If we were having coffee

what would I tell you?

Well firstly, I wouldn’t have coffee, I’d have a hot chocolate with four sugars and watch as your face turned to worry at the amount of sugar I was having in just one drink. (I have a serious sugar problem)

I would tell you about my brother, Alistair, I would tell you about the age difference of 17 years and how that changed me as a person before university even had a chance. I would tell you how much I love him and how he seriously is my little best friend no matter what, that watching him grow up and become such an amazing person is making me a better person too. How becoming a big sister so late on hasn’t in anyway stopped us from having a super tight connection and how I miss him an insane amount when I’m away at university.

I would tell you that I am incredibly proud to come from a single parent family with a hugely loving and supportive mother and that my main aim in life will always be to give her a comfortable life where she doesn’t need to work if she doesn’t want to. She is my rock and my best friend, she has helped me through so much and when I need someone to talk to she’s always there. I will always be a mamas girl and I will always need her in my life.

I would tell you that at 7 I had my life all planned out and honestly, nothing is going to plan at all. I planned to get into university- fair enough I got that done- I planned to save most my money and live off of the bare minimum- oh lord that has not happened- and I planned to go out with my huge group of female friends and have fancy lunches- I honestly have about eight female friends and I am always super busy so never see them (which they are all super understanding about). So yeah, nothing is going to plan.

I would tell you that this year will be my new start, I have started a new job, I will go into my final year of university, I move into a new flat, and I’m single. It’s my year for a fresh start and a focus on me and becoming the person I want to be. I’m excited for change in my life, having all these new opportunities welcoming me to a better person I know I can be. To make more time for my friends, family and myself will be the aim of this year and to genuinely enjoy myself in my final year of university despite all the stress I will undoubtedly face.

I would tell you that I am genuinely in a really good place right now, I am enjoying my work, I am- to some extent- enjoying university and that I am ready for whatever life has to throw at me. I’ve got an insanely supportive network of friends and family who at any sign of distress rally around me and never let me give up. I am extremely thankful to all of the people I have in my life for making me the woman I am today and never allowing me to forget that.

I would tell you I am a feminist, and no mansplainer is going to stop me from that. I have always had strong women around me and always looked up to strong women, all the women I know have strong feminist beliefs and for good reason- they need them. I am super proud of everything the women I know- and the women I don’t know- have accomplished and I genuinely believe it is far better to build other women up than to try to break them down. Since going to university it has become part of who I am more than ever and I am a very proud feminist, not just to help women where I live but to help them in other countries and cultures also. I always try to teach myself more about other cultures and any way in which I can become not only a better feminist but a better person through education I will take openly.

(Thought I’d add one of my favourite jokes in here)

Where do mansplainers get all of their water from?– A well, actually.

(That is literally as far as my comedic genius can reach- you are very welcome)

I would tell you that I laugh at my own jokes a hell of a lot more than anyone else does, but at least I make myself happy?

I would tell you that I love all things creative, whether its art in an art gallery, a song with beautiful lyrics or makeup on someone, I love to enjoy creativity. I love learning about art and music and new ways of creativity and I always find myself marvelling at the sheer talent and hard work within each and every thing a creative person does. Sadly I am not very creative but I adore putting makeup on myself or anyone who will allow me to. This passion for creativity possibly stems from not having much myself but I am so impressed with anyone who does.

I would tell you I’m allergic to coconut and its the most heartbreaking thing ever because I bloody love bounty bars. I remember at school me and my gran used to make these little chocolate covered coconut balls with like caramel and stuff in them and we would sell them at the school fetes and make so much money- we used to always sell out. But my gran would always make like 20 extra little coconut balls so that when we came home I would eat them all to myself and maybe let my mum and gran have some too. Also being allergic to coconut means that whenever anyone is like ‘ooohh if you want your hair shiny you should use coconut oil’ ‘if you want soft skin use coconut oil’ ‘you know its healthier to cook with coconut oil’ I get to reply with ‘well I wish I could but it would probably make me really ill, but thanks for the advice.’ I’ve totally missed out on the coconut craze and its pretty upsetting if I’m honest.

