What I learnt during my first attempt at Facebook Live - The French Resistance Room

I've never done any live video, I've not really felt I've had anything to say, and to be frank, video is scary enough, and that's even before you realise there is no edit, and no re-do. But fuck it, I stumbled into my step-dad's attic room and just felt ready to throw myself into the world of live video.

My step-dad blogs about the French Resistance, and has become an expert in his field. It's the type of passion that is narrow and deep, and not something I can relate to in that sense, however it's so impressive. I remember sitting him down and helping him start the blog, and all these years on, he is still dedicated to it. He now has this pretty darn cool room in his attic, full of his French Resistance memorabilia. The room is set up as if a person was living in it.

What I learnt during my first Facebook live video is that when the wifi connection drops (because you're high up in an attic) the sound stays but gosh the visuals drop off. I won't keep talking next time this happens). I also learned that the comments that happen live, aren't saved over the video, so when I'm replying to them, its not clear what's happening at a later date. I learned that you have to keep re-introducing the topic, as people join you along the way.

However I also learned that it wasn't that scary, that some people liked watching it live, and taking the time to comment. And that's a win, right?

Oh, I've also learnt that my London accent gets pretty strong at times, innit.

He's been gone for a month...

long distance relationship one month on

I've hit the one month mark of being half of a long distance relationship. I'm sitting down to write this to give myself a virtual pat on the back. I'm owning it.

B is far away, not somewhere I can swing by for a random weekend, and so the gap is going to get pretty big. But do you know what, it's just time isn't it? In so many ways, nothing has changed at all. Sure, some superficial things have changed; what I do with my weekends being the main one, but the actual real things....they're just the same.

We're still the same people; the same couple. Being miles apart doesn't turn us into slushy poets who make dramatic gestures. We're still the us that we have always been. 

The time zones are tough, and one of us is usuallly going to sleep while the other wakes up, which is challenging as mornings suck wherever you are in the world.  This can make it hard to feel like you have quality time to connect.  But you make do. We're still who we always were.

Technology obviously makes LDRs completely different compared to times gone by, we can Whatsapp, video call, and screen share, all for free. It must have been much lonelier before the world became connected.

I'll be spending Valentines' alone, yet not alone, which will feel odd no doubt. I'm with someone, yet not. I intend to treat myself to something fabulous that day to make up for it!

How to buy and wear wigs so they look natural

I've been wearing wigs 95% of the time for about 7 months now, and I thought I should do a little update on my wig wearing tips and tricks.

I've tried a lot of different companies, but I currently only buy from websites that are aimed largely at women who are black. I find the wig companies largely aimed at women who are white, are less suitable for daily wear, and less realistic looking. My current favourite is www.envisageyourself.co.uk and I've bought quite a few wigs from them now. I've even bought the same wigs in different colours.

I've learned some tricks along the way, and I get asked a lot so here is my advice if you're looking to up your wig-wearing game.

1. Most wigs look better once they've been cut. Real hair isn't all one length, and wigs are often pretty long when they arrive. Fringes often need shortening, and some layers or feathering can add depth.

2. The fibre of the hair really makes a different (all of mine are plastic). Matte fibres are much more realistic, and although you can use baby powder or dry shampoo to dull down a cheaper shiny wig, they do always look a little more fake. The fibre also impacts how tangled and knotty they get, so once you find a fibre that works for you, stick with it!

3. I find most wigs look more natural when you style some of them away from your face. Don't be afraid to pin some of it back, or wearing accessories like bandanas or hairbands.

4. I've found the critical difference in a great wig is the parting. You'll find the cheaper party wigs all have the hair coming from a central point. Which isn't how hair works. If you want a more realistic wig, you'll want to make sure the hair has been creating with a part. It will make the hair sit in a more natural shape.

Things that I currently think are fucking ace

1. All the women who made kickarse signs for the march yesterday. You all made me feel like maybe just maybe there's hope for the world right now.

2. WhatsApp video chat. I'm now in a long distance relationship, and the quality and ease of video chat is my current saviour. Skype always felt a little clunky.

3. Starting a new job. I started a new job two weeks ago and my golly I needed a change. So I'm finding that pretty ace.

4. Twitter. I've had more time again recently to be active on twitter (now that I have a long commute!) and I'm really enjoying being back. I've always loved it, and I've missed it. I also just got my blue tick too!

5. My new back pack. It's a Japanese brand called anello, and it opens up square, enabling you to see/reach the very bottom of your bag with ease.

anello

6. Podcasts. I've loved them for ages, but they never cease to amaze me. For free, I get to access so much goodness for my soul. I don't read enough currently, and podcasts help to keep the balance.

