Latest Posts

Up In Your Business

Everyone’s grief journey is different, but one thing we all have in common is that it’s a strange and challenging experience.

Today I was on Twitter, just scrolling through my feed, when I saw a heartbreaking tweet from Mara Schiavocampo, an American journalist. Sadly, her mother has passed away, and I am sending her love and strength in this difficult time, like many others who saw her posts on social media.

However, there were a couple of replies I saw that made me very upset for her.

This is the first reply I saw under her tweet

I found this to be really judgemental. Personally, I posted about my mum’s passing on social media because I needed a way to tell everyone that she was gone. I couldn’t bring myself to call up every single person who knew her. Furthermore, her passing was the same week as my birthday, and I was receiving normal birthday messages from people because they had no idea what had happened. Social media is the easiest way to inform everyone that you are grieving and to explain your circumstances, whether you are a normal person or a celebrity.

This was another reply that I saw

Replies like this are the reason people have no true understanding of death, grief and loss. It makes the work of grief support pages even more important than any of us can realise.

If you want to express your grief on social media, that’s okay. If you want to just discuss it with your friends and family, that’s also okay. If you want to keep it to yourself, that’s okay too. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Everyone’s grief journey is different, but one thing we all have in common is that it’s a strange and challenging experience.

You never know what you will do until you are in that situation, so there is no need for judging people on how they choose to express themselves and what they choose to put out there, especially when that person is grieving. What we should do is offer our support and look out for one another.

Money Doesn’t Buy You Happiness

My mum poured her feelings and sorrows to this man, about how her cancer had spread and how she wanted to live. He listened closely to what she was saying. Then he told her that for £2,000 he would do prayers for her to live until 2023

At university this week, we were having a conversation about faith and grief, and losing your faith when you lose a loved one. Whilst many people experience this, I found I have relied on my faith more than ever before in this difficult time.

About a year after my mum became ill, in 2019, she decided to visit a religious person in London. She used to worship this man, she watched all of his programmes on TV, called into his show and wanted to know what prayers she could do to live longer.

Whilst I am a religious person, I knew that her time was limited and I didn’t and still don’t believe anything could have been done to extend her life, scientifically or religiously; she was suffering far too much.

My mum poured her feelings and sorrows to this man, about how her cancer had spread and how she wanted to live. He listened closely to what she was saying. Then he told her that for £2,000 he would do prayers for her to live until 2023.

Immediately I was against this. I told this man we needed time to think about it in an attempt to leave and never come back. However, my mum was desperate and agreed, despite my objections.

Eventually my dad persuaded her that this was a bad idea, and we told this man we would not be going ahead with it. However, a couple of weeks later he said that he had already done it and requested money, which we didn’t send.

This terrified my mum, and she was scared that this would mean she would die sooner, that they would wish for her to be gone. The thought that they might have done this has crossed my mind several times, especially because my mum only lived another four months after this ordeal.

However, in my mind, any God would not allow people to pray for someone’s downfall and certainly would not fulfil it. For me, my mum was terribly unlucky and I don’t think anything could have changed what happened.

I wanted to share this story to warn you about the sort of people that can be out there. When you’re in a desperate situation, there may be someone willing to exploit you, so be vigilant. If something sounds too good to be true, it may well be. Keep yourself surrounded with friends and family and those who you know will be there for you. Don’t allow people to trick you for their own nefarious purposes.

I Saw a Mother and a Daughter

I saw a mother and a daughter on the train today

I dare say it made me cry

To watch them laughing and giggling away

Whilst I was thinking of times gone by

***

I saw a mother and a daughter do the weekly shop

And one thought stuck in my brain

I’d give anything to have that chance again with Mum

Without her being in so much pain

***

But no matter how many mothers and daughters I’ve seen

No matter how much time it’s been

The pain in my heart won’t begin to cease

It finds it too hard to find peace

Feeling Raw

It’s been a year and a half since I’ve written a blog post. This is because on the 25th December 2018, my mum was taken into A&E with fluid in her lungs which wouldn’t drain out. My mum was the last person I expected this to happen to; she ate a healthy, balanced diet, was a non-smoker and exercised regularly. I was completely unprepared for what would unfold.

