4 Tips on Staying Positive During Lockdown – Guest Post

Hey everyone, it’s Zainab, welcome or welcome back to Zainab Chats! Last week, I shared 5 Easy Ways To Spread Positivity – go check that out if you haven’t already! For this post, I invited Olivia from Olivia Lucie Blake to share some ways to keep positive yourself for the last couple of weeks of lockdown! Let’s jump into Olivia’s post!


The year of 2020 and 2021 have been the weirdest years of all of our lives. Nobody could have predicted that we would all be going through a global pandemic together and living such different l-ives than we are used to. It has been such a hard thing to go through, and it will be something we will have to keep overcoming as time goes on. One thing that has been hard is not allowing the current situation to have a negative impact on our mental health.

Now if you’re like me and already suffered from a mental illness prior to the pandemic. Then you’ll know the impact that this situation has had. Some days have been really tough and I have found it so hard to stay positive. 

As a little introduction to myself, my names Olivia and I run olivialucieblake.com. I’m a lifestyle blogger that covers many different topics such as mental health, self-care, body positivity and I also share blogging tips too. I have been blogging since 2015, but only recently came back to blogging full time and completely re-branded my blog. I was so happy when Zainab invited me to guest post on her site. I’m sharing these tips today in hopes that you feel less alone in what you’re feeling. So, let’s get started!

EXERCISE REGULARLY

I’m sure like everyone else, when the first lockdown happened around the world we were all doing as the leaders of our countries recommended. The advice here in the UK was to make sure you went for a walk every day, and for a while thats what I did. But I noticed as time went my energy levels started to lower and I really lost all motivation to get out. I really noticed how this impacted my mental health and I know it also affected my body too.

Now in the 3rd lockdown, I go for multiple walks a day and its helped so much in being more productive and having more energy. It also helps so much with my mental health too. Being stuck in the same 4 walls all day, every day means you can get cabin fever really quick. So be sure to get out if you can. 

BE KIND TO YOURSELF

Remember we are living in a pandemic. Theres constant bad news and bad things circulating on the news and social media. Be kind to yourself. You’re doing the best you can in these weird circumstances. Show yourself some self-care and self-love. Look after your body and your wellbeing. Take that bath, pamper yourself. Take time away from technology. That works wonders! 

You’ll be surprised at how doing those small things can have a positive impact on your wellbeing. 

TAKE EACH DAY AS THEY COME

Not every day will be the same. Some days I feel positive and happy and others I feel sad and upset. Each two days won’t be the same and I guess that’s the blessing of being a new day. We get the opportunity to wake up every day and start a fresh new day. If you have a bad day, then make the next day better. If you have a bad week, then make the next week better. 

Having anxiety means that I fear the future a lot. So, I’m always looking ahead and planning on what might happen (and then it rarely every does). Live in the present moment, and think about today only and what you can control. 

LOOK FOR THE SMALL POSITIVES IN EACH DAY

An exercise I often do on my blog is sharing some of the things I am thankful for from my weeks. It’s such a small thing to do but it has really helped me so much in changing my perspectives on life. The small things really matter during this pandemic because they’re really all we have. Your small blessings are there each day, you just need to be looking for them.

Make a list of 10 positives things that have happened in your week and use that as motivation and a positive thing in your life.

How have you managed to stay positive in the lockdown?

Thanks so much to Zainab for having me on her blog today. I hope you enjoyed this post and look forward to seeing you over on my blog!

Olivia x
Instagram • Twitter • Pinterest


Thanks so much for reading, be sure to check out Olivia’s blog and socials linked above!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
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Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Guest Posting is now available so submit your posts on the form linked!
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have a great week!!

Interview With Heidi From Absolute Heidi

Hey everyone it’s Zainab, welcome or welcome back to Zainab Chats! Today, I’m going to interview Heidi who you may know as Absolute Heidi from YouTube! Let’s jump into the interview!


1) First of all, thank you Heidi for agreeing to be interviewed! Why don’t you share a bit about you and your content to anybody who isn’t familiar with you!

