Sunday, 28 December 2014

2014; a year to remember, treasure and learn from

2014 has been a year to remember, to treasure and most importantly, to learn from.

You know when people cheesily exclaim, 'this is going to be my year' and everyone inwardly groans and gives a look of utter disgust, yeah well, I feel like that's been me (I know, sorry). This year has been pretty great, in fact, it's been my best yet.

I've grown - and unfortunately, at 5'3, I don't mean in a physical sense, but I have in that way where you begin to 'find' you. Who you want to be, what you want to do, where you want to find yourself in 3, 5, 10 years time.

Its cheesy and it's slightly 'scoffable'(I'm 97.9% sure this isn't a word but I believe it should be and thats the end of it). I get it, I know it is. 'Finding you' - GOD, give it a rest and pop a few of those pills designed to chill, but I don't care. I LIKE IT. Something I've learnt this year - to not be ashamed of enjoying or embracing or liking something, simply because others may laugh. Whether it be getting too excited about books and politics, to enjoying wine with good friends, to preferring a cup of tea and my bed instead of going out and having cheap vodka spilt down you and attempting to hobble into a taxi at 3am, I've decided. I've decided life is too short to do things you don't want to do if you don't have too. So I don't. Simple.

I also got a job. Not something down the local pub(not that there's anything wrong with that) but I feel, a good job. A great job for a 19 year old student. It's influenced what I want to do with my future, with my career and it's helped me. In writing hugely, in PR significantly, and in realising students really do lead a life of pure laziness, despite what we may deny.

I became more interested and engaged. In politics, current affairs, feminism. In the world, in writing, in media. I developed wider and more informed opinions on important things, not what that girl said to that other girl last week which was so totes ridic.

However, it was by no means perfect. I still worried and ran my mind ragged overthinking every little thing, questioning why I said that then, or what they thought of me when I did this then. I still found myself getting sucked into a world of bitchiness and gossiping. But there was progress and that's all you can hope for. In a world where young women are living in an increasingly pressurised bubble, a little bit of progress in the right direction, with a splash of positivity (and prosecco) and a dose of happiness (and chocolate), is a year lived well.

I mean I'm not and never will be Beyonce, which kind of kills me a little inside but I am slowly (beginning) to accept that...

But I'm becoming increasingly happy and content with myself, who I'm becoming as a person and what I'm achieving.

I'm definitely ok with that.

Cheers 2014, you've been a little diamond.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Passion, excitement and interest - everything BBC Question Time is not

If you were on any form of social media last night, you will know that Russell Brand and Nigel Farage appeared on BBC Question Time, with thousands tuning in to the topical debate show to witness the fireworks that were bound to occur. I was actually in the audience for a Question Time show in October in Middlesbrough, so when Russell Brand wrote on his Facebook page about his thoughts on his time on the show, I couldn't help but think back to how I felt, as the lights dimmed and the politicians scuttled off the studio set.

Question Time appears to many as passionate and fiery, with panellists put to the sword about concerning national problems, however I couldn't have felt any less passionate as I walked out of the doors onto the streets of Middlesbrough, in fact, it was actually quite depressing.

I'm an opinionated person and I'm genuinely interested - and surprisingly to most politicians - actively engaged in politics and current affairs so when I had the phone call confirming I had a place in the audience of an upcoming Question Time, I was so excited. Sniggers and quips were made about how excited I actually was because I thought this was an opportunity to have my questions heard, for politicians to hear genuine concerns the general public have - but clearly, I was being very naive.

The TV show is just that, a show - and a staged one at that. Have no doubt about it, the questions that the audience are told to send in, are picked extremely carefully and are generally, safe. We were told to clap lots, to voice our opinions, to enjoy ourselves, but there is no fun in seeing MPs spout safe political soundbites, to safe, boring questions. My question was something I believe is extremely relevant, and something that I think many young people would like to hear an answer too but, like most of our voices, it was ignored.

'There is huge distrust in the UK's entire political system, especially among students like myself. How do politicians intend to reverse this, and prove that there is intact, something worth voting for?'

Wouldn't it have been interesting to hear politicians talk about this? To tell us what they are going to do to prove that they respect and appreciate a young person's vote? Or was that question not picked because they don't have an answer? Was it not chosen because politicians continue to not care about young people and their voices, and keep on shouting the same mantra of 'young people don't care'?

We do care. I care. But it becomes increasingly hard when there remains nothing to care about.

As a nineteen year old female, no one was interested in my views. Both my friend and I felt like token women, strategically placed in a middle aged, white male dominated room, subtly ignored but hey, we were there right? BBC's job done.

I walked into the room where Question Time was to be filmed with excitement and anticipation, animatedly foreseeing what would be discussed. I walked out of that room disappointed and completely disenchanted from it all. From politics. From caring.

But that's what they want right?

Russell Brand scares politicians. He scares them because he's engaging people, especially the young, in politics. He's talking about real problems and real issues and people are listening to him. Whatever you think of him, that isn't a bad thing.

He sparks passion and that infiltrates into those who are listening to him.

Question Time? That does the opposite.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Why Zoella's ghostwriter debacle is so wrong

I was really hesitant to write this post, just because I didn't want to offend anyone or spread negativity however I tend to write on my blog when I feel really strongly about something - whether it be good or bad so, here goes nothing...

