Week 1: 30 Foods Before 30

Last week, I decided to write a 30 Foods Before 30 list to go with my 30 Things Before 30 List. Here’s how I got on in the first week:

9. Nutella Krispy Kreme 

This was amazing. Nutella in a doughnut, brilliant combination! With hazelnuts on top.

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12. Tapas

We didn’t have Tapas from Spain, but it was really, really good. We had a set menu with lots of traditional dishes and added some more in. We tried:

Huevos rotos- chorizo with potatoes and an egg on top. You pop the egg yolk and then mix it all together. This was probably my favourite.

Pulpo a la Gallega- Steamed octopus with potato and paprika. This was my least favourite. It tasted a bit like squid (obviously) but the texture put me off a bit, it was too chewy and slimy.

Croquetas de jamón- breaded and fried ham and bechamel bites. These were very tasty!

Pan con alioli- bread and garlic butter.

Tortilla de patatas – potato omelette basically. Really filling and good with the garlic butter.

chorizo a la sidra- chorizo in cider. Dipping the bread in the sauce went down well.

Paella Valenciana- Paella with squid, prawn and some other things we couldn’t work out. We were a bit surprised it came black coloured!

Torreznos con mojo dulce- this was disgusting! But I don’t like pork belly so that’s why. My husband and friend both liked it though.

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14. ‘Proper’ loose leaf tea

A friend made me some white tea from loose leaves in a very funky teapot. It was really nice, and I didn’t have to put any sugar or milk in it to drink it, which is strange for me! It reminded me of green tea in its taste, and was like very pale (or white) tea in colour.

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23. Octopus

We had this as part of the tapas meal. My husband and another friend assure me that it tastes better and there’s a lengthy cooking process involved. So I think I’ll hold off judgement until I have another try.

28. Churros 

I loved these. They’re like light, thin, cinnamon doughnuts (without a filling), served with melted chocolate. So very similar to a nutella doughnut! It’s a great pudding because it didn’t feel greasy or too rich, but was still sweet so satisfied the ‘pudding’ part of my stomach.

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I have a friend who’s more of a food expert than me, and he suggested adding to my list:

  • Chicken Pad Thai (this would count in Thai food)
  • Miso soup
  • Pulled pork
  • Spare ribs
  • Duck and Waffles
  • Sea Bass
  • Calamari

This obviously makes my list longer than 30 foods, but I shall keep an eye out for these things too!

Banner photo from Google Images

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Week 2: 30 Before 30

Second week of attempting my 30 Things Before 30 List. Here’s how I got on:

3. Make a wearable piece of clothing. I haven’t done this yet, but I got the sewing machine back out after a break of a few weeks and made a zipless cushion, so I’ve made some progress!

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14. Learn to play Mvt II Sonata Pathetique (Beethoven) all the way through. I can play page 1 of 3 now. Most of that is muscle memory from before I developed an endocrine problem, so recall rather than learning. But I’m happy with that.

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15. Make my own fruit juice for breakfast. Big tick next to this one- this one is complete! 🙂 This morning I made peach, apricot and mango juice for breakfast, and it was good!

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16. Practise Spanish in an actual situation. I haven’t completed this one, but we went out for Tapas, and I worked out a lot of the foods on the menu without looking at the English and ordered them using the Spanish names. Javier the waiter said I had a good accent, which I will take as a compliment, even if he was just hoping for a big tip! We had the Clásico set menu with huevos rotos, pulpo a la Gallega and croquetas de jamón.IMG_6169

18. Read all of the Harry Potter books in order. I’ve finished The Philospher’s Stone and have read most of The Chamber of Secrets.

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23. Listen to BBC Proms concerts. I listened to fewer proms concerts this week, but I got a bit side tracked by some good ClassicFm podcasts. This week I listened to Prom 11: Child of Our Time by Tippett, which we performed at uni so that was quite interesting; and Prom 12: 10 pieces, which was mostly aimed at school children, but had some good pieces in it too.

