Wednesday, 12 December 2018

So sue me I don't love Christmas

Christmas is a bit of a weird one in my humble opinion. Everyone loves Christmas, and if you don't? Then there's something inherently wrong with you. Apart from actually that's total bollocks of course. I'll put my neck on the line here and be the first one to admit that in all honesty Christmas just freaks me out. I'm lucky enough not to have lost anyone immediately close to me so there's no rational, sentimental reason behind my attitude... I just don't really like it. It makes me feel weird.

Maybe it's the month-long build up that abruptly ceases to exist once those fleeting 24 hours of Christmas Day are over, or perhaps it's something to do with the unavoidable disappointment that surrounds New Years Eve. Since it stopped being a novelty for me to stay up past midnight, NYE continues to be overrated and deflating in equal measures. (But then maybe that's just my fault for never making any good plans.)

Another mild cause for concern that resurfaces in December.. while I continue to peruse the pet aisle of tesco wondering which kitty advent calendar will please my cat the most, my mind can't help but flit to the fact that a lot of my friends are now married with kids to buy for, while I'm still.. well.. yeah, you can find me looking at festive cat treats. I know how ridiculous that is but I always find Christmas has a way of making me feel like I'm somewhat 'falling behind' in this big old race we call life. It's safe to say I always become a little more Bridget Jones this time of year, not helped by the fact that I have a weird track record of becoming single around this dreaded month (seriously just break up with me in October or November for a change, give a gal a goddamn break!).

It's hard not to feel like you're on the outside looking in when everyone around you seems full of the magic and joy of the Christmas spirit while you don't really feel much at all. It's sort of like when there was that blue/gold dress internet sensation and all your mates were saying it was blue but you could only see gold. Okay that's probably a terrible analogy but let's go with it. And that's not to say that I didn't used to feel the magic of Christmas. When I was a kid, I absolutely LOVED it. But with every year that I've not received my annual 'you've been so good this year' letter from Santa, my enthusiasm has continued to diminish and as an adult I just feel kind of weird and confused about what to do with myself on Christmas Day. 

I am fully aware of how miserable and bitter this post probably comes across but I wanted to share it anyway on the off chance that there is anyone else who feels like I do. I also want to clarify that I don't hate Christmas, I'm just kind of indifferent to it. It's hard to explain, but I think the expectation to be so happy really overwhelms me, and everything is meant to be so perfect. The food, the presents, the party dresses, the cards, anything you can think of, the list goes on... it's just all too much for my little head to handle. So yeah, here ends my anti-festive ramble. What do you think? Do any of you feel similar to me or have I just gone full-blown Scrooge? Let me know!

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Sunday, 7 October 2018

Living the instasham

Instagram. Ugh. The love hate relationship to END all love hate relationships. Too much? Nah I don’t think so. Let me just get started with a screenshot of something I tweeted the other week..

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or you don’t waste your time on social media like the rest of us sad acts, you’ll probably have seen that Instagram has been getting a lot of flak lately. Why? Well, if it’s not shit engagement then followers are dropping, and if it’s not followers dropping it’s countless comments about being an ambassador for a sunglasses company (where do I sign up!?). 

And that’s without even touching on the fake as fuck environment that has swallowed up such a vast proportion of our lives. Looking at posed photos, posing for photos, knowing it’s all fake but feeling the need to join in anyway. Reading posts about how Instagram is a sham and feeling inspired so posing for a selfie to write another caption to inspire others about the sham life we all needn’t be living. The endless cycle of calling bullshit on the world that is Instagram while continuing to live it with everyone else. Knowing it’s not good for you but not really being able to stop.. Sounds pretty similar to an addiction don’t ya think?

Using myself as an example, I will spend HOURS scrolling through Instagram to end up feeling just as squishy and chubby as I knew I would, and then worse than that start resenting girls who have perfectly tiny waists and toned abs when I don’t even know them at all! Then I feel guilty for being so horrible and thinking negatively about this stranger on the internet and just end up kind of wallowing in this waaaa I’m just not good enough pit of weirdness. 

