Bandersnatch: The Future of TV?

Wow! I was not expecting that!

I’ve just watched Black Mirror: Bandersnatch on Netflix and I can’t stop telling everyone about it. It really feels like the future of television and it’s hugely exciting to think about the possibilities for progress after this point.

I was obsessed with Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid, and I also grew up in the 80s so this was the perfect set up for me. Set in 1984, the cultural cues, fashion and music choices were easily recognisable to someone of my age (nearly 40…did I mention that??) which I’m sure helped with the overall enjoyment of the programme. The trailer is below but in all honesty, if I’d just watched the trailer, I don’t think I would ever have watched the programme. It just doesn’t do the interactive element justice; the only reason I gave it a go was after hearing Will Poulter (who plays Colin) on BBC Radio 2 Drivetime with Angela Scanlon & OJ Borg a couple of weeks ago. See the trailer for yourselves below:

So, as I don’t think the trailer will entice people, I’ve taken it upon myself to tell everyone about it! Including you…yes, you 🙂

Why did I love it so much? One big thing: the interactive element – it’s the first time I’ve seen it done well on television and the first time that I’ve felt fully immersed in a TV programme in a long time. I couldn’t focus on anything else because I knew there would be another choice to make just around the corner and it felt more like a computer game than a TV programme.

It wasn’t perfect and I’d have liked a few more endings crafted but it must have taken forever to film the ones they do have, with all the different choices that viewers can make, so it’s a small criticism.

Overall, I can’t wait for the next installment, either through Black Mirror, or via the next producers to embrace interactivity. If you’ve watched it already, or watched it on my recommendation, let me know what you think – good or bad.

A New Year, A New Me?

We’ve all been here before haven’t we…January comes and we decide to improve on the person we’ve been for the last (insert age here) years, despite all evidence from previous years suggesting that it rarely makes a difference.

Somehow though I feel this year is different…do I say that every year?…embarking on my 40 before 40 challenge and the focus I’m giving it rather than just one area of my life, feels like an opportunity to really make some changes to my life…not least with that number 28 🙂

Progress has been quite good so far, bearing in mind I’m only month 1 into an 18 month challenge. However, I did expect this as I’m one of those people who starts off very quickly and then needs the motivation to keep going after the quick start. Think of me as Usain Bolt, and then think of Usain Bolt trying to run a marathon – not pretty!?

My 40 Before 40:

Updates to Share!

6. Learn to solve a rubiks cube

My little girl got a Rubiks Cube for Christmas from my lovely sister, so this was the perfect opportunity to get learning.

It turns out it’s all about algorithms and with the right method, anyone can learn to solve it. Although what I would have done without YouTube I don’t know – in fact, how did people do anything before the internet? It’s a distant memory now, the BI (Before Internet) times – can feel another blog coming on. The main video I used was this one from J Perm – thanks! https://youtu.be/7Ron6MN45LY

I did need another video to help me with the final bit which was getting the final coloured corners in the right place and this video helped with that https://youtu.be/e5Jj14gS6TI

So in essence, I can now solve a Rubiks Cube but with a huge amount of online help. I’m not planning on saying this one is done just yet…I need to learn the method so I can solve the cube any time without a video. Watch this space…

8. Attend the gym regularly

I’ve joined my local gym through PayAsUGym so that I can cancel at any time and also because I had a great half price offer as a new member. If you want the new member offer too and to look at the services they offer, use this link.

As for attending regularly, that’s been going really well. I’ve been going 3 times a week and doing my Couch to 5K app. The proof will be whether I’m still there by the end of February and even more so by the time I’m 40!!

11. Write a blog that other people read

Do my family count?? I now have 6 lovely followers – 4 family members and 2 that I don’t think I know. Thanks very much to you two – you’re very special to me 😉 I’ll try and improve the numbers as I write a bit more and hopefully can share that with other readers.

15. Change my hair

This one made the list because I went to my school 25 year reunion before Christmas and was very embarrassed to see my 15 year old self with the same hair I’ve got now! Whilst I have changed my hair a few times inbetween – the blonde do is one not to be repeated – I have also kept a very similar style for a good many of my 38 years.

Progress made…well sort of. I showed the hairdresser a picture of what I’d like and we’ve made a start by cutting my hair shorter but not short this time. This gives me chance to grow it a bit before my next appointment and perhaps we can start towards something new. Watch this space!

20. Attend a comedy night

FIRST ONE COMPLETED!!

This was on the list because it was something I used to enjoy a lot before children (BC) and I’ve not been to a comedy night with multiple comedians for years. I wanted to get back into it and having seen that Sally-Anne Hayward (a new favourite since seeing her with Sarah Millican) was making an appearance at an event near me in Keighley, I booked some tickets and turned up on Sunday night…a school night!!

Anyway, turns out that Sunday night in Keighley isn’t great..who would have guessed. Audience was full of old people, one very strange heckler with a stick and the ambience left a little to be desired as it was the train station cafe…little to no atmosphere and I wasn’t sure the comedians were quite sure where they’d been booked for 😉

Nonetheless, Sally-Anne Hayward was great, just as she was last time I saw her. Check out her upcoming dates here if you fancy a good laugh. I’ve previously referred to her as the “best kind of rude”/aka the funny kind.

