Saturday, 29 August 2015

Shona Sibary, I Have Someone You Should Meet...

Animal lovers across the internet are fuming over a Daily Mail news story about Shona Sibary, a woman who claims she buys puppies and gets rid of them when they are no longer 'cute' and easy to care for. Sibary claims that she spends huge amounts of money to splash out on pet accessories, veterinary operations and the dogs themselves. Some have offered compassion and understanding to this woman saying that the problem is probably rooted in some sort of emotional difficulty. Others have been less forgiving. Being dubbed the new Katie Hopkins/Samantha Brick, she has already faced a huge backlash on Twitter. Dog rescue groups and charities like Dog's Trust have written to her offering to show her the impact of abandonment on dogs... Let me introduce you to someone.
This is Bailie. My future mother and father in law just adopted him this week. Someone abandoned him too. He is a real sweetheart but he's got a lot of problems. The dog behaviourist who consulted us before Bailie came home says it's because his owner abandoned him when he was young. It's okay - we're working on it. In fact, he's not the first rescue dog my future in laws have rescued. Before Bailie they had taken in another rescue dog called Dylan. Dylan was an integral part of the family unit, always offering up a cuddle or escorting you around the house in the most gentlemanly fashion. Both dogs, having been abandoned by their previous owners, came with their own problems from having been abandoned. Dylan would howl sometimes, staring out the window as if waiting for someone. If he heard certain soap opera theme tunes he would wail out a sad cry. We never knew anything about his previous owners but we often think these things set him off because they reminded him of his past. My future mother and father in law noted that his ears pricked up and he looked around if anyone ever said the name 'Andrew'. His origins will forever remain a mystery to us as he was handed off to a shelter with no back-story. Bailie, it seems, is a lot happier. He's just a puppy but, as a Spaniel x Beagle cross he got a bit bigger and more boisterous than his previous owner had bargained for. Once he was 'too big' and harder to handle, he was given up. Being part spaniel, his owner found him too energetic and too much to handle. Rather than dealing with his behaviour with training and showing patience, it's just easier to get rid of him, right? He is now living with a lot of anxiety. When someone so much as speaks to him he pees himself unexpectedly and without warning. He can't help it. He also cannot be left alone. He becomes distressed and starts to chew on things and tear them apart. To some, this may not sound like the ideal dog. If Shona Sibary had a dog like this she would have rehomed him pretty quickly by the sound of it. It doesn't seem to have occured to her that dogs, like people, do well with a bit of subtle training. If she's so happy to fork out for her pooch-purchasing habit, why did she not throw some money on a canine behaviourist and dog training classes? Thankfully he came to owners that realised he is a living being, not just something there to be cute and entertain us. Like all living things he has a personality as complex as our own. He wants love and attention and a stable home. Dogs don't understand why they've been abandoned. No one can explain to them why they weren't good enough. Bailie has been adopted by a family that will see his behaviour and offer him patience. He has been taken in by a family that will put in the time to train him and help him work through his problems with as much love and affection as we can possibly give. Sometimes we have to form an orderly queue to do so. My point is that dogs are living things and not some hot commodity. They form an attachment to you and I have seen first hand the heartbreak they endure at being left behind. They cannot comprehend why you left them and it stays with them for life. Shona's dogs probably thought more of her than she did of them. Sure, Shona says that her dogs all have happy homes now (although details of her stories differ), but those dogs probably still wonder why their original family let them go so easily. Dogs, like wine, are good at any age. Last year my beloved pup, Hamish, passed away. I was a child when my parents brought him home and he lived with us until he was old. Two days before my birthday he passed away. I loved him just as much as an old mutt as I did when he was a puppy. Dogs, they say, are man's best friend and I've always found them to astound me with their depth of understanding. Hamish would always seem to sense when I was having a bad day and he would come and sit by my side as if to reassure me. In his old age he was very sick and had lots of health problems but I did not turn my back. I took care of him because that's what friends do. I miss him all the time. I would urge anyone with a heart big enough to adopt an animal from a shelter to give dogs like Shona's a second chance at a forever home with a good, loving family. Many shelters will often accept donations and volunteers to help socialise the dogs in their care. They will never, ever understand why you left them and why they weren't good enough. Now someone hand that woman a Tamagotchi and be done with it...

Monday, 24 August 2015

Who? Where? YOU? THERE?

