Saturday, 4 September 2010

Back in action...

I've had a great time at home and Reading festival, and it actually felt good not to have a laptop chained to my thighs for a few days.

The wedding was a fun catch up with family I'd not seen in months, even years, and the free bar certainly helped!

Reading festival was another success and will definately be repeated again next year... this is becoming something of a tradition.

I am indeed back to business after a few weeks off, it feels good to be back and getting stuck into work and dissertation. this is going to be a 48 hour working week, plus finding work experience, blogging, watching BNTM and of course season three of the Inbetweeners!

I'm sure I can find some time for you.

Thursday, 19 August 2010


...For my awful lack of updates. I've been working most days, writing up my final year project & getting VERY excited to go home this weekend for a family wedding and Reading Festival.
I'm writing a lifestyle magazine with an eco edge, without lecturing. I don't want to bore you with the details, but its something I'm very passionate about and would love to launch to a wide market next summer after I graduate. I'm looking for publishers and printers who could help out, and anyone who knows of any environmentally friendly products that I could approach for advertising.
Enjoy your summer, I will!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Vanity Insanity

Plastic surgery is freely available on the NHS, according to recent reports and a Channel 4 documentary.

Last nights episode of The Hospital showed the journey of several women as they tried to get various forms of Breast surgery done through funding from their local Primary Care Trust (PCT) One particular girl who was 17 was a stereotypical blonde bimbo, expecting the NHS to fund her boob job so that she could pose in lads mags.

Now, I support freedom of choice, so if women choose to go under the knife in search of their perceived 'perfection' then by all means let them. But I resent paying taxes to fund a woman's insecurities, when the money could be spent on rebuilding the breasts of a cancer patient after a mastectomy.

When the operation is complete, the scars will last a life time. Weight gain, from pregnancy or growth can stretch the implants, Breastfeeding is impossible and once a tummy tuck procedure is performed any weight gain from pregnancy can undo thousands of pounds worth of surgery.

Why do women go through painful procedures at the cost of the NHS, Taxpayers, and sacrificing the health of people in much worse conditions, when it is so easy to get cosmetic surgery privately? Nowadays it's as easy to get a boob job on credit as it is to get double glazing.

If people really wanted a boob job as badly as they say, they'd find a way
to afford it themselves, without sacrificing the health & funds of others.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

A lesson lived and learned.

Today I learned a few things.

Firstly, if you ask nicely and vow to pay them back, parents will bail you out of hardship once in a while, and I am incredibly grateful to my mum for choosing to fund my livelihood over a new dishwasher (for a fortnight).

Secondly, on a tour of the city I found out about its links with the Titanic & how many local people were affected by the huge loss of live 98 years ago and are still influenced by it, even now. With reminders of the tragedy all around the city, we thought it would be a good idea to visit the monuments which dot are dotted around and joined a tour with a group of tourists.

I've been living in the city for more or less 3 years now, and I'm never surprised by the types of tourists my newly adopted home town attracts. Today was no exception. In our group there were the typical stereotypes: the Japanese couple who were taking pictures of everything, the American who asked a lot of questions, the kids who quite clearly had no interest in the topic and would rather not be there, and of course the woman who thought she knew more than the tour guide, to the extent of talking to a complete stranger about something she clearly didn't care about.

One of the highlights of my tour was watching the annoying teachers pet scurry to the front to get up close to the tour guide & fall over a stick no bigger than a frankfurter sausage. By fall, I mean Fall. Straight to the ground, leaping a foot forward. The fastest I'd seen her move during the whole tour.

Call me cruel, but she was the most annoying person I'd met all week, and it was difficult to hold in the laughter. Luckily she continued to dry-hump the leg of the tour guide at the front of the group which gave us the perfect opportunity to let out our bottled up laughter. It felt good.

Sometimes the most tragic circumstances can bring out the best (and worst)
in people.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Vanessa Carlton speaks the truth.

You don't know what you've got 'till it's gone she wisely once said. I didn't think she quite had non-drug induced hallucinations in mind, but that would have resulted in a completely different song.

