Orange is the new black.

And no i’m not talking about the TV show…i must be one of the only people yet to watch it. Although it is about chicks in prison (wearing orange) and so does kind of tie in to the #OrangeURHood trend. Forget all the ‘thanksgiving’ and ‘black friday’ trending that’s going on, get on board with this, it’s way more important!

Today is national End Violence Against Women’s day. Never heard of it? Shame on you, call yourself a feminist! 🙂 Don’t worry, most people haven’t. And now you know perhaps you can help raise awareness? Here are a few facts that will give you the right ‘ump:

  • 35% of women internationally experience some form of physical and/or sexual violence.
  • It is estimated that up to 30 million girls under the age of 15 remain at risk from FGM/C, and more than 130 million girls and women have undergone the procedure worldwide.
  • Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children, 250 million of whom were married before the age of 15. Girls who marry before the age of 18 are less likely to complete their education and more likely to experience domestic violence and complications in childbirth.
  • The costs and consequence of violence against women last for generations.(OBVS).

Some light reading on the subject can be found here and reading up on the subject/spreading the word really is important. It shows women who have suffered/are suffering violence against them (more than 70% globally according to some statistics), that they aren’t alone, that we support them and that there are plenty of forums/support networks that will help them to speak out about human rights crimes against them. They don’t have to suffer in silence as many do.

Recently celebrities, like Jamelia (who dedicated a song to her abuser), spoke out about how they suffered. Not the stereotypical picture of the sort of woman that will suffer domestic violence (which we all know is bollox anyway), Jamelia’s story shows that ANY and EVERY type of woman can fall victim to violence. She is a successful strong popular career minded woman. Speaking out so bravely about it will invariably help loads of victims just to know that they aren’t alone and ITS NOT THEIR FAULT.

Violence against women is not just a domestic issue, it’s everything from the tricky subject of genital mutilation to gender based discrimination. Raising awareness and using our voices to speak up for our sisters that cant/wont, is just one way we can help. Get on board. Show that orange really is the new black.

http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/end-violence-against-women

#orangeurhood

* Orange your neighbourhood from 25 November to 10 December to say NO to violence against women

See more here

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The Mooncup: A Hippie Utensil for Celebrating the Seasons?

Women in the UK use 15,000 sanitary towels and tampons in their lifetime. British landfill needs to accommodate more than 12 billion pads and tampons annually contributing to environmental pollution. The plastic applicators for tampons were the most common form of rubbish found on beaches in Britain and Europe in 2007.

The problem is most women don’t know that there are alternatives. But there is, the Mooncup. If, like me, you thought that the Mooncup was something hippies used to celebrate the seasons, then read on. If by ‘hippies’ we mean the propagators of environmentally friendly ways of living, then yes they have been using the Mooncup to ‘celebrate their seasons’ since the mid 1930s when it first went on commercial sale.

In an attempt to take responsibility for my share of the girlie waste wedging itself between the toes of holiday makers in the South of France, I decided to join my incense-burning sisters and give the Mooncup a try! I began my search online at the official Mooncup web site. When the home page appeared, showing what looked like the top end of a plastic plunger, I freaked out. As I read on I learnt that the Mooncup is a reusable menstrual cup. That’s right, more cause for me to shudder and cringe! So I moved swiftly on to the FAQ section (which was more like a WTF section). I discovered it’s worn internally like a tampon but collects menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it and because it is reusable, you only need to buy one. Curious about the actual ‘ins and outs’, I decided to buy one.
When my period arrived I read the accompanying booklet; and prepared it for use disappointing my imagination once more. I pictured my attempts being like the famous ‘pigs blood’ scene in Stephen King’s film ‘Carrie’. This wasn’t the case.

The Mooncup holds around 30ml of fluid, which is roughly a third of the total produced each period. This means you don’t have to change it as often as you would sanitary towels or tampons. Mooncups are made from organic materials and contain no bleaches, deodorisers or absorbency gels. So unlike its less green counterpart, they are not linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).

