Looking back to my childhood again this week with a question that reeks of that wonderful sensation -nostalgia. Thinking back to simpler times is one of the rare things that makes me both smile and cry. It’s one of my favourite things to do even if the realisation that it’s gone forever often saddens me. I don’t know how healthy it is to look back to the past but it certainly cheers me up sometimes.

What is something you experienced in your youth that kids today will never experience?

As a 90s child, I am amazed to realise that so many things that I enjoyed as a kid are now obsolete to the kids today. Just twenty years ago, I had yet to start school and the only forms of entertainment I knew were dolls and Disney films. Saying that sounds so old-fashioned as I’m sure it’s not hugely dissimilar to my parents and even grandparents childhoods although they didn’t have TV, of course. However, I don’t remember ever watching TV properly until I was at least six or seven so I can only assume that my early childhood was one of simple pleasures.

The idea of a life like this now is one that strangely intrigues me. I would love to go back to a time when I wasn’t constantly checking my social media channels for new information or worrying about how good I look in my photos. Of course in a lot of ways, having such ready access to the internet is a great thing. It means I’m rarely bored (although I sometimes STILL am) and the huge range of entertainment that is available to me has grown a thousand-fold from what I had as a kid but feeding snippets of your life to the people who mainly only stand on the periphery of it is stressful, right?

When I hear stories of three and four year olds being given mobile phones and iPads as gifts from their parents, I’m shocked. Even though I’m only in my early twenties, it’s amazing that kids being born today will probably live a totally different childhood to the one I did. Time moves so fast and it does sadden me a bit that they will never know the simplicity that I experienced as a kid. They’re introduced to this whole digital world without a dial-up system in sight!

 

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This week’s question has some pretty obvious answers to it and some that I’m sure everyone would respond with. However, these tastes are unique to everyone, so it would be really interesting to get some other people’s opinions on it!

What automatically makes someone ineligible to be in a relationship with you?

I’ve never been one to focus on physical appearance. You could give me a choice between the hottest male model or someone like James Corden and I’d pick Corden every time. Why? Because I know that I’m guaranteed a great time with him. I’m guaranteed to laugh until my sides hurt, I’m guaranteed to have plenty to talk about with him. Just sitting and staring at someone who looks nice but doesn’t have all that much to say doesn’t remotely interest me and in fact, that’s not really a relationship, is it?

So, the guy has to have some substance. He can’t just be a walking piece of art and he certainly can’t be arrogant. Naturally, I would never pass up the chance to be with a male model provided he has other things going for him. I’m never blinded by someone’s beauty and to me, good looks come as an un-needed extra.

Arrogance has always been something that I can’t put up with. There is a fine line between self-confidence and arrogance and someone who manages to get the balance right is perfect. Someone with ambition is also important. They have to have a direction in life and be doing all they can to pursue it. Traits like this are so much more attractive than a pretty face and they really show a person’s value to society.

On a more trivial note, I tend to avoid being romantically involved in anyone who strongly follows a religion. I was born a Christian and was baptised but as an adult, I have chosen to become atheist. Therefore, religion can never play a role in my life and while I’m perfectly happy to have friendships with religious people, I could never become romantically linked.

This week’s question comes at an appropriate time. I think a lot of us are still footing Christmas bills and we’re all feeling the pinch a bit. I certainly went a bit mad in the post Christmas sales, so my January wage packet hasn’t quite stretched as much as I would have liked it to. However, this question has allowed my mind to wander and dream of a simpler time that will never be.

If you never had to worry about money, how would you spend your time?

I would live the best life I ever could. Take endless trips abroad, stay in some beautiful hotels and buy all the things I’ve always wanted. I have a slight addiction to buying pretty things and I really enjoy the experience of shopping. Therefore, if my funds were never-ending or the concept of money didn’t exist, I’m not sure I’d ever stop.

Spending time in bookshops and coffee shops is my favourite thing and it relaxes me beyond belief. The thought of my whole life consisting of this sounds amazing and the fact that I’d be constantly diving into different literary worlds makes it seem like it wouldn’t even get boring. Maybe I might lose touch with reality and living such a small, real life probably wouldn’t do much for my mental health but I’d really love to do exactly that for a short while.

The desire to travel has been a part of me since I was very young and it still resides within me. There is so much of the world I haven’t seen and I’d love to take some time out and see some of the places that I’ve heard so many amazing things about. The totally different, unique culture of Japan, the rolling golden sun and beaches of Australia, the sheer vastness and magic of both Poles. I feel that I wouldn’t die happy until I’d seen a huge variety of places.

I guess these things are obvious answers to the question but as always, it’s my honest response. So what would you do, if money was no object?

 

 

After a pretty busy week, I’m finally settling down to write an AskAlex and I’m so grateful for it. Particularly as this week’s question is book-related. Since the beginning of the year, books have been my main source of entertainment sometimes even getting my vote over the internet. Maybe I am ageing far too quickly but hey, who cares?!

