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Welcome to The Lazy Girl
My name is Hannah; I’m a 25-year-old freelance writer, I studied English Literature in London and have an incessant love for all things fictional, I currently live in Manchester with my partner; Nathan, and our growing menagerie of household pets...
20 Mar 2016
You're Just Being Lazy
Being labelled as lazy can be aggravating; when you are trying your very best in life it’s disheartening to hear people disregard your efforts. And when you’re only just holding on to some small semblance of normality due to depression or anxiety, it’s nigh on heart breaking...
11 Oct 2016
Advice For My 14 Year Old Self
As I think I’ve mentioned before, September sees the annual celebration of my birthday. You may not know though, that it also heralds the birthday of my youngest sister...
30 Sep 2016
On Friendship and Growing Old Together
September has always been, hands down, my favourite month of the year. I’m the first to admit that could have a little to do with my birthday; but mainly my love for this time of year is all about the way the leaves change, the baggy sweaters come out and the hibernation period begins...
24 Sep 2016

Friday, 27 July 2018

On Nagging

Cilla Said




I spent the first half of my twenties trying to avoid nagging anyone. God forbid, I became one of those women. A fishwife. A harpy. A shrew. Always berating someone about something.

All the internalized sexism though? Apparently I was fine with that.

As a kid, I saw my mother's nagging as a product entirely of it's own making. As though mum chose to spend all of her free time being subjected to passive aggressive, and aggressive aggressive, bouts of outrage from me...the person who hadn't put the chicken in the oven as asked/had flooded the bathroom/was refusing to dye her hair a natural shade.

Perhaps it was just a hobby of hers? One I'd have preferred she enjoy on her own time.

What didn't click until much later, was that the nagging I was so often forced to bear, was a direct result of my actions, not mum's. If i'd just done what I said, when I said, my mother wouldn't have been forced to nag. I wouldn't have been forced to throw a TV down the staircase in outrage and we'd all have much happier memories of the noughties.

In all seriousness, I'd let her down. Whether it was the lack of a ready roasted chicken on her return home or the fourth time she caught me smoking in my room, I had broken a promise. She had every right to express her displeasure. She had so much on her shoulders without managing the day to day of my life too. Me standing there rolling my eyes and telling her to chill out, was seriously shitty behavior. 

By calling this valid expression of disappointment and anger, nagging; we negate it; we downsize it and we turn it into something petty. Too often too, we equate nagging with women and not only that, but with subversive women. Belittling those same women for daring to expect more from the other people on their team. Don't believe me? Look up some synonyms.

It is as though the very act of nagging negates the effectiveness of nagging itself. The more you nag, the more unreasonable you are perceived as becoming. The more unreasonable, the less likely it is anyone is going to act on your requests. It's a thankless, and often fruitless, task.

I'm not sure I'd ever have figured out the true cycle of nagging were I a man. I'll never know of course, but my personal enlightenment arose from heading out into the world as a woman. A woman who is often forced to nag. A woman who is often forced to do more than her share. I won't get into that as there is already a great explanation of what the burden of the mental load feels like here.

The choice for women, right now, is simple; add nagging to your mental to-do list, and suffer the consequences, or add the five tasks you're nagging about and get the fuck on with them. Either way, you're going to be doing more, whilst being valued less.

So, if you're still under the impression that being nagged is something you have no control over, consider this...no one is going to nag you about something you've already done. Stop acting like this is OUR problem. The problem is yours. Take ownership of and responsibility for your own life and your own to-do list. Simply said; GROW THE FUCK UP.

If, on the other hand, you're the one stuck in the cycle of nagging know that you are not alone. Know that you are not petty or pathetic or any of that. Know that you are an absolute boss...if even only of your own life.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

How To Be A Weirdo

Cilla Said
I've been rediscovering my wild side lately. Or rather, my weird side. For years social anxiety dampened this part of my personality. It's difficult to act on your own spontaneous whims, when even conservative behavior sets your mind whirring between the various judgments people around you could make.

Thing is though, people rarely give a stuff what you're up to. If they do, it probably says more about them than you, and even if it takes every ounce of your inner strength to just do you, whenever and wherever you are, it's a truly fulfilling way to live.

