Friday, 30 January 2015

The Liverpool One Body Shop Event

Last night marked the Liverpool One Body Shop event, thrown by my very lovely fellow blogger Aisling. It was a night of skincare, make up and... well, me becoming Katy's cackling shadow (sorry about that, mate.) I have to admit that I'm only really lately getting into The Body Shop, I've always been overwhelmed by the sheer choice and that tends to make somebody as generally publicly nervous as me avoid somewhere like the plague, but in the last few months I've managed to pick up a few treats that I love including the Tea Tree Facial Toner and the Warming Mineral Mask, so I was really excited to have the chance to speak to Ash and her colleagues to get some ideas of where to head next.

Champagne and Strawberries

After heading over with Emma, Tasha, Asbeena and Katy, we met up with our fellow bloggers, talked to Ash and got out the cameras to take some pictures of the gorgeous drinks before anyone was selfish enough to take one and ruin it. Ash had told us to have a mooch around, and there were people on hand to help us with make-up questions, as well as Ash herself to do skincare consultations (which is what she's a specialist in, and she's fab - so if you're ever in Liverpool). Although I personally didn't have my make-up done or have a skincare consultation, mainly owing to the fact I have a graze on my forehead that took forever to cleverly conceal before arriving, I did watch, listen and generally take some creepy photographs whilst other people did. 

Body Shop Makeovers

After I'd gegged in on this for a little while, and Katy came out with a new cherry red lip, the two of us had a wander round the shop and I tried a lot more products than I had planned on, due to Katy's tried and tested method of swatching things on herself and then rubbing them onto me. We also had a really interesting tutorial on how to use the new Drops Of Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask, which weirdly looks and feels like PVA glue, although does blend down into a really soft if fairly heavy duty sleep mask. We also learned a little about the new lipstick range, which I can't find on the website but I do remember somebody mentioning they might be yet to come out, which is black in tube (technically in pencil) but matches the PH of your skin to transform to the perfect colour - I could possible be tempted into some of those in the future, even if they do slightly terrify me.

Cannabis Shaped Soap

Just before leaving Ash gave us some gorgeous gift bags, filled with testers and little bits and pieces I was really excited to try - I also ended up buying the Drops Of Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask and some Camomile Cleansing Butter to replace my rapidly decreasing levels of Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm (boo, some of us are unemployed and can't afford such luxuries anymore!)

Body Shop Gift Bag

I had a lovely night with some even lovelier ladies, so thanks so much Ash and, of course, The Body Shop. I'll undoubtedly get some reviews up from the goodies that I did buy in the next few weeks (oh, hark at my inner beauty blogger making an appearance.) If you want to follow my fellow partners in crime for the night, you can here: Ash, Katy, Tasha, Asbeena, Emma Louise, Emma, and Lauren.

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: Is Dating Harder In The Modern Age?

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Do Nice Guys Really Finish Last?

There is an idea that haunted my teenage life - the nice guy. Struggling to come to terms with my sexuality was hard enough, but the thing that really messed me up about it? The boys who suggested I didn't like them because I would always pick the stereotypical dick - the age old idea that nice guys finish last. So is it true? Do nice guys really finish last? The more I think about it, the more I think maybe the very eloquently put comment under this Taylor Swift video (wherein Taylor reiterates the same point a lot more elegantly) might be a lot closer to the truth than people like to think;

"Saying you're a 'nice guy' is like saying you have a big dick. If someone feels the need to point it out, they're probably lying."
-Thanks Youtube User Wintermute01001

Where did this come from? This idea that all girls want to date a guy that we have to constantly worry if he likes us, a guy who never texts back and always has the number of other girls just like us? Who decided that this was a thing that girls do? I'm not saying I haven't dated my fair share of them in the past, but I'm sure it wasn't those personality traits that drew me towards them - they were just poor traits underlying, guarded by ones that I fell in love with so fondly. Just like some guys will fall in love with girls who cheat and lie, some girls will - but that doesn't mean all of us will knowingly choose to fish from that pond and that pond only.

The thing is, it's not just guys - it's people; and not just the nice ones, that will finish last at least once in their life. I will fall in love with more people that it won't work out with than people it will, I will meet more people that inadvertently end up being my friends (both male and female) than I will ones that end up in relationships with me - that's just life. Some people will love others more than me, whether that person is pleasant or otherwise... Surely it has nothing to do with being nice, or not nice, and everything to do with timing, ideals, compatibility. For every nice guy that finishes last out there, I'm sure there's an appalling one crossing the finish line with him - only when you don't want to date someone they aren't likely to throw their hands up in surrender and agree, "Hey, fair play, I'm a plank - I completely understand and respect your decision!" it's all too easy to say, "Well, it's true what they say, nice people always finish last."

Maybe the honest fact is simple - it's not that nice people finish last, it's that everybody wants to believe that, at heart, they're a nice person - but some people just aren't. People, as Ed Sheeran so commonly reminds us, fall in love in mysterious ways - sometimes, we're not going to see the attraction in the person they fall in love with, but that doesn't make them a less nice person than you. So, maybe if you have to keep telling people what a nice person you are (and how nice people always finish last) when you get knocked back - you need to have a good hard look at whether you really are a nice person. After all, for a start you're completely disrespecting somebody's choice to leave a relationship or partnership they're not comfortable in - and that's not very nice in itself. Finally, to all those boys who thought I didn't want them because they were nice and I wanted a bad boy? I actually was just really, really into girls - both of the good and bad variety. To be fair though, most of you really weren't all that nice, anyway.

