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19 things 2019 taught me

From such a chaotic Year surely I must have learnt something? hmm….

  1. Some people are arses and that my friend is their problem, not yours.
  2. You can completely disagree with someone’s opinion & beliefs but still love/like them
  3. Sometimes it’s necessary to take a breather from people & places
  4. Being/doing things alone is great – having an identity independent of anyone else is really important
  5. Don’t take criticism from people that you wouldn’t ask for advice
  6. Planning is important, but you can’t plan everything – some of the best things (especially nights out) occur when you don’t expect them
  7. Always carry a coat – being ill without your mum is not great
  8. Blue hair is a nightmare to get rid of – I recommend red food colouring in conditioner
  9. My dad was right, walking is low-key kind of fun
  10. Some people will go their entire Uni lives without cleaning or tidying up after themselves
  11. Don’t have just one type of friend – have the hard-workers, the laughers, the kind, the sarcastic.
  12. Fake tan with a kitchen sponge if mitts are in short supply
  13. Be realistic – is it actually an issue or am I blowing it out of proportion?
  14. Your parents can learn things from you too
  15. Within reason, do things that scare you
  16. Let yourself not be okay
  17. There is power in silence
  18. Don’t drink on an empty stomach
  19. Second Year is a motivation vacuum

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Dear Me in Five Years,

Right now you’re surely surrounded by a handful of sausage dogs in a flat with fifty windows, about to leave to go to work at a publication you adore; that makes people’s lives a little lighter with their work.

What are my hopes for you? You should still be surrounded by good people, those that supported and elevated you. You’re good at spotting the kind ones, that have you laughing until you’re in pain. However, perhaps by now you’ve left behind those silent allies, the ones that come to you when it suits them.

I’m optimistic that you’ve gained confidence in your abilities, putting aside the fear of being seen as disagreeable. Instead, write with pure intent and purpose.

Are you giving back to those that gave so much to you? Like Mum and Dad, the friends that let you confide in them at 3 am or the memorable teachers who always preached about your potential.

You’ve always been your harshest critic, I expect you’re finally making yourself proud. Continuing to build the life for yourself you’ve always talked about. Nevertheless, let’s hope you’ve dropped worrying about things that are out of your control.

If you’ve ended up not doing everything your 19-year-old brain envisaged that’s alright, maybe your tastes and ambitions changed. Perhaps life got in the way, as long as you’re moving forward in some way that’s all that matters.

Love, Mimi

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What does it mean to be a woman?

“What is the greatest lesson a woman should learn? That since day one, she’s already had all she needs within herself. It’s the world that convinced her she did not.” – Rupi Kaur

When do I feel like a woman?

I feel like a woman when I park my car perfectly straight into a space, without having to readjust its position. I feel like a woman when I put food in the oven and it doesn’t end up with a charcoaled taste. I feel like a woman when I whack out an assignment, well before its deadline.  I feel like a woman when I yell “Yasssss Queen!” at one of my friends or visa versa, for picking a particularly good outfit to go out clubbing in.

I feel like a woman when I am at my strongest.

For me, calling myself a woman still has a funny ring to it.  I realise I am no longer a girl yet a lot of the time, I feel as if the title of ‘woman’ is like a jumper I am waiting to grow into.

I believe I am still transitioning into myself, but then when aren’t we? None of us are the finished article, and I always believe there is room for improvement.

 That said, I can talk about what I have learnt so far in my transition into womanhood, and what I believe describes it best. To me, three words instantly strike me when I think about being a woman. These three words are perseverance, strength and acceptance which I think all go hand in hand.


As humans, only good can come when we persevere. As women, the seemingly unimaginable can and has happened. Female’s perseverance is littered throughout history and although we are not completely equal to men across the world, we would not be experiencing the freedoms we have today without it. 

The most impactful movement that comes to mind when considering perseverance was ‘the right to vote’  in the 1900’s; which was campaigned for by The Suffragettes. These women radically campaigned for their voices to be heard and were willing to be abused, imprisoned and even die for their cause. This suffrage was a huge trigger for the waves of female liberation that stretched across the 20th and 21st Centuries. 