So, I've been working on loving my quirks and reclaiming my weirdness. When I was younger being a weirdo was a desirable trait. My friends and I created a Kit Kat Appreciation Society, we bought a pack of Top Trumps Mullets and paraded them wherever we went. We worshiped Kevin Bacon in an ironic, yet deadly serious, way. We carted a tiny penguin around to more clubs than I can count, introducing him to unsuspecting strangers and chanting 'smile and wave boys, smile and wave' before sidling off, if they refused to converse with him.

We had so much fun! And not once did we stop and wonder about what the rest of the world thought of us. My fears surrounding going my own way, cultivated by social anxiety, may have been unfounded, maybe not - I'll never know - but if there's one thing I've learned since coming out the other side, is that if flying your freak flag for long enough, you'll soon stop caring.

Here are just a few ways, in which, I let my own freak flag fly high...





1) Music wise, I listen solely to Taylor Swift albums. It's been commented on many times by passengers in my car, but trust me...there's a Taylor Swift era for every mood. Plus, it saves plenty of time when choosing what to blast through the speakers whilst getting from A to B. Originally, I'd have called Swift's music my guilty pleasure, but by this point I'll happily refer to her as my soul mate. Creepy as that may sound.

2) When not caterwauling along to Tay-Tay, you'll find me listening to a rather niche range of Audio books. I like to learn...but I'm not picky. Right now I'm listening to The Knowledge, which seeks to compile all human knowledge needed to reboot society after an apocalypse. I just wish the narrator would stop shouting about said apocalypse, whenever I'm stopped at traffic lights. Previous titles include A Time Travelers Guide to Medieval England and Why We Sleep.

3) Lasagna is a dish best served cold...and preferably for breakfast. That's all I have to say about that.

4) I greet every animal I see. Be it your pet dog, the bird flapping hysterically to get out of my way on the road, or an unusual bug I've spotted. It's nice to be nice, after all and judging by the spider that's built itself a hammock on my living room ceiling, it also makes for some unusual house guest. Which I'm a-okay with. Seriously spidey, you do you!

So, cultivate your quirks. Learn to love them and be proud of them. Flick the V's to the haters and the self appointed judges and just enjoy being you. You're the only one who can, after all and you might just enjoy yourself. We're all weird here.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Stop Blaming Everyone Else!

Hannah Barnes
I recently finished reading - or rather listening to - Sarah Knight's 'You Do You'. Despite already subscribing to Knight's philosophy, or my version of, spending a few hours having my life choices affirmed by a published author was a great way to go.

If you're yet to come across Sarah Knight; the self styled anti-guru, and you're a fan of this blog, then go grab yourself a copy of her first tome 'The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck'. It's pretty epic stuff.

I've had a lot going on in my life recently; a new business, a new charity, vastly improved mental health and a fully booked diary. Seriously, my next free weekend is sometime in October, so I'd book in early if I were you.

Often, the busier we are, the less likely we are to schedule time in for things we actually want to do. Rather, we fill up our diaries with all the things we need to do. Or, to put it more blunted: all the things we feel obligated to do.

So where do these obligations come from? 


I've listened to at least 3 friends, over last fortnight, bemoan their bad luck in being invited to a party or social event. All 3 made it extremely clear - to me at least - that they did not, under any circumstances, want to attend the annual family reunion or waste a single second of their life at anyone's baby shower. Much less, be dragged around a sweaty zoo on their only day off work, or join a book club with Tina. I mean, really Tina, have you never heard of the internet?

Not that I'm judging Tina. Nope, not one bit. I'm judging my lousy, lacking in back bone bunch of friends. Who, instead of responding to their respective invitations with a polite 'no thanks' - or taking Sarah Knight's advice of sending a great gift to soften the blow - they said 'yes' and then preceded to resent the various people whose hard work and effort went into putting together an amazing egg & sperm race or bagging the bowling club for this years family fun.

When you put it like that, it's a pretty shitty way to behave. Much better, to simply decline - gift or no - and carry on with your life. You won't be eaten up by misdirected anger towards Tina and she might even discover Good Reads. Win, win.

Easier said than done? Not really. People care far less about whether or not you attend than you think. Trust me, you're just not that important when they're busy planning the most productive zoo route or stringing up bunting. Just think about it, would you rather someone silently seethed at you for having the audacity to invite them to your birthday brunch or that they simply RSVP'd 'no' and gave you one last place setting to worry over?

I don't host birthday brunches - unless you can call me eating peanut butter from the jar in my pants at 11AM, brunch - but if I did, I know which option I'd choose.

