Muddy welly boots in Scottish Festival

Life Update – Belladrum Festival and Turning 21

The chances are, unless you’re from the Highlands of Scotland, you have no idea what Belladrum Festival is. Oh also unless you’re my cousin who travelled all the way from Cornwall for it.

The best way I can describe it is a local festival. There’s music, food, comedy, films, camping and…alcohol. When I was younger I knew Belladrum as a place where underage people go to get drunk for a few days in the summer. This year though my mum bought us tickets as the weekend fell over my 21st birthday. She spent a lot of money on tickets for the family, flights from Cornwall for my cousin and tents and shower passes for everyone. It really meant a lot to me that she organised all that for me, even if it did rain the whole weekend.

Camping in a four person tent in Scotland

Camping in Scotland in a four person tent

This was the tent situation. I’m not going to lie, I’m not the most outdoorsy person and I think after this weekend of camping my cousin Ellie and I both decided that camping isn’t really for us. We probably prefer a city break in a hotel (or more realistically a Holiday Inn Express). It was certainly an experience though!

On the first night the sun did actually come out for a while and we went and listened to some music. We saw some local bands and also some random men singing in Welsh in one of the pub/huts.

Belladrum Festival in Scotland

This was the entrance to the main venue from our camping area. I thought it looked quite cute, especially before the whole place turned to sludge.

Festival in Scotland

Some of the acts that played were Franz Ferdinand, Twin Atlantic, Sister Sledge, KT Tunstall and Birdy.

A blurry gif of local celebrities Twin Atlantic performing No Sleep No Sleep Spotify (if you do click this link be prepared for an intense scottish accent that everyone at the concert mimicked despite not actually sounding like that).

By day three the place looked less like a cute, sunny festival with fairy lights everywhere and more like… well this

Muddy welly boots in Scottish Festival

This was me on my way back from the portaloo toilets one morning. Trying to get up a hill that’s essentially a mud slide has its challenges.

After sharing a box of wine with Ellie, followed by not nearly enough food and some straight vodka just before I turned 21 it’s safe to say the following morning wasn’t much fun for me.

I tried and failed to keep a bacon roll down and wanted a proper bed more than I can even express.

To anyone who has never been to a festival in Scotland (I’m assuming most of you) here’s a little taster of what you can expect:

Mel Gibson, Braveheart at Belladrum Festival Scotland

Obviously that’s a bit of a joke but it is a legit picture from the festival.

So that’s what I’ve been up to recently, I’m currently off (having taken flexi time off work) recovering from the experience and I have a new found appreciation for my bed (as if I could love bed anymore).

Until next time,

J x

5 Reasons your Period is a Bully

You may have guessed from the title that this post isn’t particularly one for the boys. After a week that has been, for lack of a better word, testing I have a bit of a bone to pick with periods. Obviously this is all a bit tongue in cheek but here we go: 5 reasons your period is basically a total bully!

  1. It’s always there

You’re finally shot of the last hint of blood and ready to get your life back to normal. If you’re lucky you’ll have a couple weeks of freedom before the PMS starts creeping back in again! Kinda reminiscent of a bully who seems to pop up pretty much every day on the walk home from school. Obviously having a bully come after you is far more terrifying than having your period, after all you know your period is natural and, for most people, ultimately harmless but still there’s a real similarity there!

  1. It causes you pain

A bully might physically punch you, but your period targets you from the inside. Whether it’s sharp, knife like pains or dull cramps, when you’re on your period the pain is absolutely constant! For me personally, and having spoken to other girls I know I’m not the only one, bad period pains are riiiight at the top of my pain tolerance. I can’t imagine being able to cope with something more than that (*cough* childbirth).

  1. It messes with your head

Bullies tease you, mock you, insult you and turn other people against you. This aspect of bullying is in no way comparable to the way a period makes you feel. Some of the feelings you may feel as a result of these things, however, can also happen as a result of PMS. Frustration and feeling an urge to lash out at your loved ones, randomly bursting into tears and feeling weary, general exhaustion. You name it.

  1. It’s all encompassing

I don’t know about you but when I’m on my period it’s pretty much all I can think about. I remember, back in the day when I was about 12 or 13 I experienced bullying myself. It is truly horrible and it does take over your life. I would dread coming into school to the point where I became quite ill and when I’d come home it would be all I could think about then too. So having your period is obviously not as intense as this but you’re sure as hell still thinking about it all the time when it happens. Just more in an irritated “I could really do without this” way rather than being in actual fear.

  1. It ruins your self-image

There is NOTHING sexy about being on your period. You’re bloated, retaining fluid, your skin breaks out and that’s before we even consider the fact that you’ll be bleeding for a whole week. It’s not pretty. I’m sure even somebody with the best confidence probably isn’t feeling their best when they’re in the lead up to/on their period.

So my advice for when you’re on your period and just really can’t be bothered is to curl up somewhere nice and warm with a hot cup of tea or hot chocolate and something good to watch on TV (or more likely your laptop).

My advice if you’re being bullied is to confide in people you trust, tell an authority figure and if you don’t feel you can safely do that contact a local hotline for more professional advice than I can provide. But absolutely do not do NOTHING.

Until next time,

J x

Side note: Header image is an Instagram post by Rupi Kaur (@RupiKaur_) that Instagram later removed deeming it “inappropriate”, as if periods aren’t bad enough without society’s two cents.

