Supportive Sunday: Amy Phung

Happy Sunday!

For today’s Supportive Sunday, we have Amy. Amy and I are Instagram friends – our friendship literally started on Instagram and it’s only been months after we first chatted on Instagram that we finally went for a walk together two weeks ago.

Amy is an illustrator and graphic designer from London, and you can find her online shop here. She started her career in contracts and royalties reporting, enrolled in a part-time graphic design course and loved it so much she decided to go full time with graphic design! she is also a co-founder of a grassroots movement called besea.n which stands for Britain’s East and South East Asian Network where she does amazing work with five other people to push for fairer and broader representation of East and South East Asians.

When I first read her piece, my breath actually caught in my throat with all the emotions it brought up in me. As a child growing up in a post-colonial world, I’ve been thinking about Amy’s piece non-stop since the first time I read it. But today isn’t about me, it’s about Amy so here we go – Amy Phung’s “The Cost of Greed“.

The Cost of Greed

Does a baby sleep as sweetly rocked in a boat as a baby that is tucked snugly into a cot at home? Do the crashing of waves soothe them to slumber as well as the sound of lullaby? I often wonder about my parents in the late 1970s with their four children, the youngest not-yet two, hiding under deck as they left Northern Vietnam in junk boats. As tensions rose against the ethnic Chinese (although that was not the only reason for the mass exodus of both Chinese and Vietnamese from Vietnam), they were forced to flee their home as part of the Boat People. Against a backdrop of endless wars fought by imperial powers over the country, my parents had no choice but to gamble their lives on the sea just under a decade before I was born. My daughter is nearly four now, and I have fretted over every runny nose and cursed loud motorbikes as they disturbed her sleep, but she knows little of the once precariousness of my existence and consequently her own. Only four decades before, before either of us were born, her grandmother’s worry as a young woman was not if her children, my older siblings, would be able to sleep but if their bodies would be dashed against a rock or their boat raided by pirates, their lives holding on by a thread.

One of Amy’s art pieces

Somewhere between 200,000 – 400,000 people died at sea, but my family survived against the odds. After reaching a refugee camp in Hong Kong, they were finally able to head to the UK where they had two more children, including myself. The last of the Boat People didn’t stop escaping until the 1990s but the cycle of human migration that has been forced by geopolitical tensions continues to this day. In a recent tragedy, a Kurdish boy of only 15 months old named Artin was drowned alongside his whole family when they tried to cross the English Channel last October, attempting to find safety in the UK after living in terrible conditions in a tent in Dunkirk. The tightening of borders, the lack of safe passage, and policies such as the Hostile Environment are designed to drain life from desperate migrants, and to me it’s a symbol of greed. The centuries of ravaging and overexploitation by European colonialism and US Imperialism now sees these countries tightening their grip on that wealth. Despite happily invading and raiding with impunity (at its peak the British Empire covered 25% of the world), its eventual dissolution left countries picking up the pieces from damaged resources and inter-community tensions left by their colonisers. With the empire in retreat, we see the UK government protecting its hoard, quite literally, with the stone walls of institutions such as the British Museum holding the loot hostage that its benefactors have stolen.

In the minds of many, the wealth of our country has become almost entirely divorced from the tangible fact that it has been accumulated through colonisation and exploitation. By doing so, the general public see its byproducts as intrinsically part of the ‘British’ construct, including stately country homes, museums and even the laws of Isaac Newton (many of his calculations were made based on data and resources directly gathered as a result of African enslavement). The resources that have been robbed through imperialistic endeavours and the consequent wilful genocide when colonised populations fought back have been conveniently erased in our education, contributing to the collective amnesia about our ill-gotten wealth. Nowadays the battlegrounds of the Empire have moved, with the process for gaining asylum or citizenship beset with red tape, illegal deportations in breach of human rights, and government-endorsed peddling of the scarcity complex influencing the UK population against migrants. The 2016 Brexit campaign was eager to proclaim that the UK was drowning under a supposed migrant crisis, despite the fact that migrants make a net contribution to the economy, with a study from 2018 showing that migrants working in adult social care contributed £4.4 billion to the UK economy and the UK is below average compared to EU countries for asylum applications per head. What we do have, however, is a moral crisis and one by which we can only start redressing when we raise our heads, look at our past squarely in the face, and unfurl the hands around which we grip tightly to our wealth. Most urgently, we have to address the fact that as of October 2020, the U.K. is the world’s second largest exporter of arms which often goes directly towards funding regimes repressing people around the world, causing the forced migrations we see happening to today.

Bruce Hood, Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Bristol says that, “possessions are often a marker of identity and by exerting our control over them, we claim them as our own”. With greater knowledge around the violent past that has built Britain’s wealth, we must question our entitlement to the advancements and privileges we have gained from colonialism. As I know from my parents’ plight and that of so many others (many countries turned the Boat People away before they reached ports like Hong Kong), our lack of humanity shows when we ignore the desperation of families who flee their home countries because they had no other option. Understand that borders are a construct and hold our government accountable for the countless lives lost because of callous attitudes towards migrants. As we saw from the events on Kenmure Street, with enough organising, we know it is within our collective power to stem the tide that forces people who are likely mothers, fathers and children out into the sea.

Follow besea.n where we are preparing to launch ESEA Heritage Month in September. Support ESA Scotland and SEEAC who are doing important work supporting ESEA migrants in the UK.

Amy enjoying the sun in a park

Amy, thank you. If you’d like to support Amy’s art work, you can do so here. She’s also done interviews and panels, so if you’re looking to have an ESEAN voice on one of your events, do reach out to Amy or any of the besea.n network.


what would queenie drink

“one no-foam skimmed latte with an extra shot and three drip coffees with room for milk”
– Miranda Priestly

Buy me a coffee. No, really.