What author is so good that you’ve read all their works?
Although I read a lot and have done for many years now, there are only two authors whose entire works I’ve read. They are J K Rowling and Dan Brown. It’s no secret to anyone who knows me even a little bit that Harry Potter has been a huge part of my life since the age of ten. Thirteen years later, I am still in love with Rowling’s writing. Her subsequent works don’t touch Harry Potter in terms of pure genius and amazement but they are far from dull. Both The Casual Vacancy and The Cuckoo’s Calling had me hooked and not purely because of who their author was. She is wonderful at keeping you guessing and creating both characters you love and characters you hate.

It actually surprised me to realise that Dan Brown is the only other author whose work I’ve read all of. He’s not exactly the best writer ever but whenever he has a new release, I always end up picking it up. His non-Robert Langdon books, Deception Point and Digital Fortress, really didn’t grab my attention but I think I must have a slight addiction to Langdon as a character. He does have one of those minds that really intrigue me and the way he figures things out using knowledge of ancient worlds fascinates me. I do always learn a lot from Brown’s Robert Langdon books because as well as being fast-paced stories of the battle between good and evil, they are also quite educational.

Stephen King is my favourite author after Rowling but he has written so many books, I simply haven’t got round to finishing my reading of him. I have quite a few of his books and read most of them, although I still have a few outstanding. The way King spins a story is incredible and although I prefer him as a straight horror writer, I have yet to be disappointed in his fantasy or sci-fi books.

I have almost read the entire works of John Green too. To date, he has published five books and I’ve read The Fault In Our Stars, Paper Towns and Looking For Alaska, loving all three of them. I own An Abundance of Katherines and Will Grayson, Will Grayson but haven’t read them yet. However, both books look great and on finishing both, Green will become the third author whose entire works I’ve read.

Any suggestions on other authors I should read based on the ones I’ve mentioned, please let me know! I’m always excited to get book recommendations!

Another philosophical one this week, although this one comes with a light-hearted approach. It’s something that will undoubtedly bring up the opposite and get us thinking about dark times when we’ve needed to answer this very question. So, once again I invite you to leave your response in a comment!

What do you find to be the single best reason to continue living another day?

For me, it’s the simple things. Remembering how loved I am by my friends and family. The fact that I have a wonderful boyfriend who I know I’ll spend the rest of my life with. Just reminding myself how lucky I am to have these things in my life helps me realise that life is worth living, even through some really horrible times. Doing this really lifts my mood and makes me realise how truly beautiful life is.

As this question says “the single best reason”, I guess I should stop there but that does not a blog post make. Other little things that make me realise the value of life is knowing that I’m still young and my life has barely begun. Just thinking about all the adventures I’m yet to go on, the milestones I’m yet to reach really blows my mind and makes me excited for the future.

Regular readers of AskAlex will know that I do have very dark days and times where I feel like life is too hard for me. However, remembering my unfulfilled dreams and all those who would miss me if I was gone really helps me see that life is probably one of the best gifts ever given to us. Yes it’s difficult and complicated a lot of the time but we have to counterbalance it with all of the wonderful little things that same life is also filled with.

 

I can hardly believe that this is the 30th AskAlex. I know I say that at every milestone but it really is amazing how time flies and how much happens in your life. Today will be another downbeat post because once again, I’ve picked a downbeat topic but it does have tinges of light, so stay tuned!

How do you cope with loneliness?

The short answer is that I don’t cope very well. I don’t like being on my own for long periods of time and when I am, I do get very depressed. My lack of motivation in that state means I can never get much work done even when I’ve got lots to do. In fact, long term loneliness is one of my biggest fears and because of this, I do rely on other people to cheer me up a lot of the time.

One way I can deal with it is to read. Being able to open a book and enter a world that isn’t anything like my own stops me being lonely. Suddenly, there are characters next to me and I’m involved in their lives but not immersed in their problems, which often makes me feel so much better. Watching fantasy films and TV shows such as Supernatural and Doctor Who also help with it because they’re so far from reality that I forget my problems for the hour.

I think everyone has different ways of coping it and loneliness is something that affects everyone in different ways. For me, loneliness knocks my self-esteem cause it makes me feel unwanted. I know that that says a lot about my character and the way I feel and therefore, I try my best to stay positive when I’m lonely. I think of all the good things in my life and it does normally cause the negative feelings to pass. Learning to cope with it is important and it’s something that I’m working on every day.

 

Big Skies is made up of three South Londoners who moved to Berlin and became a high-energy pop-rock band. Meeting a drummer later on completed their band and they went on to write playful melodies and some big hooks. Halo is a song full of impressive riffs and a distinctive vocal that is not dissimilar to that of The Big Pink and The Enemy. If you love epic quirky notes and plenty of energetic instrumentals, Big Skies are definitely a band for you. Watch the Halo video below!

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