‘New year, new me’, why your 2018 resolutions need upgrading

Well folks, it’s that time of the year again when our social media pages are spontaneously flooded with thousands of those horrendously annoying “New year, new me” bullshit memes. 

Sorry for the incredibly blunt opening but you know me, straight to the point! 

Now, I’m not normally one to moan about these little things but after years and years of witnessing these endless posts, I feel like my threshold for the inevitable ‘next year is going to be nothing like last year’ memes has really reached its limit! 

It’s not the I disagree with setting yourself goals for the future, on the contrary, I myself do the same thing and I believe it to be of great importance to set yourself goals and to continually strive to achieve them. Ambition is what ensures progress in life. 

But what does bug me is this: why do we wait an ENTIRE YEAR to start implementing these positive changes into our lives?! Why do we wait until 365 days have passed until we decide to give ourselves a kick up the arse and start doing these things we promised we would do last year and the year before that and the year before that?! 

We have an entire lifetime to at least begin to work towards achieving these goals and instead we decide to wait until the very end of an entire year to get started on them, at which point most of us look back at the previous years list of goals and realize we accomplished very little.

Why do we do that?!

Do you want to know what I think? I think the problem isn’t that we are lazy or impatient or too preoccupied with day to day life to get cracking on our goals. I think the problem lies within the goals themselves.

You may disagree but if you browse through those endless memes and posts regarding people’s future plans for the year ahead, they’re all pretty much the same:

Join gym 

Lose weight 

Transform into Victoria Secret Catwalk model 

Find Love of Life 

Make more money 

Save money 

Put said money towards buying house/car/’insert extravagant purchase that society has made you feel like you need to buy here’

These lists are only made worse when there are very specific time restrictions added to them. For example, lose ‘X’ amount of weight by July or save ‘X’ amount of money by October.

Why do we set ourselves these dreadful and unrealistic time limits in which to achieve these dreadful and unrealistic goals?

Okay, so you want to lose weight, that’s great. Why not set it as a goal?

But first, consider the reasoning behind it. Are you losing weight for yourself and your health or are you doing it because you feel pressured to do so by society? Are you planning on losing the weight slowly and surely in a healthy manner or have you put a time limit on it so that you have to starve yourself and spend hours upon hours in the gym just so that you can look good in a bikini when summer comes rolling around?!

You want to save money? That’s great too, we should all be putting a little aside for a rainy day as the saying goes. But what do you want to save money for? Is it for a deposit on a house that’s probably going to take you the next 10 years to save for in the current financial climate? Is it for a flashy new car because you think it will make people respect you more?

Can you see where I’m going with this? Its great to have goals and everything but the reasoning behind said goals is what is most important.

And another thing, making goals is one thing but sticking to them is another…

According to a study by U.S news, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February.

FEBRUARY! 

What happened to good old fashioned hard work and perseverance? Well, precisely what I mentioned earlier. Placing ridiculous time limits on our goals does crazy things to our mentality. We live in a world were we are subconsciously programmed to want things now, today, yesterday so much so that we forget to think about the hard work that goes into gaining these things. When we take a look on any given social media site, we see an abundance of images portraying successful, goal-achieving individuals- they’ve got the smoking hot body, the wads of cash, the amazing wardrobe, the booming business, the apartment that looks like an IKEA showroom.- they’ve got it all. And we start thinking to ourselves, “I want that, that’s success and that’s happiness”.

But it isn’t. You’re only seeing half the picture, more to the point, you’re only seeing half the picture that they want you to see. What you don’t see is them going to the gym religiously every day to get the chiseled god-like body. You don’t see them having to sacrifice hours of social time with friends and family to stay back at work and earn that money to buy that house. You don’t see them food shopping at the Tesco’s reduced section so that they afford to buy themselves nice clothes instead.

Its all an illusion and so are these bloody new years’ resolutions!

I apologize for this awfully long rant but I just wanted to flash a bit of light on this subject. Life isn’t a competition and It isn’t just a list of goals, its so much more than that. It’s a slow process which sees us endlessly learning new things about ourselves and the world, it sees us changing, growing and transforming on a daily basis so why not create new years resolutions that are more in line with that?

This year my goals for 2018 are very different to the previous years and there are no time limits on any of them. Instead I plan to achieve them through hard work and learning for the foreseeable future.

If you’ve read this post and thought to yourself “Yes, I do that too and yes, I agree” then I would really encourage you to consider adding some of them to yours too!

  1. Be kinder to yourself and others. Whether that means doing something small like holding the door open for a stranger or doing something greater like donating your time or money to charity.
  2. Listen more, to yourself and others. In this crazy world where everything moves so quickly, I feel like we often forget to actually listen to ourselves and others. Listen to yourself and act upon your own needs, not the needs of society but equally, take a bit of time out to consider the thoughts and needs of others.
  3. Stop worrying about those silly little numbers on the scale- in the grand scheme of things they mean absolutely nothing. Instead, concentrate on feeding your body with the nutrients it needs, drinking more water and exercising regularly but always LISTEN to your body. If you feel too tired to go for a run, don’t. Wait until you have excess energy and then go, you’ll enjoy it much more and will be able to put more effort into it. On the same hand, looking after your body doesn’t mean depriving yourself of certain foods. If you want to eat chocolate, eat it, just don’t go too crazy and aim to achieve balance when it comes to what you feed your body.
  4. Instead of trying to change your self, change your self-perception and practice self-acceptance. Us women (and men!) love to look at others for inspiration and there’s nothing wrong with that if its done in a healthy manner. Its human nature, animal instinct to want to fit in and look and act like everyone else. But when we start to look to others for guidance and begin making radical changes to ourselves in a bid to be accepted by society, there’s something wrong. In doing so, we are merely separating ourselves from our real identity and real selves. Whether it’s on a small scale like looking at the way certain women dress and then styling ourselves accordingly, even if its uncomfortable. Or if its on a grander scale where we are literally getting our lips blown up to the size of small balloons because Kylie Jenner says it makes us more beautiful. Don’t do it! Like I said before, there’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from others but never lose site of your individuality and identity. There is only one of you!
  5. Practice gratitude. Life has become so much of a competition to achieve happiness, abundance and wealth that in the race to own all of the above, we often forget to appreciate what we already have at this very moment. Remind yourself EVERY DAY to be thankful for the things you already have. Whether that means just appreciating out loud the fact that you have a roof over your head when so many other don’t, or whether its just waking up in the morning and writing a list of all the things we have in our lives that we are thankful for. Whatever it is you are grateful for, don’t forget to give thanks for it. 
  6. Forgive others for their mistakes but most importantly, forgive yourself. You are not perfect, none of us are. We all make mistakes, we all screw up, we all learn from those mistakes and change and grow. That’s just life. Instead of berating yourself for mistakes you made in the past, be thankful that you made them because you learnt from them and its made you a better person. On the same hand, stop hating yourself for not being perfect, or for not being at the stage in life that you thought you would be by now. It will all come with hard work, time and self-acceptance.
  7. Set smaller more achievable goals instead of placing time limits on everything.
  8. Try learning a new hobby/craft that puts your imagination and creativity to good use. We are constantly taking in information, whether that’s through the internet, watching TV or listening to the radio. It’s a never-ending cycle of absorbing and processing. But less and less of us have a creative output for all of that information overload, which can lead to a rather cloudy and oppressed mind. Having a hobby like writing or art or dance can work wonders for your mind and body. Trust me on this one.
  9. Invest in your spiritual growth. At the risk of sounding like some yoga-living hippy here (although I most definitely am partial to a bit of yoga), spiritual growth is really at the core of what life is all about. And yet, the majority of us take no time out of our busy schedules to invest in it. Meditation is something that I firmly believe should be integrated into our day to day lives so that we can achieve balance and really get in touch with ourselves. Buy yourselves a few books or watch some videos on spirituality and start practicing it now, today!
  10. Give love. I’m not suggesting you go out on some mad shagging spree here, although if you’d like to and it makes you feel happy then be my guest.