So in summary, stop blaming everyone else for your lack of back bone. Grow a pair or tits and just say 'no thank you' in the first place. The only person to blame otherwise, is you. I can't sweeten that up any, it's just a fact. If you agree to do something you don't want to do, it is no one's fault but your own when you eventually have to do that thing.

Call it self care, call it not giving a fuck, call it what you want to. To me, it's just good sense. No one deserves to have my anger directed at them for what they perceive to be a kind offer and the only person that anger sets off kilter is me. So, why bother? Tell them no from the off and eat peanut butter in your pants instead! Then go buy Sarah Knight's book, for even more reasons to spend time in your pants...if that's your thing.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Always Be Prepared!

Cilla Said


Last weekend I went to Wales. Or at least, I told everyone I was going to Wales – only to discover that the road trip I had planned wouldn’t actually take me across the border.

Despite lots of lovely welsh signs and our proximity to everyone’s favourite welsh town, Barry, it actually turns out that the Air B n B myself and a group of friends had booked, was right here in merry old England. Although it did have a treehouse. So one can’t really complain.

Like everyone, I’m prone to cocking things up every now and again (say, planning a trip to Wales and ending up in England) but I firmly believe that if we can learn from our mistakes, they’re well worth making. And this most recent cock up was far from the worst I’ve made in relation to a road trip.

Which is why this time, I came prepared.Here are a few of my tips for getting yourself, and your car, ready for your next road trip.

Get Yourself a Map

With sat navs seemingly making our lives so much easier, it’s difficult to understand how our parents and grandparents ever got anywhere. It turns out though, that they used to have these things called maps, and that reading a map isn’t all that difficult. Also, you can read a map anywhere, which is perfect for when the signal on your sat nav disappears, slap bang in the middle of nowhere. Want to get there? Get a map. And yes, Mr Cartographer – you can have that one.


Check Your Tyres

Your tyres can seriously affect a whole range of things when taking a trip out in your car. Whether for a longer road trip or a short journey, it’s always worth checking your tyres and replacing them where necessary. Not only will this improve your safety, by giving you a much better grip on the roads surface as you travel along, it’ll also help give you a much smoother, and more economical driving. You want to look out for any puncture marks in the tyres, ensure the air pressure within them is correct and most importantly never head out in your car on a set of bald tyres. If you’re in Manchester (hi friend!) Point S offer cheap but reliable tyres, you can order online here – giving you absolutely no excuse.


Create a Playlist

Radio signals fading in and out, the same news bulletin every hour, on the hour and that annoying song they won’t stop playing – no one wants to take a long trip at the mercy of the radio. Make yourself a playlist and plug your phone into the car stereo, or go old school and burn yourself a car ride’s worth of CDs. Anything to keep things upbeat, even in the worst of traffic jams.


Stock Up On Snacks

Don’t get hit by service station surcharges – unless you just can’t resist the lure of the Starbucks mermaid – pack all your favourite snacks for the road ahead. You can make yourself some sandwiches and put together a packed lunch, you big bore, or simply make like an unsupervised child at a birthday party and fill the back seat with as many share bags and juice cartons as you can wedge in. Your childhood self will be so proud.

Seriously though, get those tyres checked and if in doubt, get them changed, because there is honestly no point in wasting a whole night of your much anticipated break (or your spontaneous jaunt to spot the northern lights) stuck in a ditch at the side of the road, all because it happened to rain a little yesterday and you hadn’t had the foresight to check the tread on your *very bald* tyres. And yes, that right there is another example of me cocking something up. But hey, nobody’s perfect. And roadside recovery did eventually find us.

Have you had a hilarious road trip experience? What did you learn? Hit me up in the comments section!

#ad



Thursday, 16 March 2017

The Crimson Wave Update

Cilla Said


A few months ago Trish Cartner and I founded The Crimson Wave and since then, you’ve probably seen us popping up across the internet asking for physical, monetary or donations of time to help us wage war on the homeless period.



Since I last posted about The Crimson Wave and what we do, which you can read about here, we’ve received lots of support from family, friends and strangers alike. We’ve even fangirled over a few celebrity mentions along the way, with Sara Pascoe and Natalie Bennet being some of the first to joining our campaign on Twitter and tweet their support.

Since then, we’ve raised a whopping £800 via our Just Giving crowdfunding page, around £100 in cash donations and whole tides of tampons, sanitary towels and panty liners. We’ve even had individually wrapped chocolates donated, which we add to our Period Packs for that little extra period pick me up.

