Feel Good Friday #13

If you have been on social media today, you may have noticed the #wearyellowforseth trend. Seth is an adorable five year old boy who was born with severe combined immunodeficiency disorder (SCID). This means that, as explained by Seth's mum, Leanne, 'he was born with no immune system and has no way of fighting any form of infection.' To survive, Seth had a bone marrow transplant when he was only seven months old, but it failed and started to attack his body, treating it like it was a virus or infection. While he waits for a second bone marrow transplant, Seth has been forced to live in a sterile hospital room with no contact from the outside world - even the common cold could threaten his life, as his immune system simply wouldn't be able to fight it off.

Earlier this month, Seth's parents posted a video online called #WearYellowForSeth. The video shows Seth sitting on his hospital bed holding up yellow cards which tell the viewer a little about him (he loves Fireman Sam, Paw Patrol and yellow!) and asks that 'on 27th March 2015... people wear yellow to show me how much support I have'. After the photographs are shared on social media with the #wearyellowforseth tag, Seth's parents will show them to him and pin them up in his room.


The call for photographs has been phenomenally successful, with photographs being uploaded from around the world (I spotted some uploaded from Hong Kong Disneyland earlier!) and #wearyellowforseth has trended on Twitter. Leanne even joked 'We said we're going to hang them all up, but I think there's going to be more pictures than we thought. I think we'll need a football stadium.'

I've included the lovely Sorcha from Bright Field Notes and her Simba t-shirt in the collage above, but as I scrolled through my Twitter feed I also coincidentally clicked on the photograph of the man in the middle - who just happens to be the director of Fireman Sam!


While Seth's parents have said they simply want people to share their photographs to cheer Seth up and raise awareness of SCID, you can donate £2 to The Bubble Foundation, who work to save the lives of babies and children born without an immune system, by texting SETH05 to 70070. I spotted that Sun Life Financial, a financial services company based in Canada, donated $5,000 (and all of their staff wore yellow to work)! 

Leanne said the campaign is ultimately about 'raising awareness about how a bone marrow transplant can literally save a life... If more children can get matches because of this, even if one child can get a match, then that's fantastic'.

Meat Free Week


Today marks the first day of Meat Free Week, which is running from the 23rd until the 29th of March in the United Kingdom and Australia. The event is aimed at meat eaters and is designed to get people thinking about reducing their meat consumption and, when eating meat, choosing the best quality meat available (e.g. free range, organic, etc.). The event is supported by many high profile figures, including chef Jamie Oliver, actress Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood!) and food blogger and author Ella Woodward. 

I've been vegetarian for more than ten years but, as I've mentioned on my blog before, I tend to rarely mention it because the response from other people can be so negative. There is definitely a stigma that vegetarians and vegans are sanctimonious bores and I don't ever want my friends and family to feel like I'm lecturing them or criticising their choices.

It's tough never mentioning something which is so significant to me though.

I do have reasons for going vegetarian, which, considering I've actively made the choice not to eat meat every day since I was 15, are very important to me. These reasons are why I choose to be vegetarian even when I'm working at an event and the vegetarian lunch option is mushroom risotto again, or I go out with friends for burgers and cocktails and there are seven different meat burgers for them to choose from and a Portobello mushroom in a bun for me, or I'm in Paris and can only read enough French to know there is meat in practically everything (I ate a lot of bread and tabbouleh on that trip). 

To celebrate Meat Free Week, I thought I would finally share some of the reasons why I think choosing to eat less meat, or no meat at all, is the right choice:

I hope the people who read this post do so with an open mind. I honestly don't want to preach or criticise but I'm occasionally asked why I decided to go vegetarian by people who are genuinely interested and I thought Meat Free Week would be a perfect opportunity to highlight my reasons. 

While I don't expect everyone to go vegetarian or vegan, I hope more open, honest and non-judgemental discussion will inspire more people to cut down on the amount of meat in their diet and think more about where their meat comes from.

Feel Good Friday #12

As today is International Day of Happiness, I thought I would write a very special Feel Good Friday, which I hope will leave you feeling as happy as this frolicking lamb!


The best part about writing my Feel Good Friday posts has been the many, many positive stories I've read in pursuit of my next post. I can happily say that I have never struggled for content for a post - the tricky part is choosing only one story to write about.

To really amp up the feel good vibes this Friday, here are five stories which made me smile this week:

  • Willie Haswell has been sending flowers to an Edinburgh taxi firm for over 47 seven years, as a thank you for helping him and his wife get around town. When the 94 year old's wife sadly passed away, Willie contacted the firm to arrange taxis for her funeral, but staff wanted to repay his generosity and donated the money themselves to cover all of the fares. They have even organised a special account for Willie so he can travel for free in the future, to make sure he is still able to get out and about and pop to the shops.

