Category Archives: Seven…
In 2013 I read 51 books. Less than the 65 I read last year but still, not too shabby.
Here are 7 that I remember the most or were more notable for some reason or other.
How To Be A Woman – Caitlin Moran
Marmite Moran, loved and hated on Twitter. I loved this book and wasn’t really expecting to. I’ve not read much about feminism before I admit and there’s a lot more I could venture into I’m sure. I would like to be her friend. In a ‘she seems cool’ way not an ‘I haven’t any friends I’m going to stalk her’ way.
Unbroken A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption – Laura Hillenbrand
Amazing book. Wikipedia Louis Zamperini the real man behind the true story. Incredible.
Coraline, The Graveyard Book, Neverwhere, Stardust, Good Omens – Neil Gaiman
I discovered Neil Gaiman! How I hadn’t before I don’t know and I felt late to a freaky party (Yes, yes, I know 5 at once makes more than 7, it’s sort of cheating but this is my blog and I can do what I like). I think my favourite was Neverwhere. I watched Coraline over the Christmas holidays and I don’t know what disturbed me more, the book or the film. Just weird. It’s those button eyes. Arrggh! My favourite was Neverwhere or Stardust, I can’t decide.
American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis
The majority of the books I read tend to be thrillers or horrific in some way but American Psycho is bloody horrible. Also ace. I need to watch the film but haven’t got round to finding it. One day I’ll use that thing they call ‘The Internet’ and maybe order it online.
The Magicians – Lev Grossman
This was a strange one for me to read but it was different to other books and kept my interest all the way through.
My Mad, Fat Teenage Diary – Rae Earl
A fun book but with a serious topic of mental health. It was made into a Channel 4 programme and series 2 starts soon. Worth a read and a watch.
Asylum Matt Drabble
’13 Tales of Terror’. I don’t usually read short stories but this is 13 stories within a story and it ties together well. An ex-journalist goes to work in a mental hospital and the tales are of patients who reside there. Scary and freaky, just the way I like it. Matt Drabble’s other books are also well worth a read if you like horror fiction. You can also follow him on Twitter @MattDrabble01
So I suppose my aim for 2014 is to read even more book and try and be as varied in my genres as possible.
I’ve just started using Goodreads too so you can find me on there.
After being inspired by Hugh on his River Cottage Veg programme we decided to try and go veggie for a whole week. We often eat meat free meals anyway but we set ourselves the challenge to see if we could do it. (We had to overdose on fillet steak on Saturday night before we commenced though!)
These are the meals we had.
Sunday – Butternut and sage risotto
Monday – Roast vegetable couscous with feta cheese
A Stacey throw together special. Roast peppers, onions and tomatoes, make cous cous with a nice stock (I use Knorr veg stockpot), mix it all together, crumble feta on the top (in my case 4 syns worth). Job done.
Tuesday – Sweet potato and spinach dhal
Wednesday – Veggie sausage casserole
I cooked leeks, carrots, butterbeans, a squirt of tomato puree, smoke paprika and veg stock on the hob while the Cauldron Lincolnshire sausage were in the oven. When they were done I cut them into bite size pieces and mixed it all together before serving. I quite enjoyed the Cauldron sausages, peppery and herby and I didn’t really feel pork deprived. *Insert your own joke here!!*
Thursday – Spinach & Mushroom Lasagne
Just my usual recipe, I used fresh spinach, dried wholewheat lasagne and made a mushroom sauce with some Light Philadelphia. Virtuously resisted having garlic bread with it too.
This was niiiice. I’m not much of a salad muncher preferring hot food but you can’t go wrong with hot melty cheese. As usual I got a bit excited with the chilli flakes but it did great for my winter sniffs.
Saturday – Veggie burgers
These were much tastier that I imagined they would be, I could’ve eaten the mix on its own. Next time I won’t use honey though as I prefer a more savoury taste. So filling I ate them on their own with no buns.
