follow bloglovin


Thursday, 31 December 2015

New Year Thoughts (LF)

The reason that I am writing this post is because I was inspired by one of my closest friends' tweets. She wrote:

"This year needs to say bye bye"

and this got me thinking. Retrospectively, I don't think that 2015 was a bad year for me. I became more body confident, spent my entire summer having amazing experiences - work related or not, stopped biting my nails, completed my UCAS form and went for 3/5 of my interview days for universities, continued with my old hobbies and found some more, rekindled some old friendships and created new ones.

However, as I went through each month of this year, it didn't give off the same impression. I had mock exams, followed by the real things, grade disappointments, intense nostalgia, family struggles, anxiety surrounding events that I should not have been nervous for and many tears.

But as the year comes to a close, I am beginning to almost forget about those not-so-great times. I can now leave 2015 with the thought of it being not such a bad year for me. I know that in reality, it just wasn't great, but I think that the beauty of 2015 is that it is in the past now. If I cling onto those negative feelings, I won't be able to move on with my life. I won't be able to fully enjoy the rest of my final year of school, turning 18, prom, the extremely long summer holiday, and eventually (and hopefully) starting my university career.

I say this every year, but I think that 2016 will be my year. But this time, I am not just saying it. I am going to go out of my way to make sure that when I am a mother watching my children enter their 18th year in this world, I will be able to say "I loved being 18, it was one of my favourite years".

Obviously there are many aspects of my life that are out of my control, as with everyone. When it comes to those parts, it won't be that I will rise up and change things myself because I physically cannot do that. I feel like instead, it will be a change in mindset, which I will 100% benefit from. Instead of putting myself down all the time, I'm going to turn that around and positive thinking should come with rewards.

I also want to enter 2016 with the attitude that I will post more; I can't believe that I haven't posted since October!

Happy new year everyone <3

-LF, LR and MG

Sunday, 6 December 2015

A Time to be Grateful

I often fear that I become too swept up in the moment, and do not have enough strength of character to be aware of how grateful I should be. It is human nature to look beyond those closest to us. We disregard those who play vital roles in our lives, not because we don't love them or recognise them, but because when something is placed right in front of us, most of the time, we are blind to it.

When things go wrong, naturally, we look for someone else to blame. We don't like to believe that it is us ourselves that has done the wrong thing. However, when things go right, we turn inwards and celebrate our own success, forgetting about all the other people that helped us and guided us along the way.

I'm not saying for a second that we shouldn't celebrate our own successes, because of course we should. Instead, however I am suggesting that we should be reminding ourselves that we need to look to the outside to thank those around us for all their help, kindness and support.

Someone once told me that you can never say thank you too many times, and I think that is really true. Being grateful to those around us, is paramount to success. When we are able to recognise the input of our family, friends, teachers and any one else, then we are giving part of our success to them, and allowing them to share in the good things as well as the bad.

I am constantly reminded of the look in my teacher's face, when I made an effort to tell her good news. The sincerity of which she received my news, made me painfully aware of how much bad news I share, but more than that, the intimacy of good news, when it is such a rare occurrence. It made me see, for the first time, the many ways saying thank you can be said, and more importantly, the power of which being grateful can hold.

Frankly, we are in times of universal uncertainty, when most of us are paralysed by fear of the unknown - or more accurately, fear of knowing that we don't really know what is to come on a global scale.

But I do think, however insignificant it may be on a global scale, that the only thing you can do to fight back against those who have stripped away their humanity, is by working on humanity. Trying to make the world a better place, one thank you at a time.

-LF, LR and MG

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Are we human without our humanity?

I'm not sure there are many words that I can use right now that will do any sort of justice to the terrible sorrow I feel about all the terrorism going on in the world right now. I would however, like to share a poem that explores terrorism in the face of humanity, but I suppose more than that, the way in which we must break down stereotypes and prejudices in the face of a terror organisation that ironically does not kill based on any prejudice other than the fact that we are not them. I'm so tired of the relentless blame game and people attempting to throw their own suffering into the public eye as a way of diminishing another countries or cultures pain. We are all humans and as far as I am concerned, we are all in this together.

Are we human, without our humanity?

My flesh touches your flesh,
And from the outside, we appear no different.
I prick my skin on the thorn of a rose,
You do the same.
Our blood drips out a gleaming red-
It is the same.

I put my hand against yours
And turn them up towards the sun
We are different,
But innately we are the same.

I see all the things that make us different,
Through a distorted telescope
A lens clouded by misconceptions and prejudice.
Echo’s of lies and furious fervent feelings
That changes the color of my blood from yours.

When I strip down to just my flesh
What use will it all be?
For the blood of my people
And the blood of your people,
Will look the same on history’s tainted canvas.

And when the lies drain away,
But our morals stay the same –
My flesh that touches your flesh
Becomes our flesh.

Now the color red streaks through our cities veins,
We laugh as millions but cry as one,
We feel loss as one.
But we must remember, that our weapon –
One that is much stronger than any knife, gun or bomb –
Is our Humanity.

For it is our Humanity that makes us Human,

And being human that makes us all the same.

-LF, LR and MG xxx

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Sucked In To Social Media

I know its been a while since we have had a constant stream of posts, but there is no time like the present to get back into blogging.

An important issue that has cropped up especially in the last few weeks, is the power behind social media.

With the advance of technology, social media for the better or worse has become a big part in most of our lives. We check our Facebook, update our twitters and are posting pictures on Instagram before we have even taken in the moment.

