Thursday, 29 December 2016

Working in Retail - Is It for You?

There are so many great things about working in a busy high street retailer, but there are a lot of bad things, too! In today's post, I want to sum up both the pros and cons, and write a little about why it can be a good thing to work in retail. 

I spent a month (in the run-up to Christmas, ahh!) working at my local HMV, which is my favourite place, but it got busy and therefore stressful! I did really enjoy my time there, because everyone I was working with was lovely, and more than willing to help me out when I needed it. I loved being able to talk to customers about music, movies, and vinyl, as these are things that I feel really passionate about! 
While I obviously had shopped in the store before, I quickly discovered that my knowledge of the products we sold wasn't as good as I thought it was, and it definitely took me a while to get the hang of using the track system to search for items we did have in stock. 

Working in retail, you will definitely get people that treat you like shit, that's just the way it is. There are some really terrible people in the world, who just want something to shout about. Sometimes, it ends up being you. (or, in my experience, a 5p carrier bag. Madness). Despite the odd negative customer, most of the people you'll encounter will be just lovely, so don't stress too much about that one! 
Another thing that I found about retail work is that it can be pretty exhausting, as you're on your feet all day, and around people almost nonstop. Particularly around Christmas, shops get incredibly busy, but if you're working somewhere that you like, it's not that bad. 
People will ask you lots of questions, and you probably won't know the answer! That's okay though, as there will be other employees around you to ask! 

Despite all of the negative things I've just mentioned, retail work feels pretty rewarding, as you'll get good customer reviews, and people will say such lovely things sometimes! You also get to feel good about helping people, particularly if they're trying to pick out a present or something.
It's also super duper nice to be earning, and therefore spending (or saving!) your own money. It's definitely a good way to start feeling a little more grown up. 

If you're at your place of work for a long time, you'll eventually get to know the place incredibly well, and being able to look back and see how much things have changed since you started is such a great thing!

SO, after that lil section about retail work, what do you think?! It is an exhausting but rewarding job. If you're 18 or under, you'll get paid a tiny wage, as big retail bosses are crap, but it's still so nice to be working, right?!

I hope you've all had a good Christmas, and will have a good New Year! I also hope this was helpful, let me know in the comments, and also tell me about your retail shopping experiences/working experiences!

Until next time,
- Dottie x

Sunday, 25 December 2016

I Have a Lot to be Thankful For ♥

It's been a long time since I sat down and wrote a blog post, almost everything that has been posted lately has been scheduled weeks in advance... It's currently around 10pm on Christmas day, and my mind has been non-stop all day. I think it's time to get some of those thoughts out of my head, right?

This festive period has felt increasingly different as the years have passed. It no longer contains the amount of joy and excitement as it used to. I know that as soon as November came around this year, I was beyond ecstatic, but as the big day has come closer and closer, stress levels rose, and my excitement has fallen dramatically. Right now, today, I don't feel happy, or sad, or anything in particular. It's just another day. But I am thankful that I got to spend it with almost everyone that I love. 

This year was the first time that I have had a job for more than a few weeks. Summer was spent at a holiday company as a cleaner, as was my October half-term break. This Christmas period, I have been working at HMV, which was both an amazing experience, as I got to spend time with some wonderful people, and it was something that stressed me out and exhausted me beyond belief. I've recently felt that I've not had enough time to do the things that make me happy, like writing blog posts and enjoying music. I always see that people comment on my posts, which makes me feel so happy and loved, yet I never have the time to reply. I hope that all of you know that I love you for the kind feedback you give my blog. 

I have been working weekends since November, and last week I worked six full days, including Christmas eve. I've gotten up at 6am on each of those days, which I didn't think would make me as tired as I am! Nonetheless, I'm glad that I got the opportunity to work with some lovely people, and in one of my favourite stores.

Because I've been working so much, I haven't had nearly enough time to spend with my two beautiful best friends, who I honestly miss more than anyone... It's been too long since we were in endless fits of giggles at each others' stupidity. 

I miss my perfect boyfriend, despite being able to see him almost everyday. There is never enough time to spend with him, and that hurts. We always seem to have to say goodbye...

Despite all of this sadness that I feel for people I barely get to see, I'm still thankful that I hear from them everyday, because they are part of my support system when things get bad. We're there for each other and that means more than anything. 

I'm glad that I have had the opportunity to work, and therefore spend my wages on things that are important. I have a car now, and have had so many amazing experiences seeing live bands, Cirque du Soleil, etc. 

I can't remember what I saw today that reminded me of all I have to be thankful for, but I'm glad that I saw it. You see, I have more than I could ever ask for right now, and I feel as though I don't appreciate that enough. Right now, it doesn't feel like Christmas, which is odd as I've always been so excited... Now, I'm just exhausted. 

My mind has been telling me that it's wrong to not feel happy on this day, that I should be over the moon about all that I've been able to give and receive, yet all I can think about is how Christmas has become more and more about commercialism and spending money. People always ask "oh, what did you get for Christmas?!" and I don't see how that really matters? People have just become so obsessed with making money, and gaining material items of so much worth... All I really wanted this year is to see those around me light up with joy, which did mean spending money, but it wasn't all trivial items... I put so much thought into the gifts I got for people, and I really hope that means a lot to them. 

