Monday, 15 June 2015

5 Recommended Reads from Advertising Girls

Studying a degree in advertising has made us completely obsessed with analysing absolutely everything. From the way people to speak, to the way our minds work we love to find out the what why and how.

While we are a great lover of non-fiction, assignment brain (yes it is a real thing) has given us the attention span of a gold fish, and led us to reach for books that are snappy, educational and will offer some inspiration.

Whatever it is you are studying, you won't have been able to avoid being told to read around the subject. If you are anything like us, your instant reaction to that is 'yeah I should, I probably won't', but stick with us because there really is some intersting stuff out there if you look hard enough.

1) Girl Boss - Sophia Amoruso
Okay okay so we've already told you to read it, but really read it! Whatever you are studying, wherever you are working or however you spend your day this book is relevant to you. If you need a kick up the bum, and some reassurance to help you reach your goals then this is exactly what you need to read.

2) Predatory Thinking - Dave Trott 
All we ever do is think, but do we really understand how we think? This book will have you looking at your own thoughts in a way that you have never even considered before, and while there are plenty of advertising references, it's perfect for anyone in a job that requires creativity (yes, an office job still does require exactly that).

3) The Tipping Point - Malcom Gladwell 

This one is great for anyone studying PR, or any of the subjects surrounding marketing, but is also relevant to understand the development of how the media works. With going 'viral' being the desire for most brands now, this shows you the 'tips' that make that happen, and gives an interesting insight into how we as consumers buy into communications.

4) No Logo - Naomi Klein

In an industry obsessed with consumer's it's useful to read a book that atempts to fight consumerism. Particularly in the blogger world image is everything, and this looks to challenges this, providing an argument against the brands that we are so obsessed with. Whatever line of work you find yourself in, the chances are that branding is going to be hugely influential, making this a perfect read to give you knowledge in the thoughts that exist against it. 

5) It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be - Paul Arden 

If you don't like to read, or you like a book to be over within the time you could watch a film then this one is the one. It's short, to the point and easy to read making it perfect if you are lacking in time (or patience). This will make you think about how you approach situations, the decisions you make and give you the motivation on how to do all of those things better. It's a great way to analyse yourself, and provides a solid understanding of all the ways that you can improve. 

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

4 Quick and Easy Ways To Make You Feel Smarter

Remember being that age where being intelligent simply wasn't 'cool'? Putting your hand up to every single answer was a massive no no, and being labelled the 'teacher's pet' was probably one of the worst insults you could receieve. 

Imagine how much more intelligent we would be now if we had fought against this stage. If we had asked every question that had ever popped into how our heads, or actually went to the library to read about what interested us. The trouble is that this stage has made it difficult for us to want to learn. Now we are expected to be knowledgeable, to be passionate and to be educated about our interests, but we have spent so long pretending that we don't want to do that, that we've actually fogotten how. 

With knowledge comes confidence, but we live such busy lifestyles and consume so much media, that we don't always have the time to spend a few hours reading a book or watching three hour long documentaries. Luckily, the advance in media means that we don't have to, and these 4 ways show you how: 

1) Unreported World 

There is nothing better than a documentary that makes you feel like you have a whole new found knowledge when the end titles role. If you have the time, you can find our top documentaries here: But after a long day we can't really be blamed for not having enough of an attention span to sit through a couple of hours of factual viweing. The end of a long work day is made for guilty pleasure TV (hellooooo PLL), but you can still be educated easily if you want to be. Unreported is a Channel 4 documentary series that covers all sorts of cultural issues around the world, from bull riding to the war in Syria, and the best part? They are only 25 mintues long. Everything you need to know about a topic in under half an hour, that I think we can manage. 

2) Flipboard 

The trouble with being educated in a range of topics is that you are not always in the mood to learn about each one. You may not want to follow a Twitter page about politics, because lets face it who wants to see politics every single time they refresh their timeline? Flipboard is a great app that lets you pick your interests, and then presents articles surrounding those interests to you each day. The articles are presented in the style of a magazine, meaning you can literally flip through and skip the ones that don't take your fancy. Not only are all relevant articles in one place, but they are based on exactly what you are interested in and can be skipped depending on what you feel like being educated about that day. 

3) TED Talks 

Apparently there are people out there who do not like to read (crazy, we know). People are often put off learning through associating it with spending hours with your head stuck in a boring book, but this really doesn't have to be the case. TEDTalks are all different lenghts, on every topic you could possibly think of and for some, are a much more captivating way of learning. You know those evenings where you get seriously lost in the deep depths of Youtube? Well you can do the exact same on TED and become more educated without even realising. 

