Featured

2020 in Review: What did we Learn?

This year has just been me and my overheating laptop that sounds like a jet engine about to catch fire and my anxiety-induced on and off relationship with coffee.

Is it fair to say, most of us started the year not knowing the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic. Although some of us still don’t know, I feel like we’ve got the gist of what a world pandemic looks like at this point.

2020 hasn’t been a total write off though, because we’ve learnt loads of stuff since March. I learnt that the bane of modern society is toilet paper and pasta. I found out that the World Health Organisation uses TikTok to make important COVID-19 announcements.

Image shows GIPH of three people in a supermarket panic buying supplies. Photo via GIPHY

I also learnt that some people are getting too comfortable with the hashtag #relatablecontent
because the rabbit hole is either very funny or makes you question the sanity of humanity.

For example, the year of digital social interactions has helped me relate to the meme-quote: ‘have you ever opened a message from someone and thought, what am I supposed to do with this?’

However, I don’t think I’ll ever understand how Georgia Harrison off Love Island found mouldy chips in her coat pocket.

Image shows a GIPH of a lady wearing headphones and the text in the photo reads “relatable content.” Photo via GIPHY

Did we all collectively learn that in a crisis, everyone under 25 will try their chances at becoming Instagram famous at least once and face masks with nose bridges are the easiest to wear all day.

Although this year has felt like we’ve been doing the hokey cokey with the government’s lockdown system, I decided to ask some of my friends what 2020 has taught them.

I received an array of responses such as: ”if you’re missing something- check your sister’s room because she’s taken it” and “you suck” from my siblings. Followed by my youngest cousin who informed me that he had learnt “nothing.”

I managed to receive some genuine answers to, like my friend who had improved her culinary skills in lockdown and said: “chocolate pretzels are easy to make with zero effort and you can improve the experience with some mini marshmallows.”

This year may have paved the way for us to come out the other side with affirmations like; “it’s okay to talk about your feelings” and “Prioritise yourself. Don’t ever think you’re not good enough! Always give yourself a chance.”

Some responses also revolved around the theme of time such as; “Everything can change so quickly without us even noticing” and others simply “learnt to appreciate my own company.”

The final piece of advice my friends had for me was “to take time off you don’t always have to be productive.”

Happy New Year xx

Animation shows a female moving the 2020 sign aside and grabs a 2021 sign, where she is surrounded by hope and love heart emoji’s. Photo via GIPHY

Feature Image shows a highlighted sign that reads ’20 new year 21′

Follow me on Instagram @Shivani.css for more articles.

Featured

Indian Farmers and the Largest Peaceful Protest on earth

Indian farmers have been protesting against the Indian governments decision to introduce three new legislations under the Indian Farm Reforms on the 27 September. 

By December, the movement gained international support and over 250 million people have taken part in this demonstration which has made it the largest peaceful protest on earth according to reports. 

The new legislations allow farmers to buy and sell outside their designated Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC). Farmers can also establish contracts with larger firms to sell their harvest and hoard produce in abundance without breaking the law. 

However, Indian farmers perceive the new farming reforms to favour big corporations which could jeopardise jobs of those working in family-owned farms. The protesters claim the reforms are exploitative because they lay down the groundwork for big corporations to take over the farming sector. 

Earlier this month, leaders of 13 Farmer Unions unanimously rejected the governments latest proposal. The Unions have stated that they want the Government to repeal all three new legislations.

In light of this, starting from the 12 December the unions blocked the Delhi-Jaipur and Delhi-Agri highways.  

Image shows a green background with the caption #DilliChalo. Photo via GIPHY

Two days later, the unions held a nationwide protest where they encouraged supporters to boycott corporate projects, especially Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani and Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani. 

Reliance Jio is India’s largest mobile operator and in February Ambani leveraged in a $5.7bn partnership with Facebook to create an app called ‘JioKrishi’ which is a ‘Farm-to-Fork’ supply chain in India. The app will provide farmers and stores with accurate data of crop yields all over India. 

Farmers and supporters have decided to boycott Jio products because they believe the platform will ultimately provide Reliance Industries with real-time insights and data that will help big corporations internally control the farming supply chain.

The Hindustan Times analysis reported that the average Indian farmer will earn 10,329 rupees per month in 2018-19 and 263.1 million Indian farmers rely on agriculture to keep their families afloat. Despite this, data from the Spices Board Indian says India caters for roughly 68% of the world’s spices demand. Globally, India is the leading exporter of Basmati rice and the worlds largest milk producer.

On the 15 December, scholar of religion and history, Simran Jeet Singh tweeted to support the movement and he said:  

“Indian farmers are leading the largest strike in human history. 

“They are fighting new laws that hurt the working class and decades of government abuse and neglect that has had disastrous results on their health, environment, and economy.”

Image shows a screenshot of the tweet. Photo via Twitter

Follow me on Instagram for more stories @Shivani.css 

Featured

Did you want Performative Activism with your Latte?

This year the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement became a key focus on social media after the murder of George Floyd on the 25th May, by police officer, Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, America.  

In solidarity of the BLM movement, millions of Instagram users posted a black square on their feed to symbolise a virtual moment of silence on the 2nd June. According to CNBC, more than 14.6 million people used the hashtag #blackouttuesday by 11.45 am ET on Instagram.   

The gesture proved that people working together will always be more powerful than the people in power.    

*Individuals taking part in the movement used social media to circulate images of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Stephon Clark and Elijah McClain and draw attention towards police brutality.

Although by autumn, the movement passed its peak and social media feeds returned to the algorithm that hooked the masses in the first place, funny cat videos and thirst traps. 

Image shows a fluffy cat dancing. Photo via GIPHY

So in short, this year people changed their profile pictures to a black circle on Instagram in light of the BLM movement. Only to then change it to a photo of them with their dog, in light of wanting to impress their new Hinge match about a month later.  

But in all fairness, when the issue drops off Twitter’s radar, does it have a chance of staying on ours?  

In June, Aima 18, played a big part in organising a protest in Central London that attracted thousands of supporters and has been marching every week since. In a conversation with Radio 1 Newsbeat Aima said: 

“Despite the fact, there’s not a lot of media attention – that there’s not as many people as there was in the beginning – the amount of people that come out are still able to make a change and have their voices heard.” 

*To learn more about Police brutality here is the link to an interactive presentation by Alia Chughtai entitled: “Know their names: Black people killed by the Police In the US.”

Image shows a cartoon of people wearing a face mask that reads ‘not a threat.’ Photo via GIPHY

Do you Want Performative Activism with your Latte?

For centuries, writers like Phillis Wheatley, Alice Walker and Tony Morrison have written about the impact of systematic racism. But by May 2020, the whole world seemed to be finally listening. 

Although amid genuine voices coming forward, some people saw the movement as the latest trend of the season to capitalise.  

For example, did anyone else receive an iMessage from someone subtly asking you to share racist trauma because they are working on “this lovely project against hate crime.”  

The message could have been a copy and paste job to every POC in the phone book because the text continued: “we’ve never even spoken about this, but perhaps you’ve got any stories you think could help in the fight?”

Needless to say, the message got aired, but a valid question in response could have been: help in the fight against who, you? 

Image shows a cartoon female falling into a cup of coffee. Photo via GIPHY

Season one:LOCKDOWN

Season one of lockdown created hoarders, genuine fear towards COVID-19, and honest attempts of people trying to unlearn racist tropes to do better. 

So, did anyone else receive a random message from a girl you went to secondary school with because she felt the need to apologise for the racism you endured at school without taking any responsibility?   

Although the apology message must have taken balls, the sentiment may not have been made with the recipient’s feelings in mind. The message indicated a shift from Police brutality and systematic oppression to prioritise white guilt like its the Eurocentric beauty standards for racism.

You can donate to the BLM movement here: https://blacklivesmatter.uk/

Feature image shows signs and images of George Floyd from a BLM protest. Photo via WeHeartIt.

Featured

That’s a Spotify Wrap

Here’s a six-word punch for you: ‘Spotify Wrap in a global pandemic.’ Every year the app encourages subscribers to share their yearly streaming habits on social media. Although this year has been no different, there has been a noticeable shift in the number of people willing to share their top five ‘like a badge of honour’ (BOF). 

In all fairness, a global pandemic does have the power to change a person’s music taste. Suddenly, Drake has been (temporarily) replaced with the Best of British: 00s playlist and the Christmas songs have been on since September in the reassurance of better days. 

So in short, did we all start 2020 listening Ed Sheeran and ended it with ‘Help!’ by The Beatles on repeat?

Image shows a GIPH of Pingu listening to music through headphones. Photo via GIPHY

The truth behind Spotify Wrap 

This year’s wrap up might not be a BOF but that doesn’t necessarily make it a badge of ‘dishonour’ (BOD) either. We could start calling it a regal selection of chill Punjabi songs, bhajans, The Beatles and surface-level pop songs that make you feel like everything is going to be okay. (It’s a working title.) 

People sharing their top five songs during a global pandemic have earned my respect because my only flex is that Bewafa and the WAP did not make the top five.

Regardless of the global eye role, Spotify Wrap does have its uses. The data helps us differentiate between the people with a modest 3,456 minutes of streaming time, from those with 87,508 minutes in the hope music will filling an emotional void. At this risk of going into too much detail, that equates to 67 months of streaming in one year.

This year the app reminded us of the time we streamed ‘1-800 by logic’ 28 times in one day with a virtual pat on the back. 

On a narcissistic note, Spotify Wrap might be helping us accept that ‘I’m a believer’ by Smash Mouth (featured in Shrek), has made it to the top five for the third year running. 

Additionally, Jahnavi Harrison, Spiritual singer, earned a place in my top five artists and although my Mom occasionally uses my Spotify, I think I should come to terms that this one is probably on me.

Although, I did find out that I streamed Riz Ahmed’s ‘Once King’s’ before it hit 50,000 streams and got called a pioneer.

Side note: has anyone ever shared their playlist with you and it’s a collection of all the songs you would typically skip, well here is a playlist of my top songs this year. 

I usually keep my West and East playlists separate, but for 2020, I decided to make a mess and throw them all in together. Once at uni my tutor read my blog and then sent me an email just to say she thought my music taste is eclectic and I found hilarious. This isn’t overly relevant, but I just remembered and wanted to share.

Feature image shows the 2020 playlist on Spotify

2020 Playlist

Featured

How do Brown Kids feel about their Mental Health?

The immigrant mentality is heavily rooted in survival and self-preservation. It’s a word that has endured decades of stigma and earned its stripes. 

When it comes to South Asian people, that noun refers to a generation of parents who have built an army of doctors, engineers, lawyers and accountants, on the simple premise that my children will have better than what I’ve had. 

Our immigrant grandparents/parents have taught us the importance of education and hard work because that word has taught them the power of education and hard work. 

Having said that, are your mental health problems a result of being in full-time education or are you normal? 

Not that most of us will ever admit to it because the majority of the South Asian community thinks acknowledging mental illnesses is synonymous to accepting failure.

When in reality, if you know your child might be struggling with their mental health and refuse to address it in the hope that ‘it will just go away’ – you have failed them. 

Image shows GIF of Lily Singh dressed as an Indian aunty with the caption ‘is your brain broken?’ Photo via GIPHY.

“If you’re smart enough to be a doctor, then be a doctor”

For most Indian kids education has always played a huge part in their upbringing. Personal aspirations in life are often deeply rooted in long-term career goals. We were all taught to stick to sensible and conventional career paths because our grandparents/parents prioritised survival over passion when migrating from their Motherland.

Pursuing passion does make you quite indifferent to the nosy community aunties and uncles who will say; “why did you do English Literature, if you have the ability to pursue medicine then why are you looking at other things – if you are smart enough to be a doctor then be a doctor.”

So like has your Indian Dad yelled timetables at you whilst doing your Maths homework on the kitchen table at some point in your childhood?

Although this shared traumatic memory is probably not the reason why it’s unlikely to meet an Indian person without a degree. It’s fair to say that our generation has more choices, we have the opportunity to pursue passion over practicality, but often only in terms of validity and not accessibility.

Especially as previous generation’s sole aim was providing for their family which has resulted in the common belief that mental health issues and growing up in a carefree and privileged environment are not considered as mutually exclusive.

The disbelief could strive from the idea that our parent’s generation have worked hard to give their children everything and that means the children cannot develop a mental illness. When in reality, luxury rarely has a bearing to it.

A sterling example of brown parents overlooking mental health is when Devi’s Mom said; “therapy is for white people”, in the Netflix original ‘Never have I Ever.’

Image shows a clip from Netflix original Never Have I Ever where the main character is in therapy. Photo via GIPHY.

I might need therapy and other becoming of age concerns 

Sara Rao* 19 medical student shared her experiences about her small identity/career crisis just before her a-level results came out last year. She said: “From the age of 11, I’ve wanted to be a doctor, but before I got my place at uni, I put so much pressure on myself and could not entertain the idea of not getting a seat in medical school.”

In order to combat anxiety and stress Rao has been going to therapy for the past few years and said initially her Mom saw her daughter’s need for therapy as her failing as a Mother.

She added: “Sometimes I talk about my friend’s mental health with my parents because it makes it seem like it’s not just a singular issue that affects their child but actually something that other children go through and deal with in a healthy way.”  

Despite this, in recent years there has been a surge in mental health awareness, which is a dramatic jump from growing up not talking about our mental health at all. Perhaps due to the stigma society holds towards invisible disabilities incorporated with the lack of knowledge towards mental illness. 

Rao added: “There was a point in my Mom’s life when she felt really down for 3-4 years, she could have been depressed, but back then they didn’t have the luxury of thinking about their feelings.”

Regardless of the generational gap Rao stated that most of us have grown up accustomed to ignoring our mental health. 

Resources for people seeking therapy:

  1. https://southasiantherapists.org/
  2. https://youngminds.org.uk/

Check me out on instagram at @shivani.css and twitter at @shivani_css. Let me know what you thought of my article in the comments below. 

Feature image shows the official mental health awareness symbol, a semicolon.

Featured

Rape: are we all scared of the dark?

When did you learn that love, Santa clause, occasional quiet reflection and prayer can’t make the world go around? Was it prior or peak the global pandemic?

Regardless of the timescale greed, power, money and the patriarchy have always been prominent features of our society. But is it bleak to believe that these four things are key centrepieces of the world’s basic infrastructure?

Although, the patriarchy has set a global decorum that has been abided by for centuries, is it naive to believe that the patriarchy positively benefits all men?

Are we proud of the men we are creating?

Giphy

Men and the Patriarchy

Boys have grown up with the comfort of their mistakes being swiftly brushed under the carpet, or worse, blamed on the girl involved.

The judiciary system has genuinely taught me that society will prefer a girl to play the role of ‘collateral damage’ in a boy’s over all journey of character growth, i.e Brock Turner.

In 2016, Brock Turner was found guilty of three charges; sexually assaulting an intoxicated victim, sexually assaulting an unconscious victim and attempting to rape her.

Turner was given a six-month jail sentence but released after serving three. Judge Persky, who was later asked to step down from his position, expressed his concerns that a ‘prison sentence would have a severe impact’ on him. However, failed to address the 7,000 word statement the victim, Emily Doe wrote to convey the impact ’20 minutes of action’ had on her. The rapist’s lack of punishment is a patriarchal perk that confirmed that rape is okay, regardless of whether you get caught.

Whereas, society has always been quick to victim shame girls by always assuming she ‘was asking for it.’ But do people genuinely believe that a woman was leering over a man because she was covertly asking to be brutally sexually assaulted and murdered – for sex?

Maybe sex is actually what makes the world go around. Sex – a concept loosely based on consent and more on entitlement because rape is something that petrifies men in prison but for women, it’s every time the sun starts to set.

