Sunday, 23 August 2015

Summer addictions...

It's that time again! It has to be said, it has been an incredible summer for music this year. Summer really began during Wildlife Festival in June for me, and it's been on a roll ever since, especially with the release of some brilliant and long awaited albums. It's not just been music making my world go around in the last few months however, so without much further ado, I present to you, my summer 2015 list of addictions.
 
 
Florence and the Machine - How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
 
Now come on, if you guys really know me you'll have known this was on here from the moment you started reading this post. How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful is the long awaited third album from the band, following on from the brilliance of albums Lungs and Ceremonials, and it really doesn't disappoint. It seems to have taken both of the wonderful elements of the first two albums, and blended them into something truly amazing and spellbinding. This is definitely my favourite album from the band so far, I've been listening to it pretty much non-stop since it came out. My favourite tracks include the title track, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, as well as Mother, Various Storms and Saints, Queen of Peace, and the demo for Which Witch.  I'm lucky enough to have grabbed some tickets to see Florence and co again in September (third time's a charm!), and I'm really looking forwards to seeing some songs off this album being performed live. Seriously guys, you have to check this album out because you will be hooked.
 
 
 
Years & Years - Communion
 
Following on with the theme of music, we finally got our hands on the first album from Years & Years this summer, and it hasn't disappointed. King was such a huge single at the start of the summer, it was pretty unavoidable, and it's been followed up by such a smasher of an album. The whole album has an upbeat feel to it, definitely the kind of album for a summer soundtrack, and all the tracks have this feeling of being connected to a much larger story arc. My favourites on the album are definitely Shine, Take Shelter, Worship and Border. I saw Years & Years at Wildlife Festival, and I'm really looking forwards to seeing them do a whole set when I see them in London in October.
 
 
 
Royal Blood - Royal Blood
 
My brother introduced me to Royal Blood last, and I can't get enough of them. Their self-titled first album is a complete masterpiece, a completely unique and different sound to anything else I regularly listen to, and the lyrics are just brilliant and down-right clever. This summer their album has been a bit of an anthem for me, especially on my commute to and from work. Honestly, I don't think there's a single song on this album I don't like or listen to. I would love to see them live so much, I reckon it would be a completely overwhelming experience. My favourite tracks on the album are Loose Change, Blood Hands, Careless and You Can Be So Cruel.
 
 
 
Sex and the City
 
I know I'm a little bit late to the party of how good Sex and the City is, but oh my god, I'm so hooked! Sex and the City has completely taken over my life, I come home from work and watch it non-stop until it's time to go to bed, and then repeat the following day. I'm lucky enough to be writing my dissertation on the representation of women in US sitcoms, so technically this has all been for research purposes. I'm completely hook, line and sinker addicted to this show, I find myself thinking about the situations of the group when I'm not watching it, and it's made me re-evaluate my attitudes towards dating as well. I'm not sure which character I like best, it seems to change depending on the storyline, and I'm conflicted as to which one I'm most like. I think I'm something of a hybrid between Carrie and Charlotte (at the moment, my opinions are always changing on this!). Also, god damn these girls have some serious fashion sense! And I would give anything to live in a New York apartment as nice as any one of the girls on the show, anything. I'm so jealous!
 
 
 
Real Techniques Brushes
 
I decided that this summer would be the summer I actually take the time to learn how to properly put my makeup on, rather than sort of chuck it at my face and hope for the best. My first step towards this was to invest in some decent makeup brushes, after all, a bad workman always blames his tools! I went for Real Techniques because my housemate Em uses them, and I've heard from many other reputable sources that they are actually quite good, and last well if you look after them. I'll admit that when I use the brushes I do see an improvement with how my makeup looks, so I guess I'm doing something right now!

(At the moment my collection consists of a stippling brush and a powder brush, but I'm hoping to purchase a few more soon.)
 
Much love
 
 
 

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Things I have learnt about being a university student...

