20 Things To Do Before I’m 20

So, last week, I turned nineteen. It was a great day. I spent the morning with Connor and his family, relaxing, before coming home to spend the afternoon with mum and pampering myself before holding a surprise birthday party for my mum, which went better than I could have expected. I ended the night by going from the party to a club in town and then forgetting my door key when I got home.

And it was great.

But really, in all honesty I’m excited about being this age. When I was a kid all I wanted was to be older, and now that I am older and I can literally do… anything I want. It’s almost debilitating. I can do anything. So.. to counter that… I do nothing.

So, to celebrate the next year of my life, I’ve come up with a list of somewhat realistic, and somewhat ridiculous, things that I’d like to do by this time next year…

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1. Stop being afraid of of making phone calls

And actually learn how to make a phone call in a busy office… no one is listening, and I need to remember that.

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2. Save over £1000

Which I am well on the way of achieving! Result!

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3. Go on a city break

Another one. Athens and Prague in 2016 were some of the best experiences I’ve ever had, and having the independence to be wandering the world without adult supervision is something that I can’t wait to experience more.

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4. Go on a relaxing sun holiday

When I was younger I got bored doing the same thing on sun holidays, but now that I’m working full-time, and rarely see the sun when it rears its head in Britain, I feel the much-needed warmth on my face and a cocktail in my hand…

5. Take part in a blogging opportunity

Whether thats a sponsored post, a collaboration, going to an event… I want to start working with more people. (If you want to hit me up my gmail is jallen7137@gmail.com!!)

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6. Reach 1000 Twitter followers

Currently on 800+ so I think we got this. Might sound silly to some, but it would be cool.

7. Reach 200 WordPess followers

8. Host a giveaway

Keep your eyes peeled for this one… coming soon!

9. Start giving away books and clearing out

I’m hoping to start the practice of re-reading a book and then giving it away to someone, or to a charity shop, so that im not hoarding them any more. I have way too many books…

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10. Actually start my scrap book

It’s been about 4 years since I was gifted this gorgeous Paperchase scrapbook from my mum, and I have a huge box full of souvenirs from the past 10 years of my life to fill it up with. I just… never had the chance.

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11. Go to the beach

I haven’t been on a beach day in my actual home town in a long, long time. It’s something I want to do every summer but never have the chance to, and this year I can drive, so bring it on!

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12. Solo trip

I want to go somewhere new, completely alone. For a day, a weekend, wherever.

13. Buy a high-end makeup product

Like… really high-end. Not just something expensive from Boots. I wanna be reckless and buy something that my face absolutely does not need, but it wants. (Send me suggestions of what my first high-end product should be in the comments).

14. Eat better

I’ve fallen back into some horrifically unhealthy eating patterns and maybe that’s why I’m not feeling so great recently… time to crack out the veggies.

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15. Go vegetarian for a week

I’ve tried incorporating vegetarian meals into my daily life, so a meat-free hot lunch at work, and Quorn products for dinner, but I’d love to start making a real difference to my diet and consumption.

16. Go for a massage

I’ve only ever been for a professional massage once before and, as someone who loves getting pampered, it was like my idea of heaven. Definitely treating myself when I get stressed soon.

17. Get into an exercise routine

What I’ve been working with recently…

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18. Go on a Colour Run

19. Play Lazer Tag

20. Get another tattoo

And there you go, my 20 Before 20. I will hopefully, this time next year, be checking back in with these to make sure I’ve done all I wanted to do, which would be awesome.

Until then, what do you want to do before you’re 20? Or 30? Should I make these into a series? Let me know!

Jess

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19 Things I’ve Learned at 19

It’s my birthday!! Shower me with gifts and love! Love me! Kidding. But yeah, I’m 19 today (scary Mary), and I feel old. 

Like, I know I’m not old. I’m actually very young. I’ve loads of living left to do. But, like every other entitled and narcissistic millenial, I feel like I have a wealth of experiences to draw on at my young age.