Do you think good people always finish last?

Sammy xo.

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Nutz Audio - Swank*

I mentioned when I talked about the Nutz Audio Swagga Sportz* earphones that they'd sent me another pair to have a look at too, and I was going to review them separately. So, all bow down the Nutz Audio Swank* earphones.

Nutz Swank Earbuds

I'm not really an earphone type person. I want them to work alongside Leathermouth to create a passive aggressive forcefield from the public, and I like it when they don't try to strangle me in the very little sleep that I do get (it's the simple things). Basically, I expect little from my earphones except for them to, you know, play music. My brother's always been big into treble and bass and sound cancelling, but basically - I don't understand those words, except I wish Meghan Trainor had never heard of them to write them into the world's most annoying song. I wish I could get all technical about these, but basically - I'm writing this for all you people out there like me. Layman's terms. 

These have RST speakers which, from what I can gather, means there's no stress on any particular aspect of the music - it's exactly how the artist intended it. Translated into real life - that basically makes everything you listen to through these sound like those amazing Tumblr songs that sort of flow from one ear to the other really seamlessly (do you all know what I'm talking about, or are you too cool for Tumblr?) I like that,  I think before I had an acoustic playlist playing through these I didn't realise how much earphones could change the sound of music. They also really do block out the outside world, a massive bonus if you find that as scary a place as I do - also, these suckers go loud. Like really, really loud - less than halfway cranked up these are about as loud as my old headphones on full.

Nutz Swank Earbuds Casing

Like the Swagga Sportz, these comes with a carry case, airplane jack and extra rubber buds - all handy things that I like to have. Do I like them as much as the Swagga Sportz? I sort of wish there was some collaboration between the two. I like the colour availability from the Swagga Sportz, I like that they stay in better during the night (these are prone to falling out more often) and for some reason the split on this cable on these seems weirdly short to me. I like the case better on these though, and the music quality is incomparable... It's a toss up, but provided you don't do too much running and can cope with waking up without your earphones in? Pay the £49.99 and grab these offerings.

Sammy xo.
*Products were sent to me from Nutz Audio in consideration for writing a blog post, however all views expressed are completely my own, for more details please view my disclaimer


If you liked this you might like: Nutz Swagga Sportz

Monday, 26 January 2015

Best Friend Glasses

At some point in our lives, we will all live a period of time wearing a pair of best friend glasses. I don't, obviously, mean that you're suddenly going to be nipping to specsavers together - but rather that you're going to have somebody in your life at some point that you will let get away with murder because them being your "best friend" overshadows what a crappy person they can be. It's human nature that even the most cynical of souls. like myself, want to see the best in the people we love - but sometimes you need to take off the specs, wipe the gunk off the lenses and take a good hard look at the facts around you.

False Friends Quote
(source)

My life has been one whole circle of a certain few people saying crappy things to me, me declaring I'll never speak to them again, them half-heartedly apologising and then me accepting them back because we're best friends, or we have a history, or whatever. For someone so stubborn and strong willed, I really am a doormat sometimes. If you read my depression post, you'll know this last year hasn't been a great one for me, but the thing about mental illness that really becomes stark when you look back at it is you realise who your friends really are, and who never were. This year has forced me to change what I need in relationships, it's forced me to tackle things head on and, I can honestly say I'm ready to take off my best friend glasses.

I've got news for you; you're all amazing people. Seriously. You are human beings that have made it to this point in your lives, you're all strong and brave and beautiful - some of you can draw, or sing or write, you have an abundance of talents - and people shouldn't make you feel like that isn't the case. Not even your best friends. Especially not your best friends. We form relationships in life in order to better ourselves, for support, to move forwards. Having a history with someone, or the fact that they hold a tenancy in your heart simply isn't enough to allow people to tear you down and make you feel inferior.

It's a sad but true fact that there will be some people you will be best friends with for years and when you look back you will realise that they never spent a birthday with you, never made the effort to make plans, never asked how you were or how your day was. You will look back and realise that those rose tinted best friend glasses aren't enough anymore and, you know what? That's fine. It's more than fine, because when you take them off? There'll be somebody standing there who genuinely has your back, and who is still rose tinted even without the glasses - they're the people that you want in your life. Best friend glasses are an awkward part of growing up, but you'll get through it - just make sure you look as good to other people when the glasses come off, and you'll do just fine in life.

What do you think about the idea of best friend glasses?

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: B(ex)st Friends

Sunday, 25 January 2015

The A-Z of Sammy

Following Rebekah's lead I decided to do an A-Z of me; it struck me that a lot of you know about the nitty gritty personal details of life - but probably not too much about me as a person, so here it is.

A - Anger
I spend so much of my time getting irrationally angry about things, this often manifests itself as passive aggressive comments to ignorant people in supermarkets and me slamming doors - a lot.

B - Ballet
You'd never know it to look at me then but I took ballet classes from when I was four up until I was fourteen. I actually was really pretty good, I'm a grade four. You can usually find me standing subconsciously standing in third position whilst brushing my teeth.

