Monday, 24 August 2015

Motivational Monday - No Zero Days

Hey guys! I've been feeling really uninspired recently, which could be the reason for my mediocre blog posts, but hopefully I can fix things... 

We all have a dream, right? You want to get something out of your life, after putting in a lot of effort. That's the way it works. So here's the plan:

Everyday, do something that will get you one step closer to your goal, or seeing your dream as a reality. Even if it's a tiny thing, I promise you it will help you. I know there will be days when things don't work out, and maybe you can't play that song you almost always ace on guitar, or you can't find the words for your blog post. I also know that other days, you will be able to play everything perfectly and will be able to write five awesome posts. That's the way it is.

My dad explains it as, you will improve constantly, until you reach a certain point, and then you will plateau. This is where you feel totally uninspired and just meh. The way it is with me is, I don't feel like doing anything except lying on the sofa and reading books or watching movies. But if you keep at it, and try to do your thing every day, you will get better at it. Suddenly you'll be able to do the thing, and it's like "holy crap how did this happen!!??" It's the way it is. I've read somewhere that it's the same in skateboarding - sometimes you land the trick, and sometimes you end up with gravel in your chin. (I'm thinking of taking up skating, in case you were wondering...) 

I saw a photo on Instagram which explained this a lot better than I can, but basically, it told you to not have "zero days".  A "zero day" is a day when you do nothing to help you achieve your dream. So, I want you to do something everyday. Practice piano scales. Sketch. Paint. Do your mum's hair. Whatever it is, make sure it helps you to get one step closer to your dream or goal. Some days it will suck, and, quite honestly, you will be terrible, but that is how you improve. So don't give up when you can't do something, stick at it, and be the best. Climb the pyramid of people who are better than you and reach the top. Be the best. Stick at it.
Have no zero days. 

Best of luck with everything, guys. My next post will be Wednesday. 

If this helped you, or inspired you in any way, please feel free to comment, or share this with your friends. It would be pretty cool if you commented what you're going to do everyday to achieve your dream, I'd love to know!

Bye for now!!
- Dottie. 

Friday, 21 August 2015

You Are NOT Your Grades.

You are not your grades. You are not a letter on a piece of paper. You are not a percentage, or a score. You are a human being. A person. An individual. You are one person in literally millions, and you do not have to conform to the life that is school, university, work, retire, die. You are in control of your life and you should not be held back by something as trivial as your grades. You will be told that these grades are essential for your future, to ensure your "success", but what really is success? It is a point each individual person reaches and they feel they have done the best possible. So surely, if succeeding is different for each individual person, your grades are not always going to be responsible for success? 

We are brought up in a society that tells you that being intelligent is beautiful, then shames you for getting good grades. We are told that it doesn't matter what grades you get, then you are denied places at "better" learning institutions if you flunk an exam, because we may lower their results overall. We are forced to remember and recall and apply information that we have learned over two years ago, and if we are unable to do so, we are deemed "unintelligent". The education system is flawed. Each and every year, students develop anxiety or have high levels of stress because obscene amounts of pressure are put upon them because they may not flourish in an academic environment. 

So much emphasis is put on achieving top grades and going to university to work up thousands of pounds in debt. In school we are encouraged to do "creative" subjects, then denied our creativity because we must do whatever we can to get more marks and a higher grade. 

School work really got me down in New Year, I really struggled and felt that I was under a lot of pressure to excel... Then I realised... It doesn't matter. It literally did not matter whether I got all A*s or all Cs, or any combination in between, as long as I passed English, Maths and three other subjects. It didn't matter,as I would get a place at my college of choice. 

So why did I care? I had to (I'm using past tense, since my results day was yesterday) conform to who I was at school... Well, not had to, but felt as though I had to. I was more worried about not doing as well as expected, than I was about finding out my results, because I had a place in the hierarchy of my school, and that place was nerd. Smart kid. Whatever you call it. 

The education system is flawed and teenagers are being pushed past breaking point. In the UK, they're talking about making GCSE exams even more difficult, which I think is a terrible idea... So many people struggled this year. It is wrong to put so much pressure on young people. 

Not everyone is academic, we all excel at different things, and this is never accounted for when sitting exams. Some people may never be able to pass English or Maths, but they could be amazing at cutting hair or painting or composing music. 

