Thursday, 25 August 2016

13 Personal Questions

Hey blogisphere!  So Beth (Beth Oh La on Blogger) tagged me in her most recent blog post in which she answered 13 personal questions about herself and asked me to do the same... I was more than willing to do this as I have always enjoyed answering questions and have often imagined how fun it would be to be interviewed if I was a celebrity.

So here is my 13 Personal Questions blog post... without any further ado let the hunger games question answering begin.

1. What do you order at Starbucks?
Okay so this is actually not a great question for me because I am not a coffee drinker.  I actually very seldom drink any hot drinks but on the rare occasion that I do order from Starbucks my signature order is a caramel hot chocolate with not cream or marshmallows.  In all honesty I most often just buy a bottle of water from Starbucks, although apparently this is not a big enough purchase to allow you to stay in there for just over an hour gabbing with friends as I learn recently when I was very politely asked to make another purchase or leave the store... 

2.What's one thing in your closet you can't live without?
I am a chronic outfit repeater but one thing I would probably struggle without the most (as lame as this sounds) is probably my black cardigan.  Cardigans are so practical and can warm up a more summery outfit when the unforgiving Scottish weather is about 100 degrees bellow 0.  I also want to say my fluffy socks because #comfortgoals

A picture from some of the travelling
I've already been able to do
3. What's one thing that most people don't know about you?

I mean probably that I have a blog, only a few of my nearest and dearest know that... I'm a pretty open book with most things and there aren't many things that those closest to me don't know.  I guess people probably don't know how much time I spend day dreaming about crazy realities or scenarios that would be hella fun but that would 100% never happen.  

4. What's one thing you want to do before you die?
There are so so many things I want to do but mostly I just want to get to travel everywhere that I want to go, I want to spend time travelling and living in different places... I also really want to be a mum.

5. What's one food you couldn't live without?
Pizza. 100%.

6. What phrase or quote do you live by?
"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there" - Lewis Carroll

I like this quote, Basically I think it's important to know that even if things don't go the way you wanted them to they could still lead you to the place you wanted to be... Also it's okay to not really know exactly what you want or where you're going because you'll end up somewhere regardless of the path you take.  There are actually a lot of really great quotes from the Alice In Wonderland books.

Also "After all, tomorrow is another day" from Gone With The Wind... that's a good one too.

7. What's your number one song on your ipod/itunes?
The classic G style (minus the cardigan)
According to my ipod the most played song I have is Holding On For Life by Ellie Goulding at 48 plays which is ridiculous because I have played most songs on my ipod well over 48 times and Holding On For Life isn't even in my top 10 Ellie songs... I'm going to say my most played song is most likely by Ellie, Marina, Taylor or Lana though.

8. What kind of style would you describe yourself as having?
Summer in Scotland all year round.  Usually shorts, a skirt or a dress over tights with a fun top, cardigan and coat.

9. Your favourite number?
I don't really believe in favourite numbers... I used to say 13 because it was Taylor Swift's favourite number and as a wide eyed 14 year old that made me feel closer to my country pop idol but in all honesty a number is just a number.

10. Two hobbies?
Netflix binging


11. Two pet peeves?
When people take ages to reply to my texts.
 Horse riding is a third hobbie of mine
When people feel the need to constantly ask pointless questions or input irrelevant points or opinions during class/lectures/training sessions ultimately prolonging the mind numbing experience.

12. What would you most like to change about yourself?
I'd like to be more tanned, a little taller and look just a little bit older (I look kind of young for my age which I'm sure I'll appreciate in like 10 years but as a fresh faced 21 year old I'd rather look 21 than 17.  I'd also lie to change how high my expectations are for both myself, others and random situations.  I'd also like to change my bank balance.

13. Guilty pleasure?
Reading IMDB trivia for my fave films/tv shows/actors, day dreaming about crazy scenarios that will never happen, watching interviews and behind the scenes videos from my fave celebs and tv shows, buzzfeed quizzes and listening to trashy music such as some lesser known older Kylie Minogue songs and some godawful country stuff.

