Tuesday, 1 September 2015

For and Against: The End of the Summer Holiday Era

As the days continue to head towards Friday - otherwise known in my world as the official end of summer - I'm sort of trying to come to terms with several things which will almost certainly disappear as soon as I walk through my school's gates in three days' time:

1) No more 'let's-play-on-my-phone-for-half-an-hour-in-order-to-walk-my-half-asleep-self-up' lie-ins which, despite often leaving me more tired than I would usually feel because of staring at an electronic screen (a device that has an ironic way of draining you of energy like excessive usage on a phone sucks all of the battery dry), I will sorely miss. I mean, what is more enjoyable than waking up to images of Kim Kardashian spilling out of her oh-so-tight dress at ten in the morning - this is something that never ever happens during term-time, so I obviously want to make the most of it while it lasts! For, um, another two mornings...

2) To the disgust of my inner fashionista, I will have to return to wearing a horribly clear nail polish from Friday because my school states that coloured nail polish, along with hair dyes, are against the 'rules'. Well, considering that half of my year have dyed their hair at one point (including some of the boys, one of which transformed himself into a Black Sabbath tribute act upon apparently having a 'disaster' with a packet of black hair dye), I find it ridiculous that I can't even wear a subtle, chic and professional-looking pinky nude shade on my nails while others are essentially given permission to emulate the cast members of The Only Way is Essex in their school uniforms. Totally not what I consider to be the concept of fairness!!!

Therefore, I will shed one or two heartfelt tears when I finally take off my gorgeous black nail polish - the very first time that I've ever worn it, which only worsens the psychological agony of having to expose it to the revoltingly scented nail polish remover - because I will have to wait until the October half-term to paint my nails another colour once again. Just why?! Such cruelty is definitely unfair, I must admit; over the course of this summer, I have rediscovered my passion for nail polish, trying favourite colours such as bloodthirsty red and Starbucks-esque taupe browns, in addition to experimenting with gun-metal greys and, currently, gothic blacks. Now that my eyes have been exposed to a Dulux variety of colours, my heart begs to not return to my former existence as a clear-painted girl - life is simply not vibrant without an injection of colour!!!

Just another of life's many injustices!

3) Jeans. Whether dark, stormy blue, baby pink or grunge-inspired grey, I have absolutely loved wearing jeans on pretty much a daily basis over the past six weeks, especially as I have finally broken in my new grey pair after many rather agonising attempts! No longer am I struggling to yank my feet out of the jeans like I was before the summer holidays commenced; personally, I don't think that there is a better feeling than wearing a pair of greatly fitted jeans.

Ah, if only the same could be said about my blazer which, despite fitting significantly better than the one I used to wear at my old school, still has the effect of making me feel like a Year 7: as soon as I place it onto my shoulders, I instantly forget that I'm indeed 16 years old, not a mere eleven year old about to start their first day at the so-called 'terrifying' secondary school.

At least jeans make me feel like I'm my age and, unless I pick up a pair in the wrong size, they fit me perfectly - unless my blazer miraculously shrinks over the course of Year 11, I very much doubt that I will feel any older than a Year 7!

4) Lunch - how will I ever cope with all-day access to the fridge?! I once had to tear myself away from my kitchen's cupboards after ending my seven year stint as a home-schooled student, which was more than painful enough, yet I somewhat feel like I'm having to repeat this over a year on: letting go of what you truly love is never easy, as I'm coming to realise at this very moment.

Even though I'm fortunate to have a packed lunch over the measly-looking school dinners that some of my friends eat (and sometimes don't finish off), eating at school is never the same as it is at home: no amount of persuasive words can change my thoughts otherwise. As a renowned slow eater, I often pressurise myself into eating my lunch ridiculously quickly - which, if you ate at a normal pace, you would probably consider to be a normal pace - so that my friends wouldn't waste half of their lunch time waiting for me to finish my reasonably small roll, let alone my box of raisins and baby cucumbers (which many people mistake for pickles, which I absolutely detest!). As a result, I often feel like I haven't enjoyed my lunch as much as I appreciate the meals I consume at home because giving myself the time to savour every mouthful is important to me: otherwise, I would prefer to have not eaten a thing at all as I don't gain an ounce of pleasure from it.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

What I Love Right Now...

Like any other teen, I find it easier to plunge myself into a new love affair with dainty earrings than get motivated to go over a year's worth of Maths work - why? Obviously, falling head of three inch heels (which I'm keen to increase in height, especially as I've long given up hope of getting taller) over something that I cannot resist liking symbolises fun, which I can never get enough of. If life's biggest issues could revolve around deciding which earrings and necklaces to wear in the morning, undoubtedly I'd have much less to think (and worry) about, but never mind...

In many ways, I'm as unpredictable as the classically wet and wild British summer which, over the past week, has ranged from I-don't-think-that-I-can-bear-another-second-of-this mini heatwave during the previous week to the present I-will-freeze-like-a-refrigerated-Oreo-ice-cream-sandwich-if-I-don't-wear-my-thermals chilliness. Well, maybe you can blame my Britishness - and clearly the bizarre weather that I've grown up with - for the quirks existing in my unique personality, which certainly contribute to my present interests and thoughts. 

