My Heart is Reeling.

Never in my darkest nightmares did I imagine to be faced with an awful act of terrorism as this one, let alone one so close to my own heart, hitting not only the front doorstep of my home city, but a livelihood so close to my heart as well.

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I don’t necessarily know if this is going to be the best thing to do, voicing my irrelevant 18-year-old opinions in a blog post. But there’s just so much that a 140 character tweet can’t hold. And feeling so helpless at a time like this really plays on thoughts and emotions. This is an outlet. And I know there may be people disagreeing with what I have to say, but something horrific has happened and I don’t want to live quiet in fear. I am typing and I cannot stop. I can’t really focus on much else with all of this on my mind.

Obviously the greatest tragedy at a time like this is the 22 people who have lost their lives, and those with injuries that will possibly haunt them for life. Men, women and children. An eight year old girl. Parents. A police officer. Every aspect of the entire event resonates horror, too saddening to even comprehend. There are also the children still missing, my heart can only hope these families find some closure. My thoughts and prayers go out so so much to every single victim, family member and friend directly affected. I am so so sorry you’re having to go through this. In darkness we must find strength, although that may seem to be the hardest thing to search for, never give up.

Another victim is definitely Ariana Grande herself. Although I can see the perspective that she should not have been prioritised by so many in terms of wellbeing or the effect this has had on her, it is still important to consider the effect this is going to have on her. At 23 years old, probably the biggest female singer of our generation, under constant scrutiny of the media, this is an event that will never ever leave her mind. She is undoubtedly at no fault whatsoever, but you can understand why she would deem herself to be. I cannot imagine how she must be feeling, but can only hope that she finds the closure she needs and is not defeated by this awful tragedy. Ariana represents so many modern-day values, supporting everything that is right with the world, a respectable idol for so many in more ways than one, with a constant respect for her fans, and even those that are not. I hope that she can grow in strength from this, no matter how long it may take. She may need time off and I hope that can only be respected. Although the media are trying hard to find faults and photograph her, but that’s for a later rant. I hope we can find a way to disassociate her name from this and focus on every other good she does. Her pledge to pay for the funerals of the victim begins only to represent the kind soul she holds. I hope she can only be respected further.

I mentioned this event being close to me in more than my hometown. I can relate so deeply to the importance and safety of a concert. As a fangirl myself, I know and see so many young people today, who allow music and live music to stand for their happiness, support them in their hardest times and pave the way for a livelihood they could not live without. Music creates friendships both online and in real life that someone could not truly understand without experiencing it. I know because I am living in it. Creating friends, watching shows, making memories is something I know all too well, and I cannot believe will now be haunted by such devastating consequences. Not only that but at my local arena, where so many of these memories have been made. My hope is that this does not discourage these moments. That fans can stay strong and see through the fear they’re experiencing, especially anyone at the show on Monday, or due to go to one in the coming months. If anything heightened security should relieve this pressure, not spark it. In times of injustice we can unite and protect each other without hiding in fear of living our lives. And Manchester has come to represent that.

This is why I love my city. Why you will never meet a Mancunian ashamed of the values and culture we hold so dear to our hearts. Monday and Tuesday’s events saw so many acts of kindness, in a time where humanity is seemingly bleak. From taxis offering free rides, to strangers offering their spare beds, and people walking the streets to provide water and food to the services and volunteering. This is what we believe in. The incredible turnout at yesterday’s vigil also shows this. Just hours after the shopping centre was suspiciously evacuated, not even a day after our city was shook, we can come together. Manchester is one of the most culturally diverse cities also, which is why it upsets me further that ignorant people can STILL blame terrorism on entire religions. We can disassociate the KKK from Christianity, why is it so hard to disassociate ISIS from Islam?

