2014 - Rachel Ellen

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

"Skinny Shaming"
Anyone who's been anywhere near a TV/radio/the Internet recently, must be aware of Meghan Trainors song "All About That Bass". Whether negative or positive nearly everyone has an opinion on it. Whether it is a big step forward or backwards in society is all down to opinion. I believe this song is just floating around in the same area just for different reasons.

An article I read today inspired me to express my opinion s and argument about the ideas of "skinny shaming": Skinny Shaming, Not Reverse Discrimination . The article discusses the idea of "Reverse Discrimination" and how the author doesn't believe what bigger people and smaller people go though is the same. There are things in the article I both agree and disagree with and it is definitely worth a read.

Personally, I believe, I have never been large or particularly curvy (apart from as a baby but it hadn't really crossed my mind) and I have never had any kind of eating disorder. What I feel puts me in a good position to discuss this matter is that I was very skinny in high school, I've always  had a large appetite and had a fast metabolism to match.

In the following list I am in no way saying larger people don't suffer the same, if not worse, but these are ideas on the opposite.

I will begin with ideas on my appearance:

1. In my first year of high school I was faced with the following exchange with a girl I barely knew:
"Are you anorexic?"
"No!" (Me, at 11 completely baffled by the concept of this)
"Oh so you're bulimic?"
I feel I don't have to explain the many things wrong with this. But this, and many questions like this, did spark the idea of "what if I was and I just didn't know" how ridiculous?

2. "Wow I'm so jealous that you're so skinny" paired with comments like above, makes sense? Not at all.

3. Although All About That Bass wasn't out at the time of me being at school, the media and celebs have portrayed this for a long time "I'm bringing booty back, go tell all them skinny bitches that" as a teenager I had no bum, I mean I was leg to back all in one line. (Now that I developed a bug bum compared to my waist I complain about that-never happy) I couldn't help the size of my bum anymore than I could help the size of anything else!

4. "You must be able to wear anything you want" if you're very skinny, nothing fits you, skinny jeans, not a chance, tights that don't fall off if you have the right length, don't count on it. A top any lower than a turtle neck, not unless you wanna show all your chest and your belly button too if you lean down. 
And god forbid you tell anyone your clothes are too big, how selfish and inconsiderate are you.

Now ideas on my eating habits:

5. "You do know eating the fat on your meat doesn't actually make you fat" this and other similar sly digs. Yes, I am aware, I just don't like the slimy, chewy consistency or the taste so I will choose not to eat this, regardless of my weight. Even if it did make me fat, why do you instantly think this is about my weight.

6. "Why do you wanna eat healthy, you're already skinny" skinny does not directly correlate with healthy, as curvy does not directly correlate with unhealthy.

7. "Why aren't you eating, you must be anorexic. You have to eat." Yes I am aware of that, but I have just eaten a large meal an hour ago, so am therefore not hungry. Surprise...

8. *Eat some take away food*: "I'm so jealous you can eat what you want and not get fat" some people try so hard to maintain their weight and are faced with these kinds of comments if they eat badly just once. Such sense. Much logic. Wow

And other issues:

9. "Boys like a little more booty to hold at night" All About That Bass strikes again, firstly, why is the my appearance only rationalised by whether boys like it or not? But let's take this back to a teenage me, I will never have a boyfriend because I'm naturally skinny? Real confidence boost there,  I'm feeling extremely body positive now.... (sarcasm)

10. The problem of trying to match beauty standards. Little teenage me tried to eat more bad food to try and put on weight, or trying to cut out exercise to see if that would help. These were only short bursts of lapse in common sense, but we can see how some people could be completely took over by this idea.

At one time society placed a larger figure as ideal, Marilyn Monroe for example,  not large by any means, but entirely different to the ideals held in the last 10 years. The "size zero"  ideas caused an increase in eating disorders to fit this ideal. Now if this song really makes an impact (I truly hope it is in the direction of body positivity), this could idealise a fuller figure,  point 10 proves how dangerous this could be, people once again taking drastic measures to fill these ideas.

Society CAN and will change, we need to be careful how it changes, we are more aware now than ever of the impact of media/society/celebrity culture, so we need to use it to create true "body positivity"

"Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top"

I appreciate if you read all this, if you have any further discussion points either in agreement or disagreement I would be happy to hear them.

