Well, here I am, 30 days later, after I set myself the original challenge of writing a blog post every day for the entire month of November. It’s funny to think that when I started doing this Halloween had only just finished and Donald Trump was still campaigning for a position which, it was widely assumed, he’d never win. Yet look where we are now. Christmas decorations are out, Donald Trump has been elected President and Judge Rinder is still on Strictly after beating Ed Balls in a dance off. What a time it is to be alive.
The main thing which has surprised both myself and assorted members of family is that I have, indeed, been able to consistently write a new blog post every single day for 30 days. Given prior to this month two posts a week was considered an achievement, I’d say that’s pretty good going. Even when I’ve had tough days in the office, or visited friends I’ve somehow managed to stick myself in front of a laptop for at least five minutes to quickly belt out a blog post before rushing back to the task at hand.
In terms of content I think I’ve actually faired better than expected. There were only a handful of days where I had to rack my brains for an idea of what to write. But that said, I never at the point of absolute point of writers’ block that I sat behind a screen staring blankly into the abyss. 30 days and able to write on some incredibly varied topics from Hershey’s to hats, Trump to trains, I can honestly say being forced to write on something everyday has, through necessity, expanded my creative mind. One of my blog posts (The 12:37 Train from Swindon to Bath Spa) even made it to into the paper I write for (and that was only written in 30 minutes). If I can write a blog post on Tuna and a dog on a trampoline then I can write about anything.
Would I do it all again? Now there’s the million dollar question. In all honestly, no I wouldn’t. Purely because to fit in doing a blog post every single day alongside other commitments is just too much pressure to put on myself. Avid readers of my blog will know that this isn’t my only hobby and switching from this to book mode whilst keeping to my journalist deadlines has, at times, been challenging. Add to mix the 9-5 job, running the 18-30 group, commuting, gyming and general life stuff and you can quickly picture how manic my life is without the additional pressure of Nablopomo. That said, would I recommend it to anyone looking for a challenge? Something to help reenergise creative minds? Most certainly. It’s a mental challenge like no other and I’m so glad to say I’ve been able to do it. It’s a mini accomplishment by itself.
And on that note, I’m going into blog hibernation. Wake me up in a few weeks’ time!
It may come as a surprise to you, but I can be a bit snap happy when it comes to photos taken on my phone. Not all of these photos make it to the world wide inter web, heck, some of them don’t even make it to Instagram.
I was scrolling through these images recently and realised that some of these actually sum up my week brilliantly (well, sort-of brilliantly). For anyone who wants an introduction to my weekly goings on, look no further than these selection of images.
Here’s a shout out for all my brothers and sisters who are feeling drained after spending endless hours on Black Friday, stuck to a computer screen hunting for good deals online.
My name is Bubble (one half of the cat duo, Bubble and Squeak) and I feel your pain. All this shopping, it’s just too much for us adorable citizens to bear.
So, on this post-sale Saturday, put the laptop, the tablet and the phone away, get yourself a comfy human and snuggle yourself right in there. Then, using repetitive demands, get another human to bring you some hot milk and biscuits.
And there you have it, a perfect Saturday night to beat the Black Friday blues.
It has been a little while since I provided an updated on my living arrangements, so here is a quick summary.
Location: Still based in Swindon
Company: Still working for that same national organisation
Department: UPDATE – back in March I moved from the Commercial department to Marketing
House: Still living in 22 Starfish Road* (*not actual street name)
Housemates: Still living with Cherice and Becki the mermaid. UPDATE – I now also live with Amy who works at the head office of a high street newsagent firm, and Alex who, for whatever reason, can’t tell us where he works (we’re thinking Ministry of Defence or mafia boss)
Hobbies: Still managing the Swindon 18-30 group, hitting the gym, baking and (obviously) blogging. UPDATE – I now also write articles for a local online paper, The Swindonian
Transport: Still car-less. UPDATE – now much better at navigating the public bus system
In general: Still making the same mistakes and being wonderfully me. Classic Alice lives on.
Here in Britain we don’t have a lot. We have tea, cake and Benedict Cumberbatch but that’s about it. Every year at around this time we experience on our television sets what can only described as TG-Fest (Thanksgiving Fest). All of our imported shows from your country suddenly switch on the Thanksgiving story plot without warning in blatant disregard for the storyline of other episodes. That cousin who flew out to Australia last episode? He’s now back on the scene. The dog who was very much dead and/or non-existent? Well they’re now scampering about with Grandma May’s sausages (in an apparently hilarious fashion). It makes no sense.
