Next Year I Promise I Will NOT …

2013 is approaching and as I look back on the past year I find myself reflecting on what went well and what did not.  So the done thing is to make some new year’s resolutions.    The same time last year I promised myself I would start running, eat healthily, find my degree interesting and stop biting my finger nails.  By the 5th January I was sat in front of the TV in my newly purchased running gear, eating a 1 kilogram bar of dairy milk chocolate, in a deep state of denial about the large pile of books on the French Revolution lying on my desk, whilst intermittently biting my finger nails in a state of panic about my other three resolutions.  It is safe to say that this trend continued well into 2012.

It's safe to say this was not me!

It’s safe to say this was not me!

This year I’m not going to set myself resolutions in the traditional sense, I’m going to make a promise to myself about what I am NOT going to do!  I see it as channelling my inner whiner!  But these are definitely my top three.

Number 1 – I refuse to be inspired!

A hasty statement perhaps but I will explain.  I watched the Olympics, I enjoyed the Olympics, I believed with no training or commitment I could become the next Jess Ennis.  In short it is fair to say I felt the Olympics was inspiring, but my inspiration only went as far as buying some trainers!  So when I say I refuse to be inspired.  What I actually mean is I refuse to be inspired, spend money on my new inspiration and fail to commit to the cause.

Number 2 – I will NOT think up ridiculous money making schemes!

I say this as I have a penchant for believing, as exhibited by my Olympics example that I do not need to plan things.  In my wisdom I thought I could write a book in 2 weeks, send it to a publisher and be a millionaire before returning to university in October.  One small problem was that I didn’t actually have an idea for a story; but knew that 50 shades of Grey had been a big seller, so set about writing my own version.  It is safe to say that 50 shades of brown remains in a state of permanent incompleteness!

Number 3 – I will not embark upon DIY skin care projects!

Now when I say DIY skin care I mean, in essence homemade face masks.  Lidl at some point in 2012 had avocados for sale at about 30p each.  I thought ‘bargain!’ so bought 5.  Of course having not thought the process through I couldn’t think of anything to make with avocado except guacamole.  So they stayed in my fridge for 2 weeks before I hit upon the idea of making a facemask.  The face mask was a combination of avocado, natural yoghurt and honey – a recipe I wish I had never  found on the internet.  I mixed up as it said to do and applied to my face.  Unfortunately the avocado pieces were too heavy and gravity came into play.  I had pieces of avocado falling into my eyes, mouth, lap and covering the table I was working at with a thick unpleasant, lumpy, green paste.  And to top it all off when it was removed – my face was just sticky – Not a success!

Face mask take 2:  the turmeric disaster!  This one was truly the worst of all, I forget the other ingredients but I know there was turmeric.  I mixed it all together, applied to the face and left for 30 minutes.  Unfortunately upon removing the facemask I was made aware of the fact that turmeric stains.  I was yellow for a week!

Sigh!

New-Year-2013-Frog

Happy New Year Everyone!

Follow me on Twitter @LucyBarclay1

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Boobs, Bums and Lady Gardens AKA The Naked Calendar

We all remember calendar girls – back then the naked calendar was somewhat taboo.  Yet now everyone seems to be doing them. A great way to make money, especially as it gives everyone the chance to have a giggle – even if it is at your own expense.

So of course on Saturday morning I found myself walking in the torrential rain to the University Students Union to bare all for charity.  At about 10.22am I am beginning to question why I agreed to this, however at this point I was already there – so turning back was no longer an option.  Radio broadcast on the other hand was.

In my bag were two cuddly toys to cover my lady parts, thankfully they were large enough for the task despite my failure to check beforehand.  Before I knew what was going on the clothes were off and poses were being struck.  A fairly liberating experience yet intensely bizarre – one of those things to cross of the bucket list, even if like me, you’re not 100% sure it was on there in the first place. One more thing tried, one less thing to do, one more thing to be embarrassed about!

Schubert and Sergei used to cover my lady parts

Despite the embarrassing laugh I had at my own expense, talking to others I found that some people are certainly not keen on the naked calendar idea.  T would seem there are concerns that people would be intimidated by others bodies and perhaps bullying would occur.  In my mind this is not the case.  We’re not posing for page 3 after all – you can’t see anything, in my own experience two cuddly toys were covering my top half whilst Bridget Jones style knickers were covering everything else – so very far from sexy, I’m hardly going to be the centrefold of next weeks playboy magazine!

