A letter to all the young girls

Image result for moody teenager

Dear young girls across the world,

I found really sad to read in the news today that among 10 to 15-year-old girls, the children’s society charity reported that 14% are unhappy with their lives as a whole, and 34% with their appearance.

I actually find this statistic quite upsetting because I for one, have never struggled with being unhappy as a child. My levels of happiness have decreased since being an adult of course, that’s a given right? But to acknowledge that there is a number of young women out there, who are fundamentally unhappy with themselves and their environments, whilst by contrast the study found that boys’ sense of happiness remained stable, is a really alarming piece of information that leads me onto a number of things that could be causing this turbulence in the pre teen and teenage years of womanhood.

First of all, Instagram

Yeah, we all have it, yeah we all pick the best filter so it looks like it was 5 degrees hotter than it actually was on holiday and yeah we all mindlessly scroll through post after post wishing we were ‘that skinny’ or could ‘cook that well’ or was ‘that rich’.

But we need to wake up and smell the sausage and carrot pasta (a cheap, easy and not very instagrammable meal for anyone who is interested) and admit the fact that Instagram is FAKE.

I will tell my sister who fits into this teen age bracket that what you see on Instagram, celebrities, personal trainers, fashion bloggers, your friends afternoon tea post, most of them, are set up, they are organised, they are faked, or exaggerated, they are not representations of real life. Real life is the bunch of candid snaps of you and your mates as you lark around in the park doing cartwheels and pulling funny faces at each other, the ones you wouldn’t put on Instagram. But instead, people choose the one where they are delicately (and in some cases seductively) licking an ice cream, which they probably have no intention of eating, despite still having the metabolism of a child (god damn you, it runs out pretty soon after 19 let me tell you!)

Have fun, take photos, don’t think about poses or what looks best on Instagram. Because the thing that looks best on Instagram is not the ‘best version’ of you. It’s the staged version of you. God the only staging I was doing at 15 was pushing around the crappy crates we had in our drama classroom to make a stage out of.

Secondly, The Kardashians, and Gigi and all those other models

You don’t look like Kylie Jenner, or Gigi or Bella Hadid, and you’re sad about it. But you also don’t have millions of dollars and the desire to get your face sliced up and stiched back together before your 17th birthday. These girls PAID to look like that. They went under cosmetic procedures to look like that. They (well their equally as deluded) rich celebrity parents paid for it. You’re going to have to make do with a Natural Collection eyeshadow pallet and some sparkly lipgloss. It’s what it’s all about. Boys might ogle at Kylie and Gigi and Bella and all the other ‘models’ out there, but believe me, they are all too ugly to even get within a foot of a girl who actually looks like that IRL (I’ll give you a clue: no one actually does). So don’t sweat it that Callum in Yr12 fancies Kylie Jenner and you wished you had bigger lips. In a year’s time you’ll realise that Callum only wants a fumble up your bra at that house party of the year and that you’re actually beautiful because you’re smart and respectful of yourself. Sure, slap a face of make up on if you want, we all do it from time to time. But take it from a girl who tried to hide away from having red hair and pale skin because it wasn’t deemed ‘attractive’ enough, being a bit different or not having peroxide blonde hair and an orange tan actually works in your favour as you get older and boys like Callum fade and boys like Chris who studies medicine and your mum just ‘can’t wait to meet’ comes into the picture.

And finally, there’s all this outward confidence, but what happened to all the inward loving?

Take some time out from the pressures of being 15. You’re being grilled by your parents to do that extra French homework, and you’re also being told to tidy your room for the 5th time this week and not stay on your phone all night and why aren’t you coming to watch Coronation street? I was 15 ten years ago, and although it feels like ages (I am old n haggered lol) it really wasn’t. I still remember the fights with my parents (soz guys), and the binge eating my feelings on 6 KitKats after school and then trying to eat dinner. But your parents are nagging you because they are terrified they might have done a shit job and you’re actually going to end up working full time in McDonald’s, so prove them wrong on that one. You’re being asked to tidy your room because it’s a tip and its actually a lot easier to sleep and chill out in a tidy room and if you eat 6 kitkats after school, so what? Go on a run with your mates (not alone you’re 15 and female, society hasn’t moved on that much in 10 years on that front) or join an after school sports club because god damn it when you move to London at 21 and find out it costs £300 a month to play for a netball team when you used to play it for free, that’s a kick in the teeth.

