How Indirect Hate-Speech Has Brought Back My Anxiety

I’ve suffered from anxiety in the past, mainly when I was in my mid-late-teens but not really so in the past couple of years. There have been times of course where I have been a tad “on edge” or more self-aware than usual and it has gotten worse with time. If you know me or met me, then you would obviously be quite surprised considering I seem like a really outgoing, extroverted sort of individual. However, this usually involves me doing something when I’m the focus of attention when I was in a band, the anxiety would definitely become a major part of why I stopped performing. The pressure to perform, the pictures and videos that got posted where I was making a strange face or I was sweaty. I was definitely incredibly critical of myself and my appearance but I had got a lot better since then by focusing on my studies, playing music for my own enjoyment and also blogging in itself has been quite therapeutic for me (along with the occasional smoke). I had felt a lot more comfortable going to events, doing interviews etc and I genuinely felt in a much better place mentally, but the past month has definitely had an effect on me.

In the past month, not one but 2 *EDIT: 3* terrorist attacks happened in Britain, one in London, a place which I spend a great deal of time and the other in Manchester. The Manchester attack shook me a lot, probably because of how spontaneous it was and how close to home it was. There had been no attacks on this scale since 7/7 in 2005, that was 12 years ago, I was only 12 years old and when you’re that age you’re aware of what’s happened but it doesn’t really register as much. As a schoolboy in Glasgow, London seemed like a million miles away but when you get older the world seems an awful lot smaller.

I remember being out the full day then arriving at my friends, and while she was making us some food I was browsing Twitter and I had to do a double-take. I was watching the news basically unfold and I was trying to comprehend something like that happening, and then remember if I knew anybody there. I was drunk and tired so my brain wasn’t working as it should but I managed to remember who was there and luckily I managed to get a hold of them and they were alive and safe. I got an Uber around 6 am and he hadn’t heard the news and I was the one to tell him, he told me his friend and their kid was at the show. The panic the poor guy felt was awful, I had to tell him to pull over and try and get fresh air and give his friend a call. He did receive a text from his friend before I got out to confirm that they were safe, I’ve never seen someone let out a long sigh of relief, it was incredibly emotional time for him and me.

I got home for about 6 am laying in bed and endlessly scrolling through my social media, news channels, everything on my phone was more updates about the attack. A terrorist attack, Isis, death toll rises, interviews from witnesses and emergency services, video footage, theories and hours were passing by like minutes. However, it was the comments on Facebook that I spent most of my time reading over. I find whenever something like this happens it really does bring out the bigoted scumbags on your social media. When you have people agreeing with Katie Hopkins and sharing Tommy Robinson’s videos of absolute filth it’s worrying. The videos were bad but the comment sections were worse bordering on encouragement for mass genocide. Although I’m not a Muslim, I had a Christian upbringing, went to Sunday School and of course the Boys Brigade – Football Player of the Year, 2 years in a row (just saying) – I am now Agnostic. However, that does not remove from the fact that I am mixed-race, courtesy of a white mother and a black father I have brown skin so I am aware that I may draw some similarities with a “traditional” Muslim based on my appearance.

After spending many hours of reading through a lot of hateful comments, I had to go to the doctors where I got diagnosed with tonsillitis and had to go to a chemist to pick up my medication, this was fine. I then wanted to go to the supermarket round the corner for a bottle of water because I was thirsty and this was when I became incredibly anxious. Even though all I had was a small prescription bag from the chemist with 2 packs of antibiotics in it, I was worried how people would see me, whether they would avoid me, give me strange looks. Even when I got in the supermarket and headed to get my water, I was incredibly self-aware about little things such as how I was walking, whether I looked suspicious, was I walking differently, am I drawing attention to myself and even though I looked about and everyone was just going about their day I still felt self-conscious. Even while waiting at the self-service checkout I didn’t even know how to stand, hands in pockets or out? arms folded or unfolded? Pull out my phone and start texting or does that look suspicious? Completely irrational thinking somehow had taken over. I did manage to pay for my water and leave but it was truly awful about how much I was overthinking about silly little things and panicking about how I’m standing.

I kept a low profile for several weeks after, usually venturing out to my local shop or going to see my friends and family but in those weeks, I often did nothing but watch the news and scroll through stuff on my laptop. The internet can be a great place but it can be a horrific one at the same time. London got attacked, more hate-filled videos were posted and more horrific comments were posted, it made me feel very uneasy. However, I was fine, I can’t not leave my house, that’s silly, right?

