Monday, 27 December 2010

Girls Attitude Survey- The illusion of perfection

This powerful clip was made to represent possibly one of the most shocking facts found out by the Girl Guides 'Girls attitudes survey'.

Girl Guides ask girls from around the country what they feel about education, society, family, environment and health issues. They ask girls 7-21 years old from guide, brownie and ranger companies from around the UK. 

Girl Guiding has done this annual survey to make girls views heard and the facts are there. Loud and Clear. So the world better listen! How else can the government get into the minds of teenage girls? How else would they know that 20-30% of girls age 11-16 believe that being attractive is the key to success in life.

Girls worry and are concerned by the way they look regularly and some truly believe being attractive is the main key to happiness. 40% of 11-13 year olds when asked: "why do girls go on diets?" said because of the way the media portrays women. When 14-16 year olds were asked the same question 58% agreed.

And no wonder! In the first video you hear about the real tummy tuck or boob job girls want, but in the second you can hear about the virtual world of airbrushed beauty; a pain free illusion. Airbrushing causes damage to girls confidence and, in some cases, mental health with eating disorders becoming more and more common in teenagers. Anything is possible with the magic airbrushing software. Eye colour can change, dress sizes dropped and blemishes cleared- all at the touch of a button- and young girls are non the wiser and will go to any cost for this image of perfection. 




Saturday, 25 December 2010

My Review of the amazon kindle

The amazon kindle is a wonderful piece of kit sold exclusively 
on the amazon online shop. It is sold at a retail price of £109,
a bargain for christmas! The idea of the kindle is that users 
can download books from the amzazon website quickly and 
cheaply to this portable device.  They then can read freely on
a slim and stylish electronic book reader as they slowly build
up their own Kindle library! 
 
The kindle is dispatched quickly after 
the order is made and arrives complete with the owners 
amazon account set up already on the kindle. 
This enables the users to purchase books straight away.
There is a wide selection of books, newspapers and 
magazines available from the amazon website. On the kindle 
you can easily access the 'kindle store' on the kindle itself- 
using wifi internet. It takes approximately 60 seconds to 
download books on to the kindle and you then can begin 
reading!! There is no back light on the screen - meaning no 
glare, and no strain!! The screen has an amazingly crisp look,
you almost forget its not a real page! 
 
Not only efficient, the kindle is very aesthetically pleasing- as 
thin as a pencil and also nice and compact. You wouldn't be 
ashamed reading it in a street cafe in paris!! A wide selection 
of neoprene, leather and plastic cases are available - some 
making the kindle like a book and others just to cover it up so
it can slide into your bag. 
 
It arrives with a mains charger and a USB connection cord. 
The battery life apparently can last for 2 months- but I have 
not had chance to check yet!!

The kindle has eight marvellous text sizes and line spacing
options. It also includes a text to speech option on some 
books. It is a very good reading format for visually impaired 
people but the only flaw I can think of is that the menu cannot
be enlarged - this is a bit of a problem.
 
If in the worst case scenario and something happens to your 
kindle- no fear- all your book purchases are backed up onto 
your amazon account so you can redownload   easily! Also 
a bonus of the kindle, is the books are cheaper than an 
average paperback- with many classics being completely free.  
 
The kindle is an amazing present and this christmas in the UK
, it has dominated the nations wish lists and has battled 
through snow to get to our doors. At last I can read my 
beloved vampire books with ease! Hallelujah!!
Thank you very much amazon (and snata!!) 

Saturday, 18 December 2010

How Girl Guiding Changed Me!

Believe it or not I was a shy little girl! I loved imaginary games and animals. Then my mum took me to my local rainbows and the rest is history...


Rainbows is the first stage in Girl Guiding and takes girls age 5-7. There isn't a massive commitment that a five year old can offer, so Rainbows was purely for fun. Every week we made something new and exciting. We were a small group of about 14 girls and two leaders and I remember thinking it was marvelous. We used to wear little dark blue tabards with badges on. The highlight of Rainbows was definitely taking home the Rainbow Bunny. It was a giant toy rabbit, about as big as us five year olds, it proudly wore a tabard like us. Each child could take it home for a week at a time and look after It - then tell the group what adventures you had had the next Wednesday.  

