Tuesday, 30 December 2014

My New Years Resolutions

New Years is of course a massive cliche and I've been through enough disappointing New Year's Eves and broken resolutions to know better than thinking a new year will bring about life changing events and I'm pretty sure if I see another 'New Year, New Me' status, my eyes will roll out of my skull but it is a good opportunity to rethink some things and bring about some small changes that can make a big difference. So here are mine:

1. Write More

Writing is part of my job and I have blogged more frequently this year, but I really want to make a conscious effort to write even more and produce a more polished blog as well as revisit creative writing. I bought myself 642 Things to Write About and have not filled in nearly enough of it, so in 2015 I want to get that book finished and keep honing my skill.

2. Get Back on the Health and Fitness Track

This year I made really good progress on losing weight and getting fit, but in the latter half of the year I went off kilter and didn't get back into a routine. I want to get that routine back, get into better shape and lose weight. There is no way I want to go back to what I was and now is as good a time as any with Christmas out the way. This does mean the gym is going to be pure hell.

3. Go to New York

This is already in the planning stages and saving but I want to go New York in May for my 25th birthday. So lets get those flights booked, money saved up and get me to my favourite city in the world in about 5 months time. This is going to require strict saving - time to be good. At least this time I'll be able to drink and explore a bit more of that famous New York nightlife.

4. Read More

I really want to get more reading done in 2015, despite getting though a few this year, there are still so many books I want to read and I'd like to avoid the distractions of social media and TV and get through books quicker next year!

5. Spend Less

With a trip to New York planned, I need to stop shopping and making my money disappear and actually save money to spend when I'm out there and survive the months without using my overdraft or finding I've not left enough over for rent and bills. Time to get financially responsible!

6. Get a Social Life or Get Busy

I spend too many weekends and evenings on the sofa doing nothing, so I really need to get a bit more busy and social to stop me feeling frustrated and hopefully make new friends and plans. It really would be nice to go into work on Mondays and have a better reply to 'What did you do this weekend' than 'Absolutely nothing'.

7. Be Charitable

I did the Moonwalk this year, which was challenging but felt like such an achievement by the end. I also organised two bake sales at work. For 2015, I want to keep the charity up and challenge myself once again and do more. You really can't take life for granted.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

A Year in Review

With only three days left of 2014 and with Christmas over and thoughts of the new year ahead - we start thinking about the year that has passed and what to expect from the new one. There's nothing quite like a new year to pull you out of your slump of passing days and become just how aware time is moving.

2015 will see me turn 25, an age that sees me on this world for a quarter of a century and closer to 30 than I would like to be. 25 was always a year I tried to envision myself at, imagining I'd be well established in a career, living in a nice place and with plenty of money and a boyfriend. LOL.

In reality, I'm writing this in my freezing studio apartment, alone and preparing leftovers for dinner. It's funny how life works out but if you learn anything in your mid twenties it's that your teenage views of life in your twenties were severely misjudged - especially for my generation.

This past year seems to have sped past, but then they always do. I'd like to think this year has been slightly more positive and productive than the year before. For one thing, it didn't involve major surgery and I did walk 13.5 miles for a good cause. I also got to visit Barcelona for my 24th birthday, a gorgeous city which involved even more walking and a fabulous cocktail bar.

For my 25th, I'm looking at going to New York - mainly because I've wanted to go again, it's a good time to go and if it's one thing that's going to make me forget turning 25 - it's the bright lights and big city of New York - my one true love.

But first, the start of the year sees one of my best friends having a baby and I can't wait - it's been amazing watching her grow over these months and I can't quite fathom her with a baby, that is part her, that she grew for nine months. Reproduction is weird. Especially when it's your best friend and feels like it could almost be you. It's going to be an interesting time and reminds me all too much that we're growing up from the 16 and 17 year olds that met 8 years ago at college, used to get drunk on the train and go to underage gigs.

I've learnt not to try and plan or guess your year ahead. The thing that often scares me about a new year is that you don't know where you'll be by the end of it. So bring on 2015, bring on babies, bring on New York and bring on the unknown.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Why I'm Pro-Choice

This week a video went viral of a pregnant passer-by challenging anti-abortion protestors outside a London clinic. This woman has been praised by many and has drawn attention and donations to the charity she works for which helps vulnerable young people.

What Abort 67 were doing was disgusting - standing outside an abortion clinic, brandishing cameras and displaying graphic abortion pictures. They say they are defending the rights of an unborn child, but what about the rights of a vulnerable mother? Doesn't she get a choice?

Abortion has be legal in the UK since the Abortion Act 1967, yet it still remains a subject of massive controversy and taboo. A split issue that some will strongly support and some will strongly oppose.

But the fact is, abortion is the mother's choice and it is up to nobody else to judge. I feel proud to live in a country where we give women this choice. Ireland doesn't and if politicians get their way in the US - it may not be legal there much longer.

Having abortion legalised is so so important, before it was legal many women put themselves in danger going through with illegal abortions and if it was criminalised - it would only push the practise underground.

I don't for a second believe that going through with an abortion is an easy choice, therefore it is infuriating to see protestors such as these vilifying and terrorising women who have made this choice. They have their own reasons for making this choice and it is not right to film, preach or intimidate them.

The mother may have been raped or abused, have mental health issues or just not want or be ready for a baby. It is their choice  and is not for other people to decide what they do with their own body.

If these people were standing on the street promoting terrorism or racism, they would be escorted off the street by the police so why is this allowed? Women need to be protected and feel they have safety to seek help if they need it.

Whatever you own beliefs about abortion, it is not up to you to push your own views on other people and the choice lies solely with the mother. That's why I'm pro-choice and that's why I admire the woman that spoke out immensely - she shut up those protestors and bought attention to this issue. I know I would speak out if I saw pro-life protestors intimidating women.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

We've Come Full Circle

It's hard to believe that we're entering the last month of the year and this Christmas is now a matter of weeks away and it's time to put up your decorations, put on your favourite christmas songs, do your present shopping and drink plenty of mulled drinks.

I'm from the camp where you don't get excited about Christmas until December, so from Monday I can start my advent calendar and get all christmassy without feeling weird. Surprisingly, I'm pretty efficient this year and only have four more people to buy for - so there isn't that sheer panic about getting it all done and working out how I will afford it all.

I've been trying to get more responsible about money, as you may know I'm trying to save up to go to New York for my 25th which is going to of course require discipline. This has been attempted the past few months, but I've had to take the money back out again, but from this month on I'm refusing. Even if I do have to live off pasta.

Black Friday was not easy on me and I did buy a few things, but I think I remained somewhat restrained. Maybe…possibly…kinda. My best purchase was my Dolche Gusto coffee machine which I'm a little bit in love with. I'm the type of person who can't function without caffeine in the morning - so it's just about perfect to get me started before work.

November was a long and boring month, but December is working out to be a busy month and I can't wait to see friends and family and enjoy delicious food and drink. Believe me, as a person on limited funds living alone - I am SO READY for that Christmas dinner and being sent home with leftovers.

This week I'm off to Winter Wonderland, which is sure to get me throughly into the Christmas mood. The best thing will be seeing my niece and nephews taking in the magic of it all and of course all the food and shopping stalls as well as our cheeky trip to Harrods.

It's hard to believe another year is coming to an end, it's been quite an eventful one. I lost weight and got into exercise (which is kind of failing at the moment :/) and made a huge change to my body and confidence. Prompted by family loss and my new found fitness, I completed the Half Moonwalk which was such an amazing experience.

I think it was important for me to make positive change this year following a difficult year in 2013 and my health problems. This year hasn't entirely been smooth sailing, but I think I'm getting a slightly more positive head on my shoulders.

Next year is going to be so exciting, my best friend is having a baby in January which just gets it off to the best start and I can't wait for baby cuddles. I'm also of course working towards New York, which is exciting and I couldn't think of anywhere better to celebrate/mourn turning 25.

So with another year over - bring it all on I say. Bring on Christmas. Now I have to work out how to decorate my shoebox studio flat and make it somehow festive when I can't fit a tree in anywhere. How are you celebrating Christmas this year?

Sunday, 9 November 2014

The Day My McBusted Fangirl Dreams Came True

So about a month ago I spent nine hours on a McBusted video shoot for their first single 'Air Guitar', but was sworn to secrecy until it aired and finally it aired this week and I spotted myself jumping like a maniac.

