Sunday, 30 October 2016

Places I Want to Visit

   Here is my kind of cliche post of places I really want to visit at some point in my life.
  1. Tokyo – Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to go to Tokyo? I’ve wanted to go since I was in my early teens. Harajuku and Shibuya for the shopping. Fantastic restaurants (I want to eat at Jiro’s sushi restaurant) and adorable cafes. Going up Tokyo Tower. Tokyo DisneyLand and DisneySea. Viewing the cherry blossoms (why I’d like to go in April.
  2. Rome – I’ve wanted to go to Rome for so long, and it’s so close that it’s a shame I haven’t gone yet. Imagine me, eating pizza and gelato every day and strolling in front of the coliseum. Well, that might be a romantic view, but you know, why not. Also to toss a coin in the Trevi fountain and make a wish. Just walking around the old city would fascinate me.
  3. New Orleans – I can’t put my finger on exactly what fascinates me about this city. Maybe it’s Mardi Gras. Maybe it’s the food such as gumbo and beignets. Maybe it’s the French quarter. Maybe it’s because of its birthplace of jazz history. Maybe it’s the romanticised view of it in media. Whatever the reason, I’m sure it would be a trip I wouldn’t ever forget. 
  4. Berlin – I’ve enjoyed trips to Germany ever since I started learning the language in school. However, I’ve never managed to see the capital. I’d like to see the historical sites such as the remains of the Berlin Wall and the Checkpoint Charlie museum.
  5. Rio de Janeiro – I’m going to add an addendum that this is a maybe not at the moment. But it’s another one that has been on my list for a while. I’d love to visit during Carnivale! There’s quite a lot of South America I’d like to do, actually. Macho Picchu, Buenos Aires. One day, hopefully.

So, there’s that (Honourable mentions to Vienna and Dubrovnik)! When (well, if) I go to these places, I’m sure I’d discover things I’ve not heard about before. That’s one thing I like about traveling, that most people only discover things about a country once they visit. I will say that if someone gave me a ticket, there’s almost nowhere in the world I’d say no to visiting, but these are a few that have been on my list for ever. What’s on your list?

Saturday, 29 October 2016

'Get to know me' questions

I've taken these questions from a list of 25 I found online and eliminated a few I felt didn't apply.

What is your middle name?
Jane! I use it for this blog though, so it shouldn’t be a surprise.

What is your favourite colour?
Red, but specifically a metallic, chrome red.

Who was your first best friend?
The first person I could call a best friend is still my best friend now! We met when I was seven and moved in next door to her!

How tall are you?                                         
5’2. It’s a weird height, because it’s short, but not short enough to be noticeable.

Cats or Dogs?
Dogs. It’s not that I hate cats, I still like them, but I had a dog as a pet growing up so I have a soft spot for them. Plus, dogs are always affectionate and happy to see you. Cats could take you or leave you.

Funniest moment throughout School?
The one that sticks out is when my best friend (mentioned above) was reading out a story from a magazine. “Hey, listen to what this man said to his girlfriend! ‘your bum is so smooth, it’s like polished wood,” at which time another friend nudged her to tell her that a teacher had come walking in behind her.

How many countries have you visited?
The Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, Hungary, Greece, Turkey, UAE, India, Thailand, Canada, USA, Antigua and Barbuda.

What was your favourite/worst subject in Secondary (High) School?
Favourite was Science. Does that seem unusual? I was good at it until I wasn't, and at that point I had spent so much of my life being good at Science that I didn't know what else to do. I'd never learnt how to be good at anything else.
Worst subject was PE, easily. Spend 15 minutes getting changed in front of people who I'm sure are judging me on my underwear, finally get outside and stand around in the freezing cold and normally rain while the teacher instructs us on some rule of whatever sport we're attempting to learn, 15 minutes of my uncoordinated flailing about while the same judgey girls make fun of how useless I am, then quickly get changed before you're late to your next class. Oh, how I hated it.

What is your favourite drink?
Alcohol-wise, I’m not a massive drinker, but I will have a cocktail with a meal sometimes. I like my cocktails on the sweeter side.

What is your favourite animal?
I like a lot of canines! Dogs are so friendly, I think foxes are really beautiful with their red coats and wolves are

What is your favourite perfume?
I’ve used quite a few but I haven’t narrowed down a particular favourite yet!

Tea or Coffee?
Honestly, I like both, but very specifically? I like coffees iced and sweetened. Not necessarily frappe-like, but I like those too. And tea, I like most herbal/fruity/green teas but not a big fan of the ordinary English breakfast tea blend.

What would you (or have you) name your children?
I go back and forth on this a lot, especially considered I’m not remotely ready to have kids yet. Currently, I like Coraline, as in the Neil Gaiman book, but we’ll see.

What is your favourite book?
I can’t possibly pick just one, but I’m going to have to put Harry Potter top, just because of the memories it gives me when reading it.

What is your favourite movie?
Pretty much any movie from Disney! (Is that too much for one favourite movie?)

Do you speak any different languages and how well?
Very minor French and German, from school.

Do you have any siblings?
Nope, only child!

How would you describe your fashion sense?
Cute but quirky? My everyday outfit tends to consist of jeans and a hoodie, but I love getting dressed up for special occasions.

What is your favourite restaurant?
The New York Café in Budapest! Just walking in feels magical.

