Hidden Gems of Dubai – Local Businesses

Hi Everyone!

So today I decided to write the second post in my ‘Hidden Gems of Dubai’ series In this post I’m going to introduce you to some local Dubai/UAE businesses, and tell you why I love them. Personally, I prefer to buy from smaller, more local shops, not only because you are supporting a small business, but also you find more unique and fun items. I actually wrote about one of my favorite boutiques, Charlie The Shop in my Summer Favourites post (click here to read it), but for a while, I found it hard to find stores like this in Dubai.

I’ve always been on the lookout for small boutiques and stores in Dubai because I don’t usually see a lot of them. So when I visited the Ripe Market last weekend, I was really excited to find LOADS of local businesses and stores. So this collection of local businesses I will share with you are mostly from the Ripe Market, but some are ones that I’ve known about for a while. (This will be something I will write about again in the future, so if you know any local stores in Dubai let me know in the comments, and I will go check them out)

The Salad Jar: So the Salad Jar isn’t necessarily a boutique, but I thought I would mention it in this post because it is a local business here. I’d heard about it quite a bit, but I had never actually tried their salads until they sent me a few. Let me tell you, they are so convenient to eat and have ready at home, and they taste soooo good. Their principle is Shake, Eat, Love. So they give you a layered salad in a jar that you have to shake to mix it, and then eat. It’s such an effective concept, and it’s really yummy! (They also have a stand at the Ripe Market so you can find them there, as well as on their website)

 

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Their stand at the Ripe Market

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A delicious salad from them

 

Emaan Home: I found Emaan Home at the Ripe Market last week, and I was immediately drawn to their stand by their really cute products. I think I got a little over-excited because I honestly loved everything there, but I ended up buying a beautiful speckled bowl, which I think I’m going to have my daily yogurt and granola in (for those of you who follow my Instagram, you’ll know I have an obsession with this). I’m also thinking about purchasing a planner from them, to keep me organized. As they have some really cool planner designs and, to be honest, I would buy everything in their store if I could.

 

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The beautiful speckled bowl I got from them

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Their stand at the Ripe Market, isn’t it so cute?

 

BDB Design Studios: I also came across this store at the Ripe Market, and I fell in love with their embroidered towels. They’re such great quality and the embroidery is really well done. I’ve put in a picture of the towels I purchased, and I think they’re the perfect gift for a friend back home, because of the cute camel design. I look forward to buying more from them in the future! (unfortunately, their website is under construction at the moment, but you can visit their Facebook or Pinterest pages)

 

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I still can’t get over how cute these are!

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Lua Luz: This dainty jewelry store, has been all I’ve been thinking about for the past week! I’m quite particular about the jewelry I wear, I only like to wear dainty pieces, and they have to be long lasting and good quality. And I’ve been on the lookout recently for a dainty necklace with lots of charms, and the necklace I got from them was BEAUTIFUL. I mean just look at the picture. Who wouldn’t love it? You should definitely go look at some of their designs if you’re in need of some new jewelry.

 

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I mean WOW.

 

 

 

Ripe Organic: Okay so technically this isn’t a small business, it’s actually really popular in Dubai, but I still love it and want to share it with you guys. If you guys know me, you know that I love learning about new healthy foods and recipes, and learning how my body works. But sometimes I find it really hard to find all the ingredients out here and I can’t make the recipes I want to. Ripe Organic is a store that sells organic food, which is locally grown in Dubai and Abu Dhabi (!) They also sell a bunch of superfoods, and pantry staples, as well as gluten-free treats! Anyone who lives in Dubai definitely has to check them out.

 

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My heaven

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The Green EcoStore: Guys, I’m all about helping the environment and when I see a store that’s doing this it makes me really happy. The Green EcoStore is a business in Dubai that sells every single eco-friendly item you could possibly want. I’m not kidding. From eco-friendly cleaning products to kitchenware they have it all. They also have a stand at the Ripe Market, if you’re interested in taking a look!

