Have we all gone #Selfie mad?

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Cancer Research UK hails the #nomakeupselfie campaign for raising over £8 million in just six days, but like many social-media campaigns, it has inevitably attracted widespread criticism.

The craze simply involves women posting an image of them without any make-up online and donating to charity by texting BEAT TO 70099.

Cancer Research UK said the money raised will fund nine clinical trials and one ‘tissue sample’ – a process that can be used for cancer diagnosis and analysis – something that over a week ago was deemed impossible.

Dr Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the support people have been showing us through the #nomakeupselfie trend.

“We don’t receive any government funding for our research and so it’s phenomenal to think that the generosity of the public is enabling us to fund critical research that we didn’t have the money for six days ago. Being able to fund more trials will bring forward the day when all cancers are cured”.

So why the back lash?

Feminist, Yomi Adegoke went on Radio 4 last week and argued that,

“Most people … get in a bath of baked beans or shave their head for cancer, you do something that’s considered out of the ordinary and I do think in 2014, if it’s considered that ground-breaking that women aren’t wearing make-up, I don’t really understand why. I do think women not wearing makeup and deemed as ‘brave’ when held against cancer  says a lot about society today and it’s something I’m not 100 per cent sure should be described as such.”

This got me thinking, has social media gone too far?

Earlier this week, following the #nomakeupselfie campaign, gents have now invented the latest craze #cockinasock. Men are taking pictures of their penises in socks and posting them on the internet with the hashtag #cockinasock to raise awareness for testicular cancer. Caution: Lots of #cockinasock selfies

Call me old fashioned, but whatever happened to a good old cake sale or sponsored silence?

Just ask the guys in the office and I’m sure they will mention my orange cake which raised £50 last year for Macmillan. But let’s face it, my orange cake never raised millions of pounds, nor did it make the regional papers, poor PR on my part.

But surely the aim is to raise awareness for such charities? The bare face selfie might have reflected the self-absorption of females or even taken up your Facebook news-feed but it got your attention. You became aware as to what the #nomakeupselfie was promoting. Surely this is a winning situation?

I admit, seeing men with said body parts in an ankle sock doesn’t appeal to me, especially over lunch, but I’d feel uncomfortable challenging anything that’s genuinely raised millions of pounds in donations for charity.

If we have gone selfie mad, surely it’s justified with £8 million in the pockets of those at Breast Cancer Research? I for one am glad that for once, social media isn’t making headlines for the wrong reasons.

BreastCancerRibbon

Ribbon Walk

This May, I will be taking part in the Pink Ribbon walk, all in aid of Breast Cancer Care.

Every 10 minutes, someone hears the devastating news that they have breast cancer.

Breast cancer is not one single disease, as there are several types. It can be diagnosed at different stages of development and can grow at different rates.  Men can also be diagnosed, although this is rare.

Breast Cancer Care provides help, expert guidance and information to anyone dealing with the turmoil of this illness. Their services are free and now widely available thanks to funds raised from events such these.

Here are a few examples of how your money can help:

£2 Provides a suitable headscarf for a woman who has lost her hair during treatment.
£5 Provides a comprehensive, easy-to-understand information pack for someone newly diagnosed with breast cancer.
£10 Teaches someone how to be breast aware for life at a local workshop.
£25 Trains and supports a member of our Nursing Network for a year to help improve the care of people with breast cancer.
£50 Pays for a personal Headstrong appointment to help women prepare for the possibility of losing their hair from chemotherapy by providing practical support and information.
£100 Pays for four calls to our confidential Helpline so people with questions or concerns about breast cancer or breast health can get support from our expert team.
£150 Matches someone living with breast cancer with one of our trained volunteers for six sessions of one-to-one telephone support addressing their individual needs.
£250 Funds a Breast Cancer Care hospital information point for a year so people with breast cancer, and their family and friends, have access to our latest resources when visiting the clinic.
£500 Provides a package of support to a younger woman with breast cancer; including access to our Helpline, website, publications and a two-day course with expert speakers and specialist nurses.
£1,000 Allows ten women with secondary breast cancer (cancer that has spread to another part of the body) to attend regular support sessions run by specialist therapists with expert guest speakers.
£2,000 Pays for two weeks professional moderation of our Discussion Forum so people can talk online to others affected by breast cancer 24 hours a day in a safe and supported environment.
£5,000 Pays for 20 people to attend a local four-week Moving Forward course with expert speakers and specialist nurses so they are fully prepared for life after treatment.

 

Last year, Breast Cancer Care managed to raise enough money to help around 1.7 million people!

I know we can double that figure!

I will be walking 10 miles on the 17th May and hope to raise £500 to what I believe, is a truly amazing cause.

If you would like to get involved or donate, please visit Silvia’s Fundraising Page

Good luck to everyone who will be taking part!

Here’s to the 17th May….better get my trainers ready.

 

Wherefore art thou Romeo?

It’s that time of year again where Visa cards pay the buck for love.

Saint Valentine’s Day, also known as Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is “celebrated” every February 14th.

The day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”).

So, with all this history behind the most “romantic” day of the whole year, why does it feel so commercial?

One billion valentine cards exchange hands on a single day throughout the world, not forgetting the roses and the chocolates. You know what they say, nothing screams love more than a red rose, a Hallmark card or Snickers bar.

Has love become the perfect excuse to make lots of people spend even more money to avoid feeling disappointed, inadequate or insecure?

