The Beauty Of Inspiration

A few days ago, on a normal Friday, I found myself talking about the simple importance of inspiration. “Inspiration is a big word, tell me more about that” said the man who was leading this discussion. He was right, it is a big word. In fact, it is so big that it takes up a huge portion of our lives. As I am writing this in my home, a rural cottage surrounded by silence bar the noise of the roaring fire and a snoring Shih Tzu, inspiration is everywhere. It is in photos – The smiling graduation photo of my sister, the photos of both my Grandfathers (one of whom I never met so imagining what he was like constantly feeds my imagination, and my other Grandad who’s mop of white hair I can still see over the top of the newspaper as he peers over at me with his oversized reading glasses while sipping his mug of tea) and simply, inspiration is in the Halloween pictures on the wall when I was nothing more than three foot tall, a witches hat, a Plasticine nose and limitless dreams.

Wrapped up in my dad’s cosy cream jumper it is hard to believe that he is usually the one who encourages me to buy the bright yellow boots in shop windows or tells me which 80s icon my outfit resembles today. Right now though, my outfit is completed by a pair of Disney pyjama bottoms, something I have adored ever since I was a little girl – it may just be make believe to most people but to me it was my mum’s way of showing me that if I dream enough I can transform from normal girl to Princess and years later it is giving me the belief that Prince Charming is out there. I was raised by one after all so they can’t all be just fairytale characters.

Inspiration is important to me, my mind and my soul. From the sentimental writing of Taylor Swift to my brother’s love of fitness and dedication to the gym (Ok so maybe I’m still working on that one!) I think everyone would like to know they’re inspiring people, and while you may not think you’re inspiring masses of people, maybe you have inspired just one. One person who now holds the key to inspire more people. Or maybe you have inspired many and they haven’t expressed it. When I started thinking about it, I realised that every person, place or thing you know holds the power to inspire. If it wasn’t for beautiful architecture, different food or the impact of nature, why would we have the desire to travel? If nobody ever did anything wonderful, daring or completely terrifying then how would we know we want to try it?

Inspiration is one of the most underrated things in the world because it isn’t even taken from everything positive. Sometimes you can take a negative situation and inspire yourself. A bad day may inspire you to dream bigger for tomorrow and a heartbreak makes you realise you never want to feel that way again because you deserve greater things than the soul destroying feeling that you’re not good enough. Maybe today the only person you need to inspire is the voice inside of you. And funnily enough, I have just realised that one person and one discussion inspired me to write out all of these feelings and share them with others.

Everything we know is inspiring someone in some way. Fashion, films, music, media, politics, landscapes, the size of my jeans, the style of my hair, my love interests and my moods are all symbols that the world is constantly changing and motivating one person to change their own life. Inspiration is huge and if you can’t recognise any of that outside of yourself then look inside of yourself because I can assure you that you will discover an entire library of minor characters and major, sometimes rocky, stepping stones that all came together to give you the heart and mindset you possess today.

At the end of the day, it is both our right and our responsibility to inspire, so go and do just that because even though it is everywhere, and at times scary, I think the world needs more of it.

My 24 Hours Without The Kettle

I woke up at 8:25am on a much anticipated Monday morning. I stayed in bed listening to the start of the howling wind until the words “Feeeee, tea!” made my body get up and hurry down the stairs, similarly to a child on Christmas morning. I sipped away like I would any other day and stared out of the window at the darkening skies and swaying trees. As I took my final sip, and this was actually final, unlike many others I always finish every bit of my cup of tea, even the last drop. So, as I took this final sip I placed the mug on the tea-stained coffee table and kept on living as normal – Snapping friends, arguing with my brother, communicating with my cats through the window, etc. However, as the clock struck 9:30 (ish, the details are all a blur) and the glow of the lamp beside me fell into darkness, it suddenly hit me – The power had gone. Storm Ophelia hadn’t even fully arrived yet and she had already taken the power… my power. “What now?” I pondered as my wifi disappeared and my 3G failed to load. “Oh, yes! I’ll make a cup of tea.” I decided, but it was not that simple.

I then spotted my dad braving the walk from the kitchen to sitting room, carrying a pot over to the fire. At this point I realised that this was our kettle for the day. And you know how they say a watched pot never boils, well the creators of that saying had a bloody valid point. As everyone became engrossed by the sheer power and beauty of mother nature, I watched this pot and the raging flames beneath it. Wrapped up in a blanket, I stayed on the couch snuggled up like a human sausage roll and waited. The teapot was becoming more and more lonely on the coffee table. I lifted the lid, all that remained at the bottom of the teapot was a trickle of warm water from an hour ago and two used teabags. Nothing else was going through my mind, I no longer cared about the lack of phone service or the lack of light in the room, I just needed a fresh, easily made cuppa. Was this addiction?

