So today is my birthday and I officially feel really old! There are certain things about life that just feel very different now. I don’t think in the same way I used to, I don’t act the same way and I don’t want the same things. There is actually so much I’ve learnt, even over this past year and as 25 is a milestone (quarter of a century and all that), as well as a really strange birthday to have at the moment (during a global pandemic), I wanted to reflect on some of these things with you.
The first thing I’ve learnt is about myself. I feel like I’ve been learning so much about myself over the past couple of years and my character has really evolved. There are things I would do years ago that I couldn’t even dream of getting involved in now. The biggest one for me is confrontation and drama. There was a time when I would pride myself in being the type of person who would always say what was on their mind. That type of what you see is what you get person. But what I’ve learnt recently is that not everybody needs to see you. I’m very comfortable with who I am and I have nothing to prove to anybody. Having this mindset has led me to learn that there are a lot of things which are better left unsaid.
Things like gossip. I think there are plenty of us who love a gossip, but I’ve finally excluded myself from this group. In fact, there is nothing I hate more than gossip. I don’t want to hear it, I don’t want to spread it and I don’t want to be involved in it.
When it comes to drama, I try my best to avoid it all costs. But I’ve also learnt that it’s impossible for me to be on damage control the whole time. I can’t ensure that every little inch of my life will fall perfectly into place. Sometimes, things will erupt. It’s just life. There is no calm without chaos. And a lot of the time, there are very valuable lessons to be learnt through chaos. You learn about yourself, you learn about the people around you and I think you learn how to avoid being in the same situations again.
I’ve also learnt a lot about money! The shopaholic in me finds it extremely hard to say no to materialistic purchases. Just a few hours ago I was in Harrods, talking to a sales assistant at YSL about whether I should buy a bag for £1600. My new life motto when it comes to big purchases (or any purchases really), is only buy it if you can buy it twice. In this situation, I applied the rule and I could definitely have checked out and been good. I wouldn’t have had to use any credit to buy the bag but I would have been -£1600 in savings and at least a few months back from being able to buy a house.
At this age, I value my long term goals a lot more than I value my immediate ones. My immediate goal with that bag would be to take it on an evening out, take it out for lunch, take it out shopping (and I know I am talking about the bag like it’s a person but I just love bags, okay?!); but to do all of those things, I would be spending even more money. So really, buying the bag would be costing me more money long term and drawing me further and further away from my long term goals. There will be a time for me to buy a YSL bag without having to think about these things and when the time comes, it will be so much more worth it.
The last thing I’ve learnt is about emotion. I have the tendency to react on emotion and in the past year or so, it’s meant that I’ve made decisions which have diverted me from some of my most important goals. I’m the kind of person who needs to detach from a situation, think about it on my own and work out a plan. I live for plans. There has to be a plan for everything to keep me sane. And maybe to some people that’s unhealthy and maybe by the time I’m 30 I’ll realise that I ditched all of my plans anyway. But for now, the best thing I can do when I’m feeling emotional about anything, is to take a step back, take a deep breath and take as much time as I need to come up with a plan.
Valuing my sanity and my time is something I put above almost anything else in my life. If you know me, you’ll know that my favourite saying is “I don’t have time for…”. Well, this has served me very well. I don’t have copious amounts of time to feel things that will prevent me from moving forward with my life. Whether that’s resentment, heartbreak, embarrassment, fear. I will do whatever I can to keep moving forward in life and this is what keeps me sane. This is what keeps me valuing my time. Most of all, this is what has kept me focused and happy.
I’m beginning to learn that happiness is a choice. I choose to let things go and I choose not to harbour negative emotions because it makes my happier immediately and it makes me happier long term. This is a tough one to learn and it’s taken me a while, but it’s been very worth it. Always forgive. Holding onto grudges is one thing that I can promise will only ever eat you up inside.
So here’s to 25 – I can’t wait to see what else I achieve in the next quarter of the century!
Interior Design Round Up has been shortened to IDRU.
The highlight of this month was, of course, London Design Week! Although this took place on my doorstep, at the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, I unfortunately wasn’t able to go. Trade dates were 8-10 March and the show opened to the public from 11-13 March. In this post, I’m going to be talking about hotelier Olga Polizzi, who gave a speech at London Design Week that inspired me to go and explore the Rocco Forte Hotels.
Olga Polizzi of Rocco Forte Hotels
I read that Olga Polizzi gave a speech about her process of hotel design. I would love design commercial settings like hotels, bars and restaurants, so this would have been a great talk for me! Hearing this, however, led me to go and explore the Rocco Forte Hotels website. And all I can say is, wow.
The hotels are honestly what dreams are made of! If you’re picturing yourself in a beautiful dress, wandering through the hallways of a very grand and decadent building, then The Balmoral, Edinburgh is perfect. Or, if you see yourself lounging in a king sized bed wearing a silk dressing gown (I often do), then the suites at Brown’s Hotel, London are ideal.
The interior at Brown’s Hotel was designed by Olga herself and effortlessly “harmonises stunning period features with contemporary flair.” As an English graduate, I can’t help but gush over the fact that Brown’s Hotel has its origins in Lord Byron’s history. It was his butler, James Brown, who acquired it in 1837 and expanded it to create Brown’s Hotel in 1838. The literary links continue, as the hotel has had George Orwell, Agatha Christie and Rudyard Kipling, who started The Jungle Book during one of his stays there. Agatha Christie is said to have based At Bertram’s Hotel on Brown’s and Stephen King supposedly started his novel Misery, whilst sat at Kipling’s desk there!
The rooms are interesting because they’re a mix of traditional and contemporary design. The cornice and colour scheme in the Dover Suite above feel Georgian, yet the furniture and ornaments are very much contemporary.
Hotel de Russie in Rome, another Rocco Forte Hotel is the perfect luxury getaway. I love the Nijinksy Suite at this hotel. The patterns, fresh, light colour palette and gorgeous Italian views really make it the type of European getaway I picture when I close my eyes.
Finally, perhaps the dreamiest of all, is The Westbund Hotel, Shanghai. The luxury, futuristic feel of the hotel’s bars and restaurants is incredible. The rooftop bar sits on the 59th floor and offers panoramic views of the West Bund. There’s also n Italian restaurant, a Chinese restaurant and a British tea room.
Plus, the ceiling on this spa would honestly make me feel like I had left reality completely and entered heaven. It’s almost as if this whole room sits amongst the clouds…
I won’t pretend as if any of the rooms I’ve mentioned in this post aren’t wildly unattainable. All of this superior, considered design comes at a very high cost. The Kipling Suite at Brown’s Hotel starts at £4,200 a night – definitely not pocket change!