26. Eat tapas. I can also tick this one off! Although I’m happy to do it again, it was so good! My husband and I met a friend and went for Tapas in Birmingham. We had lots of traditional Spanish dishes, and then Churros for pudding (obviously)!

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This lovely sunset finished off the evening perfectly!

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‘You Need to Stay Positive’

In my Phrases I Wish People Wouldn’t Say post, I wrote about how I don’t need a pep talk or a ‘you must stay positive’ speech, but that was a blog post for another day. Here is that post!

It’s worthwhile mentioning that every person handles chronic illness differently, and some people need/want a ‘be positive’ speech or ‘poor you’ remarks, and this isn’t a dig at them. But for me, personally, I don’t like hearing those kind of comments. I try to be positive where I can, so it feels quite disheartening to hear ‘you need to stay positive‘ in response to something I’ve said. It’s also important to say that encouragement is completely different – I like hearing encouragement (more on that later). 

1) It is impossible to be positive all the time. It’s also unrealistic. I saw this in my journaling book, and it made me laugh:  

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There is nothing worse than being told repeatedly by people ‘you’ve got to stay positive though’, when you already feel like you are. You feel like jumping up and down, saying ‘What do you think I’ve been doing?!’ Even said with good intentions, it seems like the person is saying ‘you’re not being positive enough’. We’re not built to be positive all the time, it’s ok to have other emotions, and it should be ok to express them without being told to ‘stay positive’. Some people might need this speech, but I think it’s really important for the speaker to gauge:

a) the level of friendship you have with the person you’re saying it to (leave it to close friends to do pep talks, this post doesn’t apply to close friends);

b) whether that person actually needs/wants to hear that, or is the speaker just saying it because they can’t think of anything else to say.

2) Positive thinking itself does not cure illness. It has been proven that it goes a long way in helping manage illness, yes, but it does not cure illness in itself. If positive thinking/stubbornness/determination cured illness, I’d be farting rainbows and sitting on a cartoon cloud with a pot of gold by now.

3) If there’s a way around something, I’ll probably have tried it. I can be incredibly resourceful in finding ways to be able to do something- I don’t like being told I can’t do things, especially if it’s down to my illness. If I say I can’t do something, I will beat you around the head with something if you tell me it’s because I’m not being positive enough.

4) Jokes are not a sign of me being negative. I tell jokes for 2 reasons:

  • I’m testing the waters to see how much you can actually handle. If you look appalled at my joke about being in hospital, I won’t tell you what actually happened because you won’t be able to handle it.
  • It makes me feel better. Telling me I’m ‘not being positive’ in response makes me feel worse.

5) Being realistic and being negative are not the same thing. If I tell you what a Doctor has told me, that’s not me being negative. It’s fact.

6) Being too positive all the time isn’t actually helpful. Your brain needs time to process things, and if you are thinking too positively, it starts to become denial. Denial means you don’t ‘accept’ what’s going on, and it hits you a lot harder when your mind eventually catches up than if you’d processed it properly in the first place.

7) If you listen to me talk about my illness, I (mostly) talk positively about it. You will never hear me say ‘I suffer with Adrenal Insufficiency or phrases like that, I always choose to say ‘I live with‘ or ‘I have Adrenal Insufficiency‘.

Some people reading this might be thinking ‘I’m just not going to say anything to her, I’ll just get it wrong’ or thinking that I’m being militant- that’s not my intention. It’s important to remember that while people might be saying ‘be positive’ for the first time, the recipient has probably heard it a million times, and *that’s* the thing that makes the comment unwelcome, not necessarily what’s being said. And it’s a vicious cycle- until someone says ‘actually, it’s not helpful to hear that’, it just keeps going round and round.

So let’s talk about encouragement. Who doesn’t like hearing encouragement?! This is a way that both people in the discussion can feel positive about what’s been said without saying the phrase ‘be positive’ (or similar). I find the best way to approach it is:

acknowledging what’s being said (avoiding words like ‘poor you’) + encouragement + joke (if you’re good friends).