Two years whizzed by and it was time for me to leave. The rainbow group was held in the village school and later on Wednesday nights was a Brownie group. The Brownies came early to initiate me to the next level of the guiding family. I remember the exchange was beautiful. The rainbow leaders had made a large cut out rainbow which stood in the centre of the school hall, at one side stood the Brownies and at one side stood the Rainbows; I had to run over to the rainbow and the leaders swung me over. Thinking about it now it was a lovely way to symbolise growing up.


Brownies is the next stage in Girl Guiding and takes girls age 7-10. There were a lot of 'big girls' at Brownies and at first I was frightened. I was allocated a 'Brownie Buddy' to show me the ropes and who's who. The group was split into six sections: Foxes, Rabbits, Badgers, Hedgehogs, Squirrels and Moles. I started Brownies as a Hedgehog and really enjoyed it. I took Brownies very seriously, I made my brownie promise in another lovely ceremony. 

The hall was darkened and all the brownies were sitting in a circle. My patrol leader lead me to the centre of the circle and took me by the shoulders and rotated me slowly...
She said:
Twist me and turn me,
and show me the elf,
 I looked in the water and there saw...
She stopped the rotating and I said 'Myself.' In front of me was a small washing up bowl of water with a yellow promise badge in the bottom, I reached in and everyone clapped. 

I worked very hard at brownies trying to earn as many little cloth badges as I possibly could. I had lots in the end and they were all neatly sewed on to a sash which went across my body, shoulder to waist.  In my last year I was the seconder in hedgehogs (second in command!) but then moved to Foxes in the hope of becoming Sixer and I was very lucky because I did lead the Foxes in the end! This is probably when my love of leadership took place, right then when I was only ten years old. I loved taking in the sub money and filling in the register. My favorite bit of all was introducing someone new to Brownies and being their Brownie Buddy just like I had had one when I was new. I cried so much when it was time to leave. 

I had a brief break from guiding whilst I moved up to secondary school. There were no Guide companies in the village so I had to look elsewhere. I met a friend called Hannah at secondary who was a guide. Guides seemed very complicated when she explained it to me, but never the less I went along to the 3rd Beverley guides. It was more serious than Brownies but just as fun. Instead of sixes there were patrols - I was placed in rose with Hannah. There was a patrol leader and a patrol second like in brownies and the leader was called QM and her helpers, SO, CC and Laura. I was now a confident 11 year old who had been transformed by guiding. I took my promise meaning every single word and got a badge just like my yellow promise badge, but the more recognised blue. I had only been a guide for a year when I became rose patrol leader, I was the second youngest in my patrol still. My leadership kicked in again and I enjoyed setting up activities for my patrol. I showed my patrol how to help me with my vision problems and they caught on immediately. The would put stuff directly into my hands, and keep the floor clear of potential trip hazards.

In 2009 I went on Guide camp as a camp patrol second with Hannah having a go at leading.  I remember that Holiday so clearly its amazing. Me and five guiding buddies had a tent in a field. We had great fun with the rest of the company but even more fun when the leaders went to bed! We danced, sang and laughed a lot. Sadly we weren't all made for the wilderness and some people in my tent got a bit cold and fed up of the duties around camp. This resulted in me becoming patrol leader. I had the lovely space behind


 I am still patrol leader of rose and I am working on my Baden Powell and challenge badges. I am a proud Guide and one day I might lead my own rainbows, brownies or Guides. Guides has given me a love of leadership, power to make a change and a love of the world. I am going to be in the Guiding family forever!





 









Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Sense


Imagine that you can’t see or hear anything; you are in your own bubble with no way of communicating. You might be an adult or a child, boy or girl; this might be you- trapped.



There are currently 356,000 deafblind people in the UK (572 per 100,000 people). This is an incredible amount – especially when 21,000 are children. 

Sense is the leading national charity that supports and campaigns for children and adults who are deafblind. They provide expert advice and information as well as specialist services to deafblind people, their families, carers and the professionals who work with them. They also support people who have sensory impairments with additional disabilities. Sense was founded in 1955 by a group of parents of deafblind children, and since then the group has grown and grown! Their aim is to make deafblind children and adults equal and just as capable as other members of society. Sense is a unique charity because it supports both children and adults. 