And in the words of Forrest Gump: that's all I got to say about that

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

60 Thoughts I Had While Watching Equestrian Cross Country At Rio 2016

  1. Equestrian is on tomorrow, yassss
  2. Wait it's not dressage is it
  3. Dressage is pretty and super hard work but I've just never found it to be a riveting watch 
  4. It's cross country yasssss
  5. *Cue 2pm British time the next day*
  6. Here we goooooo 
  7. Canada up first 
  8. If I was Canadian I would have named my horse Robin Sparkles
  9. #ComeOnJessica
  10. #ComeOnTori
  11. #Let'sGoToTheOlympicsYouWontBeSorry
  12. Anyway
  13. She's taking the long routes round this course which as the first rider I think is pretty sensible
  14. British commentators are judging her 
  15. but slow and stead wins the race
  16. I mean not for her, she's going to lose
  17. But that's what they say isn't it
  18. Next guy up is dominating
  19. French innit
  20. As the French say he is going to be Le Winner
  21. Okay so all these horses are beautiful
  22. And each one is probably worth more than my life savings
  23. But my life savings are currently like £400 or something so that isn't saying much
  24. They are worth more than the average persons life savings
  25. First man down
  26. The first thing I thought when they fell was 'how exciting'
  27. Then 'hope the horse is okay'
  28. Oh it's okay great
  29. Riders fine too
  30. This is why I love cross country
  31. Wait did I just get a little too excited to see an Olympic athlete tumble from their horse
  32. Am I a bad person?
  33. Does the fact I want to rewind that so I can record it for snapchat make me an even worse person?
  34. ...
  35. Ah I'm going to rewind it and record it anyway
  36. Show all those people who think horse riding is easy that they don't know shit
  37. More horses jumping
  38. Another couple of falls
  39. The commentators just referred to the cross country being full of drama
  40. #dramallama
  41. Here comes a chestnut
  42. this should be good
  43. Chestnuts are crazy
  44. Is it racist to judge a horse by its colour
  45. #horsebigot
  46. Hope it's not a mare
  47. Mares are also crazy
  48. Chestnut + mare = brave or crazy rider
  49. Judgey Gem
  50. Commentators just referenced the ponyclub games
  51. Why cant the ponyclub games be an Olympic sport
  52. I always wanted to compete in the pony club games
  53. #memories
  54. #allaloneinthemoonlight
  55. #cats
  56. #jelliclecats
  57. #PrincessCarolynn
  58. #BojackHorseman
  59. #I'vebeenwatchingthecrosscountryfordays
  60. #BacktoNetflixForMe
So there you have it.  60 completely irrelevant thoughts about yesterday's Equestrian Cross Country Event from someone with really very minimal-no knowledge about the ins and outs of Olympic level equestrian events.  

I hope everyone is enjoying the Olympics as much as I am and I hope everyone has acknowledged how amazing and beautiful these horses are.

The moral of the story is there's really no point in getting back on the horse... you're already disqualified.


Monday, 8 August 2016

RIP Olympic Dream

So surely everyone in the world knows that the 2016 Olympic Games are currently taking place in Rio.  I absolutely love the Olympics, I find myself becoming very passionate about sports and athletes that I otherwise wouldn't.  I can remember during the London 2012 Olympics being glued to the screen as I cheered for Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah, supporting Team GB in every sport (admittedly except gymnastics where I was rooting for Team USA).  
Anyway, I am not a particularly sporty person these days.  It's too hard and awkward to try to get into a new sport as a beginner at this age in my opinion, plus there is just a lack of time and money... sigh. sigh sigh sigh. However, as a child I dabbled in many a sport.  Whenever the Olympic games come around I get to thinking about what could have been.  I mean I am not saying that had I stuck in at any of these sports I would have been at an Olympic standard but what can i say... I'm a dreamer!  So here are some stories about my life as a sporting enthusiast, pre-adulthood, pre-netflix and pre-snackingmylifeaway.

Horse Riding
Myself and Surprise after a riding
school show jumping competition
I began my horse riding journey when I was roughly 5 or 6 years old.  My parents bought me a hack (or trek or trail ride or magical horse back adventure) at the local riding school as a Christmas present.  I rode a little pony called Popple and after continuously harping on and on about how much I enjoyed it I began attending regular riding lessons, at first once a week and then later twice a week.  The next Christmas my cousin had outgrown her pony and this pony (Kipper who was a little Welsh pony) became mine - hoorah #bestpresentever!  My other cousin gave my mum her horse (George, breed=crazy) to my mother.  One day we went out a trail ride together, my dad led me and after George decided he was too afraid to cross the river my mother attempted to take him round another route that avoid the river.  She trotted off in the opposite direction from us and then she cantered and then galloped.  My dad commented about how fast my mum was going in pure awe.  We saw her pass behind some trees and then we saw George emerge from behind these trees minus my mother, we can look back and laugh at it now.  Anyways, we had to sell George because we didn't know shit about horses.  Over the years I read up on everything I needed to know about ponies, Kipper and I adventured around out field, I got more and more lessons and then i outgrew Kipper.  My little sister took Kipper over as her own and my parents bought me my favourite pony from the riding school (Surprise, breed=connemara x new forest x unicorn) for my Christmas (it sounds like my family were rich but we were actually pretty poor, probs because of the horses tbh).  Anyway, with surprise I gained a lot of experience in general riding, jumping and (unintentional) rodeo, lol she was cray (and much like myself, scared as shit of everything).  I did a little competing at local jumping competitions (jumping roughly 65cm high fences, the fences at the Olympics are 1.6m-2.0m lol).  I never got to fullfill my dreams of competing properly in any equestrian events due to a few reasons:
  1. Money - its expensive AF to compete.  You need to be able to afford a horse box, the entry fees and if you want to compete professionally you need a proper expensive horse, the fees of stabling this horse and then to pay for lessons.
  2. Surprise was a slightly older, ex-riding school pony and I hadn't has lessons since I was a pre-teen so....
  3. Transport (see point 1)
As exams approached, parental pony funds dwindled and my teenage growth spurt peeked we had to sell our horses (minus Kipper because he had been in our family for over 30 years).  Kipper stayed with us until the day he died, at an unknown age but probably approaching 40.  Surprise remained the unicorn of my dreams forever more, she died shortly after Kipper at an age of probably mid 20s/approaching 30? She didn't look a day over 12 in my eyes.  Anyway, horse riding was the sport I stuck with the most, it will always be my fave but it's super expensive and honestly once you've owned your own horse attending lessons at a local riding school is boring and lame and will never compare.
Currently can't find a pic of my in my judo getup
so here is a pic from my cycling career
So for about a year when I was nearing the end of high school I began attending a Judo class with my mum.  It was good fun and I was surprisingly good at it for the tiny little thing I was.  I picked up the moves pretty quickly but I never took the time to learn the names of the throws or holds which made progressing up the belts hard.  Ultimately I quit Judo before starting high school after a boy from my class saw me at my judo class.  I felt really embarrassed about the fact that I did judo all of a sudden and I decided to quit a week or two later.  Before quitting I had attended a good few competitions and more times than not I found myself winning trophies or medals for my weight group.  Looking back I think I could have gotten pretty good if I had stuck in at it but it was not meant to be.    