I thought I would write this post because in the past couple of years, I’ve been treating my hair really differently and I’ve been able to really maximise my hair growth because of it. Although I actually prefer my hair shorter, I know that a lot of black girls struggle with getting their hair to grow. I therefore wanted to write this post to share my experience with you.
On the flip side, I also know that there are so many of us who are wearing our hair natural now – which I love. This means that there are thousands of black girls out there showcasing their gorgeous thick, bouncy, shiny, beautiful, head of long, healthy curls. So, I’m not trying to pioneer myself as having the best hair out there because I definitely see girls with hair that is a lot thicker and longer than mine and trust me, I do envy them! But this is what my hair looks like at the moment and I want to share how I got it to this stage.
So, just under a year ago now, in August 2019, I cut my hair short and levelled it all off. That’s the picture you see on the left. I was tired of my hair growing at different lengths, so I levelled it all off at the healthiest part and cut it into this straight across style. Before that, the longest part of my hair was probably a couple of inches longer and the shorter parts were around the length that I cut it to.
My hair naturally grows in a V shape – annoyingly, it doesn’t all grow at the same rate. So if I want my hair to be all one length, which I do, then I have to cut it all to one length myself. But even as it grows, as you can see from my before and after pictures, it still doesn’t really grow to one length! This is because when I was in my second year of university, I got a little scissor happy trimming my hair and I cut the front parts really short. They were probably up to my chin. Since then, the front parts of my hair have never really recovered. They always grow a lot slower than the bottom parts. Which is why you’ll see me wearing my hair half up half down pretty much all the time if I don’t have it tied back or up in a bun. However, less than a year after cutting my hair up to my collarbone, you can see how many inches it has grown. It’s a lot longer and the most important thing is that it’s healthy.
People have always complimented me on the length and thickness of my hair throughout my life. But what they probably didn’t realise is that it wasn’t healthy at all. I used to straighten my hair almost everyday and I remember that my ex-boyfriend once told me that every strand of hair on my head was a split end. I mean, not the nicest of things to tell your girlfriend but in all fairness, he was actually correct. I had an unbelievable amount of split ends. But what could I do? I thought that I had to wear my straight. And so, every week I would spend about 3 hours straightening it all out and touching it up with straighteners throughout the week too. Trust me, there is no amount of heat defence spray that can prevent the damage that straighteners will do to your hair. Unfortunately, straighteners will damage your hair – that’s just the harsh reality.
I realised this about 2 years ago now. Every time I washed my hair and saw the curls, I had this urge to leave it natural. But I was lost. I honestly didn’t know where to begin with styling or treating my natural hair. And so, every time I washed it, I would fall back into that cycle of straightening it. I was even more anxious about wearing my hair natural in front of my boyfriend at the time. Having my hair straight and having my hair natural are two very different styles. He was used to seeing me with my hair straight and even though he told me that there was no issue, it was something that I had to overcome myself. Because, if I didn’t really like seeing my hair natural, then why would I show it to anybody else?
My university housemates can attest to the fact that whenever I washed my hair, I would lock myself in my room for 3 hours while I blow dried and straightened it. This meant that nobody ever saw what my hair looked like natural. Crazy, right? I was so embarrassed and I hated my natural hair so much that I didn’t want anybody to see it. Which in retrospect is crazy!
My point here is that, if you haven’t gone natural yet, then I understand you. I know how difficult it is. My sister, for example, has the most beautiful head of curly hair and has been natural for way longer than me, yet she still won’t wear her natural hair out. We’re all on our own journeys. But the sooner you embrace your natural hair, the better you will feel overall, I promise.
For the purpose of showing the length difference in my hair, I have uploaded pictures with it straight. When my hair is curly, it shrinks up a lot (as you can see in my previous post here), so it makes it difficult for you to see how much its grown. I would say I wear my hair straight once every few months now, simply because I don’t love it straight anymore. I just find it boring and it doesn’t really feel like me. It also takes so long to straighten and I can feel how hot my hair gets after using the straighteners – a feeling that I really don’t like. The only reason I straighten my hair now is either if I want it straight for a particular event or because I’m trimming it. I haven’t yet learnt how to properly trim my hair when it’s curly, so I prefer to straighten it all out and level it off that way instead.
So now that you have my sort of hair history, let’s talk about what I actually do with my hair to keep it as healthy as possible. Since cutting my hair short back in August, I’ve been keeping to some rules to maximise hair health and growth.
The first, is to wash your hair as much as it needs it. When we wear our hair straight, we are so used to trying to maximise the length of time that we can do this for. So, usually we will try not to wash our hair for as long as possible. Back in university days, I used to wash my hair once every two weeks. I know, I’m honestly disgusted thinking about it now. It was full of excess oils and dirt and I would keep straightening on top of that to try and stretch the period of time my hair was straight for. Now, I wash my hair every 3 days maximum. This is what my hair needs. After 3 days, it needs to have the product washed out of it and it needs to be re-conditioned. I use an extra moisture shampoo – either from Shea Moisture, OGX or Pantene. This is what works for me. You will have to figure out how long your hair can go without being washed and find a routine for yourself around that. I have been known to wash my hair everyday, but only on holiday. Washing your hair everyday is actually quite bad and should be avoided as much as possible.
Co-washes are also a great option. Often my hair isn’t dirty, it just needs to be conditioned. So, if I feel like it needs a freshen up, but I also feel that it’s quite close to when I just washed it, I’ll do a conditioner only wash. This is a really good way of replenishing the moisture and curls in your hair without stripping it of its natural oils too often. Just make sure that the next time you shampoo your hair, you shampoo it properly to remove any excess product build-up.
Another thing that I do, is deep condition my hair. I can’t lie, this is not one of my favourite things to do. It makes my wash time take forever! I’ve only recently managed to cut my wash times down drastically. I can wash my hair in 20 minutes and leave for work and be there on time (sort of) now! Whereas before, if somebody told me I’d have to wash my hair before going to work, I’d say that was impossible and that they’re crazy. This is another thing I love about natural hair – it’s so versatile! If you need to wash it and be out of the door, then you can absolutely do so without worrying about having to spend 3 hours blow drying and straightening it before you do. It’s such a freeing feeling. Anyway, the deep conditioner that I use is from Cantu – I’ve linked it here. I’ll part my hair into sections and brush the conditioner through. Then, I either plait it into one plait on each side or twist it up into a bun, put a plastic cap on and leave it there for 30 minutes or more before rinsing out. My hair loves me for it afterwards.