I guess that the point of me taking time away from people is to get these thoughts out of my head and try to make some sort of sense out of them. Basically, Christmas is different now, and I don't like that. It doesn't make me anywhere near as happy as it used to, I don't want to just have a load of pointless presents that I'll forget about. I want it to matter, I want my life to matter. I just don't know how to go about that. 

Anyway, I hope whoever is reading this is having a meaningful, love-filled day. 
- Dottie x

Thursday, 22 December 2016

A Few Little Face Products...

Hello gang!! In the run up to Christmas, I'm sure we're all searching for the perfect beauty products to care for our skin and keep us looking our best for the party season! So, I thought I'd share a few of my favourites with you!! 

Left to right: Simple Kind to Skin Light Moisturiser | The Body Shop Tea Tree Pore Minimiser | Simple Clear Skin Oil Balancing Face Scrub

In the mornings before I do my makeup, I use the Simple Clear Skin Oil Balancing Face Scrub (linked in photo caption). As someone who gets pretty frequent spots, and insanely oily skin, this has to be one of my holy grail beauty products! It keeps my face fairly matte throughout the day, and as it contains witch hazel, it's also awesome at fighting blemishes. 

Something that I didn't realise for the longest of times was that no matter your skin type, you must moisturise! My favourite one for the day is Simple's Kind to Skin Light Hydrating Moisturiser, and I've been using it for years! It's unscented, and provides just the right amount of hydration for my face!

Finally, before I put my foundation on, I use The Body Shop's Tea Tree Pore Minimiser primer. While it is quite pricey, it's the perfect base for my makeup, as it really helps to fight the shine! On top of that, it's tea tree, so even more blemish fighting from this little product! It took me a while to find something that works this well, and finding a primer can be pretty overwhelming as there are just so many out there. But, if you are also a sufferer of oily skin, this is going to be perfect for you! 

Left to right: Lush Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub | Nivea Daily Essentials 2 in 1 Cleanser and Toner
In order to remove my makeup in the evenings, I use Nivea's Daily Essentials 2 in 1 Cleanser & Toner on my face, and their 3 in 1 Miceallar Water to remove my eye makeup. Both of these products are incredibly gentle and remove makeup without the need for scrubbing, so I love them! The cleanser lasts for such a long time, as you only need a little bit to remove an entire face's makeup, which I must say I adore about the product. 

A few times a week, I use the Lush Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub, which I picked up about a month ago. It's so great to be using a product that is filled with natural ingredients, and my face is loving it! Finally, I moisturise using either the Simple one above, or a slightly heavier Nivea one, depending on what my face is needing. 

I hope you guys found this little skincare guide helpful, it's always a bit confusing to find products that your skin needs!

- Dottie x

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Stress & Mental Health

Hey guys, it's time to sit down and write another pure, honest, and from-the-heart post. And to be honest, right now I'm not doing too brilliantly. 

Last week, I was really poorly, feeling dizzy and sick, and experiencing general flu-like symptoms. I've had no energy for months, feeling constantly exhausted and lacking in motivation. This all finally got to me, and I also suffered a few panic attacks and just stress-related breakdowns. 

I've experienced symptoms like this before; when I was in Year 11 (two years ago, about this time of year) I was struggling to fit in all of my revision for mock exams, and would end up coming home from school with piles of work due in, and I would just break down, and sob for hours, unable to even comprehend how I was going to do it all. You see, I'm a bit of a perfectionist so every piece of work I hand in had to be completed to an unreasonably high standard, which I couldn't keep up with. 
Growing up, I always achieved the highest grades, and I felt (and still feel) so much pressure to ace every test and exam. Of course, this pressure gets to anyone eventually. 

Here, today, right now I am working two jobs (one is at HMV and is only a temporary position), struggling to complete college assignments that don't capture my interest, panicking about what I'm going to do next year (I really think university is off the cards for me right now), not getting enough sleep, and not spending enough time with the people I love. I also want to try and get a blog post out every week, and I am finally starting to snap. 

Since around this time last year, I started to lose interest in things that I used to enjoy, such as listening to music (now it's mostly background noise), and playing guitar. I think I've written about that all before, but I've just realised that there's probably something not okay with that. 
I also feel constantly exhausted, even if I get the correct amount of sleep, which turns out to be 9.25 hours for someone of my age. I get up, go to college or work, and come home completely exhausted. I never want to get up and do anything, all I seem to do now is work or go to college. On my days off, which this week are few and far between, I sleep until midday to attempt to get rid of the feelings of fatigue. This does not work. 

I've just had enough of all of this. 

This weekend just passed (10th and 11th), I had to go into my work and ask for time off, as I was having panic attacks previously, and just generally struggling to do anything. While I feel incredibly guilty for not being in work (and now also stressed about money), I took the time to organise my room and ensure that everything is clean and tidy, and compile a list of all that I need to get completed and when for. 

I am as of yet undecided if this is helping, but I've made an attempt to make things better, and seeing my thoughts on paper really does empty the ole brain... I know that in the long run, having everything organised will help me to make the best use of my time and end up with plenty of free time to relax and stuff, but it is so much effort to not leave paperwork all over my desk, and washing in piles strewn across my floor. I kind of don't see the point in moving it, y'know?

I guess the important thing here is that I'm trying, but it's so difficult and I have so much to worry about. I really wish that I could stay in bed forever. 