So, those are my 6 favorite local businesses and stores in Dubai at the moment. Like I said I’m always on the lookout for new stores to visit, so if you know any let me know in the comments. Also, if you’re a local business in Dubai visit my collab page, and I’ll be sure to look at your store. Please let me know if you enjoyed this kind of post, and if it was helpful for you!

Little Miss Expat

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Running – The Breakdown

Hi guys,

Welcome back to my blog! It has been a stressful past few weeks, but I have finally got down to writing this post, which I hope you enjoy and find useful.

Running. For some, it brings them joy (me!) and for others, they start shaking at the knees when they hear the words ‘run’ and ‘mile’ in the same sentence. My goal? To explain to you a few reasons why I love running, but more importantly to break it down for you and to encourage you to grab a pair of running shoes and get out to the track!

But, you may be thinking, she’s an expat blogger what is she doing writing about running? Well… you’re right, my goal in starting this blog was to share my experience with other expats and teens all across the world, but I also want to share a few of my passions with you. And running, as well as being one of my passions, is also one of my coping mechanisms and helped (and still helps) me de-stress throughout my whole ‘expat journey.’

Personally, I’d never really had a strong opinion about running until recent years. When I was in 6th grade my family and I used to go out for runs every Sunday morning, but by no means were these very fast runs, just a way to get out and get moving. Thinking about it all these years later I think this is where my love for running started, I didn’t know a thing about running, form, or technique but I wasn’t half-bad. When I moved to Dubai and we started running long distance in PE class I found that I could actually run a mile without stopping, and at an average time. (which trust me, was a huge surprise to me) A year later I joined my first cross country team, and have been running long distance races ever since. In a whirlwind of early morning practices, shin splints, and KT tape, (runners, you will get that reference) I have found something I love doing, that has taught me so many lessons and has introduced me to some of my closest friends. I am no means an exceptional runner, but I think I’m good enough to be able to pass on a little of my ‘running wisdom’ onto you guys today and give you an idea of how to get started.

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First of all, the breakdown. Now, I’m no fitness guru but from my vast training experience, I can tell you that you don’t need to have some amazing talent to be able to run. No, in fact, I am actually severely flat-footed and have double jointed ankles that cause a LOT of problems with my running, but I still do it. So, in my opinion, the most important factor of becoming a good runner is self-determination.

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What do I mean by self-determination?

This category covers your mental determination, as well as your training. You see, running long distance is mostly in your head. If you tell yourself that you’re going to go out and crush a 5K run you will! But if you tell yourself that you’re feeling tired and not up for it, you’ll hardly be able to finish a mile. Determination is such a key factor in being a successful runner because once you’re out there on the track, it’s just you, your body, and your mind, and only YOU can determine how well you’re going to do. With that being said, you do have to put in a lot of work to get to this stage. Running itself isn’t actually hard, everyone can do it, maybe not very well, but everyone knows how to run. But it’s the skill of improving and building upon that skill that takes training and determination. Without practice, you aren’t going to improve at all or build your endurance at all. It takes determination to get out there, even at 6AM and run to improve, and that’s one of the biggest lessons running teaches you, how to control and discipline yourself.

How can you start?

One of my coaches once told me that no matter how fast you’re running, you always get there the same way. One step at a time. I’ve been thinking about this ever since because running is essentially a refinement of the same skill. It’s not like tennis or basketball, where there are many different skills you have to perfect in order to win the game (although don’t quote me on that, I hardly know anything about basketball) But with running if you start and keep on going, you will be able to run that mile or 5K and carry on improving. So start it that way, keep putting one foot in front of the other and use your mental strength to push you even further. My math teacher always talks about us building up our ‘brain muscles’ and how by the end of her course we’re all going to have ‘6-packs’ in our brains. Think of this the same way, while running may be a physical sport, you will end up with a 6-pack in your brain before you get one on your abs.

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Where Next?

