Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The Legend of St Valentine

Remember when you were at school and every year around Valentine's day there'd be a big assembly and you'd hear the story of St Valentine and everything would be purple because according to my old RE teacher, purple is the colour of virtually every Christian holiday? At least... that's how I remember it. So, do you?

I don't hate Valentine's day, I only hate some aspects of it. The commercialism of it, how it encourages us to waste money on crap that we might not use, on bottles of wine and chocolates that are cheaper at any other time of year, not to mention all the fucking waste. I probs would have given up on it entirely if it wasn't for knowing the true story of St Valentine, and how Valentine's day came to be. I promise it's not like a boring history lesson.

Once upon a time, in a land far away (Rome), a very long ago, there lived a priest called Valentinus... aka Valentine of Rome. He was a Christian priest at a time when Roman paganism ruled in the form of Roman Emperor Claudius II. It is said that Emperor Claudius II tried to convert the Christian priest to Roman paganism, and interrogated him in person. Alas, t'was not to be, Valentine tried to convert the Emperor to Christianity. 

At the time, soldiers were banned from marrying as Emperor Claudius II believed married men did not make good soldiers (although, it's also said he encouraged his soldiers to take three or four women...). Valentine believed in love so strongly, he performed illegal marriages for these soldiers in secret. Supposedly, Valentine wore a purple amethyst ring, often worn by Christian bishops at the time, with an engraving of Cupid on it, a recognisable symbol associated with love that was legal under the Roman Empire. Roman soldiers would recognise the ring and ask him to perform a marriage for them.

One dark day, Valentine was discovered performing one of these secret marriages. He was thrown in jail and sentenced to death. Whilst waiting for death, Valentine came to know his jailer's daughter, a blind girl named Julia. Legend has it that he performed a miracle and Julia began to see again, which convinced her whole family of Jesus' existence and they were baptised and converted to Christianity. 

On the eve of Valentine's execution, he wrote a letter to Julia, signed 'Your Valentine'Valentine was buried in the Church of Praxedes in Rome, located near the cemetery of Saint Hippolytus. According to legend Julia herself planted a pink-blossomed almond tree near his grave.

Today,  the flower-crowned skull of Saint Valentine is exhibited in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome. Other relics are found at Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland. People still make pilgrimages to both these sites.

And that is why we celebrate love on Valentine's Day. Are you doing anything special today? 😃 

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Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Instamonth #January2017

Life still feels so floopy at the mo, I really need everything to settle down a bit! I was going to post this earlier, when it was still January... buuut my brain decided to fuck with me and it's been rough lately so I kinda let everything slide.

Life isn't bad, life is pretty great really. So I keep beating myself up over falling apart. That's mental illness for you I guess. No matter how amazing your life is, mental health can fuck with you no matter what.
Mornings in the new flat | falafel wraps for lunch | long socks out again
My poor broken down car | I love leopard print | sunrise in Portsmouth 
Vinyl love | vegan pie and mash | frothy milky coffee

January felt like the longest month. So. Much. Happened. 

We moved into our flat right before New Years and are still settling in. We have the basics but keep realising we're missing ALL THE USEFUL THINGS! Like a sieve, or a sofa... 

As if I didn't have enough on my mind, ALL THE CAR DRAMA happened. All in the same fucking week. First, I hit a deer with my car which was fucking terrifying and I cried. The deer was fine, my nerves and car were not.  Later that week, the motor for my windscreen wipers decided to stop working in the middle of the snowstorm. I got soaked in snow trying to fix them, in the end a pick up truck came and saved me and my car and drove us aaallll the way home. 

I would have thought that that week would have made me lose it and spiral into negativity again, but somehow not, I brushed it off as life and carried on. There's no rhyme or reason to mental illnesses.

M and I went back to Portsmouth for a weekend, cramming everything we could into one day. We went back to our fave ever food place, Pie and Vinyl. They do the best vegan pies omg I was almost in tears I was so happy in that quirky, steamy little hodge podge room! We also snuck back into the student union for a couple of cheap pints with our still-in-date student cards! We caught up with our old housemate and best pal for a quick drink at a pub, then went to a house party for another pal's birthday, phew!

I'm trying to blog consistently, I swear, but work is getting busier every day, I don't usually feel like sitting at a computer screen when I come home too. Maybe when I have somewhere to sit that isn't in bed or the floor I'll feel more productive. Maybe.

How have you been lately?

Sunday, 29 January 2017

6 YouTubers Who Never Fail to Cheer Me Up!

I think it took me longer than everyone else to really get into watching YouTube videos. I'm still using it to watch funny cats and that was about it until I realised the rest of YouTube is not just Zoella and a horde of beauty vloggers.

I now get it when people on twitter are saying that they binge-watched someone's videos, or sank into a YouTube hole, or that so-and-so's videos never fail to make them smile. I reacquainted myself with Jenna Marbles and basically think she's my BFF, her partner Julien is quite a laugh also. If you haven't heard of Jenna Marbles you're not a true YouTubian, I'm sorry but she is YouTube royalty, let's be honest. I could honestly write a whole post about how much I love her but that's not today's post! She is number one on this list, though...

