How to Survive Writing When You Just Cant…

I’m having writers’ block. Bloggers’ block? Bloggers’ block. (I made that up, I’m claiming that. You read it here first.) Seriously though, I’m struggling. My life seems to be becoming half the real life sitcom it used to be, and I’m just drowning in required university reading and the guilt of putting off said reading. But I’m going to try and write something. Just to give it a go.

Some people like to procrastinate. I like to do what I call “Planning.” See, this sounds productive, but my idea of planning my writing pieces is locking myself in my room with chocolate, panicking about what I’m going to write about, achieving nothing for hours and then shutting my laptop and lying in foetal position. So procrastinating with a productive title really.

I’ve tried the artsy methods: Journaling, drinking coffee, staring out my window for inspiration from nature. Except, I live on a main road in Newcastle so the only thing close to nature here is rowdy MTV wannabes bouncing around in packs.

I’ve tried the academic methods: reading up on pop culture, trying to be politically engaged. Still, nothing. Nothing feels new or exciting enough to present to the internet. There’s not even many people reading this, but still, it’s terrifying. But… There’s got to be a way around this fear, right? Maybe I need to take up a new hobby that isn’t drinking trebles in Empress Bar every Thursday, or travel more.

Basically, this is a cop out post. I needed to write something, to prove to myself I could, so here I am. I’m writing about not writing. I’m sorry, this is just terrible. I’ll show my self out.

Speak soon,

Laura

x

How To Survive A Meditation Session.

So I have a very overactive mind. I’m always worrying about things that haven’t even happened yet, calculating the worst possible outcome of things and overanalysing everything I say to others and others say to me. A lot of the time, this leaves me feeling horrendously tense and, simultaneously, drained. Seriously, reading the same three word text and trying to decipher its hidden, usually non-existent, nasty meaning various times throughout the day is exhausting. So I thought there had to be a way to change this.

After some googling, and repeatedly seeing the term “mindfulness” cropping up, I was eventually led to some Buddhist teachings, and the idea of meditation. I thought it couldn’t hurt to try, and there was a Buddhist centre in Manchester which offered lunchtime meditation sessions.

Now, admittedly, I was worried I was going to end up feeling like Julia Roberts when she goes to the Ashram in Eat Pray Love, and everyone’s chanting and reading this book she just hates, and they’re all fasting or silent or scrubbing floors. It turns out, it’s nothing like that. You don’t even sit with your legs crossed saying “ohhhmmmm” over and over. (I mean, you can sit with your legs crossed if you want, but nobody makes you chant or anything.)

Basically, everyone took their shoes off and was led into the Shrine Room. The name may seem intimidating but it’s actually a really nice place. There was a large Buddha, and a picture of Sangharakshita (Founder of Triratna Buddhist Community) at the front of the room, so it’s kind of Shrine-like but not in the creepy way, more in like a “Oh what a lovely place, what a happy Buddha.” kind of way. It really sets a good atmosphere. Most people sit on cushions, but you can sit on a chair if you want. (You’re shown how to sit, but there’s no right or wrong way really and you’re free to move around if you become uncomfortable. Some people even lay down under blankets) The emphasis on sitting instantly made me feel like this was something I could get in to; I’m pretty darn good at sitting doing nothing if I do say so myself.

I don’t want to say too much in case anyone wants to go, I’d like them to have the same new experience I did, but there’s a few things that I learnt in my first session. So firstly, a whole range of people benefit from meditation. Some people looked like they’d come in during their work lunch break, there were a lot more young people than I expected, and also plenty of older men and women. It wasn’t some big, cult-like experience where you come out having an epiphany after chanting to a deity, but the whole ordeal was very relaxing. For a whole hour I was away from my phone, nobody was asking me to do anything, or to pass an opinion on anything, it was just breathing.

Most people think the whole aim of meditation is to clear your mind, but I found the emphasis of this session to be on noticing things, and letting them go. Noticing your breath, noises from the outside, noticing your thoughts and feelings, noticing your mind wondering, and then letting it all go, and bringing yourself back to your breathing. The importance of kindness was also stressed, being kind to yourself in particular. Whenever I noticed tension in my body or mind (apparently my shoulders are hella stressed about something because they just would not drop) I was asked to breath in with kindness and get them to relax.

