BOOKS THAT SAVED MY LIFE #SHELFHELP

Though I’ve always enjoyed reading and being wrapped up in a new universe, there are few books which I could realistically credit with changing my life. The other day, someone asked me what my favourite book was and, at first, I couldn't choose. Then I went back through my memory and thought of the books I have a tendency to go back to the most, often in my darkest times. These books, which are individual and yet have a similar intrinsic message are my crutch and I very much recommend reading them. They are filled with beautiful prose and brilliant life advice - these authors, all female, have seen me through the most difficult times in my life and whenever I read and re-read these books, I never feel alone. Here is the first of those books…

How to be a Grown Up by Daisy Buchanan

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It is an incredibly rare and beautiful thing when you find a book which you relate to on a deep and personal level. Daisy Buchanan has managed to write that book which I think just about every woman can relate to.

As a young woman in her twenties, I often feel like a failure- whether I just feel like i’m not doing enough or i’m actually failing at a job or just life in general. It is often the case that everyone around you feels like they too are failing but simply pretend that everything is going splendidly because they assume that you are doing better.

Daisy’s book has acted as an emotional crutch during a time when I thought I would just break into a million little pieces at any second, this book held me together. I have it on Audible and I have (proudly) listened to it at least 10 times and perhaps more.

I remember when I listened to it the first time, it made me laugh and cry and consistently nod my head in perceived recognition of my feelings. Finally, someone understood me and I wasn’t alone. I went back to this book whenever my life was coming apart at the seams which was, unfortunately, quite often.

I lived in the UK for a year and I think I must have spent at least a solid three months crying (not consecutively thank god). I got fired from my job and cried and walked through Brighton feeling worse for wear and completely morose - I genuinely felt low and like I completely lacked value. I was sure that nobody would ever hire me again and that it was inevitable that i’d be forced to be a disappointment not just to myself but also to my parents who would, undoubtedly, have to look after me for the rest of my miserable life. My flat in Brighton was large, cold and lonely - I couldn’t get the heating or the water heating to work for the entire duration of my stay there - it was, I felt both a failure and a disaster. The flat was too expensive and did my low emotional state no good. What I didn’t know while I was in the UK was that I actually had bipolar disorder but that’s a story for another day….

Through all of my tears and headache, one thing kept me going and that was listening to Daisy Buchanans book. When I woke up with a panic attack a few nights ago, I knew where to go and that was directly to Audble and the comfort of ‘How to be a Grown Up’ For me listening to or reading this book is like falling into the arms of loved one after a particularly long and difficult day. It’s easy to find refuge in the pages of this book and know that you are not alone.

OSCAR NOMINEES 2019: THE CATEGORIES WE ALL CARE ABOUT

Well, here they are, the Oscar Nominations for 2019. The Oscars will take place (as per usual) at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sun, 24 Feb at 5:00 pm GMT-8.

BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR

Personally, I think its between ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘A Star is Born’ and ‘Black Panther’. I have heard great things about ‘The Favourite’ as well but those are my personal top three. Ultimately, If it was up to me, I’d have to choose Bohemian Rhapsody. Luckily for the other movies, my biased ass Freddie loving opinions don’t get to pick 😂

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Ladies and gentlemen, the nominees for performance by an actor in a leading role are as follows from left to right. Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in ‘Vice’, Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine in ‘A Star is Born’, William Dafoe as Vincent Van Gogh in ‘At Eternity’s Gate’, Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and Viggo Mortesen as Tony Lip in Green Book.

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

The nominees for performance by an actress in a leading role are, from left to right. Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo in ‘Roma’, Glenn Close as Joan Castleman in ‘The Wife’, Olivia Coleman as Queen Anne in ‘The Favourite’, Lady Gaga as Ally in ‘A Star is Born’ and Melissa McCarthy as Lee Israel in ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me’.

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Nominees for Actor in a supporting role are as follows from left to right. Mahershala Ali in ‘Green Book’, Adam Driver in ‘BlacKkKlansman’, Sam Elliott in ‘A Star is Born’, Richard E Grant in ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me’ and Sam Rockwell in ‘Vice’.

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

The nominees for Actress in a supporting role from left to right. Amy Adams in ‘Vice’, Marina de Tavira in ‘Roma’, Regina King in ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’, Emma Stone in ‘The Favourite’ and Rachel Weisz in ‘The Favourite’.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM OF THE YEAR

Incredibles 2” Brad Bird, John Walker and Nicole Paradis Grindle

“Isle of Dogs” Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson

“Mirai” Mamoru Hosoda and Yuichiro Saito

“Ralph Breaks the Internet” Rich Moore, Phil Johnston and Clark Spencer

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller

ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING

Once again from left to right: “BlacKkKlansman” Spike Lee, “Cold War” Paweł Pawlikowski, “The Favourite” Yorgos Lanthimos, “Roma” Alfonso Cuarón and “Vice” Adam McKay

2019 RESOLUTION: BE MORE FREDDIE

I’ll make one thing clear…I am absolutely not a fan of New Years resolutions - I think they’re pointless and put way too much pressure on you. I do however, believe in positive change. I wanted to make 2019 the year I didn’t make any new years resolutions…I seem to have failed that resolution as well 🤦‍♀️. If that isn’t irony then I don’t know what is.

