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Emily Beeson
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For some students in the UK Freshers Week has already kicked off. For others, it’s about to begin but wherever your inaugural week of university begins, you’re going to need a wardrobe that’s effortlessly on-point for all those parties and events…  

Whether you favour a statement mini dress or a cool tuxedo jumpsuit, we’ve created an edit of the best pieces to rock during Freshers Week.   

From party heels to unique tailoring and luxe autumn-ready velvet, these pieces from Lavish Alice are guaranteed to see you through to Christmas with ease.  

Shop the edit below and make an impact wherever you go…  

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Chloe Laws
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Yull was founded in 2011 by Sarah Watkinson-Yull whilst still at University, where she received funding from the Prince's Trust. It is one of the only independent shoe brands manufacturing high heels in Britain! 

They provide quintessentially British shoes that put a smile on your face, the vibrant colours and unique patterns make them statement pieces worth investing in.

The best part? Yull are giving Shopcade users an exclusive 15% off with the code YULL15

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Get 20% off Yull this Black Friday with the code: Yull20

Yull was founded in 2011 by Sarah Watkinson-Yull whilst still at University, she received funding from the Prince's Trust. It is one of the only independent shoe brands manufacturing high heels in Britain! 

They provide quintessentially British shoes that are on trend yet traditional, what more could you ask for? Well, how about an exclusive 20% off here at Shopcade with the code Yull20

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Amanda P
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It seems like every other week, there is a mass shooting in the news. Just this week, a gun-wielding man injured 9 and killed 1 person on the popular Bourbon Street in New Orleans on Sunday, while another man injured 11 people with his car and a knife on Ohio State University campus on Monday. 

In fact, the Gun Violence Archive recently ran a study that showed that on average, a mass shooting occurs in the United States on 5 out of every 6 days. They defined 'mass shooting' as an incident that leaves 4 or more dead, not including the shooter. 

The problem has gained nationwide attention, and recent events have spurred President Barack Obama to announce “We have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world.” In 2016, the June 12th massacre at Pulse (a LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando) which was the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, saw the tragic deaths of 49 people. (The deadliest massacres were back in the 1800's and 1900's, when white mobs and American troops killed hundreds of Native American and Black people in each of the Tulsa Massacre of 1921, the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890, and the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857). In 2015, there was the Charleston AME shooting, where a 21-year old white man killed 9 Black churchgoers in a racially-motivated hate crime. In 2014, a 22-year-old UCSB student committed the Isla Vista rampage, killing 6. 

In 2012, a young man killed 26 people, mostly children, at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. In 2007, a Virginia Tech senior killed 32 other students on campus. And in 1999, two high school students at Columbine High School used four guns and two pipe bombs to murder 13 others. 

Mass shootings are not a uniquely American problem, but other countries have found much more success in curbing the shootings. In Australia, the 1996 massacre of Port Arthur killed 35, sparking national change. After the shooting, the country banned automatic and semi-automatics assault rifles and pump shotguns, created a gun registry, and established a 28-day waiting period for firearms. Since the 1996 policy changes, there have been 0 mass shootings in Australia to date. 

England has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the world. After the 1987 Hungerford Massacre, the country banned most semi-automatic long-barreled weapons, and after the 1996 Dunblane School Massacre, also banned most small firearms. Although there has been one mass shooting since then, which killed 12 in 2010, the shooter in that case used his own legally-owned guns. 

In Canada, guns are legal, but a 1977 ruling established a requirement for potential gun-buyers to get a background check before purchasing. While this has curbed killings, there have still been 11 mass shootings since the 1977 law - one of which was actually committed by a U.S. citizen, who brought his handgun to Canada - and the deadliest of which was a school shooting at the Ecole Polytechnique. The school shooter in that case was also a young man, who killed mostly women engineering students because, in his own words, he hated feminists. From 1995 to 2012 in Canada, all guns had to be registered, but each state dropped this requirement, eventually including Quebec because of a Supreme Court decision in 2015. While Canada does still struggle with mass shootings, it is a fraction of the problem in the U.S. 

