Unboxing & Review of My Purrfect Gift Box – March ’18…

Oh my gosh, I am so late with this review! Bad blogger, no biscuit!

This was only my second box from these guys and I was so looking forward to it after the fabulously put together box that I received from these guys last time. I love, love, loved it!

As always the outer box was a gorgeous deep purple colour and the tissue paper is a deep purple colour as well which just looks absolutely awesome when you open up the box.

The first item of fabulousness was a head band with a pair of very pretty kitty ears on them that were very sparkly. I knew however that I would not wear them so I sent them to my friend’s little girl and she loved them.

Next came an absolutely stunning scarf in a very satin like material. The scarf was edged the whole way around in navy blue and the main body is a pale pink. The scarf is covered with cats in various different poses. It was simply too big for me to take a picture of all of it, so I went for a close up of one of the cats instead.

Next item out of the box was a gorgeous set of two black bags and a purse. The first bag is a reasonable size and I love it so much! It has gold coloured metal handles in the shape of a cat’s head! How awesome is that? The second bag is considerably smaller and can either be used as a clutch bag or you have the option to attach a handle to use it as a shoulder bag (the handle came inside the bag). The bonus here is that you get a really pretty little handbag charm to clip onto the side. The charm has black tussles and a really pretty little black cat and a heart. It’s adorable! Finally comes the smaller purse. This is roomy enough to take on a night out if you don’t want to carry a bigger bag and will fit lipstick, cash and keys in it.

The final item was in a black jewellery box tied with white ribbon. It is a gorgeous wrap around kitty ring that is designed to sit on the top section of your finger.

I love, love, love this subscription box! A definite five out of five here!

Be kind to each other.x

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Bullying in the Workplace…

I have a longstanding history of being bullied. I was bullied by my so called ‘father’ until I broke all contact with him at the age of 16. Why was he a bully? Apart from the fact that he was a violent, alcoholic asshole, I honestly don’t know. My best guess is that he made himself feel bigger by making me feel small. I was badly bullied at school, from the age of 9 to the day I left at 16.

All of this had combined to give me some serious self confidence issues. I felt less than nothing. It was heartbreaking for me. I always tried my very best to be a valuable person, to integrate into whichever team or group of people I was in and to blend in.

It never happens to me. I never blend in. I am always the one that may as well have a flashing blue light above her head and a bullseye painted front and back.

I had wanted to be a nurse for a long time. Yet my father did not like that idea and was making every effort he could get to bully me into going to uni to study Law. When I got my first college form, he swept it out of my hand and demanded they were changed to Law, Sociology, psychology and his favourite chemistry. (No’ frikkin’ way jose!) He threw me out of the house two weeks after my mum’s funeral. I was 16 years old. The woman who he threw me out for was the woman he left my mum for. I’m glad I didn’t have to be around to see her move into that house and into my mum’s bed.

I had one relationship with an emotionally manipulative bully, whom I managed to escape from. We were together for just two years. Then when I was 19 I met what I thought was the love of my life. He treated me like a princess, married me, and turned into a carbon copy of my ‘father’ – a violent alcoholic. Within a few weeks, I was so under his control I wouldn’t lift up my head unless he spoke to me.

I know all of this is not relevant to workplace bullying. But it is relevant to me as a person and it is important to understand my past in order to understand why my workplace bullying affected me in the place that it did.

I qualified as a nurse at the end of 1995. I was so very excited to have finally become a nurse after three long years of study and hard work. I had always wanted to work in medicine – surgical wasn’t for me. So I was thrilled to get a job on a medical ward.

My first shift was a very quiet one as it was Christmas Day. That was not too bad. I felt a little like a square peg in a round hole, but I put that down to the awkwardness of it being my first day on the ward.

My second day however, everything changed. The deputy ward manager was working with me and asked me to go and get her a specific bag of IV fluid as her patient’s IV was almost finished. It took me about five minutes to locate it as I hadn’t been given a proper tour of the ward and shown where everything was. When I got back to her with the bag of fluid, she screamed at me in front of the whole ward, patients and staff, “Are you dumb?”

