Thursday, May 19, 2016

Seeing gentrification through rose tinted glasses

This afternoon my heart leapt a little when I saw that Bold Tendencies had tweeted a photo of man in blue overalls standing in a candy-floss coloured stairwell. “I know that stairwell” I thought, “that’s bloody Peckham multi story car park!” 

Considering that Bold Tendencies are the people behind Franks bar, it’s not too surprising that I made this association, but having spent my entire life in the area, my first reaction was pretty visceral... a mixture of excitement, glee and disbelief. 

Roll back to 2002, it’s my birthday and me and my family are going to see the Scooby Doo movie. 

Before it had a trendy bar on it’s head, Peckham carpark was somewhere you parked your car if you wanted to go to Peckham cinema or Woolworths. To get out of Peckham carpark and into the cinema there are two options. You either take the lift (which smell like piss) or the stairs (which smell like piss, but feels less like being trapped in particularly unpleasant portaloo). 

We opt for the stairs and make a run for it. On this particularly occasion, I distinctly remember seeing a human poo. You might say, how do you know it was a human poo? But trust me, you know. 

Another time, my dad is taking me and some friends to the cinema. This time we opt for the lift. In the lift, there is/was a really dodgy looking security camera, a scratched mirror and this time, another poo. I say ‘ew is that poo?’ and mentally curse my dad for not taking us to Surrey Quays instead.

So you understand my reaction to the news that the inside stairwell of this relic of 1980s brutalist architecture has been painted Barbie pink in the name of an art installation called ‘hey boo, I love you’It really is completely, utterly and hilariously absurd. 

Annnd I love it. I haven’t seen it yet, but I love it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Running the Hackney Half… without training

God that person writing that post below was feeling a little serious wasn’t she?!

Something a bit more cheerful now as I want to share my experience of running the Hackney Half this weekend, without proper training as we’d only done a few (OK one) 5 mile practise run in the month running up to the race.

The night before I was literally feeling sick with anxiety about the whole thing. After reading a lot of running blogs online I was convinced that we were going to die, having never run further than 5 miles in one go and the day itself predicted to be the hottest day of the year so far.

We woke up at 6am and I spent a few seconds trying to get my brain into focus and remember what it was about today that was different from normal. Thunk. There wasn’t time to think about it too much as we had breakfast (toast and a banana), got our kit on and left. It was a beautiful morning, and as we cycled to Hackney marshes in t-shirts and running shorts you could tell it was going to be HOT.

We arrived at the race village at around 7.30 to pick up our race numbers, drop off our bags and hydrate before the race. Nervous about the heat, I drunk loads of water and had to use the bathroom about 4 times before the race began! 

We got to the starting like at 9am, along with hundreds of others, which was a bit anticlimactic as we had to wait another 30 mins for the race to actually begin.

The race itself…

The first three or so miles flew by, there was a brilliant atmosphere with spectators cheering us on, and it wasn’t too hot (yet). At around mile 4 we had our first energy gel and plodded on at a reasonable pace. On our previous runs we had been averaging just over a 9 min mile but on this day I made a conscious effort to pace myself.

I had predicted that I would start struggling around mile 7 or 8 but as we ran along Broadway Market I still felt like I had a bit of juice left. I slurped another energy gel anyway, to be sure.

Mile 10. Mile 10 was when shit started getting real. It was HOT by this point, and there didn’t seem to be any shade anywhere. The Olympic Park at Stratford was in sight and with my geography of East London not being particularly sharp, it felt like we still had ages to go. At this point I allowed myself to think about the finish line, getting my medal and lying down in the sun with a beer.

We didn’t stop to walk at any point in the race, but those last three miles were tough. Along the course we saw about 15 people being treated by paramedics!

We crossed the finish like at 2hrs27mins, and I have literally never felt so relieved as I did when I could finally stop running! The rest of the afternoon was spent enjoying the sun on London fields and feeling smug.

And after the race?

