Hydration is the Key to Success

As I sit watching Bridget Jones on TV, with her habit of cigarettes, terrible ideas about relationships and love and regular consumption of alcohol the idea of drinking myself doesn’t gravitate around red wine or gin and tonics, but water. I always struggle to drink and stay hydrated because I don’t feel discomfort at being parched, which has only gotten worse since I’ve moved out. That parents easily provide with bottles of sparkling by the litre in the basement isn’t a miracle, it’s a choice. One that’s a lot harder to follow up as a graduate in her first job in the biggest European city where having a car is utterly pointless.

Reese has the whole health thing down. Never mind she's drinking alcohol here

See! Reese has the whole health thing down

Hopefully with a doctor’s appointment next week to clear my ear (after smashing my ear drum, go me) I’ll be able to add to the whole health thing by resuming my earnest intention to swim every other day. And maybe do some classes at the local gym. When the referral to the back specialist comes through as well I’ll hopefully have my back sorted out too. Putting me back together piece by piece.

Other than that all is going well. Freshers finished at work a month ago almost, and it was swiftly followed by Black History Month. I’ve started going to choir on Thursdays though ill health has meant I have missed two out of four rehearsals – poor show! I also went up to York in a convergence of amazing Pine gals, to see Rachel and Lucy. It’s the first time since uni days that I was up till 4AM on a proper night out. I think the last time might sincerely have been Grad Ball in 2014. What a night that was!

The second generation

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We have Christmas coming up and New Years, but next thing is Babs visiting from Bournemouth on Sunday of next week. A shame it’s the day after Oktoberfeast, but I’m sure we’ll find fun things to do, London is always busy. And maybe I’ll just dream something up tonight, seeing as I’m off to bed now.

Could devolution be good for us?

According to this BBC post several counties’ councils are hoping to effect devolution in order to benefit everyone. I have a personal interest in this matter, as I used to live in beautiful Norwich, the epicentre of all that is exciting in Norfolk. Joining in this quest are Suffolk and also Essex.

Indubitably they are hoping to make positive changes by assuming responsibility over such matters as distribution of EU grants and other funds, or the management and creation of apprenticeships. Conversely there are concerns that the promises invoked by the bids are not realistic enough, especially in the Norfolk proposal, which according to the BBC’s article is rather vague.

My thought is, this could not just be good for the counties, who grow with the increase in responsibility, providing work places and a better insight into improving services because of their local insight; and local politics would become far more important, as elections would increase accountability even further. A move of devolution could be good for national politics.

Reducing areas of concern means that government could focus on national topics of contention, and could work to fix systems as a whole, than get caught up in the smaller scraps. The article does point out Whitehall is eager to be disassociated with unpopular financial decisions, such as cuts to various departments, but who says the impact has to be negative when under local management? I am cautiously optimistic, not just because of the locations having a special place in my heart, as I’ve extensively travelled in all three counties during my University years, but also because devolution gives everyone the chance to shine, and some places outside of East Anglia (*cough cough the capital cough cough*) really could use that opportunity.

Poor Little Us

Getting shafted while you’re young seems acceptable commonly because the young still have years ahead of them, when they can forgive how the older generations screwed them over. That doesn’t make these years now any more bearable, and what’s worse, that time ahead of us where we are supposed to forgive the older generations are pushing farther and farther back because of the precarious situation they’ve left all of us in.

Now how about that…

Old Economy Steve says it best – everything was better back in the day. It’s just a shame we don’t get credit for trying. Far from being an entitled generation we have buckled down as was expected of us. Austerity is for all, after all. But demographic changes cannot be ignored: the number of pensioners is growing.

Not just the pension system will be affected to our detriment, but also the health care system. The NHS will have to deal with a surge of patients affected majorly by ailments of old age. We have more cases of cancer-related deaths after all our efforts to eradicate cancer – because people live longer and they haven’t died of anything else yet.

