18/03/2017

Are we becoming a generation of Social Zombies?

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Are we becoming less social?
I understand that this might be a strange question to ask in a time when almost everyone spends their days constantly refreshing their twitter, instagram, snapchat, facebook (I could go on) feeds. 
A recent article by The Times noted that we spend an average of 2-4 hours on our phones each day. When you see the numbers written in front of you it’s INSANE. Of course my initial reaction was denial “NO WAY do I spend 2 hours on my phone everyday!” but once I actually thought about it, it (scarily) made sense.
I wake up and like the majority of the people I know I immediately check Instagram to see what the Americans have been doing whilst I’ve been asleep. Twitter is the next stop where I read the ‘In case you missed it’ tweets and then I head straight to see what’s trending (usually something to do with Trump or Brexit) to gather the information I need for the day before even putting my feet on the cold bedroom floor.
Randomly throughout the day I will refresh my instagram and twitter feeds and in the evening I purge through both apps to devour everything that has been posted whilst I was at work.
Scrolling through one of the apps a few days ago I realised that I wasn’t really taking in anything that I was seeing. It has become a habit, muscle memory. If I’m waiting for something to load on the computer I’ll automatically reach for my phone to fill the time, if there are adverts on the TV I’ll tap onto Snapchat. It is as if we cannot let our brains be still.
“This generation is more connected than ever”. I’ve heard this line muttered umpteen times over the years. In terms of having access to millions of people worldwide this sentence is undoubtedly true but when it comes to people’s actual real lives I disagree.
When at a pub or in a restaurant I see tables of people with their heads buried into the bright blue lights of their phone screens. Silence. People are connecting but not with the flesh and blood beside them.
The need to be constantly connected, for our brains to be forever active and the need to be validated at all times is unarguably chipping away at our mental health. 
It seems like the only time we are switched off is when we are asleep and even then we sometimes pick up our phones in the middle of the night.
More young people than every are suffering from mental health problems and of course this could be down to a variety of different reasons but it is hard not to see the amount of time spent on social media as one of the main culprits.
Somebody (I can’t remember who) stated that if we as people were to consume crappy, fatty, sugary foods 24/7 then we would expect our bodies to begin to rot inside and that we should also think about this in relation to our minds. If we constantly consume crap, trashy ‘news’ (Hiya Daily Mail) then our minds will begin to suffer. 

Don’t get me wrong I like social media, it’s handy for my job and to keep up with what’s going on in the world but we need a break from our screens to stop this ever threatening journey to becoming a society of social zombies. Maybe in 20 years time when the Walking Dead will be on its 30th season it will be a load of living people walking around with their eyes glued to their devices. Ok, maybe not, but it is food for thought.

12/06/2016

Exhibitionism: The Rolling Stones | Saatchi Gallery, London



Music is more than just a few songs; It's more than a person or band performing on stage. It's a whole movement, an identity, a way of life, a way of dressing - an attitude. No band encapsulates this more so than the Rolling Stones.

The Stones have been around for well over half a century and they are still (in my opinion) rocking it. You only have to look at the incredible crowds that turned up to watch them in Hyde Park back in 2013 to see that they are still as popular as ever - the 65,000 tickets were sold out in three minutes. Very few (probably none) bands would be able to attract that big of an audience today let alone sell out over 60,000 tickets that quickly.


I have been a fan of the Stones for years. Their music is iconic and I'm sure their greatest hits album could be at least 5 CD's long. They have produced hit after hit with the likes of Brown Sugar, Jumpin Jack Flash, Don't Stop....... the list goes on.

Since April the Saatchi Gallery on the King's Road in Chelsea - one of my favourite places in London and the Rolling Stones' old haunt - has been home to the Rolling Stones' exhibition Exhibitionism. The exhibition takes you through all five decades of the Stones' careers showing everything from the clothes they wore (my favourite), to the recording process, live performances, they have even recreated the Stones' 1960s Kings Rd flat.


