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My 2018 Review – The Busy Year filled with the Unexpected

By Friends & Family, Gigs & Shows, Happiness & Joy, Health, LifeNo Comments

In January my mum, brother, brother’s fiancee, nephew and I watched Peter Pan’s Musical Adventure in Blackpool. I went to Leeds to spend time with Robert and Neha. Robert & Neha are two of my most dear friends and favourite humans. Here are some photos:


Blackpool Tower


Mum feeding the 2p machines and feeding her habit at the same time.


Left to Right: Me, Robert & Neha.



February started with a spring clean. I thought and wrote about The Cycle of Life. I shared some lessons I’ve learned from life.

In March I wrote about homelessness. I aided Steve, my housemate in his hunt for a cockatiel. Here is a photo of Steve’s cockatiel:


Another photo of the extremely cute and chirpy Chakuro.

April began with my attempt to answer some of the most difficult questions in life. Steve and I visited Beeston Castle in Cheshire. I got creative and made a number of Pumpkin Spice Scented Candles:




The entrance to the main ruin (2). From the bridge was a sheer drop of at least thirty feet.


My batch of handmade Pumpkin Spiced Scented Candles.


One of my Pumpkin Spiced Scented candles. They just need some witchy charms tying to each jar.

For my birthday in May, my good friend Simon and I visited Warkworth Castle & Tynemouth Priory and Castle. See photos below. I published a blog post about how to support someone with mental illness.


The most well preserved.


Remains of Walkworth Castle (1).


Tynemouth Priory and Castle remains (2).


Simon (right) and me (left) in the stone coffins. I couldn’t believe that we both fitted perfectly.

Mum and I visited Harry Potter Studio Tour and London. Mum shared a story about St. James park:

When my mum was a little girl, she lived in London with her mum and dad (my grandma and granddad). Every Sunday, while her mum was making the Sunday dinner, her dad would take her to watch the changing of the Guard and then into St. James Park to feed the ducks.

From My Blog Post: Harry Potter Studio Tour and London with Mum.

In June I was fortunate to unexpectedly see A-Ha with my good friend Jayne. Endless things broke including my boiler, car, new laptop and washer dryer.

July saw Jayne and I visit Chester Zoo. Here are some photos:


Butterfly (2).


A close up of the baby elephant.


My new lover! He’s the strong, wooden, silent type.


This gorgeous beauty came to say hello and flirted with me (by winking with her big eye and long eyelashes) when I said ‘Hello Gorgeous.’ to her as she passed by.

I found myself disappointed. It was unexpected, but I managed to find the positive side to disappointment.

In July I continued working hard to improve my health. This included starting on FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System.

September was particularly busy. A good friend, her son, two of his friends and I got close to wild animals at Blackpool Zoo. Here are some photos:


This photo of a penguin is most probably the best photo I’ve ever taken. The penguin was swimming at great speed, although you wouldn’t have guested. I looked at this photo when I got home and it looks like it was taken by a professional. A total fluke.


Another of the beautiful tiger. Blackpool Zoo have two tigers from what we saw. The tiger is more than slightly moist because of the rain.


This is how close we got to a Lion. Able to look in its eye and see the intelligence, along with the hunter instinct. He appeared to be eyeing us up as a snack. Blackpool Zoo had two male Lions living in the enclosure together from what I saw. They seemed pretty well bonded and one went and groomed the other while we watched.


Quickly becoming my favourite animal, the giraffes. What I love about giraffes is that every time I’ve politely called over to one (in different Zoos I might add), they come over. They look at me with their big black eyes and some times, if I’m really lucky, they let me take a photo before they walk off.

Still in September I was unexpectedly (and lucky enough to be offered) a spare ticket to see the spectacular Shania Twain.

In October I self-published a poem Sometimes High, Sometimes Low:


Click for Full Size Image.

My mum, Kelly, my mum’s friend, her daughter and myself saw Matilda.

In November I went to a wonderful wedding and I watched Fantastic Beats: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

In December I had a great Christmas, shared with loved ones.

Overall 2018 was a busy year filled with the unexpected. Hopefully 2019 will be less busy, but with many good times, shared with friends and family. I’d also like lots more creative output from myself.

