Sunday, 24 August 2014

My Three Things. Week 4.

My Three Things is a link-up which fellow parent blogger Claire began. The idea is that it works as a positive motivator to evaluate your week. Each week I list #3things that have not gone so well, #3things I would like to improve upon in the forthcoming week, and #3things that I have done well this week. The order is important as it is good to end on a positive note. So without further ado...

3 Things That Were Not So Good This Week.

  • Preparing for back to school just did not happen! I have no excuse. There was just no motivation. I walked into Clarkes, immediately got angry that my buggy wouldn't even reach the children's shoe section because of the vast amount of fellow stressed out parents, and turned around and walked straight back out again! Yes, I know, it's likely to be even worse this week.
  • We didn't get to the Think Tank museum as planned, hopefully, when I write next week's #3things, we'll have finally been there!
  • I lost my rag at my Biggest L whilst in a queue at Drayton Manor and immediately felt guilty. She was noticeably huffing and puffing and queue jumpers...I have no idea where she got that from. So yes, I was to blame for the whole sorry incident. It was forgotten within 5 minutes though as the queue was short and the ride was fun! 

3 Things To Focus On Next Week.
  • I'll try again... getting organised for back to school and uni. There's nothing like the last minute to motivate me into action...
  • Still not sorted out everything that I need to sell on eBay. It's so much easier to chuck it into the cupboard under the stairs, Harry Potter style and forget about it. My purse, however, does not agree.
  • The big one! It's time for POTTY TRAINING my smallest L! The though of it fills me with dread. If you have any tips or blog posts, then please feel free to share them with me. And wish me luck!

3 Things I've Done Well This Week.
  • I've switched of the trash television shows (almost all of them!) and began my reading for university. Well I say began. I began in June but took rather a long break!
  • Healthy Eating. I have finally got back in the zone. My Slimming World head is firmly screwed on. Eyes on the prize an' all that!
  • Had a more or less lovely and successful day out at Drayton Manor with both of my Ls. The main thing is, we came away happy and exhausted, and my Little L cannot stop talking about Thomas Land. Here's a photo of my little monkey's riding Percy at Thomas Land...
Having a ride on Percy at Thomas Land.

Silent Sunday.

Monday, 18 August 2014

My Three Things. Week 3.

Ok, so I've got to week three of My Three Things. I love writing these posts, they're not too time consuming and they're such a good way of evaluating your week without beating yourself up! The original link up came from Claire over at Confessions of a Single Parent Pessimist, so be sure to pop over to her and to say Hi and have a look at how her week has been too.

3 Things That Were Not So Good This Week.

  • My diet: Healthy eating? Can't even remember what that is, even my body is craving a salad! Ate loads of junk, I deserve to feel like crap.
  • Lost a friendship. Say no more.
  • Not had enough money to get out of the house and visit places as much as I'd have liked to. Stuck in a bit of a rut for motivation and ideas of things to do that are suitable for us as a family. 
3 Things To Focus On  Next Week.
  • Preparing for back to school! My biggest L starts secondary school in September, so although we have most of the uniform, we still need to get shoes, bags, coats, and of course they have to be the 'right' ones. So if anyone has any tips on what are the 'right' ones for senior school, (I'm thinking bags and shoes here), do let me know.
  • Getting out and about more. I really want to get out of the house this week, so far we have a trip to Drayton Manor in the diary and also a visit to the Think Tank museum, which I am ashamed to say I have never been to, despite it being only a 15 minute drive away from home!
  • Homework! Both my daughter and myself have work to be getting on with. Must buckle down this week!
3 Things I've Done Well This Week. 
  • So I mentioned that I'd had my confirmation that I'd got into my first choice university last week. This week, I've had even more good news on that front. The university have awarded me and academic excellence scholarship, which I am both very proud and in great need of. I was so thankful when I received the phone call on Wednesday.
  • Cat rescuing. I went back to my roots and got involved in a bit of animal rescue this week. Some poorly feral kittens needed a place to crash whilst they awaited a cattery space, or they would have been put to sleep. So they came to stay in our outhouse for a while. It made me realise how much I miss working with animals.
  • I also managed to get a bit of gardening done this week. The 8 bin liners of garden waste are still waiting to be taken to the tip though. Oh well, it's a start!
Feel free to join in with #3things this week, and as always I love to read your comments and thoughts. Remember to give me any advice on secondary school must haves too! Thanks for reading. 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Silent Sunday

What Laura Loves: HUGE 4th Birthday GIVEAWAY

Fab giveaway from fahion and beauty blogger Laura over here:

What Laura Loves: HUGE 4th Birthday GIVEAWAY: Today marks 4 years since my very first blog post and to celebrate, I am holding a giveaway as a thank you to all of those who read m...

