Do YOU Want to be Heard?

This is a shout out to anyone who fancies “borrowing my website” for one of their own blogs. I love to chat and talk about my own opinions as you all know, but I’m also a really good listener and love to give other’s a chance at the limelight.

If you have a topic you want to write about, an interesting opinion you’d like to share, a review, an idea, a short story, in fact anything at all, please send it to me. I’ll keep the submissions and publish sporadically, listing who wrote it, for all to know. Feel free to send any pictures too to go with it.

I love writing and have done all my life, ever since I was a little girl and my parents bought me my big, bright orange sentence constructor (see my little doodle below!)

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So if you love writing and fancy your voice being heard, please, please send me a submission. You might want to use it as a platform to show others your written skills for job/interview/college purposes. Perhaps you are thinking of starting your own blog in future and would like to test the water first to see how your work is received. Maybe Facebook doesn’t reach enough people for your liking and 280 characters just isn’t enough on Twitter.

Either way, give it a go. Write something, send it in, see it online and capitalise on my sharing mood while it lasts!

In Defence of the Snowflake

When I’m having a ‘tough day,’ or a ‘mental week’ and express a negative opinion on what’s happening to me, on occasion I hear something along the lines of “Man up!” or “It was ten times harder in my day!” Basically, opinionated statements thrown in my face by people older than me to make me feel that I have no right to feel the way I do. This is something that I’m sure ALL of the people reading this blog have heard before. Thankfully, I don’t really get offended by these statements as these people don’t KNOW me or really anything about what I’m going through – they just want to make the moment about them for a few minutes. Whatevs Trevs, crack on!

The reason I bring this up today though is following a conversation I was having with a friend last week. Albeit for different organisations, in our job roles we both have the privilege of working with and coaching what some people like to call ‘Millennials.’

Millennial (noun) – a person born in the 1980s or 1990s, especially in the U.S; a member of Generation Y (Definition courtesy of www.dictionary.com)

I myself am a Millennial but I am not of the age group of the type of Millennial I’m going to talk about in this article. I am referring to the group that have become more commonly known as “Generation Snowflake.” This is the term given to young adults of the 2010s who ‘apparently’ have very little resilience when it comes to tackling problems and working hard. They are also accused of often taking offence when receiving feedback, whether in work or by the older generation. These supposed Snowflakes are considered too emotionally vulnerable for the ‘real world’ and deemed incapable of coping with views which rival their own.

The term Generation Snowflake was once considered slang, however in 2016 it was observed as one of Collins Dictionary’s words of the year. The Financial Times also recognised it exactly the same way.

An article in The Independent back in September this year brought to light a controversial view on Snowflakes by sharing the views of Connecticut Businessman, Kyle Reyes, who has devised a “Snowflake Test” in his company’s interview process, asking curveball questions such as when applicants last cried and why.

What winds me up however is the fact that there is a vicious label such as this for this generation of young people. I have worked for a youth charity for the last six years and before that as an Adviser to 18-24 year-olds. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that I’ve met and got to know thousands upon thousands of this generation. I have watched some overcome barriers that I was lucky enough not to have in front of me growing up.

I have seen someone balance work experience in the hope of employment all whilst being a carer for two family members.

I have seen someone experience loss of parents at a young age and still turn up to an employment programme with a smile on their face and ready to help customers.

I have seen someone constantly rejected by employers for the way they looked, work insanely hard on a training course and then gain full-time, permanent employment.

I have seen someone supporting a work colleague through bereavement whilst suffering their own personal battles to financially support their child.

I have seen someone rejected by their family because of sexual preference turn up to a training course to better themselves every day as if nothing was wrong.

I have seen someone work hard in their GCSE exams the same week they spent every night in a theatre performing in a show and perfecting their work-life balance.

I have seen someone try their hardest to learn a new job whilst slowly losing their sight.

I have seen hundreds battling depression, anxiety and personal demons in the hope of improving their lives whether that be getting a job, going back to education or just leaving the house every day and meeting new people.

I am inspired every day of my life by someone new from this so-called Generation Snowflake. Can the small-minded people who label them this really hand on heart say that they were never emotionally affected by their environment whilst growing up? I really doubt it. Just because their issues might not necessarily be like yours now, trying to financially recover from a messy divorce or struggling to pay the University fees for your 18-year-old son, doesn’t mean they are not as emotionally devastating.

Finally, to draw attention to the statement of how Snowflakes are unable to deal with views which rival their own or how they talk about their feelings too much. I can answer this with just two words: Social Media. These days we have a wide range of platforms on which we can express our opinions. These opinions differentiate us as a race from more basic life forms and through platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram etc, we can share them with the world and whoever else wants to listen. If you don’t want to hear what this generation have to say, then Unfollow them. Unsubscribe to them. Unfriend them. Log out of the Matrix, whatever you need to do to avoid these views which irk you so much. Just don’t for one second believe that you wouldn’t have been as opinionated so freely if social media was available to you when you were young.

