Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Help me, I want to be a journalist.

Some bloggers write as a side project, some make a reasonable living from it, and a lot of us do it because we want to be some sort of writer or a journalist. Those of us who do that are used to the struggling life of a writer, we know what it's like to suffer in order to perfect our craft. It involves spreading ourselves far too thin, and staring at a blank white page on Word in the ugly hours of the night. Then we go to our normal jobs looking like a homeless version of one of the witches from Hocus Pocus. It is a delightful experience of everybody.

Who even gets to be a journalist now? Is it anybody who can afford to do a Masters at a prestigious journalism school? Is it someone with the right connections? Or can we chalk it up to dumb luck? Journalism is one of the least secure career paths you can choose, stability is not on the cards and financially you're not in for a pot of gold unless you're secretly Piers Morgan. If you want to go into this field, you need a thick skin and an arrogant edge that tells you you're the best. You'll get no where without self belief.

These are the things I know about the path to getting your job as a writer or journalist. If you need me, I'll be sat in a corner chewing on my hair, because this job path has driven me to insane and unbelievable actions. Read all about it, Goldilocks ruined her hair! Suffered for art!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

525,600 minutes: A Goldilocks year in review.

Note: I don't often do personal posts, but as the year ends I think it's important to show growth. xo

2013: The Goldilocks Edition

The New Year
I started off this year at the top of the Empire State Building. The rest of the year was never going to compare to the harsh whips of wind against my face at the top of one of the most inspirational buildings in the world. It's the only building I can sketch from memory, and the only thing I draw from instinct. I had been to New York twice already, but this would be my last in a while and I sat in an accepting silence in that mustard yellow taxi back to JFK. Sometimes great loves have to stand still, until real life slows down. The day I came home and hit pause on my love for New York, I hit the start button on my relationship with Rhys.

UK Blog Awards 2014

Do you lovely readers enjoy my blog? If you do, take a quick detour to the Blog Awards UK website and vote for me. Just follow the link below, sign up, and then place your vote. If all else fails, type "Goldilocks Notebook" into the search bar on the Blog Awards homepage, and you'll find me. I've just hit over 10,000 page views, and it's all because some of you find me a little bit interesting. Thanks for the memories, xoxo.

Goldilocks Face Time - Benefit: Hello Flawless and The Porefessional

After some debate over which foundation to buy next, I was caught between two choices; MAC Studio Fix and the much hyped Benefit Hello Flawless. The decision was made when I went into Debenhams and the MAC counter was far too busy for me to find a match. After seeing my sister use Hello Flawless and with some hard earned tips to burn, I headed to the Benefit counter. After being matched up to the right shade, I also invested in the much loved Porefessional, Benefit's most popular and infamous primer.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Disney's Frozen warms up The Snow Queen

Image: Disney
 The 53rd animated film from Walt Disney, Frozen draws upon Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen as it's icy inspiration. It revolves around two royal sisters, who have been left to inherit the throne following their parents' premature death. The eldest sister, Elsa, has uncontrollable powers in which she can summon and control ice and snow, and after a close call with her sister, Anna, she is forced to "conceal, don't feel". She locks herself away until Coronation Day, while her sister spends her days alone and confused as to why she has been shut out. After Elsa loses control of her powers on Coronation Day, she sets into motion an endless winter, and exiles herself to the mountains. Anna leaves her brand new love interest Hans to take care of royal matters, and sets off into the mountains to find her sister. There's also a snowman named Olaf, built by Elsa (he likes warm hugs), a grumpy ice salesman named Kristoff and a reindeer named Sven who I want to be my new best friend. 

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Grown Up Christmas List

We're seeing a lot of gift buying blogs, and a lot of bloggers' Christmas lists at the moment. What is it that we really want though? Most shopping bags aren't filled to the brim with fulfilled promises of eager twenty-somethings, so what would we ask for, if we really could?

Grown Up Christmas List

Image - Pinterest
1. Peace of mind
We wish we knew what it was like not to worry. Being an adult means brand new problems everyday, it's a magical time for all involved.

2. Time off
Most of us won't get a lot of time off throughout the year, especially during the festive season. This is the holy grail for everyone I know.

3. An open door
Most graduates have worked solidly to try and see their ambitions manifest into reality. The others have settled into jobs they would rather not have and that's okay too, as long as they feel the contentment we wish we could feel, too. As someone who has worked harder than I ever thought I'd need to after the sober realization that I was doomed to be stuck in a bar, I'd like an opportunity in my stocking. Santa, can you hear me? It could be worse, I could ask you to pay off my overdraft. Now there's a hefty request for you.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

The importance of living a glittery life.

Image - Pinterest
The winter blues are something that I don't suffer from. I love the dark nights, vamped up nail polish and an excuse for more eyeliner. I also love Christmas, and ribbon curling. What I do suffer from, are graduate blues. I imagine it feels like what winter feels like for those devoted to the warmer months. It must feel endlessly hollow, and excruciatingly dull.