After three pathetic (great effort though) cups of tea, by 8:30 that evening I had my hat and coat on, ready to brave the remainder of the howling winds and head into my dad’s workplace. Did I bring my phone charger? No, the only thing in my arms was a flask which I was protecting with every maternal instinct within me. Our neighbours were also without power, so my dad’s shop was our only salvation. After the 15 minute journey, I prayed to every saint, god and deceased pet that the power would be on here. When the lights worked I made my way towards the kitchen area and I stared at the kettle for a moment. How beautiful it looked, so curvy and inviting, offering a warmth for all. The boiling sound increased and filled my ears like a beautiful melody composed by one of the greats. As the water poured into the flask, the steam rose and my imagination brought it to life, making it seem to grow into blissful shapes and pictures – Biscuits, doughnuts, puppies, Zac Efron topless, you name it.

On arrival home I realised that every cup of tea that day had a strange taste to it. It did not sit as well with me as tea usually does, but it had to do. It was the usual no sugars, bit of milk and nice chunky mug, but something was different. This tea was not made with tender loving care, it was made out of necessity, the desire to feed the addiction. I went to bed at 10:30 that night, allowing my thoughts to fall out of craving and into a blissful slumber.

The next morning I got dressed in darkness with a dead iPhone beside me. As 9:15 arrived and a lamp began to flicker, something inside of me also flickered. I think this flickering was hope. Hope kept me going through my 24 hours without the kettle, and as the lamp turned on for good, I ran out onto the landing, my ears expanding to hear the sound that I knew was coming – The boiling, the beautiful boiling. I smiled to myself and continued getting ready. When I was a little bit more glam and ready to go, I made my way downstairs, and even though my phone was still dead, the fire unlit and there was a slight chill in the air, the four cups of tea in a row on the coffee table seemed to put everything back together again, as if Ophelia had never come near the Fox household. I know this storm changed me and I can’t explain how, but all I know is this house had once again become a home and four mugs awoke four souls. Oh, I also found out that a watched pot NEVER boils so don’t even try making eggs on the fireplace mid mini hurricane!

The Unexpected Darkening Of My Brightest Days

This is my third attempt at writing this blog post. I have never been afraid to write a post for my blog, until now, and even at that I don’t know if this will even get posted. However, when I discovered that today is World Mental Health Day I felt it was important to share my story because I believe every story, no matter how big or small, is an important story… So here goes.

I guess I don’t know when it all started, I just woke up one morning and realised this lingering sadness wasn’t going away. I rolled over and checked my phone hoping no one had contacted me. They had. I put it back onto my bedside table and pulled the quilt back in towards me. I stared at the ceiling, weighed down by the unfamiliar feeling in my heart. Was it sadness? Numbness? Was I empty? As familiar tears rolled gently down my cheeks, I heard footsteps and prayed they weren’t walking towards my bedroom door. I wiped away the tears, but there was nothing gentle about that. The door sprung open, my mum throwing her hair back into a ponytail – “What’s wrong?” she asked. “I just feel sad all the time.” I mumbled through blubbers. This was the only way I could describe it – the pains in my chest, the love for my bed and the frenzied thoughts in my mind – I just felt sad. There was nothing dramatic about it. There was no major cause or occurrence. I just felt sad. I still feel sad as I am writing this in the same place I was that morning – my bed, my safe haven.

In general I am a very social and sensitive person. I love getting involved in conversations, I am always open about my emotions and I am never afraid to cry. Recent times were different though, I would wait until late at night when I was alone to cry because I didn’t want to worry my family or burden my friends, and the thoughts of social media made me feel anxious. I became unmotivated and lost that zest for life. I wanted to be alone, I wanted to go unnoticed for a few days, maybe even weeks, in order to come back to a world that felt enjoyable for me to be in again. Eventually I did cry, I cried on an average Wednesday in a room full of people. I didn’t want to cry in this setting but it was something I had no control over. I then went home and cried some more, and I have been crying ever since.

 I feel sad, I feel lost and I feel confused. Very confused. I felt my identity drift away as my confidence and happiness did. Even coming back to my blog now, I feel guilty. I feel guilty for the absence I needed to take. In my head my wisest words are covered with dust and my smiley pictures are a little blurry. While I want all my dreams to come true, I want to pause life for a while. As my plans and to-do-list built up, I became overwhelmed and everything else shut down. I cannot explain how or why but for some reason I feel negativity fall on me every day.

This feeling is new to me and pretty scary. Although I have always been an anxious soul, not being able to lift myself out of this gloomy phase makes me feel powerless… I used to be able to throw on some music and a nice outfit and instantly feel lifted.  I worry about life, I worry about myself and then I worry about every other thing I have absolutely no reason to worry about. I have always been a worrier, but right now I really need myself to be a warrior.

