Have you guys tried Headspace?
I'm just about finished with the free ten day trial pack and am considering paying for full membership.
The idea is to carve out ten minutes of your day to make yourself a little more mindful. To take a breather, to focus on yourself and to switch off from the grind of day to day life through 'mindful meditation'.
I've had a lot going on lately, from postgraduate applications, to essay/dissertation writing, meetings and generally exhaustion from 'life planning' - what will I be doing this time next year? Needless to say it's left me continuously tired and to be honest, a little anxious and worried about things.
A couple of friends of mine had been using it and suggested it to me, and I've not really looked back.
(though, I did it solidly, every day for 8 days, and then took a 5 day break - and I noticed the difference)
Today, I went on to do day 9 and tomorrow will be my final day of the first block.
I would recommend trying it (no affiliates here!) if you feel like you are getting overwhelmed with life, be it big or small things, or, even if you're perfectly happy and content it is a great chance to just have a few minutes to yourself each day to pause and reflect.


"we who seek justice will have to do justice to others"

M.K Gandhi credit here

I read through Gandhi's Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule today and was struck by one line which read: “we who seek justice will have to do justice to others”. I found this a particularly poignant quote in regards to how we so often find ourselves asking for justice, presuming justice and seeking out justice, yet, in order to gain it we must afford others the same treatment. I suppose it is also about giving others the time and space to express themselves before making a judgement of them - treating people well, and giving others' opinions and beliefs the respect and consideration necessary to allow us to live in harmony with one another.


Baga, 150 or 2000?

Credit: Amnesty International - DigitalGlobe
Just over a week ago, the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris were brutally attacked by Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, two French Muslims protesting against the magazine's depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. The brothers shot dead 12 people and wounded 11 more. It would be hard to come across somebody unaware of the attack, who hasn't seen or posted a 'Je Suis Charlie' declaration, an expression which has quickly come to epitomise "I am free, I am not afraid". Whilst the media attention is overwhelming (and rightly so) it does beg consideration of the powers of social media and the lasting impact of such immediate global outcry. Is it really helpful, can it make a lasting change? Perhaps, but online campaigns can also be the 'all and everything' for one day and completely gone by the next.

What about a Twitter sensation which was forgotten? On April 14th 2014, 276 girls were kidnapped from Chibok Government Secondary School in Northern Nigeria by the terrorist organisation, Boko Haram. What followed was a global campaign to #BringBackOurGirls. Individuals as well as public figures got involved, making it one of the largest Twitter campaigns of 2014. Yet, nine months later, 230 of the girls are still missing and despite the viral hashtag the publicity of attacks and kidnappings in Nigeria has rapidly declined.
Last week, around the same time as the Charlie Hebdo attacks (3rd-7th Jan.), Nigeria was again victim to Boko Haram. It would be no surprise if you had not heard of the massacre until Monday, Tuesday, or even until today, Thursday? There are unconfirmed claims from local authorities that up to 2000 people have been murdered in Baga, a town in the northeastern state of Borno. Yet confusion is ongoing, there are suggestions that the number might 'just' be around 150 fatalities. How can there be such a significant discrepancy between numbers and why is nobody asking the right questions? Who is not being transparent? the international media, the Nigerian government? Something is being hidden and covered up with this incident. 
In a world of constant communication, of viral hashtags and of non-stop questioning, it seems out of place that there are no real answers on what has happened in Baga, over a week later.
I understand the hype over the Charlie Hebdo attack. I think the power of the media and individuals to stand together and support against violence is wonderful. The problematic aspect comes when one massacre is 'valued' by the international community over another. 
The France attacks were a threat to Western values of freedom of speech. Of course the reactions were as strong as they were, it was too close for comfort - physically and emotionally. Nigeria in contrast, is further away, it is behaviour which some people may simply 'expect' of a country on the boundaries of civil war. Have we become numb to African massacres? Is it something we are so accustomed to that it no longer warrants any -or very little- coverage? 
I like to think not, but I do believe that the media coverage of the Baga massacre last week was disappointing.

In the satellite images of Baga at the top of this post, the red indicates healthy vegetation. The first image was taken on January 2nd 2015 and underneath is from January 7th. 

Finally, what about those 230 girls, they are still missing? 


To the Bay

Hello and Happy New Year!
A week after all the celebrations, we packed up the car and went off in search of some sea air and fresh starts. We found it in the form of good friends, plenty of wine and a little quaint Yorkshire village... Robin Hood's Bay.
There are going to be some changes around here in the coming months, not any drastic 2015 resolutions, but some different content and some re-evaluating of Ailish Goes (...elsewhere?), but for now, here is a roll from our lovely long weekend by the sea, a great start to the new year - blowing away the webs of 2014...


Snowed it did.

For me, there is nothing more exciting than seeing a weather forecast for snow, and then waiting for it to happen! On Saturday morning we woke up to fluffy white-coated houses, freezing breezes and pillowy fields of snow!

What for a belated white Christmas...!

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas break and has a good roll into 2015 tonight! We are back in our house in York now and ready to welcome in the new year with kilos of molten cheese and wine! See you next year!


Preparing for Festivities

This is one of my favourite times of year.
When there is a big rush of work and life, getting in the way of relaxing, the winds get colder and you need a warm scarf to wrap yourself in before heading outside.
But then, all of a sudden, everything turns sparkly and wintry and one by one, the pressures of autumn begin to come under control and the looming festivities of Christmas are becoming reachable!
My MA applications are well under way, my first essay is done and dusted, I'm planned and beginning my second and my dissertation plans are in a good place right now.
I have four days to really get cracking on this final essay and then we'll be heading home to London to spend a few lovely days with my family. I really can't wait.

Last night I made some Christmas cards to send to our families & some friends too, and it has made me more ready than ever to embrace the coming weeks!
This year, I'm celebrating in with Phillip's family and I'm really looking forward to experiencing Christmas German-style!
How are you all spending the holiday season this year?
I'm planning on eating a lot of yummy food, filling my tummy with orange juice (such a luxury these days, I appreciate going back to my parent's house and a fridge full of it!)


Chilly Days & Free Coffee

It's getting a lot chillier around these parts lately, it seems as though autumn came for a day or two, and then overnight winter appeared, this orange is about the last of autumn we're seeing these days.
I'm not complaining though, it just draws Christmas in that little bit sooner.
Today is my first day 'off' for a few weeks, this final year malarky is taking up a lot of time, which is  simultaneously rewarding and exhausting.
I took this photo yesterday on campus, it's round the back of our library and the little bench you see peeking through the tree? That's the spot where I like to sit with a cup of coffee for a break from the stuffy reading rooms. Just behind it there's a cafe which serves the best coffee on campus and it's always quite quiet. + to make things better, yesterday I got my coffee for free, makes for a nice Friday eh?
I'll be back soon enough, take care all. Ailish :)

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