Despite my hatred of using the over-used word 'so' to start a sentence (which has brewed like a quietly rampaging volcano since my mum pointed this out to me weeks ago), on this occasion I'll make use of 'so' because I cannot be bothered to think of another word. As the clock hasn't even struck eleven in the morning yet as I write this, please excuse my frazzled, if not slightly tired brain for a lack of original words - I guess that you've found out my oh-so-terrible secret about definitely not being a morning person!

So, what I do love with all my heart (and everything else within me) at this very moment? 

1. George (not the prince, but close enough)

In life, we meet many people of all ages, genders, personalities and sizes - despite the saying, the world isn't quite as small as we are led to believe. Yet, how many people would you consider to be your nearest and dearest, representing much more than an excuse to gorge on creamy frappes from Starbucks on a chilly November afternoon? 

Well, I'm glad to declare that George, one of my four cats, is included in this exclusive group, whom I love like one worships the now-fallen One Direction - seriously, my affection for George would be on a par with an eight year old's obsession with Harry Style's curly mop that is supposedly considered to be 'hair'. Yeah, I'm not so sure about that...

Anyway, George is very special to me because, from the moment that he arrived home nearly a year ago, he has always been tremendously loving. No kidding - like a star, George glimmers with affection, which makes his eyes, pretty much the only feature of his that I can see in semi-darkness, dazzle like diamonds in the sky. And, in case you were wondering, he certainly shines bright like a diamond because he possesses the most charming personality, which never fails to cheer me up. 

For example, George has spent the majority of this morning stalking me. Even though I have a tendency to over-exaggerate my points and get a little carried away with my words (one of the countless joys of blogging, believe me), I'm not joking: if George figured out how to use a Pritt stick, you can guarantee that he would have glued himself to my leg by now! 

Whether I'm working out in the living room or checking the latest uploads on Facebook, George has to be by my side... which has become more than slightly embarrassing whenever I visit my en-suite, which he incidentally believes is his private space too. Delightful! Since entering my en-suite, I've realised that he must never go near my bin. Why? On several occasions, I've returned to my room to find George chewing cotton wool buds that I've used to clean my ears and clear off excessive eye make-up - and I SWEAR that he has eaten at least one cotton wool bud because I once never found the other half to one that he had been chewing with eager delight. That is just unfair... I spent the rest of that day worrying that George would have to go to the vet (and all dreams of my Year 11 prom paid for next year going up in flames)! 

Even though he is mischievous, naughty and sometimes way too clingy for my liking (even I need some kitty-free time!), I still love George,  who is always the best pick-me-up. Hopefully, his mood-enhancing powers will further strengthen as I prepare to go through a busy, challenging and hard-working year - that's the power of friendship!

Saying that, I still haven't forgiven George for getting his ridiculously long (and dangerously sharp) claws stuck in my favourite jeans yet...


The boy himself - distracting me from Science revision...

2. Honeymoon 

If you haven't gotten around to hearing Lana Del Rey's latest single, High by the Beach, you must be high on something very bad - because it is a crime to not listen to Lana!!! Like a goddess, her music is enchanting, powerful and undoubtedly beautiful; whenever I hear the first few seconds of Born to Die or the violins which define the mighty Ride, I'm locked in a trance, desperate to pay attention to every single note, beat and words that flow from Lana's mouth. 

Therefore, you can only begin to visualise my elation upon finding out that Lana's third major release, the delightfully titled Honeymoon, will be released worldwide next month, which I'll certainly be snapping up as soon as possible. A song as hypnotic and catchy as High by the Beach, which I can only describe as being steamy without too much heat, fiery without burning in a pool of hot lava and catchy without driving you around the bend like Uptown Funk when it is played on the radio for the fifth time within an hour, holds great promise for the rest of Honeymoon

Even though the set-up to the title track itself, Honeymoon, is completely different to the trip hop-influenced High by the Beach, I nonetheless love it, which proves that Lana's versatility can still be enjoyed by all - thanks to her, I've been introduced to different music genres, such as psychedelic pop and rock, dream pop and blue-eyed soul, which couldn't necessarily be said about many mainstream artists in the music industry. 

Hey, I could write forever about Lana, but her music truly says it all - have a listen to High by the Beach and Honeymoon below. And, in case you were wondering, I was initially confused by HBTB's music video, so you're not the only one...







Thursday, 20 August 2015

My Future is a Year Away...

As hundreds of thousands of teenagers pick up their GCSE results today - hopefully receiving the brilliant results that they have worked tremendously hard to deserve - I cannot stop myself from thinking about how I will be among the next lot of adolescents receiving the oh-so-important grades that will stay with me for a lifetime. 

Unsurprisingly, I'm somewhat already imagining my reaction when I finally get my hands onto the envelope listing my name, containing a piece of paper as precious as a diamond ring: whatever is hidden inside represents an insight into my choices and, ultimately, my future. Kinda hard not to feel a bit nervous about the whole thing, right? Still, I'm nonetheless excited about the fact that, by this time next year, my life will finally be GCSE-free, unless I manage to mess up big time in Maths or English, which would require as many re-sits as needed until I achieve the preferred 'C' grade - otherwise known as a pass. 

