What To Do Next?

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As you might be aware of recent I’ve been a bit quiet on the social media, blog front. Just because I’ve been left feeling very deflated and . . . . well like this.


Stuck in a lifestyle that I am not a great fan of anymore. Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to bad mouth these aspects of my life because they have served me well and I’ve learnt and grown from them. But it is now time to move on and take a bigger step forward. Though how realistic is that?

Not to moan about money but sadly this is what makes life tick over. I know I should live in the moment. Enjoy what I have. Can’t take it with you bullshit. But sadly Karen that isn’t the world we live in. The fact of the matter is if I don’t earn X amount a month I won’t be able to pay my bills, buy food or get by. So if I bring home less than that or I have a sick day and don’t get paid. I feel the pinch.

It’s horrible.

But what can I do? How can I make my life better? I’d love to go freelance. In photography or media or blogging. But taking that plunge is an unrealistic step for me. I’d love to get into charity work. Especially Male Mental Health based work. To help give a voice to people. To do something meaningful and to make a difference but sadly in the most none selfish way that won’t pay my mortgage. Not to begin with anyway.

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A very supportive and lovely friend said the following to me earlier – “You really could do it full-time I believe in you buddy! You’re written word is fantastic, I love your content and you are always one of the first people to boost people up in this community! I honestly couldn’t think of anyone who deserves it more than you.”

Which is crazy cute and mega supportive of her and it made me think – who else thinks this of me, maybe I could be this figurehead that people look up to, maybe I could help everyone.

I’m thinking about setting up a movement / brand / organisation that focuses on those goals of raising awareness and money for Male Mental Health charities. Which is where I will need your help.

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I just hope something like this can and will give me purpose and until I find my feet I will have to keep going with my current affairs but in time, maybe one day, I will be able to stand up tall and look back at what I have done with pride.


 

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‘Captain Marvel’ Review: A Kick Ass Thrill Ride.

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What with the heat, beef and grief Brie Larson and the Captain Marvel movie has been receiving over the past few weeks I felt it time to weigh in on what I thought of the movie.

Last night I settled into my cinema seat, popcorn in hand and my mind ready to be blown away by; the ever so talented Brie Larson, any potential Avengers Endgame clues and the MCU phenomena as a whole and let me say – move over Steve, there is a new Captain in town.

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Firstly let me start by saying this IS a spoiler free review, there is a special place on Titan for people who spoil movies or even talk in the cinema. We will not be going there guys. So carry on reading, all is safe. Now I am aware of the constant battering Brie Larson . . . Sorry – Academy Award Winner Brie Larson, has had over the making of this film, the press junket and the promotional tour and in her defence I feel a lot of it is simply out-of-order. There is so much hate generated now days that it really tarnishes a great actor and their career. Things that they say are so easily spun into something else so they can be painted in a bad light. Which is unfair.

But this post is about the film itself, so what did I think of it?


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I went in expecting good things, but nothing like what I saw. This was a breathtaking thrill ride that ticked every box in my eyes. Great story, Amazing fight sequences, Cool 90’s pop culture references and on feisty ginger cat called Goose.

The film gives you the origin of Captain Marvel but not in the standard way we have seen countless times before, oh no this was done in a cool quirky way which helped the tempo of the movie soar as fearlessly as Captain Marvel herself. I went in thinking I had a rough idea of what the story would be, how it would pan out and what would come from it. I was mistaken, there was several twists that I didn’t see coming, a couple of nods to the bigger picture and a post credit scene to make you scream. In my eyes the story doesn’t let up, there wasn’t a single point in the film that I found myself clock watching or bored. Which sadly I have found once or twice in a few of the other MCU films (I won’t name which ones). It fits perfectly into the MCU and just gets your blood pumping and ready for the Endgame.


