Mad Men Finale, final thoughts [SPOILERS]

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After 8 years, 7 seasons and 92 episodes, Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men reached it’s conclusion last night on AMC.

I have to admit I was a little worried at how it was going to end, with Don being MIA and the news of Betty’s cancer in last week’s episode but I can honestly say that I enjoyed every minute of it.

Phone calls were one of my favourite things about this episode, all for different reasons of course;

Betty and Don: I know he was a terrible husband to her but I can’t help but love Betty and Don together, I’ll always remember that flashback scene where Don tells Anna that he wants to marry her. But when he called her “Birdie” on the phone, I was tearing up with them. Such a beautiful scene between the two characters, portrayed perfectly by Jon Hamm and January Jones.

Peggy and Don: I just adore their relationship and how far they’ve come since the show started. Peggy has always looked up to Don and was never afraid to tell him when he was being ridiculous. I think over the years he always felt that he had let her down somehow so I’m glad they had that final scene.

Peggy and Stan: I’m not going to lie, this scene made me so happy. I think I realised when Peggy did how much I wanted the two of them together. They have had one of the best relationships on the show and I think to leave them getting together until the last episode was right, it was so unexpected yet it just felt so right.

On another note, I am so happy at how things ended for Joan. After the amount of ridicule and abuse she has had to deal with over the years, she did right to get out there on her own and she doesn’t need any man holding her back. However, I must say I did get quite excited at the idea of a Harris-Olson business, Peggy and Joan have always been two of my favourites and are probably the most respectable female characters on the show.

Now, it wouldn’t be Mad Men if they wrapped it up with a bow on top, but surprisingly, the open-ended-ness of the finale didn’t make me want to tear my hair out. Did Don come up with the famous coke ad or did the bell ringing signify that he had finally found peace? Who knows but I thought it was a perfect ending to a superb series, it will definitely be missed.

Some of my favourite reviews on the #MadMenFinale

I’m a graduate, now what?

So the first few months of 2015 have been pretty stressful for me – between managing essays and dissertations, having a part-time job and trying to figure out what the hell I’m going to do when I graduate. I have also been wrestling with the question: Do I even want to be a journalist? And for the moment, I think the answer is no. When I first realised this I thought ‘Shit! What am I going to do now, have I just wasted 3 years of my life?’ but then I took to the interwebs and found that only 1 in 5 journalism students actually go into journalism and that 80% of journalism graduates find employment within 6 months of graduating so that made me feel a little better about myself.

I am by no means ruling out journalism completely as I’ll always have my degree (hopefully) and qualifications and writing is something I do enjoy but for me, it’s a matter of the right kind of journalism. If I got a call tomorrow offering me a job writing about and reviewing TV shows, I’d take it with no hesitation. I just don’t see myself working at a local paper writing stories about garden clubs and fundraisers (no offence). But I’d like to build up more of a portfolio first which is why I still intend to keep updating this blog, hopefully a lot more often than I have been lately.

After fretting and freaking out for months about what I’m going to do once I graduate, I’ve learnt that I just need to do my research, figure out what I want to do and just apply for everything and anything relating to that field. I am currently looking into other careers and jobs I can get into with my degree in journalism; PR and Advertising being two that I think I will look into.

Anyway, I am currently working on my last ever academic essay on the Vietnam War and how it was reported alongside my dissertation on Fostering in Northern Ireland which is coming along quite nicely. I am also editor for my assessed Online Newsday this week which I am very much looking forward to so let’s hope it all goes well!

Just an update, ’til next time

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Despite success, the Dalriada campaign isn’t over yet

Campaigners are “over the moon” following the overturning of the non-admissions policy at Dalriada Hospital, Ballycastle by the High Court.

However, it’s not over yet.

This decision is a huge step forward for the Save the Dal campaign but it does not mean that the hospital will re-open permanently.

Beth McMullan, an active member of the campaign said: “All today’s decision does is make the battle ground a little more fair. It is vital that we keep switched on and don’t take our eye off the ball.

“We’re not out of the woods yet,” she added.

Despite what this overturning means for the immediate future of the hospital, Andrew MacKey, 38, who works at Dalriada Hospital said that it still “doesn’t make up for the stress that everyone has been put through”.

He said: “There has been so much chaos with staff being redeployed, and then re-redeployed back to hospital as well as the temp staff that were put out of work because of the redeployed staff.”