I have no explanation or cause for this feeling, and the thoughts of sharing this story scares me even though it is minor in comparison to the stories of many others. It scares me because I feel alone, it scares me that other people may not understand it and think I am strange or making it up. My only explanation is that lately I go through periods where I just feel overwhelmingly sad. However, there was something about today that needed to be the day. As I walked through my local town this morning, I was met by a man working on the road, he looked at me, the warmth of his smile beaming onto my face just like the sunshine was. “Beautiful morning!” he said. And he was right, there is something beautiful in every day and even though darkness can linger for a long while, the sun will always appear again eventually.

I wanted to write this because it may have been unexpected. You may not have seen it coming if you read my blog or meet me during the day. You may only hear my humorous, disastrous night out stories or see my over the knee boots and denim jacket strutting past you down the street while I’m holding three Penneys bags. That is okay though because this feeling was a surprise to me too. I think it is time to take care of my body on the inside just as much as I take care of my body on the outside.

And how about the fear of sharing this here even though I share hundreds of other stories about my life with my followers? Well, I guess that all comes down to the stigma around mental health, but my mum advised me to do what I do best even if I just wanted to keep it to myself. Of course she was right as always, because writing is what I do best and it turned out that writing this was a refreshing form of therapy that only I could bring to myself. So from me to you, whoever you are and wherever you may be, here I am, a physically healthy 21-year-old woman with an endless love of laughter and socialising, pouring my heart out from behind closed doors onto my most public platform. At the moment I am not feeling okay, but that is okay. A problem shared may not always be a problem halved, but I would definitely prefer to cry with a cup of tea and a friend by my side, so I really hope you do that too.

“Grow through what you go through” 
Love Fenella, 
aka that girl who is still that fashion loving disaster magnet who drinks tea by the gallon.
xx

Find Yourself First

I was never the type of girl who would put a pause on the arrival of Prince Charming. In fact, I would regularly play made up romantic situations in my head and wait for the day he would finally come along and sweep me off my feet. Today, as I am staring out the window of my tower, or should I say bedroom, I can confirm that that day has still not arrived. Don’t get me wrong, potential ones have come and gone but there was none that made it to the end, none of them braved the dragon and stuck around long enough to save me. Quite often it turned out the ones who got the closest ended up being the ones that needed to be saved and the door was shut on us before I could even try to enter.
As I got older, the hopeless romantic in me did not die, and she is still there – a part of me waiting for the day my dream will finally come true and I will meet the man of my dreams, the man I always talked about meeting and the one who would stay with me and would finally be my happy ending. And don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to that because it is not a weakness to want to spend your life with a man that loves you. I still firmly believe that happy endings don’t only exist in fairytales. However, during this time of growing up I realised how extremely difficult finding that love can be. Having a heart that is ready to give and take means it is out there, completely vulnerable and able to get hurt. It is this heart that so many people hide away for that reason, they shut their heart off from being accessed so that it remains in a perfect condition. Again, having a heart like mine isn’t a weakness, and trust me, it may not look so perfect anymore, there are plenty of cuts and bruises from the poor handling by other people who did not care enough to properly look after the most valuable part of me.
As you grow up and try to find yourself, I can guarantee you at least once you will wonder “What is wrong with me?” You will not be able to comprehend why your friends have boyfriends and you don’t, or why things never work out for you or why that one person you would change the world for always leaves you high and dry. And then the worst thing happens in the world… your heart will get broken. And when I say broken I mean really broken like never before. The mention of his name will send shockwaves through you and your only chance of survival will seem to be cutting him out of your life and hoping you don’t bump into him when you’re running into a shop or on a night out. You will cry, you will hurt and you will hate – You will hate everyone’s advice and you will hate yourself for not hating him.
After a while your heart will begin to heal itself because time changes everything, you will realise how strong you can be, but you will also get used to not feeling good enough, more men will come and go and you will come to terms with the feeling of loneliness. You get your hopes up and go on dates and end up back where you started because right now you believe that you are the damsel in distress, struggling to survive by yourself and thinking it will be this way forever. Trust me, I know.
Then, out of the blue, something will set in your mind. Right now I don’t have a boyfriend to call when I’m sad or to watch new films with, and I don’t have a man’s name to put in my Instagram bio. Right now I have to fill the empty part of my heart myself, because maybe this spot isn’t reserved for someone else. Maybe there is something missing in my heart but it is adventure and new experiences. Maybe I’m the only person who can really push myself to do things and if I happen to meet Prince Charming along the way then so be it. Maybe waiting for Prince Charming is our greatest downfall because he isn’t waiting at all, he is out there living, writing the stories that he will tell us when he happens to stumble across us and our souls collide on top of a mountain in Asia or in a random coffee shop on a Tuesday afternoon, somewhere in Europe. Maybe when we stop looking for Prince Charming we will find ourselves, the person we really need to find. 
Giving somebody else the power to save you will only kill you in the long run. Finding love is exciting, but waiting for love isn’t. In order to fall you have to be in a risky situation, so why should falling in love be any different? Timing is everything. Fill that empty space in your heart with living – with happiness, with laughter, with risks, with new places and new experiences and maybe, when your heart is overflowing with a love of life and you are writing your own happy ending, maybe you will be lucky enough to stumble across the other half of your soul and he will tag along with you on the rest of your adventures.

