Pursuing natural health & thinking beyond the superficial. Deconstructing Culture.

Posts tagged ‘Clothing’

Burkinis – Attitudes towards them are extreme like wearing a niqab, burka or chador…

Or having to cover your head as many people and mostly females of many cultures do worldwide.

From one extreme to another:

I don’t actually mind burkinis, I really like them. I’m not religious or faithful to one culture but I have always had an issue with ‘modesty’ or ‘dressing appropriately for the situation’ (so that doesn’t always mean ‘modest’ because I ‘dress up’ too) and the weather. I personally don’t like revealing all or being too revealing. It’s usually two body parts (face and hands, and I often wear a hat and sometimes gloves even lace Summer gloves anyway) – I’m strange, I both like and dislike the sun, I think I’m partly Goth. My point is that I’ve always had a problem with swimwear; to me it’s just like going out in your underwear especially bikinis and they just get skimpier and skimpier. Waterproof underwear but still underwear, tankinis and two-pieces with shorts i.e. hot pants, or a tiny frill on a one-piece don’t help – they’re just like tokenism to ‘modesty’ and are more like ‘being girly’. It’s not my thing and I hate the hair removal process that goes with baring any skin for a female as well which if you don’t do you’re subject to additional public shame and humiliation. Somehow body hair on a female = dirty and an inability to be clean unlike men who can supposedly stay cleaner than us.

So over the years I’ve researched burkinis and found I like them as an alternative to normal Western swimwear. They do remind me a little of Victorian swimwear but they’re waterproof and a bit like wetsuits without being as heavy, however attitudes towards them are very Victorian. For example:


Brit tourists in burkinis made to do humiliating walk of shame out of Algarve pool as swimwear deemed ‘not acceptable for pool’

[Written by] Danya Bazaraa

Maryya Dean and her sister-in-law Hina claim they were told they could not wear their burkinis in the swimming pool while on holiday in Albufeira, Portugal.

They say they were told they ‘must wear a bikini to follow Portuguese culture’, during the incident on July 21 that left them horrified.

The family members were also outraged after a maintenance worker at the pool allegedly made Maryya’s nine-year-old daughter stand up to provide an example of what they should be wearing – a regular swimming costume.

Marrya, who suffers with bipolar disorder, says the week-long trip was supposed to be a getaway for her – but they were all affected by what happened.

They had booked a private apartment which had a pool shared with other flats in the complex.

Maryya, who was on holiday with her four children plus her sister-in-law and other relatives, told the Mirror Online: “Given my cultural background I was wearing a burkini.

“I was approached by the building security manager as someone made a complaint that I was not wearing a bikini and therefore not appropriate to be in the pool.

“I was compared to my nine-year-old daughter who was told to stand up out of the pool to see what she was wearing which I found completely rude – I was told I should wear that to swim.

“I was not allowed to wear swimming gear that I am comfortable in and that was actually made for women like me to wear.”

She said she asked the worker to point to a sign which said only bikinis could be worn, but there were no signs in sight. Maryya, 36, from Chessington, added: “The man then started making cultural references and said that Portuguese people wear bikinis and so should we.

“We were embarrassed as we came out of the pool with with four children and people were watching us like we’d committed a crime.”

Marrya’s sister in law, Hina, 31, was also in the pool wearing a ‘covered swim suit’.

The pair of them were not wearing full burkinis.

Hina described her swim suit as three quarter length leggings with a top which had sleeves down to her elbows, but it was water proof and designed for use in a pool.

She said Marrya’s was a regular swimming suit that also came with three quarter length ‘leggings,’ made for the water.

The kids were all in regular swim wear.

Hina said she spotted a gentleman speaking to Maryya’s younger sister, who was sat on a sun lounger at the time.

She claims he was pointing and said it was apparent there was an issue.

Hina went over to see hear what the problem was, as she said it was intimidating being pointed at.

She heard from the member of the maintenance team that they had received a complaint from a resident about them using the pool.

Hina said: “He said it wasn’t possible for me to be in the pool with clothes on, and said I must wear a bikini.

“We told him it was swimwear but he said ‘you have to wear a bikini or shorts. In Portuguese culture, it’s not acceptable.’ He said we had to abide by Portuguese culture if we were in the country.

“We told him we didn’t wear bikinis because we weren’t comfortable in them. It was a confidence thing.

“But he kept repeating ‘you have to wear a bikini’. We were feeling really humiliated.”

Hina said they wore more modest swimsuits for a mix of reasons – religious, cultural, confidence and comfort.