Again no pics of my gymnastics career but here
is another horse pic...
#soaring #flying
I attended a small gymnastics class when I was very young and liked it but then the friends that I went with were convinced to move to a different club and I went with them.  The new club was very different.  They were very serious and clearly more legit but suddenly gymnastics wasn't fun and I found myself being scared to go.  Eventually I decided to quit because at that age competing wasn't really something I thought of, I just went to sports clubs to have fun and to learn new things.  Ultimately I returned to gymnastics after quitting judo and it was a lot of fun, once again pretty unlegit and I think we spend whole lessons doing forward roles and cartwheels...  I met a girl who was also going to be starting at the same high school as me and we continued going to the class until we had been in high school for a few months.  It was clearly a child's class and I'm almost 100% certain that my friend and I were only allowed to keep going because the 'coach' felt too awks to ask us to leave.  The closest to Olympics style gymnastics I got was jumping on a spring board and doing a straddle jump over a vault... I guess also walking over an upturned gym bench which I think was mean to mirror a beam... 
I do look back and wonder if I would have become the next British Gabby Douglas or Simone Biles had I stuck in at the scary horrible gymnastics club all of those years ago... I mean 100% I would not have but I would have been that little bit more likely to if I had stuck in.

As many parents do my parents sent me to swimming lessons as a child in case I fell into a
May have been a shit swimming but
still managed to become a life guard...
pool, canal or particularly deep puddle while out on one of my many childhood adventures.  This was all good and well and even though I was never the strongest swimmer nor was I by any means a fast swimmer,  I could keep myself afloat and I knew the basics of front crawl, back crawl and breast stroke and that was all fine.  Then when I started high school my mum decided to sign me up for a swimming club because at this point the only sport I did was horse riding and I mean I had my own horse so it wasn't like I was actually taking any sort of sport lessons or such.  The problem with this swimming club was that it turned out to be less of a club and more of a swimming lessons sort of thing.  After attending for a few weeks I found out that the other people in my lessons were the younger siblings of my class mates and I instantly refused to go back.  I failed to progress to the next level at the end of term due to low attendance and I decided to blank the whole thing out of my mind as much as possible, praying no one at school would find out that my mum had accidentally signed me up for near enough beginner swimming lessons.  I was more than happy to end my swimming career hear, the humiliation was too much and tbh tarnished the shole sport for me... every time I so much as see a pool I have PTSD style flashbacks.  

Okay I have no digital copies of pics from my yesteryears...
Here's another equestrian one...
As a child I did every dance class imaginable - tap, ballet, highland, jazz, disco, dirty, break, river... you get the point.  All of them, name a style and I did it... It was fabulous and I was basically on my way to playing the black, white AND rainbow coloured swan.  Then a new girl turned up to class, asked me if I wanted to be friends, I said yes and she led me astray (this was the beginning of the end of my dance career). We began to find playing games and having races around the hall more exciting than the dancing.  Eventually I dropped out of dance class and through the years I went back to dance summer programmes (one year we learned a fun dance to Jenny From The Block and performed it to all the parents) and there was even a brief spell in P.E class in high school where I chose to take dance for a semester - it was awful, just a bunch of the 'popular' girls and the really slutty P.E teacher making a fool of themselves to Love and Sex and Magic by JT.  My friend and I decided to do our own thing but mostly we sat and bitches about the other members of our class as they, along with the teacher, would grind their way around the 'dance studio' which was just the school cafeteria + a mirror and ballet bar.
Okay so I never even got close to being a professional dancer and dance on it's own is not an Olympic sport but I just wanted to put it out there that the only reason I never succeeded in dance and the reason my life never as and probably never will amount to anything was all due to that one demon child leading me astray when I was 5 years old.

So there you have it.  I never made it to the Olympics for 3 reasons and 3 reasons alone:
  1. I'm too poor
  2. My mother never forced me to stick with or commit to  anything  as a child (bar the one sport we couldn't actually afford)
  3. I was too easily distracted/all I wanted to do was have fun (until the sun came up on thr Santa Monica boulevard)
Maybe one day I will magically find out that I am naturally really good at something like rowing or fencing but in reality I wont and I'll probably die never amounting to half as much as the 16-20 year old gymnasts  that I spent last night watching kick ass in Rio and that's life isn't it.

Anyway the moral of the story is: her name is Mary, he hair is attractively arranged.


