Adventure, Author, Creative, Mental Health Awareness, Mindfulness, Photography, Positivity, Self-Love, Share Your Story, Uncategorized, Writing

Reflection

Hi,


I hope you’re having a lovely week πŸ™‚


After seeing so many wonderful posts about body positivity lately, I’ve decided to add to the positive vibes currently sweeping through the ether, by writing my views on portrait photography.


Coronavirus lockdown restrictions have caused many of us to spend considerably more time than usual scrolling our way through the confidence-destroying minefield of social media. I truly believe that photographs of ourselves ought to be pondered in the same light we perceive our own reflection in a pool of water. Much as a reflection distorts your features, a photograph captures one very specific millisecond of time at an often unrealistic angle (in that most fellow humans are unlikely to look at you the way a camera does); a fleeting glimpse into an entire life; an echo, impossible to replicate (without highly advanced technology). Meaning that all those ‘perfect’ portrait images we see plastered throughout virtually every form of visual media are just one split second, modified snapshot amidst a lifetime.

It has been said that an image conveys a thousand words, but in the case of social media, an image can conceal a thousand truths. 


Smartphones make it easier than it has ever been to adjust photographs to an advanced degree, with photo-editing software built in as standard – not to mention the plethora of ‘filters’ available to utilise on every social media platform, allowing people the opportunity to avoid ever having to share an ‘unflattering’ photograph again. 


I admit that I may unintentionally perpetuate that style of editorial imagery to a lesser degree; I try not to share photographs I feel are unflattering of me because I don’t want my social media accounts to be less appealing, or for readers/potential readers to think less of me/my writing because I’m not what society might deem ‘worthy’ unless I am aesthetically pleasing to the majority of my (albeit limited) audience – I do understand that that is part of the problem. I suppose in order to remedy it, I have to determine whether I’m doing that to please myself, or to attempt to be noticed as a worthwhile writer amidst a sea of professionally managed social media profiles – something I promise to work on as best I can, to set a better example for younger generations. 


As an example of how a unique individual can be perceived in a variety of ways, I took these photographs within the space of 1 minute – note how differently I look in every photograph, thanks to changes in lighting, angles, and even the addition of filters…


Please remember when looking at photos of yourself: *Different Photographs; Same Worth* Although the camera has captured me differently in all these images, I’m still me πŸ™‚

Whilst it can be frustrating that the majority of social media accounts – both personal and professional – support fakery that funds the beauty industry, by making us all feel we have to live up to unrealistic standards in order to be considered ‘beautiful’ by society, it’s worth remembering that they are people too; and the more airbrushed, photoshopped, filtered their images are, the more insecure they’re likely to feel about how they look in reality. Their intention may not necessarily be to make you feel negatively about yourself, but to try feel better about themselves. And the truth is, there’s someone out there right now who admires a quality you have that they do not, and it’s almost certainly the person you least expect it to be.

In light of this, I’d like to add my voice to the increasing plethora of positive posts, by sharing some of my own story and commentary on the journey to self-confidence (that I am currently embarking on too)…


1.) I’ve been working on overcoming the countless insecurities I have about my appearance. For instance, I have extremely sensitive skin, e.g. I end up with a terrible rash when I shave my legs; I suffer with spots from time to time (caused by over-washing due to OCD linked to emetophobia); my hair gets oily quickly (so I wash it all the time which, ironically, makes it worse); make-up never seems to look flawless on me – although it seems to look nice on everyone else – and I get sunburned so easily that tanning naturally (to hide imperfections) is not an option (though the thought of using fake tan terrifies me – I’m certain I’d do something wrong and would end up looking/feeling ridiculous!). I’ve always been self-conscious about my nose, after it was broken by a horse when I was 10, as it doesn’t resemble the idyllic ‘button nose’ that various beauty/media industries suggest is most attractive. And I’ve recently found out that I have a dislocated jaw – that may have been caused by the misalignment of braces I wore as a teenager – to accompany the damage braces did to the enamel of my teeth (the glue they used left a few small yellowish stains on my teeth that the dentist can’t remove without damaging the enamel further), meaning I’m unlikely to ever have a lens-worthy set of perfectly straight, pearly-white teeth. That, together with the insecurities I have about having put on weight due to major life changes over the last few years (beginning with a serious hand injury 6 years ago that ended my equestrian career), led to my feeling awful about myself 99% of the time – which, as a consequence, meant I suffered more anxiety about my appearance than usual (I already have emetophobia and its associated anxieties), and it all became a miserable cycle of self-deprecation that had to stop before it spiralled into depression (again). Thankfully, my incredible boyfriend, wonderful family, and fantastic friends made me realise that all that stuff is inconsequential in the grand scheme of life – absolutely none of those aspects I’m insecure about take away from who I am, how hard I work at everything, or the reasons I try my best to help people/animals however I can. My insecurities are just that, my insecurities; my loved ones don’t love me in spite of all those things, I’m loved because I am me no-matter what. A realisation I hope you’re able to revel about yourself in too πŸ™‚

