Wednesday, 13 November 2013

It's Hard Out Here for a Bitch

So my long time girl hero, Lily Allen, has finally emerged from her break from music after having two babies and she's as feisty and amazing as ever. I just watched her video and felt compelled to run to my blog and talk about how she still champions feminism and healthy body image and I love her for it. 

About 7 years ago, I wrote about how I admired Lily Allen because she challenged the norms of what a female pop star was and what they sang about. Lily has always been down to earth, outspoken and represented normal women. Now she's come back when it's needed more than ever.

For a while, Lily paved the way for people like herself to come out of the woodwork but then all of a sudden, pop became a very dark place again and women were strutting around in their knickers and calling it feminism. Now I'm all for feeling empowered, showing what you want of your body without prejudice and being able to wear as much or as little clothes as you want without being harassed or abused but when these bone thin girls are wearing high cut knickers and crop tops and twerking - who are they really doing it for? Either way they're getting a reaction and that's all pop seems to have turned into of late. A challenge to one up each other over who can be more shocking. 

Now I'm sure Lily's song and video will create their own controversies over swearing and imagery but to have a well known face like Lily singing about feminism is filling me with joy like you won't believe. She's not the first and she won't be the last, but what she's singing rings so true right now and I'm glad somebody has the tits to say it.

Because as much as people think feminism is an outdated concept and that 'We've got it better than ever', we are far from winning the fight for equality. I still on a daily basis hear sexist comments and women being constantly objectified over how pretty and sexy they are. Obviously we're all going to admire how someone looks, but when it's all that matters, what's gone wrong here? We were born with brains, don't they count? I'm just sick of how image based the world is. Every time I see a supermodel, a pop star or girl group or an actress - I'm made to feel I'll never match up.  

Women still aren't paid equally and don't get the same opportunities as men in some careers. It's still hard for a women to make it out there and break the glass ceiling - couple this with the possibility of starting a family as well and women are still fighting to be heard and prove themselves.

I think in a post Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus world, women have got to shout louder than ever to be heard and prove themselves. I'm so glad Lily has come back to fight the good fight and inspire women again because I was starting to think we'd lost our way in the mainstream. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Your Twenties - Expectation vs Reality

When I was a teenager, I imagined that a few years into my twenties, I'd have my life sorted and would be well on my way to success and happiness. Fast forward to me approaching my mid twenties and things haven't exactly gone to my overly ambitious plan.

The frustrating thing about your twenties is that it doesn't usually look like what you expected it to. As teenagers or students still in education, we like to imagine that at the end of years of following the path set for us, everything will work out by the end and slot into place. Most of us have ambitions and an image of where we'd like to be.

However for me and many other people my age, it hasn't exactly worked out. A long recession saw to that and has seen many of us finding ourselves still living at home and wondering where the hell our lives are going. Even for those who have managed to fly the nest, low paying jobs have meant living by a tight budget and disappointing living conditions. 

Maybe I'm alone in my previously ambitious view of my future, but when I was 18 and imagined my life five years into the future (and I did) I expected to be well established into a career, have a nice flat and a wardrobe of designer items. Boy was I wrong.

Perhaps this is a right of passage for your twenties, but not one we are prepared for thanks to novels, TV shows and films usually showing us well established twenty-somethings. I think Girls was the first to show us a realistic perspective and attitude, and I am obsessively in love with the show, but let's be real here - the four girls still manage to afford to live in New York and live pretty fabulous lives even if it isn't SATC degree of fabulous.

It seems that for many of us, not blessed with a silver spoon or useful contacts, your twenties is the school of hard knocks and this is where we do the growing we need to become relatively well established thirty year olds. But then again, could I be writing this blog in ten years time with the same line of 'It wasn't how I thought it would be'? Perhaps the simple truth is that you never know where your life is going and what the future holds. There is a famous line in a Sex and the City episode that goes: That's the key to having it all: stop expecting it to look like what you thought it was going to look like. 

At the start of every year, I try and imagine where I will be by the end of it. It's a pointless task, because the simple truth is that I have no idea. At the end of every year, I think over everything that has happened and realise how I could of never have predicted parts of it. I think this year, this will be particularly true, thanks to an unexpected health problem and resulting surgery. How could I have predicted that?

In many ways, I feel that your twenties is a confusing decade. You're young but old, irresponsible but responsible, naive but experienced. You're constantly growing and trying to improve and establish yourself that you don't know whether you're coming or going. Then there is the peer pressure and friendly competition. Friends and peers are getting their dream jobs, travelling, getting married and having babies and you begin to feel left behind and lost, wondering when it's your turn. While so and so meets the love of their life, buys a house and runs a company, you find yourself still never having had a serious relationship, living at your parents house and still only just beginning your career.

I suppose in a way, it's this frustration that keeps us going and teaches us life lessons to hold close and allow us to grow. It just happens to different people at different times and hopefully for good reason. Without life envy, what would push us to strive for our own dreams? If everything happened how we imagined and hoped, what could we possibly hope to learn?

