Monday, 22 May 2017

Reasons Why I Will Not Vote Tory

(I am currently half way through another blog post, but my god this needs writing).

I'd like to tip my hat to Theresa May, this evening. Why, you ask? On the basis that I didn't think she could stoop any lower or miss the point even more than she already has. Lady, you are laughable and you disgust me.

Right, I'll point out once more than I am not politically minded. Before last year, I didn't bother taking notice. But oh my god. I am shocked by the number of people that do not vote, and the sway they have over the election. It is appalling. It is two minutes out of your day, to really make a difference.

In case it wasn't already obvious, I wanted to list the reasons I will not be voting Tory in the general election on June 8th.

I'm going to start with something I read today. I found it on facebook. But it came from Theresa May's official facebook page. I link you to the post, here. Whether you read it or not, I found it disgusting and is full of reasons not to vote conservative. This was my favourite paragraph, though:

'Labour’s plan – with its fantastical promises and utopian vision – would drag this country back to the past. It would undo all the progress we have made, return us to the days when the trade unions held sway, and put our economic security at risk'.

Did anybody else feel the urge to laugh at this? I, for one, do not feel as though we have made progress at all. We are putting the vulnerable at risk in this country. Today, I read an article regarding May's ideas surrounding the elderly and health care and its limitations! I can only see the ways in which she and her leadership are targeting the vulnerable. The Fat Cats remain 'strong and stable' whilst the rest of us are on a steady decline.

She continues to state that they will fund schools- including new waves of 'selective schools' to ensure that young people have the best start in life. At this point I started wondering if she could hear herself. Education should not have the word 'selective' anywhere near it. Education should be universally accessible. I don't feel very supported, as a young person, in my journey toward a good life. Under her government, my tuition fees have gone up. The interest rate on these fees have gone up. And my stress levels have gone up with them. Oh, and it's worth mentioning that the threshold for paying your loans back was twenty five thousand pounds before this year. I reapplied a few weeks ago; and this has come down to twenty one thousand pounds. I will be now paying my loans back sooner than I thought and I'd be lying if I said that this thought didn't scare me. If I said that this change didn't have an impact on my wanting to do a masters. In comparison, Corbin is promising to abolish tuition fees. I don't think this is either possible or going to happen at all but you know what? The incentive is pretty damn good. The fact that this guy gives a shit enough about students to benefit them.

Theresa May wants children to have the best start in life, and yet she has announced that she plans to remove free school dinners for thousands and thousands of school children. Who in the hell does this benefit? This is madness.

Following this, May has proven herself to be a liar time and time again. Did she not campaign for 'remain' during the EU referendum? She argued that Brexit would 'risk Britain's future'. Yet now she is the face of Brexit, with her infamous slogan 'strong and stable' driving us all crazy. Do we all remember her saying that there would be no 'snap-election', yet here we are with the deadline to register to vote looming over us. Now, she introduces what the public are calling 'dementia tax'.

"Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s election co-ordinator, branded the Prime Minister “weak and unstable”, adding: “She is unable to stick to her own manifesto for more than four days".

Strong and stable is fine. But I want a strong and stable leader. A leader who does not refuse to participate in debates with other politicians and yet insists she is capable of leading us through Brexit and negotiating with something like twenty seven other countries. I want a leader who does not make so many damn u-turns. A leader with a clear vision that she is dedicated to. A leader with the best interests of this country at heart. Theresa May is not that leader. Sure it would be fantastic to have a strong and stable leader that was female; a elected female prime minister. I'm sure there will be those that argue this. But I am voting who I think is the strongest and the most stable leader. I am sure as hell not voting for a woman who voted against gay marriage, not just once but ten times. So on June 8th I will be voting Labour. I have no regrets.

There is so much uncertainty right now. I can only hope that the right choice is made.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Here's to tough weeks and perseverance...

Okay, so this week is mental health awareness week. You're probably thinking 'oh no. Not another post on mental health'. But I love weeks like this. Weeks that highlight mental health make me happy and comfortable. It's as though there are these days and weeks throughout the year where it is more socially acceptable to admit that you're struggling with anxiety, depression, and similar conditions.

I cannot stress enough how important raising awareness of these issues is. There is so much stigma that still surrounds them and I do not know why. I am sure that a lot of people would consider themselves to have a good standard of awareness of mental health issues. But I very much beg to differ. If we were as aware as we needed to be, then the world would not need shows like Thirteen Reasons Why. I have been so many pictures, tweets, and posts this week, and I started writing this post on Monday. I have read so much that the world has posted in support of this week. And it has made me feel so very happy and supported and I wanted to join in. I found Matt Haig the best at putting things into words.  This particular tweet was my favourite. It really sums me up as a person and I was very grateful for it. Matt Haig has a wonderful habit of making me feel very normal (I still hate this word).

I am much more open about my mental health than I used to be. When I was younger I couldn't even imagine being in a position where I wasn't hurting myself on a daily basis, never mind being able to reflect upon this so positively. Apparently being this open is a tad unusual and my lecturer informed me that I am much more open than he was at my age. But I had a teacher in high school that used to tell me that my experiences would one day come in useful. I don't know whether they are useful, per say. But I am not ashamed anymore. So why not write about it? I see no sense in hiding something that has contributed to my character. I would like to note that they have contributed, not defined, however.

I suppose you could count what I did this week as research. And I discovered something that I know I am very guilty of. I often separate my mental health from my physical health. But I think we all do! Okay, so if I get a cold it's a physical condition and it's just a cold. But if I'm having a day in which panic attacks are frequent, even though they physically affect me, I refer to it as a 'bad mental health day' or something alike. I wish that it were socially acceptable to state that 'I am having a bad anxiety day'. However frequent, or extensive these periods are, I would sure as hell be grateful for the opportunity and room in which to say it. Mental Health is more important, I think, than the majority think. In some places and situations, I do feel comfortable sharing. I have a wonderful group of friends at university, and I know I could turn to Chelsey or Lauren at any point and inform them of my anxiety. I am grateful for this. I just wish that I could do this more widely, and that other people could.

I have a friend at work who suffers with small bouts of anxiety. A couple of weeks ago we started to refer to these sudden, sometimes unexplainable, bouts as 'having a Walter'. Now, having a Walter can refer to anything from the smallest feeling of anxiety to the biggest panic attack one can have in the middle of a shift. Even if this friend and I do not share what is bothering us or what's caused the anxiety/panic, it is very helpful to be able to share what I am feeling and have somebody understand. More often than not, we hug and go about our shifts. This definetly makes me feel better and makes things more bearable. I know that it seems silly that the smallest acts of kindness can have the most impact, but it's true. It's the little things.

I know that I talk about self love and care a lot these days. But not so long ago I realised how important they were to prolonging a period of good mental health. Right now, self love for me is binge watching some series on Netflix in my room and eating some good food. Tonight, my poison is Pretty Little Liars and iced buns. I understand that it isn't always easy to provide love and care for your body, especially with a mental illness. But I also understand that because of this, it's important that I recognise my own small victories. I know that I am way too hard on myself, all the time. I am my toughest critic and I had another high school teacher that used to say that I was guilty of catastrophizing situations. This was my biggest problem. But now, at twenty years old, I would like to think I am better at being rational.

I know that I do not give myself or my body enough credit, and weeks such as these remind me that I am wrong for this. My body does a great job in keeping me going, and after the shit I have put it through it really deserves some love. As soon as my exams are over in six days time, I will be exercising regularly and eating properly and maybe even sleeping a bit better. I can't wait.