Last month we ran a donation drive in our home town of Rochdale, letting people know they could pop in and drop off their supplies with us, and making people aware of the problems homeless women and trans men face during their periods. The event was a huge success and we put together 185 Period Packs, with the help of some lovely volunteers and got to meet plenty of The Crimson Wave's supporters.

What’s next?

This week we’ve teamed up with William Hill for their Close To the Community campaign and now have donation bins located in all of their north west stores, along with information on how else you can get involved with The Crimson Wave. The team over at William Hill will then be taking to the streets to distribute the packs they create on Thursday 23rd March – so look out for them!

If you’re local and listening to BBC Radio Manchester then you’re likely to hear their upcoming report on The Crimson Wave’s work in the local community and the larger issue of the homeless period within our city.

We’re also planning a Period Packing Party on April 1st a Touchstones in Rochdale. We’ll be excepting donations once again in money, sanitary products or time and you’ll get the opportunity to come along and put together some period packs yourself or join in with the other bits and bobs going on on the day.

We’d absolutely over to see you at our event, which you can find out more about over on our Eventbright page by clicking here.

You can also now find us across social media - so come and say a virtual hi on Twitter (@crimsonwaveorg), Instagram (@thecrimsonwaveorg) or Facebook (/thecrimsonwaveorg) and stay up to date with everything we're doing. If you'd like any more information, don't hesitate to get in touch.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

My First Lush Blogger Event

Cilla Said

Last week I was lucky enough to head down to my local lush store after hours for their first ever blogger event. I was a little nervous, as it was also my first blogger event – but it turns out both myself and the store had nothing to worry about. The staff were all on hand to demonstrate the eggcellant new Easter range to us and they’d ordered in a delicious, locally sourced vegan feast to keep us well fed. I ended up having a fantastic night, and met some fellow bloggers who I really enjoyed swapping stories, and lush tips with.



I’m pretty new to the lush obsession, but when I fell, I fell hard as you might have found out in Totally In Lusht, which you can read here, so I was eggcited (I’ll stop doing that now I promised) to get up close and personal with the first Easter range to come out since my love affair with Lush started last year. And boy, did it live up to eggspectation (I lied, sorry not sorry) – here are a few of my highlights from the range.

The Golden Egg


I captioned this, in order to highlight my true feelings for the golden one, DON’T CARE HOW I WANT IT NOW, only to discover, Lush made the same connection on their brilliant website – great minds? In all truth, I do want this bath bomb now, as I didn’t get one in my otherwise awesome goody bag, but that’s okay because the Easter range came out last Friday, so I can pop back to my local lush and BUY ALL OF THE GOLDEN EGGS just as soon as I hit publish on this post.

The reason this bath bomb is so desirable, isn’t just because it looks the bomb – covered all over in golden glitter which fills the bath tub and turns you into a glittery goddess upon emerging, it’s seriously beautiful – but the buttery softness of the bath water, which smooths over your skin as you soak, leaving you both super soft and subtly golden thanks to all that glitter.

Chocolate Lip Scrub

This I did receive in my blogger goody bag, and it’s fast rivalling my popcorn lip scrub as my favourite Lush product, It smells and tastes just like a chocolate orange and has a slightly finer texture than the popcorn lip scrub, akin to my favourite artisan coffee scrubs. It leaves your lips feeling so soft after just the first use and, when followed up with a lush lip-balm, keeps dry or chapped lips at bay.

Chick ‘n’ Mix

This is basically three bath bombs for the price of one – and it really doesn’t get much better than that – a huge egg cracked into two halves, with a smaller bath bomb inside which resembles the yolk of an egg, in the same orange shade as the chick's beak. When combined, the three eventually create a greenish bath, but the colour combinations mid-fizz look so fabulous, you’re unlikely to want to split these guys up.

With dark chocolate for eyes and a sweet scent, reminiscent of sherbet, this bath bomb is pretty luxurious and could easily replace the traditional gift of a chocolate egg this Easter. Just be sure to remind friends and families not to take a bite - this little guy may look and smell extremely sweet, but I highly doubt he tastes as good. 


Bunch of Carrots

These bubble bars are so adorable, I’m a little hesitant to use it, consisting of three ‘carrots’ in orange, purple and pink this reusable bubble bar smells far better than any carrots you’re likely to find at the dinner table. Little is needed to get the bath water filled with bubbles and the water will turn a lovely pastel shade as you swirl in your chosen carrot, when the bubbles run low, simply swirl your bathwater round some more and the bubbles reappear like magic.

