8 December 2016

2016 - What the Hell Happened?

In years to come, when they look back at 2016, people will ask “What the hell happened”.

It has been the year that the celebrities died en masse.  David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Leonard Cohen, Gene Wilder, Prince, Muhammed Ali, Terry Wogan to name but a few.  Some of the brightest and well loved lights of the music and film industry who will be missed by so many.

The year that the UK shocked everyone, including themselves, and voted to leave the EU by a tiny margin of just 4% of the vote.  The year that saw hate crimes rise by 300% after the referendum.  A year where half a nation believed lies and one racist, sexist, bigoted man over facts and common sense.

The year that America went mad and voted Donald Trump to be their president.  A man who has the attention span of a two year old and is so easily irked that he tweets insults at three in the morning.  As I am writing this, he has just been made “Person of the Year” by Time Magazine.

It is interesting to note that that same accolade was also given to Hitler in 1938.

The year where woman in the UK campaigned to remove tax from tampons, only to be told that the money would be reallocated so that they could pay for their own domestic violence support.  The year where a woman is being sued by her own embryos.  

The year where some states in the US are forcing women to bury or cremate the remains of an abortion or miscarriage.  A year where just yesterday, Ohio put the abortion limit down to six weeks; when most women do not even know that they are pregnant.

The year where millions of refugees have been forced to leave their homes relocate across the Middle East and Europe.  A year where the far right (and the Daily Fail) have got such a hold in some people's minds that they were wanting to check the teeth of migrant children for their ages.  A year where people like Katie Hopkins said "Rescue boats? I'd use gunships to stop migrants".

The year where mass shootings at schools and colleges seemed to happen every other week.  Yet the shooters were not called terrorists, but simply misunderstood and troubled.

The year when a certain footballer's retrial was successful for him, purely based on other men's testimony who were not there on the night, but merely testified that the girl in question liked sex.  

A well loved and brilliant MP, killed by a terrorist of the far right.

I could go on, but you get the picture.  You know.  You have lived it, as we all have.

Looking back, I cannot see much good in 2016, but there has been.  A little.

The campaign on GoFundMe for the rape victim mentioned above that raised over £26,000 to be shared between Rape Crisis and the victim herself.  The rise of the Black Lives Matter movement that is successfully highlighting the prejudice faced by black people by the police and society in general. 

The safety pin movement, started after the UK referendum and continued after the Trump win.  More people standing up and objecting, speaking out against what is wrong rather than watching from the sidelines.

The 2016 Paralympics, where Paralympians for the first time achieved more medals than the able bodied Olympians.  When the world, finally, started to realise that disability is not something that has to be hidden and felt sorry for.

We are better than the year we have just experienced.  We can behave better, we can learn, we can change, we can stand up for what we believe in.  I still believe in people.  We have to stand up to hate.  We have to stand up for the people that need our help.  We have to show compassion.  

To quote Winston Churchill:

"Never, never, never give up."

Luxury Gift Guide

This post is the first in a set of two blogs I am writing about giving gifts.  Today I am talking luxury presents and what to buy for the person who has everything.  Tomorrow I will be writing about the kind of personalised gifts that you can make and create yourself.

Today however, we are talking luxury.

"For the Man Who Has Everything"

Men can be hard to buy for when you are looking for a special present and of course it all depends on the personality.  Are they into gadgets, do they like cars, what are their hobbies?  One thing we do know is that men seem to universally love watches.

With this in mind what could be more stylish and sought after than a watch, one that you cannot just be bought off the high street and is a little more rare,

With this in mind I have been looking pre owned Omega watches.  To buy a new one would cost you a few thousand pounds, making it a very, very special present!  You can buy pre owned watches for much cheaper however and I particularly love this one.

This particular watch is from 1944 and costs £775.00.  I love the understated elegance.  It has a classic look that timeless.  I have popped the link above if you want to have a look at the range.

"For the Woman Who Has Everything"

I admit it, women are hard to buy for.  Not because there are a limited amount of things that you can buy us, but because we all like different things and our tastes widely vary.   So for this section I am thinking about what I would like for a luxury gift.

For me, from a great friend or relative, nothing could be better than going away to a luxury spa for the weekend.  My favourite one when I am from (up North!) would be the Titanic Spa. They do a brilliant Mother/Daughter package for £385.00. If the present was coming from a partner, I would love a weekend away in an amazing hotel, perhaps something with a spin like a murder mystery weekend?

"The Couple"

So you are looking for a special present for a couple.  Couples can be hard to buy for as you are buying for two different personalities in one present.  What to buy them?  Vouchers are boring and you cannot buy them furniture!

So what about a wireless speaker system that lets them play music in any room of the house?

These Panasonic Wireless Speakers cost £379.99 and you can use it both for your CD collection but also many other sources such as online subscriptions like Spotify.

"When you really can't decide"

So you have to buy somebody a special gift but there is nothing really singing at you. Perhaps they don't have any main hobbies or perhaps you just can't put your finger on what you think they would like.

When it comes down to this, I do not think that you can go far wrong with a luxury hamper.  They can be personalised as to what you want, they work for any time of year and there are so many to choose from at different price ranges.

I love this Start the Party Hamper from Selfridges which has lots of biscuits, confectionery and alcohol to keep anyone happy!

*This is a collaborative post