The Refreshing Escape

Hey everyone! How are things with you guys? Anything exciting been happening? I hadn’t been up to much, I went to support a few events in my own local area and then yesterday I went on a trip to Dublin for the day with my Mum. The trip was badly needed!

Do you ever get into those moods where you just don’t feel like yourself? I’ve been feeling like this for the past few weeks which is strange because I’m such a social butterfly and am usually running out the door every weekend. Recently though, I’ve really been keeping to myself and haven’t wanted to be doing much. I was feeling a bit down in the dumps like I needed a break from people, if that makes any sense at all! I don’t really know what is causing this feeling, but recently I have been content with staying at home in my own company. I think it is because I went through a month or so where one thing after the other seemed to be going wrong and I eventually decided if I stay by myself I won’t be getting upset anymore (which sounds a bit silly when I actually put the feeling into words). Usually I love being social and out and about but I seem to have fallen flat and have no energy to do this. I think sometimes it’s good to take a break from the people around you if you’re feeling some of the energy is quite negative, but you can’t block it all out either because it isn’t healthy to isolate yourself. While this was going on though I was also feeling extremely trapped at home, so you can’t win either way! Haha So anyway, off I went with my mum to Dublin for the day!

We had eight hours to kill in Dublin City, which is easily done with cups of tea and Penneys! I think we all know I’m easily pleased with a bit of retail therapy. We had a very early start so the first stop when we arrived had to be for tea, so we went to a beautiful little Parisien Cafe. Anybody who knows me knows that Paris is the place I want to visit the most in the world – Probably because of it’s fashion and the fact that it is known as The City of Love! I enjoyed a cup of tea, lemon tart, and told my mum how I had been feeling lately with the lovely sound of French music echoing through the air which gave me an instant lift.

After this, we spent the whole day shopping (mainly Penneys) and I really did go a bit OTT! I literally shopped until I dropped, no joke, after about three hours in Penneys I thought I was having a hot flush in the accessories section so we had to get out for a lunch break before I melted into nothing in my favourite place. What a way to go, eh? On top of all this my bladder was about to burst because of tea and it was all becoming too much! Haha Needless to say, we legged it out of there. Well, I guess my mum walked normally but I kinda awkwardly waddled down the street to the loo! DON’T DRINK TEA BEFORE ENTERING PENNEYS IN DUBLIN BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT BE IN AND OUT QUICKLY.

To be fair, I was bursting, overheating and my arm was hanging off me from the weight of the basket because I bought so many lovely bits. I will be sharing these on my Instagram over the next few days (@thefoxfiles) I absolutely adore the embroidered floral heels below that I was going to buy in Penneys for 25 euro, however, when I went over to the other Penneys they only had one pair left – My size AND reduced to 11 euro! Fate? I think so!

Overall it was a lovely day (mainly because we got doughnuts, mmmm) and it was so lovely to go for a bonding day with my mum in a place that wasn’t our usual. There is something so refreshing about new places and new faces when you’ve been feeling a bit low. You are never alone in the world, there’s so many people you have yet to meet (A possible blog post topic? Watch this space!)

I am meeting my best friend for lunch tomorrow and also seeing my other best friend this week who I haven’t seen in ages because she hasn’t been in Ireland. I can’t wait for a catch up with both of them, it looks like this social butterfly’s wings will be back in action sooner rather than later!

The moral of this post? Life is too short to be spent inside alone when there’s delicious, sugary doughnuts out there waiting for you…

Have a lovely week everyone and bless those of you that are silly enough to be dieting over Easter xx

Fashion Minus The Plus

Anybody who knows me knows I love fashion. However, I have to be honest, right now, fashion needs a good punch in the face. My friend was sending me images of a model who was being considered plus-size. We spoke about it, outraged and both asked ourselves what on earth is going on in the fashion world? At this point I would just like to say that this model was either an absolute bloody liar when it came to telling the brand her size, or she was photoshopped to the end of the earth orrr the plus-size range is a lie. I’m generally a size 10 and stick to that when shopping online, yet this model looked around my size, if not smaller, and we were supposed to be convinced she was a plus-size 16. Now, we all know I have strong opinions on the whole body image topic anyway, but this was just an absolute joke. I got my laptop out and I began looking up plus-size clothing on many websites, some were fine, but some did nothing less than fill me with rage. Yes, this model was gorgeous, but she should not be considered plus-size. Model material? Yes. Model material for the plus-size range? Absolutely not.

