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!

Where Can I Find The Time??

blog, nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month, reading

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I am ashamed of myself. Last Christmas my wonderful boyfriend bought me six books. They were “Bridget Jones’ Diary” by Helen Fielding, “The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul” by Deborah Rodriguez, “Grimm Tales” by Philip Pullman, “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte, “Dracula” by Bram Stoker and “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien. I have read the grand total of one. One book. “Bridget Jones’ Diary” is the only book that I have managed to complete, and that took ten months! If you read my previous post, you’ll know that when I was younger I read an awful lot of books! Every spare minute was spent reading, but for some reason I just haven’t found the time over the past year to sit down and read. I’ve started books, but just not finished them – and not for lack of interest, either!

I have several hobbies. You might already know that I am a bit of a knitting obsessive; if I am watching the telly, or a film, or if I’m skyping David I’ll have a pair of needles in hand and I will probably be working on my most recent project. So long as the pattern isn’t too complicated, I don’t even need to look at my knitting and so multi-tasking is easy!

I also love art; for Valentine’s Day, David bought me a scrapbook which is something I like to work on when I get a bit of time. I’m filling it with photos, and movie tickets, and campsite reciepts – memories of our life together. I have so far filled the scrapbook up to…Valentine’s Day! I have a bit of a way to go..!

Music is life. I love to record covers for my YouTube channel, and I will occasionally make a bit more of an effort with editing – it can sometimes take up a whole afternoon! Sometimes I’ll create simple audio recordings and upload them to my Soundcloud instead.

And now I am working on my novel – I don’t really have any control when it comes to picking a time or a place with my writing. If I feel inspired or have an idea, I just have to write it down! The other night, I was drifting off to sleep and *BAM* – I had a thought! I had to search for my glasses, and then my notebook and with the aid of my phone’s light, scribble a couple of sentences down. Then came the task of falling asleep, ideas whizzing around my brain yet knowing that I had to be up at 6 the next morning!

So where does reading fit in? My working hours are 7.30-4.00 plus overtime, and I occasionally take a book into work with me to read, but that doesn’t always work out. Do I wake up earlier and have an early morning read? Or sleep later and run the risk of being tired at work? Do I cut my Skype calls short, or spend less time knitting? I really want to complete a couple more of my Christmas books before the next batch arrive next month! I know I’ll have to make small sacrifices somewhere in my life and I’ll have to make them soon.

Do any of you have this issue? How do you counter it? I’d really love to know!

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!!

…and the plot thickens!

Feminism, Sam Pepper, Scandal, sexism, Sexual Harassment, VeeOneEye, YouTube

Good evening, bloggers!

Goodness me…I wasn’t going to blog today. Have a day off – Sunday’s a day of rest, right? But nope. I’ve just got in, thought I’d check my Facebook/Twitter etc. before I went to sleep, and what do I see?

“Sam Pepper forced a fan to give him oral sex before a show!”

Looks like we’re having another Sam Pepper update…I cannot wait for the day that I no longer have to blog about this boy!

The Daily Mail (such a reliable source..!) has reported that Sam Pepper has been accused of forcing an 18 year old fan to perform oral sex on him, before they went to one of his shows in Toronto. He had invited the girl to his hotel room before the show, and then forced himself upon her despite her protests. The article also mentions that Pepper had attempted to attain nude photos of a 15 year old fan; 19 year old Bryony Harris has posted screen shots on Twitter of a Facebook conversation that she claims was between herself and Pepper from four years ago. I saw the tweet, however it would seem that it has since been removed.

Another fan has also released screen shots of a not-so-innocent conversation between Pepper and herself when she was 16:

Byn3UYRIQAAkQcS Byn3UndIAAEu6Uh Byn3UrcIEAAwYOq Byn3UWKIMAAEjDC

It appears that parts of the conversation are missing in the above screen shots, however again Pepper has taken advantage of a fan’s ‘love’ for him. Aimee will have been far more pliable, I guess. She will have been far more willing to send him “nudes” because he is famous, and he had chosen her to lavish his attentions on. It is a form of grooming, and it is not acceptable.

