Lockdown and loaded. Been in lockdown for 3 months, no friends to see, How would we cope all huddled together, Just Dave, Christian, Fran and me. Thank fuck we had such lovely weather. Fran was delighted to be home from school, No anguish, no sensory overloads or chaotic classes, Being at home was so cool, No more mingling with the masses. Days spent in the garden, planting seeds, digging borders, Time on our hands now we are furloughed, There are no more workplace orders, Riding bikes, baking, cooking is our new workload. Stay at home, save lives, save the NHS, not going out is the best. I ventured out to ride my bike to keep me sane, The bird song was so high pitched, almost shrilling, I would never want the forest to be open again. Not drowned out by cars, dogs or planes, no one yelling. Everything closed, all was quiet, peaceful and silent, No last orders from the pub nearby, No gangs of youths being violent. Quiet nights instead of that drunk cry. No traffic, no planes, very little pollution, We had time to think, reflect and discuss, was this the planets survival solution, A pandemic to make us all superfluous. Stay at home, save lives, save the NHS, not going out is the best. But now the lockdown is easing, Shops are open people venture out, First with trepidation then numbers increasing, The noise comes back, I hear too many kids shout. Go to the pubs and cafes they say, Buy as much shit as you can, what baloney, Support local business, hooray, Spend, spend, spend for the economy. Sunak has promised jobs for the young, Got to stave off the mass unemployment, 6 months of work then you are done, Back to being jobless, hungry and can’t pay rent. Stay at alert, save lives, save the NHS, going out is the best. Leicester’s on lockdown no lifting of restrictions, Everyone despondent, desperate to be normal, All the while the virus is spreading causing afflictions, Some blame the minorities for a virus this awful. I won’t be going out to the pub, Nor will I que to buy crap clothes at Primark, I am not interested in eating café grub, I would rather just ride in the forest or park. It’s all a bit sad as we are pushed to go back, No reward for the care workers, tough shit bitch, No peace for the planet taking all the flack, Buying crap to make a handful people even more rich. The government lacks creativity to get us out of this mess, I listened to Boris and his bum chum, They have taken socialist policies but not at their best, When the simplest answer is a universal basic income. Stay alert, it’s your fault, you didn’t follow procedure, The second wave is coming, but it won’t affect Dominic Cummings. ~Tomboymum~ How have you coped with the easing of lockdown? Are you continuing to live in a social bubble? Love to here from you! Stay safe folks ......
This is a topical Poem about Boohoo, the online retailer recently criticised for its use of sweat shop factories in Leicester. We have created this vicious cycle of fast fashion that pollutes the planet, enslaves people (mainly women and children) into poverty wages.
We think this only happens in far away 3rd world countries, but not this time! Its all happening here in the UK. Please read and enjoy!
Boo-hoo, boo-hoo, boo-hoo Cry the workers making for Boohoo. They work so hard night and day, to deliver goods for a price that’s a giveaway. The supplier is crushed by the increasing cost, while the brand cares nothing for their loss. For Boohoo its yipped de doo, as they make billions from all of you. Cheap clothes worn once then discarded, while our planet is bombarded. Tons of textiles go to landfill each year, where they are buried forever with no one’s tear. Polluting the earth without a thought or a care, no labels saying “buyer beware”. Do you know what happens to your clothes, have you a clue where any of it goes. Boohoo, Missguided, Primark, the supply of fast fashion is extremely dark. Exploited people working illegally, not paid the minimum wage or treated decently. These factories worked through a pandemic, No safe guarding, it’s just a gimmick. No care for them as they must deliver, to those brands, the lowest bidder. And so the workers spread the virus, so you could have your desirous. These factories making fashion from polyester, are not in Bangladesh but in Leicester. ~Tomboymum~
What do you think about cheap clothing?
Has the pandemic changed your shopping habits?
I would really love to hear your thoughts, so drop me a mail anytime!
Stay safe people ……………….