I have a couple of favourite detangles and leave-in conditioners that I use to style my hair throughout the week. These also help massively to keep my hair moisturised instead of dry. Immediately after washing my hair, I use the Cantu curl activator. This one is great for moisturising and curl definition. It has a thick consistency. If you want something a little looser, then I would try this ORS leave-in conditioner. Both products smell amazing and have shea butter in them. I love using shea butter on my hair, it just works so well to keep it moisturised and to keep my curls nice and defined. I also use the Pantene detangling milk – which I think does exactly what it says on the bottle and completely detangles my hair in seconds.
The next tip I can give you, which I always say, is to trim your hair regularly. Please! I trim my hair every 6 weeks and I do it myself. Yes, I have run into a fair few disasters doing this, but I’ve also seen my hair grow and thicken out from doing this. All you need to cut is a quarter of an inch minimum every time you trim it to get rid of those dead and damaged ends. It’s so important and is one of the biggest tips that I can give you.
Following on from your trim, you now need to maintain your healthy hair. Figure out what conditions your hair breaks under and try to prevent them. For example, I know that my hair can get very brittle in warm weather. The sun really dries out my hair so it’s better that I wear it up in buns with my ends tucked away as much as possible during the Summer. I also need to make sure that I’m moisturising my ends. So applying oils to the ends of my hair is a really important step in my hair routine. I like to use olive or jojoba oil. ORS do a good olive oil and Patene have a nice hydrating oil that I use daily – particularly when wearing my hair straight.
Protective styling is key for maximising growth. It’s not really my favourite thing to do but it does work. My favourite protective style is wearing my hair in twists and pulling the twists back into a bun with a scrunchie and some gold clips. Other good protective styles are braids – just one on either side. Or a really simply ballerina bun with all of my ends tucked away. I’m all about the simple styles that take 10 minutes max. Believe it or not, styling my hair is not something I enjoy so I like it to be done as quickly as possible!
Finally, the way that you manipulate your hair is really important. As I said earlier, heat is bad for your hair. For those of you that don’t like to hear that, I’m not sorry to tell you this. Every time I straighten my hair I know that I’m doing something bad to it. It’s unrealistic for me to say that I will never straighten my hair, as I will. Sometimes I just want to wear it straight and other times I want to trim it. But it’s the same as trying to keep a healthy diet. You don’t have to cut out chocolate completely, for example, you just have to limit yourself. And I now limit wearing my hair straight to once every few months.
Manipulation to me isn’t just about heat, however. Things like not brushing your hair too often and being gentle when you do is important. I only brush my hair when I deep condition it. Otherwise, my hair does not really see a brush. I finger detangle conditioner through my hair when I wash it. When I style it, all I use is a spray bottle and my fingers to rake the product through. Having said that, you still need to be gentle when you’re manipulating your hair. Don’t force and tug your fingers or a brush through. Start detangling the ends until your fingers or your brush can glide easily through the hair strands. I’ve really noticed how much less hair I find at the end of wash days because of this.
This Valentine’s Day I spent 4 nights in the rustic, rolling city that is Lisbon. I have to say that it’s probably my favourite country I’ve visited in Europe so far. Its culture, people and atmosphere all made my stay incredibly enjoyable. Going at this time of year meant cheap flights, mildly warm weather and more locals instead of tourists. So I would definitely recommend booking tickets during less busy seasons.
Here are all the details of my trip.
We flew with Wizz Air for £39 return. £39! Wizz Air are a budget airline, with great service, smooth flights and no delays. I really enjoy my flights with them and I think that you actually get a little more than what you pay for. Compared to other cheap airlines like RyanAir (who offer cheap prices and poor service), Wizz Air is a really great option for those of you who don’t want to spend a lot of money but still want a decent level of service.
One tip that I would give you is to make sure that you pay for Wizz Priority. Wizz Priority gives you priority boarding, which actually comes in handy for fully booked flights. Who has time to be right at the back of the line? Not me.
But most importantly, Wizz Priority allows you to take a “trolley bag” (or in other words, cabin sized suitcase) on board with you. If you don’t want to get hit with a £28 fee, then just select Wizz Priority when you book. I believe it’s an extra £13 but is so worth it in the end.
On our first night, we landed fairly late. So we dropped our stuff at the Air BnB and headed out to Lisbon’s pink street. This is a lively area full of bars and clubs. With people drinking and eating outside, it’s a great social area with plenty of options for places to go.
The Time Out Market is a great place to go if you want to try a variety of different foods. There are plenty of options – from burgers and pizza, to spring rolls, to pork cheeks and codfish sandwiches. With lots of seating and an impressive interior, it’s definitely somewhere I would recommend visiting.
Castelo de Sao Jorge is a beautiful castle in Lisbon with amazing sprawling views of the city and Tagus river. Inside, there’s a cafe, archaeological ruins and the opportunity to wander the castle grounds. Entry costs 5 euros if you are under 25 and about 10 euros if you are over, I think. The best part of the attraction is the beautiful views from the top. We spent at least a couple of hours sitting on the top of the wall, staring out at the beautiful colourful city. You can even get a table at the top and enjoy the views over lunch, a glass of wine or even a cup of coffee.
There are plenty of restaurants to eat at in town. Many of the waiters will stand outside, offering you menus and trying to entice you inside. Often, I didn’t even look at the names of the places that we ate at. So just take your time, look at the menus and decide where you want to eat. There’s a good mixture of traditional Portuguese restaurants and restaurants offering more mainstream food.
Praça do Comércio is a yellow square next to the Tagus River. Aside from the fact that there’s a fountain and a beautiful arch with a carved statue depicting Zeus, it’s lined with restaurants that have plenty of outdoor seating. Here you get beautiful water and landscape views. You can also see the Castelo de Sao Jorge from here, so it’s a great photo opportunity.
If you venture down to the coast, there’s a small sandy beach where you can sit and look over at the bridge or some of the boats on the water. Very calming and very well-connected, so great for a quick pit stop between tourist activities.
The coastal town of Cascais was my favourite part of the trip. It’s a very calm and quaint fishing town with a beautiful beach and the most addictive views. We visited on a day that had clean blue skies and with all the boats out on the water, I absolutely fell in love. With its winding, cobbled streets and scatter of little independent shops, you can’t go wrong.
Restaurants here offer more traditional dishes. Porto di Mare Cascais was great. The garlic butter shrimp was fresh, juicy and so moreish. They have a range of different seafood options on the menu. We also ordered a seafood spaghetti and a pizza. Everything tasted great and I loved the rustic, exposed brick interior.
Uber is popular in Lisbon. So that evening, exhausted from walking all day, we decided to order an Indian takeaway. So if you’re ever lost for options or too tired to leave your hotel room, then this is an option.