C - Cartoons
When I was in school, I was an amazing cartoon artist. I can copy things out pretty much perfectly if you give me a reference point - I wanted to go and work for Pixar until I figured you had to be scouted and that seemed like way too much effort..

D - Dresses
Until I was about fifteen you would have had to force me into a dress, but now I'm rarely out of one. Dresses make me feel fierce, so does winged eyeliner, dark lipstick and high shoes.

E - Expensive Taste
Oh come on, you knew this was going to happen. I absolutely love the finer things in life - when it doubt, go designer.

F - Flats 
I only have one pair of flat shoes you're ever likely to see me in - a pair of kid's Nikes. I live for high shoes, and if you see me without them it's probably a day I'm not feeling great, or somebody's rushed me to get ready.

G - Grammar
I went to a grammar school and I often consider this to be the worst decision of my life. I struggled, I hated it and it was full of bitchy, mean girls.

H - Home
I have two homes, here on a tiny peninsula known as the Wirral, and in Spain in a tiny village known as Galera. One day I hope to reside in permanent sunshine with a dog, simple things.

I - Insomnia 
I go through months and months of periods of insomnia. It's exhausting and boring, it throws my whole life out whilst it's happening - but I can't complain too much because I get a hell of a lot done in the time I'm awake.

J - Jay
My best friend died when I was twelve and it was a huge turning point in my life. It made me see that I wasn't as invincible as I thought I was, it sent a shock through our whole community. RIP Jay, and love always.

K - Kink and Ink
Was what Little Fickle was originally going to be called - but we deemed it a little risque!

L - Loud
I am probably one of the loudest people that you'll ever meet, it's usually because I have to get my voice over a thrum of others people's. If I'm quiet, that's the time to worry.

M - Molly
I always dramatically declared that I was too selfish for kids, then my cousin had Molly and she turned my world upside down. My 3 year old shadow, the only person who can get me to run around Tesco, the kid I love most in the world, who turned my entire life on it's head.

N - Nervous
I have been nervous about pretty much my entire life since I was approximately seven years old. I try to push myself now, but know that I probably have a knot in my stomach 87% of the time.

O - OCD
For a few years in my life when I first started high school, I used to have to cross my fingers for a majority of the time or something awful would happen to my parents, I was also convinced my family were eventually going to kill me. It was a weird time, and one that I can clearly see now as a period of Obsessive Compulsive tendencies. Now, I only cross my fingers if things are really, really bad.

P - Parents
My relationship with my parents is complex, but they're the two people who've supported me through my whole life. I have an inability to tell them things, but they quietly support me from the sidelines through everything - I am eternally grateful, I love them more than anything.

Q - Questions
My dad brought me up on general knowledge questions, trivial pursuit and the good old car game of "what does that traffic sign mean". As such, I love a good quiz. It's in my DNA, I think.

R - Ruby
Ruby has been my best friend since I was four years old, I can usually be found laughing about inappropriate things with her via text, grabbing some food with her, or generally picking which bad CD to put into her car next. She is the bravest person I know, and also the one I am most grateful for.

S - Siblings
I have one older brother, Marc. He is cleverer than me, funnier than me and generally better at life than me. We're pretty close and I love him to pieces, he's amazing.

T - Teetotal
I don't drink. I have done in the past but choose not to now. I am still a ball at parties, trust me.

U - University
I chose not to go to University - mostly because I was terrified. And because I barely scraped passes on my exams. It was simultaneously an amazing and an awful choice, but now I'm looking at going to university after all, so watch this space.

V - Vegan
I am obsessed with vegan food and vegan restaurants. I don't know why, I don't know where it came from - I'm not a vegan, none of my family are vegans - it's just a weird thing about me.

W - Weddings
I am 99% sure I will never get married. I understand the concept of marriage, but I also understand that religion is not a huge part of my life and so the whole thing seems sort of redundant to me.

X - Xylitol
I eat a lot of chewing gum, and I always make sure that it has xylitol in. My brother's a dentist and I think he told me this is good for my teeth once. Or it's bad for my teeth and so I do it out of defiance, I honestly don't remember.

Y - Yolk
I literally never eat the yolk of an egg. I separate eggs out and only have the whites all the time. I think this probably started as a diet thing.

Z - Zeppelin
As in Led. This was a band my dad brought me and my brother up on, it was the band that made me want to learn how to (badly) play the guitar, it's a band I still sneak into most of my playlists even now.

So there you have it, if you didn't already know more about me than you'd ever want to - you do now! You're so welcome.

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: Family

Friday, 23 January 2015

Get Your Tits Out For...Yourselves

Here's the thing; much as I like my body, I won't be whipping my boobs out for a photographer any time soon. It's not that I find it degrading or sexist, it's just that I have a tonne of body issues I wouldn't want splashed across the internet and the papers. I, as you can tell from a quick glance of my blog, consider myself a strong feminist - and yet I don't back no more page 3. 

