Satire: The Punch Magazine

Satire, “the use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.” 

Satire has been used throughout history to express opinions and its significance is vast in providing context for many controversies and important moments in society. 

The Punch Magazine was one such outlet that cast a satirical eye on life in Britain from 1841-2002, it chartered the interests, concerns and frustrations of the country and today it stands as an invaluable resource for social historians. In its beginnings, it combined humour, illustration and political debate with a radical audacity, and in its first few years of existence, the magazine developed a reputation as “a defender of the oppressed and a radical scourge of all authority.” During the late 1800s, it reflected the conservative views of the growing middle classes and copies even spread as wide as royalty. In the Western world its significance on satire was wide reaching and it helped to revolutionise the world of illustration. The original idea stemmed from a man called Ebenezer Landells, a Parisian who took inspiration from Le Charivari and hoped to breach the gap and launch his own magazine over in London. 

After Queen Victoria took the throne, the media world of London, which was full of scandals, blackmail and personal attacks was about to take a new direction, as Punch offered a more wholesome approach that the Victorians loved. 

In the Early Years

Punch in the beginning was more about politics than the pictures – whilst each issue featured a full-page satirical drawing that appeared at the centre of the magazine, called ‘Punch Pencillings’, it was only this drawing which had much significance. The prestige and importance of this illustration was passed around the various illustrators to express their take on current London life; with Kenny Meadows (1790-1874), Archibald Henning (1805-1864) and Henry George Hine (1811-1895) all making contributions. All three of these men were reliable draughtsmen, but their work was yet to make a significant and markable impact on the way the magazine was viewed, and society portrayed. 


A development… 

It wasn’t until the Punch Almanack in 1842 that it gained any large popularity or following, a key figure in this development was John Leech (1817-1864) who went on to revolutionise the magazine and what we now know today as a ‘cartoon’. He produced over 3000 drawings and his contribution to the magazine and to the world of satirical drawings has been second to none. 

One particular illustration aimed at the ‘Palace of Westminster’ was a target of Leech’s criticism in 1843. The ‘Palace’ was a deemed a complete waste of public money, at the time London was a city of ill-health, poverty, slums and workhouses. The consensus was that an exhibition of competing rough designs for Westminster was a pompous and misplaced concern when much more pressing issues needed to be dealt with. The exhibition had been commissioned by politicians and Punch saw it simply as a means for the elite to celebrate their own importance. Leech’s finished piece of work is rather striking; it depicts a group of poor and ragged Londoners visiting the ‘Palace’. The clustered crowd sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the grandiose drawings, making it clear the misery that the poor find in work. Commonly, a finished preliminary sketch was known as a cartoon as from Frescoes (a painting done rapidly in watercolour on wet plaster on a wall or ceiling, so that the colours penetrate the plaster and become fixed as it dries). When Leech entitled this piece, “Cartoon No.1 – Substance and Shadow”, the use of the word ‘cartoon’ ridiculed the pretensions of the establishment and satirised their lavish attitudes. From that ‘Punch Pencilling’ onwards the illustration became known as a cartoon, and Leech therefore the first ‘cartoonist’.

Unlike media today in which the reader will often jump straight to the pictures for variety, an easier understanding – Leech made the reader aware of the illustrations and their importance was now on par with the writing. You could even go so far as saying it was the reason that people bought the magazine. If you mention the Punch magazine today, most likely people will recall the cartoons rather the significance of the writing. 

Leech’s death

After Leech’s death the magazine was thrown into disarray, but Charles Keene helped to continue the legacy and his cartoons were arguably more polished and works of art in their own right. John Tenniel also had a casting impact, best known for his illustrations in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, he succeeded as the next main political cartoonist. However, there was much controversy surrounding Tenniel, his personal political standpoint was arguably portrayed through his work and and some of his cartoons upset radicals on the staff such as Douglas Jerrold. He denied showing political prejudice and claimed that “if I have my own little politics, I keep them to myself, and profess only those of the paper”. 

