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Category: Jo Thornton on... (topics I feel passionate about)

  1. We Are All Human

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    Hi everyone.

    Just a little post as I've had a message on my site and emails about my family emergency.  It's certainly been a tough few weeks for me.  We all go through difficult times, and when you come to me for help, a lot of you are feeling very low or struggling in your lives.  Many of you have been feeling progressively low, some have had breast surgery, some have lost hope of feeling better.  You share with me, and are open and honest with your troubles.  I try to help you all as best I can and hope that even just by talking to me and hopefully finding options for your breasts, you can feel better.   You often tell me it/I've helped, and that is so wonderful.

    I write this now as I find it's sometimes helpful to know we are not alone in suffering. It's part of being human and tough times affect us all.  I'm suffering at the moment and finding things tricky, so I thought I'd share. I want my blog to be informative and uplifting, but also real.  This is me, Jo, the little shop owner who is having a tough time and being open with you, and that is no bad thing I think.  If you only like happy blog posts, skip this one.

    My first woe was recently when a young teenager riding his scooter out between two parked cars without looking, onto my car as I drove up the road.  It was such a shock and so frightening, for us both, with the ambulance, police all in attendance and me being interviewed and breathalysed.  My daughter was in the car too, but luckily everyone was OK.  It did result in a hefty car repair bill, as my entire front headlight was smashed on the passenger side and the front bumper had to come off.  It was really frightening, as for a long time I wasn't sure if he was ok, and the Police started quite forceful with me in case I had been driving dangerously, so it made me feel like I was guilty of something. It was all OK after, as I came home and reminded myself that the boy was ok, that I hadn't done anything wrong, it was just an accident and the light is just money. 

    Next was a flood in my house.  The stop-cock managed to burst off in my daughters room.  The pipe burst and when the stop cock has been pushed off with the pressure, my panicked mind took a while to work out how to stop the water jetting into the room.  I was trying to reapply the stop cock with the full however-many-bar-of-pressured-water, until I suddenly remembered it can be turned off in the street.  It didn't fully turn off out there, but enough to stop the flood.  A week of taking up flooring, running dehumidifiers, replacing flooring and repainting damaged walls etc, and it's all ok.  It just took a LOT of time and some more money.

    Next was a fox attack in my garden. I was silly and I had let my lovely chickens out on the lawn with me, as they have been enclosed since December due to Avian Flu.  I just wanted them to have some freedom and some sun, and I forgot that it is the time of year when foxes are terrible. I'd never had one come into my garden though, just before midday and try and snatch one in front of me.  It took me and them completely by surprise.  I scared it away and grabbed them, but one was too injured as it had snapped at her.  After a lot of nursing and time, she still had to be put to sleep.  It was so utterly upsetting, especially as she was my favourite, I had a £200 vet bill without the happy ending and I am racked with guilt.  If only I hadn't let them out with me.  I cried a lot for 2 days, mainly from the shock and guilt. 

    Now it's a family member that is very unwell.  It's so upsetting and worrying and eclipses the other things, which is as much as I can say about it here.  I'm trying to keep going and do all I can to keep my mental health in-tact, and it's a little too raw at the moment.  We all need to do what we can to process our stresses, grief, financial worries and remember that things will not always be so bad.  I'm trying to do that right now, and remember that life isn't always this difficult.  I've read a bit about it and what I am doing is called "active coping".  The other type is "passive coping", so keeping things more hidden away.   I do talk to those around me, express when I am having good and bad moments of mental health and they do the same, which is absolutely invaluable. Writing this is part of my active coping. 

    Not everyone has a support network though, and using mine a lot right now reminds me how lucky I am. If you are going through a tough time and you feel alone or just that you need to vent, do email me.  I'm not a counsellor and I don't know the "right" thing to say, but I can listen if that's what you need.  You can write me your struggles in complete confidence to me.

