Real Issues That Affect Us

If you’re in the UK, you’d have heard that England was able to raise £50k to fly a “flying Donald Trump manbaby balloon” around London… A total of £50k was raised, enough to take it from an idea to reality.

Now, I’m all about fun and games… I appreciate a joke as much as the next person and, yes, I did find the thing quite funny. But, when you think about it a little more seriously – in effect, we were able to raise £50k for a flying “manbaby” balloon in times when our NHS is on the brink of closure and our youths are out there ruining their futures by joining gangs.

Our society is a mess. Yet, all we do is complain. Could we not have raised £50k for the NHS? Could we not have raised another 50k (going towards the Sadiq Khan manbaby balloon) towards building a solid foundation for our youths; creating activities or programmes/courses for our youths to take up outside of school?

Why do we rely on the Gov. when we’ve just proven that we can raise the money ourselves? I can’t believe that we’re able to raise £100k in total for flying manbabies that will only be used in protest, but won’t put our money where our mouths are to make a more permanent and long-lasting difference to our society.

I am not a partypooper. I’m just a realist. Complaining about our issues doesn’t eliminate them… Hard work and change does. I understand it’s just for a laugh, but there are families crying over loss of their friends/families while we’re laughing at flying manbabies. So, let’s help the people in suffering laugh with and out of joy rather than just focusing on ourselves and who we’re going to laugh at or mock.

As a society, we have proven we can singlehandedly raise enough money to make a difference. So, rather than spending the funds we are able to raise collectively on silly things, let’s put it towards our youths and/or health service. This will in turn protect our youths and give our life-threatening illness suffering peers, friends and relatives a better and longer future.

In our world dominated by social media, photoshopped ads, and superficial values, it’s hard to pinpoint what a person of substance actually is, let alone be one. We’re constantly bombarded with pictures and commercials showing attractive, accomplished people wearing expensive clothes and driving flashy cars.

The mass media imposes a certain role model of a successful person and regular people do their best to reach that, for many, unattainable goal. But, these shallow representations don’t go even an inch beyond that shiny exterior. To become a person of substance, we need to go deeper than the skin and do some soul-searching.

Find out who you really are

There’s no way to be a person of substance without knowing yourself. Sure, your identity has many layers, but you need to know your true self, stripped of all external roles. It’s important to have your  integrity and know who you really are and what you want. Society inevitably tries to mould you, but you need to set yourself free from its constraints. Men should be strong and masculine. Women should be feminine and polished all the time. Real men don’t cry. These misconceptions can be very dangerous because they force people into becoming something that they aren’t. The key to your personal growth is being aware of your strengths and weaknesses and using them to become the best version of yourself. Don’t try to please anyone but yourself.

Be empathetic

People are social beings, and only by making strong connections with others can you feel fulfilled. Research shows that empathy is something that you can learn, and not necessarily born with, so go the extra mile to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes and practice that approach as much as you can.

Compassion is something that can change your life and make you a better and more substantial person. Don’t judge others and try to understand what their motivations are instead. Don’t forget that everybody carries an invisible burden and that sometimes even a single kind word or act can make a tremendous difference. Be compassionate towards your friends, family, colleagues, and strangers, but most of, be compassionate towards yourself. In order to be able to help others and relieve their pain, you first need to attend to your own needs. This is the principle that nurses, caregivers, or in-home care professionals follow so that they can handle demands of their job and provide the best service.

Always be consistent

Being a reliable person who always sticks to their word is something that will make you a worthy person. It’s easier said than done, because many times unexpected obstacles and situations come along, and many people succumb to the temptation to break their promises. But, a person of substance does things even when they don’t feel like it. However, this consistency doesn’t apply only when others are involved, so make sure to be consistent even if your plans and goals are at stake. Such an approach will help you be able to rely on your own strengths. It’s a great feeling when you know that you can count on

Don’t be a brag

A person of substance never blows their own horn. Bragging about yourself and boosting your own ego is something will only alienate people and make you look superficial. Let your actions speak louder than your words, and someone will take a notice and spread the word. Learn how to be humble and stop comparing yourself to others.

Start really listening

People are usually self-centered and they’re not particularly interested in listening to what others have to say. This leads to a lot of misunderstandings, not to mention that it’s hard to actually establish a connection with someone if you don’t hear what they say. Active listening is a skill that can help you become a good interlocutor, as well as someone that people trust and respect. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everything people say, but you need to let it sink in so that you can understand where they come from.

Learn and experience new things

The best way to become a person of substance is to challenge yourself to learn new things all the time. Take up belly dancing lessons or start hitting the gym on a regular basis. Apart from learning something new, such activities will also help you improve your physical and mental health. This is how you’ll expand your horizons and understand the world and life better. Get out of your comfort zone and do something that scares you. And remember that “Everything you’ve always wanted is on the other side of

Although style undoubtedly matters, it’s the substance that adds quality and value to your life.

By: Olivia Jones

If you live in the UK, or (tragically) anywhere these days for that matter, you’ll know that we’ve entered a really scary time where our youths are losing their lives through knife and gun crimes at a rapid and disturbing rate. In London, 65 young people have lost their lives to date in just 5 months. Alarming, isn’t it?

