Life

Let’s Talk About a Few Myths…

We’ve all heard that to lose weight, you must stop drinking, ditch your favourite foods, never eat a sweet/dessert again. And you know what, whether there is science behind losing weight like this or not, there is a science about every FAD diet out there and they don’t work for everyone. I’m going to go through a few of these so-called you won’t lose weight this way and talk about my experience.

1. You Have to Stop Drinking….

And I should start frequenting cafes with my parents when they come up and we watch the rugby. I’ve never been a huge drinker but, when I do a shop I’ll buy a couple bottles of wine and I’ll drink one bottle a weekend. I didn’t stop drinking to lose weight, I just moderated my intake and if I do have a little more than usual then, you can bet I’ll be out running the next day. But, you don’t have to stop drinking alcohol, well I’ve found that to be my case. There’s all these studies out there showing you’ll gain weight by drinking alcohol, and yes you would if you never did any exercise and guess what, walking is an exercise so, just increase your exercise, grab your dog or your aunts dog or your nans dog and go for a little walk. It may not be much but, you are still exercising and you’ll not gain loads of weight.

2. You Can Never Eat Puddings Again…(the horror)

I won’t be giving up cheesecake or ice cream any time soon. And you know what, a little treat never harmed anyone, every now and again. You’re more likely to gain weight by eating an ice cream tub a day. I should point out I’ve lost around 1 1/2 stone so far and now I’m toning up after a few weeks of illness and I do all these things. I’d admit it if I didn’t. So, it goes back to the fabled line of…exercise is key to losing weight, you can still enjoy yourself but, just fit in some time for a run or head to the gym. My nan walks around her block, where she lives most days and that’s her exercise to go along with eating foods.

3.Ditch those favoured foods?

Did you know, I never even ate unhealthy and I piled on the pounds but, you know what I did do- I started making excuses as to why I stopped running. I still eat the same foods as before, except I do watch my portions and I do sit-ups, press-ups, squats etc on a daily basis. If you haven’t already  got it, exercise is the theme in this post. My mum and I are both losing weight and exercising and we never really changed our foods. My parents from day one- taught us about eating healthy, didn’t take us to mcdonalds for ease, encouraged us to learn how to cook and to this day my mum, still teaches me about making curries!

HOWEVER….

I did change some of the way I drink. I was the type of person to drink fizzy pop each day alongside milk and juice. So, yes I cut out fizzy pop at the beginning and I don’t always drink it now. It’s not something I crave or miss. I do drink a lot of water, its healthy, calorie free and its been shown to give great benefits in losing weight and maintaining the new weight. Also, I drink green tea! It refreshes and flushes my system every night to start again the next day. So, do introduce some new foods and drinks to your diet, it’ll work wonders but you don’t need to cut out the old foods you enjoy either.

Assignment One

Critical Reflexive Analysis: ShakeItUp

ShakeItUp is a social media platform, created by Katie Furness, Sophie Antunes and Stephanie Watson (myself) who form KSS Productions. Our idea was to create a social media platform, geared towards cultural diversity, to be used by university students where a cultural barricade is most evident.

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Originally, ShakeItUp was designed as a mobile application however; I was worried about producing a working prototype which included the features Sophie envisioned. Upon further research, an Entrepreneur article stated that we should find a technological expert to create the application. No-one in the group had a technological background or knew someone so, I suggested we develop the product into a social media platform enabling us to use Ryan, Katie’s experienced, technologically minded friend.

We met weekly, enabling us to choose tasks to complete for the next meeting while keeping updated on the progress of our prototype. But, I forgot to complete all the content in the first week, which led to issues on pitch day. Although, I did enjoy researching cocktails/mocktails and their histories, giving me ideas for next time I fancy making drinks in our student house. Watch out housemates, you’ll be my testers. Sophie forgot to research into the legal issues leading to myself, taking the responsibility on while creating our pitch presentation and script which led me to feel that I had contributed more than the others to our presentation. I did enjoy the research aspect despite my feelings, as I found some rather interesting journals and it allowed me to visit my own little happy-research world- I enjoy researching immensely. A key decision within our group was to film ourselves making cocktails/mocktails to demonstrate the products interactivity and enabled the group to bond as we could not stop laughing every time something was spilled or did not taste quite right. Just so you know, red grape fruit juice is not an okay substitution for white grape fruit juice…

Communication is an issue within KSS because we only saw the finished prototype on presentation day, despite asking to see it beforehand. Also, the prototype was not what I had envisioned or how it had been described. Since then, we have discovered the platform does not have a registration option which, we were assured would be created plus drinking games not incorporated onto the platform, or a profile page. If I had known that these issues had developed, I would have tried to learn the technological side, instead of developing my research skills or insisted we use an expert in the Sheffield area permitting us to have more power over development. We were left scrambling for content, due to my mistake however, I had asked the previous night whether we needed to retrieve the recipes from Cocktails of the World and received no answer. Myself and Sophie spent the morning, with bed heads as we messaged each other about finding content, making jokes about sitting in pjs, in the comfort of our own homes whilst Katie sat in the library.

