The emotional stages of a Primark shopping trip

Primark is like Mecca for the thrifty, fashion-conscious woman.  There's barely a city/town centre in the country that isn't blessed with at least one and, on a weekend, is the place to be (or avoid at all costs.)

It's the one-stop-shop for all fashion fiends but can be a hellish experience unless you are properly prepared.

Preparations include choosing your time wisely (avoiding weekends where possible and trying to go as early as possible), making sure you're well hydrated, and not wearing too many layers (it can get very hot in there).

Primark can be a blessing for the bank balance but a stress on sanity.

Here are some of the emotional stages of shopping in the high street store we love to hate:

1. 'I only need a couple of bits so I don't need a basket' - 25 minutes later and you have so many tops, dresses, skirts and trousers hanging up your arms people are starting to think you're one of the shop's rails.

2. A beautiful dress is £20 but it's 'a bit too expensive for Primark' - yet a £20 dress at any other high street store would be seen as a bargain.

3. You've just spent £50 on a coat/pair of boots/dress/outfit in River Island/Topshop/Miss Selfridge only to walk into Primark and see the exact same item there for a fraction of the price. SOB.

4. Those pretty white pumps you wore to death last summer, and reluctantly had to throw away, are back in stock for this summer.  And they're still only £4!! Praise the Primark gods.

5. Always planning a meeting point for when the inevitable happens and you get split up in the t-shirt section.

6. Raiding the piles and racks to find that elusive size 10 but to no avail.

7. Thinking you've struck gold and found your size then realising someone put the size 24 on the size 10 hanger. Cruel world.

8. Hunting high and low for the cute items featured in Cosmo - which Primark is this they speak of?!

9. Temporarily forgetting everything your parents taught you about manners and not thinking twice about elbowing anyone who gets in between you and that cute pair of shoes.

10. Not being able to comprehend that you can buy a pretty summer dress for £5.  £5!!

11. You steadily start to have a mini panic attack due to the sheer number of people squashed into one space (why does everyone seem to want a bloody bag?!) so you slope off to a quiet spot (usually men's or home) for a breather.

12. Realising you forgot to take in some refreshments and suddenly starting to feel like you're in the middle of the desert - sweating and cut off from all water and food.

13. Wanting to try something on but seeing the queue for the changing room and deciding you'd rather buy two and come back than stand and wait.

14. Feeling faint when you see your total at the till but justifying the big spend with 'well, I got four new outfits, six pairs of shoes, a bag...it would've been four times that anywhere else!'

15. Making it out in one piece and searching for the nearest place to sit down, compose yourself, and have a drink.

We're privileged to have the right to vote - use it or lose it.

As the General Election approaches and the political parties step up their campaigns and canvassing, attention has once again been brought to the proportion of younger voters who do not exercise their right to vote.

In the 2010 General Election, only 44% of those aged 18-24 turned out to vote, compared to 76% of over 65s.

Young people wonder why politicians don't listen to them, or direct policies towards them, and the answer is right there. If the biggest proportion of voters is in the 65+ bracket, why would politicians target those who aren't going to turn out to vote? Pensioners get free bus passes, winter fuel allowance and more - because they are the ones who vote.

In 2010, young people were promised the world by Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems when they said they would scrap tuition fees. Instead, they joined forces with the Conservatives and saw them, in some cases, tripled. It's no wonder really that young people don't have any confidence or belief in the political world. But the more young people who go out and have their say, the more chance they have of being heard.

Many people I speak to around my age said they don't vote because their vote won't make any difference, or they don't care. But if the 56% of people who didn't turn out last year, had gone to vote - those votes would've made a huge difference and could have seen a totally different structure of government.

The right to vote is taken for granted by far too many people; in all age groups not just the 18-24 bracket. There are nations in the world, even today, who are denied the right to have their say. People still are dying fighting to have their chance to get their voice heard and overthrow dictatorships and extremist governments.

To have the chance to walk into a polling booth and vote for someone you believe could make a difference is hugely powerful. And, for all of those who say they aren't interested, don't care or don't understand, you don't have to vote for anyone. If you truly don't want to vote for any party, spoil your ballot. But go to the polling station, have it registered that you turned out, and spoil your paper.

One day, we may be met with a government who change the structure of voting and the elections - meaning that we lose our right to vote. Once it goes, I am sure everyone would be incensed and would suddenly be advocates of voting.

Campaigners in this country, namely the suffragettes, died to ensure that we could have the vote today. Women and men battled for years to give us the freedom that we have today.

Whether or not you agree with the politicians and the candidates and the policies that they promise, exercise your right to vote.

Polling stations are open all day and everyone has one near to them - meaning there really is no excuse.

If you don't use it, we could all lose it.

19 'boring' thoughts homeowners have when it's sunny

Sunshine has the power to overturn even the most downcast and miserable mood.  Everyone instantly feels happier and carefree and excited for summer.  Alcohol sales soar along with ice-cream and instant barbecues.

Previously, when the sun shone I could think of nothing more exciting than going and sitting in a beer garden or on a picnic with lots of Pimms.  Trips to the seaside, laying in the garden trying to catch some colour, and having barbecues all the time were all firm favourites of mine as soon as it got sunny.

We haven't had that much sun in 2015, but what we have had so far has not led to any of the above thoughts or activities being carried out.  Instead, I've actively gone to garden centres and spent the day doing green-fingered activities.  Previously, a garden centre would've literally been the last place on earth I'd want to spend a sunny day.

It's amazing how your thought process changes when you have a house.  These were 19 of my thoughts during the nice weather we have had so far in 2015:

1. We can cut the grass today since it's nice.

2. Let's go to Homebase and get a shed and some more bits for the garden.

3. I wonder if it's going to stay fine long enough to get the washing dry outside?

4. I took the car to be washed yesterday, I'm glad it's not raining so it'll stay shiny longer.

5. We might not need the heating on today if it's warm.

6. Are any of the neighbours having a barbecue we could crash?

7. Let's get some fruit ciders and Desperado's in the fridge.

8. And buy all the ice lollies ready for when we fancy one.

9. It's too nice to have a casserole for tea, let's have tuna steaks and rice.

10. I'll probably eat salad and cous cous next week if it's still sunny.

11. We need to buy some Pimms.

12. I need to shave my legs.

13. We really need to get the windows cleaned.

14. I need to get a wriggle on and get rid of the winter weight if I want to fit into that cute summer skirt I bought last year.

15. Why does having the windows open make the house so dusty?!

16. Let's dig up that small patch of grass next to the drive and do something with it that won't matter when I drive over it.

17. We need to go to Homebase.

18. I used to want to sit in a beer garden when it was sunny, what happened?!

19. I'm sat in our garden with a beer - does that count?

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