Hmmm Wait a Moment

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About a year ago I said I’d do a guest post for SarahDanne over on Unexplored Boundaries – but I struggled to think of a topic, life got in the way and I never did it. Sarah came knocking like a year later to see what happened and as I didn’t want to let her down (again) I sat down to pen a post. It dropped at the start of May and here is the link

Being as it’s Mental Health Awareness Week and i’ve been overwhelmed with support and appreciation I felt it was a good time to share this myself.


This post is somewhat long overdue but I am here to share some wisdom.

This is dedicated to something I’ve learnt recently. Something that made me stop and go “Hmmm wait a moment”, something that has changed my outlook on life and on the way the world works.

This is regarding Mental Health.

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For the longest time, I have always thought to myself – Mentally I am strong, very strong. While I hear and see people complain and suffer from bouts of Mental Illnesses, I’d never given it much thought. For the regards of the person, the situation and the condition. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been a supportive person who would do anything for anyone – If I can help I will always strive to do so. But my grasp on the concept of Mental Illness was always lacking in knowledge and I would put an unsympathetic mindset down to that lack of knowledge.

This was until this year. 2019 set in and I stumbled across several things that in turn would help me better my understand, increase my compassion and also motivate me to help.

Image result for ant middleton quoteAs I’ve mentioned before in other posts I really got hit with the S.A.S: Who Dares Wins bug. The show grabbed me by the scruff of the neck, shook me about and threw me in the corner of the room to witness and watch life from a different perspective. This started my obsession with Ant Middleton, his motivational speaking and way of thinking which I took onboard as a lesson in growth and way to growth mental strength. Along with this new found respect and understanding, I also took a step back and truly looked at my Twitter, the people I follow, the people I support and the people who follow me.

It’s really struck a chord with me, the idea of Mental Health – especially for men and how it is poorly represented in society, in the media and in life. There is a stigma regarding it and even once upon a time, I would have used the term “Man Up” without truly thinking of the meaning or situation that the person I am saying it to is in. With the inspiration from Ant Middleton, Jason Fox, the S.A.S team and the amazing people on twitter that I follow I’ve come to realise that more should be done – it needs to be done. So I’ve decided to try and lay the foundations for something bigger, a movement or safe space as it were. For a way to give back, to help people, to give an outlet, support and the guidance that is needed – while striving to remove the stigma completely.

This is my next mission, my next chapter, my chance to do something rewarding, meaningful and helpful.

 

This is me.

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Getting Camera Ready [AD]

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[AD] This post is part of a paid opportunity.

With the summer rolling in, the BBQ’s being fired up and the late summer nights going on forever, what’s a better time to get yourself a new camera. A perfect way to capture those moments of fun; from road trips to music festivals to beach days and just moments you want to remember forever.

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Whatever the event, occasion or reason, Latest Deals have some amazing deals on a range of digital camera; from Action HD Cameras, to DSLR’s, to Pocket Digi Cam’s and even Security Cameras. Check out the following link to find the latest deal – Latest Deals Camera’s

Some of these offers and discounts are unbelievable, but they are constantly changing so if you miss one great offer rest assured another is right around the corner. As I write this there is a £100 saving on a Nikon DSLR which is a significant discount which could be the selling point for your purchase – and why wouldn’t it be.

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I think the camera is one of the best things you can spend money on. A way to capture moments and memories that will last a lifetime – yes I am aware of how cliched that sounds, but it’s so right, isn’t it? Birthdays, Weddings, Parties, Memories. All stored with the click of a button. And Latest Deals is a great place to supply you with the equipment, with handy guides and information about the different styles and types of camera’s, they give you all the know-how and insight you might need to make an informed decision about buying a new camera. What’s not to love. Even the cool flow diagram (above) is a key part of their marketing design to assess what style of a camera might be best suited to you. Are you thinking of pocket size, viewfinder, interchangeable lenses? Whatever style or piece of kit you are looking for and for what you are looking to do with it – Latest Deals will guide you to the right choice at a crazy discounted price. Can’t say fairer than that on service right.

So what is stopping you, break open that piggy bank, check out the guide and order a new camera today, all in time for the long hot summer of fun and memories that will last a lifetime.

I love my DSLR and wish I got it out more, there is some real beauty in the world and it would be a shame to not capture it forever.

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Mental Health Awareness Week

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This is a massive challenge now. It’s Wednesday 8th and I’ve decided to do my tiny bit to help raise awareness for Mental Health. Deciding to generate 5 posts, one for each weekday of next week – Mental Health Awareness Week.

