Why People Went ‘Nuts’ at Snickers

Sorry, I had to.


Well, this week on “brands that insult consumers and make them angry”, we have good ole’ Snickers. So, what did they do? Oh, just the small matter of insulting an entire nation and their language. Standard behaviour, like. 

Snickers UK posted a tweet comparing Welsh place names to someone sitting on a keyboard. Marketing genius.

Earlier today Snickers tweeted 'A place in Wales or someone sat on a keyboard? A thread'

It got a couple likes and a couple retweets, but a lot of Welsh Twitter users were NOT impressed (gee, I wonder why???) and called them out straight away. 

Apart from not really being relevant to Snickers, or anything really, the post was deemed racist, xenophobic and just bad craic really. See, making jokes about place names is basically laughing at the language. People pointed out that Welsh is already belittled and mocked a lot across the water, so this was just a massive brand joining in at taking the ‘mickey’ out of the language, the people, and the culture. 

Many threatened to stop buying the chocolate after they were angered and upset by the tweet


Why’d they choose Wales? Because some people think that Welsh place names are “funny”, but, if you swapped Welsh with any other language, what sort of reaction would get? Can you imagine if they did this post about China or India? Probably not. Because they probably won’t wouldn’t.

Not gonna lie like, this it wasn’t exactly the most pointful thing I’ve ever read. Seems a bit random to just start laughing at Welsh place names ? For a peanut chocolate bar ? Like ? ? Cad é ?

Image result for but like why gif

Like I just don’t really get what it has to do with anything? It’s not like the language is JUST IN, or these place names were JUST made up, and I don’t think Wales was in the news for any particular reason? So, it wasn’t exactly ‘topical’, was it? 

I mean, fair enough, it did get “consumer engagement”, but not in a good way. In true consumer-revenge fashion, people threatened to boycott Snickers for life because of the whole thing. You have to love the severity of consumer-revenge threats. I mean, no harm like, but I doubt Snickers are gonna go into administration because James in Cardiff is no longer buying his 3rd favourite chocolate bar. But, stick it to the man, I suppose. 

Image result for never shopping here again meme

Snickers UK responded to the mess they made, but they didn’t tell people to stop shouting at chocolate bars. They went a lil more traditional in their approach with a standard apology. I mean, when you’re in the wrong, there isn’t really any other way to act, is there?

But, at least they tried to make the apology relevant to their brand, with a wee nod to their tagline. 

Snickers later issued another apology stating that they were 'wholeheartedly thankful' for their Welsh fans

Almost as cunning as their original tweet.

Some Welsh people did show support for Snickers, saying that they found it funny and weren’t offended. But, I think what makes it so bad is that Snickers isn’t Welsh. Spoiler alert! 

If a Welsh company or celebrity or regular non-famous person (can’t relate) tweeted this, it probably would’ve got a fair few more retweets. But, everyone (well, everyone apart from Snickers’ marketing team) knows that there’s things where it’s okay if YOU or a certain group of people say or laugh about something, but if an OUTSIDER says it, then it’s all kinds of unacceptable. 

Image result for dont say that gif

Irish jokes don’t bode well with me at all, like. Neither do jokes about women. There’s certain things I can say or call myself, but the second someone else does, all hell breaks loose. And I think that’s part of the reason that this Snickers tweet was a massive flop. It’s not just what was said, but who said it, and their sort of right to do so.

But, hey, at least it gives them a good reason to finally change back to ‘Marathon’. Wee “new name, new us” rebrand might do ’em some good, like. Every cloud and all that.

Image result for im different now gif
Future Marathon tweet?

Klarna: What’s the Cost of “Interest-free”?

We all know students are pretty skint most of the time, so when I see ASOS, Pretty Little Thing and Missguided parcels constantly being delivered to my house, you can probably see why I might think “amm, where the HELL are you getting all this money from?”

Image result for online shopping gif

Then comes a wee envelope in the post from Klarna. *ding* And it all makes sense.

Y’all probably know what Klarna is anyway, but if you don’t, it’s basically a payment service company thing (to be exact) that lets you buy things now, and pay later. But, you don’t have to pay any fees or interest unlike most credit payment company things. I should’ve written their marketing material, I know. 

