Blog

Hen and Stag Parties: Outdated and outrageous?

Last night my partner went to his mates Stag Party. They had to dress the Groom up in ridiculous clothing, had beer tasting and watched the rugby (all perfectly acceptable stag activities). Then the stripper arrived. She not only got naked in front of everyone, but encouraged the Groom to do so too, who was very excited about this (it was obvious if you get my drift). All in all, a boys night of celebrating turned into drunken debauchery.

I have never understood why people feel the need to get a stripper for Stag and Hen parties. They’re not selected by the Bride or Groom. It’s always the Best Man or Maid of Honour who organises the Stag and Hen parties. Yet they always seem to get a stripper. I hate this. You’re meant to be celebrating your friend committing themselves to one person in traditional monogamy, and you celebrate this by getting a stripper? Or a prostitute? You would never do this on a normal night out, why the week or two before their wedding, do the friends feel it is appropriate to get a stripper or prostitute? To me it is cheap, dirty, disgusting and basically cheating. I don’t care if they’ve paid for it, you’re still getting excited or getting naked or even doing things to someone who isn’t your future husband or wife. Not only that, the members of the Hen and Stag are basically downing on monogamy (and let’s be honest, it’s usually the single ones who organise strippers), and even saying that marriage is the end of “freedom” or “no sex after the honeymoon”… What is up with that??? Not cool. 

Another thing I can’t stand about Hen and Stag parties is the fact you can only invite one sex to them. I have a lot of male friends, and it would feel wrong celebrating without them! Why should we have to give up half our friends because of some outdated tradition? 

The concept of dressing up stupidly, acting drunken around the town, for no reason, is so pointless in my opinion. Why do we even do it? We are meant to be celebrating our friends or family members getting married, they’re committing their life to one person, and we see this as an excuse to act like a complete drunken idiot, do things that we never would do, and just generally make a fool of ourselves… For what? 

Why not celebrate the person, their interests? Why not take them out for dinner, to get their nails done, for karaoke? Why not have a sleepover? Why not go to a sports match? Why this need for idiocy? And whyyyyyyy this obsession with strippers? 

I will not be doing anything of the sort at my Hen party… And I certainly won’t be happy if my partner has a stripper at his. He wouldn’t either, he isn’t like that. 

Advertisements

The Unseen Youth – My first published article!

I recently had an article published in the University Magazine. I have never felt so proud of myself. It was a double page spread with a cover feature. Here it is for you to read….

As we are all aware, the last 10 years have been fantastic for Queer Rights. We have celebrated the passing of the Marriage Equality Bill, public toilets and changing rooms are making allowances for transgender patrons to use the one that fits their gender identity, and more and more films, television programs and video games are using LGBT characters or relationships to show the diversity of humanity. These break throughs are huge, and significantly affect the lives of the Rainbow Community all over the world. In New Zealand, we are lucky, because we have a much more accepting environment than many other countries. However, there are still groups of people in the New Zealand LGBT community who are completely ignored and put by the wayside. One of these groups are our LGBT teenagers, children and school students.

I am training to be a secondary school teacher with the University of Auckland. One of our mandatory papers involves a lot of discussion about racial and cultural diversity in New Zealand schools and how to address this as a teacher. We have talked about normalising Te Reo in the classroom, and making an environment for Pasifika students that helps them to express themselves. We have expressed how to make all students feel comfortable, no matter where in the world they come from, and making allowances for cultural differences. While all these things are brilliant, as it helps to promote an inclusive environment for all cultures, not once have any of my professors mentioned the Rainbow Community. We have never addressed how to tackle homophobia or transphobia in our classrooms, not once has it been mentioned how to help a student who feels isolated because of his or her sexuality. The Faculty of Education are completely ignoring a fundamental part of being a teenager – our sexuality.