This morning, journalist Katie Glass wrote a really fantastic piece on the fact that Zoella's book is actually ghostwritten and twitter kiiiind of blew up! I don't dislike Zoella, I actually really admire her and believe she's a great role model for young girls, which is why I was so disappointed - although not surprised, unfortunately - that she hasn't written the book she claims to.

Zoella (Zoe Sugg) is the Queen of Youtube, with over 6 million subscribers and an ever increasing 'fandom'. Whether you 'get' it or not, Youtube stars have turned into the people that young girls are screaming and crying over, scrambling to get a view of and even buying tickets to meet. Which is why, it is so SO wrong that Zoella has not stated that she did not write her best selling book, Girl Online.

Penguin told Katie Glass, writing for the Sunday Times, 'To be factually accurate, you would need to say Zoe Sugg did not write the book Girl Online on her own'. Whether that is surprising to you or not,  Zoe should've stated this already - she has set aspirations for girls to write their own novels(and so they should) but with expectations of her success. The mentality of 'if she can, I can'. Only she hasn't...

Some say, 'it's not like it's the first book to ever have been ghost written' and 'most celebrities have ghost writers too, what's the big deal?' The big deal is, Zoe and her management have never even hinted at the fact that it may not have been written by her, in fact, the absolute opposite! In many of her vlogs she talks about working on her book, on her blog she states, 'I'm sure a lot of you have heard by now that I'm writing a book!' and even in her acknowledgements of the book, there is no mention of a writer. It'a completely misleading and really is just wrong.

It's wrong because there are young girls out there who preordered and bought a book that they thought was written by their idol, their absolute inspiration. Girls out there who hang on to her every word, and believe everything she says, tweets and films. Zoe has a responsibility to her fans, and hell, she owes it to them to just be honest. The ironic thing is that they probably wouldn't care if she'd just mentioned it and no way would it ever have had the back lash it appears to have gotten now.

The sad world that we live in is that money, fame and branding comes before real, genuine talent. Think about all those writers - fantastic talented writers - who's work may never even be considered by a publisher, never mind actually be published. Amazing, young female writers who work so hard and yet may never get noticed. Writing a novel is bloody hard and by lying about who it was written by, it kind of...trivialises the tears and late nights and the work that goes into stories that may perhaps never reach the dizzy heights of success that Girl Online has.

Zoella is a great role model for young people and no one can deny it. She's sweet and sensible, hard working and thoughtful, however this nonsensical idolisation that she can do no wrong has to stop. Because as she frequently points out, she's just a normal girl and you know what? They make mistakes.

This time, Zoella really has.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Is Miliband's 'belief' enough?

‘I am willing to put up with whatever is thrown at me in order to fight for you’, Ed Miliband stated, whilst addressing an audience in, what many have suggested, a relaunch speech after a  particularly  dismal few weeks for the Labour leader.

As whispers from Westminster emerge of unrest and dissatisfaction amongst Labour MPs at his leadership, and polls suggesting just 13% of population believe he is ready to be Prime Minister, Miliband  delivered a passionate speech, urging us to believe he is on our side. In a clear and defiant manner, he stated that he, unlike the Tories, would represent the working people on zero hour contracts and affordable housing, would stand up to the banks and energy companies and would tackle immigration ‘fairly’.

Representing the working people is something that the Labour party have always stated they stand for. However, 1 sneering photograph by Labour MP Emily Thornberry this week, has put a rather large spanner in the works of a party in deep trouble. A sneer at the working class from Thornberry, has seen her resign, with many reports suggesting Miliband was absolutely furious - and so he should be. If he isn't already struggling to gain people's confidence in his abilities - with his 'relaunch' speech  a tell tale sign of a man desperate to reconnect with the working people -  the last thing he needs is to now be fighting for the votes of the people that the Labour party have always relied on - the working class. 

Fairness was something that the leader of the Labour party focussed on during his speech, as he told us he wants to become Prime Minister to change a ‘deeply unequal, deeply unfair’ country. It is a deeply unequal country isn't it, especially as the people running it are privately educated and upper class, without a clue of what it is really like to struggle, what it’s like to scrimp together enough money to put food on the table. As Miliband continually urges he is here to stand up for the working class, does he actually have any idea who they are and what it’s like? Is this why so many people are unconvinced he is the right man to lead the opposition party? For at least the Tories admit they haven’t got a clue…

gwan lad, gerrit dawn ya..
It is set to be one of closest general elections that there has perhaps ever been, with all 3 of the mainstream political parties in some kind of turmoil. Tory MPs are jumping ship to UKIP as if it’s sinking faster than the Titanic, the Labour leader is as popular as the infamous Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg has about as much chance as becoming Prime Minster as Russell Brand. It’s going to be a tightly fought battle, with perhaps just a defiant speech or popular policy, able to clinch the leadership.

The Labour party have serious problems that they must try to patch up and mend, with less than 6 months until the general election. Miliband has a lot of convincing to do, in order to assure people he is the man to lead our country but surely first, he needs to be honest with himself and with his peers, at exactly why the concern regarding his leadership has grown so significantly. After all, as the saying goes, ‘there’s no smoke without fire’ and is there anyone out there who CANNOT eat a BACON BUTTY properly apart from him? Is this just the media creating another pantomime villain or do the public still see him as the guy who stabbed his brother in the back, in order to fulfil his own ambitious dreams?

He says he’ll fight for ‘us’, he won’t give up or cry or anything. He has belief in himself and what he is doing.

But is he the only one that does?

Charlotte x

Sunday, 16 November 2014

what i'm reading..

