29 November 2017

Social Media: The Pressure of Perfection

Okay, I'll admit it, I'm a social media addict but, who isn't? It's my way of checking on current affairs and catching up with friends. There's nothing I love more than bombarding my friends with gifs and sharing my writing with the world. It's a wonderful way to make dreams come true, to meet new people and to share achievements - believe me when I graduate, I'll be sharing it for years.

  I got my first phone when I was 9 years old. It was a pink Motorola and all I could do was text, call and play snake. My Mum and Dad got it for me because I was at an age where I was playing out with my friends and it was an easy way that I could check in to let them know where I was. That was it. There was no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram - all I had was an hour on MSN every night. It sounds lame but I'm glad I grew up in the generation before iPhones - believe it or not, our entertainment was a trampoline and learning the dance routines to High School Musical. 

I joined Facebook in 2011 after convincing my Mum that all of my friends had it - she'd always been against the idea because she was scared I'd get bullied. Then two years later I joined Twitter and Instagram and since then, I haven't looked back. 

I want to stress that it's really important to take some time away from social media. I understand that it's the perfect way to socialise on the go, but there's nothing like going out for a few drinks with your friends and actually talking face to face. I went to Wetherspoons the other day with one of my friends and a couple were sat next to us, neither of them talking, just both on their phones. It really shocked me - if any guy ever did that to me when we were spending time together, I'd be straight out of that door. There's a time and a place, and spending time with loved ones is definitely not it. Fair enough if you're calling a taxi but put your phone on silent and just bloody talk to one another - it's really not that difficult. 

The version of ourselves that we share with the world is the best version we can create - we barely show our bad days and we'd never dream of posting that awful selfie we took with our friends. This creates the illusion of a perfect life when in reality, it's very far from it. You scroll through Instagram to see a snapshot of someone's day, two seconds of what they've been up too. They could've been having the worst day imaginable but that one shot of their costa coffee lets you know that they're having a great time, or does it? Let's face it, you can’t trust everything you see.

I always see my friends stressing out because they've taken a really nice picture and they want to upload it to Instagram but it doesn't match their theme. Seriously, who has the time? If you want to post it, then go ahead. Wasting your life worrying about your Instagram theme is not the way forward. It doesn't have to be perfect because life isn't perfect - the sooner we realise that, the better. Your profile is your profile for a reason - you can share what you want to share (as long as it's not offensive). I always feel bad for posting my Disney photos on Instagram (because I have thousands) but I like them, I think they're cute so I'm gonna share them - don't let people dictate you. It's not about followers or likes, it's about you feeling comfortable and happy.

The two photos above were taken by my friend Emma on a recent outfit shoot for her blog. The first photo is a candid Emma took of me preparing for a photo, and the second photo is of me dancing to a car alarm. Which one would I choose to share on social media? The first one obviously. The point I'm trying to make is that people choose what they want to share and it takes so many goes to get that perfect shot. For every decent photo, there are at least 50 goofy ones. It's also a good time to mention that people edit the heck out of their photos. Don't get me wrong, I love a good filter from time to time but the number of times I see my friends blurring the dark circles under their eyes and editing out their blemishes is really upsetting. It's sad that they feel like they have to do that because there's a pressure to look perfect.

 Social media has turned into one big competition and I hate it.





This is me and my friend Mitch. If it weren't for Twitter then we'd never have met and I'd never have been blessed to have such a wonderful human being in my life. It's true what they say, social media really does allow you to meet like-minded, lovely people. But like all things, this comes with an added pressure. 

I never try to be someone I'm not, especially on my social media profiles as I think it's important to always be yourself. I like to think that I'm exactly the same online as I am in real life - goofy, funny and a bit sarcastic. But when I meet someone for the first time, I can't help but feel an added pressure - what if I'm not the person I am online and what if they're disappointed? I don't want to let anyone down. Luckily for me, making a whole bunch of friends online has massively boosted my confidence and I'm the happiest I've ever been in myself. 