When James and Matt from Busted and McFly decided to join forces to create a supergroup, there were mixed opinions among the fan community and there still is, but I for one, was ecstatic. I was at that Albert Hall show, recovering from surgery but determined not to miss out, to see them perform together for the first time as part of McFly's tenth anniversary shows and I was as happy as a fan could be when that happened. Nuala, my best friend, even asked if I was going to cry.

A year and a bit later, I found myself on the set of McBusted's first video shoot, not quite able to believe my eyes. I'd responded to a post on their Facebook page with the educated guess it would be a video shoot and got chosen. At 24, I was worried about being the oldest one there and I was, but all the fans I met on the day were lovely and I'm just sorry we never managed to swap details. There was no competition or in-fighting - we all shared a love for a band and it was as simple as that.

Now I've been following Busted and McFly since the beginning, developing a love for Busted at 12 and then McFly followed. Despite it being 12 years later, approaching my mid-twenties and a lot of growing and of course the devastating Busted split, my love for the band has not diminished - much to the amusement of my peers. Although I'd like to say now I'm an adult - my fandom is somewhat more controlled except for persistently going to each tour and following their progress. I think the tour next year could be my 18th show.

The video shoot wasn't my first, I've previously been part of the crowd for the Stargirl video when I was 16, but you couldn't see me at all and involved a lot of waiting along a residential street until we were needed two hours after they said. It was fun, but short and I didn't get to meet any of the band. Thankfully, I did get to meet the band later that year, when my friend Hannah won a Meet and Greet and kindly offered to take me.

But back to this event in my long and prosperous fandom career, there I found myself on a sound stage at Warner Bros Studios (as a film fan this was insane) and there were the boys - no more than a few feet away from me for the majority of a nine hour day. I'm happy to say that despite the long day they'd probably had, the band was kind, friendly and gave plenty of time to us fans across the day. I got a chance to talk to all of them and thankfully not fangirl. The thing is, despite my love for these guys, both times I've met them I've actually been calm and collected - possibly because I feel so familiar with them and also because they are just so down to earth and friendly.

They often say don't meet your idols, but with the men of McBusted I've never had to worry about that because they've always been so friendly and appreciative of their fans. They really are the lovely guys they seem with a cheeky sense of humour.

As expected, I was part of a crowd scene but unlike generic crowd scenes, we were actually spread around a circle, which gave us more of a chance to be seen. Now maybe I'm unfit (I am), but jumping up and down like you mean it for 3 minutes at a time under stage lights is actually incredibly tiring. We were told to give it our all and we really did - but bloody hell I'm getting too old for that shit.

It was interesting to see how a video comes together across a day and the amount of work it takes to create a three minute music video which is cut incredibly fast. It's also interesting to see which scenes make the cut and which don't.

I wondered if I would make the video, I joked because I had been in so many scenes and quite central that I better be - and I am. I can spy myself at multiple points the more I watch it - which is pretty cool because how many people can say they're in a music video, much less one of their idols and that's something I can always look back on.

Sure I cringe a tad at my jumping, air drumming (wtf?) and quite frankly scary face pulling but I can say that the day was worth it and I'm happy to have met a band I adore and admire and got to spend so much time with them. Now watch the video and see if you can spot me:

Sunday, 2 November 2014

REVIEW: Not That Kind of Girl - A Young Woman Tells You What She's 'Learned'

I have finished Lena Dunham's 265 page book in under two days, gripped by its honesty, humour and hurt. Since receiving my book on Friday evening when I saw Lena talk, I have barely shut up about her online and I'm fairly certain everybody is sick of me praising her. But I wanted to review the book when it was fresh in my mind and when my Lena hype was still at its maximum.

Ever since it was announced that Lena was writing a book, I have been excited to read it. As a fan of all her work, I was interested to see what she would write about and see another side of her writing. Not That Kind of Girl is a book of autobiographical essays, charting experiences in her life. The book isn't chronological and skips through different parts of her life through the different sections - Love and Sex, Body, Friendship, Work and Big Picture.

Although Lena has led somewhat of a more privileged life, raised by two artists in New York and has had her own set of psychological problems - I relate to so much of what she said. It doesn't matter what lot you have in life, we can all experience the same anxieties and insecurities.

I found myself nodding and agreeing to her admissions of feelings towards sex, love, health, parental relationships, friendships and work ethic. I had always related to her work and I related to her real life thoughts and experiences just as much.

Me and Lena have had a similar penchant for falling for jerks, making terrible ill-thought out mistakes and being somewhat self-obsessed but also hugely self-conscious. It's a relief not to have to read about someones perfect life and experiences and instead find out you're not alone and somebody completely inspiring can have their own flaws, imperfections and deep anxieties. It gives me the inspiration to achieve my own dreams and write the truth no matter how flawed because the world needs to hear it, it needs to understand you don't have to be perfect to achieve and be worthwhile.

There are quotes within this book that I will keep with me and will look back on and repeat and quote to others. Lena is an inspiring woman and I admire her more than ever following this past weekend. I implore you all to read this book.

I understand people have their own reservations about Lena, be it her unapologetic honesty, her so-called 'privilege' or the idiotic comments and views of republicans who retweeted my last blog - but do you research, read the truth, understand her true beliefs and intentions and educate yourselves rather than jumping to conclusions.

I will treasure this book forever and look forward to seeing what Lena's incredible writing and creativity brings out next.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Lena Dunham - Girl Hero

It is no secret how much I love Lena Dunham. She is a woman I have related to more than anyone else in my life and it means so much to have an idol that represents so much that I have experienced and believe in.

It can be quite frustrating airing my admiration for Lena to others, because despite her award winning show and worldwide presence, I still get blank looks when I say her name. She still manages to be unknown by some and I just want to sit them down and show them all her work and make them see her genius.

Last night, I was lucky enough to see Lena Dunham talk at the Southbank Centre on her book tour. When the tickets went on sale a few months back, it was essential that I got my hands on the tickets and lord have mercy if I didn't. Luckily I did, and my ticket included a signed copy of Lena's book 'Not That Kind of Girl'.

Since I first found out about Lena Dunham, shortly after Tiny Furniture and slightly before Girls premiered in the UK, I have admired her. She was a young woman, not much older than me, and she was finally airing what it was to be a twenty-something right now. Not the privileged life of the upper east side, not the unrealistic life of a new york writer who can still afford designer shoes but real brutal twenty-something women who were making mistakes, still yet to find out who they were and what they were doing with their life and had obvious flaws and all the while it was funny!

When I sat down to watch Girls when it premiered on UK TV, I was excited and curious to see if it was really as great as everyone had said and I wasn't disappointed. As that first episode premiered and before even the first ad break, I was a convert. I was Hannah Horvath, that was me, Lena Dunham had explained me in a way I never thought possible. I was in love with this show.

As the seasons have continued and Lena has become higher profile, that love and admiration has not diminished and every episode makes me fall in love with her a little bit more. I am on tenterhooks for the forth season.

Last night, seeing her in real life and being in the presence of her genius just highlighted how much I admire her and what a genuine, funny and intelligent woman she is. Interviewed by Caitlin Moran (another hero of mine) - she had the crowd in the palm of her hand as she made them laugh, clap in admiration and think about important issues.

The reason Lena became so celebrated is for her unapologetic brand of feminism. She was producing films and TV that featured strong leading female characters who had strong views, strong minds and made mistakes like the rest of us. They didn't have perfect jobs, they had trouble achieving their dream job paths, they lusted over inappropriate men and they had messy sex. Her work is a breath of fresh air when sex and female leads have always been made to seem to perfect and flawless.

As she talked last night, I felt myself relate to her even more, as she talked about having more pyjamas than clothes me and my best friend Zoe smirked as we knew that was me.

Lena, like me, believes in the equality of everyone - be that race, sexuality and sex. She highlighted how women in the industry are judged for how much they make and what they are doing with it, while men are not. The same with how they look, when was the last time you heard about how a male actor looked when a whole industry is made from judging how women do. Lena's red carpet style is fun and represents her, she is not afraid to take risks and wears what she wants - not what will get her on the 'best dressed' list.

Near the end of the event, they invited questions from the audience and I got up without hesitation to approach the microphone. As I stood at that microphone that was taller than me and waited as Caitlin asked Lena some quick fire questions, my mouth went dry and my heart beat fast. Was I really going to ask Lena a question in front of over 2000 people?