Did you know that apart from my day job of scrolling through Instagram and sending cat photos to my friends, I actually have an actual job? I know! Sometimes I’m a bit surprised too.

In my role (that pays the bills), I facilitate people to make better decisions, work together more, restructure companies that need it, figure out complex deals and business functions, look at cashflows, define strategies and visions, and advising clients on uh… what would Queenie do if she was in your position as leader of corporate company? But this isn’t LinkedIn and I wouldn’t recommend you connect with me on there because I am still suffering flashbacks from that time someone I had an entanglement with found me on LinkedIn after I was purposefully vague about my name and workplace (!!!). Anyway.

Anyway, did you know I run consultations as part of What Would Queenie Do? I do them on a whole host of topics, including business strategy, anti-racism initiatives, operations (business not medical), relationships, friendships, family, HR work-related, plants … pretty much anything that you need advice on, I’m happy to talk to you about it. All the proceeds from the consultations, commissions I write, any other freelancing I do (e.g. community management) are all fed back into What Would Queenie Do. It’s used to pay for this URL so that you can find this easily, admin costs, monthly charity and mutual aid donations, and most importantly, support the Supportive Sunday features. We offer all of those we feature now a small amount of contribution for their time and effort, and everyone so far has offered to put that back into charities of their choice. So really, if you buy me a coffee or book me for a consultation, it goes back into the community.

And truthfully, there may come a day (soon) where I don’t have a steady source of income, and won’t be able to cover this out of my own pocket but I want to still be able to support these features, because it’s so important that we continue to support and hear from these voices that we feature on Supportive Sunday.

Fancy coffee just to help bring the metaphor to life

So putting it out there, if you’re able to support us in any way, then here’s the link to actually buy me a slice of pizza instead of a coffee (pineapples belong on pizza by the way, FIGHT ME). Every contribution supports us in bringing features and content to this community, and you can either choose to do a small amount, or if you want to, book in for a consultation! Drop me an email at

If you’d also like to support Aimen on her artistic ventures which you can read more about here, you can also support her on Ko-fi here.

Oh and I like an espresso. That’s what I’d drink.


Supportive Sunday: El

Is there anything more delightful than a bank holiday weekend? A bank holiday weekend with delightful people that is. And of course a dose of Supportive Sunday. This Sunday, we have El. El is one of my absolute bundle of joy friends and I just 100000% love them. You know you have those friendships where every interaction actually nourishes your soul, uplifts you when you’re down, and makes you smile from your inside out? That’s how El makes me feel. So this weekend, we support and uplift El as they share with us about what non-binary means, their childhood movie crushes, and most importantly what we can do to continue support the non-binary community in the face of a government that won’t even acknowledge them.

Hi I’m El (they/them), thanks for reading today. I am non-binary and today I’d like to chat to you about non-binary rights and how the UK government is harming and preventing them altogether. This week, it was announced that the UK Government would not be legally recognising non-binary as a gender identity. This was announced after a petition with over 130,000 signatures was taken to Parliament asking the government to recognise non-binary as a gender identity. This recent announcement is another in a long list of how the government has quashed LGBTQIA+ rights. 

What is non-binary?

To start I’d like to outline what non-binary is. Non-binary is an umbrella term. It carries many terms within it: for example, gender fluid, genderqueer. A very simplistic way of explaining it is that non-binary is gender identities that are neither man nor woman. But it is not a third gender. 
Non-binary people can be trans – like me, (but not all). How non-binary people feel towards everything is incredibly personal, and no two non-binary people will feel the same. We don’t all use the same pronouns either (pronouns don’t make you non-binary): there are so many types of pronouns, what we each are is incredibly personal. Extra tip: always ask someone their pronouns if you don’t know: don’t assume because expression is not gender. 

El at lunch bringing joy to their friends

To me, non-binary means that I don’t feel like I fit just in woman, I feel more than just that. It’s hard to put into words but I’ll try. A few weeks ago, I realised that my childhood obsession with Sharkboy wasn’t because I thought he was cute: it was because I wanted to BE him! But child El didn’t have the language to understand or even communicate that. I just thought I had a crush on Sharkboy because of HETERONORMATIVITY.  The reality is I wanted to be with Lavagirl, and who doesn’t! 

A throwback to Lavagirl and Sharkboy

How does this government decision affect me?

It means I get misgendered everyday. It means all my legal documents have and continue to misgender me: my driver’s license, my taxes, my pay cheques and the list goes on. It’s painful and it’s dehumanising. 
Did you know over 40% of non-binary people are not out at work? We are not legally allowed to exist and we don’t feel supported or safe. If one day I wanted to get married, I would be misgendered at my own wedding

And pronouns and misgendering are only the start. Many trans people get surgery: in the UK, the waiting list for just a consultation about gender reaffirming surgery on the NHS can be 2 years if not longer, never mind waiting for the actual surgery. Private trans health care is expensive. It’s inaccessible. And most scarily, it’s costing lives. Providing trans health care is suicide prevention. So the government’s decision to not support trans and non-binary people is painful; to not recognise us and cut funding to our healthcare is a death sentence. Currently, I have not decided if surgery is something I would like, but the fact that access to making informed medical decisions is so hard to obtain; to even discuss it with a doctor is a long wait that no one should have to endure. 

So how can we support nonbinary people? 

At a very initial starting point, we can start with pronouns in our bios and in our email signatures (you can even add them to Zooms!). 
We should use gender neutral language. 
We should uplift and listen to non-binary voices, and support charities like Mermaids
We should talk to our MPs about how they can help us in Parliament and change the law. 

