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.

12.3.17

the cabin, sheffield

I couldn't possibly simply just give a casual mention to this place: a dedicated post was entirely necessary. I got so caught up with excitement that I completely missed the opportunity to take any pictures. Instead, I've had to steal some from their website and a few from their Instagram too. I'm sure they won't mind though. Also, if they don't totally match what I'm saying now you know why.

The Cabin is a place I discovered through a hungover Google search which read 'waffles near me'. I went straight to their Instagram and decided to go without even looking at their menu which is available to look at here on their website should you so please.





The Cabin is a pancake, waffle and coffee house located on Fitzwilliam Gate, minutes from The Moor.  A couple of the owners, George and Linz, were horrified one family brunch by the fact that a restaurant had run out of pancakes. The Cabin would let no such thing occur because both the pancakes and the waffles are made to order. But wait, it gets better. They've always got the welfare of people and the planet in mind; they use local ingredients where they can; and they even use ethically-sourced coffee and eco-friendly packaging.

The Cabin is the kind of place that unites anyone and everyone through their shared love of pancakes, waffles and coffee. The hungover students like me who need a lot of food and free wifi to check Facebook for any incriminating behaviour of the night before. The professional who hates all his colleagues at work and needs a place to escape for an hour at lunch for his daily bagel. The couple who always argue about where to eat who have now found common ground in this place where the food and drink is that good it shuts them both up. The Mum and her best friend who do cake and coffee every week, once a week and need a place to gossip until their hearts consent.

The interior is inspired by a log cabin you might expect to find in the Rocky Mountains which you can actually see in the pictures which are hung up everywhere. The best way to describe The Cabin is: a home from home. I could never relax in a Starbucks, for example. Here, I didn't just feel comfortable but cozy. I could lose hours in there, sat on the sofa with my laptop and the dessert of the day.



The menu is fairly simple. There is a variety of sweet and savoury toppings to be had on either your waffles or pancakes. I had waffles with The Works: eggs, bacon and sausage. I have never had savoury topped waffle before but I don't need anything to compare it to to know that these are the best in Sheffield and possibly beyond. Scrambled eggs are so easy to cook but I've still been left disappointed and a little disgusted eating out before but not here at The Cabin. They were moist and creamy and perfect. As was the bacon, smoked and from local Cannon Hall Farm and equally, I have no complaints about the sausage pattie. My friend had Nutella waffles. She was speechless. In fact, we pretty much both were. We just sat in silence and ate.

As one of those rare breeds that doesn't drink coffee, I can't say anything about it except that it looked pretty. If you're like me, luckily they have wide range of other soft drinks including smoothies and shakes, made with none less than Sheffield's very own Our Cow Molly ice cream. Oh, and the cakes! They looked amazing and I regretted not getting one every step of the way home. Next time, for sure.


There are a few other things I need mention. They call their staff the Cabin Crew which is the cutest thing ever. There are bears everywhere, not real life ones although there is one which is scarily close. They have sofas with cushions AND blankets. The toilets are instagrammable. There's a cute little gift shop located inside which is the kind of place you could by your Mum a present which is handy because it's Mother's Day on the 26th. I am in love with this place. I don't even need to wait to get paid to back either because this place is so affordable.

The only con I can think of is the view: a Wickes. Although after about 10 mins I forgot I would have forgotten that I was even in Sheffield if it wasn't for the Yorkshire accent. If this is the closest I get to a log cabin in the Rocky Mountains, I'll still die happy.

10.3.17

social media anxiety

This is not going to be a beautifully eloquent post about my struggles and how I'm overcoming them. This is a rant which may contain unnecessary swearing. I'm no stranger to anxiety. We know each other well - too well, in fact. There is rarely a day where we don't share at least a brief encounter. Once upon a time, it was only an IRL problem. Nowadays, however, it has extended to online, too. I just want a fucking break. I'm desperately fed up.

illustrated by the talented Rebecca Cottrell

I have not tweeted in years. Yes, more than one. I think it's been three now. Why? I'm scared. Can you imagine that? Actually, maybe you can. Lauren from What Lauren Did Today, who deserves all the credit for this post, can also relate it seems. Her post inspired me to confront my issues. I used to spend up to an hour, maybe more, constructing what I perceived to be the perfect tweet. After all that, I'd have to delete it once posted anyway because I'd spot a spelling mistake.