Giphy

Rape culture repeats itself

Often repetition can set off an allusion that a problem has been solved, but surely the exposure of an issue is different to resolving it. Yet, Feminist rallies are periodically met with an element of hostility, snide side eyes and hushed remarks of some people questioning ‘why women could possibly need any more rights?’

Draupadi, a Hindu-Indian woman from the 8th century could be considered as one of the first feminists in the world. So, if the concept has been around since single figured centuries can we all confidently say that we’ve achieved equality?

Since the transition into double figured centuries, society has had a challenging relationship with the F word. The concept holds enough power to scare and confuse adults that will only read a book if it has pictures. Despite this, more men and women are openly choosing to refer to themselves as feminists. And have started to understand intersectional feminism by acknowledging the importance of achieving equality for everyone and not just people who look like you.

In light of this, it’s fair to say that society acts like the issue of inequality has been resolved, until the Nirbhaya case repeats itself.

Then the clockwork starts again. The protests, petitions, campaigns and the inevitable resurfacing of performative activism on the grid. The promise of tightening punishments and increased security from people in power and celebrities tweeting out their thoughts and prayers.

Despite the noise, how much progress we’ve actually made suddenly becomes crystal clear because when the dust of this case settles, society will reset.  It’s almost like society has become accustomed to a girl playing the role of ‘collateral damage’ for us to be reminded how little progress we’ve actually made.

Giphy

Follow me on Instagram @Shivani.css or twitter @Shivani_css

Check out my last story here

By Shivani

Featured

“WAP” by Cardi B Ft. Megan Thee Stallion Review

‘WAP” by Cardi B Ft. Megan Thee Stallion has broken the internet after its release last week.

The song is a female-orientated ratchet rap song that seems to be reclaiming the word ‘whore.’

However, the music video and lyrics seem to have created an angry mob of leeches; who are willing to brush over the fact that most male singers have been degrading and sexualising women in their music videos for decades.

It’s almost like the hyper sexualisation of women by the music industry is only palatable when it’s done through the male gaze because nobody seemed to mind when Rick Ross and 2 Chainz did it.

But female nudity is widely coveted in our society, especially when it comes with a hint of reluctancy.

Anne Hathaway’s underwear blip; Princess Diana’s topless nightmare; and Jennifer Lawrence’s’ nudes were all taken and distributed without consent but ended up being the most sought over pictures of that year.

GIPHY

But when you flip the narrative and produce a song with lyrics based on female sexual expression and throw words like ‘female’ and ‘empowerment’ around in the marketing campaign, it always seems to receive a mixed reception.  

This video comes across as a calculated ‘f*ck you’ towards the male gaze and the people that have been calling Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion ‘whores’ for years. Especially towards those who labelled them as ‘provocative’ for wearing (acting/singing/doing) what they want because it doesn’t fit into their box of how a ‘lady’ should behave. 

The calculated f’ you is achieved when they say: ‘There’s some whores in the house’ which could be a way of reclaiming the word and taking control of their sexuality as the lyrics go on to explain the sexual things they can and will do.

The music video isn’t trying to satisfy male fantasies on sapphism because Cardi B or Megan have made it clear that their actions are not motivated by the stretch of the male gaze. 

GIPH

The video and lyrics are centred around female sexual expression but seem to have been (accidentally?) perceived as an underlying political statement that is set out to corrupt young girls and is a product of raising children without God or a strong Father figure. 

James P Bradley (republican congressional candidate) took to twitter on the 7th August.

“Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion are what happens when children are raised without God and without a strong father figure.

“Their new “song” The #WAP (which i heard accidentally) made me want to pour holy water in my ears and I feel sorry for future girls if this is their role model!”

The only thing I’m taking away from this tweet is the word ‘accidentally’. 

TWITTER

 In reality, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion are celebrating their bodies and sexuality in a way that makes them feel empowered – and that is literally about the size of it.

The reception that this video has received highlights the fact that society still refuses to accept female sexuality when it’s coming from a female perceptive.

As for Kylie Jenner, hopefully, she uses the money she made from this music video to pay her sweatshop workers in Bangladesh.

By Shivani

Black Lives Matter #BLM playlist that donates to the movement when you don’t skip the ads

YOU TUBE

Featured

Covid-19 has had a global impact in the way Men Consume Fashion

A predicted rise this year in the growth of the men’s fashion and luxury grooming products has ground to a halt because of the coronavirus.

Despite a huge increase in the popularity of fashion retail for men, consumer demand in clothing and grooming accessories has taken a significant hit since the start of the global pandemic.

Marketing company Euromonitor International had predicted that 2020 would be the year that men’s fashion would outperform women’s clothing. According to its research, men’s consumer rates were predicted to develop by 2.3 per cent globally compared to the 2.2 per cent growth rate for female clothing.    

But in reality, the menswear market, which accounts for around 26 per cent of the total clothing market across the world, is experiencing a slower rate of growth – rising by only 1.2 per cent to £15.4 billion in 2019 compared to last year due to the pandemic.  

The challenging retail climate has promoted many high street brands to increase promotional activity in a bid to combat the lack of growth within the men’s fashion and sector.  

Instagram

High Street retail giant, New Look is set to close their menswear stores and is expecting to see a big fall in sales this year.

On March 27, the National Chamber of Italian Fashion announced that Spring 2021 Milan Men’s fashion week was going to be shown alongside the Women’s collection in September. 

The plan, according to an announcement made by the Chamber earlier this year, was to launch an innovative marketing campaign aimed at the growing demand for menswear.

“We are working on new digital formats and new ways of encounter, in order to create a new storytelling on the days originally scheduled for the Milan Men’s Fashion Week,” said a spokesman.

“We are aware that great efforts will be made in order to have the new collections ready by June to start an innovative selling campaign.”

Vogue Editor Anna Wintour has already famously urged the fashion industry to “rethink our values” in light of the pandemic. 

She said that the affluent expenditure of two-year fashion weeks in New York, London, Paris and Milan alongside separate showcases for menswear needs to change. 

In June, London fashion week became gender-neutral for 12 months and available on a digital-only platform due to the UK’s current lockdown restrictions. 

Weheartit.com

Earlier this year, the British Fashion Council suggested fashion had been moving towards gender neutrality for a while so male and female fashion may have combined without a global pandemic.  

High-end fashion house Tom Ford has been promoting themselves as non-binary to resonate with the younger generations.  

Men and Make-up

John Lewis became the first department store to launch a male cosmetic brand in January called warpaint. 

Statistics from YouGov show that there is a demand for this as one in 20 men have worn make-up. One in 50 men admitted to wearing it daily and one in a 100 wear it every single day.

One in a 100 have relied on make-up to look more professional for a job that did not specifically require make-up and one in 50 have used it whilst getting ready for a date. 

This means five per cent of British men now wear a certain level of make-up.

Freelance journalist Nathan Rowe, 25, said: “it is quite obvious that younger generations have moved on from archaic gender norms. 

“It’s a process though and there will always be some form of gender norm in my opinion.”

Instagram

The research shows that the products being consumed go beyond Sainsbury’s own moisturiser and shaving cream as millennial men are exploring with real cosmetics. 

Web designer Matthew Watson, 24 said: “I have a skincare routine, but it’s not extensive.

“But in terms of expressing myself through fashion – sometimes I go to Sainsbury’s in pj’s, I don’t really use fashion to express myself”.  

However, this may indicate a lack of choice for men in mainstream retailers and that male fashion and cosmetics is still considered to be a niche market. The industry could benefit from temporarily merging male and female fashion for the next 12 months.   

Secondary School teacher Rahul Chawla, 26, said: “You can express yourself with who you are with what you wear.

“But the most important thing when it comes to fashion is to make sure it suits you.”

This shows that whilst men are still making the conscious decision to consume fashion with their allocated gender norms in mind, they do like to take pride in their appearance.  

Fashion has provided men with a platform that allows them to develop a fashion sense that is contemporary and fashionable rather than dressing within their comfort zones. 

By Shivani

Black Lives Matter #BLM playlist that donates to the movement when you don’t skip the ads

https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLD9VjkBhsQQcoYbYxsJq9sPJ7n94yLq4t&v=bCgLa25fDHM&feature=emb_title

Featured

INDIAN MATCHMAKING: What do Men really want?

Indian Matchmaking is a new Netflix original series that explores modern arranged marriages in the Indian community.  

It has created a huge impact since its launch last week and has led to a huge increase in Indian singles changing their bio to ‘trying to find someone before my parents contact someone called Sima from Mumbai’ on their dating app of choice. This might be because Sima Aunty believes that first dates should always be accompanied by both (joint) families to avoid a ‘flop meeting.’

Although, the only person that has benefited from this set up was probably Akshay who married a charted accountant and genuinely could not care less because his overview of marriage was simply disheartening.

Netflix

When asked on their first meeting, Radhika clearly stated that she wants to be a working woman and independent.

Despite the slightly confused squint, Akshay expressed at the thought of an independent woman, he remained silent but later told the camera that he would prefer his “future partner to do the same things in the house that my Mom does.”  

This was promptly followed by the statement of the century (just not this one) “and if she’s busy with her work, who’s going to look after the children?” 

  • You Akshay. As a Father, you will look after your children.  
Twitter

To summarise, that is the conversation he should have had with Radhika because they are not on the same page.

But it also clears up any confusion we may have had when Sima Aunty said marriage is about ‘adjustment,’ ‘compromise’ and being ‘flexible.’ 

Netflix

We now know that actually means society expects women to suppress their dreams and ambitions in order to devote their life towards appeasing an entitled man-child who is marrying you because his Mum told him to. 

Indian men and their Mothers

If you were to ask the men from India on this show why they want to get married, Pradhyuman (Prads) and (problematic) Akshay would probably say; ‘because my Mum told me too.’ 

But is it wild for me to assume that if this is your only valid answer, then you are not ready to get married?

Sima Aunty might not like Aparna because she’s independent, ambitious and slightly rude but the real antagonist of this show was Akshay’s Mother. 

She thinks you can put something like ‘finding the one’ into a timeframe and is probably going to tick it off her magnetic to-do-list on the fridge the morning after the wedding. 

The show’s narrative reminds us that marriage is an objective task to be completed by the age of 25, and that being emotionally ready has no bearing with the issue. 

Sima Aunty (from Mumbai) also frequently reminds the audience that being tall and fair is the most important thing a girl has to bring to the table. And the most disturbing thing about it is, she’s not wrong. 

Prads rejected over 150 girls before he met Rushali, who is tall and fair. She is also educated but that is noted as a secondary attribute.

Netflix

Rushali could have turned up to the date reciting principles from Mein Kampf and Prads would still tell Sima aunty that he’s suddenly ready to get married. It’s almost like the change of heart is being fuelled by the fact that she’s tall and fair.

To conclude, the only difference between Sima Aunty from Mumbai and Indian aunties is that Sima Aunty is getting paid.

Stay safe out there.

By Shivani

Featured

Rebranded: Too Slow and Lovely?

By Shivani

In India Fair and Lovely makes around £400 million of revenue per annum.

‘Fair and Lovely’ is set to change their name to ‘Glow and Lovely’ in the next few months. 

The Black Lives Matter movement has challenged police brutality and racism worldwide after the murder of George Floyd on May 25.

For South Asians this has led to the challenging of anti-blackness in our community and addressing our obsession with fair skin. 

In light of this, London Unilever has announced their plans to dissociate their brand from words like ‘white/whiteness,’ ‘fair/fairness’ and ‘light/lightening.’  

But Hindustan Unilever’s decision to rebrand Fair and Lovely has not had a positive reception. 

Twitter has branded the new name as disappointing for several reasons: firstly it’s not grammatically accurate. Options like ‘glow and BE lovely’ or ‘glow and loveliness’ could have worked better.

Secondly, the Editor of the Economic Times, Sruthijith kk, has said the change of name will not undo the damage already done. 

 Also side note: the use of the word ‘glow’ is vague. Is it going to make me glow like i’m the long-lost descendant of a religious messiah, or is it going to have the machine power of Primark fairy lights? 

History of the Brand

Since their launch in 1975, their ads have been consistently criticised for speaking and promoting the language of our colonisers. 

Hindustan Unilever’s Fair and Lovely cream ads have always shown fair skin to be a ‘must-have’ accessory to succeed in life. The brand has ultimately made a fortune from exploiting the South Asian community’s obsession with fairness.  

The ads have conveyed a patriarchal version of female empowerment. This ultimately convinces women that being ‘stereotypically pretty’ is more valued than their hard work and intelligence.

One ad from 2012 depicts a young woman using Fair and Lovely cream in preparation for her dream job interview.

The lyrics of the song playing in the background refer to the cream as a ‘key’ to fairness that will unlock her success.  

GIPHY

The backlash

In 2014, the Advertising Standards Council in India ruled that the ads should not portray dark-skinned people as depressed, disadvantaged and unable to find a job because of their skin tone. The brand should not associate skin colour with any particular socio-economic ethnicity or community. 

The brand has since taken those restrictions on board and no longer associates with their historic advertisements.

GIPHY

Sunny Jain, President of Beauty & Personal Care, said: “we have been working on the evolution of our Fair & Lovely brand, which is sold across Asia, progressively moving to a more inclusive vision of beauty that celebrates skin glow. 

“We have changed the advertising, communication and – more recently – the packaging in South Asia, and we think it’s important that we now share the next step that we have been working on: changing the brand name. 

“We will also continue to evolve our advertising, to feature women of different skin tones, representative of the variety of beauty across India and other countries.”

But on a scale of one-ten how effectively will these changes wipe out years of propagated racism?

Cover Photo: Wehearit.com

Black Lives Matter Playlist

This playlist donates to the BLM movement when you don’t skip ads
Featured

PART 1: What will People Say when you Date Outside of your Race

It’s like the whole community wants to be fair skinned but not actually white.

Indian aunties would rather you marry an undercover Indian drug lord who is heavily sought after over international seas then approve your marriage to a white guy from Bristol with a Chemistry degree. 

If you marry the ‘Chemistry degree,’ they’ll boycott your wedding, turn you into a social pariah and wait in eager anticipation for your divorce. 

That way, they can hit you with the ‘I told you so’ before deviating into India’s low divorce rates for arranged marriages. 

 Even though everyone knows you can’t have a family without divorce. Well, you can’t have a happy family without divorce. 

But if you do have a family without divorce, at least one of your children will be in therapy by their late teens or early 20s. 

GIPHY

A lot of the time we’re asked to weigh up the pros and cons between; ‘what will people think’ vs ‘the rest of our lives’ as if it’s an equal comparison. 

Not that the ‘rest of our lives’ list is going to be taken into consideration, I think our parents just ask us to write it out so we think we had a choice but ultimately its to teach us how to deal with disappointment early on. 

According to aunty logic ‘what will people think’ will always triumph. Like when I first started studying journalism, I was volunteering at this brown event where I had to babysit 5-10-year-olds whilst they made Hindu gods out of clay and some Aunties asked me about my life plans. 

I told them I study journalism and as soon as the first wave of unnecessary judgement hit me, I quickly added that I was wanted to specialise in scientific journalism. 

 – Like what the f*ck – no I do not. 

I think the judgement comes in a hierarchy of unnecessary waves. The worst wave is probably when Indian Aunties act like the most important part of a marriage is making sure your public appearance at the annual Navratri (Hindu festival- involves dancing)  event doesn’t raise any unwanted eyebrows. 

Although, I think it’s important to note that you don’t necessarily need a white husband to do that. You could rock up in a MAGA hat smoking a spliff and create a similar effect.

GIPHY

Is it slightly naive to assume there’s a higher chance you’ll get along with someone because both of your grandparents are from Punjab – before the partition – and migrated to England in the early 60s? 

