Emily Bashforth

Comparing ourselves to others is something we have been conditioned into doing and that takes up so much of our time. It seems almost impossible for us to go a day without wishing we could look like someone else, or even just be that person entirely.

Periods. Many people have them even though, pretty much all of the time, we wish we didn't. Some start them young and others don't get their first period until later on, whilst many get their first period between ages 12-14, all of which are totally normal! A menstrual cycle is typically 28 days, meaning a period will happen about once every month and can last 3-5 days or longer.

As someone who has attended many concerts, I understand the struggle. I understand the mammoth task of wanting to wear a nice make-up look that you like but also worrying about how you're going to look at the end of the night. If you're anything like me, concerts will make you cry, dance around like crazy, sweat more than you care to admit and turn your foundation into butter within the first five minutes.

I remember the first time I ever laid eyes on Taylor Swift. That memory is firmly etched into my brain. It was 2009. I was watching my tiny TV in my bedroom. I had the music channel on and watched as the presenter counted down the official chart.

With new world issues arising every day and with society becoming increasingly more divisive, whether that's through racism, sexism, homophobia or other forms of oppression, speaking out and fighting for equality are more important than ever. Thankfully, the world isn't short of activists who want to make a difference.

The feminism movement is all about bringing about equality for everyone. It isn't a one dimensional thing which should only fight for the rights and recognition of human beings who fit into a certain box. Feminism ought to be intersectional and, if it isn't, it isn't wanted.
Looking for inspiration, motivation or fulfilment? Then look no further than a good old TED talk to set you up for the day ahead and make you feel able to conquer just about anything. TED stands for  Technology, Entertainment and Design and features "ideas worth spreading." The speaker series launched in 1984, and there are now thousands of TED talks available at your fingertips online.

"Love your body! You deserve to!" we hear all of the time, however, no matter how much we preach it or have it preached to us, we all know that it's much easier said than done. Saying "Yeah, I will" is far simpler than actually committing to the act of loving every inch of your body without regret or shame.

Most of us wear clothes every day and the clothing we wear tells stories about who we are... well, personally, I live in my pyjamas most of the time and the story they tell about me is that I'm lazy but, when I'm not wearing my PJs, I believe in using clothing as a form of self expression.

Some moments, some experiences, are just so overwhelmingly perfect that it's impossible to describe them using words. Some days, some nights of your life just feel like such an amalgamation of everything you could've possibly ever wanted that trying to explain how incredible they were to someone else is too difficult.

I have often wondered what we are greeted with as we ascend to Heaven and the gates open, however, on Thursday 15th March, I came pretty close to experiencing that very thing as I attended Niall Horan's Flicker World Tour in Manchester and living proof that angels do exist stood right in front of me.

Social media is saturated with negativity and hostility these days. Something that started off so pure and exciting has become toxic in the sense that people use it to anonymously hate on people they know nothing about and express pessimistic unasked for opinions. People also use social media to their own detriment, as they allow unrealistic body images to brainwash them into believing they must look a certain way and they also use it to put themselves down.

Being an ally to marginalised communities is so much more than just being a decent person. It's also so much more than not doing things. For example, being an ally isn't about not being racist, not being homophobic and not being transphobic. Being an ally is about actively working to dismantle institutions which oppress minorities and supporting them on the journey to equality.
Teenage girls are the most powerful demographic in the world. Not only because we make up a large portion of society but simply because of the ways we exist, how we treat people, how we express our love for things and how we act upon injustice.

The term 'slut' is thrown around left, right and centre to label women who engage in frequent sexual activity with strangers. It's also used to refer to women who wear little clothing. It's also used to speak about women who lose their virginity at a young age. It's also used when talking about women who enjoy flirting. In fact, the word 'slut' is an umbrella term used to label and demean pretty much every woman.

"There is a kind of strength that is almost frightening in black women. It's as if a steel rod runs right through the head down to the feet" is a quote by Maya Angelou... and she was correct. If the world were a machine, black women would be the cogs which kept it functioning.

Language is our primary form of communication, therefore, it's vital that everyone feels included within it. All too often, those who identify as transgender, non-binary or gender fluid are excluded from the conversation because the words being used don't accommodate for them. These people will always be part of our society so it's time to start combating institutions which ignore and silence them and, instead, ensuring they are fully integrated into all aspects of society.
To read is to exist. Reading helps shape us as people and educates us on the world in which we live. Reading about feminism is especially important to help us learn more about the movement so we can better ourselves as advocates for equality.

