26 Thoughts British Women Have in Summer

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Hi! This is just a random silly idea that popped into my head, based on how we British girls have been feeling about the heatwave in the UK recently. Hope you enjoy it, don’t take it too seriously ūüôā For this type of list post I was definitely influenced by Hannah Gale and the Buzzfeed type articles but obviously I have not intentionally copied anything!

1. Hey, it’s 22 degrees and sunny today!¬†Time for barbeques and Pimm’s and ICE CREAM.

2. FINALLY I can wear that cute playsuit.

3. Damn, I have to take off the whole flipping playsuit to go to the loo.

4. Hope I don’t burn *applies 100 layers of suncream.*

5. Might be time to use some sort of tanning product.

6.  Also time to paint my toenails to make my feet slightly less ugly in sandal season.

7.¬†Oh shit, now it’s 30 degrees and sunny. It’s too hot now. Abort, abort.

8. ¬†Fuck me it’s hot. I think I’m melting.*Stands in front of a fan for several minutes*

9. Oh my god, shade. Beautiful shade.

10. *Goes into a building with perfect air conditioning.* Can I move in here please?

11. The inside of this train is probably hotter than the actual sun.

12. I wish I had a jacuzzi and a Ferrari in this weather. I need to win the lottery.

13.¬†I can’t sleep. I’m actually quite tempted to go and sleep outside.

14.¬†I’m sleeping naked, cos yolo. Just not outside.

15. Ah crap, I need the window open. What about all the bugs and SPIDERS?!

16.¬†Holy shit, that’s a big moth.Not that I’m scared or anything.

17. I actually do want a cold shower.

18.¬†Let’s go to the beach! Ah, that refreshing coastal breeze.

19. 99’s are how much?!

20. *Struggles with hair being blown everywhere whilst trying to eat ice cream at the beach.*

21. Shit, a wasp Р*feels ridiculous whilst running from it.*

22. An extremely cold drink of anything is like drinking from a heavenly golden fountain of wonder.

23. I wish those Frappuccino/Ice Cold Costa things weren’t so high in sugar/calories. Plus they’re expensive.

24. Eh, fuck it. You have to treat yo self sometimes. *Drinks Frappuccino.*

25. I’m eating a lot of unhealthy food lately…I promise I’ll try to go for a morning run at 6am tomorrow to make up for it. Maybe.

26.¬†Oh, it’s raining and thundering now.

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Moved to Tears: An Hour To Save Your Life

Programme Name: An Hour to Save Your Life - TX: 04/03/2014 - Episode: n/a (No. 1) - Picture Shows: Preparing to attend an emergency call with London's Air Ambulance Dr MJ Slabbert - (C) Boundless - Photographer: Grab

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Moved to Tears.”

Hi! I thought I’d do today’s Daily Post writing prompt. It’s the first time I’ve done one of these and I’d love to do more, they suggest some really interesting topics.

Today’s prompt is: ‘Describe the last time you were moved to tears by something beautiful.’

I immediately thought of last night’s episode of ‘An Hour To Save Your Life‘ which is a BBC2 documentary which explores the life or death decisions medical workers face in the first critical hour of emergency care. I’ve only seen the last two episodes but this series has already moved me to tears in each episode. I didn’t cry for very long, but I was still deeply moved.

It sounds cheesy, and it’s often said; but life is short and precious. Everything can change in a split second.

Last week’s episode centred on three babies needing urgent medical care: Baby Alyssia is born ten weeks premature, baby Harley’s heart rate drops dangerously low during labour, and baby Evelyn is diagnosed with a life-threatening condition in the womb. I was gripped and saddened at the same time; the medical staff worked so quickly yet professionally as these tiny babies clung to life. Yesterday’s episode detailed three people who had been minutes from death: Victoria, who needed treatment then and there at the roadside after being run over, ¬†a young man critically injured in a car crash and a young woman who collapsed in the street after her heart stopped. Again, I was in awe of the amazing work the medics did. They¬†had to make tough decisions quickly on what to do and literally had lives in their hands, but they dealt with this pressure incredibly well.

But what really moved me to tears was the end of these episodes, when we find out what happened to the people involved and how they’re doing now. All three babies from the previous episode survived and are now doing well, including little Alyssia, who had underdeveloped lungs due to her prematurity but now looks happy and healthy.