As it happened, I did, in fact I was the first one to ask a question. I asked what we could expect from the forth season of a Girls and Lena and Caitlin both said it was a great question and told me how Hannah will be going to grad school and how it was important for the character to take that step. She also hinted earlier in the evening about a birth in the show.

Even now, 24 hours after the event, it is kind of sinking in what I did. I asked Lena Dunham a question in front of a full auditorium of people. To think that Lena Dunham and Caitlin Moran directly addressed and looked at me is insane and I love that I can kind of say I interviewed Lena Dunham. As someone that hates public speaking and dreads even speaking up in a small meeting, let alone 2000 people, I'm proud of myself for just going for it before I could over think and berate myself for missing a chance. Yay for bravery.

Last night I came away proud to be a woman and inspired - with my love for Lena more than ever. I've started reading her book and hope to finish it before the weekend is up. Her honesty is overwhelming and her experiences interesting and relatable at times. Some of the things she says directly mirror my own deepest thoughts. I'll let you know my full thoughts and views once I finish the book, but I already encourage you to read it.

As a writer, I want to be able to put my thoughts, feelings and experiences down in such a poetic way and have even an iota of the success Lena has had. A writer, director and actress - she truly is an amazing woman and I don't know how she does it.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

My Body, My Decision

I've just read an article in this weeks Stylist magazine (8/10/14 - guest edited by Lena Dunham) and am so frustrated and angry at the state of women's rights and healthcare in America that I just had to take to the blog.

While I am a strong believer in women's rights for women all over the world, particularly in less developed countries where women are treated like second class citizens and have almost no rights, I was frankly shocked at the state of women's rights in highly developed countries such as America and Ireland.

I've been following the contraception  and abortion debate in America for some time now and am well aware of the struggle women are facing there. I'm afraid I'm not fully educated on everything but this article spelled a lot of it out for me and highlighted what I already knew - that many republican politicians are trying and succeeding at controlling women's rights to contraception and abortion.

As US activist Sarah Sophie Flicker highlights in her article - In the past four years, more than 200 laws restricting abortion rights were put into practice in the US. As we all know, America doesn't have a system like the NHS and most access to healthcare is via insurance or Medicaid for low-income families. This means that birth control is costly and not as readily available as it is here in the UK.

Sarah highlights that birth control pills can vary from $15-$150 per month depending on insurance cover and where you live. Under The Affordable Care Act - some plans provide birth control free but if the plan falls under any religious exclusions or is associated with a non-profit organisation then it doesn't apply.

To put the situation into perspective, here are some shocking statistics from the article:

  • In 31 American states, a rapist can sue a woman for custody or visitation rights of a child birthed from rape, 
  • 87% of all US counties have no abortion provider
  • In 13 states a pharmacist can legally refuse to dispense birth control despite a prescription
  • 26 states have waiting periods for abortion
  • In the first six months of 2014, Republican state houses introduced 468 bills to regulate women's bodies. Surprise, surprise - no such laws for men. 
  • Last month, every single Republican senator voted against a bill to help women get equal pay
How these statistics can exist in 2014 in a developed country such as America is baffling to me. What these politicians and laws are saying is that women who have unplanned pregnancies have uncontrollable libidos and that if we want birth control it's because we're easy and want to have lots of casual sex (which there is nothing wrong with). They also imply that if we were raped that we must have been drunk or wearing something provocative and that it was our own fault. That women shouldn't have sex unless we want it to result in a baby.

My understanding is that many of these beliefs in America come from the far right religious Republicans and that they are letting their far outdated Catholic or Christian beliefs take over. You can't impose these religious beliefs on an entire country. Follow the religious beliefs that you want, but to impose them on the women of an entire country is wrong. If you're going to be as militant Christian to that degree, how are you any less worse than the extreme terrorists we are currently fighting against?

But I don't want to get into an argument about religion, personally I'm an atheist. But just like I don't push my atheism on those who are religious, I don't expect them to push their beliefs on something as serious as law and healthcare.

Even those who aren't religious have their own strong believes on abortion. I am pro-choice and believe women should have access to free abortion and be supported through this process but I of course believe it should by no means be used as a form of contraception (which is possibly more of a fabricated lie from the media than something that actually happens). Abortion is by no means an easy decision for a woman to make, but for some, pregnancy is just not a viable option because of various circumstances. Whatever your beliefs or experiences, all women need access to abortion and birth control to allow them to take control of their own bodies. You can't force women to go through with pregnancies they don't want or aren't ready for - this is both unhealthy for the mother and baby. 

I am so thankful to live in the UK, where thanks to the NHS, women to have access to these services and that we are provided with free birth control and access to abortion. This is so important. But you may be shocked to know that in Northern Ireland and Ireland, abortion is still illegal, even in instances of rape and is punishable by a life sentence. The only time it is permitted is if a women's life is in danger but as a recent news story revealed - this doesn't always work out either when it resulted in the death of a woman who was refused an abortion. These women have to travel to countries where it is legal, such as the UK, to access these services.

Demonise women who seek abortions all you want, but I think access to these rights is so so important and I hope my country and countries around the world will provide these services to women and allow them to make their own decisions about their body.

To find out more about the campaign Lady Parts Justice, click here. 

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Life in Your Early Twenties vs Life in Your Mid Twenties

When you're in your teens, it never really seems as if life would change much between your early twenties to mid twenties but in reality - you might do more growing than you think. Your twenties are when you do some of the most growing you ever will, and maturity might reap it's ugly head sooner than you think.

1. Going Out Every Weekend vs Rarely Going Out At All

In your early twenties, almost every weekend is filled with plans with your friends to hit the town and get extremely drunk in the process. However, once full time jobs get in the way, you're grateful of any rest you can get and making plans just to see your friends at all is hard enough, let alone plan a night out everybody can do. Soon you learn to appreciate the sweet relief of a night on the sofa with a glass of wine or a mug of tea and a nice early night. Before you know it, it's been months since your last night out and you're wondering what happened to any form of social life. Then, when you do go out - you're lucky to make it past 1am.

2. Super Noodles vs A Home Cooked Round Meal

If you were a student or even just a growing adult looking to fill your stomach, convenience was everything and you were happy to stuff your face as long as it was quick and easy. Cue a diet of super noodles, pasta or frozen food. Of course this is still prevalent in your mid twenties, but you've learnt to appreciate the value of a square meal and have a few home cooked meals in your arsenal to pull out on a lazy sunday or when you can't blag an invite to a family roast dinner.

3. Spending All Your Money vs Trying to Form Some Kind of Budget

This is one I'm still struggling with as I can't budget for toffee, but compared to the days when you would spend all your money on drinking, fast food and clothes - you've acquired a few more responsibilities and have to account for those with your monthly wage such a rent, food and bills. Unlike in your early twenties, it soon becomes rather tiresome and humiliating to run to your parents for money every time.

4. Buying Budget vs Learning You Get What You Pay For

As much as you love a good supermarket value bargain or a quick dash in Primark, as you reach your mid twenties you begin to learn that sometimes you get what you pay for. That perhaps, sometimes it pays to spend a little more on staple pieces such as jeans and trousers because they last longer. That high-end make up might just be worth it and that you really can taste the difference when you spend a bit more on food and drink. No more boxed wine for you.

5. Ignoring Your Health vs Caring About Your Health

Previously you'd either ignore or try and sleep off any illness but now you've discovered the wonder of pharmaceuticals and the difference between a cold and flu. Cold - you need to drag yourself to work. Flu - you literally would have to drag yourself to work because your energy has vanished and you can't remember feeling this bad. Or the difference between a hangover and food poisoning. Hangover - cured with food. Food poisoning - literally no food will stay down. You begin to appreciate your health a lot more and actually go the doctors if you spot symptoms - well if you can get an appointment around work that is. This also transfers to your diet and lifestyle too. Soon you get a nagging guilt if you eat coco pops, chocolate or a big pizza too many times in a week and instead you actually WANT to eat vegetables. You debate the merits of dairy and carbs and you actually get a gym pass and TRY and go.

6. Giving People a Chance vs Looking After No.1

You used to give people or significant others a few chances, but after a few years of putting up with other people's rubbish you soon realise there's only so many chances you can give and that sometimes people aren't worth your time. Be it friends or dates - your mid twenties are when the cull begins.