BUT it doesn't stop there. We haven't even touched on the burning fire within that goes by the name of validation. You know in Finding Nemo when all those seagulls are going MINE, MINE over and over again? I imagine that Instagram is just a sea of faces going VALIDATE ME, VALIDATE ME, VALIDATE ME! But guess what? We all fucking do it! You telling me you’ve never deleted a picture because it didn’t have ‘enough’ likes? I actually get embarrassed if I don’t have many likes on my picture – genuine real life embarrassment based on how many likes a photo gets. How bad is that?!!

And that’s what I meant with my tweet. It does feel like a game, a game that we all know we’re trapped in but are all too scared to leave – me included! Because what happens if we leave? Will people start forgetting that we exist? What is life without our online persona that we have grown to love and in turn grown to hate? What will we be missing out on? WHAT WOULD IT FEEL LIKE TO HAVE MY LIFE BACK AGAIN. Ok you get the idea. But seriously, I’m just a big ol’ hypocrite as much as the next person because I haven't done it yet either. 

Another thing I wanted to touch on – especially if my manager is reading because I really want to keep my job lol hiya – is that social media for work/business purpose is a totally different ball game. While my blogging profile is diminishing the profile I run for work is absolutely thriving - better than it ever has done before. The images work, we get real followers, the interaction is great and it couldn’t be going better. So why is it different with our own profiles? Are we more critical when our ‘brand’ is not a product but is actually ourselves? Our own faces? Our own style? Our bodies? I think so. And it's hard to stand out because every one else in the world is busy posting their face/style/body hoping to get noticed too. At work I post images of sexy loudspeakers and people love them because they’re different and they’re something people haven’t seen before. Maybe that’s the key, maybe people are bored of selfies now. I know I am. I’ve started using Twitter so much more again because I love having an actual conversation and writing a thought down without having to attach it to a lame duckpout picture of my face. Maybe it’s just that authenticity people want back. Maybe we all wanna start talking to each other again and put the editing apps down for a while?

To conclude this rambling, I unsurprisingly don’t have a solution, and I am unsurprisingly still on Instagram. BUT I check it less and post way less than before and it’s just not taking up as much room in my brain anymore. God it feels good. Like it’s there when I want it but if I have nothing to post in a few days then so be it, I‘m not fannying around desperately trying to find filler content anymore because let's face it who actually fucking cares whether I post or not anyway? It was most likely only ever me. Yeah I’ll still use it but I’ll post when I want to post and if I get no likes then I’ll get a grip and realise I need to stop judging my life on how many flipping LIKES a post on a social network gets.. cuz let’s be real, likes mean NOTHING anyway, they are intangible and they shouldn’t even be a second thought in our minds.

OK wow lol I’mma stop writing now because I haven’t checked Instagram in at least 5 mins and my left eye is starting to twitch. But seriously, thank you if you got this far and PLEASE get in touch to tell me your thoughts.

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Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Reigniting my love for charity shopping

In my humble opinion charity shops are somewhat like Marmite in the sense that people tend to either love them or hate them. Having wavered on both sides of the spectrum I can completely understand why people love them (name me a better feeling than unexpectedly finding an absolute dream of a piece that both fits as if it was made for you and costs less than a tenner) and why people hate them (foisty, fusty, cluttered shops where everyone seems to be finding a right old bargain apart from you are never a great time), but thanks to my latest vintage purchase my feet are stuck firmly in the 'love' camp... for now. 

