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Jessica Hemson
16 followers -
Jessica, 20 years old, small, lover of pugs and running.
Jessica, 20 years old, small, lover of pugs and running.

16 followers
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http://www.ssj.org.uk/blog/recovery-allotment-visit/

I love what the amazing workers and volunteers at SSJ (Society of St James) and charities alike are doing to help in the Drug and Alcohol Recovery Services that they provide. 

When a person is struggling with an addiction, the answer is not to send them to prison or keep them secluded. It's about giving people a chance with recovery services such as this one, to change their life and get onto the right path, with the right help and support around them. The idea of an allotment like this is so small but it makes a huge impact to these people, as it gives them a focus and drive, and a chance to foresee a future. 

As the blog states: "On my Recovery Allotment visit I found that this allotment isn’t just some plants in the soil and the group is not as simple as some people gardening together.  It is a way for people in recovery, who often have overcome difficult circumstances, to work together as a team, gaining confidence, skills and knowledge that reach far beyond the allotment gates and I look forward to seeing how it develops.”

This charity is doing amazing things; give their blog a read - http://www.ssj.org.uk/blog/

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I look to a lot of different people to lift my motivation to want to get myself into the best shape that I can. Of course some of it comes from well known public figures - such as Paige Hathaway, Jen Selter, Emily Skye and so on... But I have to say that lately it has come from people I have known through my life who have taken that journey that I am currently trying to go on. They are the ones I take most of my inspiration from as I feel i can relate to them in a more realistic sense. 

I'd like to add specific people into this blog just to let them know that they are so motivating and have played a part in motivating myself (and most likely many more people like me) to want to train and really stay on the right track with getting into a condition I can honestly be proud of. They are: Molly Munday, Paige Clarke, Reece Oconnor, Ben Crowhurst and more. Their videos, pictures and motivating quotes and updates are great to keep up the drive and the want to see results. To see them achieve what they have is amazing and they couldn't be a better form of motivation.

I believe that it is so important to keep reminding yourself just why you started your journey in the first place, and why you want to carry it on to the best of your ability - so that you can know in yourself that you have given 100% - no better feeling. 

Motivating and lifting each other through anything a person wants to achieve is everything in making sure that they have the drive that they need. If we all did this to one another, a lot more would be achieved.
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Written by Tommy Law:

As you may be aware, there is an upcoming general election, to be held on the 7th of May. It is the only chance we will have in the coming five years (barring a series of unprecedented consitutional events) to determine who governs us. Even so, voter turnout is not expected to far exceed last election's figure of 65% - this figure would be much lower if only young people (i.e us) are considered.

It is probable that many among us do not intend to vote, and to that number I'd like to address some counterarguments to the commonly given reasons against voting.


Reason 1: My vote doesn't matter/change anything

It seems an odd thing for me to acknowledge, given the purpose of this message, but that is to a large extent, true.

We have a grotesquely unrepresentative electoral system, one that renders excess votes for the winning party, and all votes for every losing party in every constituency redundant. In my constituency (New Forest West - the 58th safest seat in the country), for example, my ballot is not worth 1, but 0.042 of a vote (http://www.voterpower.org.uk/new-forest-west). This is due to the incumbent party holding a lead of such proportions that a vote for any other party will almost definitely have no influence on the result.

A referendum for electoral reform was held in 2011, when many of us were too young to vote. The referendum rejected the proposed reform overwhelmingly. As such we are stuck with our current system, and all it's inherent unrepresentativeness and vulnerability to gerrymandering (tactical redrawing of constituency borders to advantage one party over another/all others).

This lack of representativeness is reflected in the votes to seats ratio for each party in the last general election. Where the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats received 36%, 29% and 23% of the national vote respectively, but won 47%, 40% and 9% of the seats in the House of Commons. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/election2010/results/)

All this, however, is by no means a reason to withhold your ballot. The current electoral system is only unrepresentative when there are excess votes as described above, if those excess votes are removed through the wilful withdrawal of their participation by parts of the electorate, then there would be no unrepresentativeness. If you intend to not vote, and do so because you feel your vote will not count (due to the flaws of our electoral system), all you will have achieved is to help legitimise the results, by rendering it more representative through removing one more person (yourself) to represent.