I'm trying. I think this blog is the only thing going right in my life at this current moment. Nothing else is okay, including me. 

- Dottie x

Thursday, 8 December 2016

How to Travel in Time...

As I'm sitting here writing this, I'm listening to Tom Odell live in session on BBC Radio Two, and I can close my eyes and I'm back in 2013, in a grotty venue in one of my favourite cities, at my first gig watching him play this song live. 
I was drinking a beer the other day, and the taste suddenly reminded me of summer, sitting in a field, freezing cold with a warm lager in my hand, surrounded by people I used to be best friends with when I was little. There was fairy lights, and so much laughter and happiness, and it made me sad for a second, because I miss that moment. 

Humans seem to believe that it isn't possible to travel in time, and that once a moment has passed we'll never experience it again...That isn't true, these moments are alive in our memories, and in the little things that we notice at the most random of times. Sometimes, these memories and reminders can be crippling, yet others are so beautiful. I will always be one for nostalgia, I love to look back and remember the happiness. I know that I wasn't always happy, just as I am not always happy now, but there was so much joy in my life, just as there is now. It's just that the joy I experience now is different. I don't know how to explain it, but the things that make me happy now have changed so much... 

But anyway.

Some moments will never pass. They will never leave you. Your best friends laughing at the smallest things in an Italian restaurant, your boyfriend's smile or his 'I love you' eyes. Sitting with your parents in the garden, with a little fire burning, or the blissful peace of walking alone in the forest in autumn. These memories can be brought back, or rather, you can be brought back to them with the smallest of things. 

Humans can travel in time. I've seen it. I've done it. I love it. 

- Dottie x

Thursday, 1 December 2016

How Do I Write a Wish-List?!

Hello my friends!! I'm curled up in bed at this very second, and I'm cold and bored, so I figured why not make a wish-list on my blog?! Then, I realised that I don't know how to. So here's my attempt at a wish-list, yippee!!

Before I begin, I am going to clarify that all images are credited to New Look, I do not own copyright to them! Yay, legal stuff!!

Grey Chunky Knit Bardot Jumper
Black Platform Flared Heel Chelsea Boots
Blue Fray Hem Skinny Jeans
I really do love all of these items, I'd love to wear the skirt with a pair of fishnet tights, a big snuggly jumper and some chunky boots! The skinny jeans are of course a staple item for any wardrobe, and I don't actually have a pale pair of skinnys yet! As well as these few items I've found photos for, I want to purchase lots of new bras and underwear from New Look, because they do a brilliant 'three for two' offer, which is awesome for a student on a budget!! 

If you're interested in buying any of this stuff, the captions are links, so that's pretty cool, and I hope you enjoyed this mini wish list!!

- Dottie. 

Thursday, 24 November 2016

You Are YOU

Hi You, 

I am writing this to tell you that you are You. You cannot be anyone but Yourself. I want you to understand this - no, I need you to understand this, because the You that you are is beautiful, perfect, and most of all, You are You-nique. [1] 

I want to tell you, and you need to understand that it doesn't matter that She passed her driving test in three months, or that He got a higher score than you on a test you studied so much for. These things don't matter because You will progress at Your Own Rate. It might take you an entire year to learn to drive, or three attempts to ace that test, but You Will Do It. You will learn about yourself in the process, and you will achieve whatever it is you wish to. 

It just takes time. 

The You that you are is the perfect one, the one that doesn't need to change for anybody, or anything except for Yourself. I want you to live your life for one person - Yourself. [2] This person is the one you're living for, the one you need to make happy. You don't need to change your hair, or go on a diet to make people fall in love with You, because they can already see You are you are - wonderful. 

When we look in a mirror, we never see ourselves as the entire person we are; a reflection can't show you how you beautiful your smile is when you're close to tears from laughter, or how stunning your eyes are when you're so focused on that book you're reading. A mirror only shows us what we show it - a two-dimensional version of ourselves, and We are far more than that. 

Someone has fallen in love with you when you've been curled up in an armchair in a coffee shop with a dog-eared copy of your favourite novel. A real person has admired your outfit choice from afar in a shopping mall. People have watched with awe as you've done that thing that you can't tell you're amazing at. 

I want you to see You as You. The real You. Stop comparing yourself to Her, Him, or Them. Ignore the person that people are trying to show you they are on social media, because that isn't them. People are messy, we all cry, we all hurt, we all bleed. No one is perfect, and that makes us unbelievably so, because we can embrace that, and fall in love with ourselves. 

You are You. No one else. Please love yourself, and allow yourself to be loved. I promise that you are worthy of it. 

Someone who is trying so damn hard to believe the words she writes. 

[1] - I wish I could say I'm sorry for that terrible pun, but alas, I cannot. 
[2] - (I mean no disrespect to any God/Gods you may hold, I just want you all to believe in yourself).

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Growing Up, Falling In Love, and Other Scary Stuff

I don't know about you reading this, but when I follow a blogger, I like to know a little bit about them, and I think it's nice to get to know the author through their writing. I know it's been quite a while since I last wrote a little update on how things are going, so let's go for it! 

I'm at college, where we have project to record an EP and produce a music video, along with some other smaller assignments. Plans for these are slowly being put in place, and I'm actually pretty excited for that! 