Which brings me to the media. Which has represented many of the things I hate about humanity when so many others can represent what is good. From journalists seeking to find the best to those representing the worst it’s a fine line. I can appreciate those reporting only on what has been proven, overstepping no boundaries and seeking to tell the truth. What I cannot appreciate is those journalists pestering the families of victims and waiting outside hospitals, or using a national crisis to voice their own racist opinions, or writing headlines that are just straight up wrong. And personally I think these papers need boycotting. Especially todays Daily Mail holding an article about how ‘Ariana and her outfits are a symbol of everything Islamists hate.’ I have never been so disgusted in my life in some of the things I have read. This has been emphasised to me further in a thread I read on twitter about how the media makes trauma worse which you can see here. Don’t give these outlets the attention they crave, wait for the official sources.

I’d also like to note the lack of media attention to the other incidents of yesterday, such as the ISIS takeover in Marawi, Philippines, The bombing in Bangkok as car bombing in Syria, All killing innocent children and civilians as well. Although obviously these Western world attacks get the majority of media coverage due to their close vicinity, I do not think it’s fair to not mention these attacks at all. I can guarantee there are people reading this completely unaware of said attacks. This is what contributes to heightened Islamophobia, as the attacks on their own homes and people are shunned away in favour of our own. ISIS does not represent a religion.

Finally I’d like to address some twitter threads I’ve seen about safety in an incident like this, because until a resolve is found, which I pray to god we reach soon, one can only raise awareness of how to correctly cope in an awful situation, and find protection in a hard time. This thread states the safest way to react being caught in a stampede like situation. And this tweet directs how to access medical ID, your phone emergency contacts just a click away. At times like this I think the good of social media is overlooked. Twitter and Facebook helped to circulate and identify missing people, safe places, phone numbers etc. And drawing attention to the alternate catastrophes in the Eastern world, which personally I think gives my generation a greater knowledge and outlook on situations like this, and the ability to stamp out narrow-minded opinions. Although it can also sadly be responsible for heightening fear, fake news, and thriving off the mentioned media negatives, the good cannot be overlooked.

Do not be afraid. Do not let events like this live your life in fear. In times of tragedy allow yourself to represent and seek out the good in humanity rather than focus on the bad. We can be so much more than this and hopefully one day, we can overcome this evil that we cannot let define us.

RIP beautiful angels. Pray for the World.

PS. please support the idea to get Ariana’s song ‘One Last Time’ to Number 1.

13 Reasons Why ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ is SO Important.

Wow I still have a blog. Who knew?? Apparently not be considering, as I clearly predicted in my last blog post three months ago, I’ve been drowning in college work. I’ve also not really had anything I’ve wanted to write about considering I spend my life eating sleeping or at college or work. But this week I found something so important that I wanted to write my views on.

13 Reasons Why.

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Netflix’s latest phenomenon that has the entire world talking, and in good reason and for ONCE for something that beyond needs addressing. In case anyone’s been living under a rock however, I’ll bring you up to speed. WARNING SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT PEOPLE.

Thirteen Reasons Why is a 13 episode long TV series based on the book by Jay Asher, about a girl named Hannah Baker, who commits suicide and leaves behind 13 tapes. Each tape focuses on one character who impacted Hannah’s life, and each episode focuses on one tape, however it is all listened to from the perspective of Clay Jenson, ideally the one character not guilty of negatively impacting Hannah’s life completely. Focusing on various tough topics alongside suicide, 13 reasons why really focuses on the tough reality of high school today, although definitely from the harsh negative not a variable in between, even though it does show some good parts its predominantly negative which is probably one of the only bad things about the show. But let’s not skip ahead, here are my 13 reasons why it is so important and should be watched by everyone;

