Video Capturing Lectures

A fairly heated debate is happening in my university at the moment around whether or not lectures should be video captured.

One of the SU’s executive officers has written this post. I commented, but stupidly overwrote my clipboard before I pasted it into this post (FML) so I’ll summarise:

The good:

  • People like Dash (dyspraxic, frequently ill) will have an aide memoire, and a way to access lectures when they are unavoidably absent from university.
  • Students will have an easier way to revise.
  • If implemented cleverly, and edited well, iterative improvements on lectures could be integrated, students would have later opportunities to ask questions (e.g. by comment forms, or via a Twitch-like service if live-streamed)

The bad:

  • Mistakes made by both students and lecturers would be preserved (unless videos underwent editing).
  • Editing would be time-consuming, lecturers would need appropriate compensation.
  • Students may choose not to attend in person, either because of laziness, or because of unwillingness to be filmed.
  • If attendance and/or participation dropped, the interaction between student and lecturer would be eroded – lecturers would not know what points to clarify as there would not be anyone to say they hadn’t understood. Group discussions would cease to be achievable.
  • Red tape would increase, and flexibility in teaching would decrease.

In my opinion, a distinction needs to be made about the kind of content to be recorded. Traditional lectures would benefit from recording. Seminars, discussions and practical tasks would not.

The Grey Hair Fairy

I found my first grey hair recently. I didn’t freak out, I was delighted. It’s so shiny and silvery. In my head I call it my ‘unicorn’ hair because it is unique. I worry for it though, I can imagine a well meaning friend, or my mum, telling me I have ‘something in my hair’ and pulling it out to destroy the evidence “before I notice it”. In a society obsessed with staying young I’ve enjoyed getting older, not having children yet does play on my mind, but as far as everything else goes, it’s all good. I wasn’t a very ‘typical’ teenager; I think I’ll fit much more comfortably into society as a 30-year-old. Hence my joy at my grey hair, now my mind and my body match.

DSCF3101 DSCF3096

it’s unsurprisingly hard to get a good focus on a short pale hair when holding the camera yourself, but I think you can see it here.

Isn’t it odd how as we get older we stop celebrating physical development milestones and start fearing them? I’m not talking about cognitive/learnt milestones, these get due celebration whatever age you are, learning to speak and getting a promotion are celebrated, and rightly so, but not so the physical milestones, these are to be feared and evidence erased if possible. It seems to me like a continuum:

Baby’s first tooth – a cause for celebration and many photos

Child’s first lost tooth – celebration! Money! Tooth fairies!

Children getting taller – “look how much you’ve grown!”, marks on the wall, expressions of joy and admiration

Girl’s first period – becoming a woman, in many cultures a cause for a ceremony or celebration

Wisdom teeth – unless they have to be removed (cue sympathy), completely ignored

First wrinkle/grey hair – the world is ending, I’m old, I’m going to die

First evidence of memory loss – this is it, the end is nigh

I was hoping a search for ‘ageing’ on Google images would support my argument, actually the results are pretty heartening, apart from the fact that all these people are white (because we’re the only ones who age…), these are pretty factual, unjudgemental images:

agingI just feel like the proliferation of anti-aging treatments and lotions tells a different story… but perhaps not, what do you think?

Anyway, the whole thing made me think about the tooth fairy. Without explanations loosing teeth is scary, it’s a bit painful and without adults to tell you what will happen, you might be left wondering if they will ever grow back, but with money and fairies the process can be fun (and lucrative!).

And I was thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if we had a grey hair fairy, a sweet little old lady fairy who visited in the night and turned your hair to silver – wouldn’t that just make everything more friendly for those who value their youth? I think she’d look a bit like Flora from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.

So, to sum up. I have a grey hair. I’m happy, and like a kid loosing her first tooth, I’d quite like some congratulations, and perhaps some money please, if that’s all the same to you…

(Almost) No Shampoo Since February!

In February I went down the internet rabbit hole (as you do) and stumbled upon the ‘no-poo’ movement – I think I got there from Vegan bakery (my bf is allergic to eggs, so I look at Vegan cake/brownie etc. recipes quite often), Vegan blogs often lead me to unusual things… or perhaps it was a video I watched of a New Yorker who hadn’t created any trash in a year. Anyway. I digress.

shampoo search

The no-poo idea is that you can wash your hair without shampoo using just kitchen ingredients, it’s supposed to be more healthy and thrifty. The most popular ‘shampoo’ mix is a couple of tsp bicarbonate of soda, and you follow this up with ‘conditioner’ which is a mix of water and vinegar.