Developing the prototype, pitching it to an audience with no previous technological skills has taught me to have more confidence in my presentation/development abilities. Furthermore, my task was to develop research for content, legality and privacy issues, which taught me how social media platforms function without law-breaking as well as, how to narrow down research to key texts.

One key text that I found useful is The Facebook Case; you’ll find a breakdown of the article by clicking here. It helped me gain an understanding of the ethical issues you may encounter while developing a social media platform and demonstrated the openness of individuals on their own social media profiles, including myself, when it comes to privacy. I was excited about discovering this text, as it raised a few questions I have since been   considering; why are people so open to strangers? How long did the research take? How big of an issue is social media? The article stirred my interest and made developing the prototype an enjoyable, yet slightly stressful learning experience for an assignment I feared but also, opened my eyes to possibly answering assignment two about social media, which will enable me to delve further into the world of research surrounding social media, especially as this is an older article. There is a wonderment, about discovering what scholars are now saying, with more platforms being developed and I get to dive head first into it.

 

Assignment One

SHAKEITUP: Product Breakdown

 

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Product Logo

Its 1am; intoxicated, cheering women with no previous friendship stand sipping their drinks in the Ladies at Groove Nightclub. The product utilises this alcohol-induced friendship to encourage the interaction of different cultures through the development of a social media platform inspired by Twitter and Facebook. Click here to visit ShakeItUp.

To sign up to the product, you will need an existing WordPress login which will allow you to view the content and begin using ShakeItUp. It has its own domain, which means the product has a specific, catchy URL: http://www.shake-it-up.co.uk/. You’ll simply have to type in the above URL and the product will appear. The product used WordPress.Org which allowed us to create plugins, and add an exterior service to prevent spam, giving you a better experience. When you sign up, you have two options; using the products free version which limits your access to recipes of cocktails/mocktails from seven countries and playing classic drinking games. However, you will still gain full access to the forums where you are encouraged to share tips, cultural knowledge and exchange recipes. Instead you must opt for access to the cheap £2 per year premium option gaining access to 21 countries cocktail/mocktail recipes, and attaining the ability to create your own drinking games to play. You can access the forums, engaging with free and premium members.

You’ll find the product easy to interface with, its set out in a simple layout with bright colours to attract you and fit in with the theme; multiculturality. There is a navigation bar that allows you to flit from one feature to another, which you perceive when you gain access to the product. To gain access to cocktail/mocktail recipes, click the flag of the country you want to experience, it’s interactive, educational and considered a hidden affordance, if you are not aware that clicking the flag, will take you to the countries recipes. The product invites you to share the resulting cocktail/mocktail, an image, impressions and any changes to the recipe in the forums or create a forum, if you cannot find a suitable topic that invites people to join your discussion. It offers drinking games, with access to different levels dependent upon your membership status with classic games such as ‘ring of fire’ available in the unpaid membership, and the option to play classic games alongside creating your own as a premium member. Also, you can share and play your new drinking games across the products with individuals across the world.

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The Product

The purpose of this product is to enhance communication across the world, breaking cultural barriers and educate others about the different cultures. However, it does not have a social media posts page that you can use to update your friends, which you would assume a social media platform contains, also referred to as a false affordance. It should eliminate the need for multiple applications on your phone to; play drinking games and concoct cocktails/mocktails. It will retrieve cultural traditions and lost knowledge allowing you to understand why individuals may act in a certain way and become more accepting of them. It could be problematic and harmful to you if underage drinking occurs, getting ‘irresponsibly’ drunk affecting your careers and life and could attract racist individuals who target others.