In times of crisis, I turn to things that make me feel myself again. A few years ago, my Twitter bio read "I like to sparkle". I was reminded of this by my old housemate while at university in Swansea and it's something I try not to forget. We live in ordinary circumstances, we are ordinary people with ordinary lives, but we need the belief that we can be extraordinary. Otherwise, why did we waste our money on tuition fees?

A recent article featured in The Guardian reported that half of recent UK graduates are working in non graduate jobs, demonstrating the battle that young people have to secure entry level employment. More of us are settling for low income jobs just to be in employment, and our reputations will suffer if we do this for too long. We will be the generation that couldn't.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Christmas Choices - Featuring Philosophy and H&M

Thanks to the usually frugal Tax Man and a generous rebate, yesterday marked the beginning of my mission of being the best poor Santa ever. A lifetime of adoring the festive season has prepared me for the queues of cynical old men, the impossible bargain hunting, and for getting sellotape stuck in my hair. As I know how poor we twenty-somethings are, I am sharing my best buys of the day. Now, I know you are eager to see everything, but some will have to wait or I'll spoil everyone's Christmas surprises, you cotton headed ninnymuggins! Before you go and sulk, here are my favourites from yesterday's spree, and they'll make you smell like baked goods.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Christmas Choices: Urban Decay Eye Arsenal

Well, gentle readers, it is almost that most wonderful time of the year. If you're looking for something to add to your letter to Santa, or if you're in the mood for treating someone who loves their cosmetics, then this is something worth considering. I took a little trip into the Debenhams in Cardiff (or Mecca, as I am inclined to call it) after reading about a new Urban Decay gift set on Twitter. As a fan of anything Urban, I thought it would be rude not to invest in this little box of goodies. UD gift sets are always worth the money - I had one a few years ago that is probably still one of my favourite ever purchases because it included the Marshmallow Powder. I love to smell like a marshmallow, in case you didn't know.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Why November 22 still matters.

Image: Bettmann / Corbis / PBS 
Note: This is not a political piece and will not concentrate on the details of his presidency - there is time for that later on, this is the story of the haunting tragedy of the loss of a leader.

On November 11, Robert J. Samuelson of The Washington Post claimed that "The fascination with the Kennedys endures, though it’s probably on its last lap. After all, about three-quarters of Americans either weren't born when Kennedy was shot or were too young (under 5) to grasp what happened. It’s a distant and disconnected event to them." All historical events are somewhat distant to the current and future generations, how can we be wired to connect to something we didn't physically experience? In the case of JFK, it is the abhorrent destruction of the idealised and sugar coated American dream that makes the historic event relevant in today's generation, and it is kept alive by conspiracy theories and the insatiable need for answers and classified information that cannot be given.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Dear Mr President, I wrote you a tourist guide - you're welcome.

Original image source: Sayanythingblog
Next Autumn, Celtic Manor near Newport is hosting the 2014 Nato Summit, scheduled to take place between the 4-5th September. This means that the most influential world leaders will be brought to our fine Welsh land. The best part of this, is that it means Barack Obama will be joining them, marking the first official Presidential visit to Wales in history.

President Obama is a busy man, and will surely have little time to digest vast amounts of Welsh tourism guides. This is where I feel it is my duty to intervene, as anyone who has gone through my blog knows I take an active interest in the Obama presidency. So, it is down to my civil obligation that I have compiled a list of all things Cymraeg for the President to enjoy during his stay.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Bitchcraft - What American Horror Story: Coven tells us about power

Original image source: FX
Like the seasons before it, American Horror Story: Coven has some things to say about society. It's going to say it, and it is going to be brutalised. This season is set in New Orleans and revolves around an academy for young witches. This season tackles issues of slavery, persecution of women, sex and the subversive nature of female power. It can be easily said that so far in the story, the irrelevance of masculinity and male power have been a dominating force in the show's message.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Magic, Sparkle, and a Fluffy Scottie - It's an M&S Christmas Spectacular

Image: Marks and Spencer
As adoring as I am of the annual Coca Cola truck and Santa's twinkly eyes and friendly face on my television, the Marks and Spencer Christmas campaign is one of my favourite things of the entire year. In fact, the actual shop is one of my favourite things of the year once they've stocked up on all their Christmas goods - Yes, I do need a mini teapot with a tea cosy and yes Mother, you will buy it for me or there will be tiny tears.  Last year's Greatest Hits campaign left me bored and wanting more, after years of becoming accustomed to a more glittery and heartwarming offering. The problem was, I didn't care about the products as the stars. I wanted snow, glimmer, and exuberance-I wanted a show, dammit! It seems as though M&S have reverted back to their trusty old Christmas staple, Magic and Sparkle, a concept from the 2001 campaigns.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Something wicked this way comes: telling the story of Halloween

Image from my own Instagram
"The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where one ends, and where the other begins?" - Edgar Allan Poe

Come in my pretties, can I take your coat? Please, make yourselves at home. There now, there is no need to be afraid of All Hallows' Eve. Take off your mask, there is no need for that here. Are you sitting comfortably?

