Lies I Tell Myself & Body Positivity

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Every week I fluctuate between being happy with how I look and absolutely hating it.

When I first started thinking I was fat, I was 21. Looking back at photos of myself at that age – it’s painfully obvious how wrong I was. But at the time, I was completely distraught over how I could no longer fit into my favourite size zero dress or how I didn’t resemble a literal pencil anymore. Then I moved to Spain. As a vegetarian, not only did my social life rely heavily on carbs and cheese – but my mental health did too. My depression in Madrid was at an all time low and sometimes the only thing that fixed that was a baguette smothered in alioli.

And so the obvious happened, I gained weight.

Now I’m approaching 25 and long gone are the years I could eat anything and not worry about it. This is where the Internet cries “body positivity! You’re beautiful! Love yourself!” (not my Internet, I still get the occasional hate comment calling me fat despite not being relevant online since 2012). And I get it, because I do it too. I hear people complaining about their weight and I’m all up in their face telling them how wrong they are – and I’m being honest! But it’s hard to apply those ideologies to yourself.

Logistically speaking, I know I’m not the monster I make myself out to be. I buy size 8s and 10s depending on the day and know deep down that I’m not in any danger of ill health. But when I think of myself, I picture how I was at 18 or even 21. So sometimes when I see myself, it catches me off guard. I find it hard to accept that this is what I look like now.

Somedays I look in the mirror and think I might even look good and that I don’t need to go back to how I was before. I’ll buy a size 8 shirt that properly buttons over my boobs and think I’ve cracked it. But then I’ll take a bad picture or look frumpy in my favourite shirt and the cycle starts all over again. Like last week, when I downloaded a calorie counter app.

I know I’ll never be as tiny as I was at 18 and sometimes I feel okay with this. Other times I feel that life won’t be complete until I have a flat stomach again.

But I don’t want to feel this way. I want to be healthy and look my best, sure – but not at the extent of my happiness. I’ve spent way too many lunch hours forcing kale into my mouth for one lifetime. So here’s what I need to remember:

  1. Stop paying attention to labels because they clearly make no sense anyway
  2. There are ways to fix a bad day other than a giant cheesy pizza
  3. Not everyone I meet is silently judging me on my weight

And so, in an attempt to truly get rid of these toxic beauty standards I hold myself too – here’s some super flattering upward angle photos. Behold, my many chins in all their glory.

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Maybe one day I can stop letting this consume my life.

On Instagram and Introspection

One of my biggest guilty pleasures is stalking myself on the Internet. From being a Myspace kid, to my short lived YouTube career, to curating my life on Instagram – I am so guilty of checking what I was doing one, three, or even seven years ago.

Which makes me wonder why I’m currently so aware of the idea of “aesthetic”. I may not be a gazillionaire fashion blogger who supports their lifestyle with Instagram, but for whatever reason, my Instagram seems to have developed a theme. What can I say? I’m a content producer both by day and by night. Keeping it on brand is practically second nature to me.

If I use Instagram as a means to keep tabs on my past self, I’m my own biggest audience. Something deep down is directing what content I choose to share online. Sure, a couple of hundred other people are watching too, but a lot of this is for thirty year old Rosy. Photo albums are obsolete. Part of the fun of nostalgia is now looking at how many likes a post got, as well as the picture itself.

Or maybe this is just me and I’m totally weird/self-absorbed/kinda pathetic. Your call.

When I lived in Madrid, for example, my feed was bright. Because isn’t that what the life of an expat in Spain is supposed to be? If Hemingway had an Instagram, it would be sun kissed and vibrant and warm. Old Ernie and I both liked to criticise Spain, but we definitely wanted to immortalise the country in its best light.

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Sure, in Madrid I did all these things. I ate pink lollies and drank iced coffee (when it became gentrified enough to get it, that is) and wore floaty dresses. My life was significantly sunnier than its English equivalent and I wanted to remember that. But my life in Madrid on social media is definitely not the life I had. I was unhealthy and unhappy. From the major lack of vegetarian options to the comfort eating to dull the pain of teaching English or unpaid internships, Madrid had its downs. But unless I screenshotted my empty bank account, you can’t portray that life on Instagram.