A key example is argued by Lewis Perry Curtis, an American historian in the 1900’s, who pointed out that “despite their dignified quality, some of Tenniel’s cartoons partook of the dominant prejudices of the day. His depiction of Jews included such standard antisemitic features…”. However, his significance and impact cannot be side-lined even if his topics of attack were often questionable… 

Charles Keene’s work

Leech, Keene and Punch revolutionised what we know as satire today as it became far more conventional. This is evident in this one such example, in which John Tenniel had been among those chosen for the Westminster frescoes that Leech had ridiculed just two decades earlier. Punch and cartoonists had reached a turning point, there were no longer interested in attacking The Establishment, it had become The Establishment. 

So perhaps the balance had been tipped too far, but ultimately the progression is one that social historians can use as an invaluable resource for analysing the uprising of the British middle-class, and issues of the time – all encapsulated in one drawing. 

In an article by the ‘Illustration Chronicles’, they say that to “study the magazine is to study the evolution of the cartoon itself. It chronicles the shift of satirical illustration from a reliance on caricature into an era of sophistication.” For me this brilliantly sums up the magazines importance in redefining and progressing satire today, and in continuing the evolution of the modern form of illustration. 

References: 

  1. http://punchproject.blogspot.com
  2. https://illustrationchronicles.com/How-Punch-Magazine-Changed-Everything
  3. http://www.john-leech-archive.org.uk/archive.htm
  4. https://spartacus-educational.com/CHleech.htm
  5. https://www.punch.co.uk/index/G0000Uiv3S1UFh5o

The ultimate running playlist: why music helps us run better

Running for me is a great stress reliever and is just as important for my mental health as it is for my physical health – but the difference between a good run and a great run can be whether I listen to music or not. Humans are hardwired to respond to rhythm, and it is pretty definitive that music is performance enhancing in terms of its ergogenic effect, it boosts your physical performance, endurance, and recovery. So, it is no surprise that many fitness enthusiasts and runners enjoy listening to music. But in case you need convincing, here are 4 advantages of running to music – followed by my Spotify running playlist: to get you pumped for that next run.  

#1 – It boosts motivation

At the beginning of a run, you have full energy in the tank and listening to an upbeat, motivating song can definitely aid your drive and focus and help you channel a positive mindset. In turn this will inspire you towards higher levels of performance. It is no secret that when you feel good, you’re more likely to push yourself faster and feel good whilst you’re doing it. 

‘Can’t Hold Us’ by Macklemore is a good song to boost your motivation, with its fast beat and positive lyrics. 

‘I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’ by the Scissor Sisters is another fun, positive song to convince yourself this was a good idea, it’s going to be a good run. 

#2 – It improves your mood

Much like motivation, mood can be manipulated to some extent by listening to music during exercise. The combination of ‘happy sounds’ and the positive psychological effect that exercise has on the brain has the ability to shift negative thoughts. Sometimes after a run, I will experience the ‘runner’s high’, where endorphins are triggered which make you feel good and can boost your mood during and after exercise. To experience this, many argue you need to ‘push yourself, but not too hard’, and that tempo running is a great way to increase your chances. So, by listening to music that makes you feel good, you’re more likely to push through and maintain a long-term routine.  

‘Finally Free’ by Niall Horan is a cheesy, feel-good song which always makes me smile when it comes on. What’s not to love about embracing freedom when you’re running?

‘Love on Me’ by Galantis is just one of those songs with repetitive and catchy lyrics and a good beat to motivate you to enjoy your run.

#3 – It helps you to dissociate

By listening to music, it helps you to shift your focus from the stress/worries in your life and the hardness of running- say you’re about to run up a steep hill. By acting as a good distraction and letting your mind wander can give your performance a real boost and make running a more long-term activity. 

‘I Lived’ by One Republic – has a softer pop feel in which I can focus on the lyrics and clear my mind.

‘Got That Fire’ by Royal Tailor has the opposite effect, becoming lost in the driving beat and lyrics, you can let out any frustration and feel the music whilst you run. 

