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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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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Arm Chair Football Punditry – ‘If they’d have followed our advice, they’d be winning 8 nil by now!’

I will start this post with an explanation as why I have been away for so long.  My university exam season took hold, the time of year when I lock myself away, see no one and become an obsessed maniacal revision fiend.  However I am now finished, out of hiding and ready to pass my opinions.

Now for my return post – my victim is Euro 2012 – a four yearly footballing championship.  A championship that the fans among us will become convinced England have a chance at the title.  The media – television, radio, newspapers, special Euro 2012 features etc etc will all fuel this dream.  Why? Because England won the world cup in 1966!  In the commentary from Ukraine vs England, England qualify for the quarter finals and are ‘unbeaten and unbreakable.’  A fairly OTT assessment of a 1-1 draw with France, a fairly sketchy 3-2 win against Sweden and a slightly improved 1-0 against Ukraine.  But perhaps I’m just being negative.

The armchair football expert

Now I will not lie, I will enjoy Euro 2012 as much as I can.  I will hope England will do well.  I might even get excited (to an extent).  But I will not climb on the ‘rampant optimism’ band wagon.  Rather than get overly excited and eventually sinking into a state of depression when England manage to clutch defeat from the jaws of victory, I prefer to watch and observe the behaviour of menfolk.  Now this may be a sweeping generalisation but my male counterparts seem to, now that Euro 2012 is upon us, have become footballing experts – all believing themselves to be the next England manager.  In fact, they appear to believe themselves to be better than the current manager himself.  Although don’t get your hopes up boys, you won’t see ‘England manager’ pop up on the guardian jobs website any time soon.

Exhibit A – the brother.  Normally a minor football follower, supporter of Liverpool FC but only to support someone, prefers cricket.  However now Euro 2012 has come round, this minor football fan has become something of a football pundit – in his mind at least.  Comments during England vs. Ukraine have included ‘if we are to persist with route one football, we need someone who is good in the air – bring on Andy Carroll’ and ‘he’s never going to beat Hart from that range’.  What?  Now when I last checked my younger brother was NOT a football pundit, commentator, expert etc.  However he seems to have assumed this role since the beginning of this tournament.   I can only conclude he will get worse if England are to progress past the group stage.

Euro 2012

This does however lead me onto my next rant!  Why do football fans (or any other sports fans for that matter) insist on using the term ‘we’ – ‘we’re going to score’, ‘Looks like we’re going to cash in here’,  ‘we are looking poor up front’ etc.   May I point out that just because one chooses to wear an England shirt, does NOT mean you are on the team.  WE ARE English but WE ARE NOT England!  But that rant over, I shall move on to exhibit B.

The father.  Now this man becoming an expert is even more ridiculous than the brother.  This is a man who, as rule despises club football, claiming it to be boring.  This is also a man who has been known on several occasions to fall asleep, chin on chest, during England internationals.  Therefore for this man to suddenly don the crown of ‘football extraordinaire’ during big championships is absurd.  Yet without knowledge, or much genuine interest in the sport, the commentary emanating from his prime seat on the sofa is interesting to say the least.  Remarks have included ‘all of my comments have been erudite and well informed’, ‘terrible goalkeeping’ and ‘even I would have headed in Rooney’s first chance’.  A true football pundit?  The new England manager perhaps?  Well if you can be an expert after watching one match, sitting on the sofa, I suppose anything is possible.

Rooney euro 2012

And finally the worst culprit – the boyfriend.  I will give him credit though where credit is due, he does know a lot about football and sport in general.  An avid follower of Newcastle United, with knowledge of every football player, championship and result – however even with his knowledge, he still is not England manager.  I think he forgets that playing football manager on his laptop and FIFA on playstation does not constitute work experience.  This armchair England manager is worst of all, with the constant spouting of statistics.

I hope England win, I really do, but if not, at least I’ve been entertained not necessarily by the football, but by my armchair football pundits!

 Follow me on twitter: @LucyBarclay1

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