Week 5 of my ‘transformation’

So, commencing week 5 of my personal training sessions with Pure Gym and I’m knackered. Health and lifestyle blogs will typically have a load of bullshit about how great they’re feeling and how they’re fit as ever, but this will be a more candid and honest representation…

I started this challenge at the same time I was beginning my third and final year of University, as well as working my part-time job at a bar and being chair of the netball committee so it’s fair to say I’ve put a lot of my plate. Along with that I suffer with anxiety which is best friends with stress, just to add to my worries. Why did I do this to myself you ask? I have no idea.

Working out is a fantastic stress buster and I would definitely be more stressed without it! You let it all out sprinting on the treadmill or squatting your personal best – so I’d advice anyone with anxiety or stress related issues to start hitting the gym. Getting a personal trainer like Chris is getting a councillor all in one as well – they’re there to make you feel the best version of yourself, physically and mentally.

My issue is food. Ok, you see Khloe Kardashian’s workouts on snapchat with her professional trainer but behind the scenes she probably has a high end chef to cook her whatever she wants and she can afford all the quinoa and kale she likes! A student like me cannot and I don’t always have the time to cook up a storm either – sometimes all I want to do is whack a curry in the microwave and get on my way (but the 900 calories a meal tell me to do otherwise).

Time and money isn’t my only issue relating to food. If you’ve had a long day at work, what’s the first thing you think about doing? Glass of wine? Takeaway? Chocolate? Yeah, I thought so. For me, if I’m stressed all I have to indulge on to cheer me up is an Alpen bar which just doesn’t work the same magic on my mood. Oh and then there’s all my friend’s 21st birthdays. Whilst they’re indulging on cake and wine, I’m there sipping a vodka Diet Coke wishing it was a glass of rosé the size of my head.

Actual training wise, it’s getting better but I find myself just wanting to be in bed when I’m there. If I had nothing else going on with my day I’d be totally up for it, ready and raring to go, but because I’m so tired I’m slightly lacking in motivation when I’m there. Despite this, Chris is great at giving me the kick up the arse that I need. He knows when I’m genuinely at “failure” compared to when I’m just not pushing hard enough which has assisted me in making some of the progress I have done.

Even though I am drowning in everything right now, seeing the beginnings of the changes I’ve been trying for keeps me going (especially when my boyfriend notices too!). I don’t just want to grind to a halt at the end of the 12 week period – I want to continue keeping up my fitness and staying in shape so I’m determined to get my head fully in the zone.

 

 

 

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Week 1 of my 12 week ‘transformation’

After an amazing summer consisting of work experience in London, Manchester and Lancashire and two holidays, it was safe to say going to the gym was very low on my list of priorities. Whilst it was one of the best summers of my life, one thing wasn’t so great… my weight.

Being only 5ft 2.5 (the half means a lot, ok?) every pound gained shows and I found myself having to buy swimming costumes for the first time since being a child due to my lack of body confidence in a bikini; this is when I knew things needed to change. Luckily for me, an opportunity was given to me by Pure Gym in Salford (the gym I attend whilst at university) where I could get three months of free personal training for free due to a competition they were having. Obviously I said yes being a poor and out-of-shape student and this week was my first week of reality.

Starting off the week I went and did a healthy food shop cutting out all kinds of crap and saying goodbye to my dear friends wine, chips and chocolate. My trolly was filled with chicken, pork, veg and fruit and I was ready to take on this transformation.

My first training session with Chris was on Thursday and I walked into the gym knowing I was about to get annihilated. I spotted Chris on the steppers with the client he had before me and he shouted over, “You’re on here next!” and all I could think was, “f*ck.” Luckily, Chris went quite tame on me (well he seemed to think so anyway) for my first session knowing I’ve been out of play for a good few months. The weight exercises we did weren’t too much of a shock to the system, but the HIIT training he made me do was. 5 rounds later of sprinting on the spinning bike and 30 seconds on the ski machine I thought I was having a cardiac arrest and was sweating out of places I didn’t know I could sweat out of. I basically turned into a human jelly, but hey – I’ll be laughing in 12 weeks time, right?

Even after my second session today I’ve noticed my body is slowly but surely adapting to being active again. Luckily today’s HIIT session involved boxing therefore being able to punch Chris as revenge for all the hard work he’s putting me through – even though my punch is the equivalent of a small child’s at the moment.