When I was at school, health class was purely about “not getting pregnant”. Nobody discussed what it meant to be LGBT or that this was even normal. As a bisexual teenager, I had no idea if there was something wrong with me, or how I could handle the feelings I had. When I was 15 I got my first girlfriend. We went to the school social together, and danced like all the straight couples did, we kissed during a slow song, like all the straight couples did, and we held hands around school like all the straight couples did. At the social, people stared at us, and laughed. Some people threw lolly wrappers at us. One of the teachers told us to stop kissing. None of the straight couples were told to stop kissing. For the whole year people laughed at us in the corridors, and called me a “dyke” or a “lezza”. My girlfriend’s sister often told me to stay away from her. People did not accept us. Worse still, the teachers did not protect us. The problem is, straight is “normal” and we were not that. Nor were we the type of girls doing it to “get male attention”. We simply were teenagers with feelings for each other – and that (for some reason) was threatening and scary.

I had hoped, with all the break throughs and acceptance movements of recent times, that by the time I got to teaching, LGBT students would be accepted and normalised. I seriously hoped that no children would have to go through what my girlfriend and I had to go through at school.  Yes, teenagers can be horrible to each other, but what is needed is protection by the teachers and normalisation within the school environment. This has never been mentioned in any of my lectures at the Faculty of Education. LGBT teenagers are some of the most at risk groups in our community. According to, a 2009 study, 1/5 LGBT teenagers have attempted suicide and self-harm[1]. These are the students I am going to be teaching in less than a years’ time, yet I have never been told how to deal with this complicated and highly emotional issue. As a woman in the LGBT community, I have more experience and will be able to help any LGBT students with more authenticity than others. But what of those future teachers who have no knowledge or experience of LGBT issues? What of those future teachers who are completely opposed to Queer Rights? What of those teachers going into religious schools? None of these people will have any idea what to do, if faced with an issue surrounding an LGBT student. How can we be well equipped to be good, effective teachers and leaders if we are completely ignoring a huge part of our community?

I want young LGBT students to be able to come to school and not be afraid of what might happen in math class today. I want them to be able to come to me or another teacher and tell me they’re having trouble with bullies or feelings – and I want to be able to help them! Acceptance starts young – we want a generation of young people growing up aware of LGBT and totally ok with it. We are not circus freaks, and it is not a phase. We are dealing with growing up, puberty and feelings just as much as any other teenager. Schools do not accept bullying based on race, so why do so many LGBT students get bullied because of their sexuality? Our schools need to be a safe place, where anyone’s sexuality, gender identity, race or religion is accepted and embraced. The Faculty of Education is turning out thousands of teachers a year, and they need to start addressing the elephant in the room. LGBT students are going to exist – whether they like it or not! It is time we start educating our future educators on the Rainbow Community, and make our schools safe wonderful accepting environments. I would hate to see any child going through what I went through.

Shame on you, Faculty of Education for ignoring this vital information. Get with the times and make the world a better place.

[1] http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/2987987/Suicide-risk-for-gay-bisexual-youth

Gun laws in America – time to make a change

How many more killings, shootings, and gun related crimes is it going to take before America realises there is something seriously wrong with its gun laws. 26 people died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting of 2012 (including 20 children). Since May 21st of this year, there have been 25 Mass Shootings. In those 25 shootings ALONE 29 people have been killed, and 98 injured! In less than a MONTH, more people have been killed or injured in America by a mass shooting, than in the last 50 YEARS in New Zealand.

Many Americans claim their right to bear arms under the Constitution and Second Amendment. Let us not forget that this was written in 1790, just after the American War of Independence. Times were very volatile. The land was still be squabbled over. It suited the American government to arm all it’s citizens when they could, in order to protect the land they had fought 7 years to claim. Times have changed, and so have laws. In 1790 it was legal to own slaves, Native Americans were not considered citizens, women did not have the vote, it was illegal to be homosexual, and the United States was still divided. We no longer follow any of these laws, and the America is United. Why should the USA still be following the law of their “right to bear arms” when all other laws have disappeared? Why is it ok to cherry pick the laws? Once upon a time in Britain, every person of wealth would carry a sword. Disagreements were settled through a pistol duel, and young women were used as bartering tools for marriage. We don’t follow these laws anymore. Why have the laws changed? Because the times have changed. We have progressed as a people, therefore so have our laws.

