It’s Been A While…….

Writing

There are people posting videos of themselves climbing their stairwells enough times they’re making Everest appear like little more than a speed ramp in comparison. And here I am struggling to get up in the morning and ‘head to work’ five footsteps from my bed. 

But really, I must admit, and like many others (which is reassuring) and maybe even you, I have failed miserably at meeting any of my ambitions I had set out on an A4 page minutes before the world went into lockdown.

Here are just a few feeble facades  which fondly faded away into the abyss of my foggy mind:

  1. ‘Learn a new language’ – before lockdown I could say ‘hola’, half a year into lockdown and I’m still just saying…….’hola’. 
  1. ‘Get fit’ – why do we torture ourselves? Can we just give this gig up. Most of us are simply not fitness freaks fanatics, so let’s stop kidding ourselves, put down the dumbbells and pick up the popcorn. 
  1. ‘Skill up’ – yes taking on a new course is exciting for about 1 minute. Until the pre-filmed lecturer with his monotone drole puts you to sleep faster than your local anaesthetist. 
  1. ‘Self care’ – well atleast I now give my hair 100 strokes of a fine-toothed comb everyday. That’s something, right? But try to force me to wear anything other than my miss-matching tracksuit bottoms and farmer’s fleece and we’re having a fight. 

You get my drift, some people may look back at lockdown and see the silver lining in the mushroom cloud, several online certifications under their belt, a new haircut, a new zest for life. Meanwhile I’m the runt stuck in yet an even bigger rut. If there was ever a time to learn how to f*cking crochet, it has come and gone! And guess what, I still haven’t taken out those knitting needles, (do you even use needles)! 

So what exactly do I spend my time doing these days when I’m not wallowing in self-pity or stuffing my face with fried foods, you ask?

I’m still trying to figure that one out to be quite frank.  

I’m Motivated At Being Unmotivated

Writing

I’ve become really unmotivated lately. I find sticking to schedules more painful than the thought of chewing shards of bottlegreen glass as if they were cornershop penny chews. 

 

Working remotely at my 9 to 5 is doable, but it’s the goals I have outside of this (as we all have) which I feel completely uncompelled to partake in. It’s so frustrating, here I am at 1 minute past 5pm, I should be jumping for joy at the thought of going for a workout in the garden or getting better at my language learning. 

 

Yet instead, much to my disappointment, I find myself crawling into the pyjamas and making the greasiest pile of shite for dinner, followed by a helpful dose of ‘Botched’ for dessert. (If anyone has watched this show, let me tell you now, do not eat a damn thing mid-watch. For it’’ll be hitting your ceiling via projectile vomit well before you have even had  a chance to take a second bite. Let’s just say the graphic scenes in this reconstructive surgery show would make roadkill look like a pageant Queen. And with that, I’ll say no more). 

 

Anyway, as I allow the daylight hours to fall through my hands like sands at the seaside, the guilt begins to wash over me – normally around 1am when my head hits the pillow. I’ve just wasted yet another day’, unfortunately this is the all too familiar opening dialogue of my monologue rant that I play through most nights of my very lack-lustre days. ‘Why didn’t I try harder, do I not care enough about succeeding, do I not have enough passion for these so-called ‘goals’ of mine?’  

 

I fall asleep under the waves of annoyance and frustration. Forgiving myself monetarily as I work at the dayjob only to start the cycle all over again as the sun begins to set. Why do I bother having ‘goals’ if I can’t be bothered to put in the effort to achieve them?

 

Are they really not things that I truly want? Am I just trying to achieve them to impress other people? Do I have too many goals simultaneously and perhaps the pressure of this ask is too much that my subconscious simply rejects them all in a desperate attempt to keep my cortisol levels mildly below fFreaking the f*ck out’? Who knows. I wish I had the answers. 

 

I spend alot of time thinking, and not enough time doing, Maybe perhaps this is the real crux of it all. The cure to all of my problems, and much much more. Human beings – procrastinators sitting pretty in their suits of skin and bone. So perfectly imperfect, we have the minds to create goals, and the minds to prevent them happening. 

 

Where the f*ck is my self-help book off Amazon, I think it’s perfect timing for a read of the blurb as a bit of light bedtime reading before I pass out whilst skimming over the introduction about the author.

 

I hope you’re achieving your goals as I sit and blabber about the fact that I’m about as far away from mine as the 2 poles are from eachother on this Godforsaken planet. Or then again, maybe knowing that you’re struggling too will give me a sense of sweet sweet schadenfreude as I stare aimlessly through my bay windows sipping unsweetened tea when really I should be working on my tax returns. 

 

Either way, goals can be achieved, and they can be unachieved. Formed and removed. The choice is mine. Today I may choose to not put effort in, and tomorrow I may choose to do the opposite. Outcomes change, when I change my actions. Actions change when I change my attitude. My attitude changes when I change the words I tell my own mind. 

 

And with this it’s time to put away my tiny violin if only for a moment, and put these words into action (tomorrow ofcourse :p). 

Can Even Mushroom Clouds Have Silver Linings?

Writing

Can even mushroom clouds have silver linings? Can we find positives among the negatives that have arisen due to the global spread of the life-threatening virus – ‘coronavirus’?

 

This is not an attempt to turn my head away from  the serious consequences that the contagious virus has had on our lives, the mortality, the employment uncertainties, the upheaval of ‘normality’. 

It is with these in mind, I question, can a light really be seen at the end of the tunnel – this time. 

 

All of us have experienced first-handedly the strains of a life succumbed to staring somberly as the sun rises and sets on a cyclical whim. Knowing full-well that we will spend another day living an existence of exhausting every episode of ‘Friends’ known to man. Irony oozes through our veins as we scoff at the mere memory of ‘socialising’. The sobering reality of the closest thing we have to a friend these days being  that of an internet connection and a little-known phenomenon known as ‘Skype’.

 

But before I make my way to the pity party too hastily, I want to pause for a moment and reflect. Surely amongst the sadness and severity of this situation, one must question, are we truly damned? Instead, can we ask – what can we learn from this? And furthermore, are there any positives in particular to learn from?