Nevertheless, I still think that social media puts a lot of pressure on people and convinces them that they should be doing what everyone else is doing. One example of this is University. I'm glad I've had the experience but if I could go back to 2015, I'd probably wait until I knew what I wanted to do. The only reason I applied for Uni was because it's what everyone was doing and I didn't want to be the odd one out - obviously, I realise now that it was stupid of me, but there's no point in dwelling on it, I can't go back and change it. 

Speaking of Uni, I think that social media is such a distraction. After I finish this post, I should start writing an assignment that's due in tomorrow but the chances of me getting distracted by Twitter are very high. Being in my final year of Uni is so hard because even my course is on social media and it's impossible to get away from it. The only time I get a break from having my phone glued to my hand is when I take the dog for a walk - it's amazing how clear my head feels when I come back. 

Social media isn't going anywhere anytime soon. I don't think there's anything wrong with it, I just think that there's a time and a place to use it. One thing my Mum said to me when I was 16 is that one day I'm going to look up from my phone, I'm going to have no family and I'm going to regret all that time I spent scrolling through Instagram when I should've been spending time with my loved ones. 

The inspiration for this post came from the 'How Little We Know' podcast which you can download here. Give it a listen if you can, they make some really valid points and it's a good topic to discuss. Also, thanks to Mitch for telling me to download it, it's a topic I could talk about for days.

Let me leave you with this: 

 Just because it's not on social media, doesn't mean it didn't happen.


Lots of Love
Meg
xxx







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26 November 2017

Christmas at Bents

I've said it before and I'll say it again, nothing makes me happier than a garden centre at Christmas time. There's just something about the twinkling lights and beautifully decorated trees that makes me want to buy everything and give my home a complete festive makeover. As the festive season is upon us, the fam and I took a trip to Bents Garden and Home to get ourselves into the Christmas spirit, and maybe buy a bauble or two.

Based in Warrington, Bents is one of the biggest garden centres in the North West and they are best known for their immaculate Christmas displays. Every year people have been telling me that I need to visit because it's like nothing you've ever seen before; it's perfect for a Christmas fanatic like myself. I'll be honest, I can't believe I've never been to Bents before, but as with everything, my twenties is the year of change. As Bents are celebrating their 80th Anniversary, Mum and Dad thought it was the perfect time to surprise me with a visit to the most festive garden centre in the North.

 From the moment we stepped foot in the place, it was pure, Christmas heaven. I knew it was going to be good, but nothing could've prepared me for how beautiful it was. The Christmas trees, the decorations, the themes; it was perfect. I don't know how many times I gasped and dragged my Mum over to see yet another display, but I'm pretty sure she got bored of me by the end of it. I never anticipated how big it was going to be, I'm used to the small, local garden centres so this was a new world for me. Y'know the magic you feel when you're in Disneyland? Well, I'd compare it to that. 

Each section was organised by colour, each with a different display including snowmen, lights, and a singing reindeer (sadly, Mum wouldn't let me bring him home with me). It's the most aesthetically pleasing garden centre I've ever been too and it's the perfect place to go if you're looking for some interior inspiration for your home. My favourite section was the red/gold section as I think that these colours look the most festive, and also because it was the section with the singing reindeer (I will shut up about him at some point, I promise). I've also decided that a rose gold Christmas tree is a necessity when I finally move out and get my own place, just imagine a rose gold and silver themed home *heart eyes emoji*. 

I loved the fact that no matter where you went, there was a little sprinkle of Christmas magic; even in the pets section. Speaking from a blogging perspective, it's every Blogger's dream - there are hundreds of different photo opportunities making it the perfect place to go if you want your Instagram (and your blog) to be on point over the festive season. 

When we saw the sleigh, I knew I had to get a picture with my Grandma and Grandad. It looks adorable, right? But what you didn't see was the struggle to get my Grandma out of the sleigh. I think her knee gave way or she'd been sat down for too long and couldn't walk. We got her out eventually though if any of you were wondering. 

 Just when I thought Bents couldn't get any better, I discovered that they had their own Christmas Market. It was only small but it had little wooden booths, a roaring log fire and all the festive food you could want. I'm talking German sausages, crepes, garlic mushrooms and hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream. I bought Dad and me some crepes;  us both opting for Nutella, strawberries, bananas and cream, and Mum bought us all a hot chocolate. We sat in the wooden booths, Dad got Nutella all over his face and my Grandma absolutely devoured her hot chocolate. It was so nice to take a break from Uni/Work and spend some time with my family, I should do it more often. 


