How to Love Yourself: A Quick Guide.

My temporary absence from PCPW can be explained by the looming presence of Mercury Retrograde between the middle of January and February. Communication always goes astray!

Still, you’ll be pleased to know Mercury is now direct again, enabling you the power of articulation and starting anew. The stars are directing us to move forward optimistically into Spring and as we’re all made of stardust, the process starts within you!

The laws of nature require us to take life day by day so here’s 5 simple actions you can do to improve your mood and self-image. Best of all, none of the steps take longer than 5 minutes so you’ll definitely have time to do them!

Here is my abridged Guide to Self-love, AKA a few life-hacks for obtaining happiness and attracting better luck in life.



Fun fact: our actions determine how we perceive ourselves and thus smiling tricks the brain into releasing happy hormones. It assumes there must be a reason for the smile on your face and your brain will look for proof of this fact. Everybody wants to be around people who gratify them and simply smiling more in conversation engenders this result! It makes people feel important and in turn they’ll give the same warmth back to you. Smile whenever you can, even if you’re only briefly meeting eyes with strangers on the street. We’ve all experienced the flash of a friendly smile before and it makes us feel great on an ordinary day. Learning to smile more will impact your self-esteem in a small yet significant way.

It works as a quick-fix for a better mood when you’re alone as well. If the idea makes you feel uncomfortable, I actively encourage you to accept yourself in all your individuality and relax your facial muscles into a grin while you read. You don’t need to judge yourself and you’ll instantly feel more peaceful.

Whatever the reason, smile more.

Say Affirmations

Affirmations are statements some people use to manifest their desires and re-affirm how much they value themselves. It’s like receiving a pep-talk from someone you trust – only that person is your inner voice. Often, affirmations use the power of words to foster self-belief. A basic example:

“I am capable and confident.”

The more personal you make the affirmation, the more you’ll feel the effects of your words. It’s crucial you understand that your perception affects everything.

Practically speaking, write down a few things you want to truly believe about yourself and don’t be afraid to take inspiration from others. Louise Hay is affirmation royalty so maybe take a look at her webpage. You can play editor before you play creator if that helps to stimulate your mind.

Read them out loud, slowly and confidently.

It’s especially useful to have a mirror in front of you so you connect with the words emotionally.

If you’re too shy to start off with that, simply take the time to tell yourself “I can do it, I am strong and blessed” etc. in your head every morning. Our lives are so demanding that we unconsciously allow our troubles to dominate our thinking landscape, thereby generating a whirlpool of stress.To say affirmations is to remind yourself that everything is okay and you are constantly being brilliant.


I am surrounded by love. All is well.

Think Positively


Thoughts become things

. This is the explanation for the colloquially named Law of Attraction: a popular theory that our minds need to focus on our desires in order to obtain them. When your teacher told you to concentrate on your subject or else you won’t excel in it, you understood their logic and acted accordingly. Positive thinking works on the same principle of realising our thoughts determine our actions, so

constructive thoughts = positive results.

I’m not asking you to create a moodboard (although you can if you want to – they’re fun!) but if you choose to say ‘no’ mid-way through each negative thought that enters your mind and replace it with a more cheery perspective, you’ll feel more motivated overall. Keep it up and worries will stop niggling at you since you’ve trained your brain to think proactively instead.

Your thoughts control how you act so think positively.


I can confidently say you do this step all the time, although I’m referring to a mindful practice. Awareness of your breathing enables you to focus on the present moment. If you’re stressed or angry at any point during the day, inhale while counting to 5 and a second later, exhale slowly. It will have a calming effect, can prevent arguments and if you maintain the theme of repetition, you’ll feel more ‘zen’ than all the folks in California.

Plus it can only benefit your bodily health – an integral part of self-care!

Take some time out to just breathe.

Say Thanks

Like any self-respecting blogger post-2010, I often write ‘gratitude lists’. They aren’t addressed to anybody and I often discard the document because reading back your words once is enough. Sometimes you need proof that everything is okay and ingesting life’s blessings in word form is an effective way of coming to a calm realisation.

The idea first became apparent to me via Gala Darling’s blog. A self-love guru, she constructs ‘Things I Love Thursday’ lists to facilitate a sense of gratitude for all the good things around her. Sometimes we feel frustrated with our circumstances and lack the material resources to improve our situation. This is where our minds act as a powerful tool for allowing us to change our perspective on the situation. In our privileged society, this can often be enough.

Get creative and list everything that would make an Instagram star feel #blessed, from the mundane to the extra-ordinary. It puts your awesome life into perspective because the proof is written in front of you!


Love yourself first and everything else will fall into place.


Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Character Signs. Part 3


Tara is often cited as a perfect character due to her exceptional maturity and habit of making consistently good decisions. When Willow becomes a ‘magic junkie’ whose actions lose morality, Tara has enough self-respect to leave their increasingly toxic relationship. A Virgo has a nurturing approach to others with their incessant favours and practical advice, but this is only carried out after they’ve tended to their own needs. Virgo’s are notoriously plagued by self-doubt, causing them to evolve into perfectionists. In Tara’s case, her family capitalised on this emotional intelligence by bullying her into believing her fears were real. While she is open-minded enough to believe them in her formative years, a Virgo will not tolerate abuse for long and we soon see her defend herself. The past is not easily forgotten where a Virgo is concerned, and Tara’s scars are shown in the form of a stutter and unassuming manner, despite her considerable wiccan skill and physical beauty.This unassuming character is common in Virgo, as well as her despair at people who ignore the small details in life, “I go online sometimes, but everyone’s spelling is really bad. It’s depressing.” Notably, she provides comfort to people in need – specifically Buffy and Dawn. When a young Dawn loses her mother, Tara assumes her role by ensuring Dawn eats breakfast and distracts her from the pain by treating her to milkshakes and films. Simultaneously, she compartmentalises the other parts of her life into working order while looking effortlessly serene, like a Virgo.


Anya is a Sagittarius because she’s blunt and awkward. If you’re a Sagittarian reader, I’m sorry to remind you of this truth but I thought I’d get the obvious out of the way so I can make like a fire sign and be more positive. Like Anya. She’s gone through hell – literally, and yet she’s a vengeance demon who is perpetually upbeat and childlike. She’s aware of the bigger picture and therefore chooses to avenge broken-hearted women particularly, as an act of far-reaching kindness to those most likely to suffer. Those around the Sagittarian woman know of her innocent motives so become adept at dodging the verbal arrows she carelessly slings at them. Some people (and demons) however lack the same good nature, as demonstrated by her husband Olaf’s affair and the manipulation that led to Xander leaving her at a crucial moment. To the oblivious Sagittarius, these acts of betrayal are unexpected and heart-breaking, although they do learn to forgive and we slowly see Anya rebuild her self-esteem towards the end of Series 7. A lover of the luxuries in life, Sagittarius is motivated by money a lot of the time and Anya loves money above all; not in a cynical, scheming way but because it leads to what she desires most: happiness. Her smile resembles the infamous Sagittarian grin and radiates joy, while her ever-changing hair colour reflects Sagittarian spontaneity. Sagittarius is often called a lone wolf; likewise Anya isn’t the most popular member of the gang but she’s happy in her independent experiences.


Scorpio is often steeped in mystery and Angel has mastered the art of brooding intensity. His words are few and his facial expressions even fewer, thereby epitomising the Scorpio character. Famed for their passionate personality and unyielding love, Scorpio will act obsessively towards the object of their desire. Before Buffy even knew of her fate, Angel lurked in the shadows of her school grounds and pined after her once she arrived in Sunnydale. Unlike other water signs, Scorpio will act upon their vengeful streak when wronged and utilise their Machiavellian tendencies. Given Angel’s notoriously evil past and penchant for taunting the more vulnerable Spike, his love of power play is duly noted. Moreover, his betrayal of Buffy is not easily forgiven by anybody, including himself, where other souls (pun intended) would choose to allude personal responsibility. Scorpio has a special relationship with absolutes: pain and truth. Physically, his imposing figure, deep-set eyes and black attire are the stereotype of a Scorpio man and so accurately match his persona.

Looking for Part 4?

Or you can start from the beginning: Part 1 and Part 2.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Character star signs. PART 2

Spike: Leo

Before becoming the notorious slayer of Slayers, Spike’s mortal friends knew him as William the bloody; a lousy Romantic poet. His words were profound and his manner was reserved, as he valued looking after his mother more than any hedonistic pursuits. Like a Leo, he never gives up on love, especially if it’s all-consuming and torturous: Druisilla taunts him relentlessly but he follows her across the centuries, while Buffy eventually steals his heart just by being the fiery badass he secretly desires. Spike’s egocentricity and flair for a dramatic story lead him to the unbeatable slayer as he knows she will never love him back. There’s an endearing sense of openness about a Leo that engenders forgiveness for their wrongdoings, and as an audience we’re tempted to root for him.

Leo’s express their individuality through their
 well-groomed hair and Spike’s peroxide ‘do trumps any other Vampire on the show. Underneath the badboy leather jacket lies a big heart.

