“Self-care” – 4. & 5. On sweat, my favourite yoga videos, and eating less pizza

Here’s the third post in my “self-care” series, after I wrote last week that although the term “self-care” wasn’t in my childhood or teenage vocabulary, it’s become something I’ve learned is crucial, from listening to wonderful podcasts and reading great blogs on “lifestyle design”, mental health issues, and figuring out how to live and breathe in today’s changing and demanding world.

For the next week or so, I’m going to share some of the best things I do to give myself a little space, even when I’m so busy or anxious I feel like I barely have time to pause. Today, food and exercise (SIGH).

  1. Reducing carb and sugar intake, aka, limiting my Franco Manca visits

(Credit: Pexels.com)

There are more arguments around this than people on the planet, but basically, through trial and error and diets and periods of eating rubbish I’ve found that I feel better and healthier if I generally avoid carbs with my food about 90% of the time. Everyone has to do what works for them.

I’m still fatter than I want to be and I still have a serious sweet tooth (and bread tooth, and cheese and gin) but even leaving behind all the crap about Atkins and paleo and cutting out food groups and ascribing morality to certain foods – top tip, don’t do it – I know that I feel better if I don’t eat pasta, bread, potatoes or rice, or any of their friends.

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I got nominated for a Liebster blog Award! :)

So I got nominated for a Liebster Award! I didn’t even know that was a thing! But it is, and now I know what it is, I’m very grateful! *claps*

As I have learned, via the wonder that is Google, the Liebster Award is a way for bloggers with fewer than 200 followers to celebrate other small bloggers, and “pay it forward” in acknowledging blogs they know (and, dare I say it, like to read).

(If you’re reading this because I nominated you, and you have more than 200 followers, then I’m sorry, please only take it as a compliment! I know that a couple of the people I nominated have WAY more followers than that, but it was just because I was desperate to include you because of how inspiring I find you! So please just carry on with your awesome self.)

You then have to answer, and ask, a bunch of questions from the blogger who nominated you, and then nominate other bloggers, with the aim of sharing a bit of yourself in the blogging community and (hopefully, very hopefully) creating more stuff that other people want to read, and more awareness of the award. Maybe some people would see it as a pain in the butt, but I think it’s pretty cool.

Thanks to the lovely theodd1in who nominated me – it’s so great to know that at least some people like your blog enough to remember it, even if extremely briefly.

I don’t write with a specific audience in mind, and am largely aware I’m basically shouting into a void, but it’s nice to know that there are some people out there sometimes!

Anyway. ONWARDS!

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I’m loving: 40 things that make corgis happy


Source of happiness: 40 Things That Make Corgis Happy

Blame it on the Queen, blame it on my recent and reluctant less-than-republican tendencies, blame it on science; gender, hormones or just plain pure silliness – but I absolutely freaking LOVE corgis. Unbelievably cute, indescribably fluffy, silky, and quite simply the happiest, most hilarious dogs ALIVE. At some point in the distant future, when /if I ever manage to work freelance/from home and therefore don’t need to sit at a desk a good hour’s-plus commute away from my house – meaning that I am at home for a good portion of the day and therefore able to own a dog without subjecting it to neglect or abandonment issues – I aim to own one of these beautiful, proud, gorgeous – and let’s face it – just a teeny bit silly, animals.

In the meantime, sadly, posts such as this one (link also below) will just have to do – and, in all fairness, they do very well ‒ managing to boost the cuteness factor times a billion without me actually having the responsibility of keeping another living thing alive (I’ve killed goldfish through over-feeding, and even basil plants tremble on my approach; so really, at this point, I’m thinking blogposts are probably the safer option. Sigh.)

Link: 40 Things That Make Corgis Happy (Buzzfeed)

Vagenda: There’s hope for women’s magazines yet

If there’s something my ‘I’m Loving’ category was made for, it’s new ‘blog’ magazine (would we say ‘blogazine’? Pushing it slightly, perhaps? Hmm), Vagendamag.blogspot.com.