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid." - Albert Einstein (apparently). 

Okay, so I was inspired to write this blog by this video here: 
You should probably watch it, because Carissa explains everything better than I do. 

So basically, what I'm saying here is, don't let yourself become a letter on a page or a score on a test. You are what you love (as Fall Out Boy would say!) and you are your quirks and everything that makes you you. Your grades do not define who you are, you define who you are. 

- Dottie.  

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

How to Fall Asleep...

I don't know about you guys, but whenever I go back to school after a holiday, it takes me forever to fall asleep, and I never stay asleep. Recently, I've discovered a way that works (for me), and I can fall asleep, and stay asleep for around 8 hours, which is good!!

Step 1: Get ready for bed early. 

This works because you aren't rushing around, trying to wash and dry your hair ten minutes before you need to be asleep, and actually the process of getting ready for bed is really relaxing. I usually shower in the evenings, which is super nice, because I feel clean and relaxed before I sleep. 

Step 2: Have something to drink.
I'm not talking alcohol here, I'm talking a hot drink like tea or hot chocolate. Try not to drink anything with caffeine in, because it will keep you awake. 

Step 3: Chill out. 
I usually watch YouTube videos for a little while before I go to sleep, while I drink my hot chocolate, and I talk to friends or scroll through social media. I usually curl up in bed while I do this, because I get cold, but it makes it harder to get up again... 

Step 4: Bathroom!
We've all been there; you get comfy in bed and realise... you need to pee. Solve this problem by peeing before you sleep.. I usually also brush my teeth right before I sleep. 

Step 5: Read!
It has been suggested that using your phone, a laptop or tablet before you sleep makes it more difficult to sleep. This is because the light emitted by the screens, called "blue light" stimulates your brain, and keeps it from relaxing for longer. It is advised that you put down your phone 20 minutes before you sleep. 
So, I usually get back into bed and read a chapter of my book. I'm currently reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, so it takes ages to read a chapter... It definitely helps me to fall asleep though, because if I don't read, it takes me ages to fall asleep, and I end up getting annoyed at myself because I need to be asleep... Also, reading is good for making you intelligent, and it's really relaxing... 

Step 6: Listen to music. 
So, you've read a chapter of your book, you're nice and sleepy, and ready to turn the light out. My advice to you would be to put on a quiet album and listen as you fall asleep. Most iPods or iPhones have a 'sleep mode' option, on the timer, which stops playing music after a set amount of time. I use my iPod dock, cause it has a sleep mode that fades the music and dims the light of the clock. 
The album that I've been listening to recently is Jack Cookson's Revolt & Resolve, which can be found on Soundcloud here. I totally advise you to check it out, it's so relaxing and beautifully crafted. The album artwork is on the left... Yes, I got a physical copy. 
I find that falling asleep while listening to music helps you to fall asleep because you aren't thinking of trying to fall asleep, you're listening to the lyrics and the music... I just find that I fall asleep when I'm thinking of something else, so there's that... 

One final tip would be to try and fall asleep and wake up around the same time each night, because this helps to keep your sleep pattern constant, and helps you to stay asleep. I fall asleep around midnight and wake up between 9 and 10AM. Sometimes I'll wake up around 5AM, but I fall asleep pretty quickly. 

So there we are, how to fall asleep. 

I hope this helped in some way, I know going back to school sucks, and it's even worse when you're tired.
Until next time!
- Dottie. 

Monday, 17 August 2015

Guest Blog - Tips and Tricks: How to Communicate With a Dottie (by Chicken Nugget)

Hello! Yes, I am the Emma that Dottie talks about. As we are friends in real life, I know the real Dottie. And now, I will expose her deepest, darkest secrets and teach you how to communicate with a Dottie.

Before I start, I bet you are wondering how we met. It began at the start of secondary school. There I was, with my friends and then I looked over and saw this shy girl sat alone on the circular bench so I went over and said hi. This girl was very shy and I don't think she even looked me in the eye. Then we became friends. Yes, this shy girl was Dottie. Over the school years I moved around friendship groups, I couldn't find a place where I fit in. I talked to Dottie on kik messenger. And that was it. Wed known each other for about 3 years before and finally, we were best friends. I don't think we have been separated since.

