Tag Archives: animals

Pick a Word and Pass it On Booktag 

This is, as far as I’m aware, a completely brand new Book Tag created by me! So, I was looking for something on my Goodreads and realised that there were a lot of books with the world King in them. So I decided to start this Book Tag. 

Here are the rules; 

1. You can either take the word the person who tagged you used, or you can pick your own. 

2. You must list all the books on your read list which include that word in either the title or the author. 

3. Tag some friends and pass it on! 

So thanks to my search I have picked the word ‘King’ my tagged friends are welcome to use King too or to pick a word for themselves! So here are all the books I’ve read that have the word King in either the title or the author name. I’ve skipped out titles which include the word king as part of another word I.e breaking or shocking as this gave over 70 results! 


The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory is my currently reading book. 


Insomnia by Stephen King 


Stig of the Dump by Clive King 


Ace by Dick King Smith 


Harry’s Mad by Dick King Smith 


The Hodgeheg by Dick King Smith 


The Fox Busters by Dick King Smith 


The Crowstarver by Dick King Smith 


The Witch of Blackberry Bottom by Dick King Smith 


King of the Middle March by Kevin Crossley Holland 


A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin 


The Green Mile by Stephen King 


The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Philippa Gregory 


The Return of the King by JRR Tolkien 


Gerald’s Game by Stephen King 


Pale Kings and Princes by Cassandra Clare 


Babe by Dick King Smith 

I tag; 

Becky at Uptown Orace 

Love Books Group 

Kristin at Kristin Kraves Books 

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Homo Deus Review 

Homo Deus is not the usual kind of book I would read. I’m a lover of fiction first and foremost. However, following My read of The Seven Daughters of Eve earlier this year I have become more interesting in this style of none fiction writing. 
The book looks at the subject of ourselves Homo Sapiens and how we are evolving in the modern world. It’s main concept is the idea that we are giving ourselves ‘God like’ status. The topic is surprisingly wide ranging from the idea of meddling with DNA to create a perfect child, through to our status in the Animal Kingdom. 

It opens up many questions which perhaps one wouldn’t think about normally. This ranges from why we think we have the hierarchy above other animals to how we would feel if we created superhumans I.e Artificial Intelligence who may one day turn on us as we have turned on animals. 

This isn’t religious zealoting though or even conspiracy theories. Far from it. Yuval Noah Harari presents the cold clear facts in a way which makes you sit back and think ‘wow’ why didn’t I know about this already??? That was my precise reaction when I discovered in one chapter that you can actually BUY a mind reading helmet. 

Harari explores the concept of immortality in various different concepts. From the idea of curing disease ‘Doctor what is wrong with me? The doctor is likely to say ‘well, you have the flu.’ Or ‘you have tuberculosis’ or ‘you have cancer.’ But the doctor will never say ‘you have death.’ He then moves on to look at the people who actually believe they can become immortals and its terrifyingly real and serious with big household names backing the movement. ‘Google has recently appointed another immortality true-believer, Bill Maris, to preside over the Google Ventures investment fund. Maris said. ‘If you ask me today, is it possibly to live to be 500 the answer is yes.’ Maris backs up his brave words with a lot of hard cash. Google Ventures is investing 36% of its $2 billion portfolio in life science start ups.’ 

Harari then goes on to look at the concept of a soul and how people cling to religion and refute Darwin’s evolution theorem because they dare not think of a life where the soul does not remain after the body dies. 

Harari targets philosophy, myth, many different religions and the reign of science as well as pointing out just how little we realise just how good we’ve got it compared to those who came before us. It is clear particularly by the pages and pages of references that Harari has spent much time and research and producing such an eloquent look into our future as a species. Let me tell you something, it beggars belief! 

All in all this is an eye opening, articulately written and engaging book which presents us with the question ‘if dataism succeeds in conquering the world what will happen to us humans?’ 

RSPCA Big Walkies Event

It’s that time of year where we begin to look at the end of Summer drawing in and prepare for the Autumn nights drawing in. No more BBQs and laying on the garden soaking up the rays. So what better way for you and your pet to see out the summer than in taking part in the RSPCA Chesterfield and North Derbyshire’s Big Walkies event.

 

Hosted by the RPSCA Chesterfield and North Derbyshire on the 11th September 2016, Big Walkies will begin at Holmebrook Valley Country Park in Chesterfield. The cost of registration is £10 for the first dog and £5 for each dog after that. You will receive a free T shirt for the event and your pooch will have a stylish matching bandana.