With London being so huge and bursting at the seams with tourist attractions, planning your first trip there can be overwhelming and knowing where to even start can be difficult. With so much on offer in one of the world's most amazing cities, you'll, naturally, want to see it all. Whilst there is so much you want to do and so little time to do it in, it's a good idea to cherry pick where you want to visit during your stay.
In an ideal world, all beauty brands would be cruelty-free. It's baffling how, in this day and age, so many are not, especially when much better alternatives to reprehensible animal testing are available. However, it's important to celebrate the brands which produce beautiful products without harming either humans or animals, in the hope of them getting the recognition they deserve for having good ethics and also that it'll encourage more brands to follow suit.

As enjoyable as sleeping is, is there anything more frustrating than not being able to fall asleep when it's the only thing in the world you want to do? We've all been there. You've been lying awake in bed for what feels like a century, you turn on your phone only to be blinded by the beaming screen and see it's 3:32am. You let out a huff and turn over, knowing that, for at least the next hour, that's all you're going to be doing, tossing and turning until you eventually drift off and get a solid 30 minutes worth of sleep.

The world has put so much emphasis on physical appearance, as if it's the be all and end all, as if how we look determines our paths in life. It's shocking how plenty of people will refuse to leave the house after having a break out because their acne makes them feel so ugly and self-conscious.

Life as an introvert can be difficult and frustrating. There is nothing wrong with being introverted, especially as most people's personalities have some percentage of introvert in them. However, you may be looking for a way to become more outgoing and to really allow that hidden extrovert, buried deep within you, chance to shine.

02.01.2018 marks three years since I decided to create the very blog which you are reading right now. A lot has changed in my life since then but my blog has remained a constant and a place for me to express my thoughts and feelings.

It's time to say farewell to another year. Another year of anxiety, stress, grief, political corruption, natural disasters, world suffering, devastating shocks and drama but not before taking a moment to reflect on all 2017 has taught us and brought us.

2017 was a fantastic year for cinema. Filmmakers really pushed the boundaries and raised the bar to provide us with unforgettable viewing experiences. The film industry was brimming with diversity, representation, it addressed uncomfortable issues which are often shoved into a corner and told the stories of remarkable people, without whom, the world would not be what it is today.

2017. Thank God it's over. It's been a ghastly 12 months, with Trump as President, Brexit talks taking place, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, cases of sexual assault, homophobia, racism, sexism and transphobia around every corner...I think I speak for everyone when I say I'll be glad to see the back of this year.

The overall consensus was that 2016 was the worst year ever. However, it seems 2017 has given 2016 a run for its money, having left us all wondering what on earth we were complaining about last year as the past 12 months have just got increasing worse. Whether it was something to do with politics, pop culture, our personal lives or just generally good people doing bad things, there always seemed to be something to whinge about.

2017 was the year of the woman. 2017 was the year women spoke out, it was the year women succeeded, it was the year women got angry, it was the year women were in control and it was the year women stared the very things in the eyes which intended to frighten them and said, "I'm not scared of you."

Wasn't 2017 a fantastic year for music? Even when the country was crumbling beneath us and the government were trying to snatch our human rights away from us at every possible moment, at least we had good music to keep our spirits up.

17th December marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Sex Workers. Globally, sex workers have a 45-75% chance of experiencing sexual violence at some point in their careers and are more likely to be killed on the job than the average person. It's time to put an end to this and decriminalise sex work.

Most people label their gender with some form of pronoun and it's vital that we use the right ones when addressing or speaking about someone. Deliberately using the wrong pronouns and misgendering, in my eyes, is the highest form of disrespect.

Period poverty exists yet we aren't talking about it because periods are still such a taboo topic. They're viewed as disgusting and conversations surrounding them make people feel uncomfortable, but, the truth is, we have to push past that discomfort and realise that no topic is "too disgusting" when it's having a detrimental impact on people's lives.

The coming out process can be a frightening thing for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Regardless of what they're coming out as or who they are coming out to, this time can be riddled with fear, stress and major anxiety.

