A letter for whoever needs this right now.

Hi,

I hope this finds you well.

I know that right now things seem more than a bit weird. You might also be finding it a tad overwhelming at the moment, what with the near constant stream of information (and misinformation) that is coming through every day from media outlets. It’s natural that you will be worried about your friends and your family, especially all those who are at high risk. I know right now my own priority is ensuring that myself and my own family are safe and healthy.

If there is one piece of advice I can give to you in a situation like this is, don’t stress yourself out. Stress doesn’t just affect your mental health, it puts a strain on your physical health too. It can impact on your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds and other illnesses. So even if you don’t pick up coronavirus, you could still pick up something else. Be aware of what’s going on, keep yourself informed, keep washing your hands (it’s very important), but please don’t let your attempts at protecting yourself from this virus mess up your health in other ways. It really isn’t worth it.

In the meantime, if you’re feeling a little more anxious than usual at the moment, take time for yourself as much as possible. Also:

Mute anything or anyone on social media that is posting negativity. Better still, take a break from social media altogether, it works wonders.

Restrict your news consumption. Having BBC News 24 on all day when you’re already feeling down will just make you feel worse, as will following news sites on twitter all day. Check the news once a day, any time apart when you wake up or before you go to bed. Maybe even get a newspaper (yes they still exist) just avoid the S*n or Daily Fail.

Try a mindfulness app. I’ve found that using Headspace has helped me a lot when I have had bouts of stress and anxiety. I particularly recommend their sleepcasts if you’re having difficulty sleeping.

Sleep well. Eat healthily. Exercise. Read. Listen to music and podcasts you love, or discover new ones to enjoy. Watch your favourite films and TV. Play games. Have a go making that thing you’ve said you wanted to make but have never had the time to. If you are having to self- isolate at this time, now you’ve a chance to do it.

Be kind to your body and mind. Remember life still goes on, just in a different way from what you’re used to.

Take care.

Work in progress: “my mate says…”

Current times and the state of social media in particular has given me a few ideas for blog posts. I can’t say whether this will continue, but it has given me something to keep me occupied for a bit.

I came up with this this morning. It’s still a work in progress but it’s amused me for a bit. (DISCLAIMER: There is at the moment no reports of a shortage of Yorkshire tea. Or any tea at the moment. Oh crap, I hope I haven’t created a monster.)

A few words on The Masked Singer

The Monster, one of the stars of the Masked Singer. But who are they?

***WARNING!!*** This post is about a show that is on primetime British television. As it is a post about a television show there is the possibility that it may contain content some may consider to be spoilers, although you’ve probably found out before you read this anyway. Still, it’s only fair that I warn you before you continue reading in case you haven’t because I don’t want to be THAT person. You know who I mean.

Thank you for reading. And now, here’s the post.

The Masked Singer is crazy.

Bats**t crazy.

Quite possibly the most bats**t crazy thing I have ever seen on TV.

But I’m kind of into it. Sure it isn’t high art, but TV designed for Saturday Prime time TV isn’t supposed to be. Yes it’s another show featuring people singing, but it’s ultimately a guessing game. I admit it is fun trying to work out who they are. My mum ended up making a list of all the people she thought was performing in disguise on the show (she’s about 95 percent certain that the Hedgehog is Alfie Boe, but who knows?). And the costumes the disguised celebrities wear are pretty impressive, however I imagine that at least one of the contestants are baking hot and/or struggle to go to the toilet in them.

If there’s any real criticism, it’s probably that it’s a bit too long at 90 minutes, a length no doubt made so by ITV’s penchant for putting an ad break after every performance and prior to announcing who has won the vote to the next show. There is also the chance that Mr Chow from the Hangover (who happens to be on the panel of the American version as well), could end up becoming very annoying as the series rolls on. But in all, it’s a harmless bit of cheesy fun and we all need something like that now and again.

One last thing, I’m pretty sure John Barrowman is not the unicorn. For one, it would be pretty obvious from the get go that it was him. Plus if it was him do you really think Schofield and Willoughby would have asked him if he was during the first episode of Dancing on Ice, on which he is the newest judge? They’d be stupid to try and give it away and thus ruin the outcome of another TV show, but hey, that’s just my opinion.

You decide:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVIeNMNJiIg

Na…No.

I am reminded that it’s coming up to NaNoWriMo time again. I still get the emails about it a few years on from my first (and only) attempt at it. I’ve thought about trying again some time, but as each year passes I just feel more and more like I don’t have the energy or time to really make a go of it.

