Personality

I recently did one those personality tests that you find all over the internet. Based on the Myers-Briggs type indicator test, it gives you a four letter result which, not too unlike a horoscope, its supposed to explain the inner workings of who you are.

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About 4 years ago I did the test as part of a university module and got INFJ – Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, Judging – known as the ‘Advocate’.

I did it again this week and got ISTJ – Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Judging – known as the ‘Logistician’, practical and fact-minded individuals, whose reliability cannot be doubted.

I’ll take it with a pinch of salt mind you. Whilst not quite as generic as a horoscope, there’s certainly still limits to what these tests can say about someone. Still, it gives me the warm glow of knowing that I apparently share the same personality type as George Washington!

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If only I could be that badass.

The strengths I (supposedly) have as an ISTJ are: Honest, Dutiful, Responsible, Calm, Create & Enforce Order, Jack-of-all-trades.

Weaknesses: Stubborn, Insensitive, Always by the book, Judgemental.

I’d probably agree with most of those. I’ve definitely had most of them said about me in varying degrees. I can’t help but feel like it makes me sound like some kind of Robocop mind you. I do have feelings – honest!

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What I’ve discovered most of all from this exercise though is that I’ve changed (quite a lot in some ways) over the years and that’s totally fine. We don’t stay the same, we evolve and we grow, and that’s a good thing!

What personality type are you? Do you think it’s changed over time?

Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

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Quick Update

I’ve been appallingly bad at blogging over the past couple of months. What can I say, life gets busy some times!

In the world of all things Digital Salad, I’ve been promoted at work. I’m now officially a Manager in charge of a team. Not bad at the tender age of 24, but now it’s the hard work of actually proving I can do it!

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Work hasn’t been the only thing I’ve been up to though. Although I’ve got the time to game, and even the money to put into it if I wanted to, I’ve been more and more of a ‘filthy’ casual gamer recently. I’m still in a bit of a transition with my gaming, but a quick run down of what’s been happening:

  1. I uninstalled GTA V pretty spontaneously back in August and haven’t looked back since. I took a hard look at whether I was actually having fun and decided it was far from it! Not to say it’s not a good game, I just wasn’t enjoying it anymore. I uninstalled it and haven’t looked back, I’ve not wanted to play it for even a second since – which is far less regrets that I thought I’d have about it.
  2. Guild Wars 2 has made a come back! I’ve reinstalled it and been playing it for the first time in two years. Not that much has changed and I’m really enjoying taking it easy and playing a little bit here and there. giphy (1)
  3. I’m also really looking forward to the full release of Prison Architect this Tuesday. I’ve been following the game in alpha for ages and it’s great to see it finally reach the finish line. I’m looking forward to setting up a new prison full of gangs and (most likely) a lot of chaos.
  4. We’ve also invested in a PS4. A little late to the party, but better late than never! We’ve been really enjoying getting back on to the console gaming train. In particular we’ve been enjoying Assassin’s Creed Unity, which although rightly ridiculed for being so buggy on release, is without a doubt the most fun Assassins Creed game to date if you ask me. I’m really enjoying powering through it, and the multiplayer is even quite fun!
  5. Now that we have a PS4 I’ve also been looking into the many games which are slated for release prior to christmas. I’m definitely interested in Assassins Creed Syndicate and Star Wars Battlefront, as well as some others, but I’m going to wait and see how they’re received on release. I’m a patient gamer these days! giphy (2)

That’s the run down of my gaming, but I’ve been up to far more besides! I’ve been reading Joe Abercrombie’s first book The Blade Itself. I originally discovered the series from the stand-alone sequel The Heroes – which is one of my favourite books ever. I thought it would be a good idea to read some more of Abercrombie’s stuff and I’ve not regretted it at all – I love Abercrombie’s fantasy worlds. I’m hoping to do a review once I’ve finished it.

I’ve also been watching Star Trek Deep Space 9 on DVD. I’ve blogged before about my love of Star Trek The Next Generation since childhood. Aside from TNG I’ve only watched the occasional episode of other series in the canon, so I’ve set to watching Deep Space 9. It’s no Next Generation, and Sisko is no Picard, but its been fun. I’m also hoping to do a blog post about my thoughts on Deep Space 9 once I’ve finished it as well! 
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Last but not least, Life As A Digital Salad has a new look which I’m excited about! Hopefully you’ll be hearing more from me soon.

Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

Sugary Salad

Here’s a random topic – sugar. Sugar’s everywhere in our diets. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare came out and they promoted it with Gatorade, famously packed full of sugar. So… Salad wanted to take a look at Sugar.giphy I recently decided to actually look at how much sugar I consume on a day to day basis. It wasn’t such a cheerful result! On an average day at work I worked out I was having 4/5 times my daily recommended sugar.

You’d think I’d be having chocolate bars for breakfast to be hitting levels like that, right? Wrong!

Here’s a fact for you. A mango smoothie from Innocent has 27.3g of sugar per portion.

A mango flavoured Solero ice-cream, on the other hand, has 20g per portion. 7.3g (or roughly 27% less sugar). That ain’t no small difference!

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An ice-cream has 27% less sugar than a ‘healthy’ smoothie?!?!

**** Quick method note – the portion size is different between Mango smoothie and Mango ice-cream, but when I worked it out I have pretty much exactly a recommended portion of each one when I have them, so for me at least its a fair comparison. If anything I probably have slightly more than a portion of smoothie than they recommend, when sadly a Solero ice-cream cannot grown any bigger than it already is :(, so the sugar difference I have per portion may be actually higher than 27% for myself. ****

I’d been drinking smoothies as a ‘healthy’ way of getting good things like vitamins in me. I don’t have any fresh fruit in my diet as it stands (I’m a bad person, I know!), so I thought smoothies would be doing me good.

Turns out they weren’t. I cut them out, swapped them for water, made some other small changes to reduce my sugar intake and now I feel a whole load better. My concentration is more stable throughout the day and I feel a lot less bloated.

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My sugar is maybe in the 2/3 times the daily recommended, but I’m only a week or so in. I’m hoping to have it down to the daily recommended in the next couple of weeks, while introducing some healthy sugar in the form of fresh bananas!

Thing is, I didn’t eat ‘unhealthily’ before I started looking at sugar, but I could feel that something wasn’t right about my diet.

On an average day I would eat a small bowl of cereal for breakfast, a brown bread ham sandwich for lunch and a random home cooked from scratch meal in the evening, with maybe one sugary snack outside of a small desert for lunch and dinner. Its not the most unhealthy diet out there – but it was giving me huge amounts of sugar, mainly in my drinks.

Sugar is bad for you in excess (as are most things). Without going into the science (see a this for a pop round up of the key facts) – sugar goes right for the vitals. I have a history of heart disease up the male side of my maternal family, and I was born with heart problems. Sugar is known to cause heart problems for one – so, for me, keeping my sugar down is about more than living a healthy life, it’s personal.

Let me know how much sugar you have in a day, got a sweet tooth? Lets discuss the sweet white stuff!

Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

Goodbye 2014 & A Happy New Year

It can’t have escaped your notice (although it nearly did mine!) that it’s the last day of 2014. Here’s goodbye to 2014 and hello to the new year.

giphy2015. I like the ring of it as a number if that counts for anything!

2014 was an interesting year though. In the blogosphere alone it was Digital Salad’s first full year of flow, clocking in a pretty astonishing 12,317 views as of right now. Thank you to every one of my readers (although probably half of those views were me rechecking for typos!).

2014’s most popular post by far was my original post about Skyrim, bemoaning it’s failings on the Xbox 360 and how I hadn’t been capture by it’s charm. Funnily enough for my most popular post, it’s one I don’t agree with so much any more. I own Skyrim on the PC now, and as many of my wonderful commenters suggested, it is leagues better on that platform.

On a side note, although my first Skyrim post was technically posted in 2013, most of it’s views were in 2014, so I’ll let it off this time!

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Enough of looking back to 2014 though. 2015 lies ahead in just a few hours.

Like every year it will have it’s ups and downs, but hopefully there will be plenty of good news for everybody.

Personally, I’m hoping Life As A Digital Salad will continue to grow onwards in 2015 and that everyone will still enjoy my postings, as random as they can sometimes be.

Wishing you all a happy New Year.

Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

#Listmas 2014 Pokemon Favourites

Happy Listmas, and soon to be Happy Christmas as well!

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Today, Christmas Eve, I have been one of only 3 in my office in out of 8. Not only that, but nearly everyone else in the entire building was out – so it was quiet to say the least. I ran out of things to do, so I started making my own lists for Listmas!

First off, I wanted to share my favourite Pokemon. There is, of course, millions of personal favourite Pokemon lists all over the internet, but I hope mine will still be interesting. This list is my favourite Pokemon designs, so it is 100% completely biased. I’d always love to hear your favourites as well though.

