Netflix and Chill- Is this form of dating for our generation?

Ok, so I’ll admit it. I have a Netflix addiction. For the past few weeks my life has consisted of work, eat, sleep and Orange is the New Black. Am I sorry? No not really…

However, if a guy asks me over to his student flat for a Netflix date (otherwise known as a ‘Netflix and Chill’) alarm bells immediately sound inside my head. Now for those of you that aren’t familiar with this terminology, please allow me to enlighten you.

If invited to a ‘Netflix and Chill’ sesh you may quite literally just go to a guy’s house and watch the latest Reese Witherspoon RomCom. But more often than not, an invite to a ‘Netflix and Chill’ is known as a total booty call, where by accepting the invitation you are indirectly saying that you are definitely up for having intercourse that night.


Is this dating or is this just a secret code for casual sex?

When I look back at old black and white moves or speak to my grandparents about how they met, technology such as social media, the internet and Netflix simply did not exist. It turns out that people actually had to speak to one and other (I know right? So weird!). People actually used to go on real life, proper dates. You know, the ones where one human being sat across a table from another human being, ordered a milkshake and learnt about the other person’s interests, life and dreams for the future. Sadly, this isn’t really how dating appears to work anymore.

So in my opinion going for a ‘Netflix and Chill’ isn’t really a form of proper romantic dating. Even if I do go to a guy’s house and genuinely do just literally watch a movie (without any Netflix and Chilling going on), what on earth is romantic about that? The two of us just sitting there on his bed, staring at the laptop screen, not speaking, and struggling to concentrate on the movie as his flatmates scream in the next room due to their latest ongoing FIFA tournament. Thanks, but no thanks.

But if a ‘Netflix and Chill’ is just an invite for casual sex, am I ok with that?

Well the answer is yes, yes I am! If I like that guy and as long as I am being safe why wouldn’t I embrace my sexuality and no longer be ashamed to come out and say “Yeah, I had sex last night!”.

Traditionally the idea of a female having a one night stand would brand her ‘promiscuous’ or a ‘slut’. Whereas a male that has had various one night stands would be branded a ‘legend’ and a ‘player’ amongst his fellow male friends.


Well I say no longer! Why shouldn’t all of us women embrace our sexuality, if we want to of course? Now to be clear, I am in no way suggesting that we ladies stop respecting ourselves and jump into bed with every man we come across. Moreover, it is vital to highlight that if we do agree to go for a ‘Netflix and Chill’ sesh, we are under absolutely no obligation to actually have sex. But if we do want to sleep with someone and we are being careful and are happy and healthy, well why the hell not!?

Let’s turn that walk of shame into the walk of fame and applaud the women of or Netflix and Chill generation.

If you have any questions about safe sex or are concerned about your personal sexual health please contact the National Sexual Helpline on 0300 123 7123 for details or visit

Hannah O’ Connor is a final year student on BSc in Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter @hannahrose94 and on LinkedIn at





Carrickfergus JD Wetherspoon- A storm ahead of the rest


Huge waves strike the harbour wall and lighthouse on October 16, 2017 as Storm Ophelia hits the UK and Ireland

So as I’m sure you’re aware, on Monday 16th October, 2017, a hurricane named Ophelia paid a visit to our beautiful little island. Now for most of us the weather didn’t really affect our day-to-day lives and if you are anything like me, who got sent home from work early and was given a day of university, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to get the fire lit, stick on my favourite Hepburn movie, get the cosy pyjamas on and sip on a vino or five. It was wonderful!!

However, as I was vegetating on the sofa and scrolling Facebook, the most brilliant post appeared on my Timeline written by JD Wetherspoon’s Bar in Carrickfergus.  The post (which I later noticed was extensively shared) read: “Morning all, so no one knows how bad this storm is gonna be, and it kicks off on my shift. If you live alone and are a little apprehensive come down to the bar and we will sit it out together, if your electric goes out and you need hot water for babies or the kids, come down and I will supply tea and coffee for free. If you are homeless in the area at this time our doors are open for shelter and heat no questions asked. If you get caught in it and can’t get home, use us as a safe point we will try and get you home. I will stay all night if need be, but above all be safe, it may amount to nothing but better being prepared. Please share and let people know. Robert”.


A screenshot of the post by J.D Wetherspoon, Carrickfergus

After reading this post, I will admit, I was a little teary eyed. It really struck me how wonderful and caring this duty manager, Mr. Robert McCleneghan was, to open the doors of his business to absolutely anyone who needed help.

However, it then also occurred to me how bloody clever it was for a business to place a post like this on a public facing platform. Now don’t get me wrong, in no way am I taking away from Mr. McCleneghan’s desire to genuinely want to help vulnerable and isolated people within the community. But, this post, in my opinion, was an excellent example of effective Public Relations through the use of a social media platform, in this case Facebook.