Tuesday, 26 July 2016

6 Reasons Community Should Be Your Next Netflix Binge

This is the Community study group - Abed, Britta, Jeff, Shirley, Annie,
Troy, Pierce (and senor Chang)
Netflix and other similar streaming services truly are a modern day luxury that I would struggle to function without.  I have made reference many a time to the notable Marina And The Diamonds lyrics: Tv taught me how to feel, now real life has no appeal (from the song "OH NO!" which featured on Marina's 2010 masterful debut album The Family Jewels) because if it came down to it and I had to quote a lyric which resonated particularly with me those are the lyrics that would probably spring to mind.  

 Anyway as pivotal as these services are in many of our lives there is a constant struggle of finding a new TV show to commit yourself to.  There are such a variety of TV shows out there and choosing one to commit your heart and soul to can be extremely hard.  I find this choice much harder after having just finished a show that I have become very attached to, you cant help but compare the new show to the old one and, at least for me, I would often rather just
They sometimes study and often get into
weird/awkward situations together
rewatch this show over and over again to try to live in this fictional world for a little while longer (for me the period of time after just finishing a show often consists of watching commentaries, cast interviews, special features and films featuring cast members who played my fave characters).

In order to tackle this problem I always try to find somebody to do a rewatch with whilst simultaneously also starting a new show - you get the best of both worlds! (Montana, H., 2006-2011).

For those of you out there trying to find a new show to watch I want to propose Community as your next Netflix binge with a list of the leading 6 reasons to justify this choice.  Firstly let me clarify a few points before I begin my list.  

  • Community is a sitcom and so if you absolutely hate sitcoms then maybe you should skip this post.
  • This show is great for both getting super invested in but also for being an easy watch and so regardless of if you want to pay a lot of attention or not its a fun watch.
  • It's available to watch seasons 1-5 on Netflix UK and season 6 on Yahoo.  
  • If I go into any more detail about the show then I would be just as well to start my top 6 list
  • and so without any further ado
  • here we go
  • Mario
1. (As stated above) Community Is An Extremely Watchable

Troy and Abed in the morning.  Troy and Abed are in mourning,
Troy and Abed in the morning, nights.
Community started off just okay for me, my sister was on board from the get go and knew she was going to love it but it took me some time to realise that I actually really loved this show.  As with every TV show I watch there comes a moment when I realise I'm no longer just watching the show because it's easy to watch but rather something has happened and I am suddenly invested and my interest is gained.  In Gossip Girl it was the episode where Chuck and Blair first hook up; How I Met Your Mother kind of had me from the get go tbh because I just loved Ted and Robin (a sin in the eyes of most apparently); Grey's Anatomy was probably when Mer and Der started seeing eachother... there is a bit of a theme going on here apparently.  Well I'm a creature of habit and I would say I found myself rewinding Community in order to actually pay proper attention to what was happening during episode 9 of Season 1, this is an episode I have enjoyed watching back after finishing the show.  The show fluctuated from very watchable to contender for my fave throughout season 1.  Basically even before I found myself getting invested I still found it an enjoyable watch and so it really doesn't matter to what level you want to become invested in your next TV binge, you can love this show regardless.

2. The Characters
When Abed imagined himself and his friends in a TV show.
The characters in Community are so interesting because they are all so different, the youngest member of the study group being 18 years old and fresh from high school to the oldest member being in his 70s and coming from a fairly well off and judgmental background.  Each character is dealing with different issues and has ended up at community college for a different reason.  They all have different beliefs and ideals which allows the sitcom to address some pretty complex issues, such as religion and feminism, but in a fun way.
There are 7 members of the 'study group' and then as the show progresses the college dean also becomes a main character.  Generally Troy, Abed and Annie (the youngest members of the study group are considered the firm faves of the show, if tumblr and buzzfeed are anything to go by) Personally I'd have to agree with Tumblr and I'd rate the characters in order of my favourite to least favourite as:
  1. Annie
  2. Troy, Abed and (sheerly for comedic purposes) Dean Pelton
  3. Jeff
  4. Britta
  5. Pierce
  6. Shirley
As the show develops they all become a family of sorts, some characters being noticeably closer to one another than others (Troy and Abed and Jeff and Annie probably spend the most scenes together #BFFGOALS #MILADYMILORD). 

Shout out to Garrett, one of the supporting characters, for giving us classic moments to quote back such as "Crisis alert!" and "It's a bear dance!".  And shout out to Leonard for giving us his food review youtube videos and for being a badass OAP.
Our Annie vs other Annie at the model UN.  Garrett stole the show,
3. Shaking It Up (Non-Live Action Episodes and Innovative Episodes)
Okay so this is where, for me, Community gets interesting and is probably one of the reasons I love it so much!  Community is the only live action sitcom I know to feature non-live action episodes and whole episodes which completely change the usual dynamics of the show 
Ballerannie.  Christmas wizard. Baby doll Shirley. Brittabot. Troy Soldier. Jeff in the box. Teddy Pierce and Abed
The Animation
The Community cast with their puppets. Yes, now that's an adventure.
Season 2's Christmas episode was done entirely in claymation which allowed it to be really original and have a super classic Christmassy feel to it.  Season 3 featured an episode where the characters play a video game and part of the episode features the characters avatars as they make their way through the game.  Season 4 featured an episode done with puppets and Season 5 featured an animated 'G.I Jeff' episode.  I found the show's creativity so impressive and this helped set it apart from other sitcoms I have watched.