What are some of your favourite tv shows?
Game of Thrones, Once Upon a Time, Great British Bake Off, Orange is the New Black.
Hmm, I don’t tend to be a big TV watcher! I want to be, but I’ll start watching something and really like it, but never get back into it.

Tell us one of your bad habits!
I tend to rub the skin around my nails when I’m nervous. I don’t like it and it makes them look really tatty.

So there we go! Do you like my answers? Any you really disagree with?

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Not Being Into Music

“So, what music do you listen to?”

I can’t be the only one who anticipates this question with some form of dread. I’ve taken to answering it with “oh, just what’s on the radio, really” which normally gets me some form of “oh, okay,” reply. I know, it sounds like I only listen to music that’s popular enough to be on the radio. But I really only listen to music when it’s on the radio in the car. It’s not something I go out of my way to do, normally.

The truth is that I’m just not that into music. This reply tends to lead to responses ranging from incredulous disbelief to outright shock. Someone once replied with “but what do you do when you’re alone in the evenings?” At the time, I just spluttered out a “Huh? Oh, well, stuff I guess,” sort of answer. The real answer should have been “watch movies, watch TV, read books, play video games,” which are all things that engage me more than music, which tends to annoy me if it’s on for longer than about a minute. Music kind of becomes the background radiation of my life, being on in every shop and as soundtracks to every film, but never as something I pay much attention to.

I guess I’ve never really seen the point of listening to music when you’re alone. What do you do, just sit there and listen to it? And sure, occasionally I’ll hear a track I like, but I never go out of my way to listen to it when I’m home. I’d much rather do any of the activities I listed above. Public transport, I’m much happier with a book or even just the ability to have some quiet time looking out the window. You can do it when people are over, I guess, but there’s still so much else I’d rather do with someone else. Like, you could watch a movie together, have a nice catch-up chat, you could bake something, (Wow, I’m turning into my mother) or you can go outside somewhere. And for large groups? You can go to a concert or clubbing, sure, but I’d much rather sit down and enjoy a nice meal together where you can actually talk.

All this would be fine if music wasn’t treated with such importance by the majority of the population. We live in a society where not liking music marks me as different, weird. Everyone else places such a high importance on it, that it forms a basis of many a social interaction. I spent much of my life thinking I could ‘develop’ a taste in music over time. I thought it would be something that would happen as I got older. I bought an iPod and an iTunes card once (biggest waste of money I spent in my life) and thought that would do it. I used it about twice and it had something like the exact same twenty songs on it for its whole life. I went clubbing, I went to concerts, and my opinion on both of them is about the same – too loud and too many people. Maybe I just don’t have the music gene.

It also tends to take me a long time to recognise tunes. I can hear a song I’ve heard thousands of times as a background track to a video game and I can’t work out where it’s from. Sometimes, I won’t recognise songs until the chorus hits. Connecting songs to the band that sings them is an impossible puzzle. My cousin (she’s ten) has taken to asking me “do you like this song, Fiona?” within the first four beats of a song. My reaction is usually “Meh, it’s okay.” “Do you like this one?” “I don’t even know which one it is, yet.”

Does anyone else feel this way about music? Am I making this out to be too much of a special snowflake style trait? Do you have something that the public in general treats as highly important but doesn’t really click for you?

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Eating Idiosyncracies

“Eat your greens or you won’t get dessert”
“But I don’t like these!” or “but I’m full up!”
“Fine, no dessert for you.”

I’m sure the above conversation is familiar in some form or other to many of us. On me, all it did was make me dig my heels in and not try anything, ever. I’ve got better at that and will now eat most veg if it appears in my food. I tried a larger variety of foods out of necessity when I was a vegetarian for two years. I actually think most people should try to eat vegetarian for a short while, just to encourage them to try different foods. A big one I only tried because I was vegetarian which I still eat now is tofu. I wouldn’t even have known how much I liked it if I hadn’t been vegetarian for a time. I am glad that I grew out of my picky eater phase, and as a "foodie" can now enjoy a larger variety of meals. Instead of making your child eat everything on the plate, encouraging them to try a bite of everything and allowing them to leave what they don’t want is far more beneficial. Remind them that taste-buds change as they get older, so they might try it again in future.

The other thing I had a lot of in my house was “you’re not eating fast enough, why are you eating so slowly? We’re all waiting on you!” Consequently, I now tend to shovel food in my mouth as if it will disappear if I don’t. If I eat fast, I don’t notice food I dislike as much. If I eat fast, I finish it before I get full. It’s easy to see where that trait comes from. I eat food before I can even taste it, sometimes. As someone who enjoys food, I find it a shame that I can’t slow down and take meals easy.

There is one thing that still turns my stomach, however. I can’t deal with onion in my food. Since onions seem to be in everything, this can be quite the challenge. I’m okay when they are too small to be noticeable. I don’t mind if they’re big enough to avoid. But medium-sized onions are my nemeses. I am trying. I keep trying small slices of onion occasionally, but they still make me almost be literally sick.

Do you have one vegetable you won’t eat? Have you picked up any unusual eating habits over time?

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Why I Dislike Autumn

I know, hating autumn, right? Well, I don't hate it, it has some good points, but it's a rather strong dislike. What kind of person must I be to dislike a season like that? I'm going to be honest, it's not my favourite. (which is actually spring)