Hi! Thank you! My name is Heidi and I have the YouTube channel ‘AbsoluteHeidi’ where I create lifestyle videos!! I currently have 9000 subscribers which is so exciting!!! I’ve been doing Youtube for over 2 years🤍

Photo From Heidi’s Instagram (@absoluteheidiofficial)

2) Your videos are always super fun to watch; what do you think your favourite video on your channel is and why?

My favourite video on my channel would probably be my morning routines + vlogs as they are super fun to film + edit!!🤍

3) You have recently hit 9000 subscribers – which is incredible! What would be your biggest growth tip for growing your Youtube Channel and content creating platforms? Are there any do’s and don’ts people should know about?

I’d probably say consistently is key! It takes so much time to grow your channel! Having nice thumbnails that people would click on and videos that are easy to watch eg: not having noise in the background ect.. defo helps too!!💗

Photo From Heidi’s Instagram (@absoluteheidiofficial)

4) On your channel, you have also mentioned you will be doing your GCSEs this year! How do you overcome the difficult challenge of balancing content creating and youtube? Do you have any advice for other young creators trying to do the same thing? I sometimes struggle with a blog so what’s your perspective on this having a Youtube channel?

Even though my GCSEs have been cancelled 😦 I still feel that is was very hard to balance everything especially with my channel! As my channel grew i felt like when I was missing uploads I was letting people down 😦 so I felt very stressed with trying to get all my schoolwork and channel bits done! But now we are online is it a bit easier:)

5) Your video editing is also amazing, what softwares do you use to edit and what tips would you give to make editing Youtube videos easier for beginners?

I use iMovie! It’s definitely a good beginners app.. however I will be upgrading to Final Cut Pro soon!! I learnt editing by watching YouTube tutorials, so it all about practice:))

Video On Heidi’s YouTube (Absolute Heidi)

6) For the final question, what do you think your next milestone is on your Youtube and Instagram. You are growing so fast so where do you think you would want to be this time next year?

I would say my next milestone for YouTube would of course be the big 10k!! That has been my biggest dream since I started watching and making videos! So exceeding that would be insane!!! 🥺


Thank you so much to Heidi for participating in this interview!

Heidi’s Links:

Before I go guys, I’ll be doing a blog post soon about BLM and how it still is important – I’d love it if you could comment your thoughts on blm and why it’s almost like a ‘trend!’

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
Goodreads – You can see any books I’ve read or even recommend me one!
Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Guest Posting is now available so submit your posts on the form linked!
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have a great week!!

Interview With Alexandra Chaves

Hi everyone, it’s Zainab! Welcome or welcome back to Zainab Chats! I am super excited for this post today as it’s been in the works for a long time and I’m so excited to finally be able to share it!

I’ve been privileged enough to interview Alexandra Chaves! You may know her as Piper from the popular TV show: The Next Step! It’s going to be a long post so get comfortable.

We’re talking The Next Step, activism, spreading positivity and more, so let’s jump into it!


1) Thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed Alex! Just for anybody who doesn’t know you already maybe share a little bit about who you are and what you do!

Hello and thank you for having me, Zainab! I am a nineteen year old actor and dancer, with a passion for performing and storytelling. Readers may know me as ‘Piper’ from the television show, ‘The Next Step’, which airs on CBBC, CBC, Family Channel and other networks around the world. I am grateful for the opportunity the show has given me to explore my passion for acting and dancing. I look forward to continuing to explore my interests in advocacy and girls’ rights, film, health and mindset, which I share on my social media platforms (@alexandrachaves). 

2) You’ve talked a lot previously about how your character Piper on The Next Step relates a lot to yourself! Especially in terms of both of you being able to take initiative and standing up for what’s right! How did your interest spark in social justice and activism?

Yes! Piper and I share a lot of similarities and, since I first joined the cast in 2015, I have been inspired by Piper’s initiative and drive to speak out about her passions and her feelings. However, before the role, I already knew that social justice and advocacy were important to me. In elementary school, I was involved in our social justice group, where we held regular meetings to discuss social justice issues and how we could make a difference in our community. My natural progression was to continue to find ways to explore advocacy in my career! 

Photo From Her Instagram @alexandrachaves

3) Throughout all of your social media platforms (especially Instagram) you talk a lot about staying positive and happy during these times which isn’t easy. What makes you want to be almost sort of a ‘big sister’ figure for your followers and help with wellbeing and mental health?

