Want a Christmas Present? feat. Rock ‘n’ Roll Xmas Videos

Never let it be said that I eschew Christmas traditions. It’s a tradition that I subject you to the world’s best Christmas music every year.

Okay and now I have a present for you guys. Yes, even you, person who stumbled across this on a weird tag. Those of you who come here sporadically might remember me talking about Headspace, the mediation app. I love doing Headspace; it’s the only time of day I get to feel smug that I’m looking after myself (and other people, because it’s helped me learn how to stay calm and clear my head). The app even has this cool feature where you get a little reward for completing a certain number of days – hit 20 days and you get a voucher to give to a friend for a month’s free use, that sort of thing. Problem is, I quite frequently forget to do a day here or there, so my counter goes back to one. I start up again, and when I next hit 20 days, a voucher hits my inbox.

I currently have seven of them.

So, my gift for you this year – other than the MCR video I’m about to list – is Headspace. If you want one of the month-free vouchers, leave a comment here saying happy Christmas/whatever you celebrate, and I’ll email you the access code. (Technical shit: all Headspace is free for 10 days, I have no idea how long the codes are valid but so far as I’m aware it’s forever, I can’t guarantee you’ll love meditating. Oh and there are only seven vouchers up for grabs, because I’m on a good streak at the moment. Gift open until 31st January.)

Oh, 2005. Merry Christmas!

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Food (and caffeine) Cleanse Day 1/3

11:30am

The stupidest thing I’ve done all year, and maybe ever, is agree to a diet cleanse. Three days, claims my mother’s magazine, on a vegan-ish diet with lots of vitamins, will help your body prepare for/recover from Christmas indulgence. Good idea, I thought, because I plan to indulge. So from today until the end of Wednesday will – unless I give up, which is looking likely – consist of kale and chickpeas.

I’m not bothered about the kale, actually. Well I made a spinach smoothie earlier and it looked like the Wicked Witch of the West, but generally I am open to clean and/or vegan recipes. When you have IBS, you kind of have to be. So making superfood porridge ain’t a problem.

The problem is that nowhere in this diet is caffeine.

Nowhere.

Not a bean nor a teabag.

None.

And it is Monday morning, and I slept as well as I usually do, which is to say not a lot, and if this were a normal day I would be caressing a mug of Nescafe or brewing a decent tea. By decent tea, by the way, I don’t mean mint tea. I do not like mint tea. I love black tea, I’ve tried matcha and it’s nice, I love rooibos. I tend to go with coffee more, because it tastes wonderful, but my philosophy is that one should always have a hot beverage at one’s desk. Also, one of my clients is a tea bar so I’ve accidentally become a tea snob with a well-stocked cupboard.

Unfortunately, the cleanse calls for mint tea.

Wait.

I just reread the page and matcha is allowed. If I had local access to a hip tea or coffee place, I’d be dancing – matcha contains as much caffeine as coffee with the added bonus of being literally green. But I live in a town whose main beverage place is Starbucks, so I’m going to sit with the headache of a caffeine-deprived millennial and get on with some work.

I think I’ll live blog this every time I’m tempted to inhale coffee granules.

I’m dying.

4pm

I cheated.

First it was just scanning the menu and snacking on ingredients, but I began to realise that the only people who can legitimately do cleanses are those with very little else to do. I’m not saying that they’re sad, lonely people, I mean, they must literally have nothing on. I had lunch, which was this actually very nice chickpea and spices soup thing, then walked to the post office to send an order. By the time I was home I thought I was probably dying, so I ate. Then I did Headspace and practically fell asleep. The reason I eat the way I normally do is because I actually get hungry. So I thought ‘why am I  being cruel to my body? It is hungry and clearly more caffeine-dependent than I ever realised, and maybe I can work on that in time, but it is Monday and I have shit to do’. And I made a coffee.

It is amazing. Not as amazing as the peanut butter-oatcake sandwich that accompanied it though. I don’t want to puke any more!