I remember when she had been in the hospital for a week, the doctors narrowed down the options to three possibilities: pneumonia, tuberculosis and cancer. Everyone had an inner feeling of what the culprit was, though; just before she went in for surgery to remove the fluid and obtain biopsies I was handed a card for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Two weeks later my dad and sister went to meet my mum at hospital to find out the confirmed results. I remember texting all three of them to ask how the meeting with the doctor went, as I was giving a presentation at university on the day. I remember receiving three different conflicting texts and at that moment I left campus to find out exactly what was going on.

To find out when you’re 20 years old that your mum has lung cancer hurts. To find out that it’s already at Stage 4 hurts even more. To find out that nothing will cure her hurts more than it is even possible to describe. I couldn’t imagine my life without her. I needed her there to guide me, to help me, to look after me. In actuality it was me who needed to help her.

My mum was on targeted therapy for approximately nine months before things inevitably became worse. Those nine months that she was on targeted therapy contained such incredible moments. She was happy, able to walk around, and lead an ordinary life. She and I spent the summer together making memories and we even got to go on a family holiday, which was absolutely amazing.

Mum was well enough to attend my BSc graduation ceremony in Summer 2019. We had a fabulous day.

Unfortunately, in October 2019, my mum started to become very unwell. She was struggling to see, falling over and could barely use her left hand anymore. The doctors insisted that there was nothing wrong but my mum was adamant a full body scan was done. This confirmed that her cancer had metastasised to her brain, and we later found out it had metastasised to her spine, ribs and bone marrow, as well.

After a round of whole head radiotherapy, we were told nothing more could be done. No more targeted therapy, no more radiotherapy, no attempt at chemotherapy. We were basically told that was the end of the road in February 2020. That was really difficult to accept. However, there are some really great resources out there, we received great advice from Macmillan and from hospices, too. Definitely don’t be afraid to seek help because there’s someone out there who can understand and support you even when nobody around you seems to get it.   

One of the hardest parts to come to terms with was when my mum could no longer remember who I was, due to the brain metastases. It can be very distressing to see someone’s memory fade before your eyes. The person who I would always approach first no matter what I was feeling could barely recognise me, let alone talk to me about my day or give me advice.

She died exactly three months after the doctor told us she had maybe a few weeks to live. She died six days before my 22nd birthday but I think she was trying very hard to stay with me for that moment. I’d like to believe, even though she couldn’t recognise my face, deep inside she knew who I was.

I’m glad that I made the most out of the time I had with my mum. We were best friends for 21 years and she will forever remain the best friend I’ve had. She worked for the NHS for 30 years and was loved by all the staff and her patients, and the contributions she made will always be invaluable.

I’d like to end by saying please don’t take what you have for granted. Relish every day that comes and make time for all the important people in your life. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

My First Time at Wembley Stadium

My experience at Wembley Stadium and what it was like watching a football match live

I’ve been a Tottenham Hotspur fan all my life but sadly I’ve never been to White Hart Lane. My entire experience of Spurs has been through television and radio, and I never really had the opportunity to watch football live at a stadium.

That was until Wednesday, when I was lucky enough to be given two tickets for the game against Southampton at Wembley Stadium. I genuinely thought my parents were having a joke at my expense when they said they had tickets. I was so excited when I was making my way from university with my dad to Wembley Stadium. I was even more excited when I could see Wembley Stadium from my seat in the tube, brightly lit and enticing.

I knew Wembley Stadium was big, but nothing could have prepared me for the walk from inside to watching the stadium open up in front of your eyes. It was an amazing view, and I was even more excited to be sitting behind the goal, I could see Heung-min Son and Lucas Moura score right in front of me (Harry Kane’s goal was down the other end!).

