Monday, 22 December 2014

Remember That, We Are Exactly The Same.

So you've been given opportunities. You are told daily how amazing you are.
You have people who adore you. People who want to be just like you.
You are successful, your are talented.
You have goals and aspirations, and will probably achieve them all.
You have people who are desperate to meet you. You have people who go all shy when they see you, they are so overwhelmed that they can't bring themselves to come over and say hi.
And, these things can go to your head. Of course they can, it's understandable. But sometimes you need to remember who you really are.

To some you are this person they want to be. They see you as being someone so superior. Above the. Someone they could never be.
But to others, you are that regular you. The person who shops at the same supermarket as everyone else.
The person who wakes up in the morning with their hair everywhere, maybe even with yesterdays make up on their face.
You go to the toilet, the same way we all do. You make coffee, or tea, the same as us.
You chew your food the same as us. You load your dishwasher, you do your laundry, all the same.

To some, this seems unbelievable. You show off this amazing persona. This person who is perfect. Life is light and fluffy. And easy. And nothing is ever out of place.
And despite having bad days you never show it. Which, you may not want to do, and that is fine. But when you started off that way, and then changed, it seems so wrong. Almost kind of fake.
Almost, almost like you don't know how to be you. Or that you don't even want to be you, you don't want to show off the real you, or accept that you are not this person people see you as.

Look in the mirror. Go on. And I will too.
What do you see?
Let's start looking straight ahead. Look into your eyes.
I have those too. Two of them, the same as you. Our eyes may be a different shape, a different colour, and may be framed with eyelashes longer or shorter than the other. One of us may frame our eyes with lots of make up, whereas the other may keep it simple, or natural. But still, we both have two eyes.
Study your face. That's something we both have. A face. We have a nose, a mouth, cheeks, a chin, two ears and hair upon our head.
These things, as with eyes, may be different in shape, size, or colour. But we still have them.

Now lets look at the bigger picture.

You may be shorter or taller than me. But we still stand on two legs, right? Two legs with two feet, ankles, knees, thighs, calf muscles. Toes.
A bottom, a chest, shoulders, a neck, a tummy, arms with elbows, wrists, hands with 10 fingers.
Our bodies are covered in skin. The skin may be blemished. May have scars, beauty spots, or other unique markings, and might be a different colour, but we all have skin.
Beneath this skin we have blood. We have organs, arteries, cells and bones. 
For most of us these organs all do the same job.
We have lungs we use to breathe, we are alive because of our hearts. Our blood pumps around our bodies the same, and we think with our brains.
Forget about sexuality, colour, religion, height, weight, or gender even. We are all the same.

So when you there, feeling superior, feeling that others are lucky to know you and that you are better than others and deserve more than them.
Remember, we all work hard, we are all talented, and we all deserve a chance. We all deserve to be treated the same.

Life is about chances, choices and luck.
And when you think that you are better than others, and more deserving, just remember, that we are all the same underneath it all. And that it doesn't mean we are below you, or that we are of a different class or ability to you. But maybe, just maybe, you made better choices, or were for whatever reason dealt a better hand, or maybe you were given a chance to prove yourself that, if given to others, would also prove and show their talent and ability too.

When you feel that way. When you find yourself looking down your nose at someone just go and look in the mirror. And remember, that beneath all of that, we are the same. Exactly the same.

A Cow in a Christmas Jumper...Yes...Really.

You probably think you've seen it all when it comes to Christmas jumpers right? Ones for adults, for children, for dogs and cats. But, have you ever seen one on a cow? Yes, that's right, on a COW!

UK charity Send a Cow's ambassador, Gloria the cow, models an amoosing Christmas jumper to help raise awareness of Send a Cow’s aim of selling 20,000 festive gifts that will make a difference to poverty-stricken African families.

Replacing the traditional jumper pattern of snowmen or crackers, this udderly stylish Christmas jumper has been created to showcase the charity’s latest altruistic Christmas gifts catalogue, and was custom-knit with maximum comfort and fit in mind for the fashion-conscious cow.
Gloria the cow, a purebred Jersey from Devon, didn’t bat an eyelid at being fitted with the jumper, which fits with Velcro straps and is based on one of her existing comfortable coats.

Send a Cow’s Christmas catalogue contains gifts that make a difference to poverty-stricken families in seven African countries. Gifts range from ‘Local Cow’ (£205), which provides a farming family with milk and manure; ‘Little Donkey’ (£9) which helps families take good care of their four-legged friends who transport farm produce to market; and ‘Tip Tap’ (£10), a bestseller which improves hygiene levels in areas where soap and water are luxuries.

Simon Barnes, CEO of Send a Cow said; “This year we’ve taken the idea of the quirky Christmas jumper one step further, to encourage people to think differently about the gifts they buy this Christmas. Instead of buying chocolate for a friend, why not buy something unusual - for as little as £5 you will greatly improve the lives of poverty-stricken families in Africa. This is our 13th year of the Christmas catalogue and over the years we’ve raised over eight million pounds to help poor families. We really hope that you will support us this year by buying a gift, to help us change even more lives this Christmas and beyond.”