  1. It doesn’t shy away from the hardest topics and scenes. This might sound like a terrible thing to be good, but no. In TV today, harsh topics often go unmentioned, and when they are it definitely comes in euphemistic fashion. Although they are awful scenes to watch, and I know many people skipped them, the scenes of suicide and also rape in the show are not shied away from. The fact that they are hard to watch identifies just how awful these things are, that actually happen, if you weren’t already horrified or aware that is.
  2. It also shows how everyone is affected by suicide, especially the families. It doesn’t hide from the idea that you’re leaving something behind (and no not the tapes), you’re entire life. And things could get so much better, you have a whole life to lead to give up even if things are beyond awful and you feel alone, there’s always someone who is still stood by you.
  3. God forbid we needed a blunt a lesson as words hurt, but that is made very clear. Even if you think you’re making a joke or not bothering someone, just be very careful what you say because you cannot rely on someones opinion. At first I thought this was such a 5-year-old me lesson, but in reflection I decided it’s probably more important now than then. I can definitely say I’m more prone now to speaking without thinking, and also at 18 years old some people may think oh they’ll be fine don’t be childish. But words hurt. It’s something to remember.
  4. It also addresses the ever important, controversial and realistic topic of rape which again is a hard one to display at time it is more common than ever before. And it again sheds light on sides of the situation many people do not understand and how a survivor would come to terms and live with what’s happened to them, and also the effects it has on the people closest to them.
  5. It also shows the side of victim blaming which is ever-present in today’s society and honestly makes me so sick to even think about. I see at least one comment a day on social media about victim blaming or protecting a white male who committed such a crime, and honestly it just makes me so angry. But it’s this type of topical issue the show was not afraid of, stepped up to and portrayed well and realistically.
  6. In continuation of point two, this programme says that there is always someone who cares about you. To never forget that you are loved, especially if you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
  7. Also in light of number 5 they show how rapists can be protected in our society and not made out to be a criminal. All you have to do is look at a news headline or go on social media and you’ll see it. Rape culture is such a rising problem that obviously was not the key topic of the programme but was probably addressed more in 13 episodes than I have ever seen televised in my entire life.
  8. Now for this one I am in no way neglecting the horrible things each character did, but there are also references made to horrible things that can go on in a teenagers life people may be unaware of that they hide or act out because of, eg. Justin’s mother and Courtney’s sexuality struggle. This enlightens more the idea to be nice to people because no one truly knows what goes on behind closed doors.
  9. Post Hannah’s death her school puts up suicide prevention posters which are soon teared down by Alex referencing the fact that you can’t prevent something that’s already happened. Which is definitely the biggest problem with this topic overall. We talk about it more when the statistics are high, barely acknowledging that people are still dying when they’re low. It’s a topic that needs constant attention, mental health is so important 365 days a year, not just mental health awareness week.
  10. Following on from this the idea that schools aren’t doing enough, letting students watch and discuss the programme would probably be more than we’re doing now. It’s! Important! Show! It! Fix! It!
  11. It’s amazing in general that it’s got everybody talking all at once about controversial topics that, as you’ve probably gathered but I’m going to keep saying it, need more attention until prevention is important and actually working. It’s helping more people see that suicide and rape are common in our society for all the wrong reasons. Hannah Baker has left a lasting effect on your life and so she flipping should.
  12. I have read a few things since watching the programme debating whether their should be a season two until I saw one that really struck out and basically said that it shouldn’t because we should be left wondering. The cliffhangers should play on our mind as though it was our real life, and we can see how easily we possibly missed Alex’s signs (if he committed suicide that is) and how we should continue to talk about it. A lasting effect.
  13. Now I did have a point thirteen until I realised it was basically repeating three things I already said, which many of these points probably are let’s be honest. But another thing – if you didn’t watch ‘Beyond the Reasons’ when you finished the show go back and do it because it’s the characters and some experts discussing all the problems I’ve highlighted SO much better than I just have, and again for all the right reasons.

 

If you’ve read all this and haven’t already seen the show you definitely should, it’s something I personally think everyone should watch, especially those who don’t know much about the topics (and those of you who can watch after I basically spoiled half of it). But like I said I am so glad someone has created something speaking about things people are so afraid to talk about, even though they’re so common. And we need to get to a stage where we can talk about these things for the right reasons not an endless amount of wrong ones.

Hopefully I’ll be back with a blog post soon but I can’t promise anything. (See you in 3 months blog it’s been fun.)

Thanks for reading. Until next time.