I sowed potatoes for the first time, Grew them in sacks of compost with enzyme. I planted the seeds in April this year, Overnight masses of green shoots would appear. Now it’s July and they’re ready for picking, Hands dig deep, what will I find, it’s quite forbidding. Harvesting potatoes is like digging for gold, Like buried treasure hundreds of years old. My hands are dirty as I scramble around, Looking for those yellow nuggets hidden in the ground. They look so bright against the dark brown compost, Potatoes are just as beautiful as growing cosmos. I shovel out the dirt right to the sack bottom, Only to find a lot are actually rotten. It makes me think of famine as I dig, How precarious our food supply still is? I imagine farmers in faraway fields, Nervous of what their crops will yield. Fighting off pests, terrified of locust, What they must endure to keep their focus. Or in Ireland 1845, the history of potato blight, Successive crops destroyed; I feel their plight. Millions starving, I just can’t imagine their fear, Seeing your staple food disappear year after year. Growing my own food has made me realise, The fine balance of eco systems, climate and polluted skies. The scales are tipping as we lose our biodiversity, We cut down rain forest for animal feed, what a travesty. Colanders full of my potato haul, Into a pan with water and salt, a good result all in all. Once they are cooked, drained and smothered in butter, ready to eat, I think about how food is grown and it's quite an amazing feat. ~Tomboymum~
Meat Free January
Veganuary began as a movement to encourage people to not eat meat or dairy during January.
Since 2014, it has inspired and supported more than half a million people in 178 countries to try vegan for January. The success of the movement has been quite phenomenal, it has helped put vegan food into the core of supermarkets and on menus in most food outlets. For example, more than 500 businesses took part in Veganuary 2019.
I stopped eating meat and dairy over 3 years ago, my motive was the environment. Learning about the devastation the meat industry has on out planet.
Why should we stopped eating meat and dairy? There is the obvious answer, cruelty to animals. No matter how it’s sold to us i.e organic, pasture fed, free range etc. it is still the mass production of living beings bred purely to be slaughtered. There is no humane way to slaughter a living creature end of……
However, there is another huge slaughter happening that we need to understand, that of our planet.
Did you know, most arable land in the world grows animal feed, yet animal products account for only 1% of our calorie intake. We take more resource to feed the food stuff that is the minimum in our diet!
More than 90% of global soya- bean production goes into feed. Now soya is increasingly used in aquaculture as well. Feed production occupies one third of the earth’s agricultural land and uses agrochemicals which in turn add to water pollution.
For example, the UK’s land mass is divided approximately, into the following:
5% for urban living (including airports, roads, train lines, work spaces), 19% arable farming for wheat, barley, potatoes etc. 1% is horticulture (fruit and vegetables) yet 51% is grazing for cows, sheep, pigs, chicken farms and growing grass for hay.
This is know as agricultural sprawl. It has decimated the biodiversity of the UK landscape. For example, sheep eat everything including any tree seeds, so nothing grows except grass and moss. Ever wondered why the Lake District and Peak District look so bare and quite honestly boring, because they are grazing land for sheep.
WTF 51% of land is for grazing, thats mad. Whats even madder, no one talks about it or reports about it. Industrial farming of animals is killing out planet FACT!
The Story Book Farm
We have been brainwashed since childhood about what a farm is and how it works. Its all happy and harmonious with no mention of what happens to the animals. We are so far removed from the reality of meat production.
This picture shows the real farm. Sheds of animals crammed together on concrete floors being fattened up ready for slaughter. This includes gassing, electrocution throats slit. If you have the stomach watch Earthlings on YouTube.
Producing one kilogram of meat requires on average three kilos of grain and soya. These re- sources could feed an extra 3,5 billion people, according to the UN.
Not eating meat or dairy is the biggest effect you can have the destruction of the planet and halt climate change. But it goes even further, this industrialisation and globalisation of animal production has drastically increased animal diseases.
Epidemics among animals is rife. Bird flu, swine flu, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in 2002/03 in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Canada. These occurred because there are now only a few breeds of animal left that are genetically modified. We have lost all diversity within pigs, cows, sheep and chickens. These infections transgress to humans. It is stated that each pig or cow has a million relatives due to narrow gene pool from corporate companies who genetically modify pigs, cows, sheep and chickens to gain weight rapidly.
Factory farms use antibiotics as a security measure, for example, in Germany, one third of antibiotics sold are used in animal production, in China it’s half. In the US, where antibiotics are permitted to accelerate growth, eight times more antibiotics are used in factory farms than in hospitals. All going into the meat and dairy food change.
