News we may have missed during this pandemic


About a week or so ago, I was startled after watching a video that appeared to be showing dolphins bobbing about in my local seas. I found myself having to play it back at least twice, and then checking its source before I was fully convinced that this was in my area, in spite of instantly recognising the distinctive landscape which paints the map of where I live. Flabbergasted, I “reposted” the video then wandered how many people where I am are still ignorant of knowing that OUR OWN water has now been home to these beautiful creatures.  Considering that the nearest to me that I was aware of there being dolphins was in West Wales, well over 200 miles away.  With this in mind, I wondered how many other crazy stories we have been missing, local to us and far afield.    Yet even when I type in “News we have missed due to Corona-virus”, the first result is the number of confirmed cases of the virus!  But the world still remains upon us with crazy, exquisite, mind-blowing things happening upon it, perhaps more so as humans have been forced to take a few steps back…

  1.  The worlds longest animal- described as a “Spiral UFO”, has been discovered in the Australian seas

This is along with 30 new marine species which have been discovered by scientists resulting from the “Schmidt Ocean institution 2020 expeditions.” This is part of their “Deep sea” exploration, partly to attain more knowledge about the biodiversity in the deep seas, of the Western Australian Coast. The Website states that the coast is known already for its “extensive karst System” yet the deep sea environment adjacent to it remains unexplored”.  However this specie, known as a siphonophore, is 46 metres long and is “made up of many small clones, that act together as one and spread out like a long string in the water”.  Though this one, may well be the longest one ever found. Apparently these species also act like Jellyfish, and are capable of tantalizing tiny fish in the water.  

Siphonophore, believed to be world's longest sea creature, found ...
This may just look like some ripples in the water, but this may in-fact be the world’s longest living creature, the siphonophore (source, The West Australia)

Now if this isn’t enough to either cause you to be immensely fascinated, or to put you off ever entering the Australian seas, they also discovered an “Octopus squid”, a “Long tailed sea cucumber” and a colony of animals that looks like an upside-down jellyfish.  Just a little bit further fetched than dolphins..

Array of sea creatures on a black background.
Some of the other species this team has managed to discover (source, Schmidt Ocean institution)
https://schmidtocean.org/cruises/schmidt-ocean-institute-2020-expeditions/

2. Colorado has become the 22nd State to repeal the death penalty

Democratic Gov, Jared Polis signed this into law making it a growing trend of enlimiting the Death penalty there.  As  a survey showed in 2019 showed,  60% of Americans had a preference for imprisonment as opposed to long term death for the most severe cases of crime. 

Although this still doesn’t make this half and half, being further western may possibly lead to more Western states to follow their direction, yet this remains unclear…

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Map of USA showing where Colorado is (source, ontheworldmap.com)

3. No more UK Tampon Tax!

During the March 2020 budget, which focused heavily on schemes to (hopefully) help people and businesses stay afloat during this pandemic, Chancellor Rishi Sunak also proposed to scrap the Tampon Tax.  This will be from January 2021 onwards, when the UK is currently proposed to leave the EU.  With the EU deeming tampons as an “unessential good”, the UK  currently spends the raised revenue on helping vulnerable women, and for aid. Thus some have voiced their concern about where the surplus will come from in the future, to help these people.  While it is predicted to save women a mere £40 during their lifetime, many women in the UK do currently struggle to afford these items.  Meanwhile will a few pence off per item really eliminate this problem?   While my gut instinct tells me that these ESSENTIAL products should not be deemed a luxury as I’m sure this conjecture infuriates many of us as well as just myself; perhaps it is more important to ensure that we all have easy access to these essential items. Whether we can afford to the pay the price or not.  And while women tend to have to pay more for needs in general; including the “pink” tax on razors, shampoo and generally pay more for childcare- this all adds up.  While a slight tax cut may seem like a gesture, or a small step to tackle the immense inequalities- it isn’t exactly going to lift everyone’s living standards!  Possibly a more compromising act would be to have a smaller amount of tax, on both women’s items and men’s!  Ensuring there is tax revenue to tackle the needs of those most impoverished. 

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It is not right really that women should pay for necessary items when men do not, coming to think of it. (Source, evolve politics)

4. EU to issue new guidelines on sustainability of electronic items

On the subject of the EU, the EU have come up with a “circular economy plan!” As dry as this sounds, it basically means “to ensure that resources are kept in the economy for longer”.  This is part of the “European green deal”, which aims for “climate neutrality by 2050”.

 The “circular economy plan”  includes policies, to make sure products (especially electronics), “have a longer shelf life”, improving treatment of waste and informing consumers on how repairable different items are.

 However  promising this may sound to environmentally concerned consumers, these regulations are highly likely to receive a backlash from some of the top ICT firms, such as Apple whilst environmentalists are likely to still feel dissatisfied. Dutch green MP, Bas Eickhout, stated in a press  conference that “we lack clear targets for reducing resource consumption” saying the European commission “barely looks at pricing” to increase “the uptake of circular products” over those we currently use.  Whilst this is definitely a  leap in the right direction, I’m sure it will leave many feeling ambivalent, wondering how and when this will be achieved.

5. Putin supports a constitutional amendment which could have him re-elected in 2024- then have him stay in office until 2036!

Having been president of Russia for almost 9 years now, having previously been Prime Minister of there for around 5 years, Putin immediately supports a constitutional amendment that would potentially allow him to remain in power for another 16 years.  This means he would be 83 years old by the end of his presidency, having suspended a constitutional law which limits presidents to two terms in power.   MPs have also passed a set of amendments including to define marriage as a heterosexual union, as well as the authority which belongs to Putin would name Prime Ministers and cabinet members.   This has lead to the Prime Minister of Russia actually stepping down.  Alexei Navalny, the most prominent opposition leader tweeted that  “The only goal for Putin and his regime is to stay in charge for life” adding that his desires are to “have the entire country as his personal asset and seizing its riches for itself and his friends”. There is also the possibility of protests amongst the Russian public due to this constitutional change.  This may well leave many people, both citizens of Russia and those living elsewhere very concerned about what may happen if he ends up in power for a further two terms, and the extent to which he will take the country further into a dictatorship.

See the source image
Vladimir Putin pictured (source, Wikipedia)

6. Ice sheets are melting too fast!

This time, evidence tells us that ice sheets are melting too fast in Greenland and the Antarctica- in-fact 6 times faster.  We are all aware of the detrimental effects Climate change can have and we have all heard too much evidence proving the hypothesise of these processes having accelerated in recent years.  Nevertheless these scientific findings will prove most shocking, even to those of us most environmentally aware, considering how the melting has massively accelerated in recent years…  Two separate papers published in “Nature” give more information.

A meltwater canyon on the Greenland ice sheet
A meltwater canyon on the Greenland ice sheet (source, Ian Joughin/University of Washington/PA)

7. Rare Leatherback Sea turtles have been returning to beaches

Largely due to beaches being vastly deserted over these last couple of months, due to lockdown, these rare sea creatures have been found nesting in larger numbers seen for decades, in Beaches in Thailand and Florida.  In Florida, 76 nests have been discovered over an almost 10 mile stretch of land over two weeks, by staff from the Loggerhead Marine centre calling this a “significant” increase from the previous year.  These turtles can weigh up to a whopping 700 kg, making them the largest of all living turtles and the forth heaviest reptile: only behind three crocodilians.  Capable of being able to adapt to cold waters, they have the widest global distribution of all reptile species.  While their name is due to having shells which are almost flexible and feel “rubbery” to touch.    Moreover these incredible sea creatures have been on Earth for Millions of years before humans.

See the source image
Leatherback sea turtles pictured hatching on a deserted beach in Thailand at thee end of March. (source, Reuters.com)

8. Wales to have been experiencing several grass fires in recent weeks

These have included near Newport by the England/Wales boarder, Snowdonia in north Wales as well as further a field in places including Northern Ireland.

