My Blog...for helpful guides, product spotlights, Jo Thornton news, general chat and my hopefully interesting musings :)
I just wanted to give you an update on my situation and stance with regard to the outbreak.
I hope you all stay healthy during this. Please please wash your hands well regularly and for longer, don't get too close to people in public if you can avoid it and stay away from super crowded places when you can.
As a side note, I suffer terribly from dry hands that crack and bleed ordinarily. I have found bar soap to be so much better for them and to have virtually stopped it. If you find your hands getting dry with the extra washing using liquid soap, make a swap to bar soap and you should find it much better.
Take care everyone
I love history. I love reading historical novels, watching movies and TV shows like Vikings, The Tudors, The Last Kingdom and The Pianist, as well as fantasy history like Game of Thrones. I guess I just love being taken back in time and living another person's life for a while. As George R R Martin says:
When I read a historical book or watch a show, I am taken into a radically different life, and I love that.
Let me introduce you to a Welsh Princess called Nest (or Nesta). She pops up in a few of the novels I've read and she's rather awesome, so I just thought I'd share a little about her.
She lived from 1085-1136, during the time of intense fighting against the Normans who had come over, won in battle against our King Harold Godwinson, and taken over England. That was of course near Hastings and is depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry. Her father was a Welsh King and he resisted the Norman spread across England into Wales. He died fighting just outside Brecon against William the Conqueror's son, named, erm, William . Nest was still a teenager but was packed off to English court, as she was quite the beauty. That must have been such a tough time for her as she was separated from all her remaining family, but she struggled on. She settled in to London life, and even had Henry 1s illegitimate son (before he was King). According to written accounts, they were very close and things could have gone differently for her here, but she was ordered by Henry to marry a Norman Constable of Pembroke. This sounds rather harsh as he did love her, but he had become King and had to marry someone else for political reasons (he no doubt wasn't all that happy with it either).
This is a medieval manuscript in the British Library showing Nest in bed with Henry, crowns an' all!
Nest was shipped back to Wales with her new hubbie Gerald, so I'm sure she was happy to be going home; she even managed to make the forced marriage work. It's reported that she and her hubbie had a good relationship, despite her being a Welsh Princess and he a Norman Invader who had taken over Pembroke Castle. She was a well-balanced, strong, open and honest woman from what I've read, and she learnt to love Gerald for who he was. He learnt to respect her Welsh roots too, and was respectful of Pembroke and the Welsh people. I'm sure making the relationship work was not easy at the start, so hats off to them both.
They had 5 children together, and during her life with Gerald she was abducted and possibly raped by her cousin. She came through that ordeal with real strength, only to have Gerald die (not after he avenged her though) and her to be married off by her sons to someone else. It wasn't the best time to be a woman that's for sure. She had another child in this new marriage, and this son went on to be famous in his own right, Robert FitzStephen.
Despite all her trials and the constant battling between her family and the English (her brothers and nephews continued the fight), she still managed to walk the fine line in the middle with dignity. She maintained relations with both sides, and that must have been extremely tough with times of very high tensions. She was held in high esteem and Henry 1 reportedly remained very fond of her. He lost a great woman and I bet he knew it.
Women have made all sorts of marks over history, largely not documented or known, and Nest is one I feel a real fondness for. She spent her life being ordered around by men due to the time she lived and the little rights she had, but her legacy and the recording of her life shows she was held in very high regard. This is no mean feat for a woman back then and I think she helped pave the way for the end of the Welsh and Norman/English tensions. Go Nesta.
Happy New Year!
I hope you had a lovely festive time and you still have some teeth left (mine are just hanging in there, with just some Matchmakers boxes to go). I made a 3-month planner for my life last year that I use to try and keep track, take stock, and move forward with the things I want to achieve. I just had the crazy thought that it might be a good idea if I share it for once! I have an accountability page, but I just give it to my partner, so here I am sharing it with the world this time. LET'S DO THIS JO.
So, I have 3 personal and 3 work goals for every 3 months that I chip away at. This time they are:
1. Get my stock software sorted. I started with a new software last year called Angel Books and I am still struggling to get it to work for me. I am going to get that really sorted one way or another, as this will help you guys with my stock levels and manufacturing of products.