Right, now that’s polished off, I’m going to stock up on some more Easter goodies including The Golden Egg, Which Came First and a slice of the chocolate Easter egg soap, which you have got to try.



Let me know which of the 2017 Easter Lush range takes your fancy, in the comments section. 

Friday, 20 January 2017

10 Cats All Cat Lovers Know

Cilla Said


Cats glorious cats. I have three myself; Lizzie, Fifi & Ruby, and if you ask me, they're the crazy ones. They spend the whole day sleeping, the whole night bounding up and down the stairs and any time they have left over making irretrievable keyboard mistakes on my behalf - but for all that, I can't help but love them.

They have their own personalities and their own bizarre quirks - and have brought me more laughs than I can count. So, here are a few of those quirks - that I'm sure you'll also have spotted if you've got your own fluffy friend around the house.

1. The one that follows you around



"Hi there! What ya doooooing?"

2. The one that just wants feeding


"Hello? Excuse me? I'm ready for my morning meal"


3. The one you can never find


"Nope, nope, nobody here. Have you checked the laundry pile?"


4. The one that makes her own rules

Gold star for trying. 


5. The one who thinks she’s a dog

And won't discuss it further. 


6. The one you think might be a dog

and probably is. 


7. The one who moved house



"Moi? Going Somewhere? Stop being so paranoid Steve!"

8. The one who sleeps on your head



"Is this not what you meant by bed head?"
9. The one that brings you presents



That you definitely don't want

10. The one with all the cuddles



Who provides the perfect excuse not to get up again all night.

Which cats do you recognise in this line up? I own at least three of them! Let me know in the comments. 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The Crimson Wave

Hannah Barnes

A few months ago a friend and I heard about a charity called The Monthly Gift, who work with people in our local community, in order to create period packs for the homeless women of Manchester and the surrounding areas. The Monthly Gift were hosting an event in Manchester town center, where people could come along, watch a movie, have some snacks and join in with the period pack production line.

My original plan was to go along and help out at the Friday night event, but as anyone whose a regular here will know, my favourite thing in the world is cancelled plans. So, when it turned out my friend had double booked, I was perfectly happy to stay home instead.

Neither of us though, were happy with the idea of having done nothing at all to help the homeless women in our local area. So, instead of attending The Monthly Gift's event evening, we decided to put our own period packs together and distribute them with the help of Petrus - who help out homeless men and women near us.

Homeless women on their periods isn't something that many of us will have thought much about. I was vaguely aware of the problems they face, before hearing about The Monthly Gift, but after researching things further, I began to realise just how huge a problem shark week can be without access to all the things I take for granted.

As we all know, sanitary pads, tampons and panty liners aren't actually necessary items for women, but as we all love luxury so much, we insist on buying them once a month, often doing nothing with them but flushing them down the loo, for want of a better use (n.b this is a joke, don't start flushing your luxurious sanitary wear down the loo. Have some respect for the environment, jeez).

Or at least, that's what the government thinks.

Sanitary products are, in fact, pretty much essential for all cisgendered women and some transmen - unless you're brave enough to free bleed, which is a hugely personal decision and one that many people will never be comfortable with.

When you come right down to it, we use sanitary wear in order to stop our periods offending other people, those same periods that  help facilitate LIFE ON EARTH I might add. And it is hard enough for those in a stable home environment to deal with this shit show, let alone those vulnerable women on the fringes of society. Whether it's homeless women, low income women or even women on benefits - no one at the top is taking into account how classing these necessary items as luxury products effects those who are all ready worst off in society.

Yes, it might piss me off that the luxury tax increases my monthly expenditure on these items, but it's the double standard that makes me red in the face, I can still comfortably afford to buy and use these products.


Women with little or no money don't have that luxury, the added cost in tax could be what keeps them from being able to purchase any defense at all against Aunt Flo. Periods are bad enough without having to sit in your sodden underwear for days on end, free bleeding because there are no other options available to you. Equally, living without a home is hard enough without having to sit in your sodden underwear for days on end, free bleeding because there are no other options available to you.

That's all there is to it. These are not luxury items, they're vital and should be made available to all homeless, vulnerable and low income women for free. Until then, however, my friend and I are going to do whatever we can in our area, and you should too!


