Honey, What happened to the kids?

When I was in Primary School wearing pink would make me a “Townie”, all boys smelt and I never ever wanted to grow boobs. Today I’m walking down the aisle’s in supermarkets seeing padded bras for age 6+, scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed to see 15 year olds flaunting their baby scans and teenage girls wearing more makeup that your average Geordie on a night out.

Call me traditional, but I want my daughter to be dressed in cute, pretty clothing, appropriate for the weather, occasion, and more importantly, their age. But maybe I’m wrong in thinking that will be easy in the world we live in today.

“It’s funny how a man only thinks about the… You got a real big heart, but I’m looking at your… You got real big brains, but I’m looking at your… Girl, there ain’t no pain in me looking at your…”

These degrading, provocative lyrics were teamed with raunchy dance moves, a lack of clothing and a far from natural amount of make-up on the Pussy Cat dolls track, Beep. But as a single that reached 2nd in the UK chart and was part of the track list on two of the most popular CD’s sold to teenage girls, ‘Pop Party’ and ‘Now that’s what I call music 63’, was there any way of getting away from it with technology dependent generation?

Nicole Shirt-slinger, the lead singer of the Pussycat dolls, is just one of too many wrongly idolized women. The extent of editing and makeup that is pursued on her appearance, and most other female celebrities in the spot light, is so idealized that most girls can’t attain it. And call me crazy, but I feel Nicole looks so much better without make up on. Why is it that I had to go out of my way to find a picture of her ‘au’naturale’, but her fictitious face is flaunted everywhere I look.


In the past month I’ve seen 3 girls on my Facebook, younger than 18, uploading photographs of their “modeling shoot”. These weren’t the kind of photo’s you’d frame and give to your grandparents to display on their mantle-piece. They were the kind you’d see in those top-shelf magazines, that would please the lovely gentleman you see, that drive the white vans.

Young girls shouldn’t be posed up against poles, enhancing their pre-pubescent chests, caked in collection 2000 makeup, wearing revealing garments which display deceitful slogans. But if it’s available and publicized everywhere, how do we stop it?

The problem with the fashion available for young girls today is that it’s allowing them to advertise themselves without even realising it. Promoting the idea that women and girls are being viewed, treated, portrayed and groomed as sexual objects.

I’ve seen t-shirts for girls aged 4+ bearing the slogan “Future WAG” and 3.5 inch high heels being sold in New Look, starting at size one- the size of an average 8 year old. Not only is this dressing young girls like sexually available women, it isn’t ideal for growing feet.

In addition I noticed that the shorts were getting shorter, the shirts were getting tighter and the slogans were getting more suggestive. It seems that today’s young girl doesn’t want to own a plastic Barbie doll, instead she wants to be one.

So in a generation where teenage girls are hidden behind a mask of make up, an armor of Paul’s Boutique and are the mother to a child instead of a furby, is there any chance of getting our little angels back?

Let me leave you with this genuine photograph of just one of the 100,000 American children, under the age of 12, which take part in U.S child beauty patents.



Lilies are everlasting

When you get given a bunch of flowers they often last a few weeks before they start to wither. The most beautiful flower I’ve ever been given lasted for 96 years. She was called Lily Whiting, and she was my Great Granny.

Just like the flower, Lily was beautiful, strong and pure. At a young age she followed her heart and moved to Wales where she met Frank, the love of her life. There she pursued her dreams of teaching and Frank continued to work on the farm. They then married, and had 3 children. Lily was a Mother, a Granny, but unfortunately also became a widow. But she never gave up. The love she had for her family kept her and her heart strong and on August 2nd 1993 became a Great Granny, but to me, my ‘Gar’.


From what my mum tells me, and the tens of photo’s I’ve seen, in my early years she treated me like her own. And as the years went on nothing changed. She always had time for me, was always interested to hear my stories, always listened, and always put everyone else first.

I’ve never felt so much love around me on Valentines day than I did this year. 14th February 2013 was the day of Franks birthday, the day we had to say goodbye but the day two lovers were reunited. Gar was against funerals, she always said she’d “rather celebrate a life than mourn over it”. As a result we arranged a small, beautiful ceremony filled with only family. And just as I thought I had no tears left the vicar says something really special:

“Lily was always so caring, and had a special love for all of her Grandchildren, and loved spending time with them. After Christmas dinner, about 15 years ago, no one could find Lily, or her eldest great grandchild, Zoe. They spend a while searching the house, and the garden, but presumed they must have gone out for a walk. A little while later they saw movement inside Zoe’s new pop up tent she got for christmas and her and Lily were both curled up inside it having an after dinner nap”.

Always loved, never forgotten xxx


If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving definitely isn’t for you

Unfortunately for me, 5 of the most important people in my life live on the other side of the world. My Auntie Mary-Anne, Uncle Shaun and cousins, Lachlan, Larly and Ana live in Grafton in New South Wales and I don’t go a day without wishing I could see them. But them living there does give me and my family the perfect excuse to visit Australia.