I'm forever happy to see people all over the world stopping by to read my humble little blog that I started with no major plans for it. Here I am many months later and still raking in views from all over the world.

Here is a list of the countries that have stopped by my blog so far. Thank you for reading and making me feel awesome on a daily basis. Don't forget that you're awesome too:

United Kingdom
Isle of Man

Côte d’Ivoire




United Arab Emirates
Sri Lanka
Macedonia [FYROM]



South Africa
Trinidad and Tobago


Saudi Arabia


United States
South Korea


Puerto Rico





Hong Kong (as special administrative region of the People's Republic of China)
Czech Republic
New Zealand
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Monday, 17 August 2015

New Years Resolutions 2015: A Review

Earlier this year I wrote up a few New Years Resolutions for 2015. I have decided to re-visit those resolutions to see how I've done so that I can endeavour to complete everything on the list for a successful year. Let's review....

Learn to say YES.

Everyone always seems to regret not taking risks. In hindsight we see they may have lead to something good. I feel that I need to learn to say yes and be more pro-active. I've lost out to many job opportunities because I forgot to respond to them by just thinking 'Eh, I will keep the window open in my browser and get to it later,' but when later comes, the position has been filled. Like in the film "Yes Man" I want to learn to say yes and grab opportunities when I see them. This could mean going on more nights out or taking up extra shifts or anything that could benefit me somehow.

How have I done with this?
I've tried to be a little bit more spontaneous. I go out more upon invitation, I've tried to pursue opportunities. I could be better though. Now we're in August so I have a few more months to say 'yes' a lot more.

Procrastinate less, do more.

This really follows on from the last one. I probably lost hundreds of hours to procrastination in 2014. All those times I went to sit down and write a novel and ended up on Tumblr or Pinterest or YouTube. I have so many things that I want to achieve and I will only do this if I kick my procrastinating ways. I need to focus on my work this year because I feel that this year could be a big one for me.

Well it's been tough. I work a lot. I mean a LOT. You'll see why when we get to the final point. I've not had much time to do anything so I have procrastinated less and have therefore become so much more organised with my time. I would say I've procrastinated a lot less and have really learned a lot about how to manage myself and to organise my time well.

Write a thing.

I want to write a thing. Any thing. A book thing. A script thing. An anthology thing. Anything. I want it done by the end of 2015.

Again, I have tried. I spectacularly missed out on NaNoWriMo even though I really wanted to take part. I work two jobs full time so there's not much time to write. I am about 27,000 words into a project and I'm hoping to have more time but it is hard when you work as much and as often as I do.


I want to at least go somewhere outside of England. Just once. I meant to last year but work and personal restraints held me back. Hopefully, this year will be the year...

I haven't left the UK so far this year. I do, however, have plans to make one or two trips later in the year when winter rolls around. I'm hoping to do a mini-break with my family in Berlin and hoping to do a trip with my partner to Italy or France. Again, work has been a priority this year

Make a career change

I have been in my current job for over a year now and I can safely say that, although I've enjoyed some aspects of my time here, it's not the job I was aiming for when I left university. Now it is time to find the job I want, the job I'm qualified to do. This may mean working at my current job as well as a new job and doing both simultaneously. This may be one big career move altogether. I've not decided yet but let's see what the New Year brings...

This is the one I have already succeeded in pretty hard. The job I mentioned in the previous paragraph is one I've been working at for a year and a half now, maybe more, and I am still there. I was up for a promotion there at my old job. A few days before the promotion interview I was offered a job elsewhere. This job offer was a salaried position. Obviously I took the job. I had my own desk, a good salary, won many of the incentives and competitions. However the job wasn't working for me so I resigned. It was scary - I'd never written a letter of resignation before. I was scared but I knew I had to resign. I was working an hour away from where I live and worked long hours - there was no way I was going to ever get enough time to make a job interview closer to home when I worked so far away. I resigned and applied to several jobs. I actually received quite a high level of positive response. Quite a few jobs wanted to arrange an interview or discuss the role further. I landed an interview a day or so after leaving my old office job and, within seven days of my resignation/leaving, I landed a new job. This new job is closer to home so no long commute! The new job is an area of interest to me with excellent career progression and I could not be happier.

Having reviewed everything I think I've done well. I'm on track. I just need a holiday and some time to write and it'll all be grand. Fingers crossed...

