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19 things I’ve learnt in 19 years

Besides learning the obvious things that every functioning human being should know, these are 19 more obscure things I’ve learnt in 19 years.

1.Do not beat yourself up over things you didn’t do as well as you’d hoped or shouldn’t have done at all. Being angry at yourself will not change anything, just embrace the mistake and learn from it.

2. There is more to life than other people’s opinions.

3. Do not speak to yourself in a way that you would not accept from others. You are the only person you have to spend the rest of your life with, so why don’t you start loving yourself in such a way that other people know what you expect from them.  In the words of the great RuPaul, “If you can’t love yourself how the hell you gonna love somebody else.”

4. Not everyone suits the education system and that’s okay. Don’t let this stop you from harnassing your potential, you’ll find your place. 

5.Hold on to good friends, whilst continuing to make new ones. The people you surround yourself with is so important, they’ll either tear you down or give you the push you need. Same goes for romantic relationships, be with someone that supports your ambitions.

6.Days off are necessary – we’re blood and bones, not cogs and circuit boards. Sometimes what you need is to put your work away, have a nap and go for a walk. 

7. Tell the people you love, regularly that you love them. Our family has had its fair share of health scares, life is very unpredictable so appreciate people whilst you have them.

8. Stroke all dogs, every single one (Unless otherwise instructed by the owner).

9. Your appearance does not equate to your capabilities in other areas of your life. If you don’t want to wear make up, don’t. 

10. Cry often by yourself, with other people, at films – It doesn’t matter just empty those tear ducts. 

11. Laugh loudly at least once a day. 

12. Compliment others

13.Be in the moment, it is easy to become swept up in life. But when you hone in and focus on just being present, you’ll be living in that moment whilst you make it a memory. 

14. If everyone likes you then you’re doing something wrong.

15. Leap at opportunities, if not you’ll remain stagnant.

16.Be inquisitive – Always question everything. In a world where we tend to take everything at face value, it’s important we get down to the nitty-gritty truth of matters. But also, ask people silly questions. 

17. Gin is good for you – health wise maybe not but I’ve always had a great time when gin has been consumed.

18.Making yourself proud is important  – celebrate big and small achievements. 

19. Take photos of everything.

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Why is colourful hair good for the soul?

Women and men are growing tired of the stale and outdated ideals of attractiveness. Increasing numbers of people are deciding to give societal beauty norms the middle finger, by the means of peroxide power. To me coloured hair and piercings are too often equated to a persons intelligence or capability.

I get a weird sense of satisfaction when I’m underestimated on the basis of my looks, it drives me to work harder. In an odd way, I feel bad for those that would not employ, be friends with or have a relationship with someone on the premise of external appearance. You’re limiting yourself to a lifetime of beige.

In 2015, Returnofkings.com wrote a painfully inaccurate article. Illuminating their readers to “5 Reasons Why You Should Never Date A Girl With Dyed Hair”. Laughably, these reasons included 1) ‘They’re attention whores’ 2) ‘They’re impulsive’ 3) ‘They’re ugly’ 4) ‘They’re useless’ 5) ‘They’re degenerate leftists’.

“You need to think of your employment prospects.”

” Coloured hair is a turnoff. I prefer women to have a more natural look.”

” Why’d you do that to your poor hair?”

Meg Moore

“Coloured hair is exciting because it changes how you look, especially as I have blue eyes I feel like the colours I choose definitely bring them out. I feel confident being able to control these things and that I am able to make myself stand out visually how I choose to. I think in a small way it is a rebellion, not against my parents or anything but in an attitude because I am being different from the norm, even though lots of people have coloured hair.

