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.

 

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.

I went to a posh restaurant and drank champagne from a tit

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I got a PR opportunity to try the delectable brunch menu at Mayfair’s stylish and swish 34 restaurant. The brunch menu on offer was the newly released Champagne Lovers Lunch which pays homage to the legendary supermodel Kate Moss and her 40th birthday plus 25 years as the one of the biggest faces (and smallest waists) of fashion. The lunch commemorates the occasions by offering unlimited (i know right, fools!) champagne alongside anything from the brunch/lunch menus, and it is so quaintly served into a specially designed glass which was molded from a cast of  no other than Kate’s left breast.

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I thought if I’m going to drink champagne out of a boob I might as well do it in style and DW agreed. We slunk into the restaurant away from the Mayfair rain and once the waiting staff ferried away my Primark’s finest mac into the cloakroom, were seated at a quaint (this is not the last time I will sue this word) table by the window.

Now I’ve eaten in upper class restaurants before, and I’m using the phrase ‘upper class’ because that’s excatly what 34 is. It is a restaurant born from old money and fed on new. The decor reflects that of a 1930s cruise liner, complete with not rustic style, more mystic style open kitchen. The waiting staff I have to say were most pleasant, their suggestions on what to choose from the menu and their helpfulness in making sure I was well and truly sloshed by 3pm was sensational. I opted for the lobster omelette because i doubt I’ll ever have the ingredients just lying around to whip one up myself on a lazy Saturday morning, followed by the passion fruit sorbet which oh my, was the dream.

steak

Now I’m no country bumpkin, but I was so aware that I was drunk in a posh restaurant that in the end after DW had stopped creaming Bearnaise sauce all over ‘the best steak of his life’ and fighting back tears over the fig tarte tatin, suggested that it would probably be a good time to leave…so I stood up, downed my glass and headed out the door.

Hey Kate Moss was originally from Croydon right? Where’s the glass in that?

My Amazing Human Body: Rethinking and Refueling

Picture courtesy of Amazon and Dorling Kindersley

When I was younger I used to play a Dorling Kindersley PC game called My Amazing Human Body which was a game developed for learning about the human body from the inside out by using interactive games and activities. One of those activities was trialling a day in the life of Seemore Skinless (he was a skeleton lol) keeping up his food levels, making sure he was going to the toilet and keeping him entertained with different activities, roller blading, swimming, reading etc. Basically keeping him alive for the day without any one of his ‘Essential Categories’ falling below a certain percent.

As we move into a new month, and yet one step closer to my ominous 24th birthday, I’ve had an idea as to whether I can apply Seemore Skinless’ methodology to my own adult life. I’m planning to cut out the things that poison me, alcohol and junk food, and I’m going to embark on more exercise and healthy eating, like I got the memo late from January. I’m going to make sure I don’t pee myself in public like Seemore Skinless sometimes did (an animated roller blading skeleton is really distracting when you’re 6 ) but most importantly I’m going to refuel myself on knowledge.

Over the bank holiday weekend, I managed to visit 3 museums, and that was with DWs short attention span in tow for two of them too. And you know what? It made me feel good. I was learning and I forgot how good it feels to learn. You can learn from programmes, you can learn from books, or people or lectures or anything, and it’s so so good for you to learn. We’re all obsessed with mental health and am I happy? Am I depressed? Do I have enough money to do these cool things in London this weekend? But learning and discovery really is the key to our souls, through whichever medium you prefer.

You can binge through Reddit, or you can walk the portrait lined halls of the National Portrait Gallery, either way, it’s all about keeping your appetite for learning topped up percentage wise. It doesn’t have to be at 100% all the time, there were times in the game where Seemore Skinless had to do boring things like cleaning instead of reading his books but that’s okay, as long as you’re indulging yourself in knowledge somehow in some other area of your life.

I’m going to try and regain my literature knowledge this September and read a book a week, starting with Helen Walsh’s The Lemon Grove, and I’m also planning to write a blog post a day. Maybe it’s because it’s September and I still have that ‘back to school’ vibe ingrained in me but this time it’s not forced and it’s learning about new things not restricted to a curriculum. Send me your thoughts and suggestions, on here, on Twitter and on Instagram.