*side note* If anyone has been affected by any of the topics I have linked two online help sources here and here. If you want a non-professional just to have a chat with my social medias are linked above. 🙂

2016 Favourites

Hello 2017. *Insert obligatory new year new me shit here.* Let’s be honest, these next few months will 100% be me trying to post and drowning in college work instead. I am trying to find a weekly upload time that I will actually stick to, because to be honest it would be nice for this blog to actually go somewhere rather than the bedrooms of me and everyone I beg to read. Hi Facebook friends lots of love xxx

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But back to obligatory writings, and my favourite things of 2016. I have a lot of areas to cover and things to include, let me know if you want info on anything else and any posts you want from me in the comments, and let’s jump straight in.

As a music lover and concert addict, although my concert count for last year was lower than usual, this year should definitely make up for that. But last year’s albums made up for it too. Even though it only came out in November, Little Mix’s Glory Days was DEFINITELY my favourite album of the year. It’s just full of feel good catchy songs, like the girls always are, and no one can deny these four are dropping banger after banger at the moment. The album does not disappoint. I also can’t go without mentioning Illuminate by Shawn Mendes. B e a u t i f u l. Wow. I mean this boy has achieved many of my life goals and is only a few months older than me. His album reflects his passion and talent and I cannot wait to see him put it all on stage in April. James Arthur’s album Back from the Edge was another album full of talent and passion, but held a deeper meaning, connecting with his struggles with mental health, so many of the songs would definitely reassure someone of the same position. His songs are just so easy to listen to and love. Trying to sing them however… give me a few more weeks and a little bit of heartbreak. And finally I can’t not mention Dangerous Woman by Ariana Grande. Every album mentioned features insane voices and Ariana’s definitely comes to match. Her songs have the same feeling as LM with feel good songs for women that are a little bit PG when appropriate, if you know what I mean. I could probably list you all four of these album track lists in order because this is all I had on repeat in 2016.

Now TV addict Niamh watched some fab series in 2016. It can go without saying I loved Stranger Things, but I can’t bring myself to write what everyone else has. NBC’s Chicago PD has been amazing this past season. I used to love The Bill and this has that sort of esq to it with police drama, it also has one of my favourite actresses (Sophia Bush) and onscreen couples and I just can’t not love it. Now ABC has the best Thursday night TV on planet earth and it deeply upsets me that I’m not American and cannot fully appreciate it. Instead I have to wait and watch it … other ways. (On Netflix in like 8 years YAWN no, I’ll drop you some links wink wink.) ((If I never post again here is why.)) ANYWAY they air Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder and Grey’s Anatomy all in one night and honestly that is just the best night of TV ever. If you’re American and don’t appreciate that then never talk to me. When I go to New York in March I actually might just stay in the hotel on the Thursday to live my dream. Big plans. These three TV shows have produced such amazing seasons for 2016 and I can’t wait to see what this year brings. If you’ve never watched any of these shows I can safely say you’re missing out, every single one is 10/10 trust me. (And the first seasons of some are on Netflix I think lol.)  Now as much as I love PLL 2016 shall not be discussed as there were some good eps there were many… many pointless ones and for that I pray that these last 10 in April do one of my favourite programmes justice.

In terms of films I’d not seen many new ones last year, although the list of ones I’ve wanted to see has been as long as my arm. One I did see and LOVED was London has fallen. I love the first film Olympus has fallen and even though it was basically the same storyline, it’s a genre I just love. Along with White House Down, films where they try to attack the president etc, although scary, are always so so good. I definitely think I can be more of an Action film kind of girl, than chick flicks, but I do love a good chick flick. I did see Me before You aswell and cried a bit but not as much as I expected. It was a really lovely film though, definitely worth a girly night in watch. I only read a few books too, I read Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour on holiday, and really loved how realistic it seemed. It wasn’t a rushed and forced love story, and it was really original from things I’ve read before. Similarly on originality was We Were Liars. Oh. My. GOD. READ THIS BOOK. I read it all in one night, I didn’t go to sleep until 4am because I was so addicted. I can’t even explain it because I’ll give it away. Just read it. It was amazing.

