Learning not to be a Travel Snob…

I may have gone a bit overboard with the holiday booking this year and I’m not long back from two lovely trips, both to Spain.  And as much as I love Spain, I have to admit, this time last year, I’d have turned my nose up at my trips… Which is ridiculous considering the fabulous time I’ve just had!

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In the school holidays in April, me and seven of my best friends from home went to Alicante for 6 days.  We had the best time.  We ate wonderful food, drank gins as big as our heads, almost made ourselves sick at Terra Mitica theme park and even day tripped to the beautiful Valencia.

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I am the designated Holiday Booker of the group and when we first started to plan this trip, a few of us wanted to go to Greece.  Having never been to Greece before, and constantly scrolling through Instagram pictures, of blue and white buildings in Santorini or windmills in Mykonos, Greece seemed like the perfect spot.  We discussed how we’d like to go somewhere that we could chill on the beach through the day then have a good night out, without being too Brits Abroad (we’ve done Magaluf twice in our younger years!).  However, once we started looking, there were no flights available on the dates we needed.  The few that were available cost a small fortune.  I was gutted.  I know that it’s silly but I was hating the thought of having to “settle” for somewhere like the Canaries or the Costa Del Sol…. However, I knew any holiday with my amigos would be fabulous and we decided to go to Alicante.

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And it turned out to be fabulous!  The views from the castle, the tapas, how easy it was to day trip from, our b e a u t i f u l airbnb apartment… we all had a great 6 days.

Just before we left for Alicante, I did something which actually made me really anxious at the time (mainly due to finances) and booked another holiday.  6 weeks after getting back to Glasgow, I was off again!  This time to Benalmadena, near Malaga, with two of the girls from work.  With this holiday, I really didn’t care where we went as long as there was sunshine and a beach.  We all went with 3 intentions – see the sun, relax and spend next to nothing.  Penny pinching managed to get us return flights for £50 and accommodation for just under £100.  Not bad.

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So we went and we did what we set out to do.  We read our books on the beach, forgot about worries back home, drank too many free shots and worked on our outrageous tan lines burn lines by the pool.  And where is the shame in that?!

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I have come to realise, wherever you go, you can explore, see sights and discover new things; or you can relax, drink wine, and sunbathe with your book for a few days.  And both are fine, neither make you less of a “traveller”.  I really enjoyed a post I read on Lucy Sheref’s blog a few months back about why she doesn’t count countries.  I can’t say I’m not trying for “30 before 30” but I completely agree with Lucy’s post that if your sole aim is to visit a certain number of countries, you may miss out on some incredible experiences, genuine fun or feel like going back to a country you’ve already visited is “a waste”.

There are so many things to see in every country.  I loved Sardinia and Positano so much.  But this doesn’t mean I’ve “done Italy” by any means.  Even visiting a city, you don’t see the half of it… I’ve lived in Glasgow for nearly 7 years and I’m still exploring new parts of it.  I still have so much of Scotland I want to see.  And as I said before, even if you’re not “exploring” or “discovering”, there’s still nothing wrong with going.

I hate the whole travel hierarchy thing and I hate how people don’t consider others to be “travellers” because they’ve never backpacked for 6 months at a time, or they’re heading on a package holiday with their family this summer.  Although I have definitely been a bit guilty of it myself in the past, this year has definitely been about ditching the travel snobbery, in favour of caring less, saying yes, and most importantly HAVING FUN!

 

 

Paesano Pizza and Silver Hair

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Got my hair did!  I went to James Hughes Hairdressing on High Street in Glasgow and spent 6 hours (!) with the talented Dawn Murray.  I have wanted to change my blonde to grey/silver for ages now and finally got it done with a root tint, a few bleaches and some Guy Tang metallics.  I bloody love it.

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Next time I get it done, I think I’m going to get it bleached right up to the roots instead of having them dyed dark.  Then I might mix it up with some colours – pink, blue, purple 🙂

I took my new do for a test drive to the wonderful Paesano Pizza on Miller Street.

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We had to wait quite a while to get seated as it was a busy Saturday lunch time.  You can’t book a table so if you fancy it you might have a wait.  It will be worth it though!  Ewan and his sister both went for a special with Italian salami, and I went for a simple mozzarella and basil.

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It did not disappoint, as usual.  I love how simple the menu is and how reasonably priced.

Watch this space for my hair updates 🙂

 

Blame and Diabetes

Someone asking “Is that the type you get from eating too much sugar?”, #diabeteshereicome on an Instagram picture of a doughnut or a news report referring to “obesity, which can lead to heart disease, strokes or diabetes”…  I don’t know if I could choose which annoys me most.