Sense offer a series of treatments for people with deafblindness but everything needs funding…
£10 a month could buy…
A vital first assessment: 
Done in a gentle and kind way with lots of smiles, The assessment allows Sense experts to create an individual therapy plan for every child and there needs.
£7.50 a month could buy…
A bongo drum:
This will help stimulate even the tiniest amount of a deafblind child’s hearing in music therapy.
£5 a month could buy…
An interactive light tube:
This will stimulate even the tiniest amount of a deafblind child’s sight into action.

Because deafblind people can’t see well enough to hear through sign language, and don’t have the aid of hearing to help with their blindness, they use a special method of communication called deafblind manual communication. This is a way of speaking with a deafblind person by spelling out the words you want to say using both your hand and theirs. But how do you learn how to understand and perform this when you can’t hear the instructions? A Sense specialist can teach a child how to. 


Did you know:

A red and white striped cane means the user is deafblind?

As the same with any disability deafblind people will find life a bit more of a struggle then fully able people but with the right help and equipment the sky’s the limit!






Sunday, 5 December 2010

Opposites Attract - A poem

A little poem about how opposites attract, I have my poet head on at the moment!



The priest and the scientist,
The medium and the sceptic
You’ll be here,
When life gets hectic

The sumo and the dancer,
The pacifist and the fighter
We’ll stick together,
When money gets tighter

A Christmas wish, 
A Christmas prayer
Wherever I go…
You’ll be there.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Red Balloon Learning Centres



Red Balloon is a chain of learning centres around the UK. Red Balloon’s aim is to take on severely bullied children – educate them for 12 months, and develop their confidence enough to allow them to return to mainstream school.  


A Red Balloon centre is a big house this is so that it doesn’t have a institutional feel to it. It is just like a normal school – operating three terms a year, covering all national curriculum subjects. When I said red balloon was a house it also works like a home. It has – a living room, no staff room, no playground and staff and children use the same facilities. This is because many of the children at Red Balloon centres fear school intensely.  Best of all -bullying is not tolerated at all. 

Red Balloon take on children aged 9-18 years old from any background. At least half of the children there have attempted or seriously considered suicide. 44% of students in mainstream school -In a survey by OFSTED-  asked said they had been bullied.  Childline took 2,700 calls about bullying in 2008. Making it the biggest problem facing youth today. 

Young people can be referred to red balloon by their local council, school or parents. No more than 15 students go to each centre and children are taught to a good standard with the latest teaching techniques. Parents are kept up to date with their child’s progress at the centres, something that many parents couldn’t get at a mainstream school. Lessons are taught one-to-one so the academic achievement is enormous. 

If you are being bullied:
You can call Childline on 0800 1111 

Go to www.cybermentors.org.uk to talk to a real young person with experience in beating bullying who can help you receive more help. 

If you are afraid of going to school and are interested in joining a red balloon learning centre go to www.redballoonlearner.co.uk

You might like to watch this BBC documentary about the Red Balloon centres at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00w7pmj/Cant_Bully_Me/


Bullying is a massive issue in today’s world and I think it is a good job people like Red Balloon volunteers are willing to help. 








Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Advents Message.

Advent is a lead up to Christmas in the Christian faith. It is just as important as Christmas to Christians because it is the wait for Jesus’ birth. For Christians advent is a time for preparation, anticipation and waiting. It is also a time for waiting for the second coming because Christians believe that Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead. In this faith purple is the colour of morning or fasting and in the Catholic Church the priest would wear purple vestments to signify how the world suffered before Jesus came. There are lots of traditions in advent such as sending cards, decorating the home, advent calendars and the burning of the advent candle.

The religious significance of Christmas is being lost over the years as people of faiths other than Christianity seem to mark Christmas in some way. Christians also forget the meaning of Christmas; the message is ‘peace to men on earth’ not ‘buy one get one free chocolate oranges.’ The burning of the advent candle is a more solemn choice for Christians who want to dodge the Cadbury’s commercialisation – lighting the candle and saying a prayer from the psalms is a nice thing to do every day before Christmas.

Happy Advent!