Tuesday, 31 March 2015

depression and katie hopkins

It all started with Alan Sugar. This is who we can really blame. No matter how many times he donates to charity, or stands up for the working class, it really will always be Lord Sugar’s fault. Katie Hopkins took to the stage initially on The Apprentice, and since then we have seen her evolve into an endless pit of shocking statements, and be famously known as ‘rent-a-gob’. We all have sighed at her comments, rolled our eyes as she appeared on another talk show, and almost forgiven her when she displayed compassion on Celebrity Big Brother. She was the new village idiot of Britain, and we were starting to accept this.

But after this week, this needs to stop.

Following the tragic German Wings plane crash, Hopkins insensitively posted the following tweets surrounding depression.

These tweets sparked mass hysteria on Twitter, with people branding Hopkins ‘disgusting…despicable…’ whilst others praised her for her honesty. Me? I just felt sad. Honestly, absolutely devastated that Twitter has been used in such an unintelligent way in a bid to increase her bank balance.

I do not suffer from depression, but I am close with people who have severely battled this illness. I have been on the phone with close friends who are close to committing suicide. People who, on paper, have everything to live for. People who are intelligent, beautiful, caring people who can’t shake the ominous black shadow that follows them around as they try to live their life. These are not ‘attention seekers’ crying over not having the latest Mac lipstick, nor are they so blinded by 21st Century problems that they have lost grip with reality. They are young people with an illness, which so many share, but keep quiet. To be so publically shamed like this and brushed off, well, that’s what leads to tragedies.

Depression in my generation is rife, but this may be due to the mounting pressures put upon people my age. The pressure to do well, to go to Uni, to succeed…followed by the high unemployment rate, low income. Social media is a separate entity, one that promotes ‘one-up-man-ship’. It’s the generation of showing off, of showing people just how fantastic your life is compared to others…all in 140 characters with a pretty filter. None of this is real. None of this matters. We know this…but it still resonates. I am not surprised that, as Hopkins states, there has been a 500% increase in prescribed anti-depressants.

But, coming back to Ms. Subtle…

Hopkins states that depression is thrown about too much these days, saying people mistake ‘depression’ with general upset over a social situation. This hyperbole has clearly been miscommunicated to Hopkins, or, she’s jumped on it to make a ridiculous remark so she can get a nice pay cheque this month. We all hear people say ‘Oh I’m soooo depressed it’s raining…’ or ‘She’s so thin it’s so depressing.’ Clearly, in these instances these people are exaggerating. You would have to be an idiot to take these comments seriously… Oh wait.

Depression is generally a silent killer. Sufferers stay quiet, not wanting to seem abnormal. Scared that if they open their mouths they won’t be able to stop crying. Scared that people will think they’re freaks/ over-exaggerating / weird. Two years ago, a young man I knew at University stayed silent in his battle, and it tragically resulted in him not being here anymore. In 2015, we should be able to voice our issues and be treated with kindness and empathy, not sarcastic tweets from nobodies who are later branded ‘hilarious’ by tabloids.

Depression is being silenced, but Katie Hopkins is given a platform. The tabloids brand those who suffer as ‘depressed with suicidal tendencies’ before dragging up horrors from their past, however applaud Hopkins as she continues to use Peaches Geldof’s death as a platform to get on TV. When will we stop listening to these trolls, and start listening to those who need it?

Let’s use social media in the best way. Unfollow Hopkins today, and retweet something from mental health charity MIND. If a bunch of One Direction fans can dominate the Twitter trends, we can overcome this online mentality.

It’s worth a try.

