Meet Your New Favourite Workout–Pole Dancing.

Just a short ride away from Kingston’s Penrhyn Road campus is what could be the city’s newest fitness hotspot. Every week, dancers from all walks of life gather at The Pole Studio in Surbiton with the common goal of getting in shape, looking good and having a great time.

Located above a chip shop on Portsmouth Road, the dance studio is unassuming and cosy. Dancers leave their shoes by the door, hurry up the carpeted stairs, and are greeted with silver practice poles dotted around the small—yet comfortable—space.

While pole fitness used to be a taboo sport, in recent years it has gained popularity among both men and women. A combination of strength training, conditioning and acrobatics, this is a workout that encourages cardiovascular health while simultaneously working the arms, legs and core muscles.

The result is a full-body workout that anyone can do, either in a group setting or 1-on-1 with an instructor.

It was this all-in-one workout that helped draw 31-year-old Siobhan Parish to The Pole Studio. Lessons are held once a week and run for approximately one hour—long enough to work up a sweat, but not long enough to exhaust participants.

As a working mother, this 60-minute pole fitness model offers her both a convenient workout and an opportunity to de-stress from the workweek.

“You can see yourself develop, unlike at the gym, and you get better in a number of ways,” Parish said. “(Pole) makes me feel stronger—I like the way after, a few weeks, quite a few weeks, things start to get a bit tighter and it just makes me feel good.”

Jaime Rangeley, an instructor at the Surbiton location, has been practicing both dance and pole for years. An expat from California, she found pole fitness to be a helpful way to meet people when she moved to England, and has continued dancing ever since.

“Everybody’s super nice and welcoming, and (pole fitness is) just a really great way to make friends,” Rangeley said.

At The Pole Studio, Rangeley has taught dancers of all sizes, ages and genders, and feels that the environment that pole fitness creates is a more wholesome one than can be found at the average gym—a sentiment that Parish supports, having just finished her first set of beginner classes.

“Everyone I’ve ever had teach me or I’ve practiced with have been very lovely people,” Parish said.

For potential dancers who are afraid to take the leap into pole fitness, Rangeley encourages them to take a one-off class or sign up for a beginner’s course.

“You’ll see that as you get to know everybody, nobody cares when you start to wear the shorter shorts and stuff like that, you feel totally comfortable,” Rangeley said. “You’re never forced to wear anything you don’t want to or to do anything you’re uncomfortable with, and you’ll find that you’ll actually have a laugh, and the workout is like an added bonus.”

The Pole Studio has locations across London and Surrey, with lessons for all levels of fitness—they even offer yoga classes, for the less adventurous among us. Prices start at £10 a class, with the beginner courses running for six weeks.

To find the perfect class for you, check out their main website for times, locations and individual pricing.

Loudly Magazine Issue No. 1: Out Now!

Hello, Loudly readers!

We’re pleased to announce that our first printed edition of Loudly is available across Kingston University’s campuses and select dormitories, starting today!

Be sure to pick up your free copy of the magazine and share it with your friends. Read through it and let us know what your favourite article is!

Cover for Website3

5 Common Birth Control Myths, Debunked

Standardised birth control methods have been around since 1960, when the contraceptive pill was first approved.

Thankfully, since then, contraceptive science has evolved, but some misinformation about birth control seems to have stood the test of time.

Ever wondered if you really need to take the pill at the same time every day, or whether birth control will make you gain weight? Read on for some myth-busting facts that should put your mind at ease.

Myth #1: Birth control can ruin your fertility.

This is a common myth, but there is no scientific backing to this statement.

The shot, the pill, and even long-acting forms of contraception like the implant and IUDs do not hinder fertility. Vagina-holders who had irregular periods before starting birth control may see delayed ovulation, but that is due to their biological makeup–not their contraception.

So, rest easy. If/when you want to have a baby, your ovaries will still be in working order and ready for you to go for it.

Myth #2: Everyone’s on it because they’re having sex.

This antiquated view is just plain false. Birth control methods can be prescribed to help a myriad of issues including polycystic ovary syndrome, cramps, acne, period regulation and even depression.

In the UK, doctors won’t require you to be in a relationship or having sex to get the pill, either. If you’re honest about why you want to be on birth control, your doctor can provide you with the best option.

Myth #3: If I forget to take a pill, I will get pregnant.

Overslept your pill alarm, or forgot to take it before a night out? Relax, you’re (probably) protected. As long as you have taken your pills regularly until this point, you’ll be okay.

Don’t try and double up–that can lead to nausea and vomiting, which counteracts taking them in the first place. If you had sex, don’t rush out to buy Plan B–again, you run a high risk of getting unnecessary nausea and vomiting.

Pills do not have to be taken every 24 hours on the exact dot, and everyone misses them. Make a note not to do it again, and carry on. If you find yourself often missing doses, ask your doctor about other contraceptive methods like the IUD, patch or implant.

Myth #4: Birth control isn’t effective if you’re overweight

The only truth to this myth is that, based on a small amount of data, the pill and emergency contraception is slightly less effective in women with a BMI over 30.