 

The event is happening nationwide at branches of the RSPCA but it’s especially important for Chesterfield as a self-funded shelter to raise as much money as possible for the day to day running of the shelter. This means the food for the animals, new beds, medication, toys etc. not to mention the cost of running the shelter itself which requires gas, electricity, water utilities, vet fees and evetything else. If 50 people took part in the Big Walkies this would raise £500+ and if 100 people took part it would be £1,000+ imagine what the shelter could do with that money?

 

But of course despite being a fundraising event its not just about the money. Big Walkies will start in Holmebrook Park and will cover either 3km or 5km (you choose which route you want to follow). Imagine Chesterfield on a Sunday afternoon in September, teaming with tourists on their way into Derbyshire. Sunday drivers slowly cruising the road and a number of people walking their dogs on their own Sunday afternoon stroll. You and your dog complete with T-Shirt and bandana will be a walking advertisement to raise awareness of the shelter and encourage further fundraising. What are you waiting for? Sign up for the event here: https://www.rspca.org.uk/bigwalkies/findanevent/details/-/event/Chesterfield or you can register on the day as well, registration on the day opens at 1:30pm and the walk will commence at 2:30pm. There will be free parking, a number of stalls and refreshments available as well. You can also check out the facebook page for more info and to keep up with the latest news on the event. https://www.facebook.com/events/1760602940862090/

 

Don’t worry if you can’t take part in the walk on the day. Tara one of the shelter’s own rescue dogs will be walking the event on behalf of all the other dogs at the shelter (provided she is not adopted first). Tara has her own just giving page for the event and you can read her story there too. https://campaign.justgiving.com/charity/rspcachesterfieldandnorthderbyshire/bigwalkieschesterfield

 

Feel free to donate as much or as little as you want to. To walk as far as you feel you can. Why not get your family and friends to sponsor you and your pooch as well to raise even more much needed funds for the shelter.

 

Do something good today 🙂

Wouldn’t it be Wuffly….

If there was a place where all our furry friends, from the dogs with the waggiest tails to the cats with the twitchiest whiskers and the rabbits with the cuttest fluff tails could be safe from harm, abandonment and abuse. A place where everyone smiles and strokes their fur, bathes and cleans them, gives them food and shelter and protects them from harm?

What if I told you that there was a place like that?

It was a bright sunny Saturday when me and my partner made the two mile walk from our home in Chesterfield to the Chesterfield and North Derbyshire branch of the RSPCA.

My involvement with the RSPCA came about when it was suggested to me that I got some PR experience from working with a charity. It made sense to me to contact the RSPCA as I’ve always loved animals and always wanted to volunteer and help out with an animal charity. Unfortunately due to working full time and having university on top of it I just don’t have the time to volunteer in a manual way such as dog walking. I got in touch with my local branch of the RSPCA and met with Julie the Supporter Engagement manager in mid May of this year. Julie was really supportive of my involvement and we began tossing ideas around on the spot about how I could get creative and help the centre. Julie took me on a tour of the centre and explained that they are a self-funded shelter meaning they get no financial support from the main RSPCA and instead have to do all of their own fundraising, a fact which I would guess is little known!

I decided I needed to get my exams out of the way first to make sure I could devote my time and effort to helping without the distractions of university work putting me off, so it was for this reason that after my final exam I made the journey back to the shelter to do a second tour with a vision to write a post.

The shelter is always in need of fundraising, from sponsoring a kennel or buying things on the ‘wish list’ such as cat beds or paddling pools for dogs and of course, adoption is always at the forefront of any animal shelter’s mind. Right now though there’s an even more important fundraising mission: to rebuild the shelter itself.

Built in the 1950s and opened in the 1960s the shelter has seen better days. As we walk down the dust track which leads to the main entrance we pass a small enclosure littered with toys and homemade agility equipment where the dogs can be taken to play. A small row of portakabins used by volunteers stands to one side packed to the rafters with the kind donations from Thorntons. Julie quips that it’s ironic that chocolate is so dangerous to dogs yet it is chocolate donations which keep the monetary donations coming in as they can be sold, raffled or used as prizes in competitions.

