Friday, 27 November 2015

bon voyage

So, as my first term at uni drives to a close, I've finished all my lectures, tutorials and assignments and I'm free to pack up and return home whenever I like. 

I'm lucky enough to have my car with me, so here at uni I'm totally independent but for some reason I find myself booking up my time and trying to find reasons not to leave. 

And I feel guilty, I've had my mum on the phone for the past few days, wondering when I'll be home and I've just been making up excuses about important things that 'need to be done' before I can go home (which is a load of rubbish).

But the truth is, I've made so many great friends here, and even though Buckingham is a small town, I've never found myself being sat around being bored with nothing to do. There's always someone or something going on. 

For example, the other night I was planning on spending a nice night in having a well over due Netflix marathon, with no make on, in my pyjamas and a nice cup of tea. But, shock horror, I didn't have any milk. 

So I reluctantly wandered down to Londis, looking like I'd just been dragged through a hedge backwards, and on my way there I bumped into a friend (typical) and somehow I got persuaded to watching TV at their flat instead. Which was fine because that's all I wanted to do with my evening anyway. 

However, it got to about 11 o'clock and we started to feel a bit peckish. So we decided to walk to the BP garage (the only shop open at that time) and buy a sandwich. That's it, just a sandwich. 

But on our way there we noticed Roosters was still open (a fast food shop) and thought stuff it, let's go full out. 

Unfortunately, we were told we'd have to wait 15 minutes for our chicken to cook. So we walked to a local bar and sat down and chilled for a bit until it was ready. 

So having spent quite a lot of time at this particular bar over the past few weeks, I've gotten to know a few people that work there, and someone working there that night thought it would be funny to refuse to give me water and only serve gin and tonic. But I wasn't really complaining so just went with it. 

Anyway we said our goodbyes and went to collect our food. 

Now, my friend told me that he'd forgotten something at the bar and made out it was crucial to go back and get it (which was a lie). So we got there, and you guessed it, ended up drinking more alcohol and sitting and the end of the bar stuffing our faces with chicken and chips (not one of my most dignified moments) - the bar had closed by that time so luckily there weren't many witnesses, just us three.  

So after about half a bottle of red wine, endless shots of sambuca and many double (probably triple) G&T's the bartender, my friend and I sat on some sofas trying to play Scrabble. But trying to carefully place tiny plastic tiles on a board whilst having to be articulate after that much alcohol really isn't realistic. So we gave up and ventured back to the flat. 

I woke up in the morning with a monster of a hangover, stumbled into the kitchen, sat at the table and stared out the window just people watching whilst munching on a pack of bourbons... and just contemplating what has happened to my life.

And then the realisation hit me, how did all that happened, when all I wanted was a bloody sandwich. 

Friday, 30 October 2015

Group chat issues

The majority of students belong to some sort of group chat on their phones. Be it organising an event, keeping in contact with a friendship group, talking to members of your class to help each other with work or whatever else it may be, we've all been in one.

Personally, I love group chats. It allows you to really be involved in each other's lives. However, there's no denying it comes with its fair share of problems. Many of which I'm sure you can relate to:

1. Organising things is virtually impossible: Trying to pick a date or a time where 5+ people are all free is possibly the most mentally frustrating thing, ever.

2. An early night doesn't exist anymore: Need to catch up on some much needed sleep? Haha, think again. The constant buzzing of you mobile phone lying on your bedside table drives you crazy. But you can't put it on silent because you have an alarm set for the next morning.

3. If you put your phone down for half an hour: Not everyone wants to stare at their phone 24/7, but with group chats you're pretty much forced to. After leaving the chat for a while, you come back and seem to have missed 5 pieces of gossip, 10 questions, 3 events and a small earthquake.

4. People get very offended when you read and don't reply: Sometimes you just don't care about how funny Amy's cat looks in a Santa Claus outfit, so you just take a glimpse and out your phone away. But oh my god, you won't hear the end of it.

5. Then again, when the tables are turned: When nobody replies when you ask something or say something important! Do they not care about you're problems?!

6. Your photo library is full of photos and screenshots: When you have to sit there and scroll through your camera roll endlessly deleting random crap which other people have sent you, it becomes a regular chore.