Write soon,



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The People that are Ignored or Forgotten – Homelessness in the UK

By Life, ThinkingNo Comments
homelessness-in-the-UK Whenever the temperature really drops, like it has today, I think of people that are homeless. No scratch that, I think of people who I see as homeless – those that sleep on the streets.

I usually donate to my local homelessness project The Brick and hope that those sleeping on the street keep themselves warm enough to survive the bitter and bleak night.

If I’m totally honest: I find it utterly shocking that the UK, as one of the richest countries in the world, has homelessness and rough/street sleeping. At first glance homelessness could be easily resolved by ensuring suitable accommodation for everyone.

But the truth is that homelessness is a complex issue. Why? Because people are complex. There are also a range of complex issues that lead to people becoming and remaining homelessness.

The causes of homelessness or contributing factors include:

  • Poverty, being unemployed, being underemployed or losing source of income.
  • Unmanageable debt.
  • Addiction to alcohol, drugs or gambling.
  • Mental illness – including depression, anxiety, bipolar, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and personality disorder.
  • Domestic Abuse – including violence.
  • Breakdown of relationships – both romantic and with family, friends or others.
  • Chronic physical illnesses or diseases.
  • Physical, emotional, sexual, financial abuse or neglect.
  • Having a family history of homelessness (according to Shelter).
  • Transformation or regeneration of areas – leading to unaffordable house prices, mortgages or rents.
  • Criminal and/or antisocial behaviour including being in prison.
  • Being in the care of Social Care or being in the Armed Forces.
  • Changes to benefits and social security administration and/or payments.
  • Poor social support networks or isolation.
  • Death of carers for dependents.
  • Having no right to work or claim benefits/social security.
  • A combination of the above.

There are two different types of homelessness: 1. People that are sleeping rough on the streets, park benches or doorways. 2. People that are living in temporary accommodation. People in temporary accommodation maybe housed by their local authority in a bed and breakfast or cheap hotel, or maybe sofa surfing staying with relatives or friends.

We don’t have a handle on homelessness in the UK. We don’t have accurate figures of people that are sleeping on the street. Local Authorities are once a year required to go out and survey the population of people who are sleeping rough in their communities.

However in 2010 the Government changed the rules for local authorities (see Evaluating the Extend of Rough Sleeping by the Department for Communities and Local Government). These changes have impacted the annual reporting of homelessness, significantly reducing the numbers of people counted as rough sleeping or people that are sleeping in the street.

It is too easy to ignore or forget about people that are homeless. I’ve ignored people sat on the street when I’ve walked through the High Street of various town centres. The cold weather triggers me to think about people who are sleeping on the streets. But most of the time, if I don’t go into town centres, I forget about people who are homeless.

Here are some ways, that wont cost you a penny, to prevent people that are homeless from being ignored or forgotten:

  • Educate yourself and others around homelessness.
  • Use your skills, talents or hobbies to promote awareness of homelessness. A good example is this blog post, I’ve written it to raise awareness.
  • Email your local politician and ask them to campaign for people that are homeless and raise the issue in parliament. Politicians have the power to make positive changes to reduce and prevent homelessness.
  • Donate old items to charity shops that specifically support homelessness projects.
  • Volunteer your time in homeless projects.

I once heard someone say: You are only ever two paydays away from being homeless. I can’t remember who told me this, or the find the first person to say this on the internet. But I believe it to be true.

Like I believe that anyone could end up becoming homeless, it would just require the right causes or circumstances to become present in your life.

So take action for people that are homeless, because one day it could happen to you. Or to someone that you love. You wouldn’t want yourself or someone that you love to be ignored or forgotten.

Take care,



I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:

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The Next General Election – Why I’ll Be Voting For Labour

By PoliticalNo Comments

So the next General Election has been announced and will take place on Thursday 8th June 2017. Neither of the two main political parties have released their manifestos yet. But Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of The Labour Party has released his 10 Pledges To Transform Britain.

The Labour Party are doing a few interesting things at the moment. Firstly they’re reaching out to people through the use of social media. Social media’s influence on politics was recently shown in the USA election and if the results are anything to go by (Donald Trump used social media and got elected to The White House) it’s a good move.