 

However, on the 7th June my friend, Ryan calls me up and asks to go shopping because he was off on holiday for 2 weeks with his girlfriend and I needed to buy my mum a birthday present for the day after so I agreed to meet him. I grabbed my trusty rucksack like Bart Simpson and headed for the train to meet my friend and I felt okay when I got him. It was a quiet confidence knowing that I had my friend there – whether it was because he’s my friend and/or is white, I definitely felt more comfortable with him there. We went to Glasgow’s St. Enoch shopping centre and decided to get ourselves a little snack before we parted ways. However, on our way up the escalators we noticed a guy and a girl making eyes and smiling at each other, the girl passed by him, looked and stopped and the guy pulled out his phone, wandered closer to her and then bottled it. We then had 2 people who both clearly fancied each other and me and my friend were curious as to what was going to happen and we both watched in anticipation this couple clearly wanting to speak to each other but neither having the bottle to make the first move as they awkwardly shuffle around each other. We managed to reach the top of the escalator and we had to follow this couple from the top floor as they forever edged closer to each other with both their phones out. My friend and I stood at the barrier of the escalator and looked on from the balcony so we could follow the 2 potential lovebirds. I had turned to face my friend to talk to him about the ongoing situation while he continued to keep his eyes fixed on the subjects. At that moment, security came up to me and asked what I was doing – not my friend who was stood next to me. I simply explained the story and that I was with my friend and that we’re just regular people just being nosey little guys. This was deemed an unacceptable reason by the security because we now look “rather shifty”. Bear in mind that I’m wearing a “Movies Nachos & Naps” sweatshirt and carrying a Lush bag that says “protect animal Lives” and my friend is 5’6 white guy from X Factor. The bottom line is fair to say, we weren’t welcome in the place and were basically made to leave – I never even got my KFC! Since then I couldn’t help but think if I was white would that situation have occurred, maybe, maybe not but it definitely made me feel even more subconscious about myself and my skin tone. I went back a couple of days later with my mum and we saw a group of white teenagers looking over exactly where my friend and I were. Never seen them get moved on though…

The main thing is, I’ve 2sat on this for a few weeks, thinking, trying to make sense of it all. am I overreacting, is it just one of those things”? I honestly don’t know. However, one thing I know for a fact is I’ve never felt more anxious or self-conscious about my skin colour more than right now. The sad thing is, I’m not even a Muslim and my anxiety has increased ten-fold by all the hate that I’m seeing, I can’t imagine how an actual Muslim must feel, anxiety doesn’t affect everyone but I can guarantee there must be actual Muslims who must feel anxious going out in public for fear of being targeted, avoided, shamed for what a select few of their religious group have done. I know, emotions run high whenever things like Manchester & London happen and emotionally-fuelled comments aren’t always the best ones. It’s easy to point fingers and blame whenever something like this happens but divisive comments help no one. The Mancunian spirit especially has been heart-warming to see, especially that young guy who blindfolded himself and offered free hugs to the public.

I was going to post this but since I wrote this an attack on Muslims outside a London mosque happened, the attack was awful but what’s worse is the justification for such an attack. Now, I don’t know much about the attack and his family have come out and said that he’s not racist in the same way a football manager comes out at the end of a match and says his player isn’t “that sorta player”. Even though said player has left a member of the opposition with his leg hanging off. The thing is though, it wasn’t a “race” attack, it was an attack on a group of people based on their religious beliefs. But, it’s not as if this guy got out his van and enquired about their religious beliefs. He simply saw people outside a mosque and targeted them.

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I know many people on here, will look at this and assume I’m being melodramatic or being a bit of a “drama queen” but I can’t help how I feel. This is my place where I get to air my own personal views, opinions, and feelings. I know most of this article has been Islam-related and I have zero ties to the religion myself, I have several Muslim friends (I mean there’s literally billions of them, it would be odd if I hadn’t befriended at least one of them, right?). I just wanted to share my views about how I’m feeling and why I’m feeling the way I am but also to make other people aware of their comments online, especially when emotions are running high. If I, a non-Muslim guy with brown skin has seen his anxiety rise to the surface for the first time in a while due to hate-filled comments not even necessarily about me then it’s impossible to imagine how someone of the Islamic faith must be feeling if they also suffer anxiety and reading those same comments. I don’t care how big or strong someone is, but if you see someone with the platform of Katie Hopkins encouraging the British public to take matters into their own hands in aid of a “final solution” against people similar to you based on your beliefs. It’s a scary thing.

If you have been affected by recent events, and feel anxious and worried for the future then try and remember for every Tommy Robinson there’s a Jeremy Corbyn. The vast majority of people want peace, there’s just a minority of each group that wants to mess that up. Don’t let hate divide us as a country and continue to share and preach messages of love and equality to all regardless of your religion or beliefs.