 

I think so.

 

Perhaps you agree with some of the below:

 

Lockdown –  Gave Me A Chance To Reconnect With Old Friends

 

Regretfully, I had fallen out of touch with some of my friends in the last year or so. It’s an excuse to say this, but general day-to-day life can be full of distractions. Until ofcourse a situation like this arises, where all of those little tasks and problems now seem eclipsed by another much more forceful phenomenon

 

. With more time on my hands to reflect, I thought about the people I had lost contact with and took the courage to reach out to them. It was a little awkward at first, but I can honestly say, it was a decision well-made. 

 

Videochat – Gave Me A Chance To Form Stronger Connections

 

Before our current situation, there were friends of mine who I only communicated with via text. I couldn’t see the wood for the trees at how advantaged I was in having a laptop I could have used to videocall them long before now.

 

So, in quite a strange way lockdown has actually brought me closer to some friends. Personally, I find communication via videochat, where we can see eachother’s faces, creates a much better connection than solely messaging on social media.  

 

Online – Created The Opportunity To Make New Friends

 

I swear, the way this post is going, it makes it seems like I’ve been more sociable bound to the 4 walls of my own home than when I had a whole city to socialise in! The irony!

 

Facing pure moments of paranoia, as I woke up soaked in sweat at night, fearful of loneliness. I took it upon myself at the very beginning of lockdown, before I had the epiphany to reach out to people I actually knew. To trawl the internet for what looked like a somewhat normal friend-making exchange site. 

 

And actually, to my amazement, I have made a few friends who I’m actually quite fond of. Thankfully, up to this point, I have not been catfished, extorted for money, or stalked. So a round of applause to the world wide web for forming friendships amongst many many other things, which I won’t go down the rabbit hole of divulging…..

 

Lockdown – Gave Me Time To Reflect

 

If you are frequently left in a silent room, you have two options: chew your arm off out of insanity or answer those burning questions you’ve pushed to the back of your mind all these years. 

 

We all do it, because confronting our deepest of questions in the hinterland of  our minds, normally means we will have to confront the cumbersome cousin of ‘intrinsic questioning’  better known as – ‘uncomfortability’.  

 

We can all admit to it, we use procrastination as a way to avoid the uncomfortable. Which is why we find ourselves ordering Amazon’s Top 20 self-help book picks before sunrise on a Sunday. Our sad attempt to pacify the self-doubter within us. Trying to prevent another episode of ill-emotion, instead of focusing on finding a cure.

 

The cure may just be in the form that we all fear –  confronting our internal concerns with courage. Sitting in a room with a pen and paper (not the internet) may be a good start. Atleast this is what I have experienced in the last few months.

 

From career goals, to relationships, personal well-being to living more in the present. I have questioned many elements that make up this crazy ‘thing’ we call ‘life’. 

 

And will continue to make a habit of doing so (Scout’s honour), perhaps you could try it too? 

 

Probably the most neglected friend you have is you. And yet every man, before he can be a true friend to the world, must first become a friend to himself.”    

  1. Ron Hubbard

Perhaps by ill-humoured fate, gifted to us from nature, this tragic experience can show us the true fragility of life and with this in mind, allow elements to reveal themselves which  hold the realest value within it: not money, but meaningful relationships and self-care. 

 

These are just a few positives I have miraculously unearthed from the rubbles of devastation this pandemic has caused. But as the Phoenix rises from the ashes, so can all of us, with the help of a positive attitude. 

 

The Gym – Satan’s Second Home

Writing

Not much of the athletic type, the only way you’ll get me running is in the opposite direction from you if you start going into a long-winded spiel about the weather or how you’re deeply madly in love with your cousin twice removed for that matter.

With that being said, I think my wispy body has been in desperate need of a bit of toning up, my mind continuously screaming out for a hit of dopamine, the kind only garnered after you’ve expelled every drop of blood, sweat and tears out of every orifice in thine very body. In other words – exercised.

With the intrinsic pep talk echoing in my ear one evening after I found myself binging my way into a diabetic coma, I decided to finally muster up the courage to face the embarrassment and shame of my noodle arms shaking under the tremendous pressure of a 5 lb dumbbell, (heaven forbid I tried deadlifts). I remember that first night as if it was yesterday (really it was a week ago but who’s counting), entering the gym felt more like entering an amphitheatre full of lions. Men built like bison, muscles bulging through their over-washed teeny weeny v-neck vest tops. I couldn’t place a bet on which would be first to rip, their crop tops or the vein in their thick thick necks from the gargantuan amount of strain which could have only surmounted in weight to easily 102.5 of my very self. A double take at that weight-lifting carry on was enough to have me retreat as any gym newbie does, by scuttling to the corner of the gym and onto a treadmill. From which I’m reaching for the oxygen tank like a chain smoker on death’s door, after all of 10 mins on the thing. I’ve gotten better though in my 5 days of attendance so far. I no longer use the treadmill, I attend the classes, which is the best solution if you’re like me and don’t have a clue how to use any of the gym equipment and don’t feel like losing a limb in the process of trying to use a weight machine only to find out it has a second calling as a modern day guillotine. If you don’t believe me watch the move – Final Destination 3, I’ll say no more on that front.

So far I’ve done yoga, and a spin class, which tallying it up now sounds pretty lame, but considering the most exercise I ever did prior to a week ago was holding the door open for a tailgater in my apartment block, then I’m doing quite well, don’t you think?

Next up is barre and Afrobeats, the dancer truly truly lost within me will be be buzzing for these. I better bring my sweatbands. Wish me luck………….

The Wacky Walking Race

Writing

Have you ever had a silent race on a footpath with a stranger? Where you both take it turns  to overtake one another. Steadily and surely picking up the pace in a desperate attempt to outmaneuver your opponent.

I’ve had this too, but what I haven’t had is an argument with an old lady who is desperately trying to outrun me on a  residential road on my walk home from work. Well, atleast that was the case until yesterday.