7. The fact that my gym has opened a new branch opposite from my house, and I only need to pay £3 extra a month to have access to both.

The Women's March London 2017

I'd ummed and erred about going to the Women's March London all week. None of my friends could go, and I felt conflicted about my belief in the good a march could do.

I used twitter to explore my feelings a little more, and was filled with hope with the feedback about why marching was important, even if it didn't always feel like they acheived anything concrete. 

My final ephinany was that even when you're not sure what the perfect thing to do is, generally doing nothing is never the answer. I didn't want to be sat at home, watching a march, when I could be on it. I wanted to be able to answer the question, "What did you do when the world became a little darker?" with at least a shred of an answer more than, "Well I tweeted about it a lot."

So here I am. Loud and proud in my "Feminist as Fuck t-shirt, and personalised gold hoop earrings with Feminist across them. Marching. Deciding that taking some sort of action is important, when the world is becoming more scary for those with less power. The march had a general message of "less hate", but contained a mixed bag of issues and emotions; from sexual abuse/power, global warming, equaity, fairness, and protecting those less able to protect themselves. It was 100,000 people coming together in London to say that we're not ok with the wave of hate that has been bubbling into our mainstream consciousness. We may not have an ideal plan mapped out just yet, but we're not ok with it.  

What did the march achieve? Perhaps different things for different people. It was a PR stunt which gave a new media narrative to Trump's first day in office. It started conversations and discussions. It allowed bridges to be built across different political groups. It created a sense of "We can do this," which will no doubt ripple and grow. It forced the media to share some new voices. It gave a platform for people to channel some anger and fear into action. It allowed smaller groups to feel that their voice could be heard on a shared platform. And a tiny part of me hope that it gave Trump a few emotions too.

The silver linings of a long distance relationship

benefits of a long distance relationship

Having been in a long distance relationship for the grand sum on a single day, I am clearly no expert. Yet I am a believer in controlling the messages we hear in our thoughts, and so as a way to balance my natural response of sadness (random public crying....tick) I decided to try and find the positives in the situation. Because they has to be some shreds of a silver lining right?

1. Absence makes the heart pretty fond. Don't get me wrong, my heart is fond, but I've heard that spending some time apart but really make you value and miss what makes your partner so great. 

2. Time to indulge some new activities. As I often say, you can do anything, but not everything, so when you have a relationship your time to indulge in your own hobbies can be sidelined for a while. Throwing in a long distance portion to your relationship means that you're forced to indulge your own interests again. 

3. Time to connect with friends. There are only so many days in a week, so when you're in a relationship it can be harder to find enough time to see all of the people you care about. 

4. Get creative. I imagine we'll need to creative with ways to feel connected. Whether that's returning to old fashioned romance and writing letters, or whatsapp video chat dates, it will really force some creativity.

5. Actively watering the garden. Being in a long distance relationship will mean that you can't get lazy with each other. The relationship will need more tending to than if you were just hanging out all of the time. It will need to be made a priority.

I'm sure the random crying will simmer down soon, and my "lack-of-him" will feel more normal, but for now I'm in a surreal little bubble. My best friend and partner in crime is very far away from me, and for now it just feels sad. But this too shall pass. This isn't an unusual situation, and I'm not unique in my emotions. However, as twitter kindly reminded me, sadness doesn't feel less sad just because others have felt it before you. Or because there are greater sadnesses happening in the world. It's ok to just feel a little sad.

Picking your new year's resolutions

new years resolutions

As the year's end approaches, and I've got a few days away from work, it's a good time to take stock, and set a focus for 2017. I'm a big believer in the adage that you truly can do anything you want, but you can't do everything. Which means things have to take turns to feature, while others sit back. It's when we feel we need to do everything we've every wanted that we end up in failure.

Over the last few years I've taken  time to focus on fitness and health, time to focus on finances, time to focus on love and friendships, always accepting that I can't do it all. If I try and spin too many plates, its pretty inevitable that there will be smashed china and bleeding fingers.

Last year was a focus on finances. I took a second job, and paid off my debt, as well as having a holiday - read more here. It was a nose to the grind stone type of year. Sometimes that's what we need to do to get shit done.

Now that 2017 is creeping around the corner, I need to set myself something new to focus on. I start a new job in two weeks (read more here) and my boyfriend is moving far away, so I think I'll be throwing myself into some personal development. I'm excited about my job, and I think it will really push me to develop creatively, so perhaps that's my focus this year. To create some work I'm really proud of. Watch this space.