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Things I would tell my younger self

1. Learn to drive

I am writing this on the afternoon of my first failed driving test. I have been practising for about a year and a half now and it is the hardest thing I've done. It makes me incredibly nervous, and I wish to all that is true and good in the world that I had just bloody done it when I was 17. This is the number one tip I would give to myself and all young people! Just get off your arse and do it. BOOK IT NOW. It will only get harder with every day that passes.

2. Don't be afraid to join clubs at university

I dabbled in a few clubs at uni - I tried the student radio in my first year (well I joined at the fresher's fair but probably showed up once to a meeting), and attempted to join the dance club in my second year (except I failed the auditions, which weirdly weren't just a chance to dance like an idiot to Yeah by Usher). Looking back, I wish I had just joined the student newspaper, which was what I was actually interested in. Maybe I would have followed a different path...but no ragrets ya know?

3. Understand that friendships dip in and out and that's okay

The comment section on Man Repeller is a gold mine of advice, tips and product recommendations (shout out to Make Me Brow by Essence, a dupe of Glossier Boy Brow). A commenter said this underneath an article on friendship and it made me feel warm:

'As I've moved around for school and work, and come in and out of different periods over the course of my life, there's been groups of women who I've been lucky enough to move into the "best friend" tier for a particular time in my life. While distance may separate us after a few years, I've always felt they were still my best friends, because they made it into that tier in the first place. I'm lucky enough to have little bunches of them!'

I think this is so sweet and true - just because you might not speak to someone you were once super close with, doesn't mean they haven't filled (and continue to fill) a little pocket of your heart!

4. Look after your cat properly

Your parents trusted you to look after that cat and you never used to clear out her litter tray. Shame on you. Disclaimer: I do look after the cat I currently have.

What would you tell your younger self?


8 more podcasts to improve your commute and brighten your day

Hello reader, you might remember me from such works as '10 podcasts to improve your commute and brighten your day' (and if you don't you should definitely read that first). Since then, I have discovered more and more podcasts, so many podcasts I can barely keep up - I listen to them at work, on the way to work, whenever I walk anywhere but still they multiply in my podcast inbox (is a podcast inbox a thing?). I'm not complaining though - I love that I can learn something new, hear a different opinion or have a good old crack up at the swipe of a screen.

So this is part 2.

1. The Debrief

L O L at this podcast. Hosted by two comedians called Stevie and Tessa, it's basically a guide on how to approach different things in life (I don't know how else to describe really) from ethical fashion and feminism to being more assertive and what to do in the bit between Christmas and New Year. Whilst having genuinely good advice it's also laugh out loud funny and I just love the dynamic of Stevie and Tessa together. Please can I join their fun club?

2. Fohr Casts - A Drink with James

This is a good one if you're a blogger/Instagrammer/any sort of internet person as it discusses all things internet-y - controlling sponsored posts, being a brand ambassador, the state of digital marketing in 2018 (a personal favourite episode). James Nord has a frank and no-bullshit approach which I find refreshing. He gives good, straight up advice and also goes off on entertaining rants.

3. Dawson's Speak

Ok so this is super niche and you're only going to enjoy it if you're a Dawson's Creek fan, but I'm including it because if you are, you need to listen! It's by two friends called Traci (who has seen the whole show already) and Charles (who has never seen it before), and they discuss the episodes one by one from Season 1. Currently they are midway through Season 3. I'm the kind of person who loves to read reviews and analysis of TV programmes (like the ones they have on the A.V club), and seeing as Dawson's Creek was on TV many moons ago, this was not an option so this podcast fulfils my inner geek. As the whole of Dawson's Creek has recently been added to 4OD, I'm relieving my teen years by watching it all again and this is the perfect companion.

4. The Emma Guns Show

Emma is a beauty journalist, and she interviews some super interesting, knowledgeable guests (Caroline Hirons, Nadine Baggot, Sali Hughes anyone?) as well as discussing her #26Habits challenge, where she tries a different habit every two weeks. One of my favourite episodes of this podcast is the Elimination Show: Dairy, Sugar & Gluten, in which Emma has three 'normal' womenr5t4 who each discuss giving up one of the aforementioned things. Interesting and insightful.

6. The Adam Buxton Podcast

Everyone and their mum has heard of this podcast, and as a massive fan of Adam and Joe I can't believe it took me so long to listen to it! Tbh, I do miss Joe as I loved their friendship and I do skip the occasional episode if the person doesn't appeal to me, but Adam Buxton is still a gem and this will always be of the OGs.

7. Keeping it Candid

A recent discovery, this one comes from two bloggers, Millie Cotton and Sophie Milner. I hadn't heard of either blogger before I started listening, but their easy, entertaining chats and debates about blogging matters as well as topical issues (e.g. the controversial Cancer Research UK Obesity advert) are a good listen. I think they approach issues with sensitivity as well as honesty and I often get a different perspective I hadn't considered.