Have you also been affected directly or indirectly by recent events? Can you relate to the article?   I know this is quite a heavy article than what people have come to expect from me, but it’s one that’s important to my current state of mind. Any questions about my article should be sent to enquiries@pookiepopblog.com.

 

 

Jay Carrington

Facebook/Twitter/Instagram

 

Food Review & Competition Announcement: Deacon Brodie’s Tavern

When my friends message me to see if I want to go for food, the usual suspects pop up such as Nando’s, Italian restaurant, French cafe, or one of the billion burger joints in any city centre. Often we leave it until we go out and wander around the city, occasionally wandering into pubs along the way where someone will suggest “why don’t we get food here?”. This will often be followed by sighs and tuts before one optimistic fellow pops up and says “hey guys, we’re all hungry, how bad can the food be?! And look our table is right next to the bar!”. This will often be said 20 minutes before seeing a burrito that has clearly been chucked in the microwave for 3 minutes and looks and tastes like dog food in a wrap – I’m looking at you Wetherspoons!

Reputation is everything and “pub grub” is probably the lowest of the low in terms of food reputation so I was sceptical when I got invited to Deacon Brodie’s Tavern in Edinburgh. They let me take over their Instagram story for the day and if you have me on Instagram, then you guys know how much I do enjoy a boomerang, so I agreed to come along.

As I entered the building, it had that usual, traditional,  pub vibe about it and then I was greeted by a lovely member of staff. We were then lead upstairs into this beautiful dining room filled with traditional Scottish decor without being dreary or dated. We got seated right next to the window and I am such a nosey person, if I can sit at a window whether it’s on a plane or a restaurant, I will sit there so I can just look out it and take in the scenery and people watch. If you don’t sit, look at people and try and guess what their life is like then you’re a liar… Or maybe It’s just me. The best thing about the view was that it faced down onto the famous Royal Mile in Edinburgh, such a beautiful city with so many beautiful people.

We sat down, got introduced to our hostess who was such a delight and absolutely lovely who got us a bottle of water while we ran our peepers over the drink and food menus. I went on to select Nicholson Nachos as a starter and a chicken, chorizo & cider pie for my main. Yes, you heard that right. Chicken, chorizo and cider all in 1 pie! That is my 3 favourite things in a pie or my 4 favourite things on a plate if you include the pie – I was excited!

However, before I got to the main, I had to tackle the starter and I wanted something light and not too heavy if I was going to tackle the pie so I went for Nicholson’s Nachos. Whenever I eat out I often find nachos are more miss than hit, sometimes the chips are soggy, salsa is often flavourless but you eat them anyway, ’cause, well they’re nachos. However, seeing this elegant little bowl of goodness filled me with so much hope. The chips were drizzled in a cheese sauce with perfectly placed guacamole, salsa and sour cream topped with jalapenos. The flavours blended well with nothing overpowering the others and even the cheese sauce had a certain tangy buzz to it and the colours were just beautiful.

Although, the nachos were amazing, the portion size was a fair size. The nachos we got was shared between 3 people and it lined us up nicely. This is not a starter for 1 person but if you have a group, I highly recommend you go for this starter. The only way this could be improved is if they grated a little cheese on top instead of just a cheese sauce. But saying that,  although this may get an extra mark for taste it may have lost several for presentation. However, this video sums up my reaction to the nachos…

Next up was the main course, the moment we all had waited for – The chicken, chorizo and cider pie. Ugh, yes! And it was every bit as good as it sounds. The pie was accompanied by a beautiful mound of mashed potato, carrots and kale at the side of it along with a nice boat of gravy. Just look at that presentation…

You finished staring lovingly at the picture yet? It truly is the Mona Lisa of pies, it took me a good 5 minutes of picture-taking and genuine admiring along with another 5 minutes of being scared to even touch it because I didn’t want to ruin its appearance. When the time came to it, I cut firmly into this beautiful well-crusted pie and out oozed this brown/orange sauce. I got emotional. The chicken was cut to perfection, every time you ate and tasted a bit of chorizo it was a beautiful surprise each time. It’s like when you reach in a bag of Haribo and put whatever sweet in your mouth without looking and it turns out to be a cola bottle, a beautiful, beautiful surprise. I often find alcohol and food don’t mix, in my opinion, red wine doesn’t belong on duck, the same way beer batter should not cover sausages. But the cider gave the sauce inside the pie that tangy taste that makes your taste buds tingle. I could talk about the pie all day but I should discuss its plate companions – the mash was soft and fluffy, the carrots were cut to the perfect size, the gravy was well-seasoned and was made perfectly, not runny or too thick and the kale was, well, it was kale… Not much I can say apart from it was green and wasn’t soggy, I had soggy kale once and it was not pleasant. The portion was huge, I recommend if you have this then only have 2 courses – I would recommend a main and a dessert but If you go here, I recommend this “perfect pie”.