2.) Nobody cares whether you have strawberry skin after you shave, whether you have acne, or that you don’t have a flawless tan, nor does it affect their life that you’re worried about wearing tight clothes because your body doesn’t resemble the inhuman form of a mannequin, or that you have stretch marks/cellulite/scars on show if you wear certain clothes – you’re but a momentary consideration at most as they go about their daily business at the shops, or you walk past them on the street, or they are enjoying their day at the beach/park/restaurant (especially after a year and a half of lockdown!). And if you are still worried, it’s worth remembering that those who judge you negatively for such insignificant things (in the grand scheme of life) likely only do so because it deflects from issues they have with themselves. Also, it doesn’t actually matter what they think of you.


3.) I repeat as its own comment (and I suggest you repeat this to yourself): it *does not matter* what people think of your appearance (unless, of course, you’re at a job interview). What if someone does have a fleeting negative thought about your appearance; did it cause you physical harm? Do you care about the stranger enough to act on their fleeting, negative response (for instance, enduring some sort of barbaric cosmetic procedure to appease strangers)? And finally, what right does some random stranger have to make you feel negatively about yourself when they don’t know anything about you? Please don’t give power to the unfair, unhealthy culture and unrealistic expectations to look a certain way to be accepted – instead, accept yourself for the unique brand of wonderfulness only you can offer the world.

4.) Fact: our bodies change constantly. Therefore, it is as unhealthy as it is unrealistic to believe that you cannot be beautiful or handsome or worthy of adoration unless you fit into those jeans you used to wear a decade ago, or that top you used to love that you wish you still looked great in, or, unless you fit a specific image bombarded by all forms of visual media as being the ‘ultimate specimen of human perfection’ (an image which, if you study the ‘ideal body shape/size/configuration’ through the ages you’ll discover is constantly shifting and evolving). Eat your favourite food guilt-free, wear clothes that are comfortable, and find a way to exercise that you actually enjoy instead of counting calories, avoiding clothes you’re afraid people might ‘judge’ you for wearing, and forcing yourself to participate in exercise that doesn’t bring you joy in pursuit of unattainable ‘perfection’. The human body is an incredible vessel of evolution; love yours, nurture it, and appreciate every fibre of your being for the masterpiece it is!


5.) The universe needs you just the way you are. Please stop comparing yourself to others when there’s not a person on this planet capable of comparing to you because, honestly, they’re not you – the knowledge of which ought to provide you with an untold sense of power and self-belief πŸ™‚


5.) As challenging as it is, in order to improve my own self-confidence, I practice what I preach and continuously push myself to become the beautifully confident person I deserve to be…

For example, I am taking action to improve my health and fitness, to help me feel better for myself – as opposed to that motivation being to look beautiful just to please the world (confidence is attractive in itself, so I’m told!). I am also trying really hard to ease my anxiety over my skin issues, and though it may sound minor to many, I felt a strange sense of accomplishment the other day when I didn’t shave that morning (I usually shave my legs every time I intend to wear shorts or a dress – which takes ages because I obsessively remove every hair I consider unsightly) yet still wore shorts all day and even went shopping! There were a few stray hairs I couldn’t reach on my right leg (thanks to my hand injury) that I hadn’t noticed until I returned from shopping, which was the moment I realised I survived without any negative effects of having not shaved that morning – I didn’t notice one person give so much as a glance at me, let alone the dramatic reactions of displeasure I believed might accompany my decision not to overthink going out with strawberry legs. It was more comfortable to wear shorts than to have worn jeans, yet I almost made myself uncomfortable by wearing jeans because of the reaction I thought I’d receive for having a teeny tiny amount of stubble on my legs. As it happens, it didn’t feel like anyone cared about the fact I had a few stray hairs on my right leg – the fact people just carried on with their own business felt great; who’d have thought being invisible could feel satisfying! But then it struck me, the reason we strive to fit in is for that reason; because no reaction is better than a negative one, no-matter how minor – and in order for all that hard work that goes in to looking nice to be worthwhile, a positive reaction provides a flash of acceptance that makes us feel incredible about ourselves, even for a millisecond.