For me personally, another way we can help is by asking period companies to stop using gendered language. Not everyone that gets a period is a woman. Making period products more gender neutral is such an important step to help stop stigma. While you’re at it, email your work about bins in every toilet….

…..the same goes for contraceptives: everyone uses them, they don’t need to be gendered!

I’d like to end this on a joyful note. A nice little smile for you, and for me because I deserve joy too. 

When El first shaved their head and experienced europhia

The first time I wore my binder I couldn’t stop smiling. I looked at my body in my t-shirt and I finally felt like me. I don’t often experience gender dysphoria, but experiencing euphoria is a dream. The comfort I experience in myself is like battle armor: I stand taller, I feel happier, I live and experience life on such an elevated level. And that is something that nobody can take away. 

One of the first times I wore my binder

The government may not recognise me but I recognise me. I, like many, am very proud of who I am and we deserve to be proud and loud. Thank you for reading!

Thank you El! Didn’t I tell you they are an absolute joy? You can find El on Instagram and if you’re able to, a donation to Mermaids will be hugely appreciated! El’s kindly provided some resources below so do remember to check them out so that we know how to support the non-binary community in the best way possible.


Petition: Make non-binary a legally recognised gender identity in the UK

Dazed Digital: The UK government won’t legally recognise non-binary as a gender identity

The London Transgender Clinic: Top surgery

National Center for Transgender Equality: Understanding Non-Binary People: How to Be Respectful and Supportive

Gay Times: UK Government confirms trans people will not be allowed to change legal gender via self-ID

Gender GP: Patients’ Experiences of The Waiting List for NHS Gender Identity Clinics


the one time when you snooze and you don’t lose

Weighted blankets. Everyone talks about them, no one knows whether they actually work or it’s all just science.

I bought my boyfriend a weighted blanket for his birthday from Mela and when I could finally go over at some point between Lockdown 1 and 2, I tried it and it was the most glorious experience. I think it definitely factored in that I hadn’t had a hug for about 6 months at that point. I am also 100% that person that gets influenced into buying things when people post about it, so of course I had to get my own.

Anyway, if you’re interested in how weighted blankets work and you’rje interested in the science of it, there’s an article here that could start you off.

I got my boyfriend the single Mela Chill Eucalyptus Weighted Blanket which comes with the softest, smoothest cover ever. Single because who else is he sharing a bed with when I’m not there? But also, it’s meant to be the one most suitable for those who are hot sleepers! I got myself the single Mela Weighted Blanket because I’m permanently cold and sometimes even during summer I have two duvets.

How I chose the brand
I didn’t want to support Amazon and so I clicked around on numerous websites. My requirements were:
– Not extortionate (because I have a budget so that I can fund my plant habit)
– The inside of the duvet wouldn’t slip from the cover (pet peeve)
– It wouldn’t be too heavy to scare me
– It wouldn’t be too light to not have any effect
So with all of my pickiness, I landed on Mela. This article was particularly useful because who doesn’t love a listicle.

How I use it
The eternal question: does it go on top of or under your duvet? I don’t know to be honest, I use it on top of my double duvet. Hear me out: this is my reasoning. I have a double duvet that I like to wrap myself up in like a burrito, so when I have the weighted blanket on top of it, I’m a super burrito-ed up sleeping burrito.

I took the plunge when they were doing 20% off, so paid £87.99 for a single. The sale is still on by the way. Keep reading by the way if you fancy some money off because we love a referral at What Would Queenie Do.

Things I can’t figure out
If you share a bed with someone, do you each have your own blanket? Or do you get a massive one to share?
Is it too much to buy one for the bedroom and one for the living room?
Do you use it in summer?
Sorry I have no questions to the above and sadly it has not been anywhere close to summer weather since I’ve got it.

Final verdict
Huge caveat to this, I fall asleep very easily. I can fall asleep with opera, construction noises and/or hoovering in the background. I wake up several times in the night but will have one lucid thought, and then quickly fall asleep again. However, I do find that I often wake up absolutely exhausted.
Since I’ve started using it, I have actually started sleeping through the night. And shockingly, actually feel rested when I wake up…? You may call it sorcery, or maybe the weighted blanket is actually working. There are definitely some mornings where I wake up and I have managed to shift the blanket off me, so maybe I’ve underestimated my weight and got one that was too light. But that’s okay, eventually I’ll be able to stay at my boyfriend’s again and I’ll just nick his instead. Easy.

Ok so a score since everyone loves to quantify it: I’m giving it a 7/10. I would definitely give it a higher score if I had a heavier one though.

The good part
Completely unsponsored but if you would love a discount code, if you use my referral link, you get £10 off your first offer and if you spend over £15, I get points on my account which I can eventually use for vouchers. We love some transparency here.

Are you interested in trying out a weighted blanket? Or do you have one and what do you think about it? I’m foreseeing weighted blanket parties where we all sit around in our weighted blankets eating pizzas and watching movies, then falling asleep. I definitely know how to party.


Supportive Sunday:

Welcome back WWQD readers. We’re restarting Supportive Sunday! 

Today we have a slightly anticlimactic feature: team WWQD’s very own Aimen from This is an interesting feature for several reasons. One: is really a business? If so, why? Two: No one has ever managed to get to share what they do before, so this is an unprecedented feature in unprecedented times. 

Being notoriously private, I found it difficult to introduce myself. So my husband wrote a generous summary: “Very hardworking, deeply caring. Aimen has a diverse set of talents. Interested in design, music, production, business, management, speed reading, and things.” 

What does actually do? Broadly, multidisciplinary creative work. This is my separate entity where I (Aimen) run creative endeavors and projects I pick up purely for the joy of doing them, or for what they can teach me. In my 9-5, I’m a product manager for a non-crypto blockchain company. Outside of this, I contain multitudes (lol jk I just do a LOT of fun creative work I never talk about because I’m pathologically shy).

