Monday, 19 February 2018

Come Meet Love Island's Muggy Mike in The Birdcage


Nothing gay to see here, people. 'Muggy' Mike Thalassitis from Love Island, and currently on Celebs Go Dating, is dropping into Manchester's The Birdcage this Friday for a meet-and-greet.

Love Fridays is how The Birdcage kicks off the weekend. Manchester Cool Bars is dropping in. Get involved! We've been before and had some great nights. Hot people, drinks deals, and reality TV stars. The most important things in life. Well...

The point is, it's great fun. Get involved.


Sunday, 18 February 2018

Quick roundup

This week I got tweet favourites off Love Island's Dom Lever and singer Tallia Storm.

I'm still crippled after yesterday's Parkrun. I plan to be a much better runner by April.


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Saturday, 17 February 2018

Andy's Man Club Supports Bradford Park Run



 

As mentioned 2 weeks ago, support group Andy's Man Club took over the Parkrun in Bradford's Lister Park this morning. Another Oldham member and I drove to Bradford for 8:30am this morning, branded in AMC gear, while the Huddersfield branch of the group did the marshalling.

I marshalled last time, but recently made a plan to practice running and be ready to run in a Parkrun whenever AMC's next takeover took place. It sprung up on me quickly on Facebook, so I jammed in a few runs at the gym and started to get my speed up. I've only ran in a Parkrun once before, in Barking in 2013, getting 25:30.

Before the starting whistle, an AMC / Parkrun organiser gave a quick speech about men's mental health, explaining that suicide is the number 1 killer of men under 50. Andy's Man Club was set up to reduce that number by helping men to talk to each other.

My prediction was that I'd probably get about 45 mins- I'm a lot heavier and haven't run as much recently. I was right: I got 44:51. My knees and calves are now absolutely battered, and I'm taking my time doing anything else today. That said, I'm planning to run again at the next AMC takeover in Wakefield, on 7th April, so I'll continue running at the gym.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Celebs Go Dating: Groundbreaking Televisual Entertainment.

I got a few tweets off the gorgeous Tallia Storm this week, singer and star of Celebs Go Dating.


Also Team GB's Tae Kwon Do Bronze medallist Bianca Walkden liked my tweet. She's also pretty hot.

I've honestly not done a great deal. Snow and DWP being the main obstacles.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Children's Mental Health Week / DWP woes



The last day of Children's Mental Health Week 2018 is tomorrow. Obviously I have no children of my own, but I have friends who do. You don't need to have a son or daughter who is at crisis point to find this website helpful. Mental Health is as important a part of children's and adult's lives as physical health.

It's great that adults and children are being encouraged to speak up about mental health problems. If I'd have been encouraged as a teen I wouldn't have half the problems I've got today. If this campaign saves people the strains I went through, it's a great thing.

Meanwhile, I still haven't got any sense out of the DWP as to why my Working Tax Credits were stopped, and whether or not they are still under review. I'm going to appeal the fact that they were stopped, and I've written a complaint letter about the procedure. To make a comparison, I had a similar problem with ATOS when I applied for PIP. At first I was flat out rejected, but ATOS sent a letter breaking down exactly why they wouldn't pay PIP. (Their opinions were awful- anything I'd ever managed to achieve was used against me.) I applied for mandatory reconsideration, and was awarded one element of PIP, about half of what I was getting under DLA.

In comparison, the DWP have offered no explanation as to why my Tax Credits were stopped. 'A change in my circumstances' is the closest I've got.

I don't know what to do. I've booked a GP appointment to attempt to get a referral to Social Services, on the rock-solid understanding that the help I need is with tax, benefits, employment and legal issues- NOT emotions. I've been in SS before and the person I was put with didn't have a clue what to do with me. I won't let that happen again.

The DWP have given me a deadline of 23rd Feb. They've given me a separate deadline of 26th April in relation to a £416 fine from apparent overpaid WTC. THEY pay ME the Tax Credits. How am I supposed to know if they're overpaying me? Why can't they get it right first time? I don't know, but the plan is to pay this and get it behind me, then hopefully get it cancelled and refunded.

Now. Adding to the confusion, I have savings in an ISA. These savings have come from being incredibly careful with money- in 2011 when I was first awarded DLA, I was afraid of spending it as I knew that at any point the Tories might arbitrarily decide to strip me of benefits. Unsurprisingly, this has (partly) happened. I now can't apply for Universal Credit, the replacement benefit, because my savings are too high. These savings, for the record, are in an ISA, not my current account. If you try a cashpoint robbery, a) I've only got about £300 in my current and b) I'll just snap my debit card and deal with the consequences. It won't be long, though, before these savings diminish, especially if I have to pay for dental treatment, prescriptions and eye tests- and, who knows, maybe more fines. I have no idea which boxes I've ticked on which forms.

I was advised to contact Turn2us, a benefit charity, who in turn suggested I go back to Welfare Rights, who have given me a certain amount of help in the past. I've filled in a Welfare Rights Service Contact Form online. There is apparently a 2-3 week wait list on this, so I'll have to wait for their call. The problem is, I don't know what exact questions I need to ask them and what, in detail, has happened with the DWP and my case in the last few months. I can't remember the details. I can show them the notes I have, though.

It's a shite state of affairs, as Renton would say, but I'm moving forward steadily.

Friday, 9 February 2018

I'm out of nuts, set me free

Nothing Anastacia-related to see here.

Back on the 16thJanuary I wrote that I had bought loads of health snacks and then not eaten them. I planned not to eat any more junk food until they were all devoured.

One thing I didn't plan for, though, is the use-by date passing. Over the last few days I've brought these bags of nuts into work, checked the best-before-end, realised this had passed, and then binned them. I think having the square meals and not snacking between them, no matter how healthy those 'treats' might have been, has been more beneficial than trying to force-feed myself 'healthy' snacks. I've not really craved chocolate or Chinese food, I've had plenty of chicken stir fry and fajitas loaded with cabbage and peppers, and I've made a few attempts at making sweet jacket potatoes (not as filling as you'd imagine). So how have I fared?

I was at 86.3kg- I'm now at 82.4kg. 3.9kg down. I was at 60 dips- I now have a PB of 70. I've joined in a few more classes at the gym, and I find I put more effort in when we're all doing the same thing and there's an instructor pushing us on. I'm practising running in preparation of another Andy's Man Club Parkrun takeover- the next one being a week on Saturday.

Let's not cave in again, yeah?

Thursday, 8 February 2018

#tbt Beermats: Week 16










 









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