Hey, it’s OK..

If you can handle your units better than your E-numbers. Too many Tootie Fruities on your lunch break = serious giggling fit in front of your manager. (True story)

If you can’t actually handle your units either…

To pretend like you know nothing about your best boy mates new (irritatingly beautiful) girlfriend when first introduced, despite having intensely IG stalked her. We all do it.

To move seats on public transport because the person opposite/next to/anywhere near you is crunching crisps at an intolerable decibel.

To turn to twitter to find out how your closest friends’ weekend was instead of actually asking them.

To subsequently text them anyway – you seriously have to know who that indirect was about.

That you once ate a whole bag of microwave popcorn to yourself. OK, to nearly always eat a whole bag to yoursel.. Ok – to have done it twice this week.

To own five cookbooks but only ever try out recipes from one. Yupp, even if it’s ‘A quick recipe collection by Sainsburys’.. (I’ll obvs move on when I’ve mastered it; baby steps and all that!)

To have sported more of your best friends’ wardrobe lately than your own.

To only ever get your five a day from 241 cocktails.

For every single one of the above to have applied to you at least once… Please note: this does however, mean you are as strange as me – Sorry about that!

What your #HeyItsOK this June!? Let me know. Or, actually, let @GlamourMagUK know. They’re much cooler than me.

Char x

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The secret enemy

“The only thing more dangerous than an enemy; is an enemy disguised as a friend.” 

Comparison can be very useful; I’m all too thankful for its being when faced with a cocktail list. Without it I’d be unable to quickly spot whether a Woo Woo or a Mai Tai will be more valuable during my regular quests to get shitfaced. Having likely saved me from a starring role on the hit list of many impatient barmaids it makes perfect sense to befriend such a soul. Or does it?

Truth is comparison has a sinister side; an ugly step sister; an awful after affect.

It cunningly fools us into thinking it’s a philanthropist: Come hither poverty-ridden students; trust moi when deciding where to purchase your own brand beans, together we’ll look after those precious pennies. 

Uhm, sure, ok.. Tesco or ASDA?

BAM! Just as you’re about to skip off into the sunset with your money saving, decision aiding bestie it all goes wrong. Think back to what Snow White taught you people. That magic mirror never once gave the Evil Queen the answer she wanted once her step-daughter was on the scene and a similar fate awaits anyone over-reliant on comparison.

You can innocently sneak a glance into that mirror, happier with your figure after a good work out – BAM: someone skinnier than you.

You present it your latest grades, they’re better than your last – BAM: someone smarter than you..

Huh. It’s pulling you in; you need to know more. Mirror mirror, is she more employable than me? More loveable than me?

Fuck, is their sex life as good as ours?…

You get the picture.

We’re ALL guilty of it (if you think you’re not feel free to come and wrestle this keyboard off me) but it’s a sin we needn’t feel overly ashamed of. Comparison is human nature, human nature is hard to fight, and besides sometimes taking a good look around us, at what others are doing or achieving, is a much needed kick up the backside. In knowledge of this I would never advocate not being competitive. (Plus, I personally find people without a competitive streak quite dull; they never really seem passionate about anything). But there is a key difference in competitive behaviour fuelled by ambition and comparative behaviour fuelled by bitterness. Like everything in life – we must practice balance.

The devil child is born

I might add that in this day and age another beast lives amongst us. Comparison has spawned a devil child and it crept into our lives armed with a false passport. I’m referring, of course, to Social Media.

It’s easy to wake up in a good mood only to find it evaporates after a half hour spent gorging over Instagram leaving us comparing our dull reality with the ‘IT’ girls perfectly filtered highlight reel. But remember, for most, that’s all it is.

No one types a status about their ‘epic time’ applying for five grad schemes a day or failing six interviews in the last month but they’ll be more than happy to tell the world when they’ve signed a contract; leaving the unemployed deflated and uninspired.

No one will call upon 140 characters to share why they went home before midnight last night but they’re sure to upload 507 photos from pre-drinks claiming to have ‘the best friends ever’. Oh. The same best friends you argued with and took a taxi home alone because of? Seems legit that.

My top tips for staying on the good side of comparison 

  • Take a step back and compare your situation to your own but six months ago not those around you or plastered down your timeline
  • NEVER compare something you can’t change such as the past, nothing good will come from it, focus on the future
  • Remember social media only portrays the parts of someones life they want you to see
  • Remain competitive not comparative and stay mindful of the differences
  • If you do compare your situation to others use where they are as a goal and create realistic, timely plans to join them not simply wallow in self-pity
  • If you’re truly happy with a part of your life bury that desire to compare six feet under stat; ignorance is bliss my friend
  • Comparing units is always the best way to choose a cocktail (until your earning say, £50k a year, then go ahead and base it on taste..)