Starting university is a big step for anyone, especially if you're merely 18 and have never lived without the comfort of your family before. Suddenly you're all alone in the world, and it can be a very daunting and down-right scary prospect. However, it can also be the making of many, giving many people the freedom to live their lives on their own terms and do whatever they want, whenever they want. I have to admit, being a university student is one of the best things to ever happen to me. I honestly have no idea what I would've done with my life if I hadn't gone to university, and even though I still don't really have any particular goal in mind, I now know that honestly I could do anything I wanted to. To me, university has given me the confidence to pursue anything I want in life, and has opened many unexpected doors and unlocked interests I didn't even know I had.
 
So for all of you who are about to take that leap of faith into university life, here are a few things I've found out in my last two student years, which I'm sure every student will know all too well.
 
There is no such thing as an early night.
You will have every intention of getting an early night, but for many people, this just doesn't happen. When I lived in halls, we used to find ourselves all gathering in the kitchen until the early hours, genuinely for no reason whatsoever other than we could. And more often than not, work will be left until the last minute, which causes the inevitable all-nighter to get it all done. I am so jealous of people at uni who know what a good nights sleep actually feels like, please teach me your secrets! 
 
 
There will eventually be a stand-off with your housemates over the cleaning.
Be prepared to get your hands dirty, because no one will be cleaning up after you. You may be blessed with the cleanest housemates in the world, or unfortunately, you could be stuck with the person whose stuff is always left in the sink. You will have three choices. 1) Buckle and clean up after them 2) Nag them until they eventually cave and sort it out, or 3) Leave it completely and accept this is how you live now.
 
 
You'll be ripped off by how much rent you have to pay but will have to pay it anyway.
Landlords are very smart people. They know you have nowhere else to live, so you will pay whatever it costs to live there meaning they charge as much as they like. It's an unfortunate situation which can stress out even the most financially secure student, but you'll just have to suck it up and pay or face either being homeless, or living so far away from uni you'll be practically in another town.
 
 
You can always guarantee that the book you need in the library has been already taken out.
Although the library is huge, you can almost guarantee that the book you need won't be there, because everyone else in your class will be after it as well. This is when the sneaky tactics come into play, I always pick my essay questions at the start of the semester so I can quickly get the books I want before it's too late. You have to play dirty to win!
 

There is always that one module you have to take that you find boring.
Usually a core module, or one that you've unfortunately been stuck with. Last year I had one module that I rarely went to because I had absolutely no motivation to sit through it, which sounds awful. I do feel bad about not going, and in truth I've only ever had two modules I didn't like, which I think is pretty good going. The best thing you can do is just push through and do your best in the assignments.
 
 
There is always that one lecture that you literally cannot stay awake in.
I had one module last year where the lecturer didn't use powerpoint presentations, so he literally talked at you for three hours, in one big monologue. After a while, I could feel his voice lulling me to sleep, and I had to fight the massive internal battle to close my eyes and sleep on the desk. I have one answer for anyone in this situation, as soon as you reach the break, grab a coffee. Caffeine will be your lifeline.
 
 
No night out will ever be as cheap as a student union night out.
It's a sad thought that as soon as I leave uni, I will never find a double and mixer for as cheap as £3 ever again. I don't want to think that I'll spend more than £20 on a night out, it's just depressing.

 
By the time you graduate, you'll still have no idea where half the buildings are.
I dread new semesters because it means room changes, and I have no idea where half the rooms are. I don't even have that big of a uni campus, and I'm pretty lucky that all the buildings are relatively near to each other so I don't have to trek around the city to get to my lectures. But honestly, I haven't even been in a few of the buildings, and the odds are I never will.
 
 
If there was a degree in procrastination, you'd get a first.
There are times when you'll really need to concentrate and crack on with your work, but literally everything provides the perfect distraction. I remember in my first year I colour coded my wardrobe to avoid writing an essay, which just proves I'm essentially a mad woman. I would genuinely get a first if my degree was in procrastination.
 