So, you can see why it’s become insanely popular recently (even though Sweden’s been using it for like 15 years). It’s obviously really handy for emergency purchases when you genuinely can’t afford to pay upfront, or if you can’t afford to pay back with interest.

Image result for klarna

But, I don’t know, I’m not really sure I like the whole idea. Yeah, LoOk aT mE being contrary, wouldn’t be like me!!! But hear me out, read me out, whatever.

A couple of Klarna’s wee tag lines are:
“Buy what you want, when you want”
“Shopping the way it should be – effortless, safe and fun”.

See, the thing is, I know it seems like it’s for people who are short on cash and NEED something, but if you look at the major retailers who support Klarna – and if you look at their website, the whole thing’s pretty much targeted at people who want to buy clothes online. 

Image result for online shopping gif

I know that Klarna is obviously a hell of a lot better than those payday loan companies that charge you like 800% APR and get people into a massive cycle of debt. But, it still encourages the same behaviour. It encourages people to just go “ooh sparkly top, click click, mine” (in the very sophisticated manner that we speak in) without worrying about how much it actually costs. Or how they’re actually going to afford it.

I’m not saying that people who can’t afford clothes right now shouldn’t be able to buy them; but my guess is a lot of people that use Klarna are students and other people who aren’t exactly minted, but still want nice things. I just don’t like the whole idea of encouraging people – who mightn’t be able to afford to – to live above their means and normalising “not worrying about the price”. 
Normally, a big obstacle to you buying clothes when you really shouldn’t or can’t, is that, well, you can’t. But now, you can. 

Image result for money is no object gif

You won’t just use Klarna as a “one off”, let’s be real, you’ll just start using it more and more often. Then, have the dolla taken out of your account on payday or at 3 different stages sometime in the future. But, “that’s future me’s problem”, although it’s pretty much my mantra in life, isn’t a healthy attitude to have when it comes to spending.

“Buy now, pay later” things are great when you need something, or even if you just want something, like yasss treat yourself, live your best life. But, I don’t think it’s great to promote this attitude and behaviour as something we should do for all our purchases. Especially things like online clothes shopping. Just because you “want” something, doesn’t necessarily mean you should get it. 

I know there’s no debt involved, but it still normalises debt-inducing (? I’m gonna roll with it) behaviour. Having a care-free attitude to money is just dangerous for people who aren’t that good at budgeting, saving or saying no to “40% off”. It’s fine if you’re good and responsible with money, but what if you aren’t?

Image result for im broke gif

Yeah, you got £200s worth of clothes and didn’t have to spend a penny. YET. What happens in 2 weeks when that £200 plus your pair-of-boots-money and your new-fluffy-jacket-money are all coming out, and oh look, the gas is running out, or, the landlord’s coming for rent. What then? The money is still coming out, and not necessarily when you’re in a better position. You know what you have right now, and you might know what you’ll have next week or after payday. But, life does this beautiful thing called “MESSIN WITH US” and throws all kinds of spanners in all of our works. 

“Oh, I forgot I bought that”. “Okay OOPS I didn’t realise I spent THAT much”. “Have I still not paid that off”. Having small bite-size payments or delayed ones just means people will get a false sense of security of what’s actually theirs and what they owe. Let’s be real, they’ll forget they’ve scheduled payments coming out until it’s too late.

Image result for credit card bill gif

Lemme just clarify: The problem isn’t Klarna, and it’s not “buy now, pay later” (and it’s not me either before you get smart). The problem is promoting this “make it rain” attitude, when you’ve got no water.

Under Pressure

I hope you read that in the tune of the ‘Queen’ song. If you didn’t, go back and try again.

Cheers.

Image result for under pressure gif
You better look like this.

ANYWAY. Final year is a pretty pressure-filled year.

Exams. Assignments. Dissertations. Trying to get the most out of your student discount before it runs out. Not to mention the constant STRIKES.

Then, once you get past all that, there’s the ~small~ issue of trying to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life and actually get a job. Agh.

Image result for getting a job gif

We have so much to be doing, and we’re stretched pretty thin as is. The last thing we need is people pressuring us to apply for jobs.

