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Story Time: Didn't We Have A Lovely Day The Day We Went To Bangor



I went home for a couple of days, probably about 24 hours or so, simply for an orthodontist appointment. The journey down was fine - funny coincidence as I recognised both the two girls sat opposite me from both of my old schools - a nice relaxed hour and a half journey to my local train station. My mum picked me up and we went to my orthodontist appointment, all fine and dandy. Had a lovely home cooked meal, a great 12 hour sleep in my old bed and the best shower of my life the next morning. If you’ve ever lived in student accommodation you’ll know that the showers leave a lot to be desired. 

The time came to come back home. It was Friday 13th, and while I’m not a superstitious person I thought there was something bound to go wrong. I’m just, as Steve Carrell’s character says on The Office, “a little-stitious”. We left the house late as we decided to have tea time fifteen minutes before we were supposed to leave, only then I can’t drink a hot cup of tea in ten minutes - who can - so we left ten minutes late. Luckily we had planned for contingency time so I got to the station ten minutes before my train back to Manchester was due to leave. 

Now, put yourself in my shoes. You’re a little teary from having to leave home again so soon, not realising just how much you’d miss it, you’re a little flustered from being worried that you’re going to miss your train, and as you descend the stairs to Platform 6, you see a train there, waiting, it’s doors open. Nowhere on the train does it say where it’s going and you just assume “this is my train”. You check your seat reservation again to see which coach you’re on but at this point the guard is yelling at you saying “if you’re getting on the train you need to get on now!” so I did, hopped on the coach in front of me and thought “this is okay, I’ll just make my way down to Coach E when I’m on the train”. I didn’t bother checking the time as she train pulled out of the station, it didn’t even occur to me that I could be leaving at 16:41 for a 16:50 train. So I’m trying to find my way to Coach E and get to Coach D, thinking that just one more coach and I’ll be in my seat, the stress will be over and I’ll be on my way back to Manchester where I can have chocolate and wine and cry a little bit because I miss home.

I stopped short as I saw the First Class sign on the next coach. No way could I have accidentally booked a first class ticket. I check again. Standard seat reservation, Coach E seat 27. There is no Coach E on this train. Great, I think to myself. There’s been a glitch with the booking system and they’ve put me in a seat that doesn’t exist. I’m just about to leave my little spot where I’m fuming between Coach D and First Class (hanging out next to the toilets like the classy gal I am) to find a train attendant to ask where I should sit, and then I hear an announcement over the tannoy.

“You’re on the 16:41 Virgin train to Bangor, stopping at Crewe…”

The rest of the announcement disappears into nothing as the news sinks in.

I’m on the wrong train.

I’m going to Bangor.

I’m supposed to be going to Manchester.

I’m on the wrong bloody train. 

Something you should know about me is that my first natural instinct, when anything at all goes wrong, is to cry. My eyes well up and I get hot and my nose prickles and even if I don’t want to, I will absolutely start crying. It’s not howly crying at all but I do panic and you know when you’re crying and you do that panicky breathing thing where you kind of go “ehehehehehehehe” for a while and then every now and then it goes “eheeeeeeheeeeeeEheeee” before quickening up again - that’s what I do. My second natural instinct after I started crying, was to phone my mum. I’m on the wrong train,” I pant heavily down the phone to her.

My mother’s first instinct is to laugh.

My little sister’s first instinct is also to laugh. 

My father’s first instinct? You guessed it.

Once I’d calmed down a bit and I was able to explain exactly what had happened, my mother told me to find a train attendant and ask what I should do. Luckily at that moment a kind lady with a really nice red lipstick on walked past the toilet and stopped short a the sight of a snivelly, mascara-streak-covered teenager hanging out near the toilet.

“Are you okay, honey?” she asks me, placing a hand on my arm. This only makes me cry more.

I laugh slightly so it doesn’t seem as if I’m so lame. I don’t think this strategy works. “I’m just on the wrong train, that’s all,” I try to cover up my mistake and laugh it off. “I’m supposed to be going to Manchester but apparently I’m on the way to Bangor instead!” I grimace in a slightly sarcastic way.

