Thursday, 24 December 2009

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The 12-year old who silenced the Powers that Be for 5 minutes...

This could be the most important, amazing and moving message at Christmas you've ever seen. Trust me. Please do pass it on, the link is below. I have no other words nor would ever attempt to add any, as I bow before the words of a child mature beyond her years and wise beyond her age.

Monday, 21 December 2009

A season of giving more than receiving

As I sit in my car and turn the radio up to volume 9 to kill those stray draggles of guilty emotion after my husband brought home a broken Christmas tree and I over-reacted - I am reminded that this is the season of thinking of others (!) Please look at the video above and join in the Annual Basket Brigade to remind ourselves that helping someone else can transform a life, especially the lives of those who have gotten into the rut of feeling that they deserve nothing (and thus have nothing to give). Being on the receiving end of unconditional generosity or love is inspiring and enabling. Hmmm. Must remember to apply that to my marriage...

Monday, 14 December 2009

Head up

I knew I'd hit a wall when I woke up this Monday morning with stomach cramps. Stomach cramps are what happen when all is not well. And they only serve to make things worse: it's hard to be bursting with remedial energy when your abdomen hurts. Or to hit the gym and kick in the adrenalin and feel-good hormones.

As I suspected, when I sat down at my laptop at 6am to continue with the (tight) schedule to complete my book - where every day counts - I felt that familiar sag. Disintegration of the will. Motivational droop. That stretched-across-the-ground-feeling I used to get when teachers at school burdened us with a particularly tiresome and timeconsuming assignment - you yawn to yourself inside, and wish you were elsewhere.

After regular 5am wakeups eagerly brushing the sleep from my eyes in front of a sparkling computer, the weedling thought that I'd prefer to be back under the covers in oblivion only jabbed to smart my annoyance further. The screen glowered. I shut it almost with a snap.

To be honest, my Sony Vaio's got a big part in this. My husband and I had been competing to work on the machine for the whole weekend (early wake-ups and late nights, that is.) Needless to say, it's the wrong type of marital stimulation. He lugged home a castoff CPU from work on Friday (victim of financial layoffs - the box, not he thank God), all excited to assemble it privately upstairs - only to find it was still password locked and inaccessible. Then we had a row. After which, we grudgingly had to communicate to try and schedule who would work on "my" laptop, and when (it had been a birthday present, but becomes "ours" when things swing that way). The rest of the weekend was spent in grunts. Actually the argument was all about perception: how I perceive him to be unfriendly and moody, when he is sure that he's not. Considering he's not friendly or fun or light-hearted at these times, I'm not sure where perception ends and reality begins.

I'd hoped that driving my son to a birthday party might ring a change: empty road, invigoratingly loud music, whoosh of freedom and all that...but the spanking Jaguar in front with the personalised number-plate "P E 5 I M S T" didn't help. Considering those cost at least 20,000 pounds (on top of the car, of course!) I wondered if the guy was taking the proverbial, if you know what I mean. Normally I would have chuckled and saved up the gem to tell my husband. Instead I predicted his grunt - and wrote on Twitter instead.

On the way back, I fixed the damp shine on the roads with moroseness as the evening shrouded the air, winter's 5pm. The tyres spluttered through the dirt-laden London rain, the dull leftover dribbles of Sunday and a stray Tesco bag wretched and ragged on a naked branch at the corner of my vision as I waited with resigned frustration at a red light that seemed to be fixed at red forever. Christ. Not even my favourite musical porn, Enrique Iglesias, lifted my sodden mood. The ballad surges irritated me and I clicked to off.

However the way to force through the blockages (mental, physical, you name it) is to create a surge. I've got to fall in love with my book again, with the process of tapping it into existence even when words don't come easy. And fall in love with my husband again even when words don't come easy. And fall in love with life again even if I don't have a Jag with a personalised number plate telling the world to fuck off (sorry!) - or maybe fall in love with life specifically because I don't.

Then again, at least I'm not Tiger Woods. Or anyone else: things could be worse.

No, head up! Forge on. Credit crunch, marital crunch, lack of inspiration, you name it. It's the ability to break through the barriers of pain, fear, uncertainty or even plain boredom that is the mark of success. Maybe I'll have a Jag one day. It'll have a plate stating: O P 7 I M S T.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Talent will be Rewarded!

I can't resist this - talking of talent and reward, just take a look at this amazing 6-YEAR OLD boy...and the outcome is a real treat at the end. Enjoy!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Out 2010

Image: Suat Eman /

This is the book I am going to be marketing on behalf of my guru and in-house motivational psychologist, Natasha Reddy. She says it's probably not the final version of colours - but you get the drift.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Put a penny in the pot

A fellow Mum at school - a muslim lady - was telling me how her children have 3 jars at home between which to divide pocket money - one for buying, one for saving and one for giving to charity (the muslim concept of 'Zakat'). Which reminded me how important it is in life not to forget others. After all, people are just people all around the world.

