No, I Don’t Appreciate It.

I feel like as a girl, catcalling comes to be something you just accept and deal with and honestly when I think about it it really irritates me.

I can’t count the amount of times I’ve experienced some sort of street objectification: from being beeped at as a car drives past me to having “compliments” at me on the street.  Last week, a guy went as far as to walk closer to me as I stood at the bus stop and whisper “Yeah you look good today” as he walked past.  Nowadays I’m so used to it that I just brush it off and carry on with my life, but why has cat-calling been normalised to the point where it’s something girls just come to expect?  

I shouldn’t have to be worried about wearing a skirt or shorts in boiling hot weather, because of what random strangers that walk/drive past me might think.  I’m a young girl who has been warned all her life about rape and kidnapping so beeping at me and yelling slurs as I’m standing alone on a street is not going to make me want you at all, it’s gonna make me do the complete opposite.

I just don’t understand the intent behind it… if you’re driving past me, beeping at me in your car do you expect me to run after you and confess my love for you?  I can’t speak for all women, but I don’t see it as a compliment, I see it as you making me uncomfortable, and at the end of the day it’s a form of harassment and it’s not okay.  Do you think you’re flattering me?  You’re not.  Stop it.  Seriously.

Next time you feel like yelling at a girl or showing your interest as your drive past, keep it to yourself.  If you truly think that this complete stranger walking past you may be the love of your life, write her a love letter, pine after her from afar, preach to your friends about her intense beauty… but don’t cat-call, it’s tacky and I guarantee you it won’t work in your favour.

What are your thoughts on catcalling?  Got any reasons as to why people do it, or want to share your own personal experience?  I would love to hear it in the comments!

Lots of love,

Jas xx

 

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Alone… Not Lonely

I like being alone.

Don’t get me wrong, I also love socialising; I love hanging out with my friends and my family and my boyfriend, but I really enjoy alone time.  

A while ago I got told by one of my Uni flatmates “You have the same hours as me but you mainly stay in your room during the day” – a fair comment but said with an air of criticism.  Yeah, it’s not a lie that during that day during Uni I may spend a lot of time in my room alone but that’s usually because I’m either working, napping or I just want some time to myself, I shouldn’t need an excuse for that.  

I’m not exactly a hermit… at University I rarely spend a day without popping upstairs to visit my friends, even if it’s just to lie on their sofas and watch TV with them, and if people ask me to come hang out with them, I will probably be willing, but I’m not one of those people that wants to be around others 24/7.  I mean, I definitely have days where this is the case and I surround myself with people all the time but I’ve always been pretty independent and I’m happy in my own company.  The truth is, sometimes you really can’t beat a day being locked in your room alone, whether that’s to do school work or blog or just lie in my bed binge watching Netflix, but that doesn’t make me lonely or friendless or anti-social.  

I’m not stand-offish (at least I think I’m not…) and I have a very solid group of friends as well as a pretty stable relationship.  I talk to people on a daily basis and I hang out with people very regularly.  I’m not one of those people that spends the majority of her time locked alone in her room and has not seen a real life tree in years, I never have been that person, I just like my time to myself.  With social media enhancing the beauty of everyone’s social lives (see rant hereit seems like alone time is shunned and associated with being lonely or anti-social (or people assume that you have nobody to hang out with).  However, there’s nothing wrong with spending time by yourself, if you need it take it.  I like time to myself, and I refuse to apologise for it.

Do you like spending time alone, and if so what do you do with your alone time?  Feel free to share all of your opinions on this (even if they’re super different) in the comments!

Lots of love,

Jas xx

 

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Time

I feel like now that I’m in Uni I can really feel myself moving towards adulthood, and in short… it terrifies me.

You see, the older I get the more I realise how quickly time seems to be passing; I feel like 2017 just started and yet here we are, mid April, 4 months into the year.  I’m studying and socialising but sometimes I feel like I get stuck in ruts where I just move, lifelessly from day to day and let my life move on without fully basking in the moment.  You see, whenever people used to tell me “You’re only young once” I just kind of brushed it off, but here I am, almost in my twenties, a mere few years away from having to dive into the world of work… a world I’ll then be in til retirement.