I would tell you that I am a huge movie geek and that I love the cult classics alongside anything Disney, anything gory and anything that is a psychological thriller. My favourite thing to do is go to the cinema and go and see an amazing film with a little tango ice blast to enjoy.

I would tell you that I am a huge Manchester City fan and that football is literally such a huge part of me, that I am a lover of sports in general with formula 1 and football and rugby all playing a huge role in who I am and how I grew up. I have also got extremely strong moral and political views which I will not change or budge with and are integral to my life and how I see myself, I am extremely opinionated but I do not see that as a bad thing or something to be ashamed of.

I would probably also ask a lot about you, what do you like, what do you dislike, do you have hobbies, whats your family like, do you enjoy your job and what are your aspirations for the future. Spending time with someone you are truly interested in talking to is extremely important for me as it creates a better dialogue for learning from one another, I can hand on heart say that most of the people I have encountered and all of my friends currently teach me something any time I am with them. Whether that be strength, compassion or something I needed to change about myself I am thoroughly inspired by the people around me.

Thank you to Lucie  for tagging me in this and forcing me to get back to blogging again, you are an amazing friend, mentor and a huge inspiration of mine, you are just a phenomenal person to know. Thank you also to Emily for being such an honest and open person, you have both taught me so much since I’ve known you. Thank you to Katie who has a hot as hell blog and is such a fashionista, I love your creativity and your drive as a person. Thank you to Jade who is my future flatmate for putting up with me and being such an amazing friend, I tag you in this to do it next.

Thank you to my current flatmates and close friends, Lisa and William for putting up with me for two years and dealing with my antics, thank you to my mum and my family for making me who I am today, I can only look to you for guidance and love and I am so lucky to have you in my life.

What would you tell me if you were having coffee? Let me get to know you too.

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Update on me

So, turns out I’m not great at this whole blogging thing or sticking to it at all. However, I thought I’d give a little update on me and the changes in my life over the past few months, a big one being, I’m single. This really didn’t cause as much trauma as I thought it would, I’m actually so much happier now and with friends around me I got over it and moved on to focus on myself and making myself a better person.

It also turns out I love a night out and my friends are loving me totally letting my hair down and just having a wee dance every time we are out, in fact as I write this me and the GORGEOUS Jade (from Just Jade’s Life) will be having a girls night out for St. Patricks day which has been such a long time coming.

I moved jobs within my own company with the promise of more hours to help me over summer with staying in Stirling and not struggling too much, being independent is one of my biggest achievements and to ask my mum for money would be so difficult for me to do even though I know she would do her best to help me.

Me and Jade found a gorgeous little flat for over summer and it is all ours!! Its so much closer to town than my current one and it has central heating unlike her one at the moment so we are both super excited to move in together. No doubt she will help push me back into blogging and get me motivated as she is also my main motivation for going to the gym too!!

I’m aiming for this year to be a fresh slate for me, I have worked so hard in third year of university and tried my best with people however, I’m aiming for fourth year to be my real shining year and one I actually enjoy despite the stresses that will no doubt be upon me.

I will be learning to  drive soon too which is suuuuper nerve wracking but I need to do it so I can see my family more often and not put as much pressure on them to come pick me up and I can take Alistair more places too!!

Not much has changed recently with me but I thought I’d do a little update on where I’ve been recently and I do promise more exciting posts in the future!! 16903406_10208565414712343_8356526255279872139_o

Oscars Madness

Ughhhhhh my blog has been so abandoned recently and I do apologise, however after last nights Oscars my motivation has hit again and after finishing one of the toughest essays I’ve ever written I am awarding myself some time to write about the Oscars.