Elsewhere in my life, my eighteenth birthday passed uneventfully; I still haven't been drunk, or bought a beer at a pub. That needs to happen soon! (The pub part, not being drunk!). I spent my birthday with my family, my grandparents included, and my boyfriend came to my house for the evening, too so it was such a lovely day! 

A week after my birthday, I passed my practical driving test! I can now legally go out onto the roads in my own little car, and get around much more easily, without relying on my parents or busses to get me places! How awesome, right?! 

So those are all of the rather mundane happenings... What's the scary stuff, I hear you ask? Well, let me tell you! 

I'm now technically classed as an adult, and I am feeling as though I really need to start growing up, and being way more responsible for just my own life in general. I need to find a permanent part-time job, as I'm in college for just three days a week, and I'm going to need to run a car, which is incredibly expensive. I currently have a job that I can do during college holidays, but it's only twelve hours a week, which isn't really ideal. I'm frantically applying for Christmas temporary staff positions, to try and earn enough for a tattoo and my car's MOT in January, but as I'm writing this, I can't say I've gotten a job yet... 

As I'm also currently in my second year of college, I need to start properly thinking about what I want to do next. Do I go to university, like I've always dreamed, or do I take a gap year, and work to earn my money? It's a really difficult decision, because each option has so many pros, and cons. I really don't know what I want to do, so wish me luck with that! 

I don't really know what else to tell you, other than I'm happy with life, despite being so scared and stressed about things at the moment... I've been in a super happy, very loving relationship for almost eight months, and I have to tell you that being in love really can be a beautiful thing. It shows you a different perspective, of both the world, and yourself, and I love that. 

Finally, it's that beautiful season where it's acceptable to start getting excited and prepared for Christmas, and I love that!

I hope you all have such a beautiful day!
- Dottie x

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Why It's OKAY For You to Hate Your First Job

Hey guys! I think I've spoken before on this blog about my first job, but if you're new here, then I'll give you a quick explanation of what went down there... 

I was sixteen, and it was a few months before I started my GCSE exams. I worked in the cafe of a busy tourist attraction, and I won't lie to you guys - I hated it with a passion. I felt anxious the evening before I had to go in, and the next morning, I wouldn't be able to eat due to being so worried. I just felt like I wasn't ready to be in the working world, and I didn't have very good people skills. I worked from 9am to 5pm, with about a twenty minute break for food. I had to run about all day, checking tables were clear, washing up (a lot!), and serving customers. It was stressful, but if I were to go back now, I think I'd be okay at it. 

You see, when I had that job, I was still very much a shy, socially awkward child. I just wasn't ready for that amount of responsibility. 

Now, if you're still reading this, you're either one of my fabulous best friends, or avid readers (I know there's a couple of you, and I love you!!), or you aren't a fan of your job and want to know what I think about that. So, here goes...

I think it's perfectly okay to hate your first job because, well, it's your first job. You haven't worked before, you don't understand how to be in this new environment. That's perfectly fine, we all need to start somewhere. For some of you, much like it was for me, perhaps you aren't ready to be in this adult world where too much is expected of you, and you're struggling. I understand, and these feelings are perfectly valid. 

My current job is as a cleaner for a high-end holiday company, and a lot is expected of me, and the team I work with. After my second shift at this job, I was totally ready to quit - I felt as though I could never achieve what they expected me to. But. I kept at it. Now, I'm actually pretty good at it, and I can damn well clean a bathroom good! 
Sometimes, all it takes is a little bit of time to get used to your job, before you decide that you like it. If this is the reason you're not enjoying your job, give it some time and allow yourself to get used to it. 

I know a lot of people that didn't like their first job, or perhaps their first proper job (as some people get temp jobs...), so if you're out there, hating your workplace, just remember that you're not alone!
This job that you're working isn't permanent, it's not where you're going to be in five, or ten years time. It's only one job, and you will have so, so many others. Some, you may hate more, others you might love, and that's perfectly fine, but I promise you that it can, and will get better. 

The working world is a big, scary place, and you're still young. You have plenty of time to figure it out, and I know you will. 

Good luck to all of you out there, and I hope you're having a lovely day. 

- Dottie. x

(Image credit goes to Laura Simms, and the original can be found by clicking here). 

Thursday, 3 November 2016

I Hate Being Hit On.

When I was around fifteen years old, I attended a gig where an older man (somewhere in his forties) offered to buy me a drink. I said no. He kept on asking. I kept on saying no. When he finally got the picture, and his mate had buggered off to the bar, he continued to hang around near me, talking to me, despite me blatantly trying to ignore him. The headline band started playing and he put his arm around me. This is not okay. Clearly I wasn't interested and he didn't get that. I ended up walking off and a guy around my age who I'd spoken to in the queue made sure I was okay... I can remember him telling me that I'd looked really scared of the older guy. 

When I was going to get a bus after college one day, one of those people who try to sell you things asked for my number. As in, he was asking me out on a date. Nah, mate. You're at least twenty-five (and I was seventeen), and I had a boyfriend. God knows what I would have said to him if I couldn't have told him that... I've also had numerous guys at gigs ask my name, or just randomly start talking to me. One has even gone as far as to try to kiss me. While I was completely okay with him up until this point, because he was a nice guy, funny and interesting, surely he knew nothing would come of that would-be kiss, since we both lived really, really far apart?  

