Friday, 28 June 2013

Am I a Fake Woman?


Today I was reading Emma Woolf's Ministry of Thin which got me thinking about the term 'real woman' which is used so widely in media. What is a real woman? Is it a tick list of attributes and if you don't hit them all you are a fake woman? On flicking through a single woman's magazine we can be told we must be skinny, curvy, confident , modest, food-conscious and at the same time eat what we like. What the media says and what the media does are two entirely different things.

The notion of a 'real woman' being curvaceous and confident in their own body seems to be preached from the rooftops nowadays but if that is so why is every woman we see in advertising nipped, tucked and brushed within an inch of their existence.  If this is all right and a real woman is curvaceous, that is having boobs and a bum with a nip in at the waist,  does that mean us women who don't posses this are 'fake women'? Begging the question what are we 'supposed' to be.

One mustn't forget the other side of the tale, a 'real', 'normal' woman mustn't get complacent about her body, one must stay focussed on the latest diets and body perfecting fads. That is of course quintessentially normal. Although we are expected to "embrace our curves" and "be comfortable in our own skin" one should always strive to shed a few pounds and tone up what can't be lost. Is it just me or is there something entirely wrong about all of this?

I am an 18 year old woman, 9st6, 5ft6, washboard top half, size 8, not a dieter, just a healthy person which according to the media check-list of a real woman crosses me clean off the list. This realisation will far from have me go out of my way to achieve 'realness' more question its viability.

I am not forgetting that there has recently been a somewhat shift with regards to modelling diversity but in terms of media representation it all seems to be a bit 'stuck', like they can't decide which way to go with it all so why not do a bit of both. Going with both sides doesn't exactly add up well, it'd be nice for them to go one way or the other, preferably taking the diversity route. Or maybe I just over-think everything. Who knows?

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Don't Call Me Crazy


Don't Call Me Crazy - BBC Three Series

I am quite the fan of documentaries, this may make me somewhat of a geek and more often than not the ones I watch are usually about mental health and/or prison. Don't Call Me Crazy comes under that; a BBC Three three-part documentary focussing on the life of teenagers on a mental health inpatient ward and the challenges involved in this. My immediate thought when I saw the advert for the program was "How the heck did they get consent and go ahead for this?!"  and in some respects that hasn't really changed. I assume that the producers of the program have provided escalated support to both the service users and their families throughout the process but the question must be asked "Does this make it okay?". 

With regards to consent I had a little bit of a Google to see if I could find the answers to this (by no means an investigation) and the only results that it came up with other people questioning how it was obtained. Given that the service users on the ward are still considered children and under guardianship I assume their parents/guardians were involved in this process along with the children's own views on this, which undoubtedly gets you into the loop of capacity and consent. 

With the above in mind this brings us to the question "Is it worth it? Do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks?" In some senses yes, it is worth it. The young children provided honest explanations about their mental health conditions, in the case of Emma she told viewers what I imagine every other in her situation would want to "OCD is more than cleaning". Common misconceptions like this must be addressed somehow, however is filming a teenage impatient ward for a year the way about it? I'm not sure, but Emma definitely got her point across, she is NOT an illness, she is Emma. There are definitely drawbacks to showing hospitalisation in this sense on television; it could be questioned as to whether it is exploitation of the youngsters, their periods of distress broadcast, which cannot be taken back. Surely being filmed will not help any distressing situations such as meal-time support in eating disorders which goes from being between a service user and staff member to being a somewhat public event; a possible added difficulty to their fight. 

Although this is only part one of a three part series I would like to have seen a more overall explanation of conditions and what these mean in terms of their expression in an individual rather than a somewhat unnecessary showing of 3 lots of restraint. I am undecided as to if I think the program is right or wrong, I will leave that decision for after the third instalment but I am certain that in the case of OCD the program will have cleared up some misconceptions of the disorder which is always a positive and in terms of Anorexia it has made a start misconceptions in this area too. 

Lastly I must commend the bravery of the young people and their families involved in the program for being brave to talk about mental health despite and in defiance of the associated stigma.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Barcelona Take Two - Sagrada Familia


Outside of Sagrada Familia.
I had to lie on the floor to take this.

Full Name: The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família
Location: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain
For Opening Times and Costs Visit Website:
Visited: July 2012
Sagrada Familia at a distance.

I will start by saying the Sagrada Familia is one of the most stunning things I have ever seen; it is difficult to believe that the complex architecture and ornate carvings are ones which were started in the 19th Century, previous to the technological advances we have now.

Contrary to popular belief the concept was not a one originated by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi; however his involvement was paramount to the project from 1883. The idea of the church was that of Josep Maria Bocabella; it was to be a church by the people for the people - a church of The Holy Family. Initial architectural work was began by Francisco de Paula del Villar and took over by Antoni Gaudi in 1883 combining both Gothic and Art Nouveau design. Suffering a varies set-backs including funding issues; Spanish Civil War and fire, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is due for completion in 2026.