That was soul crushing. I could feel the tears stinging the back of my eyelids. I mumbled a sorry and managed to make it to the staff toilets. Then the tears came down thick and fast. I couldn’t believe that she had done that to me in front of the whole ward.

This was the beginning of almost a year of intense bullying and victimisation for me. There was a clique of staff in that ward and if you didn’t fit in to it then you were ostracised and ignored every single day. I was only ever spoken to if it was to make a direct work request or to belittle me. I was ignored, had backs turned to me, was given all the worst shifts and it got worse with every single day that passed.

The bullying got so bad that I would walk around with my head down. I walked to my patients’ beds with my head facing the floor and would only look up when I got to them. It got so bad that I used to cry every single time that I had to go in to work. Then it would intensify and no matter how I tried to be a good nurse and part of the team they hated me. Big time! One of the few people I was friends with there, who was subject to the same kind of bullying told me that one of the staff had said every time she saw me she wanted to slap me. That made me feel awful. It must be me. My husband beat me and now a colleague wanted to? This made my life hell.

Then I found out that one of the junior staff on the ward was going to be moved to a different ward and oh boy did I hope it was me. I couldn’t bear the atmosphere there anymore and was getting more upset day by day.

Then I found out it was me to be moved. First of all, I was told that a draw on names had been done to “make it fair”. A part of me thought oh, ok, at least that makes it all fair. Then it came to the surface that wasn’t the case at all. That horrible cow who had bullied me to the verge of a nervous breakdown had set it up so that my name was guaranteed to come out. I was thrilled to be moving from that hell hole of a ward but the fact that these horrible people could be so mean and pathetic as to set me up and then lie about it like that? I almost felt as if it was a kick to the stomach.

I moved to the new ward and even though the staff were super nice, they were worried about me.

I was referred to occupaitional health and put onto nights (which I loooooved!)

However, one night two very senior managers arrived on the ward asking to see me! *gulp* Oh boy what had I done??? Then they told me to get my cigarettes as I might need them and got ma a mug of coffee! This really was not a good sign!

They were both very kind and put my nerves behind me right at the start. They were here to talk about the the bullying that I had endured for over a year. It seemed to be fate that so many people had gone through the bullying. That so many people were affected was horrifying to me. I should have been and opened my mouth to the nurse director but I didn’t. I started do feel like utter crap for this!

I slowly talked about my experiences and about the fact that my lack of action over the other people was eating me up inside. I got told that right up front it wasn’t my fault, as every single one of us (there were many) that had been victimised by this woman and her clique of cronies all felt the same. We all wishes we had spoken up, but we were all too scared.

The more we talked, the more memories came spilling out. It was like picking a scab. You really wanted to stop, but once you had started, then you had to keep going until all of the scab was gone. I remembered all the little details like them making a tray of drinks (tea and coffee) for them and there was never a cup for me. Offers would be made to go to the canteen on Sunday morning and I was never asked. If I overheard and asked, my order would be conveniently be forgotten every single time. A million and one tiny things very quickly built up and they pushed me right to the edge of breaking. I hadn’t realised just how close to breaking I was. I turned out that this interview was the catalyst that pushed me over the edge and into the abyss.

I sobbed for about thirty minutes non stop as they finished the interview and they were really good. They held my hands and said I may need to give evidence of my experience at a tribunal which made me sob even more but I understood why. They also said I could go home for the night as I wasn’t fit to finish my shift and they would understand if I needed time to heal.

That time to heal turned into almost three months off work. I couldn’t face it. I felt sick to the stomach about going back there and even when I did go back, I didn’t feel confident for a long time.

This whole experience sickened me to the core. Instead of being brave and reporting things, I let them multiply until I became very ill and that was what left me off work for so long.

I’m telling my story now in the hope that I can inspire even one person to have the courage to speak up and speak out about the workplace bullying that they are either witnessing or undergoing.