One to have happened very near homes in Rhondda in South Wales, had resulted in the need for “5 fire crews” and “specialist officers” to attend, while people were advised “to keep their windows and doors closed”.  Witnesses of this catastrophe, have expressed their experiences of the sighting; describing it as “eerie” “as everything has turned black” while another stated how it “covered the whole of the mountain”.  This particular fire has brought in many dramatic photographs…

Photo taken by resident Demi Price (source, Wales online)

9. People in the UK to be burning cell phone towers, due to 5g and… apparently the corona-virus

Since we all begun hearing about the “5G” to be launched, many showed antagonism amid concerns and claims concerning negative effects of 5G on health, security and environmental concerns.  But the newest thing is a conspiracy theory that 5G could actually be linked to the Corona-virus outbreak.  An early version of this theory claimed that 5G technology first begun in Wuhan in China where the outbreak begun- which is responsible for weakening immune systems.  Furthermore some celebrities have brought attention to this, just growing the prominence of this strange theory. This could have well been the last straw for many who were already truculent towards this “technological advance”.   By the UK government addressing this theory as “dangerous nonsense”, maybe it’s quit rightly so do so, having low tolerance levels for citizens engaging in destructive behaviour during such unprecedented times, however it’s maybe also simply choosing to dismiss people’s genuine anxieties regarding this…

A Mobile phone tower centred in the background landscape in the UK, (source, Istock)

However “MobileUK”, the industry group that unites the UK’s four main networks, published an open letter to customers reassuring them that the there’s no connection between 5G and the Corona-virus and pleading them to help them stop the vandalism.  That was by asking that if they were to “witness abuse of” their “keyworkers”, or if they see “misinformation”- to report it…

10. A million Seed grass seeds have been planted along the coast of Wales, to tackle climate change

A stark contrast from the increased carbon emissions resulting from the recent catastrophic fires, this story actually brings in good news for Wales, and will contribute to reducing these emissions.  Planted in a new meadow off Pembrokshire, these can absorb carbon dioxide faster than trees, and scientists hope that these can boost sea life.  This new “Sea grass”, is found at the bottom of the sea, and was collected by Volunteers last summer, mainly by diving.

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Just some of the gorgeous seascapes along the Pembrokshire coast (source, Reddit)

So here are the 10 stories.  I have tried to keep them as off topic from Corona virus as possible, and being aware that one or two or these stories are related have slipped in, i thought they may have been missed by many amidst everything else.  Plus I thought they were pretty interesting.

 I tried to include a range of good news and bad news, as I feel that it is equally concerning how easy it is to act and hide the stories during such crazy times, whilst to remember that not everything in this world is bad.  That amazing discoveries are being made, people are performing even more miraculous accts of kindness and that the world is still bringing such beautiful things to us.

If you follow me, I will deliver a free cup of Positiv-TEA to your doorstep during lockdown!


So, what productive but fun activities have we been engaging in during the lockdown, in order to occupy ourselves and remain as positive as we can? I know that for sure my life-style has changed compleatly. Instead of aimlessly rushing off from place A to place B about 110 times each day, I am actually having to find other mind stimulating activities to enage in during this. Especially in the last two weeks, which have been the “Easter holidays”, where usually I would be going out rather a lot, and I expect I would have been spending a higher number of hours at work…

So instead I have been practising the guitar more where previously time was very scarce, reading more- especially before bed, and have even played a few games of cards and have had a go at painting… Last night, I even managed to clamber on top of my bed, to get a little glimpse of the sunset peeking through the houses outside my flat. Though I cannot recall otherwise, at least in recent years, when I have made considerable effort, only to see what is outside my own window…

And I know this sounds fake happy, and oh my God it is! Desite the fact that I do genuinely aapprecriate engagement in these creative pass times, an even bigger reason for doing so, is to give me something else to do. Which I am sure is the case for the masses of us. Whilst although I have aspired to read last thing at night for a long time, cause apperiently it is a good habit to be in, a lagre reason for it is also to reduce my chance of experiencing these squiffy dreams which have become all a sudden more prominent this pandemic… But maybe the concept of “Fake happiness” is not QUITE as toxic as we may think. Although it is super important for us to open up about our feelings, and address them ourselves, I also feel that sometimes using distractions is also vital to keep us afloat. Even if we are sstill terrified beneath the surface. I’m sure that whenever we are going through a difficult time which is personal to us, we try our best to keep our minds busy, to mix with the clouds stuck inside. And usually, even if we are surrounded by caring people, we may still very alone regarding what we are having to push ourselves through. Nevertheless, this pandemic is effecting every one of us in some way. And I feel that many of us are turning to hobbies and activities we may otherwise engage in far less frequently, in order to remain occupied and to remain positive, however shit we may feel underneath all of this!

Resulting from these following reasons, I have noticed many people are putting together blog posts, videos or simply stating what they are doing to keep themselves busy during these, well crazy times! So I thought it would be an idea to put forth what I have been doing, maybe to possibly inspire, to make a statement or.. Gosh, I don’t even know anymore. But it is really an account of what I am trying to do to make things feel a little more at ease, when realistically everything is immensely insane…

1. Attending more often to my plants

I dread to think how many times I have ventured into a plant shop, gotten overly excited about the extensive variety of plants on hand, then brought one or two pots; with very little knowledge on what to actually do with them. Or more specifically how to take care of them. However now with more time on my hands, plus having panic brought a few pots, I have been able to grasp the fundamentals of basic care. Moreover this has even got me actually using the soil and pots that I brought, having realised that these things do actually grow, therefore it is actually necessary to repot them every couple of years or so…

A plant that I managed to re-pot this morning. I know its leaves look a little off, but I am trying to sort that.

2. Spending more time reading

Who else has previously wished that they devoted more time to reading, or had specific books in mind, yet never got the chance or found the time to read them? Yeah… It’s kind of a shame really. Many of us may have dismissed the activity as “boring” as children, now realising that once you find what you are into, it can actually be so rewarding. Enabling us to expand both our knowledge and vocabulary, whilst it is a pretty good distraction- like mentioned earlier. I am personally reading both books related to what I am studying as wider reading, as well as fiction. The books I am currently reading, are pictured below 🙂

3. Gemstones and Spirit animals

So you are probably thinking this sounds rather arty-farty. But surely I am not the only one of whom to have about a dozen or more gem-stones aimlessly lying around the household, having spotted them in a shop, reading their meaning at the time, and then come a week later, we have completely forgotten about the meaning. Regardless of whether you have any faith behind whether these crystals may work or not, I think it is still desirable to have some background to the meaning of these stones. And as for spirit animals, I did take 2 quizzes the other day, and although I got two different results, I still found it quite intriguing.

And in case you are curious, I think there is no harm in looking toward the implications behind these stones or “Spirit animals” as a positive guideline.

Here are some of the gem-stones that I own 🙂

4. Guitar Practise

I am pretty sure that anyone who plays a musical instrument, of whatever ability, has often felt they don’t get round to practising it enough. For those taking it most seriously maybe we regret not putting in enough hours a day, while some of you may just wish to get it out every couple of weeks or so, whilst I often find I have only practised two or three times between each of my lessons. And that is not good aha. So it has been nice to be able to actually manage to devote myself to daily practise, and it makes the day seem that bit more productive 🙂

5. Cooking

Now that the option of “getting food out” isn’t really available to us, unless we opt for a delivery, and that most of us are home all day anyhow, there is less of an excuse to bypass the task of cooking. As well, there are so many good online recipes out there to try, many of these being fairly simple, which anyone could achieve. However it is also totally acceptable to have a look in your fridge or local supermarket depending, then put together what you think will taste good. It works for me, and saves me from spending additional time traipsing down the supermarket aisles for something they may not even have!

6. Craft activities

To be honest, I haven’t done too much of this, however I do intend to do a little more in the next few weeks. If I am capable to spare a bit of time from procrastinating…

However I did ATTEMPT to paint a flower vase. Don’t ask why, it was a little spontaneous and it was Easter so I suppose there was nothing really to lose.

Please don’t comment- least its colourful I guess…

7. Tidying

Talk of procrastination. Haven’t done much of this either if I am honest. Being brutally honest, I have allocated more time to making a mess. It is just so difficult, what with having to do school work at home, with the temptation of just leaving folder after folder on the nearest sofa, rather than putting it “away”, back into the school folder box. Yeah, life sucks… There’s always tomorrow…

Update: I actually managed to clean down my Windowsill this morning. Though it is still hard to tell the difference…

8. Do at home workouts

To some, regardless on whether you love or loathe exercise, I am sure that the idea of an “at home” workout sounds like a bit of a nightmare. For a start, there are so many obstacles, and it can get boiling hot. But look on the bright side, you can wear your pyjamas or underwear and no one needs to know! Personally I enjoy it, as it seems to release good amounts of nervous energy, although I tend to only do it once or twice a week.

On that note- don’t get too bogged down with it. You are entitled to want a healthy and fit body, however with all this time it is all too easy to become too engaged with all this “fitness” and “healthy eating”, without even realising that a point can be reached when you may be treating your body unkindly. Exercise should be used as a part of looking after ourselves well, not to hurt and exert extra pressure on our bodies or minds. Just feel we don’t read or hear this more down to earth stance on exercise enough…

9. Journal!

Ha, a blog post about things to do to keep busy during quarantine, cannot be complete without latching onto journaling or blogging. Yet I have been able to assign FAR MORE time to this blog now compared to before. I think that journaling for anyone has the potential to be rewarding especially during times like these, regardless of future career prospects. For me it is obviously good practise and rewarding anyhow- but it also can let off steam, and it is something to show to children and grandchildren in the future, whenever they are complaining that they’re bored. Thus I hope that the climate they’d be experiencing will be a far calmer in comparison to what we are experiencing now.