I am not a Mental Health blogger, to my knowledge I am not a suffer of a diagnosed Mental Illness. There are so many people that are one or both of these things and within that group, some of them have found their voice and are amazing influencers and advocates for Mental Health. But there are others out there that has not found that voice, that struggle to open up and come to terms with things. These are the people I am doing this for. The scarred, the lost for words and the vulnerable. The people who want to scream from the rooftops but are so broken, shy and worried to do so that they sit in silence and let the world eat them up.

No more! Not today! Not ever!


The official theme of this week is Body Image – This is what the Mental Health Organisation have said about this topic:

“Body image issues can affect all of us at any age. During the week we will be publishing new research, considering some of the reasons why our body image can impact the way that we feel, campaigning for change and publishing practical tools.”

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But I don’t want that to stop us, I don’t want you to read this and think – my concern isn’t with Body Image, this isn’t relevant. I promise you everything is relevant. No matter what you are going through. Sit tight, buckle up and get ready for a week of informative, fun and relief. If I can change one persons life for the better than I will be proud. But I am going to need your help to achieve this.

Also check out the Mental Health Foundation website for tips, guides and articles about MH and what they are hoping to achieve this week.

All support, comments and love will be welcomed.

First steps into Mental Health blogging – I am a rookie in a Pro’s game. But I want to help. Wish me luck.


 

April Round-Up

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I’m a touch late with this post. Usually, I’m fully ahead of the game and ready to drop these round-ups at the end of the month. But last month really ran away with me and now I am frantically tapping out a post to share my life with you.


Lots happened in April.

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We had a much deserved Bank Holiday weekend and my god the weather was amazing. Four days out in the sun, loving life and enjoying the moment – forgetting work and the troubles of the world, just sipping on shandies and painting the fence. We spent two days doing the garden, putting lights up, planting seeds, moving bushes and painting EVERYTHING, only stopping to top up the ice cold shandy and have another Hot Cross Bun. Then on Easter Sunday, we went to Cromer in Norfolk to see the GF’s family who were there for the long weekend in the caravan. This was really nice, an excuse to crack the shorts and sunglasses. It was an amazing weekend that I just didn’t want to end. Life felt so good.


Edmond de BergeracBlog-wise I’ve been up to lots of fun things, I got a chance to go to the Royal and Derngate Theatre to review another play – this time it was Edmond de Bergerac, which can be found HERE. It was a real surprise and such a good show – I absolutely love going to the theatre to review these plays, I feel so cultured with my glass of wine and a pot of olives for the GF.

This month also saw my first paid opportunity blog post as I was asked to promote Panasonic’s new line of shavers and razors – that post can be found HERE. This was a big stepping stone for me and I was so overwhelmed and happy when that came in and I can’t wait to build on this.

I also smashed all my goals for interactions and likes across social media. Hitting targets on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


There was also A LOT of wedding themed antics this month (not for me), I am a groomsman for my best friend in July so we had a suit fitting up in Nottingham followed by a few beers.

Then for another friend who is getting married in June, we threw a second Stag Do for him because a bunch of us from work couldn’t make it to his real one. This was a fun day of activities, drinking and laughing. We went to a place called Top Jump in Milton Keynes – a huge inflatable assault course that broke all of us in some way. Then a World Buffet Lunch, Mini Golf, Beers and Casino. Everyone was a bit busted up the next day for one reason or another but overall it was an awesome weekend.


Avengers Assemble!

Film-wise this month was obviously a big one for one reason which we will get to in a moment. Firstly let me mention Pet Sematary. The remake we didn’t ask for and didn’t need. I was not a fan at all and felt it was such a letdown. Then there was Hellboy which I reviewed HERE. This was a bit of fun, nothing serious, nothing special – just pure escapism which is needed at times.

Then there was the big boy – Avengers Endgame. We went to the Cineworld Double Bill – where we watched Infinity War and Endgame back to back which had a buzz and an electric atmosphere all night long. Now if you are in the slim minority that hasn’t seen it yet I urge you to go. My non-spoiler review should egg you on. It’s a masterpiece of huge epic proportion, 11 years in the making and it paid off so so well. I can’t wait to go watch it again.

 

 


The final big piece of news that you must have seen floating about.

I. GOT. A. DOG.

This is huge, I have wanted a dog for the longest time and I am so happy I’ve finally got one. He is still settling in and getting used to his new life but hopefully, he’ll feel right at home soon. I love the support and love you’ve all shown for him. He’s a cheeky little podge of a dog that means well, it’s clear he had neglect and lack of authority in his old house but he’s such a quick learner and I am sure in time he will truly be man’s best friend. Please welcome Buddy!

 

Avengers Endgame: Spoiler Free Review

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Hot off the press – Here is my Spoiler Free review of Avengers Endgame.

