Why I think an EU referendum is a bad idea

I’m not a political person. I don’t know enough about it, nor do I have any desire to become more involved. That might seem like a terrible attitude about something that is so important to the future of our country and the people in it, but there you go. It’s too confusing. I also think that I’m too much of a little fish in a big pond to make a difference. I appreciate that if everyone thought that way we’d be screwed, but it is what it is. So shoot me.

The trouble with politics is that you’re never going to agree with everything a party stands for, and so you’re immediately setting yourself up for disappointment. They will always agree with/vote for/pass law upon something you don’t like. Don’t get me wrong, I do exercise my right to vote, but it’s probably fair to say that I don’t look into it enough to fully understand everything I’m voting for. Because then I would talk myself into and out of multiple political parties and go round in circles. Ain’t nobody got time for that when there’s holidays to be planned and sales to be shopped.

What I do have a strong opinion on is the upcoming referendum. Not the outcome. I haven’t looked into that enough (surprise!) But the actual handing over of a momentous decision to the great British public.

EU referendum

The public are generally pretty rubbish. We vote for dogs to win Britain’s Got Talent. We watch the Brits (which by all accounts was rubbish, I wouldn’t know as I went to the pub) purely to moan about it on social media. We allow the Daily Fail to exist as an actual news delivering vehicle. None of these things are the behaviour of sensible, well rounded, intelligent beings. How then are we expected to know whether staying in the EU is a good or bad idea?!

Removing my tongue from my cheek for a moment, my concern is that people will be voting for (or against) people because of their feelings towards those people, without understanding the consequences or the bigger picture. There’s a lot of hatred for David Cameron, so there will be people who vote to leave the EU purely because he wants us to stay. “I hate David Cameron therefore I will vote the opposite to what he thinks”. Boris Johnson has a following of people who think he’s a great chap, so perhaps they will vote to leave because that’s what he’s campaigning for. “Boris is fun and he was brilliant on Have I Got News For You, so let’s agree with him” There are those small minded people who think our borders are being overrun by illegal immigrants claiming benefits or stealing “British” jobs, and will therefore vote to leave as an act of British defiance. “It’s our country and we need to regain control before the terrorists take over”. I appreciate that not everyone will vote so frivolously, and some people will actually understand the implications of our involvement in Europe and make an informed decision, but the fact remains that a chunk of people have the power to influence Britain’s future in a huge way, without the knowledge that such power requires.

I understand that there needs to be a referendum, and that the only fair way to do it is hand over the decision to the people who will be affected. It’s not a decision that the Prime Minister or his political party can make – there would be uproar.

But I do think there needs to be a helluva lot more education of Joe Public so that we’re all informed on what it means for us. Perhaps employers need to take some responsibility and explain how an in or out decision will affect their company and job roles, so people understand from a real lifescenario what it mayor may not mean for them.

Or perhaps we need to introduce IQ tests prior to issuing a ballot paper. Weed out the stupid ones so we have a chance of the right result (whatever that may be).

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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Love is…fun!

There’s a lot of things that encapsulate love. The hearts and flowers and mushiness is just a small part of it.

I think that one of the key factors for a long and happy relationship is fun. Being able to laugh with each other and at each other. If someone makes you laugh it’s impossible to stay mad with them for too long. Laughter makes you feel good, so it’s important to do it as much as possible.

With that in mind I found these funny Valentine’s images and cards. I’d be happy to receive any one of these on Valentine’s Day – more so than a fluffy puppy holding a heart saying “I wuff you” any day of the week.

Political and tyrannical (by Ben Kling, check out more here)

Cheesy!

Satirical (although who’d want Kanye’s face in their home?!)

Valentines card Kanye

Simple

The ones below are all from Moonpig, and some oft hem can be personalised, which is always a nice touch.

Observational!

Foodie

And, my personal favourites, punny!

 

What kind of Valentine’s card do you send, if any?

Thanks, as always, for reading!

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A (pre) Valentine’s ode to my husband

Roses are red

Roses are red

Violets are blue

I’ve got herpes

So I can’t kiss you

Romantic huh?

(I actually have got herpes, but in the coldsore on my lip variety, not the downstairs region).

In truth, I think Valentine’s Day is a complete waste of time. It makes single people feel crap, it makes people in relationships who’s partner doesn’t shower them with gifts feel crap (if they’re that kind of person) and it’s just a ruddy great commercial load of balls which creates oodles of landfill waste in the shape of soppy cards, overpriced flowers, and scraggy stuffed toys.

