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The Restaurant that Burns Off Calories: Helpful or Harmful?

Well, it’s about time a company did something controversial that annoyed people, isn’t it? It’s been a while since I’ve had something OTHER than a pandemic to write about. So, cheers, BBC.

BBC Two recently aired a new TV show, which you might’ve heard of, but probably haven’t because I hadn’t a clue it was a thing, either. It’s called ‘The Restaurant that Burns Off Calories’. How Intriguing! How can a restaurant burn off calories? Gee, I wonder. Let’s watch!

The Restaurant That Burns Off Calories will have you sweating over ...

In case you couldn’t be bothered to click the link and watch a minute long video (I have an attention span of like 8 seconds so I wouldn’t blame you), here’s a lil summary:

Basically, people go into this fancy restaurant and order what they want to eat (no, I don’t know if they have to pay). Fred from First Dates is there, too, presumably to make the restaurant seem even fancier and to encourage people to actually watch the show. The diners then eat their food (spoiler alert) and then at some point a big reveal comes that there’s a room full of people behind them working out. No, that doesn’t sound uncomfortable at all. And that the exercisers are burning off every calorie that the diners consume.

So, if someone orders a burger that’s like 2,000 calories, some poor man has to run on a treadmill until he burns 2,000 calories to ‘make a point’. They pretty much want to make the diners (and viewers) more aware of the calorie-cost of food and to make more sensible, healthy eating choices.

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So, what’s the problem with it? Apart from the fact that because the diners don’t actually have to exercise or burn the calories themselves, it doesn’t really show them the calorie cost of food, it more shows the exercisers ? Like, why are they being punished because someone ordered an extra portion of chips ?

But no, not that. SHOCKINGLY, people picked up on the fact that it’s basically promoting that for every calorie you consume, you should burn it off. Which isn’t okay, or true. It’s pretty much saying, “if you want a pizza, TOUGH LUCK babe, you’ve to run 5k to compensate”. And that is HELLA dangerous for obvious reasons.

Last December, there was talk of introducing some new labelling thing where food products print how much exercise you’d need to do to burn it off on the packaging. There was, as expected, a lot of backlash from people and eating disorder charities saying that this was a dangerous idea, especially to people who are vulnerable to eating disorders.

Sound familiar? Maybe you read about it in the news. Because BBC WROTE ABOUT IT. They even included quotes from someone at Beat, an eating disorder charity, explaining how and why this could be dangerous for some people. The same charity who have come out and said how ‘The Restaurant that Burns Off Calories’ is problematic for the exact same reason and their services have been in “high demand” ever since it aired. Like ??? Did they even read their own article ??

Now, I get what the BBC was trying to do with this show. Like, everyone knows that obesity is a big problem these days, and people do eat more than they need without really thinking about the health implications or nutritional value. But, they also need to consider the impact it has on other people.

Being realistic, if someone never gave two thoughts to ordering an extra large 4-cheese pizza or the calories in it, printing that they’d need to run to Spain probably wouldn’t make them stop. They mightn’t even take notice. And they mightn’t even watch this show.

On the other hand, someone who has or currently is experiencing an eating disorder or already does monitor every calorie they consume and how much they burn through exercise, would notice. They probably would think twice about buying or eating that food. They might not eat it, or exercise more to compensate. And they’re a lot more likely to watch this TV show.

I know they promoted throughout the official government calorie intake guidelines and said not to consume less than this or restrict your calorie intake, but to be honest, I don’t think that evens it out.

I think that the BBC should’ve weighed up the chances of the people who could really benefit from this awareness and this show watching this show and taking it on board (probably low), versus the chances of people who could be really negatively impacted by watching it and taking it on board (probably a lot higher).

Eating disorder charity slams The Restaurant That Burns off ...

Who needs to and should be watching your show, isn’t necessarily who will be. And I think it’s really important for broadcasters to think about the bigger picture and impact on more than just their ‘target audience’. Especially when you report on why a similar idea is controversial and problematic 4 months before. Just saying.

If anyone has been affected by any of issues raised in “The Restaurant that Burns Off Calories” or this blog post, Beat’s Helpline is available on 0808 801 0677.

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lifestyle

Better Late than Never

One big thing that’s come out of this whole pandemic situation (yeah, that wee small global disaster, you know the one) is people’s appreciation for the NHS. Everyone’s only recently seemed to think, “hey, those NHS workers are actually doing a pretty amazing job and they really should be getting more recognition and treated with respect.” Including the people who used to take advantage of the healthcare system and its workers, treating neither with said ‘respect’. Like, paracetamol are 16p in Savers, get them there, guys.

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NHS staff are now getting early access into shops because the beautiful public so kindly cleared every single shelf of all the supermarkets, leaving key workers able to buy nothing except jars of olives and gherkins. How cruel.  They’re getting free/discounted coffees, they’re getting clapped for every Thursday night and people are showing their appreciation on social media with filters, tweets and posts. People are making wee banners and drawings and sticking them in their windows, spray-painting ‘NHS’ on walls (hoodlums, pfft) and either aliens or farmers are leaving ‘NHS’ crop-circles in fields. I personally reckon it’s aliens but I’ll leave it to you to decide for yourself.

Coronavirus: Farmers share field messages to NHS staff and care ...