Brie Larson took the bull by the horns and smashed it out of the park with this one. A well deserved role that will continue what ‘Room’ started by blasting her into acting royalty. Her level of humour, sass and emotion comes through in every scene – slipping right into the MCU like she had been there all alone. She will most certainly hold her own with the big boys when the Avengers Endgame comes out don’t you worry about that. Also having Nick Fury and Coulson back was brilliant – they play the younger, more innocent versions of themselves so well and the technology Hollywood has developed did a stupidly good job. It was like watching Sam Jackson in A Long Kiss Goodnight rather than a Marvel film from 2019.

Admittedly I was left with one burning question that hopefully I will discover the answer too one day. If you want to know what it is and you’ve seen the film. Send me a message and ask me.


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This was also the perfect film for International Women’s Day – the moral of this story, the development of characters and the message it is sending is perfect. A story of a woman constantly being told; she is not good enough, not allowed to do something, or never will amount to anything without proving herself to men. But like the Strong Independent Women that you all are, she learns that she doesn’t need to do that. She don’t need no man to be great! She nails it all on her own.

The responses and comments I have seen from women across Twitter who have left the cinema feeling empowered and strong is simply amazing. This film can and will help shape a new generation of women, while reminding the current one that they are their best self.

Overall I loved this movie, everything about it was perfect – from the soundtrack, to the cool quips, to the overall message of empowerment. Not forgetting a sweet “For Stan” montage and message at the start and even a smart cameo in the middle. I can not urge you enough to go and watch this film. You will not regret it. I now – even more than ever – can not wait for Endgame to get here, just so I get another chance to see Captain Marvel in action again.

Bring it Thanos!

Captain Marvel (2019) poster CR: Marvel Studios

 

ABC Movie Tag.

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The ABC Movie Challenge – I stumbled across this tag on Ashli and Benny’s blog – You, Me and Benny. Which can be found Here – check them out. They run a great blog that covers all things geeky from Marvel love to Funko Pops. To lifestyle posts and everything in between.

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I liked the look of the challenge and decided to give it ago. As you know my film knowledge is wild and awesome and I love this topic. Let’s smash it.


A. – Avengers: Infinity War

B. – Back to the Future

C. – Casablanca

D. – Die Hard

E. – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

F. – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

G. – Gone in 60 Seconds

H. – Harry Brown

I. – Inception

J. – Jackie Brown

K. – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

L. – League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

M. – Mission Impossible

N. – Now You See Me

O. – Once Upon a Time in Mexico

P. – Prisoners

Q. – Quantum of Solace

R. – RocknRolla

S. – Secret Window

T. – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

U. – Untouchables

V. – Van Wilder

W. – Warrior

X. – X-Men

Y. – Yes Man

Z. – Zodiac


 

I am not going to tag anyone on here, I want everyone to see this as an invitation. If you have a spare moment to put a list together I would love to see it.

Also the other day my friend came to me – he had compiled a list of his “Top 100 Films” and had somehow put them into order. To which he challenged me to make one. So I guess that is the next thing in the works. Would you want to see that?

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.

30 Before 30 – Mk2.

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At the start of last year I did a post about my “30 Before 30” list. Which can be found just Here‘ – but recently we’ve been talking about these lists at work. My friend has just turned 25 and is set on doing on. So he is in the midst of making his list. Which made me look at mine and kick-start my lazy bum into finishing it.

You might notice that a few of them have changed since last year, that is allowed.

Turns out I have 17 left to do and 22 months to do it – which is nearly one a month. Scary right!

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I need your help. Below is my list – I need to plan the fluff out of it to hit targets. I love a challenge and I am not prepared to fail right now. So this is what I am aiming for.

