Southern Rail Strikes Brighton Station

Brighton Station businesses are preparing themselves for next week’s rail strike.
Businesses in Brighton Railway Station are losing thousands of transactions a week due to the union strikes against Southern Railway.
Commuters are not choosing to use the train because Southern are proving themselves to be an unreliable mode of transport. Businesses are preparing by employing less staff and reducing deliveries on days where there are planned strikes.
Multiple businesses are having to therefore cut staff hours and make redundancies.
Paul, Manager of The Cyclist Pub and Kitchen, says they’ve had to reduce opening hours so that they open later and close up earlier, they’re experiencing approximately 3000 less transactions per week since the strikes started.
Marcello, Manager of M&S Simply Food, says that over the last 7 months that the strikes have been on for they’ve been losing approximately 2000 transactions a week. He has said they also have had to reduce hours and make staff cuts.
Food stalls outside the station such as Pizza at the Station and Real Patisserie have said they’ve had to reduce deliveries in preparation for the strike next week. Real Patisserie employee says “Our profits are basically non-existent and we still have to pay the same rent.”
Paul, from The Cyclist, tells us “I know of at least 3 businesses that have been closed on the Southern line. This is affecting the businesses all around this area as well not just inside the station.”

Khao San Road

Spending a good chunk of my life living in Bangkok, Thailand has taught me a few things. The city is full of excellent value spots to eat, crazy hidden corridors, secret restaurants and smiling faces. You can step out your front door 24 hours a day and stumble on a new experience!

However, my heart still sinks when I hear about your visit to Bangkok. I’d like to not generalise here, I know a lot of expats and travellers who have drifted from the yellow brick road and stumbled into the heart of the city. However most of what I hear is how much you preferred your island hopping and how Bangkok was OK, but if you’ve spent the majority of your time on Khao San Road you have not experienced the city and that breaks my heart. Bangkok is about that corridor between the shops that leads you past the man playing guitar, selling fish, from his moped only to find yourself at that outdoor bar, it’s about walking through the underground car park and speaking thai to the questionable woman who opens the door into a nightclub in full swing.

Historically Khao San was nothing more than a residential street, then about 20 years ago the Thai government decided they wanted to encourage their tourist industry. They started to throw events in the city and soon the prices of accommodation were rising. The travellers realised that they could negotiate with the residents to let them stay in their homes. The residents quickly learnt that they could make good money this way, and so Khao San was born!

Unfortunately Khao San is far from the modest friendly place of the past. For those who aren’t familiar with the road I can paint a picture. The road is nicknamed the “backpacker ghetto”. When you walk down the road you’re transported from the welcoming, respectful and friendly traditional Thai culture into a booze fuelled hive of five fingered friends. I’ve visited the road a handful of times and probably 90% of the time someone has had their drink spiked and/or something gets stolen or someone gets into an altercation. For the times when your evening goes swimmingly, you can expect to make friends with people from a similar background, who will probably drink too much and yell at that local guy serving you, you can get your home comfort foods at what seems like a good price (it’s not for Thailand) and Thai food that has been made fit for “farangs”. It’s difficult to get away from the talented salesmen ( and women) who’ll follow you down the road offering a range of services at different prices (even though you politely said no – in Thai). You can’t really walk a direct route because you’re all squashed so tightly together to get down this ‘famous’ street. So at the end of the day, you’ve had multiple things thrown in your face, various strange english and/or thai phrases shouted at you, a strange smell that you’re not sure is coming from you or that warm puddle you stepped in earlier? Possibly lost 1000 Baht somewhere and you’re feeling a bit sick, at least you bought that one of a kind Chang beer vest though.

There are some beautifully exciting places to visit throughout the city, sadly they’re becoming harder to find as the city builds condominium, after condominium, some of the small business owners are getting pushed away. So, next time (or your first time!) find somewhere away from the yellow brick road, do a little research, walk down that back alley (if it doesn’t look too dodgy), catch the BTS and talk to the locals. Thailand is known as the land of smiles, go out and explore more than the last person did!