This meant that women could now own property, manage their own money and almost speak their minds in the same way that men had always been able to.However,  I’m in no way suggesting that we all take such extreme tactics to reach our goals, often we don’t need to.

However, I believe it is incredibly important to recognise why in western society we now have the freedoms we do. Personally I use The Suffragettes movement, to inspire me to fight for what I believe in and use the power they helped me to gain.


“The best protection any woman can have is courage!” -Elizabeth Cady Stanton

In order for women to persevere, we need strength. Strength of character does not come easily for a lot of people. We must analyse our deepest beliefs and truths  to find it, we must stick to our causes and understand that we can achieve anything we put our mind to.

My strength comes from my belief that God is always with me and helping me fight my battles. He gives me my badass strength and this is a big part of why I have such a strong sense of self. 

On top of this, I constantly remind myself of all I’ve achieved and tell myself “I am strong, I am powerful, I am capable”. When we find our inner strength, we are prepared to own who we are, and laugh in the face of discouragement. 

We respect ourselves and recognise what precious individuals we are. We become a force to be reckoned with. I believe one woman with might, is stronger than a thousand of the world’s strongest men. Physical strength can weaken and die, but inner strength is eternal.


The third quality I believe is prevalent in femininity is acceptance and sometimes the lack of it. Growing up, I like many women struggled with body image. I’ve been fortunate enough to have never had it overtake my eating and behaviour, but I am aware I am blessed for this not to have not been the case. It has been a battle to accept my body for what it is, constantly poking my wide hips and begging them to shrink. 

The main culprit for this is comparison. 

I was always taller and wider than my friends in primary school, developing early and all at once unlike my friends at school. During sixth form, I struggled with standing next to my slimmer friends in photos. I had an issue with not being like everyone else when the fact is none of us are the same. Above all, I’ve wrongly spent most of my life believing (whether I admitted it or not) that my value was found in my clothes size; when in actual fact it is in my character. This is why the last quality is acceptance.

I want to invite my fellow sisters to learn to accept their bodies for what they are. They are all beautiful, strong homes for our souls to rest in. None is more homely than the other, they all are created specifically for the person who lives inside. 

We must learn to love and cherish our bodies for what they are, our safe havens just for us. Even if we upsize or downsize, the thing that makes our homes so great is that who lives inside.

This said we must not peg acceptance as our entire female experience. We must accept ourselves and not accept the poor circumstances we are often put into. We must speak up for when our ‘safe havens’ are taken advantage of, and when the person inside is being belittled. We must realise that our ‘houses’ are ours and only to be shared with another on our invitation. 

Georgia Peach

Guest Blogger Instagram – @geeepeach

Georgia is a nineteen-year-old student from Bournemouth, who is about to begin a Bachelor’s degree in Paramedic Science at Bristol UWE (University of the West of England) this September.

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The Whole Spine Yards

It might be that you’re interested in having a nose about why I’ve got a titanium rod in my spine, or maybe you’re in the 2-3% of people who actually have Scoliosis; if that is you then I hope at least to provide you with some reassurance. 

In November, it will have been five years since I had my ‘spinal fusion’ surgery, in which a lot of complex and confusing things were done to my spine whilst I was in a heavily sedated nap.

In hospital chit chat, this involves ‘two or more vertebrae’ being ‘joined together to stabilise, strengthen and straighten the spine.’ Sounds like good fun doesn’t it!

13-year-old Mimi was absolutely terrified, what seemed to have started as just classic symptoms of a growing teenager worsened into much more. 

Small twinges developed into overly prominent shoulder blades, a crooked back and an unaligned body. Shooting pains down my spine and shortness of breath really popped the cherry on top of an already body-conscious teenage girl’s cake. 

Everyone around me was fantastic, taking me to see countless doctors, nurses and specialists; but frustratingly no solution seemed to be materialising. 

We began to understand this was more than the poor posture of a lazy 13-year-old girl. My mum was left feeling “helpless and frightened” in the absence of a diagnosis. 