For example: ‘That must really suck. (acknowledgement) Keep up the good work/you’re doing well/I’m impressed you…./I’m glad you’re feeling a bit better (encouragement). Well done for avoiding hospital this week!/I think that deserves cake!’ (joke).

How is that different from ‘you need to stay positive’? It recognises the fact that it’s bloody hard, that the person is doing the best they can, that they’re human and are allowed to feel upset about it and the fact that you’re not patronising them by unintentionally implying that their apparent lack of positivity is why they’re sick in the first place. If you really, really want to say the word ‘positive’, saying something like ‘You’re doing a good job at staying positive’ is much better received than ‘you need to stay positive’.

As mentioned at the beginning, it’s different for every person with a chronic illness. And it also depends on what’s happening at the time. One thing I do know, is that most people appreciate someone saying ‘I really don’t know what to say and I don’t want to get it wrong’ over a hasty, flippant, ‘you must stay positive’ comment. 🙂 

What do you do all day?

I get this question a lot. Once people have got through the list of phrases I wish people wouldn’t say, they generally ask me what I do with my time in the day. Which sometimes is out of curiosity, but it sometimes comes across like they either think I’m in some kind of prison, or I’m some kind of upper-class socialite butterfly, depending on the way it’s said.

The prison idea is easier to understand, because I’m not at work because I’m sick, so I am a bit ‘trapped’. So sometimes I do feel a bit like that, especially in the weeks after a hospital admission when I’m really limited with what I can do and whether I can go out. The mistake people make is when they think I’m swanning around, pursuing activities at my leisure and having a jolly good time.

Let’s get one cleared up. I’m not working because I’m sick. What do you do when you’re off work sick? Some days you might not be able to get out of bed. Other days you might be able to watch TV and potter around the house. If you’re off work with a mental health condition or recovering after an operation, you might go to the shops to ‘build yourself’ back up again before returning to work. People might come and visit you to keep you company. That’s exactly the same with me. I don’t have all of the ‘pros’ from my ‘old’ life with the added benefit of not having to work. I don’t work because going to work would probably kill me right now. So I wake up, decide what my body is capable of that day, and work around it. Some days I can do next to nothing, other days I might manage more. One day I might be able to do something and then not manage it the next. It’s not a set criteria, the goal posts move daily. I also have a lot of medical appointments to attend which is sometimes a full time job in itself.

I wrote a post about a Day in the Life of Adrenal Insufficiency a while ago. A lot of it is still the same, but here’s what I spend my time doing, for people who are genuinely curious:

  • I write blogs! 🙂
  • I love knitting, sewing, colouring when I can concentrate on these things.
  • I watch a lot of TV, I’m always after suggestions.
  • I chat to friends on messenger/text message
  • I’ve got a few (amazing) close friends who either come to visit, I visit them or we go out during the day for a change of scenery. At the moment, I’m not going out by myself in case I get ‘stuck’. If I’m feeling fed up about what I can and can’t do, they’re the ones I turn to for suggestions, help or company.
  • I go to medical appointments
  • I read books if I can concentrate
  • I listen to music or watch TV while I nap
  • I spend a lot of time on social media
  • I’m trying to learn Spanish
  • I’ve set myself a 30 things before 30 list and a 30 foods before 30 list

It sometimes feels like people ask because they can’t understand what my ‘purpose’ is, if I’m not actively doing something with my day e.g. work or taking time out to bring up children. Which I can appreciate, because the thought has crossed my mind a few times, but it’s not like anything they’re likely to suggest will be an instant solution to that problem. And, if you think ‘bigger picture’, what is actually anyone’s purpose in life?! Why should I have to justify mine over anybody else’s?

I dislike the question, because of its negative connotations. If it’s said with surprise, I feel like I have to justify my existence. Said with pity, it can make me feel like I’m some kind of helpless person (which I’m not- I try to be positive about what I can do rather than upset about what I can’t). If people say it because they think I’m having a whale of a time, I have to give them a bit of a reality check. Some people try to offer me suggestions as to what I can do with my time, which it depends on who’s saying it as to whether I’ll listen (do you need suggestions as to how to spend your time, for example?). It’s not very often I get asked the question by people who are genuinely curious, because most people who are curious tend to phrase it slightly differently and more positively: Have you been doing….? Are you able to….? Did you……?