I have 3, possibly 2 summer holidays left in my lifetime… Limited years left before people stop excusing my mistakes because “I couldn’t know any better”, and, (although I know my parents will always be there for me), only a few years before relying on them is no longer socially acceptable.  I hear about people my age moving in with their partners or already being in the world of work and at first I’m like “What? They’re too young!”, but in reality they really aren’t… we’re adults now.  It’s just so weird thinking that the people I used to consider fully grown adults were the age that I am now… still a big child.

My biggest fear has always been death, but at the moment time is becoming a real contender.  I’m so scared of squandering these few years of childhood that I have left.  At the moment I crave adventure: I want to travel the world, have new experiences that excite me, do crazy, silly, spontaneous things with no regret, before I have a career and (even more) bills tying me down.

One of the quotes that’s really been resonating with me recently is:

“In life, you regret the things you didn’t do, rather than the things that you did.”

And honestly, I really believe that.  I’m so desperate to take chances and make memories and live as many days to the full as I can.  If I have a dream, I want to see if I can achieve it, instead of looking back on it one day with regret.

Hey, nothing like the impending feeling of death and ageing to motivate you…

Hope you enjoyed this small quarter life crisis haha, just something that’s been floating around my mind recently.  Have you ever felt like this/have your own opinions on time?  Would love to hear them in the comments!

Lots of love,

Jas xx

 

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Project 2017 | Why I’ll Never Be Perfect

I am 5″3/4, can be wildly unorganised, if I don’t leave my house (or have people round) odds are I probably won’t shower, and I’m far from average on a loooot of things (height, weight and sporting ability to name a few).  I’m never going to be perfect, or even close to perfect, and that’s okay.  

I’ve written posts on insecurity and body confidence and detailed my issues with body image on this blog, but I think a lot of these issues stemmed from the fact that I grew up being a massive perfectionist.  

I feel like the majority of us are brought up, whether it be through school or family (mostly school in my case) believing in this idea of perfection; aiming for the perfect 100% in tests and perfect attendance (I never even came close), and handwriting and presentation.  Once the idea of perfection is in your head, it ends up being something you believe exists in everyday life… I wanted the perfect body, the perfect personality, the perfect clothes, the perfect hair and it slowly drove me to some very dangerous places mentally.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to be the best you can be, but that’s the thing, it’s got to be the best YOU, personally, can be.  Every single one of us is different and we’re all given different strengths and weaknesses.  Some are lucky to find these very early on in life, and some find it way into their later years, it’s all very relative.  I’m never going to be the skinniest or the prettiest, or the image I see in my head as “perfect”, but that’s okay.  What I am going to be is braver, and more determined and more in tune with myself, and what I need in life.

It’s so easy to feel like you’re underachieving and not good at anything, but when that happens we need to focus on the positives.  Find the things that you are good at, focus on what you’re doing well.  Set yourself vague, achievable but still challenging goals like “focusing on yourself” or “conquering a fear”.

I’m not perfect.  I’m never going to be.  None of us are, and that’s okay.  However, we can work hard to be the best versions of ourselves, and if you ask me that’s way more important.

Hope you enjoyed my mindless rambling… I’m quite liking writing posts like this at the moment.  Feel free to engage in discussion in the comments!

Lots of love,

Jas xx

 

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The Truth About Uni | Finance

It’s been 2 Sundays since the last edition, so it’s time for the third instalment of the Truth About Uni Collab I’m doing with a bunch of other student bloggers, revealing our open and honest opinions about different aspects of University.  This week is a topic I’m ready to have a bit of a rant about: Student Finance.

Compared to some places like the USA, England actually has a pretty good student finance system.  The government pays for each year of Uni for you (£9000-9250… yeah the prices rose this year so that was… great), and you get a little bit of extra money to live off of (for food, accommodation, etc), paid to you in termly instalments.  Yes, this money is all essentially a loan, but it’s paid back a little bit like a tax: taken out of your pay-cheque before the money even reaches you, only after you start making over £21,000 a year, then all is erased after 30 years.

