How to make the most of your study leave!

My study leave for my A-levels started Monday, and as usual, I made a pretty clear idea of what I want to do between now and when my exams end. Here are a few tips how to profit best from these stressful weeks to come.

  1. Come up with a plan for what you want to do in a day. You don’t have to write it down, and you can make it as vague as you want, but it’s a good idea to know when you wake up in the morning what you’re going to do in a day, including free-time, eating lunch and what revision at what time.
  2. Don’t stay in bed too late! At this point, you will start to appreciate how much during school time you really get done during the day. For example, if you’re getting up after 10, it will be 11 after you’ve showered, got dressed and had a cup of tea before you start your studying, and then you’ll barely get started before it’s lunchtime! I like to get up between 8 and 9, so I can get up slowly and get things done in the morning.
  3. Pace yourself. Don’t do too much revision at once! Free-time is important, as it will make you feel good. Doing straight revision for several hours will make you extremely bored, and you’ll end up not concentrating, and therefore wasteyour time.
  4. Exercise is important. It increase air flow to your brain and helps you to think clearer and feel good. You only have to do something for 20 minutes, so you won’t get distracted for too long.
  5. Be sociable. I don’t mean spending the whole day with your friends or family, but talking to people for several minutes at a time will increase your articulacy, and the ability to quickly phrase words on paper as well.
  6. Tone down the social life. If you’re stopping out until late and drinking, you won’t be as switched on the next day, and you will definitely be tired! Also, alcohol aids memory loss, so you might want to tone that down, too. But don’t become a recluse, either. You’ll drive yourself mad!
  7. Keep fueled. Having snacks can work as a good incentive for studying, as you can tell yourself that you can have your next one after you’ve completed a certain section of work, or after you’ve learnt a certain amount of key terms off by heart. For a healthy option, try some plain popcorn or some grapes. For a naughty treat, try some Maltesers or Doritos.

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I’m in a bra-funk.

It’s true. I find it quite difficult to find bras in my size, even though I know for a fact that I have far from abnormally massive tits. My problem is that I am large, yet proportionate. The shops and websites that specialise in “curvy”/large-breasted bras really only specialise in bras for women who have had implants: small chest sizes, large bust sizes. I am just large and large. A shop which generally has some “boob-equality” is Marks and Spencer, but their bras can be really poorly made. Being jabbed in the middle of the day by a wire is not uncommon. Another problem I have with their bras is that the strap adjustment slips under the weight of my boobs, so I start the day slightly more perkier than I end it. Shopping with them is no picnic, either. I asked an assistant for some advice about which type of bra would keep me contained for the longest. She sighed, showed me to the minimisers, which I then said I wasn’t interested in, so she suggested that maybe this wasn’t the place for me. Rude. So, I’ve done some research online to show you which affordable bras (all under £25) are the best types for us well-endowed females:

My favourite website to look at was Debenhams, because many of the lines did a small-boob balconette style, along with a larger-boob balconette style, which is virtually unheard of. The next website I tried was Ann Summers, but all their bras had teeny-tiny cups, which would lend themselves to escapage. The third bra along was from ASOS, which I was really disappointed with. Upon reaching their bra page, they boasted a range of about 400 bras, but when I input my size, only 7 results showed up. Seriously. But this was a really nice, basic bra. There were loads of those £20 two-packs on Figleaves, which all seemed pretty nice, so I just put on my favourite. The last bra was from a website I’d never heard of before called brastop. Their range was variable, but I came across this little gem which I thought was really pretty, and because of the high cup and no dipping cleavage, lends itself to virtually no escapage.

Anyone know of anywhere else great to get bras?

Drinking: How to pace yourself, girl!

Before you read this post, I ought to cover my back to make sure you aren’t:

  1. Underage drinking (lol)
  2. Driving and/or operating heavy machinery.


On Friday, I finished school. Finally! This was, of course, a cause for celebration. And when you’re 18, celebration=booze. We were partying the night before, and about to do it all over again.