In the United States, a study by the Guardian found that in the 20 deadliest shootings in 2015, most of the gunmen used their own, legally-owned firearms. President Obama, in an attempt to follow through on his campaign promises, has made several attempts to strengthen gun control laws. However, most of those bills died in the Senate, so there has not been much gun control reform in the past few years. From comparing U.S. laws to other countries' laws, how do we stack up? Tell us your opinion in the comments below!

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Amanda P
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In the wake of the November presidential election results, many Americans are taking to the streets in protest. In the past week, more than 200,000 people have started using the tag #NotMyPresident, the ACLU published a plan for impeachment, and tens of thousands of people are peacefully protesting in major cities. 

10,000 protesters showed up for Anti-Trump protests in New York, with more marching in Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Oakland, and more. A "Million Women" march on Washington is also being organized for Inauguration Day. President-elect Trump is a polarizing politician by any standard, but why exactly are so many people protesting these election results?

Well, a lot of it has to do with the American political system. The presidential race actually includes two votes: a popular vote, and an electoral college vote. The popular vote is by the people - 1 citizen, 1 vote. Simple democracy, right? Except that the president is not chosen by popular vote. Instead of being based off the popular vote, the president is elected only based on the electoral college vote. So what exactly is the electoral college?

The electoral college is a small group of private individuals. They are not voted in by citizens, nor do they work their way up to their positions. Instead, they are appointed by state legislatures, in closed-door meetings. In total, there are 583 electors from all 50 states. That means that only 583 people, instead of the 319,000,000 US citizens, get to decide on the president.

Most of the time, the electoral college vote and the popular vote turn out the same way - with a few notable exceptions. The only four elections in all United States history to have this conflict happened in 1824, 1876, 1888, and 2000. This year's election marks only the fifth time in the nation's history that the electoral college vote contradicted the popular vote. 

While there was some backlash on these occasions, it does not compare to the scope of this year's protests. In fact, these protests are completely unheard of for a modern American presidency, according to Douglas Brinkley, professor of presidential history at Rice University. 

Douglas stated that there have not been widespread demonstrations on this scale since Abraham Lincoln's election in 1860. After President Lincoln won only about 40 percent of the popular vote, protests across the country broke out spontaneously, he added.

The popular vote this year, while not entirely counted yet, is widely attributed to Hillary Clinton, who had literally 1,000,000 more votes than Trump - polls now put her at 61 million voters, and him at 60 million. Could this be what is angering protesters? 

Bernie Sanders, who lost the Democratic nomination to Clinton, had the following to say: "We have a First Amendment. People are angry. People are upset. And they want to express their point of view that they are very frightened, in very, very strong disagreement with Mr. Trump, who has made bigotry the cornerstone of his campaign. I think that people are saying, ‘Mr. Trump, we have come too far in this country fighting discrimination and bigotry. We’re not going back. And if you’re going to continue that effort, you’re going to have to take us on.’

Nevada Senator Harry Reid agreed with him, saying "If this is going to be a time of healing, we must first put the responsibility for healing where it belongs: at the feet of Donald Trump, a sexual predator who lost the popular vote and fueled his campaign with bigotry and hate. Winning the electoral college does not absolve Trump of the grave sins he committed against millions of Americans. Donald Trump may not possess the capacity to assuage those fears, but he owes it to this nation to try.”

In the past few days, many people - most notably California Senator Barbara Boxer - have been calling for the end of the electoral college. According to Boxer, the electoral college is an "outdated, undemocratic system that does not reflect our modern society." She added, "When all the ballots are counted, Hillary Clinton will have won the popular vote by a margin that could exceed two million votes, and she is on track to have received more votes than any other presidential candidate in history except Barack Obama. This is the only office in the land where you can get more votes and still lose the presidency."

