Travel, World

Köln – July 2016

13575958_10210001011284647_8954873265929576139_oIt’s been 5 years since I was last in Germany, and being there again recently entirely
reignited my love for the country.

Meeting my assigned exchange student in 2011 was terrifying; I had no idea if we would get on, or whether I would be a good enough host. 5 years later, we’re talking about weddings and babies and careers. It’s been a magical journey so far, and I hope I don’t leave as big a gap this time…

Day 1

Köln is a beautiful city, but we didn’t spend much time in the city centre as before. Our first achievement was… [read more]

Life Experience, World

I’m IN.

I haven’t said anything on social media about the EU Referendum. Sure, I’ve talked about it to the people around me, and I’ve got a pretty good idea of what most of my circles think. But I don’t really like it when people push their views on others online, with post after post about being in or out, and why you’re a fool if you vote either way, or if you don’t.

Well I’m IN. I’m in because separating ourselves as a country in times of tribulation is a bad idea.

I’m in because we need to band together, and work together rather than just abandon countries who are supposed to be on our level.

I’m in because the leave campaign is a fear mongering thunderstorm condemning non-British people and it’s getting tiring.

I’m in because why would we want to condone hate for other people? Why would we even think that leaving the EU would somehow widen the sea between us and the rest of Europe?

Racism, separation, division, hate and fear will not progress our world, it pushes everyone away and it makes me sad to think that people want to regress back to a disconnected world where power rankings are more important than love.

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World

Behind the Scenes of Facebook

Daisy Ridley recently issued a warning on Instagram on the intensity of social media and the strive for perfection. It caught my eye on Facebook, through BBC Radio 1’s article and made me realise how intense social media can be.

golden_rules_of_being_engagedI’ve seen a flurry of engagements and babies, new cars and expensive shopping trips, as well as daily gym half-naked selfies and beautiful healthy meals plague my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feed. I’m so happy that all my friends are doing well and getting on, achieving their life goals at this stage, but it’s easy to get bogged down in the idea that other people have a better life than you.

 

That’s categorically untrue.

There is immense pressure on young people in particular when they are surrounded by perfect bodies, perfect skin and incredible social lives, to be as good as everyone else. What we see on social media is a heavily edited snippet of others’ lives – something that people have scrutinised over for a considerable time before publishing.

It’s a similar story with my job; as a social media…person..I have to be very careful with what I post on the companies’ Twitter and Facebook pages, to ensure a succinct and coherent message. Posts have to be unique, interesting, positive and have to prove to an audience that the company is very successful and useful to their clients.

People do exactly the same thing with their own personal profiles. They want to convey a specific message – some people even go as far as having their own themes on Instagram, meaning the stream of photos that they can post is even more limited.

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This is not to say that people don’t address negative issues on social media; people can be quite vocal when something bad has happened to them, as they need their friends’ support. People are quick to assume, however, that because a person’s feed is entirely positive that nothing bad is going on behind the scenes. They may be going through a break-up, or they may be facing severe stress at work that they don’t want to publicise, or they may just being going through a rough patch.

Of course, such things aren’t uploaded to Facebook, but instead are kept private. What makes a person feel better is posting joyful things that make them feel happy, as a sort of distraction from what is going on in the real world.

Can we call Facebook a distraction? Is that all it is rather than a real representation of people’s lives? Whether it is or it isn’t, it’s certainly putting pressure on the people that use it, but it’s important to remember (whatever age you are) that Facebook and other mediums are simply highlights of someone’s life and you shouldn’t feel the need to compare your behind the scenes to their show reel.

 

 

World

Now then, a rant about ‘feminist’ articles

I recently read an article about the hidden female mindset, discussing how men don’t understand what women go through on a daily basis in regards to everyday sexism. The author of the article talked about how women have been ‘trained’ to constantly brush aside anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or makes them feel like the lesser sex. Now then, I’ve had my fair share and I 100% agree with how messed up the world is when I can’t walk down a street at night without my phone clutched in my hand. It’s uncool, it’s unnecessary and there is a part of me that jumps at strange noises (although that could just be me with my inherent fear of balloons and fireworks). What I don’t agree with is how the author talked about being wary of men on the street, in car parks, shops, anywhere and always thinking ‘they could overpower me and I wouldn’t be able to stop it.’ I’m not going to lie, there are a lot of men and women out there who could probably overpower me and beat me to a pulp with my real lack of muscle tissue from not working out… Ever. The difference is I don’t convince myself that this is going to happen because there’s a bloke in the same vicinity as me.

