Millennials and the Media

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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.

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

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!

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.

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