You could conclude from that outburst that I don’t believe in romance. You’d be very wrong. Romance to me is the small things – when my husband watches a film he’s not keen on because he knows I like it, when he tells me I’m his favourite person in the world, or strokes my head when I’m feeling poorly. Those are the things that demonstrate love. Gifts are just stuff. It’s easy to buy stuff. I buy stuff for myself. I don’t need stuff from my husband to validate how he feels or what our marriage means to both of us.

There’s something brash and vulgar about certain elements of Valentine’s Day. Like sending flowers to someone at work – why? That’s blatantly to score brownie points and prove to everyone else how much you love that person. If I don’t receive flowers at work but someone else does, does that mean they’re more in love than I am? A better person? A happier couple? Of course it doesn’t.

Anyway, my husband has the best excuse for never sending me flowers – he has severe hayfever and we can’t have them in the house (a likely story, I know, but it’s true!)

Besides, the overpriced rip off of Valentine’s Day is ridiculous. Why would you spend money on a meal which is usually a “special menu” (translates to reduced choice) in a restaurant that has blatantly squeezed in more tables than usual to capitalise on our need to prove our love, surrounded by other suckers doing the same thing and wondering why their partner has only ordered white wine when the table next to them has champagne?

Not for me. We’ll exchange cards and might even be extra nice to each other for the day (I’m kidding. We won’t). But, as the saying goes, we don’t need one day to prove our love.

And, luckily, I don’t need flowers either!

What do you think of Valentine’s Day?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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A “chemical” diet – my diary

No, not taking drugs!

A couple of weeks ago I saw a couple of people on Twitter (@CarrieanneDrew from beautiesunlocked.com and @QueenBeady from queenbeady.com) talking about a diet where you can lose a stone in a week.

Now I know that’s ridiculous and unhealthy and all that jazz. But I’m not a patient person and I like immediate results so I thought it might kickstart me a little and give me the inspiration to get off my lazy ass and start doing stuff. I was under no illusion that I’d lose a stone (in fact I didn’t really want to, that’s scary stuff!) but half a stone would be nice and then I could transfer to healthy eating and exercise.

While the basis is very limited calories, the success comes from the composition of meals and food and how they react together to trigger weight loss. There can be no substitutes, even for items with the same calorific content, as that messes with the chemical side of things.

Here’s the diet.

Chemical diet

Now I love boiled eggs and I love grapefruit, so this seemed perfectly do-able to me. I’ve read a lot of forums of people who’ve done it and many people complain about grapefruit (it seems it’s an acquired taste). But the over-riding feedback is that it works.

Here’s how I got on:

Starting weight – 11 stone (eek!)

Day 1 – feeling optimistic and excited. Also nervous! Toast with tinned tomatoes was good. I didn’t expect fruit for lunch to fill me up, but it did! I had strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and pineapple. Boiled eggs for dinner. Salad consisted of spinach, rocket, red pepper, grated carrot & fresh beetroot.

Boiled egg salad

I’m not sure if that’s within the salad guidelines, but I don’t like the traditional lettuce/tomato/cucumber combo. Grapefruit after dinner was good – the red variety are a lot sweeter.

Day 2 – Breakfast of egg and grapefruit was fine.

Grapefruit

Didn’t enjoy lunch much as I had to reheat the chicken. Used 4 cherry tomatoes and a splash of tinned chopped tomatoes so I had some juice to dip the toast in. I was looking forward to steak for dinner, but without seasoning it was slightly bland. The salad was iceberg lettuce, red onion and a chopped red chilli. Unfortunately I added too much chilli and onion and could taste it for the rest of the night. Craved chocolate/something sweet badly, but resisted.

Day 3 – I weighed myself and had lost 4lbs!

Breakfast of egg and grapefruit was enjoyable again, although I felt hungry by the time I even got to work. Fruit for lunch – I had strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, pineapple, mango and mixed grapes.

