Monday, 30 December 2013

Little Mix - Salute [Album Review]

Little Mix is the girl band we've been looking for and Salute is the album we've been waiting to hear.

Ever since Destiny's Child called it quits over six years ago, there has been a girl-band shaped hole in the music industry and in the hearts of ladies who grew up dreaming of singing on stage with their best friends. On their second album, 'Salute', Little Mix well and truly fill that void by delivering twelve tracks of girl power pop music mixed with an urban edge.

Jesy, Leigh-Anne, Perrie and Jade are Little Mix. Formed on the UK X Factor in 2011, they became the first ever girl group to win the competition, subsequently igniting the idea that perhaps the days of the all-girl band weren't dead after all. While on the show, the group made clear what they wanted to encapsulate with their music and image; fun, positivity and female empowerment, and that's exactly what is conveyed throughout 'Salute'.

Opening the album is the title track, which can only be described as a girl-power anthem. In the first line of the song, the girls' voices command, "ladies all across the world/listen up, we're looking for recruits," immediately giving listeners the feel for the rest of the album with a strong message and even stronger vocals.

While 'Move', the first single off the album, is an infectious dance track different to other pop songs currently being played on the radio, 'Nothing Feels Like You' is the song that truly conveys the unique type of urban spin Little Mix aims to put on pop music. With tribal sounding drum beats and a catchy final chorus breakdown, the track is pure fun and completely indicative of who Little Mix are as a group. Other up-tempo numbers such as 'Competition' and 'A Different Beat' have the same unique flare that has become expected of the band, while 'Mr Loverboy' and 'Something About The Boy', despite being catchy tunes, are the weakest of a very strong package of songs.

Breaking up the number of dance anthems on the album are several power-ballads that truly show off the vocal ability of each member of the band. 'Good Enough' is a raw piano number about insecurity and self-doubt with poignant lyrics
and  an empowering chorus of strong vocals. 'Towers'  and 'These Four Walls', while dealing with the  more conventional issue of break ups and losing  someone you care about, are deeply emotional,  with the latter conveying much more delicate  vocals than the powerful ones that are apparent  throughout the rest of the album.

'Boy', however, is the standout track, with incredible acapella vocals, harmonies and a message that many girls can undoubtedly relate to. Akin to that of 'Girl' by Destiny's Child, 'Boy' is a track that contemplates the toxicity of being in a bad relationship from the perspective of ones girlfriends. Incredibly catchy while also deeply moving, this song is definitely one to belt out with your friends in the car.

With Little Mix, we finally see the return of a successful girl group who bring something new and fresh to a table of relatively average pop radio songs. Two years ago while competing on The X Factor, mentor judge Tulisa described Little Mix as the girl group for girls all across the world. With relatable songs, an empowering attitude and undeniable talent, 'Salute' is the album that was missing all those years when we didn't have a girl band to dream about being a member of.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Gap Years.

Published in UTimes Magazine.

Whether you’re about to graduate high school or mid-way through a university degree, ‘gap year’ is probably a term that you’ve heard quite frequently. Synonymous with fun, adventure and freedom, deciding to take a break from studying so you can travel and gain new experiences is exciting. However, with an abundance of programs and travel tours now catering for the gap year market, it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed by choice and unsure of what’s right for you. But never fear, because with so many options, there is bound to be something that suits what you want to get out of your gap year.

Travel without the stress.
Trying to organise a trip around a country you’re entirely unfamiliar with can be quite a daunting task. Fortunately,there are a range of companies, such as Contiki and Go Ahead Tours, which aim to make travelling less stressful by offering tours where accommodation, transport, sightseeing and most meals are taken care of.

Tahneisha, who did a Contiki tour around Europe in2012, says that going through a company “is just so convenient, because everything is already planned. It made it easier to just sit back, relax and enjoy the holiday.”

Tour companies are often a suitable option for students on a gap year as they offer a wide range of trips from just a few days to months, as well as options to suit a specific budget. However, these tours don’t always allow forflexibility in terms of itinerary, so that scene from your favourite movie that you plan to reinact in Italy may need to fall by the wayside.

For those of you considering travelling alone, a tour may be the way to go as you’ll get to meet a lot of interesting and diverse people who are sure to make your trip even more exciting.

“One of the biggest advantages of something like Contiki is having a big group of friends to enjoy the tour with. I now have amazing friends from all around the world,” Tahneisha says. 