Fact is, our Government likes to talk about the changes that need to be made, and how sorry they are for the losses of these 65 families and friends, but can’t and don’t seem to be doing enough… These same government officials and leaders in authority also no doubt have families of their own… Baffling, isn’t it?

These government officials, I’m sorry to say, seem to be too wrapped up in “Brexit negotiations” to worry about the decline in our youths and the lack of safety on our streets… Arming police officers is bound to have the opposite affect of making our kids feel safe. Instead, our kids are going to feel like they’re having to be on guard from not just their troubled peers, but the people who are meant to be keeping them safe.

Back in February, a night of bloodshed affected multiple young people in Camden, my borough. This was too close to home, which has since put a lot of stuff into perspective. Thankfully, I didn’t know those affected, but a community is a community. We are one.

The government seems to be unable to create the change that we want to see, which is why we need to take initiative and be that change. A family member, a neighbour or a friend of ours doesn’t need to lose their life or know someone who lost a life for us to empathise and to know it’s wrong and to want to do something about it. 

I urge you if you have the time and capacity, to take up helping in your communities. It really is rewarding. Yes, one person can’t change the world. But, together, we can. Collectively. If one person helps someone who helps someone, we can begin to change the world as we know it.

Our leaders aren’t doing what’s expected of them, so we need to do it for them. Not for them, but for us. For our future families. I’m sure you all intend on having children. Well, if so, and even if not, you need to create a safe environment for them. The way we do that is by starting now to make way for when they come along, and protecting those already here.

Honestly, it’s only difficult if not enough people empathise, take it seriously and take action. Everyone can empathise, sure, but there needs to be steps taken. The way we do that is by starting to look closely at our boroughs and councils, attending the MP meetings, surgeries etc. Having a voice. Coming up with new initiatives that motivate our youth and young people around us. Trying to encourage those youth to take up classes, and trying to pursued youth clubs and community centres to run such clubs on a volunteer basis. It can be done. 

It’s a proven fact that the two main reasons young people turn to crime are: boredom and cuts of funding (i.e employment and/or activities). Their families are more often than not of the working class, can’t afford to pay for their activities outside of school. They work long hours to the point where the youth feels alone, is peer pressured into doing the wrong thing and ends up in this really vicious cycle.

There is only one solution. Schools and youth clubs, councils/borough and community centres coming together, and working hard to tackle this issue by enabling each child the chance to take up an extra-curricular activity [outside of school] that will develop their skills, putting them in contact with role models/leaders whilst providing them with the experience needed to go on to gain a career afterwards. It’s really not difficult!

Yes, money and funding is the issue, but there HAS to be enough people qualified in the said task that these kids are wanting to undertake who is willing to provide this to them voluntarily. This is what we need. We need more festivals and activity workshops that unite children. Not to ostracise them.

If you have the option and the opportunity to help, please do so. Volunteering on weekends at youth centres or community centres, working with your council or borough to create fun safe, activities for young people to be involved in that gets them off the streets… Anything is possible. Every little bit helps.

Please, if you’re reading this, try to do something. If just one person reads this and feels motivated to make a change in their small but mighty community, I (and everyone who’s sadly lost someone through these circumstances) will be very grateful. 

Keaton Jones is a kid. He couldn’t help the alleged “racist” family he was born into. Racism is wrong, of course, but it’s not his fault! The internet is now quick to add to it because his mum might or might not have said something racist? Have a heart! In case you’ve forgotten, it’s about Keaton… It was Keaton who went viral for crying for help. Yes, his mum featured in the video, but it’s him that’s suffering. It’s him that we felt compassion and empathy towards.

As someone who has witnessed bullying first hand, I would never wish it on anyone. If the rumours are true, and his mother did say or act in an unforgiving way, I’m sure Keaton himself was/is mortified. I’m sure he knows how it feels to be shunned, treated disrespectfully, name-called etc…

Don’t blame a kid for his parent’s actions. A lot of us are born with family members – distant or immediate – that we clash with or that we don’t believe act in a morally correct way… That does not mean for a second that we, ourselves, are that way inclined. Especially a kid that age… He’s still young. He’s got a lot to learn. We need to strengthen him, build him up and make sure he doesn’t end up doing something tragic like trying to end his life, NOT lambasting him based on assumptions/rumours surrounding his family, who – again – if proven correct, should’ve known better.

Be there for a kid who’s suffering and don’t tear shreds out of them just because their family may or may not have said or done something racist… Until there’s clear evidence that he (Keaton) was racist, I won’t think any less of him.


It’s one of my favourite days of the year, today… Thanksgiving!

To all my American friends, I wish you the bestest of Thanksigivings! I hope you’re full of joy, prosperity, luck, good health, delicious food, and festive cheer (on all days, but today a little more).

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the materialistic of lives, not remembering what days like today are all about…

Today is the day for giving thanks, and just being happy with the priceless things we have … the people we’re accompanied by on this mad journey called ‘life’; along with the underrated blessings, big or small… Being thankful is free. We can all do it. It’s the act of being grateful and understanding that we are blessed beyond measure, every day.

Hold the people in your lives close, be extra nice to them and show them you care, because honestly – life is too short.

The finer things in life are the only things we’re left with, so make sure your finer things are the finest of things.