[AD] The Fox & Hounds – Review

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[AD] This post is a gifted opportunity which included a complimentary three-course meal in return for Social Media Coverage and a Blog post.

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The Fox & Hounds of Harlestone has just had a complete make-over, from the decor and interior design to the menu and food itself, and this Saturday 13th July they open the doors again for you all to come in an enjoy their new look. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek before the grand opening and I have to say the whole experience was phenomenal, amazing, Amazingly Phenomenal. Both my GF and I walked away in awe of the entire night and to the team there, we are truly thankful.

I had always heard good things about The Fox & Hounds but never found myself in that neck of the woods to try it out – so I never knew what it was like, but I can safely say now even though it’s a little out of the way from us (20 mins from East Hunsbury so not that far), it is most definitely worth a visit and we will most certainly be going back.

Enterance


 

Imagine this, a lovely warm summers evening. We are greeted by Heather the smiling hostess who shows us through to the bar and gives us a brief rundown on the refurbishment and the new decor before leaving us to explore for ourselves. First stop was the Gin bar. With strawberry and slice of grapefruit in one of those massive gin glasses, we were off and exploring.

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The decor is a fantastic rustic animal themed experience. Mixing old classic woods with modern quirky twists. From portraits of animals in suits. To a wood burner in the middle of the dining room. The Fox and Hounds have its own unique vibe that both my GF and I instantly fell in love with. With a dark Emerald Green colour tastefully covering the dining room, the whole place felt cosy and warm. Then tucked away at the back is the Gin Garden Room – what I can only describe as a botanical garden styled dining room, with flower pots all down the side and overhanging vines and plants across the rafters and windows that overlooked the garden.

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After some time checking out the place, tasting the canapés that were flowing around the bar and enjoying the general fun ambience. We finished our tour and took our seats ready for dinner


This is where the fun begins.

Menu

The passion in Daisy our waitresses voice as she spoke about the menu was superb. She was as happy to be serving us the food as we were to actually eat it. The menu felt like it went on forever, in a good way, the options were widespread which catered for everyone. With Vegan options having their own separate menu. From locally grown produce to 21 day matured prime cuts of meat – it was a tough pick from the amazing selection but we managed it. The choices were made. The order was placed.


Starter

We started with a Sharing Starter. Truffled Honey Baked Camembert. Which as any cheese lover and friend of my GF knows, is a top choice. It was served with honey drizzled walnuts and figs on top and a selection of sourdough and rye bread bites. This went down a treat, perfectly cooked and so Moorish. The only tidbit we had was it could have done with a couple more slices of the bread. The cheese to bread ratio was very Pro Cheese. But we didn’t grumble too much. It just meant more cheese smothered on the bread. Yum Yum


We moved onto the main which, like everything, looked amazing. The detail and commitment to presentation rang through the whole evening and honestly we couldn’t fault it. If anything it just made us fall more in love with the place.

Main Course

So I ordered the Rib Eye steak and the GF ordered the Pork Belly with broccoli and some Halloumi Fries for the table. The steak is always a bold choice at any restaurant. The fear of not having it cooked how you like it. Well, The Fox and Hounds team of chefs launched those worries out the window and I was presented with a juicy, tasty, succulent Rare Steak. It was divine. I also had a ‘Signature caramelised onion, stilton and panko crumb tart’ on my plate which when ordering I was unsure what it was. But after a couple of bites, it turned out I really enjoyed it. While opposite me the GF was tucking into her mountain of Pork Belly and mash potatoes. We traded bites like any lovey romcom film would and I have to say. The potatoes were amazing and the pork just melted in your mouth. She thoroughly enjoyed her meal but at one point it looked like the drinks, canapés, starter and main had won. There were talks of no dessert as were both very full. Scary right.

 

Then Daisy came over and asked the dreaded dessert question and we looked at each other. The GF said – none for me. (Noooo). So I took the leap and asked for a menu, I had just enough space for something sweet. We gave it a minute, asked for some time to decide and just took a moment to bask in the ambience of the pub. The second wind kicked in and we both ordered a desert! The GF went for a mini pud and coffee, opting for the Chocolate Brownie and I went for the Eton Mess featuring Cassis . . . . which I was not sure what that was but with Daisy on hand to find out we were about to learn something new. Moments later she came back to explain its a red berry liqueur. Well, I was sold. And when it came out it was the freshest fruitiest dish which was perfect after a big meal. It didn’t feel heavy or filling it was just right. The GF and I sat chatting and sharing desserts as the night came to a close, which during this, Becky the General Manager popped over to check in, see how we were and how we were finding our experience. Which we couldn’t fault at all. Smiles beamed across our faces as we discussed the pub, the menu and the decor with her.