“Uni should be your main concern”, but “you need to apply for jobs while you’re still at uni.” “It’s important to look after yourself and wind down in your spare time”, but, “in your spare time you should be writing CVs, cover letters, applications, interviews, psychometric tests and assessment centres”.

Great.

Image result for woman equations meme
“If 1 USD = 2 GBP, how many Yen can you get with 5 EUR?”

A lot of people might want to join grad schemes, fair enough if they do. But, I think a good amount of students apply for grad schemes because they feel pressured to get a job sorted ASAP and start work like the day after graduation. Being realistic, we’re going to be working until we’re 75 at this rate (if we’re still around like, @global warming). So, what difference does it make if we start in July, or December?

Why is there so much pressure to jump straight into the job market, which is a mess anyway? Thanks again, boomers. Once you start working, it’s pretty hard to stop. It’s not as easy to take a ‘career break’ and head away off to Canada for a year, as it is to head away off BEFORE you start working. Get it out of your system and then settle down to serve capitalism for the rest of your life. Dream big.

Image result for working forever gif
“3 more years til I qualify for state pension”

Apparently the average millennial has 14 jobs in their lives, and the way “careers” work is changing. It’s no longer the norm to start a job after you graduate and stay in it for 35 years. People move about. People have several jobs in several years. And that’s okay. Nothing stands still. We’re always told how “fast-paced” and “dynamic” the world is these days, so why should we be expected to stand still and stay in the same job forever?

The reason people might leave a job after like 6 months or a year might be because they haven’t a notion what they actually want to do, but this sure as hell isn’t it. Maybe if they spent a bit of time thinking about it and figuring it out after they graduated, they’d go into a job they actually wanted and liked and stay there for a bit longer. I think it’s better to wait a bit until you actually have a baldy what you want to apply for, rather than applying for the sake of being employed, and then being unemployed again pretty soon after because you hate your job.

So, being honest (my strong suit), chances are whatever job we start after graduation, we’re gonna quit eventually. I know, that’s the spirit, Niamh! Positive thinking!

Image result for good vibes gif

I just don’t get why university’s pressure you to get a job ASAP when you’re going to be working for like the REST OF YOUR LIFE. Can we not have a bit of fun before we do the whole 9-5 thing? What about holidays, travelling, and just having a geg in general?

I know we’re told that good jobs get snapped up pretty quickly. But, like, there’s always new jobs? Someone will quit their job (or be sacked), someone will get pregnant and go on maternity leave, someone better will go on paternity leave (like he goddamn SHOULD), and someone will retire. Someone else will take a career break and head to Benidorm for a few years, or maybe they’ll win the lotto (even though we know that’s fake). So, JOBS WILL COME UP. There will always be MORE JOBS.

It’s not like placement where you have a tiny window of when you can work, when you start a job and how many months you have to work there for. In final year, your window is like 40 YEARS BIG.

Image result for plenty of time gif
I am Daniel, y’all are Betty

I’m personally a big believer in crossing bridges when I get to ‘em. So I think that applying for graduate jobs once you’re, well, an actual graduate makes sense. No point boasting about what you MIGHT get, why not boast about what you DID get?

Plus, spending hours and hours on applications etc instead of that time on your dissertation?  No thank YOU. What if you go travelling for a couple of months and ‘find yourself’ in Thailand (standard) or have an epiphany of what you want to do? Doesn’t taking some time to figure it out make more sense than blindly applying for jobs?

Then again, this is just a big justification for me not applying for anything. I think I’ve successfully convinced myself, even if I didn’t convince you.

Diary of a Sober Student

Ask someone why they don’t eat or drink anything that they don’t, and the answer “I don’t like it” is a valid one. But, for some reason, “I don’t really like it” or, “I don’t want to” is suddenly COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE and MUST be a lie when it comes to drink.

I’m not a big drinker at all. For a 22 year old, that isn’t really the norm. Especially a student. In final year. It’s not because of religious or medical reasons, it’s because:

  1. I can’t hack it.
  2. I can’t hack hangovers.
  3. I’m just as much of a GEG sober.
  4. I saw something horrible happen to one of my bestmates when she was too drunk to function.
  5. Because I  d o n ‘ t  w a n t  t o , o k a y ?  