I was disappointed that the stadium wasn’t nearly as full as it could have been, although the North London Derby defeat had just happened the Saturday before, and it was an 8pm fixture on a Wednesday, it makes sense that fewer people attended the game. Despite that, the fans were not quiet, and instead of screaming at my television and my family telling me to shut up before the neighbours complain, I could shout out at my heart’s content and I still couldn’t be heard! It was brilliant seeing how passionate other Spurs supporters are, and there is a communal feel about chanting alongside fans even when you have never met them before.

One thing that I found rather odd was the number of people that were on their phones during the match. This may just be because I was there for the first time and wanted to get the full experience, even if I got my phone out now and then to take photos, but I would have thought everyone would be watching with their eyes peeled for the full 90 minutes. However, the other matches that were being played that night were important, as those results influenced Spurs’ position in the table, and so I realise some fans were on their phones to view that. It was also rather funny that I’m rather short and so I put a lot of effort into stretching over people’s heads to see what was going on and to try to film the match!

Watching a match on your television screen is nothing compared to watching it in real life at a stadium. There is just something about the build-up before the match, seeing all the other fans also hyped, and waiting to see the players walk out so close to you. Realising that the players are literally right in front of you instead of figuratively in front of you on a screen gives a feeling that I can’t explain in words.

Disclaimer: this is just me talking about my experience going to a football match, since it was my first and only experience with it. I thoroughly enjoyed and loved every minute of my time at the match and I’m just commenting on what I thought the experience would be compared to what it was actually like. Thank you for reading!!

The Open House: Netflix Film Review

Usually I don’t enjoy watching trailers for films because they can often give away plot twists and storylines, but when I watched the trailer for ‘The Open House’ it was entirely the opposite; very little information was given away. I thought this was a sign that there would be many surprises in the film that they didn’t want to spoil, but unfortunately, the film was exactly how the trailer was: vague. This was a shame as I actually thought the trailer set the film up to be very mysterious since it gave away very little.

The Netflix original film stars Dylan Minnette, who plays Logan Wallace, a teenage boy struggling to cope with the death of his father in a car crash he witnessed, and Piercey Dalton, who plays Naomi Wallace, Logan’s mother who makes the decision for Logan and her to move into her sister’s holiday house which is for sale. Most people probably know Dylan Minnette for his portrayal of Clay Jensen in the Netflix series ‘13 Reasons Why’, and I thought the film would be good if he is in it. Unfortunately, this did was not the case.

Film Summary

The film surrounds the aforementioned Logan and Naomi Wallace, who are struggling both emotionally and financially after the death of Brian Wallace, husband to Naomi and father to Logan, played by Aaron Abrams. They go to stay in Naomi’s sister’s house, where they experience a variety of strange encounters, such as Logan’s phone going missing and being found in the basement, the hot water tank in the basement randomly switching off and the landline phone ringing but when they answer the phone nobody speaks. We are also introduced to a couple of other characters, such as Martha, played by Patricia Bethune, a woman who has Alzheimer’s and behaves erratically, and Chris, played by Sharif Atkins, who is a store clerk and strikes up a friendship with Naomi and later befriends Logan, who is initially put off by Chris and Naomi’s flirting. Certain events, such as a crumpled-up photo in the bin, cause Naomi to believe Logan is messing with her, despite his insistence that he doesn’t know what she is talking about. Eventually, there is a reported break in, and they realise that there is definitely something weird going on in the house, especially as police officers find nobody responsible for the break in. Logan calls Chris and asks him to spend the night at the house with them after all of this. That night, Logan notices a car in the driveway and goes to investigate. He finds Chris has been murdered in the front seat of the car, and as he is investigating this, an unknown man knocks Logan unconscious. The unknown man then gets into bed with Naomi as she is looking through photos. She notices there have been photos taken of her and Logan whilst they have been sleeping, and the unknown man attacks her and ties her up. He then breaks her fingers and leaves a knife by her, presumably so Logan will untie her when he finds her. Logan does so and then leaves to look for a phone to call the police or to find the man himself. He hears his mother’s cries from the basement and goes to find her, but when Naomi startles him Logan ends up stabbing her. Naomi tells him to run away and she is left dying. He is chased by the unknown man, who removes Logan’s contact lenses leaving him unable to identify the unknown man, but Logan manages to get away. He survives the night but the unknown man eventually finds and murders Logan, before driving off to another open house event.