That, and your melanin.  

Just because they’re an Indian Chemical engineer doesn’t rule out the possibility of them emailing you drake lyrics on why you should be together – because you blocked them on every other social media platform because they were so toxic. 

GIPHY

Is it widely assumed that an individuals melanin is enough to guarantee that they’re the match for you. Does it also confirm that they’ll be more emotionally available then a deformed pigeon on acid?

Beacause if not…

Do we all feel pressured to date people whilst keeping our annual Navratri appearance in mind?

To be continued…

Music:

Black Lives Matter playlist (that donates money to the movement when you don’t skip ads)

Image credit: weheartit.com

Featured

VIDEO: How to Roast your Friends During Lockdown

I did my make up and asked one of my uni mates to do a voice over for me. 

I suggested we do a collab like old school YouTubers from 2013 because he has a football blog. He said no due to my lack of extensive football knowledge, which I thought was a bit rude, to be honest. 

His blog is called InThe_Mixer and he does like match reviews and other football related things, I’ve put a link to the twitter handle at the bottom of the page. 

I also showed my Dad this voiceover and asked him what he thought and he said; if you asked me to do this voiceover – you wouldn’t talk to me for three weeks. 

(Obviously, I am joking, although what I said is actually factually accurate the tone is mutually irreverent.)

I’m just going to apologise for my hair now. Most days I just comb it with a wide-tooth comb, throw up a little prayer and hope for the best, because I like to give it a chance before it goes up in a bun. 

The video: 

lowe the thumbnail

The products I used: 

  1. Tea Tree Toner, The Body Shop
  2. Original Hydrating Mist Toner, Sukin Yeah whatever that is
  3. Lip balm, Soap and Glory, Boots 
  4. Simples moisturiser, Boots (Contrary to other opinions expressed, I like this moisturiser)
  5. Maybelline Concealer, Boots 
  6. E.l.f, lip crayon in Rich Red Boots (ft my ghetto make up hack that saves time in the morning – don’t judge)  
  7. E.l.f, lip crayon in Rich Red (ft where it’s actually supposed to go) 

Nathan’s Football blog: https://twitter.com/inthe_mixer?lang=en-gb

Black Lives Matter playlist (that donates money to the movement when you don’t skip ads)

Featured

Do I Sound like I’m Being Dramatic?

Vegetarians only get food poisoning when they pray for 100 words a minute in shorthand and not world peace during a Havan (Hindu prayer ceremony to promote good vibes in your home.) 

Every time I’ve told one of my friends I almost died of food poisoning last weekend the follow up question is; ‘are you just being dramatic?’ 

Do I sound like I’m being dramatic? 

Although, looking back, warding off my little sister because she was trying to feed me cucumbers to replenish the electrolytes I lost whilst throwing up, does seem a bit far.

The last time I had food poisoning I was in Prague and I think it was because I ate some dodgy chicken. 

In the evening, everyone had chosen to eat at this bar because they were showing the football match. 

And I obviously didn’t want to go so I threw a mediocre level strop, which is kind of like a tantrum but a lot more demure and irreverent come backs for when someone tries to call you a drama queen.    

When we got there I think I was only half way through my strop all together and decided to order the salad. The salad had chicken in it and made me throw up 3 times the next day. 

When I started to feel better I got my period. 

This is the story behind why I’m now a vegetarian.   

Unfortunately, Mother Nature does not let you abstain from your period the same way you can abstain from meat.  

This years food poisoning story started on Saturday morning. My sister wanted to have a Havan and everyone was up and ready by 8am.  

My head hurt so I took a paracetamol on an empty stomach, which in hindsight, wasn’t the best idea. Well, not even in hindsight – I knew it was a bad idea but at the time, I just forgot. 

I threw up four times throughout the day and when I finally started to feel better I got my period. 

And I would just like to use this experience to confirm that Satan is 100% real. 

Le fin.

I haven’t put the link to songs for a while so here you go:

Featured

Religious Organisations around Worcestershire Share how they have Adapted to COVID19

“When a crisis occurs, people question life, everybody is in this routine: work, home eat, sleep and nobody questions what’s happening and why they are doing this.”

RELIGIOUS organisations around Worcestershire have found innovative ways to adapt their services during lockdown restrictions.

Online meditation and faith seminars are part of the several programmes set up by the Hindu organisation; ISKCON Worcestershire.

The group also has a ‘Food for all’ and Krishna’s helpers’ platform to support vulnerable members of the community by collecting prescriptions and shopping.

ISKCON Instructor Madhumangal Agarwal said closing temples was an essential part of following government guidelines to avoid the spread of the virus.

“Out of sentiment we can say that we should meet but if your longevity is derailed, it’s better to do it on an online platform.”

“Normal life as we know it has ceased to exist, people are losing jobs and feeling stress, depression and anxiety because they are scared of the virus and the repercussions.

“We are focusing on trying to provide guidance from a more subtle spiritual consciousness perspective.”

ISKCON Instructor Nandini Agarwal said: “The online meditation and classes are so that the people don’t feel alone, and we are all supporting each other.

“When a crisis occurs, people question life, everybody is in this routine: work, home eat, sleep and nobody questions what’s happening and why they are doing this.

“This has given everybody an opportunity to stop, it’s given them time to go within and to question who we are and why we’re here.”

Image courtesy: Unsplash

The Very Reverend, Ray Khan has been the vicar at Bromsgrove’s St John’s Baptist Church for five years and says prioritising the most vulnerable community members is most important.

He has also noticed many more people attending online services and praying.

“We have identified people who are vulnerable and self-isolating, and we have a team of people who will ring them up to check that they are okay.

“We’re also communicating really well with our Church members, through email, online bible studies and live streaming prayer on Zoom.

St John’s volunteers are also making sure that the 70 plus age group is being cared for, which the Very Rev Kahn said is a testimony to the people of Bromsgrove and not just the Church.

Yvonne Stollard has been a member of the Birmingham Progressive Synagogue for the past 26 years as Worcestershire does not have any synagogues.

She said the local Jewish community has been taking the government’s restrictions very seriously as the religion centres around the preservation of life.

“In Worcestershire, there are very few Jewish people. All four synagogues in Birmingham have closed but they still have to carry on as organisations in some way or another.

“We’re using video conferencing for online meetings and Shabbat services and a short service on Friday evening, Saturday morning, and a Havdalah service celebrating the end of the Sabbath service.

“All the synagogue’s council members keep in regular touch with the community and we pay particular attention to those who are much older and vulnerable.”

The Muslim Community was also contacted in light of this story, but unfortunately their response exceeded the deadline of this article.

Featured

Women are being Encouraged to Challenge Sexism in the West Mercia Police Force

Uncover Your Potential is a campaign launched by the Women of West Mercia to encourage women to join the police force and challenge unhealthy gender stereotypes.

The movement is championing gender equality in the midst of Coronavirus by urging prospective candidates to submit applications and encourage parents to challenge their gender biases through home education.

Since its launch last year, the campaign has teamed up with three University of Worcester Creative Media students to make a video celebrating women’s role in the Force.

It has since become part of a regional school campaign aimed at challenging gender biases in primary and secondary schools.

Detective Inspector Elizabeth Warner said: “The idea is that the viewer watches the video with their own pre-conceived ideas. 

“Maybe they unconsciously assume all the staff in the first 22 seconds are male. There is no mention of them being females – it’s left to themselves to check their assumptions.

“We challenge the children to think about their own aspirations, not ones set for them by toy makers, clothes designers, family or authors.” 

Det Insp. Liz says adapting the campaign to the climate of home-schooling and online classes involves encouraging parents to show their children the video and talk about gender stereotypes placed on young boys and girls.  

In the past, Mrs Warner has done several schools assemblies about the campaign and encouraged schools to use the education pack in lessons and assemblies.

Previously, educational resources have relied on gender stereotypes such as colouring sheets which convey a policeman with a dog, a policeman in a fast car and a policewoman kneeling down talking to a child.

“Colouring sheets in the packs have been created by local young female artists and are of female officers often in traditionally male police roles to replace some stereotypical ones in circulation.” 

Detective Inspector Elizabeth Warner

The campaign has also helped to re-launch the Women’s Network in the West Mercia and Warwickshire Police to increase the female representation.

Det Insp Liz said: “I truly believe that it is so difficult to be what you can’t see.  Women are under-represented in the police, and even more so the further up the ranks and in some specialist, roles typically seen as male dominated.

“I have chief officers who are now talking to me about things like menopause, periods and endometriosis and they’re all managers of an older age and they’re sitting down and listening to stuff about this, and that’s what is really key.”

Watch the #uncoveryourpotential video here

Photos and video courtesy of Detective Inspector Elizabeth Warner

Featured

Why I don’t want a baby

I have no idea how to hold a baby. They’ve always scared me so I’ve just done a pretty good job in avoiding them so far.

I refused to go near my nephew until he turned 3 and started to seem like less of a dropping hazard and more of a liability and therefore slightly easier handle. But now he’s 14 years old, easily one of my favourite family members and sends me memes I’ve already seen regularly.

  • My maternal instincts towards him (that every woman should supposedly have) are zero to none.

I don’t know if this is due to my own Mother’s stringent parenting approach and her reluctancy to humour the damsel in distress narrative or because we shouldn’t generalise every single woman on the planet to want the same thing from life – a baby.

A baby, preferably with a husband because having one out of wedlock will lead to becoming a social pariah and society referring to your sprog as a bastard like in Peaky Blinders, which was set in 1919.
On a brighter note, the man in question will be totally fine and not expected to deal with the consequences of his actions at all.

This is probably one of the oldest double standards in the patriarchy, especially the bit where the associated fine print gives political leaders (without vagina’s) the authority to implement laws and restrictions over what (cis, trans and other) women can and cannot do with their bodies.

On a surface level the laws, restrictions and campaigns aim to preserve the sanctity of life but when you look below the belt, it comes across as a manipulative way to dismiss freedom of choice and police women’s bodies.

But don’t you sometimes wonder if this would be the case if men could get pregnant?

The self-deprecating ‘just’ in ‘i’m just a Dad’ wouldn’t exist and the title; stay-at-home-Father would be celebrated as a full-blown profession.

But also, time, money and resources would be put towards creating a contraceptive pill that doesn’t make you feel like you have acute depression.

Abortions would be handed out for free with a complimentary Xanax or homegrown weed for your trouble and Trump would tweet about freedom of choice and men’s rights to their own body’s daily.

Although, in this paradox, two things would stay intact: firstly society’s habit of brushing aside the actions of badly behaved men with a classic ‘boys will be boys.’
Secondly, expecting girls to take sole responsibility and quietly accept the consequences of a boy’s actions throughout their pre-teen and teenage years but then celebrating them for being ‘mature’ once they reach their early 20s.

As if it wasn’t the years of double standards and trauma that paved the way in creating our heightened maturity levels?

Are women naturally more caring or is this just an enforced gender stereotype we’ve all spent centuries adapting too?
Our society relies on gender norms to ensure that a regulated decorum is followed throughout the world. (Excluding societies that are yet to discover WIFI).

Do even the most reluctant of women eventually have an epiphany that releases all of their maternal instincts that she always supposedly had?

But if everyone has an epiphany about the same thing, it no longer seems like an epiphany and more like mass manipulation.

Do you think our Mothers were actually ready to have a baby or were they just pushing 30 and got tired of everyone questioning their fertility as if these are appropriate grounds to push a watermelon out of your vagina and be its primary carer till it’s 18?

To be honest, I think I’ve felt more maternal towards a dog that I am 100% sure I can return to the owners once it’s done a shit than an actual baby with the same contract.

I’m not an anti-natalist, I think it’s important to celebrate and support Mother’s but I also think it’s important to shift the narrative by normalising the idea that a baby might not be end game for every woman.


Especially if there is potential for them to turn out like Raphael Samuel, a Mumbai-based businessman who sued his parents for giving birth to him without his consent and he argues that he was unleashed into an unwarranted amount of suffering.


Although there is an element of truth in his (slightly flawed) belief system because on some days, I do see where he is coming from.

Everyone always says we need to make the world a better place for our children. But one of the best ways to achieve this is by focusing our attention towards the children living below the poverty line right now, and removing the stigma often associated with other viable avenues such as adoption, fostering and surrogacy (unless it’s a dodgy black market deal).


But also can we normalise the idea that some women are content in being the cool aunt with the questionable amount of money who makes a point to start day drinking as soon as the afternoon school run starts.

Featured

How to Reject a Guy

Everyone’s a serial ghoster and it’s got to the point where we’re almost impressed by someone who takes the initiative to ghost us first.

The only concern I have when it comes to ghosting people I have never met, is whether it’s a way of building up bad karma, which is a narcissistic approach, and probably the closest to ‘guilt’ as I’m going to get. 

Does the weird little bearded bloke in your requested dm’s require a response or do you get a free pass when it comes to ghosting somebody you’ve never actually met before?

Is the weird little bearded bloke in your dm’s sending you Shrek themed COVID-19 memes and explicit photos with a black and white filter, or is that just me?

So far my plan has been to ignore him for as long as possible in the hope that he goes away eventually?

Image shows Shrek putting out fire. Image via GIPHY

I guess it’s slightly easier to reject a borderline predatory leech (associate the leech with a gender yourself) that makes you feel widely uncomfortable 75% of the time in a global pandemic.

Do you think social media has helped us realise that we are all just serial ghosters, hoping the opposition has too much pride to double text?

Or does the global pandemic mean we can finally tell them the truth: it’s not me, it’s the fact that you don’t believe in climate change and your questionable views on feminism

Image shows a girl on her phone with the caption ‘where’s the gun emoji’ image via GIPHY

It’s easier to ghost someone online because you can just like the last thing they’ve said, even if it was a direct question, because it’s totally viable to tell him (her/them) that you thought it was rhetorical and send them three cry laughter faces to defuse the situation. Although the repercussions of this may lead to waking up to a voice note riddled with expletives from a man with a bruised ego the next day.

 But, the whole dodging a bullet, (i.e a total misogynist) makes it totally worth it and the only thing I learnt from this experience is to feel less guilty when you’re about to block a creep.

Although, these aids are redundant in real life, like how do you ghost a cat-caller? Do you start with reminding them that their approach has had a 0% success rate and is borderline rapey? Or do we just reach for our phones, increase our pace and try to bury ourselves into our jackets as if it was our fault, rather than normalising the idea that it’s got nothing to do with us, and a dickhead will always be a dickhead.

Image shows two men walking with the caption ‘what a dickhead’ Image via GIPHY

Put your finger down if a random guy has yelled at you from their car and made you feel extremely targeted, embarrassed and uncomfortable.

Put your finger down if a random guy has driven at 10mph alongside the pavement and repeatedly asked you if you’re ‘single’ or ‘married.’

Then later you share your near-death experience with you friend who makes you laugh at the fact that the leech only gave two relationship status’ to choose from. I could be in a relationship, a practicing nun or divorced – why is he limiting my scope like that?

Afterwards, your (male) friend says: “I’m so glad that I don’t have to deal with this as a guy,” but since we’re associating the gender of the leeches ourselves, this comment seems slightly naive.

Or maybe that one is just me? *puts finger down*

Image shows a cartoon of a crocodile with the caption ‘don’t tell me to smile’ Image via GIPHY

Let’s be honest, the easiest way to reject a guy is tell him about another one, because he’s more likely to respect the ‘property’ of another man than believe that you – an individual with independent thoughts – is just not interested. 

Image shows a woman tapping her forehead. Image via GIPHY

Are we allowed to reject men? Like is it naive to believe that they’ll take your no as their final answer? Or do we have to rely on white lies, soft ghosts and faint humouring just so we don’t end up dead in a ditch? Therefore, a blunt no is often considered a pending yes in order to ease the direct attack his ego has just experienced.