By the time I had finished my period, I had changed from a woman who held the Mooncup using only her fingertips, to someone who refused to let it go. However I still doubted whether the overall benefits of products like the Mooncup would be enough to guide us into a new era of feminine hygiene. But I was reassured to learn that the Mooncup was voted ‘Best New Product’ at the Natural Trade Show and if that isn’t enough to float eco-friendly boats, it was also approved by the Vegan Society!

So, you ask, has the Mooncup turned me into a Hippie and will I really start collecting my own belly button fluff in order to insulate my attic? The answer has to be an undisputed ‘yeah man’!

Original article found here

Shrinking your Head as well as your Thighs

What on earth am I talking about, I hear you ask? Hypnosis, that’s what. And I don’t mean the kind that leaves you barking like a dog in a crowded pub against your will (or is that just me?). I’m talking about the kind of hypnosis being offered as the modern worlds cure for just about everything.

Hypnotherapy, it would seem, is used for a variety of things. It’s said to help you quit smoking, it can rid you of your insecurities, your fat, the need for anaesthetic during medical procedures and mostly your bank balance (miracles don’t come cheap my lovelies). Now that’s not to say it isn’t worth every penny if it can help with issues that medical professionals have no solutions for. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for it. After all, it’s like they say, everything is a case of mind over matter (‘if you don’t mind, it don’t matter’). Isn’t that what the Jedi’s have been trying to teach us all along: to use the force? (Or ‘forks’ as I misguidedly thought as a child. I did wonder why they were so obsessed with cutlery but I just assumed they were a species of constant snackers, forever fearing they’d come across food and not have the utensils to eat it with. After all, to that I can relate.)

So is there anything in this hypno-cods-wallop (as my mother calls it)? Well it sounded plausible in theory, but one can never be entirely sure until one tries these things out for ones own self. And so one did. And one found it to be a rather fruitful endeavour. (I could get into this posh malarkey. Perhaps I’ll become a hypnotherapist, make a packet and become well and truly posh).

First thing on my hypno-list was losing weight (of course it was, like so many women, I love eating, hate dieting and wish I were a few dress sizes thinner): and so I bought one of those ‘I can make you thin’ CDs. My friends, I would love to tell you what happened beyond the intro, “do not listen to this eyes closed process whilst operating machinery”, but I simply can’t because I fell asleep. And it wasn’t just the first time I fell asleep either, I fell asleep every single time I listened to it! Paul McKenna would start speaking, I’d start snoozing and around 3 weeks later I did in fact lose weight! No word of a lie, I did, it was in fact the diet miracle I’ve been waiting for all my life. I ate everything I wanted to eat (no exceptions) and I lost weight in the process. With his hypno-healing ways he shrank my head AND my thighs and for a while he was elevated to a God in my books. So I can tell you, hand on my heart, there is something in it. But I don’t need to tell you that I put it all back on as soon as I stopped listening to the CD, because unfortunately cake overthrew Paul McKenna as my god and resumed it’s rightful place. So my conclusion is this: hypnosis is powerful but cake is king.

Original article found here

Live And Let Drive

If you want to inspire all other road users to drive like they have a serious bout of crabs, then I would advise erecting a giant metal ‘L’ sign on the top of your car. Trust me, it will act like a beacon for attracting idiots from far and wide (and I’m not referring to the students). Yes when a learner driver pushes the pedal to the metal for the first time, they’ll stall. Yes they’ll drive in weird kangaroo bursts of quick-stop-quick-slow, giving their instructor gradual and permanent whiplash, they’ll zig-zag across the road like they’re totally trousered and they’ll take half an hour to get started every time they give way to someone. But if you’re in a rush and want to get home quickly, then it’s only logical that none of these things will help:

1-driving up their ar*e (tailgating is responsible for more than a 3rd of all road accidents)

2-dangerously overtaking as if you’ve got the mad skills of Jensen Button (in 2007 175 people were killed and 1,351 were seriously injured from accidents caused by overtaking)

3-smashing your fist on your horn repeatedly (not technically the legal use of your horn)

4-screaming, swearing and generally acting like a chump (a significant number of chumps end up ‘waxed like a candle’)

When I took my driving lessons with a driving school called ‘Live And Let Drive’, I didn’t realise just how apt a name that was going to be. I’ll admit it, I would have preferred if my lifestyle allowed for a chauffeur, ready to take me anywhere I wanted at any time I wanted (say for example a chauffer like Jason Statham from Transporter 2…sigh..swoon). But alas I was born into a life more likely to enable me to ‘hot-wire’ than to hire and so off I went in search of a driving school brave enough to take me on.