What I thought of the film

The storyline is very much a horror film cliché, with the creepy house and the random scary events, but the film doesn’t add anything extra to this basic storyline. Logan himself is an average teenager, but apart from him enjoying running and being good at it, we don’t really learn what else defines him as a person. The film is also rather boring and the pace is very slow for much of the film, with most of the action towards the last fifteen minutes or so of the film. I understand that horrors and thrillers do not necessarily have a lot of action until the end, but it felt that there was not really much build up to the main event.

Since the unknown man is left unidentified by the end of the film, we do not know what this man’s motivation was for killing Naomi, Logan and Chris, or what his relationship to open houses even is. He doesn’t appear to be a ghost so I don’t believe he used to own the house and is now haunting people who stay in his house, especially as he is seen driving to another open house (I think there was supposed to be a bit of a twist as most people probably believed Martha and her strange behaviour was the reason weird things keep happening, and this turned out to not be the case, but the mention of her Alzheimer’s took away this twist way before the final event). So, because we have no motives, we don’t really understand why this is all happening, and the strange events don’t make much sense, as collectively they don’t really do much to tell the story; it feels as though a bunch of weird happenings were thrown together just to fit the genre of the film. The only suspect which makes sense to be the unknown man is the man who killed Logan’s father in the car crash, although it is stated the man was suffering a heart attack at the time when he crashed into Brian, so this is unlikely to be the case. It could be someone related to the man in the car crash but even then, I am not sure what the motivation would be, as Logan could not remember much about the crash, wouldn’t be able to identify the man responsible and therefore he would have no reason to kill Logan.

Conclusion

Overall, this film was below my expectations. The acting was convincing but unfortunately the story was too bland to be really entertaining, and the characters were not particularly well defined or interesting. Supporting characters like Chris, Martha, the plumber who fixes the hot water tank etc. seemed like suspects but didn’t add anything to the overall story and were just mysterious characters purely for the sake of adding mystery. The ‘villain’ of the story remains unknown and therefore his actions appear random and unnecessary. It is just a shame since Netflix has been able to produce so many great films and shows, but this just happens to be one of the worse ones.

Predictions for the World Cup 2018: Round of 16

The World Cup Round of 16 is approaching, and I’m certain it will be exciting!

So, I was wrong with my initial prediction of Germany winning the World Cup, they were very poor for the three games they did play, but kudos to Mexico and Sweden for making it through to the next round, and congratulations to South Korea for the splendid display against Germany, even if they didn’t progress from there. From the remaining teams, my prediction now would be Brazil to win the World Cup, as they looked like the most solid and talented team in the group stages, but we will have to see, as there are other teams, like Uruguay, who have looked quite good up to this point.

Round of 16 Matches My Predictions to Win
France vs Argentina France
Uruguay vs Portugal Uruguay
Spain vs Russia Spain
Croatia vs Denmark Croatia
Brazil vs Mexico Brazil
Belgium vs Japan Belgium
Sweden vs Switzerland Switzerland
Colombia vs England England

 

France vs Argentina

Argentina didn’t really pick up until their final game of the group stage, which I’m sure surprised people. France did win their games against Australia and Peru, and drew 0-0 with Denmark, although by that point France was already through to the Round of 16, and didn’t need a win. Since Argentina have got some great players (of course Lionel Messi springs to mind first, but there are others like Marcos Rojo who got that winner), I think they will put up a good fight, and will be determined to prove they are a great side, but I think France will just edge it.