Anyway, GCSE results day usually symbolises the beginning of an end of the summer holidays because there is only really one whole week left until school is once again within sight (albeit a bit blurry without wearing my vision-enhancing glasses). In many ways, I'm relieved that school is almost on the verge of beginning because a fire, as heated and fierce as red-hot anger, is still burning intently, keen to leap through the many barriers until I've completed every single exam - my ultimate goal of 2016! 

At this very moment, I can feel this impatience burning inside of me to start Year 11 and reach the finishing line because I'm as motivated as ever: a quality which will hopefully keep me sane over the next ten months. Even though the summer holidays are only about six weeks long, I just feel as though I could have been getting on with Year 11 work, though trying to do this at home is so difficult because your teachers can't give you advice in your bedroom. Nevertheless, no words can truly describe my relief in having not lost a single ounce of motivation over the holidays - a possibility for anyone. yet a horrendous occurrence anyway. 

Luckily, my school doesn't begin the new term until literally the end of the week after next, ironically opening on a Friday for all pupils apart from Year 7s (the youngest and newest members, who I often pity because adjusting to secondary school life is significantly harder when so young) and sixth formers, who return a day earlier. How delightful to think that, after receiving my GCSE results in a years' time, I will have to face sixth form twenty four hours sooner than the GCSE students - one less cherished lie-in for me! Well, I'll probably spend the whole of next summer (all thirteen weeks of it thanks to finishing school by mid-June) consoling myself on that dreadful fact...

Still, I think that coming back on a Friday is ridiculous because, for starters, some people might adopt the attitude that returning for a single day before the weekend is pointless, believing their time can be better spent on the likes of Netflix or Xbox instead. Although I think that bunking off the first day of the new year is extremely childish, I wouldn't put this past some idiots, who would cling to the summer holidays like a monkey hangs off a branch. Really, if everyone else can be bothered to spend their Fridays in a classroom instead of going into Subway, making the effort to turn up is not that hard - in comparison to sitting exams, which are luckily several months away from now! 

Despite nursing the urge to return to school, I'm unable to swallow the small flavour of sadness at the prospect of giving up my lie-ins, which I've often taken for granted because they have seemed so unlimited and infinite. Honestly, within a week or two of being away from following your usual routine, you forget that school ever existed: although I wouldn't exactly want that to become a reality, I'd be over the moon if lie-ins could become a part of my typical day-to-day routine during term time! 

Additionally, I've appreciated having time away from studies because I've been able to focus on hanging out with my friends, doing things for myself and indulging in treats (not food-related ones, if that's what you thought I meant!) that I often don't feel like enjoying during school time, such as listening to music, going for walks and watching TV (particularly True Blood, which I've been binge-watching for about a week). As a result, I'm now fully committed to ensuring that, along with revising and studying, I will reserve time to relax because, despite my fantasies of being the 2015 equivalent to Superwoman, I'm not an exam machine: happiness can be obtained from many other things asides from learning! Though figuring out the perfect balance between work and play presenting several issues as I honestly have no idea as to how to achieve it, making an effort to be fair to myself in all aspects is nonetheless important. And, whether I forget it or not, Year 11 doesn't last forever - hence why it's called a year, not years! Obviously. 

The future is still far away because a year takes a long time to complete, but I'm excited to be putting in the finishing touches to what should be a beautiful and pretty ending. No, no, I'm not talking about a cake, even though all results day receivers deserve a slice of crumbly, creamy and comforting happiness. In fact, I've done most of the hard work - the preparation and baking of the sponge - yet now I need to focus on perfecting the icing, which protects the sponge underneath it. As long as it tastes delicious and looks fine, I'll be happy - knowing that I've tried my hardest to achieve a cake worthy of being praised on the Great British Bake-Off. Oh, if only exams could be more similar to cookery shows...


Saturday, 15 August 2015

Meeting Up and Hanging Out

On the off-chance that you might have been curious as to where I've been for the past few days, you needn't think that I was residing on a remote island which is located even more in the boring land of 'the middle-of-nowhere' than where I usually live, without barely a trace of Wifi connection. If such a thing ever became a possibility, you can pretty guarantee that I would never let go of the router which provides my absolute treasure: internet connection. Therefore, I'm unlikely to go very far...

In fact, I've actually been heading into the nearby town on two separate occasions to meet up with my friends, who I haven't seen since we broke up for the summer holidays about a month ago (yikes!). Since getting my head together (in other words, ensuring that my life consists of more than browsing through Facebook every two hours) and begrudging that the boredom which typically defines the month of August, I'm actually quite stunned that there are only two more proper full weeks of summer until school edges closer and closer in sight.

Despite wishing to return to 'normal', in the sense that I would once again appreciate hours of having the downstairs television all to myself, I cannot believe that Year 11 will be commencing in twenty days - no matter what I've said before, I'm not ready!!! For instance, I promised myself to go over my Maths work over the summer, but the nearest that I've gotten to it is using the calculator on my friend's smartphone whilst determining how much change to give back when I was working as Front of House for a school production a fortnight ago. Still, my memory can't be that bad if I can remember how Pythagoras' Theorem works, though please don't bombard me with questions about Sin, Cos and Tan - just praise me for bothering to remember their titles, let alone the way in which you use them!