It began almost 2,000 years ago, when the Celts across Europe celebrated their New Year's Eve. Known as Samhain Eve, it was celebrated at the end of October before the colder months chilled the bones of our ancestors. They didn't own overpriced Barbour jackets or hot water bottles to keep them warm, you see. Samhain, means November in Irish and celebrated the end of a bountiful harvest season and the disappearance of the warm summer months. As the line waned between autumn and winter, it was legend that so did the veil between the living and the dead. On this particular night, spirits were thought to walk with the living, many on their way to the afterlife.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Urban Decay Black Market Review

Side note: Like previously stated, I do not brand myself as a beauty blogger. But I will share products that I believe are worth the money. All opinions are my own and I am in no way compensated for these posts.

Image my own
As anyone who's taken a look in my make up bag knows, I am absolutely addicted to Urban Decay eyeliners. They're always consistent and I know what I'm getting for my money. The colour glides on easily, with none of that scratching you sometimes get on the eyelid when you apply it. Not only is the application one of the smoothest on the market due to the creamy formula, the actual eyeliners last for months and you'll probably only need to buy one now and then. After you've applied it, you'll only need one or two touch ups on your bottom lash line throughout the day (and that's only if you're working). One of my favourite things about this brand, is that the selection of colours available is far superior to anything else out there, and they always launch a few limited edition shades in their gift sets. Urban Decay is also certified as being vegan friendly, meaning none of their products are tested on animals. This means you don't have to think about poor sad bunnies being tormented in laboratories.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Why do we care what Banksy thinks of the One World Trade Centre?

Image my own. 
Street artist Bansky submitted a controversial Op-Ed to The New York Times. It was rejected, due to the newspaper's inability to agree on the piece or the images used. The piece was then posted as a NYT mockup on Banksy's own website, among many things he stated that the new One World Trade Centre is evidence that "the terrorists won" and that New York has lost it's nerve.  New York Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy also told the New York Post that “What he has posted on his site is not exactly the same as what he submitted.”

"It would be easy to view One World Trade Centre as a betrayal of everyone who lost their lives on September 11th, because it so clearly proclaims the terrorists won."

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Review: E.L.F launches first European store in Cardiff's Royal Arcade, and it's so shiny.

Side note: I generally do not post beauty blogs, I don't brand myself as anything other than a blogger.  Unlike a mass of beauty bloggers, I don't get boxes of free stuff so if I review something you will get my honest opinion. However, I know enough about makeup from a lifetime of compulsive beauty hoarding, and I  know people are excited about the topic I'm about to review. I think everyone should know about shiny new discoveries, which leads me to this.

Cardiff is the brand new home of e.l.f Cosmetics (Eyes, Lips, Face, for those of you not in the know). The new store in Cardiff city centre is the first to arrive in Europe. While many are already acquainted with the brand and have praised it for both it's quality and it's pricing, it is new to many British shoppers.The brand recently sponsored Cardiff Fashion Week, and it's reputation locally is getting off to a glittering start.  I went along to the store opening this morning in the Royal Arcade, situated in the heart of Cardiff. The location of the store is one of it's most appealing features. It is well known around Cardiff that some fear that "The Arcades" are losing their appeal since the arrival of St Davids 2 shopping center. The Arcades host some of Cardiff's best known and loved treasure troves, and it's about to get glamourous. The arrival of e.l.f should draw many younger female shoppers into the arcade, and it is a great publicity tool for Morgan Quarter.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The art of getting your own way.

Image my own
We would all like to think that we always get what we want. Unfortunately, the existence of other people makes this a tricky conundrum. We probably all have different methods and a variety of schemes to be able to get our own way from any situation, but here are the ones I find to be the most effective.

In your relationship
There are two kinds of getting your own way in a relationship, the first is how to watch Gossip Girl everyday and make him watch it too. This one is glorious, all you have to do is kick up enough of a fuss and he will give in. Basically, you need to act like you are 6 years old. Men will do anything for an easy and happy life. If they think they are disrupting their own happiness, they will give in. It's a lot easier for him to agree and say "Yes, I do love Chuck Bass' purple bow tie." than to insist we watch something I don't care about.

You only think you believe in freedom of speech.

Image source:
Disclaimer: Views are my own, this particular article is an expression of thought and not a reflection of my own life or circumstances. Any links made to my own life by others are purely speculative.