Diet wise, it’s so far easier than I thought it would be for a chocoholic like myself. My tip is to just not buy in the things that will tempt you! Some of my meals have consisted of pork, rice and green beans and fish, mash and veg (all Aldi’s finest, of course). As great as  diet books like Lean in 15 are, am I the kind of person who can afford quinoa from Waitrose? Most definitely not. But don’t be disheartened, cheaper alternatives are always  available e.g. Aldi’s frozen lemon and herb battered bassa!

Watch this space for updates on how I’m getting on – pictures will follow once I stop looking like a human potato.

Is detox dieting a load of bullsh*t?

In recent years, everyone has become obsessed with ‘detoxing’ their bodies of toxins to become fitter and healthier versions of themselves – but the question is, is it a actually a load of crap?

Basically, yes. To continuously get rid of every single toxin in our body, we’d have to spend the majority of our lives on the toilet as that’s the main way to get rid of toxins. Toxins come from everywhere, from air pollution to food packaging to tap water; they’re pretty much inescapable. However, not all toxins are bad which commercial markets forget to remind you of so getting rid of all toxins could actually do your body more harm than good.

There are several celebrity endorsed brands like BooTea and FitTea who have the likes of Lucy Watson and Ashley Tisdale advertising them. Advertising these products to a large following of young, female instagrammers which could be detrimental as we are already living in a body obsessed world with 725,000 people in the uk having an eating disorder in 2015.

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Source: instagram @ashleytisdale

What the people who buy these commercialised “detox” diets do not know is that their bodies are already fully equipped to fight off bad toxins on their own. The human body is an amazing thing and with the help from the likes of our livers, kidneys and gastrointestinal systems we are perfectly fine battling off toxins by ourselves without having to spend ridiculous amounts of money on these detoxes (and ridiculous amounts of time on the toilet for that matter!).

Only 20% of dieting actually works. The majority of doctors will advise you to do the boring, old-fashioned technique of healthy eating, exercising more and eating smaller portions. With “detox” diets, they make it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients from the food were are ingesting because they’re going through our system too quickly as detox teas are a form of laxative. Due to this, it leads to people majorly lacking in energy because no energy has been absorbed so not only are you on the toilet all the time, you’re feeling pretty shitty too (pun intended). It’s extremely unlikely you will end up looking like the ridiculous toned and muscular girls who advertise these ‘teatoxes’ because you won’t actually have the energy to work out.

Linking to the laxative effect of the detox diets, it can often cause implications with taking the contraceptive pill. Many people have complained about getting pregnant whilst doing these diets despite taking their contraceptive pill like they usually would. The reason for this is, again, because it completely flushes everything out including your contraceptive pill! It isn’t that everyone one will become pregnant who does these diets, but it does massively increase your chances of accidentally doing so. Is shedding a few pounds worth accidentally getting pregnant? Nope.

Lastly, detox diets are all just a fad. You take them and yes, you shift a few pounds (that said shift, not shit) and you feel slimmer… but as soon as you stop taking the tea or juice or whatever it is, those pounds will just come back again.

In conclusion, these diets could make you feel rubbish, make you go to the toilet all the time, they don’t actually help you lose weight in the long term and could potentially make you pregnant with a baby you were not intending to have. Worth it? I think not.

Why we seriously need to talk about sun protection

With the UK seeing high temperatures in recent weeks and people’s summer holidays just around the corner, one thing that everyone’s looking to achieve is a gorgeous, glowing tan. With freckles on your nose and colour in your skin, you feel automatically more confident and more attractive; however people are failing to tan ‘safely’ with 15,419 cases of skin cancer in 2014.

One of those diagnosed in 2014 with skin cancer was Katie Greenall. Now 21, Katie was just 18-years-old when she was diagnosed with malignant melanoma – the most aggressive and life-threatening form of skin cancer. Despite never having used a sun bed or been badly burnt, Katie’s boyfriend noticed blood on her shirt where an usual looking mole was in the middle of her back. Within an hour of the Doctor seeing Katie’s mole, she was sent into surgery for it to be removed as soon as possible after realising it was cancerous. 82% of malignant melanoma cases in women are down to major lifestyle factors or other risk factors but unfortunately Katie fell into the 18% of people who got it “out of bad luck”.