Everyone and I mean EVERYONE seems to be so wrapped up in the envelope madness of what happened last night, and in case you live under a rock, someone was handed the wrong envelope and said the wrong name? It was an accident and obviously (hopefully) not done on purpose, everyone involved is embarrassed and has apologised profusely.

Know who hasn’t apologised? Casey Affleck.

I’m sorry but I am sick of seeing people who are just total scumbags being rewarded for their talent as if their scumbaggieness has nothing to do with them as a person. Casey Affleck has TWO sexual harassment suits against him… TWO.

In a year where Amber Heard was blamed for Johnny Depp’s heinous behaviour towards her despite his ‘people’ admitting he never hit her SOBER (so he did hit her) I am just totally sick of this behaviour from people who know better.

For both men to have received rounds of applause and awards and compliments when they have committed actions against women just totally unimaginable to a normal and decent human being is vile and is just another reason women don’t report crimes against them.

For me this is a deeper issue though, if you met someone who had been found guilty of domestic violence, sexual harassment or sexual assault you would not spend time rewarding them with compliments and money. This is a celebrity issue, it is the issue of money and fame and being held as higher than regular humanity, in modern society it cannot just be about being talented. It must be earned, this esteem and fame should be earned whilst the rest of the world has such darkness and sadness with wars, prejudice and hatred being thrown around we look to celebrities and award ceremonies to bring about a happier and safer feeling.

I cannot and will not enjoy ANYONE who has disregarded another persons safety or wellbeing at the expense of their own and as such I no longer look to celebrities as better than us, once the likes of Emma Roberts (arrested for domestic violence against her boyfriend), Johnny Depp (domestically abused Amber Heard), Casey Affleck (sexual harassment charges) and Mel Gibson (racist) are blacklisted within Hollywood I will again feel safe in watching award ceremonies without being told that my safety and wellbeing is okay to disregard because these people are ‘talented’.

I am grateful for those who do stick up for the rights of others and those celebrities who also find this behaviour unacceptable however their voices need to be louder not just for them but for Hollywood in general.

This post was inspired by Caroline O’Donoghue’s article Brie Larson made it pretty damn clear she wasn’t going to celebrate Casey Affleck’s win” 

2017: the plan.

2016 has been such a whirlwind for me, I have grown and changed and had such a blast, it was difficult at times and I have had some struggles. I still enjoyed my 2016 a lot, watching myself grow and change has been a huge achievement. I go to the gym-regularly- I have two jobs that I enjoy, I’m doing well-ish at university and I have a relationship that is going great.

I am totally and unapologetically happy with myself and where I am in life, I can always improve which will be my aim in 2017. I am planning to make small but important improvements to myself and my life. 2017 will see me turn 21, my baby brother turn 4 and the end of my third year at university and start of my final year- which I do not feel old enough for at all. It will be an important year no matter what happens but I plan on making it more so.

My resolutions are extremely important to me this year as they are all extremely achievable however it just takes some hard work on my end- which could be tough with how lazy I can be! They are as follows

  • Start my driving lessons in February
  • Get a car by September
  • Go to the gym three times a week no matter what
  • Start a saving plan and stick to it (spend less)
  • Take criticism in a more positive way and always try to improve

All of these are important to me due to the negative patterns I’ve found myself stuck in. I plan on becoming a better person this year, learning to drive is for an easier way to get home to see my family, meaning that if I want to see them and I finish work at 10pm then I can drive home to see them easier. I have always wanted a car by the age of 21 and as I am 21 this year I would like to see myself accomplish this goal.

Going to the gym is not to lose weight but more to feel happier in myself and to be healthier, currently I can’t get up more than two flights of stairs without getting slightly out of breath, last year I promised I would love myself more and I definitely have which has been helped a lot by going to the gym. Plus it gives me an outlet for my emotions and so when I am upset I prefer to go to the gym instead of wallowing in my emotions.

