Horrendous Adverts Alert


Hey there,

So I have recently been warned of the fact that adverts have been appearing at the bottom of my posts for awhile. I had not seen them, been warned about them, and actually have a wonderful extension called Adblock which means I don’t see adverts ever, at all, I like it this way.

However, for those of you who have seen them I do apologise, I do not endorse them and many of them repulse me. I would suggest Adblock, or a similar service, so you don’t have to deal with any of the rubbish anyway, but otherwise I have a few plans to deal with it: Continue reading

Travelling Toddler: Edinburgh; Part 1.


It’s been a while since I properly wrote on here but whilst wandering around Edinburgh with our now-toddling-toddler, Cub, I realised that perhaps refreshing a few reviews from the perspective of someone with a child wasn’t a bad idea. Overall we had an incredible time, if exhausting, in Edinburgh and the people were a large part of that. We miss Scotland often and a lot and being in the company of friendly smiling faces and lilting accents was a huge blessing… plus, y’know.. haggis and such things, YUM!

This is a brief review of a few places we visited, discovered, and slept.

The view from my bed, early on a July morning.

The view from my bed, early on a July morning.


Continue reading

Still Learning

This time last year: even my own knowing smile tells me I was clearly being silly.

This time last year: even my own knowing smile tells me I was clearly being silly.

Over the last month I have learnt quite a lot about myself, particularly in the 30 Day Self Portrait Challenge, but sometimes life lessons come in smaller pieces. Mine surprised me in hindsight. I thought I would share them with you as I can imagine both are pretty common. Continue reading

30 Days: A Self Portrait

Copyright EKMCronin 2015.

Copyright EKMCronin 2015.

This is the final day of my self-targeted 30 Day Self Portrait challenge. Outside of simply gaining some intensive portrait practice I think I have learnt quite a lot. I thought I’d share a few of those lessons as well as a few of my plans for the next few months. Continue reading

Foxy Upcycling by Natalie Huntsman

Bear bought me art! It also came with beautiful bunnies!

Bear bought me art! It also came with beautiful bunnies!

As you already know I am a big fan of finding local, new, and generally underappreciated artists and showing off their work. I feel that if an individual artist starting out has any hope of beating the big corporate machine that wants them to create multiple versions of the same flowers to be printed on canvas, duvets, and curtains alike, it needs to be through their fans and the support of people who buy from them. I don’t see myself as a patron because in my head that requires far more money than I’ve got, but I do think we need a re-emergence of people who are willing to support artists in their creative endeavors. Plus the art is just really awesome!

My example today is of Natalie Huntsman at Foxy Upcycling. Continue reading

Just One Day

Election Day Self Portrait. EKMCronin 2015.

Election Day Self Portrait. EKMCronin 2015.

I have a lot to be grateful for. I had an amazing education and am still just about managing to continue with a Masters degree. I have an amazing husband, daughter, and friends around me (although never as much as I’d like). I have food in my belly and a roof over my head (albeit through my parents’ hospitality). I am mostly healthy and live surrounded by beautiful countryside. And at the very least, UKIP didn’t get as much support as they hoped for.

However, this morning I found myself crying onto the kitchen counter, hiding my sadness and anger from my parents, at the thought of another 5 years of a strongly Conservative government. I wonder how my little family will ever move into our own home when child tax credit and the tiny amount of child benefit is cut out of our limited budget. I wonder if our environment and future can cope with increased fracking and lack of ecological priorities. I wonder how my child will cope with higher education fees and whether she will ever have what I loved so much. I wonder how long our precious NHS will last and whether our family will be able to afford an insurance-based system that I fear will come. I wonder how many children and adults will starve on the streets due to higher homelessness, poverty, despite the wonderful work done by food banks across the UK. I wonder if we will ever afford to adopt the children we hoped to, and whether being responsibly will outweigh the wish for Cub to have siblings. I wonder how I am perceived in a country who continue to expect mothers (and fathers) to work despite childcare costs being out of our reach and right-wing (even if more central) politics continuing to assume we are not worth speaking to. I wonder how long I will be able to stay living where I was born, and how happy I will be to return to Scotland, who seem to hold the vulnerable up as their priority. I wonder if I shall ever have a pension, whether I shall be able to support myself in old age, and whether the statistics of poverty and loneliness for the elderly will become my own label. I wonder if I will continue to cry and fear for my families future.

Today I will cry, I will mope, I will feel anger and grieve the potential of a more diverse parliament, and a more representative government, and I will allow my fears to hit me, wash over me, and then, finally, eventually, leave me. I will likely be eating ice cream and playing with my child hoping that either one might cheer me just a little. I will watch movies, and write, and create, and allow myself just one day.

Tomorrow, we start again. Tomorrow we have to fight against the greed and mammon-priority of those in power. Tomorrow we have to call for empathy, assistance, and love for the least of us, for those in trouble, for those struck by poverty, illness, and heartache. Tomorrow we have to cry out for our children’s futures, for the security of the elderly, and for a tolerant community which embraces diversity with simple common decency. Tomorrow we have to stand as a people of outward compassion and generosity, those who will care for our neighbours, the stranger and the foreigner, without suspicion and malice. Tomorrow we must begin again in our attempts to protect the land we inhabit and the creatures we steward. Tomorrow we must take on the challenge, take on the responsibility, and force ourselves back into battle.

