Sunday, 29 November 2015

Saying goodbye.

Today I had the second of my three pet rats put to sleep. That's two within 3 weeks. We also had to have our cat Harry put to sleep less than two months ago.
When you become a pet owner you know it's not forever, you understand that you will out live these animals most of the time by many years but it doesn't make it easier when letting them go.

As I have been left with a solitary rat, D'artagnan, I have decided to try and re-home him with another owner who has multiple rats already. Rats are group animals and require constant support and interaction with others. Had he been old I may have considered keeping him alone but he could live another year and a half and it's just not fair to make him spend that time on his own.

I do have the option to get other rats to keep him company but I'm not sure I'm in the right position in my life to get more. They are an expense, if I'm being honest I didn't spend enough time with the rats I had and it would be wrong to get more, plus I'm hoping to move out of my parents house sometime in the future and rental properties rarely allow pets and I wouldn't want to give up multiple rats just to move. So I'm going to try and find him somewhere to live that will mean he gets a nice, clean home, an owner that handles him regularly and lots of other rats to keep him company.

I never expected to go from 7 pets to 3 in such a short amount of time .... it's been pretty heart breaking and all around shit. But that's the deal you make when adopting pets, it's your responsibility to do your best by them and accept the pain of letting them go.


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Children and Nature.

The Wildlife Trust have started an initiative called Every Child Wild and it's based on a concept that I have a lot of feelings about.

I am a huge supporter of protecting our environment which is why I've studied it and I also stand by my opinion that humans are the worst thing to have happened to this planet. We have done an incomprehensible amount of damage to the earth in the short time we as a species have inhabited it. Before I get too deep into the negative I promise I'm not all doom and gloom, there is hope people! That hope lies with kids.

The idea that today's kids don't go outside very often is nothing new, but it's something I feel needs to change. And soon. With so much technology at our finger tips it's often considered the only way to entertain children. All this has led to a severe lack of understanding and appreciation for the environment right outside our doors.
Of course I love having the internet, TV, film and music readily available but when I was young these were luxuries not something I was constantly glued to (obviously now I'm a grown up I'm allowed to have an unhealthy, extremely dependent relationship with my phone and laptop....).

Some of my best memories from childhood are the ones where I was outside and in nature. Most days I would be out of the house and my parents would take us on walks to the parks and woods nearly every weekend - TV was only really there for when the whether wouldn't allow us to be outside. (FYI the picture in the title image is of one of my favourite places, the woods near my house has for as long as I can remember had this "dragon" log. I used to sit on it and was convinced it was once a real flying dragon and had been turned into wood by magic.)

These kids are the ones who will soon be in control of the future of the earth and the idea that they could go into that future completely blind to the needs of nature is terrifying. Knowledge is key and let's be honest kids will only learn if they are interested and they are fully immersed so we need to make it fun and engaging! Sitting them down and droning on about how shit the current state of the planet is isn't going to enthuse them to take action, in fact it's pretty damn depressing.
Get them out there, let them experience all the beauty that the earth has to offer, only then will children realise what we stand to lose.... and actually care about it. Even if it encourages them to make the simplest changes like recycling more or planting vegetables in the garden when they're older it matters. The smallest changes can have the biggest impacts.

I stand by this campaign to get the young'uns out and about. Get excited, get muddy, get dirty and get MAD about the environment.


Saturday, 21 November 2015

My Favourite Meat Alternatives.

I've been a vegetarian for almost a year now and when I was a meat eater I was always a little confused about vegetarians eating vegetarian products that are made to look and (almost) taste like actual meat. If you don't like the idea of eating an animal why buy something that's made to be the same as it?
It didn't take long to realise why so many vegetarians go down this route. Sometimes it's hard to think of a  replacement for meat in a meal- it's often the main component and to find an alternative can mean extra thought and work which sometimes I'm just not okay with! Also although I have chosen not to eat meat, I used to and still do enjoy the flavours of it so I occasionally fancy something meaty tasting.

I have fallen a little in love with the company Quorn, who have made pretty much every conceivable meat commodity available for vegetarians. They are the kings of vegetarian alternatives.
Here are a few of my favourites that I recommend to every veggie, partly because they are about as similar to the meat original as you could get but mostly because they're freaking delicious!

- Scotch eggs                                                                      - Sausage roll

- Turkey slices                                                                   - Mince

- Tikka slices                                                               - Pies


Thursday, 19 November 2015

Why Comic Con?

I've been to the London MCM Comic Con three times and each of them has been heaving with thousands of fans which got me thinking - what is it that makes this event so popular?

1. You get to spend the day walking around stalls bursting with unimaginable amounts of merchandise from your favourite fandoms. The variety is endless, it's one of those times when spending money is just a little bit too easy but dear lord does it feel good at the time.

2. There's always a whole troupe of talented people more than happy to share their abilities. It's a perfect chance to admire (and purchase) others craftsmanship, find inspiration and become sick with jealousy at all the things you'll never be able to do..... Just me?

3. You get the opportunity to meet some of the stars of stage, screen and game. If like me you tend to place those in the spotlight on a bit of a pedestal and so enjoy meeting them - even if  on doing so you internally (and on occasion externally) become reduced to what can only be described as an incoherent marshmallow - this is your universe my friend.

I personally adore listening to people talk about their passions and seeing there eyes light up with childish excitement. It saddens me that it seems less and less common place for people to let go and show their joy but in today's society it's almost frowned upon to be enthusiastic.
To counter this all you really have to do is talk long enough to someone and you'll find that one thing that makes someone regress and it's the best. That's what's at the heart of Comic Con, the idea that no matter what you're interest might be to be welcomed all you need is to unapologetic ally love something.

