Do we & Should we have Freedom Of Speech?

Thoughts, Uncategorized

Scrolling through Twitter earlier this month I saw this tweet from Stig Abell which Comedian Ricky Gervais replied to, and after having seen the video of the ‘nazi’ comments being shouted at to one of our MP’s, It really got me thinking about freedom of speech. Gervais, in this scenario, seems to be an advocate for this freedom whereas Abell does not. And this situation with this MP certainly does add to the argument of the latter, as it is awful that someone can be bombarded with such insults on live TV or on Social media.

This is a topic which is widely debated, freedom of speech means that we are free to make any comments we like without there being any sort of punishment if we go against the consensus; in short, it allows us to openly share our opinions.

So do we have Freedom of Speech now?

I don’t think we do. Yes, we have this freedom to a certain extent, however, increasingly there are campaigns for certain topics or phrases to be banned. Such as talking about ‘Hitler’ as Abell mentioned or racist words, parts of history that we can reflect on and learn from the past.

Should we have freedom of Speech?

I think we should. Being able to express our own individual opinions is part of it and weather we think someones opinion is right or wrong it is completely subjective and so we can either have the freedom or not have the freedom. Personally, I cannot think of a world worse than one in which we cannot express what we think.

In my opinion, banning words and phrases – even if they have negative connotations should never be banned as otherwise we are banning certain aspects of history, it is a respect which we should be trying to cultivate so that this kind of bullying does not occur. For example with the Hitler comments, there will always be other ways to insult somebody – if talking about Hitler and Nazi regime is banned then there will only be another person that they will be compared to. In other words, it should not be freedom of speech which is restricted but freedom of individuality which needs to be accepted.

One of the campaigns I have seen recently is to get phrases like ‘Bringing home the bacon’ banned – a vegan perspective that meat should not be used in our language like this. But these kinds of phrases have been used for such a long time, they should not be simply banned with people needing to consciously remember which common phrases are not allowed to be used anymore. And this particular phrase is not hurting anybody. To me, when I hear of these kinds of campaigns, It makes me think of ‘Newspeak’ in Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-four’ which was used by ‘the party’ to constrict peoples thoughts by making it impossible for people to have the words to articulate their thoughts and feelings.

By banning parts of our language we are essentially restricting it, yes, many phrases are offensive to people – no matter who you are, we all often experience bullying, whether that is for your race, your gender, your hair colour or anything else, unless we are all identical bullying is likely to always exist – bullies pick the part of you that makes you unique and different and spin that quality on its head. Bullying is difficult to prevent, it has always been around and restricting our language will only make it worse.

People come up with new phrases all the time to express something they want to say, sometimes it’s a different meaning of a word, sometimes it’s a new word entirely – expanding language is an amazing thing, if Shakespeare never made up all those new words and phrases, imagine how different our world would be now, Restricting language is restricting our freedom.

What do you think? Should we have freedom of speech? Do you feel as though you have freedom of speech? Are the issues we are talking about with freedom of speech actually about bullying in general?

A Chat About Shakespeare

Book Club

In the spirit of the new Shakespeare drama written by Ben Elton, starring Branagh, Judi Dench and Ian Mckellen (Also known as the epitome of thespians) called ‘All is true’ which is out today, here is a little chat about the famous bard himself. Shakespeare is a playwright and poet we all know about, some know of ‘Yorrick’s skull’ in Hamlet, or ‘to be or not to be’. Others know of his plays in more depth having studied them at school, and all English speakers use phrases from his plays in everyday life. But the question many ask is of the relevance of his plays today.

At the Globe!

I love Shakespeare’s plays, I revere his craft and the storytelling; the way in which the plays really capture human nature – the ways in which we think, our own hypocrisy, our flaws, our tendencies and the multifaceted sides of all of our personalities. I find that when I watch or read one of the plays, each time you get a new insight into what it means to be human. I think the quote that really sums it up is from Hamlet when Ophelia in her supposed madness says ‘we know who we are, but not what we may be.’