Image shows a duck moving rejecting someone with the caption ‘omg I have a boyfriend.’ Image via GIPHY

To make themselves feel better, they’re either going to do two things: they’ll say ‘you’re not even that pretty anyway’ or keep trying in the hope that you’ll give in eventually. In the past this has made me feel like I’m playing a two-player game where only one of us has pressed start.

Image depicts a game of Pacman. Image via GIPHY

But do you still have to verbally reject the guy that decided to rate a traumatic experience (shared out of naivety) as an eight out of 10, or does the feeling just become mutual once he’s realised what he’s said? Sometimes the rejection is inevitable: if you think it’s going badly, they must feel the same way surely?

For example, when someone asks you what your favourite random fact is and then spends the next 10 minutes googling whether cows can walk up the stairs but not down them. Even though you drew out an excellent diagram on a napkin of how the ass-to-tit ratio would mean they would topple over because cows can’t look down with just their eyes.

Image shows a cow with sunglasses and a blonde wig. Image via GIPHY

In the 21st century why are women still being governed by an invisible body that is so powerful, it no longer feels the need to leave brash and bold instructions because we have just become accustomed to our subordinate position in society.

Also why are we still humouring the men that consider your rejection as a challenge to change your mind?

Can we normalise the idea that women have their own thoughts and opinions and sometimes they just don’t like you like that.

Featured

VIDEO:Bromsgrove’s local Zero-Waste shop has adapted to the COVID-climate

A SMALL business in Bromsgrove has found a creative way to survive whilst following lockdown restrictions and rising COVID19 concerns.

Emily Atwell, 23 is the founder of Nature’s Intention which is a local shop that advocates zero waste and sells vegan friendly products and food.  

The store was listed as an essential business that has been allowed to remain open; it is now offering their customers the option to order from their website and Emily is delivering everything herself.

She said: “The threat of corona virus is spurring me to get the online service up and running in record time.”

Nature’s Intention (taken before lockdown)

Emily said customers are happy to wait outside the shop while she packs up their orders inside.

“We’ve had some really entertaining moments, including one customer who turned a saucepan in to an instrument and cheered me through the window.”

Natures Intention

Alternatively, Emily is delivering the items to her customers on Thursday and Saturday between 2:00pm-6:00pm.

The new delivery system has proven to be widely popular and has been something the business has wanted to venture into for a while.

She has also been using social media to share recipes and challenge customers in online competitions.

Before the lockdown the store had started pop-up shops in Alcester and Emily had just started cooking vegan meals for the shop too.

“I did want to open another shop but I’m not sure we’re there yet, so we’re just expanding by doing more events and creating more awareness.”

Once the restrictions are lifted the shop intends to continue with their expansion plans.

Follow this link https://www.natures-intention.co.uk/ if you would like to order vegan essentials from their website.

Featured

VIDEO: I tried to make cupcakes

I tried to make cupcakes from a packet and I honestly don’t think it’s normal to struggle this much on something that has two ingredients, three steps and aimed at five-year-olds. I know that I said (twice!) in the video that I’m not starting a YouTube channel, but my format wasn’t compatible with Instagram so here we are, with a YouTube channel. Don’t judge me. Some people might call it destiny, other people might call it being a moron and not filming your video vertically and saving it as a jpg in the first place. I tried to film this as a serious tutorial but quickly realised that it’s more of a comedy show that I might have to submit as my final project for my video journalism module because we’re practising social distancing now. I think social distancing is where you sit at home and watch Instagram stories where people aggressively tell you to stay at home and avoid liking anyone’s ‘until tomorrow’ photo. Enjoy the video, let me know what you think!
I know I look really gormless in the thumbnail but thank you.
This article mainly consists of free writing which is a technique that writers use when they’re struggling with writer’s block. Rupi Kaur says she only does freewriting with a pen and paper because it helps her write her most rare and vulnerable work. I always try and do freewriting on my laptop so I can delete the evidence because half the time I don’t even make sense and not in a cool-angsty Kafka way, I just sound like a narcissistic moron, which is 40% true most of the time. I hope everyone is staying safe and sane, which I actually think are both equally important. Now that self-isolating is making me question my priorities, spending most of the day watching Friday Night Dinner and editing this video seemed totally justifiable. I hope you’re also making time to do things you would otherwise convince yourself you would not have time for.
Featured

What is it like to have your Birthday in Quarantine?

 The memes about having your birthday in quarantine were funny until I realised my birthday was on day three of the national lockdown.

I spent most of the morning outside soaking up the sun and listening to Kirtan until my phone overheated, stopped working and demanded to be taken inside.

I had an online class at 1pm where my attendance was looking very unlikely, but my phone had overheated and I wanted to see my mates, so I switched on my laptop and went to my lecture, from my room obviously.

After the class, it was 2pm and I feel like I was having an epiphany, I suddenly acquired the position of Raven from That’s so Raven, looking into the future and it hit me that I’m stuck in my house and I don’t know for how long.

I think before I was more like; my exams are cancelled, I don’t know if I’ll be able to qualify this year, I need to get a refund on my train pass, I don’t know when I’ll see my friends again- like the last time we all went and grabbed a burger after the shorthand exam was really the last time.

I know it’s narcissistic, but I think it really was yesterday where it just hit me and I thought f*ck this is happening -we’re making history under really harrowing circumstances.

Throughout the course of my day, I quickly realised that this is the season for backhanded birthday wishes, like yes luv thank you for reminding me that my birthday is under unfortunate circumstances, you should’ve let me know beforehand, I would have rescheduled it for you. Also shout out to captain obvious for informing me that we would have gone out for my birthday, but we can’t because we’re stuck inside. *

On my birthday, I still had articles to write, a portfolio to create, shorthand to practice and exams to revise for and I didn’t feel like doing any of that. The FaceTime calls managed to feed my attention span for most of the day but in-between all of that I was actually quite bored.

Luckily, a really old friend of mine is born the day after me and every year we always share birthday wishes, life updates and I’ve been singlehandedly maintaining the tradition of holding the fact that I’m a day older than him since we were 12. It was nice to talk to someone who didn’t make me feel guilty for being sad about having a dull birthday during a global pandemic.

On the surface this probably makes me out to be a narcissist with a convoluted set of priorities, but I think celebrating milestones and personal wins is something that will bring us together and keep us sane, especially during a time like this.

If your birthday is during this time, it’s okay to want to celebrate it but it’s also normal to feel guilty about it too.

Just a heads up, if you decide to order Domino’s pizza, they now say on their website that they are going to leave your order two metres away from your house and ring you once they’ve had the chance to leg it.

Although this was amusing, the main thing I learnt from this experience is that it can be used as one of your truths in a game of two truths and a lie on anyone born after 2019.

*I’m actually really grateful for all the birthday wishes and I’m roasting a few of you with love ❤

Here is a link to all of the songs I listened to whilst writing this post.

Hope you are all staying safe and sane (both equally important)

Featured

10 Things to do During a Storm

There is a storm outside, here is a list of 10 groundbreaking things you can do during a storm that you’ve probably never even thought of before.

1. Procrastinate on your Public Affairs revision

Procrastinate by writing a blogpost about things you should do in a storm which seems like a full proof plan, in theory.

2. Googling Storm Ciara

In the grand scheme of things, the storm seems like the season 4 plot twist we’ve all been waiting for. If we were to place a nihilistic bet on how humanity would ultimately end, most people would say coronavirus, our personal lack of common sense or some political leaders and their personal lack of common sense but then the universe was like BOOM, have a storm.

 

May or may not regret googling it #iamawokefemalewithaninternetconnection

3. Film the storm on snapchat to let people know there is a storm

Just in case your audience has discovered how to use snapchat but not windows. Tbh they might not even have windows and in that case, we can laugh, but really these film-makers are the ones doing the lords work.

4. Make some tea

Rain makes everyone into a tea drinker, looking out the window with a scorching cup of tea thinking, just being smug about the fact that you’re not outside right now because my 5.2 ass would get blown over in 0.2 seconds.

5. Weigh up the pros and cons of the world actually ending

Here is mine:

Pros of the world endingCons of the world ending
Won’t have to do anymore shorthand exams 
  

6. Instagram

Stalk people on instagram, stalk yourself on instagram, deal with second-hand embarrassment from the captions you wrote from like a year ago. Then put your phone down.

Sometimes I write captions I shouldn’t

7. (A lowkey serious option) Make a den in the living room with your siblings/friends

Don’t forget to bring duvets, snacks, fairy lights, pillows and obviously hope for the future

8. Pick your phone up again and repeat no. 6

Contemplate editing said captions but then deciding to keep them to remind yourself how much of a moron you used to be

9. Google how to survive in a Zombie apocalypse

The storm could be a part of climate change, but we could also be on the brink of a zombie apocalypse and it would be naive not to consider all the viable possibilities.

Now is the time to draw up your game plan, pack your suitcase and keep an eye on those suburban wine Mum’s because they are definitely going to be the first ones to turn into Zombies.

10. FaceTime/talk your Mom

To give her all the goss, an update on the garden fence the storm blew over last night and go over your Public Affairs revision

Here is a link to the songs I listened to whilst writing this blogpost

And Finally
Featured

A guide on how (not) to bake cookies

Baking cookies is pretty straightforward, you literally cannot mess this up, like you’ll probably find a way- but on paper, it’s foolproof. 

My Mom was particularly pleased when I rang her to say I was baking, although the enthusiasm dropped when I asked her for help and she realised our conversation actually turned into babysitting her 22-year-old over Facetime. 

My Mom thinks it’s important to encourage stereotypically feminine hobbies, like baking, sewing and embroidery. Especially now that it’s become apparent that I do not naturally excel in any of these. 

Ingredients:

  1.  Milk (or maybe even Baileys – if you know the cookies are going to taste bad and want to deter the attention)
  2. 225g of plain flour
  3. A crime documentary on Netflix that you’re going to watch whilst baking
  4. A bowl
  5. A spoon
  6. 150g of Butter
  7. Hope
  8. 80g of brown sugar
  9. 1 large egg
  10. 200g of plain chocolate chips or chunks
  11. Vanilla extract (If you’re basic)
  12. Determination and resilience 
  13. An oven
  14. Props to make the baked cookies look cute for the Instagram picture (because that is what you’re doing this for, let’s be real)
  15. Your Mother on Facetime because there is a high chance this will go wrong
  16. A packet from Morrison’s that has all the cookie mixture done for you and all you have to do is add water (as back up)
  17. Salt (although I chose to avoid this ingredient because I’m a moron)
  18. 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Step 1:

Heat the oven to 180C and get your younger sibling to grease a baking tray for you

Step 2:

Put the butter in the microwave first for about 15 seconds because nobody has the time to wait for it to ‘melt naturally.’

Put your butter in the bowl and add sugar and beat until creamy, then add the vanilla extract and egg.

Gradually mix in the flour (milk should be kept on standby for this step in case you put too much flour in and need to make the mixture creamy again) 

Add the chocolate chips into the mixture and stir well. Ask your Mom how long you should mix for. She’ll probably tell you to use your common sense so that basically means you have to google it.

4c6c9330-b807-4dcb-ad09-4fbedd35ff1a

Step 3:

You’re supposed to use an ice cream cone to make small scoops of the mixture before placing them onto the baking tray. But honestly at this point I got bored and didn’t even try to make them evenly shaped, I just plonked them on the baking tray and threw up a prayer before putting them in the oven. 

Step 4:

Took them out of the oven 3.4 seconds later because my Mom told me to put them in the fridge first so the dough can set.

So step 4 is putting them in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Step 5:

I showed my Mom this picture (below) and she said it should not look like this before you put it in the oven and with that positive affirmation I threw up another prayer and I put them in the oven anyway.

35446be1-f81b-4c58-b1ab-34d8c8d8308c

Step 6:

Wait for your cookies to bake for 12 minutes. 

Whilst you are waiting you could: 

a. do some revision (i.e read your law book or practice shorthand) 

b. watch your crime documentary 

c. find things you can use as props for the picture you’re going to take once the cookies are baked. I went into the garden and came back with a fake flower and half a tree. 

Step 7:

Idk what you do now, like maybe tidy up the mess you’ve made and pray no one gets food poisoning? 

fe7d8ee4-a8cf-47dc-9996-68cc3c11203a

 

Songs: I listend to FINNEAS whilst writing this blogpost, here is a link to the playlist. 

The End, follow this recipie at your own risk

Featured

My Interview with an Accountant

Accountancy is a career that involves networking, canny maths skills and the occasional need to wear a very sleek suit.

I asked my friend to describe her job in a funny way and she said “there’s no funny way to describe my job” but this is how she would describe her job to non-accountants:

  1. Company makes financial statements
  2. We determine whether they are true and fair and an accurate representation of the company
  3. If they are true and fair, “we’re like yay good job”

Often, nine to five’s are considered to be a laborious slog that everybody participates in once in their life until their passion project comes along – it’s what every Hallmark movie has taught us. But I don’t think that narrative is completely fair especially after my interview with a trainee accountant that is incredibly passionate about her job.

1. What do you do?

I’m an Accounting and Finance student but I’m currently on a placement year working as a trainee Auditor.

My main role is to audit client’s financial statement, which means it’s a mix of working in the office, at home and client sites throughout the week.

2. What inspired you to do accounting and finance?

My Indian Mother would always tell me to be an accountant when I was growing up because I was good at maths. But I always said: “No, I don’t want to be an accountant, that’s so boring.” Once I got to the age where I needed to start applying for uni, I was doing my research and came across accounting-specifically, auditing. I thought, this is actually quite interesting. So, I managed to get work experience which helped me realise that this is something I really wanted to do.

Then I realised I had to go back to my Indian mother and tell her that I wanted to do accounting. She said: ‘that’s what I’ve been telling since you were 5.’

3. What subjects did you choose for A-Levels and do you need any specific ones for Accounting?

Biology, Chemistry, Maths and English lit for AS.

Most uni’s don’t actually require you to have done any specific subjects, not even maths but I would defiantly recommend doing maths. There are always going to be one or two modules in your first year that you’re just going to be lost in if you don’t have a foundation of A-Level maths.

Apart from that, pick subjects you like and enjoy. Having said that, when I was picking my A-Levels, I was still pretty undecided and wanted to keep my options open.

4. So, you’re on a placement year, how did you go about searching for a placement?

It was mainly through uni, there are usually quite a lot of resources available.

I used Rate-my-Placement and Target Jobs a lot too.

I applied to the big firms, so the big four and the big 20.

I wrote out template application paragraphs so that I could adapt them to the different online application processes, just to save myself some time because they take ages and you have uni work.

5. Do you have any advice when you’re on placement/work experience?

Be friendly and approachable.

Be open to all opportunities thrown at you because it’s a great excuse for learning, especially on placement – you’ll probably be learning every day in the beginning so if you’re open to every opportunity, you’re going to learn a lot more.

Be nice to everybody, not only does this make the work environment a friendlier place, but it makes it easier to approach people if you need help.

A bit of a advice for when you’re on clients sites is you shouldn’t say ‘correct’ or ‘fraud’ – those are the taboo words.

6. Why can’t you say correct?

Because our job is to make sure that everything is a true representative, whereas saying it’s correct is absolute.

7. What advice do you have for someone that wants to go into accounting or auditing?

If you are at school and you’re considering accounting, I would recommend getting at least weeks’ worth of work experience in a big company’s financial department because they should have an internal auditing team. I did this myself in Year 12; my friend’s Mum worked in the finance department in a large public sector company. I think so many people often put negative connotations on getting work experience by knowing someone else, but the thing is: you still got it. Networking is always a good thing, because half the job is literally networking. I think work experience is good because it’s hard to know what accounting actually entails until you try it.