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Confessions of a Single Parent Pessimist: Single Parent Spotlight: Rebecca Jones

Here is a post written by Claire over at Single Parent Pessimist, featuring yours truly! I enjoyed answering the questions, it made me focus on the positive things about single parenting.

Confessions of a Single Parent Pessimist: Single Parent Spotlight: Rebecca Jones: The aim of these interviews is to show how AMAZING us working single parents are.  I’m sick of seeing the bad press single parents get...

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Silent Sunday.

My Three Things. Week 2.

This is my second week of My Three Things. The original linky came from fellow blogger, Claire over at Confessions of a Single Parent Pessimist.
So here goes; The Good, The Bad and The Optimistic... But not necessarily in that order.

3 Things That Were Not So Good This Week.

  • My alcohol consumption! I drank far, far, too much on Friday night. I'm still suffering today!
  • I spent too much money on unnecessary things, this includes the alcohol from Friday night! Along with 'treats' that we as a family really didn't need, considering how little spare cash I have at the moment.
  • Gardening. Not so much that I didn't do it well, more I didn't do any. At all. I planned to. I failed!

3 Things To Focus On Next Week.
  • Spending some time with my Biggest L. It is her birthday today, she wants to go shopping to spend her birthday cash WITHOUT Little L! Looking forward to girlie time.
  • Gardening... Weather permitting of course. Got to get on top of it!
  • Clear out! I need to have a good sort out of clothes, toys and books and get stuff on eBay. I need the cash and I need the space!

3 Things I've Done Well This Week.
  • I have now officially been accepted into university. OK, so technically I didn't achieve this, this week, but I did receive my official confirmation from UCAS. So I'm proud of that!
  • Family time! Had a lovely week spending time with the kids and other family members. On Thursday we had a little get together with my Mum, aunts and family friends. I really enjoyed this. And today, is my Biggest L's 11th birthday. We all went out for a family meal, and just had a lovely day in general.
  • I read more! As planned last week. (See Week 1's post).
Let me know your your plans for the week ahead, and be sure to comment if you're linking up.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Charitable Conceptions.

This blog post was written by me in October 2012. It's rather long. Please excuse the language! Obviously, I trying to prove a point. I am re-posting this because I feel the need to make that point again for a variety of reasons. I am no longer employed by the RSPCA (not as a result of this post), but they still have my support concerning all of their policies. If I was to ever return to veterinary nursing, I would be proud to return to working for them. All opinions are my own and all that!

My eldest cat Maisy
I have decided to write this post as lately it is becoming more and more apparent, of the general public's hatred of the RSPCA. I've noticed comments on Facebook and Twitter ranging from mild irritation and other 'professionals' slating the RSPCA, to active hate campaigns against us. I say us, because I am an employee of the RSPCA. Yes I work for what seems to be the most hated and controversial charity in the UK. (Although, currently I'm on maternity leave, and after this blog I may be relieved of my duties, but hey ho.) I can't bite my tongue forever.
Before I go on any further, let's just make it clear, these are my personal views, and not those of my employer! I am using this, as a place to vent my frustration at the hatred for me and my colleagues/friends. I'm sure there may be repercussions from this, lets hope that's not my P45!
Ok, so I'm a veterinary nurse, I have been for 16 years, and up until 4 years ago I had always worked in private veterinary practice. I had no experience of working in charity practice, but I did have very strong opinions on veterinary/animal charities.
I'll be the first to admit that I, like a significant number of my colleagues in the veterinary profession, thought that the RSPCA were obstructive, weren't keen to help, and basically just raked in the money that kind little old ladies gave them and occasionally did a bit of work when the cameras were rolling. I also believed, like (I think I can safely say the majority of the general public) believed; that all stray animals and wildlife were the 'responsibility' of the RSPCA. In fact in my early years of nursing, I heard my head  nurse actually tell a member of the public, that an injured 'stray' cat could not be treated by our private practice, as we were a business not a charity and that cat was the RSPCA's responsibility. I had little experience to base my ignorant, obnoxious opinions on, other than that of my colleagues, so I guess I was just jumping on the bandwagon. Now I know how wrong I was!