    On a more positive note to round off, when things have calmed down in my life I'll look to doing some write-ups for things that can be done when stressed in case it helps someone.

    xxx

  2. Feminist Icon - Nellie Bly

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    Nelly Bly Blog PNG

     

    For the next in my series of Feminist Icons, I'd like to write about a lady I read about recently in my National Geographic magazine.  It's so nice to be able to discover stories of confident, empowered, game-changing people who have been able to help carve a better future for women, and share them with you here.  I love it :)

    Nellie Bly was an American pioneer of investigative journalism and was born in Pitsburgh in 1864 as Elizibeth Jane Cohran.  At 21 years old, she wrote a letter to her local newspaper to rebuke an article entitled "What Girls Are Good For". The newspaper was so impressed that they hired her, go Nelly!  She was born Elizabeth Jane Conran, but preferred to use pen names Orphan Girl and Nellie Bly, and grew up experiencing hardship after her father died when she was 6. Money was difficult, and her Mother married and then divorced an abusive man, which helped start a fire inside Nelly to succeed in journalism and call attention to the difficulties that working-class families faced in their daily lives.                 Nellie-Bly

     

    Life as a journalist at the Pitsburgh Dispatch wasn't all she dreamed of, having been restricted to writing for a segregated women's section of the paper.  Nellie could have accepted this comfort of employment, but instead she decided to make a shocking move for the time, and head off to Mexico alone to work as a correspondent.  It is this move, that I love about her the most, as she was willing to risk herself in order to further her skills, find new stories and report on things that were being hidden from journalism. During her time there she wrote about the exploitation of peasants, and by whom they were being exploited, and it was this that ultimately forced her hand to leave in order to avoid arrest from the authoritarian government. 


    Of to New York Nelly went, in a time that its creative journalism was booming.  Nellie's first assignment for the New York World involved her getting herself committed to an asylum in order to write an undercover piece about conditions there. "How will they get me out?" she asked, "First get in" was the answer.   I'm not sure that's an assignment I would take, but Nelly was undeterred and managed to get herself certified as "demented".  She soon realised that institutions were overcrowded (built for 1000 but housing 1600), understaffed (only 16 doctors), employed ill-trained and brutal staff, and had horrific conditions. The patients were not only mentally ill, but also immigrants unable to communicate and the extremely poor.  Nelly was appalled by the fact that no women were given the chance to prove their sanity and that that government felt it was acceptable to keep women this way.  She resolved to change all that. 

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    After 10 days, Nellie was released thanks to the paper's lawyer, and her article shocked the public and triggered a grand jury investigation.  This led to increased funding and improved conditions, so it's undisputable that Nellie's risk paid off.  As one of the first undercover journalism examples, let alone by a woman, Nelly has paved a way for writing that aims to penetrate layers of shielding and prompt education and change.  For this I really do want to honour her.  

    Her following articles always included her name, showing how popular she had become, and included "Nellie Bly Buys a Baby" and "Nellie Bly Tells How It Feels to Be a White Slave".  For the time, Nellie was boundary pushing and this continued when at aged 25, Nelly travelled around the world in 72 days in order to break Phileas Fogg's fictional record of 80 days.  She became America's first celebrity journalist, but made sure all knew that she embarked on the trip after her newspaper thought it a better job for a man. She showed them

    After marriage and a journalism hiatus in order to run her husband's company, Nellie returned to writing after moving to Austria and became the first woman journalist on the front during World War I .


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    On her return to America, she continued to write and use her column to help people find work and housing.  Nellie never gave up on the hope that her writing could help improve the lives of those who are fighting, in life as well as in war, and struggling with the challenges they are faced with and others are ignorant to. 

    Nellie died in January 1922 of pneumonia, and was 57 years old.  Her life was rich, varied and boundary pushing, and I hope she felt beyond content at all she achieved. Female reporting and investigative journalism was forever changed by her determination and willingness to risk herself, with newspapers unable to claim that a woman "could not do it".   Just ask Stacey Dooley.

     

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    sign-2014-8-20-15.2.46 xxx

     

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
  3. Feminist Icon - Millicent Fawcett - Happy Birthday!

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    Happy Birthday Millicent!

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    Just a quick birthday wish for her from me today, as there are plenty of fabulous articles out there and they are better than anything I could write.  