But, I shouldn’t need a reason (let alone 5), should I?

Image result for i don't owe you an explanation gif

I wasn’t always like this. I used to drink a lot, like. In first year of uni, we went out a hell of a lot, and I think it just ruined it for myself. Going out like 3/4 nights a week, feeling like complete crap 3/4 days a week and not actually remembering what the hell even happened 3/4  nights a week just got a bit, well, meh.

Now, I hardly drink so I hardly drink. Because I don’t drink that often, when I do, I it hits me really hard (2-pints Murray makes her appearance) and I wake up feeling HORRIBLE no matter what I do. Eat dinner before you go out, drink about 10 litres of water, eat when you get home, take paracetamol and STILL feel like crap in the morning. And, you know what? It’s not worth it. It’s genuinely not. So, because I’m not RUSHING to make this a weekly feeling, I hardly drink. It’s a weird sobriety cycle.

Image result for sober gif
That’s Ms Sober Party Queen to you.

Some people think that not drinking makes you somehow “boring”. Because liver disease, regret, blackouts, hangovers and accidentally “WHOOPS I spent £80” is super exciting, of course. But, surely, you’re life is more boring if you need to be absolutely steamin to make it fun? I’m a geg and my life’s a geg, with or without Magners.

I do drink every now and then, but only when I want to and only when I feel like it. Not for the sake of it, like. I’ll go to nightclubs sober and I’ll dance sober and I’ll have an amazing time. Sober. Downside is, I have to be the ma of the group and look after the people who never seem to learn they CAN’T hack it, but at least it means that at least someone’s looking after them. Someone who isn’t creepy, drunk and predatory, that is.

Image result for protective friend gif
Me.

I get to go to out, dance, sing, actually remember all the words and NAIL that rap song, don’t have to worry about queuing for about an hour for a drink, having my drink spiked (been there, done that, not a fan I must say), spilling my drink or having it knocked out of my hand by that ONE PERSON WHO INSISTS ON WEARING A BACKPACK TO A CLUB. I don’t have to worry about creepy guys trying to take advantage of me (which is a really sad reality for girls) or waking up feeling like pure death.

So, why are you trying to convert me? What is wrong with any of the above? (Apart from the backpack bloon). Why wouldn’t I be happy? (Apart from the backpack bloon).

Related image

Basically: stop peer pressuring people to wreck their livers if they don’t want to. Stop asking “why not?” when people say they’re not drinking. What if they’re pregnant or ill? It’s none of your business.  Stop judging people, buying them drinks, making them uncomfortable, calling them ‘boring’, or asking them if they’re drinking even when you know that they aren’t.

Rant over. Cheers.

Image result for cheers gif

Do it “for the CV”

Let’s start this on off with a wee joke, shall we?

How do you get a university student to do something?

– Tell them it’ll look good on their CV.

I really should be writing for Christmas crackers, what a waste of my gift.

Anyway, not much of a joke because 1) it wasn’t very funny and 2) it’s true. How many times have you done something, not because you really wanted to, but because “it looks good to have” or you “need something” on your CV?

The “CV” is that lil carrot of bait that teachers, lecturers, parents and employers dangle in front of students’ noses when they think we should or want us to do something. And it works. There’s no motivational tool like telling us it’ll help us get a job or make us look impressive to whoever we’re trying to impress, when we don’t even know who that is.

It’s sad, but we do a lot of things that we do and spend a lot of our lives trying to look impressive on a piece of paper. A piece of paper that defines us by 1) how “smart” we are and 2) what we’ve “achieved”. A piece of paper that potentially determines what we do for the rest of our lives.

So what have we “achieved”? Well what are we meant to have achieved? We have no idea what we’re meant to have accomplished at any stage of our lives. Who decides what we need to accomplish? And who says we have to accomplish anything?

We haven’t a BALDY what we want to do or what we’re meant to do, so we enter a panic mode and do things purely for the sake of doing them. Purely for the sake of having an extra bullet point on that list that determines how worthy we are of being considered for a job. No harm, but I doubt climbing a mountain and camping for 3 days is really gonna see me landed as a CEO like.