As the nights draw in and the temperature drops, cosy nights in with a cup of tea and a huge bar of chocolate, along with a good book, are the way forward.

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan - I've heard so much about this book and the heartbreaking story that is behind it being created/published. Just 5 days after graduating from Yale in 2012, Marina Keegan died in a car crash, and so in memory of her, Marina's family put together a collection of her essays and stories, both published and unpublished. After all the rave reviews surrounding this book, I can't wait to read it for myself!

These Days Are Ours - Michelle Hainoff - Having just started this, it certainly isn't what I had in mind when I bought it however after reading a review in Company magazine(booo, am I the only one really missing Company?! Plz come back!) This endearing and easy read is about a group of rich 20 somethings, adjusting to life after the horrific 9/11 disaster - an ideal read to switch off your brain after a long day..

How to be a Woman - Caitlin Moran - Just finished this and oh my gawd, I love this woman so much. I seriously think every girl should read this and the Lena Dunham book, SO good and shows that every single female out there should be a feminist, with it being nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about at all. Such a fantastic writer and such an brilliant book. Read it, read it!

What books have you been reading recently?

Charlotte x

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Experience | Sandman Signature Hotel shopping event

The Sandman Signature Hotel in Newcastle is somewhere that I’ve heard about recently; with people commenting on just how modern and suave it looks. With a gorgeous ‘line’ of fire in the window, it’s been somewhere that has looked way out of budget for a student so when I was invited to a ‘Champagne and Cake’ bloggers event for the launch of fantastic new ‘shop til you drop’ stay package, I was really excited to have a nosey round!

The hotel has joined forces with well known shopping centre, INTU Eldon Square, to provide a winter shopping 'stay and shop tip you drop' package. For any shopping addict out there, it sounds pretty damn perfect, with it including a luxury stay with breakfast, an early check in and a very convenient late check out of 3pm - perfect for a relaxing day with the girls! As well as this, a fab goody bag is all yours, which includes L'Occitane beauty products, £20 Intu Eldon Square shopping voucher, £25 Love Niche voucher and a John Lewis shopping bag filled with vouchers, chocolates and a whole range of other exciting products! From £109, it would be the perfect present for your mum or even a group of girlfriends.

The gorgeously decorated hotel - which boasts a range of fantastic services for customers such as free hot drinks, free wifi and a Waitrose food shopping services - is just minutes from the city centre, as well as the infamous St James' Park football ground just a stones throw away over the road. Despite the close proximity to some of the city's best attractions, the hotel is a relaxing and comfortable space for guests to relax, and with one of the most popular bars in the city, The Shark Bar, right next door, it really is the best of both worlds!

It was so great to have been given the opportunity to have a nosey round the hotel and find out more about it(the glass of bubbly and cake wasn't bad either, mmm!) Thanks so much to Claire at Claire Barber PR for inviting me and to Sarah at the Sandman Signature hotel for showing us around.

For more information regarding the hotel and it's packages, visit 

Charlotte x

Monday, 3 November 2014

Monthly favourites

Before I start gabbling about things I've been loving this month, let's take a moment to appreciate my new blog design - I looove how simple and sleek it is and hopefully it will encourage me to post much more frequently!

1. ELLE magazine; Feminism issue - Technically this is the December edition but I've already made my way through this whacking edition and absolutely loved that it was full of such inspiring women, and men, who all fully support gender equality. Feminism and women's rights are something I feel really passionately about and the fact that such a successful magazine dedicated an entire edition to the topic is just amazing - and hopefully, a big step forward.

2. Estee Lauder double wear foundation - This is holy grail material. With just the smallest amount, it leaves a completely flawless finish, with no blemish, spot or dark circle on show. It does have a thick consistency and would not be ideal for those who like a natural look but for the winter especially, this full coverage foundation is just perfect. Even if you feel like an absolute zombie, at least with this little beauty, you won't look like one!

3. Muller Light greek style; coconut flavour - Holy shit, this is one of the best things I've ever tried.. If you like coconut, get your hands on this, especially as they're currently half price in most supermarkets!

4. Mug; from Paperchase - I have a slight problem when it comes to mugs(all the best saddest people do...). I really didn't need to buy a new one but I JUST NEED ALL THE MUGS ok, no judgement is welcome here.. No idea what it was about this one but I can't seem to leave Paperchase empty handed and without my bank account weeping, life..

What are your favourites of the month?

Charlotte x

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Student recipe - spinach and ricotta cannelloni

Cooking at university can often be a challenge, especially if you find yourself on a tight budget or have deemed it far too much effort to cook properly just for one. It is possible however, to make food that is both healthy and tasty, without breaking the bank so here is a recipe for one of my favourite things to cook/dribble over/devour... It cost me just over £5 to make and is enough to last for 4 meals, perfect for any savvy students out there, enjoy!

What you need -
16 canneloni tubes - 95p
1 bag of spinach - £1
1 tub of ricotta cheese - £1
1 tub of creme fraiche -90p
2 tins of chopped tomatoes - 34p each
1 egg
Mozzarella - 49p
1 pinch of basil
1 pinch of salt
1 clove of garlic - 25p for 1
Tomato puree (optional)

1. Pre heat the oven to 180 degress  then, along with the chopped clove of garlic, add a handful of spinach to the pan and continue to do so until it has all wilted. Drain the spinach and slice into bits.

2. Empty the ricotta cheese into a bowl, along with the beaten egg and a pinch of salt and mix together. Add the chopped up spinach into the bowl and once it has been mixed together, fill the cannelloni tubes. Once the tube has been filled, place onto a lightly greased tray.