    If you'd like to read more about her and the suffragette movement, have a look through these great articles and resources:  

    https://www.historytoday.com/archive/millicent-garrett-fawcett

    https://www.britannica.com/biography/Millicent-Fawcett

    Here books are available as ebooks here:  http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/author/5969

    And The London School of Economics and Political Science has a fantastic Women's Libray detailed here:

    http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/collection-highlights/the-womens-library

    and a digital timeline with books here:

    https://digital.library.lse.ac.uk/collections/thewomenslibrary

    Details of her statue in Parliament Square can be read here:

    https://london.ac.uk/news-and-opinion/millicent-fawcett-statue-unveiled-parliament-square

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    sign-2014-8-20-15.2.46 xx

  4. Feminist Icon - Nest ferch Rhys - Welsh Princess

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    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:

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    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! 

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    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.  

    If you'd like, you can read more about her by clicking here:

    Jo xxx

  5. Chicken Update!

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    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!  Chicken 

    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.

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    Dumbledore and Dorothy Nugget (my chicken!)

    Until next time

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    xxxx

     

  6. Chicken Re-homing with the British Hen Welfare Trust

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    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. 

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    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.

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    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!).    

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    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.

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  7. How Can I Feel More Confident?

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    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. 

     

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  8. Gender and Medicine

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    "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:

    • Only in the past decade has mainstream medicine started to realise that different drug doses may be needed for men and women
    • This was accelerated by the findings that a sleeping and jet lag treatment caused women to act bizarrely with no recollection of what they have done. After the US drug regulators investigated, it was found that women needed half the amount than men do, as women metabolise it slower than men  meaning it stays in their system longer. 
    • The old medical view of a woman with regard to medicine was that they are essential men with "boobs and tubes". 
    • Since changing ideas, it has found that women experience heart attacks differently.  For men, look out for a tight pain in the chest, shooting pains down the arm and dizziness. With women, look for shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea and pain in the lower jaw or back. 
    • We have found that women have faster and stronger immune responses than men, as testosterone dampen's men's responses. 
    • This results in men being more likely to die of infectious diseases
    • Women are more likely to have autoimmune diseases (like lupus, which is a "woman's disease"). The believe percentage of autoimmune diseases is 78% women. 
    • Women and men have different metabolisms and different experiences of pain.
    • Biological sex and gender with characteristics and identity shapes by society and the environment and now both being studied on their influence over medicine.
    • Women and men tend to experience Alzheimer's differently. Look for behavioural changes and aggression in women, and physical impairment and aggression in men.
    • Gut function really seems to vary, with women taking twice as long to digest food and medication, being more likely to get gall stones have IBS. 
    • The main reason behind the assumption, until now, that medicine works the same for men and women, is that all medical trials were carried out on men.  It was believed that women of childbearing years etc should be protected from harmful testing.  As a result, the differences in medication influence were not seen in a lab environment and when women are involved the results tend to be combined so the differences between them are never discovered in the same way as separate testings for men and women. 
    • Gender medicine has been slow to grow due to cost. Trials on women are more expensive. Hormone fluctuations mean as woman needs checking more often, depending on where they are in their menstrual cycle. 
    • Despite the costs, Dr Alyson McGregor states that it is important for the evolution in excellence in health care. Afterall, currently mixed trials are potentially making the results inaccurate for men too.  

    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. 

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    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.

     

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  9. My Environmental Efforts

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     I heart our world

    Keeping my store environmentally friendly has always been something that I am passionate about.  

    I will always struggle with that the silicone breast enhancers themselves are not recyclable, but I hope this will change in the future, and it is why I work on making top-quality products.  I don't like to go along the lines of other stores, with cheaper products, even if those cheaper prices do mean it attracts more customers. Instead, I would rather spend more in manufacturing the products, so I can not only make the manufacturing process as environmentally friendly as possible, but also make products that are designed to perform well and last as long as possible.  