We’re told from we’re in school that we need to “stand out” and have that “edge” on other people. Other people like our peers, colleagues and friends. We’re pretty much told to view everyone else as competition. But like, what are we competing for?  We’re all different. We’re doing different things, we want to do different things and we want to work in different places. So why are we ‘competing’ with each other? Why are we supposedly measured by the same criteria?

We have to do something that hardly anyone else has done, because pretty much everyone’s done the same things. But, we’ve all done the same things because we’re all trying to stand out, and the only way we can stand out is by doing the same thing that everyone else has the option to do. So because everyone tries so hard to be different, we all end up being the same. Yeah, I’d to re-read that to make sure I followed it, too.

I think it’s great that we’ve loads of opportunities and chances to try different things and get experience, and we should give them a go and make use of them. We should be encouraged to do whatever we have to do so we can do whatever we want to do (even if we don’t know what that is). But, we should also be encouraged to have fun and live our best lives before we’re too old or committed to be able to. Like, yeah work experience is class and all, but we need life experience too.

There’s just a lot of pressure on young people to “get ahead” and “get experience”, when we don’t have a notion what we actually want to get ahead or experience in. So, we don’t really spend the time trying to figure it out, we just make use of all these “great opportunities” and hope we’ll have an epiphany along the way. Still waiting on my wee light bulb moment. Gonna come any day now, just you wait and see.

Every uni student ever

Now, I’m not saying we’re all robots who do things we don’t want to do just for make our CVs a bit snazzy. But, the reality is, we do a lot of things just to improve our chances of getting a job. Because we’re pretty much conditioned to think that getting a “good job” is one of the most important things in life. But, what is a “good” job? High pay? Holidays? Job satisfaction? Casual Fridays?

We decide. We get to make that judgement on whether a job is “good” for us or not. So, why don’t we get to decide what experience is “good” for us to do? “Good” means something different to everyone, so why does it mean the same thing when it comes to a CV?

Yeah, you get judged off what you’re like; your personality, your likeability and how you’d “fit” into whatever you’re trying to fit into. But, before you even get a chance to be judged on what YOU are like, you’re judged off what that piece of paper is like. It’s a bit like online dating, you’re not gonna swipe right or meet up with someone who’s got a really cringey bio, are you? They could be an absolute geg and maybe even your soulmate, but you’ll never know because you wrote them off based on “6ft 2. Here for a good time not a long time ✌️”. That’s us, judged on whether or not we’re an employer’s “type on paper”. Literally. How shallow, pffft.   

So, no wonder we spend so much time and effort doing things not just for ourselves, but for a piece of paper, too. Because, we’ve spent most our lives believing that we’re not much more than that piece of paper.

But What REALLY Happened?

Before we get into anything, I’m gonna have to ask you to pop your wee tin foil hat on for me there, cheers. *Cue X Files theme tune*

Right, I don’t know if I just never really noticed or wasn’t aware of them, but have you noticed that conspiracy theories have become really popular recently? There’s documentaries, forums, websites and a LOT of YouTube videos about them. 

You have your standard “Bush did 9/11”, “the Kennedy’s had Marilyn Monroe killed”, “the royals had Diana killed” ones which have been around for years – although I don’t know if they count as conspiracy theories if they’re true ¿  

But nowadays, for every incident that happens in the world, there seems to be an “alternative theory” to explain it -and put the blame on powerful people, departments and organisations. Basically, “When all else fails, blame the government”. Not that they would ever, EVER do such scandalous things. Pffft.

Side note: does the big bang theory count as a conspiracy theory to creationists?

Now, for all you non-believers, prepare to have your world SHOOK with some of my personal favourite conspiracy theories explanations. Disclaimer: I’m not saying these are true, just saying they’re possible OKAY? So save your eye rolls and judgements and just play along for me. Cheers.

1. The earth could be flat – I know, I know, TYPICAL MILLENNIAL what are we LIKE. Of course the earth isn’t flat, a big floating ball in the sky makes a lot more sense. Seriously though, maybe it’s spherical, maybe it’s flat. Yes there’s “evidence” that it isn’t, like photos from very reliable sources like NASA. Who also share reports following Santa’s journey on Christmas Eve. Just saying.

