Friday, 2 September 2016

Parakito

The Parakito, also written as Para'kito, is a brand that sells anti-mosquito products.



I'm 23, I've never been eaten by mosquitos. Sure I've had the occasional bite, but never more. This week I've been really badly bitten. I have twenty or so bites on my arms alone. 

I thought the easiest option would be to get some kind of a bracelet, because I can remove it without difficulty. My worry with sprays is I'm asthmatic and to remove them it'll involve washing or airing. Plug in devices exist too, but my plugs are either under my bed or under my desk. 


I saw these on display in my local pharmacy and while I love the colours I know I wouldn't get away with the outrageous neon orange... A couple of years ago a family I babysat for bought the same ones and apparently they worked well. Although at almost 12€ that's a big investment. 

I did some Googling, and asked around. It seems people have mixed views on these. They're designed to mask your smell with a strong, some have said overpowering, mix of essential oils. Some swear by them working. Others say they don't. 

It's also made in France! Meaning it supports European manufacturing and jobs, so that's another plus. I found several cheap knocks offs on Amazon and eBay but they were probably made in China under questionable conditions. I try and support European manufacture whenever possible. As well as fair trade. I'm a hippy. 

In the end I decided it was worth a try. 
If it doesn't work there's always faffing about with essential oils until I find a combination that works. 

I chose black. Why? Because it's probably the most discreet colour there was. Although I wish I could get away with neon orange.

In the pack there was the bracelet, two pellets that I keep calling refills and the instructions. 

The instructions were in most common languages even though the pack was only in English and French. They were short, breif and to the point. 

Smell
When I got the sachet open I gave the refil a quick smell and I found it agreeable. However twenty minutes in I was getting the occasional strong whiff of it that was a little shocking. I'm not sure what the exact small is but it can be strong. I think the worst is when I don't move. It creates an aura of odour. 

The second day the smell has gone down a lot! It's nowhere near as overpowering. However that begs the question of if it loses its effectiveness over the two weeks meaning the first day it's brilliant and the last week it's useless. Time will tell. 

Appearance 
It's practical, functional and compact. It doesn't look like a feminist bracelet, but looks fine pared with hiking gear, and everyday clothing. This is not the kind of thing you can dress up for an evening out. However you could always clip it to your bag and hey do a key ring version that would be more discreet on a belt for example. 

Does it actually work?
For me it has worked so far. Although we've also had a dip in temperature. 

Three days after using it I got my first bite. There was only one, on the wrist I wasn't wearing he Para'kito. 

Over a month of suing it I've only had two or three bites. I'm pleased with it! I bought one for my mum too, for when we went to Scotland. I was out with the midges once but I didn't get bitten by anything so it might work against them too. 

It's a big investment but it seems to work for me. 

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Wee Charlie

Please share this with anyone you know. I've not been able to get help to Charlie through the NSPCC because they need a full name and an address. I have neither. The mother was called Emily or Emma. They were English, got on at London and off at Galsgow. Didn't know the difference between Scotland and the Lake District. The mother and the grandmother were both extremely overweight. By the end of the bus journey the mother was slurring her words, I guess she was drunk. The mother was blonde and appeared to be in her early 20s. The grandma was dyed ginger and looked 45+. The entire family was white. They sounded southern English, but poor. 

I've been sending this to megabus all week and I've had no reply. I want Charlie saved. He shouldn't be around these people. 

The journey was on the 13/08/2016 at 8am but left at 9am. Arriving in Glasgow at 6:10pm. 

Email

I recently suffered two deplorable journeys with your services from Paris to London and then London to Glasgow. I was stranded for twelve hours because of delays that plagued my entire journey. I was also advised to call 101 and report an assault that your driver didn't even react to involving how other commuters were behaving. 

I find it unacceptable that my Paris to London bus (47-9724-120816-ME05-2215-GBP25.00-PAR-LON) had over an hour of delay. We arrived at Calais and had to wait three hours to board a boat with no explanation as to why we were waiting without advancing. 

Normally I'd have missed my London to Glasgow bus (42-7356-130816-M11-0800-GBP12.00-LON-GLA) because of this delay, but somehow that bus was delayed too. We didn't leave London until an hour after the scheduled departure. The bus hadn't been cleaned before we were loaded on and it was atrocious. There were cookies, and an empty take out container under the seats around me. Only the bin bags being changed. This in itself I can at a limit understand, skipping cleaning to keep the bus on time. 

However not long into my journey wee "Charlie" as they were shouting at him, started crying. He was accompanied by his grandmother, his uncle who looked about 10, and his mother. At first I thought Charlie was a young toddler based on the pitch and sound of the cries but the mother kept telling him he'd be four soon. 