The day after Bruce Springsteen rocked Wembley we headed over to the Saatchi gallery to see this much talked about exhibition (after amazing brunch at Ca'puccino on the King's Road) and it did not disappoint. Technology was used in a really cool and interesting way in the exhibition with ipads allowing you to remix Stones songs along with a 3D screening of the Rolling Stones performing at Hyde Park in 2013. There was an amazing collection of tour posters and art work on display along with the coolest guitars and the most FANTASTIC clothes. Keith Richards has been a style inspiration for me for years so to get to see his, along with the rest of the band's clothes up close and personal was a real highlight for me.


Walking through the exhibition just emphasises the MASSIVE contribution the Stones have made to culture, not only in Britain, but across the world. I would go again and again and again. A must see for Stones fans but also for fans of music, fashion and culture.

08/06/2016

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN | WEMBLEY STADIUM 5.6.2016


The last week or so has been crazy in terms of concerts with the Manic Street Preachers and the Super Furry Animals in Swansea one weekend and Stereophonics and BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN the next. I will eventually get around to discussing all of these gigs but first I am going to start by, I mean I basically have no choice but to start by, discussing The Boss' gig at Wembley Stadium last Sunday.

If you're a seasoned reader of this blog or if you know me at all then you know that I have now been in love with Bruce Springsteen for around ten years - since I was around 12 - thanks to my mam constantly playing his records at home. Although I don't think I quite love him as much as my mam, I mean she cried three times during last Sunday's gig - once when Bruce came within spitting distance of us, once when he sang Because the Night and once right at the end with the solo acoustic version of Thunder Road. This is a testament to Springsteen's music and live performances that even though my mother has been following him for the best part of 30 something years his music and gigs still connect with his audience.

We left Cardiff on the infamous Megabus for London (cheap as chips but not the most comfortable but for £5 return for both of us you can't go wrong) at 7am after something ridiculous like 4 or 5 hours sleep thanks to the Stereophonics concert we went to the previous night. After some delicious breakfast in Victoria and a short walk to Westminster we made our way to Wembley. Mam had booked the Premiere Inn which is situated around 2 minutes from Wembley once the dates for The River Tour were announced which means we got the hotel for a heck of a lot cheaper than if we had booked it once the tickets had gone on sale! Forward thinking at its best. It also meant that we didn't have to fight our way onto a tube or race to catch the last train home - yaaaaay.

Before we spent the rest of the day queuing in the baking sunshine with other bruce buds we popped into Lidl to grab some snacks, a few beverages and magazines. Seeing as we only made it to the stadium by like 1pm we were pretty close to the front of the queue (not the golden circle queue but the just outside the golden circle queue). In the 5 hours that we were queuing and waiting for Bruce to come onstage we made some new friends (because Springsteen fans are the nicest), drank beer, bough t-shirts, ate grapes and saw people pass out (it was CRAZY hot). Although we were mere mortals when it came to queuing - some people had been queuing since Thursday! I love that dedication and if I could have done it then I most probably would have!

Obviously seeing as the tour was The River Tour, Bruce and the E-Street Band played numerous songs from The River including The Ties That Bind, Sherry Darling, Hungry Heart and of course, The River. If you want to see the whole 33 song setlist from Sunday night - yes, you read that correctly THIRTY-THREE SONGS!!!!! - then click here. Lets just stop for a minute to appreciate that Springsteen and the band were onstage for around 3 hours and 45 minutes with NO INTERVAL- THE MAN IS 66 YEARS OLD!

Some of my favourite moments/songs of the night were Badlands, Dancing in the Dark, The Rising, Out In the Street, Because the Night and my favourite way to end a show, Shout. The whole gig was one big party, the crowd were bouncing and in full voice. I know I've said it before but nothing, nothing comes close to the feeling you get from being at  a Springsteen gig. You get this kind of euphoria which is like nothing else. Gosh, Bruce makes me so happy! Also, Little Steven's look makes me equally happy!

What a night!