I might continue this through to Wednesday, just to see. But I’m still going to snack, and I’m not going to stop eating carbohydrates (seriously in what world is it okay to eat soup with no accompanying carbohydrates? I could be hit by a bus tomorrow).

 

You Really Can Find God in Unexpected Places

Generally speaking, I am a woman of little faith. I sometimes wish I enjoyed belief in a loving deity, as I think it must be nice to have someone to talk to when I’m feeling alone, and theists often appear to possess a serenity I only achieve after either consumption of a large amount of alcohol or a particularly successful session of Headspace.

Today, though, I definitely rethought the karma thing.

Blurred Lines Verdict bbc.co.uk

Why did none of us think to take these guys to court earlier? Blurred Lines is not only an affront to feminism, decent society, everybody’s sex lives and suits, but it’s also a total rip off. Plus, I don’t have to feel gross for wanting to dance to the catchiest tune since Na Na Na.

If there’s a god I like to think they’re laughing.

The Eleven O’Clock News: Dog Snuggles Help Students.

Recently I’ve been the sort of busy that makes me think of people in the City clutching Starbucks at six am with their clacking heels and superduper handbags and eighteen hour days. I don’t have the clacking heels and I’m working on finding the perfect handbag but eighteen hour days are becoming quite normal. Which is okay, because it means that Life Stuff is happening. You know, writing essays and making plans and trying to find the ideal washing machine/tumble drier time system.

Don’t overload the washing machine; your jeans will take two days to drip dry because tumble driers aren’t actually a gift from God.

Anyway, that’s all good. I can go to bed with a sense of achievement, you know, because I’ve revised so well that my grey cells are dancing and I’m organising my homework properly and I can sleep knowing that this is life, ladies and gentlemen, and I am living it to the full with every one of those eighteen hours used to their maximum potential…

Except they’re not because a) I can’t sleep properly, which means that b) between the hours of ten and twelve and four and seven I am basically a zombie, which means that c) I’m consuming twice as much caffeine and sugar as usual to work properly, which means that d) I can’t sleep properly. I’m also starting to worry about my arteries.

Oh and it’s affecting my concentration. During the making of this post I have so far taken two BBC quizzes, made my bed, checked Tumblr and Googled handbags. It’s getting to the point where sitting still, quietly, isn’t an option – I’ve had Sherlock on in the background while I work for the last week (all live TV has adverts, which means I’ll switch over, which means I’ll get even more distracted). So is it that if I learnt to concentrate or made myself work fewer hours I’d find it easier to concentrate and therefore work fewer hours?

You know what, these handbags are cutsie.

Right, right, the news.

Well, some universities have provided opportunities for students to cuddle animals as a way to combat stress. I know for a fact that dog snuggles are an excellent method for coping with anything, except maybe fleas, so well done universities for cottoning on. I did a few searches about meditation, which I do because Emma Watson suggested an app on Twitter that is actually incredibly helpful (except I keep forgetting to do it) and there seems to be a general consensus that mindfulness is good. Plus nobody has any, possibly because we’re all watching Sherlock while filing papers and triple-checking our iPads for work-related emails. Apparently stress-related illness is now such a big thing that companies have decided it’s in their interest to promote healthy living – some are even investing in gadgets that measure employees’ stress levels.

Hmm.

You know, I’m not quite sure what I’m trying to say here, because busy people struggling with being busy isn’t exactly up there with the Syrian refugee crisis or potential CAR genocide. It’s marginally more interesting than, say, Bieber getting arrested… but a large part of me knows that if I turned off all my electrics, tidied up the trail of crap I’ve left around the house and went for a run (don’t look at me like that, Tim says it’s a good idea), things would be better. Less existential angst, less chance of contracting a cold and more productivity for my time. Possibly with more time spent sleeping, or giving Sherlock my undivided attention.

Remind me that I have a really great header for a blog post that involves Benedict Cumberbatch’s film career. I was going to use it in a six degrees of separation post about King Lear.

Okay, I’d better turn off all my electrics and pencil in time for a run. Thoughts about how to be busy and well and sleep occasionally?