Yesterday evening it was dark, 5.30pm was fast approaching and my legs were making a speedy getaway from the workplace. On my usual route home I walk through quite a nice middle-class neighbourhood which, to my finding, can act as a quite the backdrop to some not so nice characters. As I trot down this residential road, as I do every other day, I try to overtake  a fellow commuter – a short elderly woman, who was walking at a slow pace and had a grocery bag full of red wine.  This was a maneuver I should have never attempted, no sooner am I inches ahead of her than can I see out of the corner of my eye her grey haired head bobbing straight passed me as she jogs with vigor to get ahead of me. I found this peculiar but thought nothing of it and so attempted to get passed granny once again. Yet this time, before I even had the chance to get parallel to her, she spins her head round like The Exorcist to glare at me before 1, 2 3, going at full throttle running the street to get away from me.

In shock at her antics I held back out of fear that had I somehow managed to outpace the geriatric then she’d have taken it upon herself to do me in in such classy style with a bottle of red wine to the back of the skull. And with that image quickly flashing into my head I decided to detour up a side road to avoid that rather inconvenient yet very probably possibility. And in doing so, the old doll, now an ant-like size in the distance, shouts back –  ‘good riddance, piss off’!

Now, bearing in mind I don’t know this woman from Adam or Eve, I have not bumped off her first born, taken the last red wine bottle in the supermarket or told her she’s a coffin dodger, so what is her problem? Can I not walk own the street without being hurled abuse at?

But I guess this is nothing compared to getting your hair spray painted red by an absolute stranger as you wait for bus no.24 at your local bus stop. Later do you come to realise through the city news rags that your newfound hairdresser is actually an escapee of a local London asylum. But I guess that’s a story for another time…..;)

Poem: Present/Future

Writing

 

We only have the present.

Regardless of what we want in our futures,

It is the ‘now’ which takes all of the credit.

 

Living in the moment,

An experience unknown to many.

We disown it in exchange for a chance to oneday own a moment, 

Which is nothing more than merely a ‘maybe’.

 

Hope is one thing.

Oblivion another.

Do you look in the mirror and see yourself for who you are?

Or always strive to be somebody better?

 

Are We Truly Selfish Or Kind?

Writing

Altruism – “Having or showing an unselfish concern for the welfare of others.”

Do you think you’re a nice person? And by this, self-validation in the form of saying “thank you” to the cashier and “hello” to your neighbor I’m afraid doesn’t quite cut it.

This question springs to my mind in light of a recent conversation I had with a work colleague, as a previous psychology student he divulged in a mixture of both his past successful and failing science experiments within the field.

One which stood out had to be the case where he intended to a stage a robbery, not by using actors or people who were atleast aware of actions to be taken upon them. Oh no, he was aiming to use the element of surprise and stage robberies on innocent ill-prepared passer-bys. The psychology experiment wasn’t to analyse jumpscare reactions, it was in his words to put to test the behaviors of the witnessing bystanders. In other words, would someone come to the rescue of the person who has just been robbed? Thereby testing to what extent people exhibit altruism. Do you think you would go to their rescue in the example above?

Whether you would or not, or whether anyone would  for that matter, the experiment never came to fruition, no surprises as to why. One sniff downwind that one of the school’s students aimed to scare the sh*t out of members of the public and the study was shutdown. Who wants a pass in psychology when it comes at the cost of being passed a 10 year jail sentence for manslaughter because the test subject suffered a heart attack?

As I digested the story of his scientific setback, it got me thinking – are we really as kind as we like to think?

Moving away from human beings for just a moment, I recently came across this video of altruism being exhibited in the bird species – the African grey parrot.

Here you can see that although bird one does not receive a treat for indirectly facilitating in the passing of a token to the human hand by passing it to the bird that does, it still chooses to continue the action despite no reward. A selfless act if you ask me! And likewise, when the birds switched places, the same was shown, they continued to help get the token to the human hand even when they themselves were not rewarded with food and the other bird was:

Courtesy of The Scientist

So where am I going with this? Well, if birds have the capacity for selflessness, then so should humans, right? Afterall, we live in a society, there is a need to be social, to create bonds and work co-cooperatively, so surely it’s in our best interests to look out for eachother, no?

So why might we want to help eachother?

Neuroscience? –  The reward centers in the brain are activated when we carry out an altruistic act [source: Hinterthuer].

But isn’t this in itself a selfish thing? I help you because it makes me feel better?

Survival technique – Cooperative Breeding? – offspring receive care not only from their parents, but also from additional group members, often called helpers. As Burkart suggests in Psypost: “When our hominin ancestors began to raise their offspring cooperatively, they laid the foundation for both our altruism and our exceptional cognition.”

So perhaps deep down helping others really means helping ourselves.

 

Volunteering: Help Others And You Help Yourself

Writing

They say the best way to feel better about yourself is through helping others. And in no act is this more clear than that of  voluntary work.

‘Volunteering’ can refer to a smorgasboard of activities. Whether you simply take an old dear’s chihuahua out for a walk or wash the windows for your neighbour, the task at hand is not the focus, it is the act of simply doing something for someone else without the expectation of something in return from them. Yet, ironically what you do get in return surpasses any materialistic or monetary transaction tenfold over, doing something selflessly brings true merit.

*Studies have proven this to be true.

Towards the end of last year I found myself struggling with esteem in some areas of my life. This absence was, in effect, creating a presence of self-doubt and worthlessness. Deciding enough was enough I took action and sought to find a way to boost my self-esteem, I started looking for a charity to be a part of.

As much as each charity serves an important purpose, for me, children’s charities have resonated with me on a personal level. Everyone should have the right to an enjoyable childhood, as studies show,  a difficult childhood can manifest itself into a disastrous adulthood. So I think anyway to support children’s well-being and development is a great thing to do.

The charity I volunteer at in particular supports children with additional needs – autism, Down’s Syndrome for example. The charity creates a safe space for them to simply be children. We play sports and other activities which gives them 3 hours of fun and their parents some free time.

Although physically and emotionally tiring, the rewards of seeing them enjoy themselves and then find that I myself am smiling by the end of it is evidence of just how much I get from volunteering.

I would strongly suggest that if you ever feel down about yourself or even if you have a bit of spare time, perhaps give volunteering a go. You never know what it could give you in return.