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” 
― George Orwell

You would like to think you believe in freedom of speech. Do you, though? When it comes down to lessons in expression of thought and freedom to speak out, would you be willing to silence others?

You can't be afraid of thought or ideologies that are oppositional to your own. Discrimination, sexism and racism are all limitations of free speech and rightly so. You can hold whatever opinion you like in your own domain, but you cannot take those views from the private sphere and into the public sphere. You might not like someone's race, religion or belief, but then again I don't like your eyebrows and I won't throw that into a public forum for careless scrutiny. So, do you believe in freedom of speech? If someone offends you, your family or your friends, do you really want to take it on the chin when you're bombarded with things you don't want to hear? Everything within reason, and everything within logic. You also need to consider what it is you disagree with before you speak, is it the person themselves, or the way they conduct their business.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

To Teach Greatness: College Edition

Image my own.
We all have our motivators. We all remember the people who made us into who we are, who taught us how to work. For me, my motivation and inspiration goes back a few years. Seven years to be exact, to the day I started my A Levels. Some people come across their favourite teachers in school, or later on in university. I found mine somewhere in the middle.

Terry was my A Level Media Studies lecturer for two years, and also my English lecturer during the second year. He had an unrivaled ability to make you respect, fear and love him all at once. He was inspirational because he wasn't aware of it. He wasn't pompous or over invested in his own skills. He was honest, respectful and possessed that dry humour that couldn't be found in any other classroom. Hands up if you remember the M&S advert with "not just ripe, juicy plums, M&S juicy plums". No one ever wanted to disappoint him. He brought greatness out of us.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Rules of a Blogger and things I learned this week - Sit quietly, agree politely.

Image my own.
Disclaimer: All views are my own and names/details are withheld for protection. Any links to my own life made by others are purely speculative.

Write things people agree with, is this what we should be doing? Writers have always wanted to write what they thought as truth, provoking reaction and debate among their audience. They also write what they know, sometimes in good jest and sometimes not. When it comes to bloggers, they can write about their own lives, their opinions, and even their dinner although I have never seen the temptation to do so as I live a life dominated by cheese sandwiches. It is a blog, not a newspaper so it must be understood that we have different rules.

We adapt to our medium, and we write what we think is best for it. The best way to be noticed, is to write something people may not agree with. But what happens when you have to take back what you said? The integrity of the written word becomes compromised. You can't retract something if it wasn't false information, so why should you do it because someone took it too far? If we write something then have to remove it, we also risk looking like a coward. Dang nabbit.

Most writers, reporters and journalists must adhere to a strict code of conduct, and there are lines that cannot be crossed for very obvious reasons. It includes such delightful consequences such as legal action and unemployment if we discuss too much. I don't know about you but I can't afford the legal fees as I'm not a natural blonde and I really need my roots done.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Letters to Americans - Vladimir Putin's letter to United States published in The New York Times

Original image property of
On the evening of September the 11th, The New York Times published a piece written by Vladimir Putin on it's Op-Ed page. The piece, entitled "A Plea for Caution From Russia" set out to settle a few things that we may have been wondering during the course of the Syria crisis. The Op-Ed has gathered praise from many Americans, claiming that Putin makes more sense and conducts more of an intellectual and cohesive argument than President Barack Obama. It has also been called a gesture of sincerity towards the American nation.

However, it can be seen as a tactical move in Putin's political operation. It is intelligent, smooth and targeting the American people directly. It's also in The New York Times, so an implied notion of credibility is attached to it's publication. By liaising with the American media, especially one such as the Times, Putin looks as if he is taking steps forward in becoming more of a friend to the nation. The whole piece seems rational, calm and a collected chain of well informed thoughts.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Days before 9/11 anniversary, 'War weary' Obama faces hostile choices.

Original image property of The Washington Post Online
In the days before the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the United States is once again faced with grim conflict and images of war. Barack Obama is determined to hold Syria and the Assad regime accountable for an attack on August 21st which killed 1,429 of it's own people, of which over 400 were children.

There is evidence which suggests that these civilians were victims to a chemical weapon known as Sarin gas. The gas causes a grisly death for it's victims. The effect of Sarin is the paralysis of general lung function, the victims will experience suffocation, vomiting, and convulsions in the 15 minutes it will take them to die. This alone is a terror tactic to intimidate rebellion and terrify civilians into submissive assent.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

XOXO: Hey, Dan Humphrey, give me my personality back.

Original image property of The CW.
For a large part of my life I grew up with the characters of Gossip Girl. I was the target demographic of the show, and week upon week it enthralled me with it's silly gossip, cruel scheming and sequin cardigans. I don't know the meaning of guilty pleasures - anything I love, I love with little shame. Between the ages of 17 and 22, I was devoted to Chuck Bass and his scarf. Lies, I am still very much devoted. Anyone who watched the show liked to think they were a Blair, a Serena, or a Little J, in the same way people associated their personalities with Friends characters.