However, it really shouldn’t be up to other people to determine how incredible we feel about ourselves. Of course, we want to look attractive to encourage self-confidence, to help ourselves appreciate what we see in the mirror (or on a smartphone camera app), and to please our partners – though my amazing boyfriend has assured me that when you’re in love with the right person, it doesn’t matter if you have spots, or you put on a little weight, or your hair needs a wash, since that love is deeper than one’s superficial appearance (I believe the reason the right person loves you is because their soul connects with yours on a cosmic level – your partner loves you in your entirety because of who you are; which makes you the most attractive person in the universe to them, irrespective of your self-perceived ‘physical imperfections’). If you don’t have a partner to remind you of your awesomeness, consider how much your family and friends love you – and I guarantee that love has absolutely nothing to do with what you look like; what feeling could be more incredibly confidence-inspiring than that? πŸ™‚

Life is short. Please don’t waste a moment feeling insignificant because of your insecurities – you are so much more than your portrayal in a photograph <3

Anyways, hope you’re having a happy Wednesday!


Best wishes,

Dannika

Author, Mental Health Awareness, Uncategorized

For Mental Health Awareness Week

Hellooo πŸ™‚

It is Mental Health Awareness Week (in case you didn’t know!), and I hope that through sharing my own insecurities you may feel more comfortable and confident in yourself πŸ™‚

Later, I will be sharing about emetophobia on my social media pages (linking to blog posts I have already written), something I’ve lived with since I can remember. Right now, however, I’m remaining focused on physical insecurities, since I know that affects everyone – whilst emetophobia doesn’t…

So, I wore braces for years as a teenager – not just to straighten my teeth, but to correct my jaw alignment. I lost my retainer 8 years ago on a camping trip, though foolishly didn’t return to the orthodontic centre as I believed my teeth and jaw issues had been fixed.

My jaw has gradually misaligned again, which affects many aspects of my wellbeing; from eating, to talking, to sleeping. I now have a new retainer. While it unfortunately won’t fully straighten my teeth (I can’t afford thousands in orthodontist fees!), it will prevent misalignment worsening. And as over-the-top as I am with cleaning my teeth, the discoloured marks (again, I unfortunately can’t afford to get my teeth whitened) are from the time I had braces – glue used for my braces wasn’t cleared properly by the orthodontist. My dentist does a brilliant job of cleaning these glue marks from my teeth little by little each visit, though it’s something I am very self conscious of.

Teeth misalignment and permanent glue marks are the reasons you will rarely see me flashing my teeth when I smile in photographs – I also dislike showing a lot of my gums when smiling, which I do naturally when photographs are taken of me unawares! Whilst it is a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things, I imagine others of you feel insecure about this sort of thing too. I do still lack confidence in smiling fully due to the image of my teeth and gums being imperfect, which is silly because there’s nothing more wonderful than being able to smile through sheer happiness! Please don’t ever allow anything to stop you smiling if it has only to do with how the world perceives you – I’m a perfectionist, which does cause me issues like worrying about superficial things such as this, but beauty isn’t founded in perfection, it is founded in joy πŸ™‚

Same goes for body weight. I’ve put on weight since becoming a full-time ghostwriter working entirely from home – the scales say I’ve gained 2kg (equivalent of 4lbs). Following lockdown rules to only exercise once a day initially, which has thankfully now increased to more exercise being allowed, has had an impact. I walk my dog very near my home for my daily exercise, around the local park as opposed to adventuring like we usually do – I also take care of my horses and the sheep, so I do get some exercise there too. However, I’ve been exceedingly careful about riding my horses to avoid as much as possible the risk of putting extra strain on the NHS by getting injured. I already suffer a debilitating hand issue, which does limit how often I’m able to ride and what exercise I am able to do generally – though my horses do need some exercise to keep them healthy too. It’s a delicate balancing act, so, I’m vowing to myself to lose weight and get fit as soon as I have organised a suitable, safe exercise regime and equally sensible diet. I’m not a greedy person, and I do keep to a relatively healthy diet – but there’s always room for improvement (perfectionism creeping in), which is what I am going to do as soon as life is back to some sort of state of normality again – because chocolate is keeping me going right now! One day I will feel comfortable and confident in a bathing suit, I am determined πŸ™‚