Rachel xx

Thursday, 30 October 2014

The curse of a baby face
This blog's been like a ghost town this month, well it is Halloween month after all (bad excuse for being lazy)

I am super excited for dressing up for Halloween and seeing everyone else's outfits, I'm not even interested in going out this year, I just want to be dressed up! Child

October has also brought quite a few birthdays, firstly my uni housemates 21st. I thought a kind and fun gesture would be to buy some party poppers, yes these little doo dads:

As I went to buy these plastic poppers, this is what followed:

Monday, 13 October 2014

The Old Town
A little bit delayed, but this will be the last of my series of holiday posts. As I mentioned in the overall post about my holiday, I have given more detailed posts about Hipparchos Observatory and now it is the time for The Old Town, which is located in Rhodes Town. 

The old town is packed with tiny, windy market streets, shops upon shops. Unfortunately I didn't manage to get any pictures of the shops, it was way too warm with that many people. We visited The Old Town twice in our weeks holiday. 

Each corner just brought something new and gorgeous to look at, we had missed some parts so we were definitely glad to go back.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Hipparchos Observatory

Following the recent holiday post I wanted to delve into more detail on the Observatory we visited whilst in Faliraki.

In my pre-holiday Tripadvisor searching I stumbled across this gem of a find. Hipparchos Observatory and Astronomy Cafe-Bar (yes it is a mouthful of a name!) I'm not one for simply baking in the sun on holiday and neither is my boyfriend so we had to find things to do and I thought this was just a little bit different!

As you can imagine, the observatory was on top of a rather large hill, dragging ourselves up that with a hangover resulted in more than a few complaints. However there was some gorgeous views of the bay.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

A Strawberry Daiquiri Please
Last week I returned from my holiday to the sunny Greek Island of Rhodes, slap bang into the cold miserable British Autumn. Here's a few of the better pictures of the lovely week of sun, sea, sand, food and drink.

 There will be a post in a few days all about the observatory in the above picture

 Yes we did have to put sunglasses on just to get a decent picture #notaphotogeniccouple 

 I will also do another post about the picture above and Rhodes Town.

Pictures speak louder than words so I'll leave this post as it is. Make sure you check out the next two holiday posts, Saturday will be the next one!


Rachel xx

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Following Emma Watson's UN speech, I've been thinking a lot about Feminism, about equality and what everyone stands for. I'll try not to waffle on for too long. I realise this isn't my usual type of blog post but I felt it was important and relevant.

The new campaign "HeForShe" is about men being involved in the fight for equality. Feminism has, over and over again been associated with negative connotations "man-hating" being one of them. I do believe Feminism is a confusing word, due to it sounding much more like the word female. The Google definition is:

The key part being "equality of the sexes" 

Emma Watson speaks about how men should be involved with feminism, and this is what this campaign is about. I won't go into too much detail, I feel it is important for you to watch and gain your own opinions.

After watching this myself I came across a video saying she failed in this attempt of a speech. I was quick to click as I wondered what criticism could be brought upon that speech. But he has some valid points, his analysis of "HeForShe" is particularly interesting. Again watch for yourself, there are moments I definitely don't agree, but it is always interesting to see the other side.

If you are a person who has a negative view of feminism and don't identify yourself as a feminist due to these bad connotations, I don't believe you are a bad person. I believe most people have very little understanding of the matter due to the media. This campaign, although possibly badly worded, is important. If only women are included in the fight for feminism then it is pointless. That is only half the worlds population.

What I feel is the main problem in the fight for equality is the "us and them" attitude. Tumblr is a prime example of a place of this attitude. One post has been bugging me for a long time is this:

Sunday, 31 August 2014

"Occasional death"
My life currently consists of organising things, working, packing and unpacking (and packing and unpacking a bit more - here's an age-old post about packing), spending money, and being fed up of food.

Fed up of food?! That's not like you Rachel, That's correct Rachel. (potentially lost the plot) I won't go into details but some very painful toothache has left me with antibiotics;

 "Take ONE three times a day [every 8 hours]" 

Further instructions tell me to take them just before eating. I don't know about anybody else, but i definitely don't eat every 8 hours and I don't think I'm awake long enough to cover this time span! This means I'm having to eat before bed, this is following a week not eating much at all due to the pain from the tooth. I never thought I would be unhappy to eat, until now. 

And let me tell you, trying to eat something before bed after going to an all you can eat as an evening meal is more of a challenge than I had cared to previously think about. 

