24 @ 24

So, I am writing this on my birthday eve. Technically, it is 00:14 and very much my birthday but I am yet to go to sleep so not counting it. I find birthdays really funny. It is going to sound really knobby of me to say but I love other peoples. I live for bringing them cake or taking them out for lunch. Birthday nights out are my favourite because I feel like people take it as an excuse to let loose and have the most fun. Yet I am not so hot on my own. I find them a bit embarrassing and aside from the presents and nice food I always end up feeling really reflective. Apparently that is a sign of getting old but we are going to skip over that.

I had so many ideas of what 24 would be. I thought I would be a real adult by 24. Today I ate a cheese sandwich on partially frozen bread because I still don’t know how to use the defrost function on our microwave… I thought I would have moved out by 24. Whilst I did move out I boomeranged straight back again. Perhaps most farfetched, about a decade ago I thought I would be married by 24…lol. So, as this isn’t the most original idea in the world, but I did enjoy looking back in the post I wrote last year and it is my birthday so you can just allow it, here are the 24 things I have learnt at 24.

  • Be more impulsive (good)

I don’t know why but this year I seemed to have been better at being impulsive. I am a thinker and a worrier. I contemplate holidays months in advance, plan my weekends out meticulously, it takes me about an hour to work out what I want for lunch. Typical Libra and I know, I sound like a hoot. This year I have been so much better at just booking trips away, staying out just because, and doing what I want to do without worrying too much. I got a new tattoo and didn’t spend two months fretting about what other people would think, I chilled out about holidays which meant I got to see three new, incredible cities (Paris, Budapest, and Barcelona) and didn’t have a stress induced migraine in the process. Being more impulsive has definitely served me well this year.

  • Quality friends

It is funny when you leave uni. You go from being in this environment where you are surrounded by people constantly to the big, wide world where you are working all hours of the day and sleep becomes a luxury. Your friendship circle seriously depletes. However, the friends that you do have are the best. They are the ones that you don’t see for months at a time but when you do it is like no time has passed and you immediately revert back to being ridiculous. It is the best.

36849802_251687542095863_6902314071635263488_n

  • ‘Be careful what you wish for’ is shit

Just because you have wished for something, worked insanely hard for it, and wanted it for the longest time doesn’t mean that when you get it you have to be 100% joyful 24/7. I am so incredibly thankful that I get to use my degree in what I do and that someone is willing to pay me to write. But am I happy all of the time? No. For so long I thought I was being ungrateful for moaning about the jobs that I thought I was supposed to want when in reality no job is perfect and you are allowed to have a little bit of a bitch.

  • Work wives are essential

I say work wives but they can be guys too. Having people around you that understand what you do and who you work with so when you do have those times where you are ripping your hair out a bit they totally get it. It is the nicest feeling to celebrate someone else’s success when you know how hard they work and how much they deserve it. Plus, what is a work day if you can’t find a quiet spot to have a procrastination coffee?

31429050_2073003759644916_4338952575769378816_n

  • Seek out mentors

Before I started working I didn’t consider the importance of having someone who has gone before me to chat things through to. I think so often we feel like we are going at things alone and no one understands the struggling of breaking into a career. Having someone there to get a little bit of guidance from makes things 100000 times easier. Plus, it is always nice to get a bit of inspo from someone who genuinely cares if you’ll do well.

  • Friend are your best source of advice and comfort

I don’t know about yours but my friends are really fucking wise. In all seriousness, if I have done a silly thing and am having an emotional breakdown (which happens about twice a month, usually just before and after pay day) they just know what to say. They may be far away or know no better than you but there is nothing a soothing, ‘it’s okay I have done that too’ can’t solve.

friends2

  • Hangovers are worse

I thought I knew what a hangover was. I was wrong. In uni I would get a headache and maybe heart burn and I would mope about on the sofa like someone had given me a death sentence. Now it is just better for everyone if I don’t move my body at all the morning after I have had any more than four glasses of wine.

  • Don’t question it, buy it

This is the sole reason why using my card can be a bit like using a gift card, you never quite know how much is on there. I am not talking about letting mad 1 am ASOS binges become the norm but if you have seen something and pined after it, it is probably just better to get it. What if you finally talk yourself round to buying it and then it’s gone? No one wins. Plus a little treat coffee here and there is good for you.

