“Page three is like an onion.”

Today was the first time in more than four decades that The Sun newspaper printed a picture of a glamour model on page three with her breasts covered up. That’s right, instead of the usual topless photo, there was an image of a lady in a bikini. This move from bare to concealed came after the group No More Page Three started a campaign to stop the tradition that has become expected of the tabloid. Great! They made some progress, which I think is pretty awesome. But do I believe that covering boobs up is the answer? Absolutely not.

I’m a woman and I am definitely a feminist, so initially, my opinion might surprise you. But to me, the problem is nothing to do with breasts.

The problem here is the fact that we have a culture where displaying a picture of a half-naked woman inside a publication that covers news, current affairs and politics is considered the norm. The problem is that it has become okay, and usual, for people to flick through an everyday newspaper and ogle a woman, before carrying on with their reading. The problem isn’t to do with glamour models or boobs, the problem is about what kind of message this is spreading to society.

We live in a culture where there is a still a difference in salaries between the genders, where there is still a tiny percentage of women in top-jobs when compared with men, where females are still offered fewer opportunities than males. It’s slowly getting better, but we are still no where near equality. And when you open The Sun and find a half naked woman sprawled across the page, it’s almost easy to see why. We are still nothing more than sex objects, in some people’s eyes.

I’m not suggesting that I am anti-glamour model. In fact, I am all for women showing any part of their bodies, whenever they want to, because I believe in choice. I am friends with models, ex-strippers, and I myself, am a pole dancer. I believe in sexuality. I believe in expressing yourself! What I don’t believe in is the objectification of one gender over another.

If there was a male counterpart to page three, I’m sure I would be taking a very different stance on things. The argument wouldn’t be against the objectification of women then. It would just be about printing sexual images, which I don’t particularly have a problem with. My main gripe is that it’s just women we’ve focused on for the last 45 years. And in this day and age, that seems pretty backwards. We’re supposed to be about change, about moving forward with feminism, not to make us better than men, but to make us the same – oh wait, but then there are pictures of us printed in a newspaper for men to drool over as they read about football… yeah, we’re really being taken seriously.

After all the pressure put on The Sun by Say No To Page Three, I am really pleased that they were listened to and a change, albeit small, was made. However I think that censoring nipples, by putting women in bikinis or lingerie as they pose on this page, has made no difference. We’re still being treated as sex objects in a publication that has no need for it, nipples or not. In my eyes, don’t have a page three at all, or have a page three for women, and a page three for men, to make it fair.

These are just my musings on the topic, and like so many other issues surrounding equality, there are many, many arguments and opinions. My friend summed it up brilliantly when we were discussing it earlier, and said “Page three is like an onion, there are a lot of layers.”

If you have anything you’d like to add, agreeing or disagreeing with me, please leave it in the comments below. Debate is healthy and I’m interested to hear other peoples’ opinions!

Frankie x

Cheeky Primark buy: Ssh, I’m not supposed to be spending anything!

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It’s that slightly terrifying after-Christmas period where, I don’t know about you, but I don’t have much cash to flash. It should be the time that I put my debit cards in a safe and throw away the key, but instead, I found myself wandering towards Tottenham Court Road on my Thursday lunch break, in the dangerous direction of Primark.

I say dangerous, because any normal person would pick up an item, think ‘Oh, what a bargain!’ and spend a tenner, but I see TWENTY items, think ‘Oh, what a bargain!’ and end up spending £200. To be fair to myself though, I did only pick up two things this time, and they are absolutely fabulous. Plus I still have some beer money left, win.

The first thing I bought was an enormous grey poncho, similar to a few that I’ve been lusting after for ages now. It’s got a loose roll-neck and is made from a lovely thick wool which is really warm. It’s perfect for putting on in the office, (does anyone else find air conditioning absolutely bone-chilling?) and curling up with on the sofa. I intend to wear it instead of a coat sometimes too, for a bit of a change, and it’ll be nice for spring too. I think it also came in beige but I personally thought I’d be able to co-ordinate the grey version with more things.

After that, I headed upstairs to the jeans section with the aim of hunting down a pair of ‘mom’ jeans. I really love the style but I’ve only admired from a distance so far because I was convinced they would look terrible on me. Being only 4ft 11in means that most trousers and skirts swamp me, so unless they offer petite, I tend to get mine from the kids section. However, once I spotted Primark’s offerings I tried them on and was pleasantly surprised. The great thing about these jeans is that you can roll them up a couple of times at the bottom, so they’re ideal for shorter people. They were an absolute bargain at just £13, and you can see them in the picture above!