However, plenty of doctors will still prescribe the pill to overweight and obese patients, because the effectiveness is still very high. Additionally, long-acting and reversible methods of contraception (the implant or IUD, for instance) are equally effective in underweight, normal, overweight or obese individuals.

Myth #5: Birth control makes you gain weight

Google nearly any medication, and it’ll likely autocomplete the phrase with “weight gain.” Unfortunately, birth control isn’t immune to this hysteria, but you can relax: the majority of birth control methods don’t cause weight gain.

The only recent, substantial data about weight gain on birth control comes from a study involving the contraceptive shot. Individuals using this method generally do gain weight, but only when they use this method of contraception.

More often than not, environmental factors are to blame for weight gain–you’re in a better mood, feel more comfortable, or you’re just bloated from your incoming period. But, if you find yourself struggling to lose weight with exercise and diet, it can be worth evaluating your birth control.

Don’t let the fear of gaining weight keep you from seeking out contraception, and don’t be afraid to ask your doctor if you’re concerned about any aspect of your contraception.

If you’re interested in changing your birth control, or getting on it for the first time, you can drop by the Wolverton Centre in Kingston Hospital or schedule an appointment with a GP at the Penrhyn Road Campus.


Looking for some additional protection? Check out our article on Hanx’s new all-natural, vegan condoms here.

3 Fun Day Trips for Under ÂŁ3

Want to get out this weekend, but your wallet’s pretty empty and you don’t want to top up your Oyster card?

Don’t mope around your dorm—just check out these fun day trips close to both Kingston and Surbiton that you can take for under ÂŁ3!

  1. Visit Bushy Park

Located near Hampton Court Palace, Bushy Park is a short bus ride away from either Surbiton or Kingston. Perfect for your Instagram story, the park is filled with roughly 320 wild red and fallow deer that roam as they please. Pack a lunch and bring a good friend, and enjoy a day lounging around this lovely park.

If you want an easy day trip that’s not too far from home, get in touch with nature here—just be sure to stay at least 50m away from the deer, since they are still wild, and we don’t want another goring incident.

Cost: ÂŁ1.50 each way (1 bus connection)

  1. Check out Guildford Castle

Take a leisurely ride on the 465 bus and the 715 bus to the historic Guildford Castle, built back in the 1000’s and located in—wait for it—Guildford. The moat has been converted into a beautiful flower garden, and while the castle is in a state of ruin, the top of the Great Tower is still open to the public for a panoramic view of the city.

Be sure to check out the memorial to author Lewis Carroll and the Guildford Museum by the old gatehouse while you’re there, and wear walking shoes. The path that goes around the keep is a nice stroll for a sunny day!

Cost: ÂŁ1.50 each way (1 bus connection)

  1. Visit Eel Pie Island

Just hop on the 281 towards Hounslow Bus Station from either Kingston or Surbiton, and ride it all the way to Twickenham—Eel Pie Island will be waiting for you. An island in the middle of the Thames, this place is a music lover’s dream. Filled with musical history and kooky artwork, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another time.

Musical phenomenons like David Bowie, Black Sabbath, Genesis and The Rolling Stones performed on the island at the now-burned down island hotel, before it was taken over by a cult in the 70s. Whether you believe in mystics, magic or just want to stretch your legs, Eel Pie Island is a fun afternoon jaunt.

Cost: ÂŁ1.50 each way (no changes)

Where’s your favourite place to escape to on the weekends? Let us know!

We the People and the US Shutdown

25 days. 

The United States government has been in a partial shutdown for 25 days, with no end in sight.

This is the longest shutdown that has occurred in the entire history of the US, with the previous record awarded to Bill Clinton’s 21 day shutdown in 1995.

The Guardian has sources that say President Trump told advisers that this shutdown is a sort of win for him, but roughly 800,000 government employees are now working without pay.

Parts of the government have shut down or are operating with skeleton crews, with more employees giving their resignation as the days wear on—or, at least, trying to get a job in the meanwhile.

That’s the rub: it’s the American people who are being directly affected by Trump’s shutdown.

While Trump tweeted yesterday morning, “I’ve been waiting all weekend. Democrats must get to work now. Border must be secured!”, there are families who cannot make rent this month because of his stubbornness.

Americans have been through this all before—I distinctly remember the 2013 government shutdown under Obama, which lasted 16 days, and stupidly joking about whether or not I had to go to classes during the shutdown.

That was bad, but this is worse.

800,000 federal employees haven’t received a paycheck since January 11. As the days tick by, and bills and financial responsibilities begin to accumulate, the situation becomes more dire.

My brother and his very pregnant wife, who were in the process of buying a house, cannot proceed with the purchase until the shutdown is lifted.

Social Security checks are still being issued, since they are tax-funded, but I worry daily about when that will change and affect my family.

Meanwhile, Trump sits by, determined to get his precious wall by any means necessary. Someone has to cave in this situation, and whether it’s the Republicans or the Democrats, the House or the Senate, things have to change.