  • The wonderful people over at The Dodo have created this incredible short video which shows the moments when animals from around the world got their first taste of freedom. From laboratory beagles feeling grass under their feet for first time, through to big cats running free after years of being caged up in circuses, this video will bring a lump to your throat, but should also make you glow with happiness at these incredible and touching moments.

  • The #HappyActs challenge is a global campaign launched by Live Happy magazine to inspire people from around the world to think, act and live happy. Leading up to the International Day of Happiness, the campaign challenges everyone to do and share as many #HappyActs as they can and post them on social media with the hashtag #LiveHappy. Scroll through the hashtag on Twitter or Instagram to find out what #HappyActs people are doing right now to make other people smile - as I'm writing this post, favourite new tweets include the person who left a big bundle of sweets in their colleague's in-tray, and a woman who filled up a stranger's car with gas for free!

  • Celebrities have been spreading the positivity this week too, with Lorde sending cupcakes and a supportive note to X-Factor New Zealand singer Joe Irvine, after he was bullied on stage by judges Natasha Kills and Willy Moon, and Tom Hanks helped Girl Scouts sell more cookies by letting passersby take photographs with him, as long as they bought a box of cookies (and he bought four boxes and donated another $20!).

  • A super mama dog saved her nine puppies from a forest fire in Chile by digging a deep hole and placing her babies inside. Fire fighters were able to rescue the puppies, who were dirty and frightened but unharmed, later, and reunite them with their mum, who had taken shelter in a nearby building. Locals have donated money and temporary accommodation to take care of the family, with offers of new homes for mum and her little ones pouring in.

I hope that these stories have helped put a smile on your face. If you've heard any feel good stories this week, please let me know and spread the happiness. Happy weekend everyone - and happy International Day of Happiness!

Favourite non-Disney animated films

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time (or follow me on Twitter or Instagram), you'll know of my adoration for the House of Mouse. But while Disney might be my great love when it comes to animation, I do have room in my heart (and DVD collection) for a few flings (shh, don't tell Walt!). When I read Holly's post on her 5 Films I Refuse To Grow Out Of, I started to think about which non-Disney animated films are my favourites.

This is probably my favourite film on the list: I remember watching it over and over (and over) on VHS when it was released in 1997 and couldn't resist buying the DVD when I spotted it in Asda a couple of years ago. While the story might not be, er, 100 percent historically accurate, Anastasia is fiery, independent and outspoken, the soundtrack is one of my favourites (if you watch it, you will have Rumour in St. Petersburg and In the Dark of the Night in your head for days), the animation is beautiful and the rotting corpse of Rasputin is definitely one of the best bad guys in any film. 

This is obviously a much more recent animated film, but I'm not even going to pretend I don't watch animation now I'm a, ahem, grown up. As well as loving the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless, I fell for the original storyline, imaginative animation and wonderful messages (not only regarding the clan's treatment of animals, but also the struggles between Hiccup and Stoick as the teenager grows up and rebels against his dad's idea of how a man should behave). I've also included How to Train Your Dragon 2 because, despite its rather unoriginal title, I think it's just as good, if not better, than the first film - I will warn you though, bring your tissues because it does get a little tearful towards the end!

Who doesn't love Wallace and Gromit? I have such a soft spot for the beauty and precision of stop motion animation and there isn't any finer than what the Aardman studio creates (did you know that in the new Shaun the Sheep film there was a target of three seconds of footage a day, two and a half minutes per week and the film was completed in nine months?). The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is silly, clever and bursting with the same charm as the original Wallace and Gromit short films.

I sometimes wonder if I'm the only person who watched All Dogs Go to Heaven as a child - no one else seems to have heard of it! The film was released in cinemas on November 17th 1989, which was also the release date of that little known film, The Little Mermaid. While it might never have had the dizzying success of its competitor, it became one of the biggest-selling VHS releases ever. As a big dog lover, I was never going to be able to resist the sweet charm of this film. Add to that a wonderful story about family, loyalty and kindness - and a bizarre soundtrack provided by a very flamboyant alligator - this is another childhood favourite I couldn't resist upgrading to DVD for. 

Despicable Me is ridiculous, funny and modern, revelling in fart jokes, nonsensical characters and outlandish story lines. Universal haven't dampened the lunacy of this franchise by trying to replicate the elegance of other animation studios - and thank goodness for that. After all, what's wrong with a few fart jokes amongst minions friends?

As much as I adore fairytales and classic retellings of their stories, I can't help but love Shrek for how much it pokes fun of the characters we know and love. From Cinderella sharpening her glass slipper to use as a weapon (and how can you not love a Snow White who sings Led Zeppelin?) to the boorish Prince Charming, Shrek douses our favourite fairytale characters in some much appreciated adult comedy. I can't believe I also didn't realise how rude the films are until recently - I mean, come on, Lord Farquaad (try saying that five times fast).