All three people from last night’s episode survived, but the staff were unable to save Victoria’s leg. Seeing her emotionally express her gratitude to the staff for saving her life and saying that she felt lucky to be alive moved me to tears. I was reminded of the recent Alton Towers crash and how 17-year-old Leah Washington lost her leg in the accident. Obviously the compensation Leah will receive will do little to help with the anguish of losing her leg, and the emergency services should definitely have been called sooner after the crash, but like Victoria, Leah is still alive and there is still so much to live for. So please, don’t take life for granted.

As a side note, I know people complain about the NHS, but I really think it’s a fantastic thing. The UK is the only country in the world to have a national health service and it works. (I have no idea if the Tories are going to privatise it as has been rumoured, but I hope not.)

This is another thing which is said a lot, but I do really think medical workers deserve better pay. It’s not practical to give them footballer salaries but they do deserve more as they do such an important job. As I said in the 50 facts about me post on my other blog, I would love to be a doctor (as I love helping people) but I am too squeamish (and I would probably be emotionally affected as well) and not good at science. However I have so much respect for doctors, nurses, paramedics, midwives, fire fighters etc. This statement makes this blog post even cheesier, but I do think these people are sort of like everyday heroes, since they save lives every day for a living. What could be more rewarding than that? I wish I could do it myself. If I do one thing with my life, I’d like to at least make the world a better place in some way, even if it’s only with a small thing.

Lastly, I’d like to wish Leah Washington, Joe Pugh, Vicky Palch and Daniel Thorpe all the best with their recovery.

If you haven’t seen ‘An Hour to Save Your Life’ I’d definitely recommend checking it out, it’s brilliant. Here’s a link to it on Iplayer.

 

Random Pieces Of Music I Love

Hello! This is a random post, but I just fancied writing it. When I say random pieces of music, I mean instrumental ones rather than songs. As I mainly listen to songs it’s unusual to find a piece of music that I like enough to listen to again and again even though there’s no voice or lyrics to sing along to. (Not that I mime along to songs I love or anything…)

This is in no particular order…

1. ‘Shanghai Drive’ from Skyfall (2012)

I really liked Skyfall, the most recent Bond film,¬†and I remember loving the music that played during James Bond’s drive through Shanghai. This music is so cool. I don’t really know how to describe it, but it’s very spy-like. It builds up really well and sounds quite futuristic, but it still retains a Shanghai theme.

2. Death of Titanic from Titanic (1997)

This isn’t one I go back and listen to¬†regularly on YouTube like the others, and I haven’t actually watched Titanic in a while, but every time I do I feel like the music is brilliant. It maintains the same sort of ‘heart will go on’ tune throughout the buildup and the actual sinking scene (ironically I’m not a big fan of the actual song.) It builds up effectively for the crucial moments, especially when the ship splits in half and it swells in this particular way (at 4.31 in the video) that makes you almost identify with the way the people on the ship must have been feeling (like your stomach dropping.) It goes perfectly with every moment and helps you appreciate the tragedy of the disaster. It’s amazing how powerful music can be as while Mulan’s Decision (which I’m going to talk about next) seems to motivate me, this music makes me kind of anxious!

3. ‘Mulan’s Decision’/’Haircut’ from Mulan (1998)

If you haven’t seen this film, I would really recommend it even if you are a fully grown adult. It’s one of my favourite Disney films, and Mulan is an amazing protagonist. Unlike the mostly passive Disney princesses¬†you usually get, Mulan kicks ass. Anyway, this scene is a crucial one in the film, as Mulan makes the decision to take her father’s place (saving his life, as he’s old) in the war against the Huns. She cuts her hair and takes his armour. There’s been some interesting discussion on Tumblr about Mulan actually being the Great Stone Dragon (that won’t make any sense if you haven’t seen the film, but there we go) but it’s a very powerful scene and I actually find this music strangely¬†motivating. Plus the synthesizer sounds awesome.