The sisters-in-law said they were the only family using the pool at the time but that people watched the incident from their balconies and they said it was “embarrassing”.

Maryya said they didn’t feel they could use the pool for the rest of their holiday after what happened, despite it being “baking hot”.

She said: “I keep thinking about it. We had to do a ‘walk of shame’ back to the apartment, it was disgusting.”

Firstly it’s just some man not even a lifeguard complaining about them, secondly he’s telling them they have to wear a bikini or shorts like he tells women what to wear, and thirdly he acts like he doesn’t even know what a one-piece if – why a bikini? Men wear t-shirts and/or proper shorts all the time on the beach or a proper shorts and/or a vest in pools. They have the choice to wear more risqué pieces but they have the choice.

I’d wear a burkini and I don’t give a damn, but then I usually wear a leotard with full sleeves and proper shorts in pools anyway (not that I like public pools and chlorine) or full lycra leggings (or shorts with a sarong) on a beach and people have not harassed me yet. That said I’ve not bothered with hair removal at times either. I still get compliments like “little mermaid” even though I’m more obviously dressed for aerobics than swimming but lycra is waterproof and people better not start with me.

Note – not all burkinis have a head covering and I’d think many Western women would find them cute too:

Either way, they look like and are sportswear and if women who wear them don’t mind or at least don’t ban or put down women who wear practically nothing as normal then why should we mind them being ‘decent’ as normal?

We’re finally used to seeing pregnant women on beaches (Madonna being the first obvious public example which sparked a trend years ago, though she has always been an extreme trailblazer in sexuality and gender politics – and I’m not a fan) and in clothing that isn’t too different in style from what they’d normally wear, we’re getting used to breastfeeding women (gawd we do sound backwards as a species don’t we) so why do we have to fight so much about what women wear to swim? As long as they’re not likely to drown (t-shirts banned in some places because of the way they swell in water) what’s the problem? We still see barely any clothing on women in tennis, figure skating or gymnastics for example and I remember judges looking down on me for wearing shorts in gym competitions because everyone else would wear leotards only including low cut, high leg ones even though we were children whilst the boys were allowed shorts and leggings – what is the bloody problem in dressing comfortably? I’ve seen volleyball playing with sticky tape on their arses (kinesiology) for crying out loud – just wear shorts they’ll give you support and don’t act like women’s volleyball and much of women’s televised and most popular sports aren’t about ‘the babes’.

Also remember that not all religious or very culturally minded women wear these and probably never will, many wear regular Western style swimwear and are fine with that and that’s their business but for some of these women if it wasn’t for swimwear like burkinis they wouldn’t be able to go in the water or to a beach at all.


Fashion in Film – The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969)

I haven’t done one of these lighthearted fashion in film posts for ages and since I’m up with nothing better to do (ok there are many better things but I can’t be bothered right now) due to an annoying, pampered Summer Solstice child who due to his birth date and misconceptions got everything whilst I the Winter Solstice child got hell (not that I would want the ridiculously overdone/overkill/pompous life he has either). As usual though, what most people don’t realize and as it isn’t what is purported the Winter Solstice is actually the Light Bringer, and the Summer one the Fore-shadower of Darkness so with people being people separate everything making opposites instead of balance and unity, they put positive connotations and treatment on the Summer and vice versa. Really each day is both for the whole planet (yin & yang) but per location is seen as one Solstice at a time; the Summer being the shining glory/the peak of the empire about to fall and the Winter one more poignant/potent given this planet’s proximity to the moon along with the significance of the sun – ‘darkness and light as one, the light [Summer] chases away the darkness but makes the shadow deeper, the darkness [Winter] holds the light but has light of its own so dark it…’ (Like the way both ice and fire burn.) I’m not saying the Summer Solstice child has it easy but there’s plenty of compensations and indulgence. The Summer Solstice child is selfish, takes and is lauded; the Winter Solstice child gives, is taken from and hidden/made unsightly.

Anyway The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969) is basically a film about a uni (though the maths questions they get are secondary school level) student who gets a lot smarter than he is and more popular than he should be by accident (caused by his own stupidity, how could he not know that and still get into uni-level Physics)? A bit like being born into a wealthy family and becoming a z-list celebrity in reality but A-list status without merit. Starring Kurt Russell, he did other films like this for Buena Vista/Walt Disney such as The Barefoot Executive (1971), Now You See Him, Now You Don’t (1972) and The Strongest Man in the World (1975). They’re also akin to the Flubber films.

This film features some beautiful suits.

The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes 1969 Fashion Film Clothing Suits

This was his most boring suit in the film but it gets better

The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes 1969 Fashion Film Clothing Suits Suiting

There’s an abundance of polo/turtle necks in this film, just the way I like it.

