Fur-get It.

Since forever, animal rights has been hot on the press. As a nation obsessed with pets, we hold animals in very high regard. It is probably why the whole cat in the wheelie bin thing was so outrageous and why Victoria Beckham is receiving no praise for her crocodile handbag.

What intrigues me the most is the ethical debate one undertakes before deciding their position on the matter. If one goes through it at all. Can it really be that wrong to wear an animal, if you would happily eat it anyway? Understandably the logical answer would be that fur is not a necessity, so we should not kill for the sake of fashion. But if I was to wear an animal I knew had died before it was skinned, you would most probably still find that distasteful.

Others opt for a preferential argument, in that they would contentedly wear cows (as they would be eaten anyway), but of course not their beloved animal Mr kangaroo; regardless that kangaroos would also be killed for meat. Can we really feel so strongly about animal cruelty only to selective animals? Should they not all equally have a piece of our sympathy? Of course it would be difficult to care for everything in equal measures; I certainly do not hold that much compassion in me. However on such a broad subject as animal rights, unless you are campaigning for a particular cause, it seems ludicrous to rank your ethics.

It appears individuals rank their ethics quite often, almost unknowingly. I may be obsessive over recycling anything and everything I can get my paws on, but this does not mean I am favouring the environment over the poor child in Asia who spends 18 hours a day sifting through dirt. The consequence of being a do-gooder does not always win all round and I have no qualms admitting that.

Taking us back to the animal rights example, if one was to buy a variation of an animal product for the greater good, one could consequently be condoning exploitation of workers in factories. Surely if such a statement is to be made, one should not give preference to animals over human beings?

Often these are not choices for us to make, it takes too much thinking and research for a normal day. I cannot be sure if I have killed any animals, exploited any workers, caused any heartache or aggro, when I am suckered into the world of consumerism. I can be sure that I will remain impartial, detach myself from the pictures of slaughtered animals to the meat on my plate. The struggling families working for a penny an hour are oceans away, but I will still watch the programmes, screw up my face and feel uneasy by what I see. But then I will get on with my day, save the preaching, because it is not like I give to charity or would actively help anyway.


Strike a Bargain.

I think I become a little obsessive when it comes to getting the best deal. I refuse to pay more than I think an item is worth, considering how the majority of our hard-earned cash is spent feeding these capitalist pigs who make the world go round. It is sickening, yet I buy into it because I am materialistic and I do value inanimate objects. I also need to survive so thank God for EDF, Southern Water and Morrisons.

One to avoid - Although I like bargain hunting, I do not like second hand goods.

When seeking an item I wish to purchase, I almost make it a goal of mine to get the best price for it. For example, our Gaggia Baby coffee machine we recently bought (see previous post) sold at John Lewis for £209.95, offers the standard 2 year guarantee plus an extra year at the cost of £28. As you may know, ‘never knowingly undersold‘ is a policy John Lewis upholds; if you find the item cheaper in another high street store, they will match it. However, after much research I discovered a family business based in Dorset called the Hart of Stur who also sold the same item for £199.95, including £35 worth of Gaggia goods – Gaggia espresso cup and saucer, a milk jug,  a milk thermometer and Gaggia coffee. It was even better as Hart of Stur‘s coffee machine came in black, to match the rest of our kitchen appliances.

Another good find of mine, which you may or may not be interested in, is Sky Rewards. Every Monday they offer £3 adult tickets for any showing of any film at O2 Cineworld in Greenwich; for two adults, obviously adding up to £6, saved us £17 on the original price. I discovered this a few weeks ago and have been waiting patiently to order my tickets a week prior to the showing of Harry Potter in 3D. Being a bit of a Harry Potter geek, I have been eagerly anticipating this since Part 1 a year ago, which did not make it to 3D in time for the release date.

Being such a keen bargain hunter does not always have good outcomes. Last week whilst browsing through the rails at Primark, I found a dress in the sale for a mere £2. At the time, I remember laughing to myself that only in Gravesend would you have 6 and 8 the only sizes remaining in a sale; all the obese freeloaders must have bagged all the rest of the sizes (bearing in mind that Primark goes up to a size 22). As I thought it was such an impressive find, I did not hesitate in buying the dress. A few days later in the queue at Morrisons, I recognised a distinct pattern on the dress of a large woman in front of me. After a few seconds I looked down at myself, stared back at the woman, only to realise that we were wearing the same Primark dress. I was horrified to say the least. I am glad she did not notice me, as I am not sure who would have been more embarrassed.

WARNING: Consider all consequences that may arise as a result of a bargainous purchase.

Remedies do not cure the disease, they merely prolong it.

This 11 minute video is a good illustration of why I have a strong aversion to charity. It is not because I am heartless, nor is it because of greed, but for the knowledge that I would only be buying into an ideology that does not exist. As Slavoj Žižek highlights, ‘Charity degrades and demoralises’; it is not the solution to poverty.

I despise the propaganda exhaled from posters and promotional material, used to lure vacuous passerbys with a picture of an African child or a timid dog, whose lives would be saved with your pound. I do not appreciate being stopped numerous times on the High Street, approached in pubs or asked to sponsor someone to walk a few miles, then made to feel bad about it when I decline.

What I find quite humorous is when someone boasts about the charity they donate to monthly, as if they should be awarded a badge of honour. What made them single out that one charity above the rest? It appears this one charity is more worthy of your money than any other, maybe you think saving blind children is more important than finding a cure for cancer. Or maybe you just like donkeys.

Workers of the world, unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains.

– Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto.

May Bank Holiday, also known as International Worker's Day.

As DH’s final year of his degree is nearing to an end, I have an overwhelming sense of relief, anxiety and fear all bundled into one. Obviously there is relief that we will reach a new era in our lives, but this also conjures up anxiety and fear for what will come next. I am always one for planning (writing lists being one of my favourite past times), but at this moment in time, no matter how much research and effort I put into foreseeing the future, running through all the possible life options and weighing up their pros and cons, I am still none the wiser.

I feel like something should happen to launch us into a new and exciting part of our lives. I am not complacent with being average and succumbing to the dullness of bills, mortgages, working 9-5 and bumbling through life. I am twenty-two this year and have already achieved so much, but this is only the beginning. I want the same things everyone else wants; to travel the world, to be well read and an endless supply of money to lavish my son with gifts. These things are not unattainable, but require strategic planning. Coming from working class families, it just means we will have to work harder for what we want. I fully intend on ticking everything off on my ever-growing list; life, as I see it, is one big catalogue of experiences.