I'd never reply to tweets that (I thought) weren't meant for me. Let's say someone, maybe a beauty vlogger, is asking for an opinion. She wants to know what micellar waters others would recommend. I have a few to suggest because I have tried and tested them all and I'm now somewhat of an expert. I don't reply though. God, no. I decide that, despite them asking, they don't want my opinion. They don't care what little old me has to say is what I tell myself.

Instagram is a similar story. I have not posted on Instagram in months. I'm not a photographer, I never will be and I don't want to be. More importantly, I don't need to be. However, if it's not picture perfect, I won't post it. If I do miraculously manage to post but I don't get over 10 likes, all the negative thoughts I had before posting are validated so, you guessed it, I delete it.

I've been blogging on and off for years now. The on and off nature of which was also anxiety related. After being off for a year or so,  I've been blogging semi-consistently for a few months now. Since posting, as you can imagine, nothing bad has happened. In all honesty, I have no idea where I found the strength to start posting again. There was no profound realisation or a defining moment, it just sort of happened.

25 blog posts later and I'm ready to do more. Overthinking is an evil that I will defeat. I have to. The fear and the frustration from the fear is pissing me off. I'm so done. My first step will be to tweet Lauren, who, might I add, is a complete stranger to me, and thank her for helping a girl out!

7.3.17

march intentions

I'm currently laying in bed sandwiched between two (yes, two) duvets. A scene that is very much reminiscent of that movie moment where the girl begins writing in her diary. I don't have a diary but I do have a blog, so here goes nothing.

My day, like most days, started off like this:

a shot from This Is Not For You, a photo-series by Sarah Babah 
Pretty standard.

Someone needs to stop me from shopping. Shopping and eating, too, actually. I frequent ASOS daily, usually with a snack in hand, and it's becoming a serious problem. There's a fine line between habit and addiction and I'm worrying close to crossing over. I need to remind myself that window shopping and mindless eating are not hobbies. Other things I have been wasting my time on include pointless arguments with my boyfriend because I'm a walking talking Evil Kermit meme at times - petty AF.

Today, my mum sent me this week's instalment of a Day in the Life of Billy, my dog: a Westie x Jack Russell cross. As usual, it consisted entirely of an image him sprawled out across the sofa looking rather pleased with himself. For the first time in a long time, I feel horribly homesick. My mum is actually at home off sick and curled up on the sofa with Billy and I desperately wish I was there too.

I quite like March. Obviously January is always written off and February is pretty pointless but March is okay. This month, I want to keep it simple. All I want to do is have more good days than bad. I've set myself three goals:

I want to make Cadbury's Creme Egg brownies. I've only ever baked once before and it didn't go horribly therefore I'm optimistic. As Mother's Day approaches, I'm increasingly aware that I'm too broke to buy my mum a present. These will cost no more than a few pounds but the effort makes them a priceless gift. Hopefully. I also just really need an excuse to bake these. If I do a batch for just myself, not only is that quite sad but also potentially dangerous as I will inevitably end up eating every single one.

I need to finish Parks and Recreation. I got midway through season 6 (out of 7) when my Amazon Prime Video membership free trial expired. It took my dumbass a whole week of being sad to realise that I can use a different email address to sign up and get another free 30 days or whatever it is. I'm heavily invested in the relationship between Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt. When they broke up briefly in the fourth season, that was the closest I'd ever come to a heartbreak of my own.

I'm going to reorganise my music collection. I love to play DJ and until I can learn to DJ for real, Spotify playlists are the next option. After a couple of months of being bored shitless of my music, I've had enough. The time has come to sort it the fuck out, basically. This is not a task to be taken lightly. The music in my life might quite possibly be more important than some of the people in my life.

Yes, these are seriously my March goals, they're just not very serious. I just want to have fun this month.

2.3.17

#GSAP





Gang Signs & Prayer dropped last Friday which means I've had all weekend and then some to listen, re-listen and listen again. I think we all thought it wasn't possible to love Stormzy anymore but we were wrong.