2. I will sort out some advertising. I find this really hard to do, as I am so limited with time as a one-woman shop. I'm going to work on a plan for this so that I can keep the stock turning over and develop new products when needed.
3. I'm going to get my discount code scheme going. I think I have found a way to offer loyal customers codes for discounts, so I am going to find a way to integrate that to my store/newsletter. If you would like to hear about that when they come out, make sure you are signed up to my newsletter at the bottom of my home page. My goal should probably be to write 2 more newsletters, as I only managed 1 last year, but I'm sure I'll send one out when I get the codes going.
1. Build new storage in my wardrobe. Quite frankly it is shocking in there, I have to shove the door shut and therefore could do with a better storage system. Power tools here I come.
2. Learn to say no. I'm a people pleaser and this first 3 months of the year I am going to start with the retraining of my brain to keep that in check.
3. Build my personal chronic disease health workbook, to help me when my health is going off-kilter and I need support/positivity/a reminder that I'm only human.
If you want to be accountable to someone with your goals, feel free to email me in complete confidence. Warning though, I will check in on you!
We hear soooo much from the big names about "Black Friday", "Cyber Monday", "Black Friday Week" and now "Extended Black Friday Week"...when will it end? I don't know about you, but I deleted all of the emails that chogged up my inbox. I don't participate in it for that very reason, and I'd rather offer great prices all of the time, not hike them so I can supposedly bring them down for a Black Friday Sale (aparrently a lot of companies use that method according to online reports). I'd rather offer sales when they are unexpected to you.
This Saturday however, it's about something I feel much happier about talking about, Small Business Saturday. In this country we have a wealth of small businesses offering amazing products, unusual products, exceptional customer service, advice and help in a way you will never receive from the big names, and they work at that all through the year. How about this Saturday, Sunday and any other time you are shopping, you take a look at these guides. Amex do a deal if you save the offer to your card and shop at a participating small business, and the others offer guides and product/shop lists. Happy shopping.
Love HO HO HO JO xxx
I've had some lovely messages about the chickens, wondering how they are getting on, so here's a quick update.
|In short, they are doing GREAT!|
They've got used to the sights and sounds of the outdoors, they've been indulging in dust baths in the sunshine, they've been hit by the rain and learnt it will make them very soggy if they don't go and shelter, they've been let out with the others, they've been chased around a bit, they've moved into Cluckingham Palace and they've even experienced hail (I don't think they liked it any more than I did...ouch!).
Frida proved to be the best at integrating, and I saw her socialising with the old girls very early on, but ironically, she was the only lady still trying to go to bed in the little house, all on her tod! The other 3, including little scared Hilda, got the idea and soon started to head up to my Cluckingham Palace Mansion to bed, electing to sleep in the nesting boxes away from the squawking old girls. I kept having to fling Frida in with them, but she's finally taking herself in there now. Go Frida. Chyna has grasped the morning mealworm breakfast routine very quickly, and waits up the top so she gets her own little pile to munch on. She's also been a pickle, trying to eat my earing, ring and bracelet when I've been cleaning out the chicken house.
So, the old girls have accepted the new girls, they are still sorting out the pecking order, but it's all really harmonious compared to the non-stop clucking and the "who the hell are these?!" looks I was getting at the start. Super-shy-bleeding-and-tiny Hilda is no longer hiding down the bottom, but is out wandering, and her feathers have really come back beautifully. I snapped some photos but she wasn't around, so I'll have to do her later. Here are Frida, Chyna (egg-laying extraordinaire) and Villanelle.
I must also add some of the old chickens as they wanted their piccie taken too, and posed so beautifully.
|Dumbledore and Dorothy||Nugget (my chicken!)|
Until next time
This is a more personal post, as I want to tell you about the amazing work the British Hen Welfare Trust do.
To start, I'll give you a little back story. My next door neighbours had 13 hens, and then few years ago decided that they would re-home them. We'd never had chickens before, but decided to give it a go with their help, and took 5 of them.
Well, that changed my life! I'd always been a little scared of them, simply as we don't get the chance to be around chickens often, so they were an unknown entity. I soon learned how entertaining they are, how they have such different personalities, how they love a good cuddle and a bath and how lovely their eggie presents are compared to the shops.
