Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Eating in the North East - iglouu

I love food, a lot. I eat food, a lot. 

SO, I thought I'd start a new series, reviewing all the places I go - mainly in the North East - giving myself a rather fabulous excuse to eat out more often and if I happen to find myself in a cake shop, well...it's for the blog, so I basically have no choice but to carry on eating, guilt free... Right?


iglouu is a cafe selling frozen yoghurt, milkshakes, smoothies, waffles and other wonderful treats, in Jesmond, Newcastle. With milkshake flavours in pretty much any chocolate bar you could ever think of, it's basically the dream place for anyone with a sweet tooth. Galaxy cookie crumble, reese's peanut butter cups, kinder bueno, malteasers - you name it, they've got it and it is heaven.

As I'm sure many of you will agree, there is nothing better than finding something that tastes delicious and doesn't contain 24654 calories with the fat free frozen yoghurt served here, being one of them - a guilt free treat! On my second visit, I decided to go against all my natural instincts and not get chocolate (I know, I'm still in shock as I type..) and instead chose the 'Tropical Parfait'. With natural frozen yoghurt, along with kiwi, pineapple and banana, topped off with granola and a dust of coconut, it really was amazing and leaving guilt free, made it even better!

If you fancy visiting this fun little cafe, I would highly recommend it, although I would look at the menu before you go because, I know I'm prone to maybe being a tad dramatic, but it may take you about a year to decide what flavours and toppings and sauces to have - so.much.choice.

Let me know if you decide to take a visit and tweet me a picture to @CharlotteHallx of what you ordered so I can add it to my list of what to try next...

Sunday, 15 March 2015

10 reasons why you absolutely have to vote in the upcoming General Election

You may hear the word 'politics' and immediately switch off, because it's boring and for old people, right?


Personally, I am really interested in politics, despite at times it being so frustrating that I want to punch a wall really bloody hard and shout 'WILL YOU ACTUALLY EVER LISTEN TO ANY OF US', however I can completely understand why young people in particular, may have just given up even trying to 'get' it. 

A huge problem with young people and politics is accessibility to relevant, straight forward, clear information because despite the desperate cries of certain areas of the media screaming and shouting that 'young people don't care', we actually do. The work of Bite the Ballot over the last few months has been fantastic (if you haven't already looked at their website/youtube channel then I strongly advise you too) and has really shown that now more than ever, young people are engaged and passionate about politics.

But none of this means anything if you don't vote in the upcoming General Election on May 7th this year. 

Figures from 2010 General Election - Google Images
Here are 10 reasons why you absolutely HAVE to vote:

1. In the 2010 General Election, just 44% of 18-25 year olds voted. Young people's voices were not heard and this is kind of the reason that students are now paying tuition fees of £9,000. Politicians protect those that vote(old people) and they can basically screw over, (which I'm told is the official description used in Parliament by the way) those that don't because HEY, young people don't care about society do they so it serves them right... 

2. Do you want the NHS to keep being free? Or do you think it should be privatised? If you have an opinion on it, vote.

3. Do you want to buy a house in the next 10 years? Or do you agree with current house prices? If you have an opinion on it, vote.

4. Do you think cannabis should be legalised and drug use should not be a criminal offence? Or not? If you have an opinion on it, vote.

5. Do you enjoy paying tuition fees of £9,000 a year? I find it positively liberating that people two years older than me paid a fraction of what I do for the exact same qualification, don't you? No? Vote.

6. This election is set to be one of the closest there has ever been so every single vote counts. Your vote could be the difference between a Conservative or Labour government, a Conservative-UKIP coalition government (ew), a Labour-SNP coalition government(eek).. Who knows! How exciting!(I know I'm a geek, it's already been established a long time ago ok..).

7. We live in a democratic country! Yay! (Or do we?.. That's for another time) Make the most of it. Have your say. Vote!

8. Not to put a dampener on your day but people died so that we had the right to vote. I mean it's the least we can do really isn't it..