So if you’re a social butterfly who loves meeting new people or if you’re merely interested in travelling without the stress of bus timetables and foreign maps, a tour maybe a good option for your gap year adventure.

Live and work like a local.
If you’re interested in understanding what it’s like to really live in a different culture, a working holiday may be for you. Rather than travelling for a few short weeks on a limited budget, many companies are now offering programs that give you the chance to really settle into a town or city and call it home for a while.

After Bronwyn, a Deakin University student, graduated high school, she chose to spend six months working in a pub in England. “I didn't want to pay thousands on airfares to see a country for just a few weeks and come home,” she says, “I wanted to experience another culture.”

However, amidst all the excitement, you would be excused for forgetting that a working holiday is just that- work. Bronwyn admits that her English pub job was quite different to any type of job she had experienced in Australia.

“I worked full time, which ranged from 35-45 hours a week. Twelve hour shifts were common, as was working until 5am.”

But it’s definitely not all work and no play. While Bronwyn admits that the prospect of working long hoursmight not sound like much fun, it certainly doesn’t tarnish the experience.

“A working holiday gives you a great opportunity to meet people from all around the world, see and learn a lot and really enjoy yourself while still making some money.”


The regular pay that a working holiday provides allows you to relax more comfortably into your gap year, allowing you to really experience a different way of life.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

An Australian Girl in Los Angeles.

This was the first feature article I wrote for university last year. We had to do a feature on someone with an unusual story or experience.

----- 
At first glance, Aisha Dee is everything you would expect an average eighteen year old to be. Relaxing in her bedroom on a Sunday afternoon, she discusses the latest in celebrity news and jokes about what she should change her Twitter bio-line to. But at an age when most kids are only just figuring out what to do with their lives, Aisha has had Hollywood in her sights for years.

“When I was eleven, someone told me that I couldn’t be an actress and that I had to choose a ‘proper career,’” she says with a slight grin, “I was like ‘screw you!’”

With this feisty personality and her distinctive African-American looks, a career in acting seems to be tailor-made for the teenager. From the age of fourteen onwards, Aisha traded in school bells and textbooks for roles on various different Australian TV shows, admitting that she “hated going back to the kid world” after experiencing the mature environment of a television set.

Then in 2009, just a few days short of her sixteenth birthday, she decided to enter the lottery for the notoriously elusive American green card, which, if won, would allow her to live and work in the US. An advertisement on the side of the page read ‘transmission of citizenship through biological parent’, and suddenly it clicked.

“I hadn’t thought about actually contacting my biological father, who I had never met before [and who was a US citizen]. So we got onto him and I got my citizenship and passport for the U.S,” Aisha says. “I felt quite stupid that it had never occurred to me before then.”

Despite being only sixteen years old and having just a few acting credits under her belt, she admits that the incredible opportunity she had been given was just too good to think twice.

“I felt like if there’s that many people out there who have waited ten or more years to get a green card, and I get one straight away, I may as well go over and take advantage of the situation.”

Poised and confident, Aisha travelled to Los Angeles and began auditioning for various TV shows and movies. She landed roles on shows such as Steven Spielberg’s ‘Terra Nova’, and starred in the FOX comedy ‘I Hate My Teenage Daughter’, which she claims is the “funnest thing I’ve ever done… because we filmed with a live audience and you knew if a joke was working instantly.”

However, with our culture of misbehaving starlets and celebrity scandals, you would be forgiven for thinking that tackling the entertainment capital of the world might be somewhat stressful to a mere sixteen year old, but Aisha takes it all in her stride;

“I think the main issues people deal with come from inside of them, and the pressures they put on themselves.  I don’t think it’s something that the industry does so much as it’s something that people do inside themselves,” she says.

“The main way to avoid that is to just be confident in you.”

This levelheaded attitude may seem strange given the extent to which the industry is blamed for promoting negative values, but Aisha’s best friend Kayla says that her approach to it all comes as no surprise to those who know her.

Aisha is confident but is always working hard to improve herself… She's able to take criticism and use it to better herself where others might shy away.”

On the other end of the spectrum, I pose the question of whether the industry is indeed as glamorous as it’s made out to be, and how much hard work is actually involved. Aisha points to her dressing gown and laughs, “Clearly I’m the most glamorous person ever!”

Taking on a more serious note, she continues; “there is hard work involved, but I wouldn’t say that the hard work is actually doing the work. As an actor, I think that when you’re actually working is when you’re auditioning. But when you get a job and you film something, that’s the reward you get.”