Thank you for your kind words! I think it’s important to recognise that with positivity, I am not trying to suppress or invalidate the wide range of emotions we all experience. Instead, I acknowledge my feelings and make efforts to be kind and gentle to myself, especially during these times! ‘Hustle culture’ and the idea of ‘perfectionism’ is so overrated and will leave you feeling burnt out (trust me!). I wish I had more role models when I was younger that helped to give me confidence and make me realise that I don’t have to fit into society’s unrealistic expectations of being ‘perfect’ or living the ideal life. After letting go of this myself, my voice on Instagram has changed, too! For example, I have naturally started sharing quotes, stories and wellness habits that have helped me let go of perfectionism and enjoy the present moment. It is forever a work in progress, but I am grateful for the community I have online and how so many like minded individuals are on this journey with me! 

4) Another thing I’ve seen you do during the lockdown is that you’ve become a Youth Ambassador for Plan Canada which helps campaign for equality rights, you’ve done a lot of campaigns such as preventing girls getting bullied on social media, what made you decide to start working with the organisation and do you have any other campaigns with them coming soon?

As a member of my social justice group in elementary school, I was able to learn about issues that are important to me and how to take action. My interest in these issues only grew as I entered high school. However, with my acting career, I had to do online classes for most of my high school years. I missed out on having a community to share my passion for social justice and gender equality. As my Instagram platform grew, I wanted to find and create that community in my online presence. Consequently, I did research to find an organization I could work with that mirrored my values. This led me to contact Plan International Canada, which is a non-profit organization focussing on gender equality and girls’ rights. I am very grateful to be a Youth Ambassador and to help spread the word about important issues facing girls’ and womens’ rights, and to help amplify the important work they are doing to help girls reach their full potential. I regularly attend Plan Canada’s ‘Speaker’s Bureau’ meetings, where like-minded and driven youth meet virtually to discuss barriers facing gender equality. My passion for social justice and activism has just scratched the surface! There is so much more for me to learn and so much work that must be done, but it excites me! I am very grateful for the community I have with Plan Canada and on social media. These voices give me hope for the future and inspire me to pursue activism throughout my career. 

Photo From Her Instagram @alexandrachaves

5) You’re currently in Canada right now, what is the situation in terms of the pandemic like there? What have you been doing to keep yourself busy as well as productive, I’ve noticed from social media you’ve been doing things like working out!

Where I currently live, we are in a lockdown with stay-at-home orders. It has been difficult, but I am fortunate to be living with my family and I am able to audition and work from home. I haven’t spoken much about this, but I am currently doing some extra school courses like calculus and chemistry, that I did not have time to commit to in the past. I am a lifetime learner and I am really enjoying the structure and knowledge that those classes provide! Virtual acting and dance classes have also been so therapeutic for me. My Mom is my inspiration, and has been motivating me during our at-home workouts, which include Pilates, strength training, yoga and daily walks. The pandemic has really allowed me to really listen to my body, so I am enjoying finding workouts that I enjoy and finding new recipes that fuel me! 

6) Now I want to talk a little bit about your acting career. You play Piper on The Next Step, how did you manage to book such a huge role and get into acting?

I have been dancing since I was three years old, so being on stage and performing was second nature! It was only when I was unable to dance due to a heart condition diagnosis, did I find acting as another outlet to explore storytelling and creativity. I had been acting for a few years prior to ‘The Next Step’ and the training and audition experiences helped me when I received an audition from my agent for the show. The audition process included dancing freestyle and choreography, as well as improvised acting. I remember being stunned that I had gotten past the first cut of the audition. There were so many incredibly talented artists in that room! After the final callbacks, I hadn’t heard anything from my agent for a few weeks, so I assumed I did not book the role. However, I later received a vague email saying I would have a few days on set. It was only at the first rehearsal did I learn that I would be on A-Troupe! That was one of the best days of my life! I am so grateful for all that I have learned from The Next Step and its incredible cast and crew.

7) After you booked the role, how did your life change, and for anybody who wants to go into acting, what advice would you give them to prepare for the changes such as rejection, balancing school and more?

