Friday, 29 July 2016

Authority Nutrition - What is a Vegan and What do Vegans Eat?

Ever wondered what veganism is and why people go vegan? Then read this fantastic article that explains exactly that!

It lists the main reasons for going vegan - ethical, health and environmental - and takes a look at the motives and ideas behind each. It breaks down different types of vegan diets- raw, whole foods etc. - and takes a look at what food groups a vegan eats. 

It manages to be comprehensive without being judgemental, aggressive or overly dense in terms of facts and figures. It's a great introduction to veganism and I'd urge you all to take a look. I will also add it to my Vegan Resources page for easy reference. 

A lot of people haven't had a great deal of exposure to veganism, they may only have a warped and negative view of it. A piece like this on such a large site is great for showing veganism for what it really is and for showing people how beneficial it can be on a variety of levels. 

I myself do it for ethical reasons and I see these reasons as the most crucial aspect of veganism and the main reason why everyone should be vegan, but if you like what you hear about health and environmental benefits then go for it! You'll find plenty of help here and on my resources page. 

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Wonder Woman Trailer

Justice League Trailer

Beautiful You - Chuck Palahniuk

I recently finished Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk, it's a novel about a young woman who falls in love with a billionaire sex toy maker who later uses her to develop sex toys to enslave the female population. Like Palahniuk's best work it starts with a simple premise - feminism - and takes it to its most ridiculous extreme. As evidenced by my above summary. 

I'd been worried about Palahniuk's work in recent years, he had done a few books that I found to be Palahniuk by the numbers (Snuff, Haunted) but now, with Doomed and Damned and this, he seems to have regained his footing. 

Beautiful, You deals with the idea of feminism and the modern woman - a woman in a stereo-typically male role, for example lawyer or CEO, in control of her own sex life and her own destiny. Palahniuk ruthlessly tears into this idea, old women used to be housewives, new women are businesswomen. The point is, both are trapped by criteria placed on them, with no choice, by others. Sexism is still prevalent, women are still not seen as free or equal.

The book is witty and funny and the satire is suitably cutting. The villain, Maxwell, seems largely underdeveloped until the final dozen or so pages and the ending twist doesn't make sense within the context of the story but the overall message isn't hampered by this in any way and so it is still an enjoyable read. If you're a Palahniuk fan then this is an enjoyable book, not one of his best but far from his worst. 

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Bagnoregio, Italy

This past Saturday we visited a town called Bagnoregio and I can honestly say it is one of the most amazing places I have ever visited. It is an old town built on a hilltop, accessible only by a narrow bridge leading from a road below it. In fact the town’s supplies are brought in on mopeds and ambulance services are supplied by buggies.

In the town there are various residences, a church, a number of restaurants and bars and a handful of shops. It is a small town, taking only a few minutes to walk from one end to another, but with the amazing views and small, Etruscan caves, it is absolutely incredible.

So I thought I’d share a few images from my trip there, showing the town and its views. Its a tough walk up the bridge but it is well worth it.

The route up. 

The view down. 

The town's entrance. 

A typical house. 

A typical street. 

Some of the locals. 

A view from the edge of the town. 

Another view from the edge of the town. 
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Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Eating Vegan in Italy

My trip to Italy marks the first time I've been away since going vegan. Naturally, I was pretty nervous in terms of eating, both in the villa and out and about. Its actually been incredibly easy!

First of all, the Italians are great. Despite the somewhat massive language barrier everywhere we have been, restaurant, supermarket etc. has been staffed by people more than willing to accommodate needs. Be it by supplying dried pasta or cheeseless pizza.

Perhaps the most impressive thing though is the selection in the supermarkets. We shopped in a place called Conad and they had entire vegan aisle, with fake meats, a variety of snacks, pastas, breads - everything you could want!

Also, every gelateria we have been to so far has done vegan friendly gelato. And it has all tasted amazing!

Basically, eating vegan in Italy is really easy!

The pizza took up two plates! 

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Italian Comic Book Event in Bagnoregio.

Whilst travelling around Italy one of the places we visited was Bagnoregio, an amazing hilltop town which, to be honest, will have its own dedicated post soon.

Whilst there we came across an event surrounding the comic books of Sergio Bonelli.

I'll be completely honest, I had never heard of him but the artwork looked cool and my partner's sister went up to talk with him (herself a budding artist). He is based in Venice and can be found on Facebook if you're interested. For now though, just take a look at the artwork that was on display.


This guy in particular looked cool. 

Not sure who this is. 

The man himself. 

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Italy 2016

Hello all, just thought I'd share a few snaps from my trip to Italy so far. 

These are pictures taken in the town of Tuscania, apart from the last one, which is a picture of Lago di Bolsena. 

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Terminator 2: Judgement Day - 25th Anniversary

Terminator 2 is now 25 years old. 

Sit and deal with that for a minute. Feel old? I wasn't even born when it came out! 

Despite his best efforts to prove otherwise (*cough* Avatar *cough*) James Cameron is a genius in the world of science fiction film making. With The Terminator he introduced one of the most iconic characters in the history of film, well, to be fair, in any medium. With Terminator 2 he refined that character, that world and that story into one of the finest movies ever made. It can stand toe to toe with any film, sci-fi or otherwise. 

One of my earliest memories is of this film, don't judge my parents, they knew what they were doing and I've turned out pretty awesome. I was sat on my eldest brother's bed whilst he was watching it, on VHS(!), eating a pack of Walker's Salt and Vinegar crisps during the scene when the T-1000 chases them down the road out of the asylum and latches onto the back of their car. The memory is vivid for me, like it was only yesterday. 

Its a great movie and represents a career best for all involved with each actor fully realising their character - Robert Patrick is so robotic (in a good way) it actually hurts. And the CGI! By using the technology he worked on in The Abyss Cameron really brought the liquid metal of the T-1000 to life.

