"In this fucked up world all you can hope for is change, and I'd rather be a hypocrite to you now than a zombie forever."

Friday, 28 December 2012

No More Rape Culture

Thanks to patriarchal structures, we live in a global 'rape culture' that normalises and condones sexual violence. So I made a collage to illustrate examples of the rape culture at work in bright colours (it's less depressing that way, just).

Friday, 19 October 2012

A book about New York. Sort of.

For nigh on 6 months, I've been involved in a tempestuous relationship with a book called 'The Good People Of New York'. What keeps me coming back to it? It's hard to say, especially since the storyline is no epic quest to find the meaning of life or love or religion. Instead, author Thisbe Nissen (cool name right?),  takes the reader on a spy-hole journey through the 'kitchen-sink drama' affairs of protagonist Roz's ordinary life in the big Apple.

Front Cover

To be truthful, Thisbe had me at 'New York'. It's no stereotypical central perk setting but that's a part of its twee charm. I can't say the blurb is particularly enticing, nor is the pace of the story itself, but both are a pleasant read/short snippet of a fantasy world that could well be someone's reality. It's the beauty of the everyday in x number of words.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Happiness remedies Part One

Small things that can make you smile.

Helping other people.
Volunteering is extremely good for your well-being! It could be anything from comforting the elderly to selling knitted cardigans at the local Cancer Research shop... No matter what kind of help you give, you'll get happy in return. Unless you're a die-hard capitalist who won't leave your bed for less than £100, volunteering is definitely for you. It's a CV booster that employers will acknowledge because they can see evidence of your work ethic and experience. Career-focused volunteering is a good way to go if you want to ensure your CV is more 3D. If you're stuck for inspiration, websites such as v.inspired.com and do-it.org are the perfect place to scout for opportunities in your local area. Alternatively, get out there and see for yourself! I'm sure your free service will be warmly welcomed in the majority of places and honestly, it's a worthwhile experience.

Hot chocolate.
Whipped cream & marshmallows included.
 To make it, I advise heating a cup of milk in a microwavable cup (check the bottom!) for about 2 minutes and stirring in lots of chocolate powder. Choose your biggest cup and your favourite brand of chocolate. Milk of choice? Cravendale. Not only do they have genius adverts but the milk is so thick&creamy&lovely. Chocolate sprinkles on top are optional, although recommended. 
It's no secret that chocolate makes us happy and a little bit won't hurt your waistline, so feel no guilt and enjoy!

If you're just plain bored of refreshing your internet browser, get outside! You'll have plenty of time to read TheThinkingGirl'sNotebook later, don't worry ;). Maybe your body is just crying out for exercise and your mind wants to concentrate rather than be numbed by notifications and youtube comments. A destination is preferable (maybe you need some more milk after that hot chocolate?) and if you plug in your iPod (avoiding the depressing music) you can click on an anthemic number and pretend you're in a film. You may as well, nobody can read your mind. Even just taking a scenic route for the purpose of relaxing is inductive to happiness - everybody needs some alone time!

Focus on the positive.
After all, if you're doing that, you're bound to be happy. Sometimes it just takes some deliberate thinking to ensure you're not wallowing in misery and instead appreciate your time on the earth. Think about something that you like or someone that makes you smile or write a list of what you're grateful for. Just smile. Be happy  and in the present moment.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

What to do this winter to keep yourself happy and helpful

What to do this winter to keep yourself happy and helpful

Go for a walk and smile at every person you come across
Fly a kite. A colourful kite
Write a story: short, long, mid-length
Buy some face paint and wear it for the whole day for no particular reason
Try out a new recipe from a fancy cookbook. Something Jamie Oliver would be proud of
Have at least 3 conversations with different people about the meaning of life
Buy a scrapbook and fill it up with love.
Decide that everything will be okay because if you believe that, it will be.
Clean your room to music – an old idea but you love it and you know it.
If you’re a boy, dress up as a girl and take photos of your beauty.
If you’re a girl, dress up as a boy and take photos of your beauty.
Donate even the smallest amount of money to charity.
Ask somebody if you can take their dog for a walk.
Watch a classic film that you have always wanted to see but never got round to seeing.
Call up an old friend – yes, CALL! – proceed to talk to them with genuine interest for at least an hour.
Open up a savings account for a super summer.
Plan that summer (including room for spontaneity)
Buy a really aesthetically pleasing puzzle and make it. Puzzles are fun. 

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Things I love Thursday!

Buying shortbread biscuits that looks like a clown's face from the bakery and buying my mother a cheesecake slice at the same time. I really enjoy going to the bakery for some reason, I think it's because it was my favourite place when I was a child.