So, here are the 19 things I’ve learned at the ripe old age of 19. You’re welcome.

1. Always Give More Than You Get

Follow this, and you’ll never be in the wrong again. Always give 110%, and you can be sure that when things go downhill, you don’t have to worry about yourself, because you did everything you possibly could

2. Cover Your Arse

Similar to the last point, but honestly will save you so much time and arguments. Just do everything the first time, and make sure you think of everything before charging in.

3. If Possible, Take the High Road

It makes you look better. But, if they really hurt you, aint nothing wrong with getting it off your chest.

4. Don’t Be Petty

It’s ugly. You’re better than that.

5. Drink More Water!!!

6. Worrying About Money Won’t Give You More Money

Unless you are at critical situation, stop worrying about money. You’re so young. What the fuck.

7. Problem? Have a Bath

8. More Problems? Go Outside

Fresh air: it works. Who knew?

9. Laugh At Yourself, and Everyone Else Will Laugh With You 

In an awkward or embarrassing situation? Laugh it off. It’ll make everyone else comfortable, and make yourself feel better when they’re laughing with you, rather than at you.

10. Stretch More

Trust me.

11. Change Your Bedding, Do Some Dusting, and Hoover More

A clean environment makes for a clean and healthy mind.

12. Stop Playing Yourself Down To Everyone

You are interesting, you are funny, and you are pretty. I mean it. You know it, so prove it.

13. It’s Better to Be ‘Silly-Funny’ Than ‘Mean-Funny’

14. You Will Never Regret Making More Effort, You Will Only Regret Making Less

15. Stop Thinking Everything Means Something. It Doesn’t.

Sometimes shit happens, and we have to just accept it. It doesn’t have an almighty meaning, and it doesn’t count towards your karma-points. Learn from things, and move on. Stop making meaning when there isn’t any.

16. Stop Thinking Everything You Do Has To Mean Something. It Doesn’t.

You want to eat 3 cheeseburgers in a row? Go for it. You want to get a tattoo of a panda holding a rifle? Why the hell not? You want to write a book about what it’s like to be YOU? Do it. Not everything has to be Big and Meaningful.

17. Remember Your Age

You’re young. Stop thinking like an 80 year old. Do something stupid. Make mistakes. It’s okay.

18. You’re Allowed To Be Sad Sometimes

19. But Being Sad Will Get You Nowhere

Get help. Do things. Make connections. Nothing is worth feeling like it’s the end of the world, but having to smile anyway.

And there you have it. My impartial bits of wisdom that I have selflessly shared with you lot so you don’t make the same mistakes as me. But at the same time, what do I know? A year from now I could be making another one of these posts and say exactly the opposite of everything I’ve just said so… do whatever you want. Or something.

Honestly though, thank you for following me on this little blog for as long as you have, even if you haven’t for very long. I’m still working at this blogging thing (and generally this ‘life’ thing) and doing this makes things a lot more fun and interesting. I look forward to the next year of my life carrying on with this blog and meeting more of you lovely people.

Here’s to the next year (THE LAST ONE OF BEING A TEENAGER).

Jess x

Winter Favourites! // 2016-2017

As stated previously, due to the fact that I am poor, my favourites tend to be seasonal, rather than monthly, like many of my blogging buddies. But that’s okay! It just means they’re meatier and chock full of stuff that I’m going to peer pressure you into buying! (Kidding)

So, here are my 2016-17 Winter Favourites!

Fashion

Blanket Scarf – Primark

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I got this scarf for Christmas and I honestly have worn it every single day since. It’s so cozy and soft, and is perfect for when the heating at work packs up and when I’m too tired to function.

Box Jumpers – New Look

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One of these jumpers was featured in my Winter OOTD post from Blogmas 2016, and I actually have three of these. One in black, one mint and one dusky pink and I am obsessed. They are so cheap, easy to wear and style and so comfy for the cold days. I honestly really hope these come back next winter too.

