Follow Friday - #IAmMalala

I recently read the biography of a young woman called Malala Yousafzai. She is 16, and is the most inspirational human rights campaigner I have ever seen.
Growing up in Pakistan, she frequently campaigned for and encouraged girls to stay in education - she did not see why someone's gender should dictate whether they went to school or not. And as a result of her campaigning, she was shot in the face by the Taliban on her way to school.
She was transferred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, and luckily survived the ordeal. Her campaign grew, and she went on to speak at the United Nations to call for worldwide access to education on her 16th birthday.
Her book is incredible and inspirational, and I would recommend it to anyone - you can get a copy on Amazon. You can also learn more about her charity, The Malala Fund, on their website, facebook and twitter. 

Follow Friday - #NoMorePage3

This is a campaign founded by Lucy-Anne Holmes in 2012. This campaign asks the editor of The Sun newspaper, David Dinsmore, to "take bare boobs out of The Sun," because, let's be honest - BOOBS AREN'T NEWS. The campaign argues that there is a time and a place for nudity, and in a family newspaper is not appropriate.

I 100% support this campaign - however I do agree with criticism that objectifying women is never OK, and if it's not in a newspaper then it will be on the internet, and may be considerably worse. Having said that, I think the No More Page 3 campaign is a brilliant first step in reducing objectification of women, and have signed it and promoted it on my personal social media accounts.

So far, the petition has received nearly 189,000 signitures; you can add yours here.

You can also find out more about the campaign on their website, facebook and twitter.

Follow Friday - #EverydaySexism

The Everyday Sexism Project is a blog started by a woman and feminist writer named Laura Bates in 2012. Growing tired of hearing how feminism is not needed in everyday life, she started the project to show just how much sexism still exists nowadays.

Women and men can anonymously submit their entries on the website, on twitter or via email, and tell their stories of sexism encountered in everyday life. Their stories are, unfortunately, easy to relate for a young woman in today's society, and show just how common and normalised sexism has become. Some of the stories are so heartbreaking, and really make me angry and passionate about changing the way we see women in society.

Check it out on their website and twitter. Laura has also just released a book about the project, which you can find on Amazon, and has also done a TED talk about her project, which you can watch below.

Follow Friday - #FundMyHeart

"Here’s the harsh truth: my fiancee could die.

Here’s the silver lining: he does not have to.

Here’s the simple solution: you reading this post."

I saw this post a few weeks ago and donated to the cause. I shared it on my personal social media accounts, but now I have this blog I feel I should share it on here too.

This is a campaign run by a woman named Karis to try and fund her fiance's heart surgery before it is too late. I found their story heartbreaking, mostly because it forced me to think about what I would do in her situation, if that was my boyfriend. And I know that I would have no choice but to do exactly the same thing as her - but at the end of the day you are relying on the kindness of strangers to save the one you love.

She explains their situation better than I ever could, so here is the link to her blog:

And also their fundraising page:

Please share their cause with everyone you know.

Follow Friday - #MyFriendsAreMarried

Time for me to recommend another website or blog with similar themes to mine that you might find interesting.

This week is pretty light hearted - I'm choosing a tumblr account called #MyFriendsAreMarried. It's written by a 25-year-old girl whose friends all seem to be getting pregnant and married, and quite frankly she is interested in doing neither of those things.

Even though I'm only 21, I can most definitely relate - maybe that's why I find it so hilarious. I cringe when I see half the stuff mums put on facebook, and then cringe again when I remember they're the same age or younger than me!  I think the author of this blog has absolutely nailed how any girl feels when surrounded with expectations like that, and then only gone and illustrated these feelings with hilarious gifs.
Here's some examples:

When my friend says she's skipping dinner so she can fit into her wedding gown, and I'm just like...

When I go to lunch with my friends and they all bring their kids...

When someone tells me I should marry my boyfriend...

When I'm at my friends house and her baby starts crawling towards me...

When I ask my married friends for relationship advice...

Check it out:

Travel diary - Thailand

I've been lucky enough to have my parents living in Phuket in the south of Thailand from September 2010 until August 2013. And maybe even luckier that the company my dad worked for would pay for a certain number of family flights per year, so I would get to spend every holiday from university out there.
Long tail boat off the beach in Phuket
It really is a beautiful country, and I wish I had gotten to see more of it. I mostly spent time in Phuket, as that's where we lived, but I also visited Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.


Phuket is a very touristy part of Thailand. Some people say it isn't like "real" Thailand, because everything is artificial and set up for the tourists. I think this is a shame, as it discourages people from visiting for the culture. If you want to go to a beach resort and lie by a pool for a week then you can go to Spain for much, much cheaper - the Thais don't seem to understand that that's not why a lot of people visit Thailand. We're often more interested in seeing the beautiful natural scenery, such as the deserted beach at the end of our driveway, or the waterfall surrounded by jungle just a short walk from our house.
Buying chillis at the market
While I was there, I enjoyed doing "non-touristy" things, such as meeting the people, such as the teachers at the Good Shephard school, who were trying to educate children to a good enough standard that they could be accepted into Thai schools, or the volunteers at the Phuket Has Been Good To Us Foundation, which helps children - particularly orphans from the 2004 tsunami - to learn and improve their English.
I also frequently went shopping at the local markets for ingredients and then learnt to cook delicious Thai dishes such as red curry, massaman curry, penang curry, pineapple fried rice, tom yum soup, pad thai and mango sticky rice.
Possibly one of my favourite memories from Phuket is that of Songkran festival - or Thai New Year. It is celebrated by everyone having huge water fights in the streets. We went on the back of a pick up truck with water guns, and the locals found it hilarious to try and throw water on the truck full of tourists. Maybe wouldn't be such fun in England, but when it's 30 degrees and full sunshine, it's brilliant!
Yes it is cheap to buy things there, and yes it is usually sunny and has lovely beaches - but those are not the only things that to like about Phuket.
A gypsy village at one of the islands off Phuket