Meg Moore @megmoor_e

I don’t like being looked at particularly but I think it makes me feel like by looking at me people know that I like difference and that by me having something different about me, I could be more accepting of others difference. I’ve become more aware of the disadvantages since having to think about a job and that something so trivial may affect my chances which is silly as I am still equally as capable but I think it’s still revealing my privilege bc some people don’t get jobs based on hair or looks that they can’t change such as colour of skin. On the other hand it’s just sick to have vibrant hair.” – Meg Moore, Basingstoke

Kila Caprani @kilagcaprani

“Basically for me having coloured hair is another way that I can express myself and feel more confident – and I find when I’m confident in myself I become so much more sure of myself and project my whole personality to people which I think is 100% good for the soul. Makes self love a much easier thing to aim for when you know you’re giving your truest self to people and that they love you for it! ” – Kila Caprani, Hull

“Colour runs through us, through mundane everyday tasks, through every journey you take and every decision you make. From the colour of the background on your phone screen, to the constant argument with your partner about the ideal colour of a cup of tea. Whether it’s through clothing, home decor or the shade of your hair, colour is one of the most obvious forms of self expression.

Ellie Martin @effiej

The colours we chose allow us to express who we are, tell our own personal stories and allow us to access our inner creativity. Every human is an artist in their own right and every artist has a story to tell. Changing up your hair once in a while with a colour that you feel really represents you, might give you the confidence you need to make other more serious life changes or simply just to hold your head up high as you walk down the street. 

I know it worked for me and as five wise women (and a whole lot of song writers) once said, ‘spice up your life’, you might enjoy it.” Ellie Martin, Salisbury

Ebony Palmer @_ebonypalmer

“Coloured hair is good for the soul because it made me the most confident I had ever felt, I felt radiant in colour, I didn’t want to feel like a plain Jane.” Ebony Palmer, Bournemouth

Milly Struthers @millystruthers1

“Coloured hair is good for the soul as it regenerates it, when ever I’m having a bad time I usually change my hair up for a fresh start and to get over with the problem I’m dealing with.” Milly Struthers, Poole

“I feel coloured hair is good for the soul because its another avenue in which allows you to express yourself. People experiment with hair colours for many reasons but personally I enjoy the freedom it gives me and the fact that it indirectly forces me to change my style I.e clothing from time to time in order to fit which ever colour I’ve chosen. People always have something to say about someone’s appearance so I think dying your hair, like other avenues of identity, is just another way of being yourself and sticking it to everyone else” Tiger Broughton, Brighton

Tiger Broughton @_tigerrose

Dear Returnofkings, 1) We’re not looking for anyones attention, we’re trying to love ourselves. 2) Yes, perhaps impulsive but why is that a problem? 3) None of us asked you to find us attractive 4) Are we useless? We’re artists, lawyers, dancers, doctors and students. 5) That my friends is a colossal assumption, founded on the basis of what information? Our political allegiances are none of your concern.


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Heidi Loughlin: “I won’t give up on life till it gives up on me.”

Looking at Heidi Loughlin you’d never fathom the pain this woman has withstood. But Heidi is a mother, finding strength when it seems in scarce supply is what they do. An effortlessly likeable character, whether it’s her excrement anecdotes, fiery nature or refreshing honesty that gets you; she’s a woman you won’t be wanting to forget. 

Heidi Loughlin – Ex-Metropolitan Police Officer

In 2015, she was diagnosed with incurable inflammatory breast cancer whilst 13 weeks pregnant with her third child. Cancer Research statistics show that 1-5% of breast cancers are inflammatory. Forced to face her own mortality, she channelled her pain into writing. 

This took the form of ‘Storm in a tit cup’, a blog which began as it meant to go on with the first post entitled ‘flamey boob rot and the impending doom’. The frankness of her writing saw the blog grow in recognition, as fellow cancer patients and an abundance of others flooded to read her posts.  

“I’ve met many other cancer patients, that decided at diagnosis that they are going to die and that was it. They fail to remember that we all die at some point, but we live every day until that point. Do not let your fear of what may happen, detract from what you already have or what you want. I will not give up on life until  it gives up on me.

Too often we are afraid to show others our vulnerability, but Heidi showed the world unfiltered grief. In the worst moment, possible in any parent’s life. Losing a child. 

Eight days after she prematurely gave birth, Heidi and her husband Keith said goodbye to their daughter Ally. “When my daughter died, I felt all the fight drain out of me. I have an incurable cancer diagnosis, but her death was what made me want to stop trying. That was the initial shock and grief. It took me some time to regain control by focusing on my two other children, but that’s what keeps me going today. That, and my unrivalled stubbornness.” 