I could be Blair, I've lashed enough people with scolding remarks to be. I also like a headband. I could be Serena Van Der Woodsen, I've made enough stupid mistakes to be. I also like her hair. But no way could I ever be Dan Humphrey. So judgmental, so narrow minded, and such a wannabe. I could never be Dan Humphrey. Except, it seems that I am. Drat. 

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Give us a smile, love: lessons in how to annoy your bartender.

Image from my own Instagram
There is this generalised idea that bar staff are territorial, aggressive, and uninterested members of the hospitality industry. This is an accurate representation of your average bar worker, if you get us at the wrong time. The truth is, 11pm on a Saturday night with our arms loaded with stacks of glasses is not the ideal time to strike up a conversation about how our night is going. Also, if you act like an idiot at the bar, chances are you will be treated like one. You also need to be aware that if you're over the age of 20 and buy WKD Blue then we will mock you endlessly. Good to see you're hitting the hard stuff, amigo!

We work in an environment where the phrase "the customer is always right" is rarely reality. But we will give you the benefit of the doubt and pretend you are in the right even if it makes us look stupid. Most of us have degrees so we are actually intelligent creatures, unlike your cretin buddies you've brought along with you. You also have no idea why we're not smiling. There are two responses; this is our working face, and most probably our natural expression now that people like you have ruined our weekends for us. The truth is, we would love to be nice to you, except you make it rather difficult. Our patience is thin so we ask that you tread carefully.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Pick me, but I won't work for free: The expectation of free content.

Image from my own Instagram
Why should you do something for free if you're good at it? But why shouldn't you if its all you want to do? Because you have bills to pay and a TV license fee you're currently pretending is non existent. There's also this thing called starvation you might want to avoid.

It is a common misconception and assumption that graduates are prepared to (and should do) anything for free, as long as it helps them in the long run. We buy into this with a peppy, pro active and somewhat whimsical attitude. It will look good to employers, we say. A year following my graduation, I can tell you that you should never do anything for free. During your studies, yes. But after you have your degree? No, you've done the hard work. Do it for yourself and blog or contribute because you want to, but don't let someone else gain from what you have done for nothing. Unless it's The New York Times, there's always an exception.

Oh hey, Roomie : Cohabitation Complaints 101

Image from my own Instagram.
Well it's happened, I am finally a grown up who has someone to unblock the drains and hang up my diploma on the wall. Three weeks ago I moved in with Rhys, and now my father can breathe that I have someone other than him to take care of me and do all the annoying jobs. Except it seems that I ended up hanging everything on the walls myself (including my diploma). All is not lost, however, as he does know how to work the washing machine and more importantly how to put things in it. So I had to hang up my photo frames, at least I didn't hammer my thumb and that is definite progress. This is adulthood in it's pure glorified form. Hallelujah.

So as joyous of an occasion as moving in is, it is also one where you don't have to pretend you don't annoy each other anymore. This brings me to this post, I love to complain and why would I stop doing such a delightful thing? Here are my favourite ways to annoy your boyfriend or girlfriend after moving in.

How to Annoy Each Other In a Shared Living Space

1. Play trailers for upcoming seasons of your favourite TV shows on full volume just as he's fallen asleep.
I've never had this done to me, but I assume it's annoying.

2. Leave clothes as a paper trail in case he gets lost in the morning.
I don't know why men do this, but they leave clothes around as if they can't find their way back to them. Seriously, what makes sense about leaving clothes on a kitchen chair? The chair can't wear them. Kitchens are for eating, not dressing.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Class of 2012: One Year On, Two Credit Cards Later

Time flies when you're having fun. And when you're sinking into debt. C'est la vie, friends. We are not in it alone. That day was almost a year ago, when we looked ahead with ferocity and a slight naivety towards the job market.

Unfortunately for me, I am one of those made for movies sorts - I have not exactly achieved my goals since that beautiful rainy day where I tipped my cap to the alumni. I am the character that has the over dramatic scenarios bull dose their way towards my general direction. I have lost friends, moved out, found work - but strictly in hospitality. For a while it seemed like even that was a challenge. Thanks for that 6p tip, buddy.

15.06.2013 - Goodbye, to my best friend.

This is one of those posts I have refused to face. I know I have to do it, as I did for Alfie. Back in February, we lost our favourite old bear - our old boxer dog, Alfie. Last month, we lost Jack.