The world we live in thrives off of instant gratification, we judge our popularity based on how many likes we obtain, and judge ourselves based on the superficial exterior that others give off, from their social media updates. We confuse our screens for real life and become lost in the trying to be something that we are not, because what we want doesn't really exist. 

The power of social media is immense. It dictates how we look, how we think and how we define the things around us. We become caught up in the externalities and often forget to work on who we are, off screen. It becomes hard to separate between on line and real life. Our expectations of who we are and what defines us, become blended into a mixture of filters, and Kylie Jenner's lips. We lose touch with reality and become consumed by what we think we should look like, based on a reality that someone else has created to reflect an ideal world. 

Time and time again you see girls and boys succumb to the pressures of the online world, unable to maintain the unrealistic expectations of what we should look like, or what we believe is aesthetically pleasing. 

That doesn't mean that I don't have Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. I am fully aware of all the positives of social media. However, I think that most of us are too sucked in to see some of the harmful effects that living life online can have as well.

I think that as a population, we spend too much time making sure that externally we are giving off the appearance of someone that will get lots of likes. We judge success on how many followers we have, not on what it means to be a good person. We are misdirected by a world that seems a lot more high definition of our own, and captivated by a culture that appears so much more fulfilling than it is.

The problem with becoming absorbed by social media is that we begin to live life in 2D. We live through a screen instead of experiencing the world first hand, and this inhibits our experiences in ways that we are too blinded to notice.

Sometimes it is good to just go offline for a few days. Take in the world around us and see beauty in things that don't have a filter on. I sometimes feel that our sensitivity towards each other and the way we explore things has become more and more superficial, because the place we most express ourselves is online. I'm not naive enough to think that we should all just switch off and stay that way, but I do think that every now and again it is good to just give it a rest. Extract yourself from a world that doesn't shut down for even a second, and look inwards at who you want to be, rather than online to see who you should be modelling yourself off of.

-LF, LR, and MG xxx

Friday, 30 October 2015

Feeling Inspired

I was on holiday in Mallorca back in September and the hotel I stayed in has entertainment on six out of the seven per nights per week. On Fridays, 'Rubén Memories' performed. During the week that I was there, I felt reluctant to go downstairs, as I had half fallen asleep to the SacconeJolys on my little springy bed. I went down to the bar area to be met by a tall, bald, skinny man, clutching a microphone stand and singing his little heart out. My mum and nana found seats and I sat down, one leg overlapping the other, and I leaned forward, beginning to immerse myself into the show.

Rubén was a fantastic performer. Sure, his singing voice wasn't the best, however his energy radiated across the room and his face lit up every time he received his round of applause following a song. He found little ways to encourage the audience to become involved; singing along with him, shaking their hands and even bringing in some waiters to dance with and to take over their jobs.

He kept repeating the phrase 'God, I love my job'.

This got me thinking.

This is what I want with my life.

This is what I aspire to do.

I don't care what some people I know say, I believe that the most important part of your job (or, for that matter, anything that you do) is to have fun. To enjoy what you're doing. Seeing him beaming as the climax of the song was reached made me tear up with pleasure.

I felt very inspired by him, and I still do today. Whatever I end up doing with my life, whether it be performing (ideally) or anything else, I want to stay sane, creative and, most importantly...

I want to be happy.

- LF, LR and MG

Monday, 19 October 2015

Accidentally Jealous

Do you ever accidentally feel intensely jealous of another person?

I know this is a strange way of phrasing something, but the term 'accidentally jealous' defines how I'm currently feeling.

Let's just say that a friend of yours is an extremely high achiever. Whether they are naturally clever or not, they always end up with the top results of the class, or even the year group. This person's results have got absolutely nothing to do with you. The results that you achieved were fine, they helped you move onto the next why do you feel bad?

Let's just say that you and a friend are both auditioning for a play. The two of you have roles that you aspire to get, but by the end, your friend gains a fantastic role. You should feel so pleased for this person - great, they've managed to squeeze through such a tricky, competitive competition and gain a brilliant part in the play. Yet there's a huge pang of sorrow in your heart - should you not have got the role?

Let's just say that your friend has a crush on another person within your friendship group. After a few months, they act upon it and become boyfriend and girlfriend. (Or same sex - my example may-or-may-not be based on real life). You are extremely excited for your friends, who have found a whole new happiness in each other and in themselves. But you start to think about the amount of 'friends' that you have liked a little (or a LOT) more than a friend...why did things not end up like that between the two of you?

I like to call this 'accidental jealousy'. Where you know that rationally, you should feel happy for another person, when you actually feel a little bit sad that you are not in the same/similar position.

It has occurred to me recently that this is not a rare thing and, in fact, is quite normal. After all, that  role was made for you, you deserved those As and that boy that you liked should definitely have been into you - like have you seen your reflection??!!

Anyway, I feel like this is okay. It is okay to feel this way. So long as it's only a short while. You need to find away to put those feelings aside, shove them into a box and lock it, so that you can be a pleasure to be around again. You can't necessarily vocalise these feelings as it may come back around and slap you in the face. And you certainly cannot lose confidence over it. So life seems to be going in favour of your friends right now, but your time is coming.

-LF, LR and MG

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Why School is Soul Destroying

I have a lot to hold against school at the moment. I completely understand that it's so important and I'm eternally grateful that I have been given high quality education, however I believe that the school system in the United Kingdom (and most likely elsewhere) are doing something wrong.