We took a train to Sintra on this day, which cost us a mere 5 euros. Sintra is one of those places that everybody will tell you you have to visit in Portugal. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the best experience here. Walking the grounds of Sintra castle took almost the whole day and there really isn’t that much to see apart from the castle itself.
I wasn’t particularly enamoured with the castle. I thought the exterior was beautiful – very colourful, with lots of interesting shapes and textures. However, the medieval interior was of little interest to me and once I had finished looking inside, there was the dread of getting back down.
You can either take a tuk tuk or the bus. Ubers generally won’t come up to the castle and if they do, it would take them far too long.
That evening, we came home, rested and then headed out to experience some more of Lisbon’s nightlife. We visited a club called Lust in Rio – which I highly recommend! The music at the club was mainly Reggaton – so great for dancing. But they also played a lot of current pop songs. The club has two levels, with the tables section on the top level balcony looking down into the main dancing area.
Despite the low reviews on Google, I had a really good time here. You’re given a drinks card upon entry and every time you order a drink at the bar, they stamp it for you. There’s a minimum spend of 20 euros. It’s kind of like a physical tab which you take to the tills at the end of your night and pay. This can get dangerous, as you keep ordering drinks without spending any physical money. But I had about 6 drinks and only paid 35 euros at the end of the night, which is so cheap!
On our final day, we had our suitcases with us so there wasn’t much we could do. We did a bit of shopping in town and picked up ice cream from Amorino (which they also have in the UK). After spending a couple of hours on the beach watching the sunset, we finally headed to the airport and back to the UK.
Overall, Lisbon is definitely one of my top European destinations to visit. I also want to highly recommend the Air BnB we stayed at. Although it was a little far out from the centre, Ubers are incredibly cheap (3 euros roughly to get in and out of the centre) and it took about 10 minutes.
Below is a link to their profile on Air BnB, with plenty of apartment options to choose from. They are a sort of holiday rental apartment service. So we had an arranged check-in time with a member of staff there to meet us and hand over the keys. We had a 24 hour number to call with any issues. We had a professional check-out clean included in the price of our stay. And best of all, the host sent through a long list of Lisbon recommendations for us. I will leave these in a list below for you.
Nightout & food: Cais Sodré, Bairro Alto, Lx Factory
Out of city: Sintra, Cascais
Cascais amazing restaurant: Baía do peixe, Tasca da Linha, Pátio dos petiscos
More far: Tomar, Évora, Óbidos Setúbal.
Some of the best bookstores:
Ler devagar – In an old printing press factory building, it’s inside of Lx factory that is really worth seeing
Livraria Sá da Costa – Old world charm, there are books that are 200, 300 and 500 years
Bertrand – “ The oldies bookstore in the world” according do Guiness book
My suggestions for restaurants are:
Casa do Alentejo (in Rossio): Traditional Portuguese food, from an area called “Alentejo”. The restaurant is present in a historic and very elegant building.
Mercado da Ribeira (in Cais do Sodré) : The food court, with canteen-style communal tables, it mixes stalls from top chefs with different brands of local products
Solar dos Presuntos (in Avenida da Liberdade): Portuguese tradicional, cuisine with fish, seafood and meat options in a family atmosphere.
Cabaças (in Bairro alto): Restaurant known for its hot steaks, in a very cultural and busy neighborhood. If you’re a meat lover, it’s the right place to go.
Ramiro (in Anjos) : This restaurant is probably one of the best known in Lisbon. It has been open since the 1950s and serves traditional Portuguese food, but its excellence comes from seafood. I advice to go early, because there’s usually a big line.
Santa Clara dos cogumelos(Graça): Every dish has mushrooms in it it’s absolutely amazing
Zé dos cornos(in Mouraria): This downtown venue is perfect for locals, it’s not very comfortable since it’s a small place but the food is delicious and cheap
Cantinho do Avillez and Belcanto(in Chiado): a really none chef who already win 2 Michelin stars, it ain’t cheap but it’s worth it
Ponto final(in Almada): This restaurant is located on the tip of a dock at the other side of the river, you would have to catch a boat in cais Sodré, that takes 6/7 min that has fresh fish and views you will never forget
Best non Portuguese restaurants:
Restaurant Indian Gate(in Sé): Best Indian restaurant in Lisbon!
El Clandestino(in Príncipe Real): One of the best Mexican restaurant in town, amazing tacos, amazing cocktails
O Asiático(in Príncipe Real): I have no words, amazing asiatic food. Right by El Clandestino.
Tantura(in Bairro Alto): Israeli restaurant and cocktail bar. The nicest staff
Chapito(in Costa do castelo): it’s actually Portuguese food, but it’s one of the restaurants with the best view ever.
Cantina Peruana(in Bairro Alto): Food from Peru, best ceviche that I had.
Amélia(In Campo de Ourique): normally it’s really crowded but it’s a wonderful space, with a lot of healthy food.
Bar 35(in Mouraria): It’s located and really old neighborhood, really good food
Nicolau(in Baixa): really really popular but worth it, it really central.
DeliDelux(in Alfama): Right on the water in alfama, watch the boats go by it’s also a place where you can buy gourmet cheese
I want to start off by showcasing this gorgeous guest room at the Santa Monica Proper Hotel. Designed by Kelly Wearstler, this monochrome room is just beautiful. The colour scheme may look simple, but working with different textures, tones and tints of the same colour actually makes this room quite visually complex. It’s a really great way to keep things simple (ish) yet still create a really impressive interior. You can read more about Kelly Wearstler’s commissioning of the Proper Hotels & Residences here on the Interior Design magazine website!
Talking of colour, I want to mention that Dulux’s colour of the year is stunning! I absolutely love it. It’s called Tranquil Dawn and is supposed to represent that moment of calm that we are all seeking in a world full of chaos. It started out with the idea of humanity and what it means to be human and was refined and developed into this meaning. I really love the story behind this colour and I think it is also such a beautiful one. Unlike Pantone’s, which I talked about in January’s round up – I don’t really like that one!
Next up, I want to showcase this really unique pendant light fixture that I found whilst sourcing. The below pendant is by Seattle based manufacturer Graypants and is crafted by hand from recycled cardboard. Yet, it looks incredible! It’s warm, textured and definitely a striking standout piece to use in a design scheme. All of the lights are precision cut with a laser, use non-toxic adhesive, and all have been proofed with a non-toxic fire retardant. These are part of the Scraplights range and you can get them in different shapes. I love finding pieces that are beautiful and environmentally friendly!