Sharing my work-in-progress on insecurities is all well and good, but I feel that I ought to prove it is possible to overcome them. My eyesight is not great – I am rather short sighted. When I was 9 I started wearing glasses – and when I say wearing them, I mean hiding them in my school bag and squinting at the blackboard all day, leaving school with a headache because I was afraid to get bullied wearing glasses. As it happens, I was bullied for wearing glasses – as well as for being short, quiet, and unassuming – in high school. It took until April 2019 when I fell in love with the pair of glasses I have now to feel confident enough to have photographs in them. I wear contact lenses when I can, though they’re expensive so I tend to save them for special occasions. I realised that all I had to do was muster the courage to try a new style of frames, and it made the world of difference to my relationship with glasses; please don’t allow wearing glasses to get you down – I guarantee you’ll look as fabulous as you do without them πŸ™‚

I used to suffer with acne too. Still get breakouts from time to time. But I persevered and sought clinical advice, so am now much happier in my skin than I used to be. Whilst my skin is still not perfect, life experience has taught me that it isn’t supposed to be – we are people not plastic. So embrace your skin; spots, stretch marks, cellulite, scars and all – because you’re an attractive specimen, and deserve to know so!

I know how lucky I am for these insecurities to be relatively minor, for which I am infinitely thankful. Though insecurities only make us insecure when we allow them to…

TL;DR – You are awesome πŸ™‚

Thanks for reading!

We’ve got this <3

Best wishes,

Dannika

Author, Uncategorized

Pros & Cons of Lock-down

Hellooo πŸ™‚

I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and well <3

So, my lovely boyfriend gave me the idea to write this blog post.

People around the world are feeling the effects of lock-down. Currently, here in the UK, we’re at the beginning of week 3 in lock-down; which for us involves home-working where possible, restaurants/non-essential shops/pubs/clubs/leisure centres/sporting facilities/event venues etc. closed temporarily, all sporting/entertainment events cancelled for the foreseeable future, non-essential travel stopped, and one form of outdoor exercise a day is allowed with your household only.

There are positives and negatives to be taken from this situation. From my perspective, these are in a kind of balance – with a leaning toward the negative end of the spectrum.

In keeping myself busy I’ve been completing ghostwriting projects, studying toward my university assignments, achieving CPD certificates from online courses, caring for my dog and horses, as well as reading more.

Basically, I’m trying to accomplish inspiration from isolation.

I will share with you a Facebook post I added to my own page (as opposed to my author page) yesterday, which I believe clarifies that the stupidity of a large section of the general public are the reason this pandemic is still in full force…

“** Public Announcement **

LOCKDOWN IS NOT AN EXTENDED BANK HOLIDAY!!!! STAY IN!!!

From Cai and I….

We were quietly enjoying our one form of outdoor exercise for today, Cai remaining on a lead so as to avoid risk of contact with anyone else, though our efforts to keep ourselves, our loved ones and others safe were in vain.

On our very brisk walk (because there was nowhere to go without being within 2 metres of people!) we encountered:

  • A drunk guy downing cans, then peeing in a hedge.
  • Plethora of dog-walkers with every dog – aside one – off their leads.
  • Countless numbers of people, in groups, hanging around the local lake (I understand families will be exercising together, but from what I could see, there wasn’t much social distancing going on between these households).
  • People who had travelled by car to walk around the area (one particular dog walker I’ve spoken to a while ago and know for a fact lives in St Fagans – come on, there’s no way she can claim there’s nowhere to walk around St Fagans!!!).

I am staying away from loved ones, such as my Grandparents and Gareth, to protect them and everyone else around both them and myself. The sacrifices we are being asked to make are challenging, but not as challenging as having to hide in Anderson Shelters, fearing for our lives because of deadly bombing raids.