There are many that may argue, “I could kill you with a hammer, a knife, a frying pan” or “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. Yes, you certainly could kill me with any other object. But a gun is much easier. It is easier to hide behind a gun and shoot me than it is to go up to a bunch of people and bludgeon them with a hammer. Guns make the crimes more accessible and much simpler to perform. As for guns don’t kill people, people kill people… well yes, that is correct. But the gun certainly helps.

Compared with the rest of the civilised world, American gun deaths are 10 times more! In South Korea, where guns are banned COMPLETELY and inaccessible unless you’re in the armed forces, the total deaths, of civilians, by guns is 0%. ZERO. In Spain, it is 0.6%. In Britain, it is 0.2%. In Australia, it is 1%. In the USA it is 10%. TEN PERCENT OF ALL NON-HEALTH RELATED DEATHS IN THE USA ARE GUN RELATED. To top this off, South Korea rates #1 in the world for Education, Britain rates 6th, while America is only, 14th. Lack of guns leads to lack of gun deaths, is in direct correlation with better education.

Still, think American Gun Laws are fine as they are? I certainly do not. How many more massacres is it going to take before Americans realise and change? How many more needless will occur before the USA wakes up? Guns do not protect you. You’re not in the Wild West anymore. It is time to WAKE UP.

Then again… what more can we expect from a country that voted in Donald Trump?

 

 

 

 

 

A MODERN WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MODERNITY How to be a successful, well rounded modern woman in today’s society – without losing your integrity and individuality – Part 5

Food and Eating 

Image result for healthy eating

While there once was a time that women were expected to be able to take care of a house perfectly, this is no longer the case. However, a modern woman should not be completely devoid of home skills. Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City, was completely incapable when it came to being able to clean, drive, cook, look after her own stuff (her computer), and deal with the realities of modern life. She is often named as “the ultimate modern woman”, but I really do not think she is. You should be able to do everything your Mum can do – cook, clean, iron, drive, take care of yourself – as well as network, know how to indulge, be able to hold an intelligent conversation, navigate a gym, be tech savvy, and cope with her own finances.

Cooking

First off, the modern woman can cook. I cannot stress this enough. By cooking I do not mean 2-minute noodles or a microwave meal. I mean actually cook. If a recipe says “sauté onions, then add diced meat” this does not bring her to tears because she knows how to do this. She can prepare a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with appropriate portion sizes. They do not have to be complicated, but she always makes time for it. “I didn’t have time” is not an excuse. My mother worked full-time shift work, raised two kids, a dog and looked after the house and still cooked healthy meals every night. You are capable of doing it too.

Every woman should be able to:

  • Make eggs – hard boiled, soft boiled, poached, scrambled and fried – these will become an ultimate fallback food – plus they are very, very good for you
  • Make spaghetti Bolognese – you don’t have to make your own sauce or your own pasta – things from the supermarket are sufficient – but this is a basic meal that even a 12-year-old should be able to make
  • Prepare a simple stir fry – honey soy is easy because the sauce is made of two ingredients. It is also very healthy!
  • Prepare an entire roast chicken with all the trimmings – this is actually easier than you think – the main motivator is timing – it is literally all prep and timing – then you bung it in the oven and hey presto! A dinner to impress.
  • Make a chicken soup from scratch – healthy, comfort food! A chicken soup for cold days, for getting rid of left overs, for making your children or partner well after they are sick.
  • Bake a simple cake – it can be any cake you like – my favourite is carrot cake – but you should be able to whip it up at a moment’s notice!
  • Have a signature dish – for that time when the in-laws pop by unexpected, for that time that the restaurant you wanted to go to cancelled your booking, for that time when you want to impress! Have a signature dish. Yours could be fettuccine carbonara, steak, and chips etc. anything! But it must be something you’d know how to make with your eyes closed.

Healthy Eating

It seems in the modern world; it is so hard to eat healthily. Not to mention so expensive! Supposedly. However, I believe that with forethought, meal planning, and a strict budget, you can eat healthily and smartly.