The flaws in the electoral system become apparent only with the wholesale participation of the electorate, and with the inevitable redundancy (and ignoring) of a large number of votes casted by the electorate. Only when this is overtly highlighted will there be pressure to reform our elections into something fairer.


Reason 2: I am not voting, as a form of protest

Withholding your vote as a form of protest is utterly ineffectual, and for one major reason: a vote not cast out of protest is, in the eyes of any outside observer, exactly the same as a vote not cast out of apathy.

If this is your reason for not voting, it follows that there are issues on which you feel strongly about sufficient to drive you to protest. But these issues will not be solved by such a protest, if anything the cause you are supporting will have lost your vote, if not your voice. It would be far more productive to vote according to whom you believe will tackle these issues in the way you believe right, instead of leaving the opposite view win the day through your abstention.

A mathematical truth that renders this reason for not voting void is that, as touched on in the last paragraph, not voting increases the power of those who do vote. The votes of those who actually cast them will be worth more without yours to oppose them. The one man - one vote principal fails if a part of the electorate does not utilise their vote. In effect, if 50% of those elligible to vote choose not to, it increases the power of every vote casted by 100% - as the active electorate (numbering 50% of the total electorate) are choosing for the whole, so each individual active voter is choosing for two people.

As nobody shares your exact set of beliefs and convictions, you cannot rely on another person to vote on your behalf. If there are issues close to your heart, the only way you can effect improvement or progress in these issues on election day is to vote. To not do so is to be silent.


Reason 3: All parties/politicians are the same

It may be that parties and politicians share the same general principals and policies, this mainly down to strongly entrenched public opinion on certain matters. For example, it would be political suicide to for any candidate to go against the grain of public opinion on issues like immigration and deficit reduction. On such topics there can be no real room for movement among the different parties. But it is on more peripheral topics that the battles are being waged, there is a league of difference in policies among the major parties (and far more so if we include the smaller emergent parties) on matters such as transport, education, housing, employment, policing, energy, and many more. This point will be touched on in a later part.

As for the politicians themselves as individuals, it would be ludicrous to claim they are all "the same", just as it would be to claim any other set of people are "the same". What would we even mean when we say "the same" - that they share the same beliefs, character traits and motivation? Unlikely, for people of wildly different backgrounds and social classes. Can we say that Dennis Skinner (MP for Bolsover, miner from age 17 to 38) has the same experiences and convictions as Sajid Javid (MP for Bromsgrove, former vice-president of Chase Manhattan and former director of Deutsche Bank), without commenting on the character of either men.

I hope you will agree with me in saying that, under close scrutiny, there is no such thing as a distinct 'political class', and that politicians, like all other people in any other field, cannot all be the same. And finally, that if all politicians were in fact, the same (as defined above), then all parliamentary votes would be unanimous, no motion ever raised would ever be rejected, no opposition would ever be raised to legislation and policies, and parliamentary democracy would be (and always have been, for as long as politicians have been all the same) a rubberstamp body exercising the united will of the 650 members of parliament in all spheres of interest. The notion that all politicians are the same appears absurd when expounded thusly.


Reason 4: I do not know which party to vote for/No party represents my views

Not knowing which party to vote for is one of the more legitimate reasons commonly given for not voting. It's also very easy to resolve.

By now, all contending parties in the upcoming election have released their manifesto detailing their policy intentions. Manifestos often backfire on parties who fail to honour the pledges contained within, but it's important to remember that an election manifesto often only covers the first year of policy intent, and after (and even during) that time, prevailing conditions may render some manifesto pledges impracticable or no longer feasible.

If you are unsure as to who to vote for, I suggest using these websites (https://voteforpolicies.org.uk/ and http://election2015.votematch.org/) which arrays anonymous policies for you to choose from, not showing to which party any of the policies belong to. You may find that your views have been closely aligned to a specific party all this time unbeknownst to yourself. This website also serves to highlight the difference that exists between the policy sets of the contending major parties (as referenced above).