And before people start defending teeny tiny “plus size” models with the old ‘You shouldn’t be promoting an unhealthy/overweight lifestyle’ HOLD UP, PEOPLE. I’m a size 10, apple shaped woman and the model looked smaller than me in many areas. Am I obese? Am I trying to promote an unhealthy/overweight lifestyle? Would my size ten clothes fall into an unhealthy category that should be hidden away so people won’t start to consider it sexy or fashionable? No, I’ve just got a bit of carb collection in certain places AND THIS IS NORMAL BECAUSE MILLIONS OF OTHER WOMEN DO TOO.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t be considered petite, I do have plenty of curves. I recently waited days for a top to arrive to discover that my boobs don’t even fit into it, I also bought a pair of shorts that will probably only comfortably fit one of my thighs. It was such a struggle to do the shorts up and when I finally did I had to undo them because I was afraid of them like squashing my organs or something. No joke, I actually panicked because they were so tight. So, because of this, would I be considered plus-size? Just because my curves wouldn’t squeeze into a size ten pair of shorts?

Have we not all realised by now that the world is crying out for models that look like the other half of the world’s women? Thin has made it’s stamp on the beauty world and now it is time to throw curves into the mix. I’m not asking for much, I just need them to have a belly that folds over when they sit down, I need leg cellulite that jiggles when they walk, I need shoulders that aren’t perfectly chiseled and I need a chin that has a few more hidden under it. We need something that so many people can relate to. We don’t need people looking at these images of slimmer women and thinking this is considered plus-size, because that would be dangerous. We need diversity, but real diversity, because there is not one version of beauty. Beauty is dancing around my room trying to squeeze into my size ten shorts, beauty is any clothes number above or below my own, beauty is petite and plus and everything in between, but beauty is not trying to hide what society sees as imperfection. How can we be expected to love our curves when they aren’t being glamourised as much as thinner frames?

How can curvier women purchase these clothes when they are being advertised on a smaller woman? And how can young women grow up with an accurate and healthy view of their body when they are questioning themselves and whether society sees them as a smaller or bigger built woman? Where does this leave the women between petite and plus-size? Size 8/10/12/14 are all such common sizes, so what bracket do we fall into? I look at these models and think ‘This is an absolute joke’ but some girls may not think that, some girls may think ‘Oh my god, I’m bigger than her, I didn’t even know I was plus-size’ or they may think ‘I’m much bigger than her, if she is plus-size then what am I?’ The answer? You are real. You are not a false fashion advertisement or a woman under the burden of society and it’s corrupt norms.

Clothes sizes are not reliable, my shorts proved that. I could be a size 10 in one shop on a Monday and a size 12 in another shop on a Tuesday, and to this day I still don’t know what bra size I actually am because it’s always changing so much. All I know is I do carry weight, parts of me are more jiggly than others, real plus-size women are just as sexy as the fake ones you see in magazines and on the internet, the fashion world makes me very annoyed at times and I’m going to have to buy another pair of those shorts and sew them both together because I’ve lost the bloody receipt!

Making It Up As We Go Along

I decided to write about this important (possibly controversial) topic because it was starting to wind me up and make me concerned for people who are being picked on. In society today we are all for “Yessss women empower women! Let’s not bring each other down!” Which is great, obviously. However, I just have to ask, if you want to make each other feel better, then WHY DO PEOPLE MOCK MAKEUP? Why do so many women feel the need to comment on other women’s interests and the things that make them happy? I have recently done two makeup courses because I love makeup! I didn’t do them because I thought I was going to become the best makeup artist to ever walk the earth, I did it because I am passionate about it, wanted to improve my skills and pursue this passion further so that I can do makeup on other people. Do I laugh at anybody who goes to study to be a doctor or a teacher or an accountant? Do I sit there and think “Oh my god that is so funny, she can’t do that but she’s still going to study it anyway!” No, I don’t, because you can’t do anything until you learn how to do it. If we all knew how to do everything then what would be the point of learning?