But I wish that more people knew that healing is the furthest thing from linear. I wish I could have planned out my recovery from self harm. I wish it had been smoother. It sounds clichéd but life does not work like that and recovery doesn't either. Some days are always going to be harder than others, whether you are recovering form something or coping with anxiety and/or depression. But the best advice I can give to anybody is to be gentle with themselves. Any mental health condition can make a person feel alone but it is so so important to remember that you're not. I think here is a good time to drop in one of my favourite Jennifer Niven quotes:

“Dear friend, You are not a freak. You are wanted. You are necessary. You are the only you there is. Don’t be afraid to leave the castle. It’s a great big world out there. Love, a fellow reader” 

If you're into poetry, then Rupi Kaur has a hell of a lot to say about self love and in some ways has inspired me. Also, I wholeheartedly recommend The Mighty! It has so much on there including personal accounts of experiences with mental illness and that help me feel a little bit more normal. (A few paragraphs down, still hating that word!) I know that I suggested Rupi Kaur and The Mighty but I wanted to share a picture of helpful books. Of course I am going to recommend both of Jennifer Niven's young adult novels. But there are books such as Liz Gilbert's Eat Pray Love, Gayle Forman's I Was Here, Matt Haig's Reasons to Stay Alive, Holly Bourne, The Bell Jar and even The Catcher in the Rye.

I guess what I've been trying to say in this post is that I am not okay. I am not okay more than I care to admit. But that is okay. I am not a failure, or a mess, or crazy because of it.

This week is tough for me and full of varying degrees of Walters for a number of reasons. But most deadlines and a lack of sleep. I am getting there though and every day that I do a little bit of prep for my exam is an achievement. I was really happy with my Shakespeare essay. Who knows what it will come back as though. Honestly the terms feel so so short these days and that does not help with anxiety.

Okay, last couple of things before I return to my university work. If you can do one thing consistently, then be kind. It can save lives. If you can remember one thing, it should be that you are not alone and you are worth more than you think.

We must step away from this sickening ignorance and stop the stigma.

To all of you having a tough week, students and beyond, you can do this.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

On turning twenty and practising self love

Good evening folks. It's my last few hours of been a teenager, so I thought it warranted a blog post of sorts. I'm a little bit excited to be turning twenty, and yet a little scared. I feel as though I should have, for want of a better phrase, my shit together. I feel as though I should be more together. I don't know. Twenty just suddenly seems very adult, and very real. Instead of getting my life together, I am drinking a mango capri sun in the aftermath of a pizza and cheesy fries. I've always been told I am an old head on young shoulders, but drinking juice from a carton does not seem very mature.

I've finally finished a book! I started re-reading A Court of Mist and Fury whilst I was writing my last post. I had forgotten how much I loved that book and had actually confused the endings. I, for some reason, thought that Rhysand had almost died or something. Turns out Feyre is trapped in the spring court with Tamlin. Who knew, right? Anyway, A Court of Wings and Ruin is released in 3 days! I repeat, 3 days! I finish work at four that day and am planning to boycott any of my responsibilities in order to read it in one sitting.

I've also been intermittently reading some Rupi Kaur. Milk and Honey is one heart-wrenchingly beautiful collection of poetry. I have her collection in Kindle edition and was reading it in Waterstones this morning. If reading Milk and Honey has taught me anything, its about self love. I am learning sometimes things are simply beyond my control and the best thing I can do for myself is to put myself first. Sometimes I will have to respect and love myself enough to walk away from things that are no longer causing me to grow. I think more often than not I mistake self love for selfishness and the two are so different.

My twentieth year will hopefully see some more self love.

Right, it's only a short one for tonight as I have some more essay work to do, a short nap to take, and some make up to put on before going out to celebrate. I hope you all have a week filled with happiness and books.

Good night guys, and let's all pray that I don't wake up with the mother of all hang overs tomorrow morning.

Monday, 24 April 2017

April Fairy Loot

Happy Fairy Loot unboxing guys!!

I have been beyond excited about this box for the last few weeks. Partly because last months box was so wonderful and because I am really struggling for something to read at the moment. I'm not sleeping very well and I'm very stressed about university assignments. It is not that I am struggling for something to read but rather I am struggling to read. I cannot get invested enough in a book to get past ten percent. I am hoping that this book will get me out of this rut. Fingers crossed, eh?

Anyway this months theme was Dreams and Wishes and only had two literary influences that were Sarah J Maas' A Court of Mist and Fury and Samantha Shannon's The Bone Season. Naturally, I was beyond excited given the named influences!

Okay so I knew that this box was going to feature a mug and this was the first item that I pulled out of the box. It came in a cube shaped black box with the Fairy Loot logo on and the box was adorable on its own! But then I pulled out the mug. It features possibly one of my favourite quotes from A Court of Mist and Fury: 'To the stars who listen and the dreams that are answered'. It is a really good quality and is so so pretty! I think it is possibly my favourite item in this months box. A Court of Mist and Fury is one of my favourite books and Rhysand is one beautiful character.

Okay, so the next item took some digging amongst the signature purple curls. A candle by Meraki Candles. This one is called Reverie, referring to the action of being lost in thoughts and daydreams. It smells absolutely beautiful and has pink glitter blended in. Like everything else I am now building up a collection of bookish candles which have mostly come from Fairy Loot and Owl Crate. The tins are always absolutely beautiful too. I really don't know if I'll ever light them but I do like having them.

There were a couple of promotional pictures in the box, one of which was Spindlefire. Oh my god I cannot wait to read this book. My student loan just came in so I think I might have to invest. Though I am still trying to persuade myself to read Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas, purely because I am waiting for an ebook version. I have some reservations about it, and I am rapidly running out of space for hardbacks, or books in general.

The next item I came across was one of the most beautiful A6 notebooks that I have ever seen. It is purple and has the word 'ruby' printed on the front and the inside cover was red and sparkly and pretty. Again, I don't know if I will ever actually write in it. I have a terrible habit of buying notebooks and not using them, because they are too beautiful!

 The next thing I found was folded up. It was a beautiful purple colour and I was fascinated. It turned out to be a tote bag. Okay, so anybody that knows me well knows that I have an unhealthy obsession with bookish totes. I have so many Pride and Prejudice tote bags of all different designs. I have a Virginia Woolf penguin tote bag. My most recent tote is one designed by Johanna Basford; the lady who illustrates the Enchanted Forest colouring book. It is absolutely beautiful. But this one? Came with a quote on from Samantha Shannon's The Mime Order. I think I squealed! I absolutely love this item. It is perfect. I couldn't not share a picture with you guys.

The second item in this picture is a fridge magnet. My fridge is like the most impersonal item in the house. Very few magnets or anything. I actually only have one magnet; a big bang theory inspired one. It has the lyrics from Soft Kitty on it and is so cute. This one is so sweet! I am once again saving it for a new flat but I cannot wait to put it on the fridge!

Okay, the third and final item is one that I missed the first two times that I went digging in this box. I only realised it was there when I read the summary card in the box. For the first time ever, Fairy Loot included a pin! It's a little jar of dreams and wishes and it is cute. It has gone in my box of bookish pins. One day I want to decorate a tote bag in them.