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Last night we saw the midnight showing of Avengers Endgame. It was a crazy experience where we all cheered when the certificate flashed up. The whole room shared this one magic moment and all sat in awe as we witnessed the culmination of 10 years of genius movie history unfold.

Obviously I will be giving very little away. No spoilers here. Which might mean the post is short. But I’ll try my best to tease and tempt you into wanting to see it even more.

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It’s an overall giant film. I’m still letting it sink in but the whole film is just massive and in fairness it had to be to match and smash Infinity War and round off this saga. It had everything you’d want and more. Highs, Lows, Comedy, Stunning Action Shots and just the overall jaw dropping awesomeness that comes hand in hand with an Avengers Movie.

It just begins, this is the fact of the matter, this is what we need to do, this is us doing it. It flows so well and answers all those unanswered questions that are stuck in your mind. An amazing effort as well goes to keeping the cast secret, I mean EVERYONE is in this somewhere, somehow. It’s so poetic and bitter sweet. Leaving you happy with the ending of our Heroes story, but also greedily and selfishly angry that this IS the End. Because let’s be honest we could watch these forever. But like a good book, fine wine or tasty box of doughnuts; everything must come to an end. It’s been an awesome ride but we all knew this day would come. The last doughnut is gone and the wine bottle is in the recycling and The Avengers (as we know them) is concluded.


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The only way I have been able to describe it to people asking today is by two words; “Unexpected” & “Huge” – I’m still trying to process and let it all settle in. But I can promise you this. You’ll laugh, You’ll tap your foot, You’ll be on the edge of of seat feeling every punch, You’ll cry and You’ll breathe a sigh of relief.

Do with that what you will.

So all that is left to do is: Book a ticket and Buckle in. This is the end of an era – this saga is nicely put to bed. This team, these films and this story will always be OUR Avengers – regardless of what the next ten years bring.

And for that, we thank you MCU.

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Get Out – Review

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Man, I told you not to go in that house.

[I stumbled across this post – an old review that I wrote about 2017’s masterpiece ‘Get Out’. I have not edited any of text, I have just added the gif’s to break up the text with some visuals.]

Get Out is Jordan Peele’s feature film debut and let’s start by saying what a way to debut. This is a film about Chris a black photographer who is taking the plunge and meeting his white girlfriend’s parents for the first time. Which on a normal day would still be a nervous situation but in this case things just turn scary.

Reflecting social constructs right from the off, this film tackles Racism and Social Class in a brutal hyper real way, but still mirroring real life events and situations.

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The tone of the film is set from the opening sequence. A black man is walking through a suburban neighbourhood when a white sports car pulls up blaring the song “Run Rabbit Run Rabbit” – he tries to ignore it but as the car stalks him he turns to confront the driver and is jumped, knocked out and put in the boot of the car by a masked figure.

Powerful stuff in the opening five minutes and it doesn’t let up there. The whole time I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat wanting to know what was going to happen next, wondering if it was real or not.

So in true film fashion the white family live in a very white upper middle class neighbourhood – the kind you see hosting dinner parties on the lawn by the lake. Chris turns up and instantly feels worried, like the social norm would predict. Are her parents old-fashioned, will they accept a black boyfriend. But then again in true Hollywood fashion the parents try to be cool – the dad greeting Chris with “My Man” and voicing his opinions on how much he liked Obama as President. Again these can be seen as normal things that happen. We’ve all said something like that before to try to relate or show we accept and understand.

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Then we introduce hypnotism – the mother is a private therapist who obviously has her own office in the house. To begin with it’s just excused and laughed off. She tries to offer to help Chris quit smoking with her method, but he polity denies the offer. She finally gets a chance to do it after cornering him one night and subtlety doing it to him. From then on, Chris is put into a struggle. To work out if that was real, if everything is what it should be and then paranoia sets it and he starts to question and look at everything differently.

That is where I am going to stop with the plot. All I will say is things get dark, things get tense and things get violent. Keep an eye out for the Deer Head as well. Good luck.

Peele does something really clever and manages to get a dose of humour into this film in the form of Chris’ best friend Rod played by Lil Rel Howery. He is the typical black comic relief that helps bring the film back towards the realms of reality. It’s done almost like Rod is watching this film following Chris the character rather than Chris his friend. Until the end where the worlds collide and like I said makes things even more realistic.