 

All of the staff were amazing, everyone we spoke to was friendly, polite and passionate about us having a great dining experience which in this day an age of chains and takeaways is so refreshing.

It was truly an amazing evening that we both genuine loved.

Overall my review of The Fox and Hounds of Harlestone is this: Set to the backdrop of the countryside, the Fox and Hounds new refurb is a stunning breathtaking place that has everything you could ask for in a pub; from friendly happy to help staff, to luxurious decor and cosy settings, to a menu that just keeps giving. Whatever the occasion, and I suggest you find one just to go here. Birthday, Date Night, Random Wednesday out. Whatever the reason you will not be disappointed with what you find.

The grand reopening is this Saturday 13th July, use their website now to book a table.

WEBSITE

The Fox and Hounds.

TELEPHONE

01604 821251

ADDRESS

The Fox & Hounds,

Harlestone Road,

Northampton,

NN7 4EW


 

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Far From Home at Rushden Lakes.

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[AD] This Post is in association with Cineworld Cinemas. Who gave me and guest tickets to their 4DX experience and Gala evening to celebrate their 100th cinema opening.

Last night I had the amazing opportunity to visit the new Cineworld that recently opened in Rushden Lakes Northamptonshire and to top it off we got free tickets to watch Spider-Man: Far From Home in the 4DX experience.

img_20190702_210029_290Firstly let’s talk about the Cinema and Building itself. Rushden Lakes is the 100th Cineworld to open across the nation and I’ll be honest. They haven’t held back with this one. It’s fresh, sparkly and new. Housed in a unit that also offers Mini Golf and Play Zones. It’s not just a cinema experience anymore. It’s a day out.

This Cinema has the facilities for all the latest movie tech. Including an iMax Screen, Screen X – a 270degree screen, and the stunning 4DX experience. Which is a fully immersive experience that, by using high-tech motion seats that move in perfect synchronization with the film. As well as the moving seats, special effects are added in line with the action on the screen. These effects include wind, water, fog, lightning, bubbles, rain, scents and snow.

This cinema is a state of the art place that just adds to the film going experience.


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The evening began not knowing what to expect, as we took the escalator up to the shiny cinema heaven, we had our names ticked off a list, handed a ticket and escorted through a red velvet rope into the busy cinema lobby where staff were ushering around trays of food and glasses of champagne. It felt very fancy, like a low key James Bond film – just needed to acquire the target and make contact.

We headed into the screen, where we were given more freebies of popcorn and water. We picked our seats and got settled in. I’ve done 4DX before but I didn’t think too much of it. That was a couple of years ago now and I am so glad we opted for this style of viewing because honestly, the experience has changed so much and for the better. The interactive capacity of the chair just put you straight in the film. Feeling every punch, every swing and every bullet fly passed Spidey’s head. It’s an experience I would recommend anyone try especially now that they have improved it so much – Spider-Man in the 4DX style was the perfect pairing.


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Brief paragraph review of the film.

I loved it. Simple as that. I thought it was a really good expansion of the MCU world and the Spider-Man storyline. Introducing some cool new characters and revisiting some old ones that you never imagined you’d see in this film. Tom Holland brings it every time and Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio is amazing – a truly underrated actor in my eyes.

There were several throwbacks and nods to the bigger world – one which made me smile so much it almost bought a tear to my eye (but you’d never guess which bit). It flowed really nicely, had the same smart level of humour, action and teenage awkwardness that the first one had and tackled the bigger picture questions left over, as the first film to be set after the amazing Avengers Endgame.


The Lobby

If you are looking for a date night or social afternoon out, I highly recommend Rushden Lakes Cineworld, for the full cinema experience and selection of films. So what are you waiting for? Grab yourself some popcorn, ice cream and a cinema ticket today. Honestly, this is one of the nicest cinemas I’ve ever seen and even though it’s still rocking the new car smell I can see it holding it’s own and becoming a pillar of the community.

Thankyou Cineworld – as always it was a pleasure.

#PizzaMaMind

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Last night I hosted the first #PizzaMaMind twitter chat hour and it was amazing!

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The hour kicked off and I was worried there would be little interaction but the amazing world of Twitter proved me wrong and honestly that hour shot past. I was nonstop and I loved every minute of it. People started dropping in, saying hello and getting involved. There was a lot of people who showed up with the same mindset as myself – wanting to be able to offer a safe place to be open and talk about real things regarding Mental Health. That being said, I didn’t want to jump straight into the deep end and ask everyone to open up straight away. I wanted to create the environment, to give people a place of calm and fun. Just to be yourself. The MH talks will begin next time.

