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Advice For My 17 Year Old Self

^ Lil' 17 year old Cazza B, rockin' a 2011 classic Hollister piece and 'Juicy Tubes' lipgloss combo xox

Stop pouting on every single picture. It doesn’t suit you.

Pink sparkly lipstick is not cute, and neither is that ghastly Paul’s Boutique jumper with the ‘sassy’ leopard print hood. Please dispose of both. No, don’t even wear it up to the farm.

Stop getting so down about how young you look. Okay, you do look about 12, but why is it such a big deal? Everyone was right, you will be glad of it one day.

Embrace being one of those people who can ‘eat what they want and never put weight on.’ You have Chinese takeaways every Friday with your girls, and you bloody enjoy it while it lasts, because once you hit your 20’s, it’s all downhill from there. Five years on, and you only have to look at a loaf of tiger bread and you mysteriously gain about 50 stone.

Rinse your fake tan the morning after you have applied it. It will save you a lot of embarrassment when it rains on the way to college and you have to spend the whole day in your hot-pants teamed up with streaky, rain-spotted legs. I’m not going to lie, people will probably think you have some sort of freaky skin condition. There’s tanned, and then there’s ‘tangoed,’ and sadly, you spend the next three years of your life as the latter.

Stop straightening your hair – it looks so much nicer styled in your natural waves. While we’re on the subject of hair: there is really no need for your fringe to be that huge. Sweeping fringes should have been left in 2010. Get your fod out; you have nice skin, so show it off!

FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, PLEASE DON’T DYE YOUR HAIR BLONDE!!!! You will not like look a real-life Barbie, nor will you look like an ‘absolute stunnah.’ You will look ridiculous. You will still be paying the price for it 5 years later, when you spend a season in Ibiza and the sun drags out the tacky secrets of your wannabe past and your hair goes a very odd colour as a result.

... Yes, I did say Ibiza. You will move to Ibiza to be a holiday rep. I know; I find it hard to believe too. Speaking of which, don’t go to Malia with your girls this summer – you know you won’t enjoy it.

I know you love that boy, but he really isn’t worth your constant angst. I think you might have had more chance with him had you not declared your undying love after two weeks of meeting him. Don’t physically collapse to the floor in tears when he hugs you outside the pub. Maybe playing it cool might have stood you in slightly better stead, but never mind, you are 17 years old, after all - of course you know best.

Stop coming home after college and crying over him while listening to Taylor Swift. He hates you, no matter how loud you shriek the lyrics to ‘You Belong With Me.

Your Mum and Dad are not your enemies. It IS fair that they have banned you from having a house party after receiving your AS Level results. You should probably go to few more lessons instead of skiving off ‘snurging’ in the 'refec.'

(Side note: 'Snurging' was basically 2011 slang for eyeing up the lads in the year above. And 'refec' is short for refectory, AKA, the college canteen.)

But to be honest, you ‘snurge’ away, girl. The only subjects you end up passing at A-Level are English Language and Travel and Tourism, and both have proved worthy of the direction that your life has taken. You could have worked harder at college, but the self-confidence and the friends you gained there are much more important than a grade A in sociology.

Please stop using words like ‘snurge' and ‘bait.’ They do not mean anything.

Perhaps try to vary your wardrobe to something other than hot-pants. No? Okay, well, it was just a suggestion. Oh Christ no, I didn’t mean swap the hot-pants for those dreadful grey Hollister sweat pants!

Other brands aside Hollister do exist, by the way, and I don’t just mean Abercrombie and Fitch in addition. Let’s face it; you only shop there so you can swagger around with one of those bags with the topless man on the front.

Don’t be ashamed to tell people that you write books in your spare time. You will have a book published in five years time and everyone will be really impressed, so stop hiding your talents in the fear of what people might say. Who cares?

But good on you for standing your ground in regards to not smoking and drinking.

Never tell anybody that when you first started college, you were terrified that somebody was going to accost you and force you to smoke a roll-up as you walked through the garages between the campuses. You live in a sleepy village in the middle of the countryside, NOT the Bronx.

You can’t get pregnant from kissing, so please refrain from a lifetime of embarrassment and DON’T have that ridiculous panic attack in the middle of a house party and tell everyone you think you might be pregnant because you are craving strawberries shortly after having your first kiss. You will never live that night down. EVER.

You do still look about 12, and more to the point, you look nothing like the girl on your fake ID, so don’t even attempt to sneak into Tiger Tiger on a Tuesday night out in town, because the bouncers WILL laugh in your face.

When you eventually do turn 18, please God don’t arm yourself with a 4-pack of orange Fruit Shoots for your first night out in town. And please don’t stand in the middle of the dance floor at 3am - the last woman standing - at the aptly named 'Underage Cage' and slut-drop to ‘Bass Down Low’ by DEV.

Getting 700 likes on your Facebook profile picture in three minutes does not define your popularity. Nor is self-worth decided by how many BBM chats you have up at any given time.

Pitbull and Neyo’s ‘Grab Somebody Sexy’ is NOT a ‘bangin tune’ so please don’t even bother illegally downloading it onto your Blackberry via Limewire.

Ignore boys when they yell “Tell her!” as you walk past their booth in the refec; it will only end in deep and utter embarrassment if you stop to enquire.

(Side note: 'Tell Her' was a game widely played on my college campus. The rules were quite simple really - a lad would make a comment about a girl, and if his mates said 'Tell her,' he'd have to find her and, well, tell her. 'Your bum looks good in those shorts' and ''I want to pull you at Tiger next week' were popular choices that could be heard being awkwardly mumbled along the corridors. Looking back, I think you had to be there to appreciate the hilarity of it all...)

It is not funny to take close-up pictures of your friends while they are driving, it is actually very dangerous, so please at least try and act like a responsible, mature passenger. And no, that does not include yelling ‘GET YA BUM OUT!’ at random lads at the McDonald’s drive-thru, high on a combo of McFlurry and your mates first 'whip.'

Stop calling cars 'whips.'


Cara Jasmine Bradley ©


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