On the 13th August, Years 12 and 13 received their grades which either determine a place at university or will shape the predicted grades for universities to see. Obviously there are other options, which I will touch upon later.
To me, it seems as if examiners are purposely failing students. If a student was one or two marks off the higher grade, it felt like they revelled in the student's unhappiness and refused to be slightly more generous. If the exam is entirely subjective, such as English (and in my case, Drama) it appeared as if the examiners remained biased to their own views and gave a lower grade than students deserved.

Whilst I find that incredibly annoying, there is something that is bigger than this that I'd like to focus on. School is ruining the fun of education. I have two personal examples to justify this point...

I have two wonderful psychology teachers who manage somehow to keep my class motivated, educated and their love for the subject shines through them and radiates onto us. One of these teachers appears to stay true to the value 'learning for learning's sake' - studying a subject purely for the love of it. In lessons, she frequently shares genuinely interesting facts, to which she is met with blank facial expressions and the same question is posed:
"Will we need this for the exam?"

Do you see how damaging this is? When you think about it, we're supposed to study the subjects that we love, when soon the love will be replaced by the robotic routine of absorbing information and regurgitating it all over the exam paper. There's no time or brain capacity to learn for enjoyment, which is deeply saddening.

My second example follows the way that my practical AS Drama exam went. Our teacher had told us to 'use the inspiration' of a practitioner and apply it to a script of our choice. My friend discovered an unusual and intriguing script, which we performed to the style of 'Epic Theatre', as developed by Bertold Brecht. No-one else had done anything like that at school. We worked for hours during and after school every week, organised rehearsals out of school and worked solidly at school on this performance.  Both of our teachers helped us with this performance and constantly gave us praise for our work - we were sure that we would get top marks. It took over our lives. At social occasions, my friend and I would vent about how annoyed we were with the others the whole time and we would regularly rehearse our lines (and everyone else's, obviously). We were examined by the moderator, who was also being moderated, and one of our teachers.We performed our hearts out and were proud of it. This was the first time in ages, if not forever, where I felt self-confidence, both in the theatrical world and in real life. 

On the 13th August, we were greeted with a letter 'B' on the report card, rather than the A that we had hoped for. And I know that a B is a great grade, it was just heartbreaking because we expected too much. Our teacher later told us that the chief moderator decided that our performance wasn't "Brechtian" enough. 


We were too creative.

Our performance didn't get a high enough grade because we were creative. In a creative subject.

To me, this is not okay. I am not talking about my grade anymore, I am speaking of the fact that students everywhere are having the creativity sucked out of them like a vacuum and then come university and adulthood, when we are allowed a little bit more wriggle room to be inventive, we can't. We have been trained to be machines with cloned brains, not allowed any freedom to be ourselves.

Right, I think I've had a long enough vent! I had been intending to make this post since that eventful day of the 13th August, but I couldn't write it for weeks and then, once I did, my internet was being very temperamental and I eventually forgot about this post. I need to get all of this out there though - not so that everyone can read my problems with school, but so that people can take this and be reminded to maintain their creative energy aside from school. This is why my friends and I created this blog, write poetry, songs and perform.

Thanks for reading,

-LF, LR and MG

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Standing With Ahmed

Every few days I check the news, because I find that it is important to be up to date with whatever is going on in the world. This morning, when I was doing my usual sweep through the Internet in order to be up to date with the world, I was drawn towards two stories that may not seem connected, but to me are deeply rooted in the same plant pot.

In the last twelve hours, the hash tag ⌗IStandWithAhmed has gone viral. This hash tag is a result of a fourteen year old boy being arrested for bringing a home-made clock to school, a clock that a teacher falsely accused of being a bomb. Ahmed was arrested in school and released shortly after, when the police released that it was literally a clock he had made at home because he is a fourteen year old boy pursing mechanics. 

The second thing in the news that has captured the world's attention in the last few weeks is the refugee crisis. When there are hundreds of thousands of human beings crying out in pain, living in conditions that are so far from anything we live in, and enduring the heart-wrenching experiences of fleeing a place that you and your family have called home for hundreds of years, I really ask my self why the world is doing next to nothing. 

I question why countries are closing their borders, and turning away as families are torn apart, mothers are loosing their children and people are loosing their identities. I question why the acceptable response to these tragic events is to sigh and look apathetically at the news reports flooding in of the horrors these people are coming from, their harrowing journeys only to be met with hostility. 

You are probably wondering what the two stories have to do with each other, so I will explain the link that I have made:

The world is focusing on the wrong facts and figures. Instead of stretching out our hands and opening our hearts, we are creating a society where it is acceptable to close our eyes and focus on the wrong things. 

Ahmed Mohamed is a fourteen year old boy, an innocent fourteen year old boy, a talented fourteen year old boy. 

Now tell me what part of that makes you think of a terrorist? Because there must have been something that provoked the teacher into calling the police. 

Oh yes, I know what it is. Ahmed Mohamed was arrested today because he is a Muslim. So really what happened was, a grown adult, someone that should have known better, decided that it was their place to insight their own preconceived prejudices and get an innocent boy arrested because he was a Muslim boy, taking an interest in mechanics. 

But it gets better. It gets better because effectively the world is turning their back on these refugees based on prejudices; based on stereotypes that have one purpose in society, which is to destroy any of the basic humanity that people have. 

I am struggling to put into words how angry and disheartened I feel right now. The world is misplacing its concerns. Western superpowers should be worried about what is actually going on in these middle-eastern countries that is causing such an influx of refugees. 