The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes 1969 Fashion Film Clothing Suits Suiting

Bright colours and prints

The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes 1969 Fashion Film Clothing Suits Suiting

The former look doesn’t suit everybody though and he switches to the darker pinstripe for the evening.

The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes 1969 Fashion Film Clothing Suits Suiting

The university challenge host look dapper.

The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes 1969 Fashion Film Clothing Suits Suiting

And again.

The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes 1969 Fashion Film Clothing Suits Suiting

A suit being tailored.

The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes 1969 Fashion Film Clothing Suits Suiting

Not quite the colour/print scheme I would go for but what they hey.

The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes 1969 Fashion Film Clothing Suits Suiting

Can’t get those beautiful suits dirty lol.

The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes 1969 Film Dune Buggy

Isn’t this the coolest buggy?! Why does a student even have a dune buggy o_o

It's bit too lean and mean for four adult males though, they make it look like a clown car and can't do its ability justice - it's better for me! :D

It’s bit too lean and mean for four adult males though, they make it look like a clown car and can’t do its ability justice – it’s better for me! 😀

Thankfully there are no MIB Men in Black suits in here though one borders it (the mafia, casino owning guy above avoiding the paint) – but at least he’s not wearing sunglasses. What is with that ridiculous look, the whole suit or half suit with leather/ette outwear and/or gloves – they look like dumbasses (oh wait…)

I liked the way that the makeup for the guys didn’t cover their freckles and moles as is normal to do nowadays like they’re some kind of imperfection or something to be embarrassed/ashamed of (not talking about large, ‘disfiguring’ ones where professional makeup really does help people feel better and more confident.)

Also throughout the film Kurt stuffs his face with food, lucky b*stard (albeit gross food). Ha if he lived in a place that gets cold from mid-late August and freezing through to mid-Spring he’d not only afford heating but ramp it up! I have swollen fingers from typing as usual and they’re almost numb with the cold, thankfully kitty is no longer hogging my bed so I can sit down again!


Mad Hatter Day

Mad Hatter Day?


Yeah apparently.

Ok, fine – light hearted post time and one in which I can poke fun at myself. Drag out the old photos and generally think “Ay caramba! What did I used to look like?” then look at oneself (ok imagine, looking is too painful) in the mirror and think “a lot better than I do now! Uh I look and feel like I’ve been burned alive, buried, and drowned but not necessarily in that order, but like hell about covers it.” Why can’t I go back to looking the way I did when I was pre-17.5, at my very best! Talk about majorly quick downhill acceleration, by the time I was 19 I was a mere shell of myself! (All these pics are age 20+) Now I’m almost 33, let me die by 45 so I don’t end up looking like a walking mummified person or creature from the something, somewhere or other. P.S zombies and vampires need not apply.

Unfortunately I don’t have any pics of exquisite millinery but these crusty old candids will have to do, except…

What’s that on my head, that didn’t quite make it into the photo that time?

Historical 074

Haha the best headgear ever! So it stamps, claws, bashes, bites whilst knowing where your pressure points are and makes your limbs go numb, tries to dictate the direction, tries to pluck your eyebrows, picks at your dead skin/spots and screams in your ears but hey I prefer live with personality than dead and stuffed. There is definitely such a thing as evil fashion.


You can’t fail to look cool (ok maybe I do up there, fine I do) when you’re in the company of a parrot, they look gorgeous no matter the angle or lighting, even with feathers out of place they look stylish – it’s like a whole new look. Me, jealous? No way, they’re too adorable for that. Feisty and fabulous. Brains, beauty, brawn and brilliance they’ve got it all.

Me and Harry

Ok I actually look cool in that one and no that is not a corset or ‘waist trainer’ as they’re called nowadays. I’m against most corsetry and disfiguring garments in general (except support items like bras and back braces) especially if worn for hours and regularly. I put up with torture contraptions like high heels for ‘special occasions’ but even then they’re chunky and soft. That’s a wide belt in the pic and it was just my size instead of being too small and called my size; I like all my organs in place and functioning properly thank you.

Back to my candids with not so mad but pretty bad and some normal hats, I couldn’t put you or myself through scrolling down separate pics so I put them together to hopefully mask their inadequacies and highlight their good points of which I’m still trying to figure out. The background is nice!

Oh wait, but first you see this hat below, it gets special mention because it and I were practically inseparable for years despite all the jeering I got from strangers (seriously). I had a bag of ribbons to adapt its look for my outfits as well! I finally had to give it up after someone decided it folded nicely and put it in his bag, that marked the beginning of the end.