The mainstream media has been at best barely mentioning The Labour Party and worst highly critical of them. The mainstream media has become like reading a Conservative party pamphlet. The same lies and bogus phrases repeated again and again.

Secondly The Labour Party is reaching out to people and encouraging them to register to vote. In particular young people. This is clever as it recognises that Labour must reach out to disenfranchised young people who wouldn’t normally vote at all. This isn’t a new Labour idea, it was tried before the last General Election, it just wasn’t done very well then. Hopefully it will be done better this time. But it is also part of a larger vision for Labour to broaden its appeal to all.

Thirdly The Labour Party is doing something unique (at least to UK politics), fascinating and potentially election winning. The Labour Party is running an online National Policy Forum Consultation 2017, where everybody – both members of the public and Labour party members are invited to give their thoughts, opinions, ideas and views in 8 policy areas covering every part of Government.


The Labour Party are already doing things differently than the political norm. They’re running an online National Policy Forum Consultation, where everybody – both members of the public and Labour party members are invited to give their thoughts, opinions, ideas and views in 8 policy areas covering every part of Government.

The 8 policy areas are: Economy, Business and Trade; International; Health and Social Care; Early Years, Education and Skills; Justice and Home Affairs; Housing, Local Government and Transport; Work, Pensions and Equality; and Environment, Energy and Culture.

For each area you read a short policy document (around 7-8 pages with plenty of spacing) and then can submit your thoughts, opinions, ideas and views. You can also read what others have wrote and comment on their input.

National Policy Forum Consultation 2017 comments are then fed in Policy Commission meetings. These meetings will likely decide what Labour policy is and form The Labour Party’s manifesto. This is a way to involve and empower people who usually don’t feel listened to by Politicians. A genius idea.

I’m voting for Jeremy Corbyn and The Labour Party in this upcoming election. Why? Because I think and feel that Labour Government will:

  • Tackle the growing inequality in our society. At the moment the rich are getting much more richer than ever before, while the poor are becoming destitute.
  • Properly fund and resource our National Health Service (NHS), Social Care and Public Services – all of which feel like they are so close to shattering right now.
  • Deal with decreasing opportunities for young people.
  • Build more affordable homes and address homelessness which is now visually evident in every town and city in the UK.
  • Get control of the rapidly rising cost of living (including fair energy prices and reduced public transport costs).
  • Increase worker’s rights and protections.
  • Keep The Human Rights Act (1998).

Some people say that they aren’t keen on Jeremy Corbyn. Sometimes with poor or no reasons for their dislike. I can only put that down to the power of the mainstream media.

My impression of Jeremy Corbyn is that he’s honest (refreshing for a politician), he’s passionate, he genuinely cares about people, he’s got a lot of experience (both as a politician and working within Trade Unions), he’s been on the right side of history (check out his voting history here), he listens and he wants to empower people. He wants a country that works for the many and not the few. All good qualities for the next Prime Minister.

Still unsure about Jeremy Corbyn? Read this article: Here are 16 reasons to vote for Jeremy Corbyn by The Independent.

Write soon,


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Why a Petition to Stop Donald Trump from Making a State Visit Makes Me Feel Sad

By Political, Thinking2 Comments

Donald Trump

This blog post really isn’t about Donald Trump. I just wanted to make that clear in the opening line.

A petition to stop Donald Trump (the new President of the USA) from making a State Visit to the UK has been signed by 1.8+ million British citizens. This makes me feel really sad. Why? I’ll explain below.

First let me say that it’s great when people come together, stand together and become politically active.

But the reason for my sadness is that although 1.8+ million British citizens have come together on this issue, we don’t seem to be able to come together on other important issues.

Such as:

  • The increasing inequality in our society.
  • The funding and resourcing crisis in our NHS and Social Care Services.
  • The rising levels of homelessness.
  • The shocking year on year increase in people getting mentally ill.
  • The growing use of food banks.
  • Decreasing opportunities for young people.
  • Plans to scrap The Human Rights Act (1998).
  • The reduction of worker’s rights and protections.

We need to come together, stand together and become politically active in the same sort of numbers that have signed the petition, if not more, to fight for the changes that we would like to see in our society.

Blog soon,



I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:

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