Thinking back to that experience, I feel a bit heartbroken for little Mimi remembering how hideous I felt. The cycle of repeatedly having to undress for doctors, to just hear ‘umm’ and ‘ah’ over my wonky bod. Actively choosing to wear baggier clothes to avoid questions or comments.

After a painstaking amount of time, along came Doctor Davies. He provided us with an answer to all our questions, I had ‘scoliosis’ defined as an ‘abnormal lateral curvature of the spine.’ Refreshingly he was a man with a plan, which entailed the recommendation of an operation shortly after that consultation. 

Whilst it was explained what this could encompass, I naturally feared the worst. I created a little bubble of hysteria around myself. A ridiculous Google search continued to fuel the fear, the sort of search that would have a person with a headache thinking their head was about to momentarily fall off. 

If this wasn’t feeding the fear enough, I began to watch YouTube vlogs from people undergoing the same operation. 

Tension around the Op began to build as they consistently moved in back in the calendar. However, they did apologies by placing me in Southampton Spire, a private hospital in which I must have been the youngest patient by about 30 years. 

The day came – upon arrival, I was changed into a rather glamorous backless number. I was given cannulas, checked over and given a mandatory pregnancy test. 

The last part of that day I recall was being put to sleep, chatting away to the anaesthetist. Mum remembers everything about that day, “Her dad and I took her down to theatre. We held her hands while she slipped into sleep. We both left crying, she held her cuddly toy tight.”

“It was a long wait. The waiting hurt. When we saw her next she was unconscious in Intensive Care, pale, gowned up, tubes everywhere. She was very sick from the anaesthetic.” 

That day is a complete blur in my mind, however, the week that followed is etched in my memory. It was f*cking horrible. 

Everything had gone swimmingly but the pain was unimaginable, as the correction had been so intense my body was fighting to keep up and adapt. 

Without sounding like a small baby, the process of recovering included sitting up, then standing and finally walking. All which took far longer than expected, even keeping food down was a challenge which is laughable if you know me. 

In true Mimi fashion, I’d packed an entire suitcase of outfits to wear for the duration of my stay, which remained untouched. Those around me couldn’t believe how straight I looked, but I couldn’t quite un-see my old self just yet. 

The new Mimi had a huge scar down her back, had to be held up in the shower and taken to the toilet by her mum. 

I thought I had a newly found hatred for my back in the aftermath of it all, but in hindsight, I think I just associated it with a temporary loss of independence. 

As days turned into weeks and weeks morphed into months, I got back to being as healthy as possible. In the midst of puberty, a dodgy spine was one bodily change I would have happily done without. 

Now I’ve got a pretty lovely back, that creaks when it gets cold. I was naïve to think an operation would eradicate all the negative ways I felt about my body. But five years on, I love my scar.

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Nine Films You Must Watch

Recently the world has become rather obsessed with blockbusters and the media is constantly throwing around the word ‘Box Office’ and it seems that a certain percentage can decide whether the film will be a success or a total flop.

However, I wish to avoid using those words. Instead offering a list of films that I personally believe you have to see before you die, despite some of these films being considered flops due to the money they made. The following list is in no particular order.

The Matrix: Starting off with a bang, the 1999 hit takes audiences on a green-tinted philosophical, action-packed journey that fails to hit the breaks once the blue pill has been taken. The Matrix has the ability to make audiences question their own very existence whilst also having amazingly choreographed moments including; the notorious bullet time sequence, and set shattering fight sequences. The Matrix tends to have some form of tainted view when people first hear of it, this is because of the sequels that I certainly do not recommend. The first instalment is able to perfectly stand up on its own two legs. A cast filled with the likes of Hugo Weaving, Lawerence Fishbourne and Keanu Reeves, paired with the films ability to quash the stereotypical ‘childish science fiction’ mould this is one film you do not want to miss out on.