So, if you have an extra gift to get, or fancy doing a good deed for others at Christmas, how about sending a cow, a donkey, or even a watering can to someone who really needs it?

Sunday, 21 December 2014

The First Tooth

I'll never forget those gummy smiles Charles used to give me as a baby. The ones where you look at them and wonder what they will look like when that mouth is full of teeth.

And then, when that mouth is full of teeth you can't then imagine them without them.

In September Charles got his first wobbly tooth. It was really quite exciting. It's a milestone, a right of passage.
"It will be out at the end of the month I reckon" I said to him.
October came, it was still there and I said the same thing, and then.....November came, and I said the same again.....but....December came.
I laughed and said that I wouldn't say this will be the month it comes out because it's clearly going to be stubborn and stay put for a while.

As I collected him from school last week his teacher waved me over. And there, he smiled, and I noticed a gap and a clear view of his gum.
Early in the afternoon he became upset because his tooth was hanging there. A lovely teaching assistant, who we have become friendly with, pulled it out for him. Something she could apparently get in trouble for, but we are so grateful for her doing it.

It was really exciting as my husband put Charles to bed that night, and they placed the tooth, wrapped in tissue, under his pillow.
And in the morning, as he woke up, Charles excitedly showed me the £1 coin left under his pillow, next to the tooth as the tooth fairy kindly leaves the first one as it is so special.

And now everyday we have to check every other tooth, as well as Harry's, as we await the tooth fairies next visit.

AB InBev & Budweiser Bring Environmental Farming Scheme to UK

As of January 2015, 23 farms in the UK will be working to reduce their environmental footprint as members of AB InBev’s SmartBarley℠ Initiative.

The initiative, which has seen successful over the last year around the world, will enable UK farmers to compare levels of barley production with other farmers and share best practice advice for their particular farm/ecosystem.

This will be the very first time that farmers in the UK are given the chance to be a part of the SmartBarley℠ Initiative.

Although it has only been running for a year, there are already over 1,900 farms throughout the world that have benefited from improved productivity.

The 23 British farms that are set to join the program will be working with Glencore Grain, Agrii and Crisp Malting Group and it is hoped that this partnership will help reduce AB InBev UK’s environmental footprint.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Reasons to start budgeting for Christmas 2015 now | Guest Post

It’s never too early to start budgeting for Christmas so why not start planning and preparing for 2015 now? You can still take advantage of any savings that you see and put these goods away for next year - if there's one thing in life that is guaranteed, prices and the cost of living always rise on an annual basis.

How to organise your Christmas spending

If you draw up a realistic budget for 2014, add a small contingency fund so that you can also buy goods that are on offer and will also be useful for Christmas 2015. According to the website City AM, the annual festive spending bonanza known as Black Friday will ‘push the Christmas spend to £91 billion.’ But that's not the only day of the year that we can benefit from significant savings: keep an eye out for discounted products right the way through the holiday period. It is a great idea to look for bargains at this time, and if you’re short of cash, you can always visit and see if you can raise extra funds through a logbook loan.

Buy wisely

If you are able to spend money in the sales, then do so. In an uncertain life, you never know if your employment will be affected by ill health or redundancy, but if you are organised and can afford to budget, then you can rest assured that you’ll be able to enjoy Christmas 2015. Most stores still hold annual January sales’ events and this is a perfect time to invest in fairy lights, baubles, and even Christmas cards. Electrical goods, linen and china are also exceptionally competitively priced at this time. According to The Daily Mail most Britons intend to spend more on food rather than presents in 2014. Budgeting and planning will allow you to do both for Christmas 2015.

Treats are important

Many families use Christmas as an excuse to enjoy a West End show and an overnight stay in London. This can cost a lot of money though if you budget throughout the year, you’ll be able to enjoy a family night out on the town without breaking the bank. Look out for early bird deals and special hotel offers. It always pays to book your train tickets in advance. Obviously most theatres won’t know what shows will be on during Christmas 2015, but if you ask to go on their mailing lists, you’ll have an opportunity to buy some cut price tickets for any forthcoming production.

If you want to travel for Christmas 2015, start looking now

This is the perfect time to look out for any bargains on offer from the travel industry for the following Christmas. Even if you’re an adult the Daily Mirror recommends that you check out the pleasures of Disneyland Paris for Christmas 2015. If you are looking for a cruise for your next festive holiday, then just type 'Christmas 2015' in to your browser and you’ll soon be able to see the range of cruises and prices on offer. If you’ve budgeted throughout the year then you’ll have the funds to enjoy some of these sumptuous delights in 2015 without worrying finances quite so much!

 Collaborative Guest Post