<![CDATA[Not All About Boys - The Blog]]>Sun, 14 Feb 2016 22:59:19 +0000Weebly<![CDATA[Mooncuppin' - Happy Valentine's Day ❤❤❤]]>Sat, 13 Feb 2016 23:23:31 GMThttp://www.notallaboutboys.com/the-blog/mooncuppin-happy-valentines-dayThere's an old saying that one hears often around Valentine's Day: there's nothing more romantic than a cup full of menstrual blood.

​With that classic proverb in mind, I'd like to talk about a product I bought recently! The Mooncup.
About to go on a journey of self-discovery with my new Mooncup...
Picture"How many ml did you bleed today, Stacey?" "12..." "Ha! I bled 14, loser"
When I heard about menstrual cups, I thought they sounded fantastic, and probably too good to be true. The Mooncup is a modern alternative to tampons/pads/bloody rags/lying on a pile of dry leaves for five days, that is both environmentally-friendly and extremely cost-effective. Turns out, the Mooncup stands up to its bold claims, and I think the world should know about it.

So Yolanda, what is a Mooncup?
It's a soft silicone cup, with measurements along the side, that you fold and insert into the vagina when you're on your period. It collects the blood, without mess, and when you think it's probably full, you pull it out, empty it into the loo, rinse it, and stick it back in.

And, um, how exactly am I supposed to get a silicone cup into my vagina?
It's kind of like using a tampon.
Basically, you fold the cup in half twice, and then stick it up your foof.

What, you just... up the...?
Yep, you just stick it right up there! You get the hang of folding and inserting it pretty quickly.

One amusing thing about this process: the soft silicone material means that the cup makes a weird little sucking noise as it expands and fits inside you. I'll admit that my eyes did widen when I first heard my Mooncup making the cry of a tiny pterodactyl, stuck in my vagina.

But does it hurt? Can you feel it once it's in?
On the first day, the stem at the bottom of the mooncup was a bit uncomfortable. I kept feeling like it was jabbing into/scraping against the inside wall of my vagina. But once I cut off about a centimetre of the stem (as the instructions say you might have to), I stopped even noticing that the Mooncup was in. Again, just like tampons.

On a scale of surgically sterilised to unmentionably disgusting, how gross was it?
I’m not going to lie here, wearing a Mooncup means you have to get a little more face to face with your period blood. Your best bet is to hover over the toilet while you pull it out. After that, you are left holding a little silicone cup of partially-congealed menstrual blood, which I imagine doesn’t appeal to everyone. But you tip the blood down the toilet and rinse any remaining blood off the cup, reinsert it, and you’re all good. It's really not very messy, unless (absolute nightmare situation) you were to drop it on the floor. So make sure you’re over a toilet. Do not drop it. Do not. Drop. It.

Duly noted. Keep a firm hold on that Mooncup. Did it leak?
A tiny bit, the first time I tried it. After that, no. It's got quite a big capacity, so I only had to change it every 5-6 hours.

Anything else?
The Mooncup has measurements on the side, so you know exactly how heavy/light your flow is! On Day One, I produced 16ml of menstrual blood. It feels strangely cool and exciting to know exactly how much you're bleeding! Other girls I spoke to agreed that for some unfathomable reason, it's kind of cool to know how much blood you're releasing. One even suggested Competitive Menstruation, which I think could be the next Big Thing in the sporting world.

For someone who cannot stand the annoying necessity of buying tampons, the Mooncup is a godsend. A mooncup costs around £20, so I reckon that after about 8 periods, I will be saving money, and the environment, by not buying tampons, or worse, pads (which, in my humble opinion, are disgusting, glorified nappies and should be wiped off the face of the earth).

I hope this review has been useful and interesting. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

<![CDATA[Definitely Not Nick - the Strange Man in my Bed]]>Mon, 25 Jan 2016 14:12:20 GMThttp://www.notallaboutboys.com/the-blog/definitely-not-nick-the-strange-man-in-my-bedSomething very strange happened to me this week.

I’ll set the scene: I’m at university, living in halls. College party, space-themed, lots of Jedis and Princess Leias, lots of alcohol, lots of dancing, lots of gossip. At about 2.30am, I hit the hay.

There’s a single bed in my room, but I’ve chosen to sleep on the floor most nights this week because my mattress (no doubt worn out by fifteen years of students sleeping on it) makes my back ache. So I’m on the floor, cocooned warmly in my very own duvet sandwich.