Oh, calm down, don't get all flummoxed - I'm not saying every paper should have a page three, in fact I would honestly suggest that everybody never buy The Sun - but that's for a whole different reason that a woman's body being splashed across the pages. The word feminism has been thrown around a lot in these debates, as though by allowing women's bodies to be thrown in amongst news as if "that's the only news about women", we are somehow setting ourselves back to the stone age - and that's not true. Feminism is, in it's entirety, about women having choice - about equality. Surely the very idea that women doing this are in the wrong, suggesting that this isn't a legitimate job - that's anti-feminist in itself. Sit down, it says, you're making a fool out of yourself. We live in a world where women's bodies are shamed - you can go to a theatre to see Chippendales, but the same show done by women will only be found in a seedy club in a backstreet of a city centre. Why are we so scared of women's bodies, and the idea that they may become normalised, that we may become conditioned to breasts? This isn't inviting Jodie Marsh over to do a striptease over your cornflakes, it's a girl who has chosen a career move that she thinks will benefit her - she wasn't forced into it, she isn't ashamed of herself - so why all we all standing up to tell the world how ashamed we are for her?

But what about the children!? They shout from the balconies. This one's simple - if you don't want your children to accidentally come across a paper with page three girls in it, don't buy a paper with page three girls in it. It might baffle the general public to know that the English press offers a whole range of papers - only a small minority of whom contain page three models. This isn't a feature that's "insulting to everyone who reads it" as has been suggested - it's something insulting to some people and that idea is being forced onto others, as though you are a lesser person if you don't agree. We talk about women's freedom as a defense for No More Page Three, all whilst we force the idea on the newest set of recruits to the campaign; Girl Guides, most of whom have never seen a Page Three girl live in the print in their entire lives. I couldn't agree more with the fact that Page Three doesn't involve the right level of representation for body types - but when mannekins were accused of the same thing, did we scrap them altogether? No, we're slowly working towards making them more inclusive. The idea that girls are all body and no brains is only being made worse by a cause suggesting that these girls don't even have the brains to realise that they are, in other people's opinions, being used.

So, if you support no more page three? Cool, I respect that - but I also respect today's page three girl, a girl only a year older than myself, who made a very different choice to me - but a girl who was happy in her choice, nonetheless. I personally don't want to see page three, but I'm going to go about it the old fashioned way - by buying a different paper. The abolishment of page three isn't going to see an end to women making that choice, it's just going to change to a different platform, in the words of Jack Whitehall this week "Where will men go to see breasts? If only there was a huge, global information network people could search for them on".

What do you think of no more page three?

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: No Sex Please, We're British

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Nutz Audio - Swagga Sportz*

Before Christmas, I had a conversation with Nutz Audio and CJ who blogs over at The Creative Geek about earphones. In essence, it was a discussion between the two latter parties about whether most girls only cared about earphones if they matched their nail varnish - I did not, I was quick to tell them, as long as they went up loud enough to keep school children away from me on the bus from work, and stayed in when I had to run because I was inevitably late. Nutz Audio seemed to like this, and offered to send me some earphones to put through their paces. I received some of their Swagga Sportz* and some of their Swank* earphones - I've decided to review them separately as they're completely different in their purposes. I put Swagga Sportz through what I like to call the real life test.

Purple Earbud Headphones

Phase One - The Justin Bieber Test
If I wear these at full volume, will everyone around me be able to hear this cringey music I'm listening to?
In a word, yes. However - these go hella loud, considerably louder than the headphones I was using before, probably some nondescript brand I nicked from my brother. I can keep these on medium and have them loud enough to start drowning out arguing kids, and nobody can tell if I'm inwardly singing along to "Baby" (disclaimer - all references to me being a Belieber are purely fictional for your enjoyment.)

Phase Two - The White Rabbit Test
Will these stay in when you're (literally) running late, or do they nearly blind you by flailing around in a panicked way?
These have cool little detachable clip pieces that you can see on the pictures above. The rubber clips over the wires and you can use it to angle the earphones right to anchor them into your ear. Do they stay in when I'm running? Not completely, but probably better than a lot of earphones I've had in the past. They stay in well whilst I'm tossing and turning at night, and even through me sleeping - but the clips can get a little uncomfortable after a while, and they do slip from their position if you shift them around too much. Still - not too bad an offering.

Phase Three - The Wet 'n' Wild Test
Are these really sweat and waterproof?
Well yeah, as far as I can tell. I've worn them in the bath and out in the rain and they seem fine - but I think probably to be fair, most in ear buds would have been, too. I have a lot of hair to protect them from the elements and I'm not sure I sweat from my ears, but still, they lived up to their promise.

Swagga Sportz Case

Other things of note? I like that they have a case with them, I forever drag my headphones out tangled in my keys, or my hairbrush, or wrapped around everything I own - although these do, I can attest for, have tangle resistant wires. They also come with extra rubber earbud ends and an airplane jack, which are handy to have. The name feels like it's trying to hard on this particular set of earphones, but that's not that much of a bit deal unless you feel the need to tell everyone what the headphones you're wearing are called. Would I buy them again? Probably. I sleep in headphones, and I like to wake up with them still in my ears instead of wrapped around my neck. If you're an athlete or a keen sleeping to music type person, I'd say they're worth every penny of the £39.99.