Xander: Cancer

Xander harris is often taunted for his lack of special ability in the Scooby gang, but it would be fair to say he’s there to boost morale. When times get rough, he is there to provide comic relief in the form of puns and specialist geeky knowledge. He’s the emotional glue of the group and his cute demeanour makes him the apple of Willow, Cordelia and Anya’s eye at various points. His sensitivity means he’s not the most masculine figure among Sunnydale folk and is at first self-conscious but eventually realises kindness and interpersonal skills are worth more than being popular ever will be. When Cordelia teases him about his inefficiency, we’re taken on a journey where Xander is the accidental hero but doesn’t need the recognition others crave. It’s often said that Cancerians are particularly connected to the home and family, so it’s no surprise that his dysfunctional family instill the perpetual anxiety stirring inside of him.

Due to their loving nature, Cancerians excel in relationships. He’s also got the large, round eyes prominent in the moon-ruled Cancerian, matched with the comfort over style motto that lets their personality shine instead of a false projection.


Cordelia. On first appearances, Cordelia seems like a leo. If you delve beyond the luscious mane and the fact Charisma Carpenter herself is a leo however, you can see the duality of the Gemini perfectly embodies ‘Queen C’. Cordelia starts life at Sunnydale High as the catty popular girl, but when she learns to stay true to herself she slowly hangs around with the Scooby gang with less shame. Of course, she doesn’t have a choice once her popularity is forsaken but a Gemini looks after number one. Her clumsy backhanded compliments are delivered from the mouthpiece of somebody who lives inside their head and frankly doesn’t care. Cordelia is competitive and duplicitous with people because she’s smart enough to understand how people work, like a Gemini. On first appearances, she is shallow due to her fondness for shopping and designer clothes, but this only proves she wants to enjoy life. 

A gemini knows how to live in the moment and this is why Cordelia’s reaction to hearing of an apocalypse is to appreciate the fact she doesn’t have to do homework. It’s her time to have fun and she’s going to do it.

Go backBuffy the Vampire Slayer Character Signs Part 1: Buffy, Giles and Willow

Go forward: Part 3: Tara, Anya and Angel

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Star Signs by Character

Buffy Summers: Aries.

Buffy typifies an Aries with her ‘Carpe Diem’ motto and habitually impulsive behaviour. A notoriously strong character, she protects the people who love and support her without question and uses her uses her initiative to see results immediately. Her self-confidence means she makes the effort to sustain friendships and relationships simultaneously and her bouts of self-pity are seldom. That’s because she’s over it already and onto the next project.

An Aries works hard to build their identity and become aggressive when they feel threatened. For example, the arrival of Kendra and Faith. Due to the flippancy of the fun-loving Aries, tempers never last long and she’s soon back at her quipping, ass-kicking best.

Giles: Virgo

Rupert ‘Ripper’ Giles is introduced to us as an intellectual pragmatist who respects procedure and rejects hedonism; many people get the same impression when first meeting a Virgo. It’s clear he’s a perfectionist so when the Scooby gang interfere with his meticulous methods, he delivers the trademark Virgo sarcasm to vent his frustration politely. Virgos are responsible: no other sign would painstakingly devote hours of time to researching a demon on Buffy’s behalf, but then Virgo rightly believes their practices are the most efficient. Led by reason, Giles has no qualms about setting things right when Willow defies the natural order with her witchcraft and Buffy fails to end Glory’s power/Ben’s life.

By exploring his backstory, we discover his reckless past and capability to obey passion, but these are choices he seldom makes. Like a Virgo, he prefers the simple life.

Willow: Pisces

Like the Neptune-ruled Pisces, Willow is introduced to us as an idealist: hopelessly in love with her best friend in a stereotypical case of teenage delusion. Her acquiescent tendencies underscore her place in the Scooby gang as Buffy’s most reliable friend and we see her regret her incessant kindness as they grow into adulthood. Pisces have addictive personalities, as shown in her transformation to Dark Willow. When her penchant for escapism intertwines with the power of grief, nobody can match her passion for vengenance; Pisces often adopts cynicism as an affront to an uncaring world.

Ordinarily her gentleness and obliviously mismatched fashion sense cement her place in Piscean dreamer territory. Arguably, she is the most ethereal of all the humans in Sunnydale and she’s led by her emotions, like a Pisces.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Character Signs, Part 2: Spike, Xander, Cordelia

About me.