Anyway...the subject of money.
To my annoyance, in my effort to start paying off my overdraft I put a large chunk of my wages into one of the accounts and lowered the limit so I wouldn't be tempted to spend as much, thinking it would be easy enough to expand it if I needed to.

Oh how I was wrong!

As it turned out my next wages were not enough to cover rent and a (rather hefty & unexpected) phone bill. In the hope of getting back some of the money I had paid into the overdraft as I had paid £600 in and only needed £300 out, I went into the bank. They declined my request outright.


My second overdraft is already at its limit (I can only save so much!) so even asking for an overdraft extension there was a lost cause, but I can at least say I tried.

Just to be rejected again.

The best thing I learned from this? That bank employees are more than willing to tell you to 'go to the bank of mum & dad' when the REAL banks are meant to be in charge of lending money!
I'm not a fan of borrowing from the parents. The only time I've borrowed from them was in my first year, and it was £20 which I repaid the following week. I feel guilty for asking them for money as they provided me with everything I needed during the first 16 years of my life, and I actually hoped that by moving away and being 21, I wouldn't have to rely on them.

It seems that desperate times call for desperate measures and I'm going to have to call 'the bank of mum' for a short term loan tomorrow. I have a feeling I know what the answer will be.

Wish me luck!!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Behind closed doors.

I spent the afternoon basking in the great British sun, and made some interesting observations.

Couples were walking hand-in-hand around the parks, enjoying each others company. It seems at a first glance that everyone is happily loved up, although if you delve a bit deeper you can see what the smiles are really hiding.

It made me recall a girl I once knew who had boyfriends continuously from the age of 15 and cheated on every one of them. Just because she could get away with it. When she started to get bored of one boyfriend she would sleep with others until one caught her interest & she would make it official the day she broke up with the actual boyfriend. Then she would find new 'projects' and so the cycle continued. All the while she would gaze lovingly into the eyes of her boyfriend (of the time), playing the 'butter wouldn't melt' act leaving the boyfriend completely oblivious to her philandering ways until she no longer had use for him.

Now when I see couples wandering in their own 'perfect' little bubble, I like to remind myself that behind the smiles, the relationship may not be a bed of roses for one or both of the couple. The woman may well be sleeping with his friend, The man may want out, She may be fed up with his laziness, He may be fed up with her bossy & controlling ways.

If every couple put on a brave face, who's to know who's sleeping with who? Sometimes its good to let your imagination run wild & know that the grin you're wearing isn't hiding anything.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

You've gotta love a documentary!

I've always had a soft spot for documentaries.

Nature, human interest, science, historical, the list goes on. I'm a firm believer that education (be it institutionalised or self-taught) should never be taken for granted and the moment a person loses the will to learn, life loses its spark. Luckily education is widely and freely available in this country (although some doubt its effectiveness) and there is an abundance of TV channels which feature some amazing documentaries, so literally anyone can learn without being lectured.

I happen to be quite a fan of conspiracy theories & natural disasters, even a geek, you may say.

The last few days have treated me with a shedload of documentaries on my two favourite subjects, including the Bermuda triangle, and the 2004 Tsunami. I particularly find interest in natural disasters which affect people on a massive scale, and the documentary on Channel 4 showed the Tsunami from the points of view of various nationalities, social classes and family types.

Footage showing the deaths of an elderly couple and children being swept away by the current struck a chord with me, as the thought of a parent losing a child sounds horrific and I really welled up. The parents were describing the moment they were separated from their child & the ongoing battle to find the body, eventually bursting into tears on camera. In the 4 years since the tsunami struck, the couple had a second child and formed a charity to improve the lives of the children affected by the tsunami in Sri Lanka, the country they got to know so well in the search for their daughter.