Anywho, without further ado:

5) Pikachu

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Pikachu has to feature on a favourite list. The adorable little electric critter.

He’s probably a favourite for how adorable he is in the anime series, but he’s just as awesome in the video games. He’s also pretty handy, usually the first electric type you come across. Not only cute but also very useful. It’s just a shame Pikachu’s evolution is so lackluster to me.

4) Chandelure

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I’m not totally sure why I like chandelure. I only really got to know it late in Pokemon Y, when it filled a gap perfectly with its dual Ghost/Fire type. Another handy pokemon, but which I really like the design of.

I’ve never been much for the Pokemon which aren’t roughly based on animals – I’m looking at you Vanilluxe! I think Chandelure is the only non-animal based Pokemon that will feature on my favourite list. Every evolution of Chandelure is well designed as well, and individually pretty. A definite favourite of mine.

3) Litleo

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I have a big soft spot for the ever loveable Litleo. He’s so cute! I’m not such a big fan of his evolutions, both male and female Roario, mind you. I’ve even bought myself a little Litleo figure recently!

That said, he’s not the greatest as far as use goes in the Pokmon games. A useful beginner pure fire type, he quickly loses any use as you go on. Such a shame, but he’s so adorable it keeps him in my favourite list.

2) Victini

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Victini is the only legendary on the list, and by far my favourite design of all legendaries. I loved Victini in the Pokemon Black/White movie, who was by far the star even if Zekrom/Reshiram are pretty awesome as well.

Fairly useful dual type Fire/Pyshic is helpful in the games as well, and I like that Victini is still really pretty rare to come by. A lot of legendaries are out there in their thousands, which kinda hurts the special feel of then. Victini is still a very special, and adorable, little legendary.

1) Snorlax

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Snorlax, yep, he’s my number 1 favourite Pokemon.

You may well laugh, but I’m an unashamed fanboy of the big blue munchy monster. I’ve recently started on a quest that was the brainchild of CakeBoxFox, to collect all the Snorlax trading cards there’s ever been. Not too difficult, but a good start for me in the Pokemon trading card world.

Merry Snorlax wishes this Listmas 2014.

Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

Mental Health

Mental health remains an incredibly taboo subject. Just on the surface, the stats show that the majority of people in employment feel that their employer expects them to keep quiet about stress and other mental illness. I’m going to bust the taboo right open with some Salad Truth.

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I’m apparently an ‘at-risk’ category for mental health. Young, male, and in employment. Not drinking alcohol would probably be another pressure to put me into that category, but that’s a bit more specific to me. Apparently that means I’m more than a little unlikely to tell anybody, never the less ask somebody for help if I was suffering from some kind of mental illness.

Thing is, mental illness is a common thing. 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental illness every year.

But yeah, I’ll step right over the taboo. I’ve been diagnosed with depression. I was pretty much certain I had it for a while, but I finally decided to go to the doctor and do something about it. Turns out they reckon its severe enough to offer me medications straight off the bat.

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Medications work for some people who suffer mental illness, but I do not want to be going to down that route – hopefully ever. In my job I see the damage the medications that are supposed to help people with mental illness can do to them. Have we really gone any further than sedating the mentally ill? Now we just pump the mentally ill full of hormones instead.

That said, if medications work for you then go for them – take every chance you can to improve your mental health. I will be going down the counselling route. I’ve never had counselling, so talking to somebody about my worries might well do me some good.

The thing is, given the background of how taboo mental health is, how ‘at-risk’ I am supposed to be and how much effort it takes to actually go to a doctor about your mental health – I came away from my doctor’s appointment with nothing.

I cannot fault the doctor, she was professional and genuinely concerned to get me treatment. It was news to me though, even as someone who works within the health sector, that you have to self-refer yourself for any treatment other than medications. It’s up to a highly vulnerable, potentially unstable, and possibly suicidal patient to then go and seek their own treatment after using every last bit of courage to go and see a doctor in the first place.

That doesn’t make sense!

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People will quite honestly die with that kind of policy. Those who are genuinely suicidal will never self refer themselves, and most doctor’s surgeries don’t offer any kind of emergency psychiatric treatment for vulnerable patients – although I was lucky that my doctor stressed that their surgery is one of the rare ones that does.

I know depressed young adults who aren’t even given the details of somewhere they can self-refer to for treatment; they’re just fobbed off to their educational establishment’s internal nursing team. As if teams like that really exist properly any more in this era of service cuts!