Shakespeare, in my opinion, is often a little bit like marmite – you either love it or you hate it. However, if you are currently one of the haters I urge you to give the plays another try. Go in with an open mind and if it’s a play done by great actors you will understand it.

My personal recommendation is Henry IV as part of The Hollow Crown series of Shakespeare’s histories with Tom Hiddleston as Prince Hal, Jeremy Irons as Henry IV and Simon Russel Beale who plays a brilliant Falstaff, or Branagh’s ‘Much ado about nothing’ with Emma Thompson is very funny and was the film that got me into loving Shakespeare’s plays. (You can find both of these on amazon)

Other favourite performances…

My favourite adaptation of ‘Hamlet’ is Andrew Scotts performance – if you get the chance to watch it, his performance is so clever with little actions really emphasising the themes of the play even if you don’t completely understand the language.

If you ever get the opportunity to go to The Globe, there really is nothing quite like seeing the plays in a replica of what it would have been like watching his plays in the Elizabethan / Jacobean era.

I saw Almeida Theatres Richard II starring Simon Russel Beale a couple of weeks ago, The national theatre often record many of the live performances which makes it so much easier to see theatre in your home town.

Shakespeare with all its old English and metaphor can make it seem completely inaccessible but I urge you to watch some of these adaptations focusing on all the incredible themes focusing on the human capacity to be multiple beings and how he captures human nature. So many scholars have taken Shakespeare over but his plays are something everybody can enjoy.

This new film focuses on Shakespeares later life in his final years and I can’t wait to watch it, I have heard it is quite emotional.

What are your favourite adaptations?

UCAS: What I wish I had known

Advice

The UCAS deadline was last Tuesday, and a week on from that deadline I thought I would share my journey applying to university – from choosing the course, choosing the uni’s, the revision and other things to look out for, but before I begin the biggest thing I wish I had known before applying is to look around universities much sooner. I started looking at the end of year 12 but doing this made me realise that perhaps the course wasn’t for me and I had to frantically look around uni’s in the autumn. I would really recommend going to an open day, you really get to sense the ‘vibe’ of the place and see if you could see yourself there. Having in mind where you want to go to university well in advance gives you motivation in your studies too, particularly if you want to do a competitive course or get into a prestigious university. I know some people who had in mind where they wanted to go from year 10, and universities really encourage you visiting from this year too as you can get involved with events they hold or apply to a summer school (which may help make the uni offer you a place).

The courses I have applied for is English Literature and English with politics, the latter is probably my preferred choice as it gives me the flexibility to follow two of my passions but I could only find one university which offered it (Surrey). The other universities I have applied for are…

  • Kings Collage, University of London (I really loved the course and their involvement with The Globe as Shakespeare is the module I love most)
  • Royal Holloway, University of London (Like Surrey, it is just half an hour from London which is close to all the galleries, theatres and buzz – the best of both worlds)
  • Oxford Brookes University (in the heart of a university city, it is easy for me to get home or visit London, the entry requirements are also based on UCAS tariff so there is not as much pressure on me to get a high grade in Biology!)
  • University of Birmingham (I absolutely love the course and they are involved with the RSC, however I have never been to Birmingham and it is much further away)

Initially, in year 12, I aspired to go to the RVC and study Veterinary medicine, however I realised that English was the subject I most loved and enjoyed and that biology and chemistry were subjects that although I enjoyed were not ones I was naturally gifted in.

I don’t know where I will go after (hopefully) completing my degree as there is no obvious route so I’m just going to see where life takes me and continue to do what I love.

My top 5 tips for choosing the right uni:

  • Start looking around as soon as possible
  • go to a summer school
  • Check out the area, this is where you are going to be spending 3 or more years of your life.
  • check the ‘value for money’, check the costs compared to what you are going to get out of your course (for example; whether they offer placements, the number of teaching hours etc)
  • Make sure the course is right for you.