When I've been walking alone, and with friends along busy roads, we've had lorry drivers, or just drivers honk their horns at us. That is truly disgusting. Then there's the guys who look at you like you're a piece of meat, and the guys that yell obscene crap at you. 

It doesn't impress us, lads!

Each and every time I've had attention from a random stranger, it's been unwanted. I'm just trying to get home, or have a nice time at a gig, or spend some time with friends. Never am I going to look at a catcaller, or random bloke who wants to buy me a drink at a gig and think yup, that's him. That's the one I'm going to marry. Because no fucking way! Get to know me, and do something sweet, don't just assume you're entitled to my body. Honestly, no one is entitled to your body, not even your boyfriend or girlfriend, and that is something too few people realise. Your body, your rules. 

People need to have so, so much more respect for each other, and understand that not everyone is out to get laid. 

Cool beans. 
- Dottie x 

Thursday, 27 October 2016

What's Really Up With the Music Industry...

Yesterday, I volunteered at my local, council-run music venue, which attracts some pretty big bands, including Wheatus, and Puddle of Mudd... Old bands, but good bands. 

Anyway, the event that I was working was a Bars & Melody gig. The band, for those of you that don't know, were on Britain's Got Talent, and they made quite a splash. Personally, I've not listened to them, but the gig yesterday really hammered something home for me - the music industry really exploits people. 

I'll say that again for those of you who didn't hear. 

The music industry really exploits people.

I'm not just talking the general public here, but bands and artists as well. The boys in Bars & Melody are around sixteen years old, and they're out there in the world, playing shows to screaming fans. They're signed to Syco Music, which is basically run by Sony Music. They're making money for a big, big label, and they're sixteen. Don't they deserve to just do this for fun?!

What's more is that their fans are so young. I saw some really young people there last night, and I just cannot comprehend it. These young people got their parents to fork out so much money for tickets, and most of them purchased a meet and greet ticket, which cost around £65 each. That's a lot of money for a poster, lanyard, and photo, right?! This crazy, crazy fan culture doesn't even stop to think that they're paying to meet another human.They're being exploited, and this isn't right. 

I completely understand that this is an industry, and money needs to be made because hey, money makes the world go 'round, right?! But there are much better ways of generating income than getting young, impressionable children to part with their pocket money. I used to be a part of this excitable, impressionable audience; I went to so many gigs, always spent around £20 to £30 on t-shirts, wristbands, and CDs... I realise now that this is a waste. You don't need to buy clothes to support an artist. You only need to buy something if you really, genuinely want it. Bands understand that we don't all have the cash to just throw away.
I point-black refuse to buy meet and greet tickets. I saw a blog post by Rou Reynolds of Enter Shikari, where he basically explained exactly why it's so wrong of people to charge for meet and greets. You can read more on that by clicking here, and read someone else's opinion on the subject here

The point is, we let ourselves be exploited, by queuing outside in the freezing cold for ten hours, or buying that new album the day it's out in stores. 

And bands and artists? Well, some need to be exploited, because otherwise, they'll never get anywhere... Others, well they take a stand. And we can stand with them. Be independent, think for yourself. Just stop and think about what you're spending your hard-earned cash on, and if it's really, 100% worth it.Chances are, that VIP photo isn't, and that band member isn't going to fall in love with you. Sorry. 

- Dottie x

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Why Are Periods Gross?!?

Many people (females included!!) feel the need to comment on the fact that periods are "gross". Why? What makes something so normal so gross? It's estimated that around half of the world's population menstruates, and yet we are still taught to keep quiet about it, keep it hidden, keep it secret. Why?
I, personally, feel perfectly comfortable talking about periods, especially my own, and especially since I purchased and started using my menstrual cup, which by the way, really isn't as disgusting as tampons and pads. So ha. 
What I fail to understand is why so many people are repulsed by something that is both completely normal, and completely natural. I know that sometimes, the concept of it is a little bit 'ew', because the lining of an internal organ falls out, and there's blood, cramps, etc. but this happens to your stomach; the cells of the internal walls of the stomach are constantly being shed and replaced. It's a normal process, which isn't seen as disgusting. 

I was trying to convince my boyfriend the other day that period blood is perfectly normal, and that it's the same as other blood. This isn't something that should be convinced, because it is a very true fact. It's not repulsive, it doesn't smell gross, it's perfectly good blood... (can blood even be 'good'?!) 

The period itself is not gross. It is not disgusting. It's not something that anyone should be repulsed by, least of all those who actually do menstruate! 

I can tell you a few things that are disgusting about menstruation, though. 

Firstly, in third world countries such as Uganda, girls would much rather miss approximately a week at school (when they're on their period), than go to school, due to not having the correct sanitary protection and understanding peers. This is not good, at all. I cannot even begin to stress just how important education is, and how damaging discrimination against those who menstruate is. Education should be a right, not a privilege.

Secondly, tampons are (or, were depending on laws and legislation passed) classed as a luxury item. This makes no sense. Again, tampons and other sanitary products are not a privilege, they are something that are necessary. We do not choose to bleed, yet we are forced to pay more for an item that is apparently a "luxury". That is disgusting. 