The consequences are; antibiotic resistant bacteria and increasing numbers of infections that cannot be cured with antibiotics.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says this is one of the most serious threats for human health.
But you are empowered to change this course by living a vegan life style, extending your vegan eating to vegan living.
Billions of animals are slaughtered and processed each year, for the “Fashion Industry”. Whether it’s leather, fur, wool, feathers/down, or silk, animals are “ranched”/raised, trapped, mutilated and killed under some of the most horrific conditions imaginable, just to produce clothing and accessories that most of us wear. These animals lead miserable, short, tortured lives about which the average consumer has little awareness or knowledge.
Leather is the greatest use of animal skins for articles of clothing and accessories is the use of leather and fur. Leather, not just a by-product of Big Agri-Business but comes from sacred Indian cows where they are transported abroad to be slaughtered. The hides are actually created by the toxic tanning.
Today most leather is made of cattle skin, but many exceptions exist. Lamb and deerskin are used for soft leather in more expensive apparel. Deer and elkskin are widely used in work gloves and indoor shoes. Pigskin is used in apparel, wallets and on seats of saddles. Buffalo, horses, goats, alligators, crocodiles, dogs, snakes, ostriches, kangaroos, oxen, and yaks are also be used for leather.
Wool is the second largest animal derivative we have been brainwashed to believing is a “natural” product. But sheep shearing is a painful’ distressing process for the animals.
With more than 100 million sheep, Australia produces 30 percent of all wool used worldwide (we have 29 million sheep int the UK). Every year, hundreds of lambs die before the age of 8 weeks from exposure or starvation, mature sheep die every year from disease, lack of shelter, and neglect. Faced with so much death and disease, the rational solution would be to reduce the number of sheep so as to maintain them decently. Instead, sheep are bred to bear more lambs to offset the deaths.
Timing is critical for shearing, it is done in spring before the sheep naturally shed. In the rush, many sheep die from exposure after premature shearing. Shearers are usually paid by volume, not by the hour, which encourages fast work without regard for the welfare of the sheep. There is no regard for animal welfare.
When sheep age and their wool production declines, they are sold for slaughter. This results in the cruel live export of 6.5 million sheep every year from Australia to the Middle East and North Africa and nearly 800,000 sheep are exported from the U.K. for slaughter abroad.
There are so many other examples of animal cruelty in fashion, check the reading list at the end of the blog.
So why not have a go this January and try a vegan lifestyle its easier than you think and there is lots of support to help you find your way.
For further reading and references please follow the inks below:
We adorn ourselves in the exploits of planetary and human toil,
Not knowing the true cost of what we wear,
Sapping the water or using the oil,
Only to be told by adverts, brands and Instagram,
That all is well with clothes of theirs.
Oh, how we live in shallow times where fact is fake and climate change is denied,
We consume such masses without a clue of how, what, where or who.
A tee shirt alone takes 2,700 litres of water to make, yet we treat it without a care,
Tossing it away after one Facebook share.
With no knowledge of the journey it has made, even though it takes precious resource,
We buy even more with no remorse.
A designer’s view will help make the change from beginning to end
Informing the customer of sustainable values, not shopping for gratification but necessity instead, don’t throw it out until its worn out and dead,
Thinking about the purchase make, where is it from and will it last long.
When buying our clothes, we need opportunity to make the right choice, to hear the ethical voice, buy less, pay more.
Think about that water consumption, think about how many times you wore that top,
Question what happens at the end of its life, where does it stop?
In landfill no doubt, polluting the ground and never breaking down.
We need the conglomerates and corporations to step back from profiteering,
Gives us sustainability and stop our fearing of this catastrophic cycle we are enduring.
Change your ways to build a future where all can survive and thrive or let your brands disappear, along with our climate, planet and atmosphere.
Entrepreneurs will rise up to give back what you once took, developing new ways to work with community projects and cooperative neighbourhoods, transparent supply chains and no forced labour,
Using fibres that are eco-friendly, biodegradable or recycled, making fashion circular with less take,
This the commitment we must make as our very existence is at stake.
There are many descriptions and definitions of a tomboy, but the Urban Dictionary sums me up;
a female with male like characteristics.