Stormzy is 23. I turn 23 this year. When I was younger, I'd admire the success of 20-somethings and think to myself, that's gonna be me. At only 22, I've still got time but I'm not yet where I wanna be. A friend of mine told me not to worry and that Stormzy just got lucky. Bullshit, I said. He worked damn hard and I'm gonna do the same. I'm feeling inspired, to say the least.

I digress.

I've never felt qualified to review music and so I've always left it to the professionals. A few days ago, however, an article was released blaming Zoella and other YouTubers for declining literacy amongst British teens and I was like: oh, wow (I hope you all read that in the voice of Ross from Friends). I definitely don't need a degree in journalism to share an opinion because, evidently, even the ones that do get it really wrong sometimes. Whilst I don't know any technical terms, I do have a pair of ears and if what I hear sounds good (or doesn't) I'm going to let you know.

I digress once again.



In Gang Signs & Prayer, grime meets grace. We've got the bangers and the ballads. The above meme says it better than any words really but I'm going to have to try and write something otherwise I won't have a blog post.

GSAP, the album's acronym, is a crusade in its own right. Stormzy has documented a genuine account of raw emotion where nothing feels forced; no frills or frolicks.

First Things First firstly had me going not from the lyrics but from the beat. A dark and twinkly track, reminiscent of the night's sky, produced by Mura Masa opens GSAP for Stormzy. Even though we're only on Track 1, Stormzy's drops the D word - depression. Hearing about the struggles of (man like) Stormzy could potentially be life-changing particularly for young people.

“All my young black kings rise up, man, this is your year 

All my young black queens right there

It’s been a long time coming I swear.” 

These words are taken from Cold, the second song on GSAP, and make up a few of my favourite lines from the whole album. Whilst I already know that 2017 is our year and I fully intend to serve #blackgirlmagic on the daily, having Stormzy tell you that makes it all the more special.

Religious or not, the gospel genre is good for the soul. Stormzy has me believing in a God I don't even think exists. Mad, as he would say. On Blinded By Your Grace, parts 1 and 2, we're also blessed with a singing Stormzy which I'm so here for. I love, love, love when artists sing with their British accents.

Cigarettes and Cush, featuring Kehlani and Lily Allen, is all about young love. In an interview with FADER, Stormzy put it perfectly and said this song sounded like Sunday. Love songs never usually make me feel any type of way but slow jams such as this are an exception. The grit grime adds to a love song makes it feel genuine, or legit, as they would say.

Even though Stormzy and I are worlds apart, I relate to 100 Bags in which he discusses single parenthood. My family is made up of just me and my mum with my dad nowhere to be found. I met him once and that was enough. I wouldn't have it any other way but I too owe everything to my mum. I think I might start calling her Mumzy.

Don't Cry For Me carefully explores notions of home with stunning strings by Rosie Danvers and of course, beautiful vocals by Rayleigh Ritchie. I grew up on a council estate so as you can imagine, I'm no stranger to a lot of what Stormzy discusses. A lot of my childhood friends got consumed by Hackney and its hood.

Stormzy closes the album with a rage filled rant titled Lay Me Bare. He can't believe the cheek of his dad to ask him for help after all that went down between them. Some people have no shame. Real and raw are the two words I'd chose to best describe this final track and GSAP in general. It's been emotional. I can honestly say that I've never cried at grime until this LP debut.

Now let's back track because I missed out Big For Your Boots. I wanted to end on a hype ting. Anytime I've been listening to grime, I can't help slang slipping out in sentences here and there. Anyway, as I was saying: Big For Your Boots is one of a couple of tracks we'd already heard but that doesn't matter because it never gets old. As well as the song itself, I can't get enough of the music video. My favourite scene is that which is shot in Morley's chicken shop with Maya Jama. The line up of strong women in the video in general is very impressive. To see Stormzy up on stage performing this live at summer festival is a must for me this year - I'm thinking Parklife.

Now I've got to go and prepare myself for Ed Sheeran's album which is out in less than 24 hours. The bromance between Stormzy and Ed is ship-worthy. Ed's album is out tomorrow so now I've got to go and prepare myself for that.