 This months book was one that I had never heard of before. It was called Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis. It has a beautiful cover and you can see what its about here. Whilst in the middle of writing this post I decided to reread Sarah J Maas' A Court of Mist and Fury as the third book in this series is released on May 2nd. I have missed these characters so so much. But I cannot wait to start reading this book.

A pile of books is growing up to reach my bed. I am seriously running out of room. But I am still counting on books for my birthday on sunday. I am a little excited.

I apologise for the mess that is my bookshelves too!

On a side note I had two assignments back today, and I had been convinced that I was going to fail them. I managed two firsts and I am so so very happy. It's shaping up to be a good week. Congratulations to everyone that passed today. Especially Soph who literally couldn't get over the shock of her grade.

Have a good week guys. I'll be back soon!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Thirteen Reasons Why review (...part two)

So last night I finished Thirteen Reasons Why. It has taken me about a week. You can find the first here. I was incredibly grateful for Chelsey being here whilst I watched it.
part of my review  At this point I'll post a spoiler alert. Like if you haven't got beyond episode six of this series, do not carry on reading. I will ruin it for you and you will hate me.

The tone became so much more sinister as I continued to watch from episode six. We went from sexism to sexual assault. To brutal, horrifying scenes of rape that made me cringe. To violence, and we watch as Bryce beats Clay to a pulp for asking the right questions. The second half of this series was even more painful to watch than the first.

There were so so many controversial scenes in these last seven episodes. Like why does Justin practically let Bryce rape his girlfriend? Justin lets that b****rd into the room, knowing that Jessica is drunk and vulnerable. Okay, so bro-culture?! Justin made it sound as though he had given Jessica to him, briefly, as a thank you for all that Bryce had done for him. For all the shoes he had bought him to play basketball in. No amount of shoes, or free lodgings, in the world could make me sell a loved one out in such a way. Then to deny it to Jessica? The transition in Jessica's character was astounding and she was played amazingly well. From the minute she is told that she has been raped, she starts to wear baggier clothing. to wear short skirts less and less. And she pushes Justin as far away from her as he can get. I would have liked to know what happened to Jessica.

I began to like, and have so much sympathy for Hannah Baker. I cried for her. I wanted the end to be different. I wanted her to not die. I also found that I had a favourite character; Tony. Tony was intent on carrying out this final act of distributing the tapes, for Hannah. It is Tony that aids Clay through processing his own tape. Tony is probably the only good person left alive in this series.

Did I hate anybody? Bryce. Who thinks that every girl in school is asking to be raped. Courtney. Ashamed to be gay. It was so easy to hate Courtney when female characters such as Sherri were facing up to their crimes. Sherri reports herself to the police, and faces a sentence! While Courtney conspires against a dead Hannah Baker in order to prevent her two homosexual parents from finding out that she might be, wait for it... gay! Good god. Courtney Crimson is one of most ridiculously disgusting characters I have ever come across. I also reserved a special spot for Mr Porter, the school counsellor who ignored the signs.

Mr Porter is the last person that Hannah Baker confides in and attempts to ask for help. Hannah opens the last episode, and her final tape with the statement that she has decided 'to give life one last try'. And even though I knew she had 'failed', as she put it, because we are listening to these tapes, I began to hope.

Instead, Mr Porter questions her about whether or not she asked her rapist to stop, or told him no. Then he states: 'maybe you consented and then changed your mind'. A young girl is sat at his desk, after being raped. And this is where I began to understand why these teens are so close knit. Why they insist on dealing with things on their own. Because either the adults don't understand, or don't want to understand. Before asking for the name of her attacker, Mr Porter questions whether or not Hannah has been around alcohol or drugs at the party. Okay, why is this relevant?! If a young woman is telling you that she has been raped, then you should be doing your best to help her. Not questioning the credibility of her statement. The victims are never 'asking for it' and to imply otherwise is damaging and a disgusting attitude to have. The victims are never to blame.

Both rapes that occur, those of Hannah and Jessica, are significant with regard to their cinematography in that they both prevent the male gaze. We see the true effects of Hannah's rape in extreme close ups of her clenched fist, that slowly releases itself as something dies inside her eyes. We see her face in a close up, with her eyes wide open as if they are taped that way. She is stuck, and does not move an inch. I am disgusted to think that the words 'no' or 'stop' are the only way a woman can express a refusal to have sex. She must verbalise these thoughts otherwise she has given consent. I'd say the fact that she tried to run away, and literally lay there motionless pretty strongly implies a lack of consent. Wouldn't you?!

Jessica's rape is shown from Hannah's point of view, and then from Jessica's point of view. The opportunity to see this as sexy has been removed and the brutality of rape shines through. I guess a lot of people are questioning whether the graphic nature of these scenes is really necessary. Jay Asher has admitted that they are quite graphic, and a little severe. But he does believe that this is necessary, because the very discussion of rape makes us uncomfortable. This, among many other reasons, is why victims are hesitant to come forward following an attack. I couldn't agree more. Maybe it is about time society stopped being so squeamish.

Thirteen Reasons why also handles the subject of self harm, very well I think. Skye, when talking to Clay, states that the rest of the teenagers handle their lives and get on with it, instead of killing themselves. Clay grabs her hand, and reveals her bloodied and scarred wrist. He declares that self harm is not coping. This made me smile a little bit. Thank god, finally somebody said it! Like rape, we are funny about issues of mental health. There is a hell of a lot of stigma still floating around, so to have this very clearly on camera was refreshing.

Episode Thirteen was an interesting one, for want of a better word. Ill warn you that it is graphic. Really graphic, and comes with a warning before the episode. I thought I'd cry. At first I covered my face with my hands, only to peak through my fingers. Not because I wanted to see Hannah's demise. But because I felt like I owed it to her, after all that I had seen. I felt as though, in a weird way, I needed to see it. As soon as she made that first cut, my body seized up. I drew my legs a little bit closer to my chest and everything locked. It was a pretty strange feeling at the time. I didn't know whether I wanted to cry, throw up or laugh awkwardly. Why would I want to laugh? Because I felt so uncomfortable, as if I was entreating on a private moment. I don't know what it was. But I know my entire body went through an experience whilst seeing Hannah Baker commit suicide. And I know that I never want to relive it. I will never rewatch this series, though I will reread the book after this.

My eyes only started to fill up when Mrs Baker finds her. She kids herself that her baby girl is still alive and it broke me. A literal blood bath.

I questioned in my first review, whether or not these kids were to blame. I think some of them are, yes. But not all. People like Sherri, who were just worried about saving their own skin. She did not mean to hurt Hannah. But Courtney Crimson, who even after Hannah's death is still willing to sell the girl out and blame her for her own suicide? She isn't even mature enough to accept that she might have been in the wrong somewhere along the line. Of course I blame characters like Bryce. I felt sympathy for characters like Clay.

But you have to question where they're skewered ideas come from. They are growing up in a world where women are 'asking for it' and slut shaming is very very difficult to avoid. I read this article from The Huffington Post today, and it discusses the effects of slut shaming. To call a woman a 'slut', a 'whore', or whatever, is to make her a target for sexual assault. Tanenbaum states that 'slut shaming is really just a catchy way to signify old-fashioned sexism'. It's wrong and one list declaring that Hannah Baker has the 'best ass' in her class ends up making several male characters thinking she is fair game. It ruins her high school experience and results in something very severe. I'm not suggesting that slut shaming drives people to suicide every day. But I am stating that it is a very dangerous concept. It just warrants some thought, I think.