Anyway, I shall be making the most of these precious few lie-ins in addition to going over various things, such as the books I've read in English, and quizzing myself on various theories related to Sociology, one of my favourite subjects which I'd love to study at sixth form. Even though I've realised that revising at home doesn't work particularly well with me because the hard-working atmosphere is at its strongest at school, I'm still trying because I like having something meaningful to do with my spare time; despite the agony that it presents for my poor heart, studying algebraic equations is far more appealing than complaining about not having Netflix for the hundredth time in a week.

As this blog follows the life of a modern teenager, it only seems fitting for me to discuss what actually happens in my life - such as catching up with my friends after not seeing them in what felt like forever! The first friend that I saw was a boy whom I'd gotten to know rather well after spending the day with him on a rewards trip at the end of last term; despite having occasionally spoken to one another beforehand, I felt like I could speak to him without worrying about being misunderstood. Like a light being switched on, it occurred to me at one point or another that the boy, who I'll refer to as James (as you can possibly tell, I'm useless with boys' names - the only one I can currently think of is a evil vampire from Twilight), was someone that I wanted to become friends with.

Considering that I usually regard myself as quite shy and find it initially hard to open up with others, I didn't have any obstacles to leap over in order to speak freely with James - and, as the summer holidays were only around the corner, I was keen to carry on the conversation that we had begun on that day, this time without being intruded by our classmates.

As my village literally consists of one shop and two okay-ish pubs, I figured that going into town was the best place to meet up - despite the lack of interesting shops and activities, there was much more to do and see, which was far more appealing to me. Where did James and I go? For lunch, Subway was the place of choice; despite never being overly keen on what I consider to be 'fast-food' outlets, I actually don't mind Subway because I can purchase wholemeal bread before filling it with low-fat meats such as turkey or chicken breast and plenty of salad, which would keep me full for hours. It was also quite cheap as well, which is always a bonus factor because I'd rather keep my spending to a minimum whilst eating out so that I have more money to spend on clothes and make-up!

However, I was so taken aback by James' generosity: instead of letting me pay for my lunch, he paid for it himself. What a gentleman!!! No matter how much I assured him about wanting to pay myself, he was so insistent. Never before in my life had anyone, apart from my parents, paid for anything like that for me, which made me realise even more what a fantastic person he is.

For the rest of the afternoon, we mostly walked around town, catching sight of a few familiar faces whilst strolling along on the pavements, talking about various interests, passions and beliefs. Really, I couldn't ask for anything more in anyone - having someone to talk to about practically anything is all I honestly need to be happy. Then we hung out at his house for a while, watching an episode of the hilarious Bad Education (which I seriously need to watch on my brother's Xbox ASAP, if I figure out how to use the console) and just talking, which is more precious to me than visiting numerous places.

By the end of the day, which had resulted in my missing the bus home because I was too happy to realise that I needed to stick my hand out to alert the bus driver to let me on (though half an hour later I caught the bus with my dad, who wasn't thrilled over having to speed-walk into town), I felt as though I'd truly made a friend, who would watch out for me and always demonstrate the greatest of manners that you could ever hope to see. Although nothing has yet been planned, I'd love to invite him over to my house before the holidays end, especially as my parents already like him (any guy who pays for their daughter's lunch is marked very high in their books).

Although people have a tendency to think that all relationships between girls and boys are romantic, there are not necessarily so because, in order for a relationship to survive, there must be a bond - otherwise, if the romantic feelings cease to exist, there is no foundation stopping the relationship from shattering into tiny, sharp and broken pieces. As to whether I want a relationship right now, I honestly don't know, but I'm strong believer in taking some things as they come - not all ideas should be dismissed until you know the full story!

On another topic, I caught up with one of (female) friends on Thursday afternoon, where we visited Subway (seemingly a popular choice of place for teens), and strolled around town, not particularly looking for anywhere to go; once again, we were more interested in speaking to one another than paying attention to where we were! In the end, though, we decided to visit one of our friend's house, which is ironically a five minute walk from our school (albeit she nonetheless gets a lift in the morning!), because we had run out of things to do. Also, the weather was not predicted to be all-too-good as rain was in the air, so I was keen to avoid being caught out in a heavy shower; to this day, I still haven't gotten my hands on a waterproof mascara!

Whilst at my friend's house, we sat around the TV - well, we tried to without my friend's dogs leaping onto all of us, eager for attention - and watched two episodes of Rupaul's Drag Race, which is definitely a reason why I need to sign up to Netflix: it was so entertaining! To a certain extent, the contestants knew more about make-up than me and even wore a few lipsticks which I'd love to have... need I say more?

Despite being less 'intimate' than my day out with James, seeing my two friends again was really nice because hanging out together at school isn't always easy as I often have duties or am in different classes. And, rather unsurprisingly, both of them were very interested in how my day went with James, though I don't think that any words could capture the excitement which surrounded that day.