 The Innovation

Video game study group. Fucking shit up in the virtual world.
The show also featured episodes which were completely outside of reality or just pretty different to the usual set up of the show.
For instance there were several documentary style episodes changing from the usual camera layout to more of a 'The Office' feel (or you know just an actual documentary feel).  There are many episodes which focus specific events happening at the school but addressing them in a different way, less gripped to reality with more of an exaggerated way of telling the story for instance:
  • 'The Floor Is Lava' episode
  • MeowMeowBeenz episode where a new app takes over the school.
  • Dungeons and Dragons episode 
  • Musical Episode
  • An episode which takes part within the imaginations of Annie and Abed
  • 'Classic Sitcom' style episode with a laugh track.
  • Musical Epiosde
Another pivotal and unique episode of Community are the paintball episodes which are discussed below.

4. Paintball Episodes
One of many times the school became a warzone.
Arguably the most famous Community episodes.  Throughout the show there are a few paintball episodes and they are so original and amazing and just really good fun tbh.  In season 1 Modern Warfare the dean announces that there will be a campus wide paintball game and the winner gets an amazing prize.  This leads to total carnage and a full on paintball war breaks out on campus.  This episode does something that most episodes of Community does as it pays homage to many famous films, however this episode does so on a much larger scale than some of the more normal or tame episodes.  This episode also birthed 3 sequel episodes, the season 2 two parter was, in my humble opinion the best one!  These
episodes definitely feature Community at its best. 

5. The Homage Factor/Meta Humour/Genre Spoofs
So Community has a tendency, often through Abed, to make reference to other films and TV shows.  Sometimes full episodes are homage episodes such as 
That time they were in an asylum.
  • The Law and Order episodes
  • The gangster film themed chicken wing fiasco episode in season 1 
  • The previously mentioned glee Christmas episode
  • Season 2 paintball part 1 being a spaghetti western and part 2 being Star Wars. 
  • Pulp Fiction episode
  • Die Hard episode
Then there were the genre spoofs such as:
  • (Again) the glee Christmas episode making fun of the musical genre
  • Season 2 Halloween taking on the zombie apocalypse genre
  • The multiple documentary themed episodes
  • The action film genre was taken on during Modern Warfare;
  • The classic romance scene of leading guy running through the rain to get the girl starred in a season 2 episode... 
  • there were so many more
  • I love lists btw, in case you couldn't tell yet
Annie being Abed before actually being Abed that time they
spent an episode being everyone in their imaginations...
Then there were the times the show was so aware that it was a show.  There were countless times when Abed would point out how much their lives were like a sitcom.  In season 2 and entire episode takes place in the study room and Abed states there are doing a 'bottle episode'.  In the shows finale Abed suggests that the study group come up with potential pitches for their ideal season 7.  Season 2 also features a clip episode and throughout the show there is a lot of breaking the fourth wall basically.  

6. Just So You Know, Jeff, You Are Now Creating 6 Different Timelines
One of the most famous gif in the history of time.
Ahhh Remedial Chaos Theory.  An episode from season 3 which produced one of the best GIFs of all time... you know the one, Troy walking into a room to find total and utter havoc.  Fire.  Blood.  Chaos.  Confusion.  Magic.  Madness. Heaven. Sin. 
Basically this is such a great episode I wanted to give it its on section.  Also it kind of creates this alternative timeline which pops up every now and then.  Basically while playing a game of Yahtzee Jeff decides to role a dice to determine who is going downstairs to get the pizza from the delivery man but Abed warns him that by letting a dice decide their fate he is unintentionally creating 6 different possible timelines.  The episode focuses on each timeline showing what happens depending on who leaves to get the pizza.  The episode features guns, weed, kissing, fire, injury, hurt feelings, death, institutionalization and the evil study group from the darkest timeline (who do turn up once or twice later on in the show).  

The Summary
The Evil study group. Minus Evil Pierce and Evil Abed.
Okay so Community is a very bizarre TV show which I have discovered to be very hard to separate into 10 specific categories.  I also feel like this may not sell the show as well as I had hoped because honestly I have come to the conclusion writing this that it's really just a show you have to watch to get. 

The key message
  • You have to binge it because the show is so out there and tries so many crazy things that not everything is going to please everyone.  The majority of the show I found to be a hit but there were the occasional episodes I felt were a bit of a miss, just for me.  
  • By binging the show you can get past the episode that might not work for you, or even the story lines which sometimes do take things a little too far.  In these moments the show always bounces back stronger than ever.  
An episode I wish they would have shown in full.
What happened to you guys
By the time I finished Community I was very sad that it was all over, the show had a strong final season and the finale was perfect, however it left me wanting more.  The show's tag line has been #SixSeasonsAndAMovie since season 2 and the show's creator has clarified that after the cast have had some time to do other things and when they are all free he still intends to make the movie.  I know what I want the movie to focus on... #USTbetweenacertain2characters

I'm almost done with my rewatch with my sister: her thoughts are that the show is amazing, Abed is the best, she fell out of love with it briefly during a few episodes in the middle of season 5 but thinks that it got back on track and loves it again now.  I'm also at the start of a rewatch with my friend Beth now too.  

