Friday, 31 August 2012

own your words

There literally is not a day that goes by without something on my Facebook news feed angering me, and I bet a lot of you feel the same way. The internet is now arguably the biggest form of communication for people my age, which also means that it is the biggest platform for expressing opinions. I don't have an issue with that when opinions are expressed respectfully, but here's why I had an issue tonight...

A 'friend' (by which I mean somebody who I am 'friends' with only in order to be polite) liked a photo that was a screenshot of a conversation between two people. One of them had posted it in order to humiliate the other, an objective that she mainly achieved. Over 400 people also liked this photo and joined in with the denigration of a school girl. Granted, the school girl had made a comment on something else that the poster had taken offensively, but that isn't the point. If somebody offends or upsets you, you have two choices: you can act like a grown-up, or you can act like a small child. Too many people opt for the latter choice, it seems. But we'll come back to that.

According to Beatbullying, in 2006 69% of children in the UK reported being bullied, 87% of parents reported that their child had been bullied in the past 12 months, 20% reported bullying others, and 85% had witnessed bullying (with 82% trying to intervene). Just imagine how much those figures could have risen between then and now. Twitter, Tumblr and other sites (e.g. Formspring) have become much more popular, bringing with them a whole host of new problems. Furthermore, according to the Telegraph in November last year, a third of teenagers have now been affected by cyber-bullying.

It's a third too many.

I think it's fair to say that most of the people joining in with the bullying of this girl via a Facebook photo did not comment with the intention of being labelled as bullies. I genuinely don't think that the majority of bullying occurs because people want to earn that label. Call me naïve, but I can't help but lean towards the "these statistics wouldn't be so high if social networking sites took responsibility for keeping their users safe" side of the fence. In fact, I'm almost entirely sitting on that side of the fence.

Last year (I believe), Facebook announced changes to their reporting system in order to make it easier to report things like cyber-bullying, offensive groups etc. Has it done much? No, I don't believe so. Even a 10-section guide on 'how to stop bullying on Facebook' (link: here) ends by saying "it is unfortunate that Facebook does not take their own abuse policy seriously". This is the grim truth that Facebook users have to face if they find themselves in the awful position of being bullied.

The thing is, while Facebook should absolutely give more of a damn about its users, its users should also realise that everything they type and publish on that site, whether by comment, status update or private message, belongs to them. They own those words, however unpleasant they may be.

Would you want to own a an expensive, broken phone full of important work contacts? No, you'd replace it or fix it. What about a broken fridge full of rotting food? No, you'd probably start by throwing away the food and then get it fixed. I doubt you'd also want to own hideous insults and disgusting comments about a complete stranger, the life, struggles and feelings of whom you are oblivious to. It's the same principle. Surely the people we are and our values and behaviour are worth the most of all, and certainly much more than the few seconds we may feel from putting others down.  

So, back to acting like a grown-up or a small child. In brief, grown-up = ignoring, reporting, blocking/deleting, telling an appropriate adult/teacher/the police (in extreme cases, of course) or messaging the person who has offended you to try and resolve the issue; small child = posting photos, status updates, comments, tweets, etc etc with the obvious intention of humiliating a person (who is clearly identified), deliberately continuing something that should have been resolved very quickly and simply, creating 'hate' groups, 'bantering' (by which I mean comments that are purely offensive, as opposed to sarcastic comments between people who know and actually like each other) about a person you don't know or only vaguely know through somebody else. My list could go on, but I'm sure you understand what I mean.

Wouldn't you rather own your own respectful, level-headed words than the words of someone filled with misplaced anger and hatred? I know I would.

What are your thoughts on cyber-bullying and Facebook? Do you think it should do more or do you believe the individual is always responsible? Let me know in the comments below (respectful comments only though, please - all opinions are always welcome as long as they're stated respectfully :)).

Thanks for taking the time to read,


Monday, 27 August 2012

what next?

Hi guys :) Apologies for the absence. My laptop died on me and I ended up taking it for repair. Almost two weeks ago (and that has passed ridiculously quickly, can time just slow down a bit please?) it was A-Level results day. I got A*/A/B/B (English Language, Psychology, Spanish, Extended Project) and got into my firm choice of university :)

Results day itself was actually really lovely. It was so nice to see everybody again and see all of my friends get into their firm choices too. It helped that my friend Sophie sent me a text saying "TRACK IS UP!!!!!!!!" prior to 8am (which is the time UCAS gave us) so I already knew I had my place before actually knowing my results.