All in all we did well. A couple of bacon cravings but it’s definitely made me realise we could eat even more meals without meat. Let me know of your own favourite veggie recipes.
I read all the time and yet I always forget to blog about them so… here are a few of the books I have read recently that you may or may not enjoy too.
Seven Deadly Sins – Corey Taylor
The man the legend wrote a book and it’s really great. Not just because it’s Corey Taylor either. It’s funny and makes you question what actually constitutes a sin and maybe that we shouldn’t care too much about it anyway. As long as we’re keeping ourselves and others happy and not hurting anyone else then who gives a flying?
A book which will make you a bit paranoid the next time you sneeze. I think the combination of a male and a female writer works out well because it was pacy and exciting without dwelling too much on the relationships and love stories which some female writers can do and detract it away from the story. The main characters didn’t annoy me and there is always something happening. Killing Cupid is also worth a read too, plenty of twists and turns and you can’t guess how it’s going to pan out until it happens.
Unlikely Killer – Ricki Thomas
A serial killer is on the loose taking on different guises to lure victims. Lots of deaths, grim but gripping.
God Collar – Marcus Brigstocke
Would appeal to atheists and the God fearers alike. I’m somewhere between the two. He describes his own difficulty with his faith in God without being rude and disrespectful to people’s beliefs like some staunch atheists can be. I concluded that I still like to believe there is a God/power up there and feel better believing than not. Not because I have any fear that I’ll burn in hell if I don’t but I feel more hopeful and more comforted that there is a God and a lovely place called heaven than just nothing and I don’t really care about having evidence. (Which is strange considering I am an advocate of evidence and research in a lot of other areas I am interested in!)
How To Be A Woman – Caitlin Moran
Now I’m not very good at being a proper woman or what I would consider to be considered a proper woman or maybe what I hate to think is considered a proper woman! However, this book made me realise that I am quite normal and I am a feminist. That’s a bit of a terrible thing to say, of course I’ve always believed we should be equal but I’ve always thought it was just about hating men, and moaning : o As I’ve never really felt at a loss being a breasted human I didn’t really think I needed to worry much. Turns out I don’t, I can just be who I want to be which is a relief because I always have anyway! Her stories from growing up are very funny and I think I love her. If you own breasts, read it. Even if you don’t, read it.
Sugar & Spice – Saffina Desforges
Cool name but the title misleads. It’s not at all nice. Tagline on this one is ‘the controversial psycho-sexual thriller’ which of course caught my attention. It’s a tough subject, a child’s murder and a mother’s need to find the killer and bring them to justice. It’s not a jolly read but if you like a good thriller then you’ll love it.
Truth, Dare, Kill – Gordon Ferris
Set in post war London, Danny McRae is a private investigator dealing with his past when he is set a challenge by a mysterious woman. He is to get to the bottom of a disappearance and subsequent murders in the red light district whilst dealing with some undesirable characters both criminal and in powerful positions. I liked this because of the different time period which made it distinctive.
Right, there’s just a few for you.
I will try and keep up, keep my book blogging boots going.
Thanks for reading about reading.
These are my seven hopes for 2011.
1) Continue to be happy and healthy and inspire others to be the same.
2) That my already great relationships with my lovely man, family and friends continue to be so.
3) To further develop my work as Inspire Health and Mind including Drug Training, expanding EFT for recovery, and involving service users and volunteers.
4) To complete the Post A Week Challenge and blog at least once a week about whatever the hell I like.
6) House and garden improvement.
7) Earn enough money to pay my bills and be comfortable as a self-employed free spirit.
There, that should do for now.
I’d be interested to hear your own hopes for 2011. You know where I am. ; )
Not the jolliest of topics but I reckon quite apt and interesting to think about during Alcohol Awareness Week. Quite a few of these deaths were due to choking on vomit. High amounts of Alcohol can suppress the gag reflex (as can other Depressant drugs at high doses) which makes it deadly if someone falls unconscious. This is why it is important to try not to leave people who are very drunk or at the very least leave them in the recovery position to minimise the risks of choking.