My GF said about the hour – “I was worried it was going to be a depressing hour but actually it sounds really positive and helpful. Sometimes it’s better to talk to a stranger through a screen than a real person”

And she is right. I’ve always thought this too – people are worried to open up to friends and family, but a supportive stranger on the internet rules out judgement. We don’t know each other, we can just vent and have people understand and be there for you.


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Support

Merchandise was spoken about and frankly, that topic exploded. With Gemma taking charge and suggesting some AWESOME suggestions; Pizza Cutters, Plates, Blankets and Plush Toys that smell of Pizza. I’ve got my work cut out for me now, haven’t I?

T-Shirts were a popular pick, as well as hoodies, badges and mugs. Which is awesome.

We also asked for people to set challenges to strive towards for next time. This was a beautiful moment where one person would say something and everyone else came in for support.

This right here (over on the right) is why we are here. Why I wanted to do this. For the caring support of everyone.


I have a lot of work to do now to prepare for next weeks instalment but it’s so worth it. I’ve taken to Twitter this morning to ask for feedback and I’ve got some ideas floating around for little changes across the panel. Stay tuned for more.


 

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Good Omens Review

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Good Omens hit Amazon Prime on Friday 31st May and 4 days later this is my review.

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6 Minutes to the End of Review.

I’d never heard of Good Omens before Amazon Prime announced they were making a new show. Now like Netflix, I rate Amazon Exclusive shows because of their high production value, their amazing storytelling and genius work. Mix that with a breathtaking trailer, I was sold. I found myself curious to know what this cultural phenomenon was all about and what I had been missing for nearly 30 years.

The book’s blurb, in a nutshell, is as followed: “The book is a comedy about the birth of the son of Satan and the coming of the End Times. There are attempts by the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley to sabotage the coming of the end times, having grown accustomed to their comfortable surroundings in England.”

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5 Minutes to the End of Review.

Firstly I want to say that with all the hope in the world and Twittersphere there will be no spoilers within these words, but as we are at the beginning I can not promise that by the end of this piece the secrets of the story will be as safe as they are now.

If only we knew how this would end, if only we had an accurate prophecy that would steer us in the right direction.

Let’s begin, shall we?

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4 Minutes to the End of Review.

I have to begin by praising both Michael Sheen and David Tennant for their amazing portrays of The Angel Aziraphale and The Demon Crowley (respectively) who have started to enjoy life on Earth and over the many years have started to become friends – of sorts.

They are both over the top, larger than life and hilariously sweet characters. As mentioned I haven’t read the book so I never had an image of who they should be, but after watching them both – I can’t see anyone else playing them. The relationship the two have developed throughout the ages is well put together and has an underlying love as they go from, enemies on opposite sides of the religious divide to understanding each others point of view, to friends who support each other in the game that is much bigger than them. From early on they decide to ease up on their respected jobs, keeping humanity on track or invoking temptation as they realise they are counteracting each other and not making as much of a difference as first intended. So they decide to enjoy life on earth instead. Which involves the fine food of life, the great works of literature, a smart car and a lot of Queen’s rock music.

What’s not to love?

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3 Minutes to the End of Review.

From the start, the introduction of the world, the clever narration by God and the suggestion that the world was created on the 21st of October 4004 B.C. at quarter past nine in the morning was in my eyes very Douglas Adams. It had the same quirky feel that the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy had and that instantly sold the series to me, from that first episode I was hooked.

The style, the dialogue, the narration. All of it grabbed me and just worked. It’s a cool, quirky, science fictional twisted religious tale of good and evil. It takes jabs at the Bible and the stories we know so well. My favourite was just as Noah was loading his Ark, Aziraphale (Angel) was explaining to Crowley (Demon) that the lord almighty was ridding the world of impurity by using a flood. To which Crowley replies with something along the lines of – “That’s more of something my lot would do not yours” where Aziraphale tries to make it sound better by saying that in return God if gifting Earth with Rainbows.

Which Seems fair.

I really appreciate this style of comedy, a twist on words. As well as Douglas Adams, it’s very Monty Python. The comical aspect of this show doesn’t let up either. Even in times of darkness, and I mean it is pretty dark – what with the end of the world and all that. The humour still rolls through it and delivers every time, and with a cast like this how could it not. As mentioned with the amazing Sheen and Tennant, we can also add to the mix; the charming Jon Hamm, the foolishly funny Jack Whitehall, the amazing Anna Maxwell Martin and Oscar Winning Frances McDormand. To name a few.