I've suddenly been struck by the art bug! Normally I steer clear of any type of drawing beyond a doodle, for fear that my skills are laughable in comparison with some of my artistically gifted friends, however last night I had the urge to pick up my pencil and start sketching.
I've now finished a picture of Ramona Flowers from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and I'm quite proud! (Not proud enough to post a picture because this is my first attempt...)

Walking alongside the river while the sun is shining to observe nature and put it onto paper. Usually I write poetry but today I simply drew an eye instead. I think the outdoors is the perfect place to hone your creativity and it seems to be working for me!

Making plans to see people that I haven't seen in a while and finding my old favourite 'playsuit' (black velvet, mm).

I submitted a poem entitled "If Women Were Presidents" to the Being Feminist blog and they published it! So far, it's had about 30 shares of social network sites. (There's a word missing in the line "when feminism * was still a dirty word but nevermind!)

If Women Were Presidents by Madie Howard

The fact I'm in charge of dinner tonight! Peppers and rice, here we come. (No more meat&mash).

My brother's wedding is very close and my bridesmaid dress now fits perfectly. It'll be my first wedding experience, I can't wait!

I hope you have an amazing  day.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Friday, 20 July 2012


Hey, you! 
Bright person with something to say. 

Disagree with government policy?
Want to protest for equality?
Fed up with feeling oppressed?

Take action! Don't be passive, be active and stand up for your beliefs. Why should anybody stop you from speaking out against injustice?
Have your sayJust because you're a thinking girl, doesn't mean you can't be an acting girl at the same time. It doesn't take much and you're probably already an acting girl without knowing it!

All you need to do is focus on treating people with respect and fairness. By being more selfless than selfish you can spread love, peace and understanding

There are so many things you could do to Take Action:

Isn't that beautiful? So are you!

Volunteer in your local community. Or abroad. Just anywhere. Teach children, help to save the environment, raise money for charity. There are so many sources for volunteering and many of them can be found online. It's a win-win situation because you get to help others and in return find a sense of satisfaction deposited within you. 

Join an organisation or charity. Really contribute to making a difference. Maybe you're a Greenpeace girl or a LGBTQ lady or maybe you simply want to bake cookies for Barnados to sell. There are many pressure groups and charities that need your attention and intellect in order to express their message and get the change they want.

Be kind-hearted. Sometimes we see things that aren't quite right but say nothing because it's okay to do so. Anyway, it's not your problem. I'm not saying you should start arguments every time somebody snaps at another person or start preaching morals for all to hear but if you think somebody feels bullied or is treated unfairly then you could try to be extra kind to that person so they don't feel so alone. 

Smile. It's contagious, it's easily achieved and easy to give to others. It's called a smile and promptly induces happiness; a by-product of love.

Write, Draw, Sing. Express yourself in whichever way you choose. Creativity is a sure-fire asset that you do possess even if you're not stereotypically this-or-that. You can use your way with words to influence others, or your skilled hands or even just your compassion when speaking. Anything you do can be a creative outlet for your emotions or views.

Just be you. There's an old saying that goes something like: "Work on your character and your reputation will follow." It's not lying! Popularity falters, looks fade and while you're busy wondering how others see you, those others are busy thinking about themselves! By committing yourself to truly loving yourself and not giving into jealousy or acting selfishly, you will inspire others with your individuality. It really is more important than 'fitting in' because your radiance will make you well-liked and admired anyway! 

Change the world with your voice, smile and words. I believe in you!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Questioning Life? Here's a relevant (and underrated) song

The Cribs - Be Safe
I've posted a link to the lyrics at the bottom so you can read them while you listen. It's written from an intellectual perspective on one of those days when you're questioning the priorities of life and trying to remain beautiful in a world that you sometimes think is impure. Or in other words...

"one of those fucking awful black days when nothing is pleasing and everything that happens is an excuse for anger
an outlet for emotions stockpiled
an arsenal
an armor
these are the days when I hate the world."

Monday, 9 July 2012

"I hate Lana Del Rey"; a defense. Also: the gagging of female singers & the death of originality in mainstream music.

For my case I will use Lana Del Rey as my point of reference.

Doubtless that you've heard her name before: Lana Del Rey is a current source of cultural interest. Her album 'Born to Die' is arguably one of the most original sounding debuts to be released among the various crop of "get-on-the-floor-baby-sex-sells-so-get-in-da-cluuuub" tracks that gain the majority of media attention. Her music is melodic, her look is classic and her videos aren't just close-ups of her body parts thrusting robotically towards camera lens 1.
For the aforementioned reasons, Lana is a red rose in a field of lilies in the musical climate of today.