4. ‘Nightwatchman’s Theme’ from Robin Hood (2006)

I used to love this show despite its faults, and I really think the music was one of the best things it had going for it. While the show rarely took itself seriously (especially when it came to historical accuracy), the music did. The theme tune was also excellent and very memorable but for some reason I really love the Nightwatchman’s theme. (For those who don’t know, the Nightwatchman was basically Marian’s ‘alter ego’ as she helped people and fought the bad guys in disguise, but none of the characters ever seemed to notice the Nightwatchman was a woman despite the breasts and female grunt sounds during fight scenes. Anyway, this music is so good. It played over her fight scenes and went with them really well. I love how it’s basically a sped up version of ‘Marian’s Theme’ which had a guitar playing romantically in the background of many Robin/Marian scenes, getting teenage Sabrina swooning.

Edit: I can’t believe I forgot this last one!

5. ‘Welcome to Lunar Industries’

This is a brilliant film and I love this atmospheric music. It’s another one that builds up perfectly.

Hope you liked this unusual post…do you like any random instrumental music from your favourite films or tv shows? I feel like I might have forgotten something!

*POSSIBLE TMI* My Nexplanon Experience

Hello, so I put a¬†possible TMI warning in the title just to warn you all¬†that this post is not necessarily something you want to read…I’m going to be talking about my experience with Nexplanon, which in case you don’t know is the contraceptive implant. So read no further if you don’t want to know about it. Or read on. You know,¬†up to you!

I’m also not going to share this one on Twitter like I usually do…

Continue reading

Hangman

Hi everyone! So I’ve neglected this blog…woops. I’ve been blogging about fashion and beauty over at www.sabrinajaine.blogspot.co.uk, so if you like either or both of those things, please check it out!¬†I’m back with some creative writing again for the first time in ages. I am a little nervous publishing this because it’s not really my best. This short story turned out to be quite creepy and dark. I started out by wanting to write an interesting/different ghost story but actually ended up editing out all mentions of the word ‘ghost’¬†in the story as it just sounded lame for some reason haha. Anyway, I hope you like it! ūüôā

He¬†kept on running, even when his body willed him to stop. Luke was always an anxious person, but he had been so¬†unprepared for that sight.¬†He thought that his mind must have been playing tricks on him, or his vision was somehow impaired, as what he thought he’d seen could not have been reality. He went for a run, focussing on it completely, and tried not to think about it. There had to be some logical explanation to what he saw. He hoped he wasn’t losing his mind.

He couldn’t escape from the memory of that man’s stare. He’d never seen anything like it, an unforgettable and horrific blend of animosity and¬†despair from the wide open eyes of a corpse hanging from a loop of rope next to the window.¬†It couldn’t have been a corpse, but he didn’t recognise any life in that being. It may have been about to speak to him, but Luke had rushed out of there like there was a fire to escape from. He had stood in the hallway¬†not knowing what to do, wishing that he could simply open the door and see that the man was gone. He deliberated over it fora minute, breaking out in a cold sweat.

He couldn’t bring himself to do it, he just didn’t feel brave enough. Instead, he wanted to run, as running always helped to clear his mind. He wasn’t in his running gear, but that didn’t matter to him. He told himself he would go back to his bedroom after the run and see that the sallow, undead figure was gone, that he clearly imagined it.

He had been running for almost an hour by the time he got back. It was late, and everyone else he shared the building with was either out or in bed. He didn’t feel any more relaxed or ready to face the man, but what choice did he have? He didn’t want to have to ask to stay over at a friend’s place over this. He wasn’t about to a had to get into his room, try his best to get some sleep (which he knew was going to be difficult or even impossible) and try to forget about the figure and his inhuman stare. He opened the front door to the building and noticed that instead of feeling warmer inside, he felt colder, freezing in fact.

He walked upstairs carefully and quietly, trying not to be afraid, but when he reached his door, pure terror was running through him and almost seizing him on the spot. But still he opened the door.

For a moment Luke couldn’t see the figure, but his relief was short-lived. The man turned around out of the darkness and into the shining moonlight from the window.

“What a pain in the neck this is.” The man said, tugging at the rope slightly with a knowing smile. “Do you want to join me? You look like you do.”

The man grabbed some rope from the darkness. Luke stood frozen to the spot.

