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StudyTube: Pens, Post-its and Productivity

If you’re watching a bullet journal tour, an exam season daily routine, or an 8-hour long study with me livestream, you’ve probably stumbled upon StudyTube. This corner of YouTube has been gaining traction for years, with key figures such as Jack Edwards, Exeter’s own Ruby Granger, and Eve Bennett achieving high subscriber rates and millions of views. Continue reading StudyTube: Pens, Post-its and Productivity

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Review: Malcolm and Marie

3.5/5 stars ‘You wanna hurt me Marie?’ the chilling words spoken during an unfolding fight in the early hours of the morning following Malcolm’s big move premiere, ‘I can hurt you ten times worse.’ The first feature film to be entirely written, financed and produced during the COVID-19 pandemic, Malcolm & Marie stars Zendaya and John David Washington as a failed actress and growing filmmaker … Continue reading Review: Malcolm and Marie

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Subtitles on Screen: The Expansion of World Cinema

When it comes to World Cinema, there is little that can be said without mentioning in some capacity the phenomenon that was Parasite. Winning ‘Best Picture’ (the first foreign film ever to win in this category) among many other awards at the 2020 Oscars it really felt as if the barrier of subtitles was finally dissolving. As director Bong Joon-ho said in his acceptance speech, … Continue reading Subtitles on Screen: The Expansion of World Cinema

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Interview: Kia from Nudes By Kia

As part of RAZZ’s SHAG Week, Caitlin Barr had the privilege of interviewing creator Kia, the founder of the queer owned UK business Nudes By Kia, which turns “people’s own nudes into wearable art”. Caitlin and Kia spoke about the genesis of their business, and why they think that reclaiming and celebrating your body is so important. Their discussion follows: Continue reading Interview: Kia from Nudes By Kia

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Controlling Our Narratives: Overcoming Pain During Sex

From the very dawn of my sexual journey I experienced pain. I will never forget him touching me and repeatedly demanding, “does it hurt? Does it hurt?!”. I felt too afraid to say yes. Was I exaggerating? Maybe it was because it was my first sexual experience; I’d heard stories of people bleeding and hymens getting torn, so perhaps this was normal. Fast forward a year and I was out of what I recognise now to have been an abusive relationship and enveloped in the warming embrace of my loving boyfriend, who actually knew what he was doing in the bedroom because he listened. But yet, despite the pleasure I felt during foreplay, penetrative sex would not work. Not even a bit. Biologically I was ready, mentally and emotionally I was ready, yet every single time we attempted penetrative sex it was like hitting a brick wall. It made me feel like a freak: how could my body betray me like this? Continue reading Controlling Our Narratives: Overcoming Pain During Sex

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Stop Fetishising My Sexuality

Many of those who identify as bisexual will be intimately familiar with the stigma and fetishisation that comes hand in hand with our sexual identity. Whether you are out to friends and family or not, the world cannot seem to end its fixation with bisexuality, and specifically bisexual womxn. For many mxn, a bisexual womxn is the gateway to a fantasy land of hypersexuality where anything goes. But how did we end up here? Continue reading Stop Fetishising My Sexuality

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Interview: RAZZ x Recognise RED

Domestic services have been drastically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A report by Women’s Aid titled ‘A Perfect Storm’ details the extent of this. 61% of respondents said, “the abuse had worsened” and 68% of respondents said, “they felt they had no one to turn to during lockdown”. Women’s Aid Chief Executive Nicki Norman explained how “women’s domestic abuse support services were already facing a funding crisis when the pandemic hit. They had little or no financial resilience to meet the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19”, and she went on to state “at a time when public services are diverted by COVID-19, the need for specialist domestic abuse services has never been more critical”. Continue reading Interview: RAZZ x Recognise RED

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“6ft and Over”: Does it Really Matter?

It has become a recurring joke that women will only date men over 6ft. But are women really that bothered about height? Or has the media and dating apps programmed us to be that shallow? The concept of women being supposedly “preoccupied” with height got me thinking and certainly opened up a multitude of questions. Continue reading “6ft and Over”: Does it Really Matter?