Source: NME.com

Despite the colossal blossom of her music career of late, Lana has faced some harsh criticism from all directions. It's difficult to understand why the American press in particular decided to launch a vitriolic attack against the singer, especially considering the catalyst: a notably shaky performance on Saturday Night Live. A television show that millions of people watch - so justifiably induced some off-key singing.
Perhaps it was just an excuse to use a vulnerable female as bait for their own interest, that is to promote the 'puppet elite' of pop music?
She's no carbon copy of a singing barbie and her music is slightly too edgy to be categorised as bubblegum-bend-me-over-because-I'm-Britney-pop, after all.

 While this doesn't cite Lana as a poster-girl for the outcast, it does highlight the unjust criticism she faces for errors that most other female pop stars get away with. Stars that don't have an 'indie/fake' tag attached to their name or lots of material covering their body.
They get away with: imperfect singing, cinematic and self-indulgent videos, cosmetic surgery enhancing their appearance... and while I'm sure you can think of dozens of celebrities that tick these boxes, only Lana has faced harsh insults as a result of them. As if she is the first celebrity to reach fame by working on her appearance! The press try to convince you that her past makes her fake because she used to be "Lizzy Grant' while it makes Katy Perry more genuine to have once been a struggling "Katy Hudson". 
A little hypocritical, no? Aren't people allowed a past?

Here comes the real scandal: condemning Lana for encouraging the 'male gaze' in her aesthetics. It's the foundation of most big names now and no singer can sell records without selling sex simultaneously. Bloggers and fully-fledged journalists indulge in this criticism, ignoring her low level of crime in comparison with modern day sex-appeal standards. She may indulge in creating an archetype of femininity and passivity but it's evidently a romanticised view of the twentieth century: where chivalry and elegant beauty took precedence over baring all and non-verbally screaming sex to a nation of unwittingly sex-obsessed consumers. Looking at her makes this obvious but so does listening to her poetic lyrics and watching any of their accompanying videos.

Arty or degrading?

 It's high class entertainment for most pop stars to mimic a scantily clad mime artist while mouthing lines about '"rude boi's" giving it to her baby like boom boom boom' or singing about the usually taboo topic of 's&m' but not for any new voices to do so. The experienced producers and executives will make a tune inexorably catchy and as long as the songstress gives a contrived confession of proud female sexuality while panting and posing, the music industry will get big bucks in return.
(I only make criticism of the music industry and not of individuals).

If a newcomer like Lana dares to experiment lyrically or musically and unwillingly succumbs to stage fright however, she is worthy of endless criticism and even a tumblr tag called "I hate Lana Del Rey".  
The sad thing is that most people who 'hate' Lana Del Rey lack both genuine malice towards her and also aren't even sure why they're posting ill-thought out, slanderous words on the internet. Once people learn what the general public allegedly thinks they are keen to agree with it: it'll get their blog hits, their page likes and make themselves feel better about their own lack of fame & fortune. Keyboards give people power now, not creativity.

Favouritism is an inherent part of music journalism but excuse me for not supporting the appraisal of meaningless and unemotional music while also ridiculing a who is woman trying to carve out some individuality; it made Lady Gaga an overnight sensation but makes Lana Del Rey a fraud. 
 If many internet articles are to be believed, her audacity to create a musical persona that is not completely her own personality renders her worthy of outsider status. Don't trust the hipster, she's trying to be weird.
Surely persona's are a part of performance? Katy Perry doesn't wear a cupcake bra everyday and Lady Gaga doesn't always wear dresses made from meat. They do these things for fun, art and our entertainment. Now more than ever before, the music industry is about entertainment just as much as it is about music.

Other criticism includes: Her lips are too big and she's too 'weird/boring'(;the oxymoron is ignored by the press who fluctuate between the two). These are more generic slurs that can be found in the commenting section of various sites and illustrate the dismissal of the different. Breast enhancements are the norm but lip injections aren't - they're weird and wrong. People used to criticise Barbara Streisand for her unconventional beauty and Madonna for her imperfect singing voice but neither had to cancel otherwise fast-selling tours because of it. 
I happen to like Lana's lips because they suit her face but apparently only Jolie and Jagger's natural blessing is an accepted pout. Young people used to have a 'live fast, die young and leave a beautiful corpse' mentality but it has since been replaced with a 'Justin Beiber sucks and I love disney' mentality. These attitudes that are fed to us should be questioned and not blindly accepted because the media should not repress your own opinion.