Sammy xo.
*Products were sent to me from Nurz Audio in consideration for writing a blog post, however all views expressed are completely my own, for more details please view my disclaimer

If you liked this you might like: Nutz Swank

Sunday, 18 January 2015

LGBTQ - Segregation vs. Education

I've been wracking my brains for the last few hours about whether or not I ever received any kind of education with regards to sexuality or gender in school. To my knowledge, I'm going to go with a no. I remember being taught biological basics, of course, and I remember being taught that "gay men are not the only people at risk of HIV" and I remember one particularly procrastination filled English class discussing Marlon Brando's bisexuality - I got all the party lines, but I couldn't have told you anything worth knowing when I left school. How scary is that? I left school at eighteen and I couldn't have told you anything worth knowing about non-binary genders, my views on feminism or anything to do with sexuality. It's something I'm ashamed of now, but until I was eighteen LGBTQ meant nothing more to me than a pride parade once a year where we sometimes snuck in vodka, snickled at leaflets and collected free condoms and packets of lube - maybe a few lollipops if we were lucky. It wasn't until I called my own sexuality into question, found a passion for feminism and equality and got down to the nitty gritty with google, various authors, newspaper articles and heavily opinionated speakers that I learned anything past the bare bones of some of the most important issues facing young people everywhere, day in and day out.

So, when I read that Manchester has put forth funding towards opening a school primarily intended for those who are LGBTQ (for arguments sake let's assume that intersex and asexual individuals are also included in that umbrella term) and are struggling in mainstream school, it angered me beyond belief. The school is also open to those with mental health issues, young parents and also young carers and is set to be, "LGBT inclusive - but not exclusive". However, the fact is, schools are already available for people with mental health issues and those who are young parents - this isn't a flagship project for either of those reasons, it's gaining momentum and snowballing fast, mostly down to it's LGBTQ focus. And, don't get me wrong, I can see the benefits of such a school existing.

So, why am I angry? It's simple. £63,000 is a lot of money to throw at testing feasibility - literally just seeing if the project could work. It's a lot of money to put forward on a scheme that may fail, it's a lot of money that will turn into a lot more money if the scheme doesn't fail, it's a lot of money for around 60 students - it's a lot of money. I am sympathetic to bullying, I am. I faced it myself at times in my life, I saw it almost tear apart some of my family members - bullying is atrocious, it ruins lives, it ends lives - but pulling children who fall under the term of LGBTQ out of school and segregating them from society isn't going to solve that. Segregation never created understanding, and that's a fact. It creates a fear in a lack of understanding, it creates an "us vs. them" outlook - segregation does just that, segregates one set of people from another. The problem still exists, the bullying is still there, only now the two parties are being schooled separately.

So where does the money come into it? I'll reiterate; £63,000 is a lot of money. It can be used to test the feasibility of a school that will benefit 60 children at a time, it can be used to pretend a problem isn't there by removing the evidence of it - but that's simply like turning your TV over from the news and pretending that there are no wars happening in the world because you can't see them. There are over 24,000 schools in the UK, and creating one school to help 60 students isn't a responsible use of such huge amounts of money. Giving each of our existing schools £2000 each to start better teaching pupils about LGBTQ issues? That is. Pretending the ignorance isn't happening isn't solving a problem - what we need is not a new school wherein LGBTQ children and teens can feel safe, but rather we need them to feel safe in any school, in their own school. What we need is not a flagship programme, what we need is basic - better education.

What do you think about an LGBTQ school?

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: Sexuality 2.0

Friday, 16 January 2015

How To Fall In Love With Anybody

My friends will vouch for me on this one: I am the queen of uncomfortable questions. I don't know what it is, or why I do it - but I have a strange compulsion to ask people awkward questions. I like to know the ins and outs of people, the real things that affect people; in some ways I think it's probably to comfort myself that everybody else has deep dark corners of themselves, too. Well, it turns out that I'm onto something because according to psychologist Arthur Aron the fail safe way to fall in love with anybody? 36 questions, varying from "Do you have a secret hunch about how you'll die?" to "What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?" 

So does it work? Well, in some ways it seems yes. You can see the results of one date here and, although the pairing in question didn't end up together, it reinforces the idea that such questions would inevitably create a strange sense of false intimacy. I get this, I do - I think it's a bit heavy for a first date, but I definitely get it. I can see why it would create some sort of lust in a Romeo/Rosaline sort of way, but the chance of Romeo and Juliet meeting due to 36 questions seems improbable at best - although they will undoubtedly walk away with cute little anecdotes to share with their respective future children. 

Here's why. I remember the first time I fell really in love and, although my brain failed me academically, I have a remarkable memory for facts, so as such I remember a lot of the random facts she taught me about her life - but, that's not why I fell in love with her. I didn't fall in love with her answers, I fell in love with the way her usual grin was swapped out for something more sombre when she was telling me about serious things, the way she cast her eyes downwards when she talked about past loves, the soft grin when she talked about her little brother. I didn't fall in love with the facts, I fell in love with the fact that she offered them up to me whilst we curled around each other in bed, I fell in love with the fact that sometimes she would blurt them out like she wasn't aware she was telling me, I fell in love with the way sometimes she would smile secretly as though they were things she hadn't thought of in a while.

I could ask every single one of you to answer all 36 questions and, undoubtedly I would feel closer to you all - in the same way I feel like I know some of you without us having actually talked, due to reading your intimate confessions on your blogs - but I'm afraid to say that it probably wouldn't amount to love. Love, in my opinion, doesn't come from reading awkwardly off a pre-determined list, but rather from learning people's mannerisms and committing them to memory as they talk, being comfortable enough with somebody to ask them awkward and uncomfortable questions and, in turn, have them feel comfortable enough to offer up the answer. Sorry, guys, feel free to send me in your 36 answers, but I'm not committing to anything based on that alone.