This is not the first time that Americans have tried to abolish the electoral college. In fact, a 1969 amendment to do so did pass the House Representative Committee, then was approved by President Nixon, but finally lost in the Senate, by only two votes. In fact, opposition to the electoral college is so widespread that in November 2012, Donald Trump himself tweeted, "The electoral college is a disaster for democracy" - garnering 96,000 'likes' and 138,000 retweets. After his nomination, Trump was quick to recount his earlier words, tweeting "The electoral college is actually genius".

In the divided nation, many disagree with the protesters. Robert Pittinger, a Congressman from North Carolina, said about the protesters "The grievance in their minds, the animus, the anger – they hate white people because white people are successful and they’re not." Ted Cruz agreed, stating that protesters are just "leftist agitators who crossed the line, who are trying to silence a voice they don't like."

Donald Trump responded to the protests, telling the nation, "Don't be afraid. We are going to bring our country back. But certainly, don't be afraid." When asked why people were protesting, he replied "That's only because they don't know me. I just don't think they know me." Police have been attempting to end the protests by using tear gas on crowds of men, women, and children, and arresting over 100 people nationwide so far.

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Lily Niu
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A study led by Nottingham Trend University last year showed the average person checks their phone 85 times a day. While this figure came as a surprise to participants (aged 18-33) who believed they checked their phone much less, it’s likely those on a mission to “stalk”- think crushes, frenemies, colleagues, or even old school pals- check them way, way, more.

Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram are useful for getting a glimpse into a person’s daily life but as we all know, the pictures, videos, status updates, and links shared on those platforms are usually part of a carefully curated image we’d like others to correlate with us.

This makes Facebook the perfect spy's accomplice; with the majority of one’s close (and not-so-close) social circles linked to their profile, Mark Zuckerberg has basically given us permission to get up all in someone's private business. 

Reckon you may be getting in too deep with your FB stalking? Here are 6 signs you’re a bonafide addict...

1) You take every possible opportunity to check said person’s FB profile for updates be it in bed, at work, under the table in a meeting, on your cigarette/coffee break, while your out, while you’re in, and of course, on the loo. Public and private spheres make no difference to you. 

2)  You’ve started seeing someone and they’ve nonchalantly accepted your friend request. You play it cool in person (and when you text) but the moment you get the chance, you scour through their uploaded/tagged photos from present day all the way back to 2007 to find out what their exes look like.

3) You get word that Big Sarah from school “got hot.” Whether or not you were the sympathetic PE partner or the b*tch from hell, you want to reconnect (i.e. ride on the back of Sarah’s makeover success). Prior to reaching out however, you bide your time and spend each waking minute researching what she’s been up to over the years and seeing which old flames or classmates she’s been socialising with lately.

4) You’ve just had an interview for the job of your dreams and found out you share a mutual friend with the hiring manager on FB...which means that thanks to your lax privacy settings, they may have seen what you REALLY got up to last weekend. Banging your head against the wall as you adjust who’s able to view your tagged photos, you later spend your evening scrolling through ALL of their FB pics in the hope they too share a passion for playing strip Twister.

5) You’re back home for the holidays and single AF. Your Tinder matches are showing a horrifying number of matches with dozens of mutual connections and just to double check they’re in no way, shape, or form in regular contact with anyone who saw you projectile vomit at your BFF’s Sweet Sixteen, you spend hours trying to guess their last name so you can find them on FB. You know you’re in deep. 

6) You can’t eat (you wish), you can’t sleep (your own fault), and if anyone were to discover the true extent of your FB stalking madness, they’d call you out for being obsessive. Your fear of being discovered manically FB stalking heavily outweighs the dreaded FOMO so you’ve developed a flawless facade to convince everyone around you that you’re like, super chill.

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Chloe Laws
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Mila Kunis, a powerhouse of talent and intelligence, has written an open letter, published on A Plus responding to the sexism she's faced in her industry, and how she's taking a stand. 

She is "done compromising; even more so, I'm done with being compromised", and so are we.

Read the open letter below...

