Writing = therapy (or 5 reasons why writing is good for you)

I have always enjoyed writing—whether it’s stories, poems, scripts, silly notes to myself, or pages and pages of unnecessary commentary on my favourite television shows. There is something about putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) that soothes me. One of my goals is to journal more, but in an increasingly digital world, I can never find the time. Writing online in the form of digital diaries and blogs is a great way to keep up with journaling, but I much prefer looking at the clean-lined paper and messing it up with my chicken scrawl.

Continue reading

Some people aren’t made for winter

Winter is known as the gloomiest season due to the weather it brings, but if you find yourself feeling lower than usual, there could be a reason why.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a kind of depression that has its onset during different seasons of the year. Most people tend to be affected during winter but it can occur in summer too. People who suffer from SAD tend to experience symptoms of depression more during the winter months.

Continue reading

First three parent babies born in UK after new IVF procedure

Photo by Thiago Borges on Pexels.com

I was interested to read about the ‘three DNA babies’ born in the UK after the mothers underwent mitochondrial donations in order to prevent their babies from developing mitochondrial disease.

According to the NHS:

Mitochondrial disease occurs when mitochondria do not prodyce enough energy. This causes a range of symptoms and the severity of the disease depends on how many cells are affected and where they are located.

Continue reading

Words for Nerds

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I am in the middle of completing this Python project here and I wanted to create a science-based version of the game Wordle. While looking for a list of words to use, I came across Words for Nerds by The Scientist AKA Science Wordle! I managed to guess today’s word in four tries…and I found it educational. I won’t spoil the world, but let’s just say that if it came up in trivia, I’d fail miserably.

The game is played the same way as the traditional Wordle. You have six attempts to guess a five-letter word. Correctly placed letters will be shown in green, letters that are misplaced will be in orange, and letters not in the word will be greyed out.

While the game is relatively simple to play, the website itself is cluttered and you have to keep scrolling up and down to see your guesses and they keyboard. In order to see both, I had to zoom out on the page in the web browser. Still, it’s a quick and easy way to build your science vocabulary and learn something new!

‘Nicotine-free’ vapes are highly addictive

‘Nicotine-free’ vapes are highly addictive

According to research and data provided by Inter Scientific, ‘nicotine-free’ vapes sold across stores in England and Wales contain addictive substances such as formaldehyde and acrolein.

Both of these substances have links to cancers. Inter Scientific analyzed 52 products and found that 73% were above the legal tank capacity of 2ml.

Almost half of the products had more than twice the legal capacity. In addition, eight of the vaping devices tested contained addictive substances even though they were marketed as being nicotine free. Some of these devices have 50% more than the legal limit (20mg/ml) of nicotine.

This is bad news for young people who use vaping devices regularly and believe that they are avoiding risk by going for nicotine-free products. Vape flavours are also adding to this risk by making it easy for users to inhale a large amount in a short period of time.

Once again, these findings prove that people using these devices need to be aware of what their inhaling. The government and medical industry also need to move quickly when it comes to regulating these devices in order to avoid an epidemic in the future.

Source: Some ‘nicotine-free’ vapes high in addictive substances, tests reveal

Further reading: The Big Question – 04 – Is vaping risk-free?

The Big Question – 05 & 06 – Why do we shop until we drop?

Why do we buy so much stuff?


What impact does it have on society?

I cannot be trusted to go into a store and only buy what I need. It is a simple fact. One of my favourite stories to tell is about the time I left the house to buy toilet rolls and ended up with TWENTY-ONE KitKat Chunky bars (which I definitely did not eat all by myself). It was on offer and I thought, why not? Never mind that I did not need twenty-one chocolate bars (does anybody?).

I have noticed that I tend to buy a lot of things that I don’t need. My latest questionable acquisition was a harmonica and that was only because I talked myself out of buying a ukulele. The impromptu purchase was sponsored by ‘The Middle of Lidl’ a utopia of things people want because they just so happen to be in the middle of this store. The added excitement is the tag ‘When It’s Gone, It’s Gone!’ – and they are not lying. These products often don’t make a reappearance.