Do you think a list of questions is enough to make you fall in love with anybody?

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: The Untouchables

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Depression

When I think of depression, I think of a crushing sadness - and in a lot of cases that's how people may feel. I wasn't aware that depression can manifest itself in other ways intersected with sadness; pessimism, anger, numbness, a general feeling of being down. I wasn't experiencing a crushing sadness and so maybe that's why my depression went undiagnosed for so long - because I didn't feel like I was entitled to ask for help. This was something I haven't felt much like talking about in the last few weeks - I haven't told my parents, only a handful of my friends know, but the more I thought about it the more it seemed like it would be good for me to write it down. So, here it is.

Antidepressant sertraline

I have depression. It's something I think I should have seen coming and, looking back, it seems obvious - but at the time that it was really starting to swell inside me, all I really wanted was some sleep. As far back as March last year I've been struggling to sleep, I can count on one hand since then the times I've slept through the night - sometimes it's getting to sleep, often it's waking up multiple times in the night, sometimes it's putting off sleep because there are things I'm really irrational worried about. When I broached the doctor about this, and a general feeling of being down and sometimes angry amongst some other problems, she diagnosed me with depression and put me on medication. Due to issues I have with my image, something I discussed in my Looks Vs. Worth post, I've settled on Sertraline - an anti-depressant with no known link to substantial weight gain.

I originally wrote this post on a better day - I talked about how anti-depressants aren't a cure, how everything is heightened for me right now, but how I have hope. Today, looking back on this on a bad day, I've changed that. Depression for me at the minute is a constant struggle. I dread days that are sunny because it means I'm more than likely to be forced outside, I have days like today where I wake up plagued with self doubt feeling like I can't breathe and I stay in bed until it's dark again. Anti-depressants aren't a cure, sometimes I have hope, sometimes there seems like there's a light at the end of the tunnel and sometimes I think I've just convinced myself of that because the other options are unthinkable. I have no idea what the future holds for me right now, but I'm trying - I'm really, really trying.

I wrote this post for myself, I wrote it in the hopes that you might understand better about me - it's a sorry for the times I will struggle and Little Fickle will fall to the back burner, it's a thanks for for baring with me whilst all this is going on and it's also a promise - this won't last forever, I'll be writing a post one day about how bright things are now I've made it out of the tunnel.

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: Looks Vs. Worth

Monday, 12 January 2015

3 Things - Friends With Benefits

I spend a lot of my life thinking "wow, I wish somebody had told me about that before I got into this horrendously awkward situation, because it would have been really good to know." As such, I've decided to started a feature called 3 Things, wherein I share with the world 3 things I wish I'd known about a certain subject - some serious, some less serious, all true. I decided to start with something I know a little too much about for my own liking - friends with benefits or non-committal relationships; basically, all those relationships that will never be Facebook official. Here's 3 things I wish I'd known before getting into one (or three) of those. Obviously each experience will vary person to person but this is true based on my personal experience.

1: Family Parties Are A Minefield
You will come to resent the words "why don't you bring that nice boy/girl you've been spending so much time with" from your various family members. It's not that you want them there particularly, nor is it that you overly don't want them there - it's just that this puts you in a position where you have to take them and add fuel to the "everyone thinks I'm in a relationship with this person" fire, or you need to find a way to subtly explain that no, they really aren't my partner, nor will they ever be most likely, but they are pretty good in the sack.

2: Logistically, It's A Nightmare
No, I don't want you to spoon me through the night, but it's 3am and unless you want to drop me off home, that means dropping £7 on a six minute taxi ride. Also, if we're going to a party do we turn up together?  Is that too suggestive and coupley? Is turning up separately but potentially going home together too weird? Seriously, the logistics can get horrendously complex.

3: Blurred Boundaries, Big Fall Outs
This is the big one I've found - a lack of clear, understood boundaries for exactly what parts of life you're a couple for and what parts of life you're just friends for mean that you are likely to argue, a lot. This wouldn't be such a problem only often you are both convinced that you're in the right based on your personal boundaries and so arguments can be irreparable unless one of you bows down, sets your stubbornness aside and agrees to disagree.

What things did you wish you'd known about friends with benefits, if you've ever been in that position? 

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: Moving Forward - Healthy Relationships

Friday, 9 January 2015

Why Does Not Being A Feminist Matter?

Although she's since apologised and claimed that her views were "taken out of context" many women were outraged when Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, of The Big Bang Theory fame, claimed that she wasn't a feminist when speaking to Redbook. She said;

"I know a lot of the work that paved the way for women happened before I was around... I was never that feminist girl demanding equality, but maybe that's because I've never really faced inequality."

So what, why does it matter, right? 

History saw women fight for their rights for everything; women in Britain in the past gave their lives, spent hours protesting and spoke up when they were expected to be seen and not heard - all so women like me in future generations could work, vote, be paid fairly, get safe abortions and generally have rights that were previously only given to men. It's no secret that I support feminism, and it's final destination of equality for all, but that's not the reason that this seems so alien to me. A lot of the work that paved the way for women did happen before she was around, it's true. It happened before me, before you, before our mothers and likely before our grandmothers - but it goes on, we have seen it in our generation.