And now, How to communicate with a Dottie:

Approaching a Dottie:

Dotties are shy creatures. Approach cautiously and slowly for they could flee. Be quiet and gentle. Talk quietly and gain their interest. Choose a topic that a Dottie would like.

Understanding a Dotties character:

This is key to be friends with a Dottie. If you do not understand and accept them as they are, they will not be themselves with you. Dotties like black. Maybe you could give them something black to gain trust. Dottie's also like punk-pop boy bands, this would be a suitable topic to entice them.

Becoming friends with a Dottie:

Once Dotties trust you, they will open up to you. They will tell you their interests, such as their love of bands but this is just the start. You can now begin to introduce them to new things, your interests. Dotties are very curious creatures and will take an interest no matter what it is. If they like it, you will have more in common. Dottie's are very understanding creatures who care a lot and once friendship has been made, they start to protect you.

Warning signs of a Dottie:

Do not approach if a Dottie is playing with its hair. This means they are feeling insecure and do not want to be approached!
Do not make eye contact with a Dottie whilst they are eating! They do not like this and become nervous or stressed in this situation.
Be warned when you get in the way of a Dottie. You will most likely make it angry and it may swear at you.
Walk a safe distance next to a Dottie. Dotties can sometimes loose complete balance and walk straight into you, nearly knocking you over. Walk close at your own risk!

Caring for a Dottie:

Dotties are very picky eaters. Here is what is recommended to feed a Dottie:
   Sausages (plain, no spices)
   White bread with jam
Dotties hate fruit or veg so this is not good to feed them.

Look after a Dottie. Dotties are sensitive, shy creatures. Do not leave a Dottie alone, they will not be happy.

I hope you have fun looking after your Dottie! They are great friends!

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this! It was so fun to write. If liked this please subscribe to my blog at .

Bye! x

Heres a little Lord of the Rings quote for you!

"One Ring to Rule Them All. One Ring to Find Them. One Ring to Bring Them All and In The Darkness Bind Them." 

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Let's Talk...

"13/08/2015 - Today I am exhausted... Whether its due to my late nights and the concert, or because I've done what feels like so much recently, I just don't know..." 

This is a tiny part of what I wrote in my journal on Thursday, there's more, but I was too tired and it makes no sense. It's how I've been feeling lately, despite getting around nine hours' sleep each night. This isn't a depressed kind of tired, I think it's more of an "I've seen so many people" kind of tired.. 

In the past few weeks, I've been shopping, twice, hung out with my friends a fair few times, been to a band rehearsal and been to a concert.. It may not seem like much, but I'm out of practice, so it's a lot.. I'm definitely not complaining about this, as I've really enjoyed it all so much, but I am really exhausted.. Maybe it's a sign of introversion, or (unlikely) social anxiety.. 

Then there is the band thing.. We've only hung out a couple of times, but I don't know.. As much as I love playing music, I don't think this band is the right one for me.. My music taste is starting to change a little, and I like mellower stuff at the moment.. I don't really enjoy hanging out with my band, I don't know the guys very well, and my music taste is very different to theirs.. I am thinking of quitting, but I'd feel bad, because the singer has already bailed on us, and I don't really know what I'd tell them.. It's just too much for me at the moment.. I have to learn to play songs I either don't like or have never heard of, and spend time with people I barely know.. Not fun.. I just don't know what to tell them... 

Lastly, I am worried about dying my hair.. As pathetic as that sounds, its true.. I feel as though I'm finally starting to like myself the way I am, and now I'm going to dye my hair dark purple and cut it short.. What if I don't like it? What if people at college don't like it? What if they don't like me? I don't know.. 

I wrote this impromptu post because Emma has mentioned a few times that I don't really say how I'm feeling.. So here it is... 

- Dottie.  

Friday, 14 August 2015

Ain't No Party Like a Ska Party!!

Hey guys!!

So this week, I saw Less Than Jake, a ska-punk band from America.. And it was awesome!! Before I continue this post, I want y'all to watch this video, to see how awesome ska shows are!! 