However, he is optimistic that the efforts of the campaign can come out on top again:

“It puts us in a stronger position now to fight the harder battle over the next 8 weeks,” he said.

Since the Northern Trust’s decision to close the hospital, due to budget cuts, was announced in October, the community of Moyle and Ballycastle has worked tirelessly to campaign against the closure.

The group have organised a number of protests and fundraising events, started an online petition and have been spreading the word on social media.

People from all over the world and even a few famous faces, including the cast of Coronation Street, have been uploading pictures of themselves on Facebook and Twitter holding signs reading #SaveTheDal in order to raise awareness for the campaign.

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Photo credit: Twitter

The next 8 weeks are going to be crucial for the Save the Dal campaign but people are confident that “people power” can win once again.

To show your support, follow @SaveTheDal on Twitter and Facebook and visit their blog for everything you need to know about the campaign.

Sign the petition to save Dalriada Hospital here.

Well that was fun, can we have McFly back now?

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I have been a McFly fan since the dodgy haircuts and the baggy jeans. I literally grew up with them, going to my first concert when I was just 11. Everyone always said to me, ‘they won’t last, they’ll be like every other boyband’ but I knew that McFly were different.

This time last year, things were going great for McFly; they had just performed sell out gigs at the Royal Albert Hall for their 10th Anniversary, a new single and album were on the way and they were finally getting the recognition they deserved for being a BAND, not a ‘boy band’. But it was also when McBusted were introduced. Now it’s a year later and we’re still waiting for that album.

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been against the McBusted thing from the start, I thought the tour was a great idea – I went in Belfast and it was bloody awesome. But the tour was enough. It was a great way to give Busted fans the reunion that they wanted but wouldn’t have got without McFly because let’s face it, Matt and James couldn’t have done it on their own. Once the tour was over fans like myself were hopeful that we would finally get the album we were promised that was supposedly their ‘best yet’ but no, McBusted went on and now they’re releasing an album along with their first single ‘Air Guitar’, I mean, REALLY?! And it just sounds like a Busted song with James Bourne’s ‘I wanna sound like an American punk band’ stamp all over it and no McFly. (Danny only has one line!)

And don’t even get me started on this bloody Tourplay thing. Who are they trying to be, One Direction? What ever happened to a simple tour DVD? But oh no, I suppose that’s not good enough for the supergroup that is McBusted. I think it’s all about the money for them now which makes me feel very disappointed as I believed McFly were about more than just making money but everything they’ve done with McBusted just proves otherwise. Tickets for my first McFly gig were £28 then they had people paying £150 to be in the OMG Zone at the McBusted gig, what?

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Angry fan tweets #bringbackmcfly

The thing that got to me the most is how rude McFly have been to fans on twitter when they’re asked about Album 6 and McFly coming back. It’s like they’ve completely abandoned McFly and their fans. Granted they’ve gained lots of Busted fans but they’re losing so many McFly fans. To those fans who say ‘you’re not a real fan if you don’t support McBusted’ – JUST NO. I am a MCFLY fan, I love MCFLY minus Matt and James, MCFLY are a million times better than McBusted.

I can only hope that they eventually come to their senses and finally release Album 6. I really want my favourite band back. What ever happened to ‘McFly’s here forever’ guys?

Once Upon A Time, 4×02 ‘White Out’ – REVIEW w/spoilers!

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After last weeks season premiere, ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about the Frozen storyline. Once Upon a Time has always put their own spin on the original fairytale and I just felt the first episode was a little too much like the movie – don’t get me wrong, it was great to see the ‘Frozen’ characters come to life, the costumes were amazing and the casting was spot on – Georgina Haig portrays Elsa as the troubled, frightened young woman she is and Elizabeth Lail is simply delightful to watch as Anna – but I wanted something more.

And that’s exactly what ‘White Out’ gave me. I thought it was great how Anna’s first connection from the Enchanted Forest is David, I think it’s going to be very interesting to see where that goes and how she reacts finding out what he made of himself. Also, bravo OUAT for all those ‘Frozen’ throw-in’s, Anna calling herself Joan and David’s mother giving her sandwiches for the road (tumblr has made some quality comparison gif sets). I never realised how similar the characters of Emma and Elsa were, both were given responsibilities they did not ask for and magic they did not understand, therefore I think they will help each other in controlling their powers and am looking forward to more interactions between them.