I know I had a point with this and I can’t remember it anymore, but sometimes this displeasure at what’s happening just spills out. Maybe it would just be nice if those who were at the root of this problem were actually the ones who had to bail it out, rather than the general population. Where was the clause in the social contract that said I had to struggle getting onto the property ladder?

I’ll have something more constructive to say next time around, I hope.

The One… Where Ness is Grateful

I haven’t blogged in a while. That’s how it goes with me a lot. I’m busy, life happens, the blog becomes neglected. It’s always nice to know that life is busy, but I wish I had more time devoted to writing. I still write for Kettle Magazine, I’ve had some chances to write restaurant reviews because of places I’ve visited with friends, and Kettle has also organised some fun stuff, like getting to attend the Proms for a couple of concerts.

I’ve had more than six months with the Philosopher now. He’s wonderful, and lovely, and I am truly so very lucky to be with him. Some of that feeling, that I’m lucky to be with him, comes from self-doubt, which we are working through. Being together for this long seems to me that he truly likes me, and wants to see where this goes in a serious way, so I’m getting over the phase where you make sure to appear nothing less than perfect.

Affection 2

Having never ventured into relationship territory like this can be scary. I think that’s part of the insecurity. Not knowing what a relationship should be like at this point. It’s all well and good to see friends in situations like this, or what it’s like in movies or television shows, but living this is quite different. What’s even scarier is that despite having these self-doubts about whether I deserve the Philosopher when I think he could easily trade up, or whatever it is when I think it, is that he has no doubts that he’s the lucky one. What?

I suppose we do bond over How I Met Your Mother...

I suppose we do bond over How I Met Your Mother…

I sometimes wonder if he’s delusional, but that doesn’t stop me from being so happy that he’s with me. And as I operate on a strict no returns policy, the Philosopher will be responsible for me not blogging much in the future, I hope.

A Big Weekend

On Friday I made my way to my favourite place in the world: Norwich. It’s a bizarre thing that I love this city that is so much smaller than where I came from and is much smaller than where I currently happily live, but there is comfort in the knowledge that I can traverse my little world in Norwich by foot in an hour or two if I care to.

On Saturday the gang that was able to secure Big Weekend tickets to see Florence + the Machine and other acts gathered to make our way to Earlham Park, beloved host to other crowd pleasers like Sparks in the Park for Bonfire Night. Interesting is that hopefully the future will bring other exciting events there, maybe even with a permanent changing room for Taylor Swift?

Saturday at Earlham Park for the R1 Big Weekend (L-R: Chris, Weezy, Yogi, myself, Rachel and Elliot)

Sunday was less exciting to me, mostly because of the lack of music festivities around me (although I also spent far less money inappropriately on food), as well as a turn in weather as it started tipping up – not that you could tell from the picture below.

At the Fat Cat (L-R: Gemma, Percy and me)

The rain necessitated the use of the vehicle below. I wonder how long they’ll stick around.

Just hitched a ride in this bad boy #taylortaxi #courtesycabs #1989 #R1BigWeekend #TSwizzle #TaylorSwift #Norwich

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Sunday morning I caught up again with the Philosopher, as he had snagged some elusive Sunday tickets and was one day out of synch with me because of it. We brunched together at my favourite place in my favourite place, The Last Brasserie.

Glorious breakfast at the Last Brasserie, it's almost a tradition #onemoretime #yummy #Norwich

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And after a delightful brunch we set off back into the life of London commuters.

Still Here, Just Not Here

It’s been a while, blog. I’ve been busy. My laptop doesn’t charge any longer though, and by the time that I get home from work it’s not easy getting myself to cook food, let alone be the writer I used to be. I thought I would be able to finally write my crime novel when I had a shorter commute and all of that extra time, but I haven’t made any headway. I’m not reading much either, though I am persevering with the comics I get from my work colleague and the latest National Geographic Magazine issue I have.