There is also an article about Trump, and about “veganuary” in cased you’re interested…

10. Sleep

So as grim as what this situation currently is, we might as well make take advantage of what we can. And without the morning journey to work/school/uni, we might as well devote that time to sleep!

So finally I just want to stress that these are just ideas, and personal to myself. We all have different interests, and contrasting needs and situations. So really I will stress how important it is to find and do what you fee comfortable with. This is a global pandemic, not a productivity competition, or a game to see how many of us aren’t actually capable of running 5K! (raises hand) Remember to take care of yourself! Seriously, what with everything going on, you are still just as worthy if not more so of efficient self care. If you feel worn out even by not doing much during this, you have EVERY RIGHT to take more rest than what you may do so usually. It is completely normal to feel emotionally exhausted and drained at the moment. Most importantly, beyond finding things to do to keep you sane in this moment in time, is to remember that times will not remain this dark forever.


And I was lying about the free “Positiv-TEA”, that I promised to hand out resulting from you doing something. I think it is more off a long term mindset, and there is no perfect solution, to completely turn things around (though tea, like my other listed activities can help!) In fact, the other day I read that remaining positive actually means recognising that better times will lie ahead (So sorry, I can’t remember the source). So keep strong, and remember to distract yourself (I have the grim prospect of “internet school” returning to my laptop on Monday…) but hey! But also look at the bigger picture, remembering that we have every right allowed to feel worn out and even vulnerable, regardless of what we may be doing or not doing. And I will stress again, when there is a deep tunnel, it unlikely that anyone will find huge amounts of light. But if we remain strong, together we will eventually pull ourselves through enough of it, that we will begin to see rays of sunlight peeking through once again. And this may appear brighter to us than ever before, and will give us a fresh resemblance of what can be done with it.

April, March, Feburary……Then VEGAN-uary


Edit- Heyy, I’m just reading this back to myself, and to be self critical, I haven’t made it that engaging, and I don’t really know what to change to make it more so either! I would still however recommend giving it a read though, as it is about an interesting topic, and it’ll help you choose where to go for food once this lockdown is over (sorry). I am not going to end up as a food journalist, so it’s ok…..

Who remembers a time where we used to be able to go out and get food from places like Greggs, Subway and Maccys. Nah, me neither…

But believe it or not, once upon a time, these places were actually open to the public so we could buy fast foods ready made for us. Yeah, crazy. In fact as recent as March, places like this were open, selling lovely burgers, sausage rolls and pizzas! Bet it’s all coming back to you now 😉

Maybe you even remember all the fuss that was made back in January, where loades of fast food places increased their number of options for us, including those places you may not necessarily expect. We all know about the amount of piss take which went with Greggs launching their “vegan sausage Roll”, but you may not be so familiar with their new(ish) vegan stake bakes, McDonald’s new “vegan dippers” and even new so called vegan burgers produced by Burger King and KFC, which I discovered which aren’t even suitable for vegans, so I rest my case.

Burger King Launches Vegan Rebel Whopper Burger in the UK (Updated ...
Burger King “Rebel Whopper” advert which has now only very recently been banned, due to the discovery of it not really being vegan….(source, LiveKindly)

Anyway, I was actually aiming to try some of these new foods before writing a post about it, however I haven’t got round to trying as many of these as what I would have liked to have done so. Yet for once, I actually have a legitimate excuse! So I’ve decided that I will rank the new vegan foods which I have tried, as well as ones which were previously available in chain restaurants. Meanwhile I will stste what options are out there which I haven’t actually tried yet. I also thought it would be cool to expose those foods which chains are claiming to be “vegan” which are not actually vegan, so you don’t have to try them either. Oh, and for record…I am not actually vegan. Oops, I do apologise. Though I am mainly veggie and currently just eat free range fish… Maybe one day though; I like all animals and I care about the environment and that…

1. Subway- Meatless Mariana (8/10)

So the first thing I will rank is the “balls for all” “Meatless mariana” from Subway. Judging from the name, this sounds pretty funky and I mean it tastes pretty good as well to be honest. It obviously depends what you choose to have alongside the actual balls as well, but that is up to you! But for me I found that the amount of “balls” I got was more substantial than most off these “veggie” substitutes where you may not get that much stuff. Take the vegan patties from there, which have existed for as long as I remember anyway, they don’t have as much in them lets say, and it is pretty standard for a veggie option. Therefore I also find the balls are nice for variety too. Also the vegan cheese used pretty good too!

Menu - Meatless Meatball Marinara | SUBWAY.com - United Kingdom ...
Subway Meatless Mariana, sadly I didn’t get a photograph of mine, plus it was all a bit messy. But the picture isn’t exaggerating the size of its Balls! (source, off the menu of the Subway website)

2. Pizza Express- Giardiniera (10/10)

Phew, I cannot pronounce this let alone spell it haha! Had to copy and paste… As long as you aren’t one of these people who won’t eat vegetables. The cheese on it is quite distinctive, and I ppersoonally love it. However I know a lot of vegans aren’t too keen on vegan cheese, as most of it doesn’t really taste much like cow’s cheese, and like I said, it is quite distinctive. However if you are more open tto vegan cheese, or you actually like it, like I do, then I would definitely recommend it!

See the source image
Vegan Giardinier pizza, (source, Plant Based News)

3. McDonald’s “Veggie sticks” (4/10)

Ok, so to be honest, these weren’t bad, at all. But there wasn’t much to them. However I wasn’t too happy to pay 4 pounds for 4 small sticks when you pay less for an individual “Big Mac”, whilst a standard cheeseburger remains at 99p. I am sorry, but i personally don’t think this should be acceptable, as it feels to me thay are trying to take advantage of people who may be devoted vegans, who would be willing to pay more, as they don’t really have much alternative choice (apart from go elsewhere, which makes most sense really!). However next time I end up in there, I shall definitely stick to the old “Veggie Deluxe”, as at least I know there is more to it, oh and it’s cheaper…

Not going to lie, but part of the cost was optional.. It actually came to 3 pound something, but you could opt to round it to £4 and the rest would go to charity. Which i did. But they ought to have that option for all these Big Mac’s too!

See the source image
They don’t look bad, but would you really be willing to pay a whole pound for one of these, Nah me neither. Or at least not again anyway.. .(source, Burgerlad.com)


4. Zizzie- Vegan Jackfruit Pizza (9/10)

This is definitely something worth trying, and it is very different from usual vegan options, even including pizzas. To start with, although i am sure it had existed long before, it was the first time I had come across Vegan pepporni, let alone made from Jackfruit. Now it didn’t taste exactly like pepporoni, but there again I wouldn’t know because it has been years since I have tried it. But I feel itt was most definitely better than most meat substitutes you get. One slight issue for me, was that I found it a little too sppicy,, especially with those nasty red peppers, but not so bad that I had to be constantly drinking water with it. And I also think it is good tht some places are finally trying to aim their vegan alternatives towards vaarious tastes and preferences, like with the spicy option.

See the source image
No words really… (source, Veganfoodandliving..com)

5. Greggs- Vegan Stake Bake (3/10)

Ok. So there wasn’t actually anything wrong with it, and I don’t want to discourage anyone from trying this just because I personally didn’t like it. As i think it is more to do with preferences rather than actual quality when it comes to this. But for me, the “Vegan Stake Bake” didn’t really do much. I found it quite bland, had a rather unpleasant taste about it and I do not like gravey. However really this migh actually say something good about Greggs! Although I didn’t like it at all, I have never liked stake meat, or gravey when I used to eat meat (literally years ago haha), so this may suggest that greggs are poroducing stuff which tastes very ssimmilar to the real thing. Which although I love variety, it can definitely be good to have it very similar too, as i know some people considering going veggie/vegan or those who already are, would and do miss meat.

See the source image
Vegan Stake Bake, I had actually taken a picture of that one, but had sadly lost it, as it didn’t stand out that much. Photo of it here doesn’t look much better than the one I took… (source, Scottish Sun- yeah sorry guys!)

Perhaps this is a similar to the vegan sausage rolls. Which I would definitely give 9 or 10/10, and I guess they taste quite similar to the real thing.

So I am going to put a list here of other Vegan foods you can get from Fast food outlets, just to tempt you all and to be a pain in the butt. But then is is all of this fast food veganism worthwile?