After conquering the “perfect pie” I was on the fence about getting a dessert, as much as I enjoyed the food, my stomach couldn’t handle anymore but fast-forward 15 minutes and the hostess was dropping off some dessert menus on our table. The 2 people I were with, were dropping out, they couldn’t handle it but your boy soldiered on and ordered a dessert – a chocolate fudge brownie with vanilla ice cream.  You know that way where you think you physically can’t eat anymore but somehow you see something just incredibly tasty and somehow you find a tiny gap in your belly? Well, that’s what happened here, look at this beauty!

The portion was considerably smaller, the fudge was warm and even more fudgier than expected. I watched the ice cream melt over the brownie and I had to at least have a couple of bites just to write this review,  I mean it would be rude not to… The brownie just melted in my mouth and even though I was full from nachos and the pie, I could have easily eaten another brownie! The portion size was perfect for a dessert and the flavours of the brownie and the chocolate sauce just came together perfectly.

After that, I spoke to the staff and thanked them for being such great hosts and generally just for looking after me and my team so well and also complimented them for the food. I then finished up and left a parting video on their Instagram, saying thanks to the staff for looking after me and also to everyone who was engaging with me on their Instagram story over on (@nicholsonspubs). If you tuned in then you know, that I announced a competition would be happening, well I can announce that is true and the winner shall receive a £50 gift voucher for Deacon Brodie’s Tavern in Edinburgh. You too can have the chance to have the same experience that I had at this lovely venue. Go on my Facebook (PookiepopBlog) on Monday, 1st May 2017 at 6 pm for all the information to find out how to win!

 

Enter the competition and you too could be as happy as me!

 

Conclusion

A great venue, that mixes traditional and modern that is based in the heart of Edinburgh overlooking the famous Royal Mile, with a charming decor along with great customer service. The food was incredible and the pie that I had is a pie that will live in the memory for a long time and the fudge brownie was just the perfect end to my day at Deacon Brodie’s Tavern. All the food on the menu is very affordable in terms of the quality and has changed my opinion firmly on “pub grub”. In conclusion, if you’re in Edinburgh and looking for a quality bite to eat but in a relaxed atmosphere then I highly recommend checking out this place.

You can find out more information about the venue by clicking here.

 

VENUE – 8/10

CUSTOMER SERVICE – 10/10

STARTER – 7/10

MAIN – 10/10

DESSERT – 9.5/10

VALUE FOR PRICE – 9

OVERALL – 8.9/10

 

Jay Carrington

Facebook/Twitter/Instagram

Cornerstone Review

At the ripe old age of 24, I still haven’t mastered the art of growing facial hair. I get whiskers above my top lip, the occasional bit of fluff on my chin and faded mutton chops. It’s not a great look, although some people can pull off the small amount of facial hair, I am not one one of those people.

I look less like this…

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and more like this…

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So even though I don’t have a fully-fledged man-beard that all the girls get excited over, I still need to shave even more than the average guy. Guys can pull off the cool, bearded look, guys cannot pull off the creepy paedo-tache look.

As a student, I’ve had an extremely busy few days spending the vast majority of my time in a library, generally not looking after my appearance.  I honestly spent 99.99999% of my time wearing an XXXXL sweatshirt, sweatpants and a beanie for my hair. It was only when I looked in the mirror and noticed that I was sporting a horrific paedo-tache that would have made Adam Johnson proud, I realised it is time to shave before I get arrested.

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Disgusting, right? Luckily subscription-based shaving brand, Cornerstone came to the rescue and sent me out a box so I could at least look like an approachable human being, thanks, Cornerstone!

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I had to prepare firstly by using the pre-face scrub, this scrub helps release any ingrown hairs, reduces shaving spots, unblock pores and lift dead skin cells for smoother, clearer skin. Also, it’s a really cement-like grey colour which is incredibly amusing as some of you would have noticed by my Snapchat (“ThePookiepop” if you’re looking for it).  It didn’t smell that great in comparison to the other the shaving gel and the post-shave balm, I’m not going to lie but afterwards, my skin felt incredible, so clear!

My next step was to finally shave – with my personally-engraved razor. For anybody who has ever lived in student halls or shared a flat with strangers it’s always recommended to label your items with your name on it – and now I have a razor with my initials on it.

I applied my shaving gel, it was like green goo and looked like a booger but it smelled amazing! Usually, shaving gel/foam smells just like soap or quite musky but this was made up of Eucalyptus oil with ginger extract. If it wasn’t filled with non-edible toxins I would have been smearing that on some toast!

