Friday, May 31, 2013

The Adventure of English

I am about half way through reading "The Adventure of English" by Melvyn Bragg at the moment (a fascinating biography of the English language) and just wanted to share this little passage with you because I think it is pretty perfect.

"...language is no respecter of persons in that it will find birth wherever and whenever it can. There is very often something wonderfully anonymous about the whole process: a pimp can coin a word as lasting as that of a poet, a street hawker as a statesman, a farmer as a scholar, a foul mouth as a Latinist, vulgar as refined, illiterate as schooled. Language leaps out of mouths regardless of class, sex, age, or education: it sees something that needs to be said or saved in a word and it pounces."

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Everyday Sexism Project

Read this - - before reading on :)

I am so, so pleased about this achievement by Women, Action and the Media (WAM), involving the Everyday Sexism project. It really shows that ordinary people can make a difference by showing certain large corporations errors in their policies. WAM and its partners have been campaigning to alter particular Facebook policies regarding gender-based hate speech. Today the hard work paid off for them.

For those of you who are not acquainted with the Everyday Sexism project, I would encourage you to have a look at their website and Twitter for the stories contributed by those who have experienced sexism all over the globe, male and female. In this day and age, it baffles me that there still isn't equality between genders. It doesn't exactly assure much hope for other types of discrimination as male and female have had to coexist since day one of human existence... It saddens me to read many of the accounts as I find it unbelievable that the kind of harassment and derogation described is actually a modern day problem. Laura Bates, the founder of the project, appeared on television quite recently and admirably stood up for feminism in modern society, putting the other panel members to shame. Their argument was that feminism has no place in today's society but the very fact that Laura and her team have compiled over 25,000 stories in just one year (and don't forget about the thousands of undocumented occasions) disproves their point entirely. Of course we have come a long way and are still making progress, but it has taken a new turn. Whereas before it was about doing all the things men do - being able to vote, getting the same jobs etc - the modern approach in a developed country such as our own takes its spirit from the old efforts and channels them into combatting gender-based hate speech and the normalisation of harassment. Women do feel strongly about the way that harassing behaviour has almost become the norm and the Everyday Sexism project has made me realise that this behaviour is not ok. Women shouldn't just have to "deal with it" or "lighten up". I like that the project sends out the message that we can make a stand as we have a valid point. How sad that our feelings need validation.

Today's achievement in making Facebook understand that there needs to be a change in the way in which they deal with hate speech against women is monumental in my eyes. I really do not want to link to any of the atrocious photographs and disgusting comments that have been approved by Facebook but you can see examples of them on the Everyday Sexism Twitter feed where the project has been campaigning for companies to pull their advertising from Facebook until they sort out their policy. Kudos to Nissan and Nationwide, amongst others, for doing so. I believe that Dove refused to, claiming that it was not their problem as they could not choose where their adverts were placed. The Everyday Sexism project responded with the overwhelmingly valid argument that this is the very point - why would you choose to advertise your brand via a medium that allows sexist and violent material (to put it lightly), but deletes photographs uploaded of women who have had mastectomies, or are breastfeeding? You would certainly not choose to advertise in a magazine with articles promoting rape and sexual violence/violence in general and I believe that the same principles should apply to Facebook. It has been pointed out that it is contradictory to Dove's marketing message of empowering women - it suggests that they do not care quite frankly and I have seen numerous tweets pledging to boycott Dove products as a result. They are by no means the only company who failed to take proper action which is disappointing from an ethical viewpoint.

I really hope that Facebook follow their pledge through. I am seriously impressed at the efforts of WAM and its partners so congratulations and thank you for getting our voices heard.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Baking with Beeta

How to make Beeta's squishy squashy knobbly bobbly savoury scones. I make these for my dad as he often has to miss out on my cake creations as he isn't allowed much sugar. Now I know scones are terribly difficult to get the hang of but when it comes to having the munchies, I care little for presentation as long as the flavour is just right. With this in mind, my squishy squashy knobbly bobbly scones are my somewhat perfect twist on the elegant scone. And there's a whole load of variety to be explored.

All you need are the following ingredients and about 25 minutes of your precious time:
-  225g self raising flour
-  a pinch of salt
-  25g butter
-  25g grated cheese (I used good old cheddar but there is definitely room for experimentation)
-  1 small onion and/or some chopped parsley and/or half a red pepper (diced)
-  150ml milk

1. Sieve the flour into a bowl and add the salt.
2. Add the butter and rub it in the salty flour mixture until you've scraped most of the mixture off the sides of the bowl
3. Stir in the cheese and/or onion and/or parsley and/or red pepper.

4. Add the milk and mix it all up until it becomes doughy. 
5. It gets a bit messy now as the dough is a bit sticky but pat it out onto a floured surface and gently knead.
6. I couldn't find any appropriately shaped cutters so I formed squishy scone shapes with my hands, but you can also use a cup if you so wish.
7. Place on a greased tray and pop in the oven at 220 degrees C for 12-15 minutes.

And ta-dahhhhhh, messy but utterly delicious with a scrape of butter savoury scones. Easy :)

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Friday, May 10, 2013


Pre-clot, I made sure I was fairly active partly to stay fit but mostly to minimise Law degree-induced insanity. I would run with my friends along the common, play netball, play tennis, attend fitness classes and go to the gym. Needless to say I was pretty cross when I lost use of one of my legs for a while last year because of my blood clot. I posted a bit about the trials and tribulations associated with the transition from being bed bound to two crutches to one crutch to a walking stick to a folding walking stick to free walking! But now I have something much more exciting to announce....

Drum roll please....

This week, I - Clotty McClotterson - managed to run for the first time in over a year. 


I had literally dreamed of this for months which says a lot because I used to dream about flying (one of the best dreams I ever had was about flying over an ocean which was so so cool!) and to be able to finally manage it felt amazing. 

I felt so liberated I had a few tiny tears in my eyes. In the time that I was out in the sunshine bobbing along in my trainers, listening to my upbeat iPod playlist entitled 'Excitable' and thinking about nothing other than putting one foot in front of the other, I was the happiest I had been in weeks.

I used to be embarrassed about running outside in full view of the public (other people...just like way!) and this may well have been the most anxious I have been to date about a run (except of course all those dreams where I have been running from baddies) but exceeding my expectations showed me that it is literally not worth caring about what other people - and strangers at that - think about something they have no idea about. Any onlooker would have probably thought I was literally moving so slowly it was more effective to power-walk or toyed with the idea that I was actually limping, but none of them will have known how much of an achievement that was for me, less than three months after losing my stick.

So today's lesson, kids, is not to judge a book by its cover - you literally never know what their story might be. Oh and follow your dreams - you can get there if you try :)

Happy Friday x x x

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Thursday, May 09, 2013

Summer shoes

I am a real fuss pot when it comes to choosing shoes. Everything has to be perfect about them before I am willing to buy them and this makes choosing shoes online pretty tricky. However, this does not stop me from having a peek on websites so that I know exactly what I'm after in the shops. As the sun has decided to show its face a few times recently after about seven years of winter, I thought I would share with you some Internet shoe picks! Usually I live in boots during the winter and espadrilles during the summer, although ankle boots are fairly good for any season and very handy for upping coverage of the super stylish compression stocking.


Ravel gladiator sandals from Barratts £32.50,  Francesca Leather Flat Sandals from Asos £28, Zara heels £69.99, Office espadrilles £10, Toms from Asos £45, Soft knot black leather sandals from Office reduced to £15.

Barratts kindly sent me a pair of the sandals above to review and rather perfectly, they arrived on a super sunny day. I knew I wasn't being TOO optimistic choosing summer shoes! I like the woven style of them and think the colour is very versatile.

They go pretty well with my onesie I think...

If the weather continues as it is, I will hopefully be able to try them out with my maxi skirts for full effect. A criticism I could make is that as I have pretty narrow heels the backs of these shoes weren't ideal as they do not hold on very well. They are also not as long as they look in the photo on the website, nor is the material as soft as I would like it to be.

The Barratts delivery service is relatively speedy and they let you know when your goods are being delivered to the hour so you can make sure somebody is in to sign for them. Very helpful indeed. I didn't really realise the array of styles that Barratts stock these days, such as the hi-tops range (reviewed by a few other bloggers I have noticed) which can be found here.

A lot of shops seem to be going under on the high street, but I am confident that shoe shops will always hold their place. I'm still not sure about buying shoes online if the returns policy is complicated and because you can never really tell from a photograph how comfy a fit a pair of shoes will be, I think I would always much prefer to buy shoes in person. However, I cannot deny the ease with which these shoes and others in the past have been delivered so perhaps the key is in simplifying and economising returns procedures.

Whilst we are on the topic, I made a nice discovery at Office recently. Office is usually my go-to shop on the rare occasion that I want a new pair of shoes (I'm usually too fussy to find any appealing so stick to what I know) and have been impressed with the durability of the majority of my purchases there. This time I was after a pair of shoes for a holiday which will involve lots of exploring and therefore walking but not adventurous enough a trip where trainers/hiking boots are needed. As I have mentioned before, summer is a tricky month in terms of the old stocking because it is just on the one leg, is fairly obvious and doesn't go with any outfits that don't incorporate tights, funnily enough! Flossy are my new Spanish discovery! They sell reasonably-priced plimsolls in a variety of colours and patterns and are so comfy - I am so pleased I found them in Office! Problem solved :)

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