#4 – It helps you establish a pace

However, most of my running playlist I use to help me maintain a good pace, and so is tempo/beat orientated. When it gets to the middle of the run slump, by turning on a beat-driven motivating song, it can really help to make you want to keep going. When we use music in the synchronous mode, it appears that music makes you run more efficiently too, as there are energy gains of up to 7% when you coordinate your movements with music. Essentially, it has a metronomic effect in regulating your stride. This rhythm response, when your body responds the tempo and by finding a song which matches your cadence, you’re more likely to stick to it and it won’t feel so bad. 

(I can’t get no) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones – is this desired effect, as the repetitive beat and underlying riff helps to keep those feet going.  

‘Take It or Leave It’ by Great Good Fine Ok is super catchy and the chorus inspires me to run that little bit faster, I often find my pace increasing when this song comes on… 

Here is my full running playlist: Hopefully some of these songs will also help you to boost your motivation, improve your mood, help you to dissociate and establish a good pace.

However, not listening to music sometimes whilst you run can help you to be more aware of your breath, hazards around you and lets you listen and react to how your body is feeling better. By adding variety to your running routine, by sometimes listening to slower songs etc for longer runs, or just running and enjoying nature’s sounds – there is no doubt however, that music can help you run faster, better and make it more enjoyable. Let me know what your favourite running/workout songs are, I’d love to know!

Persuasion – a classic re-visited.

“…when pain is over, the remembrance of it often becomes a pleasure.” 

Volume II, Chapter VIII

Austen has often been the source of profound morals which have been weaved seamlessly into her characters and plot lines and Persuasion is no exception. Let’s begin by looking at the title, often overlooked when you start a novel – but a good place to start. 

Persuasion was originally entitled The Elliot’s by Austen, however it is rumoured that Henry Austen decided to rename it Persuasion, without realising the profound impacts this has on the novel and how it is perceived. 

For a modern-day audience, ‘persuasion’ carries the connotations of falling under the influence of someone or something else or debating different sides of an argument. In this light, it immediately highlights Anne’s situation in a disadvantaged way, spotlighting a mistake committed years earlier. As a young woman of nineteen, Anne allowed herself to be persuaded not to marry the man she loved, she now has to deal with the consequences. This circumstance, although not specific to Anne and Persuasion highlights the societal expectations of women to marry to secure their futures. This was a heavy price to pay for any woman, for Anne being open to persuasion arguably lead to her tragic downfall. 

But by re-adjusting our definition of ‘persuasion’ it might reframe Anne’s situation. If persuasion means, “A set of beliefs, especially religious or political ones.” We can then view Anne’s decision not as a result of external ‘persuasion’ but that her set of beliefs or faith in Wentworth was not strong enough for her to form a well-rounded decision. 

Monica Fairview, author and member of the ‘Jane Austen Literary Foundation’ argues that by calling the novel Persuasion, Henry Austen places too much emphasis on the beginning of the novel – the ‘mistake’, rather than on the understanding reached by both characters. From this perspective, Anne is rather not ‘persuaded’ but capable as she couldn’t have made any other decision.

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For a novel such as Persuasion, it is almost impossible to even begin discussing it without giving thought to Austen herself. Most people have at least heard of the name ‘Jane Austen’ and throughout her literary career understanding her piercing social observation and subtly subversive style helps the twenty-first century reader to gain an understanding of the complex class and gender relations which underscored early-nineteenth century English middle-class society. Persuasion was Austen’s last novel, published in 1817 and the maturity within her work is highlighted, as she continued to step out of sphere and write about the personal flaws and mistakes of the proud gentry. Such subtle criticism is nearly always cleverly entangled in her characters, whilst her final novel also stands out for the nationalistic pride for the Navy. At the height of the British Empire, the Navy was admired as the defender of British interests throughout the world. Such heroes introduce a new, rougher ideal of manliness into Austen’s world, yet her female characters rival this strong-willed nature as she continually questions people’s roles in society. 

