Wednesday, 9 January 2019

The importance of being a feminist.



One woman's rant on feminism.




Last year, in 2018, I had several moments when I just could not deal with the prejudiced garbage that  spewed from Donald Trump's mouth. But non more than this moment I wish to share with you all...

To anyone who thinks that feminism is no longer a necessary cause, I urge you to watch the video that I have linked in this blog post. This is the leader of the Free World mocking a woman's testimony in a trial concerning allegations of sexual assault. I'm sure many of you may have already seen this video clip on the news, to be honest.


It makes me incredibly angry and upset to see the ‘Old Boys Club’ at work here. Women cannot enjoy the freedom of equality when our leaders do not treat us as equals. When our leaders ridicule us. When our leaders don’t take us seriously. When our leaders don’t care about us. When our leaders don’t want to listen to us. When the patriarchy shuts us out.

All too often nowadays women who have gone through ordeals such as sexual assault are victim shamed. They’re accused of wearing clothes that are too provocative, or being ‘flirts’ and ‘asking for it’. These attitudes sicken me to my very core. And these attitudes are exactly why too few women are brave enough to come forward as victims of these crimes.

Nothing (and I repeat… NOTHING) changes the fact that no means no. Period. I truly couldn’t care less what a woman is wearing or how flirtatious she may have been. The word ‘no’ is a basic part of our language. We all know exactly what it means. We all understand it. No excuses. End of. Conversation over. No debate or discussion to be had.

I feel passionately about this because as a feminist I actually have the utmost respect for men. I don’t accept that they’re nothing more than animals who aren’t able to control themselves at the mere sight of a woman in a short skirt. Men are intelligent. Men are more than capable of making informed choices about their behaviour. I therefore hold men responsible for their behaviour, and do not hand them ready made excuses.

However, of course I also hold women responsible for their behaviour. Yes, women have the right to live without fear of being assaulted. Yes, women are more than objects. But, it should go without saying that women must be careful when throwing around these kind of allegations. A false accusation can leave a permanent stain on a man’s character which is outrageously unjust. Although, none of this changes the fact that women must always be listened to. These kind of allegations must always be taken seriously. Never (under any circumstances) should they be sneered at and made a parody of.

I hope my little rant has demonstrated that feminists are not all bra burning, men hating lunatics! Feminism is just as much about men as it is about women. It is about gender equality for all.

Much love to you all, I hope you can forgive my little political rant.
Thanks so much for reading. Feel free to leave your views on this hot topic in the comments.
Everyone is bound to have different view points. That's what makes the world an interesting place. All I request is that everyone is respectful of each other.

Until next time.

XoX

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Sunday, 23 December 2018

We are not merely patients: A poem.





We are not merely patients: A poem about hypochondria. 


Whilst wrapping Christmas presents earlier this month, something occurred to me... I have seriously been neglecting my blogging hobby! And, d'you know what? I can't make any excuses for that. I started this blog earlier this all with all the best intentions. And those intentions still remain! So - what better time to re-ignite my passion for writing than in the depths of winter, on a cold and dark December evening... right?

Therefore... without further a-do....

After a number of months away from you all, for which I sincerely apologise, I have decided to write a ‘comeback’ blogpost about my on-going recovery from surgery. It was my surgery earlier this year which inspired me to begin writing this blog in the first place. So, it only seemed fitting! It took a while but in the end I decided I’d write about anxiety and how I’ve coped with it following my surgery. Anxiety can cause huge amounts of stress, and can really have a massive impact on your life. It takes over your entire being if you allow it to. My personal anxiety is health anxiety, otherwise known as hypochondria. So, I have chosen to write a poem about how hypochondria affects me and how I deal with it on a day-to-day basis. I’m not a brilliant poet, and I don’t pretend to be! I just thought I’d test my creativity and give it a try. And to be honest, I found the whole process quite cathartic. I must admit! I have titled my poem, “We are not merely patients”. I hope you enjoy my efforts and perhaps can relate to my feelings. Let me know in the comments about your own anxieties and how you deal with them!

If you suffer with anxiety or stress in anyway, I will leave some links at the end of this blog post.

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That stubborn bruise, that recurrent pain. 
It’s like I can’t accept, that nothing is to blame. 

The irony is I’m the doctors best friend.
But all I want to be, is on the mend. 