This is from their 2015 USA tour, but it was like this on both of their UK tours this year.. Basically, drinking, dancing, circle pits, balloons, toilet paper/streamer cannons.. So much energy.. 

I don't really remember much of the night (I wasn't drunk, just I don't remember..) but it was crazy fun, as it was when I saw them in March when they toured with Yellowcard.. 

I got to the barrier, because it was a small club show, and not many people watched the support bands, who were pretty awesome! I spoke a little to the girls stood either side of me, one of whom suggested I go to the bar to get earplugs, as she noticed me touching me ears.. I already had earplugs.. Also, she saved my place when I needed to go pee before Less Than Jake went on stage.. 

I'm not really sure what I want to talk about today, but ska music is really cool.. It's really different to the stuff that's on the radio, and it's so fun to dance to!! Usually the band members are half-drunk, which is always funny, and everyone there is really nice..

I've been lucky enough to see LTJ twice, Reel Big Fish once, and a couple of local ska bands, and it's always been great fun..  I guess now my advice would be to go see a ska band if you get the chance, because the music is kinda infectious.. You can't help but dance! 

Now I'm going to tell you that the venue was really nice!! There are two different rooms in the venue I went to, a small 'club' room, and a larger room.. I was in the club-style room, and while it was dark, the toilets were really nice (!!!!!! Never usually happens!!) and the layout of the room was pretty cool, although there was no air conditioning, since it was a large warehouse.. 

Any-whoo, I can't think of anything else to write about ska, so I'm gonna stop now..
- Dottie. 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

I'm Worried...

It is my results day a week tomorrow (20th). If you don't know what a results day us, it's where you go to school to collect the results of your exams. And I'm worried.

You know in school you have that one really smart kid that gets really good grades without really trying? Well, I don't want to brag, but I think that's me. I didn't think too much about revising for my exams until a week before my first exam.. So I didn't have nearly enough time to revise thoroughly for each of my twelve (!!!!) subjects, which I will list here, for anyone interested:
  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • Art and Design (Fine Art) 
  • French
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Maths
  • History
  • Geography
  • Religious Studies (RS/RE)
  • ICT
 I did my ICT exam in January, so I only had to revise for 11 subjects, but each one had more than one exam paper.. I sat 23 exam papers in a month and a half. It got to the point that I was revising for the exam, the night before the exam, right up until about 9 or 10 at night. I think it's fair to say that I was very stressed.. But I didn't let it beat me!! The worst week for me was when I had 8 exams, 4 of which were on the same day!! Although, I also did go to three gigs that week... Oops... I was exhausted after my exams finished. 

Anyway, I'm worried about results day because I feel as though everyone expects me to ace my exams, and get the top grades.. I don't think that will happen, because I didn't put enough work in, and kind of gave up and stopped caring.. Growing up, I've always been the smart, nerdy kid, and people have gotten used to that. So, I’m not worried about my grades, I’m confident that I’ve done enough to do my college course, but I’m worried about not living up to peoples’ expectations of me.

There is one girl in my school, who I won’t name, but she always seems to be very competitive about grades, she always seems to want to be the best. Anytime we did a mock exam, she’d ask me “Oh, what did you get Dot?” and always seem disappointed when I said something like “Oh, I got 47 out of 60, which is an A*”.. Like, I can’t help it.. So I’m concerned that people’s opinions of me will change because I won’t get the grades they expect me to..

I am also really worried about my English Literature grade, because in December we did mock exams, and I got a C. I think I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I didn’t have a proper English teacher anymore, which I think was the reason for my C, because finally my papers were marked properly, instead of me being told I was at an A*, when I wasn’t. But no one worked on those grades with us. My stand-in teacher tried to teach us about English Language, which we’d all done, and aced.. So all I can hope for is a pass grade for English..

Then there is Chemistry.. When I did papers 2 and 3, I could have cried. I struggled with them a lot and I rushed them because I thought everyone else had finished. Well done, me. I also didn't really revise for them. I actually forget how terrible these two papers were because I saw Hoobastank, P.O.D. and Alien Ant Farm (punk/rock bands from 2001) that evening, and had a lot of fun talking to a cute/possibly high guy who was in love with Alien Ant Farm and dancing and singing my heart out to Hoobastank.. ♥

But, I guess, I shouldn't be worried. I know that my exam results do not equal my worth and all that, but all of my life I've been taught that in order to get into uni I need good grades, I need good grades to get a good job.. But will that make me happy? 