But the most beautiful thing? The fact that people are doing this despite voting for a political party that wanted to privatise the NHS, whilst seriously underfunding it. Plus the fact that the UK’s prime minister, Mr Bojo himself, who led this lil NHS crusade ended up depending on it for his survival after contracting the, you know, the thing. (I’m treating it like a bit of a ‘Beetlejuice’ situation, so I’m not saying or typing it because I sure as hell don’t wanna experiment with manifestation or the law of attraction now).

Clap clap. : LabourUK

Now, to be clear, I am 110% for people showing their respect and support for the NHS (like they Goddamn should), even if they did stab in the back a few months ago. I don’t know if people are clapping away their guilt or only NOW realising that they definitely might have made a mistake in their polling choice.

But now, to right some serious wrongs, the public are taking things into their own hands and doing their bit to fund the NHS (since you can’t depend on the British government to). And I think that says a lot. A lot of people have been furloughed, had their hours reduced or lost their jobs, so they don’t have a lot of income. But, they’re still doing what they can.  

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The latest trend is the whole ‘Run 5k, Donate £5 and Nominate 5’ thing which has singlehandedly replaced banana bread in taking over my Instagram stories. Basically you, you guessed it, run 5k, donate a fiver to NHS charities and then nominate 5 people you hate to endure the pain of running, too.

I live in constant fear that my ‘friends’ (soon to be ex-friends if they do) nominate me to do it, because, running? No. I could walk 10 miles easy but run? Tried it once. Hated it. HATED IT. I’d rather just donate the £5 because if I attempted a run for the first time in 7 years, I reckon I’d need medical assistance which would cost a lot more than £5 in NHS funds. Just saying.  

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also can’t

This has been a MASSIVE success. Everyone seems to be donating through ‘Virgin Money Giving’ (also ironic because Virgin have applied for a £500 million loan of UK taxpayer money lol) and so far, it’s managed to raise over £2.5 million for the NHS. I mean, some of that £500 million taxpayer money they’re after could probably go to the NHS instead of to a plane company but sure, Mr Richy B is only a billionaire, so I’m sure using the money of working-class people just makes a lot more sense!!

So, it’s obviously melting that everyone’s only really appreciating the NHS and its staff now, and realising that we used to take for granted. But I suppose, better late than never, eh? I mean, better PRE-ELECTION than late, but can’t be fussy can you? So, keep running (or attempting it), drawing banners, spray-painting walls, drawing groovy crop circles and clapping every Thursday. It’s the least we can do, and the least that the NHS deserves. No point waiting on the UK government, like.

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I better hear y’all at 8pm, lads.

Categories
lifestyle

Things I’ve Learned in Lockdown

Well, here we are. Week 2 of lockdown. I think. To be honest, I’m not even sure what day it is anymore because literally every day is a Sunday now and time is a social construct (which I’ve always believed but now it’s a lot easier to convince other people that I’m right).

As always, I’m avoiding the news because it’s full of negativity and bad vibes which is not something a final year needs any more of right now (shoutout to my uni for still giving us an exam). So, since it’s officially “Easter Week”, I thought I’d have a wee reflective moment and think about all the things I’ve learned in my self-isolation. Because I write as I think I really have no idea how this gonna go or if I’m even gonna have more than 3 things but LET’S SEE.

Learning GIFs | Tenor

Things I’ve Learned (in no particular order apart from the one that I think of them in):

1. That contrary to popular belief, I can in fact, apparently still function without having three cappuccinos a day.

Who’d have thought?

Two really strong filter coffees seems to do the trick.

2. That Boris Johnson’s real name is Alexander Boris De Pfeffer Johnson.

I. KNOW.

Wow.

What's the Difference Between Yams and Sweet Potatoes? | Kitchn
“(Or is it?)” the SUSPENSE.

3. The difference between a ‘yam’ and a sweet potato.

I was watching a TV show and yams were mentioned and I’ve always wondered American’s were on about and had nothing else to do so just Googled it.  Spoiler alert: it’s just a massive sweet potato.

Well, SINCE YOU ASKED. A yam is actually an Asian/ African root vegetable which is different to a sweet potato but the things that Americans call ‘yams’ are actually just big sweet potatoes (shoutout to their genetic modification game). A bit like the way they say ‘zucchini’ and ‘eggplant’. Bloons.

4. That my desire to avoid doing workouts is actually stronger than my desire to avoid doing uni work.

My excuses have got a lot more creative, since I can’t use “I don’t have time” or “I’m too busy”. My new favourites are: “I’m wearing jeans today and you can’t exercise in jeans so I’ll do it a day I’m wearing leggings” and, “I’ve just had a shower I can’t do exercise now, what’s the point?”

I So Pale GIFs | Tenor

5. My natural skin colour.

Because I’m doing a tan detox (like what’s the point when you wash your hands like 98 times a day and no one will actually see it apart from the police in the park and I really doubt they care that my neck is a lovely bronze colour and my ankles look REALLY nice in those mom jeans), I’ve actually seen my natural skin colour for the first time in God knows how long. Have I always been this pale?? How am I pale but still red ? Weird.

6. Just how much shopping I can physically carry without keeling over.

Since I can’t do my usual “go to Tesco three times a week just for a dander”, I’ve to do a weekly shop which means buying about 8 kilograms of stuff and then having to lug it back home on a fun-filled 20 minute walk of sheer PAIN. I think like 8 kilos is my max, to be honest. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot when people can literally squat with like 100kg weights but I’m 5 ft 3 and struggle to open heavy doors so ‘upper body strength’ isn’t something I’ve got a lot of, okay?