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Authentic and Awkward: The Best Onscreen Representations of Sex

A good sex scene in a movie or TV show can take several different forms. Steamy, rough, graphic, or tender, there’s a whole selection far superior to anything porn can provide. But, for a long time, sex onscreen was inauthentic and a fantasy, always between a straight, white, cisgender couple. Diversity and believability were not a priority. However, with the rise of indie cinema and … Continue reading Authentic and Awkward: The Best Onscreen Representations of Sex

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The Business of Patriarchal Passion: How the Porn Industry has let Women Down

Womxn and the pornography industry have always had a tumultuous relationship as both consumers and active participants in the creation of videos. It is no secret that womxn masturbate, but society treats it like the biggest secret since the illuminati. As sexually active people, those who identify as womxn seem to face stigma at every turn. Whether it is the act of masturbation or having … Continue reading The Business of Patriarchal Passion: How the Porn Industry has let Women Down

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A Playlist for Valentine’s Day

As someone who has experienced both the customs of a relationship and the independence of single life, I can firmly attest that nothing quite taps into those feelings like the perfect steamy playlist. Whether you’ll be spending this Valentine’s Day happily single or in company, this collection of incredibly smooth R&B tunes is guaranteed to get your heart racing. Continue reading A Playlist for Valentine’s Day

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It’s a Sin: Depicting HIV/AIDS On-Screen

Since the emergence of the COVID-19 virus in December 2019, there have been three vaccines approved for use in the UK. It was labelled as a pandemic by WHO on Wednesday 11 March 2020, just over five months later. A disease as high profile and universally affecting as COVID-19 has received masses of the attention and funding that it requires to tackle the virus. To date, the pandemic has claimed over 2.3 million lives. Continue reading It’s a Sin: Depicting HIV/AIDS On-Screen

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Rewriting the ‘Bodice Ripper’

Racing heartbeats, open shirts and heaving bosoms; I’m sure we can all picture those tacky and titillating cover illustrations that make the Bodice Ripper so infamous within the realm of romance fiction. Popularised in the 1970s, the genre is commonly associated with patriarchal ideals of dominant men fighting for the heart of the passive woman, where the hero’s rape of the virginal heroine acts as a catalyst for her undying love. Increasingly formulaic in their historical settings and adventure orientated romances, publishers of the 1970s and 1980s knew what seemed to work for their female readership. Continue reading Rewriting the ‘Bodice Ripper’

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It’s Time to Talk Porn

In the popular American TV show Friends, two of the main characters, Chandler and Joey, accidentally find a free porn channel during one of the episodes. From the moment they see it, they develop an urge to keep it running – even if it means leaving the TV on for days. This addiction to porn is an increasing phenomenon due to, on the one hand … Continue reading It’s Time to Talk Porn

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Interview: Siân Docksey from The Sex and Nature Salon

I interviewed Siân Docksey prior to the salon to ask her how she found out about this unique, yet fascinating opportunity, to which she replied, “way back in March when the world set on fire and everything just disintegrated in front of us, I lost all of my gigs. I was on a writer’s weekly mail out and there was an advert for joining a Creative Fellowship at the University”. After questioning whether being a ‘Fellow’ involved “[walking] around in a cravat [tipping your] hat at people”, she soon discovered that the University of Exeter’s Arts and Culture team recruits three Creative Fellows a year, who work with academics to enhance their area of research. So, “it’s a bit like speed dating,” Siân noted, laughing. As if by fate, Siân was partnered with Dr Ina Linge, an expert in “The Politics of Sexual Nature”. Continue reading Interview: Siân Docksey from The Sex and Nature Salon

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From ‘The Birth of Venus’ to ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’: A History of Yonic Art

The vagina has been a very popular subject for artists throughout history, from ancient sculptures to modern art installation, the vagina has, and probably always will be, a well of artistic inspiration. But for those with vaginas, how does this art affect how womxn are perceived and treated in society as a whole? Continue reading From ‘The Birth of Venus’ to ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’: A History of Yonic Art

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Steamy Scandals: Literary Representations of Sex

Given we all have more spare time because of lockdown, I’m sure I’m not alone in admitting that I’ve been reading some books with a few spicy scenes. Especially with the likes of Bridgerton being released on Netflix in January, a lot of the popular books have a steamy romance at the heart of their narrative. The intimate parts of any novel always walk a … Continue reading Steamy Scandals: Literary Representations of Sex

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Consent Education in School: Where the Improvements Need to be Made

Recently, I came across a post about domestic abuse on Instagram. One comment was posted by a woman who bravely opened up about her experience with rape and coercion in a past relationship. In response, another commenter bluntly told her that her experience ‘didn’t count’ as rape, because she was coerced, not violently forced. This basic lack of understanding, as well as respect for the survivor, astounded me. Not only did this commenter not understand that coercion can absolutely constitute rape, they also invalidated the woman’s experience. Even for a comment left by an anonymous Instagram account, this exchange struck me as hugely disheartening. Continue reading Consent Education in School: Where the Improvements Need to be Made