This however is nothing in comparison to how us Brits react to the general concept of Thanksgiving. Every year we get caught up in this moral no man’s land of envy and pride when your national celebration comes into conversation. We envy you because we in Britain have no such celebration of ‘thankfulness’. We have Christmas, sure, but Thanksgiving is a festival with actual historical routes, a festival which doesn’t bond itself to a particular religion or custom. An alien from Mars could rock up the day before Thanksgiving and quickly understand what it’s all about. While Christmas truly is a great occasion, it’s a festival that often seems embarrassed by it’s own upbringing. It’s as if God is the most uncool parent figure of all time. You watch any Christmas film released in recent times and you’ll find it to be a movie completely devoid of religious connotation, but instead shoved full of Santa, presents and generic ‘festive’ music (i.e. everything commercial). You’ll struggle to find so much as an extra muttering the phrase ‘fully booked’ out of fear it’ll make the movie religious – even though Christmas has the word ‘Christ’ in it…
That said, we in the UK hate the thought of having to spend more time and money on family than needs be, so we also look down on Thanksgiving. We will happily sip on pumpkin lattes while you toil over pumpkin pies. For people like me who have their birthdays around this time of year, the thought of having three big events happen in the space of two months sounds like a social and logistical nightmare that I’d rather avoid. How do you guys coordinate present and card drops alongside work dos and catch up drinks? I feel stressed just thinking about it. I may pine for an extra day off to do nothing, but I certainly do not envy the chaos that must ensue beforehand.
Regardless of how we react to Thanksgiving, you guys seem to be content on exporting your culture, like it or not. This, dear America, is where I and many, many, Brits take issue. What the stuff is this Black Friday nonsense you’ve decided to dump on us? In the form of the mighty Amazon.com, your country bestowed Black Friday on us a few years back, it was like a neighbour who you’ve lived next to for ten years deciding to randomly give you a bottle of shampoo. You don’t need shampoo, you don’t particularly want shampoo, yet you’ve been handed it and, because you’re British, you’re morally obliged to accept it. Worse still, you feel bound to acknowledge this as normal. You’re bald-headed, it’s not ruddy normal, but then Britishness always trumps the bleeding obvious. This is what Black Friday is to us. Pointless but tolerated. It’s a needless excuse for companies to make us buy stuff we don’t want, to make us panic buy. Let me tell you America, if there’s one thing we don’t need to be taught, it’s how to panic buy. We’re pretty dam good at that already thank you very much.
I like to think myself in the growing minority, now borderline majority, who think this post-Thanksgiving festival is a joke. Last year my Black Friday purchases came to a total sum of £2.70. I went into a department store to buy tights, saw that everything had 10% off, shrugged shoulders and bought the same pack of tights for 30p less. From the multitude of ten elderly ladies in that shop, I can confirm that my feelings were replicated store-wide. It is no coincidence that said department store chain (BHS) has now closed down.
In short America, the residents of the United Kingdom do not care for your tat festivals. We do not give two hoots for Black Friday. You won the battle with Proms, Halloween and McDonalds, but you will not prevail with Black Friday. We have honestly got enough political tat of our own to be dealing with before we start maxing out our credit cards on Rod Stewart’s Greatest Hits CD. Maybe you thought you were being nice to share, maybe you don’t want us anywhere near Thanksgiving, but either way you made the wrong call. You and our British-based consumer giants went one step too far.
Behold, Black Friday in 2014:
Back Friday, 2015:
Based on this trend, I’d predict Black Friday 2020 to be little more than a racist parade staged by the English Defence League. But you know what? I’m not even surprised. I’ll actually to be happy to see the back of Black Friday in fifty years time when you guys finally stop flooding our airwaves with adverts for ‘deals of the century’, where stockists take £20 off that cheap Chinese drill they can’t shift.
So, happy Thanksgiving America. Us Britons wish you all the happiness and peace you seek on your special day. Suggestion; next year we take all your spiced pumpkin pies and paid leave and, in return, you can have 18% off selected toner cartridges. Seems fair, right?
First off, play this (at any rate because it’s a ruddy awesome song):
I think we can all safely say we wish the past six months never happened. To one extent or another we want to wake up and hear about Trump’s new reality TV show, or discover that Nigel Farage was actually the mind’s conjuring of all those scary puppets from childhood. And yet, despite our hopes, we wake up every morning to news that the UK is going to turn into Kazakhstan and the wider world into the Planet of the Apes (that is, unless it’s already happened and we can’t see it… )
Not yet published Picture File: MI001 1232379 Submitter: GERRY ELLIS/ MINDEN PICTURES Copyright: 50M (MINDEN IMAGES REPRESENTED BY NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE HAVE SPECIFIC RESTRICTIONS. CONTACT NG CREATIVE STAFF AT X7537 FOR MORE INFORMATION) Location: Not Released/ Not Applicable, Tanzania Legend: Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) portrait, adult named Frodo, Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania Keywords: Africa, Animal, Ape, Chimpanzee, Close Up, Color Image, Day, Eas
Where did this massive screw up of a political year start? Britain, that’s where. The land where monumental things happen. Vaccinations, Democracy, the National Health Service, they all came from the UK. On June 23rd 2016 we in Britain started the ball rolling by voting to leave the European Union. Our society hasn’t been the same since.