If you know me, or if you follow me on any social media platform, you probably know that it infuriates me when people are ignorant about the difference between type 1 and 2 diabetes.  And if you don’t know that difference, let’s clear it up…

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease.  This is when your body’s immune system attacks something in your body which is not an illness or infection, something which it is not supposed to attack, in this case, your beta cells.  These are cells which measure your blood glucose levels and produce insulin (along with some other hormones) to control this.  When these cells are attacked, your body cannot produce insulin and therefore cannot convert glucose into energy.  This commonly happens in childhood or adolescence but can also happen in adulthood.  It is not clear what causes this to happen, theories include viruses or childhood trauma.  This is the type of diabetes I have and it can only be controlled using insulin, and is also referred to as insulin dependent diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is more common, accounting for around 90% of diabetes cases.  Unlike in type 1, your body still produces insulin and can be considered a progressive illness rather than an autoimmune disease.  Some people do not like to class it as this as you can sometimes slow down or stop it’s progression.  Type 2 will start with insulin resistance where your body cannot use the insulin it is producing effectively.  This can be hereditary or caused by lifestyle.  Lack of exercise, ageing, hormones, certain medications, and most commonly weight gain can lead to insulin resistance.  If you are insulin resistant, and your pancreas cannot make enough insulin to deal with this, you will develop type 2 diabetes.  Type 2 can be controlled through diet, exercise, tablets and insulin depending on the individual and what stage it is at.

Halle Berry is evil personified in the type 1 community after being misdiagnosed as type 1, when she was actually type 2 and claiming in the media that she “weaned herself off” of insulin through diet and exercise.  This is NOT POSSIBLE for type 1 diabetics, and it cannot be cured with cinammon, herbs or a breakthrough pill.  blog

At this stage, it is worth mentioning, there are some other types of diabetes such as gestational diabetes and LADA.  Type 1 and type 2 are the two most common types.

 

So some people don’t see any harm in stating that an unhealthy lifestyle “can lead to diabetes” – Matthew Wright, most channel 4 documentaries and disappointingly, some of my family members included, and I can see why you might not see the problem unless you live with it every day.  It is true that unhealthy habits can lead to type 2 diabetes, along with other conditions such as heart disease, cancer or strokes and I do see the importance of highlighting this, to try to encourage people to be healthy.  But for me, the importance of referring to which type you mean is huge.  The general public think of “diabetes” as a fat person’s disease, something to be joked about on Saturday Night Live.  Now you might say, “lighten up”, “take a joke”,  but to me this public ignorance is a big part of why we do not receive the funding we deserve.  You often see headlines about how much of a drain diabetes is on the NHS, a problem costing the tax payer money all because I ate too many chocolate bars when I was a child… this isn’t the case.  I didn’t do anything (or not do anything) which led to my my diabetes and it is a serious illness.  Every time you caption a Krispy Kreme photo with a joke about diabetes, you reinforce the stereotype and you cause me another wrinkle!

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#T1DLooksLikeMe #ThisIsWhatDiabetesLooksLike  I’m not overweight and never have been but I think for some people when they think of someone with diabetes, they automatically think of someone overweight.

There has been a lot of debate in the diabetes community about changing the names of type 1 and 2 diabetes.  I used to think this was a great idea and would stop me from getting tarnished with the fat brush.  I have changed my mind now and think that if the media and general public can’t differentiate between the two types at the moment, what chance is there that they’ll understand a name change.  I also don’t agree with a big divide between people with T1 and T2 diabetes… people with type 2 get a hard time too!  Firstly, not all type 2 is caused by lifestyle.  There are other causes, particularly genetics.  And while we’re on this topic… it is not a direct link between sugar and type 2 diabetes.  It is carrying extra weight which causes insulin resistance, whether this extra weight comes from eating Nutella with a spoon, or a daily fry up for breakfast!

Secondly, even if your lifestyle did ’cause’ your illness, do you really deserve such a hard time for it?  You’re living with something day in, day out which has a huge impact on your health.  If you have done something to lead to that, I’m sure you know it and regret it already, you don’t need someone who has no idea what you are going through judging you for it.  Other illness can be caused by lifestyle and in my opinion, are not penalised for it.  For example, cancer can be caused by smoking , eating too much processed food or red meat, or lack of physical inactivity.  Yet cancer is not often joked about (occasionally is, by some sick people), patients are not judged for having caused their illness (and neither they should be) and people generally have more sympathy.  I am not asking people to feel sorry for people with diabetes, I am just asking people to take it more seriously, differentiate between type 1 and 2 and stop placing the blame on us!

If you’re anything like me, you will constantly be blaming yourself every time your blood sugar is too high, every time your HbA1c is off target, every time you over-treat a low blood sugar and end up riding that rollercoaster, every time you are late in phoning in for a prescription and every time you run out of hypo treatments on the go.  This is horrible to live with, completely exhausting on your mental health and so the moral of this blog post is…

Be nice to diabetics, they put up with enough pricks already