And this leads me on to my final point, which is just how vile tampons can be. This is all from a medical/physical point of view, as I have never actually used a tampon in my life, but it's still all true and correct. 
Tampons are absorbent, that's true. They are also incredibly great for periods BUT they are too absorbent: basically, there are fluids there are needed in the vagina (yup, I'm going there...), and when you use a tampon, it isn't just the blood that is absorbed, it's everything, which can cause all sorts of problems and irritations down there. They are also a pretty good breeding ground for the bacteria that causes toxic shock syndrome, or TSS. This bacteria already lives in the vagina, but wearing a tampon too long creates the correct environment for it to breed and can make you incredibly ill. 
Think about how many pads and tampons are in landfill sites, or end up washed up on beaches or whatever. That's pretty disgusting, and sanitary protection is also incredibly expensive, especially in the long-term.
Also, there's just a tonne of blood that literally gets absorbed. I don't find that nice. 

Instead, there are healthier options, such as menstrual cups, which are better for your body, your wallet, and your world. It's win-win-win. 

I didn't write this post to scare anyone, so I am going to conclude by letting you know that tampons are still perfectly safe to use, as long as you change them every four to six hours (or when needed!), and you take breaks from using them when on your period. 
I'd also like to invite you all to talk about periods, break the stigma, and if you'd like me to write a menstrual cup review, please let me know, because I actually really want to! 

I hope this was interesting and informative. 

Until next time,
- Dottie x

Thursday, 15 September 2016

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time REVIEW


I mentioned in my book haul post (which you can read by clicking here) that I had purchased and was reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.
I have to start off this review by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book; it's written in a similar 'voice' to that of The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky, which is one of my favourite books. So, obviously, it correlates that a book that reads similarly is going to be something that I enjoy. 

The main character and narrator is fifteen-year-old Christopher Boone, who is taking A Level Maths, and has Asperger's, which is a form of autism. This book isn't a coming of age story, it's a mystery novel with a twist, which I must tell you, I really wasn't expecting.
The way that the story is written shows that the author has a really great understanding of those who see things differently, and it is incredibly insightful to read this. 

The Curious Incident is written in such a way that you cannot put it down, each chapter ends in a way that leaves you wanting to know more, and more of the story. Furthermore, it's what I would call an 'easy read', which means that there's no complex character backstories, and only one story line to follow, so it's perfect to read whilst relaxing. 

I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoyed The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Paper Towns, Looking For Alaska, or We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. It's definitely more of a young adult/teen fiction story, but I believe it has been studied in schools for GCSEs, so make of that what you will. 

I think the story is well-written and enjoyable, and it is definitely entertaining. Some parts are funny, some are sad, and some are a tad strange, but that all adds to the charm of it. 

It is a must-read!!

Thank you for taking the time to read this review, I hope you enjoyed it!
Let me know if I should write more of these!

- Dottie x

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

I've Come a Long Way in a Year...

Today is my first day of my second year at college, studying music technology, and I decided that it's time for a little reminisce. See, this time last year, I'd already started my first year as a shy, skinny teenager with a big fringe and even bigger t-shirts. I carried around much too much for my course (especially as everything is done on computers...), and was too scared to speak to anyone. 

Now, however, I'm still just as shy, but I feel like I'm definitely getting there on the talking to people front. Other things have definitely changed though, and I'd like to think about those today. 

Firstly, my body confidence has shot skywards! I would never have even dreamed of wearing a crop top, or anything remotely tight-fitting or figure-hugging to college.. Now? Well, I love wearing crop tops and super-skinny jeans, short shorts and skirts, and tight tank tops, even on days when my belly is bloated and feels icky! It just feels like me, and I don't feel the need to hide away from that anymore. While some of this confidence has come from having a boyfriend, a lot of it was because I suddenly started seeing myself as I really am, instead of a few sizes bigger... Those band shirts are now pyjamas! 

And, oh yeah! I have a boyfriend, what?!? This wasn't really something that I was expecting to come from college, I thought the people in my class were cool and all, but I guess surprises are a good thing, right? I'm so happy, and wouldn't change him for the world. 

I can talk to the tutors at college now, and it's pretty great. This is a sign that, yes, my confidence has improved. Another thing that has changed is that I don't get so stressed out about my work anymore, because I know that I am able to complete everything to a high standard, even when I miss lessons, or don't quite understand something. I even managed to skive an afternoon of lessons without getting too upset about it. You should be proud of me! (and not skip lessons!!) 

As well as giving me useful knowledge of the music industry, recording studios, live sound, and much, much more that is going to help my future in the music business, college has helped me so much in general life skills, which I am incredibly grateful for. I was able to work a scary job with complete strangers for an entire summer, which I never thought possible. I am starting to see myself as I am, and I have never been happier. 

I love being able to look back to last year, and compare myself then to myself now, and see the growth. It's a really wonderful thing to realise that you're on your way to becoming a better person. 

Wish me luck back at college today! 

Bye for now,
- Dottie x

Friday, 9 September 2016

Five Favourite ASMR Videos...

I think I've mentioned ASMR on this blog before, but if I haven't, or you're new here, I shall briefly explain what it is. 
ASMR is Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, and is the tingling feeling that you have when someone plays with your hair, or gives you a massage. This feeling can be triggered by sounds such as paper scrunching, or tapping on objects, or can be caused by gentle whispering and tongue-clicking noises. The trend for ASMR videos has increased rapidly on YouTube, and today I am going to share five of my favourites. 