I then picked up the razor and the first thing I noticed – apart from my beautiful initials – was how flexible the head was. Usually, razors have a such a firm head so when you’re shaving, it makes it more difficult to shave down your jawline without angling your wrist. With this razor, you can shave down your jawline and with its flexible head, it shaves without having to change the motion in your wrist. It really is the simple things in life.

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After my shave, I glanced up into the mirror and I was a changed man, but I was not finished just yet. I still had to use my post-shave balm, mint and honey? Yes, please! It really was as good as it sounds, it smelled even better than the gel and that’s saying something. Apart from the wondrous scent that was floating up my nostrils like a freshly-baked, Disney pie, the actual quality of the product was incredible. It was like a really good moisturiser that hydrated my skin without making it look oily and also reduces any post-shaving redness.

Everyone feels better when they take care of their appearance and I’m no different. A good, quality shave can make you feel so much better about yourself and that’s what you get with Cornerstone. The best thing about it is how affordable and convenient it is, through the subscription service as a non-regular shaver I would receive a box every 18 weeks containing:

  • Pre-Shave face scrub – £5
  • Shave gel/Foam – £6
  • 6 Razor blades – £14
  • Post-shave balm – £5

Total = £30

and you can design your box to what suits your own needs. I’m definitely a fan of the product and I recommend it to any other guys who don’t want to spend over the odds on shaving products but still want to use quality products.

Conclusion

The products are of a great quality, the razor isn’t heavy and the head is flexible. The pre-shave scrub is great for cleansing pores, the gel isn’t overly soapy and messy and the post-face balm is incredibly soothing.

We always hear horror stories with regards to subscriptions and I am the probably the most sceptical person when it comes to subscribing because it can be a nightmare to leave. However, with Cornerstone, there’s no commitment and you can cancel at any point making it all about the customer. You design your own box, you arrange when you want it delivered, you arrange when you want to pause your subscription, it’s all completely on the customer’s terms which helped put me at ease. If I didn’t believe in the subscription service, I wouldn’t recommend it.

I recommend you should at the very least sign up for this product and at least try it once, if you don’t like a certain product, you can remove it from the subscription. For the price of it, there’s no harm in at least giving it a try.

 

Jay Carrington

Facebook/Twitter/Instagram

Advice to My Younger Self: Just Be Yourself

Psssst! You, yeah you. I’ll let you into a little secret. Gather round… Comfortable? Here goes…  I wasn’t the same person I was 10 years ago. Baffling, right? That’s not to do with me having multiple personalities or anything like that but simply, I’m finally comfortable to be myself, I’m a little bit weird, a little bit eccentric and I’m totally fine with that, in fact I love that. It makes me original and I’ve never been happier and more content within my own skin. My one main regret is I only wish I knew how to be myself when I was a teenager.

It’s fair to say being a teenager is a strange time, your hormones are hyperactive and every day at school seems like you’re starring in Mean Girls. Before joining high school, I was a popular kid from my town who was doing well with his football, a few rough edges but hey, I was doing alright. I was cool and when you’re a kid, that’s all that matters  – even if it means naff all now, though)

All of that changed when I had to make the jump from primary school to high school, a transition that is never easy at the best of times. I not only had to make the jump but I had to jump to a high school outside of my catchment area where I knew no one and I was no longer the “cool kid”. I was just a regular boy – and my ego didn’t like that.

All I had learned about being “cool” from this small town was being a bit of a joker, rebellious, loud and generally being a bit of a dickhead and anybody who wasn’t… Well, they clearly weren’t cool. So when I went to a high school in this posh village and struggled to adapt, I couldn’t understand where I was going wrong. It was all I knew. Why no one was warming to this chavvy mess, is beyond me…

 

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That popped collar should tell you all you need to know about who I used to be

 

So as I struggled to fit in with my new classmates, common sense would tell anyone that maybe I should stop being such a nobhead and just be myself, be friendly, be approachable, engage with people.

 

Nah, mate. This spotty, hormonal, testosterone-filled walking ego was not going to bow to common sense. Clearly, I wasn’t being enough of the nob, I needed to up the stakes – it was embarrassing. It was so embarrassing to the point I pretended to not know who the Foo Fighters were and I kept repeatedly calling them “Food Fighters”. Bad times all round.