39586725_232577544081291_89664537589972992_n

  • Talk about money

This is an extension of the point prior but this year I have got so much better at talking about money. After months of putting it off I finally sat down with my dad and opened a proper savings account. I spoke more about money with friends than I ever have before which can be painfully eye opening. I also stopped being embarrassed and weird about how much I earn and what I chose to spend my money on. Because I stopped feeling shy and secretive about money I started to spend it more wisely (about 90% of the time).

  • Money comes and goes but experiences don’t

When I was younger I used to be really fearful of spending large amounts of money on things like flights, train tickets, rooms. The boring purchases. This year I have realised that if I just don’t buy that Pret every morning that in reality is making me fat and poor, I can afford to go away more. Once I stopped stressing about the money I was spending I got to enjoy doing and seeing amazing things. I haven’t thought about the £300 it cost for me to go to Budapest but I think about the fun we had all the time!

day4

  • Sometimes you just need to stop

This sounds really profound but I mean it in the most literal sense of the saying. I went away to Barca at the end of summer. It was a jam packed city break with 4 other girls. Needless to say it was very eventful. On the last day we were mooching around the city before our flight and we went to lie by the Arc De Triumph (there is one in Barca I am not just an idiot). I lay with my best friend of 20 years (eek) and we people watched, laughing at what people were wearing and berating the cringe couples trying to achieve the perfect angle with their selfie sticks. It was great.

  • Stop being a brat to mum and dad

I found the transition moving home last October really hard. I was bratty to my parents who were so kindly housing, feeding, and putting up with me again after I had spent 4 years at university begging for beer money every two weeks. As much as I hate to say it, they are nearly always right and always want the best for me so reverting back to a misunderstood 15 year old needs to stop.

26305812_387506488338775_5020455295986434048_n.jpg

  • Life is one big battle to be healthy

I try to be healthy, I really do but I feel like life is one constant battle of wanting to eat well and eating and drinking everything in sight. I think instead of fighting the urge to eat the bagel I now need to work on just accepting it and not feeling guilty.

  • You are going to feel old sometimes

As much as I moan 24 isn’t old, gone are the days that you can go for a uni reunion night out at the Students Union and not live in fear that ‘Joe’ (insert any common uni boy name) has lied about his age, is actually 18, and you are going to be put on some sort of register before the night is over. I may start employing an ID system, you can never be too safe.

sharon.gif

 

  • Beyonce has the same hours in the day is also shit

I love Queen B, believe me. However, if I read one more Instagram quote that says Beyonce has the same amount of hours in the day as me I swear to all that is good in this world… Yes, she does. She also has about 100000 people helping her, is a real adult, and probably doesn’t have to deal with doing her own washing/ cleaning/ cooking on top of the other things that are required when you are queen.

  • Stop saying sorry

I apologise for everything and frankly, it is embarrassing. Someone will walk into me, I’ll apologise. Someone will be sat in my seat on the train, I’ll apologise. Someone will make a mistake at work, I will apologise. STOP IT!

byee

  • Guard your heart

This year has been all change and in that I have been open to being hurt a lot. That is fine but I think at times I stopped sticking up for myself, and backing myself just to make other people more comfortable. It sounds really lame but I have let people hurt me over and over so not to be an inconvenience. For my own sake, I can’t do that anymore.

  • It is okay to be vulnerable

At the same time, vulnerability isn’t weakness. If I have any hope in getting close to anyone I can’t hold them at arm’s length. If, once I let them in, they decide to fuck it up then that is fine. That’s on them, it isn’t a reflection of me.

  • Take *a* weekend

Just because you choose to stay in on a Saturday night, face mask and leopard print pj’s on with a good book doesn’t make you boring. After weeks of mad trips, work and having fun over summer I burnt out. Spending a weekend to myself to just do nothing, not think about work, and not see anyone made me better when I resumed plans the week after.

26187492_188909378521199_7647850588117401600_n.jpg

  • Bed time is not phone time

My dad used to tell me not to use my phone in bed and it used to really irritate me. I don’t sleep well and the fact that he would put that down to my precious social media accounts seemed ridiculous, only it wasn’t. He was right (as per) and now I have done the very adult thing of leaving my phone on the other side of the room and reading before bed I usually drop off before 2 am. I am a changed woman.

