Sunday, 22 March 2015

9 Things in 9 Months

I know the general trend is a good old 22 before 22, or a solid bucket list, but the fact is - when I turned 21 I was just about to be diagnosed with severe depression, so I really wasn't in the mood to make any future plans, never mind 22 of the suckers to complete within a year - and I'm too impatient to stick to a lifelong bucket list. Three months into 2015 and things still aren't great, but I've decided that although 22 things seems excessive, in the next 9 months I could definitely manage at least one thing a month. So, here's the list of things I plan to achieve before 2016.

Blue Bucket

1 - Go To Budapest
This was my 21st present off my Mum and Dad, and although I haven't managed to plan it out yet, I hope to get to go before Summer this year. Steeped in history and architecture, it's one of the places that's always been on my wanderlust list, so I'm really excited.

2 - Go To See Savage Beauty At The V&A
I am fascinated by the Victoria and Albert Museum when it hasn't got the best designs from one of the world's most influential designers within it's walls - so adding Alexander McQueen into the mix had me scoping out tickets as soon as I heard. The exhibit is on until August, and I really hope to get to London to have a look.

3 - Go Abroad With Katy
Some of you may know that Katy, who is generally fantastic and runs the lovely Lilac Scrapbook, and I are what we like to call "pals", aka. she is very special to me and has generally made things a lot nicer and more interesting. As such, I really hope she comes adventuring with me and least once this year (we're hoping for Poland, but our list of things to do together is ever expanding)

4 - Cut My Hair Short
I've had Rapunzel hair pretty much since I dropped a load of weight and left school, but I'm mostly sure this year I want to cut it off and go for something completely different. Maybe. We'll see.

5 - Get New Microdermal Piercings
After mine disgustingly rejected from my forearm and I was left with a fairly large scar, I always swore I'd never get new Microdermal anchors (literally permanent piercings that are implanted and are then anchored in by skin regrowth) but I'm coming round to the idea. Maybe in a less high impact place than my forearm this time... (well done, eighteen year old Sam - you were so crap at choices.)

6 - Get My Madeline Tattoo
I was obsessed with Madeline when I was a kid - it will forever remind me of my Mum and my Brother and so as soon as I have the money I plan on getting an original illustration from the book tattooed across my thigh, which brings me nicely to...

7 - Get A Career
Because careers mean money, and money means tattoos. And holidays. And books. Basically, get a real life adult job - or at least decide what you'd like to do for a real life adult job!

8 - Plan and Pull Off The Blogger's Sleepover 2015
I always promised that if I pulled off a decent meet I'd try a sleepover - #NWbloggersmeetup was at least a minor success, and so I'm pleased to say that The Blogger's Sleepover 2015 has it's plans underway already, and we're hoping we can pull it off some time in the Autumn (Seriously, think of the Sandra Dee scene in Grease, that's what I'm hoping for - except, you know, less bitchy).

9 - Sleep More
I have a severe phobia of sleep (weird, I know) that I plan to conquer over the next few months. Any tips would be fabulous.

So there's the things I hope to do (that are all surprisingly achievable) by 2016. I'll update you along the way, no doubt! What do you plan on doing before 2015 is out?

Sammy xo.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Is Dating Harder In The Modern Age?

So, it might not have been a Tinder relationship, but I met the person that I'm dating online. We ended up at the same event together and, as time went by, Twitter conversations and Facebook group chats led to texts, until eventually we were talking almost daily and she asked me out on a date - now we're a few weeks in and, I don't want to speak too soon, but things are good. As we share a fair amount of Twitter followers, our dates were fairly public from the start - but is that a good thing, or has technology only made dating in the modern age more difficult?

Red Heart

When I was in school, I'm only minorly ashamed to say that when I was looking up potential partners, I was known to do a little... research. I no longer needed to just ask around my friends (although I often did) because, with a few clicks of a mouse, I could easily find out what circles the person was a part of, what TV shows they liked (at the time, people liked groups seriously - for all you younger people out there, I know that might seem weird) and whether they had a girlfriend. As I've gotten older, it's only been easier to find the entire history of someone with a single click, whether you want to or not. We live a life in which seeing people's interaction is instantaneous, and not always pleasant or wanted - it's rapidly become typical to meet people on dating sites only after learning all the basic traits about them, basing someone's suitability before even allowing them to plead a case.