Finally for the chunk we’ve all been waiting for. Make-up. I purchased a set of Morphe brushes this year off beauty bay for such a good price and I don’t think I can fault them. I’m no make-up expert, as much as I’d love to be or say I am, but it is safe too say that they do the job. My two ride or die eyeshadow palettes have been Fortune Favours the Brave by Makeup Revolution which you can read about here, and, even though I only got it for Christmas, Too Faced’s Chocolate Bon Bon palette is my life! Just so amazing both of them I cannot fault either product or price. Another palette I have loved has been the Sleek Face Contour Kit in Light. It comes with a lovely powder contour which is so easy to blend and a champagne highlight, which I find can rub off a bit of makeup sometimes but overall is good and a gorgeous shade. The Falsies mascara by Maybelline was originally a love hate relationship but now is definitely a love, considering I have naturally long lashes it’s hard to find a none-clumpy mascara, but this one just adds that last bit of length they need. And finally I can’t not mention NYX liquid lipsticks. Whether their suede, lingerie or soft matte creams, once I got the hang of applying them, none of them have disappointed me. The suede ones are probably my favourite, but they only have two natural-ish shades which is upsetting. Dear NYX please make more.

Well that was quite the ramble, no change there of course. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year! Stick to those resolutions you’re going great, do it for me because I’m definitely not.

Thanks for reading. Until next time.

A Merry Little Update and a Few Things I’m Loving.

Starting this blog post much like the last one, with a month’s distance between and a ‘long time no see’. And I wish I had more of an excuse. To be honest I’ve been avoiding blogging almost as much as I’ve been avoiding college work. After an 8 week-long term any ounce of energy left in me has just about got me out of bed, and I’m not even being dramatic. My motivation is at an all time low but I’ve decided to be clichĂ©, but actually, really, seriously, stick to it. New year, new me. Gag. I can’t believe I just wrote that. But seriously I need to get my arse in gear, but I feel like this next week of festivities and sleep is just too good an opportunity and a poor time to attempt to shift out of neutral. Only the new year makes sense. By then my organisation is going to be tip-top, with college work and revision at its peak because otherwise it’s bye-bye university, and hopefully regular blog updates (fingers crossed) because I’ve missed this a lot.

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When I was younger I don’t think I ever thought my life would be this chaotic at 17. Balancing college and a part-time come full-time job is not as easy as I once thought it might be. And then Christmas comes around. I still can’t believe it’s the eve of Christmas Eve. Wasn’t September last week? It got to last weekend before I realised it was almost a week away and I had bought n o t h i n g! It was a chaotic day of last-minute shopping and wrapping but I’m finally organised. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much money leave my bank account in one month. Bye-bye Niamh treats for a while. But it’s all worth it. Now that I earn my own money there’s nothing I love more than giving my family presents that I’ve bought and thought about. And there’s no moment I love more than waking up in my new PJ’s on Christmas Day, even if it never feels like Christmas any more. I’d love to be 5 again.

Anyways so in my avoidance of life I’ve spent most of my time wrapped up in a cocoon in the cave I call bed. I’ve been watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix and I am LOVING it. So so good. It’s such an easy watch and one of those TV shows where you fall so in love with some of the characters and relationships. What’s not to like? I’ve also been listening to Little Mix’s new album Glory Days on repeat. It’s quite bad really. Not the album, my obsession. You know when you get to that point that you’ve listened to Spotify shuffle an album so many times you know what song is going to come on next. But it’s just so good. If you haven’t listened to it already then where have you been, I mean at least I’ve been in a cultured cave.

Now occasionally I’ll watch videos on YouTube and I have a few people I rarely miss a video of. However this month has been ridiculous with about 40 new videos a day so I haven’t really been on it. When I have made that dreaded click I always land on Hannah Renee or Rachel Leary’s videos for some good gift inspiration or more than likely some holiday make up looks and some make up recommendations to add to the Christmas list. These two girls are so amazing at make up however that it gets to the point I don’t even want to bother attempting any of it because it’ll just be a lost cause. But we can watch and dream. If you need any Xmas or NYE night out looks for the next week I’d definitely give them a peep. In all this free time (that was guiltily not supposed to be free) I’m gutted that I’ve not had any books to read, but once Santa has hopefully dropped some new books off I’m aiming to squeeze them in, in my week of freedom. I’m also aiming to write about the best books I’ve read this year next week, fingers crossed.

