29 Dec 2016

2016: Shit or Lit?

Well...fuck. What a year it's been. A year filled with death, political stupidity and bloody good music 2016 has had pretty much everything. Even from a personal perspective, this year has been mental. I've worked three jobs (one of which I was made redundant), I've moved house and I've worn pink trousers. With that being said I've decided to try to see the positives and negatives of this year to create this post, let's get into it!

Positives of 2016

After the duff hand we've been dealt this year, you'd think that looking for positives would be difficult. But lets not kid ourselves there's been some amazing things to happen in 2016. Let's look at the music for example. Frank Ocean (Frank freakin' Ocean) treated us to not 1 but 2 albums and they were both biblical. Endless and Blonde are follow ups to Channel Orange which have been 4 years in the making and in hindsight, it was worth the wait. All I ask is that Frank doesn't disappear off the face of the planet once again. Kanye dropped The Life Of Pablo which was definitely one of the best albums of year along with Colouring Book by Chance The Rapper and A Seat At The Table by Solange. But the best album of the year was Malibu by Anderson. Paak. Oh man I can't put into words how much I love this album but what I will say is that everyone has to listen to this work of art at least once. If you're interested in seeing my favourite songs of 2016, here's my playlist!

Other positives of the year were Stranger Things on Netflix and of course, Planet Earth 2. I am such a sucker for David Attenborough documentaries and this series was just so perfect. It was honestly some of the best TV I've seen and who can forget the iguana being chased by snakes?

My personal highlights of the year have to be attending London Fashion Week, seeing Chance The Rapper in Brixton and Wales' performance in Euro 2016. If there was one moment from 2016 that I could relive again it would be Wales vs Belgium and specifically THAT goal from Hal Robson-Kanu. And you know what? I actually cried when Wales won. Is that sad? I don't care because Wales' football team have been shit for years way before I was born and it was amazing to see us do so well finally.
I also bought a lot of new clothes and had a fair few pieces from Vivienne Westwood given to me as part of my uniform when I worked there. To fuel my narcissism, here's some of my favourite looks from the year.

Negatives of 2016

Hold on to your hats kids, because this could be long. First of all let's just get to the celebrity deaths. Jesus Christ there was so many. Prince, Muhammad Ali, Carrie Fisher, George Michael, Pete Burns, Ronnie Corbett, Terry Wogan and sooooooo many more. It's been horrendous! The worst part of it all is how they were all so important to their craft and how they changed the way thought. Prince presented himself as a mysterious androgynous male, something that was unheard of at the height of his fame and he shaped the rebellion against conservative music ideals. Muhammad Ali was a sporting great who will be remembered for his showmanship and his willingness to speak his mind on issues that were traditionally ignored like his opposition to the Vietnam War. I think 2016 will be year most people remember as the year we lost so many icons. 

To make matters worse, America really outdid themselves this year by electing Donald Trump as president. That still sounds weird. A campaign based on hate and misogyny led to Trump's victory and I still find it hard to believe that 53% of white women voted for Trump. This is the man who openly mocked a disabled journalist, who claims groping a woman is not sexual assault and plans on building a wall to stop Mexicans entering America. Aaaaaand if you thought it couldn't get any worse then just remember that Mike Pence will be vice president. Mike Pence is someone who is in favour of allowing businesses to refuse service to people of the LGBT community, someone who believes abortion is a sin and someone who believes you can 'cure' gay people with shock treatment. Well done America!!

From a personal perspective, 2016 has been pretty null to be honest. 4 days before Christmas my nan died which obviously is shit. I'm not one to dwell on this kinda thing but yeah it's shit. 
My social life (or lack of) was pretty dull too. I'm not kidding I think I must've had about 5 nights out this year so in 2017 I think I'll try and shake off my introvert shackles and maybe go out a bit more as that's what you're supposed to do in your 20's right? 

With all that being said, at least we made it through 2016! Let's see what 2017 has to offer! 


11 Dec 2016

Quarter Life Crisis - Am I Having One?

You've heard of the mid life crisis, of course you have. It's that time in an adults life (usually between 40-50) where they trade in their Citroen Xsara Picasso for a Harley Davidson and get a tattoo of a snake coming through the eyeball of a skull. The mid life crisis is much publicised and well recognised pretty much worldwide, but the quarter life crisis is a lot less prominent. Is a quarter life crisis even a real thing? In a nut shell yes, but there's so many different factors which could contribute to your quarter life meltdown!