Now that marks today's tale of leading life as a modern teen. If you really wanted to know (which is unsurprisingly as trends change all the time), we simply text one another, asking if we fancy meeting up - unlike some people, I prefer texting to messaging on Facebook because I feel as though it is more discreet and private, an asset which I never fail to appreciate. Unless we're in cities, we don't tend to go very far, though if we do, it is mostly just to talk - nothing more I can say, really!

Here's to meeting up once again. hopefully pretty soon...


Sunday, 9 August 2015

The Relentless Hassles of Being A Girl

Over the course of my sixteen years on this planet, several things have knocked me off my apparently average-sized feet: one of which includes the problems that are expected with being a girl. Obviously, both genders have their drawbacks - otherwise we wouldn't be able to recognise the benefits, would we? - but, in a way, I've always felt that the negatives of being a girl are more pronounced than the ones possibly experienced by boys because so many of these hassles are visual - a.k.a. your eyes cannot ignore seeing imperfections! Well, I was sort of hoping that my short-sightedness might have eased the pains sometimes endured by living in a female body, but I would have to be asleep all the time if I were to pay no attention to problems; in some ways, I think that I might have a sixth sense for trouble! A perfect example of a female-related hassle...

In my opinion, I feel that the reason why girls have a harder time with their gender is because society has painted all-perfect image of the fairer sex which we are pressurised into living up to. For example, does anyone take much notice if a man is caught wearing sloppy tracksuit bottoms and an ancient, tatty t-shirt outside? Not really. Unlike women, men don't feel as though they need to be clad in glamourous clothing all the time because glamour is not a term constantly associated with their gender; we, including women, often expect them to be dressed casually, which we absent-mindedly believe is a representation of their sex because things have always been that way.

However, women are more likely to be criticised - mostly by fellow women - for adopting a casual look because it is instilled in our minds to reject 'scruffy' appearances because it doesn't symbolise the beauty which women are usually renowned for. Even for me, when I visualise what a women looks like, the first few ideas which pop into my head are smart clothing - e.g. dresses - and immaculate make-up - e.g. foundation which mostly definitely not dripping down your face in tropical weather. Sounds stereotypical, doesn't it? Well, I apologise my thinking, yet such images have literally been forced down my throat from early ages - magazines, TV and even dolls have influenced my views. I suppose that it isn't surprising that toys can be highly influential because even my Bratz dolls wre never bare-faced, regardless of whether they were glamming it up in a dress or dressing down in fitness wear - hardly promoting an inspirational message of being true to yourself!

Still, my entry today is not entirely based on living up it up as a glamourpuss (a word which I wish that I could use more often, if not only for describing myself!), though beauty does play a major role in winding me up on a daily basis. Oh, I've lost count over the amount of times that I've suffered for the sake of looking good; as life expectancy further increases, my biggest fear is that I have many years yet of crippling myself in ridiculously high heels, applying way too much make-up on my face and plastering on a Hollywood-style smile whilst resisting the urge to scream in agony. Most certainly my kind of joy...

Bras

Boys, you really don't know how lucky you are to not be condemned to a lifetime of wearing itchy, heavy and uncomfortable garments so that what is essentially two Cornetto-shaped bits of fat don't slap you in the face when you try to run up the stairs! And that's without even considering the horrors that occur during the dreaded time of the month.

Despite being fortunate in being relatively small-chested, which is a massive relief when considering that the average bra size in the UK is now 36D, there are occasions when I wonder whether I'm carrying a pair of weights on my chest. Hence why I refuse to participate in a marathon bigger than climbing the stairs as everything goes out of control!

In addition to this, finding the right bra for you is an absolute pain in the you-know-what. If you want to wear something attractive, only padded bras provide it with different patterns and prints (including my oh-so-beloved leopard print), yet these aren't exactly the most practical choice when running on a treadmill - unfortunately, I've learnt the painful lesson of putting practicality over beauty unless being practical is unneeded.

As for push-up bras, they are identical to padded ones but are even more padded - in a way, they feel more comfortable than a mattress! Yet the labels on these bras aren't always clear, which is why I often pick up a bra, thinking that it is the one of my dreams (because it isn't in the dreaded dull-as-dishwater white colour), before I think that it is more padded than a cushion.

And, if you thought that the internet had taken away the needless hassle of going into a store and waiting in a queue to be served for hours, you will soon realise that shopping in-store is the only way that you stand any chance of picking up a decently fitted bra. Yes, it is absolutely irritating when you stroll down the lingerie section for the fourth time in two minutes, close to tears because you don't know what suits you, but the fit is what matters - unless pain or no support is your idea of fun!

Shoes

Depending on your height and shoe size, looking for shoes can be an agonising search because there are so many things which you need to take into consideration: do you seek comfort, style or a mixture of both? Also, you must consider if you want your shoes to stand out, be formal or look so casual that you could wear them wherever you go - thinking about all of these things can drive you crazy if you aren't sure as to what you want!