8. Pilots Podcast

This podcast is sadly defunct after only 13 episodes, which is a shame as it's really rather entertaining but hey ho. The concept is thus; the two friends, Anne T Donahue and Elizabeth Sankey discuss pilot episodes of different TV programmes. The one about The Hills is hilariously accurate - listen to that one even if you listen to no other.

Give them a listen if you're looking for new podcast material, or if you've never listened to a podcast before. If you have any other recommendations, holler at me. I definitely don't need any more to listen to but if there is an amazing one I don't know about, I will get major podcast FOMO and need to listen to and download the entire back catalogue. Enable me pls.


5 things I love about living in Bristol

I tend to moan about living in my hometown quite often. Everyone that I ever read about/talk to who lives here seems to love it - they came for university and they stayed, they got a job and never looked back, or they have lived here all their life and can't imagine ever moving out. And whilst I do see there are many great benefits about living in Bristol, I just don't get quite as excited about it as everyone else does - I just think it's not London, it's not London, it's not London (I have banged on about how much I love London in another blog post so I won't go on about it again). 
In an effort to be positive and all that jazz, I've decided to embrace living in Bristol - I'm not going anywhere soon so I might as well have a nice time!

1. I'm going to start with the food. The number of restaurants, cafes, street food stalls, bars is seemingly endless. I keep a list of places I want to visit which grows by the day, there's just so much choice, and so much of it is amazing. If you want to see my top picks, have a read of the 'My Bristol Food' series I contributed to! 

2. Secondly, and sure this is a personal one, but most of my family and friends live here. Having lived halfway round the world, you sure do miss your nearest and dearest being on your doorstep (or even in the same country)! Being able to pop round to see my parents whenever I want is pretty irreplaceable.

3. The Bristol blogging scene is so friendly and supportive - I love going to blogging events in the city, I've had some super fun experiences since moving back. Bristol being relatively small but pretty buzzing means getting invited to the best events, seeing lots of friendly faces but always the opportunity to meet someone new. 

4. The proximity to the countryside is something not to be taken for granted. In the summer one of my favourite things to do at the end of a work day is to pack a quick picnic and drive to a wood or field to catch the evening sunshine. It's such a lovely thing to do after being stuck in a stuffy office all day! 

5. The OOTD photo backgrounds. Totterdown's colourful houses, graffiti in Stokes Croft, majestic houses in Clifton - so many opportunities! Sure, none of them are anywhere near my flat but I like having an excuse to get up early on a Saturday morning and take some snaps when no-one else is around. 

London, I think you will always have my heart but Bristol you can have a bit of it!


What's the point of fashion?

I read the following quote from an article called 'What's the point of fashion' on Man Repeller the other day and I LOVED it. It went straight into my 'bits of things I like' Google Doc, cos I'm cool and have a Google Doc for everything. Anyway, here it is: 

"I know practically, fashion is art, it’s commerce, it’s function, it’s expression. But I also can’t mistake the simple gut reaction I have when I see something I love, that really knocks me out. It’s like out of the blue, finding something special that you’ve lost. You know that feeling: ‘Oh geezus, THERE it is!’ And then, somehow you find a way to make it your own, and once it is [your own], you’re just a little bit more yourself than you were before you found it? That’s fashion to me. Collecting beautiful little pieces of yourself over time."

Christene Barberich, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Refinery29

I love it cos it's true without being wanky (the last bit is a tiny bit wanky, but I'll gloss over it). Most of my favourite items of clothing have a story, no matter how small or insignificant, they remind me of something. I've got a blue kimono with embroidered flowers from India that used to be my mum's when she was younger. I've got a red mohair cardigan which goes with EVERYTHING that I tried on by chance because it was the last one on the changing room rail in H&M. The fluffy bag in these pics reminds me of my friend Lauren whenever I wear it because she bought it from Zara and I lusted after it every time I saw her. Finally I bought my own on Depop. 

This jacket I bought from a jumble sale a couple of weeks ago. Finding an amazing second hand piece is the normal shopping thrill to the tenth power because you're the only one to have it (I mean, Doris from Hull might also have one languishing in her wardrobe but she's prob not going to Instagram story it. Doris if you're reading, comment below).

 I don't mean finding stuff in vintage shops or fairs - I like them but for me, having the shiny bits all laid out so perfectly ruins the fun. The rooting around is what I like, the rifling through the Primark rejects in a charity shop and unearthing a silk shirt, discovering a suede fringed jacket amongst old DVDs at a car boot sale. Both of these are things I have found and love and wear all the time.

I love that my favourite clothes remind me of events, people or even just how I got them - it makes my brain a little bit happy whenever I put them on. Lame as it might sound, it is like creating your own story; it is like collecting beautiful little pieces of yourself over time.