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Which brings us to my time in Brighton. The sky is grey, my clothes are black, and I’m still drinking my iced coffee. The colours may be more muted, but I’m so much happier here. I’m not sitting around carefully curating my life to look back on. I’m living in the now and posting it as an afterthought. Whilst I only chose to share the best of Madrid, for me, all of Brighton is the best. I may have only been here for five months but I’m already much happier than I ever was in Hull or Madrid.

I can post a picture of my work desk and planner because for once in my life, my work makes me happy. I’m sharing food pictures because, get this, vegetarian food is everywhere. Who would have thought? Not Spain! Who needs pretty dresses? I’m wearing all black and I’m digging it.

So thank you, Brighton. For making me evaluate my social media choices. And more importantly, for making me realise how happy I am here.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll post a picture of seagull or a bagel – and Future Rosy will know without a doubt that whatever the subject ends up being, Past Rosy was pretty freaking happy with it.

4 Reasons Changing Your Hair Can Totally Change Your Life

I’ve been going through a lot of major life changes recently. Moving countries, moving cities within that country, and changing careers. But the biggest change of all has been my hair.

Hear me out, because it’s totally not as weird as it sounds.

Whenever I am in a slump, I start to hate everything about myself. And the easiest place to start in a severe bout of self loathing, is my physical appearance. So it needs to change. From getting a pixie cut on the last day of high school, to dying my hair pink after a breakup, to going back to brown for my move to Madrid – changing my hair is always my first course of action when I feel trapped. And you know what? It works. Changing my hair gives me a fresh outlook on life. Because no longer am I that person I hated just last week. My hair is bouncy and full of life and so am I.

Soon I’ll be starting my new job, which just so happens to be my dream job, and I wanted to go into that stage of my life feeling like a totally new and improved Rosy. So after stalking possibly every hairdresser in Brighton on Instagram, I decided to take the plunge. It took four hours and was the most money I’ve ever spent on my hair, but I have no regrets. It’s short. It’s blonde. I don’t resemble the cousin of Cousin It. I am me again.

Here is why I think changing your hair also changes your life!

1) Briefly, You Are A New Person
For a short period of time after a major haircut, whenever you catch your reflection, you get confused. “Why, who is that dashing young person staring at me?” you say. Well, it’s you! Look at you go! For the first few hours after my haircut, whilst I was painstakingly choosing which selfie would debut my hair on Instagram, I got to thinking (dangerous, I know); is this the same Rosy Parrish as yesterday? This one seemed cooler and more confident somehow. And when I was walking down the street I had to wonder, where the passersby marvelling at how cool that short blonde girl looked? Obviously not. But a girl can dream. So for those brief few hours, I was convinced I was a whole new person. That confidence follows you though, and even now, days later – I still secretly think I’m slightly cooler. Fake it ’til you make it, y’know.

2) Symbolism and Shit
Imagine it. You’re sitting in that chair. The hairdresser is behind you, holding a pair of scissors. Closer and closer they go, until… SNIP. Your hair is gone. Bye bye, hair! Bye bye, problems! When I’m running my fingers through the super short bit on the top of my neck, I like to imagine that along with all the tangles and knots and badly dyed locks, went my worries and problems and a few insecurities too. Swept away by the trainee’s broom. And it feels goooood. I mean, a lot of my problems actually disappeared upon the news of my employment, but that would never happen in a transformation movie montage. It was totally the hair.

3) Feed Your Ego
Unless you’ve accidentally dyed your hair green and come out with an allergic reaction too, your friends are probably gonna gush over your hair a little. Even if you think it’s narcissistic and frivolous, you can’t deny that a quick compliment from someone whose opinion you value will make you smile. I’m not saying cut your hair just for the compliments or the Facebook likes. Cut it for you, duh. But like… it’s an added bonus.