I understand that to some this may seem lenient and great, and don’t get me wrong I’m not taking it for granted, however there is still a lot wrong with the system, so I thought I’d go into it.  Some may be particular to me or people in similar situations to me, and some are general for anyone going to Uni.  So without further ado, here are my issues with the student loan:

The Cost of University

Yes, £9000 is a lot of money, but I was initially understanding given the amount of buildings and maintenance you have to do and the fact Uni of Bristol’s libraries don’t do late fees.  However, when you consider how much time I actually spend at Uni, it’s kind of ridiculous.  As a humanities student (read more about my course here) I have 7-9 hours a week, and these only take place 22 weeks of the year.  That means I’m essentially spending £9000 for 176 hours of teaching, which works out to £51.13 per lecture/seminar.  Though some of my lecturers are amazing and I learn so much, some of them are… less useful and I most certainly wouldn’t willingly pay £51.13 for them.

I’m in no way bashing my Uni or its hours here – I think that the hours I have are well suited to the hours of extra work I have to do.  However, in the 3 years I attend University I will have racked up £18,000 of debt on University fees alone, which when I really think about it is ridiculously expensive for something that schools push on teenagers with the message that its vital for a good future.  Surely something that is so vital to life shouldn’t be given such an expensive price tag?  Is that not a basic form of extortion?  Starting this year, Uni’s can now raise their fees to £9250 a year, because the Government believe that the more we pay, the better the quality of teaching will be…  Perhaps the less you charged, the better the morality of the students would be… but hey this is just one persons opinion.

The Maintenance “Loan”

A few years ago, the money used to be a grant, meaning that you didn’t have to pay it back.  In my opinion this makes a lot more sense; we’re Uni students, we’re supposed to spend our time focusing on building our futures instead of earning money, and most of us live away from our parents, therefore we don’t really have the time or means to cover our living costs.  However, being the lovely people that they are, the government have now made the maintenance grant a loan instead, adding to the amount of money we all have to try and pay back once we’re in the working world.

The Criteria for the Maintenance Loan

This has to be the one that irritates me the most.  You see the amount you get for living costs is judged based on your parents collective annual income.  I understand where they’re coming from with this, but I feel like they need to further examine the criteria/how much they give.

You see, I wouldn’t class my family as poor at all; my parents make enough to ensure that we all live comfortably, however they are in no way rich enough to may my way through University… and yet I apparently fall into the highest bracket, meaning that I get the smallest maintenance loan that they give.  This loan is supposed to cover my rent and give me money for food and books, but the money I receive covers just over half of the rent for my accommodation.  If I had to rely solely on this money I wouldn’t be able to live, and yes, my parents are helping me cover the rent because they have no other choice, but they’ve had to do some serious saving and moving things around to be able to help me out.

I should not be judged based on my parents income.  I know people with parents that are paying for their rent and letting them use their loan for food and supplies as well, and yet they receive more a good £4000 more than I do with their loan.  If you ask me, this does not seem like a fair system at all?  My parents annual income is not a reflection of my financial situation, and it really irritates me how this part of the system is run.

So, there you go, these are my (somewhat angry, I know) thoughts on the current Student Finance system.  Like I said (briefly), it does have its benefits, but hey at the end of the day I’m gonna be left with a mountain of debt, so I reckon I have the right to point out the downsides of the system.

Tell me your opinions in the comments, I’m happy to engage in some friendly debate! and check out the stories about Becky, Kate, Tori, Sophie, Saffron, Anna and Jen and their experiences of Student Finance!

Lots of love,

Jas xx

 

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Living in the Moment (and a Social Media Rant)

So (though it may not seem like it because I had a post scheduled for Tuesday) I took a little break from blogging this week… My brain was feeling a little overworked and I’m home for the holidays so I wanted to spend a little time focusing on having fun with my friends and spending less time on my computer (and social media, believe it or not).  Nevertheless I’m back and feeling a lot less blocked, brain wise, however the break really got me thinking about what it really means to “live in the moment”. 

You see, I’m a lover of taking pictures wherever I go.  I have a fear of losing the memories I make and every picture I take is a little frozen reminder of what I’ve been up to.  I have countless snapchats and selfies and pictures stuck up on my Uni wall or in my scrapbook to remember these years as they whizz past… However, I feel like if you spend too much time seeing life through your lens you detach yourself from what’s actually going on around you.  