The interaction between David and Hook was great this episode – David acting like a typical father talking to his daughter’s boyfriend and Hook proving that he’s more than worthy to be with Emma. Speaking of Hook & Emma, can we just talk about how adorable they were in this episode? Colin & Jennifer’s chemistry is amazing, particularly in that scene when they’re sitting by the fire and she’s looking over at David and Elsa talking, all the while Hook never taking his eyes off of her – you can clearly see how much she means to him and he nearly lost her, the woman he traded his home for.

And finally: ELIZABETH MITCHELL GUYS. she was literally in this episode for a minute but OMG I got chills (pun intended). I am so excited for next week’s episode now!

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Helen goes to V Fest

Festivals are a HUGE part of summer in the UK, so this year I finally lost my festival virginity and headed off to V Festival in Chelmsford with all my uni buddies – and it was incredible. 

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Now, those of you who know me will know that I’m not a very outdoors-y person so in any other circumstance 3 days camping would’ve been a nightmare but I coped surprisingly well. We arrived on Friday morning and after what felt like hours of lugging all our stuff through a field, we reached our home for the weekend: the yellow camp site. 

On Saturday, we headed into the arena early to see Fuse ODG sing different versions of the same song – or that’s what it sounded like. After heading back to the tent for some vodka slushies, we ventured back to arena for Alan Carr, Kaiser Chiefs, Bastille, Ed Sheeran and Mr Justin Timberlake. 

Ed Sheeran is just amazing – it’s literally just him and his guitar and it’s perfection. I swear, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, but I just melted when he sang ‘Thinking Out Loud’. He was followed by JT. Now, Justin Timberlake is just one of those people that you don’t actually think is real, he is the definition of cool. The crowd participation in ‘Senorita’ where the guys sing then the girls sing was pure awesome and his acoustic version of ‘Not A Bad Thing’ was so beautiful.  It was so surreal seeing someone as famous as him performing right in front of you – a definite highlight of the weekend.

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Sunday brought with it a whole new host of amazing acts including M People, Jess Glynne, Sam Smith, Rizzle Kicks, Rita Ora, Paolo Nutini and The Killers. After being very excited to see Paolo Nutini, I was a little disappointed with his set as he didn’t really do any of his old stuff and what he did do, he slowed it way down. I mean, ‘Pencil Full Of Lead’ is not a song to be slowed down, and the song we were most looking forward to hearing – ‘Last Request’ – he didn’t even sing! On the plus side, he was looking exceptionally hot – minus the massive love bite on his neck, which everyone noticed. The Killers were unbelievable, they put on such a great show, and even though they’ve been in the business for years and are one of the biggest bands on the planet, you can still tell how happy and appreciative they are that they get to do what they love for a living. The look on Brandon Flowers face when the crowd was singing his lyrics back to him was priceless. 

So aside from getting a full can of beer chucked at my head waiting for The Killers, my first festival experience was a definite success. Would I go again? Yes, but I’m not sure I’d camp again. I have this OCD thing when it comes to washing my hands and that anti-bacterial thing they have in the port-a-loos just doesn’t do it for me, it’s not soap!

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Top 3 Performances

  1. Justin Timberlake: SexyBack
  2. The Killers: Mr Brightside
  3. Ed Sheeran: The A Team

People I Wish I’d Seen

  1. Kodaline
  2. Jason Derulo 
  3. Train

Until next time,

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We’re in for a super season!

When it comes to superheroes, I’m kind of obsessed. No matter who it is, although I’m a little impartial to Superman – mainly because of Lois Lane.

Smallville is and always will be my favourite TV show and in my opinion, one of the best incarnations of the Superman story on both the small screen, and the big one. Smallville gave us without a doubt the best Lois Lane in Erica Durance and in turn, her chemistry with Tom Welling made Smallville’s Lois and Clark even more iconic.I remember sitting down to watch the Smallville finale when it aired 3 years ago and thinking ‘I can’t believe it’s over, what am I going to do now?’

Luckily, a year and a half later a show called ‘Arrow’ was due to start. Having fell in love with Oliver Queen on Smallville, I was eager to watch this new series and I am so glad I did. With some of the same writers and producers Smallville had, Arrow has definitely brought back all those feelings I used to get when I’d watch Smallville. In the second season of Arrow, they introduced Barry Allen, aka The Flash and now he’s getting his own series which starts in September and after watching the extended trailer, I’m sure it’s going to be awesome.