Frankie x

Five favourite budget make-up buys

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b28/80330716/files/2015/01/img_5208.jpgI am a self-confessed make-up hoarder and I have drawers bulging with eyeliners, lipsticks and powders. I love bargain hunting, and over the years I have discovered a handful of cheap products that I keep going back to. These five items below cost a grand total of just £18.94, so when the inevitable happens and all of my everyday make-up runs out at once, it doesn’t cost a fortune to replace!/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b28/80330716/files/2015/01/img_5214.jpg/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b28/80330716/files/2015/01/img_5216.jpg/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b28/80330716/files/2015/01/img_5215.jpgCollection Work The Colour Eyebrow Kit – £3.99

I have very dark eyebrows which have become quite patchy in certain areas so I’ve been filling them in with make-up for the past five or so years. I’ve used affordable products such as the Rimmel Professional Eyebrow Pencil, £2.99, all the way to the more expensive Benefit Brow Zings, £24.50. I liked both of these but I wanted something that didn’t need regular sharpening like pencils and that was a little bit lighter on my purse. I came across the Collection Eyebrow Kit in Boots and snapped it up immediately because it was so cheap and it came with three different shades, a mirror, eyebrow mascara and a mini brush. The middle shade works best for me and is easy to apply with the angled end of the brush and the clear mascara seals everything in place. The best part is, the product lasts me the whole day without needing to be topped up!/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b28/80330716/files/2015/01/img_5218.jpg/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b28/80330716/files/2015/01/img_5219.jpgEssence Blush Up! in 10 heat wave – £3.50

I usually use Rimmel Lasting Finish, £3.99, which is an absolute bargain in itself, however I stumbled upon this Essence blush a few weeks ago and snapped it up because I thought it would be a good ‘back up’ blush for when my usual one ran out. When I started using it I was really surprised at how pigmented it is and pleased that I didn’t need to put on a lot to get a good effect. In fact, with this product a little really does go a long way! It also looks really pretty in my make-up bag because of the bright, ombré colours./home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b28/80330716/files/2015/01/img_5209.jpg/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b28/80330716/files/2015/01/img_5210.jpg/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b28/80330716/files/2015/01/img_5211.jpgCollection Fast Stroke Eyeliner in Black 1 – £2.50

If you only buy one product from this list – make it this one! This is my ultimate make-up item and my absolute favourite liquid eyeliner. I’ve been using it for years and always have a couple floating around my dressing table. I’m also a fan of Rimmel Exaggerate Liquid Eyeliner, £5.29, but Collection wins for me hands down because it lasts longer and is half the price. This particular product is raved about in the beauty world and rightly so; it’s easy to apply, isn’t at all watery, is virtually smudge-proof, and has a brush suitable for creating fine lines or thick flicks. My favourite thing about this eyeliner is that it doesn’t need to be topped up very often, I can go to work at 9am and come home at 7pm without it budging at all.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b28/80330716/files/2015/01/img_5217.jpgMiss Sporty Studio Colour Quattro Eye Shadow in 403 Smoky Brown Eyes – £1.99

This is a relatively new addition to my make-up collection but is becoming one of my favourite items. The eyeshadow palette has four shades, shimmery gold, bronze, light brown and dark brown. I like to wear the gold as part of my everyday basic look because it is quite understated, and when I’m going out for the evening I normally top it up with the darker tones to create more of a dramatic, smokey look. Each shade has great pigmentation which is brilliant for such a cheap item and is small enough to be kept in your handbag in case you want to top-up throughout the day. The brush is a standard mini eyeshadow applicator which is good for on-the-go, however I prefer to use one of my other brushes when I’m doing my make-up in the morning and I can take more time./home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b28/80330716/files/2015/01/img_5221.jpg/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b28/80330716/files/2015/01/img_5220.jpgCollection Lengthening Mascara in Ultra Black 17 – £3.99

I’m a big fan of this mascara because I just need to swipe it a few times over my lashes for it to completely cover them. It creates a really full effect quickly and I never need to top-up during the day. The wand is made up of plastic bristles which stop clumping, but if I put on coat after coat it will inevitably start becoming heavy and clog up my eyelashes, so I try not to use too much of this at once. It’s perfect for finishing off my eye make-up and for such a cheap price, it’s a staple basic I always make sure I have to hand.