There were so many unanswered questions at the end of the episode. But I find myself comfortable with these questions. I do not want them answering, and I feel I have seen enough. Though I can't help but wonder about the people that are stating, on social media, how much the show has touched them and had an impact on their opinions. I wonder how many of these people have said self harm is attention seeking. I wonder how many of them are the people I shared my break with a couple of weeks ago.

Thirteen Reasons Why is brutally honest and captures our wilful ignorance on camera, for once.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Thirteen Reasons Why... (I'm only on episode six but I'm going to review anyway)

'You can't stop the future.
You can't rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker--his classmate and crush--who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah's voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah's pain, and as he follows Hannah's recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever'. (Taken from

So I read Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher many many years ago. One of my oldest friends lent it to me when I was about thirteen or fourteen, and it was quite possibly the first YA books I ever read. At the time, I would have been self harming (okay, I said it. Bye bye readers! Oh, and hello to the people I had to sit with the other day at work whilst they deemed self harm attention seeking. This is for you guys). So this would have been of a comfort to me, and something I would have liked to think that I understood properly. Boy, was I wrong! Watching this again, six or seven years later is simultaneously the best and worst decision I could have made with regard to my viewing habits. I know so much more about the world now, and this has really affected by viewing experience of the series.

Thirteen Reasons Why is packed full of so many controversial topics. Sexism, the perils of social media, suicide, self harm, homosexuality, and teenagers in general. I think they get a bad rep in this novel/series. But on the other hand it is about time we got to see something hard hitting. We can't keep sticking with the idea that they're not all bad. Technically, I am still a teenager. But the teens presented by Jay Asher resemble more of a high school cult. All of the adults are presented as over emotional, protective and yet half assed outsiders. It is quite terrifying and made me a little uncomfortable. These teenagers are of the opinion that they can handle things alone, and refuse to consult an adult on issues of rape, sexual assault, and bullying.

I find Hannah Baker quite terrifying and always have done. I fear her and I am not entirely sure why, because I feel an immense about of sympathy, for her, simultaneously. She is subjected to a whole variety of rumours and labels including 'slut', 'whore', 'lesbian', 'crazy' and 'best ass' in the sophomore class. When Hannah Baker explains to Clay why she is upset about being put up against her best friend on the list for best ass, he presumes she is ungrateful. That she doesn't understand how much of an honour it is when there is some pretty stiff competition. I was outraged by this, as you can expect. Hannah Baker points out that teenage girls are much less likely to make a list like this about teenage boys., But what she neglects to point out is that the reason for this, is because the same teenage girls are too busy objectifying other teenage girls along with the teenage boys. Nobody gives a shit which teenage boy has the best ass. These labels are only applicable to young girls,apparently. This is so disgusting. Even Hannah's friends are of the opinion it is okay to fuel these labels, because she already has them. She is consistently betrayed in the worst ways. Slut shaming is not okay, ever and neither is subjecting anybody to this kind of objectification.

I wonder what other viewers think about the questions I have. Are these kids really to blame for Hannah Baker's suicide? Or are they simply just acting in the way that has been demonstrated to them. These teenagers can only at in the way that has been prescribed to them. They conform to expectations. God only knows what their role models were like. And is Hannah Baker really a reliable source, is she a liar? Nobody really knows but I do consider her to have some credibility. Perhaps that's because of her circumstances, because she killed herself. Maybe I believe she is more genuine because of this. Because I don't believe that people kill themselves over lies.

I think my problem with this novel/series is that I feel a great distance with regard to the characters. It's a distance, though, that I think I have put there myself rather than Jay Asher deciding I needed to remain at a distance from these characters. I don't find any of them endearing. I feel sympathy for each and everyone one of them. Especially Hannah and her parents, and clay. I wondered if their flawed nature is what makes them so appealing. What I mean to say is that I don't root for any of these characters. Not even Clay. Maybe this will change as I reach the end of the series.

The events of Thirteen Reasons Why originally took place in one night. However, I enjoy that it takes place over a time period. It is impossibly unreasonable to expect somebody to play tapes that are as traumatic as these in one night.

There are quite a few trigger warnings online for this series, and apparently it's not difficult to see why. Chelsey has been sending me updates, as she's much further ahead than me, identifying where the triggering bits may be. (Thank you so much Chels!) I had to sit back and really consider if I find this show triggering. Erm I think there might be a difference between finding something uncomfortable and finding it triggering. I think it makes me feel uncomfortable and very sad, but not to such a severe degree. Though I can see why other people would consider it triggering. I am somehow dreading her suicide scene.

So I found this little message on facebook. I really appreciated that such an important thing was being shared online. But it broke my heart a little bit, all the same. How many people have to die before we understand this, truly? Before we comprehend how serious words are, and how much power is behind them. It should not need spelling out that you could seriously hurt somebody. How many more people (including fictional characters) have to die, and be subjected to such carelessness.

I still hate the label 'crazy'. And slag and slut.

I'm trying not to preach. I'm just asking for you to remember to be kind, always. Words have a bigger impact than you think.

Night night guys.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Paradise Lost...

Okay, first of all I wanted to start with an acknowledgement. A friend asked me to put this here, last week and as I haven't been blogging much this week, I thought I'd post it now.  I laughed so much at her inventive cover of Paradise Lost. Eve has never looked better, and she even has underwear on when you lift up her dress. Eve is one interesting character, and I am reading a whole book about her representations at the moment. The artist that reinvented this cover is completely crazy and drives me nuts during lectures most weeks. But I did appreciate this, a lot.

Anyway, this week has been a good week, guys. I finished my forum post on Paradise Lost in time. But it was excessively over the top with regard to my word count. If my lecturers read this, I am sorry I wrote so much! I have two more to do by tomorrow. This is exciting.

I have more good news! I had my interview at work yesterday, for a managers position. It went very well and I am now a trainee manager. I am very excited.

Okay, so this is only going to be a short one due to the fact that I am currently in between lectures. But I'm currently reading three books at once; I am still reading Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I am half way through and I am in love. It is beautifully magic and definetly embodies characteristics of Pan's Labyrinth. Karou is so candid, to the best of her ability. We are just as much in the dark as she is. I cannot wait to finish reading this book and continue you with the rest of the series.

I am also reading Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman for my class on the realist novel. Fowles literally breaks the fourth wall and it made me physically uncomfortable! But I am enjoying this book immensely! I will try my best to remember to post a review afterwards. I'd just like to finish a book first.

And finally I am reading Paradise Lost for my Shakespeare and the renaissance class. Interesting book, but I am not planning on reading the whole thing. Satan is very endearing, and that's something I never thought I would type.

What are you all reading this week?

A Summer Bucket List

So Chelsey and I were awake until like half past three last night and decided to write a bucket list for the summer! This might motivate us to actually get through our assignments. God I have so much to do.

I have so many books that I want to read over the summer, too. How about a list;

1. I really want to finish my reading of Jane Austen's books, which means that I have Mansfield Park and Persuasion to read, at last.
2. Sarah J Maas' A Court of Rings and Ruin comes out on the second of May, and yet the threat of impending deadlines will prevent me from actually reading this book. So technically, this book will be a summer read.
3. The new Matt Haig book. I loved what I have read of Reasons to Stay Alive and the summary for his new book sounds absolutely amazing.
4. Finishing Sylvia Plath's journals is an absolute must! I've been putting them on my appallingly long to be read list for months now. I cannot wait to finish them, but they require my full concentration. I don't get much time for reading these days.