Saving has never been a strong point of mine however spending is something I have a real passion for. But that does need to change, I need to start saving my money for better things, like a car or a house in the future, I would also prefer not to live from pay check to pay check and instead have money saved in case of emergency. I would also like to start putting money away for my little brother to have when he’s older as it can help my parents to worry about things less.

Criticism is something I find difficult even if its constructive as I always strive to be the best I can so when I fail after putting my all in, it is difficult for me to accept that. This year I will begin to take criticism as a way to get better instead of a personal attack which will hopefully help me to become a better person.

All of my plans for 2017 are somewhat uninteresting however I do plan on travelling more also if I can find the time or finances, but this year I am focussing on bettering myself and my life for my future.

What are your new years resolutions or plans for the new year?

Missing everything

Being a big sister is one thing I am insanely proud of. My little brother Alistair is my world and everything I do is done for him. However, living away from home, being at university and having two jobs leaves me with little to no time to go home.

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This sadly means that I miss a lot of things I should be there for; first bonfire, first day at nursery, first steps and most recently, first nativity. I work extremely hard to give him the things that I want him to have, however it is heartbreaking to miss experiencing his firsts with him.

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Trying to balance all those stresses of being a big sister has made me so much more grateful for my mum, who balanced all of this whilst being a single mother. I know buying him every toy and all the clothes he could ever possibly need wont replace time spent together and in 2017 spending time with Alistair will be a number one priority.

At only three years old he probably wont remember most of this part of his life, however I will and I want lots of cute memories with him for when he’s older. Plus I do plan on being extremely embarrassing when he does get older and try to impress his friends and girls.

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I am extremely lucky to have him in my life and I would hate him to ever think I took him for granted, plus he is my best little buddy ever so it would be pretty heart breaking if he wasn’t constantly reminded every year he grew up.

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Feminism redefining the F word

From the days of the suffragettes to our modern day feminism of tweets, posts and political talks from the most powerful women in the western world, feminism has changed drastically in its aims, so an obvious question to arrive at would be, what is modern day feminism?

Following a blog post I wrote about Justin Trudeau in which I mentioned his open feminism and 50/50 cabinet being a very swift movement towards feminist goals I received a barrage of abuse after only one sentence highlighted my own personal feminism. To me this proved that feminism has in fact become a dirty word.

As a very passionate feminist, it is extraordinary to watch multiple women reject the call to feminism, due to the political use of the term. The fact that in America, women are openly supporting a man who is set to appear in court over claims of raping a 13-year-old girl astounds me. With his history of sexual abuse towards women being openly documented with his own comments to the media, to women on camera and about women in interviews.

It is not irregular for women to receive rape threats from journalists to athletes to women who have taken men to court on rape allegations, following the pathetic sentencing of Brock Turner it is clear that feminism is very much still needed in modern society. With media outlets calling him a “Stanford Swimmer” rather than the rapist he is, after serving only three months in prison it highlights the problem media have with supporting women publicly. His victim was awarded ‘Woman of the Year’ by Glamour magazine in an attempt to highlight this horrible injustice to not just this woman, but also other women who do not come forward for fear of getting abuse, of their rapists/abusers getting only a summer break length of prison time or getting a not guilty verdict.

The main issue with modern feminism is its lack of leadership; it is easy to find famous feminists, people who have spoken about feminism, however there is no one particular group or leader who is showing the aims of modern day feminism. To add to this there have been break away factions, black feminism, white feminism and to a certain degree misandry (dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against men).

Many women have pushed away from the term feminism confusing it for misandry; a number of others feel that women in the west do not have the same issues as those in other countries and choose to ignore this and focus on problems facing them. This came to the forefront recently with the burkini ban in France as Muslim women were forced to undress in public, however to a lot of Muslim women western feminists did little to address the issue.