So what am I doing now? Well, I'm frequenting the fresher groups for my university on Facebook and hunting down potential 'coursemates'. I met one on my Linguastars residential last year (hurrah for awkward scenarios in which two people are forced to 'bond' while creating a play in a foreign language) and I 'know' one from Twitter (also hurrah for people who will proudly proclaim their love for ESC).

I'm also hamster sitting for my cousin (who is in fair)...

Truthfully, that really is it at the moment. I'm just starting to make preparations for starting university (my first meeting is the day before my birthday, and the second is the day after...well avoided) and commuting every day (booo!)

If you received A2/AS/GCSE results this summer, I hope you all did well :)

SOTD is Camila's 'Mientes' because it's beautiful and also the source of my blog's title

Hasta luego!


Tuesday, 14 August 2012

liebster award

First things first, half of this post is in orange. I have no idea how or why, but it won't change. Apologies. I'm also using a rubbish keyboard, so the spelling errors are entirely due to sticky keys.

So, you know that ''I'll do it tomorrow'' statement in my last post...that went well, didn't it? Life got in the way, and now my laptop is currently being virus-scanned while I type this on the other computer in the house. Isn't modern technology great...?

Anyway, as promised, here is my Liebster Award post :)

I was tagged by two people, firstly by Gabriella from Love From Londres and then also by Jane from Jane's Jumbles. To quote Gabriella's post "the award recognizes new and upcoming bloggers with less than 200 followers (or friends) who deserve recognition and support for their contribution in the blogosphere." It was lovely of them both to tag me :)

There are a set of rules that we're told to follow, and they go as follows:
- List 11 facts about yourself
- Answer the 11 questions set for you and create 11 questions of your own for the people you tag
- Choose up to 11 bloggers and link them to your post
- Go to their blog and let them know that you nominated them
- No tag backs
- Only bloggers with less than 200 followers

Facts about me
1. My name means 'ewe' and is a Hebrew name. I can also write it using the Hebrew alphabet, which definitely compensates for the odd meaning (רחל).
2. I did a World Challenge in 2010.
3. My ultimate not-so-guilty-pleasure is Eurovision.
4. I can speak Spanish and am teaching myself Swedish.
5. I have a guinea pig called Peanut and a rabbit called Dusty.
6. I have met/interacted with all of my favourite comedians (see photos on sidebars).
7. I have just finished college/sixth form and hated it.
8. I was once rollerbladed over by a member of the girlband All Saints.
9. I once email-interviewed Jason Manford with a friend for our school newspaper.
10. I'm currently going through a real phase of only watching Pushing Daisies.
11. I'm a vegetarian.

Questions from Gabriella:
1. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? - I'd travel to all of the places on mine and my friends' year eight list of random places, but also Sweden and Croatia again.
2. Name something next to you? - Three of my dad's guitars and a Wii Fit board.
3. If you were an animal, which one would you be? - I'd like to be a guinea pig or a duck, no real explanation though.
4. Name your favourite make-up/beauty all time brand? - Drugstore is probably Rimmel, otherwise I quite like Urban Decay.
5. What TV show could you not live without? - Most comedy panel shows, and Not Going Out.
6. Vampires or werewolves? - Neither.
7. Can you speak any other languages? - Spanish. bits of French that I've remembered from school, some Swedish.
8. How many continents in the world have you visited? - Just Europe.
9. If you could change your name, what name would you rather have? - I used to really want a different name but now I actually love my name. I love that I can see the Hebrew-ness in it (i.e. the 'el' ending - Daniel and Harel are two other examples). If I had to pick, I'd use my middle name (Elizabeth)/
10. What is your favourite crisp/potato chip flavour? - Walkers Thai Sweet Chilli Sensations
11. Heels or flats? - Heels for occasions, flats if you're trekking about somewhere.

