Family & Home...

My top five things about Halloween…or not

As you can see, I was going to write a post all about the things I like about Halloween but then I got kinda stuck because Halloween just isn’t that big of a deal is it? So instead you’re going to get a bit of a rant about how much I don’t like Halloween, yeah enjoy this!

First of all, I still have to go to work/school/uni (although not today because my lecturers are striking wahoo). I don’t get any presents, there’s no massive celebratory meal…it just feels like a regular day.

 

Also, I’m a massive party pooper and hate dressing up. It’s such a lot of effort and I’d rather just go out and look, you know, nice. This was particularly well exhibited when, in my second year of university, I went to three different events, including Halloween and one earlier in October, dressed as a Santa’s helper because it was the only costume I owned. Speaking of, that’s what I’m wearing in my twitter picture if you’d like to see what a boring and crappy costume it was.

Still, I do have some fun memories of Halloween when I was little. Where I lived wasn’t really the kind of place you’d go trick or treating. I was always a little jealous of my friends that lived on cute little estates where they could play out after school and knew all their neighbours but, alas, I lived on a main road so none of that for me.

Even so, my parents were quite good at making Halloween fun. Every single year when I was little I’d get dressed up as a witch, wearing one of my mum’s old long black skirts over my head as a cloak, and hide by the kitchen window waiting for my dad to come home. And, as any good father does, he dutifully pretended to be terrified when I jumped out as he came through the front door.

There was also apple bobbing and pumpkin carving which were a great excuse to make a mess which means I obviously enjoyed them immensely. Maybe there was other games too, I’m not sure.

The first time I actually went trick or treating I was about 15 and couldn’t even be bothered with a costume apart from some pretty scary monster gloves. Unsurprisingly we weren’t very successful, I guess three 15 year old girls turning up at your door who haven’t even really bothered to dress up don’t deserve treats, I think someone gave us some chewing gum maybe.

Last year I was fully prepared for the onslaught of Halloween excitement that I’d come to expect from America. It was pretty fun although I think I only made it to one Halloween party. I do find it a little weird when people claim that Halloween is their favourite holiday…first of all it’s not a holiday, secondly refer back to my earlier points…no presents and you’re telling me it’s your favourite?!

Ok, I think I’m done being grumpy and hating on Halloween for today. Having said all this I hope you all do have a very fun day and do some scary stuff.

Feel free to comment and tell me why you love Halloween…who knows maybe you’ll convince me!

That’s all for now

x

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My Favourite Things..., Top Fives...

My top five observations about the world of Grey’s Anatomy…

Towards the end of my year abroad one of the girls I went travelling with became obsessed with Grey’s Anatomy. Having never watched it myself I thought little of it apart from occasionally teasing her about her inability to tear herself away. Then I came home and a few weeks later my parents and I finished watching House. Suddenly my long time love affair with Gregory House was over and I had a doctor sized hole in my life.

And so, I did the only thing I could think of to ease the pain, I started watching Grey’s Anatomy. Some amount of time has passed since then, I’m not sure how long, it’s just gone by in a blur of surgeries and various Mc-attractive people but now I’m beginning the eighth season and already the end is too close for my liking. The moment when I won’t be able to end one heart wrenching, unbearably tense season finale and start right on with the next episode a minute later is a terrifying thought.

Back in the early days

So yes I’m not quite up to date with it yet and I’m trusting that all you lovely people will not comment with any spoilers, possibly destroying my life in the process. I’ve managed this far with only one major story line being given away and I think that’s pretty good going.

Anyway, although I’m not quite finished with it (and therefore sorry if any of these points contradict future episodes) I thought that there was a blog post to be made that couldn’t wait a minute longer cataloging the things we can learn both about Meredith Grey’s world and the world of medicine.

1) If you work in a hospital then you will have slept with at least 3 other staff members within a relatively small space of time

I’m not judging but these doctors get around A LOT. I guess it’s fair enough; they’re under a lot of pressure and need to let off steam some how but thier complicated sexual histories do occasionally impact on patient care. Also, those on-call rooms must be disgusting.

I guess he is a little dreamy…

2) Doctors drink too much and then go and operate on people

I don’t know if maybe they’ve matured now because the further I’ve got into it they don’t seem to do this as much. Or maybe the creators realised they were damaging people’s faith in the medical profession by showing it’s surgeons to be continually drunk. But Jesus H Christ in the first few seasons I would not have wanted these surgeons coming near me for fear of being vommed on, never mind letting them sticking anything sharp into me in the hopes of saving my life.