Honestly, it’s a cast that just keeps giving so keep your eyes peeled.

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1 Minutes to the End of Review.

Right, where are we now? Did I mention the superb use of soundtrack? Queen! Crowley’s car seemed to only play belters from the British band. Commented on actors and humour – Check. How about the Nun’s? No, I’ll leave them for you to discover, the same with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – who I thought was wonderful. You can have those gems to look forward to, and “Dick Turpin”, there is a joke coming somewhere trust me.

Overall I really enjoyed this show, it flowed really well and was just put together with so much love and dedication that I bet both Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett (God rest his soul) would both be extremely proud of what Amazon has produced. . . well, they should be. Now I think it is time for me to read the book. I’ve heard the show is VERY true to the book which is always a great sign.

So time ticks on, the review is coming to an end – as it was predicted, as it shall be. I believe there were no spoilers in this – more like teasers. But that is for you to decide. I hope I’ve sold it well to you and that you are already loading up Amazon Prime in order to watch it. You will not regret it.

Promise.


 

End of Review.

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May Round-Up

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Month Five is done, dusted and over. Is it too early to mention Christmas? I thought about it the other day – in another five months we will be ready to start embracing the festivities. If it goes as quick as the first five months did we will be sipping hot chocolate and eating Christmas snacks in no time at all.

Ross calm down. Back to the point in hand.

The May Round-Up.


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Between the 13th & 19th May was Mental Health Awareness week, which I posted five posts – one a night during the working week to help do my bit for awareness. The links can be found here:

Mental Health Awareness Week
Who is Mental Health?
What is Mental Health?
Mental Health Movement
Hmmm Wait a Moment

I had so such an amazing reaction to all of this, so many supportive comments, shares and a whole lot of love. Which is instantly rewarding, I never really thought I’d get into Mental Health Blogging but this week has really shifted my mindset on the topic and (as mentioned in Mental Health Movement) now I am looking at setting up a support function. Can’t wait!

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What else is new?

Buddy is settling in, still having a moment every now and then but he is becoming a great member of the family. Though the GF did have a moment the other day where she was worried he was peeing on the floor. Every so often she’d notice a wet patch on the floor by her side of the sofa (yes like every great couple, we have sides of sofa), I dismissed this, saying he’s a good boy and at worst case the wet patch is probably where he has a big drink and then sits down with dribbly chops. We thought nothing more of it.

Queue the beloved drama and fruitful woe of the Bathroom situation as it creeps back into our lives – so that wet patch that had Dog Based Blame was discovered again the other day, the GF stood of the rug in the living room to discover again it was wet. As Buddy’s name was about to leave her mouth she noticed it. The water droplet from the ceiling onto her nose. . . . The Bathroom is leaking.

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I was so angry, so annoyed, after all the drama and hiccups beforehand – after all that money spent on repairing it. It’s still not fixed. I took the side of the bath off to find the whole underneath soaked. So as we speak there “Should” be a plumber at our house fixing the shoddy job he first did. What angers me the most it people that don’t do their jobs. If you can’t successfully plumb and refit a bathroom, don’t be a plumber, don’t claim you can do it. There are many things I can do in theory, after research and help, but I don’t do them because I’ve never done them. There is a reason I didn’t refit and plumb the bathroom.

It’s just frustrating as it currently stands it’s still not fixed and they have “Been out 3 times” now, but always try and turn it back into our problem and not theirs. So I’ve had enough of the cowboys. I’m calling in the professionals.


Also had the final suit fitting for my friend’s wedding, that date creeps closer and the excitement is brewing. It’s going to be such a fun day.

FilmWise I caught John Wick 3: Parabellum at the cinema. It was fun but in my opinion the weakest of the three. I felt they tried to put too much story into this one. The first two worked on a basic simplicity but this one felt like they tried to add too much. I am psyched they announced a 4th in the works and a spin-off for The Continental. Which I love because Ian McShane and that whole idea of this Hotel for Assassins really interests me.
Caught Aladdin the other night too – wasn’t fussed beforehand but it was ok you know. Nothing special, very child-friendly and massive sensory overload. But if that’s your thing it’s worth a watch – personally, I am not a fan of these Disney live-action remakes. Also in a rare moment, the GF and I sat down on Sunday night and watched Now You See Me. This is rare because getting her to watch a film can be tough but it was a really nice night. I’d seen it before and really rate it as a twist you don’t see coming and watching her try to guess was so much fun – she really did not see it coming.