If you’re a bit older and maybe thinking about doing accounting at uni or looking for a placement year at the moment, I would say: apply early for your placements and graduate jobs.

If you’re in sixth form; do your research on the course. Make sure the course is actually good and consists of things that you actually prioritise and are interested in, rather than the uni rep or the city.

 

8. What’s your favourite thing about your job?

My favourite thing is going to different client sites and the amount of traveling you’ll do because some of the places you’re sent to, I’ve never been to before.

Songs:

I’ve just been listening to Jimmi Hendrix this week, did you know that once in the 60s he set his electric guitar on fire by accident.

You can listen to the playlist here

 

Featured

Do most women feel pressured to look pretty all the time?  

Women reveal why they really wear make-up every day.  

In recent years, the idea of beauty has become broad and the beauty industry has noticeably shifted its focus to embrace individuality and body positivity. 

The façade that once upon a time, managed to convince every girl to conform to Eurocentric beauty standards is slowly collapsing.  

The revelation has managed to hindrance the global decorum that formally kept women everywhere slightly insecure about something. 

Although, it would be naive to believe that the unwritten tick list of beauty standards has suddenly become redundant.  

Is vanity the gatekeeper for narcissism? 

Women who wear make-up every day are superheroes and I wish I had the same level of drive, commitment and determination as them. But instead I actively choose to look like a potato most days. In my third year of university, my housemate and I would always leave the house around the same time in the morning. We would both wake up early, but she would spend her time doing her make-up whilst I would read over my lecture notes and eat toast.  

Although there isn’t anything wrong with either scenario, I often find that women who choose not to wear make-up every day are considered to be making some form of social statement. Especially, because wearing make-up has almost become a mandatory requirement and a bare face somehow equates to putting your middle finger up at the beauty industry?

In an online survey I conducted, women were asked the following questions: 

  1. Do you wear make-up every day for work/school/uni/college?
  2. Why do you like wearing make-up? Option 1: it’s fun and I want too! Option 2: It helps me feel more put together

There was an equal divide between the first question, but the survey indicated that women who go to work are more likely to wear make-up every day than the girls that are still in full-time education. 

55% of the women I asked admitted that they like to wear make-up because it helps them feel more put together. 

Furthermore, I asked my housemate who is now a trainee teacher, why she chooses to wear make up every day to work and she said: “It’s all about looking professional and polished and giving a good impression. It’s almost like having a professional face on for the full time you’re there.

“It’s nice to have five mins in the morning when you sit and essentially pamper yourself to set yourself up for the day.”

I also asked a lawyer why she wore make-up every day and she said: ““It helps me feel less vulnerable when dealing with my difficult clients or Police.” 

Overall, the consensus of the data indicated that the use of make-up isn’t affiliated with vanity the majority of the time. As most women revealed that looking presentable and wearing make-up are often considered to be the same thing. 

 

Why are women so keen to put on a full face of make-up just 20 minutes after giving birth?

When Kim Kardashian was pregnant with her daughter North in 2013, she told Kourtney on Keeping up with the Kardashians that she wanted her make-up team present when she gave birth. 

In fact, in a survey from The Sun said around 64% of pregnant women prefer to get a spray tan or blow-dry their hair before they’re due to go into labour. A further 77% of new mums admitted to putting make-up on just 20 minutes after giving birth.

The study stated that 31% said they wanted to look beautiful in the pictures whilst 26% said they applied their make-up for the visitors. 

But why? 

On the surface, Kim Kardashian’s reasoning may be considered as superficial and narcissistic, when the truth is, most of these women are implementing society’s need for them to look beautiful all the time in a real-life scenario. 

Do most women feel pressured to look pretty all the time?  

When it comes to make-up, most guys think they’re supposed to say “I’m sure you don’t need make-up anyways’ at least once in the conversation. I think this is because the music industry often celebrates natural beauty with songs like; ‘Humble’ by Kendrick Lamar, ‘Just the way you are’ by Bruno Mars and ‘What makes you beautiful’ by One Direction. 

But no offence, most boys don’t know the difference between no make-up and no make-up make-up, nor can they successfully identify a mascara wand from a make-up bag. So, it’s fair to say that most women do not wear make-up for their validation. 

I interviewed a beautician called Sharon from Cute Salon in Birmingham and she quite confidently told me that women wear make-up for themselves. She said: “most women see it as a way to express themselves and the beauty industry has always given women more options to experiment with the way they look.” 

Although, make-up can be perceived as quite fun, I think how you feel about it is quite subjective. 

Finally, the advice that I often give the girls I teach dance to is make-up should be used to enhance your already pretty features. It is not something that you use to make yourself look and feel like someone completely different. 

You just need to figure out what makes you feel comfortable and go with that in a very unapologetic way, because society hates that. 

 

 

SONGS:

I’m not gonna lie, I had a mental breakdown and listened to the Shrek playlist whilst writing this, here is the link. You’re all welcome. 

Featured

I Interviewed a PGCE Student and Asked her all the Important Questions, so you don’t have to

Did everyone used to think teachers sleep in classrooms during the night in primary school? All for THAT Doctor Who episode to, not only confirm our theory, but also show them as Krillitanes (a composite species that takes desirable attributes of the species they conquer.)

Obviously, (most) of us have worked out that teachers don’t actually live in the school that they work in. But do you think that teachers were born teachers because after interviewing a PGCE History student, I can’t help but wonder if this craft is innate? Especially as teaching takes resilience, patience and a lot of passion. 

The teacher I interviewed was incredibly passionate about history and I learned a lot about the 19th century. It was obvious that she had the type of enthusiasm you can’t fake and determination that means you lead by example. The type of teacher that inspires her pupils by making sure she is always inspired first.

I think she’ll make an appearance on one of her ex-pupils acceptance speeches one day for when they do something impressive (fingers crossed it’s for the right reasons.)

What inspired you to do your PGCE?

I decided I wanted to be a teacher on the first day of school. I like the idea of helping children from disadvantaged areas and I love learning and teaching new things.

 

What did subjects did you study for your A-levels and what did was your degree in?

My degree is in History and Education and my A-levels were; English literature, Art, History and I have an AS in classical civilisation, but we don’t talk about that. 

 How important is work experience if you want to go into teaching?

I think you actually have to have at least 10 day’s work experience just to get on the PGCE teacher-training course.

Work experience is pretty important because it’s a good way of working out whether teaching is for you.

It might even help you decide what type of teacher you want to be – before I found my work experience, I was set on working in a primary school but when I got my placement in a secondary school, I loved it. The children were so lovely and had their own personalities and it was actually a lot of fun.

I would say try and find 10 days of work experience if you’re considering teaching because it might help you make up your mind on whether this is really what you want to do.

 

How did you find work experience?

 I just emailed every school in my county and if that didn’t work, I rang them too. It’s just about putting yourself out there and you’ll get a response, eventually. 

Be sure to contact your old school too!

But also remember that they might take a bit of time to get back to you, so common etiquette would be to give it at least one week before you consider writing a follow-up email.

Although, work experience doesn’t have to be restricted to just schools, throughout university I was working as a youth worker at a local youth group that supported underprivileged kids. I got this opportunity because I met the lead youth worker at the school I was on work experience at and then emailed her afterwards. So, the best way to gain work experience is just to talk to anyone you meet and ask them for the golden opportunity.

Do you have any advice that will ensure you ace your work experience?

Dress smart, I’ve heard so many horror stories about schools having to send work experience kids home because they turned up in flip-flops.

Don’t be afraid to get stuck in and ask the teacher you’re shadowing how they want you to help. Some teachers might want you to just observe how they’re teaching, and others might want you to get stuck in and build relationships with the children. It depends on the teacher but as long as your optimistic and willing to help you should be able to make a strong impression.

Any advice for aspiring PGCE students?

My main advice would be to know what you’re getting yourself into – this is a hard year.

A key part of the PGCE’s are the placements and although this isn’t essential, but if you are in a position to learn how to drive before you start – definitely learn, because it will make your commute to and from your placements a lot easier.

Find a way to balance your life and work and do things just for you amid all the essays and placements, even if it’s only for half-an-hour or an hour.

Like when I was doing my undergrad, I would always eat Nutella on toast when I felt a bit stressed but now one of my housemates has a nut allergy and, in some ways, living with someone with a nut allergy has ruined my life. 

But prioritising sleep is also important, eating on time – making sure you eat, even if it’s just pasta.

I also think, like most things, having a big support network is really important, I don’t think I could’ve got through my undergrad without a strong support network so make sure you have people around you that are supportive about what you’re doing.

 

Songs: 

  1. Die Alone – FINNEAS

 

 

2. N i G H T S – Tequila

 

3. Reignwolf – Are You Satisfied?

 

4. Kasabian – You’re In Love With a Psycho

 

5. Foy Vance – Make it rain

Featured

ONLY QUESTIONS: The Ex-Con and Society’s obsession with perfection

When you’re stuck in a lift with a woman that is 4’11, you do not react when she tells you she’s an ex-con.

Having said this, I reacted. I gave a hesitant smile followed by a bleak nod and then perched on the floor, next to the emergency exit button, and started to eat my fruit and fibre Belvita breakfast bar that I should’ve eaten on the train.A few moments later, in an attempt to redeem myself, I told her I was going to try and use the lift’s phone to ring reception. She smiled and awkwardly nodded.

We ended up chatting until we heard a slightly inept fire fighter yelling at us to ‘move out of the way’ before he started to wedge the doors open – and just like that, my excitement for the day was over.

By the time I was waiting for my train home, I was still thinking about my conversation with Sally, * the ex-con. She spoke a lot about societies obsession with presenting rose tinted versions of ourselves and the importance of breaking out of this façade.

Angry Season 4 GIF

But I thought reaching a stage in life where you don’t give a shit anymore was just a preverbal myth? Especially, when we live in a society that has an obsession with keeping up with appearances and, as a result, we spend most of our time hyping ourselves from turds into shiny turds. But is our façade most prevalent when there are at least 6(0)-7(0) witnesses present?

So, where do I go to sell my soul to ensure the ultimate glow-up – does Satan take student debit cards?

Satan GIF

As a society, are we looking for happiness or validation or has social media blurred the line between the two so much that we’re struggling to see the difference?I’m assuming the pained husband looks and daily animosity towards the momentous and mildly inconvenient first world problems are tactfully brushed aside when meeting someone new. They probably don’t make it on to social media either – unless you’re sending a strongly worded tweet to get a refund.

But what about when we find ourselves in a weird social limbo like on a train station or the entirety of London. It’s like, we’re surrounded by people, but nobody is really paying attention to one another. We’re all just vacant zombies guarding our overpriced coffees and phones in corporate clothing.

Are we still keeping up appearances?

Animation Art GIF by The Daily Doodles

The rain was relentless; as if it was personally targeting anyone keen enough to wait on the yellow line. Once the train arrived, the clockwork began: the soft, cacophonic mutterings exchanged amongst strangers as they tried to shake the corporate world off of themselves, in urgent preparation to personify the other titles they’ve earned in life. The stiff-upper lip accompanied with a dreary grunt that often substitutes for words when asking if a seat is free. The students hunched over their (law) books with their phones in one hand and hints of naivety (that anything is actually going to go in amidst the chaos) in the other.

But would my description be the same if everyone on the train station was told they are going to be filmed and live streamed. Despite a possible lawsuit and the most dedicated turds still telling me to f*ck off, I think everyone else would take a moment to transform themselves from turds to a shiny one.

In the hope that their façade doesn’t break.

 

Songs: 

I’m calling this small playlist ‘damn girl – who hurt you’

  1. Noah Kahan – False Confidence

 

2. Why Do you Love me – Charlotte Lawrence

3. Heaven – FINNEAS

4. Nice to Meet ya = Niall Horan

Featured

10 stages of wearing a saree

It should be noted that none of your life skills to date have prepared you for this.

 

1. Excitement

 The excitement is often affiliated with a hint of naivety. If I were to convey what wearing a saree is like in a metaphor, it would probably involve a cheating boyfriend and not knowing when the whole thing will fall apart.

Happy Fun GIF by reactionseditor

2. Mourning your excitement that has promptly deflated

 The novelty of wearing a saree wears off as soon as you realise you have to iron your saree of choice.

film star thumbs up GIF by BritAsia TV  

3. Water-Gate

Realising that you can’t drink water once you’ve put your saree on because you’re going to need a support group and a Xanax to get it off

I don’t mean to sound dramatic but is a key part of wearing a saree keeping your fingers crossed in the hope that you don’t randomly pass out due to chronic dehydration?

happy bread GIF by SLOTHILDA

 4. The Bollywood stage

You are not Rekha, but you’re going pretend you are, in the mirror, for about five minutes until your sister throws a coaster at your head and starts filming the ordeal for Snapchat  

                  bollywood embarassed GIF

5. Storytime with your Mum

Your Mom telling you that this was the first saree she ever bought with her first wages/ this was the saree she wore for her first date with Papa/ /this is the first saree she wore, ever /how slim she used to be…

This is probably the best part of the process because it’s like the daily gossip you have with your mom, but this time there will be a productive outcome.

terry gilliam vintage GIF

6. Your Mom telling you can’t wear a sports bra under your saree

This is the worst part of the process. But you must fight your corner and free yourself from the harsh grasp of the £24.99 underwired bra from Anne Summers.

Free the nip and that.

This step is followed by you either ignoring your Mother’s advice and wearing a sports bra anyway or changing, but it mainly depends on how strong you are as a person.

Indian American Dance GIF by GIPHY Studios Originals 

7. Regretting your decision to wear a saree immensely

You’ve decided it doesn’t look cute and your Mom is tying it like you’re a nun. Note to self; this is not why I avoid carbs on Thursday.

deepika padukone bollywood GIF

8. Reminding yourself that Manish Malhotra said Indian women should know how to tie a saree

Manish Malhotra is a fashion designer in India and his Instagram has led me to believe that he specialises in making sparkly clothes.  

But the real quetion here is are you simply reminding yourself of his statement or are you giving yourself a gentle pep talk in order to carry on with the process?  

9. Realising that your Mom has now taught you how to wear a saree and you weren’t listening  

Naturally, you hear the bit where she says; ‘next time you can do this all by yourself’ and you’re stood there making a mental note to teach Dadi (grandma) how to use FaceTime because you have no idea what’s going on.

"You don't even want to cook dal!" - Bend it Like Beckham funny movie quotes |via Mother-to-Daughter Mistranslations (Newlywed Cooking 101) - TheBigFatIndianWedding.com

10. Coming downstairs and your Dad laughing at you because you’re struggling to walk 

 Is your Dad even your Dad if he doesn’t make fun of you when you’re waddling through the living room door holding the pleats of your saree in your left hand because your Mom told you to go show him your outfit.

shahrukh khan indian GIF

 To conclude, wearing a saree is like drinking 3 tequila shots and 4 strawberry daiquiri’s – we all say we’re never doing that again – until the next time we feel a sudden rush of excitement affiliated with a hint of naivety.

 

Songs:

  1. Shawn Mendes – Treat You Better

 

 

2. Mujhse Dosti Karoge – Title Track

This is one of my fave Indian songs of all time and the post is about Indian things so including it in my list made sense.

 

Featured

Why Are Feminists Telling us to Stop Wearing Tampons?

I wonder if everyone has the same definition of feminism; if we were all asked to give a SparkNotes summary of the movement, would we all come to the same conclusion?

A poll carried out by YouGov in 2018 revealed that only 34% of women in the UK identify as Feminists, despite the same report stating that eight out of 10 people believed that men and women should be treated equally in every way.