Jimi Hendrix aged 27
The man without whom my partner’s leg and my brother’s back would be very bare. Jimi choked on his own vomit which apparently mainly consisted of red wine. He had also taken sedatives. Incidentally this is the picture we have up in our living room!
Bon Scott – Lead Singer AC/DC aged 33
His friend had left him to sleep it off in the back of his car and found him dead the next morning. Death caused by ‘aspiration of vomit’ and ‘acute alcohol poisoning’.
John Bonham – Drummer Led Zeppelin aged 32
According to good old Wikipedia…
…it emerged that in the 24 hours before he died, John Bonham had consumed forty shots of vodka which resulted in him vomiting and subsequent aspiration (inhaling) of his vomit, causing asphyxiation.
Keith Moon – Drummer The Who aged 32
Notorious for his Alcohol consumption he died after taking prescribed medication which he was given to alleviate Alcohol withdrawal. The combination of these with Alcohol lead to his death.
Rory Gallagher – Blues Guitarist aged 47
My Dad’s hero and bloody brilliant. A combination of prescribed drugs and Alcohol lead to liver disease. After a liver transplant he contracted MRSA and died in hospital. I’m going to visit Rory Gallagher Corner when I’m in Dublin next month for the National Drugs Conference.
Steve Clark – Guitarist Def Leppard aged 30
Battled against Alcohol dependency and finally lost the war aged 30 after a combination of Alcohol, Anti-Depressants and painkillers.
Stuart Cable – Former Drummer Stereophonics and Kerrang DJ aged 40
I’ve included him because the articles this week on how he died gave me the idea for this post. Not a huge Stereophonics fan but I enjoyed him as a DJ on Kerrang Radio and loved his Welsh accent. His girlfriend found him dead after a drinking binge. This week it was confirmed his death was caused by choking on his own vomit as a result of Alcohol poisoning.
All a waste.
See the Drinkaware website if you need any information about Alcohol and tips to manage use.
Drink safe rockers!
These are some of videos that I think are good enough to mention. I’ll start with the obvious ones, part of the ‘Know Your Limits’ campaign which surprised me at their time of release for actually being quite good. Although playing on vanity may seem a bit harsh, whatever works works and I think it does make (some) people think about how they come across when they are drunk. Of course as with all health messages some will work for certain people. No campaign can appeal to everyone. More targetted campaigns for particular groups may be more useful.
This one is a bit more hard hitting highlighting the dangers of leaving someone who is drunk on their own.
The use of comedy by Bill Bailey to give a serious message.
You might remember this one about the consequences of drink driving.
…and this one.
I also randomly came across this which I thought was quite clever about Alcohol related violence and football.
So there’s my seven. Happy Alcohol Awareness Week!
I’ve had an interesting and inspiring month of opportunities, events and new contacts. Here is what I’ve been up to.
1) My random TV debut!
I had a random phone call a couple of Tuesdays ago from Brit Asia TV asking me if I wanted to be their drug expert on their discussion show Real Talk. I said I’d call them back. I nearly bottled it but thought, ‘what the heck’ so that same night I trundled off to Apache’s Bar in Birmingham to be filmed. I met Apache Indian who was very nice and alongside Ricky, my sidekick who I co-deliver training with we sat there being asked questions and responding to discussion points made by others in the audience. It was a nerve wracking experience. When it was shown on the Thursday I went round to my Uncle’s house with my partner and family to watch as it was on Sky Channel 833. (We haven’t got Sky). I came across quite well in what I said which was the main thing but of course I wasn’t too happy with my accent or face, haha. A good experience all the same.
2) On the same day I also found out I had won a competition through HiWeCanHelp, a Northern service who help people affected by drugs.