Instead of reassuring the child they kept shouting at him, the mother and grandmother took it in turns sitting with him and neither made an effort to calm him. Instead they resorted to hitting, shouting and telling him to "shut the fuck up". They were also calling him "dumb dumb" which is deplorable treatment of a child so young. 

They spent most of the journey arguing, fighting and swearing at each other. The uncle and mother were particularly bad. I saw them hitting and shoving each other during the trip. 

They were English and I assumed they'd be off at Manchester, I tweeted Manchester council and they advised me the following Monday to phone 101 and report this assault I'd witnessed on a child to the police. I've not yet done this because I'm in an area where I can't get a phone signal. 

Sadly this family didn't get off at Manchester but most of the people around me did. They got off quickly before coming back on. I'd changed seat. When they got back on they chose to sit behind me, and to begin with they were being more or less civil. A lot of commuters, myself included, had given this family dirty looks, and somehow this had annoyed them.

I had to endure casual insults of "what the fuck are you staring at?" whenever I turned around to see why a child was screaming. Among other horrible remarks. I work with children, it's a reflex.

I honestly don't think these people should be around this poor boy. He was meant to be four year old boy but appeared to have developmental delays, crying instead of speaking, and a very poor level of vocabulary. I don't think his family would be any help to that. As someone who works with children I urge and implore you to find out who this family are and pass their details and the CCTV footage to the relevant authorities. If they've been torturing a child like this in public what they do behind closed doors can only be worse. As I said early I had nothing to do with them but had to endure insults, having my seat kicked, and having my hair pulled in a way I can't imagine as accidental. 

Sadly I feel the driver is at fault, he only intervened when they took the boy's seatbelt off, which they kept doing in spite of several warnings not to. 

I will happily engage with in giving statements to any authorities if needed.

As for being stranded at Buchanan bus station, my bus was meant to arrive at 17:10 and that left me enough time to catch the last bus to Campbeltown at 17:45. 
For some reason we stopped a second time outside of Manchester and several people got off to smoke. We were already running late by this point. We didn't get to Buchanan bus station until 18:20. My bus had gone and the next was over twelve hours away at 06:35. I had to pay to change my tickets and I had to wait overnight in a bus station.

This journey was a horrible experience and I want a refund for the lost time. 

Monday, 27 June 2016

A letter to my local MP

I've not done this before, it's a big step writing to an MP. There's a lot of things floating around saying that they can block the referendum vote being acted on. If this works I'll be very happy. This was written to Andrew Tyrie, the Chichester MP and I've included his details below on the off chance someone else wants to send him something. 

.........

Andrew Tyrie
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA
andrew.tyrie.mp@parliament.uk

Dear Mr Tyrie

The implications of the recent EU referendum are far reaching and quite possibly worse than we can all imagine. I'm writing to you hoping you can address my concerns with your fellow MPs. 

From your constituency I've heard an absolute horror, one of my mother’s narrow minded friends voted leave simply because she doesn't like having Polish neighbours. I cannot comprehend this idiocy, and I fear racism is abundant in the area. Sadly, my Dad and I as proud Scots suffered casual anti-Scottish comments in the area, to the point where someone even destroyed my Saltire and the police in your area don't take these hate crimes seriously. My real concern is some people have taken the Brexit victory as a license to be racist. It's not even been a week but look at the anti-Polish sentiment that's spread like a cancer across England. I'm yet to hear stories from the rest of the United Kingdom. 

With the utmost respect for the leave campaign I feel that their campaign was one of scaremongering, propaganda and lies at best. It was full of casual racism, and now the referendum is over European migrants, and other nationalities have suffered from disgusting comments telling them to leave the country. This is appalling. The British public seem to have no idea how Europe works and some don't even know what the European Union is. Until they're educated I strongly think this referendum should only be taken as advisory. I honestly don't think a referendum on this scale can be, let alone should be, organised in as little as four months. 

Life is an adventure and my adventure is currently in France. I came here in 2012 and I've been around Paris ever since. I've been working and studying and I profit fully from the freedom of movement act. I have a normal life in France with French colleges and friends, I know one English person and about twenty other Scots. We've all been affected in varying degrees, a woman from church was crying on Sunday because she's in dispar. My French friends and colleagues are horrified at seeing the news on the racist attacks, incidents or whatever you shall call them, when I tell them that sadly this is normal but usually hidden they're even more disgusted. Sadly people will be seeing this image as the new independant Great Britain. Although the leave side wasn't full of xenophobia I feel the xenophobes have won.