Therefore, heading into a shoe shop without considering any of these points is an unwise idea because you could leave with a new pair of trainers, heels, flats or boots that don't necessarily cater to your needs, along with emptying your purse. Like eating before wandering into a food-packed supermarket, you ought to ensure that you are in a stable state of mind before even looking at shoes in a shop's window - lust can have a crazy way of forcing you into getting things that you don't really need!

As I'm relatively petite (5ft 4in if you really want to know), trainers aren't really my favourite footwear because I dislike feeling short, which often leads me into wearing heels or shoes with a bit of a heel on them. Is it because I'm vain? Not at all as wearing flats places unnecessary pressure on my feet as I have quite a high instep, so I'm never going to have feet cut out for the likes of sandals, flip-flops and Converse. However, wearing flats might be more suitable for taller girls, yet getting it right with style and comfort need to be on your mind when making a purchase - the same of which also applies to heels, my preferred type of shoe.

One dilemma of mine is casual wear which, for many teenagers my age, involves being clad in pumps or trainers - shoes that I not only dislike but cannot wear without making my feet ache like mad. Still, I would look like an absolute idiot if I wore black leather three inch heels while all of my friends, even ones shorter than me, wore trainers and pumps - and, when wearing a t-shirt and jeans, high heels just don't look right on me!

This is why I pay much more attention to my clothes than shoes because footwear causes much more of a headache; besides, the first thing that I see when I look at people is their clothes, not giving the slightest thought to what they are wearing on their feet. Even though I appreciate the beauty of shoes, I highly value comfort as well - but where does the line end?






Wednesday, 5 August 2015

What Mean Girls Has Taught Me About Girl World

Like any other typical summer night, I found myself sitting in front of the TV, desperate to find something half-decent to watch. Yeah, Little Miss Picky would be willing to put her fussiness aside for the purpose of steering clear of the oh-so-dreaded bout of boredom for an hour or two - that proves how much I detest having very little to do!

Anyway, I eventually came across the hit 2004 film, Mean Girls, which is a firm favourite among my vast DVD collection, and transported myself to the cruel, crushing yet nonetheless captivating planet of Girl World for the next ninety minutes or so. 

And, as ever, I was transfixed. Completely. 

Why? So many aspects of the film - such as criticising people behind their backs - reminded me of what I've not only faced, but have witnessed during my first year back in school. Really, could I have predicted that all that I saw in the film a mere few years ago would now represent reality for me? No. Without a doubt, I had little to no idea as to what secondary school would be like asides from what I'd seen on documentaries such as Educating Yorkshire or Teens (otherwise known as the very best of what Channel 4 has to offer) which, despite symbolising the experiences of fellow teenagers, are always destined to be different to your own. 

Well, isn't everything one of a kind when you experience it yourself? This was a truth that the stars so very high in the cloudy skies decided to tell me in their unknowing and supposedly 'special' way: let's think of it as a very sharp wake-up call, like a ice cold shower in a bone-chilling December. Get the image? Glad you do.

Still, I'm sure that pretty much all of us - both girls and boys - have come across back-stabbing, nastiness and a mega big dose of cruelty during the long road to adulthood on at least one occasion; for starters, I definitely have no qualms about declaring my experiences with it in the past! In my opinion, I don't see why one ought to feel ashamed if they have been victimised by people, typically girls whose cunning brains guarantee for a sharper tug at one's delicate heartstrings, because it is a hidden truth within society: would life really be what it says on the tin if it didn't feature any moments of pure bitchiness from others whose lives contain as little excitement as an ancient documentary? Sadly, that is a prospect that many of us face up to in our teens, when our bodies might resemble those of a matured adult yet our brains remain somewhat trapped in the precious innocence of childhood - what a shame when you force yourself to walk away from such attitudes upon stumbling along the path to growing up.

Personally, I've always felt that female bullies are much worse than male ones. Why do I think so? It really doesn't take the brains of a genius to realise that the fairer sex is more vulnerable to low self-esteem and insecurities - because, unlike men, girls are more likely to display it instead of concealing it like a yellow-headed spot on their faces. In a way, girls have a harder time of hiding such issues because fellow members of the female race can live on obsessing over another person's life; hence why an activity (if you consider it to be of a such a high importance like binge-watching season four of Revenge) like gossiping often causes more trouble than needed because some people don't know when to stop putting their feet into an already muddy mess. And, believe me, that is totally not fair - whether you are at school, work or, in fact, anywhere!

This is perhaps why I find it easier to strike up friendships with boys at school though, considering that my school's population consists of three boys to every girl, it is no wonder that I don't struggle to discover any. Although it is needless to say that some boys are as hard-hearted as a few of their female counterparts, I've nonetheless discovered that the majority of boys don't believe in the bitchy ethos which defines the reputations of several girls whose company I'd rather never make myself acquainted to! Instead, boys are more care-free and relaxed, which brings out my happier side - if I hung around with the girls whose purpose in life is to be a poor impersonator of Regina George, I would only feel insecure about my looks, personality and reputation which, by the way, do not define my life because perfection equates to being yourself.