Green Gold Sequin Outfit


(Those are not white tights in the main pic, they’re gold but didn’t show in the pic, I’m not that style challenged though that’s not obvious in some of those pics… Those stetsons, why? Youth is wasted on the young.)

Anyone remember this? The ‘Big Brain Bar’ full of humungous hat patrons, some concealing small people with guns in said hats.


August Prints – Clocks and the Night Sky

So Mum had the idea of clocks and I thought great idea, I’ve been wanting to do something steampunk so let’s have a go.


After the complex ones above I thought I’m taking a break; my elbows, wrists and back are killing me from this ridiculously tight sitting space/position and I hate staring at the screen measuring and counting every millimeter, converting into cm and inches, re-checking the millimeters and using multiple grids/rulers to do so. I’m doing something simple! So I ended up with randomly placed moons and stars but then Mum came along and goes something like “Is that it? It look so childish, fix it! No here, move it you’re useless let me have a go” and started doing what she usually does which is draw messily all over my work (which I’ve learned to quickly create new layers for and save my previous ones and if she’ll let me new images altogether) but she showed me that even more random was better and so I finished it off (hey she’s the genius, the tedious, ongoing, laborious bits are my designated area).




August Prints – Dazzling Florals

I came up with one flower and one was all it took. It was weird, it usually takes upto a day to make one design after figuring out what to do in the first place. Drawing all the ‘bits’ from scratch takes an age (painful elbows from leaning on the table to prove it.) People not into graphic design don’t realize that if you’re not using stock images and altering them then making your own is a real mission. Every line has to be smooth, no colour bleed, each shape accurate, in place, every layer of blending, shading, layers upon layers of light and dark and sometimes they have to be scalable! So it was a real surprise to Mum when she left the room for less than 5min, came back and I’d made this flower out of two previously made shapes. That helped obviously since I didn’t have to re-shade and make them 3d-ish again but still I’d started out without even knowing what I was going to draw. She’d played around with the basic shapes for a while but hadn’t come up with anything before she’d left.


Border Prints (the really busy one was Mum’s ultimate bouquet idea).








August Prints – Posh Stripes and Snowflakes

Now I love pinstripes as much as the next person but as you can see from the July Prints post onwards I decided to change things up a bit and be unique, I hadn’t seen spaced stripes with spaces and/or in between or overlapping details on clothing. I’ve lived in London most of my life and I’ve seen a lot but not those so I went for it en masse. The only similarities I’ve seen are really wide strips on period furniture which are great but people aren’t shaped like walls, lampshades or couches – though some leave indentations on them after long use!

Originals, though I changed them a little bit for use.



Then of course I figured snowflakes are amazing works of nature where each is different, but easier to use one from my own imagination.



August Prints – Hearts and Roses

Not Valentines? Ah, who cares! (Worked on these with Mum; I drew, she was the ideas woman and we both did placement.)





Just some Prints I Designed Recently – July

I called these ones my DNA prints, my re-imagining of that structure. I was trying to figure out what to do with this one, and then went for a much more wearable alternative.

Original idea/inspiration:


I had another but it was too Aztec looking so went with these:


Living by Example is Hard; be Prepared to be Coughed/Sneezed/Laughed/Spat at

Organic and fairtrade products: are they part of your shopping list and do you think it’s just another marketing argument?

People, you can’t live with them you can’t live without them though many seem to think or would prefer to employ automatons. People are a massive resource and hence massive drain in terms of needs i.e. supply and demand, everything from food to  living/entertainment space. Mechanization increases but people are still needed and they still need jobs and it’s damned hard to find the right people because an increasing amount have been introduced to the ideas of pay they don’t need to top up with ‘benefits’, timetables that don’t run them ragged, safer buildings/tools , sick time, time to have babies, family emergencies etc. What to do, what to do and in many cases the only thing possible; go abroad/outsource.

