Thursday, 23 March 2017

A sombre day in Trafalgar Square

I decided to join the vigil in Trafalgar Square this evening, to commemorate three deaths at the hands of a violent extremist.

Around a thousand were in attendance at the short vigil in the square.

Amber Rudd and Sadiq Khan were among those of a selection of elected representatives, police officers and those of different faiths and ethnicities at the event.

The mood was sombre and quiet as the speakers painted a picture of London as brave and united in the face of terror.

I hope this peaceful unity against horrific events represents more than just those standing in the square, but many, many hard working and quietly heroic Londoners who have in total been a reason for joy in my life.

I hope coming days bring more joy to those people than they do pain, as truly many of the kind acts and courtesies I see replayed every day deserve to be rewarded.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Keeping students bright

Amid promises of a mental health overhaul Student Minds outlines the challenges of student mental health.

Theresa May promised a mental health overhaul. 

However, these measures largely do not cater to students, who are a high-risk group. 

The measures mainly focus on secondary school students, by improving teacher’s education in the area and increasing focus on community care among other initiatives.

Student Minds, the UK student mental health charity, has welcomed these changes with caution. 

Rachel Piper a spokesman for the organisation said: 

“We would agree mental health currently does not have parity of esteem with physical health, and we hope funding is put in place alongside the promises to rectify this.”

Future measures

When asked what government could do to further improve student welfare Student Minds pointed us to the University Challenge report, which picks out issues affecting student mental health.

The report recognises because of their age students find themselves at a transition between services and this is further complicated by the fact they are often moving to new areas of the country, Rachel said: “transitions can disrupt a student’s care at a time when they are already particularly vulnerable”. 

She continues: “moving between home and university creates a unique set of challenges for maintaining continuity of care”.

The University Challenge report also points to accessibility as an issue. 

“Waiting times often mean students’ appointments are at inaccessible times during the holidays and treatment is disrupted by vacations.”

High risk group

Students are at high risk of mental health problems, with 29% of students experiencing clinical levels of psychological distress. 

With anxiety and depression being the main problems.

Between 2007 and 2011 the number of students taking their own lives rose by 50%. It is estimated as many as one in eight students feel suicidal while at university. 

A further two in three will feel down at some point in their studies.

Why so down?

Possible reasons for this distress could be: “For many young people these are the first years they will spend away from established networks of family support.”

Adjusting to student lifestyle also brings challenges, with an associated poor diet, work pressures, lack of exercise and alcohol consumption often being a factor. 

The years spent at university often coincide with the peak age of onset for a range of mental health conditions.

These days a tough job market also adds pressure for high attainment, while many who suffer with mental health problems conversely at ‘considerable risk’ of academic failure and dropping out.

Seek support

Despite these worrying statistics it is estimated 50% of students don’t feel comfortable admitting they are not coping. 

So don’t feel alone, you aren’t, seek support, it is there for you. 

Take the advice; everyone wants you healthy and happy.

You can seek a referral to a counselor through your GP, or contact a mental health charity such as Mind or The Samaritans for support. 

And Student Minds are also a great portal of support if you go to http://www.studentminds.org.uk/find-support.html

Stay happy.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The lady inspires

If you haven't seen Michelle Obama's farewell to office, have a look.


I wish more leaders would believe in their people as much as this woman did.

Shame on the Republicans for repealing Obama care.

Monday, 2 January 2017

A late Happy New Year

Everything feels tougher than ever before.

So have a boogie to this.


Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Serendipity

If you haven't already seen this film, let me enlighten you.

Serendipity is a beautiful romantic comedy about a rare kind of love.

Adventure love

Would you chase through America chasing a girl you had a chance encounter with?

Our hero, John Cusack does.

He meets Sara, Kate Beckinsale, in a fight over some gloves.

Crazy girl

This is where the madness really gets started.

Sara, instead of giving this man his number, as any sane woman does when she sees a man she likes.

Instead the details are divided between a book and a dollar bill.

The rest is an enchanting and rib tickling story, which will hopefully inspire you to love again, no matter how much of a pig you just realised your ex boyfriend/girlfriend was.

10/10 Go rent, trust me.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Diversity is sexy

So an online journalist poses the question.

Do you find Asian men sexy?

Three American blond white women answer, no.

A conversation is triggered citing media portrayal of Asian men as nerdy or foreign being to blame.

A touch of the sinister

However, I think this problem runs deeper.

Posing a question based on whether a certain race is sexy is a little racist.

It presumes an answer that discards men based on their race.

Thus in asking the question you are perpetuating a reality where it is considered normal to discard a man on something as shallow as skin colour.

Media beige

Agreed it probably does not help that the media landscape favours white men for their heroes, but if the journalists holding it to account do not challenge their subject on their prejudices then little progress is made.

Although in asking the question they have at least illustrated just how far we still need to go.

One race is not more or less sexy, you are just closing down your options to a lot of truly beautiful people.

Come on, if when he was young Bruce Lee propositioned you are you really telling me you would turn down this fit and driven young man.

I am not saying white men are any less sexy than their Asian counterparts, but I am saying they are really no more.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Bread for your guts

Happy Tummy previously Happy Bread is re-launching with it’s spangly new name. 

Truly I hope this reaches a bigger audience as despite the price this dense bread is really lovely.

The owner claims it is a miracle cure for IBS

Indeed, there is a lot of case study evidence to suggest that she may be right. 

However, at present her success stories stem from sample sizes of the thousands, though the evidence base is growing. Tim Spectre of Kings College has championed this particular bread.

A loaf retails at £10, a lot more than your average, but for the price you get an average week’s shelf life according to the founder and her customers have allegedly assured her the flavour improves after the third day. 

The bread is also hand made and packed full of thirteen ingredients, including three types of fibre and a selection of grains.

Evidenced based eating

Karen Collins the founder of the brand has suffered with IBS as a baby and came up with the bread as an answer to her own problem. 

Having worked effectively in her personal journey she is confident she can make a huge difference to the population at large.

Karen appears to have done significant research into her product. 

She says: “I was hugely passionate about what I was doing… All I want to do in life is cure IBS.” 

She claims it has helped a significant number of her customers. These words of wisdom are coming from a horticulturist's daughter.

Breadlicious

The actual bread tastes delicious. 

It is dense, so if you are expecting a light bread, steer clear. 

In fact the founder says she veers between calling it bread and a loaf, because it is so unique. 

As well as being dense it has a really rich, almost savoury dark-chocolate taste.

Teff

The grain Karen particularly credits with her IBS turn around is Teff.

Teff is Ethiopian love grass, so as well as helping your gut you are also helping to re-dress the balance of inequality by giving Ethiopia a responsible trading partner.

There is scientific proof that our gut requires a great amount of grains and plants. 

The reason she champions Teff is because cup for cup it has more fibre than vegetables and so is an easier way of topping up your fibre levels and she maintains this will clean out your gut even if you don’t cut out other foods.

They are committed to reducing waste, it is the level of waste she claims is the reason they pulled out of Planet Organic.

Recipes

Karen only sells the loaf, but she publishes a selection of exciting and delicious recipes to top off the bread. 

They couple perfectly in being much lighter and more delicate than the bread. Creamy Butterbean hummus with a cinnamon kick and crisp cooled cooked apple with oats.

If you can afford to work this bread into your diet it tastes great and there is growing evidence it will help your overall health loads.