So go fourth and view away fellow bloggers.  

We've had six season... now we wait.


Monday, 25 July 2016

Less Moo, More Mmmmmm

It's 2016 so unless you've been living under a rock thus far you'll have surely heard of veganism!  

Anyway I want to throw a disclaimed into this post right now in order to prevent you all from seeing the word vegan and automatically deciding to avoid this post like the plague...
Warning: cute pictures of animals throughout post
So disclaimer:  this is not a preachy vegan post that tears apart anyone who isn't vegan and aims to convert those to the dairy free side of life.  Also I want to put it out there that I am currently not even a vegan myself.

Okay so now we have that part out of the way we can continue merrily along.  So as I was saying, pretty much everyone has heard of the term vegan.  Not everyone is completely clear on the terms and conditions that come along with signing yourself up to the vegan lifestyle though.  Basically they include:
  • Not eating any animal products (Including meat, dairy, honey and eggs... and yes meat includes fish)
  • Not using products that are tested on animals.
  • Basically aiming to live a life that is as cruelty free as possible.
Around March time I decided to stop eating meat and become a vegetarian and then for a period of roughly a month during May-June I decided more is more, go hard or go home and adopted a vegan diet.  This post will highlight some of the key things I learned during the period of my life that I, somewhat unintentionally, dedicated to veganism.  

Starting Out: The Power Of Documentaries 
Okay so veganism was never something that I really considered until the end of March this year.  After seeing Ellie Goulding live and discovering that she was vegan an interest in veganism was sparked deep within my soul but ultimately this only clarified to me that I definitely wanted to stop eating meat.  Then I learned that a girl from my work was a vegan also and suddenly veganism seemed more realistic and accessible.  I did some reading and it all sounded good and well but ultimately having just lost meat, which was a fairly major part of my diet, I found that the motivation to lose cheese, chocolate and cake was just not there.  

This is when the documentaries came into play.  I have always found it extremely easy, often a little too easy, to connect with TV and film and so after discovering the pro-vegan documentary section of netflix I was enthralled.  I suddenly discovered the benefits that a vegan diet reaped for myself, the environment and animals. 

The main documentaries that I found both very enjoyable and informative were:

Documentaries are always fun
  1. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret 
  2. Food Inc. 
  3. Earthlings
  4. Vegucated

U ok Annie's Boobs?
That smile isn't reaching your eyes
After watching these documentaries I have never been able to look at meat or animal products in the same way, I don't mean that in like a dramatic or lame way... it's just a fact.  They really left a lasting impression on me.  I think that regardless of your diet choice these are interesting documentaries to watch, shining a light on some of the secrets of the foodindustry (both the animal agriculture side of it and the vegetable side).  Earthlings not only changed the way I looked at animals and their produce as food options but also changed the way I look at animals in TV and film, most of my fave TV shows and movies have started an animal at some point and now I cant help but question the ethics of this... 

I also learned that veganism is technically the term given to living a cruelty free lifestyle (so no leather, no makeup or beauty products from companies that test on animals, not using animals for entertainment purposes etc) rather than just a diet (apparently eating a 'vegan diet' is actually just living off of a plant bases diet and does not qualify you to call yourself a vegan...I don't know though I ended up entering the vegan section of tumblr and it was all very scary and a place I don't know that I'd like to visit again, everyone was very angry, horse riding was viewed as a sin, non vegans were called carnists...).  Obviously documentaries are always trying to sell some kind of idea or message and so tend to be pretty biased.  I know for a fact that although these documentaries were American based and claimed that all cattle raised for meat are kept indoors all of these lives there are cows kept in the fields beside my house that will face their demise eventually in a slaughterhouse.  I mean it doesn't make it any better but like yes the documentaries were biased to some extent.

The Honeymoon Period
The first suggestions when I
types "chickens and" into
google was chips :(
Starting out initially I found the vegan diet really difficult because I discovered that many vegetarian and Freefrom products contain egg or milk.  I was at a complete loss for what I could eat, more so for packed lunches at work than dinners.  However, after long I discovered falafel as a sandwich/wrap/bagel filling and it was honestly such a godsend!  I began discovering a lot of new foods that I liked and ultimately by taking chocolate, cakes and many types of crisps off of my snack options I found myself eating much healthier.  I would now turn to healthier cereal options (with soy milk of course) or fruit when I was peckish.  Further, I discovered that there were actually a decent amount of 'accidentally vegan' foods in the supermarket as well as vegan options of classic snacks. 

 Some firm faves include:
  • Ready Salted Pringles
  • Starburst
  • Dairy Free Ice cream
  • Oreos
  • Popcorn
Over and above this I learned how to make vegan alternatives to pretty much anything I wanted to eat - My fave was the vegan banana bread.  By purchasing dairy free butter and cheese I could still have fajitas, stir frys, nachos, baked potatos, pastas...  The one negative was that I felt myself increasing my carbohydrate intake to compensate for the other foods I could no longer eat.  My shopping bill didn't even increase, probably due to the fact that I was buying less snacks.  Eventually I found that there were vegan chicken nuggets, sausages, sandwich fillings... Ultimately I discovered that it is very easy to eat a vegan (or plant based) diet as long as you are willing to travel to a proper big super market rather than the small local ones... Morrisons appeared to have the most vegan options.