Considering Veganism

So! Joan Bakewell apologised about her comments on Anorexia! Hurrah! Should never have said those things in the first place but an apology all the same.

Thoughts

Anyway, today I’m trying to get to the bottom of something that’s been on my mind for a long while now. That something is I would like to change my eating habits. I consider myself quite a healthy eater, I eat all the trendy foods such as quinoa and courgetti but I do still enjoy my meats. I’d probably say up until a year ago I ate meat at least once a day, and I didn’t really think much of it. More recently I’ve started exploring the idea of becoming a Vegetarian or a Vegan. Maybe a Pescatarian to start? In the last year I’ve slowly cut down my intake of meats, especially red meat. All the same this is not complete abstinence.

I was a vegetarian for about a year when I was 15 but this was for different reasons, I was sick of eating heavy meals (mothers cooking!) such as stews, roast dinners, slabs of meat and such. This time round I genuinely am beginning to feel quite guilty about eating animals. I know what people say/think about this, “It’s the natural way of things”, “we are made to eat meat”, “you’re not going to change anything” etc. etc. I’ll get to more of these arguments later.

Pets

The simple fact is I do genuinely feel a bit ill when I think about what I’m eating these days. I recently got a new dog, I’ve had pets before but I guess I’m a bit older now and just a bit more aware of what’s going on. Ever since I’ve had him I’ve thought, what makes dogs and cats any better than any other animal? Why should we not feel guilty about eating cows and pigs, but care about dogs and cats? Does this not make us all hypocrites? That’s how I feel right now.

The thing is about Veganism is the fact that you can’t eat animal products, this makes sense to me completely but… No  more scrambled eggs? No more cheese toasties? There is vegan substitutes, I guess I could try them out but I’m not sold yet.

I had a run in with a cow a few times in the Summer, kept stampeding at me when I walked the dog out of nowhere! I ate steak quite happily after that for a while.

Milk

Moving on, I have done some research into all the chemicals they pump into the animals. Cows are pumped with this Bovine Hormone so that they’re bursting with milk, which is also in the milk they produce which we drink? Apparently this increases the risk of Mastitis (udder infections) by 79% . These infections can create pus from the udders which goes into the milk along with yucky bacteria. Eww…. So I’ve been off milk for a while now, obviously had coffees from coffee shops etc. but trying to drink Almond milk more recently. (Unsweetened for anyone who’s read my rant on sugar!! 🙂 )

I’ll stop drinking milk if I go Vegetarian.. not sure on the eggs and cheese (yet).

Rennet

So, Rennet is needed to make some (not all) cheeses. This is something I’ve learnt fairly recently and has made me consider trying some vegan cheese, I’ll update if I do and if it’s any good, FYI.

Here is a quote from the Vegetarian Society web page

(source links at the bottom of this post)

Rennet can be sourced from the abomasum (fourth stomach) of newly-born calves where the chymosin aids digestion and absorption of milk. Adult cows do not have this enzyme. Chymosin is extracted from slaughtered calves by washing and drying the stomach lining, which is cut into small pieces and macerated in a solution of boric acid/brine for 4-5 days.

 

Chicken/Eggs

Oh, if you’re faint hearted, don’t watch this… If, like me, you want to know what is REALLY going on and don’t care if it’ll put you off, watch this.

 

Arguments

I won’t regurgitate these, but I loved reading them, so if you’re interested, read these.

They are common questions/reasons people make about/for eating meat when you don’t and answers for them.

http://www.vegsource.com/news/2009/09/how-to-win-an-argument-with-a-meat-eater.html

Sources

Milk/Hormones: http://www.ejnet.org/bgh/nogood.html

Cheese/Rennet: https://www.vegsoc.org/cheese

Chicken/Eggs: http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/organic-free-range-meat/

The Sunday Times “Anorexia is Narcissism”

 

“I am alarmed by anorexia among young people, which arises presumably because they are preoccupied with being beautiful and healthy and thin. No one has anorexia in societies where there is not enough food. They do not have anorexia in the camps in Syria. I think it’s possible anorexia could be about narcissism.”

