The Serpentine Perspective: Bellatrix Lestrange

Witch Sign outside window

Happy St Andrew’s Day. There’s no 31st in November so I contemplated posting on the last Saturday and then I was like, nah. I had Voltage stories to read to my long-suffering husband, who has now taken a liking to Dr Hosho because he wears “proper clothes” (cit.) On a side note, the English Language really needs an option to specify you are quoting even when it’s not trying to show there’s an error and it was quoted verbatim. Of course, as a Takado fangirl, I am having none of it, and I will eventually prevail on him to love the (MTV remake) Patrick Verona of Semei University Hospital. Alas, the topic today is a fictional character, but not an otome one. We’re here to talk about how Helena Bonham Carter has saved the only villainess of the Harry Potter Universe from oblivion.

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How to build a life around what’s important to you pt2

Motivational Quote

On Wednesday, I shared Sid Madge’s words of wisdom about building a life around what is important to us, and since it has been a theme on which I have worked with my therapist over the past few months, I thought I’d share what my answers are to the questions raised in that post. I remember some advice a priest gave to someone else (I may have mentioned it before), a guy was trying to discern his way ahead and figured he’d love to be a veterinarian but felt that he should consider being a priest because it was holier and more Catholic even if it didn’t make him happy. The priest told him to forget about seminary and go to study veterinary sciences because God gave him feelings of happiness at the thought to guide his decisions. For this reason, I think a small degree of “selfishness” in introspection is needed, and that’s why I loved this method. 

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How to build a life around what’s important to you

It’s the day before we enter another lockdown, so it seems like a good time to go live with a very exciting guest post I have arranged for the usual theme of goal-setting etc that I do at the end of the year, when the days are short and dark and we all need something to cheer us up. Just a tiny note of worning, there is some discussion about weight loss that is in terms with which I disagree, but I have left the article unedited because there would be no point in having guest posts if the authors all thought like me. I’d just write my own opinion as I usually do. If that’s something you might find triggering, just skip the striked-through lines.

Tips to help you decide what’s most important to you and have more of it in your life

by Sid Madge, Meee

When faced with the day to day realities of an ongoing pandemic how do we cope as individuals?  Is it possible to find a silver lining in the dark cloud?  Should we see this as a wakeup call?

According to a YouGov poll only 8% of Britons want to go back to life as it was before Covid-19. The Economist has stated that this forced home working experiment is likely to change work life forever, perhaps toward some hybrid model. What is clear is that there’s an opportunity to go way beyond a half-hearted version of ‘new normal’. We can take this time to consider what is important to us moving forward and make a plan for making that happen.

I’m a great believer in the power of micro moments and tiny interventions that when maintained lead to lasting change. The suggestions below are pulled from my Meee in a Minute books, each offering 60 one-minute micro-ideas and insights that can help us to shift our mindset.  This is the starting point for positive and constructive action to achieve the dreams we have both for ourselves and for society.

        What are your values?

Our values influence our thoughts and actions and yet most of us have never stopped to consider what they are. What’s most important to you in your life?  Money? Family? Honesty? Kindness? Can you see evidence of these values in your life? 

For example, if you believe you value kindness, when did you last demonstrate kindness? If you really want to know what you value look at what you do. If we are to uncover what is really important to us, we have to know our values so we can find more ways to demonstrate those values in our daily life.

Take a minute to consider what you value most. Or visit and do our values exercise to help you identify your values.             

        How can you reach your desired outcomes?

In Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement speech he talked about connecting the dots of our life and how that was never possible looking forward. But when we look back, if we look and pay attention, we can often see patterns or signposts in our life. Jobs suggested that we had to, “trust in something, your gut, destiny, life karma, whatever.”

The key to uncovering what is important to us, often lies in the past. It is the recognition of the moments and experiences that, when taken together form a pattern or a direction of travel that will bring purpose and meaning – if we have the courage to pursue them.

Take a minute to map out your interests and where you would like to end up. How can you use the situations and resources in your life right now to reach that outcome faster? 

What will be on your Anti-Bucket List?

Part of knowing what is important to us is being honest about what is not. We’ve all heard of the bucket-list – the list of all the experiences and adventures we want to have, places we want to visit, things we want to own, before we kick the bucket. But the anti-bucket list is just as important. This is the list of the things we can tick off right now because they are just not important to us – regardless of what the success industry tells us.

For example. I used to want to be rich. Now I couldn’t care less. I want to make a difference, that is more inline with my values and is much more important to me than a new car or fancy watch. This is liberating.

Take a minute to write your anti-bucket list – all the things currently in your life that you would like to stop or get rid of or old goals that are just not that important to you anymore. Free yourself from their grasp and use the injection of energy, time or resources to make the things that are important happen. 

What is your first step?

Is there something you want to do but are scared it won’t work out? Perhaps you want to write a book or change career. Maybe you want to get fitter but the goal seems too big and too far away. Whatever you want to do – just start. If you want to lose weight, take the stairs today, only have one biscuit with your morning cuppa instead of two. The start doesn’t need fireworks or a front page spread in the local paper, it just needs to happen. 

The most awe-inspiring music ever composed starts with a single note. The greatest works of art started with a single brush stroke, or single tap of a chisel. Don’t wait until you are ready – no one is ever ready. Besides once you start you will be ready.

Don’t search for signs or defining moments – they may never come. Instead make now your defining moment. Start now. Don’t question whether you are capable or worthy – just start, start small and keep going. If you falter, get back on track and keep going. Don’t stop until you have achieved what you set out to achieve.

Who will be your cheerleader?

It’s the people in our life that give it meaning. When something good happens, it’s made more enjoyable when we can share it with others. When something bad happens, it can soften the blow when we have others to lean on. We need friends and family as much as we need oxygen.

Take a minute to consider who you spend the most time with.

Be aware of how you feel when you’re with the people in your life, take stock of whether they make you feel better or worse. If they are not adding positive value to your life then consider spending a little less time with them and seek out like-minded collaborators so you can be each other’s cheerleader.

Start by connecting with your values and act on the opportunities that exist even in these difficult times.


Sid Madge is founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) which draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education and sociology, to help people achieve extraordinary lives. To date, Meee has transformed the lives of over 20,000 people, from leaders of PLC’s and SME’s to parents, teachers, students, carers, the unemployed and prison inmates. Sid Madge is also author of the ‘Meee in Minute’ series of books which each offer 60 ways to change your life, work-, or family-life in 60 seconds.







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The Serpentine Perspective: Halloween traditions

Jack o lantern

It’s Halloween, or the Eve of All Hallows, which is the old word for souls, and the topic that falls on me today is to explore this holiday that is key to the world of Harry Potter but is far less pagan than you’d think. I mean, it’s not like J.K. Rowlings didn’t have a pagan name for the holiday she could have used to separate it from the Christian heritage of Bonnie Scotland where the school is based, or anything. At the time of writing, I have forgotten what Rory is going to write about, so just head to and find out for yourself.

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Italian Literature You Should Read Pt 2


Last week I left the list half-way through because I was already way past 1000 words with the suggestions between the Middle Ages and the start of the 20th century. If you missed it, you can find it here.

Primo Novecento 
In terms of themes, the big watershed moment for Italian literature is the Second World War rather than the 1st, which has had an impact on the country but not to the same extent that it had on bigger players in the conflict. The usual array of -isms from the rest of Europe is present, even though not always welcomed by critics for obvious reasons.

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