 

Happy new year!

Love Kate 

x

The perks of being a wallflower

Hey guys and gals.

It has been a very long time since I have written anything on the blog. In fact, I had almost started to forget this thing even existed if I’m being completely honest. I can only apologise, I just haven’t really been in the right place ‘mentally’ in recent months to sit down and put pen to paper (or more accurately fingers to keyboard).

Nonetheless, I decided today would be the day that I finally broke out of my cycle of procrastination and un-productivity and did something more useful than searching for autumn/winter fashion trends on Pinterest and googling Emily ratatowski’s diet plan (apparently she eats baked goods and does no exercise except for yoga incase you’re interested- total bullshit, also, incase you’re interested).

Instead I wanted to share with you a big lesson I have learned (and also struggled with) since moving to London in October of 2015.

So, most, if not all of you are probably aware of or have read the book `The perks of being a wallflower’ and if you haven’t read the book then you may have watched the subsequent movie adaption.

If not, here’s a VERY brief summary

Basically, the novel centers around an extremely shy and introverted young boy as he attempts to navigate his way through society and thus integrate himself into the big wide world.

For me (and I could well be completely off-key here so don’t judge me), the resounding theme or ‘message’ of the book is centred around the innate need for us humans to overcome shyness and its accompanying attributes and instead attempt to stand out from the crowd, or at the very least try to blend into it.

Congratulations if you’re still following me here.. and please continue to stick with me because there is a valid reason behind me talking all this nonsense.

When I moved to London those (almost) 2 years ago, I had never considered myself to be a ‘wallflower’. In fact, I actually thought of myself to be quite the opposite.

I had travelled to some of the furthest regions of the world (mostly alone), something I know many young females wouldn’t even dream of doing. I had packed all my bags and relocated to the other side of the world more times than I can remember, I had gained a wealth of independence and pretty much lacked any form of self-doubt- if I wanted to do something, I did it. Simples. On top of this, I had successfully blagged my way into a job working as a radio presenter, not a career move you would typically associate with the ‘shy, introvert’, unconfident type.

Life had thus far been pretty easy for me. I had somehow managed to bypass that terrible stage of worrying about what other people thought of me, whether or not I was liked, if I did or didn’t fit in. Instead, I pretty much lived for myself, did my own thing and my biggest challenges in life revolved mainly around what I was going to eat for dinner.

However, within a matter of weeks of settling down into my new life in London, I suddenly started to notice little thoughts creeping into my head that had somehow never managed to make it past that sponge-like barrier before.

Walking along Oxford street one day, I was confronted with the image of what can only be described as a pre-pubescent Billie holiday-lookalike wearing what seemed to be a bin bag and a pair of bright white adidas trainers.

After my brain had managed to completely digest all of the above (and after 2 minutes of confusion and laughter), it was as if the fabric draped across my eyes had suddenly been lifted (translated: the wind blew my fringe out the way) and I started to take a proper look my surroundings-  A beautiful 6-foot-tall woman glammed up to the max, effortlessly strutting her stuff in Louboutin’s, a bunch of eclectic looking indie youngsters rocking oversized glasses and Levi Jeans, carrying big satchels emblazoned with the words `London College of fashion’. A group of 20-something guys with moustaches so perfectly pointy they made Salvador Dali look like an amateur. And there was me, perfectly painted into the background of this glorious picture- a grey, fading splodge on this piece of art. 

I know a lot of people (particularly those who don’t live in London), would have viewed this sight rather indifferently and instead exclaimed ‘what a bunch of weirdo’s!’ before continuing on with their daily routines in the ‘real world’. 

But that isn’t how my mind chose to operate. Instead, I looked at myself in the reflection of a shop window, dressed in my lifeless grey denim jeans and my plain white tee, hair scraped back in a bun, traces of yesterdays spaghetti bolognaise still hanging around the corners of my mouth and thought to myself, ‘My god, I am really boring’.

This was the first time (and nowhere near the last) that I considered myself to bear a striking resemblance to a wallflower.

The problem with London and, in fact, most major cities throughout the world is that they are so over-saturated with millions of other human beings who are all trying to stand out from the crowd that inevitably, 80% of them end up blending right into it. And I had unknowingly become part of that 80%. 

And I’m not just talking in terms of fashion and physical appearance. If there’s one thing I’ve noticed since moving here its that confidence is everything and if you don’t have an insane amount of it (to the point that’s its almost arrogance, in some cases) you literally will not get anywhere. Whether that ‘anywhere’ is making new friends, getting a job or simply being noticed by passersby. If you don’t have the confidence to say ‘look at me, here I am, I deserve to be acknowledged because I’m not like everyone else’, you will never progress, no matter what you’re trying to do.

Believe it or not, I don’t actually like standing in front of a camera and having my photo taken- in fact, if I’m out at a nightclub or special event with my friends (a VERY rare occasion) or at a family gathering (another rare one) I will actively do my best James Bond impression and dive-bomb out of the way if I see the flashing lights of a camera heading my way. Why? Because I, along with millions of other women across the globe, have my own deep-routed insecurities and I really cannot be arsed to stare those insecurities dead in the face when my friends/family start uploading those pictures onto every social media site known to mankind.

