Festive Fun!

blog, christmas, festive, nanowrimo, tag

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Today I am gonna do something a little bit fun! I’m sure that many of you will have heard of the brilliantly talented Tom Fletcher of McFly/McBusted? If you have, you may also know that he, his sister and his wife all make YouTube videos and have started a Dear Tom/Dear Gi/Dear Carrie series – inspired by the VlogBrothers! Last week, Tom started a Christmas tag…and that is exactly what I am going to take part in! Whoopee – another Christmas post! Enjoy!

♥Fifteen Festive Favourite Questions♥

1. Favourite Festive food
There is so much food at Christmas! The festive food I love the most however, is probably sprouts. Unusual choice, I know – but Christmas is literally the only time of the year that we have them! Not a great aftermath, unfortunately…both of my parents like to be rather free when it comes to flatulence..!

2. Favourite Reindeer
Surprisingly, I haven’t seen anyone answer this question with Rudolph yet! Poor Rudy… For me, Cupid is my favourite – the reasons might be obvious…he is clearly the reindeer of love!

3. Favourite day from 12 days of christmas song
I can never remember the days. For some reason I like the tenth day – “Ten Lords a Leaping”. It sticks with me. I couldn’t tell you why…perhaps it could be to do with the fact that it sounds a little bit like “Time Lords are leaping”…that just leaves me with the image of David Tennant prancing around the TARDIS!

4. Favourite Christmas Song
My favourite ever Christmas song is actually “O Holy Night”. It’s probably something to do with singing solos from it at school each year! It’s so pretty. (Although “Baby It’s Cold Outside” comes in at a close second…)

5. Favourite Christmas Present
This is a hard one. Over the years I’ve had some really amazing presents. Books, CDs, films, art supplies – a macbook! (Although I did pay for half of that…) I don’t think I can choose just one! …buy if you’re gonna make me, I’ll go for my vast collection of books, which is probably made up mainly from Christmas gifts!

6. Favourite Christmas Film
My favourite Christmas film probably isn’t even considered a real Christmas film, but the one that we all used to watch when we were younger at my Grandparents house is E.T.! We used to watch it every Christmas, and for some reason Christmas doesn’t feel quite right without it!

7. Favourite Cracker Toy
The best cracker toys I’ve encountered were the musical whistles! My Gran had, for some reason, been saving this particular packet of crackers for years! We never opened them or anything…and then, I think it was last year, they were finally put out on the table. They come with sheet music and everything! You can play little tunes (and with a family as big as mine, you can actually make up the whole octave!)

8. Favourite Cracker Joke
I don’t know whether this one actually came from a cracker, but I’ll just assume it did!

Q: How do you catch a squirrel?

A: Pretend to be a nut!

I was a…sensitive child. Whenever I told this joke, people of course laughed at it – probably out of kindness more than anything. And then I would cry. I thought that they were laughing at me!

9. Favourite Christmas Decoration
I love tinsel. Silver tinsel to be precise! I don’t care what my mother says (she refuses to let us have it on the tree – thinks it’s tacky!) – it’s so pretty and sparkly and shiny! We don’t have it as much any more, but mum used to wind it up the bannister and hide Christmas lights in it, and it was just so pretty in the dark! I’m considering buying the Christmas tinsel wool to knit her a scarf with…I don’t think she’d appreciate it!

10 .Favourite Candle Scent
I love a bit of a Yankee Candle! I think my favourite one is probably the Winter Wonderland scent…the Mulled Wine one isn’t bad either.

11. Favourite Christmas TV Advert
This is probably a really random choice, but my favourite advert is the Boots 2014 advert. The John Lewis advert was adorable and lived up to expectations, and Tom Odell did a wonderful job with the music, but the Boots advert was really touching. It reminded me of how hard my own mother works (she is also a nurse) and it has kind of encouraged me to really try hard to thank her this year, for everything she’s done. Who knows how many more Christmases I’ll have at home, you know, before I move out and make a home of my own…gotta make the most of it!

12. Favourite Christmas Tradition
My favourite Christmas tradition is the Chocolate Oranges! I love ‘em! Every year, me and my siblings get a Terry’s chocolate orange in the bottom of our stockings. I usually manage to devour the majority of mine before I even get downstairs. The best part is the “core” of the orange, and if I’m not careful mum or dad will come along and scoff it!

13. Favourite Place to Spend Christmas
I’ve only spent Christmas away from home once or twice…One time in Barbados and the other, Scotland I think. But home is where the Christmas cheer is for me!

14. Favourite Christmas Fact
My favourite Christmas fact is that, on Christmas Eve French children put their shoes in front of the fireplace in the hopes that Father Christmas would fill them with presents. He apparently has a partner called ‘Le Pere Fouettard’ or Father Spanker! He would “reward” bad children with a spanking! How creepy!