25/05/2016

LET'S GET COOKING



Finally I am back in the swing of things when it comes to cooking. For a while I'd throw a sweet potato and some peppers or an avocado in my bag for lunch and on more than one occasion I would place a bowl of porridge in the microwave for dinner. I guess that what happens when you're busy! However, since starting to regain my mojo (see previous post) I've really started to enjoy cooking and searching for new recipes. Over the last year or so I have bought a few new cookbooks and some of them have been ones that I have very rarely looked at due mostly to the complexity of the recipes and when a recipe has a million ingredients including stuff like bee pollen or some expensive, impossible to find ingredient that are only sold in that one health food shop a hundred miles away then it makes things hard!

However, two recipe books that I've been really enjoying recently are Ready Steady Glow by Madeline Shaw & The Art of Eating Well by Hemsley and Hemsley. Granted both of these books sometimes ask for difficult ingredients, the majority of the recipes however are made using ingredients that you most probably already have in your cupboard.

Over the last few weeks I have slowly been making my way through both of these recipe books making everything from big meals fit for a feast to delicious cakes and biscuits (I have't got pictures of all of these meals as basically I ate them too fast and I forgot to take pictures!). From the Hemsley and Hemsley book I have made dishes such as baked broccoli fritters and avocado dip, courgette fries, lentil stew, ginger & cinnamon cookies, banana bread (favourite), lamb meatballs and cauliflower tabbouleh & black bean brownies.  From Madeline Shaw's Ready Steady Glow I have made delicious meals such as the chickpea curry and the most delicious curry I have ever tasted the lamb and spinach curry (although I made it with beef but will definitely be making it with lamb next time).  I also recently made a Jamie Oliver chocolate and beetroot cake which was actually delicious.

I know that wellness and these types of books have been gaining a bad rep recently with articles such as this one from Vice questioning how actually healthy this type of clean eating is, but I can honestly say that these meals are delicious and filling and I feel much more energetic having eaten them in comparison to just eating porridge and sweet potatoes!

I have also been looking for new cook books and have a few waiting to be bought in my amazon basket including Fearne Cotton's Cook Happy, Cook Healthy and Sirocco: Fabulous Flavours From the East. 






19/05/2016

April / Ebrill - Favourites | Music


I listened to a lot of music in April. I mean I listen to a lot of music every month but in April however, I listened to a lot of new* (and old) music(*new for me). So I thought why not compile them all together in one playlist to share with all of you. I discovered a lot of music in April through random spotify playlists, THIS New York Times video and general radio listening. Also, I turned 22 in April so of course T-Swizzle has been played a lot (but alas she is not on spotify). Thrown in here are some awesome Welsh language stuff that I think everyone should listen to - if you speak Welsh or not, as well as some old French songs, classic Rolling Stones stuff, Springsteen (of course),  as well as some classic Indie and pop. A bit of everything for everyone. May/June are also going to be superb music months with Manic Street Preacher, Super Furry Animals and Bruce Springsteen gigs lined up... YAAAAY!



16/05/2016

Finding My Mojo


It's been a long time no posts here on Lisiloo. There is no one particular reason as to why, it was simply that I didn't think I had anything much to say. Or possibly rather, I didn't really want to say anything. Although I did. I did want to write, write, write - I just couldn't for some reason. But I guess that's stress for you. I kind of turn in on myself when I'm stressed with even the simplest task such as emptying my suitcase feeling like the biggest mountain to climb. When I'm anxious I tend to exercise a lot, eat a lot of porridge, not get much sleep and I start to doubt my decisions. Lets just say that over the last few months I lost my mojo. However, over the last few days I have had one or two tasters of my ol' mojo and it has been enough for me to start trying to reclaim it once more.

Yesterday afternoon I actually sat down for around two hours with no worries in the world, listened to good music, read some awesome blogs, looked at some pretty cool photographs and watched some great documentaries. This is something that I have not done in a very long time. I had no guilt and I could actually physically feel my muscles relax. Of course about an hour later my body was back as tense as anything but for those two hours on a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon - life was bliss.

