Month: June 2017

Friday Feeling [10] – it’s all about you

We all know that Instagram can be, and mostly is, a self serving narcissistic platform for people to garner likes and approvable from those they may or may not know (I am no exception in this <shameless plug> you can follow me on instagram here).

So just how cute is this older gentleman who uses his instagram account to post pictures of his good lady wife throughout the years, talking about just how much he loves her?

Cute old couple instagram

Isn’t that just adorable?

Heart. Melting.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

Foo Fighters at Glastonbury

Did anyone see TV coverage (or live, if you were lucky enough to be there!) of Foo Fighters headlining Glastonbury on Saturday night? After having to bow out at the 11th hour in 2015 when Dave Grohl broke his leg, they made an outstanding appearance on the Pyramid Stage; 2+ hours of some of the best televised live music I have ever seen.

Foo Fighters logo

I’m a big fan of Dave Grohl. I think he comes across as a super nice guy, super fun and mischievous but also very dedicated. I have always said that he’d be on my invite list if I was hosting a celebrity dinner party (you never know, it might happen). But aside from my gooey eyed love for him as a person, he’s obviously incredibly talented and can deliver a tune. I’ve only ever seen Foos once, at the Millenium Dome many years ago, I was right up in the gods, about 3 rows from the very top rear of the venue, but even from there the sound was so good, it was like listening to a CD. The band are incredibly tight, with great energy, and a back catalogue of hits that could have anyone rocking out. Saturday night’s performance was no exception.

Which is why I was incredibly surprised when my work colleague told me that there was a review in the Guardian calling the show mediocre and awarding it only 3 stars out of 5. I was baffled. Had the reviewer watched the same show as me?

You can read the review here.

Pretty much everyone I know who watched it, on TV or in the flesh, said it was incredible. There are only a few people I know, who for some reason have an innate hatred of DG (like, how and why?) who didn’t enthuse about it.

I have therefore come to the conclusion that the reviewer in the Guardian thinks she is too cool to say how bloody brilliant it was, and wants to stand apart from the general admiring populous and score some imaginary hipster points by being negative.

Journalism used to be an admirable career and journalists used to be purveyors of truth. Now it seems that they only write for sensationalism, to attack people’s beliefs and standing in society (Jeremy Corbyn, anyone) or to gain some kind of notoriety. I appreciate that reviews are always subject to personal opinion, and therefore not everyone will agree, but on this one I think Ms Hutchinson is wildly off the mark.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen it, I’d encourage you to watch again on BBC iPlayer and make your own mind up (it’s an amazing set, you can thank me later)

What did you think, if you saw it? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang

Back to Malaysia for this post, as I still have so much to tell you, and so many photographs to share. I can’t believe it’s already been 2 months since we were there!

We visited a few religious buildings in Penang – Dhammikarama Burmese Temple & Wat Chayamangkalaram in George Town, and Kapitan Keling Mosque in Little India ,but this one deserves a post all of it’s own. It’s a beauty, and an instagram dream. Everywhere you look is something that needs to be photographed – ornate detailing, tiled floors and walls, buddhas and carvings. It’s incredible.

The temple is just outside of the capital, George Town, in the Air Itam area. You can reach it by local bus, the hop on hop off tourist buses, or taxi. We opted for the latter to make the best use of our time and get there as quickly as possible. If you’re accessing the temple from the street then you could quite easily miss the entrance, it’s a little dark passageway which looks like it leads nowhere, through stalls selling cheap bits and pieces, fake clothes and bags, and up a number of stairs. Once we got through this bit we saw that there’s an upper entrance to the temple grounds with a car park, where, in retrospect, the taxi driver could have dropped us. Never mind – all those steps are good for you, and certainly lead to a sense of achievement!

The construction of the temple started in 1890, although further development and building work continues to this day. The temple and connecting areas are now very heavily commercialised, with shops selling trinkets and souvenirs at every opportunity and around every corner (we found this very surprising).Although the temple is free to enter, there are nominal fees to enter certain parts of the development, but these are only a couple of pound each and well worth it.