If we must insist on using this term, then why not recognise that maybe we all as race come under this umbrella. We are all unique with different issues, feelings, opinions, values and emotional pain thresholds, regardless of our age.

So stop labelling them, cut them some slack and consider that we might all be Snowflakes.

#CricketGirlsOnTour – Glamorgan CCC v Essex CCC – May 2012

Day 1:

Today was the first day of our #cricketgirlsontour season and Abby and I found ourselves sitting in our familiar River End stand at The Swalec Stadium, equipped with posh Lords-esque packed lunch and a bottle of South African, my favourite…

 

A lunch to rival Lords!

 

Our beloved Swalec Stadium

 

I think we must have been the only girls in the ground under 50 for this first day but we didn’t mind at all. The great thing about being surrounded by the mature and being a young lady is that you get a kind of ‘special treatment.’ They love sitting near you because they’re fascinated by you. Don’t get me wrong, Abby and I talk about the cricket at hand, we do know our stuff, but our attention spans are not as good as the full-on fans around us and most of the time we’re either bantering with players on the boundary, sneaking into studios for some commentating, drinking wine or tweeting pictures of forks in weird places on the cricket pitch…

After our posh lunch as made by Abby (I can’t cook for toffee), we were joined by Essex CCC bus driver Marc Marangou for a catch up and some top banter. I’ve known Marc since his team’s trip to St. Helen’s at Swansea back in 2007. Every year we meet up and every year he tells me his side is going to beat mine – they rarely do… The Essex cricketers shouting embarrassing things to him every time he sits by us is one of the highlights of week – you can’t beat banter at someone else’s expense! Love you Marc! – actually so much so that I avoided abusing him with ammunition given to me by Alistair Cook that evening (name-droppin’ell!).

 

Me & Marc

Marc & Abby

 

After lunch we sneaked up to visit the legendary Ed Bevan of BBC Wales to tell him of our #cricketgirlsontour this year. Bless him, I think he’s always intrigued about what we’re going to do next! We then went into the BBC Essex studio where we met up with Dick Davies – who interviewed me last season when Essex played Glam at Cardiff, about my cricket book. I had a great 10 minutes chatting about the book, and got to join in with the commentary. It’s still my dream one day to have my own commentary channel – I’m sure people would be intrigued to listen to cricket from the mind of a 28-year old Welsh lass with the attention span of Dory from Finding Nemo…

 

BBC Essex Commentary

 

Day 2:

 

The rain stopped at 11am so you’d think we’d manage to see some cricket but none at all was played on day 2. The ground is right next to the River Taff which apparently was at its highest for a while so the water wouldn’t drain. Your choice becomes: sit in the stands freezing your butt off waiting for a miracle or sit in the bar chatting to randoms, playing Who Wants to be a Millionaire on an iPad and drinking the bar dry. Natuarally we chose the second option. The Member’s Bar at The Swalec Stadium has a lovely atmosphere with a great menu which we recommend to all who visit. Abby and I, being freezing, weren’t that adventurous and went with a safe jacket potato with grated cheese! Excellence service though and a definite recommendation. A good-looking bar man also helps… Cheers also to all our followers who helped us cheat at Millionaire!

 

Member’s Bar #tweetwhatyoueat

 

In the night we hit a place that every sportsman worth his salt has tweeted about, Nando’s. I had to drag Abby kicking and screaming as she vowed never to set foot in one but we decided that if it’s a cricket tour, then we NEED to go! Just wish someone told me in time that the lemon and herb was actually quite spicy as I couldn’t feel my tongue for the rest of the night! I get abuse all the time for my ‘crapness’ with spicy food but cheers to Dizzy (Gillespie) who backed me up, I’m not alone!

 

Abby in Nando’s …which I liked!

 

Day 3:

Fair play, the Glammy groundsmen did a cracking job of getting the wicket ready for Day 3 after all the rain. As you can see from the pics below we did see a day of play but like I said, when you have the attention span as bad as mine and Abby’s you need to have distractions ready! Nail-painting is a must at the cricket, especially as that night would be spent partying in Tiger Tiger.

 

Nail Painting – just don’t get hit by a six!