 We had one last browse around the Christmas section, where I picked up Benny the Bents Bear and introduced Mambly and Grandad to the wonderful scents of Yankee candles. Then, Mum and I somehow found ourselves at the gin section (obviously) and had to talk each other out of buying some of the Christmas flavoured gins they had on offer. Grandad and I tried on some of the Christmas headwear including reindeer antlers, Santa hats and Christmas puddings and hearing my Grandad laugh as much as he did brought a tear to my eye. I have so, so much love for my wonderful family. 

As with all things in life, the day had to come to an end. With Benny the Bear in my hand, a smile on my face and a whole lot of festive cheer, we headed home with a sing-a-long to Michael BublĂ©'s Christmas. 

If you're up North, or if you're coming up North for the festive season, then please, please, please go and pay a visit to Bents. I promise you won't regret it! 

Lots of Love,
Meg
xox





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22 November 2017

Vogue 73 Questions

If you watch a bit of YouTube (which let's face it, who doesn't) then it's more than likely that you've come across one of the Vogue 73 Questions videos. It's basically a really quick interview with some of the biggest celebrities in the world - the last one I watched was with Zac Efron. It consists of someone following the celebrity around their home or office, not in a stalking way, and asking them questions about their likes, dislikes, achievements and life in general. It's the perfect way to get to know a little bit more about them. Now, I'm no Kendall Jenner or Gigi Haid but the lovely Emily over at Patterned Petals has tagged me to answer Vogue's 73 Questions. 
I'd grab a cup of tea and some snacks for this one because we might be here a while!

What's the best thing that has happened to you this month?

 I'd say the best thing to happen was probably going to Peaky Blinders, a beautifully themed Hotel & Bar in Southport, and having potentially the nicest G&T I've ever had. 

What's the best thing that has happened to you this year?

This is the obvious answer but all the magical trips I've done to Disneyland Paris this year and the beautiful people I've met because of it. April 12th really sticks in my mind, it's a day I'll remember for the rest of my life. 

What's the best thing to ever happen to you?

I'm really struggling to answer this but I'd say it'd be a combination of getting into University, starting my job and getting my dog. 


What's your favourite season?

Summer. What's better than summer nights on the beach, pretty dresses, festivals, sunsets and flower crowns.


What's your favourite holiday?

Christmas! It's almost time for the John Lewis Advert, Christmas drinks, the Coca-Cola advert, I'm a Celeb and Christmas light switch-ons and I couldn't be more excited.

Would you ever live in a big city?

I lived in Liverpool for a year when I moved to University and I absolutely loved it.  I like having things to see/do and I find that cities have the most to offer, as well as the best nightlife. Don't get me wrong, I love to escape to the small towns of Cornwall but I'll always be a city girl at heart.


 What's your favourite ice cream?

Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough. 

Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?

Never - it saves time when I have to put them back on again.

What's your favourite dessert?

My Grandma's homemade strawberry trifle, nothing beats it. 

Cake or Pie?

Cake every day. 

What's your least favourite food?

I hate sushi. We had to try it for Japan day in year 9 and I threw up after it. 

What's your favourite condiment?

Probably mayonnaise or ketchup, however, I've been getting into BBQ sauce recently. 

It's brunch, what do you eat?

Either a hot roll with BBQ chicken or an English breakfast.


What's your favourite colour?

Aqua Blue. It's like turquoise but just a little bit lighter. I'm very specific.

What colour dress did you wear to your prom?

I adored my prom dress - it was blue, pleated and had diamonds around the bust. It was absolutely perfect and my pride and joy for three months. I'll dig out a photo, hold on. 


Blow dry or air dry?

I mostly blow dry my hair as it's quicker and saves me a lot of time in the morning. However, I've been letting it air dry a lot recently and I'm learning to embrace the natural curl in my hair.

Do you think you're strong?

Physically, definitely not. Emotionally, to an extent.

Who's a person you'd love to have coffee with?