We live in a predominantly girl power culture, which is great. In 2017, women love to build one another up - you only need to open Instagram to see the comments sections of selfies flooded with "OMG BABE YOU LOOK SO GORGEOUS!" It's great to see females empowering one another and sticking together. But, sometimes, it can feel like we've lost our way a little.

Every week in the UK, two women die from violence. One in three girls' first sexual encounter is rape. Each day, women live in fear of becoming the next victim. Every day, women's suffering is silenced. Every day, atrocities against women are committed yet, despite being the ones on the receiving end of sexual, physical and psychological abuse, the whole thing is still seen as a 'women's issue.'

There aren't many people who I would spend eight hours sitting on the cold, damp streets of Manchester for, well, Harry Styles is probably the only person in the world who I would do that for. The majority of my Wednesday 1st November was spent sitting in a queue outside the O2 Apollo in Manchester, longing for 7pm when the doors open and I could prepare to see my favourite person in the world...and it was worth every second.

Niall Horan has always been overlooked. In 1D, he wrote some songs but was never given enough credit for them, he was barely given any solos in the band's early days and, despite being the second most followed member on Twitter for a while, his talents were never truly given the recognition they deserve. He was the Irish one, the happy go lucky chap who made people smile and had a sweet voice - nothing wrong with that, of course, but it meant that Niall's true potential, vocals and songwriting abilities were cast aside.
Fair Squared are a company who sell skin and haircare products, as well as condoms. They are Fairtrade, too, and are actually one of the first cosmetic product producers who have permission to label their products with the well known Fairtrade seal. Their products are also approved by the natural cosmetic organisation, NATURE, as well as The Vegan Society, the animal rights organisation PeTA and are HALAL certified.

Feminism is the movement changing the world. It already has changed the world. Without feminism and the feminists who have died fighting for equality, many of us wouldn't be able to live as freely as we do today.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said, "We do a great disservice to boys in how we raise them. We stifle the humanity of boys. We define masculinity in a very narrow way. Masculinity is a hard, small cage, and we put boys inside this cage." She was right.
The Kat Von D Lock-It primer and foundation tick all the boxes on my imaginary list of "things I a primer and foundation need to have in order for me to like them" so why not share my thoughts on them so you can like them too? What a great idea.

When I was a small child, there was such a lack of representation in what the media fed to me. In the TV shows and movies I watched, 99% of characters were white, they were all heterosexual, they were all cis gender, most were able bodied and most were not religious.

Cosmetics brands can be very good at hiding the fact that they test on animals. Many get away with claiming to be cruelty free because, for the most part they are, however, a lot of brands sell in places which require them to test on animals by law, such as China.

Animal testing has been around for, well, pretty much forever. Animals have been used repeatedly throughout the history of biomedical research. Early Greek physician-scientists, such as Aristotle, (384-322 BC) performed experiments on living animals.

You're 18. You've just completed your A-levels. Now, a lot of authoritative figures are on your case constantly, pressurising you to make a decision regarding your future. The "normal," I guess, path to take would be to go to university as that's what is expected but, honestly, if you don't want to go to university, then you don't have to go.

Every 40 seconds somebody takes their own life. Suicide is a huge problem and the statistics aren't showing any sign of decreasing, meaning days like Suicide Prevention Day are still so necessary. However, despite this day being around for such a long time, suicide still exists. Of course, just by naming a day "Suicide Prevention Day," suicide isn't going to cease, however, more needs to be done in order to tackle this prevalent issue in our society.

Being a woman isn't easy, especially in such a patriarchal society. Life in general isn't easy and it's okay to stumble sometimes and look in the direction of others for advice. I wanted to remind my fellow women of fifty three things which should always be in their minds. I want to tell you these things to help you live a happy, prosperous life as a woman despite the world wishing to silence you and constrain your ability to achieve your dreams.

College. The dreaded C word. You've survived your first day at nursery, first day at primary school, first day at high school but your first day of college just seems like the end of the world. A new environment? With new teachers? Having to make new friends? Whilst studying new subjects that are going to be difficult? How could one possibly make it out alive. Well, I'm here to tell you that you can.

December 2016 could've signified the end for world renowned X Factor manufactured girl group, Fifth Harmony. After losing a member, not all bands are able to move forwards. However, fearless 5H powered on as a foursome and are back with their third studio album and, after listening to it, I doubt anyone has any worries about whether or not these girls can manage as a four piece.