– I’m not saying it’s actually flat don’t worry, I’m just saying we only know it’s a sphere because we’ve been told it’s one. How do you know that everything you’ve ever seen or been told about isn’t actually 100% dead on?  Think about it. T h i n k  a b o u t  i t .

If you’re still reading and haven’t given up on me based off that first one, another good wee one is:

2. The lottery is fake. No one actually wins the jackpot. People get paid a large amount (but still smaller than the jackpot) to go public and say that they won. Quick knock on the door, “Wanna make half a mill? All you’ve to do is go on TV saying you won 3 million” job. I’d do it, HINT HINT. Someone gets a nice wee paycheque and the lottery people save like 2.5 million. Win, win. And those mysterious people who win and don’t want to reveal their identities, maybe that’s because they don’t exist? Dun dun.  

3. Modern art is a front for international money laundering. This one’s a pretty run of the mill, can’t really question it kind of one. Ever wonder why people pay millions for a squiggly line on a canvas? All those mad paintings that are just splodges and cost a bomb? Basically, art collectors (criminals, cartels, other rich people who make their fortune illegally) buy paintings (transfer illicit money) off dealers (to whoever they’re paying). Payments go under the radar and unnoticed; the only attention they receive is “Who in the right mind paid money for that?” There’s a more complicated explanation here.

Anyway, clearly I do love a good wee conspiracy theory as much as the next person (but not enough to watch videos and all on them like), but that’s it – why do we love them?

Are we just cynical? To be fair, we’ve been lied to about so much before that we’re bound to have some trust issues like. “Watching TV makes your eyes go square”, “Eating crusts makes your hair go curly”, and let’s not forget the whole Santa situation. We don’t know what or who to believe anymore, so we just take everything with a pinch of salt – and honestly like, can you blame us?

Maybe we’re just being contrary. Maybe we’re all big attention seekers who want to be different and go against the grain. A wee bit of non-conforming, “You can’t tell me what to think or believe, I’ll decide for myself” carry on.

Or maybe, it’s because we love to make the baddies badder. We don’t like certain groups or organisations and they’ve already done a hell of a lot of damage to the world, so what’s the harm in another lil cover up to add to their impressive collection? Standard anti-corporation, “stick it to the man” kinda vibes.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do think that sometimes, SOMETIMES when something happens, it actually does just happen. But I think it’s good to consider the alternatives. I think we should question what we’re told and figure out for ourselves what we really believe.

The thing is, we’ll never know. No one can ever prove whether or not the story we’re told, or our own mad conspiracy theory version is actually the right one. The government can’t exactly be like “no lads here’s proof that Neil Armstrong actually did walk on the moon” (which he didn’t, by the way) because everyone will just be like “OK great ANOTHER lie, when will it end??” And trigger a conspiracy-theory-style catch 22 situation.

Plus, it’s more interesting to come up with alien-related explanations anyway, what else would we do during lectures?

Week 0

Well lads, I’m back without popular demand.

I took a wee 6 month break from blogging which I’m sure you noticed. To be honest, I was just flat out doing other things. I had placement, a placement report *shudders*, holidays, starting a new job, getting a new house and Money Heist to watch; but I’m back (yay). I was writing down wee blog ideas on my phone as I came up with them, just never made it much further @comittment issues. But, since I had my uni induction this week, I thought it just made sense to get back into the swing of things again now.

So on Tuesday I had my final year induction. I went because well 1) I’m paying 4 and half grand a year for uni so I’m determined to get my money’s worth and 2) it’s been like 18 months since I’ve been in uni so I needed a wee refresher course on what it actually is. Plus, I wanted to go for coffee with uni friends after (to reward ourselves for that one hour of actually thinking).

How did it go? Well, remember my previous blog post ‘Reasons I’m Excited for Final Year’ ? This induction was more like ‘Reasons I’m Scared of Final Year’. Firstly, I completely forgot the most terrifying thing about uni – the roll call. Deadly. Voice broke, knew it would. Not the best impression of me after not seeing me for over a year- that girl who talks like terminator.