4) It Shows You What’s Really Important
Ignoring everything I’ve said above, it really is just hair. And if your haircut hasn’t come out like you imagined, and you’re screaming “dammit Rosy Parrish, you lied to me” at your screen, take a deep breath and remember you’ll always have number four on this list. Although I am loving my haircut this time round, this is a rarity for me, because most of my trips to the hairdresser end in disaster. Whether it’s a lopsided bob or a really bad dye job, the change is not forever. Your hair can grow, or you can cut it. You can dye it. You can straighten it. You can do that super cool topknot thing that I never truly mastered. Although at its best, our hair can make us feel really great, it also doesn’t define us. It’s all what you make of it. It’s just hair.

And with this wisdom, I bid you adieu. If you’re going through a hard time or just need a change, just start with the hair and the rest will follow. I think this is slightly more manageable advice than my usual spiel of ‘moving abroad cures anxiety’. But hey, they both worked for me

Brighton in a Weekend

So as I keep yapping on about, I moved to Brighton at the beginning of the year. But due to lack of money and my general dislike of leaving the house, I haven’t explored as much as I like. I have like 3 friends here. Give me a break. But last weekend my honorary twin sister Orla came to visit from Ireland, so I had no choice but to go full tourist mode. And it was great.
So for your consideration, here is how to do Brighton in a weekend. It works better if you and/or your guest like vegan food and shopping. ‘Cause that’s kind of what Orla and I are all about.

As a side note: my blog photography is pretty dire in this post… it was more of an Instagram Story type weekend than a blog one. But then I realised it would make a great blogpost and I’m stuck with these wonky atrocities. Sorry, Blog Gods.

Friday


Oz came on Friday evening and after some screaming and carrying her suitcase up five flights of stairs, we were ready to EAT. We headed into Kemptown for drinks in what we thought was a typical old man bar, but turned out to be a drag bar. It was the perfect place to show Orla just how, well, Brighton Brighton can be. We then headed to Purezza for dinner. Purezza is a vegan pizzeria and it is AMAZING. Vegan cheese is hard to get right and it was my first time actually trying vegan pizza but I am in love. After demolishing our pizzas, we knew we couldn’t leave without trying more – so we split a vegan orange mocha cake. And guess what? Also delicious! Who said vegans only eat rabbit food?


We finished off the night with some drinks in the South Lanes, where I took Orla to two of my favourites: The Mesmerist and The Marwood. We then parted ways ready for a full day of FUN SIBLING EXPLORING AND BONDING TIMES WOO!
Saturday


On this day we had intended to meet at 10 or something… only to finally meet at like 12. Just another part of the family resemblance. For brunch we decided to hit up VBites, another tasty vegan establishment. I was sad we had missed the breakfast menu, but not for long after I saw they had a falafel wrap on the menu. I got said wrap and an iced green tea (my fave). Orla is more adventurous with her food and tried the vegan duck pancake – but she said it was great and judging by the quality of my falafel, I’m inclined to believe her. We also split some sweet potato fries with garlic mayo because FOOD. In fact, we loved this place so much we came back. More on that later.


We took a walk down the pier for some serious Instagramming (Orla) and Pokémon hunting (me). Then we both literally hunted Pokémon in the arcade. Please note the lack of pictures with any Jigglypuffs. We did not win. After the pier we explored the South Lanes by daylight and did a little window shopping, before heading into Churchill Square for some actual shopping. By this point, we were hungry again so wandered over to Glazed for vegan donuts. VEGAN DONUTS. We were exceedingly lucky because we got the last one and it was so good. But even better than the donut, was the doggy that worked there. His name was Donald and I love him. He wore a bandana. Sadly I didn’t take a picture of the dog as I was too busy being licked so here is Orla modelling our donut.

Suddenly, because BRITAIN, it begain to rain so we ducked into Black Mocha for some caffeine and shelter. I’d been meaning to try this place for a while but wasn’t impressed with my coffee. Other people have told me that it’s actually pretty good so I’m willing to give it another shot, but honestly, meh. Once the rain stopped we darted back to Oz’s hotel (via a quick detour for wine and crackers).