Lottsa love, Char x

If you only try three things this June..

Nutella and breadsticks. A habit I picked up during a recent trip to Venice (cuz um, Italians invented Nutella didn’t you know..) and haven’t spent a single second trying to kick since. Seriously, just do it – you’ll never look back.

Hotel K. My lovely housemate, Charlotte Jones, is fast becoming the personal librarian I never had. A few days ago she leant me this and it’s been a part of my anatomy ever since; I can NOT put it down! An intoxicatingly addictive insight into Bali’s most notorious jail by Kathryn Bonella. The first hand twisted tales of life in Hotel Kerobokan will leave you mesmerised for all the wrong reasons.

Pole dance. I’ve always been secretly tempted by the idea; gyms are really not my thing. Again at the influence of Miss Jones, for the past four weeks I’ve spent my Tuesday evenings gaining minor battles wounds as I attempt to ‘elegantly’ navigate my naturally clumsy limbs around a pole. And I’m loving it.

Only two weeks to go until my first grading.. Eeek.

What are you loving this June? Are you a secret fan of any of the above too? Let me know!

Lottsa love, Char x

What skinny really feels like

The more and more I read blogs the more I notice a common theme: girls slyly hating on their bodies. No, wait, let me put that more specifically – girls who want to be thin hating on their bodies and infuriatingly placing it as a factor in their happiness.

This doesn’t start and end in the blogs I consume myself with either. I hear the same tired story when I go to see my friends from home and my friends from University. I hear it passed back and forth between my female colleagues in the office.

To me it begs the question: Why do so many females think all they need is to lose a few more pounds and suddenly a life-long happiness bomb will explode inside of them and shine outwards forevermore?

I like to think to think we’re the superior sex, so why is it then, so many of you are that delusional to think hitting a weight based target will fix everything in your life; immediately preventing anything else ever getting in the way of you being content?

I’d like to say I’m not sure, that this is all an enigma to me but, unfortunately, I do understand this way of thinking.

Yup, me. The Naturally Skinny, Tall girl.

Now before you all throw anorexic self-help guides and cheeseburgers at me (although I wouldn’t turn down the later) just hear me out.

Naturally skinny – Some may read or say those words in awe; I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been told ‘I bet it feels amazing to be naturally thin.’ But for years I spat them out like venom; begrudging my overactive metabolism, rake-like bone structure and gangly limbs.

If you’re not convinced let me draw upon some personal experiences that may put to rest any argument you have against me not being normal for disliking (literally) my bony ass.

But no one says mean things to skinny girls about their weight. To put it bluntly just trust me when I say ‘Are you anorexic or what you fucking skeleton’ hurts in the exact same way as ‘Lay of the pies you fat fucking whale’ does. Surprisingly, so did all my concerned friends’ parents favourite ‘Jesus, doesn’t your mother feed you’ and social medias favourite ‘Only a dog wants a bone’.

But I bet being skinny never made her avoid a situation. It’s nearly the summer so inevitably offices all over the country are full of women worried about getting out their ‘bikini body’ during A/L. Terms like Jelly Belly are thrown about and promises to buy kaftans and only have pictures of your face are made. While I’m not currently as self-concious as I used to be, when I was younger and skinnier I experienced the exact same fear but for the opposite reason and religiously dodged swimming because of it. On the same note, I’ve wanted to train for a (half!) marathon since I was 18 but put it off for fear of loosing what little chub I have. Stupid eh.

But skinny girls can wear whatever they want. I wish more than anything this were true. Right now for example I’m crushing over ripped boyfriend jeans but will they suit me? Most certainly not. The truth is it’s confidant girls can wear whatever they want. Picture this:

On my 20th birthday my friends and I hit the streets of Birmingham. Midi skirts were taking us all by storm and I wanted in so I asked my perfectly sculpted best friend where hers was from. ‘So and so – but you won’t find one to fit you’ she retorted. What!? Excuse me!? She may as well have punched me in the face – it would have hurt less. A few days after I went out and brought a Midi Skirt anyway. (That FYI was a size eight and did fit). Was I able to do that because I would look ‘better’ for gaining weight rather than losing it? No! I did it because I wanted to wear what I fucking wanted, when I fucking wanted. Being able to do that comes from within not your BMI.

