Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Brexit - testing faith in government and the world today

Brexit is the most talked about subject in Britain today. While there is more going on in the country and world, the only concern in Britain has been and continues to be a lack of agreement on the way forward.

What has become increasingly clear is that people are losing their faith and trust in governments. This structure and institution, a foundation for our society and way of life is seen as failing spectacularly. Are they out of touch with the people? Is this the beginning of a move away from mainstream parties towards more extremism and a future of even greater uncertainty?

The precedent set by the antics of Westminster, where a party no longer needs to follow its leader perhaps sets the tone for the country. Headlines scream about looming constititional crisis and betrayals. Do we no longer need to follow or respect our leaders? Can we no longer find unity and shared common goals?

Furthermore, though it might be happening in Britain, it is a reflection of the western world that governments need to think long and hard about the messages they are sending to the public. In corporations, they talk about the tone from the top and the culture created. With countries, we are led by our government. What is their tone and what culture are our governments creating?

Are we all acting with our heads or our hearts? How much do we balance economics and fundamental values?  What do we say about democracy,  voting and government?

The divisions in our society will have longer term implications. The growing gap between rich and poor continues to be ignored. The fears about technology, the environment, globalisation and uncertainty need to be addressed. There is too much fear running amok. Governments are meant to be the parents that look after us and make us feel safe. That is not how anybody feels any more. Too much is failing. The strength of religion to organise our society succumbed to countries and governments. Is this the dawn for new hierarchies and structures? 

The decisions we make about Brexit don't just define Brexit and the EU. They define who and what we are, now and in the future.
Once upon a time, politicians were a respected bunch. It was perhaps an occupation a child might aspire to. The governments of today, both in Britain and the world are now no longer praised. Instead, there is disappointment and a lack of hope. When history looks back upon these days, it is sad that we can not point to greatness. Instead, people are drowning in drugs, alcohol, sex, consumerism, information, social media, box sets, money making and fear. Community is gone. Kindness is forgotten. What does happiness mean for us today? What is our actual quality of life?

We are lucky. When we compare our lives to 50 or 100 or 300 years ago, we have achieved so much. Yet we don't feel lucky or happier.

Though there may be few that are doing the best that they can under difficult circumstances, there are many who appear to be self serving. There are more villains in this story than heroes. And to what end?

I try to see the glass as half full rather than half empty. There are bright sparks. There are intelligent and good people. I have to believe that everything works out for the best. There will be opportunities. The strong will survive but how many casualties will there be? I just wonder whether we may win battles but lose the war.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Forever young - adults play at London's Lego Shop

In London's Leicester Square, the Lego shop is two stories of fun which brings out the kid in us. There are some awesome London iconic scenes in Lego 3D glory. They are perfect for the Instagram addicted.

There are cities to see and Lego people to create. This is one example that makes me believe that online shopping hasn't won the war on real life in store experiences.
Yes it's crazy busy with kids and school holidays will be a bit gnarly.

This gives you an idea of the sorts of shenanigans you can get up to - the mosaic maker (bookings needed 5 weeks in advance!) and the digital box where you scan a lego box set to see the model in 3D.

For Star Wars fans, currently there is a massive range available in store with prices from £8.99 to a whopping £649.99! There's some models in store, so you might want to check them out.

For those who can't head out of town to LEGOLAND, then this will be a decent Lego fix.
Lego has come a long way and continues to be one of those enduring toys that adults and kids love. We want to build, create and play. It is a world of imagination and possibilities. It is the real and tangible.

And when you're done with the Lego shop, don't forget M&M world across the road. You can now personalise your M&Ms with photoes! I wrote about M&M world back in 2013. Check it out here.

Enjoy the Lego shop and happy playing!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

St John Bread and Wine - the best bacon sandwich in London

Omg you have to try the best bacon sandwich in London. If you are all about health and fitness, do not read on. You do not want to be tempted. You do not want to know about this.

I must confess, I never eat bacon sandwiches and I rarely eat bacon. If I'm going to brunch, it would not be in my top three choices, in fact , it might be on my list of bottom three.