Of course Lana uses her sexuality to aid her success and why shouldn't she? The celebration of sex and sex appeal is not an exclusively male right and in an ideal world,  people of all genders should be able to enjoy whatever sexual desires they choose without being vindicated for it. Rihanna is worth millions and is called a slut simultaneously. Lana has been criticised for her desire to create a musical persona and lyrical focus on being attractive. Musicians are supposed to be creative but are instead vilified for being anything other than 'themselves' by the music press - or in other words, who the bosses want to sell them as. Despite the sexual revolution happening quite a few years ago, female celebrities still have a gaffa-taped mouth where their voice should be (and a rolled up skirt).

Is this really what empowerment looks like or are we being sold a lie?

Most famous male rap artists write misogynistic lyrics with accompanying sexist videos and it's accepted with little more than a tut and more of a sleazy smirk. Sexism has become a "keep calm and carry on" issue that is staunchly defended by either silence or "it's just human nature" nonsense responses. Oppressing people and spreading hatred is not human nature and we are more than just animals surviving on basic instincts. We think so we make choices

It is not human nature to eradicate the birth of new musical movements in favour of selling the same old remixed songs and looks, nor is it human nature to write hateful messages about people on the internet. In this digital age, all women on magazine covers must look flawless and if you're not a stick-thin-beauty you can be made into one. In fact, you must. Sex is used as another pawn in the game of music sales and Lana is apparently the villain for daring to play with femininity in a way that pleases the male gaze. The real crime being committed is the creativity and subversive role-playing from the likes of Lana who want to decide what messages about women to convey as the artist, not as the big suit. If the major concern about Lana is the 'male gaze' then why is it females who are to blame? Surely logic dictates the culprit to be the 'males' in question? How is a woman to win? If she was not beautiful she would be unpopular so she must be attractive, 

 In my opinion Lana's exploration of the male gaze is a great deal less cynical than PR people forcing a singer to base her entire career around her lifeless, sexy limbs and how much she'd like a man to have his way with them under the veil of sexual empowerment.Women are in a degenerate position of being ridiculed by pseudo-ironic 'get back in the kitchen' comments (a joke has a punchline/wordplay: both are absent) and an illogical notion that all women who dare to speak out against insidious repression are waging a war against men.      

Not just objects

   People are quick to say they don't believe everything they read on the internet but sadly most do - any internet search will promptly provide you with various jokes and headlines made by both writers and ordinary internet users that all serve to mock the singer. Yet bizarrely enough, I've never heard any of these apparent shortcomings mentioned in daily life. People either say she's beautiful and interesting, or that she's boring and they disapprove of her 'duck lips'. Or they're ambivalent because they've managed to not read all of this propaganda and some people are wise enough to disregard it in the knowledge that bandwagons of what you're supposed to like and supposed to dislike are integral to culture. The internet is partially to blame but so is the lack of compassion in society - capitalism is present now more than ever. Nobody is as violently opposed to her as youtube commenters and bitter journalists seem to be and that's because she's no musical anti-christ or totalitarian leader - she's a young woman who sings pretty songs and releases them with cinematic videos that accentuate her artistic intent.

Born to Die - video still

Artistic design used to be common place in popular music but it's now a foreign concept as music videos are just 3 minute displays of half naked women and pretty songs are required to sound just like the last one released by that other singing object. Originality has become disdainful to the ears of contemporary listeners, with those musicians who dare to be 'different' (otherwise known as creativity - a bygone necessity) suffering the shun of the media for being 'weird'. How dare they have an imagination or desire for self expression?  Creative movements are to be dictated from above in exchange for your money and your brainwashing and not interesting young minds. The music industry has never been so defiantly controlled and contrived.

And it's not alone. The media promotes the ideology so many of us believe to be our own, with misogyny and the nullification of individuality as two of the worst offenders. In the past it was harder to surreptitiously influence the prejudice of people but it's now easier than ever because of the anonymity of internet browsing. 

Tumblr has a 'Lana Del Hate' tag

Just because you're in front of a computer screen and you're all alone doesn't mean you should spread hate that you wouldn't bother to speak of in person about somebody you don't know. Lana Del Rey is another hate figure and the laid back acceptance of hatred is wrong, especially when so much of it is directed at women. She is of course lucky to have many fans who love her and even the worst of press will eventually be replaced but I can't help but think that all of this intolerance against individuality is just veiled bigotry and not fully believed by the people who jump on the bandwagon. Stop being told what to believe when you're a beautiful human being that is capable of intellectual thought and compassion. If you have a genuine criticism of something or someone than by all means express it but there's no excuse for promoting hatred - especially born of prejudice.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Things I Love Thursday

(Everything I've recently been grateful about in a nutshell - give it a try)!