As for the potential side effects;

Monday, 11 August 2014

Help me....
This evening I decided I wanted to be productive and sort some of the stuff in my room, so due to my over sensitive nose and mild asthma I decided to open a window to let some air, big mistake.

I'm sat reading a magazine and suddenly notice the light flickering, I then look up to see an enormous moth, not that it's wings were particularly big but it's body was huge, I have a very fuzzy picture as I was too scared to get very close to it. 

told you

After the initial trauma from the sheer size of it my proactive mind kicked in - what can I do about it?

Well then the moth went behind the curtain where there was an open window so you'd think - problem solved? Wrong!

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

This past few weeks we have had absolutely lovely weather (even in the North of England, would you believe) And it really makes me appreciate where I live.

There's enough bad news about the area in which I live to fill the country and there is a very negative attitude towards it. But if you take the time to explore you might find something special.

A picture will never do the justice this kind of view deserves. I forget sometimes just how privileged I am to have this at such a short distance. People travel for miles to get to scenery like this.

So as the weathers dipping and windy tops of hills are much less appealing, think of the quieter places without the problems, without the News just you and your thoughts.

Oh and we saw some puppies...

There was definitely non-human awwwing noises being made!

Thanks for reading

Rachel xx

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Summer Sun
Everybody always complains about an English summer, but as far as they go this year has been almost tropical - including the torrential downpours. Nothing makes you notice the sun more than being in a hot sticky office full of computers and people for 8 hours a day 5 days a week. If anyone has any ideas for cool, office wear I'd be happy to hear them!

Instead I'll post a selection of the outside time I've had this week, and a homemade (by mum) knickerbocker glory (how cute are the wafers!)

I think this picture is adorable of my niece feeding the ducks and its so unfair how brown she is.

I also got a new phone this weekend and the first pictures I took were of these swans - all I seem to do is take pictures of them! 

A boring post again, I know they're becoming all too common, work has been so time consuming and energy draining. 

I'm due to start my third year of uni in September (scary) and need to start my dissertation prep, Hopefully this little note book will have loads of useful information by September (well maybe a page or two)

And if not, the thought was there right?

Thanks for reading

Rachel xx

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Reasons I Hate the Hairdressers
I usually try and be quite positive on my blog, nobody needs a moany person in their lives but this post felt like a necessity.

I've never been one for getting my haircut every 6 weeks, so my (usually) yearly haircut tends to bring more dread every year. These are just a few of the reasons why I dislike the hairdressers.

Before I begin can I clarify that I haven't actually had any traumatic experiences at a hairdressers, and they have never been anything less than lovely.

1. The Phonecall - The first problem, actually ringing up and booking the appointment - I am still at the age where I feel like my mum should do these things for me, but at 20 unfortunately that isn't the case anymore (even though I got my boyfriend to book my last hairdressers appointment but let's pretend I didn't)

2. The Decision - Deciding what to get done, do I get a completely different style, colour (let's not be silly I can't afford that!), just a trim, get rid of it all, fringe, no fringe... all these possibilities all up to me. And let me tell you, taking a picture of a celebrity to the hairdresser doesn't make you look like said celebrity (many years of teenage disappointment that I am still not Hayley Williams)

3. The Grand Entrance - the look on the hairdressers face when they get a good look at your hair after you haven't been for a year

found on google images
4. Fighting Back The Tears -  The fact that I'm a massive wimp, I'm really head sore and always have been so I can't think of much worse than someone ragging a comb through my uncut hair full of knots and split ends ouch!

5. The Hairdresser Talk -  and the worry that comes before it. Knowing this chat is coming for some reason makes me forget anything even remotely interesting about myself/what I've done/what I'm going  to be doing. And really, I don't want a stranger to know the details of my life, and I don't want to know the details of theirs. I am very impressed they can keep conversations going with strangers all day though.

6. The Regret - once they've already made the first cut. what've I done?

7. The Finishing touches - When you can tell it's definitely not what you wanted. Did you describe it wrong? Did they not understand? Were you picturing something different (reference to point 2, Hayley Williams is not looking back at you)

8. The Mirror Behind the Head - so does that look ok?
      8.1. I can hardly say "no, put that hair around my feet back on my head"
      8.2. If you suffer with bad eyesight, like me, there's not a chance you can see yourself                in the first mirror, never mind a mirror behind you, just smile and agree.
     8.3. How hopeful the hairdresser's face is that they've done a good job

9. The Payment - what do you mean that much for a trim?! I could have done that myself! but begrudgingly handing over your well earned money.