A rather x-rated pic of Simba

About 4 years ago, I decided to have a change of direction from veterinary nursing and try something different. Then I found myself out of work, after suddenly walking out of a job that I hated. It appears there is a reason I chose to work with animals rather than people after all!
I soon had a scout through my veterinary journals to see who needed a nurse. The RSPCA were advertising so I applied, I didn't think I'd ever apply to work there but I was desperate for a job and it was close to home. I also applied for another 3 veterinary nursing jobs, hopeful I'd get one of those so I wouldn't have to work for that dreaded charity!
After all the interviews, I was offered all 4 of the jobs I had applied for, so I was in a great position, however I decided to take the job that offered the least pay, the worst hours and the one I that knew would offer the hardest most challenging work. Yep, I was going to work for the RSPCA. My other nursing friends thought I was mad, they like me, all hated the RSPCA! All I can say is just walking around the hospital at the time of my interview was enough to completely change my viewpoint of the work the RSPCA do. I was converted. And I can honestly say I will never, ever go back to work in private veterinary practice again. I think I can safely say that for a high percentage of the other professionals I work with at the hospital too.

Lola rehomed by me from the RSPCA
So why is it that the public hate us? Why is it other veterinary professionals slate us? Everyone seems to forget that the RSPCA is a charity. Here is the Oxford English Dictionary's definition of a charity:
'' organization set up to provide help and raise money for those in need''
So there you go, we provide help to animals in need and in order for us to do that we raise money. We try to help, we do our best to help every animal we possibly can, but no, unfortunately that will not be every single animal. That does not mean we can save every single animal and it does mean that we make tough decisions that others may disagree with. This does not mean, therefore we are responsible for and can help every single animal. When are owners, the general public, the government and other veterinary professionals going to take their share of the responsibility for these animals we share the planet with?
The RSPCA doesn't not secure government funding, despite people thinking otherwise and the reason for this is so that they can be independent and challenge animal welfare issues if they disagree with the government's stance on such issues.
So yes it is a charity. The RSPCA is the only UK charity that people openly slate/diss/slag off, call it what you will. Take Cancer Research for example, say if your relative falls ill with a particular type of cancer and there is not enough research into that type of cancer to know if they'll be cured. Does that mean Cancer Research is at fault for not 'researching' enough as they strive to do? No of course it does not, because they are doing their best with the funds they receive. As are the RSPCA, they are doing what they can with the resources they can. Ok, so that might not be the best comparison, but I really do think people are losing sight of a charity can and cannot do.
To put you in the picture of my inspiration for this rant, here are some direct quotes from former colleagues or their friends from Facebook. Please bear in mind they are saying this in their professional capacity as veterinary nurses:
'Don't bother with the RSPCA, they're all bunch of c*nts, will probably put the cat to sleep anyway. Better off treating it ourselves, but though we'll have to pay for it even though it's their responsibility.F*cking useless b*stards'
This quote was from a veterinary nurse to another veterinary nurse regarding the treatment of a stray cat. Great professionalism, don't you think?
Here is another from a veterinary nurse:
'F*cking RSPCA, wont take a stray cat from us, reckon they are full, more like no camera's there!!! We are a business, not a charity you know! Bet it takes them forever to pay our £60 too. If only they'd do their job properly'
This comment relates to a nurse wanting a stray cat transported from her private hospital to the local RSPCA hospital. It also mentions the £60 that the RSPCA pay private vets towards the treatment of stray animals. This nurse was actually a friend of mine and refers to the hospital that I work at. Needless to say she was soon deleted from my friends list. And yes, we were full. Full to the fucking brim. In fact 9 times out of 10 the hospital is full, especially where cats are concerned. We never turn away a stray animal in need of treatment without a very very good reason.
Ok, so now this is where this blog gets a bit boring, it relates to veterinary professionalism, or the lack of it, there are quite a few quotes, so I am sorry if it gets a bit boring, but it's relevant to my point! Trust me.
Something worth mentioning is that Registered Veterinary Nurses are governed by The RCVS (The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.) We have to abide by their Code to Professional Conduct. Here's a quote from that code:
Section E. Relationships with Colleagues Point 10:
'No Veterinary Surgeon/Nurse should speak or write disparagingly of a colleague to a third party, since the effect is to undermine public confidence in the profession.''
I rest my case. I decided not to report these incidents to The RCVS or their employers as I do not want to be responsible for any loss of employment, I'm sure their words will one day come back to bite them on the arse anyway!
Ok so I know I am quoting a lot and this may be getting boring, but its relevant. Bear with me. It's about the responsibility of ill and injured  animals. This includes all animals not just those that are known to be owned. And it applies to ALL veterinary surgeons:
Taken from the Code to Professional Conduct for Veterinary Surgeons, Section 1-Veterinary Surgeons and Animals.
''Veterinary surgeons must make animal health and welfare their first consideration when attending to animals.''
''If the owner cannot afford private treatment and may be eligible for charitable assistance, veterinary surgeons should re-direct the animal for further treatment to a charity, where possible, supplying full details of the case in the proper manner.''
''Once an animal has been accepted as an in-patient for treatment by a veterinary surgeon, responsibility for the animal remains with that veterinary surgeon until another veterinary surgeon or practice accepts the responsibility.''
''A veterinary surgeon on call should not unreasonably refuse to provide first aid and pain relief for any animal of a species treated by the practice during normal working hours. A veterinary surgeon on call should not unreasonably refuse to provide first aid and facilitate the provision of pain relief for all other species until such time as a more appropriate emergency veterinary service accepts responsibility for the animal.''
The final quote is an oath of declaration to be admitted into the profession:
" I PROMISE AND SOLEMNLY DECLARE that I will pursue the work of my profession with integrity and accept my responsibilities to the public, my clients, the profession and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and that, ABOVE ALL, my constant endeavour will be to ensure the health and welfare of animals committed to my care''
Unfortunately, unlike some other veterinary professionals I am not going to comment on specific breaches of these codes of conduct that I have seen, but trust me I've seen them, and to a disgusting level.
So, to members of the public who are slating the RSPCA, remember, they are a charity. Doing their best with limited resources in this economic climate. Yes you may have called about your neighbours dog barking, and its being a few hours and no officer has called, but that officer might be working a huge radius on his own with 2-3 emergency calls with severely injured animals, it's all about priorities.
To veterinary professionals who think we are responsible for every animal both wild or stray or for some reason cannot pay your fees, please remember your oath. Remember  your professionalism. Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites are not the place to voice your issues with the RSPCA. I guarantee you if you were to work with us for a day your opinion on our work and our workload would change dramatically! This I can promise you.