And this is the point I became an idiot. I didn’t book a table. When we did finally emerge from the room, we were starving. We asked about a table at The Curry Leaf and were told it would be an hour. We agreed and off we went to the nearest bar. An hour comes, still no call. After ninety minutes we go to ask. Basically we ended up standing by the door staring at them until we got a table. By this point I was so hungry that I would have eaten anything. Hence the lack of photo. There is no time for Instagram when you reach that level of hunger. I don’t even remember what I ordered, other than I decided “fuck vegan weekend” and ordered a naan bread out of pure starvation. I think it would be unfair to review The Curry Leaf when I probably  would have literally eaten my own shoe at this point, but it was good – just not a patch on my favourite Brighton Indian, Planet India. After this we decided on an early night to prepare ourselves (and our stomachs) for the next day.

Sunday


Sunday started off at my new love, Small Batch Coffee. I picked a vegetarian sausage roll as a snack and got an oat milk latte. I sat waiting patiently for my coffee arrive so I could take a picture of both together, but it took so long I got bored and ate my sausage. Turned out they forgot about me. Luckily they gave me a voucher for a free coffee so who cares? And honestly, that latte was so good I would have come back anyway. I’m just gonna go right ahead and say it, best coffee in Brighton. No, in Britain. NO. THE WORLD.

After a little while exploring the North Lanes and avoiding the rain, we met my friends for a meatless roast at The Prince George. I was so excited for this. And I wish I could say it lived up to its expectations but… THEY FORGOT ABOUT ME. Yes, mere hours after the coffee shop forgetting about me, a restaurant forgot to bring me my food. I think I’m actually cursed, but whatever. Considering my food came when my friends were halfway through with their own, I didn’t take a picture. I just tried to catch up. I think I ordered the wellington. It was good, I guess, but my Yorkshire Pudding was hard as a rock. I’ll definitely go back, but only because I drank the best gin of my life in there and I need to taste its sweet, sweet nectars again. They didn’t offer me a free drink though. Hmmmph.


After lunch we did some more shopping down the North Lanes, but as it was Sunday, things were closing. We headed back to The Mesmerist and had a few more drinks before we got sleepy. Although we swore we wouldn’t eat anything else, we got Subway before leaving because we are ravenous monsters. #NoRegrets

Monday


For our Last Supper (ahem… breakfast), of course we headed back to VBites. This time we were in time for breakfast, so I had the most delicious hummus, spinach, and mushrooms on toast. SO. GOOD. Orla had the same, she agrees. After that it was time to take Orla back to the station. But we did have a little bit of time… so we grabbed some more oat milk lattes from Small Batch before we said our final goodbyes.

I had such a good weekend and am so glad Orla came to visit. I probably never would have gotten around to trying half these places if she’d never come to see me. So thank you, Oz, and I’ll see you in Berlin this August for Round Two.


You can follow Orla’s Twitter and Instagram here because she is much cooler than I.

Brighton, So Far

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So I moved to Brighton. Not as dramatic as my move to Madrid three years ago but much, much harder. Although in Madrid I had to deal with language barriers, reentering education, and, well, the Spanish. In Brighton I have to live with the uncertainty that everything leading up to now has been for nothing. Sure, you might think I’m being overdramatic, but…

Hi, my name’s Rosy Parrish and I think I’m finally entering my quarter life crisis.

I thought I’d experienced my quarter life crisis already. Multiple times. When I first moved abroad, when I turned down a well paying teaching gig for an unpaid internship, when I decided to move back to the UK. Pretty much every second of the last three years. And maybe I was in a crisis and this is just the peak of it. Or maybe that was nothing compared to what’s about to come.

Brighton was a huge whim. I’d never even been to the city before I started flying over for interviews. I knew one person here. To me it was just this whimsical seaside town full of quirky street art and indie coffee houses. But it seemed like a good fit. And I don’t regret that part of the decision at all. Brighton is the perfect place for me and although I’ve only been here a month, I can’t imagine myself leaving any time soon. I never felt that way with Madrid. That was always like biding my time until something better came along and appeasing myself by going on about all the ~culture~ I was experiencing.

