It’s Summer, time to get the working on that beach bod!

Regardless of gender, it’s usually always the case that during the winter months we overindulge and put a few pounds on. Then come Spring Time, we start looking forward to the warmer weather, sunbathing on the beach and drinking cool ones in the pubs Beer Garden.

There is one problem though. We don’t want to flash the flesh until we’ve achieved our ideal body beautiful. So, how are you best off doing it? Firstly, look at your own body shape, and stay within the realms of what is achievable. I’m naturally slim, so trying to look like Arnie is simply not an option. However, I could firm up a little bit.

Now, think about what you want out of the list of achievable goals. Bigger arms? Firmer backside? Abs? Each thing you want will rely on different exercise techniques and also different foods. Basically, you want to have a fairly low fat diet that is full of veggies and proteins. Chicken and Eggs are good sources, as is cheese. These help repair the muscle after exercise has broken it down and the Lactic Acid is doing its thing.

Smoothies are good for breakfast if you’re not a breakfast person, and you should also ideally be eating wholemeal bread, not white. If your aim is to simply lose a little weight without gaining muscle mass through exercise like lifting weights and doing squats, simply cut out the fattier foods in your diet and replace them with healthier options.

You don’t have to give up the pizza completely, but limit it to once a week, and for the rest of the week, aim to have salads, fish, grilled meats and plenty of fresh vegetables. You’ll start to notice a difference in a couple of weeks, and as your body will also be better fed, you’ll find yourself with more energy, sleeping better and more alert.

If you are wanting to gain muscle mass, ensure you speak to a member of the Gym team, who will be able to give you the best advice on what you need to do and any supplements they recommend such as Protein Shakes. They may even recommend taking up exercises they don’t offer, such as dance classes, yoga and meditation.

There are hundreds of types of exercise you can get without even thinking about it, and no diet will truly let you sit down all day and deliver results, you do have to hold up your end of the bargain and at least do SOME exercise. It could be walking to work, or getting off the bus a stop early. Doing the Lunch Run for the office is also a good one. Just make sure they pay you!

Cleaning is a sure fire way to burn a few calories, with the average being around 150 calories for an hour’s light cleaning! Do a full deep clean and that will naturally go up. So not only do you have a clean house, you’re burning calories too!

 

The High Street is dying. How do we breathe some life into it?

I’ve never been one for shopping. To me it’s one of the most boring pastimes going. For some however, you’d think it was an Olympic sport. Spending whole days flitting from Gucci to Selfridges, Lunch at Harvey Nichols, and then a mammoth marathon in Next, Vivienne Westwood, Prada, Thomas Pink, JPG and then drinks at a trendy bar.

However, the high street is dying. You need only look in any shopping mall, and you’ll see empty units left right and centre. Now, I don’t want to see the high street die, I’m just not a fan of shopping.

So how do we give it a spark of life? Mary Portas did try, and failed, though her elaborate scheme was a bit to Haute Couture for a struggling outdoor market and would have been more likely to succeed in one of the big cities like London, Manchester or Liverpool. Seriously, no matter how much you dress up a crate of loose onions, they’re still loose onions.

The thing with retail (yes I do know a lot about it), is no matter which way you look at it, it’s fashion, and tastes evolve and change, thus meaning the selling method has to evolve and change with tastes. I’ve seen companies go under because they’re still selling in the way they did in the 80’s. It doesn’t help also that own brand products are flooding the market, so competition is high.

We then have the online aspect, which I’m afraid to say is like one of the final nails in the coffin.

So a new tactic has to be adopted. Make shopping an enjoyable experience for the masses. Debenhams is a nightmare because the store layouts are more like Pan’s Labyrinth than a store and getting lost is guaranteed.

I hate to use this term, but make it a ‘shopping experience’, not a chore. Also, not employing a 16 year old school leaver as head of marketing would also be a good start. You don’t need to have it all bells and whistles, currently the market trend is subtle and sleek, if you want to entice your shoppers in, you need to have a shop window that looks appealing to your target market.

If you’re a toy shop, you’re not going to have ladies fashion in the window. If you’re a Tailor, you’re not going to have a booze display in the window. There are so many businesses that have completely irrelevant window displays, and they wonder why they aren’t getting the custom that they need to survive.

Trust me when I say this, ditch the blaring music, turn the heating down (seriously, I don’t want to be in a heated shop in the middle of summer), change the window displays regularly and ditch the stock you can’t shift. It will take time, but everything does, and I guarantee you will see a change in the market and how people shop.

Do the Laws on Abortion Need Changing?

