27.6.17

current unhealthy obsessions vol. 2

I was shocked to learn that this is only the second time ever that I'm bringing you a post like this which is weird because I love to obsess unhealthily over inanimate things. I thought now would be especially perfect timing given that my last post was a rant.
Master of None 
I don't know anyone, anyone with a heart anyway, who didn't fall in love with Aziz Ansari during Parks and Recreation. I fell hard. With that in mind, you can imagine my excitement when Master of None graced Netflix with it's presence. I'm no TV critic myself but this show has an 100% score on the Tomatometer which counts for a lot. Or so I'm told. I watched Season 1 at a time where I needed picking up and it did exactly that. It was as though I'd been given an enormous hug through the screen: it was gripping; it was natural and warm; and it made me smile. And now you know why I'm not a TV critic. During Season 2, I'm sure not sure which was louder: the sound of my heart skipping a beat when Aziz is prancing around Italy or the noise of my rumbling tummy at the sight of the pasta and other food. 10/10. I have already watched each season twice.

M&S Sparkling Florida Orange drink 
One hot day, a very sweaty me found myself in a disgustingly busy Westfield Stratford. I'd mistakenly decided to brave the place during a half-term and the pre-pubescent teens were out in full force. After a rather unsuccessful shopping spree, I was desperate for a cold fizzy drink and M&S was my best bet. I reluctantly paid £1.40 for a bottle of a drink named Sparkling Florida Orange. We all think of the sun when we hear Florida. Well, that and Disneyworld, of course. Anyway, this drink is literally sunshine in a bottle. I was pleased to find out that you can in fact purchase a whole litre bottle for 70p - half the price for double the amount - just because it's found in the non-refrigerated drinks aisle. 

Dusk Eau de Parfum by New Look 
I have not yet achieved one of my lifelong goals of having a fragrance collection. For now, I can only afford one perfume at a time. If money were no object, I would be buying Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb and the Eau de Parfum at that. However, at basically £100 for 100ml I am forced to rethink. With New Look's Dusk however, I don’t feel like I’m compromising on quality even a teeny tiny bit. The only downgrade comes in the price. Dusk is only £12.99 for 100ml which makes or guilt-free spritzing. Dusk even reminds me of Flowerbomb. New Look describes it as an irresistible, modern oriental fragrance with Iris, Jasmine, and Patchouli.

Cadbury's Dairy Milk Big Taste Peanut Caramel Crisp 
Initially, I was well disappointed to see this bar staring up at me in my Degustabox because I hate peanut butter. Or so I thought. My tastes must be maturing. The blurb (I say blurb because this chocolate is truly a work of art) on the back of the bar reads as: Dairy Milk chocolate filled with peanuts, caramel and a peanut filling, with chopped peanuts and rice crisps". It retails at about £3 or something ridiculous like that but it is a beast of a bar. I'v seen it on offer for £2 in a couple of places though so be sure to shop around. I have become addicted to this chocolate bar and I’m pretty sure I’ve got my mum hooked too. There’s so just much going on, it’s creamy, crunchy and crispy but also smooth, sweet, and a little savoury all at once.

Beldray 8inch Turbo Fan
lol
One day, I returned home to find that my Mum had bought yet another product from Argos. She was delighted, I was not. I wondered to myself how long it would take for this one to be sentenced for life to that dreaded cupboard where all the other unused gadgets go to die. This lasted longer than most and I was surprised to see a that it's still alive and well, and currently living its days out in the front room. I hate British summer. This country cannot handle hot weather. Our houses are literally designed to retain heat and the lack of air con breaks my heart on days like today. Out of principle, I had refused to use the fan. After a hard day of doing nothing, however, I was still somehow sweaty and sticky. As you can imagine, I was not a pretty sight and all I could think about was this fan sitting upstairs, all alone, waiting desperately to be used. You know how some fans literally just feel like someone is standing next to year and blowing air from their own mouth? Not this one. The use of the word Turbo is not a gimmick. I'm amazed at how powerful this fan is. It even feels like it's blowing cool air out. There are three speed settings which I have nicknamed noisy, noisier and even noisier. The sheer sound it produces is the only gripe I have. With a nice matte black design, I also don't feel like I need to hide because it makes my room look ugly like I do with most household appliances.

31.5.17

the first rant

The first of many, undoubtedly. A lot of bloggers, that I've come across anyway, pledge positivity. I am not one of those bloggers. Don't get me wrong, where necessary I'll always at least *try* to remain optimistic but on a week like this one, I just need to have a good old fashioned bitch. You see, I'm PMSing. I'm in the kind of mood where my boyfriend could just look at me and I'd start an argument. Sorry, babe. Here is a list of other things that have left me royally pissed off lately. I can already hear some of you rolling your eyes along with me through the screen.