Look I'm going to stop gushing about the film, you know why people think its great I just had to mark the anniversary of this truly special film. 

Hasta la vista baby!

Friday, 1 July 2016

Scarlett's Way Out

Hello all, this an excerpt from a book I'm working on, called Scarlett's Way Out. Let me know what you think, thanks for reading!


She swung back and forth, higher and higher, steadily, consistently, rhythmically, back and forth. Reaching toward the clear blue sky, away. The sun warmed her, caught her red curls and lit them up. She smiled to herself, her cheeks rising and her green eyes filling with warmth. Her feet dragged through the bark chippings on the ground, making a clicking sound as her sandals slid through them. The old chain of the swingset creaked. Higher and higher she swung. Back, click, forth, creak.

The grass around her was short, heaps of it dotted around, recently cut. It smelt fresh, warm, safe. The sky was bright, empty and peaceful. An ocean of green below and an ocean of blue above, just her in between, the world and the peace. These moments were always the best ones, the peaceful ones, the safe ones. Happiness was not always a given but, in peace, contentment was easier to find.

The gravel path a few feet in front of her made a soft sound as feet fell on it. The old man was coming down it from the right. Back, click. His raven sat on his shoulder, dutifully, watching, waiting. The man’s grey trousers were patched at the knees, his woolen vest dotted with dirt stains. Forth, creak. His receding grey hair shone, almost white in the sun. He strode with confidence and stability but it was a leisurely step, carrying him down the gravel path, toward the swings. As he drew nearer he smiled softly, the slight raising of his lips barely noticeable, but full of warmth, she knew.

His raven squawked and took flight. The old man stopped. The girl, on her swing, went higher, higher, back, click, forth, creak. The man stood and followed his bird with his eyes as it flew around him, arcing and swooping in a steadily growing oval shape. Another bird landed on the path, only a few paces from the old man. The raven swooped, slowly, falling to the ground with a menacing flick of its wings. A batting of the wind, a soft rustle. The raven stared at the other bird, squawked and stepped forward. Back, click, forth, creak. Higher. The newly arrived bird held its ground, cocking its head to one side, curious as to this ravens intentions. The raven, drawing closer, closer, sprang forward, beak outstretched. The bird screeched, drawing back, pain seeping from it, a bloody hole in its right breast.

The old man looked bemused, he winked at the girl, knowingly, comfortingly. Higher. Back, click. The raven stepped to the left, lunged again, missed, lunged, missed, lunged. The bird screeched again, more blood dripping from its breast wound. It batted its wings, drew itself up to full height and went to fly upwards. The raven lunged, twice, quickly, drilling at the bird's wing, Feathers flew, torn free, blood spilled onto the gravel as holes appeared. The bird rushed into the raven, using its head to knock it back, closer to the bark. Forth, creak. The bird pressed the attack, lunging with its beak, the raven jumped back, back, back again. Taking flight it seemed to leap over the bird. It landed to its side and, three times, in swift succession, pecked at the bird's’ wing. Then, without pause, pecked at its eye, its face, over and over again. Peck, screech, peck, squawk, peck, peck, peck. A soft sound as the bird, breathing lightly, bleeding heavily, collapsed. The raven, its beak and body red with blood, flew back up to the old man’s shoulder, squawked and then settled.

Back, click. Forth. The old man pulled a tissue from his left pocket and wiped the raven's beak and feathers, gently, with care and affection. Creak. Higher, higher. He pulled something else from his left pocket and held his hand out at the raven’s beak. The raven looked to enjoy its reward but there was another screech. The bird, collapsed on the gravel, was not breathing. A larger bird stood near it, looking, with accusation, at the raven. With a subtle nod from the old man the raven took flight, its wings beating the air. Creak, higher, higher, higher.

The raven landed, several paces from its new prey.


Higher, higher. The new bird flew up and plunged down toward the raven, trying to torpedo into its back. The old man looked to shout but his bird deftly flew upward and span the bird around with a simple flick of its wings. The bird, out of control, crashed to the ground,


Forth, creak. Back. Click. Higher, higher, higher. The raven landed, next to the body of its first victim, its chest out, proud, righteous. Angry. The body on the ground shifted, almost imperceptibly, as breath left it, softly, and was drawn in, softer still. Life. The larger bird, the old man thought a female bird, regained its balance. Locked its eyes with the raven’s. Neither moved.


Fear, care.

Forth, creak, higher, higher, higher, higher. The raven stepped forward, slowly, spread its wings, flew, low to the ground and landed next to the bird. The bird turned away and then span back, slashing the side of the raven, ripping its wing, tearing feathers. A harsh scream came from its mouth, the old man cried out. The raven reared back, rammed its body into the bird, lunging, pecking, tearing, screaming. Rage sprang forth. The bird, wounded, pecked, pecked, pecked again. The raven, bleeding, heavily, screamed, pecked, pecked. Back, click, forth. Higher.



The old man looked at his raven, looked at Scarlett. He began to walk, cautiously, toward her. Higher, higher. Forth, creak. Back. Forth. Click. Creak. Higher.


Her small, pale hands opened. She released the chains of the swings. Higher, higher. Falling, rushing. Air. Wind. Squawk. Peck. The old man stepped toward her as her body lay on the bark chippings, still aside from her chest, rising, falling, slowly. Her eyes blinking, slowly, softly, the blue sky, the sun. The bird took one last lunge. Missed. The raven tore its right eye out. Ripped at its wings. Slammed into its back. Spinning, lunging, charging, batting its wings. Peck, peck, peck.



The old man looked back at his raven. He saw it take flight and come towards him. He turned back to the girl, reached out and touched her arm.