She, thankfully, laughs along with me. “Oh, that’s okay! You can just stay on until Crewe and get another train from Crewe to Manchester.”

This news is like music to my ears but also apparently I didn’t want to stop crying. So there I stood, hanging out awkwardly between Coach D and First Class near the toilets because there were no spare seats, snivelling away to myself while posh men and women on the right, comfortable train walked past every now and then to go to the loo and the shop, casting glances at the awkward sad person. All. The. Way. To. Crewe.

Incidentally, the train journey to Manchester from Crewe was fine and fabulous and I only made it home an hour later than planned.

*

Here are my Snapchats, by the way.








Have you ever had any disastrous train mistakes? Let me know in the comments below!!

Em xx

World Mental Health Day 2017



If I'm honest, I wasn't really sure what to write about this year on World Mental Health Day. My post last year was all about why we celebrate it, celebrate being the key word there, and I don't feel like I have anything to add to that a year later.

A lot can change in a year. Last year on World Mental Health Day I'd made it to fourteen days clean of self harming. As you can see above, however, I've made it to 147. I'm in a different place with different people and it's made all the difference. I'm happy.

Of course, things do still get hard. It's my opinion that you never truly recover from a mental illness, but the way you deal with it changes and the way you see it changes. This time last year I would have described it as a hurricane that kept crashing in and out and I couldn't control it or stop it or rebuild my life in any way because whenever I tried, the storm would just come and destroy everything again. But now, it's in a box. There's a box inside my head that contains depression and every now and then it starts coming out of it's box but the difference is that I can put it back. Sometimes it takes a bit more effort to get it back in it's box, and sometimes I need other people's help with putting it back into it's box, but I can do it and I can control it. Having control over your mental illness feels good. But it takes time and it takes recovering and it takes being able to accept help from people. I still struggle getting help but there are always people who will be willing to help you and they are waiting there to help.

So, this World Mental Health Day, I want you to know that it is okay to ask for help. It's okay to let other people in. It's okay to accept that you maybe can't get your mental illness back in it's box by itself and you won't look weak if you can't. You can't be strong all the time. I also want you to remember that so far, you have survived 100% of your worst days. I don't know who said that, but whoever came up with that quote is a genius because it's true. Up until today, you have had awful days but you've survived them all and you can survive more. And if your mental illness is still a wave, every storm does calm down and turns into a gentle rain shower and then the sun comes out again. Whichever metaphor you want to use to describe it, it will not last forever. 

There is a miracle in your existence. The birth of everyone is a miracle. I read this great article on Huffington Post by Dr. Ali Binazir, and in it he calculates the rough probability of your birth. He concludes that the probability of you being born is roughly equivalent to the probability of 2.5 million people getting together and playing a game of dice with a trillion sided dice, and all coming up with the same number. I don't know how on earth he calculated this, but isn't that just crazy. He defines a miracle as an event which is so unlikely as to be almost impossible. You are literally a miracle. You exist on this world for a reason, you are here for a purpose and even if you don't know what that purpose is yet, it will become clear and you've got to feel like a miracle because you are one and there is no telling me otherwise. 

I'm going to leave you with a link to my other blog where I publish a bit of my writing, which I posted a poem on a while back which I think ties in quite nicely, and I'm going to also leave you with a Rupi Kaur quote which is one of the best things I personally have ever heard.

"and here you are living, despite it all"


You're here, you're living, you're a miracle, you're worth every bit of happiness you can get and you can survive the next storm.

Em xx

A Chat About Inspiration And Creative Ruts






Uni life is great, I tell you that. Today I've done nothing but run a 5K with my sister this morning, subsequently eat my weight in food because I slept through my alarms and had no time to eat before the run...and that's it. Bored as hell, I decided to catch up on my YouTube watching and came across a new Klaire de Lys video on a simple elegant skull Halloween tutorial.

I LOVE this type of art style, the delicate shapes and patterns all working together to create one piece. You can't have one element of it without another. There's so much creativity involved in it too, so many different ways you can twist the patterns and make them your own. So, given that I haven't painted anything in an extremely long time, I decided to give this a try. It's simple and easy and so so quick to do - considering most of my paints take me a solid 2 hours and mostly more (that pink zombie thing I did was a solid 7 1/2 hours of work), to be able to sit down and create something in half an hour is quite nice.