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7. That I don’t actually hate phone calls as much as I thought I did.

Never thought I’d see the day when I actually didn’t mind being rang and ANSWERED phone calls instead of just staring at my phone begging it to stop ringing, then send a “Sorry I missed your call! What’s up?” text 8 minutes later. Still not desperate enough to answer the PPI ones, though.

8. The tune of my neighbours’ electricity machine.

Because most people have moved home, no one’s in their student houses to top up the electricity. So, instead of having to constantly listen to my neighbours and their crap taste in music, I’m treated to the beautiful native song of the electricity machines which they sing in the hopes of getting money.  One beep. One beep. Three beeps. FIVE BEEPS. One beep. Two beeps. One beep. SEVEN BEEPS.  (Repeat for 4 days straight until they sadly give up, at which point another neighbours’ machine will take over).

It’s quite beautiful, really.

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9. That 15 year-old me was right and that Lil Wayne actually is the best thing to happen to the world (apart from me).

Since I don’t have Spotify premium or anything (because literally what’s the point), when I’m out for my PRECIOUS daily dander, all I have to listen to is the music on my phone which hasn’t been updated since like 4 phones ago. I could download new stuff but youtube-mp3 converter is a while lot of effort. So, most of what I’ve got to listen to is Lil Wayne and Young Thug, to be honest. And you know what? Still love ‘em. Trashy, tacky but oh so BEAUTIFUL.

10. How many bricks are on my neighbours’ extension.

Since my main viewpoint is my window which I like to stare out of for 9 hours a day and pretend I’m outside, I’ve passed the time by counting bricks.

Only messin, I’m not THAT sad or desperate. Yet.

But it’s actually not a bad idea and I’ll probably have a real answer for you by next week.

So, there you go. The RIVETING and LIFE-CHANGING things I’ve learned in my two weeks of isolation. Not much to show for it, I suppose but hey, it’s better than nothing.

Categories
lifestyle

How to Cope with Excruciating Boredom: Gen Z Style

Well, it’s no newsflash that the world is a literal disaster at the minute. Everyone is in a constant state of stress, anxiety, paranoia and most importantly, boredom. Literally anything is classed as an ‘activity’. Most adults are working from home or trying to either make their kids SHUSH, stop bothering them, complaining that they’re bored or from killing each other. Most teenagers and young people are taking advantage of the fact that every social norm has just gone out the window (where we sadly cannot go) and are getting creative with ways to cope with the excruciating boredom and stress. Basically, we’re looking for literally ANYTHING to do other than uni work.

So, here are some of my fave Gen Z ways that you too can cope with your newfound boredom and stop yourself losing the plot by acting like you already have:

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1. The Impossible Riddles.

Someone will post a story of a weirdly pointless riddle which doesn’t quite make sense and you’ve to reply with your answer. You will see 50 of these but won’t reply to any because you think that the answer is so obvious that you don’t need to. You’ll eventually cave when one of your friends (or that wee lad you’ve always fancied but haven’t had an excuse to pop up to) posts it, and you’ll pounce. You’ll of course reply with a wee ‘?’ on the end of your answer, to give the illusion that you think your answer might possibly be wrong; which of course, it couldn’t be because you are so smart. You will of course, be wrong, and will be equally scundered and furious at the ridiculous answer which actually medically makes no sense, but sure, why are you shouting at your friend at the fact that it’s a SCAM? It’s a troubling time and you need all the virtual friends you can get. So, you will eventually accept defeat (you will only give the illusion of acceptance because you will in fact never accept this and will take the irritation and outrage to your grave) and post it on your story to challenge your followers to have a go at getting it right. Which of course, they won’t, because they’re IMPOSSIBLE.

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2. A Work-Out Video

This includes the “See 10, Do 10” challenge, whereby people with actual upper-body strength like to show off by doing 10 press-ups in 10 seconds and then challenge their equally strong friends to do the same. Before taking part, you will change into one of the following: a techno/alcohol related top; a Crossfit or other gym cult top; a top that says Pré on it and a pair of shorts even though it is 3 degrees inside. You will then do 10 press-ups to make sure that you are physically capable of doing so and to make your arms looks beefier for the vid (for the ladies, of course), and then film 5 attempts before choosing in which of them you look most ‘dece’. If you’re female and take part in this challenge, your followers will be equally impressed, annoyed and jealous of you for being able to do more press-ups than them.

Prem stars including Rashford, Mount and Fernandes compete in Stay ...

3. Toilet Roll Keepy-Uppies

There is probably a more technical and accepted term in the soccer community for ‘keepy-uppies’ but I don’t know what that is. You will show off that you were able to get your hands  on the most allusive commodity of the century and taunt your followers by taking a roll of said treasure and film yourself kicking it about. To partake, you must change into your soccer top (from what I can gather, it must be either a Liverpool or Rangers top; if you do not support either of these teams, you are not eligible to join). No one will really pay attention to you kicking about the toilet roll so your ‘mad skills’ will go unnoticed; what will be noticed, however, is your house decor in the background. That is all that anyone will actually be paying attention to, so choose your room of filming very carefully. And brush the floor.   