I am now medically retired due to physical health issues. However I have seriously bad anxiety and paranoia which are attributed in part to the way that I was treated by that group of people at work. I would seriously urge anyone who is going through workplace bullying to please go to someone and speak out. Don’t make the mistakes I did and end up so ill that you cannot function. Don’t suffer. Speak up and speak out for the sake of your sanity. Please don’t suffer alone.

My blog can be found here: https://arwenfreebird.wordpress.coma

An open letter to omnivores… 

Seriously who thought fuck face Omnivores would’ve been telling you that you had to have meat. That she was a chosen one and (me) simply loved such a  calling and needed help with my game.

Well I’m here to tell you that you have no damn right to tell me how the right way to eat protein is. We, as  humans have found a way to eat protein no matter what the asshole behind us in the queue said.

Meat-eaters will never stop asking and vegans always get sick of hearing it:
“How do you get your protein?”
The image of a skinny (not to mention gangly and dread-headed) hippie has typically been the poster child of veganism. After all, there’s no way we can be muscular, fit and even bulky as vegans, right?
Wrong.
Vegan athletes like Brendan Brazier, Rich Roll, and Jimi Sitko are changing the negative stereotypes, proving that plant-based protein can not only build strong muscles, but can keep a vegan healthy enough to run, swim, bike, dance or pump iron – no flesh-eating necessary.
So how do you get your protein? Here are 10 vegan sources to try on for size:
1. Veggies: Yep, good old greens will pack a protein punch. One cup of cooked spinach has about 7 grams of protein. The same serving of French beans has about 13 grams. Two cups of cooked kale? 5 grams. One cup of boiled peas? Nine grams. You get the idea.

 

2. Hemp. No, you don’t have to get high to get your protein. But toss 30 grams of hemp powder in your smoothie and get about 11 grams of protein – just like that.

 

3. Non-Dairy Milk. Got (soy) milk? A mere 1 cup of soy or almond milk can pack about 7-9 grams of protein. Eat with some fortified cereal and you’ve got a totally vegan-friendly breakfast.

 

4. Nut Butter. Eat up your peanut butter, almond butter and cashew butter. A couple of tablespoons of any one of these will get you 8 grams of protein.

 

5. Quinoa. I kinda think quinoa is God’s gift to vegans (and gluten-free peeps!), as it’s versatile, delicious and delivers about 9 grams of protein per cup.
6. Tofu. Four ounces of tofu will get you about 9 grams of protein. And at about 2 bucks a pop, it’s a cheap vegan’s BFF.

 

7. Lentils. With lentils, you can make rice dishes, veggie burgers, casseroles and more. One cup cooked delivers a whopping 18 grams of protein!
8. Beans. They really are the magical fruit. With one cup of pinto, kidney or black beans, you’ll get about 13-15 grams of protein, a full belly and heart-healthy fiber.

 

9. Tempeh. One cup of tempeh packs abour 30 grams of protein! That’s more than 5 eggs or a regular hamburger patty.

 

10. Sprouted-grain bread. Pack a sandwich with vegan sprouted-grain bread and you’ll get about 10 grams of protein in the bread alone.

 

Still want to ask me where I get my protein? Yeah. That’s what I thought.