Tomboys give 0 fucks about what’s going on or who talks about them. They’d rather spend the day in the mud wrestling with their friends then to stay inside painting their nails. A tomboy doesn’t have to play a sport. Tons of girly girls play sports, so it doesn’t really matter.
That was me from the get-go!
My Tomboy Self
Born in the 60’s, growing up in the 70’s,
My very first memory of hating dresses was at 3 years old.
Dressed as fairy for a Christmas party
I screamed and ranted at the tutu, way too sparkly.
The distress at these clothes was never understood by my mother, father, brother
Nor my sister, my aunts and uncles, teachers or peers.
No one ever knew my hidden fears.
To wear girls clothes was a lifelong struggle, pushed by patriarchy while fuelling my anarchy.
I was a girl who wanted to be a boy, I played football, lego, climbed trees, rode bikes and had loads of street fights.
Defiant and angry at all the arguing, “why are your hands dirty” “why don’t you wear a skirt”
From my mother who pleaded with me to be a real girl.
Forever comparing me to her friends’ daughters, who had clean hands and wore skirts, who played with dolls, liked makeup and shopping, while I was scrumping and snogging out with the lads.
A dress for my 5thbirthday, it was flouncy and floral, so 70’s, I was so not impressed.
I felt physically sick when open this gift, my mum so pleased, so happy at something girly, when all I wanted was to shred that dress.
I wore it once for a portrait photograph, I felt so awkward and naff, then I buried that dress at the bottom of the draw hoping it would appear no more.
These were the clothes for me, often mistaken as a boy and called “sonny”, I lived as a tomboy for all my younger years.
I only felt right in my tee shirt, ripped jeans and baseball boots.
By 7 years old I was swearing and smoking, out on the streets, the park, playing until dark.
Those were the days when we were never indoors, always with mates and out to explore.
My best friend was a tomboy, but not quite as me, she liked boyish things, but me, I wanted to be a boy.
My nick name was Billy Boy and I was truly proud, named so by the lads in our crowd.
It was not rebellion, defiance or unruly behaviour, I was a tomboy and never understood until I reach adulthood, that it was in my DNA.
My parents despaired but eventually gave in to the tomboy way, thinking that I was probably gay.
I still had parental battles for Doc Martins and Wranglers, while mum bought me jeans from Marks and Spencer’s,
I just wanted Wranglers, what did she not see………
She never realised my inner torment and anguish, seeing me as naughty and cheeky.
Constantly embroiled in clothing bickers, even in preschool the conflict flickers.
A pair of trousers with the buttons cut off, caught red handed by Miss McGoff
She bellowed “Stand in the corner you naughty girl”, the humiliation, distress, still haunts me now,
She banned me from wearing my beloved trousers, the injustice I felt enraged inside, the punishment was harsh for such a crime.
But mother was happy, now she would find all those dresses and skirts that I had left behind.
What this created inside of me was an anger ready to flee, I hated that school for what they did, I never kept those feelings hid.
I feigned sickness to my mum and off school I would stay, back in my jeans ready to play, she never seemed to mind me being at home, it was chilled, and I was free to roam.
I stole from that school whenever I could, pens, paper, a purse from the box of dressing up.
I developed the knack to nick, to steal and to lie, all motivated by Miss McGoff,
Who I secretly called Miss Mcfuckoff.
Christmas was always trouble for me as I wished for Action Man, Hot Wheels and Scalextric,
But I got a doll, a play kitchen, colouring books, my head was hectic.
I would sell some of the toys to the kids on the street, then buy 10 No6 on the sneak,
Christmas 1975, all I wanted was a Chopper bike, but I got the Raleigh Shopper bike!
I was mortified, it was purple with shopping baskets attached to the front.
I stripped it, painted it, rode it hard down the gullies, the train tracks, tried to break it with a high jump stunt
Then I gave up, rode my brothers racer instead, way too big for me, but who cares,
I was always up for the dare!
My gran bought me action man, with his gripping hands, scarred face and eagle eyes, he was my hero I cannot deny.
I loved action man, I loved all the miniature clothes, kit bags and army gear.
I bought him a motor bike and helicopter, playing killing games with my younger brother in fear.
Aged 11yrs old I had a paper round, up at 6 delivering the times, the sun and the daily mirror.
Earning money to buy my own things, no more begging for my boyish clobber,
now I could save up and purchase without any bother.