Sometimes people don’t know what to say, or things are said by accident. I’m not an ogre, I can work out people who have good intentions from those who don’t. But I’m already less than impressed that I can’t work, so please try not to make me feel like I need to justify my existence to you further 🙂

‘Steroid Guilt’

‘Steroid Guilt’ is an unofficial term used amongst patients with Adrenal Insufficiency, to describe the feeling of guilt you get about the fact that you’re not on your Baseline when you need to Stress or Up Dose

This comes about for many reasons:

– We feel like we’ve been given a Baseline Dose for a reason and so feel we should stick to it as much as possible. 

– When we need to Stress Dose, we take it personally and feel we’ve mismanaged our condition and are to blame in some way.

– Our instructions (Sick Day Rules) from our Endocrinologists say that Stress Dosing should be for specific circumstances and not a frequent occurrence. 

– Because research and case studies are a bit scarce, it’s not very well known in the medical community.  Which means that if we ask a non-endocrine specialist for advice, they will quite often say ‘you should aim for your baseline’, as this is possibly the only knowledge they have about it, even if it’s not necessarily the best course of action at the time. 

The reality is the opposite. It’s kind of like withholding a Ventolin/reliever inhaler from an asthmatic, saying ‘well, if you’d avoided your triggers properly, this wouldn’t happen‘. It’s just stupid, if you can’t breathe, you take the inhaler! Life isn’t predictable and you definitely can’t control it (I’ve tried), meaning Stress Dosing or Updosing is inevitable- you can easily get caught out. But the lasting effects of a Ventolin inhaler are virtually non existent, whereas there are side effects that come with steroids.

The most obvious one is weight gain. You can’t help it, your face and middle swell up. It also makes you incredibly hungry, not necessarily a hunger you can ignore, it actually hurts, makes you feel dizzy, gives you stomach ache, you get really irritable and basically can’t function. Ultimately, being on too high a dose of steroid can give you Cushing’s Syndrome, which isn’t any better than having Adrenal Insufficiency. It’s also because it’s a bad idea to keep changing your dose all the time, as the condition is easier to manage on a consistent dose. 

However, most patients are given the same standard Baseline because there’s currently no way of personalising it accurately, although the Day Curve Test helps UK patients a bit with this. The way the endocrine system works makes it very, very difficult to maintain a steady level of cortisol, particularly when that level is supposed to change throughout the day anyway, in line with the body’s natural Circadian Rhythm and in response to everyday ‘stresses’. There’s no way of matching the way the body compensates for this with 3 doses of medication a day- it’s just about as accurate as playing ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’, you have a vague idea of where the tail is meant to go, but it’s only an idea, and, most of the time, it’s slightly ‘off’. And sometimes it’s so far off the donkey, you’re left thinking ‘how the hell did I manage that?! Why didn’t I see where it was going wrong sooner?!’ So even though we know that every patient is different and requires different treatment, we feel guilty if we struggle- it’s the ‘everyone else seems to manage, why can’t I?’ mentality, which can be false and unrealistic, as ‘everyone’ has similar problems. 

This gets worse with the fact that aside from physical symptoms, low cortisol symptoms can include: anxiety, paranoia, stress, inability to make decisions, difficulty in concentration, irrationalness, suicidal thoughts, depression, perfectionism, mood swings and irritability. So at the point when you start feeling most of those is the point you should be Stress or Up Dosing, but your body is fighting against you, making you feel guilty about Stress Dosing *because* you’re feeling all of that. So you’re instantly into a lose lose situation! 

