Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Shark Week! Lets talk blood! - Pink Parcel Review

That time of the month, Aunt Flo from Redcar is visiting, the painters are in, you've fallen to the communists, it's the red tide, you're cursed, on the rag, on the blob, surfing the crimson wave...basically it's shark week...yes ladies let's talk periods! (but gentlemen, do not stop reading, you can score awesome caring points later in this post, from the lady in your life!)

Poor Mr TM lives in a house with two ladies. (I use the term loosely) there is me of course, but there is also the adorable DD and of course being female and living together we not only experience shark week we synchronise it!

All that baggage that Aunt Flo brings with her when she comes to visit! Having the painters in would be bad enough but there's the delightful hormone swings, the cramps, the the THE JUST FEELING BLOODY ANNOYED ABOUT EVERYTHING OK!?

So it was with delight that DD and I agreed to review the Pink Parcel and the Teen Parcel.

The idea is fairly simple, they choose nice things for you each month and send them to your house along with your chosen sanitary protection. Thus both delighting you and saving you the sudden rush to Tesco Express on a Friday night in your worst pants and a dressing gown, clutching a hot water bottle.
The website allows you to choose your sanitary protection choice from tampons and towels and make a choice within that about flow etc (sorry to be graphic chaps, bear with me) You set up your dates (which you can change at any time if Aunt Flo is late etc) and then you just wait for the goodies!
There are sweet things for that carb craving, fancy teas because , well we are British we do tea at times of national crisis so on a day we've fallen to the communists sounds like a good excuse! There are beauty things to make us feel lovely (we still are lovely obviously but we don't always feel it)

DD was very excited with them both, but being a fairly grown up 15 year old she was equally happy with the contents of the Pink Parcel as the teen one, though she has found use for the spot cream!(and eaten my chocolate!)

If I had one criticism  it's that they don't cater to hippy ladies like me that don't need disposable sanitary protection each month, maybe they could look at an extra option maybe with a pair of nice panties or something? Just an idea.
The boxes are beautifully designed and unpacking them is a fun joy - DD even squealed about the cute little tampon bag.

Your first Pink Parcel is £5.95 and after that they cost £9.99 a month, that includes postage. They are filled with really nice branded goodies and I would say that they are worth the money.

I would think that they would make a super gift to yourself to remind you each month to love yourself, make your visit from Mother Nature more of a celebration than a curse. They would also be a lovely present for your daughter to welcome her to the world of womanhood.

And now chaps - you still reading? Good -Here is where you gain maximum kudos, buy a subscription for the lady in your life, show her that you appreciate the discomfort of a period, that you know she has a hard time of it once a month, and that you want to let her know it's OK to treat herself. Make her feel special at a time when she doesn't feel very special at all.  And after shark week maybe she'll remember how nice you were....WHEN YOU ARE NOT ANNOYING THE CRAP OUT OF HER! sorry where was I ? Oh yes, so there we are, a gorgeous gift box to make surfing the crimson wave a little more lovely.

Pink Parcel is specifically looking to create more open conversations around periods, so that women and teens no longer feel embarrassed or afraid. They encourage women to join the conversation via Twitter using the hashtag #AMonthlyThing. Pink Parcel also hosts a blog on their website with tips and information to debunk period myths. Why not follow them on Twitter and Facebook?

Teen Parcel Pink Parcel on Twitter

Disclosure - I was sent one of each Teen and Pink Parcel for the purposes of the review

Ranty Rant - Paid to stop smoking

OK so I’m pissed off, I’m not alone I know and I bet this post is echoed on mummy blogs across the UK right now but…well this is Random Rantings, I encourage a rant. Here’s my rant of the day.

Women paid to give up smoking when pregnant’ An eye catching and rant worthy headline indeed.

You will recall I was similarly ranty about ‘Women paid to breastfeed

I imagine most people would instantly balk at the idea, paid to do something you should either do anyway or at least that you should just make a personal choice over? Why bribe someone into making a good choice? Why reward someone for doing the right thing? Don’t we as humans have intellect, a moral compass, and a brain capable of making rational and informed decisions?

It’s not the only time ‘incentives’ have been used either. People have been paid to lose weight too and I’m sure there are other examples. (Who else remembers this little gem of an idea from 2009)

Ranty me can’t help wondering if, as I am, you are lazy is it not reasonable for the NHS to chuck us £20 or so to go for a brisk walk! It might sway me.

Yes but it works you say? It saves money and lives you say? The ethics don’t matter if it works the politicians cry!

Don’t they? Really? They are arguing that the end justifies the means? Well then I suggest a cheaper but I’m sure equally effective idea. We bring back the stocks. People caught making the wrong life choices should be placed in the stocks on the village green with a sign round their neck and we can fling rotten fruit at them. I bet that would work too. Would it make it OK if it worked?

Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

Do the ends ever justify the means? What do you think? Is paying people to behave well a reasonable idea?

Monday, January 26, 2015

First World Problems

two scones with cream and jam
Jam on cream? Cream on jam? #firstworldproblems
It's a weird phrase and one that many dislike 'First world Problems' . It appears to have been created at first to poke fun at people that have it all but still manage to complain about it - to make them think about what they are saying and as a gentle prod to remind them that many people would be glad to be able to moan that their shower water was too hot, that the white wine ran out and you had to drink red etc...shades of Marie Antoinette and her (probably fake) announcement that if the peasants had no bread, they should eat cake.

It was then appropriated by people as a tag, at least on twitter, to show they knew, they knew they were being a a bit silly, that the complaint was at best petty, but they wanted to moan anyway. And why not. Saying you cannot have a problem because someone else has worse ones is as silly (in my eyes) as saying you can't be having a good life because other people have better ones!