Tip - make sure to place the cannelloni tubes very closely together on the tray...

3. Whilst filling the pasta tubes, empty the chopped tomatoes into a pan and simmer until the the consistency thickens.

4. Layer the thickened chopped tomatoes on top of the cannelloni tubes, then add the creme fraiche on top of this.

5. Place the sliced mozzarella evenly on top of the creme fraiche, along with a pinch of basil and put in the oven for 30 minutes.

Tip - cannelloni is perfect to go alongside salad or literally any vegetable you have in your fridge!

Great for a hearty meal with housemates, or you can even freeze the leftovers and save for meals over the next few weeks - cheap, tasty and doesn't leave you feeling guilty after devouring your entire plate, perfect!

What are your favourite things to cook?

Charlotte x

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

what kind of student are you?

Moving to university enables you to become your own person as you begin a journey to find out who you truly are. It can take weeks, months, even years to figure it out, to decide who it is you want to be known as and who you are content with. Some people never find it but some won't stop until they do.

Going to university, becoming a student - it changes you - even if you don't feel it. It enables you to dip your toe very slightly, into the world of adulthood, and whilst some embrace the lack of structure and the choice of attending lectures being completely their own, many throw themselves in completely, to everything university has to offer.

From sport to charity work, writing to dance - there couldn't possibly be a student out there who is unable to find something that appeals to them. It may be one of the only times in your life, where you are subject to such a vast array of groups and activities, of which are all chomping at the bit for you to become involved.

When Banana Moon contacted me, regarding the competition they are running, 'Study of the Student Species', I thought it was a really fun thing to be involved in. As I looked down through the list of different characters you may find at university, it was difficult to choose just one, as it became apparent that there were elements of myself in many of them.

I think, as many of the posts on this blog may suggest, I related most to the 'student activist' (although I would like to point out I have slightly less facial hair than the photo suggests...) species. It could maybe be said that I have quite a strong opinion about things, I love to talk and debate and discuss different viewpoints on topics. I think it's important to be passionate about things, to believe that your opinion could genuinely make a difference - because why wouldn't it?

Ideally, I'm the 'eat a lot of chocolate, pretend I'm mature enough to go for a couple of drinks yet end up hammered, wailing to Destiny's Child and in bed by 12' species of student, but for some reason, that didn't seem to be on the list...

This competition is open to all bloggers. To get involved and be in with a chance of winning a tablet and t-shirts from Banana Moon, simply write a post, stating which student you are most like and tweet the link, along with the #studentspecies tagline. For more information, click here

What kind of student are/were you?

Charlotte x

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Problems of a 11yr old in the noughties

1. Falling out with your mate after reshuffling your Bebo friend list and having to break it to them that they didn't make the cut...

2. Loving every single piece of clothing in Tammy but your mum only allowing you to choose 2 things.

3. Genuinely not knowing how you are meant to survive after hearing the news that Busted have split up and hating Charlie with every fibre in your being.

4. Not being able to find that perfect angle on your web cam for your MSN profile picture.

5. Getting so stressed when you just don't know who to share the love with on Bebo...

6. Crying in despair when your Claire's Accessories necklace snaps after only buying it 2 days ago.

8. Finally getting a brand new phone but losing your highest ever score on Snake in the process...

9. Losing your page in your new Jacqueline Wilson book...

10. Going through a state of depression after watching the music video for Hero by Enrique Iglesias and feeling all dem feeeeels

11. Considering disowning your mum and leaving home when your mum wouldn't buy you a Jane Norman bag for school...

12. Not knowing what to do when your glitter eyeliner has dried up and you're already 3 minutes late for your best friend's rave at her house, in the living room, playing twister...

13. Being so jealous of the year 11's because they were so cool and grown up and just wishing you could be them...

What were your biggest life problems when you were 11?

Charlotte x

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

read and reviewed #9

As Autumn rolls in, with cooler winds and darker nights, there is nothing better than snuggling up with a book and a cup of tea, a candle flickering in the background and the worries of the day being slowly forgotten about as you become engrossed in a whole different world...

Virgin - Radhika Sanghani | WOW. This book is like nothing I've ever read before - one of, if not the, most refreshing and honest account of a young girl's life that I've come across, which I'm sure every single person who reads this can relate too, in some way or other. Ellie is a twenty one year old virgin and is beyond desperate to lose her 'v plates' by the time her final year at university comes to an end. From dodgy waxes to mortifyingly embarrassing experiences,  this book is frank, honest and absolutely hilarious - I bloody loved it.

Chasing Daisy - Paige Toon | Another fabulous book from Paige Toon - I have recommended every single book of hers that I have read(all but 1) to my friends, family and anyone that will listen! I love how Paige includes characters from previous novels, entwining them into each story - it just makes you feel so much closer to the characters - as if you're going on a journey, with 'people' you genuinely know. A charming, funny and easy read that is perfect to relax with and have a giggle at.

Paper Aeroplanes - Dawn O'Porter | Ohhh this is so GOOD! The characters, Renee and Flo are just so real - they have dysfunctional families and they have personal issues and you know that, they're just like actual high school girls, they aren't perfect! Like Virgin, Paper Aeroplanes addresses real issues, some that, wrongly or rightly, are slightly taboo - it even includes *periods* SHOCK. I feel like whether you left your teenage years a long time ago, whether you've just entered them or whether  you're right smack bang in the middle of them, you just have to read this book. 