A main issue for feminists is the control of women’s’ bodies whether it be sexual harassment and the use of clothing choice cited as a reason for rape, or the use of women’s bodies for male approval. The ban on burkini’s highlighted another way in which female bodies were being policed, it did however cause uproar as it was alleged that women wearing burkini’s (which bare a huge resemblance to wet suits) were somehow connected to terrorism.

Malala Yousafzai quickly rose to notoriety within both feminism and the wider society as on her way to school in Pakistan the Taliban shot her simply for being a female going to school. She is now a figurehead for women’s rights and the push for education for women across the world. She has gone on to give talks at the UN, written an autobiography and been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

“For Muslim girls and women around the world, however, the story is more than just a tale of survival. In Malala’s frank prose is proof that feminism, or the desire for equality through education and empowerment, is not the terrain of any one culture or faith.” This quote comes from Rafia Zakaria and it highlights the importance of Malala’s imput to feminism in the western world, she is a human reminder that despite feminism being branded as a white western ideology, equal rights is engrained in every woman, no matter her race or religion.

Feminism has always been controversial within society as many claims that it ignores the issues that men also face, however as Chunn et al stated, “it is time, therefore, to restore balance by attending to other casualties of social change (that is, white men) who have been denied or ignored because of the disproportionate attention feminism has demanded and received for “women’s issues.”” Despite this being written in 2007, some nine years ago, this rhetoric is continued throughout media, social media and societal ideologies toward the social movement.

According to the Guardian, the most likely journalists to be abused were women and men of colour, even more so when women wrote in their sports section, despite being the minority in this section of the newspaper, they received more abuse than their male counterparts. To add to this, articles on rape, written by women, attracted huge levels of blocked comments often being the highest every year- as did feminism, which regularly came in third on topic classification.

You can’t argue with the statistics when stating that feminism is good for everyone, “Goldman Sachs calculates that, leaving all other things equal, increasing women’s participation in the labour market to male levels will boost GDP by 21% in Italy, 19% in Spain, 16% in Japan, 9% in America, France and Germany and 8% in Britain.” However, according to news outlet Fox News, feminism is a national security threat.

So despite the facts and statistics, feminism aiming to push equal rights and diminish that of gender roles-on both sides- calling yourself a feminist is still vilified, with only 7% of Britons would call themselves feminist. With a quarter saying the first word they thought of when thinking of feminism was “bitchy,” this is due to media portrayal of the movement and what it is perceived to stand for.

(Late) Back to School Giveaway

The best part of going to university is the stationary shop and being closer to a Nando’s for me. I imagine this is similar for most students across the United Kingdom as it is such a therapeutic experience to get rid of all your old jotters that are filled with (now unnecessary) notes from your previous year at university.

Another thing I love is choosing my diary for the next year too, I love big, bright diaries that pop in your bag and are easy to find. I have decided to pick 5 items that I think are extremely necessary for the next year at university to giveaway; a big bright pink and blue 18 month planner, three jotters with cute messages, a weekly planner set to help plan your life around your university schedule, a set of sticky notes with ‘whatever’ for the annoying flatmates you might have and a set of coloured pens to brighten up your study notes.

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I am also giving away a £30 Nando’s card to another winner to help you enjoy a meal or two on me, which always helps with the money spent too! I love Nando’s and get the same thing every single time but I do find it so addictive and I love that it is still healthy too so you don’t get the guilty feeling after. As a current third year I know how difficult it can be to stay healthy-ish when away from home because it is so much effort to make food for just yourself so it is handy that you can order Nando’s from the app and go pick it up, even better when its free!

If you click here you can head over to the giveaway with plenty of opportunity to enter with this competition. The terms and conditions are as follows;

Entrants must be 16 or over and from the United Kingdom
There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.
No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
Closing date for entry will be 21/10/2016. After this date the no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
Winners will be chosen: at random by myself
The winner will be notified by email within 28 days of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 14 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.
By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.
Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Network or company.

If there are anymore questions feel free to contact me at sophiamiddleton@live.com

Good luck to everyone!