I just had to give it a go.

And it works.

I’m not convinced my hair is ‘thicker’ or ‘stronger’ (but it’s short so it’s hard to tell, but I do think my scalp is more healthy, I’ve had to use my medicated shampoo which stops my scalp itching way less (but have still needed it a few times).

So, here’s a pic of my hair, for the sake of proving yes, it still looks clean and shiny as ever:


this is the face I make when I catch Dad trying to take sneaky ‘natural’ pic of me😛

There are a bunch of blogs that go into all the shampoos you can make, so I won’t rehash this here. However, I will add two things to the discussion:

  1. because the the ‘shampoo’ and ‘conditioner’ are VERY watery (unsurprising since they’re both about 99% liquid), it’s best to put them into a bottle with only a small hole, such as an old shampoo bottle or handcream bottle, not the sort of bottle you would drink out of or you end up putting way more than you mean to over your head.
  2. I found that in both Wales and Yorkshire, where the water is soft, this method works like magic, perfect, soft hair every time. But in the south of England, where the water is hard (you can tell if you have hard water by looking into your kettle, if there is a build up of white flakes, or you have to filter water to prevent these forming, that is limescale and you’re in a hard water area) I only got one good wash over the whole holiday – sadly I’m not sure what made that wash work as 1. I had just made a slightly stronger bicarb solution and 2. I rinsed my hair first in soapy bath water rather than under the shower. I don’t know which of these factors made the difference, but for the rest of the holiday my hair looked fine, no strands stuck together etc, but felt kind of like sheep’s wool, not really nasty or anything, just kind of lanolin-like. So if you’ve tried and had zero success, maybe it’s the water?

If you’ve tried this or want to comment below! Have a great day x

Love through the lens

I just got back from a family holiday and am now sorting through the hundreds of photos we took between us. My parents were there first for a week alone – the first holiday they’ve had without me or my brother since their honeymoon. I copied all the photos from Dad’s camera (I asked if there was “anything I wouldn’t want to see” first, he assured me no) and going through the photos from their week together, I really feel they are a couple who’s love will last a lifetime.


I wish I could share lots of pictures, but to protect their identities, I will only share ones where they cannot be identified.

Seeing my parents through the lense of each other’s love was a truly humbling, and at times hilarious experience. I love that photos like these show they can really have fun together:


I love you Mum and Dad, I hope you stay together forever.

Avocado Update

I occurred to me a few weeks ago that I never posted an update on my avocado plant that I grew from the stone. As a reminder, here’s what my plant-baby looked like in the last post it featured in:

picture my own

Aww, so cute and tiny!

And now look at its magnificent self!

DSCF2166That’s one hell of a change, the leaves are massive – bigger than my hand and the main stem is really think and strong – it actually feels like a sapling as opposed to a softer less woody stem.

A word of warning though to anyone who wants to grow one of these, they’re very thirst plants, and if you don’t manage to water them enough, or leave them alone for a week or so, you will come home to this distressing sight:


Poor little thing😦 … at least it perks up again in a few hours if you give it some water:)

DSCF2170 DSCF2163

Monkey Brain Moments

I was thinking about this yesterday after hearing a discussion on Heart Yorkshire radio about carwashes. DJ Rich was saying that he’s always irrationally scared of the ‘do not break, this will rise automatically’ sign:


The picture of the offending barrier, posted on Heart Yorkshire’s Facebook page is above.

I realised I’ve always had a theory about this kind of irrational fear, I call these moments of terror or confusion at technology ‘monkey brain’ moments. Let me explain

I theorise that we have developed technologies like car-washes and planes and traffic lights faster than we’ve evolved – we can learn to use them, but it’s not innately built in. Some fears we have are evolved fears of heights and spiders for example have been selected as those who possessed them historically had a higher chance of survival.

So, when we encounter something like a car-wash, though we’ve learnt to accept this technology as a safe part of the modern world, I think that on some innate in-built level we are distrustful – hence a ‘monkey brain’ moment (I realise this is disingenuous to monkeys, and I should probably call this a ‘homo erectus’ moment, monkeys are, after all, exactly as evolved as we are and when modern humans didn’t exist, neither did modern monkeys) –  a moment when an old intuitive part of your brain kicks in and says “I don’t trust this”.

I have these regularly myself, especially when handling this set of knives:

My monkey brain really objects to me holding the thin sheath in my hand and sliding in the knife, every single time, it’s like someone is screaming in my head “you’re going to slice straight into your palm!”.
The response to DJ Rich certainly confirmed that many people are scared of car-washes, but does anyone else have another example of a ‘suspicious monkey brain’ episode?