At about 3.30am, someone comes into my room. I’m actually fairly awake, and in the darkness I can just about make out the build of my friend Nick. Tall guy. Square head.
‘Hello’, I say. ‘Is that you Nick?’. No reply, he just throw himself onto my bed. He must be having a weird night’s sleep; he's probably just had enough of his girlfriend's tractor-snoring. Anyway, Nick falls asleep immediately and starts gently wheezing. N’aww. He seems perfectly happy without a duvet, so I just leave him be.

Nestled back into my comfy spot on the floor, I manage to get a few hours’ sleep, but Nick’s snoring and shuffling is keeping me up. In the next hour or so, I find myself hungry, tiptoeing around my room, and trying not to wake him up. Better keep the fridge fairly closed, don’t want the light to wake him. Better not take the lid off this yoghurt too loudly. Better shut the fridge door gently.

After I get back from going to the loo, Nick seems to be shivering, so I throw a duvet over him. It’s at that point, in the dim, 6am light that I realise: Oh bugger. That does not look like Nick's head. Far too round.

“Um, hello?” I manage. “Who is this?”. I feel a bit of an idiot.
The man, Maybe Not Nick, mumbles something totally incoherent. Shit. Definitely Not Nick.
“I thought you were my friend – Nick. But now I’m not sure” I say, stupidly, thinking out loud.
“I’m going to turn the light on”.

I think we were both a bit taken aback. For there, lying on my bed, was a middle-aged Asian man, now Definitely Absolutely Irrefutably NOT Nick, staring me right in the eyes and murmuring something completely incomprehensible.

'Oh my god’ I thought, staring back into the man’s wide eyes. ‘There’s a man in my bed’.
Then, in a surprisingly-collected tone, I heard myself think: ‘Okay. Well he doesn’t seem to want to rape me or kill me. Is he on drugs?’

The man’s mumbling started turning into recognisable words. He was very confused. uH? Uh?? What? Mnnmm. Oh. Shiiittt. I’m sorrrry. I’m sorry. Gghhhghh. Where are my trainers? Ghghhhh.

Through gurgles and mumbles, I managed to get out of the Man in my Bed that he was the dad of the boy who lives on the floor below me. I'm guessing, back from a big night out, drinking with his son.

Though relieved that I wasn't about to be killed, I was still barely dressed, so I sat on the floor with my duvet around me, cone-fashion, trying to explain to the half-sleeping father that his son lives in the room immediately below mine. Just down the stairs. No, I don’t know where your trainers are. Maybe in your son's room. No, it's, uh it's fine, really. Honest mistake to end up in my room, not his. It's fine, seriously. 100% fine. It's fine.

The man shuffled out in a daze, leaving me to try and get my head around the fact that I had just spent half a night trying not to wake up a completely-unknown man sleeping in my bed, who had kept me up with his snoring.]]>
<![CDATA[My brother won't give me his lungs.]]>Fri, 15 Jan 2016 00:54:35 GMThttp://www.notallaboutboys.com/the-blog/how-well-do-you-really-know-your-familyThis week, I found out something new about my little brother.

He’s a heartless, selfish B*STARD, who would rather his sister DIE AN AGONISING DEATH than undergo a tiny, eensy, drop of self-sacrifice. (Sorry Nath. Love you really)

I suppose I ought to start at the beginning.
After a lovely lunch at a local Chinese restaurant, chatting and joking and competitively slurping our noodles as noisily as we could, my brother and I were walking back home.

“Hey, thanks for paying for the Chinese! I owe you!” Nath said. I laughed. “That’s alright. It’s actually an investment. I pay for most of our lunches out, so that if I ever get ill, you’ll be so indebted, you’ll be forced to be my organ donor”.

“So if I ever need a lung, you’ll have to give me your spare, won’t you, Nath?” I said, elbowing him in the side.
What he said next shocked me to my core.

“Well… it’s hard to say, isn’t it? How you’ll feel in that situation. You never really know how you’d act, do you?”
Horrified, I stared at my brother.
Baby Shamashes. Adorable and inseparable. Who knew he'd turn out to be such a traitor?
Fair enough, he’s a trumpeter; he actually uses his lungs more than most people. But come on... your sister.

“So you’re telling me, Nathan, that if I were DYING of LUNG CANCER, you’d have to HAVE A REAL THINK before you gave me your PERFECTLY HEALTHY LUNG?? I’d give you mine without a moment’s thought, YOU UTTER TW*T” I barked, rather too loudly, as a stranger overtook us.
“Well, um-”

“YOU ABSOLUTE F*CKER!! I’M YOUR ONLY SISTER, YOU ARSE. HOW COULD YOU EVEN SAY…” I continued, in full swing, all the way home, as he ‘umm’ed and ‘ahh’ed, trying to duck my furious insults.