So. Let’s kick off!

Hello Aimen, how are you doing?

How are any of us doing?

Personally, I am balancing self-compassion with my desire to keep learning, keep doing, keep creating. In a very literal sense, I’m good! On Maslow’s pyramid, I’m at least approaching, if not mid self-actualization. 

As for how is doing…we’re in our mindful, anti-flop era. During Lockdown the First in 2020, I went full steam ahead with any and all creative projects, because I’d lost my full-time job. This was a questionable decision that saw me balancing full-time SEO work with building the WWQD platform, assisting with music videos, making decks, designing random brochures, illustrating heavily and… in general working a lot.

This year is slower. The luxury of a full-time job that guarantees my income lets me become more selective about projects I pick up, which is where I always want to sit.

Why did you start

The desire to learn and create. Secondarily, my love for computers.  

I grew up in an ambitious environment where academic excellence and capitalist achievement was highly valued. While my career is very important to me, I’m obsessed with the act of creation, and expression across mediums. 

Print and graphic design was my first love: I remember designing restaurant menus for made-up places on a bootleg copy of MS Paint on my dad’s Linux home PC in 2005 (I would’ve been…10 years old?). I’d print these and stick them to my mom’s fridge. 

Music was next, I started running a fairly popular audioblog on tumblr in 2010, through to 2012 focused entirely on reviewing EDM. That led my affair with live music from 2013-16, after which I transitioned entirely to production in Audacity and Ableton. In the meantime, I also freelanced heavily, developing my print design skills working with a mix of local businesses, startups and indie agencies. At this stage, I desperately wanted to learn and do, so I picked up anything from designing cafe signage to full-fledged websites.

These miscellaneous creative projects made me realize I needed a manageable outlet for creative projects. I also needed admin support as my freelance obligations scaled up alongside a full-time role. So, I hired an EA, streamlined design work through and built my own website ‘store’ in Cargo to sell music on. This Frankensite came complete with psychedelic animations half-copied off Codepens, half-original. The legacy site functioned as a direct-to-consumer music store where people would purchase MP3s that my EA would email directly to them, because I couldn’t figure out how to hide downloads behind a paywall. I sold 1,000+ units through my self-published music store…meaning I saw actual £££, which I’ve yet to see via streaming services, LOL. 

The legacy storefront

In 2019, I wound all of the above down to focus ‘more’ on my 9-5. I regretted this and started creative work once more in 2020!

What are you most proud of at to date?

The versatility and diversity of work taken up, and what the work has given back to me. 

Seeing as a separate entity – sometimes a business – helped me pick projects I would never have pursued otherwise: designing a website for a film studio, producing music for my project io, working with incredible pop artist Roma Radz, pitching music video collateral to Rebecca Black, creating art for the G.O.A.T. Komato$e

What I’m most proud of in terms of pieces of work:

Project 1: Album artwork for Komato$e and Lucas Versace’s compilation album (out soon!!), plus it’s lead single ‘Summary’.

The LV Koma Vol. 1 art combines Komato$e’s classic chaotic evil with my chaotic good energy: it’s vibrant, it’s current: it used GraphixSlayer’s clip art, it’s deep. The colors honor trans music genius CCI Midas who passed away in 2020 (gold and black). The colors for ‘Summary‘ honor Komato$e’s excellent taste. This project is special beyond words because this was the first music I released posthumously for my brother Komato$e.

Artwork for lead single ‘Summary’
Album art for LV KOMA vol. 1, coming soon to a streaming service near you

Project 2: Cityscapes for Boyfriend in Every City by Roma Radz.

This is a catchy, gorgeous song by pop’s rising princess. I love Roma – I met her while she was supporting Hannah Diamond’s tour, we started talking on Insta and I jumped at the chance to work on her debut music video.

Watching this inspires me: the artists featured here are so cool and the (extremely talented) video editor made my small contribution shine in ways I couldn’t have imagined!

Boyfriend in Every City Music Video

Project 3:Personal Statement‘. I just love how it looks LOL.

What keeps you going when the going gets tough?

The relentless energy, passion and curiosity my darling friend Max had for every piece of music he worked on. I carry his troll spirit with me and it carries me through creative block. 

Showing my sister any work I do, or being able to support her in any way with the work I do. She’s my number one concern and her resilience is something I want to channel.

In tough (and good) times, I lean on my husband. His clarity of thought and calm creativity is unlike anything else; it balances me out and provides a blank slate where I can breathe and create freely. 

I am replenished and encouraged heavily by my best friend and cheerleader, WWQD’s Queenie. I can trust her feedback and guidance without question, and our discussions fuel me.

In the day-to-day sense, I allow myself to passively appreciate art others have made if I don’t feel creative myself. I’m refreshed by 7G by A.G. Cook, all of Charli XCX’s discography, Graphix Slayer brings chaotic good energy to my Twitter feeds; Terrell Davis inspires not only me, but an entire visual movement

What’s your ambition for

Honestly, none. This space is the antidote to material achievement. What drives me is creation. It’d be nice to do more personalized work through my ko-fi. Formally, is currently working on closing three main projects: publishing an essay collection on loss, a poster series about why I miss the 00’s so damn much, and honoring Komato$e’s musical legacy.

Beyond projects, the ethos of is the pursuit of creation for the sake of creation, or for what creation can teach you. 

That being said, I love to work with pop princesses. More of that. 


Well thank you Aimen! I promise I didn’t threaten to withhhold non-existent wages from her to be our first feature or to say that I’m amazing. You can find out more about Aimen’s projects here and if you’d like to say a small thank you to her, you can find her ko-fi here!