Alongside Pepper, YouTuber Jason Viohni (VeeOneEye on YouTube) has been accused of assault/harassment. I will attach more screen shots of a 15 year old fan’s account:

jason 1 jason 2 jason 3 jason snapchat

Furthermore, two Tumblr blogs have been created, with accounts of Viohni’s uncomfortable behaviour. Here is one, and again – I will post screen shots of another.

jason 6 jason 7

Finally, when it comes to Viohni (I hope!) Dave Giles tweeted about him;

dave giles knows about jason

We could go and tell these girls now that they were stupid to have put themselves into these situations. We could go and tell them that they should have known better. But that is victim blaming – we wouldn’t be addressing the actual problem. What we need to be doing is raising awareness and teaching the younger generations to be wary of these so called ‘celebrities’. Remind them that what they see on screen is not a reflection of the person’s true self. It is a persona. The YouTuber is showing us the parts of their lives that they want us to see. The impressive parts, the parts that they are proud of.

There are still so many young girls and boys, defending these men. They are clearly loyal fans, however when it comes to situations such as this, they need to know that supporting the perpetrator allows them to get away with their crimes. This isn’t a case of loyalty anymore.

You’ll probably know that this isn’t the first YouTube “sex scandal” that we’ve had – even just in 2014! Unfortunately, I doubt it’ll be our last. I am just hoping that the community can learn from these experiences. That we will know when to cut someone off; to shut them out completely. It is wonderful to hear the louder voices of YouTube speak out against the culprits. I know that Hank Green has banned Pepper from VidCon, and Peppers management have dropped him. The fact that the more ‘powerful’ members of the community are refusing to tolerate this kind of behaviour is such a relief.

I have heard rumours that Pepper has been arrested, however until I hear it from a more reliable reliable source, i.e. not Twitter, I’m not going to confirm it.

Let’s hope that my next blog can be a bit more uplifting, and goodnight!

P.S. – I hope this post is coherent! I didn’t get in until late, and it is now 11:45pm – I have to be up for 6:30! …I trust you’ll get the gist of what I am saying at least! 😉

Sam Pepper – Part 2

Feminism, sexism, Sexual Harassment, YouTube

Good day bloggers!

So, continuing on from yesterday’s theme of Sam Pepper…as I mentioned, Sam has now been accused of rape and of sexual assault by at least two individuals. It is possible that this blog is going to contain triggering content, so if you believe you will be affected in any way, feel free to turn away now. I will try and warn you when we are approaching more explicit moments.

Dottie Martin – another YouTube star – was the first to come forwards with allegations against Sam. She posted a video titled “A Cautionary Tale”, in which she explained how Sam Pepper had pursued her, after meeting her at a meet and greet. Now, this would have been absolutely fine – boys are allowed to pursue relationships, that isn’t the problem. The problem is a: the age gap and b: the way in which he ended up handling the date. She was 16 and he was 23. She was barely legal, and he was a 23 year old man who no doubt had higher expectations for their little date, than she was willing to meet. If you want to hear more about this date that Dottie and Sam went on, please do click the video link; Dottie explains it very clearly, and I’m not going to rip off her video on my blog.

The second individual who has come forward, wishes to remain anonymous for the time being. As a warning, this video is particularly triggering and explicit. If you think that it will effect you in any way, please do not click on the link. Essentially, the contents of the video explain how another young girl was invited on some form of date with Sam Pepper, this time at his house. The girl in the video explains how she went to his house thinking he was with other friends. She claimed that Sam anally raped her. This is an allegation that cannot be taken lightly. The girl goes into detail about how she had said no repeatedly, yet he ignored her, telling her to “shut the f*ck up”. The video is harrowing and shocking, so please – if you decide to watch it, be warned.

What shocks me possibly more than anything, isn’t the accusations made in the videos – without sounding extremely judgemental, I am not at all surprised. It isn’t the first time that accusations have been made within the YouTube community. What surprises me is the comments left below the videos. Dottie has been called “whore”, “attention seeker” – “liar”. Supporters of Sam have rallied to make a mockery of her, accusing her of “kicking him while he [is] down”, telling her that she should have just “put out” and that “she is clearly lying or far to stupid for her own good”. According to these people, it is her own fault that she was assaulted – because it couldn’t be perpetrators fault now, could it? Young and/or impressionable viewers are blinded by their love of this man – a man that they have never met. It is a running theme on videos of this nature.

The anonymous video has now disabled comments, however the comments written on it were similar to those written on Dottie’s video, calling her a liar, telling her that she should have known better. There is now a blog in which this poor woman is being forced to provide the internet with evidence, posting screen caps of text messages and more. Tianna Sumer has also confirmed that she can back up the videos content, claiming that Sam had attempted the same “trick” with her; inviting her to his house, etc.. She declined, thank goodness.

Thankfully, the internet is not completely full of rape apologists, but also has a lot of sympathetic posters. YouTube commenter Sydni got it spot on; “For everyone complaining that this young woman is at fault and only making things worse by submitting this video: She wouldn’t have to make this video if it never happened.”