Don’t get me wrong, I love taking pictures and I will continue to take pictures because they end up being priceless momentos, but I see people do nothing but take selfies and concentrate so hard on showing others that they’re having a good time that they end up missing out on the good time they could be having.  It’s so easy to look at someones picture on snapchat, Instagram or Facebook and feel like you’re missing out on something spectacular, trust me I’ve been there, but the reality is Social Media is essentially each persons highlight reel.  You see their good times, their plastered smiles and their social gatherings… You rarely see them dressed as a slob, un-showered, sitting around their house doing nothing.

We spend so much time fixating on social media profiles, feeling inferior because we’re not as well-dressed or we don’t have as many friends or get as many likes but it’s all essentially a facade.  Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with Social Media, I love posting fun times with my friends or carefully taken selfies to Instagram, but at the end of the day, the pictures I post have been carefully selected out of hundreds, taken with good lighting and angles and filters.  Yes, I can look back at them and draw on specific moments in my life and smile but that doesn’t make my life any better or worse than anyone elses.  Everybody has these moments, but no ones online profile is an accurate reflection of their whole life.  And we all need to remember that.

I’m not gonna stop taking pictures (and occasionally posting them online), and I’m not saying others should either, but if you’re taking selfies every moment you’re gonna miss out on actually having fun.  Capture memories, but remember to make them too.

I feel like my posts have been quite rambley recently, sorry!  But hey, word vomit ensues when I speak from the heart… Hope you enjoyed it, I should be back to posting Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays!

Lots of love,

Jas xx

 

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My Food Mentality | My 4 Favourite (Healthy) Summer Snacks

Snacking seems to often be portrayed as a bad thing… when people try to lose weight one of the first things they try to cut out is snacking.  But honestly, snacking isn’t a bad thing at all!  I’ve been trying really hard to listen to my body recently; eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full, and yes, sometimes this will mean that I need to snack.  So, instead of seeing snacking as something super evil, maybe look at what you’re snacking on, because this is what makes the real difference.

You see, saying snacking is bad is like saying eating food is bad.  The action itself is fine, it’s what you fill it with is the problem.  I’m not saying fill your snacks with fruit and veg constantly… nothing is wrong with the occasional chocolate bar or packet of crisps, but because of the way that I’m trying to eat now, I’m trying to work on balancing everything, including my snacks.  So here are some of my favourites at the moment:

1) Apples and Peanut Butter

I went through a stage of eating this all the time when I was a little younger, and it will always be a favourite.  It’s pretty self-explanatory: slice an apple, spoon some peanut butter into a bowl (Or just dip straight from the jar… I don’t judge) and then get dipping.  This is a pretty good one because:

  • Apples contain 1 of your 5 a day
  • Peanut butter, whilst sometimes considered fatty, contains more unsaturated fat (the “good fats”) than saturated fat (the “bad fats”)

2) Anything Dipped in Hummus

It’s safe to say I have a bit of a secret love affair with hummus… And honestly it probably gets me eating a lot more vegetables than I would usually, because veg seems to taste better dipped in hummus.  I’ll usually chop up a carrot or some cucumber (or both) into sticks and go crazy.  If you are a true culinary goddess you’ll probably make your own hummus… But I am a poor Uni student with basic culinary equipment so I tend to buy the reduced fat hummus from Tesco.  This snack is good because:

  • You work in vegetables while also having them taste extra good (1 of your 5 a day again)
  • Research shows that hummus as a snack can curb your appetite and in doing so prevent overeating

3) Frozen Grapes

Okay if you have never had frozen grapes run to your freezer and shove a bunch of them in there right now!  I usually go with the black grapes (my favourite), so I’ll just buy a bunch, wash them and take them off of the stems, and then fill a container/plastic sealed bag with the loose grapes and stick them in the freezer.  This is one of my favourite summer snacks because:

  • They’re cool and refreshing
  • They taste like candy
  • Fruit again, so 1 of your 5 a day
  • Grapes are high in water content, so keep you hydrated in hotter months
  • They’re full of anti-oxidants which may help to prevent cancer and reduce risk of heart disease (research on that can be found here)

