Posted in Lifestyle

Why TV is killing me

Yeah, okay, I’m a self confessed TV addict, you all know that. But the tv I watch can have two very different reactions from me. Unfortunately, recently it’s been bringing me down.

I recently started rewatching Grey’s Anatomy from season 5 onwards. Anyone who knows what happens at the end of this season and the beginning of the next, you’ll probably have some painful memories of the first time you watched those scenes. The heart breaking moments when we saw each character grieving in a different way. As per usual, I started to cry along with some of them.

Then I realised I wasn’t crying over the episodes I had just watched. I was crying for Stella. For Papa. And for Tom. I’d even say I was crying for my Granda, who I barely remember, and Ted, my cousins’ granda. I was crying over the deaths of these people, and it dawned on me that I still can’t even think about any of them without crying.

I’m pretty sure I’ve talked on here about it before. As I said, I barely remember my Granda. I was 7 when he died, and I still remember walking out onto the landing to see Dad crying. I remember being told to pack a bag of books and toys because we were going to Northern Ireland for a funeral. This meant nothing to me. I didn’t really understand death and what it meant; all I knew was I was getting to miss a few days of school. 

Fast forward 4 years, and Stella, my dad’s aunt, was unwell. Stella was that fun loving, child-like old person you loved to visit. She’d play games, sing songs, have drawing competitions, and always had her biscuit cupboards filled and a fruit shoot in the fridge for you. I haven’t actually had a fruit shoot since she died. We had friends over visiting us in Lisburn for the North West 200 – a racing event that happens every year. We had a glorious day in Portrush, and Rachel and I were so excited to see Tom and Stella that week to tell them everything we’d done and all the rides we’d been on. Everyone went to bed early on the Sunday night – our guests were leaving early on Monday morning and we were getting up to go to school. I remember sneaking quietly downstairs to say goodbye to them without waking Rachel, and as they left, Mum told me not to go back to bed just yet because she wanted to talk to me. I still know exactly which stair I was sitting on when she told me that Stella had died in the early hours of Sunday morning, and that our neighbour had been the paramedic in the ambulance. She went on to say that I wasn’t to tell Rachel, she would do that, and that when I got home from school I would need to go thank our neighbour for trying to help Stella. I sobbed. I stopped crying briefly and thought I would practice playing the piano because I had a lesson that afternoon and mum thought it would distract me. I remember putting my foot on the pedal that made it quieter, because dad was on the phone with different people I’d never even heard of before. I remember getting through the first 3 bars of my music before my hands slumped and I was crying again. A few days later, we were kept off school to go to the funeral. It was a home service as Stella had fallen out with the church years before I was born, and I remember the little house being filled. You couldn’t move due to the amount of people all trying to say their last goodbyes. I lasted until the psalm before I just had to get out of that house. I don’t remember the rest of the day, not after the service, I don’t remember everyone leaving, and I don’t really remember the days that followed but I do know I didn’t cry for Stella after her funeral.
June came 4 weeks later, and with it came a mini heat wave. As usual, we went to the local rugby club on Saturday afternoon, and Rachel and I tried our best to hide from the adults because we were bored. As we were heading home, Mum went over to her dad and reminded him we would be coming round for a barbecue the next day. She told him off for being drunk, and reminded him not to drive home. We had a usual Saturday evening, and went to bed as normal. Sunday morning came, and Rachel and I were watching Recess on Disney Channel when the phone rang. Dad answered it quickly because Mum was still in bed and we thought she was asleep. Granny B (Dad’s mum) came and sat with us eating breakfast and closed over the door. It was Granny H on the phone, so we just assumed it was to talk about our planned barbecue. Dad went upstairs, and within minutes Mum was downstairs in her tracksuit, bed-head hair, and tears running down her face. She opened the door to the living room and simply said “Papa’s dead, I need to go to Mum”. The door was closed again, and with that she ran out of the house and Dad drove her to Belfast. I think Rachel and I were both in shock, because we just turned back to the TV as if nothing had happened. We didn’t see Mum the rest of the day. Dad came home and told us our aunt and uncle were coming over from Dundee and they’d be over the next day. We played in the garden, went out for dinner, and Dad tried to act as if nothing had happened. I didn’t cry. I didn’t acknowledge what was going on. Again, we had a day off school for the funeral. I remember the rain that day. I remember my outfit, even down to what pants I was wearing. I didn’t cry in the church, even as I sat looking at the coffin, trying to imagine my papa lying there. Trying to realise I was never going to see him again. My youngest cousin was 4 at the time and far too young to really know what was happening. We kept shhing  her as she played loudly in that front pew in the church. At the end of the service, we had to walk behind the coffin out of the church, and into the hall where people were having tea and coffee. I remember seeing my mum’s uncle crying, and I remember Tom crying, standing there just 4 weeks after burying his wife. Yet I still didn’t cry. The school year ended, I went on a school trip, we had a summer holiday in Gran Canaria, and we spent time with both Granny H and Tom, trying to fill their days as best we could. And still I hadn’t cried. The church magazine came in during the second last week in August. Mum always sat to read it before lunch, and this time she handed it to me when she was finished. There was a 2-3 page eulogy from a man in the church all about Papa and what kind of man he’d been. I read through it slowly, and as I read each word I began to cry. I finally felt the emotion I’d been suppressing for the 2 and a bit months. I don’t even remember it now, but I do remember that as I read the last sentence, I threw the magazine back at Mum and ran from the kitchen. I had a cubby hole under my desk where I curled into as tight a ball as I could and I just cried. I cried because he was gone, and I cried because of the guilt I felt for not crying earlier. 