I really believe that there is a clear issue that needs to be addressed. When a person makes allegations against another person, we need to treat the victim with respect. Do not accuse them of lying, and don’t tell them that they should have “known better” or “seen it coming”. As with most of these allegations, the truth will eventually come out about Sam Pepper, and it is not our job as an online community to determine a person’s innocence.

It is our job to support victims.

Sam Pepper

Feminism, Scandal, Sexual Harassment, YouTube

Hello fellow bloggers!

Today, I would like to talk about ex-Big Brother contestant and internet personality, Sam Pepper.

Where. To. Start. The beginning?

Sam Pepper is a YouTuber who posts primarily prank videos, which he pulls on strangers in the streets of London and L.A. Originally, he posted videos of graffiti art, and soon moved to the medium of Prank videos. However, over the past couple of years, the pranks that he has posted have not necessarily been the most savoury of pranks, and most of them have been given provocative titles through which he sucks in his viewers. Some of these include, “How to Make Out With Strangers”, “How to Steal Girlfriends” and “How to Pick Up Girls With a Lasso”. His most recent, controversial video was titled, “Fake Hand Ass Pinch Prank” which has now been removed from YouTube due to violations of the Terms of Service – i.e. sexual harassment.

The content of these videos, which I am not going to link from this blog – I do not want to be responsible for any additional views he might gain – although not explicit, is unacceptable. In “How to Pick Up Girls With a Lasso” Sam walked the streets of L.A. throwing a rope around girls, pulling them to him, and refusing to release them telling them that “they are his now”. Despite almost being beaten up by a group of men, he still believes that this video is acceptable…because it’s “just a prank”. In another video, he went around handcuffing girls to him and refusing to release them unless they kissed him, despite many of the girls showing their disgust, and telling him to “f*** off”.

So…the main topic of this blog post. “Fake Hand Ass Pinch Prank”. In this video, Sam went around the streets, his hand down the back of his hoodie, and his hoodie sleeve positioned to look like his hand was in his pocket, asking girls for directions and then grabbing their butts once they had turned away. When the girls realised what he was doing, they would laugh uncomfortably, walk away and one even said to him – “That is not alright. Don’t do that.”

Now, if you have heard about this scandal, you will probably already know that Sam covered up this blatant act of sexual harassment as a “Social Experiment”. He took to the internet with another two videos; “Fake Hand Ass Pinch Prank Part 2/3” and “Fake Hand Ass Pinch Prank Part 3/3”. Part two was an almost identical video to the first – but this time, a girl was walking around doing the ass pinching, on unsuspecting men. Part three was the “big reveal”.

Sam claimed that the first video had been a part of a social experiment. He claimed that he wanted to highlight the difference of disgust that the viewers displayed between the two videos – claiming that people were more disgusted by the first than the second. He was apparently trying to highlight the issue of sexual harassment towards men, and how it is viewed differently – how people apparently don’t care. He claimed that a good friend of his had been in an abusive marriage, and his wife had kept him in the relationship via different forms of abuse – he wanted to highlight abuse of men. Apparently harassing women was the way to do that? He claimed that the people in the videos had been actors, and it was all a big set up.

If this were true, and it had been a set up – kudos to him. Had it been genuine, the comment sections of the videos, would have been great examples of how society responds to the harassment of men in comparison of how society responds to the harassment of women. However, if you had seen the videos I think you would agree with me – those responses looked extremely real. The discomfort that the women displayed in their awkward laughs and confusion. The anger that some of the men showed, some of them walking away as soon as they had been “violated” – “That’s not okay, I have a girlfriend” said one of them. They did not seem like a performance.

Personally, I do not believe Sam. If this was a “social experiment”, what about all of the previous videos in which he violated women on the streets? Were they social experiments too? Of course they weren’t! In the past he has put out these prank videos, exploiting women’s and causing discomfort for “comedy”. He has been making a living out of harassing women in the street.

This time it blew up in his face, and now he is trying to save his ass.

As more information comes in, I will try to update you with what I hear. I know that there has been recent rape and sexual harassment allegations against Sam Pepper, made by a YouTuber, and a fan, however I feel like I should bring this post to a close. I will try and tackle those issues in another post tomorrow! As a sidenote, please do not go to Sam Peppers videos; it will only give him more views and money. And if you are currently subscribed to him, please – unsubscribe. Show that you are not okay with what he is doing.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll speak to you all again real soon!