I'm scared to bring my three year old son to Chichester as he only speaks French. As a mother I understandably want to protect him and I'm worried people will jump on us with all their hate speech, so for now I'm postponing all holidays. I sadly know this is a possibility as when I received a phone call in the town centre and was talking on the phone in French someone yelled at me to “fuck off back home” along with many dirty looks thrown at me by complete strangers. I have a terrible accent when I speak in French, but people don't care about that. They're more keen to see me as yet another foreigner. 

There is no exit plan. Nobody on the leave campaign reflected on that before the public made this life changing choice. Look how Labour have fallen apart since the vote was announced. There is too much division in the government. I worry that with these divides it could be the worst time to go through with leaving the European Union. A step in the dark can easily cause a fall, I don't want to see the UK flounder because of one gigantic mistake. 

The pound has fallen in value, this means the world marker doesn't have much confidence in the United Kingdom outside of the European Union. Not to mention the United Kingdom is barely united these days. Is it any wonder Scotland wants to leave?

Another concern of mine is that the majority of leave voters are apparently over 65, if the exit plan fails and the consequences are long lasting they won't have long to live through it. My generation, I'm 23, will have decades of suffering to put right this one monstrous mistake. The European Union has taken decades to build to its current status, and we have been involved for a long time. We could lose so much progress in leaving. 

You, as a member of Parliament can voice these concerns and I am sure that I'm not alone in contacting you, and other MPs across the country. To make it easier for you to reply I've included my mother's address, she still checks my post when I receive things. I look forward to receiving your response. 

Yours sincerely,

And obviously I signed it. 

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Cunt cup - second month

I completely forgot about writing this. My period has long since been and gone. I did use the cup again though. 

I had the typical three day bleed. Starting heavy and tapering off at a steady rate. It was a weekend when I was busy with seeing Alexandros but it worked out okay. 

Day one 
I was a few days late so knew full well I was going to get my period. I'm very lucky that normally it starts during the night. I woke up through the night and there was a small amount of spotting.
I put the cup in and got it right first try and went back to bed. 
The morning when I woke up there was barely any blood but I find I never bleed through the night but I'm stupidly heavy in the hour after I wake up. I think this is normal and my body abiding to the laws of gravity.
I went about my day and emptied the cup three times. It was  near the 15ml mark twice and once it was very full; but at the same time I wasn't paying a huge amount of attention. When I emptied it before bed it was only at the half way mark.

I had some leakage but thankfully I was wearing black trousers and it was a very small amount on my undies. I know wearing a pad is recommended to begin with but I don't bother. 

I didn't seem to have any problems with insertion this month which I feel is a great improvement upon the last. I kind of fold it up. Shove it in. Go. 

Day two 
As normal I would have woken up in the morning, had a shower and got ready. I've actually taken to washing the cup in the shower when I take it out with my pH neutral soap. It seems to work quite well and is a lot more practical than boiling it daily. I can see why people have two cups though. 
I had a medium flow kind of day where I emptied the cup twice and it would have been around the 7.5ml mark.

Again I had some leakage that I couldn't really figure out as the cup seemed to be correctly inserted. At first I thought I'd managed to pinch my cervix behind the cup as sometimes it can sit very flat against my vagina but when I checked it wasn't that. I couldn't really find an explanation and where it was such a minimal amount I wasn't overly fussed. Period pants are a good thing. 

Day three 
I ended up emptying the cup once during the day, and once before bed and both times it was mostly empty. At most half way to the 7.5ml mark. Then when I changed it before going to bed I decided it wasn't worth reinserting it so I went to have a shower and washed it out discreetly. Then I put it away for next month. 

I've found with my housemates where everything is shared I don't really want to boil it in case I have to explain it to some poor man or I end up grossing one of them out and causing a huge problem. 

I also had inexplicable leaking this month and I can't figure out why. He first month I didn't have that. 

Monday, 30 May 2016

An experiment revisited

Last summer I was bored so I was blogging about weird people on Plenty of Fish. 

This morning I was bored and decided to see what happened to the account. 


Nearly 2000 people want to meet me. 
And messages get deleted after a certain amount of time so they're all gone. 

I did find one gem of a profile. 


Friday, 27 May 2016

Mother's Day Mugs

In France Mother's Day isn't the same day as in the UK. This year it's the 29th of May.

I wanted to do something special but not too difficult with the children I babysit. Something they'd be capable of doing that had a functional purpose, but could also be decoritive if it was too sentimental or pretty to use. 

I chose painted mugs, proposed the activity to them and they happily accepted. 


Who with? 

With children aged 3 and up, I found this fun as an adult. They have to be able to hold a pen and ideally draw or write. 