I'm not going to set out goals for the next few weeks because I don't want to place extra pressure on myself but here are a few things I want to concentrate on in the near future - listen to some more cool and morale boosting podcasts such as Emma Gannon's Ctrl; Alt; Delete, read more, listen to more music, practise more yoga (not all exercise has to leave you collapsed on the floor at the end), have more interesting conversations, worry less to clear room to think more, listen to my body and get back to writing regularly.

Other things that have been going on in my life recently: I took a trip back down to Richmond for the weekend and had the best time with friends; had my 22nd Birthday; ran a half marathon; drunk quite a lot of prossecco; climbed a mountain; started a new project at work; went to an Eurovision party; started gardening (rock n roll life); I've eaten a lot of mexican food; attended a few comedy shows; walked many miles; ran hundreds of miles; became obsessed with peanut butter (again); spent many hours on the phone; driven many hundreds of miles; danced until the early hours of the morning; realised that being in yours 20s is weird as everyone is at a very different stage of their lives be that still at uni, working, travelling etc; I've also learnt that having fun is allowed and encouraged.

I will undoubtably be writing more in-depth posts about one or two things mentioned in the paragraph above but until then I'll speak to you soon.  Here's to slowly but surely getting my mojo back!

09/04/2016

Cardiff - Four months in



Time flies. I know I sound like a broken record or an old lady but 2016 has flown by. I have now been living in Cardiff for around 4 months. That's crazy. Although it does sometimes feel that I've lived here for much longer. For the last 5 months of 2015 I was clocking up to 500 miles a week on the road going to and from work. The milage itself wasn't the worst part of it, rather it was the time spent on the road. Living where I lived in West Wales the motorway is over an hour away thus if you get stuck behind a tractor/lorry/terrible driver then you're stuck behind them for at least 45 minutes. On a good day I'd be in the car for minimum 3 hours. BUT ALLAS, it's now motorway all the way. A cool 45 minutes and I'm sat at my desk at work ready for the day ahead. It's glorious.

It's not just the decline in hours spent on the road that makes living in Cardiff great - it's also the food, the people, the parks, the pubs, the cinema, the theatre, the CIVILIZATION! Now when I get home from work I actually have time and the means to go meet friends for a drink; I can decide at the last minute to go and watch a play in the local arts centre or a comedy show down in the Bay and I can choose from one of the umpteen restaurants on my street to go out for food.  On the weekends I don't need a huge plan to sort out lifts home from places I can either jump in a taxi or walk home. For the first time in a very long time I feel as if I am truly enjoying life.

So here are my top three favourite places in Cardiff right now -

Chapter Arts Centre



I love chapter not just because of everything that goes on there but also because it is literally a two minute walk from my front door. I can pop over there after work, have a drink, watch a film or a play and be home in a heart beat. For someone who grew up 45 minutes from the nearest cinema this is amazing. On Thursday night my housemate and I went over there after work to watch a play The Harri-Parris (which was great) and to have a glass of prosecco. I regularly set up camp there on a rainy Sunday afternoon with my laptop or a book and crack on with work or just to read for hours with a cup of coffee. It is always busy and without fail there will be tables and tables of people having food, sipping a drink, having meetings or just relaxing.


Yr Hen Lyfyrgell

Recently opened in the heart of the city , Yr Hen Lyfyrgell (The Old Library) houses a few shops inclusing Bodlon and Lampeter's finest Lan Llofft as well as a  large upstairs area where you can have a drink and some delicious food. A few weeks ago myself and a few friends headed there to have lunch and it was sooooo nice and when Wales were playing one of their Euro 2016 warm up games we watched it on their massive screen which makes it a perfect place to watch major sporting events.