Until next time. xo

Monday, 30 March 2015

the lazy girl's guide to exercise

please stop throwing up, this is just me straight back from the gym. i apologise for the lack of naked palate eyeshadow, bobbi brown eyeliner, and painstakingly applied foundation. i apologise for the lack of eyebrows or painted lips. for this is what i actually look like when i'm back from the gym. pale, sweaty, bad hair...but feeling a m a z i n g. because, do you know what?

this girl can.

i've always had a love/hate relationship with the gym. at school, i was not sporty at all. i used to wear massive pink dun lops to PE, and give piggyback rides to my friends round the field. i also used to be the queen of forging notes (sorry mum), so managed to get out of sports a lot. the teachers used to sigh and make me do their paper work.

this attitude continued into uni, as i used to feel a weird achievement at being the only one not at the gym. i used to kind of roll of my eyes when people would come back from the gym, as i was just emerging from my pit eating chicken dippers. sport was never my bag.

until i graduated...

i started feeling super sleepy all the time, and noticing that my waist wasn't what it used to be. i felt bored, that i wasn't achieving anything. that i was wasting my hours after work just sat around scrolling through Facebook...so i decided to join my local gym. i started slow, just on the cross trainer, but then got more confident, trying out mat exercises, the tread mill, even weights. i started going to classes, and i bought proper gym gear, and started taking an interest in - gulp - protein. yes, the very thing i sneered at when my house mates had it. I must admit, I still can't stomach a protein shakes, but I can eat a few protein pancakes or bars every now and again. I especially like the ones from Exante, they have HOT CROSS BUN flavoured protein bars. I mean, what else could you want?

i thought there MUST be some others out there like me. a few little tips for lazy girls who may be reading this WANTING to go to the gym, or start exercising, but haven't found the courage...or the motivation.

-find an exercising buddy. this helps motivate you to actually GO, and if there's two of you there's a bit of healthy competition... and you get to see your friends a lot more.

-try a class. i started going to a LBT class in my town once a week, and i love it. it's full of women who are 50+ but kick my butt when it comes to fitness, and the soundtrack is cheesy.

-start small. do NOT walk into the gym on your first time thinking you can lift 50kg of weight, or run for half an hour. start with little goals, like doing 10 leg presses, or running for 10 minutes. you'll notice a lot of difference quicker!

-take advantage of your gym. if your gym offers free PT sessions, take them. if they offer free classes, get out of bed and go. you'll feel so good after them, and it's always good to get advice from people who actually know what they're talking about.

YOUTUBE. if you don't feel brave enough to join the gym, or can't part with the pennies, then youtube is a pretty good free gym. i literally SWEAR by blogilates, she is AMAZING. such easy little exercises, and the videos are short and sweet. if you just do 3 a day, you've done a pretty hardcore workout. for free, in your living room. sorted.

-don't feel intimidated. this is easier said than done. i am still a little wary of doing mat stuff when the amazingly tanned, fit girl next to me is jumping about doing burpees. but i take a breath, and carry on. all the people in the gym are NOT concerned with what you're doing, trust me. they're there to do their bizzniss, not worry about your squats.

i hope this has been sort of helpful, or insightful. i'll let you know how i'm doing, hopefully soon i'll have rock hard abs and a booty to make kim k jealous...or, i'll be slightly less podgy with a bit more stamina when running to the chip shop. who knows. let's see together.

until next time xo

Sunday, 15 March 2015

real techniques bold metal collection

every make up artist i've asked has recommended real techniques over their brand. i've had mac artists tell me that i don't need mac brushes, just go to boots and get real techniques. if the professionals swear by it, they must be good. when real techniques bought out their bold metal collection, a line of premium brushes, i was intrigued. i've been lucky enough to get my hands on a few, here are my thoughts ladies and gentleman (if you're reading...):

triangle foundation brush 101: the new foundation brush is the first brush i reviewed, and i am fully converted. i use the real techniques expert face brush, so i was sceptical as to whether i needed another brush. well folks, turns out i do. this brush is triangle shaped, and the flat base allows you to get amazing coverage, but the tip of the triangle allows you to get into the awkward areas around the eyes and the nose. matched with the SOFEST BRISTLES ever, this is definitely my favourite new brush,

tapered blush brush: again, i already use a real techniques blush brush, so was expecting big things. i wasn't as impressed as the foundation brush, i didn't feel it did anything spectacular or made a massive difference. it's really soft and the the tapered shape allows you to contour the blush perfectly. like it, but not a necessity. 