What books have you been enjoying recently?

Charlotte x

Sunday, 28 September 2014

what i've bought recently - mac products

So, pay day rolled around and after a week back at university, with exam and assignment dates thrown at me from all angles, I thought it was pretty necessary to take myself off to Mac and have a little treat... 

Matte bronzing powder - After using my friend's a few weeks back, this had been firmly put at the top of my 'need to buy for my health and wellbeing' list(after chocolate, obviously). The high street drug store's have a distinct lack of matte bronzers, I'm sure you will agree and due to the fact I don't actually want brown and gold glitter all over my cheeks, it has been a difficult task to try and find a suitable product. The Boirjois chocolate bronzer is certainly up there with one of the best budget cheek products I've ever tried, and if you don't want to fork out a small fortune for a high end bronzer, this is a safe bet for sure. The Mac bronzing powder in my eyes however, is completely worth it - without a hint of even the slightest shimmer, this matte bronzer is perfect for both contouring or applying as a blusher and is one of the longest lasting powders I've ever known! - £20

Blankety lipstick - Blankety is a soft beige pink shade, and with an amplified finish, is very opaque. It has a very creamy consistency and is not in the slightest bit drying - I know already, that this is going to be my go-to day time lipstick - the perfect nude. - £15.50

Mehr lipstick - Mehr is one of the best matte lipsticks I've tried - this cool toned pink is the perfect Autumn shade and is very versatile, with the ability to both wear it in the day and at night. As it's a matte formula, the lasting power is good, not great, with it requiring a re-application after around 3 hours. The shade is very 'Kylie Jenner' although unfortunately, it doesn't make you instantly look like her - I want my money back...! - £15.50

 What Mac products are currently on your wish list at the moment?

Charlotte x

Sunday, 21 September 2014

will sexist behaviour at universities ever end?

A recent survey carried out by NUS has found that more than half of female students identify “prevailing sexism, ‘laddism’ and a culture of harassment” at their universities. In a new era where feminist movements are rife across the country, with women’s organisations such as the Everyday Sexism Project highlighting the inappropriate and often, horrendous experiences that females endure on a daily basis, when will the grotesque ‘lad culture’ that swarms UK universities, begin its demise?

Now I'm not going to lie, I do indulge in the Daily Mail's sidebar of shame, 1) to see how beaut Kim K is looking that day, and have a quick cry into my cup of tea and 2) to see what inane celebrity drivel they have on offer that day, however when I clicked onto the website yesterday, the 'report' at the top of the page filled me with so much anger that I just had to write on here and let it aalll out...

In the article, which was reporting on lad culture at universities, it was shocking, and perhaps somewhat telling to find that the publication, amidst attempts to condemn vulgar and sexist behaviour, had actually found professionals that were not only excusing it, but blaming it, on females.

The quote reads:

'young men who attend them(universities such as Oxford, Cambridge etc) are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with being in direct competition with empowered young women in an ever-competitive world..' and finished it off with, 'this behaviour is a way of putting women back in their place. They are using sex and sexism to say, 'this is our turf - get off it'


So girls remember, the next time you are groped in a nightclub, are leered at or catcalled on the street, or are touched inappropriately, it's your fault because you aren't obeying men's orders of staying in the kitchen. The next time you're called a slag, a whore or bitch, don't be offended, and GOD, get a sense of humour, because it's only 'banter'. The next time you say 'no', yet he keeps on persisting, just do what he says because he's a little bit scared and a little bit intimidated of you because damn it, you might actually be just as clever as him...

Why are females always blamed for males sexist behaviour? Our skirts are too short, our tops are too low and we 'ask' for it by maybe wanting to dress up nicely. We live in a society where 'don't leave your drinks unattended' is instilled into us instead of being told 'don't drug people'; a society where if a poor girl gets raped, the first question entering some people's heads is, 'ah but how much had she had to drink?'. In a message written to the Everyday Sexism Project recently, the student heard a halls rep saying: ‘Getting spiked is lucky, it means someone really wants to get with you.’ Wow girls, bet you’re feeling so lucky hey!

Sexism is so disgustingly rife that many people don't even notice it anymore. We just accept it. The Sam Pepper video that was published last night was one of the most disgusting things I've seen in a long time. What has made men think that they have ownership over women's bodies, and the right to TOUCH us whenever and wherever they want too?

Girls - we are not slabs of meat, put on this earth for men's pleasure and we are certainly not at fault for wanting more from our lives than cooking, cleaning and breeding. The sooner men accept that we are career driven, empowered and strong, are not at university to be 'put back in our place', and deserve respect, the better. Don't put yourself in situations where you are uncomfortable just because it's been classed as banter for 'the lads', treat yourself with the class, respect and dignity that you deserve.

Boys - the next time you leer and shout obscenities at a girl, the next time you force yourself on a girl who is saying no, think about if that was your sister, your friend or even your mum - don't be part of a culture that denigrates, instead of respects, women.

Charlotte x

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

why is freshers week alcohol obsessive?