I’m currently in a period of ‘steroid guilt’, hence this post. A couple of weeks ago, I had a virus/cold, so I Stress Dosed. It didn’t turn out as bad as I thought it was going to so I had major steroid guilt, and in my (foolish) wisdom, I decided that it would be a good time to see if I could manage rapid tapers again (I can’t). I lasted a few days and then ended up getting the virus again, which led to me being admitted to hospital needing IV Hydrocortisone and fluids. Then, because my system was under additional stress, I got an infection and was given antibiotics. Now I’m feeling slightly better and feeling guilty again. Which, as I’m writing this, I can see how stupid it must sound- that’s a lot of illness for a healthy person in the space of a few weeks, never mind for someone with a complex medical problem! The most ridiculous aspect of this is the fact that if we don’t Stress Dose when we should and get it wrong, we could die. So why the guilt? 

No one really knows, but we all get it. What we need as patients, but is probably never going to happen, is a personalised Baseline which takes into account our height/weight, metabolism rates and activity level, along with the ability to monitor cortisol in the same way that diabetics can monitor blood sugar. This would allow us to correctly gauge how to dose ourselves and would mean that we wouldn’t need to guess so much- it’s the guessing that makes it hard, not the actual decision. It’s almost a relief when you have something which is clearly indicated on the Sick Day Rules check list and you know exactly what you need to do! I also try to remind myself a lot that I do the best I can and it’s ok to get it wrong sometimes.

Using Shop Mobility for the First Time

I’m such an idiot. I don’t know why I didn’t register with shop mobility before. Well, I do, it’s because:

1) I didn’t realise I was allowed to to use it, to start off with. I think I thought it was only for people who have physical disabilities, rather than people like me who have invisible ones.

2) Then, when I did realise, I was too stubborn to use it because I didn’t want to admit defeat and acknowledge that I needed it.

3) I thought people would be judgemental- I can physically walk but I feel terrible after just a few metres, thanks to my Adrenal Insufficiency

I mostly agreed to shop mobility because we needed to buy birthday presents and I didn’t trust my husband not to buy silly things if he went by himself. But I also wanted to look for my friends’ presents, and be part of the process, which I wouldn’t be able to do if I had to walk. I tend to avoid shopping at all costs, unless I absolutely have to go because it’s too hard. I really struggle with:

  • standing in queues
  • stairs
  • walking around shops
  • trying things on
  • carrying things around
  • needing easy, regular access to a bathroom (ie with minimal walking)
  • finding places to sit down every few minutes
  • avoiding walking into people
  • controlling my body temperature
  • the noise of the shops. Bright lights and lots of background noise make me tired quickly because they take more energy to process.
  • the amount of pain it causes.

The last time a friend took me shopping, we managed a grand total of 2 shops, all next to each other so virtually no walking, and it took about 2 hours, to factor in all the sitting down and stopping. He eventually brought shoes over to me to try on and I had a nap when we got back. Then, I ended up in hospital 2 days later because I’d overdone it. So, this time, I decided to recognise that if I wanted to continue doing things like shopping, it’s ok to take the assistance available.

The man giving out the equipment didn’t even bat an eye when I said it was for me. I could have hired a scooter, but I decided to borrow a wheelchair which my husband could push so that I didn’t have to worry about driving into things in shops as well as my paranoia about using it for the first time. I was really surprised it was free- all I needed was a piece of ID. 

Once I’d got over my fear that everyone would be looking at me and thinking ‘she doesn’t need that, what a fraud’, or similar, and realised that no one actually cared, I was a bit annoyed at myself that I didn’t do this sooner. With shop mobility, my husband and I went into many shops, in fact we exhausted all potential present shops. It was a nice feeling to buy people gifts based on what I thought they might like rather than going ‘OK, I’m done, we need to buy something now’ and then having to sleep for 4 days afterwards (not an exaggeration sadly).

The server in the restaurant didn’t mind the fact I got up and left the wheelchair by the door, and he was considerate in asking me whether I had a preference in where we sat- very well worded and thoughtful.

 My husband and I got some funny looks from passers-by when he got the chair caught on a metal floor bit of an automatic door and almost catapulted me out- we laughed a lot. It was funny, why wouldn’t we laugh?! He also made me laugh by saying things like ‘please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle’ like they do on roller coasters, while trying not to crash into displays in Waterstone’s. 