From this, it’s fair to say most people react to the F-word the same way someone gluten-free would react to bread.

Perhaps modern-day feminism has tangled itself into the British Class System and the terms and conditions are being appropriated according to your social status, skin colour and gender?

Feminism has always had a broad spectrum but recently the movement seems to have digressed into several different categories and subdivisions that accidentally contradict each other.

For example, Free Bleeding is a Feminist movement that gained popularity in 2014 when a troll on Twitter claimed sanitary products are a patriarchal tool that oppresses women. The Twitter prank tried to discredit legitimate categories within Feminism by saying; “What is free bleeding? It consists of us womyn bleeding with no restriction … Being able to menstruate is something that is an [sic] undeniably female characteristic. How DARE they try and oppress it.” The prank was largely mocked, and the tweets were disregarded as unhelpful.

crop

Although, the movement gained positive exposure in 2015 when Kiran Gandhi got her period the morning of the London Marathon and decided to ‘Bleed Free’ instead of wearing a sanitary napkin or a tampon. On her blog, Kiran revealed that she doesn’t necessarily believe in free bleeding but said; “women from a young age are told that their main value to society is that they must look beautiful, consumable, f*ckable. A period doesn’t fit into this category. So, it is made taboo.”

Fundamentally, Kiran said she was “advocating for it to be okay for women to speak comfortably and honestly about their own period.”

 

Despite this, the Free Bleeding movement still managed to hint towards a classist caveat as there was a rampant increase in feminists refusing to wear sanitary products during their period. In light of this, the founder of Bloody Good Period Gabby Edin said, “I think it is an immense privilege to be able to bleed free.”

Free Bleeding could be interpreted as a privileged snub towards period poverty.
It’s almost like they’re asking for creative gratification and choosing to glaze over the fact that more than 350,000 cis and trans girls have to miss school because they don’t have sound access to sanitary products.

expensice

It quickly gained recognition as a form of white feminism because the narrative can be seen as coming from a place of privilege. The movement fails to acknowledge the women, girls and people that simply cannot afford sanitary products, and bleed out of poverty – not privilege.

So, is Free Bleeding daring, or is it the perfect example of our digression?

SONGSSSSS:

 

  1. Prateek Kuhad – cold/mess | Audiotree Live

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Frank Turner – Reasons Not to Be an Idiot

My sister has been playing this song all week and keeps telling me to pay attention to the lyrics.

 

 

 

3. Mahalia – Simmer (feat. Burna Boy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feature Image: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/407646203766995773/

Featured

Review: Grandson: a modern tragedy vol. 2

 Music and politics, when combined can make quite a powerful comradery. American Canadian singer and songwriter Jordon Edward Benjamin, also known as Grandson, is the perfect example of this and his latest album, ‘a modern tragedy vol. 2’ is no different. The album is categorised as alternative rock, trap music, alternative hip-hop and electronic music. But fundamentally, Grandson is using his music as a pawn to convey a concise, blunt and powerful commentary on politics and reality. 

Especially as a common conjecture often associated with his music is that Trump managed to infamously inspire a lot of his songs. As light googling reveals that Grandson’s first musical endeavour coincided with Donald Trump taking office in 2017. 

The lyrics in ‘a modern tragedy vol.2’ convey subtle-to-bold observations on the colossal damage and global consequences certain political advances seem to be having. 

 The album begins with the only single from the EP, ‘Apologize.’ This song serves well as a single because it consists of original riffs and catchy lyrics that manage to set the tone for the entire album and Grandson as an artist. 

He says: “And I don’t know where I’m gonna go – But I don’t care, I’m on the road – Never been a perfect soul – But I will not apologize.” 

 The lyrics convey his aversion towards the modern-day answer to escapism because the song begins with “I lose a bit of myself with every selfie.” 

The songs hint towards a temporary reality and how society is slowly becoming fickle. “Finding a new religion on Yelp to come help me” and, “She say she love me at dusk, but at dawn – I pack up my things and I’m gone.” 

Grandson thinks people are detaching themselves from reality, to live on social media and are refusing to apologize for it. 

 

‘Stigmata’ is the second track on the album, and it represents danger. 

Musically this is Grandson’s most technical track because he has produced a beat that is trying to convey a sense of urgent chaos to the listener throughout the song. 

 The entire song is a metaphor about society, he is hinting towards the idea that you have to sell your soul to fit into modern-day society. An example of this is shown in the lyric: “They put a hole in the -Back of my head, – Called it suicide -Woke up with these holes – In my hands from the day- I was crucified.” The holes in his hand may represent the day he understood how society works.

Finally, when you hear; “Don’t buy all the lies they sell – When the Black Hawk flies, – Heading right for the hills” he might be talking about Capitalism. 

 

The third song is called ‘Is this what you wanted.’ This song has a soft and consistent beat that hints towards the mundan anarchy that everyone has desensitised themselves to. The lyrics say; ‘I turn on the news and people are in cages’ and ‘We don’t care, we don’t mind, pretend everything is awesome, while the world burns outside.’

The song uses alternative riffs in the chorus of the song and poses the question “Is this what you wanted – We get drunk, – we get high – We talk pills until the morning.”

 

The next song is called ‘Fallin (Temptation)’ and has a strong hip-hop influence. The first 12 seconds of this song consist of a unnerving and dubious sound before Grandson starts rapping.

The chorus of this song is vague, but the lyrics depict common fears and abrupt statements that a lot of people refuse to address. For example, the song begins with the lyrics: “They told me the point – was to get it – But nobody told me – What does it do if I got it – Chasing the high.” He continues: “All this self-loathing I foster – Mirror reflects an imposter – Swipe up and go through the motion – Obsessively posting.”

Fundamentally, the song refuses to give answers but manages to provide the reader with a depiction of our modern but tragic reality.   

 

‘Darkside’ being the final song on the album is extremely fitting as one of the lyrics in the chorus says “Best believe it’s the – last trick up his sleeve”

The story of the boy is used as a pawn to depict Grandson’s final observation on relaity. This song is a mixture of trap and electronic dubstep that is accompanied by a gritty and brooding voice. The song has a mellow start, but grandson continues to layer heavier beats throughout the song that intensify the track. The heavy beats manage to work well with the theme of isolation, for example, “Feeling all alone, it – was him against them.” 

Like most of his songs, the listener doesn’t get answers, but the song ends with the lyric “The kid has got a Darkside” being repeated over and over again. 

 

 

 Grandson is making music to make noise. He touches on school shootings, escapism, the price mixed with the desire of selling your soul. It’s thought provoking and worth listening too. 

 

Featured

How do you deal with your overbearing Indian family? 

Indian families are insane. Most people know this. Most people also know that a group of Indian people in close proximity sounds like a comedy show – that has been picked up by various broadcasting channels several times, over the past few decades. In fact, I often think most British Indian families have been playing an undercover gameshow since the 1970s. 

The game in question consists of a series of levels that you have to surpass until you unlock the grand prize. A bit like ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’ but without all of the problematic connotations that come with actually making that connection. 

The twist is that the game show isn’t a test of general knowledge and instead, your success is determined by how stereotypically ‘Indian’ the problems you have are. Before you ask: yes, marriage is a reoccurring theme in every section. The producers might even have an ‘Indian trauma checklist’ to ensure they’ve covered all of their top priority social and economic talking points. 

rsnet

 

There are several reasons behind why I think we’ve been playing an undercover gameshow since the 1970s. Firstly, have you ever noticed the lack of diversity? I mean, according to the representation of Indian people in mainstream British media, we’ve been dealing with the same socioeconomic problems since the 1970s. 

 

The monotonous and repetitive portrayal of Indian people may have peaked at a questionable height because I’m beginning to wonder whether the producers of said broadcasting channels are trying to use their platform to create awareness towards contemporary issues, or if they’re just typecasting? 

 

rsallpeople 

From a capitalist perspective, drawing attention towards problematic yet innovative Indian people in the 21st century might be considered as quite the modern-day revelation. Especially as we live in a society that likes to clump POC under a niche, little umbrella filled with different types of prejudice and everyday discrimination.  

I’m all for drawing attention towards the Indian edition of ‘inevitable childhood drama’ you’ll endure whilst growing up; but why are all of our stories the same? Instead of creating a safe space for our voices to be heard, we’re just making noise. And taking pride in it.

rsapu

The irony is that we’re silenced by the idea that we’ve been given a voice, but when the voice is Apu from The Simpsons – you can take it back. How can we even take ownership of our narrative if the writing is monotonous and the one Indian character is voiced by a white man?

 

So, how do you deal with your overbearing Indian family?

 

I don’t know. It’s subjective.

 

I can tell you how I deal with mine though? 

SONGS:

  1. Dholida | LOVEYATRI

I mean, given the title of the post it kind of works! And also it’s almost festival season for a lot of Indian people and this song is the perfect garba and dhandiya song!

2.  Teeth | Five Seconds of Summer

They occasionally make decent music too.

3. Swim Home | Cautious Clay

This song is very lowkey and I really like it omg

Featured

Thoughts on Aladdin and Something about the Environment

A few weeks ago, a sixteen-year-old girl organised a peaceful climate change protest.
I was sent to interview her, and I had a plastic water bottle in my bag the whole time.
Despite the mild hypocrisy and trying not to question whether it made me a bad person, the interview went pretty well. I asked her what she thought about the lady that super-glued her tits to the road outside Goldman Sachs before she got arrested.

I also asked her what she thought about 25-year-old YouTube star and environmental activist, Jack Harries super-gluing his hands to the windows of the International Park Hotel in Central London. The incident led to him being detained by the police for 12 hours, but he was invited to speak about it on This Morning in early February this year.

Her response indicated a level of empathy and understanding towards the occasional need for extreme activism. She added that the escapades tend to make the headlines for all the wrong reasons and often moves so far away from the actual point.
On the bright side, the said extreme activist usually goes on to become a national maverick (reasoning often questionable) for about two weeks.
Until the next person decides to get their super glue and/or tits out.

rsmetro

Mainstream media tries to portray Climate Change protesters and Vegans as a group of pretentious super glue enthusiasts that think telling everyone they are vegan is a personality trait. But sometimes it feels like the media is exploiting this angle because everyone knows that a headline with the word ‘tit’ will accumulate an appropriate amount of traffic.

But what is actually making the headline? The issues regarding Climate Change? Or the [word] tit?
One of the main issues is that no one really cares about the less militant approach because it makes the whole situation harder to make fun of.

A good example of easy-going Veganism and Climate Change awareness is actually Aladdin (aka Mena Massoud.)
Proud Vegan Mena Massoud created ‘Evolving Vegan’ an organisation that consists of a lifestyle book, an IGTV travel series and an apparel line.
Mena has described Evolving Vegan as a project that creates a platform for chefs and entrepreneurs that want to make a difference in the world. He said “it’s not about labels or eating habits or any of that crap. It’s about evolving in the right direction so that we can help save your planet, our bodies and our fellow living souls.”

In an interview with here magazine he shared his concerns towards climate change and admitted that he prefers to stay away from militant veganism when he revealed he still wears leather on red carpets and puts honey in his tea. When asked about climate change, he said:  “Global warming is at an all-time high, and climate change is raging, and I wanted to figure out how I could do my part to help slow that down and prolong the life of Earth I was like, so wait a second, you’re telling me if we took all the land [from dairy farms] to grow vegetables and fruits, we could end human starvation?“Yes. And we could end pollution? Yes. Like, it’s just insane.”

It’s obvious that we should be focusing on productive activism rather than extreme activism. But it could be argued that projects like Evolving Vegan struggle to get traffic beaucse the activism is productive, empathetic and effective. Or it could just be that the free the nip movement doesn’t really apply to Mr Massoud and therefore won’t make a effective headline.

It’s obvious that no one is going to click on an article with the headline; ‘Aladdin puts honey in his tea’ when another article called ‘Protester glues her breasts to ground outside Goldman Sachs’ is floating about.

Why do all the popular headlines about climate change have nothing to do with climate change?

Why is it always the people that don’t know how to recycle but follow the WWF Facebook page that will retweet it?

 

SONGS:
1) Luka Chuppi: Duniyaa. It’s an Indian song!  My cousin was visiting this week and her two year old introduced me to this song. He mentioned that he wants to drink the wine they are drinking in the music video too. The baby is now officially my favourite family member.

 

2) Oscar winning score by A.R.Rahman. This, I am obsessed with this.

 

 

Featured

10 Songs that Everyone Should Know

I’ve recently started to write for an online magazine where we’re expected to pitch 10-15 article ideas alongside submitting our articles at the end of the week. Although this writing internship is fun and my editor is super nice, they keep rejecting all of my ideas that involve writing about music.

I understand why they keep rejecting my idea, I feel like inflicting your music taste on to other people is lowkey narcissistic. Having said and acknowledging this, here is a list of 10 on my favourite songs anyway.

1. Kicks – Barns Courtney

This song is seriously so sick and Barns Courtney is probably a genius! The best part of this song is probably the chorus and how badass it can make you feel.

Another song by Courtney that I love is fire and is definitely worth listening too.

2.bad guy – Billie Eilish

Not only is this girl only 17, but she is also thriving in her chosen career,  playing at Coachella, styling out forgetting the words to her song whilst playing at Coachella and she’s only just getting started.

This song is literally addictive and I’ve been listening to it none stop. I also think the song has great potential to choreograph something sick too.

To conclude, fully obsessed.

3. Blood’s Thicker Than Water – Bobby Bazini

I’m not going to lie, the soundtrack for Suits probably got me into soft rock and blues in the first place.

I think I particularly like this song because of it’s mellow, chill and powerful vibe

 

4.Harry Styles – Sign of the Times

I like Harry Styles, he doesn’t care too much about gendered fashion rules and often wears women’s blouses because they look good, he’s not a dick and he makes really dope music.

5. Freedom -EMM

There is a YouTube channel called MrSuicideSheep and they always post new songs from small artists and when I am procrastinating I always go and have a mooch around this page and I always manage to find a gem, like this song.

 

 

6. Let Me Down Slowly- Alec Benjamin & Alessia Cara

I’d like to thank MrSuicideSheep once again for introducing me to this song and Alec Benjamin.

 

7. Despicable -grandson

I originally thought Grandson was a band and then I realised that it’s one guy with a lot to say.

This artist is particularly cool because he is trying to convey a story to his listeners. He is either talking about the ‘President’ of the free world, racial, social and political issues. It’s not just music, he’s trying to orchestrate a rebellion.

I like this song in particular because I think the beat drop is dope.

 

8. Are You Satisfied? – Reignwolf

I like Reignwolf because he sounds a little bit like Led Zepplin.

I can see this song being used in a T.V show right before the protagonist loses their shit and sets someone’s car on fire. Not that I am at all encouraging anyone to set someone’s car on fire when they lose their shit.

 

9. I Need To See You – Natalia M.King

This song has the power to set the tone of a room and the music manages flows on its own.

 

10.Everything goes to hell –  Tom Waits

Tom Waits.What a Legend.

 

11. (Bonus Track) Tabaah Ho Gaye – Kalank

Here is an Indian song I have been obsessed with lately.

As a classical dancer, this song is literally a dream because there is so much you can do with it. It’s dramatic, emotional and literally everything you would want an Indian song to be.

So this was a different type of blog post from my usual mind ramblings, I hope you liked the songs in this list and don’t think I’m too much of a narcissist for writing this post in the first place.

Feature Image Source: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/121315783695963861/

Featured

The Art of Uniform

In order to gain admission into this esteemed organisation, you must follow the strict decorum regarding the uniform. In order to survive in this esteemed organisation, you must accept that all attempts of innovation will be abhorred until overruled. You are a slave to a corporation you are legally required to attend until the age of 18 and pushed out into the real world. They spend five years convincing you that a biro is another adjective to describe the devil and you can’t wear more than 2 bracelets on your own wrist. Then after you’ve completed your sentence you’re unleashed into the real world where you realise that charm surpasses intelligence and capability is not determined by how much make-up you wear your face or the length of my skirt, which does make you question, what it was all for…?