In the words of a wise man (apart from the toe cancer thing) called Bob Marley. Don’t worry and be happy. Because you’re 15, and frankly wait until you’re 25 and having an existential crisis about whether you’re a child or an adult or if you have enough money to eat that week. That’s when you actually need to freak out.

Yours sincerely,

Girl who did it before you.

twitter.com/g_hetherington

p.s don’t you just love the picture, it’s me at 15

Millennials and the Media

themorningnews.org

Today at work I attended an event to celebrate International Women’s Day called How To Extend Content Reach to Women Ages 16-25. This was a big talk hoping to enable people of older generations to get ‘down with the kids’ and understand why we like social media so much.

The whole time I was sat in the audience listening to experts on outreach and consumerable content to my age group, I couldn’t help thinking, ‘yeah you’re kind of right, but you’re also a bit old to get it too’. I mean these women – who are by far some of the best in their field – most of them weren’t even that much older than my age demographic, and not to exclude the male on the panel too – were probably all just shy of 40.

But that’s all that’s needed in an age gap for people to either completely understand – partially understand – or just not understand at all, however hard they try.

So why are we as an age group so reliant on social media and consumable content? Personally, I do actually think that this is dependent on regions too. For example, I think if I lived at home in Manchester with my parents still and worked at Topshop still like I did when I was 16-18, then still at the age of 24, my content consumption would be different. I wouldn’t be seeking the reassurance of coping with living in London, the anxiety behind looking for my next job or even the kind of content I share to make myself look like a) my degree was worth it and I’m smart, b) I’m fun, kooky and laid back and c) I’m unique and different to everyone else. And we all lie to ourselves, because we all do it. Every single one of us.

Social media in particular has become this breeding ground for narcissism and even writing this, I have to make sure that I reiterate the phrase I constantly have to tell myself which I read somewhere a few years ago (ironically probably on Instagram) ‘Don’t compare your behind the scenes to someone else’s showreel’. And it’s so true, along with ‘Don’t believe the things you tell yourself late at night’. As a demographic, we have become to intense and complicated and multifaceted that we are actual subjects on actual studies about our actual thought processes behind how we use social media. When you separate yourself from the context of this…doesn’t it all seem a little mad?

I occasionally use emojis, I can read a daily mail showbiz article or two/three/seven before I go to bed, and I can scroll through Kylie Jenner’s Instagram wondering whether it’s ok to think that an 18 year old has a nice butt? But it doesn’t mean that I’m not reading a really interesting book about character analysis or that I aspire to be like Kim Kardashian. And this is the slight point that not only are middle aged people trying to understand us online are missing, it’s the point that we are the first generation who cannot be cornered into one group of content consumers, because content is so diverse and also SO available, meaning that whilst I’m tweeting about Pretty Little Liars, I’m writing a document about Workhouses and the Poor Law Act of 1834.

What the media middle agers need to now do is respect these differences and use it to make their content even more distinctive, and allow our responses as the targeted audience to do the talking. This makes it into a cycle of creating and consuming content specific to requirement.

Young people use the internet and social engagement to learn to be ourselves, and play with our identities. We don’t need to be pigeon holed, because no pigeon is the same.

 

Why are people getting married at young ages again?

MTV

I’ve got one friend who defied the odds of the modern woman and got hitched at 19. I’ve got another friend who’s vowed that they’ll never get married, ‘it’s just a piece of paper’. There’s mixed feelings about the recent upping in female to male Leap Year proposals (4 more years to wait if you missed it!) And then, here I am, somewhere in the middle.

I think it’s hard to have an opinion on marriage, because like a lot of things, it’s exactly what you make of it. I for one, grew up as a child in between a marriage, or rather a divorce and although I don’t think it in any way affected me (I’M COMPLETELY SOUND OF MIND AND SUCCESSFUL HONEST) it has made my own opinion of marriage a strong one.

And surprisingly, I feel the other way about marriage than people who are from what my French teacher once translated/described as ‘broken families’ stereo typically do. I want my marriage to be forever. BIG surprise, doesn’t everyone think that? Who goes into a marriage thinking it’s not going to be forever apart from someone like Courtney Stodden? Realistically, you never know what’s around the corner for anything in your life but marriage is one of those things that you’ve got to think about, it might not work out, but do you work at it? Or it might be over quicker than you’ve been engaged. Or maybe it might just last forever.

