No Air

Existence was too difficult today. Never have I been more terrified for my own life than I was on the train back to Soton this morning. I thought the Tube was bad enough, stuck in a stuffy metal cage breathing in stale air and germs. But the overground from Waterloo literally had NO AIR.

I could not breathe for the entire journey. I thought I was going to pass away, or at least faint. When we finally got to Winchester I began to relax slightly and unfurl from the foetal position I had contorted into in panic. But then some complete twats decided to trespass on the line for giggles. So we had to stop. IN A TUNNEL. I actually shed a tear at this point. I thought that was it for me, this was hell and I was going to perish in this godforsaken tunnel. 

Obviously that wasn't the case. Unless ghosts have found a way to surpass the issue of being a mere whisp of air and can now do more than just hide remotes and lob objects at people. The thunderstorms I so eagerly anticipated haven't yet arrived, and so I am forced to suffer a night in this literal boiler room (the boiler is in my cupboard). Mmm I smell bacon...oh wait that's just the smell of my flesh slowly cooking. 

At least I will have the soothing melodies of Friendly Fires album to lull me to death sleep. Treat your ears to THIS:

Happy melting!


Hot Summer

Apologies in advance for any spelling errors, but my hands are melting. In fact, I fear that before the end of this post they will have fused with the keys of my laptop, rendering me a rubbish version of Edward Scissorhands, unable to cut hair but instead thrusting my useless computer in people's faces. I wonder if when it crashes (as is becoming a more regular occurrence these days) I too will shut down...

So yes, hello sunshine blah blah blah. I've had enough of you now, kindly leave. It did give me the opportunity to go virtual bikini shopping though, as actual shopping would have meant moving which was much too arduous of a task today. I'm not actually going on any lovely exotic beach holidays, Hylands Park is about as exciting as it's gonna get for me, but a girl can still look! And we may have a car park instead of a back garden next year but who likes grass any way? It just means more ants, which no one wants. 

Definitely a fan of Topshop's offerings, I've yet to introduce any crazy cartoon print items into my wardrobe but I feel it's going to happen soon.

While you peruse those beachy beauties, have a listen to one of my favourite summer songs...


P.S. We picked up our puppy Leela today :D A picture-filled post of cuteness is to come in the very near future.

Folding Stars


The Rain Must Fall

There's nothing better than the tinkle of rain drops against the window as you sit in a warm and cosy room with a cuppa. Although, seeing as it is now summer a bit of the ol' sun wouldn't go amiss. My sympathies (and also smug laughter) goes out to those at Glasto. Let's hope they packed their scuba gear, and that they tied those tents down tight. Although, the image of hundreds of tents bobbing along a muddy river is quite amusing...

Although I'm expecting V to be a dry and warm experience (last time I got sunburnt!) there's always the fear that another dismal monsoon could strike again in August. So to be on the safe side, I had a look round for the perfect pair of wellies to protect my tootsies and dignity (losing your shoe in the mud and falling over is not a good look, tried and tested.) And the high-street has outdone itself this year. No longer just the footwear of choice for farmers, memories of the khaki, clumpy boots that I was forced to adorn on school trips as a child are long gone. Bright colours, patterns and embellishments have made these a lust-worthy wardrobe staple. 

As soon as I saw the words 'glow in the dark' I knew that these River Island beauties were the ones for me. My penchant for glow-sticks has been taken to a whole new level. And I'll never get lost, bonus! I opted for the coral version, but I'm insisting that my festival buddy Alix get this glorious green pair so that we can light up Hylands Park together.

Now those are some wellingtons that William himself would be proud of. And I'd definitely be impressed if for £25 they granted wishes too. Top of the list - NO RAIN FOR V!



So summer is officially here. Though, I don't think anyone's bothered to inform the weather (unlucky Glasto goers!) It's such a quintessentially British pastime that I feel I have to mention it, especially considering its current state. I don't know what season to dress for when I get up in the morning, can I risk an outfit sans tights or do I need to be donning those 100 denier bad boys usually reserved for winter? To coat or not to coat - will a cardie suffice these changing days? 

One wardrobe wonder than manages to transgress the seasons and suit any kind of day, regardless of the bipolar weather, is the playsuit. Not only that, with a few accessory changes it can transform from a summery daytime look to a sultry evening ensemble. Never mind the slight complications they cause in certain necessary occurrences, it's definitely worth the extra toilet trouble.

Seeing as it's pay day tomorrow and I'm taking another trip back home to Essex, the temptation of shopping will be unavoidable. But instead of splashing my cash on numerous incomplete outfits, I'm going to be ever so clever and invest in a new playsuit for this season. Scouring online there's a few which I've got my eye on, it all rests on what Rayleigh high street has to offer!