The main entrance is at the front of the building and stocked with pet food, bedding, collars, leads, toys and all manner of animal paraphernalia for sale. Turning right at reception we pass the office which also serves as a bedroom for the member of staff sleeping on site, the small room where dogs can be isolated if they have just come in/had an operation etc. A tiny puppy with a leg condition which means he can’t bend his front legs is nestled in a blanket in the corner of the office. In the kitchen I am astonished by the board which hosts all the different dietary requirements of each animal. It’s not as simple as opening a tin of cat food or pouring a few biscuits into a dog bowl, each animal has different needs from the type of food they can eat to medication they might be on.

As we enter the main dog enclosure we are greeted by a smiling member of staff who is cleaning out the corridor, she’s not alone though, a cheerful yip and accompanying smile greet us from behind the fence. That’s Jack the 9 year old West Highland Terrier. Only arriving a few nights before Jack has already been reserved which I’m really pleased to hear. Dogs of his age are not used to being in the confines of a shelter and finding them a forever home to live out their final years is of utmost importance.  Behind Jack, Sky a white Staffordshire Bull Terrier brings up a chorus of yowls at the sight of us which is quickly joined by the rest of the crew in their enclosure. The amount of Bull breed dogs not just at the RSPCA but any animal shelter is incredibly sad. Growing up at home we had English and Staffordshire bull Terriers and it’s so frustrating to see how people reject them because of the media circus which surrounds them and brands them vicious. For me I’ve never known a softer, kinder, loving and loveable pet than a bull breed. I often think it’s all down to the aesthetics people want a little cute pedigree terrier which looks good like Jack or the delightfully floppy eared Sooty who are both currently reserved instead of something they perceive as Brutish and violent. They couldn’t be further from the truth.

sky
Rocky a 4 year old bull mastiff cross is another example of this, a gentle giant he is the largest of all the residents at the centre but as we pass his enclosure he barely makes a sound just wags his tail hopefully and moons at us with his big dark eyes. There are Akita’s, Husky’s, Jack Russell crosses, German Shepherds, spaniels, tiny terriers and beautiful bull breeds. All of them searching with hope in their eyes that we might be the ones who finally take them home.
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The dog enclosures meet the regulations set for animal shelters but they are no longer fit for purpose. The cages where they sleep are dark and hidden behind a corridor of cracked linoleum, the bars on the front are not really considered animal friendly and the runs are separate from the ‘rooms’ which means each time they want to go out or come in a member of staff or a volunteer has to manually take them out of the cage and walk them round to the enclosure. The vision for the RSPCA Chesterfield and North Derbyshire is to build new enclosures where the dogs can access the runs by themselves, where there are no old metal bars on the enclosure and where the animals can be comfortable. But without the much needed fundraising money this may remain a vision alone. When new regulations come in and the shelter is no longer fit for purpose there may be no option but to close the shelter down, what that means for the animals involved does not bear thinking about.

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As we walk along the side of the cats enclosures we are set with the regal stare of several cats haughtily perched on the inside of their enclosure looking out. I tell Ged what Julie told me on my first visit, about cats which are black or black and white being rejected at the shelter due again to what is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. I’m pleased to discover that the cat who had just had her kittens on my last visit is doing well and her kittens are now on the website as well ready for adoption.
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Round the back is the rabbit and Guinea pig enclosure  which is the only part of the shelter to have been upgraded so far, there’s a huge difference here with the glass fronted enclosures allowing the rabbits who are nestled in their boxes of straw to look out, upvc walls and doors offer better insulation and the whole image is one of ease for cleaning and tidying, letting in sunlight and keeping the animals happy and healthy.

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So what is this post really about now that our tour is complete? It’s about money I hear you say, I see your interest waning now we’re past the pictures of cute pets. ‘Charity starts at home’ I often hear and I couldn’t agree more. However… On average I get around 3,000 views a month on this blog. It every visitor followed the link to the just giving page and gave £1 that would be £3,000 closer to target to rebuild the animal shelter. If everyone gave just 50p it would be £1500 closer to raising the money. If everyone came back and kept giving 50p per month that would be a massive £18,000 towards the rebuild appeal and for a £1 per month from all 3,000 visitors that would be £36,000!!! That’s

almost as much as has been raised in the 4 years of fundraising already complete.

It might not be in your area, it may be that there’s something much closer to your home or even to your heart. But please spare a thought today for these animals who through no fault of their own have been abandoned. Think about the life they could have in a new built shelter, where they can be comfortable, where for some of them they will be living out their remaining days. Spare a thought not just for the animals but for the dedicated team of staff and volunteers who want to make their shelter a better home for them.