3) Musical episodes are a bad idea…a really bad idea

So last night I was settling down to watch the fall out from a car accident involving two main characters, one of whom was pregnant. As you come to expect with a show like Grey’s Anatomy, I was fully prepared to cry A LOT. Honestly that’s part of the reason I love it so much, all that crying is very cathartic. Anyway, what I got was something so hilariously cringeworthy that I was almost crying FROM EMBARRASSMENT. For some reason the people over at Grey’s Anatomy HQ had decided it’d be a great idea to turn this into a musical episode, with various characters bursting into emotional renditions of overplayed pop songs. It was just so bad. Never again please.

4) If you are Meredith Grey or anyone close to her then everything that can go wrong will go wrong

With any drama you’re expecting a fair amount of bad stuff to go down but every now and then I feel like someone should cut Meredith a break. I mean, just listing off the top of my head, (DON’T READ THIS BIT IF YOU’RE BEHIND ME AND DON’T WANT SPOILERS) her mother’s died, her step mother died, her father became an alcoholic and almost died, her husband’s been shot, she’s had a miscarriage, she adopted a baby only to have it taken away, various friends have died/left in terrible circumstances…well the list could go on but I’m depressing myself.

Not gonna lie, I’m kind of in love with her

5) Nothing beats an inspirational monologue

For those who aren’t addicts such as myself, each episode begins with a character, normally Meredith Grey although occasionally others step in, making some philosophical statements in a voice over. It’s repeated at the end of the episode when normally whatever issues have been resolved and you’re left feeling inspired and ready for the challenges in your own life. Or to watch another episode. It’s when that ending monologue leaves you feeling downhearted, that’s when you know some bad shit’s gonna go down.

So, I hope you’ve enjoyed my in depth look into Grey’s Anatomy, I’m off to watch a few more episodes.

That’s all for now

x

 

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Family & Home..., Top Fives...

My top five things about my big sister…

Yesterday was my sister’s birthday but I won’t say how old she is because I don’t know whether she’d be cool with that.

I was planning on writing this yesterday but yesterday turned out to be a bad day and I was too busy wallowing to write it so you’re getting it today instead.

Also, today’s Daily Prompt was about someone who deserves being commemorated…I don’t know if I’d go that far but I do really like my sister so that’s cool.

So yeah, my sister. Her name is Sally and she’s 11 years older than me. Maybe that’ll help you work out her age if you’re that interested and happen to have paid enough attention to know how old I am. When I was little me and Sally weren’t that close but as I got older we got much closer. She lived with us after she graduated and I was in secondary school so I spent a lot of time with her. Now I’m at uni and she’s subsequently got married so we don’t get to see each other as much which kind of sucks.

Anyways, I won’t bore you any longer with my family history. Here’s five of my favourite things about my sister. Oh and HAPPY BIRTHDAY SALLY.

1) She’s really smart

Yeah she’s the sibling that makes the rest of us look bad. You know that one? Despite the fact that me and my oldest sister are actually super clever too, Sally comes along with all her perfect grades and overshadows us. It’s ok though cus that brain makes her really fun to have interesting chats with.

2) She’s an incredibly talented artist

For my 16th, 18th and 21st birthdays my sister has made me a picture. They’re all so different and they’re all really special. I have them up in my room here and I will in every other place I live. Unfortunately I can’t do anything cool like that so all she gets is a blog post about her. Now that she’s a real grown up she’s an art teacher and I’m sure she’s amazing at it.

cake

…and I got to make the cake!

3) She let me be her bridesmaid

Like most girls, it was a lifelong dream of mine to be a bridesmaid. FINALLY, when I was 20 years old, Sally got married and I got to be her bridesmaid. It was a really fun day and I got a really awesome brother in law out of it.

4) She gave my family a reason to go on a really awesome holiday

A long long long time ago, back when my sister was at university, she did a year abroad just like I did. Except she went to the West Coast and my parents and I took a trip out to see her. Even though I was only 10 at the time I still remember it being a really fun holiday and it was so nice getting to go back to those places as an adult this year.

5) She was a really entertaining child

Ok so obviously I wasn’t actually around for this but I’ve heard the stories plenty of times as parents do love to embarrass their children. In fact, these days Sally thinks she’s too old and mature to be reminded of these stories so I won’t tell any here. But she is one of those people you can just tell were really adorable when they were a kid, I really wish I’d known her back then.

So there’s five great things about my sister on top of her being just an all round lovely person and great sister.

sally

That’s all for now

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Top Fives...

My top five things that scare me…

Today’s Daily Prompt asks about being scared, about how it feels and whether you like it or not.