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

5 Things That Suck About Recovering from Surgery

Hello All,

I am in the process of considering setting up a new blog as I've been so bloody useless on this one and I need some more direction and organisation and discipline but while I think of a name, theme and general approach, I'll stick to this one. Failing that, maybe I'll raise this blog like a phoenix from the ashes and actually update it.

Meanwhile, I had surgery last week and am currently dealing with the unadulterated boredom of post-surgery recovery. All is fine, just a slight little health hiccup which I hope is behind me now, but as my first experience of open surgery, it was a scary time. Not to mention painful.

So here are a few things that suck about recovering from surgery:


The problem with post-surgery is that you have to take it easy and for the most part, that means a lot of staying at home - avoiding the dangerous outside and the threat of people bumping into you. Yes when we work full time, nothing sounds more perfect that lazing on the sofa and watching daytime TV, but after a few days of that and not much opportunity to go out - it gets really boring, really fast.

I have a lot of things to keep me occupied - my new Mac which I'm typing this on, 3 new books, 10 magazines and countless DVDs but it's the kind of boredom where you literally can't be bothered to do anything to get you out of this mindset.

2. Exhaustion

Obviously, surgery is quite a lot for your body to go through and as a result it takes a while to recover fully from it. The rest you need to take can also play havoc with your stamina. I had my surgery on Monday September 2 and I've only been out twice since the surgery. Both times, I've felt absolutely exhausted after. It feels so good to get out the house but it's becoming clear this is something I need to do slow and steady. It seems that as much as you want to get back to normal life, you have to listen to your body and take it a day at a time.

3. The General Public

I'm not the general public's biggest fan at the best of times, but post-surgery you have to become some kind of Terminator type scanner to seek out potential risks. These people don't know you have a healing wound about your person and don't understand how much pain or damage they could do to you if the were to bump into you. Therefore you have to be the one to dodge their oblivious strolling as they walk with their head in their phone and feet on auto-pilot. Constantly being on red alert is extremely draining and makes shopping much less enjoyable and much more obstacle course.

4. Restricted Mobility

I've had abdominal surgery, which is making anything from sitting, lying, bending and even stretching, a difficult and painful task. For someone that likes to rush around fast and get what they need, I've had to dramatically slow down and take my time. I've had to come up with ways to get what I need, which means I've developed an awkward lunge if I need to get anything below waist level. I have to lower myself to sit down like a pregnant lady. Getting things off the floor? Don't even think about it.

5. Dropping Things

Since I can't bend down or get anything that's on the floor (unless I can grab them with my feet), I've had to deal with the fact that if I drop something, it stays on the floor until somebody can help me out. My hands seem to think this is hilarious and have mysteriously became completely useless since surgery. This has seen me continually drop things and leave a trail of mess wherever I go or calling for help. In shops, if something falls off the hanger, I've had to become one of those dickheads that ignores it, because I can't pick it up!

Because I don't look pregnant or injured, I'm fairly certain I just look like a slow walking, lazy weirdo. It's not immeditely obvious that I've had surgery, which is a good thing, but it means people aren't aware of why I'm acting strangely. But let's face it, even if there was a badge I could wear that said 'I've just had surgery - give me space and patience', I wouldn't wear it anyway and everyone would be too intrigued in their smartphones to give it any attention.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Have You Been Working Out?

Answer: Yes, yes I have.

I have never been one for exercise. Ever. As a child, I failed at every sport I ever tried and it discouraged me. So once I got to high school, I didn't even try and bother and put in the minimum I could get away with. I have always despised PE.

But this month, I've decided to make a change. After piling on weight at Uni with chocolate and take aways, I haven't been looking my best the past few years.

Spurred on by a holiday in June, I've finally decided to do something about it. After all, I didn't wanna feel entirely self conscious in a bikini again.

I also realised what's been said for years. That it's diet AND exercise that help you lose weight. While I've tried diets in the past, I've never really got on board with the whole exercise thing.

But that's changed. It's early days but I've been strict with my diet, walking the mile and a half home (with many steep inclines may I add) as well as doing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred.

You may have heard of it, there's been a lot of buzz about it on the internet. That's why I tried it out. It's tough, and after the first workout, I was in a world of pain, but I've persevered and it's getting easier everyday.

I knew a workout DVD would be the best option for me. I have a long working day and limited money as well as living in a village and not being able to drive - so the gym or exercise classes weren't entirely ideal.

This 20 minute workout is based on high intensity circuits of abs, strength and cardio. The idea is you do it every day for a month and you see results. Hence the name. I'm going to try it over 2, so with any luck I'll have a sexy bikini bod by June.

I'm only just over a week in on the DVD, so I'll have to let you know how it goes but I'm already feeling fitter and better about myself. I actually don't mind doing it and go ahead and make myself do it as its only 20 minutes of my time and I can feel better about myself when it's done.