  • You can’t always prevent bad things from happening to you

Searching for and stressing over every little thing that can go wrong isn’t going to stop bad things happening to me. This sounds so silly but I would obsess over being on time, not sharing  with new people in case they thought I was too much, or going over and over work in case I offended someone. It turns out trains run late, people are going to dislike me regardless, and someone somewhere is always going to be offended if you share your opinions online so it is better to just try and enjoy yourself.

  • Twitter is not the place for love

I love having twitter crushes. Someone who is so hilarious, and informed, and witty in 240 characters and they are cute in their picture too. This September I learned it is okay to have these crushes, it is not okay to have a bottle of wine and then tweet them your proclamation of love. Especially if they work in the same field as you. Jill I am sorry, it was the Sauv Blanc.

thirst.gif

  • You’re getting old, moisturise

As much as I hate that this is completely patriarchal pressure but I would quite like to not have wrinkles and the amount I worry would suggest I will look 50 by the time I am 30. I have got the hair sitch under control, you won’t be seeing any greys through this black hair dye. However, I am not too sure I can commit to the Botox life just yet. Gone are the days where I would sleep in last night’s makeup and let my skin dry out to a crisp. Girls not getting wrinkles.

  • Mental health above all

Lastly, this year I have realised that if my mental health is in a shitty place everything suffers but it isn’t my fault. Whilst, in the past, I have used going out and masking my problems with a hangover as a way of pushing any issues to the bottom of the pile this year I feel like I have found some ways of legit dealing with things. Writing stuff down, talking it out and if I need it, taking myself away for a little bit.

Wow, so that was long. Maybe as I get older I can just share my top five bits of sage wisdom. Because obviously within the next year I am going to stop being a dick on social media after a glass of wine, will have the perfect job, and maybe even a partner and child (lol eww no thanks). Here is to another completely ridiculous, hopefully even more eventful year.

 

 

Advertisements

Calling Out The BS

I always read these pieces that will start ‘I was on the train and overhead…’ or ‘I was at the bus stop and someone said….’ Since I spend about 80% of my life on public transport it infuriates me that this never happens!! Maybe I don’t look approachable (the resting bitch face is usually fully employed on the commute to work) or I just don’t take the bus enough but the most I ever get are drunk football fans on the way home from a game that shout abuse at anyone and everyone in their direct vicinity. BUT yesterday I did overhear something at the bus stop. Waiting to go into work and stood generally minding my own business three girls in school uniform came and stood next to me. They looked to be about 13 or 14 and the girls I would have wanted to be friends with when I was their age- home died pastel hair, really thick eyeliner and backpacks from Afflecks. One of them seemed sort of upset and without wanting to listen in I overheard her say ‘I really like him but we were lay on the bed and he said I was podgy’ the girl next to her tried to comfort her by saying ‘but that’s his ideal body type’ and the other just sort of patted her arm and looked disgusted (girl I feel you).

Ladies, firstly whoever this boy is who thinks he knows what his ‘ideal body type is’ aged 13 is a moron. We all look basically the same aged 13. And secondly, fuck no! You’re 13, you don’t need to be on his bed and if you want to be then you certainly don’t need to be made to feel like it is some sort of privilege.

It is the stuff that we are told or hear in our formative years that really shapes our beliefs about ourselves, about what is acceptable, and what we ‘should’ be like. So many of us have taken in so much complete bullshit from people who have told us we should be a certain way, or magazines that have said only one way to be sexy.
If you become accustomed to people telling you you have to look a certain way from the time that you start thinking about sex how are you supposed to handle the boyfriend who pokes your stomach after you’ve been intimate and tells you the gym isn’t working for you? Or the person that comes up to you in a bar and within speaking 5 words to you asks you to go home because ‘you look like that kind of girl’.
You’ve got to love yourself before you can love someone else but that’s really hard when you’re fed information from all directions that in order to be loved or attractive you should probably lose a few pounds and not open your mouth.
In all honesty, I’m not blaming this stupid 13 year old boy, whoever he may be. He’s as much as a product of society as anyone. We do have a problem though. We can’t expect to have these big conversations about #MeToo and self love on a public stage without talking about it in schools, in the home, and with our friends. Nothing is going to change unless we make conversations about self worth normal.