Marriage statistics in the UK denote that marriage is on the up for the first time in over 40 years, with over 50% of over 16s tying the knot since 2011. Like an economic dip puts the country in recession, there was a time in the mid nineties where over 50% of marriages ended up in divorce. It seems it’s taken a generation to bring back the faith into marriage. Basically, if you’re in the bracket of twenties to early thirties, you’re in the generation of the kids who believe once again, in love.

However, although the stats suggest that the credit to the increase might be the factor of those tying the knot later in life (my very own mother and stepdad have been courting for 20 years due to tie the knot this summer) it might just be the younger lovers of the generation who are reverting back to more traditional values that has sparked an increase in ‘I Do’s’.

One thing I want to be clear on here though is that although we all know the difference between what it means to get married (have a wedding) and be married (a continuous struggle and wondrous experience of sharing your life with one significant other) lest us forget the show Totally Jodie Marsh: Who’ll Take Her Up The Aisle.

 

Get the Layered London Life

Thanks DUDELOL.com, you’re hilarious and you know it!

So for a while, I’ve been having this constant internal breakdown where I’m like ‘Where am I? ‘Who am I’? And more importantly, ‘Where am I going?’ And of course, the constant beating in my chest and subsequently my throat are cultivated by the Uber stress that’s bestowed upon me and also in fact that I can’t actually afford half the Uber rides I actually get.

I was about 16 when I decided that after I’d thwarted my way through performance studies at college (free spirited ok?) and spent three years of my life chugging back VKs in Revs at uni that I would move to London. In September 2013 I set off with my little handkerchief tied onto a stick and was driven 300 miles down the motorway by my Stepdad and TalkSport Radio (4 HOUR DRIVE PEOPLE). Pretty soon after I’d landed and since, I’d managed to start a new job, cry at a new job, quit a job, open an overdraft, spend an overdraft, have an interview at Vogue, an interview at Glamour, get rejection letters from both, get a job in TV, realise I like TV, lose my job in TV, get another job in TV, lose my job in TV again, and then gain another job in TV which I’m due to start soon. Amongst all that, I’d ended a previous relationship, started a new one, boarded with crazy people, boarded with friends, eaten at Morley’s Fried Chicken more than once, eaten at a Michelin starred restaurant more than once and still managed on top of all that to be in debt, but drinking Prosecco on a Friday night? Crazy huh?

What’s my secret? Ok guys…I’ll tell you. How can I on the surface have this shiny, happy go lucky persona, my Primark skirt being mistaken for Zara at a glance, my perfectly manicured nails being stick on types from Poundland, and then underneath that is a 2 bedroom flat in Brixton, a meal at Duck & Waffle on a Friday night and a trip to New York in October for my 25th. How do I do it you ask? I’ve got the Layered London Life.

The Layered London Life is not a product you can buy, or a class you can attend, it’s a London way of life which you have to study, perfect and ultimately master in order to balance your life of oxymoron’s and juxtapose your daily routine. Up until 3am getting hammered on 2 4 1 cocktails at Be At One but got a work meeting at 9am? The Answer? Dean Street Townhouse! Avocado and egg on toast for £9! Amazing. You get to eat something that washes the Sambuca out of your mouth and look like you’ve got your shit together! And what’s even better? You can expense it to work!

Got a hot date on Thursday night but don’t have any money to get a new outfit? Don’t ignore those cheap looking pile of shit shops like Risky and Rebel!. They might be gross on the outside, and the inside, but they can re-sell a Boohoo dress with the label cut out for half the price! You might get some D£sign£r heels too for only £6, wow how incredible considering the RRP is £225!

Want to appear cultured and knowledgeable but can’t actually afford the £12 entry fee to the Tate exhibition on rat droppings? Well, have no fear, you can go to all of the free ones instead, and when you’re date/person you are trying to impress with all your knowledge makes a hint that they want to go into said paid for exhibit, distract them with your waving of a BOGOF glass of house white voucher at the local Wetherspoon’s which conveniently looks over the Thames…And if you want to travel back in style, grab the Emirates cable cars, and gawp at the view of London by air for the same price as a tube ride, bonus points if you’re on a travelcard and further bonus points for realising these two spots are nowhere near each other.

It sucks having no money and living in a city in London where everything is so expensive but there’s lots of things worth doing that are free, it just takes a bit of research. It sucks not having any time and living in London. Work can overtake your life sometimes, and although my mum always says ‘You don’t have to do it all now just because you’re young!’ Well screw you mom! Do you think you know better than me because you have 30 years life experience on top of me and have brought up a child genius such as myself? I will do it all now! You know why? Because London is a young person’s game. It might be the golden oldies who sit in their million pound Highgate and Kensington homes and the odd flake from Made in Chelsea made up land, but it is the young people that get away with the shit above because we are young, and determined and a liiiiiittle bit stupid.