Now I couldn’t do this much blabbing without mentioning some classic Christmas films I’ve watched to fill my time. I watched The Grinch for the first time all the way through with my cousin and sister the other day and loved it a lot more than I thought I would. I also watched Arthur Christmas for the first time yesterday and I think that definitely comes to the top end of my favourite films, I loved the elves in it. I only have a short amount of time left before the big day though and I’ve not watched Elf or The Holiday yet which I’m pretty upset about, so I definitely need to find some time to squeeze that in otherwise it definitely won’t feel like Christmas. But don’t worry, I’ve already watched Home Alone and Nativity! Twice.

Well that’s enough babbling from me, but it was good to write for the first time in a long time. Next week I will definitely be posting a ‘Year of Favourites’ about my favourite things this year. But for now..

Thanks for reading. Until next time.

Staying Positive.

Hello hello. Long time no see.

So school is back in session and it’s not the happiest time of year. The looming feeling on a Sunday and waking up early on a Monday has returned so fast I don’t think anyone was physically ready for Summer to come to a close as soon as it did.

However, I for one am trying to look on the brighter side of things and get myself into a nice positive mindset for what is going to be a stressful year ahead. I’m one week into my second year at college and I already feel like my brain could explode at any second, but I’m still aiming to stay positive. On that note here are my top tips for keeping a positive mindset!

  1. For me, organisation is important. If I feel like I’m organised and know what I’m doing and when and keeping on top of all my work, the relief is a treat in itself. Stress brings about negative vibes so relieve yourself by creating a weekly timetable showing what you’re going to do and when. This applies if you’re working/at school/at college. Also sometimes I tend to feel like my thoughts can disorganise me and stress me out. (Over thinking is our worst enemy am I right?) To deal with this I keep a notebook next to my bed and a notes page open on my phone just to jot down whatever I’m thinking about that may be bothering me or that I feel I need to solve or arrange, if that makes sense? A tidy mind is a happy mind.
  2. Next up I definitely advise to stop comparing yourself to others. Whether this be someone’s hair, figure, face, ability, knowledge, DON’T DO IT! Everyone is different for a reason, and once you teach yourself that and become happy with who you are you can’t go wrong. If you want to change something about yourself then by all means do whatever makes you happy, but the comparison is the worst part and we can all do without it. Becoming accepting and happy with yourself is the first step to a positive mindset.
  3. Leading on from this, you’ve got to learn to accept your ‘faults’, or what you may deem to be faults. Now I’m not overweight but I’m not exactly the thinnest either, but that’s okay. I know for a fact that I’m too lazy to do anything about it properly. I exercise when I can but it’s not a regular routine, and I eat as healthily as I can too. However I don’t deny the fact that I love food, and I could never  properly diet and I definitely couldn’t keep the weight off that’s for sure. (Chocolate and Nandos comes before lettuce and celery in my books.) In coming to acceptance I learnt that I can dress to love how I look. We all have those certain jeans that make our bum look big, and certain tops that make our boobs look great. So find your jeans and top and love yourself. Acceptance is key.
  4. Do what makes you happy. This one is slightly hypocritical of me because there are a few things I still haven’t built up the balls to do, but beat me to the punch. For one, starting this blog and posting it for all to see was a big jump. Letting everyone know what goes on inside my head and leaving all to judge me freely was daunting, but I’m so glad I did it. It may be a risk but just take it. If in the end it doesn’t go to plan, it’s only a learning curve that will help you out in the future, trust me. If it could make you happy, just go ahead and do it!
  5. Finally I think learning to ignore what other people think is important. Only the people who matter the most to you have the opinions that truly matter, anyone else is irrelevant. Even so in saying that, if you’re happy and those people that matter are negative, their opinion doesn’t matter. Your happiness takes priority. If the people who are close to you cannot support what makes you happy then they’re not true friends – but that’s a whole other argument. What I’m trying to say is put your happiness before everyone else’s and if people cannot accept the fact you’re happy, or want to bring you down when you are, ignore them and be as ignorant as they apparently are. Getting rid of the negative things in life brings you one step closer to being positive.

