Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Feminist Friday XVII Theme: Myths

This weeks theme is an interesting one and is courtesy of my fellow Glasgow Women's Aid board member Lirazelf and its one I've touched on in previous topics but I think is a really good theme:


Myths-What is your favourite or most hated myth about feminism and feminists? 

Image from PrimerMagazine.com

The Feminist Friday Round-up


Here's how it works. Write a blog about being a feminist mom, raising a feminist child, a rant or anything that falls under the realm of the theme for the week. You don't have to be a mom or parent to participate. Come back and link your post and post the button on your blog.


That's it.
You don't even have to be a blogger to take part - just send me your post and I will publish it on my blog for you. You don't even have to include your name if you prefer.


When you've published it, come back on Friday and via a widget thing you can add a link to your post and share it with everyone. The link remains open for 4 days.


Visit others, comment if you like them or feel inspired by them. Just go out and encourage and support other feminist Moms or future feminist Moms.


The more support you give, the more you will get back! I can't wait to meet and interact with other feminist moms around the world!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

How to make Goop (Toddler Arts & Crafts Fun)

Today was a miserable and rainy day; not really uncommon in Glasgow but still not nice. NotBlondeHusband had very kindly volunteered to tidy up the living room but that meant Blondie Boy and I needed to find something to do. While BB loves putting things away he also loves pulling things out so not really conducive for a proper tidy up. So arts and crafts it was for us!

I decided to attempt some craftiness and make some Goop. The Goop I'm talking about has nothing to do with Fishsticks Paltrow and is more a slimy, slippery concoction that can be both semi-solid and liquid--basically it's really cool to kids and really messy.

I found a few different recipes online but basically it's just corn starch (corn flour in the UK) and water. A few recipes said equal parts and a few said 2:1 so I just threw in all the corn starch I had and them started with 1/2 that amount of water and added more. I also threw in some flour and baking soda as I didn't have a lot of cornstarch and some purple food colouring to make it fun.

goop toddler arts crafts fun

You can see it's liquid but also holds it's shape and basically that means it's fun to play with and a good textural experience for toddlers or something like that. You grab a handful and it immediately turns to liquid and drips down your hands!

Since NBH was already cleaning downstairs I didn't want another mess to clean so we played with our Goop in the tub. In all honesty it's not hard to clean up as when it dries it turns into a chalky powder but playing in the tub meant Blondie Boy had a large canvas to paint and splatter and I could hose him and it down afterwards. I'm glad I added the food colouring as that meant he could also use it like finger paints, too.

toddler arts crafts fun messy goop

It all washed off of both him and the tub with just the power of the hand-held shower head and because I used food colouring it didn't stain him or our tub. It was cheap, easy, messy and fun--everything you need to please a toddler and parent.

What's your favourite cheap and easy toddler craft/art activity?


Sunday, 18 September 2011

Save the Children: End the Health Care Worker Crisis

If Blondie Boy gets ill it's a ten minute drive to his doctor; if its closed we phone up NHS24 for advice or go to out of hours clinic. All his health care is free including prescriptions. I don't have to weigh cost or time of his treatment against how ill he is. African mothers do. Half of the 8 million children who die each year are in Africa, yet Africa has only 3% of the world’s doctors, nurses and midwives. You don't have to be a math genius to look at that statistic and know what needs to happen.

************
Save the Children need your help and I'm not asking you for anything other than your name. Please take action and sign this petition urging the Prime Minister to help solve the global health care worker shortage by urging him to:

1) Attend a high level event during the UN General Assembly where the UK and other governments make commitments to fund, train, deploy and support more health workers.
2) Commit new and additional support to help key countries strengthen their health workforce.
3) By the end of the year,  articulate how the government will support countries to deliver on the UN Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health.


