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.

 

Heidi Klum is the Queen of Halloween

I’ve always liked Heidi Klum and her and Seal were the ultimate noughties power couple, until she decided that a kiss from a rose was more of a kiss from a turd. Anyway, like I said, I’ve always liked Klumy but I now LOVE her after seeing how strong her Halloween costume game has been over the years. Stuck on a costume idea? Let Heidi’s finesse and utter imagination be your spirit guide to a crazy, wacky and wonderfully dressed Halloween.

Like the year she went as Lady Godiva complete with actual steed.

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Or when she went as Vishnu and painted her whole body blue

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Or completely unrecognisable one year as a Crow

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Or you know had some spare time to knock up this futuristic outfit

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Or when her and then husband Seal rocked it as Apes

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My personal fave, as an inside out muscle human thing

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Heidi is the Queen of Halloween as she rightfully demonstrates here being Cleopatra

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I have so many high hopes of what she’ll turn out as to her annual Halloween party this year.

*All photos borrowed from Vogue.com

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Tart Up For Tartan: This Autumn/Winter’s Favourite Friend

copyright wardrobelooks.com

T’is the season to be dressed well. Just because it’s gradually getting colder, doesn’t mean you have to bring out the dark colours, the overcoat and bundle yourself up into outfit hibernation. In fact, winter is vast becoming one of the most fashionable seasons because of the amount of garments you can wear. Made famous in the fashion world by Vivienne Westwood in the 1990s, our nation’s love for tartan has flooded back into 2015.

Now I’m not afraid of tartan, and i like nothing more than a rollneck and tartan skirt combo for Christmas day but alas, I no longer have the metabolism of my 17 year old self to fit into said tartan skirt any longer and also I used to wear with knee high socks and beret and look all kinds of cute and that just isn’t a thing anymore for ye old 24. Here are some mega warm (not cool) fashion tips.

First thing’s first, grab yourself a tartan scarf. My favourite tartan pattern has to be the traditional wide checked red, but tartan scarves also look fantastic in greens, blues and burnt oranges. If you’re not brave enough for a bigger piece of clothing, then compliment your outfit with a subtle but statement piece such as this.

The tartan skirt. A staple for any winter wardrobe, it can be as long or as short as you want. The magic of the tartan skirt is that is just makes any plain outfit into something else. Team with a traditional turtle neck and some knee high boots for a winter winner.

The tartan dress. Now this is for the brave, or at least it used to be. Whether a pencil dress, shift or skater, the tartan dress is big in the winter season, just look at some of the celebs like Rihanna and Lauren Conrad for some inspiration. Team with killer heels and a leather jacket for that pretty tough girl look.

Tartan trousers have to be my favourite tartan garment of the season. Team with a romantic blouse for daytime, and stylish crop top for the evening. An outfit, not to be ignored.

Are you Scottish or have Scottish ancestry? Well you can actually use your surname in many generators on the Internet to find out your exclusive tartan, you can order the material and have it fashioned into skirts, trouser, dresses, scarves, you name it, all unique to you. But be warned, this is normally a really expensive way of doing it but then on the other hand, tartan lasts a lifetime and is handed down generation for a reason? Yay, overdraft justified.

Why werking and twerking aren’t that dissimilar

Copyright thisiswhyimbroke.com

This is England 90 has kind of drilled it into me that the 90s was pretty fucking shit for the majority of twenty somethings. They were the product generation of their hardworking mothers and fathers who in turn with some political and economical decisions that I haven’t had the time to properly research, ended up unhappy and mostly unemployed.

The generation I come from is different, and that generation is the beautiful generation that saw the introduction of Playstation, Flubber (I was 6 when it came out) and the idea that getting a job was more than putting food on the table and more a chance to get a career, shock horror at something you’re good at, in a field – even more shock horror – that you enjoy! It could even be a hobby that you could…wait for it, turn into money?

Either way, I, along with my friends are successful in the fact that we recognise that not only does hard work pay off (thanks for the nagging mum and dad) but also that we can have careers that don’t really feel like jobs – but just make us happy and earn us money too. But that isn’t always the case, you know. I mean I’m not exactly 100% jumping for joy everytime I wake up for work. Some days I just don’t wanna go at all. I drag my heels from the tube but I need to pay my rent and one day make something of myself.

I have friends who work in catering that love it just as much as friends who work in food PR, I have friends who work in recruitment who are using their resources to network to meet loads of poeple to decide how they want to broaden their horizons in many ways possible.

So why are werk (go on say it without doing a scouse accent I dare you) and a good old twerk not too dissimilar? Because you should have blood fun doing both! So if you’re not in your dream job right now, don’t sweat it, because you’re laying the foundations to do so, and if you are in your dream job, well done and I hate you!

The Body Coach: Sacred Diet or Diet Scam?

Copyright fashiontofit.co.uk

Personal trainer Joe Wicks’ started from his kitchen with #leanin15 videos on Instagram and over the past year, the phenomenon that is ‘The Body Coach’ has got the nation craving to lose amazing amounts of weight in just 90 days. Promising to finally shed those unwanted pounds, the #90Daysss plan offers something extra; a complete lifestyle overhaul.