Also, dissertation? Yeah that wee gem. We were told we have to submit a wee proposal of what we want to do it on by week 2. As in, 2 weeks from now. Not going to lie lads, I thought that was like Christmas-time carry on, but no. But it’s okay, I’ve got a page and just written down a lot of random words of stuff I’m interested in and I just know that I’ll have an epiphany. I can just sense it.

Apart from that it was actually grand like, it was just going over the timetable and modules etc, and of course having a wee nosey at who all came back to uni.

But, all scary biscuits aside, I’m still excited for the year ahead. This is going to be my year. But like, for real this time. I’m in a lovely wee student house with two amazing girls (although one of our neighbours stole our food bin?? Still not over it), I’m doing a job that I really, really like and I have a fresh set of coloured pens just waiting to be taken out on a spin. I am gonna need to practice writing neatly again because I’m a bit out of practise after mostly typing for a year, but I’ll get there. So yeah, I had my fab post-placement summer and now I’m ready to getmy head down and have a wee go at this final year thing.

I’m also planning to keep blogging during the year because I do really enjoy it and missed doing it; but sure, as my ma always says, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans”, so we’ll just have to see how it goes.

The Exclusivity of “Inclusive” Lingerie

Well if you want to see some Victoria’s Secret models in lingerie and heels, then my friend, you have come to the wrong place. Sorry. But, since you’re here, why not have a wee read and you never know, Gigi Hadid might actually feature.

This is pretty much a sequel to my “Exclusivity of “Inclusive” Fashion” post, which was basically me complaining that I can’t buy clothes that fit. But this one’s exploring (not so) “inclusive” lingerie. I can tell you’re on the edge of your seat already.

You. Right now.

The reason I decided to write about this is because I see a lot of people online complaining that they can’t find bras to fit, and that retailers only offer “small” sizes and don’t cater for ‘curvy’ or ‘fuller’ women. I just want to point out that like with clothes, sizing often excludes smaller sizes just as much as larger ones.

bra

For those of you who may not know, bra cup sizes (the letter) start at AAA – yes, like the batteries. The next size up is AA – also batteries, followed by A- you get the idea. I’m telling you this because most retailers only offer from size A (or in many cases, B) and upwards.

As well as this, the bandwidth (basically the circumference of your back) starts well, at any size, depending how small the person’s frame is. This tends to be any size from 26 inches upwards. But, the sizes offered mostly start at 32 inches. This has lead to people either having to go to elsewhere and look harder for underwear, or buy the bigger size and just get on with it (tumbledrying works too at shrinking them though- you’re welcome).

For the record, I’m not saying that smaller sizes aren’t available, they’re just less readily available. This means that instead of buying a £2 t-shirt bra in Primark (when we still had one 😦 ), I have to go to M&S and pay £6 for one that isn’t as pretty. Basically it means people have to pay more and have less choice.

Although larger sizes are also harder to come by, meaning women have to go elsewhere for their size too; the difference is that there are several “inclusive” brands like Bravissimo, Curvissa and SimplyBe which cater specifically for those with fuller figures. Ah, the old “forget including various groups, only including one additional one makes us inclusive and not exclusive at all” thing again. *sigh*

Anyway, these brands are also more expensive, because the retailers know we’ll just fork out the money because we haven’t really got a choice. If there’s such a demand and so many needing to go to alternative retailers for these sizes, why don’t more brands start offering them? Why are they making it so hard for us to buy things? JUST LET ME SPEND MY MONEY.

Then again, why would you want to increase your customer base, sales and therefore profits? Pffft silly me.

Recently, there’s been a lot of praise and celebration at the launch of Rihanna’s lingerie line ‘SAVAGE X FENTY’ because it catered for a range of sizes and “real” women. It offers multiple shades as well, meaning that several skin tones can wear a ‘nude’ or ‘skin coloured’ bra which is actually, well, skin-coloured(!!) So women no longer have to all wear the one universal shade of beige that somebody decided was all we needed. Who knew such things were possible? But yes, Rihanna’s new line is great, it does cater for a lot more sizes than typical high street retailers, and it does represent women of all shapes and sizes – as long as you’re not below an A cup. Or smaller than a 32. Oh you are? Hmm. Never mind then.