7. A Level Playing Field vs Marriage and Babies

By your mid twenties, you actually know people who are getting married, having babies and buying property. Suddenly everyone is very grown up and you're conscious of growing up yourself and just how impending your thirties really are.

8. A Late Night vs An Early Night

Before you'd be up until the early hours, either drinking with friends or wasting time on the internet - sometimes until it started getting light. Now you can't get enough of sleep and appreciate nothing more than being in bed by 10am. In fact - it's a luxury - as is at least eight hours sleep.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Are We Really Generation Wuss?

Bret Easton Ellis has branded millennials as Generation Wuss - branding us as 'over-sensitive' and 'self-obsessed' He blames our parents for over-protecting us and shielding us from the harsh realities of life. He says social media has made us narcissistic and more worried about what other people think of us than any other generation before us.

The 50-year old author says that he does sympathise with Gen Y though - growing up in the wake of 9/11 and economic crisis as well as an ever 'demeaning sexual atmosphere that places a relentless emphasis on good looks (Tinder being the most prevalent example)'.

Some older generations may agree with this analysis and it's not the first time that millennials have been branded as narcissistic. It's practically the defining quality of our generation - but is it fair to make a sweeping generalisation about an entire age group? Could we do the same with baby boomers and Gen X? We've all grown up in different sets of circumstances in an ever changing world - so of course our approach to life will vary - but is it really fair to label millennials as spoilt brats? 

As a generation - we were encouraged to go to university and promised a promising career as a result - but then the economic crisis hit and this promise crumbled. As companies disappeared, the playing field got smaller and the opportunities diminished. Suddenly - university wasn't your one stop shop to a promising and illustrious career - it just made you one of many. 

There is the thought that millennials want something for nothing. They don't want to work for their opportunities and expect them to be handed on a plate - and why this is true for some - especially those who dream of fame and fortune - it has become increasingly hard for our generation to gain opportunities. To get anywhere - particularly in the creative industries - you have to commit to working for free for years to get any opportunity to slide your way into the industry. For some - this isn't viable - particularly those outside cities who have shockingly high train tickets to pay for. 

So I think it's understandable that we've become disheartened and frustrated generation that are 'over-sensitive and desperate'. We imagined adulthood to be freeing but many of us are still living at our parents or living hand to mouth to cope.

Just as Gen X grew up in a changing social presence of increased freedom and new attitudes and the presence of youth culture - Gen Y have grown up around the increasing presence of social media and all that comes with it. We are the digital generation and our lives are lived online. Social media was born and thrived during our most formative years - so is it any wonder it's become such a huge presence in our lives? Has it affected how we view and present ourselves? Yes - but no more than previous generations trying to fit in. Of course there is more criticism of our generation and we can be targeted and abused by people we have never even met - but I would argue that rather than us being crumbling wrecks like Bret describes us - it has made us stronger. We've probably put up with more criticism than any other generation because we've opened our lives to the world.

Living our lives online has made us compare our lives more than any other generation before us - we have the constant sense of never being quite good enough or matching up to our peers. Before - you could largely avoid this unless you bumped into an old friend or compared yourselves to friends but now you have access to all of your university peers and old workmates at the touch of a button. 

Our lives are so different - can you even compare the generations? The majority of our parents were married with children in careers and owning homes within their twenties - but that's becoming increasingly unlikely for our generation who will be lucky to achieve this by their thirties. Some of us may never even own a home.

Isn't every generation of twenty-somethings lost? We're all finding our feet and while every generation will claim they did it better - we're all growing in different times and I don't think it's ever fair to compare or generalise.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Is the Quarter-Life Crisis a Thing?

If you read Buzzfeed or anything aimed at millennials - you may have heard of the 'Quarter-Life Crisis'. Before the age of the millennials  - life crises were aimed at the middle aged and those turning 30 - so is the quarter-life crisis really a thing or should those of us in our mid-twenties just shut up and get on with life? Was the quarter-life crisis really there all along?

I have to say, I'm strongly on the side of the quarter-life crisis being a thing. Your twenties are a strange time of adulthood - where you're only really just finding your feet. Out of uni and into the world of employment - your twenties are the slap in the face of reality that perhaps your dream of moving out of your parents and getting your dream job isn't as easy as you imagined.

Many of us had dreams of being in our ideal jobs by our mid-twenties but in reality - it just doesn't happen that way and life plans become a bit pointless because it's impossible to follow unrealistic targets. So when we're at the age where we thought we would be well on our career path - we're really only just finding our feet or still trying to get them through the door.

Add onto this, that in your twenties your peers begin doing very grown up things like getting married and having children while you're still single and couldn't even begin to imagine looking after a real life mini human-being when you can barely keep a house plant alive.

Soon your Facebook is filled with people getting engaged, married, buying houses, having children, having more children or travelling the world while you spend your weekends sighing at your empty bank account and watching YouTube (or is that just me?).

You find yourself desperate to get your shit together, much earlier than you ever imagined. The transition from getting pissed all the time and being carefree to having to pay rent and bills comes all too soon and like a frustrated toddler - it just isn't fair.

Already it feels like we have to have it all. We need to have the great place, the great boyfriend/girlfriend, the great job and great prospects. This seems to be the basis of all social questions and if you have no reply - well you're disappointing and boring.

Now maybe this state of mind is something that's always been there that our older peers never warned us about or maybe it depends on your circumstances if you get the quarter-life crisis at all. If everything is going to plan, you wouldn't really have much need for panic - or would you?

In this digital age of blogs, social media and more consumerism than ever - we really have no escape from being bombarded with what everyone else has. So is it any wonder we might feel insignificant or severely lagging. If you haven't found the one, the perfect job, managed to afford the bag of the season or risk debt on a monthly basis to at least fill your life with material possessions - you're not alone. There's a whole generation of us and if we're all honest with ourselves - this state of mind has probably always been there through the ages.

So as I dread my 25th birthday in May, knowing that with every year I am edging closer to 30, I can know that I'm not alone in feeling like I do and that I'm likely to face ongoing crises of life throughout the years and everything falls into place for different people at different times. And if it doesn't - well I can just have a well deserved breakdown.

Are you part of the quarter-life crisis? Are you older and have pearls of wisdom for the millennials? Let me know!

Friday, 12 September 2014

10 Things to Never Say to Me

I have been feeling frustrated and full of needless rage this week and it got me thinking about all the things people say that make me bubble with inside rage every time I hear them - so I thought I'd list them for future reference in the hope it offsets these comments as well as just allowing myself to vent without moaning anybody's ear off. Let me point out, this is not a direct or indirect form of passive aggressiveness to anybody. Just my own general frustrations!

1. "Have you got a boyfriend yet?"

My answer is the same as the last time you asked me. If you knew anything about me, you'd know that eternal spinster is a personality trait. The funniest thing about this question is the increasing worry each time I say no and 'helpful' suggestions. Believe me - I've tried it all. You can't force a boyfriend upon yourself - especially when you are a magnet for toxic men.

2. "You don't drive? How do you cope?!"

No, I don't drive. Yes I have had lessons, when I was 17 and it was expensive, scary and overwhelming. There is so much to remember and I hated being in control of a vehicle. It's not something I can go back to because I barely have enough spare money to live - let alone buy a car and learn to drive. 

3. "Why don't you try and make new friends?"

I am not three years old - if you try and make friends with strangers at 24 they give you funny looks. I do try, but people have their own impenetrable cliques by this point. I would join groups or classes - but they're surprisingly expensive. My close friends are more than enough - It's just difficult to make plans for every weekend. 

4.  "Aren't you a bit old for McBusted/McFly"

No. Never. Mcfly til I die. The supergroup of my two favourite groups of all time is like an amalgamation of all my dreams coming true. I was actually 12 when Busted hit the scene, so surely growing up with both bands makes it ok? I just stuck around for the journey and I will continue going to shows. Stop judging me!

5. "I just don't really see the point in feminism"

You don't see the point of equal pay and getting paid the same as your male counterparts? You don't see the point of abolishing sexual objectification and the sexist comments you get on a daily basis? You don't see the point of having women portrayed fairly in the media? OK THEN.

6. "What's it like living alone?"

Peaceful, liberating but LONELY. 

7. "You have too many clothes / need to stop shopping."


8. "Have you tried *insert food* - you might like it."

NO. It looks gross. It smells gross. Keep the seafood to yourself.