£5.20 chocolate party cake! There was no party, just two chocolate loving people who ate it over three days. Guilty? Not even a little bit!

I had job interview and it went really well! It was my first interview in years so I prepared myself well by doing my research, looking smart and putting my small talk on to everybody I met along the way. In the grip of adolescence I was shy & visibly nervous but since starting my twenties (a few months ago) I appear to have turned over a new leaf. Confidence was key and it worked because she said 4 times she's certain I've been successful. Afterwards I was on a high for the rest of the day. 

As it's the end of term at university we had Student Union organised parties to celebrate. It was essentially fresher week but in the summer so you know who you want to spend time with and where you're going. For the first time ever I tried a hog roast (pork, apple sauce and stuffing in a bun) and all of my friends and I dressed up for the theme: The Untied States of Bowland. 
+ I love fancy dress!

I was a hippie, out to end the Vietnam War, against President Nixon and wanting Nuclear Disarmament. 
      Will was a sheriff-cowboy in the style of Clint Eastwood.
Peace and Free Love.

Clint Eastwood, I love your work!
Below we see Rhianna as a Red Indian (watch out for Clint...)
       With Tom as Kirk Hammett/generic US metal head

Sexy Indian outfit!

Exit Light, Enter Niiiight...

All of the other housemates (that weren't exactly my friends) moved out of this flat so until the end of July we have this massive flat all to ourselves. We can leave all of our possessions lying around, play our music loudly and are able to live without fear of judgement from anyone ... *Screams from the rooftops* FREEDOM!

Watching Christmas films early and showing Will some of my favourite films, including Heathers.
"Chaos is what killed the dinosaurs, darling". - How gorgeous, attractive and downright cool is Christian Slater [ full stop] in that film? Every ThinkingGirl wants a James-Dean-Alike killing the vacuous bullies of their high school and then blowing it up, right? Or something like that.

Ordering a laptop in a pretty red colour that will have a webcam for me to indulge myself with singing and photo-taking activities. I'm usually shy of spending large amounts of money but I finally bought my own laptop and it should be arriving soon. The Sims 3 here I come!

Smaller things I am grateful for include the following little list: 

  • Pretty rain pouring down while I'm inside the library.
  • Having cups of tea made for me when I feel unwell.
  • Cooking with other people and eating amazing curry. (<3 Indian food)
  • My hair starting to turn brunette already...not long now! (Ahem...)
  • Cheap chocolate and coke from the Spar. Easily pleased? Perhaps.
  • Talking to my best friends.
  • Recording my singing on Audacity to find out it actually sounded pretty good!
  • Leaving nice notes to make people smile 

Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Help! My hair is damaged

Like most women, I take pride in my appearance. For me, my hair is almost as important as flattering make-up when it comes to looking good. I compulsively colour & cut it when the mood strikes me and then grow it back again; a vicious cycle of follicle abuse. 

When I was 13 and embarking on my adolescent rebellion adventure, I dyed my hair dark brown-black in order to match my black clothes, nails and current obsession with punk music/not smiling at anybody. Fortunately my wise mother deterred me from using a permanent hair dye so my mousey brown mane returned in no time...
At 14: sporting my 'original' hair colour

...until I was 16 that is. Ever since I was a little girl and obliviously partaking in gender stereotypes that were created to keep the patriarchal structure of our capitalist society in place, I'd dreamed of being a Bleach Blonde Barbie. Cindy was boring & brunette and at 16 it was time to transform my Mousey-locks into Goldilocks. Again, my wise mother intervened and I was forced to highlight first:

Honey blonde highlights
Not good enough, thought I. If I'm going to start a 'NEW ME!' at sixth form I may as well achieve the desired look. Many highlights and protests with mother & hairdresser later, on the eve of turning 18, my hair was an all-out bold blonde:

Hair finally damaged! Ash blonde
 "Blondes have more fun" they say and in a way they're right. You feel conventionally attractive on account of your hair and I did receive more glances and beeps from 'appreciative' men. It was also easier to be noticed when standing in front of a busy bar, waiting for the person on the other side to pour you a whiskey already. However emulating Barbie's style comes at a price. People make more assumptions about your personality - that you're fun and not too deep, say. It's also hard to manage because the roots are visible and spring up very soon. Bleach isn't the best thing for your strands of dead protein to handle and foundation becomes more of a necessity unless you like looking pasty and washed out.

Roots!  + a washed out, unhappy texture
Like most of my hair phases, the all-out blonde lasted about a year before I was bored. Had I have been born a blonde I might not have dyed my hair at all. I love blonde hair. There's just a part of me that wonders if it looks better on other people than on myself. I am after all, naturally quite dark-haired. 