I am all for equal rights, but not just for women, for everyone and I absolutely draw the line when women start lumping men together in the category of ‘violent thug’ or whatever phrase is popular that week. A person – man or woman – is not necessarily going to attack you just because you are a female. Yes there are some shit eating people in the world who don’t deserve a moment’s thought but they’re the exceptions. Bad things happen in the world, it’s a sad, sad truth, but I don’t think that we as women need to shuffle around, carefully avoiding men that we don’t know. I accept that horrific things happen to women – and men – and something definitely needs to happen, something needs to change.

I don’t go about my everyday business quashing my thoughts about how men are better than me. You do get sleezy guys who rear their heads every so often but that’s just a hazard of the job. We can deal with them and all of the women I know, including myself are confident enough to deal with awkward situations. We don’t hide it, if something uncomfortable happens, I go straight to my boyfriend, my dad or my male housemates. I tell somebody, I don’t keep it a dirty little secret and then go on tumblr and slate the male gender. The more random oestrogen-fuelled articles I read about feminism, the more I’m finding it aggravates me to know what some women actually think about men. I have a lot of wonderful men in my life and I’m glad that they’re there. I also have a lot of good women in my life but in all truth some of the worst people that I’ve known have been female. It’s all about bring open and not judging people because of their gender. Ultimately, I’m going to stop reading these articles that appear on Facebook and just get on with life as soon as I’ve posted this blog article!

Peace out x

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Life Experience, Work, World

My Job Application to the World

Dear World,

I am Brittany Lee Holmes, a 22 year old Film and Television graduate from Yorkshire. I’m currently working as a sales assistant at two different places – a boutique store in the centre of York and the biggest and best railway museum in the country. This isn’t, however, what I want, understandably. My ultimate goal is to be a writer – fictional, journalistic, factual, anything, whether it’s under my own self-employment or within a company. I have a passion for the written word and feel that because it comes to me naturally, I could be successful with it.

My jobs at the moment are to earn money and gain experience in sales because marketing is an area that I have looked at. I have experience in customer service; making people happy and helping them in any way possible. I can handle cash accurately – something that seems to be becoming outdated and old fashioned now that cards and contactless payments are accessible to mostly everyone. Both of my jobs are on the front line, meeting people that are but strangers to me and dealing with some negativity. This is making me a stronger person. After being a meek teenager in high school and sixth form, working at the forefront of these businesses has made me blossom into a confident 22 year old who isn’t afraid of what people have to say to me, regarding the company that I am working for. The nature of my work means that I encounter complaints and unhappy customers, but after many experiences of this, I have developed a hard shell against it and adopted the mindset that it’s not me personally that they can be angry at. I am the face of the company for that few hours every week and nothing they can say will affect me.

My confidence is booming and after working in a high school for a year, I have perfected my poker face and a tone of voice that can send teenagers packing in an instant. I have learned how to command a room, how to grab the attention of disinterested 12 year olds and how to laugh off immature insults like they were little drops of rain. Not only has my time working in a high school given me a much needed confidence boost, it has also shown me what it’s like to work in a big, bustling environment. The job was varied and often I was expected to undertake tasks for which I’d had no training and I achieved things at that school that I never would have imagined I could achieve. I made a lot of friends at the school from all different departments – teachers, receptionists, health professionals, dinner ladies, principals and it’s really given me an insight into how everything runs and how educational establishments function. The reason I undertook this position was to get a taster of what it was like to work in a school because I’d been considering going into teaching. As it happens, I don’t want to be a teacher (yet) but I count it as a significant part of my life that gave me lots of valuable experience and skills I never knew I could have.

I’m applying to the world, appealing to anyone who should read this blog, in the hope that someone, somewhere will read my words and learn a little about my story. I’m not on the look out for someone to give me a wonderful job (as amazing as that would be) but I want this blogging community to know that yes, I’m working somewhere I wouldn’t necessarily choose and no, I’ve not yet given up hope. I’m writing everyday; I will never give up that dream. I shelved the ambition to be a film director a couple of years ago, but being a writer is something that I can really see myself doing and being successful through it.

So, world, hear me. Hear what my little voice has to say and accept me, take me, find me a place in this cut-throat business and let me be useful. Let me speak to the world and let me be who I am. I’m not a sales assistant, I’m not a teaching assistant, I am a writer, I am Brittany Lee Holmes.