Also interesting was this read from The Guardian (who I interned with – yes, I have to throw that in there at every opportunity possible thank you!), discussing how it is possible to liven up a property that you rent. Obviously follow the rules set out by your landlord, so as not to breach your contract, but this South London (Crystal Palace) interior is colourful and personal and you would never guess that the tenant doesn’t own it.
The artist, Anna Jacobs, who owns the house also produces some beautiful homeware which you can have a look at on the Anna Jacobs Design website here. Her pieces are really colourful and in the article she talks about how colour effects her mood and why it’s therefore important to her to have lots of it around. You can also browse the rooms in her home on her Instagram account.
Finally, I have to mention The Wing London, Oxford Circus. I’ve been seeing this advertise all over my Instagram. If you haven’t, then it’s a co-working and community space for women. The first Wing opened in New York (the coolest, chicest city ever) in 2016 and now we have one here. It’s a private club, uniquely and brilliantly designed of course. Women use it for running their own businesses or just to be part of a community of empowered and elite women who inspire each other. I say this as if I’m a member myself, which I’m not, but perhaps one day. You can glimpse some of the room below and find out more on their website.
I can’t believe we are in a new decade! How crazy is that? I can’t find a straight answer on whether a decade is 10 or 12 years (I’ve always known it to be 12), but if I think back to all those years ago, then I was still in secondary school. I was 14 years old. I really never could have imagined that I’d be where I am now. My life was set to take a completely different path and it’s changed so much. But change has been incredibly good for me and I can say honestly, that I am very happy with where I am now and with where I’m heading.
2019 was a fast-paced year for me but I definitely got a lot out of it. At the beginning of the year, a little switch flicked in my head and I realised that I wanted to look into pursuing interior design seriously. Almost a year later, I really managed to shift careers and manifest what was just an idea into something very tangible. In January 2019, the most designing I had done was on The Sims and I was working for an estate agent. Since then, I’ve worked for an interior design firm and assisted with the design of two bathrooms, as well as helped with the sourcing for various different projects. I’ve been on site visits where I’ve seen my designs manifested – which was honestly so gratifying and surreal! I paid a lot of money to study at KLC School of Design and learnt how to use drawing programs that are going to be key to my career. I started an Instagram page (@tanyasinteriors) purely based on design to help me figure out my style as a designer. I’ve spent so much time drawing that I have actually managed to create a portfolio of all of my work so far.
Anyone who knows me knows how important my career is to me. There is nothing I want more than a successful career and I’m willing to do what it takes to make that happen. This year, I manifested lots of little components of this big dream (which is more than just being an interior designer) into real successes. Today, as I worked on my portfolio, I realised that every move I’ve made since having that little spark of realisation in January last year, has been absolutely worth it. I’ve learned so much, I’ve met so many new people and I’ve come to know even more of myself. I faced a few setbacks where I thought the dream was dead, but I’m so proud of myself for picking myself up and making sure I kept going. Now I can look back on 2019 happier than ever. It was a very successful year for me in terms of my career.
I’ve become a lot more confident in my abilities and in myself this year. I know who I am and exactly what I want out of lots of different aspects of life – friendships, money, housing, family, fitness, leisure. I want to make sure that the energy I keep around me is only positive and I think that I have been really good at that this year. I haven’t given negative people the leeway to stay in my life long enough to have any real effect on it and I’m proud of that.
This year, I’m looking forward to even more success and happiness. Although happiness is not as easy as saying this year, I would like to be happy, I would like to commit to taking more time to do the things that will maintain my happiness overall.
On the whole, I’ve had an incredible year. I wish everybody all the best for their New Year, all of the blessings, success and happiness. I hope that you are able to leave any negativity behind and move forward focusing on you and all of the things that will make you happy.
This Thursday 12th December we held a general election in the UK. I was at the polling station at 7am on the dot. In fact, I was the first person to vote at my polling station – that’s how bloody eager I was. Now, I hope that those people reading this post who were able to vote in this election, did. Nothing frustrates me more (apart from the Tory win at this election, but we will come to that…) than people who don’t vote when they are eligible to do so!
I made sure to read the manifestos of the parties thoroughly – apart from the Lib Dems, whose manifesto lacked so much clarity that I personally didn’t see the point in continuing. In my opinion, the Conservative manifesto was all about Brexit. In fact, that’s not even an opinion – they proudly claim this themselves. Get Brexit done. Get Brexit done. Get Brexit done. Although Brexit is very important to me, it’s not the only thing that influenced my vote. Over the next 5 years, we have more to worry about than just Brexit. This should not have been a Brexit election.
If you have read my post on climate change (you can do so here), then you will know that I am extremely concerned about the future of the planet. So any manifestos that speak thoroughly to solving this global issue, go down favourably with me. I also care about issues like the cost of living, accessibility to skilled jobs, affordable housing and homelessness, crime and the way that we view and respond to immigration.
Now, with all of this in mind, I read the manifestos of the Conservative and Labour parties. My constituency has a majority Conservative hold so I was torn between tactical voting (Lib Dems) and genuinely just voting for who I most found my beliefs aligned with. I simply cannot support a Conservative government, when it means that the prime minister is a man who has repeatedly insulted every minority and under-privileged group in this country. Everyone that’s not a rich white man essentially. He is sexist, homophobic and he’s a racist. Referring to Muslim women as letterboxes and black children as picaninnies – are we just going to excuse this along with the long list of offensive things he’s said in the past? For a quick run through, you can read about them here. Or, you could just research him yourself and become informed about the kind of man that is going to be running this country for the next 5 years. Anyone who supports or even worse, tries to defend this man – well, frankly I don’t want to hear it.
The result of this election has been angering me all weekend. Genuinely, I am so disappointed. I think that the Conservative party is the worst party of them all and I just cannot understand why so many people voted for them. The only explanations I have for this, are that voters secretly share his controversial views and that he gained much of his support through leading his manifesto with Brexit.
Brexit has been going on since 2016. It’s now almost 2020. I know that this has been drawling on tirelessly. We’re all fed up of hearing about it on the news because we never get any clarity as to what is actually happening. We voted and the result of that vote, four years later, has not been fulfilled. It’s shambolic. During this time, we saw David Cameron immediately resign, Theresa May continually lead us into more and more disarray and then we got Boris as prime minister – who promises to get this whole ordeal sorted quickly and finally. To debate Brexit is really a separate topic on its own. I want to remain in the EU for several different reasons – the freedom to travel, work and live in any other EU country, access to emergency healthcare in any EU country as well as the option to seek help from an EU embassy outside of the EU if I’m abroad, the fact that the single market and trade sustains masses of UK jobs and businesses, which keeps the country thriving and the wider influence that we have from being part of a large union. These are just my reasons laid out simply, as I’m not going to be debating Brexit in this post. But I do feel that people voted Conservative not because they want to leave the EU with Boris’ deal or because they want to leave at all, but simply because they want to Get Brexit done. I’ve watched interviews with members of the public on this and even many of the remain voters say they just want to get this over with now. Boris promises to do that. People like Boris because he promises to do that and they believe that he will.