You see, the secret to The Layered London Life is in its title. LAYERS. Like Donkey said to Shrek, Onions have layers, and so does London. Use them to your advantage. One day you might be supping on champagne from a glass shaped like Kate Moss’ tit, the next you’ll be paying for a Boots meal deal with your saved up Boots points you had reserved for a new mascara. C’est la Vie! C’est London!

Look at my layers on Instagram @ecarg_h

Laugh at my layers on Twitter g_hetherington

 

My Tribute to David Bowie: The True Starman 1947-2016

He took no title of Sir and declined a CBE but David Bowie was close to royalty with his contribution to the arts over the past 47 years of his career.

I’m not going to pretend I’m the number one David Bowie fan, because apart from a stint of watching the movie Labyrinth everyday for about 3 months solid when I was 8, I didn’t actually get into and appreciate his music until I was way late into my teens. I remember once, when I was 20 years old, I had to get the 2A bus from the centre of Lancaster to University campus and the bus took a particular route through the Hala estate, notoriously steep with hills and riddled with slow old people taking forever to flash their bus passes to the driver. I was irritated because I was already late for a seminar I was not allowed to be late for, and it had just started Lancaster raining (this is much fiercer than any other UK rain) and I didn’t have an umbrella. And then Starman came on my Spotify, and as I hummed the words, I felt much better. It wasn’t an epiphany, or a moment of transformation. I just listened to the lyrics and then replayed it over and over again until I got to campus.

With an ex of mine, we used to constantly listen to The Best of Bowie on his dad’s old record player and dance around the little wooden hut we lived in like the hipster 21 year olds we thought we’d be forever, and I remember loving every minute of it. Fast forward 4 years, I listen to Bowie in the mornings whilst I get ready; or as a ‘panic song’ for when my mind goes blank at house party’s and most of the time whilst I’m walking somewhere so I can strut and pretend that everyone around me are just extras in my ultra cool and alternative music video.

My point is, Bowie for me sits up there on my internal music shelf, sometimes not thought of for a while, sometimes overplayed in just one day. I place him up there with Coldplay, The Beatles, Elvis, The Beautiful South, NWA and that one song from Visage I like. Songs that I can just pluck down and remind me of a time in my life, or a feeling I had when listening to it before.

David Bowie represented all ages, all races, all genders and all sexuality. His songs filter through some of the best known films and productions of the past 20 years, Buddha of Suburbia, Moulin Rouge and Shrek among others. His Aladdin Sane imagery features on the t shirts of those who bought online from eBay without the foggiest of who he is, and his lyrics adorn posters in student flats from 1970 onward.

So as I stood last night with hundreds of others at the vigil held in his birthplace of Brixton, we raised a glass for the master of reinvention, projected his images onto walls and even witnessed the defacing (debatable) of a statue adorned with the Aladdin Sane eye emblem. There were big Bowie fans there, there were people there just for the crowds but either way, there was this buzz. This buzz of everyone wanting to just celebrate this great, great life.

We should be thankful to David Bowie, not just because he was incredibly talented, but because he taught everyone the most valuable life lesson of all; that you should be whoever you want to be, you can change, you can stay the same, or be a hero, forever and ever.

The No Phone Diaries: A Day by Day Analysis into the Psychological Damage of Living Without a Mobile Phone

On Monday 7th December, a terrible crime was committed in the large Sainsbury’s just off Effra Road in Brixton. Some d*ckhead stole my phone. So instead of crying, and kicking doorframes and yelling ‘WHY ME!’, I accepted that unfortunately more often than not, this happens to everyone at some point, and instead decided to experiment and flirt with the idea of living in a 70s/80s professional career no phone timewarp.

Day 1: Tuesday 8th December

7.15am: Wake up call to make way for a run.  7.30am awake up call instead from tired housemate and then a snooze for 10 minutes, not her fault we were up late wondering about my poor baby phone and how cold and alone it must be feeling without its momma.

9am: Leaving for work, patted my pockets before leaving. Wave of ‘Urgghh I have no phone wah’ washed over me. Especially as the oyster travelcard of dreams was located in the pocket of the phone case. A new one of them to purchase from the crying bank account.