Let's set the scene shall we... a busy Saturday lunchtime in any UK city centre. A twinge of curiosity around Primark's current home range (everyone loves a bit of new bedding right?) is met with immediate regret as you are sucked into swarms of sweaty teenagers and shouting mothers that fail to acknowledge your existence as you try to barge your way past every Gryffindor branded item under the sun. You try not to lose all sense of balance when you scramble out of the shop like some kind of washed up, ship-wrecked castaway and it takes every ounce of your being not to scream WIIIILSSSSOOOOON as you finally manage to push past the last person and make your way OUT of the Primark building alive. Ok yh maybe I'm a bit dramatic but you get the idea, in a world full of this scenario panning out in pretty much every city in the UK what a bloody beautiful breath of fresh air it is to open the door to a lesser known charity shop, hear the little bell ding as you step inside and have the person at the til look up and acknowledge you before you begin looking around. Instead of being surrounded by mass produced items that have been knocked off the shelves, person after person, the shelves are filled with undiscovered gems that each have their own history and stories to tell.

This blazer didn't cost a lot of money and isn't a 'brand' that I recognise. There's a hole in the inner lining of its right-side pocket. It fastens up with beautiful golden-coloured buttons. It's fit with shoulder pads. It has c h a r a c t e r. The brown on brown stripes are almost reminiscent of a school blazer and the fine detail of the blue/red pinstripes are beyond stunning. When I tried the blazer on it fit me almost as if it had belonged to me previously but the best part is that it didn't - it belonged to someone else. How cool is that?

Especially in the environmentally conscious time that we live in right now, how great is it to take an active role in recycling by creating your own wardrobe from pre-loved clothes? And not only that, but you're also benefiting a charity at the same time. Now there's a win-win if I ever saw one. And it's not even just clothes - I'm really getting into reading crime at the minute and I literally picked up two books for 99p each at the weekend - LESS THAN £2, it's just ridiculous! 

So... Shop in Primark. Buy from charity shops. Do whatever makes you happy, but just be aware that there could be a little miracle waiting to happen near you in the form of a shoulder-padded pin-striped retro number. All you have to do is go to your local charity shop and hunt it down! What do you think? Charity shopping - do you love it or hate it? Let me know and tell me your best finds!

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Wednesday, 22 August 2018


'Organic'. A word that I associate with the fruit and veg aisle in the supermarket but much less so with dungarees. Clearly I'm not going to be eating my denim dungas* anytime soon so to be honest I had to do a bit of research into what organic actually means in terms of this industry (apologies if that's a little ignorant of me) and what kind of impact choosing organic clothes can potentially have on a wider scale. I mean it's all well and good slapping a big green label on an item and marketing the shit out of it in a self-congratulatory "HEY WE CARE ABOUT OUR PLANET" kinda way, but what does it all mean to the average shopper like you and me? Well, luckily for those less clued up like myself, Cheap Monday have made it pretty clear on their site: 

Organic Cotton is grown without any chemical pesticides and fertilisers and it doesn´t contain GMO Choosing organic cotton instead of conventional means:
- 46% less climate impact
- 71% less water
- 62% less energy

....well I've gotta be honest - I'm impressed!

(Plz ignore the dangly hanger thing near my neck - massive fashun faux pas and if I didn't hate them before well I bloody do now.)

The thing I really like here is that Cheap Monday actually explain what they're doing a why they're doing it. As you can probably pick up from the opening paragraph I am somewhat of a sceptic and get pretty frustrated when you can't clearly cut through the 'marketing bullshit' to see something for what it is. But here I genuinely feel like they're doing a great thing and actually making it really easy for everyone to get on board with by using organic material in their simple and popular styles so you don't have to buy some proper bizarre item (says the gal in the most flamboyant orange shirt you've ever seen) to get in on the action. It's not like an uber exclusive campaign that feels out of reach either, there are so many options on the website to pick from whether its some summery little dungas like mine or your next pair of every day jeans. 

I don't want to start making unrealistic promises that I can't keep and I won't pretend I'm only going to buy organic clothes from now on, but the fact that we have these options and that brands are actively factoring the planet and the environment into their decisions is really exciting and a huge step in a positive direction. I think it's fair to say that as consumers we want to feel that we are shopping ethically, and it's really refreshing when brands make it this easy. 

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*Items in the post have been gifted but as always this post represents my true opinions.