However, I am actually friends with several girls, but you could say that we stick two fingers up to the cliquey rules that unofficially influence a couple of groups who believe that the meaning of life is to mock others. Though you could get the idea that I'm part of a foul-mouthed, rude group, I'm referring to the fact that my friends and I refuse to adopt the mean ways which, in my year, seems to be one's backstage pass to popularity - whoever created such pathetic rules ought to be punished! We might not resort to criticising people behind their backs because, rather astonishingly, there are more fascinating and important things to think about (perhaps focusing on our upcoming exams?), it is sometimes too irresistible to not laugh at those who like to believe that they rule the school, but are secretly disliked by almost everyone because they create the most awkward atmospheres. Despite my ever-increasing reliance on glasses, I can most definitely see that one - shame that the bullies can't! Seriously, there are some occasions when Specsavers can't do anything for you...

Whilst watching Mean Girls for either the third or fourth time in my relatively short life (I hardly ever see films twice, so seeing MG several times is a MAJOR deal for me!), I realised that girls can be so sly when they want to get their own backs on others. For example, Regina would smile as sweetly as a muffin-baking Desperate Housewife when complimenting a girl's 'vintage' skirt, then declare that it was the 'most disgusting thing ever' as soon as the girl walked away - talk about back-stabbing!!! This led me to wonder how many times that has occurred with the particularly bitchy ones at my school, who are quick to praise one another's jewellery or clothing because they are in the same social circle, yet possibly mock that person once they are out of earshot.

It doesn't matter whether you are what people would describe you as 'popular' or a 'nobody' because I don't think that anyone can be completely immune from the bitchiness that affects some people like the plague. Sometimes, a heartless remark stares at you right in the face, whereas some mocking is never revealed to you - yet both are equally as horrible!

A question that the 'innocent' ones - e.g. my friends and I - might not like to ask themselves if whether they have been guilty of engaging in the activity that they absolutely detest. Well, I won't portray myself as a flawless angel because I'm not, but I've never met anybody who actually is! Whenever I have been tapping into my 'bitchy' powers (which are considerably weaker in comparison to those of the Charmed Ones), it has mainly been as an attack on those who criticise me or other people whom I care about. For me, bitchiness is a form of defence and making me realise that I'm not a weak character, In this sense, releasing your inner bitch isn't such a disgusting thing because it empowers you to ignore the cold-spirited beasts in the world who, upon finishing school, shall receive a cruel awakening: nobody likes bullies. And, I'm afraid, some people never change, a consequence that I hope that some will pay for because cruelty should never pay.

All in all, I'm glad to not be one of those Mean Girls who foolishly believe that everybody loves them because they emulate the lives led by fictional people - as much as I love the film, there is no way that I'll start acting like Regina George to add a bit more colour (and pink!) into my life! Even though my family probably assume that it's another lame teen movie, I fully appreciate Mean Girls as a life teacher: one shalt not bitch. Hmm, that might make a decent Facebook status!



Friday, 31 July 2015

Teen Wisdom: Piercings

Upon hitting adolescence, there are numerous things, both considered 'good' and 'bad', that are bound to attract your attention, which is at its greatest while you discover your identity on the road to adulthood: the luring power of deviant articles such as alcohol and drugs, clothes, popularity, tattoos and piercings. All of these said things contribute to establishing your very own identity - which has evolved considerably since you began to determine your preferences all the way back in your toddler years, yet this time independence has granted you more freedom to help you decide what adds up to making you who you are.

Therefore, it can only be expected that you want to dabble in different things, some as a short-lived phase while others might stay close to you for a lifetime. Yet, as all teenagers learn at one point, one of the greatest privileges of being young is that we are pretty much fearless when it comes to experimenting with our interests - and, if we use it to our advantage, that can provide plenty of exhilarating memories that can define a special period in our lives!

As a sixteen year old, I'm firmly based in the adolescence camp and shall remain so until I hit my twenties in a few years' time (though I secretly think that this cannot be possible; it only feels like five minutes ago since I spent many joyful hours playing with my Bratz dolls!). I definitely regard this as a positive because I've been granted opportunities to develop my passions, in addition to finding out what represents me - through my clothes, make-up, jewellery and, to a certain extent, piercings.

Oh yeah, how could I forget about that one? By 'a certain extent', my translation is that I'm not covered head-to-toe in studs which would not only cost me a year's worth of pocket money to purchase, but I would quite possibly not be allowed to walk within a two mile radius of my piercing-detesting school - not ideal for one who is less than a year away from sitting her GCSE exams!

Still, rules which, despite their presence, always exist for the purpose of being broken (by both students and teachers), so I'm never going to let a few words stop me from expressing myself - a quality which I believe all teenagers should have the right to develop wherever they are.

As a result of my beliefs, I didn't think twice about getting my cartilage pierced on Monday which, like both of the piercings on my lobes, I had greatly considered for a long while. Because of this, I really appreciated being able to get the piercing as I knew 100% that I wanted it; I was certainly not getting it out of pressure or lust, which has a funny way of messing with your emotions during your least clear-minded moments. Walking into a shop and requesting a piercing as soon as the idea pops into your head is a method that I don't recommend because regret could possibly be the greatest source of pain (especially if the piercing happens to go dramatically wrong), in addition to enduring a potentially agonising method of getting whatever part of your body pierced.