It's so easy to put these kinds of packs together, we included 8 pads or tampons, 2 liners and some chocolate and paracetamol in each and we managed to make around 30 packs for our first batch. Since then, we've been asking for donations across social media and the response has been incredible.


If you'd like to donate anything at all, please get in touch with me today. You can send over pads, tampons, liners, chocolate treats or transfer some cash for us to purchase things on your behalf. Alternatively, get your friends together, get collecting donations from work, start spreading the word and team up with your local homeless charities to start helping the women near you.

We'll also be hosting an event at Touchstones on 11th February, where you can come along and help put the packs together, bring in your donations and find out more about what we're doing! We'd love to see you there - for any more info, or to let us know you'll be there, get in touch today.

If you'd like to help in anyway, or have an idea for a new way we can raise awareness and donations, let me know in the comments section. 

You can help us out with a monetary donation here - any amount however bid or small is hugely appreciated. 

Friday, 13 January 2017

All You Need Is Gin

Cilla Said





I've always been a gin drinker, choosing gin over anything else way before the revolution hit, which is why I was pleased when the revolution did hit - and brought with it a plethora of innovative new gin inspired ideas and infused cocktails.


Even so though, I feel as though there is a lot more gin has to over me than my usual tonic with a slice of lime mixer or the occasional holiday Gin Fizz. So, when Gin Explorer got in touch it seemed positively serendipitous. They challenged me to come up with some reasons why I enjoy gin so much and create a new years resolution inspired by my favourite tipple. In return, they sent out one of their fabulous Gin Explorer Subscriptions Boxes for me to share with you all. 

Subscription boxes are a brilliant way to explore brands you might not normal buy, or new ways to enjoy your favourite thing; be in makeup, organic veg or....gin and you won't even need to leave the house to get started! Delivered by UPS - in full army inspired regalia - I was delighted to receive my box, once I ascertained I wasn't in any trouble with the law, and discover its contents.

The luggage themed box itself contained; four 50ml flavoured gins, two retro bottles of mixer, a second mixer brand and a key ring bottle opener for the intrepid gin seeker as well as information on the drinks contained within and some delicious mince pie flavoured popcorn from Josephs.

I was completely blown away by the quality of this subscription box - having been let down by similar services in the past - and for £24.99 a month, think this is the ideal gift for the gin lover in your life (hi friend!) or anyone who wants to expand their gin horizons for 2017.

1. All you need is gin


To make most of the classic cocktails out there, gin, unlike spirits such as vodka or rum, is intended to be used in cocktails and thus the delicate flavours and hints only become apparent once you’ve treated yourself to something a little fancier, darling. Which leads me nicely onto number 2.

2. It’s Lorelai Gilmore’s drink of choice


Who, unlike James Bond, knows exactly how to make a proper martini - with gin. Once again proving my life mantra of ‘What would Lorelai Gilmore do?’ a sound one.

3. It has medical benefits


Believe it or not the internet makes many claims regarding the health benefits of gin. Traditionally drunk by sailors to help fend off scurvy, possibly even invented to make quinine (a natural preventative and cure for malaria) more palatable and packed full of antitoxins providing you’re drinking gin of the barrelled persuasion, whatever the truth, it sure makes ordering your 4th G&T of the evening, a lot easier to swallow.

4. Round the world in 30 gins



People drink and enjoy gin all around the world, with it first being distilled in Holland before becoming the quintessentially British spirit of choice. Nowadays it is most often enjoyed in the Philippines – but I’m sure we gave them a run for their money over the festive season. Not only that, but its easily customisable flavour makes for a drink which can be adapted to suit any country or culture.

5. That sterling Aldi advert


If you don’t remember this advert, then I’m about to change your life. Never mind John Lewis, back in 2012 it was Aldi cranking out the very best in Christmas advertising entertainment. I won’t say any more than that for fear of spoilers, but you can check it out here.

6. Prohibition couldn’t stop it


In fairness, the perseverance of those living in America during prohibition, ensured that none of our favourite alcoholic drinks were left behind, but I give particular credit to the survival of gin because of the reportedly disgusting taste of the innovative (if a little lacking in refinement) bath tub gin. The term bath tub gin also always conjures an image of Miss Hannigan, from the original Annie movie, drunkenly concocting her own homemade brew in the bathtub - and if that doesn’t make you smile, you’re probably dead inside.