So other newish vegan options in the UK, include Pizza Hut’s vegan “pepperphoni” pizza, KFC “zero chicken burger”, Costa coffee’s vegan “Ruby” hot chocolate, Costa’s vegan strawberry Croissant, Starbucks Vegan Smoky Jackfruit grains, Starbucks vegan beetroot wrap, Café Nero Vegan Vegetable sausage roll, Dunkin Donuts Vegan hash Browns and Oatmeal (porriadge FFS), and many other mainstream fast food ooutlets offering vaster ranges of vegan foods

See the source image
Pink Vegan hot chocolate (on right) to be added onto the Menu at Costa (source, Metro)

Finally as usual, it is harrd to tell what the genuine intentions of these restaurants are. Realistically, if you were a long term, die hard vegan, you wouldn’t begin going to McDonalds because they have released another vegan burger. However we all quite aware of veganism as a growing trend (especially back in January), and “flexatarianism”, where people who may still be frequent meat consumers, may increasingly try out vegan foods, and alternatives. Some in order to help the environment, some to keep up with what their friends, and some just out of genuine curiosity. To me it seems most likely that restaurants are increasing their vegan options, just to keep up with consumer demand, rather than due to a moral obligation. Hence why so many new vegan options were introduced in January, in response to many people wanting to give up meat for the month, or just to be “healthier”. In contrast, It is most likely however that the owners of small cafes and resterants which specialise in Vegetarian and vegan food, do want to increase the availability of vegan food partly for their sake, being likely to be non meat eaters themselves. Therefore I part of this vegan movement is in response toa deep down moral rooting, at firsst not being as cclear to where from as it seems. But at the end of the day, as more people become aware of the benefits of not eating meat, be it animal welfare, the environment or health reasons, the more people become curious to why they choose to turn to veganism and are interested to try vegan alternatives themselves. Maybe not being so convinced as to give up meat, they may choose just to try vegan options rather than stick to them, and make a massive thing about it whenever they do so. This is where all these crazy trends bloosom from, and the more people involved, the more of the biggest firms have to respond to this increased demand. Which in a way is good I guess, they are responding and hopefully benefitting the animals, the health of people and the environment in the long run. Nevertheless whilst many vegans and veggies may be greatful that they, well could, go along with their meat eating friends and actually be able to eat something, many are far from convinced.

A Greenpeace article titled “Are fast food companies really going vegan?” stated that “the fast food business model, which centres around increasing the sales of meat-based dishes, is incompatible with preventing the destruction of the world’s precious forests”. Therefore we cannot really relay on fast food firms to help cut the meat production and consumption, as their real incentive is to maximise sales, and realistically the people who go to these places the most, are those who love meat. However they did say it was “a tiny step in the right direction”, and I feel that because of these trends, there is plenty of room for veganism alternatives in these meat devoted chains. Yet again, should we really be rushing off to these places that have previously been absolutely stuck to the sale of meat, can’t even be trusted to use the right oil, and are basically massive corporations, where owners are millionaires. Whilst owners and workers of small, ethical, family run chains are currently terrified of the prospect they may no longer have a job, after this lockdown ends, as we will all rush off to the cheap fast food outlets,frequently purchasing dare I say… crap, (most likely myself included…)

So wow. All this “petty” veganism thing, isn’t just about middle class gals in their teens and 20s wanting to tip off a bit of weight. It isn’t even just about the massive potential to promote environmental sustainability and help animan welfare. It is business, economics and at the moment, can cost people’s lives… Not just “via climate change”…

So whenever all this is over, I expect I will be rushing into Greggs to buy one of their Vegan Sausage rolls. Like if no one does, they will eventually go down I guess. However I will also make sure to visit small businesses when I can, especially Vegetarian and Vegan specialising firms. As I think more people would be less likely to go to these small places due to having less money, but every small purchase helps!

See the source image
The sort of Vegan burger you may well get if you actually go to a small restaurant, a stark contrast from the one they sell in Maccy’s if you ask me! (source, One Green Planet)

What the Trump


So In the last few days, I had come up with a good range of cool ideas to write about.  Obviously all of them tied to the infamous Corona Virus one way or another.  All of the weird and wonderful ways people are responding still to this, how am managing to stay semi-productive and um…the shambolic UK government’s handling of all of this, now and prior to this…

But no…  What has drawn my attention, like I am sure has with many other people, is actually the Trump.  Once again proving to the semi-sane side of the world, that is is nothing but a fasict, arrogant biggot.  To say kindly. 

So what on earth has he done this time?

Trump is changing the international order - CNN
Ay, looks like he is on a bit of a mission here! Don’t know when this was taken…(source, CNN.com)

So first things first, to begin with Trump was almost declining that the Coronavirus even existed, saying that when it “gets a little warmer”, it could miraculously go away, hugely underestimating the immense, catastrophic effects that it could have had on the USA, which now have been proven.  Moreover, his dismissing attitude led to some of his supporters literally believing that this virus “doesn’t exist”, and even holding numerous protest shutdowns in dense crowds.  One being outside the Statehouse Atrium in Columbus. This attitude reduced the urgency for there to be a lockdown, and meant that official “lockdown guidelines” were later than what most countries followed with, being mid March. 

Shutdown Protests taking place in the USA, lets play where’s the Trump hat… (source, @futurecanon twitter)

Following on, these restrictions were far far looser than in most countries, as I am sure you are more than aware of the firmness of measures within most countries.  However in America, the published two page guidelines, titled “15 days to slow the spread” ADVISED people not to eat in restaurants, or drink in bars and to avoid gatherings of more than 10, called for schools in affected areas to be closed and that older people “should stay at home”.  Although the individual States have some control over these lockdown measures, and some States have come down much harder on the approach. 

Now quite rightly so, many people from America and elsewhere will have strongly pursued the view that he has done far too little too late.  Although the social distancing measures have now been extended until the 30th April, testing kits reduced during a continuing surge in deaths.

USA daily deaths per day, nbc news

Furthermore Trump is now already looking to “reopen” America, claiming America has passed the Peak.  Nevertheless his analysis seems rather unconvincing.  “US CNN.com” states that he is looking to lift stay at home guidelines even before the 1st of May deadline, saying it is time to prove America as the “Comeback Kid”.  To me, this just emphasises Trump’s complacent ideological stance towards capitalism, favouring the economy over people’s livelihoods and his continued underestimation of this Virus, to spread USA capitalist patrionism, even though it could and will cost lives.  However one could view this as a tactic to save the economy, and to reduce the effects this will inevitibly have on workers who are currently out of work, and to save job opportunities for young people in the future.  Yet there, it is far too early to be looking at ways out considering the cost of lives, as well as the inevitible strain on their health service…

So if this is not enough, however, he has now taken the decision to stop the funding of the World Health Organisation (WHO).  This is not out of wanting to abolish the organisation, but rather replace the entire management team.  Who “seem to work in the interests of the Communist party of China, rather than the health interests of the Whole community” according to “Neweurope.eu”.  He believes that the organisation shouldn’t have supported the reopening of China’s boarders this soon, stating in a tweet that “The WHO really blew it” claiming “it is funded largely by the US, yet very china centric”.  He also stressed that he was glad that he took the decision to “reject their advice on keeping their boarders open to China early on”.  To many of us, this just continues to show his ant-internationalist stance on the world, whilst maybe partially being prejudice towards China due to their communist government, when we know he is all out there for the stark opposite.  Yet again, some of us may be able to scrape out scraps of legitimacy to his claims.  Many feel China is “covering up” for the virus, claiming that the spread has drastically declined, where maybe, realistically it hasn’t having been known to cover up for what is really going on in the past.  However by him reportingly referring to the Coronavirus as the “Chinese flu” , it is likely to spread further hatred and hostility towards the Chinise, especially amongst his supporters.  And although maybe back in January some of us may have referred to it as that as a joke before we realised how serious this really was, I strongly do feel that as a leader of one of the most influential Countries in the world, calling this any mock names is beyond appropriate.  And although China may have made some mistakes in order for the spread of the virus to have been so drastic, and most likely the spread rooted from there, realistically this could have surged from many countries.  We probably will never know how this began, however a pandemic is never an excuse to spread such hatred towards a country, or people within it…

Is the Lockdown re-tying us together again as a community


I know that I am one who prefers to be left alone. Rembering when I was a child, which wasn’t that long ago, where I used to feel at slight unease with knowing most people who lived along my drive, and that the lady who always delivered the “bridge” or community magazine seemingly somehow managed to know me and my parents, as well as I expect everyone living on our road. Yet, balancing this out, I also miss the strong sense of community which existed back then. Especially during times like these.

Taking the clock back to the run up to the 2012 Olympic games, I remember that seemingly the whole community had gathered, in order to perch down on one a spot of pavement, in order to catch a glimpse of the Olympic torch and to possibly be handed a bottle of CocoCola. That year, also happened to host the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, where children, teachers and parents congregated on the school playing field one lunchtime. I remember one lady distributing Union Jack bucket hats to lots of us, at no cost, while us kids would guzzle down whatever food we could find. And I’m sure that you remember the street parties that occurred after the royal wedding, yet again bringing the community together again.

