Christmas round-up!

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This Christmas began with me tearing my hair out on the living room floor as I attempted to fish presents out from underneath the tree and stuff them into a tiny hold-all bag. The plan was to pack lightly, as I was only going home for a couple of days, however I didn’t think about this when I was pre-emptively buying gifts back in October (organised yes, weight conscious, no) because I’d bought so much, they wouldn’t fit for one, and I couldn’t even lift the damn thing.

Now I’m the kind of person who takes at least 200 pairs of knickers with me for an overnight stay (because you ‘never know’ – never know what? That I’m going to come across a pants thief?! I blame my mum for passing on this mental logic) so I presumed it was because I’d overpacked as per usual, but no, I’d just been way too generous on the present-front! Luckily Ange’s mum saved the day by bringing round a huge suitcase last minute so I was able to cram everything inside. I still couldn’t lift it, but luckily I kept bumping into nice men on the tube and the train, who offered to carry it up the stairs for me. I can’t decide if they were just being festive or a bit pervy, especially as one demanded a kiss from me in return (I reluctantly offered him my cheek and an awkward smile), but thanks to them I got to Portsmouth without breaking out into much of a sweat.

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On Christmas Eve my family and I cracked opened a few bottles of beer and walked to the local Italian restaurant, which is only about five minutes away, so we must have looked like raging alcoholics/chavs. After that they came with me to the pub where I saw my lovely friends, drank far too much, and staggered back home to crash out on my mum’s sofa, before waking up approximately two hours later for Christmas Day (ouch, my head).

We opened presents and a bottle of cava at about 11am and then all fell asleep for a few hours before making the voyage to our neighbours house for a gorgeous turkey roast. Everyone had already had a few by the time we turned up and as we sat round the table, discussion quickly turned to important things like the funny behaviour of my cat, Pixie. My mum’s friend randomly proclaimed: ‘Actually, I think Pixie is probably transgender. Or a bit of a boy or a girl. You know, something like that. Which is quite fitting!’ God knows how she came to this conclusion, but I was laughing too much to ask!

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The eight of us then played a game someone had invented, whereby you each write down eight random things and put them in a bowl, before muddling them up and splitting into two groups. One round involves describing a card to your team-mates without using the word itself, for the second, you have to use just three words to describe a particular card, and on the third round, you can only mime. I thought it would be hilarious to chuck ‘Kim Kardashian’, ‘Nicki Minaj’, ’50 Shades of Grey’ and ‘squid rings’ into the mix, and when I saw my brother acting out massive boobs and a huge bum, it was definitely worth it. Plus, one of the blokes started Hawaiian dancing for 50 shades, which is something I will never, ever be able to erase from my mind!

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On Boxing Day my brother and I drove up to the midlands to see our dad and grandparents, and we had a second Christmas dinner followed by a ton of cakes and sweets. By this point I was feeling like my stomach would explode but we powered on through, came back to my flat, and chilled in front of the TV with Ange. The two of them managed to eat McDonalds, which I would have loved, but I was stuffed. However I did, bravely, manage to eat some pick ‘n’ mix sweets.

I had a great Christmas and I’m really thankful to my family for my lovely presents and all the laughter. But now, I’m now ready for the music to stop, the decorations to come down, and the weather to sort its act out. Roll on spring!

Frankie x

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I’m blonde!

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I did what I was scared into thinking can’t be done – by people who I can only describe as the hair police – I dyed my hair blonde, at home, in my bathroom, with bleach, on my own! (Ok, Ange helped a bit). My point is, for the last however many years I’ve been warned by everyone to NEVER try and bleach your hair unless a professional is doing it. I was told it would fall out… go green… snap off… yeah. But I did it, and it worked! I am not bald, and it’s not (as far as I’m aware) a fetching shade of slime. Hooray!

My hair has really been through hell and back, as I’m sure my school friends would have great delight in reminding me. The long and short of it is… I was born blonde, which gradually faded to a fetching mousey brown in my early teens. I had it highlighted, and then decided that I was extremely cool and that the only way to showcase my inner cutting-edge style, was to dye it black. I am definitely not the only 14-year-old who wanted to release their inner goth, so don’t pretend you didn’t all do it. Mine just happens to be documented on the internet (great).