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Persuasion is widely appreciated as a moving love story despite what has been labelled as a simple plot, but Austen’s iconic narrative style remains throughout. The novel follows Anne’s attempts to marry for love rather than social advantage, despite the insistence of her excessively vain father Sir Walter Elliot, who refuses to curb his spending despite mounting debts. He and his three daughters, Elizabeth, Anne and Mary, let out their home (Kellynch) to a family rising through society; the Crofts, bringing new connections, potential marriages and intrigues. The wife’s brother is Captain Wentworth to whom Anne was engaged eight years ago but haven’t had any contact since. When Sir Walter, along with Elizabeth and a friend of the family, Mrs Clay, go to Bath, Anne stays with Mary at Uppercross for two months. Anne particularly enjoys Elizabeth’s husband family including his siblings, Henrietta and Louisa. They all travel to Lyme to visit the Harvilles and the reader is introduced to Sir Elliot, Anne’s cousin and heir to Kellynch. The inevitable troubles which stem from the relationships, dialogues and meetings between characters of varying status and class; whilst navigating marriages and inheritance, provides an interesting insight into society of the time. 

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It is the first of Austen’s novels to feature as the central character a woman who, by the standards of the time, is well past the first bloom of youth; at twenty-seven Anne is characterised as a present to herself and to her sister Cassandra who remained unmarried despite Jane receiving an offer from a wealthy suitor. This theme also famously comes through in Austen’s writing in her wry opening line to Pride and Prejudice, “it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” 

At the same time, the novel is an acclamation to the self-made man. Captain Wentworth is just one of several naval officers who has risen from humble beginnings to affluence and status on the strength of merit and luck, not by inheritance. “All his sanguine expectations, all his confidence had been justified. His genius and ardour had seemed to foresee and to command his prosperous path.” It marks a time where the very roots of society were changing, as ‘old money’ exemplified by Sir Walter, had to accommodate the rising strength of the nouveau riche, such as Wentworth. He is then is a worthy foil to the materialistic patriarch, Sir Walter as he values character and personality over wealth and social status. The comparison of these two characters can be seen in modern-day interpretations, as many celebrities earn considerable fortunes based on their image and appearance, therefore arguably the anachronistic Sir Walter would be in good company even today. 

Which brings us to Anne Elliot, although not as witty or intelligent as Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice, Anne’s portrayal is one of more subtle defiance and her appeal lies in her ordinariness. She doesn’t openly challenge tradition yet remains true to her feelings for Wentworth, she doesn’t succumb to the women’s flitting flirtatious nature to find an appropriate suitor. 

Even now, Persuasion and Austen’s other works leave us questioning how much of her own hopes and dreams are bound up in her female leads. By speculating how much her own life influences her characters and plot lines, of whether she lives vicariously through their love lives, we can never know. But to read Austen is to never take her own life out of the equation. 

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My favourite part of the book for me comes in Volume II, Chapter IX in which Captain Harville and Anne discuss the nature and constancy of men and women, with Anne claiming women, “…cannot help ourselves. We live at home, quiet, confined, and our feelings prey upon us.” The reply from Captain Harville is one of Austen’s subversive approaches, “our bodies are the strongest, so are our feelings; capable of bearing most rough usage and riding out the heaviest weather.” In exploring men’s emotions in relation to the physical world, she subtly and cleverly questions whilst remaining the boundaries of society. 

But when reading Austen, the temptation to refer to her other works and society she lives in, often distracts from the opinion of the actual novel. Persuasion follows a simple plot thread and the enjoyment comes from the strength of her characters, rather than her unpredictable, twisting story – although if you are reading Austen, arguably this is not an expectation you expect to be met. Her characters have outlived her by two centuries and will remain a benchmark focus for other writers in creating developed characters that continue to display complex moral personalities and relationships. I would recommend Persuasion, to any Austen fan, any romance lover and anyone 12+ who wants an introduction to classical literature as the plot is easy to follow and characters fun to engage with. 