  1. Stick to your budget – make a budget and stick to it. Add up as you go how much everything will be as you put it in the trolley. Look for the deals, and opt for the budget brands of basics like rice. If at the end you’ve still got $20 left over – great! Treat yourself. But make sure you’ve got all the basics before you splurge on wine.
  2. Meal Plan – Before you head to the supermarket, plan exactly what it is you intend to eat this week. If possible, get a meal planner and stick it on the fridge so you know what you’ll be eating each night.
  3. Write a shopping list – once you’ve planned your meals, it will be easier to shop, because you know exactly what you are shopping for. Make sure you plan for breakfast and lunch too – I find lunch is one of the easiest places to spend money if you’re unprepared.
  4. Buy fresh and in season – One of the best ways to save money is to buy fresh and in season. Don’t buy strawberries in winter (they will be from overseas and won’t taste very nice) and avoid packet foods wherever possible. Easier said than done. But the best thing to do is to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh meat, fresh fish, unprocessed foods etc. this will help your waistline.

A MODERN WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MODERNITY How to be a successful, well-rounded modern woman in today’s society – without losing your integrity and individuality – Part 4

Style

Image result for style

Yves Saint Laurent said, “fashions fade, style is eternal”. Every single day we are bombarded with “what not to wear”, “what’s hot this season”, “what so-and-so is wearing” and encouraged to “spend, spend, spend”. The result is we end up with a closet full of clothes, most of which we don’t wear, don’t fit or just plain don’t like. The problem is, the world is telling us left, right and centre that “the crochet bikini is in fashion” or “wear skinny jeans, nobody wears flares anymore”, and stating that “orange is the new black” (pun unintended), and we, the proverbial sheep, lap it up. We go out, we buy that crochet bikini, we binge on Orange and we invest in expensive skinny jeans. Never once, do we consider how this fashion may look on our body shape, how it may fit into your closet, or just how goddamn awful said item is? Ever looked at photos of your 15-year-old self and wondered what made you think you looked good in those outfits? Just consider how you’ll feel looking back at what you’re wearing now. Cringe? Maybe rethink that outfit.

“Only buy clothes you plan to keep forever. It’s important to see trends for what they are: a game” Carine Roitfield. 

The most important thing you need to consider when it comes to style is the concept of “personal style”. You need to cultivate your own sense of self that can be channeled through clothing. The second most important thing you need to consider is dressing for your body shape. There is absolutely no point in wearing something that is the wrong cut for your shape. It won’t be flattering, therefore won’t be comfortable. When something is uncomfortable, it will not make you feel confident.

How to Cultivate Personal Style

  • Take from life – what do YOU do on a daily basis. If your life consists of riding horses, tidying up your 3 kids and occasionally going into town for coffee, then Italian leather stilettos and white jeans are probably not the best idea for you. Similarly, if you are a school teacher, you want a wardrobe that suitably fits your job description, but gives you a chance to dress up or down on weekends. It is all about figuring out what works best for your lifestyle.
  • Have a style icon (or two) – This has to be an icon, not an idol – for there is a great difference!! An icon is something that has meaning and devotion – whereas an idol has a power beyond what it actually is – something to be worshipped and emulated. You don’t want a style idol – consider those women who pay millions to look like Barbie – that is what idols create! Having an icon gives you inspiration and something to look towards when you’re stuck. For example, your style icons could be Scarlett Johansson and Marilyn Monroe – because you have similar body shapes and wish to emulate their classic style. However, you do not go the whole nine yards Dita Von Teese pinup girl look – this is about looking for style inspiration, not a costume.
  • Limit your colour palette – We all know people whose closet has no cohesion. They have every colour under the sun, from orange, to pink, to purple, to sparkly, black, red and everything in between. Getting dressed in the morning must be a nightmare. For the best personal style, select two or three main colours that look great on you – be it because they go with your hair, or eyes, or simply because you love them! Then mix it in with grey, black and white in order to balance it out. Everything in your closet should go with each other – if it doesn’t throw it out.
  • Buy quality pieces – Yes, that $12 top from Kmart is so tempting, but how will it fit into the rest of your closet? Will it fall apart after 4 washes? Is the fabric any good? It is best to make informed decisions when it comes to clothes, and spend the right amount on proper things, rather than have lots of cheap or lots of expensive pieces just for the hell of it.
  • Accessories are a girl’s best friend – I have always maintained that you should have signature accessories, things that you would never be seen without. No matter what outfit you’re wearing, you should never be without these accessories. I wear one greenstone hei matau from my partner, a silver watch, and my rings. For me, earrings and bracelets can change, but these things stay constant. Find your own signature accessories, and work them into your wardrobe so that you feel naked without them.