Katie said, “I always thought it would never happen to me. When I went to the Doctors that day I was thinking, ‘It’s not going to be that’ – you don’t think it will ever happen to you. You’ve got to have that mind set of putting some sun cream on because it could happen to any of us.

“Skin cancer’s sort of pushed to the side. With breast cancer and stuff, they’re more in the spotlight – but cancer’s cancer no matter what it is, especially skin cancer as it’s the largest organ of your body.”

In 2014, there were 2,459 deaths in the UK due to skin cancer; luckily Katie’s was found early enough for the Doctors to successfully remove the cancerous mole before it spread to other parts of the body which malignant melanoma has a tendency to do.

“If no one noticed the blood on my shirt, I would not have known. I felt completely normal.”

There are two other main types of skin cancer which are more common than malignant melanoma; basal cell carcinoma (a cancer of the basal cells at the bottom of the epidermis) and squamous cell carcinoma (a cancer of the keratinocyte cells in the outer layer of the skin). Basal cell carcinoma is responsible for 75% of skin cancers. These types of cancers are typically caused by sun exposure as the UV rays damages the DNA in a persons skin cells. There’s also the issue of your tone of skin as those more fair skinned – blondes and red heads typically – are more at risk of sunburn. Getting sunburnt just once every 2 years can triple your risk of melanoma skin cancer. For more information and support, click here

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Signs and symptoms to look for to make sure your moles/freckles and healthy and normal

Whilst the sun gives us vitamin D, which is an important part of the human body, it also gives off UV rays which can be seriously damaging . The chances of you getting burnt depend on the strength of the UV rays where you are. Throughout the UK today, the UV rays have been around 6 or 7 which is ‘high’ or ‘very high’ on the Met Office scale; click here to see for yourself. Cancer research advises that you protect your skin from the sun when the UV index is 3 or above. Another thing to take into account is that the sun’s UV rays are strongest between 11am and 3pm in the UK.

Whilst getting a tan is great and you think the horrendous sunburn you’ve got will “turn into a tan tomorrow” – is damaging your skin so severely for a tan worth tripling your risk of skin cancer? Sunburn doesn’t have to be as extreme as peeling or blistering, if the skin is pink or red, it is sunburnt. Sunburn can also cause premature ageing as well. Is it worth looking 10-years-older than you are just for the sake of a bit of colour to your skin?

When the weather is lovely, it is inevitable you will be wanting to go outside to sit in the sunshine which is fine as long as you enjoy the sun safely. Ways you can do this are as follows:

  • Spend time in the shade throughout the day, whether this be inside, under a parasol or in a tent
  • Cover yourself up for parts of the day with clothing, wear a hat to protect the face and head and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes – it’s possible (but very rare) that people get skin cancer in their eye as well as the skin
  • Sun cream! Make sure you put enough on, that you put it on frequently (even those “once a day” types), use it along side shade and clothing for ultimate protection and don’t store sun cream in hot places as the heat can ruin the creams protective chemicals

Glamour magazine has recently raved about these SPF friendly products (hover over the pictures for details):

 

So don’t be that idiot with a t-shirt tan line the colour of a tomato this summer. Enjoy the sun safely because life long damage isn’t worth a temporary tan.

A candid look at 30 years of marriage

In 2014, there were 111,169 divorces with the average marriage lasting 8 – 12 years. However, for Bev and Andrew Shackleton (my wonderful parents), last week marked their 30th wedding anniversary proving not all marriages end in divorce. 

After meeting at sixth form at the ages of 16, they went on to marry at the ages of 22 and 23 – my Mum is a cougar by six months. Before marrying, they endured a long distance relationship with my Dad studying in London and my Mum being home in Blackpool after she dropped out of Leeds university. In a time of no mobiles and internet – yeah, I know… there was once a time when everyone did not know what everyone was doing every second of every day – they still managed to remain a couple together despite the 247 (approximately) miles between them. They then went on to marry in 1987. So, in a society where divorce has become extremely common, I asked them how they’ve survived so long…

What were your toughest battles over the past 30 years and how did you overcome them?

Dad: “When we first married we were living in the Midlands in Birmingham and your Mum moved down there because I was there when she possibly didn’t really want to. It took your mother out of her comfort zone and just sort of pitched the two of us together as two 23 year olds in a new city and a new flat without the family support mechanism.”