However, I realised that this mentality wasn’t going to get me anywhere in the big wide world, let alone in London. Take for example my blog. When I first began publishing posts, I had a very small collective of family and friends who would read it. That was great but I wanted it to be so much more than that, I wanted my thoughts and my opinions to be shared on a much larger scale and thus I NEEDED to start posting stuff that would do just that. And so I began facing up to my insecurities and prancing around awkwardly in front of the camera, modelling random bits of clothes that I had found crushed at the bottom of my suitcase in the hope that a younger populous would start taking notice. Did they? Yes, they did. Why? Because I did something different, I pushed aside that lack of confidence and that constant security of being a wallflower and did something that would get me noticed.

And Im not alone in recognising that sometimes in order to get ahead of the game, we need to overcome our insecurities and push through our mental boundaries, perhaps doing something out of the box or extraordinary. Take Chris Putnam  for example. Once more of the shy and retiring geek-type, Chris was inspired to do something off-the-chart ambitious to land himself a job at Facebook after the social media giant visited his university campus in 2006. Realizing that hundreds of his fellow students would now be clogging up the inbox of Mark Zuckerberg begging for a job, Chris decided the easiest way to catch their attention was to… hack them. Yes, you read that right. Putnam created a viral worm that spread throughout thousands of profiles, making them look identical to those of MySpace. Did his elaborate plan work? You bet it did! Before long Facebook had called Putnam demanding he explain what he had done and by the end of the conversation, they had offered him a job interview.

I’m not suggesting that simply overhauling your wardrobe and dressing in 6-inch neon platforms and a space suit is suddenly going to get you noticed by the future love of your life. Nor am I implying that you need to do something crazy and irrational in order to nab yourself that dream job. That’s just wishful thinking and furthermore, might actually land you in a slightly troublesome position with the authorities.

But what I am saying is this:

Yes, being a wallflower does have its perks- it’s a safe place to sit, admiring and absorbing the crazy beauty of society whilst perked on your little wooden fence. It allows you to feel comfortable and secure, knowing that you don’t need to compete or prove your self worth to anyone but you. You don’t need to dress a certain way or look a certain way or act a certain way to please the masses, in fact, you don’t really have to do much of anything… but as a consequence, it also wont get you anywhere. In fact, being a wallflower is effectively giving society permission to push you into the background of life’s happenings. That may be a pill hard to swallow but it is (sadly) the world we now live in as a competitive, technological and internet-obsessed society.

If you really want to stand out and perhaps slowly but inevitably get somewhere, you’ve got to put yourself out there. You have to let go of those fears, insecurities and those wallflower tendencies, stop questioning ‘what if?’ and ‘what will happen?’ and instead just do it. Dress the way you want to, no holds barred, be as confident as you like and if not, fake it till you become it.

And if people start telling you that you’re weird or arrogant, or mentally unstable (and they will, believe me) then you look over your shoulder as they’re tip-toeing at snails pace behind you whilst you’re on the fast-track to life success and say “ F*** you, me and my leather-bound moon boots are onto bigger and better things”.

 

 

 

 

Social media, behind the screen.

As I sit down to write this post, I have a million thoughts swirling through my head. Not because I have a lot going on in my life or hundred-and-one tasks to complete and not because I have deadlines for work. In fact, if anything it’s the opposite, as I’m currently unemployed and therefore technically speaking, I actually have sweet f*** all to do.

No, the reason my mind is moving at a million miles per hour is solely down to the sheer amount of images it has consciously and subconsciously consumed within the last 12 hours.

There’s the L’Oreal advert on TV telling me I should try their new mascara to give me a `false-lash look’, there’s the billboard on the London underground telling me I should order from Just Eat tonight so I don’t have to bother cooking, there’s the front cover of Cosmopolitan sitting on my bedroom floor, asking me if I have fallen victim to the sudden rise in `porn face`, whatever the hell that is.

And then there’s social media.

 On my journey back home from central London today, as part of my routine attempt to avoid eye contact with a single passerby for fear someone might ACTUALLY smile at me and I wont know what to do, I casually, mindlessly, scroll through Instagram and Facebook on my phone.

I say mindlessly but in all honesty, my brain is actually taking in quite a high volume of that `social’ media content. Now, if I had decided for some un-rational and outrageous reason not to scroll through my social media feeds on that journey, I probably would have proceeded to waddle on home, make myself some beans on toast, moan to my partner for not doing the washing up and plonked myself in front of my laptop to begin (for the 30th time today) applying for more jobs.

 However, unsurprisingly, this is not the road I took.

Instead, after scrolling through Instagram, I came across the feed of the most beautiful bikini model I think I have ever seen in my life and yes, my inner MI5 agent practically tore itself from within me. I meticulously went through every single one of her photos (all 970 of them) analyzing, fawning, possibly even dribbling over them at one point. Was I appreciating her beauty, thanking the lord almighty that he has blessed certain individuals with the looks of a small flock of baby angels? Course I wasn’t. I was comparing, critiquing myself, wondering what life must be like to be that beautiful and that rich, to be that fabulous that people literally just give you free s***.

Then I began to wonder where my life had gone so wrong, why people weren’t giving me free s***, why I have such a disproportionate upper body to lower body ratio, why oh WHY can I not give up carbs and actually start going to the gym….

By the time I got home, Id already decided that toast was no longer an option, it was baked beans with a fat-free yogurt or nothing. Id also decided that I was a complete failure and that at 26, I should just accept that I was going to be unemployed forever and should start applying for benefits.

Aimlessly, I began reeling off all these newly-made plans to my partner, informing him that I was going to attempt to lose 12 pounds in 3 weeks and get myself a stomach so flat, he could eat his dinner off of it, to which his response whilst shoving his face with sweets was, `do you want a jelly baby?’.

Why, after a mere 15 minutes had I suddenly decided to make such life-altering decisions?

Because I’m human. I’m human and I’m susceptible to every form of marketing and white lie around me, whether I realize it or not. And that’s what social media is these days, one giant, photo shopped image-laden, cleverly marketed lie.

