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Everyone is not as happy as they look.

Setting off to university in my parents car crammed with all of my stuff, I was excited to begin a new chapter of my life. I was finally going to be living with a group of people my own age, and I imagined it as some kind of 90’s chick flick, where we’d sit on the sofa eating popcorn and watching corny films, or cry over a tub of ice cream about boys, wearing face masks and having sing-alongs. And it wasn’t like that, it wasn’t like living with my best friends. While my first year was filled with a lot of fun, I didn’t get on with some of the girls in my flat. They all did the same subject, I didn’t. I had my boyfriend over a lot of the time, and I was working and concentrating on making friends on my course. And so, what begin as enthusiastic friendship turned into me feeling isolated and alone. Now, I had a lot of friends both at home and at uni, so it didn’t phase me that much, and it dawned on me that there wasn’t anything wrong with me, the girls were just in a clique, didn’t have any friends themselves so stuck together like a boring pack of hyenas. I was naive, but eventually came to realise that life is not like a film. in fact, films glorify and romantisise everything about life, giving us false expectations of what life should be like.

And so, when Christmas came around, I was in the pub with some old friends, and I ended up telling one how I didn’t feel it was fair that everyone had great housemates and flatmates, while mine were shit. I told him how I’d go on facebook and instagram, and see all the cute photos – “house meal with the gang!” or “flat girls night out!” and get jealous. And then he told me that a) I was being dumb, and b) that everyone pretends to be happier than they actually are. He told me that people aren’t going to put on facebook when they’d argue or felt isolated with their flatmates, or when they felt ugly. They weren’t going to show instagram their breakdowns and tantrums, but instead, put happy photos on to make themselves feel better, even though it was a lie. Instagram pages, full of little photos just show the highlights of everyday life. They’d show pictures of the best parts of their life- and none of the bad. And this ‘best of’ feature means we obsess over other peoples couple pictures and feel crappy about our own relationships, see their ‘Squad goals’ pictures and doubt our own friendships. See their gorgeous selfies and feel baad about how we look when we don’t have makeup on or our hair done. It feeds into the competition of ‘whos-got-the-best-life’, a page where even though your life isn’t perfect- far from it- in a series of pictures, it appears to be.

And it’s true, we compare our lives with what we see on film, or on our friends social media, but we don’t know the whole story. As the phrase goes; you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. And it made me feel better. Our whole lives, we are told and trained to search for the ‘elusive butterfly of happiness’- a term I’d recently discovered. I’d have moments where I didn’t really know how to be happy, or even if I could be. It seemed that the few shining moments of happiness I had were merged in a sea of feeling shit, upset, angry or just numb. So I almost take comfort in knowing that sometimes, especially on social media, people are not as happy as they seem. Now, I never feel bad about my own life from seeing other people online. I recently spoke to an old friend, at a different uni, and looked like she was having the time of her life, going out all the time, new friends, new boyfriend. It was only when I spoke to her on the phone she told me she was quite heavily depressed and miserable. There is a song called ‘Wear Sunscreen’ by Baz Luhrman that gives advice on life, and to be honest it is one of the most accurate things I have ever heard, and never fails to make me feel better. One bit that always sticks out to me is when he says “Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.The race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself.”

We spend so much time comparing our lives to what we see from other peoples when it doesn’t matter, at all. At the end of the day, you are the protagonist of your life, and your life is controlled by you only- your decisions, mistakes, choices. It is your life that matters, not what you see of someone elses. You never know what that person truly feels or who they are from an instagram page, and it doesn’t matter anyway, because it has no relevance to your life. So, the main thing I try to keep in my mind now is to focus on how I, myself, can make my life happy, not to compare it to other peoples, and most importantly, understand that there are going to be rough times ahead, bad periods- maybe years even, when you’re not okay. But you’re not alone in this, something easily forgettable. Life is hard, for everyone, but you need to focus on yours, and making it as happy as it can be.

Anyway, late night ramblings over. Peace out. xoxo

TOP DATE IDEAS

Date Ideas

Whether you’re desperately trying to think of a first day to impress a crush, or if you just want an exciting change to spend time with your loved one, there are many different ideas out there! I’ve compiled a list of just a few things I think would be good as dates.