This time last year, I was a blubbering mess. I’m talking a chest heaving, tears streaming, nose running mess. Because I was a fresher – and an unhappy one at that.
One year on, I look back slightly embarrassed but very proud of how far I’ve come and how much I’ve grown as a person since then, but now that the next batch of fresher’s are waiting in the wings, ready for their time to shine, something just doesn’t sit right for me about the way that ‘Fresher’s Week’ is perceived.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like a good glass of wine, I love to get dressed up and no night for me is complete without my own personal rendition of ‘Survivor’ by Destiny’s Child but the idea of going out every single night for an entire week, expecting to get ‘mortal’ and being actively encouraged by an endless stream of promoters desperately trying to ram anyone they can into their club, to drink so much that you don’t know where you are…? No, that’s not my idea of fun.
Convinced I’ve turned into a premature granny? Ok, how about this…
If you were told to go out with a group of strangers, in a city that is completely alien to you, and get drunk, what would you say? I mean, if you have a brain it would be ‘no’, right? But that’s what fresher’s week is… Yes, that group of strangers are your flatmates but in that first week at university, as nice as they probably are and as close as you will probably become, they are still strangers. I'm not preaching to not drink any alcohol ever because it is poisonous and you will die - hey, I like a drink as much as the next person...but I have to be in the mood to, (because, y'know, a cup of tea, chocolate and my bed are pretty inviting too...) and I don't see why the first week of university HAS to revolve around drinking. Not one person yet has given me an adequate reason - all I hear are $$$ signs!
When you actually ask around, there are so many people that overall, didn't enjoy going out at night on freshers week - they just did it because 'that's what everyone does'. So where has it suddenly come from? 

I didn’t enjoy fresher’s week – I was homesick, I felt uncomfortable and I was taking part in nights out that I was told students in fresher’s week do and love and enjoy; yet I was just stood there, thinking ‘wtf am I doing here?’. There’s the saying ‘life starts at the end of your comfort zone’ and yes, that is very true, but do I want my life to be revolved around hugging a toilet basin, projectile vomiting after a shit night out? No. Do I want my life to involve Prosecco and cocktail nights, good food and good company? Yes please!
Go out for drinks, go out for food, have a cosy night in, or, go crazy and actually study for that degree you’re spending £27,000 on – but don’t feel like your first year has to revolve around going out 5 nights a week, pouring money(and bleach after all that vomit) down the drain because if you don’t want to, you don’t have too – and you know what? Your housemates probably don’t want to either!
All I'm saying is, don't feel pressurised or ashamed if you don't actually enjoy freshers week, and in fact do not want to become a living, breathing pint of lager. This is a monumental change in your life - it really is underestimated but the tears and panic phone calls to your parents will be worth it - man it's worth it a thousand times over. You're gonna love it.
Charlotte x

Monday, 1 September 2014

read and reviewed | my holiday reads #8

The Longest Holiday - Paige Toon (kindle edition)
About? After her husband breaks her heart, Laura is whisked away by her friends to Key West, Florida. Not looking for anything but time to lick her wounds, she never expected a new man to enter her life and have such a significant effect...but can a happy ending ever be that simple?

Even though I finished reading this over a week ago, it still genuinely makes me sad that it's over. Seriously. I think this is one of my all time favourite books - I just loved everything about it. I love how Paige Toon makes you connect so well with the characters in her stories - she really is a fantastic author and one of my all time faves. This book is the perfect summer read - it's just flawless, I absolutely loved it!          10/10

What a Girl Wants - Lindsey Kelk (kindle edition)
About? Tess is back in London with a choice to make. Settle down with Charlie - the man of her dreams who she has been madly in love with for 10 years? Or fly to Milan and take her chances on the moody and mysterious Nick Miller? (Difficult choice...)

As per, Lindsey Kelk smashes it - absolutely loved the sequel to About a Girl, it seriously didn't disappoint. A fabulous, hilarious, light hearted read that you simply just have to read. My only complaint is that the next book isn't out RIGHT THIS DAMN SECOND so I know exactly what happens and who she chooses(if she can ever make a single definite decision in her entire life that is, bless) p.s #teamnick          10/10

The Lemon Grove - Helen Walsh
About? A father, step mum, daughter and her boyfriend go on holiday and inappropriate feelings occur between two of the characters. 

I don't know if I'm missing something with this book but I seriously do not get the hype that has surrounded this at all. I read it in a day, but not because it was good, more the fact that I was just waiting for something to happen..but nothing really does?  The ending is shocking too - it definitely competes with Gone Girl and that's saying something. I was so disappointed because Helen Walsh's writing style is great however the plot was very poor. I feel like the story had a lot of potential but nothing really happened unfortunately.      2/10

Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell
About? Two high school outsiders find friendship, love and understanding in each other as they muddle their way through teenage life.

Beautifully written, this book really is a lovely read. I think it's simplicity is what makes it such a good story, as well as the fact that it shows teenage life in a refreshing and truthful way, in which both characters have issues with themselves and their families, as they try to figure out who they are and what they want from life. I have to admit, it wasn't particularly my kind of book but I did enjoy it all the same - it was certainly something different. Rainbow Rowell showed first true love, with all its flaws and imperfections.          7/10

What books have you been reading recently? I've just finished Lucy in the Sky by Paige Toon and have just started another one of her books, Baby Be Mine...(I'm kiiind of loving her at the moment and kicking myself for leaving her unread novels on my book shelf to catch dust - why did I leave it so long?!)

Charlotte x

p.s a kindle just isn't the same as an actual book is it?

Friday, 15 August 2014

7 pieces of advice for a fresher..

How's that hangover doing?

A few pieces of advice that I would've like to have been told this time last year...

  1. It’s ok to miss home – I had the most horrific first week; I cried about 5 times a day, I said I was going to quit 78 times and guys, I even smashed my phone screen.. Seriously though, if you’re homesick – please don’t stay in your room, please don’t think that university is a horrible place – it’s not, it’s just completely alien at the moment and it will get better. Don’t be ashamed of missing home; you are not alone in feeling that way.