It probably took us around 90 minutes to get around all areas of the temple; which included a slow amble, stopping off to take lots of pictures, sheltering from a couple of rain showers and climbing all the steps to the highest points possible to make the most of the views below.

The 7 story main pagoda has Chinese, Thai, and Burmese influenced architecture. This was completed in 1930.

Kek Lok Si temple 7 stories

This 99ft bronze statue of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, was built in 2002. A pagoda has since been built around and over the statue, and there is currently scaffold and some work happening around it.

The whole site is a riot of colour, with bright decorations, flowers and gardens.

There are buddhas everywhere! Big, small, printed on tiles – they’re all over the place!

This really was one of the highlights of our entire trip, and certainly is not be missed if you ever visit Penang.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Friday Feeling [9] – people power

Despite all the horrible things that have been going on in the UK recently, the thing that’s stood out to many (including myself) is the sense of community spirit, people supporting each other, strangers reaching out to other strangers, and the general feeling that we’re stronger together.

Nothing sums that up more than this story. Not connected to anything that’s happened in the past couple of weeks, it’s the story of a group of people – all strangers – holding on to a man who was trying to jump from a bridge to take his own life. They held on to him for 2 hours, until emergency services were able to take over.

Always look for the helpers

It’s easy to think that no-one cares about us in life, that we’re all alone in the world and no-one would miss us. But this story proves the power of human compassion and that everybody has somebody – even if they don’t know it.

Be kind to people – you never know the difference you might make.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

Who’s the real threat?

Crikey. What a rotten time London has been having lately. Between the terror attacks and the Grenfell Tower fire, there seems to have been very little focus on what’s going to happen with the government. Obviously the focus needs to be on those who have suffered and continue to suffer from a tragic couple of weeks, but the fact remains that the Conservatives didn’t get a majority in the General Election, yet Theresa May and co seem to be proceeding in a business as usual fashion. The Queens Speech is going ahead today, and the Brexit negotiations have started led by a Tory representative. I know things can’t remain indefinitely on hold, but is this constitutional? Is she using the fact that people are rightly distracted by tragic human events to get in through the back door?

Who's the real threat

I see a bigger threat to our country at present than terror attacks. The real threat, for me, comes from the government. Arms deals into the Middle East and wars under the pretence of “protecting” vulnerable citizens. We’re shocked and horrified by people in the UK being killed by terrorists, yet seemingly untouched by civilians losing their lives in the Middle East – where numbers killed by terrorists and Western bombs are much higher than those we’ve seen in the UK. Where are their pop concerts? In fact, where is their media coverage? Can we be surprised that our country is under attack from extremists, when we’re party to attacks on them?

And the Grenfell Tower fire – another seemingly government caused tragedy. Everything seems to be pointing towards the illegal use of flammable cladding on the outside of the building – where would that decision have come from? Why weren’t there sprinklers in the building? Residents don’t make these types of decisions. Councils do. Councils who form part of local government, which in turn forms part of the overall government.

Such decisions lead to tragedies which put additional pressure on our already stretched emergency services. Why are they stretched? Because the government have cut their numbers and refuse well deserved pay rises so that, for some people, the role becomes untenable. When you read stories of nurses working 12 hour shifts but having to use food banks to feed their families, you know something is horribly wrong.

How about the media? Their biased reporting of Theresa May compared to Jeremy Corbyn in the run up to the election. Their biased reporting of the “Muslim terrorists” who “attacked” people as they enjoyed their Saturday night, compared to the “White Van Driver” who “collided” with Muslims as they celebrated their religion. Luckily many people see this bias for what it is, and are able to read between the lines and draw their own conclusions. But what about those who can’t? Those who trust the media and therefore respond accordingly; by blindly voting for Theresa May, or shouting abuse at peace loving Muslims in the street.