Inside of church is full of meaningful intricacies for which reason I advise investing in an audio guide on arrival. Some of which are featured below:

The Crusifiction of Christ
"I am the true vine"

Holy Trinity

Representation of The Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit by the triangle and covered by a circle showing the them as eternal.

The Evangelists - Matthew

The Evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have dedication in the form of the pillars which form part of the architecture of the church.

Stained Glass Windows

The Lord's Prayer in Portuguese

The doors to Sagrada Familia features The Lord's Prayer in 50 languages; this is continued within the church, the prayer being displayed in entirety on banners. The many languages highlight that Christianity is universal.

The three entrances to the church represent the three virtues of faith, hope and love; each featuring an individual façade dedicated to a point in Christ's life.

The Passion Façade

The Passion Façade is dedicated to Christ's suffering; representing the time leading up to betrayal and crusifiction. The façade aims to show the sins of man; Gaudi intending on people to feel fear on looking at it.

The Nativity Façade

The Nativity Facade is possibly the most ornate part of the church and the first façade to reach completion. Representing the birth of Christ and symbolising life the façade features the traditional nativity scene of Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and Angels. The majority of the outside architecture is uncoloured; however the tree of life (below) shows a flicker of colour with white doves of peace landing on it.

The Tree of Life

The Glory Façade, on which construction started in 2002 will show the road to God the Father through Death, Judgement and Glory. Not neglecting the other side of things being hell and thus depicting the seven deadly sins.

The museum attached to The Sagrada Familia features of Gaudi's plans and artistic interpretation of the how the church will look on completion, which is scheduled for 2026. A particularly novel idea of Gaudi's was the way in which he worked out the structuring for arches and towers within the church. Gaudi made upside-down models of the buildings with weights hung to represent the bearings and fitted a mirror above to see the correct-way-up version (below).

Gaudi's Novel Idea
This has been somewhat of a whistle-stop tour of The Sagrada Familia and I couldn't possibly cover everything; in order to fully appreciate it you MUST take a visit there and spend a good few hours appreciating the beauty of it.

Barcelona Take One


It had been about 10 years since I'd last been to Barcelona when I went last year. Last having visited as part of a holiday to Salou with my family so I thought I'd have a look at my photos from then and the ones from now. Spot the difference.

Holiday. Age 8.

Balcony Hotel Lleo Barcelona. 2012.
Port Aventura. Me: Left. Age 8.

Park Guell Barcelona. 2012

Placa Catalunya. 2012.
Port Aventura. Me: Right. Age 8.

I'm hoping I look a little bit different......haha

Hannah x



¡Buenos días! 

It's been almost a year since I went to Barcelona on holiday and I'm feeling particularly bitter that I'm not going anywhere this year; so I thought I'd do a few blog posts on things to do in Barcelona because that way I get to look through my photos whilst stuck in not so sunny England.

Flamenco Show at  Palacio del Flamenco
Home to many a World Heritage Site the cultural city is not short of anything to see and do: visits to Sagrada Familia (I'll come onto this later) and Park Güell are sights amongst others not to miss.

It takes a mere 5 minutes of stepping foot into the city to see that Catalan culture is weaved through daily life there and what better way to experience traditional culture than seeing an authentic flamenco show?

More to come on the Barcelona sight-seeing front in the foreseeable future; for now I leave you with a street view of The Arc de Triomf street view.

Arc de Triomf - Barcelona 
Hannah x

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Smiley Sundays


Today is a 'smiley Sunday' because I've had quite a productive day on the writing front - both creatively and thankfully, academically. So I behold a 6-song playlist of nice, smiley Sunday songs.

Walking in Memphis - Marc Cohn 

Every time I hear this Marc Cohn song I have the urge to belt it out at the top of my out of tune voice.

Red - Daniel Merriweather

This song can be described in one word 'beautiful'.

All These Things That I've Done - The Killers 

I'm quite the fan of The Killers debut album 'Hot Fuss'.

California Dreamin - Jose Feliciano

Some people will hate me for picking a cover of the The Mamas and The Papas original but the Peurto Rican singer offers a nice twist.

Big Yellow Taxi - Counting Crows/Vanessa Carlton

I just like this song. That's all.

Sunday Morning - Maroon 5

All I can say is: it's Sunday and I like 'old school' Maroon 5.


Hannah x

Thursday, 13 June 2013

I Don't Understand American Gun Law


I just caught the beginning of the ITV program "America and Its Guns" when I was leaving my mam's house and honestly cannot begin to understand American gun law, or lack of. In a nation where gun massacre occurs every 2 weeks why is it still so easy to posses a gun?