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I am not sure how Jordan Peele did it and I really hope he doesn’t go the same was as M Night Shyamalan – starting on a high and slowly burning out but everything Peele put into this film works, the acting from all the cast is brilliant. Questionable, strange and nervous. Everyone portrays what they need to in such a convincing way that at the end you are with Chris, scarred and afraid of everything going on. The score and music choices are equalling as tense and frightening. Bringing you closer to the edge of your seat with every key change and obviously the theme – such a hot topic and social taboo to talk about is taken and ran with in a brutal honest display of real life culture and social constructs.

Overall I left the cinema very happy and proud of the film. Which I found I hadn’t really done in a while. It was brilliant, so good, I genuinely can’t stop thinking or talking about this film. There is a few jumps that you just don’t see coming, a bit of blood, gore and just an overall spine tingling feeling of nerves.

GET OUT! GO AND SEE THIS FILM.

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Welcome to StrongMen

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StrongMen – What is it and what it is doing.


Just so you know this if not an AD, the Charity didn’t come to me. I asked them if I could write about them to help spread the word of who they are.

As many of you might know recently I discovered Channel 4’s S.A.S Who Dares Wins. Which pits a team of average joe recruits through a version of the selection progress for the Special Forces, lead by a tough team of Directing Staff which is made up of Ex Special Forces Operatives; Ant Middleton, Jason Fox, Matthew Ollerton and Mark Billingham.

Each season highlights the recruits back stories and reasons for taking on such a challenge, and each season for me has a couple of people who really stand out with some truly emotionally touching stories. Earlier seasons showed me Ehrem’s story and the season just gone showed me Mark and Milo’s stories. All dealing with grief, loss and a drive to prove themselves in honour of their lost family members.

Obviously as the world is very social media driven I jumped on the bandwagon to follow both Mark and Milo on Instagram. Only to find out their relationship has continued after the show and they are embarking on a Charity Climb of Mont Blanc in July with Ollie Ollerton. All in the name of “StrongMen”. Which got me thinking, who are they?


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StrongMen is a non-profit organisation set up by several Ex-Recruits and a D.S. from the show. Their mission, to tackle Mental Health issues caused by bereavement and suffering in men. Offering weekend retreats for Men aged 18-55 who have suffered a bereavement of a family member.

With grief and loss being one of the main causes to depression, stress and other such mental health issues the team at StrongMen have set up retreats to focus on several aspects of life; from diet, to exercise, to leisure activities – all with the goal of helping men open up and talk about their emotions and problems. Even if you are not effected by such things I strongly urge you to check out, look into this group and support the team at StrongMen.


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Mental Health is an ever-growing concern in this modern world, as it becomes more widely recognised and accepted. There is still a stigma behind Men and their diagnoses but with the help of organisations like StrongMen we can move away from that stigma and make it socially acceptable to be worry free and open to discuss what is really going on in our mind.

Men can still be the strong characters they always have been, but there is also no shame or harm in being open about what is going on inside your head. Especially if it results in help.

 

 


With all of this new and fresh in my mind it’s really made me take a step back to evaluate my own personal mental health. The up’s, the downs and the vague patches in the middle. Evaluating my own thoughts and well-being has been on the forefront of a lot of discussions recently. Growing as a blogger I have had the pleasure of meeting and interacting with several Mental Health bloggers for both Men and Women and this has helped me dramatically change my opinion on the topic for the better.

IMG_20180121_224107_636I suffered a bereavement nearly four years ago now, where I lost my Mother. I was 24. It was the start of the summer and I was sat in a beer garden in Northampton with some friends. Just a standard evening of drinks after work to unwind. When I got a phone call. My sisters number, but it was my Dad on the phone. He broke the news to me that she had passed away. Regardless of my relationship with her it was still a shock and worse of all I couldn’t do anything to fix it. I couldn’t even drive the 70 mile trip home there and then because I was in a beer garden. Though I have always be a strong-minded character I think that deep down I have never properly grieved. I just took a deep breath and got on with making sure my sister was ok and putting my Mothers affairs in order as I organised a funeral. (My Parents were Divorced as this point, so power of the estate was in my hands).

I’d never thought about this as a contributing factor to my Mental Health before, but with life getting busier, Adulthood creeping in and responsibilities racking up that tower of Life begins to wobble and lean a bit from time to time. Maybe throwing “Money worries” “Frustration at work” and a dash of “Road Rage” into a pot on top of a ungrevied significant moment in my life isn’t a great move – but then on the flip side maybe I am at ease with it all and how I dealt with it was perfectly rational and understandable during that time in my life.


It is a serious discussion we should be having and with the help of organisations like StrongMen I truly believe that discussion will be taking place more frequently.

As much as I am no professional, I like to think I am a supportive guy who will help anyone, with that in mind – if you want to talk, open up or even just have the knowledge and thought that someone is there. Here I am. Don’t be shy.

I will always be there for you all.