4) Alpen Light Bars

These are great when I want something sweet but I’m not craving fruit.  They’re tasty, light but filling, and easy to throw in your bag before you head out.  My favourites are the summer fruit ones, as the berries make me feel ready for summer (which I guess is the point).  I know that cereal bars are frequently chastised for their hidden sugars, but Alpen light bars are different:

  • They only have 60-70 calories
  • Contain only 0.7 grams of fat
  • And with 3.4 grams of sugar, they have one of the lowest sugar contents out there in a cereal bar

I stand by all of the snacks I’ve mentioned above, and they’re all ones I eat regularly in the summer, so I hope they’ve helped.  Remember that snacking doesn’t have to be a bad thing, just watch what you snack on occasionally.

Tell me if you try any, or if you have any that you think that I should try!

Lots of love,

Jas xx

 

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Relationships… The Be-All-End-All?

I feel like there’s too much emphasis on relationships nowadays… If you’re not in one you’re met with pity, or expected to be actively looking for one, or have a valid excuse of why you’re not.  I don’t understand why no one seems to believe that people can be both single and happy.

I’ve gone through periods of being single, and I’ve gone through periods of being in a relationship and I’ve had periods of both insane happiness and intense sadness in both… believe it or not my relationship status does not drastically impact my mood.  People tend to assume that if you’re not with someone else you don’t have love in your life, or a shoulder to cry on, but the truth is I’m lucky to always have love in my life, whether I’m in a relationship or not.  

I happen to have amazing family and friends and enough self-love to be okay if I’m feeling insecure.  I have people to go to if I need support or someone to hang out with love exists in many forms and relationships are not the only type, in fact up until you find “the one” or whatever, they’re probably the most temporary type.  I feel like as a society we’re so quick to single shame and I’m really sick of it.

Don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely nothing against relationships (I’d be a total hypocrite if I did, I’m in one right now) but they’re not the be-all-end-all that everyone makes them out to be.  If you find someone you love who can offer mutual support and trust and you want to be together, then great that’s amazing, but don’t think that someone can’t feel just as amazing as you because they don’t have that.  It’s like kids believing they’re happier than other kids because they have more toys… That’s not how life works.  

Apologies if this was quite short, just needed to get a rant off of my chest.  Hope you guys are doing great, whatever your relationship status may be, and feel free to share your opinions in the comments!

Lots of love,

Jas xx

 

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The Uniquely Me Tag…

So today I’m back with another Tag Post, but this one is another one that I was really excited to do (I feel like the last 3 tags I’ve done have been right up my street!) This tag is a brand new one started by the amazing Elm from Just Call Me Elm or Something… She’s essentially blogging royalty and one of the first blogs I followed on here so having her tag me in something was both insanely surprising and gratifying (thanks Elm!).  

Elm invented this tag in the midst of a personality crisis, as an attempt to remind herself that there is definitely something interesting about her… we all have something interesting about us, even if we don’t feel it.  The rules of this cute little tag are as follows:

1. Thank the person that nominated you for this tag and link to their blog (spread the love, basically).
2. Write as many things that are unique to you as possible: these can be things that you do, say, like or have that make you different to other people or let you stand out. It can be what defines you as a person, a little thing about you that is just simply you or something little known that you think makes you up as a person.
3. Nominate up to 10 bloggers or as many as you like; there isn’t a limit.
4. You can take this tag as seriously or non-seriously as you like; you can laugh whilst doing it or feel contemplative: this is about you, after all.
5. After you’ve written this and if you ever feel like there’s nothing to you but what other people have already said and done, look back to your post and remember that it isn’t true.