" 'You'll never work in this town again.' A cliché to be sure, but also what a producer threatened when I refused to pose semi-naked on the cover of a men's magazine to promote our film. I was no longer willing to subject myself to a naïve compromise that I had previously been willing to. "I will never work in this town again?" I was livid, I felt objectified, and for the first time in my career I said "no." And guess what? The world didn't end. The film made a lot of money and I did work in this town again, and again, and again. What this producer may never realize is that he spoke aloud the exact fear every woman feels when confronted with gender bias in the workplace. 

It's what we are conditioned to believe — that if we speak up, our livelihoods will be threatened; that standing our ground will lead to our demise. We don't want to be kicked out of the sandbox for being a "bitch." So we compromise our integrity for the sake of maintaining the status quo and hope that change is coming. 

But change is not coming fast enough to help my friends, my peers, or even our children. In fact, a recent study by the American Association of University Women shows that the pay gap is closing at such a slow rate that it will be 136 years before women are paid equally to men. 136 years. And the pay gap is but one clear quantification of the acute undervaluing of the contributions of women in the workplace. 

Throughout my career, there have been moments when I have been insulted, sidelined, paid less, creatively ignored, and otherwise diminished based on my gender. And always, I tried to give people the benefit of the doubt; maybe they knew more, maybe they had more experience, maybe there was something I was missing. I taught myself that to succeed as a woman in this industry I had to play by the rules of the boy's club. But the older I got and the longer I worked in this industry, the more I realized that it's bullshit! And, worse, that I was complicit in allowing it to happen. 

So, I started my own club. I formed a production company with three amazing women. We have been hustling to develop quality television shows with unique voices and perspectives. Since our inception, we have been lucky enough to partner with incredible producers, male and female, who have treated us as true equals and partners. Recently, we signed on to partner with an influential male producer on a project that would shine a light on an important social issue — ironically — inclusivity and our shared human experience. 

In the process of pitching this show to a major network, the typical follow-up emails were sent to executives at this network. In this email chain, this producer chose to email the following: 
"And Mila is a mega star. One of biggest actors in Hollywood and soon to be Ashton's wife and baby momma!!!" 

This is the entirety of his email. Factual inaccuracies aside, he reduced my value to nothing more than my relationship to a successful man and my ability to bear children. It ignored my (and my team's) significant creative and logistical contributions. 

We withdrew our involvement in the project. 

 Yes, it is only one small comment. But it's these very comments that women deal with day inand day out in offices, on calls, and in emails — microaggressions that devalue the contributions and worth of hard-working women. 

Subtle gender bias is oftentimes nearly imperceptible, and even wholly undetectable to those who share the bias. It became clear in later emails from this producer that he was totally unaware of why his words were so appalling. What he characterized as a "lighthearted" comment was actually deeply undermining to my contributions and ability to be taken seriously as a creative partner. 

I have no interest in vilifying this man. Blind gender biases are embedded in every facet of our life. They are reinforced by our educational institutions: men dominate the figures we study in history, the luminaries of math and science and technology about whom we learn, and the authors of political discourse we are taught to revere. We are inundated with tales of male superiority that blind us to the architecture of our own relationships. The very word "blind" informs us of everything. No one gets upset when a blind person bumps into a wall, but the wall does not cease to yield force. 

I'm done compromising; even more so, I'm done with being compromised. So from this point forward, when I am confronted with one of these comments, subtle or overt, I will address them head on; I will stop in the moment and do my best to educate. I cannot guarantee that my objections will be taken to heart, but at least now I am part of creating an environment where there is the opportunity for growth. And if my comments fall on deaf ears, I will choose to walk away. 

If this is happening to me, it is happening more aggressively to women everywhere. I am fortunate that I have reached a place that I can stop compromising and stand my ground, without fearing how I will put food on my table. I am also fortunate that I have the platform to talk about this experience in the hope of bringing one more voice to the conversation so that women in the workplace feel a little less alone and more able to push back for themselves. 

I will work in this town again, but I will not work with you."

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Chloe Laws
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Tuesday 19th kicked off FreeForm's (formerly ABC Family) long-standing tradition of 13 Nights of Halloween. The ghostly delights start with Tim Burton's 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' and ends with 'Hocus Pocus'. 

