Back to life, back to reality...

Baby, I'm back in Winchester!

Aaah it's finally happening, I'm about to start my third and *fingers crossed* final year of university. It's safe to say I'm very anxious about this last year, I want to do the best I can of course, so I'm definitely putting the pressure on myself. It's been a very long and chilled out summer of not doing nearly as much as I should've, which I've already gone into here, and now it's time to get down to business. It's not all hard work and stress for me coming up though, so I thought I'd do a little breakdown of all the things I've got coming up in the next few months, which I expect you'll hear plenty about!

*Warning, lots of bragging about how fabulous my life is coming up!*
  1. Third year begins - It all kicks off, dissertation stress sets in, and life gets very intense...
  2. Seeing Florence + The Machine - I managed to get tickets to see them on their last night of the UK tour, which will be the third time I've seen them. I absolutely love them (*cough* understatement), so understandably I'm really looking forwards to this.
  3. Going to New York - I set off at the end of this month to the Big Apple for a couple of days with my mum, and the excitement is so real! It's one of my favourite places in the entire world, and I can't wait to be back strutting on the sidewalks, watching musicals, and shopping until I drop.
  4. Turning 21 - Big moment for me, I'm turning the grand age of 21 on October 1st, whilst I'm in New York. Naturally this means only one thing, cocktails!
  5. Seeing Eliza and the Bear - I saw these guys supporting Twin Atlantic earlier in the year, so Em, Jess and I are going to see them in London which will be awesome!
  6. Seeing Michael McIntyre - Em and I have had these tickets for what genuinely feels like forever now, and the time has finally come! Hopefully we'll be spending the weekend chilling in London while we're there which will be pretty fab.
  7. Seeing Years & Years - So I'm completely addicted to these guys album, and they were just incredible when I saw them at Wildlife. I'm excited to see them again, doing a much bigger set, and hopefully playing a lot more of the insane album.
  8. Going back to my old job - I was going to have to fund all of my mad adventures somehow! I've actually missed working there with some really lovely people, so I'm looking forwards to being back and getting back into things (even if I'm slightly terrified because I'm worried my coffee making skills have pretty much just died this summer.)
  9. Hopefully trying to go to Italy - One of my nearest and dearest friends Steph who I've known for pretty much an entire decade is doing a semester in Parma, Italy, so at some point before Christmas I'd really love to squeeze in a little trip to go and see her beautiful face again!
  10. Another USA field trip - Yes, another! This time it's a 'Civil Right's Pilgrimage', basically a trip around the American South, visiting places of great interest and importance during the Civil Rights Movement. This is going to be such a beautiful and once in a lifetime experience for me, I've loved studying it, so I really can't wait to physically be there and absorb myself into it. Gosh I just love my degree!
So as you can see, it's going to get a little crazy in my world in the next couple of months, but strangely I feel pretty prepared and up for the challenge. If anything, it's the figuring out what's going to come next which is the difficult part...
Much love

The 'F' word - Don't tell me what to wear..

Ladies and gentlemen, it may or may not be a shock to you to learn that I, Hazel Coleman, am in fact a feminist.

I can already picture your reactions to this statement. Half of you are slowly edging away whether it be in fear or because you honestly couldn't care less, and half you of you (I hope) are thinking "right on sister!". I don't know why feminism gets such a mixed reaction, it's certainly the marmite of the social activism and political world, but it's something I hold very dear with my beliefs, morals, and general day to day life.
The topic of feminism is so broad,so I'd really like to come back to the idea of writing about feminism in other debates. Therefore I would like to say I'm not ignoring parts of the issue, or groups of people, or anything else you feel should've been mentioned. I'm also not looking to offend, and I apologise if I have done. I have included some links below which may be helpful as well for those of you who may be looking for more information on the subject, which might explain what I'm trying to get across a lot better than I have!

UK Feminista - Information on feminism in the UK
Everyday Feminism - Lots of articles on feminism in different topics
Belle Jar - A blog about feminism which I find really interesting
HeForShe - Movement for gender equality
The 'F' Word - Don't tell me what to wear!

I have a serious problem with people telling women how they should be dressed.

Now, don't get me wrong here. I'm a firm believer that there should definitely be a level of appropriateness involved. However, what I do have a big problem with is women being told that what they are wearing effects how others will behave.

Perhaps the biggest example that springs to mind here, is girls being told what they can and can't wear to school, and being told that their choice of clothing is distracting for boys and male teachers. I can't even begin to explain my frustration with this. In essence, girls are being told that because of how they dress they will be sent into isolation or sent home and therefore missing classes, and that subsequently, their education is not as important as boys. Again, in terms of practicality and appropriateness, short skirts and low cut tops can be exposing, but if a girl is comfortable with how she is dressed, who are we to tell her she can't wear it?

When you send a girl home to change because her shoulders are showing too much, or her dress is too short, you are teaching her that boys having a “distraction free environment” is more important than her education. You are diminishing both sexes by perpetuating the ideology that women are objects and men are wild zoo animals who can’t control their sexual urges. You are enforcing a rape culture, and making girls to feel dehumanized and ashamed of their bodies. Instead of punishing girls for exposing our shoulders and legs, teach boys to have respect for women.

Although dress codes rarely apply to boys, the reasons behind them often are. Boys are not all sex-crazed maniacs who can't keep in it their pants at the sight of a bra-strap, we can at least give them credit for that. And I'm pretty certain they've sussed that girls have legs, shoulders and breasts as well. So why are we forcing girls to cover up? We are teaching both genders that female sexuality is a male weakness, and that women are solely to blame for this. Therefore, what schools are really doing is brainwashing kids into a way of thinking which is horrifically harmonious with rape culture.