I have a few - Audrey Hepburn so that we can talk all things fashion. Zooey Deschanel because she's an absolute babe. Walt Disney because I'd love to see his imagination in action and Phillip Schofield because he's a national treasure. Also, Peter Kay because he's hilarious.

When was the last time you cried?

A week ago.

Who's the last person you texted?

My friend Mitchell asking him about his recent trip to Disneyland Paris for Halloween.

Twitter or Instagram?

I'm loving Instagram at the moment, I'm all about finding the perfect Insta.

Who should everyone follow right now?

I think you should all go and follow my beautiful friend Emma. She's a blogger from North West England and one of the loveliest girls I've ever met. Her blog is brilliant and her Insta theme is to die for so you should all go and show her a lot of love.

Have you ever had anything stolen from you?

I've never had anything drastic stolen from me, just pens, bobby pins and bobbles at school.

Favourite country you have visited?

I loved Venice, Croatia and Lanzarote. However, I know that Cornwall is always going to be one of my favourite places in the world, the beaches and the scenery are to die for.

Country you wish to visit?

I recently did a post covering this, but my top countries would be America (Florida/Cali/New York) and Australia.

First pet?

My first pet was a budgie called Tommy but I remember being absolutely terrified of him - I really don't like birds.

Favourite Disney animal?

It has to be Marie from the Aristocats because she's the sassiest little lady and the perfect role model for females everywhere. I also really love Eeyore - I just want to give him a big cuddle.

What are you doing tomorrow?

As I'm writing this - I'll be going to work, coming home, minding the dog and trying to get a screenplay written.


What are you most excited about in life right now?

I'm excited about Christmas (obviously) and I've got some really fun plans for next week. If we're talking about the future, I'm looking forward to my 21st celebrations and my graduation - it's going to be such an emotional day.

What book are you reading right now?

I've let my reading slack recently but I've been dipping in and out of 'Everything Everything' by Nicola Yoon.

A book you read because everyone else was reading it?

I read 'The Fault In Our Stars' because it was such a craze at the time and I absolutely loved it.

What are you completely bored of right now?

Uni. I just want to be at my graduation ceremony and throwing my cap into the air.

What's your favourite beverage?

Gin & Tonic (duh!). Preferably Hendricks.

What's your favourite cocktail?

There's nothing I love more than 2 for £12 pitchers in 'spoons and you can guarantee that mine will always be a woo-woo.

What would you order at a McDonald's drive-thru?

Chicken nugget meal with a banana milkshake. I'm not normally a fan of milkshakes, however, McDonald's do the BEST banana milkshake in the world.


What's one thing you still have from your childhood?

I'm a hoarder when it comes to sentimental things, and I don't know if I'm ashamed to say that I've kept most items from my childhood. But the one thing that sticks in mind is a teddy called Ellie that my cousin bought for me - she's a little toy dog and she comes everywhere with me.

What's your current favourite TV Show?

I have quite a few at the moment. I'm addicted to Riverdale, it has me on the edge of my seat every week. I've also started watching season 2 of Stranger Things and obviously I love watching New Girl - I relate to Jess Day on a personal level.

What's a movie that made you cry?

The movie that springs to mind is Moana. I sat in the cinema and sobbed like a baby. If you've seen Moana, you'll know which part I'm talking about.


What do you miss the most?

In terms of people, I miss my Uncle John the most. I still struggle to believe that he's not here anymore. I also miss College - I realise now that they were some of the best years of my life and if I could, I'd go back in a heartbeat.

What's something you can't do?

I can't drive...yet!

What are your nicknames?

I've picked up a few nicknames over the years. My nickname in Primary School was Twiggy because I was so thin. I've also had Meggles, Smeg, Smeggles, Meggy and Megster. But most people just stick to Meg.

What makes you laugh a lot? 

Being with my friends, especially my work colleague, Sarah. I swear we have at least three cry laughing moments every single day. My Grandparents and my Parents are also absolutely hilarious. Peter Kay, Miranda and Micheal McIntyre have me howling laughing - I'm watching an interview with Peter Kay as I write.

Heels or Flats?

Wearing heels makes me feel really elegant but they always kill my feet after an hour, I'm definitely a flats kind of girl.