But skinny girls don’t have to be ashamed of their clothes labels. Well I can’t speak for us all, but this one does. Remember that backlash the whole world teamed up to take on size zero? Well around that time it was essentially my size. I was in my GCSE years and forever struggling to find jeans which suited and fitted me. Discovering a pair I didn’t have to string up with a belt was like gold dust. Anyway, I did once find a pair I adored. (From ASDA of all places; I’m a bargain hunter through and through.) Whenever I wore them I was complimented and one girls comments in particular made me feel all empowered inside until she asked me what size they were. ‘A four’ I shrugged. ‘A FOUR! Oh Em Gee that’s a size Zero! Charlotte you really do need to eat more’. My heart sunk. I felt as though a knife had been stabbed into my gut. I wanted to take off my jeans and burn them. I didn’t though; instead I cut out the label. A tip I had read in Victoria Beckham’s book; she wanted to teach girls dressing for your size is better than caring about the label inside. And it is.

But skinny girls get to eat whatever they want. Ok, ok. You got me. I can’t argue my way outta this one. This is THE perk of being naturally skinny but it has in the past made me (stupidly and maybe selfishly) feel a little stuck. Stuck in the same way I imagine countless fad diets failing make a girl who wants to be slimmer feel. Yes, I probably could eat a Big Mac every day for a week without a sliver of body fat to show for it but it doesn’t mean I was happy with my figure.

It was torture to already eat more than everyone you know but feel as though only when you reach 8 stone will you finally be a ‘worldie’. Worse was that when I reached eight stone I immediately wanted to be 8 1/2 then 9st.. So when I talk of blindly marching towards a weight goal and it not being able to instantly improve your life, I’d say I’m qualified to do so.

What has became obvious to me is that every single girl no matter her shape or size has the same insecurity and is subject to the same criticisms; they’re just packaged in a different way, or rather, they come as a result of being packaged in a different way.

No-ones body can change overnight, nor can anyone morph into a shape they wasn’t born to be. You can turn Atkins into your bible or down protein shakes like it’s Sambuca but essentially we are all bound by our bone structure. (Seriously, when even the Daily Mail Online says so, it must be true).

What I want anyone reading this to remember is that being skinny is not all it is cracked up to be and it is not Skinny that feels good; it is probably not Curvy that feels good. It is Confidence. So build yours up in whatever way works for you and do not let anyone take it away. It’s unattainable for your confidence to be consistent and that’s ok but make sure you have some bottled up inside to fend off any unassuming critics, especially if that critic becomes you.

Placement life: Here’s what I really learnt

Todays’ goal is to complete, or at least finally start, my ‘Placement year: review and reflection log’ so I can start my sandwich year University assignment which has an ever looming deadline of about 24 days and counting.

The log was supposed to be added to from day one and aims to make you employable as hell for when you’re inevitably thrown into the cut throat graduate job market.

Of course, in between a) travelling up and down the country for numerous 21st birthday bashes b) reading copious amounts of books I would never had the time to at University and c) really not wanting to spend my evenings writing about life in the office I had finally just been able to leave – I still haven’t taken a stab at it. Pretty lazy and pretty stupid I know, but in my defence I don’t know many people who did.

I’d like to add though that if you’re reading this and just about to embark on a placement year – START IT FROM DAY ONE! (I got the very same advice from a guy at an assessment centre and evidently didn’t take it; but that doesn’t mean I can’t give out the same advice now I’m a lil’ older and wiser right?)

In any case, in the name of procrastination and a good blog post, it got me thinking about my ‘placement journey’ and the lessons I’ve taken from tentively venturing into the world of post University life.

Here’s what I learnt.

1. Applying for placements is soul destroying. It fucking sucks. You will feel shit. You will have to apply to a million before you get an interview and be telephone/first round interviewed a million times also before you pass one. Oh, and then fail there a few times too before finally, someone see’s your potential and stops you having to do your third year early without all your friends.

2. Things do not have to go the way you imagined to be amazing for you. If you are as lucky as me 95% of the time you will love your placement even if it is not what you imagined. I had imagined, or rather wanted, a well-structured Placement Scheme for a huge firm in the capital which would lead me to a graduate scheme in said huge firm in said capital.  What I got was a role in a small-medium size company; in a little East Midlands city with only one club; in a smallish Marketing department that after a month or two of me being there got even smaller – down to three and 1/5 infact:

The Three Marketeers et Faye Fridays.

 

3. Working for a small company is often a more enriching experience. My friend said this to me at the start of my second year but I dismissed her continuing to apply to the likes of Unilever and IBM. But working for a small team/company turned out to be one of the blessings of my placement. Working in a small team means there is nowhere to hide. The brutal truth becomes either give the task to ‘The Placement Student’ or do not have it done at all which is excellent news for you.