And remember: Knowledge is power.

Brighton: Britain’s Babe of The Coast

I’d never been to Brighton before this past weekend, can you believe it? Recently, some friends from university took the plunge and decided to move to the coast instead of inhaling the smog along with the rest of us in London. Their lungs full of fresh air and fresh decisions, away from the social and economical pressures of London.

Our friends actually live in Hove, Brighton’s tamer and less expensive neighbour. Pretty Edwardian houses intermingled with mock deco flats lines the stretch down to the beach and it has a quaint yet practical look and feel to it all.

Hove is full of little diamonds like The Wick Inn where scruffy meets neat, rough meets sweet and it’s the kind of establishment adorned with as many globes as there is beer bottles, and the right amount of neon lighting. At the weekend, there’s a special speakeasy cocktail menu buut the real gem at this pub is its quirk of selling Thai food. Eating out with boys who complain 100 times before you’ve sat down about ow hungry they are is annoying but thankfully the portion size and spice factors was well received.

I’ve heard a lot more about Brighton’s breakfast club in the recent months than I have about the several that are way closer to me in London. I haven’t got round to trying any of the London branches because no one should queue that long for breakfast so the slightly sleepier seaside setting of Brighton seemed the right the right location to break the fast between us all.

I chose the pancakes with bacon; since dropping my vegetarianism nearly a year ago now, I’ve been all about bacon and the BC bacon did not disappoint. If you want to eat your breakfast to the sound of Don’t Go Breaking My Heart and Club Tropicana, then seriously, look no further. We also had a a lovely server Becky, who was not only really attentive but definitely went the extra mile, bringing the banter of Barnsley to Brighton.

The lanes have intrigued me about Brighton for a while too, and mostly because I’ve heard that they’re absolutely slamming for fashion. Proving their worth, I snapped up a psychedlic shift dress for £11 from Oxfam, and DW spent ‘the best £12 of his life’ on a moon cat t shirt. Bric a Brac shops galore, this is a horders heaven and I had to stop myelf from cluttering my life with trinkets and quirk past relics. Also my bag was already jam packed of googly eyes purchased from Tiger, which is also where the boys got their matching hats from. Which I can honestly say I wasn’t embarrassed of whatsoever, and instead jealous that I’d not purchased my own.

Brighton is also home to booze and as well as giving it out free on the street (it was only Radlers guys don’t get excited) they sell craft beers for expensive prices. But the bottles look great on a windowsill and they also look pretty fancy on a beachy instagram snap…apart from the only beach snap I got of DW drinking what looked and tasted like a can of Slurm.

Brighton Pier was everything I had hoped it would be and more. Old, slightly unstable, loud, tacky and a little bit sticky. With its Seagulls overhead look like they were hanging from string and its deckchair charm, this is a place that hasn’t changed much over 100 years but was at least not a place where eager Briton’s had their tops off in the arcade (hello Morecambe anyone?). The beach itself was rammed, I’ve never been surrounded by so much wobbling white flesh in all of my life. My only criticism of the pier would be the deafening disco tunes that blasted out near the rides, but you know what, like I’d pay £6 for a 30 second ride anyway.

As for Brighton’s night life, perhaps if I could remember a little more I’d be able to divulge but I guess that’s a homage to its cheap and cheerful drinks and terrible open mic Oasis sing-a-longs. Not sure how many people I told I was from Manchester and that I actually don’t like Oasis. In the end I was annoying myself. Although, alcohol does decrease the pain in your feet from the pebbles on the beach, and seeing Georgio Armani throw himself into the sea at 3am might now be an image I’m storing in my mind palace.

Brighton’s possibly one of my favourite destinations of British seaside I’ve ever been to, and did I mention there’s just so many dogs?

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5 Ways to EAT FREE in London

Look at these cheeky friends, they’re laughing the bill away! Copyright food-freedom.co.uk

(and if not free – then for very very little)

I’ve kind of got over pretending that I can afford my lifestyle. People who don’t live in London always ask ‘But isn’t it so expensive?’ and you reply ‘Yeah but…[insert justification as to why you didn’t eat for three days this past week]. London is f***ing expensive and sometimes you know, girl gotta eat.