  2. Be your own person – University is the time to find yourself, and be who you want to be so don’t be a sheep, no one will respect you for it.

  3. Remember why you’re there – Amidst the drinking, the socialising and the amazing times that you will have, remember that you’re there to study and get a degree, of which is costing you an obscene amount of money…so don’t waste it.

  4. Take advantage of the free time – Savour every single moment of being a student, bask in the glory of having 5 lie ins a week and not having to get dressed for 3 days straight… because after this, it’s job time…and that will not be fun.

  5. It’s ok if you don’t want to drink every single day of your existence – if you don’t feel like going out one night, or simply aren’t a big drinker, don’t be pressured into it. You might even find that a couple of your flatmates feel the exact same way but don’t want to disappoint anyone.

  6. Budget – So boring but so important. Does anyone enjoy living off tap water and own brand baked beans? No – so don’t blow your student loan in the first couple of weeks…please.

  7. Have fun! – These will be some of the greatest years of your life, enjoy it, embrace it!

    Good luck - you're going to love it!

    Charlotte x

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

please don't let the digital era ever completely take over

Today, Company magazine closed. After 36 years, the doors are closing, the magazine stops being printed and we are told that it will now be exclusively online. Some of you may think, 'so?', some of you may not care because you never read it anyway but this isn't just solely about Company magazine, this is about the digital era taking over. I personally love Company magazine and believe that it's one of the few magazines that empower young girls, with content that is particularly supportive of bloggers(maybe one of the reasons why their sales have dropped so significantly over the past couple of years..), which is why it's so sad that it will no longer be on our shelves...

In 10 years, what if print magazines are no more? What if it becomes impossible to buy an actual book? What if we have to accept that the only way our children and grandchildren, are going to read, is through a piece of machinery? Imagine never knowing what it feels like to smell a brand new book, to sit down with a cup of tea and flick through a magazine or a newspaper - technology is taking over, and it simply doesn't sit right with me. It scares me.

Obviously, I love the internet - who doesn't! I love social media and online shopping, endless amounts of information at the click of a button, and of course, blogging - but I don't want this to be my life. I don't want there not to be an alternative. We miss so much of actual real life, being glued to our phones, taking pictures with the thought of not saving it to treasure for a later date, but to upload and see how many likes they can get on Instagram(guilty).

The digital era now, isn't actually a choice - it's just what we've been programmed to do. We get up, check twitter, get dressed, check instagram, check twitter, reply to a snapchat, check twitter again and repeat for the rest of the day. We wake unto social media and we go to bed with it. We so desperately tell ourselves that we're going to have a digital detox and read more books but it just doesn't happen because we have an addiction to the internet - we can't not check it in the fear of missing out on something that we've probably read every single day for the past year!

Apart from holidays, I never use my Kindle. I can't do it - it's just not the same. The satisfaction of turning that last page in a proper book, of seeing how far into the story you are, of physically holding someone's handiwork that they've produced through blood, sweat, a lot of tears and a few gallons of alcohol, is something that a Kindle can, and will never, compare with. I don't want to be 61% through a book(!!), I want to buy it, and physically hold it as I read it, drop it on my face a couple of times as I drift off to sleep and then when I've finished it, I want to put it on my shelf, feeling a small sense of pride that that's another one finished.

I want there to be an alternative to a screen. I want there to be an alternative to the internet. I want the choice of both - I want to use social media, and google things until my heart's content, but I also want to sit down at the end of a long day, whether it be in the bath, in bed or even on the commute home, and I want to read a book, a magazine, or maybe even a newspaper because nothing can beat it. Ever.

I don't want the digital era to ever completely, take over.

I'm going to press publish, close my laptop down, and go and start a new book...bliss.

Charlotte x

Saturday, 9 August 2014

the British tag


 1.   How many cups of tea do you have a day & how many sugars?

Summer or winter, hot or cold, I’ll have 3-4 a day. You simply cannot beat a cup of tea – unless it’s a cocktail, but even then it needs to be a good ‘un. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I actually don’t have sugar anymore; it took some serious training(I have a hard life..) but now I cannot drink it with even a grain of sugar in, ew, ew, ew.

2.       Favourite part of your roast -
The Yorkshire puddings without a doubt – I save them until last and then savour every delicious bite. Is it weird to say broccoli too? Can’t go wrong with a few greens.

3.       Favourite dunking biscuit -
This is difficult because there are many, many biscuits that are in contention for this but I’m going to go with a underrated choice of the custard cream. Seriously try it – it’s a taste sensation…
4.       Favourite quintessentially British pastime?
I actually love watching cricket – please don’t judge me – no but seriously I do love it, especially going to watch England play. I do think it’s literally the most English sport as well – what other sport do you get lunch AND tea all in the same day?
5.       Favourite word?
I don’t really have one? I do love ‘inconspicuous’ though – I just like saying it #thuglife

6.       Cockney rhyming slang?
Apple and pears is the genuinely the only one I know..
7.       Favourite sweet?
The Harrods’ rhubarb and custard ones are genuine pieces of heaven. Can’t go wrong with Haribo tangfastics either.

8.       What would your pub be called?
...I literally am the worst person with coming up with names ever, hence why my blog’s name has suddenly changed. I’m so awful at it it’s almost embarrassing so I’m not even going to put you through me trying to think of one –it may offend your eyes.