angled liner brush 202: IM SORRY GUYS BUT I DO ALREADY USE ANOTHER BRUSH FOR MY EYELINER, again from real techniques. i am such a fan girl. i am usually the biggest advocate for my silicone liner brush, but this has stolen my heart well and truly. the angle of the brush allows you to do your liner in one easy swoop, and is also perfect for those feline flicks that we all love so much. was super easy to apply, meaning i can apply perfect eyeliner in a rush. head over heels with this one!

all in all, i was impressed. i do think that they are expensive, but they're good for a treat or a birthday pressie :) i absolutely recommend the foundation brush and the liner, they are game changers bro.

until next time xo

Monday, 9 March 2015

interview with river island social media manager

another interview for you lovely people! i work as a social media executive, and find the whole world just an exciting blur, always changing, evolving and educating me. so, i was lucky enough to get an interview with the social media manager, Emma Goble,  of high-street GIANTS River Island. RI are so up to date with all social platforms, always quick to update customers, so i wanted to know more...enjoy!

Can you briefly explain what a typical day in the life of a Social Media Executive usually involves?
It can really vary. Asides from speaking to our 3 million plus social audience, I can be planning campaigns, out on a shoot, writing a new blog post or an article for our print magazine, or attending events such as festivals and premieres. 
The day absolutely flies by and there is so much variety to my role. Whilst a lot of it can be sparkly and glamorous there are certainly parts to it which aren’t such as the business reporting.
When did you start your Social Media career?
Well I guess whilst doing internships at university. The first internship was in 2007. Since graduating in 2010 I have done a number of intern jobs, temp jobs and starter roles at various retail companies and magazines. I have been at River Island for 18 months now.
Did you go to university? If so, what did you study and was it useful for you current role?
I studied Fashion Journalism at UCA. The course was really good and very useful for my current role. In hindsight, I wish I had done more research on what courses were available as the Fashion Promotion course looked really interesting too. I started my course in 2007 and there were nowhere near as many digital focused courses available as there are now. 
While at university, did you undertake any work placements or internships to gain extra experience?
I have done so many internships down the years. I actually had my first one at Bliss magazine when I was still in the 6th form. I was mainly making tea but it was a great first experience! At university I interned at four places. At MyTights I was mainly doing office and marketing admin. I also got to help with samples and actually picked the tights for a Girls Aloud video. It was the video where they are dressed up in burlesque clothes; I forget the name of the song though! I worked at Jeepers Peepers (sunglasses) where I did a number of things including writing press releases. They were lovely people and I even got paid! I did a brief bit of work at London Fashion Week where I helped dress the models. That was very exciting. I also worked at Buba London where I got to do lots of interesting work including writing press releases, writing website content and dressing shoots.
Who in your opinion who does social media well – either an individual or company?
Burberry – they are the masters. Anything that is new in digital they are straight on it and their execution is always impressive. Innocent – they are really quirky and likeable with everything they do. Adidas – for their innovative ideas including their Brazuca ball twitter feed. Cadburys – because everything they do is fun and because I love chocolate!

In your eyes, what’s the biggest barrier to the adoption of social media? And how would you tell people/firms to overcome this?
Adoption - the understanding around the whole business of what a social media team do/contribute is often very mixed. Some business have a very traditional way of thinking so it is difficult to understand this new era of real time customer engagement that we live in. So you need to be the expert and be willing to teach people all around the business about the role that social media plays.
How do you think interacting with customers on social media impacts a company or brand’s image?
There is a massive impact. Social media platforms are often one of the first things you see when you come across or are researching a brand. So if you go to a Twitter feed and see lots of complaints then that is already a barrier to purchase.
How do you keep your posts engaging but still inform your audience about the latest promotions and products?
Storytelling, it’s the key to social media. Take a product or a trend and put it into a context that resonates.
If you had to pick one social media platform for you personally, what would it be and why?
Instagram of course! I love being able to document things I see and do in a visual way. It is the platform that inspires me most. Embarrassingly, my personal Instagram is mainly full of pictures of cats!
Where do you see social media in five years’ time?
The big players won’t go anywhere but there is always something new and exciting in the social media world. I think social media and TV will continue to integrate further in new and innovative ways.
For those thinking of pursuing a career in social media, any tips or pointers?
Live and breathe social. Get savvy and use every platform as much as you can. Start a blog. Read as much online content as you can and keep in the know. I try to check Mashable and The Drum a few times a day but still struggle to keep up! Contact small companies and volunteer to help with their social media. Our last intern actually managed to convince a local cafĂ© to pay her £50 a week to manage their social media accounts!
What would you look for in a candidate if you were looking for someone to work in the department?
Many of the things mentioned in the last question. A genuine lover of fashion. Someone fun and outgoing. Someone with lots of energy as social never sleeps!