But instead of blowing all my money on eating out…which if I total up how many lunches, dinners, snacks and afternoon nibbles I’ve spent money on over the past two years living here would give me heart attack – it would probably be a bill in the thousands – I’ve found some thrify ways to pig out on a small or non existent price tag.

So, here’s my short but sweet list of how to eat free in London, or at least close enough to it that you won’t actually have to consider homelessness.

1. Sign up to Ultra Vie. This nifty little site started up earlier this year and is the way forward in getting to exclusive restaurant openings and bagging a nice restaurant for you and a plus one. The concept is simple, sign up and you receive an RSVP each month, or you can go premier for a small fee (Approx £30 p/a) and you get 4 RSVPs per month. I got an exclusive to Marco Pierre White’s infamous Rib & Oyster restaurant and took The London Adventurer as my plus one and this week I’m attending the Olympia Arts Fair Previews – not food but I’m hoping on a free canapé of some sort.

Pros: Exclusive invites to events and restaurants you wouldn’t normally be able to afford.

Cons: Site like these are becoming very popular very quickly, it’s literally fastest finger first.

2. Secret dining. Secret Dining is Mystery Shopping cool younger sister. You sign up to one of these sites like Secret Squirrels or Service Scan and you get a brief to go to a restaurant where you keep a beady but unassuming eye over the service, food and atmosphere, write up a report and get your meal reimbursed. You can even earn up to £20 per visit for some sites.

Pros: You get a lovely hearty meal, and all you have to do is fill out a form as to whether it was good or not.

Cons: The restaurants are a little samey samey and if you don’t submit your report in 24 hours you run the chance of not being reimbursed.

3. Hang out at BBQs. Now this one can get a little shady, but if you’re going to a BBQ at a friend’s, you’re entitled to eat the food. Yeah sure you look like the person who didn’t bring anything but themselves, but hey, they’re your friends, surely they understand how poor and hungry you are right now right?

Pros: Like an all you can eat buffet and friends are there too.

Cons: You will eventually be sussed as the friend who brings nothing to the table and subsequently is dropped by said friendship group.

4. Scout around on social media. There’s a lot of resturants in London and if they’re going to get anywhere promoting themselves, they will be doing on social media. Look out for Focus Groups where you go and east a meal and give feedback during as well as exclusive offers like ‘First 50 customers’ and even opening nights of new ventures. the possibilities are endless.

Pros: The possibilities are endless, you have to try before you buy.

Cons: You could get your hopes and dreams set on something free and then you don’t win. Sh*t happens.

3. Your friend is a food blogger. Chances are, if your friend is a good food blogger, you probably know all about the tips and tricks mentioned above already, and if you don’t, no offence but your friend isn’t a good food blogger. Food bloggers get invited to swanky events and normally because food is involved and so much opinion surrounds food, they usually get a plus one.

Pros: Your friend is a food blogger. Lucky you, you’ve hit the free food jackpot. Keep your diary free, you could be doing something last minute.

Cons: Your friend is a food blogger. They have friends too. Keeping your diary free might result in you not being #1 plus one choice that week and you’ll end up crying eating a Rustlers alone. Dear god, please do never eat a Rustlers.

If you want to look at pictures of my shit cooking check out my Instagram ecarg_h

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Boring stuff: Free Food picture is from Google Imaging ‘Free Food’ and choosing this RAD dude and the companies mentioned aren’t endorsing me, I’m just hoping to get free food out of them and bring it to the masses, like a modern day Mother Theresa with chips.

3 Free Things to do in London this Summer (because you broke, i’m broke, errybody broke)

Recently I’ve been participating in a lot of things that aren’t free and my recent house move and lack of money anyway have left me in a position where the only way I’m intending to have a social life this summer is by doing stuff that’s actually FREE. Here are 3 things that I’m definitely intending to attend in terms of swigging warm red wine from a Sainsbury’s bag and walking home because I can’t afford the tube.

Going to all the carnivals, all the street parties, all the parties in the parks.