9. "What do you eat then?"

Meat, potatoes in many forms, cake in many forms…ANYTHING BEIGE AND BLAND.

10. "How are you already poor a week after payday?"

I am terrible with money and don't have much spare anyway. You do the math. 

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The Problem With Body Hair

I've debated doing this blog, because I know the general consensus over body hair, but I think it's an issue that needs addressing and talking about.

As a feminist, I've often had my own debates with myself over body hair and while I do admire women brave enough to grow - I just can't do it. Now I don't believe this makes me any less of a feminist - we come in all shapes and sizes - but why is it that I feel so pressured to reach for the razor?

As soon as a girl enters puberty (and for me it was extremely early) they are almost instantly persuaded to rid themselves of their new found body hair. We are bombarded with pictures and advertisements in the media telling us that we need to keep our skin silky and smooth and hairless.

A recent Veet advertisement implied that if you let your hair growth slip - then you risked looking like a dude. But really, why does it seem so unnatural for a woman to have body hair when body hair is actually a very natural thing? Less than 100 years ago, it was fairly common for women to have body hair until an advertiser came along, said it was ugly, and that women needed to rid themselves of hair to be attractive and womanly. Up until as recently as the 70s and before the rise of porn - it was also very normal for women to have fully grown bushes too!

I've heard and seen comments from people in reference to body hair on women like it's a disgusting thing. But actually - I admire women who feel brave enough to go against society and embrace a very natural thing.

It's something I still don't feel brave enough to do myself and it frustrates me. I'm currently in the process of growing my body hair out in preparation for a wax and I feel so uncomfortable and ugly. I've had to opt for long sleeve tops and tights or jeans to hide my hair. But why do I care so much about what other people think?

As a girl that lived her teen years through the 00s when celebrity culture was at a peak and size zero and Hollywood waxes became a thing - I have grown up in an impressionable time when focus on body image has become more important that ever.

Being told body hair is disgusting and that it is more normal for women to have none than some, has meant that I feel I have to shave and wax to feel accepted and attractive. I wish I could go against this type, but it's something I don't think I'll ever feel comfortable with.

But I want to put out my admiration for women who aren't afraid to grow body hair and plead with others not to judge them or look at their hair in disgust. What they are doing is actually very brave and think carefully about why you feel the way you do about body hair. It's a very normal thing and it frustrates me when I see people say it's disgusting. It's not disgusting, it's normal and natural. Your body hair is there for a reason just like eyebrows and the hair on your head.

Question why we don't feel the same way about body hair on men. Why are men allowed to be as hairy as they like? In fact, with men, we can often feel very opposite - and they can be judged when they don't have much body hair and choose to rid themselves of it.

Now I realise that I sound hypocritical when I choose to shave myself, but I just wanted to get you thinking about your own opinion on body hair.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Material Girl

"Because we are living in a material world and I'mma material girl."

We live in a material society where it's all about what you have and how much you have and I will freely admit I am a materialistic person. I live in a tiny studio flat, yet it is cluttered with things and I'm pretty sure if I don't stop soon it's going to look like an episode of hoarders.

Throughout my life, I never stop wanting. Whether I'm dreaming of visiting yet another place on my travelling list, lusting after the latest collection in Topshop, dreaming of Chanel or just want another bargain DVD to add to my ever-growing collection - my life revolves around stuff and the getting of it.

Currently on my top list of lust is a trip to New York, a shabby chic dressing table and Babyliss Curl Secret. I've decided I'm going to try and start saving month by month for the New York trip but that throws out the other two lusts and means months of strict savings ahead of me.

Now I know I need to see the bigger picture here, and that those months of hard work will lead to visit my favourite city once again and go on a mega spending spree - but it's going to be hard to remember that in the following months when I desperately try to save my money.

I'm coming across rather spoilt, I know it's not possible to have everything you want in life, but I can't help lusting. Some people are quite content with very little in their life, but I just want ALL THE THINGS.

Some people become alcoholics, some take drugs, some binge eat and others shop. I fall into that shopping category. I use the buying of things to fill the little space inside of me that isn't content, but like all quick fixes - it does't last for long. That emptiness appears again and you need some shiny thing to make you all smug again.

This leads to me face the same situation every month, where ridiculously early after payday, I find myself with very little money to take me through the rest of the month. It simply vanishes - but the truth is - I've spent it.

Now I have very little spare money anyway and unexpected costs like 'that bill you forgot about' or needing to pay out for new specs can lead to an unexpected dent in your spare money and not help the money situation much more.

The issue is - I live alone, I don't get to see friends much and my family are busy - so often I'm left with little to do and the only way to fill my time is shopping or internet browsing. Or lay on the sofa in frustration.

Shopping fills a void and fills me with things that make me happy like pretty dresses, gorgeous shoes, beautiful bags, cute homeware and gripping books and DVDs. But how long is that hole really filled and how much will it take until I'm content? Will I ever be? Until I get that Chanel 2.5 bag or Mulberry Alexa? Louboutin shoes or a whole counter of designer make up? Where does it end?

Thankfully, I don't go completely without. I have supportive family and have been fairly spoilt in my time. With lovely christmas gifts or ongoing debt - but I can't help but feel jealous when I see others with what I still lust for.

I know this materialism needs to go on the back burner and that to enjoy truly great things that you have to save and earn them. I just wish society would make it a tad easier and I had other stuff in my life to keep me distracted or a 6 figure salary.

So the challenge awaits - can the splurger save?

Sunday, 31 August 2014

It's Not About The Price Tag

Me experiencing being a giant in Cath Kidston, Picadilly, yesterday...

I am someone who has always wanted to live above my means, I am entirely materialistic and just want ALL THE THINGS. This is a trait I've had all my life from wanting the latest Barbie to earning the reputation of shopaholic among my colleagues - I have an issue with wanting what I can't have.

I've always been guilty of living in a bit of a fairytale world, even if that world has become more cynical over the years. I experience no greater thrill than shopping and browsing those aisles and rails of clothes, shoes, bags and make-up - filled with desire.

But this has often got me into trouble, especially now that I live on my own and have to pay for things like rent, bills and food. After all these living expenses, there's not an awful lot left for shopping. But this often doesn't stop me and my spare money to get me through the month is often mostly blown in the first week.

You'd think after five months of this cycle, that I would learn my lesson and learn how to me more responsible with money - but no. It's the same story every month. It's a bloody good deal that I don't have a credit card or a large overdraft because I would be screeeewed.

So as you can imagine, when I went to London yesterday to meet up with my best mate Zoe and get my fix of retail therapy that I was wracked with temptation. We didn't help matters by visiting three of the most expensive and luxurious stores in the city - Selfridges, Liberty of London and Fortnum & Mason.

I was surrounded by gorgeous products out of my price range or far more than I could justify paying but it was all so easy on the eyes and was the kind of window shopping I could get on board with while I dreamt of one day being wealthy enough to load my basket here as if it were no issue at all. Now it's fairly likely that I will never be rich enough to own items like these but a girl can dream.

However, I did treat myself to some Laura Mercier make-up and some Fortnum & Mason tea - because a girl has to have some glamour in her life. Amirite?

I wonder what life is like for these people who can afford to buy whatever they like, whenever they like. Do they appreciate it? Do they pine for anything? Will I ever earn enough to go on a massive guilt free shopping spree or do I just need to be more sensible then have a big splurge?

While I continue to try and be sensible with money and failing miserably, it seems I'll always have that one week of luxury and three to four weeks of poverty for the foreseeable future. Because I want all the things. I want lovely new clothes and lovely make-up. Perhaps it's because I'm lonely and don't have much else to fill my life with. Perhaps it's the whole desire to replicate celebrity culture or the culture we are bombarded with by bloggers and magazines. Perhaps it was five years of only child syndrome when I was spoilt. Perhaps it's a multitude of all those things. But I know I'm not alone.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

A letter to my sixteen year old self...

To my sixteen year old self, 

I have so much to impart on you. Where do I begin? 

Firstly, I need to express two things. Don't get your hair cut short and stop worrying about your GCSE results...you aced them. 

Now, with college on the horizon, you need to get your head out of Diary of a Crush by Sarra Manning. Of course it is a fantastic book, but you must know that college isn't really like that and you won't find the Dylan to your Edie on the first day. Or in fact at all. 