Honourable mentions also go to Cats Don't Dance, The Road to El Dorado and Rise of the Guardians - I had to stop somewhere though, otherwise I'd still have been writing this post come April! Which are your favourite non-Disney animated films? I'm especially interested in knowing if anyone else loved All Dogs Go to Heaven when they were little - I swear I didn't make this film up!

Feel Good Friday #11

This is a bit of an unusual Feel Good Friday because I'm sharing a story from my day rather than charity news, but I couldn't resist writing about something that happened this morning which made me smile.


When I was walking to work I spotted a small, injured pigeon sitting at the end of a garden path. I'm not going to lie and say I'm a big pigeon fan (I'm especially not a big fan of their penchant for flying right at people's heads) but I'm also definitely not the sort of person who could leave an animal in pain. I was already running late for work so I phoned Sam to frantically exclaim 'There's an injured pigeon around the corner from our flat!'. I might be the sort of person who gets into a flap (ho ho) about an injured bird but you never really know how other people are going to react - considering "pigeons evil" was one of the suggested searches when I was looking for an image for this post, they're clearly not everyone's cup of tea! Thankfully Sam reassured me that he'd help.

Twenty minutes later I received a text which simply read 'There's a pigeon in our living room.'

Sam had phoned the Scottish SPCA to let them know about the little guy (Sam named him Chester, so he's now officially a little guy) and they said they'd have an animal rescue officer over as quickly as possible. However, since I'd phoned Sam a flock of seagulls had started to gather overhead (seagulls are known for bullying pigeons, so they're not my favourites either!) so he asked the woman on the phone if it would be okay to move Chester - resulting in a wee pigeon setting up camp in a cardboard box full of hay in our flat!


When the animal rescue officer arrived a little while later, she checked Chester over and reassured Sam he would be fine. Despite not being able to fly when I spotted him that morning, she checked his wings weren't broken and that he didn't have any deep wounds. She said it looked like he'd been picked on by another bird, probably because he's so young, but she reckons after a stay at their National Wildlife Rescue Centre he'll be ready to be released back into the wild. 

This was a strange start to my day but hooray for the Scottish SPCA and three cheers for little Chester! I hope he has a happy life away from the big smoke of Glasgow in his new country home.

Oh, and, after the day started with Sam rescuing a pigeon, tonight our neighbour's cat followed me up the stairs, through our front door and just started chilling in our living room - clearly today is a day for opening our doors to the neighbourhood's animals!

Reasons to be cheerful

Nobody likes a Debbie Downer but this week I'm finding it tough to karate chop my way out of the slump I'm in. Between a never ending to do list in work and struggling to beat a cold which has been hanging around for a couple of weeks, I'm not enthused with the same optimistic spring vibes which seem to have sprung up all over my social media since the start of March.

When we first arrived in 2015 I was determined to imbue my year with so much enthusiasm and positivity - as Roald Dahl said, 'If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.' Yes, we all have hard times, and some weeks it's all we can do to simply put one foot in front of the other until Friday night arrives, but allowing bad thoughts, negativity and pessimism to permeate your every day is dangerous and is guaranteed to weaken your resolve to see the silver linings which are twinkling at you even on your darkest days.

In the spirit of giving my silver linings a fat hug (and hopefully giving my karate chop a little pizazz), here are some of my reasons for being cheerful this week:


  • I visited my parents at the weekend and came home with two boxes stuffed full of my mum's homemade chocolate flapjacks and rocky road. When you're down in the dumps a hug from your mum is sometimes all you need, but, when you don't live at home and it's harder to see each other, a cup of tea and an enormous slab of her baking on the sofa after work comes pretty close. By the way, don't forget Sunday is Mother's Day, so all of those incredible mammys out there need spoiled rotten!
  • While Glasgow hasn't yet been blessed with the beautiful weather which I jealously scrolled through on Instagram over the weekend, the evenings have been lighter and milder on my walk home from work every night. Those soft blue skies after 5pm have got me excited about walks around the park after work (or, let's face it, drinking in beer gardens as soon as the weather allows for it!).
  • The flowers springing up alongside paths have also definitely made me smile this week - splashes of pretty colour when I'm so used to the grey rain and dark evenings are a welcome change of scenery. A surprise bunch of pink roses to brighten up our coffee table have helped bring some of that new season freshness indoors too.
  • Sam teaching me how to drum along to Rush on the radio while we cook dinner, especially because, despite our embarrassing air drumming, Sam is still determined that I "hit" the correct imaginary drums and cymbals at the right time. This has made me laugh but it's also made me really miss Sam's drum kits which have been in storage since we moved into our new flat - although perhaps that's a reason for our neighbours to be cheerful!
  • Listening to Disney soundtracks while I get ready for work, because, even though I have to put on my business face and pencil skirt for the office, a few snatched moments in the morning singing along to Mulan while I multitask drinking a cup of tea and putting on mascara definitely brightens up my early starts.