I know plenty of adults who have had drugs thrown at them for their mental illnesses. Many of whom become seriously physically ill from the side effects of the medications.

The current mental health is caring for their mental health patients palliatively.

Palliative care is a medical term you’ll often see used for elderly care or cancer care. Patients who are irreversibly ill, who will sadly pass away because of their illnesses, are treated in a way to alleviate their symptoms to give them the best quality of life possible in their final days.

What that means in practice is that you stop looking for the cause of the illness and treat the symptoms rather than the causes. That’s what throwing medications at mentally ill patients is – palliative care. It makes me sad; sad that so many unhealthy patients aren’t getting the help they need.

I don’t want to rant too much though. It is after all the season of festive cheer!

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I’ll be looking into getting some counseling, so don’t worry about me. I just want this post to be a voice out there on the internet for better mental health care, it’s long overdue!

Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

New Feature – Salad Saturday Screenshots!

Exciting news! I pretty spontaneously decided on a new feature for the blog. Every Saturday (or as near as I can!) I will be posting a screenshot from a game I’ve been playing. Essentially, I have way too many screenshots on my computer, so posting some favourites every so often is a good way to go through them whilst sharing some of my favourite gaming experiences.

Saturdays will now be Salad Saturday Screenshot days!

Here’s this week’s to kick things off (imagine it’s Saturday just this once – it’s too brilliant an alliteration to pass on).

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A screenshot from a couple of weeks ago on Mount & Blade Warband – Napoleonic Wars DLC. A battle of ancient foes and occasional friends; Great Britain vs France. Here the victorious defending French, including myself, survey the field of dead British, whilst holding their musician prisoner (left corner in grey). We fought really well that time and had a great team spirit going.

Sadly I can’t capture the team spirit in a picture, but this screenshot brings that back, one of the best parts of any game is its sense of team and community.

That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoy the new feature!

Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

New Salad Things

This blog’s more of an update with what’s happening with me than anything else. Apologies if that bores anybody to tears!

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There’s lots of new things to share. Life has been busy as ever, and that’s why posting is a little slower than I’d like. I’ve been trying to keep posts to a minimum of 1 a week but I’m hoping to find time for more than that.

So what has been keeping me busy?

Well, I no longer work in a bank.

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The bank was great fun, but the time had come to move on big and better things. That said, I will forever have an irrational hatred of loose change thanks to that job. I won’t be free of that baggage for a very long time!

I now work in a hospital!

All very exciting news and it’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to work.

My school was the type of school where if you said “I want to work in a hospital” they’d go “doctor” and force you into endless Biology and Chemistry tutoring. Sadly, I’m no expert at Biology or Chemistry, but I do have people skills and desire to help people.

The average hospital has several thousand employees, and only a tiny fraction of them are doctors. I’m now one of the, often maligned, back office staff who keeps the NHS running.

Without going into details, its great. I’m living my own personal Scrubs…. well, maybe not quite that.

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Its definitely better than the bank though. The people are generally more reasonable in the hospital as well. People get angrier about money than they do about their health. It’s a funny world out there.

One thing I will say though, talking of Scrubs, is that surgeons really do lack people skills – just like the show always said.

It’s a slightly different work-life balance (if anything slightly better on the life side which is good!) but it’s taking a little adjusting to. Adult life can sometimes feel a little like this with so many things to balance at once:

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Hopefully it’ll all go fine though and i’ll soon get used to my extra spare time. Hopefully some of that can go into some more blogs as well!

I’ve been walking to work with this new job, which is a nice change. I no longer have to take a grim bus journey, that should only take 10mins but because it’s rush hour takes at least 30mins.

Walking through fairly nice streets, listening to my music is the perfect way to start and end a working day. It gives you a kind of mental buffer between the office and home which is fantastic.

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I’m planning to get up to some exciting things in the near future as well which I will most likelu have something to blog about from. In the meantime, keep having fun!

Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

Social Salad

You may have noticed I’ve been a little late to a certain party; the social media party. Digital Salad is an identity I’ve, so far, restricted to this blog and as my gamer identity. Today that’s all going to change. In the spirit of Digital Salad, I’m going to keep things crisp and fresh by taking a leap into the social unknown.

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So, I admit, I’ve been a social media-phobe so far through life.

Personally, I have a facebook account that I use very rarely and that’s basically it. I’ve never really had much need for much social media. On a personal level I’m more the kind of person to have a few close friends than a larger group of friends – so all I’ve ever needed was a mobile.