Its one of those emotional car wrecks that few can understand. Grief affects everyone, in different ways. They told me to write about it, it's a cathartic process. They said it will help. They say there are five distinct stages of grief, acceptance is the worst. It means making room in your life for the change, and for the loss. It means knowing you'll never get to share Marmite on toast with him again.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Dwi'n Cytuno - Agreeing to Wales' latest internet development

Image my own

I could tell you the start of a web address, and you will finish my sentence with ".com".  I attended the Social Media Summer event at Golley Slater Cardiff this week, where we were informed about the latest developments for the .wales domain name.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Magnifying Glass: Video Surveillance in the Workplace

Original image by twicepix at Flickr. Licensed
under Creative Commons.
As an audience built of Millenials, structured reality television is our guilty pleasure. As a nation, we consume more reality tv than ever. You're part of one even if you weren't aware of it. It isn't structured, there is no Chanel lipgloss, and we don't reap the financial benefits of photo shoots or club appearances. You're very much under the magnifying glass, be cautious not to be crushed underneath it. Welcome to reality television.

A recent Skills and Employment Survey concluded that job insecurity is now at a 20 year high. The results established that 52% of workers are concerned about job status, and almost a third of those questioned raised concerns of unfair treatment in the workplace. Anxiety among the workplace isn't a deviation and many struggle with daily worries when it comes to their employment. With less control and more surveillance, it could be suggested that this work orientated anxiety can result in a descent in productivity.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

The Great Gatsby - a tale impossible for cinema?

Original image property of Warner Bros Pictures.
Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby has been one of the year's most anticipated releases. It has been placed on a pedestal  with many hoping it will diminish the failures of the adaptations before it. The last time Hollywood tackled the novel was for the 1974 version starring Robert Redford. With a screenplay written by Francis Ford Copolla and a male lead who seemed perfect for the role, the film failed to capture the hedonistic time of the Roaring 20's, and felt somewhat hollow instead. There was also an 1926 silent adaptation that is still lost to this day.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

22 lessons from being 22.

Being 22 is the new thing. Taylor Swift sings about it. People treat it like it's the new 21. For me, it was my biggest year of growth, and the year when life hurled every possible damaging and heart wrenching challenge in my general direction. But it was also a year where I had the most fun, the year I moved on, and the year I grew up more than I thought was possible.

Things My Daddy Taught Me.

When I went to university, I got on with my parents far better than I ever did when I lived at home. When I moved back home after graduating, I reverted back to a stroppy teenage mentality. When I left home again, I regressed into a dreamy and helpless childlike state, and realised how much I took for granted. People are easily misunderstood. During my teenage years there wasn't a moment where I actually understood my father. As I got older, it became easier. We can agree on what to watch on Sky now, which obviously is the most important thing in life. While we're on that subject, the fact my dad voluntarily watches MTV's The Valleys, and enjoys it, means he earns his share of dad points.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Disaster Marathons: The Boston Explosions

For anyone who turned on the television last night, it was something we might have wished we hadn't done. Aerial images of the aftermath of the Boston Marathon explosions saturated the news, and the amount of blood stained ground and juxtaposition of events was enough to make you want to turn the television straight back off.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Veronica Mars is smarter than you: Kickstarting fan funded projects.

Original image property of The WB
The neo-noir teen drama Veronica Mars (2004-2007) was a critical success during it's time on the air, but commercially it was a ticking time bomb. By the time that The WB network merged with UPN to become The CW in 2006, Veronica was sinking, and was cancelled after it's third season aired on the new network.

Since then, fans have been desperate for another exhilarating dose of Rob Thomas's snarky wonderland, where beautiful teenagers cushioned by affluent wealth get brutally murdered (we still love you, Lilly Kane), school buses plunge off a cliff, and Kristen Bell deals out a heavy hand of poetic justice to anyone from petty criminals and school bullies, to rapists and murderers. Let's not forget the core relationships that gave this show it's soft marshmallow heart; Veronica and her underdog detective father Keith Mars, Veronica and Wallace, Veronica and Logan's "epic" love, and my obvious choice, Veronica and her dog, Backup.

Six years following it's premature cancellation, Rob Thomas and the cast of Veronica Mars launched a Kickstarter project to fund a movie, stating that The WB agreed that if the movie could be financed, that it would be put into production this summer. The campaign aimed to raise $2 million in a month and surpassed it's goal within 12 hours, it is by far Kickstarter's most lucrative and popular campaign. Rejoice, Marshmallows- Veronica is coming to get you.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

War Games: because we all have frenemies.

Even if you think you don't have one, you do.

Women are in a clever form of masquerade. We're different things to different people, and we show the different dimensions of ourselves in different company. We expect to be ourselves with our friends, but it can get to a point where we may act like friends, but we feel more like spies (I for one would be an excellent spy). It seems as though we are hunting for damaging information in order to protect ourselves. We can put on our best front, even in front of those we would consider our closest allies.

Friday, 15 March 2013

5 things to teach your boyfriend.

Based on my own expectations in men and my own experience, these are the things I believe you should be able to teach your boyfriend without annoying them too much, or without having to bribe them with a sandwich.