Along with ABCs Gotham which also starts in the fall, TV is about to get super again and I am so excited for it. Everyone says that Marvel films are better than DC films and that may be so but nobody makes a TV series like DC.

Tragic Peaches

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When I first heard the news about Peaches Geldof’s death, my first thought was ‘how could she do that to her children?’ – I know that thought might have been a little presumptuous as, at that point, nothing had been confirmed about how she died. I so hoped that it was a tragic accident, however, it turned out that I was right…

There is no doubt that the death of the 25-year-old mother of two is an absolute tragedy, however I have to admit I was somewhat disappointed when it was revealed yesterday that heroin was ‘likely to have played a role in her death.’

After reading this comment piece on the Independent, I felt I had to say something. While I agree that the heroin aspect does not make her death less tragic; I do believe it makes it very selfish. Peaches left behind 2 young boys who now have to grow up without a mother because she did what her own mother did to her when she was just 11-years-old – she knew what it was like to lose a mother and to grow up without one, yet she has left her sons, Astala and Phaedra the same way. No child should have to grow up without a mother, and I just hope that these two young boys find a happier, more fulfilling future than their mother and grandmother did. If I was in Tom Cohen’s position, I would keep my two boys away from the spotlight for as long as possible.

It is wrong to say that overdose victims do not deserve sympathy. Suicide, in any form, is difficult to comprehend for an outsider looking in on the situation and we will never know why Peaches chose, if that was the case, to end her life in the way that she did. In fact, that her death was due to heroin makes it more tragic in a way as her family and everyone who loved her will have to continue on in their lives not knowing why she chose to die.

Gillingham goes green for Medway’s first St Patrick’s Day parade

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Above: Children with their homemade St Patrick’s Day banner.

With the sun shining, everyone in green and Guinness in full flow you could say that Medway’s first ever St Patrick’s Day parade was a success.

Hundreds of people gathered in Gillingham High Street on Sunday afternoon with shamrocks painted on their faces, Ireland flags wrapped around them and Guinness hats swaying in the breeze to join in the festivities.

The parade was product of the Medway St Patrick’s Day Group which was set up in 2013 by Tina Lawlor-Mottram, who is from Dublin and Sarah Jenkins, whose mother is Irish.

Sarah Jenkins said: “When we started this we never thought we’d get such an enthusiastic, happy response to our little parade – we thought there would be five of us.”

“We’re so grateful for this wonderful turnout and would never have dreamed there would be such a huge representation of the Irish in Medway,” she added.

Creative artist and co-chair of the Medway St Patrick’s Day Group Tina Lawlor Mottram led the creative art workshops with local children and their families where they made badges and designed the banner which led the parade.

The banner was followed by The Pentacle Drummers and Irish dancers from the Hackett Kyne Academy of Irish Dancing and McManigan’s Academy of Irish Dance who jigged up and down the High Street in traditional dresses.

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Above: The Pentacle Drummers march through the High Street

There was also a nod to Britain in the parade with volunteers carrying two Union flags and the Air Cadets marching band could be heard playing ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’.

Mayor of Medway, Cllr Josie Iles was also in attendance and she hopes the parade will be an annual event.

“Why not?” she said, “there are so many cultures within the Medway towns so it’s important to show support and get around them all in the same way.”

After the parade, the festivities continued at St Mary’s Social Club – a hidden Irish gem in the heart of Gillingham – with a buffet, Guinness on tap and traditional Irish music courtesy of Calliope House

As St Patrick’s Day falls during Seachtain na Gaeilge (Irish language week) there was also a ceilidh dance and a number of workshops put on at St Mary’s including Irish language classes and Irish dancing tutorials.

Nula McManigan, 34, of the McManigan’s Academy of Irish Dance was more than happy to get involved with the parade to showcase Irish culture in Medway.

“As everyone else is, we’re giving our time and experiences to represent the Irish in the community and let people know we’re here,” she said.

Despite having taught Irish dancing for the past 14 years all over Kent, Nula too, was thrilled at the fantastic turnout.

“I don’t think anybody expected it to be this big,” she added.

So what is next for the Irish community in Medway?  An annual parade, hopefully, and Sarah Jenkins, Co-chair of the Medway St Patrick’s Day Group believes we need to be celebrating the Irish language:

“I think it’s important when you own your own language, you own your own story. A lot of people say ‘Oh no one speaks Irish’, I don’t care – it’s part of your identity, what shapes you,” she said.