BUT, does The Body Coach do everything it says on the tin? Just how sacred is the tailored 90 days plan? Or is the whole thing just another money making diet scam?

A tailored online nutrition and exercise plan, the #90Daysss comes with optional but recommended supplements. It costs a one off payment of £147 or 3 monthly of £49. After submitting pictures and a nutritional questionnaire, you’re good to go, receiving your plan within 7-10 days.

A friend (let’s call her K)who had tried numerous diets decided to try the plan and after parting with her money, and completing the first cycle, realised that the plan was not exactly as exclusive and tailored as it first seemed.

T.B.C promises, ‘100 set recipes and 100s of ingredient combinations using the Pick N Mix principle.’ K was faced with a hefty shopping bill for the first week, with an extra £80 spent on the optional supplements to aid weight loss. At £120 for the first week, K had already spent nearly £300 before even starting the plan.

However, during the first cycle of 30 days, K found the meals and advice from the nutritionist she contacted to be very helpful; the HIIT training was fun and she started to feel like the plan was working. At the end of cycle one, buyers are encouraged to send their pictures in for the Instagram page of progress and receive a ‘tailored’ feedback plan featuring photos, tips and encouragement for the next cycle.

Upon submitting her photos and eagerly awaiting her progress report, K was faced with no answer. After contacting to start cycle 2 and gain feedback 3 times, her ‘helpful’ nutritionist sent back a before and after picture made on Microsoft paint, plus K’s initial measurements sent in at the start of the plan.  With no more info and no more responses, K had to work out what she had lost herself and a week later, (and a week off the plan like a contraceptive pill) she was sent through Cycle 2, which was more or less exactly the same as cycle one.

K compared her plans with colleagues who had started the plan around the same time and found that their meal plans were roughly identical, despite them all having very different body shapes and nutritional needs. Upon contacting The Body Coach team, K was ignored and received no response.

Why did K spend so much money to receive such good support at the beginning to absolutely nothing by the end of cycle one? Although she praised the supportive online community of other buyers, she could have got more out of a weekly face to face meeting at Weight Watchers and wouldn’t have forked out over £500 in the process.

These fool proof nutrition plans may seem tailored to its buyers, but it looks like in the mass popularity of what originally was a great idea, Joe Wicks and his team may have bitten off more than they can chew.

I post shit pictures of good food on Instagram

I tweet about how hungry I am on Twitter

I send snapchats very rarely of food

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.

16 Things You Learn Living in London

All kudos for this go to the Croydon Guardian and ma homeboi google images

It’s coming up to two years that I’ve lived in the capital and I’ve learnt lots of useful and interesting things about London. It’s perks, its quirks, its pits and its downfalls. Talking to friends, it seems some of them are unanimous to everyone living in London so I thought I’d share 16 (random?) of them. My number 1 won’t work, it’s being difficult, soz.

Sirens are background noise.Whether you live in Kings Cross, Brixton or Finsbury Park, you’ll definitely be hearing your fair share of sirens. They’re just a given. In fact, I struggle to get to sleep without them, which brings me on to my next point…

2. If you hear police helicopters but no sirens.The police are looking for someone and their sirens are turned off to maximise chance of capture. If the overhead buzzing of helicopter is right over your head, lock your windows and your doors.

3. ‘ERROR Seek Assistance’ is both a fear and the bane of your life. Your god damn oyster card is touching the god damn reader so just let me through you piece of shit barrier and stop embarrassing me!

4. If you get food for FREE – TAKE IT. Restaurant blogging, PR events open to public, food samples of new menu? IT’s free and it saves you cooking a meal tonight which in turn saves money. And we like money.

5. If you get drinks for FREE – TAKE THEM. Whether offered as part of a door package, or simply for showing up on the guestlist. Tweet bars, tag your friends, say where you are. And if that dodgy looking bloke offers you a drink – observe that FREE doesn’t always mean SAFE.

6. McDonalds/Burger King are about as gourmet food you’re going to get post 12am. Aint no Michelin staying open for you. Not that you can probably afford Duck and Waffle after a night out anyway and if you can – this blog isn’t for you…

7. The District line is the worst line out of all the lines and you will always be late using it. And even though it’s semi overground – still boiling.

8. The Victoria Line on the other hand is hands down the most efficient line. Well, that is if you’re either going North Zone 3 or South Zone 2….

9. You’ll never not be in awe of Big Ben. Coming out of Westminster station and looking up at that Bad Boy not only takes your breath away, you realise that it looks like a really big lego tower made with the fancy sets of lego that looks like real stone.

10. Peckham is posh now. So is Brixton. They even have cocktail bars.

11. If a club is described as ‘fresh, classy and well priced’, it’s probably a shit hole located on Leicester Square with a £10 entry free and free shot necklace on arrival.

12. Afternoon tea on average costs as much as one month’s council tax pp. I know which I’ll be spending my money on.

13. Tiger is the best shop for nothing but everything since Wilkos.

14. Zone 4 is way too far to travel for one evening. You’ve never seen your friends nice and pleasant house in Manor House because your dingy flat in Stockwell is just so much more accessible from Central.