Back when I started using Facebook and Instagram, I utilized it for its original purpose. I connected with my real-life friends, those whom I had actually conversed with face-to-face. My status updates consisted of lyrics from `Taking back Sunday’ or, as I got older, how I had miraculously managed to get a 1st on my Business law essay despite being p***** off my face on cheap wine. My Instagram feed was also a reflection of my true self. I posted about once a week and it was pretty much just me eating chocolate or my cats lying in oddly sexual positions around the house. If you were to gaze upon my Instagram feed today, it would be a world away from those days. Now, its cleverly cropped meal photos, professionally shot images of me modelling clothes which my partner has both bought and taken for me (because in all honesty, I’m a broke ass b****). There are picturesque landscapes taken from my numerous travels which I had to work overtime to fund, then there’s happy, smiley photos of me and my partner which seem to automatically make people believe that we are riding at pure ease, on the sweet and blissful wave of love. Sure, we love each other but that doesn’t mean that we constantly live in this sweet state of bliss each and every day, in fact, there are times when we literally want to murder each other. That is life, that is relationships. And obviously, we’re both still here which is a good sign.

And its not just me who has fallen victim to the self-marketing cycle. Its everywhere. It’s the hundreds of people you follow on Instagram, it’s the A-list celebrities you see on the TV, its even the people you meet in that swanky bar on the weekend. We are all (or at least, most of us) just pretending to be something we are not; the only difference is that some of us can do it better than others.

After taking some time out to think and finally deciding that I would, in fact, have toast with my baked beans, I sat down and thought back to the beautiful bikini model that I had practically stalked on my way home and I began to see a very different reality.

This time, I saw a woman who probably lives off a diet of fruit and cauliflower cous cous, a woman who hasn’t so much as inhaled the sweet smell of carbs for years. A woman who wakes up at 6am every morning to workout for three hours in the gym before re-applying her make up and taking a thousand selfies before deciding upon a single one to upload. A woman who is constantly travelling to a new country by herself and is probably very lonely. A woman who is constantly being told by her `fans’ to wear something different, or change her hair. A woman who is meticulously scrutinized by thousands of her followers (and non-followers) and probably gets a lot of messages full of hatred and jealousy.

 It really wouldn’t surprise me if, after all of that, she’s just as insecure as me (albeit with a 6-pack and a wonderful bottom).

The point is, she too is only human, she’s just managed to reach the peak of the `pretending’ epidemic and is now making some money out of it. She still laughs, she still cries, she still s****, she’s still human, just like me and you.

The mere fact that you made into this world alive and are still here today is an achievement in itself, if you have goals and objectives you want to achieve and, most importantly, you are still being true and real to yourself, then even better. But please please, don’t fall victim to this false advertising malarkey and don’t try to model yourself on someone else because that person really is just an illusion. There is not a single person on this planet who is perfect and what we see on social media is just a fraction (and a very well put together one at that) of someone’s day to day life. Its not fun all the time and its not perfect either, but it is our life and its up to us to decide how we want to live it, on screen and off.

Relationships: Its all about teamwork

This October, myself and my boyfriend will be celebrating our one-year anniversary. Although to the majority of you, 12 months probably wont seem like a particularly long time, for me, this celebration will mark much more than just a coupling.

For me, this anniversary will be a celebration of everything I have learnt in the last 12 months and the huge amount in which I have grown, both physically and mentally. And, this in retrospect, is heavily owed to my boyfriend.

Let me start by saying that I am by no means a relationship guru, in fact if you’d met me a year ago, I was more of a relationship-hating train wreck who spent most of her time reading man-shaming memes and pretending to throw up a little bit when I saw loved-up couples PDAing in the street.

Fast forward one year and I now make up one half of those annoying, gag-inducing couples. Stranger still, I kinda like it, its grown on me.

Before I met my boyfriend, I had only 2 `serious` relationships. The first, which at one point I generally thought would be my last, resulted in a very public failed engagement. The second, a much more private matter, was in fact kept such a secret that it didn’t really feel like a relationship at all. And, although we didn’t really want to end it, due to our completely different backgrounds, we just knew that there was no going forward. As heart wrenching as it was, we have miraculously managed to remain very good friends.

It was whilst I was living a care-free life, sunning it up and working as a radio presenter in Barcelona that I first `met` my boyfriend. I say `met` in adverted commas as we didn’t really `meet` but rather we `cyber met` via Instagram. My boyfriend was and still is, a very talented artist and it was whilst I was trawling through account after account on Instagram, trying to find a piece of art that I actually liked, that I stumbled across his page. A few days later and we got talking, a few weeks later and we were still talking and a month later we were talking face to face (although, it was less talking and more nervously laughing on our first date).

The first thing I remember thinking after meeting him was that I had not felt that `spark` or `connection` or whatever you may call it, in an extremely long time. Generally, I`m not really a people person. I can be incredibly shy and at the same time I hate meaningless small talk. It is probably because of this that I choose only to have a small selection of friends. Yet, I could literally sit and talk the day away with my boyfriend, something I didn’t really understand the importance of until much later on in our relationship.

Of course, things change as time goes on and you learn more and more about one another. Most of the things you learn you like, some of them you hate, some of them will occasionally leave you wondering why on earth you decided to date this person in the first place. Its not easy, relationships take a lot of compromise, communication and cursing under your breath. The 3 C`s if you will. There will be ups and downs, highs and lows, times when you just want to give up and walk away and times when you literally can’t imagine life without them. But I just want to tell you that all of this is normal.

 I think a lot of us have subconsciously bought into this fairytale ideology that we will one day be swept off our feet by prince/princess charming and live happily ever after in a rose-filled world with no tinder or trust issues and pancakes will miraculously arrive on our pillow every morning and even better they’ll be carb and fat free.

Okay, maybe not to that extreme but still. Some of us aren’t always realistic in our expectations of our partners and our relationships.

Like all things, relationships take hard work and patience. More importantly still, you’ve got to be willing and open to learning.

You see, despite only being 26 and having 2 long-term relationships, I had mistakenly believed that when it came down to partnerships, I had it all figured out. I believed that I knew what was best for both myself and thus my relationship. I believed that I knew exactly what I wanted in a partner and I believed that I did not need to compromise in order to get it. More than that, I believed that if I wasn’t happy with something I had the right to just up and leave, after all why shouldn’t I? its my life.

It wasn’t until one horrendously rainy day a few months ago when I was stuck at home and feeling extremely agitated that I learnt this was not the case. After my agitation had turned to boredom, it quickly turned to anger at the only person who was stuck in the house with me: my boyfriend. After a particularly heated exchange of words and a lot of self-pitying and moaning and ranting at my end, my boyfriend turned around to me and said something so profound that I could almost hear a giant `PING` echoing in my head.

His words were: `when are you going to start realizing that I love you and we are a team working together? We are not two individuals fighting against each other, we are a team fighting the world`.