Where?

Ideally outside where if they make a mess it's leas of a problem. Otherwise on a low table with plenty of sheets of paper. Ceramic paint is a nightmare to clean up. 

Materials

I found these paint liner pens in Hema for 5€50 and tested them. They seem to work as ceramic paint pens would but I got four for the price of one real ceramic paint pen.

  • - Ceramic paint in pen form (or paint form with brushes for older children)
  • - Pale or white mugs
  • - Newspaper to protect the surfaces
  • - Aprons
  • - An oven to bake the paint 


Objectives

  • - Make something for Mother's Day with a practical use. 
  • - Involve the children in their Mother's Day presents. 


Secondary objectives

  • - Drawing or writing with the kids.
  • - Talking about the colours in English, as I'm meant to be teaching them basics. 


Before, preparation  

Obviously before involving the children in this activity I did a trial run to avoid any disappointment. I didn't want them making beautiful mugs and then the paint washing off. 

Once I found out it had worked we went to the shop together to choose our mugs. I asked L what kind of coffee her mum drinks in the morning (small or large) and she said large and choose a large mug. Then I asked R and he said small. L decided she preferred the small mug and wanted a small one for her mum. So we ended up with two espresso mugs which they both started calling coffees in English. 

We paid, went back to the house and the children cleared off the table. They got their drawing books, because I said where the pens were a bit difficult it would be one at a time. We also put paper on the table to avoid getting paint on it. 

I washed the mugs and the kids took off their jackets so they were in short sleeves. 

During, the activity

R went first because L was drawing out on paper what she wanted to write on her mug. 

I asked R which language he wanted to do his mug in and he said the language he speaks with his dad. I got the translation and he asked me to write it and chose a colour. Then I asked him if he wanted to draw something on the other side. He said a flower. We drew it in together and then he drew his family without any help next to the flower. I also wrote his name and year around the bottom. 

Then it was L's turn. She's much more inderpendant so wrote on "maman" with a heart for the middle m on her own. Then I wrote her name and the year on the bottom. 

I was making a mug at the same time and I'd written on the handle and they asked me to do the same on their mugs.

After, finishing 


I swore them both to secrecy and we hid the mugs in L'a room. The following day I did a second coat on the paint and baked them in the oven. 

The children actually put their own into the oven because they go into a cold oven. Warm to 180° and then leave for 30 minutes. Then turn off and leave to cool.



Once cool we filled them with sweetie hearts. 

Both children wanted to give them to their mums on the same evening we'd finished them to they did it a bit early than normal but everyone seemed happy. 

Mine is for my Italian  friend, hence the lack of sense.



Sunday, 22 May 2016

Spring holiday 2016 #3

Be sure to read part one! You can find it here
And there's also part two

Tuesday
George had some kind of psychology gubbins in the morning and my mum wanted to go to a craft group in a church at the same time. I have a very low view of the local population. I'm not going to lie. They're mostly either snobs or inbreds and I'm trying to prove this wrong so I went to the craft group. 

When we got there is was fairly busy. A lot of other people were knitting. Someone was even using Rowan. Others were making cards. There was coffee but it was more like brown water. 
Anyway I was knitting two socks at once. I got asked how once. I explained the way it works, if you'd like to know how it's here.
Then I got asked again. And again. So I said it was voodoo. And the funny looks started. It's complicated, it's practically voodoo. 

There was also the typical person who started talking about X (a quiche in this case) from M&S and how good it is, then makes a big exit to go and buy X and come back with X to flaunt. 
Why would you want to pay so much for own brand stuff? Whatever. Not my problem. 

Afterwards we went to get George and saw the brave strikers outside the hospital. It was raining on and off all day.

The sign reads tired doctors make missteaks. A play on mistakes. 
I wasn't on strike. I had a doughnut for lunch. It was cheap from Lidl. 
These are my two at once socks. If yuh were curious. The needles are in the middle. Bellow is one sock and above another. However when knitting one is inside the other making it look like you're knitting one. Inside out. 
For dinner I wanted to cook a turnip but j couldn't cut the bastarding thing. I also wanted to make a smoked herring chowder. Not really knowing what it was. I peppered it all, told my mum to keep an eye on it and the whole thing boiled over. But it was edible and actually really nice. 
I mean, it doesn't look like much, but it was delicious. 
Then at bedtime I couldn't find Hamish. I looked everywhere. Called him. Gave up and decided to get changed for bed before choosing a cat from the wide array we have. And there he was. Asleep, faithfully, on my pillow. He'd been waiting for me all along. And this is why dogs are better than cats.