9.       Favourite shop/restaurant?
Topshop & Homesense(lol). Can I count Amazon too? I can’t get enough of it for books. I’m a complete foodie so it would almost be completely impossible for me to pick one single restaurant but a couple of favourites are Bella Italia and Jam Jars in Jesmond, Newcastle.

10.   What British song pop into your head?
Spice Girls – Wannabe because it’s my ultimate song. Nothing will ever compare. Annddd..the national anthem. I seriously love it! When the Commonwealth Games was on a few weeks ago, every time it came on I would find myself humming along…although we’ll forget I also found myself singing along to the Australian anthem too… Don’t even ask how I somehow know the tune, never mind the actual words to it, I truly cannot cope with myself sometimes...

11.   No1 British person?
K – Middy is the ultimate isn’t she. She’s just so classy and beaut  - I mean I know she has about 8567 stylists and hairdressers etc but no one can argue that her hair is the bomb.

12.   Marmite?
I tag - Maddy :)
Charlotte x

Monday, 4 August 2014

read and reviewed | Thirteen Weddings by Paige Toon #7

I had a book hangover after I finished this little beauty. Thirteen Weddings by Paige Toon is the perfect chick lit and so much more. After having a drunken one night stand, half way across the world in the UK, Aussie girl Bronte has a rather big shock when a year later, after accepting a temporary job offer in London, she comes face to face with that exact guy on her first day at work when she realises he’ll actually be one of her work colleagues. Tears, temptation, lust, love and friendship are packed into this perfect summer read as Bronte struggles to come to terms with her past, whilst muddling her way through the present.
I really did love this book – it’s an easy read, which leaps straight into the story – nothing worse than being 6 chapters in and still not having a clue what’s going on – and I devoured it in less than 2 days. I loved the ending so much; you find yourself willing it to happen from about half way through but at the same time, not really expecting it to happen either.. Ooooh mystery - go read it!
Fully recommended – 5/5
Charlotte x

Friday, 1 August 2014

social media cleanse

I’ve had to have a little sit down with myself over the past week or so. I was continuing to do something that just isn’t ok and it actually isn’t healthy, so enough is enough – I’ve put an end to it. I may be judged for this post, or I may make you think about your activity on social media, either way I know for a fact I’m not the only one who has done it.  

This week, I feel like I’ve cleansed my brain...ooh how mystical and hippie like... but no seriously, I have decided that I no longer want to be someone who follows people on social media, purely to pick apart their tweets or Instagram posts with a friend. Disclaimer – I have never ever EVER sent a message of any kind to anyone on social media of nastiness or bitchiness; e.v.e.rI don’t see why people do it and I definitely don’t see who it benefits – just sad sad people. No, I’m not talking about the infamous internet trolls, they aren’t worth anyone’s time, I’m talking about following someone, who you don’t particularly like, for no reason at all but the whole ‘did you see what Fred* posted a few hours ago, why would he even say that?!’ debacle.  

Negativity can eat you alive; it seeps into every pore and becomes part of your everyday life. It starts with complaining every so often, and then gradually, you see yourself slipping into a dark hole of moaning and complaining, bitching and sniping – it changes who you are as a person. It changes your outlook on life and your motivation for the day and I have come to the conclusion that I am not willing to carry on like that any longer. I am not willing to waste my time, talking about people that simply are not worth it. The negativity, along with the people, has to go.  
We waste enough hours of our lives on the internet – we miss so much of what life has to offer – so why make that even worse by not even liking the people we waste our time on?! I think that actually, it stems from high school, which is by far the most toxic environment that a girl can find themselves in. I look on Facebook now, at the younger people who are finding their way through their teens, making very petty arguments very very public and it’s some of the bitchiest things I’ve ever seen! Why do we insist on tearing each other down when we should be building each other up? Gals, there are enough people in this world who are ready and waiting to rip your confidence, personality and looks to shreds – let’s not make it ok for them to do it by participating in it ourselves… 

We can’t all like each other – and I do honestly believe that, I cannot and do not accept that there are people out there who like everyone – it’s not normal but that’s ok. It’s ok because how boring would it be if we were all likeable and the same; being different is what makes the world such a unique place. It’s ok because we don’t need to interact and surround ourselves around those people. Instead of throwing punches (hypothetically, let’s keep it classy), we can ignore it and surround ourselves(on social media and  in real life) with the people that we love, that interest us, that inspire us – that make us strive for more.  Whilst I’m giggling at a person’s from high schools tweets, or I’m discussing it with my friends, I’m not doing anything but wasting my own time – and it most certainly doesn’t make me a better person. 

So on a lazy Sunday morning, when even making a cup of tea is up there with climbing Mount Everest, in regards to effort levels, I began the cleanse. Along with those that I’d followed for the simple reason that they’d followed me (soo 2012..) I courageously clicked that unfollow button on those people that I’d pathetically followed for the occasional cheap thrill of an outrageously arrogant tweet that I'd find vaguely humorous and bing! Genuinely, I felt so much better! All those ill feelings that I'd harboured subconsciously, just disappeared.

I've found a range of writers and journalists, bloggers and hell, actually interesting people, that's tweets genuinely interest me, that's writing I'm in awe of. Come on, let's stop the 'dislike following(it's not hate following, I don't care about them enough), let the high school bitchiness go and have a social media cleanse. Hey, if you're feeling really crazy, you could even read a book...

Charlotte x
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