So I had a little snigger at this tweet earlier

It's a problem I'm very familiar with. I'm 49 and have used a lot of toasters and a lot of sliced bread in my life and I have NEVER found a toaster to toast the top 1cm of a slice. I'm with the tweeter above, why don't toaster manufacturers and bread makers go out for a beer and sort this out! Surely it can't be too complicated after all, as Spencer pointed out, the future is here!

Also today I was reading the BBC article, quoting bank Credit Suisse about where the 1% of the wealthiest people on earth live. It's based purely on assets and takes no account of cost of living or income, so it's a statistic rather than a useful fact but it's still interesting. The top 1% of the wealthiest own £530,000 or more each (and there  are 47 million of them, so I doubt they all play golf together)  the top 10% have £50,000 of assets and the top 50% only £2,400 in assets! Makes you think doesn't it.

But what of actual income vs cost of living? That would make more sense. So I had a hunt and found a site that would compare that with the rest of the world too. Another surprising statistic. A single mum with one child taking home £10,000 in the UK for example is in the top 18% of the world and earns 6.3 times the global average. Try it for yourself and see what you think.

I'm pretty sure that we are all richer than we think and the #firstworldproblems tag is no bad thing as a reminder sometimes. We can complain of course but if you are reading this chances are you are high on the list of wealthiest people on the planet even if some months it's hard to believe.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Online communication, social media and the perils of reading between the lines

I was chatting to Mr TM this morning because a blogging chum had dared raise her head above the virtual parapet and declared that vlogging (video blogging) was not for her. She wrote that she didn't like it, and wouldn't do it.

I agreed with her as did several other people, we also discussed whether maybe it was age related as young people (and here I cite DD as an example) frankly love Youtube and vloggers and would probably cheerfully watch video blogs of other young people unwrapping lipstick and boxes of Lego until the cows come home.

But some people suggested she may have 'upset some people' and she (and I ) wondered why. Why does having a personal opinion upset people online, because it certainly seems to!

In our discussion Mr TM and I decided that maybe, particularly on twitter where characters are in short supply, but also on blogs, the fact that there is no dialogue only a statement means that not only can you not quickly clarify your position, as you would if chatting, but also people read what you haven't written...and I don't know why.

For example, If I state "I loathe bananas" I am stating just that, I, me, personally, dislike bananas to an extreme amount. But often the reader, a passionate lover of yellow bent fruits, reads "Bananas are loathsome" they may also read "and therefor anyone who likes them is an idiot, only fools like bananas, bananas should be banned." But it's not there, it's not a subtext, no one said it.

So Internet people, chill, let people have an opinion, read what they write, not what you think they mean and even more importantly, check who they are, some people, myself included, often post things online in a very tongue-in-cheek way.

By the way, I did find Wolf Hall last night dreadfully boring.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Book Review - Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

For Christmas the lovely Mr TM bought me a book token, for a HUGE sum of money as he cunningly remembered how I cannot walk into a bookshop without needing all the books.

I'm sure some of you know that feeling. The smell of the paper, the rustling sounds of the words wriggling impatiently on the pages, itching to be picked up, read, taken home...

So a couple of weeks ago we went out into the cold and wandered into the warm and cosy land of the book shop. A proper bookshop with tables of enticing new reads, an upstairs with a coffee shop, with carpet in all book sections and randomly spaced comfy leather sofas, the sort of shop that wants to envelope you and keep you until you are one with it.

I had asked twitter for some book suggestions and had been recommended 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' by Rachel Joyce, and while looking through the H-K section in hope I stumbled on a rather interestingly covered book, 'Elizabeth is Missing' by Emma Healey. The cover looked fascinating, a scrap of paper, a drawing and some rather good reviews...I turned the book in my hands. I knew I needed it when I saw it was about a woman called Maud, what a super old lady name.

Maud has dementia, maybe Alzheimers, she is not stupid but she struggles to keep pieces of her life in order, to keep words together, to remember things. She leaves notes but what do they mean? And is the note about not cooking really for her? Who keeps buying tinned peaches? One note says that Elizabeth is missing. Maud is convinced of this one fact and no one, not her daughter, not the police, will make her give up her search.

The book twists through Maud's days, entwining her past with her present, sometimes even the reader cannot see what is real, what is remembered, what is dreamed. But Maud is a stubborn old bird, she will get to the bottom of the mystery, she will find out what has happened to Elizabeth, and we are swept along with her to the end.

The book is harrowing at times, I had a neighbour very like Maud, who would pop round to tell us the same thing each day and at all hours, who would forget who we were, or forget she lived next door to us when she had left her driveway, the portrayal of Maud in this book was terribly accurate, heartbreakingly poignant.

And the writing..I was caught by the brilliance of the style and the phrasing in this book, often more poetry than prose in it's clever use of imagery. I leave you with one of my favourite bits from the book.

"A bang, somewhere in the house , makes my eyes skitter across the sitting room, there's an animal, and animal for wearing outside, lying over the arm of the settee. Its' Carla's. She never hangs it up, worried she'll forget it, I expect. I can't help staring at it, sure it will move, scurry away to a corner, or eat me up and take my place. And Katy will have to remark on it's big eyes, it's big teeth.
The front door clicks shut and I hear Carla locking it after her. Locking me in. I watch her through the window as she crunches across my path. She wears a coat with a fur-edged hood over her uniform. A carer in wolf's clothing."

I cannot recommend this book highly enough, it made me laugh and cry by turns. Read it. You can follow Emma Healey on Twitter

Oh, and I bought 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' by Rachel Joyce too - next to read and review!

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