1. The fact that Pull & Bear considers a size 10, a large. I was doing my daily rounds of the online New In sections and ASOS was, of course, at the top of my list. When I saw this adorable red and white striped bardot number, my heart sunk and my tummy did a little flip: I was in love. That was until the appalling size range was appealed via the (now dreaded) dropdown menu. I'm still not over it a whole two days later.

2.  Blogging about blogging. Not in general. I really do welcome genuine advice, particularly regarding the technical aspects of running and maintaining a blog. However, surely the generic 50+ Lifestyle (or whatever else is popular) Post Ideas and such are redundant by now. I'm being kind - they're actually really boring and they've never actually given me a new idea.

3. When I hear a phone vibrating on TV but I mistake it for my real life phone. How do they make it sound and somehow even feel real? Anyway, I get annoyed because it gives me false hope that someone wants to talk me. I didn't realise how sad that sounded until I read that back. I'm sure your hearts weep for me.

4. The lack of vanilla milkshakes available in supermarkets. Fruit milkshakes shouldn't be a thing and all varieties should be replaced by vanilla and maybe, cookies and cream too. I did recently discover that ASDA do a Vanilla flavoured milk and it's actually, surprisingly, quite nice. Whilst it inevitably lacks the creamy thickness of a milkshake, at 60p per bottle, I'm willing (albeit, reluctantly) to compromise.

5. Competitions that make you tag your friends to enter. I don't have many friends. I have two best friends and one of those is absent from all social media platforms after a detox went so well she decided to never return. That leaves me with a grand total of one person to tag which just isn't working out in the current climate of tag two or three friends in the comment section for a chance to win. Some of us just aren't that popular, so please stop.

6. Fidget spinners.

1.4.17

5 lessons in sex education

Progress, albeit extremely and painfully slow, is being made in implementing statutory sex and relationships education (SRE) into schools across the UK. Change is coming. Hopefully. I volunteer with an independent student-led charity called Sexpression and we go into schools around Sheffield and teach SRE lessons to young people.

When I was in school, all I got given was a couple of free condoms - not even accompanied by a lesson on when, where and how I should use them. The young people of today are lucky to live in the internet age but that's just not good enough. Firstly, because many teens are using porn as a form of sex education but as we know, porn sex is not real sex, but they might not know that yet. Secondly, because you'd think it should be in the bloody government's interest to teach it's youth important life lessons but evidently it's not.

This is, of course, not an extensive list. The lessons to be learnt are possibly endless. These are just a few I consider to be pretty major.

1.   S E X   I S   F O R   P L E A S U R E



Sex education desperately needs to be made more sex positive. Sex is not just for making babies or something that can give you nasty and sometimes deadly infections. Unwanted pregnancy and STIs are very much a real thing amongst young people but they wouldn't be if we actually taught them how to have safe sex and prevent these situations.

The real reason why most people actually have sex is for pleasure purposes. Sex feels good and sex is fun because of that. Two very simple messages that yet somehow fail to be conveyed properly if at all. Heterosexual, penis in vagina sex is what young people are exposed to the most. A lot of the times, we just see a man thrusting inside a woman until he finishes. That's what we see in the movies anyway. Let's unpack that scene:

The lack of foreplay is worrying. All that thrusting looks like hard work. Do any other moves actually exist? What exactly is finishing? Can women have orgasms too? She didn't look like she was enjoying herself much. Why was her clitoris, the only organ in the body designed solely for pleasure, being neglected? There's so much more to sex as they know it. There are other holes that can be used too. "A mouth, maybe, but surely not your ass?" they ask. Well, yes, actually.

2.   B O D I L Y   A W A R E N E S S
These ah-mazing illustrations are by Erin Tobey
Until I fell into the dark depths of the web, otherwise known as Tumblr, I thought my vagina was ugly. I thought my vagina was weird. I thought my vagina was anything but normal. People with penises have similar fears too. It is big enough? I imagine that to be one of the primary concerns. Another thing that needs to be taught about vaginas and penises is what they do. How do they work and why do they work that way? The vagina is so complex and so misunderstood. If a vagina could speak, I'd imagine it would have a lot to say. But vaginas can't talk so we need to do the talking for them. A session or two on periods wouldn't go a miss either.

Breasts are another area of concern. Mine were less than perky and I didn't think people under the age of 30 had saggy boobs so I thought there was something wrong with me. Of course now I know I'm completely normal. Speaking of boobs, boobs and balls need to be examined regularly. A self-examination demonstration to teach young people how check that everything is normal and healthy would do wonders. Additionally, once of age 25, women need to attend regular cervical screenings.