Overall, I’d recommend guided meditation to anyone. I didn’t come out feeling like a new person with an urge to hunt down the Dalai Lama himself and ask for the meaning of life, but I did feel like for an hour, nothing mattered. For a whole hour, I wasn’t bothered about checking my ex’s Snapchat story, how many likes my latest Instagram post had gotten, or how many new Tinder matches I had. It was a nice break from “real life”.

Most cities have a Buddhist centre (from what I can gather from Google anyway), and even if it doesn’t seem like your scene, I’d recommend giving a meditation class a try to anyone. There’s no yoga, you can wear whatever you want and all you have to do is sit and breathe whilst someone with a calming voice keeps you focused and relaxed. It’s like napping without the guilt of wasting your day. There’s even blankets if you want one.

Speak soon,

Laura x

 

How To Survive “Being a Psycho lol”

Okay, one word: DONT. Here is the Oxford English Dictionary definition of a psychopath:

“Noun. 1. A person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behaviour.”

Have you been diagnosed by a professional as a psychopath? No? Do you freak out when things don’t go your way with a boy you like, and do you feel a need to screenshot all his messages, send them to friends, work out a revenge method, phone him 15 times, and cry over him for a week whilst harassing him with overly-emotional paragraphs on WhatsApp? Yes? Okay honey, you’re not a psychopath and you need to stop labelling yourself as such all over social media.

I know the whole “I’m a psycho” meme-culture is a good laugh, and sometimes, when we’ve been hurt by people, we do some silly things and we don’t always feel in control of our actions, but this labelling ourselves as a “psycho lol” needs to stop.

Why? Well, first of all, it’s women giving men free-reign to also label every upset girl as a “psycho”. You only had to watch Love Island to see a perfect example of this. When Malin left the villa, still, as far as both parties were concerned, in a relationship, and the next couple of days saw Terry having sex, sans-duvet, with another girl she wanted to confront him on the matter, so he called her a “crazy-ex girlfriend”. No Terry, she was standing up for herself. Sadly, this kind of situation is seen in the “real” world too often. Girls feel too scared to speak their minds, tell anyone when they’ve been hurt, because a select few girls have splattered their heartbreak and threats all over social media, captioned with “I’m a psycho lol”, giving everyone permission to call them as such, and label any remotely similar behaviour as “psychotic”. Yes, sometimes, when we really really like someone, and it starts going wrong, we do stupid things. But that’s all it is, stupid. Not psychotic. And it isn’t just girls who do stupid things, boys do it too. (Ahem… Mr. Blocked on One Thing, Message Me On Another Until You’re Blocked on Everything) But why don’t we hear about boys acting stupid over girls? Because they don’t smear it on everyone’s twitter feed as a threat to all other girls that they’re a “psycho lol”. Boys can stand up for themselves and tell a girl “That thing you did really upset me” and it’s fine. But now, we’ve grown into a culture where a girl doing the same thing is “controlling and she’s a psycho.” because girls, themselves, have called themselves “psychos” on every form of social media, making everyone think they’re fine with being called a psycho. Instead of saying “I’m a psycho lol so don’t p*ss me off” why is no-one saying “As a human being I’d rather you didn’t upset me.”?

Also, people can’t run around excusing crappy behaviour with “I’m a psycho lol.” Your life is not a meme. You are not actually Beyoncé. Your threats aren’t cute. People have to understand that under no circumstances is it acceptable to ring someone 18 times while his phone is plugged into the AUX cord at pre-drinks so the music stops every time you drunk-call him in a rage. (Deffo wasn’t me…) You can’t harass someone with whiney texts, calling them a multitude of obscenities and say “Well I’m a psycho so you shouldn’t have f*cked with me.” No. A million times, no. Not acceptable. I’m guilty of it myself, but it really has to stop. Actually apologise for your behaviour and accept that, sometimes, things don’t go your way, and you’ll feel better just letting it go.

Please, channel your anger and sadness into something that’s going to better you as a person. Go to the gym, take up a new hobby, read a book. Literally, anything but stewing over the same texts, making nasty threats and taking print-screens to caption on social media with “I’m a psycho lol”.