It made me realise how much I’ve avoided doing things because it either makes me ill for days afterwards or means I end up going to hospital. All because I didn’t want to ‘be disabled’. The irony is, I was a lot more disabled by avoiding doing things and not accepting help, than if I’d registered with things like shop mobility sooner, which give me back a lot of my function and independence. Lesson learnt? Don’t be an idiot. 

30 Foods Before 30

Last week, I wrote a 30 Things to do Before 30 list. A friend and I were joking that we should do a 30 foods to eat before 30 list, and then decided it was such a good idea, I’d do that too! I love food, it’s one of the few things I can do/enjoy at the moment, and I like trying new things. I asked for some suggestions, but also did some of my own research. It’s also perhaps subject to change, like the other list (it depends on whether I get better suggestions!). Here are 30 foods I’ve either never eaten, or foods I’ve eaten before and want to make a point of eating again before I’m 30:

1. Biscuits and gravy– American Style

2. Musakhan jajj– A Palestinian dish composed of roasted chicken baked with onions, sumac, allspice, saffron, and fried pine nuts served over  bread

3. Freak shake – very cool and exotic looking milkshakes 

4. Wood ants – they featured in a meal my friend had recently, which she’s been raving about. I’m not convinced yet!

5. Lobster 

6. Khachapuri – georgian bread

7. Ceviche  – I’m not sure if me eating raw fish is a good idea yet though.

8. Kleftico – Greek lamb 

9. Nutella Krispy Kreme 

10. Raclette – I’ve eaten a lot of raclette before, it was a regional dish in the town I lived in in France. But I love it! And it ties in well with one of my 30 things to do before 30.

11. Afternoon tea – I had afternoon tea on my hen party, but it was fun and I want to have it again.

12. Tapas – I’ve had it before, but don’t remember much of it. And it’s also on my other list.

13. Alcoholic ice lollies 

14. ‘Proper’ loose leaf tea 

15. Tartiflette- same as number 10.

16. Dosas  I had these in India when we went for a wedding, but a friend had some recently and now I want to eat them again!

17. Tagine – I’m pretty sure I’ve had this, but can’t remember.

18. Real steak – I’ve never really eaten steak in a restaurant. I don’t think Harvester counts!

19. Gelato 

20. Pecan pie – Had it before, but it’s good.

21. Mississippi mud pie 

22. Ice cream float-Had it before, but it’s good.

22. Hot dog – Never had a proper one.

23. Octopus 

24. Thai food– The same friend talking about Dosas has also put this in my head.

25. Chowder

26. Mussels – Same as the other French reasons.

27. Wood fired pizza 

28. Churros – same as tapas! 

29. Jerk chicken – Mostly an excuse to go to a really good Caribbean restaurant again.

30. Sweet potato fries – I may be a bit obsessed with these….!

If you have any suggestions, I can always substitute or add them to my list!

Photo: From a Google Search.

Star Trek Beyond

I’m not a fan of Science Fiction films. I find them to be pretty much the same- aliens take on humans, long fight scenes, someone has to sacrifice themselves for the ‘good of humanity’ because the only way they can be saved is if someone is left behind/goes outside/gets locked in with *the* button (or lever) which the fate of humanity is hinging on. I have way too much empathy to cope with that, and all the other people dying.

That said, Star Trek Beyond was a pretty good film. The crew of the Enterprise go on a mission to find a distress signal, where they end up being attacked by evil aliens led by Krall, and crash land on a planet. They then have to get off the planet and get back to the space base before the aliens destroy that too. The Enterprise crew wins. There was a hint of ‘sacrifice’ a couple of times, particularly at the end, but it was all fine (phew).

I liked this film because the characters actually have character-lines and a sense of humour. It wasn’t just lots of fighting which my eyes can’t keep up with, and I found it quite interesting how they portrayed a futuristic civilisation in space. They introduced a new charatcer, Jaylah, who was also in the same boat (or ship)- crash landed on the same planet, trying to get off. She helped the team, and will most likely be in future films. I liked her description of rap as a ‘beat with shouting’. Her ship ended up being the very old USS Franklin, which helped Starfleet put to bed the mystery surrounding its disappearance.