We should be focusing on trying to fix the root of the problem instead of misplacing our prejudices and stereotypes onto innocent people that need our help and support more than anyone. 

The message Ahmed's school sent to him today is that they have a certain expectation that he will be a terrorist. They show him that they don't see Ahmed for a fourteen year old boy with skills that will change the world, instead they see him as a potential threat because his faith is not the same as theirs. And you know what that says to me? It says that we have not evolved at all. It shows me that white supremacy is just as prevalent now as it was one hundred years ago, and that destroys me, it really does. 

As for the refugee crisis, I really do beg people to open their arms but to also look ahead, look ahead to fix the problem that is not going to stop until a superpower puts it to bed. 

Whilst usually my posts are not this political, I feel so strongly about this, that I could not have passed an opportunity to write about it on this platform. I hope you will stand with us in standing with Ahmed and learn to open your hearts to the refugee crisis. 

-LF, LR and MG xxx

Monday, 7 September 2015

Dear Examiners: My Future Lies In The Details

The best thing about taking exams, is the feeling you have as you get up for the last time, as the person at the front comes round to collect your paper, and dismiss you. The invisible chain that has kept you anchored to your desk for the last two months has been cut off and you are now allowed to do whatever you want, guilt free.

That feeling is a mixture of freedom and relief, but also, it is the knowledge that you have now done everything in your power to make sure that whatever result you get is because you did all you could do. Part of the freedom and relief is knowing that whatever happens next is not up to you anymore.

Although over the summer the impending nausea that surrounds the word 'results' remains, in general, anyone expecting results likes to push the idea out of their minds and dull the scary notion of the future, with the summer.

It is in the days leading up to results day that we begin to re-examine our own performances, making false predictions as to what we have passed or what we have failed. Who we will be disappointing this year, and the many ways in which we will have to make amends to those people. Regardless of how well we suspect we may have done, there is hardly a person in the country that is making positive predictions in an attempt to hopefully far supersede the doubtfully low expectations that you have been subtly trying to work into your parents heads.

Finally the day comes, and you open your results. Staring at the letters that effectively spell out your future. For some people, this moment is filled with relief, you thank your lucky stars that you have met your own requirements along with the ones of your parents, the college, sixth form or university that you want to attend, and spend the rest of the day celebrating.

However, this year in particular, and I'm sure in other years too, there seems to be a large proportion of people that have come out of results day, with more painful consequences. Some people have got grades that they secretly suspected they would but hoped would never actually be true. But some people are genuinely flabbergasted by their results, shocked and disappointed at the view of letters far less satisfactory than the first three of the alphabet.

Faced with the possibility of your future slipping away through your fingers, you try to think of things that you can do to make this whole thing go away. The only thing you can think of is that this must be a mistake.

But what if I told you this actually was a mistake;

This year, I have heard countless tales of people in my year at school and in other schools across the board, who have had their papers remarked, and been regraded totally different grades. I have a friend who was moved up 18 marks, and another who went up 11. This madness is what makes me write this letter in the first places.

Careless examiners are messing with peoples lives.

Not everyone has the money to remark papers, especially not at the ridiculous prices that you are expected to pay for the privilege. I accept that the exam board will reimburse you for the money you lay out initially if the grade changes, but that is irrelevant because these mistakes should not be made in the first place.

What about all the people who decide not to remark because they don't believe their mark will change?
What about all the people who don't have the money to layout and have to go the rest of their lives wondering if their mark could have been something else?
What about all the people who just give up?
What about all the people who lose their university places and end up on a different path than what they were supposed to?
What about all the people who feel as if they have failed, all the heartbreak and stress over a false mark.

My future, and everyone else's lies in the details because when one examiner makes a mistake, it can cost a lot more than £40 per re-mark to fix.

I understand that examiners are humans and humans make mistakes, but at the end of the day these are mistakes that people cannot afford to make.

I hope that people have better luck in the future, and that from now on, examiners will pay attention to the details more than they have been, because that is where the future lies.

-LF, LR and MG

Monday, 31 August 2015

Leaving the Past in the Past

When I lie awake at night, letting my thoughts stir round and round in my head, I know that the only way I can fall asleep is if I write whatever it is down. I sit up, open my laptop and stare at a blank word document, until my fingers tap on my keyboard and within minutes, words appear on the page that spell out exactly what is bothering me.

Every now and again I like to read over what I write in those moments, because I think in some ways what I write then is the most honest, and the purest way that I can gather my thoughts together. For me it is in the silence of the night that the rest of the world is quiet enough for my thoughts to be heard.

Recently when I read over things I had written in my midnight madness, I saw a repetitive theme of the past and so I thought that I would write about it on here, and share some of the advice that I gave myself at some point between one am and four am in the last few weeks.

"Accepting the past is about acknowledging that all the things you have done and all the things you have been through, for the good and bad, are very much a part of who you are. Acceptance is the first part of moving forward and I think that when you have grasped that, you leave yourself with the foundation to build on.

You can take all the things you have learnt and develop yourself into the person that you want to be. It is about recognising that whilst your past will always be a part of who you are, it is not the only thing that you are.

I think the best decision I ever made was to move forward. I think through moving forward I have been able to strengthen the person I am into someone that I know will be able to take the weight of the future.

Thinking about the future is scary, it makes you wonder if you will ever be able to escape, it makes you doubt yourself and your capabilities and whether you will ever be able to truly leave behind your past. but I think that the best way to escape your past is to run into it with open arms.