Top left: Granda, Granny B and me. Top right: Tom, me and Stella. Bottom: Papa and Granny H.

As the years went on, I still struggled to talk about either of them without crying, however we went through a lucky patch of no deaths after June 2007. Well, until August 2015. I went home after some resits in Glasgow, and had a family day out. I was exhausted from pulling an all-nighter before travelling home, so I offered to be designated driver when we went out for dinner that night. I hid how tired I was quite well, so at 11pm we finally went home and I fell asleep, looking forward to my first official day of the summer holidays. I woke up the next day to the phone ringing. It was the local hospital, saying Dad’s Uncle Tom had been admitted during our meal out the night before, and asking for us to bring stuff to the hospital. I can’t remember where Rachel and Mum were, but I went with Dad to Tom’s house to look for pjs, a toothbrush, that kind of thing. We were making our usual comments about how dirty the house was, and how if Tom had died before Stella it would’ve been a different story all together. There were his false teeth sitting on the kitchen counter, so we phoned the hospital and were told to bring them for him. It was suspected food poisoning, and I was just annoyed to be spending my morning day of freedom running around after him. After lunch, Mum, Dad and Rachel were going to go visit him, but I had to stay home and go to work. I asked repeatedly to go with them, but was told no I couldn’t turn down a shift. Someone would come to the shop and fill me in when they got home. 

Mum came in about an hour before the end of my shift, telling me it wasn’t great but they were hopeful. He had a hernia that had stopped his food from entering his stomach, and a bit of his oesophagus had died and his food was just trapped there, however when he stabilised they would operate and he should make a full recovery. The poor man was insisting it was just a bad fish supper from the chippy. Mum promised again and again that I could go visit him the next day, and assured me that I wouldn’t have liked to have seen him as he had looked awful. I accepted it and continued with my shift, working late to help the boss out. I ran home for dinner and we were watching TV when the phone rang around 8pm to say they were going to have to operate because something wasn’t right. Dad came back in saying they expected to be done around 10:30pm and if we didn’t hear by then then someone would be in touch as soon as possible with an update. Mum and Dad began to worry a little as they had had a few drinks with dinner and knew they couldn’t drive, so I reminded them that I could and it would be fine. 10pm came and we went to bed, and for the first time in years I didn’t close my door tight – I wanted to hear the phone ring. 10:30 came and passed, 11 o’clock came and still nothing. 11:45pm the phone call came that mum and dad should get down to the hospital as soon as possible. I drove down, and rachel and I were sent back to the house with the promise they would phone with news as soon as they could. We both tried to doze, but we were beginning to worry. After only being home about 20 minutes, I got a call from dad telling me Tom had died and that we should come collect Mum and Dad. Rachel and I agreed we couldn’t cry. I had to drive and I had to be able to see so neither of us were allowed to cry. Rachel broke down half way to the hospital. I was shaking, but I focused on the road, not allowing myself to think. They were waiting for us on the pavement, and mum made me get into the back of the car – she was okay to drive. On the journey back, they told us he had been on a ventilator when they arrived and basically they were just there to switch it off and be there with him. Still, I couldn’t cry. We got home, and everyone started to talk about whether to call people or leave it or what, and at that point I walked into the back garden. I started crying and shouting and getting so angry because I hadn’t seen him. I hadn’t been to see him since Christmas, and I hadn’t got to see him in the hospital. Everyone else got their chance to see him, but I wasn’t allowed. I felt so guilty, and still do, that I didn’t put my foot down and go see him. I feel guilty for not calling him more while I was at university. I was furious at myself for being angry at him for ruining my first morning off of the summer. And mum came out and just hugged me while I sobbed that it wasn’t fair, over and over again. 