4) Talking

When we think about learning we immediately associated fact. We want statistics, research or any form of hard evidence that we can trust. It's not our fault, education has pretty much programmed us this way, but the trouble is there's so much to learn about that cannot be based on fact at all. Take culture for example, the best way to learn about a culture is to expereince it, and the most effective way of doing that is talking to the people. Okay so that doesn't mean if you want to learn about France, then you need to book a trip there straight away (although we are not saying that's a bad idea), but the chances are the people you know have the knowledge you need. Sharing knowledge is one of the best ways to gain knowledge, and you can feel a whole lot smarter simply by learning what somebody else already knows. 

Sunday, 31 May 2015

There Are A Lot Of Things In Life That Are Mediocre, Don't Let Relationships Be One Of Them

They always tell you that your days at school will be the best of your life and everyone just shrugs it off. Then years later, you look back and realise that the best parts of those years were the bits you didn’t even consider at the time. Waking up that day and only thinking of the 24 hours ahead, going to sleep and thinking of the previous 24 hours and that is it.

Now, I have to think days, weeks even months ahead. My friends ask to make plans 6 months from now and I have to ‘let them know’ because everything is just so up in the air. It’s frustrating and increasingly annoying but mainly because I took my teenage years for granted. So much so, that I had no idea how happy I really was. I was so content with the way things were at that very moment, I had no reason to look forward.

When I think about my life right now, all I think about are things that I would change. I’m a worrier, I’m an organiser and I always think ahead - that’s just the person I am. I am an absolute perfectionist and I cannot stand doing the bare minimum for anything – it’s all or nothing, I see no in-between. So it’s natural for me to want to make anything better that I can and that includes all of my relationships.

Like I said, we all look back at our school years and wish we could go back to that simple life. That life where you saw your friends every day and you all would have the best times together. But the truth is – that isn’t real life. As much as I say I would like to go back to that time in my life, I also realise that I was a na├»ve girl and all was not as it seemed.
Life was simple. Your friends were always there for you, always there to pick you up when you were down and you always spent your free time together. Reality? Far from it.

This was life because there was no other way. You had nothing else to do on weekends but be with your friends, so of course they were your first choice. Now, I have to arrange with my friends weeks in advance just to make sure they have spare time. This isn’t because they are bad friends, it’s because we have so much more going on with our lives, that seeing each other is an effort. It’s not just a filler of time. It’s actually time-consuming.

That sounds really harsh. I love my friends and I love spending time with them. But because I have a busy life now, I constantly assess every minute of my day. If I didn’t spend an extra hour with you I could have replied to some emails… That’s OCD. And that’s something I’m personally trying to work on. But it’s a balance I have to find.

When I look at the way I am towards spending time with my friends now, compared to when I was at school, I realise it’s a now a choice. If I desire to see somebody, I will make the effort to do so. If I don’t… I won’t bother. At school, you would probably spend weekends with people you wouldn’t even say ‘hello’ to now. Isn’t that crazy? But you didn’t care then. Because your time wasn’t precious, or at least you didn’t think of it as being precious.

At least I enjoyed that whilst it lasted because now my time is precious, and boy don’t I know it. When I started to grow apart from friends I was upset, I clung onto them hoping it was just a phase. I clung onto someone who I would now describe as a shitty friend. I was fighting for someone who’s time had become precious, so they became distant. And suddenly now I get it.

Time is precious. Fill your time with people who inspire you, who make you laugh til your gut aches and who truly care about your happiness. Whether it be a boyfriend, girlfriend, bestest friend or a work friend, if you desire to spend time with them, it’s for a reason. Don’t waste your time on people who add little to your life. Time is precious so fill it wisely.

There are a lot of things in life that are mediocre, don’t let relationships be one of them.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Don't Base Your Decisions On The Advice Of Those Who Don't Have To Live With The Results

This week I had a reality check. The kind of reality check that makes you see all the tiny things you've done over the years, in a whole new light. 

Now let me start from the top. If I could describe myself as a friend, I would say I'm the one who voices my opinion quite willingly. If my friends confide in me for advice, I'm a great listener, but I sure as hell won't keep quiet. I will give my opinion and probably suggest what I would do in their situation. 

This is the part where I now cringe. I always thought that is a really good thing that I'm so honest with my friends and to a certain degree, I still do. But now I look and think that maybe I was a little too brutal... Or a little too forceful. In all honesty, a lot of the situations I was advising my friends on, I'd never been through myself. So I'm not surprised they didn't always follow my advice.

