Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Food for thought ...

I'm not happy Jamie Oliver.
I'm sure you're a very lovely man. You seem like a caring husband and doting Dad.
I love that you want us all to eat our vegetables, and learn to cook good food fast rather than opt for takeaway that might kill us.
I even use a lot of your recipes - your Yorkshire Puddings are tops (though I'm not sure how good for us they are) - and Miss 11 and I quite enjoy sitting down to watch your shows.
But I'm pissed off at the current Jamie's Garden promotion at Woolworths.
Billed as Jamie's 'super-fun' fruit and vegetable garden adventure, the campaign aims to teach children (and adults I suppose) about healthy eating. There are a staggering 128 stickers to painstakingly collect, since you only get 1 pack for every $20 spent. And even at the rate at which my lot hoover up food, that takes a long time to collect, particularly when many stickers are copies.
I hate the whole card/sticker collection idea. It ends up with kids begging me to shop at Woollies. We've already been through the animal cards, and then the Dreamworks versions. And yes, I'm a Mean Mumma and don't shop at particular stores just because, but it still makes me cranky, because Pester Power is annoying.
Plus, because I am tight  budget-conscious, I refuse to be one of those parents who throws a magazine or a couple of chocolate bars onto the counter, just to get over the $20 mark. (Tech Guy, though, is another story. He can't resist Miss 11's pleading puppy dog eyes ...)
And the shop assistants will not give you an extra card, even if you spend $39.95 instead of $40. No amount of pleading or Harmonie's stage whisper: ("I thought she would give us an extra sticker Mum") will goad them into it. Nor will they give you the cards for the person before you who has just spent $400, but declined to collect.
(If said shopper is particularly nice, they will often offer to give you their stickers. God bless their souls).
Don't get me started on the fact that there are kids who don't even have a Woolworths in their area, so they miss out completely. So I really shouldn't complain.
Luckily, Mr 13 has grown out of collection fever, but Miss 11 is a huge fan. Both of you, Jamie, and your bloody stickers. It doesn't help that she loves gardening, growing her own food, planning our meals, and cooking as well. (See? Your work here is done).
So we are collecting, and this is the result ...

Jamie Oliver stickers and cards littered all over the house. The lounge, the floor, her bedroom, even the toilet for God's sake, are not safe from Jamie's Garden paraphenalia.

I shelled out $5 for a book for her to store her stickers in. She made a start, but still her stash appears to mate and spread throughout the house.

Then I weakened and bought an actual greenhouse to grow herbs in one day when it was on special. Reduced from $10.75 to $8, it came boxed up and looked like reasonable valuable, coming with seeds and dirt required to grow cress, chives, basil and coriander.

Doesn't it look pretty?

I can tell you it was a bugger of a thing to put together. Harmonie and I struggled for nearly two hours to put the damn thing together, but it was fiddly and really hard to push the plastic into shape. There were tears and tantrums, and that was just from me! In the end, we called for Tech Guy. Even he battled for some time, and several swear words were muttered before he emerged triumphant.

The mini greenhouse was really mini. As in tiny. Flimsy. I doubt it would survive more than five minutes in our chilly Kingaroy garden, or busy household of children and pets. Seriously, we'd have been better off sticking to our tried and tested method of growing plants in pots by the back door, for easy access, or in the garden, where they can run wild. We've still got to plant the bloody seeds, but quite frankly, I'm not sure I can cope with the pressure.

Sure, the Jamie's Garden range is cute and all. Some of the stickers are 3D-ish, and some are scratch and sniff. There are cute soft veggie characters to buy (note buy - it all costs money), and quite frankly I can't see how buying a child a phallic vegetable toy is going to make them eat said veggie. Yes, growing and cooking that veggie and making it taste yummy is the way to go, but do we have to be ripping off parents left, right and centre to do so? 

I'm particularly fond of Mr Broccoli. Reminds me of something ...

It's not parents who are left worse off by these kind of campaigns. Aussie farmers and suppliers have revealed they have been slugged with a so-called voluntary contribution towards the Jamie's Garden advertising campaign. While the Woolies people say suppliers aren't penalised if they don't pay up, farmers and growers fear their contracts will be compromised if they do not contribute.