Once again, we had a funeral to prepare for. The house had to be tidied and cleaned, his will and other bits and pieces had to be found, and Dad was listed as his next of kin, while mum was the person in charge of his will. Rachel wanted to read at the service, and I was asked to but said no. We picked the perfect poem for her, and when the day came I couldn’t even wait for her to start reading it before I cried.

I’ve cried the whole way through writing this post, and that’s really what I started to write about. When will I be able to talk or write or think about them all without crying? Will it ever happen? When will I stop looking for Tom’s car parked outside the church? When will I walk past our family church without saying hello to Papa in the bit for the cremated parisheners? Will there come a time that I can go to Portrush and not feel sad remembering the day we spent there with Tom and Stella before she got sick? And more importantly, do I want that time to come?

These are the questions that haunt me at 2 o’clock in the morning. 

I’m sorry for once again having a negative post, but I needed to share what was going through my head with someone, anyone. 

Posted in Lifestyle

The Morning Struggles

Goooood morning everyone! How’re you doing today?
Mornings are my favourite, but they’re also my least favourite. My mum would tell me that’s a very Irish phrase – one that says something and then contradicts it in the same sentence. Not entirely sure what makes it Irish but there you go. Useless fact of the day for you!

 

I love mornings because I love the feeling of waking up and having those two minutes of your day where anything seems possible. You wake up with the positivity, and the feeling that everything will go your way. The sun is up (even if you can’t see it) and with it we’re expected to be awake and get everything done. It’s a fresh day, there’s so much to do. You don’t know what’s coming up, because even if you have plans, anything can happen. Yes, it can turn into a bad day, but the beauty of it all is that you can go to bed that night knowing that the next day won’t be as bad. Another small happy thing for me is choosing my shampoo, conditioner and shower gel for that day. It sounds stupid, but I always have a nice little selection and it means I can choose according to how I’m feeling. The best? Tea Tree. The fresh smell just adds to the freshness of a new day, and I love leaving the bathroom smelling of it. Opening the curtains and looking out at the buildings being lit up by the light of the sun’s rays reminds me that we can find beauty in even the weirdest of places – yes the building may be the coldest, least comfortable one for lectures, but looking at the stones of the building glistening can really set me up for the day.
I always start my mornings by clearing all my notifications from the night before, almost like I’m saying goodbye to yesterday’s news and getting ready for the new day. During this time, I end up listening to my morning playlist to try and motivate me to get up and get started on the day ahead – not an easy task! Then it’s a quick dash to the bathroom and time to get dressed, before breakfast at the kitchen table while watching an episode of whatever it is I’m watching at that stage.

 

What I can’t stand about mornings is the struggle of getting out of bed. Bed is warm, flat is not. You’ve then to decide on and make a breakfast. Never mind showering and washing hair, drying hair, picking actual clothes because you can’t live all day in pyjamas – although if you could then that would be amazing. Waking up in a cold flat is not enjoyable. It adds to the struggles of the morning. Then you’ve to persuade yourself to get off your social media platforms and make that run to the bathroom. Yes, okay, you warm up in the shower, but the minute it’s over you’re very aware of just how cold the day is. Dashing back to your room to hide under the covers until the last possible minute of getting up. Eventually, time is up and you have to get up. Drying your hair feels like such an effort, you’ve to find something to wear that isn’t just a hoodie and jeans because you actually need to look somewhat respectable. I have 6 outfits I always fall back on, but need to diversify my wardrobe. There’s then the added fun that everything in the wardrobe stinks of damp, so your outfit needs to be relatively fresh – either that or something that isn’t going to be stained when you smother it with air freshener. Another thing that just ruins mornings for me is walking into the living room and kitchen and them being a mess. We have throws over our sofas because the ones in our flat aren’t exactly the prettiest, however they’re never fixed and straightened when people get up off the sofas and so that just adds to the bad mood in the morning. It reaches time to go to lectures and I would much rather be sitting here and talking to you all.
However, for every reason I can find to hate mornings, there are equally as many reasons to love them. Mornings are definitely hard, but I’m hoping to make them slightly better over the next few weeks.