25.2.17

what's your number?

This post is heavily inspired by Emma from Essays and Wine. She's the kind of girl I follow on social media and wish I was friends with. Emma wrote a post all about how her sex life was just that - hers - and none of anyone else's business. The girl emoji with the X arms comes to mind.

My number has hit double digits although I'm yet to lose count yet. I have forgotten more names than I care to admit though. I lost my virginity when I was 18. I lost it to a fellow virgin and honestly, I think we both just desperate. I don't regret it but I definitely didn't enjoy it. Tragic is the only word that can be used to describe my first time. I'm sure a few of you can relate.


I've only been in one relationship and that's the one I'm in now. Between the person I gave my v-card to and my current partner, I've had several one night stands and a few fuck buddies. I remember one week I had which was rather impressive, at least by my standards anyway. I snogged 6 or so people, I had two one night stands and then I went on my first ever Tinder date which went so well that we're still together over a year later. You can read all about our story here.

Why do I have casual sex? Well, why not? I love sex and there was no way I could have spent the 3 years between my first time and my first boyfriend without sex. And so my only option was to sleep around, as they say. For the most part, it's all fun and games. Although, when people warn you not to sleep with your flatmates, listen to them. I did not and I regretted it for the 6 months until my tenancy was up.

For me, it's simple. Sex is a physical act. Emotions only get involved when I allow them to. I'm cold-hearted by nature and so for me, it's easy. Also, if I've just picked a complete (but cute) stranger from a club, how could I possibly feel anything more? It's likely that I've forgotten what he's called by the time we're in a taxi. Since being in a relationship though, I have learned that sex be both physical and emotional. Sex when you're in love is undoubtedly the best sex I've ever had so I get it. I get why some people hold off until they meet the one.

Now, let's talk politics. I don't like being told I can't do things. A guy at work told me that he doesn't think women are capable of having casual sex. Girls, don't you hate when your hysteria gets in the way? I'm seriously sick of hearing how women are too emotional for this, that and the other. In the words of Stormzy, shut up. Both women AND men may chose to abstain from sex until in a committed relationship because no strings attached sex just doesn't make sense to them and of course, that's perfectly fine. There's no judgment from me but my colleague might have a thing or two to say even though no one asked for his opinion. He is about 50 and I know there's that whole generational gap excuse but bore off, Barry.

Slut-shaming: more misogynistic men (or pricks, as I like to call them) behaving badly. Although, women slut-shame too and I think that saddens me even more. Ms. Norbury said it best:

"You all have got to stop calling each oter sluts and whores. It just makes it OK for guys to call you sluts and whores."

I'm not ashamed and you should never feel ashamed either. The only time you should feel shame is when you've fucked up, not when you've fucked someone. Unless your fucking someone is fucking up, in other words, cheating. Anyway, as established, shame derives from wrong doing and if you're a woman who has casual sexual partners you're not doing anything wrong.

Lastly, what I get up to behind clothes doors and under the sheets shouldn't be of concern to anyone except the person I'm doing it with.

13.2.17

happy galentine's day

"Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies." 

- LESLIE KNOPE, Parks and Recreation

This episode came on a few minutes past midnight only for me to realise that it was actually February 13th today. I told my boyfriend but after an underwhelming response, I thought I'd come on here and share it with people I know will just get it. I love crazy coincidences like that. I only started watching the show a matter of days ago and I have already awarded it binge-worthy status. I'm certain that if February didn't only have 28 days, I would have finished all seven series by the end of the month. I don't even wish I was exaggerating as each episode watched is time very well spent. Leslie Knope has already taught me so much.

9.2.17

the perfect valentine's night in

This is a guide for two types of people: the introverts who love a good night in and the broke ass bitches who can’t afford a night out. I’m both. I want to spend Valentine’s Day with my boyfriend and my boyfriend only anyway, not him and dozens of strangers.

Cocktails are my favourite way to get drunk but when you’re piss poor even Happy Hour deals don’t have your back. No doubt making your own at home will be cheaper but also much more fun. Well, only if they taste nice. VIPXO featured this cocktail making set on one of her eBay wishlists and it’s a complete bargain at £14.99.