1pm: Lunch. Off to the phone shop for a new sim card. Sit in a chair waiting to be served, look at pictures on wall. Look at others waiting, everyone on phones. I am staring into space thinking about how empty my hands are. Asked first person what time it was. Got reply like I’d asked if I could lick their face.

5pm: Arrange over Facebook (haven’t gone completely ice age) to meet up with boyfriend, give strict instructions to head to my house to avoid standing at tube station like a willy.

6.30pm: Asked second person for the time today. They took long look at 70s outfit and decided I was actress getting into role for new BBC Drama.

7pm: Find boyfriend at tube, impeccable timing skills from me. Wonder is life so bad without a phone after all?

Answer after Day 1: Yes.

Day 2: Wednesday 9th December

7.30am: Boyfriend snoozes alarm until 8am. Dash for shower, I realise I wouldn’t have got up any earlier if I’d set the alarm.

9.15am: Early for work, but only have a vague idea as pushed out of the way of viewing the clock on underground by disgruntled morning commute phone owners. If only they knew about my pain.

1pm: Lunch. No wedding quizzes on Buzzfeed app 😦

5pm: Slight panic at the thought of once again wandering London aiming to meet up with boyfriend and without phone.

6.30pm: Late to meet boyfriend, he is stood exactly where he said he would be, has stood in cold for 20 minutes,  I have reassurance we could have dated in the 70s.

8pm: Seeing Bill Bailey, luckily no photography allowed in the appollo so no phone envy. Laugh a lot and forget I even have phone, until one of his sketches involves jamming to iPhone tune. Silently weep in toilets at interval.

12am: Friend in need has to call my boyfriend to get through to me. His phone also broken, shards of iPhone glass are digging into my ear. Asks why I didn’t reply to her snapchat, remind her I have no phone. She finds it funny. I do not.

Verdict Day 2: Hate everyone, want my phone.

Day 3: Thursday 10th December

8am: Wake up late due to unfamiliar sounding alarm.

9.45am: Arrive late at work because of red signal tubes, not knowing the time and walking around in tick tock denial.

12.20pm: Not having a phone has made me more on time for lunch because I’m scared I’ve been out of the office too long so I panic and am actually out for 20 minutes.

1pm: Take real lunch.

7pm: No phone means I have no friends to make plans with so working late and sidling off to work drinks is the easier option. I don’t go swimming because without a phone I don’t know what time the pool closes and that’s the excuse I’m sticking to.

Feeling Day 3: I forgot at two points that I didn’t have a phone, I was eating at one point and shitting at the other. Two times a phone isn’t needed. (I feel like my boyfriend would argue the latter).

Day 4: Friday 11th December

8.20am: Housemate wakes me up because my laptop alarm hasn’t gone off and I’m still fast asleep. Apple are failing me a lot this week, we’re going through a turbulent time in our relationship, I hope we pull through it.

10am: I’m technically late for work but it’s a Friday and being late on a Friday in my office isn’t a thing. I explain the laptop alarm situation and reiterate that I got my phone stolen and I get a chorus of ‘ahhs’ and ‘oh that sucks’ from the two people that have showed up on a Friday, one of which happens to be my boss so I appreciate the attention.

12pm: I’ve found my bosses on Facebook, accidentally, but I can’t check their profiles because I’m sat next to them. I don’t have a secret phone device to pretend I’m checking my calendar on…I am lost.

1pm: Dad emails me picture of our dog as a puppy being held by an attractive (and topless) male model to me and my siblings. That thief may have stole my phone but they WILL NOT STEAL MY JOY.

11pm: There is a lot of confusion between me and the boyfriend as to his whereabouts and how alive he is on a scale of 1- 10. With one without a phone and another that is broken and stabbing shards of glass into the sides of one’s face, communication never was to be simple.

Verdict end of Day 4: Empty.

Day 5: Saturday 12th December

9am: Today is an important day, a Christmas day. Full of cheer and Christmas joy. It’s the day of our Christmas meal.

5pm: Who knew how much I wanted to instagram a pig in blanket before? The rest of the dinner stays committed to memory as even phoneaholic Blasmin doesn’t touch the insta buttons whilst we dream team cook the Christmas dinner.

10.30pm: No pictures are taken on what can be described as the most university night out ever. There are no pictures, therefore no memories. Which is great for how drunk I got.

3am: What’s a phone? Where’s my bed?