Here are some photos I’ve taken in recent months that highlight instances which, in my opinion, demonstrate the impact of the Brexit vote on the average Joe and Joyce.
Yeah, so far in the past six to nine months I have to say it’s not looking too good for our little nation. Don’t worry though, if we all stay positive and pull together I’m sure we can get through this and come out a stronger, better nation. Stick together Britain, we will prevail!
In the last couple of days I’ve been struck down the most irritable of viruses, the common cold. Forget Darf Vader, Simon Cowell and reduced fat cheese, the common cold is the ultimate enemy of human kind, notably the British variety, who have to put up with the sickness all too frequently. As someone who tends to be cold-ridden for many weeks at a time (two-six weeks usually), I can honestly say I’ve tried to see the bright side. I’ve tried to see the humour in the husky voice and the excuse to binge on chocolate. However that Phoebe Buffay from Friends reference only carries so much water and what use is endless chocolate if you can’t taste anything?
In my feeble attempts to see a glimmer of positivity I have even turned to Google. Maybe there’s a new herb or questionable Hungarian drug I can buy. Search results – Vicks vapour rub and a healthy dose of ‘quit your whining and stay away from A&E’. Then I thought, ‘maybe there’s a fancy Latin name for the common cold I can use to make people think I’m really sick’. Search results – ‘the common cold, otherwise known as a cold, is an infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract…’. Only in the Western world would we rename something to have fewer words because two words was clearly one too many to remember. How come all the plants on Gardeners’ World get really long, fancy sounding, names? It’s just not fair.
I know what many of you are thinking, ‘here we go again, another case of Man Flu. It’s just a cold, she needs to get over it’. I wouldn’t blame you for thinking it, in fact I’d be saying the exact same thing in your shoes. Truth is, when I have a cold I become my own worst enemy. I don’t want to be near me, let alone anyone else. At the click of a finger I become the croaky, snotty, tired-eyed personification of an invisible force which doesn’t deserve the attention it gets. It’s like a (very) low budget, English, version of the Incredible Hulk ‘what do you mean, you’re out of cough sweets? Have you forgotten where we are? Did your stockist not look at the calendar?! That makes throat angry! ARGHHH!!’ (precedes to knock several boxes of paracetamol off the shelf and storm out of the shop, tutting).
Anyway, in short, I have a cold. Persons close to me for personal or professional reasons would be best placed to keep their distance until I am in a more fitting state to be social. Take this blog post as written approval.
An excuse to be antisocial? Hey, maybe there is a silver lining to this cold after all.
On November 21 I came to the conclusion that a life without full-caffeine coffee is a life not worth living.
As I sat behind my desk at 9:15, staring aimlessly at emails it was hard to see any hope of salvation. So fixated I was with the screen you’d have thought I was reading the outcome of a serious political debate rather than the weekly printing reports. “If I stare at this for long enough I’ll establish the meaning of life or wake up, whichever comes first” I kept repeating (internally of course, my colleagues don’t need to be reminded of my insanity, especially not this early in the week). Then in the corner of my eye I caught glimpse of a holy purple beacon of hope. Without a second thought I reached across my desk and grabbed the thermos flask without haste (note that I did not throw myself across my desk in a Saving Private Ryan fashion. This is a significant improvement on previous weeks.) I found myself rushing to the kitchenette area, legs carrying me at as fast a walking pace as possible. Being a lazy/super organised/cheapskate (delete as appropriate) individual, the coffee granules and whitener were already sat at the bottom of the flask, the combination having been inputted into the contain several days beforehand. Probably for the best, given my zombie like state the thought of processing more than “just add hot water” would have only resulted in fire and/or the destruction of the entire office.
Flask in shaking hand, I trudged back to my desk. The next problem was the inner turmoil of deciding which was more important: the need to get caffeine into system or the desire to not burn mouth with boiling water. Grr, why must hot coffee be so hot?! The following five minutes were therefore spent typing simple emails whilst secretly cursing the thermos flask for keeping hot drinks hot. Finally I grew impatient and took the plunge. Inevitably perhaps, I burnt my mouth. Oh hello pain, my old friend. But then as emails starting pinging in left, right and centre I knew I couldn’t put this off any longer. “Sod it” I thought, and in true Pop Eye style motion, I tore off the lid of the flask and proceeded to drink the brownish mixture of questionable quality in massive gulps. Not thirty seconds later I was a changed woman, powering through emails, printing briefs, firing off quick responses to all questions. Less than an hour after entering the office I was back on top form. All the while only one thought passed through my head: