So I’ve been thinking about getting into blogging a bit more but can’t decide what to focus on. So far I’ve written about mental health and music but there are many other things that interest me. I am just going to go ahead and blog about whatever I feel like and if definite subject areas arise I might start some new blogs but for now it’s just about stuff I’m doing, thinking and interested in.

Berlin marathon runners

Over the last year I’ve gotten into twitter. I wouldn’t really recommend this. Whilst Facebook will make you wish you weren’t friends with some of your real friends, twitter will make you want to be friends with people you don’t even know. However, it does have some benefits. On twitter I followed @bangsandabun and got the idea of doing the Berlin half marathon. I had been wanting to do more regular exercise but felt like I needed a goal to make me do that. And as I grew up in Germany for a few years and hadn’t been back since 1996 it seemed like a brilliant opportunity to practice my language skills. And when my lovely friend Steph agreed to take the crazy step with me it was that extra push to go ahead and book everything! Continue Reading »


This article originally appeared on the Restless Beings website on the 3rd Feb 2012.

I first heard about Restless Beings whilst attending a photography exhibition by Ruhul Abdin, one of the founders of Paraa, another charitable organisation doing great work.

Dhaka, photograph by Ruhul Abdin

Dhaka, photograph by Ruhul Abdin

The Bromley-by-Bow Centre was unknown to me and I walked right past it down a deserted residential street. It was dark and I had no idea where I was going. Heading back towards where I had come from I met some people who were also lost and also attending the event. We made it.

Inside the centre I chatted to some friends and had some samosas, taking in the images of Dhaka. The photographs filled some of the void in my knowledge of the city. Over-crowded streets and countless bikes and buses. But mostly people. Dhaka is densely populated and the Para team informed us of its serious housing issues. Every room, garden and yard is put to maximum use. Continue Reading »

Weed smoke, grown men fainting and people with no concept of personal space could not stop me enjoying this night. Since attending this event I have sported at least two hairstyles inspired by Erykah Badu. Yes, she was that good.

Erykah Badu

Am yet to master this style

With a DJ support act the diva kept us waiting a little while. When her band came on and played an incredibly long but funky intro the crowd became more and more focused on the stage. Despite the sloping floor people stretched their necks to witness Badu’s entrance. And there she was, in pigtails, a cowboy hat and her signature long poncho. She greeted us and opened her set with a song called ‘Happy to see you again’, extending her warmth and initiating us into the funk that was to penetrate our souls. Continue Reading »

As the growing crowd waited for the acts to come on stage there was an excited anticipation in the air. For anyone who does not know of J Dilla, he was a highly original music producer and founding member of hip hop collective Slum Village. Sadly he died in 2006 of a rare blood disease and lupus. Many describe him as a genius and he was worked with countless famous artists including Janet Jackson, Erykah Badu, Busta Rhymes, Common, De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest.

Jay Dilla

Jay Dilla

My friend, one of the biggest Dilla fans I know, bobbed up and down enthusiastically as some of Dilla’s later tunes were pumped out by the somewhat distorted Jazz café soundsystem. A group of people near the front seemed to have practiced Dilla dance routines at home as they danced energetically in sync with each other. It was incredibly crowded but the vibe seemed laid-back, cool and even slightly geeky. Dilla fans tend to be really into their music. Continue Reading »

Marie Claire recently reported that mental health problems are found in two thirds of women. I find this statistic quite worrying and I ask myself what is causing all this distress. In the last few years the pressures on women do seem to have significantly increased and diversified. We are expected to be all things to all people: Look good, have great careers, earn our own money, be independent (look after ourselves) but also nurturing (look after others), and if we have children we must be perfect mothers who succeed at work, prepare nutritious meals at home and never let the strain show.


One thing we can do is ask ourselves where these demands are coming from. It is admirable to have high standards and expect the best of ourselves. However, if those standards are set by anyone other than ourselves we are living someone else’s life. Celebrity culture scrutinizes women brutally for how they look, advertising encourages us to fear ageing as well as less than sparkly clean homes, and facebook wants to broadcast our degree and work history! Then there are the expectations of our families, friends and people we meet throughout our lives. Continue Reading »