And now for the science bit...

picture of grandchildren
It's wonderful when children begin to become enthralled with science-based activities, even if they don't understand how/why it happens.  Here's my granddaughter, Amie, explaining how to stick a balloon to the wall.








For the real science bit, here is how it happens.  When a balloon is rubbed against the hair it becomes negatively charged.  When near a wall, the charged balloon is attracted to positively charged particles in the wall and can "cling" to it.  
Source:  Wikipedia

Soundtrack To My Life - Kelly

It's a pleasure to welcome Kelly and her Soundtrack To My Life onto the blog today.  Kelly writes a blog called The Domestic Goddesque and explains that "some days there is finesse, calm and perfect baking and others there is chaos, shouting and a Gregg's sausage roll for supper."  Sounds like the perfect balance to me.  You can find more about Kelly at the bottom of the post but, for now, it's time to listen to her tunes and read why she has chosen them.


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Green Day - Good Riddance 

It's a strange memory to have but this is a song that binds my mum, brother and I together in misery! Shortly after Dad left we had a particularly bad day. We were on the long drive home, it was snowing, we were all crying, and this song played over and over. Suddenly all the misery made one of us giggle, and a few minutes later we were all howling with laughter. I'll never forget that moment.

 

The Drifters - Save the Last Dance for Me 

The song my husband and I practiced for months to be able to dance to on our wedding day. I cannot tell you how much I love him. We talk about our wedding day often, and he paid me the biggest compliment of my life when he woke on the morning of our first anniversary and said he wished we were doing it all again.

 

The La's - There She Goes 

Someone I have never met once told me this song reminds them of me. Everyone needs a moment like that in their life.

 

Fauré - Cantique de Jean Racine 

We used to sing this in the choir at school and I love it so much. It's haunting and beautiful and always makes me emotional. It reminds me that I need to sing. I sing a lot around the house, to the children and in the car. I'm nothing special, but I love singing. i suspect if I found a choir that I could sing with, and give myself a little 'me' time, I'd feel better about myself and the issues I currently have.

 

Abba - Dancing Queen 

My best school friends and I performed this at the Inter-House Karaoke Competition (that'll be private school for you) complete with costume and dance routine. Obviously this is a classic song that would get anyone dancing, but this reminds me of the heady days of Sixth Form when you were a big fish in a little pond, completely confident in your abilities, in your future and in your plans to grab grown-up-hood with both hands and live every second.



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You can find Kelly attempting the life of the perfect 1950's housewife on her blog - The Domestic Goddesque.  She is also on Twitter as @domesticgoddesq and has her own Facebook page too.

If you want to join in with Soundtrack To My Life you can complete this form and I'll be in touch when your feature is due to go live.  Click on the mix-tape to the right to read all the "Soundtrack To My Life" entries.

A letter to my 16 year old self

handwritten letter


Dear Me,

First of all, note the paper I am writing on.  Your love of Filofax will never wane so embrace the YUPPIE jokes and stick with your instincts.

I saw you walking down the street yesterday.  Well, the 'you' that would have been had you had long bleached hair.  The rest was the same; as skirt as short as you were allowed to get away with at school, white over-knee socks pushed down in wrinkles, headphones on, khaki satchel-type school bag slung over your shoulder covered in black marker style graffiti.  It is 2013 but it felt as though I had been zapped back 25 years.

You have no idea how beautiful you are and it's easy to see that there are two of you.  The lonely, bullied, struggling girl at school and the vibrant dancer/runner thriving outside of the school setting.  I wish you would speak up and explain that you find school difficult to cope with for all the various reasons but that quiet determination will be such a positive quality later in life.

In a couple of years you will find the need to start afresh.  Changing your name is a good starting point.  That way there is a definite past and future.  It's much easier to find the new you this way.

A couple of things you need to know for the next couple of years...  
~ refusing the magic mushrooms is a wise move
~ keep writing and jotting down ideas
~ you will love 'the internet' - trust me on this one
~ put aside money each month for 'the internet' - make it priority after rent and food

There are times in your life when you will want to throw the towel in.  Don't!  Just don't!  You will feel as though you are always the one that people lean on but sometimes you have to be that person.  It's OK to be that person.

Finally, trust your instincts.  Mostly they are right but sometimes you have to fail to succeed.

Love 
Me x

PS.  'The internet' means that you write less with a pen.  Not a bad thing in general but it means that when you need to write a letter 25 years later your hand aches.  A LOT!  It's worth it though.



Blognonymous : I have bipolar. I'm Sorry

blognonymous
Blognonymous exists for lots of reasons.  It started out with six bloggers offering their own blog space when fellow bloggers felt they couldn't 'talk' in their own personal corner of the world wide web, for whatever reason.

This contribution is from a blogger that many of you may know.  She originally wanted to say straight out who she is but we believe that retaining anonymity is important.  It gives you much more freedom to write.  However, in her own words, she doesn't want you to "just fuck off and get on with your day" - she wants to use this 'safe space' to interact with the people she misses.  If you comment, she will read and reply. 

When commenting, if you prefer to remain anonymous please sign out of Disqus (if you have used it before), write your comment, click "Post as..." and you will see "guest" appear as an option.

If you would like to contact any of the Blognonymous team please click on the Blognonymous image  for more details.


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I have bipolar.  I haven't known long.

I spiralled out of control over the second half of last year after having some great (read: manic) ideas which became delusional and by Christmas I had crashed and burned.

You see, the narcissistic side of my mental illness wants you to know who is writing this, where I have been, what I am doing, why I am not writing, why I have been hiding away, why I am not replying to your messages.  But I do not want my family to know and therefore will not update my blog.

And the miserable, self-depreciating side of bipolar wants me to apologise.  The Facebook messages, the tweets.  The reason I can't even bring myself to reply because I can't face the questions and I can't face having to explain where I have been.  I am embarrassed.  Ashamed.

Through blogging I made some commitments that I have not kept.  I made promises I have broken.  But, most importantly, I have made great friends.  Friends that I have completely cut off.  I am sorry.

Bipolar is pretty horrible but please don't be scared of me.  I am fine.  More than fine.  

If you need any help or advice regarding bipolar or any mental illness please get in touch with MIND

Subscribe To Typecast

subscribe
I am trialing a new way to deliver updates to you from the Typecast blog.

The imminent loss of Google Reader has made me a little bit jittery with regards to Feedburner (also owned and powered by Google) so I am going to use Mail Chimp for daily updates with effect from today.

Please sign up for Typecast updates using this link or the 'Subscribe' form in the sidebar on the main blog.  You will not be spammed and you will only receive one email when I update the blog.   

I'd also love to hear your feedback and your recommendations for subscriber lists.  


If you follow my geek blog, Geekalicious, you can get regular email updates using this link.

Household Chores - Who Does Them In Your House?


Today Ryan is taking over the blog.  He has chosen an interesting subject, especially as I live in a house where my husband and I swapped 'traditional' roles a few years ago.  Feel free to share your thoughts at the end in the comments.

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1950s housewife
We've got a pretty old fashioned set-up in our household. I work and my partner looks after the home.  It’s not intentional, I’m just not there during the day time to do all of the chores. My partner does most (all) of the cooking too, plus a lot of other things that, if I’m honest, I've taken for granted for a long time.

The reason this post has come about is because last night I actually cooked for the first time in ages and the genuine shock that it caused my partner got me thinking… ‘I really am taking the mick here, aren't I.’  Sure, I’m a bit tired from a day at the office and I don’t get back until after six, but still, I shouldn't only be cooking once a year.

Then that got me thinking… ‘Is this still standard of a 2013 relationship or am I simply not a man of the 21st century?’ Some 1950's chauvinist even?  I’ll be honest, I’m completely questioning myself here and now I’m worried that I've been a rubbish partner all these years. Simply making money doesn't make you a good husband, after all.  I’m questioning every aspect of my home life. Even things like making the bed in the morning or taking my empty coffee mug through to the kitchen.  They may seem small, but surely it must annoy Mrs. B at having to clear up after me just as much as our two girls.



So this morning before I left for work, I asked my lovely lady a few questions and asked her to be completely honest with her answers.  I wish I hadn't asked for complete honesty after listening to her answers, but it was a massive eye-opener and may actually make our relationship even stronger if I act upon what she told me. It was a real wake-up call.

Dinner isn't going to make up for eight years of laziness but I’ll be searching all of the daily deals websites for restaurant vouchers tonight. It’s a start at least!  I’m trying to uncover whether most relationships in 2013 still have this whole husband at work, wife at home set-up and if I’m in a minority of men that simply don’t do much to help out around the house. As Kyla has touched on before in a guest post here on Typecast, some husbands, almost definitely including myself, may be less useful than a Filofax!

The answers below are pretty much word-for-word from my wife’s mouth. I also asked her to rate me out of 10 for each aspect.  I’m going to do more around the home now regardless, but I’d still love to hear about how your partner matches up to my rubbishness or how you rate yourself out of 10 for each of the following questions. Be honest!

Do I help enough…

Q1. … with the cleaning?

0/10: “If you’re talking about hoovering and dusting then no, honey. I've only seen you pick up the hoover maybe three times in eight years.”

Q2. … in the kitchen?

2/10: “Don’t take this the wrong way, but the best way you can help is by staying out of the kitchen altogether. Every time you do anything in the kitchen you make a mess and I have to clean it up because you don’t clean anything up properly. At least you try to clean up sometimes though, so I can’t give you a zero.”

Q3. … with keeping the bedroom tidy?

2/10: “I remember you making the bed a few months ago, but that was way before Christmas. I don’t think you've ever changed the sheets, you might have helped me once or twice though. There’s always, always, always a glass on your bedside table, which always looks a mess with paperwork anyway so I suppose that doesn't make a difference. You always try to kick your clothes under the bed rather than putting them in the washing basket. Are you sure you want me to go on?”

Disclaimer: The washing basket is all the way downstairs.

Q4. … with fixing things?

5/10: “When you do eventually get round to fixing things – like the cutlery draw which fell off months ago – you do actually do a good job. But it takes you six months to get round to it so I can’t give you a high score.”

Q5. … with the washing?

3/10: “Very occasionally you hang the washing out to dry. But did you realise that there are other steps involved in those clothes ending up in your draw? I honestly never remember you putting a load of washing in or ironing or folding the clothes and putting them away. But because you do hang them up every now and again I suppose a three is about right.

Q6. … in the bathroom?

2/10: “Ha! Have you ever put your hand down a toilet before? I think you might have cleaned the bath, shower and sink once or twice. You leave all of your dirty clothes on the bathroom floor as well.”

Q7. … with the pets?

7/10: “You take the dog out every day so I can’t complain about that. I’m not sure if you've ever cleaned out the cat’s litter tray and you definitely haven’t touched the hamster. But I wanted the cat and the girls wanted the hamster so I suppose that’s fair enough.”

Q8. … in the garden?

7/10: “You’re good in the garden when you get around to it, but we've had the grass up to our knees a few times before. It looks ok at the moment but that’s only because it’s winter and the grass hardly grows.”

Q9. … with the shopping?

3/10: “I usually do the big shops during the day so that doesn't apply really. We occasionally go at the weekend though and I remember you helped to put everything away last time so three seems about right.”

Q10. … in comparison with your perception of other husbands?

5/10: “I would assume that you’re the average man in terms of housework so I’ll give you a five. You could definitely help out a bit more but I don’t work full-time so what else am I going to do during the day? It’d be good if you could cook more often because you can actually cook when you try and maybe pick up the hoover from time to time and maybe a few other things. But as a dad and a husband you’re awesome so I don’t resent doing the housework.”

Final score: 36/100

After an absolute grilling at least it ended on a nice note! Mrs. B has never outright asked for help with housework and I've kind of played on that – knowing that I should help but if I’m not asked to then I won’t bother.  That doesn't seem particularly fair and I’m going to do my best to help out a bit more. I know it’s taken a few years but its time to finally pull my finger out!

36 out of 100 seems pretty poor in all honesty and I’m hoping that I’m not outscored horrifically by the readers’ partners.  It’d be great to hear your comparisons in the comments box below if you get a spare five minutes and thanks for listening!



This post contains a sponsored link,.  Please see my disclosure policy for more details.

The Cost Of Celebrations

Are annual celebration days a bit cliqué or are  you constantly surprised by the attention you receive from your loved ones?  We are all a bit traditional in this family with it comes to gifts to commemorate occasions such as Mother's Day, Father's Day and Easter and, as this infographic shows, we're not the only ones.  

Have a read through of the fun facts and tell me if you're a stickler for tradition or whether you break the boundaries and amaze your family with thoughtful and unusual gifts   Or, dare I say it, do we spend too much on specific days to show our love when we should be saying it every day.  Let me know in the comments.




This is a sponsored post. Please see my disclosure policy for more details.

The Gallery : C Is For...

When away from the office, my job takes me all over Lancashire.  The last two days have taken me to Lancaster and Morecambe on what have been gloriously cold, Spring days.  

Lancaster Castle
C is for... Castle


Day one takes me to offices by Lancaster Castle.  The back streets of Lancaster are cobbled and my pull-along case full of all my paraphernalia makes a racket as I drag it along.  Almost all of the houses are marked with historical plaques or have doorways that would need me to stoop to walk through.  The lawn in front of the castle is covered in crocus and the open gates draw me towards them but there isn't time to explore.

Morecambe Bay
C is for... Coastline


Day two takes me to Morecambe.  For once, I am not encased in an meeting in the grimy back streets but visiting a venture just on the beach front with a glorious vista over the coastline.  I remembered that I had featured Morecambe Bay once before in a Gallery picture but the (notorious) tide was out that time.  I yeared for my proper camera rather than the phone because you can't quite pick out the snow-capped hills of the Lake District in the background.


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This post is part of the digital photo gallery featured on the Sticky Fingers blog.  This week's theme was "The Letter C". 

Conversations with my grandchildren - Part 2

My grandchildren are polar opposites.  Amie throws herself through the door, takes her shoes, coat and cardigan off and launches herself at the toys talking nineteen to the dozen.  Megan keeps her coat and boots on (and her backpack when she has one with her), screams at the dog to stop licking her and launches herself onto the settee.

grandchildren


Megan (age 3):  Can I watch Peppa Pig on your laptop, Nana?
Nana:  Yes, let me find it. (open YouTube, search "peppa pig", pick random episode, one happy three year old)
Megan:  Ben and Holly.  Ben and Holly.
Nana: There's no Ben and Holly here.  Only Peppa Pig.
Megan:  BEN AND HOLLY
Mummy: She's seen it in the sidebar.  (Mummy puts Ben and Holly on)
Megan and Amie in unison:  "Somewhere, hidden amongst thorny brambles is a little kingdom of elves and faries..."
Nana:  *bemused face*

amie
Amie (age 4):  Is that the dog's bed?  (points to the dog cage in the kitchen)
Nana: No, it's where Grandad sleeps.  The dog sleeps in bed with me.
Amie:  No he doesn't (giggles).  
Nana:  Yes he does.
Amie:  No he doesn't (giggles again)
Grandad:  It's where Nana sleeps.  *I* sleep upstairs with the dog.
Amie:  Oh.
Nana:  So that's OK then?  Nana sleeps in a cage and the dog sleeps in a bed.
Amie:  Yes.

megan
Mummy:  Megan, tell Nana where you're going in two weeks?
Megan:
Mummy:  Megan, did you tell Nana what's happening in two weeks?
Megan:
Mummy: Megan, talk to Nana!
Megan:  I WATCHING BEN AND HOLLY!

Amie:  Can I mop your floor, Nana? (lifts the mop out of the mop bucket)
Nana (grabbing the mop):  Not today, love. I don't really want three inches of water in my kitchen.  Plus, it's Grandad's job.
Amie:  Grandad's job?
Nana:  Yes, he's quite good at it too so I let him do it.
Grandad:  It's the only thing I'm good at, apparently.

On leaving the house
Amie:  What's this? (opens the cupboard in the porch that houses the gas meter)
Nana:  It's the gas meter and it's also where I lock up naughty children (Nana closes the cupboard)
Megan:  What's this? (opens the cupboard in the porch that houses the gas meter again)
Nana (in a faux-scary voice):  It's the cupboard for naughty children!
Megan:  *refuses to give Nana an extra kiss goodbye*



Soundtrack To My Life - We Didn't Own An iPad

A slight sidestep from the traditional Soundtrack To My Life today to bring you this video which deserves to go viral.  This encapsulates everything about growing up in the 80's and is absolutely GENIUS.   Enjoy then share! 

(thanks to Steve from Philofaxy for the hat-tip - and you can read his STML here)



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You can find the original video on YouTube.  Normal Soundtrack To My Life service will resume next week.

If you want to join in with Soundtrack To My Life you can complete this form and I'll be in touch when your feature is due to go live.  Click on the mix-tape to the right to read all the "Soundtrack To My Life" entries.

100 Words : Mother's Day

Mum
Sometimes... just for a split second, I move to pick up the phone to call Mum with some news about the family, what I’m doing at work or just for a little cry.  But then I stop.

I get used to her not being here but then something reminds me of her and I feel guilty for going such a long time without the memories. 

There is so much I could say about her and then I’m lost for words. I want her patience and wisdom.    She is my inspiration and my guide.  

Today is a celebration in her memory.

My Celebrity Look-A-Like


demi moore, ghost
I'm not the most photogenic person in the world and will take extreme measures to avoid my picture being taken. However, I fondly remember (many many many moons ago) my sister-in-law saying that I looked like Demi Moore in her 'Ghost' era.  I have clung to that comparison for dear life.


Then I read Toni's post about famous people who look like her and I remembered this website where you could upload your picture and it would tell you which famous person you resembled.  It was Saturday night and I'd had the best part of a bottle of wine... you can guess what's coming, can't you?



Attempt 1
I upload this photo
Nickie O'Hara

and get these results


Yes... thats 
Justin Timberlake
Orlando Bloom
Matt "Joey From Friends" le Blanc
John Travolta (channeling 'Enda Turnblad' from Hairspray, maybe?)

So I presume there's something wrong with the algorithm (good excuse, huh), check the settings and I try again with this photo

Nickie O'Hara

and I am greeted with with this...


Kristin Chenoweth (<3) 
Sheryl Crow
Diane Lane (no idea but IMDb tells me she's an actress)
Ronaldo

I look at these results and just shake my head.  I think, "third time lucky" and try again with a photo of myself and Sian from Cybher last year because its one I love so nothing can go wrong...  

nickie, sian, cybher, 2012


Oh!

Sian's face recognition threw up this


Nicole Kidman
Richard Dreyfuss
Jason Statham (swoon) 
Harrison Ford

and mine proffered this


Renée Zellweger
Michael Keaton
Tyra Banks (must be all that smizing I do)
Oscar de la Renta (WTAF)

So fuck it.  The website is borked... FUBAR'd... a load of old bollocks.
And I'm still unphotogenic.
But in my head I look like Demi Moore FOREVER! 



Blognonymous : Your Rape Isn't Funny (with addendum)

I ranted about Amazon's "Rape" t-shirts over the weekend and within a few hours of my post going live, the Blognonymous team received an email.  If you heard about the t-shirts and wondered what all the fuss was about, this puts it all into perspective.  Forget algorithms... what about the victim?  

When commenting, if you prefer to remain anonymous please sign out of Disqus (if you have used it before), write your comment, click "Post as..." and you will see "guest" appear as an option.

If you would like to contact any of the Blognonymous team please click on the Blognonymous image  for more details.


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You're a young man, a young woman, an older woman, an older man. You're single, married, gay, straight, drunk, sober.

A party, your house, office drinks, a walk home. Somehow, you're alone with a friend. Maybe you flirt a little, maybe you don't. You never think about being alone with them, you didn't notice it happen. Maybe you know them well. Maybe it's your spouse.


They get nasty, maybe make a critical comment. You go to leave. They hit you - hard - with words or fists. You're scared. You're stunned. You're confused. You stand to leave and they grab you. 

You fight. You can tell from their breathing exactly what's going to happen. You're thinking, this can't happen to me, this is going to stop. 

You're feeling sick, dizzy, afraid. You want to scream but you're in pain and their weight is on your chest. You can't breathe. 

You're plotting your escape. Please stop, please stop. Your mind is racing while all the while the thick smell of an unwelcome body is pressed against you. 

Your shut your eyes tight, overwhelmed with desperate devastation, realising that you are simply not strong enough to stop this. You can't stop this. 


A stranger is forcing their way into you. Tearing. Stinging. Burning. Thumping. Stabbing pain that will not stop. You can't adjust to it, fighting it hurts, do they want it to hurt? Are you going to die? 

It finishes, agonising climax that fills you with pain unlike anything you've ever felt. Wincing, punching, burning, angry heat. It's your fault, you hear them say. 

They're gone. You're alive. Mopping pools of a stranger - or someone you trusted - off your thighs, streaked with blood. 

Shame. Disgust. Rinsing. Burning. Stinging. Thoughts of suicide. Thoughts of police interviews. Thoughts of blame. Thoughts of revenge. Thoughts of suicide. Thoughts of suicide. Thoughts of suicide.

Shaking. Vomiting. Crying. Numb. You play it in your head over and over again. You wonder if you said no enough, if you fought hard enough, if they know it was rape. Of course they do. 

You're not you anymore. You stay silent. Outside, on TV, in the news, at the pub, in your home, you hear laughing. Rape, they say, is funny. Rape, they say, is a joke. There's rape, they say, and there's rape rape. Maybe you thought that too, once.

But now you've felt it. You bear the bruises. You smell that body. You see those eyes. You hear that breathing. You feel the shame, the fear, the anger, the resignation. Not all the time, but forever.

Rape is not funny, it's never O.K, you're never O.K. It never washes off.



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Addendum  

I received another email from the very brave contributor of this post.  I feel as though I have to share it as it adds weight to the original post.

Hi.

I just wanted to say thank you so much to you, the Blognonymous team and every single person who helped spread the word and/or commented. 

Please pass on my heartfelt thanks for the delicacy, kindness, strength and support with which it was dealt. I have masses of respect for every one of you.

I saw the re-tweets, conversations, blog comments, FB comments etc and I feel like something positive has come out of my experience for the first time. 

If our collective efforts change the way just one person thinks, it will have made a difference. I hope it has.

Best wishes.

Soundtrack To My Life - Will

Soundtrack To My Life took a slightly different turn this week because I had the opportunity to try it out on the radio.  I occasionally pop into Preston FM to join Will on Chat City and I have finally found my spiritual home.  As is well documented on this blog, I adore being behind the microphone and Will very kindly lets me gatecrash co-present from time to time.

Will finds it as difficult as myself to narrow his choices down to just five tunes.  On his crib sheet for the show he had a total of thirteen songs that he wanted to talk about and managed to pick a few more whilst we were queuing them up for airing.  Also, as he said in the show, if I asked him to do this again at any point in the future he would probably choose different records.  Here are Will's final five choices.


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"Tennessee" Ernie Ford - Sixteen Tons

The first music I can remember is Freddie and the Dreamers who were the One Direction of their time.  I always believed my dad was a Johnny Cash fan but it turned out that although he liked Johnny Cash he didn't like him that much.  He only played his music because it was the only record he had.  He preferred Tennessee Ernie Ford,  Glen Campbell and Hank Williams Snr which, to our great annoyance, he would sing loudly after a night at the pub.


Roxy Music - Dance Away

Growing up is great when you like music.  It pour out of every radio and gramophone, TV, lifts and cars.  These days you can carry it around with you in little boxes with plugs in your ears.  In my youth, portable music was through a ghettoblaster which was something akin to carrying a sideboard around on your shoulder.  

My brother was the first of us to buy his own records and Marc Bolan and Roxy Music featured large in his collection


Deep Purple - Woman From Tokyo

My own preferences were in hard rock and prog rock.  Genesis, Yes and Jethro Tull were what I listened to most.  Heavy metal has deep roots - before the Scorpions and Jon Bon Jov. before Motorhead and even Black Sabbath there was Deep Purple and Led Zepplin.


The Clash - Rock The Casbah

The Eighties was full of changing and conflicting music styles.  Pop, punk, electronics and funk clashed into the charts and I'll never forget Joe Dolce's Shaddupa Your Face keeping the classic Vienna by Ultravox off the number one spot.

Punk nearly passed me by completely.  I survived David Cassidy, Donny Osmand and The Bay City Rollers but now the Sex Pistols, Sham 69 and The Clash came crashing and thrashing their way through the charts.  I still preferred by music with a little more melody and lyrics with a little more thought.


The Spice Girls - Wannabe

I almost chose REM's Everybody Hurts as my final song because it was chosen by a dear friend of mine to be played at her funeral.  Maz Craig achieved a Tae Kwon Do black belt, married a paratrooper and was a joy to know.  You never felt your troubles were serious enough in her company.  Maz died of Cystic Fibrosis in 1998 and was as forceful a case for organ donation as I could find. 

However, out of all the tunes that provoke strong memories, this one might surprise you.  There are certain songs that always reminded of my beautiful, talented, intelligent daughters - Ellen, Sarah and Ruth.  I remember them singing the soundtrack to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat or Abba songs when on long journeys down to Cornwall but this one is for my very own Sporty, Posh and Ginger.


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You can hear Will on Preston FM (103.2FM) on Thursdays between 10am and 12 noon if you live in the Preston area but he occasionally uploads his show and/or interviews to his Soundcloud account.  You can also catch him on Twitter as @willbuckley.

If you want to join in with Soundtrack To My Life you can complete this form and I'll be in touch when your feature is due to go live.  Click on the mix-tape to the right to read all the "Soundtrack To My Life" entries.

Amazon UK glamorises RAPE! (UPDATED)

If you had £15 to treat yourself with, what would you buy?

A couple of magazines, a bottle of wine and a bar of chocolate?
A few books for your Kindle?
A couple of CDs or Blu Ray movies?
A "Keep Calm And Rape Me" t-shirt?  

keep calm and rape off, t-shirt, amazon uk

Oh yes, that's an available option on the Amazon UK site, at the time of writing, in a choice of colours and varying tones (rape me, rape off, rape them, rape us, rape a lot), natch....

As I sit here, poised as "Outraged of Blackburn", it's obvious I'm not the only person who is gobsmacked at this.  The link is being shared across social media networks and people are emailing the Amazon UK Chief Executive (Christopher North : cnorth@amazon.com) to complain albeit the individual retailer, Solid Gold Bomb, is equally as guilty as far as I'm concerned because of a breach of seller terms and conditions.  At what point of their sale process (idea, design, creation, printing, stocking, marketing) did they think this was a good idea?

Rape isn't funny.  It's not something that should be made light of in the 'novelty' section of a leading online retail store.


UPDATE:

THE ITEMS HAVE NOW BEEN REMOVED FROM AMAZON AND AN APOLOGY HAS BEEN PUBLISHED BY THE MANUFACTURERS. However a "Keep Calm And Hit Her" T-shirt remained on the Amazon UK website for a further twelve hours.

keep calm and hit her, t-shirt, amazon uk


It has just been suggested on my Facebook status that this could also have been "some chancer trying to make a quick buck out of mindless frat boy humour".   My immediate response to that was that the reason I make a stand and shout as loud as I can when I see something like this is not to jump on some social media "Power to the People" bandwagon but more that I don't EVER want my children to believe that this is OK and/or can be made into a joke.  I am the only example they have.  I am their teacher and I want to give them the tools so they can make the best decision they can. 


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EE adds HTC One SV LTE to its range

EE has added a brand new handset from HTC to its range of 4G mobile phones. The company now has the HTC One SV LTE available free on 4GEE 24-month plans from £36.00 a month.

So what can potential buyers expect from the new, mid-range handset? Well, its equipped with a pretty decent set of features, including great photo, video, audio and processing capabilities, which should overall make it a pretty attractive addition to the network’s line-up.

The HTC One SV LTE has all the usual bells and whistles of a modern day 4G smartphone; all packed into a rather stylish little shell. You’ll find a five megapixel primary camera with face detection on board that also has an LED flash and auto focus that will give you high quality photos while out and about. In addition, there’s a secondary forward-facing camera that will have you covered should you want to make video calls or mess about with your face using hilarious apps that make you look fat or old – or both.

If you are wondering about how the screen stacks up in a market that seems more concerned with this detail than ever before, the HTC One SV has a pretty large 4.3-inch super LCD2 480 x 800 pixel resolution capacitive touchscreen, which looks great when browsing the web, playing videos or even recording high definition video. This is another feature of the phone of course, with 1080p recording that boasts a frame rate of 30fps and video stabilisation.

If you’re someone more concerned with music on the go though, there are plenty of other things that may appeal here. The most notable of these is probably the inclusion of integrated Beats Audio, which the manufacturer claims should make all songs sound exactly the way they were supposed to when crafted by your favourite artists (or Simon Cowell, depending on your tastes) in the studio. Of course, this is great news for your music collection, but it also means a better video experience from the phone – whether you’re watching a movie or just a YouTube clip.

With superfast 4G services, all web-based activity is lightning-fast on the HTC One SV LTE. However, whether on or offline, the on-board dual-core processor also helps in making everything run as quickly and smoothly as possible – even with multiple applications open. This means gaming, web browsing, reading or watching movies all become as fast as they are seamless.

The smartphone is the latest in a long line up of phones from the Taiwanese manufacturer HTC that have been made available on EE, such as the current HTC One XL.



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Interior design without tears: accessorising your bathroom

Image Credit: Increation Interiors
In between working full time, cooking as many healthy meals as possible without resorting to 1) takeaways or 2) curling into an exhausted heap, it can be difficult to focus on our home for long enough to really improve it. Beyond any housework and periodic mental note-taking - “sort out the spare room” has been on the white board for about a year - there just isn’t any time for interior design. But this was always our forever home and we need to keep making improvements.  I may be spending more time working home soon so at the end of 2012 we resolved to sort it out permanently, it being our home habitat and the way it functions.

This home will always be a work in progress and in order to relax here I've got to accept that some things just won’t change. We bought new wardrobes so that we had to organise our clothes instead of piling them up on the shelving unit in the corner. At least the rest of the room stays in order now.

I would love a large bathroom or even turn the small bedroom into an en suite. The luxury of a second bathroom would be amazing but it would be worth putting some work into making it just as pleasant to be in as every other room in the home. Here's my wishlist:

●   Stone surfaces, not tiles. Both are easily cleaned, but tiles can seem a tad clinical. Plus there’s that whole “keeping the grout” clean issue, although we did spot some fantastic tiling in a Japanese restaurant recently - the tiles were white, the grout was bright red. Fun, but we’re going for the relaxing tropical look.
●   One plant. Maybe two. Needs to handle steam and varied temperatures, so philodendrons or Boston Fern are good choices.
●   Stylish towel storage. Minimalist idealism be damned - we can’t escape towels in the bathroom. But we can keep them off the floors. Heated towel rails are practical, keeping the space warm and drying towels quickly.
●    Storage for products. Really not a fan of plastic bottles and logos all over the place, however high-end. Cleaning also happens faster if surfaces are clear. So we want tucked away storage that’s easily accessed when needed, ie once you’re in the bath and remember that you’ve forgotten your sugar scrub.
●    Good ventilation. Nothing worse than a luxurious looking bathroom that smells of mould.
●    Maximise natural light. Lying in the bath in the sunlight is one of my favourite luxuries, and luckily we have a big window in our bathroom. This will be undiminished by curtains or froufrou of any sort. If we didn’t have one, a skylight would be the answer.



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