Your value is not measured on your productivity…and other truths I am trying to learn

One of my favourite things to do, when I have been in work and my mum has been on a training course in Manchester is to meet up afterwards, grab a flat white (I had to get my caffeine addiction from somewhere) and get the train home with her. This is a rarity but dear god does it bring joy to my life. See I hate commuting with a living passion. The trains are delayed or cancelled, I always just miss one and specifically on the days when I look a little bit like a 12 year old boy I will bump into someone I went to school with…yay! But when I am with my mum it is a whole different kettle of fish. Whilst the train is merely the hell carriage that very slowly and inefficiently gets me from A to B, to Stella- who gets the train maybe once every six months, it is a big adventure, full of new sights. For the few journeys we take together I have a sufficient distraction from how the infrastructure in the North of England is falling apart and just enjoy the ride.

I got to enjoy one such journey earlier this week. After working a night shift into a day shift and getting a grand total of about 3 hours sleep I was ready to go home. Usually on a day like this the commute would have broken me but not today. Not with Stella. As we sat on the platform and she asked me about my day I mentioned I had had a meeting with my mentor at work (the nicest gal to grace this earth). As she asked how it made me feel and where it leaves me now I started to get teary. I am not one for big, public displays of emotion unless it is tears of laughter. But apparently being so exhausted that I cry on a train platform at the prospect of the future is my life now.

cry.gif

I remember a time when not having your shit together was cool. Not caring about things was the way you were supposed to feel. Now it feels like a competition of who is the busiest? Who has the most side hustles? Who is working the most hours without breaking down?

Last weekend was the bank holiday weekend and I spent it with family, helping my brother move out of his house and generally mooching around Leeds. It was heavenly. I cannot express to you how delightful it was to not be sat at my computer or constantly be looking at my phone (I did work bank holiday Monday but who takes Bank Holidays anyway?) But how wrong is that? We are switched on constantly even to the extent of when we are given time off we feel guilty.

IMG_9083

IMG_9081

IMG_9082.JPG

I am insanely impatient. Not to toot my own trumpet but if, this time last year you had told me what I would be doing I’d be buzzed. But as we, sadly live in the present I am so blind to what’s in front of me because I am constantly looking for the next thing or the end goal.

If I don’t spend my evening off pitching to another publication or applying for a job then I feel like I have wasted time. I am constantly preaching that you should be intentional with how you spend your free time and down time is so important but do I practice it? Absolutely not. Hell, I am sat up writing this at 10:30 at night after working 16 of the last 24 hours.

giphy.gif

Someone somewhere along the line pushed the idea that your worth is in direct correlation with how productive you are. If you are running yourself into the ground then you must be a better person or more deserving of success but that so isn’t the case- so why can’t I believe it?

Whilst having a ‘no days off’ attitude can be really motivating, it can also wreck any sort of work life balance that you’re managing to maintain (please tell me how?) So over this week I am going to try and start practising what I preach and who knows- I might actually sleep a full 8 hours…

Budget Little Mix Go To Barcelona

I am sorry, where did summer go? I know we all complained when it was the temperature of the sun that we had forgotten what rain feels like and we were all going to shrivel up into little raisin beings but we weren’t… I want the sun back. I have had enough of this sub-30 degree weather already.

I feel like this summer has been crazy hectic anyway. Picking up an extra freelance gig and deciding I actually need hobbies outside of drinking wine in peoples gardens turns out to be quite time consuming/ knackering.

napping.gif

I wrote about my trip to Budapest earlier this year which I loved. It was like nowhere I had been before and it was nice to just to get away from my laptop for a few days. If you haven’t been I recommend you get yourself on skyscanner immediately! However, coming back to work only made me want another longer break. So a couple of weeks later I booked Barcelona with four friends (the fore mentioned Budget Little Mix- not a self-given title but one given by an older man in an attempt at a compliment…)

As I said, after picking up extra work and the heat wave which meant I essentially spent every waking moment either in work willing to be outside or outside melting into a puddle of sweat and residual wine (sexy, I know) I was very much ready to not be in the country for a few days. And oh my god Barcelona did not disappoint!

Rather than splitting up the trip into days/ nights I thought I would split it into activities instead, starting with the first and most important…FOOD.