Apparently, bacon sandwiches are a thing. And this particular one, from St John Bread and Wine in Spitalfields sells out. They are talked and written about. They probably are all over Instagram and Facebook.

Why is it so special? Well the bread is really great. What do you expect when it is baked fresh? The bacon rocks as it's not fatty or oily and is rather tasty. The sauce is a homemade ketchup. It's so simple and proves you don't need fancy, unusual and pretty. A simple sandwich can be absolutely delicious.

The other thing you should know is that the donuts at St John are amazing. These sell out too.

This is their website: 

Who knew that waking up early and going out for breakfast could be so much fun?! If you've not tried the best bacon  sandwich in London, make plans to go now and if you've had it, you probably deserve a treat and should go get another one - bon appetit!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Inspired writing and ideas

This autumn, there's four works that I want to save about - Dickens' David Copperfield, Channel 4's Humans series, NYT bestseller Hominus Deus and Tony Robbins video about becoming more disciplined. They were all inspirational and have many brilliant ideas.

Dickens wrote characters and stories which changed lives. He helped people but also entertained us. "Barkus is willing,"  was a laugh out loud moment in David Copperfield, my new favourite Dickens book. There is cruelty and kindness. There is sadness and hope. It is a marvellous world.

Humans on Channel 4 explores artificial intelligence, where we draw lines and how we deal with those that are different to us.

Hominus deus makes me wonder about the viewfinder that we see the world. It considers our progress over the centuries and the possibilities of the future. It casts new light on our beliefs and how we live.

Tony Robbins talks about rituals and standards. It shifts my focus. It inspires me to try to do things differently today.
These four different works have left an impression on me. 

They are a refreshing change from the repetitive negativity in news cycles, the feeling of being disconnected in an internet world and the autopilot habits created over the decades of adulthood.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Brexit - why can't we have a win-win?

What happened to all the great thinkers, rational and sensible, admirable and intelligent men and women? When did change become a bad thing? Why does there have to be a winner and a loser? Is it not possible for us to adapt? How come there is no middle ground to see both views, only hysteria and taking sides? And don't we look forward instead of backwards?

I wonder why we behave as enemies rather than friends? Does it need to play out with the media and lawyers creating a spectacle with the audience of public opinion driving our world?

Governments are being tested. Can they truly lead? What will become of democracy, power and the institutions we have? Will they evolve to become even better and greater? Can we change our doomsday negative attitudes and see a rosier future?

I have always been struck by the story of Oprah Winfrey. She lost her job as a news anchor to become an incredible success story about empowerment and overcoming our challenges. Why does brexit have to be any different? Can this not be an age for both the EU and the UK where we harness all of our strengths and find a new way forward that writes history as a moment of good fortune and brilliance for all? Or have we forgotten to invent and to actually go beyond the status quo? Why is there so much fear and discontent? The future has not yet been set.

I also question why there has to be a right and wrong. Why are some people's votes deemed less informed or better that others? Is this not the democracy we believe in where we are all entitled to our point of view? Are these values no longer dear to us?

In our own lives, do we allow others to hold us down, predetermine our future and divide us? Why does it have to become this massive mountain that cannot be overcome? This is a relationship where we seek to agree how we want to move forward? It is not an apocalyptic cliff edge. We have evolved from cave men and women to an age of unimaginable progress. The landscape may change, but it doesn't fundamentally decide who we are or what we will become.

Brexit seems to be making misery. Why can't we see the glass half full? We are talking our countries and world into a depression. If we expect to fail, then how can we ever succeed? If we want winners and losers, rather than winners and winners, then that is what we will have.

And let's be pragmatic too, whatever deal that happens will not tick every single box for everyone. But it can look to the best most mutually respectful arrangement for both the short and long term.

As with any path we take, there are pros and cons. If we are truly allies, don't we build roads together and forge upward in our quest. We may not agree on how we get there, but are we all not just humans trying to do the best that we can?

It is in 3, 5, 10, 50 or 100 years that we can truly judge the outcome, so let's not predict and foretell a future we really have no crystal ball to base it on.