Percy, came in to the RSPCA Hospital as a stray, following being hit by a car with horrific consequences. Resulted in him having his back leg amputated. Rehomed to me!

Yes, we are different to other charities as we are the only charity that investigates cruelty and prosecutes those who cause unnecessary suffering, so yes, we do have more responsibility than most, and trust me, we know! It impacts on our workload. But remember we're not the only ones who are responsible for animal welfare. We all are, members of the public, pet owners, farmers, breeders, veterinary practices and the government. Please remember that. The onus is not just on us!
I wish those of you that have such a low opinion of us could spend a day working with us, to see what we deal with, the horrific sights we see, the biting of the tongue we have to do, the red tape involved, the limited resources we have available and to see what you would do differently, if you were put in charge of making such emotive decisions. Yes mistakes are made as with everything in life, but people, everyone, needs to take responsibility for our planet's animals. Maybe if everyone did this, things would be a lot different. Do not be fooled into this bullshit that Britain is a nation of animal lovers. It's not at all, not by any stretch of the imagination. I am sure that a large amount of the hate comments come from lack of awareness and ignorance of what we do. I was one of those ignorant people myself once.
What I can tell you about the veterinary side of the RSPCA is that they have the best, most dedicated veterinary surgeons and nurses, you could ever meet. The standards of surgery, medicine, nursing and care are the highest I have seen in 16 years of nursing. Perhaps you think I'm being biased? Yep, but it's also the truth. Especially the nursing, the best in the country without a doubt! Based on the national average, we earn less than other veterinary professionals, we are truly doing it for the love of the job, and for the love of animals. We work hard too, extremely hard, the job is physically, mentally and emotionally draining. Some of the things I have seen, I wish I could un-see. They are horrific. We all cry at times, ever the old hard-hearted ones, such as me. (not very often mind)
This blog isn't written as a professional piece of writing (just in case any veterinary professionals are reading this) its out of exasperation of the continuous slagging off of the place I work, and just in the hope that maybe one person may stop and think about how things may be from a different perspective. The RSPCA aren't perfect, show me a large organisation that is, but they're certainly not the monster they're perceived to be. Animal welfare will always be an emotive subject. There will always be differences of opinion, but stop the charity slating, imagine what would happen if the RSPCA did not exist at all?
Any comments that this may generate such as 'where were the RSPCA when such and such happened...' Will not be answered, because firstly it's not my place to respond and secondly, I do not know. Oh wait, I do, we were sitting around eating biscuits doing fuck all, waiting for a camera crew and celebrity to show up of course...
Wait, one last thing, to pet owners... Neuter your goddamn pets!

