You may ask yourself in which relation plants, children and computers could possible stand, so let's explore this notion a little.
As most of you who know me have observed many times, I have an invested interest in proper parenting, child-rearing and, specifically, sufficient and plausible education - within schools and homes likewise. I have written (and spoken) extensively on the above-given matters and although I consider myself to be quite versed in the idea of proper parenting, it is obviously still a personally unexplored topic as I do not have children at this point. I have, however, worked as a teacher, nanny and tutor and therefore feel rather confident to speak about prevailing school systems and how they are entirely flawed.
Today I want to talk about the notion of children (and people in general) being treated as trivial systems, as opposed to non-trivial systems, which they inherently are. Now, you may think, what is this woman talking about? Well, in short, a trivial system - like a computer - functions in a way that given the same input, you are always served with the same output, whereas non-trivial systems - like humans - will always provide as many outputs as there are humans given input - and they will vary from each other drastically.
Lately I have gone into vlogging again and, having moved to Vienna and pursuing my freelance writing life at the moment, I wanted to share a little insight into our new life by accompanying myself one day with a camera, so you can see what I am up to.
You can find the video on Youtube by clicking on the picture or below and I will soon upload the Brownie recipe either here or on video (remind me, if I forget).
I hope you enjoy this little insight into my life :-)
For today, I have decided to do a little piece on style and what better not to wear (in my humble opinion, of course). Style, and the perception of what is stylish, are very subjective matters. We all dress daily (hopefully) and our ideas about what we toss on with the initial purpose to keep us warm (and dignified) vary greatly.
For some, clothes are just that, clothes. They keep us warm, make sure we’re not naked and fulfil our general human duties within a civilised society.
Now, for others, getting dressed goes far beyond the need to stay warm or prevent public humiliation. For them, it is a daily choice of assemblage and matching, of fabrics interacting with patterns, of shoes communicating with accessories and bags and a daily quest to create the perfect outfit.
Neither preference towards style is wrong or right, obviously. Fashion – as is the posh term for garments and their proper matching – can be a hobby, even a life, yet it doesn’t have to be.
I don’t judge people by how they dress (OK, I totally do) and I would rank myself somewhere between the two above given extremes. I love clothes. I love feeling invincible when I dress up and I get annoyed with people who suggest clothing doesn’t make a difference – simply because it is wrong. Innumerable social experiments have proven that clothes, indeed, make people and I can also say from personal experience that I feel much more comfortable wearing a posh skirt with a great blouse and high heels compared to wearing ill-fitted jeans, a lousy jumper and Converse shoes. I do. Clothes can be like a daily armour you put on to protect yourself from the bad in the world out there, and it is not surprising people like to put them on – especially if they’re in positions where they have much to lose.
However, the issue of what kind of impact clothes can have on our lives would digress far too much, so I will tend to the actual topic. Whether you have style or not, whether you’re interested in fashion or not, there are some absolute agreed on Don’ts which have never been, are not and never will be in fashion. “Styles” which are so horrid I have to suppress to hurl every time I see someone sporting such atrocities, so here are 5 Things Nobody Should Ever Wear.
1. Legwarmers with trousers
I suppose legwarmers first came into fashion during the Jane Fonda era; however, they are dancers’ garments to keep their legs warm during practice and nothing else. I see them repeatedly and repeatedly pulled over jeans, leggings or tights and it simply looks terrible! I mean, I have lots of legwarmers, but a) I used to dance a lot and still do some it and b) I probably wore them when cycling to work in winter to protect my tight-clad legs, but at work I would take them off.
Legwarmers cropped down at your leg make you look short-legged and somewhat sloppy. However, the most HORRIBLE way to wear legwarmers is pulled over jeans with Converse shoes underneath, DON’T DO THAT! Especially not in winter because Converse are a lot from overpriced to practical, but they are certainly no winter footwear. I mean, Converse shoes should actually deserve their own rank in this list, but I see their point in some ways, which is why I have omitted them, but listen now. Converse are no real shoes. You wear them in a teenage phase and probably in your early university eco-phase, but then you grow up and buy proper shoes. Sure, you can keep that one pair for practical reasons (if you’re moving house or something), but these then are a) matching shoes because only children can get away with wearing two different shoes, b) not scribbled on because only complex-ridden students scribble on their shoes and c) don’t have any holes in them because you are now old enough to afford shoes which don’t let the rain in.