Donate on either of the links below!

http://www.chesterfield-rspca.org.uk/makeadonation/

Or

https://www.justgiving.com/chesterfieldanimalcentrerebuildappeal

Thank you in advance!

 

 

 

Boycott the Bad Guys

If I asked you if you would condone this happening what would your answer be?

victoria's secret animal testing

I’m guessing the answer would be no. So let me ask you another question. Do you or have you ever shopped at Victoria’s Secret? Because the picture you see above is an animal which Victoria’s Secret tested their products on all in the name of beauty.

Shocked? Me too. Up until recently I am ashamed to admit that I had no idea which companies did and did not test on animals. I can’t stop looking at the picture above and feeling disgusted with myself for the cruelty I am endorsing with the products I have bought in my house.

A quick scan of my house brought dire results and left me devestated. One of the biggest ‘giants’ in manufacturing of cleaning products, cosmetics and toiletries Procter and Gamble is one of the worst culprits.

procter and gamble.png

In my house alone the following brands all test on animals despite some of them such as Avon Cosmetics shamefully declaring that they don’t.

Kitchen

Comfort fabric softener

Ariel wash liquid

Fairy washing up liquid

Wilko window cleaner

Windowlene

Marks and spencers hand wash

Cif all purpose cleaner

Easy wipes

Cif floor cleaner

Asda bleach

Oxi stain remover

Mr sheen polish

Bed head dog deodorant

Air wick air freshner

Bakers dog food

Vics

Savlon

Anadin

Dettol kitchen spray

 

Bathroom

 

John frieda shampoo

John frieda conditioner

Carex handwash

Asda bleach

Febreze

Febreze air freshner

Glade spray

Glade plugin

Dettol bathroom spray

Bench shower gel

Fudge hair conditioner

Gillette venus razor

Gilette shaving foam

Head and shoulders shampoo

Clairol brunette conditioner

Wilko fruits set

Aveeno moisturiser

Johnsons dog shampoo

Bob martin dog shampoo

Avon cleanser

Lynx shower gel

Corsodyl toothpaste

Nivea shower gel

Always pads

Molton brown soap

Kingsley house skincare

Colgate mouthwash

Colgate toothpaste

Imperial leather shower gel

 

 

Bedroom

Right guard deodorant

Diesel perfume

Diesel aftershave

Flowerbomb perfume

Aussie leave in conditioner

Bed head split end mender

Johnsons baby oil

Johnsons cotton buds

Paco rabanne aftershave

Bench deodorant

Lynx deodorant

Nivea deodorant

Gilette deodorant

Victoria’s secret body spray

Avon hand cream

Sanex roll on deodorant

Radox deodorant

Avon foot cream

Mac lipstick

Urban decay eyeshadow

Bristows hair spray

Vaseline

Kk toiletries nail polish remover

Charles Worthington shine boost spray

Charles Worthington volume and bounce spray

Avon eye cream

Avon anti ageing cream

Health point chocolate body butter

Dolce and gabanna perfume

Hugo boss perfume

Calvin klein perfume

Flowerbomb body lotion

Cherish makeup wipes

Yankee candles

 

Makeup

L’oreal foundation

L’oreal super liner

Maybelline kohl liner

No7 blush cream

No7 eyeshadow

No7 lip gloss

Avon face pearls

Avon shimmer pearls

Avon eyeshadow

L’oreal lipstick

Mac lipstick

Maybelline mascara

Avon contour palette

Avon lipstick

Maybelline blusher

L’oreal fat liner

B first clear topcoat

Barry M nail polish

Collection 7 day wear polish

Leighton denny polish

Nails inc nail polish

No7 nail polish

Avon freeze spray for nails

Although it may seem it this list is not exhaustive. More products fall under the umbrella of many big brands who test on animals and some are very sneaky about it. Urban Decay and Benefit both ‘proudly’ state that they do not test on animals and yet their mother companies do.

animal test.jpg

In 1998 Britain brought a ban on all product testing on animals and in 2013 the EU followed suit. This means that any product sold in the EU must be cruelty free. So why the issue? Why do we still need to boycott these companies if they aren’t testing the products we use on animals?

Mainly because these companies still supply to China where animal testing is required by law. This means that any company who sells their products in China condones animal testing on their product for the sake of money. Any company who genuinly cared about stopping this cruelty would REFUSE to sell to China until their laws are changed. Avon are a huge culprit of this, their websites, catalogues and advertising insist they are proud to be cruelty free for the past 25 years yet they test on animals for the products they supply in China.