In order to find these videos, click the link that is the title. 

Dodie was the YouTuber who introduced me to ASMR, and I really love this video; it's perfect for relaxing, and the structure of it is lovely. It's very comforting, and had to be here amongst my favourites. 

I really like this paper crumpling video, all of the sounds are so soothing, and really helps me to relax. There are no whispers in this one, but it's brilliant nonetheless. 

This is an incredible ASMR video, the tingles start almost immediately. The only thing I need to be careful of (and the reason I can't listen to binaural videos) is that it can make me incredibly dizzy, and sometimes even pass out. I don't understand it, but it happens. 

Dodie's bedtime story ASMR is really cool, because she layers three vocal tracks on top of each other, so it is more of a relaxing noise, than a story that you can follow. It's a very clever concept. 

Finally, this video of triggers to help you sleep is incredibly relaxing, with lots of sounds and whispering to gently guide you into a deep sleep. Lovely!

So, let me know what you think of ASMR, as it's not for everybody, and if you liked any of these videos.

Thank you!
- Dottie x

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Book Haul!

Hello guys!! Today, I am going to share with you the collection of books I have recently purchased, as I'm really starting to get back into the whole reading and shopping for books thing, it's fun!! 
I am aware that one of my most recent posts is also about books, and features some of the same books, but this is slightly different, and much more recent, so enjoy!!

SO, I have two books by Jonas Jonasson - The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (thank you Emma!!), and Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All... First impressions - this author likes long titles. I was curious about these because I saw someone I follow on Instagram post one, and it looked interesting. Since then, I've been wanting to read them. And now I can. Read the synopsis of Hitman Anders here, and The Hundred Year Old Man here

When I was book shopping after an interview, I came across The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (author - Mark Haddon), which I am currently reading. The synopsis is here, and I strongly recommend it to fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Looking For Alaska

What's A Girl Gotta Do by Holly Bourne is another recent purchase, and I have to say, it's mighty good! I didn't realise that it's actually the third in a series, as it works so well as a stand-alone book. It's all about feminism, growing up, and coping with the stress of school and college life. (Full synopsis here). I flew through this book, and really enjoyed it, I loved that it touched on some pretty interesting feminism issues, and it's definitely worth checking out, especially if you enjoyed Paper Towns or Catlin Moran's How to Be a Woman/How to Build a Girl

A bit of a stab-in-the-dark book for me is The Rest of Us Just Live Here, by Patrick Ness. It sparked my interest, and as it was buy one, get one half price in Waterstones, I couldn't say no!! Read the synopsis by clicking here

One of the new books that I've had for a while is Inferno, by Dan Brown. With extracts of Dante's Inferno, this is the fourth book following Professor Robert Langdon, as he solves crimes and investigates various murders, etc. I've read quite a few Dan Brown books, and while they are a bit tricky to follow sometimes, they are really good, so I couldn't not buy this one! You can read what it's about here

Finally, my last new book is the script edition of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. All I can say is wow. The story was incredible, so interesting and fast-paced, I really loved it! I can definitely recommend it for any Harry Potter fan. It's what we've all been waiting for!! Synopsis here... Not that you need it if you're a Harry Potter fan!! 

And that concludes my book haul, I hope you enjoyed it!

- Dottie x

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Peaceful Moments and Perfect Days...

I don't know if you've ever had such a lovely, carefree day that you go to sleep feeling so relaxing, and completely at peace with yourself, and you wake up the next day feeling oh so happy... But those days happen every so often for me. It's usually when I get out of the house, and spend time with people that matter. Those people could be my parents, my boyfriend, my sisters, or my best friends, it doesn't matter. What matters is the time that I'm spending with them, and how happy they make me. 

A few times now, I've gone for walks with my boyfriend, and it's so lovely to walk along in the beautiful sunshine (because going outside in the rain is gross), and to know that this wonderful human exists, and he's mine, and I'm his, and we love each other... I love those days... And then there's being able to mess around and laugh until I cry with my amazing best friends... Those people know how to cheer me up, even if no one else does! 

Yesterday, I went for a walk with my parents, and we took the dogs. We ended up at the most beautiful place, bathed in evening sunlight and surrounded by beautiful green trees... We saw a few wild boar, and hear birds and insects. The dogs were running around, and they looked so happy. It was so lovely, blissful and serene. We walked up a huge hill, and at the top, there were some big rocks that overlooked a quarry. Of course, I had to climb on them to get a photo! (see above!)

Then we were walking back to the car, and I was just taking photos of the sky, and the sunset, and it was so lovely. I felt genuinely happy, and at peace, and that's a beautiful feeling. Then, when we got home, we made mugs of tea, got snuggly sweaters, and sat outside around a fire, watching the stars. My older sister, her boyfriend, and my younger sister joined us, and we were all sat outside, stargazing, and talking. I cannot explain why moments like these mean so much to me, but I really, truly appreciate them. 
I feel like the world shows me these beautiful moments to remind me that it's not all bad. 

I hope you're all having a nice day/evening/night/whatever, and that peaceful, serene moments find you soon. 

Dottie x

Saturday, 13 August 2016

The MUSIC Tag!

Hello there! Today I am going to be doing the music tag! Yay! This means I will actually be completing a tag post from someone!! You should be proud of me! 