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Discreet under the Sheets

Enthralled with journalistic spirit, I initially took this article up in the hopes of getting Exeter-wide data about the trials and tribulations of discreet sex in lockdown. My ambitious naivety led me to set up a questionnaire on ‘Overheard in Exeter’, hoping that amongst the thousands of students I would receive hundreds of responses detailing personal experiences. In reality, only nine people responded. To add … Continue reading Discreet under the Sheets

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Accessing Contraception During COVID-19

Casual hook-ups, dating and late-night tinder encounters have become extinct practices due to COVID-19 and government regulations to control the virus. However, this is not to say that sex is not happening. Whilst it may feel strange to seek contraception in a time where physical contact is being so publicly discouraged, it is important to remember that every aspect of your health is valuable and should be taken care of. So, whether you are in lockdown with your significant other or just wanting to explore your contraceptive options, there are lots of resources still available to you. Continue reading Accessing Contraception During COVID-19

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Black Feminist Books That Should be on Your Bookshelf

Feminist literature is a category that takes up a huge amount of space on my bookcase. It is one of my primary interests when reading for pleasure or when picking modules within my degree. Considering the importance of intersectional feminism and inclusivity in what we read and how we educate ourselves, it is extremely important to diversify our bookshelves. As there are simply too many amazing Black feminist writers to mention in this article, including Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Zora Neale Hurston, Claudia Rankine and Warsan Shire to name a few, I have instead decided to list three of my favourite Black feminist writers to get you started. The first being one of my favourite authors who I believe to be a fantastic starting point in your reading, the second is a recent read that I loved, and the final recommendation is the next book that I am planning on reading that I have heard amazing things about. Continue reading Black Feminist Books That Should be on Your Bookshelf

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RAZZ Interviews the Cast and Crew of Theatre with Teeth’s Hair

On Sunday night, I put on my make-up and dusted off a dress to go to the theatre. The unusual aspect was that it was a virtual one, where Zoom became the stage, but still a theatre nonetheless. It was the first reveal of Theatre with Teeth’s witty comedy, Hair, and with the COVID-19 pandemic putting a full, in-person performance on hold for the foreseeable future, the talented members of the society decided to virtually showcase extracts from their upcoming production. Written and directed by Leila Lockley, Hair tells the story of a young, aspiring Black actress, Ali (Marion Ojua) in her pursuit to break into the industry. However, Ali quickly discovers that the people around her, particularly casting agents, are far too concerned with appearances and stereotypes, as she faces multiple microaggressions and instances of discrimination. Following the performance, I had the privilege of chatting with the cast and crew of Hair to discuss the rehearsal process and the inspiration behind this moving play. Continue reading RAZZ Interviews the Cast and Crew of Theatre with Teeth’s Hair

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Starting Invisalign: Everything you Need to Know About the Popular Treatment

Despite asking the dentist, some of us skipped the braces experience many go through at school. Ongoing lockdown seemed an ideal time to undertake an alternative process, so, after saving up furlough, I have taken the plunge and started a 15 week course of Invisalign. After finding online information conflicting and overwhelming, I decided to share my own experience to help others make an informed choice. Continue reading Starting Invisalign: Everything you Need to Know About the Popular Treatment

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The Changing Face of British Television: How Small Axe Carved New Ground

In the era of technological domination, education through television is far from uncommon. We gain our facts and our opinions from a screen. As our eyes remain glued to the images that flash before us, our beliefs become shaped by various depictions of history. Whilst our perceptions are informed by our lived experiences, images and stories depicted in the media fill in the gaps. Where … Continue reading The Changing Face of British Television: How Small Axe Carved New Ground

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Bleed Greener: How to Make Your Plate More Sustainable

There has been a surge in the number of people becoming vegetarian or vegan in recent years, with many of them citing a desire to reduce their carbon footprint as a principal motivator. In fact, the two concepts of meat-reduction and environmental sustainability have become so intertwined that you would be hard-pressed to find a vegetarian or vegan who isn’t conscious of their impact on the natural environment. Similarly, it would be odd to meet an environmental campaigner who doesn’t limit the amount of meat in their diet. Continue reading Bleed Greener: How to Make Your Plate More Sustainable

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Education Outside Europe?

 “In terms of insights, I’ve found my world view has changed.“ – Georgia, Leeds University “…being on Erasmus FORCED me to see the world from so many different ways and it’s made me a kinder, more understanding person.” – Becca, Greenwich University Nicola Sturgeon described the government’s decision to pull out of the Erasmus programme as “cultural vandalism” in a Tweet on the day Britain’s … Continue reading Education Outside Europe?