Summer is going to be crazy, in the best kind of way. I'm just looking forward to a break and some sun!

(Wondering what we meant by 'learn a movie script? Well Chels happens to know the entire script to Shrek 2. Horse noises and everything. It's a impressive skill!)

On a side note; I am currently sat in my lecture on very little sleep. We are exhausted and as it is the last class before the Easter holidays, hardly anybody has shown up. This makes me sad. But back to Paradise Lost.

Hope you're all having a great week and if you have any suggestions of things we can add to the list, please feel free!

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Sleeping with anxiety...

So it is quarter to two in the morning at the moment. I've been home from work for less than an hour and I am not tired. The very opposite actually and I will sit here for hours. I keep seeing snapchats of all of the people that are out drinking, and a small part of me wishes I was them. But the majority is glad I am in bed after such a long shift.

Why am I here? I came to ramble, I guess. I am sure you're all sick of hearing about my lack of sleep at the moment. But I came to wonder about other people; if they stay up late into the early hours and wonder if they should be doing something productive. I wonder if sitting up at night makes other people as anxious as it does me. I know that I think far too much in the early hours. It is like I suddenly remember everything that is wrong with my life as soon as the clock strikes one. But there are so so many things that I get done in the night that helps me to sleep eventually, and get through it.

Now I read a couple of sleep based internet links to prepare for this post about twenty minutes away. One, in particular, stated that to reduce anxiety and stress so that you can sleep better, you must sleep better. Apparently sleep improves your brain functions! No way. Seriously? I wonder if these people hear themselves at all. A lot of websites on the internet suggest lists of things to do when you can't sleep, to help you relax. This is all well and good but sometimes it means that you're doing things you would normally enjoy with the aim of going to sleep. It takes the fun out of them, I think. I remember even as little as a year ago, it was very very rare that I saw these sorts of hours on the clock. But sleep always always seems to be miles away these days.

But I wanted to share with you the list of things to do at night, just because you're awake. I am in no way suggesting that you should do any of these things instead of sleeping, I'm just suggesting things to do to fill the gap. So here we go with my top five:

1. Read. Being a bookworm, I try to keep my hours in bed for getting through whatever book I am reading at that time. Simply because I don't get time anywhere else. Currently I am reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone and it is what is keeping me up at night. It is captivating and I can't wait to finish it so I can continue the series.
2. University work. Simply because I am awake and it is there. Sometimes this involves research, reading, or essay writing. This probably sounds crazy but so is getting so little sleep guys! Tonight I have entertained myself with Paradise Lost.
3. Make lists! I try to be organised so there is nothing wrong with a good list. These lists don't have to be important lists or plan assignments or the future or anything. But Bucket Lists are always fun.
4.  Clean up. I've done this more than once in the middle of the night but the less said about that, the better. I find that mess seems to irritate me more when I am tired.
5. Writing in some form or another. Sometimes I blog late at night, sometimes I use my five year journal that my friend Chels gave me for Christmas. Sometimes I am finishing a letter to Katie, and add to that before sleeping (I am posting it this week, Kate!). Writing is like telling somebody about my day, rather than sitting on it.

This evening I have also played Snake several times on my phone, browsed through GoodReads and faffed around with Paradise Lost for a little while. All whilst watching repeats of Gilmore Girls. Maybe I am doing my Thursday nights wrong for nearly twenty, but at least I am comfortable I guess.

Here's to all the souls that are awake at 3am on a Friday morning. You are not weird because you cannot sleep. You are simply awake.

I am returning to Paradise Lost. Night night folks!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

March Fairy Loot unboxing!

Afternoon guys! My FairyLoot box finally arrived this morning and it's the anniversary edition! Fairy Loot have officially been running for a year. This is only my fourth box but I am so so happy with every single box I receive. The box, instead of being its usual black, was purple this month and oh my god it is beautiful. Even the text inside the box was purple. It feels like forever since the February box was delivered, but this month we were waiting on the book to actually be released. The wait only made me more excited!

This months theme was Myths and Monsters and I had made a prediction on the book; I was correct! The box wasn't inspired by any specific YA novels, but they did suggest it for anyone who liked magic, fantasy, unicorns, Phoenixs and dragons, etc. This is most definitely a box intended me. I couldn't miss out on the anniversary edition either!

Once again there are purple curls all over the floor and I got things out in a hurry. The first item I got out was a set of fairylights! They're in the shape of unicorns and rainbows and are absolutely beautiful! They're battery powered which is brilliant, because I already have a set of electric ones wrapped around my bed. These, I plan on attaching to my book case somehow when I move house. I now have three sets of fairylights but these were so so different and interesting. They feature in quite a few pictures I've taken of the box today.

The next item was inspired by another mythical creature. It was a candle by a company called Geeky Clean and it was called Nephilm. It smells really sweet and I loved it. I'm now building up a collection of unused bookish candles, and against I am saving these for the new flat! Alongside the candle was a small pocket mirror, with a mermaid on (I know the picture of this is awful, but I was relying on my phone camera, I am sorry!)!

I came across another myth inspired item; a set of book marks! First of all I absolutely love this style of bookmark! There was a little dragon and a phoenix. This was easily one of my favourite items in this months box. I almost don't want to use them as I have a habit of carrying paperbacks around in my very full tote bags, even though I don't have time to read them that day.

My absolute favourite item? The scarf! It is grey and is patterned with dragon scales, and has the words 'Fairy Loot printed at the bottom! I've included it in the photos of the box as a whole, It is so light and absolutely beautiful. I think it looks like mermaid scales. But whether it be dragon scales, or mermaid scales it sure is gorgeous.

Okay, this months book was a little predictable but I am still absolutely thrilled. Fairy Loot provided me with a copy of Laini Taylor's Strange The Dreamer. Having just started her other series, beginning with A Daughter of Smoke and Bone I am very excited. I am twenty percent into A Daughter of Smoke and Bone and it is captivating. I am struggling to put it down at the moment! Strange The Dreamer will be the one I read after this, and I cannot wait. Expect full reviews of both books, guys! Oh and this editon of Strange The Dreamer is limited edition in the UK; with the edges of the pages being sprayed blue. It really is beautiful.

It has been a long day and I have just got home from a second trip to the cinema to see Beauty and the Beast. I have so much to do but really need to catch up on sleep so I can stop complaining about it here! Sorry guys!

Oh! On a side note; I now have a twitter! I have no idea what I'm doing with it yet but I'm sure I will sort it out soon. Feel free to head over there and follow me! I attempted to be funny and sound clever at the same time. Turns out I am neither, and am still clueless with regard to Twitter. Tips are welcome!

I'm working on a post about self love/care at the moment, too. So you can look forward to that in the next few days. For now, I am returning to my forum post assignment before bed.

Good night guys, have a good week!

Monday, 27 March 2017

This started off as a sleep-deprived rant...

Oh my god this weekend has been tough. It's now one minute past midnight on Monday morning. I have had eight hours sleep in two days, and still can't sleep.

What have I done over the weekend? I've spent hours absorbed in Hardy's Jude the Obscure (and still didn't finish it). My thoughts? I like Hardy's style but bloody hell is he miserable. This is why I'm very much an Austen girl. I can accept that both of them have a subtlety about them, but I like Austen's humour. I'll admit it, I like a happy ending. I don't mind misery, but ultimately I like all the ends tying up.