Today I will cry for just one day. Tomorrow, we start again.

I think I will start by praying, hoping that God will help us.

Two New Challenges and an Old One

Inspired by Margaret Keane's Big Eyes.

Inspired by Margaret Keane’s Big Eyes.

These are my challenges. Hear me roar and keep me accountable… I also take brownie-like motivation! Continue reading

A Open Angry Letter To UKIP


To all those in UKIP,

You make me angry.

I have been studying most of today about something I assumed was hardly related, and yet the more I read the more angry I became because the smug nonsense from UKIP keeps coming over the TV, radio and through the news/media. I was already pretty pissed off with you but apparently you had to try to go one further and claim to be assisting Christians, promoting your policies as protecting our “Christian heritage”,

I am a Christian. Pretty much everyone I know knows this about me. It is not something I hide and as I’m studying Theology it often comes with the territory. Therefore I just want to say a few things:

UKIP, Christ would be ashamed of you.

Whilst claiming to protect Christian conscience you also aim to cut all foreign aid. You may be able to twist your morality around the words “love your neighbour” to feel comfortable with simply offering a Christmas card each year to your suburban neighbours, but Jesus was pretty much a traveller when he suggested this. Neighbour is not as clear as “the person who lives within 100 ft of you” and does not rule out society’s neighbours, our countries’ neighbours, or should we ever find some, the planet’s neighbours. Neither can you claim Jesus only meant such ethical guides to be used by the individual! The church was not an individual, it acts as the body of Christ, and if you are claiming that the UK has Christian heritage then you are drawing a very blurred, extraordinarily pointless line that only really helps you feel OK with giving a couple of pounds to your established registered charity whilst also ripping away the tiny percentage of taxes that goes to those suffering around the world INCLUDING those in Nepal trying to rebuild their entire lives and those who almost lost theirs in the Mediterranean.

Neither would he be claiming that immigrants are the root of all our problems as if your own bloodlines aren’t filled to the brim with Viking, Roman, Greek, French, and oh so much more. Our entire country is full of the profits, the culture, and the beauty of the cultures we embraced over millennia. What you are actually saying is that we are full now, coincidentally just after Nigel Farage’s wife came over, but before those people, you know, the bad sort of immigrants from the East of Europe. We must stop them. What you are also indirectly saying is that those of Italian roots, Indian, Spanish, Polish, and German should also have never really been allowed in, and they weren’t good enough to be British. What you don’t realise is that you are making me ashamed to be British. You make me want to tell them to stay where they are because why on earth would they want to be belittled, insulted, and judged as unworthy by idiots like you. Our Royal family is part German, part Greek (the country you keep complaining about helping out when the people there were in serious trouble – surprise surprise!). Our “British” Museum is full of the ancient pieces of world history. Our food is inspired by more countries and peoples than I could name and we adore them. When you insult immigrants, the many amazing people living and working in this country,you insult countless people I studied with, incredible lecturers who taught me, friends I lived with, doctors and nurses who care for me, a specialist who performed the emergency c-section which saved my daughter and I, and thousands more, what you do is insult our friends, our family members, and our community. You insult us.

When Jesus said ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me,’ do you think he meant ‘except when you have HIV/AIDs or are from another country’? Because I don’t. I felt physically sick when Nigel Farage said he would stop those with HIV firstly, entering the country, and secondly, being treated. Have you no heart, no humanity? These are people suffering from a horrendous illness and potentially dying from it, and you are complaining about the cost? What is the cost of someone’s life? When you suffer a heart attack or are diagnosed with cancer, do UK taxpayers get to judge whether you deserve their money spent on you? When Aneurin Bevan fathered the NHS he claimed “illness is neither an indulgence for which people have to pay, nor an offence for which they should be penalised, but a misfortune, the cost of which should be shared by the community.” If you want to add to that little side notes where people = those of British origins, and cost = as long as its not too much, and community = those within the political boundary drawn on the map labelled “Great Britain”, then you go for it but you miss the point, the motive, and the heart behind such an organisation.

As a Christian I thank you for your mild concern over my freedom of conscience and religion. I’m not too worried. Firstly, the EU Declaration of Human Rights (which you want to abolish) protects me just fine. Secondly, if I want to say something about my faith I will do so and suffer whatever consequences may come, because that’s what Jesus told me to do, I don’t need you. Thirdly, I would rather lose all my rights than sell my soul to those who wish to use minorities’ presence in my home country as a scapegoat to scare me into giving them my vote. I am not scared by anything but the possibility of UKIP having any position of power in our government (however screwed up it is right now and however tear-inducing a hung parliament could be).

The number of times I have thought about vandalising your boards, hitting them with a hammer, chopping them into bits, or simply writing a nice letter (possibly a little politer than this rejecting all your political ‘policies’) are reaching their hundreds and the Tory billboards alongside don’t help either. However, I have resisted the temptation and simply pray that people will realise your smiling charismatic leader who tries to cover up the greed, xenophobia, and fear-mongering, is not worth their time and use their vote more wisely.

God does not support you, He is with the poor, the strangers, the orphans, the ill, the injured, the minorities and marginalised. He is with everyone you stand against and He is bigger than you could ever become. One day I hope you apologise for the disservice you show His children.

I will pray for you,

EKM Cronin.

2nd May 2015