12 things in my life scarier than your usual Halloween shit

1. Student debt – more than £30K worth. Can I get a hell yeah?

2. Couple costumes – No we don’t want to see you both dressed up in cutesy little matching Fred and Velma. It maketh me sicketh.

3. The term “slaps”. Like “this song really slaps”. It sounds like something your Dad would say while trying to sound cool.

4. My crippling depression. Yeah 🙂

5. The current USA gun crisis. I am fucking terrified.

6. Adulting. When does it start to feel natural? How do you do know if you’re doing it right? Can you return it without a receipt?

7. My bank account. All those minuses 😉

8. Jamie Oliver. NOTHING IS SACRED ANYMORE

9. My nightmares. Complex, scary shit that would send my dear Freud in a tizzy.

10. The term “Social media influencers”. Sounds a bit like brainwashers beaming hypnotic vibes out to us. You-must-buy-this-weightloss-milkshake

Big, beautiful and bustling

Taj Mahal Day was here!

I woke at the crack of dawn (sorry 8 AM) today because it was the day we were going to see one of the most renowned sights on Earth. As a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, Emperor Shah Jahan definitely went the extra mile to create a memorial mausoleum for his wife Mumtaz.

The palace was a short walk from our hotel and we reached there in about fifteen minutes. We queued up, received our audio guides and began our sightseeing.

Once we got to the main viewpoint of the Taj Mahal we were able to take in all of it’s beauty. Ivory marble, the architecture was mesmerising with a view like that it was obvious why so many tourists flock to see it. However, that was also a negative as I was pushed and shoving trying to get a photo that I wished I had extra limbs at this point as being both short and British was not helping! Picture me attempting to find a decent angle while fending off hundreds of other people: “Excuse me, sorry, could I just squeeze past?”.

We made it to the front and took in the formation up close. If the view was amazing from the previous angle it was certainly something here. Every little detail was rich and intricate and a magnified image of perfection. It wasn’t just a case of building something beautiful no, it was carefully planning out and assembling every little structure, design and corner. Traditional patterns and mosaics covered the insides and surrounded the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal. Romance is clearly not dead.

Learning so many facts about the Taj Mahal in itself was great as I wasn’t that knowledgeable about the history so it was good to pick up some unique bits of Indian history. All in all, I enjoyed seeing the Taj Mahal in all its finery but didn’t enjoy the crowds and the hassle that comes with big tourist sites!

Family getaway to Zadar! – Old Town Zadar

So my immediate and extended family decided to book a little trip to Croatia for four days. Picture 8 adults and 3 kids in an uber cool villa (It had a spa!) and there will be some half term antics.

The flight was an early morning one and I joined my uncle in a pint-at-the-airport-no-matter-the-time ritual. Having a beer at 5 AM turned out to be a good thing as I found myself drifting into sleep on the flight which is usually impossible for me – I rarely fall asleep on planes!

We got to Zadar airport around 10 AM, grabbed our luggage and our rental cars and hit the road. I hadn’t seen any pictures of the villa we hired so I was in full awe when we reached there. To say it was massive is an understatement. There was a games room complete with a ‘foosball’ table, a pool table and a sauna.

A few of the adults decided to do a supermarket run so the rest of us were free to hurtle into the pool or the hot tub. Naturally the adults chose the hot tub – who doesn’t want some bubbles and beer?!

When we were all pruned out and ready for dinner we decided to go and explore Zadar town. Smooth stony streets with medieval architecture with churches and cathedrals surrounded us. We took a peaceful (well peaceful as it can be with 5 kids in tow) stroll down Old Town Zadar in search of food and found a gelato store that would put some of Italy’s finest to shame.

Taking a walk on the waterfront, we heard Zadar’s sea organ attraction. What looks like ordinary stone steps leading into water is actually a piece of architecture which uses water and air to create resonant chimes of music. Clever engineering which produces an unique tourist attraction? Tick.

 

It was pretty windy so after taking the usual 30 photos in 20 different angles, we got some tea and tried to make sure the kids weren’t killing each other  coffee. The kids were getting ratty at this point so we returned home and the kitchen turned into your bog standard workshop covered in vegetables, chopping bread and bread. Eat your heart out Gordon Ramsey!