I had applied a few weeks before by telling them about my work and my blog but I didn’t think anything would come of it. I am now really excited that I will be able to attend the National Conference for Injecting Drug Use in Newcastle next week, all expenses paid (useful now I’ve left work and will only get paid by invoice chasing!). It’ll be great to meet some of the contacts I have on Twitter in real life. I’ll be blogging about it too so watch this space
3) After two and a half years working as a trainer for Birmingham Drug and Alcohol Action Team I left to go freestyle (as I like to call it) to concentrate on developing Inspire Health and Mind. I did a lot and learnt a lot during my time there including writing the DART Guide and the E-learning package as well as all the courses I developed and delivered. Now I need to spread my wings, get out there and focus on all the areas of work I love in the community including my drug awareness work with young people, training staff, supporting service user involvement and spreading the word about EFT.
4) Lynette and I attended a talk by Daniel Priestley on how to be a Key Person of Influence. He is a highly successful entrepreneur and his talk focused on the importance of social media.
5) I’ve met so many new people at the events above and below I things it’s worth a mention in itself. I really buzz off getting out and about and seeing what other people are doing out there. I’m hoping some of these contacts will shape the next few months for me and allow me to have new challenges and work to focus on.
6) I had the opportunity to hear the brilliantly inspiring Harry Singha and Rachel Leigh presenting at the Youth Coaching Academy Midlands Event. Young people, staff and parents altogether engaging and learning about how to make a difference to their lives and the lives of others. I will write more about this soon.
7) Attending the launch of Park House, the new residential treatment service in Birmingham. You can see my post about it here.
So that was September, who knows what October will bring.
Peace, love, empathy.
Unless you have been in a K-hole for the last few weeks you can’t have missed the debate going on around drug policy and the rising call from experts and other unexpected places (The People!) for a sensible review at the very least. Bless the Government, they have issued a consultation document so we can all put our oar in and tell them what we think should happen. Of course this will be a placating measure if recent events are anything to go by and to quote my own tweet…
Unfortunately it seems some of the ‘general public’, spurred on by misinformation in the media think that anyone working in the drugs field must be crazy (remember all the puns on Professor Nutt’s name?) or be drug crazy fiends who just want all drugs to be legalised so we can all get wasted.
This is not the case. These are seven (of the many) people who know what they are on about. The Government should listen to them either because they are qualified to or because they have an understanding of the real issues and first and foremost want to ensure our drug policy keeps everyone as safe as possible, preferably alive and with their freedom in tact. Our current drug policy and ‘War on Drugs’ has failed and will continue to if big changes are not made. Changes that can only happen if they start taking heed of the experts.
1) PROFESSOR David Nutt
In a Nuttshell (sorry), he is THE man. He actually had the balls to stand up to the Government last year after they sacked him as Chairman for the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) for amongst other things, dedicating his time to scientific research and telling the truth. Politicians can’t handle the truth apparently. If they told the truth about drugs they would lose votes (and therefore their duck houses, fifth homes, and their partners would have to pay for their own porn).
He’s now set up the Independent Scientific Committee On Drugs, members of which include other resigned members of the ACMD, others who were rightly disgruntled by the Government ignoring their advice. Incidentally the Government has a legal obligation to consult with the ACMD on any changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act to ensure decisions are based on scientific research and not just tabloid and middle England kowtowing.You can see the other current new commitee members here which demonstrates the level of experience they have.
2) SIR Ian Gilmore
Outgoing PRESIDENT of the Royal College of Physicians who last week rightly said of drugs…
..we should be treating it as a health issue rather than criminalising people…This could drastically reduce crime and improve health…
Unfortunately as predicted…
3) Eric Carlin
Another former member of the ACMD who resigned in April of this year who has been part of great work taking into account the needs of disadvantaged young people.
You can read his blog here which includes his resignation letter citing many reasons including…
I have now decided that I cannot continue to sit on a committee which is complicit in taking part in processes which are not only illogical in many ways but which also, by enabling the criminalisation of ever greater numbers of young people who require support rather than punishment, may even do more harm than good.