I went on to ask how they coped as couple when my Mum became ill after giving birth to me and then my Grandma (her Mum) passing away from cancer a few months later:

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My parents in Spain, 2013

Mum: “It tends to make your relationship stronger. In the face of adversity you pull together and support each other more.”

I also asked how my Dad deals with my Mum suffering with anxiety as sometimes it can be difficult to take care of someone with mental health issues:

Dad: “You used to be worse than you are now [to my Mum]. It was honestly never an issue and never a cause of conflict. If you marry somebody, you marry that person. You take on board each persons’ strength and weaknesses – your mother takes on mine and I do hers.”

Mum: “I don’t think we were surprised by each other when we got married because we already knew each other very well so I don’t feel we went into a relationship and thought  “I didn’t realise you were going to be like this.”

What annoys you about each other? 

Dad: *sheepishly* “you start…”

Mum: “Erm, there’s nothing really that annoys me about your Dad because if it did we wouldn’t have been together all this time. Anything that annoys me about your Dad he knows, like his snoring and his grumpiness that has come with age.”

Dad: “Your mum’s shopping habits aren’t great… and she never does the bins. Your mother’s stubborn too. It doesn’t annoy me [*he says sheepishly again*], it’s just an observation.”

Have you ever gone through a rough patch in your marriage? 

Mum: “I think people who go through rough patches are people who have issues with each other, not the situations that are going on in their lives. Everybody goes through times in their life that are hard, but if you have a strong relationship you support each other and the reason marriages break up is because people give in too easy.”

Dad: “Either people aren’t suited, shouldn’t have got married in the first place or let little things become a big deal. They just use it as an excuse and don’t stick to it.”

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My parents in Italy, 2016

Mum: “A lot of people end up divorced because of a third party. One person in the relationship will think that ‘there must be something better than this’ and they’re tempted by what they think might be better than what they’ve got. A lot of the time they go on to find that’s not the case and what they had was comfortable and secure. They’ve given that up for something they thought was initially exciting but turns out to be mundane and ordinary.”

What advice would you give to newly married couples? 

Mum: Just think about how the other feels about things all the time and don’t set your expectations too high. The thing is when you first get married you take on a lot of financial responsibility as well, it’s all very boring and everything but you just kind of get on with it. You’re learning all the time.”

Dad: Just be aware of each others short comings. Make each other laugh. Always know you’re going to lose the argument – pretend to have a quick argument then let it go.”

How have you overall survived 30 years of marriage?

Dad: Because we love each other, we make each other laugh and we’re best mates.

 

So, there is such thing as soul mates – not all hope is lost people.

 

Confessions of an over-thinker

To ‘overthink’ is to think about something too much for too long – from why didn’t my friend text me back, to what do I want to do with my life? It’s an on going cycle of thoughts churning when most of the time it’s all over nothing.

Example number 1: friendships

If you don’t text back within half an hour, we will think you’ve either died or you hate us. We’ll be staring at our phone like we’re waiting to find out if you’ve survived surgery when you had a 50/50 chance of survival… when really we’re just waiting on a reply if you want to come out tonight. Whilst we’re sat there wondering if you’ve had a car crash, you’re probably just in the shower.

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Source: Giphy.com

Example number 2: relationships

Don’t get me started- if relationships aren’t a trip to anxiety-ville, I don’t know what is. Being in a generation of playing “hard to get” is hell to an over-thinker. Does he like me, does he not? Is he speaking to someone else? Does he even want a girlfriend? Did the date go OK? Did I have something in my teeth? He heard me fart didn’t he? I swore it was silent. Etc.

Then when you’re actually in the relationship, it doesn’t get much better. Every small thing you do it a sign to us. He wants to go out with the lads this weekend… to probably bitch about me. His mum definitely hates me. He’s not text much today, he definitely wants to break up… but he was just on his Xbox.

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Source: Giphy.com

Example number 3: the battle with trying to sleep

Ah, 10:30pm, maybe I should head off to sleep. 3 hours later you’re still laid there questioning things from the purpose of life to what you should wear to your Grandma’s birthday this weekend. Our brains. don’t. turn. off.

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Source: Giphy.com

Example 4: being a sarcastic bastard

Do you know how hard is it to be queen of sarcasm but on then overthink the sarcy comment you made. You’ll be bringing the banter and drop a sarcastic line that blows everyone away – next thing you know you’re thinking about the comment several days later wondering if it a bit harsh and if they knew you were joking. Argh! It quickly goes from giggling at your own savage-ness to rocking back and forth in your room thinking about what a bad person you are.