1. You can like my taste in TV shows, too you know?
So far I've managed to get Rhys to watch 2 Broke Girls, Glee, and  two seasons of Grey's Anatomy. To my delight, he actually enjoyed it and the only thing I couldn't sway him on was Geordie Shore. But hey, 3 out of 4 isn't bad.

2. The release of the bitter, angry, chocolate munching beast inside me once a month works in your favour too.
If you let me complain for a few days, and instead of complaining back at me complain with me, then I'll be more grateful for you when I revert back to my charming self. You'll earn massive brownie points too if you bring me a bag of Milky Bar mini eggs or a bag of sweet and salted popcorn. I'll also return the favour and be somewhat patient when you suffer from Man Flu.

Fight or Flight: Coping with Anxiety Disorders

I live a normal life. I have a degree, I drive my dad's car because I can't afford my own, I work hard, and I eat too many Mini Eggs. There's just this one thing, this excessive panic that runs through my head. Certain things have become part of my routine, and I barely even notice them any more. If I'm alone I have to check the handbrake is pulled up all the way 3 times. That means walking back to my car 3 times. When I'm driving home at night I have to check the back seat (in case there's a psychotic ex boyfriend in there waiting to murder me, obviously), and then I live in fear of police cars- not because they could tell me a light is out, but because they could revoke my driver's license or arrest me. I can get into a car and feel the dreaded uncertainty that I won't complete my journey in one piece.When I have a headache, it's a brain tumour - and I will have to have my head shaved and I will probably, no definitely, die. I'm always getting ready for battle.

The stigma associated with any type of anxiety disorder is people assume that the sufferer is either completely unstable and capable of smothering them in their sleep, or they presume that they can just get their act together. There's nothing more a person who suffers from anxiety or panic attacks wants more than to not worry, worrying makes them exhausted. We all like being happy. We can only change our own perspective  and we can only try to regain control over how we perceive potential threats. That's why the fight or flight response is part of our make-up, it helps us control dangerous situations, but the double edged sword is it also becomes unbearable when every situation becomes a potential risk. The extra adrenaline that finds its way through our system draws the blood from our skin and towards the muscles, which is also an unpleasant side effect - who wants to look that pale anyway?

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Face of Resilience: The Kid President

Original image by Kristi Montague
"We're all on the same team, let's start acting like it." - The Kid President

I had a completely different post lined up, but during my internet prowl today I decided to watch every single Kid President video on YouTube. If you haven't seen any of these videos yet, then get right on it - seriously, this boy is all kinds of hilarious.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Life Tips from a 2 Year Old for 22 Year Olds.

For those who don't know this about me, I live with my friend Emily and her daughter Layla. To be brutally honest this would terrify most people, but Layla should be everybody's hero - that's not even a little bit biased as she really is that hilarious. She knows what matters in life - You know, things like Disney DVD's and chocolate milk. Layla is two, and now she can speak in almost full sentences. Of course, sometimes this in code so grown ups don't understand. I know this because sometimes I'm mentally two years old (like when I cry because I drop my favourite lipstick and it snaps in half). As I am not a successful grown up yet, she trusted me to share her life advice for all you struggling twenty somethings out there.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Frankly a little sexist: Taylor Swift vs. Tina Fey

Taylor Swift is one of those young women who people are so adamantly trying to find flaws in, people love to hate her. When Taylor Swift quoted one of Katie Couric's favourite quotes in response to the Tina Fey and Amy Poehler joke at this year's Golden Globes she opened herself up to an onslaught of hostility. She discussed the issue in Vanity Fair by saying:

"For a female to write about her feelings, and then be portrayed as some clingy, insane, desperate girlfriend in need of making you marry her and have kids with her, I think that's taking something that potentially should be celebrated-a woman writing about her feelings in a confessional way-that's taking it and turning it and twisting it into something that is frankly a little sexist."
She then continued by repeating a quote that Katie Couric had given her, which was, "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women."

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Dear Alfie - Remembering a Silly Old Bear

It's taken me a few weeks to write this post, but I kept thinking so many people are losing their dogs, or their cats, horses, or ferrets (I don't know, do people even have ferrets anymore?) that I felt a need to publish it.

It's something people say, it's always sudden. Whether it's a long term illness or a sudden deterioration, or just the old age of a canine gentleman, the grief is always sudden. It doesn't matter how it happened, or when it happened. Only that it did. Few people can understand the loss one feels when a dog dies. I won't call him a pet, because he didn't sit in a cage waiting to be fed and he didn't swim around in a bowl, he was the energy in our home. To call a dog a 'pet' doesn't give the animal justice, they're an integral force in the family household. Alfie was naughty, leggy, and too scared to jump off the bed. But he was ours. That dog was there from when I was 13, that's nine and a half years. He was there for the little girl I was and loved me through the growing pains, he was there for a family.

Friday, 1 March 2013

The Cat's Meow: Taking notes from the 1920's.