Competition makes the world go round, keeps the market place fresh and free from monopoly? It’s easy to see the benefits of competition but people are people so monopolization doesn’t stop; pit two or more suppliers against each other and you have a bidding war effectively setting the prices you will pay. What can producers/suppliers do? Exterminate/undercut the competition a lot of the time but some team up and say this is what it costs to make plus justifiable overheads. We need to make what we make and sell sustainable, we need to keep our economy and environment accessible and not outprice ourselves and if sh*t happens like damaged crops we need to know we’ll have some security and assistance from other growers who can pick up the slack and provide for us too, like we would for them. That is fairtrade and community trade. We also don’t want to damage our health and land or have to kill ourselves and our families because the GMO seed we were encouraged to buy doesn’t yield crops that reproduce/well and so have to keep buying neither do we want further restrictions on natural pesticides/fertilizers and forced use of agrochemicals; that is organic, or at least not GM. The ‘trick’ of organic marketing? You’re asked to pay more for what you would traditionally make/use if you weren’t making/using GM. The ‘trick’ with fairtrade is that it’s like minimum wage, it falls short in many ways and can make you dependent/limit your social mobility and yet many would say it’s better than nothing. I say do a bit of research at least and find out which companies/organisations you don’t mind your money supporting and show the companies whose practises you disagree with that you’ll be finding alternatives.

It’s not all about Organic vs GM; ‘organic’ means being certified and hopefully adhering to rules and guidelines from certain organizations. That doesn’t necessarily mean others don’t meet those/similar standards or are low quality just that the manufacturer couldn’t, wouldn’t or haven’t yet gotten organic status. Then there’s genetically modified (GM or nowadays GMO) crops. This can make it confusing with ingredients that either aren’t labelled ‘organic’ or ‘GM’ (if the ingredients are labelled at all) or aren’t one or the other.

Have you ever tried to grow those potatoes that you don’t/can’t eat but don’t want to waste? Leave the GM ones and see what happens, nada or next to nothing, even after months. Organic or in-betweeners (neither one or the other label) will do what they’re supposed to do and invert themselves into new.

Like anybody else I’m constantly confronted by things/people that question me and my way of life, it’s not easy or comfortable but I’m always looking to improve and my standards are high; even if I feel the desire to be defensive doesn’t mean I’ll ignore these things but it also doesn’t mean that I’ll specifically pay attention to them to demean them.

Fairtrade is another label but shouldn’t be, it should be the default. Think about every product you buy/use/consume and then think about every piece/ingredient in the composition and then the quantities needed for at least one population let alone the resources needed to make those. ‘Fairtrade’ makes up a tiny proportion of that labelled or not and for those who think of it as charity, why hasn’t it begun at home? We’ve got plenty of poor in this country, yet bargain fever has become rampant in the last decade and has taken haggling or scouring discounts/clearance/seconds as a normalcy for poor to just trying to rip of traders to get items as cheap as possible and it’s fun and fulfilling. That’s just added to cheapness over value and ‘fast’ items that that people feel even less inclined to take care of and keep in as good condition as possible.

From the above you can see that fairtrade and organic don’t just apply to food/drinks; think about cosmetics and clothing/fabrics for example. We can’t always buy from those areas so what are the other options?

  1. I donate clothing to various charities but I make sure to split them into two groups – saleable items and non-saleable items. I’ve found that a lot of charity stores are only interested in items that they can re-sell but many people have items that are no longer saleable, but still in good, wearable condition so for those clothes I’ve found places that give the items directly to the vulnerable, rather than sell them first.
  2. In London there are also some shops near me that took clothes and recycled them into new clothes themselves and then sell them.
  3. The local council picked up bags of clothing recycling if there’s a lot of them and there are clothes ‘bins’ (big recycle containers) for donations and recycling in local areas.
  4. There’s always local Salvation Army type centres and shelters.
  5. There are businesses that will collect clothes from your door if you use their bags to put them in – it’s best to find and contact them yourself though because there are a few of those who advertise door to door and then sell the clothes left for them.
  6. There’s also quite a few social alternatives for passing on clothes nowadays; ‘swap meets/parties’ are becoming increasingly popular and shops that will pay you for giving them items. There are public ones and private ones where friends organize a get together at somebody’s home and swap clothes, it can fun to look into each other’s wardrobes so to speak and swap clothes with each other. The public ones are cool as well because there’s so much to choose from. Each public one will work differently but they generally give you an amount of points or currency value for the clothes you bring in and donate and then you can spend that amount on the clothes available. Or some have a barter system where you can offer a piece of your clothing for something of similar value with someone else if see someone with an item of clothing you like.
  7. Then there’s vintage fashion shops and fairs/fayres – some where you pay a small admission fee and then explore and spend to your hearts content (some of them even sell by weight which is awesome) but you can also sell items. Vintage shops will often buy nice second hand pieces as well. Local fairs of any type are easy to donate too as well e.g. school jumble sales or anyone doing a fundraiser.
  8. There’s also the option of selling your clothes through places like auction sites (e.g. eBay) or simply giving them to family and friends.
  9. Or if you’re like me you keep clothes as long as possible, you have socks leftover from when you were a kid, you handwash (or many who have washing machines use ‘gentle washes’), you have lot’s of hand-me-downs and hand-me-ups whereby people borrow/take your clothing.
  10. However as many of you probably do already; if you want to buy new on-trend items voucher/coupon websites very helpful and cashback sites where you register, sign in and then shop ‘through’ them i.e. they have the major shops connected to their website and you click on the links to the shops that you would normally go to via the cashback site. Then when you make your purchases you get cashback and/or rewards.