The small part of the program I saw featured a young girl who stated she had her first gun aged 5. FIVE YEARS OLD?! At age 5 I could just about coordinate myself to paint what I would call a picture. At 5 a child is dragging dollies around by their hair. A 5 year old should be pure and innocent not exposed to weapons of destruction.

Furthermore, the program showed a mother explaining to her daughter how to utilise a bulletproof backpack that she were to take to school everyday. I am astounded that such an invention is even needed for primary school aged children; a bulletproof backpack should be something seen in comic books for protection from the baddies. It's somewhat soul destroying that such a thing is an everyday reality and surely an even scarier reality for the parents who have to prepare their children for this.

Guns are spoken about like fashion accessories there to be customised in accordance with personal preference. Some people owning even 100s of them. If they are there as a right for personal protection why isn't 1 enough. And if they have a purpose what is so wrong about monitoring the purchase of them?

I just can't understand why, in a nation where there are so many gunfire induced fatalities, there hasn't been changes in law? I really do feel for the poor children brought into this and somewhat stripped of childhood naivety.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Sunny Day Songs


Hello Internet!

I have been a bit of a neglectful blogger because I'm a bit swamped with work right now but I'm on a break from my essay so here I am.

It's lovely and sunny in the North East today, here's me thinking 20 degrees and no clouds didn't exist in England so here is my playlist for a sunny day:

Simple Minds - Don't You (Forget About Me)

This song seems to feature in all of my playlists, mainly because it's a nice feel good song. Also, you have to have a bit of a crazy dance to it and it's in Breakfast Club, what more could you want from a song?

Flo Rida - Good Feeling

This song reminds me of my Outward Bound expeditions, when it was sunny in Scotland; yes that did actually happen and I wasn't dreaming.

David Guetta - Love Don't Let Me Go

Up until a few months ago I didn't realise this was David Guetta; I'm claiming child ignorance as I was only 7 when it came out. Plus David Guetta is the ultimate summer song creator.

M People - One Night In Heaven

Another song that was released before I was born that makes me think I was born in the wrong decade, also, I felt that I was neglecting women a little bit in this playlist. Dance away.

Corona - Rhythm of The Night

A self confessed lover of 80s dance; to be honest it is probably something I need seeing to. I have entire playlists dedicated to 80s music.

On this note I am going to go back to my essay; during writing this the butter for my sandwich and my yoghurt have melted. I love sunny days!

Hannah x

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Day Trip Avec Emily


Hello internet!

Today I went out with Emily Park ( owner of a white wardrobe; fellow fajita enthusiast and crazy cat lady. We were supposed to be making the most of an all zone travel pass and going on the Shield's ferry but then it was horrible and rainy so we went window shopping in Metro Centre and town; window shopping went somewhat 'out of the window' resulting in additions to the white wardrobe.   We also took today as an opportunity to reduce our age by a few years, despite being only enough by almost 3 years to buy a lottery ticket today was Emily's first (not that I condone gambling, we just really want to go to Iceland-it looks so pretty). In a bid to escape the stress of life (such stresses include lack of Iceland funds and adding up the calories in our Mcdonalds) we hit the arcade:

Miss Park can still perfect Afronova,
she has problems...
Everyone loves a dance mat

Why are they so addictive?!
*insert Friends moment*
Today made me decide that I would appreciate a trip to Spain soon, preferably Madrid solely to go on a Mango and Zara shopping spree (may splash out and throw in Benetton), I've convinced myself it's cost efficient because they're cheaper there. Plus I need out of Newcastle or someone needs to come and plonk both a Mango and a Benetton here, not just a few bits and pieces in Fenwick. I do not approve of this. And now Mango's website is failing me so I can't even get pretty clothes via it.

I bought a new cleanser today (Ponds Institute-it may or may not be made for old ladies, I will soon find out) before we know it me and Emily will have tried every cleanser on the market and still be suffering for skin in stress.

Apparently we had nice shoes....

...kind Metro Centre floor you neglect to notice I looked like I got dressed in the dark today.

The passed couple of days we have established why we have no friends (loners 4evs), here's a run down:
- The majority of our time is spent either eating for fajitas or planning when we are next going to eat fajitas.
- Emily should hand out sunglasses on meeting people to prevent her white outfits from destroying their retinas.
- I have a dancing films problem, to the extent in which I like to combine both Step Up 2 and Happy Feet in one picutre
- We appreciate unicorn items too much (for those ignorant to the definition of a unicorn item: something mystically pearly that a unicorn would buy).
- I can read the entirety of Vogue and pick out a designer wet suit as something I would like to buy...
- Our friendship is based on anger at the British prison system; Mexican food and dancing penguins.
There will be more reasons but I'm sleepy.

Also, today I discovered I like biscotti, I have been missing out for 18 years. Plus side of life, I returned home to a present off my mam:
Coffee and Hot Chocolate Taste Better
In Glasses...
I'll stop boring you all now.

Buenos Noches

Hannah x