Clothing: The Basics

The best way to ensure that the personal style you are cultivating works for you in the long term is to make sure it fits well. This is one of the absolute most important rules. If something does not fit you properly, it will not look right. Wherever possible get fitted professionally, sales assistants know what they’re doing, and will be able to help find the right fits for you. You can also get things tailored to fit you better if you’re buying off the rack. Never. I repeat, NEVER, buy something with the intention of losing or gaining weight to fit into it. This is a seriously flawed tactic. If it does not fit you properly in the store when you try it on, and you say “well if I just lose 5 kilos here then it will fit”, walk away! There is a difference between tailoring something to be a better fit, like a blazer or jeans and buying the wrong size completely. This is very flawed judgement, yet a lot of women do it. Consider all these things when buying clothes.

Underwear

“Well nobody is going to see it”, “I’m not spending $65 on a bra” etc. We’ve all heard it (and likely said it) before. However, good underwear is the basis of a good outfit. If your underwear fits well and supports you, it will be the beginning of looking and feeling fantastic. If you’re wearing something too small, you’ll bulge out the sides, if you’re wearing something too big, then it will gape and bunch up. You don’t want that. There is nothing worse than a bra that does not fit properly. You may think you know what size you are – but it is estimated that 90% of women are wearing the wrong size bra! Set aside half of your clothing budget for good underwear. Go to a specialist lingerie shop and get fitted by a professional. I believed I was a 16B until I got fitted by a professional and found out I was a 16D – I had been wearing a bra two cup sizes too small for over 3 years! I cannot stress how important this fitting stage is – you will not regret it once you’ve done it. The only thing you will regret is not doing it sooner!

Every woman should have

  • A plain black t-shirt bra
  • A plain nude t-shirt bra
  • A strapless bra
  • A sports bra
  • A variety of sexy, fun or lacy sets that make you feel fabulous

And please, for the love of God, wash your lingerie and underwear (even your sports bras) in a washbag. It helps it to keep its shape and not get stuck around things in the washing machine.

The Wardrobe Essentials

  • 2 x pairs of indigo wash pure cotton jeans – in a cut that suits your shape. Every woman is different, therefore shapes will suit individual bodies. Straight leg is the most classic cut and will suit most people, so if unsure go for straight leg. Don’t stick with the trends – even if they tell you that bleach wash ripped boyfriend jeans are in – they will look outdated in 3 months – not to mention they probably won’t suit your shape.
  • 4 x crew neck pure cotton t-shirts – one white, one black, one grey and one Breton striped – these can be chucked on with anything for any occasion – an ultimate capsule piece
  • 1 x good winter jacket – in a shape that suits you – personally I believe that Trench Coats are the way to go. They’re the ultimate timeless piece and flatter any body shape. However, if a trench just isn’t for you, consider another well-tailored type. It should cost a bomb, but will last forever!
  • 1 x casual jacket – in denim or leather – this you can throw on over anything and it feels and looks comfortable. Again, go for indigo wash – not bleach or coloured. And if it is leather, make sure it is black. Can never go wrong with a classic.
  • AT LEAST 1x Little Black Dress – There is a little black dress for every woman – no matter your shape or size. It will become your ultimate go-to piece. Any occasion, any look, and style – your little black dress will be there waiting for you. You may even have several – variations on a style. But at the end of the day, this is a piece no woman should be without.
  • 2 x black skirts – these will take you from work to, night out in a heartbeat. They should fit well, and be the kind of cut that suits your shape. Some women look best in pencil skirts, whereas others may prefer an A-line shape. These shouldn’t be too short. Because regardless of your shape, short skirts scream “teenage girls at a school dance” not “sophisticated modern woman”.
  • 1 x pair of black pumps – the toe shouldn’t be too rounded or too pointed – it needs to roll with the seasons
  • 1 x pair of black ballet flats – same rules apply here as the black pumps.
  • 3 x cashmere cardigans – in black, white and grey with buttons up – can be used as layers or thrown on over something – completes an outfit all on its own.