Malala Yousafzi was shot by the Taliban in 2012 for defending her right to an education, as a woman. Leelah Alcorn committed suicide in 2014 due to a lack of rights, understanding and support offered to her as a transgender woman. We saw Emma Watson deliver a speech in 2014, telling us feminism remains an issue - and extending her offer of understanding to men who needed to support the cause as much as women. There are others, I could continue, but the point is - we have seen feminism and the quest for equality first hand - it's not enough to pass it off as a motion that's already passed, it's ongoing, it will be ongoing for a lot longer than it needs to be if we keep this attitude burning strong. It is not enough to dismiss a cause because it's something that you've never experienced, the fact that we have more rights as white, British  females is not enough to allow us to be complacent - we must remember that in other parts of the world our gender is considered a weakness and treated as such, and that's our problem, too. This is our business, whether we like it or not. We have more power than girls in some other countries could ever imagine, we have the right to an education where they don't, we have the right to an opinion, the right to a voice - surely it's our duty to use those benefits to help them, just like we would hope they would do for us if it was the other way around.

Kaley Cuoco Sweeting didn't disappoint female fans by cooking for her husband, something she suggested that she wasn't a feminist because of, she disappointed her female fans for not understanding and openly recognising that the fact that she can choose to do that, and the fact that it's for a man that she married for love and out of her own choice, is down to feminism. She disappointed her fans by not recognising that the fact that she was allowed an opinion publicly, and that people would listen to her seriously, that's down to feminism. She disappointed her fans by not realising that her privilege, complacency and the fact that she could say those things and believe them to be true? That's down to feminism. 

So I asked you, why does not being a feminist matter, not for Kaley Cuoco Sweeting, but all of us? It matters because I don't understand who could sit comfortably in a role somebody else gave their entire being to campaign for, and still not realise how privileged we are, still not realise that there are women powerless in other parts of the world that need us to fight for them like others did for us. It matters because we are allowed too strong a voice, especially considering many of us are bloggers, to let it go unnoticed, to allow it be used unremarkably. It matters because we are women, and men, and we are all humans. It matters because we were born equal, and we deserve to be treated as such. It matters.

What do you say to the idea some women aren't feminists?

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: Feminism Vs. Human Decency

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Generation Y/The Millennials

We've all heard of Generation X, the offspring of the Baby Boomers born between the mid 60's and early 80's - for most of us, our parents. Changes in their world during their growth and development made them more open to diversity than nearly any generation that had been seen before. Now, here we stand on the cusp of adulthood, a whole different generation, with a whole different view of life - Generation Y, otherwise known as the Millennials. So what makes us different, unique? What makes us, the rapidly upcoming future of the world, anything special?

Here's the thing, we didn't see the world improve under our feet, not the way other generations believe that we did. It's true that we are probably, for the most part, more privileged than the generations that came immediately before us - the internet and mobile phones rapidly became a part of our lifestyles, for most of us information is no further than the end of our fingertips. This has allowed us to grow and develop faster, and it has also allowed us to see the horrors of the world in a way our parents might never have imagined possible when they were our age. Like many of you, I don't really recall a world before the word terrorism was logged into my brain as an all too imminent threat, I remember 9/11 but I don't recall the world before that changed it. I grew up in a world where, as a middle class, white woman I was all too aware of my privilege - and the older I get, the more I realise the power I have behind me, if I were to choose to use it.

Everywhere we look, our generation sees injustice. We see racial prejudice, sexism, terrorism - our understanding of non-binary genders and non-heterosexual sexuality goes further than the parents of those who fall into those categories. We read about suicide, homicide, rape and assault on an every day basis - we see wars and dictatorships - and this is what we were brought up on, constantly gracing our TV screens, our internet home pages, our news apps, always in the corner of our eyes. As horrible as that sounds, it has made us a generation with a voice, a generation to be reckoned with - with fire in our bellies and heads full of opinions. We have our finger on the pulse of politics and, the scary thing is? We might just have the ability to change the world, if we want it enough. 

Generation X were a complacent generation (sorry, Mum) that lived lives that left our generation with rainforests to replant, energy sources to replace, animals to repopulate, injustices gone unnoticed that now needed us to begin to undo. They weren't all bad, though. Between them all, the technology at our disposal and the education more and more of our generation around the world are allowed to claim bit by bit, they have made sure we are strong enough to do it all. So go ahead Generation X, you keep writing in to The One Show about exposed boobs, we have bigger things to campaign for, work towards and try to change. We're Generation Y, the start of a very different future, if we recognize our influence and start to use it right.

What's your experiences of being part of Generation Y?

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: Growing Up A Girl

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The Alleged Adult

There are people, so American films tell me, that peak in high school. I think I was probably one of them. I was a trouble maker, always giggling about some stupid plan or ploy, I was the queen of stupid jokes and I was renound for not giving even the tiniest of craps for the most part. Being a troublemaker was fun, until it wasn't. When my friends waved goodbye to our tiny, suffocating little peninsula - I settled down into work and had to become an "adult" a lot faster than I might have liked. You've heard all this before, though - it's old news. Some of you may already also know that I lost my job a little before Christmas and, as lovely as it is to permanently live in a set of Moomin pyjamas (I'm being dramatic, sometimes I get changed into Little Mermaid ones) and watch NowTV - I'm completely overwhelmed by the fact that I have no job, next to no money and absolutely no clue in the slightest what on earth I'm supposed to do in the future.