Fast forward a year or two, and some of our girls had gone to chicken heaven :( Since then, we've adopted 8 ex-free range hens from the BHWT. It has been interesting as the first 5 we got all came in pretty good condition, just a little pecked from squabbling. The second lot was in a terrible state for free-range, and certainly opened my eyes to the fact that not all farms are the same. I knew at this stage that giving a good retirement to hens would be a big feature of my life, so my next step last year was to build a bigger-than-I-meant-to build chicken house. It's built up high to make it easy for us to clean and give them shelter underneath from the rain and is fully insulated. I used old bits of wood I had, wood donated to me and even old laminate flooring on the inside. It was fun to make :)
I've had a few years on this planet now, and enough to know that I feel passionate that large-scale industrial animal farming is not the right way. Farming is a wonderful thing, and I'm not commenting as I'm a vegan or even a full vegetarian, but I think it's only sensible that we farm with care for the planet and compassion for the animals we are going to consume. Industrial farming has been shown again and again to be having a negative effect on the planet, and it certainly is not the life that the animals should be having. Our second lot of free-range re-homed hens showed me that we are moving in the right direction, but there is work to be done.
We've learnt that our rescue hens have a shorter life than our first ones and our two fancy Poland chickens with afros that we bought back in the day, and we've just been given the chance to house 4 ex-colony birds. This is the new name for battery/caged hens, but they are given a little more of a natural environment in their cages with perches etc.
I jumped at the chance as these are hens in real need of seeing that life can be lovely. We touched back up our old smaller chicken house with its own run, so that they could adjust slowly without having our girls up in their faces with a bit of turf warfare.
The next step, last Saturday, was to go to the collection day and get our new girls. It was, as I expected, the most difficult of the re-homing days. The staff were amazing of course, and it was run with impeccable efficiency. What was difficult, was that there were 4 poorly hens outside of the big pen that the staff had the re-homing girls in. All 4 were wrapped in coats and were in the sun, and it transpired after talking to the staff, that they were suffering from hyperthermia and trauma. These girls were not well, and it broke my heart. Once we got to the holding pen, I could see why. They were scrawny, with barely any feathers and had probably never been outside. They were wondering what the hell was going on and their bodies were in shock. The staff kept them all as calm as they could of course, and it was worth the move from the farm in order for them all to find new homes. They deserve to enjoy a free-range retirement after all their hard work commercially egg laying for their whole lives so far. It was just too much for those poor 4 girls. The staff were going to look after them as they had the experience, and hopefully most of them pulled through with all their TLC.
We packed our 4 girls in our lined crate, and brought them straight home. They were certainly unsure, and were pecking madly at me, but I managed to give them a little bath (they loved it and calmed straight away) and a good dose of vitamins before they moved into their temporary house within our big run. Welcome to the family ladies! We named them Hilda, Frida, China and Villanelle (big Killing Eve fans!).
They have spent the last week in their little house and run, and have settled in so well. Hilda is a little poorly, but she is further forward with her feathers coming back, and it looks incredibly sore. She loves her pet-friendly hot water bottle. Villanelle is living up to her name, and spends her time trying to escape the smaller run when I open the door. She's ready for her freeeeeeedom! She's been out a few times and with her extra confidence will really help the other 3 when they integrate.
I think I will integrate the two most confident this weekend, as Hilda is just not ready, but Villanelle is going stir crazy! Villanelle and probably China will be placed in the main chicken house at night, as this is the best way to have them accepted. The older girls will wake up and see them in their house in the morning, and realise there is very little they can do about it now! Hilda and Frida can then stay in the little house together until Hilda is ready.
If you've ever thought about getting chickens, I totally recommend it! Get a good guide-book and speak to others for advice (me included!). The BHWT has a wealth of information and supplies, and can advise if you are starting with rescue hens. It's a learning curve, but they are so much lovelier than I ever imagined, and will really make you smile.
Self-confidence is a complicated thing.
It is an emotional and personal connection to ourselves. It's fragile but strong, fluid and yet rigid.