The first one being the constant questioning of what you're doing with your life. Back in the day it was easy to know what you were doing with your life. The general expectation of ones life was to have a family, career and home by the age of 25. Back then of course it was easier to jump from job to job. These days however, leaving a job is a massive risk. The constant reminder of 'a job is a job' is whispered into your ear if you're unhappy with your current work life and a lot of people are happy to suffer through their unhappiness in the hope that all will turn out well. The positive sign here though is that Millennials seem to have a different approach to life, where happiness definitely comes first. With the shit we've been dealt the last 10 or so years (housing crash, double dip recession, Trump etc) it's no wonder our generation has started to try and shift the gears and take a different approach to life. I've tried my best to adopt this mindset in recent months and I finally managed to sack off retail and have now settled into a much nicer and better job! After so many years in retail I think I owe it to myself to reprogram my brain into putting myself first.

The second thing that could contribute to a quarter life crisis is comparison. By this I mean comparing yourself to other people your age. This is such a toxic habit and definitely something I wouldn't recommend doing. As harsh as it is, there's always someone from school who's doing better than you: they've got a better job, nicer car and they've just got engaged. That's not a problem though. The thing I've learnt in the last few years is that everyone has different motives and goals so some people progress faster, they get what they want faster than you but that's ok. If anything we should be encouraging each other to reach our goals and wishing each other the best. Your twenties/thirties are too short to be getting jealous of other people and these are the best years of your life (so I've been told) so why not focus on yourself and enjoy it while you can!

The third thing and what I think is the most relatable sign of a quarter life crisis is not having anything in common with your friends from school/university anymore. From the ages of about 16-25 you meet a lot of new people from different circles like education and clubbing but the majority of people are temporary. This 9 year time span is the time in peoples lives where their interests dramatically change, they go from loving certain things to absolutely having no interest in it at all. For me it's probably been football. A lot of my friends were made at Cardiff City & Wales games but in recent years my interest has declined and I've got different priorities like my blog. These days I'd prefer to spend my money on nice food or going for coffee rather than going to the football in the pissing down rain, surrounded by the smell of football farts and pasties. Not to say that I don't enjoy football anymore, I loved Euro 2016 and I'll still watch Match Of The Day but I'm just less active in the social aspect of football. I was going to the football since I was 13 and since then obviously my hobbies and interests have changed and so has my friend group.

My final point would probably be the realisation that there's no such thing as a perfect outcome. I don't know anyone my age who's fully content with how everything has turned out, or anyone of any age for that matter. When I was younger I imagined by the age of 25 I'd be on the property ladder, I'd have a French Bulldog and I'd be wearing a suit everyday. And to be honest I couldn't be further away from that! I rent a flat, I don't have a dog and I still dress like a child but I'm ok with that. The moment I stopped telling myself I had to have certain things at a certain age was when I decided to just roll with it. Take today for example: I've been out of my house all day by myself and I've been to the museum, gone for a coffee and managed to write this blog post. A while back my Sunday's would have been spent dying in bed with a hangover, regretting everything and having the bitch that is Monday looming over my shoulder. Those days are behind me I think as I've realised that booze is the devil and drinking just makes me depressed.

So how do you prevent going through a quarter life crisis? Stop caring about what other people think for a start. I genuinely think this is so important. I used to be so shy about blogging and being open on social media because I thought people would just laugh behind my back, especially because blogging has this weird stigma behind it. When I tell people I blog there's often a little sneer or a grin that says "really?'. A lot of people think it's about getting free stuff or just eating smashed avocado but there's a lot more to it. There's a real community feel between bloggers and recently I've found fellow male bloggers to be really supportive.

Another way to avoid falling victim to a quarter life crisis is to switch off. I've been guilty of becoming being sucked into worrying about the smallest of things for every minute of the day but you owe it to yourself to have some time out. Instead of checking your emails and scrolling through Instagram, get yourself a Dominos and have a Netflix marathon. Switch your phone off and watch the whole of Stranger Things in one sitting. It's worth it (not only for your mental health but also because Stranger Things is the best thing I've watched this year.)

I hope this helps anyone who reads it but in all honesty it's been good to get if off my chest!

(This is me dressing like a child, not giving a fuck)


3 Dec 2016

The Alternative Christmas Playlist

Ah, Christmas. The time of year where we all come together and rejoice in the birth of Jesus. The time of year where all differences are put aside and where everybody spreads the Christmas cheer....Absolutely no chance! Aside from in the movies I don't know anybody who sticks to traditional Christmas customs, in fact most people I know do things that would make The Baby Jesus cry.

Undoubtedly, the most annoying Christmas tradition has to be Christmas music. Surely I'm not the only one who's sick of hearing Slade, Mariah Carey and The Pogues year after year? This is why I'm here to bring you an Alternative Christmas Playlist that will be sure to perk up your Christmas spirits without having to listen to a song about a couple having some bad luck over Christmas!

Have a listen to the playlist below and here's to a Merry Alternative Christmas