It is about embracing your mistake, the places where you tripped and fell so that the next time you will know what to do. If you embrace your past then you can use it all to build a future and with your future at the tip of your fingers, you will be able to accomplish anything.

You can't move forward without letting go, and whilst I know letting go is going to be so hard, once you are free to reach out and grab whatever opportunity you are faced with, the past won't seem so troubled anymore.

Instead you will look back and wonder how you made it through the hark times, with nothing to guide you. But you will also know that it was all those things that are very much a part of who you are now. You will know that the reason you carry round a flashlight at all times is so that when you get lost again, you will be able to find you way. You know that when you go swimming, you make sure you jump in with both feet, but wearing a life jacket, so that you can feel the water against your skin without tempting fate and struggling not to drown.

But the best thing about the past is that it gives you lessons for the future, and I think when your past is as clouded as mind, it is the lessons that we extract that will stick with us and shape us for life. It isn't about seeing everything for the bad, it is about taking the bad and turning it into the good."

So I think what midnight me is trying to tell you, is that you need to let go of the past in order to build a future. But letting go of the past doesn't mean forgetting where you came from, or how far you have fought to get here. Letting go means taking with you all the things you have learnt, but leaving behind all the negative associations and memories that you have as well.

I hope this was helpful insight,
LF, LR and MG

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Summer in the City 2015

I was so fortunate again this year, after 2 years of this tradition, to attend 'Summer in the City' - the biggest Youtube convention in London. This time, I went with my best friend Libby ( - her blog is brilliant, you should check it out) and that was it. Just the two of us against the world. She had some internet friends that she knew beforehand, but I didn't know them yet.

The main thing that I have learnt this weekend is that the Youtube community is wonderful. There were people of so many ages with so many differences but one similar interest, and yet it was so easy to become friends with anyone. My favourite thing to do was to look around at everyone around me and just think about how diverse everyone was - tall, short, female, male, transgender, straight, gay, bi, lesbian, musically talented, magicians, gamers, and so many different hair colours! Every single person that I spoke to was so lovely and I'm glad that I have made some new lifelong (hopefully) friends.

Another thing that I realised is how much I love 'smaller' youtubers. By this, I mean like those with less subscribers than I feel like they should have. I would like to mention some of my favourites here, in the hope that you can agree with me or find some new people to subscribe to!

1) Carrie Hope Fletcher, itswaypastmybedtime

Granted that she's not a 'small youtuber', she is also an actress (performing as Eponine in Les Mis) and an author ('All I Know Now' and 'On The Other Side'). When I met her, she was waiting for somebody to pick up her call and, once she saw that we wanted to chat to her, instantly put her phone away and spoke to us for a long time. She gave me great advice, had a laugh with me and made me feel like we were on the same wavelength. I love her so much, she is like my honorary big sister and I feel like, whilst she has recognition for her performances and videos, she needs more recognition for her genuine kind heart, warm nature and friendliness. I am so thankful for her!

2) Dodie Clark, doddleoddle

Let me tell you, Dodie Clark is the most amazing performer. Known for strumming on her lovely ukulele, she has a bubbly personality, bursting with sweetness and excitement. Her videos consistently make me grin and she gives great hugs. Over the weekend, she stood and met so many people whilst also performing, participating in insightful panels (which I was lucky enough to go and watch) and also sold lots of merchandise, which was sadly sold out when I went to pick up the tote bag! At the end of the Sunday, she stood by this fairground ride and did not move until she met every single person who hadn't met her and had a quick chat and a photo with everyone. I respect her so much and my heart weeps when I hear her music (and my eyes, WOW I was bawling during her live performance of 'One for the Road'!)

3) Jenny, thatjennybee

I have only recently discovered this little gem of a channel, containing short, quirky videos about Jenny's life and stuff. I went over for a chat on the Sunday of SitC and we stood for ages whilst she gave me brilliant life advice, we had a laugh together and really cute pictures! Such a genuinely lovely sunshine of a person - I think that's the best way that I can describe her. 

4) Chloe, scarfdemon

Chloe does really amazing things for a charity called 'Save the Children', which is a brilliant charity that does wonderful things. Her short but sweet vlogs are entertaining, educational, enjoyable and heart-warming. Her recent series in which she read diary entries from her younger self was so insightful and whilst it made me chuckle at times, it made me feel better for thinking and acting the way that I did when I was 16. Chloe made a video about Polycystic Ovaries, which is something that I deal with and made me feel like I wasn't alone. When I told Chloe about this blog, she seemed to love the sound of it and even wrote down the address to look at later. That made me squeal!

5) Daniel J Layton, actor

All round hilarious man, Daniel J Layton actor (full name, obviously) is an aspiring west end actor who shares the realities of the industry and also created comedic anecdotes in vlog form. He had a chat with every single person that he met and wasn't weirded out by Libby and I stroking his cardigan. He is so kind, gentle and very funny. His 'Baking with Layton' series makes me laugh until I cry and motivates me to start creating youtube videos purely so that I can feature as a guest in the series.

6) Lucy and Lydia, beauty gurus

These twins are the most beautiful girls that I have ever seen in the flesh. Their make up is always flawless and fashion senses are so good! That's not the most important thing that I wanted to tell you all though. I wanted to explain that they spoke to every single person and had a proper conversation filled with laughter and hugs. Their meet up that I went to was accidental, though they were kept out of that green room for a long time due to not only the amount of people who wanted to meet them, but the engagement that they had with every single viewer. I completely respect these two gorgeous youtubers and bloggers.