 
The heartbreak and dread that comes with realising how one day it's all going to be over.
This one is too real for me. It feels like I'm just starting to get really comfortable with my student status, and within the next year it'll all be over. I'm not prepared for the real world just yet, I wish I could stay in university forever.
 
 
Don't take your time at university for granted, because I promise you it will fly by, and you'll soon be wondering where the time has gone. Take as many opportunities as you can, and make the most of every second you have there, because it truly is one of the best experiences you will have.
 
Much love

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Does size matter?

This post has been sitting around in my drafts for nearly a month now, and I've rewritten it about 3 or 4 times, and even considered deleting it. However, I think it's a topic I need to talk about. Does size matter? And not in *ahem* that way. I'm talking weight and clothes size. Perhaps the reason I've been so reluctant to post this is because I've always been so embarrassed of mine, and tried to hide how incredibly insecure my size makes me, but in truth -
 
I have always had a love/hate relationship with my body.
 
There is no dancing around the subject, sometimes I look in the mirror and really hate what I see. All I can see is how big I am, and how wobbly everything is, and that there is absolutely nothing I like at all. But then I have good days, when I look at myself and think I look hella fine, and wouldn't change what I see for the world. So what is it with my bipolar feelings towards my body?
 
Can I blame the media for indoctrinating me into thinking 'thin is in', and that the only way I'll be loved by others (and even love myself) is to be able to squeeze into size 8 jeans? It's true that these magazines post toxic stories, of how celebrities have 'let themselves go' and are suddenly now a 'huge' size 10, or 3lbs too heavy to be seen as socially acceptable. Has this convinced me that society won't accept my size? The truth is, I can't remember being a size 8 since I was about 15, and my body has changed a lot in those last 5 years. It's not that I've let myself go, it's more that my body has grown up, and has become a lot less forgiving after a week of terrible eating and poor exercise.
 
 
I don't think that my lifestyle is too unhealthy. I generally tend not to snack too much, I eat a fairly balanced diet, and would say I get moderate exercise from walking a lot. I'm hardly a fitness fanatic, I don't make myself protein shakes, and go to the gym, but I certainly don't sit on my arse everyday and gorge on chocolate and takeaways non-stop. So why do I feel like my body is punishing me for enjoying life, and food, and all the comforts I enjoy? I love to eat. I'll admit that sometimes I can eat portions which are far too big for me, and binge eat to the extreme if I'm in the mood, which thankfully isn't that often. However, I can also have days where I'm not really hungry, and can go the whole day on something as meagre as a sandwich. I don't spend all day everyday sitting around doing nothing, I have a fairly active lifestyle, so why aren't I any thinner? I think it's pretty simple, I don't try to be any thinner. And really, why should I be?
 
 
I'm fed up of feeling like I'm too big to be accepted, and that I need to cut the tags out of my clothes so people won't see what size I am. In my eyes, I have a fairly healthy lifestyle. I'm not going to deny that it could be a lot better, I could do with a bit more exercise in my life, but I think that ultimately that's it. I should be more concerned with whether I am healthy, than if I am thin, because I'm beginning to think that these are two completely different concepts.
 
Maybe thin doesn't equal being healthy and being fat doesn't equal being unhealthy.
 
Maybe it is quite possible to suggest that I can be perfectly 100% healthy and not look like a Victoria's Secret model. I could be this healthy and still be fairly large, in the same way that I could binge eat to my hearts content and be stick thin. Life can be cruel, but I have to make the best of what I have, and work with my body, not against it.
 
 
This is my body and this is who I am. My size doesn't not reflect who I am as a person, and it shouldn't be a measure by how much society should accept and love me. Sometimes I do have to remind myself to stop punishing the vessel through which the rest of my life will be lived, because it has to see me through until the end, but it is tough. 
 
Therefore maybe it's about time I take some advice from my favourite drag queen, Rupaul -
 
 
AMEN!
 
Much love