What's the most adventurous thing you've ever done?

I'm that boring, I can't think of an answer. I went ab-sailing once and that was pretty cool. I need more adventure in my life!

What's one thing you want to do but are scared of?

I've always wanted to do Tower of Terror in Disneyland Paris, and go on the Big One in Blackpool. I'll get around to it one day, I promise.

What's the thing you're most proud of?

I'm proud of a lot of things I've achieved in life. I'm proud of getting into Uni, having the courage to travel on my own and being able to work for Walt Disney Company.

What did you want to do with your life at age 5?

Believe it or not, I wanted to be a Nurse. I don't think I'd be very good at it though, considering I'm scared of Hospitals and I'm a massive hypochondriac.

Dogs or Cats?

Dogs. Always Dogs.


What's the most important thing someone can learn?

Love and acceptance of who they are. We live in a world where we constantly compare ourselves to other people and we get so engrossed in their lives that we forget about our own. The sooner you learn to love yourself, and learn that you are worth just as much as the person stood next to you, the happier you'll be.

Bath or Shower?

I do like a bath from time to time, but it has to be showers for me.

Mountain Hideaway or Beach House?

Beach House. I just love the sea.

What is your favourite scented candle?

 My favourite one is the Frankincense and Myrrh candle from M&S - it smells like Christmas in a candle.

If you could spend three months anywhere, where would it be?

I'd either go and travel around America or Australia - maybe take in a few Disney parks along the way.

Are you messy or neat?

My room is an absolute tip, however, when it comes to working, I'm very neat.

What's the first thing you do each morning?

I check my phone. It's such a bad habit but I can't be the only one.

What do you have for breakfast?

I never normally have time for breakfast, but when I do I have cereal or breakfast biscuits.

What's the last thing you do before you go to bed?

Write in my diary. It sounds really sad, but I like keeping diaries - they're really fun to look back on.

What's one skill you wish you had?

If we're talking realistically, I wish I could drive. If not, then I wish I could fly and have the ability to see when people are lying to me.

What's your favourite pizza?

It changes every time. At the moment it's Texas BBQ, however, I'm a fan of Hawaiian and Fiorentina.

Describe your ideal man in three words?

Funny. Musical. Honest.

Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?

My Dad - a girl got stabbed outside my Uni the other night so I rang him whilst I was walking down to the train station because I got scared.

At what age were you your happiest?

18. I felt like I had more responsibility and it was a great year of my life. I moved to University, worked at the Disney Store, had an 18th and my social life was the best it has ever been.

What was the last thing you ate?

A biscuit shaped like a reindeer. I know you all wish your lives were as wild as mine.

Where do you go when you need to be alone?

I don't really like being alone, but when I do need some time away I normally go to my bedroom. Or if I need to get out of the house, I'll take the dog for a walk to clear my head.

What's the biggest thing on your mind right now?

Uni Deadlines. I'm beyond stressed. Yet here I am, writing this blog post when I should be writing a screenplay treatment. I really want to keep up with my blog schedule but it's so hard with the amount of work I'm getting - I'm the most tired I've ever been.

What's the best activity to do at home on a rainy day? 

Have yourself a pamper, paint your nails, write some blog posts and watch some movies. It sounds like a perfect day to me.

What are you listening to right now? 

I'm currently listening to 'Ordinary People' by John Legend. It's one of my favourite songs. I've always said if someone could play this on piano for me, I'd marry them straight away.

On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you with life right now?

7 - I've got a lot of things to look forward too but I'm not quite there yet.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten?

I'm quite a fussy eater so when it comes to trying new things, I don't really like it. I think the weirdest thing I've ever tried is probably seaweed - I can't even remember what it tasted like.

Starter or Dessert?

Dessert. There's always room for dessert.

What's the furthest you've been from home?

On my own, Paris. With my parents, Greece.

And that's the end.

Thanks again to Emily for nominating me to do this tag. I've really enjoyed it and I hope you've all got to know a little bit more about me. I tag anyone who would like to do this tag - if you do take part then be sure to tag me as I'd love to hear your answers to these questions!

Lots of Love,
Meg
xxx









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