And to go with the perfect day-night dress, the perfect day-night shoe - the wedge. Being of a somewhat lengthy stature (lanky) I never shop for anything with the slightest heel on. Even kitten heels are a no no, finding a pair of biker boots without a huge chunky heel was nearly impossible. I can walk in them adequately enough, it's just that ever since I went out in a killer red pair and was taller than everyone in the bar, including all the men, I've been put off appearing as some sort of side-show attraction whenever I go out. I might make an exception for a (small) pair of wedges, at least during the day time I can disguise myself in sunnies! (Weather permitting, of course)



From its humble beginnings as a weekend family attraction, its influence has filtered into popular culture, with the fashion, film and music worlds all taking inspiration from the bright lights and glitz of the Big Top. Britney's last album Circus helped to regenerate her tainted image and provided her flailing pop career with a much needed boost. This year, everyone's favourite vampire RPatz starred alongside Reece Witherspoon in Water For Elephants, a love story based on the relationship between a runaway who joins the circus and falls in love with the ringmasters wife. While watering some elephants..? I presume that's involved in the plot somehow.

I've never taken the opportunity to visit a circus. If I got the chance I would definitely see a Cirque de Soleil show, who perform all over the globe, combining art forms from around the world with dance and daring acrobatics. More importantly, they don't involve live animals in their show. Sure, they dress up like them (in some amazing costumes), but they don't have elephants prancing around in headdresses, or seals balancing balls on their noses.

Some people could argue that zoos are cruel. But in today's world, where consideration for natural habitats is cast aside in favour of destruction of wild spaces to create land for farming or housing - AKA profit - in some instances a zoo provides a safe haven. And with so many species being added to endangered list every day, breeding programmes are essential in making sure that future generations are left with more than photos of some of the planet's greatest animals. The majority of zoos do their best to provide a realistic natural habitat for their inhabitants, and apart from a daily feeding show (which I'm sure the animal's don't mind - extra food for them!) they aren't forcing them to take part in performances that involve unnatural or harmful behaviour. While, like every business, there are those that aren't regulated and operate outside the law, in most cases zoos are taking care of animals and helping to regenerate their numbers, while providing them with a safe place to live.

However, I don't believe that circuses offer the same care to their 'stars'. The fundamental element of their success is that they travel around, thus generating new business on a regular basis. So it is impossible to provide the animals with a naturalistic home, most of the time they are kept in a cage as they travel vast distances every day. While I don't doubt that some zoo keepers do give the creatures as much love and attention as they can, this just isn't enough to keep a wild animal fully happy. They need space and they need company, not to be taught how to perform tricks for the public's entertainment. Training an elephant to dance around on it's hind legs may wow a crowd, but this is an unnatural behaviour, which could cause extreme harm. No matter what anyone says, I don't believe they can enjoy this, not when the option for them to live a more natural life in a wide open space exists.

More than 30,000 people, myself included, have signed a petition set up by The Independent online calling for the Government to introduce a ban on wild animals. This is ahead of a vote in the House of Commons, where MPs will decide whether to support a vote to ban performing animals from the circus. The campaign is backed by the RSPCA and other animal charities, and there's still time to put your name to it, visit this link to sign. The decision is made at 3pm tomorrow - so get typing!

Let's leave the acrobats and clowns to provide the entertainment, and get the animals out of the ring!



A House Is Not A Home

Happy longest day of the year! Now I know why that shift seemed to go on forever...

In 10 days time I will be moving into my new house, to begin life as a third year. Pause to vomit. While I'm not thrilled with the prospect of entering my third and last year of uni, and the inevitable work load that approaches, I am excited for my new abode, which I will be sharing with three lovely friends of mine.

I'm looking forward to a CLEAN and happy house, where I'm sure many a giggle will occur. They joy of two bathrooms is undeniable, especially with four girls competing for shower time. At least if one shower breaks I won't have to wait a WEEK to be clean again. While we're planning for the communal areas of the house to be as girly and pretty as possible (think lots of pink and flowery sparkly things), I'm most excited about customising my private quarters. 

This is my current boudoir. Seeing as it's cream it was easy enough to pick a colour scheme to go in it, and as I'd already got purple sheets I bought curtains, cushions and pictures to match. My talented father very kindly whittled? (I think this is what you do with wood?!) my name for me. Yes, it is Star Wars font. No, I'm not a massive space geek. I'm not sure what made him go for that particular typography but I'm not gonna deny it looks cool!