The problem begins with self-diagnosing. 
Nothing else is quite so engrossing. 

I’ve always found it insanely frustrating, 
To constantly be contemplating. 

What’s this? What’s that? 
Could it be this? Could it be that? 

You constantly crave a label for your ailment. 
The pursuit almost becomes a form of enslavement. 

So, change the topic of your conversations. 
They don’t all have to be about medications! 

It’s time to call it a day researching online. 
It’s time to trust the doctors, when they tell you “it’s fine”. 

Remember not to threat about treatments and tests.
Just allow the medics to do their best.

No one can tell you what the future holds. 
But that doesn’t mean you won’t live to grow old. 

How can you be so afraid of giving up the ghost,
If you’re not truly making the most.

No condition has to define you. 
It doesn’t change your worth or value. 

Life with a chronic illness may be a handful. 
But - you can still laugh, smile and be grateful. 

We are not merely patients. 
We are all free agents. 

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I really hope you have enjoyed my 'comeback' post (for want of a better phrase). As I said, I sincerely apologise for my prolonged absence! My pretty poor explanation for this absence is simply that life kinda happened and I've been super busy recently.... I know, I know! I'll get more organised, I promise. No excuses this time!

But, some of the stuff that I've been really busy with is actually incredibly exciting and I can't wait to let you all know about it. So you can all expect some very exciting blog posts coming your way. Watch this space!

Until next time, happy blogging everyone!

Much love.

XoX

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Thursday, 19 April 2018

Stress Awareness Month: Managing the Workload






Exhausted teachers: How to manage the stress. 

As a teacher, I know only too well how debilitating stress can be and how much of an impact it can have on your life as well as on your health. This month (the month of April) is Stress Awareness month. So, I thought I’d write a blog post with some tips that I’ve learnt over the years for coping with stress. This post is specifically aimed at teachers, but some of these tips may well be transferrable to other careers as well. In the teaching profession it can be notoriously difficult to find a healthy work-life balance, especially when the work-load often seems never-ending! I hope you find these tips helpful, feel free to share any of your own tips for relieving stress in the comments. 

1. Print resources the night before.

So, this advice probably sounds ridiculously simple and like I’m stating the obvious. But hear me out! Getting all my resources prepped and printed the night before saves me so much time on a morning when I arrive at work. It means I can spend my morning with a cuppa responding to any urgent emails and so on. This is instead of spending my morning rushing around like a mad-woman trying to make sure I have everything ready for the day ahead! A relaxed start to my working day makes the world of difference to how my day pans out. It means I start my lessons in a good mood, and that good mood is infectious and the students pick up on it. That positive, chilled out vibe then usually leads to a successful lesson! So, honestly, printing and prepping all your lesson resources the night before genuinely has a bigger impact on your teaching than what you might think. It really is often the smallest things that can make a surprisingly big difference! 

2. Do NOT work on a weekend. 

Okay, so I do understand that this isn’t always possible to do. Especially if Ofted are in school, if it’s exam season, or if you’re in the middle of a lesson observation and work scrutiny period. At times like that we all put a little bit of extra work in. That goes without saying. But, on an average week, I seriously recommend making sure you take a break at the weekend. And it’s easier said than done! Don’t take any marking home. Don’t do any lesson planning. Don’t check your emails. Completely switch off. Enjoy family time or time with your friends. Go to the cinema, go on a shopping trip, plan a night out, go to the theatre, cook a family meal or go for a walk in the country side…. do whatever you enjoy! I can’t tell you how important this actually is. Being able to switch off really does wonders for your mental health. It helps you get a good nights sleep and maintain a good work-life balance. I know when I haven’t made sure I’ve taken a weekend off, I have ended up feeling really exhausted and fed up. Me and my best friend have a saying - “work to live, don’t live to work”. At the end of the day - working long hours doesn’t create memories that you’ll treasure forever. Family and friends give you those memories. It really is not lazy to enjoy time off! 

3. Exercise, exercise, exercise! 

I’ll admit it. I find this one difficult myself sometimes. I need to remember to take my own advice! But, I highly recommend getting into a routine of going to some fitness classes at your local gym after work. Even if it’s just one or two classes a week. That’s okay! Not only do the fitness classes keep you healthy and in good shape, they also help you relieve some of the stresses and strains of the day. Kick, punch, cycle, run, jog, walk or dance your stresses away! Trust me, it really does work. And the endorphins released after exercise truly are powerful and make you feel so good about yourself. You get such a rush of energy, and the fitness classes allow you to focus on something other than work for an hour or so. Take your mind off replying to emails and planning lessons and focus on your work-out instead! Plus, if you’re anything like me and you happen to lose a bit of weight in the process of your new fitness regime…. well, that can only be a bonus. Beach body here I come! 