  1. The ‘Night in’. One of the most popular date ideas due to the lack of effort and planning. Invite the significant other over to eat pizza and watch films. However, go that extra mile by doing simple things such as cleaning your room. There’s nothing nicer than walking into my boyfriends bedroom to find freshly washed sheets, a hovered floor and a few candles or fairy-light just making it extra romantic.
  2. The meal and movie. I believe I have come up with the perfect solution to this very common first date. Eating a meal with someone you don’t know for a first date can be unbelievably awkward. You’re trying to enjoy your meal whilst talking or sitting in uncomfortable silence trying to think of what to say. However, if you just go to a movie, there’s not much time for talking and it doesn’t really seem like a date. However, if you combine the two, you can talk about the film during dinner if you can’t think of any other questions and use that as a basis for getting to know the other person.
  3. Drinks. Ah, alcohol. The best friend and worst enemy of dating. There is a thin line between a couple of drinks to relax you and lower your inhibitions, and being paralytic on the floor with the guy/girl embarrassed calling for help. I always find pubs an extremely social place to hang out, and sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of dutch courage. However, learn from my mistakes. I was so nervous about going back to my boyfriends house, that I ended up drinking so much that he had to carry me back to his whilst I was singing, yelling, dancing (all very badly). He then proceeded to check on me several times whilst I was bent over the toilet puking my guts up, eyes closed, blindly kicking thin air to try and get him out of the bathroom. Great.
  4. A party. Could be yours, theirs, or a friends. I’d be wary of this, because some people don’t count parties as proper dates. There’s a lot of people around and loud music and lots of drinking, but if you’re scared of being completely alone with them if it might be awkward, then this could be the date for you. You could go together or leave together for extra time with them, or just spend time with them there. It gives you a chance to meet their friends and vice versa. And, parties are the number one place where if you want to get a little ation, it’s going to happen. The hazy, smokey air filled with teenage hormones, a little bit of alcohol in your system and an empty room with just the buzz of speakers from downstairs causes a lot of smooching that may not happen if you’re sitting in a restaurant or public place. Make sure you/they are not too drunk and if it’s one of the first dates, make sure you don’t regret it if you sleep together, killing the relationship before it begins and probably getting a reputation.
  5. Shopping! ENTER WITH CAUTION. Shopping will most likely not be pleasant for guys. And, you don’t want to appear a stingy bastard but you don’t want to blow your entire savings in one day. I’d recommend a little market or somewhere like the lanes in Brighton- there’s a lot of cheap stuff. You could go in bookstores, discussing your favourites, and try secretly to buy her something she admired and produce it later. You could go to a nice coffee shop and people watch, or mess about trying on hats/scarves etc. Girls love being spoiled, and remember you don’t want to always give her cheap things, but thoughtful gifts are the best. Just make sure if you do this, she ain’t a golddigger.
  6. The ‘cooking’ date. So, maybe you don’t want to go to a restaurant? Maybe you want to stay in but still do something fun? Cooking is an extremely good way to get close to the other person. You have to work as a team to produce something delicious or hilarious. If it’s December, a gingerbread house would be lovely. The middle of summer, making cocktails and a simple dinner would suffice. Cooking gives you a chance to play around, to laugh when he’s put too much water in the mix or to smear a dusting of flour on her nose. If you’re getting to know each other it’s very relaxed and fun and if you’re a couple it’s the same, and you get extra bonding time. You could even make it a regular thing, swapping houses and recipes each time.
  7. London/Major city. Living half an hour away from London, a very fun date is to just go out and explore. You can go on a bar crawl, or go to the embankment, see all the different acts and costumes of the workers. You can go see Big ben, or the London Eyes or even go on it! London/ major cities are fun, bustling places that will create a really happy environment for the couple of you to be in. I went on a date there starting off with drinks, burritos from a little stall then sitting in the park reading to each other. It was a extremely nice day.
  8. Picnic. Something so simple yet elegant. And there’s several way to make an ordinary picnic special. Guys, listen up. Firstly, pick a day that’s not raining. Even if its cold, you can bundle up in coats, but if it’s raining, just no. It won’t be like a romantic film, it will be miserable and muddy. First, pick the place. Try and get a nice park that’s not filled with a bunch of chavs drinking lambrini and smoking weed, it really ruins the effect. Lay out a blanket so she doesn’t ruin her outfit that I’m sure she will have spent hours picking out. You get extra points if you know some of her favourite foods (easy to ask in normal conversations) because she will be so delighted you remembered. Get a selection of little sweet treats, cute sandwiches and sweets, and beverages for both of you. From little cartons of orange juice to a nice bottle of wine, picnics are perfect. You will get extra, extra, extra brownie points if you do it at sunset and have fairy lights(a recurring item that girls love) wrapped round a tree and soft, romantic music playing.
  1. The Romantic scenery. My boyfriend and I decided to go to Seaford, which is a lovely little place filled with cliffs overlooking the sea and beautiful beaches. We had quite a hike to get up there so it’s more of a couples date rather than a first date (you don’t want to see each other panting, sweating and red outside of the bedroom in natural light- it’s not pretty). As we’re both smokers, it was a little hard but let me tell you, it was worth it. Even in December, the sea was a really calming place to be with someone you love, and sitting on a cliff surrounded by nature is indescribably, really. It’s really an unforgettable date, so if it is a first date and you really want to impress her, I’d suggest something outside that looks stunning. Even a hill that has a beautiful sunset will do. Just make sure it’s not too remote for a first date or she may think you’re going to kill her.

Anyway, that’s nine ideas of different dates. Let me know your favourites, your experiences or even a few more ideas, I’m happy to hear them! Good luck dating! x

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