Career Personal growth

wow it’s been a while

Ok first up, Aimen (Chief Marketing Officer) sorry I tried to do this by myself and it’s not fitting in with the THEME but you can change the image after you see this thanks xo

Wow it has been about 11 months since my last post. Truth is, I lost my mojo. I started doubting what I had to offer and what I had to say. I really just fell out of love of telling my truth, my experiences and the constant doom scrolling especially on Instagram.

Today I had to do my year end review for work, and my feedback consistently was “Super good at what she does, not afraid to share what she believes is right, and challenges us all to do what’s better.” On the other hand, I had a single development area that was (not) surprisingly given by two men whom I worked with on D&I initiatives (who don’t actually know each other) but might as well have been one.
They said, “She’s very good at driving change and taking people along with her to do better together. But she should soften her tone because some people aren’t used to change.” Understood. I don’t think it’s unfair of me to take that tone policing with a massive pinch of salt.

And then it clicked that this whole entire time, I was so worried about how others were going to see me, that I tried to mute myself. But the truth is, people were going to judge me and think I was too much, too little, too loud, too quiet, too… me. I love writing and so I’m back. WWQD is back!!! Play tune of celebration. I’m currently listening to Wings by Little Mix but you play what gets you going.

I know we’ve had loads of people since last June, so hello hi welcome! And for everyone who’s been on this very dead mailing list, welcome back.

Standing on Chelsea Bridge during a particularly windy walk

I’m Queenie. I like all animals and am the publicist of two cats (one of whom acts like a dog) although I am highly allergic to them (make it make sense). I have worked in a corporate the last 6 years although my true passion lies in social justice. I miss playing my violin and I am super good at it although I have wonky pinkies which make playing it difficult. I have been incredibly fortunate to have been commissioned to write and have taken part in inclusive photoshoots although I have never been more insecure of my capabilities and looks in my life. I love plants and have lucky green fingers although I have never owned houseplants until this past year. I am actually a massive introvert although I absolutely love love love the community we’ve built this past year here

Basically, I’m pretty much a whole person and thank you for being here. And while you’re here, I need you to hold me accountable of the things that I’m going to be doing here at What Would Queenie Do. Of course, to keep things fresh I’m changing things up so I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned!

  • I’m bringing back Supportive Sundays
  • I’m bringing back Manageable Mondays
  • I’m bringing back Instagram Q&As
  • I’m bringing back the blog (lol) and refreshing the layout
  • I’m making sure every element of WWQD is more accessible and will continue to be inclusive
  • I’m making sure for every four consultations I do, I will be donating one free consultation for someone from a marginalised community
  • I’m making sure that I invest back into WWQD whatever form that takes (time, energy, commissions)

So with that – I hope you all enjoy me coming back (and if you don’t, feel free to unsubscribe lol). I’d love to hear from you all in whatever avenue works best for you, including any suggestions or ideas of things you want to read about. Instagram, website form, or email ( I can’t wait to hear from you!

Ok goodnight bye x

Personal growth

Black Lives Matter Resource Pack

Hello. We’ve got something to share with you all today, and wanted to say something beforehand.


Having come from an incredibly privileged background as a Chinese woman, I’ve been both the racist and the victim of racism. An exceeding amount of anti-Blackness still exists in the Chinese community, and being able to work and educate my community would not be possible without the Black educators, especially women, who’ve led the way in the fight against racism. As @standforhumanity says, “we ALREADY owe Black women the world without even knowing it”.

As more of us join the anti-racism and #BlackLivesMatter movement, we must begin from the point of understanding that our actions must be intersectional. Male privilege, light skin privilege, skinny privilege, heterosexual privilege, able-bodied privilege. We must understand how these intersect with White privilege and therefore, how we combat against them. How can we say that we care about Black lives when we only look at it one-dimensionally?


As a woman of color I’m fighting white supremacy and the anti-blackness inside me – holding the dual role of oppressed and oppressor. As a South-Asian and Middle Eastern person, it’s important we look beyond our respective issues and understand that across cultures, darker people are treated worse. We need to fight the anti-blackness to elevate everyone, not just black people.

Black women, particularly black trans women, have built the foundations of liberation movements and given us the tools to talk about feminism, queer theory and racism via academic publication. We owe an incredible amount, including the origins of Pride as a protest and the feminist movement, to the work of black women. This pack should open your eyes to the importance of BLM beyond hashtags and Insta posts. We ask that you’re accepting, kind, and realise this will be a lot of work (even if you’re a person of color yourself).

I also ask that you are quite serious about wanting to protect, love and support black people – because the institution of whiteness is quite serious about dehumanising blackness.

Putting your money, time and energy where your mouth is

Step 1, we’ve recognised anti-blackness. Step 2, do the actual work.

Over the past few days, we’ve been compiling a series of actions. Causes you can give to, literature you can read, art you can watch or listen to, influencers to follow, businesses you can support, and things you can do all from your home. We know that there have been many lists out there, but what we hoped to do was to also encourage you all to amplify Black voices and decentralise Whiteness. Not just for their anti-Racism work so far, but because of the joy and value they bring to the world, and that we have ignored for far too long. As Layla F Saad, said…

We want you to realise that anything a white person has to say, a Black person has probably said it (and louder too) – we just wouldn’t listen. So, let’s listen now. You wanted tangible actions after posting the black squares? Here you go. We’ve given you tips on the top of each section on how you can mindfully engage with every piece of resource that is in there. Please, read it before you dive in.

We don’t want this to be a resource that you flick through and then move on from. We want you to come back to this time and time again (as we update it – you can provide suggestions here). We want this to actively be your first choice when you:

  • Receive your pay check (Give)
  • Ponder what to put next on your reading list (Read)
  • Flick through Netflix but not sure what to watch (Watch)
  • Need to rest your eyes but engage your brain (Listen)
  • Want to be inspired, informed and engaged on your social media feeds (Follow)
  • Want to raise your voice and speak up for others (Do)
  • Want to put your money where your mouth is (Support)

We need to recalibrate how we view the world, and amplify and support Black voices.