    I do my best with small changes as often as I can make them:

    • I have always recycled all the business waste possible. 
    • I moved to fully recyclable Jo Thornton labels in 2011
    • Not long after I introduced recyclable tissue paper packaging as the packaging that most of my products go out in.  I knew that most customers would not doubt that they could recycle tissue paper and paper recycling is on of the things we are best at out of all recycling types. 
    • I added natural cotton organza bags and fully recyclable cardboard boxes as other product options, later that year, rather than plastic based bags.
    • In 2013 I made my fashion tape rolls have recyclable backing and a recyclable inner roll.
    • I took active steps in 2014 to audit all my storage and I now only use cardboard and wooden storage in all my storage areas.
    • My mailing bags have always been recyclable for the bigger sizes and biodegradable for the smaller sizes.  Technology has moved on in this area, so I am working with a factory to make bags just for me that will dissolve to Co2, water and eco-friendly biomass. They will use vegetable inks and there will be no residue left of the bag but those compounds, and this is the most eco-friendly option that is available. These are nearly finalised and will be packaging your goodies very soon. 

    My next steps:

    • My next step is to look at the bags that all my tapes come in.  The problem that I have is that the tape is adhesive, so I am unable to use a paper or cotton based back as the tape will remove some of that packaging and be hard for you to remove.  I am going to try other biodegradable plastic types to see if I can get one that ticks all the boxes.  
    • I will also continue to check for biodegradable jiffy bags.  At the moment the only ones available are the padded bags with shredded paper in and these are often not recyclable as the fibres clog the machines when they break open. I will keep checking to find a bag where the bubble wrap lining is made of biodegradable plastic, or see if some other options appear as an option.  For now, I will try to use cardboard boxes whenever possible, but as these are around 6 times the price, it can be very difficult whilst keeping my prices low for my customers. 

    I am glad to see the sway in thinking towards protecting the environment and I will always do all I can to do the best I can.

     sign-2014-8-20-15.2.46 xxxx

     Burgundy zig zag
  10. The Dating Show Live

    Posted on

    I'm a blogging machine at the moment!

    I just thought I'd let you know about my recent exchange with The Dating Show live, so you can learn more about my values and goals as a company,

    I received this email from them:

    Hello there,

    I am trying to reach out to see if our upcoming event is of interest to you? 

    Exclusively featuring First Dates who will be running a Cafe over the two days, 24th/25th November 2018, we are the largest and first of this size in the world when it comes to dating events, at an expected footfall of 10'000 singles hoping to meet and mingle over the two days at the Birmingham NEC. 

    We have the fantastic Hilton Hotels,Hasbro Games, Capital Radio, Love Hearts, Mr Tinder (the most right swiped guy in the UK!),Melinda Messenger, and a lot of unique businesses from a hemp company, to up and coming makeup brands etc on board, we are keen to ensure there is also not numerous stands exhibiting similar products or services to each other. 


    We also have a couple of big dating/relationship/fashion/lifestyle bloggers, authors also are involved, which is fantastic in terms of promotion through social media!

    Please do get back to me if you wished to have a chat about the event and it possibly being of a good fit for you and Jo Thornton?

    www.thedatingshowlive.com

    Best Wishes,

     

    It sounds like fun doesn't it, and great for people who want to get out there and meet new people.  I'm certainly very intrigued by Mr Tinder.  Does he just go on non-stop dates?! 

     Mr Tinder (1)

    Still, it's not the right fit for me and what I am trying to achieve for my little shop.  This was my reply:

    Hi
    Thank you very much for your email and your interest in my little store.
    I don't think that it's the best move for me and the women at your event, even though commercially it is I'm sure!  I just don't like to place my products somewhere that implies that women need them to achieve dates/be attractive.  I prefer to market them for women's own confidence in themselves independently, balancing uneven breasts, filling out clothes that no longer fit, for use with post breastfeeding and mastectomy needs etc.   Of course many women want to wear them for first dates, to improve their confidence, but I don't personally feel comfortable marketing them somewhere that implies that I feel all women should wear them for a first date.  
     
    Again, thank you for the email and I wish the show all the best :)
     
    I'm not sure if they will understand, but hopefully they will.  I'm sure they have plenty of other stores that are very excited to be invited and many others they can approach.   It's lovely as a very small store to be contacted about these things, but until it's a show that is exclusively about the various elements of women's confidence and life experiences, it will always be a "thank you so much but no thank you" from me.
     
    iStock-665831012
     
    If you are single and ready to mingle though, head to Birmingham in November!
     
    sign-2014-8-20-15.2.46