You may also be interested in your incumbent representative's voting record in parliament, to gauge whether he has represented your views in the House of Commons. To that end I direct you to this website (http://www.theyworkforyou.com/).

These two websites are probably good resources even for those who have already decided which way they will vote.

Beware newspapers and other news sources, all are partial in their own way, and in the UK, most national newspapers openly declare for a party. Different newspapers can and will report events in vastly disparate light, depending on which party they are championing. Try not to depend upon one news source, and if you can spend some time on the 'other side' of the spectrum to gather a balanced view.


Reason 5: I don't care

Short response: you should.

Politics affect every aspect of your life. From whether you pay VAT on biscuits, price of bus fares, how long you have to wait for a GP, to your wage, petrol prices, energy bills, and tax - all are affected, if not determined, by the result of the this election. And by extension who takes office.

Even if you feel you are secure and content in your current standard of living, and find no reason to vote for your own interests, consider those who are not fortunate enough to be in your position. Your vote matters not only to yourself - if you make an informed choice you an help improve the lives of all your fellow citizens.

There are myriad ways to get involved in politics, from attending hustings to joining debates to becoming a member of a party. Voting is the bare minimum of political participation. The choice of whether to vote or not, however, is (just as to whom you cast your vote) yours to make. I can only beseech you of it's importance.


On the 7th of May

Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm.

Polling station addresses are printed on your polling card. You can also find your polling station's address by contacting you local electoral office.

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I have really found that setting yourself a goal to achieve, no matter how big or small it may be, is the best thing to help stay motivated and to keep making progress!

I recently ran the Southampton half marathon after training towards it for a good couple of months. Accomplishing that, and crossing the finish line gave me the best feeling I could have had - a sense of being proud of how far I have come. I didn't want it to stop there as soon as it was over, therefore I am already thinking about my next goal.

I want to run a full marathon by the end of my 3rd year at University (currently coming to the end of my 2nd). Within the year that I have to go, I am also looking to set myself other challenges along the way - possibly other events that will pop up, and I told myself that I would complete Tough Mudder next year too! 

To every goal that you set yourself, it is simply a battle between your mind and your body. Telling yourself you cannot do something? You are right, you can't. Telling yourself you can do something? You are right, you can. Simple as that. 

Mind/matter.

CHALLENGE YOURSELF. - "You don't know unless you try."
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I hope everybody had a yummy pancake day today! My article got published on we-heartliving.com which is Women's Fitness' sister-site. Have a read! http://www.we-heartliving.com/food/healthy-pancake-day/

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have a read - my week at Women's Fitness Magazine!
My week at Women’s Fitness magazine

Entering reception at Netil House, home to many offices, I felt nerves and a surge of enthusiasm run through me. This is something I know I’m going to enjoy writing about, something that is close to me as I strive to achieve it myself – maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. 
 
The office is little, cosy and full of packages from various brands which were used on a shoot over the previous weekend that were to be returned. Brands that caught my eye such as; Nike, Sweaty Betty, Adidas, Fabletics and so on. There were 6 people in the office, 7 when I walked in. They were so welcoming, friendly and full of enthusiasm. I got a welcome email from them all before I even walked through the door, introducing themselves and wishing me well on the week. I loved the chatty, laidback nature of the office as I sat at my seat with my laptop in front of me. 

I was given the run a round jobs on my first day, sealing up the packages to be returned to the brands and making my way up and down the stairs giving them out to the couriers as I go. After that I was given my first feature to write, it was ‘How to have a healthy pancake day’, this was great as I could do with some tips myself and I found some yummy ideas to include. This is to go onto a relatively new, additional site founded by Women’s Fitness – www.we-heartliving.com – keep an eye out. The second story idea I was given to write up was ‘Our 5 fave green teas’ which is handy as I am a green tea lover myself. (I also found some great ideas that I will most likely use myself). Also keep an eye out for that one!