“Filming is not hard work; it’s the best job ever.”

While Aisha’s obvious passion and love for the entertainment industry is something that cannot be denied, she admits that while the lack of African-American women, such as herself, in leading roles is “getting much better”, it still “leaves a bad taste in my mouth”.

“I’m being overly critical, but sometimes they do make a bigger deal out of it than it needs to be… You don’t need to explain yourself or give the audience a reason for why you did that- just make the leading character an African-American woman and don’t say anything about it,” she explains.

“It makes me want to be the exception.”

She describes her routine in L.A as “really volatile… Some weeks I’ll have seven auditions; sometimes I’ll have none… But it’s not the audition that takes up the time, it’s before.”

“I’m kind of a perfectionist,” she adds with a shrug.

Helping with these auditions is her mum Donna, a trained opera singer. Although Donna admits that she “can’t even help Aisha read her lines correctly”, she “comes from a performance angle… so I know when she needs her space, but I also know when she’s not doing something that she needs to do.”

Even though she openly professes her love for L.A- “everyday is absolutely gorgeous and there’s always so many things going on”- Aisha is not ashamed to admit that living away from home is challenging.

I’m really close with my family, so it is really difficult. But with FaceTime and Skype and everything it makes it a lot easier.”

It seems that embracing the life she has away from her family and friends is the only option at the moment, as her efforts to make it big in L.A show no sign of easing up. As she looks around her bedroom and sighs at the thought of packing for her trip back there next week, I ask her where she sees herself in the next few years.

“I have absolutely no idea, but that’s really exciting to me,” she pauses for a second before continuing, “I see myself in a very different place, like a universe away from where I am right now.”


With her unwavering determination and passion for acting, it only takes a few minutes with this young hopeful to know that the universe she dreams of is undoubtedly just around the corner.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Humanitarian Hope.

It is one o’clock on a Monday afternoon and outside a seemingly ordinary building in Werribee is a small sign; ‘Saffron Kitchen’ it reads, next to a picture of a smiling lady wearing an apron. Without the usual trappings of a standard storefront, you would be forgiven for perhaps not noticing that there was a café here at all. But then again, this is not your usual café and inside are not your usual chefs.

Saffron Kitchen is a café and catering service whose food is cooked by newly arrived migrants to the Wyndham area. The interior of the building is primarily a long hallway with classrooms on either side. The walls are decorated with paintings and pictures of the workers smiling and preparing food. Outside is a beautiful picnic area with green grass, leafy trees and a wooden pergola where several teachers from the nearby high school are eating on their lunch break.

“The aim of Saffron Kitchen is to get students, new arrivals, asylum seekers and refugees engaged within the community,” coordinator Pauline states, “it’s quite unique.”

The social enterprise was introduced in 2008 after the Wyndham Community and Education Centre received funding for renovations on the original Synnot Street premises.

At that stage, Saffron Kitchen was a modest Friday lunch working purely on donation. Pauline describes the idea as “a prototype of Lentil As Anything,” the string of not-for-profit Melbourne restaurants where customers simply pay what they believe the meal is worth.

Fast-forward to 2010 and Saffron Kitchen expanded to the redeveloped Wayaperri House on Duncans Road, the site is currently runs from, as well as opening a second location in Wyndham Vale. It now operates five days a week from nine o’clock in the morning until two o’clock in the afternoon, offering a vibrant range of morning tea and lunch dishes that reflect the many cultures of those who make them.

Saffron Kitchen is just one of several humanitarian services created by the Wyndham Community and Education Centre that work hand in hand to assist the settlement of newly arrived migrants and refugees. It is estimated that since 2008, over 3,000 Karen and 700 Sudanese people have moved to the city of Wyndham.

Many of these people have little to no knowledge of the English language, and find it challenging to adapt to a culture of unfamiliar laws and social practices. A parliamentary report written in 2011 states “refugee/asylum seekers… culturally and linguistically diverse communities” as key issues facing the Wyndham community.

With this in mind, the Wyndham Humanitarian Network was established in 2006 with the aim of providing “an integrated settlement service to newly arrived migrants and refugees to Wyndham.”

Craig Spicer, settlement coordinator at the Network, describes it as a “team effort… there are between 40 and 50 different agencies working together… we identify a problem and we’ll do something to go out and educate the particular group.”