Food

I would go back to Barcelona just to eat. Seriously, just leave me there with the funds to get obese. I knew before I left that the tapas was going to be nice but wow. What became abundantly clear within 24 hours of us being in the city was that we were ordering WAY too much food. Now, I didn’t go away with girls that can’t eat- funnily enough I don’t seem to attract those people. However, we were ordering the amount of tapas we would at home- three or four plates each. No no no. I have never seen so much food in my life. We were stacking patatas bravas on calamari and chorizo. It was a mess and I would like to say we learnt our lesson but we didn’t and there was never that much left at the end of the sitting. I just spent most meal times feeling physically unwell.

foo1

food2food2

Whilst everything we ate was delicious we were given a couple of recommendations. Stay off las ramblas for food and drink. It is SO expensive, the vibe is weird and it is touristy as hell. My favourite tapas was in the district of El Born although, being greedy and rubbish I now can’t remember the name of it. On one of the afternoons, knowing a storm was coming Becky and I wanted to grab some food and like the holiday organisational wiz that she is she found this little tapas place. It was INSANE! Pictures don’t do it justice and I can’t even begin to describe how good the sardines and tuna we had were.

food3

food4

Basically, I want to go back to Barcelona just to sit in a restaurant and eat tapas and drink sangria.

Nightlife

In the same vein the nightlife in Barcelona was so much fun. Same recommendation applies, don’t go anywhere near las ramblas unless you’re walking to somewhere else. We made the trip down there on a couple of nights and once you wade through the men asking if you’re going to the beach in your dress and heels or are looking for some coke you can’t get seated and have to spoon your bag for dear life in fear that it’ll get stolen. I had one friend get picked up and carried off- apparently her ‘husband’ decided he was laying claim on her and whilst the offer of ‘jiggy jiggy’ dancing is tempting, it was surprisingly always a no from me. We had one drink on las ramblas on the first night- we were tired and completely phased by the reps. I had some sort of syrup water posing as a strawberry daiquiri which I would put my limited life savings on the fact that it had no alcohol in but gave me the biggest sugar rush I have had since I drank Capri Sun as a child.

night3

On one of the nights Becky and I ended up heading out alone. We were in the Gothic Quarter which was great for little bars. Although it was a Thursday it felt super busy and the vibe was really good. We ended up talking to some people who were living in the city and going on to a techno club and whilst I have limited appreciation for techno I do appreciate attractive, tall German men and cheap drinks so off we went. It was so much fun, we both felt completely safe (unlike the creeps of Budapest) and we left to stuff our faces with paprika lays/ scatter crumbs all over the bed and then pass out.

nigh1

Alternatively, Barca also has the bigger clubs along the beach. Entry was fairly expensive but on one of our last days we were all lay on the beach, trying to sweat out a hangover when a very attractive Swiss guy approached. If you have seen Mamma Mia 2 young Bill then you know! He literally could have sold us our own sun cream and we would have bought it. We ended up buying some wrist bands for a roof party and club entry for that night.

night2

Now, the roof party had a bit to be desired- it reminded me a little bit of a networking event I had been to a few weeks previous. However, we were all together, on the beach front and looking our best so it was fine (a bottle and a half of spirit was also thrown in with the wrist band which eased being stranded on the top of a building with the cast of the inbetweeners). However, paying for the wrist band was made so worth it when we went down to the clubs later on. After drinking Charlotte’s concoction of rum, gin and cloudy lemon (it tastes how I imagine the black water that Dumbledore has to drink would taste) I was ready for a dance. We ended up in Catwalk (because I am not fully confident we could have found Pacha at that point). The music was so good and I haven’t danced like that in so long!

Before we left everyone I spoke to said there was always a party in Barca and they were so right. It was so much fun and everyone was so nice. For some reason a pint in the local doesn’t quite match up to Sangria with the view of the sea.