Incidentally, to let a thread of higher purpose permeate all that we do is also the direct route to success and wealth (so take the tip: become less materialistic and more spiritual if you are seeking out the pot of gold!) Why am I sure of this? I seem to be meeting a lot of incredibly successful people recently. And all of them have the spark of ambition to create some lasting good in the world. Wow - how far I'm drifting down the river from my position as "reluctantly frustrated stay-at-home mum!" And... is the frustration and feeling of inertia gone? You bet! Believe it!

So, on the subject of thinking of others, let me introduce you to Arvind Devalia: born in Kenya, living in London, Indian heritage, citizen of the world. Arvind says: "I am committed to a life of contribution, connection and celebration. And I am convinced that ultimately we all want to do the same".

Before anyone starts to scoff, sit up and listen, and ask yourself if you can measure up:- whereas others might hesitate, Arvind makes things happen: raising thousands of dollars for a charity school in South India (Nirvana School); writing and publishing a book in just 4 weeks; being part of an internet startup which raised millions of pounds of funding; taking part in the London Marathon, where he walked the entire route in over 7 hours rather than letting down his chosen charity.

Arvind feels he has a charge to help alleviate world poverty by raising money for micro-finance website Kiva. You can read more about Arvind’s bold aim to alleviate world poverty and how to join the “Blog with Heart Challenge” here.

Arvind has specially created some resources for any blogger who wants to join in:-

1. A resource page for bloggers with lots of ready made posts you can use in any way you like

2. A videos page with a heap of videos about Kiva and their download links.

In addition a team as been created on Kiva for the London Bloggers Meetup group called, unsurprisingly LBM. If you would like to join this team and see the difference the LBM community as a whole can make, please let me know in a comment together with your email, and I’ll organise an invitation for you to join.

Alternatively, please support this campaign by joining Kiva directly, by creating your own team and of course by publishing Arvind’s campaign on your blogs or webpages. Thank you.

So, if I adopt my fellow school mum's principle of jars, well perhaps today I've put a little penny in one by penning this posting. And sometimes a little coin can spread a lot of happiness.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Product placement and our children

Today I'm going to proselytise a bit. Who wants their children not to be encouraged to eat junk food? Hands up!...Then, please read on: the following is an email sent by myself (and others) to our government. And I attach the reply: if you share my opinion, I suggest you might copy the body of the letter and send it to Mr.Green's email address as below (let's hope his name augurs well!) - with fingers crossed as to the power of public opinion. Do exercise your duty as a parent in this regard.

I suppose the alternative is not letting children watch television: already seriously curtailed in our house! (But still. At some point we have to reach outside our own little worlds to take greater responsibility.) And don't log out, U.S. readers, thinking that this is only relevant to my side of the pond - you might be interested in some of the information below...

Dear Sir,
Please do not allow product placement in British made television programmes. The proposals to allow product placement in UK-made television programmes will lead to children being exposed to more marketing for unhealthy food products. While I welcome commitments that product placement will not be allowed in children's programming, research by consumer group Which? in 2008 showed that 16 of the 20 programmes on the commercial channels most popular with children were not classified as "children's programming" and therefore, under your proposals, would be able to contain product placement of unhealthy foods.

In the US, where product placement is permitted, Coca-Cola is the brand paying for the most product placement. Yet research from the US has suggested that sugary drinks such as Coca-Cola may be the biggest driver of the obesity epidemic. Product placement on UK-produced television programmes could lead to a similar situation in the UK, contributing to the already worrying increase in childhood obesity rates.
I am particularly concerned that product placement breaches the principle that advertising should be clearly recognised as such, and distinguishable from editorial content. It is important that people know when they are being advertised to, and parents are able to recognise advertising and protect their children from it. With product placement, marketing goes on behind parents' backs.

I know that I am not alone in these concerns: a recent survey of 1,349 UK adults by Redshift Research found that 91% did not think it is right to influence children with product placement.

Please help us to protect our children from covert marketing for unhealthy food , and not undermine our effort to give our children healthy diets by allowing junk food companies to target them with their brand of 'secret selling'.

Yours sincerely

Reply from:

Thank you for your recent e-mail about the Government’s consultation on television product placement. This is an important issue on which the Government is keen to hear peoples’ views, and we are grateful to you for taking the trouble to write. Our consultation closes on 8 January 2010 and we plan to make an announcement as soon as possible after that.We will give careful consideration to your comments before we do so.

Yours sincerely
Chris Green
Public Engagement & Recognition Unit
Department for Culture, Media & Sport