Category Archives: Life in London

The Valentine’s Day Post

Well it’s Valentine’s day again. That wonderful feast day to celebrate the saint of love, marriage and strangely beekeeping.

But, being the bitter singleton that I am, and having never actually had a gift or a card from someone other than my mum on Valentine’s day (cue sad violins…) It’s only appropriate that I write a bitter post about the day.

To me, all these holidays and special occassions, Christmas, birthdays, weddings, mother’s day, Hallowe’en and even St Patrick’s Day have one thing in common; they organise when fun and happiness is supposed to be. And yes, there are many occasions that many of us have had great days, but there are also many where people haven’t.

Much like having a night out is usually the funnest when it is not planned, love is usually most honestly recognised when it is either unexpected or perfectly timed.

Don’t get me wrong, although the stalls selling roses sprouting up around London Bridge have made me cringe with jealousy, the thing is that I would actually adore to be given a bright red rose by someone who loves me.

But just because this holiday is here doesn’t mean love should be forced. And neither does it mean that we shouldn’t recognise it on other days of the year, when a great friend is there in a difficult time or a parent or carer is there doing their best to keep you warm, fed and dry.

Having love concentrated like this morphs Valentine’s day into something like Christmas; a retail, advertising and merchandise holiday which never truly expresses the depth of the emotion. And isn’t sensitive to lose who have been recently broken-hearted or lost a loved one.

Love is for life, not just for Valentine’s.

Modern Feminism

In case you didn’t realise, tomorrow marks the 100th anniversary of women (only those over 30 mind!) being given the right to vote in England.

There are many events running across the country to commemorate this, including a special exhibition at the Pankhurst Centre in Manchester, and the Museum of London.

But with a hundred years passed since this first milestone law, how is feminism fairing in modern society?

It is a question which has dogged me for a while – a staunch feminist as a teenager, I never wore make up and insisted on studying physics at university, in retrospect mainly to prove that I could do so. It used to annoy me when I heard other people, both men and women, referring to modern-day feminists as “greedy”, “lesbians”, “bra burning” “man hating” etc. etc. It can all be very negative.

Yes, it is true that nowadays women in the western world endure many privileges also granted to men. And it is true that historical sexism could be regarded as not as abhorrent as racism and other forms of discrimination. But the fundamental idea of the feminist movement is one that resonates throughout the entire human race – a necessity for people to be treated as the individual and unique person they are, rather than with regards to their heritage, gender or any other difference.

So why should feminists be viewed in such a negative light, even by other women? It is distracting people from a problem that still resonates in society, even over a hundred years since the suffrage movement. Women are still not equally regarded in society as men, though it has improved far more. But branding people fighting for their cause in their own chosen manner does not help anything.

Not a teenager, wearing make up and having thoroughly turned my back on my physics career, I still regard myself as a feminist. It is something I am proud to be, and something that all men and women should be proud to be, void of any negative connotations. It is necessary for the tarnished feminist image to be revitalised to continue its forces towards equality, not just for men and women, but for all people.

New Year, New You

Ok, so we’re now thoroughly into 2018, and it’s clear that this yer is just as shit as the last.

I always used to make resolutions growing up, whether it was to try harder at schoolwork or run more, but this year I’ve decided not to. And this is why…

Much like the Christmas period gives us an excuse for drinking more, eating more and generally letting our normal lifestyles go, the new year gives people an excuse to go “I’m going to do everything at once and make everything better”. You sign up to five gym classes having never done one in your life and wonder why you can’t keep it up.

Resolutions encourage us to make large, unrealistic goals for ourselves, and this means that we are setting ourselves up for failure just as the new year gets most depressing.

Furthermore, new years resolutions are far too infrequent – why should there only be one time in the year where we are encouraged to make ourselves better?

For me, I find a much more effective way to change my lifestyle and wellbeing is, instead of making one massive goal at the start of the year, make several smaller, chunk goals at chosen increments. Since about October last year, I’ve been giving myself weekly goals which could be as small as 10 sit-ups before bed when I would really wish I could be doing 50. But giving myself a small goal in a small time-frame meant that I kept to it much better than if I had tried a bigger goal.

After each week, it can then be assessed what was working and what wasn’t, and how you can raise your goal slightly – say by doing 15 sit-ups.

So that is why I am not doing New Years Resolutions. They involve a lifestyle change and it is far easy to say you will change your lifestyle in a big way than to actually do it.