The corner where my desk is is basically a space for me to shove all the pictures and mementos from over the year. LOL at my old school TV. And the wooden unit is actually pretty ideal for storing basically all my possessions, from my HP books AND DVD'S to my jewellery and make-up. Considering it is leaning forwards at a very precarious 45 degree angle and there are half the screws missing, it's done a good job of housing the majority of my worldly goods for the year.

None of us can really remember what our new house looks like, and there's one bedroom I've yet to see. We're picking numbers out of hat to assign rooms, nice and fair like. I have a vague feeling they're all white...which is good because I want a nice blank surface which I can decorate and customise.

This year I'm going to put a bit more effort into making my room look pretty. While I had it exactly how I wanted it this year, I didn't really have the time or money to think about seriously decorating it. But this year I'll have hopefully saved a bit of dollar from working at Next, and seeing as I won't have the other half's room to frequent I'll be spending all my time in this one.

So I've been scouring various websites and stores for inspiration. Every time I walk into work I have a nosey around the home department, and I've got my eye on a few cute ornaments and wall decorations already. 

My basic idea is quite simple and plain, but with a vintagey-girly twist. I'm a bit obsessed with trees at the moment, so I think they're going to feature heavily in the decoration. I'm not talking a small jungle or anything, but I've seen some pretty jewellery stands and photo frames that I'm quite keen on. A bit of gingham wouldn't go amiss either, reminiscent of the bedroom I shared with my sister way back in the past, where pink check adorned the windows and beds. I am quite a tidy person, but I want a really minimal room in the new house, with lots of storage to hide most of my clutter.

Here are some of the ideas which I'm hearting. As soon as I get in there and find out which rooms mine I can't start making some more definite decisions. EXCITED.

I really like the wall art in these next two, I've currently commission my dad to start work on another wooden wall decoration but he is being goddamn slow about it. (HINT HINT)

These next two are just for fun. Though, I am very tempted by the last one... if I wasn't certain it would make me a social recluse I'd be buying broomsticks like nobodies business...


All images sourced from weheartit.com


Butcher Blues

You've gotta love BBC3. It gives us Brits the chance to watch comedy messiah Seth Macfarlane's cartoon sitcoms Family Guy and American Dad, and it introduced us to the ultimate in make-over shows - Snog, Marry, Avoid? If ever there was a programme of contradictions, this is it. Bucket-loads of fake tan, miles of hair extensions and hundreds of pairs of eyelashes nestle alongside minimalistic ensembles, we're talking little more than nipple tassels and a thong here. At least what they spend on fakery they save on clothing bills!

The last couple of years have seen the introduction of some more hard-hitting shows, taking an investigative approach to current issues. Last year, the strong-stomached Julia Bradbury took six volunteers to witness the journey that farm animals make to our plate, to see if an awareness of the processes involved in turning a living creature into a hunk of meat impacted on their beliefs and lifestyle choices. Kill it, cook it, eat it made for an interesting watch, and although I am a die-hard meat-eater, it did made me consider the history behind the food I so often consumed. Although I would love to buy produce that is free-range, or which states that every care has been taken to ensure the animal lived a happy life and was killed in a humane way, the reality is that being a student, price is the number one factor when it comes to food shopping. When I'm in a better financial situation and can afford to splash a little more cash on stocking up the larder, I will definitely make an effort to buy better quality meat, which I can enjoy without any moral qualms. While I do temporarily have urges to ditch the carnivorous diet entirely, I never feel entirely satisfied with a meal unless there is an element of meat in it. Salad, just a healthy snack, add a bit of chicken and I can justify that as a meal. I can't see myself ever becoming a veggie. I need the extra protein in my life!

The second series of the show, Kill it, cut it, use it, focusses on what happens to the stuff we don't eat. So after the butcher supplies us from those delectable lamb chops and beef burgers, and we buy our leather handbags and sheepskin boots, what happens to the bits that haven't been used? This programme answers this question in an honest (and at times gruesome) way.

Last week's programme focussed on the cow. Besides from leather, there are a whole range of products that I never would have guess come from our humble farm friend. For instance, if you're excited for Wimbledon then you may be interested to know that tennis rackets are strung with strings made from cow guts. I guess they do have four stomachs, so have some to spare...
We all know that a McDonald's can be a life-saver after a night out but cows really do play a part in saving our lives, as a protein from their hooves is used in the foam which puts out fires. So we don't end up barbecued, instead of the sausages. 