The name may have changed but the show's still the same, get ready to laugh, scream and jump at these Halloween tricks and treats. See below for the full schedule: 

Night One- Wednesday, October 19th 

5:30pm The Nightmare Before Christmas 
7:00pm R.L. Stine's Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls (television premiere) 
9:00pm Hocus Pocus 
12:00am Corpse Bride 

Night Two- Thursday, October 20th 

3:00pm The Nightmare Before Christmas 
4:35pm Hocus Pocus
6:40m The Addams Family (1991) 
8:50pm Addams Family Values 
12:00am The Final Girls 

Night Three- Friday, October 21st 

4:00pm The Addams Family (1991) 
6:10pm Addams Family Values 
8:20pm Sleepy Hollow (1999) 
12:00am Frankenweenie (2012) 

Night Four- Saturday, October 22nd 
7:00am Spooky Buddies (Freeform Premiere) 
9:10am ParaNorman 11:20pm Sleepy Hollow (1999) 
2:00pm The Goonies 
4:40pm Scooby-Doo (2002) 
6:50pm Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed 
9:00pm Monsters University (Disney-Pixar) 
11:30pm Toy Story of Terror! (Disney-Pixar) 
12:00am Corpse Bride 

Night Five- Sunday, October 23rd 

7:30am The Goonies 
10:10am R.L. Stine's Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls  
12:20pm Scooby-Doo (2002)
2:30pm Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed 
4:40pm Matilda 
6:50pm Toy Story of Terror! (Disney-Pixar) 
7:20pm Monsters University (Disney-Pixar) 
9:50pm Hocus Pocus 

Night Six- Monday, October 24th 
7:00am Practical Magic 
2:30pm Matilda 
4:35pm Addams Family (1991) 
6:40pm Addams Family Values 
8:50pm Hocus Pocus 
12:00am Scooby-Doo (2002) 

Night Seven- Tuesday, October 25th 

7:00am Death Becomes Her 
4:00pm The Addams Family (1991) 
6:00pm The Addams Family Values 
12:00am Halloweentown 

Night Eight- Wednesday, October 26th 
3:30pm Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010) 
5:40pm Dark Shadows (2012) 
8:20pm Sleepy Hollow (1999) 
12:00am Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge 

Night Nine- Thursday, October 27th 

3:30pm The Goonies 
6:10pm Sleepy Hollow (1999) 
8:50pm Hocus Pocus 
12:00am Halloweentown High 

Night Ten- Friday, October 28th 

12:00pm The Goonies 
2:40pm Corpse Bride 
4:40pm Hocus Pocus 
6:45pm The Nightmare Before Christmas 
8:20pm Dark Shadows(2012) 
12:00am Return to Halloweentown

Night Eleven- Saturday, October 29th 
7:00am Frankenweenie 
9:00am RL Stine's Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls 
11:00am The Nightmare Before Christmas 
12:35pm Corpse Bride 
2:35pm Dark Shadows (2012) 
5:15pm The Addams Family (1991) 
7:20pm Adams Family Values 
9:25pm Hocus Pocus 
11:30pm Sleepy Hollow (1999) 

Night 12- Sunday, October 30th 

7:00am Corpse Bride 
9:00am Spooky Buddies 
11:05am Scooby-Doo (2002) 
1:10pm Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed 
3:15pm The Addams Family (1991) 
5:20pm Addams Family Values 
7:25pm Hocus Pocus 9:30pm Sleepy Hollow (1999) 

Night 13- Monday, October 31st 

7:00am The Goonies 
11:00am ParaNorman 
1:00pm Scooby-Doo 3:00pm Scooby-Doo 2:Monsters Unleashed 
5:00pmThe Addams Family 
7:00pm Addams Family Values 
9:00pm Hocus Pocus 
12:00am Hocus Pocus

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Chloe Laws
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We've spoken about social media and mental health previously here, and now more research has emerged. This time scientists have delved into the debate of the selfie Vs the group photo.