But I want to make very clear that I’m not unhappy at all. In fact, everything that has kept me from doing those things firmly falls into the category of making me happy. The Philosopher and I went home to Norwich to attend our former faculty’s annual ball, where we let some of our friends know that we were a couple, and met up with closer friends to introduce one another and catch up.

Amy, Haylie and I – three generations of committee members

We also had the annual awards dinner at work a couple of weeks back, and our house-warming party at the flat. The weather has been quite good recently, so we visited an outdoor food fiesta in the form of the Model Market (here to stay till autumn hits) in Lewisham, but today it’s grey, dark and dismally rainy.

Soon I am back to Norwich for Radio 1’s Big Weekend, and I’ll be organising the residential programme for work which is happening mid-June. Once that has passed, I’ll be jumping into an aeroplane to see family end of June, beginning of July; and upon my return the rush of Freshers preparation will be upon us truly.

What’s most important, and I want to stress that again, is that I’m happy with all that’s going on with me. My family is still struggling with me not being in the same country any longer, and I may not be doing what they thought and what I once thought I would be doing. But that does not mean it’s not what I should be doing right now in fact. I do what I do well, I’m well esteemed, I enjoy it, and everything else is fitting into my life quite well. It would be nice to see my family equally appreciative of this, and just let me be some more, as an actual adult.

London Girl

I’ve now been a true London girl for a month. Living with friends and without parental supervision again is wonderful, but I have found out that in the absence of those people you know in your lives to take care of you, I have become those people. All of them. I pay bills to utility companies, and council tax, and I wash the dishes, and I squabble about the heating and leaving lights on, and I make my own packed lunches. I’ve realised that I’m perfectly equipped, in fact, to become a professional housewife (although that future is still rather far off, as much as I can picture myself content in that role).

Work is challenging, but I’ve apparently been impressing for three months, though I reckon the novelty of my German determination to have things in orderly processes might have worn off. I still want to make people believe that I am a wonderful contribution to the team naturally, so I keep working hard. The days of strictly staying off Facebook however have dissipated, as I integrated it into my workflow.

I’ve been eating well too, though I wonder how much my budget can actually afford it. Thankfully a lot of the foodie experiences have come by the grace of the Philosopher and his family, who certainly appreciate a well-cooked meal. I have also branched out with Imogen and Elliot and other work colleagues. Especially one of the Senior Management Team, James, has taken us under his wing, as fellow resident of the neighbourhood, and has invited us to after-work drinks and other fabulous occasions. However I would probably do well to cut out on the fancy foods, and start a work-out routine instead.

My parents are still having a hard time not having me around. It’s been tough on them, one child so close to home, then one child a whole body of water away. Especially Mum would prefer it if she could just jump in the car and visit me at a whim, but I feel like it is a healthy thing to develop my independence. Maybe having more financial security would appeal to my Mum more, but as I currently am self-sufficient, I feel I have nothing to worry about. But so long as I keep my perch on the Throne of Westeros, I should be fine. There’s never been a safer place to be, right?

“I’m scientifically wrong, but I have the right to be heard!”: How I don’t believe ‘Freedom of Speech’ applies to Falsehood

After reading the somewhat wordy (and hey, I suffer from the same condition, so I’ll already stick on my “Kettle” name-badge) blog post my friend Elliot wrote the other week about ‘Freedom of Speech’ I didn’t think I’d find myself writing about this topic at all, let alone shortly afterwards. It’s just that people are amazingly stupid. If you’re not keen on a somewhat scholarly discussion, then don’t read more. But I hope that you do.

Thank you, John Cleese, thank you. What is it about British John’s having an ability to put things so well?

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Working Academia-Adjacent

Working at a students’ union at a university sounds to the uninitiated like there’s a lot of contact with academia because, you know, university. Duh. Apart from the fact that especially my role is more about delivery on the social side of university life. There are some frustrations that come with that. I have heard people in conferences and trainings I have attended in the past week call the attending students “customers”. I fundamentally disagree with that notion. There’s also a bit of a disconnect within the different services that are offered to the students, whether from the university or external providers, which irks me, because we should all work together to deliver the best student experience within our possibilities.