Diamond, our poor hamster, living in a house with 4 predators!

My Three Things. Week 1.

I came across this brilliant linky from Claire at Confessions of a Single Parent Pessimist. The idea of My Three Things is, each week, list three things that have not gone so well, three things to focus on for the forthcoming week, and three things that you've done well. I think it's a great idea to gain some perspective and focus on day to day life. It's about recognising that whilst things may not always go to plan, there are always positive things to concentrate on. So here we go...

3 Things That Were Not So Good This Week.
  • Healthy eating. I am trying my best to stick to Slimming World, but completely lost sight of my goals this week. The main meals I eat aren't so bad. It's the snacking on naughty treats that has been problematic.
  • Finding things to do. Ok so this one isn't entirely my fault, I have been without a car and completely skint for the past few weeks, but I have been lacking motivation to get out and go places with the kids.The summer holidays are proving expensive, but there are always local parks, museums and galleries. I need to stop making excuses!
  • Reading. As you know I start university in September, and as I will be studying English, Literature and Creative Writing, I have a reading list as long as my arm. Trashy TV needs to take a back seat.

3 Things I Want To Focus On Next Week.
  • Healthy eating, I need to get back in the zone, concentrate on my goal and stick to it. I will keep away from custard creams!
  • Get out of the house more. I plan to keep busy this week and exhaust the kids!
  • Turn off the TV and read more. This is a no brainer, as I much prefer reading anyway.

3 Things I've Done Well This Week.
  • Caught up with an old friend and organised more time to spend together. It's something we've both been meaning to do for ages, and we've finally done it.
  • Walking. The bonus of not having my car last week was that I walked everywhere. I used an app on my iPhone to track the number of steps/miles/calories burnt and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I exceeded my goal and covered a fair few miles.
  • I have not overspent this week. This was not really through choice because I have had to pay out for my car. However it has proved to me just how much I do overspend in the supermarkets each week, and that a lot of it is probably unnecessary. I can see now that I can cut back a bit and that we won't all starve. 
So, over to you, make sure you keep me posted on your #3things, and be sure to visit the other blogs in this linky.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Product Review: Karri

Karri is a neat little pouch, with a security corner, designed to adhere to the back of your phone and store items such as credit/debit cards, cash, tickets etc. It's described as 'your phone's back pocket'.

Karri: The 'loud' range.

This 'micro wallet', measures 91mm x 57mm, it fits onto most mobile phones or indeed any flat surface securely. It's ideally suited to the iPhone or iPod. The Karri itself is made from stretchy spandex fabric so you can carry a number of cards, cash or tickets, or whatever you can fit in there! It is also available in a variety of colours from nude to loud!

Karri: Nude/Navy

I used my Karri on the back of my iPhone to carry my debit card and cash whilst out with my toddler on a walk to the park. My purse is quite bulky and I didn't want to take my bag, but I did want to take cash and my card, just in case. The Karri was ideal, I only had to take along my phone and I could leave the bag behind. We played in the park where I climbed, swung and slid, and everything was secure inside the Karri. However, for me personally, the best use for the Karri, is on nights out. I don't like taking my whole purse with all my cards, just in case they get lost, likewise with a bag. There's every chance that I'll get too tiddly and abandon my handbag, never to be seen again. The one thing I always have on me, like the majority of us, is my phone, so this was great to keep my debit card and notes in. I even took my front door key off the keyring and put that in too! It meant I could enjoy a night out, without worrying about keeping an eye on my bag, or getting annoyed with my bag when dancing, or just getting too drunk to look after it properly!
Another great use for the Karri would be for when you are jogging or exercising. Most people carry a phone or MP3 player when exercising, but with the Karri, you could also carry your necessities. 

Karri: Loud/Cool
This is such a simple innovative idea, yet it is so useful. I love it! They retail at just £6.95, and you can find out more by visiting the Karri website.

Disclaimer: I was provided this product free of charge by Karri, for review purposes. No payments were exchanged and all opinions are my own.