Learn a Language – Currently using Duolingo to learn Swedish
Visit Auschwitz – I believe there are talks of visiting this next year.
Cycle London to Brighton for Stroke Association – Worried about how realistic this one will be
Get out of Debt – Tough as I am so bad with money. But confident I can find a way.
Vegas for my 30th – This one won’t help the above one. But I will be ending this list in Vegas in 22 months time.
Write a Children’s book – Something I constantly go back to, but can’t workout the best idea or plan for it just yet.
Start my own business – Hey if this blog takes off maybe I could claim this as that.
See the northern lights – Always wanted to, but the risky thing is, they are never a guarantee to see, even in the Arctic Circle
Write a film script – Similar to the children’s book, I have several started projects floating about, but I fall out of love with them.
Learn to dance (Salsa or Ballroom) – Gotta impress on my Wedding day right?
Learn an instrument – Uke – Sitting in my spare room collecting dust. I might tweak this to “Learn A song” to give myself the edge.
Re-Visit New York – Tempted to treat the GF and link this to the next one for this year.
Spend New Year’s Eve in a different country. – I have to do this this year as there is no other New Years Eve before I am 30.
New Job – One day!
Get a Dog – So close, by this time next year I am sure we will have one.
Sex in a tent – Who even likes camping?!
Take up Golf – Clubs are in the garage. Time to hit the range.

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Caroline’s Kitchen: The Review [AD]

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[AD, Gifted] – I was asked by the Royal & Derngate Theatre Northampton to review Caroline’s Kitchen in return for free tickets to the play – this is my review.

Last night I had the pleasure of watching “Caroline’s Kitchen” a dark domestic comedy from the mind of Torben Betts, produced by Tom Hackney of The Original Theatre Company and directed by Alastair Whatley at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton.

The play follows Caroline Mortimer (played by the fabulous Caroline Langrishe), a beloved celebrity chef who has it all; an amazing career, loving family and a top end kitchen that we could only dream of. Life is good – or so it seems, but once she is away from the lights and the camera’s, a dark cloud begins to appear over her private life. A storm is brewing and it’s about to wreak havoc.


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Set across the course of one day, the whole play is set in the Kitchen – the heart of the home, as we watch Caroline’s life spiral out of control, the set and the kitchen mirrors this. Starting off as a prim and proper, clean set by the end of the play it’s just like Caroline, the Kitchen is a mess – it’s broken and disjointed. Which is a subtle but very clever way of personifying an object or space to represent a characters transition or mental state. Caroline’s perfect life revolves around her work and more importantly her Kitchen, which is a mirror of herself.

For me it started off at a slow pace – I was a bit lost on what was going on and where it was going but halfway through the first act it really got into its stride and by the interval, I was hooked and on the edge of my seat. Eager for the second half to kick off and continue this mini roller coaster.

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The turning point for me was the introduction of Mike (Caroline’s Golf-loving Husband, played by Aden Gillett) a retired banker who is dealing with a form of depression, looking at life in a bleak miserable way – wishing he had gotten more from life instead of working and then being left as an old broken man. Playing the role of a stereotypical upper-middle-class white man, with his casual racist and politically incorrect outlook on life, he resembled a lead from an old Ealing Studios film. Which I found hilarious and couldn’t get enough of. I guess this probably suggests something about my level of humour and old man mentality.

This is also in no disrespect to the rest of the cast, I really enjoyed both Jasmyn Banks and Elizabeth Boag’s performances. As Amanda, Caroline’s Sassy Drugged up PA and Sally a disgruntled visitor with more on her mind than a house viewing. Both of these women in my eyes dominated the play when they were on stage. Drawing focus from the likes of Caroline, Leo or Graham the remaining cast members. There is a clear divide where the cast range from amazing and captivating, to lacklustre and boring. The latter in my eyes was Graham – the carpenter. I couldn’t gauge his accent as it changed from North London to pure Northern at times. His timing wasn’t on par with the other cast mates and when he was on stage I just felt awkward wondering what he was going to say or do next. I’m not sure if it was meant to be intentional and that his character was a bit slow but sadly that is how it came across.

This was my only gripe so let’s move swiftly on and not dwell on the negatives too much.

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Overall I really enjoyed this production, the best way I can describe it is by comparing it to that final episode of season one of Dr Foster. Where the truth is coming out and the repercussions are flying around that family meal. It rolled around nicely and with every comment or quip, I was left on tenterhooks waiting to see how the next character would react. It might leave you thinking what just happened for a moment but then once it has settled in you can really appreciate the tone, themes and dynamic of the play. Questioning Morality, Monogamy, Depression and Mental Health – while spreading a dark twisted sense of humour on top.