I for one won’t be going mental with Valentines Day. I will enjoy a takeout (like most Fridays), enjoy a teen flick and go bed past midnight. Rock n Roll.

As for the rest of you, don’t break the bank…Everyday is valentines day after all.

Lotta love x

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Tubeday

I must remember to thank TFL for the amazing service they’ve provided over the last 48hours.

I have thoroughly enjoyed waking up 30 minutes earlier. Who needs to do their hair and makeup before work? Not me.

In fact, waiting on the ‘I don’t need a roof’ platform an extra 20 minutes because of train delays didn’t bother me at all. I embraced the rain and wind.

I was welcomed with open arms at Clapham Junction; I was astonished how caring and attentive everyone was. Being shouted at at 8:00, huddled behind a barrier and shoved up the stair case was a joy.

I can honestly say that the £150.60 monthly travel card I paid for this morning was totally worth it.

Enter sarcasm here.

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Cheer

Cheerleaders vs NFL

One of the biggest international sporting events has recently been and gone in the Superbowl – the highlight of the American Football’s NFL season.

But, while the Denver Broncos received a thrashing on the field, on the sidelines a storm was brewing from a more unexpected corned of the National Football League (NFL).

Ask anyone what image pops into their head when you mention American Football and I’m confident that the exciting cheerleaders, with their pom-poms, thigh-length skirts and splits would be the first to appear.

However, reports from the States suggest that the professional members of this great all-American society, which supports 32 NFL teams without fail, are feeling underappreciated. In fact, unless things change soon, the pom-poms may be downed and the NFL could see one of its most instantly recognizable resources go on strike over a rather less-than-pretty pay dispute.

The Sunday Times Article 

And so it got me thinking…should cheerleading be given more credibility as a sport? As a former cheerleader myself, I know the levels of fitness, athleticism and agility needed are substantial – it’s really not just the case of showing up on a Sunday and waving a pom-pom around for a bit.

Furthermore, if the likes of WWF wrestling can be classed as a sport, despite its scripted and, ultimately non-competitive ‘matches’, then surely something that demands the ability to tumble, complete acrobatics and a level of flexibility the average American can only dream of, should be considered and recognized as a sport.

I guess the big question is – how is sport classified? If you look it up, it basically boils down to being

-          A physical activity

-          Governed by a set of rules and

-          Involving some form of competition

I assure you, cheerleading ticks all three of these boxes.

Competitive cheerleaders’ goal is to be the best. Just like gymnasts or the unfeasibly flexible ice dancers we are watching in Sochi right now, they are awarded points for difficulty, technique, creativity and sharpness. The more difficult a stunt, the sharper and more in-sync the motions, the better the score.

The skills involved in Cheerleading prove that they are exceptional athletes. To perform their activities, they must be as strong as any football player, as poised as any dancer and as flexible as the best gymnasts. They are athletes by every definition of the word.

And there are rules in place in order for such events as the National Cheerleading Championships to take place. Just take a look for yourself: 5 examples proving cheerleading is a sport

And if the danger of injury is proof of sporting endeavour? The National Centre for Catastrophic Injuries suggests that cheerleading “accounts for 65% of sports injuries among women under the age of 25”.

Gymnastics took a long-deserved bow in the hearts of UK sports fans in 2008, when Louis Smith ended Britain’s 100-year wait for an individual Olympic medal. Cheerleading may have to wait somewhat longer before making its Olympic debut but it seems to me that it satisfies every element of what we understand ‘sport’ to be.

Maybe the strike-threatening Raiderettes have a point?

Remember to Pose, Tilt & Snap.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock the last few months, you’ll know that the Oxford English Dictionary crowned “Selfie” 2013’s word of the year.

The OED defines “selfie” as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smart phone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website”. But what makes this phenomenon even more interesting is that anyone can do it–and everyone does. In fact, the selfie epidemic has seen an increased usage of 17,000% in the last year, from celebrities like Kim Kardashian to the Pope; everyone takes and loves a selfie.

The said word evolved from the niche social media term beating words such as ‘twerk’, which, for those who have ever witnessed Miley Cyrus, will know all about it. For those who don’t, please watch the following, Twerking Miley (Caution: No one was hurt during the making of this film)

CNN sums up the irony of having “selfie” word of the year as “the most embarrassing phenomenon of the digital age”, but surely if it’s good for the Pope and President Obama, it can’t be all that embarrassing?

After all, companies such as Apple are continuously improving the quality of the smart phone so it makes instant photography more accessible. Maybe the selfie trend will continue and become the norm for photography?

There may be future consequences for this trend; I doubt my great grandchildren will be impressed by the side tilt of the head and pout, but as a young woman who tries to uphold the YOLO lifestyle, I’ll take my chances.

Here’s to 2014’s word of the year.

Numero Uno

So after many months, in fact years of scribbling down thoughts, drafting short novels and generally tweeting like a maniac, I have finally joined the blogging-world.

Expect general chit-chat on just about everything, not snooker mind. Definitely not snooker.

A lover of most things – Travelling, Music, Sport, Food (Give me a BigMac over a rice cake any day)

Despite what many will tell you, I am definitely 5ft1, and the lonely 1 inch really does make a difference.

Here’s to many smiles, awkward laughter and (hopefully) zero spelling mistakes.

That’s a wrap. S x