I HATE being scared. The feeling of being full of adrenalin, of panicking, it’s one that I can’t stand. I also have a pretty low tolerance for things that I deem ‘scary’ so I easily get worked up. Fortunately, the things which actually do scare me are fairly easy to avoid, I don’t have any actual phobias these are just things which get my heart pumping.

1) Rides

Pretty much all rides scare me. I was the one that was still going on the little kids rides at theme parks when all my friends were going on roller coasters. Now that I’m 22 and that option is pretty much closed off to me I just don’t go to theme parks, ever. Unfortunately for me, my boyfriend absolutely adores theme parks, we often talk about me going with him but I know that I can’t do it.

The first time I remember going on a ‘scary ride’ I was about 10 and my sister (who was in her mid-twenties) took my to the fair that’s held every year on recreation grounds near our house. We were there with a load of her friends and, despite my pleading not to, she made me go on a ride with her. The ride was a typical fairground one with lots of flashing lights and high speed spinning. I remember the ride vividly, I remember not wanting to make a fuss and trying to pretend I was enjoying it and I remember my sister screaming and laughing while I just clung on and tried not to panic. When we talk about it now she says when I got off she’d never seen me look so pale. I think that was the first and possibly last time I ever went on a scary ride.

I think it was a ride like this…horrifying!

A few years later I was at a theme park with my best friend and her family. I got all the way to the front of the queue of the biggest ride there, determined to face my fear, but then the panic set in and I knew there was no way I was getting on that ride. I ran out of the queue and waited with her mum and sister while her and her dad went on.

2) Televised murder/death/detective things

Obviously real murder and death also scare me but if I manage to avoid watching TV shows about them I can kind of pretend that they don’t exist. Yet again, unfortunately for me, my mum loves detective shows. Often I’ll walk into the living room to be confronted with the gory sight of a dead body or someone being murdered. Even if it’s just for a second I won’t be able to get the thought of it out of my head for a good while after I’ve run back out the room. I know that it’s not real of course but I don’t like to be reminded that it could be real. That it could happen to me or someone I know.

3) Violence

I rarely, if ever, came into contact with violence when I was growing up. I didn’t really watch films and TV shows that were too old for me, there were no video games that normalised violence to me. I just didn’t ever see it. So now when I come into contact with any violence on TV, film or in real life I find it extremely difficult to see. It’s not just that it disturbs me or upsets me, it actually does scare me. I get the same feeling as I do when I’m thinking about going on a ride.

4) Being alone

This is probably the most irrational of fears. The thing that I have nightmares about sometimes. And I don’t mean being alone in a room or a house, I mean ‘there’s been an apocalypse and I’m the last person in the world’ alone. I used to worry about this much more when I was younger…I have no idea why. I think I accidentally watched a TV show about a zombie apocalypse once.

Still, when I was a child I was scared of lots of bizarre stuff as I’m sure most are. I don’t know where I got these ideas from but it would be things like I couldn’t sleep with my wrists exposed in case someone came in and tried to slit them or with my mouth open because someone might come and put poison in it so that when I woke up and swallowed I’d die. I used to creep downstairs after I’d been put to bed to check if I could hear my parents talking in the living room in case a murderer had come in and shot them. There’s probably some strange psychological explanation for all these neurotic behaviours but fortunately I just grew up and stopped freaking out so much!

5) Looking like an idiot

Probably the fear which I come into contact with the most is looking like an idiot in front of people. I guess no one enjoys looking stupid but I’m just convinced that I always will.

What scares you? Do you remember any strange fears you had when you were a child?

That’s all for now

x

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Politics..., Uni Life...

First Lady love…

I’m currently in the process of beginning research for my dissertation which is handed in next year. I’m writing mine about the role of the First Lady (I study American Studies).

From the small amount of research I’ve done so far I’ve learnt some things about them which I didn’t expect at all.

Things like…I don’t like the sound of Jackie Kennedy nearly as much as I thought I did and yet Nancy Reagan sounds a lot nicer than I was expecting. Or the heartwarming fact that these women have something of a support network with previous First Ladies assisting and advising the new one to the role. This comes regardless of differing political views.

And I’ve been saddened by the sacrifices some of these women have had to make. Whether it be staying with a man they didn’t love for the sake of the presidency or losing the man they love to the stress and pressure that caused their ill health and eventual death.

I guess it’s easy to forget that these women are just ordinary people who, in most cases, didn’t choose to be there. I’ve found myself going in with a certain expectation which comes from nothing other than what I know of their husband, exactly the problem they were facing while they were First Lady and something I should know better than to do.

The concept of the First Lady is so very American to me. Here people care very little about who the Prime Minster’s wife is or what she’s doing or wearing or saying. Unless she does something horrendously wrong she can live her life fairly unnoticed by the general public. The difference between her and the First Lady is startling.