My Dilemma about the 2017 General Election

As voting day is pretty much upon us now I thought I’d write a little post about my dilemma/frustration about this particular election.

Firstly, I’d like to quickly mention that the featured image for this post (also below) was conceived and expertly drawn by a friend from my hometown – Calum A.B. McMillan. He’s been drawing for years and I particularly like this political piece. I know some very talented people 🙂

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For me this election has been the one with the most urgency and also the one that (from my experience) my generation has been the most involved in yet. Everywhere I turn people are being urged to vote and take part in political discussions (which is great!) and I’ve personally done more research in the run up to this election than any other.

There is one thing, however, that greatly disheartens me and leads me to believe that all of this research and discussion will ultimately be useless. In my opinion, and particularly in the past few years, there is no point in voting for anyone other than the SNP in Scotland. Every other party is so dramatically behind the SNP in all of the polls and also in previous elections. If you’re passionate about Labour regaining power or the policies of the Liberal Democrats you have to make the decision between voting for the party whose policies you’re passionate about and, therefore, essentially wasting your vote or going with the masses and voting SNP.

Now don’t get me wrong, I actually agree with the majority of the SNP’s policies. I read most of them through the other day. I particularly agree with their proposition to halt UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia immediately, BUT I think that their rhetoric is often preoccupied with referendum talks. I would, personally, be far more impressed with them if they focused on politics first and foremost whilst making plans for a second independence referendum on the back burner.

By voting SNP Scottish people are clearly expressing their wish to have people who are primarily concerned with Scottish issues in the House of Commons. I don’t disagree with that, but it does remove a massive chunk of what used to be, majoritively, a Labour stronghold (worth noting that SNP oppositions do seem to be changing a little). What does this do? It increases the likelihood of the Conservatives achieving a majority. We have had a Conservative government for roughly seven years now and, personally, I look forward to the day they fall from power. Unfortunately, despite the abomination that has been Theresa May’s campaign, that doesn’t look to be any time soon and I feel relatively powerless to stop it.

I’m going to play devil’s advocate here because I think it should be mentioned, the massive success of the SNP in Scotland does also block the Conservatives from gaining many seats in Scotland, so in that interpretation it makes the possibility of the Tories winning a majority a bit less likely.

To be honest, I’m confused, and it has taken me a long while to decide who I want to vote for. My main point is that in Scotland it is relatively certain that the SNP will win most seats. My advice to anyone in England who wants to see the Tories out is to put their personal views with regards to which specific progressive party they prefer to one side and vote for the Tories’ main, progressive opposition. Blocking them from seats is the only way to deny them a majority. Basically, everyone needs to USE THEIR VOTE!

This was more thoughtful than usual and I’m aware that this post could open me up to some criticism. So I’ll end by saying I completely respect everyone’s individual views, these are just my own. I’m not in any way trying to tell anybody who to vote for. Just stating what will probably be the most effective choice for those who are similarly minded to me!

Also if any of my politics is like straight up incorrect please let me know as I’m no expert but trying to learn!

Until next time,

J x

inverness sunset, scotland sunset

Life Update – New Flat, Diet and Summer Work

As you can tell from the title there’s fun times to be had all round here.

Uni is officially finished and as relieved as I am about that (here’s hoping I passed everything) you know the old saying, when one door closes another door opens. Except in this case it’s less “get’s rejected for a job but then finds dream job” and more “last exam is over okay now time for a few months of unrewarding work because you need the money”… “oh and it’s also time to go on a diet”.

So today was my first day at my new temporary job and, to be fair, it was actually a lot better than expected. I worked a few jobs last summer that I absolutely hated: one involved standing beside the reception desk from 9-5 every day and not being allowed to sit down or even do anything like answer the phones and another involved straightening clothes on a rack for 9 hours a day in a cold tent. So getting to sit at a desk in a large atrium and answer a variety of queries (as mundane as it may sound) is actually a vast improvement!

I have also undertaken what is possibly my biggest shift in lifestyle EVER this past few weeks. I’ve gone from eating the worst I’ve ever eaten to probably almost the best. Instead of pizzas multiple times a week I’m not having salad for lunch every day and a low calorie dinner with a LOT more exercise in between. Here’s a small sample of my new menu, not exactly instagram worthy, but maybe wordpress worthy.

healthy snack, apricots

That, my friends, is a snack I had one evening. It’s brown toast with DIABETIC JAM (i’m not diabetic, just trying to cut out sugar) and 3 apricots. Sorry for picture quality this picture was taken in the evening with only my dull lamp as lighting.

I’m really curious about what everyone else is up to this summer? Perhaps it’s a bigger change for me than most because I’m living on the academic year rather than the calendar year at the moment, so summer is really my transition time. I’m not going to keep this diet up forever, but I do want to take elements of it with me when I move back to Glasgow in September.

Speaking of which my cousin and I have secured a new flat for next year! It’s SO much nicer than the one we’re in now (aka not infested with mice) and has a large kitchen which will allow us to cook more! Here are some pictures in a snazzy little slide show:

 

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Despite not having as many friends, bars and cafes around (and not to mention less free time) being back in Inverness does have some good points. It’s bloody lovely here and I think sometimes I forget that. There’s a lot to be said for being able to walk just about anywhere and have stunning scenery all around!

inverness sunset, scotland sunset

I know this post wasn’t about anything much but I just thought I’d write a little something to signify the start of the summer 🙂

What are your plans this summer?

Until next time,

J x