Adult Post It Notes

I've managed to put off being a real life adult for two and a half whole "gap" years now, but the older I get the more insistent the "so, what are you planning on doing with your life?" talks become. The truth is - I haven't got the faintest clue. I'm twenty one, I still sleep with a giant Toy Story soft toy - I am clearly not mature enough to correctly make adult decisions that are going to impact on my entire life. Honestly though, I'm okay with that. I want to inspire people, I want to write and draw, I want to get tattoos and make people think. I want to live a life that I'm proud of, I want to become a woman that is strong and passionate and I'm all too aware, it's going to take time.

I am constantly aware of my time running out - but I'm going to stop letting it get me down so much. Every day I spend with friends, every minute I spend laughing, or inspiring, drawing or writing? I'm going to count those as victories. I am worth more than my future job, I want to live an adult life I'm proud of and I'm sure that will involve a job I love in the near future, but right now? Being a person I'm proud of is every bit as important.

What's your dream job? How do you see your future panning out?

Sammy xo.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Confessions Of A Borderline Shopaholic

In the words of the very wise and very relateable Rebecca Bloomwood;

"When I shop, the world gets better, and the world is better... But then it's not, and I need to do it again."

Hi, I'm Sammy and I'm a borderline shopaholic. It sounds cute and fun doesn't it? It brings forth images of the very sweet Isla Fisher wearing her green scarf and shoving vacuum packed bags of clothes into a too small wardrobe. The fact is though, I'm not joking - and it isn't cute or fun at all. Shopping far surpasses necessity for me, when I'm sad - I shop. When I'm angry - I shop. When I'm proud of myself - you got it, I shop. As a result, every few months I throw away tons of clothes I've never worn with tags still on to hide the fact they're brand new from my parents, I have boxes and boxes of make-up that's been used once at most, I have unpackaged face palettes piled up with no space to put them away that easily date back to November. I am constantly dodging the lure of an overdraft or a credit card (if I wasn't such a poor liar, I'd undoubtedly already have caved. Thank heavens for small mercies.)

Boxes of Makeup

Shopping used to seem really fun, but the more people comment on it, the more I start to think that maybe - as stupid as it did, and still does, seem to me - I genuinely have an issue with it. I can't even go to the supermarket without buying myself a can of coke or a kinder bueno. So, here are my top 5 genuine confessions as a borderline shopaholic.

1: I have two ready made nail varnish shelves, around a metre across that hold two bottles width ways. These are both full. I have a bag full of nail varnishes that do not fit here. I have more than four metres worth of nail varnish if I lay them out next to each other.

2: In November I decided I liked cuddly toys, since that my collection has grown rapidly. Even I think the fact that I have more teddies than I did as a nine year old ridiculous. Also, I constantly need to remind myself that - as pretty as they are - I really can't afford to buy a new Disney princess doll every time I am out shopping.

3: In the last month I have acquired 6 new perfumes. 2 of these were presents, after I had received the two as presents I am not sure why I felt like I needed to go out and buy 4 more. Repeat after me - pretty bottles do not a necessary purchase make.

4: I have an entire shelf of my wardrobe dedicated to spare makeup. Makeup that I don't use. Makeup that is spare. On top of that I have two full bags worth of cosmetics and brushes that I consider daily necessities, and a whole seperate set of drawers that contain body butters, skin cleansers and a whole range of similar products.

5: In my wardrobe (entirely clothes - forget bags and shoes because that is an entirely different kettle of fish) I currently have 15 items of clothing I have worn once, never worn, still have tags on or I don't even remember buying. 

Basically, stick around - Little Fickle is about to get thrifty. I'm Sammy and I'm a borderline shopaholic... Only hopefully not for much longer.

Sammy xo.

Friday, 2 January 2015

7 Cups Of Tea

I don't really know how to start this post, except to say - I don't like phone calls. This is relevant in that in the past when I've looked for someone to speak to, ringing a helpline wasn't really an option in my mind and it seems the same for a lot of people that I'm coming across. Due to this, I turned to 7 Cups Of Tea - a website with an instant messaging feature with a "listener" who is trained to support and listen to whatever it is that might be troubling you. On the few times that I logged in as a member to 7 cups, I found it invaluable to have someone just sit and listen with no judgement.

So, I decided to make tracks to help others and became a listener myself. I was accepted, and now I plan on giving around 3 hours a week to the site to listen to people from around the world who need the help - just like I once did, and sometimes continue to. 7 cups has helped me to realise that it's okay to need help, it's okay to help others and it's okay if sometimes it seems like too much and you have to take time out of helping others to help yourself. Many of us exist on 7 cups as both listeners and members, helping and being helped - it's a circle I never imagined being a part of, but I am so pleased that I am.

7 cups of tea phone screenshot

You can use my personal referral link to take a look at becoming a member of 7 cups - you can pick a specific listener based on experiences or knowledge of certain aspects of life, or you can speak generally to any member. You can also apply to become a listener as I did, and give up just a few hours a week at any time that suits you to help people out there who will find your support and taking the time to listen invaluable. There are worse ways to start 2015 than taking the time out to listen to others.

Have you ever used 7 cups of tea, or would you consider it?

Sammy xo.
 
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