It's why I'm doing music tech at college (UK, sixth form) in September.. I want to do something that I've never done before, something that, hopefully, I won't be naturally good at. For once in my life, I want to do something that I want to do, and that I'll enjoy, and something that I will learn and get better at. I want to put effort into something for once. And for that I am very excited! 

So, hopefully I'll have done well at my exams, and can start college.. And if not, I'll probably go to a festival and try to get a band to adopt me and be a roadie for them..

- Dottie. 

Friday, 7 August 2015

My Demeanour...

Hey guys!

So today I wanted to write about something that I've been trying not to write about, and that is myself.. Or rather, the way that I am... I tried to find a word for it, but couldn't.. I was thinking 'aesthetic' but I'm not sure...

I like vinyl records. I own over 100, and I don't listen to them very often, but I love the idea of owning them.. Like, I have loads of new (new to me) albums to listen to, if the internet goes down or something.. I love going to record stores, and CD stores, and browsing for hours.. I find it peaceful to flick through boxes of vinyl, and I have to resist the urge to buy the first pressing of Nirvana's 'Nevermind'. I like rock music. I like metal music. I like ska music.. Old music, new music.. I like adventure.. 

I love blogging, and finding new, controversial topics to write about.. I adore wearing band tees, and skinny jeans, yet I long to wear pretty tops and cute skirts.. I love going to gigs.. I love basically anything to do with music.. I don't like pop music.. It all sounds the same.. I love recording studios and sound desks.. I love stage set-up, guitars, amps.. I love guys in bands.. I like people with piercings, stretched ears and flippy hair.. I like getting piercings.. 

I'm excited to start college, and meet new people.. I'm excited to make a new reputation, not as the quiet, nerdy kid, but as myself.. The music-lover.. The guitarist.. I love playing guitar.. Reading books.. Sleeping.. Spending time with my friends.. 

I love makeup and skin care products.. I love black eyeliner.. Black nail varnish.. Black skinny jeans, black Converse, black Docs.. I love being creative, which is why I love my blog.. 

I love myself.. I love the fact that I can say that I love myself.. I like my personality.. I love being happy.. I love my friends.. Did I write that already? 

I tried to capture myself in this post.. I don't know how well it worked.. I'm sort of distracted by UB40.. 

Bye, guys!
- Dottie. 

Thursday, 6 August 2015

How To: Vanilla Cupcakes

Hey guys!! To celebrate the Great British Bake Off starting yesterday, I thought I would write a post about how I make vanilla cupcakes!! (Note: The image isn't a cupcake I've made.. They all got eaten before I could take a photo!)
Ingredients: (makes 24 cupcakes)
  • 8oz (225g) caster sugar
  • 8oz (225g) softened butter or margarine
  • 4 eggs (preferably free range because animal welfare and stuff!)
  • 8oz (225g) of self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence 
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 175°C. Place 24 muffin cases into your cupcake/muffin tins, or on a baking tray, I guess.. 
  2. Put the sugar and butter into a large mixing bowl and mix until smooth and creamy. (Make sure you get lots of air in during this stage and the next for extra-fluffy cupcakes!!)
  3. Add the egg one at a time. (I usually put them all in a separate bowl and beat them first, then add it gradually). If the mixture curdles, then add a little flour, and mix it in. 
  4. Fold in the flour and baking powder carefully. It's important not to mix too violently, as you don't want to knock out any of the air that you incorporated previously. Make sure all of the flour is incorporated, though!!
  5. Add the vanilla essence and gently stir it in.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the cases, making sure they all have an equal amount in. Put in the oven for 20 minutes, or until they are a golden colour, and cooked in the centre. 
Then you can decorate them!! I usually make buttercream by creaming together butter and icing sugar, with a little water, and decorate with sprinkles, but you could buy some icing, or do whatever! Have fun and be creative!!

If you make these cupcakes, I'd love to see them!! You could put a picture in the comments section, share this recipe on your blog with your own photo, or tweet me, @dottieg_123

Bye for now!!
- Dottie.