I’ve begun to see a use for social media though; to help Digital Salad get a louder voice on the internet airwaves and keep in touch with all the blogging friends I’ve made. So, I’m taking the plunge and setting up some social media accounts for Life As A Digital Salad.

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What’s the harm in it after all?

You can now find Digital Salad out there, live and posting.

You’ll find me under @ADigitalSalad on Twitter. Maybe more accounts will follow on sites across the net, but for now at least, Twitter is enough to get to know at once. It’ll take some time, probably a few mishaps, but the Digital Salad is becoming a more social Salad today!

It’s all very exciting, so stay tuned while things keep on changing upwards here.

Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

Driving Digital Salad Crazy

Although I passed my driving test years ago, it wasn’t until earlier this year that I picked up my first car. I hadn’t needed a car up until now, and could still probably survive without one (one of the perks of having fairly decent public transport where I live), but it’s been really handy since I got it. Now, flatmate CakeBoxFox and I can pop to the shops whenever we have a craving for something!

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Driving has been going well and I’m really growing to like my first car. Its nothing special, just a 2006 Ford Ka. It’s simple and effective, just what I need. They do say you’ll always love your first car more than any other, and it seems true.

What really made me want to blog about my adventures with driving was a trip we did a few weekends past. It was a long trip on the motorways that turned into a quest worthy of the most epic RPG. Here’s our driving quest story.

We did the planning beforehand, we knew the route we were going to take. 150 or so miles and a duration of probably about 2 and a half hours depending on the traffic. All set; what could possibly go wrong?

The one thing we forgot was the most important. That Saturday wasn’t just any Saturday; it was the Saturday where everyone in the UK who goes on holiday in the earlier part of the summer goes on holiday. Usually people head south, to the supposed home of the sun, sea and sand. We were headed south as well, so traffic was going to be a problem.

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We set off early at least. If there’s one thing holidaying families don’t do on the whole, its get up early to travel. Perhaps we’d beat the crowds and traffic chaos of the great summer migration.

Sadly, the weather had other ideas, and after weeks and weeks of baking heat the heavens eventually decided to open catastrophically that morning. Most drivers were fantastic in the driving rain, slowing down and leaving plenty of space. Sadly, enough drivers remained in dry driving mode to cause chaos. It became a little something like this GIF:

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About 15mins into the rain we passed a classic car worth probably tens of thousands with a newer car attached to its bumper on the side of the motorway. The weather didn’t care about that guy’s priceless classic car; it looked like a write-off. We battled on valiantly though, developing a sort of camaraderie with those brave souls still on the road next to us.

The rain eventually passed though, turning what should have been an hour section of the journey into about 1.5hrs. So far, not so bad. I felt a little bit like this for making it through some of the worst conditions I will ever drive in:

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That delay from the rain was our killer though. From then onwards we hit heavy traffic going southwards. Caravans were everywhere and the average speed started to drop like a brick. Caravans in particular started to irritate me. It’s a pretty infamous thing that most drivers hate caravanners; and I’ve begun to see why. I wouldn’t be sad to see most caravans meet this kind of end after that day:

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The traffic was horrendous. What should have been a 1hr 30min section of the journey eventually ended up at somewhere around 3hrs – and that was with a little detour to avoid some of the traffic. CakeBoxFox proved her metal as an awesome co-pilot, navigating me around some of the worst bits of traffic. Even though it only made a small difference overall, every little advantage of time you get in a gridlock situation feels like a major win.

We eventually arrived, somewhat frazzled and had a good day catching up with my family. Batteries recharged by early evening, it was time for the return journey.

The return journey was the prize for having made it through the hellish morning. It was some of the most challenging driving I’ve ever done and probably will do for a fair few years. Tailbacks, gridlock, accidents, driving rain and wind – it had it all. The journey home was bliss in comparison, with hardly a soul on the road besides us.

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The journey home was just a little over 2hrs. I also made my debut into the world of driving on motorways at night, and it’s an amazing experience. I always loved being on a car journey at night as a kid – all those glowly dials and the miles being eaten away.

I loved driving on the motorway at night time, and I can see why it inspires so much media. An musician I recently found called Kavinsky, a retro 80s kind of artist, was inspired to create his album from driving his Testarossa Ferrari at night time. I felt like I needed some Kavinsky on the radio that night; although we had plenty of alternate music in the car already. Night driving is a time to really enjoy your music.

Then, numerous music albums, many miles and several choice words at my fellow road users later we arrived home. A tiring day, but a day to remember.

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Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com