I could probably talk about so many more people that I met but I wouldn't want to keep you reading forever! I loved meeting every single person that I spoke to, regardless of how many subscribers they had. Everyone was so kind-hearted and I made so many new friends out of this weekend. If you ever feel like you are sitting on the fence trying to decide whether or not to go to a youtube convention, you should definitely do it! If you go with the mindset of wanting to meet everyone, then you may be met with a huge feeling of disappointment. But going to the panels, watching the mainstage and even meeting other people with the same interests as you are all amazing aspects of the weekend that cannot be missed. 

-LF, LR and MG

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Five Letters, Make It or Break It.

Trust. Somewhat of an abstract concept, as it seems to be a prerequisite to so many things. Any relationship without trust would seem to mock the foundation of which most relationships are built on. But what happens if you don't know who to trust? Or if you're not in a place in your life where trust comes easy to you.

Whilst being over-trusting comes hand in hand with naivety, people who don't trust at all are viewed as jaded and guarded. So really, is there a way for us all to win?

I personally find myself constantly battling between the two; I confide way too easily when I feel comfortable with some people, but with other people, I remain constantly wary and distant.

In some cases, trust can be so easy to build, but destroyed even quicker and in other cases the opposite applies.

I think it is important to be able to trust, we should be able to open our eyes and our minds to people and see the good where possible. Having trust is about having faith in other people that they are who they say they are. Having trust is about believing in the good and trying to remain at peace with the world.

Sometimes it doesn't work out, people can screw you over and leave you wounded. I don't deny that possibility because it has certainly happened to me and no doubt to all of you as well. The feeling of betrayal sucks, I am the first to admit it, but I think that building trust over time can solve that.

It is true that on the occasion you should jump into a relationship with two feet, but sometimes you just need to dip your toe in the water first, before jumping in full swing.

I think learning that trust can be a double edged sword can be both the smartest thing you realise and the worst thing to know at all. 

Trust is confusing, it can make or break you. I think by writing this post I hoped to come to some conclusion as to how to deal with trust, but the truth is, I think every relationship is different. I think that some people are trust worthy and others aren't, so we shouldn't tar someone with the same brush. 

I guess I wanted to end this with some sort of clarity, but instead I am going to end my post with and open ended thought. 

Five Letters, Make it or Break it; You Choose. 

-LF, LR and MG xx

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Learning to Dance in the Rain

Inevitably at some point in life, we are thrown curveballs. The unexpected turn of events that happen before you have enough time to process it. Events that change the people that we think we are, the way we think about things but most importantly how we react to difficult events, sometimes into complete strangers.

As we get older, we begin to realise that the things we thought were important, that drama between you and your so called 'best friend'; that weird conversation with that 'maybe' boy, or the time you wore your hair a certain way for months only to discover that it was actually not cool at all. All of those things, whilst I have no doubt were important at the time, suddenly pale in comparison to the real 'drama' in your life. They are trivial when put up against the big decisions, the times when you really didn't know what was going to happen.

We like to believe that in those trivial moments, it really is between life or death, but I think if we all contemplate on our lives enough, we will at least find one time that trumps all other issues or problems. A time when we were scared and it was genuine. A time when we doubted ourselves, our friends and families whilst trying to grapple with the issue.

It is when those curveballs hit us, that we reach out and try to grab all the things that are most important to us, so that all the other insignificant things can slip away. It is when we look around and see who is here. Most importantly however, it is when we look at ourselves and begin to piece together the people that we really are.

That, I believe, is what 'learning to dance in the rain' is about. It is about grabbing onto the things that we have in the moments that we have nothing else, and making it work.

It is about looking around and knowing that whilst things may not even be close to ideal, that you are still alive, alert and awake, and that you have the ability to fix this. You have the ability to make something out of nothing and to truly find yourself when everything else seems lost.

It is in the darker times when the light you find shines the brightest. It is when you have almost lost all hope, when you see hope the most.

When you have the strength to look around you and make light out of the darkness, turn your sorrow into something worth living for, you know you are dancing in the rain.

When you stop walking around with your fists clenched up, preparing to fight with life for the mess it has thrown in your way, and instead walk around with your palms open, ready to receive whatever next should come your way, and build on what you have now, that you will dance in the rain, and no doubt whatever comes out from this rainy period, will be more beautiful and brilliant than anything you would have achieved before.

Sometimes in order to get to the place you want to be in, you have to take a more scenic route, rather than the one that seems to be carved out. But along that route, I can assure you, you will pick up more knowledge and strength, and it will be worth it in the end.

So learn to dance in the rain, let your rain boots fill up with water, as you learn more about yourself in those moments than you do at any other time. Take what life gives you and turn it into what you want it to be because life always has a funny way of working out in the end.

-LF, LR, and MG


Thursday, 13 August 2015

Throwaway Terms

"Oh my god I'm literally having a panic attack"
"I'm feeling so depressed right now"
"Don't mind me, just having a stroke"
"That's so gay"

All of these are sentences that I hear pretty much on a day-to-day basis. And I was probably guilty of even using some of these back in the early days of secondary school. They are what I like to think of as "throwaway terms" - using words that have heavy meanings in a lighter way to get a point across, such as "I'm quite nervous" or "I'm a bit sad about this". These hyperbolic ways of expressing emotions may gain a bit of sympathy or maybe a few laughs.

However, the main point that I would like to get across to you here is that words are powerful

To you, these may be silly little sentences that you use in order to exaggerate an emotion. To others, this may be there life. 