Verdict: Glad I didn’t have a phone today, I would have only lost it anyway.

Day 6: Sunday 13th December

11am: Hungover, I rarely use my phone. I don’t know why, it’s maybe because my eyes can’t read lines of tweets without making me want to throw up. Or perhaps it’s the fact that I spend the day of being hungover in the arms of the ones I love, and pizzas I enjoy. Who knows.

End of Day 6: I’ve forgotten what phones are like.

Day 7: Monday 14th December

11am: I’m walking to the post office. I’ve made the boyfriend come with me like it’s some monumental occasion where the phone that I have waiting for me at the post office in Streatham Hill is the new iPhone 7S3000+ and not my mum’s 4 year old second hand Samsung S3.

2pm: The phone is charged, the SIM is accepted and my background is that of my parents leaping into a sunset on holiday in Greece where they look silouhettes of Fred and Wilma Flintstone, and I am refusing to change it.

4pm: Someone rings me, I’m not sure if they’ve rang me or if Will Young is trapped inside my mum’s phone, she has three songs on this phone, all by Will Young and all used for all of the phone elements. Ringtone, Alarm and possibly voicemail message. My phone is sporadically ringing on and off loud so there are enough people (2) leaving messages for me to find out.

??: I’m like that person who hasn’t had a phone for a week and forgets that they’re a thing, friends are contacting me again, slowly, the texts come through ‘WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?’ ‘OMG HAVE YOU BEEN LOST WITHOUT IT?’ ‘YOU WERE GONE FOREVER, I THOUGHT YOU’D ALSO DELETED FACEBOOK’.

Day 8: Tuesday 15th December

6.59am: I am awoken to the soft but waking tones of Will Young. It is payday, I instantly transfer money to the BUY NEW PHONE fund set up on my account. I cannot live with this shit. I want my baby back.

RIP iPhone 5s in CHAMPAGNE, you will be sorely missed.

 

 

 

My Holiday Make Up & Beauty Essentials

I usually ask for Make Up vouchers for Christmas, which translates into Boots vouchers from my grandad which have come in very handy when I have £0 bank balance with 2 days to go before payday and can no longer buy meal deals with my boots points. Aside from my way to cleverly (I think you’ll agree) being able to slightly homeless style feed myself before payday, I love this time of year for all the beauty products I can try and and test without them melting off my face in summer heat. Damn you summer you were not designed for gingers. I’ve comprised a shortlist (or short list, however you choose to see it) of my favourite products to use around these drab and dark winter months and leave me a comment if you agree or have any other suggestions!

  1. Cowshed – Cow Pat – Moisturising Hand Creme 50ml – £8 instore & online

Okay so I’ve always loved Cowshed products because they smell amazing and I’m always looking for a decent hand cream that doesn’t grease up my hands and this one is the one. It’s compact so can fit in my handbag, and it smells amazing, and the formula is a little sticky at first but dries to be like a creamy velvety texture and I love it.

2. Glo & Ray – Nuage Blush in Breaking Ray – £11 online

This blusher makes me happy. Not only because it’s a warm coral tone that suits my paler complexion but it’s really not too pigmented which means you can build up a little bit of colour as you go. The handy compact comes with a little brush and mirror so it’s prefect for popping in my handbag and using for touch ups. Have to thank Blasmin for this blush which was a ‘cheer up you’ve got no phone present’.

3. Philosophy Divine Color Cream-to-Satin Foundation spf 25 LIGHT – Approx £10 online

 

 

 

Now I actually bought this foundation compact at a make up sale at my work, so I got it for £5 and I don’t actually wear it as an everyday foundation because I find the coverage a bit thick for daywear. However, it’s great on a night out because it stays put, (I find that it works really well with MUA Primer, Superdrug £2) and I also keep it in my handbag for little day touch ups because of the handy little brush that comes with it. LOVE HANDY LITTLE BRUSHES.

4. Sainsbury’s Extra Firm Hold Hairspray 300ml – £0.90 instore & online

Image for Sainsbury's Extra Firm Hold Hairspray 300ml from Sainsbury's

I bought this hairspray because I just needed one at that moment and just wanted to buy a cheapy before I got my usual Vo5 all weather facing. But you know what, this hairspray is great! My hair actually stays put all day, but getting caught in wind makes this hairspray make your hair a little notty. But for 90p, you pay £3/4 more for hairspray that does little if to nothing different.