He hasn’t relented, and maintains that he can’t make any guarantees about what he’d do. As you can see, confrontation obviously hasn’t worked. So I’m forced to resort to public humiliation.
One way or another, I’m getting that goddamn lung.

Disclaimer: I love my brother. If he doesn’t want to give me his lungs, that’s just fine, but I'm much less likely to buy him lunch.
<![CDATA[New year, new term...]]>Tue, 05 Jan 2016 15:53:07 GMThttp://www.notallaboutboys.com/the-blog/new-year-new-termPictureWeb exclusive: I am definitely not immune to hangovers
The festive season is truly over. Christmas has rolled past, leaving in its wake: a dead tree in the living room, an excess of slightly stale mince pies, and the ominous first sniffles of a January cold.

Although I have no resolutions for 2016, I am expecting a great change in my life very soon. In a week or two, I will be going back to university.

‘Marvellous’ you may be thinking ‘All the independence of life away from home! The hazy, carefree days of youth! The long nights out! A body so fresh and new, it’s practically immune to hangovers!’

Well, there’s some truth in that.
However, at my uni, we’re catered - so we don’t have to cook for ourselves, or go food-shopping. Our rooms are cleaned for us once a week. The bins are taken out every other day.

I ought to be grateful for these luxuries, and I am, because it means that we can study and go out without having to worry about whether we’ve missed the rubbish collection, or what we’re having for dinner.

But I’ve always known that I wanted to be a grown-up. I remember arguing with my Mum when I was 13 (sorry Muuuum), and screaming at her that all I wanted was to be ten years older. I wanted a job, and a flat, and all the trimmings. The trimmings, I know, are incredibly boring – having to do your taxes, get the radiators fixed, pull bits of pasta out of the kitchen sink etc – but I’ve always wanted to have that independence. Independence is being able to look after yourself on your own, and having the freedom to do so.

So the transition back to university life, after 6 weeks of having a job and doing my own thing again, might be a little tricky. Maybe it’s just ‘going back to school’ blues, but whatever it is, I’ll have to bring more home comforts for my second term.

I’ll be packing my ridiculous dinosaur onesie. My fairy lights. My favourite mugs.

A tiny but vicious dinosaur. Don't f*ck with me.
I didn't tidy my room for this shot because I believe in realism.
Another duvet (I only had two last term – absolutely unbearable). A tea pot. Ear plugs (because halls can be noisy, and one of my flatmates has just got a boyfriend). The third Bridget Jones book, for when I get sick of reading gloomy French novels. Maybe even some non-hideous bedding. The list is growing by the minute.

And so, armed with an extensive collection of fluffy toys and bedding, all I can say is: Bring on second term.
<![CDATA[The Day-to-Day of Depression]]>Sun, 01 Nov 2015 22:05:32 GMThttp://www.notallaboutboys.com/the-blog/the-day-to-day-of-depressionToday is a good day. Why?

Well today, I haven’t had any of the deep, dark, scary thoughts. Today, I haven’t had to stop midway through doing something and lie in bed for an hour or two. Today, I haven’t felt fat or unattractive. Today, I didn’t cry at all. Today, I have had confidence. Today, I have felt capable.

Today, all in all, was not a bad day of living with depression.

But my depression is a cycle, and some days aren’t as easy as today has been.

What is a bad day? It’s one that’s clouded by an all-encompassing low feeling, which touches everything you do. On a really bad day, you’re at the lowest you can possibly feel, and often you don’t see how it can get better. And even if it could get better - even if this deadening, miserable, exhausting feeling somehow passes – you know it will come back. And you feel like you can’t – actually, you just don’t want to – face it any more. Precisely because depression is cyclical, and you know you won’t ever stay at the top. You know you will fall again.

But like I said, today is a good day. You just have to take steps to make sure the upward swings of feeling good last as long as they can. You make sure you get out of the house, you treat yourself to something, you eat well, take your meds, get enough sleep.

Enjoy the good days, and know that the bad days are not here to stay. Picture
P.S.You know what helps? Getting the treatment you need! I take pills and have had a little counselling to help me with my head problems, and that is nothing to be ashamed of!
If you're feeling low, you need to talk to someone, to get the help you need and deserve.

P.P.S. DISCLAIMER: This is just my experience of depression. Mental illness comes in a thousand gazillion of forms, and I can only talk about the one that I've got, and how I experience it. So that's what I've done.

<![CDATA[The Pleb who went to Oxford]]>Sun, 04 Oct 2015 21:40:31 GMThttp://www.notallaboutboys.com/the-blog/the-pleb-who-went-to-oxfordPicture"I don't think we're in Kansas anymore..."
Arriving in Oxford on the first day of my undergraduate degree, I felt a sense of awe.