And for the sake of the American people, I hope it’s soon.

 

How to Survive “Re-Fresher’s” Week

You relaxed over the holiday break. You ate too much cheese, drank a bit too much champagne, spent time with your family, and caught up on sleep.

We get it. You’re ready to return to university and get back to your debaucherous self.

While we can’t stop you (but have you finished all your assignments?), we can provide you with a guide to survive the dreaded “re-fresher’s” week.

1. Take it easy and take it slow

When you first came to university, you were probably ready to get away from home. The freedom to cook your own mediocre ramen-based meals and drink until the sun comes up… it was romantic, wasn’t it?

If you do decide to go out, take it slow at a pub instead of a club. Remember to wash your hands religiously (it is cold and flu season, after all) and listen to your body.

You’ve put your liver through a lot this past semester. So, stop it. Don’t pre-drink a fifth of vodka and please remember to eat a balanced meal. Someone passed out on the street during Fresher’s Week is relatively funny; someone passed out on the street in mid-January will catch hypothermia and die.

2. Remember that this time, your classes matter

Gone are the days of first-week syllabi and second chances. Midway through the semester, your professors (and classmates, for those neglected group projects) are expecting quality work from you.

Don’t go out drinking on a Tuesday night when you have an 8 a.m. lecture on the Wednesday. Or, at least, stash some extra clothes at a friend’s house that’s nearby campus so you can stay over. And take a shower, please.

3. A night in can be just as fun as a night out

Look, frankly, it’s cold. One of the main reasons to go out during Fresher’s Week is to make friends, but it’s January, and hopefully you’ve made some friends by now.

Invite your friends around for a bottle of wine and a Netflix binge–every takeaway restaurant has a deal, so you have literally no excuse to leave your house.

4. Keep yourself controlled

Going home can be a stressor for a lot of people, and maybe you’re geared up and ready to get back to that “super fun, super cool uni life.” That’s all well and good, but not if it jeopardises your body, health or education.

The most important thing is to listen to yourself. If you feel ill, but your friend wants to take another shot, just decline it. Likewise, the world won’t end if you go home at 10 p.m. instead of 2 a.m.


“Re-fresher’s week” is just a name. It’s nothing special, and while it’s lovely to catch up with friends, don’t put pressure on yourself to start the semester off on the wrong foot.

Queer Christianity: Finding Acceptance in a Conservative America

I am an American. I am a lifelong, believing Christian. And this September, I came out as pansexual.

The three of these identifiers do not often mix well, and I find myself often facing crossroads—do I stay in the closet around my Christian friends? Do I hide my religious identity around my queer friends?

More often than not, I just stay quiet—which is pretty sad, truth be told. But, in the current political climate of America, who wants to out themselves?

When I finally came to terms with my sexuality, I was at “the world’s largest Christian university” in Virginia. I was surrounded by southern, conservative peers who would sneer that the “homosexuals” are going to hell.

That’s when the panic set in. How do you justify your sexuality with your religion, if everyone says your religion hates queer people? I knew I was still a Christian, and I could never stop believing in God and Jesus, but I felt lost.

“If God hates queer people”, I wondered, “why would He make me like this? God doesn’t make mistakes, does He?”

This fear and confusion is, unfortunately, not unique to my experience. Alex Burchnell, who runs the Twitter @AlexChrisQCFV (Queer Christian Family Values) with his husband, Chris, in the American south, has experienced similar feelings in his Christian walk.

“I never questioned my identity in Christ until I came out in my first year of college,” Alex said. “I saw how the church turned on those in the LGBTQ community and started questioning if I would believe in a God who would allow this.”

Like Alex, I was also angry and confused. I had a hard time separating the behaviour of Christians from the God they worshipped.

“It wasn’t until I met other Christians who showed me that there were people who weren’t bigoted and still believed strongly in Christ,” Alex said. “I started reading more about the life of Jesus and learning for myself rather than relying on what others told me.”

This was an important step in my own reconciliation of sexuality—inputting Bible verses into different translations, crying on the shoulders of my Christian friends who embraced me wholeheartedly, and remembering what it was about God that made me love Him in the first place.

When I came out to friends, I had a mostly positive reaction (after all, I chose good friends) but my family found themselves angry and hurt. When the reactions aren’t as positive as a queer Christian would hope for, Chris has advice for them.

“It doesn’t matter what you do or who you are attracted to, God is love, and His love is infinite,”  said Chris. “Even if you have to hide it for a while, there is no reason you can’t be a queer Christian. There are others out there, so you’re not alone. God isn’t the issue, it’s the people who claim to follow Him. God is acceptance. People are conditional.”

Ultimately, your religion can go hand-in-hand with your sexuality. There is no way to “pray away” your feelings (trust me, most of us have tried). No amount of hellfire-and-brimstone sermons will spook your queerness out of your soul.

God loves us. We are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image, and He doesn’t make mistakes.

If you’re a queer Christian looking for support, I recommend the #FaithfullyLGBT tag on Twitter to link up with queer theologians, pastors and believers who can share their advice.