I’m sure there are a few things I’ve forgotten but these are a few of the steps I personally have taken to feel happier within myself. If you are struggling with staying positive and need someone to talk to, feel free to message me on any form of social media (linked on the home page, instagram and twitter user is @_niamhyx, dms are open.) or speak to a friend/parent/teacher. If you would like to seek help from someone more professional see online and a doctor what help is out there, I will add links of anything useful I find.

Hope you all have a wonderful week and keep smiling.

Thanks for reading. Until next time.

Hi all long time no blog post. I’ve been on holiday so haven’t posted in a few weeks but I’m so glad to be posting again. I hope anyone reading who has/is about to receive results for A-Level or GCSE is happy with them, and if not then there’s another path for you I promise!

So considering I’m going to be starting my second year of college in September I thought I’d share what I deem to be my ‘College Essentials/What’s In My Bag’ to help out anyone starting their first year, or anyone who felt unprepared last year etc. Also this is going to help me create a list of all the things I haven’t bought or done yet, oops.

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First things first you’re gonna need a pretty big bag. Last year I bought this one from H&M which is still in great condition for me to carry on using unless I find a better one. I have it in beige but they seem to do it in baby pink now instead, or black. My only downside to this bag is that it doesn’t have a zip for the main compartment so I have to use things to keep my work dry but overall this bag has been a lifesaver and it amazes me it hasn’t snapped considering the amount I take to college.

Next is folders. I take a small ring binder with me to college to store any sheets or booklets I get with a few empty plastic wallets in there for things I get that aren’t hole punched. (This folder also saves my life when it rains – I took my notebooks in it so they don’t get ruined). Then at home I have a large ring binder for each subject to put in old booklets and papers that I’m not using in class anymore and any revision I may have done. You may also find it helpful to have a list at the start of your folder with all the topics on it so you can ensure you have all the resources you should have.

With notebooks, its personal preference on what works for you. Last year I had started with one notebook that had four dividers, this worked well as I could use a section per subject however it ran out pretty quickly. From then I just used refill pads so then I could take out the sheets I had used and put them in the ring binder. All of this works well, like I said it’s completely up to you. Personally I think this year I am going to keep a notebook per subject because I will be starting coursework and will find it easier to have everything I need in one place.

(Edit Note: My friend Fern just asked why a notebook – you don’t get given books like in school people.. it’s a hard core independent lifestyle now)

In the rest of my bag I usually take a pencil-case with pens, pencils and a few highlighters in it, definitely have spare highlighters because they’ll become your best friend. A planner is useful to have with you. I hated keeping a planner in high school but now I can see why it was so useful, it’s so much better when you’ve written down all the work and notes you need to have done, rather than just hoping you remember and forgetting to do it. I also kept my timetable in my planner for the first few weeks until I knew where I was going. Then being the typical girl I am I like to have a mirror, hairbrush and powder in my bag as well as my bus pass (priorities) and headphones (number one priority).

Other things it might be helpful to have at home are fine liners/coloured pens for revision notes as it’s unlikely you’ll have time in lessons to keep your notes looking as nice as you may like, so you can do all of this at home. Post it notes again may become your best friend as I find them so useful in reminding me what work I need to do, especially with stuff I have over a week to do and therefore I’m less likely to flick that far back in my planner. A hole punch is also highly useful as some of my teachers give me sheets pre punched but many do not, so it saves having to put everything in plastic wallets to put in your folders (however plastic wallets are lifesavers for when you’re feeling lazy, so for me, always). And last but not least – flash cards. A revision angel for those last-minute tests.

I hope this was helpful to anyone wondering what they might need for college. If you want a post on college clothes or tips for starting college come September let me know and I’ll jump straight on it. I hope you all have an amazing last few weeks of Summer.