I admit that I am bad for integrating social media into a date. Before eating on dates in the last few weeks, there are matching Instagram posts from different angles, we update pictures of each other doing whatever we are as it happens, sometimes we're even guilty of talking to each other via twitter whilst sitting hand in hand. The virtual world and our real world is interlinked, and so it's natural that our dating would bleed into this - especially as we both run lifestyle blogs, it's natural that this part of our lives would become at least somewhat public knowledge. Is it different? Yes, of course. Is it bad? No, not in my eyes. Technology has changed the way that we live, for better or for worse - it is an instantaneous portrait of our lives right now, and that's going to include relationships and beyond.

So is dating harder in the modern age? I think it's more brutally honest - but you can take from that what you will. It's much harder to be anything less than upfront when your life is out there on multiple platforms to be fact checked against, whether intentionally or otherwise. Contrary to every RomCom ever made - I think it's actually harder to lie about your life on the internet, and the more social networks become household names, the more true that will become. You can catfish, sure, but once somebody has checked it's the real you on Facebook or Twitter, the jigs up - your friends, family and even vague acquaintances are there to handily correct you if you misinform anybody. Is dating harder in the modern age? Maybe, but it's so fun to live watch other people's relationships grow - some of you even have ship names from me.

Do you think dating is harder with modern technology?

Sammy xo.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Sexuality 2.0

I've spoken about my sexuality in the past, I'm not one to shy away from the fact that for now, I identify as a lesbian woman, something that I haven't always done (I am completely open to the idea that this might not always be the case, I may fall for a man or somebody who falls into a non-binary gender - I'm okay with this, I believe that sexuality is something that grows and expands alongside us, but for now my only attraction is towards females.) Sexuality has never been complicated for me, something I've been very lucky to have as a privilege - especially knowing that I am still probably in the minority of LGBT young people to have grown up in an almost wholly accepting environment - it's not something I wear proudly on my sleeve as much as an extension of myself, something that just is.

LGBTQA+ Illustrations

Yet - attitudes towards women who have strong attractions towards other woman are still something that our society as a whole needs to work on. Although there is much less violent crime and general abusive behaviour towards lesbian women as opposed to gay men, the fact is that our sexuality is still not widely accepted as a legitimate one - and indeed my sexuality has been, well, sexualised - with men still, bizarrely, finding the idea that I am predominantly sexually attracted to woman (and therefore not them, in any way) a turn on. Hold up - I've got to be missing something here, surely?

There is a saying that resonates as true within me that has stuck with me from the moment that I read it "people jack off with the left hand, and point with the right" and it couldn't be more appropriate - growing up I spent a lot of my time around boys that treated gay peers as inferior, or inferred that I shouldn't have the right to marry a woman; these became the same boys that talked openly about their preference for lesbian porn, the same boys that asked me for threesomes when I was in my first relationship with another female. As comfortable as I am within my sexuality, the fact is that I should not have had to perfect a glare for when boys smirk suggestively at me when I'm holding hands with a girlfriend in the street, I should not have to feel as though I'm (in the words of Ellen Page) "lying by omission" by not explicitly telling people in my life that I'm not heterosexual, I should not still have to be writing posts about this in 2015.

Although I am lucky to feel safe disclosing my sexuality, something that I truly am aware is a blessing given to me entirely due to luck of the draw - where I grew up, the people I grew up alongside, my family - the fact is that, even after years of feeling the way that I do, there are still people out there that suggest that this part of my life is a phase, that the relationships I share within it aren't relevant, that my sexuality is nothing more than something that I am planning to exploit for the gratification of other people. Even some of the more accepting of my friends pointed out that I "didn't look like a lesbian" - as though we need to have some sort of dress code to identify each other.