After booking ‘The Next Step’ and working on that set, it made me realize that I want to pursue a career in acting and it has given me the experience and confidence to continue to explore my creativity in this industry. The support and comfort from The Next Step crew allowed me to grow as an actor, as well as a person. For anyone who wants to get into acting, I think it’s important to challenge yourself in new ways that help you to grow. For example, deciding to take an acting class that originally intimidated me, ended up being an experience full of growth and inspiration. Often, it is when you go outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself in new ways, that you grow as a performer and open yourself up to even greater opportunities! I also encourage young artists to explore their creativity, whether that be learning new aspects of the film industry, taking up different hobbies, learning something new, etc. All of those skills and experiences can be so useful as an actor and help us to expand our view of the world! 
Regarding rejection, it is something with which I still struggle. However, I have found ways to constructively work through these thoughts. Unfortunately, rejection is a regular part of the industry. However, what I have learned is that staying true to yourself and trusting your unique personality, interpretations and skills is so valuable and will eventually guide you toward the opportunities that are meant for you. I think it is also important to pursue acting for the right reasons. I have fallen in love with the process and I am thoroughly enjoying diving into characters and script analysis. Having become passionate about the craft and its mechanics, I can more easily accept the challenging parts of the career… like rejection. 
I grew up balancing my academics with competitive dancing; building time management skills in the process. For those that may be in a similar situation, I encourage you to be diligent with keeping track of your calendar and to-do’s. I practice prioritisation by keeping a colour-coded to-do list to rank the prioritisation of each task. For example, homework, script analysis and preparation for auditions, along with dance training and fitness are the greatest priority. But often, among those, I have to delegate which must be prioritised for the given time I have. On the contrary, I also encourage those balancing school and extracurricular to enjoy the freedom and creativity that dancing, acting, etc provides. Despite my organised schedule, once I am in the dance studio or in front of the camera, it all fades away and I am able to enjoy the present moment. Remember to remind yourself why you started in the first place and why you are doing what you are doing! This helps me stay motivated and in the present moment. 

Photo From Her Instagram @alexandrachaves

8) My final question for you is anybody who is struggling emotionally or mentally during these difficult times, what advice could you give to them to ease back into a positive mindset and become a bit more happy?

A habit that has really helped me during these times is to journal nightly. I reflect back on what I did that day, no matter how big or small. I note the little things that made me smile throughout the day, or something I did that made me proud. It is also nice to look back on my entries to realize and appreciate what I have accomplished (even the small things are wins!) and all the moments of happiness I have experienced during this time.

I also am very grateful for my friends, who have made me feel less lonely during these isolated times. Booking regular calls with them creates something to look forward to during the week, and help me stay connected. I encourage those struggling to check in on friends and family. They probably need someone to talk to just as much as you do!


Thank you so much for Alexandra for giving up time to answer these questions! Be sure to check out her Website and Instagram!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
Goodreads – You can see any books I’ve read or even recommend me one!
Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have a lovely day!

Raising Awareness For Child Poverty

Hi everyone it’s Zainab, welcome or welcome back to Zainab Chats!! Today, I’m going to start a new series called, ‘World Issues’ where I’m going to talk about things happening in the world! The topic for this post is child food poverty.

This will be a pretty basic post explaining it for anybody who doesn’t know about the issue, sharing links to where you can help and more! Let’s jump into it!

What Is Child Poverty?
Child Food Poverty is when a family can’t afford to provide food for their children which doesn’t allow them to have a healthy diet and eat their healthy meals. Unfortunately, it is growing more and becoming more and more common (especially with the pandemic).

If we take somewhere like the UK, it is estimated, that 1 in 3 children are living in poverty. That is 4.1 million! If this is just in the UK which is one of the richest countries in the world, think about the global number!

This is why influential people such as Marcus Rashford are campaigning for Free School Meals Vouchers for school holidays and during the school season as 1.3 million children are not eligible for free school meals and this needs to change!

What Can You Do?
There are many things you can do to help stop and potentially end child food poverty. The first thing you could do is send letters and emails to your government or world leaders asking them to do something about the issue!

The next thing you can do, and probably the simplest thing, is to sign petitions and links that can go to your government. If you share them with people on things such as social media or your own platform they can grow and spread awareness!