Before we share the resource, one last thing. A lot of time, work, and energy from our community has gone into creating this bank of resources. We recognise that the free consumption of these materials will provide awareness, but providing finances for these inciredible funds will lead to tangible actions. So please donate to:

For every person in your echo chamber you share this with, you share it with someone who isn’t. Fight racism with every aspect of your life and choices. Link below.


Personal growth

Black Lives Matter

WWQD is saddened and angry at the loss of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor and Belly Mujinga and countless others. Our feelings are not meaningful unless translated into action towards protecting black lives on a structural and individual level.

This post is for non-black people of color, and white people – our allyship is necessary and lacking right now. That goes beyond our social media channels, where we might share an aesthetically pleasing ‘Black Lives Matter’ post. Please read for ways we can support and pay reparations.

In particular, I speak to fellow non-black Arabs and South Asians. We owe a debt to black culture and profit daily from colorism. We can at least begin making minimum payments towards this debt.

A starter pack from Munroe Bergdorf below, on how to help from the UK. Read before reading our post.

Give money generously

Money makes a difference. The below organizations focus on liberating and supporting black people – donate generously. If you were going to get takeout or buy a coffee, donate instead:

  • Black Lives Matter – working to end the violence towards black people with the goal of eradicating white supremacy. Click the giant blue “Donate” button. Apple Pay accepted.
  • Black Trans Fund – Part of Groundswell, focused on supporting LGBTQ+ black people who have been the backbone of trans liberation movements in the UK & US.
  • George Floyd’s GoFundMe – To cover funeral costs, court proceeding costs & living costs for his children.
  • Minnesota Freedom Fund – To pay bail and bond costs to save black lives from being murdered by US police.
  • Follow Shishi Rose and pay for education via link in bio.

Join peaceful protests*

*This content has been updated 8:30 PM on 31/05/20

In high of the below commentary from UK BLM we would like to stress that: (1) no one should be using public transport to get there (2) you shouldn’t be attending if you’re in contact with someone at risk or shielding, e.g. in your household, or someone you intend to meet with up to 14 days post-protest (3) you should wear a face covering and follow social distancing guidelines at the protest. We are still mid-pandemic, countering a virus that is disproportionately affecting BAME people.

Key London dates for peaceful protests and demonstrations of solidarity. If you’re worried about attending alone, email me and we can attend together or arrange for you to meet someone (socially distanced). Please do not attend if you do not have valid Right to Remain in the UK, or are shielding due to coronavirus.

  • Kneel for Floyd – Sunday May 31st @ 1PM Trafalgar Square
  • Peaceful Protest – Wednesday 3rd June @ 1PM Hyde Park
  • Peaceful Protest – Saturday 6th June @ 1PM Parliament Square
  • Peaceful Protest – Sunday 7th June @ 2PM US Embassy

Please wear protective face coverings, bring food & water. These events are expected to be peaceful but you should know your rights, particularly if you are not a UK citizen. Watch the highlight ‘Rights’ on @ldnblm’s profile.

Why is everyone so angry?

A note for those concerned about being kind, wanting to write to MPs instead of protesting, or wondering why protests in the US may have turned violent.

Firstly, question the narrative that protests are coded as violent.

Stop worrying about critiquing the response, criticize the catalyst for such a response (in this case hundreds of years of slavery, decades of police brutality and social disenfranchisement).

“Riots are the language of the unheard”

Martin Luther King

Secondly, realize compliance is never rewarded. Watch CNN reporter Omar Jiminez being arrested live, on air, as he politely and repeatedly asks the police to tell him where to go, and assures them he will comply. Compliance is not rewarded. We accept the excuses of trained police officers ‘making bad decisions’ (read: murder, violence, unlawful arrests) but we expect citizens to remain calm and articulate when faced with a gun.

If your first instinct is to side with the police, read these short slides by @sighswoon.

If you are concerned about anger as a response to racism and cannot understand why black people cannot continue to swallow their pain.

“Any discussion [among women] about racism must include the recognition and the use of anger… We cannot allow our fear of anger to deflect us nor seduce us into settling for anything less than the hard work of excavating honesty. We must be quite serious about [the choice of] this topic and the angers entwined within it, because our opponents are quite serious about the hatred of us and what we are trying to do here.”

– Audre Lorde (black lesbian feminist), The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle The Master’s House

“Anger is an appropriate reaction to racist attitudes, as is fury, when the actions arising from these attitudes do not change. To those women who fear the anger of women of color more than their own unscrutinized racist attitudes, I ask: Is the anger of women of color more threatening than the woman hatred that endangers all of our lives?”

– Audre Lorde, The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle The Master’s House

The basic ask here is that you weigh up whether it is riskier to allow murder to go unchecked, or whether it is more important to stop those shouting about it being wrong.

Further resources

For help educating yourself, the below post is a good starter pack.

The below post is a fantastic pack. Rachel provides a vast bundle of (free) anti-racism resources (tap link in her bio to access and make a payment).