4. Take away one positive from each day. 

Sometimes this is notoriously difficult to do, I’m not gonna lie to you folks. Especially when you've had the lesson observation from hell or all you’ve heard all day is back-chat from pupils and excuses for lack of homework. It’s oh so easy to fall into the trap of focusing on these negatives and (for want of a better word) moaning about them. We’ve all done it, let’s be honest! We’ve all had those days when we drive home from work thinking, ‘Why am I doing this? Why do I bother? There are easier jobs I could do’. And that’s not a weakness. We’re all human. But try and focus on the positives. On those down days, when you’re driving home from work feeling melancholy, ask yourself… Can you think of one thing today that was positive? I bet you can. It might be something as simple as a colleague paid you a compliment about your work outfit today. Or maybe one particular student blew you away with an outstanding piece of work in one of your lessons today. And let that one colleague or that one student brighten up your day. Driving home in a bad mood is bound to make anyone feel stressed out and fed up. The weight of the negativity bears heavy on your shoulders, trust me. So always try and drive home in a positive frame of mind and think about the good things that have happened in your day, however small. 

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Personally, I think Stress Awareness Month is increasingly important in the modern day and age. Our 21st century lives are becoming increasingly hectic and stressful. We all often struggle to find calm or little bit of peace and quiet nowadays! And stress, whilst being a mental health problem, can have serious ramifications on your physical health. It doesn’t take much research online to find out that many medical conditions are exacerbated by heightened stress levels. I hope Stress Awareness Month makes a difference to anyone out there who needs it. 

Have a relaxed April, everyone! And, as always, happy blogging!

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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

The Vintage Jeweller




The Vintage Jeweller. 

I have loved vintage jewellery ever since my Grandmother (who I affectionately called ‘Nana’) sadly passed away in 2006. I inherited much of my Nana’s jewellery collection, and with it her taste for strong colours and statement ear-rings too. My Nana was certainly not a less-is-more kinda woman when it came to jewellery, I can assure you of that! To this day, many vintage pieces and beautiful semi-precious stones remind me of my Nana. However, unfortunately, I don’t often wear much of the jewellery I inherited from her. But, to be honest, that is only because I fear damaging it. 

So, owing to my aforementioned love of vintage style jewellery… you can imagine my excitement when I was offered the opportunity to write a blog post reviewing some beautiful vintage pieces! It was simply an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. 

This blog post will therefore list 5 of my absolute favourite pieces from The Vintage Jeweller website. The Vintage Jeweller is a fabulous company run by Jeff Taylor with his keen eye for stunning jewels. The company is based in Hatton Garden (London) and their collection has been built over a number of years. At the end of this blog post, look out for a discount code kindly provided by the lovely people at The Vintage Jeweller too. This discount code will get you, my wonderful readers, 10% off any purchase from The Vintage Jeweller website!

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My Top 5 Vintage Favourites: 


Art Deco Burmese Ruby and Diamond Three Stone Ring

I have also loved deep, berry, wintery type colours. Mainly because I love their warmth hues, reminding you of log fires and cosy winter nights. And the colour of the stone in this beautifully minimalist ring is just gorgeous! The deep ruby colour is utterly magnificent. And truly stands out thanks to the simplicity of this piece. In my opinion, this ring is a classic illustration of the ‘less is more’ theory in action! It is a perfect example of an under-stated vintage trinket. 


Edwardian Emerald and Diamond Three Stone Ring 

Green is one of my absolute favourite colours, and this emerald beauty really highlights exactly why. The central green gem is such a stunning and piercing colour. It really catches your eye. I love the unusual shape of this ring too. Its something a little bit different and unique. Although it could be a little uncomfortable to wear a quirky shaped ring like this, so it might be advisable to try the ring on before you settle on buying it! The thin gold band is also so dainty and delicate. The ring oozes subtle femininity, and I love that about it. And what girl doesn’t love the two sparkling diamonds in this ring? They are a girls best friend, of course! 