So, the reason that I believe that 2019 is in fact the year to be more Freddie? Well Freddie was always honest and always himself. He was the most beautiful character not because of looks but because of much more. Freddie had substance - he didn’t always fit in and he actually didn’t care at all. He made wildly bold clothing choices and pranced around stages. Freddie brought so much joy through his life and his music and honestly…who wouldn’t want that for a year, for a life.

"I won't be a rock star. I will be a legend." -Freddie Mercury

What Freddie had in droves was confidence in who he was and what he did. We all need a bit more confidence in our lives. Confidence (not arrogance) is such a beautiful thing to behold. You see so little confidence these days especially in women. We spend so much time judging ourselves, our outfits, our decisions, our likes, our dislikes and our bodies that we forget to enjoy ourselves. Part of the beauty of confidence is that you kind of forget yourself a little bit. Think about the difference between how a little girl and a woman approach a mirror…yep the little girl has confidence because she isn’t looking for flaws. So when you approach a mirror, approach it like Freddie did - like you are the most wonderful person in the world darling and the mirror should be honoured to have you.

“You can be anything you want to be, just turn yourself into anything you think that you could ever be.” - Freddie Mercury

Next up is knowing that you can do and be anything you want to be. If you can think of it and believe it…you can do it. You can wear absolutely anything that you want. You can forget silly rules and silly people. You can put just about anything behind you as long as you know that what’s important is what’s ahead of you. Be you-tiful darlings

 “Dullness is a disease.” - Freddie Mercury

Don’t go out and live a mediocre life…don’t have a mediocre year because you are scared. You will absolutely never be dull as long as you are yourself, as long as you are honest about who you are. You don’t need to disappear, you deserve to wear bright colours if you want to and take up space in the world. You are only ever dull when you are trying to hide who you are which ironically, most people tend to do in a bid to be liked. So don’t try to impress people - you do you boo.


“If I die tomorrow I will not regret. I really did everything I could.” - Freddie Mercury

Live without regrets. So often we live in the past way too much of the time. We go over things that happened and things we might have done differently. Live in the present and do everything you have the chance to. Say yes to a lot more and challenge yourself…you never know what you might find out. If you died tomorrow- would you die happy, fulfilled?


 “I love the fact that I can make people happy, in any form. Even if it’s just an hour of their lives, if I can make them feel lucky or make them feel good, or bring a smile to a sour face, that to me is worthwhile.” - Freddie Mercury

So often we destroy each other. We don’t live to make each other happy - we don’t strive to see other people smile. How much more wonderful would the world be if we all strove to make one person smile. That is indeed a worthwhile life to live. Ask one person how they are, greet someone or give someone a genuine compliment. If you are at a complete loss, resort to playing Queen 👑


“Oh, I was not made for heaven. No, I don’t want to go to heaven. Hell is much better. Think of all the interesting people you’re going to meet down there” - Freddie Mercury

This final quote just happens to be one that I love and its so outrageous and so Freddie so I thought I’d leave it here with - speak your mind and be honest about who you are. Say what you want to say. Honestly is the best policy even if that you’re about to say is outrageous.

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21 YEARS OF FASHION EXHIBITION AND BOOK LAUNCH

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This year, South African Fashion Week comes of age, celebrating its 21st year. To celebrate the occasion, Lucilla Booyzen (CEO of SA Fashion Week) announced that she and her team had created a book which will stand as a permanent record of the past 21 years of SA Fashion Week.

The book is a celebration of South African fashion and the amazing designers behind the scenes. The images featured in the book were specifically chosen by a panel of local and international experts. The book begins with Spring/Summer 2018 and leads you back through time to 1997. Also included in the book are images from the Fashion Weeks through the years.

During her speech, Lucilla thanked all of the attendees, photographers, make-up artists and media who have made SA Fashion Week possible. I was also lucky enough to see some of the beautiful pieces which are being exhibited at SAFW. The exhibition begins with the pieces from 1997 and leads you through to Spring/Summer 2018. The pieces are absolutely stunning and its well worth a visit.

To hear a bit more about the making of the book, I’ve linked the video for you below.

If you’d like to buy the book, it’s available via the links below:

http://www.safashionweek.co.za/product/sa-fashion-week-book-e-book/

http://www.safashionweek.co.za/product/sa-fashion-week-book-hardcover/

HOW TO GET FIRED

Okay so this doesn't sound like the kind of post that any reasonable person might read but you should. I've been fired twice while I've lived in England and I've had three jobs...to be honest, this is not great statistics-wise. However, in some jobs, in fact in the two that I got fired from, I hadn't actually even got through my probationary period. This sounds shit...it is, it truly is. 

Here's the thing...as long as you don't lie on your CV or during your interviews and you are honest about who you are, what your skills are and what you can bring to the table...it's not your fault if you don't make it through the trial period. This was not particularly apparent to my brain yesterday though when I got taken in for 'the talk' after only 6 days at the company. By the way, by 'the talk', I mean the 'we don't like your work/think you're right for the job/believe you can do this' talk and not the sex talk...that would be infinitely worse. 