Come the f*ck on – please Please PLEASE, stop being selfish. All you’re being asked to do is stay in, chilling out on the sofa, to watch Netflix. It’s not difficult. Every person I know is sticking to the instructions given, to them I say – wholeheartedly – thank you. To every person putting thousands of loved ones at risk because they can’t follow simple rules I say, take a good look at yourself. Stay the heck in!!! Read books written by survivors of Auschwitz, study what life was like living in the trenches experiencing untold horrors to protect your loved ones, find out the stories of immigrants going through hellish situations whilst escaping war-torn countries to save their children.

Please, stay in, stay healthy, stay safe. Remain positive and consider others; if you cannot consider others, realise that you are at as much risk from COVID-19 as anyone else.

Rant over! Haha.

Infinite thanks to all who are following instructions and all those working tirelessly to keep us safe, fed and well ❀”

As you can see, my tone was pretty frustrated. I do understand the challenges of not being able to enjoy being outdoors and spending quality time with loved ones, but it is incredibly important that directives are followed, else we are all at risk of losing loved ones.

Sacrifices made during the darkness of today will ensure a brighter, safer tomorrow.

Distancing from loved ones is the aspect of lock-down I am struggling with most. I haven’t seen my amazing grandparents or brilliant niece, nor have I seen any of my other great relatives, let alone any of my fantastic friends. Though, the person I have become closest to, who I am feeling deeply the effects of distance from, is my wonderful boyfriend. We’ve been keeping in touch by telephone and Skype; however, I don’t have to tell anyone going through this that it just isn’t the same. I’d love a good cwtch with him right about now…

However, I saw on a news program last week an interview the UK’s eldest gentleman, who told his story. Having lived in 11 decades, he said the greatest moment of his life was meeting the lady who was to be his wife. They only met briefly, as she was travelling to be a volunteer nurse in Ghana, whilst he was destined for Taiwan to become a volunteer teacher. He told their story of a relationship maintained by the written word, with letters taking as much as 8 weeks to arrive. They maintained this for 4 years, before getting married and enjoying over 60 years of joyful marriage. Having lived through wars and financial disasters, this inspirational gentleman was so full of resolve that humanity will make it through this pandemic by working together, that one couldn’t help but feel inspired.

The Queen’s address to the nation yesterday was poignant, yet empowering.

It seems sometimes, distance gives us opportunity to gain a thankful perspective. Despite the fact I make efforts to be grateful every day for all I am fortunate to have, I for one know that I am going to emerge from this lock-down with a brand new appreciation for absolutely every aspect of awesomeness in my life.

If you’re struggling with lock-down at the moment, here’s a list of resources you can contact, as shared by South Wales Police on Facebook yesterday:

☎️ Mind Cymru 0300 1233393
☎️ Samaritans 116123
☎️ Anxiety UK 03444 775774
☎️ Live Fear Free 0808 8010800
☎️ Age UK 0800 0556112

There’s also a useful list of mental health support services on the NHS website.

Should a telephone call not be your ideal form of accessing help, here are some other ideas for accessing online help:

And for meditation, the NHS provides some useful information, or, you could always try any of the following apps:

Don’t forget to keep in touch with family and friends through FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, etc. – isolation doesn’t have to equal loneliness.

And, as always, please feel free to send me an email at d.e.kendall@outlook.com should you wish πŸ™‚

Please keep washing your hands and staying home as much as possible, follow guidance and we’ll get through this all the stronger, sooner.

You are not alone.

Best wishes,

Dannika

Uncategorized

Lots!

Heyy πŸ™‚

Sorry I’ve been away. I definitely haven’t been idle though!

As you’re able to see from exploring my website, I have worked exceedingly hard to update the services I offer. In this modern world of uncertainty, to be able to diversify is to remain financially afloat. I am absolutely delighted to be able to surround myself in the fascinating world of words.

I imagine you’re wondering what else I could have possibly been doing in a lockdown, to have prevented me from writing blog posts. Well, I’ve worked a little on my own writing projects, worked on a ghostwriting project, studied for my next uni assignment, cut my own fringe, kept up with caring for my horses and dog, as well as completing distance learning CPD courses. Phew! No wonder I am absolutely shattered…

Whilst my poor – already injured – hand is painful from all the writing (the printer ran out of ink and as printer ink isn’t an essential purchase, I chose to hand-write notes instead), I successfully completed a Bookkeeping for Personal & Business Accounting course, along with a CPD (Continued Professional Development) Proofreading & Copy-editing course; for which I achieved 100% on the final test! *High-five myself due to social distancing rules*

I may have square eyes and a broken hand now, but the fact I’ve managed to achieve a lot in lockdown got me to thinking as to why more schools and universities aren’t offering online courses for free. What better way is there to utilise our time than to better ourselves? Education is power. Surely, it’s about time we all had access to opportunities to pursue our dreams? Life is too damn short not to.