Off to town on the 18 bus, into the market to Mikes Mighty Jeans,
“Wranglers please mate….. alright sonny, what size”? I felt alive.
Paid for the jeans with my own money, no one to fight with, to argue with, just me and my bestie living the dream.
Those Wrangler jeans empowered me, they embodied all that I was, I felt confident, tough and real.
No more girls clothes for me, stupid, stupid dresses and skirts, now I was free.
Washed once a week and straight back on, I wore these jeans to the end of their life.
Then came a set back from secondary school, the uniform, a skirt, a blouse and blazer, all navy and gold,
Feeding my now teenage angst, I would not be told, ditching the blazer for my denim jacket and school shoes to monkey boots
They would not crush my tomboy roots.
Rebellion in full swing with a touch of truanting, I would not be tamed,
Fuelled by rock music, cigarettes, carling and spliffs, Billy Boy was my nick name.
School was a Joke, I was never there, always skiving, teachers didn’t care,
Educating girls who would become pregnant, there was just no need, that’s what they believed.
The girl’s school was left on the heap while the boys were pushed to achieved and have such self-belief.
It mattered not to me, I would do whatever, I was tomboy clever.
My first crush was on Pete with his 250cc Suzuki, I was 13 he 17, I was in love,
With his bike more than him.
He showed me how to ride and gave me a taste for a lifestyle I would like,
From tomboy to rocker to biker.
17thbirthday I bought my first bike, the happiest day of my life,
I was free, independent, there was no stopping me.
Now working in a factory 40hrs a week, sewing up garments and paid per piece,
I earned good money, cash every week, financing my lifestyle, that greaser was me.
Then I was bored and wanted to get on, so went back to study, you could in those days, social mobility really did pay.
Further education changed me so much, studying fashion was such a rush, creative and satisfying, I developed ambition.
The tomboy me began to falter, my style became trendy, girly, pressure from fashion and society as a whole, diminished my boyish control.
Years went by and tried to fit in, playing the game of fashion victim, but always aware that it was truly not me.
Decades past and then came the real blast, the menopause, the midlife, the older, wiser self.
A friend’s wedding was the pinnacle for me, wearing a dress and girly shoe, I sat in the pew, thinking what the fuck, I hate this fucking dress so much.
I made a vow that day, never again would I wear a dress, a skirt or a girly shoe.
Tomboy is back, not giving a shit, riding a mountain bikes, boxing at the gym, swearing and rebelling, not looking for likes.
Wearing the jeans, tees shirts, and Docs, still working in fashion, what a load of crock.
I am a tomboy wife and a tomboy mum, my daughter is 12 and here’s the irony, the dam right blow, “But mummy, I want the sequin dress with the great big bow”
Were you a tomboy?
Are you a tomboy?
Would love to hear from you!
Hope you enjoyed my poem, the events in this are real, I am a tomboy mum and I was a tomboy from as far back as I remember. I was always nagged to conform to this idea of how a girl or woman should be! If was that tomboy today I would have been a lot happier!
I have been with my husband for 17 years and have a very girly daughter of 12!
Be safe folks x
What is World Down Syndrome Day?
March 21st is the official awareness day for people with Down Syndrome, it was recognised by the United Nations in 2011.
Down syndrome is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that has always been a part of the human condition, it exists in all regions across the globe. It is the extra chromosome of number 21 that gives some common traits in people with Down syndrome, clinically known as Trisomy 21. Hence, World Down Syndrome Day was chosen to be on 21/03 of each year (3 chromosomes of number 21) cool yeah?
So what is Down syndrome well here is the definition in a dictionary
Down’s syndrome/daʊnz/noununpunctuated: Down syndrome
- a congenital disorder arising from a chromosome defect, causing intellectual impairment and physical abnormalities including short stature and a broad facial profile. It arises from a defect involving chromosome 21, usually an extra copy (trisomy-21).