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4. TikTok Dance Routines

Standard 30-second dance routines which no one asked for or wants to see, but will watch anyway becaustve literally nothing else to be at. You will at first, roll your eyes and pass silent judgement on tiktokers and tell yourself, “well at least I haven’t stooped to THAT level”, and within 3-5 working days you will have secretly downloaded the app “as a joke” and have recreated all of the dance routines which we originally laughed at. Oh, but it’s FINE. Because you’re doing it ‘ironically’.

5. TikTok Dance Routines with your Ma

2 days after learning and videoing every single dance routine ever made PLUS 3 of your own beautiful creations which you will debut on your country’s relevant talent show (unless you’re a traitor and go on Britain’s Got Talent in which case you will be shunned by all of your Irish friends and family forever) because they are truly magical; you will rope your ma who is equally as desperate for ANYTHING TO DO that they will in fact willingly join you and do what they do best: act weird in front of all your friends. You, on the other hand, are so desperate for COMPANY and a 5 minute distraction that you willingly offer to teach your ma a dance routine, because you know it will take 5 hours for her to get to grips with it so at least it keeps you busy for a while.

Healthy Banana Bread Recipe - Super Healthy Kids

6. Bake Banana Bread

If you haven’t yet bought bananas in to make banana bread, you’re too late. There is officially a nationwide banana-shortage because everyone and their ma in Ireland decided to make a batch or five over the past week. I don’t know who started this or why (presumably sheer boredom and desperation to find something to do with those 18 bananas they panic-bought last week despite no one in the house liking bananas, which have now gone black), but it really caught on and everyone in the country has discovered a new-found love for banana bread and the desire to bake.  This a great way to kill a few hours even though it only really takes 30 minutes, but you need to actually dig that bicarb of soda out of the medicine cupboard; Google to check that it doesn’t actually go off since you haven’t used since that first and last attempt to make your ma a birthday cake 5 years ago which ended in complete disaster; make the mixture; sit in front of the oven watching it cook because at least that’s better than daytime TV; leave it to cool (which you will actually do because you have nothing else to do and hey, at least it gives you something else to watch!); then spend another 15 minutes getting a bomb-ass photo for your Instagram story; spend another 10 minutes choosing an appropriate filter and GIF to accompany said photo; eat; and finally: hand-wash the dishes even though you have a dishwasher but at least this is SOMETHING YOU CAN DO.

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7. Ask for Netflix/ Book Recommendations

Even though you have less than ZERO intention of watching any of the programmes or reading any of the books because 1) you can’t actually leave the house to go a bookshop 2) don’t trust ordering things online because you have no idea who touched the book the parcel and 3) either don’t have a Kindle, don’t use it because it’s not as nice as a real book or quite frankly, don’t want to pay for a book even though the only free ones are weird murder mysteries or questionable rom-coms written by 30 something year olds which all have the exact same story line (of which, you have read them all). Why would you post this story if you have no intention of following any of the suggestions? Because it will kill some time for both you and your followers, plus it will provide some form of human interaction because you will respond to every suggestion in the hopes of starting a conversation with someone and filling your one-interaction-per-day quota during lockdown.

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8. Shave your Hair or Eyebrows

Your attempts at preventing yourself from losing the plot have failed. You have officially lost it. There is literally nothing else to do and there is no other alternative source of entertainment or excitement in your life besides the answer to the following sum: your hair + those scissors = ?. If you are a female, you will undoubtedly opt for the ‘rogue bob’ or attempted ‘bangs’ turned ‘curtains’; if you’re male, you will instead say farewell to your eyebrows for some unknown reason. No matter what your decision, you will most likely regret this but at least it killed a few minutes removing said hair, freaking out about you have just done, panic-messaging all of your friends, and brushing up and binning the hair to pretend it never happened. You will of course, get over it, plus by the time you see the light of day or another human again, it will have grown back.

There you go, folks. Some FUN ways to kill both your time and brain cells during this lockdown period. Godspeed.

Categories
lifestyle University

Things I Don’t Miss

In light of the disaster that is the world at the minute, it’s hard not to be negative and make yourself sad thinking about all the things you miss or can’t do. But, instead of having a half-empty glass, I’d rather have it half-full. Half-full of my tears, that is, because, ya girl is STRESSED.

Image result for be positive gif

I’m trying to be positive, but not like, “ridiculously corny positivity and motivational quotes on my Instagram story”. Because, let’s be honest, life’s a bit crap at the minute. Not gonna lie lads, not a great time to be in final year. But, ANYWAY, instead of thinking about what I have to worry about (a lot), I’m thinking about what I DON’T have to worry about. Enjoy.

Things I don’t have to worry (or stress) about:

  • Picking a dress for graduation
  • Figuring out what shoes to wear to graduation because ya gal does not wear heels, but not sure guddies are the “appropriate aesthetic”
  • My stomach making whale sounds during my final exam
  • Getting the wrong bus and being late to my final exam
  • Not being able to find the exam hall, forgetting to pack my crystals or all of my 5 pens running out leaving me unable to finish my exam
  • Having to make up excuses for why I can’t go out to things I don’t want to go to.
  • Having to remember I said I had plans so can’t post anything on my private Snapchat story because people will see I’m not actually busy and could’ve gone to their free
  • Drawing my eyebrows on symmetrically, because 1) why bother drawing them on? And 2) even if I did and they were uneven, who would see?
  • Buying new makeup because mine’s run out
  • Having to keep my build-up tan topped up and looking even
  • Smelling like biscuits because of said tan
  • All of my jammies and bedsheets also smelling like biscuits (it doesn’t come out in the wash apparently)
  • Spending all my money on coffee I, as an insomniac, shouldn’t be drinking so much of, and on fruit I don’t really need (but really want) in Tesco – even though I only went to Tesco purely because I was bored and procrastinating
  • Which bus to get to uni, because the 8:30 MIGHT make me late for the lecture but definitely DOES give me an extra 15 minutes in bed
  • Which of my three outfits to wear to uni today
  • Which of my three outfits I wore to uni yesterday
  • Getting 6 seats beside each other in the lecture room for me and my amigos
  • Getting a seat beside the plugs so I can charge my phone in the lecture room
  • My housemates coming home at 3am after a night out and waking me up
  • My neighbours blasting Oasis CONSTANTLY
  • My neighbours doing their nightly routine of “let’s run up and down the stairs 10 times and close every door in the house” from 11pm onwards
  • My neighbours smoking weed in their garden and the smell coming through the gap in our bathroom window because it’s for some reason not put on straight so doesn’t fully close
  • Bumping into people I’d like to pretend I didn’t know, and doing the whole, “Are we gonna make eye contact or just look at the footpath and pretend we don’t see or know each other?” (option 2 is always preferable)
  • Figuring out what day and time to meet friends at when you both have completely different but equally messed up schedules
  • Deciding which coffee shop to go this time (opening times vs price vs anywhere but Starbucks)
  • Not being able to get the “comfy seats” or any seat in the coffee shop
  • The coffee shop having no plugs to charge my phone
  • Not being sure if the coffee shop does dairy-free milks or how much extra they cost because they’re not on the menu
  • The coffee shop either 1) not having soya or oat milk or even worse 2) only having almond milk (I mean, what questionable human CHOOSES almond milk? Nasty)
  • Thinking, “Did the barista remember that I asked for soya milk?? Are they using soya milk??” and having to taste the coffee suspiciously because it doesn’t QUITE taste like all the other soya cappuccinos I’ve had. Hmm.
  • Wondering if the barista is going to make me a latte even though I always ask for a cappuccino in that exact same café (it’s happened 4 times so yes it IS a genuine concern of mine – have you tasted lattes? They’re just hot MILK)
  • Which of my three work outfits to wear to work
  • Getting soaked on the walk to/from work
  • Which jacket to wear outside based off Google’s ridiculously inaccurate weather forecast (note: if in Ireland, assume 99% chance of precipitation and 0% chance of sun)
Image result for its not that bad gif

There you go, folks. To be honest, writing that actually really helped me in seeing the silver lining of the cloud that is life at the minute (dark). Hopefully, that either made you think about what you don’t have to stress about, gave a valuable insight into the priorities and concerns facing young people today, taught you the importance of alternative milks to dairy-free people OR, all else failing, killed 5 minutes of your 3 week journey to insanity and boredom. It killed 15 of mine 🙂

You’re welcome 🙂

Categories
lifestyle

The Green Day That Felt Blue

Well, yesterday was the day that pretty much every Irish person looks forward to all year. For a lot of us, it’s the one day of the year that’s ours. And Ivory Coast’s, thanks to the embarrassing amount of absolute BLOONS that mix it up every. Single. Year. 

Image result for ivory coast flag
PLEASE NOTE.

On St Patrick’s Day/ St Paddy’s (NEVER St “Pat’s” or St “Patty’s” – honestly, American’s need to STOP that now), we get to have a parade, take over town, fill the streets, and just be loud and proud of our nationality. For most of us, it’s a really important and big day.

It’s not just about getting steaming from 12pm and that being socially acceptable. It’s not just about having a few days off (although it helps), or being able to blast the Wolfe Tones without your neighbours ringing the police to complain about the noise. Sweet revenge for your INCESSANT ‘Oasis’.

It’s about being able to wear your GAA, Celtic or Ireland jerseys (despite never watching a match in your life), without being afraid of getting dirty looks, abuse or starting fights for it. The most judgement you get is when you walk about with a Tyrone jersey (nobody likes Tyrone) or have an Ivory Coast flag on your face. Like seriously lads, GREEN FIRST.

Image result for what is that gif
When I see a Tyrone jersey in Bot.

It’s about being proud of your country and celebrating everything it’s overcome. It’s being able to say, “You can burn my flag, but I’m still wearing it.” It’s about looking ridiculous, having a geg, forgetting about your uni work and getting a bomb ass insta photo (with a patriotic caption courtesy of Google Translate). 

Yeah, other countries use it as an excuse to just get absolutely steaming, but, it doesn’t really matter. Because, they’re still celebrating our day. They’re wearing our colours, flags and dodgy shamrock hairbands. Things get lit up, painted and dyed green. The world goes green for a day, and it’s like a show of solidarity for this tiny, green, FREEZIN wee island that we live on and always complain about. 

Image result for im irish gif

But, this year was a LOT different. Most people who go out, sat in. Pubs and clubs were closed on their busiest day of the year. People sat in and drank tea instead of going out to drink Magners. People spent 8 hours watching Netflix instead of spending 8 hours having a geg on the streets. People said they were having a “quiet one” and actually meant it. Wild. 

A lot of people said that St Patrick’s Day was “cancelled”. But, it wasn’t.  You can’t “cancel” a day. You can cancel events, concerts and plans; not a nationality.  