The First Lady and her family are under the watchful eye of the country constantly. The First Lady must be the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect hostess. She is under immense pressure to fulfill those roles along with the knowledge that her actions could help or hurt the country’s opinion on the man she’s doing it all for, the man she happened to fall in love with (or not in some cases), the man she married.

The idea that these women are ‘just a wife’ is bizarre if you learn a little about them. The vast majority of them have worked full time at being the First Lady. They spend hours working for their chosen causes, replying to letters, making visits.

I guess all I’m trying to say is that there’s so much to learn about each of these First Ladies and I’m excited to find out more!

The more I read the more I’m in awe of these women. I certainly couldn’t do it.

That’s all for now

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Politics...

Feeling hopeless about politics…

I wrote this a few weeks ago while I was still at home. It was after a conversation I had with my Dad and it’s just been sitting in my notes since then. I keep meaning to post it but then changing my mind because it doesn’t really fit with my blog. Today I figured I’d just post it though because I read over it again and I actually quite liked it (which makes a change). 

My Dad has been a huge influence on my political thought, as many people’s parents are, and he has shaped my feelings about politics not only in an ideological sense but also in that he has prompted in me a natural interest in politics as a subject.

I don’t claim by any means to be an expert in politics. I don’t know much about a lot of it but I have a strong sense of what I think about an issue should you place some relevant facts about it in front of me and I really do care.

My parents were teenagers and young adults in the sixties. My Dad in particular was always heavily involved in politics throughout all of his adult life. That is, until a few years ago.

When my Dad talks about being a student in the sixties it sounds so exciting. I compare it to what my experience of student life in relation to politics is now and it seems a world apart.

Granted, I don’t actively seek out political groups at university but that’s mainly because I have no idea which one I would choose. None of the three major parties which are likely to have student organisations appeal to me and joining any of them would seem like a failure in a way, a white flag waving that I’ve given in to their insistence to fight for the middle ground.

When I hear my Dad talk nostalgically about his student days it’s not the fact that everything was going his way or that the party he wanted was winning which prompts that sentimentality, in fact, for the most part, they weren’t winning. It was that there was dialogue, there was a fight, there were protests and sit ins, there were people that cared.

Now it feels like no one cares.

I don’t talk about politics much with my friends. The majority of them don’t have a particular interest in politics, which I suppose is fair enough.

Sometimes I feel like caring about politics is seen as mildly irritating or annoying by people in my age group. I have been told to stop talking about it before. I have had people roll their eyes and try and change the subject. I have, most patronisingly, been told to ‘calm down’ because I was getting particularly passionate about an issue.

I’m not sure that this is all down to a lack of interest. This is down to a climate that makes us feel like we can’t change anything. Maybe if people felt like having an opinion was worthwhile, if they felt like having a debate with someone and trying to change the way they see things would make a difference then people would be more interested in talking about politics. Now people think ‘what’s the point?’

This is not the way the world is supposed to be. This is not the way a democracy is supposed to be.

I know that if I sit in a room with a group of people and have a discussion about politics it isn’t going to change the world, I’m not naïve. But it’s a start isn’t it?

I don’t have all the answers. I’m not sure I even have one answer to the problem of apathy. Sometimes I feel like the time when people were excited about change seems so long ago. But then I realise that that isn’t the case, my parents lived through it…hell even I lived through it a little bit.

For a brief period in the nineties people were truly hopeful for British politics. Some of my earliest memories are of going leafleting with my dad for the Labour Party, of putting up campaign posters and visiting people’s houses. There were a group of us kids all around the same age who grew up together, whose parents were all passionate about change.

I was 6 years old during the 1997 election campaign when Tony Blair was elected. Of course, I had no idea what was really going on, but kids are perceptive. I still remember how excited everyone was, how hard people were working and how happy those times were because there was hope and because people cared.

Of course, that didn’t turn out all that great and Blair failed our country and all those people that worked so hard to get him elected.

But that optimism, that was in my lifetime, I remember that if only vaguely. Now all I see is people who have given up and I wish I knew what to do.

That’s all for now

x

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Music..., My Favourite Things...

My top five songs…#2

So here we are, the second in my series of top five songs.

This week we have a song which has been one of my favourites pretty much since I can remember. It’s another one all tied up with childhood family memories but this time it’s my sister who’s the star.

When I was growing up my eldest sister was obsessed with Take That (she’s 15 years older than me so was fully into boy band obsession age when I was little). We were very close and I thought that she, along with my other sister, were pretty much the best people to have ever existed.