7. World Gin Day is a thing


It’s in June each year - and any excuse to spend an entire day drowning in gin, is bound to put a spring in my step.


To explore gin a little further yourself, click here to pick up £5 off your first order by using the code TAKEOFF - and don't forget to let me know all about the fabulous things you find in your box!

And my gin inspired resolution?





Thursday, 5 January 2017

New Year, New Mindset

Cilla Said
I started this article with the decision to actively omit the phrase New Year, New Me and then found that it was virtually impossible to write without some sentiment of that kind. I initially wanted to avoid the phrase, as it carries with it so many connotations I disagree with.

For me, nothing represents societies obsession with the quick fix better than the annually reoccurring upsurge of 'new mes' across social media, office desks and advertising campaigns - a bandwagon I'm more than happy to let pass me by. The thing is though, making new years resolutions intrinsically suggests that we'd like to change some aspect of our lives - making steering clear of new things pretty impossible. So here we are New Year, New Mindset is a new take on the old phrase in an attempt a) to legitimize my use of it within this article and b) to re-frame the way we make our new years resolutions.

So rather than all of the impossible things I plan to change over night, preferably somewhere between the stroke of midnight and twelve o'one, here are a few things I want to work on during 2017.


1. My Health and Fitness 


This is something I've needed to work on for most of my life. Being a lazy girl, exercise has never really appealed to me. As an overweight child, I took the logical tack of many in my position, and avoided exercise all together for fear of proving everyone correct - fat kids can't run as fast, score as many goals, climb as high. Problem is, that's a self fulfilling prophecy, if you never try to run faster or climb higher then you'll soon find yourself stuck on the ground for good.

My health and fitness levels have thus always been a little lacking. I have asthma and I'm still a little squashy round the edges, but I'm not going to let those things hold me back anymore. I've booked a course of personal training sessions with a friend from uni who recently qualified as a fitness instructor and under her wing, I hope to start embracing exercise more and actually enjoy jumping around with my jiggly bits.

Ultimate Goal: To happily announce that I'm 'just off for a quick run' without a hint of sarcasm, panic or pain in my voice before the year is out.


2. My Understanding Of Cultural Appropriation 

The term cultural appropriation has been floating around on the internet for some time now and whilst I understand the larger aspects of the problem; frat parties with inconsiderate native american themes, sacred religious items being used to make a fashion statement etc, I've come to realise that it doesn't end there.

Cultural appropriation, or rather the avoidance thereof, demands constant checks on ones own behaviour, speech and thought patterns. So much of what we can now rightly point out as cultural appropriation already existed in our society but was never highlighted, which means that a lot of the finer points now get through even the tightest of filters.

I can't claim to have one of those tightly filtered brains, but this year I plan to make a concerted effort to understand more about cultural appropriation and the effects it has on those whose culture is being misappropriated by the west. Closer to home, I hope to be able to spot these finer points in my own language and actions and avoid culturally appropriated words, phrases and aesthetics.

Ultimate Goal: Remove 'ting', 'true dat', 'ain't nobody got time fo' dat', along with any other culturally appropriated language I notice, from my vocabulary.

3. My Intersectional Feminism 

Last year my amazing friend Leyya set up The Other Box, which seeks to highlight the lack of diversity within the creative industry, and in doing so tapped into a really important feminist movement which had been on the raise throughout 2016. 

From what I can gather, intersectional feminism is all about creating a space within feminism for all of the women who are not white, middle class, cisgendered and pretty well privileged. Critics believe that the most recent wave of feminism does not include enough diversity within its ranks and only really speaks to the white, middle class women who are first up for the token female slot on comedy panels, in the houses of parliament, at board room tables and across our entertainment industry. 

Feminism has been white-washed and it's about time we put down the spray gun. Whilst this all seems perfectly on point to me, I've been a little reluctant to prefix the 'feminist' tag in my twitter bio with 'intersectional' before understanding the beast a little better. However much like traditional feminism, there doesn't seem to be one clear cut answer for me to copy and paste. Deciding on what being an intersectional feminist means to you is a personal journey, and one I'm very much looking forward to taking in 2017.

Ultimate Goal: To understand intersectional feminism more fully and practice it in my every day life. 

4. My Knowledge of Global Current Affairs 

If  you're a regular visitor here, you'll know that every now and again I post a rather incongruous political piece (read huge rant) right here amidst the 5 minute milkshake recipes and mental health posts. That's because I enjoy engaging with our political system and the choices the UK makes within the political arena. I'd like to think my knowledge of our internal affairs is pretty up to scratch - everything is fucked - and I can enter a debate on these topics without breaking a sweat. 