“Only, I could use a friend. I never had many friends. You don’t seem to either…we don’t have to be lonely.” The man continued to stare at him, grinning like it was the most relaxed thing in the world, while Luke backed away then turned and tried to leave and found the door would not open, even though he hadn’t locked it. He struggled with the doorknob, shaking and twisting it desperately in every way he could, to no avail.

“Don’t go. Stay and be my friend.”

Luke shook his head fervently.

“But you’re not leaving. So you might as well. We can tell each other secrets. Luke, you can tell me about how you lie about so many things. That’s why you worry so much. You worry that one day you’ll be caught out, and people will see you for what you really are.”

“Leave me alone!”

“It’s too late. You should end yourself, Luke. It would be a good thing, honestly. I’m telling you that as a friend. And it would help you to recover from the guilt you feel at what you did.”

“What I did?”

“You drove your friend to suicide, Luke. I can’t believe you don’t recognise me! It’s Tom, you know? From school. You bullied me to death.”

Luke tried to think, but he couldn’t remember a Tom from school. He was sweating now and panicking, with a deep sinking feeling in his stomach as if what the figure was saying was true.

Then he remembered, or thought he did. He couldn’t tell whether he was remembering something something that happened in a dream or something that was real. He recalled how he used to laugh along when a nerdy, awkward boy was tripped over onto the ground. Luke had played with Tom when they were little, but they were never close friends. But when Tom actually got beaten up quite badly by Luke’s older and cooler friends, he stopped laughing, at least when no one noticed. He didn’t stop the bullying, even though day by day it got worse. It had all started with forcibly copying Tom’s homework and now he barely showed up to school. Tom’s parents tried to get the school to do something about it, but the school didn’t know who was responsible and Tom was too scared to reveal anything. Near the end of the school year, he hung himself.

* I wasn’t sure if the last bit (after the dialogue) was necessary or not, as it originally ended with that last line of speech, but I felt like that was a bit too much of a cliffhanger so I added some more context! I really like cliffhangers in my short stories though. Also, I don’t really know why I called it Hangman, it just seemed like more of an interesting title than ‘The Figure’ or something similar!

Sabrina x

Book Review: ‘Street Cat Bob’ by James Bowen

street cat bob

Hello again! I thought it would be good to do a book review for the first time on this blog. I actually already reviewed this book for Booktrust here but I enjoyed the book so much that I thought it deserved its own post.¬†I read the quick reads version of Bob and James’ story (Street Cat Bob rather than¬†A Street Cat Named Bob, which is pictured above)¬†and it was a great way to read the story on a busy lifestyle, however I do sort of wonder what minor bits of the story I may have missed out on, so I think if I ever want to re-read it I’ll probably get the longer version.

I hadn’t actually heard about James and Bob until I read the book so I’m a little behind, considering I think they’ve been famous for quite a while now and have other best-selling books as well as the original A Street Cat Named Bob –¬†most recently (last October)¬†A Gift From Bob¬†was published, and reportedly¬†there’s also a film adaptation in the works!

So if like me you’ve never heard this story before: basically this was an incredibly touching story. That’s reason enough to read it in my opinion. Even if you’re not a cat lover, you will still enjoy this book, trust me. James Bowen describes how he was a recovering drug addict living in sheltered accommodation and busking for a living in London when he met an injured street cat, who he named Bob, who didn’t seem to have a home or an owner to take care of him. So James looked after him for a while, taking him to the vets and generally nursing him back to health for a couple of weeks. But when Bob had recovered, he didn’t want to go back on the streets. He followed James around and became his pet, as well as his best friend. The rest of the book follows the various things they get up to, which I won’t spoil for you.¬†The writing style, while not incredible, flows nicely and is very readable.

Honestly, I know that some people might find this story a bit cheesy, but to me that’s the whole point. It’s an uplifting real life story that will put a smile on your face and brighten your day. We hear so many stories of doom and gloom on the news every day that stories like this, about hope and friendship, are to be treasured.

street cat bob 2

Bob is an extraordinary cat and their friendship is extraordinary as well. I think most of us are aware that cats aren’t always the friendliest animals – they are very independent, and they pretty much do whatever they like. So for Bob to choose to sit on James’ shoulder like a scarf and join him busking or selling The Big Issue is remarkable.¬†Bob is fiercely loyal and always by James’ side.