So, I am unique because…

  • I have a scar on my left eyebrow from a bicycle injury when I was 7
  • I have a tendency to cry when I laugh… I get (playfully) mocked for it incessantly
  • I have Achilles Tendinopathy – an ankle condition common in men or people over 30… I am neither and yet here I am
  • I was potty-trained at 11 months old because we visited my Uncle in St Lucia and I ran around with his 9 dogs pretending I was one of them and learnt to pee when they did…
  • I can recite the alphabet backwards because I was a weird child and I got bored of singing it the right way round
  • I have a massive problem with fidgeting – I can’t watch a movie or TV show without simultaneously doing something else like doodling or typing or playing on my phone
  • play 3 (ish) instruments – piano, guitar and singing (yes I’m counting voice as an instrument because music GCSE did so I’m going with that)
  • I’ve been to 5 schools which yeah is a lot but hey made life interesting…

And that’s all I can think of for now!  This was actually really fun to do and reminded me that there are some things about me that may be a little different so thanks again Elm!  I hope you guys enjoyed learning a little bit about me too…

This is a great tag for anyone who’s having doubts about themselves, and honestly Elm did a really amazing job with it, so I’m going to tag:

These girls are all amazing bloggers and I can’t wait to see what they do with this tag!  If anybody else reads this and wants to do it, I invite you to do it too!

Hope you enjoyed reading this at least half as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Lots of love,

Jas xx

My Summer Bucket List (Collab)

Yes I am aware it’s not summer yet but I feel like as soon as the sun comes up I start thinking about summer and how cool I can make it.  It’s time for cuter clothes and jacket wearing (man I love jackets… coats are just too much) and time to fill time with memories.  

I was greatly inspired to do this by Eventbrites GOMO campaign, promoting Going Out More Often and spending your money on good times instead of material things and honestly, I thought it was a pretty great campaign!  According to research, around 78% of people would rather spend their money on experiences instead of things, and I can see why… Some of my best memories are times when I’m hanging out with my friends or family, whether that be going to an event or hanging out at somebodies house.  When I look back at last summer I can’t remember the things I bought, but I can remember the good times I had, so maybe events really are a better use of my money…

For the last few years I’ve been making lists of things I want to do during the summer to make sure I make the most of it, and they’ve actually really been helping, so this year, in collaboration with Eventbrite’s GOMO campaign, I thought I’d share my bucket list online with you guys…

(1) Go on holiday with friends

Last year was the first time I ever went on holiday with my friends (Outside of school trips) and I had a truly amazing time, so I’d love to repeat it.  In fact, as I’m writing this I’ve just booked a holiday with my friends for July, so this is one thing that’s definitely coming true!  With the availability of hostels and cheap airlines, holiday’s are becoming more accessible if you’re willing to save and compromise.

(2) Go to some sort of festival/concert

Last year my friend invited me to go to the Summer Time ball with them and I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would… It had been a while since I’d been to a concert and it reminded me of my love for live music – it’s such a different experience to blasting it through my headphones.  I don’t quite think I quite have the camping spirit for anything like Reading yet, but I’d love to see something live…

(3) Do something that scares me

I’m aware this is incredibly vague but oh well, I have no idea what I want that something to be yet, deal with it.  I’m one of those people that gets bored and stuck in a rut very easily… I like to be challenged and I want to grow so doing something that scares me would be great.  No, that doesn’t have to be skydiving or anything… Just something small that tests me… baby steps.

(4) Go on a Staycation

I already mentioned that I’m going abroad, but I feel like I haven’t explored the country I live in enough yet.  I’d love to pick a random city in England and go for a weekend away in a fancy hotel and visit its sites… I don’t know, maybe they have one of those quirky restaurants you see in Facebook videos that are unique to one specific place…

(5) Explore London

Similar to the previous one, but even more shameful because as a Londoner, there is still so much of London that I haven’t seen yet.  Whether it’s through specific events, visiting specific restaurants, or literally just taking trains and wondering round with my friends, I’d love to see what the city I live in has to offer.

Aaaaaand that’s all I’ve got right now (give me time, it’s not quite summer yet!) but for the past 3 years that I’ve done this, it’s made my summer more focused and allowed me to have more experiences.  Last summer was pretty amazing and is going to be very hard to top, but hey, I like challenges so I’m willing to give it a try 😉

I invite you all to make your own bucket lists, and maybe even share your biggest goals for the summer in the comments, I’d love to hear them!  Eventbrite have a (free!) event management page in which you can organise and manage events with your friends or family, so check it out to manage your summer and allow for even more memories!

Here’s hoping we all have amazing summers, I’d love to hear what you plan to get up to!

Lots of love,

Jas xx

 

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