I am exceedingly fortunate to be on track to pursuing my dreams, having recently taken the leap into freelance ghostwriting – now proofreading and beta reading too – though some aren’t so lucky.

All I can hope is that everyone finds their own piece of positivity, amidst this time of turbulence. I hope you’re able to find your own peace during this pandemic!

Best wishes,

Dannika

( P.S. In case you needed a laugh, following are two photographs from this evening – ‘before’ and ‘after’. My apologies in advance for not having any make-up on whatsoever, for not using a filter, and for wearing my PJs. Hope my embarrassing attempt at DIY hair-cutting gives you a giggle! <3 )

Adventure, Uncategorized

About Dog Walking

Here is my handsome dog Cai on his morning walk today πŸ™‚ You can find his Instagram account here: @cai_the_collie_xx

Dog walking isn’t only essential for your dog’s welfare, but in my opinion, it’s essential for my welfare too.

As the entire world seems to be on lock-down, human interaction is being kept to a minimum. I’m dreadfully missing loved ones I normally see on a daily basis, which makes dealing with anxiety surrounding the enormity of this COVID-19 pandemic evermore difficult.

However, there’s a ray of sunlight amidst this global crisis – and I’m not just referring to the glorious weather we’re fortunate to be experiencing in the UK right now – and that is my gorgeous dog.

Cai has been part of my family for five years now, since he was the cutest puppy on the planet (I’m biased I know; but just look at him!).

He has been by my side through the some of the toughest times of my life; he has also been there for me to make the best times even greater.

Although he was initially destined to become a working sheepdog – to help us manage sheep at the farm we keep our horses at – that wasn’t meant to be. So, my sheep-phobic Welsh Collie cross Border Collie not only became my best friend, but actually gave me reason to keep getting out of bed no-matter how horrific life seemed; because he was not going to let me avoid walking him! I love my Cai infinitely, he truly is wonderful.

My three fur babies, in one photo <3

Don’t get me wrong, there are trying times too – for instance, he recently pooped on two Nurses and a Vet who tried to clip his claws (oops!). He has the most piercing bark, which he uses continuously if there are dogs on the TV (real or animated, he doesn’t discriminate). And he has the same relationship with food as any overweight human; despite my best efforts to manage a balanced diet for him, turns out one dental chew a day was enough to push his weight over the edge. Cai ended up having to go onto a strict diet and exercise regime for his own good. We’re still working on that weight loss, though 26kg down from 31kg is a fantastic feat!

Walking Cai helps me keep my weight in check too!

Dog walking provides unlimited possibilities for adventure. Cai loves walking in the field across the road from our house every day; he enjoys a stroll around the local park; now he’s decided horses aren’t scary, he takes great delight in walking around the countryside surrounding the farm; he’s fond of forestry walks; and he adores the beach.

However, one aspect of walking Cai does not like is going out in the rain. He has a wardrobe’s worth of coats, to keep him motivated to walk in rainy or cold weather.

How handsome is he?!

Whilst out walking your dog, I feel it’s important to reiterate that not all dogs are confident or friendly when approached by other dogs. Cai can become very nervous when unfamiliar dogs approach him; though if he’s chasing a ball, his focus is solely on the game of fetch – in his five years so far, he’s had three instances of loose dogs run full-force into him; each time they both rolled onto the grass, then Cai jumped up as if nothing had happened and continued to chase after his ball, leaving the other dog a little bemused. When walking with his best doggy friends Kally and Milo, Cai does get protective whilst on the lead. So far he’s only ever growled at other dogs who approach them – he’s fine off his lead – but being a collie, I am aware their behaviour can be unpredictable, so I don’t take any risks. If he’s on his own and another dog approaches him whilst he’s on his lead, he will cower and hide under my legs. Therefore, I walk him in a bright yellow lead with the word ‘NERVOUS’ in bold letters across it. That seems to have helped considerably, since fellow dog-walkers realise he’s a nervous dog and tend to put their own dog back on a lead until they’ve passed us πŸ™‚

It goes without saying really that with dog walking there’s a lot to be mindful of. Not only being mindful of other dog owners – I’ll put Cai back on his lead immediately if another dog appears in the vicinity – but also ensuring you maintain responsibility of cleaning up after your dog. I carry doggy poop bags everywhere, and I mean everywhere. I’ve been out to posh restaurants for meals before, and accidentally dropped doggy poop bags as I’ve fumbled for something in my bag. I find them in all my coat pockets, and even once discovered some in the hood of one of my coats. There really is no excuse not to pick up after your dog – thankfully, most people do.