The fact is - my relationships are just like yours. I share meaningful moments, I grow alongside another person, I put my past and future and trust in them - the only difference is that the person I'm giving all these things to is a member of my own sex. It's not rocket science - I'm not trying to destroy the sanctity of your relationship, I'm not trying to recruit your daughter or girlfriend or sister, I'm not trying to turn you on - I'm trying to get through life, the same as you, just with a partner of the same sex at my side. Oh, and if you feel like you some how have the right to ask me how I have sex just because you've never done it - expect me to ask your personal, sexually explicit questions right back.

Have you ever experienced discrimination because of your sexuality?

Sammy xo.

Monday, 16 March 2015


(Fairly Pic Heavy)

Considering we only decided to make the meet up a full gift bag and brand affair towards the end of January - #NWbloggersmeetup was a long time coming and so when Saturday came round it seemed all a little bit surreal to me, if I'm honest (so much so that I remembered my camera, but forgot the battery...) First things first; apologies to all the bloggers who had to carry an insane amount of stuff right through town and to their respective homes - I swear down that it didn't look like that much until you all got it home and put it out for instagram photographs. I've had the unique experience of being part of a much bigger group who helped me plan everything step by step, and let me know what it was that they wanted (food, alcohol and stationary), so thank you all, I hope I did you all proud!

Amazing Cosmetics
Frosted Cupcakes
(Thank you, Hannah, for letting me steal some of your photographs as I neglected to take my own!)

I secured Kabinett for a venue, just outside of the hustle of the centre of Liverpool - and I couldn't love it more. It's industrial in all the right ways, has a killer playlist every time I go in, and they make a mean cocktail - I actually want to take a minute to say a huge thanks to the barman, Niall, who laughed along with us and even bought raffle tickets. After a lot of planning, it was lovely  to get to speak to the two lovely, Liverpool based ladies that came along to speak about their brands - Carrie from Junkbox and Lucy from Natalie Roche. Carrie brought a table along to showcase all her lovely bits and bobs, ranging from t-shirts to knitted hats, from picture frames to mugs - you can actually find her stuff in Rex in Liverpool - and it's safe to say there are more than a few bloggers who quickly became huge fans of Junkbox (and Carrie herself, it seems!) 

Lucy came representing Natalie Roche, who are UK distributors that represent Amazing Cosmetics, GLAMGLOW and Xen Tan. Not only did I get the chance to fire questions about Lucy's job at her (which is fab, by the way, but earned through hard work!) but we also got the chance to test out brands, and we even got a little goodie bag with brushes and samples in - I am so excited to give those a try. We also got some gorgeous cupcakes from Hello And... Indulge - which I am told were lovely, although I didn't actually try one as when I attempted I was batted away so people could take photographs and then promptly forgot. 

Inside Goodie Bags
Goodie Bags

Now the bit that you're all wanting to see; gift bags. I can't thank the brands that got involved enough (including Wild Thang who personalised our event bags), and I'm sure you'll see more about most of these things in the near future. We were very lucky in that Utility provided gift bags for each blogger alongside the already packed event bags, then we got our Natalie Roche gift bags on top of that.

Blistex Lipbalm

Estella Bartlett Necklace

Cake Pop and Macaron

I honestly hope you had as much fun as we did - and it was lovely to meet all of you (sorry if I didn't get to speak to you, it was hectic) and also well done to everybody who won raffle prizes, and we raised £80 to split between Freshfields Animal Rescue and Claire House Children's Hospice. I know this is a horrendously long post for me - but lastly I just want to say thank you to Katy, who was there for every last minute panic and tantrum, carried everything in and set up, did the raffle and literally held my hand right the way through - I couldn't have done it without you.

Hope you all had a good time, guys!
Sammy xo.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

3 Things - Slang

I am known to speak a load of crap in that, I like to use words that I don't realise are regional and/or completely made up by me. There has been more than once where I've used words that seems to leave people a little confused, and so I thought I'd clear it up. Here are the top 3 slang phrases that I use that people seem confused by - and also that I think should crop up more often in every day language (Stop trying to make fetch happen, it's not going to happen.)