But for me, this vote was not just about Brexit. The Labour manifesto advocates change: It’s time for real change. There is a whole section on how they will lead a green industrial revolution through switching to renewable energy. This will create one million more jobs and reduce the cost of energy bills. Labour also recognise that the biggest polluters of our planet are in the wealthiest percentage of the population. If you read the Labour manifesto and compare it to the Lib Dems, you will find that Labour clearly details the how and the Lib Dems simply state that they are going to make sure they do this and that, without actually explaining the workings behind any of it. Saving the planet is my biggest concern and I felt that the Labour manifesto was the only one, out of all three manifestos that I considered, that gave this the detail and attention it deserves.
There is a whole section on tackling poverty and inequality – something the Conservatives only mention in passing. Not to mention that the homepage of their manifesto is scattered with images of white people and nobody else, when this is a multi-cultural country. Labour consider lots of different types of people in their manifesto – unemployed, self-employed, households with one person working, teenagers on minimum wage, people working full-time but facing too-high living costs, excessive working hours and the recognition that a healthy working environment allows you time to switch off. They also speak to several different injustices – gender differences and closing the pay gap, racial and religious injustice, taking care of our younger workers to make sure that they are not exploited with low pay and zero hour contracts. It’s the most inclusive manifesto.
Labour talk about making the NHS a zero-carbon service and investing in mental health to ensure that more people have access to the help they need. When they talk about the police, they talk about improving the relationship between communities and the police, providing more training and proportionate stop-and-searches. Unlike the Tories, who pledge to put 20,000 more officers on the streets and increase their powers to stop-and-search. They mention making stop-and-searches fair and proportionate, without even acknowledging the ways in which it currently isn’t. So how are we supposed to believe that they know what is fair and proportionate? There is one mention of the word minority in their manifesto and it is in reference to the ‘criminal minority’. There is one mention of ethnicity and religion, lumped together can I add and not addressed as separate entities. It simply states that a Conservative government will protect people from physical attack and harassment, without stating how and again, without recognising the specific problems that people are facing within these contexts. They just mention this for the sake of mentioning it.
The Conservative manifesto talks about ‘prevent[ing] any foreign interference in elections’. Which brings me on to the fact that there were so many European citizens who were turned away from their polling stations on Thursday and refused the right to vote! At the same time, there were people who didn’t receive their postal votes or received them the day after the election. I mean, really? These are the things we need to be talking about. If you ever want to get a sense of what is really happening to people in this world, read your Twitter feed. I’m not saying that Twitter is the voice of truth, but in a way, it is the voice of many people’s truths. The voice that speaks to the things you won’t be able to read about or hear on the news.
I voted Labour because, in my opinion, their discussions are holistic. They have detail and numbers in their manifesto to ensure we clearly understand the what and the how. You can question those numbers if you like but there are explanations behind what they say. It’s the most thorough and detailed manifesto I have read. I’m disappointed that more people didn’t vote Labour, I really am.
As I’m sure you can tell, I am really frustrated by the result of this election. In fact, it’s been irritating me all weekend. I know that the result is the result and we can’t change it now but I’m allowed to have my views, I’m allowed to be annoyed and I’m allowed to express why. For the next 5 years I have to have Boris Johnson as my prime minister and I really couldn’t think of anything worse.
Naming this post was almost as frustrating as the thought of writing it. But these kind of posts always go down really well on my blog and I do secretly enjoy writing them. They give me the opportunity to moan about all of the things that have been grating on me for a while now. I have the Summer Walker album playing, I’m comfy in bed, I have a cup of tea – which means that we have the perfect combination to start discussing my favourite (I’m being sarcastic) topic ever!
I think it’s been made fairly obvious in the past that I don’t really date but I somehow still manage to find myself involved with guys. Funny how that works isn’t it? On multiple occasions I’ve received texts from guys and had to stop to wonder how I even got myself into the position where they felt they needed to or could message me these things. Confounding, truly. I won’t tell you how many dates I have actually been on in my life as the figure is shocking in comparison to my age. But just know that it’s minimal.
In any case, I find myself somewhat equipped to share with you all of the things that you really shouldn’t do when dating. Probably because I’m ill-equipped to advise on the opposite.
First of all, you want to start with actually accepting some date invitations. That’s always a good way to kick things off. If somebody asks you out and you think they’re alright (at the least), say yes. You really don’t have much to lose. (I mean apart from wasted time, clothes, hair, make-up, effort etc…). Plus, you get a nice evening out! (Not like you would rather have spent this in bed with Pizza Hut cookie dough and The Sims. Ha no, never!)
I want to take this opportunity to remind you that accepting a date is not signing yourself off to marriage. Something I have to remind myself often. Accepting a first date can make you feel quite anxious if you’re a very independent person. You’re used to doing everything for you and it’s probably going to be somewhat difficult to start dividing your time. Maybe you don’t want to give them the wrong impression, hurt their feelings if it doesn’t go well or end up in a situation that you feel you can’t get out of. You probably don’t want it to be too intense either, right? I always want a first date to be very chilled out, see where it goes kind of vibe. If you feel too much pressure early on then you’re more likely to hit a premature boiling point…
Anyway let’s say the first date does go well. It’s exactly what you wanted and you’re open to seeing them again. My second tip is to be vocal about this. Girls especially, don’t wait for the guy to text you. If you ever wait for a guy for anything, I can tell you now that you’ll be waiting for the next few years. You don’t have to send a long paragraph, you don’t have to make it into a big thing either. Just let them know that you would want to see them again and… see what happens.
The whole seeing what happens thing is key for me. It’s my whole vibe. But, I have to advise from experience, that you shouldn’t cut this stage short too soon. Perhaps your patience is limited. I can understand this completely – mine barely exists. But, in order to see what happens, you actually have to see what happens. This can, unfortunately, take time.
But I would caution against you giving it too much time. If something is regressing or remaining at the same level, then you know what to do. There is absolutely no point in dragging something out for the sake of it. You might be bored or you might be lonely. Yes yes we’ve all been there. But you really don’t want to toy with anybody’s emotions. It’s also important to be comfortable on your own. You don’t necessarily have to be happy on your own. But you should note that nobody is ever going to give you as much attention as you can give yourself.