What Not to Wear

  • Leggings as pants – unless you are on your way to, or back from a workout
  • Ugg boots – NO. They’re not classy, they’re not sexy, they’re not good. They’re slippers. A grown woman wearing Ugg boots out and about is just sad. Leave these for the 15-year-old girls in Starbucks with their Pumpkin spiced lattes.
  • Workout gear anywhere other than the gym
  • Anything that is too small – squashing yourself into something won’t make you sexier…
  • Matching track suits – are you Paris Hilton from 2003? Just don’t.
  • Anything with a slogan or symbol on it – unless you’re paid to advertise them don’t wear it
  • “Cute” costume style clothes – you don’t want to look like you’re wearing a costume unless you are actually wearing a costume!! Unless you are on your way to a dress up party, a professional Cosplayer or raising funds for charity, there is no reason to wear a costume type outfit out in public.
  • Double denim – I know it is back in fashion, but for how long? Do you really want to look back on yourself in 10 years and wonder why you wore double denim??

Make-Up and Hair

As we all are well aware, make-up and hairstyles are one of the most changing things in fashion. I am sure we all look back at the way our parents did their hair and make-up and wonder why on earth they thought that was acceptable! Mullets? Blue eyeliner? Why!!!!!????? There is a simple way to combat this.

  • Don’t follow fads – heavy lip liner, pink hair, smoky eye etc. are all fashions that come and go. The easiest way to make sure your look doesn’t date is to not follow these fashions.
  • Have your own makeup routine and look – Whether you love having heavy eyebrows, and light simple eye make-up, or winged eyeliner and red lipstick etc. pick a look and stick with it. That way you know exactly what you will wear every day. You can change it up for special occasions etc., but you should have a look that is decidedly “you”.
  • Don’t dye your hair unnatural colours – Pink, blue, green etc. might seem really cool when you first do it but rest assured, it will get very annoying very quickly. People won’t take you seriously. Stick to the natural colours for a classier timeless look.
  • Avoid “modern” hair – the perm was modern in 1982. Now, look at it. The shaved side of the head for women was in for a while in 2010. Now, look at it. All these things that are “modern” date so quickly.
  • Pick a hairstyle that suits you and roll with it for the next 30 years – Pick something that flatters your facial bone structure, the size of your forehead and the colour of your eyes. Pick something practical that will work when you’re sweaty at the gym, but also when you’re in a boardroom meeting. Classic styles include the bob with bangs, the pixie cut, the simple A-line shoulder cut and solid form long hair. None of these will date.

There is always the argument that you could ignore all the rules and do whatever the fuck you want… as Miranda Hart said “Do you like it? Do you care that others may not like it? Great then wear that then”.

A MODERN WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MODERNITY How to be a successful, well rounded modern woman in today’s society – without losing your integrity and individuality – Part 2

Your Place in the World

Image result for a modern woman

How does anyone know what to do with their life? Being an adult is mostly just walking around bumping into things looking for food? – Tumblr

Ever since we were small, we have been asked the eternal question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Like most children this changed over the years – you may have gone from a nurse to a cook, a police officer to an opera singer and much more in between. However, unlike boys, most girls seem to pigeonhole themselves into certain boxes before they even realise what they want to be. I was never like this. While all the other girls in my class played “princesses” or “handstands and cartwheels”, I was off with the boys playing tiggy, or pretending to be a spy that would save the world. The same could be said for when we were asked what we wanted to do. The boys would say “astronaut” “spy” or “army man” and the girls would say “teacher”, “nurse” or even “a Mum”. No boy ever said he wanted to be a Dad. By the time we hit our teenage years, we were forced to make choices about what we wanted to do with our lives once we had finished school. At my school, Year 13 Calculus was majority male, while Year 13 Social Studies was majority female. Whether we like it or not, we are gendered to go into certain fields and avoid others. Now I am not a feminist, and I am not about to write a feminist propaganda piece about breaking the moulds or tell you how to live your life – that’s not what I am about –  but I am going to tell you the best way to find out what you want to do and how to negotiate your way into the adult world.