I Thought I Was Going Blind

Writing

Sitting at my desk in the office yesterday morning, everything was just peachy (or so I thought). Despite my eyelids occasionally closing over due to boredom, for the rare moments I decided to forcefully will them open, I could see as clear as day.

 

But for some reason or other I decided to wink at my morning array of spreadsheets and in doing so came to the stark realisation that my vision in my left eye was completely blurry.

 

 My vision through my right eye only was fine, through both eyes combined  it was fine, yet when solely using my left eye to look at the screen I was met with a blurred mess. It was as if someone had just poked my cornea with a vaseline blobbed finger and then proceeded to hold my head over a spoiled scrabble board. 

 

Feeling like I was about to give the game up on my sight I started panicking. Quietly. With the blurriness becoming progressively stronger I speedily sent my manager an email emphasising that my vision was weakening and that I needed to go to the opticians straight away. So sprinting into the store in an unshakeable panic I begged for an immediate eye test. My fear was less about my actual eye health to be honest and more about the condition of my brain. The earliest eye test to my dismay was to be a one hour wait. 

 

Advised to head to A&E if it got worse, I  instead chose to wait it out. Waiting out the time felt like a lifetime. Back to the opticians an hour later and I’m getting air shot into my eye and asked if I could read outloud a love letter that had been etched onto the back of a postage stamp. 

 

What were the results? 

 

Following an array of tests, I was put out of my misery as the optometrist declared that my eyes and corresponding vessels were all healthy. 

 

So what was causing the blurriness? And why was it only in one eye? 

 

The glasses. 😦

 

The bloody things which were meant to better my eyesight ironically played a crucial part in its deterioration. 

 

It’s because of the following explanation that I urge you to ensure that you get your eyes tested frequently and make sure your prescription is the most accurate  and updated one tailored for your sight. 

 

It starts with the fact that no two eyes are ever going to be the same strength, and for me my right eye is stronger than my left. So in theory I would need different lens strengths in my glasses, with each lens being specifically made for each eye. What happened in this situation was that this was not the case. Instead, the lens magnification which best suited my stronger right eye was placed into both the left and right eye section of the glasses. As a result my left eye was being put under constant strain every time I wore my glasses, to the point where the muscles were overworking so much it resulted in what felt like a remaining partial blindness in the left eye. 

 

Examples to describe giving the wrong glasses may be along the lines of:

 

-Giving chocolate to a dog. It poisons them. 

-Pouring salt on a slug. It does them no favours

-Giving someone a chocolate teapot. It’s useless. 

 

The bottom line is the glasses were not helping my eyes, they were hindering them, hence not fulfilling their purpose!

 

So Now I’m met with the choice of either not wearing glasses at all while I’m doing computer work or paying between £39 – £69 per pair (I have two pairs with these incorrectly fitted lenses). Do you think they should pay for the lens change? Or should I?

 

**This frightful momentary state of panic made me appreciate how complex we are as humans. It made me realise how important it is to look after yourself. We are human beings, made up of such complex biology. It’s astonishing how every cell in our bodies serves a purpose. And how easy it is for part of this harmony to be abruptly thrown out of sync.

 

Take care of yourself!

Poem: Stress

Writing

Stress.
The subtle strangler.
It manifests itself in many ways.
A fabrication of the mind.
Sending cortisol coursing through our veins.

Life – so full of precious pressures.
So petty, so small, minute.
‘A busy life is a happy one.’
A lie disguised as truth.

Change

Writing

I feel like I’m in such a weird space at present, no sooner have I moved flat than I’m trawling the jobboards of everything from Indeed.com to Craigslist (ok maybe not Craigslist).  Being a seasoned veteran on these job sites is not something I’m proud of, frequenting them so much that Google ads now pop up with ‘need a new job?’ as I’m downloading a voucher off Groupon for a pair of discounted leggings.

What’s going on with me?

I just have this inbuilt element of restlessness, like the kind you get when you sit on a computer chair for too long and your ass starts getting really itchy. I have to get up and move, find something different. I truly think there’s something not right with me, I honestly get bored of things too frequently and too quickly. Tell me I’m NOT the only one who feels this way?!

This attitude has seeped its way into every aspect of my life, from where I live to what I eat. I’m a glutenous pig for chips, but I just can’t stomach any other food item repeated more that twice in a row.

This element of ‘change’ has sprung to mind in more recent times as I think about how much change I’ve actually went through since moving to London. Change to me is like a flame to a moth, I’m attracted to it but with dangerous consequences.

Jobs, housing, hobbies, hair colour! I’ve done it all! I seriously ask myself if I’m having some sort of identity crisis, a quarter life breakdown, perhaps? But these frantic thoughts and feelings are swiftly pacified by a session of binge eating and multiple episodes of ‘Botched’. But  I guess you can only suppress your feelings for so long, sooner or later they creep back out from under the woodwork. Manifest themselves in mysterious ways. If you’ve ever found yourself getting annoyed at the checkout lady in the supermarket for not scanning through your groceries fast enough then maybe it’s actually a sign that you’re internally annoyed at yourself for something. or if you find yourself crying after impulsively ending the short life of a housefly which landed on your homemade Victoria sponge, maybe it’s time for some self-reflection.

At least this is what I’ve found in my own life, frustration in myself can wrongfully be taken out on those closest to me. One thing I get frustrated about is this sense that we have such little time on this planet and it’s as if I change what I’m doing a little too often because in some subconscious way I have massive fomo (fear of missing out). Life is short I want to try as much as I can, I guess. But is this really the best attitude to have?

There’s really no point getting worked up about time, I know that but sometimes you can’t help it. When you see people your age travelling or enjoying certain experiences you can’t help but wish you had those too, right? That’s why I think social media on the whole isn’t a good thing for people’s mental health. We are being bombarded by a plethora of photoshopped pictures, and rented out rich lifestyles. Photos and opinions are liked and disliked, all of it a facade at the end of the day.

Apologies, I feel like I’m going off on a bit of a tangent, I just wanted to share with you this element of change I’m going through currently. I wonder if I’m alone with this, or have you went through change as frequently as I?