My top 5 tips if you can’t decide what to study:

  • Make an inspiration board / jot down all your passions, interests, what you would like to learn more about, where you want to be in the future, who you want to be etc. (there is a great post about this on lifemoreectrodinary.com)
  • try out MOOC’S and other online courses relating to some areas of interest (future learn is really good or there are a few courses available on the open university website)
  • Try work experience – If there are a couple of career paths you are interested in, try them out and see which one you enjoy most.
  • Talk to friends and family to see if they can give you any ideas about what they can see you doing in the future.
  • Look around universities and talk to subject lecturers, they may enthuse you to want to do a particular course or dissuade you from doing it.

Different universities are looking for different things from you to offer you a place; some are all about the grades only, some are more than happy to except you if you show a real enthusiasm, passion and commitment to your chosen field of study – if the universities you are looking at look for the later then I would recommend really reading around your subject – reading magazines / newspapers, listening to podcasts, watching documentaries, visiting museums, watching plays etc. These are all things you can include in your personal statement to impress your chosen universities.

If you are reading this and thinking about going to uni, feel free to ask about the application process and If you would like to keep updated with more things Uni and study related please sign up to my email list.

Thanks so much for reading :))

A Chat about Resolutions…

Thoughts

To make or not to make resolutions, that is the question!

I believe that it is good to set goals and why not make new ones each year? You can set out your calendar for the new year and plan how you are going to achieve the goals you want to accomplish and how you can better yourself. I don’t, however, believe in the saying New Year, New You. I used to because I used to think it was useful to think of each year like turning over a new leaf, a fresh start but now I have realised that you are the same you – just like when your grandma asked you how it felt to be a new age, there was no immediate difference, no change but as the year began to go on and you got tasked with new responsibilities you began to feel older. That is how I think of the New Year, setting goals and plans in place to better myself because I am still ‘me’ even though the year has changed. I also believe reflection of the past year is good, the end of a year makes sense to use as a way to judge your own personal success on how much you have worked on being the ‘you’ you want to become.

So what are my ‘resolutions’?

  • To learn how to cook (I kinda know the basics but if I am going to university next year, I think I need to live on more than tomato pasta or beans on toast alone)
  • To be more consistent with my blogging – I love that I have got the opportunity to post my opinions on this platform and I would love to make the time to fit writing into my schedule.
  • To revise! I have got A levels this year and I really would love to get the best grades I can to get into the university of my choice.

As a student, and no ‘real’ career plan I’m really just basing my goals on my studies and doing what I love and hoping that that might bring me to where I want to be. I also have my yearly ‘reading goals’ to read more books outside of my lessons.

My top tips when making your goals / resolutions (whatever we are calling them!)

  1. Make a plan of how you are going to stick to it. If you are thinking of giving up smoking, begin by saying, ‘I’ll have 1 cigarette a day for a week’ then the week after that by saying, ‘i’ll have one every other day’, then ‘one a week’ etc. If you make a plan you are more likely to achieve your goal.
  2. Be realistic about what you can achieve in that year – if you have never really read for pleasure before and set yourself the goal of reading 20 books you are unlikely to achieve it (but set long term, so called ‘unrealistic’, plans too as Walt Disney once said, ‘If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough!’)
  3. Reward yourself. Every time you reach a milestone, no matter how small, be proud of yourself and give yourself a reward – perhaps your favourite food, or a break somewhere.

I asked some friends and family about what they thought about resolutions…

They consensus was that it is stupid to think that that a new year is the only time that you can change things in your life, if you can’t achieve them any other time of the year why will you now? Many feel fed up of making resolutions only to give them all up mid January.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you have an amazing new year and that you achieve all your goals! Spend New Year’s Eve happy about what you have achieved thus far, be proud of yourself!

See you for my 2018 review and what I am looking forward to next year up at midnight tonight!

 

Reflection of 2018 and What I am Looking Forward to in 2019

Favourites

jolly

Here’s a round up of all of my favourite things from this year….

Films (all released in 2018) that I have seen thus far:

I was going to include Avengers Infinity War to this list because although I did love it, it did end with me just having a lot of questions and i’m not sure that there was much of a plot for me to put it in my favourites of the year. Other notable films are Mamma Mia: Here we go again which had me dancing out of the cinema, it was such a feel good film and Leave No Trace which was a very thought provoking story about civilisation and the way we choose (or don’t choose) to live.