Frankie x

2015: Resolutions

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b28/80330716/files/2015/01/img_5144.jpgThey’re old, they’re cliché, they’ve been done to death – I know! But I love a good list and even though I’m terrible at organisation, I love to plan. I also find it helpful to think about my personal aims and goals, and so I’m going to jump right in – here are my resolutions, or ‘plans’, as I’m going to call them, for 2015.

1) Be better with my finances.
Ok, I know this is probably the DULLEST thing you’ve ever read but if you know me, you’ll know that I am terrible when it comes to money. I’m pretty good at sorting out the important stuff like rent and bills, but as soon as those pesky things are sorted, my cash burns a hole in my pocket, and two days after payday I am broke again. Yep, it’s beans on toast a-plenty for me… for the following four weeks. This year I want to really get a grip on my moolah and not fritter it away on quite so many unnecessary things! Beer and wine are still total necessities, however…

2) Exercise more.
Since moving to London I’ve not made much time for fitness, which sucks. Back in Bournemouth, I was training and helping to teach at a pole dancing studio I used to be a member of, and was probably the fittest I’ve ever been! But recently, life has got in the way a little bit. I’m going to stop making excuses, re-join the gym, start poling more, and feel strong again. Plus, dropping a jeans size would be a great by-product… Not only that, but when I exercise regularly I genuinely feel happier, more energetic, and super productive.

3) Visit more places in London.
I haven’t actually been to that many places since I moved here. The last five months seem to have been pretty hectic with not much in the way of free time, so I’m planning to MAKE time to go to museums, galleries, etc. Most of these places are free around here, so it would be silly not to visit them!

4) Read more books.
I used to absolutely love reading and could devour a book within a day or so, but I’ve not read that much over the last year. This needs to change, and so I’m determined to get back into it. Like everyone else in the world, I love dystopian novels (plus, the books are so much better than their films counterparts), crime fiction, horror, and fantasy. Goodreads, here I come!

5) Continue to blog!
I’ve been reading other people’s blogs and their grand plans for their little slices of cyberspace this year, but I’m not going to think about mine in too much depth as it’s so new at the moment. I just want to continue creating regular posts, which is probably going to be my easiest resolution to keep, as I do love wittering away on here.

Frankie x

2014: Reflections

It’s that time of year again where we all sit down and think about the 12 months that have just passed, and come up with some (usually crap) resolutions that we probably won’t stick to for more than a few weeks. Normally these are to lose weight, cut back on caffeine, stop smoking, work harder, etc, and I am no different! But this time, I am going to try and slip a few in (ooer) that are actually achievable, like being more creative and productive, as well as the usual rubbish ones (yes, I’ll be joining a gym and giving up chocolate like everyone else).

But before I start on my list of resolutions, I’m going to look back over my top moments of 2014. I think it’s important to do this because sometimes you can become so preoccupied with negative things that have happened, that you forget all the positives! Luckily for me, last year was absolutely brilliant and definitely the best so far. So here are my favourites, most of which feature Ange!

Waking up with Ange on New Year’s Day

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Our first selfie!

Ange and I were both struck with hideous colds last year, and so instead of going out we plonked ourselves in a huge duvet in front of the sofa in our old flat in Bournemouth, and watched Mamma Mia and the London fireworks on TV with a couple of pizzas. Although we both felt totally rubbish, we had a few drinks and a really lovely night in. It’s probably the only NYE that I actually remember!

Robyn’s wedding

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Ange even wore a dress!

I have a brilliant group of friends and we’ve all known each other since we were children. Some of us have known each other since we were around four-years-old, some of us met when we were teenagers. I met Robyn 10 years ago, so it was crazy when she said she was getting married, because in my head, we are still 13! They had a brilliant time at her hen do in Brighton (I say they, and not ‘we’, because we were dragged to see ‘The DreamBoys’, which is essentially a male strip show. The only way to get through it myself was to get drunk) and Robyn announced she was pregnant! She then had her wedding in May, which was gorgeous. It was one of my favourite moments of the year because she was the first out of us all to get married and it just made me realise how amazing it is that we all grew up together and are still such good friends.

Zorbing for Jo’s hen do

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It took us a while to get used to it…

Zorbing was something I had always wanted to do but this was a total surprise to me! I met Jo, who was getting married, through the pole studio I used to train at and some of the other girls had secretly arranged for us to all go zorbing. They didn’t tell us until we arrived at the venue, so when we turned up and realised everyone was really excited. These ‘zorbs’ had space for your legs to stick out, so we were able to run around a football pitch and bounce into each other and play stupid games which was, hands down, the funnest thing I’ve ever done. A few days later we had another hen do which was to learn the dance to Beyoncé’s Single Ladies, which I was terrible at. Both activities were hilarious and a really good idea for a hen do!

