I’m 24, so what was I doing when I was 14?

I’ve just turned 24 so I had a little think about what I was doing 10 years ago when I was 14 and what my life was actually like. So here in the format of a true English exercise book comparison table, is my life in 2005 and 2015 in all its gelled back haired glory…

The Year was: 2005

The Year is: 2015

I was in Year 9 at Cheadle Hulme High School, I was just about to choose my options for my GCSE years. I chose History and Drama…lol I’m working at the BBC as a Proposals Assistant in Factual. I’m just about to choose my next direction of where I’ll go next. I currently do history research and script read drama
My friends were: the girls in my form ‘9CM’ who were the original form ‘7.6’ girls. Yeah, we ate lunch in the canteen and scowled at boys in the playground, cool. My friends are: Only a couple of the original ‘9CM’ girls I actually talk to now and we kind of mixed up forms after that. Since then I’ve acquired a couple of close uni friends and a wonderful person I met on the train who count as me close ones.
My Music Taste was: Anything from the NOW! Albums. I think me and my friend Sophie liked singing along to Christina Aguilera (badly) and P!nk because she could hit the low notes and I liked checkered wrist bands. I think this is also the year I went to 2 McFly concerts with a banner saying ‘Dougie I Love You, I Wish I Was a McFly On Your Wall’. My Music Taste is: Oh I am going to sound so boring to say ‘eclectic’ aren’t i? But honestly, I’d still listen to McFly if they came on my iTunes. My music taste is definitely from my stepdad and he used to be a DJ in Blackpool in the 90s so I mean, I obviously have taste.
My websites were: I think I’d just cut ties with my Piczo account once and for all. Xox-grace-xox.piczo.com was no longer a pink glittery timewarp of ‘Dis me and me m8s frm skwl in da plyground’ collages and ‘ryt who u luv in da box below if u dare!’ but instead a lost piece of internet bound to resurface when I’m famous along with my myspace profile pictures of only half my face. My parents also still had dial up so I mean I was only allowed an hour on MSN a night and would hope they’d forget to unplug it by being distracted by Eastenders. My websites are: The same main two that everyone uses, Facebook and Twitter still revolve around my everyday internet haunts but so does Hotmail.com and I would have wondered why I would be using Hotmail for anything other than signing into Myspace when I was 14. I drop by The Pool and a few bloggers every now and again on rainy lunch breaks but the way I use the internet is so much more Reddit than I could have imagined at 14 when the internet was still kinda new and I actually was forced to use HTML coding to get my song to play on my Myspace profile.
My Spare Time was spent: With my friends at the park, or at the cinema because the bus used to only cost 40p each way. I think we used to go to Stockport and go in Claire’s accessories and um and ah on whether to spend £2 on these cool cute skull hair clips for school but then how could we afford a Maccies too? I only got £5 a week in pocket money, so that Maccies was golden. I think this is also the year that I started drinking 1/4 litre of vodka mixed with Fanta Fruit twist around the back of the Methodist church. I like to remind my mum of those times…she looks upon them so fondly… My spare time is spent: Working my second job. Drinking tea at 10pm with my flatmate after we’ve both got in from work. Overspending at the weekend on rubbish alcohol in equally rubbish places but doing so to hang out with friends. My spare time is spent so much around wanting to be with people. I’ve kind of forgotten how to be on my own and I feel guilty for doing nothing. Whereas 14 year old me would have stayed in bed til 12pm, eaten all the food in the house and still gone out for a Maccies at 3pm.
The clothes I wore were: The choice between jeans and these two Tommy Hilfiger tshirts I got from a holiday to America with a waistcoat from New Look or a Ra Ra Skirt with flat boots. Style didn’t really hit me until around 15/16 so I mean I was still dressing in 915 and Tammy girl. RIP STOCKPORT TAMMY GIRL The Clothes I’m wearing: Aren’t designer or even really top end high street because I live in London and can’t afford them. 10 years from now when I’m 34, I’ll be like OMG LOL AS IF I USED TO WEAR PRIMARK AND ACTUALLY THINK I LOOKED GOOD but until that far away day comes, I’m going to just take outfit selfies and squeal with my best friend over shoe sales on Asos.

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

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?