Llandaff/Pontcanna Fields






























I usually end up venturing into Llandaff and Pontcanna fields everyday. Be that on my daily
run or for a walk in the evening. Having green space so close to my house has become very important to my life in Cardiff. Running/walking around these parks gives me time to think or not to think. Sunny Sunday afternoons are the best here - running past families on their post-lunch walk, witnessing dogs galloping around in the grass or simply grabbing a cup of coffee from Cafe Catsan and sitting watching the world go by. I think I've spent more time here than anywhere else in Cardiff over the last 4 months. Oh and in the last two weeks I've run passed THE James Dean Bradfield from the Manic Street Preachers and Gruff Rhys (aka the Coolest man in the world) from the Super Furry Animals in Llandaff fields. So yeah.





12/12/2015

Women In Business: the internet is awesome


The internet gets a lot of bad rap.

Regularly we seem to forget how it has truly revolutionised the way we consume; the way we work; how we spend our leisure time; how we communicate; how we live. Yes, a lot of the negativity surrounding the internet is truly just. The internet has given way to another medium to bully, umpteen new ways to commit crime, and another way to steel our time. I mean, how many of you have been in the middle of a conversation with someone and suddenly they take out their phone and start to read a Facebook message or reply to a tweet - that's just rude and makes my blood boil. To some, the internet has become corrosive. However, to most the internet is awesome and has undoubtably been a revolutionary tool - especially for women.

Many of us have heard the fact that there are currently fewer large companies run by women than by men named John. This is crazy and a fact that obviously needs to change but it's still incredibly difficult for women to be taken seriously in the higher ranks of big business. However, the internet is beginning to change this. Well, maybe not in the realms of big business as much but rather in the business in general.

Through blogs and video blogs (vlogs) and Etsy and Ebay women have an enormous platform to create their own businesses. Only a few years ago blogs and vlogs were almost non-existent or they were dismissed as something unimportant, just another internet fad. But my gosh how have blogs and vlogs exploded into our daily culture. They are now a staple of everyday life for many internet users across the globe. What shall I cook for dinner this evening? What shall I wear today? What book should I buy next? I need some new make-up, what should I get? I need some financial advice, where can I get a few tips on saving? I'm thinking of starting a new business but don't know where to start? I want to get fit, where can I find some information about health and fitness? All of these questions can be answered by reading or watching one blog or another. It is amazing. It's like having millions of magazines at your fingertips but they are all FREE. I mean, you don't get anything for free these days!

Many of the women writing and producing these blogs have created extremely successful businesses out of what started as a hobby they enjoyed in their spare time at home. Now, people like fashion, beauty and cultural blogger Leandra Medine of Man Repeller has turned what was once simply a blog into a fashion business with numerous employees, clothing collaborations and recognition from some of the businesses most respected figures. Also, she is frickin' funny. Ella Gregory of Coco's Tea Party blogs full time and works with brands such as Boden and Ralph Lauren to name just a few.

Vloggers like Tanya Burr and Zoe Sugg have transformed what was simply them just making a few videos in their bedrooms to now running multi million pound businesses including multiple book deals, beauty ranges, brand deals with some of the biggest companies in the world, national fashion magazine covers ... the list goes on and on.

Writers like the wonderful Emma Gannon of Girl Lost In The City and Laura Jane Williams of Superlatively Rude have landed book deals after people recognising their writing ability and the stories they have to tell through reading their incredible blogs. Not only has the internet allowed for the women in front of the camera to create successful careers but women have been rocking it behind the camera too. The likes of Charly Cox of Style The Natives is a writer, producer, blogger and digital consultant who has worked with the likes of Burberry, Russell Brand and Youtubers such as Jack's Gap and Casper Lee. The internet has created these opportunities for women to excel on their own terms; it is allowing women to create; is is allowing women to achieve; it is allowing women to rule.

There is such a wealth of talented women in the world (obviously, duh.) and blogs provide many with a platform that they might not otherwise have. Through blogs, twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook people's work can reach thousands if not millions in a matter of minutes. Businesses can be created with little initial monetary investment but with a hell of a lot of hard-work. Women are creating so many new and successful businesses from the comfort of their own home where they might not have had the chance to do without blogs and vlogs and online selling platforms like eBay and etsy.

The internet is awesome.