I ended the night with a few beers and a movie. The first day was a chilled one.

Perks guide to freshers: Do’s and Don’ts!

Perks guide to freshers: Do’s and Don’ts!

Okay, so some of of you may start university this September/October and may need some handy hints and tips. I am aware said post may be pretty late for some, most  but look okay I’ve been busy…I’m still writing about this past year in my drafts okay, cut me some slack…

So…drum roll please!! Here’s my guide to Freshers: the ultimate two weeks of beer chugging, excessive spending and general madness before you immerse yourself in lectures and reading lists.

  1. The first thing you do after you pack? Go and meet your flatmates obviously! You really don’t want to be known as the Awkward Annie that just cowered in their room the whole time…go say HI. GO. *gives you a little push*
  2. Keep a door wedge. It’ll prove handy.
  3. Don’t shit where you eat
  4. Don’t buy expensive kitchenware and cutlery. Shit will go missing. Trust me.
  5. First impressions do count but at the end of the year they will have completely overturned. My first impressions of everyone I met this year have nearly all changed
  6. A student loan and overdraft is not a handout from the Gods. You will need to pay it back. The debt will increase and increase and soon you’ll be living on Toast for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. And you won’t even have enough for butter.
  7. Don’t shit where you eat
  8. It’s normal to want to go all out and spend every day partying and in a drunken stupor so hard that you’ll be a burbling mess half the night but learn to take it easy too. Freshers flu is a thing. Look after yourself.
  9. If you don’t drink then don’t despair. There will be stuff going on for non drinkers: take advantage of them!
  10. It’s a good idea to get the academic stuff sorted out too by checking reading lists, making sure you’ve enrolled on your modules etc
  11. Don’t shit where you eat – no seriously, sleeping with a flatmate is the worst idea ever. Unless you want it to be awkward for the remainder of the year.
  12. Get involved in as much as you can!! Before you get overwhelmed with work!!
  13. Enjoy ya’self hunnies 🙂

Emma Blackery Book Signing

Sassy British Youtuber and Musician Emma Blackery released her first book on the 7th September titled ‘Feel Good 101’ – I want to rave about how amazing it is and how equally great her book tour is as I had the pleasure of attending.

Emma has been one of my favourite YouTubers to date; her stringent, sarcastic coinage of phrases such as ‘I have girl balls’ and her ability to be brash about her flaws and her fuck ups. So when she announced she was doing a book tour a few months back, I jumped at the chance to see her and excitedly booked tickets for the London Piccadilly date.

I got to the Waterstones store and queued up, waiting for the doors to open for the room in which the Q&A would take place. Taking in all the excited young teenagers with brightly coloured hair and pastel t-shirts, I knew that there were a lot more people than just me who were pretty hyped to see Emma tonight.

We were hustled in and I took my seat and the shiny new book that was handed to me as I walked in.

When Emma entered the room there were excited ‘whoops’ and ‘ooohs’ as she took her seat at the front. Luckily, I had an aisle seat and could witness all the action from a pretty good view. The Q&A began and questions about her book, her experiences writing it and her influences arose. What had the process been like? Would she do a sequel?

I loved the fact that she was so candid and conversational throughout. I know that many Q&A’s are based upon that premise but Emma wasn’t just focused on professionalism but being also being honest and open and that was one of the primary focuses of her book.

After the Q&A, Emma began her book signings. A small group of excited teens began singing her songs in the midst of it and the Waterstones staff looked at each other with bemused expressions. As I became next in line, I handed my book to her and had a sort of stage fright moment not knowing what to say in these two minutes that would cement our (second)(more about that later) meeting.

“Hi, how are you?” she asks

“Fine! How are you?” I babbled.

“Mentally exhausted” she answered calmly, taking my book.

“Were you part of the singing?” she asked?

“No, I-my vocal chords weren’t up to that” I answered, nervously...(what the hell was I going on about lol)

“I’ve had people do that in gigs for me but never in Waterstones” she commented, delighted.

I forgot to give my phone to the ‘camera guy’ (stand in Waterstones staff) and there was an awkward moment where they had to ask me for it in the middle of this conversation.