It got me thinking about inspiration though and if this is the reason I haven't painted anything in so long. I mean, I know the practical reason is because I left all my paintbrushes at home when they should have come to Manchester with me and I only got them a week ago when my dad came up. But even before I moved out, it's still been ages since I did anything properly arty and I just can't figure out why. 

I sometimes get stuck in ruts when I can't think of any ideas for anything at all, whether it's art or writing or anything, I just can't hack it, and then I get stuck in ruts when I just can't be bothered. You'd think if you loved something that much you'd always be bothered to do it but honestly, sometimes I can't. My mind goes crazy at itself because one half of it is bursting with inspiration and ideas and the other half just doesn't want to do anything with those ideas. 

What always helps me in either of those ruts, though, is turning to my favourite artists for inspiration. Something that's quick and easy and something I know I can handle and something I know I can do. This sort of thing is still a challenge because of the artistic technique behind it, but it's a challenge I can easily take on. To tell you the truth, I think the last time I attempted to paint something (other than my Pride themed makeup) was when I tried once again to recreate my cracked skull makeup I did two years ago based on the Elsa Rhae video that first got me into body painting. And, even though it was another year after I'd done it again, I had another year of experience under my belt, it just was like I'd never picked up a paintbrush before. And when I know I can do something better than what I've done (if that makes sense) it frustrates me and it knocks my confidence and it doesn't just knock it - it batters it to a pulp and suddenly I am the most uninspired I've ever been. Its the same  thing that happened with my trumpet playing - I was good, I was ready to take my Grade 8, I was getting better and better, and then I got braces and it was like taking a hundred painful steps back to stage 1, and now nearly two and a half years later I haven't picked it up in a long time and I've lost the love I once had for playing music.

And God, I did not want that to happen with painting but once my confidence takes a knock it takes me so long to want to do whatever it is again. Like I said before - I'm inspired but I can't be bothered because I hate failure. I hate failing at something I used to be good at. 

So anyway, that's enough rambling, back to the point - I created something today and yes, while it was completely inspired by another artist and it was basically someone else's idea, that's okay and it's restored some of my confidence in myself and I'm happy and proud of what I've done today. It's not perfect but I'm not perfect and to be honest, my style isn't perfect and it never will be. I like a slightly more rough-around-the-edges style when it comes to body art. And can we just talk about my actual eye makeup please for a second, thank you Morphe 35O, thanking you kindly.

Will be back soon my friends. Lots of love to you all. The support means the world.

Em xx

Story Time: My First Romance In Manchester


Manchester is not exactly a city of love and let's be honest, nightclubs are not exactly places to go to find love. Like Ed Sheeran sings "the club isn't the best place to find a lover" etc etc. So this isn't a story about love so don't get your hopes up. I say "romance" in the loosest term possible.

There's a nightclub in Manchester called Factory. Sweaty and hot, there are three floors of charts, indie and the proper bass line house music that only idiots spend four hours in the middle of the night listening to. As sophisticated and slightly drunk (I say slightly also in the loosest term possible) adult students, we spent three hours on the indie floor, as can be expected. Also as the know-it-alls we are, we decided hanging out near the door to the floor would be the best idea ever. I also say this heavily loaded with sarcasm. We did this in another nightclub too, and another a few nights later. Still we hadn't learned our lesson. All I can say is, never ever decide to dance enthusiastically to Town Called Malice near the door of a nightclub. Drunk teenagers young adults are aggressive when you're in their way.

Something you should definitely know about me before I continue is that in general, I fall in love with people on a daily basis. We're talking maybe five to eight people, boys and girls, at any random points throughout the day. They could be walking down the street or sitting opposite me on the bus and I'll just fall in love with something about them - their hair, their eyes, their outfit, their entire aesthetic...you get the idea. I don't mean it in a creepy way, I just have extremely intense feelings towards someone for the thirty seconds they're opposite me, and then as soon as they've gone, it's over and the feelings melt away with the person, most likely never to be seen again. So you can imagine how I get when I've had a few glasses of wine. Not only do I fall in love with many people in a nightclub, I make it extremely obvious in a way that my sober self definitely does not. I also fall in love with ten times as many people, because, and if anyone's ever heard the phrase "beer goggles" you'll know exactly what I mean, people often seem prettier than they are in the dark and when you've had a bit to drink.