Now whenever you’re dating someone, there will always be those handful of boxes left un-ticked. For a control freak like me, some of those boxes have been checked before I’ve even gone on the date – which is why I’m there. They’ve been pre-assessed you see. But this is not a mentality I would recommend. Instead of looking for things that you like about someone, you’ll already be sub-consciously flaw finding. Flaw finding is a dangerous cycle of thinking to adopt, as it always leads back to the same point – disappointment.
What do I suggest instead? Well, forget the boxes. I almost (not quite, don’t get excited) feel that the person you’ll end up with, is not going to fit perfectly into your grid of yes and no behaviours. They’ll just be on a different scale altogether and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much you want to swap your normal scale for this one instead. Does that make sense? To me it does.
My final piece of advice and I swear by this one, is to never let a dating failure upset you. Annoyed? Yes. Frustrated? Absolutely. Upset? No. We don’t have time for that. Do what you need to do to pick yourself back up as quickly as possible (I mean it) and keep going. As I love to say, we move.
Recently, I’ve been watching a few documentaries about climate change. I think that climate change is something most of us are vaguely aware of but I really wanted to increase my knowledge, look at the facts and take the opportunity to learn about the topic more in-depth. At the end of the day, I am still going to be alive in 20 years – which is how long we have to save the planet. Some sources even say that we only have 10 years. Time is running out before the damage is irreversible.
I don’t know everything and in this post I am not claiming to. But I have picked up a few key facts so far and I really wanted to share them here. The more that I’m learning about climate change and how much we have destroyed the planet already, the more important it’s becoming for me to share that knowledge and to actively contribute to rescuing the planet myself.
When we talk about global warming, it’s often just this over-arching term that we use to account for everything that’s damaging the planet. But what does it actually mean? There is a clear trend in temperature patterns, recorded by several different sources, that each show our world is getting hotter. The 10 hottest summers on record in the UK have been recorded since 2002. We have a heat wave here in London and we absolutely love it. People are sprawled out on every patch of greenery they can find around the city. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t enjoy this heat, but we need to be aware of why this is happening. Our world is now one degree hotter – ice is melting and the land around the world is drying out.
We are seeing the effects of global warming now more than we ever have before. Wildfires in Greece and California last year, for example. We’re seeing bigger natural disasters, sporadic weather changes and species dying out, passionate activists begging us to make changes sooner rather than later. In David Attenborough’s documentary on climate change, released this year, there is a scene that shows a forest full of dead bats in Australia. Why? Because the temperature was too hot and the bats couldn’t survive. Over 11,000 bats died and if that happened twice more, then the whole species would be gone. Animals are not able to adapt to such a vigorously evolving climate – causing multiple species to become extinct.
Our use of fossil fuels is greatly responsible for the warming of the planet and the failure of the world’s ecosystems and species’ abilities to survive. Global warming cannot be explained entirely by natural causes. We are part of a generation that relies on burning fossil fuels to generate the majority of our energy. The burning of fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is dangerous because CO2 acts as a blanket that traps heat in the atmosphere. We emit these gases through our industries, buildings, the generation of electricity and heat, transport, agriculture and forestry and other energy.
Global warming is also causing more moisture, which is changing the system of our weather. More moisture in the atmosphere means more rain – particularly in continents like Asia, we see this very dramatically. So much rainfall that towns and cities are being flooded or are seeing violent rainstorms. Weather conditions are just becoming increasingly volatile. For example, much of the heat that we are gaining is being stored in our world’s oceans. What we have found is that the warmer oceans are bleaching and killing sea life like coral. If you have a look at some of the coral in our oceans, you will find that a lot of it has completely lost its colour and is dead.
Antarctica, for example, where we all can picture images of icebergs crashing down as they melt, is losing three times as much ice today as it was 25 years ago and it’s only about half a centigrade warmer than it should be. Imagine what would happen if it was a full centigrade warmer? The ice melts into the sea and this means that sea levels are rising. I couldn’t believe that in Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, for example, they are losing land to rising sea levels, at the rate of a football field every 45 minutes.
Recently, we all became aware that the Amazon rainforest is burning. The Amazon rainforest contributes to 20% of the world’s oxygen – which is why it is often referred to as the lungs of the planet. If you google why the Amazon was on fire, many sources will tell you that farmers were lighting it up to clear land. Other sources will tell you that the forest burned as a result of land that was far too hot and dry.
Either way, deforestation is a key contributor of global warming. When we get rid of trees, not only are we reducing the oxygen in the planet but we are making it easier for greenhouse emissions to rise into the atmosphere. This is because trees actually capture greenhouse gases for us. So when we cut them down, they end up releasing the gases they have been storing. Even worse is that, when we leave the trees to rot or we burn them down to get rid of them, we are producing even more emissions. A certain amount of heat from the sun is supposed to reflect off the earth’s surface. But greenhouse gases interfere with this process, by acting as a kind of blanket around the earth that traps the heat instead.
Almost a third of our CO2 emissions are caused by deforestation. So why do we do it? Well, mainly because of agriculture. Clearing land means that we can produce palm oil and soy, for example. Palm oil is found in 44 countries around the world, with the two biggest producers being Indonesia and Malaysia. It’s used in pretty much everything you can think of – lipsticks, food, toothpaste, even as a biofuel in some places. So, we’re clearing forests to make way for lucrative industries. But this actually becomes counter-productive, because when we burn down trees, in many cases, we find that the soil underneath is poor and that all of the nutrients have already been used up. If we continue at this rate of deforestation, it will take less than a century before all of the world’s rainforests are gone. This means more greenhouse gas emissions, less oxygen and more destruction of natural habitats; resulting in the extinction of yet more species and ecosystems.
When I talk about greenhouse gases, I’m not talking just about CO2. Methane is a greenhouse gas and there are large pockets of it trapped underneath the permafrost in the Arctic. Its release is supposed to be natural and long-term but global warming is melting the ice around the world, as I explained earlier. As this ice melts, it’s not just the rising sea levels that we have to be wary of, it’s the fact that the methane underneath the permafrost will bubble up and release itself into our atmosphere. Methane is 21 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas then CO2. So just imagine what will happen when all of these little pockets of gas are released into our atmosphere too.
If we continue at the rate we are now, then by 2040, we will hit 1.5 degrees of global warming. Shortly after that, we will hit 2 degrees. I can’t find much information on what the world will look like when this happens, as nobody is clear on this. But, what people are clear on, is that land will be so dry it will no longer be fruitful. We talk about plant-based diets being good for us and the environment (something I would like to research more) and this is something I’m slowly trying to ease myself into. But if our land can’t produce anything because it has dried out, then even if our diets are plant based, what are we going to eat?
