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1 Hiatus While I Get Well

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I've got an exotic strain of Portuguese flu which my colleague's husband brought back from Lisbon. So I'm lying in bed making ill noises with some leggings tied round my neck, because I couldn't find a scarf. (That sounds slightly Fifty Shades, but I assure you it isn't!)

Thanks for reading. I'll be back blogging again soon, I hope.

4 Reasons to Feel Happy About Your Looks

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In this digital age of Photoshop and Instagram - both of which I love to use, but which give us endless pictures of glossily ‘perfect’ models and influencers - it’s easy to feel inadequate about the way you look. Here are 4 reasons why you shouldn’t.
1. Your Body Is Amazing
Your body is an incredible thing. Your heart works ridiculously hard to keep pumping blood and keep you alive, your cells are constantly being repaired and malignant cells weeded out, your legs and feet carry you everywhere without a word of thanks... Next time you berate yourself for having a big gut, moobs or floppy boobs, acne, unwanted hair, cellulite or stretch marks, and generally not looking like an Instagram model, remember everything your amazing body does for you, and feel better.
2. Even Models Don’t Look Like Models
Instagram influencers typically take hundreds of shots to get one ‘perfect’ photo, and then use filters and Photoshop. Female models use a tonne of make-up, fake tan and contouring. They also ha…

9 Strategies for Enjoying Work More

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Work, hey? We spend most of our waking hours either getting ready for it, travelling to it, doing it, thinking about it or recovering from it - so here are 9 strategies for getting pleasure out of it. They help me enjoy my workday, and I hope they'll help with yours too.

1. Write a Work 'To Do' List

I used to muddle through my workdays, until I learned that writing a list of objectives for every day cleared my head and helped me focus on what I wanted to achieve. Of course, there will always be obstacles - for instance, my daily objective might be to pitch great stories and write every piece of content available, but then a huge batch of videos might arrive and need transcoding. If you're waylaid, you may need to bump some of the items from your schedule to the next day, but you'll still know where you're going and how to get there.

2. Schedule in Treats

I get up at 7am and don't return until 7.15pm - that's a huge chunk of time, so having stuff to look for…

3 Ways to Stop Worrying About Likes, Comments, Followers and Shares

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Ah, social media. There are so many lovely things about it - connecting with like-minded people, making new friends, feeling plugged into the world, sharing your thoughts and emotions. But when no one responds to your posts, you can feel like you’re the last person to be picked for games at school - lonely, unpopular and as though nobody cares about you. 
Here are 3 strategies/things to remember so you can stop worrying about likes, comments, followers and shares.
1. Remember That Your Self-Worth Shouldn’t Be Tied to Them
15 years ago, this wouldn’t have been an issue. Before social media, we worried about real-life interactions with friends and family; now, we value ourselves according to how much people engage with our posts. But your gravestone won’t read ‘Here Lies Someone Who Went Viral a Lot’. People will remember you for your kindness, your thoughtfulness and your courage, not for how many people clicked a button under your posts.
2. Don’t Read Too Much Into the Lack of Response
The…

5 Ways to Survive Father's Day When You Don't Have a Dad

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This will be my second Father's Day since my dad died. We'd been estranged for over two years when he had a stroke and brain haemorrhage, meaning that it's actually five years since I last celebrated Father's Day with him. Along with his birthday and the day he died, tomorrow is one of the days when I'll think about him most - which is a very mixed-up feeling, as you'll understand if you read this Guardian article I wrote.

If you're dreading tomorrow, here are five ways to survive Father's Day when you don't have a dad.

1. Stay Off Social Media (and Media in General)

Social media will feature endless streams of moving, emotive posts about how much your friends love their dads - and newspapers and magazines will run features about Father's Day. If this is likely to make you feel melancholy, close your laptop, turn off your phone and go offline instead. Use the quiet time to meditate, practise yoga, go swimming or do another activity that doesn…

20 Cheery Songs for a Summer Playlist

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There's nothing like a bright, melodic, happy song to lift your spirits and make you feel better about everything. Most of my Spotify playlists are full of cheery, upbeat tracks. Of course, there are millions of brilliant sad songs out there too - everything from Nothing Compares 2U to Ain't No Sunshine - but I find that they make me feel melancholy.
So here are 20 of my favourite cheery songs, in no particular order. Don't listen to them if you want to feel miserable. Listen to Morrissey, The The or post-1985 Depeche Mode instead.
1. Best Day of My Life - American Authors
The clue is in the title. I absolutely defy you to feel anything but blissfully happy when you listen to this, even if you've just been cut up in traffic. The lyrics - "All the possibilities, no limits, just epiphanies" - coupled with the jaunty guitar and driving beat are just glorious.

2. Beautiful Day - Joshua Radin

A mellow, chilled-out acoustic guitar track with lovely lyrics, this is perfe…

7 Things That Are Scientifically Proven to Make You Happier

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Life is complex. It's an odd paradox that the things we think will make us happy - such as attaining that ideal weight, having kids, or retiring - actually don't. Then there are some weird things that might not have occurred to you which scientific studies have found boost happiness levels. Here are 7 of them:

1. Eating More Fruit and Veg

Yes, it sounds ridiculous, and like something your mum might have made up to make you eat your greens - but apparently it's true. LiveScience.com says
"Researchers found that people who switched from eating almost no fruit and vegetables in their daily diets to eating eight portions of fruit and vegetables a day experienced an increase in life satisfaction equivalent to what an unemployed person feels after finding a job."
Scientists also discovered that the fruits and vegetables that are most likely to improve mental health are: carrots, bananas, apples, dark leafy greens, grapefruit, lettuce, citrus fruits, fresh berries, cucumb…