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

"In The Garden of Whedon": Why Joss Whedon Is Awesome

Get it? Garden of Whedon/Garden of Eden? Seriously, if Joss Whedon doesn't already have a religion based on him for his fans I'm totally starting one. Joss Whedon has created so many wonderful shows, films and characters over the years. It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Joss Whedon and his work. Therefore, as it is his birthday today, here is a list of awesome facts about Joss Whedon.
  • Joss Whedon is a third-generation TV writer. As the son of Tom Whedon (who worked on Golden Girls) and John Whedon (who worked on the Donna Reed show) he is certainly carrying on the family tradition. 
  • Joss Whedon shot his most recent film "Much Ado About Nothing" in a matter of days at his house. In fact is was done in just 12 days. What have you achieved in 12 days? Was it as impressive as that? Yeah, I bet not.
  • Whedon has provided female role models for a whole generation of young girls. In fact when I was growing up I had no queer female role models. No one ever explained to me that sometimes men can love men or women can love women. It was only really when I saw Tara and Willow's relationship that I even knew such love existed. Finally I didn't feel so alone. That little shred of queer representation really helped me and I am sure it helped so many others too. Representation matters.
  • But, I mean, can we talk about Buffy a little more and how amazing that show was? All you need to do is watch episodes like Hush, The Body, Once More With Feeling and more to see how quirky and experimental the show could be. Joss Whedon gave us several kick ass female characters and many of them started on Buffy. Buffy was his pet project that started as a film. The film didn't quite capture Joss's vision so he created a version for television that could live up to his hopes for the show.
  • When Buffy ended her adventures on screen, Whedon partnered with Dark Horse Comics to share tales from the Buffyverse in comic book and graphic novel format. From further Buffy adventures to Fray: Future Slayer, the tales of girls fighting the forces of evil live on. Whedon has also written for popular titles from Marvel AND DC. He's bridging the gap, people!
  • Whedon co-wrote and produced the wonderful genre-busting film "Cabin In The Woods" which poked fun at the cliche pitfalls of the horror genre.
  • Whedon seriously wants to write and direct a Wonder Woman movie. Whedon had previously been in talks with Warner Bros for such a project but, due to artistic conflicts, it never happened.
  • Whedon was one of the writers of Toy Story and if that doesn't impress you then clearly you have no soul.
  • Whedon's take on The Avengers has rejuvenated the superhero genre and set new levels of awesome for comic book adaptations. In fact The Avengers is the third highest grossing film of all time at the moment. 
  • Joss Whedon co-wrote Toy Story.
  • Whedon still has many awesome projects yet to be created so here's hoping that those projects eventually come to fruition. 

Thursday, 4 June 2015

How To Cope With A Job You Hate

Unless you're extraordinarily lucky, you've probably had an awful job at some point. Maybe it was a fine job to start out with but things took a turn later. Maybe it was the only job going and you had to take it but hated every moment. Perhaps you're waiting on tables and scrubbing cutlery whilst applying for something better morning, noon and night. It's a truly tough thing to handle when you're trapped in a job that you cannot stand. Never fear! If you're heading to work, shoulders hunched, carrying your briefcase as you cast your weary gaze to the ground then read over some of these suggestions. As someone who previously got out of a job I hated, I'd been trying to do whatever I could to find something better and would advise anyone else to do the same.