I had subconsciously developed a “small town” mentality and I played football with the usual “lads” who engaged in the classic “locker room banter”. Yes, locker room banter was a thing at 12 years old – apparently, if you used anything other than Lynx Africa shower gel you were instantly a homosexual. I’m not excusing myself for being a bit of a douchebag when I was younger, I was just easily influenced and going from being super cool and popular to not very cool and popular was incredibly difficult. It was a very confusing time

It took an inspirational Infinity on High album by Fall Out Boy to push me into my next phase -emo/scene. Whatever it was, that album changed me and I got inspired to pick up a bass guitar. Although I had some very questionable hair, it definitely made me a better person. I was more open-minded, I was pleasant, I was polite, I was friendly and funnily enough, I was less of an angsty teen. Sadly, this came after I left school but in the space of a year, I had changed massively and I started to reconnect with some “friends” from high school. By friends, I mean people who let me sort of mooch around with them at lunch but now, I have such a respect for those people who didn’t want to see me by myself – even if I was a bit of a cock.

 

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I became so much closer with these guys after I left school

 

Looking back now, at the ripe old age of 24, I’m now much more comfortable within myself, who I am and what I stand for. I understand now that being polite and friendly isn’t a sign of weakness or vulnerability but actually a sign of generally just being a good person. I realise now that being who you are will make you feel so much better about yourself and not only that, people will often like you if you are yourself. I know it may seem a tad cliche but honestly, if there is one thing I could tell my poorly-styled younger self, would be JUST. BE. YOURSELF.

The only person who told me that was my mum but when you’re a teenager you often don’t take your mother’s advice or you don’t appreciate it as much. It’s not been until I’ve grown up and looked back at the advice my mum has given me in the past to realise that my mum has been right about most things. I’m sure there are people who are currently going through the same situation or can at least relate to this article in some way. If you’re struggling to fit in, honestly just be yourself and let people love you for you. I wish, someone had told me that other than my mum and maybe I would have been a lot happier during my school years.

 

*This article was written in 30 minutes and inspired by a lot of wine and a meeting with my old school friend.*

 

Jay Carrington

Facebook/Twitter/Instagram

 

 

E Awards 2017

As most of you know, I disappeared in November to work on my event with a beautiful bunch of people from Edinburgh Napier University, that event was the Harry Potter Horcrux Hunt and you can read more about it here.

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It was a cool event to put on but I never thought anything more of it until our group received an email from our lecturer in January. Obviously, when a lecturer from your previous semester emails you, you’re naturally going to panic and assume you’ve failed – or maybe that’s just me and my crippling self-doubt. The email from our lecturer told us that she loved our event and had put us forward for the Student Event/Festival Excellence award at the Excellence in Events “E” Awards 2017.

That was in January and there are literally hundreds of student event groups in Scotland so again, we never thought much of it, until 3 weeks ago…

We received an email from our lecturer telling us we had been nominated for our event, it was nice to be nominated for an award and know your work is being appreciated. Also, I hadn’t been nominated for an award in a good few years since I knocked the music career on the head. It meant a lot for me personally, as someone who sees their career in PR and studying it. To even be nominated for something that reflects your future career, it does make you feel good knowing you’re on the right track in life.

We even found out that 2 of our competition were also from Edinburgh, including one from our very own Napier, which was quite nice knowing I made the right choice to come to this university/city. It goes to show, how important it is to choose the right university and city that will be best for your own career, rather than the most accessible. I can’t help but wonder that if I stayed in Glasgow, would this still have happened? I doubt it…

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The big day arrived and of course, anyone who has lived in Britain knows how bad the traffic is between 4pm-7pm. Now, imagine being on a motorway between the 2 biggest cities in Scotland – I lowkey think we would have been quicker walking. We arrived fashionably late and found our seats, just in time for the winner for our category to be announced…

WE LOST.

Ah well, it was fun while it lasted. There were free glasses of wine being passed about, so, every cloud and all that, eh?

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We did our obligatory post-event mingling session, a few pats on the back from individuals, shaken a few hands, congratulated winners and drank a lot of some wine. Considering we hadn’t eaten all day, we treated ourselves to a Nando’s for getting at least nominated – Everyone eats when they’re sad, don’t judge us!

We left soon after and it gave me time to think on the journey back to Edinburgh. I have more belief in my ability and although we never won, we did not bad, in my opinion. That is all the inspiration I need to push on and go and do even better next time. It’s amazing how such a little thing, such as confidence can make a huge difference to your own perception of things. It doesn’t need to be an award nomination, even just a nod or even a simple “well done” can make all the difference. Just a simple acknowledgement that you’re on the right track, it can put you in a good place mentally. If you’re reading this, and you know a colleague, classmate or just anyone in general who is doing good, tell them, let them know that they are. It could make the world of difference to them.

Before I go, I just want to say congratulations to the Robert Gordon University students for their Aberdeen Student Festival and also a huge mention to my partners in crime, Jeanie, Misbah and Rachael who were great to work with. Here’s to next year!