It was then that I realized just how selfish I had been.

In believing that I knew everything, all I had really done was thought about how I fitted into the equation of a relationship. How it benefited me. How I wasn’t happy with certain things and wanted more. How id sacrificed so much. How I wanted to up and leave.

How selfish, that in all my thoughts, I hadn’t even considered my boyfriend. What he wanted and needed, how he felt, the things he did for me and the things he`d sacrificed for me.

I’m not a big fan of grand gestures, it’s the little things that matter to me. Like how my boyfriend buys me iced coffee whenever he’s out because he knows that I have a full-blown addiction to coffee and the thought of going a day without it is enough to make me spontaneously combust with anxiety. Sometimes, when I’m having a particularly bad day, he will surprise me with a gift, clothes or jewelry that I pointed out to him without any expectation of him buying it for me. He consistently praises me with confidence-boosting comments about everything from my physical appearance to my written work because he knows how much I doubt myself.

That’s not to say I don’t do my bit in return. I offer him the security and love that he never truly received. Not because I feel like I have to, but because I love him more than anything else in the world and it flows effortlessly for me to do so. I mercilessly clean and fold his clothes only to find he has thrown them on the bedroom floor, and so I do it all over again. I pick up the trail of empty crisp packets he leaves around the house because, similarly to my coffee addiction, he’s absolutely hooked on walker’s crisps. I remind him of important things a million times over because I know he has the memory of a 90- year-old. I support him in all his ventures, praise him to my friends and family (and even the odd random strangers I meet in coffee shops) and I try as hard as I can to show him all the things the world has to offer. This year he took quite a big step and flew out to stay with me in Bali, a journey he probably wouldn’t have even contemplated a year ago.

It is these little gestures, these small every day things that make up a greater part of all relationships and it is these very things that will ultimately make or break it. Intertwined with that are those 3 C`s I mentioned before. Communication should be the foundation of every relationship, without it you’re just two people single handedly taking on the world. We`re not mind-readers so why would you expect your partner to be? If something makes you unhappy, uncomfortable or or just damn right angry then you need to express it to your partner, don’t bottle it up and let it eat away at you. On that same note, the way in which you choose to express that feeling is of the upmost importance too. If you feel like you’re about to blow your lid, curse under your breath, not straight in your partners face, sometimes we can’t take back the hateful things we say, no matter how much we would like to.

That’s not to say it will all be plain sailing, you will still argue, you will still face challenges and you will still have your doubts, just as me and my boyfriend still do now. But ultimately, when two people love each other, none of that really matters.

For me, although our relationship is still a work in progress and we still have a long time to go before we`re celebrating those `golden years`, I still appreciate how far I and WE have come.

And so, this year I will be celebrating much more than just a timeline of 0 to 12. I will be celebrating how I have changed for the better, every little thing I have learnt and most importantly, how to work not just for myself but as the other half of a team.

Is social media turning us into a bunch of twerking, trolling stalkers?

According to a November 2014 online survey by Cowen and Company, adults spend an average of 42.1 minutes a day on Facebook, 21.2 minutes on Instagram and 17.1 minutes on Twitter. Just to put things into perspective, that is a total of 1 hour and 34 minutes of our day that we spend sat in front of a screen, ‘socialising’.

Back in the ‘old days’ when society seemed a lot simpler, penny sweets actually did cost 1p and my tamagotchi was just hatching out of its egg, the term ‘socialising’ meant something different, as seen here:

To Socialize- intransitive verb

– to participate actively in a social group

(notice the use of the word ‘active’…)

Social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram and twitter were, however created with honest intentions.

Facebook was originally founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his fellow Harvard University friends in February 2004 when membership was limited to Harvard students only. However this later expanded to Universities in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford University, where it quickly gained support and popularity. In 2006 the social networking site became open to anyone above 13 years old (depending on local laws) and has since gone on to amass over 1.35 billion users around the world.

Explaining the idea behind Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg posted an open letter onto the site in 2006, saying:

“When I made Facebook two years ago my goal was to help people understand what was going on in their world a little better. I wanted to create an environment where people could share whatever information they wanted, but also have control over whom they shared that information with.

We made the site so that all of our members are a part of smaller networks like schools, companies or regions, so you can only see the profiles of people who are in your networks and your friends. We did this to make sure you could share information with the people you care about.”

-probably posted whilst he was sipping champagne on his multi-million pound yacht in the south of France.

Although this original bright outlook on Facebook seems very warmhearted and optimistic, after scrolling through my own newsfeed and seeing ‘wachh out 2nyt laydeeeez, max aka da pussy destroyer is out on da twn wiv ma niggas 4 life?!’ as a 17 year old’s status, I can’t help but feel that Facebook is possibly being utilised in the wrong manner.

Also, max, I don’t know if anyone has made you aware of this but you and you’re friends are in fact… white.

Furthermore social media has become more sexualised than some mainstream porn sites. Just type ‘model’ into your Instagram search bar and you will be bombarded with images of half-naked men and women.

Wow that’s a lot of boobs.

Gone are the days of sharing graduation photos between family members and in its place are photos and videos telling me that I should go and start drowning my body in protein shakes and do loads of squats- because real men with real beards love real big asses on women. And I practically don’t even have to eat anymore because all of you professional food critics will be uploading pics around dinner time of the £50 steak you just ate at some french restaurant I’ve never even heard of and I’m pretty sure doesn’t exist.

And it’s not just the way we use social networking sites that has become a cause for concern but it’s also the amount we use them- and the effects this can have on our mental health. According to Retrevo Gadgetology, 42% of us check Facebook and Twitter as soon as we wake up.

What happened to deciding whether to have hot or cold milk with your Weetabix or strategically placing your entire days outfit on the radiator so you don’t feel like you’re climbing out of the shower and embarking on an expedition across the antarctic?

And checking social media too often can also be depressing according to a study by the University of Missouri who found that spending too much time on Facebook can cause symptoms of depression, triggered by feelings of jealousy and envy. And why wouldn’t it, when it has changed and transformed from a platform of connectedness and togetherness to one of competition and popularity.

Although there are positive outcomes to using Facebook, in the cases where it is actually used to connect with family and friends, keep us informed on news topics and help us to forge new friendships – I can’t help but feel that Social media has somehow started to turn us into a bunch of braindead attention-seeking zombies, hell-bent on immediate gratification which we receive whenever someone hits the ‘like’ button on our post. Instead of living our own lives in the real world, we have become obsessed with mindlessly staring at the lives of others.