We must have started drinking that day at about 12.30. The AS-level students were cooking us a BBQ, and we were drinking cider. I had one pint, drank it slowly and mingled. It was VERY hot, and didn’t want to feel nasty too quickly, or make a fool of myself (a common side-effect of mine on alcohol) around the teachers. About an hour later, my friends and I made our way to the pub for our afternoon party, a fifteen minute walk away. Getting some fresh air was good for keeping well.

At the pub, I started off on perry (pear cider) which was very sweet and had a reasonably low alcohol percentage. With cider and beer, the percentage tends to be between 3-5.5%. The higher the percentage, the quicker you are going to get drunk. I tend to go with something 4.5% or lower, as I can enjoy my tipsy state for longer. I had a couple of pints of perry, before someone suggested I try a cider called Ashton Press. It was really nice, and again not to strong. It was probably not a bad idea to stay on that, because the people who were drinking Desperados (beer with tequila) were pretty wrecked VERY quickly.

Clockwise from bottom left: Kacey, Steve, Tom, Eddy, Cerian, Mary, Lewis, Emma, and me, as the cat.

After the pub, my friends and I went to Tesco’s to buy booze before going back to mine. We bought Sourz Fusions, Pina Colada, Everyday Value Vodka (70cl for £8!) and cider for the boys. We came back to mine, where we ate pizza and pasta bake. Stodgy food is a good foundation for booze as it stops you getting sick. We drank A LOT then, and got pretty silly. We played a few games, danced a bit, and then got ready for the final part of the day: the club.

The club our leavers’ party was at was called Capones, a pretty cheesy place with a zebra print ceiling. I had a lot of fun dancing, had some Smirnoff Ice, danced some more, then went outside with a few people to tell them how much I “appreciated” them. According to my friends, when I’m drunk, appreciating someone=sticking my tongue down their throat (whether they want it there or not) and sitting on their lap. Woops. Oh well, at least I wasn’t ill.

The two Matts, clubbin’ it up!

I could tell I’d had enough of Capones when my feet were starting to become unbearably sore in my fabulous ’90s-style platform sandals. My mum picked me up (I don’t know what time it was, but it was definitely after 4) and I had a couple of pints of water before going to bed. Waking up the next day, my feet were sore, my legs were sore, but my head wasn’t. I was tired, but definitely not ill.

And that is how you pace yourself! Remember guys, drink responsibly!

Imaginary shopping spree: summer expedition style!

Many of you this summer may be backpacking somewhere, sampling a bit of culture, widening your horizons. I am! So, to give you an idea of some things to wear, I’ve made a list!

The first item is a dress from Fredflare. I’ve only put one dress on, as I thought it’s not always easy and practical to travel in a dress.

The next couple of tops are Urban Outfitters tops, which I thought would make light and comfy additions to your backpack.

The next couple of pairs of shorts look nice and hard-wearing, so you could wear them multiple times on your trip. They are also from Urban Outfitters.

Leggings can be an extremely comfortable alternative to trousers, especially when the weather is a little cooler. These cost £24 from Urban Outfitters.

A swimsuit is a must-have on this trip, as is a large backpack. I was pleasantly surprised to find such a useful item in Urban Outfitters. It’s perfect for your luggage!

It’s good to protect yourself from the sun, which is why this straw hat, which is squash-able and these sunglasses from Urban Outfitters are handy additions.

Dr Martens are pricy, yes, but they’re also the kindest shoes for your feet when you’re on them all day!

This waterproof from ASOS is light and ideal for when the weather turns sour.

At some point, you’re likely to need a jumper, which is why this ASOS one is great!

I was pleasantly surprised by the price of those Juicy Couture pyjamas (£40, I think) which can be scrunched into your bag easily.

A couple of pairs of smart shorts will always come in handy. From ASOS.

A light camisole can beat the heat!

A blouse can be awkward to pack, as it creases easily, but this one is quite sheer, which will forgive the creases.