I always order a Long Island Iced Tea probably (no, definitely) because it’s the one on the menu with the highest alcohol content. If I was feeling spendy, I’d opt to buy the ingredients for this especially because the leftover tequila can be used to play Battleshots with. If you’ve never had the pleasure of playing Battleshots, it’s literally just Battleships except the ships are replaced with shots. Genius, I know.

diy cocktails

However, because Long Island Iced Tea has 4 different spirits, I think I’ll be opting for a Rumberklaart (recipe above) this year. Not too long ago, I went to Fear X Loathing and I was horrified to see that my cocktail of choice was nowhere to been found on the menu and so I was forced to settle with a Rumberklaart. At least, I thought I was settling but in hindsight, I might have even been upgrading. It was so good that I had 4.

Once you’re nice and tipsy and a game of Truth or Dare has inevitably turned sexual, maybe a massage could be your next move. These Lush Massage Bars are a nice alternative to oils because they’re pretty much just solid moisturiser which means they’re great for solo use too.
Soft Coeur Massage Bar - £4.95
For lovers of sweet smells, this massage bar featuring a familiar, comforting toffee fragrance. We added almond oil to our cocoa butter and shea butter massage bar base to allow this bar to melt quickly on the skin. The honey and cocoa centre will leave the skin smelling delicious. Smooth this sweet-smelling massage bar over the body for deliciously-scented and soft skin.


Love Spell Massage Bar - £5.95
Follow your heart straight to this creamy, Fair Trade, organic cocoa butter bar, filled with rich rose hip syrup and spicy carnation absolute. Fair Trade organic aloe vera gel soothes your blushes while uplifting neroli and organic lemon myrtle takes you to a higher plane. Cast a spell over a skin, or over a partner, with this romantic, floral bar.

Fever Massage Bar - £6.95
Indulge in a bit of floral. Smooth rose absolute-infused Fair Trade organic cocoa and shea butters all over for hydrated, kissable skin. Married with rousing sandalwood oil, it’ll leave you feeling smokin' hot and ready to get-down; this one knows how to treat you right.
  
This is also a chance to get changed into something less comfortable. If you didn’t get that reference, I mean lingerie. If your massage skills are subpar, lingerie is a great way to distract your partner. If I could I’d spend hundreds on lingerie. Blair Wardorf’s collection is goals but Primark actually has a selection of relatively affordable pieces this year.

Lastly, if music isn’t playing by this point, here is the perfect playlist:



5.2.17

current unhealthy obsessions

This is a glorified favourites post. If you don't obsess unhealthily over something do you even like it? I think not.

What I Wish My Friends Knew by Vix Meldrew
I find it extremely difficult to articulate how depression feels. This blog post does so perfectly. Vix's words on laziness (below) really hit me hard. There's actually a few people in my life who I'm going to be sharing this post with.

"I’m not lazy. One of my favourite phrases is, ‘ugh I just couldn’t be arsed.’ It covers a lot of things – showering, tidying, vacuuming, shopping, eating a decent meal, meeting people, going out, getting up to put something in the bin, going to work, catching up with a friend, taking a phone call or fulfilling a hobby. I want my friends to know that it’s not that I can’t be arsed. It’s that mentally and emotionally I don’t have the energy or brain space for it."

Red Oaks
I first watched Red Oaks about a year ago when I still had the perks of my six-month free Amazon Prime Student subscription. That's long gone now and so I'd sort of forgotten about it until a few days ago. I love Craig Roberts meaning I fancy him. Anyway, he stars in Red Oaks which was enough to make me give it a watch. I kept watching because this 80s coming-of-age comedy is actually pretty entertaining. As my boyfriend would say, it's such a 'me' show.





Waves Crashing on Distant Shores of Time by Clint Mansell
This is on the soundtrack for the Black Mirror episode San Junipero. You know those songs which make you sharply inhale breath when you first hear them? This is one of those. The serenity of this track completely frees my mind of worry. If I had a mindfulness playlist, which I probably should, this would without a doubt feature on it.