Diamond Flower Earrings 

Who doesn’t love a pretty, petite flower? Especially in the form of these charmingly cute stud earrings. My Mum buys a new bouquet of flowers for the vase in our living room every single week, and these earrings made me think of her as soon as I spotted them on The Vintage Jeweller website. In fact, if you ask me, this set of earrings would make a delightful Mothers Day gift. And the perfectly preserved diamonds which shape the piece are simply divine, set in their beautiful silver frame. If I’m honest, most of the time I’ve always preferred silver to gold when it comes to jewellery.


Abstract Enamel Ring 

This is such a minimalist piece and I absolutely adore it. I think the ring makes a statement with its subtlety. And, I must admit this is the historian in me talking here.… but I love the Aboriginal feel of this piece as well. The warm, earthy colour tones of the enamel are very reminiscent of art from the Australasian continent. The indigenous Australians truly had a unique and fascinating culture. The Aboriginal Australians were nomadic hunters with a strong spiritual connection to the land, and nature. It would be a wonderful tribute to wear just a small symbol of that history on my hand. Especially considering the Aboriginal population has come close to extinction due to diseases such as Smallpox. Keeping their culture alive is more important than ever. 


Sapphire and Diamond Pendant Necklace 

I don’t often wear necklaces. I usually forget to pick them up out of my jewellery box. And when I do wear them I always end up playing about with them. You wouldn’t believe how many necklace chains I’ve snapped, sadly! But I’d be especially careful with this dazzling pendant. I love the long, elegant chain and the breath-taking sapphire centre-piece. The beautiful blue gem reminds me of my favourite movie.… Titanic! Remember the enormous ‘heart of the ocean’ jewell worn by Kate Winslet in the epic film? Well, owning this piece would be like wearing your very own miniature ‘heart of the ocean’! 

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Well, I hope you’ve liked my selection of precious vintage jewellery favourites. If I’ve inspired you to have a look for yourself (and perhaps to even treat yourself to some beautiful vintage pieces!) then please be sure to use the discount code below to receive 10% off your purchase! I have tried to include pieces in this blog to reflect the many different budgets and price ranges available at The Vintage Jeweller. 

This blog post is dedicated to my Nana, who I miss dearly and aim to make proud in all I do.

Happy shopping! 

Discount code: twithsarah10 

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Sunday, 8 April 2018

St Patricks Day: Things you need to do in Dublin!



St Patricks Day: Things you need to do in Dublin!


Hey there. It’s me again! In today’s blog post, we’re taking a trip to Ireland in a nod to St. Patricks Day. Before you all start yelling at me… yes, I know St. Patricks Day was last month! To be precise, the affectionately nicknamed Paddy’s Day is actually celebrated on March 17th. So, I apologise for the lateness of this blog post. The explanation for the lateness is that last month I was still in recovery from my surgery, so unfortunately wasn’t able to write my blog posts with quite the speed and efficiency that I would have hoped. But, we’re back on track now, and better late than never - right?! I hope you enjoy this blog post, and if you’re thinking of planning a trip to Ireland I hope you find it helpful and informative! 

So, let’s get on with it, here are my top 5 tourist attractions in Dublin…

The Leprechaun Museum

Okay, so this is going to sound so cheesy, but humour me! The Leprechaun Museum in Dublin is a real treat. You’ll learn a lot about Irish folklore and get the full leprechaun experience. The story tellers who guide you around the museum are very talented. On your tour you’ll be told stories of fairies, spirits and ancient Irish gods. The guides tell the folklore tales in such a lively and entertaining manner, they really keep you enthralled the whole way through. One of my favourite parts of the museum was the room with the giant furniture. I’m only 5 foot tall, so the opportunity to feel taller for once was nice! But joking aside, it’s good fun to find your inner child and climb up on the giant chairs and tables. My only criticism would probably be that the museum tour is some-what short. It’s all finished in about an hour, so you may feel a bit duped considering the ticket prices aren’t the cheapest.

The Guinness Storehouse 

This is probably one of the biggest and most well known attractions in Dublin, to be honest. And it’s definitely not over-hyped. It’s more than worth a trip! Firstly, I should mention that the Guinness Storehouse is enormous. You could probably spend most of your day looking round it. Two of my favourite parts of the Storehouse were the Guinness Academy where you get to pour your own pint of Guinness and the sky bar right at the top of the Storehouse. The sky bar has incredible views over the city of Dublin, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a sip of the famous black stuff! The Guinness Academy gives you a certificate for pouring the perfect pint! However, I should probably mention that you should be prepared to deal with some epically long queues, especially for the Academy. The Guinness Storehouse gets very busy, particularly in the summer then it actually has extended opening hours to cope with high demand for tours!