'So this' I thought, as I stared, wide-eyed at stone walls and arches 'is the city of the dreaming spires. Home to authors, playwrights, scientists, historians, linguists... and me'.

Already, I feel like I'm learning loads.

My vocabulary is really expanding, and I haven't even started my course yet! For example, on Friday I've got dinner with my COLLEGE PARENTS, on Saturday I'm going to a BOP, and the week after that is MATRICULATION where we'll wear something called SUB-FUSC and probably meet someone called a DEAN. Translation: on Friday I'm meeting some people in the year above whose job is to look after me. Then on Saturday, there'll be a party where we dress up and meet other freshers. After that... well I don't really know what matriculation or a dean is, but I've got sub-fusc covered! Sub-fusc is basically a black gown and a mortar board. Fun fact: if you wear the tassel on your mortar board on your right side, you're a right plonker. Obviously it should be worn on the left as our ancestors have done for centuries, you bloody fool.

I've also learnt to be humble.
I may be a beautiful... confident... young... Oxford undergraduate in the prime of her life... but honestly, I'm by no means perfect.

I mean really, I blame Buzzfeed for the total mess I made today, but I'm prepared to accept some fault. Their '12 Easy Ways to Cook Eggs in a Microwave' article completely failed to mention that you should never microwave said eggs in a plastic cup. If you do that, the plastic will melt, and you will have eggy, plasticky goo all over the inside of your microwave, which will take 20 minutes and a lot of bog roll to clean up. Sigh.

I can't wait to meet all kinds of new people, read some fantastic literature, and join all sorts of wonderful societies - though I'm really not into swine, so I'll skip some of the more exclusive ones.

In truth, I think I'm going to enjoy uni. I'm liking the challenge of settling into a new place, and I'm sure that lots more will happen, that I really couldn't predict.

<![CDATA[Glitter, cheap wine and strange encounters]]>Wed, 20 May 2015 12:38:55 GMThttp://www.notallaboutboys.com/the-blog/glitter-cheap-wine-and-strange-encountersPictureOutside the Capitol, centre of Toulouse
Three weeks into my language course in Toulouse, France. 
I've got no agenda or deep lesson to tell from this, so let's just catch up, huh?

  • I went to a rugby match, and saw Toulouse's famous team kick a neighbouring city's arse! Hugely surprised myself. I hate sports, but I loved this!
  • Discovered that 3 euro wine is actually really, really good, but 2 euro wine is brewed in the depths of hell
  • Drank a lot of 3 euro wine with my housemate
  • Arguably too much???

PictureHippo selfie - Natural History Museum
  • Went to a special Night of Museums, saw the St Raymond Museum of Junk that the Romans Left in France, and the Natural History Museum (no dinosaurs but an excellent collection of skeletons and insects)
  • Met my French cousin, Anna, for the first time!
  • Went to Mulligan's, aka the most ridiculous Irish pub I have ever been to
  • Danced with strangers at an 'electrof*ck' night at a gay bar, and got covered in  pink glitter by a French girl

PictureGroovy - Saint Raymond Museum
  • Pretended I could actually hear what French people were saying in bars (haha oui d'accord!! I've almost no clue what you're saying but I'm gonna keep nodding and laughing!! I am just an ordinary French person like you, hahaha oui d'accord!!)
  • Watched a football match in a bar with friends (such a boring game, honestly)
  • Did a language tandem with a French girl
  • Met some randomers on the metro and spent forty minutes drinking with them

  • Sung opera at full volume for my new metro friends, blew their minds a little bit
  • Have been told by about 6 people that my English accent is an A+ English accent
  • Turned 19, celebrated with a cute as hell garden party where we drank a lot of wine (the super classy 4 euro stuff, of course), played drinking games in French
  • Felt miserable for half a week because the Conservatives won the election, before giving that up and getting motivated
  • Set up WWW.LEFTYLONDON.COM, a weekly newsletter for political actions and protests in the capital. It's a bloody good site, go check it out.

That's all for now. I'll keep posting.

<![CDATA[Lefty London: Your weekly newsletter on protest in the capital!]]>Thu, 14 May 2015 12:01:07 GMThttp://www.notallaboutboys.com/the-blog/lefty-london-your-weekly-newsletter-on-protest-in-the-capitalSo the Tories won, and we must brace ourselves for a difficult five years.