Yes. YOU READ THAT RIGHT

Here is the full article (must subscribe/ or buy the paper!) :

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/Health/article1677951.ece

Now, how many people I wonder are going to rage about this? RAGE! I don’t care, it hit my nerve, and The Sunday Times Editor obviously anticipated this, hence the front page spot.

Who is this woman? Joan Bakewell, to quote Wikipedia, a Baroness, a journalist and a labour peer, among other things. Some of you may well know of her and some of you may not. I’ll admit, I didn’t, but after some discussion it is apparent that she is a prominent and influential figure, which makes this all worse. Surely she should know better, right?

What is Anorexia Nervosa?

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So here it is, a very simple definition. This is a fundamental definition that does not take into account any of the specific circumstances that may affect someone.

What causes Anorexia?

Joan Bakewell: “NARCISSISM!”

Some people develop Anorexia as a form of control, in the same way people may do with self harm. When they feel like they have lost control of aspects in their life, this may be something as simple as losing your job or underachieving at school, or this could be deep rooted childhood problems such as abuse. Controlling what you eat is one thing people see they are able to grab hold of, one way they are able to exercise taking control of something within their life.

The NHS mentions that Anorexia is common in people who have tendencies to be anxious or depressed. This moves on to the point that some people who develop Anorexia find it difficult to handle stress and/or feel scared/doubtful about the future. The website also bullet points “perfectionism” which is where I guess that Joan Bakewell has stemmed her narcissistic theory from. We need to distinguish that perfectionism and narcissism are two different things.

Research has shown that Anorexia is more common in young women (not exclusively, we must remember), and it often runs in families. (I smell a whiff of mental illness here, doesn’t that run in families too?)

This is a form of mental illness in my opinion, this does not stem from narcissistic tendencies, this is not “I am beautiful” or “I am thin, I’m the best person”. Far from it.

The very idea that being thin equals beautiful, and starving yourself is a productive way to achieve this is surely breaching on unhealthy thoughts already? We have seen this in the media time and time again and this woman seems to be highlighting the very thing we’ve been trying to abolish, the myth that is commonly associated with the disorder.

In my opinion, it is articles like this, people like this, thoughts like this that cause people with an eating disorder to feel even more embarrassed and an even bigger desire to hide it. Therefore hindering themselves from recovery.

It is not fair to say that nobody with anorexia is a narcissist. A loose definition of a Narcissist means that you are someone who is obsessed with yourself. (However a Narcissist is seen to be someone who highlights their own achievements, almost big-headedness. As far from the feelings associated with Anorexia can get?) Yes, it could happen, but it is absolutely unfair to label people who suffer from anorexia as narcissistic.

There are so many brave people across the world trying to combat this disorder, trying to get better and this article is 3 steps backward, I thought we were better than this?

 

 

Woops

So I’ve let myself down and skipped a few months on here.

This post is a little more personal just because I’m having a dry spell and feel the need to write SOMETHING.

I’ve been busy with work, obviously jetting around during the Christmas period, sorting out all things “UCAS” and managing to turn up to our weekly show on Huntingdon Community Radio (HCR104fm) “County Matters” covering local, national and international matters concerning current affairs and politics.

Obviously this entails the NHS, the EU and the U.S. Presidential Election among other things, exciting things are a foot! I’ve also kindly been asked to start doing a monthly article/piece of writing (whatever you’d like to call it!) for The Ramsey and Warboys Reporter newspaper which is ever so exciting, albeit daunting!

Now… motivation? Where art thou?

 

For now, I’m off snowboarding. Be back soon. 🙂

 

Check out our “County Matters” WordPress which is in progress at the moment, created by the lovely editor of The Ramsey and Warboys Reporter, Adam Roberts.

http://countymatters.co.uk/

 

Laziness vs. Extracurricular motivation

I remember a couple of years ago where the thought of actually doing something other than going home after work made me shiver. No! This is my precious time, I work 08:30am – 05:00pm, five days a week, how could I possibly give up my only free time?! I don’t know if this is just me, or whether this is something anybody else shares? If you feel, or have felt, the same maybe this piece will somewhat interest you.