This has led to people (rightly so) asking that other brands follow suit and also cater for “real women”. But that’s my issue. “Real women“. Basically, to be a real woman you have to have big boobs and a bum. Reinforcing the self doubt and unfeminity felt by women who don’t naturally have these assets have. They don’t need or deserve to be made to feel any less validated as a woman than their more curvy peers.

How is showing slim built models any worse than showing those with figures which are unachievable to some without getting cosmetic surgery? Most people can change their weight; but people can’t help it if they naturally have small breasts or bums (and don’t even THINK about telling me to squat, I’m warning you). How can you tell women -especially young, vulnerable girls- that they’re not real women? Do you know how dangerous that is?

Imagine how it must feel not be able to find underwear to fit, and then be told it’s because you’re not a “real woman”. Not to mention those with alternative gender identities such as trans or intersex, who may require smaller sizes too and already find it hard enough to conform to female beauty standards.

Every identifying female is a “real woman”. End of. Stop telling girls that their natural build, genetics or lifestyle choices make them any less of a woman.

Make small bra sizes available. Make large bra sizes available. Don’t tell women the reason they’re not catered for is because they’re not real women. Stop damaging our girls.

Gigi-Hadid-Catsuit-2018-Victoria-Secret-After-Party

There you go, happy?

How Coffee Shops Saved My (Social) Life

This morning as I was on my way to get my daily coffee before work, my brother said something so outrageous that shocked me to my very core. “There’s too many coffee shops in Belfast.” It pains me to even type the words.

Once I had a chance to gather myself, I replied “Ammm, ain’t no such thing” (I’m very street like that).

He then went on to list some: Caffe Nero, Hotel Chocolat, Tim Horton’s, Bob & Bert’s, Pearl’s, Clements, Costa, Starbucks (all of which I’ve got loyalty cards for) as if that was too many?

It got me thinking, where would I be without all of these coffee shops? A lot better off financially yes. But also a LOT more tired, and a lot less social.

I’m a placement student, which means that my schedule doesn’t really sync up with any of my friends who are still at uni. They’re free during the day and out at night, I’m in work all day then in bed by 10pm most nights.

But there’s that glimmering, cappuccino coloured window between 5 and 7pm, after I’ve finished work and before they’ve to go home and start preing.

I mean, what can you do at 5pm? No one under the age of around 60 (no offence) has dinner that early, and going for “a drink” isn’t really an option.

Coffee. That’s what you do.

What do you do at 8am, when the shops are all still closed and you can’t exactly sit at your desk for an hour before work?

Coffee. That’s what you do.

After lectures and seminars to procrastinate actually doing uni work?

You guessed it- el caffe. (See how I’m mixing things up?)

Don’t get me wrong, I do love coffee. But for me its not about the drink; I go for coffee because I want to go somewhere nice and sit and catch up with my friends. Even those who hate coffee love going for coffee; there’s steamers, tea, weird flavoured lattes and those ridiculous drinks in Starbucks with a mountain of cream on top and another mountain of sugar inside.

I must admit, Belfast doesn’t have much when it comes to nightlife, everything sort of closes in the city centre at around 7pm (except the glorious night that is Thursday). But there’s always a light on in that Starbucks opposite Europa, or Tim Horton’s (yeah, we’ve got one of those now). Well, until 10pm when they close, but you know what I mean.

All of these coffee shops have actually really shaped my (and Belfast’s) social life.  They don’t just provide us with my daily dose of caffeine and free wifi (yay), they give us a place to sit with our friends and catch up on everything going on each other’s lives.

 

And it’s not just big multi-national chains, it’s wee small independent coffee shops and chains throughout the north of Ireland like Clements and Bob & Bert’s. I always try to go the local shops and give them a turn instead. If you think about, I’m basically a caffeine-fuelled modern-day Robin Hood.

I’m helping support the local high street -which God knows it needs all the help it can get after the Primark fire reduced footfall by 30%. And with amount of money I spend a week on a coffee, I’m probably single-handedly sustaining the local coffee industry.

Coffee shops are so important to Belfast. We need somewhere to sit have a good chat- and God knows we need caffeine. Coffee’s what we drink, it’s what we do, it’s who we are.

So, I’ll raise my skinny cappuccino and toast to the coffee shops of Belfast, “thank you”.