After that I bleached my fringe every few weeks so I could then dye it green, pink, blue, purple etc. I also used to backcomb the rest of my hair so I resembled some sort of luminescent porcupine. (One word – MySpace.) Eventually, my hair felt like candy floss and was well and truly ruined, so five years ago, aged 18, (it was a long phase, ok) I started again.

25708_1289438711188_7481731_n(I can’t be the only one who thought that was cool?!)

I kept dying it black because I hated the thought of regrowth, but walked around with a much more demure hairstyle. I then decided I actually wanted to return to being blonde again. It’s funny how, when you’re a teenager, you are absolutely adamant that you will never, EVER change – and then you grow up and realise that actually, looking like you’ve rolled around in a bush will never be a look you can pull off in adulthood (or ever).

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So, last summer, I managed to lighten it to a shade of brown, which I kind of liked. I didn’t want to tamper with it too much as my hair was finally feeling strong and healthy, so I left it alone for a while. A few months back I picked up a gradual highlight treatment to use while blow drying my hair, and a few weeks ago, I bought a box of bleach and decided to go the whole hog.

I used the Live XXL Absolute Platinum 00A which lightened it to a gingery colour, and then used Schwarzkopf Color Mask Pearl Blonde after that. To get it to the colour I wanted (ok, the lightest shade it could probably manage before it disintegrated) I finally put on the Nice ‘N Easy Perfect 10 Ash Blonde. I really liked how easy the Schwarzkopf one was to use because it came in a pot rather than a bottle, and I loved how quick the Perfect 10 was to use – it literally takes 10 minutes to work. And by that point, I was sick of dying my hair (plus, my nostrils felt like they were about to fall off with all the chemicals, delicious).

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I’m probably going to lighten it again in a few months, but for now, I’m happy to stick with this shade. Although it’s not super blonde, I’m happy. And anything’s better than porcupine hair, right?

Frankie x

Charity shop treasures

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b28/80330716/files/2014/12/img_4763.jpgI love clothes shopping, but I feel so guilty when I spend a lot (which in my mind, is about £20 per item) on things that I’ll probably hate within six months. Most of my wardrobe is made up of Primark, H&M and charity shops for this reason, but it is quite difficult walking down Oxford Street on my way to work and seeing all the amazing clothes. I just want to buy them all. I wondered if it was possible to find any bargains in an area like this, and so I did a bit of googling and discovered that there was actually a Salvation Army (a charity shop) just off Regent Street. How exciting! I hoped this would mean I’d find lots of really nice bits and pieces, considering nearby there’s designer stores like Michael Kors, Armani, and Lacoste nearby. I don’t really care about designer labels myself, but I figured the area would dictate the kind of quality of the clothes inside.

I thought about spending yesterday’s lunch break watching The Apprentice and feeling sorry for myself (I have a cold) with a cup of tea, but I braved the outside world in the hope that I could find a lovely coat. I read up on a few blogs which said that the shop is a bit of a treasure trove, so I figured it was worth it, and as I walked in I wasn’t disappointed at all./home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b28/80330716/files/2014/12/img_4760-0.jpgThere were brand new clothes with the tags still on being sold for half the price. I spotted faux fur gilets, leather jackets, designer shoes, a few cocktail dresses, hundreds of jeans and jumpers, books, all sorts. It was quite a small sized shop but they really did cram it all in. And best of all – I was one of just four shoppers. I love the hustle and bustle of London but shopping can be a nightmare when there are hundreds of people browsing at the same time. This was like a little slice of peace. Perfect!

I had a look at a few coats and was disappointed to see that most of them were around £30 to £40. They were in perfect condition so the prices were definitely justified, but I was hoping to find something cheaper. After bit of a browse I stumbled upon this gorgeous, camel coloured coat from Mango, which was priced at something like £17.50. Bargain! I snapped it up and was pleased (and horrified, as this means I’ll probably end up spending tons in there) that they take card payments, as most charity shops don’t. When I got back to the office I looked it up and found it had been discontinued from Mango, but that it once cost 99 euros on one website, which is about £78!/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b28/80330716/files/2014/12/img_4768.jpg

Overall I’m really pleased with this and I’ll be going back there after Christmas to see if anyone has donated any unwanted gifts for me to buy for just a fraction of the cost. Yes please! If you’re interested in having a look yourselves, the shop is located on Princes Street, near the FCUK shop on Regent Street.