In the midsts of heartbreak, Heidi decided to give her all into preventing others from feeling this same loss. After losing her own daughter to an infection, Heidi’s gloves’ were created; intending to reduce chances of infections spreading in Neonatal Units. Plans for which began in June of 2018, they are aiming to roll the gloves out to NICUs in the latter part of this year. At the same time, raising funds for numerous Cancer Charities and awareness for inflammatory breast Cancer.

 Clinical Negligence Solicitor, Ceri-Ann Taylor recounts listening to Heidi speaking publicly “I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room come the end.” Continuing she says ”She speaks openly about the loss of her little girl, and her battle with cancer, but has a positivity about her that is truly admirable.”

Heidi’s first book ‘Heidi’s Lifeline’ has just been published, “it’s an autobiography with a twist.  Describing the writing process, she said ” The most difficult part was writing about the death of my daughter. There are no words that can encapsulate the feelings I felt. It’s not that I had reminded myself that she died, of course, she is always in my thoughts, it was the pain of pushing myself to recount every small detail of her slipping away.” The book also “details the experiences of growing up and then how I have dealt with my cancer diagnosis and beyond.”

Heidi’s newest venture sees her once again grabbing a helmet and jumping on a bike saddle. This time with close friends Lady Sarra Hoy and her husband Sir Chris Hoy for a 200 mile coastal cycle. She says “I’m hoping to learn some secret tips that will keep my arse from falling off.” Continuing to explain “I found that horse riding had toned my legs to a reasonable level, but truth be told, no amount of cycling can prepare your rear end for the pain of cycling 200 miles.”

Heidi Loughlin

Writing about Heidi Loughlin has been a challenge, not because there’s nothing to write but on the contrary. She is a person that has experienced more of life than most ever will. It feels ridiculous to say, but as soon as the word Cancer is mentioned; we have a  tendency to walk on eggshells around those diagnosed. But we shouldn’t, I’ve learnt that from Heidi. Her unfathomable strength is contagious and yes, one day life will “give up” on Heidi but she will have lived fantastically.

Heidi’s Platforms:

  • Twitter: @storminatitcup
  • Website: storminatitcup.com
  • Facebook: Storm in a tit cup by Heidi
  • Instagram: storminatitcup
  • To order Heidi’s Lifeline: http://heidischallenge.co.uk/lifeline-book

Other Useful Pages:

Q&A

Q: What is something you’re tired of? 

A: I can’t stand the word ‘journey’ when its related to anything other than someone getting in their car, on the train or walking. I hate it when people refer to parts of their lives as a journey. ‘My cancer journey’, ‘My journey as a parent’ etc. It gets right on my nerves. 

Q: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you? 

A: Pick your battles and bide your time. This is most likely in relation to the previous answer, whereby my lack of control over my mouth can get me in trouble. I have been developing the ability to ‘bank’ things in the knowledge that one day I may get a chance for revenge. I also aware that sometimes I should let things go and focus on the bigger picture. Pick the battles that you know you can win. There is also some sense in allowing others to get there way from time to time.

Q: If you were to be arrested, what would you have done? 

A: As an ex-police officer, I can say there is a fine line between officer and criminal. I’ve definitely broken many laws in my lifetime and yet have never been caught. These days I’d be most likely to wind up in the slammer on a public order offence where I’ve been caught saying something rude to someone. The wrong kinds of people can grate on me sometimes and I’ve never been one for backing down when I feel strongly about something. I’m far too stubborn. 

Q: What is your favourite memory? (From any time in your life) 

A: Other than the predictable (the birth of my 3 children) I’d have to say my first Scuba Dive when I was in Mexico. I thought I had come face to face with a small shark and therefore I swallowed some water in shock but managed to keep calm and not shoot to the surface. As it turns out, it was a dolphin, but I was officially hooked on the underwater world at that point and went on to learn to dive and subsequently became a speciality diver in Thailand. The earth is much more water then it is land and yet many people never think to explore it. 

Q: What is one thing you still have from your childhood? 