The week is going quickly and I have spent a tonne of money on food by this point (there is no oven in the hotel and it is not all-inclusive, not even breakfast included) and have probably gained an unacceptable amount of weight, which is ironic whilst doing work experience at a fitness magazine. On Thursday I had to say goodbye to 2 workers here as they both had a long weekend off, and today it was my turn to say goodbye. It has come around so quickly as I sit here writing this approximately an hour before I finish my day and my week has come to an end. Then I will be slowly making my way out of London (by slowly I mean the traffic is hideous and it is going to take a long while). I realise I am writing this as some kind of sob story (oops) it isn’t meant like that, I am just writing to say that I have had such a good learning experience this week, and finally I have found something that I could realistically see myself doing. 

My last 3 stories late yesterday and today that I wrote were ‘Nightrider 2015’, the cycling event coming to London in June, and ‘5 ways to stay motivated to exercise’ , always handy to create some ways to keep going if you have hit a slight brick wall! (This will be featured on the Women’s Fitness website). Lastly, ‘Top 10 workout tunes’, this was fun listening to loads of songs and thinking to myself ‘hmm would this motivate me to run faster and exercise longer?’ so I picked out my own top 10 and created my own playlist story. Oh, and I wrote a little review to be added into the magazine for a book called ‘Domestic Alchemist’ – an extremely natural, herbal, earthy recipe filled book, designed to aid and prevent any illness, pretty cool to read.

And that is my week in a nutshell! Hope you enjoy the read, I definitely enjoyed my week and would be happy to come back.

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My week at Women’s Fitness magazine

Entering reception at Netil House, home to many offices, I felt nerves and a surge of enthusiasm run through me. This is something I know I’m going to enjoy writing about, something that is close to me as I strive to achieve it myself – maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. 
 
The office is little, cosy and full of packages from various brands which were used on a shoot over the previous weekend that were to be returned. Brands that caught my eye such as; Nike, Sweaty Betty, Adidas, Fabletics and so on. There were 6 people in the office, 7 when I walked in. They were so welcoming, friendly and full of enthusiasm. I got a welcome email from them all before I even walked through the door, introducing themselves and wishing me well on the week. I loved the chatty, laidback nature of the office as I sat at my seat with my laptop in front of me. 

I was given the run a round jobs on my first day, sealing up the packages to be returned to the brands and making my way up and down the stairs giving them out to the couriers as I go. After that I was given my first feature to write, it was ‘How to have a healthy pancake day’, this was great as I could do with some tips myself and I found some yummy ideas to include. This is to go onto a relatively new, additional site founded by Women’s Fitness – www.we-heartliving.com – keep an eye out. The second story idea I was given to write up was ‘Our 5 fave green teas’ which is handy as I am a green tea lover myself. (I also found some great ideas that I will most likely use myself). Also keep an eye out for that one!

The week is going quickly and I have spent a tonne of money on food by this point (there is no oven in the hotel and it is not all-inclusive, not even breakfast included) and have probably gained an unacceptable amount of weight, which is ironic whilst doing work experience at a fitness magazine. On Thursday I had to say goodbye to 2 workers here as they both had a long weekend off, and today it was my turn to say goodbye. It has come around so quickly as I sit here writing this approximately an hour before I finish my day and my week has come to an end. Then I will be slowly making my way out of London (by slowly I mean the traffic is hideous and it is going to take a long while). I realise I am writing this as some kind of sob story (oops) it isn’t meant like that, I am just writing to say that I have had such a good learning experience this week, and finally I have found something that I could realistically see myself doing. 

My last 3 stories late yesterday and today that I wrote were ‘Nightrider 2015’, the cycling event coming to London in June, and ‘5 ways to stay motivated to exercise’ , always handy to create some ways to keep going if you have hit a slight brick wall! (This will be featured on the Women’s Fitness website). Lastly, ‘Top 10 workout tunes’, this was fun listening to loads of songs and thinking to myself ‘hmm would this motivate me to run faster and exercise longer?’ so I picked out my own top 10 and created my own playlist story. Oh, and I wrote a little review to be added into the magazine for a book called ‘Domestic Alchemist’ – an extremely natural, herbal, earthy recipe filled book, designed to aid and prevent any illness, pretty cool to read.