If you’ve been inspired to consider adding a furry friend to your family, always seek expert advice from a Vet or qualified Canine Behaviourist before embarking on the wonderfully rewarding, yet at-times challenging, adventure of caring for your own dog – responsibility akin to having a child.

It’s advisable to re-home a rescue dog if you can. Had Cai not been intended for a working life, I would searched dog re-homing centres for the new member of my family. I’ve worked in a Veterinary Hospital and have seen first-hand the dangers of puppy farming, as well as the disgusting trend of purchasing a dog breed for fashionable purposes, or to make money from indiscriminately breeding the current ‘in’ breed – owners not realising the consequences of their actions (namely brachycephalic dog breeds with shortened noses, who tend to have a plethora of health issues derived from breeding defects, such as breathing issues). If you feel a specific breed of dog would best suit your family, then please do get in touch with reputable, certified breeders – make sure you see the mother, if not also the father, of whatever puppy you’re hoping to buy.

Just to get you started, here’s a quick checklist before searching for your forever dog:

  • Ensure your garden is completely secure, and large enough to incorporate space for your dog to run around/relax in the sunshine, as well as ‘do their business’ outside (also worth deciding on the best system for disposing of dog waste every day – dogs do produce a lot of it, especially as puppies!).
  • Check your house is ‘dog-proof’, meaning there’s no food or potential toxic substances within reach of your dog (some dogs do learn to open cupboards, so be careful!)
  • Be sure you’re able to set aside at least 1 hour a day to exercise your dog (depending on their breed, certain breeds require far more exercise than others), as well as all the time required to train and bond with your dog (there are plenty of qualified, insured dog-walkers out there to help exercise your dog if you’re stuck in work during daylight hours, especially during winter months).
  • Have somewhere safe to keep everything your dog needs, such as their food/water bowls and bed; along with places to store their food, toys, bedding etc.
  • Ensure they’ll have somewhere to access a constant supply of fresh, clean water and decide where and how you’d like their feeding regime set out (for example, some dogs enjoy trickle-feeding throughout the day, whereas others suit set feeding times best – always ask a Vet for advice if you’re unsure).
  • Be aware that your dog will need vaccinations at the same time every year, they’ll need flea treatment every month and – depending on the type of worming treatment – standard wormer every 3 months.
  • Also, make sure your car is ‘dog safe’ – whether that’s purchasing a crash-safe cage for your boot, or investing in a harness and seat-belt attachment (again, you can always seek advice from a pet professional about all of this).
  • Last but not least, get your dog insured! I cannot stress enough the importance of getting your dog insured. Obviously none of us dare even think about the worst happening, though should it, insurance will help you financially so you only have to focus on dealing emotionally with whatever the situation is.

Whether you’re already fortunate enough to enjoy the companionship of an amazing dog, or you’re thinking about adding a dog to your family, or even if you just like to look at cute dog pictures, Cai and I hope you’ve enjoyed a short break from the panic-driven hysteria encompassing us all at the moment πŸ™‚

Best wishes,

Dannika

Cai and I on our walk this morning πŸ™‚
Uncategorized

On Losing Your Glasses

Ever experienced that irritating instance of losing your glasses, stressing and rushing around in attempt to find them, whilst panicking that you’ll have to live in a state of short-sightedness for the foreseeable future? If so, you tend to end up re-tracing your steps and racking your brain as to where you could’ve possibly lost them, only to make the embarrassing discovery that they’ve been on top of your head the entire time.

It’s a little like getting on with a situation that’s not right for you, as if your lack of vision forces you into an anxious state for fear of never finding what you need – when what you needed was easily within your reach the whole time.