It always fascinates me because as a consumer, I know that I’m being worked. It is someone’s job to make these products enticing and they are succeeding. The question is why? Why is it that consumers follow the same patterns over and over again? There are a lot of articles online about shopping addictions and retail therapy, but I think that absolves the retailers themselves. After all, their job is to persuade us to part with our money. We’re only buying what’s been made available to us.

And nothing makes a consumer feel better than the idea of saving money while spending it at the same time. Regular-priced items will often have a small tag displaying the at times, overpriced amount. Sale items are the complete opposite. Big, flashy signs! A big number that’s been slashed into a smaller number. This gives us the sense that we’re winning somehow.

Are we, though?

For instance, I have been passing my collection of shoes with a wistful sigh every day for the past six months. I have promised that I will clear them out. I will throw away the old ones to free up some space. And most importantly, I will not buy more.

I’m up to my third pair of brand-new shoes so far. What do all three pairs have in common?

They were on sale.

According to research carried out by Coca-Cola, HALF of all grocery purchases are impulse buys. Despite the rational reasons not to make these purchases, the need for instant gratification often supersedes all. Instant gratification sounds like an excuse, but it’s a very real thing. If you’re having a bad day or feeling down about life, craving one high point is natural. And it’s been proven that online shopping makes people feel happier. I can attest to that. I’m at my happiest when I’m adding junk to my eBay basket or looking at earrings that I’d like to buy but won’t wear (confession: I buy them anyway).

However, there is a downside. If the shoes were really worth the original price, why is the company so happy to slash the price in half? Are sales really worth it when you didn’t want or need the item in the first place? Not to mention that not being able to wait for things can lead to a lack of self-control. Self-control is an important tool that we use in our daily life for things such as paying the bills, remaining active and healthy, and maintaining financial security.

What are the dangers of buying so much?

Although shopping is fun, exciting and a mood reliever – it comes with its disadvantages.

  • Debt – the increase of Buy Now, Pay Later companies in the UK has been linked to growing debt, particularly among younger people. Retailers have embraced BNPL, presumably because it’s one more factor encouraging people to spend freely
  • Hoarding – this a disorder not necessarily linked to shopping, but people attracted to sales may end up with boxes of items they have not or will not use.
  • Anxiety –
  • Depression
  • Loss of self

The impact of buying on society

Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels.com

It is easy to think that buying items is harmless. It’s just stuff, right? Well, there are a whole host of issues. Take fast fashion, an industry plagued by concerns in terms of sustainability and worker conditions. Someone who is addicted to buying cheap sale items may be indirectly contributing to these issues. If the demand for cheap, trendy clothing is high, production is going to be high – leading to a huge amount of waste. While many leading retailers have vowed to tackle this, the rise of online e-commerce sites like SHEIN proves that it won’t be easy. SHEIN alone produces the same amount of carbon dioxide as 180 coal-fired power plants, generating 6.3 million tonnes of CO2. This is bad – CO2 is a greenhouse gas considered harmful to the planet. While the debate about climate change rages on, it is said that human activity has raised the amount of carbon dioxide on the planet by a 50% within the past two centuries. For a planet that’s over two thousand years old, that’s a shocking statistic!

Before (L) and after (R) Parched Poyang Lake, China – July 10, 2022 – August 27, 2022
Images captured by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite.
Source: NASA’s Earth Observatory

There is also the element of ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ – the idea that one has to spend or buy the same items as their peers in order to fit in. A teenager might insist on having the latest pair of Nikes because their friend has them, and similarly, a young adult might indulge in the latest pair because it’s a status symbol.

Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels.com

A study published in Comprehensive Psychiatry showed that ‘problem shopping’ had a negative effect on teenagers. This excessive shopping was linked to issues such as hopelessness, sadness, smoking, and drug use. The symptoms the teenagers reported were similar to the behaviors linked to addiction e.g. trying to cut back, feeling relaxed while shopping, or it disrupting their routine. One factor mentioned by the researchers was the role of external factors such as television, which is full of adverts implying that buying certain products will improve quality of life. Similarly, social media is increasingly becoming a giant marketplace where people are always trying to promote various products.