So I have come to the conclusion that that's what makes Comic Con so special and that's what keeps people coming back time and time again. A feeling of being yourself and thus belonging, safety and at home-ness (yep that's 100% a word).

Have you ever been? What was your experience?

Side note: This is my 100th post awoo hoo.


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

TFT | Imagine

This is all I will post about recent events.
In light of everything that has happened all around the world, not just on Friday 13th but this whole year, I want to share this video. If you want to, maybe take these 2 minutes to think about the hearts that have been lost and broken because of these horrendous acts of violence and consider all the wonderful things in your life you have to be grateful for.

Love - It's free and the only thing you can never give too much of so spread that shit like butter.


Sunday, 15 November 2015

The Easy Way.

Sometimes making your life easier is just a necessity.

For me driving has always been an issue, every time I knew I had a driving lesson I would feel sick all day and think of any reason not to do it. I hate using this as an excuse but I was in a fairly serious car accident before I started learning (I wasn't driving just to clarify), thankfully it's the only one I've been in to date. I won't divulge all the details but we did end up on the roof and had to crawl out the broken windows so it did make me worry a bit when in the driver seat myself.
I also think that my anaemia has played a part as it leaves me dizzy and struggling to concentrate which is just a bit important when driving.

I had a lot of lessons, with different instructors and at various times and all of them felt the same. I could drive fine, all the teachers said I was safe and never really did anything majorly wrong but it was me holding myself back. I felt like I would never be confident enough to do a test, I could barely get through a lesson let alone adding the pressure of being examined!

That's when I decided to go automatic. A few people thought this might limit me a bit as in England if you do a test in an automatic car you can't then drive manuals. Although it might lower my choices of car, there are still so many options, plus I really needed to get my license since I live in the arse end of nowhere.

After a few automatic lessons I knew this was the only way I was going to pass my test in the near future, so I continued learning and eventually passed my test a few months ago - first time and all!

When making this decision I almost felt like I was being lazy and it was taking the easy way out (title reference hey ooooh!) but the closer I got to booking a test I realised it really was the best thing for me to do, also it meant being able to drive sooner and open up all manner of new possibilities.
I still don't enjoy driving, in fact I actively dislike it but it's an integral part of adult life and allows me to do all the things I want to without relying on others.

I don't think you should ever feel guilt for making tasks simpler or quicker for yourself, it's your life and you only have so much spare time. Why make things more arduous than they need to be?

Taking the easy way out isn't always a negative concept.


Thursday, 5 November 2015

Being on TV.

Back in May I got on a plane and headed off to Italy to take part in a TV show... yes an actual show on actual television that people saw. It all happened when my sister, in a fit of reckless abandonment, printed off and bought home application forms for a new show on ITV called Hello Campers - I draw your attention to the above logo.

The day after we sent off the paper work we got a phone call asking us to go to the ITV studios for an interview in London. Neither of us had ever done anything like this before so were walking into the Big Smoke utterly blind.

I'm being completely honest with you when I say we didn't expect to be chosen - we felt that in the interview we were much quieter than the others and most of the characters in the room definitely out shone us. Among our friends and family me and my older sister are somewhat odd and out there but in the big, wide world we're frankly, well, uninteresting .... or at least that's what we thought.
We actually got picked and of course accepted the chance to jet off to a campsite to spend 5 days in front of cameras!

The idea behind the show was to have 5 couples camp together for a week and do daily activities where you can score points and the couple with the most at the end win £1000. Spoiler alert here - we didn't win! If you've seen Coach Trip it's actually the same production team and has a similar feel, just minus the vote off!
We really did love every minute, we met people and did things we never imagined we would, Italy was gorgeous and although we didn't have any spare time to do our own thing and be proper tourists we saw it in a very different way to anything we could have planned ourselves.

When thinking about this post I decided that rather than simply regale you with what I got up to I would try to enlighten you as to what it's like to be part of a TV production.
First off is you will be asked to repeat things. A lot. Anytime something funny was said in general conversation but wasn't caught properly on camera it would be repeated, it sort of became a running joke when we had to fain entertainment the second or third time of hearing something to over dramatise every reaction.
Along with the repetitiveness is constant stopping and starting. Footage is collected at every opportunity, getting out of the bus, walking into the venue of that days activity, meeting the expert who would be teaching and judging and so the list goes on. Between these, camera and sound have to move into the best positions and we are left where we are until asked to continue.
All these things lead to days that are full of waiting, constantly walking around, being asked questions and it all taking quite a lot of time. Filming started every day at about 7.30am and ended at around midnight but a few nights we ran until 2am. Although exhausting everyday was so interesting you didn't notice while there.... crashed for about a week once back mind you.

The only negative points I could think of were not having a chance to really get to know the other people involved on more than a superficial level (this has since been amended), washing up at 1 in the morning, the slightly lack luster bathroom conditions and lack of free time! Over all though it is by far one of the most incredible things I've ever done and I would do it again in a heartbeat - or perhaps a similar week but without the whole thing being aired to the entire country.

By far the best part of this week has to be the group we met there, it was strange being in social situations where you can only talk one at a time and often the conversation topics are chosen by producers, but it's human nature to support and group together when thrust into the unknown. Although at times some situations felt a little contrived we made genuine and hopefully life long connections with the other contestants. We are spread all over the country but have managed to have a reunion already which was a weekend of music, drinks, hot tub, games and thankfully no cameras or crew just natural, free flowing friendship.