As it turned out, I had a really lovely driving instructor, who disappointingly wasn’t Axl Rose nor did she look anything like Jason ‘the fittie’ Statham. But she did come and pick me up from work, drop me back home and had me in stitches on every single one of my lessons. She was well aware of the ‘L’ plate phenomena and it’s potential for serious danger and combatted it successfully with her calming and soothing tones. If it wasn’t for her, I swear I would have either cried or cracked skulls in an emotional fury on most of my lessons.

Now that I have my licence *passed first time. ahem* I am always very patient and respectful of learner drivers. Not because I have the demure benevolence of a Hindu cow but because I don’t want to cause a crash, I have sympathy for how nerve wracking driving can be for the first time and I still find aggressive drivers to be loathsome cretins totally worthy of my disdain.

Original article found here

Cake-hole closes till further notice

If it’s not zebra meat in our pickled onion crisps, it’s flakes of human eczema in our biscuits. The media is literally all over food-horror stories like a cat on a kipper. The TV listings are rammed with one program after another telling us not to ‘hurry hurry spoil the curry’, how to make an entire banquet in a nano-second, what’s good to eat, what’s not good to eat, how to microwave a hedgehog without being judged by your neighbours, employing people to root through our bins and shame us with the sheer quantity of stuff we’re consuming AND the horrific things that they are sneaking into our Snickers nowadays! It’s no wonder consumers are becoming much more food savvy lately.

But an increased awareness of what actually goes into our food, has birthed new categories of eaters. We no longer class ourselves by financial, social or educational standards. We are now classing ourselves by the kind of food you find in our fridges.  We’ve got vegetarians, pescatarians, pollopescatarians, vegans, carb-dodgers, 5:2 dieters, lighter lifers, Cambridge dieters, weight watchers, fruitarians and just plain fussie-tarians.

Last year the vegetarian society reported an increase in the sale of Quorn products by 20% year on year. Alongside this, Vegfest UK are predicting that 55 % of the population will be on a mainly vegan diet by 2020. Their studies show a 40% increase in vegan diet interest (which includes an increase in cookbook sales on Amazon). Experts say that people are running out of reasons not to be vegan, with the variety of ‘mock meat’ and ‘cheats cheese’ available on the market, including vegan caviar, faux-fish, vegan cheesecake and even ice-cream (which is lower fat than normal ice cream and not too bad in my books).

We’ve come a long way, it would seem, since the caveman days of clubbing cockroaches over their heads just for a bite to eat. But is this new wealth of investigation and information helping us or is it hindering us? Is it giving us the rightful power as consumers back or is it paralyzing us in the Pringles isle from putting anything at all into those baskets or our gobs?

Well, if we really ARE what we eat (which makes me the love child of a seeded Greek bread loaf and a giant packet of Tyrrells) then perhaps a little extra consideration for our food cant be a bad thing. Making better food choices should after all reap positive rewards for our health and what’s more worth it than that?

Original article found here

Tired of friendships? Why not take an App.

It didn’t take this article by Prof Green to make me realise that people talk a lot of shit on social media (currently over 31 million users on Facebook talking crap till the cows come home). But it did get me to thinking that there is somethingbrewing in the air. People are getting the hump with social media and questioning it’s actual ‘sociability’.

I’m not going to get on the bandwagon and start berating the use of these sites because as the Stone Roses once said ‘I’m hooked line and sinker she’s my heroin’.  If loving social media is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. I’m guilty as hell of showing social media preference over real life sociability. Why? Because I dislike most people and I’m extremely lazy. This makes having a normal social life tricky. But enter social media site of choice and I’m spared a life of being outside of the loop. Yes I want to know that you’re in a relationship and happy and of course I want to see the photos of your new squeeze but no I can’t be bothered to sit through and entire coffee with you and I’m sure the feeling is mutual.