But you will find some fabulous friends. Here you will make friends for life that will stay with you and understand you more than anybody else ever has. You'll finally feel like you belong and not a spare part. Embrace it and enjoy every minute. You'll laugh daily over silly things and college will surprisingly be the best two years of your life. You may think this will happen at uni, but actually - not so much. 

Now, as to not break with tradition from your high school years - you will form inappropriate crushes and inevitably get your heart stamped on quite a few times. This will eventually toughen you to become the ice queen you were always told to be. 

I'm afraid to say, you still haven't found anybody special by the age of 24 but you'll come to a point where it doesn't seem much of a big deal anymore. 

Be wary of boys Stacey. Don't become a hopeless girl crushing on what is inevitably a wanker. Despite me saying this, I know you will do this time after time as you go gooey eyed over men who don't deserve you. 

Oh and I wouldn't worry about your outfit choices on days you know you're going to see them because they really don't notice your clothes - let alone you. Sorry. 

Soon you're going to get drunk. A lot. Mostly this will be fun but know your limits. Puking should not be part of a night out or your friends helping you onto the last train home. Don't eat the twix that Polly shoves in your mouth one fateful night because it will end up on the train carriage floor. 

I'm afraid you will never get that 'grown up' feeling and also you won't get any taller - so stop holding out on that late growth spurt. Despite this, you will mature tonnes over the next few years and while you will still have your head in a book or a film - you will learn that this is very much a fantasy world. But it's good to have dreams. 

There's going to be quite a few ups and downs over the next few years but your best friends will be there throughout. You're made of strong stuff and you will make it through. 

Maybe don't give yourself a 5-10 year plan because life doesn't work that way and you'll be sorely disappointed when you're not a journalist by your mid twenties. You are a writer though - so you're still embracing your talent! Keep at it! This will lead you to meeting some great people and having some fun experiences. So enjoy. 

If I leave you with anything, it's to appreciate every moment and try not to moan so much as people will pick up on it. You won't listen and will still moan frequently in eight years time I'm afraid but at least I tried. 

All the best you delusional weirdo

Your 24 year old self. 

Saturday, 9 August 2014

8 Lies Films Taught Me

I'm a huge film buff and probably own well over 100 DVDs as well as constantly watching Sky Movies and anything I come across on TV as well as cinema visits when I actually have people to go with, but this obsession with films has left my expectations of life somewhat too high when it comes to my daily life.

Here's a run down of films that lied to me about life lessons:

1. Twilight - You can totally still get the hot guy even if you're socially awkward

Bella Swan is just about one of the most socially awkward characters on screen and it takes her twice as long as any normal person to get a sentence out, yet she is adored by many of the Forks men and is pursued by heart throb Edward Cullen. In real life, socially awkward girls never get to talk to the hot guys and if we do it's usually a collection of mumbles, laughs and uncomfortable fidgeting. To be quite honest, we are invisible to the hot guys as we creepily admire them from afar so actual human contact would never happen anyway.

2. Bridget Jones - Even the most disastrous of women can still have two men after them

Bridget Jones is somebody I can identify with. She's not perfect - she drinks too much, smokes too much, is an appalling public speaker and lets the things in her head come out without thinking - but Mark Darcy likes her - just as she is. She's also pursued by Daniel Cleaver and both men physically fight it out for her - but in reality women like Bridget and me spend a lot of time alone, date lots of unsuitable men and often wonder if anybody will like us - just as we are.

3. The Devil Wears Prada - It's not that hard to be employed by a best-selling fashion magazine

Andy manages to score a job as second assistant to the editor of (lets face it) Vogue after just graduating and some experience as a regional news reporter. In real life, you'd have to complete years of unpaid internships and graft at related magazines or be a family friend to even be considered for the position.

4. Matilda - You have magical powers

After I watched Matilda as a child I was convinced that if I put my mind to it enough, I'd be able to move things. After much concentration and pointing this proved futile. As was being a child genius and inflicting revenge on mean teachers.

5.  Pretty Much Any Teen Film in the 00s, 90s and 80s - You'll eventually get the man of your dreams

Dirty Dancing, Pretty in Pink, Mean Girls, Cinderella Story, Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging, Wild Child…need I name more? In all of these films, no matter what the behaviour and the inevitable hiccup along the way - the girl would always get the guy in the end. The one that everyone lusted over and this usually average girl would manage to snag when he saw the real her. In real life, the school bitch always won.

6. The Princesses Diaries - Make-overs can work miracles and you could be a princess

Mia was a socially awkward, curly haired, glasses wearing teen when she found out she was the Princess of Genova. As a socially awkward, curly haired, glasses wearing teen - I identified with Mia and wondered where I could also get a life-changing make-over and an estranged royal grandparent. Thankfully I did eventually find straighteners and some style, but it didn't make much difference.

7. Any Horror Film - Split up, run into the woods, stabbing isn't that fatal…

If I were to face a psychopathic murderer, it's fairly likely I wouldn't be splitting up from anybody with me, running into a dark confusing space or god forbid trying to take on the bloody person. Apparently a stab wound isn't that hindering either.

8. Dirty Dancing - Dancing is easy

Learning a complicated dance routine to performance standard in less than a week with no prior dance experience? Piece of cake! Not to mention a fairly complicated jump? No problem. Oh and losing your virginity is a really beautiful experience - Nope.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

My Top 5 Dating Fails

My love life is something of a joke and has provided me and my friends with many laughs through the years. Sometimes it's got to me and made me frustrated and upset, but I'm finally over it all. I really couldn't care less about love and it feels incredibly enlightening and free. I'm no longer searching, I'm enjoying the years I have by myself and the freedom that entails. Anyway, I'm only 24! Who says you have to have it all figured out by now?

So I thought it was finally time I wrote a blog documenting my many many failures in the dating world. I've previously shied away from this kind of blog because I didn't want to scare away any potential suitors, but I really don't care anymore. If it scares you off, you're probably not the right one for me anyway.

So in no particular order, here are just some of my many dating fails.

1. "I'm busy for the foreseeable future"

A favourite of mine, a guy once let me know he was no longer interested by telling me he was busy. Actually now he thought about it, he was 'busy for the foreseeable future'. How do you take something like that? Well when you get no correspondence following that, I'd say that's a brush off. Ladies, if a man says he is busy and goes quiet…run. This happened to me once again when somebody else was persistently busy and when I quoted this previous brush off…they admitted that was the case. So I've been given the whole 'I'm busy' speech TWICE. The 'He's Just Not That Into You' lesson from Sex and the City applies here.

2. Blocked

I once went on a date with a guy from a dating site and I thought the date went brilliantly. That was until I checked WhatsApp the next day to find out I had been blocked with no explanation. A simple no would have sufficed.

3. MySpace Dumping

This ones a bit old school. A guy I dated in college refused to acknowledge me in public. This meant if we passed each other in the corridor, he would simply nod or look at me in a slightly embarrassed way. We once went on a date and whenever we entered somewhere where one of his friends worked, he would promptly drop my hand. Eventually I got bit tired of this crap and called him out on his behaviour with a lengthy MySpace message. Later that night I went out with friends and got a text saying 'Did you just dump me? ON MYSPACE?' - my bad.

4. The Inappropriate Crushes

A Stacey speciality, I have an uncanny ability to form attractions to men I can never have. They might have a girlfriend, they might be interested in somebody else or they might just not like me back. Whichever category they fall in, it's likely that I will form some sort of inappropriate obsessive crush on them and inevitably end up getting hurt. To be honest, I'd like this to stay as a pre-twenties problem I had. During this somewhat destructive period of my life, I would be convinced that my crush would eventually come to a head and the guy would realise I was who he'd been looking for. I'd be a complete pushover in denial and usually take whatever chance I could for a stolen kiss with my crush and then be shocked when nothing developed. I'd like to think I moved on from this messy period because girl doesn't want to get into that again. The lesson here is, if it doesn't look like it's going to happen, it won't. Get over it quickly.

5. "I don't know if I cba to meet up again"

Yes this was actually said to me. If somebody can't be arsed to see you, let along use full words, it's a lucky escape. The sooner men learn to be straight to the point and tactical - the better.