Firstly, I came to the realization that I had not voluntarily done any exercise since I was at school! I was embaressed at myself. The thought of running, playing team sports or going to the gym literally pained me, it was torturous self infliction in my eyes. 

For some unknown reason, maybe the recent trend, maybe my love of food, either way I felt the need to do something about my fitness. Every morning I  would force myself out of bed at 6:30AM to run 4/5 miles before work. One morning I ventured outside and found myself fighting against 30mph wind and rain, in my waterproof’s, trying to point my torch in the right direction, because obviously it was pitch black. Surprise, surprise, this was closely followed by my decision to sacrifice a fraction of my payslip and join a gym. I’ve now been going there since last August. I find myself there 6/7 times a week these days. It actually feels productive to have done something before you start your day as opposed to rolling out of bed and into the office.

Any way, the gym is not my main point here, it is only my best example. However, I do feel like this one simple change did start the ball rolling, so to say. Since then I have also occupied myself with other activities such as creating this blog, giving up some addictive “Netflix and chill” time to read real life books, volunteered myself for a radio station and applied myself for a few writing jobs.

So why are some of us so scared to fill up our time? What is this fear? I experience this pang of “What if I can’t deal with this?” or “What if I don’t have enough time to myself?” before I commit myself to anything you might call “extracurricular”. It is odd to think that this feeling always made me dispel the idea of the gym, a second job, or any kind of activity that consumed what was “free time” and wasn’t completely for my own pleasure. I think I’m not alone here. I have received confused responses when I reveal that I’ve committed my Sunday morning to something other than laying in bed. I’m also sure that I was wrong. I never sit there and think “I wish I didn’t go to the gym today” or “Wow, I really wish I didn’t present that radio show so I could have layed in bed”.

Maybe this will help someone who is also stuck in the 9 to 5 routine, filling up their free time with mindless TV and alcohol fueled weekends.

Maybe I was just the definition of “lazy”, which I’m over now, who knows.

“Love yourself!” (Rant)

I have recently come across a lot of posts like this, and this, whilst perusing social networks and what not.

First of all, I do understand, on some level, that there is something wrong here. Taking people’s images and warping them so that they appear slimmer. (Probably some sort of invasion of privacy, even if they are floating around for anyone to “Save As…”) I’m sure it will humiliate people, and make people feel all sorts of angry and sad which isn’t a good thing.

I can also see how creating fictional cartoons of women with unrealistic proportions could probably make some people angry or upset. However, a lot of these characters are realistic! Some people, believe it or not, are either blessed with, or have worked for, that “desirable” shape. I feel like all the “realistic” versions just have smaller breasts and larger stomachs and thighs? How is that realistic?

This leads me to my main subject. Around 67% men and 57% of women are overweight in the UK. (according to a study by these people, but they all seem to average out around here.) So it is inevitable that people are talking about it more. What confuses me is that for some reason people are starting to become offended when it is portrayed negatively? Why is it okay? Why are “realistic bodies” becoming overweight and unhealthy?

It is said that everybody should “love themselves”. Okay, I get it, one should not be obsessed with appearance, one should aspire to be at ease with oneself. (Needless to say this is more than skin deep but that’s not the issue at hand.) Surely, if you love yourself, you look after yourself, you treat your body with respect. You try to do what is good for you. I know we are all guilty of indulging in substances that we know are bad for us! That is life, we are human, we do bad things and life goes on. However, we should not be teaching people (mostly children) that being obese is actually okay. How is it okay?

Obesity will increase your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, asthma, cancer, gallstones, infertility, liver disease, kidney disease and many many more other conditions and diseases. If this continues, and the rate increases as it is, we are going to have a serious problem. Children are at risk right now. Children as young as 10 have actually died from heart attacks due to their obesity. So, if this is what is happening now, who is going to do our more physical jobs in the future such as military work, firefighters, athletes, construction workers etc.?

I’m not saying everyone needs to hit the gym every day and eat 100% well, far from it, do whatever the hell you want. All I’m saying is that we are getting far too comfortable with this image and it will kill us if we don’t snap out of it.

Rant over.