But me being me I just gave the advice anyway "if it was me..." Well the truth is: it wasn't me. And I had no idea how they felt at that moment, the only knowledge I had was the information they were offering. I knew nothing behind closed doors and it turns out, that part is a huge influential factor.

I used to laugh at the fact I would dish out my advice to others yet never follow my own, but now I'm ashamed of that. Talk about double standards... Who was I to say the best thing to do when I wouldn't even follow it myself? Truth is. I thought I thought I knew what was right, and who knows it could have been, but how many of us make the decision that in our hearts, we know is best? 

When the tables turn and people try and advise me, I quite often reject it and follow what I think is best. Which I think is quite a good thing... And now I look at my friends and recognise the situations that they've rejected my advice and suddenly, it all becomes clear to me. I'm not bitter, I'm not confused as to why they're ignoring it, I finally get it. It's their life, and the decision made makes little difference to my life. 

I now feel a nice sense of pride. I'm so proud that I'm surrounded by people who are strong enough to make their own decisions. My friends never took my advice and followed it word-for-word and now I'm so pleased that this is the case. They're strong and independent enough to have faith in their choices, and so am I. 

"Don't base your decisions on the advice of those who don't have to live with the results" 

Kirsti x

Monday, 4 May 2015

Why The Only People Who Should Aspire To Be Like Bikini Competitors Are Bikini Competitors

If you have Instagram you will have stalked Bikini Competitors. You might not have been searching for them, but when a girl with a toned physique pops up onn your feed you can't help click on it. You've been distracted by the body, but then you see the food and suddenly the body isn't so desirable after all.

You're likely to come across the following; lots of Tupperware, chicken, veg, rice, more veg, gym selfies and muscle pumps. All of which are essential to a Bikini Competitor lifestyle, but are they necessary to yours?

The summer is approaching fast and we are looking for ways to tighten up, so when we come across  a girl who has abs and isn't afraid of posting absolutely everything they eat, it seems like the logical place to turn. They may post the numbers behind what they eat, the exercise regime that they carry out at the gym or something 'unhealthy', which they will quickly label as a 'cheat', making it easy to try to match your life to theirs. If it's worked for them it will work for you, right?

I'd love to say wrong, but in all honesty it probably will work. Providing you follow the same principles, but match the numbers to your individual needs there's a strong chance that you will see results, which is a good thing isn't it?

Don't get me wrong I seriously admire these girls. Not only are they breaking the stereotypes about what a girl is 'supposed to look like', but their dedication is ridiculously impressive. They certainly are a more favourable role model to have with the promotion of 'strong' being a desirable image, and the importance of eating enough to get results, but there's a whole other element to being a Bikini Competitor that isn't suitable for the everyday girl, and here's why...

The most striking aspect that concerns me is the level of pressure. If you have ever competed in a sport you will know that a few weeks before the competition starts you place pressure on yourself, and push yourself as hard as possible, which for the competitors is fine, but what are you pushing yourself for? To look good on the beach? That's fine, but it shouldn't be the same kind of pressure that is placed before a competition and this is where the lines get blurred. A cheat meal to you should not be the same as a cheat meal to a competitor, because what exactly are you cheating?

Adopting this sort of lifestyle is fine for a short period of time, but the competitors themselves are the first to admit that it can not and should not be maintained. A competition has a date, and once it's over the competitors diets change, but what's the end date when you are not a competitor? The trouble is that the lifestyle is addictive, and once you learn exactly what it is that your body needs to maintain a certain standard it can be impossible to stop. You start off thinking that chocolate is a cheat, but before long anything that doesn't consist of chicken and veg starts to become something that is seen as a treat, and as a result something that you are fearful of.

This is when the real problem arises, as it starts to interfere with other parts of your life. A Bikini Competitor is prepping for a competition and won't deny that they are strict on themselves, but it's for a cause. You don't want to go out for dinner, or have someone prepare your meal for you, you fancy chocolate but it doesn't fit with your diet. Without even realising you've become fearful of events that were once so normal, to the point that even going for a meal with your friends can be something you dread. What can you say? You don't have a competition that you are preparing for to use as an excuse, and it's reached the point where you're not even sure why you don't want to eat 'unhealthy' anymore.

Summers over, but your Bikini diets still there. The problem is the dedication that is required to be a Bikini Competitor is not required in everyday life. What started out as just trying to look like the girl you stalked on Instagram, or getting that summer body, or even trying to build some muscle quickly turned to an obsession. An obsession to fulfil a lifestyle that you do not actually lead. You are training for a competition that is never going to come, and if the competition never comes does the training ever end?