Currently I’m a freelance writer. I sit on my bed all day because my desk doesn’t have a chair yet and type away. Sometimes I take a break to apply for a proper job. Sometime I watch How I Met Your Mother on Netflix because it soothes me into thinking it will all get better. If I were to watch Girls right now, I’d probably cry. The Avenue Q song ‘What Do You Do With A BA In English?’ makes my stomach do backflips. This is not where I thought I’d be at the age of 24. With £25,000 in student loans and working from my bedroom in a shared flat.

The older I get the more I realise that life is just a series of flukes one after the other. I used to spend so much time thinking would this have happened if I did a different degree? Went to another uni? Didn’t move to Spain? Hadn’t failed GCSE maths? But now I just feel that life is chaotic and I just need to deal with it. Sure, this isn’t the ideal situation for me right now. But if I’d picked a different degree or decided against teaching English, I wouldn’t have had the experiences I’ve got right now. As stagnant as my time in Madrid felt, I know I experienced a life that many others can only dream of. I became friends with interesting people and captured myself a cute European boyfriend and I know the city will always welcome me back with open arms.

So I may not be writing in a swish city office wearing a cool blazer; but I’m writing on my bed wearing a dinosaur t-shirt. So I guess I’m doing okay.

I have faith that eventually I’ll get my cool job and my cool blazer because goddammit I’ve done 16 months of unpaid internships now and if that’s not seen as dedication to my art then I’ll probably just explode anyway.

Making Friends As An Adult: Bumble BFF


“Do you guys know each other?”

“We met on Bumble”

“…”

“Oh, there’s a BFF feature for friends!”

Sometimes I forget that not everyone meets their friends online. It’s still seen as strange and a little bit psycho-killery. But anyone who thinks that is wrong.

In 2017, how the hell are we supposed to meet anyone anymore? Once you’re out of education, you’re left with flatshares and work colleagues to form the ultimate #SquadGoals-level friend. You’re stuck choosing from people who have no guarantee they’ll like the same things as you. That’s why I’m fully for shopping for friends on the Internet.

When I was 14 I made a friend on MySpace and traveled to meet up with her. At 15 I became nocturnal to hang out with my American YouTube friends. And after a brief period of normality making friends at university… in my twenties I was back on the Internet. After all, I’d met my boyfriend on Tinder and everyone accepted that as the norm – why couldn’t I make platonic friends this way too?

I’ve written about my experiences with Bumble BFF before and in Madrid it worked out well for me. So with the second major move in my life (back to the UK, but further south than I’ve ever been before – whaddup Brighton), I was back on the Friend Dating scene. What can I say? I like swiping.

Moving to a new city is hard… especially when you take a risk and move there without a job lined up. I spend my days applying for jobs and sneaking in a few HIMYM episodes on Netflix. The app provides me a sense of normality that I just don’t have here yet. I have people to talk to (albeit through a screen), but they give me advice on good coffee and tell me about their job struggles when they first moved here. Without Bumble BFF I would probably be going insane right about now. And as with Tinder, sometimes these online meetings go well, and your Friend Courting continues into the real world.

So I’m going to keep singing the praises of making friends online. As a teenager, I made some of my best friends on the Internet. People who lived entire continents away and who I wouldn’t have known existed at any other time. On a smaller scale, this works in a city too. Why should I miss out on a great friendship just because we didn’t meet at a coffee shop like we might have had to ten years ago? Forget your prejudices of how weird it is to judge someone over a picture and a bio, if you can do it to find your ~true love~, you can do it to find your next gal pal too. It’s convenient, chill, and just all round cool.

BRB, gonna go swipe right some more.

2016 Favourites

I think we can all let out a collective sigh of relief that 2016 is over. It was a particularly depressing year – at least on a pop cultural level – but despite loving to revel in mutual loathing, first and foremost I am a blogger, so a 2016 favourites post was necessary. Consider it a form of purging. Out with old, in with the new. Except this stuff which I kinda sorta loved.