Will I start going to comedy nights more often now? I will certainly look into it but I will try and be more selective with my venue choice next time. It would be good to have more than 30 people in the audience.



40 before 40

Well, well, well. It’s finally arrived…I’ve been waiting until it’s 18 months before my 40th birthday to confirm and publish my 40 before 40 list and that day was last week in the Twixmas madness/what day is it confusion. I didn’t miss it, just didn’t post it until today.

I couldn’t decide whether to share it more widely as it opens me up to ridicule and/or additional suggestions that I don’t really need (as I’ve got 40…save the rest for the next decade please). But I’m sharing and that’s mostly because, I’ve felt recently that I need a bit of a running theme (not actual running FYI, despite the last post https://wordpress.com/post/socalledwife.com/23 …more on that another time) for the blog and I feel like this is something I can hang the rest of my blogs on…or at least give me a reason for more regular blogs – especially as that’s number 11 on the list!

It was harder than I thought it would be to write the list, as I didn’t want to put anything too outlandish on there; I do still have work commitments, wifely commitments and two young children to look after so can’t be planning  exotic travel and multiple evenings/weekends to work on the list. I also didn’t want the list to be too easy to achieve as I work best when I’ve got a challenge. I think I’ve got the perfect list for me and have the right amount of challenge and pushing me out of my comfort zone that I was looking for, along with a push to get me to do some things I’ve talked about for a long time.

So without further ado, below is the list, happy to take any comments on the list, or questions. I have shared with a few people already and tweaked the wording on their advice – although as it’s not a binding contract, I’m not sure why I felt the need to do that…just thought about that now – nevermind, I’ve amended to be clearer for the blog I guess.

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

My 40 Before 40

1. Go scuba diving
2. Do stand up comedy
3. Get on TV quiz show
4. Learn a language
5. Learn to play bridge
6. Learn to solve a rubiks cube
7. Join a netball team
8. Attend the gym regularly
9. Run a 10k
10. Do an obstacle course event
11. Write a blog that other people read
12. Enter a writing competition
13. Join a book club
14. Climb a mountain
15. Change my hair
16. Grow my nails
17. Compete in a triathlon
18. Watch opera
19. Watch ballet
✔ 20. Attend a comedy night
21. Get teeth improved
22. Volunteer my time
23. Pay it forward
24. Make something creative
25. Watch a band/act live that I’ve not seen before
26. Invest in shares
27. Be part of a flashmob/group event
28. Have a spa day
29. Read 20 books
30. Go to a yoga class
31. Finish reading Harry Potter
32. Go camping
33. Buy some artwork
34. Master a new DIY skill
35. Try a sport I’ve never played before
36. Learn to play a musical instrument
37. Outdoor swim in Britain
38. Only eat McDonalds with the kids
39. Skydive
40. Make a sustainable lifestyle change

Couch to 5K: Is it really that easy?

Let me just put this out there, I am not now and have never been a runner. In fact, as the phrase goes, if you see me running, you should run too because I’m being chased by a bear (although I live in the UK, so replace bear with big dog/scary cat). My exercise routine over the years has consisted of…school PE, school team sports, tennis, football for Bradford City WFC, tennis again and carrying/chasing small children.

I’m not exercise averse, I just prefer to be doing something fun and the exercise has always come as an added extra to the fun. I’m pretty sure that’s not the case with running. The exercise is the whole point, so I’ve always found it pretty boring/too hard. Cross country at school? “I’ve forgotton my kit/feel sick Miss” or worst case scenario: run when teacher can see, walk when she can’t. So I’ve never been interested in running for fun and certainly not in the years since I had children.

I thought that all that was about to change. I signed up for a Race For Life in June with my family and because I’m so competitive and couldn’t possibly just walk around a 5k course, I attempted to train myself up for it. I used an App but only got 3 weeks into it for various reasons, mostly starting with L and ending with Y…(clue: it’s not lucky) and then resorted to running down the hills and walking up the hills and most of the way. I also took my 6 year old daughter around with me, so I could stop and blame her – I wish I was joking!!

4 months later…it’s mid October and I’m feeling fat, generally a bit down and just a little bit fed up of myself and my excuses. I’ve bought myself a Samsung Galaxy watch and I’m going to give the Run 5K app on there a go. I’ve started already as I didn’t want to commit myself via this blog post without giving it a go and so far, so easy.

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I’m on day 11, thankfully that’s a rest day and up until now, I haven’t actually had to run at all with this app…long may it continue. Apparently I will be able to run a 5K by the 11th December. Wish me luck – of course I will be checking in along the way. If anyone wants to cheer me on with a comment in the box at the bottom – that would be lovely!!

 

Why finding pearls in the ocean can be a bad thing

Pearls…they are not quite a girl’s best friend, more one of her close acquaintances or Mummy friends (you know Grace’s Mum…oh, whats-her-name), but still not to be sniffed at when it comes to jewellery gifting. It’s a different story though in my world at the moment – I hear the word pearl and all that comes to mind is Tampax Pearl because I’m currently on a (admittedly keyboard) crusade against the plastic being used in these products.