Sadly a large majority of us have inadvertently become a generation of sneaky, silent stalkers with credentials that could most likely opportune us a job with MI5 without the need for an interview. So perhaps we should re-think the way we use social media networks, reduce the time we spend on them and get down to some real socialising with real people. And it would be great to see less photos of your 250 calorie protein bars, half naked twerking ‘fitfam’ members and the expensive material goods you own and more of the real, human you.

P.s can someone PLEASE tell me what the F*** ‘on fleek’ means?

Thanks

5 simple ways to be more positive

For many of us, the daily routine of life can at times become repetitive, monotonous and joyless, leaving some of us feeling a little down in the dumps. I’ve been there before many times myself and if I’ve learnt one thing, its that happiness and positivity comes from within- and half price Häagen-Dazs ice cream- but mainly from within. So if you’ve found yourself stuck in a rut of negativity lately, here’s a few things Ive learnt on how to adopt a more positive outlook on life:

Focus on your goals, future plans and your capabilities 

Instead of reminiscing about the past- both good or bad- focus on the present and the future. What are your goals and ambitions and how can you start working your way to achieving them, today? Maybe it’s a job role you want, a country you’d like to visit or maybe you just want to lose a few pounds. Whatever it is, write it down and stick it up somewhere you’ll see it every day, even if you only glance over at it first thing in the morning. Starting your day off by reminding yourself of all the things you can and will achieve will keep your mind focused and in a happy place all day long. And remember, the only thing holding you back from achieving your goals is you. So if you want something badly enough, you’ll sure as hell make it happen. That being said, life is not a race and we often forget to enjoy the here and now. So take things at a pace that suits you, focusing more on the things you currently have to be grateful for as opposed to the things you don’t.

Rid your life of negativity

A negative mind-set attracts negative people even if it does so sub-consciously. So, take a look around at the company you keep- wether they be friends, family or a partner- and think about the way they make you feel. The positive people in your life should leave you feeling loved, valued and content and will encourage you to be happy. If they don’t, then it’s time to get your Miley Cyrus foam finger out and wave goodbye to the haterssss. This may be difficult at first but in the long-run it will leave you feeling a million times happier. Along with the company you keep, the environment you place yourself in can also encourage negative thinking. Have a de-clutter of your home or work space (within reason, obviously). Throw out all the junk you never use, the clothes you never wear or that really graphic and cringey love letter you wrote to your ex. Unnecessary junk, particular if it harbours negative attachments or feelings is a no no. Finally if you’re a drinker or a smoker try to cut down if you can’t give up all together, these are all natural depressants.

Exercise, diet and sleep

For most of us mere mortals, the thought of exercise doesn’t exactly leave us feeling all chirpy and bright-eyed, ready to go for a 10k military run at 6 in the morning. However, exercise doesn’t have to be painful or tedious, a simple 30-45 minute walk around a nice clear open space such as the countryside, will do wonders for your mental and physical health. Making this a part of your regular weekly routine will be even better. We all know that exercise releases the bodies natural ‘happy’ endorphins, giving you that big burst of energy and ‘feel good sass’ that can keep you feeling good all day. A healthy diet and a good amount of sleep are important too but it doesn’t need to be a complete lifestyle overhaul. Just try upping your veggie intake and cutting down on the mass-produced, man-made crap and your body will thank you for it. That being said, don’t deprive yourself of something if you really want it, otherwise you’ll end up back on that cycle of negativity. Life is all about balance, I would know, I can balance 5 chocolate creme eggs in each hand.

Smile and be positive to others 

Positivity is catchy, it’s hard not to smile when you see others smiling, unless you OD’d on the botox. Make it a part of your daily routine to reinforce positivity not just in yourself but in others too. Compliment your friends, encourage your family and throw out any negative conversation, focusing only on the good things. The sooner you start sharing positivity amongst others, the sooner you it will begin to naturally dwell within you. I may sound like a hippy yoga instructor but try it for a week and I guarantee you will notice a difference in your own mind-set.

Worry less 

Is the world really going to end if you don’t get that job or lose those 5 pounds? No. Will worrying about failure so much bring the early on-set of a heart attack? Quite possibly, yes. Chill. The only person putting an unreasonable amount of pressure on you is you. The only way you really fail is if you don’t learn from your mistakes, so pick yourself up and try again. Life is one big lesson so if something didn’t work out, don’t worry about it. Something better will come your way soon and this time, you’ll be more prepared and knowledgeable to make it work.

And remember: its okay to feel bad sometimes, because to quote R.E.M ‘everybody hurttttttttts sommmmetimessss’. Don’t feel guilty or angry with yourself if you start to slip into a negative thinking pattern at times, it’s a natural part of being human. But learning to pick yourself up and refusing to give up will get you to where you want to be in life, I promise.

Domestic abuse: The facts

According to recent findings by the Office for national statistics, it is estimated that around 1.4 million women and 700,000 men from the UK suffered from domestic abuse in 2014.

This may seem like a staggeringly high number- and it is- but these results actually show a decline in the number of domestic abuse cases in comparison to 2011/12, when there was an estimated 2.1 million cases of domestic abuse in the UK.

Domestic violence has a higher repeat rate than any other crime and can occur in any relationship regardless off ethnicity, religion, class, age, sexuality, disability or lifestyle. Studies show that women in lower income households are 3 times more likely to be the victims of domestic abuse compared with those from a higher income family and the majority of attacks are alcohol-fuelled.

The sad truth is that less than half of domestic abuse attacks are reported to the police and statistically, women will endure an average of 35 attacks before informing the police. But not everyone gets the help they need- an average of 2 women a week are killed by a present or previous partner in the uk.

Both male and female victims of domestic abuse have many reasons for not seeking out the help they desperately need in order to escape abusive relationships. Many fear the humiliation and shame they will receive from their family and friends as well as their partner. For single parents, there is the fear of not being able to cope with the pressures of raising children alone, both financially and emotionally. Most abuse victims suffer from such low self-esteem and confidence, usually bought on by their partners physical and mental attacks, that they are too scared to leave them or may even feel that the situation is somehow their own fault. Others simply do not know where to go for help or advice.

If you think that a friend or relative may be the victim of domestic abuse, ask them in private. They may not tell you straight away and may feel pressurised into doing so but if you take a gentle approach and let them know that you are there for them if they want to talk, eventually many will. Educate yourself on the signs of domestic abuse, the more you know about it, the quicker you will be able to see the signs.