THINK before you donate…

I have always been an ardent supporter of charity. Even if I don’t have a lot of money, I will always stop to drop some coins into a charity collecting tin. I donate to the National Autistic Society on a monthly basis on behalf of my boys.
But I don’t give to other charities. I have stopped giving to oxfam, save the children and amnesty international. Why? You may or not know this, so if you do, apologies if I am repeating information that you are already in possession of.
The pay for senior level executives of charities has continued to rise, despite a campaign to curb that rise. Going back to February, 32 out of the top 150 charities’ executives were paid over £200000 which is up from 30 in 2013.
The number of charity leaders paid over £300000 has also increased from nine to twelve in the exact same two year period.
The highest paid of all was the executive at an independent hospital, the London Clinic. The person is unnamed and earns between £850000 and £860000 a year! That really sticks in my craw!
Nuffield Health, a hospital and fitness centre provider came in with the second highest salary, paying between £770000 and £780000!
The third highest payer was St Andrew’s healthcare, another medical charity who’s former chief executive, Philip Sugarman was paid £750000-£760000 in his final year with the charity.
Nuffield Health claimed their figure included redundancy payments and their chief exec, David Mobbs, was paid £640000-£650000 a year for his role.
However, I am more concerned in writing this post with regard to well known charities. With a little digging around, it was easy enough to find out Oxfam’s CEO’s wages. Lady Stocking was paid £119560 for the year 2012-2013.
Let’s now look at Save the Children. Justin Forsyth, the Chief Executive was paid £167000 last year.
Nine (yes, nine) of the executives at Cancer Research UK earn more than the prime minister! That included the chief executive Harpal Kumar who pockets £240000 a year!
The CEO of the NSPCC, Peter Wanless earns £162000 a year, which is £40000 more than the guy before him got!
Here are some more for you. Amnesty’s Salil Shetty gets £210000 and Age UK’s Tom Wright gets £190000. Marie Stopes refused to reveal Simon Cook’s wage, but his predecessor got £263000! Christian Aid’s Loretta Minghella gets £162072. The RSPCA’s Gavin Grant gets £160000.
I can go on and on about the astronomical sums that these people are getting. It makes my blood boil. If all the money that these people made was put into the charity, just imagine what could be achieved!
Call me whacky, but I thought the whole point of charity work was to give your time freely for the benefit of others? Not to bleed a charity dry of its profits to line all of your greedy pockets!

There are times…

There are times when I really do hate the human race. We (as a people) have never grasped that if we just back up off the planet a little bit then it might just repair itself. But no.

What happens instead is that the vast majority of people just plough on ahead with their selfish little lives and expect Mother Nature not to get really pissed off with us for treating this incredible gift she has given us with such cavalier disregard. The people that I’m ranting about expect to be able to carry on with their disrespectful lifestyle and for the planet to still be here ad infinitum.

Well guess what assholes? It doesn’t work that way. So open up your ears and listen. I’ve been so horrified by the cavalier and totally fucked up attitude that I’ve come across during my environmental campaigning. I’ve heard people arguing that we don’t need trees and we can just mow them down for profit and concrete over their remains and build. Erm, no. Living trees remove carbon from the atmosphere, dead ones don’t. As humans continue to increase the amount of carbon we pump into the atmosphere every day. It makes sense to change our rituals to promote tree growth. Some make the argument that the current destructive rituals promote tree farming, this is the case. However, for a tree to have a long term effect on carbon removal it must live a full and long life. Trees must be left alone! I saw an image the other day that was so powerful, it really doesn’t need any words.

Man breathing from the last tree on earth: one picture, 1000 words.


Now look at that long and hard. There’s every chance that this could come to pass.

Then there are ridiculous health and safety cockwombles who claim that trees must be cut down for children’s safety. This article from last year following an incident in Canada discusses this.

Calm down dear, it’s only a tree!

I’ve been called a ridiculous tree hugger. That’s absolutely fine. I’d rather be a card carrying tree hugger than a naive idiot. Not only do we have to contend with the environmental damage that the illegal logging company does, but we have to protect the animals who need those trees to survive.

When will we wake up and see? When will we learn?

Reaching out…

Yesterday, I blogged about a young man who spends all his time caring for sick and abandoned animals. The post is entitled “A modern day Dr Dolittle”. 

Why did I feel the need to try and help this boy and his family? After all, I do not know them, and have never met them. I just read his story, and something inside me just melted. I knew that I had to help. So I gave to the Just Giving page, and also contacted Callum’s mum via Facebook to see if there was anything else I could do.

My point is this: If we all opened our hearts just a little bit, then reaching out to help someone in need, for whatever reason would become the norm. The world would be a better place. Isn’t that worth reaching out for?