The Bermuda Triangle is a subject which has always interested me, I like to explore the blurred line between fact & fiction and I like to ask questions: not everything is as it seems. A lot of theories were thrown up about time-space continuums and vortexes as well as the more common tectonic plate theories. My general opinions lie somewhere between the tectonic plates and the magnetic crusts causing ships and aeroplanes to lose use of their navigational equipment and communication. Despite my own theories, It gave a very balanced overview and offered a lot of alternative reasons as well as the ones most commonly believed, and all the theories were backed by evidence (some more reliable than others).

Documentaries provide me with an education I wouldn't receive in school on a range of topics, and rouse a wider interest to the point I often research the topics further.

I look forward to seeing what the networks pull out of their sleeves over the next few months.

Monday, 2 August 2010

A new chapter...

Today flicking through the music channels the Lady Gaga song bad romance came on.

I'm not usually a fan of the Gaga, as her name suggests, she is a bit too crazy for my liking. The only song that I have a soft spot for is the Bad Romance, and it always had a place in my heart. Well, enough time has passed, and events have eventually made me realised that no romance is better than a bad romance.

And why settle for anything less than the perfect romance?

Sunday, 1 August 2010

a new month and a new start?

My new zest for life is turning me into a control freak.

I've spent the whole day in the blistering heat (trust me, this house is a sweatbox at the best of times) cleaning the house, scrubbing stains from my bedroom floor, getting rid of old clothes and generally working up a sweat trying to make this house near-habitable.

I also made a new-months resolution which is to write the proposal for my dissertation by August 20th and have the final copy (of the proposal) done by the time classes start at the end of September, as well as the magazine layout, issue plan & interviews done by then. So not too much... and find some advertisers & distributors too.

I like to jump in head first.

The third housemate arrived today (Yay!)and we finally got down to planning the holiday which we'd been talking about for months. We have a window of about 10 days in which we're all free in September, and we have two options: 1) book a holiday now for a date that is convenient for us all although we (mainly me) are low on funds until the end of the month, so to option 2) wait until as close to the date as possible in the hope that prices may have gone down, or we'll have gotten richer. Is it a risk worth taking?

We need to get out of this country. Sun, Sea, Sand and...Surf would be good. Cheap & cheerful around the med, drinks, water parks and beaches would be a bonus. under £150 each. Not too much to ask?

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Storming through a jungle? A safari park? ...or a house of girls?

Today we decided to face mask ourselves ('we' being me & the housemate)which was all well and good as we both seem to have skin breakouts at more or less the same time, something to do with body clocks synchronising when you live closely with people so I've heard. Anyway, I digress.

I was upstairs about to rinse off the face mask when i heard a shrill 'ahhhhhh come down here!' half way down the stairs my housemates says it's a spider which i spotted in the corner of her doorway. Not one of those normal ones with legs and bodies in proportion, this one happened to be my worst nightmare.

A small body with long spindly legs which make it so much easier to sneak under door frames and into my mouth as i sleep, which terrifies me more than anything in the world. Give me a Tarantula over a spindly blighter any day, thanks. I managed to destroy it with my flip flop, but there is a blood smear on the ceiling which may well stain. oooops. my work is done!

Luckily the other housemate is back tomorrow & her boyfriend is moving her in,
so we may be asking him very nicely :)

Friday, 30 July 2010

keep dreaming...

The last few evenings I have been eating dinner later than usual (containing cheese, of course) and found that my dreams have become insane.

To the point that i dreamt of our round the world trip resulting in a job offer & relocation package to publish my lifestyle magazine in Hawaii (crazy, i know). It's always been a dream of mine, but actually seeing it -in my head- made me realise how hard i actually need to work to get there. I know that the chance of me getting a 5 bed villa on the beach with my own jetty, boat & scuba kit is a tad unrealistic but I'd like to look back on my life and know that I'd done my very best to get there, even if i end up in an apartment overlooking Blackpool pier.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

A learning curve.

In preparation for my Round-the-world jaunt in 2012 i have taken to learning new languages.

The original plan involved getting a Ferry to France, buying a second-hand car for about £1,000- £1,500 and making my way to Singapore in it before flying out to Australia, then on to Brazil, and buying another car & travelling up to Canada, then flying back to London. I thought that planning 18 months in advance would give us plenty of time to plan & save, but technicalities, as always, get in the way.