10. The Aftermath - Not getting compliments on your newly trimmed hair - because you were too much of a wimp to get anything new and your hair actually doesn't look any different.

Maybe it's only me that gets so traumatised by hairdressers appointments but I like to think other people struggle with this as well

Thanks for reading

Rachel xx

Saturday, 12 July 2014

A Walk in the Park...
This weekend in England seems to be showing the peak of our summer, whilst still covered in cloud the sticky humidity is warming the air up to a warm temperature of 23°C. This seemed the best opportunity this year to get my shorts on, flash the milky white legs and go somewhere I've not been before. 

Me and my boyfriend - Andrew - went to Crookes Valley Park and Weston Park in Sheffield city centre. There is another park called The Ponderosa (we only had two hours of parking, so two parks was enough for one day). The parks are little pockets of calm and peace within the hustle and bustle of the jam packed city centre. 

 Crookes Valley Park

This park consists of a large fishing pond/lake/whatever you'd like to call it. The water was so clear around the edges that you could see different kinds of fish swimming around, Carp and Roach (see I've been listening), not easy to get those kinds of pictures on an iPhone camera.

There were a few fisherman sat around the lake and there were ducks and birds, including some very tiny ducklings - cue gawky awwing noises coming from me

Weston Park

Weston Park consisted of a lot of grassland, various statues/monuments, a band stand a museum and a much smaller duck pond, with pigeons ducks and geese galore! I have mentioned before that my boyfriend is a fishermen, so we were in that much of a rush to get to the duck pond to see if there were fish that I didn't get chance to photograph everything!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Wishing For September
This time of year consists of a lot of rain in England, a full time job for me and listening to all the holidays everybody has planned. 

Luckily for me I have a holiday booked this year to Rhodes, but I have to wait until September, which feels like a lifetime away! The obvious benefit of a September holiday is the price, due to me and my boyfriend being university students we have most of September free. The problem of this holiday is how long we have to wait! Listening to everybody else go on about their holidays, how soon they're going, how great they were, how brown they now are!

Let me tell you though, all you making me feel jealous. When life's setting back in for you in September, your tans all but faded, your summer holiday is just a distant memory, that's when I come in. Or fly out actually! It'll be so worth it and I'll be back to uni with a glowing tan... well glowing yes but more likely red than brown!

Enjoy your holidays and enjoy your bragging - just remember I'll have the last laugh!

Thanks for reading

Rachel xx

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Let's Go Back To Prom
Since there's proms going on everywhere right now, an appropriate post is a prom throwback! It doesn't feel very long ago but it was four years, four years since I left school! I won't bore you again with my age crisis and instead throw lots of old pictures at you. 

(note: me and most of my friends are in very similar colours and, unfortunately, it wasn't actually planned. We're clearly just too similar!)

And this is a post from the time before the word selfie existed, so not a selfie in sight. And no drawn on eyebrows, it was a different time.

After hours and hours and days of searching for a prom dress everywhere, and I mean everywhere, I finally came across this little gem in Jane Norman all places, not the usual prom dress shop. My mum was over the moon with the price (I won't give away all my secrets). The waist band wasn't even slightly stretchy and was a bit of a nightmare to get into - I definitely couldn't get in now - but overall it was a good little dress!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Time Flies...
We've all heard the phrase time flies when you're having fun, but it seems that as you get older, time just flies. (I'm only 20, I think I'm having a major midlife crisis!)

Look how much I've changed! What's even worse is the picture on the right is from about 18 months ago as well so it's not even recent!

I have just got my result for my second year of uni, which leaves me as a third year now, I honestly feel like I'm still fresh out of high school. 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Home VS Uni
I've been home from university for about five weeks now and I'm getting well used to being back home. I have just finished my second year of uni, so this could be my last summer as a student scary, depending on what I do next year, of course. Today's post will be a list of pros and cons to living back at home.

Pro - At home, I get the majority of my meals made for me, I am a very bad and lazy cook so you can't even imagine the relief that this is. Below are the kind of thing I tend to live on at uni: 

(18p noodles from Aldi, put a bit of curry powder and pepper in and you're onto a cheap tasty meal - uni top tip!)

Con - Not being able to choose what I eat, I am fussy enough to not like potatoes so when I am cooking for myself, I don't have any at all. At home I either have to eat them or don't eat :(

Pro - All my close friends from primary school, high school and college all live very close to me, within a reasonable