Royal wedding street parties: What does it take to plan for a ...
Photo of a Street party celebrating the Royal wedding (Source, the Telegraph)

Yet if you live in a very urbanised area, such as in the middle of a town or towards a city, it’s most likely that most off the time this strong sense of community is lacking. Living in a block of flats now, within very easy walking distance of the town centre home to an area of over half a million people, I only actually know the name of ONE of my neighbours. As there isn’t really the time usually to talk to one another. As everyone is just so preoccupied with their own private lives; being work, studying, going out…or whatever. However recently we have seen communities beginning to rebond, having no choice but to work together. And perhaps it is during these times where everyone local is “in it together”, being good or bad. But the shared experience unites us…

So I’m sure that if where you live is not underneath some colossal rock, that squishes your head flat, then you will be aware of the “clap for carers” movement. Across the country, people of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs have come together from the comfort of their homes in order to acknowledge and show appreciation for the wonderful efforts of doctors, nurses and all other crucial NHS staff. Consequently this has led to neighbouring households along the street assembled together to celebrate the immense efforts and achievements of these wonderful staff together. A rare sighting in modern England, where many people wouldn’t even find it appropriate to say “good morning” to fellowing neighbours, let alone stand united with them all, to celebrate something that really they have all been indirectly effected by, whether it being now or at some other point in their lives. Whilst despite the lacking opportunity of getting out of the building, for those of us who live in flats, we have still managed to muscle through this. Instead opening our windows and cheering from outside, although encapsulated in our own flats, we are still uniting.

See the source image
Family pictured joining on the “Clap for carers movement (Source, The express)

And if you think this is an achievement, it’s nothing compared to what some communities living in blocks of flats have achieved. In Spain and Amsterdam there have been videos of balcony raves, one even being conducted by a DJ. While we have seen balcony sing-alongs of various hits like “We rill rock you” and even two neighbouring flats playing tennis.

See the source image
The Balcony over which the rave took place in Amsterdam (source, OMG.blog)

Furthermore, there has been an impressive number of people putting themselves forward to help those more vulnerable people, with shopping, dog walking or even a chat. Not to mention the over 500,000 people who signed themselves up within 24 hours to support the NHS (source, Guardian). It just shows, in spite off our differences and vast cravings and obviously our usual ability to reach out much further afield, when hard times hit us, we are more than capable of pulling together once again as a community. Whether this be within our neighbourhoods, our communities or online. That really, wherever we live, there is still this strong sense of attachment to our community even though we sometimes lose sight of it. But overall, it shows everyone’s willingness to go the extra mile, or further in many cases, to help those most in need.

However some of us may find some of the occurances abroad a little strage still. Especially in those coountries which have enforced stricter, and so far longer periods of lockdown compared to what we have experienced in the UK. Would everyone really want to begin singing from our balconies, or windows. I personally cannot see it down where I live, without at least one of our neighbours knocking on the host’s door complaining that their children and themselves need to sleep. Perhaps it is better to stick to hosting a street tea gathering, like in a street in Wales. I think as well that it would have been more difficult for us to have coped and united as a community now, without the internet. As it is no longer natural for people to communicate by chatting; or shouting across the balcony. With the fear that people would automatically show hostility. Nevertheless we have seen that the clap for carers notion was cheered on by many supporters and rold models online, enabling communities to genuinely be able to gather and applaud. I reckon that realistically, once things return to normal, communities will move back to their original less socialable model.. However I feel there will still be a strong sense at times where it is needed. Where events occur in which unite us. Whilst hopefully too, left behind there will be a slightly stronger transparent connection, whilst there will be stronger consideration for one another.

“Looks like Schools may be going back- but is that really sensible?


Okay, so according to the news we are apparently reaching the peak of this pandemic. So surly that’s a good sign…

Although for the time being, I personally think and hope that the strict rules of the lockdown will stay in place for at least a few more weeks. Which it would make entire sense to do so!

However once we know that everything is under control, I would imagine that the measures may be relaxed bit by bit. What we deem as more essential will obviously be relaxed first, like lets say non-essenttial dental appointments, clothing shops and lets face it… maybe schools. Which is great!

It means that if people are no longer required to work at home, parents don’t have to worry about who looks after their kids, it means tat anyone in year 12 (hands up aha) doesn’t have to face the torture of teaching themselves their A-level content and that people who had their exams cancelled may get to do them after all. Maybe at a slightly later date… who knows. At least this will remove the unfairness of teachers predicting their favourite pupils top grades, and those who they have less confidence in: lower grades. Whilst the poor people who didn’t do so well in their mocks will at least have the chance of doingg better this time. Happened to me last year!

But hang on a sec! I mean if this is going to be the case, then surly it is just messing with their heads more rather than less. Just imagaine, thinking that you have exams, which lts face it they can be a very stressful time, then being told they have been cancelled due to a pandemic which many grown adults cannot cope with, let alone students. And now, being told they do have them after all. Thankgod I cannot actually imagaine this stress. but if this were to happen, then this would be a reality maany people would face.

Ok, so it has its ups and downs. Many students may genuinely prefer to do the exams, in spite of uncertainty on top of uncertainty. And there are alternative paths the government could take. So maybe let students who are happy with their “calculated” grades not return, whilst those who would rather take the exam- return to school in order to do them. And hopefully those not wanting to do so, could still pop in just to say goodye to everyone! But then what? People are sstill going to say that it is unfair that some people have got these grades without having taken an exam, whilst others will have achieved the grades with the pains of taking an exam. This inevitably creates an un-level playing field. But in a way it did in the first place. So whatever happens, won’t be perfect, which I suppose is inevitable. Nevertheless do our students in the “exam years” really need all this extra stress put upon themselves?

But whatever your views are regarding exam taking, unless these years were excluded from going back to school, this would be very complicated…then this leaves the rest of us. So I personally would be glad to go back to school, for a number of reasons, in spite of the fact that all i ever do is seem to complain about it. Though is it really one of the first priorities?

I have heard on the radio that they think that opening the schools will be a relatively “low risk” movement, as young people are at very low risk of becoming very ill from the virus. However the initial point of shutting the schools in the first place, was in order to help slow the spread of the virus. As it is pretty obvious. The more people who are exposed to the virus, whether fit or unfit, the higher the number of carriers. And although if kids kept themselves to themselves, they would probably be ok, after a while I expect that parents may get complacent to the fact that they can’t see their gran-parents. As well as the fact that many many young children live with their granparents, may have older parents or have to travel to and from school via bus. Though even if they walk, I must be honest and say that there is an impressive number of older people outside. At least where I live…

So there are alternatives. Maybe a good idea would to be to let those who are studying for exams (not necessarily the year 11s and 13s) but the year 10s and 12s working towards exams, get back to normal classes whilst the younger children could stay home. This would obviously make the “practising of social distancing” far more feasible, as there would be barely anyone at school! As if your school is anything like mine, it is impossible anyway to get from one part of the building to another without being brushed upon by at least one other person. Let alone keeping a 2 metre at ALL TIMES. I doubt our corridors are even 2 metres wide. Furthermore perhaps the sound of a one way system including around the outside may sound appealing to some, but when the stairs are brought into the game, it all becomes rather more of a problem. And just to top this all off, the way that some of these younger children behave is pretty risky. From the way they have the tendacy to huggle together like penguins, to how a group of 6 of them will clog the corridor, or barge infront of you at the lunch quew. Not to mention how that half of them probably walk out of the toilets without washing theri hands. Yeah…gross.

And then we aare all free to use buses, and spread the germs on there.

So I am hoping that if they are considering bringing back the schools, that this will be at least when everything is more under control. And if they bring back the schools before things are beginning to look up, which I think really is highly unlikely, then I do hope that they will just be open of whom it’s most important to be there, rather than having everybody there…

Here is yet another Update!


Hiya, So I’m not going to waffle on this time. But I just thought I would say that I am going to attempt to move some of my content onto relevant pages. This will include content that may go a little adrift from the theme I am generally going to stick to throughout my main posts.

However I don’t quite know how to work this thing yet, and I don’t even ask if I am capable of following instructions….

But on here I aim for my posts to be relevant to myself in some way, without being obsessive if that makes sense. So they will basically have a slightly more personal niche to them, but will obviously be related to more important topical issues, whether that’s more to do with news or general lifestyle.

Meanwhile, for the time being I am going to post other content onto either, news and opinion, travel or lifestyle. However I may expand these pages in the near future, I will just see what happens as it is very early days to be fair…

Bye for now! 😉

“It’s been the forth year in a row now- where I have been on the brink of dialling “Childline” as no one has got me an Easter Egg”


Ok, so apart from everything else that is going on right now, we are actually approaching a weekend right now. And not only any weekend- but it is the Bank holiday Easter weekend. Already I am sure that many of us are however ignorant of this. As each day currently feels the same. Unless of course you are a key worker, or looking after children full time- THEN YOU ARE AMAZING!!!
But for the rest of us, we only have to peek outside one of our windows, or easier still listen to the weather forecast- in order to persist with the logic of fact: that Easter may be approaching is barely imaginable. For a start there isn’t any water falling from the sky, someone with a regular temperature regulation can set outside without requiring one of these heavy coats, and there’s none of these…um, the chubby British tourists who gather in clumps supplying sea-gulls with endless supplies of chips, and believing they can get a tan by laying down in the cold for 10 minutes.