15. ‘I don’t have any change, sorry’ is in your daily vocabulary now.

16. You currently don’t want to live anywhere else.

9 Ways to Fall in Love in London

Thanks Google Images, for reminding me that Yes I would swipe right purely for this picture of a dog and not for the person’s who’s face I’ve already forgotten.

London’s a very busy place and although it’s full of people – it’s hard to meet the right one who you want to spend lots of time with and you know, do stuff with. That’s why I have created these 9 wonderful tips to help you find love in the nation’s capital. Whether you’re looking for a long term romance or a cheeky snog on Tower Bridge (pls don’t do this), there is someone special out there in the capital for you!

1. Meet friends of friends of friends. So you’ve met the friends of your new friends, but now it’s time to meet your friends, friends, friends, geddit? Expanding your friendship group with nice like minded people will more often that not lead to you finding someone you have something in common with and gradually spending more time with meaning you’ve got new friends and a potential new lover.

2. Go speed dating. Srsly. Drag your friends along, even if they’ve got spouses, they can make up a person they want to be that night and just be there for moral support. Speed dater is a great site that gives you lists of nights and prices for that all special singles night.

3. Tinder. Tinder is a bit of a last resort in my opinion. I’ve had friends that have had bad experiences with the ‘it’s like real life, but better’ app but I’ve also got friends who found blossoming relationships out of it too. Not everyone on there is DTF? Promise.

4. Reconnect with old school/college/uni mates. Remember Josh/Holly/Patrick from school that you always kind of had a semi crush on but you couldn’t bring yourself to talk to them/be seen around them/confront them about their monobrow? Well, are you hotter now than you were in school? Chances are they might be too. It could be worth revisiting…

5. Going to every club night of your favourite genre of music every week without fail. You might also develop an an alcohol/drug addiction along with going out all the time, so your idea of ‘the right one’ might be askew, but hey, people meet and fall in love in clubs all the time. Right?

6. Do your hobby. Who knew you both enjoyed and were good at wine archery? And is that guy Tom kind of cute, he sure pull a bow string back well. Maybe you should ask Tom if he wants to go for a drink somewhere in Hampstead where you can drink an earthy shiraz and talk about how leafy the park is this time of year.

7. On public transport. Contrary to popular belief, people do actually speak on public transport in London. Okay, not at rush hour or like…completely randomly. But maybe next time you spot someone cute on the tube, I dunno, you could actually speak to them…or just gaze at them (gaze not stare) until they approach you.

8. OR you could just Rush Hour Crush it in The Metro. I mean ‘cute giggly brunette with amazing ti -eyes’ why wouldn’t you want to go out with ‘shy guy who stared at you on the 8.17am from Walthamstowe Central’?

9. And finally…stop looking for it and it’ll find you. London is a pretty romantic city but it’s not like cupid is around every corner, and you can’t force someone to like you or vice versa (I think the Met might file that under harassment and rape) if you just focus on living your life in London, doing the things you want to do, chances are you’ll probably meet someone who’s doing the exact same thing as you too.

If you want to follow me on instagram and see what I get up to @ecarg_h

I tweet stuff and say stupid sh*t @g_hetherington

I’ll send you snapchats of my face for every response @yolonaise

11 Things That Happen Whilst Commuting

After the fun of today and the fun to come of getting home this evening, I thought I’d share with everyone, 11 thoughts that happen whilst commuting in London…

Image is borrowed from Adrian Brooks/Imagewise and depicts me looking cool as a cucumber on the Central Line (unheard of!)

1. Yay I secretly love getting the tube, I know everyone says the novelty wears off but it’s still a little bit fun right? It’s a train that goes underground, still impresses me.

2. Ok, I’m not originally from London and even I’ve always known that you stand on the god damn right mate ok!

3. I am just so savvy with all these tunnels and sneaky ways to get to the platform before everyone else – oh wait have I gone Northbound instead of Southbound?

4. I can’t see the list of places this train is going to – what if I’m going the wrong way? Oh well, too far to turn back now…I’ll just wing it to the next station.

5. Jesus Christ when will I ever get on one of these things that isn’t crowded as fuck, I can hardly move on here.

6. Oh no, the amount of people in this carriage…it’s the perfect amount of busy for an unexpected terror attack.

7. Oh god please let me get to the next station in one piece….ok good. *Doors Closing* please god let me get to the next station in one piece (repeat as necessary).

8. Ok phew I’m off, didn’t die of heat overload or terrorism, but am being crushed to death in escalator feud to the top.

9. Yes, I made it, and my oyster card let me through the barrier without saying *Seek Assistance* like I’m some sort of criminal.

10. Ok, let’s just wait for this bus…taking ages…ah great, no seats, I get to be flung around for 10 minutes now whilst a buggy jabs into my leg and a homeless person (who can pay for the bus?!) is asking people for change.

11. I think I’ll walk tomorrow. Who am I kidding, it’s 40 minutes…no I won’t.

To follow my instaflammable life @e_cargh

To listen to my Twise words @g_hetherington