Uruguay vs Portugal

Of course, Portugal’s stand out player is Cristiano Ronaldo, and the pressure will be on him to score against Uruguay, and I think he can. However, Uruguay have forwards like Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani to score goals and defenders like Diego Godin who look solid at the back. Uruguay have looked very good in the group stages and overall look like a better team compared to Portugal.

Spain vs Russia

Spain have got an array of talented players in their team, but haven’t necessarily played as well as they have the ability to do so, drawing to both Morocco and Portugal in the group stages. Russia finished second in their group, losing only to Uruguay, but with the players Spain have, I think the hosts will lose out.

Croatia vs Denmark

Croatia have got players like Luka Modrić and Ivan Rakitić, who really do stand out and have great talent. Croatia won all their group stage games, and really looked talented and solid. Denmark haven’t looked as though they are a more than an average side, and so I don’t think they will be able to beat this Croatia team.

Brazil vs Mexico

As I said earlier I do think that now Brazil are the favourites to win this entire competition, but Mexico have looked good, especially that win over Germany. However, I don’t think Mexico are good enough to win when Brazil have players like Phillipe Coutinho, Douglas Costa, Roberto Firminio, Gabriel Jesus, Thiago Silva and Neymar, to name a few.

Belgium vs Japan

Belgium have got some amazing talent, Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Mousa Dembélé and Dries Mertens, just to mention a few names. Belgium is full of good team players and they work very well together. Japan won a game, drew a game and lost a game in the group stages and do look a bit average, and so I think Belgium will have no issues in playing Japan.

Sweden vs Switzerland

Neither Sweden nor Switzerland looked particularly great or terrible during the group stages, and so it is difficult to predict who will most likely go through. However, I think Switzerland will have the edge over Sweden, as I think that they are the better team overall.

Colombia vs England

Despite defeat to Japan, Colombia went on to beat Poland and Senegal in the group stages, and looked good. They have key players like James Rodríguez, Radamel Falcao and Juan Caudrado, and will probably put up a good fight against England. On the other hand, England’s players like Jesse Lingard, Dele Alli, Marcus Rashford and of course, Harry Kane, will prove to be a real threat in this game, and I can see England coming out on top.

Of course, these are just my opinions, and if we have learned anything from this World Cup it is that anything can happen!

Why Everyone Should Watch ‘Dark’

The first time I watched ‘Dark’ on Netflix, I was really confused. The first couple of episodes led me to believe that this was going to be another missing child story, some regular crime or mystery show. Then the show brought in the element of time travel, and I realised that this show was going to be a bit different. Towards the of the show, there were three different timelines to watch and understand, all interlinked, and this was really when it started getting complicated. However, that moment when you piece everything together and it finally starts to make sense makes the show so incredible to watch.

The show begins in the fictional town of Winden in Germany (which actually makes Dark the first German original Netflix series), where a teenage drug dealer named Erik Obendorf has gone missing, and the main characters are discussing his disappearance at high school. Jonas Kahnwald, one of the main characters, has just come back to school since he has been struggling to cope with his father’s suicide. His best friend, Bartosz Tiedemann, suggests the idea of going into the caves to find Erik’s drug stash that evening. Bartosz also brings along his girlfriend Martha Nielsen, whom Jonas has developed feelings for & Martha’s brother, Magnus. Magnus & Martha’s younger brother, Mikkel, wants to tag along, and so Magnus brings him as well. As the youngsters go to retrieve the drugs, they find that they have been followed by Franziska Doppler, a teenage girl who also attends their school, who overheard their plan and went to take the drugs herself. As she offers to sell them to Bartosz, the teenagers hear frightening sounds and their torches flicker, causing them to run away from the caves and out of the woods. Having run away, they realise that Mikkel is no longer with them and go back to search, but he has vanished without a trace. The episode ends with Erik in a strange bunker, strapped to some sort of mechanical chair, and a dead boy being found by the caves the next morning, but is neither Mikkel nor Erik. There are other characters introduced such as Ulrich Nielsen (the father of Mikkel, Magnus and Martha), who’s own brother Mads went missing in 1986, and his wife Katharina, Hannah Kahnwald, Jonas’s mother whom Ulrich is having an affair with & Charlotte Doppler, one of the police chiefs who’s own marriage is falling apart after discovering her husband Peter was having an affair with a transgender prostitute.