Concerns aside the naked calendar continues to be a money maker and popular fundraiser for charities.  If people will buy the calendars and people will take part in them – why not?

Has the naked calendar had its day?  Do they promote the wrong ideas about body image?  Or are they just a great fundraising idea and a bit of a laugh?

Follow me on twitter @LucyBarclay1 

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5 Reasons to Love the Run Up to Christmas … But not Christmas!

It may be cold, the temperature has most certainly taken a turn for the worse, and it may be raining.  But there are reasons to like the period before Christmas  however do not think this post has anything to do with Christmas.  The Christmas adverts have already begun to grace our television screens, the Christmas lights are up in the shopping centres everywhere and the Christmas gift sets (which of course you can only buy at Christmas time) have started making their way into every shop, even the exclusively Christmas shops are making their return to our high streets   Its just too early!  Maybe that’s because I’m not Christmas’ biggest fan, I don’t do my Christmas shopping in April and I prefer to write a standardized group Christmas email rather than personalised, individual cards.  Lets face it, I’ve just summed up who I am – Scrooge.

Scrooge

Despite this lack of Christmas cheer I seem to posses  I do get excited about somethings at this time of year (even if it does sadden me that the sun no longer seems to shine – nor will it until May!)

1.  Back to Education!  Why? For me its not necessarily the education aspect that excites me, more the moving back to my uni house.  I’ve had a taste of independence and I love it.

2. Halloween.  Why?  Halloween is great, I’m not a believer in sexy over scary at Halloween.  Scary or even funny is most certainly my choice.  This year myself and a friend donned the yellow body paint, and went as Despicable Me’s yellow minions.  Definitely got us a few laughs (even if people did think we were odd looking Simpsons characters)

Halloween Pumpkin Carving

3.  Bonfire Night – quite frankly I love the fireworks.  Every year without fail we will sit out dressed in our thermals in a vain attempt to keep warm.  Often our thermals will be accompanied by a large umbrella as the rain lashes down – what us humans will do to see pretty things eh?

4.  Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland – now I have to say the Christmas element I find less exciting but an open air ice rink, a hog roast tent and some kind of exciting fairground ride, what more do I need to say?

5.  Heating comes on! Summer is quite frankly never warm enough here in the UK, huddling next to a warm radiator with a hot chocolate is in all honestly, a heavenly experience (until you get the heating bill of course)

Follow me on twitter: @LucyBarclay1

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#cardiffhalf

10am this morning I can hear cheering, the runners from the Cardiff Half Marathon are making their way up my road.  These are the first of 18,000 to make their way round the 13 mile course laid out for them on the streets of Cardiff.   It was like the Olympics had come again – Just this time I had a front seat.

I was tired just watching them, its lucky my house was just there, I was able to cook my breakfast and brew a trusty cup of tea to keep me going!  We tried desperately to cheer on everyone, but people just kept on coming.  After a while we had to make the executive decision to start cheering for those in costumes, I can’t remember how many gorrillas, Batmen, Robins, Spidermen, Bannanas, Kermit the Frogs etc etc I’ve seen this morning. Just so many, but for so many good causes. Well done to  all who ran! Amazing achievement!

#cardiffhalf

Race entries for 2013 have opened http://www.cardiffhalfmarathon.co.uk/

Follow me on twitter: @LucyBarclay1

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Twitter a Neverending Story (in 140 Characters or Less)

I have to say before getting twitter I wasn’t exactly sold!  Why would you want a Facebook without any of the good stuff, just why?  Even now having had twitter since December, I wouldn’t claim it was my greatest love, I’m not a twitterholic just yet.

While I will admit twitter is not my greatest love, neither is it my arch nemesis.  Twitter can be useful to you, but only (let’s face it) if you don’t constantly tweet instagrams of your dinner – Not cool!

Twitter, Facebook without the good stuff?

So why is twitter good?