I would say this play could engage a younger generation who aren’t as ‘Into’ theatre as other generations and something like this would be a great way to spark that passion. The script is snappy and sassy which I would say would be appealing to a younger audience, but still with enough humour and references to engage a more mature audience. As I saw last night, there was young and old sitting together laughing at the same things, bringing people together.

It is showing at the Derngate Northampton for the rest of this week before moving onto Liverpool, Cheltenham and a few other places until the end of it’s run in April. I would highly recommend watching it if you get a chance. You will be pleasantly surprised.

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I also want to thank the Derngate again for giving me the Opportunity to review this production.

 

 

 

 

 

My Pick Me Up Playlist.

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They say that Music is the great healer. Music covers every mood and thought, bringing inspiration or motivation to any situation.

This is my Pick Me Up Playlist that the amazingly smart and super funny Elizabeth tagged me in. This is her post and this is her Insta – I strongly recommend following her.


Rules for the Pick Me Up Playlist Challenge:

  • Mention how music helps your Mental Health
  • List 10 songs that you would consider to be a part of your ‘Pick Me Up Playlist’ (optional: mention a little bit why each song is on your list)
  • Tag the blogger who nominated you
  • Link back to ‘Pick Me Up Playlist’ creator – Laura Spoonie
  • Tag 10 other bloggers to join in with the ‘Pick Me Up Playlist’ Challenge

I am a strong believer of music being the cure for everything. The effects it has can be so beneficial to mental health, there is also a song or a band that will help you through any mood or situation. If you cry, they cry. You laugh, they laugh. Music is so pure and fluid it can mean and be anything you want.

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My Pick Me Up Playlist

  • Ballroom Blitz – Sweet.
    • My Ultimate get psyched song. If I am ever in need of a buzz or I’m in a get the day going kind of mood. This gem works wonders.
  • Paradise by the Dashboard Light – Meatloaf.
    • Well there is Rock Opera Ballard’s and then there is this masterpiece. 6 minutes of life you never regret and are almost half tempted to repeat the song. The song tells the story of a couple at make out point getting it on. It’s very smart and so much fun.
  • I Fought the Law – The Clash.
    • This song always reminds me of sitting in the library at college with my best friend. There is a video somewhere of me miming this song with full air guitar and drums. Just good times really.
  • We Are Young – Fun.
    • I remember this tune being big Summer 2012 as I just started a new job and this was constantly on the radio. It’s an upbeat sing along with heart and passion that always bring a smile to my face.
  • California Soul – Marlena Shaw.
    • This song taps into my southern soul vibe, attempting to cover the accent as I belt it out. It just a happy fun tune.
  • Human – Rag’n’Bone Man.
    • This is a real motivational get pumped tune. They used it for the Jack Ryan trailer and since then has been a boost in my head. A strong voice, stronger lyrics and a kick ass beat.
  • Disco 2000 – Pulp.
    • I am a fan of all ranges of music, but there is something about the older generation of music that really sticks. Modern music doesn’t cut it like this list and Disco 2000 is an amazing sing along song for me.
  • You Make My Dreams Come True – Hall And Oates.
    • Now yes this might remind you of the hyper-real scene from (500) Days of Summer which signifies the couple having sex but that aside it’s still a really upbeat song with a cool rift to jive too.
  • Killer Queen – Queen.
    • I could have picked any Queen song – they are all perfect but I have picked this because my GF loves it and we sing it about her. If this one doesn’t get you pumped I am not sure what will.
  • Give Me Novacaine – Green Day.
    • Green Day for me are THAT band – no matter the mood or time I can always listen to them and there is always a song that is fit for the occasion. They have helped me through a lot and have always been there for me.

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Though this is the part of the post I am not a fan of, tagging people. Cause I have to decide out of the hundreds of you amazing people who to tag. Then I have to take all your details, copy and paste it and then pow. It’s long winded cause I always forget usernames and handles. Wish me luck.

I want to see the following tackle this:

Tiffany. Britt K. Seonaid. Cara. Carly. Kate. Hannah. Johnny. Matt. Siobhan.