Before I looked into the research, my initial thoughts were NEITHER. I mean, a selfie can make you feel better but it's a perpetual cycle of worry- holding your breath until you hit that 11 likes mark. I've quite shamelessly asked friends and my SO to like a photo due to this anxiety. However, a group photo has its own pitfalls. You want to look good, or even better than your mates, but you don't want to make them feel insecure if the picture isn't flattering. How many times have your friends asked you to take down a picture from Facebook because they don't like it? How many times have you realised that you hadn't even looked at anyone else in the group photo, bar yourself? Hands up. I know I'm guilty of this. 

Researchers at Penn State University have discovered that spending too much time looking at selfies on social media can really damage your self-esteem, but that viewing group photos has the opposite effect. Rouxu Wang, one of the lead researchers on the team has divulged that "Most of the research done on social network sites look at the motivation for posting and liking content, but we're now starting to look at the effect of viewing behaviour. People usually post selfies when they're happy of having fun. This makes it easy for someone else to look at these pictures and think his or her life is not as great as theirs". They have found that group images do the opposite and in fact are associated with increased life satisfaction and improved self-esteem.

Fan Yang, another researcher, added that "We don't often think about how what we post affects the people around us. I think this study can help people understand potential consequences of their posting behaviour". Concluding that "It is not selfies that make you happy, it is smiling that makes you happy". 

Maybe where I'm going wrong is not smiling in my selfies, I'm more of a smizer, I'll be sure to show my grin off next time I want to indulge in a little selfie action....

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Chloe Laws
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You are chronically early. Always. Even when you're going somewhere to meet friends who you know will be late. You spend your life waiting for people and events to start. The struggle is real. Here's 20 things you know if you're always early: 

1. Pretending to be on your phone is a constant thing you do. 

Waiting outside the cinema, sitting in a restaurant alone or hanging around at train stations is something that happens on the daily for you. In order to look busy, so people don't bother you while you wait, you often find yourself pretending to text. 

2. You lie when people ask you how long you've been waiting. 

"Only two mins, not a biggie" you blurt out. When in reality you arrived 15 minuets before the designated meeting time, and because no-one else is as time conscious as you they arrive 5 minuets after the arranged time. Minuets feel like hours. 

3. You set 100 alarms. 

Even though you don't have a single memory of ever being late, you can't imagine anything worse. Thus, you set an alarm 1 hour before you need wake up and then every 5 minuets after that. Lie-ins are as mythological to you as mermaids. 

4. Going on a night out? You are ready hours before anyone else even arrives. 

Drinks are at 9, so you start getting ready at 7, even though you only take 20 minuets. You then sit their twiddling your thumbs and texting everyone asking what their current locations are. 

5. Ordering a taxi feels like an operation. 

The rest of your friends believe in being fashionably late, so trying to organise a taxi for the night out always ends up being a debate. You want to leave at 8.45, they want to leave at 9.15. Ugh, the anxiety is real. 

6. You obsessively map out routes. 

Got a meeting? One plausible route isn't good enough, you google maps every possible option. Then write it down on a piece of paper incase your phone dies. And then leave an hour earlier then you needed to. 

7. Coffee shops are your BFF. 

Many an hour has been spent in Starbucks, using the free wifi, waiting for an acceptable time to arrive at your destination. 15 minuets early is professional, but you're aware that 45 minuets is just plain weird. 

8. You bond with other chronically early people. 

A new friend turns up 10 minuets early to the bar, and both your faces light up. Everything happens in slow motion because you're both so ecstatic to find a kindred spirit. 

9. You massively help your chronically late friends get better at time keeping. 

They will find it annoying to begin with, but after a while they'll see the benefits of being early - or on time, at the very least. 

10. Arriving "on time" feels like arriving late to you. 

You got a later bus, you panic the whole journey and text your boss an SOS "I'm going to be late" text. You turn up exactly on time, with a couple of minutes to spare. You wonder why you don't get up later every day, and tell yourself you'll make it a habit. But you never do. 

