New Island Values: Attend Debate Society

Bonnie Greer at the UCLU Debating SocietyUniversity College London provides a brilliant debate series regularly focusing on political, social, and religious issues. The panellists themselves are usually recognisable too. Controversy magnet Katie Hopkins appeared back in February to argue that women were (paraphrasing here) stupid to think there was a glass ceiling, whilst the likes of Bonnie Greer and Chris Bryant MP have also made appearances this year.

So it was of no problem to add this to the New Island Values. It would serve to both enlighten my knowledge of certain subjects, whilst also helping refine my own debating style.

For one reason or another I never showed up. I’ll have more chances come this October, but by then I’m guaranteed a busier schedule. It would be a surprise if this particular objective will be achieved this year. Alas.

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Berlin Skyline from the Berliner Dom

New Island Values: Learn German

German is my second language of choice for multiple reasons. It seems like a smart language to learn considering I spent three years in secondary school attempting it. Moreover, my father lived in the country for a few years, and we return regularly. Knowing the language would just make life easier. Add to this the fact that a large proportion of my friends are from Germany, and I feel guilty making them speak English all the time, and you have yourself the reason.

Unfortunately, my only spare time to pick up the langauge would have been over the summer – a summer which has now become ridiculously busy for me. But I will still try. I’m going over to Berlin again this summer, and will be heading to Stuttgart just before Christmas. By the time that happens, I hope to at least be able to communicate on a basic level.

So this task is pending success or failure.

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New Island Values: No Fries

Chips, Glorious Chips!Over the course of last year, whilst living in Notting Hill, I noticed a sharp increase in my chip intake. This was mainly the result of my lifestyle. Most evenings I wouldn’t make it back to the house until 9, and by then had no desire to cook. The chippie at the end of the street always seemed like a good option.

Of course having such fatty and oily food on such a regular basis is not good for anyone – especially if such a place begins to offer you a loyalty card for your efforts in keeping their business afloat.

Saying ‘No Fries’ was rather optimistic. It was never going to really happen – and it hasn’t. But at the same time, when I do cook, I’ve become much more inventive and healthy. I now lay claim to a rather mean Mediterranean Roast Vegetable Concoction, don’t you know. Plus I’ve been getting some great recipe tips from my friend’s blog, The Daily Miff.

Success in my book!

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New Island Values: No White Bread

Allinson BreadThe switch to the brown alternative wasn’t exactly hard. Since I’ve matured into an ever-so-slightly competent adult, brown bread has become the bread and butter in this household.

But a spanner recently flew into the works. I discovered the charm of Allinson High Fibre White Bread. For the last few months, i’ve had a slight obsession with Allinson. So much so that one time whilst working as a waiter I chatted to a customer for a good ten minutes on why the brand is unrivalled in what it does.

My usual purchase would have been Allinson’s Wholemeal Loaf, but as this was out of stock I decided that extenuating circumstances applied here and tested out the alternative. To say it was good is to misunderstand the luxury of this particular brand of factory made staple food items.

Yet, I’m pleased to say that my brief flirtation with white has ceased, and brown is back on my menu. I’m classing this as a success!

Note to readers: this post is not an extended piece of innuendo.

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New Island Values: Doughnuts = Banana

Sticky ring Donouts with SprinklesThis was an attempt to limit my inappropriate intake of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Not that this was part of any diet plan. If anything, it would serve me to put on a few pounds. Actually this was about reducing my daily sugar intake. I’m highly aware that diabetes and glaucoma runs on one side of my family.

The simple idea is that, whenever I fancy a doughnut, I should eat a banana instead. Maybe this was slightly too simplistic, seemingly from the Paul McKenna school of thought. Yet by and large, it has worked. I’m eating far less Krispy Kreme’s whilst now consuming bananas aplenty.

The fact that banana’s are high in sugar themselves is not lost on me. But with fruit I feel you must weigh up the health benefits – which are almost always in favour of eating fruit, regardless.

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