So you can imagine the scene. This guy with his group of friends come up to my group of friends and they start dancing with us. 

"He's cute," I think to myself. "In a sort of 2000s emo way." No part of this felt wrong to me.

He starts putting his hands on my waist and I go along with it even though this close I'm beginning to realise he smells a bit, mostly of body odour and beer which I'm sure every other guy in there smelled of too, but it was slightly overpowering in a very unattractive way.

"What university are you at?!" he shouts in my ear. It sounds aggressive but if you've ever tried to have a conversation with someone in a nightclub you'll know that it's damn near impossible. Hence why the club isn't the best place to find a lover.

"Manchester Metropolitan!" I shout back to him. He smiles and nods, asserting the fact that he is at the same university as me. He asks me what I study, I answer English because English and Creative Writing is way too long and complicated for someone to understand through nightclub shouts. I don't remember what he said he studied.

We dance a bit longer, I'm getting happy because one of my favourite songs, Come On Eileen, had just started playing. The guy is smiling at me and laughing and still has his hands on my waist. I think back to it now and they were extremely sweaty.

Then he leans in again and says, "I'm not going to force anything but if you want to - you know."

Everyone knows what you know means. So I did. I accepted his offer of you know and leaned up to press my lips against his. I don't really remember it much except that it was kind of wet and there were a lot of teeth. And that's how my first snog in Manchester went. A simple offer of you know. 

He leans down after another song (at least, I thought it was only a song - apparently me and my "friend" were going at it for three. That's a long time). 

"Do you want to come back to mine tonight?"

The ever fateful question. The offer of you know and more. I didn't make a decision there and then. 

"My dad's coming really early tomorrow morning, I don't think so!" I shout back. It's not a lie - my dad is due at mine at 9:30 the next morning.

He shrugs and smiles. "I'll come to yours then!" He seems keen, I thought to myself.

Me being me, the first thing that popped into my head was contraception. I haven't quite got around to getting any condoms yet because honestly I'm too awkward to, and I'm not on the Pill because the side effects scare me too much. And I am super paranoid about STDs anyway so the only contraception I'll be using is condoms, thank you very much.

"That's okay!" He began shouting back. Immediately I started saying no way Hozay, I am not doing it and relying on your pull out game. "I've got some with me!" he continued. 

Alarm bells started ringing even more vigorously. What guy carries condoms on a night out with him who ISN'T expecting to take a girl back with them?! So obviously, there was nothing about me, I was just the first girl to take an interest in him and he only really wanted one thing out of it all.

"It'd also be my first time!" I decided to pull out the virginity card. I made up my mind as soon as he said he had condoms with him. Anything to get away from him now. Again not a lie. Then, I noticed a girl we'd been hanging out with that night needed someone to go outside for a cigarette with her, so obviously, I needed an excuse (my desperation was at a point where I was about to text my flatmate to come up with a great excuse for me to leave) so outside I went with her, telling the guy I'd be back. I wouldn't. Not to him anyway. 

But what do you know, friends, he followed us outside. Under the pretence of having a cigarette too, obviously. And let me tell you - I didn't realise quite how unattractive I found him until I saw him under a street light and slightly more sober than I had been. 

But by that point it was too late - my lipstick was already on his mouth, my friends were questioning my choices and Come On Eileen now had an entirely new memory attached to it. And now my sober mind was going through everything wrong. His hands were sweaty on my bare skin, his stupid stubble was way too rough on my lips and his breath smelled of awfully cheap stale nightclub beer. I noticed his earring, one of those weird stretcher things, and I wanted to ask had it hurt to have it done but somehow it did not seem like the right moment.

The day after I went on the anti-Brexit march with my dad and sister and we didn't mention the guy. I didn't mention him at all. However, I spent the Sunday night at a friend's house and the guy was brought up.

"What were you thinking?" he laughed to me. "That emo fringe and - "

"The stretcher!!" I laughed back, not even being able to believe myself. "At least it wasn't for very long, I guess."