Back to Food

We’ve seen a rise in comlady munity if not fairtrade in the form of foodbanks, something I admire and advocate though it doesn’t always go as well as it should. Mum & I qualified for a foodbank at one stage, well we probably almost always have but had never been spoken to about it or looked into benefiting from them ourselves though I have donated (I’ve lived by an old Indian adage of splitting income roughly into quarters; to taxes, family, charity and yourself; unfortunately I’m the only living Indian I’ve known to do that). We were excited that finally we might have something different to eat, more than small portions and not have to stress/worry about food for the week. We’re vegan but many people don’t know what that means traditionally let alone what it can entail in today’s age of food sensitivities so I spoke to a lady there in advance to find out more and to explain our situation; usually they chose people’s food for them (4 carrier bags a head) and either left it to be collected or delivered it but sometimes people chose for themselves. They decided it was best for us to do so and agreed that since we wouldn’t be taking some items that it would be ok to take more of others. We went and didn’t think there’d be much accessible to us but tried not to have any other expectations other than we were just grateful to have the opportunity but were amazed at the variety they had and so many items that would could eat. We got on really well with the staff there and obviously they supervised us picking our items. We walk a 6-mile roundtrip to town so asked for the items to be delivered and they confirmed they would be so by the other shift the following day. Lo and behold it was pouring down the next day and said shift were in a rush so knocked, left everything outside and drove off before I opened the door; we;d been eagerly awaiting the day since we’d only taken some rice crackers and peanut butter for the day before (as wisely advised by the staff we’d met since you have to eat every day) but we were dismayed to find that they gave us 1 person’s allowance and 2/3 of of that had been replaced; the whole lot was a typical vegetarian ‘order’ with things like rice pudding, custard, sauce with fish in it, cosmetics etc and items we didn’t need such as toothbrushes and cloths. So we called and I spoke to the lady who I’d originally spoken to who said to return the items and get more suitable ones. We lugged it all back but unfortunately were not met by that lady or the staff we’d met but the staff who’d repacked our bags and they did not like it one bit. They were all talking about us and when I tried to ask one a question she told me not to talk to her, she wasn’t dealing with us. I went to the one ‘dealing’ with us and she said that because of our ‘irregular and oversized’ order they’d had a meeting and changed the rules for everybody and now there was an itemized list that all people going there had to adhere to, no exceptions. I said that wasn’t necessary and not fair to everybody, perhaps we could just fix the situation, but the fact that we’d brought back the whole delivery so as to start again and not keep anything/get more than others it gave them (yes all of them) ammunition to pick apart why we wouldn’t accept things that they thought we could/should have due to their notion of ‘vegan’ and how we should prepare those foods if we didn’t want to go the normal route. Then not only did she supervise us, she escorted us to the items on her list whilst they all continued to talk&whisper and she kept going on about the amount of sweetcorn we took “13 tins, 13 tins – how many do you need? We can’t let you have more, we have to think about everybody, there’s more people than just you, you can’t take from them” in increasing volume and cut me off every time I tried to answer. I finally got tearful and upset enough to almost have to yell over her “What size were those tins and what sizes did you replace them with?” Stumped she went back to the pack and conferred… At the same time one of the staff from the first day we’d visited arrived and greeted us but was told not to talk to us, she said “they’re ok, I met them the…” She couldn’t finish “that’s enough (name), we had a trustee meeting last night about this and decided on a new process.” Then oh dear, it turned out that the sweetcorn we had chosen were 2 sealed packs of 6x100g tins plus an extra that had been separated. They replaced those with 3x400g tins… Yep, no problem there really was there? She said there must have been a mistake, they must have mixed up the deliveries, I replied she could have just called us if she had any qualms about our order instead of changing everything as that would have prevented the situation and she actually agreed but said that it was too late. I agreed it was and told them we’d just continue living off seaweed, thank you for the opportunity and sorry it turned out this way, we didn’t mean nor want to cause any trouble; and walked out.

The tip of the iceberg of that situation? They’d packed a delivery note with the items that mentioned God 4 times and how if we’re thankful it should be for His mercy and generosity through His workers (the foodbank) and supporters and that He has charity and love for all. Obviously not for vegans.