The Union I’m with is really trying to fulfil that promise of delivering the best student experience through a constantly evolving programme. One of them is introducing a residential to which newly elected student representatives such as committee presidents and part-time officers are invited, in order to foster a stronger bond with the Union staff, and an opportunity to teach them what they need to know in preparation of the academic year ahead before that year actually commences. And funnily enough, while we are – if anything – academia-adjacent, I found myself reading about Jürgen Habermas in research about similar ventures by other students’ unions.

Once upon a time I was a Politics with Media student at the University of East Anglia, which coincidentally had such a good provision of service and seemingly cooperated well with other student services that they were recognised by it as #1 for student experience by the Times Higher Education rankings in 2012/2013. Politics, as hopefully most university students will be able to tell you, greatly rely on the theoretical understanding of power, which Jürgen Habermas is a resident expert in. I must have read Habermas for a handful of modules at least, it seems to me, and all of that was completely reluctant and without any further understanding to it. As university students go, I wasn’t exactly the brightest, and readings were the bane of my life, because they rarely were worth the effort when I could listen to my fellow seminar attendants and chime in with an example from real life once I knew what they were on about.

And here it is. Habermas in real life, and I finally get it. It’s a shame that this breakthrough has come now. My enjoyment of modules were compromised by the heady nature of some of the texts we had to peruse. You can chase me with Kant and Rousseau still. Marx was horrible, though studying capitalism’s effects on the tangible world was an absolute pleasure. But that’s the point. I know that it’s not in the remit of my current position, and I will probably have no influence on this ever in my life, but if there’s one piece of wisdom I could pass on to my kids when they go to university, as they inevitably will have to in order to gain the basic leg up in life for their own careers (unless they’re particularly gifted in some skill that circumvents the time “wasted” at university by jump-starting their life-long jobfulness) (and sorry for the run-on nature of this sentence but that’s just how I think), then it is this: Find the real-life application.

I’ve graduated more than half a year ago, and I find myself delighted in reading academic articles, because for the first time it’s not what the lecturers are telling me to do, but me following my own curiosity. (Okay, that’s painting a sour picture. I loved my studies as they were as well, lecturers and module choices included.) With the upcoming elections for instance, I read blogs by faculty members of my old School of Political, Social and International studies. For fun. I feel quite smart now. Thanks, UEA.

A Week’s Philosophy

The past week was Refreshers at my place of employment, and thus the first real test to my planning capabilities as Events Coordinator. Some of it was fantastic. Some of it was downright disappointing. I can take lessons to be learnt from this experience, and calculate the data and present it to everyone, but it won’t mitigate the feeling that underneath it all, I still feel like I’m not sure about what I’m doing.

Clearly that isn’t the impression my colleagues have. I was hired as the first choice, and must have thus been the most competent in the interview, but every time I am taken aside I always fear it’s about something bad, rather than something good, which it has been exclusively so far. I suppose I’ve been conditioned to expect the other shoe to drop, which doesn’t reflect too well on my life, and surprises me because I always perceived myself as a happy-go-lucky person with a positive attitude. That goes to show that you only know yourself as well as you let yourself.

While it was exciting enough to have Refreshers Week, I was also staying with the Philosopher for a bit more than half of the week. His parents were in their holiday home in Spain, after they had to postpone their winter vacation to care for the Philosopher’s dog in his last days. I was initially joking about the only reason I was staying was to ensure that the Philosopher wouldn’t die from malnutrition, as he is known not to eat any vegetables and very little fruit. I was determined to reform his culinary habits. I even attempted to garnish the pizza we ate on the first night with fresh ingredients, like bell peppers and cherry tomatoes – to no avail. We went straight to Dominos for the next two dinners (mainly because neither one of us could finish a regular pizza on our own).

More doughnuts! #krispykreme #yummy #food #workisawesome

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I suppose I didn’t help my diet by consuming readily available doughnuts at work.

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