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I started this post thinking, I didn’t think this month’s post would be that fleshy, but turns out I have a lot to say. My stats are looking good too – always on the climb and constantly beating last years months. Which isn’t tough I guess but every cloud.
Next months post will be even wilder – life is about to get MEGA busy. I’m talking one stag do, two weddings, three birthdays and a concert. Bet you can’t wait to hear who I am seeing. But that is all for next month.

 

Game of Thrones Finale Review.

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So as Season 8 of Game of Thrones came to an end yesterday the world was left with mixed feeling about what is dubbed the greatest T.V. Show of all time.

This is my take on the end of the Seven Kingdoms Saga – Spoiler Free (ish)

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As a fan of GoT’s I have to say I have never written anything about it, though in conversation I have used my Film Studies knowledge to bring reason and understanding to the actions of the show. So this post is a first in regards to GoT’s but don’t let that make my words sound fickle.


The Petition.

Following the aftermath and firey episode of Season 8 – The Bells, a section of the fans were angry with how the season had been rushed and how this episode played out, with the shift in character personalities. Demanding the season be reshoot and remade. As of today, that petition has had over a million signatures. But for me, the idea of a petition is worse than a couple of lacking moments in the season.

I am all for social media, opinions and having your say. But this I think is too far – it’s THE biggest show in the world right now, it’s off book (they have surpassed the books that are currently written) and it’s coming to an end. I feel people are mixing emotions and letting things run away with them. The anger is more because the show that has been a big part of their life for all these years has come to an end and a void will be left. Regardless of how the season played out people would have been angry at it for the wrong reasons. It’s becoming a more done thing now, where the results are what was expected and so a recount or do-over is called for. It’s happened with Star Wars, with casting choices of Batman and the Joker and even with politics (Brexit).

The idea of not liking results and demanding change is becoming too common and it doesn’t work that way.

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The Daenerys Situation & Jon’s Heritage.

By now you all know Jon’s true identity and pretty sure you know what Dany did in “The Bells” – I’ll try and keep that one cryptic just in case but Jon wise it’s a free for all.

Starting with Jon’s parents and true identity, there is a lot of hate floating around asking – why make him a Targaryen if they don’t plan to follow it through and give him the Throne. In my eyes, I loved this additional and glad they didn’t act on it in such an obvious way. Jon has never wanted the throne. I think it was added to give another layer to Dany’s untrust and descent into paranoia and madness, rather than to further Jon’s storyline. Jon knew no better than a bastards life, earning respect as a bastard due to his actions, he always rejected leadership and the claim to the throne because he knew he was never that man. He got where he was through sacrifice, hard work and purely against the odds, not because he was entitled.

Where Daenerys was the opposite, she had grown up being the ‘IT’ girl. Promised the world by misguided lore and prophecies and for her to finally get to the last hurdle and find out of it meant nothing because of this new claim in Jon was stronger just angered her, which was something she always had problems with. She’s had signs of anger issues and spoilt kid tendencies since the start. If she didn’t get her way it would usually end in death. Even though SHE felt she was doing the right thing, looking back – it’s always been questionable. But the fan’s never complained then because they liked Dany – yeah she’s the strong independent women, but it shows how fickle some fans have been. Dany never had a strong moral code where she would only kill X type of people, in reality, she would kill any type of people if they stood in her way. This time that meant Women and Children and the fans did not like that. I put this hatred down to people’s misunderstanding of her capabilities, rather than the “Writers” changing her character.

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The Ending

All good things must come to an end. It’s the way of the world.

With this ending, I felt at peace – unlike half the internet, office and the world. I enjoyed it. It rounds off the story of the Starks. Which on reflection is what the show has always been about – they have been our Heroes, it started with them and it’s ended with them.

It pulled things together, people were granted their wishes or rewards for what they have been building towards and from the ashes of Kings Landing a new Kingdom was born, a new way of living and potentially a new era for peace. There were a few things I would have done differently in regards to the ending – especially with Grey Worm and the Unsullied but the overall vibe settled everything and put it to bed.

The final few shots of the Starks preparing to become the new versions of themselves I really enjoyed – in fairness Cinematography for the whole season has been amazing and beautiful, I hope we can all agree on that one.

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Overall I am satisfied with the whole season, I’ve loved the show and it’s been brilliant from the start. I can not wait to show my kids this in 20 years time and be like . . . . .      Get Ready for this.

One day the hate will fade and all that will be left is a story because Tyrion summed it up in such a beautifully poetic statement.

“There’s nothing more powerful in the world than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it.”

 

 

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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