 

What do you love/hate about mornings?

img_2193-1

Posted in Lifestyle

Okay I apologise for what is about to be yet another rant of a post but I have been through a range of emotions in the last 12 hours.

Yesterday was Jason’s birthday and so we were celebrating! I baked him a cake, we got him presents, and drinking started early afternoon – note to self: don’t play the Grey’s Anatomy drinking game with anything filling.

Showers were had, we donned our gladrags, faces were made up, and I actually put in contact lenses! We drank over dinner before heading to a few pubs, and we were making sure Jason was having a good few drinks along the way. Another thing to note is tipsy me cannot cope with Jason when drunk. He shouts, asks questions, and doesn’t listen to anything you say – even if you’re answering his question! Anyway, that’s not the point.

We piled into three taxis. Jason and I were in the second one with 4 others, and we were on route to Polo – the one club I actually like. It’s the better of Glasgow’s two gay clubs. The music’s better, drink are cheap, the staff are polite, and it’s somewhere I feel relaxed and can actually cope with crowds of people! The taxi pulled up, we jumped out, showed ID, had a quick handbag search, and went to pay the entry – £6 isn’t bad for a Friday night out in Glasgow! Normally we go on Wednesdays so we weren’t sure what the cost would be. Jason and I bumped into someone we knew from LGBTQ+ while queuing for cloak room, and we had a great chat! After we’d gained our tickets it was time to buy a drink. It was then I realised the first taxi hadn’t arrived yet, and the place was practically empty.

I looked at my phone to see 7 missed calls from Mary, and another couple from Hannah – what was going on? Well. Mary’s taxi had been the first to leave, and there were 5 of them in it. As they approached the bouncer, they were asked how many of them there were. On replying 5, they were immediately told to go elsewhere as they were too big a group. No ID checks, no one was drunk, a simple “there are too many of you” and that was it, no budging. At this point, Mary started trying to phone me. While I was happily chatting to our random friend, the 3rd taxi pulled up with the 4 remaining friends. Again, before they could even get their ID out of their bags they were told no. By this stage, I had called Mary back to see what was going on. Jason and his boyfriend (did I mention Jason has a boyfriend?) went out to see what they could do or what was being said. It was then repeated to them that there was too big a group (okay so now there were 9 people waiting to get in) and that “they weren’t regulars”. Without actually coming out and saying it, the bouncer basically was saying no to our friends because they were straight. 

I know it seems I get angry about a lot of things, and I fly off the handle over the simplest of matters, but this made my blood boil. They aren’t regulars? Neither am I – I go maybe 3/4 times a year. They were too big a group? Nah, we’d got in just minutes before them as a group of 6 so that couldn’t be right either. Jason was the only person off his face and he got in no problem. And considering he’s the youngest out of us all and we were out for his 20th birthday, we knew we had no problem with ID. This left only one possible reason, and unfortunately it’s not the first we’d heard of it, but Polo were denying entry to people because they looked straight. 

Now imagine if a gay person was denied entry to a club for looking camp or flamboyant. There would be outcry! We were fuming. Jason had returned to tell us what was happening and I was shaking I was that angry. Not only were my friends being discriminated against for being straight, but it was also implied I look queer. Now there’s nothing wrong with “looking queer”, I never meant that. But there is no real definition of queer so how can you judge whether someone identifies as LGBTQ+ simply by their looks? I may be a lesbian but I don’t think I look like someone who identifies as a lesbian. Do we have a certain look or something? Who knows. 

Furious, we waited to hear where the others had managed to get in to and we grabbed our coats to leave. As we walked out the door, I zipped up my coat and asked Jason “Where are we going, Kokomo?” and he replied “Yup, where they let straight people in”. We were having a discussion. We weren’t causing problems. Our statements weren’t said to offend or upset anyone. However, one of the bouncers felt the need to reply with “Don’t be a dick”. 

What sort of service is that? Who would even? I was furious. There’s a certain word that I’m sure many of you know that begins with C and I can honestly say that between 11:30pm last night and 4:30am this morning, I have used that word 7 times to describe Polo and their staff. 