Yet occasionally I have no choice but to set foot into Tesco. And as always, their shelves are piled with Easter eggs. From the cheap cadburys ones where you can literally get 2 for less than £2, those golden bunnies with that pretty ribbon with the bell around their necks which I would almost treasure when I was much younger, to those rather expensive thortons ones costing as much as £15 pound each due to their authentic brand, or more importantly still, because some genius thought to imprint a unicorn on some off them…

Unicorn Easter Egg | Chocolate Eggs | Thorntons
Rather adorable looking unicorn, featuring on one of this year’s editions of the Thortons Easter eggs (source, Thorntons website)

Only today actually I was by myself in Tesco and quew reached beyond the alcohol aisle to where all of the Easter goodies were, so I had all of the chocolate to be tempted by as well as the obvious! And like all years, I was rather impressed with the numbers of options available to us, which even led my to buying something! (off my Dad’s care of course!). But knowing that he wouldn’t object, I also found myself thinking once again, why don’t people actually buy me Easter eggs now. Ok, there is an blatently obvious reason at the moment. But we saw the same thing occur last year, and the year before. And as sad as it sounds, I felt a little neglected. How come all my friends were being brought Easter eggs (well I would just assume so wouldn’t I, doesn’t mean it’s really the case), plus when they’re on sale, surly it would be a little friendly gesture just to buy me one.

Ok, so when did I last have one? Last year I think. So lets be honest, I am exaggerating when I say no one will buy me one. I received one from parents, and I know that if I ask I basically get. Aha I’m actually so spoilt eek… Nevertheless, it came in a giant cardboard box. then when I opened it, a third of that box was dedicated to one of those tiny chocolate bars (for god’s sake, I don’t bloody remember what it was, but you should know what I’m on about), then the rest of the box was home to a rather small chocolate egg wrapped in foil. Then after working your way through all this packaging, to finally get to the beautiful product, you would notice how considerably thin the chocolate was. Only then I realised that there was a very good reason, for the considerably generous prices of these eggs. then of course it would say that it contains something like 4 portions, but a quarter of an egg would be almost the equilivant to one square, yes one square of chocolate! While when I was younger I would question why on earth some kids got something like 8 eggs, and I would label them as spoiled. but with these cheap things that is simply not the case.

But until a couple of years ago, the thought of the amount of packaging they would come in, wouldn’t even occur to me as being a problem. But now, being enlightened of “woke” culture aimed at all the internet cool kidz like me, I actually realise the horrendous amount of packaging used is seriously problematic. And I know it isn’t ONLY Easter eggs, try ordering a cheap necklace off amazon! Nonetheless, I think it is pretty safe to say that Easter eggs are one of the worst things with regards to packaging. So lets be fair, I know that usually they aren’t coated in the evil plastic, but lets face it. The manufacturing of cardboard and paper use up humongous amounts of energy, heat, water therefore the act of making them isn’t exactly environmental stewardship!

Cadbury Mini Eggs Chocolate Easter Egg Bag Pouch Box Ideal Gifts
The height of the egg is about half the height of the box! (source, premium website)

And like I was told long ago! “It is far better to buy a £1 big bar of chocolate than a £1 Easter egg box”. And it’s true though. When you buy an Easter egg, you are not only paying for the chocolate, you are paying for the packaging and the larky which comes with it. It’s a very pesky exercise. Children inevitably get hyped up over buying an Egg, as it’s in order to celebrate a once in a year event, then they just get even more attracted by the vivid packaging in which it comes in. Then if it is a little chick or bunny, then it is a bonus! It’s kind of parallel to when you used to get more excited about that fridget little toy which came out of those “happy meals” from “maccys”, than the actual food…

So here are two very legitimate reasons for people’s objections to these Easter eggs, firstly due to environmental concerns, then due to the costs in comparison to what you would pay for perr gram of solid chocolate. in-fact three reasons, if you include objection to the way capitalism is so brilliant at selling you rubbish that you don’t want.

But here is the real tea that you have been waiting for! Religion…

So to begin with, my family and myself are not Christian. And obviously anyone with an ounce of background information regarding this rainy and chocolaty holiday should be able to tell that the origins to all this actually belongs to Christianity. It is infact probably the most important event on the Christian calander. Yes, even more important than christmas! So really should all of us Brits, who don’t necessarily go to church or believe in God really be indulging ourselves in all of this chocolate?

Ok, so a bit like Christmas, Easter has become more than just an event valuable to Christians. Instead it has become almost of value to our culture, and it is not just like that here in the UK. Therefore what is wrong with all of us eating a tonne of chocolate, and disposing on our nearest public beach? (in normal circumstances). However there is rather more than a subtle difference between celebrating a holiday whilst acknowlding its traditions and letting the current way we celebrate undermine the value it has to some people! Now I really will start sounding like an old fashion, misery here, but I do wonder is the reason behind changing the name from “Easter eggs” to “Eggs” on a considerable amount of packaging really necessary in order not to offend people of a different religion? Or rather, is it simply an insult?

Nestlé Medium Easter Eggs Collection (122g-140g): Amazon.co.uk ...
I’m sorry, but spot the word Easter. You’ll be looking for a while (source, Amazon)

Now quite honestly I wouldn’t have even noticed if it hasn’t been pointed out to me, which in a way, that in itself just shows how little some of us actually associate Easter, being as a religious significance. But coming to think of it, it seems crazy that something which comes out once a year (though to be fair they’re aperient in shops for more like a third of a year), in order to celebrate a religious event, shouldn’t be labelled including this despite having initially always been labelled as Easter. So in a way, the rise of Easter eggs has really been down to the rise of a “global culture”, partly aspiring to become more “Americanised” emphasising on the big. Hence the obsessive packaging in which these chocolate eggs come in. To which it has reached the point that people from all walks of life have become heavily attracted to this product, leading to them having to be target at appealing to all consumers. Not only Christians. But I still do not see why people cannot enjoy something celebrating a tradition they may not be entirely a part of. Rather than this having to be adapted for their liking.

Though I suppose that all cultures have mixed and will continue to mix, meaning most people are open to a huge mixture of traditions. In which i do not have a problem with. Nevertheless I just personally feel that it would be best if everyone was able to enjoy all these variations of culture, whilst having some knowledge of it’s roots. In-fact i am sure that British people are one of the worst offenders when it comes to this, without necessarily realising.

The global reach of US Popular Culture - Taieb Oussayfi - Medium
An image implying the extent of which American culture is dominant in our World. Or is it just consumerism at its finest? (source, Medium.com)

So now I do understand why my parents have always been rather hostile to purchasing vast amounts of Easter eggs. Furthermore, if I’m brutally honest- I’m kind of the same. for a start the packaging is a complete waste of money, and an insult to desirable environmental sustainability. Whilst fuelled by consumerism, there isn’t really the need for consideration for these reasons neither consideration for the need to ensure that traditions behind these aren’t undervalued. So I need not explain why I had no real reason to go to childline. When these these “eggs” or whatever are genuinly overestimated. Although I suppose that they do hold a pleasent symbolic value. It is only natural to be excited as a child to be recieving a novelty item like an Easter egg, even if it is worth so little. Whilst after all Easter, like other holidays in our calander, are usually positive celebrations, which aren’t yet completly surrounding symbolism.

Like you may say that the concept of an “Easter bunny” is nothing except ridiculous. Yet none of us object to the idea of a Santa Clause existing do we?

I suppose really it is about finding a balance. I personally feel that twisting traditions in over a long period of time, isn’t necessarily harmful. As long as we are reminded to consider the tradition and origins of the events. This way a little bit of consumerism is ok here and there, but not to the extent where we are all stressing and obsessinng over this factor, rather than the traditional andd cultural relevance.

Therefore I do get rather cheesed off with the enormous amounts of packaging that goes into the final product of an “Egg”, and I do really think that they should be referred to still as “Easter eggs”, as that is what they celebrate. However many miles chocolate eggs may be from the traditional intention behind easter…

I also think the concept of associating springtime with Easter ok, letting kids go on Easter egg hunts is ok, and having children or yourself paint eggs is pretty adorable. And if I and when I were to have children, I would probably insist on there being an Easter bunny, who lay down chocolate eggs the night before Easter morning. Partly so that I can get involved, but also so that it may help them to see the world in a better light. Likewise with the concept of a Santa. Nevertheless I will of course educate them to make them realise the importance of it to Chrisitians, and I would probably want them briefed on the Easter story. As that is what it is all about.