Another thing you can do it to make a donation! Obviously, not everyone can do this but if you can afford this it’s a huge help to families and children!

Links
Petition To End Child Food Poverty In The UK
End Child Food Poverty Website
Make A Donation For The Global Cause
Feeding Britain’s Children Documentary

So guys, I hope this post has given you a bit more information about Child Food Poverty and please share this post and the links so more people can help campaign for Free Schools Meals Vouchers! Please let me below what you want to try and do as we need all the help we can get!


You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
Goodreads – You can see any books I’ve read or even recommend me one!
Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have an amazing day!

2020 Roundup

Hey everyone, welcome or welcome back to Zainab Chats! Today is the last day of 2020 so I hope you’re all having an amazing day; to end off the year I thought I’d do a roundup of everything that happened in 2020! These are public events as well as personal events in my life and positive as well as negative ones, so let’s jump into it!

Coronavirus Outbreak
This was probably the main thing that happened this year and it changed everything in history! Nobody had ever seen a pandemic in our generation; so it was a learning curve for everyone.

WE DAY 2020
In March, I was privileged enough to travel to Wembely Arena to go to WE Day 2020 which was incredible! I got to see people such as Leona Lewis and Lewis Hamilton and got to see how to make a change!

National Lockdown:
Another significant event in March was the UK National Lockdown. I was honestly extremely sceptical about this – as we just didn’t know when we were coming out – but thankfully I was able to get through it!

Losses:
I wasn’t sure whether I should include this in the roundup but this has been a year full of numerous losses. We’ve lost time, some of us have even lost some hope. However, one of the biggest things we’ve lost is people. Whether it’s family, friends or celebrities we have lost so many people and we all need to remember them.

Thank you so much for reading everyone, what do you think about 2020 coming to an end? Share thoughts in the comments!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
Goodreads – You can see any books I’ve read or even recommend me one!
Pinterest – To see my boards and pins!
Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have an amazing day!

Books I’ve Read In 2020

Hello guys it’s Zainab, welcome or welcome back to Zainab Chats! As 2020 is nearly over, I decided to share the books I’ve read in 2020. If you’ve been following me on Goodreads then you will already know some of these; but let’s get into it!

The Territory by Sarah Govett
The Territory is a dystopian fiction book based in the future telling the story of a girl called Noa living in a Territory to protect herself and her family! I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it!

The Territory: Truth by Sarah Govett
This book is the 3rd in the Territory story talking about how Noa needs to get back to the Territory

Midnight For Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo
The Charlie Bone books tell the story of a boy who has magical abilities and gets sent to magic school. This book is extremely similar to Harry Potter so anyone who loves that series should read this!

His Dark Materials: The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman


This is the third and final book in the His Dark Materials series talking about how Will and Lyra are preparing for a final battle between worlds.

Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah


Chinese Cinderella tells the true story of Adeline Yen Mah’s childhood in which she was neglected by her family. It’s such a moving story that I would definitely recommend to anyone! Check out my review here!

Harry Potter: Prisoner Of Azkaban by J.K Rowling
This book was actually a reread that I’ve read many times before but Prisoner of Azkaban was definitely one of my favourites in the Harry Potter series!

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai


This autobiography tells Malala Yousafzai’s story and she tells her true perspective of her fight for girl’s education rights. You can see my review here.

Dear NHS: 100 Stories To Say Thank You by Adam Kay
This book tells the story of how many NHS doctors and nurses has helped so many people’s lives in so many short stories!

Full Circle by Andrea Barber


Andrea Barber is a very well known actress playing Kimmy Gibbler in Full and Fulelr House! However, this book talks about her life away from acting and her sharing her stories of Depression and Anxiety. There’s actually a review up on my blog here!

The Kite Runner by Khaled Houssenei


I just recently finished the Kite Runner and it’s such a moving story about a boy called Amir living in Afghanistan and how he wants to live up to his father’s reputation! ou can read my recent review here!

Thanks for reading guys, let me know what books you’ve read this year in the comments. Also, has anybody noticed my new blog logo; let me know your thoughts! I’m also really close to 200 followers, so I’d really appreciate it if you could share my blog!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
Goodreads – You can see any books I’ve read or even recommend me one!
Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have an great week!