Until next time xo


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

10 Rubbish Things About Being A Graduate

Underneath all of the fantastic memories, the Tuesday lie-ins, the endless parties, the acceptable dress up, University left us graduates set up for a massive fall. Behind the initial pride of being able to say ‘yes, I’m a recent graduate’, there is also a huge pain as you realise you are now a graduate. Not a student.  And being a graduate comes with its own pitfalls…

1 – Everyone expects you to know every. Single. Word. In the English dictionary. And when you can’t answer what Hepaticocholangiocholecystenterostomies means, you are met with disgusted stares, and ‘Didn’t you do an English degree?’ snorts. I didn’t sit and STUDY THE DICTIONARY GUYS. (btw, that word means surgical creation of a connection between the gall bladder and a hepatic duct and between the intestine and the gall bladder.)

2 – You can no longer nap. Gone are the sweet sweet days of 3pm naps after you’ve done a tough 20 minutes of work (ahem). Nope, unless you are unemployed, work in retail, or have a very lenient boss, chances are naps are a thing of the past. You now are actually expected to be AWAKE MOST OF THE DAY. Ridiculous.

3 – Moving on from this, you actually find  yourself waking up at 7am at the weekends. That body clock is well and truly tuned into adult timings these days, and even when it’s a Saturday, you still find yourself wide awake at 8am, despite your best efforts to keep your eyes closed.

4 – You realise just how precious the weekends are. You are officially living for the weekend….

5-…and how quickly the weekends go by. Especially if you spend Friday night binge-watching Netflix, followed by a massive night out on Saturday shadowed by a HUGE Sunday hangover. Gotta make those 2 days count my friends.

6 – You have to hear the smug comments from people who didn’t go to uni saying ‘Oh, you’re STILL interning?’ or realising those people who went into employment are now putting deposits down on houses, whilst you’re struggling to pay your mum that £5 you borrowed to get some deodorant. Did I do the right thing here???  

7 – You are now bunged into a group called the ‘millennials…generation y…the boomerang generation’, and you are officially deemed lazy, entitled and a scrounger by others (especially The Daily Mail). It doesn’t matter that you went to school, uni, did 10 internships and then got yourself a smashing graduate job. So that’s fair.

8 – You can no longer see your uni friends every day. Long gone are the days of popping round to your mates to watch Made In Chelsea, that person lives 100 miles away, and is a teacher so is probably in bed by 10pm on a Monday. These people are fully fledged adults these days. That guy who you always used to rap Kanye’s bit with in American Boy? He’s an accountant, and has a car on finance. Those girls who you used to eat noodles with for dinner? They’re posting pictures of their avocado brunch on Instagram. People change.

9 – Even worse, some of your friends may STILL BE AT UNI, due to being on a placement year or having had a year abroad. You have to live their final year in a state of depression as you see their pictures upload, or when you wake up at 6:30am and they’re just getting home.  Just bide your time, soon they will be graduates too. Mwahaha.

10 – and finally, realising that very very soon, you will be LAST year’s graduates. So, therefore, not a graduate at all. Just a person who graduated from university. But never fear, when you’re using your uni skills to boss your new job, and your social skills to make amazing friendships, and laughing hysterically at uni memories with your old flat mates, you’ll realise it isn’t so bad.

Let’s face it, you can take the girl away from uni, but you can’t take uni away from the girl.
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