  1. You can network with potential employers – even people you haven’t met in person.  Just remember you can tweet anyone.
  2. Improves your writing. Why?  Because twitter has a limited character count, you have to be concise!
  3. Use it to create traffic for your blog or website – tweet your posts!
  4. Building your personal brand
  5. Lets you see your own life as other people do – Gives you almost a new focus when you have to condense what you’re doing into 140 characters or less!

But why is twitter bad?

  1. Obsession – you can end up twitter stalking, just scrolling through page upon page of tweets
  2. Have you got a smart phone or push notifications?  If you have you won’t need this point explaining – the sheer number of noises your phone starts making is enough to drive anyone insane
  3. Tweeting an endless stream of photos of nothing – tweeting has to be of worth to your followers to use it to your own benefit
  4. One for the pretentious – there are claims that peoples use of twitter is damaging their ability to use real language – let’s face it with a maximum character count of 140 there is a tendency to be drawn into the use of slang!

As with everything there are good and bad sides to Twitter, we’ve all just got weigh up those pros and cons.  As I said before I neither love nor hate twitter – just don’t expect 100 tweets a day from me. I can’t even imagine I would have 100 things interesting enough for me to deem worthy of twitter everyday – I’m just not, nor will I ever be a living, breathing twitter machine.

Is your tweeting worthwhile?

Any thoughts on the use of twitter or any other social media for that matter?

Follow me on twitter: @LucyBarclay1

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Disabled or just differently abled?

Apologies for the long gap between this and my last post, life suddenly took over!  A bit out of date but I think still relevant.  An article I wrote for newspaper on whether the Paralympics will have any lasting impact on people’s perception of the disabled.  As always, feel free to comment!

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“I do not deny that Paralympians have shown us all what can be achievable in the face of extreme adversity.

I do not deny that they have the potential to become heroes and an inspiration to us all.  But as the glamour of the games quickly fades away, the long entrenched prejudices and perceptions of the disabled remain.  This cannot be altered in just eleven days – fact.

One could argue perhaps callously that by holding the games at all only serves to widen the gap between the abled and the disabled.  Why?  We do not see the accomplishments of these Paralympians in terms of just achievement.  A fact of course which does not hold true for the Olympic games.  We see these athletes as amazing because of their disability – ‘oh look what he did even though he’s in a wheelchair’.  In my mind this does not alter perceptions, it merely reinforces the idea that these athletes are disabled. In order to make true leaps towards altering perceptions we must see people in terms of ability not disability.  The Paralympics while of course emphasising achievement in the face of adversity inadvertently emphasises achievement because of adversity.

An unfortunate irony of the London 2012 Paralympics is that London itself is not truly accessible to the disabled.  Try being a wheelchair user and attempting to use the tube for example.  This of course is one of many more pressing concerns for disabled people.  To broadcast eleven days of Paralympic sporting achievement, whilst I hope proves to be an inspiration to many, puts the interest of an elite minority above the concerns of the majority.  11 days of sporting achievement does not change the reality for many disabled people.  The Paralympics does not articulate the emotional effects of disability in its more negative forms, nor does it articulate the real concerns of many disabled people facing day to day tasks.

Disabled people are facing the terrifying prospect of 20% government cuts, should the coalition push ahead with plans to abolish the Independent Living Fund in 2015.  With this in mind I find it hard to believe becoming a Paralympian is top of the agenda for many. And in that respect, no the Paralympics will not, in my opinion having any lasting impact on people’s perception and approach to the disabled.”

Follow me on twitter: @LucyBarclay1

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Making Life an Adventure …

Just a short post today about what inspires me.

What does inspiration mean?  According to the dictionary, inspiration is somewhat philosophical calling on areas of theology and grand ideas.

Dictionary Definition

Now I don’t agree with the complexity of that definition it fails to really get the message across.  Inspiration comes in many forms, it doesn’t have to be something grand, it can simply be the sun inspiring you to go outside or at the other end of the scale, a great politician inspiring you to want to change the world.  Regardless of what it is that inspires you, I think inspiration is what makes the world go round.  Without inspiration we wouldn’t want to get up in the morning, nothing would happen and nothing would change.  Today my inspiration was simply the example above – the sun.  Its just something simple but why let its simplicity get in the way of its being inspiring?

   

   

  

   

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