Questions from Jane:
1. What's your favourite film genre? - I don't really watch films much, but probably romantic comedy.
2. What's your favourite animal? - Rabbits or guinea pigs.
3. If you could be from any other country, what country would it be? - Australia, I just think I'd like it there.
4. What's your dream job? - I'm not realy sure. I think I'd quite like to be a teacher, but there's also a massvie part of me that wants to be a writer.
5. What do you and your friends enjoy doing the most together? - Moaning and going for coffee.
6. Do you play an instrument and if not, what instrument would you like to play? - I don't, but I'd like to be able to play the piano.
7. Do you have any siblings? - I have a younger brother called Daniel (hence his name as an example further up).
8. What's your favourite pizza topping? - Mushroom, but melted cheese actually makes me gag so pizza is always interesting for me.
9. Chocolate or sweets? - Either, but chocolate is more vegetarian-friendly.
10. Which season is your favourite - Without a doubt, summer. I'm really not a fan of winter.
11. How tall are you? - 5'5.

Questions I'm setting:
1. What made you decide to start a blog?
2. Name a song that means something to you (and state why if you like)
3. Are/were you a student? If so, what do/did you study?
4. If you had to set yourself one goal for life, what would it be?
5. Somebody has made you your ultimate 3-course meal, what would the courses be?
6. If you could choose any language to speak (in addition to the language[s] you already speak), which would you choose and why?
7. What is your biggest pet peeve?
8. What is something you're particularly proud of?
9. Which would you rather see live? Stand-up comedy, live music or a play?
10. How old will you be in 5 years?
11. If you had two children tomorrow, a boy and a girl, what would you name them?

Who I'm tagging:
Because a lot of the blogs I would have tagged have already done it, I'm just going to tag Beckie (Procrastination) and Jess (do you believe in hallucinations?), who I know, and invite anybody reading this to do the tag too :)

Thanks for reading


Thursday, 9 August 2012

i want the whole world to celebrate

Title, as always, is a lyric taken from SOTD which can be found at the bottom of the post :)

If you're like me and currently waiting for your A-Level (or AS) exam results (next Thursday), or you're waiting for your GCSE results (sometime after next Thursday, I'm guessing?), then you might be finding yourself becoming increasingly irritated at the headlines already.

Last night, I saw a tweet by ITV News saying "new university tuition fees may be deterring students, according to an Independent Commission on Fees study". Aside from stating the absolute obvious, it really irritated me. Every year there's a whole host of headlines that just scare students. This, coupled with the ridiculous series of recent headlines referring to this year's exams such as ''examiners told to fix grades'', is something I always get annoyed about.

I had a huge rant on Tumblr, but to sum it up here's what I think:
  • The press needs to shut up about exams both until results day and afterwards too. Yes, it's proven that exams are easier than they 'used to be', but that's because exam boards have let their standards slip and isn't something we need to be discussing on a day when the vast majority of 16/17/18 year olds in England are picking up results that, to them, define their future. Let's just leave them all to celebrate for at least a day before we bring out pieces on statistics and have people that are supposedly knowledgable going ''well, yes, the exams were easy''. My reply to that ridiculous statement is always "well, no, they're not - we still face the same pressures you adults faced, we still experience the same fear when we open our results and we still worked damn hard for our grades despite anything in our personal lives that might have stopped us achieving".
  • Us young people also need to shut up too. Whenever exams are going on, anybody who's already done their GCSEs whinges about people doing their GCSEs finding them difficult. The same goes for A2 students about AS students. Yes, fair enough, you're finding your higher level exams tough, but then you also found your GCSEs tough because at the time, it was the toughest situation you'd faced academically. And, contrary to the popular belief held amongst people my age, it's OK for people waiting for GCSE results to be nervous - I'm pretty sure we all were, werent' we? Have a bit of understanding, please. And if you already do, well done, your lack of whiney Facebook statuses about ''GCSE kids'' would definitely be welcome on my Facebook home page around the time of exams.
Anyway, the whole annoyance got me thinking about the fact that we're never really allowed to celebrate our achievements in public (if that makes no sense, hang on, it will in a minute). Even now, you could be hugely proud of something you achieved 5 years ago, but if you told people about it you'd probably be seen as bragging about it. I don't really understand why we have such a negative attitude towards achievement - if a friend or classmate fails their test/exam/whatever, I can almost guarantee that at some point, with one person, their sadness about it has irritated you. Similarly, if somebody does really well in something and talks about it a lot - because they're so happy - I bet a lot of you will have been irritated by that too. And I'm not saying that I'm not guilty of doing it too, because trust me I have. The fact that pretty much all of us do it kind of excuses it, but every now and then I think it's nice to just think about the good things people do.