By proving that the business valued and cared about the safety of the people of Carrickfergus and those travelling through the area (who most likely are their regular clientele), JD Wetherspoon gained the respect of their desired publics and Facebook followers, who in turn will hopefully return the favour by bringing their business to an establishment who clearly value their custom but most importantly their safety.

They say that out of crisis comes opportunity and this post was undoubtedly a huge success. To date it has had approximately 17k likes, 1600 comments and 13k shares. Posting such a heartfelt message will really work in favour for this little bar in Carrickfergus. Creating a Facebook post that had such a large reach is something that most businesses only dream of! People all over Northern Ireland, so overwhelmed by this thoughtful gesture, made it their business to share this post, placing JD Wetherspoon in Carrick on the map.

One comment that really caught my eye read as follows: “I don’t live near Carrick but next time I’m passing I’ll make a point of calling in. Good service deserves to be rewarded with good custom”. This quote sums up exactly what most people were thinking when they read this post. Intentionally or unintentionally, JD Wetherspoon, in posting such a caring message, have well and truly got people talking about their bar in positive way that can only benefit their business.


A screenshot of the positive feedback flooding the comments section on Facebook

Moreover, this post didn’t go unnoticed by the local media. An online story was published by the Belfast News Letter and Belfast Live, who both praised the bar for their generosity during a time that potentially could have been difficult for certain groups of people within the community. Unsurprisingly, the bar gained even more positive feedback as a result, making JD Wetherspoon a much more attractive business to consider visiting when in the Carrickfergus area.

I believe that JD Wetherspoon really has stormed ahead of the rest of their competitors within the Carrickfergus area and most of them should take a leaf out of their book!

Their post really has shown that social media can be a powerful tool in putting your business on the map, gaining new customers, building relationships and increasing repeat custom whilst most importantly showing that the wellbeing of your customers and community are of the upmost importance to yourself and to the business that you run.

Hannah O’Connor is a final year Bsc in Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter at @hannarose94 and on LinkedIn at


Tip’s for a pre-placement student


Having been there myself, I know how daunting it can be to be faced with the uncertainty and panic of finding a company or organisation to carry out your placement year with. However, I cannot stress enough that this isn’t something you should rush, as realistically wherever you end up working is going to be the place that you will spend at least eight hours a day, five days a week, for the next year of your life.

So from one formerly stressed pre-placement student to another, here are a few tips to adhere to when approaching the dreaded placement year:

  1. Don’t compare yourself to everyone else around you

I am part of a lovely little friend group of four people within university and during the placement application process I was quite literally beside myself with stress, as I was still applying for a placement opportunity when all of my friends had already secured theirs. Don’t let this phase you like I did, as panicking never got me anywhere! It’s ok to take you time and research all of the opportunities available to you, just make sure you don’t take too much time and miss application deadlines.


2. Apply for a post you genuinely have an interest in

Don’t apply for any old placement position just because you are worried that you won’t end up getting one. Apply for a position you have an interest in and a passion for, as highlighted earlier; this position will be a huge part of the next year of your life, so make it count. If you end up in an area you aren’t interested in, realistically you aren’t going to take much away from an experience that should in fact be completely invaluable.


3. Be interview ready

The thought of an interview can be totally terrifying. So when you get that bitter sweet phone call asking you to come in for an interview, don’t fret. This is a good thing! This is your opportunity to really shine and hopefully begin your journey into the professional world of work. Just make sure to do your background research, study the job description and think real life examples that you can relate to the desired job roles. But most importantly smile and sell yourself, you wouldn’t be where you are today if you weren’t capable of nailing that dreaded placement interview.


4. Once you get the job you want, make the most of every opportunity

Once you get the call informing you that you have the job you wanted (and you will), the day you go through those doors into your new workplace, make sure to take advantage of every single opportunity you get. Say yes to everything! You are there to learn and gain as much knowledge as you can in order to equip you with tools and experience that you will carry with you throughout the rest of your professional life. Don’t sit in silence and always ask for help if you need it. You are there to learn and your fellow colleagues are there to help you, you really aren’t bothering them, I promise!


5. Most importantly , ENJOY YOURSELF

If you are anything like me, my year on placement was the best year of my working life so far. Placement isn’t all about work, work, work, but about building new relationships, making new friends, stepping out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself. Trust me, by the end of the year you’ll be on cloud nine and will wish that you didn’t have to go back to university as professional working life really is so exhilarating.


I hope this has helped relieve some pre-placement stress for someone out there. Always remember, you wouldn’t be where you are today, doing a degree and applying for a placement position if you weren’t capable of doing it. Believe in yourself and never ever sell yourself short!

Hannah O’Connor is a final year BSc in Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter at @hannarose94 and on LinkedIn at