Makeup is an art, similarly to painting or writing, it is a world of endless, creative possibilities and colour. It is also a lot more powerful than other things because what other job do you know that can make you go from a just rolled out of bed three to a ready to slay 10 and suddenly give you self confidence in a matter of minutes? I think I am writing this because even though I did these makeup courses I realised I am afraid of putting myself out there simply because other women scare the crap out of me! I mean, what world are we living in? What are we facing? The Battle of Baking 1066? The Siege of the Setting Spray? The Conquer of Contour? Why can’t I just wear my makeup the way I want to without other women threatening to kill me with the sharpness of their winged liner or the fullness of their lips? LET THE PEOPLE LIVE.

It hit me that I worked hard for and put all this money into something I love and now, at 21 years of age, I am afraid to keep improving my skills because of the bitchy, judgmental comments and sly digs that could be waiting for me in all corners of the internet. Funnily enough, writing is on a similar level, some people will hate my work but I write about the passion that is burning inside me because it’s who I am and what I love. You may be reading this as a person who dislikes me, but you’re still reading it, aren’t you? You probably think “Ugh, what has she put up now?” but you have no reason to mock my passions, you have no right to put down the places where my heart is based and if you do then your own heart is in the wrong place.

Anyway, back to makeup! Makeup is a fun thing to do and the fun part is there are no rules. Can you really compare Michelangelo’s statue of David to The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali and say which artist is better? One is marble and one is paint, one is Rimmel and one is MAC, one is settled and one is still learning and exploring. Some of us love living in a world of colour and glitter and a bold lip with an equally bold eye, then others prefer nudes and neutrals. Who started creating rules? Why are girls being shamed for wanting to pursue the popular job of a MUA?

Everybody is different – some people will look at the clouds in the sky and see shapes, but others will just see clouds. You cannot make someone see the shapes you see and you cannot make someone appreciate your own perspective of something because our minds are so different. The sad part about that is some people let the harsh parts of their minds spill out of their mouth too much. By doing this they are altering the beauty and shapes in the clouds that others see and making them doubt themselves. Women become too afraid to be themselves and stop their creativity flowing because it doesn’t live up to a standard set by social media. You know we all lived before Instagram, right? You know we all started out with makeup out of magazines and our mum’s makeup bag?

Even though it may seem like harmless fun, you don’t know the level of other people’s insecurities. You do not know how early a student may get up in the morning to try and perfect her brows to look like all the other girls in her class, you don’t know about the girls who stay up until 4am watching makeup tutorials just because they feel like they have to to fit in with the Instagram ideal, you just don’t know how important makeup is for some women’s confidence. Personally for me, makeup is something I really enjoy because I’m a creative person, but I do not mind going without it and I have learned to embrace my insecurities. For example, I always joke about my chin because it is so pointy when I smile and I have no top lip at all! My eyebrows have always been bushy and I find it so difficult to shape them properly because they just cannot be tamed. I’m also so pale that even the lightest foundation shades make me look like I’m about to drag Augustus Gloop out of the chocolate pipe!

This generation we’re living in is, to be honest, an absolute joke at times. People spit out comments thinking they’ve been sugar coated on the way out by their expensive lipstick. Writing mean comments will never be anything but mean. How can we raise strong women in a world that is so thoughtless, narrow minded and picky? How can I choose between going makeup free or full on makeup when either choice is going to be criticised? A makeup brush is just like a paint brush, so let people create with it whatever way they want to.

I wrote this post because I got sick of seeing people put down other people when they are trying their best to improve themselves or try something new. I can take a joke as much as the next person but when beauty is such a huge influence in people’s lives today, we can’t afford to have people suffering underneath the burden of it when it is meant to be about self expression. We need to let people do what they want – whether they want to wear no makeup at all or put on layers of different products. In my opinion, your own way of doing makeup isn’t right or wrong because what you may love someone else may hate and that is just the way the world goes round in every aspect of life. Trends come and go, remember when Paris Hilton was the ultimate it girl and now it’s Kim K? My point being it’s important not to get too wrapped up in these fads because they won’t last forever.

As for my own appearance, after many failed attempts to contour away the infamous chin, I realised it isn’t going anywhere and I’m also just one of those unfortunate people that will always have a spot appear during the day on the end of my nose without realising it! I also realised that despite people being so quick to make others feel insignificant, it is a shame nobody is skilled enough to contour away negativity when it comes to how girls see each other. Can we all please take a step back and see what really needs to be highlighted here? Makeup products are supposed to enhance your natural, outer beauty, not disguise your inner beauty.

International Women’s Day – My Body, My Choice.

Happy International Women’s Day! For the day that’s in it I have decided to have my say on a very important issue going on in Ireland at the moment, Repeal the 8th. For anybody who may not know what the 8th Amendment is, it is a part of the Constitution of Ireland which means the right to life of an unborn child is equal to the mothers.