Day trips

There is literally a million and one things to do in Barca during the day. I usually come to the end of the trip and don’t feel the need to visit again but I don’t even feel like I scratched the surface this time. It combines lazy beach holidays with city breaks so you’re spoilt.

day7

On the first day Becky organised us a walking tour and I maintain these are the best ways to see a new city. Armardo, our tour guide was the most enthusiastic man I have ever met…in my life. It was grinding at first but once I had coffee in me I appreciated that very few people could make describing the hundreds of saints of Barcelona quite as interesting as he did. There was so many photo ops, it helped us get our bearings and he was fairly useful for food recommendations.

day1

day2

day3

We also did an art tour and I now know more about Gaudi than I ever wished to. Whilst we did it on the hottest day of our stay which was slightly unpleasant we did get to see a lot of his work, including the Sagrada Familia. I also got to frolic about in a tshirt and not much more in the sun outside the café/bar that Orwell wrote 1984 so a girl can’t complain.

day11

day8

day10.jpg

Obviously, the beach in Barca is stunning and the weather while we were there was perfect. I am not very good at lying still on the beach. For about 10 mins I am happy, then I try and read, end up wriggling to find a comfortable position, get distracted by a hot person down the beach, realise a boob is making a bid for an escape and end up burning a weird bit of skin I have missed with lotion…it’s all a bit stressful. However, the couple of beach afternoons we had were so nice, it never felt too busy and there’s men that go round with bevs and doing henna. The henna is probably a no but I can thoroughly recommend the Sangria (as always).

day9

On the one day that it rained (I did not sign up for that) there was loads to do too. Whilst we shacked up in a restaurant whilst the storm passed we then donned some very fetching pink ponchos (when a tourist) and made our way to the Picasso Museum. It was heaving and there was a 40 minute wait but once we were inside it was awesome. There is no way I would have gone if it hadn’t been raining and I am so glad we did! After wandering around and regaining the feeling in my very wet, sandal clad toes we found a really cute little indie coffee shop to grab a flat white and cake. Because no matter where you are, did you go to a museum if you didn’t have a coffee and a cake?

coffee1.jpg

coffee2

Logistics

I am going to keep this section really short because a) it is boring and b) I have only just come up for air and realised how long this post is. Everyone will tell you- I am talking your family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues, friends of friends, relatives you haven’t spoken to in months, strangers on public transport- Barcelona is the pick pocket capital of Europe. My parents, obviously always have a chat with me before I go away about safety etc but I have never seen anything like this. My dad came home from work a few days before I left and said his colleague’s daughter had some of her hair chopped off and stolen in the street….

Whilst I can’t tell you how to hold onto your hair it is so clear how people get things stolen- it is busy, you’re hot and distracted and on holiday so your inhibitions are already down. After a VERY stern talking to and a demo on how to hold our bags from Albert, the man who owned the apartment we were staying in, we were good to go and whilst we laughed I am thankful because we all came away with all of our possessions (and hair).

So that is it! As you can tell by the sheer length of this post and I so badly want to go back to Barcelona. It has been on my list for such a long time and I have no idea why I didn’t take the plunge and go sooner. If you have a bit of time and need some sun and fun I couldn’t recommend anywhere more!

2.jpg

 

This Summer Wear Whatever The F You Want

WARNING: Rant ahead!

Oh hey girls and boys! How’s things? I was thinking of reserving this as a bit of a ‘Girls Talk’ kind of post but since I have just spent the last hour battling tears in Boux Avenues changing rooms we’re going to jump straight in.

I have always had fairly big boobs. This isn’t a brag, it baffles me that people get surgery only to make their lives more inconvenient. I remember going to Marks and Spencer’s with my mum, age 11 to get my first bra and I went straight into a B cup. At the time this meant literally nothing to me and I just wanted to get out of the changing room with the old lady who kept measuring bits of my body I spent 99% of the time ignoring/ hiding away.

Skip 12 years and I am going to Barcelona in a couple of days which means the annual ‘walk around the shops to only try on bikinis that would get me arrested for indecent exposure’ was due.

eyeroll

The woman came in to measure me. She looked at me and was like ‘Oh I can measure you by sight’. I wonder how much she uses this when she is out and about- gets served in Costa- 34C, goes to a bar- 32D. After I got out of my own head and realised she was looking at me in a way that made me think something was horrendously wrong, she gave the verdict. Patting my arm like she has just given me a terminal diagnosis she tells me I am wearing the right size bra and do I need a minute. Hunny I am already wearing a 32G, not much else you say to me in this cubicle is going to surprise me.