I love those t-shirts, from ASOS and River Island.

Vest tops can help you top up that tan, and I couldn’t resist the watermelon one from ASOS. The stripy one is from American Apparel.

A hoodie is always a handy addition when it gets cold at night, and this one from Forever 21 is quite light, so it won’t take up too much space in your bag.

3/4 length leggings are something I can’t live without in the summer, and these from Forever 21 are a bargain, at £3.75!

I thought this maxi skirt from Forever 21 would be great for lounging around on the beach, or for discovering markets!

I know these trouser are linen, but screw creases! They’re really comfortable for spending long periods of time in! From Forever 21.

Flip flops are an essential for a summer holiday, and these espadrilles are perfect for airing your feet on lighter-walking days. Both from Forever 21.

I hope these inspire you to know what to pack, and good luck for your trip!

Why you shouldn’t call someone a “slut”, and other words.

Slut/whore/skank/slag, these words get thrown around a lot. I hear them all the time where I live. They are just banded about in normal conversation. But let me tell you, these words should not be so commonly used in general conversation. But why? Why shouldn’t we judge someone for wearing next to nothing?

Because, ladies and gentlemen, one shouldn’t be judged on what one likes to wear or one’s general appearance. This is what is wrong with today’s rape culture. Too many people think wearing a teeny-tiny miniskirt with 6 inch heels = gagging for sex. This is far from the truth. Too many rapists claim that a woman is “asking for it” as soon as they show some skin on their legs or their chests, or put a little make up on. This is wrong. Let me tell you the definition of rape: rape is when a man has penetrative sex with anyone (man or woman) without their consent. No one asks to be raped.

We shouldn’t judge people by what they choose to wear. If a girl is wearing a short skirt with 6 inch heels she is not saying: “Come and get me, boys, I can be overpowered,” she is saying: “Yes, I’m proud of my body. I work hard to get it to look this good, and I’m doing this for me.” Girls: we should always dress for ourselves, not for anyone else. Feminism is all about choice; what we want to do with our bodies, our relationships, our lives is up to us. If you want to stay at home to look after your children, that’s fine. If you want to work in a strip club, that’s fine too, because as long as you aren’t personally intending to hurt someone else, that’s ok. While we no longer have to stay at home 24/7 and not get taken seriously, men have found other ways to oppress us, by making us look bad for making independent choices in our lives, and interfering with what we can and can’t do with our bodies.

So, to conclude: it’s okay to call someone a slut. If you’re an uneducated sack of sh*t.
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How to break up with your driving instructor.

I’m going to tell you a story about my first driving instructor, when I began learning to drive aged 17. I was sucked in by her business card in Tesco’s, which read: “Experienced female driving instructor! Patient!” I was relieved to have found her at the time, because in my area it is really confusing to find a qualified female instructor, which, at the time, I thought was really important. Let me tell you: one’s gender does not make a good driving instructor.

While none of the things (let’s call her Shelley) wrote on her business card were lies, they were not necessarily the most important things one needs from driving tuition. In my first lesson, Shelley seemed to be a really friendly, chatty, encouraging woman. But too chatty. She spent one hour taking my details, then spent the next hour telling me horror stories about her other pupils. On returning to school after my lesson, I told my friends about it. They seemed more concerned than I did: apparently, you’re supposed to spend the second hour of your first lesson driving around a business park, learning to start and stop.

Yet that wasn’t the thing they were most concerned about. Shelley would take my money for the next lesson before it had even happened, as she would claim that she would make appointments with pupils who wouldn’t turn up, thus wasting her time and money. But she was the one who wouldn’t turn up for the lesson. I would receive a text about 10/20 minutes before she was due to pick me up, stating that she had to take her cat to the vet, or some other emergency. On several occasions, I went for a walk upon learning my lesson was cancelled, and spotted her out with another pupil. I tried calling her up on this, but she would say that a pupil was just about to take their test, but needed some extra help. I knew for a fact that this was a lie, as a lot of the people I saw her out with had only just turned 17.