Also check his recent blogpost…
4) Angus MacQueen
A documentary maker whose three part documentary series Our Drugs War was recently aired on Channel 4 and essential viewing.
This is well worth a read…
…as is this, the Live Chat that took place straight after the third epidode was aired…
5) Duncan Stott
Self titles himself on Twitter as ‘One of those liberal fascists you read about in the Daily Mail’.
After the Angus MacQueen’s documentaries he wrote this brilliant blogpost…
For those of you that like more stats based evidence this is worth a read for lovely numbers like these….
a paltry 1% of heroin is successfully seized by UK authorities. The UN estimate that to have a significant impact on the drug trade this needs to be raised to at least 60%.
The UN estimate that to have a significant impact on the drug trade this needs to be raised to at least 60%.
Lets combine this with the current annual £1.5 billion budget the UK government spends on drug law enforcement.
So to get to 60% heroin seizure, the budget for drug law enforcement needs to be raised to £90 billion. This would make drug enforcement about the same size as the NHS, and would mean an extra £1,500 in tax per head every year.
You get the point?
6) Andrew M Brown
A more recent addition to my people radar. Recognising that Drug addiction is much more complicated than just the drug that is being used and addressing the fact that if other things aren’t put in place for ‘problematic users’ they won’t have a reason to get better.
and most importantly…
7) Stacey Smith (that’s me!)
I shouldn’t need to explain really, everything I say is right, full stop, haha.
Thanks for reading, it was a long one!
1) My Mom AKA Wendy AKA @wendy2918
Read her blog and follow her.
When she gets round to writing a post they are usually very funny. When I grow up I’ll be as funny as my Mom.
Mom on Lady Gaga – Why oh why oh why would you wear a telephone on your head?
Mom on Teenagers who walk in the road – One day if I can be sure I wouldn’t really give them too much pain or cause too much damage, could I not just ‘bump’ into them? Just once please can I? Promise I will only run them over gently.
Mom on personal safety – My Blackberry phone goes in my left cup and my slimline ipod goes in my right one.
2) My friend Ruth AKA @bintofsparkles
She follows some crazy people and likes to retweet lovely and funny things because she is both lovely and funny herself.
4) A great bloke called Nigel Brunsdon AKA @injectingadvice and @Mannaz who has an excellent website called Injecting Advice who always includes me in his #followfriday shout outs as one of his imaginary friends.
5) Dr Evan Harris AKA @DrEvanHarris
Fights the fight for evidence based drug policy. Makes the other politicians look ridiculous by stating facts rather than tabloid fiction. Lost his seat in the Election which was a massive travesty. I got a tweet thanking me for stalking him. The equivalent of a celeb tweet for me, I was most excited.
I used to play around with time machines when I was older.
Somehow it doesn’t seem right to eat reformed meats, not after they tried so hard to change.
Ah, shit, I once gave Naomi Campbell a blood orange, am I in trouble too?
7) Roadrunner Records AKA @RoadrunnerRecords originally enough. They have all the great bands on their label and their tweets keep me up to date on them all. Yeaaaaaahhh!
7 ( b) Ricky AKA Ranjit AKA @RanjitBhandal
(Because I have to stick to the magic seven otherwise my OCD tendencies will freak!)
My Robin, my right hand man at the DAAT. Doesn’t tweet often enough but should do and will do when I’ve nagged him enough about how useful it is for the drug world. For all your Bhangra/football/drugs/celebrity stalking needs. He follows Katie Price unfortunately though, much to my despair. Desperate to get a celeb tweet, I hope one day he does. When I leave work next month to go completely freestyle (lance) with Inspire I may as well lose an arm. Or a leg. : (
Oh and I suppose you should follow me too @StaceInspire.
I feel a few more blogs about Twitter coming on so watch this space.