It is about how we feel about ourselves, but it's rooted in the word around us. Our confidence in ourselves is like fine threads coming out from us, weaving into other people, through the media and society, through our hopes and desires. These threads change, pull and slacken on us all the time. Sometimes we feel a pull that isnt even there, but it is there, as we feel it. These threads and perceived threads are super important.
The result is confusing. It's love and encouragement, kindness and appreciation, and it's a constant reminder that you that you’re not good enough, pretty/rich/stylish enough.
Self-confidence is not just a female thing either as some believe. It can be equally strong in kids, men and women, but there are a few things you can try to help strengthen your positive threads, whilst cutting off some of those negatively pulling ones. There are some great books and resources out there, but let's look at a few ideas:
1. Take a hard look at the environment around you.
Who do you spend time with? How do they make you feel? Do they bring out your positive side and boost you up or make negstive comments and pull you down? We can't avoid everyone that doesn't make us feel great, as it might be your colleague, your brother, your neighbour etc, but we can sit and think how to minimise the time we have to spend with them and how often we have to see them. That "friend" that makes you feel really low when you've seen them though - just go cut them loose. The people you spend your time with have a huge impact on how you feel about yourself and some people are not good for you, so dont keep them in your life.
2. Show yourself compassion.
When you notice that you are being unkind to yourself in your thoughts or comments, think about what you'd say to someone saying those things to someone you love. Would you think it was fair, would you think they were kind? What what you'd say if a friend was saying those things to themselves? Would you be reassuring and compassionate? Of course you would. You'd give them a cuddle, you'd remind them how lovely they are, you would tell them how wrong they've got it with the negative things they are saying about themselves. You'd remind them that they need to be compassionate to themselves, and that's what you need to remember to do for yourself.
Maybe write to yourself when you are feeling great. Just write down all the things you want to tell yourself when you are feeling too low to remember what you want to say. Find your self-kindess and nurture it.
3. Read positive stuff.
If seeing pictures of other people makes you feel bad about yourself, stop looking. Don't buy magazines, don't surf online, don't follow those people on Instagram. Find people who inspire you, remind you of the beauty in people and yourself, and make you feel more confident in the areas your confidence is lacking.
4. Make changes.
If you have areas of your life you don't feel too confident about, can you change it? Have a brainstorm to see if there is anything you can do. Do you lack confidence when driving? Get a driving instructor again to help sharpen up those skills. Do you feel self-conscious when dancing out with your friends? Get music on whenever you can at home and get those moves going. The more you do it, the more confident you will feel when out.
You can work out what you could change, usually the things that most frighten you. You can take little nibbles out of them, building up your confidence slowly, or just go for it.
Whatever you do, remember life is super short. Compared to the life of our beautiful Earth, our human lives are the equivalent of half a second. You can choose to spend that half a second bring kind to yourself and nuturing your self-love.
With the arrival of my new breast forms, I need to make space for them, which means sale time!
I have put on sale the last few pairs of my older versions of my styles, which you can see here:
I also have some pairs that are not up to my high standards, with various issues such as cosmetic blemishing, and I will be adding those over the next week to my bargain category here:
I have very limited stocks, so grab them while you can. If you have any questions, just contact me.
"Gender medicine is not feminist. It's about real science...later the patient will reap the benefit" Dr Alyson McGregor, Brown University.
As someone who relies on medication to keep my health conditions under control (Lupus) this is a topic that I'm very interested and it catches my eye if I see it in a magazine/paper. I also run a business that caters for women, as well as women with specific health needs such as having had a mastectomy, and issues around gender with women transitioning from a male body to a female one. Health, medication and gender are around me in my professional and personal life every day.
My Dad subscribes to the BBC magazine "Science Focus" (formally just BBC Focus) and an article in there recently about gender and medicine was fascinating. If you'd like to read it, I can scan and send you a copy, but to summarise the writer Simon Crompton wrote:
Clearly we are experiencing a change in the medical and pharmaceutical industries, but this change will take time. I await with interest the day that I see the first change on a medication packaging, detailing the dose for men and the dose for women.
For more information about Dr Alyson McGregor you can read her TED page here and watch her TED talk on the subject at the bottom.
The article I read was written by Simon Crompton, a science journalist, and you can read some of his other articles on how to "beat the burnout" and Free Will among others, on his website here.