Our lessons would pan out like this: Shelley would pick me up about 15 minutes late for my lesson, complaining that the queue at the petrol station was ridiculously long. I would go to swap places with her, but she would insist I sat in the passenger’s seat. We would go somewhere quiet, swap over, then spend so much time driving around country lanes, while she complained about her other pupils and went in to too much detail about her and her boyfriend’s sex life. It was not uncommon for her to make me switch places with her again, so she could drive to Tesco to get groceries during the lesson. I would sit in the car for 15 minutes, waiting for her to come out. She tended to finish lessons up to 30 minutes early, and not give me a refund.

After four months, I started to get impatient. Was it normal for me to have made so little progress? Loads of people had passed their tests already, and I hadn’t even started doing any manoeuvres. After 5 months, I asked Shelley if we could do some manoeuvres, but she said I didn’t have enough control yet to even think about doing them. I then asked if she had an idea of how long it would be before I could take my theory test. She told me I wasn’t ready. Seriously. She wouldn’t even let me use 5th gear!

After that lesson, I told her I would be too busy to take regular lessons, so I would let her know when I was ready to take the next lesson so I didn’t have to give her any money. Since then, she kept hounding me, even trying to call me up during an exam. I was complaining about this to a girl at work, who told me I really ought to leave her. I was nervous about confronting her at first, and in a way wussed out, because I ended up sending her a text, saying: “I’m sorry but I really can’t afford to take driving lessons at the moment. I’ll let you know when I have enough to start again.” A bit later, she replied: “Ok, just let me know.” And I never contacted her again.

It’s important to know that a lot of driving instructors are not really interested in teaching their students to drive. They are just looking for an easy way to make £20 an hour. They will tend to stretch your lessons out as long as possible. I moved on to a male instructor two weeks after finishing with Shelley. I passed my test only a few months later, and he was much more fair.
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My favourite essential products! (You may not have even known you needed them!)

There are those products that seem a little pointless; maybe they just seem like a marketing ploy, you think your skin/nails/hands are fine without them, or you just didn’t know such a product was necessary in your routine. I have chosen these as my favourites, which I really couldn’t live without!

1. Nail polish base coat. I use Sally Hanson’s Hard as Wraps Acrylic Gel, £7.45 from Boots. I have terrible nails which peel often, leaving my nails looking really uneven. When I paint my nails, it looks like a child has done it! This thick solution evens them out, and I’ve even started using it as a top coat, as it makes 3D glitter polishes and nail art designs last longer. I always have a coat of this on, even if I haven’t painted my nails!

2. Concealer. I like Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer, £7.49 from Superdrug. I can”t believe how many people I’ve spoken

to who claim they don’t need this! Having an uneven skin tone is completely natural for everyone, so putting on a thick, light concoction under foundation stops your face from looking streaky. It covers up eye bags, spots and even large freckles! I have very pale skin, but very rosy cheeks, so just wearing foundations is not enough for me to hide the fact it looks like I’m always wearing really bad blusher.

3. Eye shadow primer. I use Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer in Original, £14.50 from Debenhams. People really need to know about this miracle product! It brings out the pigmentation in all eye shadows, prevents creasing and makes the colour last longer. I don’t have to fix it again during the day! It seems quite pricey, but you only use a tiny amount on each eye, so one tube lasts forever!

4. Hand cream. I find Cath Kidston Wild Rose Hand Cream, £8.00 to be really, er, handy! I work with my hands A LOT, which makes them really dry. Add that to the ever-changing British weather, and you end up with horrible cracked skin. This cream has a light perfume in it, which makes your hands smell great! It’s really thick, so a little goes a long way and lasts a really long time, even after washing your hands!

5. Lip balm. I lick my lips a lot, so Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy Lips, £2.25 from Boots really helps to keep my lips soft. It has a really nice light pink tint,which makes it look really pretty. The price isn’t bad, either! This stuff lasts a long time on my lips before wearing off.
 

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