5. Dove Derma Spa Summer Revived Fair to Medium Skin Body Lotion 200ml – £6but cheaper online 

 

I bought this buy one get one free in Superdrug so I bought the Fair to Medium and the Medium to Dark. I tend to use the Fair to Medium as a nightly moituriser and the Medium to Dark to build up colour over a few days (usually 2/3 will do the trick nicely) for when I’m going out. The forumla smells really nice, slightly biscuity but that’s really not a problem for me, and it has a smooth textures, and is non greasy and quick drying. I’ve found it to be streak free and long lasting, but I am quite the expert of fake tanning having done it for 10 years. If you leave your feet and only skim the top, then it’s going to look like you wore dolly shoes when you applied it. IT’s a good gradual tanner, one of the best I’ve used and gives me a wintery ski holiday glow but it’s not a miracle worker and you have to be aware it’s only going to develop in the places you work it in.

I’m going to be doing a few more health and beauty posts in the New Year so if you have any suggestions, please drop me a comment below.

10 things 20 Somethings should do when throwing a Christmas Dinner

copyright thedcam.com

 

I am trés excited for Saturday 12th December. Not only is it the official first day of Christmas, (don’t gimme any of that 1st December bullshit, it’s the 12th and you know it) but me and my nearest and dearest London pals are throwing a Christmas dinner. As we are all 20 somethings and attempting a Christmas meal, I thought the title for this post was very apt.

  1. Mistletoe – At the door, on the floor, in the cupboard that everyone opens thinking it’s the bathroom. Put it everywhere, chances are in your twenty something friendship group there’s either a couple, a maybe or some potential hook ups of tomorrow, either way, spread a little Christmas magic and be a Christmas cupid.
  2. Plan what you’re cooking at least the day before. Otherwise you will end up with half meat feast/half pepperoni dominoes setting you back around £25 pp. You could have gone gourmet for that price.
  3. On that note, budget: Set your budget at £10 or £20 per head for food and booze. You can get some really good deals in places like Iceland and Lidl without spending a fortune and can get some interesting German brands (Lidl especially) which will just make Christmas all the more authentic for you!
  4. Keep Secret Santa an actual secret. I mean myself and my friends tried to keep it secret this year and I worked out 70% of the formula of who had who and to be honest kind of ruined it for myself and others (sorry guys). You’re in your 20’s, you’re not going to be able to give each other £50 Liberty vouchers (I don’t know why I said this like as soon as you hit 40 you can afford that either) so set a budget -£5,£10 will do and accept your present of malleable fart goo from the pound shop and be merry and gay about it.
  5. Music – Don’t let any of your friends, no matter how close you are, choose putting on Kisstory Christmas over the traditional holiday tunes, but do allow your token Jewish friend to play Hava Nagila for a bit before the Turkey comes out the oven, then it’s Bublé time and you know it.
  6. Games – No Christmas dinner party soiree is complete without a family row and board games. These days, you’re hip and cool in your 20s and if you live in Shoreditch you’ll have been playing dirty scrabble since 2011, but for the rest of us folk who can’t grow beards that birds can live in, Cards of Humanity or good old fashioned Charades is the perfect way to get everyone drunkenly debating/arguing.
  7. Plan a night out in advance and agree where you’re going to go. You’re going to be bloated and full and not in the mood to go out but then those old pangs of going clubbing on special occasions will come back to haunt you from teenage/university years and you’ll just have to go out anyway. Better to be sensible and plan/mentally prepare for it as early as possible.
  8. Have a little nap before you head out. You’re old. This way you’ll last until 2am which is an improvement on Halloween’s 1am.
  9. Do get dressed up to the nines. It’s Christmas. You’re still young and hot-ish. Don’t comedy dress. No one is going to kiss ‘sexy Rudolph’ with face painted bright red nose, because no one is longer 18 and people actually develop standards as they get more sensible/age.
  10. Get prepared for that hangover the next day because it’s going to be disgusting. Take the Monday off work.Recuperate by having two day Domino binge with the money you saved on not getting Dominoes for Christmas dinner.

The Truth about…Working From Home

‘I love working from home, I get some much more done’…how often do we hear those famous last words? I work in an industry where Fridays in the office don’t really exist. Whilst my friends and boyfriend trundle through a 5 day week of non stop madness, everything in my office tends to be at a quieter and much more, dare I say it, relaxing pace come Friday morning.