I only stayed in Bangkok for a few days, so I didn't have much time to really get to know the city. It is a classic example of an Asian city, being quiet(ish) in the day time when the sun is at its strongest, and then coming alive in the evening as everyone finishes work and congregates at restaurants and street food stalls for an evening socialising.
At Cabbages & Condoms, Bangkok
There are many street markets and food stalls, similar to Phuket, but my favourite place that we ate was a restaurant called Cabbages & Condoms. This was set up to promote awareness of sexual health, and to make contraception more available. As Thailand has a generally high HIV rate, I thought this is a fantastic way to go about promoting something that is desparately needed in the country. All the restaurant's proceeds go towards promoting contraception and safe sex, and to fit in with this theme they decorate the restaurant appropriately - condom lampshades, condom flowers as a centrepiece for tables, and even a condom with your bill instead a mint at the end of your meal. An ingenious idea that has been a huge success - they have now opened up a restaurant in Oxford!

Condom flowers!

Chiang Rai
From the hill near the Royal Villa
Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai are real Thailand - and I loved them. Very quiet and undisturbed compared to Bangkok and Phuket, and barely any other tourists are - I think I probably saw less than 10 other white people the whole week I was there.
In Chiang Rai, we visited the Doi Tung Royal Villa and botanical gardens, which were beautiful, and our taxi driver also took us on a tour through the local hills to a temple called Wat Phra That Doi Tung, which can be seen from the Royal Villa.
Also while driving around Chiang Rai with our taxi driver, he stopped off to show us the tea plantation, where we also had a lunch of green tea salad and green iced tea! There are literally hundreds of rows of tea, with workers - mostly women - out in the sun all day picking the leaves. Some even had their babies strapped to them whilst they worked. It's astonishing, and makes you feel as if you're in colonial India or somewhere.
In Chiang Rai, there is also a beautiful Buddhist temple called Wat Rong Khun. It's all white with sculpted hands coming out of the lake surrounding it, apparently to represent people in hell, with a bridge over the top representing your journey into the temple, and into heaven.
Wat Rong Khun
Wat Rong Khun

Wat Rong Khun

 Chiang Mai

Lin Ping at Chiang Mai zoo
One of the main things I was excited to see was the pandas at Chiang Mai zoo! We don't have any pandas in English zoos, and there are two in Edinburgh zoo, which is at the opposite end of the country from where I live. When I visited Chiang Mai zoo, they had 3 pandas - a mating pair, and a baby called Lin Ping, who has since been moved back to China. The zoo was definitely worth going to, as they have a fairly large selection of animals and seems to be a very well run business that cares for its animals well.
While in Chiang Mai, we also visited a Buddhist temple called Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. This is a huge golden temple that sits on top of a mountain, providing beautiful views of the surrounding Chiang Mai province.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep


Sweet chilli & red pepper chutney

I've been meaning to try out this recipe for about 2 years, and just kept forgetting, or not having the right ingredients when I wanted to make it. This afternoon, I finally got round to it - and I'm glad it did. Absolutely delicious.

I followed Jamie Oliver's recipe exactly, so I've copied it below for you (but you can find the original copy of it here).


  • 8-10 fresh red chillies
  • 8 ripe red peppers
  • olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 x 5 cm stick cinnamon
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 100 g brown sugar
  • 150 ml balsamic vinegar


If you want your chutney to last for a while, make sure you have some small sterilised jars ready to go. Place your chillies and peppers over a hot barbecue, in a griddle pan or on a tray under a hot grill, turning them now and then until blackened and blistered all over. Carefully lift the hot peppers and chillies into a bowl (the smaller chillies won't take as long as the peppers so remove them first) and cover tightly with cling film. As they cool down, they'll cook gently in their own steam. By the time they're cool enough to handle, you'll be able to peel the skin off easily.

When you've got rid of most of the skin, trimmed off the stalks and scooped out the seeds, you'll be left with a pile of nice tasty peppers and chillies. Finely chop by hand or put in a food processor and whizz up. Then put to one side.

Heat a saucepan and pour in a splash of olive oil. Add the onions, rosemary, bay leaves and cinnamon and season with a little salt and pepper. Cook very slowly for about 20 minutes or so, until the onions become rich, golden and sticky.

Add the chopped peppers and chillies, the sugar and the vinegar to the onions and keep cooking. When the liquid reduces and you're left with a lovely thick sticky chutney, season well to taste. Remove the cinnamon stick and the bay leaves. Either spoon into the sterilised jars and put them in a cool dark place, or keep in the fridge and use right away. In sterilised jars, the chutney should keep for a couple of months.

This was the first time I've ever made any type or chutney or jam, and now I'm excited to try it again! Not sure what to make next - maybe pineapple? Maybe tomato? Maybe caramelised onion? Maybe all of them! Feel free to suggest some good recipes for me!