Kilmainham Gaol 

This tourist attraction is an inexpensive hidden gem in Dublin if you ask me. Kilmainham Gaol is an old prison which closed down in 1924. The prison played a significant role in the Irish Civil War between 1922 and 1923. Rebel leaders during the Civil War and in previous rebellions were famously held at the prison. When members of the Irish Republican movement were held in the prison, it was often guarded by British troops. Tours of the Gaul include seeing the untouched cells where some of the most famous Irish prisoners were held, and hearing the stories of some of the prisoners and their crimes told by the tour guides. Some of the prisoners stories are fascinating and incredibly sad. The struggle for independence in Ireland was certainly a long and difficult one, and Kilmainham Gaol and it’s prisoners were right at the centre of that struggle. The museum also holds many interesting artefacts, such as old belongings of prisoners. Plus, the museum provides educational resources for teachers as well - which is infinitely helpful and saves so much lesson planning time. 


The Jameson Whisky Distillery 

The Jameson Whisky Distillery is in the Smithfield area of Dublin, slightly outside the central area of Temple Bar and O'Connell Street. Tours of the distillery are fully guided, and include a drink with a mixer at the end. Tour guides explain how Jameson’s Whisky gains it’s smooth taste, and show you the brewing process from start to finish. My favourite part of the tour was sampling 3 shots of whisky and comparing the different tastes. The 3 samples included one shot of Jameson’s, one of Jack Daniels and another of a Scottish malt whisky. Directly comparing them all side-by-side really allows you to understand the distinction between different types of whisky. Although, I must say, in spite of enjoying the tour, to this day I’m still not a converted whisky drinker I’m afraid! I’ll stick to my favourite tipple of Archers and lemonade, thanks. Peach schnapps all the way!

Temple Bar 

Temple Bar is 100% a must see in Dublin. Temple Bar is the ultimate in Dublin night-life. The majority of the bars and pubs in the area are open until late, and practically all of them have live music acts most nights. The live music creates a fantastically lively atmosphere and laid-back ambiance. Some of the bars and pubs are also fabulously rustic and cosy because it is in Temple Bar where you will find some of the oldest buildings and pubs in all of Dublin. However, be prepared to pay a little bit more money for your pint if your heading to Temple Bar. It is known for being one of the more expensive areas to spend time in Dublin! But, in my opinion, it is certainly worth every penny of your hard earned cash. Some of my favourite pubs in the area which I recommend are: The Auld Dubliner, The Temple Bar and The Oak. 

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Honourable mentions: 

Dublin Castle - This castle is incredibly well preserved and a treat to behold. It really does take your breath away with its sheer size and majesty. The castle was built on the orders of King John of England. Between 1204 and1922 it was the centre of English and later British rule in Ireland. It housed the monarchs representatives in Ireland (known as the Viceroy of Ireland). I visited this historic building at the perfect time as well. Although that was completely by accident! When I went, Ireland was celebrating voting to legalise same-sex marriage in a recent referendum. The celebrations truly were quite a spectacle and it was amazing to be part of it! The picture above is in support of gay marriage in Ireland, it was on a graffiti wall encourage people to vote yes in the referendum on the issue.

The National Wax Museum - Dublin’s answer to Madame Tussauds. The wax works aren’t quite upto the same standard as Madame Tussauds, but it’s just as fun to walk around and get some selfies with some of your favourite Irish celebs. Some of the wax works include the likes of Bono and Jedward. Yes, you heard me right, Jedward have their own wax works!

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Well, that’s all for my latest blog post in my Spring themed series. Let me know if your enjoying my Spring themed posts in the comments! Thanks for reading.

Happy blogging!

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WARNING - Please be aware that the legal drinking age in Ireland is 18. I strictly do not recommend a trip to the pubs in Temple Bar, the Guinness Storehouse or the Jameson Whisky Distillery to anyone under the age of 18. Please drink responsibly.

https://www.thetemplebarpub.com/

https://www.guinness-storehouse.com





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