That doesn’t mean that I am totally against the idea of month long writing challenges. Indeed, I’ve taken on my own alternative in the past. November has seen me post a blog every day instead. Doing that every day felt a lot easier to me than writing novel chapters, even if I did run out of things to blog about near the end of the month. I didn’t do it last year and I am unsure as to whether I’ll do it this year, unless I can guarantee that at least 60 percent of them are not going to made up of me moaning that I have nothing to write about.

I did have a title for this.

Procrastination is not something I want to do. But I’ve been doing it even more so of late. I just can’t get myself motivated to do anything that I know needs doing . Maybe it’s down to currently having a lack of a routine. Maybe it’s down to my body getting used to being relaxed after such a long period of rushing around, being stressed and not having a chance to have a break. I don’t want to feel like I’m putting things off, I do want to feel like I am doing something necessary. Besides I promised myself that I wouldn’t be a lazy get.

Last week I created a list in my journal of tasks for the week. I had about three tasks for each day and I marked off each one I completed. Admittedly, I had more incomplete tasks than completed, but it was better that I managed to attempt some of them than none of them. That I made the effort to compile a list was also an achievement, I suppose.

How do you try to avoid putting things off? And how do you try to keep yourself busy?

Technology hates me (again)

Last weekend my iPhone crashed. I spent the best part of nearly three hours trying to download the update, only for it having to be restored to factory settings and my most recent backup being installed on it. It was then that I found out that my phone hadn’t backed up since June, so all the apps that installed were all the old versions which wouldn’t work until I had downloaded the update. I did of course, backup my phone to my computer after I had installed everything (I usually do it to the cloud but it was taking a hell of a long time that night and I was very, very, impatient).

A few days ago, I noticed that nearly the entire middle row of my laptop’s keyboard wasn’t working properly. Out of ASDFGHJKL, only the “G” and “H” keys were okay, while some of the symbols weren’t working either. I gave the keyboard a clean, but still no luck. Not good for someone who blogs and has also started an online copywriting course. I bought a USB keyboard off amazon and you know what, I am pretty glad I did in the end. As much as I like the keyboard on my laptop, I’ve not always felt comfortable using it. It’s alright when you’re browsing the web, tweeting and stuff like that, but it could be a bit of a pain when you’re writing longer things. Also it used to be pretty annoying when I was writing a blog post or email only to have to start over when the corner of my hand would catch a button whilst typing and delete everything.

I’m just hoping I don’t have any other technical difficulties for a bit as I don’t really want to fork out for anything new just yet unless anything goes completely kaput.

(By the way, these technical difficulties have meant that part two of my “Brief History of Blogging” post has been delayed somewhat. It is coming, I promise).

My Brief History of Blogging: Part One

Hi. So originally I was going to make this a really short post about how I feel blogging is different these days. I ended up writing about my own journey as a blogger and it has turned out longer than I anticipated. In fact, I am still writing it. So I thought it would be a great idea to turn it into a mini series on here. I know you’re excited.

Here’s the first part of this post. Expect the second sometime later this week. Enjoy the read.

Blogging has changed so much since I started doing it back in the day. When I started, people were doing it as a hobby. It was an online diary. People used it to talk about their lives, share the things that they were up to and what interested them. They also used them to rant a fair bit and post the results of quizzes they did when they were bored and should have been doing something constructive. Or at least, I did.

In the days I first started to blog, MySpace was in existence. I didn’t sign up for a profile until about 2006 and I was probably getting on a bit to have one even then (reader, I was 25). I did post some blogs on there but not often. I thought it was a bit crap if you wanted to use it as a blog space but ok for the occasional quick ramble.

My first blog proper, was on Blogger. I’d looked at all the various blog platforms, including LiveJournal and one called 20Six but I settled on Blogger because it seemed like the easiest to set up at the time. I used the blog to post about my interests and what I’d been doing to begin with, then started to use it as a platform to let off steam about anything in the news or in my life that had pissed me off that day. Towards the end, I ended up doing various online quizzes such as “Which Muppet are you?” and “What superpower should you have?” and sharing the results as I had no idea what to write about. My first blog, which I can’t remember the name of, let alone the url, was eventually abandoned and left to float into the darkest depths of cyberspace.

 My interest in blogging, though, hadn’t entirely gone with it…