Depression is a real thing, as spoken in posts here (depression from the external perspective) and here (suicide).
A panic attack is the defence mechanism that your body uses when in fight-or-flight mode, which tells the body that it is legitimately about to die. People suffering from anxiety or panic disorders may experience these on a daily basis.
A stroke is defined as "a sudden disabling attack or loss of consciousness caused by an interruption in the flow of blood to the brain, especially through thrombosis".
Gay is not an insult. It is merely a sexual preference of the same gender as oneself.

It is important that in situations in which you wish to express an emotion, that you do so in a sensible, accurate, non-hyperbolic manner. Obviously this isn't possible all the time, as a drama student I can tell you that I am very prone to exaggeration! But if you are even slightly tempted to use a word that has a heavy meaning in a lighter context, maybe think again.

Thank you for reading, and good luck to everyone getting results!

-LF, LR and MG

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Saving Yourself

Everyone wants to be a superhero. We all want to be that person, the one that is universally admired for their strength in character. That dependable friend that no one could live without. The one that saves everyone in their moment of need, and is always remembered for what they did for other people, less so what they have done for themselves.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not for one second that this is a bad way to be, that we shouldn't try to help others, or save people when they most need it, but what I would like to speak about in this post, is the concept of saving yourself.

Sometimes it may seem that in society the people we consider most worthy and admirable are those that spend their whole lives saving others. Obviously, this is an incredible character trait, and something I could only hope to be like, but what I would like to focus on is that sometimes being your own hero, is the best characteristic that we can achieve.

It is when the days are rough and you need to be tough, that we should be turning to our own built up resilience and using our own will power to drag ourselves out of bed. On days like these, when all you have done is got out of bed and the bare minimum, even when you wanted to let life wash over you in a wave leaving you ignorant to that day's drama and negativity, this is what is called being your own hero.

Sometimes you need to work on your own self belief and bravery before you can go out there are save the world, and thats okay. I believe that each of us somewhere wants to save someone else, but if you take all that energy and use it to save yourself, then that is okay too.

Most people can think of a time when they were barely able to keep their head above the water, and if you were able to do this, even with the weight of life attached to your feet, dragging you down, then you deserve a medal, and if no one has told you so, then you are brave and you are beautiful and you got through something that most people could not.

The biggest reason why I write this post, is actually because I believe that we should be doing more to build ourselves up, instead of what the media and outer negative influences insist we do, which is self-depreciate.

I believe that self-sacrifice should not be glorified, but instead we need to spend more time working on saving ourselves and building ourselves, so that we are able to survive the rocky road that is life.

So save yourself, be your own hero, and then when you are ready go out and save the world, just don't leave it until it is too late for you to live a happy and healthy life, as after all, we are only here once.

LF, LR and MG xxx

Friday, 24 July 2015

Reaching For the Stars

It starts with something small, a little seed that gets planted at the back of your mind, which most of us disregard. Secretly, when you think no one is looking, you put together some ideas. The ball keeps rolling, and without even realising it, you have thought up a whole plan for that thing that just a few weeks prior, was just a seed in the back of your mind.

Even at this point, most of us laugh at our own 'delusion' and remain with our feet planted firmly on the ground, reluctant to entertain the possibility of success, or of making our ideas into a reality. Not because we don't want to, or because we have negative intentions, but because we genuinely believe that we aren't capable of doing so.

But what if I told you, that with some perseverance, planning and positivity, you could lift your feet off the ground, and truly touch the stars? When I look at myself I know that for one reason or another I have put a pin into so many things that I have wanted to do, almost always because I am not confident enough in myself to believe I can pull them off.

However, this year I have had a growth of self-belief starting with this wonderful blog, and in one thing or another, I have realised that there are some steps involved but when you do them, you really can make a successful project come to life. I would like to offer some steps into turning your dreams into a reality:

1) Believe in yourself. To be honest, I think of all the things I could say in this post, telling you to believe in yourself is most probably the most important. There will be people that doubt your idea and there will be times when you will doubt yourself, and tell yourself that there is no way that you can accomplish what you have set out to do. Ignore those doubts, because whether you believe they are justified or not, if you just look slightly past them, then you will reach your success. Self-belief is what will carry you through all the time you spend working on your project. It is what will keep you going through the process, as a constant reminder that you can do this.

2) PLAN. I would say that a big part of being able to actualise your dreams is to plan, and plan big. Work out each stage of your project, and all the mini-steps that it will take to get you there. Write down a list of all the things you will need to do in order to achieve your aims, and ways in which you can complete them. In times of doubt or when things seem overwhelming or unachievable, you will look at your plan and feel reassured that you know where you are going with it, and what you are doing.

3) Be Inspired. I think that the best projects are the ones that you are so deeply connected with, that you are going to try as hard as you can to get them going. The ones that you so desperately want to make successful are usually the ones that go the furthest because of your own inspiration and your own drive to make it happen. I think that this is the key to success and is something that you should bare in mind all the time.

I hope that these three tips will help you in reaching for the stars, but most of all, I would like to share an idea that I put together a few weeks ago. I believe that you should always reach for the stars, even if you can't quite see them. That means working as hard as you can, on something you feel passionately about, even if it doesn't feel like it is being successful, or even if you feel like its not quite going the way you want it to. Working hard on something that you believe in, is genuinely one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had, something that I experience daily with this blog, and is something that I would encourage all of you to think about.

Reach for the stars, because you never quite know what magic can happen along the way!