Community trade is a great thing in society but it has be organized fairly, as a whole we people have not matured or moved on from the ego, for all our enlightenment and good intentions fairtrade is not the norm.

Food Sensitivities – Higher Quality and Organic aren’t Myths

As we develop in and from childhood we are weened onto many foods that we wouldn’t otherwise digest/digest well; I’ve spent much of my life de-acclimatizing and I find I’m no longer immune to many ingredients that I could previously eat without obvious issues; part of that is probably due to getting older but I’ve also been careful not to get to a point in my life where the digestion goes (inflammation, gas, acid) and overall health steadily follows suit from blood pressure to disease. Other than sleep, digestion accounts for a huge amount of our time (& energy).

  1. I’ve always been unable to eat GM fruit/veg unless cooked; my gums, tongue, cheeks, throat swell up and itch like mad – even my teeth feel irritated because of that and sometimes it affects my nose.
  2. I can regularly consume cacao; it aids my digestion and I don’t gain weight. Cocoa does not help as much, it still counters inflammation but does not fully ease or remove gas or quickly pass the ‘food’ that caused the issues through the system, I also gain weight.
  3. The same goes for refined oils; I love oil and know that it isn’t a case of saturated vs unsaturated but more of overly processed and refined vs organic or raw/virgin. Unrefined helps my weight maintenance or even indeed makes me feel hungrier quicker but refined has the opposite effect.
  4. White sugar – this is a recent development; I can eat molasses, muscovado, demerera to my heart’s content but refined White sugar = a downer. I can have a bit and you’ll be hard pressed to not have any in foods you buy but even a packet of crisps with it as one of the main ingredients can lead to days of me sat with my head on the table, unable to concentrate, feeling out of it and not able to move about much.
  5. White salt – again I have no problems with rock salt/Himalayan Pink/Red/Black salt, Epsom, Bicarbonate of Soda, Nigari (specially extracted), I’m a little wary of sea salt due to pollution but am ok with it but refined White salt? Forget it.
  6. GM and low quality pasta and sometimes even rice (cereals and grains) can cause indigestion for days as well, not the case with organic and higher quality grains. I even get that from sprouting unless they are wholegrains.
  7. I stopped eating artificial colourings, flavourings, preservatives; most E-numbers and gelatin at age 13 so when I see them used commonly even in things like dried fruit that doesn’t need them (and if really necessary a little oil would do) I avoid them.
  8. Raw vs traditional methods of heat preparation/cooking – I’m not a raw foodist but do believe that the more you heat (and moreso for microwave ovens) the more damage you do to the food. Given that I do cook food I’m not prepared to have even less nutritional value available to start with GM ingredients.

Organic does Not have to mean having a Big Budget

Many of you have probably heard of/use is MoneySavingExpert; on the food forum there are lot’s of people who post about deals/sales/clearance and there are some dedicated members that regularly post about organic food they find/look for which is very helpful and of course you can add your own. There are also sites that specialize in food that is past their sell by (but within ‘use by’) and best before dates but are still fine to have.

Buying in bulk really helps too, moreso from places that sell wholesale to the public or if you buy over a certain amount, plus member deals.

Money isn’t the only currency; just like we write reviews for vouchers/points/digital cash, there’s also exchange, bartering, cashback/point schemes; it was those that really helped me through being freegan for a year.

I haven’t starved yet.

Many of you may be thinking what the hell do I eat and would be surprised at just how varied and sophisticated my palate is and how I don’t find it restricted at all in terms of foods that I can eat, the limitations are not in my choices but the availability/accessibility or mostly the lack of opportunity to have them like those animals you see being pushed away from the food they can see all over the streets in their faces but not being one of the chosen.

Those who say they don’t have money to burn but still do. Priorities.

Mum & I forage and don’t find it shameful or embarrassing. Plenty stare and talk about us like we’re crazy whilst they go past usually with shopping bags or in big or pricey cars. Granted I live in the New Forest now so there’s a ton of vegetation but most still rely on supermarkets and to an extent their gardens, there’s a distinct lack of green grocers in this town though there are farms/nurseries (there’s an M&S, Waitrose, Tesco & 99p Stores and a mixed product market on Saturdays) and the council spend a lot of resources clearing and cutting back the flora as well as making the place pretty with decorative plants/trees; if government just planted obvious food growing plants/trees instead or even just fruit trees there’d be a lot less hungry people but that wouldn’t be good for business and people buying into established energy hungry processes is more important than the immediate poverty need. Better to buy a whole load of industrial scale grown food, make it more well travelled than the people, radiate and treat it some more, rely on people neither understanding sell/use by/best before dates, nutritional tables or that food doesn’t need to be ‘pretty’, and them wanting it as cheap as possible than having them realize there’s lot of free food around if they know where/how to look and show etiquette in their picking habits i.e. not going into people’s gardens, not destroying plants and not taking too much. What happens to all the food/plants that aren’t bought or needed – mostly destroyed/dumped.