Some of the reviews said the film was a bit predictable, which I would agree with in the sense that most Sci-fi films follow the plotline outlined above. But it was easy to follow and understand, and had sub-plots which made sense: there’s nothing worse than getting to the end of a film and thinking ‘yeah it was good, but I have no idea what the point of half of it was’. Some critics also disapproved of Sulu being portrayed as gay, but it was so subtly indicated in the film that I barely noticed. And also, why can’t he be gay?!

I didn’t get bored, the opposite actually, and I didn’t feel traumatised by the amount of deaths and sacrifices going on (although I did shut my eyes a few times), so overall, I enjoyed this film!

Week 1: 30 Before 30

Last week, I decided to write a 30 Things Before 30 List. Here’s how I got on at the end of the first week.

9. Go for a picnic in a park or forest. My husband went to Sainsbury’s while I was at a medical appointment and we went to sit in the park and have a picnic. It was really good weather and pretty quiet and peaceful, sitting underneath a tree in the shade. I won’t say that I’ve ‘done’ this completely, because I still like the idea of a picnic in a forest too!



18. Re-read Harry Potter in order. I borrowed the set of books off a friend and started reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on Friday. I’ve so far read 100 pages, mostly while sat outside, which has been lovely! 


23. Listen to Proms Concerts. I’ve quite enjoyed doing this. Instead of going to bed for a lie down or a nap in the afternoon, I’ve laid down on a picnic blanket in the garden, listened to proms concerts and cloud watched. This week I listened to: the First Night of the Proms; Prom 3 which included Mozart, Haydn and Fauré; Chamber Music with Debussy, Dutilleux and more Mozart; Prom 4 Ravel and Rachmaninov; Prom 6 Gospel Prom, and Strictly Prom. I did start to listen to one with a Beethoven Mass and some Poulenc but decided that if I made it a ‘you must listen to them all’ thing, it might become a chore and become less fun. Just because I have time, doesn’t mean I have to spend it on things I don’t love as much! Definitely not ‘done’, but a good start.


25. Go Pokemon Hunting. A friend and I planned to do this, and then an impromptu BBQ meant that there were more people to play too! This is most definitely not ‘done’ yet, I want to play in some more places which aren’t just my garden and the street outside, but it was still good fun. Particularly when we realised we were fighting some kids, but had to ask for help because we didn’t know all the rules. I guess it’s not really meant for 30 year olds! 

Ghostbusters

I loved this film. It was funny, had a good balance of action to dialogue, wasn’t too long and had some awesome characters.

When ghosts start to appear in New York, Scientists Abby and Erin join forces with Holtzmann, an engineer, and Patty, a New York City expert to firstly convince officials that ghosts do actually exist, and secondly, to eliminate them from the city. They hire a lovely but pretty useless receptionist, Kevin, to ‘help’ them with their work, who later becomes possessed by a ghoul, which complicates their power-struggle with the phantoms somewhat.

I read several online blogs beforehand about the film, some saying that they approved of the ‘girl power’ gender-role reversal, some saying they thought it ruined it. I’m all for females being strong characters and existing in films for more than just the purpose of being ‘saved’ by a male leading character, but I didn’t actually see them as four women kicking out ghosts. Gender didn’t really come into it for me, they were Ghostbusters doing a cool job, who also happened to be women. Likewise with Kevin, there was nothing weird about his role or his job as the receptionist, he was ‘just Kevin’. This was clearly down to great directing and producing.

The music score was great. It kept the original theme, which appeared throughout, with hints of either the bass riff or the main hook in the score. I thought it was a great mix of more ‘popular’ sounds and an orchestral backing.

Holtzmann was my favourite character because she was clever, witty and completely unafraid. There were glimpses of the original film, by including the actress who played the original receptionist as a new character. I loved the dance scene, which is shown in the end credits, starring Kevin. This was originally supposed to be in the main film itself, but didn’t go down well in test screenings, so it was cut. I’m glad it wasn’t cut completely though!