Check out www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk/support-a-friend-or-family-member-experiencing-domestic-violence.aspx for more information on how you can help a sufferer of domestic abuse.

If you are the victim of domestic abuse the most important thing to remember is that you are never alone, there is always help and support out there for you. www.victimsupport.org.uk, www.refuge.org.uk and www.counselling-directory.org.uk are all great websites providing the help and additional support you need as well as a direct phone and email service if you want to talk to someone. Never feel that the abuse is your fault and do not take it upon yourself to try and change your partners behaviour, some behaviours- as sad as it may seem- cannot be changed. Don’t allow yourself to become another domestic abuse statistic, you are worth so much more.

Body image, eating disorders and the media

Did you know that one in ten people in the UK will experience partial or full symptoms of an eating disorder at some point in their lifetime? The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence have previously stated that 1.6 million people are affected by an eating disorder, of which around 11% are male- an astonishing number of people are affected by this mental health disorder and these figures are just for the UK alone.

Sadly, these numbers are growing. According to a study by www.kcl.ac.uk and www.ucl.ac.uk, the number of people diagnosed with eating disorders has increased by 15 per cent since 2000.

An eating disorder is described as ‘an abnormal attitude towards food that causes someone to change their eating habits and behaviour’.These changes can be anything from eating too much, eating too little or restricting certain food groups from your diet.

There are 3 main types of eating disorders:

  • Anorexia nervosa – when someone tries to keep their weight as low as possible, for example through starvation or excessive exercise.
  • Bulimia – when someone tries to control their weight by binge eating and then deliberately making themselves sick or abusing laxatives.
  • Binge eating – when someone overeats huge quantities of food (generally junk food).

There are also some people who may suffer from one or more of the symptoms categorised above but not ALL of them, in which case they are generally diagnosed with ‘EDNOS’- Eating disorder not otherwise specified.

Eating disorders such as these can develop amongst anyone- male or female-and at any age. However, recent studies have shown that most eating disorders being from the age of 10 upwards. 10 years old. An age when children should be outside playing with friends, enjoying themselves, before dragging their muddy shoes across freshly cleaned carpets to join mum and dad for a home-cooked meal. Not sitting in their rooms staring at internet posts and magazines full of skinny size 6 women and mercilessly counting calories, working out how many roast potatoes they can allow themselves to eat tonight.

And this is precisely the problem- the media, the big benevolent institution within whom we trust and ask for advice has slowly but surely drilled into our minds the big fat disillusion that thinness equals happiness.

This institution tells us that if we want to be loved by the opposite sex then we should start the 5:2 diet and drink loads of water so we can banish our cellulite because no man is going to find you attractive if your thighs jiggle and crease. But no man likes constantly waiting on his girlfriend to finish using the bathroom every 10 minutes because she has the bladder of a weak 60 year old post-menopausal woman either. So, how are we supposed to win?

The institution shouts at us ‘look at all these pretty, sparkly, over-priced clothes, you can wear them and look this good too if you just lose those extra 20 pounds’.

It tells us ‘you be yourself, push yourself, go and get that promotion because you deserve it but don’t reward yourself with cake after oh no no, spend 2 hours at the gym instead because no one wants to work with a fatty’.

And the worst thing is, we listen to it. We eat up every last word the media serves us, as if it was a meal itself and then we feel guilty and full of self-loathing for swallowing it. We listen to it telling us that we need to lose weight and we not to stop eating this and we need to look more like that and then we start judging others for not eating from the same judgemental plate as us.

Why do we do it?

What happened to being accepted rather than judged, based on our personalities, our intelligence, our drive, courage and our kind hearts? Health and happiness should be our main concerns. Do I sound like a hippy? Probably. But I know I’m not alone in thinking this should be the basis of how we see and accept one another.

To me, being ‘skinny’ and ‘perfect’ seems like you’re being accepted into an elite club, with membership based on how many days you can deprive yourself of the sweet things in life before having a complete meltdown and face planting a chocolate gateau.

But i would rather be a part of my own club, where membership includes eating 10 slices of pizza on a Friday night with my best friends followed by not giving a f*** if I look more like a Victoria’s secret cake-stasher that a Victoria’s secret model.

So to finish this ramble (plus I’m getting kind of hungry now) here is my second favourite Julia Roberts film ever, because she made such a great hooker!

5 Books that will change the way you think

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Reading a good book is such a great way to escape the doom and gloom of daily life but reading one that can change the way you think is even better. Here are 5 amazing mind-opening books that I would highly recommend reading:

The curious incident of the dog in the night time

This critically-acclaimed book is both hilarious and heart-warming, occasionally bringing a liccle tear to my eye. It is narrated in first person by Christopher Boone who suffers from Asperger syndrome, although this is not made clear at first. The story is based on Christopher’s search to solve the case of his next door neighbours’ dog who was killed with a garden fork. Due to his Asperger’s, the story is told in such beautiful and creative way, focusing more on sounds and touch rather than the speech itself and offers a great insight into the mind of someone who suffers from this disability.

 Sophie’s world

My mum challenged me to read this book from beginning to end when I was 12 years old and I can be a competitive little terror when I want to be. At 12 years old, I didn’t have a f****** clue what Sophie was on about or why she kept getting postcards and I was more concerned with why no one was writing me postcards and then I got a little sad. I picked the book up again when I was 17 and I FINALLY understood that this was more than just postcards, this was a philosophical exploration of both life and the western way of thinking. I also realised that my mum had given it to me to shut me up for three hours a day so she could clean the garden. Quite a philosophically-loaded one but definitely worth a good read!

To kill a mockingbird

I first read this book as part of GCSE literature examination and found it very tedious and slow-paced, quite frankly I couldn’t wait to finish it so I could sit the exam and forget all about it. 5 years later I picked it up again and the book took on a whole new perspective. Set in the early 1930’s during a time of great depression, poverty and unemployment, the book addresses issues such as racial segregation, injustice, crime, violence and discrimination. The story is told through the eyes of Scout Finch but focuses more on her father Atticus, who is something of a role model of courage compassion and integrity during such an oppressive and sombre time.

1984

This is a classic world-renowned book that still holds strong relevance in todays society. It is set in ‘Airstrip One’ (formerly known as Great Britain), an authoritarian society run by a powerful and elite political system known as ‘Big Brother’. The society is home to perpetual war, secret surveillance, public manipulation, propaganda and deceit and prohibits free thought, expression or individualism. The story focuses on Winston Smith, a low-ranking member of the party who begins to question big brother and its  oppressive actions which leads him on a path to a not-so-happy ending. Definitely worth a read but will probably leave you angry and government-hating and wondering if someone really is watching you in the sower.