When you look at the back of a book or toilet roll what do you see? Is there an FSC or similar ‘renewable’ ‘sustainable’ ‘well managed’ etc sign/label on there? Yeah we know the downsides of forest management but we also know the downsides of deforestation and yet what do you prefer – good quality paper and wood or mdf/wood filler and false economy bog roll that disappears quickly, the price is higher for one unless you budget, moderate your use and look after your items well but it’s better than the other isn’t it? The same goes for food – do you prefer wholefoods or foods filled with filler (like cellulose ironically)?

For many food and all the items they put in/on/through their body pale in importance to other obligations and hobbies but ultimately you only have yourself to rely on in this life and I figure the less you care about the things that directly/immediately affect you at the very least, the more you are robbing yourself… Of your consciousness, your health, yourself.

What’s the Alternative if Not Fairtrade and Organic?

Those of you who grow your own fruit/veg/herbs and even animals without GM and hormones; would you go back to/give it up for supermarket equivalents and I don’t mean the ‘luxury’ stuff ?(Though growing & asking for less/simpler processes is ironically seen as luxurious/more pricey.) I’ve tasted the difference between juicy, sweet fruit and the dry, fibrous, weak tasting (especially in comparison to organic farms I’ve been to), barely or over-ripened supermarket fruit that sometimes hasn’t had the benefit of sunlight.

People are people – the majority of this planet live in abject poverty and I don’t agree with the ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ (I’ve been told that how many times myself and it’s one of my aims never to say that anybody except perhaps those who’ve though it ok for others) GM thinking that they should be mollified with low grade & cast offs. I’ve come across production people here wanting to hire women so they can pay them less and those with the mentality that those they import off abroad have it good nowadays ‘they can buy this on this day, that on that day, this many times a week‘ yet they can buy it any or all the time almost anywhere. If we don’t use our power & influence with purchasing decisions, thinking such things are luxuries that can’t and shouldn’t be afforded until one’s situation is better then I don’t think we have the right to wonder why wages are low or stagnant whilst prices rise – why? Because most think that way and it adds up, we’re not one person – we’re part of a very large group/family and within that are groups living off each other. I prefer fair/community trade in this world model we live in and I prefer what I consider ‘cleaner’ organic or high quality ingredients/items, I’m not in to buying anything whether cheap or expensive that has likely come from a sweatshop or underpaid overworked adult labour and I don’t want to push traders into buying from them at practically cost price either. I don’t think blood, sweat, tears, greed and ripoff should go into it. We can’t expect with one hand, take with the other and think things will get better.

Organic Farmer GMO Hazmat Farmer

The purpose of this was to simply provide personal experience, ideas and scope – things that can easily get lost in the subject as we get used to advertising campaigns. I’ve not gone into studies because when I read those it’s usually for specific things and not getting caught up in the hysteria, there’s results that come out in favour or against all of the sides and much is dependent on the sponsors. Like everybody else I try to just keep going but I also try to live/be real positive change and not just pontificate about it, that’s why I have my body and mind afterall 🙂


SockItToMe Sock Design Contest

Cheerful is as cheerful does right? Better to smile this early in the morning than frown and set my face for the day lol especially in this stormy weather! 3rd day now – I could totally do with a Johny 5 moment wake up call 😐

Anyway Mum and I entered this great competition a couple of weeks ago, a very simple and straightforward design contest that a lot of people had fun with 🙂 I’d never designed anything for feet before but have always been an admirer of fun, soft, long socks especially in warm or fluffy material (and yes pom poms too ^^’ ).

Unfortunately out of only 4500 entries (yeah that’s not much when it comes to testing my luck 😛 ) we didn’t make the 30 finalists for voting but like with any contest there were so many cool and quirky entries and out of the finalists there’s the usual mix of greats and… Good luck to ’em and congrats thus far 🙂

So since my tea is finished *looks at the pile of used tea bags* and I’m still lethargic here’s our what our entries looked like for the hell of it. Don’t laugh!






Note: Any length below the knee was eligible but the longer ones seem the most popular. Also these are just the rough presentation images, the smooth vectors & high res stuff is kept separately.