Prof Green does make a valid point about the inanity of posts but you only have to look at most people you know to realise this can’t be helped. Most people are boring and unimaginative (hence why funny forwards were invented, so we can look funny without actually having to work at it) this reinforces my preference for Facebook communication over the Starbucks variety. After all if you can’t stand to read about the dump your friends’ kid took in a nappy or their unremarkable thoughts on X-factor then imagine the hell you’ll experience sitting with them for an hour. It’s easier to scroll using almost no thumb effort past their update and the ‘like’ button than it is to fake enthusiasm and interest in their presence.

Social media gives you the option to dip in and out of people’s lives, thus prolonging a friendship that probably wouldn’t have survived otherwise.  Surely it’s better to keep the option of that friendship open should you change your mind at some stage in the future. Why passive-aggressively delete people off of your Facebook when you can more cunningly add them to a dormant friend category which stops them seeing anything you do. The beauty of this is that most of them won’t even know they are there and when you’re in a place to share with them again, hear all their news and take an active interest then you simply un-mute them without having ever hurt their feelings or revealed the massive grumpy arsehole that long ago killed your soul and took you over. If their moon is in correct alignment with your-anus and you’re not on their ‘naughty friends step’ then the friendship will flourish and it will be a beautiful mutually ‘liking’ endeavor. What could be more civilised than this?

Original article found here

Crafting cures all!

As a keen knitter, I know there’s extraordinary benefits to knowing how to knit. Not just because it will save you money on jumpers and gifts for people but because it has an array of positive health benefits too.

Science catches up with the crafter’s and sees the potential of needle-crafts. I have to warn you, initially it will be anything but relaxing. Learning how to hold the needles, feed the wool and follow a pattern can be tricky. I spent my first knitting days with my tongue sticking out and my digits tied in knots. But I persisted and it paid off because it’s a cheap hobby with unlimited potential for growth.

If you fancy giving it a go, I can recommend this book for knitters of all stages. It’s easy to follow and the writer’s wit is as sharp as her needles.

If you’re still not convinced then read on for more health benefits associated with crafting (I don’t mean witchcraft, although on some days, sticking pins in people I hate would cheer me, but perhaps that’s misuse of the sewing kit).

Stitch some sunshine.

Needle-craft relieves depression. It’s not the elation of having created yourself a wonky, ill-fitting jumper, it’s apparently due to the repetitive nature of the hobby which releases serotonin. Why doesn’t data entry have the same effect I wonder?

Purl away your panic.

Needle-craft distracts you from your worries. By focusing the mind and keeping your hands busy, it helps to calm and soothe. It’s also said to be a constructive way to control obsessive compulsive tendencies of some anxiety sufferers.Purl away your panic.

Fidget Bridget

It’s a godsend during a boring movie (especially like me, if your partner is unfortunately obsessed with zombie movies).

You can’t smoke and knit.

Knitting can also give you something to do with your hands when quitting the fags (especially if you smoked roll ups).

Knit yourself thin!

It’s hard to scoff a cream cake when you’re in the midst of a punishing pattern.

Crochet confidence.

When friends compliment me on something I’ve knitted for them, I get a distinct buzz. If I were a nicer person I could attribute it to the joy of giving, unfortunately I’m not. You’ll love how capable crafting makes me feel and that you bring something new to your social circle. Sure people will take the piss, but once they see you purling your way to perfect health they’ll soon be ready to join you.

Needlework helps your noggin.

I’m not entirely convinced by this because my grandma was an avid knitter and she still wound up cremating pairs of trousers in the oven on a bad day. But studies show that needle-craft can postpone age-related dementia. Symptomsof dementia have allegedly been reduced by as much as 50%.

Late night knitters.

Needlework can be a savior for sufferers of insomnia. Counting sheep has been said to help with falling asleep, so the connection is fairly logical, just don’t fall asleep whilst knitting and stab yourself in the face.

Tight-knit communities.

You don’t have to sit alone in a rocking chair at home to knit, you can get out there and do it in public! Swapping tips and getting inspiration is a wonderful way of bonding with your fellow sisters (forgive the sexism: I just don’t know any men that knit). ‘Stitch N Bitch’ groups have taken over pubs and cafes the everywhere in the UK, check their website for your nearest group and start reaping the health rewards now!

Original article found here