I think entering the real world required a lot more experience than we were led to believe. I say this because the majority of school assembly’s often revolved around the length of skirts and the intricacy of eye make-up by a teacher twice the student’s actual age.

st trinians gif: OMG

The reputation of a school is heavily associated with how pristine the uniform manages to come across. It often felt like schools use the uniform to cast attention away from their primary aim of educating future generations.

Maybe the constant references to uniform, prestige and presentation could be considered a cry for help from the British Education system itself? Are they scapegoating the fact that they do not have the means to actually educate us?

Or is it because the education system is being dictated and ultimately run by people that are really out of touch with the real world. We are often told to ‘dress for the job you want’ but the concept of uniform just leaves us looking like clones. A school is a place of learning, not policing 12-year-olds because they want to wear a flowery bow in their hair because Zoella bought one from the Primark. Instead, they are shamed and humiliated in the lunch hall when several members of staff walk around clutching on to Asda’s own baby wipes (and/or other brands of baby wipes) and picking out girls that are considered to be wearing too much make-up and expect her to remove her artwork whilst being shamed for it. Why do teachers immediately assume that the girl or person wearing ‘too’ much make-up must have low-esteem? Why is that the general conception?

rscrown

 

Conversely, as an education system that prides itself on being valued in every country, why does an average school day consist of more yelling about the uniform than actual content teaching? It can’t just have been my school that herded us like cattle whilst being manufactured into identical robots? So when we finally reach our anti-climatic departure into the real world we realise that Carl Max was right all along, ‘Religion is the opium of society’ and fashion/makeup is the opium of high school. 

 

In Short:

rslips

Featured

Dear Men, even though I believe gender is a social construct

Okay listen, I don’t know who needs to hear this. But if I’ve sent this to you specifically, I’m trying to do you a favour. – I’m sorry for the tough love and I adore you.

Everyone knows that Computing and ICT are both male dominating subjects and professional spheres. Although, a handful of girls usually opt for this subject and no one really questions it because they just look like the female version of a stereotypical computing nerd. But as someone that doesn’t really look like the stereotypical female version of a computing nerd, I would still go as far as saying that I fit in with my course at uni like a glove. The glove was on fire, obviously.

I wasn’t a loner though, throughout the seven years of studying Computing, I managed to make two solid guy friends and from this, I can honestly say that boys make really shitty friends. I think they’re used to being constantly mocked by their mates under the name of ‘banter,’ that they get really paranoid when you show them random acts of kindness.

Like once, my friend Tam from university, was really hungover so I brought him biscuits and anodyne and he was like why are you being so nice to me? But for girls, that’s just a normal reaction when your friend tells you they’re hungover. You go make sure they are okay.

rsdisone

But I think guys make particularly bad friends when you need to vent about something, and they are the only ones around.

It’s not an ideal situation because they just sit there, nod along when they deem appropriate and try to come up with logical solutions in order to solve the problem. But will for sure walk away from that conversation thinking you’re at least 60% psycho.

Also, why does every guy have an inner bob the builder just itching to get out?

Like Bob the Builder, can we fix it?

– No, we can’t, I’d rather you just sit down and listen to my ted talk if I’m completely honest.

Girls get it though; they don’t try and fix things. They’re like we can have a 40-minute rant about the sexism you experienced on the bus. They will listen to your conspiracy theory on why you think one of your ‘friends’ is out to get you.

rsangry

But if you try and have the same conversation with a boy, they really struggle to follow the script you’ve planned out in your head. This is mainly because they always start throwing in curveballs like “how do I fix this?” Like fam, the only thing I need you to fix is your attitude, why aren’t you getting annoyed about this? Your energy level is currently a 3 and I need you to become at least an 8.

Furthermore, in the olden days, people used to think that girls were only friends with each other until they got married. Society has programmed girls to inherently hate each other by making us all believe that female friendships are only a stop-gap until she gets a boyfriend or married.

Okay, listen. Fuck that. Imagine living in a world where you can’t vent about things without bob the builder turning up and trying to fix it.

Can you just sit down, listen to my Ted talk and not walk away from our conversation thinking I’m a psycho, because honestly, that’s not really a word we should be flippantly throwing around.

In short, yes not all girls vent about things, but if you’re a guy that finds one that does. Just let her.

Thank you for coming to my ted talk.

rsuy

Featured

Magic Stars, working for a Megalomaniac and other concerns

I used to be a waitress for a small bespoke coffee shop in my first and second year of university and although I liked my job, my manager was a complete megalomaniac.

Luckily, as a waitress, I was often spared from his wrath, but our junior manager was constantly in the shits. So much so that no one really stayed in that role for longer than 3 months. They either got fired because they had the balls to call him out on his shit or they could see themselves developing low-level anxiety and quit.

Then every few months you would see them advertising the role again on two or three different job boards and despite their well-known track record, people would still apply.

It should be noted that this was in like 2015, David Cameron was Prime Minister and all the major news outlets were focusing on the Government’s incentive to permanently ban porn and everyone was also obsessed with a pig?

Fast-forward to Theresa May being in power. All the people advocating for Brexit are slowly realising their mistake and potentially going into police protection? Borris Johnson referring to Muslim women wearing Burkha’s as letterboxes and jobs being even more scarce than ever.

We’re living in a time where people literally have no other option but to work for megalomaniacs. Everyone has pretty much figured out that Brexit Britain seems pretty bleak and desolate. The concept single-handily managed to butcher the job market to the point that I actually don’t want to think about what will happen if the deal actually goes through.

Despite witnessing the negative impact this has had on our country, we are still trying to go through with it?

I don’t think it’s because they want to leave the EU, especially when Theresa May didn’t even vote ‘out’ in the first place. It seems like the people in charge are too proud to use the imaginary reverse button and actually admit to the fact that as a nation, we’ve fucked it.

On the bright side, the British public are not too proud to admit their mistake and have managed to get a petition trending online in the hope that another referendum will take place.

Especially, when most of us are just looking for a simple life that involves job security, having a valid driver’s license when travelling around Europe and an uncapped supply of magic stars – among other things that are going to be more expensive in England, if the deal goes through.

But my man Nigel Farage is really making that difficult. It’s almost like he doesn’t care about the plummeting graduate employment rates, staffing for the NHS, the impact on trade with other countries in the EU and the increased racism.

Why are so many people under the illusion that Brexit marks some form of independence for England?

It’s like we’ve forgotten how the British empire stripped most countries of their own independence. They entered every single country as a guest and colonised, terrorized and looted all of them, the national British Museum in London being evidence of this.

I mean with this in mind, is it just me or do you not fully understand why we are asking for independence either?

Featured

The Tribe of Undomesticated Goddesses

Kanjak is an ancient Hindu Festival that is rooted in uplifting young unmarried girls to the innate status of Goddesses according to the Hindu tradition. It affirms the idea that daughters are the reincarnation of Goddess Laxmi and are destined to bring luck and prosperity to the family they are born into. Like most young girls, this was also one of my favourite festivals because the entire day consisted of strangers in the Temple giving my friends and I money and food under the impression that our innate status would provide them with prosperity and luck for the future. However, the effect of this begins to wear off the older you get; after the age of 14/15, you are no longer considered to be a Goddess, apart from in the eyes of your Father, of course. So yes, I effectively expect my Dad to annually pay me for being an unmarried young girl. I mean; I don’t have a brother so I can’t exploit the males in my family into giving me money during Rakhi, making Kanjak my only time to shine. Although, I wonder if it’s wise to enforce attributes such as lucky and prosperous onto female sproggs and call them innate, especially when those attributes have prevailed to be worthless in modern day society until her name is associated with a man. A notion that could be considered as ironic, because the status of women once meant goddess, but now it has been reduced to wife. A title that can still be considered as empowering and beautiful, but often that fails to be the case.

Recently I read an article on Instagram that made the following sweeping statement: ‘our Mothers come from a generation that were unhappy with their husbands’ because their marriage was based on the fairness of their skin; a university degree accompanied with the reluctance to pursue a career and her ability to cook. So if we know this is a failed system, why are these women ensuring that their daughters follow the same procedure?

Moreover, It could be argued that South Asian culture affirms the idea that women in their 20s are expected to spend the next few years preparing for marriage; but is it really fair to expect young women to devote the next few years of their life to a man they have never even met yet? Surely the most important thing a 20 something could do is embark on their journey in their chosen career, but instead, some women are made to feel like a disappointment because of her lack of interest towards cooking and home decor. Furthermore, we could also try and move away from the idea that a successful marriage is based on whether your wife knows how to cook or not.

My mother taught me how to cook with the affirmation that feminism will not help me out when I am hungry. However, now that I can successfully feed myself without dying of food poisoning, I can’t help but wonder that if I happened to be a boy, the cooking lessons would have stopped after I learnt how to boil rice. It is a common stereotype that women enjoy cooking and are innately good at it, but Sridevi famously said, ‘When men cook food, it’s art… but when women cook, it’s their duty,’ making his artwork worthy of applause and always making hers worthy of appraisal. 

Featured

Why We Should all be Drama Queens

It was a crisp March morning. The sky looked sporadic and confused. On one hand, it seemed calm but there was an army of black clouds lurking behind the sun ready to implode into the blue sky. The sun was wrapped in a series of clouds but still managed to send out powerful rays of warmth when she felt like it.

 To be honest, if I can describe the sky like that whilst sitting in the quiet seating area of my gym in the middle of Birmingham, I think it’s fair to say I’m dramatic.

I’m so dramatic that once I got food poisoning and my family didn’t believe me. They just assumed I was exacerbating my fatigue demeanour because that’s just who they think I am as a person. It wasn’t until I literally started to projectile vomit everywhere in the back of my Dad’s car that everyone was like oh shit, is she dead?

Since then I’ve always felt the need to explicitly state when I’m being dramatic and actually potentially dying because this whole situation may have given me trust issues. Like what are we teaching the youth of today? We’ll only take your injury seriously if you’ve passed out in the middle of Morrisons, a stranger is putting you in the recovery position in the fruit and veg aisle, kids are filming the situation so they can put it on Snapchat and the same said stranger is now giving you CPR.

Also, is it me or this amplified if you, either have immigrant parents or your parents have immigrant parents. Like why do they feel the need to one-up you, constantly? It’s like they all insist on playing my horse is bigger than your horse, but you have a goat and your patience is wavering with this analogy altogether. Like you can tell them you have food poisoning, but they won’t believe you.  At this point, the projectile vomiting seems more like a right of passage than a symptom. Must I stand in a pool of my own puke before you believe that I could potentially be dying from dodgy chicken?

But even then, I can guarantee most of our parents will deploy a divided form of sympathy, 40% is aimed at you and the other 60% is for their reputation that may or may not have gone completely down the toilet along with 98% of everything you’ve eaten in the past 48 hours. Your Mum will hold back your hair whilst telling you to avoid eye contact with Rani Aunty because if she finds out you’ve been throwing up, she’ll tell everyone you’re pregnant.

When you finally start to feel better the whole ‘my horse is bigger than your horse’ comes in to play. Everyone over the age of 42 will be like “you had food poisoning? In my day we didn’t even have food poisoning, we didn’t even have food and your privileged ass wants to throw it up?”

Liberty.

Having said that, I think there is a massive difference between drama and being dramatic. Drama is something you should avoid at all costs, but being dramatic has several understated perks. For example, the more dramatic your reaction is the more you’ll be able to laugh about the situation in hindsight.

 *Sips overpriced Cappuccino and flicks hair, dramatically*

 

 

Featured

Two emotionally unavailable peas in a pod

…and the pod is on fire.

Have you ever met a f*ck boy with a strange sense of urgency to meet the one? I wonder if he thinks talking to multiple girls at once is the best way to fast track the process? He seems to think dating is one big game show and systematically takes 3-4 months to whittle the best girls down to a semi-final. Then a final, before a winn..wife is crowned. There is not really a formal elimination process that will determine who is in his final, he’ll just ghost two but continue to watch their Snapchat/Instagram stories until she undergoes a ‘social media cleanse’ or dies.

In the final, it should be noted that neither contestants are aware of the fact that they are being pitted up against one another and that several other ‘judges’ (his boi’s or Mum, depending on your type) have now become extremely invested in this situation.

This Wasteman probably thinks he’s being really sleek when it’s really just ruining his credibility because realistically, girls will find out, join forces, and set your car on fire.

Not that this will encourage him to get his act together, he’ll just orchestrate another game show within a 15-mile radius of the last one.

Over time, I’ve managed to develop a theory on dating. I believe that everyone has to go through their own version of a nightmare game show. I like to think this experience is sort of like a right of passage to a healthy relationship. The game show relationship with this guy may lead to life-long trust issues, but the older you get, the more you’ll begin to see your relationship as a form of character building. Though it’s the type of character building you could have learnt second-hand through a book or one of your friends, but character building none the less.

On the other hand, have you ever met someone and judged them for being emotionally unavailable whilst they are judging you for being emotionally unavailable?  But like what am I supposed to say; “Hello, my name is Ila and I think I am emotionally unavailable?”

  • Okay side note, am I saying this at the start of my Ted Talk or introducing myself in a support group?

At university, some people, in what always seemed like an overflowing social circle, thought it would be funny to brand me as having commitment issues. But when the same girl broke up with her boyfriend, she started referring all of her single friends as ‘confident and independent’ and made the opinion of this source a lot less reliable.

Also, in my defence, ignoring boys when you have exams is literally one of the rules of feminism.

Despite being made to feel like an eccentric maverick for choosing to stay single for a period of time, a recent survey carried out by Tinder stated that 72% of millennials have also come to a similar conclusion. In 2018 Tinder claimed that most millennials have made the conscious decision to stay single in order to focus on their school, career, hobbies and social lives. Furthermore, most millennials believe that romantic relationships should be a healthy addition to your life and not the sole root of your self-esteem and worth. This survey indicates that people have started to reject the idea that they must make sacrifices and compromises in order to obtain the ‘ideal’ relationship. This new revelation is particularly important because it promotes a sense of equality in relationships that were wishful thinking before. But it also rejects the Prince Charming narrative, which I am so relieved about. In my head, this concept became redundant when I read ‘Not my Best Side’ by Caroline Duffy and the premise of the poem is that the princess prefers the dragon.

It could be argued that none of the characters in this poem are particularly emotionally available and it seems like they are just looking for love because society has told them too.

In reality, the princess is an unwarranted perv, the prince is enticed by the title of being a hero but is far too interested in playing with his gadgets and could potentially have a small dick complex. All whilst, the dragon spends the entire poem trying to find his best profile side, as opposed to intimidating innocent civilians just because he can breathe fire out of his nostrils on command.

Despite the narcissism, these characters do deserve love, eventually. But are they ready for it right now? Surely being presented with someone you would be perfect with before you’re ready is just cruel? But does this mean the foundation of love revolves around timing or do soul-mates really exist? Am I marrying my soul-mate or am I just marrying the 3rd person I’ve dated in my mid to late twenties and decided to settle down before society, despite modern science, tells me to start freezing my eggs.

But now I’m wondering, if I had met my high school boyfriend last would I have married him? If I had met this guy at university a lot later in my life, would we have actually dated?

Is it fair to blame all on this of bad timing or should I apologise for being emotionally unavailable? Although, is there any point now that Tinder has stated that being single is the next big trend?