When asked what the most common problems are for newly settled migrants, Spicer lists a number of tasks that many Australian’s would consider a simple part of their day-to-day life.

“Tenancy issues, filling out forms, citizenship, housing, understanding our laws, basic things like how to catch a train, schools, banking and Centrelink” he states.

However, one of the biggest issues facing newly arrived migrants and refugees is the difficulty of finding employment. A 2011 community profile stated that 25% of people in the City of Wyndham came from countries where English was not their first language, and Spicer admits that this severely impacts their ability to find a job.

“New arrivals want to work, they do,” he says, “they work their guts out when they do work, [but] employers acknowledge that language is the barrier.”

This is where the complimentary nature of Wyndham’s migration and settlement services is put on display. While the Humanitarian Network offers a five-year term of support for a range of problems facing migrants, Saffron Kitchen works to build practical skills that can help them to overcome certain obstacles.

“[Saffron Kitchen] gives them a certificate of participation where it is stated what they actually learned within the course,” says Pauline, “we also provide for them a checklist of their skills and a letter of reference, so it gives them work experience.”

Amy, who arrived from South Korea two and a half years ago and started working at Saffron Kitchen in April, agrees that her experiences have given her the skills needed for other areas of her life.

“I think it can be my basic experience here in Australia if I find another job,” she says, “I’m working with Australian people and I feel like it’s helping a lot.”

Continuing, she reveals, “Serving customers improves the English skills… the simple English comes out more naturally, so I think that’s the good part of this.”

But Pauline concedes that it’s often a matter of confidence for those who have moved to a foreign country, many in an attempt to achieve a better quality of life for them and their families.

Speaking of a co-worker named Johanna who moved from Thailand in 2008, Pauline calls her “an inspiration.”

Smiling, she says “when Johanna first came here she was a single mum of three young children… she wasn’t very confident at all. Now she’s taken on that much responsibility in the kitchen I think she surprises herself.”

She continues, “new students come in and when we say that Johanna is now a paid kitchen supervisor and they realise that she started off as a student as well, they can relate. Because she came from the camp herself.”

As two o’clock approaches, the café clears out and Amy brings over two plates of mushroom risotto and garlic bread left over from the day and places them in front of us. She speaks about her family, what she likes to cook at home and her worries about sending her young son to a good high school.

Perhaps at the core of it all is the hope for loved ones to live and enjoy a better future, a feeling that many people can relate to no matter which country they are from or how long they have lived there.

“The older ones, in their 40’s and 50’s, can see that they might not get work because they have the language barrier, “ Spicer says, “but they're giving their kids an opportunity.”


This embodies the importance of services such as the Humanitarian Network and Saffron Kitchen in the Wyndham community. Without these organisations, it is likely that many people wouldn’t get the opportunities to thrive as they do now, and undoubtedly will continue to do in the future.


The counter, menu boards and various photos of Saffron Kitchen workers.
The outside area where customers are able to sit and eat their food.
Cleaning up after a day of cooking and serving food.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Self-Confidence, Self-Obsession And Nothing In Between.

Today I was reading the Herald Sun online and came across this article titled "Australia's Most Self-Obsessed Models Reveal All" by Simon Crerar. Interested, I read on thinking it was going to be a piece on the types of products or beauty care routines Aussie models use to get the "seriously-I'm-just-naturally-this-beautiful" look. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement, and it wasn't because I realised that no amount of foundation or mascara could make me look like Miranda Kerr.

Unfortunately, the article turned out to be more of a condescending peek into the Instagram accounts of models such as Megan Gale, Miranda Kerr and Lara Bingle. While Crerar's article is humourous and seemingly written in jest, the tone of it really made me think about the way our society interprets self-esteem.

The premise of the article is simple enough: certain models are considered "self-obsessed" because they regularly post photos of themselves on social media. Photos whilst they are in bed, on the beach, at the gym etc. Basically, there are a lot of incredibly beautiful runway models clogging up your Instagram feed and the reflex seems to be "oh wow, you must really love yourself." And this is what irritates me.

Since the article makes absolutely no mention of male models and their apparent self-obsessed ways, I'll stick to the female side of the problem. As women, we're taught that modesty when it comes to physical appearance is key. We're expected to strive for beauty but, oh god no, don't actually think you're attractive, because that's not attractive at all. It strikes me as such a destructive cycle because if the basis for being labelled conceited is posting a few photos of yourself on the internet, what kind of message is that sending? That insecurity is more desirable than having confidence in how you look? That we should look down on women who seem relatively happy with their appearance? Call me crazy, but if you can look at a photo of yourself in a bikini and think "hey, I like how I look in this enough to post it to hundreds of thousands of followers" then more power to you.