Image result for happy birthday st patrick's sorry your party's so lame

The streets might have been empty, but buildings were still lit up, people still wore jerseys, painted their faces and dyed their food a rare looking green. Yeah, some people CLEARLY didn’t get the HINT went out (smh), but so many of us gave up our favourite day traditions. 

See, we don’t need to be out in the streets, parading and shouting about being Irish to be Irish, and love being Irish. We don’t need to be drinking to celebrate our history and future. To be honest, I think it shows a lot more pride and respect for your country when you’re putting the health and safety of its people above its biggest day of the year (@ the people who went out).

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Me interrogating my housemate

We don’t need St Patrick’s Day to be proud of who we are, where we’ve been and where we’re going. We survived genocide the potato famine, we survived 800 years of oppression, we survived losing 6 counties, and so many lives of those fighting to get it back. Most importantly, we survived the shame of being represented by a turkey sock-puppet in Eurovision. So, we will survive this. 

Until next year, lads. Sláinte.

Categories
lifestyle

I Just Want Soap.

Well, in case you weren’t sick of reading about it already, this post is about the dreaded C-word that has taken over all news and media outlets, killed thousands and pretty much knocked the world for six.

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I live in a student house, and we’re running out of hand soap, as in ABOUT to run out. But, me and my housemates can’t get soap anywhere. We’ve one roll of toilet roll left, and we can’t actually get our hands on any of these gold-leaf paper rolls. People panic buying and bulk buying has meant that people like us, people like students, people with limited income, access to shops, and no cars, can’t buy things that we NEED.

My housemate pretty much LIVES on pasta, she has it literally every day for lunch (concerning, I know), and what’s she meant to do when it runs out? Apparently there’s a massive pasta shortage in shops now because people are buying in stuff 18-packs at a time.

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I wonder why no one wants the penne

I can’t do a big shop. I don’t have a big supermarket near me, I don’t have a car and there’s only so much a 5 foot 3 gal can carry – hint: not very much. I also can’t really afford to do a massive shop to last me 3 months, and even if I could, 1) it wouldn’t keep because like, stuff goes off ? and 2) I’ve nowhere to store it.

I went into Savers in today, where there was a massive queue of people trying to their very-well-sanitised hands on hand sanitiser. They had 400ml for £1.50. I KNOW. WILD. But, it was limited to 1 per customer. They had like hand sanitiser wipe thingys (never seen them before so not really sure what they were), limited to 2 per person. They only had like 15 bottles to start with and the girl in front of me got the last one. Ever get that scene in Serendipity where they both need the same pair of gloves? Like that, but less romantic and SHOCKINGLY, she didn’t want to share with me.

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Thing is, everyone’s panic buying because everyone’s panic buying. Except my kind of panic buying is OHMYGODINEEDDINNERANDTHERESNOFOODANYWHERE. Not, OHMYGODIONLYHAVE14TINSOFPEASEVENTHOUGHIDONTEATVEGETABLESBUTINEEDMOREANYWAY.

People are buying things in here because apparently Ireland could be in ‘lock-down’ in like 2 weeks, but, even if I was to attempt to do a ‘big shop’ (aka like a £15 one), it would last like a week and all I’d have left is some chopped tomatoes and nothing to do with them.

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Everyone’s complaining about the media and news “scaremongering” and “catastrophising” the C-word. I don’t want to say it because I’m sick of talking about “it” and I’m sure you’re more than DONE hearing about it. Congratulations and thank you if you’ve actually managed to reach this far without rolling your eyes and clicking that wee ‘x‘ that shushes me.

But what’s actually worse than the media outlets, are PEOPLE. Y’all are to blame for this.Youse are scaremongering by constantly talking and panicking about it. And trying to panic each other instead of calm each other down.  Yeah, the news channels are writing stuff, but youse are sharing it left right and centre on your personal platforms, bringing it up with everyone you meet and replacing the crappy weather as the go-to small talk subject. NOBODY HAS COMMENTED ON THE WEATHER TO ME IN 2 DAYS. IN IRELAND. WHERE IT’S ALWAYS HORRIBLE AND WORTH COMPLAINING ABOUT.

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(I was gonna do a gif but this is funnier because it’s actually being serious)

People also the ones clearing out shops, which is giving the news outlets something to write about. Then other people see that shops are cleared out so they’re like, “Oh, I should also clear them out!!!” Youse are the ones buying more than you need and leaving students like me fearing for the last drop of soap which will probably be gone by the time I get home from work today. Not the newspaper-media-men. 

Do you know what buying 12 12-packs of toilet roll and 12 bags of pasta is called? C A T A S T R O P H I S I N G . Also, insane. And just ridiculous in general. Can I just say, if you think you’re gonna be home for a month unable to leave the house, the thing you’re choosing to live solely off is pasta ?? Come on, like.

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I know that everyone’s a bit scared and panicked, and fair enough like, people need food if they’re gonna be trapped in their house. So, I get buying stuff in “in case”. But, it’s so, so excessive. And unfair. Just because YOU can spend £200 on a huge shop to fill your American fridge and utility room freezer, doesn’t mean everyone can.

I just want SOAP. ONE THING OF SOAP.

So, if you catch anything from me, blame yourself for depriving me of the ability to buy it 🙂

Categories
PR social media

Why People Went ‘Nuts’ at Snickers

Sorry, I had to.