Favourite Book: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

I love me a good fantasy series – but sometimes it’s hard to find a good balance between the grittiness of adult fantasy and the playfulness of YA fantasy: enter V.E. Schwab. The themes of this book are most definitely adult, there are no overplayed love triangles or teenagers born to save the world. But still, the series manages to catch a sense of adventure that others don’t, all the while building a detailed and engaging world for the characters. The last book in the trilogy comes out soon and I am not sure how I’ll cope.

Favourite Beauty Product: Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita

By no means new to 2016, but new to me. 2016 was the year Spanish Sephora finally got its act together and started stocking Kat Von D. I own four of these babies now (and plan on a million more), but Lolita is the ultimate one for me. It’s a dusty/purpley/nudey colour that never fails to make me feel a little more put together on days when I’m otherwise just meh. A pro tip is to pair it with Barry M’s lipliner in Blush. Kylie who?

Favourite TV Show: How To Get Away With Murder

I was sooooooo late to the bandwagon on this show, but once I started, boy was I hooked. As increasingly ridiculous as it has gotten, I can’t look away. The twists still hook me and the reveals still shock me. Also it’s like a little glimpse into Paris Gellar’s future since the Gilmore Girls revival ruined her character. If you secretly think you’d make a kickass lawyer, this one’s for you.

Favourite Movie: The Visit

Technically a 2015 release, but I didn’t get a chance to watch it until the new year so it totally still counts. I think this movie is proof that M. Night Shyamalan either makes really great movies or really terrible movies. The Visit is definitely a return to the likes of SignsThe Sixth Sense, and The Village.  I may have a soft spot for found footage horror movies, but this is probably the best since The Blair Witch Project. But if you don’t like horror, it works as a comedy too. Best of both worlds!

Favourite Album: California by Blink-182

When Fall Out Boy came out with Save Rock and Roll, I loved it because they had grown out of their pop punk phase gracefully. When Panic! At The Disco released Death of a Bachelor, it was clearly the same band with a more mature take. But when Blink-182 released California, it was as if it was still 2003. As much as I love that my favourite teenage bands are growing up with me, something about this album had just the right amount of nostalgia and growth for me. And now I don’t have to be embarrassed about not really listening to current music, because Blink have my back.

Maybe I’ll branch out more in 2017, but for now, fantasy, murder, and pop-punk are doing me just fine ❤

 

The Best Of 2016


Since David Bowie left the mortal realm, the world has become a terrible place. But despite this, I thought it was important to look back at my personal positives of 2016… no matter how sad I am that Carrie Fisher is dead. 2016 was a year of big changes for me. After months of agonising over the decision, I decided it was time to repatriate myself back into British life. I’d gotten a tad complacent with everything… so obviously my brain decided to change it all at once. 2nd times a charm, right?

So, in order, I bring you my highlights of 2016.

Visiting Florence

I’ve wanted to visit Italy for as long as I can remember – and after almost two years of living on the continent, I finally got my chance. I traveled round the country by train – and although the trip was slightly derailed by the destruction of my passport – Florence was by far my favourite desintation. I saw amazing architecture, did fantastic shopping, marvelled at incredible art… and saw creepy fetus mannequins from the 19th century. I will definitely be back.

Reading Stephen King’s It

Much like visiting Italy, I had always wanted to read It. And although it really didn’t live up to the ‘omg so scary’ reviews I’ve been hearing my entire life, it was huge. Like, physically. And I’m glad I read it. And it makes me feel less terrible about failing my Goodreads Reading Challenge this year. Seriously, it was huge!

Giving up teaching

Although I have never wanted to end up as a teacher, it somehow became my job.  Yet it was always my means of staying in Madrid and getting a pretty decent income. So I stayed. But at the same time I was interviewing for summer camp positions to keep myself fed for the 3 months of Hell I was about to experience, I took a chance and interviewed for an unpaid editorial internship. And got it. Although I then had to decide between teaching and eating and gaining experience in the field I loved and starving – I’m glad I took the risk as it proved I was capable and qualified to do what I loved and gave me the push I needed to leave the safety net of Spain. Even if I did have to eat a lot of pasta to do so.

Seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Seeing this play was a long time coming. I first bought the tickets in October 2015 and spent an agonising year waiting for my time to come. I’ve written about the show in great detail already, so I won’t dwell on it too much, but it was definitely my favourite part of the year. Not only did it fill the empty place in my soul of the waiting for a new Potter release, but my quick trip to London was the catalyst for my eventual return to the UK. Thanks, Harry.

Doing a Brexit of my own

And finally, the most important change for me in 2016, moving back to the UK. Despite being on the top of my game in the ESL world, I knew it was time to move on. So after packing my entire life into two suitcases and a cardboard box, I took the leap and moved back “home”. I write this blogpost to you from my new place in Brighton. I have no idea what’s going to happen next, but I imagine it will begin with job interviews, vegan food, and maybe a new haircut.

Cheers to you, 2017.

My Reading Rut: Part 3

I may not actually like reading at the moment, but I do still like talking about reading. So I figured it was time for the third post of my reading rut adventure: covering months April to June and books 10-14 of my thirty book challenge. This definitely got me back to my reading roots – meaning there were a lot of books I was anticipating the release of and fantasy novels. And I actually enjoyed this block of books a lot! Too bad I immediately stopped reading again afterwards… ugh.

The Missing by C.L. Taylor

Another thriller, yes, but one I was waiting for. I loved C.L. Taylor’s previous two thrillers, but something about The Missing just fell flat. I wasn’t as invested in the story as I was with  her previous work. The Lie was one of the most innovative thriller novels I’ve read in years, with The Accident keeping me just as hooked. But with Taylor’s third novel, I just didn’t give a shit. And then the resolution came and I was just like “oh, I still don’t care”. A good book, but not up to her usual standard. If you’ve never read her work before, start with this one and work backwards – that way they’re getting better instead of worse.

I give this book: 3/5 schizophrenic visions

Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

I have an apology to make to Mr Aaronovitch, because it took me two attempts to read this book. The first was last July and I got about 100 pages into it before giving up. This really bugged me because I absolutely love this series. But I decided to give it another chance and this time it finally clicked. This series definitely does have a pattern of one great book followed by a weaker one, and sadly this book was one of the latter, but that ending definitely made it worthwhile. I won’t dwell too much on this book because I think this series definitely deserves a post on its own, so just know that I’m sorry I doubted you, Peter Grant, and I’m glad I didn’t abandon you.

I give this book: 3.5/5 vengeful ghosts

Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

You know what I was saying about the quality pattern of this series? Ignore it. Right after finishing book four, I jumped right into number five and I think that Foxglove Summer is my favourite instalment of the series so far – even more than Rivers of London. And I’m not just saying that because it saw the return of my favourite character. Getting out of the city was exactly what this series needed; as was a more standalone case that didn’t revolve around the Big Bad. Think of it as the Peter Grant equivalent of Prisoner of Azkaban. It rejuvenated the series for me after my struggles with the previous book and made me fall in love with the world all over again. And props for the great Good Omens reference, which brings us nicely to book four.

I give this book: 5/5 creepy unicorns

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

For as long as I can remember, everyone has been telling me to read this book. Although I’ve never read any Pratchett, I am a huge Gaiman fan and was assured I’d love this story. I bought the book years ago, excited to get down to reading it, and what happened? It just fell flat. I tried so hard to persevere but in the end gave up. Which makes me wonder what happened this time around because… I loved it. On my second attempt reading this book, everything fell into place and I finally got all the love for it. It’s witty, gripping, and original – basically all the things you’d want out of a fantasy novel. Crowley might just be one of my favourite literary characters ever.

I give this book: 4/5 Queen CDs

The Girls by Emma Cline

I don’t really have to go into too much detail on this book because I already wrote a whole post about it over here. It’s not like anything else I’ve ever read before – so dreamy and relaxing yet somehow totally dangerous. It nicely broke up my fantasy to thriller to oh look another fantasy pattern as well as seamlessly slipping me into summer.