There is a void in the market for this type of social media platform. Click here to view the market research. Aside from the premium membership money, the site relies on advertisers paying us, to reach you. Adverts can vary dependent upon the products members, and the country in which they originate. For example, if most members are American students, advertisements that appear will be aimed at them. There are multiple opportunities to grow the product that will make it more successful which has been taken from feedback given to improve your user experience. A private chat bar can be installed for you to be able to have private conversations with new friends. An Instagram inspired development will grant you the ability to view, post and comment on cocktail/mocktail images using #ShakeItUp(nameofdrink). Finally, the site will become a mobile application so; you can chat and play remotely.

Please Find The Video Below Of The Developers Trying Their Own Product Out:

 

 

 

 

 

Life

My Nan’s Christmas Tarts

“Traditions, family, cheer and laughter! XMAS is approaching fast…Preparations must start soon!”

Sheffield Christmas Market thrives every year, and I always look forward to the cakes, desserts, sweets stands because I just love the smell. But, I don’t over-indulge in that type of food anymore, the key to success in dropping some of the weight I’d gained over the last few years.

Instantly, I saw this daily prompt and I knew I wanted to write about the xmas market. There is a small link to ‘tart’ but, this is the first thought that popped into my head which, I find is the best way to blog. Last year, I had begun living in Sheffield and so, I got to enjoy the magnitude and popularity of our xmas market. It was great, you get to try foods from around the world, drinks-alcoholic and normal, cakes, buy knick knacks and jewellery.

I splashed out on some earrings last year however, I wanted to buy stuff from every stall but, I’m a student and so, I have to be responisble with my money. Especially, with xmas fast approaching and presents to buy. I normally split the load with my older brother, John however, this year he’s having to buy his own mostly-nan and grandad are still a joint venture. In all our families, we have someone that is difficult to buy for…Grandad is the culprut in our family. What do you buy for the 80 year old man with everything? It’s impossible. I already bought him the Dad’s Army Box Set for his birthday, so I’ve had my one good idea for the year present wise with him. He’s currently thinking about it himself, maybe we’ve finally reached the point where he doesn’t need anything!

Here comes the link to tarts! There is nothing better than home cooking and my nan loves to bake so, every year she makes mince pies, jam tarts and lemon curd tarts which taste amazing and there are always so many of them that we have enough to last January. It’s my favourite time of year, who doesn’t love christmas baking and we all have traditions like this which is great. Overall, it’s the time of year that we all come together and celebrate as a family. I wish I could bring my nan to Sheffields Christmas Market and see her face as she gets ideas about what to bake this year.

One day it’ll be my tradition, with my family and I’ll be the baker who goes to a Christmas Market for celebration but for the time being, it’s still my nans job. All I know, it’s getting to that time of year where frost makes your nose red, we sniffle even if we don’t have a cold and the fluffy coats, hats and gloves begin to make appearances. The latter half of the year is always my favourite time of year, it’s the seasons I thrive in!!

via Daily Prompt: Tart

Entertainment, Life

Life in Song

What is the last song you listened to? Heaven Knows- The Pretty Reckless.

I don’t know why I love this song, I just do. I’ve liked it from the moment I heard it on youtube while browsing one day. Music provides an escape for us all, I can tell you the last three songs I listened to today aside from this. They are my favourites, I listen to them a lot and not beacuase I relate to the, I just like them. These songs leave me in my own little world.

Here are some of my favourites and why I love them:

Don’t You Forget About Me

This song is from one of my favourite films in the entire world, and something my mum and dad also enjoy; The Breakast Club. This song just puts me in my own world, where I’m thinking about my family. I always think I must look funny to the people walking past me becuase I either mouth the words, sometimes I’m doing a little jiggle or I’m just smiling about something it reminded me of. So today, I was smiling because I was remembering this weekend when movie night with mum consisted of the Harry Potter DVD starting on its own which led to her telling it that, it should stop and eject itself also. She’s daft and I love her. It was Halloween and kind of spooky though…

Highway To Hell

Okay, I have a love AC/DC, which I attribute to my dad. He loves them too. We have a thing every Christmas where he buys me a mystery CD. It’s normally a band he likes which he wants me to try. It works out quite well. I still enjoy listening to Primal Scream and The Clash. Both CD’s feature on my iPod. Also, the rock/punk/80s music seems to really help me keep motivated while studying. I don’t know why. So, I was listening to this in Wilkinsons and resisting the urge to break out into air guitar as it played. I did resist but, in my head I was rocking it. People would look at me strange if I did it or maybe they would join in if they knew it was this song I was listening too. Maybe, this is what we all think when we are listening to music.