The Downfall
Okay so thus far it would appear that I found it very easy to adapt to this animal product free diet but obviously something went wrong because as I stated at the beginning of this post I am no longer vegan.  So what went wrong?
  1. Summer
  2. Impromptu meals out
  3. Work

  4. Slowly but surely vegan options are becoming
    more available.  Yass Ben and Jerry's!
  5. Socialising
 I came into the vegan world loving life and then the sun came out and my friends wanted to go for walks to get ice cream... I would spend ages on the internet trying to find ice cream shops with dairy free ice cream options but ultimately there weren't many, I discovered I didn't like sorbet and also there were a lot of cute ice cream shops that my friends, and admittedly I, wanted to visit.  My will power was too weak in the end.  And then there was the discovery than it really isn't that easy to order vegan at normal restaurants, sometimes finding a nice vegetarian option is tricky enough!  Then there was the problem that I get all of my meals provided for free at my work and so although shopping vegan wasn't expensive it was of course more expensive than not shopping at all.  The soup always contained cream, you cant eat a jam sandwich for every meal, chips weren't always an option.  There were always soups, cheese sandwiches, baked potatoes, cheesey broccoli and cauliflower (ew cheese sauce = devils sauce) etc but rarely, if ever, a vegan option.  Lastly there were a lot of events taking place to celebrate the end of university and they always happened to be food based, again rarely with a vegan option.  

 There is a bit of a catch 22 with veganism.  Veganism would become more of an option for people if it became more accessible (the food was delicious and there is a vegan alternative for pretty much anything) however until more people turn vegan and there is a higher demand for vegan food it will never become more accessible. 

The Main Lessons Learned
Pigs are just the greatest
  • Animal agriculture is the leading cause of climate change and the vegan diet is the best tactic to combat global warming (I'm not going into all the ins and outs of this because like I said this will not be a preachy most and if you really care about this point you can do your own research - watch cowspiracy.  For now just take my word for it, it's a truth fact)
  • Humans are the only animals who drink other animal's milk and the only animals that continue to drink milk after they are no longer babies.
  • Bringing an animal into the world only to cause it pain is always wrong.
  • In Scotland veganism is not that accessible in main stream restaurants but is achievable if you chose to prepare your own home cooked meals
  • The main problem with veganism is how preachy vegans can be and the way they come across to non vegans.
  • It is very hard to not be consumed with veganism when you start and to not become the person described in the above bullet point
  • You cannot force people to change and adopt a diet they do not wish to adopt.  You can not force them to listen to the information or care about the information.  It will only make veganism a less attractive lifestyle/diet.
  • A lot of people, including my former self, really don't think twice about eating a dead thing.  
  • Fish are important too.
  • Free range doesn't mean free range and is still cruel.
  • Pigs are 100% better than bacon.
  • Cheese is very addictive and plays a much bigger role in my life than i ever realised
  • Ice cream will always be my downfall.
La Favorita first pizza chain in Edinburgh with vegan cheese
To sum up/the moral of this story/for anyone who is still with me:  I would turn vegan again in a heartbeat if it became more accessible, I can be a very weak willed person and am a far worse person for eating animal products after gaining the knowledge that I have than people are who chose to live without that knowledge.  Using animals for our own personal gain is super selfish and not really fair, people boycotted Seaworld because it was exposed as being cruel but cows, pigs and chickens are kept in similar or worse conditions and nobody cares because these animals were raised to be killed/for their produce.  But is that right?  Is it right to bring a life into the world just to put it through pain and kill it?  I guess ultimately that's for individuals to decide, I know I don't agree with it... then again I'm sitting here with a Toffee Crisp in the fridge to eat later as well as having a cheese sandwich on my mind.  


Friday, 22 July 2016

It Was Called The Museum Of Dreams... And It Was, It Really Was!

Thar She Blows
 Let me take you on a figurative journey about a literal journey that I embarked upon with the first mate of my friendSHIP - Lesley Helen.  The theme of the trip was Titanic however, this is 2016 not 1912 and so our journey begins with a flight rather than an ocean voyage.  Well more accurately the journey began at a ludicrously early hour of the morning boarding a bus to the airport... shortly afterward followed by a flight.  The flight was with an airline that undoubtedly would have been the equivalent of  travelling third class with the steerage back in good old 1912 but I wont complain, the fight was fine, the best budget flight of my life thus far, with hardly any rats!  The flight was from good old Edinburgh to Belfast - the birth place of the ill fated ocean liner. 