Madlove - A Designer Asylum
Last month, I went to visit the exhibition Bedlam: the asylum and beyond at the Wellcome Collection. There was an installation called Madlove - A Designer Asylum and I fell in love with the concept:

"The aim is to build the most crazy, bonkers, mental asylum we dare dream of: a desirable and playful space to ‘go mad’, countering the popular myth that mental illness is dangerous and scary. Together we are attempting to create a unique space where mutual care blossoms, stigma and discrimination are actively challenged, divisions understood, and madness can be experienced in a less painful way."

I will not go into detail here as it deserves a dedicated post which will be up soonish as I've not actually started writing it yet. If you can't wait that long here is a peek at possibly my fave element from the project: My Perfect Day in The Perfect Asylum as told by Wesman. 

4.2.17

to wank or not to wank*

*for lack of a better title. I'm sorry.

I'm going to have to stick to using the proper term of masturbation in this post. Words such as wank sound so bloody vulgar (sorry again for the title) and phrases like 'flick the bean' make me sick in my mouth a little bit from cringing so hard. Anyway, I have encountered several people now that don't feel comfortable with the fact that their partner masturbates. I'm not one of these people and I'm here to tell you why. I've heard numerous reasons as to why people feel this way and I'm here to myth-bust of sorts.



The most common reason I hear is that there should be no need for either party in a relationship to masturbate when they can have sex with each other. I say to that: masturbation and sex are not mutually exclusive. To put it simply, I masturbate because it feels good. I do it when I'm bored, when I'm stressed and also when I'm struggling to sleep. I don't masturbate because I'm lacking anything in my relationship. My partner and I have an above average sex life (yes, I'm bragging). He satisfies me. When I masturbate, it's really nothing to do with my partner. Also, I get horny when my partner is not around. Last summer he went to New Zealand for a few months. Why would I deprive myself of an orgasm for so long? That would be barbaric. In these instances, I'm not masturbating instead of sex. I can guarantee that if my partner was here with me, I would be jumping on him, not on my laptop (which leads me oh so nicely on to my next point).

Another huge factor is where porn is concerned. I've had people tell me they feel insecure thinking about their partner getting off to another person. Firstly, it's inevitable that your partner is going to find other people attractive. When you enter a relationship, that part of your brain that isn't suddenly disabled. For me porn is just a visual aid. When I masturbate, I want to look at something attractive. When I look at porn actors and actresses, for example, I don't compare them to my partner. As I said earlier, masturbation is really nothing to do with them. I don't watch other people and wish my partner looked like them. Not at all, not even in the slightest, ever. As well as that, a lot of the time I'm not even focusing on the people in porn but more on what they're doing. It's the sexual acts that are turning me on. Porn actors and actresses couldn't even come close to my partner. Sure, they might be physically attractive but so is my partner plus so much more.

Masturbation won't be for everybody and that's fair enough. However, shaming your partner for their habits is wrong in my frank opinion. The exploration of your body is, or at least should be, a rite of passage into sexual maturity. What with the female body is so complicated, if I had never masturbated, I might have never known what it takes for me to orgasm and that would have been a tragedy. Additionally, whilst porn sex isn't real sex and believe me, I'm well aware of that, but due to the lack of sex education in the UK I was forced to learn a lot of lessons from it.

I could talk about masturbation forever and so I promise you this won't be my last post on the topic.

3.2.17

5 instagram accounts that changed my life forever

I dread to think how many hours I've spent scrolling through Instagram. I recently went on an unfollowing spree because my feed was filled with a shit tonne of crap. This mini-detox did however get me thinking about the IGs that I do actually love and adore and could never bare to unfollow.

anastasiabeverlyhills
My poor eyebrows have been subject to a number of subpar brow products over the years. Put it this way, gels and powders just should not be put on (my) eyebrows. The Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade is such a YouTube Made Me Buy It product but actually for good reason this time. I honestly thought an eyebrow pomade was a gimmick, it had to be a joke, I thought to myself. I was so wrong and this product instantly became a holy grail product. Following my purchase, I became mildly obsessed with eyebrows and I followed @anastasiabeverlyhills to get my daily fix. Watching eyebrow transformations is seriously satisfying.