Guidelines

  • Finish high school – get the best out of the opportunities given to you. Even if you have no intention of doing further study any time soon, it is still worth it. Once you’ve got those qualifications nobody can take them off you. If you decide that all you want to do is be a stay at home Mum or herd goats in Nepal that is totally cool – but make sure you finish high school first. Better to have the world open to you, than have it closed because you didn’t finish school.
  • Find a passion – Your passion does not have to be academic. My sister, although good at school, hated it and preferred makeup and hair styling instead. Her passion became her career, as she is now a hairdresser and makeup artist. Do not go into a career because you think it will make you money. Do not think “well lawyers are important and rich so I will do that”. If you have no passion for a job, you will only end up hating it. Do you really want to live the rest of your life hating your career? Find your passion – it doesn’t matter what it is. If your passion is cats, then find something to do with cats – start up a cat day care centre, become a cat specialist vet – anything! So long as you love what you are doing, life will never let you down and everything will fall into place. Passion gives you purpose and purpose makes you happy.
  • You do not have to go to University – All schools seem to do these days is push University. “You must go to University, that’s how you become something”. Not only is this not true, but it is also a false way of looking at the world. More people have university degrees now than any other time in history. Yet do half the people who go to University actually use their degrees? Not really. If, like me, University, academia, and study are your passions then, by all means, go to University. If not (and I cannot stress this enough) DON’T!
  • Make sure you’re doing what you want, not what your parents want – We’ve all seen Bend It Like Beckham, and sympathised with the plight of Jess, who doesn’t want to become a lawyer – she wants to be a football player! Similarly, if you’re having this problem, think of it this way. Your parents probably have your best interests in mind. I commend them on that – but just because they care doesn’t mean they are right. Things have changed a lot since our parents were young and they may not realise the sheer scope of careers or lifestyles out there. This doesn’t make them bad – it just means they’re incorrect. I knew a girl at University whose father made her study a Bachelor of Science. He said that if she didn’t do this he would kick her out of the home because it was the only thing that was going to get her a job and he couldn’t support anything else. It made her miserable to study something she hated. The only thing that made her happy was playing the violin. After her first year of University was over and she had scraped through her exams, she moved out of the home, dropped out of science and studied a Bachelor of Music with her Violin. She has never been happier. Don’t let your parents bully you into doing something you don’t want to do. I don’t care if they want to be able to boast to their friends that “Anna is studying psychology you know” or “Anna is a career woman; she’s making lots of money” – at the end of the day it isn’t their life. If you want to be a stay at home Mum, or study Art or become a personal trainer – then do it! Your parents love you, and when they see what makes you happy, and what makes you successful, they will be happy too. It might take a bit of getting used to, but you’re an adult too. Don’t ever forget that you have the right to do whatever you want.
  • You can always change – I always thought I wanted to work in a Museum. Visiting Museums and learning about the past was my passion for a long time. I even did Museum Studies! However, when I actually got into working in a Museum, I hated it. I found it boring, monotonous and felt like I wasn’t learning a lot or helping people. That’s when I realised, I wasn’t tied to it, and changed careers. I soon found something I loved and wanted to do more than anything I had ever done in my life. You can do this too. If you train to become a geographer and find that geography is NOT what you actually enjoy, but that video game testing is more your thing – then do it! You’re never too young or too old to change.