If you want to write your own 100-word post and link it up then that would be pretty kick ass, too.  Just get the word out and help to reach that 60,000 signature target before Tuesday 20th September when the lovely Christine Mosler, who went to Mozambique to follow the journey of a life-saving vaccine and Liz Scarff will be making noise on behalf of Save the Children at the UN Summit in New York. 

If you are American and want to do something you can visit Save The Children USA's action center where you can become an advocate and write your member of Congress.

That's not too much to ask to help save a child's life is it? 






Thank you to the lovely women at NetMums for sponsoring me to attend the conference.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Feminist Friday XVI: The Beauty Myth

The Beauty Myth. Oy. I've sat here and thought and thought and thought. I know that the media influences our concept of beauty. I know that the media portrays an extremely warped version of what they call beauty. There is an ever growing pressure on women and young girls to be beautiful and I wholeheartedly think that this is intrinsically wrong and, to some extent, downright evil. No one should be made to feel that their physical appearance is directly linked to their value as a person.


Yet here I sit, a proud and ardent feminist, who wants to be pretty. Yes I want people to think that I am intelligent, but I also want people to think I'm pretty. How the hell do I rationalize that with what I've just previously stated? I can totally rationalize that I like make-up and long blue-black eyelashes, that's easy. Yes, it is society that dictates that long, lush lashes are best, but in choosing to make my transparent blonde lashes lovely and dark I'm not really usurping my feminist beliefs. Yes, I'm buying into the beauty machine that costs us all hundreds a  year, but I'm not giving up any real power.


If I had to choose between being intelligent or being physically beautiful, I'd choose intelligence every time. That doesn't mean that I don't want to feel physically beautiful, too. I could go off on a tangent about what real beauty is, but I've already done that in my Born to Be Beautiful post so you can read that again if you like. I know you are as beautiful as you feel but that doesn't stop me from wanting to feel attractive, too. 


I know that feminists can be physically beautiful. Gloria Steinem is one of the most physically beautiful (and just straight up beautiful) people I have ever seen in real life: she is stunning. She's also an intellectual and political icon and powerhouse. She had the most amazing nails (yes, I noticed so what?), so are you going to say that since she had well manicured nails that she's not a real feminist for buying into the beauty machine? Obviously not.


I think I'm rambling here now but my point is that you can want to be pretty, but still not condone the so called beauty myth. I can use make-up but still disapprove of over photo-shopped and airbrushed images in magazines. I sometimes have trouble reconciling the fact that I WANT to look pretty with the fact that the media PRESSURES women to look pretty. I think what all feminists want is a more realistic portrayal of beauty in the media; a beauty that is all colours, shapes, sizes, ethnicities, sexualities and ages. It's okay to want to look good, but we shouldn't feel pressured to look good. At least I hope so....

Feminist Friday XVI:
The Beauty Myth






Here's how it works. Write a blog about being a feminist mom, raising a feminist child, a rant or anything that falls under the realm of the theme for the week. Come back and link your post and post the button on your blog.


That's it.


You don't even have to be a blogger to take part - just send me your post and I will publish it on my blog for you. You don't even have to include your name if you prefer.


When you've published it, come back on Friday and via a widget thing you can add a link to your post and share it with everyone. The link remains open for 4 days.


Visit others, comment if you like them or feel inspired by them. Just go out and encourage and support other feminist Moms.


The more support you give, the more you will get back! I can't wait to meet and interact with other feminist moms around the world!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Blackpool Tower Relaunch

Before we went down for the relaunch of the Blackpool Tower I spent some time asking people their thoughts on Blackpool and then more time trying to explain Blackpool to Americans.  I'd never been to Blackpool before and the best I could approximate it to in my mind was Atlantic City, but without the gambling. Twitter told me it was all stag/hen dos (bachelor/bachelorette parties) and not somewhere to visit. I honestly was just really excited to be going away with NotBlondeHusband for the first time since Blondie Boy was born so I went with an open mind.