Going on holiday to Cyprus

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Taking over a pool at the waterpark…

Ange is a Greek Cypriot and her family own a flat out in Larnaca, Cyprus, which we visited together for a week in June. I had never been to Cyprus so I was really excited and I couldn’t believe how hot it was! The first thing I did was jump in a cold shower, I just couldn’t take it! After a while I got (sort of) used to it. Needless to say, the weather was beautiful and we spent most of our time lounging around on the beach. We also visited a water park twice, which was so much fun. We had some hairy experiences too, such as when I jumped off a speedboat with my (prescription) sunglasses on, which then got lost in the sea, resulting in me clinging on for dear life, not being able to see anything, as Ange jumped us over the waves. Another terrifying experience was when we accidentally hitchhiked back from the water park in Ayia Napa. We had missed the bus and were sulking on the side of the road trying to work out what to do when some random man screeched up in his car next to us and told us to hop in for something like 10 Euros. For some reason we decided that was a BRILLIANT idea, and spent the next half an hour whispering ‘Are we going to die?’ to each other as he collected other randomers who were stranded. Luckily, we lived.

My new job

While we were in Cyprus I had a call from my current boss, offering me the job I had applied for at Reveal magazine! I was so excited, and so Ange and I had a couple of drinks by the beach to celebrate. I have been working at Reveal for about four months now and I absolutely love it. I’ve made some good friends, the work itself is great, and the office is right in the heart of Soho, which is awesome.

Moving to London

We packed up our bags from our little flat in Bournemouth and said goodbye, which was pretty emotional, as Ange and our friend James had lived in that particular place for ages. She went to university there and stayed in the town for a total of six years. I moved there about three years ago, but had only lived with Ange for a few months. I really loved Bournemouth and it was hard to say goodbye to friends and old haunts but I was really excited to get to London! We moved in with Ange’s parents in August and stayed there for a little while before getting our own place, which we love.

Surprise Paris trip for our anniversary

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Our anniversary is on October 15 and I knew for a while that Ange had planned something, because she kept saying we were ‘going away for a long weekend in Nottingham’, which I just didn’t buy into! On the evening of our anniversary I took us to a posh French restaurant called Coq D’Argent which was gorgeous, and then just a few days later Ange accidentally let it slip that we were going to PARIS for a few days! I was so excited and amazed that I burst into tears there and then. Happy tears, though! We stayed in a gorgeous hotel, kissed at the (almost) top of the Eiffel Tower (we were too scared to actually go to the top), visited the Catacombs and went to Disneyland, amongst other things. It was the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me and I would love to go back!

There are so many more things to list I could go on for hours, but these are just a few of the highlights. We have loads of things to look forward to in 2015 and I can’t wait!

Frankie x

GHDs: Bird of Paradise

I was a very spoilt girl this Christmas and had a gorgeous gift given to me by my mum; a brand new pair of GHDs! When I unwrapped them I realised she hadn’t just bought me a standard pair, which would have been brilliant, but had instead splashed out on some from the limited edition Bird of Paradise range.

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The straighteners come in two variations, purple fading into pink, called ‘Sunset’, and a gorgeous blue fading into green, which are known as ‘Lagoon’. My mum knows me so well and bought me the latter, which I’m so pleased with. They came with a matching heat-proof mat which is also just as pretty.

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The straighteners themselves have this brilliant automatic turn-off function which activates if they’ve not been used for about 30 minutes, which is perfect for me because I am always worrying that I haven’t switched my straighteners off, and that I’ll return home to find the whole place has burnt down. I’m never that careless, but my mind does like to convince me that I am!

Like all GHDs, they heat up really fast, but I was surprised at how quickly they cool down, too. This might be a feature on all GHD straighteners that everyone already knows about, but I haven’t owned a new pair in years, so I was excited about this.

My favourite thing about them is how slim and round the actual body of the straighteners are, it makes styling really easy and perfect for creating waves and curls, as well as a sleek look. I’ve struggled using straighteners to curl my hair in the past as I have short layers mixed in with long ones, which don’t seem to work with the thicker straighteners.

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I’m very lucky that my mum works for this cosmetics company so I was also treated to some fantastic Elemis skin care products, which I will blog about at a later date, once I’ve tested them out properly and can write a decent review!

Frankie x