Hannah, one of our friends in the last taxi, messaged Polo’s official Facebook page (privately) to state how disappointed she was that a community that prides itself on equality for all and inclusion had excluded her because of her sexuality. She got a reply back saying that their policy is only to turn away people based on sobriety and ID problems and that they were sorry she felt her sexuality had had her excluded but this was against their policy to exclude people based on their sexuality. 

I’m sorry but that’s complete bull. We have heard so many incidents of people not getting in because they were too straight, and it’s just not on.

I don’t enjoy clubbing. Never really have. But Polo was the one place I felt comfortable and enjoyed going. However after the way my friends and I were treated tonight, I will not be back. I’m officially done with clubs and club nights. I will attempt to go out to clubs for other birthdays if I have to, but I have now lost the one club that made me feel accepted. And for that reason, I went to bed feeling extremely disappointed.

Posted in Friday Favourites

Friday Favourite: Zoe

As we begin the 4th Friday of the month, it’s time to look at another of my favourite bloggers. While this series focuses on my favourite bloggers, I should also mention that these people are also some of my favourite people to talk to about many different things outside of blogging, and I feel honoured to call any of them my friends.

 

Today’s favourite person is the incredible Zoe – and she’s incredible for so many different reasons. But before we look at that, let’s get to know Zoe a little, shall we?

 

Zoe, aged 24, is a brilliant mum to two of the cutest little girls around – Mia and Robyn. Living in Cornwall for the last 3 years, she loves reading and drawing, and actually sent me the picture below! Zoe’s current weight loss journey has her constantly pushing herself to be more confident and to become a positive role model for her two little girls. Personally, I believe she’s already the perfect role model, but that’s just my opinion. One of the things I love about Zoe is she writes about anything and everything that she loves.

 

We got talking on Twitter after Zoe followed me first and I followed back quite promptly, and we just seemed to click (well, I think so anyway). From then, we’ve not only chatted on twitter and supported each other – Zoe is incredibly supportive and that’s another amazing quality of hers – but our conversations jump over to blog comments, snapchat, instagram and now have progressed onto snail mail! Zoe is one of those people you get talking to and wonder why you didn’t speak sooner, while also feeling like you’ve known her your entire life. And to top it all off? Zoe is gorgeous. Not that the last 3 of my Friday Favourites aren’t, but I feel like sometimes I should remind Zoe just how stunning she actually is.

 

Now onto my favourite post. When I first saw Zoe pop up on my timeline back in October/November time, we were discussing Blogmas and all the excitement that would come with something like that. After a few days, I decided to scroll right back to the start of her blog and see how her journey started. There was one part of that first post that stuck with me though:

For me this blog isn’t necessarily for thousands to read but more importantly for me to express myself, for me get out of my own head and to share. Because sharing is fun!!

 

This struck home to me because it made me remember – this is why I started blogging. The three years of an age difference, and the different personal circumstances, aside, Zoe was me when I read those two sentences, and from then on I knew I just had to be friends with her. However, my actual favourite post of Zoe’s would have to be Why Don’t We Jump In Puddles Anymore?. The little things in life that give us pleasure are the things that we should focus on, and as Zoe says – we seem to force ourselves to leave behind the innocent fun we had as children. Something as simple as jumping in puddles is a pleasure we deny ourselves.

 

I honestly can’t put into words how strongly I feel about this – you need to go follow Zoe now. She truly is one of the most amazing people I know, and she should be proud of herself no matter what. You can find Zoe here:

Blog                                    Twitter                                                 Instagram

Bloglovin‘                        Facebook                                             Snapchat (@withanoceanview)

 

 

Please do give her a read at least if you can’t dedicate yourself to a follow. You have no idea how truly inspiring this woman is, and never will if you don’t follow her!

 

Have a lovely weekend everyone! I’m away to celebrate Jason’s 20th birthday today – hopefully it won’t be too messy! 

 

 

Posted in Lifestyle

Lessons from The West Wing

Okay so bear with me. I know I’ve been talking a lot recently, and a lot of it hasn’t been of any interest to a lot of you. But this is one thing I had to talk about. 