This week we got to see how Ba Ba Black Sheep's bits are used in a variety of weird and wacky ways. The rise of the (dreaded) Ugg boot has seen sheepskin adorning the feet of women and men across the globe. And we all know how comforting a wooly blanket can be, especially on miserable rainy evenings like this one. More surprisingly is that when we lather ourselves in moisturiser we are actually rubbing wool-grease into our skin. Even more shocking is that most fabric conditioners, soaps and detergents contain 'Lanalin', an extract from crushed and heated sheep remnants. Including the heads. So next time you put a load on, imaging the happy face of a little lamby staring back at you. Surely enough to put anyone off doing their washing! (Hint hint mum, I refuse to do laundry any more on a moral basis)

There's a lot more to be learned from this show, recommended viewing after dinner, definitely not during. 

It's terrible how far removed we are from our food, we pick it up from the supermarket in a neat little package, free of any gory blood or guts to deal with. More people should be educated on exactly where their food comes from, so they can make a fully informed choice about what they choose to put in their mouths, and so that they don't take for granted what they have. I am glad to see that we aren't just wasting the bi-products that come from our meat, and it's amazing to discover all the everyday items that comes from a humble cow or sheep. In such a wasteful society, it's nice to know that there are some elements in which we are being resourceful and considerate with. 

Next week - pigs! Hmm, bacon sandwich time me thinks...

This picture made me LOL



Daddy's Eyes

Happy Father's Day!

Coming home for the weekend I was able to spend the day with my daddy...well, watch him as he completed various DIY tasks assigned to him by my slave driver mother. Being somewhat of a short tempered man it was necessary to duck various flying objects at times, and listen to him rant in pure disgust at a plant. It was blocking his view of the TV, I guess I can see where he was coming from. Now as he finally sits on the sofa, playing LA Noire on the Xbox (luckily I'm around to give him a few hints and tips) I think he's finally enjoying the day dedicated to him. 

I appreciate my dad everyday of the year, but on this day especially I realise how much he has done and still does for me. Whether it's acting as a non-repayable banking service, or couriering me across the length and breadth of Essex, he always does so without the slightest grumble. This may be due to him being somewhat of a silent man, however it's understandable that he finds speaking a challenge when he has lived in a household of three strong-minded, opinionated and LOUD women. Throughout these years he has remained the level-headed, rational member of the family, putting up with three squawking females with the same serene sense of calm one might expect from a Buddhist monk. 

So I'd like to say a big THANK YOU to my wonderful dad, I hope you can (at last) have a lovely day. I'm thinking of everyone who doesn't have their dad with them today, I hope if that it's not been too hard for them.

I got a tad nostalgic and started rooting around in the old family albums, and found some quite classic snaps of me and the father which I thought I'd share, I'm sure that my gloriously chubby face will provide a good laugh anyway.

I fear I may have ruined his life as I just kicked the Xbox on my way to the sofa. Unfortunately I didn't inherit his grace and athleticism. Just his short temper.


The Only Way Is Tan

The elusive perfect tan. Something that females (and a fair number of 'metrosexual' males) are forever striving to achieve. Since the dangers of the Sun were revealed to be more serious that a painful burn and peeling skin, salons and companies across the globe have ploughed millions of pounds into developing the treatment or product that will have us mindless consumers delving deep into our pockets to purchase. Whether it's a sun bed, spray tan, or magical lotions and potions, there is no excuse to be a pasty face these days. 

I say 'us', but I am a very recent convert to the way of the tan. I've dabbled in the past, being from Essex it's pretty much a right of passage. But the combination of being incredibly lazy and dangerously clumsy means that it has always been a mahogany massacre, resulting in more tan ending up on various floors and furnishings that on my ghostly body. 

So I gave up on the quest for a healthy glow, and stuck with the 'English Rose' look - aka I'm so pale I reflect the sun's rays so deal with it. But then came the moment me and the bottled bronzer reunited, for my friend's 'The Only Way is Natasha Barker' themed birthday bash. Seeing as it was for a laugh, and beauty products are an extravagance on my student scrimpings, I opted for Primark's very own 'Faking It' self tanner. Considering it was about£1.50, and although I'm no expert, it did a pretty good job. That is - I was a rich shade of chestnut with minimal tell-tale streakage. 

And I'm not gonna lie, it did turn into a bit of an addiction, for a brief time. Because the satisfaction of having a tan for ONCE in my life, coupled with an incessant amount of Jersey Shore viewing (where the motto is 'Gym, Tan, Laundry) made me crave that amber ambience. But when the bargain burnisher ran out, I didn't bother restocking. It was fun while it lasted, but I wasn't a tanner. I'm a low maintenance kinda gal - most days I don't even brush my hair (it's called the natural look OK guys!).