  • See what you can get out of your current job. Try to make the most of what you have in the moment. If you've got to be there, make it work for you. If you're working at the bottom of a large company, try to take on more responsibilities and make yourself useful. It could lead to a promotion which you could use when applying for other jobs. It could make you look more impressive when you go into interviews if you can show that you're up for taking on new tasks and making the most of your time in a job.
  • See if you could be transferred to a different role, department or location/branch of the company. It offers some security whilst also changing your situation and surroundings. 
  • If your job is dull, and you yourself are a creative person, find ways to make the day less dull. Perhaps this is to introduce office games to get people to be more competitive in their work environment. 
  • Maybe you're in a job you hate not because you hate the work, but because you hate the people or the way you're treated. If you're being mistreated at work you do not have to accept it. Find out how to lodge complaints and don't be afraid to speak up about what you're experiencing. Join a union. Find the courage to speak up. Is your supervisor singling you out? Speak to a manager. Does your manager mess around the staff? Speak to the rest of your co-workers and, if they feel the same, make a plan of action because you' together are probably stronger than your manager. 
  • Utilise your lunch break. Are you working a job to pay bills, but have secret dreams of becoming a writer or and artist or something you so rarely have time to pursue? Harness your break time and try to put it towards all the other stuff you want to achieve but neglect. Write your novel over your lunch time tune bagel. Look at improv classes you could attend and work on some material whilst you wait for the barista to bring over your coffee. Don't let those spare moments of the day go by and become utterly wasted. Finding balance is important. Work towards the thing you've always wanted to do in the scraps of spare time you're given. 
  • NETWORK. Go out into the world and boast your skills and see if someone takes interest in your passions and skills. Often, in the world of work, it's about who you know. 
  • Hate your job? Why not look into cutting your hours and working part time there and getting a different part time job elsewhere? If it's a possibility then it means you're halving your time spent in a negative space. Who knows? Something could come from that other part time job. It adds another place of employment to your CV and boosts future employability.
  • Until recently, I myself was in a job that I loathed. My co-workers and I were all unhappy and we banded together in the knowledge that we all could do better and were wasting our time chasing pennies on a minimum wage job that treated us like dirt with management that actually bullied us and made us feel awful. Despite all we did to try to improve things there, nothing ever changed. What happened next was beautiful. We all rallied together to help each other find new jobs that suited our skills and interests and within two months a third of us had new, better jobs that actually made us happy. We're all still helping the others to get out into new jobs. Things then became interesting. The sudden 'abandon ship' movement made our management team see that, perhaps they were doing something wrong. They began trying to reach out and offer whatever they could to the members of staff that they still had left, but it was too late. Those that are still there are soon to be on the way out. Many have interviews and apprenticeships lined up. By next month, half of their staff will have gone and they are currently having to scrape around to find roughly seven new staff members. If you work somewhere in which it is universally loathed by the staff, realise that you are stronger as a team and your management team need you more than you need them. Think back on the protests of McDonalds workers who rallied together to ask for a raise of their minimum wage. You are always stronger when united as a team than as individuals. If you all hate your jobs, join together to see how you can all change to fix it.  Our management may not have cared too much about us, but thankfully we all cared enough about each other.
  • Consider a full turn around. Work in your loathed job for as long as you can stick it and quit. Then go work abroad and completely change your surroundings. I know that this option isn't always affordable or possible for people, but changing your surroundings may be the therapeutic change that you need. 
  • For every day you have to go to work at a job you dislike, apply for three jobs. If there aren't a lot of jobs in your area then try to do three things that could help you achieve any other goals or dreams that could lead to something more for you. Always wanted to write a novel? Write a chapter each day. Dream of recording a CD on the side? Each day, spend thirty minutes writing music. For every day you have to turn up for a job that doesn't satisfy you, try to seek out ways to pursue something that WILL satisfy you.
If you've read this because you're currently stuck in a job you hate then I wish, from the bottom of my heart, that you find a better career soon.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Book Review: The Dinner by Herman Koch

I recently read The Dinner by Herman Koch and though I'd write a quick review.

The premise of the book? Four adults meet over dinner to discuss a truly urgent matter. Their children have been caught on CCTV committing a horrifying act. At present, no one has linked the crime back to the children in question. The only ones who know are their parents. How far will the love of a parent go when it comes to their children? As parents, how forgiving can you be when your children have done something so appalling? It offers up some interesting questions and throws in some surprising turns. Without giving away too much, this is a truly interesting character piece as we slowly unfold the nature of the characters between courses at a painfully fancy restaurant. As far as thrillers go, it is a slow burner and more of a character piece but it is an intriguing read which, hopefully, will leave you with some strong opinions at the end.

Side note: Should this be made into a movie, I vote Carice Van Houten for the role of Claire.

As a meal, I found this book to be substantial enough that it hit the spot, but I found myself still craving the sweet and juicy details of a dessert. That is to say that the book was fine but at no point did I feel myself completely sinking my teeth into it and savouring it, looking to order another plate of it.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Life Update.

Hi blog-people,

Yes. It's me. I am here. I'm not asking for applause, that's fine, stop clapping. No, sir, put your pants on...

I haven't really been here in a long time. My life has been a weird whirlwind of good and bad and changes.... I fed the penguins at London Zoo I saw RuPaul's Battle of the Seasons, I got a new job! It's all change here. I'm going to try to get back into writing here if possible, but I shouldn't really make any promises. If you've been checking in, thank you. I am going to try. It's all I can promise.