 

Jay Carrington

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My Online Hiatus Is Over (Part 2)

December

HERE WE GO! WOOO! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!

WRONG.

My first 10 days of this festive month was full of report deadlines, presentations, results, stress, tears and too many mental breakdowns to count.

However, I did it! I had (just about) survived 3 and a half months at university, I was indestructible and I felt I could conquer the world! On the 15th, my dad came to my flat in Edinburgh to drive me back home to Glasgow for Christmas and New Year and I went back home and lived happily ever after my dad crashed the car.

We were on the motorway heading towards Glasgow and the lane we were in was coned off and was diverting traffic into the other 2 lanes, my dad thought he could cut in late… He couldn’t. He then preceded to knock down a minimum of 15 cones while there were cars racing up behind us, beside us, everywhere. Cars were swerving all over the M8 to avoid the trail of cone destruction we left behind us. However, plans for a quick getaway were foiled by the 5-10 cones stuck underneath the car stopping the car from moving.

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We then temporarily blocked off the other lane to turn a 3-lane motorway into a 1-lane before being escorted by security into a cordoned off area while we waited for the police.

Usually, people get embarrassed by their parent’s dancing or clothing, I wish my dad kept it on a low-key scale like that.

An hour passed before the police showed up for less than 1 minute before we were on our way again, it actually got to the stage where I was hoping the police would take us to the station, give a fine, lock us up, just something to at least justify us being unable to move for a full hour.

Urgh, frustrating. However, fast forward to my birthday weekend…

Friday, 16th

Boys night! The first night we’ve spent together since Ryan went into the XFactor house, I moved to university in Edinburgh and Daniel, well he’s still there. So the 3 of us got a few beers, snacks and then headed back to Daniel’s for some boy time – no girls, no phones, no drama.

Saturday, 17th

After a chilled day,  I was soon only hours away from my 24th birthday. I was having a quiet night at my friend, Daniel’s flat playing some Fifa and having a few beers, until our dear friend Ryan calls us up and wants to join. Well, I’m not saying he’s a bad influence but our night went from a “quiet one” to this…

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I also had the pleasure of joining Tommy from the Glasgow reality-show, Glow. Reality “stars” often come across as cocky, douchey but again you have a select few who are genuinely nice, down to earth and a good laugh, Tommy definitely fits the latter category. A truly nice lad who invited us to join him and his friends at their table, it was such a nice way to see in my birthday with my closest friends and a group of people who know how to have a good time. I was glad to be home, I LOVE GLASGOW!

Sunday, 18th

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!!

I get woken up to the inevitable hangover but also a full English and a cup of tea courtesy of my dear mother. A few days prior to my birthday, Ryan broke the news to me that Emily had got him tickets to see The 1975 on the Monday, a band me and him both love – and we had seen in March that year. INCREDIBLE! However, for my birthday they both got me a ticket to Clyde 1 Live, so I could literally see The 1975 on my birthday along with Tom Odell and Blossoms at the SSE Hydro. FAR. TOO. HYPED.

I met Ryan and Emily at the venue and we went and got seated at the back of the middle tier, I was third-wheelin’ but when The 1975 are on-stage I could be 33rd wheelin’ and I still not care. Blossoms followed The 1975 and then Kaiser Chiefs performed before a 20-minute interval. In that time, Ryan and Emily got noticed, I went to the toilet, came back and there was a full-blown queue so people could get pictures with them. Fair play to them for smiling for each picture while I sat next to them like a right gooseberry. I was lowkey tempted to tell the queue that they were ruining my birthday. However, shout out to Molly and Emily who invited me to go and sit with them while the queue should no signs of slowing down. Unsurprisingly, Ryan and Emily left pretty much soon after, I stayed for Tom Odell with my new friends before going home. It’s been a long one but finally, my birthday was over, but the party wasn’t.

Monday,19th

I am one day older than my very dear and beautiful friend, Carly Starrs so to celebrate her birthday we attended the Atlantic bar and Brasserie in the city centre of Glasgow. The food and customer service was spot on and I recommend it to anyone looking for a place to go in Glasgow.

The highlight of this night was being surrounded by all my friends and especially seeing my best friend have a smile on her face on her big day. The girl is a true friend and I was glad I was able to see in her birthday with her. 7v6v7o5y

That weekend took its toll on me and left me needing a few days of recuperation but if I was feeling fragile, that was just the beginning of my family’s health problems. In the following days, my great Aunt Neta went into hospital after blanking out, her sister, my gran went into hospital due to having problems breathing but she was luckily let out on Christmas eve. Two days after Christmas and my gran then gets taken back into hospital and gets diagnosed with pneumonia, all of this while knowing my mum has to go for an operation on the 30th to get gallstones removed.