Ausveg claims that growers will be slugged up to $300,000 due to the levy - which they feel would be far more appropriate being met by the company, which posted a $1.32 billion net profit in February.

So, while I once had a soft spot for Jamie Oliver, this whole money-making collection campaign has left rather a bad taste in my mouth. 

What has pissed you off lately? 

Friday, June 13, 2014

What really happened to Malaysian Airlines Flight 370?

 Linda Jamison (left) and sister Terry on the beach at Malibu, California. Photo by Ben Rothstein.

They were the only psychics to predict the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks.

And over the years, the incredible Jamison Twins, also known as The Psychic Twins, have reunited families, solved murder cases, found missing persons, saved marriages, and diagnosed illnesses using their unique gift of automatic writing.

I've known them since 9/11, when I interviewed them for Woman's Day magazine.

Their track record of predictions, often made on live television or radio, far before the events themselves occurred, spoke for itself.

Critics often say: Well why don't they tell anyone?

Quite frankly, they do! They have contacted the authorities where relevant, as far as they have been able to.

They have contacted media organisations like CNN, as well as authorities like police, and government organisations. Routinely, they aren't believed, are made fun of, ignored, or hung up on.

"Our terrorism predictions have been proven for more than 25 years," they say. "It's like they are trying to pretend we are invisible, like the missing (Malaysian Airlines) plane."

Smaller, independent media, thankfully, record their conversations and interviews, publish them, and pass them on. And they have thousands of believers around the world, including Australia, who contact them for readings, and tune in for their appearances on television and radio.

With the advent of social media, the twins are now active on twitter, facebook and the like, they can spread their messages further and wider.

They were the only psychics to not only predict the tragic disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, but to pretty much map out the bumbling search for the plane, the cover-ups, and the conspiracy theories, all before they happened. (And after doing all this, their website was hacked. All evidence points to someone/people from the US Government being the hacker/s).

They have also been the only psychics to really offer any hope or comfort to those families, friends and loved ones left behind to wonder about what happened to the innocent travellers on board.

I tried to pitch a story to the Australian magazines and newspapers I usually write for. The Psychic Twins, Terry and Linda Jamison, have a huge Australian following, particularly after my original Woman's Day story, where they also correctly predicted that Olivia Newton-John's errant lover Patrick McDermott had faked his death and would be found alive. However, I have been knocked back at every turn, which is strange considering the twins' insight is not only credible, but in the public interest as well.

To those who are suspicious of psychics, I can assure you the twins mean only good. And I can tell you I have been in journalism, writing, and a student of life long enough to know when people are genuine, and when they are not. And when they have a gift, and when they do not.

The twins have a message for the families and friends of those who were on board Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Those left behind have asked for anyone with clues, information, or insight to share it. And so, I do this here.

From Terry and Linda Jamison, The Psychic Twins: 

The families and friends of the 239 people aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now face the unimaginable challenge of grieving for a loved one whose final resting place may never be found.

They will have to somehow find a way to accept the possibility that the body of their loved one may never be recovered.

Even though there may be recovery of remnants of the plane, it may not ever be enough, and they are going to have to find a personal sense of peace in order to move forward with their lives. As time goes on, it may become easier to surrender and release feelings of powerlessness, rage and frustration.

Survivors will have to learn ways to hold their loved ones in their hearts. Positive memories, thoughts and prayers help.

No matter what the outcome may be, we pray each person finds the strength they need to continue to live their life with confidence, and find meaning in their lives because that is what your loved ones would want you to do.

A spiritual practice such as prayer and meditation can help tremendously. For the actual family members of the victims it will become necessary to forgive, whether it be the airline, authorities, or others whom they are holding responsible… This will take time. But healing is possible.

This event has caused unspeakable suffering for so many. These people need to get a sense of power and control back in their lives. Many will be consumed with overwhelming thoughts of revenge, others by fear of traveling, or fears of another possible attack. It will be normal to have these feelings.