Having taken such a battering as a country in the past few weeks – because it does affect the whole country, not just London and Manchester – people seem to be opening their eyes to what’s going on; wanting answers and wanting change. We deserve those answers and that change. Something isn’t working. The system is broken. And we can’t just carry on as we always have done, because the gaps in society are just getting bigger. The gap between rich and poor. The gap between Muslims and non Muslims. The gap between Remainers and Brexiters. A divided society will eventually implode, and there’s nothing British about that.

Let me know your thoughts.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

The Naked Finger

My wedding ring is currently at the jewellers being fixed up. Constant wear for 8.5 years have left it with an unconventionally flat rear (!!) so I popped it in for some well deserved TLC.

It’s no surprise that I feel naked without it, and keep touching my finger and panicking that I’ve lost it somewhere.

Not only is it my favourite piece of jewellery for sentimental reasons, I absolutely love the design too. It’s unconventional, and the husband said at the time that it doesn’t even look like a wedding ring (I don’t know if he thought I was trying to maintain the appearance of a singleton?!) but it had my heart as soon as I saw it.

On our wedding day, in Mauritius, with our stunning wedding flowers.

Wedding ring

I don’t have an engagement ring, through choice, I never wanted to be engaged, just married (I sound like a desperado here, I know!) We were married less than 9 months after we got “engaged” (without being engaged) and I always wanted a statement wedding ring rather than a plain band and an engagement ring. I don’t think there’s any need to stick to traditions when it comes to weddings; it’s whatever works for the couple involved. Besides, I have a love of chunky jewellery, so an engagement ring that would have met my style would have cost a ridiculous amount!

Funny story – whilst we were shopping for our wedding rings in the jewellery quarter, the husband saw Emma Willis (who, I can confirm, is just as stunning in real life) and went all girly pink and weird. I mean, yeah, she’s hot, but we were BUYING OUR WEDDING RINGS!!!! I offered him a get out of jail free card to go and chat her up, but luckily he made the right decision…

Normal finger service will resume soon!

Thanks, as always, for reading x

5 good things that happened in the General Election

General Election 2017

OK, so it wasn’t the result I was hoping for.

And the prospect of Theresa May teaming up with the DUP just to stay in power is abhorrent.

But, on a positive note, there were some good outcomes!

1 – Theresa May’s arrogance was proven to be misplaced

Yeah, technically she won, but realistically not so much. She expected a landslide and it didn’t happen. So up yours Theresa!

2 – 72% of young people (18-25) turned out to vote

Go young people! This number is up massively on past elections, and gives me hope for the future. Young people need to be engaged in politics in order to make a difference.

3 – UKIP now have no seats, and party leader Paul Nuttall has resigned.

There’s no place for a party like UKIP in a constitutional and progressive country. Just do one. Goodbye – close the door on your way out.

4 – Diane Abbott retained her seat by an overwhelming majority

75% of the voters in her constituency voted for her, in spite of the bullying by the press and suggestions that she’s politically unfit to be shadow Home Secretary.

4 – Jeremy Corbyn was totally vindicated

Despite the media’s best effort to undermine him, Theresa May’s insults, backstabbing within his own party and people calling him a clown with no political clout, he’s proven that he is liked, he is supported, and he is the catalyst for change that’s so very needed. It’s just a shame that so many people blindly voted for other parties without realising what they were voting for (and against)

Let’s see what happens next.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

When the weather matches your mindset

Grey, miserable with the occasional sunny spell. That’s how I feel, mentally, following the terrorist attack in London on Saturday night.

London skyline

Mindless killing in the name of “Allah” – I don’t think so! Real Muslims are currently fasting for Ramadan, honouring their God and the Koran.

Terrorists are not real Muslims.

And real Muslims are not terrorists.

Scary times. I know that’s what they (the terrorists) want, and I know we (the general public) aren’t supposed to give in – that we should be strong and stoic and refuse to change our behaviour, but I’ll admit, I’m scared. I’m going to London for the Guns n Roses gig next Friday and I’m nervous.