One of my favourite childhood memories, the one which probably comes to mind first when that phrase is mentioned to me, is of me as a four or five year old standing on the end of my sister’s bed, her standing on the floor in front of me, singing our hearts out to this song.

Never Forget by Take That

Ever since then I have loved Take That. I remember when I was a teenager, long after they’d broken up, finding all my sister’s old Take That CDs and burning them onto the computer, dancing around on my own this time and loving it.

Then they had a reunion tour, an album, then another and another. Whatever you might say about them, their comeback was pretty impressive.

Take That are often written off as just another boy band, which is probably fair enough in some ways, especially in their original form. But since they’ve reunited I think they’re pretty respectable and, I would argue, somewhat of a British tradition. Ok they’re no Beatles but whatever!

Anyway, back to this song. This is the song which very occasionally gets played in clubs nearing 3am and will have me swaying on the dance floor with my eyes closed, the song that I’ll play when I’m feeling a little down and need some good old nostalgia, the song that I am going to have as the first dance at my wedding (honestly, I really mean that).

Realistically I could write for a few days about how much I love Take That…but I think you get the jist.

That’s all for now

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Uni Life..., Weekly Posts...

My top fives of this week…#4

Well I just really suck at doing anything ‘weekly’ don’t I? It’s actually been 3 weeks or something since I last did one of these but then, I figure, what better way to work through my writers block (yes it’s still in full force and I’m going to keep complaining until it decides to GO THE HELL AWAY).

1) I came back to Uni

Here I am back in Nottingham, looking after myself, making my own food, going to lectures just like always.

It’s strange to be back. I’ve seen a lot of people over the past week and a half who have also just come back from their years abroad and everyone’s sort of said the same. Maybe because a year abroad changes you so much, coming back to a place you lived over a year ago seems almost wrong. I feel a little out of step with being here I guess but I know that I’ll get used to it again.

It also doesn’t help that I now feel insanely old…there are people 2 years younger than me in my lectures and 18 year olds walking around campus. THAT JUST ISN’T OK WITH ME.

2) I forgot one of the most important of all mugs from my blog post last week!

My boyfriend came to visit at the weekend and he pointed out to me that I hadn’t included my very favouritist mug of all in my top five mugs…in fact it is the mug which began my collection! I present to you the President of all mugs, that’s right, it’s OBAMA. I bought this mug the first time I went to New York when I was 19 and it has been a treasured possession ever since. I included two pictures of it below, just to emphasise how insanely awesome it is.

obama2

obama

3) I actually went to some non-compulsory uni stuff

I have spent the past three years at university being incredibly lazy and passive. Each year I have all the best intentions but then things like staying in bed and getting hooked into tv shows gets in the way and I just don’t do anything other than what is strictly necessary.

This year is my fresh start and I’m pretty determined to get involved with some extra-curriculars. Yesterday I went to TWO meetings for societies that I’m hoping to join.

For me, going to meetings and stuff is a bit like exercise – I’ll sit around and think about how I can’t be bothered to go and get scared about what people will think of me and then as soon as I’m there I’m so glad I did it. Also, it’s actually like a billion times more fun than exercise, exercise kind of sucks.

4) Really awesome films

Before I came back, my parents and I decided to start watching some ‘classic films’ since we’d run out of House to watch. Despite their frustration with me that I refused to watch anything in black and white (I know, I know I’m missing out on loads of classics but I was born in the 90s, I need full colour to keep me entertained) we managed to find a few that we all wanted to watch.

We started off with Fight Club, which my mum had to leave half way through because it was too violent, normally I can’t handle violence very well either but I persevered because it was so good. I just had to keep a cushion over my face through a large percentage of the film.

We also watched Lincoln (which was great) and Philadelphia (which made me cry hysterically).

A few days before I left we watched JFK which is directed by Oliver Stone. For those of you that haven’t seen it, it’s a true story about an investigation into the supposed conspiracy surrounding JFK’s murder and it is absolutely brilliant. In spite of the fact that we were watching the director’s cut, which comes in at nearly 3 and a half hours, I was gripped the whole way through. I’d highly recommend it.

5) I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY

That’s all I’ve been able to say/think/feel for the past week and a half. I’m whining, I’m complaining and I’m sorry. But I just can’t find anything to say right here, on this blog. I won’t give up but I’m probably not going to be posting nearly as much as I was until the writing starts flowing again…which will probably happen once I need to start focusing on important things like passing my degree. Anyway, just one final mention of the fact that I’m struggling so much, an explanation for why I’m not posting very much at the moment and no more will be said about it. I promise.

That’s all for now

x

 

 

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