Please comment/like/follow/share if you enjoyed this post and have a browse of my other posts.

Thanks for reading. Until next time.

The Awkward In Between of Seventeen

Seventeen. It’s a tricky one. So is being late sixteen too I suppose. You’ve started college and the year 11 fun is over, and we’re all stuck in this same awkward stage in which no one quite knows what to do with themselves. Am I an adult? Am I a kid? Who knows.. Well, here are 8 problems a 17 (and 16) year-old can relate to;

1. The dreaded part-time job.

It starts out as a big waiting game of endless applications and rejection emails until that one moment of acceptance and joy. The naive joy. Until the realisation hits that you’re in the big working world. Say bye bye to your weekends and free time, it’s time to adult.

2. Earning money.

You might be earning your own now, but you’ll soon realise it’s not enough, especially if you’re unfortunate enough to be on minimum wage. It’s a hard road to payday, and once you get there it’s probably not that delightful, but hey, it’s better than nothing.

3. The care you now take with that money.

When it was your parents money, asking for a few bits and bobs every now and then was nothing, but now you find yourself working out how many hours worth of work this new pair of jeans cost. Is three hours of blood sweat and tears worth it? Most of the time the answer is yes, (for us shopaholics with no will power), but still, this new money fear is an alarming welcome to adulthood that none of us were quite ready for.

4. Along with care, comes new necessities.

Most things that once came from the bank of mum and dad now must come from the bank of me. When wanting to keep up appearances, and in with the new trends, and to have the ability to access money in emergencies, (you know when you run out of foundation, or break a nail, or need that new album on iTunes) the teen necessities now come from you.

5. Driving.

A new adulthood activity now available to you, that again brings its problems, but a new sense of freedom and respect and responsibility. Once you know how to drive you can go anywhere really, and that’s quite exciting in itself. The money problem will again slide into this one and poke away at you, reminding you of those new ‘bank of me’ adult responsibilities.

6. College.

It’s not school but it is school. You’re still in this awkward education system where a memory test is all we have to show for years of our time, but you have a little more freedom and responsibility – and for most of us there’s no uniform which is a perk (especially on those ‘I can’t be bothered getting ready so I’ll just shove on this hoodie’ days). The work is ten times harder and the exams are match that but we stumble on with our “free’s” which we could really use more wisely, and those early finishes providing great excuses to go home and nap. So really – it’s not that bad??? There’s also the huge expectations that come along with exams and results and teen life etc, but that’s another issue in itself.

7. Beyond college. Not a clue.

You’ve been there ten minutes and they already think you have your life planned out. Some of us do – the lucky ones – the rest of us drift on throughout the year until we’re smacked in the face by reality. The first year of college is over, and applying to university needs to happen soon, so what do you wanna do? And honestly, we’re still not that sure. Then there is the added pressure again of exam results and even getting into university etc etc etc, the issues are an ongoing cycle.

8. Independence.

We’re independent enough to be earning our own money. But we’re not old enough to be earning the same amount as someone not even a year older than us in the same job? We’re almost 18 and need to act our age and be an adult and grow up. But we still want to be a kid and can still be treated like one? Also we still want to pay child fare on trains and buses, and can only afford that. But we now have to pay as adults? It’s all sat at a confusing and awkward in between. Along with this independence comes the struggle of trying to be your own person but also fit in with society – again another issue in itself.

I think the realities of being almost 18 and an adult are nothing like we expected. There is a lot more pressure and responsibility than we originally see. TV and films definitely show a different side, a side that many of us will not achieve and that’s okay. Also many of these images come from America where teen life may differ a lot from this, they have different limits and opportunities maybe? Anyway the point is there is a lot more than meets the eye to being seventeen.

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This post probably sounds really problematic, but don’t get me wrong there are some occasional perks to being a teen, but this was my take on the little problems. Also let me know if any of the issues mentioned you would like me to write more about.

As with any other post I hope this wasn’t too waffley and babbly. Please comment/like/follow my blog, have a browse at my other posts and follow my twitter and instagram – @_niamhyx.

Thanks for reading. Until next time.