Anyway, rant over. As you were.

x

How to Survive When You’re Rubbish at Make Up.

The meme is correct; I spend more time stalking hot girls on Instagram than hot guys. Honestly, I could spend all day scrolling through the Kardashian/Jenners, various beauty bloggers’ and a few random Instagram models’ accounts, like “How?!” Seriously though, some of those girls look like the Angel Gabriel himself chiselled their cheekbones for them. To be fair, most of them are naturally blessed, but still, there has to be some sort of miracle technique going on somewhere.

I’m terrible at make-up. I’m getting better, but I find the tutorials too intimidating, don’t actually own half the products they insist on using, nor do I have the time to sit at home practising. No matter how long I spend blending and piling on the products, I somehow always manage to look like my usual, bare-faced self, with some sort of smudged eye, and wonky, stained lips. Bare-faced is fine, but when everyone else is dolled up to the nines, looking like they’ve had Charlotte Tilbury herself pandering to them for three hours prior to pre-drinks, it’s a little disheartening.

I swear, I spend 90% of my “getting ready time” just poking myself in the eye with random brushes coated in some sort of bronze dust, or doing some wobbly winged eyeliner that legitimately looks like I let my pet dog have a try. So, I had a little look around, had a Google and scroll through Pinterest and came to a few conclusions.

Firstly, a few good products is better than loads of crappy ones. That sounds obvious, but when I think about how many rubbish foundations I’ve bought out of trial and error, that I’d end up mixing and blending myself into a tangerine with, I might as well have just gone to a make-up counter, had them colour match me and splash a little bit extra on something that’s not going to sink into my pores and make me look like a block of flaky Swiss cheese.

I’ve also come to realise that picking one or two features to enhance is better than just piling on a load of products onto every part of my face. For example, when I’m hungover/tired (usually both), grooming my eyebrows always seems to lift my face more, and look better than just layering mismatched concealer under my eyes and trying to work last night’s eyeliner into a smoky-eye. (Okay, sometimes I still do that if I’m running late to my lectures…)

Now, I know I said tutorials are intimidating, but that’s not true for all of them. Cue, Lisa Potter-Dixon. Her YouTube tutorials are the only reason I have any sense of direction in my make-up bag now. Charli and I once sat in my room and spent ages copying her eye-make up tutorials and went out in matching make-up. We were the coolest kids in Manchester that night.

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The result of the Lisa Potter-Dixon binge.

But seriously, her tutorials are so easy to follow, use mostly Benefit make-up products which are easy to find, and you can even pick a look whilst getting ready for your night out, a glass of wine down, and still be able to follow it (mostly, anyway) a la Jenna Marbles’ drunk make-up tutorial, but nicer. Lisa also has an excellent How To Hide Your Hangover tutorial, which is pretty much an essential.

 

Finally, I forget where I read it, but in an interview with a French model (who’s name escapes me. I’m going to get better at this research stuff I promise) she said something along the lines of French women concentrate on making their hair naturally great, skin naturally great and a good fashion sense, so they can just get up and go and everything else falls into place. I liked this advice the most. That, and, if you messed up your eyeshadow, just add another layer and make it a smoky-eye. Smoky-eye solves everything.

Speak soon,

Laura x

How To Survive Your First Year at University.

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What’s more student than a stolen traffic cone and shopping trolley? (Didn’t steal either item myself, just saying.)

Hello again. It’s been like, five-ever, I know. I don’t even have an excuse, I’m just a bad person.

 

Having just completed my first year at uni, and knowing a few people going into theirs, I thought this might be a good post to ease myself back in with. I’m hardly a beacon for social or academic graces or anything, but I did definitely learn a lot whilst at uni, particularly about people, myself, and the dangers of eating nothing but Pringles and Dairy Milk (Don’t do it, it only leads to acne and stomach aches.)