Not a bad position to be in…

 

I think the majority of the afternoon however was spent #forking, or #extremeforking as it turned into. Once again, for those who aren’t up on their #forking, just think of the YouTube sensation ‘planking’ and replace the posing people in strange places with a fork – it’s not rocket science! Our efforts started off pretty average but with the help of wine and the legendary Glamorgan groundsmen (big up to Kenny) we manage to achieve the ultimate #forking picture – I challenge anyone out there to upstage these efforts. You’ve got NO CHANCE! Make sure you tweet your efforts to myself and Abby – we’ll RT the best! (@LilMissAshes and @abbyosullivan)

 

Extreme #forking as placed by Groundsman Kenny

#forking Mark Pettini – sorry Swampy!

 

At least I did get to flash my eBook ‘Point to Fine Leg’ around on my iPad. It’s still selling but I really do need to get back on the marketing horse. Big up to @RikiWessels for helping me with that on Twitter last week!

 

Point to Fine Leg on the iPad

 

We also managed to get a lolly to Ravi Bopara who was celebrating his birthday. The lads made poor Marc hunt Cardiff for a birthday cake!

 

Abby with BBC Wales legend Ed Bevan

Day 4:

Unfortunately Day 4 saw Abby disappearing off to a hen do in West Wales so it was mostly just me all day. At this point though, the majority of my stand were talking to me so I didn’t feel on my own at all! My team weren’t having a great time of it in the field sadly, but thankfully, Welsh weather stopping play on Thursday meant the match would end up as a draw anyway.

 

The Essex lads fielding at slip

 

My cousin Alex (@Lexie943) joined me for the evening session. Alex has only ever been to the cricket once in her life and that was last year when I dragged her to a Glamorgan v Essex Twenty20 match. Not sure what it is about Essex matches? I thought she’d be bored to tears but I think my quirky commentary and drunken descriptions of what was going on in the middle kept her amused! “Watch him stare at the dude with the bat now when he hits it for 4…”

We finished the tour with a night out in Mocka Lounge and Tiger Tiger (whilst Abby was in a tent somewhere taking one for the team). It was nice to catch up with some old friends and show the visiting team the best places to go – us Welsh lasses are good like that! I got to see some top dance-offs although I still think I’m the best! #slightlybiased

 

I’m sure this drink was blue not green…

 

All in all it was an excellent first leg to #cricketgirlsontour – they’re always eventful. Cricket matches leave me with a shocking hangover every time but it’s the best kind of hangover. This year I’ll be encourage more and more girls to attend the cricket and have the fun that Abby and I have. I think I’ll be bringing them to the T20s first tho. Remember people, if you have female mates or other halves you keep trying to drag to your matches, get them to download my eBook on www.pitchvision.com/lilmissashes and that will teach them everything they’ll ever need to know about cricket!

A note to all though who plan on doing a similar tour – every tour should have a playlist. This week’s was ‘Call Me Maybe’ by Carly Rae Jepson (apologies to Alex Hales who hates this song), ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ by Gotye, ‘International Love’ by Pitbull, ‘Primadonna Girl’ by Marina & the Diamonds, ‘Rain Over Me’ by Pitbull & Marc Anthony and ‘Hot Right Now’ by DJ Fresh.

 

 

Look out for more #cricketgirlsontour coming to a ground near you. I think our next entry will be from sunny Colwyn Bay – don’t worry rest of Britain, we will be driving out of Wales at some point!

 

What LilMissAshes Did Next: The Modern Woman’s Guide to a Long Winter Without Cricket

The cricket season is over. No more adventures to Cardiff this year to cheer on my Glamorgan Dragons. No more sitting in the stands and flicking my fork onto the outfield #forking (it was an accident!) No more banter with the fielders on the boundary and threatening to steal their hand-warmers. No more reading daily Nandos tweets. The cricket season is officially over.

Up until this summer, cricket had merely been a fun way to fill an afternoon, but this summer was different.

Promotion of my Point to Fine Leg eBook has seen me attend the majority of Glamorgan’s Twenty20, Pro40 and LVCC matches. I’ve been busy spreading the word of my eBook to all I’ve talked to. This includes chatting to spectators in the crowd, tweeting to
over 1000 Twitter followers (@LilMissAshes btw!), speaking to sports broadcasters on BBC Wales, BBC Essex and BBC London, trying my hand at cricket commentary on www.testmatchsofa.com and interviewing international cricketers on their thoughts about getting more women into cricket.

All in all it’s been a pretty successful summer for getting more women involved in the sport. In fact, if I’ve I managed to turn just 5
women into cricket fans then I consider that a job well done, I’m doing something right!