Russia, a country I'd been hoping to visit since i first learned about the revolution aged 10, would add on an extra £1000 with visa fees and regulations which dictate you can't make your own way through the country without being invited by a political figure. As it happens I don't yet know Mr Putin well enough to ask him for a free pass so Russia is temporarily off the list.

When Russia was still in the equation I was keen to learn the language as we'd have been spending about 2 months in the country. I managed to get as far as YouTube lessons but realised if i was looking at a road sign i wouldn't have the faintest idea of what it said. I've postponed the Russian, and I'm now learning Spanish & Italian through audio books from my local library and weekly classes at University from September.

I don't aim to become fluent in two languages in a year, but a basic grasp of each would be a realistic target. If anyone knows of any BSL courses around the Southampton area, let me know!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

11 years of anticipation

The last 11 years of my life have been building up to June 2010. I wasn't waiting for my wedding day, or the birth of a child (all of which I've been told are supposedly the best days of a woman's life) but the release of Toy Story 3.

At the ripe old age of 21 i should probably be 'too old' for the kids film franchise, but i was 6 when the first Toy Story was released & 10 for the sequel. I have fond memories of the adventures of Buzz, Woody & the gang and collected all of the merchandise which is probably still in the attic somewhere. My favourite characters are the somewhat overlooked Mr Potato Head and Rex with his boundless enthusiasm and innocent passion for life.

I went for a day out in Toys'R'us with my friend who is known for being quieter than myself. The Toy Story merchandise was fully stocked and I made a beeline for a giant Rex toy. As well as aisle upon aisle of Toy Story stock, reminders of my childhood such as Sylvanian families, Playmobile & Polly pocket lined the shelves sending me into a nostalgic frenzy, leaping from one shelf to another looking for new models of old favourites. I realised there is a huge difference between the toys of my childhood and the toys of 2010's children. About a quarter of the shop floor was dedicated to games consoles, plasma TVs and laptops which I couldn't imagine having in my childhood.

Being around the toys made me appreciate what I had, even though my toys were simple and probably cost a fraction of today's hi-tech gadgets, but when my little sisters would destroy my dolls it was easily fixed by some glue and some new clothes (for the doll) but now, when your child's most prized possession is a 40inch plasma TV, what do you do when it all goes wrong? throw money at the situation? replace it with a new one? Children should learn that throwing money at a problem won't make it go away, and there is more to life than what you see on a giant screen.

Children should be encouraged to interact with others, learn life skills such as socialisation and building relationships, which they won't learn from watching Hannah Montana in her Push-up bra & face full of make up. REAL kids don't have stylists, voice coaches and a secret life broadcast on their own TV show. REAL kids like playing in mud & climbing trees with the neighbours and barbies or transformers.

I know how I'd prefer to raise my kids.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

my first post....

I had thought about writing about specific things, but then realised it would limit what i actually write, and people tell me i should get a blog to stop spamming their Facebook newsfeeds, So this is my attempt.

On Monday I went into HMV to get my copy of Examples new album 'Won't go Quietly' for £9.99 which I think is good value, as it has 2 discs & 20 songs as well as milions of added features. I feel that i should point out that Example will never get a bad review from me, he is a comedy genious and made a mark on UK hip-hop that hasn't been seen since the days of so solid crew (i'm joking about the so solid crew bit...they were awful) and his tour diaries are incredibly funny. But back to the album... his newest work steps away from the days of 'me & mandy' and 'girl can't dance' but the first singles from the album 'When the sun comes up' and 'won't go quietly' have inevitably propelled him into the mainstream and gained him more fans as well as positions in the top 10. The tracks 'Hooligans' and 'Dirty Face' are more similar to the tracks of 2006-2009 and will put a smile on the faces of his oldest fans.

Example is always a hit on the festival circuit, and this year will be no exception. I've been lucky enough to see him twice this year, and my fingers are crossed that he'll be playing near me soon!