REVIEW: This is England ’90 – The Return of the Damned and Dandy

copyright surfacetoair.com

This is England returned to our screens this past weekend with what has been dubbed as the final installment of the ever popular miniseries spawned from Shane Meadow’s 2006 film This is England. TIE ’90 follows the same cast from the miniseries of ’86 and ’88 and plays to bring an end to what the nation has come to know and love – an insight into the real and gritty truths behind working class Britain in a yester year so easily forgotten.

TIE ’90 becomes personally nostalgic for me, I am a ‘90s baby, my mum had the same haircut that Shaun’s mum dons in this first episode, I remember the velvet sofas with tasselled trim from my grandparents’ house and how everyone over 30 had a moustache. My dad even waxed his off and stuck it to the inside of the cellar door as proof the 90s really did happen. But what TIE ‘90 brings along by delving into this confused decade is the anti-rose tinted glasses of nostalgia and almost reversely to what period dramas normally do – making us feel lucky that the era is over.

The early ‘90s were a pretty bleak time to be a young, unemployed twenty something in working class Northern England and Meadow’s clever scripters portray this through the naturalistic element to their conversation – their everyday and menial- wouldn’t-this-normally-be-edited conversations. About football, about music (can anyone guess which band the gang is massively into?) about weed, girls, love and money – or lack of. There are no mobile phones, there are no laptops or internet or Netflix. There are 4 channels, and a box underneath which plays these magical box tapes called a VHS. And drugs. Other than that, there’s not a lot going on for the lower working classes. But this script is meant to elevate that point, and make you laugh, and cry or simply feel at ease with these characters vegetating on their sofas, like they’re your mates and you’re living room is just an extension of theirs.

Much owed to Meadows’ brilliantly developed characters, the purgatory of no money once again does not deplete the charm of this so well thought out group of bandits. Woody, played by Joe Gilgun proved he’s still the resident sarcastic funny man when he has a standoff with his parents about going back into partnership with his ex-parsnip of a boss, Vicky McClure solidifies her talent of slinking back into the character of Lol with such ease despite taking on very different roles since the last series of 2012. Supporting characters Harvey, Gadget and Flip and Higgy provide light entertainment throughout, lifting the spirits of a budgeted night out at the town hall with sound advice for Shaun and of course, speed.

This series seems to be reflective of its generation, slow to start but beginning to dip its toes into the edges of a world that really was about to change everything. The music for one enters us into an era well away from Toots and the Maytals and one step closer to Ibizan raves, the costumes elevate us from formulated Fred Perry to psychedelic rebirth. There had not been this much youth change since the late ‘60s and in the words of D:ream, things can only get better…

And although not a lot seemed to happen in this episode, it was all one long ‘setting of the scene’…we know that Combo’s due to return and Meadow’s will follow his motto to get the next episode to kick us up the arse; and we can’t wait.

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This is England 90 and we’ve all been dying to watch

When This is England came out in 2006, I was 15 and thought I knew everything about the world as most 15 year old girls do. I remember watching the film, and not particularly being enamoured by it. I covered my eyes during the violence and I poked fun at the skewed Sheffield accents. However, upon re-watching the film a couple of years later when the first instalment of the miniseries T.I.E ’86 came out in 2010, I found a world which I was engrossed in not just because of the characters and the costume, but by the familiarity of a nostalgic decade I’ve never actually known.

Shane Meadows’ 2011 T.I.E ’88 propelled the series into becoming a cult classic, a rarity amongst TV dramas so new, but the anticipation of This Is England ’90 has been one that has been building momentum since it’s greenlight was confirmed by Channel 4 in 2012. Due to Meadows’ schedule with his Stone Roses doc, fans have waited 3 years for the latest instalment due to hit screens on Sunday at 9pm. And the anticipation is killing me in particular because the series is finally moving into an era that I can sort of kind of relate to. It’s feature of Stone Roses’ music for one, and then also its dip into Northern 90s rave culture. Hailing from Manchester, one of the only things people seems to be proud of other than Manchester United is the rave culture born out of the late eighties and made media popular by the Hacienda club and Factory Records.

This series I’m predicting we’ll see more outrageous fashion from Smell, more bleached hair from Lol, and many a moustache alongside. Review on Monday.

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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