Then Thursday happens, when I visit my Nan for dinner with her and my Pa, the topics range far further than the borders of our fair isle - and I am absolutely annihilated in every single discussion. Obviously, getting to grips with what's actually going on in the world will have benefits beyond joining in the family debate with some insightful point to make, but right now I'm holding out for that.

I'd also like to extend this voyage of discovery to include understanding the motivations of other countries and cultures - specifically from a religious view point, thanks to an extremely enthusiastic taxi driver I had recently. Knowing what's happening and where is one thing, but I think understanding why these things are happening, whether that be a historical time line of western mistakes, a religious belief or a cultural clash, is key to really getting to grips with world affairs. 

Ultimate Goal: Read the Quran, the Bible and the Torah. Better understand Hinduism and Sikhism and keep up to date with world affairs.


5. My Productivity Levels

When I'm at my most productive, I'm usually at my happiest. Getting shit done sends a dopamine boost from the reward systems in the brain that even a lazy girl can't get enough of. For some reason though, I never do get quite enough. Despite knowing how good it feels to complete an entire to do list, I very rarely do. Instead, I procrastinate harder than anyone has ever procrastinated - I'm a pro procrastinator, if you will. 

This year I want to try and get rid of some of my nasty procrastination habits, get more done and get my hands on those dopamine hits as often as I can. I work for myself, so upping my productivity levels is a no-brainer, but how I go about doing that is still a little up in the air. I've researched a few techniques and will be trying these out until I hit on something that works. The fresh start of a new year beginning lends itself well to this sort of thing and so far I've been kicking January's butt, despite only being back at work a week. 

Ultimate Goal: Locate a second space and head there once a week to work. 


6. My Self Esteem 

I've always had a poor self image, from impostor syndrome to body dysmorphia and social anxiety, I have been through the mill in regards to the way I view myself. As a child I assumed I would one day grow out of my self-hatred, shed the puppy fat and finally become a fully fledged adult. 

I heard something the other day, and I'm kicking myself because now I can't remember where, but basically it suggested that success for women had to include aesthetic success under the male gaze, on top of all the regular indicators of a successful career, life or achievement. I couldn't believe how much this resonated with me. Even as a small child, I believed that my 'real' life would begin only once I'd dropped to a size 0 and mastered the art of being beautiful.

Just imagine all the things we women could have achieved, in all that time spent obsessing over calories, researching make up and torturing ourselves in the name of beauty. The conspiracy is real, clearly.

Whilst I've already come a long way with my self image, I'd now like to start focusing on my overall self esteem and confidence. Long story short, I want to concentrate my attention on all of the things I missed out on whilst trying to improve my aesthetic by learning new things and taking on new challenges. I want to be confident in my abilities and my life choices and understand how I can use these things to achieve success in my life.

Ultimate Goal: To stop putting myself down and take pride in my successes, whatever I'm wearing. 

7. My Follow Through

This seemed like the most appropriate thing to sign off on. It links in with most of the things I'd like to work on this year and will ultimately decide if any of them work out. 

As a rule, I'm an all or nothing kind of person, if I can't give something my all, I'd rather not bother. I'm a perfectionist, so when I do take on a task I do it well and I enjoy taking pride in the work, which is probably why I steer clear of anything I'm unsure of. In life though, it's fair to say that the more challenging things are usually the most worth while and so this year I'll be working on my follow through for all tasks.

I have new ideas, creative inspirations and light bulb moments daily - my mind is absolutely brilliant at concocting amazing ways to get something done or start something new, but the rest of my body can often let the side down when it comes to the follow through. If my initial idea doesn't flow immediately, I tend to disregard it or, at best, add it to a long term to do list and forget all about it despite knowing that it's a great idea.
This year, my aim is to tease out those ideas a little more, play with them longer, enter the challenge zone and stop putting things off when they test my brain more than I'm comfortable with. Each and every one of these resolutions does just that, so this is really here to police the list - but even so it's something worth working on in all areas of my life.

Ultimate Goal: To use this point to keep myself focused on all others. 

Whether you've made more traditional resolutions this year, or just want to work on a few things like me - I'd love to hear all about them and how you're getting on.

Let me know in the comments!

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