3.   H O W   T O   C H O O S E   A   C O N T R A C E P T I O N 



People always talk about THE pill as if there is just one universal pill that is given out to everyone. Firstly there are two different types of contraceptive pills: the combined oestrogen and progesterone pill and the progesterone only pill. Between those there are many brands which produce different variations of each pill.

The pill, for females only, is short-acting, reversible and hormonal form of contraception. There are also long-acting, irreversible, non-hormonal forms of contraception.  If you're a male, there are only two available to you: the condom and the vasectomy. If you're a woman, you have a lot more to consider. How could you possibly know what form of contraception is right for you though? A lot of trial and error and perhaps the help of a quiz that would ask some of the following questions:

Why do you need contraception? To prevent pregnancy or to prevent STIs or to both? Condoms are the only form of contraception that prevent against STIs. How old are you? If you're young and living at home, you might need to consider if you want your parents to know. If not, you'll need a contraceptive method which can easily be hidden from them and your nosy little sister. What kind of lifestyle do you lead? If you're busy bee or just terrible at remembering things you might need to consider an implant or the injection over a pill that you have to remember to take at the same time every day. The side effects of contraception are also something which shouldn't be missed out during the selection process. If you have awful periods which are heavy and painful, you might want to consider a contraception that makes them disappear completely or at least lighten the flow or ease up the cramps. That requires a great deal of hormones though, and that's yet another consideration to be had.

Additionally, the myths surrounding emergency contraception urgently need to be busted and the stigma removed.

4.   G E N D E R   A N D   S E X U A L I T Y 



As well as sex positivity, sex inclusivity needs to ensue. The little sex education that does exist focuses on sex between a man and a woman. But even before the actual having sex part, there is a lot that needs to be discussed.

My teenage years (and early twenties so far) have been an on going series of identity crises. This video above is less than 5 minutes and could have saved me a lot of headache when I was younger. A lesson on gender and sexuality could help young people come to terms with their identities and let them know that what we're feeling is 100% valid. This is particularly important if someone's identity expression falls beyond the heteronormative confines of our society and so what they're feeling feels far from normal.

Additionally, we can (hopefully) help tackle discrimination through education.

5.   C O N S E N T ,   C O N S E N T ,   C O N S E N T !



This short video perfectly explains everything that needs to be known about consent with the use of a tea analogy which should be perfect for us Brits as we know and love tea very well.

A girl from one of my classes asked me if you are allowed to say no to sex with a boyfriend. If that doesn't tell you that consent needs to be covered on the SRE curriculum then I don't know what does. We live in a society in which rape culture is very much alive and well when it shouldn't have even been born in the first place.

Consent needs to be obtained in all instances, not just penetrative sex. Unless you have his consent, it is never OK to pinch a man's bum in a nightclub because you think he's cute. Unless you have her consent, it is never OK to kiss a girl even if she has been flirting with you in class all day. Unless you have his consent, it is never OK to place the penis of the guy you've been dating in your mouth. Unless you have her consent, it is never OK to place your fingers inside of her vagina.

The different forms of consent and different ways in which consent can be obtain really need to be stressed too.

31.3.17

4 hours on a megabus

After a blaring row with my boyfriend which ended an already devastating week, I tried to make a quick escape back home to London. I wanted a dramatic exit. However, I was quickly brought back to reality when I was reminded of the cost of travel. Even if I could afford to, I wouldn't pay £50 for a single train fare. Also, the new 25% UNiDAYS student discount on National Express does fuck all in an emergency as you can only book trains for three days time at the earliest. I resorted to Megabus and found a £3 coach ticket departing mid-afternoon on Monday. I have a love-hate relationship with Megabus. It's cheap, which I love. But, it's cheap for a reason: it's always late (which I hate, obviously).

15:17pm
A good half an hour after the expected departure time, I'm finally on the damn coach. I pushed my way to the front if the queue with no shame as I have very specific seating requirements. I seated myself near to the toilets but not so close that I could smell anything vile. Some of you may be horrified at the fact that I'd even use these toilets but any drop of liquid runs straight through me totalling approximately one wee per hour so I don't really have a choice not to.

Travelling at 3 in the afternoon on a Monday made for a half empty coach with 2 seats per customer. This meant my bag could be as (un)comfortable as me sat on the seat next to me.

