Sunday, 25 November 2012

Women Wars

Gone are the days where the typical woman was wooed, married and settled down by 25. My parents themselves where married and had their own home, and child on the way at 24. This scares me slightly. I myself, am 22 years old and there is probably a very slim chance I will ever achieve that in a short 2 years. Why, you may ask? The simple answer is University and my career.

 Seemingly, women these days are leaving it later and later to start family life, putting careers first and climbing the ladder of success. However does this worry me? Not more than it should, possibly. I want to achieve so much, so is this possible with a family in tow?

Of course it is. Simply swap your last minute Mojito nights for evenings cooking and chilling out in front of the TV. The world offers so much for "career" women these days and has got with the times. It is possible for a family girl to have a job, attend University and kick start her career. With so many government childcare for equal opportunities to those who choose to start family life early, gone our the days where a woman had to choose between bouncing babies and crisp designer suits.

 And of course, there is the other side of the coin. Men taking on the roll of "house husband" and living life at home, looking after the children and doing the housework. While the woman are the main bread earners, 100 years ago this would have never even crossed the minds of those macho men. In such dismay to men, women are even climbing the salary ladder a lot faster than one may think.

 It is amazing that there is so much choice these days. Sometimes you feel overwhelmed and question whether you are doing the right thing in life, like a lost kid in a sweet shop. As cliché as it sounds- things all make sense in the end. There have been so many times in life where things have not gone my way, but it's always ended up to be perfect for me when it all pans out.

 I myself am not ready to give up my flamboyant nights out, and waking up on days off at silly o'Clock in the morning (cough - afternoon); but I can feel myself "growing up" as it is as well. Gone are the days I'd roll in at 2am most mornings, and here are the possibly one-night a week cocktails and chill time talking about my week with close friends. The recent recession made life harder for many in the UK, causing strain in every part of life. People's careers where put on hold, and many had lost a sense of direction. Myself included.

 In a way this has been a blessing. It's made me and other think long and hard about what they want to do for the rest of their life. It is also important to respect the chance to be able to work and see it as such a blessing.

 For now, I am going to continue doing what I have always done. Let life pan out. Of course, you have to work hard to make your dreams come true- but don't be too disheartened when things don't go your way. Everyone is on a different path in life, and this is true. My top tip so far in my short life is to do what you love and surround yourself with who you love. Life is too short to do anything different.

 Going back to my original comment, maybe it's not such a bad thing tables are turning and women have more choice these days. Without sounding like a complete feminist- we have fought for years for this to happen. Take chances and enjoy all the opportunities that have been presented to us.

 If that's not something to smile about, I don't know what is.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Meet Boris...

Meet Boris, my funky new Christmas deer! I love him. 

Northern Ireland: Not So Notorious

Northern Ireland: City Escape or Country Retreat? It offers both.
Who said you need to travel far and wide to see places of wonder? Why not hop on a plane or take the ferry from UK mainland and visit Northern Ireland. Easy Jet offers cheap flight plans, and booking in advance on the ferry can mean saving money. Whether you want to do it on the cheap or have a mini-break blow out, Northern Ireland offers many options to suit everyones taste pallet in life. That's what makes it so wonderous. There is so much to discover, and here are my top 5 suggestions.
5 top tips for a Beautiful Belfast Bonanza:

1) The accent. Disliked by some, loved by most. This is such a quirk when it comes to visiting the beaut that is Belfast. "Wee" is a word used a lot, so don't be alarmed. Being asked for your "wee credit" card whilst paying is perfectly normal, even though we all know my credit card is no smaller than anyone else's.

2) Ulster fry. Think of an English breakfast. Pretty perfect, right? Just imagine that with the country's famous soda and potato bread. It has to be tasted to be believed. Instead of your dreary toast, they offer two types of fried bread. I suggest you head to Maggie May's to experience such delight:

With a bumper fry being only £5.99 it's not going to break the bank!

3) Experience the night life. Special nights offer punters the chance to enjoy a pint of Guinness and listen to traditional live Irish music. With a euphoric and enjoyable atmosphere that is hard not to soak up, be transported to a world of jigs and joy. Lavery's Bar is one of my favourites, a traditional Belfast hole in the road.

4) Visit the Giants Causeway. The North-East coast offers a beautiful wonder which is made by "super natural forces". The unique display includes 40,000 basalt columns that were formed when lava cooled fast 60 million years ago. Or why not learn the alternative story about an angry giant?