Photo credit to Radio times

Love, Rosie: A little hidden gem that my girlfriend showed me during date night. Love, Rosie is the modern generation’s answer to Bridget Jones. A timeless classic that is able to capture the highs, lows and outright embarrassing moments we all face when it comes to love. I am not normally a fan of rom coms as this list is proving to show, but Love, Rosie is different. It’s not trying too hard to be relatable and it does not reach a point of absurdity that it becomes a comedy (more on that a little later). Love, Rosie instead fits in a rare almost impossible to reach sweet spot. It is able to entice audiences into this world that we are all but too familiar with, as Rosie struggles to find ‘the moment’ with her special someone. Love, Rosie is certainly a film you do not want to miss out on.

The Shawshank Redemption: I mean is it really a top ten list of films without mentioning this astonishing film? There is very little that I can say about this film that hasn’t already been said a thousand times before. Shawshank Redemption is a moving piece of film, that is able to lecture young teenagers on the world of prison, whilst conveying the difficulty of maintaining morals and finding true friendships. Morgan Freeman narrates in the first person, with each sentence perfectly matching what is being shown. The acclaimed book is brought to life in a true adaption that will last generations. A truly emotional journey that brings a tear to everyone’s eyes.

Bridesmaids: Earlier I mentioned how some rom coms can become so absurd they morph into more of a comedy, this is exactly where Bridesmaids fit. A romantic comedy that is so absurd that it will have you laughing from start to finish, especially at the cast which stars SNL icons Kristen Wigg and Maya Rudolph. Bridesmaids follows… well exactly what it says on the tin, as we appear to have the perfect cliche of the best friends wedding. Yet somehow everything that could go wrong does in spectacular fashion. Friends fall out, get beyond smashed on a plane and a certain incident involving dodgy Mexican food has to be the most iconic scene of the entire film, I’ll leave it to your imagination and not go any further with that! The film makes sure that the comedy isn’t the sole focus, we learn that Annie once owned a cupcake restaurant that closed down, audiences get to see how hard this had hit her. With the mix of comedy and relatable hard times for the audience, Bridesmaids is one romantic comedy that you would be a fool to miss out on.

Blade Runner: Philip,K. Dick’s iconic novel comes to life with this Ridley Scott adaptation in Blade Runner. Starring Harrison Ford, with spectacular visual effects the bigger the screen you have the better. Ginormous sets that will transport you to a whole new world, however for once this world is not desirable as we take to the slums of the future in all its gritty and grimy glory. This sci-fi icon will leave you questioning the idea of morality and what is it that makes a human human. The philosophical themes and iconic villain mean Blade Runner is the Godfather of the sci-fi genre. Evidently inspiring future directions for generations, you aren’t a true fan of science fiction till you have seen Blade Runner.

Shrek: Now you might be reading this and thinking “has this man lost it?”, well hear me out! Shrek is just simply one of those films that you have to see. If you have made it this far in life without even hearing about this film I would be shocked. The Dreamworks classic is the perfect mixture of dumb comedy for kids and hidden innuendos for older audiences. The story is simple enough, rescue the princess from the dragon and marry her to break some curse. Now, what Shrek does is take this cliche and become so self-aware that it becomes absurd as we see classic fairytale characters reference modern pop culture. The story behind the making of this film is simply incredible, the writers were all fired from Disney and instead went onto work for Dreamworks. The ill feeling towards Disney is certainly obvious once you know the backstory, adding even more to the humour. Starring Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz, Shrek is one you must see or even rewatch before you die.

Iron man: I mean…just how can you not have seen this film. If you have only seen one of the new Marvel films ( The MARVEL Cinematic Universe) then you need to see where it all began in 2008 with Iron Man. The Godfather of this incredible cinematic project. Iron Man in a simple origin story in which we see the return of Robert Downey Jr after a rough patch in his personal life. This films successful use of comedy, action and incredible acting, though a risk allowed it to do something that hadn’t been achieved before. Again, there is very little I can say about this film that hasn’t been said before, but what I will say is that Iron Man has plenty of appeal for true comic book fans and even those that just want to kick back and enjoy the action. So kickstart your journey into this now 22 film franchise by going where it all began and you will not be disappointed.

