The lazy weekend hangover

21 02 2011

I usually have one night out of a weekend, but with a weekend in Cardiff for the 6 nations match against Ireland fast approaching I decided to stay off the drink until then.

This morning I’m discovering that you can have a hangover without drinking.

I had lots of plans for the weekend – move my files from my old broken laptop to my new one, sort out my clothes and take some to a charity shop, scrub the bath and sink…and how much did I achieve? Zilch, zero, nada, nothing!

I stayed up late watching films then lay in through my alarm clock. I cooked lunch, decided to go to town to an art gallery and then spent a few hours cooking an elaborative dinner. None of these were on my ‘to do’ list and so I sit here thinking about the long list of things I need to achieve this week.

So much like a drink related hangover I’m left thinking “Why?” and regretting parts of my weekend, but thankfully my bank balance didn’t take its usual weekend hit.


Skin Savvy

25 01 2011

 I’ve been using moisturisers since I was 14 because I have patches of dry skin on my face harking back to my childhood when I suffered from terrible eczema. I also have very sensitive skin and have tried expensive products that feel like putting acid on my face, so no matter how expensive the cream I always return to my faithful Nivea Crème. I put a layer of it on my face before bed and I awake with my skin feeling fresh and less dry. 

As a nation we spend thousands on beauty lotions and potions to make ourselves look younger and more attractive, but I read today that researchers have found that eating your fruit and veg is not only good for your insides, they can make you look good too.

Researchers at St Andrews and Bristol University in the UK found that people with a yellow skin tone were seen as the most healthy and attractive people. They found that carrots and plums are rich in carotenoids which give your skin this yellow glow, making you appear more attractive and healthy. The fruit and veg that bring on this yellow skin hue include carrots, plums, mangoes, apricots, sweet potatoes and spinach. 

I’m not sure if yellow skin is more attractive than pink skin and if you eat too many carrots you could be more orange than yellow (although you wouldn’t look out of place on the streets of Dublin.) What about Afro Caribbean skin – I assume that doesn’t turn orange. 

My own personal view about beauty products is that the state of your skin is down to genetics and diet and no amount of whatever amount the latest beauty cream you use you can’t stop the aging process. What many of these products do is fill in the valleys on your face so there’s less of a shadow and so less of a visible wrinkle.

Let’s face it – a pot of cream is never going to make you magically look younger and if you don’t believe me listen to the scientists who dispute many of the big brand claims –

Leaving an age of apathy

30 11 2010

History is my blood, in truth it’s a part of all of us, but since the day I began borrowing books from my small local library in north Wales the majority of them have been history ones. This love continued and I went on to study history at university. However, unlike a lot of my class I would doodle and daydream when the teacher talked of kings and queens. I didn’t care for royalty or the famous, I loved to hear about the lives of the ordinary folk, I was always wondering what would I be doing if I was born 100 years before.

I grew up watching footage of events in programmes chronicling the 20th Century and remember scenes of people standing up for themselves and making change – whether it was the civil rights movement in the United States, the Vietnam war protests or the students protesting in France in May 1968. I wanted to be there, I wanted to be a part of history, a part of change, change for the better.

My first opportunity came at 16 when a group of about seven of us protested the cut in courses in our college. The next was a protest against the building of holiday homes in my area which were to be built on a site of special scientific Interest. However, none of these really changed much – the college decided not to cut the courses anyway and planning permission was never given for the houses.

University is full of protesting potential, but not in my case. It seems I was there at the wrong time. While we were the first students to pay tuition fees nobody kicked up a huge fuss. We were given easy credit –banks filled the fresher’s fair hall and they gave us as many credit cards as we wanted (with a free gift of course). So we spent, and spent, and spent. By the end of the first year we were comparing how in the red our bank balances were while eating in restaurants we paid for on our cards.

I craved action and signed up for classes on the Spanish Civil War, the civil rights movement, even one on  The Great Cat Massacre (not ideal for a lifelong cat lover). I became head of the history society and organised talks by veterans of the international brigade, but while I soaked up the stories of the people involved in change my own generation was apathetic and could hardly muster enough energy to vote.

The only opportunity to be a part of something big came on February 15th 2008 when I marched on the streets of London against the Iraq War, but as most of my contemporaries said “It won’t change anything.”

So this is why I have to admire the students who are making their voices heard, wherever they may be. I know people who let a little bit of snow at the weekend stop them showing their anger about one of the biggest events to shape Irish history. This is my generation

So, I’m happy to see a new generation coming through who won’t sit quietly and do as they’re told.  Perhaps we’re finally leaving an age of apathy and entering one where the people shape history.

Why I took to the streets of Dublin

29 11 2010

I love Ireland. It’s a part of my heritage (my mother is Irish) and I spent much of my childhood in Dublin going to school in Walkinstown for a year and spending my summers with my grandparents.

Since my first journey on the ferry from Holyhead I took as a baby I have seen Ireland change: the years when women sold lighters on Henry Street “four for a pound”, the opening of the new shopping centre in Tallaght, the switch to the Euro and later the boom years.

I moved to Dublin in 2007 to further my education. The city was doing well, but had lost much of the identity I remembered from my childhood. The women selling items from prams were gone, some of the Irish shops we used to frequent were replaced by big name retailers selling clothes at higher prices than the UK and the small corner shop with the family name was boarded up.

But in the years since I arrived things have turned again and you can see the changes all around you, from the closed shops to the increase in homeless people on the streets.

When I finished my course in 2008 I got a minimum wage job and tried to make ends meet. I could just pay my rent, but had little money for nights out or for trips back to Wales.  I got another job so I could have extra cash and ended up working from 9am to 11pm and arriving home at midnight. I have never been so tired in my whole life.

So when I heard the government plans to cut the minimum wage I was disappointed.  I can understand that there are people who are already struggling to make ends meet and now they’ll have to cut back even further.  I am angry that the Irish government’s methods of saving money attacks the people who can least afford it and doesn’t take enough from the overpaid fat cats who partied during the good times and don’t want to pick up the bar tab.

That is one of the reasons why I was one of those who took to the streets on Saturday to make sure the government know and the rest of the world can see that the people think that this is not acceptable.

10 thoughts for a Monday 11/10/2010

11 10 2010

1 I think this is going to be a great week (my birthday week)

2 There are a lot of magpies around at the moment. 1 for sorrow, 2 for joy…

3 Pregnant women in large groups are quite scary.

4 I would like to find a masterpiece behind my sofa (

5 Justin Bieber has to be the most whiney musician in the world.

6 People get stressed over the smallest things, such as postcodes.

7 We actually have very little say on the final result of the X Factor – deal with it!

8 I would like a Fleur de Lis Tiffany Key for my birthday or Christmas.

9 I can’t look at social pictures without the song ‘Being a Dickhead’s Cool’ popping into my head.

10 I am always surprised by how little common sense some people have and how they manage to get by in daily life.

10 thoughts for a Monday 16/8/2010

16 08 2010

1 Shane MacGowan is not a healthy colour

2 I can’t stand Foursquare updates, especially on Facebook

3 Why do people video shows on phones or cameras rather than enjoying the moment.

4 Prawn cocktail crisps and hummus don’t really go together.

5 Castles in Ireland and Wales are very different. But this is a good thing.

6 Jack Lemmon was a good looking guy in his prime.

7 I didn’t know Russ Abbot was still alive.

8 Captan Morgan should sell their Dark Rum in Ireland.

9 I should go to bed before midnight when I have work the next day.

10 Why is the person you really, really want to talk to never on Facebook chat when I am?