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

5 Elite Daily Articles That You Need To Read

Elite Daily is our latest online obsession. From news to gossip, it's sure to make you think of things in a way that you never have done before. Here's our recent top 5 that you simply have to read. 

Grow Younger: What We Can All Learn From Our Childhood Selves

Since moving out of our homes we seem to be lusting after our childhood more than ever. Responsibilities, worries and routines can zap the fun out everything and we could seriously benefit from adopting a childish mindset from time to time. Remember being completely fearless, celebrating with cake instead of booze and just feeling happy for absolutely no reason nearly all the time? We could do with some more of this kind of living and this article really does open your eyes to how different life could be if we lived like this more. 

A Woman Is Making History In Puerto Rico And The World Needs To Take Notice

OK fab article, but it does make you feel kinda crappy about yourself. We get we should be inspired by women like this, but when it's 3 o'clock and we are still in our pjs we can't help feel bad about how much we are not doing to save the world. This woman is practically a real life superhero, and at the age of 33. Stories like this are becoming more regular and this is absolutely incredible. Go girl power and all that... but we still aren't getting dressed today (no judging!)

You’re So Addicted To Cheese Because It Has The Same Effects As Opium

Finally, we can stop blaming ourselves for our outrageous addiction to cheese! There's science behind it, which means it is completely out of our hands, not our fault at all and therefore we absolutely cannot feel guilty about it. While it's an interesting article, we do just want to point out that it is in fact Cosmo that is right with it's reports of cheese being good for you. We refuse to believe otherwise, and you should to. 

This is something we are both seriously passionate about. We physically cringe at all the skinny shaming that is just about everywhere you go, and constantly find ourselves asking the question 'why is it ok to say that someone is too skinny, but not too fat?'. With any issues regarding self image, particularly when it comes to girls, the media is the first to be blamed. This means that solutions, like punishing 'too-skinny' models, are adopted but are they really the root of the problem? This article gives a great insight into why they might not be, and what else needs to be taken into consideration. 

Every single day we send each other a screen shot or quote from social media, taking the piss out of a couple and the ridiculous things that they are posting. Why people feel the need to flaunt every part of their relationship we will never know, but one things for sure, it really does provide us with some entertainment (and some pretty long rants). It seems that a relationship is no longer between the two people that are actually involved, and instead one with the rest of the world (or Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pals). We would say that if you're one of these people that do any of the 10 things listed then stop, but actually you're really entertaining and we would have to find something else to laugh at you about if you did. 

Sunday, 26 April 2015

5 Must Watch Documentaries That Are On Netflix

We have to admit we love nothing more than a good documentary. When we are completely overrun with uni work and get a spare hour we always find it impossible to switch off our brains... and this is where documentaries are our saviour. We have watched some fairly wacky ones in our most desperate moments (pretty sure Kirst entered a Google search consisting of 'monkey documentaries' once), but here are our top 5 that you can find on Netflix. 

1) Blackfish 

OK we know this is always everyones suggestion, but there's a reason for that. Following the story of Tilikum, a captive killer whale, this documentary will make you view SeaWorld in a whole new light. The scenes really are shocking, but something that we should all be aware of so if documentaries aren't really your thing then trust on this one, you still need to see this. 

2) Miss Representation 

Ignore what the name suggests, this is a must see for both guys and girls. This takes a look at how representation within the media is creating thoughts in our minds and the way we value ourselves. It looks at the pressure that the media places on us, and as a result the pressure that we place on ourselves. 

3) Fed Up 

Em is slowly working her way through all the food-related documentaries, but this new release is currently the most striking. It's main focus is on child-obesity (something we both find ourselves constantly being alarmed by), and where the blame mainly lies. It's truly shocking to see a) how little knowledge people have about food and b) how much the government and large corporations are to blame for this. Did you know that in America the School Lunch Programmes count fries and pizza as vegetables!? Told ya it was shocking... 

4) Louis Theroux - The Most Hated Family In America 

So just to be clear, any Louis Theroux documentary is worth watching. His are our go-to when we need something trusty, quick and light and there's always a topic he's covered that we are interested in. The Most Hated Family In America has to be one of the best though. Following a family that are at the core of the Westboro Baptist Church (an organisation that believes being homosexual is immoral) you will be completely shocked at just how outspoken this family are. 

5) David Attenborough - Africa 

Like Theroux you could pretty much pick any of Attenborough's sets and it would be a good choice. But as we move to warmer weather Africa has to be the pick! We don't need to tell you what you are in for here, as if you know of Attenborough then his work speaks for itself (if you don't know Attenborough then don't admit it out loud, instead lock yourself in your room and watch everything he's ever done).