I’ll leave this with you, the words of Greek Philosopher Heraclitus (terrible choice of name):

change is the only constant in life.”

 

 

 

 

I’m Done….

Writing

If sweating out of every orifice in your entire being is your cup of tea then you should’ve joined me in my gallivanting across the city of London with what could’ve only been described as the weight of a life-sized 10 year old on my back in the form of a gym bag and a suitcase-come bodybag with actual human weight included! Yes stunting my growth wasn’t just a choice I made in the 30 degree heat over the weekend, it was an experience which almost had me in a vegetative state by midday. Having your skeleton permanently positioned into the shape of the letter ‘C’ I’m sure has its advantages but why did this past weekend have to be my moment of awakening to this?

 

If I can momentarily pause from speaking in cryptic code (I’ve been watching alot of Sherlock Holmes these passed to days, thanks to my bed-ridden state), and indulge you in as to why I have found myself in such a mess. The reason behind my misfortune was thanks to ‘moving homes’. I move more than nomads. 4 times in 2 years, is that alot? I get bored easily.

 

If you’ve been following any of my perils this past month you will have found yourself on my bandwagon with a one stop tour of poppycock, peasantry and pettiness just as August comes to  close. From living on £30 over two weeks here in the UK’s capital, to despising the whole world and its dog on public transport, you can really tell that I want you to come to this city and have as fulfilling a time as I.

 

So just before I roll out of bed to crawl to the pissy pot in the corner of my darkened cluttered room I thought I’d keep you updated on my ‘goings ons’. 

 

Hope your life isn’t as shite as mine. 

 

 

I Finally Did It!

Writing

If you’ve been following my quarrels and qualms in my quest to find a new humble abode here, then it may come as a surprise to both you and I that I have done the impossible and actually managed to find a place to live come September this year!

 

But before I bathe in blissful sunlight with a sigh of relief, let me remind you of the moment when I was wallowing in petty self-pity. It was the moment an estate agent tried to do me wrong! Nothing new there, you might say! It was several days ago, I had viewed a property that I’d quite liked the look of, I put in an offer literally the same day. Having heard absolutely nothing for the next two I then decided to ring up the letting agents, to which the blandest voice on the other side of the phone whispered ‘it’s been taken. But if you want you can put in an offer to the landlord.’’Ok, um …what offer did the other bidders put in’. I asked, to which he replied ‘I can’t tell you that information, just that it was higher than yours’. Well no shit Sherlock! I placed an offer higher than my original price out of pure desperation, then I hung up the phone and began sobbing in the toilets at work. Ok so maybe not sobbing but I definitely paced back and forth like a lunatic who badly needed to use the toilet but couldn’t decide which empty cubicle to use. After 5 minutes of pensive pondering I then flushed one of the loo’s randomly (and washed my hands ofcourse), and this was when I had my eureka moment. The estate agent was lying! He just said there’s been a higher offer so that I would push mine up in order for him to make  higher commission!!! 

 

This thought stuck in my mind like minty gum to the underside of a school desk, Mr Bland has tried to steal my money I internalised! I later got an email from him saying that the place was taken, that there was nothing more I could do, my offer wasn’t high enough and that was that! Not taking no for an answer, I proceeded to send him emails as a paper trail, asking for proof of the offer, one thing he did say was that this ‘higher’ offer was made on Friday, I viewed the property on Saturday so why would you show others around a property which has had an offer on it way above the original asking price? Anyway, his answers via email were more than lacklustre so I decided to take the detective measures into my own hands. Goodbye Natasha, hello Charlie! Charlie my other self, makes the odd appearance when I’m doing a bit of undercover work i.e. like when I’m sending emails to dodgy estate agents asking them if a property is still on the market! Charlie was able to get a ‘yes’ from Mr. Bland, yet Natasha somehow got a ‘no’. Conclusion – someone’s been lying! Finding this out made me even more angry but then it hit me, would I really want to have dealings with a lettings agency who lies to people like this just to line their own pockets? The short answer is ‘no’. And with that I gave up on that place I liked the look of and about a week later found, in my opinion, a place twice as good as it, for just that little bit more money. I guess the saying ‘you get what you pay for’ really does ring home in this instance.

 

Speaking of money,  because I was so desperate to get the place, I put down a holding deposit immediately to take it off the market, and now I’m broke af. 

 

Yes, I have a home, and now a new challenge arises! Survive 2 weeks in London on £30 in total! I’m not even joking this is all I have left until payday on the 24th of July. I just picture myself ending up like Voldemort baby in Harry Potter by the end of this week,nevermind the end of next. Either way, it will most certainly be the end of me! I will definitely let you know how this goes!

 

Le Moi:

4AkiO

We All Do This…

Writing

Creatures of habit, copycats, primitive minds, call us what you will. The bottom line is that there are just some things we all can’t deny we’ve done atleast once in our lives, wouldn’t you agree with the below:

 

  • We’ve looked away so abruptly that we’ve almost given ourselves whiplash, so to make it obvious that we aren’t watching the person ahead of us at the checkout entering their pin number into the card machine.

 

  • We’ve let one go out in public and purposely played it off by giving our neighbour daggers so nobody thinks it was us. 

 

  • We’ve scurried around the supermarket aisles like some badass ninja playing peek-a-boo, all to avoid that formidable awkward encounter with the person from work/school who we don’t really like.

 

  • We’ve agreed in our own minds to completely avoid a person for eternity all because we didn’t have the balls to ask them to repeat their name for the 3rd time, so we’ve concluded that ever having to say bye to ‘mr. anonymous’  would just be too awkward.

 

  • We’ve all had to reread what we’d just read because we weren’t paying attention to what we were reading.

 

  • We’ve all been freaked out at night when home alone, don’t deny that you haven’t checked the doors are locked and looked under your bed for the serial killer. 

 

  • We’ve all used our fingers to do simple arithmetic.

 

  • We’ve all followed google maps on our phone, only to quickly realise it’s bringing us the wrong way. Haven’t you tried to play it cool by pretending to look in a shop window before abruptly making a u turn? Or are you one of those people who just attack the right-turn with conviction while muttering how sh*t google maps is under your breath?