Ethical and Sustainable fashion brands to celebrate

The latest fashion trend isn’t seasonal colour or print, but rather it’s the concept of ethical and sustainable fashion. As ‘fast fashion’ is cheap and is intended for short term purposes, with the fashion industry emitting more carbon dioxide than international flights and maritime shipping combined. Whereas, ‘sustainable fashion’ is the simply the opposite, it takes into account the full lifecycle of the product – from the design, sourcing, production processes and transport. It aims to look at everyone and everything affected by it, from the environment, to the workers and communities where it’s produced and where it’s bought.

It’s a complex issue and there isn’t one brand that is currently able to tackle everything, but together many brands are beginning to make a big impact.

Whilst many high-street and ‘fast’ fashion brands are investing in social prosperity and transparency surrounding their products and processes, the question still remains of, does it offset the large ecological footprint they are giving off? Yet although now I am more environmentally conscious of the effect the fashion industry has on our society, I still purchase items from some ‘fast fashion’ brands, because let’s face it – it’s cheaper, more readily available, and more well-known.

However, if people gained more knowledge and received greater awareness of the impact the fashion industry has on the environment, I believe more people would consider making the change to sustainable fashion, or like me just trying to be environmentally aware.

Stella McCartney phrases it eloquently as her goal is, “to portray who we want to be and how we carry ourselves; our attitude and collective path. Our man-made constructed environments are disconnected and unaware of other life and the planet which is why there is waste.” The rise of the trend of, “it’s cool to be kind” has meant that many brands have incorporated sustainability, employee rights, FairTrade and great style. Here’s a small roundup of some of my favourites, (links attached to brand name).

Sézane

The Parisian brand is making an effort to use environmentally friendly materials i.e. those with a truly minimal environmental impact, such as organic cotton. At the Solitaire Paris boutique, they resell pieces leftover from shoots and testing fittings to practice circular fashion, with profits donated to DEMAIN (helping children whose prospects are unfairly disadvantaged). With beautiful broderie tops, midi dresses and fancy belts – it is on the more expensive side but is well worth the cost.

&OtherStories

This brand with to-die-for knitwear, skirts and loungewear- also sells ethical products. To help make your clothes last longer, & Other Stories has developed ‘With Care’, a project with oat-based formulations. Through biodegradable formulations with renewable ingredients these products are efficient yet kind to both fabrics and the environment.

Free People

The brand currently has 300+ earth-friendly wearable products, and another 300+ clean beauty products available online. With a bohemian inspired style with floating dresses, and long-lasting activewear, Free People continue to change the game.

Away That Day

Established in 2018, Away That Day brings eco-friendly swimwear made with 100% ECONYL fibre which consists of regenerated nylon, ocean plastics and fishing nets.  Designed in London and made in Bali, they also aim for wearable and functionality. Supporting one production team in Bali, their swimwear makes you want to go on holiday!

Boden

I have been wearing clothes from Mini Boden, Johnnie Boden and now Boden and when I found out there were environmentally conscious it was even better. All of Boden’s clothing is super high quality and they admit that “there’s more to quality products than careful construction and rigorous testing.” Sustainable fashion is a “journey, and we’re learning and improving every step of the way.”

John Lewis

Although not all brands on John Lewis are sustainable, they have a vast section called ‘sustainable fashion’ where you can browse a large variety of sustainable pieces from different brands. A great way to view multiple styles.

Reformation

Treating yourself to a gorgeous dress from Reformation is not a cheap purchase but is arguably worth it. Many a time I browse through and then remember my poor credit card… They focus on People, Product, Planet and Progress. They calculate the environmental footprint based on the carbon dioxide emissions, water usage and waste to calculate a ‘Refscale’ to understand their impact.

H&M Conscious

Each item in the Conscious collection has an aspect that lessens its environmental impact, like organic cotton or recycled polyester. The best part is that the styles start at just £10 so you don’t have to spend a fortune on sustainable fashion. The H&M Group parent company says overall it uses 57% recycled or sustainably sourced fibres, with a goal to reach 100% by 2030.