Madie H writes, sings and eats with passion. Her concisely named blog,popculturepartywarrior, includes musings on music videos, films, Buffy, feminism, astrology, personal stories, self-love and the 1980s. She was born in 1992. She performs poetry and stand-up comedy around Manchester way, and has a strangely tricky time composing bios for someone who has a selfie-filled folder titled “My Face”. A graduate of English Lit with Creative Writing, she is qualified to proudly use split infinitives and will do so with free abandon. Party on, dudes

How to keep new year’s resolutions

I’ve always loved writing a list of new year’s resolutions. The slightly less enjoyable part is loyally carrying them out on each day of the following year. Nevertheless, I subconsciously view them as yet another opportunity to fuel my self-growth addiction and faithfully composed a list of things to improve upon.There’s little a writer loves more than producing a meaningful document so even lists appear like a chance to use your noggin creatively. If the contents of that list intimidates or bores you however, you can kiss your future productivity a tearful goodbye.

Only 7% of people keep their new year’s resolutions until the end of the year.

I am not in that 7%. My sister falls firmly within that bracket for 2014, but that’s another story of Capricorn determination she can relay to you. The other 93% of us fail to adhere to our noble list of good intentions because we’re often trying to deprive ourselves when we should be adding value to our lives. In light of the above statistic, I’ve decided to take an abstract approach to resolutions for 2015. I devised a brainstorm so my resolutions appear less like obligations and more like a contract of emotional commitments. On an average day our thoughts are dominated by work and social commitments, so why heighten our stress levels with a list of “don’t”s when we can simply gain more by promising we will strive to do? It’s ludicrously simple and rails against our adult assumption of huge responsibility, yet some good life advice is to think of a way to make your life easier and then do it. Originally I read that sentence in a chapter of Gala Darling’s Radical Self Love e-book but I think it encapsulates the technique of setting achievable new year’s resolutions perfectly.

Resolutions should not be punishments

A resolution shouldn’t equate to an act of self-deprivation. Instead it’s comparatively similar to setting goals so you have a grasp on the bigger picture and your personal aspirations. By mindfully jotting down my aims for 2015, I reminded myself of my over-arching ambitions. You’ve probably been working towards something anyway – whether that’s a tangible goal like learning how to play pool or accepting that feelings aren’t facts, and this is your chance to maximise the scale of your everyday to-do list. I encourage you to write your 2015 aims down on a piece of paper or type up somethin’ pretty and print off the page. That way, you can keep the list somewhere safe and visible to you at all times. It’s important to treat the list like a possession beyond another rambling word document (or blog post!). Sticking the list on a wall in your home or office ensures you’re reminded of the promises you’re making to yourself and increases your chance of success!

Despite the advocacy of a materialistic approach, I urge you to refrain from envisioning a 2015 filled with banality. Everyday things are necessary and shouldn’t be avoided: sure, but there is so much more you can achieve in life too! If your list of changes are mundanely practical or relatively inconsequential, you won’t feel inspired to act. Contrarily, if you give yourself a list of mammoth demands that mismatch with your personality type, fiscal resources or lifestyle, you are also setting yourself up for a fall. The method illustrated above this post attempts to find a happy medium between soul-exposing generalisations and routine tasks.

Hopefully the spontaneity of the mindful timer test has produced attainable resolutions. In fact, while I was writing I recall discarding several ideas because the time limit forced me to emotionally connect with these aims and my list was consequently more inspirational for me. Sometimes we allow ourselves to think from a social perspective and imagine what we should resolve to change, but success can only come from a concerted effort. I also think the foreboding time limit could easily become a metaphor for life but unfortunately I’ve graduated from University now so won’t provide that analogy for you. I’m sure you don’t mind.

In summary, my filtered spider diagram of resolutions doesn’t feel like a list of burgeoning demands and that’s precisely why I think I’ll want to keep my resolutions, rather than feeling like I have to. Good luck with yours!

Happy 2015 everyone. 

10 ways to know you were a teenage Emo kid

– You were not okay. You were not o-fuckingkay

– You would rather die than live be referred to as an ’emo.’ No labels thanks, you’re not a soup can.

– Your MySpace profile song always reflected your emotional state and you weren’t afraid to passive aggressively let them know it.

– Most of your selfies (as they were yet to be known) were taken with the camera held high above your head to slim your face and accentuate the sadness in your panda eyes. Location: strictly bathroom or bedroom.

– PC4PC was a way of life because you were too alt. to socialise with actual sentences.

– At least one of your friends was madly in love with Patrick Stump but you just didn’t get it. 

– ‘I’m just a notch in your bed-post but you’re just a line in a song
was the ‘personal message’ of your MSN profile at least once.

– Your turbulent love life engendered long nights of filtering through the ‘heartbroken’ quote icons uploaded to Photobucket.

– You skulked around in Converse or Vans at all times. Some of you even wore your black converse to school and for that you had my respect.

– Your straightened fringe impaired your eyesight so you had to habitually sweep it to the side rather than cutting it short. Hardcore.

Remember these? </3
ReMeMbEr ThEsE? </3

Also, Patrick Stump? The years have been kind.