7. They make your procrastination even worse: It's so easy to start up a conversation on pretty much anything, and then you convince yourself its important and you have to keep replying. And before you know it, its 1 o'clock in the morning and you've wasted half your evening.

8. It gets awkward when people start bitching: Do you just sit back and watch

Friday, 23 October 2015

Beauty fails

Many women to go through a lot of effort to maintain appearances these days. The pressure of the media has morphed our societies' perception of beauty and what 'standard is'. And a tremendous amount of time, effort and money goes into doing so.

Even something as simple as getting your nails done. It can cost on average around £25 a fortnight, thats £50 a month, so that's £600 a year (if you maintain them). Imagine all the things you could do with £600. Perhaps buy a small car? And it all goes on having pretty fingertips.

There's nothing wrong with a high maintenance beauty routine, and I'm not going to pretend like I'm innocent, I may have a slight problem with buying make up I don't need...

But sometimes we can go a little OTT with the procedures. For example, (this is a very embarrassing story) when I was 15, my friends and I went for our first spray tan. And as you do when you're 15, you try and find it as cheap as possible. So we all ended up going to this dodgy, low-rent salon in Bath. When we arrived we all stood in the middle of the salon looking awkward until a little Chinese lady came though and guided us to the back of the shop.

She takes us to a very hot, crowded and poorly lit room and tells us to get ready. I have to note at this point the only thing separating us from the whole salon was a pathetic little curtain across the door (so that was terrifying enough).

So we crack on with the tanning and take it in turns to be sprayed with this suffocating mist which we hoped would make us look like Kim Kardashian. And after we had all been coated, we looked in the mirror but didn't really see much of a difference. My Italian friend, Lulu was already much darker than us so asked if she could have a second coating.

And of course, we all followed like sheep and wanted a second coating as well. (In our defence the lady said the colour we had immediately was the finished result).

After around 3 coats each (yes, three) we decided our colour was sufficient.

And then we stepped outside into true daylight, and let's just say I've never been starred at so much in my life.

You can only imagine what I woke up to when I looked in the mirror the next day. I would have give the Oompa Loompas a run for their money. And better yet, I had to go to school.

So there we were at school, walking around like a bag of Wotsits, getting mocked by absolutely everyone, even the teachers joined in.

So, moral of the story, sometimes less is more, ladies!

Oh and also don't go to dodgy salons.

'I like them shoes...'

I'm very respectful when it comes to people's backgrounds. And I also understand everyone has been brought up in different ways.
However, there is a pet hate of mine which I wanted to share with you, and see if you feel the same way.
I'm really in to english language, I think it's a great subject, and call me a snob or whatever, but it really grinds my gears when native speakers don't use the correct form of it.

 Let me elaborate...

The worst of them all is when people don't use the correct demonstratives (this, that, these and those) and will say things like 'I love them shoes' or 'them ones are nice'. And there have been instances in the past where I've heard these phrases and just looked at the person in sheer disgust, as if they have just spat in front of me (and then I have to excuse my expression and blame it on my resting bitch face).

Secondly, is when people conjugate tenses incorrectly e.g. 'I been there yesterday'. Argh. Just no. Just, no. I mean, that's not how the majority of people talk, and surely you notice it, so it bewilders me as to why you would continue doing it when you know it's wrong!

Thirdly, double negatives. 'I don't know nothing' (yes, well clearly not). This is not spanish. We do not have double negatives in our language. And quite frankly, if you actually listen to the words you are saying, it doesn't  make any sense!! You can't not know nothing otherwise that implies you do know something!

And finally, when people omit the preposition 'to' and the definite article 'the' e.g. 'I went gym yesterday' ... NO... you went TO THE gym. And you know you went to the gym, so why are you missing out half the sentence?

I have to mention, I've noticed this becoming a bit of a recent trend, some of my friends have actually started doing it on purpose. Don't ask my why, it frustrates me to high heaven.

Obviously the majority of people which use language in this way do it unintentionally because that's how they've been brought up and that's what they're used to. So occasionally, I have to withhold my judgements. But for those of you who know you're doing it, it's not cool and it's not clever.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Sugar trap

We've all fallen into the trap before.