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Source: Giphy.com

Example number 5: attempting the “fuck it” lifestyle

Knowing you’re £-500 but find a pair of jeans on Asos you simply love and order them on impulse. Then you worry about it for 3-5 working days until they arrive and send them straight back knowing you don’t have £35 to spare. Or, thinking “fuck it” and go out with your friends despite the fact you have a 9am lecture tomorrow then spend the whole night out thinking about how you should be in bed right now. Damn it.

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Source: Giphy.com

 

So over all, an over-thinker will never be a care-free person who all of a sudden decides to pack up their bags and travel the world or something – well actually we might do but we would overthink it, panic and unpack our bags immediately…

Love Island’s Olivia Buckland and Alex Bowen talk bad habits and wedding dates

The one couple who always stand out at events is Alex Bowen and Olivia Buckland. With continuous hand holding and looks of admiration, it is evident the couple are still completely loved up eight months on from the end of Love Island 2016… 

How have things been since you starting living together?

Alex: Obviously when we were in the show together we were basically living together so it was weird for us to be apart. When we came out, we wanted to move in together straight away and we just clicked. Now we live together it’s just perfect.

Olivia: We tried to not be together, I think we tried two days apart and we just couldn’t do it. We are the soppiest people you will ever meet. I think for us, because of the situation we were in, it’s made it easier because we’re used to being around each other and used to having each other there. If I didn’t have him there I wouldn’t be who I was.

Alex: To go on a show when you’re with each other 24 hours a day with no phone, no time apart and being away from everyone, when you come off it’s weird not to be with the person you’re in love with.

What is your most common argument? 

Olivia: I tell you something specific, some exclusive information; I cook dinner because Alex can’t cook, so if I cook I expect him to clean – what he’ll do is clean half the kitchen. You’ll go in there and there will be a garlic crusher and spoon in there that he hasn’t even seen. That is what he does!

However, despite being bad at clearing up, apparently Mr Bowen is good in every other aspect.

Alex: You’ve thrown me under the bus now! But, say if we are watching a film or something and the window sill is by the sofa, she’ll be having a drink of milk (I know it’s weird but she loves milk) and put the glass on the side. When I’m washing up, she’ll leave it on the window sill and leave it there for a day. It’s gonna stink!

(Olivia claims she is waiting for Alex to tidy up).

After moving in together, most commonly, the next step for couples is to get a pet to create a sense of having a family. Olivia and Alex now own a gorgeous French Bulldog named Reggie, as many followers of theirs will know as they understandably post videos and photos of his adorable face frequently.

Our beautiful fur baby is getting big! @ab_bowen @manlikereggie 🐶

A post shared by Olivia Buckland (@oliviadbuck) on

How did it feel getting Reggie? 

Alex: Honestly it’s like having a child. Say if we’re having a cuddle and a kiss, he’ll go mad because he wants to be involved.

Olivia: To say I kiss Alex, he’ll bark at me and I’ll be like, “What the hell? Calm down, I’m trying to kiss your f*cking Dad here!”.

Love Island is set for a third series with Caroline Flack presenting again after last year’s series won a National Television Award. Sadly the cast and the start date for this year has not been confirmed yet.

What relationship advice would you give to this years’ contestants? 

Alex: With the people on the show, you don’t know who’s going to click with who so they might pick the wrong person. If you pick the right person then it’s just meant to be – that’s all the advice you can give.

Olivia: Trust your heart, trust yourself, be yourself and just try not to get caught up in the game because it is a big, big game and they will try to pull you in to it.

After whirlwind relationship and a romantic proposal in New York last December, everyone’s wondering when it will be – the couple will be Love Island’s first wedding.

She said yes 💗🗽 @oliviadbuck

A post shared by A L E X B O W E N (@ab_bowen) on

When the hell is the wedding?!

Olivia: Well! When is it Alex?! We’re trying to organise – we’re the worst organisational people. We’re late to everything, we’ll be late to our own wedding!

Alex: What it is, obviously we were late to the thing tonight [Britain’s Next Top Model launch party] so I think we’d f*ck it up a little. I think it’s just nice to be engaged for a little while, do you know what I mean?