Easter in the United States - Partnership International
Some rather pretty painted eggs (source, Partnership international)

And in the event that anyone is interested to whether I brought anything from Tesco (aside from necessaties, duh), I actually did… Now it was not an egg, or even a traditional easter bunny. But it was some strangly shaped thing (probably a rabbit), that was just wrapped in foil, therefore didn’t come in one of these stupid cardboard boxes.

And whilst usually I would just think “yey chocolate”, having written this rather waffly and wishy washy post about, well Easter eggs, I shall consider the current and traditional implications and meaning behind this event. In-spite of everything else going on!

I Want Boris Back! (but could never vote for him)


Love him or hate him, a huge proportion of people from our nation and further a-field are praying for Boris Johnson, our Prime Minister.

So having been admitted into St Thomas hospital Sunday night, by the following night he found himself in need of oxygen, and in need to be moved into intensive care in order to be closely monitored and incase he requires a ventilator, which so far fortunately hasn’t been the case. Still today, he remains in intensive care. However Chanchellor, Rishi Sunak, updated the nation that he is making “steady progress, but remains in intensive care” at the daily coronavirus update . He also reassured us by saying he is recieveing excellent health care.

St Thomas' Hospital - Wikipedia
An image of St Thomas hospital with the view of the River Thames (source Wikipedia)

Prior to this he was diagnosed and tested positive for Coronavirus while experiencing “mild symptoms” including a “temperature” and a “persistent cough”.

We have seen Domanic Raab, the foreign secretary, take over his roles for the time being. However we saw that Johnson was very reluctant to step down from his duties, and it was only when he got moved to intensive care, where he hadn’t much choice. And although it was known that he was following health advise, many people would percieve him as verry dedicated, to not step down until he “had to”.

This had led to National support for him rising. As there’s been increased amounts of public support for him, with many people sharing posts on social media, wishing him and his family well and wishing him a speedy recovery. Meanwhile, left, right and centre, politicians have wished him well. From his own current MP’s, David Cameron, the new labour leader and even Jeremy Corbyn have been wishing him the best.

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Post wishing Boris Johnson the best, from “Christiantoday.com”

Nevertheless the increased amount support for him, have left some of the Nation split. Some, inspite of wanting him to recover, are unable to help feeling angry at him, and his party.

This is partly down to the years of austerity our country has experienced, after the financial crash in 2008. Leading to the underfunding of many vital services, including obviously the NHS- leaving it now with insufficient equipment available and a shortage of staff. Which is already a problem during the best of times!

But not only that! Many members of the public are hostile towards decisions more directly influenced by our Prime Minister, such as the delay with increasing supplies of personal protective equipment, and still now we are no where near close enough to having adequate supplies, leading to over 10,000 NHS staff signing a pen letter to the PM “demanding proper protective equipment”. Furthermore many members of the public feel Boris has done too little too late, seeing that his initial plan was to manage the virus by “herd immunity”- which now has even been criticised by Trump! And although thankfully Boris took a turn on these plans, in many European countries like France and germany evoking lockdown measures much sooner, as we see the rise of deaths being more gradual. Therefore it is legitimate to not be too sympathetic towards the Prime Minister, where he initially told our Nation to “wash your hands” in the “time it takes to sing happy birthday twice”, instead of taking a more serious stance on the issue at hand, and dealing with it faster to prevent the spread (and possibly stopping him from gettting it too…).

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A picture Boris Johnson shared to his Instagram page, stressing the importance of “washing your hands” during the Coronavirus pandemic

Yet lets face it. That’s what many of us love about Boris. Whether we are Tories or not, at least we can apprecriate his chummmy character and laugh at his “not very funny” jokes. And regardless of his politics, you have got to admire his charisma, even if you think it is gross at the best of times.

Now you may be a little confused reading this at the moment, thinking who is this person admiring yet criticising our prime Minister. Well personally I strongly disagree with most of his policies. And I am most certainly not a tory. Though saying this, out of all the men in suits who have probably attended one of these public schools, like Eton: at least Boris stands out from them. A man who offers “tea rather than answers” (according to the Telegraph, subsequent to the inappropriate comments he made concerning the Burkha) is much better than most who wouldn’t give answers, but wouldn’t substitute them for tea either. Plus one may be impressed with him now, but what’s more impresssive than managing to get stuck on a zip-wire. Can you really picture any of our other recent leaders doing the same?

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Now what’s that hanging from above. One of the many snapshots we have of Boris Johnson when he got stuck on a zipwire back in 2012 after celebrating the first gold medal team GB won during the olympics

Now part of this may well be a publicity stunt, but surly his charismatic character must be partially to thank.

This leaves me wishing Boris Johnson the speediest of recoveries, and I can’t wait to see him back in downing street as soon as possible, fully recovered of course.

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Boris Johnson waving, outside 10 downing street

Nevertheless this does not mean that he will be getting my vote in the next general election! As as much as we may like the guy, I want the UK to move in a direction in where there is leadership not only increasing equality within the UK, but world-wide. And because of past and current austerity policies inflicted by the Conservatives, I don’t believe a guy with a good sense of humour will be able to amend all of this. And would he want to?

Although I have great sympathy for him and his, and respect him; it does not mean that I would, or even could support his and his party’s policies…

How to take care of your Mental health during “quarantine”


Hii, So I was questioning whether to bother doing a blog post concerning mental health during quarantine or not, if I’m honest. As I feel there is only so much to say and suggest concerning mental health, as it will inevitably be affected during quarantine, and there isn’t exactly a solution. I like to avoid regurgitating common content, which already features on hundreds of blogs, you-tube videos etc around the world. However I believe that mental health is so important, especially during these terrifying times. And considering how patronising some content related to mental health can appear, especially that which has probably been shown to us in year 8 at secondary school telling us that if we do yoga and eat broccoli then everything will be ok, I don’t think I can do a much worse job!

I decided to do what I personally find helpful and I will try to broaden it out…

So lets get started :/

1. Keep in touch with friends and relitives

So being at home all day either alone or with the same people obviously being unable to see other friends and relatives, can feel extremely lonely and isolation, especially when there’s fewer distractions. Especially for those, like myself, in education who are currently experiencing the Easter holidays, so don’t have as much work to focus on and would usually be out socialising (unless you’re an introvert- High five!). But regardless, I think even a quick conversation online, or quick phone call can boost our own and each others mental health so much. Because apart from anything else, I feel it is a reminder to ourselves and our friends, that we are still surrounded by support and by people, even if physical contact isn’t possible. And at times, I think sharing concerns is so important, as we remember that we are not alone going through this. However it is also beneficial to talk about other topics, as leading on from this, hearing about this all day everyday can be so overwhelming, and obviously depressing. Therefore I think it is definitely good to remind each other about what else is in the world, and what we can continue to appreciate and look forward to,

2. After a while- Switch the news off

So I agree that it is important to know what is going on in the world, especially at this moment in time as we need to know what to do in order to stay safe and protect others and to have a rough idea what may happen within the next few weeks. Nonetheless, when bombarded with it all day long, where access is unlimited due to updates online, being close to the radio and whatever else, it can be and is overwhelming. And I feel that spending too much time listening to it can just make us too focused on it, and can make us even start to forget the amount of positive the world also has on hand. Meanwhile inspite of the increasing numbers of people this is having catastrophic effects on, I also think that we shouldn’t feel too upset about it or worry about it excessively. That’s as there’s nothing we can DIRECTLY do. And with regards to missing important snippets of the news, I actually think that is very unlikely. A you can access highlights say once a day, whether on TV, or internet.

3. Try not to get too bogged down about when the lockdown will end

I feel this can be quite difficult, especially as we are hearing so much about this. However there are so many different rumours about it, some being absolutely ridiculous. I feel that if we try to make predictions too often then it can lead to us either becoming increasingly fearful about time spent in lockdown, or even defeated if the reality differs to the initial prediction.

As although I feel it can be good to be hopeful about it, and hopeful that things might soon slowly start getting better, making actual predictions is not as good. Whilst having a pessimistic attitude isn’t going to help anyone, especially not yourself!

4. Try to limit time spent on social media

So I know this can be very tricky, especially at the moment where most of us are at home with Wifi all day long. But I know for myself, too much time spent scrolling through Instagram or snapchat isn’t good at the best of times! Whilst now these effects are only to be exaggerated. As if seeing someone who you think is much better looking than yourself posting a selfie captioning it “quaritine” isn’t bad enough (trust me I’ve been there), seeing people out and about can make one more angry whilst a seemingly happy family having a picnic in a huge garden can feel almost emotionally draining, if you are alone or in a less happy family, or if you don’t happen to live in a mansion. Meanwhile once I am finished scrolling through (though to be honest I have been purposely cutting back hugely on time spent on there; long before lockdown), it is time to begin on Facebook. And yawn, yawn, yawn. It is all bloody rants about Coronavirus, sharing of news stories and memes; related to the coronavirus. And I don’t have a problem with this in the least way. I perfectly understand why people choose to do it, I do it and obviously it is so apparient in everyone’s lives, it is bound to leak over in that way on social media. But although it is not that harmful to take a quick look, don’t spend too much time on there.