Now that many realms of work are on lockdown, maybe the only perk of your employment situation – financial stability – is no longer there. With people all around the world tackling lack of wages, worrying about not being able to buy basic supplies (due to selfish people stockpiling), and feeling utterly lost amidst these unprecedented situations, it kind of feels like everyone needs to take a step back.

This horrific virus has, terrifyingly, not yet reached the peak of its impact. We are in fear for our vulnerable loved ones’ wellbeing.

Given the stark reality of this, considering individual health – both physical and mental – is of utmost importance. So, why not consider that career change you’ve always wanted to make? Or using this time in isolation to plan extensively for that adventure of a lifetime? After all, we have access to infinite internet resources. Alternatively, why don’t you try out that new hobby you’ve always wanted to but never had time for?

Being out in the countryside, it’s obvious there’s been a positive impact in favour of nature. One swift swipe of any social media site will display dolphins returning to Venice’s waterways, the pollution levels in China greatly reduced, and I’ve noticed that here in Cardiff there’s been more wild birds than ever braving trees close to houses that they’d never normally perch upon.

We need to work together, to help everyone emerge at the end of this COVID-19 outbreak safe, healthy and happy.

So before humanity delves into insanity, let’s take a deep breath.

We can do this.

We all need to be sensible, considerate, and patient.

Just as every time you’ve accidentally left your glasses on top of your head, you’ll find them when that state of panic is over and you’re calm enough to be rational.

Thoughts are with all affected during these difficult times. Focus on the light, and it’ll guide you through the darkness <3

I’m here for anyone feeling lonely during isolation. As you already know, I love writing – so please feel free to send an email if you’d like to share a virtual conversation πŸ™‚

d.e.kendall@outlook.com

Best wishes,

Dannika

Author, Uncategorized

About The Pandemic

Another grey day here in exotic South Wales πŸ™‚

Though a new day brings with it further panic and confusion about the dreaded COVID-19 outbreak, a.k.a ‘Coronavirus’.

Not only have workplaces, entertainment venues and schools been closed, but people seem to be divided into two types; the helpers and the hoarders.

‘Helpers’ are those who selflessly ensure all around them are safe, entertained and catered for.

‘Hoarders’ are those who have lost sight of humanity and choose to act like raving wild animals, hoarding supplies as if settling down for a year-long hibernation.

From what I have seen, there are thankfully far more helpers out there than hoarders. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by level-headed, sensible human beings, who have put their caring hats on to make a positive impact for their local communities.

Whereas hoarders seem to have pushed any form of thinking hat aside, in favour of useless face masks that will not protect them from catching COVID-19. These are the people stockpiling ridiculous amounts of toilet-roll, hand sanitizer, washing-up liquid, tinned food, pasta and potatoes – though to be fair to them, they have graciously left plenty of Pot Noodles available for the rest of us. It is disappointing to see this in the twenty-first century. A time of plenty, in which more people are aware of goings on in the world than ever before.

I can understand the sense of panic, but what I cannot fathom is the fact they’re leaving vulnerable loved ones at risk – because most people, particularly those who are vulnerable, simply can’t afford to stockpile anything (I know I can’t!). All we can hope is these people see the error of their ways, and share supplies with people in need.

My thoughts go out to everyone affected by this pandemic in any way… <3

I have awesome relatives and fantastic friends working in front-line services, such as the NHS and social care sectors; my infinite appreciation of their efforts will – I’m sure – be echoed by everyone, as they keep the UK going.

In case anyone is unsure of the symptoms of Coronavirus, or protocols surrounding self-isolation, here’s the link to the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

There’s a heck of a lot of false news floating around, creating incomprehensible levels of hysteria. Please be very careful and selective about the information you share on social media! If none of us are careful, social realms will be ruled by dodgy individuals intent only on causing further havoc. Likelihood is, those spreading incorrect information about are the very same people who are selling basic sanitary products, such as hand sanitizer, online for extortionate prices. Let’s not fall prey to their deplorable dealings; let’s keep looking out for one another, focusing on staying positive instead.

Luckily, I have no reason to self-isolate at the moment. Although, because I am not risking contact with my grandparents – as they’re in the highest risk category – I realise how much I take for granted being able to see them whenever I’d like. Which is why it’s so important to keep one another’s spirits lifted right now; despite having to remain 6ft apart, we’re all in this together.

Take care of yourself and your loved ones!

Best wishes,

Dannika