I also snapped up four jumpers and a scarf from some charity shops near our flat the other day too, (scarf is pictured, cost me just £2) for the grand total of £19, but it’s rare to find anything really amazing around that neck of the woods. I’m going to be hunting down a few more in more posh areas of London to try and get some more bargains.

Frankie x

Blue Is The Warmest Colour

Blue Is The Warmest Colour has been on my ‘must watch’ list for ages, but I had actually completely forgotten about it until Ange and I sat down to watch Netflix and she reminded me. It’s three hours long, so we decided to press play with the intention of watching it in two halves if we were getting fidgety. I normally get quite bored during films as I hate sitting still for long periods, which, to be honest, I was expecting with this. But just ten minutes into Blue I was absolutely hooked and the time flew by in what felt like minutes.

The story follows 15-year-old student Adèle and her attempts to have a relationship with a boy, and confusion when she becomes totally infatuated with a blue-haired girl, Emma, who she spots walking down the street. The film follows their relationship and spans an entire decade, which might sound contrived, however it didn’t seem the tiniest bit cheesy, stereotypical or lame.

Both of us were almost in tears in the parts leading up to Adèle’s coming out scene. It was extremely relatable and I thought that actress (yes, she has the same first name) Adèle Exarchopoulos, was brilliant at conveying the confusion and emotions a lot of people feel at that time in their lives. As the film progressed and we were introduced to Emma properly, played by Léa Seydoux, I felt genuinely invested in the characters. I loved their relationship and felt like it was extremely realistic. It was almost like the same feeling you get while reading a book. I never feel like films really provide that emotional connection to the characters that novels do, where you just can’t put it down and can’t stop thinking about the story even when you’re not reading it, but Blue had that effect on me.

For those people who have seen the film or read about the hype surrounding it, you’ll know there are a few – some being quite lengthy – sex scenes in it. A lot of people have come out and said they were pornographic, that it seemed like a male fantasy instead of depicting what it’s actually like for two women, and even Léa said she felt like a ‘prostitute’ during the filming. Now I know my opinion is going to seem quite controversial, especially coming from a lesbian’s point of view, but I actually thought they were pretty good. I’m not suggesting that everyone is quite so acrobatic by any means (!!) however they did genuinely seem passionate and quite raw. Contrary to quite a lot of opinions floating around the internet, I didn’t think it seemed like a pervy wet dream at all. I mean yes, it was a graphic sex scene, it was explicit, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t feel out of place, from a viewers point of view, at least.

I’m trying very hard not to give too much away here, but my favourite part of Blue was how it managed to show the progression and changes in a relationship, very much in the way they seem to go in real life. As things began to unravel, I felt genuinely upset and inevitably burst into tears and felt like a bit of an idiot. But when I turned around and saw Ange was in tears too, I realised I wasn’t just being soppy. It really struck a chord with us both. The ending was absolutely fantastic. I won’t say much other than that it was perfectly ambiguous. It felt disappointing at first, but after much discussion we both realised that it really couldn’t have ended any other way. I think that is what’s just so good about it. It’s accurate, and real.

I’ve read many reviews and interviews which discuss how both actresses were put through gruelling schedules and forced to do things like drink real alcohol, spent 10 days recording the 10 minute sex scene, and recorded one scene around 100 times for it to be deemed perfect. If these things are true it does put a downer on what, for me, is absolutely excellent. However, although it’s a shame that there is so much negativity surrounding Blue, would so many be compelled to watch it if it wasn’t for the press the film had?

Controversy aside, I thought Blue was amazing. Neither of us can stop talking about it! It’s the first time I’ve seen something that seems to actually hit the nail on the head when it comes to lesbian relationships. Perhaps I found it heart-wrenching because I can relate to it, but I honestly think that anyone watching this would feel the same. It’s gripping, realistic, and clever. If you can spare three hours of your life, watch it. If you can’t, watch it anyway. You’ll end up cancelling whatever plans you had after the first five minutes.

Frankie x

We’ve moved!

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Just three months ago I made the drastic decision to pack up my bags and leave the sleepy little town of Bournemouth, Dorset, and move to London for a new job. Although it’s been exciting and pretty fun so far, I’m not going to lie, it’s been quite a huge culture shock too (I’ve never seen so many people in my life and I’ve never spent more than £3 on a pint, so that’s taken some getting used to!) My girlfriend, Ange, is originally from London and she decided to up sticks with me, but because every landlord seems to want a small fortune as a deposit, we moved in with her parents so we could save up.

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