Dressing Gown – Tesco

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Another Christmas goodie, this time from Mum. It was her personal mission to find me a new dressing gown that I liked for Christmas (I’m v fussy). And safe to say she did well. This dressing gown is honestly the softest, cosiest thing I’ve ever felt, it fits perfectly and the hood even has little bobble ears on. What more could you possibly ask for?

Beauty

Supercat Liquid EyelinerSupercat Liquid Eyeliner – Soap and Glory

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Once again, a Christmas gifted item. I was absolutely not expecting this one from a family friend, but they did so well with it. A proper review will be coming soon,as I’ve been meaning to write one since Christmas Day, but you’ll already know that it’s a favourite!

iDivine Eyeshadow Palette in ‘All Night Long’ – Sleek

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I wasn’t into eyeshadow at all until I purchased my Revolution 12 Days of Christmas Box on Black Friday last year, but since then I’ve had a bit of a spend on more drugstore palettes, including this one. The colours are beautiful and blend and match so well and the pigmentation of them is incredible value for money.

Brightside Bubble Bar – LUSH

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Yes, I’m still  raving about this bloody bubble bar. And yes, I did get three for Christmas (and another for my birthday this week…). What can I say? I’m a citrus lover.

Music

Bad Behaviour – The Maine

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I’ve loved The Maine for about four years now (wow) and even though my emo phase has somewhat passed, this band never will. I’m seeing them live for the second time in a few weeks (March at the Electric Ballroom, Camden) and I couldn’t be more excited, especially for the upcoming album Lovely, Little, Lonely. Everything this band makes makes me happy, and they’re like a warm hug to my emotions.

Last Cigarrette – Darwin Deez

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I discovered this song while listening to The Hannah Witton Show at work, and it just grabbed me, you know? It’s one of those songs that makes me want to dance and sing to in the car and I don’t know. It’s just catchy. Go listen.

Night People – You Me at Six

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I first listened to the Night People single when it was released in the autumn and found it good, but not enough to be really excited. It was only when I found out that YMAS are doing a UK tour (which I am going to!!) in the Spring that I decided maybe I should listen to their latest album. And I honestly love it. Every song is awesome, and YMAS are one of the bands that I think only get better.

Other

The Hannah Witton Show – FUBAR Radio

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What gets me through those long, dark days stuck in the office, you ask? Well, here’s your answer. I got into Hannah’s content after finding her YouTube channel, and resolutely identifying with everything she stands for. When I found out she hosted a podcast/radio show every week that I could listen to FOR FREE, I got even more obsessed. Every one of Hannah’s radio episodes are absolute gold, and you’re never left bored.If you’re a fan of sex jokes, rudeness and familiar YouTube faces, check this out!

Driving!!

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So, as some of you may know (and some of you may not) I passed my driving test at the start of December. Yessssssss. Being able to drive my little Edna (my KA) around just us two, blaring the ‘tunes and generally being awesome… it’s a good feeling. And also not having to get lifts all the time is nice.

 

So there you go, my Winter Favourites. Honestly, the past couple of months have been very up and down, life-wise, and I’m so excited to get into spring as there are some really exciting things coming up.

What were your favourites from over Christmas and New Year, and are any of yours the same as mine? Let me know! And I’ll see you again at the end of the week for a special birthday post! Thanks!

Jess x

REVIEW: If I Was Your Girl – Meredith Russo

Honestly, I don’t know where to start with this. I’ve always just told myself that I’m awful at reviews, and to leave them far far away, for other people to write, and honestly I’m a little scared to attempt this. But you know what? 2017 is the year of facing fears, I think (maybe) and I’d like to start writing reviews. So here goes (cue superior-sounding and intimidating review-er voice)…

If I Was Your Girl – Meredith Russo

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If I Was Your Girl tells the, frankly overdone, story of a young girl who has to start a new school, and her struggles through making new friends, first loves and parent troubles. It’s one of those basic story premises that’s been done and done a thousand times over, the world over. I’m sure that no matter the culture, religion, race, every teenage girl has once wanted to read about the life of another teenage girl.