So after having brown, near-black, dark blonde & light blonde hair I wondered what the next step on the colour chart was. 

Voila! Let me unveil the Redhead.

Being a redhead is a lot of fun. The first time I rinsed out my hair to reveal red I stared into the mirror for ages, just examining how cool I looked and how much it apparently reflects my personality. I guess all hairstyles & colours come with labels and as a redhead, people think you're loud, alternative, attention-seeking and feisty. I'd agree with 2 of those concerning me and other redheads that I know - some cliches are true some of the time. Red hair is always complimentary to pale skin and makes any eye colour pop out. I love it!

That picture was taken last summer and true to form - I'm bored again. Whatsmore, I miss being blonde. It was always the dream and I think blonde while you're young and brunette when you're older is a good aesthetic ideal. One represents the vitality and sunny disposition of youth and the other the smoldering, sophisticated look that comes with age & wisdom. This is just personal taste and of course, I may well change my mind.

Growing it out - How it looks today!
My current hair plan is for blonde 'festival' hair with pink and purple dip dye at the bottom. It'd be perfect for summer and I get to be blonde again! So I went to the local hairdressers today on the hunt for advice about how I can return to the light side. As you can see, my hair is damaged. It breaks off easily, causing me to find stray hairs just about everywhere I've been in the house. Furthermore it looks limp and lacks the gloss of my mousey years. (Apologies for the disturbing pose in the above picture).

Glancing at my damaged hairdo with a concerned eye, the lady snips a strand and tells me to come back once she's tested it. I'm apprehensive because I know it needs treatment but my compulsion has hit me so I go ahead with the plan. Nigh on half an hour later, said lady emerges from the backroom with tin foil and my missing hair strands...which have virtually split in half and look more pink than yellow. She simply tells me my  hair is too damaged.

So I suppose my vanity will be put on hold until I've thoroughly conditioned my hair with the above product & toned down on my primping, blow-drying, straightening and most of all colouring!

Washing my hair with luke-warm water and rinsing it off with the cold tap is another method of hair preservation. Also, I'll look out for any shampoo&conditioners marked with "repair damaged hair".

In the meantime, if you have any other hair care tips, let me know! 

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Things I love Thursday

Last night 3 of my closest friends and I went out with the intention of getting pretty drunk because exams are finally over! Today I proceeded to make a new album on Facebook because my 'university' album had nearly 200 photos. I love photos so this made me happy.

Most people have gone home so the flat I live in has fewer and fewer housemates except for my friends. Perfect!  :

My closest 3! 

Hot chocolate (with cream and chocolate sauce) and a slice of cheesecake. A beautiful combination.

Trying Calamorie for the first time. It actually looks just like a squid here! Charming!

Re-reading Chapter 5 of GalaDarling's Love&Sequins: Finding happiness and making it stay. The entire 'book' is a fun read and filled with inspiration/the motivation to keep going with 'positive thinking'. Advice from GalaDarling HQ: "Live in the present moment!" 
It's all you'll ever have and you can manifest good things towards yourself, no matter how worried you are.


Will's mother liking me so much that she bought me a rose tinted lip balm with the attached sentiment of 'tell Madie the lip balm is for her, love your mother'. It's a sweet gesture. Also the exact same balm as in the above picture.

Having a mutual friend that I'm yet to meet (but want to) write on my wall to tell me that when we do (this summer) he predicts we'll get along like a house on fire (weird phrase?).

Finally watching American Beauty - it was so good! For ages I've had the DVD but not taken it out of the case for fears it'd depress me but actually it's very clever and I loved it.

Volunteering for Barnados in Blackpool and discovering how many cool shops there are! I need to make sight-seeing plans for the summer...

Applying for jobs in the hope that I won't be in my overdraft for too long and receiving parcels with both food and money from my parents! Plus a letter -who doesn't love receiving letters?

                     Have a wondrous week y'all!

Friday, 15 June 2012

How to be optimistic about life (even on a bad day)

Everybody : Hurrah!

Today I completed a 3 hour exam on my minor subject of Media and Cultural Studies which (hopefully) went quite well. I love achieving things in the morning because it makes me feel so much better for the rest of the day! Especially when they're of importance and will affect my future...now if only I could remember that productivity makes you happier than idle procrastination all of the time.
Same goes for you reader, unless you're super productive anyway. In which case I congratulate you with only a tiny tinge of envy.