This is such a generalisation that it should also say “they love music, are so loving and always happy” well let me blow some of the myths. Fran does love music, she is 12yrs, so she loves Little Mix, Ariana Grande and most pop music with Capital being her favourite radio station. This is no different to any pre teen, when Fran was younger she liked music and nursery rhymes like her peers. She is loving, we all have a loving relationship, like she has with her Dad, brother, cousins, aunties, uncles, grandparents and friends, its not extraordinary its ORDINARY! She is also moody, stroppy, defiant, cheeky and says fuck! Just like anyone else her age. If you are interested for more myth busters, follow this link from the BBC
Oh and its not only older women who have babies with Down syndrome as 80% are born to mothers under 35yrs, just saying, as I did have Fran at 40yrs ….. wowzer!
Fran was born in Hong Kong, my husband and I lived and work there at the time. I was due for a caesarian section on a Friday, Fran was breach; but because maternity leave was only 10 weeks (WTF) I finished work on the previous Friday, but had Fran by emergency caesarean on the Thursday ( I had contractions and my water broke). Unfortunately Dave could not be present for the birth because it was an emergency, I was traumatised to be honest. I was given a spinal block and went into a triggered situation from a previous event that had happened to me and all I wanted was Dave. The bed side manner of the staff was rubbish, but this may have been due to language barriers (I hope). So my wrists were strapped down and a screen was put in front of my face, so I couldn’t see anything or move! By this time I was shouting “get my f*#%ing husband” he was all I wanted and needed, but no they just gave me more sedatives, which did not work LOL! I kept up the sweary rants the entire time.
It was a weird having a C section, like someone is fumbling around in your womb. You have this sensation but no actual feeling. Of course I could not understand what was being said by the nursing team as I never bothered to learn Cantonese (something I regret). Eventually I heard my baby cry, then the Dr came to show me that she was a girl by flashing her bits in front of my face! I was still strapped down. Fran was taken away to intensive care unit, unbeknown to me, but Dave was with her, again all unbeknown to me. I went to the recovery room for a few hours and was able to speak to Dave by phone. He kept telling me how beautiful our baby was and he loved her so much, then he would cry, but I just thought he was overwhelmed.
Later I was transferred to the maternity ward without my baby! I felt like I had been in hospital just to have my womb removed. Dave was allowed to visit me and through his tears he hugged me and told me how he loved our baby girl. Then he told me she had Down Syndrome and pneumonia and a hole in the heart. But he didn’t give a shit about any of it, he just knew he loved this child. I was devastated, with this overbearing feel of rejection for this abnormal baby (which I had only seen once). I knew at that moment I would not be able to love her because she was not normal. When Dave returned to the NICU and I was alone, I sobbed uncontrollably, it was like a form of grief, I felt like a failure. I kept having flash backs to the special school in the park where I grew up and how we called those kids MONGIES and SPASTICS (this was the 1970’s). I was a mess. But I wanted to see my baby and the nurses would not allow it as Fran was in an a critical condition ( I later discovered this was bullshit and just how babies with Down syndrome are treated by Hong Kong medical profession). Dave told the consultant that if they did not take Francesca to see me he would wheel us both out of the hospital.
I had given birth at 8.31am and it was 5.30pm when I eventually held here and fell deeply and madly in love with our beautiful baby girl. Dave was told in the public lift by the consultant that his baby had Down syndrome but like I said he didn’t give a shit. He never once faltered and he gave me the strength to recover from this trauma and be a mum. While I read books about Down syndrome, he was a father, first and foremost. He is still the same today, he has brought Fran up as we did not want to leave her with child minders in Hong Kong and I went back to work.
A pre-teen with Down syndrome
We moved back to the UK 4 years later and now our baby is a pre teen with raging hormones and a very strong personality. She goes to a special school as Frans speech and communication is not great ( except when she wants something then she can communicate quite clearly LOL). Life has been tough at times, but harder for Fran than us, as she wants to do things but sometimes her disability holds her back either physically or mentally. She is living in society that still is not very accepting of what it does not understand. I was once fearful of disabled people as I had never encountered any until I had Fran. We now live in a disabled world fighting every inch for more inclusion and acceptance and rights for our people. If I had known Fran had Down syndrome I am sure the obstetrician in Hong Kong would have convinced me to have a termination. I think that would have destroyed me, because having Fran changed me as a person, she found the humane in me, she made me a fighter, she made me a better person.
So put on your odd socks (this is our symbol for the day) and support #leaveNoOnebehind this Thursday World Down Syndrome Day, for all those fantastic people who make our world a better place.