Vagenda screenshot

Vagenda..."Like King Lear...but for girls"

A hilarious and pithy array of comments, features, rants, letters, satire and spoofs, it sends up the stupidest, most nonsensical, hypocritical elements of the women’s magazine industry and all its friends, with special emphasis on the surreptitious ways in which it sets back the cause of feminism by several decades every single month.

Don’t get me wrong, I myself want to work in magazines, and I don’t want to tar them all with the same brush, or say that absolutely everything held within their covers is complete rubbish. While I am a deeply committed follower of the gloriousness that is Psychologies Magazine, I will happily admit that an evening in with Glamour (which, despite its title, in this country delivers a less-shallow or aggravating read than competitor Marie Claire, which has gone seriously downhill into shameless fashion-adoration in recent years) can be a light, if intellectually unchallenging, way to unwind.

As has been said at length already by many others more skilled with a keyboard than me, being a feminist doesn’t mean rejecting all the trappings of womanhood, and never appreciating the relevance of stories on PMS, dating, which mascara will help you look less shattered of a morning, methods of contraception, whether to have kids now or later, and bemoaning the shit boys do while looking heart-meltingly hot in jeans*.

But a passing appreciation for all that jazz doesn’t mean that I don’t share the Vagenda writers’ deep disdain for the ridiculously patronising way certain publications talk to their readers: the shameless advertising that goes against all the ‘love yourself’ messages that the editorials ostensibly proclaim; the sycophantic celebrity interviews or the constant ‘diet’ advice. The often-demeaning and simplistic suggestions dished out as a response to ‘women’s problems’; the token ‘politics and investigative journalism’ features that get a grand total of one-to-two pages sandwiched between the never-ending fashion ‘must-haves’ ‒ and above all, the slightly unhinged obsession with beauty, makeup and clothes that cost more than the average person’s living wage, which for some ridiculous reason have been deemed as only looking worthwhile on a size 6, five foot eleven model (or, worse, some ‘curvy’ woman held up for all as having the new ‘perfect body’ ideal, each time as unattainable for millions of women than the last).

And don’t even get me started on the slow inexorable slide from initially-ironic usage of words such as ‘OMG!!!!’, to the full-blown daily shitstorm of utterly vacuous, ‘so totes amaze’ bollocks and other linguistic gems designed to reduce the female reader to little more than a well-dressed, simpering creature of consumption with nought but a passing interest in anything remotely meaningful or even mildly grammatical. It started the day Glamour put ‘OMG’ on its front cover, and it’s been on a downward spiral ever since.

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Johann Hari and plagiarism: What implications for journalism?

This article first appeared here in The Commentator

Journalist Johann Hari

Johann Hari - in hot water?

When does journalism cross the line into plagiarism? The author William Ralph Inge, in a pleasingly-modern, under 140-character missive, once wrote: “Originality is undetected plagiarism”.

When it comes to writing, who’s to say that an apparently-sparkling turn of phrase is not simply the cleverly-worded, and wholly acceptable, culmination of all other ideas to which we’ve been witness thus far?

Enter Johann Hari (left), Independent columnist, darling of the Left and Orwell Prize winner extraordinaire, whose views on everything from the IMF to why Republicanism is Britain’s only sensible option frequently light up the Twittersphere with their biting assessments.

This week, however, the micro-blogging phenomenon has once again proven that where Twitterers go, the news can only follow – and at the centre of the latest gathering storm, Hari himself, unwitting subject of the mighty hashtag, #interviewswithHari.

At lunchtime, it started trending. And then, as is Twitter trends’ wont, all hell broke loose.

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Better late than never: My first proper blog post

An Indian elephant in London Town

An Indian elephant in London Town

Ok, so this is my first blog piece. It’s just a test, as it’s 02:08 in the morning (my computer impassively informs me) and I’ve just been faffing around with WordPress for the past 2 hours, gradually giving myself eyestrain and neck-ache, no doubt. However, it does look like I might have the beginnings of a blog, so although the fonts are annoying me and I haven’t got it all worked out yet, watch this space.