I read a blog on the perils of YA romances this week, additionally. She talked about the same-ness of the male protagonists. I've been thinking this for a while but felt I would be doing a disservice to my favourite genre. I have a fondness for YA literature due to its diverse range of topics, and the relatability. I feel issues are viewed from multiple points of view and sympathies for minor characters are available. But Melissa observes the unrealistic nature of their plots; 'The main character has never in her life been to a party and the first guy she meets is this extremely attractive bad boy who loves reading and listens to indie music?  I’m more likely to meet Jesus at that party than such a guy'.

And it is true of most YA novels these days. I expressed, to a close friend last week, a need to branch out with regard to literature. I need a new genre to obsess over for a little while. I spend the large part of my years waiting for new releases in the YA genre. This sameness is not true of the whole genre, however. I remain truly loyal to Jennifer Niven, Sarah J Maas, Samantha Shannon and many others. But I am slowly realising that I prefer YA fantasy novels for the moment, and my Fairy Loot subscription is aiding me in this appreciation.

On a side note, I thought I'd let you know that Fairy Loot will be dispatched today and arrive in the next few days. So you can expect an unboxing coming soon!

I also read this article which views Beauty and the Beast as a tale of caution against 'smart homes'. Characters are compared to the Amazon Echo's functions; deciding that Lumiere, Cogsworth and Mrs Potts are much superior to Alexa. Apparently the surveillance of the magic mirror is a little creepy, too. This was, very much, an interesting read. It was more than just a gushy post about the film (I am guilty of conforming to the gushing!) and I appreciated that.

This weekend I also finished The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon. It is the third book in her series 'The Bone Season' and I've been waiting a while for it. Now that I have finished I will commence my wait for the fourth book. The Bone Season is beautifully complex and frightening. Paige Mahoney is one of my all time favourite protagonists ever. She is nineteen years old (as am I, at the moment) and is now Underqueen! I finished book two, The Mine Order', fist pumping the air in the name of her victory. Then I sat worrying about the next book after that cliff hanger. I wasn't ready, emotionally, for everything that happened in this book. All the ends that I hoped would begin to tie themselves up, that didn't. This is a book of Paige Mahoney getting screwed over consistently and I just want to hug her all the way through. I loved the new characters that we got to meet, and I wept for the existing characters that we lost. But I was so happy to see the return of characters like Warden, Nick and Eliza alongside Paige. I almost cannot bear to wait for book four, which I have learnt is book four of seven.

Well despite no sleep, I have clearly spent my weekend reading a variety of different things. I hope you all had a lovely couple of days!

See you all soon.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Beauty and the Beast; a review

I am sorry to the few readers that I do have, for my week long absence. It has been a week of sleep deprivation, of tears, panic attacks and downright stress. It has been a lonely week and I have been trying to make time to write here all week, but unfortunately deadlines have gotten in the way. I handed the last one for a few weeks in yesterday morning at half past eight. I am not particularly happy with said essays but I've come to the conclusion that, due to my crippling insecurities, I will never be one hundred percent happy with any assignment that I hand in. If I ever see a copy of The Great Gatsby again, it will be too soon, my friends.

Anyway, last night I treated myself to leaving the house. I went to the cinema for the first time in what feels like forever with a couple of friends. We went to watch Beauty and the Beast. I have so so much to say and most of it will be gushing. I apologise in advance. If you don't want any spoilers then look away now. If you'd rather read a summary by Dan Stevens, then here you are;

 'Novel-loving Belle (Emma Watson) lives a peaceful life with her father (Kevin Kline), but it seems as if she’s destined for spinsterhood. Until, that is, a chain of events leads her to a mysterious and decrepit castle, occupied by a furry brute with anger issues (Dan Stevens)'.

Okay, so I want to start by addressing a request that was made of the film a few weeks ago; it was asked that the homosexual moments be removed for Malaysian release I have never thought this to be a reasonable request, but after seeing it I realised that this would be virtually impossible. There were homosexual moments between Gaston and Le Fou littered throughout the film and they were far from cringe worthy. They were hardly worth banning. Though I read this morning that these requests had been dropped and I'm so glad. Having grown up watching Beauty and the Beast more than any other film, ever, I felt that Le Fou's character was always lacking something. He has always had a devoted sense of loyalty to Gaston, and yet no motive. However, the possibility that he may be in love with the Captain and that is why he participates in the condemnation of 'crazy old Maurice'. There was a real sense of character development in this version. My favourite moment with Le Fou appears towards the end of the film. The villagers are attacking the castle, and he seems to switch sides after a conversation with Mrs Potts. She informs him that he deserves much better than the way he is treated by Gaston.

These new and exciting back stories and motives are absolutely amazing. For example, we discover the reason why Gaston is so quick to go after the beast; he craves another war like experience in order to add meaning to his now empty life. Le Fou is able to calm him down with the mention of the tragedies of war and thoughts of lonely widows help particularly well in this case, apparently.

Even Belle and Maurice had a back story, and the story of Belle's mother is finally revealed to us. I loved finding out more about their little family. It made the characters seem so much more human and realistic. The same occurs with the Beast. And not only did the Beast have a past, but he has much more of a character in this remake. He is a book worm and rather than relying upon Belle to civilise him, and teach him to read he states that he had an 'expensive education'. The story became much more about two book worms falling in love and I loved this so much more than her educating him. I loved Dan Stevens in Downton Abbey so seeing him in a remake of my favourite childhood film was magical. Additionally, Empire points out that the Beast resembles Pan's Labyrinth's faun. I absolutely love this film! Belle questions whether or not every object in the castle was once a person; picking up a hairbrush. This was refreshing! She seemed more clever, and even more emotionally invested in her literature.

The songs from my childhood were still included and if it was appropriate to break into song in the middle of the cinema, I would have done. The beautiful thing about the songs was the additions to them. There were the occasional words that had been altered, and in some cases there were brand new songs. I think that I went into the cinema with a mind ready to make comparisons between my child hood favourite, and this highly anticipated remake. It is entirely possible to draw comparisons. But eventually, you have to appreciate the, for having merits of their own and begin to disassociate one from the other. These new songs and alterations enabled me to do this; to keep one separate from the other. My favourite song will always be Belle. But the CGI involved in Be Our Guest made it even more of a close second than ever. It was enchanting. However, I will express extreme disappointment at the removal of my favourite line from the song 'Gaston'; 'Nobody persecutes harmless crack pots like Gaston'.

Belle's refusal of Gaston reminded me of Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. Belle informs him that they cannot make each other happy. To me, I heard Elizabeth's refusal of Mr Collins as she informs him that she is quite sure she is the last women that could make him happy. However, one thing I did not enjoy was the fact that Gaston attempted to compliment Belle's carrying of a book in order to gain her favour. Gaston doesn't appreciate her intelligence at all.

I am still puzzled by the role of the enchantress. She appears again at the end of the film. Yet she is silence. Hmm.

Anyway, I absolutely loved this film if that wasn't already clear. It was what I had been waiting for and more. I'm so excited for it to be out on DVD. The characterisation, the mise en scene, and the music was all perfect. They cast the perfect Belle. I one hundred percent recommend this! Especially in 3D!

I am however bitter that I lost at a game of bowling before the film.

I hope you've all had wonderful days. I now have Milton's Paradise Lost to contend with, whilst listening to a wonderful blend of both Beauty and the Beast soundtracks. Milton was made much more entertaining this morning; my lecturer's showed up with fig leaves, apples, and a scythe. I was thoroughly amused and confused this morning. It made getting up early on a Wednesday morning so much more worth it!