It's quite a scenic 3 hour drive from Glasgow to Blackpool; we listened to Absolute 90's radio (which is AMAZEBALLS) and drank in the rolling green hills between Scotland and England. I won't lie--when we drove into Blackpool I was not so hopeful. Lot's of boarded up shops, sex shops and off licenses. It didn't look promising but again I kept an open mind.

I'm glad I did as the new Merlin attractions are AMAZING. We had a whistle-stop tour the night before the Tower relaunch of all the Merlin attractions and I was impressed.  First we went to Madame Tussauds. Honestly I thought it would be a bunch of so-so wax mannequins behind velvet ropes and not much else but I was wrong.

The exhibits are all interactive; you can sit on the X-Factor panel, feel Jamie Oliver's tummy rumble and even ruffle Davina's hair if you feel so inclined.

It was actually a lot of fun and I probably had a little too much fun sitting in the Diary Room pretending to bitch about house mates to Big Brother. I was shocked when I found out it was actually a real person I was talking to and not a computer! 

Next we walked a few feet next Sea Life which I think would have been Blondie Boy's favourite exhibit. There are hundreds of fish, crustaceans and more. I got to feed the Blonde Manta Rays and there were scuba divers who swam (and scratched the bellies of!) sharks. I could just imagine Blondie Boy running around saying "ooooh" and making a fishy face. It is definitely someplace that big and little kids alike would enjoy.

We were then taken from Sea Life by some very gruesome escorts from the brand new Blackpool Tower Dungeons. I will be honest this is not my sort of thing. The actors are very dedicated and enthusiastic and put on a great show. I imagine that pre-teens would absolutely love it as it's gorey, gross and a bit scary, but still PG and not frightening. NotBlondeHusband rode the ride at the end (again not my thing) and really liked it and made fun of me endlessly for not going on it. While it's not overly scary it is quite dark and claustrophobic so do be aware before you go. We had an amazing dinner in their function room (a spun sugar tower with popping candy chocolate mousse coffin!)

We had a sneak peak at the Illuminations before we headed home which I imagine look amazing when they are all lit up. It would be fun to have a stroll with a hot chocolate and take in the lights with the sounds of the sea in the background. I know Nickie has a family tradition of taking in the Illuminations together.

We stayed at the Hilton Blackpool which I have no complaints about other than there was no way to access wifi in our room. There was a broadband cable but as I'd brought my iPad that wasn't much good to me. We had a sea view from our room and breakfast was one of the largest buffet breakfast spreads I'd ever seen as well.

The next morning we set off for The Blackpool Tower which was being relaunched after a multi-million dollar makeover. We started our experience with the new 4-D movie which is a 3-D movie plus vibrations, smells, water, snow and other sensations to make it 4-D. It was actually really cool and it put you in the mood for a taste of the seaside.

We took an elevator up to the Blackpool Tower Eye attraction which was probably my favourite out of them all. There are stunning floor to ceiling views out over the sea and beyond with a new glass floor SkyWalk so you are literally looking down on the world 518 feet below.

I'm not the biggest fan of heights but I couldn't help myself from staring out and down in awe. The views are incredible and on a clear day you can see beyond the promenade out to the The Isle of Man, Manchester, and the hills of the Lake District, Scotland and Pennines. 

The Tower also contains the Circus, Ballroom and Jungle Jim's Soft Play. We didn't get stay for the Circus but I peeked in the Ballroom and it's amazing. It's all gold and you can just imagine dancers swirling around while the famous organ played a tune. NotBlondeHusband's Grandmother comes down once a year for dancing and I can't wait to tell her that the retractable ceiling has been restored and on a clear night she could dance under the stars!

All in all we had a great trip and the Merlin attractions can not be knocked. I have to say though that I think Blackpool council needs to reinvest more in the rest of the promenade. I didn't see one restaurant that wasn't a Fish & Chips shop and when I'm on holiday I'd like to have at least one semi-nice dinner. There are still a lot of rundown shops and facilities and while the new attractions are top-notch and sure to create lots of new jobs I feel more regeneration needs to be done to attract a new audience of visitors.