Apologies for no specific direction, just using this as my vessel to expel my nagging thoughts.

Haruki Murakami

Kafka on the shore

Blurb: Kafka Tamura runs away from home at fifteen, under the shadow of his father’s dark prophesy.

The aging Nakata, tracker of lost cats, who never recovered from a bizarre childhood affliction, finds his pleasantly simplified life suddenly turned upside down.

As their parallel odysseys unravel, cats converse with people; fish tumble from the sky; a ghost-like pimp deploys a Hegel-spouting girl of the night; a forest harbours soldiers apparently un-aged since World War II. There is a savage killing, but the identity of both victim and killer is a riddle – one of many which combine to create an elegant and dreamlike masterpiece.

Haruki Murakami has got to be my number one author. At least in fiction. I know by definition a fictional book is any book that isn’t reality, but when it comes to Murakami’s books you’re talking about a town of cats, fish falling from the sky, cats that speak, alternative realities, two moons, anything goes.

They’re a bit strange, I know. I see them more like dreams, they don’t always make sense and you don’t always follow, but you are constantly left intrigued. They stick in your head and you think about them even when you’re not reading them. Normally, when reading a good book, you find yourself thinking about it after you have put it down. You think “What next?” or “I think this will happen next.”. With Murakami books I found myself thinking “What?”, “What does that mean?”,”Has he made this up?”, “Could that happen?”.

The first time I read one of his books I was living in Bangkok, at 18 years old it was the first time I’d actually lived alone. I’d met someone through family friends. He took me to the most mysterious, filthiest, and strangest places in the city where none of the tourists went. We went down alleyways skipping over cockroaches taking shots out of jars with snakes and animal testicles floating in them (unknowingly). So, quite fittingly, this was the friend who bought me my first Murakami book. I was a little disappointed to be honest, he had bought me a book as a gift, and a Japanese writer? First thing I pictured was some sort of animé comic, yeah, not impressed. Any way, I soon learned the error of my ways.

I really like Murakami as a human, well, I like what I’ve learned about him. He hates fame, he doesn’t like to be interviewed or asked questions. When writing, Murakami wakes up at 4am, writes for around 5 or 6 hours, then he will run or swim, or do both. He spends the rest of the day reading and listening to music, going to bed at 9pm. He says that the repetition is important, and that it is a form of mesmerism to reach a deeper state of mind for him. Owning over 6000 records it is clear he has a love for music, jazz in particular. Apparently he has always owned cats, he mentioned in an essay in 1989 that he had owned more than 10 cats in his life (hence all the cats in his books). One of them named ‘Kirin’ which means ‘unicorn’ in Japanese. There is so much more that I could talk about but half the fun is finding this stuff out. So, hopefully you’ll take an interest and see for yourself. 🙂

Other than Kafka, you could check out:

Norwegian Wood ~ 1Q84 ~The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

There are a lot more but these are the ones I have read so far.

Feel free to comment/ask questions! I’m always looking for a recommendation too.

“Fed Up” and “Hungry for Change”

hungry-for-change-oct-2wpid-fed-up-trailer-header

So I was looking for something to watch on Netflix a couple of nights ago and I stumbled across these two documentaries. They really made an impact on me, god knows if it’ll actually change the way I eat but I really feel that everyone should see these to open their eyes to what is REALLY going on.

I know what people think, another food documentary telling us not to eat anything, everything gives us cancer and makes us fat but it really isn’t all that depressing. The film feels very educational and i’m hesitant to consider that this is “scaremongering” although I’m aware it could be.

“Fed Up” was the first one I watched. This one is based around the “Obesity Epidemic” in America. It follows a couple of kids who are trying to lose weight. The film points out that people think if they buy the pasta with extra fiber, the fat free yoghurt, the reduced sugar sauce and the diet sodas they are going to lose weight. This truly is just a huge misconception built by massive food corporations designed to get people to carry on buying their food. So the film drops a lot of facts, for example “80% of high schools in America have partnerships with Coca-Cola or Pepsi” and the American government say that pizza and fries count as vegetables in school dinners? Also, you know those skinny people who eat everything but never seem to put on weight? Apparently this is called “skinny fat” so even though they don’t look sick they definitely are unfortunately. I know, ridiculous. There is a lot to think about here but I won’t commentate the whole film right here I think it’s worth a watch.