Featured

Basic-(ing)-ly: Mascara Review

Mascara is my favourite beauty product. I love having long eyelashes. In this blogpost, I have reviewed the Soap and Glory; Thick and Fast mascara and NYX; Worth the Hype waterproof mascara.

Soap and Glory; Thick and Fast Mascara

Price: £10.00 (10ml)

I recently bought the soap and glory thick and fast mascara. I usually go for soap and glory skin-care products because they smell amazing and usually make my skin feel soft and silky.

Although, after trying their Supercat fat eye-liner, I decided to try a few more of their make-up and beauty products. Like their Thick and Fast Mascara. Here is my honest review of what I think of this product:

First of all, the packaging of this product is a striking gold colour with Thick and Fast written horizontally over it. The mascara wand is easy to use and it’s almost impossible to poke yourself in the eye with it. However, because the applicator is quite big it’s hard to reach the corners of your eye and bottom lashes. I often find that it’s easy to get blobs of mascara all over your eye-lid whilst you’re applying this product. It takes over 2 minutes to dry and instead of making my eyelashes long, it makes them clumpy, stick together and almost like spider legs. However, once this product is successfully on your lashes it will not flake off or smudge, so this is a great one for work or university or other situations where touching up your make-up is your last priority. This would be perfect for an everyday make-up look because this product has a very simple finish. This mascara is great when trying to recreate a no-make-up-make-up because it manages to subtly lift your eyelashes.

A tip that I have found to work when using this Soap and Glory product is to curl your eyelashes before-hand. Also once applied, running an eyebrow comb through your eyelashes will iron out all the unwanted clumps.

This mascara is relatively easy to take off with the Garnier Micellar water make-up remover and a cotton round.

Overall, I don’t think I would repurchase this item. Although I like Soap and Glory products, I don’t think their mascara stands out and there are better products that do not clump your eyelashes together for a cheaper price. 

NYX; Worth the Hype waterproof

Price: £9.00 (7ml)

I recently tried the NYX mascara because I was told it’s worth the hype (bad-pun I know) and I love this mascara.

This product genuinely lifts your eyelashes and makes them look long and voluminous without your eyelashes becoming clumpy.

My favourite thing about this mascara is it manages to lift your eyelashes without giving a dramatic, false eyelash look. This product would also be perfect for university or work because it has a very subtle effect whilst managing to elongate each individual strand and doesn’t clump your eyelashes together at all.

Another feature of this product is that it dries quickly. The brush is very sleek and easy to apply mascara even in the corners of your eye. However, this is not easy to take off with make-up remover. Although I’m not completely sure if this is a good or bad thing, this product is a tough one to budge! Despite this, I would definitely buy this product again!

Overall, my review entails a serious bias. In short: love the Nyx mascara and the Soap and Glory one is okay.

Featured

Review: Gully Boy

Gully Boy is Zoya Akhtar’s new film about a young Indian boy that dreams of becoming a rapper. The story unleashes an unromanticised and unapologetic version of Mumbai on to the audience that is really hard not to be intrigued by. The story has captivating dialogues and a beautiful yet extremely relatable love story being deployed on the sidelines.

The main story is set in a real-life slum in Mumbai and focuses on the dreams and ambitions of a 22-year-old man called Murad who is in his final year of university.

Murad’s Father is a driver and firmly believes in the idea that your dreams should match your social standing and therefore assumes and expects his son to follow in his footsteps and become a servant.

However, his Mother has bigger plans and encourages him to get an education in order to get a stable and secure office job.

However, the plot twist is that Murad has even bigger plans and sets his goals on becoming a rapper.

One thing that makes Ranveer Singh’s portrayal of Murad extremely relatable is that he has absolutely no sense of entitlement. This makes his dreams slightly daunting because he is ultimately venturing out into dubious waters on a whim. He may succeed, obviously for the purpose of the film we know he does, but in real life, he may not. The narrative of this story is fundamentally encouraging the audience to take a risk and follow your dreams, the same way Murad does.

The film mainly focuses on Murad’s journey towards success and explores several obstacles and restrictions that he faces.
The main one being his abusive father and his inability to believe in his son’s dreams. Another hindrance is also his surroundings

Despite this, Zoya Akhtar depicts a real sense of struggle through Murad’s character and because of this, his demeanour doesn’t convey arrogance or ego. Another interesting aspect of the film is that Murad isn’t given too much importance. The start of the film begins with a side character given the centre stage and Ranveer Singh subtly slips into the shot behind him.

As the movie progresses, we see Murad conform to his surroundings and accept a job as a driver and ends up working on New Year’s Eve. Murad is following protocol and doesn’t talk to his rich and entitled passengers and waits for their party to be over in his car all evening. But as he hears the New Year count down and celebrations whilst trapped in his car he consoles himself by saying ‘Apna time aagya” [my time will come] and uses his current situation to write a powerful rap about how he desperately wants to more than his reality.

Later in the film, when he’s on the rise of becoming an established rapper in the Indian hip hop scene, he opens his set with that song and introduces it by saying; ‘I wrote this song when nothing was going right in my life.’ The audience has witnessed Murad’s character come full circle.

One of the most relatable things about this film is that Murad doesn’t have a strong connection in the music scene. He comes from a humble background, everyone around him believes that you die where you were born, but Murad dares to dream much bigger than that. He does not have a Karan Johar to launch his career, he does it alone.

A key aspect of this film is that Murad and Safeena (Alia Bhatt) both have unconventional dreams. We can see that Safeena is very determined to obtain her goals in life. First goal: become a surgeon and second goal: marry Murad.

Whereas, Ranveer Singh portrays a sense of vulnerability in Murad’s character as he takes a little longer to take ownership of his dreams.

The film has managed to redefine Hip Hop within mainstream media and the soundtrack of this film is simply fantastic. The rap songs go beyond conventional rap topics such as drugs, girls, cars and actually talk serious issues in a way that relates to 80% of the Indian population.

To conclude, I’d pay to watch it again.

Featured

Protect our privilege

I’m part of a generation that basks in anarchy, whilst the society proudly regresses in a way that can sometimes feel like that the right side of history is yet to come.   

Especially when recent political voices have managed to relaunch the remaining racists in the world as ‘very fine people’ and blurred that line once again.

Institutionalised racism and the systematic oppression of minorities has always been either, glazed over or deeply underrepresented in mainstream media. Until Millennials and Gen Z decided to make the issue into a movement that actively works towards deciphering and uprooting the core principles of racism.

The premise of this movement uses education and social media as a missile, by explaining several social and political issues on Instagram through the use of a meme.

Despite this, the subject of race is still presented as a dichotomy between the powerful and oppressed. This is because the tyranny of a patriarchal bureaucracy has been normalised; we have accepted defeat and become complacent.

How are we expected to take a stance when the leaders of the free world are too busy challenging their peers to math tests and running through fields of wheat. As opposed to setting an example to impressionable minds?

It’s naive to devoid the fact that your professional success is measured and tightly woven into where you fall in an institutionalised hierarchy, that favours a particular narrative. You are at the mercy of how much privilege you were born with and how your ethnicity is perceived in mainstream Western media.

I am at the mercy of Apu, an Indian character, narrated by a white man.

Apu and his exacerbated accent were often used as a punchline in The Simpsons. The most striking thing about the character was that he was Indian and that alone was enough to define him.

Until many South Asians starting to call out The Simpsons narrative of Indian men. For example, a popular Indian comedian; Vir Das celebrated the Indian accent by saying something along the lines of ‘I could really easily pretend I have an American accent instead, but I actually want my audience to see the Indian accent as a perspective and not a punchline” 

Furthermore, I attended a literature conference a few months ago. When I arrived at the seminar room the tables were positioned into a horseshoe shape so everyone could see each other. The Seminar leader explained that the session will involve going around the class and we will take it in turns to talk about books we like, blogs we may run, creative pieces we write, among other things. 

When it was my turn to speak I mainly gushed over 20th Century European Literature and drew attention to writers like Kafka, Thomas Mann and Christa Wolf. I also mentioned some South Asian writers like Mindy Kaling and Twinkle Khanna who often rely on humour to explain contemporary and political issues within society.

As I was talking I held up a tablet to show my blog and I noticed the seminar leader taking a picture of me. I did wonder if the interface of my blog really was that impressive or whether she was just trying to make the conference come across as multi-cultural as possible when posting the event pictures on Facebook.

By the end of the seminar, it felt like my common sense was trying to hold on to my last brain cell so I could pay attention to my surroundings. But when the final person in the conference began to share their thoughts, alarm bells automatically started ringing in my head.

Initially, they spoke about writers of colour like Reni Eddo-Lodge, Rupi Kaur and Trevor Noah and shared how much she admired their work.

I have to admit, she lost me when she said that racism isn’t a real issue in mainstream media anymore and then I watched everyone in the room do a double-take.

As she continued it became apparent that she believes caucasian people don’t have an ethnicity but then implied that the colour of someone’s skin is the most interesting thing about them.

But when a white woman stands on a platform and claims she has an ‘authentic’ narrative on what it’s like to be a Person of Colour, I can’t help but think she’s setting the rest of us up for failure.

Obviously, everyone’s narrative is supposed to be different, but when you’re fighting for the same cause, are we supposed to be contradicting one another, if not, how do we weed out the frauds?

She may live in a society where some people are systematically oppressed in the educational, professional and domestic sphere but her argument makes it clear that she has never been on the receiving end of it. 

I wonder what her thoughts are on what happened in Charlottesville. Would she take it as a case study or a cautionary tale?

It’s obvious that her statement has derived from a rose-tinted view of life. But I wonder if she genuinely believes in this? But when another social issue arises, will she take off her current glasses and upgrade for a more ‘relevent one?’

If I had this option, I wonder if I would take it?

 

Featured

Basic-(ing)-ly: Reviewing Lip Balm

I wrote this because my mother told me my lips looked dry and I seem to have accidentally embarked on a quest to find a new trusty lip balm. In total, I have reviewed four lips balms in this post.

When searching for a new, reliable lip balm, there are certain ingredients that you should look out for. The list below all have moisturising qualities, and you should definitely look out for them when purchasing a new lip balm.

  • Coconut oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Almond oil
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Aloe vera 

Screen Shot 2018-12-29 at 20.21.43

1. Eos Crystal Hibiscus Peach Lip Balm

eosx2

This product is animal cruelty-free and suitable for vegans.

Retail price:

Boots: £7.00

Superdrug: £6.99

Amazon: £6.99

 

 

Key ingredients: Shea and coconut oils (moisturising properties)

When you open the unit, the actual lip balm is a firm transparent gel shape in the form of a dome. It has a rich and subtle aroma and is soft upon application. However, the balm is generally quite oily and can make your lips feel greasy rather than smooth at times.

Initially, this product gives off a strong first impression. When you first apply this balm it makes your lips feel quite soft and smooth and also adds a quaint shimmer to your lips but does not add any colour. But, it also makes you feel like you need to constantly reapply.

This product doesn’t really improve the overall quality of your lips; it just makes you feel like you’ve improved the overall quality of your lips. For example, one of the things this lip balm claims to do is soften and hydrate your lips. However, it only really makes your lips feel soft and hydrated when you are wearing the product.

Having said that, this product would be perfect to keep in your bag/office desk or car because it is quite a good quick fix for your lips. eos crystal clear lip balm will add a nice shimmer to your lips and make them look soft and hydrated.

I actually bought this in the sale for £4.00..ish(?), in Boots. If I were to be brutally honest, I wouldn’t pay the full price of £7.00 for a product that doesn’t really do what it claims to do.

Stars earned: 3/10 stars (the extra star is because the packaging it low-key (high-key) cute)

2. Carmex Cherry

carmexx2

This product is animal cruelty-free, but not suitable for vegans.

Retail price:

Boots: £2.69

Superdrug: £1.79 (on offer) 

Amazon): £3.01

 

 

Key ingredients: Flavour, Menthol, Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter (this will provide immediate relief to the skin when applied).

I used to think Carmex was my ride and die until I put it on and my mother told me my lips look dry. So now Carmex has just become another source to fuel my unnecessary paranoia.

Carmex as a brand is predominantly known for the immediate cooling sensation you feel when you first apply it. Carmex creates this sensation (tingling) by using two ingredients’ called menthol and camphor which is either synthetically made or derived from peppermint oil.

Although often when brands promising a cooling sensation they are using peppermint because peppermint gives the user a cooling (tingly) sensation on their lips, it doesn’t actually do anything to improve the quality of your lips.

These particular ingredients can dry your lips out quickly making you think you need to reapply your lip balm.

Having said that, Carmex could be used as a good base before adding lipstick because the product is clear. It is actually quite a good product for your lips it does reduce soreness and prevents them from chapping. It just makes me feel paranoid because my Mom said it makes my lips dry.   

Stars earned: 5/10 stars (No extra stars awarded because of cute packaging)

3. Burt’s Bees (Pomegranate Flavour)

lipreview burtsbees.jpg

This product is animal cruelty-free but not suitable for vegans.

Retail Price:

Boots: £3.99

Superdrug: £3.99

Amazon: £2.66

 

 

Key ingredients: Pomegranate Oil (Punica granatum), natural flavour, canola oil, Helianthus Annuus seed oil

Burt’s Bee’s is probably my favourite lip balm of all. It has quite a refreshing smell and a lovely dark red colour. The small packaging means it can easily fit into pockets and those tiny bags/purses that don’t really fit a lot in them but you still buy because they look cute.

After using this lip balm for a week, it has definitely improved the quality of my lips and leaves them feeling soft and hydrated. It smells great and does nourish and hydrate your lips. Burt’s Bees doesn’t make me feel like I need to constantly reapply, and I found that this balm repairs and replenishes them for when you’re not wearing it. This lip balm has definitely helped the overall quality of my lips and prevented them from looking and feeling so cracked. 

The only downside of this product would it claims to be a lip tint, but the colour comes through only after applying several layers. 

Stars earned: 8/10 (The packaging of the product is gender neutral. They also come in a set of three which would be the perfect gift!)

4. Melty Talented Dry Lip and Skin Balm

lipbalm metly talentedx2 (1) (1).jpg

This product is animal cruelty-free but not suitable for vegans.

Retail price:

Soap and Glory Website: £5.00

Boots: £5.00

Amazon: £8.85

 

 

Key ingredients: This balm contains coconut and almond oil (which are particularly moisturising for your lips and skin), water, Glycerin (which is really good for your skin, it creates a protective outer layer on your skin/lips that prevents moisture loss)

This product is unique because it melts when it meets oil which makes it easy to massage into your lips. It’s also very lightweight but it can make your lips feel quite oily once you apply it to your lips. I quite like this though, because when you apply it on the skin it feels like it soaks into your skin and hydrates and softens your skin immediately.

The packaging is small and compact, but I don’t think this is a product I would put in my everyday work bag. Instead, I would add it to my night-time skincare routine to help nourish and moisturise my skin at the end of the day and use the Burt’s Bees lip balm for everyday, on-the-go use.

Also, this would be great for travelling because it’s very practical: you can use it on not only your lips but on your elbows, knees, hair tips and cuticles. It’s basically saving you space in your wash bag.

Stars earned: 7/10

To summarise:

  1. Eos: bad
  2. Carmex: okay, but makes me low-key paranoid that it’s not actually doing anything
  3. Burt’s Bees: love, cause it’s gender neutral, vegan and moisturising
  4. Soap and Glory Melty Talented: like, very practical for when travelling 

Overall, Carmex probably has the most undesirable ingredients as it includes menthol and flavouring; and the Soap and Glory product is probably the best one for your skin. The products I would purchase again from this list would be Burt’s Bees for everyday use, and Soap and Glory’s Melty Talented as a new aspect of my night-time skincare routine.

Thank you for taking the time to read my review, especially because this was my first official(ish) review of things on my blog. xx