“I just want to say, I have anxiety and your videos have really helped me” I put in as I took my book back.

“I’m really glad to hear that, there’s a section in my book about anxiety” she answers.

“Have a great day” she calls after me as I walk away.

“You too” I answer back, robotically as she turns to her next fan, flashing a smile.

The whole experience was small but sweet. Meeting Emma was a lovely, whole hearted experience.

Emma’s Channel

 

Just the little things

I saw something yesterday which made me feel an ounce of happiness in the jet black cave that is my mind, so I wanted to share it with you guys.

It’s something so miniscule and flippant that I don’t even know why, but it made my day. I was walking into University with my coffee (correction – liquid of brewed disappointment and sewage) when I saw one of my tutors walking past.

I haven’t mentioned her before but she is one of my current girl crushes. Passionate about Victorian literature and her fashion is always so ‘on point’ that I can’t help but marvel at whatever outfit she is sporting. She always looks a pretty picture.

Crushed red velvet blazer. Patchwork. Gothic shirt. Dayum. I almost want to pull up a chair after the seminar and ask her if she’s ever thought about modelling in Vogue. Or well, maybe not Vogue as they seem to favour Gigi Hadid whereas she’s more Helena Bonham Carter (with even more of an edge!). But y’know, somewhere with style.

Anyway I saw her walking outside one of the buildings holding hands with this other woman. They were both smiling and chatting happily. My lecturer looked happy. This woman looked happy. It just shows the power of love you know? It’s simple and you may be thinking “who cares?” but just seeing her all perked made me a bit happy. As supporter of homosexuality it made me happy. Relationship PDA? Yeah it’s normal and something you see a lot. But seeing one of your teachers in PDA? That’s different. Also, you don’t often see Gay or Lesbian PDA all that frequently? Why is that? Society is so conditioned to think of Gay or Lesbian PDA as uncommon so we feel more surprised when we see it in real life. But one day maybe it’ll be as normal as Hetero PDA. I’m happy that my lecturer was confident enough and happy enough to showcase her relationship without a care in the world. Love truly does conquer all.

Yes I’m cheesy and soppy and bleh. But it was something small which brightened my day. 🙂

10 Types of People you See on Snapchat

 

Snapchat. A form of social media in which users allow the world to view pictures or videos for up to fifteen seconds at a time and then –poof- it’s gone, stored in one’s memory (unless you take a screenshot of course).

Ever since the widely used application first released in 2011, teenagers and young people alike have been addicted as it gives them the need to share every crazy, quick paced moment of their life with the world and if that wasn’t enough for you, you can view it for an unlimited number of times for 24 hours.
Snapchat may have its perks but it also quite regrettably, has its disadvantages and there are certain types of people who will just quite manage to irk you…

1. The “Night Out Maestro”
If you’re not having a good night out then fear not, this person will show you just what exactly you’re missing out on– in the form of a 200 second snap which is basically a (usually quite drunken) video montage of them showing you the exhilarating albeit messy process of ‘avin a good night out’ to put it accurately. About ninety nine percent of the time the snap story starts from the onset of the ‘pre drinks’ in which the person’s objective is to endorse alcohol as much as they can. Jack Daniels, Wine, Whisky, Disaranno…the list is endless. Then come the actual club photos and gosh, what a sight. First of all it’s a selfie competition made up of girls frantically stabbing themselves with their six inch heels in order to appear the tallest and a savage, bloodthirsty fight to the death in order to obtain the best lighting. It becomes evident when the alcohol has kicked in when blurry ten second videos where a phone appears to randomly jab up and down in every direction of the whole ‘squad’ dancing emerge. We get it, you’re on a ‘wild night out’ and feel the need to share your every second with the world just in case they aren’t having a ‘wild night out’ instead. For heaven’s sake, why do you think professional photographers trawl these clubs to willingly take pictures? It’s so you’re not glued to your phone all night.