I hope you're all having a lovely March so far and are finding the silver linings even when a bad day rears its ugly head. If you have any advice or suggestions for staying upbeat, please let me know!

Feel Good Friday #10

Christopher Warner is a 10 year old boy with Down's syndrome from Washington, D.C. Christopher is also a huge Maroon 5 fan. His reward for working hard in school is being allowed to listen to their music (clever teachers). When asked which is his favourite album, Christopher insists 'All of them!'.


Despite his passion, Christopher had never seen Maroon 5 play live, so his teachers made a video all about how much he loves the band. The video shows Christopher watching their music videos online, showing off his school project on the band and dancing around his school cafeteria pretending to be on stage while singing their songs (we've all been there, Christopher).

The video quickly went viral after Christopher's teacher, Avery Stanert, uploaded it to YouTube, and Maryland radio station Hot 99.5’s The Kane Show got in touch to help. As well as organising tickets for Christopher, his mum and a few of his teachers to go see Maroon 5 live in concert, the radio station also arranged VIP access for the group to meet the band after the gig.

However, when it came to meeting the band, Christopher suddenly felt a little overwhelmed, crouching down on the floor and hiding. To be fair, I'd probably have a bit of a panic attach too if I was about to meet Adam Levine. 

But, instead of hanging back awkwardly, the band decided to chill out with Christopher on the floor, posing for some super adorable meet and greet photographs.

The story was shared on Buzzfeed by an intern from the radio station, who insisted the band didn't want any publicity for the photographs, but he wanted them to get some credit for being such nice guys.

Isn't it nice when our heroes turn out to be genuinely lovely people?

This was my February

After complaining that January was really dragging its heels, February shot by in an instant. Glasgow was blessed with so many blue sky days - those wonderful winter days which are cold but crisp and make me want to wrap up and go feed the ducks - which meant feeling positive was much easier than in the wet gloom of January. 

However, ducks weren't the main attraction (sorry, ducks) when me and Sam visited Pollock Country Park near the beginning of the month - as we caught the train out of the city centre, we both knew the journey was entirely in aid of me spotting my first highland cow. Despite living in Scotland for close to nineteen years, I'd never laid my eyes on one of these beautiful, ginger hairies before, and it had become something of a fixation with me (I don't know why but 2015 had to be the year I finally saw one). After walking round the park more than once (which, as my aching feet will contest, is no mean feat), we finally came face-to-face with a mamma cow and a baby cow. I can't deny there might have been squealing. I sadly didn't actually manage to get any photographs - but that means I have the perfect excuse to go back on another sunny day.

You might have spotted my post earlier this month where I confessed to not hating Valentine's Day (an unpopular opinion, I know). This was made even easier by my friend showing up at my door on Valentine's Day afternoon with a box of the most delicious cupcakes I've ever tasted. Every girl I know says they'd love a Keira Knightley moment where their very own Mark shows up at the door with 'To me, you are perfect' cards - well, Mark can get stuffed, Gillian showing up with cupcakes is all the romance I need.  

By the way, Gillian does actually run her own cake business, buttercup, so if you live in the Glasgow area, you can have a Love, Actually moment too.

After the cupcakes, this good egg treated me to dinner at Tibo, a local restaurant we hadn't tried before. Steak and seafood seemed to be the Valentine's Day dinners of choice for my meat eating pals, but, as an awkward vegetarian, I opted for a grilled halloumi cheese and cous cous salad with butternut squash and chilli chutney. SO GOOD. It's been more than two weeks and I'm still thinking about it. 

Sam also bought me my first tsum tsums for Valentine's Day because he wanted me to have something which would last. See, roses are for February 14th, but tsum tsums are for life.

The most exciting part of the month was Sam landing a brand new job in Glasgow city centre - cue popping a bottle of champagne we've been saving for months on a Monday night. He now works only a few streets away from me, which means the occasional walk to work together and the perfect excuse for a few drinks afterwards (including last Friday night when he joined my office for after work drinks and managed to sell my Chief Executive a copy of his own book within minutes of arriving!).

To make the most of my positive mood, I tried to make February the month for doing things "I've been meaning to do but haven't got round to yet". As well as my highland cow expedition and trying another couple of local restaurants, I made a first attempt at baking empire biscuits, booked a doctor's appointment after putting it off for a long time, and went to my first roller disco. While the roller disco was a lot more fun than the doctor's appointments have been so far, I still feel positive about finally making positive steps for change.

If there's anything you've been ignoring or putting off, please make March the month to smash it - while the new year enthusiasm might have worn off two months later, any time of the year is a perfect time to punch your fear right in its stupid face. 
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