"Not very long?" he raised an eyebrow at me. "You were full on going for it for about three songs, every time we looked over you were still at it."

I buried my face in my hands, absolutely mortified.

He hasn't been mentioned since.

Thank. God.

*

So friends, there is my first romance in Manchester. You can understand why I say it's romance in the loosest term possible. 

Have you ever made any terrible mistakes while you've been out and tipsy?! Let me know in the comments below!

Emilia xx

#StopBrexitManchester | Why I Went And Why It's Important


Hello friends from my small uni kitchen where I'm waiting for my chicken to finish defrosting while my flatmate makes paella and beef wellington for dinner and my other flatmate is doing a crossword. This isn't a post about uni life so far, however much I know you must be gagging for a post about it (of course.), it's actually about a pretty significant event that happened yesterday here in Manchester.


I'm not going to get on my political soapbox and preach about why we should have remained in the EU or anything, nor am I going to complain and whine because that's clearly not going to help anything.

However, I am going to tell you why I went on this march and why I think it's so important to have marches and protests like this, even after an outcome has been reached.

For those who don't know, me and my dad run a pretty small anti-Brexit Twitter campaign called Brits Against Brexit, so we firstly used the march as a bit of a marketing strategy, because obviously who wouldn't right?! Obviously the main reason we went on the march was because we are all anti-Brexit but it's so much more than that. 

While tweeting from Brits Against Brexit using #stopbrexitmanchester we came across many replies telling us we won't make any difference, what's done is done and there's nothing we can do about it now, it was decided by a democratic referendum and so on and so on. Chances are we won't change the decision of the government, but I do just want to address this idea of a democratic referendum.

While the actual referendum itself (as in, the question asked, the ballot paper and the voting procedure) was as democratic as they come, it was the months building up to the referendum that was so undemocratic. You see, if we really think about it, the entire Leave campaign was built on lies and scaremongering, we all saw the nonsense about £350 million going to the NHS if we left?! But I digress, I'm sure we all heard the complaints when the results came through. The main reason for me that the referendum was undemocratic was because I was not allowed to vote. And I don't mean me personally, I mean the entire 16-17 year old population of the UK. 

In my personal opinion, and in the opinions of many others, we should have been able to vote in that referendum as we are the ones that the outcome will affect directly, and as my father pointed out yesterday, the effects will be happening when we are of age. The reason I marched yesterday was because my future was taken away from me and I didn't have a choice about that, and to me that is as undemocratic as it comes. The reason we weren't allowed to vote? They were scared of us. Young people who are interested in politics have a voice and we have very loud voices. Yes, a some of us would have voted Leave if our parents were, or just because they don't care, but also the majority of us cared more than the 65+ population did. We weren't thinking of the 'good old days when we weren't in the EU', we were thinking of the bad new days when we aren't in the EU. That majority of us were loud and we were yesterday and we will always be. 

The reason my sister marched yesterday is because, post-Brexit, her job prospects in neuroscientific research will be reduced dramatically as most funding for our scientific research comes from the EU. Sure, the funding could come from elsewhere, but how long is that going to take and how much is that funding actually going to be? We leave the EU and we leave scientific research behind. Moreover, those who just say 'well, she can go and work in Europe', well yes of course she could if our right to live and work in the EU wasn't being taken away too!!

We marched for the young people who didn't have a choice and the future scientists who will struggle to find jobs, but we also marched in solidarity with the EU citizens living in the UK and the UK citizens leaving the EU whose futures at home with their loved ones are in jeopardy. We marched with the business owners who will be economically affected by the falling pound and we marched because first and foremost we care a hell of a lot about what's going to happen in the years to come.

I did end up on my political soapbox a little bit there, but it's true and I won't stop going on about it anytime soon so don't expect me to. We may not make any difference to the overall decision but we can at least let the government know how annoyed we are about it!!

Alright, that's me done, so I'm going to leave you with some pictures from the day and this: Bollocks to Brexit.

Emilia xx




For those who don't know, this is Dr Mike Galsworthy, he's a big pro-EU activist in the science world, hence why Jess was so excited to meet him!!