Besides from that evening when exhaustion kicked in and I passed out around 9pm, things could definitely have been worse. The next day, despite the 10 or so hours sleep, I was very sore and dehydrated, it felt like a terrible hangover. I worked from home, rehydrated myself and stretched out my legs and by some miracle felt almost recovered by Tuesday.

Standing on my toes because it made my legs hurt less!


I definitely don’t think running a half marathon without any training is a good idea, but depending on your general level of fitness I think that this demonstrates that it IS possible. I don’t know how much worse it would have been if I didn’t cycle everyday, or run occasionally, or maybe it’s just being 23.

Either way, I’m keen to try running another to see how it compares!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Going on a diet

Not really!

Depriving yourself is just setting yourself up to fail.

But I am going to change my diet.

I'm cutting out all non 'real' foods, no more biscuits, no more crisps, no more fizzy drinks and no more crunchy nut cornflakes.

'Cause although, admittedly, I don't eat that stuff very often I have been eating them far more than normal.

Like a lot of women, I have a sometimes complicated relationship with my body.

Which I know is stupid because it's healthy, it works and it's mine.

Every time I eat 'bad' food I have this voice in my head telling me that by eating 'what I want' for instant gratification, that I'm not succumbing to the expectation that I deprive myself in order to stay skinny. That by eating 'badly' I'm empowering myself.

And it's true, you should never feel like you absolutely can't eat the things you want. It's an unhealthy mindset and it will make you miserable.

It also has to do with trying to be a vegan, and wanting to prove to myself and others that I'm not eating vegan to stay slim. Because this is truly not the reason that I don't want to eat animal products, but it's always the first question that people ask.

Vegan junk food is still junk food. And actually, I've been bypassing vegan completely when it comes to 'treat' food.

And now, what was 'I've been eating too much s*it recently' has gradually turned into my everyday life.

So here's to exercising control over my life and changing bad habits!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

8 reasons why being vegetarian is a feminist lifestyle choice.

1) The assumption that because something is weaker and less intelligent than you that it must is inferior is a patriarchal concept.

2) Female animals are exploited for their reproductive capabilities, and their capacity to breed overwhelmingly dictates how their bodies will be controlled.

3) There is a widely held social script of meat being macho, men who are vegans or vegetarians will often find their masculinity being questioned.

4) Women are often compared to meat in a sexually derogatory way, 'piece of meat'. The way we cut up animals into body parts (thigh, leg, breast) can be compared to the way women's bodies are separated into parts (thigh, leg, breast) in order to treat them as sexualised bodies or body parts and not sentient beings.

5) Similarly, women are often called names of animals to be degraded (cow, bitch etc.)

6) There’s a clear correlation between animal abuse and other violent behaviours, including domestic abuse.

7) Like how feminism has been historically resisted because it's culturally inconvenient, it's culturally inconvenient for us to admit that animals have emotions and can experience pain.

8) Like 'boys will be boys', social scripts that naturalise power relations exist around eating animals and animal products - 'I could never give up meat' 'I like cheese too much'. This script deflects individual responsibility from the fact that animals are tortured, raped and killed to satisfy our whims and desires.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A weekend in Dieppe, France

Who knew that in just five hours by land and sea from London you could get somewhere so, well, French?


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Mini-rant about quinoa deodrant

Yes. A deodorant, made from grain.

A grain that, due to Western demand, has become increasingly unaffordable for the people to whom it has been a traditional staple food, leaving these communities vulnerable to malnutrition and even obesity as Subway and McDonalds rush in with a clever marketing strategy to fill the gaps.

And we're using it on our armpits now?! For £10 a pop?

Sometimes you just have to marvel at the sheer selfish insanity of the world.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Huel breakfast smoothie

1/2 scoop vanilla Huel
1/2 scoop unflavoured Huel
1/2 avocado
1/2 banana
= one tasty, creamy breakfast smoothie full of healthy fats to keep you going 'til lunchtime.