Nobody on this earth knows my body better than I do and nobody ever will, due to this, I firmly believe and know that my reproductive system is something that I need full control over. I mean, do you think I bleed for five days every month and suffered with pains from an ovarian cyst for years of my teenage life to hand power over these very precious and important parts to a higher authority with no compassion for me as an individual? If I woke up in the morning to find that I was carrying another life inside of me, which is very possible for women everywhere, contraception or not, I would like to think I have options. I am not asking for the feeling of shame, I am asking for support. I am not asking for a plane ticket, I am asking for compassion at home. I am not asking for murder (as many people call it), I am asking for choice.

Every single day we are telling women to love their bodies, but how can they fully do this when they don’t have basic rights to their bodies? Irish Government, do you love my body as much as I am expected to? If you are so concerned about my reproductive system, would you like to experience my period pains for me? Would you like to buy my tampons? Would you mind finding a way to make rape a horrific thing of the past? How many of you felt embarrassed reading all of that? This is what is wrong with our country, we are shying away from the real issues. Every woman has a body that functions the same way, there is no shame in sex, and there is no shame in the consequences of sex. Every sex story happens and ends up differently, and we need to have compassion as a nation for these outcomes.

I read something recently where someone said the solution was to just use contraception. This is sadly the realities we are facing when people cannot open their eyes to the bigger picture. I am on the pill, I use condoms, I have taken the morning after pill before, but things aren’t that simple, I don’t know what challenges may face me next month, next week, next year or who will be facing them with me. Every situation is different and being pro-choice doesn’t mean you are going to get an abortion, it means giving women the freedom to choose what is right for them in their own situation. We can’t make a decision for others, but we should be able to allow them to have a choice.

If my body is carrying a child, it is half mine and half of a man, but my body is still carrying it. I am not saying the man doesn’t have rights to his baby but in some cases this baby isn’t going to arrive into the world and be held in loving arms. In some cases this baby will be brought into the world by a woman who has no man waiting for her outside of the hospital room. In some cases this baby will be brought into the world by a young girl, who, sadly, wasn’t educated enough to know about contraception. In some cases this baby will be brought into the world by a woman who can’t even look him/her in the eye because the eyes of her rapist will be staring back at her. In some cases this babies life will be full of suffering and pain due to extreme illness or disability. In some cases this baby will arrive into a financially unstable, unplanned, unhappy situation. No matter what the situation, if I get pregnant, I am still the body carrying this child. My body, my choice, right? Wrong.

Wake up Ireland, you are not an under-developed country, you are not a country that is facing extreme poverty or dictatorship. You are however, taking many steps backwards instead of forwards. Why is there such a stigma surrounding abortion? Why do you feel the need to brush women’s wombs under the carpet? You are still so burdened by the beliefs of the Catholic Church even though their own dirty secrets and the lives they claim to value so much are buried beneath the ground you and I walk on.

Let me remind you all, I am not looking for an abortion, I am looking for choice. Every single woman deserves to wake up with options which don’t include isolation, financial struggle and travelling far and wide for basic human rights. A woman should be able to wake up in the morning knowing she has the compassion of her home country behind her and make a decision based on what she knows and feels to be the best choice in her heart and soul. Do you think women take abortion lightly? Do you think those of us who are pro-choice wouldn’t think about the future pitter-patter of tiny feet or whether the baby would be a boy or a girl? Of course we would, I have never been pregnant but that maternal instinct is built into us all, but sometimes it isn’t that simple and sometimes women will feel they have no choice apart from travelling to England or taking abortion pills and when things get to that point there is no shame for anybody apart from Ireland and the 8th Amendment.

Shame on you Ireland, shame on you.

#RepealThe8th

Can We Really Change A Christian?

Just like millions of other women across the world, I have lusted after Christian Grey. I have booked tickets for the Fifty Shades of Grey films and anxiously waited for his strong presence to grace the screen before getting lost in the fantasy. However, upon deeper thought, what exactly is it we are lusting after – His body, his bedroom or his bank account? Cut (the clearly beautiful and utterly fab) Jamie Dornan out of the equation for a second and look at the character of Christian himself, would the story be half as sensual and romantic if he wasn’t worth billions of dollars? Would we really want to be that vulnerable and intimate with a man who is abusive and emotionally unavailable? A lot of the story is about trying to change Christian, but should we be romanticising the fact that we should work to change a man? Should Anastasia really be expected to put that much effort into their relationship when she clearly has so many other men who would jump at the chance to be with her?

I do agree that Fifty Shades of Grey is a love story, a love story that I thoroughly enjoy, but I don’t necessarily think it’s going to land in the pile of classics like Titanic and The Notebook. Could you really grow old with a Christian Grey over a Noah Calhoun, or is Christian just an erotic fantasy that brings out temptation and a darker side in all of us because we know we’ll probably never end up with a Christian? Although it is important to remember, the unimaginable wealth and sex side is unlikely, but the abusive side happens to people every single day. So many women are living with Christian Greys but there is nothing sexy or romantic about it. He is a man who needs control in every way, he knows he is not the man for her and warns her about it but he also knows how to turn on the charm, romance and promise to change when he senses the control slipping out of his grip.