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An Elegy for Topshop

The pandemic has claimed its latest victim. First it was Debenhams and now it’s ‘Big Topshop’. The Oxford Street Aladdin’s cave, filled with bubble tea, crop tops in twelve different colors and pulsating tunes is no more. London has lost a landmark, a teenage haven and the ‘one-stop shop’ of fashion. With news of the closure of Topshop’s flagship store coming just a month after the Arcadia group announced it was going into administration, the decline of this fashion house is on very palpable horizons. Topshop is, I do not dispute, a contributor to fast fashion (see here for tips on all important sustainable shopping), but it is also a brand with enormous cultural and personal significance; it exists for many millennial’s and Gen Z’s as the uniform of their teens. Continue reading An Elegy for Topshop

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Conspiracy Theories: Why Are We So Susceptible?

An ITV study found approximately 5 million anti-vax followers in the UK. Couple this with the news that 1 in 3 people are exposed to anti-vax messages (as found by Kings College London) and frustration mounts. The vaccine is our only way back to normality. It is the sole means by which we can simultaneously protect the most vulnerable whilst lifting lockdown restrictions. The idea, therefore, that so many people are sceptical and resistant to the vaccine is problematic. It threatens medical progress, but also begs the question of why humans are psychologically inclined to believe in conspiracy theories that have so little supporting evidence, and why more so in times of crisis? Continue reading Conspiracy Theories: Why Are We So Susceptible?

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The Future of Period Drama

[TW: Sexual abuse] Lately it has seemed impossible to chat with other students about what’s kept us busy in lockdown without Bridgerton popping up. The period drama set in Regency era London has fuelled everyone’s Netflix addictions since it premiered last December, attracting millions of viewers with its escapist settings, steamy romance plots, and costumes as vibrant as they are wildly historically inaccurate (which I’ll … Continue reading The Future of Period Drama

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Protest, Riot, Insurrection: The Weaponisation of the Language of Resistance

During the peaceful Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests during summer 2020, the excessive response of police forces and the National Guard sent shock waves across the world. Unfortunately, it’s somewhat unsurprising that the violent mop which descended on the Capitol on Jan 6th, following the instructions of President Trump, did not provoke the same reaction. Continue reading Protest, Riot, Insurrection: The Weaponisation of the Language of Resistance

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Review: Pieces of a Woman

Depicting miscarriage and stillbirth on screen has long been a difficult and sensitive topic. There is no easy way to portray the death of a baby, which is probably why Kornél Mundruczó didn’t try to present it as such. Pieces of a Woman, Mundruczó’s eighth feature film, follows couple Martha (Vanessa Kirby) and Sean (Shia LaBeouf) as they lose their new-born daughter and try to maintain the semblance of a life afterwards. Continue reading Review: Pieces of a Woman

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Review: ‘Good Days’ by SZA

While the monotonous days of COVID-19 may not be the best, this song definitely is. For those who have been living under a rock this past month, ‘Good Days’ is the latest single to be released by R&B icon SZA. Arguably one of the hottest contemporary R&B artists in the game right now, SZA truly delivers with this latest track as she combines her unmatched vocals with a chilling melody to provide 4 minutes 40 seconds of pure bliss. Continue reading Review: ‘Good Days’ by SZA

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My Culture Comforts: folklore by Taylor Swift

At the moment, in times when I feel overwhelmed or upset, my favourite music to listen to has been Taylor Swift’s album folklore. Despite only coming out midway through 2020, ‘cardigan’ was my most listened-to track on Spotify Wrapped, and I was honestly not at all surprised. I find the entirety of this album so soothing, definitely like a safety blanket. Every track has sing-a-long potential – belting out Taylor Swift bridges gives me an unreal amount of serotonin – while still being soft and emotional. The acoustic vibes are perfect for first thing in the morning or last thing at night. It’s nostalgic in a way that reminds me of Taylor’s earlier music – ‘betty’ has ‘You Belong With Me’ vibes and ‘exile’ reminds me of the kind of track that would be on her album Red. I just love the whole album – to me, it’s the best collection of music to come out of 2020, and I think I’ll treasure it for a very long time. Continue reading My Culture Comforts: folklore by Taylor Swift

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Bleed Greener: Is Individualised Climate Responsibility an Environmental Threat in Disguise?