So, I was tagged by the simply wonderful Erin over at The Vinyl Notebook, and you should most definitely read what she wrote here. (It's GIF central, but her music taste is impeccable, so go see her for a m a z i n g recommendations!)   

As with all tag posts, there are certain rules, and I'm going to just borrow these from Erin, because she wrote them wonderfully! 
So, the rules are as follows: 

  1. Thank the dude or dudette who tagged you in this radical post and link back to their blog. 
  2. Answer the questions below. 
  3. Tag some bloggers! 
  4. Add your own question to the tag for your nominees to answer.
  5. Include these rules in your post. 
SO, thank you so much for tagging me Erin, because this has made me super excited to blog!! 

Question One: Do you play any instruments? 
Well, funny you should ask this... I own three guitars, a bass, and a ukulele... I can play three guitars to an alright standard... Bass, I play less than mediocre, and ukulele... Hah, I can play a C chord... 
You see, I play instruments when I remember that I do so... Which, thanks to Netflix, and books, and internet, and seeing people... That doesn't happen very often. But, I am trying to get back into it, and am learning Slaves' song The Hunter and Biffy Clyro's There's No Such Thing As A Jaggy Snake... They're pretty snazzy songs! 

Question Two: What is your favourite music genre? 
Okay, so this is difficult. I listen to anything from Enter Shikari to Johnny Cash to Blondie to Twenty One Pilots. My favourite genre is probably rock, as there are so many different sub-genres, that it pretty much covers everything I listen to... 

Question Three: Is there a music genre you absolutely cannot stand? 
Not really. I guess I'm not a fan of the more typical Top 40s charts stuff, like Rita Ora, Rhianna, etc. Sorry, pals. Not my thing. 

Question Four: What is your favourite way to listen to music? (CD, vinyl, MP3, radio, etc.) 
Each of these formats has their own advantages and disadvantages, which I'm going to write about... CDs are hard-wearing, compact, and pretty cheap. Most cars have CD players, so that's convenient, but CDs also take up a lot of space (I should know, my house is filled with them!), and they can get damaged... Vinyl is just so awesome, but more expensive, even bigger and easier to damage than CDs and you need to get up to turn over the disc... MP3 is so great, it means you can transport so much music on such a small device, but buying digital music just feels so weird. Radio has presenters, which is annoying, but hearing your favourite song or band on the radio is so epic... But, in answer to the question posed, my favourite way of listening to music is live, as you feel the emotion, and it's an experience unlike any other. 

Question Five: Top three favourite bands/singers?
  1. Biffy Clyro. Without a doubt. Scottish (prog?) rock? Yes please!! 
  2. Less Than Jake, because they're a brilliant, funny live band, and it's just fun to listen to ska punk. 
  3. Dead! because they're some of the loveliest guys I've had the pleasure of meeting, and they're definitely going somewhere pretty fast!
Then there is also Blondie, Twin Atlantic, Fort Hope, Twenty One Pilots, Johnny Cash, Jack Cookson, Ben Howard, Royal Blood, Marmozets, Enter Shikari, Foreign Affairs, George Ezra, Gorillaz, Nirvana, and about a million others... 

Question Six: What are your favourite chords? 
Em7, Dsus4, Cadd9, and G, because combined, they create my favourite Biffy Clyro song, Machines. 

Erin's Question: If you had to pick one song to sum up your entire life, youur very essence, the core of your being, which song would you pick? 
This is incredibly difficult to answer... My life has had both highs and lows, and the only song I can think to represent this is Life Is  A Rollercoaster by Ronan Keating. Listen here.  

For this post, I tag... Sam Denby at The Wonderful World of Denby! Sara at Her Electric Ocean! and Lauryn at Life of a Blonde

The question I'd like you guys to answer is who influenced your music taste, and shaped it to become what it is today? 

Thank you for taking the time to read my little post! Until next time!
Dottie x

Friday, 5 August 2016

Things I Should Be Doing Instead of Reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child...

It's here. It's finally here! The eighth instalment in the Harry Potter series.The book we all thought would never exist... And it's here. I purchased it yesterday. Started it when I got home... Finished it around an hour ago... (If I hadn't had work today, it would have taken less than twelve hours... No way would I have slept...) 

And, as every book lover does, I put off things of importance because this book was just too good not to read... And now for a #relatable (cringe!) post, for all of those who, like I, have put off anything important... 

So, whilst I was reading, I should have been:

  • Tidying my room. It's a mess..
  • Looking online for interview tips, and generally preparing for my interview that is tomorrow... Eep! 
  • Getting a decent night's sleep, for work. 
  • Sorting out my nails, as they're kinda too long, and the polish was really chipped...
  • Eating. 
  • Playing guitar. 
  • Writing. 
  • Reading A Game of Thrones because I'm halfway through it, and now I'll have to start it again. 
  • Going for a walk. 
  • Talking to my family. 
  • Looking after my poorly boyfriend. 
  • Cuddling my dogs. 
  • Cleaning my Docs. 
  • Not spending money on books...
There is so much more that I should have done, but hey, at least I didn't call into work to say I'm sick! 

If you haven't started reading this book yet, get on it, it really is incredible! 

Okay. Now I actually have stuff to be getting on with. And so do you... Go read!!

- Dottie x