Besides, if you want to keep your parents in the loop as to which body parts are going to be saying hello to a fine, small hole, I doubt that you'll be given permission to go over the top with your piercings - as was the case with my parents. My mum and dad aren't overly keen on facial piercings, which I completely understand because they have never really been my kind of thing, while anything that they had never really heard of - e.g. 'tragus' is not a word that is not particularly used in my house - was off limits. And you know what? I was fine with their opinions. If they didn't express their support for me, what was the whole point in creating an uproar over a tiny, insignificant hole in my body?

Anyway, cartilage piercings are quite mainstream which, in my opinion, translates as 'normal' to most people, so I didn't particularly think that persuading my parents to let me get it done was overly hard, especially as numerous students at my school have proudly been showing off theirs for months - including my fellow prefects who are supposed to be living up to the near-impossible image of a goodie-two-shoes. Despite the popularity of the piercing at school, this didn't influence my desire to get one at all: I simply liked it. Enough said. If I want something, it would have to take a tremendous amount for my preferences to be influenced by those of others, though the fact that many others had the same piercing made me feel less like a criminal for yearning to get it - even at school, I always stick to the rules, so I was slightly on edge with regard to going against it for once!

Enough on school rules and my being a 'bad, bad girl' for once in my life - though I will recommend to all those interested in cartilage piercings to make an effort to hide their ears whilst at school so that your experiences with the naughty little word called 'trouble' is kept to an absolute minimum. Obviously! And, if you freak out at the prospect of tying your hair up in P.E., simply leave a bit of your hair loose so that you can tug it over your ears: problem solved!

What you may want to know now is, if you are going to get your cartilage pierced, where you can get the procedure done. As both of my lobe piercings had been done at Claire's, I decided to get my cartilage pierced there because I have never had any problems there, despite their use of a piercing gun attracting negativity on the internet. One of my original fears was that the piercing gun could shatter the bone in your cartilage, which would result in serious damage, but I've learnt that you ought to listen to your own instincts, rather than those of people who have probably never received a piercing at Claire's - otherwise, how will you be able to make your own decisions in life without relying on your independence? Although Claire's worked perfectly fine for me, it might not be the ideal choice for you, so I would advise that you ask your friends for reputable parlors which offer cartilage piercings. If not possible, Google it - try to find a parlor's Facebook page or reviews so that you can somewhat get a glimpse into the service you might receive. Just don't turn up to a piercing studio without being aware of its reputation; as with all people, you deserve the best possible service, so ensure that you are guaranteed to receive it!

As for the procedure itself, I can only provide a description of getting my cartilage pierced via a piercing gun, which can be only used on ears. The other method, which involves a needle, is likely to be more painful, but is recognised as hygienic and safe as long as whoever is piercing you knows exactly what they are doing. When I got my cartilage pierced several days ago, my piercer put on a disposable apron and a pair of gloves, along with cleaning the area of my ear that I wanted pierced, before she showed me the sterile earring that she would put into the sterilised piercing gun - I knew that everything was absolutely hygienic and that I was not receiving a compromised service. And the piercing itself? Like all, it hurt but it felt more like a pinch than anything else; within minutes, my piercing reduced to a gentle throb, which had literally disappeared by the time I arrived home about an hour later. Though, if I'm truly honest, receiving a free lollypop - which helps bring one's blood sugar levels up after experiencing a 'shock' to the system - probably made me feel much better!

If you're really worried about fainting, make sure that you have somebody accompanying you. In my case, Mum came with me (though there was absolutely no way I would have gotten to Claire's by walking 13 miles on a main road!), but at least having somebody who lift me off the floor if I collapsed calmed my nerves. A bit. Seriously, eat a biscuit or some fruit before visiting a piercing studio so that your blood sugar levels don't suddenly plummet when you get your piercing done - that really helps!

Now that you've accomplished the most important matter - getting your piercing - what do you do next? Cartilage piercings must be worn in the ear for at least a year in order to ensure that the hole does not close up, which would be very irritating after going through the hassle of caring for it, but you can swap your original stud for another earring within eight to twelve weeks of getting the piercing. My tips are dead simple: clean the pierced area several times a day, preferably when you wake up in the morning, after you come home from school and before you go to bed. As tempting as it might be to know that it is there, don't touch your piercing unless you've washed your hands - cartilage piercings require more delicacy than your lobes, so make sure that you are treating it with kindness!

Oh, and who could forget? Sleeping on the side with your pierced cartilage is a right pain just after you've got it pierced; I felt like a right fool for forgetting this golden rule when bedtime came around on Monday night, but one slight snuggle on my right side provided enough pain to remind me to stay off it! Unlike some things, there are absolutely no excuses: you have to avoid sleeping completely on your piercing until it settles a bit more, which can take from weeks to months. At the moment, I can slightly rest on my right side, but only if my hair has been crimped (which considerably thickens it) and I do so very gently. Still, progress is progress - as is favouring vanity over practicality (and precious beauty sleep)!

And that is pretty much all that I can tell you about cartilage piercings. Personally, I find them cool, pretty and feminine; having one simply makes me me, which is a mission that I aim to fulfil as an experimental teen - and so should you!