A: Until about a year ago, I still had a pair of pants that we almost as old as me and still almost white in colour. Cotton is incredible and grew around my rear as I got wider. I also have my Cabbage Patch doll Jeffrey that is currently enjoying a revival courtesy of my eldest son Noah.

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Joshua Howse-Stuart: Globetrotting Gamer

Joshua Howse-Stuart erupted into the world in 1994, dropped by a stalk in the middle of the “sh*thole” that is Swindon. Before starting his foundation year at University of the West of England, Josh primarily spent his time plane hopping. However, finally making Bristol his permanent dwelling for the next four years he commences on a lengthy Journalism degree.

Original photo Josh’s Facebook – November 2017

Originally a small-town lad, Josh spent his younger years exploring Britain’s nooks and crannies, his favourites being he said: ‘Wales or London, I’d like to move back to London when I eventually can. He said due to: “the busy-ness, I loved the busy-ness”. Josh moved out of his family home at the age of 15, Josh said: “I have a brother and sister, who I speak to regularly, that’s the only contact I have with my mum. My real dad lives in Sweden.”

As such a flamboyant person, it was interesting to see how Josh assesses himself. Unashamedly admitting that he can be “self-centred”, he explained: ‘I think it comes from moving out when I was 15, you know I had to take care of myself’. Suddenly Josh’s burning motivation to progress is explained.

Josh’s passions extend well beyond the realm of Journalism, encompassing his love of gaming and tech too,”I’m a massive gamer, I play for a local Bristol team and the University as well” later he said: “If there’s a new phone coming out I know about it.” Fully kitted out in the newest gaming equipment, forget the Hatton Garden’s heist if you’re a criminal after some gems, pop to Josh’s!

None of this appears to be a surprise, however for an individual that gives the impression of a sociable chatterbox; Josh also revels in time alone, he said:”it’s so cliché but I quite like just nature walks, just on my own though, not with other people, just put some music on and just go and chill out somewhere.”

November 2017 – Original photo Josh’s Facebook

Piecing together parts of Josh, it becomes evident that he is a man of opposites, whilst he appreciates time alone you may also find him boogieing in a huddle of friends at his 21st Glastonbury. Or on occasion you may find him leaving his gaming console at home, to dress to the nines in his button up shirts sipping purple rain in a bar.

It is blatant that Josh is a jack of many trades but primarily an icon, a status confirmed by Josh’s confession that in his foundation year, he and a group of friends in the midst of a drunken weekend he said: “decided to just go to Paris”.

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Counting 100 sheep

My flat mate thinks of a hundred things she’s grateful for before she goes to bed. A hundred is a lot, 20 I’m sure I could rattle off like my favourite foods; but at some point after that I might begin to trail into mumbles. She explained “100 makes you think more because 10 is quite easy.. but 100 stretches you, to think of all the small things you look past and might forget.”

Here’s my list, for when I’m so caught up in the chaos of the world & need a little perspective

1.Parents & Step parents

2. Siblings: blood related and step.

3. Grandparents

4. Extended family

5. Lewis

5. Good friends: the day ones and the newbies

6. Living with a roof over your head

7. Clean drinking water & food in the fridge

8. A brilliant view from the flat’s kitchen

9. Meg buying me her favourite coffee

10. The freedom to say whatever I want

11. Hair dye

12. A cool metal spine

13. The ability to hear

14. The ability to taste

15. Having something to be passionate about

16. My degree

17. Weekly planners

18. The snow

19. The Sun

20. Kind strangers

21. Deep laughs

22. Hot, hot showers

23. Living in Bristol

24. Flowers: From daisy chains to bouquets

25. Coffee: Sorry Dad, it is instant coffee!

26. Notes

27. Thick blankets

28. Not setting an alarm

29. Takeaways

28. Pretty earrings

29. Cocktails

30. Gin

31. A good old Spoons

32. Student discount

33. A well needed cry

34. 10 fingers & 10 toes

35. Magic Stars

36. Dogs

37. Cats

38. Rainy days

39. Good playlists

40. Finishing work well before the deadline

41. Big Jumpers

42. Scary films with Tom

43. Sentimental gifts

44. Late night chats

45. Text Messages

46. A place to always call home

47. Books that make me laugh, cry and angry.

48. Fiery People

49. Weddings

50. Birthdays

51. Parties

52. Watching people do things they love

53. Making lists

54. Paydays

Do schools kill creativity?