Well, this week on “brands that insult consumers and make them angry”, we have good ole’ Snickers. So, what did they do? Oh, just the small matter of insulting an entire nation and their language. Standard behaviour, like. 

Snickers UK posted a tweet comparing Welsh place names to someone sitting on a keyboard. Marketing genius.

Earlier today Snickers tweeted 'A place in Wales or someone sat on a keyboard? A thread'

It got a couple likes and a couple retweets, but a lot of Welsh Twitter users were NOT impressed (gee, I wonder why???) and called them out straight away. 

Apart from not really being relevant to Snickers, or anything really, the post was deemed racist, xenophobic and just bad craic really. See, making jokes about place names is basically laughing at the language. People pointed out that Welsh is already belittled and mocked a lot across the water, so this was just a massive brand joining in at taking the ‘mickey’ out of the language, the people, and the culture. 

Many threatened to stop buying the chocolate after they were angered and upset by the tweet


Why’d they choose Wales? Because some people think that Welsh place names are “funny”, but, if you swapped Welsh with any other language, what sort of reaction would get? Can you imagine if they did this post about China or India? Probably not. Because they probably won’t wouldn’t.

Not gonna lie like, this it wasn’t exactly the most pointful thing I’ve ever read. Seems a bit random to just start laughing at Welsh place names ? For a peanut chocolate bar ? Like ? ? Cad é ?

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Like I just don’t really get what it has to do with anything? It’s not like the language is JUST IN, or these place names were JUST made up, and I don’t think Wales was in the news for any particular reason? So, it wasn’t exactly ‘topical’, was it? 

I mean, fair enough, it did get “consumer engagement”, but not in a good way. In true consumer-revenge fashion, people threatened to boycott Snickers for life because of the whole thing. You have to love the severity of consumer-revenge threats. I mean, no harm like, but I doubt Snickers are gonna go into administration because James in Cardiff is no longer buying his 3rd favourite chocolate bar. But, stick it to the man, I suppose. 

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Snickers UK responded to the mess they made, but they didn’t tell people to stop shouting at chocolate bars. They went a lil more traditional in their approach with a standard apology. I mean, when you’re in the wrong, there isn’t really any other way to act, is there?

But, at least they tried to make the apology relevant to their brand, with a wee nod to their tagline. 

Snickers later issued another apology stating that they were 'wholeheartedly thankful' for their Welsh fans

Almost as cunning as their original tweet.

Some Welsh people did show support for Snickers, saying that they found it funny and weren’t offended. But, I think what makes it so bad is that Snickers isn’t Welsh. Spoiler alert! 

If a Welsh company or celebrity or regular non-famous person (can’t relate) tweeted this, it probably would’ve got a fair few more retweets. But, everyone (well, everyone apart from Snickers’ marketing team) knows that there’s things where it’s okay if YOU or a certain group of people say or laugh about something, but if an OUTSIDER says it, then it’s all kinds of unacceptable. 

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Irish jokes don’t bode well with me at all, like. Neither do jokes about women. There’s certain things I can say or call myself, but the second someone else does, all hell breaks loose. And I think that’s part of the reason that this Snickers tweet was a massive flop. It’s not just what was said, but who said it, and their sort of right to do so.

But, hey, at least it gives them a good reason to finally change back to ‘Marathon’. Wee “new name, new us” rebrand might do ’em some good, like. Every cloud and all that.

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Future Marathon tweet?
Categories
PR social media

Don’t Shout at Tea, It Talks Back.

So, if you’ve been on the internet at all since Friday, you’ve probably seen #SueYoureShoutingAtTea trending.

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Saying that, I didn’t even know anything about it until today, I really should get Twitter, like. BUT, in my defence, us Irish ones don’t care much for Yorkshire tea when we’ve got proper Irish stuff like Nambarrie and Punjana to keep us going. Just saying.

Anyway, here’s a lil summary to keep y’all in the loop:On Friday, Rishi Sunak (a baddie tory ) posted a photo of himself (the vanity) with a massive bag of Yorkshire tea on Twitter. A lot of people obviously thought that this was a paid partnership or advertisement of some sort – which, is a bit ridiculous when you think about it, I mean, who would pay to be associated with that party? No harm, like.

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So, in true Twitter fashion, users pretty much ripped into Yorkshire Tea, threatening to boycott them and calling them all sorts. Must be pretty scundering that you’ve got the opposite of Midas touch and people will boycott something as serious as tea brands just because you use ’em. And brands are actively trying to disassociate from you. Take a hint, lads.  

Even though Yorkshire Tea actually came out at the weekend and said that it was nothing to do with them. One woman in particular was having NONE of it, behold, the star of the show: Sue. Spoiler alert: Yes, it was her who shouted at tea. Let’s take a look at what she said. Enjoy.

So, how did Yorkshire Tea respond to all this negative criticism? With a well thought out, articulate public announcement, of course. Ahem:

Twitter pretty much went nuts over this, hence the trending hashtag. Someone jokingly said they should make t-shirts with a “Sue, you’re shouting at tea” slogan, which of course, someone did. If Forever 21 was still around, you can BET they’d be stocking ’em. 

Yorkshire Tea’s response got a hell of a lot more attention than the original post by Rishi Sunak did, and it got people talking about something else other than the whole right-wing-association thing, AND didn’t just “restore” attitudes towards the brand, it improved them. I personally always assumed they were a bit of a boring brand, because well, look at the box. Plus, look who uses them, just saying. But, now, they seem a lot more interesting. I’m still not gonna buy their teabags like, but still, fair play lads.