As anyone who’s been talking to me knows, I’ve been watching a lot of The West Wing recently. It’s a great little tv show and it brings me hope during a time when we have a certain Oompa Loompa running the United States. Now, I know there are certain homophobic or misogynistic comments dotted throughout the seven seasons but they address those as each comes up – quite nice in my mind. They call each other out for their comments or behaviours, and the women of the story are as important as the men.
However there’s one episode I think everyone should watch, regardless of whether or not you want to watch the series as a whole.

Issaac and Ishamel is a standalone episode that aired just before season 3 started. It was aired October 3rd, 2001. I don’t think there’s a person on the internet who hasn’t heard about 9/11. To be honest, I would be surprised if most people over the age of 8 hadn’t heard someone make reference to it. But what struck me about this episode is that 3 weeks after the attack, this episode addressed a nation still in mourning, still scared of what had and could happen. 

Now I won’t sit here and tell you that it’s a must see episode. To be honest, I think it’s one of the episodes you would skip if you just wanted to watch the story. However, it raises some key issues and sends out a message that was needed at the time, and still needed today if racial and sectarian crime rates are taken into consideration.

There isn’t much to this episode. A brief summary would be that Deputy Chief of Staff, Josh, is meant to be speaking with a group of teenagers when all he wants to do is go home. After a very brief introduction, the White House is put on lockdown, due to a security risk, and Josh and his assistant, Donna, escort the group down to the canteen to have a chat and be comfortable as they could be there a while. While in the canteen, various students question different members of staff (and eventually the First Lady) about why “everyone” hates Americans. This then develops into a talk about terrorism, arabs, muslims, the whole lot.

I suppose you could say that that’s the subplot. I’m not entirely sure which is which in this episode. But in the other half of the story, we see Chief of Staff, Leo, become involved in the interrogation of an Arab man who is working at the White House and unfortunately shares his name with a terrorist known to be at large. What doesn’t surprise me is how racist Leo is at first. When you put this story into a timeline, imagine working in the White House just weeks after the attack in New York. Imagine discovering that an employee in your building, the building that houses your most powerful politician, is a possible terrorist. I think most people would surprise themselves at how racist they would become in that situation. Towards the end of this part of the episode, Leo goes back and apologises to the man, admitting he was racist and it was out of character but nonetheless it’s no excuse and he is sorry. And that’s something I love about this series. The writers had no difficulty in letting these egotistical big boys in town show when they are in the wrong. 

Sorry I got distracted there and forgot where I was going with this. To bring it back to the message the writers were trying to spread – terrorism never wins, it only serves to strengthen the thing it’s against. They talk about the first ever act of terrorism. There’s mention of Toby’s hatred of people. And finishes up with the First Lady telling the story of Isaac and Ishamel. How the two brothers were raised to dislike each other from the start. She goes on to say “and so it began – the Jews the sons of Isaac, and the Arabs the sons of Ishamel. But what most people find it important to remember is that in the end the two sons came together to bury their father.”
And that’s the key story here. Just because someone has different beliefs, different skin, different preferences, whatever, to you, doesn’t mean you should spend your life in fear of these people or fighting against them. Because some day, you will discover something you have in common and those differences will have to be set to one side.

Posted in Lifestyle

My Opinion Matters

A couple of nights ago, I turned to Twitter to voice how happy I was after watching a certain film. As is always to be expected, a few others were quick to tell me that they hadn’t enjoyed it. I accepted this, knowing of course that we’re all different and that everyone likes different things -what a boring world we would live in if this wasn’t the case! The conversation continued and, quite quickly, I felt it was time for me to stop replying. Freedom of speech means we can all voice our opinions and that everyone has a right to their thoughts and opinions. However, the particular conversation I’m talking about left me feeling a little annoyed. 

The people taking part in the conversation didn’t seem to realise that, while they’re perfectly entitled to think what they think of this particular film, I was also entitled to my opinions too! They didn’t say I was wrong, in fact they didn’t say anything all that bad, but they left me regretting tweeting – an experience I’ve never had before! They were so wrapped up in what was so horrifically wrong with the film that I actually was left feeling rather down – the film had been ruined for me to be honest.

I could agree that there were aspects I would change if given the choice, but going as far as to comment on the skill of the actors involved? If you don’t like a specific actor and they’re in a film of a genre you aren’t a big fan of, here’s some advice – don’t watch it and expect to enjoy it. Plain and simple.