I have a Secret Identity

My friend has a superpower

What he doesn’t realise is that I have a super hero costume. I can walk straight past people wearing my normal clothes, people who I’ve seen many times, some even over a number of years and just like Peter Parker or Clark Kent, if I’m not in my super suit, they don’t recognise me, or they just give me this weird ‘have I maybe seen you somewhere before?!?’ look. It even works on my own boss!

Want to see my super hero outfit?

Wait for it…



That’s right, I don’t even have a face mask! Not even a skinny black one like The Incredibles wear!

But I did used to have a hat, interestingly, losing the hat has made me no more or less recognisable.


Of course I realise here that the trick is situatedness, my customers are used to seeing me at the cafe in uniform, seeing me outside the cafe in plain clothes is somehow incongruous – and it’s not that they don’t see me as a proper person I think, though thinking about it, it’s the people who take the time to talk to me who recognise me more often and more easily…

So I guess the moral of the story is if you meet Superman, chat to him, maybe he’s had a rough day, and then perhaps when you walk past that muscular vaguely-familiar man on the street you might be able to put two-and-two together!

…and also that making a mean cappuccino is a really shit super power.

Crafty Summer Wedding & Outfit

This summer I was very fortunate to be invited to my Uncle’s wedding. It was an amazing day and made extra special because so many people contributed. The bride’s brother-in-law made a spectacular cake, my grandpa and grandma made hundreds of these gorgeous hanging hearts out of old music paper:

517 DSCF0257I took some of these home from the wedding and have hung them above my bed, they are a lovely memento.

My wonderful mum (sister of the groom) made these lovely hanging jam-jar lanterns


There were custom Japanese umbrellas


More contributions from my grandpa in the form of hand-written calligraphy


And my mum and I made pompoms from florists fabric to hang in the trees (these were super easy and the florists fabric is brilliantly weather-proof)


Everyone looked absolutely gorgeous, especially the bride in a stunning backless floor-length silk gown, but I didn’t want to put personal photos of anyone else in my family up online, so I have mainly just got photos of myself from the day. Though I did find this lovely one of the bride and groom:


My outfit was a short summer dress from River Island – it was originally wide shorts, but with the waist tie it used to make me crazy having to untie and retie it all just to go to the loo! So I made it into a full skirt instead. The best thing about it is the pockets, they’re huge and deep – so useful!


I also had some surprisingly nice cheap shoes from Shoe Zone – the type with little cut out holes. I think they were only about £8! Crazy.

IMG_2412 459

The scarf I think was a gift from my uncle – so rather appropriate to wear it to his wedding. It’s a gorgeous good quality and very warm scarf from Hong Kong


You can just see part of my Mum standing behind me in this photo, she looked like a beautiful Hawaiian princess in pink and turquoise with her gorgeous dark hair in an over-the-shoulder plait.

It was a magical day at a gorgeous location. I have been blessed to be invited to two weddings in the last few months and they’re always an amazing occasion. Wishing everyone who got married this summer many many happy years together.


Cute Easy Hand-Made Owls

This is a lovely little craft project which is pretty fast by hand and lightning fast with a machine. I found this lovely pin on pinterest and knew I just had to make them!

Aren’t they lovely?! I didn’t have such cute fabric and didn’t have time to buy any as I was in a hurry to make something for my literally-just-born baby cousin. So I rooted about in my scrap box and made this little beauty.

DSCF9241 DSCF9242 1959684_10151877201650653_1932284046_n

There’s a bonus picture there of the recipient of said owl – isn’t she cute! I haven’t met her in person yet and I can’t wait to visit in Easter.

The above owl took me over two hours to make as I wanted to make all the stitching super-secure so almost no amount of pulling or chewing would cause things to become unattached, and so that the owl can be machine washed. I have made two more since then for my Mum and Boyfriend (who were both ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the first one) and they were quicker as the super-robust stitching wasn’t so important.

I’m afraid I really dropped the ball on doing progressive pictures of this… I managed a grand total of ONE in progress pic, lol, sorry! But the blog which was the original inspiration for this has pretty much the perfect instructions, so for a how-to, go here:



The one piece of advice I have is don’t use stretchy fabric for the breast of the bird like I did for the owl on the left as it will expand so that you don’t see as much of the back fabric from the front, which doesn’t look so nice, stick to a good woven cotton or something fluffy like my first own and you should be fine:)


Enjoy and have a good weekend!