 

It’s safe to say you’ve done at least half of the above, if not you’ve lived a very sheltered life and I feel sorry for you. 

 

The Time I Almost Went Blind

Writing

I think back to this horrific memory as a result of having incredibly dry and itchy eyes for what felt like every living second of work today. If you’re familiar with my other post about an unwelcomed eye infection I had last year, then you’ll be familiar with the fact that I’ve had some nasty little issues with my eyes at certain points in my life.

 

Today in work, as I sat cross-eyed, with the tears streaming down my face trying to type ‘how to cook egg fried rice’ into my google search I think back to the following event involving my eyes which left me scarred for life:

 

About 7 years ago I was in the garden of my family home in Northern Ireland, hanging out the washing as any enslaved child would do for the enjoyment of their parents, when all of a sudden I started to lose my peripheral vision.

 

Initially it began in the rims of my sight but soon before I knew it my whole vision was blurry. The only way I could describe it would be like if you were to open your eyes in the ocean’s salty water and everything appears ‘fizzy’ if that makes sense. I can only use this example because I being the idiot that I am have tried this. So with my vision suddenly disintegrating I scream to my sister who is too busy hanging up my dad’s tighty whities that I couldn’t see.

 

Thinking it was a joke she continued pegging the odd socks to the clothes line. I was adamant I was losing my vision, my parents were out of the house at this stage so it was just me and my younger sister in the garden. I continued to shriek with panic until finally she knew that I wasn’t joking for once.

 

The two of us ran inside and I scrambled to reach for the phone as my vision was getting ‘fizzier’ and ‘fizzier’, I couldn’t see the numbers by this stage, I think only 2 minutes had went by since my vision was normal. My sister rand my dad who consequently sped home so fast I could smell the burning rubber on his tyres. By the time he got back which was approx 15 minutes after we alerted him,  my sight had returned to me. I should’ve probably rang an ambulance but being a kid I didn’t know what to do, I just panicked.

 

At the opticians a few days later they found no real reasoning for it but I have one of my own.

 

My phone.

 

It just so happens that a few weeks prior to this scare I had just gotten my first touch screen phone. I felt like the bee’s knees and loved looking at everything from the latest music videos to social media all within 5 millimetres if my face. I literally never sat it down, this dangerous recipe of being continuously on my phone coupled with holding it so close to my eyes, led to major strain being put on my eyes as a result in my opinion. I believe overuse of the device led to my temporary blindness.

 

I think back to the event and part of me finds it humourous but another part of me is genuinely cautious of eye strain. It’s so easy for us to spend copious amounts of times on our electronic devices and although opticians may feel that it’s the biology of the eye and age that make it deteriorate overtime, part of me still feels overworking the eye plays a part.

 

Even if I’m wrong, we all know that using our phones and laptops for sustained periods of time does cause discomfort to our eyes, even if only on a temporary basis.

 

I actively think about the amount if time I spend on my devices. And put in effort to ensure I don’t spend too long. I think we all should, what use is getting a high score on candy crush when you’re damaging your body in the process?

Pet Peeves

Writing

We all have them, even those amongst us who have the patience of a saint can fall victim to loosing their tranquil facade in the blink of an eye when faced with the the continuous grunts, chews and swallows of the gluttonous pig in row G. Oblivious to the world, they munch their way through what can only be described as the meal deal combo, all before the opening credits of the latest Tarantino flick has even begun.

 

Don’t pretend you don’t temporarily hate people too!

 

What inspired me to write a post on pet peeves you ask?

 

Browsing the junk food  aisle down at my local supermarket a few days ago couldn’t have came  to a more abrupt ending than with the aggressive sounds of the ‘snot sniffing stranger’ lurking over my shoulder like the grim reaper himself. That has to be one of my biggest pet peeves – the sniffler. Although it’s one thing having the sniffles, it’s another thing snorting with conviction and then making that terrible gulping sound afterwards. Like nails on a chalkbard, this was the noise I was greeted with by a fellow supermarket customer. It’s safe to say I made a haste exit to the checkout while giving him daggers. Blow your damn nose you unhygienic freak (I mutter internally ofcourse)!

 

This experience  got me thinking of all the different pet peeves that either I have or that people have in general, from the suggestions below, which of the two scenarios would you rather be stuck with:

 

1) The Coach Journey

 

The constant cougher who sits beside you for the whole 3 hour journey, never thinks of clearing their throat once and for all. Instead, they mix things up with a timely selection of tiny dry coughs inbetween the whooping hacking kind.

 

Or

 

The continuous knee shaker, restless leg has gotten the better of them, they keep shaking their leg so much it makes your chair shake also for the entire travel time.

 

2) Standing In A Queue

 

The guy infront of you just can’t stop yawning and as a result everytime he yawns you reciprocate. But that’s not all, he has to make sound effects each time, and finishes each one with ‘cutesy’ mouth smacking noises.

 

Or

 

The wind-bender, they’ve ate something bad and make sure you know about it, if they’re not burping into the back of your neck they’re sending a wet one up your two nostrils. The line isn’t moving, have you got any air freshener handy?

 

3) At The Restaurant

 

You’re at a friend’s birthday meal, problem is you don’t know many of the people they’ve invited. And it seems like you don’t want to either, for as you try your best to strike up a conversation with the person opposite you you’re met with a mouth full of teeth, tongue and 30-day matured steak churning around at the speed of light as they bang on about the weather. Yes, they’re one of those, the criminals who chew with their mouths open.

 

Or

 

The other suited stranger to your immediate left still at your friend’s birthday meal, he answers his phone call, you soon find he speaks with one of the most obnoxious tones of voice you’ve ever heard. I stand corrected, he’s not speaking he’s a phone ‘shouter’. Not only do you know that he’s just landed the new job, which promotes him to a six figure salary but so too does half the restaurant. Keeping things mute isn’t in his forte, although deafening you certainly is.

 

Us humans are so great in many ways, but nature’s little flaws have made us test what it means to be patient to the max, I’m sure you would agree.