Running is consistent. You can’t just run a 5K one day, then say you’re done for the rest of the week, you have to keep it consistent and attainable. So even if that means running shorter distances, but doing it 3-4 times a week that’s much better, and will help you grow even more. You also need to take time to enjoy your running, because if you don’t enjoy it then why would you be motivated to do it? For me, running is a de-stresses me, makes me happy, and puts me in a good mood, it should have some sort of positive impact on you as well!

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So remember, while I’m no scientist or coach, I just wanted to share some of my experience with running with you and break it down for you in order to encourage you to get out there and run! This will be an ongoing series, as there are so many aspects I could talk about within running, so be sure to let me know what you would like to read about next and if you have any questions!

Little Miss Expat

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Why YOU should be involved in community service

Hi Guys,

So if you follow me on Instagram, you would already kind of know what this blog post is going to be about. But if you don’t, let me explain…

For as long as I can remember I have loved helping people, as a little girl, I would go out of my way to help others and I still do. Moving to Dubai has made me more aware of everything that’s going on in the world around me, and when I took a Global Issues course last year something just ignited inside me. My passion is community service. By service, I mean helping people who aren’t as fortunate or me or helping people that I can teach something to. For example, one of the reasons I started this blog was because I wanted to help teenage expats all across the world, which is a form of service if you think about it.

I’m the kind of girl that loves watching UNICEF’s videos on their youtube channel, and every time I watch a video, I get goosebumps. (I know it’s kind of nerdy, but it’s true!!)  There’s something about seeing how peoples lives have changed because of the help that someone has given them makes me soooo happy.

As I said, service is my passion and I try to do as much of it as possible. I always volunteer for as much as I can in school. (as my school offers a lot of service opportunities) This year I was in charge of running one of the largest charity events in my community, which happened yesterday. About 130 other volunteers and I spent our Friday helping those who aren’t as fortunate as us. And I’ll be honest the amount of work that goes into initiating an event this big is CRAZY, but it is 100% worth it, and it’s FUN and REWARDING. I went home yesterday smiling, and over the moon, because I knew how much I had helped someone that day. It also makes you feel immensely grateful for everything you have, which is very important.

However old you are, whether you’re in school or not, I think it is SO important to be involved in some sort of service. The benefits of it are indisputable, you are making someone’s life better, by just giving them some of your time. There are so many ways you can do this, from volunteering at your school or community center, starting a blog like I did to share your advice, volunteering with an organization over summer, or even just starting by browsing the internet for community service opportunities.

I hope I have transferred a little bit of my service dream on to you guys today and inspired you to do something to help others! I will definitely be writing more about this soon (I mean I could talk about this for ages) but that’s all for now! I hope you enjoyed!

Little Miss Expat

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5 Ways To Deal With School Work

Hi Guys!

After what seems like the longest week ever, it is FINALLY the weekend. But, my weekends are now filled with homework and revision, as I’m sure most of yours are. So… as I do, I thought I would write a blog post about this.

Going into my Sophomore year has been a real shock, but I think I am getting into the routine now. When I first came back from summer I found that my brain was still on holiday, and I wasn’t as productive as I was last year. This really started to worry me, as I felt like I was losing it, and I was going to fall behind. I’m sure that I’m not the only one that has experienced this ‘back to school-itus’ so far, so I wanted to share a few of my tips with you guys on how to deal with homework and school work in general, and getting back into a routine:

  1. Go to sleep early – One of my favorite things about summer is sleeping as late as I want to, and not having to worry about early starts the next day. I found it really hard to adjust from that routine when I started school, as I was so used to it. But, I think it’s a really good place to start getting into the routine for school, and to ensure that you won’t be tired at school. (which, trust me is the worst)
  2. Focus in class – Really this sounds so simple, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in all my years in school, is that by focusing and working hard in class, you’re really just helping yourself. By listening and doing what you’re meant to in class, you usually end up with less homework, or you find the homework easier to complete. And, when it comes to a summative assessment you are way more prepared because you have understood everything along the way, and don’t need to do a last-minute cram session.
  3. Utilize your time – This tip is really big for me, as I do like to make sure my schedule is completely full, and I take on as much as I can. So for others, this would result in them not having time to do everything. But, I have come up with a system for utilizing every single second of my time during the day. For example, I write down my blog post ideas on the way to school and plan my Instagram posts for this blogs Instagram. Any emails, that I need to send out, I send in the car. So that when I get home, I have finished everything that could be finished elsewhere, and I just have to complete the big tasks I have to do at home. Whatever you do to utilize your time, it’s a really good idea to finish tasks throughout the day, whenever you find that you have time.
  4. Make lists – This is so helpful for me. Wow. I always find that I have a never-ending list of things I need to do, and I like to keep a list on my desk, as well as on my phone, of the things I need to do next. There must be some scientific reason as to why lists are so effective, but for me, it just un-jumbles everything in my brain and gives me a step to step guide of what I’m doing next. I would really recommend this for any student.
  5. Go Running – This has really helped me get into my school routine again. Of course, it’s partly because I love running, but also because running gives me discipline. I know that as soon as I get home from school I need to get in my run for that day, and then I can eat and do my homework. Not only does it give my day structure, but it makes me feel better about what I’ve done that day, and more motivated and focused when I’m doing my homework. Also, on the note of utilizing my time, one thing that I have started doing, is listening to audiobooks while running, at first this was purely because I had heard so many people talking about this. But, I thought that I would find it too boring, however, it’s actually a good sound to run to, as it keeps your mind on something else. And it teaches you something, I think that I might start listening to a more educational audiobook, such as a textbook (as I’m now listening to Harry Potter) so that I can utilize my running time even more.

I hope you guys found my tips helpful! I mean, they’re just a few random thoughts I threw together that I thought you might find useful. What are your best study tips? And be sure to let me know what you think about mine!

Little Miss Expat

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The Expat ‘Would You Rather’

Hi Everyone!

This week I have a little surprise for you, I have teamed up with Little Miss Honey (find her blog here) to create a really fun and entertaining post for you guys!

When we first talked about a collab, I was unsure what to do, as I didn’t want to do something boring that you could find anywhere. I finally decided on an ‘expat would you rather.’ In this post, you will see several ‘would you rather’ questions, directed at expats, answered by both Little Miss Honey and me. I’ll admit, some of these questions were really challenging, but we did our best to answer them all for you. Enjoy!

Would you rather… Never be an expat, or move to a new place every year?

Little Miss Honey: Never be an expat, moving every year can be really stressful especially for my family, so I’d rather stay put. 

Little Miss Expat: Never be an expat, I’d have to agree, while being an expat is amazing, it would be hard to pack up and move every year. 

Would you rather… Not be able to meet anyone new, or not remember anyone old?

Little Miss Honey: Not being able to meet anyone new, I don’t want people I know to feel bad that I don’t remember them. 

Little Miss Expat: Not being able to meet anyone new, I wouldn’t want to forget important people in my life.

Would you rather… Move somewhere really hot, or cold?

Little Miss Honey: Move somewhere really hot, actually I did before, as I lived in Saudi Arabia.

Little Miss Expat: Well I already live in Dubai, which is super hot. But I wouldn’t want to move anywhere very cold, I definitely prefer the heat. 

Would you rather… Move somewhere as a student in school, or as an adult with a job?

Little Miss Honey: Move somewhere as a student, I always wanted to study in Canada when I was younger but was never able to do so. 

Little Miss Expat: I think as a student, It’s easier to fit in and make new friends when you see them every day at school. And I think that moving is easier when you’re younger as you can adapt more. 

Would you rather… Move to a city or a rural area?

Little Miss Honey: Definitely a city, I am a true-blue city girl. 

Little Miss Expat: I would love to live in a rural area, but I don’t think I could do it forever. So I would go for the city, as there’s always something to do there.

Would you rather… Be an expat as a kid or an adult?

Little Miss Honey: Either way is fine by me.