Our accommodation and attraction entry were paid for the purpose of  review but all opinions are our own.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Feminist Friday XVI Theme: The Beauty Myth

This week's theme is the beauty myth. You can interpret this however you wish and includes but is not inclusive to topics such as plastic surgery, body image, beauty and the media, photoshopping/airbrushing and everything else that falls under the realm of beauty and feminism.


"The Beauty Myth" was a  ground breaking feminist work by Naomi Wolf that basically theorized beauty is entirely socially constructed and as women have gained increased social power and prominence, expected adherence to standards of physical beauty has grown stronger for women. What do think think about her hypothesis?


No matter what direction you go there is plenty to choose from to write about this week whether it's Pushy Parents (a spray tan at 5?) or how Hillary Clinton's image is constantly criticized. 


As always the link will go live on Friday and then you can link, read, comment, share and get in on the Feminist Friday love.


The Feminist Friday Round-up


Here's how it works. Write a blog about being a feminist mom, raising a feminist child, a rant or anything that falls under the realm of the theme for the week. You don't have to be a mom or parent to participate. Come back and link your post and post the button on your blog.


That's it.
You don't even have to be a blogger to take part - just send me your post and I will publish it on my blog for you. You don't even have to include your name if you prefer.


When you've published it, come back on Friday and via a widget thing you can add a link to your post and share it with everyone. The link remains open for 4 days.


Visit others, comment if you like them or feel inspired by them. Just go out and encourage and support other feminist Moms.


The more support you give, the more you will get back! I can't wait to meet and interact with other feminist moms around the world!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Coast Along 2011

Yesterday Blondie Boy, his Grandma and I walked 6 miles along the Ayrshire coast, a little bit more than the average 6km women and children walk to get water often from unprotected water sources, for Water Aid. You might have seen some of the photos I tweeted along the way and I hope you followed the tweets of the Coast Along Ambassadors, too (you can catch up by searching #CoastAlong on Twitter). We had a lovely afternoon (except for the part where Blondie Boy pissed all over me) and I'm so glad we were able to take part. 




I've put together a short video of our day and uploaded some photos as well. You'll hear me say it in the video but I can't imagine having to walk that far to get water (and not necessarily clean water) and then lugging it back with your children.


1.4 million children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unclean water and poor sanitation - 4,000 child deaths a day or one child every 20 seconds. Yes you heard me right, diarrhoea kills more children every year than AIDS, malaria and measles combined. How is that possible in today's world? Diarrhoea should be something annoying but not something that kills you.  


A  huge thank you to everyone who has donated so far (including SnugBaby for Blondie Boy's Sling) and if you haven't yet please do consider donating; even £1 will make such a difference in helping get access to clean water and improving the lives of the 884 million people in the world do not have access to safe water.



 

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Coast Along for WaterAid

I have what you may call a mild obsession with the ocean. If we are going on holiday I want to be near a beach. Maybe it's because I grew up in a land-locked state where it was a good 12 hours at least to the the nearest ocean, but for whatever reason I'm just a happier person by the seaside.

This Saturday Blondie Boy, his Grandma and I will be walking along the Ayrshire coast from Troon to Irvine. I'm one of seven Coast Along Ambassadors who will be walking to help raise awareness and funds for Water Aid.

Why am I walking for Water Aid? Water is essential for life (duh), but one in eight of the world’s population do not have access to it and almost 40% of the world’s population do not have adequate sanitation. WaterAid is a leading independent organisation which, with its partners, uses practical, sustainable solutions to enable the world’s poorest people to gain access to safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation. 

So this Saturday I'll be tweeting and Instagramming my way along the Ayrshire coast. Blondie Boy's Grandma lives one block from part of the beach we will walk down but I haven't ever walked much further than our little stretch. I'm not exactly what you'd call an avid ambler but I'm looking forward to exploring the coast and thinking happy thoughts it doesn't rain. If women and children can walk an average of 6km to get water which is then most likely dirty and contaminated, I can walk 6 miles on a gorgeous stretch of sand.

I hope you'll follow all of us with the #CoastAlong hashtag on twitter and if you feel so inclined you can make a donation on my Just Giving page here

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Adventures in Potty Training

Sometimes I really miss our lovely old wooden floors from our old flat but then I realize if we did have wooden floors they'd be ruined by now. They'd be black, rotting ruined excuses for floorboards by now because Blondie Boy pisses everywhere. Part of it I think is he is just little and part of it I think is that he just likes pissing on stuff like Nathan from "Angry Boys."

He knows he shouldn't do it; he'll soak the coach and then point at it "bad bad bad." That's great you know you aren't supposed to do it, but how about not doing it then? I know you are thinking" why don't you just stick a diaper on the kid and call it a day?" Ahh if it were only so easy.

Blondie Boy has eczema and right now it's taken up residency on his ass. It's pretty horrible so we try to let him run around commando as much as possible to keep it from being ever redder and angrier. It also allows us to put some hydrocortisone on it as needed as you can't put that on and then cover it up.

I understand he's little and his attention span and multitasking skills aren't going to be highly developed at 20 months, that's okay. My plan today was to take him to the toilet every 30 minutes and have him sit. Before I hit the thirty minute mark I'd already taken him three times; each of those times he'd started pissing on something first: first some sprinkles on the floor, next he climbs up on the couch and I feel something warm on my leg and thirdly he climbs up on his plastic chair to begin a monster pee which puddles and pours off the chair from both sides in a urine waterfall.

I'd say I gave up, but it was his bedtime so he got creamed up and a diaper on for bed but in reality I don't know how much longer I could have kept it up if it wasn't. Does anyone have any stellar tips they can share? He is more than happy to sit on a toilet or potty and pee in both. He knows Mom and Dad go on the toilet and told me that Daisy Duck uses the toilet (good for her). I know getting them to sit/use the toilet is often a big problem so I guess maybe we are half way there, but how do I stop him from peeing everywhere? Or am I doomed to a future of damp couch cushions and wet marks on the floor where I'm just happy he drinks so much water it doesn't stain?


Friday, 2 September 2011

Feminist Friday XV

I'm knackered from a whirlwind trip to Blackpool so apologies if I'm more rambling and random than usual. My friend Karen tweeted me a link to Yes That Jill's blog post about a hair salon in Canada who, well words can not describe what they are like, but their ad campaign will make your jaw drop.




Yes that says "Look good in all you do" apparently including accepting your violent partner's "I won't do it again" necklace bribe for the black eye he just gave you.  How someone could use domestic violence to promote their business, let alone glamorize it, I don't know. This ad completely disgusts me and if you click through you'll see their other images are not much better. Even more shocking is that the salon refuses to apologize for the images.


Women who experience violence need help and assistance not some salon making light of their horrific experiences. What do you think? Are you as disgusted as I am? I can't say I'm shocked since advertising often uses violence against women as a thinly veiled theme for their advertisements, but this is deliberate and direct.


If you can please make a donation to Glasgow Women's Aid, who desperately need your support more than Fluid salon do. 


Feminist Friday XV








Here's how it works. Write a blog about being a feminist mom, raising a feminist child, a rant or anything that falls under the realm of the theme for the week. Come back and link your post and post the button on your blog.


That's it.


You don't even have to be a blogger to take part - just send me your post and I will publish it on my blog for you. You don't even have to include your name if you prefer.


When you've published it, come back on Friday and via a widget thing you can add a link to your post and share it with everyone. The link remains open for 4 days.


Visit others, comment if you like them or feel inspired by them. Just go out and encourage and support other feminist Moms.


The more support you give, the more you will get back! I can't wait to meet and interact with other feminist moms around the world!