-LF, LR and MG

Sunday, 19 July 2015

"Do More of What Makes You Happy"

As you get older, you notice that time is getting shorter. You get to the age at which you're entering secondary school, where you feel as if you have all the time in the world to have fun, so you go shopping with your friends, take your dog out for long walks and spend time on family picnics, with a bit of homework here and there. Then there are the end of year exams. This cycle progresses throughout your career at secondary school, with your free time being cut shorter and shorter without you even noticing it. Then BOOM. Year 11 whacks you across the face and you realise that your 'end of year exams' actually have an effect on your future, so for a few months you cut off most of your free time and filling it with endless revision, past papers and note-taking, before eventually spending the last remaining moments of your free time sprawled across the desk of scattered papers dozing off.

Eventually, by the time you hit Sixth Form (the last two years of compulsory education), you have a sudden realisation. All of that time you had spent with your loved ones has been evaporated. You haven't left the house aside from popping to school or the library in weeks and you feel confined to the same few rooms in your own house. That time you spent teaching yourself how to play the piano has all gone to waste, as you can't even remember how to shape a minor chord. You don't remember what daylight looks like. You haven't had a meal out in months.

This realisation happened to me two weeks ago, when we began to write our Personal Statements for university. I used to be able to speak about how I had an "ear for music" and could instantly pick out the correct chords and melody to any song on the keyboard. Now I can only remember one song. I used to love to socialise with my friends on the weekends, which rarely ever happens anymore.  Hey, I even used to win at a round of bowling against my friends and family, now I can scarcely remember which finger goes in which hole in the bowling ball.

Now, free time is almost a foreign word to me. Any "free time" is spent trying to retrace the steps of my old skills, completing my book list for university, writing my Personal Statement (just kidding, that's just not happening), organising my life and also the occasional blog post. Even then, that doesn't happen often, as seen by the number of posts by my fellow writers in comparison to me.

What I wanted to get across was that I wish that I had made myself take some more free time, as I regret letting past hobbies go down the drain. I used to look at a piano and rush over to it, desperate to lay my fingers on the ebony and ivory keys. Now, I have that same enthusiasm, but I stare blankly at the keys in wonder of how I lost the skills to play.

Please make sure that you do more of what makes you most happy, as I wish that I had.

-LF, LR and MG

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

What It Means To Be A Victim

In some ways, I believe that being a victim of something, has been romanticised. We glorify experiences that people have had. We make victims into warriors, not because we mean harm, but because we don't know what else to do. We don't know how else to react to the pain and the suffering that someone has been through, in an experience that is so completely different from our own experiences. So instead we admire them, but we don't understand them.

I would like to share what it means to be a victim, and then give some advice about how to deal with being a victim, with the hope that this post will not only give you some understanding, but it will give you the tools to deal with your friends or family members that may be dealing with the fallout of certain issues that make them a victim.

What does it mean to be a victim? 

Whilst most people think that being a victim means having survived a horrific event, I would like to explain what being a victim really means.

Being a victim means being afraid. It means being afraid of the person or people who inflicted such pain on you. Afraid of yourself and the person you might become. Being a victim means sleepless nights, bouts of depression and anxiety for things that seem unrelated but none the less haunt you for years.

Being a victim means suffering with PTSD, possible eating disorders and mood swings. It means living your life with the knowledge that other people that are in your age group have no idea of what you've been through, and will never be able to understand you. It means being confused about who you are, and doubting yourself. Being a victim means being so lonely that you are forced to turn to someone, but when you do, the empty feeling that you experience when they just don't understand makes you wish you'd just have kept quiet.

Being a victim means that you are strong and brave, but more fragile than you realise. It means spending the rest of your life forcing yourself to move on, and make something of yourself, even though what you really want to do is disappear. It means good days that leave you on a high, but bad days that leave you in the lurch, possibly for days after.

But most of all, being a victim means that on some days, the rain falls so hard and fast it feels as if the bad feelings are never going to go away. You feel disgusted by yourself and constantly put yourself down. However, on the sunny days, you look at all the things you have accomplished even after all you have survived, and you know that your victories outweigh all the bad things that you have suffered, a million times over. Because when you see all your victories, you know that you are nothing like your worst fears, but instead you are the person you have always wanted to become.

A few helpful tips for helping a victim: 
1) Listen!! Listen to your friend/ family member. Let them speak. Don't force what they have to say, but instead just let them say what they need to say. Most likely they will feed you bits of information here and there instead of just telling you everything straight. But if they do tell you something, know that it is because they trust you, and for them, trust is not something that comes easy, so keep reassuring them that you will not disclose this information to anyone.

2) Overreacting/ Minimising. Whilst there is literally nothing worse than you pouring your heart out to someone, and them just reducing it down to something that a child wouldn't be bothered by, at the same time, crying over what you have been told is not helpful either. It makes the victim feel even worse than they already do, and will just make them shut off. You might not realise that you are minimising the pain or experience, but trying to change the subject, laughing, making light of the situation or just trying to avoid talking about it, makes the person feel worse. The victim doesn't want you to find you an answer, nor are they expecting you to take the pain away, they just want to talk, and making them feel like a burden or like they're making a huge deal of nothing is likely to enhance any private and personal feelings they have about themselves.

3) Comparing. If your friend or relative is telling you about the time she nearly killed herself in an overdose, DO NOT compare it to the time you wanted to buy a new pair of shoes so you went to the shop but they didn't have your size, so you were so depressed you nearly killed yourself. It is not helpful, it is not useful, just don't do it!

Hope this was useful insight,
LF, LR and MG