From a very young age, we are taught to recycle, to switch off lights when we leave a room, and to turn off the tap when we brush our teeth. As young adults, we are encouraged to take a reusable cup when we purchase take-out coffee, to consume less meat, and to cycle instead of driving short distances. Continue reading Bleed Greener: Is Individualised Climate Responsibility an Environmental Threat in Disguise?

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Review: EUTCo’s Extracts from One for Sorrow

Exeter University Theatre Company’s (EUTCo) performance of extracts from their production One for Sorrow was powerful, intriguing, and tense. The experience of theatre over Zoom was something new for me, as I have not seen anything like this before (despite a neighbour having attended a Zoom pantomime, and my friends enjoying online concerts). I have always loved going to the theatre, and it is great that technology gives EUTCo the opportunity to present their performance to a widespread audience, despite not being able to showcase it in person. Continue reading Review: EUTCo’s Extracts from One for Sorrow

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Palatable Feminism Doesn’t Owe You Accountability

At the start of December 2020, social media influencer, writer and artist Florence Given came under fire for seeming to have replicated the work and message of Chidera Eggerue (whose online moniker is The Slumflower). The initial accusation came from Eggerue herself, who posted a series of Instagram stories talking through what she perceived to be similarities in their books (Given’s Women Don’t Owe You Pretty and Eggerue’s What a Time to Be Alone and How to Get Over a Boy). These included the cover style, some of the snappy phrases Given utilises (most notably “Dump Him”), and the self-illustrated, ‘coffee-table’ vibe of the book. Eggerue called for accountability from Given, and some redistribution of profits both to her and the other Black women Given credited in the afterword of her book, stating “Black women’s ideas generate wealth for white people. But that wealth doesn’t go to our community.” Radio silence followed from Given’s usually very active Instagram, until a few days later when she posted a statement via her Instagram, attempting to explain her side of the story. She pointed out that Eggerue had “ethusiastically” endorsed Women Don’t Owe You Pretty, and that it would have been impossible for her to read How to Get Over a Boy before handing in her manuscript for her own book. She cited her own previous work and drawing style, as well as her long-term interest in feminist thinking and the ways in which it has inspired her art. She also said she had donated a chunk of her advance to Black Minds Matter, a UK charity aiming to provide Black people with free care from Black therapists. Black Minds Matter has refused an offer of a further donation. Continue reading Palatable Feminism Doesn’t Owe You Accountability

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COVID-19 Vaccines: A New Hope for 2021

Whilst many of us feared that COVID-19 would never go away, the discovery of two vaccines in the UK has brought a new-found ounce of hope to the global pandemic. On hearing this news, many now can see the light at the end of the tunnel. They anticipate their loved ones receiving a vaccine, so they can finally hug without worry and without the potentially fatal risks. Going into 2021, we can finally begin to look forward to finding a new ‘normality’, as, for many, the pandemic has shifted what ‘normal’ means. It has changed people’s perspective of what is important, putting more emphasis on the extreme gratitude we should show to the NHS and key workers, who have saved and continue to save many lives. Continue reading COVID-19 Vaccines: A New Hope for 2021

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Reading Corner: Daddy by Emma Cline

I’ve found that there is a curse amongst English students. We have chosen to study an activity one usually conducts for pleasure and as a result, too often the joy of reading is drained from us. Just as I am falling into a novel which has sat patiently on my to read pile, I spot The Odyssey or Othello glaring at me, and the guilt of neglecting the reading list for my module pulls the book from my grasp. Continue reading Reading Corner: Daddy by Emma Cline

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Toxic Productivity and Why You’re Probably Experiencing It

Productivity seems to be society’s obsession. Whilst a strong work ethic is a desirable quality, a fixation with it can lead to a mindset that is dangerous and harmful to our wellbeing. Perhaps we are left with a feeling of guilt no matter how much work we get done, or perhaps we become so overwhelmed with these thoughts that we are unable to work at all. Productivity is a spectrum, and ‘toxic productivity’ actually lies at both ends; mental health nurse Emma Selby defines the term as ‘an obsession with radical self-improvement over all else’, a goal which is ultimately unachievable. Continue reading Toxic Productivity and Why You’re Probably Experiencing It

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2020: A Year that Left us Speechless, Yet Indescribable in just One Word

Conflicting with their standing traditions, Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has struggled to narrow down their findings to a singular term for their annual Word of the Year. In precedented times, the word would stand as a tribute to the English language and a reflection of the most popular, and suitable summary, of the previous 365 days. Usually taking the form of the latest zeitgeist creation, … Continue reading 2020: A Year that Left us Speechless, Yet Indescribable in just One Word