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Tampax…a Procter and Gamble brand of ‘feminine hygiene products’ although let’s just call them tampons – we’re all friends here, we don’t need fancy names. They’ve been around for years and years (since 1936 apparently) and have done a great job of improving menstrual health through convenient solutions to that awkward few days of Auntie Flo visiting each month. P.S. I have only been introduced to the AF descriptor in the last couple of years, before then I would refer to having the decorators in/being on but I find Auntie Flo a little more fun to describe what is a very annoying but necessary monthly cycle for the majority of child-bearing age women across the world. Anyway, enough about how great Tampax are and have been, they aren’t acting so great just at the moment in my opinion.

We’ve all seen or at least heard about Blue Planet with David Attenborough which brought the UK’s attention to the issue with plastic waste in our oceans. As a result, a lot of ideas are springing up about recycling schemes for bottles, people are generally more aware and getting better at recycling in their household schemes and companies are being lambasted for overuse of plastics (e.g. Sainsbury’s selling plastic wrapped coconuts Coconut story here)  but what about other non-essential plastics? Tampons is one place where we could easily save plastic without impacting on people’s lives too much. Until 2002, Tampax didn’t have the Pearl brand and we managed. We only used paper applicators and I don’t remember it being particularly difficult, messy or painful. And it definitely isn’t difficult, messy or painful because I still use paper applicator Tampax now so I don’t even have to think back further than a few weeks to know that.

Advertising is the crux of the issue for me. Take a look at Tampax advertising, it’s always the Pearl brands/plastic applicator brands being advertised. A quick look at the Tampax UK website shows three brands on the front page (Tampax Pearl, Tampax Pearl Compact and Tampax Compact) and you guessed it – they all use plastic applicators.

Plastic waste is “one of the great environmental scourges of our time”. – Theresa May (British Prime Minister)

It’s not just the website that’s the issue because if I’m honest, I’ve never before visited the Tampax website, so I’m pretty sure most people haven’t either, it’s the biased advertising of the paper applicator Tampax. Whilst the plastic applicator Tampax gets a cool name based on a precious gem/mineral/rock, the paper applicator Tampax gets a cool name based on…well what it’s made of…Tampax cardboard. Not exactly selling it are they? And that brings me to my final concern – the selling of Tampax in the UK. I have been finding it increasingly difficult to buy Tampax cardboard (I’ve got to say it doesn’t get any better the more you use the name) because some stores don’t sell it, or only stock one variety (e.g. Regular but not Plus and Super Plus). I haven’t completed extensive research into this but I have tried on several occasions to buy the paper applicator Tampax in small branches of Boots and had to resort to the Pearl because there was nothing else available. So are we being forced into buying non-essential plastic when we really don’t have to?

I’ve been sharing the below petition, even though it was started in North America, because I want to get Procter & Gamble to take notice of this issue and realise that there are people in the world who want different answers to the questions we are asking. Why do we need plastic applicators? Why are you pushing plastic applicators as the best? Why do you market them differently? Why are retailers stopping stocking paper applicator Tampax?

If you want answers too, sign the petition at the below link.

Tampax: Plastic applicators petition

When I looked a few days ago, it had 74k signatures and it now has 85k, so the support is growing. Be a part of that support, or let me know if you disagree with any of my opinions. I’m an open minded girl, happy to have a debate. Maybe plastic applicators are better for you and your body? Perhaps you think paper applicators have a detrimental effect on the world? Whatever your thoughts, let’s discuss.

 

 

My Blog Journey Starts Here

It’s been a while but here I am…writing on my very own blog and hoping people out there in the big wide world will want to read it. Not now I guess because there isn’t a huge amount of content to share today but I’m here, I’ve made the first step and I’m looking forward to seeing who wants to share with me and whether I can be interesting enough to get some people to follow the blog.

What’s it going to be about? Good question! I’ve read quite a few articles and posts recently about blogging and one of the main things people say is, before you go for it, make sure you know what you want your blog to be about, so you can encourage people to read it. Well, I don’t know yet, there’s lots of ideas in my head and I want to see if I can translate that onto paper (ha, not paper but you know what I mean) and if it’s only ever me that writes this and then reads it, that’s cool and if it reaches out to anyone else, that’s cool too. Do we still say cool? Or is that like totally not cool?

Who am I? Well in the interests of blogger privacy and not wanting to attract stalkers before I make it big and can afford to pay for security…I’m not telling you. I’m a wife, a mummy, a big thinker, a happy complainer and generally a nice person. I do have particular views on the world but those views are not racist, sexist or unfair (I don’t think), they are just my views and I will be sharing some of them on this blog.

As I’m new to this, putting pictures and interesting things in the pages is going to take some getting used to so for now, I’ve followed the standard template and added a favourite quote below along with a nice picture. Anyone know where it was taken?

Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It’s the courage to continue that counts — Winston Churchill

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