She returned with a range of what can only be described as lace parachutes and I whip my top back on and leave. Because that’s the thing when you have a chest that is anything over a D cup. Unless you are willing to wear underwear and bikinis that could double up as lifesaving bungee equipment the high street would make you think you are a bit stuck.

When you are younger you’re told to wear baggy clothes that would in some way conceal the fact that you have a body underneath. Then you get to an age where society deems it acceptable to be visible and you’re told that a good option for you is a wrap, skater dress… I am going to a bar… I am not a fucking middle aged supply teacher. I don’t know who started the vicious rumour that wrap dresses were curvy girls only option (I am looking at you Trinny and Susannah) but they’re cancelled.

byee.gif

We are so obsessed with what we can and cannot wear. No- you cannot shop on ASOS for bikinis if you’re DD+ because you don’t know what the bikini will look like… It will look like my body in a bikini- something I have, shockingly, bore witness to before. No matter how hard you try if your tits are big, you have thick thighs, a tummy or a big bum that is how it is and that’s perfect.

Everyone has the right to shop where they want, wear what they want and feel sexy. No matter what anyone would have you believe sexy isn’t reserved for people with certain measurements, skin colours or signifiers. I work two jobs so when I am not chained to my laptop I think I am allowed a pizza or a glass (bottle) of wine.

I am not talking about being unhealthy. I know going to the gym has really helped me in not only slimming down a little bit physically but my entire mind set has changed. We have come so far and, whilst Instagram definitely has its pit falls, it is a platform where people can show off their different bodies and give someone somewhere that push to know that they’re okay.

Buying that bikini that you thinks a bit scandalous but you feel hot in, or wearing the shorts that you think you can’t wear because your thighs touch or you get a bit of bum cleavage in is a good thing. We internalise so much trash that if you can go through the day feeling a little bit better and loving yourself a little bit more that is really important.

After making a (obscenely expensive) order on ASOS I have just spent the evening eating a Dominos Chicken Feast and dancing around in my new bikinis to old school Jojo and you better believe I will be doing exactly the same down the beach in Barcelona, Sangria in hand.

Mixing Work And Play In A None Messy Way

rhi

“If you do something you love you will never work a day of your life”- well that’s just not true is it? If you do something you love you will work every single day of your life because you have turned your favourite hobby into paid work.

I don’t know if it is just me- if I am just the kind of person who doesn’t deal with change well, or if we all hate change deep down but I really feel like I am in a period of transition at the moment. It is a bit uncomfortable and uncertain but on the whole completely positive (I hope).

So, last week I got the email to say that as of today I will be freelancing on a weekly basis for Bustle. This was a big deal for me. It means I will get to write, and write about things I care about (from Love Island to social affairs) for a publication that I feel seen by. Also, because of the hours I will still be able to stay at the BBC (and never sleep or take weekends but who needs those anyway?)

Jobs and careers have changed and I love speaking to older relatives and family friends about what I do. A couple ask me on a fairly regular basis if I have had anymore shifts at the BBC (anymore after my trial shift in October). No, I have adopted the life of a lady of leisure. After two degrees and accumulating over £60,000 (gag) worth of debt I decided working life just isn’t for me. It does get a little bit old apologising for not being able to give people a clear cut answer as to where exactly you work without sounding vague, evasive or unemployed.

sorryno.gif

As I spent this week pouring over tax websites and trying to conjure up new and inventive pitches on why Dr Alex is the worst and he should be cancelled (thank god he finally was last night) I started to think about jobs I have had in years gone by and how I have actually got to this place.

When I was 16 I worked in a pet shop which, obviously I loved. I was essentially paid to stand there and stroke doggos as their owners picked from the 100000 brands of doggo food. I feared I had peaked too soon and in reality, I will never be paid to cuddle pooches again so I probably have.

Because I was a little grafter/ needed money to fund a serious ASOS addiction I also worked in a primary school after school club. Unorthodox for someone who isn’t completely au fait with speaking to children (the only way to speak to them is like small adults right?) but being paid to break up savage children fights, eat toast and speak to a boy I had a horrendous crush on wasn’t the worst thing in the world.

I did the usual bar and retail work during uni (the less said the better) and then I had the horrible three months between finishing my degree and realising it is adult time.

rihanna-in-stay-music-video-rihanna-33720818-520-300.gif

Going freelance was never the plan. I am naturally a worrier and I like certainties. In freelancing there are no certainties. I have written about it before but I had so many plans during my undergrad (work for a national newspaper by 25, married at 27, kids at 30- the usual) but it has become abundantly clear there is no one route.