One last thing; Soph and Dan asked me for a shout out in todays post. Thank you for the entertainment guys, but for gods sake talk quieter.

Enjoy the rest of your week guys!

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Dear younger me,

Okay, so I've been away for a few days again. I haven't had more than twelve hours sleep over three days so I've been trying to stay awake and do some uni work. But tonight I want to introduce to you my friend, Lauren. Lauren and I decided to do a collaborative blog post and after much deliberation of topics, we decided to write a joint letter to our younger selves. This is going to be interesting. It was insightful and we had a lot of fun writing and discussing the important things that have led us to this point in our lives.

Dear younger Lauren and Steph,

I've decided that there are some things that I would like to tell you, things that you really need to know. The bad news? The rough patch is going to last for a quite a while. The good news? You come out a stronger person (cliché, I know). I am going to work under the pretence that there is a parallel universe in which you exist on the timeline of my life. I know you are not there, because you're here and a part of me. But if I think about it too much I'll never be able to write this post.

1. First of all you are goddamn beautiful. You really need to hear this from yourself. I know that this is technically cheating, because I'm the one with hindsight between the two of us, so you need to pull your weight too and start practising some self-love. By the way, beautiful doesn't always mean physical appearance. You look great just as you are, but are also so much more than that.

2. Secondly, have confidence in your opinions. Don't get me wrong here, you will receive the usual commentrary; 'bloody socialist commie leftist snowflake femininazi'. I don't expect you to grow a thick skin because, after all, you really are a wonderfully sensitive snowflake, however, don't let it silence you. You won't feel very confident in politics but you know how you feel on individual topics and that's okay. Keep learning.

3. You need to know that it is okay to say no. Okay listen, I know that your life generally revolves around being a people-pleaser (and to tell you the truth, it still does) but that doesn't mean you have to say 'yes' to things you don't want to do. This goes for social events, do-you-want-to-go-out-with-mes, hugging, personal favours, sexual favours, loaning money, completing work for others and giving free art work.

4. Stick up for yourself. You know that phrase; 'treat others how you want to be treated?'. Don't forget how you want to be treated. I'm sorry to say that there will come a time when you are treated badly, and I want you to remember that you can walk away.

5. You are not 'too sensitive'. You are sensitive. You cry at almost everything happy or sad.


I think of my younger self as this fragile little thing. I remember that she had a dodgy hair cut, ridiculously bad make up but so so much love and potential. I remember that she just ached to be better. I wish she had known what I know now. But if you think about it too much, you realise that if she had not gone through all of these experiences, we wouldn't be the people that we are today. There are so so many things that I wish I could tell a younger me now. Especially in times of distress. I worry about this younger me that l imagine to live in a strange parallel universe. This is a strange thought and so easy to over think.

1. Normal is a cycle on a washing machine. I know that it feels like you are beyond loving. But you are not broken and you will never be broken. You are not normal and you never will be. But embrace and celebrate this. You are weird and wonderful. So embrace your unpopular opinions; be a feminist, and a socialist, be left wing. None of these things are bad. Don't you dare lose your 'muchness'.

2. You need to know that you are stronger and braver than you think (Yes, I think that's a quote from Winnie the Pooh). But this is so important. I promise you that there will be a day when you will not need to carve marks into your skin just so that you can breathe. Doing this does not make you broken, or damaged. You do not need to be ashamed. You will come out on the other side and you will be stronger.

3. Be careful who you give your heart to. There is a reason that the boy has a bad reputation. Heed the warnings. You will not be different to him and you cannot fix him. He may break your precious kittle heart. But giving your heart away applies to friends too. You give love far too easily. Don't forget that self-love is a valuable lesson.

4. Write more, please. And read, and learn. Don't stop doing any of things. Your character and growth depends on them. You have so many beautiful things to say and books are good friends.

5. Finally, I know that you feel lonely sometimes. But the friends that you need are years away, and I am not going to tell you when. But I promise that they will be special and worth the wait. You can do this on your own for the time being. I need you to try not to hurt yourself any more than you need to. I promise that there are plenty of people out there that will do that for you.

I wonder how younger me would react to actually reading this list. I wonder if anything would change. I cannot tell you guys enough how much I enjoyed writing this post, even though parts of it were difficult to write! It has changed my outlook on so many things and there is nobody else I would have rather have written this post with than Lauren. I've found myself appreciating even some of the negative experiences. Huge amounts of credit to my one of my closest friends Lauren. You can find her blog here and she is wonderful.

I hope you have a wonderful week guys.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

International Women's Day...

Good afternoon guys.

I'm going to start by saying how much of  good morning I had today! I was actually on time for my bus for once! And my lecture on The Duchess of Malfi was so engaging. I have a fondness for the revenge tragedy. I love it.

Okay, so today is International Women's Day and I've heard a variety of different things today.In the lift I heard a group of girls express disappointment with the day. She felt that our inferiority was being singled out because we were women. I've also read articles today that question the lack of an international day for men. If you're going to make sweeping statements like that and claim that today is a prime example of sexism, then you should really do your research first. International Men's day falls on the 19th of November, every year.  The Telegraph, quoting the World Economic Forum, pointed out that the pay gap that sees 'men earn more than women won't close until 2186' and to top it off, women are worse off than men with regard to both education and health quality. Why are some of us still okay, and accepting, of this?

So when I hear days like this responded to, by women, with mocking and jokes and the word 'femi-nazi', I do take offence. I totally respect that everybody is entitled to their own opinion and hey, feminism isn't for everybody. But believe it or not there are women out there who do want equal rights for both genders. It is not about superiority. I am tired of being made to feel like being a feminist, and wanting to be on an equal footing, is wrong and something outrageous. Feminist is not a dirty word. You are not going to catch anything if you say it. I want that ridiculous pay gap closed, and the glass ceiling shattered. I'm not wrong for that.

On a more positive note, I wanted to pay tribute to the many inspirational women within my life. There are so many women that have shaped and altered my life, both real and fictional. All of my friends and family have had a huge impact upon me. My favourite author, Jennifer Niven, who always makes time to listen to me.  Emma Watson, who is the UN Women Goodwill ambassador. She is truly admirable. Virginia Woolf with her essay collections. Elizabeth Bennet, Lottie from Holly Bourne's What's a Girl Gotta Do. I could sit here all day. These women are brave and unafraid and are inspirations to me.

There's a huge amount to be said for the men that also supported International Women's Day today too, instead of questioning when their day was.

The ranting and gushing is over. Have a lovely Thursday guys!

All the love x

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

From Breasts to Homophobes...

I have been so inactive over the past week and I don't know how people can go weeks at a time without writing, cause I the itch after a couple of days. But I remarked the other day that I could probably carry all the stuff I bring to university in the bags under my eyes this week. (I am sorry if I've said this to you at one point this week!) Seriously, I've had so little sleep over the past seven days. I cannot wait to go home after this class (36 minutes and counting) and nap.

Anyway, first some more social injustice;

So I'll confess that Beauty and the Beast is my childhood favourite and I am super excited to see the live action version that is being released this month. I plan to go to the cinema more than once to see it. Amongst headlines and articles debating the sins of Emma Watson's breasts, I see that this adaptation is going to feature a gay 'moment'. Josh Gad's character Le Fou is homosexual. This is not why I am excited about the film. I'm pleased by it, but this will not affect my opinion of the film. What I don't understand is why this is so outrageous that it may not be screened in locations around the world. Okay, we see films featuring heterosexual relationships all the time! This, my friends, is just a moment! I fail to see what's so awful about it. There really is a blurry line with regard to what is socially acceptable these days. A feminist showing her breasts is wrong, and god forbid that anybody include homosexuality in the film industry.