We look at the packaging of our favourite types of food or snack and if there are pleasant pictures of vegetables or a shining sun, we assume it's all organic and good for us.

Very few people actually take the time to read the back of the packet and see the content (guilty). And yes, of course they display a little convenient diagram showing how many grams of each ingredient is in the packet, however it's only ever per '25 grams' or some other minute proportion of the entire packet. And let's be honest, no one is going to stand there and do the maths.

So we shrug it off and give our favourite treats the benefit of the doubt. But here I though I'd show you how important it is to read the labels, and especially to check the sugar content, because you'd be shocked at the statistics...

1. Half a cup of tomato pasta sauce - 19 grams of sugar
2. 1/3 cup of dried cranberries  - 24 grams of sugar
3. 1 granola bar - 12 grams of sugar
4. 1 energy drink - up to 83 grams of sugar
5. 1 pint of cider - 20 grams of sugar
6. 1 glass of fruit juice - 20-30 grams of sugar
7. 1 can of coca cola - 9 grams
8. Starbucks caramel frappaccino - 11 grams
9. Glaceau vitamin water - 4 grams of sugar
10. French dressing - 7 grams of sugar

(All based on average portions/brands)

I have to admit when researching this, I shed a small tear when I came across the sugar content of a vodka and cranberry (7 grams)... But actually, cranberry juice cleanses the kidneys, so I will still need that in order to stay healthy!...

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

"If you swear, you are uneducated"

People these days, don't give a sh*t.

About what you ask? Swearing.  

There are many different views on what is socially acceptable in the world. A large part depends on how you were brought up or what your own beliefs are, but in this world, our opinions on social acceptance are forever changing  as we continue our voyage to find the perfect standard of being. 

For the sake of stereotypes, a traditional, middle-class, old age pensioner may react slightly differently as compared to a young, hip, black rapper when they hear the sentence " I don't give a f*ck". But in this day and age, I would say people are much more tolerating of 'bad language'. 

(By the way, excuse my use of stereotypes, I don't mean to offend anyone, but come on people, they're called stereotypes for a reason). 

Traditionally, the purpose of swearing is used as a shock factor to express your level of anger or other appropriate emotion. Or, only used 'un-intentionally' for extreme pain circumstances, like stubbing your pinky toe on a sharp corner. (That's when you really get to see someone's true colours).

But, there is a question raised in arguments, disagreements, discussions, I've had with people before which i'd like to write about. If you casually swear in your typical register, does this mean you're uneducated/ have a limited vocabulary? 

When I sit back and reflect on my day-to-day vocabulary, I have to admit I do have a tendency to be a 'casual swearer'. I don't mean it in an aggressive or shocking way, nor have I been brought up to use swear words casually. It is simply something I have naturally developed due to a preference of how I express myself. 

To give you a rough idea of how much I consider 'a lot of swearing' as compared to 'none existent', let's use a numerical scale from 1-10. 

A 10 being the articulate manner in which your average Jeremy Kyle guest expresses themselves, to a 1 being an educational commentary by David Attenborough. I'd probably give myself a 6-7. 

From a relatively young age our pure minds are introduced to such words, and then we all grow up into individuals who are capable of using them. Some may have the privilege of receiving a first class education, some may not be so lucky, but at the end of the day no matter who you are, we all share the ability to swear. So just because one person chooses to swear, and another doesn't, does not necessarily mean it's because they're thick and can't think of a more appropriate substitute word. And I think it would be foolish to assume otherwise. 

Obviously there's a time and a place as to where you should and shouldn't swear, but in general I don't think it makes you seem uneducated. We also have to remember swearing isn't just used as one entity in order to shock, it's also use to express a variety functions. 

For example, Steven Pinker, in 'The stuff of thought', lists 5 different ways we can swear: "descriptively (Let's f*ck), idiomatically (It's fucked up), abusively (F*ck you...!), emphatically (This is f*cking amazing), and cathartically (F*ck!)."

So when you look into it, its more than just taboo nonsense. 

Honestly, it's probably not the most polite way of expressing yourself, but if you get your message across loud and clear, and it doesn't get you into too much trouble, then why not?