9.You have the ability to change people's lives with that one little piece of people which you fill in. 

10. As Rick Edwards says in his (very, very good) book, YOUR VOTE IS YOUR VOICE. 

Please don't stay silent on May 7th this year, make your voice heard.

You want to read MORE you say? Well if you say so.. Here's my thoughts on 'why people don't vote'..

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Why do we worry?

How pointless is worrying?

Yet we all do it.

I am a huge worrier, but it seems to have gotten significantly worse since I came to university, last year. Maybe it's because I've moved away from all of my little home comforts, maybe it's because I have more responsibilities now but could it be that we are living in a society where everyone is striving to be the perfect person? Who knows, but over the last few months it seems to have gotten worse and I'm really not sure why.

It could be that I'm possible the biggest drama queen on the planet and need to get a grip of myself because everyone feels the same way and just gets on with life, but I don't want to constantly wake up, and walk around, with what feels like a weight on my shoulders or a grey cloud above my head. It's so frustrating because I have a good life! I'm lucky enough to have a family that love and support me, great friends, a job supporting me while I study - I couldn't ask for much more at the age of 20 (apart from Kendall Jenner's face and Beyonce's body but I think that could be a tad unrealistic...). I'm sick of making up situations that are most probably never going to happen, analysing conversations that I've had and chastising myself for something I said, thinking...

'why would you say that?'

'that wasn't funny at all'

'they probably think you're so weird now'

...because you know what, the only person thinking about that conversation which happened maybe days, weeks or months ago, is me. And hell, even if that person is, they're probably thinking the exact same thing about themselves.

It really is just ridiculous and I refuse to keep on filling my mind with this constant negativity and self doubt. It's impossible to stop it completely but we can live a life where worries are not continuously clouding our brains, so I'm taking steps to stop the pointless worrying and anxiety about the smallest little things, in the hope to have a more calm and positive mindset.

Maybe you'll find these tips useful? ...Is anyone even still reading at this point? Who knows, humour me...

1. Download Headspace app
 > A mindfulness app which, step by step, teaches you how to take 10 minutes out of your day to sit, relax and clear your mind of any stress or worry you may have. For the first few sessions you just hope there isn't a hidden camera in your room watching you sit on the floor, legs crossed and eyes closed, because you do feel like a bit of a dick but, it really does help. It completely relaxes you, and it forces you to make time for yourself to just chill.

2. Write worries down
 > I worry a lot at night as for some reason, my brain thinks it's some sort of funny joke to pretend it's tired all day but suddenly come alive at night and wants to go over every little thing that's ever happened in my life. After researching online (so cool, I know), writing any worries that you may have down before you go to bed, in the hope that it lets you get it out of your system, seemed to be recommended a lot so having started this week, I'm going to try this out and see if it actually works.

3. Talk
 > As the saying goes, 'a problem shared, is a problem halved'. Bottling things up doesn't help anyone and chances are, whoever you confide will reassure you so so much.

4. Be rational 
 > Sometimes it's hard but I try to live by a saying my grandma has always told me.. 'There's always a way round it'. Some things can be blown so monumentally out of proportion and it can seem like the absolute end of the world, but really it's not, and there really is always a way round it.

Charlotte x

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Make it happen.

Growing up I never thought, that as a young female living in England, I was at any kind of disadvantage and would ever be discriminated against in any way. It seems naive and pretty ignorant but it never even occurred to me that because I was a girl, I would have less opportunities and would be seen as having less value or 'worth' in society. I'm living in the UK in the 21st century, surely those kind of attitudes just don't exist anymore, right? Sadly, I was wrong. Sexism in the workplace, the gender pay gap, abortion still being illegal in the western world - there are so many ways in which females are continuing to be discriminated against and it is just beyond belief as to how this is STILL happening? I just can't comprehend it.

- Google Images
But, despite the many steps we still have to take, we have made so much progress and tomorrow, on International Women's Day, we should be proud of that. We should use this day to listen to all of the strong, inspirational women who are achieving bigger and better things each day and use this as a tool to keep changing traditions set up by men for men. 