But let’s return to the legwarmers (even though I was on such a run). The ONLY exception I would make is if you wear legwarmers in winter under boots and you can spot the rim of the legwarmers lurking out of the boot but other than that they do nothing, I repeat nothing, for your legs (except for warming them, obviously) and it will only make grown-ups laugh at you, roll their eyes and think ‘oh lord, someone’s got issues growing up’.
2. Wearing sweats outside the gym
I don’t know where this trend came from, but, as with most trends, I guess it sneaked its way up from the working class.
Suddenly everyone was wearing sweats when not going to the gym. You would find them wearing sweats at the cinema, when meeting with friends and even at night when going clubbing (because I have extensive knowledge of that…). Wherever this trend came from, it should instantly return to its little hole it crawled out because it makes people look horridly stupid, especially if they’re matching their sweats with too much eyeliner (mostly the girls) and a slutty top or white sneakers which MUST NOT get dirty (mostly the boys) and big bling bling jewellry (mostly both).
Thankfully, it seems to return to certain class standards (I’m not a classicist but just relieved not so many people are doing anymore, in case you were worried) instead of spreading further out, but I tell you what: as with legwarmers, sweats belong to the sports department and there they should remain.
3. Thong bikinis
I generally have a strong aversion against thongs but what happens in each’s panties is their business, not mine. If they actually agree with a horrible string of fabric cutting off their arse and exposing their bum to the rough jeans material, so be it; however, I really don’t want to see that and, upon reflection, I don’t think anybody does.
Now, thong bikinis aren’t such a big thing in Northern or Central Europe; however, they seem to still conquer Miami or Florida each summer. I reckon some guys think it’s ‘hot’ to literally show off your bum in the public, but I think it’s just cheap. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no prude. I think seeing butts or boobs in public should be no problem; however, these thongs are just a pseudo-way to go – just show all or cover it up, but it looks really stupid, does nothing for the shape of your butt and will leave a really weird tan-line to be stuck with until winter comes.
4. Boots with loose trousers
Again and again, I see people wandering the streets, primarily when the cold seasons hit, wearing knee-high boots with loose trouser. I don't know how anybody could look in the mirror in the morning with such an outfit and not think "hey, I look like a person from the 19th century going for a horse ride". Because it SERIOUSLY looks like a person from the 19th century going for a horse ride.
We all remember the movies - men flouncing up and down the yard, the crop patting their shiny leather boots above which a wide, weird-looking pair of riding breeches seems to try to escape the tightness of aforementioned boots. If you are such a strutting, riding man of the 19th century, go ahead, wear you tight boots and loose trouser, but if not (and I hope you're not), please refrain from it and remember: with boots you should only wear skinny jeans or tights.
5. Summer shorts over tights
For some reason, this was a huge trend a couple of years ago (I guess it's actually been quite some time, as I was still a teenager when that fashion catastrophe roamed the schools). You would wear a pair of tights - preferably in a colour which would set off an epileptic fit in anybody (mine were a neon-pink, in case you were interested) - and over that, you would wear shorts. And don't get me wrong, I know you can wear short trousers over tights, but they have to be designed for winter or autumn (consult picture), and the tights should be exclusively black or in an autumnal colour (like dark red or dark blue). But don't wear your summer shorts over neon-coloured tights, all you will do is end up giving people a stroke.
I don't know if this came from a longing for summer days or because the economy was low and people had no money to buy clothes, either way, it was a trend best to be forgotten and to be never revived again.
However, even today I still keep spotting individuals sporting this style and I flinch every time I do. Not only because it reminds me how old I've got, but also because it looks really stupid. Please people, invest in long trousers for the winter! It's worth it.
Thank you for reading and if you want to share what is, in your opinion, the worst fashion mishap ever, let me know here in the comment section or on Facebook.
We live in a post-reality world. Think of it. Not even pictures or video footage is proof anymore (and we can blame that entirely on Donald Trump, if you ask me).