4. The power of a good brew. I wasn’t a big tea drinker before I started placement; the team said they would crack me and they did. The power of a good brew in the office is immeasurable.

5. If you’re going for a career in it, you better fucking love it. As part of my placement I work with many agencies and thanks to my manager being awesome (and the agencies also!) I have been given the opportunity to visit a few. This May I visited LIDA, a digital and direct marketing agency in the heart of Soho. The company work in creative pairs and during a whistle stop tour of their office I was introduced to a guy who told me he often spends more time with his creative other half than his marital one. This is true of business men and woman all over the world and during all those hours you’ll put in, whether it’s marketing, sales, lion taming or bloody ant collecting you choose; they’ll be times you just want to leave, so make a mental note to ensure you’re genuinely passionate about what you do. It’s the only thing that will keep you sane.

Here comes the big one:

6. Being happy while you’re young is more important than racing towards the last lap of your career.

This is the most powerful realisation I have had during my placement journey and it is probably what I deem to be the most important. It is this oh so deep and meaningful realisation that has been the catalyst for a decision slowly but surely forming in the back of my mind. If I’m not boring you yet, read on for the rational behind it.

When I was applying for placements I was fucking miserable. It was my second year of University and I should have been enjoying myself at every given second not stressing, moaning and whining over finding a placement. But in my defence it felt like the be all and end all of my future.

When I got a placement it took a while for the blinkers to fade; I was gearing myself up to hit the ground running in my third year, apply for fiercely competitive Graduate Schemes and tough out the application process alongside finishing my degree and ‘enjoying’ the final throws of my student life.

But the thought began to sicken me. More importantly the thought of the above working sickens me too.

Taking a glimpse at post University life made me in no way, shape or form want to rush towards that much discussed first graduate job. I began to realise that (having predictably conducted endless Google searches) there are other ways to come by the fulfilling and successful career I so crave.

I’m beginning to understand that a career path is not as straight, and does not need to be as straight, as you think it should be at the start. (I feel as though I’ve also read this somewhere; Sheryl Sandberg, I’m looking at you). I’ve also been reading a lot of blogs lately about how to be a happy yet, and I quote, self-confessed career women (Hannah Gale, that would be you) and it is all off this, plus things I have seen during my placement and my deep desire to see the world, that has got me ready to embrace a few side steps; a few twists and turns, twists and turns that come in the shape of a gap year.

Because what I have learnt is while, yes, a gap year may mean I cannot go on that career defining Grad Scheme that has you sipping cocktails with CEO’s, it doesn’t have to mean I won’t one day be that CEO every grad scheme student wants to schmooze with at an after work cocktail party…

Have you been on a placement year, or are you just about to start one? I’d love to hear your stories.

Char x

Someday, I want to love somebody that much

I spent my down time this rainy Thursday eve watching The Hunger Games, Catching Fire. ‘Shock!’ I hear cry anyone who has spent more than five minutes with me since I discovered the captivating trilogy.

This quote isn’t actually in the books, and despite J.Law being totes flawless, we all know books are waaay better than films can ever hope to be. Yet still, this movie-only quote, so potently sticks out to me every single time.

Here’s why.

Most girls, and women for that matter, spend their days worrying a guy may never see past their killer morning breath and all too frequent zits, to be truly, madly in love with them.

How many of your female friends have poured over Nicholas Sparks books and chick flicks until they’re making mental lists of seventy-two conflicting ways they need to change before an actual male would even look at them, let alone whisk her of to Pari to get down on one knee?

What I’m getting at, is it is far more common to hear ‘What if no one ever loves me that much’ than ‘What if I never love someone that much?’. It’s the possible absence of the latter that scares me to death.

Now I’m not saying I’m not also slightly panicky over the former, simply that I let this go over my head. Come eya cats; you lot and I have some dying alone to do..

But seriously – how long before I casually bump into a guy I can be 110% myself around, who brings out parts of me I never knew existed, who I’d pause The Hunger Games for just to have a conversation with? Oh, and at the same time has a beautiful face, killer arms and here’s the tricky part: is taller than me.

Consider this with my apparent heart of stone and tendency to get bored after the same amount of days as Kim K’s marriages last and it’s not likely to be any time soon.

But hey, I’m only 21 and I got a lotta loving me to do before I’m ready to unconditionally give my heart, body, soul and time to a male anyway.

Which scares you more? Comment below and let me know!

Char x

Blogging around

For far too long now I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a blog. So here it is.

Nothing specific, probably nothing brilliant, just anything and everything my twenty-one year old brain needs/wants/decides to etch out into words.

I hope you enjoy reading, please feel free to leave your comments on any posts!

Lottsa love, Char x
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