It is very easy for us to read the unfolding story in a book or watch as the actors undress on a screen, but in reality, do we really want to be in the red room with a man who is as controlling outside as he is inside? Take away the lavish apartment, helicopter, fancy masquerade balls, and the seductive soundtrack lingering in the background as you get lost in the idea of being Anastasia herself, would you really settle for the Christian Grey lifestyle in a rural village with an ordinary, everyday man? Perhaps, that comes down to the person, but I know I am much more struck by the fantasy of Christian than the reality.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the franchise and the idea of Anastasia and Christian, but she is too much of a strong and independent young woman to be caught up with a man like that. He is extremely overpowering by nature and being with a woman who is so focused on her own goals and independence, could this really end well? Should young women like me who are waiting for the perfect love really be watching this film and waiting for the happy ending where Anastasia changes Christian and they live happily ever after? No, because I don’t think she could really change him nor should she need to. She shouldn’t have to fight for the parts of him that are physically or emotionally untouchable. Christian refuses to give Anastasia access to the most important parts of him but he still wants power over all of her, is this fair? No, this is abuse. The way he controls her is also abuse – Purchasing her work place, telling her who she can and can’t spend time with and deciding what food she can eat. Ana is very much trapped by Christian, so maybe just like the rest of us she is caught up with the idea of the fantasy. Maybe she can’t see the extent of the toxicity because she’s too invested in the relationship.

Why are we so captivated by this story? Forbidden love perhaps? The thrill of something different? The break away from our own ordinary lives? Do they even really love each other? Maybe they do and that’s what the story is teaching us, falling in love isn’t always perfect, falling in love can often be falling flat on your face and realising that just because you love somebody it doesn’t mean they’re healthy for you. Or maybe Anastasia thinks she loves Christian because she is so young and new to all of it, maybe she hasn’t discovered real love yet and maybe Christian loves the control and power he has over this innocence and naivety rather than actually loving her… maybe Christian is incapable of loving anybody.

Fifty Shades of Grey is extreme – A story of power, control, love, sex, romance and red rooms set in a very wealthy environment. This fantasy is all well and good but when this fantasy becomes a reality do we all realise we shouldn’t keep writing the story? As Ana’s character continues to grow and develop as we have already started to see, shouldn’t we be hoping she walks away from Christian for good rather than succeeding in changing his nature?

Let’s take things down a notch for a second, lets take away the wealth and the power of Christian in society and let’s turn him into the men we meet and fall for every single day. Should we ever need to change a man? And if we try changing one shade of him, won’t it eventually shine back through?

A Thought Of A Tuesday

I don’t live in a city, it’s just a town like any other. I don’t feel surrounded by masses of people or feel inferior or lost because it is in no way a concrete jungle, but saying that, it’s still easy to get lost in your own thoughts when you’re flying around doing a few things by yourself. Today was one of those days, like any other dull day in January. The weather was gloomy and the pavements were wet but I had a few things to pick up and was completely in a world of my own as I ran in and out of shops, passing dozens of faces I honestly couldn’t remember now because I was probably too absorbed in my phone, panicking about the state my new boots would be in when I got back to the car, and fixing my hair which I scrunch dried yesterday. To be honest, I was being completely self-involved and ignorant about everything else around me.

While coming out of the last shop I was going to, an elderly lady was blocking the door, looking a bit lost. ‘Sorry, excuse me!’ I said before squeezing past her. I began to walk away back to the car when I was stopped by her quiet, timid voice – ‘Excuse me, can you please help me cross?’ I walked back over to her and asked her what she wanted my help with ‘Would you like me to help you cross the road?’ I questioned. ‘Yes please, I need to get over there.’ she replied, pointing across the road. I agreed to help her cross the road and she linked my arm. A few moments later when we arrived, after a short discussion about the weather, I asked where she was going and she told me she was fine from now on. She then proceeded to thank me and continued on her way, as I did the same, walking in opposite directions across town, leaving each others lives after a short lived, yet refreshing encounter.

This story isn’t anything overly dramatic, it won’t make it into my children’s school history books and it will happen over and over again with different people in different locations, but the reason I’m writing about it is because while I was stressing about exams I have to study for, worrying about the condition of my hair, contemplating my next Instagram post and getting lost in my general life dramas that really aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things, there was a lady among the many I passed today that just needed two minutes out of somebody’s day to make it to the other side of the road, and if that’s not a reason to start opening up our eyes to the little things in life then I don’t know what is.