Abortion isn’t always a travesty but is something we need to think long and hard about.

When I was in college, the subject of Termination of a birth was a huge point of debate in Parliament, and it’s one of those Catch 22 scenarios where no one is right or wrong.

I was discussing it with my friend who openly admitted she had, had a termination as soon as she found out she was pregnant. She was a single mother, with 2 kids already, and her and her boyfriend at the time were nothing more than a fling that had begun fizzling before it even sparked into something more serious.

He (I know the man) is also a commitment-phobe and would have made a lousy father due to his immaturity mentally and emotionally, as well as not being able to fund a child. She made that decision on educated grounds. She simply couldn’t afford another child.

Since meeting a guy 7 years ago, she’s got married, and now has 4 children.

I’m also a bit of an HIV advocate, and have heard some harrowing stories, something to put Game of Thrones to shame. On World AIDS Day, 2008, one of the speakers, a lesbian woman from Nigeria, spoke of how she was gang raped, fell pregnant and discovered she had been infected with HIV and other STI’s. Her duty (she felt) was to terminate the pregnancy. For her own health, and for that of the child as HAART isn’t freely available, and would be extremely costly.

She has since gone on to forge a new life in the UK, working, has a girlfriend and is a public speaker on women’s rights.

There was a time where the ‘A’ word, was dirty. But when you think about it, it’s the most difficult decision people can make. From teenagers who got a little too frisky to rape victims, cash strapped workers on minimum wage to the up and coming business greats that can’t afford the time to achieve what they desire. Termination is a gargantuan decision, not a form of birth control, and everyone has their own reasons for doing it.

I’m not Pro Life, but I’m not Pro Abortion either. No one is Pro Abortion, like the Pro Lifers make out.

No one in their right mind says ‘you know what, I’m going to have an abortion’, like they’re debating on whether to order the Pepperoni or the Meat Feast in a pizza place.

It’s no picnic for anyone, the staff involved, who know more than we ever will. The would be parent(s), friends and family (if they’re involved in the process). It really is not a simple choice, and people are making out that anyone who has an abortion is a slut, a slag, a whore. Shaming them for it.

Everyone has their own circumstances, and the vast majority of the time, they don’t think selfishly, they think of the foetus, and the life that they would end up inheriting from their parents.

 

 

Social Services Need to Improve

Let’s get something straight. Social services need to stop meddling where they’re not needed.

My blended family is getting pretty sick of Social Services interfering where they’re not required. I have an adult step daughter, who has an equally difficult boyfriend. The pair of them are as bad as each other. She winds him up, he winds her up, they have a shouting match, slam doors and 10 minutes later it’s all kisses and cuddles.

The pair of them are all mouth and no action, they’re not a danger to each other. This is what adults do. We bicker, argue, shout and scream, then once the steams let off and the air is cleared, we kiss and make up and go back to making dinner and calling each other playful nicknames.

So for social services to have homed in on a neighbours say so over the most trivial of matters is not only heavy handed, but is border lining criminal.

The idiotic do gooding bimbo that is meant to be the social worker met her match however with my partner, who systematically ripped every argument she had to shreds. So what stepdaughter and her on/off boyfriend were seen in the same town, on the same day, at the same time. Is it a crime to go shopping? Or to meet up with someone in a neutral place to try and sort things out? In my book, that’s a very grown up thing to do.

We have kids up and down the UK being groomed by gangs of men who pass them round like a used tissue. We have gangs using children to push drugs. We have people smugglers bringing in child brides to be used by depraved men. THESE are the children that should have social services and social workers on their cases. Not a pair of hot headed 20 something’s that have too much to say to each other and who deliberately wind each other up.

But no, the serious cases would be too much like hard work and no one wants to get involved with a 13 year old girl that’s been passed around every man from Rochdale to Bradford and back again. Or the feral little brats that are plaguing town centres because their own parents can’t be arsed to get out of their PJs, and instead smoke like chimneys, drink like fish and think they’re a celeb for appearing on Jeremy Kyle to have a paternity test on their child because there are 20 potential fathers, all from the same night and in the toilets of the same night club.

No, instead, the government set targets, and social services are homing in on the easiest jobs so they can make up the statistics to ensure funding for next year. Instead of doing what they should be doing (protecting those who ar most in need), they’re sticking noses in where they aren’t needed, and burying their heads in the sand, completely ignoring the elephant in the room.

 

Police Report Sex Offenders Go Missing

I can understand how one person slips under the radar, but EIGHTEEN sex offenders is absurd!