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As with EVERYTHING, some people aren’t happy with how Yorkshire Tea handled it. They said that they’ve pretty much humiliated Sue and made her a laughing stock on the internet. Thousands of people have seen the tweets are basically taking the mickey (keepin’ it PG [Tips]) out of her. She’s pretty much been scundered in front of thousands. 

I know she called them out, so they can call her out back, but, at the end of the day, she’s one person, and they’re a major brand. They’re more cut out for bad press than she is. Saying that, Yorkshire Tea, no matter how good their PR team is, probably didn’t think the tweet would go as viral as it did. And, at least her display photo (I don’t even know if that’s what they’re called on Twitter but O well) wasn’t even her. 

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Probably Sue right now

But, all funny tweets and tea-shirts (ha ha) aside, it highlights a problem for brands.  What happens when someone who a lot of people hate likes or uses your brand?  At the end of the day, you can’t stop people posting photos of your products and “promoting” your brand, even if you would rather they bought from your competitors instead.

Regardless of any bad press, I think it’s safe to say that Yorkshire Tea more than recovered from the lil Tory blip. So, what does all this teach PR and social media managers about crisis management? A witty tweet can do a hell of a lot more than a press release, apology, official statement and Labour-inspired photoshoot combined. 

Categories
lifestyle

Klarna: What’s the Cost of “Interest-free”?

We all know students are pretty skint most of the time, so when I see ASOS, Pretty Little Thing and Missguided parcels constantly being delivered to my house, you can probably see why I might think “amm, where the HELL are you getting all this money from?”

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Then comes a wee envelope in the post from Klarna. *ding* And it all makes sense.

Y’all probably know what Klarna is anyway, but if you don’t, it’s basically a payment service company thing (to be exact) that lets you buy things now, and pay later. But, you don’t have to pay any fees or interest unlike most credit payment company things. I should’ve written their marketing material, I know. 

So, you can see why it’s become insanely popular recently (even though Sweden’s been using it for like 15 years). It’s obviously really handy for emergency purchases when you genuinely can’t afford to pay upfront, or if you can’t afford to pay back with interest.

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But, I don’t know, I’m not really sure I like the whole idea. Yeah, LoOk aT mE being contrary, wouldn’t be like me!!! But hear me out, read me out, whatever.

A couple of Klarna’s wee tag lines are:
“Buy what you want, when you want”
“Shopping the way it should be – effortless, safe and fun”.

See, the thing is, I know it seems like it’s for people who are short on cash and NEED something, but if you look at the major retailers who support Klarna – and if you look at their website, the whole thing’s pretty much targeted at people who want to buy clothes online. 

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I know that Klarna is obviously a hell of a lot better than those payday loan companies that charge you like 800% APR and get people into a massive cycle of debt. But, it still encourages the same behaviour. It encourages people to just go “ooh sparkly top, click click, mine” (in the very sophisticated manner that we speak in) without worrying about how much it actually costs. Or how they’re actually going to afford it.

I’m not saying that people who can’t afford clothes right now shouldn’t be able to buy them; but my guess is a lot of people that use Klarna are students and other people who aren’t exactly minted, but still want nice things. I just don’t like the whole idea of encouraging people – who mightn’t be able to afford to – to live above their means and normalising “not worrying about the price”. 
Normally, a big obstacle to you buying clothes when you really shouldn’t or can’t, is that, well, you can’t. But now, you can. 

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You won’t just use Klarna as a “one off”, let’s be real, you’ll just start using it more and more often. Then, have the dolla taken out of your account on payday or at 3 different stages sometime in the future. But, “that’s future me’s problem”, although it’s pretty much my mantra in life, isn’t a healthy attitude to have when it comes to spending.

“Buy now, pay later” things are great when you need something, or even if you just want something, like yasss treat yourself, live your best life. But, I don’t think it’s great to promote this attitude and behaviour as something we should do for all our purchases. Especially things like online clothes shopping. Just because you “want” something, doesn’t necessarily mean you should get it. 

I know there’s no debt involved, but it still normalises debt-inducing (? I’m gonna roll with it) behaviour. Having a care-free attitude to money is just dangerous for people who aren’t that good at budgeting, saving or saying no to “40% off”. It’s fine if you’re good and responsible with money, but what if you aren’t?

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Yeah, you got £200s worth of clothes and didn’t have to spend a penny. YET. What happens in 2 weeks when that £200 plus your pair-of-boots-money and your new-fluffy-jacket-money are all coming out, and oh look, the gas is running out, or, the landlord’s coming for rent. What then? The money is still coming out, and not necessarily when you’re in a better position. You know what you have right now, and you might know what you’ll have next week or after payday. But, life does this beautiful thing called “MESSIN WITH US” and throws all kinds of spanners in all of our works. 

“Oh, I forgot I bought that”. “Okay OOPS I didn’t realise I spent THAT much”. “Have I still not paid that off”. Having small bite-size payments or delayed ones just means people will get a false sense of security of what’s actually theirs and what they owe. Let’s be real, they’ll forget they’ve scheduled payments coming out until it’s too late.

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Lemme just clarify: The problem isn’t Klarna, and it’s not “buy now, pay later” (and it’s not me either before you get smart). The problem is promoting this “make it rain” attitude, when you’ve got no water.