Being a stay-at-Home-Mum

According to some arbitrary tradition, until the 1970s women were forced to stay at home and be mothers regardless of whether they wanted to or not. Now we are blessed with the beauty of choice. A choice to work and be a Mum, a choice not to have kids at all, and a choice to be a stay-at-Home-Mum. I will never judge any woman for choosing to be with her children instead of working. So long as it is what she wants, and it makes her happy, who am I to make judgments? There are just two rules regarding stay-at-Home-Mums. 1) women who aren’t need not judge those who are; and 2) women who are need not judge those who aren’t. It is that simple really.

Take your place in the world

Once you find your purpose and your place in the world, you move into adulthood and are on the way to being a modern woman. So long as you fulfill your purpose and live your life the way you want, then nothing can stand in your way. Just remember that everything in this life has to be earned, there is no getting things for free or easy. Nothing easy was ever worth having. And yes, there will be times when you wonder what the point of it all is, and you could just throw in the towel and get a sugar daddy or go on benefits. But what sense of achievement will that give you? Work hard ladies. You can do it!!

A MODERN WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MODERNITY: How to be a successful, well-rounded modern woman in today’s society – without losing your integrity and individuality – Part One

What is a modern woman?Image result for a modern woman

I have read thousands of books about womanhood and femininity. From acting Parisian, and dressing for your body shape to books about fashion and the successful seduction of men… they all seem to be alluding to different messages and lifestyles. There was nothing definitive that was helping me or other women to navigate our way through the complicated modern world.

Why, you may ask, am I writing another book just like all the others? If they’re so unhelpful, and so contradictory, why add to the ever conflicting and complicated collection out there? Well, when I started to write this book, I had just finished reading another book of the same ilk (How to be Parisian Wherever You Are), I put it down and realised that half the things written in that book and thousands of others like it were completely irrelevant to most women. They stripped the reader of individuality and put her into a box. They did nothing to address healthy eating, body image or exercise. If they did address these things, it missed completely on elements of fashion or beauty. If it addressed fashion and beauty, it often skipped over relationships… and relationship advice was either completely abysmal and acted like men were objects to collect, or brushed over it with the concept we don’t need one? So confusing. I sat there, on my sofa, feeling discontent with the way yet another book had turned out, and realised “why am I complaining about this? I can change it”.

I know what it is to be a modern woman. I know what it is to be a student, to have a career, to negotiate the dating world, the gym and fashion. I know what it is to want to scream at your sister, shoot yourself for having a cheat day with food, and question why your friend can eat a whole Big Mac and stay skinny. I know what it’s like to be poor and want to go to the movies. I understand the problems of being hated on for my beliefs and trying to live life how I want! I understand and know what it is to constantly be freaking out, but keeping it together all at once! I know what it’s like to be in a relationship, to be a working woman, a lover and a good friend. Like so many women reading this, I am a modern woman.

But, I am not going to make this book about “being like me” or “my way or the highway”. I am going to explain to women in the modern day how to cultivate a sense of self, how to be themselves while working through the wilderness of modernity. To take all the good bits and throw out all the bad bits. Because really; what is a modern woman?

She is a woman in touch with the modern world. She works with problems, overcomes obstacles and isn’t caught up in the stupidity of celebrity or the “next big thing”. She has her own way of doing things, but knows how to be healthy and strong. Yes, things are hard! But she doesn’t have break downs because they’re glamorous, she doesn’t cheat on her boyfriend because it’s “cool” to do so… she knows her way and goes with it. In this sense… the modern woman can be anyone… it can be a young mother of two, a PhD student, a checkout girl at the supermarket, or a model, she can be a hardcore gym enthusiast, or a dedicated vegan, she can be single, or she can be in a relationship! The point is taking ownership of your womanhood, and making your own way through modern life…

The point of this book is to help you… to give you advice on how to deal with unbearable days at the office, how to explain to your parents what job you are doing, how to work with a real relationship, how to be healthy, but also glamorous… basically everything you want to know… but teaching you to do it in your own way.

I hope this book is helpful, and interesting, and becomes the only book you need, when looking for advice on your life…

You don’t have to be perfect… you’ve just got to be the perfect version of yourself.