1. Jenna Marbles - How to Care for Your Cermet 2
Like I said if you haven't heard of Jenna Marbles.... who even are you?! She's just hilarious, 'kay.

2. Dr Phil ASMR - ASMR Stipple Makeup Roleplay
Some people think ASMR is weird. I can't find many triggers that actually work on me, for some reason having my make up done or my hair done are the main ones. If I fancy watching an ASMR video I often go back to this one, and often fall asleep to it too! If you haven't got a clue what I'm talking about, ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, it's basically that tingly feeling you might get at the back of your head/neck from various triggers.

3. Cattitude & Co. - Shark Week Live
This fabulous woman always has me nodding vigorously in agreement with what she has to say. I feel inspired and powered up after watching one of her videos! I particularly love the Period Vlogs Tara does, which inspired me to write my own period diary.

4. Beauty Creep - Dog Suicide Bridge
Aside from Erin's beautiful accent (oddly relaxing if you're wondering), the way she films, especially in her paranormal videos, is really peaceful. What's more peaceful than a graveyard eh?! OK, OK 'dog suicide bridge' doesn't sound particularly cheerful, if you're not interested in the paranormal Erin covers many other topics. She also films period vlogs!

5. Imogen Walters Intuitive - At my Best, At my Worst Tarot Spread
Where do I even start?! I can't remember how I first got to know Imogen, it was well before she started this YouTube channel though. Her focus is on tarot, even offering private tarot readings via video. Imogen's whole aura is so peaceful, and I *think* she must just be the nicest YouTuber!

Full disclosure - I kinda hate Buzzfeed. Their articles are mostly trash (like the lists I write, so why haven't I gone viral yet?!) BUT they have a few (very few) fab video series on YouTube that are worth watching. My faves are Buzzfeed Unsolved, Worth It, and my absolute top favourite is Ladylike. The women on it are hilarious! Yes, women are funny, who knew?! They try weird products and trends so we don't have to, and question societal norms in many of their videos. They've also tried graffiti art, drag racing, and fake nipple piercings!

Do you like any of these YouTubers? Who is/are your favourite YouTuber(s)?

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Things We Can All Learn From 2016

It was a hell of a year. Where to even start?

The general mood of 2016 was a low one. I stopped using social media as much and started avoiding the news. I barely followed the American election, I felt numb after Brexit. But I have to try harder in 2017, we all do. Which brings us to what I think is the most important lesson from 2016...
  1. We can't sit back and do nothing.
I achieved lots in my personal life which took all my energy, but I know I need to put more energy back into the world, into helping and supporting others. I'm not entirely sure how, I'm not sure how we can, but doing nothing isn't an option. If you stay silent, you are on the side of the oppressor. I will be a better ally in 2017.

  1. We do not live in a post-racial world.
This is a pretty obvious one I think. I honestly wasn't surprised when Trump won the election, the racism was always there. Evelyn from the Internets spoke about this on her YouTube channel. Thing is, I know a lot of my readers are white women like me, I saw bloggers I know tweeting about how surprised they were about the election result. Yes, it's that bad, it was always there. Those of us who felt surprised felt so because of our white privilege. It doesn't personally or directly affect us. We need to shut up and listen to black and brown people, especially women, speaking up and help amplify their voices, but not step in front of them.

  1. Life is short.
We know, we know 2016 isn't really out to get us, there isn't a secret conspiracy to kill off our idols. But with all the deaths of iconic people, who meant so much to so many of us, it's hard to not be reminded of life's finality. Bowie, Michael, and Prince showed us there's no one way to be a man. Carrie Fisher was always standing up for those with mental illnesses. Muhammad Ali shone with black pride for many years, taking on the US government and opposing the war in Vietnam. WHY 2016 WHY?! Not to mention the 1000s killed in Syria or the black lives lost due to police brutality.

  1. People care.
OK, not all people care *wink wink nudge nudge* but people across the world care about important things. Or maybe things that seem unimportant to you, like some people really care about animals. We've seen Veganism become the fastest growing lifestyle in the UK this year, and with so many people taking part in Veganuary hopefully it'll keep growing in 2017. Even when some of us feel hopeless when it comes to tackling the patriarchy and racism, there are so many of us who do care. Even the little acts of kindness and support matter. So don't be afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve and care, passionately, about whatever it is you care about.

  1. Women are fucking awesome.
Simone Biles, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Dwi Handa, Solange, Heloise Letissier aka Christine and the Queens, Nadiya Hussain, Shirin Gerami, Sian Williams, Winnie Harlow, Serena Williams, Issa Rae, Michelle Obama, Viola Davis, Lisa Rochester Blunt..... need I go on??

What will you be taking away from 2016?