I give this book: 5/5 charismatic cult leaders

I’m clearly behind in this whole book review thing – and if I want to get everything up by 2o17 then I’ll need to get a move on. Of course, that would also entail catching up on my reading itself. We are comfortably in November now and I still have six to go. Wish me luck.

The Truth About Unpaid Internships

As someone who thinks there is nothing better in life than reading an epic fantasy, I had a great time studying for an English degree. Reading books, writing about books, arguing about books. BOOKS. Unfortunately, finding myself at age 20 in a cap and gown with no job prospects was a little bit of a “well… shit” moment. Now I am 24 and have managed to find myself some of that much needed experience. And not to bite the hand that feeds me or anything… but I have a lot to say about unpaid internships.

I have had three different internship experiences – all with differing levels of payoff. So I have experienced both the pros and cons of working for free.

The work whenever you like internship

I got my first internship about three months after moving to Madrid. I was settled and happy in my new home but wanted something to do alongside teaching (which I already knew wasn’t my calling). I could already craft hilariously topical tweets and followed social media trends – I just needed a way to prove it to potential employers. This internship was great as it allowed me to do just that alongside my day job. I may not have been getting paid – but I was gaining experience and could work from my bed. The company knew I needed another means of income so let me choose my own hours. All in all it was a pretty great arrangement made for a great internship.

The liberally described internship

Two months after getting my first internship I saw an ad for another one. It was a much more established company and offered the chance to work from their office. Even though it meant I would have to cut down my teaching hours, I took the risk and went for it. I got the job and soon found out I’d be working 20 hours a week (at the time I thought this was inhumane). Of course, unpaid. But whatever, you’ve gotta suffer for your art, right?

So I turn up for my first day of work. I sit at my desk and am ready to start my role as Social Media & Communications Intern. But what exactly is that role? In this company, my job was essentially to sit on Facebook and post a million advertisements to different groups. Imagine doing that. FOR. FOUR. HOURS. Needless to say, it wasn’t exactly what I’d call a social media position. But I hate confrontation and naively thought that maybe I’d get more exciting tasks as time went on. But I didn’t. Two months into the internship and enough was enough. Not only was I not getting paid for my time, but I wasn’t gaining any experience either. I quit and quickly went back to teaching full time. I kept my original internship for another eight months or so but in the end became jaded about the whole idea of being an intern. Where was my money? I thought I was done. But I wasn’t.

The full time employee internship

A whole year and a half later I was facing the prospect of another summer teaching English to camp kids when I saw an ad for an Editorial Internship in my city. It was for three months so I knew it wouldn’t be some never ending pit of despair and figured it’d be a beneficial way to spend the summer. So I interviewed. I got it. I yay’d. Imagine my surprise when I find out that this internship was 40 whole hours a week. More than double what I worked on my €1000 salary as a teacher. But this was the career I wanted, so I was willing to make the sacrifice.

This time was definitely a step up from my previous position – I had my own desk and computer and spinny chair. But most importantly, I had responsibility. In the three months I was there, I actually learnt a lot. I got to develop the skills I already had as well as learning new ones – such as email marketing and exposure to new CMSs. In fact, I was doing so much stuff there that I couldn’t help but wonder – why aren’t I being paid for this? As much as I was learning about the industry, I was also learning about how unfair the whole unpaid intern thing can be. Upon leaving the role, I was asked about any suggestions I had for improving it for future interns. I said that they should pay travel expenses – which for me would have been €60 for the whole time I was there. It’s kind of hard to feel any self worth when supposedly 480 hours of your work isn’t even worth €60 to your employers.

And with that, I officially end my internship journey.

Sure, there are positives to being an intern and I don’t regret any of my jobs. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without them – but that’s the problem, why is it necessary for someone to do all this work just to get a job? I spent three years getting my degree only to discover that entry level jobs want you to have two years experience alongside it. Now I can see why Hermione needed that Time-Turner so badly.

In the future, I hope this changes. I hope that companies stop demanding a PHD and a previous CEO role for an entry level gig and that other businesses start paying their interns at least a travel card and a sandwich for all their hard work. But until then, stay strong little intern babies. Soon you will be in charge and can pay all the future interns as much as you want.