People Tree

People Tree have had a long-standing relationship with FairTrade since 1991, their core mission is to make products to the highest ethical and environmental standards from start to finish. Contemporary, versatile designs and playful, exclusive prints inspired by the V&A archives create stylish, innovative and affordable fashion.

The Body Positivity movement: does it work?

There is no question that a movement has been growing over the past few years. A movement where women are waking up to the unhealthy and negative portrayal of body image that the diet and media culture has spun for decades. Now people are beginning to find peace and acceptance with their bodies, creating an uprising of women coming together to share their stories. The movement in and of itself, is a force for good but the messages about women’s bodies can be confusing, misleading and a bit intimidating sometimes.

What does it all mean?

Body Positivity:

Refers to the assertion that all people deserve to have a positive body image, regardless of how society and popular culture view ideal shape, size and appearance. It is the social movement that believes ALL bodies are good bodies. It pushes for representation of a diverse range of body types throughout society and believes that beauty is a social construct that should not determine one’s worthiness of self-love or respect.

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Body confidence:

Refers to an individual’s ability to feel confident in his or her body. A body confident person has a positive body image. However, just because someone is body confident doesn’t mean they are also body positive. Someone can be confident in their body but not hold the belief that ALL bodies are good bodies. All of these nuances can be confusing, such as you could be a self-conscious body positive activist.

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Body Image:

Refers to how an individual sees their own body, by looking in the mirror and making judgments on their appearance – one study defined it as “the multifaceted psychological experience of embodiment.”

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The confusion

Now all of that sounds great in theory, but does it actually work in practice? There comes a confusion which stems from misrepresentation. Some argue that the body positivity movement is not for everyone – often slim people post pictures of their bodies with ‘fat rolls’ and attribute it the body positivity movement. But instead they should arguably be advocating body confidence and self-love.

The message’s about women’s bodies can be confusing, since there is no one ‘ideal’ body or ‘perfect’ woman, despite what the media would have you believe – the conflicting messages of “get healthier, but love yourself for what you have”, “lose weight, but enjoy eating what you want.” The danger is that the body positivity movement has given the women the message that life will only start once we entirely approve our appearances, and no matter of your weight and potential health problems, that’s okay. Body positive activists are forced to contend with a culture that views good health and larger bodies as incompatible.

Body positivity and health

While health should not be measured by one number on a scale, or a narrow criterion of specific characteristics, health experts also point out that you can’t escape the stress that extra weight has on the body, as it can lead to medical complications down the road. Dr. John J. Tomcho, medical director of the Carolinas Weight Management centre, is familiar with a variety of body types that don’t fit a single definition of health. But he does have an overarching concern. “I see a lot of people with a BMI of 40+, and they can come in and get blood work and be absolutely fine, but that pressure of the extra weight…eventually will take its toll”.

The BBC 2 documentary entitled: “Who are you calling fat?”, looks at what it’s like living with obesity. Nine people spend a week living together and while they face the same stigmas about their weight, the way it’s shaped their attitudes differs hugely. From body positivity activists to others shameful and frustrated at their current weight and lifestyle. It is an interesting insight to how people view they body and other’s perceptions of it.

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However, I believe there is a strong misconception that anyone who talks about body positivity or fat acceptance or Health at (every) size is saying, “Oh, I give permission to sit on the sofa and eat crisps all day.”  The idea that body positivity allows people to take part in poor health behaviours is an incorrect interpretation of the movement’s mission.

Social justice movement and encouraging inclusivity

Body positivity is more of a social justice movement, but it is not positive body image. Whether you are underweight, overweight or somewhere in between, problems with body image harm us all and keep perpetuating the idea that being skinny will bring you health and happiness.

Whilst body positivity is a necessary way to tackle to stigma and the harmful messages we’ve been sent for years, embracing a positive body image for me is more important than joining the body positive movement. I am not saying that it’s isn’t a force for good, but in my personal journey – I am focusing on self-love and body confidence rather than positivity.