Little Miss Expat: That’s a hard one, I feel like as an adult I would be able to do things my way, but I think I would move as a kid because I would have my family and parents to support me and help me out. 

Would you rather… Be an expat in an English speaking country or a non-English speaking country?

Little Miss Honey: I would love to fantasize about living in a non-English speaking country but truthfully it would be better to move to an English speaking country. 

Little Miss Expat: It would definitely be easier to move to an English speaking country, as I would find it too confusing to learn a new language, and have that barrier. 

Would you rather… Not be able to talk to anyone you meet, or hear anything they say?

Little Miss Honey: The first one.

Little Miss Expat: I think the first one, at least I could work around it. I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, by not listening to what they say. 

Would you rather… Not be able to make new friends, or see any old ones?

Little Miss Honey: Definitely the first one.

Little Miss Expat: That’s really hard, but the first choice. I wouldn’t want to forget my old friends, even though it would be hard not to have any new ones. 

Would you rather… Not be able to experience the culture of your new home, or completely forget the culture of your last home?

Little Miss Honey: The latter, always look back to where you came from.

Little Miss Expat: I’d agree, I wouldn’t want to forget my culture, but it would still be hard to live somewhere and not experience any of the culture. 

I hope you guys enjoyed this kind of post, let me know if you want to see more like this! It was just a little bit of fun, be sure to let me know your answers to the questions in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

Little Miss Expat

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Lisbon Photo Diary

Hi Guys,

Welcome to the Lisbon Photo Diary!

Over Summer I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Lisbon for a few days. It was really amazing and so different from any European city I’ve ever been to. There are a tonne of unique things to do in Lisbon, and I’m going to try and share them all with you in this post!

Firstly, we landed in Lisbon early in the morning and headed to the Time Out Market. I had read about this online, and I thought it would be a good place to start and get some food.
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After getting a bite at the market, we headed outside and were met by a group of tour guides. Except… these tours were tuk-tuk tours. So unusual to any typical tourist-traps, we decided to try a tuk-tuk tour, as I mean it’s not something you see every day.

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After cruising around Lisbon in a tuk-tuk for a while, I started to get a feel for the place. One of my favorite things about the city was the small, quirky streets. Filled with people and cobbled stones, the whole city was bursting with culture.

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Lisbon is a city of art. One of my favorite things were the walls, every building was covered in ornate tiles, from top to bottom. There were also amazing street art murals on the side of buildings.

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As we drove up the winding, narrow streets of Lisbon, we stopped at many viewing points. The views were breathtaking, as you turned a corner the city opened up beneath you.

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At the top of a viewing point, we stopped for some fresh lemonade, fruit, and custard tarts! Custard tarts or pastel de nata are a Portuguese specialty and they are DELICIOUS.

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With the history, culture, and hidden surprises of Lisbon, we continued to have an amazing trip!

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I hope you guys enjoyed reading about my trip to Lisbon! Have you ever been? What’s your favorite city that you’ve traveled to?

Let me know if you guys enjoyed this kind of post by leaving me a comment!

Little Miss Expat

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Stress: My Story + Dealing with it

Hi, Guys!

Today I am finally going to write a post that I have wanted to write for ages… my experience with stress, and dealing with it. I hope this is useful to you guys because I’m no expert on this, but I am simply a teen sharing her experiences and tips. This is will also be an ongoing series so I will write more posts about this as I find new things that help me, or I experience anything that I think you should hear about.

So stress. We all experience it, some more than others. And for me in the past year, it got to the point where my stress levels rose so high I had to start finding ways to deal with it. I don’t know if it’s that I’m a perfectionist, or maybe that I’m very sensitive, or even that I just worry about EVERYTHING, but I find that I stress over everything, and I stress a lot. My friends and family are always telling me that I need to calm down, but I find it hard to just switch off, as I feel like my brain is always one step ahead of me, telling me what I have to do next to get to where I want to be.

But too much stress isn’t good for you, and it can even be dangerous. It’s important to control it and learn what to do when you feel like this. For me, I’ve worked out some tips that help me a lot, and that I use all the time. So I thought that I would share them with you in case they help!