No fewer than 18 sex offenders in the Greater Manchester are have vanished. Paedophiles, rapists and gropers, not to mention other offenders have slipped under the radar and are currently on a ‘most wanted’ type list.

All of them have failed to inform authorities of their whereabouts and have essentially gone without a trace. All of the published offenders, all of which are men, are deemed to be highly dangerous to the public, with some of them being at the highest end of the scale.

So how do we sort this problem? These men aren’t petty criminals that have shop lifted a couple of packs of chewing gum, they are seriously dangerous individuals. Individuals, who in my opinion don’t deserve their human rights, they never considered their victims human rights, so why should we consider theirs?

How about giving them an under the skin GPS tracker? I don’t doubt that some offenders may be rehabilitated, but I certainly wouldn’t give them a long leash. Being able to track them would be a much simpler solution. Especially with the sex offenders register that requires those on it to be regularly seen by police to ensure they haven’t done a runner.

In the same breath though, appointments can’t always be made, and given that Manchester has some of the most diabolic public transport routes (where I lived, the trains were always 10 minutes late, and the busses came when they came), so you can’t expect an offender to be at their 10am appointment at bang on 10am every time. Being able to track them would give authorities the power to just check they are where they say they are, and see if they are actually stuck in traffic on Oldham Road, or are really in Brighton after fleeing.

What about electronic tagging? A little more visible, but a good way to ensure that we can keep a close eye on them, and if they stray, the authorities will know and will come down on them like a tonne of bricks.

I am sick of criminals in my home city, one of the best cities in the world, being given weak sentences, slaps on the wrist, and then being able to slip under the radar. When you commit a crime so heinous, you give up your human rights, your right to freedom, your right to anonymity, your right to live and breathe among the rest of us.

Sod the Human Rights laws, if you commit a crime so heinous that it warrants your arrest, trial and conviction, you don’t deserve them. Rights and Responsibilities. I have the right to be who I want to be, but I have the responsibility to be a good, upstanding citizen.

That is how the world works, treat others how you want to be treated, and if you don’t, expect to have the full weight of the law come crashing down on you with such force your head spins.

 

More Stop and Searches in London Planned

In my idealistic world, good conquers evil, cancer doesn’t exist, dogs are born house trained and babies don’t cry.

Wouldn’t that be FABULOUS?!

In the world I do live in, evil is everywhere, cancer kills, I wake up to ‘bonza pressies’ off the dog and if babies crying was an Olympic sport, at least 3 of them on my garden would be in the running for a gold medal.

The issue I have, is the police are scared. In my parents day, they were unceremoniously carted home. In my grandparents day, they were clipped round the ear. I won’t go as far as to say we should hold #shitgate ala Game of Thrones, where Cercei has her head shaved and is stripped naked and forced to walk through the city while the townsfolk throw their own excrement at her. But the police need to stop worrying about being complained about.

In school we ALL had teachers we didn’t like. I had Mr. Toner, he was an absolute narcissist on an ego trip and a year off retiring. I didn’t like the man but I can’t fault his teaching. He begrudgingly taught me Latin and Roman in extra lessons, we were just incompatible people. It didn’t stop him making a mockery of me at every opportunity.

The police are always seen as bad guys. Like teachers. They are there to discipline. But when the powers are consistently stripped away, your sense of authority waivers and the house of cards crumbles.

If a copper was to stop and search me, I could cry homophobia and they’d soon back off. If a black person or an Asian is stopped, they can cry racism and white superiority. In reality, it’s nothing to do with that, it’s trying to make the streets a safer place for everyone, and flapping your arms and resisting is about as much use as a chocolate teapot and is going to make you look more guilty.

The police need to be above normal law for us civvies, but within the guidelines. A clipped ear or a firm telling off is not going to kill you, and your ethnicity, sexuality, creed or colour doesn’t make any impact. If you’re being a prat, you need to be pulled up on it. That is how policing works.

The police are now scared to call a spade a spade. It’s now a Manual digging instrument.

Poor people are now ‘people of limited means’.

For god’s sake, they’re poor, the spade is a spade, they’re gay, black, white, Chinese, addicted to drugs. I don’t care! Call the thing what it is! I don’t call my bedside lamp a ‘soft lighting instrument with chiffon’. It’s a bloody lamp! I plug it in, flick a switch and it turns on.

It’s time the police revolted, and time they started taking power back. The criminals are running the show here. And the police are powerless.