See You Again

For anyone that knows me, I’m not your stereotypical girl who just loves romcoms and thats it. My taste lies in the Action/Adventure/Thriller/Drama. I have an ecelectic taste is what I’m saying. One of my favourite film franchises is Fast and Furious which is strange because I’m not into cars like that at all. But, I love this song. When I went to see the most recent fast and furious film this song came on at the end and I cried. I listen to this song a lot, and it just makes me so emotional. I love the cinema and everytime I hear this, I just think of how amazing the film is and how different they will be now.

I don’t want to be

This just a song that I could listen to for days. I’m always resisting the urge to burst out into song when it comes on my iPod. Funny story; I was walking the dog once on a farm track nearby where I’m from and this came on. I forgot myself and started to sing along. I was about halfway through and turned around to see a guy who lives a few houses down walking his dog behind me. So, when he sees me, he always smiles now. I think he is remembering this. I would reccommend Gavin Degraw to him though. Moral of the story; sometimes you get in funny situations but if you love the song why not belt it out for others to hear whether you can sing or not.

You Give Love a Bad Name

Please don’t judge me but, when I was younger I used to think that they were singing ‘you give love a band aid’…It is a source of amusement in our house for years and my parents still laugh when this begins to play. It reminds me of family holidays when dad would put the CD on it the car. It is just a fun memory and probably a funny one for my parents. They teased me for days. It was pretty funny though, I sometimes laugh at myself.

Hooked On a Feeling 

If I could just put the entire Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack on this post I would. I particularly love this song. I have no idea why, I’m being serious but I can’t help but sing along when I hear it. I’ve wrote many an essay, dancing and typing to this. I’m doing that now actually. Better not we don’t want any spelling mistakes now do we…it’s just so good I got to dance. Recently, introduced my mum to the film over the summer. She was singing along to all the songs. Her exact comment was I love this film because of the music.

Thriller

I could choose so many songs but, I’m going to leave you with this one. Now, Halloween was yesterday but that is not why I picked it. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN 13 GOING ON 30? I have with my mum. It is one of her favourite films and she introduced to me. Well, in this film there is a part where Jennifer Garner starts dancing to Thriller and Mark Ruffalo joins in. Everytime I hear the song, I just remember the scene. It’s great!

Here’s a great song, that I’m going to leave you to play. It’s a classic and I always dance to it. Remember, music is an escape for most of us and it puts you into your own world. Well these are just a few for you to listen to. Maybe you should make a post yourself about this? We should all share our favourite songs for everyone to listen too…

Time Warp

via Discover Challenge: Song

Student Life

FRED Week

Well, last week at university we had something called a FRED week. I know what you are thinking…who is FRED and why does a university have a week based on a person well, we don’t. FRED was a professional development week in which we could sign up to sessions such as; Grad Talks aimed at a specific year, alternative media, blogging etc. It helps you to develop already growing skills, attend interesting talks and it gave you a relaxed week to get on top of those dreaded assignments.

I attended three classes overall, and spent other days getting assignments sorted….

So, the first class I attended was a little introduction that will help with my elective module next year; alternative media. It focused on alternative medias i.e. music etc and how there are so many different forms of media alternative to the mainstream forms we are used too. For example, the fanzine. It concluded with a documentary on The Ramones a punk band from the 80’s. Overall, I enjoyed the talk and found a new band to listen too so, I’d say its a pretty good experience and has given me some insider knowledge for next term.

Next, I went to a class on how to write a good blog post. Yes, I am now writing a blog post. But am I following what he said? Overall, I blog the way he was talking about anyway including pictures, breaking up text and adding sub-heading where appropriate. The only thing I slightly disagree with is the idea a blog post that will get the most hits has to be around 1500 words long. I get bored reading long ones sometimes, why would I subject someone else to that? I think posts should vary based on the topic, passion and if you can right 1500 words on a topic. How do you not run out of steam? I’m getting off topic here. In all honesty, there is no correct blog post length you either attract people to your blog or don’t it is the way it works.

Finally, I went to a graduate talk for Third Year students. I do fit into this category just so we are clear. I’m in my final year. I found it very rewarding. The lady went through assessment centres, graduate schemes etc and gave us a practical task. She constantly asked how confident we felt and then told us to book an appointment with her in order to get more advice. She was generally helpful and gave me much more confidence in myself to find a job.

Third Year Sneaks up on you and then boom… you’re out in the real world!

So, FRED week was good but getting my presentation sorted made me feel much better and clarifying essays. I feel much more on top of assignments which must mean I had a productive week overall. I think organisation is key in third year of risk being trampled by every event, assignment and meeting you need to attend.