What also makes this story so wonderful is how there’s some thought-provoking social commentary to be had here. James talks about how when you’re homeless, you lose your identity. People did not want to notice him. Bob gave him back his identity, in a way – and I think that resonates with all of us.¬†I didn’t know until I read Street Cat Bob that the people selling The Big Issue actually have to buy copies of the magazine themselves and then sell them for a profit. We all continually ignore homeless people, possibly because of the awkwardness. We need to stop thinking of homeless people as negatively as we do, and start understanding that the reason they became homeless is probably because of circumstances outside their control. They should be helped, not ostracised.

But I digress: Bob helped James make good money by busking and then by selling The Big Issue.¬†To me, what also makes their story touching is the fact that they helped each other. They turned each other’s lives around.¬†They met each other at low points in their lives and now James is a best-selling author. Bob was helped by James to get well and have a loving home for perhaps the first time, whilst James was helped by Bob to have the responsibility of looking after someone other than himself – he described himself as being a very selfish person when he was on the streets and drug addicted. With Bob, he became more selfless and the bond they formed was life changing.¬†They are both proof that, (as I said in my Booktrust review)¬†that no matter how low things can seem, you always have a second chance.

So, as if I haven’t praised this book enough already – basically, if you haven’t heard about Bob and James, read this book! (Or even if you have heard about them.) You won’t regret it. If you’re thinking that you’re too busy to read at the moment to read the original 288-page book, the quick reads version is perfect for you at 100 pages for just ¬£1.

You can purchase the quick reads edition from bookshops, libraries, supermarkets, or online. For more information about quick reads, you can visit www.quickreads.org.uk. Or the original version is available here.

Do we really have Freedom of Speech?

Je-suis-Charlie *This post turned out to be quite long, so sorry about that! I had a lot to say…

So, I was watching¬†Loose Women yesterday¬†and they brought up an interesting point. How can we truly say we have freedom of speech in the UK if have to censor our views so we don’t¬†offend people, or if we find ourselves attacking others for views we disagree with? As in, ‘if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all’. But it’s also frustrating¬†when some people have a view of free speech as ‘I can be as rude as I like¬†and you’re not allowed to get offended’ or ‘you taking offence at my harshly-worded opinions must mean you think I’m not allowed to have opinions’ and people like that are just obnoxious, to be perfectly honest. Of course everyone is entitled to their opinions, but I think it’s important to be respectful to others when expressing them.

So I think we need some kind of happy medium between the two extremes. I think this debate is quite relevant to recent events as well, particularly the tragic Charlie Hebdo terror attacks, which as you probably know, prompted the widespread use of the phrase ‘Je Suis Charlie‘, in social media as well as real life, including in marches like this one with up to 2 million people all uniting to declare their right to freedom of speech. The satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is refusing to be intimidated by terrorism and have published millions of copies of the new issue¬†depicting of the prophet Muhammad on the cover – the massacre itself having apparently been brought on by the offence at previous depictions of him. Now, I think Muslims have a right to be offended by that – (obviously that does not mean I’m in any way condoning the terror attacks) I’m not sure that the new issue’s further depiction of the Prophet Muhammad is a good idea. It may be doing more harm than good, further dividing us and provoking outrage. Why not just respect each other’s religion? I am not religious, so I can’t exactly relate to this feeling of outrage, but if you truly believe in a religion with all your heart and then it is disrespected then you have a right to be upset. It¬†is not the first time the magazine has sparked controversy – back in 2012, it¬†published a series of satirical cartoons of Muhammad, some of which featured nude caricatures of him.¬† Given that this issue came days after a series of attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East, purportedly in response to the anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims, the French government decided to increase security at certain French embassies and¬†riot police surrounded the offices of the magazine to protect it against possible attacks. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius criticised the magazine’s decision, saying, “In France, there is a principle of freedom of expression, which should not be undermined. In the present context, given this absurd video that has been aired, strong emotions have been awakened in many Muslim countries. Is it really sensible or intelligent to pour oil on the fire?”¬†However, the newspaper’s editor defended publication of the cartoons, saying, “We do caricatures of everyone, and above all every week, and when we do it with the Prophet, it’s called provocation.”¬† So, I think this provocation is intended to annoy the truly extreme Muslims, like those in Al-Qaeda or ISIS. Unfortunately, terrorists who happen to be Muslim can cause generalisations and ill-feeling towards Muslims, when it is only a very small minority who are extreme, hence why I saw protesters in Birmingham at the Christmas Market, trying to get across that they do not condone terrorism.