Usually when I post on this blog of mine, I avidly write this week's edition of TilT (see below for definition) and I'll explain why I'm eager to do so. I won't make any absolute statements that I don't know the answers to, such as "you only get one life" because I think a lot of us are hoping that's not necessarily true. Or that we will continue somehow in a higher plain, or maybe none of the 'above''. Any reaction is fine but one thing is for sure and that is the fact that you are here now. On this blessed earth with so much to be thankful for and look forward to. Even if it takes you some heavy thinking to realise it. When things go wrong it's natural to think about the bad things and healthily to temporarily get upset about them but a good way of dealing with it isn't to let it ruin your view of the world/your life/yourself/the day you're having but to accept it and remain optimistic.

Exhibit A: The bus was late, causing you to arrive late for work (through no fault of your own) so you're frustrated because that means your boss will be dismissive of you for the rest of the day. You get grumpy and complain mentally for a bit or maybe you feel upset at the injustice of the situation.

 But I implore you to never let anything 'ruin your day' ever again. Even if it's really quite serious: compartmentalising issues helps to keep us sane. Let your emotions out, tell a friend about whatever irked you and proceed to choose to let it go. Circumstances don't dictate how you feel - they influence how you feel and your mental strength provides you with perspective again. Any method will do but the important thing is to let it go. Let the bad things go and keep your focus on the good in life. Be grateful and be optimistic; it'll make you feel better than being miserable!

There is so much good in the world to make you happy. So, the bus was late. However you were consequently able to look at that beautifully high-cheekboned specimen for a good 12 minutes longer than you usually do. For the fourth day in a row it has been sunny so you've been able to wear that new skirt you're momentarily in love with. A friend of yours that you haven't spoken to since high school recently got in touch with you and you feel glad that you made a good impression on somebody. There will be these little blessings that you're ignoring in favour of the bad - you just have to look for them. Those were just minor examples of the beauty you can find around you and the ways you can appreciate it. Do so - it's good for you!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

A weekly dose of Gratitude

So I'm an hour late for Things I Love Thursday and figured 'Gratitude' still held the same sentiment, minus the specification on wordplay/the day I posted this.

Revision has gone amazingly well today. It makes me feel good and will hopefully boost my marks in the upcoming exam(z)! This is half the reason I'm late in posting.
A part of the revision included finding lots of revision videos online. I love educational videos! Especially vintage, theme-tuned ones from 1996 or something.

A strapping young man picked some purple flowers for me the other day and they sat prettily on my windowsill until recently. I love flowers!

About 4 am on Wednesday morning

There was some drama amid some of my friends that was easily sorted out by that beauty called communication! I love a good debate and I need harmony for happiness...it's a Moon in Libra thing...

Because it's nearly Christmas (200 days to go!!!) Will and myself watched The Santa Clause film. It was my first time seeing it - strange considering I saw Santa Claus 2 in the cinema some 10 years ago. Soon I plan to watch Love Actually too.

Cheap coca-cola <3 YouTube <3 Deciding I'll be blonde again soon <3 Having money left <3 Joining a new 'indie music' society <3 Social plans <3 Smiling <3 Watching old tv programmes again.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

I really do think this is beautiful

and inspiring.

Follow the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSYtQy9EqTA

"It's your right to listen to your gut and it ain't nobody's right to say no; it's your earned right to be who you wanna be and do what you wanna do." - Rocky Balboa

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Into the wild!

Well, not quite. But when you're a city girl (London town) and you get into an area in which tractors roam, you're immediately impressed. And a little scared of how big they are in person...

Still, Will and myself venture into the village and climb over the fence after we pass a nazi-esque sign in the previous area saying "No music. No picnics. No skateboarding." We walked across the field and all around were sights of faraway hills and moorhens flying overheard, so we did what anybody our age would do and took these:

Sulk&Smile Face

 Pre-Raphealite model potential?

I had my Lara Croft boots on so I felt pretty badass with a stick in my hand and the breeze in my hair.It was pretty lucky that I put those on today actually because in my trademark heels I probably would've strugged a bit wouldn't I?


We soon stumbled upon a beautiful stream with rocks and low trees. If you ever feel melancholy and you're able to find a river I urge you to watch the motion of the water as it flows - it's so therapeutic and beautiful!

On the way back from our adventures we took a stroll through the forest and cut across the path to the small park where we ran up to the swings with all the excitement of our seven year olds selves.
No matter how old you grow: swings are FUN!

So we played in the empty park and I got to use my Lara Croft boots again on these highly intimidating climbing frames...

All in all it's been a pretty cool day!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Laughter therapy - it's so important.