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The good news is that for the last year British scientists have been working with scientists in China to teach them alternative methods to animal testing. At the moment the law states that all European products sold in China must be retested on animals which is a waste of time, money and most importantly animal life. (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/07/china-cosmetics-uk-training-stop-animal-testing, November 2015).

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Is your beautiful make up, your nice smelling air freshner or your super soft moisturiser worth this picture above? Animals have feelings the same as us, they understand they are being hurt, but they do not understand why. They cannot give consent or accept what will happen they have no choice. At the end of their tortured existence they are killed.

The PETA website http://www.peta.org.uk/ has a list of companies who do not test on animals as well as a more detailed list of animals that do. I recommend that everyone who reads this blog takes head and boycotts the companies on this list until they can provide evidence that they no longer test on animals. Choose an alternative do not pay for animal testing because by spending money on the products you are condoning this:

dogresearch

 

 

Should we be more charitable?

It’s a cloudy Sunday afternoon and I’m in the passenger seat of a car belonging to a guy I sometimes see. I’m in last night’s clothes but thankfully not suffering a hangover as for once I’d actually moderated my drinking the night before. Nevertheless I needed to clean my teeth get my pyjamas on and just have some me time. I wasn’t really in the mood for an in-depth conversation on the purpose of charities and whether or not we should donate. But that’s what happened.

I myself am a big believer in giving to charity where possible. Unless it’s a new book by an author I collect or part of a series I always buy my books from charity shops and donate them back afterwards. Same goes with clothes, if I can’t sell it on EBay that too goes in the charity bag. I always put my change in the little boxes on shop counters and at MacDonald’s. I donate to two animal charities directly from my wages. I give gift aid on donations and following a programme such as Sports Relief or Children in Need I’m a weeping mess sending 15 text messages off and nearly falling through the floor when my phone bill comes in. if there’s a charity event to be done such as the Ice Bucket Challenge or the bare faced selfie I’m your girl.

Not everyone it seems shares my views. It was my fault the subject got brought up really as whilst sat in a traffic jam and thinking of some small talk I volunteered the fact that we hadn’t watched Children in Need the night before. Well that opened up a can of worms! I was then treated to a ten minute lecture on why he didn’t agree with charities and didn’t donate. Basically to sum it up, he feels quite strongly that in donating to charity you are only providing the cause a small amount of your donation and that the majority of the money you donate goes to the ‘fat cats’ who manage the charities.

I can’t help but agree with this in one sense, in 2013 the Telegraph published an article which looked into just how much the ‘charity’ actually spent on the cause it supported. The article does make several valid points about charities none charitable expenditure including the amount of people it employs and whether or not it has a chain of high street shops that will generate expenditure. Oxfam for example. What they did find however is that some of the biggest and best known charities are paying some of their staff over £60,000 per annum.

The wages of the staff however does not necessarily have any correlation with the amount spent on what are defined as ‘charitable activities’. For example Cancer research pays 160 of its employees over £60,000 per year but 70% of its £493m annual income is spent on charitable activities. Meanwhile the British Heart Foundation only has 36 employees getting paid over £60,000 per year yet only 46% of its £250m annual income is spent on the cause itself.

Do I agree though with my friend that this should stop us giving to charity completely? After all if all of us were to take the view that our money wasn’t being spent wisely and therefore we would stop giving what would happen then? I think what’s important here is not to stop giving completely but to give more wisely. Make choices carefully and research the charity before agreeing to donate, check out the charity online to find out how many of their employees earn over £60,000 and the percentage of income spent on charitable activities. Most charity websites now provide information about where your donation goes and some such as Dogs Trust and PDSA who I donate to send me regular newsletters and packs of information to show where my money is being spent.

If you don’t feel confident with donating regularly to a charity or buying from their shops it’s worth looking into ideas such as helping a child by buying a Christmas gift for a boy or a girl. Around my area it’s called Help a Hallam Child but I’m sure there are similar fundraising events across the country. Charity Christmas cards are also a good idea and usually aren’t too expensive, try to buy them from the charity themselves though as often supermarkets and other stockists take the majority of the profit.

I’d love to hear others views on this so please get in touch by leaving a comment. What do you think, do you agree with my friend or think we should be more charitable?