At this point, it might seem really boring or terribly cliché that these young boys have been capturned & killed, but the motivation could not be more different from other shows – Spoilers Ahead!

Mikkel is actually not captured, but travels through a wormhole which exists under the Winden caves to 1986, 33 years prior to where the show begins, 2019. The other boys in the show, Erik, the dead boy (who is revealed to be Mads), and another boy named Yasin (who goes missing later on in the series) are revealed to be unfortunate guinea pigs in an experiment pioneered by a priest named Noah, who wants to invent a successful time machine, and builds a prototype in 1986. Whilst the machine does work, it kills the young boys in the process, and only sends them through time in 33-year cycles: Erik and Yasin end up in 1953, 33 years ahead of 1986, and Mads in 2019, 33 years after 1986. Further details are revealed throughout the series, such as who else is behind all this, and who else is aware in Winden that time travel is possible. The time travel in ‘Dark’ shows that not only is the future influenced by the past, the past is also influenced by the future in a cycle that questions if we really have the free will to choose our actions, or if everything is already decided. We also get to learn what happens to Mikkel when he travels back in time, and get to see other characters travel back in time as well in attempts to change the future and put things right. All of the characters have issues that they are dealing with themselves, and makes the characters relatable and interesting.

Season One has already had so much action, mystery & drama packed into it that I cannot wait for Season Two to be released, and I highly recommend this show to all.

Who will win the 2018 World Cup?

With the World Cup starting tomorrow, everyone has one question on their minds: who will be the champions? The rational choices include Germany, who of course won the previous World Cup back in 2014, France, who made it to the Euro 2016 final but lost out to Portugal, Spain, who have just hired Fernando Hierro as their manager going into this tournament, & Brazil, who will definitely not want a repeat performance of their 7-1 defeat in the last World Cup, and will be looking for more this time round. These teams have definitely got some of the greatest football players in their squads, but are there any squads this year who could give the top teams a run for their money?

Many people will be waiting to see what England can do, and with a fairly disappointing history in tournaments, it would be unlikely that England go on to win the competition. With players like Harry Kane, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford & Raheem Sterling, it appears that England have a great attacking force. Trent Alexander-Arnold received, in my opinion, a well deserved spot in the England squad, and has had a crucial role in Liverpool’s back line, playing extremely well in their Champions League run. Some players were a surprise inclusion, such as Gary Cahill, who will have earned his place due to experience, while there were also surprise exclusions, such as Joe Hart, who has not been playing particularly well at West Ham and Jack Wilshere, who could really bring creativity to the team, but is not very reliable when it comes to injuries. We will have to wait and see if the players will be able to work together against the teams in group G: Tunisia, Panama & more importantly, Belgium.

I think if any team is going to be a dark horse (although they should not really be classed as a dark horse, they should be challenging) in this tournament, it is going to be Belgium. They definitely have talented players in their squad, including Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Mousa Dembele, Romelu Lukaku, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen & Vincent Kompany, all of whom would be able to challenge the greatest teams at the World Cup.

However, I do believe that the team which will win the World Cup 2018 has got to be Germany. Germany has a squad of motivated, talented players with a winning mentality. Almost every player in this squad consistently plays well and delivers in every game, and have an near perfect mix of experience and youth. There are other teams which offer youth, experience, a great defence, a great attack, but I do not think any of them compare to what Germany has to offer. For these reasons, I believe Germany will win the World Cup once again.

 

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started