First of all, and not to scare anyone or anything, but, people are mean. Girls are mean, boys are mean, staff can be mean, everyone is mean. Even the nice ones are mean sometimes, just not necessarily mean about or towards you. The fact is, everyone can be a bit of a bitch. Even you. You’ll probably be a bitch to someone hitting on you on a night out at some point, you’ll probably accidentally be a bitch to your flat mates when you’ve had a bad day, you’ll probably even be a bitch to your boyfriend/girlfriend, and most of all, people will be a bitch to you. People get bored. People get jealous. Sometimes people are bored and jealous. So they say stupid things, and start silly rumours or tell people things you trusted them with to other people, just because there’s nothing better to do. Yes, even now, after high-school, after sixth-form, people still do that. But at the end of it all, it’s all been done or said out of boredom or jealousy, and you’ll do a lot better for yourself by staying out of it in the first place or forgiving and, either, forgetting or staying well away from whoever bitched at/about you. Some fights aren’t even worth fighting, so, as my mother would say, “riiiiise above it” (Idk why she kinda sings it. But I always hear it in my head when people cross me.)

You’re also going to be drunk. Probably more drunk, more often, than you plan to be. Once I actually got so drunk with my friend we cried the whole way from the club, into McDonalds, all the way to my flat, into my living room eating McDonalds, and then eventually, to bed, for what we can only assume was no reason whatsoever. Full on, drunk girl-wailing for at least twenty minutes straight up and down the streets of Newcastle. All we know is Vicky wrestled a DJ for a hat and we definitely shouldn’t have had that “last tequila for the road.” It’s okay to get that drunk sometimes, but you’ll almost always regret it the next day. So get drunk. Just be prepared for the shame and guilt that’s coming the next day. And go to your lectures, even if you’re hungover and still have your party-eye make up from the night before. Just take a bottle of water with you.

You’ll probably undergo your first trauma, away from home, and actually say the words “I want my mum.” For me it was when I fractured my foot on a night out and howled in the middle of the street. For some people, it’s when they’re diabolically ill, for others it’s when they get their first essay back and their tutor’s basically told them it’s awful. Whatever it is, call home. Just ring mum, dad, sibling, cousin or whoever. Sometimes it’s nice to hear someone who loves you tell you it’s all going to be okay. I’d also advise that you make sure your home friends visit. No matter what uni you’re at, how good or bad the nightlife is, have them visit, get black out drunk, hold their hair while they projectile vomit in your favourite trebles-bar, show them the sights and go and visit them too.

I do think, undoubtedly, the most important part of uni (apart from getting a good degree and moving on with your life) is making good friends. I know I said everyone is mean, and that is kind of true, but some people’s meanness is a significantly smaller part of them than others, so find those people. Find the kind of friends that will take you to A and E instead of finishing their night out, scream Wiz Khalifa lyrics endlessly, not disown you because you threw up your pitcher of Woo Woo in Wetherspoons beore 2pm in the afternoon (… definitely haven’t done that before… eek.), make you cups of tea when you’re sad and laugh at you when you pull a minger.

Finally, always have paracetamol around, Freshers Week is overrated, learn how to “tactical chunder”, and always double check what date your deadlines are. Oh, and pasta and ketchup is definitely a suitable meal if that’s all you have in.

Laura x

How to Survive Being Single.

Okay, admittedly, this is kind of inspired by my trip to see How To Be Single this weekend,(excellent film, by the way, definitely recommend) but I’ve generally found it to be an awkward subject throughout most of my life.

We’ve all been in the family party situation where your Gran, Uncle or Great Auntie Anne turn to you and loudly question “Have you found yourself a boyfriend yet?”, often coupled with a follow up question of “You’re not one of those lesbians are you?” or “Why not? What’s wrong with you?”. In all honesty, I’m never sure what the correct answer is. “No, actually, Great Auntie Anne, I prefer noseying on Tinder and drunkenly kissing strangers in nightclubs, then regretting it when all my friends put it on their Snapchat stories the next day. Thanks for the concern though, Hun.” I imagine that wouldn’t be appreciated.