The 30th December is the day where people get prepared for New Year’s Eve, they’re buying alcohol, they’re laying out their outfit for the following evening and looking forward to welcoming in a new year. I, however, had my great aunt in a hospital in Glasgow and I had my mum AND my gran in another hospital on the same day. I remember coming back to my house after leaving my mum in hospital to an empty house and it’s a weird feeling sitting in an empty house and having neither your mum there or being able to go to you visit your gran.It was probably the only time where I had ever felt truly alone.

I completed my errands for my mum and Gran and managed to visit my gran and also my mum post-op who was clearly still a bit dazed from the anaesthetic. My mum, got out the following day but sadly my Gran had to stay in for at least another week.

P.s

You may be wondering what happened between the 19th and the 30th, I’m not going to lie, it was purely family and friend time but here’s a breakdown:

  • I consumed my weight in turkey and pigs & blankets.
  • The world also lost musical icon, George Michael on Christmas Day and we paid tribute to him with this beautiful video
  • I managed to spend Christmas day with my family – and Boxing day with my second family – The Lawrie’s lfwcrqb3

 

but the highlight of December was definitely taking this beautiful woman to the Glasgow Christmas Market. All the partying, all the studying and everything in between means nothing without this woman. The light of my life and my inspiration to become a better person and how she handles any sort of problem that encounters her path with such grace and dignity. The best mother I could ask for.

lhmxdrkm

Jay Carrington

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My Online Hiatus Is Over (Part 1)

Well… I should start this by saying HAPPY OLD YEAR and MERRY BELATED CHRISTMAS.We are officially into the second month of 2017 and I am yet to post, in fact, I haven’t posted in 4 months… FOUR MONTHS! My activity on social media has nose-dived more spectacularly than Arsenal’s title challenge this season

… There’s always next season, eh lads? Lads?!

I have been offline for a few months, rarely popping online to be nosey and occasionally Retweet stuff I was either obligated to or generally anti-Trump/pro-equality – both are pretty much the same thing. Although I have been keeping a low profile online, I have been busy with my personal life. As any student knows or even if you have friends who have students, December is deadline month and November is the month you spend being stressed about December, hence why I was inactive online over those 2 months… but still remained active in real life.

November

On the 12th November, I was honoured to be asked to attend the Rainbow Valley Charity Ball at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow. You can read more about them here at their website and what the charity are doing and the story about why they are doing it. Working with Angela MacVicar and Lindsay MacCallum on a campaign in 2016 was definitely one of my highlights and all for an amazing cause.

I attended the ball with my best friend of many years, Clare Armstrong (she wanted a mention). Due to me moving away from Glasgow, her studying and working a lot, we haven’t seen as much of each other as we would have liked. Since I was going to be back home in Glasgow the event, it felt fitting that I kill 2 birds with one stone (I have just realised that is an incredibly grim analogy.) I felt this was the perfect chance to have a catch-up like old times so we got dolled up and headed to the ball.

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Halfway through the night, the alcohol – and the central heating – kicked in so of course, the jacket had to come off for a pose

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While all this was going on, the full night was incredible and full of fun and entertainment coming from cheerleading group, The Scottish Rockettes, Govan School Pipes and Drums and also real-life Sherlock Holmes (without all the murder and detective-y stuff), Colin Cloud.collage

The night was a hugely enjoyable and was also a huge success with a lot of money being raised for a great cause – tickets are already on sale for the 2017 ball, to purchase tickets click here.

The Rainbow Valley Charity Ball was my last public event I attended as a guest, however for one of my university modules I had to host an event with some people I had never met before. We bandied together and created a Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt in the city of Harry Potter, Edinburgh. The event was called  Harry Potter Horcrux Hunt.

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The event was a huge success with the event selling out and gaining quite a large waiting list. For my first proper event, this was definitely a great start and I have just found out that the event is being put forward for an award so, we’re definitely excited. Considering the amount of work and stress that went into this, we could not have been more pleased with the outcome – and nor could the winning group, The Blast Ended Skrewts who won a £50 bar tab and a cup for their achievements.

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The event was incredible to put together and was made even better working with my group who were just the coolest guys to work especially on such an event. As a huge Harry Potter fan, I was so glad I managed to do this especially with so many notorious Harry Potter landmarks around this beautiful city.

We had to get a post-event picture so our faces are something of that of relief, exhaustion and 10 weeks of stress coming to and end. Don’t be fooled by the picture, we were incredibly happy!

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me, Jeanie, Rachael and Misbah (MJR Events)

 

November, was a funny ol’ month, but I was looking forward to December so I could go back home and see my friends and put all my studying and stress behind me…

 

Jay Carrington

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