I’ve already began planning for next summer’s cricket season. You can look forward to “Cricket Girls on Tour” with myself and Abby O’Sullivan, my fellow Glamorgan fan and cricket ‘partner in crime.’ We plan to visit as many cricket grounds as possible, reporting on everything from the matches, the food, the people and just the downright craic! Expect cricket from a female’s perspective! It’s going to be interesting…

Girls on Tour: Myself and Abby

Until then however, I’ve got 6 months to fill. You can expect more fictitious, crazy match reports of The George Clooney XI, at least
until Movie Star Cricket takes off! You just know that there’s no way I can go 6 months without a single mention of cricket!

Football season is in the swing. Girls, even if you’re not majorly into this sport, it’s great to watch in the winter. The plan is, wrap
up warm, get some free tickets from a local footballer hottie, watch the match, then ice-skating in the Christmas Winter Wonderland Outdoor Rinks which most cities seem to have these days. A perfect little way to spend a Saturday night if you’re bored of the usual night on the town!

GLEE Season 3 is also starting so that takes care of a Thursday night. Is anyone else as hooked on this as I am? I did send an audition video to the website once, but I was too late. Not that I expected to win and get a part on the show but hey, a girl’s got to try! You only live once! Just trying to think of some more random things I can do!

X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing have started too. Not sure which one I prefer really. I think I prefer Strictly given that it’s usually packed with less cheese than the efforts of The X Factor. That, and the fact that they always seem to show the worst of the Wales auditions! LAND OF SONG we are people! Respect it!

I am vowing to do a least some of the things on my bucket list. On Saturday, I attempted the Bluepool Rock Jump. When I say attempted, I mean I climbed down a dodgy cliff to get to it but got hit by a hailstorm that looked like something out of The Day After Tomorrow so I chickened out. I am going to be more spontaneous though – I’ll put the pictures on here for evidence! Life is too short to spend it wondering which I have discovered of late.

I’m not giving up on this eBook promotion either. I will be trying to convince publishers that cricket is indeed on the rise and hopefully you’ll see my book on sale, hardback in a book store near you! Spread the word peeps! #goodpublicity

Another winter activity I’ve been thinking of is join an Amateur Dramatics Society. I am indeed a little drama queen anyway but watching The Rocky Horror Show this weekend has really put me in the mood! I love acting and singing but never really done anything past the odd acoustic gig in a bar. Maybe this winter I’ll discover my new hobby of channelling High School Musical…

Well, these are just a handful of the ways I’m going to spend my winter. If you can think of some more fun things for me to fill my
‘non-cricket season time’ then please, offer it up!

Crickette.net – A Site for Sore Eyes

This mini blog is dedicated to a favourite site of mine – one that should be checked out by all who love the beautiful game of cricket.

www.crickette.net is a fabulous little blog site written by the girls in the know. You’ll read great up-to-date blogs and, even better, you can even buy merchandise from their shop. For all you Stuart Broad lovers out there, you can buy the “Mrs Broad” underwear. They’ve got fun cricket t-shirts, menswear and even home items for you major cricket badgers out there.

It’s a fab little site that you need to check out, whether you’re just getting into the sport or have been into it since birth.

Don’t forget to follow them on twitter @crickettenet  – the adventures of Morkel the Cat are too good to miss!

Best of the Best – W/C 8th August 2011

Song of the Week – She Makes Me Wanna, JLS – I have been randomly singing this song all week and MIGHT have got caught dancing to it outside the bank…

Word of the Week – “Retweet” – Those of you who follow me on Twitter (@LilMissAshes) will know that I have probably asked for about 50 retweets from cricketers and sports journalists/broadcasters this week for book promotion purposes. Yes, I apologise for clogging up your newsfeeds!

Sports Team of the Week – England Cricket Team – Congratulations boy on becoming world number one! Now let’s stay there!

Drink of the Week – South African white wine – I can’t remember what it’s called, I just know that, in the words of Michael MacIntyre, it can get me “farmed” after just 2 glasses!

Tweet of the Week – Courtesy of Notts CCC batsman @alexhales – “Gone from one end of the spectrum to the other with accents. Welsh is immense, and after being near Birmingham, can’t say the same for them!” Woohoo, points for the Welsh accent!

Film of the Week – Pulp Fiction – never gets old!

Moment of the Week – Hearing “Hymns and Arias” (a Welsh Song) being sung in Manchester on TV as Swansea City played their first Premiership match of the season, against Man City.

Inappropriate Moment of the Week – Having my back massaged in work by a mate using a ‘massage starfish’ and making the most inappropriate noises in front of my work colleagues! #shamed

Rage of the Week – Hearing a small gaggle of drunken Somerset CCC fans singing “The Welsh are Scum!” at the Swalec Stadium in Cardiff as Glamorgan CCC plaued Somerset CCC in the Pro40 match. They embarrassed the other lovely Somerset fans in the ground and ticked me RIGHT OFF!