Want To Live Longer – Get Yourself Outdoors

Writing

I think I’ve cracked it, Italian folk aren’t the longest living people because of their diet, they spend longest on the planet compared to any other nationality because of their beautiful weather! Who wouldn’t want to stick around and bask in the glorious sunshine?

Whether it’s key to a long life or not, one thing’s for sure, sunlight must be a contributing factor to people’s overall mood and so quality of life, and this must indeed lead back to  life longevity, no?

I ponder over this point as I dip one toe into the pneumonia-inducing waters of the English Channel, while the other remains firmly on the shingled beach of Brighton this bank holiday.  Temperatures soar into the twenties (degrees celsius) as sweltered sweaty bodies lie down soaking up the sunrays like cold-blooded reptiles.

The sun boosts everyone’s mood, there’s just something so comforting about the (picking off your sunburnt peely skin the day after) smell of suncream and the sounds of waves crashing against the seashore. Sunlight is my version of rose-tinted glasses.

 
The Benefits Of A Sunny Day

Vitamin D – Your skin produces vitamin D whenever you are exposed to UVB sunlight rays. Vitamin D helps maintain the health of the bones and teeth, playing an essential role in regulating the amount of phosphate and calcium in  the body in addition to numerous other health regulatory roles.

T-Cells – The T-cell is a type of white blood cell which is essential to human immunity. Recent research into the body’s reaction to sunlight has quite literally shed new light on its effect on the body’s immune system in particular. Some studies conducted have highlighted the effect of low levels of blue light (present in the sun rays) exposure on T-Cells. The blue light is believed to trigger the release of hydrogen peroxide by the T- cells, a reaction produced in response to an infection normally. This release of hydrogen peroxide thus leads to the increased mobilisation of the cells throughout the body. Thus an increase in mobilisation would mean the cells could get to sites of infection more quickly.

Mood Booster – The winter blues are no doubt a real thing. And so is SAD – ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’, which links seasonal changes with patterns of depression. With a lack of sunlight resulting in lower serotonin levels, a rise in sunlight thereby boosts serotonin in the body, serotonin is the chemical neurotransmitter that boosts our mood. Sunlight triggers special areas of your eye – the retina to produce serotonin.

Lowers Pollution Levels – Your descendents will thank you as they aren’t left permanently attached to an oxygen tank.Reducing the need to burn fossil fuels should surely be something that brings a smile to our faces? That is, ofcourse, if you feel the planet is worth saving. If you don’t then wake up now! Sunshine is unlimited, fossil fuels are not. Although solar power is not completely waste free, it’s still doing a better job than the waste produced from oil and coal burning.

What more reasons could you need for the sun to put a smile on your face? Get outdoors now! Your T-cells will thank you!

Why You & I Both Hate Shopping

Writing

Nothing sinks my heart further into the pit of my stomach than the sight of two mums fighting over the same cable-knit jumper in the ‘Winter’ aisle, or better yet, one of them fighting with yours truly. Not that I would ever buy a cable-knit jumper or anything remotely resembling it but the point still holds, going clothes shopping is like going off to war. Left, right and centre you have the fear of God struck into you by the bullish and brutish ways of the everyday shopper.

I’m not saying every passerby has their heart set on making my shopping experience a living misery, but I am saying that there are a modest few that do, and don’t they do their damndest! Here are 5 of my favourite worse case scenarios when it comes to getting the groceries in:

  1. The Fitting Rooms

You think trying on clothes in a fitting room would be a very ‘individual’ sport (unless ofcourse  you’re one of these people who takes baths with their dogs and showers with their neighbours). Atleast it’s meant to be a solo activity until you are at your most vulnerable, as naked as the day you were born and the changing room curtain suddenly wafts open thanks to the ever-so-speedy shop assistant who keeps racing up and down the changing room corridors collecting coat hangers. The curtains billow as if a tornado has just graced us with its presence all in while your modesty as a result goes out the window. Cheers coat hanger girl, your wind gush running really made my day!

  1. Have A Good Look

Picture reading the tiniest of fonts on a label the size of a postage stamp, you focus with great intent, eyes squinting, beads of sweat drip from your forehead. You need these details! Success! You’ve read that the item isn’t machine washable so you turn to head away from the product only you find yourself cornered from all sides by blank, expressionless, unfamiliar faces. That’s right just as you decided to read the label so too did 5 other people who had nothing better to do with their lives in that moment than to make you feel small and trapped in your little local mall.

  1. The Awkward Shuffle

Shopping aisles are no place for claustrophobe’s or anyone who isn’t the width of a shoestring by all accounts. We’ve all been there, heading down the aisle, opposite traffic is on the move towards us fast and steady, we panic, which side to choose? Too late, you and the geriatric have both went left when you quite clearly should’ve went right. You almost clash heads, it could’ve been worse, it could’ve been the lips. This happens to me all the time, I always awkwardly do the same shaky shuffle as I desperately try and dodge another body only to find myself grazing mine against theirs in the most inconvenient of manners. I’m sure you can share this embarrassment atleast once in your life, that is ofcourse if you dare to venture beyond your welcome doormat once in a blue moon. 

  1. Walk The Line

I know that good things come to those who wait but when you’re waiting in line and have an unruly kid upfront and 2 gossiping grannies behind you really do have to weigh up the need to even buy food or clothing at all sometimes. It’s times like this I wish I could just abort the mission of trying to live in a civilised society and run off to the Amazon.

  1. The Cashier

I don’t care if I’m the 250th person you’ve asked ‘would you like a bag?’ to, is it too much to ask that you don’t look like you’ve sucked all the lemons down the fruit and veg aisle? What is with some people that they can’t just fake a smile once in a while even if they’re dying inside? Why does the curse of lethargy and snark strike just as I step up to pay for my camel toe inducing leggings and bottle green V-neck? Check yourself out check out girl! Or I wanna see your damn manager!

 

So tell me, am I being overdramatic or does shopping turn out to be full scale warfare in your eyes also? Let’s just say, I totally get why Amazon has become a multi-billion dollar company.