But with this, there’s something different.

And it’s not something that you have to wait until the last page for, either (which is something I personally don’t have the patience for). From the get-go (even the blurb, actually), we – the audience – are aware that Amanda, our beautiful, smart, nerdy and mysterious protagonist, used to be known as Andrew.

Meredith Russo’s debut novel details the post-transition Amanda’s life as she tries to make it safely from high school to the World Beyond – something of which I’m sure we can all relate to. But Meredith’s life as a trans woman has enabled her to transform a somewhat over-done story into one that I think – honestly – everyone should read. Or at least read about. The simple fact of the matter is: there aren’t enough stories about trans people.

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Now, as much as I could, I’m not going to make this post about trans issues. It is not my place, nor my right to address issues faced by those in the trans community.I have never faced gender identity issues, and I can’t imagine ever doing so, and that is where I will leave my knowledge on the subject. However, if a trans person, or someone struggling with gender identity issues is reading this: I support you, you are brave and amazing and you are not alone. If you need someone to talk to, I am here.

Now that that is out of the way, I’m going to continue by saying that this review is not going to address the serious matters of gender identity, transgenderism and social inequalities, as I simply haven’t got the words – or the authority – to do so. I will, however, review this book as a book. 

If I Was Your Girl, while hugely important and eye-opening for someone who is cis-gendered and uneducated, could have been better, book-wise.

The subject matter, while fascinating and wonderful in its modest glory (Amanda’s brief descriptions of the transition process I felt were a nice way to satisfy reader’s curiosities, while remaining steadfast in her secretive nature, and were well played-down by the author), could have been paced much better.

My biggest problem with IIWYG was simply the pacing. I felt this book could have been light-years longer. It felt rushed, and because of this, characters and their actions often felt unrealistic, and it could sometimes feel as though Meredith – the author – knew things that the audience didn’t, but forgot, and described scenes and emotions as thus.

While I can see the advantages of trying to write a book – particularly a YA book, as this is intended – that is long enough to be a story, while being short enough to keep young reader’s attentions, I felt this was just not long enough. There simply wasn’t enough space to put all the emotions of someone who has been through so much, on paper in just under 300 pages. I often felt as though, if I were in Amanda’s situation, I’d need a hell of a lot more time to digest some information and make some decisions, than she did. But that’s just me.

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Some may complain that IIWYG was too shallow. That it only tread the very shortest of depths that LGBTQIA+ fiction could do, but I think that’s enough. For now, at least. The general public may still be wary of literature that dives too deep into the minds and bodies of those who aren’t “normal” (and I use that term sarcastically, if you didn’t guess), and, while some of us may be ready to dive deep, the world might not be yet. Baby steps.

But, If I Was Your Girl did exactly as it was supposed to, and for that I commend it. It made me laugh. It made me sad and angry. It made me love Amanda and Virginia and Layla and Grant. It made me hate others. It made me feel that first-love, first-kiss, first-everything feeling that we all crave sometimes. And it made me more aware. 

And for a mainstream, published, printed and talked about book (If I Was Your Girl has actually been featured in Zoella’s book club with W H Smith for this year, which is incredible and huge for the author, to have someone as influential as Zoe recommending this story to her millions of avid fans…) to hold such power and knowledge. The power to turn attention towards this issue that the world faces (by issue I mean transphobia and homophobia, etc), is fantastic.

I urge you all to pick up this book (or download it.. whatever you fancy), and just try it. Your age, your gender, your sexuality, your reading preferences do not matter. You should read this, for your own education.

Thanks guys, let me know if I did OK for my first book review (that’s been published on this site). Also let me know what’s on your reading lists for 2017, I need recommendations!

Jess x