 

 

Surviving Christmas with an Eating Disorder

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It’s hard to imagine Christmas Day without the beloved turkey dinner perfected by ham, Yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes but for those with an eating disorder it’s hard to imagine anything worse.

Figures from the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence suggest that 1.6 million people in the UK have an eating disorder, a figure that is up 15% since 2000.

It is estimated that 10% of sufferers are anorexic, 40% are bulimic and the rest fall into the EDNOS (Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified) category, including those with a binge eating disorder.

One person who knows just how tough Christmas can be is 19 year old Louise Maye from Dublin.

“Christmas dinner is always awful and although it’s just one dinner, there’s just so much anxiety about it because you feel guilty for not eating it but you feel so guilty when you do,” she explains.

Food is pretty much unavoidable at Christmas. You turn on the TV or open a magazine and you’re greeted with adverts featuring succulent turkeys, yummy puddings and delicious mince pies.

She added: “Even when you’re not around food, you’re thinking about it. You can’t get away from it, and on normal days that’s bad enough.”

Louise describes her experience last Christmas as “awful”. Her eating disorder made her incredibly “sneaky” and left her feeling very “anxious”.

“I would always have a napkin with me to ‘wipe my mouth’ but would really be spitting out food, and one of my relatives picked up on it. She called me out about it straight away and my whole family became very aware about my eating disorder then.

“They watched me for the rest of the day and I couldn’t go to the bathroom to purge because someone would always be around me,” she says.

She adds: “I felt so hopeless because Christmas is supposed to be this extremely happy time but for me I just felt so upset.”

Louise was diagnosed with bulimia in early 2012 following a long childhood battle with binge eating and is now in recovery.

She admits that she spent the first six months of recovery in “complete denial”, continually making herself sick and lying about it to everyone around her; she even left college because things got so bad.

However things are finally looking up for Louise. “Now I’m back in college and things are going well. Recovery is a long process, and although I am technically recovered, there are days I still question what I’m eating.

“You think that everything will be solved when your collarbones jut out and you have a thigh gap, but no matter what you look like, you are still you with the same problems you started with.

“You are technically destroying your body for a peace of mind you are never going to get. It is so hard sometimes and you have to keep fighting, but it’s so worth it,” she says.

Moya White, 52 is a Freelance Dietitian in Kent who has specialized in eating disorders for the past 30 years and understands how stressful Christmas can be for people like Louise.

“Christmas is a time when we celebrate with food and there is often an excess of food around which these patients find hard. Stress makes eating disorder patients more likely to eat less or more depending on their problem,” she said.

She advises those with bulimia to have a “healthy, balanced diet” but would urge them not to have snacks around the house which could tempt them to binge.

“The sooner people get help the better the outcome”, she added. Those suffering with eating disorders can seek help from GPs, school nurses or from b-eat, a charity.

B-eat are based in the UK and aim to change the way people think about eating disorders and to improve the way services and treatment are provided to sufferers.

They want to help anyone believe that their eating disorder can be beaten by providing support and encouragement for people to seek treatment and recovery.

B-eat is also a forum where fellow suffers can come together, offer each other advice and feel comfortable talking to someone else who knows what they are going through.

Anna, 20, from Devon has anorexia but believes it is important for fellow sufferers to see Christmas as a “day off”.

“Everyone will have a Christmas every year for the rest of their lives, and so it is something that is part of our lives, not part of the anorexia.

“It is vital that Christmas doesn’t become a day of food terror, but rather, a day to celebrate love, family and friends,” she explains.

Lauren, 24, from Scotland will be spending her first Christmas free from anorexia this year and she plans to make the most of it.

“I remember refusing point blank to eat the Christmas food my mum had lovingly prepared. I skipped many Christmas parties and refused to go out with friends because of the fear and anxieties I had”, she says.

Food is a massive part of Christmas in Annabelle’s family. The 24 year old from London is now recovered and thankful she can finally enjoy all aspects of the holiday.

“Thankfully now I am recovered I can almost enjoy the ‘food’ side as much as the catching up with everyone, buying presents, carol singing and decorations,” she explains.

Christmas is a time to be with the ones you love, relax and be merry.

If you are suffering with an eating disorder this holiday season, beat it – don’t let it beat you. For more information or to seek help visit http://www.b-eat.co.uk/