I found this on The Guardian;

'History’s first overtly gay Disney character, it turns out, is LeFou, unctuous manservant to preening, hyper-macho villain Gaston – an underling who, in Condon’s words, “on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston”'.

If you've seen the animated Disney version of Beauty and the Beast, you'll remember the song that Le Fou sings in order to motivate Gaston, after Belle has rejected him. Le Fou sings about Gaston's superiority in all areas (no one is as slick as Gaston, or as quick as Gaston, and no one's neck is as incredibly thick as Gaston's). I'd say that this admiration and obsession has only been amplified by Condon. The basis for it already existed within the nineties. But just in case what you were wondering what the live action version of this song sounds like... here's a link.

Also, I don't know about you guys but this just reminded me of Nick Carraway's obsession with Mr Gatsby. I wonder if we have a problem with this because it is being featured in the Disney franchise? It is now a part of something that we refer to as family cinema. But is a gay moment in a family film all we have to worry about? It's laughable. I'd say there is a lot more to fear than what the media are dubbing gay propaganda. Is this a mark of change? I very much doubt it, and the character is minor and humorous. Perhaps it's a start.

Anyway, as others have pointed out, the film is being rejected and criticised on the basis of homosexuality. But what about the fact that a young woman is falling in love with a animal-like beast?!

Anyway, I hope you all have a lovely Tuesday. See you soon!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Breasts; the downfall of feminism?

Okay, I have had a lot to say this week and have a super long and super scribbled list of blog posts that need doing. But this, got to me.

This week Emma Watson did this shoot with Vanity Fair, and the reaction was absolutely appalling. These pictures have been declared 'un-feminist' by some, and hypocritical. Julia Hartley-Brewer implied that Emma Watson was wasting her time preaching about wage gaps, and inequality if she was just going to show the world her 'tits'. That she was a hypocrite. So what is the alternative? Why are we suggesting that a woman must remain covered up in order to be taken seriously?! That they should relinquish their femininity to be considered a feminist? As Elle magazine pointed out that being unable to take a woman seriously due to having seen a flash of skin, then it says more about you than it does the woman in question.

Why should this shoot not be considered empowering? I think she's got balls, I would not be able to pose like this. I lack the confidence. So she's shown a little under boob. Are we all so prudish in this brash twenty first century that this makes us uncomfortable?! I prefer to think that it is wonderful that a young woman in a society that is oppressive and shoots her down, is confident enough to bear any part of herself.

James Holt hit back against Harley Brewer, and stated that he didn't realise 'that feminism had a strict dress code' and Watson herself responded that feminism was about liberation and freedom. It is not a stick with which to 'beat women'. I dread to think what critics will say about Watson's anger regarding this. I'm betting that the term 'feminazi' will crop up.

I draw your attention to the sexualised covers of Vanity Fair featuring men:

So it's obvious that these covers are just as revealing, if not more in some cases. Particularly the Spanish edition in the bottom left hand corner. I wonder how much criticism that cover underwent. I wonder if a stark naked woman is more appropriate if she is draped over a men.Why are these sexualised images of men more appropriate than the underside of Emma Watson's breast?

Laura Bates states that whether we like it or not, we 'live in a society where [...] the media is written by men, for men'. On the basis of this, I realise that to have a feminist (a recognised man hater, as far as social media is concerned) featuring in a revealing picture that is not specifically for the purpose of entertaining men would be unsettling and seem rebellious to society. I just cannot work out why. It is, without a doubt, refreshing. Emma Watson makes me very proud of be a woman. Bates points out that 'something big is going to have to shift' for the media to offer women 'more than a place as a commodity or a seat in the audience'. This will something that I will never understand. I hope that women like Watson continue to 'rebel' against this oppression, against these ridiculous attitudes and expectations.
A friend of mine stated that 'you're far too socially conditioned if you think that a woman showing her body is anti-feminist'. I couldn't have put it better myself.

Breasts are not the downfall of feminism. Neither is Emma Watson. Instead of seeing a pair of 'tits' I see a strong, intelligent and talented woman. Women like Julia Harley-Brewer, are the downfalls of feminism. If, as a woman, you are going to respond like this to another woman's body you are giving men license to treat you the same way. I am sure as hell that you're going to have to say something about that.

I'm interested in the reaction to the revelation that Le Fou, from Watson's upcoming film, Beauty and The Beast, is the first openly gay character. It cannot get much worse.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

The candle question

Good evening folks. I just finished my quota of words on my essay for today. I've managed a total of 900 words for today. (I will confess that I wrote most of this essay while I was sat in my last class of monday, I'll admit! I'm sorry to my lecturer if he ever reads this).

Anyway, a friend asked me an interesting question today: If you could make five smells into candles that are unique and mean something to you, what would you choose? I was suffering with writers block and she thought it would be a good way to help me out of it. This is the same friend that sat on the floor with me yesterday morning when I showed up to uni after having four hours sleep, and was exhausted. She sat on the floor with me so that neither of us looked odd. A random act of kindness goes a long way folks.

Anyway, I found that this was quite a hard question and I only got as far as four.

But here goes nothing;

1. New books! There is nothing better than getting a new book. The first thing I do when they arrive in their amazon packaging, is open them a tiny bit and breathe it in. I've probably made myself sound super weird and am going to lose the few readers I have.
2. Old books! Old books have like a dusty smell to them, but I kind of like it. Anyone else?
3. The smell of rain; why? Rain is calming, I think. I like running in the rain too.
4. Toast. I know this one is weird. But I'm going to leave it here and not explain it. It's a smell I'll always associate with good memories.

Yesterday I had been up twenty hours.

Now I'm starting an assignment. Lets see if I can't beat that record.

I plan to reward myself with another post before bed. See you soon guys!

Monday, 27 February 2017

Another busy monday

Happy Monday folks!

This weekend has been crazy, busy and exhausting. I'm probably being overdramatic but long shifts have meant I've not had time to do anything that I had planned over the weekend. I finished the weekend with a ten hour shift and quite literally crawled into bed last night. So, I have come to university early in order to continue working on my essay for the realist novel. Instead, I am blogging. Three days without blogging is awful.

Anyway, one of my Austen books arrived in the post the other day- Being Elizabeth Bennet. Not only is the jacket absolutely adorable, but its just so entertaining! I started going through it straight away and finished the first run through last night. I ended up following the path of Elizabeth for this first attempt. However I did note that the other options and outcomes were really fun. For example, there was the option to slept with Darcy's gardener. Spoiler alert- surprisingly, you don't get to marry Darcy if you do this! I am so glad that this was recommended to me! I'm now just waiting for Lost In Austen to arrive, which from what I can gather, is more or less the same thing but exciting all the same.

I have, however, managed to start thinking about life after university. I was really keen on a masters degree. I still am. But I am also thinking about a gap year. A rather clichéd gap year actually, full of travelling. I've wanted to do a tefl course for a while now. I don't know. I'd settle for more time to read right now.

Why does time pass so quickly at university and yet so slow everywhere else? Seminar time. See you all later, I hope you have a lovely Monday.