My last visit was with my family for 5 weeks throughout December 2010 and January 2011. And whilst I was there I decided to do the highest sky dive in Australia, at 14,000ft landing on the beach.

When my Dad first asked me I didn’t really give the idea much thought and accepted the invitation with alacrity. It wasn’t until the phone had been hung up and the date was confirmed that I realised what I’d just put myself in for.

Straight away I open up my laptop and within seconds of hitting ‘search’ Google tells me that around 35 people a year die of parachute fails in America alone. Suddenly my mind starts wandering…

A few sleepless nights later, I’m there, signing forms to say that I wouldn’t sue the company if I were injured and that nobody in my family could sue them if I died.

When I was up in the plane it was a rollercoaster of emotions. Being a very impatient individual the boredom of waiting around till we were high enough to jump was leering, but was quickly interrupted by frissons of thrill, nerves and straight to the point,“am I going to die?”.

As you can imagine looking out of the window to try and distract my thoughts didn’t help either. About 90% of what I could see was the ocean and when you’re hovering about 3 miles above it, aware that within a few minutes you’re going to be free falling towards it, the beautiful, serene and halcyon era that the ocean usually creates doesn’t seem to be there anymore… all I could see were sharks.

Sitting on the edge of the plane I looked down, swallowed hard and thought to myself ‘It must be alright, thousands of people of done it before’, and then… ‘But this time it’s me- that’s the difference!.’ And I’m out…

Freefalling for 60 seconds, relying on some guy you’ve just met an hour ago to pull the parachute and save your life is unexplainable. But one thing I can tell you is that the 60 seconds I spent freefalling from a plane, over the Australian ocean, with a stomach full of butterflies and the idea that the rest of my family were either watching me from the plane or experiencing it too were the 60 best seconds of my life. And unless I got to do it all over again, strapped to Juan Mata, I don’t think I could ever create a minute of my life to come anywhere near.

No matter how grandiloquent I am with my choice of words, the experience of Skydiving really is inexpressible. I feel like I’m trying to paint you a picture of a rainbow with only black and white paint.

So if you’re reading this whilst sitting on the fence about a decision to sky dive, I dare you, you won’t regret it.


Don’t wear skinny jeans to a Chinese buffet

After rolling out of bed at 1pm, I rounded up the troops and then drove to Norwich with Rosie, Toby and my boyfriend, Lewis. We began by going to Hollywood bowl, where I got absolutely destroyed and came a shameful last place. We then took it to the pool table where I, once again, got destroyed… Don’t be rude.

We then made a trip to Riverbank Chinese where I paid £13.99 for an ‘all you can eat’ buffet, yet my mind, the same one that had got me in Riverbank in the first place, convinced me that buying a coke to accompany my buffet would be a waste of money. So whilst I stand at the bar waiting for my tap water I notice a clipboard with the daily pay for each worker and at £6.20 an hour it makes me think. My £13.99 alone had paid for both of the waitresses working during the hour I was there. Where was the money of the other 70 odd diners going? Yet this thought was soon pushed to the side when I made my way back to the table, via 100+ Chinese dishes.

Whilst I tucked into what turned out to be an extremely mediocre, Chinese buffet, eaten from cold plates, surrounded by a lot of over excited, screaming teenagers, about to attend an under 18’s night at Wonderland, I still felt extremely satisfied.

Perhaps it was because I was a student enjoying a break from having to cook and wash up, or maybe it was the freedom I had to eat as much of whatever I liked.

Yet around 6 platefuls each later, flies being unzipped and both siblings taking a trip the toilet to “make some more space”, we couldn’t eat anymore. As usual, the system had beaten us and some very sneaky businessman’s wallet had just got a little heavier. And it’s never until after the meal, when I’m leaving the restaurant, that I decide to weigh up the pros and cons…

Realistically buffets aren’t ‘eat as much as you want’, they’re ‘eat as much as you can’. And for a 19 year old female, the size of an 11 year old, with eyes too big for her stomach, I’m just the sort of victim they want walking through their door.

To us we see a service offering us unlimited, high standard food. To everyone working in the buffet industry we’re a bunch of ignorant fools.

Having more complex dishes in a restaurant requires more ingredients, time, training and organization. Riverbank’s menu offered mainly chicken and prawns, unlike traditional Chinese food, which offers numerous amounts of different meats and fish. And I’m sure that, just like in most other business, produce is brought in bulk resulting in negotiated prices.

Another thing I noticed was the food had already been prepared into dice sized portions, which I had to eat from my tiny plates and tiny bowls, creating very small portions, meaning less waste and less paid workers washing up.

Additionally, almost every time I returned to my seat my glass had been filled up by a waitress of fresh tap water, how kind I thought… Until a few glasses later I’d realised how quickly it was filling me up.

As a result I ate a very average amount of food, for the price of about 10 platefuls. So well done Riverbank, once again you mugged me and my family off… Yet I’m sure I’ll see you again soon