15:44pm
Within the first half an hour, I'd already finished my entire meal deal which I still regret three days later. My meal deal was from Boots, one of the best of the UK high street providers of meal deals. The only place that even comes close is The Co-op, an unlikely contender, I know. I got a Tennessee BBQ Chicken sandwich which although had some really nice coleslaw in it, there was a disappointing amount of chicken given my hunger levels. I got a Naked smoothie, one with all the berries. To finish off, I had a cookie dough brownie which was just as good as it sounds.

Whilst I ate, I watched an episode of Love, a Netflix Original, which I really can't tell if I like or not but I continue to watch nonetheless.

16:16pm
I was mesmerised by this guy drinking Innocent smoothie who was sat just a couple of seats away from me. He had a litre bottle from which he poured the drink into a disposable plastic cup. I watched him top up effortlessly several times. This was a brave move on a moving vehicle alone let alone this paticular coach which was now definitely speeding due to its lateness. Anyway, he managed it so well with no spillages whatsoever.
16:58pm
A 30 minute stop at a service station waiting for a relief driver would have been hell unless I hadn't caught a Pidgeot (FYI, that's a Pok√©mon). Also, it was pretty amusing watching people pile out of the bus to fill their lungs with either fresh air or nicotine. It wasn't long before someone spoke by complaining about the outrageous waiting situation. This instantly formed a bond between passengers and I suddenly felt left out. How weird.

We were under strict instructions not to wander off inside the service station as the driver would be forced to leave without you if he arrived before you got back. I was slightly gutted because the sight of the KFC had perked up my otherwise shitty mood. I'm desperate try a Dirty Louisiana and I'm worried I'll miss out because it's limited edition. That's the kind of life I lead - a very sad one.

17:09pm
I'd been putting off using my laptop because I wasn't sure I was ready for the task of balancing my very expensive Macbook on my lap on a moving coach. By this time though, my phone was at less than 10% and I needed a power outlet.

I'm currently dealing with a dress in place of my laptop case because mine has mysteriously disappeared. The dress, however, was slightly damp which caused the stickers on the back to peel off slightly. I'm honestly heartbroken.

17:45pm
I'm pissed off because:

1. I've become to the realisation that I'm meant to be pulling into London Victoria in 45 mins but we're still well over 90 fucking minutes away
2. After spending about half an hour attempting to watch YouTube on the shocking megabus wifi whilst charging my phone via my laptop, I've just noticed not one, but two, plug sockets
3. I'm hungry

18:13pm
I tried and failed to get some sleep to get some sleep because until you get off the motorway the view is pretty bleak once it gets dark as you can't see the pretty fields that pretty much all look the same anyway.

Finally off of the motorway and on to some A-road, we passed Spring Grove, a retirement home. The place looked like something out of a comedy cult classic or something you might expect to find featured on Vice as part of a photo series on old people doing something really normal like eating breakfast.

18:31pm
We passed St. John's Wood tube station which has what I can only describe as a tropical garden display on it's doorstop. One day I'd love to do one of those alternative tours where you visit cool ass tube stations, especially the creepy abandoned ones.

I never come to this end of town anymore mostly because I have one specific memory that will haunt me forever. Back when I was a waitress, I was hired to work a party at a private client's home and their house was located just a minute's walk from the station. As my first shift ever, little 17-year old me was on the brink of a nervy b. Despite my shaky demeanour, I got put on tray service. The guests were greeted on arrival by me and a couple of others holding trays full of drinks free from them to help themselves too. My tray consisted of about 10 cocktails, Raspberry Bellinis to be specific, which were bright pink in colour.

A single moment hadn't even passed before I'd dropped a full tray on their beautifully tiled, light grey concrete patio. The glass shattered into a million and one pieces, many of which flung themselves onto the grass making it potentially dangerous for guests. The cocktail stained instantly and the look on the owners faces let me know that this would be my first and last shift here. Believe it or not, this was not the only time it happened. The second time was even more horrific as the party had got busier and I received a cheer from a balding man in a shirt that matched the colour of his sunburn and possibly the new colour of the patio too. I was quickly removed from tray service duties and sent to collect glasses instead.

18:57pm
I love London and every time I leave I almost forget just how much. Driving through London at night, even if it is on a coach filled with strangers, is quite magical. London is a land of possibilities and my arrival in the city always bring on an overwhelming feeling like anything could happen although anything rarely does.

19:19pm
Thank fuck, I've made it. I experience separation anxiety from my luggage (yes, really) so I'm so glad to finally be reunited with my suitcase. Well, I was happy until I remembered that I've got half a mile to walk until my bus stop. A walk which will seem miles longer due to the fact that I really needed a wee but the toilets at Victoria Coach Station were 30p to use.