Five Reasons To Live At Home While Studying

If you didn’t already know by my countless tweets, blog posts, Instagram posts and even mentions in YouTube videos (oh yeah, I have a YouTube channel now), I started uni. I know, right? Bet you never would have guessed.

In all seriousness, I started my undergrad degree in Communication and Media just over a month ago, and it’s been going… interestingly. Read More »

5 Pieces of Advice You Never Listen To, But Really Should

You know when you can see someone ruining their life, and no matter how many times you try to tell them what they’re doing is wrong, or bad, or they’ll regret it, they just won’t listen?

Have you ever realized that, a lot of the time, YOU ARE the one who’s buggering everything up?Read More »

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

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

50 Things I Did In 2016 // Photo Diary

  1. Went to London on Valentines Day12745625_1039340632755019_6685012793752919583_n.jpg
  2. Went to the Natural History Museum for the first time12743961_1039341126088303_6429238897313796666_n.jpg
  3. Went to Prague535299_1063477243674691_1998539891694183076_n.jpg
  4. Turned 18
  5. Went clubbing
  6. Got a tattoo12936781_1068481506507598_5623370959348771126_n.jpg
  7. Was a Sandwich Artist
  8. Read.. a lotCapture.PNG
  9. Blogged a lot
  10. Went to AthensImage may contain: sky and outdoor
  11. Bought a carImage may contain: car, sky and outdoor
  12. Learnt to drive
  13. Passed my driving test!
  14. Stayed home alone for a week
  15. Went to Thorpe Park
  16. Went to FriendsFestImage may contain: 2 people, table and outdoor
  17. Got better at makeup
  18. Visited my Nan and Auntie’s graves
  19. Passed my A Levels
  20. Worked in Primark
  21. Started a savings account
  22. Started an apprenticeship
  23. Went to a big client meeting
  24. Went on a night out with work people
  25. Went to an industry party
  26. Met new friends
  27. Attempted blogmasCapture1.PNG
  28. Got rid of the crap in my room
  29. Had our 5th anniversary
  30. Bought alcohol
  31. Took care of the cat on my own
  32. Went to an engagement partyImage may contain: 4 people, indoor
  33. Saw The Maine live again
  34. Saw All Time Low live again
  35. Saw Twenty One Pilots live
  36. Cut ties once and for all
  37. Was the bigger person
  38. Read all of Harry Potter… twice
  39. Stopped smoking
  40. Saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  41. Saw Doctor Strange
  42. Saw Batman Vs Superman
  43. Saw Suicide Squad
  44. Saw Captain America: Civil War
  45. Celebrated New Years Eve in bed, watching How I Met Your Mother
  46. Watched Friends all the way through about 4 times
  47. Drove to see my grandparents after not visiting for about 3 years
  48. Went Christmas shopping with Connor
  49. Read comic books for the first time
  50. Tried Quorn mince… and liked it

Goodbye 2016!

I wanted to have completed this post by the close of 2016 but, as you can tell, that didn’t go so well.

Especially in terms of this blog, the end of 2016 for me was nowhere near as productive, exciting or fun as the rest of the year certainly was, which is a shame. I think after so many months of strict routine, 9-5 and motivation, this holiday took it out of me and I just sort of crashed, especially towards the end of blogmas. I’m actually severely disappointed that my blogmas plans didn’t work out, I had it all ready and rearing to go but by the middle-end of December I sort of fizzled out. Read More »