I was only just sixteen and I was lying on a blow up mattress in an unfamiliar place, in my bra. There was a middle-aged man hovering around above me taking pictures. And I was surrounded by rose petals. In fact, here’s a picture of it:

 

How awkward is that? You can see how my mouth is a little puckered – because I’m wearing braces. As I say, I’m wearing a bra, but I’d been asked to pull it down “quite low, please”, because otherwise the “straps will show in the shot”.

I remember feeling pleased with the pictures, thinking I looked quite pretty, and quickly forgot about them as I got on with my busy teenage life. Nothing ever came of them, after all. I also forgot about how awkward and uncomfortable I felt, trying to look confident and ‘sexy’ lying alone in the back room of a man I’d never met before, surrounded by chirpy pictures of his wife and kids. It’s not until I had a Facebook clear out recently that these pictures resurfaced and I realised just how creepy and inappropriate these images are. And I only have a couple of the images. He was clicking away for a very long time, directing my movements and position. Who knows where those pictures have ended up?

Now, this isn’t the worst thing that’s happened to anyone, not by a long shot. But thinking about it, it’s still pretty bad. I can’t believe it’s only just occurred to me how easy it is for predators like Weinstein to take advantage of young girls and women. If anything else had begun to happen, would I have been brave enough to say no? Thinking of how timid I was back then, I can’t say with full confidence that I would have been.

That makes me feel worse: like so what – I would have just let it happen? Well, yeah. I would have probably frozen with absolute shock. I was never a promiscuous girl, and would have been at school what the youts call ‘frigid’. In the picture, I had just got my first ‘proper’ boyfriend, and things were still very, erm, ‘proper’ on that front at the time.

Since the Weinstein scandal, there have been plenty of women who have been brave enough to speak. It’s eye-opening and shocking just to see how common this behaviour is – not just to women, but to men too.

It’s really got me thinking about my life and experiences. Unfortunately, more and more things keep popping into my head that at the time made me feel very uncomfortable, but I didn’t do anything about and just compartmentalised and shut in my head. I believe this is a perfect ‘why’ to the naysayers who are having a go at all the actresses coming out with allegations: “Well if it happened, why didn’t you say anything before?”

I’ve been cat-called and whooped at from men in vans since about the age of 13. I’ve been called an ugly slut and a bitch for turning down an unsolicited video of an older man masturbating. I’ve also been full-on grabbed by the crotch whilst coming down the stairs at a club VIP area. I didn’t say anything – I was wearing quite a short dress, so I was probably asking for it, right?

Recently, model Cameron Russell has been using her Instagram account to share stories of harassment in the modelling industry with her followers. Like me, many of the experiences she’s shared are to do with underage models or female photographic assistants being put in dangerous and/or uncomfortable situations with male photographers.

You can see the stories on Cameron’s IG here: https://www.instagram.com/cameronrussell/

The Weinstein allegations come nearly a year to the day after Donald Trump’s infamous “grab them by the pussy” video leaked; it was not enough to derail his presidential ambitions, but it inspired a million women to march.

I’m glad there is much less of a stigma around this, and people are speaking out. I feel like sexual assault and inappropriate behaviour is going the same way as mental health: if we all stand together and talk about it, it’s much less scary.

As you know, I love a new shampoo, and I’ve been using Roots Double Effect Hair Growth Shampoo and Conditioner for a good couple of weeks now.

Roots is represented as a brand new hair-care range designed to help keep hair healthy and fight the impact of ageing for both men and women, and is launching in the UK from August 2017. Roots is the “first and only hair-care brand that helps prevent hair loss and increase hair growth whilst simultaneously addressing second, additional hair complaints such as dandruff, sensitive scalps and oily hair”.

Vegan friendly, paraben, sulphate and cruelty free, Roots allows you to “take charge of hair loss whilst ensuring that your hair’s needs are well looked after.”

I had my majorly long hair cut about three years ago and have loved the change – I won’t grow it that long again but I would like a LITTLE extra length – anything that can help me out is a bonus.

First impressions, both the shampoo and conditioner leave my hair feeling really clean which is always a plus. I have also been using the Intensive Spray for an extra boost too (it smells divine!). The first time after I washed my hair with the shampoo and conditioner, I let my hair air dry. This way, I could get a sense of how my hair felt after using the products, without any additional products in my hair. And I have to say, my hair did feel super soft!

In terms of hair growth, the product information for the conditioner is as follows:

– Hair growth conditioner that stimulates stronger, thicker hair growth, with active 1% Procapil

– Paraben free, sulphate free. Vegan friendly, cruelty free and naturally derived ingredients.

– 23% hair increase in males after 4 months of use. +55.1% hair increase in females after 4 months of use

The science behind, dermatologically tested Roots, is a unique formulation with the key ingredient Procapil, which has many proven benefits including rejuvenating and feeding the hair follicle to prevent hair loss for both men and women. I can’t say for definite if I’ve spotted any real extra hair growth yet – but I’ll keep you posted.