So, why is everyone constantly asking this? No word of a lie, I just got back from visiting my Grandparents and was asked by three different family members in the space of twenty minutes if I had a boyfriend yet. And when I said no, I was compared to my parents, my Auntie,  and my sibling. The word “yet” is probably what makes us feel so inadequate when we have to grit our teeth and force out a sigh and say “No, not yet.” It’s like they think you’re just lazy, like a relationship, trusting someone with your feelings and welfare, is the same as emptying the dishwasher. It appears that people think you go to university, and BAM. There’s the girl/guy of your dreams, waiting at your door, with a ring, two kids, a dog and a Volvo, when in actual fact, the only thing waiting for you is your macaroni cheese ready meal and a bottle of £5 wine. For some reason there’s some great pressure to be  in a relationship as soon as you hit your late teens-early twenties, until you actually have one. Then everyone’s telling you you’re too young to be tied down, that you should focus on “finding yourself” (whatever that means?) and that it’ll only serve as a distraction to your studies/career/social life.

As the family member everyone, I’m certain, views as “terminally single”, I’ve grown to realise you can’t win. There is no correct answer to the “do you have a boyfriend yet?” question. If you tell them you don’t care, don’t have time, or simply haven’t found anyone you like that much, you’re either boring or lying. If you just say “no” you’re met with a sympathetic “aaaaaw” and the promise you’ll “find someone one day.” Thanks, but I don’t need your sympathy. Honestly, I’m not exactly wondering round with a giant butterfly net, on the hunt, but at the same time, I’m not some bitter, old cat lady, avoiding anything with a penis. I’m just enjoying myself, and I know this is the case for so many people. Maybe that’s the correct answer? “No, I’m just enjoying myself.” It’s not like I’m isolating myself from the idea of a relationship, I’m just not forcing myself into one for the sake of it.

Being single isn’t actually something to survive. It’s just your natural state of being and it’s fine to be comfortable in it. You don’t constantly have to be searching for someone else. Sure, at some point, there’ll probably be someone that makes you no longer want to be single, but it doesn’t matter how far away, frequent or rare that is. So I suppose the “how to” part of this is answered by realising you’re not surviving or enduring being single. You’re enjoying being in your natural state, for however long that may be.

Speak soon,

Laura.

How to Survive Trains

I know, I know… This one seems ridiculous. But, I don’t care if you’re the biggest bad man on the planet, if trains and train stations don’t give you that sick, shakey feeling you’re not human. Trains are scary and, I’ve just discovered this fact to its full extent.
Okay, so first of all, I’m travelling back to university, on a train from Manchester, that stops in Huddersfield, Leeds and Newcastle. So as you can guess, it’s full of all those cool, hipster, student types I’d love to fit in with but sadly, I do not own the Adidas Superstars, badly dyed hair and quirky jumpers required. Never the less, they’re a crowd you don’t want to screw up in front of. But I did. Oh how I did.

First off, the queue to get on the train was so long and violent, I got caught in the doors slamming shut on me and my excessively packed case on the way on. After being pulled on by a lovely couple who obviously felt sorry for the 5″2, weak-looking individual before them, I then discovered my reserved seat was occupied by what appeared to be a birds’ nest with eyebrows. Im a nervous person. I like to come across sassy and cool but these sorts of situations are not my forte, particularly not after being beaten by train doors. Fortunately, the female half of the lovely couple ushered the birds’ nest-eyebrow-hybrid out my seat and shuffled me into it.

Ah, comfort, at last. Glad that’s over and I can enjoy my three hour journey in peace now. PSYCHE. My suitcase.

As mentioned, I’m 5″2 (on a good day) and my upper body strength is lacking. Whilst trying to channel my inner body builder, I managed to hit an… “Intoxicated” gentleman over the head with my suitcase, then drop it on myself. As if that wasn’t bad enough, said “intoxicated” gentleman fell forward and hit someone else with his bag of clanging bottles whilst slurring some sort of obscenity.
By this point, everyone’s looking to see who’s caused the commotion, the lovely couple begin arguing over the male half being in the way of other people whilst trying to help me with my case, and I just had to slump into my seat and hide my face in my book whilst trying to thank said male without fuelling the argument further, and apologise to said drunk.

But you’ll be pleased to know, I am, finally, sat in my correct train seat, headphones in, not causing a scene. I’m trying to work out a way to teach you how to survive trains but, sadly, all I can come up with is… Don’t do any of the above.

Speak soon,
Laura x

How to Survive A&E

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Hello! I know it’s been a little while, but I’ve been back at uni, therefore in a constant state of drunk, hungover and panic writing essays.