However, the platforms which twist and turn reality as it is the most are, I daresay, social media feeds. We live in an era where what you put on display to the outer world is carefully picked and perfected before it ever sees the light, which leaves little room for any sense of reality.
This thought came upon me when I lay in bed, reading a rather average chick-lit novel (don't judge me, we all have our guilty pleasures). In the novel one character (the bookish, nerdy main one) gets judged by her friend (whose sole role is to make sure the main character gets laid in the end) because she uses an unfiltered, "normal" picture on her Twitter account.
This thought having been triggered, I flicked through Facebook today and came upon a Facebook friend's profile (I'm obviously not going to tell you whose it was) where I happen to know that the person you perceive via social media and the person I got to know are entirely different people. Whereas she (alright, it's a she, but I have over a 100 friends (I know, only) and most of them are female, so sue me) displays the perfect image of a funny, witty and outgoing person on social media, she is a rather uncommunicative (bordering impolite), introverted and mostly humourless person when I was around her (probably it was all down to me, of course, but I don't think so).
When I met this person and added her on Facebook, I was always puzzled about the huge discrepancy of her SM-self and her reality-self and started wondering if she wasn't a single case. Probably we all do have out SM-selves and bland, more boring and complex reality-selves which we try to tuck away neatly, so no one can ever behold them.
Pondering about this has made me come to the conclusion that we have become social media schizophrenics. We are, in fact, two people and I know what you are going to argue now: hasn't it always been this way?
Well, sort of. Obviously, people have always had their public and private selves and the phrase "don't wash your dirty laundry in the public" is as old as time; however, due to proximity, you were never entirely bullet-proof from people peeping into your lives, but you can be friends from people all around the world and they will ever only see the perfect display of flawlessness that is your life.
Personally, I perceive this to be a rather dangerous trend. From our personal standpoint we are misled to the conclusion that everyone else's lives are better than our own dull, bland reality. We see endless pictures of smiling people - some on holiday, some out with their besties, allegedly having the time of their lives whereas you sit at home on your sofa, Ben and Jerry's piling up in front of you and the latest Game of Thrones episode playing on the TV and you feel like you have failed epically.
However, bear in mind that any other night this person does not post anything, be assured they will do the very same thing you have been doing the night they had a great time out, allegedly.
It is for obvious reasons why we only share the happy moments, I get that; however, some people really seem to be an entirely different person on social media, almost staging their lives for social media purposes. I cannot tell you how many families I know where the perfect picture is taken, all smiling blissfully while on a great family trip to some fancy museum or nature resort, while in reality the parents are stressed out because of the housework piling up and the children are sick of being dragged around on the weekends when, actually, they would prefer just one weekend where they could just unwind at home, reading a book or playing games.
I see friends on social media whose life seem to be a blast but when I meet them in real life, they disclose to me how completely and utterly desperate, frustrate or depressed they are - and the worst case is that seeing your friends permanently being apparently superior to you doesn't make it easier to understand you're not alone with your sadness, depression or disillusions about the world.
Probably it's time we try to forego our trend of schizophrenia and merge our reality and social media display - or at least refrain from putting the social media reality we have created above the one we actually live and confuse people when they get to meet us in actual life and are sorely disappointed we are not the witty, clever and outgoing selves we claimed to be.
If you have been following my Instagram feed, you might have noticed that I am a tea addict. Having been raised in a predominantly coffee-obsessed country, I therefore struggle regularly with other people's oblivion (or ignorance) to how to make a decent cup of tea.
As an English tea drinker, I obviously mean black tea, primarily, when I talk about tea, even though I also love green tea, white tea and herbal tea (pretty much anything that's not fruit tea because that isn't even real tea, if you ask me).
Living in Vienna now, it has come to my attention that in Austria barely anybody drinks tea, let alone black tea with milk. For them, putting milk into tea is a perversion as is drinking fake fruit tea for me. Now you can imagine that, apart from when I am at home, I barely get to drink a decent cup of tea because every coffeehouse - and alleged tea house - manages to fuck up making a good cup of tea to the point where I want to rip out my hair.
After I lived in England - where much more people know how to drink tea properly - I was terribly disappointed when I came back to Austria and realised I couldn't expect to find someone here to understand the art of making tea (apart from my family and my good friend, Lilo, of course - who is a tea mastermind).