Activist and actor Jameela Jamil is an outspoken critic of beauty norms and diets, yet she has received much criticism for daring to have such an opinion because she’s deemed slim, beautiful and extremely privileged. We need to call out body positive activists who aren’t inclusive, it can feel like you are damned either way. Say something and you’re too slim/beautiful to be allowed an opinion. Say nothing and you’re complicit/empowering the patriarchy. There needs to be a refined balance and reminder of the movement’s message: it is there to accept all. Yet all social movements risk commodification and body positivity is no different – it focuses on fat versus thinness but there are many other bodies that don’t fit the ‘norm’, ones with disabilities, of different ethnicities, have scars etc. They are all part of the movement just as much as the rise against the media’s typical ‘thin and beautiful’.

Strip away all of the confusion and it’s about accepting the body you have and still striving to have the healthiest body you could potentially have. Rather than categorising bodies, lets try to understand that everyone is different and unique, and we’ve got to work with what we’ve got.

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Top ten tips for surviving online learning

Having now completed two weeks of online school, navigating the inevitable mishaps and fun moments of online learning, I have come up with my top 10 tips for surviving online learning…

1.    Make sure your teacher has a cute pet they can show you to aid your learning

There is no better motivation than your teacher’s or friend’s cute dog or cat making an appearance during your lesson. A small break from learning to show your pet I think is perfectly acceptable and should be encouraged. A good paws-e if you will.

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2.    Make good use of the TEAMS backgrounds to fulfil your holiday mode

Let’s face it we’re all missing our Easter breaks and summer holiday plans to Italy, France and other exotic places. So, making good use of learning ‘on the beach’ and studying in the ‘high mountains’ helps to fill that holiday longing.

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3.    Perfect the excuse for your camera being off…because you just woke up

We’ve all been on a call and someone has their camera off, they sound distinctly sleepy and don’t participate much; we all know they have most likely just woken up. But who can blame them really when there is a large temptation to stay in bed!

4.    Find a place to ‘work’ and a place to ‘relax’

Getting into a ‘learning environment’ is an important step to shift your mindset from being ‘at home’ to ‘at school’. Try to find an area in your house that is different from where you do work. A great learning environment could be your kitchen, lounge or study if you have one. Try to avoid your bedroom, if you can help it.

5.    Get. Out. Of. The. House

It goes without saying that exercising your right to ‘one piece of exercise a day’ is important. But it is even more important now that we’re all staring at our laptops all day. Find an hour in the day to walk, run, cycle or merely stand outside – you’ve got to get that Vitamin D.

6.    Always have your class WhatsApp chat open – so you can all agree it’s not just you who has no idea what’s going on

Please tell me it’s not just me that sometimes has absolutely no idea what a teacher is going on about? Having your WhatsApp class chat open means you can always talk to your friends and share a laugh if things get confusing.

7.    Make sure it’s not just you and the teacher before you join a lesson…that gets awkward

The moment just before you join a lesson, there is always a brief thought of ‘who else is already there?’ Being the first to start a meeting or waiting for others in your class to join can sometimes be a little awkward, unless obviously it’s your favourite teacher, then chat away.

8.    Establish a daily routine

Trying to stay focused on a structured routine and timetable can really help to encourage a positive attitude towards online school. By dedicating specific time to work and factoring in breaks, it means your chance of productivity increases.

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9.    Set realistic expectations

Distractions, technical difficulties and motivation are all factors to bear in mind when attending online lessons and learning. Not being too harsh on yourself if you end up watching Netflix instead of that essay you need to write, is important to finding the right balance between work and relaxation. It is never going to run 100% perfectly.

10. Mute your microphone to limit the ‘interesting’ background conversations

Muting your microphone is not only a good way to focus on what the teacher is saying, but it also limits your chances of people overhearing that awkward and ‘interesting’ conversation your parents are having; or the accidental text message going ‘ping’ or the dog barking.

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