The Shining: One of the first psychological horror based on Stephen King’s book, Stanley Kubrick takes the audience on a twisted journey that is so iconic, I would be amazed if you hadn’t heard of this gem. Following the Torrance family, as they move into a hotel hidden in the Alps to look after it. Their bonds are tested as we see the sanity of one man ( Jack Nicolson) crumble as the spirits that haunt the hotel, tormenting him in the process. It is discovered that the family’s son Danny has psychic powers – called ‘the shining’. Twists and turns take the audience into a hedge maze, not knowing what is going to happen next. So enter room 237 and go on a journey you will never forget but may regret.

Star Wars: A New Hope – A more personal one for this list as I have spent many hours watching this film again and again, yet it still remains timeless. A true Sci-Fi classic following the adventures of Luke Skywalker and his friends fighting against the Empire. Star Wars: A New Hope is the perfect stepping stone into this galactic franchise. It is certainly one that all families should watch as you get transported into this galaxy full of terror and excitement. I could spend hours talking about this film but I shall leave it at this, Star Was is the perfect escapism. You will find yourself cheering for the good guys as you travel to a galaxy far far away.

Matthew Cox

Guest Blogger

Originally from Birmingham, Matthew moved to Bristol in September of 2018. After finishing his first year of Broadcast Journalism, Matt is venturing into the world of film making for the upcoming academic year.

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The Four Stages of University

My apologies I’ve been M.I.A recently, truth be told I’ve been in a bit of a slump. You’ll know the one, in which doing anything feels like it’s going to drain all your energy. I’ve been living in a constant rotation of working, sleeping and trying to enjoy the beginning of my summer, somewhere in between it all. My parents will tell you I’m a big one for beating myself up when, unsurprisingly, I fail to juggle every aspect of my life. However, this time around I’m starting to understand no one really has their shit together.

At some point in the middle of your 10th bout of hysteria of the day, you’ve got to just stop, take a breath and cut yourself some slack. I’m under no illusion that being a student is the most stressful or challenging time you can experience in your life, but it’s definitely a shock to the old system. Whilst I’d allowed the loathing I felt towards A-Levels to seep into my expectations, in reality, Uni has made me realise that I’m not limited to a lifetime of academic averageness after all.

There are Four Stages of University that most, if not all, students will experience. These emotions stirred up by this big life adjustment can happen at any time, in any order and occasionally all at the same time. These stages are anxiousness, happiness, feeling homesick and residing in limbo.

The months building up to receiving your A-Level results and moving into your new home are concealed by a thin layer of anxiety. The looming fear of failed exams, horrible flatmates and not having your parents around when you’re cooking spag bol for the first time. In some instances, your anxious thoughts will befit what follows. You may end up living with people that don’t do their share of the cleaning, those that leave their dirty dishes strewn across the counters; or those that have been so spoon fed by their doting parents that the word ‘cleaning’ is bordering on a foreign language.

These initial waves of anxiety subside and are replaced by a staggering sense of happiness. This is probably your first solo mission, an opportunity for a fresh start. You’ll go to some great, good and awful places with new friends and inevitably spend more of your student loan than you should. As a person that deeply enjoys planning her life out, this was the first time I had no choice but to go with the flow. It would be impossible to meticulously organise something that involves that many people, it’s weirdly freeing.

Whether you choose to admit it or not, I believe everyone gets homesick. Even if it’s for the physical house you lived in, the people you lived with, or some kind of pet. There’s always something that will make you miss where you were born and bred.

Next you’re about to enter limbo. You’re going to live between your childhood and the looming reality of adult life, the invisible pressure of learning how to survive in the world; when you really just want to know why you’re learning to live in a world that will be barely recognisable after Brexit.

In this limbo you’ll learn about interests you didn’t know you had, you’ll discover your truest friends and you’ll realise all the adults around you really had no clue what was going on. You’ll struggle to say goodbye to the little you that left mud pies around the house and did Easter egg hunts in the garden. Now it’s official, you’re a grown-up.

I’ve painted a rather traumatic picture, but in reality it’s not. Moving to Bristol was the best decision I’ve made to date. I have made friends for life, produced work I’m proud of and I am slowly learning who I am as a solo entity.

So, thanks First Year you’ve been great.