However, one flick through a magazine, one glimpse at a TV screen and all I see are caramel complexions. Natural is out, and with special thanks to TOWIE and Jersey shore culture, as well as false eyelashes and hair extensions, TAN is the only way to be. Most of the stars have even cashed in on this craving for faking, with Lauren Goodger launching her own tanning product, and Lauren Pope's hair extensions selling out by the head load. 

So must I abolish my natural skin in favour of the Dorito-bath look? (Think cheesy nacho flavour shade) Where would I even begin? A gradual tanner, instant tanner, airbrush tanner, tanning mousse, spray tan, tanning bed...my minds in a golden blur! I can't trust the good ol' British summer to help me, not at the rate it's going at the moment. They'll be floods before I've even got a single freckle! But I fear that the only other option, remaining au naturel, will leave me looking like the least desirable member of Girls Aloud...

I mean, there's embracing your natural beauty and then there's looking like you're allergic to sunlight and have spent the last ten years ensconced in a black cloak in a darkened room underground. C'mon Nic, put a bit of effort in girl!

Next Friday is Pay Day, and this month I'm going pamper-crazy. Seeing as I've been going mental on the overtime and there's no one in Southampton to party away my dollar with, I'm gonna blow this month's wages on a much-needed hair cut and colour, a pedicure and restocking my dwindling make up stock. Will a spray tan be on that list? At the moment it's a strong no, but if this weather improves and the shorts come back out pas tights...well, another trip to Primark may be in order!


When We Were Young

In the few days I've been home, I've had the chance to rekindle my romance with the sofa, along with a cheeky affair with my secret lover - Sky TV. Due to this sickening weather (I guess it's Autumn now?!) I haven't dared venture further than from kitchen to lounge. So alongside a mammoth array of treats and snacks that wouldn't be out of place at a kid's birthday party, I've been channel-flicking to my heart's content. And I'm not ashamed to admit that when left along in the company of the 40" HD wonder it's been the Kids stations that my focus has been fixed on.

My conclusion after two days of avid viewing - WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO KID'S TV?!

Even after the classic shows like Saved By The Bell (hands up if you fancied Zack Morris and knew all the words to the theme-tune) and Sabrina The Teenage Witch (it all went downhill when she went to college) left our screens, us 90's kids still had a whole host of awesome cartoons to keep us going. Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, CITV, CBBC and the Disney Channel all had their own superb offerings, that made the walk home from school more of a sprint. Nickelodeon gave us Angry Beavers and CatDog, Cartoon Network had Dexter's Laboratory and Johnny Bravo, terrestrial competitors CITV introduced us to the multiple shaped heads of Hey Arnold and the time travels of Bernard's Watch and CBBC brought Arthur and his array of animal pals to the table. Some of my personal favourites came from the Disney Channel, with Recess and Pepper Ann. I wanted to be an 'Ashley' so badly but unfortunately always resembled more of a Gretchen...

The list goes on and on, and that's not even including the weekends! Those were the Mecca of kids TV, where we came to worship at the altar of whole mornings dedicated to fuelling our desire for cartoons, competitions and cheesy comedy presenters. Before she was a top radio DJ and style icon, Fearne Cotton was giving us our dose of morning television on Diggin It (formally known as Diggit). Live & Kicking gave it their best but sorry Zoe and Jamie, my heart always lay with SMTV. They may have gone on to present Britain's Got Talent and had a variety of successful Saturday night shows, but to me, Ant and Dec will always be known as two thirds of the trio that made up the hilarious Chums, alongside TV goddess Cat Deeley. This is where the phenomenon that was Pokemon aired each week, and I'm talking the original Pokemon, just Ash, Brock, Misty and Team Rocket, none of the fancy other trainers that came into the show as the years rolled on. And who can forget the institution that was 'Wonky Donkey'. The highlight of the weekend to be sure.

I'm almost weeping with tears of nostalgia right now, who doesn't miss being a kid, especially in my day! Wow, I'll be on a zimmer frame before long at this rate. 

I really do pity the kids of today, and generations to come. The pile of drivel they have to watch these days is nothing compared to the colourful, wacky, crazy, fun and slightly disturbing (you've got to admit the Cow and Chicken a very peculiar concept) array of friends we made during our childhood. Everything seems to be based around Disney teenie boppers like Demi Lovato these days, who seem more focussed on boosting their careers than producing a credible television show.

Bring back the re-runs I say! I watch enough Friends repeats, I can definitely make time for some cartoon classics in my life. Now I only need to wait a couple more hours before Season One of Clarissa Explains It All finishes downloading (thanks to seeing a mention of it on Facey B earlier today) and I can re-live the good ol' days of yonder. All I need now are the Jelly Shoes...