Another basic example of this is one that used to annoy me so much at school. Rachel and I never just had samwiches, a snack and a juice. We had a variety of savoury things, some fruit, and a bottle of water. To try and not become bored of lunch, we would try all different things. Our friends would look into our lunch boxes, wrinkle up their noses, and ask with disgust, “What’s that?!” This would annoy me so so much! Another girl used to always like to comment on how disgusting it looked. After years of this, I learnt to just reply that they could keep their opinions to the,selves as they weren’t being expected to eat it. The other night, that film was my lunchbox, and the people I was talking to were no better than my close-,minded friends who couldn’t use their imagination to have anything other than a cheese sandwich.

My opinion matters, not in the grand scheme of things, but in general we should feel comfortable saying whether or not we enjoyed something. So next time you’re talking about the latest song, movie, or TV show – remember that the people around you may have a different opinion, but it is still as valid as yours. Don’t make them regret ever saying something.

Sorry for the rants post, I just felt I should get that off my chest.

Posted in Lifestyle

The Cost of Being a Student

Okay, so some of you may have read yesterday’s somewhat rambling post, others of you won’t have and that’s perfectly okay. Basically, it was me clearing my head of all the weird and wonderful things I think about when going to bed.

 

One of those thoughts was about my living arrangements for next year, and how it would all play out for me. While I’m actually more excited than scared, I still have to remind myself not to panic. I don’t necessarily believe in God and there being a plan for all of us, but I do think that everything happens for a reason, even if that reason isn’t overly clear to begin with.

 

From that point, I began to consider where I want to live. One thing’s for sure, I’m not returning to halls to live with 17 and 18 year olds again. Heck, here in Scotland you can even have 16 year olds in university! So, no. That’s not for me. My 21 year old liver couldn’t take it again. Flip sake, Jason isn’t even 20 yet and that feels young!

 

However, this made me start looking into a one person flat. Now, Nuala, Mary and Jason (never mind my other friends) will be in shock at the fact I would even consider this. I’m what they consider quite sociable. I grew up in a house where if someone walked into a room, you spoke to them or at least acknowledged them – not something a lot of students are used to doing. They normally do chat when in the mood though, and it’s often been said that I wouldn’t last living on my own as I’d go insane with no one to talk to.

 

Imagine, though. I leave the flat at 8:30am to get in for my 9am lecture. I spend my day on campus, or visit friends during my breaks in the day. At around 5pm I would get the bus/train back to my own flat for dinner, a bit of tidying, and a quiet night in talking to all you lovely people. Weekends can be spent around campus or in the library or in my flat, it doesn’t matter which! My point in this mini paragraph is that there is the possibility to socialise with people at any time, I don’t have to live with people to socialise! I think people seem to forget that. Plus, I’m never one to stop people from coming to visit me for coffee or a meal.

 

So, that brings me to the point of this post (only 421 words later, sorry!). When looking at flats, I though – why restrict myself only to flats? Sure they tend to be cheaper etc, but why shouldn’t I start to think about the future and consider a small house or something? So I took to the websites. Now I know I can’t start looking now to move in in August (when our current contract runs out) but I just wanted to get an idea of prices. And do you know what I found? There’s a 2 bedroom house. It’s 15 minutes away from the university by bus, beautifully furnished, has a nice little garden where I could hang laundry out to dry in fresh air. The main bedroom has 2 built in wardrobes, plus its own little bathroom with an actual bath! The second bathroom is a smaller, box-room that could easily be a nice study. The living room had a nice gas fire, and a tv above it. Kitchen and dining area looked brand new and so nice! I would move in there in a heartbeat. And do you know the best part about this little house? Double-glazing, carpets, and windows that open on a sunny day. All for only £350 a month rent. Know what I’m paying? £410 a month. Plus bills. Bills that come to about £50 a month. So really, no matter what the bills would be for that little house, transport money wouldn’t be much of a problem!

 

I don’t really remember where this post was going. I just know that I wanted to raise awareness of the fact that student accommodation is rubbish. I was changing my bed at the weekend after the sheets being on for only 2 weeks, to find mildew on the bit touching an exterior wall. My clothes constantly stick of damp. I’ve had to bin multiple pairs of shoes that have been ruined by mould. And there’s a perfectly good house just down the road that I could quite comfortably live in.

 

So sometimes I wonder why students have to live in our flats that are so cold our glasses steam up. Why do we accept these conditions? Why is no one ever standing up for us against landlords who do very  little about these things?

 

 

Ktkinnes