5) The troubles of Northern Ireland have been well documented in the news. Why not take a bus or taxi tour and be educated and shown interesting cultural divides and places of interest? Learning about the controversial bright wall murals and prisons make for a really interesting day out.

Organised tours are available, I suggest you book one!

Jessica Martin

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Marvellous Children's Rhyming Books: Pat Hatt

 These rhyming books by the wonderful Patt Hatt are available on amazon, here:

Search for specific copies!
Above image is from "Swashbuckle Chuckle"

These are my opinions.

Boo and the Back yard Zoo
By Pat Hatt
Awarded: 4.5/5 stars
Age recommended: 3 plus. Great for teaching rhyming and learning to read.
  Follow Boo, a very friendly ghoul, in this glorious illustrated picture book. Suitable for children aged 3 plus, either as a bed time story or even a learning reading aid. With a magnificent and heroic story plot, you will be taking poetically through the night with Boo and his friends, with many twists and turns. Who will end up Heroic? The nasty Nugget or Boo and friends?
 This is definitely a must have for your child’s book shelf. The rhyming words keep children of all ages interested, and it really opens up their vocabulary. The images are beautiful, and will please all children; although the younger kids who like visual aids will really appreciate the vibrancy and detail.   I can imagine this being an amazing bed time story, and fill your child’s head with great and imaginary thoughts.   What are you waiting for? Rhyming is fun, and this story is full of it!
Swashbuckle Chuckle
By Pat Hatt
Drawn by Caleb Wallace
Awarded: 4/5 stars
Age recommended:  I would say this would be suitable for ages 6 plus, younger if reading with parent.
 Another magnificent story and rhyming book from the wonderful Pat Hatt, accompanied by exciting and colourful pictures by Caleb Wallace.
 Follow the drama filled story of the Leaping Laughs Village as their wonderful golden fountain gets stolen. It is soon found that the Evil Captain Frown Clown and his pirates are responsible for such a crime.  One shoe Kangaroo decides this will simply not do, and heads off to save the fountain with only a picture of the perpetrator at hand.
Will the village fountain be saved?
What twists and turns are in store?
  This rhyming book is full of exciting revelations, and the unexpected. It is an enjoyable read, with Pat Hatts classic rhyming. Great for children who enjoy pirates, and action.
Get ready for the dual!

Cassie and The Wild Cat Meet and Greet

By Pat Hatt

Stars awarded: 5/5!
Age recommended: 3 plus
 Cassie is left feeling disgruntled when the human brings home another wild cat. There is only one solution-the wild cat must go. Cunning Cassie thinks of many ways to rid of this intruder, but is she successful? Finally her plan seems to work. However, things take a strange turn. What could this be?

 This story is amazing. I may be slightly biased as a cat lover, but I really felt the personality of the animals shine through and was gripped from the start. Purr-fect if you have a feline friend! Once again, Pat manages to rhyme smoothly, with a delightful story and beautiful images. Become friendly with Cassie in this book, you will end up loving the story ending. A typical day in the life of a cat.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Remember, Remember the 5th of November

 Plymouth was illuminated for the evening.

Monday the 5th of November 2012 brought a spectacular firework display to Plymouth Hoe front.

 Bracing the cold, and wrapped in my scarf and gloves, I headed up only to be gifted with a bad cough today. It was definitely worth it however, with the display starting at 8pm and lasting fifteen minutes. Music blasted through the crowd, with classics from James Bond and much to my enjoyment, the very popular "Gangnam Style". Rum was a much welcome added extra, and you could pick up warm food/coffee or even a pint in the local stalls around the venue.

 The fireworks flew and danced to the music, which was an amazing touch. The crowed "oo'd" and "ahh'd" at a perfect display, with a great turn out of the night. A company from Surrey called Pyrovision was responsible for such an amazing stage show, with music from Stage Electrics.

 With the bonfire near by, it was soothing to watch with the brilliant Plymouth Sound in the background. If you were feeling adventurous, there was a chance to try out one of the many rides that would tip you backwards, forwards and upside down!

 All in all, it was a great evening and I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the cold breeze. Before the awesome fireworks, the crowd which flocked in its hundred were treated with music from a Lady Gaga tribute artist (Sam Chapman), Felicity Dukes, Plymouth street dance Beat-Breakers and duo Natalie and Cotty. Sam Chapman sounded spookily similar to the real and wonderful Lady Gaga!