The only thing I found a bit annoying was how fiddly the lids are – the lid comes away completely from the product, with another smaller flip top lid inside. Because of this (and the size of the bottles) I found I was dropping lids all over the place when I used it.

Really nice amount of product for the price too. Give it a go!

The full range is available here.

I do love my job, but I’m not ashamed to say that I live for the weekend. I also bloody love a GIF. Is it pronounced GIF or JIF? GIF…yeah, I thought so.

Here’s my standard week in GIF format.

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

FRIDAY 

SATURDAY

SUNDAY MORNING

SUNDAY NIGHT

Literal life, yo.

This week, Badoo is inviting you to have a great Sunday with free cocktails, salty snacks and singles as spicy as Eva Mendes as they rekindle your romantic bones with Will Smith, Mr Love himself, in Hitch at their #NoDateNight event at Rooftop Film Club at the Bussey Building in Peckham.

It’s for singles on Sunday 6th August and it’s FREE.

So, singletons out there – come on! Summer’s nearly over and it’s time to find someone to cuddle up with on those long winter nights.

I’m going, too. The boy I’m going with is definitely NOT my boyfriend! He’s errr…my PA?

On Badoo you can not only search for a relationship, but also for friendships and counts with a pioneering face-mapping technology.

The company was founded in 2006 by Andrey Andreev and has become the world’s largest social discovery network. It has over 350 million users, 60 million active users monthly, 300,000 daily sign-ups, 600 million swipes and 6 million matches each day!

To get a ticket, sign up on the Badoo blog.

I joined the gym recently after years of avoiding it and thinking that hopping around the living room doing YouTube workouts was enough. I just turned 26 – and my naturally fairly lean body is starting to betray my horrendous habits of basically living off carbs and wine. It was time.

Truth be told, I was super nervous about going to the gym! I thought everyone would know that I was a total fitness n00b (which I am) and that I don’t know what I’m doing (which I don’t). My impending mid-late twenties pushed me over the edge though, and I signed up. And went. That was pretty much the hardest part – everything else just kind of gets normal after a while.

Here are my first impressions and tips on first joining the gym. I would really recommend it. I honestly thought I’d hate it and scoffed at people who work out on a hangover, or go to gym on a Saturday. I am now one of those people!

Choosing your outfit
Ooh honey, gone are the days of polyester shorts and P.E. pumps. It’s practically a fashion show at my gym. I thought long and hard about whether my lycra shorts I usually wear for pole were too much. Nope! I never thought I’d be one of those people who care about bloody activewear for fuck’s sake, but I’m finding I’m perusing Sweaty Betty and Lululemon more than Boohoo and Missguided at the moment! Although, wear whatever the hell you want. You’re there to impress yourself, not others.

What the fuck does that do?
Literally no idea what half the stuff does in the gym. There’s about 1,000 buttons to press, things to clip to other things, and who knew there was about 40 different types of weight shapes? Not me. Get yourself on a quick induction programme to be told how to use the equipment effectively (and safely!). Save yourself from being this woman.

Who are all these people?
Amongst the normals, i.e. me, there are some people there who are the equivalent to spotting a zebra in Ealing Broadway. Gym lore! I’ve heard about these types and was so pleased to find out they do actually exist!

Muscle Man – he looks like the ‘after’ photo for a protein supplement, with inSANE body-builder muscles that only he, and the girls on Love Island actually find attractive. He’s probably on Tinder.

Lipstick Lauren – oh man this girl! Her clothes say gym, but her face says nightclub. Often seen doing bicep curls with a cute weight, one hand on hip and facing a mirror, you know that her Insta is going to be full of ‘#sweaty’ sports bra pictures 2.5 seconds after leaving.

Grunty McGrunterson – we get it. You’re working hard. Like Maria Sharapova on the tennis court, Grunty makes himself heard with every rep. People looking over just makes him grunt louder. He also throws his weights on the floor afterwards and doesn’t put them back. Naughty.

Texter – a close relative of Lipstick Lauren, she spends an hour on the treadmill walking at 2.5mph. It’s too hard to navigate the touchscreen once your heart rate goes up.

Nude party fun
Lots of naked people about! Usually ones of your sex, but still. Get used to it ma man.

It’s harder than it looks…but it feels great
The first thing I was told on joining was to ‘make sure you push yourself every time’. So I have been. It’s not fun or pretty and I’ve definitely been on the verge of fainting after asking a girl if I could have a copy of this sick abs/cardio workout she was doing. Wish I hadn’t. But I’m glad I did. I never believed that you could feel good after – but for some reason you do. Sometimes there’s nothing more I’d like than to watch shit on telly and eat pizza in the warm, rather than dragging myself to the gym and running my ass off for 45 minutes. But DO IT. It’s win-win. Honestly, you feel so much better, and you get a better ass.