On Friday 6th March, I attended Newcastle University's International Women's Day conference, with talks from some of the region's most successful business women. After a few weeks of feeling pretty 'blah' about, well, everything, it was amazing to sit in a room and listen to these people who have experienced failure and success, but most importantly, have never given up. With social media constantly showing you these incredible people who are doing all these amazing things and having a life that only dreams are made of, it's so difficult to not compare yourself and let it get you down. However when I was listening to women such as TV presenter, Kim Inglis and Labour MP, Chi Onwurah, it was so clear how determined they've been to get where they are today so if not them, why not me? Why not you? Make your own luck and achieve your own success, right?

It's time to stop accepting that it's a man's world and we're just living in it. No seriously, f*ck that. There are so many incredible, amazing, inspiring women all around the world and it is not ok that we are still fighting to be paid equally, still fighting to be judged on our intelligence and skills rather than how our hair looks or what we're wearing. 

Let's celebrate International Women's Day and what we have achieved so far and then look to the future, because it looks so so bright.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

read and reviewed #10

I don't do new year's resolutions. Firstly because I know that if I did make any, I would break them within 24 hours and secondly, because I think if you want to do something so badly, surely you can just do it at any time of the year, no? Anyway, what I'm trying to get round to saying is that I don't do new years resolutions, but towards the end of last year I promised myself to make more time to turn off my laptop, put my phone on silent and read actual books. I've partly succeeded but Netflix putting all 10 seasons of Friends on Netflix in January put a real spanner in the works, I'm not going to lie to you. Are you bored of me yet? I am. Ok, enough. Here are some thoughts on my recently read books, enjoy..

White Teeth - Zadie Smith
This is a funny, witty, well written book about the lives of two life long friends - Bangladeshi Samad Iqbal and Englishman Archie Jones, and their families in London. Addressing hugely important topics such as religion, class, gender, culture and science, it's not a book you will devour in a couple of hours, but that you will appreciate over a week or two. Beautifully written by author Zadie Smith, who was just 24 years of age when it was published, the book deserves every single award it has been given. It is slightly over hyped with the ending not particularly setting the world on fire, but I do think whenever such fuss is made about a book or film etc, you expect it to be the most incredible thing ever created, and so therefore impossible expectations are placed upon it. If you want something a little different, but with incredible language and fantastic characters, this is for you.

Station Eleven - Emily St John Mandel
I'd heard so much about this book, so when my cousin offered me her copy to read I was excited to see what the fuss was about. It's quite difficult to get into in my opinion and for a while, I really didn't 'get' it but after about 100 pages, I was completely hooked. Based on a pandemic which wiped out almost all of humanity, it makes you really think about the world we currently live in, and without meaning to sound cringey, it makes you appreciate it so much. There aren't many books which make you stop reading, sit back and think but this really did. 

3 quotes I loved from this book were:

“First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered.” 

“You walk into a room and flip a switch and the room fills with light. You leave your garbage in bags on the curbside, and a truck comes and transports it to some invisible place. When you're in danger, you call for the police. Hot water pours from faucets. Lift a receiver or press a button on a telephone, and you can speak to anyone. All the information in the world is on the Internet, and the Internet is all around you, drifting through the air like pollen on a summer breeze. There is money, slips of paper that can be traded for anything: houses, boats, perfect teeth"

“I'm talking about these people who've ended up in one life instead of another and they are just so disappointed. Do you know what I mean? They've done what's expected of them."

The Last Anniversary - Lianne Moriarty
Lianne Moriarty never ever disappoints. Her writing style makes her novels so easy to read, constantly building tension so you never want to put it down. The Last Anniversary is centred around a group of people who live on Scribbly Gum island in Australia and a secret that is on the verge of being let slip, with the voice of the book changing from chapter to chapter. Eccentric characters albeit a slightly predictable end but great if you don't want anything too heavy or difficult to get into.

What have you read recently?

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