I think I finally realised that if you want to lose weight, you can't just wait around for it to happen. It actually takes a lot of work and discipline and if I want to feel better about myself - I need to make it happen for myself.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Beer pong, cake fights and a caravan - A day with CVUK

I've just found out I can blog from an app, so excuse any mistakes. This may have to do until I can afford a new laptop as my dell is on its last legs.

Yesterday I spent the day with California Vintage UK and 14 girls in a caravan in the countryside. And it was one of the most enjoyable days I've ever had.

We were filming a video promo for spring and took our pick out of CVUK's fabulous collection of vintage apparel all the way from California before heading to a caravan to have an American themed party.

Within possibly the coolest interior of a caravan I have ever seen was a table of all the sweetest treats you could ever desire - including a two tiered green and pink pastel coloured cake, brownies, cookies and candy apples (Which are chocolate. covered apples in the US - who knew?) .

We began by playing beer pong - which despite 3 years of Uni, I have never played. We even had the authentic American red solo cups. Who knew that beer pong was my hidden sporting ability?! A game that possesses short distance throwing ability and alcohol - Americans have the best ideas.

We had the ability to be as creative as we wanted - we drew over the ceiling with chalk, tried on hats and stuffed our faces with food. As we all enjoyed a slice of the cake, icing was smushed into girls faces, cake was thrown and chaos ensued.

The shoot was like a day long party where we got to drink beer, dress in vintage finery and dance to amazing music. At one point we were dancing so hard that the caravan was rocking violently, bottles were falling over and chalk dust was falling off the ceiling. It was good old fashioned fun and I could of stayed there forever.

The team behind California Vintage are among the most creative I have ever met. They're fresh, exciting and bring a new approach to vintage that my area hasn't seen. I love their collection of clothes and have already bought a few items. Look them up on Facebook and Instagram because they're destined for big things.

I'll repost the promo when it's done and I also want to interview them for the blog - but first I want it all made over and pretty.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Girls and my massive girl crush on Lena Dunham


I am in love with Lena Dunham.

I am prone to developing girl crushes on particularly amazing women, but none have stole my heart quite like the fabulous Lena Dunham. This writer, director and actor has a talent so large, that it's baffling how she can be so amazing at so many things. But she is, and she gets our generation of women like nobody else. Mainly because she is one of us.

For years I've failed to relate to any of the women I see in films and TV. Yeah I always loved Sex and the City and have quoted Carrie Bradshaw for years, but these women were rich and affluent and had no problems pulling - not to mention they were in their thirties.

But with Girls, it has a realism unlike anything else I've seen. It doesn't strive for the happy ending or the fantasy - it deals with young women trying to find their way in the world. At this time in my life, it's describing me perfectly.

The thing about Lena is that she's not afraid to give herself fully to her work. She's so honest and relatable, that every week of watching her show I just want to shout 'THAT'S ME!'. I relate to Girls and Lena's film Tiny Furniture like nothing else I've watched.

As Hannah Horvath in Girls, Lena embodies things that I see in myself but would rather not admit. She's slightly narcissistic, she throws herself into relationships with toxic boys, panics if things get too serious, argues her point to the end and she's a writer. 

Her group of friends, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna are just as perfectly written. Marnie is beautiful but uptight, Jessa is fabulous, witty and unpredictable and Shoshanna is sweet and clueless. All these women are relatable and have made Girls a perfect depiction of our generation.

I am addicted to this show, series one was fabulous and series two has just started back on Sky Atlantic. I beg you all to watch it, Lena is an awe inspiring talent, and watching her work makes me feel like I'm not entirely alone.

One Year Later...

Well it's been a while...

I really have been an awful blogger and all I can say is that I'm sorry for that. I said I'd blog loads and I didn't. But this time I will really try. I've been reading a lot of other blogs and writing a lot for work, and it's something I really want to get back into. I have lots of ideas, but I'm not really sure if I'll keep it a mix of many things, or try my hand at a fashion blog or specialise in feminism. I'm also really interested in Vlogging, so we'll see.

Let me explain myself, 2012 was a fairly busy year for me. I interned for the first five months, had a holiday, looked for a job for two months, interned for another month and then got a job as a copywriter. I spent much of my year working full time and commuting, so I wasn't entirely inspired or filled with enough energy to write anything. But I need to stop spending my spare time sleeping, so I'm really going to try and be strict with myself over blogging again. I need some kind of outlet where I can be creative and talk about things I care about.

So, what have I learnt in the past year?

1. That Lena Dunham gets me like nobody else. Expect a lengthy blog about how amazing Girls is.

2. It is quite possible I will die alone. Men are baffling.

3. Becoming a journalist is a lot harder than I thought.

4. That people will role their eyes when you try to explain why feminism is relevant to them, but it's worth debating it with them anyway.

5. That I need to live in London already.

I promise I'll do a proper post soon. Maybe even straight after this one. Just thought it would have been weird if I'd come back and ignored my year long silence.