 

Equal rights. A Realistic Overview

Today, my partner left me for a couple of days to sort out some problems in our very blended family. You see, it’s not been a very happy 12 months for any of us. His ex wife had Motor Neurone Disease, and unfortunately passed away. We had all been expecting it for a while, so although a very heartbreaking situation, it wasn’t a shock.

Then we had my fiasco over Christmas with my sister when she kicked my brother in law out (I could write a small novel on that one). Now we have one of my step daughters who needs help, and I will whole heartedly do anything and everything in my power to sort it.

Although my partners daughters are my age, I’m in that lovely position where I’m not the wicked step father (or evil queen!), I have my own little pearls of wisdom that I can give, but in the same breath, I’m also the one that will be going to night clubs until 3am with them. It’s a bit of a win-win scenario. I’m the cool step dad who has a penchant for designer shoes.

But, on the flip side, there is also my serious side too. After dating someone 20 years older than you for nearly a decade, things do rub off on you, and as his layers peeled away and I learned more and more about his life and how things work, the more and more I’ve adapted and although I don’t know his girls like ‘besties’, I still see them as an offshoot of my family, and should the worst happen to my partner, it would be down to me that they were looked after, even if it means I have to relocate, stop drinking, smoking, gambling, watch Frozen for the millionth time (honestly, I’m surprised the DVD hasn’t burned through it’s been played that much), anything. I will do it.

They may not be MY children, but they are my children. Anything that goes belly up, or anything they need, they hopefully know they need only ask, and I won’t tell their dad. Hell, if they’re anything like I was 10 years ago, they’ll be teaching me new things!

The title of this may confuse people. But it is true. Gays wanted equal rights, we got them, but with the equality comes the responsibility. Now, do I miss dancing my t**s off until 4am to Kylie? I do!

Would I like a night off to do it all again? Yes.

But would I change anything? I think you’ll find the answer is no. Our blended family of step daughters, nieces, nephews, in laws, outlaws, dogs, foster dogs, cats, there was a gold fish at one point, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins. It’s absolutely perfect as it is. The only difference being, I am 100% equal to the rest of the world, and with that equality comes the responsibility. And I’m more than willing to not be bouncing around a nightclub until 3am if it ensures that our family stays exactly as it is.

 

Behavioural Problems in Children on the Rise

It’s time for people to open their eyes to behavioural problems in children.

Children, regardless of gender, are a nightmare. From cradle to grave, they all have their little quirks, ticks, likes, dislikes and MUST HAVE’s. You know the old ‘I’ll DIE without <insert favourite thing here>’ lien they feed to you.

But then you have the problem of those that are damaged, and the thing with the brain is, once it is damaged, it can never be repaired. You can try to patch it up, and you can try to make over a lot of it, but underneath everything, that scar will always be there.

Children aren’t born inherently bad. Nor are they born saints and saviours. Even Jesus must have had the odd teenage tantrum! You learn what you live.

Kids are actually very similar to puppies. You show them aggression they learn to fight, you show them love, they learn to love in return.

I don’t deny that mental health and behavioural problems exist, but far too many parents try to lay the blame on any learning difficulty they can. Autism, ADHD, ADD. Anything to lay blame on something else, other than their own home environment.

I’m not saying we should go all Charles Dickens on their ass, but the fine line between discipline and abuse, and discipline and lenience needs to be established. For example;

My niece (she was 4) nearly got herself killed by running into the road, in front of a 184 bus. My sister gave her a slap on the hand. That was human instinct at its finest, and had anyone else done it, I’d have shook their hand.

Had she beaten her black and blue, THEN I’d have been the first to step in and remove my niece from the situation. That is the difference between discipline and physical abuse.

Kids, and adults, need discipline, especially when it comes to the teenage years. Learning about boundaries and what is and isn’t acceptable, and that everything we do has repercussions, good and bad.

There is nothing wrong with being a maverick, I made a living out of it, being a breath of fresh air in a salon that was so stuck in its ways we had clients dying of old age quicker than we had new clients coming in.

But I understood the boundaries and expectations and stayed (only just) within them. There was the odd time I went in to work hungover after a bank holiday, but who hasn’t? There was also the time I ditched my usual suit, tie and bowler hat for skinny fit jeans, ripped teeshirt and tartan waistcoat. Against protocol (we literally looked like undertakers), but it made me a trendy, edgy member of staff that people liked. Against the rules, but some rules are made to be broken. I didn’t blame it on my own Asperger, I blamed it on the fact I didn’t want to wear a suit.

To understand others behaviour, we need to put the shoe on the other foot.

How would YOU behave in their situation?