Dictionary Definition

This means cool but in the literal way, as in "it's bloody cold outside and you need a coat." I think this is a North West term, but I love this word as it's a term that means worse than freezing. This is slightly better weather than the worst weather you can get which seems to regularly be referred to as "Baltic"- there's a scale, don't stray from it.

Word In Use; "You'll need a coat, mate, it's absolutely frabs."

Lying, Yeah?
This is the stupidest term ever, and one I picked up in my job and now all of us seem to use it. This means along the lines of are you messing? As in, it's unbelievable what you've just said. I don't even know if this is a term outside my group of friends and the people that used to work with me, but I'm going to assume not. I use this literally in most sentences if you meet me in real life - clearly a lot of things in life are unbelievable to me.

Phrase In Use; "Then she was like 'I got a job at vogue', so I was like 'lying, yeah?'"

My mum hates his word, and for good reason - I used to use it regularly when she asked me why I wasn't staying in school today (which she asked every single day without fail). When I was at school we used to use this to describe who had ended the relationship, as in who had "jibbed" another person, but now it can be use for bailing out of anything. If you've skipped something, you've jibbed it off. If you don't want to do something, you can text your friends suggesting that you jib it off, or forget it - you get the idea.

Word In Use; "We were meant to be going the pub, but jib that."

So there you go, a handy little guide to the words that I use (particularly when talking to my family or school friends) and also, three things I truly believe should be added to everyone's vocabulary - you're welcome.

What's your favourite slang word?

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: Homes Are Where The Heart Is

Monday, 9 March 2015

Growing Up A Girl

Yesterday, on International Women's day 2015, I read a brilliant article by my good friend Rachel over on Femtellectual about how she came about to being a feminist. It left me thinking about how my experience growing up had been very, very different - and yet we'd both ended up proud feminists. From the age of eleven, I went to a school that was near the top of the league tables, and it was solely for girls. This environment had it's positives and negatives, but the message drummed into us every day was simple - we could be whatever we wanted as long as we worked hard for it.

I spent my time in a naive sort of bubble, usually with girls that had been brought up around me in the same school - and so, I never really gave much thought to feminism, or what it meant to me. I could do anything! I could be anyone! Or so I thought at the time. Fast forward right through to sixth form - where suddenly I had to decide what I wanted to do with my life, and I started my first real job. Ah, the job; this was the first big wake up call for me in the real world. I finally got a job in good old McDonald's - and let's not beat around the bush, it was pretty rubbish - but this was the first time I really got to see any kind of discrimination in a workplace, no matter how subtle. In the whole time I was at McDonald's (a lot longer than I might have desired), I saw two girls total ever work in the kitchen. It just wasn't the done thing - both girls and boys did fries, tills and drive thru, but only really boys were ever trained up to work grillside (that's right, I know all the lingo). I saw this further in my second real job, wherein girls waited on and boys did coffee; I want it on the record I make a mean Cappuccino, so that was their mistake - but this is bizarre to me. What made me less suitable for those jobs? Was I less qualified to wrap cheeseburgers the right way? Were my hands too dainty to be able to correctly make coffee?

Form Picture

It's fair to say, real life came as a shock for me - and that's what made me a feminist. I'd grown up thinking I could do anything, only for the world to tell me that actually, I couldn't - and in many ways, even in the 21st century, I was a second class citizen. I believe that I should rightfully be entitled to the same rights as men, but also that men should be entitled to the same rights as women. Feminism is all about the right to choose, the right to be who and whatever you want without limitations that are almost entirely down to your gender - because the idea that I can be whatever I want to be with hard work should be the truth, it shouldn't be broken by a harsh reality because there are too many things that simply don't fit enough to make it true.

Girls shouldn't be losing their enthusiasm for certain subjects because we're told that they're not suitable for us, we are just as suited to all jobs as men - and I refuse to be told differently. We are lucky, as British women (I'm assuming from my readership stats that most of you are), to have the rights that we do - but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't keep fighting to take it further, until we gain complete equality.

Are you a feminist? What prompted you into it?

Sammy xo.