2. The “I Must Document Every Second Of My Life And You’ll Endure It” Expert
Have they uploaded a snapstory today? Is the Pope Catholic? Yes and yes. They will upload absolutely every meticulous detail of their life which (after 100 seconds precisely) will make you want to tear every bit of your hair out. Oh its 9 AM, time for a breakfast bagel to show the world what I like to eat in the mornings. Then a quick selfie with the appropriate caption i.e. ‘Going to Grandma’s” just in case they didn’t know you were going to visit her that specific day. Following that a precisely, constructed picture of an assortment of textbooks to show that 4 PM is revision ‘o’ clock. Add in another selfie for good measure as you wouldn’t want your audience forgetting you exist. Lastly a few shots of your evening meal and then some again of your revision notes just in case everyone forgot that you were planning on hitting the books that day. What Snapchat is to them, oxygen is to us.

3. The “Wannabe Model”
This type of character loves selfies. Like loooooves them. They won’t let you forget it either. Sultry pose? Check. Immaculate, (usually heavily contoured) skin? Check? Beauty enhancing filter that somehow manages to wipe out their every flaw and cause you to view them in the perfect light (pun intended)? Check. You have yourself the Selfie Master. They will take on any opportunity to flaunt their perfect face and will do so multiple times as they hold on to the belief that the World and its Children has the inescapable desire to see them whether it be five times a day or fifty. Optional irrelevant captions such as “The weather is lovely” completing a photo of their new bouffant hair style is also an additional detail.

4. The “Emotional Wreck”.
Accompanied by a ‘black screen of death’, one’s snapchat is heavily detailed with a few select emojis (namely the grimacing one) and a hyperbolic statement with the tone of a passive aggressive thirteen year old whose parents said no to them buying yet another video game console. Usually – but not always – is conveyed by a bitter ex-girlfriend with an ambiguous statement that goes something like “So done with boys”. A dramatic statement is key and if it doesn’t sound like the emotional workings of a toddler having a tantrum then you’re not doing it right

5. The “Filterographer”
Filters are their Kryptonite. On Wednesdays they wear pink. That is, the pink cheeked, cherub headed filter that appears to ‘angelify’ into a vision of cuteness. Another day, another feature put to good use. A spot of sepia tint to appear melodramatic. Perhaps an embodiment of a puppy to show off your paws. Or an uninspiring face swap guaranteed to make people laugh. That is, after they forget about the first two hundred face swaps you took last week in your snapchat induced high as you discovered a new filter you could get your hands on. By the time it gets to the end of the week you’re sick of seeing the constant assemblage of multi-coloured facial features and random tears springing down a face. Suddenly old fashioned Polaroid photos don’t seem such a bad idea after all; at least they’re not a constant eyesore to look at.
6. The “Sky Muse”
Looking out of your window to check the weather is so last century. Why not just check your snapchat instead? Eleven times out of ten you’ll see a generic image of the sky on your feed and eleven times out of ten it’s usually taken by those that put “Aspiring photographer” in their Twitter bio. Bonus points if it is a sunset. Triple points if it manages to capture the sky in an assortment of breath taking colours that somehow the amateur photographer cannot do justice to. It only counts if it’s longer than ten seconds because you never know when the last time we see a sunset will be.

7. The “Political Platform”
This type of person has opinions. Big ones. They need to share them with the world. Immediately. There’s no better option (or platform) than snapchat; you’ll be so immersed in what they have to say that you will be frantically jabbing at your phone to skip forward to their next snap as they continue debating about how racism is still prevalent in our society or why McDonalds’ fries are better than Burger Kings (they’re crispy and crispy fries always win). Opinions will usually range on the completely idiotic to the painstakingly controversial side of things and you are forced to endure it.

8. The “Match.Com” Promoter

This snap chatter follows the same format as the “Night Out” Maestro but instead of viewing their uninspiring adventures at a night club you are forced to endure them on their date night with their partners, respectably. Be it overwhelmingly sickening selfies with their significant other with optional captions like “2 weeks with the love of my life” or mind numbingly boring videos of a couple going about their daily routine, this particular person will not stop in the non-existent race to show the world that their relationship is front page news. They want to remind the world that yes, love exists and they are in love of course and they want to show you the dynamics behind a successful relationship. There’s nothing wrong with that at all but unfortunately, showing us your ‘behind the scenes’ footage makes us want to throw up a little in our mouth.

(originally published in Rebel Magazine 2016)