The Alchemist

This is a book I have recently finished reading after my brother constantly questioned why I hadn’t. I won’t lie, at first this book was reaaaaaaaaall slow and I didn’t really see how the rest of it could form ‘a good read’. But I pushed through anyway because quitting just aint my style and I really didn’t want to have to listen to my brother harp on about it anymore. The book is based on  a young Andalusian shepherd named Santiago who decides to travel to Egypt in search of treasure that he has had recurring dreams about. However, during his travels he encounters a gypsy woman, a king and an alchemist whom all influence the way he thinks and teach him the importance of listening to our hearts. The resonating themes of the book-for me at least- are humanity, love and learning to approach life with a less materialistic mind-set, all of which have stuck with me since I finished it.

Dating: when did it all get so Tinder technical?

A couple of months ago whilst catching up over cocktails with a few of my nearest and dearest friends, I came to the realisation that I was the only person in the room who’s phone wasn’t continuously buzzing with the arrival of a new Tinder ‘match’. Tinder, in case you didn’t know, is a mobile dating app launched in 2012 which has pretty much dominated the UK dating scene ever since- by 2014 it was registering around 1 billion ‘swipes’ a day. It has been so successful in fact, that even celebrities are now openly admitting to joining up to the free application.

Anyway, sat in this bar listening to the continuous ‘ping’ of my friends phones’, I began feeling quite nostalgic, my thoughts turning back to those days at school when I hadn’t quite make the cut for the cool-kid group of girls with perfect hair and a trail of hormonal boys lining up to date them. However, after completely zoning out and then spending 5 minutes trying to remember the name of my year 5 dinner lady, wondering wether or not Justin Bieber has a more feminine face than me and trying to figure out if I had actually eaten the last cornetto ice cream in the freezer or if id hidden it in a secret spot… I eventually recognised that, unlike my childhood, this time it was in fact ME who was making the decision not become a part of the so-called ‘group’.

Now up until this point, the thought of joining Tinder had never even attempted to make its way into my overactive and erratic brain. Between 3 seasons of The Mindy project, travelling, blogging, freelance writing, university work and AAA batteries (y’all ladies don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about!), I barely had the time to check my emails in the morning, let alone set up a profile and scroll endlessly through photos of random men, cross-analysing them to make sure they were legit dating material and not secret serial killers/stalkers. And yet suddenly at this moment, surrounded by a bunch of my girlfriends who seemed to get an almost euphoric feeling whenever they were matched with some 6’1 rugby player who’s interests were Nando’s and Dan Bilzerian (why does EVERY guy on tinder have an interest in Dan Bilzerian?).. I began to feel a little bit left out.

And so, I caved in, proclaiming to myself that this would be more of an anthropological ‘case study’ as opposed to me actually having an interest in meeting guys or (shock horror) really dating.

Oh how wrong I was.

Tinder quickly became very addictive. I have never been the kind of gal to judge someone based on face-value (male or female) and I’ve never found that aesthetics were particularly important to me when it came to matters of the heart. And yet, here I was curled up in bed on a Saturday evening, surrounded by chocolate wrappers and 3 weeks worth of laundry, swiping past the faces of guys that didn’t immediately strike me as ‘attractive’, or ‘my type’ (honestly, I don’t even know what my ‘type’ is). How very judgemental of me. But thats the beauty (and in some ways the selling-point) of Tinder. Not only does it give the user the power to be picky, critical and narcissistic of others without having to do so face to face but it also delivers a form or immediate gratification and a confidence boost that we don’t really get when we’re not in a loving, committed relationship. Added to this that it enables you to bypass all the awkwardness that comes with meeting someone face to face for the first time and you’re pretty much onto a highly addictive and successful winner.

Thankfully, I’m not the only one to find myself relishing in my new found Tinder glory. New research shows that there are 50 million active users on Tinder, many of whom check their accounts 11 times a day and spend an average of 90 minutes per day on the app. Thats a lot of time spent staring at a screen, forming opinions of people based solely on their physical appearance and then trying to make small talk with them. Its also a lot of time spent away from the real world.

For me, the thrill of the initial week or so (okay, maybe 2-3 weeks) of continuous strokes to my ego from overly-complimentatary guys soon faded. This was in part due to the fact that for 4 days straight, I had been inundated with the most sexually explicit and frankly, derogatory messages from ‘overly-keen’ young men who obviously lacked any form of social etiquette. But I also stopped ‘swiping’ because I began to feel as if I were losing touch with real life and missing out on the opportunities that you get when you don’t spend 2 hours a day glued to your phone. You know, like meeting REAL people?

Although I can understand how for many, apps like Tinder are a positive tool and in some cases may even be the only way to enter the sometimes frightening and overwhelming world of dating- for example, individuals who lack the confidence to approach potential dates face to face or who just don’t have the time to meet people in their daily lives. I also feel that for the majority of us, these dating sites and apps have become more of a form of escapism from the real world. A platform where they can create and present a specific (and sometimes false) image of themselves and through which there is continuous reinforcement that judging people based on looks alone is a ‘normal’ thing to do.

Personally, I think its a shame. Long gone are the days of being introduced to hopeless idiots through friends, striking up conversation with beautiful strangers in coffee shops or chatting up the office hottie before grabbing a drink after work. Now its all, swipe this, swipe that, fill in this form of your specific interests here, do you like cheese? Tell us what kind of man you’re interested in here, do you have any allergies? Do you have a preference for black or white men? Would you be willing to date a vegan? How many km away from your current location should we be looking?. Don’t put in any of the hard (but fun) work here because we’ll find you the perfect match if we know your height, weight, whether or not you have pets here…. The list goes on and on and in the process it takes all the realism away from meeting someone face to face. Call me old fashioned but I prefer it the traditional and perhaps now out-dated way. I don’t want to start talking to a complete stranger through a screen after seeing a few photos of him and thus forming my own opinion of what kind of person he is. I want to see them for the first time, face to face (yes this is in part so that I make sure our future children will have a perfect nose to cheekbone ratio) but its also because I don’t feel that I can make a ‘real’ connection with someone unless I’m right there with them, away from technology and in the ‘real’ world.

I’m not suggesting we cut all ties with dating apps such as Tinder, like I said before, there are some of us for whom it is the only way of striking up any kind of relationship. However, I do think we need to keep in mind that away from our phone screens, there is a whole world full of amazing people who we might just not meet if we continue to rely solely on online dating. So go meet them!