And that is my week in a nutshell! Hope you enjoy the read, I definitely enjoyed my week and would be happy to come back.

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My week at Women’s Fitness magazine

Entering reception at Netil House, home to many offices, I felt nerves and a surge of enthusiasm run through me. This is something I know I’m going to enjoy writing about, something that is close to me as I strive to achieve it myself – maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. 
 
The office is little, cosy and full of packages from various brands which were used on a shoot over the previous weekend that were to be returned. Brands that caught my eye such as; Nike, Sweaty Betty, Adidas, Fabletics and so on. There were 6 people in the office, 7 when I walked in. They were so welcoming, friendly and full of enthusiasm. I got a welcome email from them all before I even walked through the door, introducing themselves and wishing me well on the week. I loved the chatty, laidback nature of the office as I sat at my seat with my laptop in front of me. 

I was given the run a round jobs on my first day, sealing up the packages to be returned to the brands and making my way up and down the stairs giving them out to the couriers as I go. After that I was given my first feature to write, it was ‘How to have a healthy pancake day’, this was great as I could do with some tips myself and I found some yummy ideas to include. This is to go onto a relatively new, additional site founded by Women’s Fitness – www.we-heartliving.com – keep an eye out. The second story idea I was given to write up was ‘Our 5 fave green teas’ which is handy as I am a green tea lover myself. (I also found some great ideas that I will most likely use myself). Also keep an eye out for that one!

The week is going quickly and I have spent a tonne of money on food by this point (there is no oven in the hotel and it is not all-inclusive, not even breakfast included) and have probably gained an unacceptable amount of weight, which is ironic whilst doing work experience at a fitness magazine. On Thursday I had to say goodbye to 2 workers here as they both had a long weekend off, and today it was my turn to say goodbye. It has come around so quickly as I sit here writing this approximately an hour before I finish my day and my week has come to an end. Then I will be slowly making my way out of London (by slowly I mean the traffic is hideous and it is going to take a long while). I realise I am writing this as some kind of sob story (oops) it isn’t meant like that, I am just writing to say that I have had such a good learning experience this week, and finally I have found something that I could realistically see myself doing. 

My last 3 stories late yesterday and today that I wrote were ‘Nightrider 2015’, the cycling event coming to London in June, and ‘5 ways to stay motivated to exercise’ , always handy to create some ways to keep going if you have hit a slight brick wall! (This will be featured on the Women’s Fitness website). Lastly, ‘Top 10 workout tunes’, this was fun listening to loads of songs and thinking to myself ‘hmm would this motivate me to run faster and exercise longer?’ so I picked out my own top 10 and created my own playlist story. Oh, and I wrote a little review to be added into the magazine for a book called ‘Domestic Alchemist’ – an extremely natural, herbal, earthy recipe filled book, designed to aid and prevent any illness, pretty cool to read.

And that is my week in a nutshell! Hope you enjoy the read, I definitely enjoyed my week and would be happy to come back.

It's another new year, so what do you plan to do to make it the most positive one it can possibly be?

I know what I plan to do - stress less. This has been the main flaw for me in 2014 and I don't plan to repeat it. I plan to work harder and i know that getting stressed is only natural, but it can be reduced. What does it really solve? Extremely little. I plan on taking a deep breath instead, some time out, then give what I am doing another go with a more positive attitude of 'I can do this'. 

I also want to take more chances. If there is an opportunity for me out there that I discover, instead of questioning everything about it; 'am I good enough for this? is this for me? i've never done anything like this before? i'm nervous.' I will embrace it with 'maybe i haven't done this before, but this is something new and it could be something great. Take more risks. 

Lastly, I want to see more. Life is not yet fully lived until you experience more of the unknown. Whether it is countries, cultures or helping out more within the city that I currently live in; It is all experience and I want to thrive off of what I learn on this journey of exploration.

What are your plans for this New Year?
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