11. You work at least 30 minuets every day for free. 

You start at 9am, but in your head that means 8.30 am. Because everyone else in the office is normal, and you know, don't want to come to work early, no-one ever knows what time you turn up. A blessing, because you're kinda embarrassed about it. 

12. Being actually late feels like the end of the world. 

You completely lose your sh*t. Think that your friends won't want to speak to you ever again or that you are definitely fired. When in reality, everyone knows it's a one off and that you have no control over public transport being delayed. ALL the stress. 

13. Your friends now know you are going to call/arrive at the EXACT minuet you arranged. 

11.30 means 11.30, not 11.33. Capiche? 

14. It isn't even about being early, it's about avoiding being late at any means necessary.

You don't want to be 45 minutes early to your hair appointment, but the idea that you could miss the time slot means this is just something that inevitably happens. 

15. Flights are extremely stressful. 

The airport tells you to arrive 2 hours early, which is more than enough time but you have been known to turn up 5 hours early. No shame, there's now way you're missing out on a holiday.

There can be a lot of positives to always being early, it's responsible and respectful. It shows commitment and reliability. Which is why people probably talk more about always being late as a problem, because being early isn't inconvenient for anyone but yourself. 

There are a number of reasons why you are always early, some are positive and others not so much. Satiama University found that if punctuality was a value taught to you as a child, then you are likely to continue applying this principle through to later life. On the flip side, it could mean you have anxiety. If you're anxious about being late, it is probably a trigger related to a larger issue- dealing with the larger problem, possibly through therapy, may mean you can get many of the hours you've lost waiting around or obsessing over being early back. That being said, being early is also a trait that many type A personalities - have which could mean you're a natural leader!

Always being early has its swings and roundabouts, sometimes it's a positive thing that shows your reliability, other times it can become an obsession. Trying to figure out which side of the line you are on could really help improve your life! 

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Chloe Laws
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The contraceptive pill, once seen as a revolution for women as it gave us choice and power over our bodies that had been limited by biology, is now seen as something that could be damaging us far more than it's helping. 

The pill sexually and economically liberated women, pregnancy is now something that women choose- this freedom to delay having children, or not have them at all, means that women don't have to put their career on hold if an unplanned pregnancy arrives, and the likelihood of having to have an abortion is limited. 

However, recently studies into the pill and its affect on mental health have developed. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen studied the health records of more than a million women, aged between 15 and 34. They found that those on the combined pill were 23% more likely to be prescribed antidepressants compared to those not on hormonal contraception. Younger women between the ages of 15 to 19 were most likely to be affected by this correlation. 

These findings aren't shocking for many, rather they confirm our personal experiences. A quick chat to the women close to me reveals that, bar a couple, we've all felt our mental health suffer from being on the pill. Many talk of a 'cloud lifting' when they come off it, and their anxiety being significantly lessened. 

Did you know that caffeine affects you more when you're on the pill? This is because your birth control inhibits the break down of it. Have you also found that you can't consume caffeine as it increases your anxiety? More than it use to before you went on the pill? Speaking purely from personal experience, a year ago I couldn't drink a cup of coffee no matter how exhausted I was and in need of a pick-me-up because it made me very anxious. Fast forward a year, and I'm off the pill drinking soy lattes like there's no tomorrow. 

Let me get this straight. Correlation is not causation. Yes there have been links found between the contraceptive pill and depression/anxiety, but this could be a coincidence. Nothing is fully proven- young women, in general, are far more anxious than any other group in society. This could be because most of us are on the pill, or it could be because of the crushing responsibilities, bleak economic climate, patriarchy trying to limit our every move and a million other factors. And the pill wrecking havoc with our hormones probably doesn't help. 

A hormonal contraceptive for men was rejected because it was found to lower their sexual desire, cause weight gain and moodiness. Imagine that!! Not like women have been experiencing those side effects and far worse for years. But you know, it's not the man's problem if we get pregnant, is it? Literally, f*ck the patriarchy, that's all I have to say on this point. 

I can't say or advise coming off the pill if your'e suffering from mental health issues, but hopefully medical professionals will now be more willing to hear your plea about the pill negatively affecting you. It's worth a shot, because there are other contraceptive alternatives to try. 