We urge those who are grieving to connect with friends and family for support. It may become necessary to reach out to get grief or anger counseling or join a support group to deal with their emotions. Counselling is one powerful way that the two of us got through our own grief after 9/11, and it kept us grounded in the midst of all the chaos.

It may help to write one’s feelings down in a journal. Express your anger, frustration and sadness in a therapeutic setting. Also, creativity can be very healing. Write a letter to your loved one, plant a tree in memoriam. Celebrate your loved one’s life.

Nothing can ever separate you from your loved ones who have passed. We believe we all survive death and live on in the realm of spirit. One of the chapters in our book Psychic Intelligence can help you connect with those loved ones who have crossed over to the other side. Here is a quote from our book:

“We believe that the soul survives death. Every living thing is composed of energy and energy never dies, it simply changes form. Therefore, the soul is eternal and continues to exist on another plane after the death of the body… life does not stop with death.”

Now, there is plenty more to this story, and if you are interested, read on.

Basically on March 12, 2014, the twins predicted on a radio show, before any satellite or radar information was made public, that that they didn't believe there had been any mechanical failure or fire on board Malaysia Flight MH370.

"We believe this was a hijacking and we need to look at the pilot or pilots and maybe some of the passengers of board," they said. (Note: It is impossible to tell who is Terry or Linda when you are talking to them on the phone or listening to them on air, and they are fine with being called 'we' or 'they'.)

"We believe that this is maybe a new kind of paradigm of terrorism that we have never seen before.

"We are saying it is a hijacking. We feel that the pilot or pilots are the ones who took deliberate actions to re-route that plane for sinister purposes relating to some kind of political agenda or personal agenda. It was a very well-conceived and well-executed plan, probably for political purposes.

"At least one or two of the pilots, and one or two of the passengers were involved."

The twins fear the MH370 incident is terrorism of an unprecedented level not seen before, and that we may never know exactly what happened to the plane and passengers.

They point to cover-ups, secrets and information that has not been made public.

"We are sorry to say we do not feel that optimistic (that the plane will be found), but we are hopeful. We do not see it was possible to land the plane in the dark, in the jungle. We are hopeful, but we do not believe it is likely.

"The public may never know who did it or why. We do feel that more information will come out."

The twins believe the plane crashed into the Indian Ocean.

Want more? Here is an excerpt from the Psychic Twins' appearance TV show "Sisters for the Soul" March 20, 2014. Their predictions were later confirmed by the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Follow the twins on Facebook here and on twitter here.

Their official website is at www.psychictwins.com 

Do you believe? And what do you think happened to Malaysian Airlines Flight 370? 

(IMPORTANT: My deepest sympathies to the loved ones left behind. My only reason for publishing this post was to attempt to give them some peace, and to keep the search for answers alive.). 