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

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Life On The Internet

Having a lifestyle blog is a bit of a weird one - you need a life to write one, and yet a life sort of gets in the way of having one. When I'm writing about living, I'm not out there doing it - and when I'm out there living, I'm not writing about doing it; it's a tough one, a hard balance. It gets ever harder when it comes to having to decide what should and shouldn't go on the internet - I run from a single twitter and instagram account, and so it's inevitable that a lot of my life is out there for people to see; especially given that some of that interaction in real life is often lately with other people that own blogs - things can often sort of bleed into each other, with the line between real life and internet life becoming near transparent.

I've never been one to shy away from throwing my personal life online - whilst my Facebook remains ominously quiet, my twitter is usually abuzz with jokes, stories and snippets of life that only I am amused by. My blog has always been a bit of an emotional upchuck - all the thoughts buzzing around my head thrown down onto a page, with little in the way of a brain to mouth filter. I've always liked it this way - most of my crap spread out across a page. It was honest, brutal and raw sometimes, but you all responded to it, pulled me into the community, and I've never looked back.

Girls On A Leather Couch
(The picture of me and the ever beautiful Katy rightfully belongs to Emma)

I'd be lying if I said that I didn't love the blog community - it's like a ready made pack of friends with at least one thing in common. It's a strange connection - a world in which you know everybody without meeting most of them, and when it's good - it's good; a big happy family, support and advice. It can be nasty, and bitter - you can fall out with people that you never really knew to fall out with, you can fall into strange acquaintances that would likely never happen outside of the blog world - and yet it brought my best friends into my life. It is a strange, twofold world that I feel lucky to be a part of. Putting myself out there has been empowering, satisfying, humbling - but it also creates an insane amount of pressure. With my problems, relationships and future all developing in front of an audience, no matter how seemingly small to most people, it can be overwhelming to deal with. I feel like I'm constantly balanced between writing how I feel, and trying to find the line where writing about things becomes too much. It's a tough learning curve, and one that I'm still struggling to get used to.

I'm not complaining; this is a choice. As bloggers, we choose to put at least some of our lives online - whether it be the little bits of make-up that we love, the fashion that we wear, the milestones of our children, or the struggles in our lives. Finding the balance can be difficult, you're allowing your life to be read about, to be judged, to have people's opinions on it whether you like them, or ask for them, or not. Blogging is a hobby, but it's so much more than that - it's putting your life out there in one form or another for people to see, and bear with me as I figure out where the line should go as to things I want on here, and things I'm not quite ready to project out for the world to see.

How much life do you put on the internet?

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: Family

Friday, 6 March 2015

The Little Life Update

I've been a little quiet this week - but life has been a whirlwind of farm based college visits, birthdays, meals out and trips away. I've celebrated in Manchester with my longest standing best friend for her 21st, been shopping and eating with Katy and Emma, up to Newcastle to celebrate with my older brother and all the while in between I've been planning #NWbloggersmeetup which is now only a little over a week away and seems to have completely snuck up behind me and taken me by surprise.

Tyne Bridge Newcastle

I've had a brilliant few days but true to form didn't even think about scheduling posts and so I've been a little bit lax, but I plan to be back on form for Sunday's post - and I'll definitely be planning ahead for next week when it's full steam ahead with meet up planning on the last leg! Keep an eye on my twitter to see what's going on with regards to #NWbloggersmeetup and of course, as the photos above show, I'm still quite often around on instagram.

See you Sunday!
Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: All Quiet On The Social Media Front

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

The Homeware Picks

Okay, so I skived for a few days this week. I had a whole post planned for Monday, but for reasons I talked about over on Femtellectual - I decided against posting it and, after a heavy (but thoroughly enjoyable) few weeks meeting blogger friends and planning the #NWbloggersmeet up, I thought I could cope with taking a few days off. I've been crazy busy planning a room overhaul in that time, though, and so I thought I'd bring you just a few of my favourite homeware pieces I've managed to add to my basket along the way.

Carnival Lights

Sherlock Chair

In my head this is going to look adorably mismatched - but in real life, who knows! There's some pictures to look out for... I'm always on the look out for homeware sites, so let me know if you know any cool ones.

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: Homeware Wishlist