I spend at least two nights a week scrawling through social media, green with envy at friends who appear to be busier than I am or progressing quicker. In reality they are in completely different fields to me and if social media is to be believed I drink a smoothie every morning for breakfast and definitely don’t spend three hours a day scouring the internet for Love Island memes.

I think if the last nine months have taught me anything it is that starting your career/ your entire career is a process and there is no one traditional trajectory. We are allowed more portfolio careers than ever before which is really difficult to explain to someone who has been in the same job for the last 30 years and trying to work out tax is a bitch but you can have your fingers in all the pies (and who doesn’t like pie?)

Being a little bit scared is a good thing because it usually means you’re living outside of your comfort zone. I am a big believer in speaking things into existence. If you find the jobs that you genuinely want to do, don’t compromise your own boundaries or moral compass and believe that you can actual do it, it usually works out. It just might not look how you thought it would originally. I 100% do not follow this all of the time (or even most of the time) but it is about learning to go with the flow and actually enjoying it.

source.gif

 

Self Love Club

Oh Hey! Long time, no speak (shock). Since England went into full on heatwave/ football mania I have to say I have been taking some time to see friends, top up my vitamin D levels and become the bronzed goddess that hibernates within for the other 360 days of the year. Hence minimal screen time and no blog posts.

Peak heatwave I was sat outside in the garden with my parents of an evening. We don’t do this (ever) so it was nice just to sit and chat. Conversation somehow wound up on my exes and past relationships. As we called into question nearly every life choice I have made since I was 16 and fondly remembered a couple (very few) of the people I dragged into their lives my dad piped up and said, “yes but you have to be nicer to yourself, it is good to see that you’re back to doing you.”

I just sat there. Usually, if we are talking relationships the only things my dad contributes are slightly sickening anecdotes from before he met my mum and became a tamed man or the outrageous nicknames he has for my exes which ‘coincidentally’ only surface when things fall apart. This was a deeper insight.

I remember the first boy that really broke my heart. We were 13, and he had a Bieber cut and rode a skate board. It was a real 2008 Avril Lavigne dream. I thought he was far too good for me- a god amongst men (boys). Then he cheated on me and I vividly remember sitting on the kitchen counter in tears with my mum and vowing I would never like another boy again. If only that were true.

I would like to think I am okay in myself. I definitely need my own space, am somewhat comfortable in my own head and wouldn’t say I am one of those people that prefers to be in a relationship. However, I know I am still cripplingly terrified of disappointing people, of losing them when in reality they are making no effort to try and keep me.

No matter how self-confident you are, how many girls nights you have or how many Slumflower threads you read we still live in a society that dictates that women have more cultural and sexual currency and worth if they are pleasing to men and change themselves for their partners. If ITV2 is to be believed, so long as you’ve got a peachy bum and perky tits the world is your oyster and you can try and unlearn all of the misogynistic ideals that we have forced on us from date dot but it is really fucking hard.

It is so easy to compromise your own self love to impress a person who isn’t adding value to your already amazing life. I have sat for hours with my insanely intelligent, empathetic, kind, beautiful friends analysing why some trash guy hasn’t text them back and what that has to do with them (the answer is always nothing by the way).

An insecure persons idea of wonderland is tearing down a women they thought was too good for them in the first place. If you are going out there, operating on a standard that you know you deserve in full knowledge of what you bring to the table that is really attractive. It isn’t bitter, it isn’t aggressive and it is only intimidating to those that are too weak to handle you. Take up as much space as you want!

We like to think that we go through life unscathed. I know I have gone into relationships with the belief that I have zero baggage from the one before. Yet I still think about someone I broke up with two years ago on a weekly basis and am still working through fall out from my last relationship now. Just because someone hurt you doesn’t make you weak.

We need to stop screwing ourselves over. Saying that you are a self-saboteur and you’re not good at relationships without considering that the people you dated might not be totally healthy for you is so easy. Why blame someone else when you can talk yourself into a corner?

Growth has taught me that nothing and no one out there is worth me getting out of character for and you don’t owe anyone pretty!