foreverflawlyss
I follow Alyssa for hair and make-up inspiration. We have pretty much the same hair, down to the curl pattern and everything. She does so much more with her hair then I could ever imagine even attempting. Her make-up is flawless as her username suggests. I'm not a massive fan of Instagram make-up but I make an exception for this girl - I could stare at her face forever. I can't tell whether I just have an innocent girl crush on her or whether I actually fancy her.


trishapaytas
I am an OG fishie and unashamedly so. I love that Trisha wears whatever she wants and gives no fucks. I aspire to be more like her. This outfit is just too, too cute. I can't deal. Let's ignore the fact that her phone case has a picture of her and him whose name we shall not mention.

A photo posted by trishapaytas (@trishapaytas) on

lizclimo
Liz Climo's illustrations melt my heart. If you need a little light in your life, this is the account for you. Each time I come across one of her posts, I smile without fail. A fun little fact for you: Liz is also an animator for The Simpsons!

A photo posted by Liz Climo (@lizclimo) on

onepoundmeals 
This account is run by Instagram chef, Miguel Barclay. He posts recipes with cost £1 or less such as this crab macaroni cheese. Each recipe honestly just blows my mind. Not only are they ridiculously cheap but they're also so simple and easy to follow. My biggest pet peeve with following recipes is that there's often an ingredient is near impossible to get hold of unless you take a cross-country quest to a farmer's market situated in the Scottish Highlands. Miguel has us covered though, he loves to shop in Lidl and other major supermarkets. He's recently released an entire book dedicated to these recipes which I need in my life.

25.1.17

the chronicles of noriday: the pill, the bitch and the hormones

I feel like every girl taking any form of contraceptive pill could write a series of memoirs on her experience. Mine would be titled as above.

I've been on Noriday for almost a year and half now. It's a progestogen-only pill, also known as a mini-pill. Don't be fooled by the use of the word mini as the side effects are far from that. 




The mood swings
My mood swings are killer. First, I get angry, real angry. I plan to start an argument with my boyfriend - 'plan' being the operative word. I know this sounds crazy and that's because it is. We've all done it. At least, that's what I tell myself to validate my actions. 

Anyway, you know when you've planned a scenario out with someone so perfectly in your head but when it plays out in real life, the other person goes and fucks it up. My boyfriend always says the wrong damn thing. He never sticks to the script. How fucking inconsiderate, right!?

Mid-argument, once the script has gone to shit, I'll start crying. As tears roll down my face, the boyf takes pity on me. He gives me a hug. I love his arms. I love this hoodie he's wearing too but I love it even more when I wear it. It always smells of him. I hope he leaves it when he goes home because I'm going to miss him so much even through I'm seeing him tomorrow. I love him. He's such a good boyfriend, what did I do to deserve him? At this point, I'm pretty much sobbing. 

Where the fuck is my period?
I like having periods. One of the main reasons I use the pill to be protect against pregnancy therefore a late period freaks me the fuck out. Irregular periods have become the norm for me and so I have learnt a thing or two on how to prevent unnecessary breakdowns when your period is late. 



You should always have a stash of pregnancy tests at home. I keep mine in a draw alongside my extra pills and condoms. The last thing you want to do when you think you're pregnant is pop to the shops and buy a test. I've had to do that a few times and the walk home from Sainsbury's is excruciating. Imagining my life as a mother was not fun. 

Tracking your periods is also really useful - I use the app, Clue. It reassures me knowing that I have not had a period for 6 weeks before and it wasn't because I was pregnant. Additionally, I like to note down if I've missed a pill or been late taking it. You can also do this on the Clue app. I can then seriously determine whether or not there is actually any possibility I could be pregnant? The answer is almost always no.

Horny, horny, horny
Am I the only one who finds everyone and everything attractive when they're horny? I hope not. My sex drive, or libido (who actually says that in real life though?), works overtime whilst I'm on the pill. I don't live with my boyfriend, but even then I don't think even he could keep up with me, and so I have to find ways to entertain myself. I even have a wishlist on Lovehoney.

I've most definitely admitted too much already and with that in mind, I'm going to leave this post to end here.