Music:

IMG_2768

There has been a lot of great music out this year and I have been building up my record collection but after much consideration these are my top 5 songs and albums…

  1. Jubilee Road – Tom Odell
  2. 73 – Rationale
  3. Nothing’s Changed – Isaac Waddington
  4. I know how to speak – Manchester Orchestra
  5. Ziggy Alberts –  laps around the sun

However, this year I have mostly been discovering and rediscovering older music that I have loved listening to including the soulful Teskey Brothers which remind me of great 60’s R&B/soul artists like The Drifters and Sam Cooke. Then listening to my usual old favourites like David Bowie, Queen and Stereophonics (the latter I saw at RiZe Festival and they were incredible).

Beauty:

Admittedly, I am not much of a beauty enthusiast – I much prefer skincare to make-up and I hardly ever purchase any – i’m pretty sure I’ve got make up in my draw that are years old and I tend never to really mix it up a bit. Nevertheless these are a couple of my holy grails.

– Origins Clear improvement face mask

Okay… so I may have only just received this for Christmas but I had to share because after using it a couple of times already my skin feels so much softer and smoother and it smells Devine!

Here’s me rocking my best look in this charcoal, golden colour face mask for your viewing pleasure aha

– Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation

I use the shade 3.5 pale. I apply it with the bare minerals full flawless face brush.

Doucce maxlash volumizer mascara

I discovered this last Christmas when my sister gave it to me from her advent calendar and I haven’t stopped using it since.

Moments:

– Pub in the park festival in Bath at the front dancing and singing along to Tom Odell.

– RiZe Festival with my gals, arms around each other screaming our hearts out to Bastille.

– Trip to Paris and Bordeaux with my family (my favourite part was a much anticipated (brief) visit to The Louvre, where I finally got to see the Mona Lisa and other Da Vinci works)

Screenshot the photo below and let me know your 2018 favourites!

What I am looking forward to next year:

New film releases…

– The Favourite

– Captain Marvel

– Star Wars

New Book releases…

– the Testaments by Margaret Atwood

– The path made clear by Oprah Winfrey

Moments…

– Finishing A levels

– Going to University (Hopefully – fingers crossed! – depending on how well the above goes!)

– Whatever else life brings and unexpected last minute plans

I hope you have an incredible New year and that 2018 brings you lots of happiness and that you achieve your own personal goals! I’ll be back in early January with my first issue of DARE magazine – so stay tuned!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! ❤ 🥳

 

 

 

Winter Clothing Staples

Fashion, Style

What to wear in the winter can sometimes be tricky, particularly as in England at the moment it is not that cold – here a few of my all time favourite things to wear in the winter and a few new additions to the wardrobe that I absolutely love and I predict will become my staples.

The most important thing I think when it comes to my winter wardrobe is LAYERS, Layers, layers. The huge chunky jumpers can be super cosy but difficult to layer so you can end up being rather hot or too cold. Solution? Chunky cardigans…

This one from And Other Stories (quickly becoming a new favourite store although many of the items are slightly out of my price range), is so cosy and easy to layer as I brought it in a medium so I can layer and it is not that chunky so I can still fit a coat over the top. My relationship with cardigans is not always a great one – I find it difficult to find ones in a style that suits me as I can end up looking completely drowned in huge long cardigans or looking like a grandma in others but so many friends look amazing in them – so you may be one of those people but if you aren’t, like me, do check And Other Stories out; I think they also do one in this style in a few other colours too.

Jeans are often a go-to in winter, they are so easy to wear with all the jumpers! However if, like me, you get a little bored with wearing the same thing everyday I would urge you to give trousers a go. These flared, legging, corduroy material ones from Stradivarius were really inexpensive at £19 and since buying them I haven’t stopped wearing them, they are so comfortable yet look really stylish for any occasion.

On the other hand, if you are on the look-out for a new pair of jeans I love this 80’s mom-style from Weekday, I brought them from ASOS as they are often putting them in the sale. Mine are a bit loose so I always wear them with a belt so if you are thinking of buying a pair maybe try going down a size. But they are SO comfortable, the denim is really soft and the light wash colour means they will be perfect to wear all year round.