Shopping is not necessarily a bad thing. The thrill of buying a new dress or a new pair of shoes is unrivaled, and a burst of dopamine never did anyone any harm. However, like with many things in life, moderation may be required in order to ensure that society as a whole is not damaged by the thrills of retail therapy.


The Science of Superman

What movies or TV series have you watched more than 5 times?

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

At first, I wondered how to answer this and link it to a scientific subject – and then I had a light bulb moment. Sci-fi, anyone? Ironically, I don’t consider myself a fan of science fiction, and yet I am inexplicably drawn to it anyway.

To answer the question, I’ve probably watched Smallville more than five times, or at the very least specific seasons of the show. Smallville was a show detailing the life of a young Clark Kent, a character more commonly known as Superman.

I’m always fascinated by the science of Superman. Is it possible for a man to fly, and what would the circumstances be? Is it possible for a physical being to be harmed by a rock?

According to Science World, one reason Superman is able to fly is that he’s from another planet where the gravitational pull (i.e. the phenomenon that keeps our feet firmly planted on the ground) is less than it is on Earth. That is definitely something to think about the next time someone tells me that Superman isn’t cool because he’s too powerful.

In the meantime, I’m going to hunt for a copy of ‘The Science of Superman’ by Mark Wolverton and see if it answers a question that’s been burning in my mind. How does Superman shoot fire out of his eyes?

Happy International Woman’s Day!

Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #EmbraceEquity.

Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness about discrimination. Take action to drive gender parity.

IWD belongs to everyone, everywhere. Inclusion means all IWD action is valid.

For more information, visit internationalwomensday,com.

Facing challenges

What is the biggest challenge you will face in the next six months?

I’m currently reading a book called ‘The Book of Moods: How I Turned My Worst Emotions Into My Best Life‘ which sounds self-explanatory, but my reasons for reading it have nothing to do with moods! Still, so far, it has been eye-opening. We, as humans, have a tendency to dwell on the future. We focus on things that are out of our control. And everything we experience tends to drive how we feel and behave.

this was me 5 minutes ago

My challenges are the same ones I have been facing in the previous six months – a better job, a writing schedule I stick to, and finally finishing my novel. I have lists of future plans written down. All the achievements and goals I’m striving towards. Sometimes those lists help and others… they’re detrimental.

To answer the question, I think the biggest challenge I face is believing in myself. Fear is a natural emotion, but wanting to progress is nothing to be afraid of. Wanting success is nothing to be afraid of. Yet, sometimes it’s hard to go after what you want because you’re afraid of the unknown.

I think it’s better to try than to do nothing – and I’m going to use that mindset to go forward.

Feel like having another go on Worldle? Check out this Custom Worldle!

International Boost Self-Esteem Month 2023

The International Boost Self-Esteem Month is annually observed in February. It is a period set aside in the year to help us believe in and appreciate ourselves more, despite whatever we may be facing. With high self-esteem, one can prevent many problems, like mental health disorders, and enjoy good overall health and a state of well-being. One is also able to be of valuable help and support to others. Our mental health is as important as our physical health, so we should use this month of observation to take care and learn to love ourselves.

Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

More information: International Boost Self Esteem Month – February 2023

The Big Question – 04 – Is vaping risk-free?

Photo by Sabrina Rohwer on Pexels.com

Is vaping risk-free?

Vaping is the act of smoking e-cigarettes, also known as vape pens. These are handheld devices allowing the user to inhale nicotine in a vapour rather than smoke. For years, vaping has been pushed as a safer alternative to smoking. However, given the smoking industry’s colourful past, it is easy to see why some people may have some doubts. There have also been some high-profile incidents such as the Juul controversy and instances in which vaping may have caused death.

One of the main issues with vaping is the number of young people who are growing addicted to it. From teenage rebellion to fruit flavours, what started off as a healthier alternative to smoking may now become yet another addiction crisis society has to battle. While vaping is healthier than smoking, this is the only case for those who already smoked. The general advice is that vaping should not be taken up by non-smokers.

Continue reading