Last night one of my close friends Will performed a stand-up comedy routine in our local campus bar as part of the comedy night. It was a really proud moment for me and my other two comrades (Tom & Rhianna) because we had a "that's our boy!" feeling. And he was so good! Full of confidence and Russell Brand vocabulary.

Here's my homeslice Will & I :

He's a handsome devil.

It got me thinking of how powerful laughter as medicine and reminded me that when people tell you to laugh as much as you can, you really should. Everybody likes somebody who smiles all the time, or the constantly cheery co-worker who is insanely happy in a dull job. It breeds happiness and we enjoy it but I can't help but think people don't do enough of it.

So today, along with revision, I will indulge in some laughter therapy and would like you - Mr/Miss/Mrs Reader - to follow suit!

Love to all.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Things I lalalalaLove Thursday

Some more gratitude coming up :).

 I love the fact I've started revision for my (SCARY!) exam that is in June because it means I'll be more prepared and I'm sort of enjoying it. Even if I am going slowly.

Yesterday I had a double chocolate gateau for the first time in years and it was beautiful.

Until today it has been all sunshine and joy in Lancaster! Amazing.

Having days like this:

The fact that Will is finally performing his stand-up comedy routine at the bar tonight and I am so excited to see it!

Receiving a parcel from my parents that contains new clothes and food. <3

The very thought of drinking whiskey later.

Writing in my tiny black book because it's cute and makes me feel official.

Having a finally-updated CV that I can dispense to all of those people who are desperate to employ me but just don't know it yet

My new £1k overdraft that enables me to stay here for a little longer and the friendly woman in the bank who I had a nice conversation with.

Times like this:

Smiling and enjoying everything.

Love to all.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Things I Love Thursday!

Things I love thursday puts some much needed gratitude into your day and is something I recommend to you!
Be it online, using pen and paper or by a typewriter, you should write down all of the things that have made you smile since last Thursday and re-read them to yourself to prove how awesome life really is.

I love having a clean room! It's a novelty to me, honestly. Since I moved into this little room in university I have been partially living out of a suitcase (purely because I have far too many clothes...) and until Monday, the floor had not met it's friend Hoover. But finally cleaning it felt so good! And I am 10x more motivated for this degree malarky as a result.

 50p Coke at the local campus bar. 'Bar coke' with ice&lime is a beautiful thing, especially when it costs half a pound coin.

 Listening to "All I want for christmas is you" while dancing around my room with this guy:

...in the middle of May. Ah, Christmas <3. (We can't be alone because there are millions of "Why am I watching this in May?" comments on the video too)!

Black&white stripey tights! <3 sun, sex and suspicious parents + BBC Four documentaries/history programmes = mixing the entertaining with the intellectual, uni' student style. <3 big blue eye-shadow tricks <3 bumping into friends and new friends in fast food outlets - turning a boring 'can't-be-bothered-to-cook' trip into an unexpected conversation! <3 glow in the dark dinosaurs <3 having flowers picked for me as they sit on my windowsill <3 laptops <3 cooking a mean bolognase <3 phonecalls with my dad where we put the world to rights for a while <3 talking to my best friends from home because an elephant never forgets and I love them so.

 Happily-accidentally indoctrinating my best friend into loving Brett Anderson! As well as reminding myself of his beauty (inner, outer and any-other) via old interviews that my completely-not-sad self hasn't seen a million times before...

Writing creatively because I am inspired and receiving positive feedback :)

 Finding a private invitation to the opening of an exhibition I helped to curate with the Museum of London in my inbox! Fancy.

 BARNEY AND ROBIN GETTING MARRIED! YES!!! t'was fated to be so.

Have a Wonderful Day!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Things I love Thursday! ... On Friday morning.

At 2 am to be precise. A late night - you may think, but this is actually quite early for me! It's been ages since I've shared my gratitude in the hope that the reader will follow suit so here goes...

I'm thankful for the following:

the indian food we have available to us locally, of which I am currently digesting a mammoth portion of. Plus free coke, due to Alex's generosity. It was cheap and in this modern age we aren't required to go to the resturant to eat it!

watching films you've wanted to see for ages. Recently I showed my friends 'True Romance' - a film I love, and tonight I saw 'Get him to the Greek' which was pretty good for a film everyone raves on about at 16!

The fact my group members were so accepting of my negligence regarding pre-arranged meetings and how kind the head of department was when I was summoned to see him! Scary 'head teacher's office' moment there.

Vodka and fanta orange is the new black. £3.45 for a double and it tastes just like fizzy drink. Voila.

A more budding social life, at last.

My hair looking nice today and people complimenting my pictures. We all love compliments, especially about pictures!