Okay, so obviously you can buy things at each of these places, but the great thing about them is that you don’t actually have to.

Notting Hill Carnival on the 30th and 31st August is completely free to enter, and is a great day out for seeing the famous carnival that started in the sixties as well as listening to different types of music street by street.

Expect to see: Local entertainment in the form of street acts, mental homeless people and the LADS from Surrey who urinate on the street and are arrested by the met at 7pm.

Brixton Splash on 2nd August (rumours of a cancellation, I’m refusing to believe it) has great food which is actually sometimes free in this generous community, great music and great people.

Expect to see: A lot of flags, a lot of vibrant colours and smell a lot of different smells.

Then coming up this Saturday 20th June is Swedish MidSummer, a massive event held unofficially in Hyde Park each year, and is the largest party outside of Sweden each year. It’s BYOB, BYOF, and BYOM (Bring Your Own Maypole) to this delightful and dizzy party.

Expect to see: Gorgeous Swedish people, and not so gorgeous non-Swedish people trying to fit in with said gorgeous swedish people.

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The Worst Facial I Have Ever Recevied

I’d never been for a facial before – and Yasmin decided to treat me to one at Elizabeth Arden…posh right?

I’d been tweeting about it all week and finally, last Tuesday the day arrived! I practically legged it out of work and found myself out of breath but fresh faced and raring to go at the House of Fraser Oxford Street store. Yasmin had a slight face on her as I approached and I wondered why…but instead of relaying to you, here’s the email I forwarded to the Elizabeth Arden Customer Service team…be warned.

“Dear Customer Service Team,
So on Tuesday 29th July, myself and a friend came to your Elizabeth Arden stand at the House of Fraser on Oxford Street. My friend had purchased two vouchers off the site ‘wowcher’ which entitled us to a 60 minute facial, makeover and goodie bag.
Upon arrival, we were told that we wouldn’t be able to have the treatment together as planned because there had been a mix up with the bookings and we were made very aware that one of your beauticians ‘Rachel’ was having to stay later than her shift in order to accommodate for us. Her other colleague, who was much ruder than Rachel, informed us of this mix up like it was almost our fault, and that they were doing us a favour of staying behind. We were also told that the treatment would only last 45 minutes because of this mix up, annoyed at this as we had booked for 60 mins, we just agreed as we were really looking forward to our first facial experiences.
I was the first to receive my treatment and I must say despite this shaky start, Rachel is obviously a skilled beautician, she was very professional and I really enjoyed my facial. Unfortunately, towards the end of my treatment, Rachel’s colleague, the rude one from earlier, banged so loudly on the door that I jumped out of my skin. She rushed in to moan to Rachel that she ‘needed a fucking break’ and that she was refusing to do the other facial (my friend’s) until she had had one. Well to be honest, by this point, I was gobsmacked. I was quickly hurried out of the room, with not even enough time to put on my jacket which I was still attempting to put on as Rachel’s colleague marched me back towards to the Elizabeth Arden counter.
It was then my friend’s turn for her facial, and as mine had lasted roughly about 40 minutes , I expected hers too do the same. But nope. My friend was back within 20 minutes, and unlike myself was not offered a makeover but was given a goodie bag, which I was not. I had to go back into store, and ask for a goodie bag off a girl from another stall opposite, who then had to go and ask a manager because both Rachel and her colleague had disappeared, leaving the EA stand unattended, seemingly as their shifts had ended.
I understand it is frustrating to be presented with new customers when you are due to finish. I have worked in retail in the past myself, and it’s really annoying, but I would a) never show my annoyance to the customer as the EA reps did (including swearing!) and b) make a customer feel so uncomfortable in a service that they have paid for. I expected more from Elizabeth Arden if I’m honest, and it kind of ruined my first ever experience of a facial.
Thanks for taking the time to read my complaint, I hope you address this customer service issue so it is improved for future customers.
Yours faithfully,
Grace Hetherington”
So what do you think? I said it how it was…and what have I got? Nothing…not one reply…so I’m currently haranguing them via Twitter and Facebook until I’m given an answer….watch this space.