 

 

The Struggle Of Trying To Eat Healthily

Writing

I would rather bite  my own tongue OFF than put another rice cracker with low fat margarine IN my mouth. You read that correctly, self-maiming seems like a healthier option as oppose to a life full of flavourless feeding habits.  I’m in no way against people being as healthy as they can be, I’m just somewhat reluctant to believe that I can summon myself to a life of carrot sticks and hummus.

Maybe I’m just not imaginative enough with my food choices, perhaps there are a million and one ways to make avocado and toast the reason you get up in the morning, but to me a fry up will forever be the way to my heart (quite literally)! I wouldn’t say I’m overly unhealthy, I indulge in the odd weekend takeaway, I have a biscuit with my cuppa, so where’s the harm in that?

Perhaps my downfall isn’t that I’m eating badly, it’s that I’m not eating enough of the good stuff. I wrote a post yesterday about how I feel tired alot and a big role to play in this is  mental well being, I also want to touch on a physical contributing factor to utter exhaustion – the nutritional value of our foods, or shall I say the lack of. It’s one thing eating enough but we also need to make sure we are getting enough nutrients.  That’s right a plate full of fried chicken, mash potatoes and gravy may actually lead us down a path of osteoporosis before we’re 30 if we’re not careful! So with that being said, where the f*ck can I get these damn nutrients from?!

5 of the most nutritious foods according to science at present (in no rank order, ain’t nobody got time for that):

  1. Salmon

All man may be created equally, but sadly the same cannot be said for all fish. When it comes to healthy oils salmon’s your knight in shining scales. With a dense packing of omega-3 fatty acids, you’ll be solving those crossword puzzles in seconds thanks to the beneficial effects these fatty acids have on brain functionality. Plus others here

  1. Garlic

I don’t care how pungent people find this clove, I f*cking love this stuff. So much so that I eat it raw each morning so that I get more personal space on public transport when commuting to work each morning. (joke). Truth be told, it packs a stench and alot of other mighty benefits also: studies have suggested that the smelly spice helps lower the risk heart disease and some cancers due to its sulphurous compounds. Coined the term ‘Russian Penicillin’, it’s antibacterial properties also help fend off skin conditions too. I’m a fan through and through.

  1. Potatoes

I’m not talking about chips, or mash made with 4 sticks of butter. I’m talking about the humble old potato with the SKINS ON (fibre for digestion and controlling blood glucose levels)! Packed with enough vitamin C to send off scurvy in a heartbeat, you can bet your bottom dollar that making a spud a staple on your plate and in your heart will serve you a world of good in the long run. They contain almost every nutrient you need, from magnesium and potassium to manganese and copper. These tuber treats are basically tasty periodic tables if you ask me.

  1. Seaweed

It’s about time a green veg made an appearance on my list but I’m not going for the predictable Kale or broccoli, which ofocurse are highly nutritious. Instead the weed of the sea gets a healthy high five from me. One of its notable beneficial compounds is its high levels of iodine. You may ask why is iodine important for the body?  Iodine is important for the body in making thyroid hormones. Our thyroid gland plays a major role in regulating many body functions through hormone release including metabolism, digestion and brain development. Specifically, for brain and bone development during pregnancy.

  1. Dark Chocolate

This list seems more bearable than I had anticipated, and no better way to top it off than with the topic of conversation being –  chocolate. But note, white or milk won’t give you the same effect as dark. This is because dark chocolate contains a higher concentration of cocoa solids than it’s milkier cousins (which contain milk solids in addition to cocoa solids thus diluting their concentrations down per bar). It’s in this original cocoa where all the nutrition is stored. One being ‘flavonoids’, very beneficial antioxidants to the body, they are naturally occurring plant pigments and can also help promote blood vessel flexibility thus improving overall cardiovascular functionality.  Your heart loves dark chocolate even if you may not.

Do you eat enough of the 5 above, or even any? I definitely don’t eat enough. But it’s never too late to change that. Hope you enjoy a balanced healthy lifestyle, because you deserve it.

Career Switch Like These 7 Celebrities

Writing

One trick ponies aren’t present in the stables today judging by the 7 celebrities below:

Donald Trump – whether you love him or loathe him you can’t deny he’s had the career jump worthy of a pat on the back so big it partially exorcises his demonic spirit from his body (only temporarily though). Not that he was doing that badly before as a multi-millionaire businessman but obviously the title of President of the United States has a better ring to it.

Drake – Who would’ve thought this cute Canadian teen who made squeaky clean TV would become one of the biggest music artists of the charts. Too sweet to be a hardcore gang banger, yet can still crack out multiple expletives with such finesse. Drizzy Drake take a bow.

Martha Stewart – Stewart hasn’t had a bad run of career options in her life, modelling for fashion houses such as Chanel in her early 20’s and as one would naturally do, she jumped right into the world stock brokerage aged 25 at some little known named location – Wall Street. And because making lots of money from money can become lack lustre, Martha re-invented how we watch TV by offering a smorgasbord of her television personalities in various shapeshifting forms ranging from food to gardening.

Christopher Walkin – Lion tamer turned Hollywood actor. Not bad for the resume. Describing one lion affectionately named Sheba as ‘very sweet, like a dog.’ What kind of dogs has he been around? Inbetween his circus life, Walkin trained as a dancer before moving on to Broadway and film.

Ellen DeGeneres – Having experienced a range of roles before stand up comedy took her to stardom, including waitressing at TGI Fridays, paralegal clerical duties and oyster shucking. It’s therefore safe to say she’s done it all (except make me laugh(kidding))!

Pope Francis – Bouncer turned preacher. Any shape throwing sinners would have surely felt his wrath on the backdoor’s of the bouncing Buenos Aires clubs in his early days.

Whoopi Goldberg – Funeral makeup artist. How can you go from powder puffer on the face of a corpse to singing nun in Sister Act? The Pope needs to have words with you Whoopi! (Whoopi’s getting an ass whoopin’ (sorry bit far)) Did I mentioned she was also a garbage collector before turning to stand – up comedy and acting? Her transition into the world of entertainment has definitely been an interesting one.