IVjfV8W7TfOSBZvcbRkCow

Turtlenecks – I love a turtleneck. You can layer them with jumpers over the top or for warmer days with just a coat like I am in the photo above which was taken down Carnaby Street in London. I am a huge queen fan and I loved the themed lights – It is still open if you want to go see them! The striped one is from Brandy Melville and the grey is one I brought from Primark probably 5 years ago – I tend not to shop there any more because everything is mass produced and unethical to those who make it (I talk in more detail about this issue with fast fashion here).

(The coat is from Zara last winter for those interested)

In summary my top 5 winter staples are…

  1. Thin Jumpers (Cashmere is probably the best but not a cheap choice)
  2. This And Other Stories Cardi
  3. A good pair of Jeans (which you can put tights underneath for extra warmth)
  4. Trousers (to mix things up a bit)
  5. Turtlenecks (you can’t go wrong)

But layering and a great coat is key.

I hope you had a fantastic Christmas and I wish you all the best of luck for the new year, there will be the usual 2018 summary post going up on the 31st and one to start the new year with a little chat about resolutions so ill be back soon!

Thank you so much for reading – it means the world for you all to read and follow my blog!

With love & stuff

Accalia

10 Gift Ideas For Any Occasion

Beauty, Fashion, Favourites

With Christmas just around the corner you’re probably thinking about what to get for the special people in your life. It can be difficult buying presents for people for any occasion particularly if you are under a tight budget. Here are a couple of my favourite unique finds…

christmas gift ideas pinterest graphic.png

For the Tavel lover – Scratch Map

917OTaZsNhL._SL1500_.jpg

They can scratch off the places they’ve been on the map and plan trips they hope to go to. The idea is that they will try to scratch off as many places as they can. I have one of these my self and I love it.

If they are a student there are loads of gap year and bucket list books by lonely planet that you can get on amazon or any good book store.

For the book worm – Book cover locket

I think these are so unique, they do a variety of book covers so you could find their favourite classic novel to put on to the locket.

il_340x270.1627662875_1mpw.jpgil_340x270.1332967182_smmr.jpg

For the film lover – popcorn machine and bags

I mean it is their own cinema at home!

or for the person who wants to get into movies… a scratch off 100 bucket list movies poster 

91Sfcl+VhlL._SL1500_

(photo from amazons website linked above) 

For the music lover – (if they have vinyls) a vinyl frame, new earphones or portable speaker. For the person who I into hearing all the classics there is also a scratch off 100 albums bucket list poster.

For anyone – books

I don’t think anyone can go wrong with a book, it can be about anything they are interested in from gardening to traveling. There are loads of thoughtful books on Urban outfitters if you need some ideas.

 For the fashion aficionado – The new fashion rules by Victoria Magrath

I have followed Victoria’s blog for a long time now and she has the most amazing style and knowledge of fashion – definitely something a fashion lover would love to delve into.

For the Make up addict – Makeup storage or a set from their favourite brand. ASOS do some great ones by a variety of brands or if you want to go more upmarket SpaceNK do some beautiful sets as well from bath and body to lipstick and eyeshadows.

UK200022265_BUMBLE_BUM.jpgUK200022358_THIS_WORKS.jpgUK300052624_RODIAL.jpgUK200022294_LIPSTICK_Q.jpg

For the foodie – something for the kitchen or you can get books of the best places to eat in different cities.

For the sentimental – A photo book

I recommend Snapfish as I have used them before – the quality is really good and they are the cheapest company I can find that do them. I did one for my Dad documenting all the places we had travelled to and adventures we had been on. You can customise the pages yourself, adding text, changing the layout of the pictures and the background.

For anyone – Candles or bath things

Everyone likes gifts that they can use to relax. My favourite bath oils are from Aromatherapy – they can be a bit pricy but smell amazing.

images.jpeg

I hope this little guide helps! Do you have any go to or unique gift ideas that you love? Tell me in the comments 🙂

Thank you so much for reading!