Misc., World

Bring on the sunshine

The last couple of days have been really nice and not just because of what we’ve been doing. Yesterday we had a friend visit us to exchange belated Christmas presents and then we had a lovely walk around town (this ended in buying a giant cookie from Millie’s Cookies as well, so there’s that) and it was just nice, it was different. But all of this aside, what makes the foundations of a day great for me is what the weather’s doing. And these last two days it’s been lovely.

February sunshine, crisp and cold, it’s fresh and it’s a tiny sign of spring. To me, it’s a sign that things are looking up, it’s unreal how much dark mornings and dark evenings affect me, but they are finally coming to a close. It makes such a difference when getting up at 6am to see a sliver of light in the distance, it’s wonderful.

And today, on a chilled out Sunday, the sun is shining in the garden (not the house because our windows are so badly positioned!) and the sky is blue, blue, blue. I’m so excited for the springtime it’s untrue, to wear nice dresses again and nice light jackets, sunglasses, pumps, shorts, ooh! Bring it on.

Here is the sunset from yesterday which I couldn’t resist taking a picture of on Lendal bridge just like all the other tourists.

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Life Experience, World

Love will be in the air ❤️

It’s Valentine’s Day soon, the day of lurve, romance, beauty and seductive attraction. Ooh, fancy. I’ve had one proper Valentine’s Day, last year with Sam and I loved it. Well, I loved everything about it other than the fact that we went out on the 14th, when millions of other lovebirds also come out for some romantic times. Except, it’s not romantic when you’re packed in, sandwiched between two other couples, trying to enjoy your Bella Italia meal and being careful not to catch fire in the candle which is dangerously positioned on a table not big enough for two grown people. It’s not exactly intimate, never mind romantic and it’s certainly not worth the money when they crank it up 10%.

So this year, our Valentine’s Day will be on the 18th of February, four whole days after the other couples (52% of whom met in Nandos last week) decided to have their romantic night. The plan is to go to a seafood restaurant called Loch Fyne, situated in the heart of York. I’ve trawled the menu, it’s not cheap by any means but it’s a special occasion so it’s appropriate enough. And why shouldn’t someone spoil themselves every so often? We totes deserve it.

A lot of people are bitter towards Valentine’s Day for various reasons, whether it’s because of a bad experience, aversion to cheesy love or just being single, but I really like it. I think it’s a wonderful day and it’s really nice that we have a day set aside for love. Love is one of the greatest things in the world, it literally makes it go round, it’s everywhere. In everyday life, films, books, culture, it affects people more than anything else, for good or for bad. I’M NOT INTENDING TO BE CHEESY BUT love really affects me. I love Sam, I love my family and I love my friends. All different kinds of love, but still love. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have all of this in my life and I don’t know what I would do without it or if I would be the same person that I am.

The imminent booking that we have at Loch Fyne restaurant is keeping me going, this term is coming to a difficult end and I really need to be treated. The only problem with Valentine’s Day for me is trying to find Sam a suitable present…most difficult task ever….

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Life Experience, World

11 and a half months to go…

I’ve been looking at 2015, the 11 and a half months ahead, trying to find something exciting. Like last year, in 2014 I was still at uni, living it up, making films, making friends and such. I had graduation, a holiday in Mexico and three new jobs. 2015, however, well…this year I will finish my job in the summer, and there are no holiday prospects…all a bit sad, really, isn’t it?

So, I have taken it upon myself under my new year’s resolutions to stop being a misery guts this instant and make things for myself to do. I need to learn to drive, there’s one. I want to go on holiday – to wowcher.co.uk!

I just need something to keep me going…anything to show me that life isn’t boring and that 2015 – the coolest sounding year so far – is going to be good. I suppose we’ll just have to see.

Life Experience, World

Homes for a Graduate?

Looking for a house is hard, especially when looking for a student house, because they all disappear before January is out05-sep14. The reason being that student agencies push naive students and frighten them into believing that they have to sign up before they’ve even known people for a decent amount of time otherwise they’ll be homeless forever and ever amen. I mean, this wouldn’t be the case if everyone took their time to decide who they would live with – because believe me it goes horribly wrong if you end up with the wrong people…awkward…hi girls, if you’re out there btw.

If you’re a first year, in the most selfish way possible, the general rule should be to wait until around March or April when you’ve actually become reasonably familiar with your future housemates which would then allow the second and third years and graduates to get on with finding a decent house together and live happily ever after, the end.