If anything my experiences have taught me it's that you just need to brush yourself off and move on. I've learned to laugh at my experiences rather than cry and it's made me feel more free than ever. When your friends are all in serious relationships, it can sometimes feel like you're getting left behind, but love isn't a race. I went through a period of trying to look, but now I couldn't care less. When it happens, it happens and I'm done putting up with mediocre men. I'm sure many more dating fails are ahead of me, but they'll just add to my experience and hilarious anecdotes with friends.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Your Twenties - Really your Freedom Years?

Company magazine used to have me believe that my twenties were my freedom years and this was the decade to enjoy my youth and live life to the fullest - what it didn't mention however, is that it is easier said than done.

They never mentioned that you actually needed money to do all these things and that once you finally found that full time job out of uni, it probably wouldn't pay as much as you thought. This was particularly true once you started renting your own place and had to do grown up things like paying bills and buying food.

When you're left with your dismal amount of spare money, it isn't actually that much to play with. Particularly if you're prone to bouts of shopping splurges such as me. Even if I didn't go shopping, I still wouldn't really have much leftover. So if I did want to travel the world, it would still take a fair amount of saving on my part for months on end.

There was never any mention of the fact that when you reached your twenties, many of your friends would pair up with long term partners and soon your Facebook feed would be full of babies and weddings. All of a sudden, you're thrown into a very grown up world where people your age are getting married and baring children and you've never even had a meaningful relationship and are very aware that babies and marriage are quite some years away.

Of course, we're all in different situations and everybody goes through these life milestones in their own time. I know that I'm intensely happy to bare witness to friends and family enjoying these rights of passage and be overwhelmingly happy for them. It's an honour to be part of it and see their lives progress and change. I love nothing more than a wedding and cuddling babies!

But at 24, when only 8 years ago I was 16 and finishing high school, it's pretty scary that I've been thrown from carefree teenage years to adult seriousness quite so soon. Nobody ever warns you quite how terrifying this segue to adulthood truly is and before you know it, you're worried about getting left behind.

This thought process is so stupid, because at 24, I'm still really young and have years of boring adulthood and drudgery ahead of me - but I can't help but pine 'When is it my turn?'. You see, the problem with approaching your mid twenties is the overwhelming reminder that this means you're ever closer to 30, when the real pressure to have your life figured out is truly on.

I can't help but find myself becoming ever more reminiscent of Bridget Jones, only without Daniel Cleaver and Mark Darcy fighting over me. What if I end up in my mid thirties in the exact position I am now? Should I really be worrying about ten years from now? Will I ever have my life figured out? Does anyone?

When I moved into my flat alone and felt weird about being in charge of bills, I asked my parents if they ever felt like a grown up. When does anybody feel like a grown up. They told me they didn't and never did. I guess you just get along, stumble your way through and figure it out.

I suppose we all find our paths eventually and things will work out how they're meant to. I need to stop comparing myself to others, but it's so hard when it seems like you're getting left behind and standing still as everyone else moves forward. I guess have quite a few more blocks to stumble over and lessons to learn. Some people are lucky and have much fewer obstacles in their way. Perhaps the challenges I've had will make me a better person, help me learn more about myself and become stronger as well as more independent. But it's often hard to keep that in mind.

So am I alone in finding my twenties a minefield? Is it easy for anyone?

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

5 Things to Never Say To A Single Person

As someone who is terminally unlucky in love, I thought I would dole some advice out about how to handle someone who has a stream of failed relationships and non starters in their back log and is just about at the end of their tether when it comes to matters of the heart.

Disclaimer: I realise this makes me seem bitter and that I will probably scare off any chance I do have of finding someone, but since I'm unlucky anyway - OH WELL. Also, I'm sure the feminist blogs would do that first.

1. Don't Mention How Many Fish There Are In The Sea

Please don't ever mention fish and sea. If there were so many fish in the goddamn sea, then why haven't we found anyone yet? You're making us feel like some kind of ugly mutant fish none of the other fishes want. Also, as true as it may or may not be, it's not really making us feel any better. It just means the search is a lot longer and vast.

2. Don't Tell Me It'll Happen When I Least Expect It

Really? How fucking magical. While I'm sure this is true and you have a friend it happened to, it just reminds me yet again that the search is long and unexpected and nobody knows when someone special might enter their life. So what if I'm 90, living alone with my grumble of pugs and given up all hope THEN somebody will come along? Ok then. Great. It's not like we're even specifically searching, but it would be nice if Prince Charming wasn't so fucking elusive.

3. "So, do you have a boyfriend yet?"

This one mainly applies to relatives you don't see much. No, I don't have a boyfriend. No I'm not seeing anyone special. TICK TOCK. TICK TOCK. Yes I am looking forward to all the family weddings that will come ahead of mine. Yes I know you were married with kids by my age. I'm sure I'm beautiful and will find someone good enough one day. ARGH *swigs wine*

4. You Have To Kiss A Lot of Frogs To Find Your Prince

Well I'm tired of kissing frogs ok? When will this search be over?! I'm sick of the slime.

5. You Can't Force Something, It'll Happen When It Happens

I also realise this. Of course it's better that something ends or never gets started rather than somebody lying and the other getting hurt further down the line and I would also never dream of being a relationship where there were no real feelings and we were just with each other for the sake of it. I understand things often happen for the best and it's better to admit it sooner rather than later but that doesn't make it hurt any less. The terminal single knows that these things happen for the best, but at the end of the day, it doesn't soften the blow of rejection once again.

Sunday, 22 June 2014


What is it about the summer that makes us all want to escape the country? It seems that everyone I know is embarking on adventures or holidays at the moment and I have no immediate plans to leave the country and it's killing me.

I know I went to Barcelona a month ago, but with everybody around me embarking overseas I am dying for a week in the sun to relax and forget about everything. If anything, Barcelona was the catalyst for that. Seeing another destination and new place, just makes me want to explore even more of the world. I want to walk the city streets, drink great coffee and eat gelato.

There is so much of the world to see and sometimes I feel as if there is never going to be enough time and money in my life to see it. From European cities, to American states to the other side of the world in Australia - I just want to see all of the world.

I have a mental list in my head of all these places I want to see and I just want to tick them all off. I am so so jealous of travel writers who get paid to experience and write about destinations all over the world! That would be my dream job.

I'm forever searching for cheap flights and hotels and seeing where I can travel within my means, or planning to save up so I can visit somewhere further afield. But with no plans at the moment and limited spare money after my bills are paid off, it means that any trip will probably be a while away.

Like I said in my Lonely post, it's hard to find people to do stuff with and finding someone that can go away for a week is even harder. I envy these people that can go away at a moments notice and experience amazing things. I feel like my social media feeds are full of people embarking on amazing adventures and I'm stuck in Blighty and unsure how I'm going to use my holiday up at work.

I want it all, I want to explore the world, I want to see every part of a city, I want to laze on a beautiful beach or by the pool as I soak up the rays and get a tan. I want to wear the holiday wardrobe I've built up for no real reason. Wear one of the ten bikinis I own and buy more. Take pictures and document my adventure. Eat amazing food and meet interesting people.

I hope one day that I can see all the places I want to see. One day I hope to be earning loads of money and have the money to do those things. I dream of winning the lottery and having 95 million and just exploring the world in amazing hotels and just living as a wanderer.

But for now, I guess I have to deal with what I can get. Live in my head or make plans to slowly save and tick places off one by one. It's frustrating...

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Is anywhere safe?

 This week, a girl I know posted on Facebook about how she had been harassed while out jogging. She shared her story and provoked strong feminist debate among the comments and it was enlightening to see such passionate feminist views from other women as I often find it difficult to have the same kind of discussions with people I know.

What this brought up for me is the reality of how sexism is still something very real for all women and how it's an issue that still should't be ignored and swept under the carpet. It's something that shouldn't be belittled and shrugged off - because it's a very real problem.

Think about our culture, where a woman has to constantly risk assess her entire life. Do I walk in the dark at night alone? Do I go down my intended pathway when there's a group of men standing there. What do I do if a stranger starts talking to me and I'm alone and isolated? What will people think of me if I wear this dress? How much skin do I show? Do I turn this man down gently or firmly? Will he take the hint? How do I get this man's hands off me? How much do I drink?

Think about attacks on women. How often have you heard the words…'Why was she walking home alone?' 'What was she wearing?' 'How drunk was she?' - why should these factors even come into play? It's as if a woman must assess what she is doing or risk being to blame for harassment or even rape? At the same time, it provides a poor estimation of men if we assume that they are unable to control themselves around a woman. Many men can and it's the small repulsive few that can't - so please give men more credit than that and don't tar them all with the same brush.