It feels as though rejecting compliments and the "oh, me? really?" attitude of women has become so naturalised and ordinary that it's created within us an aversion to people who perhaps just like themselves, plain and simple. Think about how many times you've complimented someone, only to have them make some sort of comment about how unfounded your praise was. Now think about how many times you've done the same, despite the fact that you might have actually felt good about whatever it was they were appreciating. We've been taught that laughing off compliments and discounting ourselves is normal and healthy, so it's no surprise that when a person doesn't adhere to these conventions we see her as 'self-obsessed' and conceited.

It's obvious as to why models are easy targets for judgements like this, despite how unfounded they might be. These women fundamentally make a living out of being beautiful, and Crerar is certainly not the first person to assume that this would make them somewhat narcissistic. It's strange to me how, as a society, we are more inclined to look down upon people who are self-accepting than to celebrate them. When did body-shaming become more revered, more normal than body-loving? And when did we become cynical enough to let self-confidence become synonymous with self-obsession?

Monday, 1 April 2013

Monthly Favourites | March.

Look world, something good has come out of the countless hours I spend watching beauty and fashion vloggers on YouTube- I've been inspired to do a 'Monthly Favourites' post! 

If you haven't come across this type of thing before, it's pretty much all in the name- this post is about a few of the things I've really loved in the past 30 days or so.

☀ March Monthly Favourites 

Favourite purchase: Nike shoes.
This month I finally bought a new pair of runners and oh my lord, they are pretty. I had been looking for a great new pair for months but a mixture of my notoriously indecisive personality and  the shoe stores not having my sizes meant that I could never settle on a pair. Until I saw these babies, that is!

$80 from The Foot Locker.

I'm not going to lie- I have never been a fan of white shoes, especially those of the trainer variety, since one would assume that they would get dirty quite easily. But the lady in the shop told me they would clean up well so I put all my faith in her honesty and bought them. They are incredibly comfortable and supportive, a vast difference from my previous hand-me-down trainers that left me with a sprained foot a couple weeks back. 

Favourite song: Resentment - Beyonce' [Live].


The emotion Beyonce' puts into this song is just absolutely heartbreaking and yet so empowering at the same time. I judge great music by its capacity to make me feel emotions I have never experienced, and if you were to ever witness me belting out this song you would be forgiven for thinking I had been betrayed by a boyfriend at some point in my life. Alas, Beyonce is just an incredible performer and my love life is non-existent. But all the cars next to me at the traffic lights definitely think I'm capable of getting a boyfriend. Thanks, Queen B.

Side note: Who do you even cheat on Beyonce with? Thinking of a situation in which this might occur baffles me to no end.

Favourite make up product: Maybelline Fit Me Foundation.



Yet another influence of my obsessive YouTube watching ways. I was waiting eagerly for my other foundations to run out before buying this since I had heard so many good things about it from the beauty vloggers I subscribe to. I was previously using a Revlon Colour Stay foundation, which I loved, but I definitely think I prefer this one. It finishes quite matte on the skin and stays on for a very long time. It also gives you a lot of coverage for a small amount of product, which is always great. 

A better review from someone much more qualified than I am can be found on the incredible Tanya Burr's blog here, for those of you who are interested.

Favourite food: Strawberry and feta salad.


Ingredients:
Cos lettuce [or other lettuce of choice].
Baby spinach.
Strawberries.
Feta cheese.
1-2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar.

I have been eating this in extremely large quantities all month and I have absolutely no intention of stopping any time soon. As you can see with the ingredients above, it's incredibly quick and simple to make which is always a plus for when you don't have much time to pack a lunch for school/work/a day out but want something filling and refreshing. And it's so healthy! Definitely better than a microwave meal or take out food and probably just as quick to prepare!

It's 2am and looking at this photo is making me want to devour a serving right now, so I need to move on to a new topic. Just try it. It's basically the food equivalent of heaven.

Favourite YouTube video:



Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake- History of Rap 4.

It's a good thing that this video doesn't need any words because I don't have any.


I think that's it for this month, guys. If you do monthly favourite posts as well, it would be great if you could link them in the comments because I absolutely love reading them!