Image by twelve17,
While everybody has a decade in history which fascinates them, for me it is the Jazz Age, or the Roaring Twenties. Especially as in my twenties, I can observe those around me trapped in a cycle of self indulgence. We see teenagers wishing to be adults and young adults on the brink of responsibility but acting carelessly with the conscience of pirates. We live in a society where rich habits provide the downtrodden with a feeling of status and belonging, and give the wealthy other indulgences to drown in. Unfortunately, our own experiences with witnessing these addictions and bad habits don't have the glamour or charm of the flappers or tycoons of the Jazz Age.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Relationship Obstacle #2: Working Together - Bar Staff Edition

Image by Josh Kenzer,
"If Barack Obama can do it, why can't I?" - Rhys Cronin (Bar Staff, Boyfriend)

Couples in the workplace are a common occurrence, and the issues that are tied to the situation are even more common. It is less of a problem if you aren't put to work the same times, the normality of relationship routine continues with 'How was your day?' However, relationship boundaries are tested when working the same hours, depending on the industry you've both chosen (or are just stuck in).

Relationship Obstacle #1: You

Image by,
Yes, you. You're your own worst enemy. Hands up if you know this is true. Now that's out of the way, we can all have coordinating t-shirts. Mine will say 'Slightly neurotic but mostly okay'. I personally think it's charming.

It's true when people say you have to be comfortable alone before you can be comfortable with someone else. But even the comfiest people fight the most raging of insecurities, nobody wants to lose something that took so long to find.

The thing with life is, everybody has a story to tell. Every single person has known emotional suffering, and you're not excused from your behaviour because of it. We can blame the people who have marked us with doubt, or we can thank them for the lesson and avoid ever speaking to them, ever again. Personally, I choose a solid method and pretend that person doesn't exist until the grief is over.. That's a lie, I still pretend they don't exist, but I do acknowledge the pivotal bitter sweet lessons they taught me and the lessons I taught myself (which include how to do tequila shots without a reaction, just so you know).

What Girls Do When They Get a Flat Tyre.

Image by Ktoine,
Disclaimer: I'm not saying all girls do this. Some of you could probably change tyres, fit exhausts, and other things I don't know how to do. But this is what happens to me.

1. Is it my car making that sound? Surely not.
2. Maybe that is my car.
3. What's with the sudden bumps? Stupid potholes, why do I even pay the friggin' road tax?
4. Oh shit, the tyres. Maybe I can make it home. Maybe not.
5. Hmm. This is interesting. There appears to be a puncture of some sort.
6. Where would one find the spare tyre?
8. Oh. There it is. What an ingenious invention.
9. Now how to put it on.
10. Daddy please?

This happened last time I got a flat in the Summer, and probably what will happen in the future. Next time I'll pay attention when someone changes my tyre. Also when someone changes the bulb in my headlight, funnily enough the local police aren't very fond of drivers who have a light out at night. My bad, Officer. I'll give you a cookie if you let me go without scolding me with your law abiding ways? Wait, bribery is an offence. Never mind then, consider me scolded.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Like Wildfire: Why do we gossip so much?

Image courtesy of Rachel's Secret,
I will admit now, I love gossip. Now it's your turn, admit you love it. Now address why you do it.

We've grown up in a generation where gossip has become more important than ever. It keeps web traffic alive on TMZ, it put bloggers like Perez Hilton on our radar, and it started shows like Gossip Girl, casting a spotlight on our obsessions with each other's lives. More importantly, our obsessions with seeing people we love and equally the people we hate, fall off the pedestal we've built for them.

We love to talk, and it's not just women, either. Men are just as guilty as women in indulging in the art of secret sharing. We share information that is not ours to divulge, but we enjoy being the one to know all the gossip. In the course of gossip sharing it all becomes like a game of Chinese Whispers, and so it becomes impossible to find the perpetrator of big mouth syndrome. It is in fact, the perfect crime. We like to believe that information is power, and when we know the sordid details of a mistake that nobody else does, there's a sense of superiority.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Places I Like to Hide: Coffee Barker

I've battled with myself over whether to blog about my favourite local places, but after quietly stewing on it for a few days I decided to do it- for the benefit of all you lovely people, obviously. I'll be sharing my Cardiff secret hideaways with you as and when I find them.

After years of over exposure to Starbucks and Costa, and as loyal as I am to Starbucks and their red cups during the biting months of winter- the obvious draw back is that chain coffee shops lack the charm of locally established brews, along with the hefty price tag of what is actually an average tasting coffee.

Coffee Barker lies in the Castle Arcade of the City Centre, and I was brought to this coffee shop about a year ago with a friend. When I started working in the city in October there were few places I could go for a moment of reflection without the hustle of the city's sometimes boisterous inhabitants, and I returned here for coffee. It is rarely empty, so choose your timing wisely.