If you're on Google+, you might know that in the profile section, you can fill out something on your ''bragging rights''. One of the things that I wrote in there is ''technically published author'', because I am. I have a short story that was printed in a book in something like 2008/2009. Quite a few people around my age had their stories published in this book, and 10 of us also had them published in the local paper. If I read it back now, it's terrible, but at the time the fact that it was chosen to both be published in the first place and then also chosen as part of the top 10 was just the most amazing thing to me. It's not the sort of thing you tell someone when you first meet them though, is it? And I bet that most people I met after leaving school won't know about it.

It makes me sad that there's a guarantee that on my results day, and then again on the GCSE results day, the headlines will be somehow negative. It's a day to celebrate - it's a day when you can say ''look, this is what I did even though this, this and this happened''...

...So, is there anything you're particularly proud of? Did you ever get exam results that you weren't expecting that made you happy? Is there something you accomplished that others didn't seem to care about? No matter how big or small the achievement, feel free to share it in the comments and we can all celebrate it with you :)

It's been a while since the last one, but today's SOTD is mainly just because it fits with the post :)

Good luck in advance if you're expecting exam results sometime soon, I hope you all get the grades you're hoping for.


P.S. I need to say a big thank you to Gabriella and Jane for nominating me for the Liebster award, I'll have my post up tomorrow :)

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

thoughts on... deborah lippmann 'happy birthday'

If you have magpie-like tendencies, I suggest you look away now, because in all honesty this may be the most amazing thing I have ever seen...

The polish itself is Deborah Lippmann's 'Happy Birthday', and maybe it's just me being a little strange, but I certainly felt like I had something to celebrate upon buying this.

I'm not going to lie, I spent at least half an hour just staring at this in the car after purchasing it in Plymouth last week. I spotted it online a long time ago now, and it's one of those things that you lust after but can never really see yourself owning.

The Deborah Lippmann website describes it as 'party in a bottle' and they could not be more right. There aren't really many colours missing from this mesmerising mix of glitter. It is perhaps slightly heavy on the green, but I've found that with most multi-coloured glitters like this (e.g. Nails Inc's Edinburgh Gate). Unless you like applying glitter to your bare nails, I would recommend applying a base colour. I went for a light nude colour to allow the glitter to be the centre of attention.

The photos really don't do this justice. In the above photo, I applied one coat of the polish and then just dotted glitter over the patches that had been missed with initial application. I was really pleased with how much glitter came out on the brush and it was obvious that the bulk of the polish was glitter, as opposed to cheaper polishes where there seems to be more clear polish than glitter.

I bought this from House of Fraser for £16 as a little holiday treat to myself. Would I usually purchase something so expensive? Probably not. I think it's a difficult one to judge because the DL glitter polishes, in my experience, are much better than most others that I've tried (with the exception of one particular beautiful Nails Inc one) but I would find it hard to part with the £14 that non-glitter polishes cost because it's much easier to find a cheaper dupe for regular colours. 

I think this is the sort of polish that you either receive as a birthday/Christmas gift, or buy yourself as a treat, as opposed to being a polish that the masses would go out and buy. Having said that, I would recommend this polish to anyone - I've been wearing it since Friday evening and it hasn't yet chipped and even without a top coat doesn't feel rough to the touch. While it is pricey, I think the quality is obvious and helps to justify the expense. Plus, isn't it just the prettiest thing ever?

Have you ever tried Deborah Lippmann polishes? Are you also a fan of pretty glitters?


Monday, 6 August 2012


Hi guys :) I got back from a week in Cornwall with my family on Saturday and thought I'd share a few photos while I get back into the swing of blogging and writing.

Eden Project, foreign alphabet, wearing a SCARF on our summer holiday, Chiquito Plymouth
Mevagissey, tunnel near Tamar Bridge, Domino the rabbit, Plymouth

Uneeka (Truro), Plymouth Olympic BBC Big Screen, Deborah Lippmann 'Happy Birthday' and 'Glitter in the Air'

I also took some video footage while we were there and combined it with some other photos in the video below.

Will be back soon with proper blogging once again :) Have any of you been on your holidays recently?