Dress codes are quickly becoming an excuse for the sexualisation of women and disgracing young women, and quite frankly I'm sick of it. From first hand experience, it's humiliating to be pulled up for dress code errors, being called out in front of the class for having my skirt too short or my tights too see-through. Girls should not be made to feel ashamed to their bodies. We should be educating them to feel comfortable and confident in their skins, and that they shouldn't have to hide themselves away.

(Picture credit @ehannan3 on twitter)

Rant over.

Let me know what you think about this matter in the comments box, or message me.
Much love

Summer 2015 - Expectations Vs. Reality

It feels like I've had the longest summer of my life. I moved back here to Weymouth at the start of April, and when I move back to Winchester next week I'll have been here for 5 1/2 months, which is crazy! I had such high hopes for my super long summer, and honestly it's not lived up to my expectations at all. I thought I'd have so much free time to get so much done, but I've barely done anything I hoped I would. So as I'm on the brink of moving back to Winchester, and my summer draws to a close, I thought I'd weigh up just how successful my time has been.
Expectation - I'd get loads of uni work done
Reality - I've watched every single episode of Sex and the City
As I have my dissertation to write this year at uni, I thought I'd get a bit of a head start and do absolutely loads of reading and drafting of my ideas, so that when I go back I can focus on writing a really good piece of work. While watching Sex and the City is vital to writing my dissertation (I'm basing it on the representation of women in sitcoms...), it's pretty much all the work I've bothered to do as far as prepping for my dissertation goes. I have barely done any wider reading at all, which means as soon as I move back to Winchester I'm going to have to knuckle down and actually do some serious work.
Expectation - I'd work loads and save lots of money
Reality - I've worked a fair bit, but not saved as much as I'd hoped
I've been working quite a bit this summer, so why isn't my savings account overflowing? I've had a bit too much of a social life and gone shopping too much is the answer. Every time I have a little bit of money, I'm already planning what I'm spending it on instead of saving it up. I've got enough to pay for everything I have planned until the end of October, but after that? Nope. Got to start saving again.
Expectation - I'd spend as much time enjoying Weymouth as possible
Reality - Most of my time seeing Weymouth has been on my commute to work
I'd hoped to hit the beach a bit this summer, go on long dog walks, and just generally adventure out and about as much as I could, but I've barely done this at all. Minus the very few days where I've gone for long walks along the beach, or spent the day on the beach, the only real part of Weymouth I've seen is the route to and from work on the bus. How depressing!
Expectation - I'd have loads of free time to chill and see my friends
Reality - I've either been working or napping/sleeping..
Although I've been careful not to waste my days off as I've always planned to do things, see people and go places, on the days I work,  I'm usually pretty tired so I just crash. Therefore, I've wasted so much of my summer just by being lazy! I've not seen my friends half as much as I hoped I would, which is massively disappointing, especially as I won't really be able to see them again really until next summer. *sad face*
Expectation - I'd go to the gym, eat better, and lose weight
Reality - I'm exactly the same...
As part of having so much free time, I thought I'd be able to go to the gym (hahaha!!!), eat so much better and healthier, and subsequently lose some weight. Have I? Hell no. If anything, recently I'm eating worse because I've started snacking instead of having proper meals, and I'm so tired that going to the gym doesn't even cross my mind. I think it's pretty fair to say I haven't achieved my dream summer body in the slightest...
Expectation - Finally having the time to sort out all my old stuff and redecorate my room
Reality - Leaving it all until one week before I move out
Being back in Weymouth for pretty much half of the year, I thought it would make a lot of sense to have a huge clear out, and redecorate my room so it's less cluttered and just nicer. Although I did manage to upgrade my bed to a much comfier double bed instead of the single bed I've had since forever, my room looks exactly the same as it always has. And as for my huge summer clear out? I've left it all for the last couple of weeks before I move out of course! How on earth am I this disorganised...
I hope you've all had a much more successful summer than I have! Although I have done a lot, it just hasn't been all the things I'd hoped I would do which is such a shame. I guess there's always summer 2016....
Much love  ♥  

Rest In Peace Lucy...

(I warn you now, I cried writing this. It's not a very text-heavy post, but it certainly helped me to get out how I feel about what has happened. This may be slightly upsetting for some people to read.)

Yesterday we put my dog, Lucy, to sleep.
I've never really experienced loss before, well not in a way that I remember it. My gran died when I was young, which was horrible, but I think I was generally too young to understand what was going on, which in a sense made it all the more bearable. So to me, this pain, this grief is an all new emotion. I know she was just a dog, but we've had her for nearly 11 years, which for me equates to over half of my life. She's been there for everything I can remember, my parents divorce, my brother being bullied, all my (many) ups and downs. Lucy was always the one constant, she was more than a dog, she was a major part of the family.

One of the things which made it worse, was knowing that it was going to happen, and being an active part in the process of it. We chose to have her put down. Were we being cruel to be kind, or just selfish? It seems cruel to play God, but is it for the best? I honestly would not have agreed to what happened if I didn't believe that it was the best choice for the situation. She was suffering, and her condition was getting worse and worse, and it had to end. But knowing that her pain is over definitely didn't make it any easier, but I think we all know that it was the right choice.
So, is it ever a good time to say goodbye? I don't think there will ever be a good time to say goodbye to someone who has played a big part of your life, regardless of whether they are a pet or not. You can be as prepared as possible, but you will never be ready to say goodbye for good, and I don't think you're supposed to. People and animals come into your life for a reason, and they never truly leave, or at least I don't believe they do. A little part of the people who make a difference to you must stay with you forever in a sense, or at least that's what I like to think.

So with this horrible moment in my life slowly passing, I pass on the one thing I have learnt from this. No matter what heartbreak and loss you encounter, life, in some form or another, must always go on.

Much love