But enough about me. The current time should be for sending thoughts and love to any of the victims, their families and their friends. And to the amazing emergency services who selflessly put themselves on the front line, not knowing who or what they’re dealing with.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

Friday Feeling [8] Muslims are people too

Following the horror of last week’s terror attack in Manchester and the humbling response by people in the City pulling together, I’ve been so uplifted by seeing Manchester and beyond showing strength and solidarity.

This story embodies it for me.

It’s a fairly long watch, but worth it. My eyes were squishy by the end and I felt proud of my fellow humans – whatever age, colour, or faith – showing this brave young man that we’re all in this together.

Just have a look.

We stand with you, Manchester.

Thanks, as always, for reading . x

 

My latest thoughts on the upcoming General Election

A few weeks back, when the General Election was announced, I summarised my thoughts on the options available, the parties and their leaders. At the time I already knew that I wouldn’t be voting Conservative this time around, but didn’t really see a good alternative.

I’ve changed my mind.

I realised that my opinions on Jeremy Corbyn were unfounded, because I’d never even heard him speak! Perhaps I had been swayed by the media coverage telling me he wasn’t leadership material. More likely I had made a passing judgement without investigating further.

Jeremy Corbyn

I’m not afraid to hold my hand up when I’ve made a mistake, and this is one of those times. I believe I made a mistake in my opinion of Jeremy Corbyn. The more I see of him and listen to him, the more I see that he is a viable alternative to the Prime Ministers of the past. Just because he’s different; quieter, less power hungry, doesn’t make him a bad option. In fact it makes him a stronger option. Because, in recent times, all of our Prime Ministers seem to have been cut from the same cloth – media personalities with a personal agenda – and look where that’s got us? We’re somehow in a position where the governing party wants to privatise our NHS. How is that representative of the people and it’s needs?

JC isn’t a shouter, or a bold statement maker (“strong and stable”, anyone?) He’s measured, he answers genuinely and calmly, he doesn’t get drawn into inane bollocks from media reporters who are obviously trying to catch him out. He comes across as genuinely having the best interests of the country at heart, rather than the best interests of a few.

Contrast that with Theresa May, who is seemingly so arrogant that she’ll win that she’s dishing out all sorts of controversial policies – fox hunting, school meals and social care being at the forefront. That kind of behaviour almost seems like self-sabotage, yet there are still people – hard working people who will be negatively affected by a Tory government with it’s privatised NHS – who are planning to blindly vote Tory because May is our best bet for a strong Brexit. I’d say she isn’t. Her bolshiness and thinly veiled threats to the EU aren’t going to put us in a very good position. I’ve said all along that we cannot dictate to the EU what the terms of our departure are. If they want to make life difficult for us, they can. It’s a fallacy to believe that “they need us more than we need them”. We’re not in the days of the British Empire anymore, we’re just a little island where even the neighbouring parts of our union want to devolve and seek independence. Hardly the most attractive prospect.

Also very much in Jeremy Corbyn’s favour is the fact that he turned up to take part in last night’s televised debate, whilst Mrs May stayed away and sent Home Secretary Amber Rudd instead (whose Dad died only on Monday – compassion in the workplace, eh?)

I mentioned in my last post that I didn’t think the Conservatives were necessarily a shoo-in, and it seems that the tide is turning somewhat, with the Conservative majority having slipped massively, if opinion polls are to be believed. With just a week to go, I wonder if Theresa May is beginning to regret calling what was always an unnecessary election – designed purely for her own vanity and popularity. As her public appearances become more awkward and strained, whilst the other political party leaders stick the boot in about her cowardice in avoiding face to face debate, next Thursday could indeed be a turning point for the Tories, and equally for Britain.

The most important thing I can say is – VOTE! If you’re eligible and have registered then please don’t squander an opportunity to have your say in the future of our country. Democracy belongs to all of us.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x