The Jamison twins


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A saviour for your phone

I'm not known for my agility and grace. I have trouble walking in high heels. I fall into pot holes, I trip over the cat. I'm always losing my phone, leaving it in the car, and even worse - dropping it! (The phone, not the car.)
My kids have a horrible habit of playing with my phone as well, and unfortunately they appear to have inherited my problems with co-ordination and memory.
So over the years there have been a lot of dropped, scratched, sat on, and broken phones. That's meant tears, expense, and hyperventilation as I've waited for said phones to be fixed, along with an inability to call, FB, text, email, instagram, tweet, or pin to pass the time. Hideous!
When we lived in the city, it was just bearable. Usually I could go to one of the places at a shopping centre and get it fixed within an hour or two, for a fairly affordable price. Problem solved.
In the country, it's more difficult to find someone who can fix a cracked iPhone or iPad quickly (anyone good is usually booked up well in advance.) And the lack of competition means it's usually more expensive here. Though things are getting better.
In the past, I've had phones drop out of my pocket when I've been cleaning the toilet, fly out of my handbag in the supermarket when I've been frantically searching for my wallet, drop out of the car onto the bitumen when I've opened the door, hurtle off the kitchen bench as if possessed, and fall onto the floor when a nameless child has left it where it shouldn't have been left.
I'm not sure what happened the last time my phone broke. I've tried several protective cases, but after a while find they interfere with texting or charging and I got annoyed and took them off.
Anyway, there had been a couple of small cracks on the screen which I'd been blissfully ignoring, until one morning I found it completely covered in cracks. Or course this was on a day when I was going to rely on my phone heavily.
I used it anyway, wincing every time, worried that every use would make the cracks worse and wreck my phone completely.
Fortunately, Tech Guy knew a guy who would fix it for me - but he'd have to order a replacement screen, which would take a few days.
Oh, they were the longest days ever.
I tried desperately not to use my phone but ironically people insisted on calling me more than ever.
Somehow, my phone lasted, and just as tiny shards started to break off, Tech Guy's friend rode up on his white horse and came to the rescue.
I had my phone back, but I worried: What would I do next time I broke it? (And believe me, there's a good chance of that.)
Fortuitously, I was given the chance to review a new product called the Saviour Glass Screen Guardian. (Get it? Save Your Glass Screen?)
Made of something called 9H glass, which is anti-scratch and anti-shatter, but so thin it almost could be plastic, the protector is like a guardian angel for your phone.
It's easy to put on too - almost like putting on a bandaid. There's also a video - with a bit of romance thrown in - to show someone going to town on a protected-screen with a hammer.

It's not going to protect me from any toilet-related incidents, and I wasn't brave enough to attack my phone with a hammer. (Nor did an attractive man come with my Saviour pack ... just saying).
I have, however, dragged my protected phone around in my crowded handbag, along with my keys, an open lip-gloss, and at one stage, Harmonie's shoe - don't ask. And I've dropped it at least twice. And it remains scratch-free, easy-to-clean, and crystal-clear.

Because the glass is only 0.3 mm thick it actually is barely noticeable. So my phone looks, feels and works like normal. But the glass has been specially strengthened for what they call 'superior impact protection'. 
I really love it, and at around $39.99 it's cheaper and way more convenient than breaking your phone and having to find someone to fix it - and quickly.
After all, we all know how traumatic inconvenient it is to be without our phones!

This is a photo I took of Harmonie (still on crutches after spraining her ankle and inflaming her Archilles Tendon a few weeks ago) with Lucy at the RSPCA Million Paws Walk recently. Just as clear as usual. 

And this is a photo of dumplings we were making later that night - still really clear

The only problem I had with my Saviour Glass Screen Guardian was this:

The lovely people from Saviour Glass actually sent me two kits for the purposes of this review. The first I put onto my phone, the second was going to be for Mr 13 or Tech Guy to review.

We put one on mine first, but it didn't look right from the get go. It was a bit smeary and blurry. But it worked okay and was pretty clear the next day. However a few days later, the glass fell off in my handbag. 

Looking back, the problem was that I didn't actually watch the 'how to' video before I applied the glass to the screen. There's a bit there about letting the screen dry after you wipe it with the supplied alcohol wipe (which gets any dirt or gunk off).

So then I grabbed the second kit (sorry guys, but my need is greater), and tried again. This time it worked perfectly ... and some two or three weeks later, having had all that rough treatment, is as good as new. 

Also, I must point out that at this stage, Saviour Glass Screen Guardians are only available for
Apple iPhone 4s/5/5c/5s; SamsungGalaxy S4, and Samsung Galaxy Note 3. You can buy them at Big W, and The Good Guys, with more to follow.

The great news is that the kind peeps at Saviour Glass Screen Guardian are giving 2 MIA followers a kit each to try for themselves. Each kit is valued at $39.95 and comes with the glass screen guardian, alcohol prep pad, microfibre cleaning cloth and button stickers.  

To enter, leave your tragic broken phone story in a comment below, or tell me why you'd love a guardian for your phone. Competition is open to people living in Australia and will close at 5pm AEST on Thursday June 12. 

Saviour Glass Screen Guardian provided me with two kits for the purposes of this post. 

 The competition has now closed and the winners are Robyn Pike and Dee Dee Potter. Please contact me so we can arrange to send you your prizes.