We're facing anther five years of cuts to invaluable public services like the NHS, libraries, the fire brigade, benefits for the disabled and poor. Tuition fees will be kept at £9000 a year, leaving young people with around £30,000 worth of debt eqch. Big businesses like HSBC, Starbucks, Amazon, Topshop - these will be allowed to continue to avoid billions of pounds of tax, and leave ordinary people paying the price by way of brutal 'austerity' measures.

I'm heartbroken, but I refuse to give up.

People slag off Russell Brand, but you don't have to agree with him about whether or not we should vote, to see that he's right about one thing. To truly call ourselves a democratic nation, we need ordinary people to start making their voices heard, and not just once every five years on election day. 

If we want the government to listen to our grievances, we've got to make it bloody difficult for them to ignore us. It's no good just sharing lefty articles on Facebook about the bedroom tax. It's all too easy for politicians to ignore that kind of slacktivism. You have to act.


Protests! Campaigns! Strikes! Strengthening the unions and building unions where there are none! Petitions! Marches!

Which is why I've set up Lefty London.
Every week, www.leftylondon.com will publish a newsletter, with information on upcoming protests, marches and meetings around the capital. A website where you can quickly and easily find out where the next NHS strike is, and join it. Where you can find out about meetings, boycotts, strikes - and actually get involved.
If you've never been to a protest before, there is no better time to start. 
Find out more at... WWW.LEFTYLONDON.COM.
<![CDATA[Next stop: Toulouse, France!]]>Thu, 30 Apr 2015 11:23:40 GMThttp://www.notallaboutboys.com/the-blog/next-stop-toulouse-franceAny honest gap year student will tell you that taking a year out is hard.

It can be completely draining, and utterly depressing - being in charge of your own schedule, working, making sure you're staying sociable, trying to find ways to make the year interesting. All whilst vigorously  insisting to anyone and everyone that you're having an amazing time, and you've matured so much, and that you LOVE it, LOVE it, no seriously I LOVE IT, IT'S JUST GREAT.
So to pass the time, I've been continuing my strange and twisty tour of Europe.

I went to Austria for the first time, to visit my friend Julia. Julia showed me the city's amazing museums (I recommend the Leopold museum and the Natural History museum), coffee houses, Schonnbrunn palace, a traditional Austrian winery and a rather less traditional, Irish pub.
I even got to see Aida at the Vienna State Opera House!
And now I'm going to France! My head is all full of Italian grammar from my time in Venice, and my French is getting rusty so I figured it's time for an intense refresher - one month at a language school in Toulouse. I honestly know nothing about Toulouse, but I'm booked now and flying out this Sunday, so it's too late now! I'm just going to have a romp around a bit of France I've never seen, and have fun!

I hope it's hot.
<![CDATA[Magical Woman Pheromones]]>Thu, 02 Apr 2015 11:59:49 GMThttp://www.notallaboutboys.com/the-blog/magical-woman-pheromonesAs an attractive, confident and smart young woman (this is going somewhere, I promise), I am used to getting attention from people in public. Usually small things - catcalling, flirty chats, smiles etc.
But yesterday was madness.

So. Many. People. Hit on me.

I don't usually buy coffee in town because it's expensive and I've been spoilt now on the Italian stuff, but yesterday I decided I'd treat myself. 

I walk up to the counter, and the barista gives me a smile and asks how I am. Thinking this is just part of the commercial chit-chat that Pret workers probably have to learn off a script, I say I'm fine, thanks, and after I ask him the same, I order my coffee. When I ask how much I owe him, he says it's "on the house". I'm flattered and a little surprised, and he goes on to explain that he remembers me from when I last came in - in December! And he's right! Over four months ago, I came in wearing a floaty sheer black dress with a leotard underneath, he says. I remember it too, because the dress is quite revealing, being sheer, and I had never worn it out before. So I thank him, and leave sipping my free latte, congratulating myself on how great my arse looks in that dress.

As I'm drinking said latte in Trafalgar Square, another man approaches me. He's Canadian, he's flirting, and we have a funny conversation about racist policemen, and how he's obviously not from London because he doesn't know about the 'don't talk to strangers' rule.

As for the rest of the evening, I got flirty vibes from three or four more people. I really don't think I'm exaggerating either. You just kind of know, when someone is flirting with you. There's just a vibe.

When I told my mum about my strange day, she nodded sagely and said it could be because I'm on my period. Then she said something about "woman hormones" and fertility cycles. Sounds vaguely plausible, but also sounds like some mystic Amazonian tribe story. I can almost hear our elders whispering it over the embers of a fire. 'Since the dawn of time, She of the Heavy Flow and the Bag Full of Tampons has been irresistible to all who lay eyes upon her, they say...'. I don't know.

All I know is, I could get used to this.