Upon landing we took a brief minute to work out the bus system and then off we went engines cranked up to full speed ahead, what stood in the path between us and a long, warm, happy and healthy life (unlike the titanic) was not an iceberg and rather it was a man that to this day I am certain that his full time occupation was human trafficker.  Lesley thought he was more likely a full time junkie and tbh either guess was probably pretty spot on.  All we wanted was to get to our hotel, dispose of our bags and get straight to that Titanic museum and all he wanted was to ruin our lives through kidnap and or attempted befriending (neither of which we were interested it).  Luckily we managed to avoid our iceberg, after boarding the bus he headed straight to the back seats and we turned hard-a-starboard narrowly missing disaster and achieving a most enjoyable bus journey with 0 lives lost.  There was a short period of having to walk with him after departing from the bus at the Belfast bus station but we were soon riding solo again, Lesley and I.  I wont go into the morning much more because I know you are all dying to hear about the Titanic museum... suffice it say that we dropped off our bags, went out for breakfast, were offered caviar but turned it down because we never did like it much (lol joke it was a poor mans starbucks breakfast for two, in order to afford caviar we would have had to see our fine things sold at auction, our memories scattered to the wind ) and then it was off to the museum. 

I'm Flying Jack!
The excitement struck when we realised that the buses destination was literally Titanic Belfast, this city was definitely aware that Titanic was its biggest achievement (although is that really a good thing?) and they were going to milk it for everything they could.  We arrived in the Titanic quarter before we knew it and just like that Lesley and I were standing in the birthplace of our favorite doomed ship.  The first stop (after the ticket desk, which, yes, were designed to look like ship windows) was a photo op.  They had a green screen and an array of potential back drops to choose from, it was a no brainer for Les and I that we were going to pose on the bow of Titanic  in the most original way we could think of that we were 100% nobody else had ever done - we did the Jack and Rose "I'm Flying" pose!  The camera man was very impress with our quick thinking and originality.  I was Rose and Lesley was the dashing Mr Dawson.

To be honest I didn't even care how the rest of the day went, I was already super content knowing there was an incredible picture of my best girl and I on the ship of dreams.  However, I am pleased to report that the rest of the museum delivered!  Initially we found ourselves stuck between a group of older adults and a school group, it was all very claustrophobic and it make me kind of wish that the museum tour groups had been assigned according to class, assuring that it wasn't too crowded.  We managed to distance ourselves and this allowed us to take our time absorbing all of the facts and filling our brains to the brim with anything and everything of ship yards, ship building and pretty much anything else ship related.  After the first section of the museum I probably could have build myself my own ship, strong and true, to sail back to Edinburgh.  

If Titanic had been set in 2016
There was then a ride which is always enjoyable, there was even enough carriages for everyone in the museum which is more than can be said for life boats and the passengers of the titanic.  The ride took us on a journey through the process of ship building and although I had all the knowledge of how to build a good ship I realised I didn't have the manual labouring skills - especially with the equipment available to the workers way back in the days of Titanic.  Next we got to the part of the museum focus more on Titanic as a ship rather than the process of how she was built.

We saw models of the different types of accommodation available to passengers and I discovered that third class passengers traveled in rooms not overly smaller than my own bedroom in the flat back in Edinburgh.  We went on a virtual tour of the ship which was probably my favourite part of the museum, if one thing is for sure you can be blase about a lot of things but not about Titanic!  The next room moved us swiftly through the timeline of Titanic's journey, ending with the tragic sinking.  This lead to room where there were statements from survivors of the sinking and there was information on many of the passengers on board.
It was a dreadfully heavy thing, I only
wore it this once.
After this the next room was full of pictures/posters and videos from the many films and TV shows that were inspired by Titanic.  Lesley and I could hear Celine's voice belting out the song that has moved us to our very cores so many times before (music to drown to, now we knew we were in first class) and we spent a very long time watching the clips of Kate and Leo bringing to life the most amazing and heartbreaking fictional couple in the history of time.  We decided then and there that it was about time we watched Titanic again...

The final stage of the museum was a cinema style room where they were, unfortunately not playing James Cameron's Titanic, but were playing a very interesting video of divers exploring the ship wreck and debris.  The whole concept of the ship being at the bottom of the ocean is so strange to me.  In Lesley's words "What once held it up brought it down"  and I give her a lot of shit for this saying because she does bring it up an insane amount of times but she actually has a very good point .  It is curious that the ship was once afloat on top of the ocean and everything was fine but once the water gets inside it led to its downfall


There was actually one final stop in the museum... The gift shop!! Lesley wanted a mug and I wanted a cup.  Lesley got her mug but the cups were sold out so i considered getting socks or a fridge magnet or like a captains hat before settling on what was undoubtedly the best item in the store - the heart of the ocean key chain!  All I wanted was to purchase two so that I could throw one into the ocean, old rose style but, like Mr Dawson, I am not made of money so one unsinkable keychain it was!   We went to collect our photographs and ultimately they were pure gold as was anticipated so we bought 3 copies (1 each and 1 for luck, all life is a game of luck after all!), we carried those pics around with us all day because we like to take our pictures with us when we travel.  By this stage we were very hungry so Lesley and I decided to go out for some lamb, rare, with very little mint sauce (jk im a vegetarian).  

Take her to sea Mr Murdoch, let's stretch her
The trip feels like it happened 84 years ago but its one I will never forget! I can still smell the fresh paint.  The china had never been used.  The sheets had never been slept in.  Titanicwas called the Ship of Dreams, and it was.  IT REALLY WAS!


WANNA GO TO A REAL PARTY?  Make it count and check back later for part 2 of the Belfast trip which includes Lesley and I getting very drunk at an Ellie Goulding concert, meeting Mr Andrews, VIP treatment, new found friends, up in the club and a hell of a hangover