15. Favourite Snowman Accessory
I love a carrot for a nose! He needs to be able to smell, right?

I hope you all enjoyed the questions – and more importantly, the answers! Should you feel the desire, I think that you should all go and answer them too! Spread the Christmas Cheer!

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The Right to Self-Defence…

alex day, video, YouTube, youtube scandal

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Today I would like to talk about the right to self defence. Something I have noticed over the years (particularly online) is that if someone has done something wrong, the general consensus is, they are not eligible to defend themselves. They are not allowed to explain themselves or tell their side of the story.

The other day I was accused me of doing something that I didn’t think or realise I’d done. When I turned and tried to explain, the “accuser” threw their hands in the air saying, no! You can’t give an explanation, this is what I think has happened and that is the end of it! They got extremely defensive as I tried to protest – I managed to explain that seeing as they’d accused me of something I (thought I) hadn’t done, I was allowed to tell my side! So shut up and listen!!

I find that this is a recurring theme on the internet. On the 13th March this year, I received a Facebook message off a friend, alerting me to the situation with Alex Day. I educated myself on the claims made against him, I used the master post as a reference to the accounts and then I came to the (near universal) conclusion that Alex’s actions were wrong, when measured against my personal morality.

However, yesterday Alex posted a video entitled “The Past”. This was his first attempt to explain himself in the whole seven months that he has been exiled from the online community. He hasn’t made any previous attempts to tell his side of the story, however the response to this attempt has been volatile. The video is about 30 minutes long and he talks about one or two specific allegations made against him, as well as talking more generally. He confirmed that several of the accounts were basically accurate (with the addition that it is only in hindsight that he realises this – he claims that, at the time he did not recognise his wrongdoing) however he also denied a couple of claims. In the comment section below the video, the general agreement was that he is no longer welcome on YouTube and that he was just making excuses, “manipulating” the audience into sympathy. Many comments state that he has “no right” to defend himself.

I would like to make something quite clear. Everyone has the right to defend themselves. Criminals have the “right to counsel”. Criminals have the right to have someone else make a defence in their place – they have the right to someone who has trained for years at University in “defence”! So why not Alex Day, on his own YouTube channel?

What Alex did was wrong, and quite often for the victims sorry just isn’t enough. However, he maintains the right to try and make amends. He maintains the right to try and defend himself.

I am rarely sympathetic towards people like Alex Day. I do not agree with the choices he made and the way in which he conducted himself. I feel terribly sorry for those that he hurt. However I strongly believe that everyone has the right to tell their side of the story, and that right should be respected.

This has been on my mind a lot and I wanted to express my opinion on the matter…however you might disagree! That’s fine – what do you think and why do you think it?

I’ll see you again soon with another post 🙂

The Compliment Angel

compliments, kindness, Uncategorized, YouTube

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In the past month or so, I have started watching Gary C on YouTube, and honestly – I don’t know why I didn’t start watching him sooner! He – is – brilliant! I’d seen him around the internet; in Carrie Hope Fletcher’s videos for example, so really – I have no excuse! However, here I am marathoning his videos when I’m feeling down, and being cheered right back up again 🙂

In a recent video marathon, upon which I embarked, I came across one particular video;

“The Compliment Angel”

Gary had essentially created a Twitter account which he had used to anonymously send random compliments to his friends and family. Sadly, he decided to delete the account once people found out that it was him, but the video really got me thinking; how often do I give out random compliments? How often do I take a moment of my time to tell someone how good their hair looks that day? How often do I stop for a moment, to tell people how much their friendship means to me?

Often I’ll think the compliment, but I’ll never actually say it out loud.

Now, where Gary made a Twitter account, Carrie began The Hopeful Notes. The Hopeful Notes is a little campaign that Carrie started, where she encouraged people to write a little message – be it song lyrics, an inspirational quote or just a nice comment – on a post-it note. You then stick it somewhere for somebody to find (e.g. in a library book, on a bus window, on a bench…)

Gary and Carrie have such positive outlooks on life, their love and kindness just shines through in every video. Their desire to cheer up strangers with random compliments and little love notes has really pulled me up short and made me think.

Are there aspects of my life in which I can increase my…complimentary-ness? (Is that even a word?? It is now!) I know I  don’t compliment people enough. Only the other week, I was in Manchester and a girl in the queue in front of me had a beautiful skirt on. I was so close to telling her how nice it looked, and asking her where it was from…but I didn’t. I was worried that she’d think I was weird, or a bit of a freak…but really…if being kind, giving out compliments and cheering up people’s day makes me look a bit odd…so be it!

I’m challenging you to give out compliments! It could be a phone call or a text message to someone, a Facebook post or a Tweet. Or just say it in person. Lets spread love. Go out and be somebody’s Compliment Angel!!