4. find more positive things online

So like I said, it is very hard to drastically cut back on screen time, during a time like now. Therefore I feel that if we take efforts to spend more time looking at more positive content online, the state of being online can almost have the opposite effect to what it has on a lot of us. And although we are almost consistently being bombarded with unhealthy content, if we seek for it, a lot more positive content can be found too!

There are numerous YouTube channels, Instagram accounts and websites (like mine;) ) which aim to bring positivity to people. I won’t list any, as there are so so many with various targets lets say. Though I would say look out for ones relating to mental health for tips, or for a space to vent, and to photography accounts, craft accounts, fashion, food or anything you are interested in for an effective distraction.

5. Have some form of productive routine- but include some down time!

So it sounds rather difficult. And it depends on what your interests or targets are anyway. Though I think that there is some productive things anyone can do at home. For me having this blog, plus A-level mocks to revise for (which chances are I will have them at some point, whether this be at the usual time, or in September no one knows) helps. As I don’t stick to a strict routine at all. However I aim to spend about 8 hours or so a day doing something productive. As this way I feel better about myself, and I am obviously carrying on along the path to achieving something. Furthermore, I know for a fact that if I was home watching films all day, I would feel absolutely terrible for doing so. And I’m not saying there is anything wrong with doing so, it is completely natural to be wanting to use this time to rest etc. But if you know you are the sort of person who gets quite easily upset with themselves for doing little, or not leaving the house then I genuinely think that focusing on a routine, and putting a bit of work in is probably far better than not doing so. Even if it isn’t 100% ideal, I know many of us tend to feel this way, therefore it is better than triggering more anxiety.

However saying this- like it is the Easter holidays at the moment- and it is a time to be taking time out anyway. Therefore allow yourself some time to engage in self care as well. Whether that’s just watching you-tube, listening to music or talking to friends (obviously online). And there are many activities too which are productive, and are relaxing. Like so far I have only spend about 50 minutes revising to be specific, whilst I have been doing more blogging and other hobbies which are productive but are certainly a break from school work.

6. Consider starting up a new hobby

Now I know this can be expensive and time consuming, but it does not have to be. And I feel there is definitely something out there for everyone. Maybe it is literally getting into a new TV series, or maybe its baking more or even bloody yoga. But it can be so rewarding not only now but in the future, and will obviously take your mind off other things during this period of quaritine.

Another thing, especially is you are in education… especially 6th form aha is to try an online course. Some of these may cost a little (support small business aha) and others I know are free. These can range from improving at a musical instrument, improving at a sport (a little limited) and cooking. However completion of a course looks so good on the CV, or if considering Uni then on a UCAS application. I know there’sa broad range of “MOOCS” which are generally aimed at people considering various courses at university.. And although I haven’t started one, I am considering it- especially now due to lockdown. And I think what ever you are interested in studying, you will find a good range of choices of moocs relevant.

7. Don’t be too harsh on yourself

So I know this is almost contradicting with what I said about keeping busy, but at the same time, it is obviously not super easy to be doing “productive” stuff all the time. It is completely natural to feel more worn out than usual due to the worries we are facing, and to feel more “on edge”. Obviously making it more difficult to focus. Therefore although it is good to keep distracted, its even more vital to be forgiving and understanding towards yourself, and to not punish yourself for “not being productive” or whatever. I think this can be particularly difficult for people who get more anxious about things, who are also anxious about achieving the best. But I guess the best thing to do is try to recognise the fact that this is an extremely difficult situation for everyone, and that there’s millions of people who are doing less than usual. Many probably feel just as guilty. However I would say just keep telling yourself that it is completely normal to not be so busy during these times. And while you may feel bombarded with people thinking that they’re bloody Mary Poppins, saying to learn this and do that, there is a huge gap between having healthy distractions and feeling bad about not “getting enough done”.
God. I’ve explained this so badly, I’m sorry…

8. Create something, and watch it grow

My word. I really am starting to sound cheesy now… But if you like drawing, or making things or if you are wanting to try something new, then give it a go. It can honestly be so rewarding, engaging in creative activity. And I feel especially during times like these, where often there’s a sense of release through art, crafts or music.

Yet it does not have to be art related. Something else, which I like doing, is growing plants. And repotting them. Although I have been known to kill one or two, but I think I’m not quite as bad as I was.

9. Eat healthy(ISH!), drink water and excersise

Yawn, Yawn, Yawn!!!

Who can be asked to drink water, eat healthy and exercise during a time like this? What is even the point, no one is even going to see you…

But for me that is not the point of staying healthy. It is about doing it for yourself. Although I am not exactly a role model. However I feel just a small amount of exercise, can boost your mood by so much in the long and short run, and relieve some nervous energy and anxiety. Athough this obviously varies depending on the person. Furthermore by combining this with healthy eating, and drinking enough you are taking better care of yourself, and are likely to feel less bedraggled. Although there is no harm in staying in bed for one day, and eating only chocolate, I think it is important to be healthy(ish) most days. Especially considering that lock-down may be for quite a bit longer. This way, I think basic self care is a good way of not letting yourself down further. And iIm sure than for many of us, self care does genuinely boost mental health. Obviously not removing illness.

Nonetheless with rregards to eating healthy, the “ish” is in capitals for very good reasons. Yes, consume the good nutrients from vegetables and that, which your body requires. Andtry to have a balanced diet.

HOWEVER- don’t obsess too much. For a start it is Easter so allow yourself to eat more chocolate than what you would usually. Meanwhile don’t get so anxious about gaining weight due to being at home where the snacks are all day. Chances are, if you’re eating a balanced diet as it is, you aren’t going to crave tonnes and tonnes, and if you are eating a little more thenso be it. Might as well get some enjoyment out of lockdown.

It is just sad really how many people, especially teenage girls, are so worried about gaining weight anyway, especially during this period. Surly it is more important to be safe and happy!

10. Don’t be ashamed to open up about how you are feeling

So as effective as these distractions can be, there is nothing worse than keeping everything bottled up. Especially people suffering with mental illness can have the tendency to do so, then all of a sudden it will have detrimental effects on them. But who can you talk to? I think the best thing to do is to talk to family members or friends who you trust, even about the slightest concern- simply to get it out of your system. Worrying about the effect it may have on them is unnecessary I think, because everyone knows that it will cause worries for everyone, and someone who you are close to would much rather listen to what you are feeling, than seeing your health deteriorate. And somethimes they may be more worried if you aren’t saying anything anyway! And only 2 minutes of venting a day really can make the difference of getting some of it out of your system to “stay sane”.

However I know that not everyone is fortunate enough to have people close to them that they trust, or feel comfortable enough to open up to them about any concerns. And this is unfortunate, but if this is the case with you- then you don’t have to “suffer in silence”. For a start I know there are many support networks online; where you can ring up and someone is there for support, however there are also many Mental health help accounts on networks like Instagram. You may feel that people who run these accounts may be suffering with illness already, and won’t want an increased weight on their shoulders, however I am sure that many people would feel more than happy to listen etc. And I think this often provides benefits to these people too!

11. Make use of your “permitted outdoor exercise” or use your garden

Ok, I personally think that getting outdoors can be so beneficial. I know that for some people, spending all day indoors at home can trigger depression.

So first of all, if you have a garden,, now is the time to get outside and use it! Especially if you are living in the UK, as we have happened to have such nice weather so far, which is very unusual for Easter! So now is the time to appreciate the garden and the outdoors.

Whereas if you don’t have a garden, or if the space in it is very limited, then this is a little controversial…but I personally think it is ok to go for a walk. At least it is legal. Now some of you may legitimately argue that if there’s more people milling about on the streets, then there’s more people who are going to be at rick from catching this virus. But I feel, although this is true, if we stick to more quiet areas, preferably during times where there would be fewer people out, then it is perfectly ok. Also preferably close to home.

It is very possible to distance responsibly in most public open spaces. And although often it can feel like you are being bombarded with opinions hostile to people who 2dont stay at home”, I think it is looking at health in general. And if not going outside can trigger worse mental health, you have every right to go outside. Or even if it is to have a breather and take care of yourself. Plus the majority of people who advoke “stay at home” are referring to large gatherings rather than someone alone, with a dog, or family members having a walk in the forest where barely anyone goes. Or round the streets.

12. Allow yourself to have a laugh

Although we are all too aware on how serious this situation is, I genuinely think it is ok to still have a laugh. Whether related to the virus (hopefully indirectly though), or otherwise. It will just help to keep more positive spirits up, and I mean there’s nothing wrong with finding the fact that there are goats wandering around the streets in Wales, funny.

Coronavirus | A village in Wales (United Kingdom) has been invaded ...
Goats pictured, taking over a town in Wales
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