Regarding the A&E subject of the blog, it’s where I spent the entirety of my Friday night out. I must say, those doctors were so efficient given an entire drunken cast of Jeremy Kyle were in there. However, I was rather gutted I had my lovely tassely American Apparell dress on with my hair and make up both on fleek, only to spend my night in the A&E waiting room. (At least the X-Ray guy was kind of hot though.)

How did I end up there? Well kids, after a few vodka lime and lemonades at pre drinks and a jump which turned into a stumble out of a taxi, I went over on my foot and managed to fracture it. So basically,  I was out of my flat for about 10 minutes in total and ended up in A&E. Well done Laura.

That sounds traumatic enough, but let me assure you, A&E receptionists don’t take so kindly to:

• One crying drunk girl with a lumpy foot.

•Two drunk girls carrying said crying girl into a wheelchair, unable to take the break off the wheelchair whilst giggling too much.

•Another drunk girl shouting down the phone to communicate to other drunk friends that the crying drunk girl was, in fact, okay and alive.

Even better, after three and a half hours, at 4am, I was informed I had to be back at 10:20am to the fracture clinic. So by the next day, I not only had a swollen, sore foot, a hangover, crutches I still hadn’t mastered and an empty stomach, but I also had next to no sleep.

The cherry on top of the cake? My moon boot. Oh yeah. That’s actually what the consultant called it. Who am I? Napoleon Dynamite? I hobbled into the fracture clinic the next day (with no help getting in and out of the taxi from the driver on two occasions now) and got a “moon boot fitted” instead of a cast. I suppose the upside to that is my flat mates can’t draw willies on it.

So here I am, stuck on the sofa with a fat leg/foot and only Netflix and Film4 to entertain me. Moral of the story? I don’t even know… don’t be a clumsy drunk? Here’s a picture of me and Vicky having a ball in A&E.

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How To Survive the Gym.

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Once upon a time, mid-workout, I thought “maybe it’s weights room time.” So over I went to the weights room, strutted in confidently, ready to own the show and not be intimidated by anyone. I did well, I made it over to the bar bells, picked one up, and dropped it on myself, not only causing a racket (making every scary, beef-cake guy ever glare at me), but also slamming the bar against my shins. Ouch. Pain and embarrassment in one hit. Gym-1. Laura-0.

If you’re anything like me, you don’t always feel totally comfortable and confident in the gym, but the fact is, you should. Whether you’re a guy who’s not quite a beef-cake yet, or a girl who’s just starting out to get fit, that gym is just as much your second home as anyone else’s, you just have to make it as such.

*Sweating*

After speaking to a couple of female friends of mine, I’ve found, as much as most of them don’t want to admit it, sweating bothers them. It’s understandable, nobody likes sweat patches. It might be stating the obvious here, but take a small towel with you to wipe any sweat off yourself (if you’re not sweating you’re not doing enough) and off any machines you use. (Nobody wants to use a spin bike with your sweaty bum mark on it.) Also, girls, the gym is a no make up zone, you’ll only sweat it off and look like a melting wax work. (Tried it once. I wanted to look like an IG model with long hair, fleeky brows and yoga pants. I ended up looking like cousin it had been dragged through a sauna backwards. Hair on neck sweat is not good)

*Dress to Impress (Yourself)*

I personally found buying new, fun, gym clothes that I felt great in really helped. I looked good, so I wanted to be there. Go for stretchy material- cotton shows sweat marks (if that bothers you) but I also find it doesn’t leave much to the imagination (camel toe city.) Or guys, go for loose fitting shorts and any top you’re comfortable in. But generally, if you’re loving your outfit, you’ll be wanting to stay in it longer, and therefore in the gym longer.

*Attention Attention Attention*

Everyone, regardless of gender and body shape worries about people judging them/staring at them in the gym. Simultaneously, everyone is too bothered about themselves, their own work out and how they look, to be staring at you. However, it’s also important we remember how uncomfortable being gawked at makes us, so it’s probably more polite to keep all eyes to yourself when that hottie with a ripped back or fabulous bum walks past.

So there you go. I hope this helps any gym newbies, or those who are like me, and literally just make a fool of themselves regularly.