
  64. I’m going to need to spend a ton of money on books.
  65. Should I take a student loan?
  66. Should I put on social media what I’m studying?
  67. I wonder if the people who kicked me when I was down know that I’m going to University.
  68. I hope they know.
  69. I’m going to start being more organised and utilising a planner again.
  70. Studying is going to be so time consuming.
  71. I need to prioritise my studies before everything now. Before my social life. Before my mental health. Before myself. Studying will need to come first.
  72. I need to make sure that I always make time for self care.
  73. And my blog. I will not abandon my blog.
  74. I wonder if I should tell people about my blog at University?
  75. Best not. That made me an open target at college. It made me vulnerable.
  76. I’m proud of my blog. Why shouldn’t I tell people?
  77. I wonder if University will be like college.
  78. I wonder if the people are more mature and friendlier at University.
  79. I hope my ‘class mates’ are as passionate and interested in their studies as I am.
  80. I hope that I feel confident enough to take part in class discussions.
  81. I want to be in a group chat with people doing the same course as me.
  82. I want to dedicate time to reflect on my journey at university regularly.
  83. I am really looking forward to being independent and developing new skills.
  84. I really hope my mental health doesn’t hold me back.
  85. I wonder where I’ll go from here.
  86. Should I be thinking about a career now?
  87. Do I sit in the front, middle or back of a lecture hall?
  88. I wonder if I’ll meet any life-long friends at University.
  89. Will I stick out the whole 4 years?
  90. Oh my goodness. I’ll be nearly 25 then.
  91. Have I got my life together? Absolutely not.
  92. Am I trying to have my life together? Absolutely.
  93. Will I ever be happy, proud and content with myself?
  94. Will having a good education help make me feel better about myself?
  95. Is University overhyped?
  96. Will I fit in?
  97. Will I make it?
  98. Will I be OK?
  99. Will I take everything in?
  100. I can do this!

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Charlene McElhinney

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Happy 2nd birthday to my blog!

Image from first blog post

 

My little corner of the internet turns 2 today; 2 years ago today I wrote my very first blog post ‘Loch Lubnaig & Hoggansfield Loch’. I had no idea back then how much blogging would take over my life and change me in ways I never thought possible. I’m eternally grateful to my readers and followers for supporting me and encouraging me to keep going over the past 2 years – you guys are my rock. Ok I’ll quit it with the cheddar cheese.

Let’s chat about some of my achievements over the past 2 years that would never have been possible without my blog (and I wholeheartedly believe that):

  • I published a book(!!!)
  • I got in to college and completed a Professional Writing Skills course in the creative industries.
  • I got in to the University of Strathclyde to do English Studies, Creative Writing, Journalism & Law.
  • I’ve worked and collaborated with some amazing brands.
  • I’ve gained confidence.
  • I’ve gained experience.
  • I’ve met some extremely wonderful friends through blogging.
  • I’ve been to some fantastic events.
  • I’ve been able to overcome some really bad mental health days through opening up on my blog.
  • I’ve been able to help lots of people through writing on my blog. Over the years I’ve received a plethora of messages from all kinds of people thanking me, encouraging me and praising me (I can’t explain how much all of this means to me).
  • I’ve had paid opportunities.
  • I’ve grown as a writer – and as a person.

Goodness, I could go on all day about the benefits blogging has blessed me with but I just want to take a moment to thank you all from the bottom of my heart because when I first started blogging, I thought it was just going to be an online diary I kept that nobody would read, and boy was I wrong?! Everyone in life has something that they hold dear to their heart and for me, that’s my blog. My blog is my baby. My corner of the internet. My therapist. My friend. My thing in life that I put on a pedestal. It’s just everything to me and more and I genuinely could not imagine my life without my blog now that it’s such a pivotal part of who I am. God bless you all. From the bottom of my heart. Thank you.

Charlene McElhinney

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Upping a size; Upping my confidence.

 

Is that girl in the photos really me? Hell yeah, it is!

Today I stepped out of my comfort zone, not only with my style, but with my sizing too. I’ll get in to all of that in a minute. Firstly, I just want to declare how unmitigatedly firece I felt in today’s outfit. It was a step out of my comfort zone, but a step in to my zone. This is the style I want to embrace on a daily basis. This is the style I’ve always wanted to sport but never had the confidence to. This is who I want to be; this is who I am.

 

I had an epiphany the other day when I was online shopping; in actual fact I had this moment of realization a long time ago but I hadn’t done anything about it. All of my clothes are between sizes 8-10 and I’ve always felt so determined to stay this size. But why? 

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Why put superfluous and unnecessary pressure on myself to stay within a size that I am not comfortable in? Just because I’m scared of change. Perhaps. But is it worth it? Not at all. I decided to do some shopping and size UP – for the first time in my life. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I’m sick of buying clothes labelled size ‘8-10’ and squeezing myself in to them and not feeling comfortable (I’m not saying that all of my clothes don’t fit me – but the majority of them aren’t snug and comfortable).

 

I placed myself a huge order on Boohoo, ordering only size 12s. I was flabbergasted when I noticed that the majority of their size 12 ranges were titled ‘plus’ size. 12 isn’t ‘plus’; I would have said 12 was average? And anyway, why does every size need to be defined? So I placed my order, embracing my new ‘plus’ size, and I admired the models on the screen in front of me who were labelled ‘plus size models’. They looked just like me. They looked…normal? Why give them a definition? Then you have a range for tall people, petite people and so on and so forth and I’m thinking to myself: Why couldn’t I have just been a man? They don’t need to worry about all of this sizing palava, they just take a S, M, L and boom there’s your dinner! Us girls have to endure so much stress and pressure when picking out clothes for ourselves; unneccesary stress that society has burdened us with. I digress.

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My clothes arrived and damn, I felt fierce! I was 100000% feeling myself (as you can probably tell from the pictures). I had pushed myself out of my comfort zone, ordering clothes I always lust over but would never have the courage to buy because I’d never have the balls to wear them, yet here I am! They were all size 12s and they fit me like a glove. Perfect. Does anyone care what size I am? Not one little bit. So why worry about it all these years? Who gives a damn? Certainly not me… not anymore!

 

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This is where I stop giving a damn about what other people, and society, think of me. This is where I start posting pictures I wouldn’t normally, dressing differently and daringly, pushing the boat out further and further until finally I’m out at sea and am no longer afraid of the sharks or the currents. This is my revelation.

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OUTFIT DETAILS:

JACKET: Boohoo £24

TOP: Boohoo £8

JEANS: TK Maxx £19.99

SHOES: New Look £15

Charlene McElhinney.

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