Hope you've enjoyed this post! xx.

Teenage Lessons From a Barely-20-Year-Old.

Two months ago I turned 20 and it was very anti-climatic to say the least. I didn't have any sort of life-changing epiphany and I still can't relate to any of the TV shows that claim to realistically depict the lives of 20-something women. I feel like I'm standing in the door of adulthood while Britney Spears' 'I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman' plays in the background and it's just a whole new level of confusing for me. But then I realised that I am now [somewhat] qualified to share all the lessons I learned throughout my insufferable teenage years, even though I internally feel perpetually stuck at 15 years old.

These are some of the lessons I learned in between all the other useless stuff I did.

1. It's okay to say no.
To people, to plans, to cute surf-lifesavers who want you to donate money you can't afford. This may come as a shock to those of you who, like me, have a compulsive need to please people but saying no doesn't make you a bad person. If anything, it just makes you a happier one. When you realise this, it will become very obvious to you that, contrary to popular belief, you will not lose all your friends simply because you said no to going to a party or doing someone a favour.

2. Don't worry about figuring out what you want to do just yet.
I admit, this is the easiest thing to say and the hardest to put into practice. It seems as though once you hit High School you're kind of just expected to figure out your entire life overnight. And that's stressful because you can't even figure out what you want for lunch, let alone what job you want to do every day for the next 40 or so years of your life. And then your school might make you do that career test where you answer a bunch of questions and the computer tells you what jobs you might be suited to. And that's stressful because you've never even heard of most of the jobs but they all just sound like a lifetime prison sentence in the form of a 6 year degree and $50,000 worth of University loans. Basically what I'm saying is that thinking about the future is just one big anxiety attack.

However, what they don't tell you is that not knowing where you're headed when you're a teenager is pretty much a pre-requisite for being a teenager. Trust me, even the kids who claim they know exactly what they want to do have no idea, and I can say that with authority because I was one of those kids. Try new things, go out of your comfort zone and just enjoy yourself as much as you can. The only way you can figure out what job you might want to do when you're older is by stumbling across something you enjoy doing and also have a mild talent at executing.

3. If you have figured out what you want to do, do it as much as you can.
As I mentioned before, I've known that I wanted to be a writer since I was pretty young but I was so characteristically ridden with self-doubt that I refused to actually write anything until I was about 15. Looking back, this was the most illogical thing to do because I couldn't possibly get any better at writing or discover what exactly I liked writing about if I never actually did it. So, the lesson goes that if you want to paint, draw, dance, act, sew or do any of the other myriad of things that can form a career in this wonderful world of ours, do them*. You don't even need to show other people if you're unsure about it. Although, chances are, as you start to indulge in your chosen craft more and more, you'll want to share it with others who may also appreciate it.

*The only exception to this rule is for people who want to be nurses or doctors or anything else that requires a license to perform. Please don't cut people open until you are medically qualified to do so.

4. Leggings aren't pants.
What can I say? Some rules are just made to be comfortably, unfashionably broken.

5. People change, and that's okay.
Teenage years are nothing but change, so it's to be expected that sometimes you just don't have as much to say to someone who you once shared everything with. Drifting apart from a friend is never easy, and perhaps there is nothing to really make you feel anything other than sad about it, but it's something that you gradually learn to understand over time. Sometimes it's messy and angry and other times it's quiet and subtle, but it happens even when you don't want it to. If possible, remember that it's no ones fault, you can't blame people for growing and perhaps you will drift back together in the future if things decide to change once again.

6. Going out to nightclubs is not really that much fun 85% of the time.
I did the research and that number is statistically valid. Most nightclubs are equal parts sweat, bad music, uncomfortable heels and a waste of money and I can avoid all those things if I sit at home in bed watching YouTube videos all night. It's just science, people. I didn't make the rules.

7. It's good to do things that frighten you.
Because it keeps you on your toes. Staying in your comfort zone is more often than not boring and uneventful and, worst of all, you miss out on dozens of potentially great new experiences simply because you're feeling what has to be one of the most common human emotions. The best way I've found to overcome this is to make yourself do little things that make you a bit nervous, and eventually you'll have worked your confidence up enough to overcome the big hurdles. A lot of the time we shackle ourselves to negative emotions and stand in the way of our own freedom without even realising it. Going against your self-taught instinct to avoid certain harmless situations is terrifying and liberating and wonderful, and the sooner you realise that the better off you will be.