View this post on Instagram

To show up you must come forward boldly with three things. KNOWLEDGE + (radical) EMPATHY + (radical) ACTION. • My heart is so heavy. The weariness I see in the eyes of my people is crushing me. Breath is short and sighs are long and optimistic hope is feeling fleeting. • I’m going to log off for a while but I wanted to leave this here for the thousands in my ear asking what actionable items they can take. • Here is a resource dump, the only thing I can cough up at this point — I haven’t the energy to engage much more at the moment but I hope you’ll make the choice to DO something. • In the words of Angela Davis “it is not enough to be not racist, you must actively be anti racist.” • I implore you to remember — the point of AntiRacism work isn’t to make white people feel they are “doing better” in their positions of privilege and power within this immoral system— it is for them to hold themselves and their white community accountable for addressing and attacking the very system that needs to be destroyed in order for black people to stay alive and to be well. • #RevolutionNow • Head to the link in my bio to find links to all of the resources featured in the sides. I updated my Racial Justice Research Doc to include recent murders. • Support the people you are learning from. Whether it be me or my hundreds of thousands of brothers/sisters/comrades who are on the front lines physically, emotionally or intellectually. • Cashapp: $rcargle PayPal: Venmo: @rachelcargle My non profit that provides mental health care access for Black women and girls: @thelovelandfoundation My monthly online learning platform: @thegreatunlearn

A post shared by Rachel Elizabeth Cargle (@rachel.cargle) on

Required reading, texts by black women who have helped build safer worlds for all women of color:

  • ‘Feminism is for everybody’ by bell hooks
  • ‘The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle The Master’s House’ by Audre Lorde
  • ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race’ by Reni Eddo-Lodge

This post will be updated regularly with further recommendations, posts and texts.

Also, defund the police.

– Aimen

Personal growth

Dealing with Negative Self-Talk

Now more than ever, in these unusual and unprecedented times, in this tough time we are all… sorry, let me start again without sounding like every marketing email you’re getting.

I’ve been dealing with negative self-talk recently. In pre-pandemic times, I had a lovely therapist called Kim, who took me through CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). We met up once a week on Thursdays, I’d hit her up for some midday mental peace, then get fried chicken at Jollibee with my husband right after.

Without Kim’s patient ear and unwavering support, I’m using CBT principles (and common sense) to counter my own negativity these days. I want to share these tactics with you, and hope these are useful to you.

*While I aced AP Psychiatry, I have no formal qualifications. Take this as a starting point, not a replacement for qualified medical support.

What is negative self-talk?

In very simple terms, it’s when you trash-talk yourself or put yourself down. An important distinction: negative self-talk is usually biased, rooted in moments anxiety or low-self esteem. This is different to self-awareness, which can be based on more objective consciousness of your weaknesses or shortcoming.

Negative self-talk can be called a ‘Cognitive Distortion’, because its typically unrealistic and biased towards being harsher than necessary.

What are common examples of negative self-talk?

One of the first skills you’re taught in CBT is to identify your negative thinking. Once you realize what you’re doing and when, you can stop it. Here are some common types of negative self-talk – I’ll take you through a few.

Mind Reading: Assuming we know what others are thinking (about us) without evidence.

Example: I’m giving a Zoom talk on design thinking. I see furrowed brows on my boss. I think “Fuck, I’ve said something stupid and she’s realized I’m an idiot and this talk is shit”.

How to Counter: We need to acknowledge that we do not know what the other person is thinking. Introduce other possibilities if helpful. I don’t actually know what her expression means. She could be digesting what I’m saying, or trying to understand a difficult concept. This could be her resting expression. It could be disapproval, but I have no evidence to suggest it is.”

Overgeneralisation: Making predictions of the future based on isolated pieces of evidence from the present or past.

Example: When moving house, your favorite table is broken. You think “Typical. Shit like this always happening to me, haha!”

How to Counter: Acknowledge that a negative event happening once is not a predictor of it regularly happening again. “Well, it’s a bit shit that this happened. But my track record of having my stuff broken while moving is no higher than the average person, and its unlikely that I will regularly experience broken belongings in future”

Minimization: Being dismissive of our contributions, strengths and positive qualities.

Example: Having finished a complex digital illustration project you receive a compliment on how good it looks. You think or say “Yeah but I think it was a pretty easy brief to begin with, and anyone could have done it”.

How to Counter: We must realize being dismissive is disrespectful to ourselves, and acknowledge our achievements even if this is uncomfortable. “Thank you! It was difficult, and I am happy with the result” “It was not that the task was too easy, but that I had the skill and talent to complete it”.

Maximisation: Catastrophising based on our errors or flaws, blowing them out of proportion.

Example: Your new friend’s been talking to you about her brother being annoying. Later in the week, you ask your friend if her sister has been any less annoying. “Damn. Now she’s going to think I never pay any attention to what she’s saying and don’t care about anyone but myself”.

How to Counter: Acknowledge we’ve made a mistake, as all humans do. We must realize the true scale of the error, apologise and move on. “I’m sorry – my bad! How’s your brother now?” “I forgot something in this instance, but our friendship is likely to move past it. This doesn’t mean I have acted irreparably or ruined my friend’s entire impression of me”.

I’m guilty of doing all of the above, and more. However, identifying what I’m doing in both speech and thought helped me counter these thoughts and move past them.

Challenging negative self-talk more generally

Specific examples are helpful, but its important to address negative self-talk as a mentality. When I am talking shit about myself, to myself (or others), this comes from moments of anxiety and low self-esteem. I say ‘moments’ intentionally – I am not anxious nor do I have low self-esteem, rather these are things I experience, and can deal with. Distancing ourselves can be useful, as it helps humanize us instead of blanketing ourselves as “I’m always anxious, this is just how I am and that’s never gonna change”.

So, let’s address this process more generally. How do we counter our anxious, negative thinking? While the example might seem dramatic, its honestly reflective of things I say to myself.

Example: “Well then. Just woke up. I’m a sack of shit. Entirely untalented and probably not good looking. 2/10 max. Can’t even cook. My life sucks. I’m never gonna find a job”

Here are questions we can use to challenge these thoughts.