I fear for our climate because I truly do not believe that governments around the world are committed to acting upon climate change. Our economy relies on industries that are harmful to our planet. Leaders around the world have notoriously been reluctant to act upon climate change, because this would involve eradicating lucrative industries. They don’t want to do that. Remember when Trump claimed that global warming was a ‘money-making myth’? Well what will take time, money and effort is actually responding to this issue and sadly, it’s just not that important to them.
Renewable energy is one of the key ways that we can target global warming. We all know about solar power, for example and it’s actually cheaper than the energy we get from burning fossil fuels. Wind turbines are another source and this is going to be a lot cheaper than fossil fuels in the future too. At the moment, 30% of our energy in the UK comes from renewable sources. This is good, but we need more. We also need to apply these changes to multiple industries – like the transport industry, for example. There are electric cars cropping up here and there and there are even trials taking place to build electric planes. People love to travel and this is going to be difficult to stop – it makes a lot of money and it also makes a lot of people happy. But if planes were to be powered by electric motors instead of fuel, then they would be a lot better for our planet. We have already seen the success of a one passenger electric plane making it across the English Channel. So if we continue with these trials, then we could see electric planes transporting us across the world too.
Re-planting trees that we have burned down is important too, because as I said earlier, trees absorb CO2. We can also look into building carbon collectors, which I think is a really interesting option. Carbon collectors take in air and trap CO2 using a filter. Once absorbed, the CO2 is dissolved in water and at a high pressure it is pumped down 1800m and forced to enter the bedrock. It’s called basalt. The CO2 ridden water then reacts with the rock and they separate. Whilst the water drifts over the rock, the CO2 turns into white patches of stone. Cleverly, this means that it cannot effect our atmosphere anymore.
Individually, we need to reduce the demand for… everything. Clothes, for example, which I am so guilty of. I love to shop but that doesn’t mean that I wear everything I buy. Almost everything we buy is produced using fossil fuels. So if we reduce our demand for these things and start investing in products that will last, then the demand goes down and so does the supply. If we’re being honest, the supply will not automatically be stopped until the demand decreases. As long as we want things, they will keep being produced. We have to create a reality where the costs of production of an item, outweigh the profit that can be made from selling it and we do this by lessening the demand. In first world countries, we are so wasteful and we really need to start thinking about what we’re throwing away and stop doing it.
We should also try to reduce our meat (specifically beef and lamb) and dairy intake. As a result of factory farming and intensive farming techniques, cows and sheep actually burp up methane. These techniques use fertilisers to produce long-lasting ryegrass (perennial ryegrass) that grows quickly and in large quantities. This grass is not very nutritious and it’s difficult for the animals to digest. The simple science behind it (as I am not a scientist) is that the ryegrass mingles with microbes inside the animals and produces gas, which the farm animals then burp up into our atmosphere.
It’s really important to look into what you can do to help with climate change. As I always say, knowledge and research is absolutely key, so I will leave some of the sources that I have found useful linked down below. Don’t get me wrong, I still have lots to learn on this. There’s science behind it that I would like to understand and there is history that I want to research, to see exactly what kind of things we have been doing over the years to get us here in the first place. This post is just an amalgamation of what I have learnt through watching documentaries and reading up on climate change over the past week. So if anybody has any recommendations, then please let me know!
These are the sources that inspired me to write this post. But if there is anything you don’t understand, then just have a little Google and find some trusted sources. It’s not too difficult. Think of it like doing your research for an essay, only this research is going to help you save the planet!
Jesy Nelson (Little Mix) recently released a BBC documentary called ‘Odd One Out’ about how online bullying and trolling has effected her since winning the X-Factor in 2011. If you haven’t watched it already, then you really need to. It’s heart-breaking but it’s so important and I think that we could all learn a lot from watching it.
Social media is such a huge part of my everyday life. I’ve said it before but I wake up and I scroll through Instagram, then I check Twitter and then I go onto YouTube and watch videos from my favourite creators while I eat my breakfast and get ready. I’m online so much that I’ve already seen so much online bullying and trolling and I hate to say that it’s become something I’m actually used to. It does still surprise me, but even watching Jesy’s documentary, I wasn’t exposed to anything that I didn’t already know. People do leave comments and write posts and tweets saying some very damaging things. Some of them know how much pain they’re causing when they do it, but I do also think that there is a large percentage of people who don’t.
When somebody puts themselves in the public eye, they are entering into a sphere that is heaving with negativity. I don’t believe that that means they should learn how to deal with it or get over it, as some people might say. People just shouldn’t be allowed to say whatever they want online in the first place because I actually feel that the online space is becoming just as dangerous as the world outside of it. People think it’s okay to say whatever they want, because social media gives them the capacity to do so behind a screen. They don’t have to be identified and I think that’s where social media becomes very threatening.
Young people are slowly being made aware of just how important it is to be kind online, which is good. I’m not sure where the lines got blurred here if I’m honest. I have never ever thought about writing anything telling someone to kill themselves. I wouldn’t say it out loud, I wouldn’t type it, I haven’t even ever looked at someone and thought that about them. I cannot fathom what place you have to be in in your life, to try and reduce someone to such little self-worth. When you’re typing something like that, you have to know exactly what you’re doing and that is why I think that people should be held accountable for what they say online. There is a petition specifically for this and I encourage everybody who agrees with me to sign it. You can do so here.
Social media has constructed this extra layer of reality that most of the younger generation have now been born in to. I know what it was like before social media, but there are some people who don’t. This kind of life – where you have to look perfect online all the time, where you can get bullied online, where your social media presence and engagement validates you more than the natural interaction you have in your life – is just the norm for a lot of people.
There is so much pressure to only present the best parts of yourself online. So when you think you’re doing that and you get a comment from somebody that completely tears you down, what are you supposed to think? You’ve taken a photo in the best lighting possible, you’ve done your hair, your make-up, you’ve worn the best outfit you can and posed in the most flattering way you can. For some people, even that’s not good enough. So you add a filter to make your skin look better, you change the lighting a little bit. Even then, for some people, it’s still not good enough. So they start editing themselves with apps like FaceTune, tweaking all of their insecurities until they look perfect. Then they post a picture online and guess what? It’s still not good enough.
I think that it’s going to be difficult to undo the damage that has been caused by social media, maybe even impossible. But slowly, we have to start using the platform to show more of reality. To replace the warped realism that demands so many of our attention. And, we need to make sure that we’re exposing those who are using their social media accounts to bully and troll others. It’s not okay. It’s causing irreversible damage and it has to stop.