Computer Problems and Low Cost Repairs

So this morning, I had to do a reset of my computer, it had got stuck in a continual loop and nothing was properly responding (never leave your computer on overnight, even when defragging). So, I did the reset, and got the dreaded Bios Message. Joy of joys. Just what I need with a deadline.

But, thanks to my smartphone I got to the bottom of it. It’s quite embarrassing, I did study IT in college, and dropped out before we got to the good stuff! Instead they were teaching us how to be a secretary and type letters and send emails. BORING!

But, don’t despair, usually this can be fixed quickly and although a little fiddly, easily. Firstly though, you need to understand that your motherboard acts as a circuit, and each time your computer fires up it does a POST (Power On System Test), and there are several codes programmed into the BIOS to alert the user, or repairer what each one means.

I find that Tom’s Hardware is really good and informative if you ever need to work something out, or if you just fancy gaining a little extra technical knowledge. Though every company works in different ways, normally, BIOS codes are pretty universal. Actually, just taking a look around the forums on a wet Sunday can pass the time pretty quick, and by the time you know it, you’ve spent 4 hours reading and learning.

Unlike a lot of websites, the one mentioned above isn’t a load of fan boys trolling each other, they are a load of like minded geeks who will try and get to the bottom of your problem using a variety of methods, be that certified by the company, or of their own making!

Mine turned out to be a Memory issue, and all I had to do was unplug the entire system from the mains, remove the Keyboard and mouse, remove the RAM, power on, power off, replace the RAM and this process ‘flushed’ the badness out of where ever the problem had arisen and the computer booted twice. Once with the American Mega Trends screen, and then with my usual ASUS screen.

I’ve found that a lot of issues that arise with computers are actually workable (unless there’s water damage), usually it’s corrupted drivers, or an individual device is frazzled on the Motherboard, which is easily sorted by buying a standalone device and installing it as it will automatically override the computers desire to use the built in chip set.

Always be sure to know your exact make and model numbers because some devices are incompatible with others, or it could be too new for your current set up. If this is the case, it’s wise to salvage your hard drive, shove the system on Ebay for Spares and Repairs and get a new rig that you can plug your hard drive in to, to retrieve any files you need. So before you despair, simply google, or use the site above to get your computer up and running.

Punish a Muslim Day? I Truly Despair

An array of fliers have been sent out to houses up and down the country, calling for April 3rd to be Punish a Muslim day, with a points system for the most deprived and degrading crimes ranking the highest, and ultimately, 1000 points for bombing a Mosque (which in itself is ironic as that is an act of terrorism, the very thing that people misjudgingly think all Muslims are quite adept at).

The thing is, the inbreds that would do this can’t differentiate between Jews, Sikhs, Muslims or Catholics. They simply see a head scarf or a turban and immediately go on tirades about ‘going back to their own country’ and that ‘I’m a f*****g minority in my own city’. What nonsense.

The vast majority of people of Chinese, Bangladeshi and Pakistani heritage in the UK are 3rd, some even 4th and 5th generation, and with each generation, they become more and more westernized. It’s simple evolution. If we were to do it the other way round, and send me and my family to Pakistan, as the generations progressed they would become more and more in line with the Pakistani culture.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t radicals on both sides of the argument, and I don’t agree with wearing the full face veils as they are firstly a security threat, and secondly oppressive. But going all vigilante and trying to purge the country goes against the very core of British Values.

We are NOT the Americans, and it is documented that during WWII, the UK welcomed Black American Troops and fought with our own ally, the US for their disparaging treatment of their black troops. The captain of the 320th Segregated Battalion, GI Willie Howard can actually be quoted as saying ‘Our biggest enemy was our own troops’. Now THAT is truly shocking.

We are a people of diverse culture and tastes, hell, we don’t even have our own language, we begged, stole and borrowed bits from other languages and mother tongues, how dare WE be the ones that are racist towards others.

If it wasn’t for migration, the country would have a very bland palette indeed, from art from Italy, to dance from India, food from Pakistan and Bangladesh to music from Poland. The reason we have all of this, is because over the years, society has blended, and although not 100% compatible, things will only get better if we meet in the middle, or more right of centre in line with our more Westernized culture, and discuss it.

There isn’t an Us and Them rule set. We have to follow all the same rules, it’s simply propaganda by bigots and racists trying to stir up trouble, and we all know they’ll have the emotional and intellectual range of a teaspoon. Don’t let this obscene thing pull you in.

So if you’re planning on ‘Punishing a Muslim’, I hope that curry, kebab, Samosa or whatever eastern delicacy you’re indulging on bloody chokes you!