We tried to not be together, I think we tried two days apart and we just couldn’t do it.

Overall, it’s safe to say one of Britain’s favourite couples are still going strong and don’t seem to be showing any cracks (other than Alex’s bad clearing up and Olivia’s milk drinking habits). Unfortunately there are no wedding dates currently on the cards but it is obvious that the couple are a match made in heaven.

 

Why Social Media’s Brainwashing Us

At the age of 20, I find it truly surreal how badly peoples lives revolve around social media – the main culprits being Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram. We are living in a time where it is the norm to document every single movement we make, letting the world know where we are and what we’re doing. Also, I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels 99.9% of what people are posting is complete and utter bullshit.

Instagram is the bane of my life. I will often look down the posts of people I follow and wonder how in God’s name there are 13-year-olds gaining over 200 likes on the photos when I’ll scrape 30 on a good day (I’m not jealous… honest). Instagram didn’t become popular until I was about 15 or 16, but these 13-year-olds in their crop tops, Topshop ‘Joni‘ jeans and Adidas superstars have had these social media platforms since primary school.

Then there’s the photoshoppers. For the love of God if you’re that desperate for likes you feel the need to photoshop your pictures then you need to seriously re-evulate your life. It’s extremely sad we live in a society where people think it’s necessary to photoshop themselves for their Instagram followers to think they’re a bit slimmer that they are or have perfectly airbrushed skin – which FYI doesn’t actually look realistic. I’ll hold my hands up to admitting I’m all for some good lighting and angling but photoshopping is excessive. It’s sad girls aren’t confident enough in their own skin to just put a nice, genuine picture up of themselves. Is it just me that would be truly mortified to meet a new person and have them discover how completely different you look in life to the way you look on Instagram?

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Want to know another thing that’s sad? That people live their lives for Instagram –  I’d bet some people only go travelling for the Instagram opportunities. It’s almost like a virtual reality that it’s a true representation of your life or the person you are. Serial instagrammers are more interested in taking a picture of the food they’ve got instead of actually eating it and they’re more interested in taking a picture of where they are than actually enjoying the experience. Yawn.

Over to Snapchat. Bloody snapchat. It’s like people feel they have to snapchat their nights out to prove themselves. We get it, you went to a club, congratulations. Instead of wasting your time (and battery for that matter) snapchatting every song played or the “fun” you’re having, appreciate the moment you are in and the people there with you for god sake! Pet peeve alert: this filter is not a true representation of how you look! No one honestly has that slimmer face and eyes that big. This filter it totally cheating at life (as demonstrated by actress, Anna Kendrick):

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Source: Instagram @annakendrick47

 

Moving over to the bullshit-fest that is Facebook. Facebook is full of fake friendships and crappy relationships. The only reason I still have Facebook is to assist me with my journalism and for the highly entertaining memes (sorry to my friends that I tag in 7 a day). Why frequently post about you’re undying love for your boyfriend or girlfriend? What are you trying to prove? That you’re actual crappy relationship is all fine and dandy when it’s really on the rocks? Do yourself a favour and spend time working on your relationship instead of wasting time trying to justify it to the people of Facebook.

We’ve become transfixed with focusing on how we present ourselves on social media; whether than be slimmer, or happier than we genuinely are. People have become alienated into believing that social media is the be-all and end-all of their lives and without it they’re nothing. You do not need to look like society wants you to and you don’t need to act that way either. If you go to McDonald’s for a date instead of the Alchemist, who gives a damn. If you go caravanning on holiday instead of a cruise, again, who gives a damn. I saddens me that society has come to a point where people can only feel secure in themselves and the way they look by conveying a false persona.

If you feel the same way as I do, unfollow the people that aggravate you and take a day off from social media. Trust me, you’ll feel a weight lifted off your shoulders.

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Source: giphy.com

Films to Look Out for in 2017

2016 had some whopping films over the course if it’s 12 months; from the long awaited Batman Vs. Superman to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The question is, will 2017 consist of movies remembered for years to come? Here are the films everyone’s talking about for 2017.

 

  1. Manchester by the Sea 

After the death of his brother, Lee Chandler [played by the outstanding Casey Affleck] finds out he’s been put down to be the guardian of his nephew Patrick Chandler [played by film newcomer Lucas Hedges]. Lee struggles to come to terms with having to be his nephew’s guardian after living a quiet and reserved life in Quincy, Massachusetts. Many reviewers have described this film as a ‘masterpiece’ so expect big things for actors Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams and Lee Hedges. In cinemas 13th January. 