Meditation Apps – This is something that I have recently started using, as I felt like I needed to learn how to let my brain relax. I downloaded the free app ‘calm’, and I also downloaded ‘headspace’. I listened to a 12-minute session on ‘Calm’ called ‘7 Days of Calming Anxiety’ and it was really helpful. I saw the differences almost immediately, as it taught me some tricks to use throughout the day to ensure I stay calm. I haven’t used headspace yet, but I have heard some good reviews and look forward to trying it. I think that apps are a great way to learn about what you should be doing if you don’t know anyone who can help you, or if you just want to enjoy some relaxation at home.

Focusing on the moment – This is something that I learned by listening to the ‘7 Days of Calming Anxiety’ session. It means that by focusing on the moment you are currently in, you worry less about the future and don’t get as stressed about it. So something it taught me is that to ‘be in the moment’ you should focus on one sensation of your body. For example, if I’m feeling stressed I can take a deep breath and focus on what sounds I hear around me, or the feeling of my hands against the cool surface I’m leaning on. For me, thinking about these simple things allow me to slow down and focus on the moment a bit more.

‘Down Time’ – My downtime is something that I take very seriously. Every day after I come back from school, I make sure that I take some time to sit down, take a hot shower, organize what I’m going to do next, and eat something. This time allows me to calm down and re-arrange my thoughts before I start on my homework. I also do this before I go to sleep, I light a candle, wash my face, brush my teeth, and listen to some music. I think it’s important to take some time as your ‘down time’ as your life shouldn’t be ‘GO GO GO!’ all the time. You don’t have to necessarily do what I do, but just take some time out regularly to calm down and gather your thoughts.

Candles – So this isn’t a big one, but it is just something I have found that helps me create a relaxing, stress-free environment. Something about the aromatic smell and seeing the cozy yellow flicker allows me to relax better, I have no idea why, but I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Music – Music is also something that calms me, and lets me de-stress. Although, it has to be the right music. There’s no use listening to fast pop or rock music if you want to concentrate or relax. I usually listen to acoustic songs or slower pop songs, and there are plenty of playlists that I use on Spotify that have songs specifically for this. My favorite are ‘Revision Ballads’ and ‘Feeling Acoustically Good’.

Writing or saying thoughts aloud and going through them – This is something that I read about once and I decided to try. What you do is, write out a list of why you think you’re stressed or worried and go through the list and think about why you are actually worried about that, what is the worst thing that will happen? Is it really that bad? In reality, we always make things out worse in our heads than they actually are in real life. And by going through them properly you can swat away some of those anxieties.

Running – Now this might not be one that works for everyone because I know a lot of people don’t enjoy running. But I think that any kind of intense physical activity helps to relieve stress. Something to do with the release of endorphins that makes you happy and happiness makes you less worried. I mean I’m no scientist, but I know that exercising does work well to relieve stress for me.

Reading – As I mentioned before I find it hard to just switch off my brain, so I found an alternative. Personally, I love reading anyway, but reading allows me to focus on someone else’s story for a while and forget about my own. I’m sure other readers can relate to this? It’s easy to lose yourself in a book for a while and forget everything that’s going on. That’s why even on days when I’m really tired I still make sure I keep time to read before I go to sleep.

Woah, that was a long post!!!! But it is something that I have wanted to share with you guys for a while, as I know I’m not the only one that gets stressed and has to deal with it. At the end of the day, I still remember that I’m still a teenager and it’s normal for teens to feel this way. But if you have any other ways you deal with stress? A story you have to share? Or if you have tried any of my tips? Please let me know in the comments or contact me as I would love to hear from you guys (reading and replying to your comments always makes me so happy)!!!!

Have a stress-free day!

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‘Calm’ Meditation App

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‘Calm’ Meditation App

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Writing down thoughts and going through them

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Reading

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Reading (one of my favorite books!)

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Candles & Creating a Stress-Free Environment

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More Candles…