“Is there substantial evidence for what I’m thinking?”
It is highly unlikely I am entirely untalented, given I have done XYZ in my life”

“Is there evidence contrary to my thought?”
“I can cook, I actually made a pizza from scratch the other day. Sometimes cooking goes wrong for me, but not always.”

“What would a friend think about this situation?”
“My friend would likely tell me she’s not in the habit of forming friendships with sacks of shit. Ergo, I am unlikely to be a sack of shit”

“Am I interpreting this situation without all the evidence?”
“Yes – I am forgetting about these accomplishments, skills, talents, kindnesses…”

“Will this matter a year from now? Five years from now?”
“Probably not. You can learn skills. You are unlikely to be unemployed forever. You can get better at cooking. If you’re uncomfortable with how you look, you can accept it or change it”.

Thanks, I’m cured

Well, probably not. Nor am I tbh.

I hope reading this helps you acknowledge that negative self-talk is common, and not something you’re condemned to putting yourself through eternally. You can stop talking shit about yourself and become your own cheerleader. It is a process, and one blog piece is unlikely to change it.

But, it’s a decent start.

Personal growth

Staying Sober in the Time of Corona

Content Note (Trigger Warning): This post talks about alcohol abuse and toxic relationships.

Before I talk about why and how I’ve stayed sober throughout lockdown (and before), I want to say that what I’m sharing here is what I wish I’d heard when I was heavily dependent on alcohol. Hearing someone else’s experience would’ve been incredibly helpful. Whatever your relationship is with alcohol, I don’t judge you. So, if what I share hits a little bit too close to home, there are brilliant professional resources out there that can give you help and support.

I’m writing this now because I’ve been seeing memes like “oh we’re in lockdown let’s have a drink at 10AM!” And it’s time that we talk about this. Alcohol is a drug. That’s a fact, don’t @ me.

Right – here we go.

What I used to be like

It’s been nearly 3 years since I made the decision to stop drinking the way I did. From the ages of 22 to 24, I would drink a minimum of two drinks every weekday, and about five on a weekend. If you tacked on a bottomless brunch on the weekend… well.

Two drinks may not seem like much, but considering I was known as the ‘One Shot Wonder’…

My drinking history ‘officially’ started at university. Until this point, I hadn’t seen anyone drink, not family nor my friends back home. I skipped my own Freshers, but quickly realised drinking was the way to fit in. By the time second year swung round, I was more than happy to get involved and relive the Freshers I never had.

I stopped temporarily in third year because of endometriosis. However, going into my corporate job with my first paycheck meant I was tapping my contactless card to my heart’s delight at the All Bar One in Canary Wharf every Thursday and Friday evening.

I remember shockingly little about those few years. Partly from my brain trying to forget the relationship I was in at the time, but also because alcohol affects your brain function. I remember glimpses:

  • Being so drunk I couldn’t stand up straight but had to find my way home by myself. Thinking I was incredibly polite because I opened the door of my Uber to chunder outside so I wouldn’t have to pay the £50 surcharge for cleaning. The driver told me he was giving me a 5 star rating for being so considerate, but that might have been in my head…
  • Sitting and crying at the front door at 3am because I couldn’t get inside, but realising hours later that I was on the wrong street and that wasn’t my front door
  • Being so drunk at family dinners I got in arguments with everyone, over everything.

Compound this with the fact that I was in a relationship where I was told I couldn’t leave because “who else would want me?”. Wait was that him speaking or the alcohol speaking? 

So, I turned to the other for self soothing. Soon I was having alcohol whenever I could, a little sip near lunch, a few drinks at lunch, then straight to the bar after work. And when I wasn’t drinking, I was desperate to.

Soon I was having alcohol whenever I could: a sip near lunch, a few drinks at lunch, then straight to the bar after work. When I wasn’t drinking, I was desperate to.

How I stopped

After the most horrendous flight, I finally got to Bali for what was meant to be a blissful save-the-relationship holiday. I decided to stay sober in an effort to make amends. With no alcohol – it was the clearest mind I had in a really long time. What I realised on that trip was that I didn’t want to be in a relationship with him. So, I broke up with him when the plane landed back in the UK. More importantly, I had realized I didn’t want that relationship with alcohol anymore either.

So I phased it out, first limiting myself to drinking only on weekends. Then it became no drinking on dates, then no drinking at social events. Eventually, I only drank when it was a special occasion (my birthday!).

Learning how to say no was the hardest, because saying yes is much easier with peer pressure. Saying yes to one meant saying yes to more because I didn’t have the tools yet to stop after one.

Learning how to say no was the hardest. Saying yes to one [drink] meant saying yes to more because I didn’t have the tools yet to stop after one.

So, what now?

I still find bars and pubs hard to enter sometimes, because I can feel that urge rise in my chest. I get scared that I’ll go back into my previous drinking habits. Because I’m the type that goes big or goes home, so now I normally go home instead.

I feel a lot more in control of my emotions but also my bowels (ahem).

I have better methods of self soothing when I am upset.

I have the strength and energy to walk away from relationships that don’t serve me.

I have more money to pay off my debt.

I am happier.

I’m still not completely honest with most people about why I don’t drink anymore, especially work. And that means it’s really hard to manage because they go ‘Why don’t you just have one?‘ or ‘You’re no fun.’ or ‘Are you pregnant?‘. And that’s a wholly inappropriate response altogether. But that’s a whole other conversation.

I’ve made many decisions in my life and stopping to drink was one of the best. If you want to read more, @milliegooch and @sobergirlsociety have some really useful resources, including a Quit Lit highlight. And if you do decide you want to give getting sober a go, I wish you luck and strength, and I’m always here with a non-alcoholic bevvie and we’ll drink to that.

– xoxo, Q 🚫🍷🥃🍻