2. Live by Night

This film was not only written, directed and co-produced by Ben Affleck but also stars him as the lead role. The crime drama film has an all star cast with actors such as Sienna Miller and Elle Fanning. Set in the 1920’s/1930’s, the film follows Joe Coughlin [Ben Affleck] who is the youngest son of a Boston police captain. Joe moves to Florida to become a bootlegger, followed by a rum-runner, to then end up becoming a notorious gangster. This riveting film is action packed and will leave you on the edge of your seat whilst you follow Joe’s progress up the organised crime ladder. In cinemas 13th January.

3.  Split 

This psychological horror film entails the kidnapping of three teenage girls in broad daylight by Kevin [played by James McAvoy]. Kevin locks the three girls in a windowless room and goes on to baffle and scare them by acting and dressing in different ways. Later on the girls come to realise Kevin has dissociative identity disorder with several main characters, each of which has dangerous thoughts towards his captives. It’s up to the girls to work out which personality they can persuade to let them free. In cinemas 20th January. 

 

4. Fifty Shades Darker

After the Fifty Shades of Grey film made a massive $571, 006, 128, there’s a lot riding on it’s sequel, Fifty Shades Darker. The sequel follows Anastasia’s attempt at moving on from Christian Grey, but Christian manages to persuade to her to come back under her new rules. During their reconciliation Christian’s past comes back to haunt them putting their new “vanilla” relationship to the test. In cinemas 10th February. 

5. Beauty and the Beast

A long awaited Disney live-action remake of the 1991 animation starring Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as ‘the Beast’, and Luke Evans as Gaston. The new film sticks to the original story line of Belle taking her Father’s place as prisoner in the Beast’s castle and ends up befriending the enchanted staff during her stay. In addition to this, the Beast and Belle end up growing fond of each other when Belle learns to look past his harsh exterior. This is much to Gaston’s dislike who wants Belle all to himself, despite her frequent dismissals. If you haven’t already seen the original, go watch how this unlikely love turns out. In cinemas 17th March.

6. Life

The International Space Station sends out a six man crew [including actors Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds and Rebecca Ferguson] to study possible proof of life on Mars. The sample they find contains a certain organism proving there is life beyond earth but the new found life form turns out to be a lot more intelligent than they expected… In cinemas 24th March.

7. The Boss Baby

This amusing DreamWorks animation is about 7-year-old Tim who is jealous of his suited and booted, briefcase-carrying, coffee drinking baby brother. ‘Boss Baby’ has been sent by Baby Corp. to investigate Puppy Co. as they believe parents are giving more affection to puppies than babies and that there’s an imbalance of love distribution worldwide. ‘Boss Baby’ is hilariously voiced by Alec Baldwin. In cinemas 31st March. 

8. Despicable Me 3 

The third instalment to the Despicable Me franchise is about Gru’s new rival Balthazar Bratt, a former child star from the 80’s who still wears shoulder pads and flexes a mullet haircut. Bratt aims to achieve world domination to get back at everyone who mocked him during his teen years after his career plummeted. Also, Gru [voiced by Steve Carell] meets his “likeable” identical twin brother, Drew  [voiced by Steve Carell as well]. In cinemas 30th June. 

9. Dunkirk 

This film is based on the Second World War when British, Canadian, French and Belgian troops were surrounded by the German army on Dunkirk’s beaches. Dunkirk follows the evacuation process of the troops after the massacre took place killing approximately 20,000. The film stars Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and One Direction‘s Harry Styles. In cinemas 21st July.

10. Justice League 

Wonder Woman and Batman met in the film Batman Vs. Superman and have thought up the ultimate team of ‘metahumans’ inspired by Superman sacrificing his life for humankind. The team includes Batman and Wonder Woman themselves, ‘The Flash’, Aquaman, Cyborg and the newly resurrected Superman – their aim is to fight off Steppenwolf and his army of ‘parademons’. The cast includes: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller. In cinemas 17th November. 

 

Other films to keep an eye out for is King Arthur:Legend of the Sword, (starring Charlie Hunnam and Jude Law), Wonder Woman, the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean and World War Z 2. Watch this space!

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