To say I felt like shit would be an understatement. Basically, my boss didn't like the job I was doing and expected more of me (within a week apparently) but this isn't actually very fair. I was myself during the interviews and told them only the truth about my abilities and the work I had done. I am 23 years old and I have about as much experience working in an office as the average cat. They knew when they hired me what I could do and somehow, a weird assumption was made that in fact, I'd been lying about my talents in the opposite way...that I'd somehow been underselling myself. 

There is not a person in this world who doesn't make mistakes and fail occasionally, it's part of life. The best thing about mistakes and failures is learning from them. As long as you're learning from your mistakes, you aren't failing, you're just learning and growing. Essentially, there were one or two things that I definitely could have improved on but I didn't get the chance. The thing about employing someone in their twenties is that no matter how highly qualified and how good they are at their job, they will screw up because that is how you learn and grow and get better at your job. 

Both of the jobs that I got 'fired' from were in the fitness industry and I think I might have finally got the message that I just don't belong in fitness. I somehow managed to make the same mistake with two different companies.  That first job was stressful and horrible and I spent a lot of time crying even before I was 'let go'. The people weren't nice at all and I found myself being constantly badmouthed when they thought I couldn't hear them. 

My first boss really was an awful little man who thought a lot of himself and was really good at manipulating employees, particularly the female ones. He was quite rude and quite mean. It stands to reason that when he fired me, I cried. I cried right there in his office and it wasn't the silent and dainty kind either. This probably reinforced the idea that I was too young and immature to him but really, sometimes you just cry and you can't help it. I made things much worse for myself by begging him to reconsider, which he was definitely not going to do. Looking back, I know that my actions on that day were not good and I could have dealt with it much better. I don't like him and I have little to no respect for the company because of the way in which I was dismissed and the way in which I was treated whilst I was there. However, this isn't meant as a hateful post so I'm not going to go into it. 

After that job, I took a job in luxury retail...the job was okay but my boss there was a wonderful woman who respected and appreciated me. She was a great mentor and leader and she taught me a lot while I was there. I did not get fired from that job. That job, however, included a lengthy commute from the depths of Kent to London every day which easily took 4 hours extra off my day and sometimes I would end up working 7 or more days in a row without a break. I enjoyed the selling and the clients, I built great relationships with my colleagues and learnt a lot both about myself and others but I couldn't continue. 

It's hard to admit it but for me, London was just too much. There are so many people and its always so busy. I always ended up feeling alone and like it had managed to suck out all my energy. It was because of that and my respect for my mood and body that I decided to leave and start over in Brighton. 

Before I could move to Brighton though, I needed a job. I didn't actually even reach out to them, they found me. What I didn't realise in the midst of my desperation to settle down and get a job was that this was the same job and the same style of company as my first company. It was only the week before I started that I began to have doubts because, thinking laterally, it was so so similar to that job I'd been fired from. 

It just so happens that in fact, I was right and this job was exactly like the first job. I tried really hard there, I honestly did. I was nice to everyone, took all the criticisms on board (and all I actually got was criticism) and looked happy even though the constant negativity from my boss was making me very unhappy. I tried everything in my power to impress her and I failed but I honestly don't believe that there was anything else I could possibly have done, I don't think I could have impressed her if I stood on my head and whistled 'God Save The Queen' through my asshole. There was just something about it and we just didn't gel for whatever reason. Funnily enough, I feel no hatred for the company at all, I just wish that they'd at least allowed me a month to prove myself. 

Here's the key thing though, when she told me that they had decided to 'let me go' I didn't cry or freak out (externally). I was shaken but I managed to calmly explain to her that I didn't believe that they had given me enough time to prove myself and that I had more to give. I also expressed to her that I understood and thanked her. In the spirit of full disclosure, I did end up crying when I got back to my desk but it was just drippy and sniffly, at no point did I bawl and at the end, I turned in what I had done (in my first job, I rather spitefully deleted it all but I don't believe they would have wanted it anyway), thanked her, told her that I hoped we would get to work together again sometime (albeit a bit tearfully), she gave me a tissue, walked me out and thanked me. 

If I can give you my top tips on being fired (because shit happens) 

  • Don't ever beg for your job back, that is below you

  • Don't expect them to change their minds but do explain why you disagree with their decision (try not to do this while bawling)

  • Don't spitefully delete everything, even if they have treated you abominably and you are thinking of ways to burn the place down

  • Don't ever be rude (or as my Dad likes to say, don't burn bridges as you just never know where you will end up)

  • Try your best not to cry, although this is just human so if you do, just give a watery apology

  • Clear up your desk, pack everything up and just leave

  • If you're feeling very teary and trying to walk down the road, I suggest an audiobook or song to distract you. Try to take deep breaths and don't walk in front of traffic. 

  • Don't get angry, it's over

  • Do whatever you can to end it on good terms

  • Go home and have a good wallow (for how to have a good wallow, see Daisy Buchanan's book: How to Be a Grown Up - Chapter 12 you can get this book from Audible if you click on this link (http://tidd.ly/bc57b896) or click on the link below.