The pill has been handed out like candy to young girls for so long, that often we don't even realise there's an alternative until we're older. As a twenty-something woman, most your friends will be on the pill and likely would have been for many a year- it's become so normalised that no one actually has frank discussions about how much it might be affecting us. 

Weight gain/loss, feeling out of control of your moods, serious risks of blood clots are all skimmed over, but why? Even the concept of a male pill having side effects was squashed, and you can bet when it finally does become available it'll be 100% effective and have no side effects. 

Women, sadly and wrongly, in this society are seen as the problem when it comes to menstruation and pregnancy. We're expected to 'deal with it' alone. Not talk openly about our periods because it's 'gross' or admit that we don't want to be solely in charge of having 'safe sex'. 

Furthermore, to some this fuels their narrow-mindedness. With some people tweeting asking why women would risk mental health problems so they can 'sleep around'. The pill, yes helps women be sexually free, but it's used for a number of other reasons- to lessen the heaviness of our periods, thus reducing cramps, to clear up acne and more. 

In summary, your concerns about the pill are valid. Your mental health is valid. Your sexual liberation is valid. Your periods and want for comfort is valid. If nothing else, this surge in research should at least encourage an open conversation between women and their experiences on hormonal contraception, and for our concerns to be taken more seriously by those in the medical profession. 

Let us know in the comments your thoughts and experiences on this topic...

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Jordan Smith
I came off it last spring, on for 10yrs, due to feeling 'meh' all the time. Didnt realise how much it had an effect on me! Cloud lifted and body feels normal
Chloe Laws
chloelaws added a look via the mobile app

Rod Liddle wrote an article for The Sun this week criticising Emma Watson's position as a United Nations ambassador. It was sexist, condescending, belittling and just absolute codswallop. 

Liddle stated that "instead of telling them all the rules of quidditch or how to turn someone into a frog, she bored them all rigid with whining, leftie, PC crap". Continuing to say "Just like all actresses do if people are stupid enough to give them the chance. Why do we indulge these luvvie slebs, most of whom know nowt?". So, basically, he's saying that an actress isn't allowed to also have educated and political opinions, or a voice as an advocate? That the characters she plays on film are what Emma Watson should be limited to. Let's just reevaluate this, shall we?

Emma Watson is a Brown University graduate, has been involved in the promotion of girls' education for several years and has visited Bangladesh and Zambia as part of her humanitarian work. She has been an ambassador for Camped International, and has also been a UN Women Goodwill ambassador for more than two years. Does this sound like a woman who "knows nowt"?. 

Note, Liddle uses the word "actresses" rather than "actors", inferring that he deems male actors worthy to speak on political issues, but not female. He also states that "I suppose they got Emma in because Angelina Jolie is a bit tied up with other stuff at the moment". This is ridiculously sexist and derogatory, it firsts infers that Emma Watson is a second choice but also that Angelina Jolie is not capable of fulfilling her advocacy work because of familial problems. Can you imagine him speaking about a man in such a way? No, you can't. Because he wouldn't. 

It would be giving The Sun too much credit to be shocked that they'd print such an article, because let's be honest, this is exactly the kind of opinion The Sun and its readers promote. A Sun spokesperson commented "Rod Liddle was echoing a great many people in sharing his exasperation at celebrities that feel they can lecture us mere mortals". It seems that The Sun is also of the assumption that celebrities cannot be both successful entertainers and intelligent. 

Personally, I believe it is brilliant when celebrities use their position to speak on important issues, especially for women because our voices are so often marginalised. Maybe, because Liddle is an upperclass, white, male he hasn't ever had a problem with having his voice and opinion heard, and therefore doesn't understand why women need an ambassador in the public eye to be heard. But what do I know? I'm sure he'd see me as a whining, leftie spurting PC crap that I know nowt about....

+ watch Emma Watson's speech above and decide for yourself if she "knows nowt". 

Photo Credit: Elle
Video Credit: New China TV

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