55. Ted Talks

56. Memorable teachers

57. Walks: Long or short

58. Fuzzy Socks

59. Hugs

60. Shared experiences

61. People that make you smile from their presence

62. Brutal honesty

63. Poems

64. Power naps

65. Scrapbooking

66. Having more money in your account than you thought.

67. Career Opportunities

68. Audio books

69. Dressing Gowns

70. Photographs: Analogue & Dialogue

71. Peep Show

72. My legs & arms

73. Bruises and scars

74. Chocolate

75. Reasons to get up in the morning

76. Fresh fruit

77. Painting something, anything

78. Eyeshadow palettes

79. Clothes with good memories

80. Sushi

81. Being able to help others

82. Headphones

83. Buses

84. Waking up

85. Contact lenses

86. Umbrellas

87. Good work ethics

88. Second attempts at things

89. Cute Underwear

90. Funny looking animals – Giraffes, Hippos …

91. Weekends away

92. The beach

93. Comfortable silences

94. My bed

95. Doing the impossible

96. Family traditions

97. Bad dancing

98. Holidays

99. Financial security

100. Green Spaces

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Opinion Pieces Posts

A Series For Every Mood

Anyone that knows me well will tell you, I think Peep Show is the perfect series for every mood. However, it is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. I can’t imagine my mum finding Jez eating a Barbecued dog too funny. I’ve put together some suggestions for next time you’re stumped.

Homesick & Anxious: If you’re a student or just generally prone to feeling homesick, these are the perfect Series for you.

  • Friday Night Dinner, Gavin & Stacey, Friends and Outnumbered – Easy watching that gives the allusion of being at home without the irritating bits.
  • Fresh Meat, Bad Education – Can’t go far wrong with Jack Whitehall, he’s the posh friend we all need.
  • Him & Her – So horrifically cringe, you’ll have no choice but to forget about how you’re feeling.

Stress, Sad & Down: Sometimes all you need when you feel awful is to watch something that involves little brain power.

  • Ja’mie : Private School Girl, Summer Heights High -Nothing like a little bit of Aussie humour to brighten your mood, especially when it’s as outrageous as Chris Lilley’s masterpieces. You’ll come away thinking everything’s quiche.
  • Peep Show, Brooklyn Nine Nine – Yes, these two are very different. However, they are some of channel 4’s finest work. Jez’s life coaching is guaranteed to have you feeling better. Brooklyn Nine Nine will make you smile with its strong female characters, a gay man not defined by his sexuality and huge body builder that builds a princess castle for his twins.
  • Queer Eye: What is better than good people doing nice things for deserving people?

Thoughtful & Contemplative: Are you ready for a really good think? You might need a notepad to keep up.

  • Happy Valley, Broadchurch, Making a Murderer and Jonathan Creek-  If you’re ready to follow a complicated plot and aren’t afraid of some horrible deaths watch these crime dramas. Side note – Making a Murderer is based on true events making the gruesome murders even worse.
  • American Horror Story, Sherlock and Black Mirror – These series will have you questioning everything.
  • Peaky Blinders – Tonnes of violence and cracking plots.
  • Tony Robbins ‘I Am Not Your Guru’ – Not for the faint hearted, Tony will probably have you in tears as he opens up one of his world famous seminars to the Netflix cameras.

Happy & Full of energy: In a good mood? Fantastic.

  • RuPaul’s Drag Race, Queer Eye and Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends – You’ll be making all the ooh’s and ahh’s with this bad bunch.
  • End of the F**king World and Good Girls – Watching questionably badly behaved people get into some mischief.
  • Sex Education- Reminisce over your adolescence with this painstaking look at teenager’s sex lives. Giving you the reassurance you need that you’re not alone in your sexual mishaps
  • Rick and Morty and Disenchantment – There are no words to explain Rick and Morty, it is what it is. Disenchantment revolves around the berserk adventures of Princess Beanie taking centre stage.