Friday coming from Old English is composed of Frige (genetive singular of Freo) + dæg “day. Freo meaning free. So Friday is the Free-Day. Most of us choose to extend our weekends with a Friday off. Out of the office on Friday, returning Monday when I’ll respond to your email, is one of the most common sentences typed in any out of office emails and since I’ve worked in the media many people choose Friday as the day they’re likely to work from home.

But how much work do you really get done from home on a Friday? People like my mum, they get more work done at home because my mum is all kinds and shades of sensible that I’m just not, I’m hoping that I’ll grow into being able to work from home as well as her one day. But for now I’ll stick with being in the office on a Friday, and not working from home.

Friday last I took the day off, and wanted to get a bit of personal writing done. After 3 episodes of Towie and a stint of watching a cringey yet entertaining show called Stand By Your Man; I sat down to write at 4pm… I had been home since Midday. It gave me a reminiscent feeling of studying for my A Levels at home, with all the distractions of a good TV (or an actual TV, I don’t actually own one) and working internet (I don’t have that in my flat either) or full cupboards of wotsits and kitkats (nope, none of those either) and I fell asleep on the sofa watching Back to the future.

So whilst the rest of people work from home on Friday, I’ll sit in the office and get much more done because no one else is actually there to distract me.

The REAL meaning of LIFE

I’m writing this in reply to a recent article published on The Independent’s blog dubbed ‘Eton prepares you for life? Yeah, right.’ This article in which, like so many others complains about the fact that the majority of leaders of the UK have come from a wealthy background and studied at Eton at some period in their lives. The article, written by 18 year old student George Bolton, sparks his argument due from a quote taken from an article written by a 16 year old Etonian writing for The Spectator. The quote reads;

‘”But if I had to guess why Etonians do so well, it’s because the whole school is a sort of dress rehearsal for real life — or the sort of life Etonians can expect to lead”.

Bolton is quick to the mark of highlighting all that is ‘skewed’ with this view of a young 16 year old boy attending private school and harmoniously chirps into a paragraph about growing up in Lambeth and attending an academy which he refers to as ‘growing up in the real world’. And I want to say, thanks George Bolton, you’re kind of right, but you’re also wrong.

I was born into a normal working to middle class family, I attended my local comprehensive which in Northern 90s/00s England was predominantly white and by the time I was at college I was placed onto an Oxbridge programme for the grand total of 3 months before I was told I wasn’t what they were looking for. No biggie, I preferred parties, boys and nightclubs way more than university applications and exams anyway.

My half brother is from a similar background to me, he was brought up in North Manchester, and when he was 12 took a couple of exams (around 20) through a programme recommended by a teacher at his comprehensive school and ended up (it took over 6 months of back and forth trips from Manchester to Windsor) with a fully paid scholarship to Eton. He’s now 17 and has just applied for Oxford. Until he was 13, he spent his childhood growing up in a bubble of Royton and High Crompton and I remember whilst I was at university people would ask me, ‘do you think your brother is going to turn into a knob?’ ‘Do you think he’s gonna be like one of them posh wankers?’

It was only recently whilst talking to my boyfriend’s mother, who herself is a British expat who grew up in 60s colonised Kenya that upon being asked about how my brother has turned out spending his teenage years in a boarding house with 1200 other boys that I realised; he’s turned out just fine. In fact, partially through my brother’s upbringing and schooling he’s turned out to be a young gentleman that I’m extremely proud of.

He schools alongside great grandsons of famous shoe designers and boy’s who’s families actually own Downtown Abbey; and even I had my preconceptions and sceptical comments on the world of Eton before I visited there. Some of the boys there will go onto to Oxford, some will go to Durham, Edinburgh or Bristol. Some will not go to university at all but their parents are paying £30,000 per annum for this to happen through the excellent standard of education the boys receive there.

I had no money thrown at my education, and I went to a top ten university and now work for the BBC. My best friend who is from the same small insular town as my brother has worked at two of the world’s biggest publishing houses and I have friends who work in politics that failed their A Levels first time round.

So ‘being prepared for real life’ and mocking some young boys’ idea that that’s what Eton does for him is pointless. If Eton isn’t real life, then how was attending an academy in Lambeth for you any more real? Or my crappy comprehensive where my best friend got a fag put out on her forehead, is that not real life too? ‘Real life’ is not defined by going through hardships and not being paid to go into private education and writing opinions for the Independent’s blog. Real life cannot be defined by one person’s experiences over another. Real life is not defined by where you go to school. It’s not about where you were born. Real life is the experience of being a consciously living and breathing person.