We need to stop making excuses and stop this blame culture that puts it on the woman. Even if a woman has a reputation for being promiscuous, this still doesn't account for her being a victim. No means no - always.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Forever Alone

Loneliness is an ongoing problem for me. Living alone means I get very little interaction with people unless I make the effort to leave the house. Even then, it will often consist of me doing things alone such as walking around town or around the supermarket or even sitting in the park. 

I've never been a person with many friends and at this point in my life, at my age, I only have two real friends. Now these girls are my best friends and more than I could ever need because they know me inside out, get me completely and are the loveliest people - but thanks to full time jobs, boyfriends and locations - I don't get to see them as much as I'd like. 

This means I spend a lot of time in my own company, which thankfully I like (I wouldn't live alone otherwise) but sometimes this can get boring and frustrating. I have to keep myself occupied, which is why I've been baking more, probably doing too much online shopping, watching DVDs and bugging friends and family over text constantly. 

I'm really trying not to be anti-social but it is so hard to make new friends or meet new people when you rarely have plans and don't have many friends. Unlike many people my age, it's not like I have a boyfriend to spend time with either. At this age, everyone I know is seeing their other half in their spare time, living with them or even getting married to them! Meanwhile, I'm in my mid-twenties and am yet to meet anyone serious. I probably shouldn't feel pressured, but it's hard not to. I am always asked the same question at family parties 'Got a boyfriend yet then Stace?'

While I think that having a boyfriend shouldn't define you and that I'm quite happy being an independent single woman (thanks Beyonce), it's hard not to feel a tad left out when you don't have anyone to do anything with. Perhaps if I had more friends, I'd have more to do but we all get to that age when general acquaintances fall away and it's your real true friends that stay. 

It's hard to admit you're lonely, but I am. Now that I don't live with my family or with housemates, there isn't somebody there to talk to everyday. There's nobody to have spur of the moment plans with. I'm sick of reporting to work Monday morning and answering the question 'What did you do this weekend?' with 'Nothing'. 

The problem is, the only thing that does fill my time is shopping, which often leaves me poor and with no spare money less than a week after payday. I am filling my loneliness with material things! 

Now I know there is online dating, I've tried it, I am trying it, but it doesn't work for everyone. It's yet to work for me. I just wish I could meet somebody normally like everyone else.

Sorry, this is a bit of a woe is me blogpost. But it's thoughts and emotions I've had circling my head for the moment. Life needs to get a big more exciting, so I'm going to try and save (from next month) so that I can travel and fill a week or two with something exciting something far away. Time to stop wanting and start doing. Time to say yes. 

Sunday, 25 May 2014

From Half-Marathons to a Holiday

Apologies for the two week absence but I've had a busy few weeks. Let me update you:

So on May 10th, I took part in the Moonwalk, completing a half marathon power walk through the city of London overnight with my mum in aid of breast cancer charities. After getting fit this year and becoming a regular at the gym, I'd decided to challenge myself to some kind of achievable sporting feat. I'm not a sporty person but I walk a lot everyday so I figured that I could complete a walking challenge. The charity was particularly important to me and my mum because my stepdad's mum died of breast cancer in January so we wanted to do something special in her memory. Cancer has affected many people in my life and even I have had the slightest brush with the disease, so I felt it was important to make an important contribution to combatting it. Me and my mum both raised a considerable amount and surpassed out goals thanks to the generosity of friends, family and workmates. If you'd like to donate you can do so here.

As somebody who has never been one for exercise until recently, I felt an enormous sense of achievement as I crossed the finish line on a gruelling 13.9 mile walk. It's been a long time since I felt proud of myself and the feeling was immense and I felt like I could do it all over again. I think my mum may have had other ideas!

Now I'm looking for my next walking challenge, but little did I know that my trip to Barcelona the following weekend would be just as much of a walking feat! Last weekend me and my best friend Zoe ventured over to the Spanish city to enjoy a few days away for my birthday. Within the first full day, we discovered that the city wasn't as big as we thought and that it was quite possible to walk everywhere in the city. This made exploring the city far easier but also meant that I probably walked another half marathon over the few days I was there!

Barcelona is an amazing city and I recommend it greatly for a long weekend. It's the perfect mix of a city and sun holiday thanks to it's med location and beach as well as exciting districts and streets that offer a mecca of shopping and eating delights. Done right, you can grab a bargain at the flea markets and gothic quarter shops as well as delicious spanish cuisine. I loved being among the amazing backdrop of Barcelona and it was a fantastic place to experience.

We also took a trip up Mount Tibidabo which offers a fantastic view of Barcelona is surprising easy and affordable to do thanks to a bus and tram service.

If I do recommend anything, it has to be an amazing cocktail bar called Dry Martini. Like a 1930s speakeasy, jazz plays in the background and the mixologists are experts at what they do. Slightly more expensive than your average cheap cocktail, this is the place to come for well made drinks, a special atmosphere and to meet other excited tourists.

By some feat, I managed to get my purchases back into my small cabin suitcase which I'd overpacked before I went away anyway. Now I've got the travel bug and just want to visit everywhere! Next on the list, Marrakech!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Why Feminism is Still Relevant

I'm going to try and make blogging a regular Sunday thing, so lets see if I actually stick to it this time. Keep on my back everyone!

So I've wrote about feminism a lot on this blog and it's a subject I'm passionate about. While feminism is something that's been prevalent for centuries, particularly within the last century, it's enjoying the latest wave and is finally something that is present in mainstream media and being talked about in commercial women's magazines. It's been enjoying this resurgence for well over five years and it's a delight to see more and more focus on important social and political issues for women. Yet we're still asked the same questions. Is feminism still relevant? What does it mean to be a feminist? What about men?

The answers? Of course feminism is still relevant. Women may enjoy more freedom than they've ever had before but there are still so many issues where we are still fighting for equality. Even in the workplace, where we're seeing more and more female CEOs and MDs - women on management boards and higher positions are still lagging severely behind. Of course we don't want 'token' women on boards to make up the numbers, but are women being considered as equally for these roles?

There was recently a campaign involving high profile successful women called 'Ban Bossy' which strived to stop asserting a powerful woman with the word bossy while we'd consider the same traits in a man as a 'leader'. Celebrities such as Beyonce and Victoria Beckham took part to spread the message. You can read more about it here but the message is that we should be encouraging girls and women to lead and not be fearful of being judged because they know what they want. Women still struggle to be taken seriously as leaders, bosses, managers and entrepreneurs and it is this attitude we want to eradicate so women can stride forth and lead.

But what does it mean to be a feminist? In truth, I believe there is no set guidebook for being a 'feminist' - you just have to believe in the right to equality for women. You want to be treated fairly and equally? You're a feminist. I've heard so many women completely shrug off the idea that they could be a feminist like it's a dirty word. It really frustrates and upsets me because unless you want to be some sort of subservient woman - then of course you're a feminist. My personal belief is that being a feminist can consist of whatever you want it to. You can just have the belief that equality is right or you can actively take part in spreading the word and trying to change society. It's whatever path you choose to take with it. Therefore there isn't a certain look for a feminist. You can look girly, you can wear make up, you can worry about your weight, you can shave your legs and it doesn't make you any less of a feminist.

You can keep your opinions to yourself, you can argue where you see there is something wrong and you can blog or bring the topic up with friends. I still see things to fight for everyday. Whether's it's an outdated and offensive comment from somebody around me, a cat call or a leering look or comment because I'm displaying skin - it's all an issue of feminism and the change that still has to be made. If you're not convinced, just a quick scroll down Everyday Sexism and you'll see just how far we still have to go.

Finally, what does being a feminist mean about your opinion of men? Well whatever you want it to, but I come from the non-hating men brand of feminism. I am a believer of equality and just how I believe women should be treated equally, I believe there are issues where men deserve equality as well. Men struggle to be taken seriously when it comes to instances of rape or domestic abuse and this is an attitude that needs to be addressed for both sides of the sex. Just as with women, I don't believe it should be one rule for either sex.

What we're striving for here is equality between the sexes not for one to be better than the other. We want to be treated with equal attitudes and taken seriously whatever path we choose. We want to obliterate stereotypes.

Do some more research and see for yourself, why feminism is still relevant and still deserves a place in modern society.