Fruit for lunch

By the time I finished work I was feeling a little bit wibbly and shaky, like I hadn’t eaten enough. I got stuck in motorway traffic which didn’t help, then had to stop for petrol. I simultaneously remembered some cheese doritos in the cupboard, which I began obsessing over! Had half of my grapefruit as soon as I got in, to stave off hunger pains and give me a sugar boost, then gave in and had two doritos. I was cooking chill for the husband, and I have to say that my chilli is really good, so I caved and had a couple of spoonfuls and some more doritos. Lamb was good (I had steaks instead of chops). For the salad I chopped up some red onion and tomato into tiny pieces and added some garlic pepper to make a salsa type dressing (I read this suggestion on a forum). Everything just feels a bit bland though due to the lack of seasoning. So I gave in and had some more chilli (only a couple more spoonfuls) and a couple of handfuls of doritos. So good! Then I finished off the Cadbury’s chocolate shoe from my birthday. Felt horribly guilty, but satiated to have had some actual flavour! I was probably still under the recommended 2000 calories a day because I hadn’t eaten much at breakfast or lunch, but had totally fucked up the chemical balance of the diet.

Day 4 – weighed myself expecting bad things, but no change; still 4lbs down

I wasn’t looking forward to a slice of dry toast, but it was surprisingly edible. Fruit for lunch – same combo as yesterday. Dinner of boiled eggs and salad, on a Friday night, jeez! An afternoon text to the husband bemoaning the state of my life (!!) was reciprocated with him also craving something nice, so we ended up going out for Moroccan food, oops. The food was pretty healthy (mussels to start, chicken tagine with cous cous, sautéed potatoes and tomato and onion salad) but the beer and wine weren’t. I’m so easily persuaded! But I was really missing flavour and spice and taste, so I didn’t even feel guilty!

Day 5 – I felt slightly hungover and the thought of dry toast didn’t appeal, so I switched it up and had grapefruit instead. Fruit for lunch – pineapple, mango and mixed grapes. Around lunchtime I started feeling poorly with a cold and was snotting and sneezing all afternoon (if sneezing was classed as exercise I did a work out and a half!) I had to cancel plans to see friends, which had also involved a much longed for takeaway, but felt so poorly and sorry for myself that I just had two slices of dry toast and some tinned tomatoes. I don’t like to think the illness was punishment for spectacularly falling off the diet wagon on Friday night, but who knows?!

Day 6 – by now I had realised that I’m a weak and pathetic person who deserves to be heavier than I want to be forever so I decided to not even pretend to stick to it any longer. I had a healthy breakfast of omelette (two eggs, mushrooms, peppers, one babybel and some chopped tomato & onion relish) then in the evening had a roast dinner with chicken, roast potatoes, parsnips, stuffing, sprouts, roast carrots and gravy. Lush.

So, what did I learn? Surprisingly, quite a lot. It actually wasn’t a complete waste of time!

I learnt that I don’t need to snack between meals when I’m at work – and I won’t die if I feel hungry.

I learnt that fruit is much more filling than I realised and I can eat it as a meal.

I learnt that I’d forgotten how much I love grapefruit! Definitely a weekly staple in my grocery shopping from now on.

I learnt that breaking the habit of alcohol in the week isn’t that difficult.

Obviously I also learnt that my willpower is even more pathetic than I thought.

And that I rely on flavour and spice to enjoy meals.

Post diet, I have been having half a grapefruit and a boiled egg for breakfast which has kept me going until lunch (previously I would have two boiled eggs and a mid morning snack of low fat crisps). I’ve been having vegetables and meat for lunch – probably around 250 calories – and not needing an afternoon snack (I would usually have a babybel).Yesterday and today I had only fruit for breakfast (half a grapefruit followed by raspberries and blackberries) and my world didn’t end. I didn’t faint or eat my own arm.

So that’s progress!

I might try the diet again in a couple of weeks, but with a few tweaks so I can stick to it. Perhaps some flavouring on the meat or a spray of balsamic vinegar on the salad.

In the meantime I’m going to stick with my breakfast and lunchtime patterns, try and get to the gym (famous last words) and cut out alcohol for alcohol’s sake (sob, I do love having an evening drink after work).

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day

I understand the sentiment behind World Cancer Day. I think it’s important to acknowledge people who have fought it, beaten it, been affected by it, continue to struggle with it.

I don’t take anything away from anyone who posts on social media lighting a candle for those people, or a meme, or inspiring quotes that “we will fight it and we will win”.

But when your Dad was diagnosed with inoperable cancer at the age of 57, and you know he’s not going to be “one of the lucky ones”, and you know how, if not when, it’s all going to end…

Well then it’s hard to have any level of optimism or belief in research, treatment or the future.

Fuck you cancer.

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