But, alas, this is not the case and we are struggling. York is pretty much lacking in letting agencies for students – maybe that’s my calling in life – and the ones that are there aren’t doing a great deal for us. I mean, is it that much to ask to get a five bed house for some gorgeous graduates in July? No? Didn’t think so… We have a viewing tomorrow at a nice house and all I can do is hope.

Education, Life Experience, World

Epiphanies of 2015

I previously told you my New Year’s resolutions, things like get into shape, learn to drive, the usuals, y’know. But I think the biggest one of all that I didn’t even write down on that list is that I’m going to change my outlook on life. Wutt, what does that even mean? Okay *deep breath* here goes.

Before Christmas, probably 6 or so weeks before, I really started to get down about life. I mean, what’s the point when you spend what feels like more than half your life at work? Get up at 5:45, have an hour journey to work, work 8 hours, wait two hours to go home and then all of a sudden it’s bedtime and you have to be up again bright (or not in December) and early in the morning to do it all again. I just started to look at my life as though I wasn’t happy and the only time I would be happy was when I was with family or friends, doing my own thang, in York or otherwise. I hated getting up every single day to go to work (I do like work, I just have other things in life that I prefer to do, like, y’know, shopping…) and come home just to scoff dinner and then go to sleep. I didn’t see anyone outside of work and I couldn’t spend my time relaxing or getting on with hobbies that I like.

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I loved the freedom at uni, just being able to, I dunno, go to Tesco at midnight, or go watch a film in the evening, or sleep til I was no longer tired. Being at uni was free, despite the assignments and the hard work, it’s essentially still your choice to do what you please and when. That’s what got me – the time. Everything is scheduled, do this at exactly 11:20, you may not eat until 13:20 and it’s like that in most jobs, some places even worse (restaurant peeps, am I right). I was adamant that as soon as I had enough money I would set up my own little business or start writing for realz and work from home (which is still an ambition of mine, but it’s not exactly a burning desire anymore). Life was just getting too much. I can’t tell you how painful it is (although you probably know all too well) getting up in the dark, travelling in the dark, being stuck inside all day and then going home in the dark. It’s not like working down a mine or anything, but it sure can feel like it sometimes.

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And then after Christmas, I realised how morbidly depressing I’ve been. I realised that I was taking things far too seriously and needed to lighten up – the job I have is challenging, there’s no two ways about it, but it’s not as difficult as a lot of customer service jobs. I can, essentially, do my own thing and work how I want to, provided that I’m in the right place at the right time. I must have had an epiphany or something of the sort because I suddenly understood why I’d been so unhappy. I’d looked at travelling to work as a negative – ‘ugh, don’t wanna go’ – whereas I should have been looking at it like ‘it’s a really clear morning, such fresh air, wow’. I need to take everything just one hour at a time, rather than a day, because my days are so jam packed of stuff to do that I get bogged down in it all and constantly live in the near future; I’m always three or four hours ahead. I used to look at the clock when I got home and knew I had only three and a half hours before I should go to bed. I knew I had only 6 hours to sleep. I used to think at the end of the day ‘in two hours’ time I’ll be home…if we’re not late…’. This wasn’t good for me. At all. This way of thinking makes the days unattractive and bulky.

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I guess my mission statement would read ‘Take every hour as it comes and think of the positives things that I’m going to achieve.’ Because even though there may be no major achievements that day, there are always minor ones. Maybe I got a pupil to write one more sentence than they did the other day, maybe I had a teacher smile on me on the corridor, maybe I managed to help someone, I don’t know. The achievement of this hour? I’ve written this. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, about how I’m trying really hard to change my mindset, because it’s not easy at all. It’s actually really difficult because, of course, life gets in the way as per. Bad things to happen and things do go wrong. There are stresses in the world that we can’t avoid, sometimes as simple as someone not replying to an email when we’d like but they’re there to make us stronger. I think, anyway.

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Christmas has really lightened my spirits about things (don’t know how long it’s gonna last, like, she says) and I’m really trying hard not to get upset or down over everything. It seems to be working, I feel more awake, more aliveeee. Hehe. Taking each hour as it comes probably wouldn’t work for everyone, but it’s working for me and will feel like it’s prolonging my life because omg hours have just been flying past this last three years and I’ve barely noticed…I’m 22, I still feel 19. Eek.

(The pictures are to break up the post because it’s kinda serious and we all like cute animals, right?)