It started when I visited my best friend and she offered me tea - of course no black tea. When she attempted to pour the hot water into my cup without the tea bag being inside yet, I yelped in horror, reprimanding her instantly that one couldn't possibly go with water first, then tea bag. Only a psychopath would do such a thing. Or a coffee-drinker, so fair enough.
When I am in Austria, I cannot drink tea in a café because they exclusively mess it up. They bring you a cup with lukewarm water, which definitely didn't come from a kettle, and a teabag ON THE SIDE! Who does such things, please? It's called "brewing tea" for a reason.
Usually, I am a really nice person who doesn't complain in restaurants or has some perverse, extra requests for the food, but I do become such a bitch when it comes to drinking tea. I cannot recall how often I have told confused waiters that their tea-making habits are all wrong, and would they please relate that to the manager. I will sit in an alleged "tea house", asking how they prepare their tea, only to derisively snort and order hot chocolate, letting them know they shouldn't be called a tea house.
I know, this doesn't sound at all like me, but, you see, I am on a mission. Others want to end world hunger or own a yacht one day, my mission is to educate people on how to drink tea and science actually agrees with me.
The University of Northumbria did extensive research on what is the best method to drink tea and you can read their instructions by clicking here. Also, the website of Yorkshire tea tells you how to prepare their tea, you can read it here. I will give you my recipe, which is strikingly similar to the scientific way and the Yorkshire (a real Yorkshire girl I am) or Twinings way.
The perfect cup of tea (for a mug, but it's basically the same for a pot, only the waiting time is longer):
1. Put FRESH water in a kettle (and only a kettle, don't even think of using the hot water option from a coffee maker). Why should it be fresh? Well, each time you boil water, it loses oxygen, which will result in your tea tasting hard and metallic. Also the tea can release its taste best with fresh water.
2. While the water is boiling, prepare a mug with a teabag in it (or tea leaves, if you want to do it the super-right way; one spoonful per person) and put next to the kettle.
3. Pour the water over the teabag in the mug. Now, there is some disagreement whether the water should be boiling hot when pouring over the tea or not. Science suggests it should be because the tea leaves dissolve best; however, Twinings insists boiling hot water burns the tea leaves, preventing them from releasing all their toxins and tannins, etc. Personally, I don't really care. When I am nearby, I will pour it immediately, otherwise, the water goes in slightly cooled down already.
4. Let it brew. Now, especially with black tea, this is also a question of taste. Some like their tea strong, others prefer it weaker. The ideal time, apparently, is 2-3 minutes, which I do too, then I slightly squeeze the tea bag to get the last leaves to release their taste too and put the bag in the bin. NEVER REUSE A TEABAG!!!!
5. Add milk and sugar according to your taste. I always add milk until the tea is a beige tone and enough sugar to make it taste a little sweet.
6. Sit back and enjoy your lovely cup of tea.
Black tea, by the way, is the only tea I drink with sugar. All others I don't; however, I add a fingertip of sugar to every tea and you should too. Tea, especially green tea, has acids in it which can make your tummy ache when you drink too much of it, but a pinch of sugar will set off a chemical reaction which will reduce the acids and, even though you cannot even taste the sugar, your tummy will thank you.
Other tea-related trivia:
Asians often put the tea leaves into the water after it was poured, but this is also because they drink rather jasmine or white teas than black teas and they prefer their teas much weaker.
It is rumoured that, regarding black tea, if you leave the teabag in for under five minutes, it will give you a good kick-start into the day; if you leave it longer than five minutes, it will make you tired (and you will have a disgustingly strong black tea).
Did you know that the British drink over 60 billion cups of tea each year? Annually, each British person, on average, drinks 213 litres of tea. In Austria it's only 32 litres of tea per person.
Did you know, Britain only comes third in the ranking of most tea drinkers? Number two is Ireland and number one is Turkey.
Per second, about 15.000 cups of tea are being drunk worldwide.
Did you know that herbal and fruit teas aren't real teas (as if I haven't tried to tell you) because they don't come from a tea shrub nor have they caffeine in them. "Real" teas are black, green and white teas.
Writer. Editor. Blogger. YouTuber. Freelancer. Traveller. English fanatic.