On a less serious note, almost everyone in Britain will have heard of Katie Hopkins, who is known for having strong opinions and not being afraid to express them, and who often seems¬†to enjoy riling people up. She thinks she’s ‘telling it like it is’ and saying what everyone else thinks but is too afraid to say – reminding me of¬†the ‘if you can’t say anything nice’ rule. The thing is, I’m not sure that Katie understands that her opinion is not necessarily the ‘right’ one which everyone else is thinking.

She also never censors her opinions, which I think can be¬†both admirable and questionable. On the one hand, if we truly have freedom of speech, then ideally we should all be like Katie Hopkins and say exactly what we think without considering the consequences or minding if we offend people. But that sounds like a quick way to start a metaphorical World War Three if you ask me. That’s why, again, I think there should be some kind of happy medium. Katie Hopkins can be quite insensitive with her comments, but ultimately I don’t think she’s a bad person.

Another person who’s offended people lately is Ken Morley, who was removed from the Celebrity Big Brother house on Monday¬†after repeatedly using offensive language, including racist and sexist comments. He appeared on Loose Women yesterday and apologised for the racist comments (note that he said an ‘n word’, but not the usual one) but seemed to refuse to apologise for sexist comments, including when he perved at young women in the house and commented on their behinds. Some viewers¬†on Twitter were angry by what they saw as an attack on Morley by the Loose Women panelists, who repeatedly asked him if he was going to apologise after he’d already apologised. While the interview was a bit awkward,¬†personally I still don’t really like Morley. He doesn’t seem to have apologised sincerely or care very much that he’s offended people. I can’t say that he has actually offended me as a viewer, though.

ken

So I have to wonder, (as was also pointed out on¬†Loose Women) isn’t it quite hypocritical and unfair that a man cannot get away with sexist comments objectifying women on a Reality TV show when a woman can get away with the same thing? (Edwina Currie on¬†I’m a Celebrity¬†apparently ogled the younger men in camp, but quite frankly I think this is a lot less creepy than Ken Morley’s perving.) This is relevant to freedom of speech and Feminism. Men and women are both completely equal and entitled to the same rights, so doesn’t that mean they’re both equally entitled to not be sexually objectified? That said, I don’t think men suffer nearly the same amount of this objectification in popular media as women do. Case in point: Blurred Lines. Don’t even get me started on Blurred Lines…

I think that perhaps constructive criticism is the closest we can get to the ‘happy medium’ that I keep mentioning. It still involves censoring your opinion to some extent because you don’t want to hurt others. But this way you can still get across what you don’t like about something. A slight problem with this is that it has less impact – Katie Hopkins thrives on being blunt and has no problem with being voted ‘Dick of the year’ or considered ‘Britain’s most hated woman’, and recently she’s been trying to prove that fat people are lazy by deliberately gaining a lot of weight, then working hard to lose it. If any dangerously overweight people were to say to themselves “Ok, it’s not nice, but she’s right, and I’m going to work hard and lose weight” then the¬†impact of the point Katie made is potentially life-changing. Personally I’d say that if people just ignored Katie and stopped giving her exposure then she’d probably fade out of public view, in the same way people say ‘don’t feed the troll’ to Internet trolls who deliberately set out to annoy people.

Lastly, I’m glad we do live in a country where we can say (or tweet) whatever we like – within reason anyway, as there have been cases of arrests due to very offensive tweets – such as this recent one in the aftermath of the Glasgow crash. I’m glad I don’t live in somewhere like North Korea with awful¬†human rights and little or no freedom of speech. Thanks for reading this very long post – if you have any thoughts, please don’t hesitate to share them in the comments! Also, sorry there haven’t been any creative writing posts lately. I’ve been quite busy with other things and haven’t written as much as I’d hoped. I also haven’t had a huge amount of ideas so I may have to try out some Daily Prompts!