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“Hungry for Change” focuses more on the ingredients in our food. I think this one got to me a bit more than “Fed Up”. The film talks a lot about the addictive qualities of sugar and other additives. Basically everything we eat has addictive additives in it such as MSG and many other disguised ingredients. Obviously the easiest one to talk about is sugar so I’m just going to copy and paste a few names they drop to disguise it on food labels right here.

“Anything ending in -ose Sucrose, Maltose, Dextrose, Fructose, Glucose, Galactose, Lactose, High fructose corn syrup, Glucose solids

Cane juice, Dehydrated cane juice, Cane juice solids, Cane juice crystals, Dextrin, Maltodextrin, Dextran, Barley malt, Beet sugar, Corn syrup, Corn syrup solids, Caramel, Buttered syrup, Carob syrup, Brown sugar, Date sugar, Malt syrup, Diatase, Diatastic malt, Fruit juice, Fruit juice concentrate, Dehydrated fruit juice, Fruit juice crystals, Golden syrup, Turbinado,  Sorghum syrup, Refiner’s syrup, Ethyl maltol, Maple syrup, Yellow sugar”

So why is it so bad? They compare it to cocaine and  how it is just a very highly concentrated ingredient from the coca leaf. The leaf itself isn’t bad for you, you can drink it in tea etc and you will not be harmed. However everyone knows if you snort cocaine you’re definitely going to have some repercussions. Sugar is the same! “High Fructose Corn Syrup” this is from corn right? Corn is a vegetable, not so bad… ? The thing is the syrup is so highly concentrated you’d have to eat an unreasonable amount of corn to get the same amount of sugar you’d get from just a few drops of the syrup. Again, harmful.

So the gist is that our bodies are so starving for nutrients that we keep eating. We are not eating food that will satisfy us nutritionally therefore we eat more and our body takes all of this crap they pile into the food and just turns it into fat and it starts to wreck our insides.

Again, I’m getting carried away… All I know is I woke up this morning and checked my “Waitrose Bran Flakes” and found additives and sugar, so I opted for an apple. I’ll probably steer clear of the diet soda at lunch but who knows how long this will last, at least I feel like I really know what i’m putting into my body now.

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http://fedupmovie.com/

http://www.hungryforchange.tv/

Please comment to recommend any other good documentaries, food related or not! 🙂

First Blog Post

First blog post…. Tricky ey? What to write? There’s an unbelievable amount of competition out there in the blogosphere these days. Am I crazy to try my hand at this? Is there any point?? It’s been harder than originally anticipated trying to decide what to write about; This comes after the last week of trying to decide how to even do this! Which host? What is a platform? Do I pay for a domain name? Do I pay for a premium plan? How should I style this? Should I connect this all to my personal accounts or just start fresh? Who knew this would be so stressful!

Anyway, I thought about an ‘About me’ post to start it off. I did begin to write one… but it all felt a bit cringe for some reason (Anyone else get that?). I don’t feel that’s appropriate yet, you don’t even know me. So, what else is there? I plan to write about bunch of different things here – beauty, fashion, food, reviews, top 10’s, even ramblings about my everyday life (whether or not you’d like to hear them). So I could dive into one of those subjects,  a review of a film I saw last week, or I could talk about a couple of dresses I picked up in the Dorothy Perkins sale. Still, somehow that feels wrong without an introduction?

So here it is. I’ve decided to give blogging a go; I’m trying to get onto a “Multimedia Broadcast Journalism” course at university in September 2016. The thing is, I’m 22, my A Levels are straight C’s (I got a tad distracted during those years). So have I got what it takes? This should be good practice…. I hope.

I’m off on holiday next Tuesday for a week. I’ll have a good think whilst i’m away and hopefully get some good photographs which I may or may not choose to post about on my return. I guess you’ll see?

Speak soon, anyone out there. 🙂