On top of the usual trying to fit 36 hours into a 24 hour day, I think Monster on the whole is trying to kill me. Not through fatigue, worry or other forms of stress, but physically. For example, I have dozed off next to Monster a few times recently, only to wake up with a start with them clutching my nose so tightly that I can’t breathe. My eyelids seem to be good things to grab as well. Where I have managed to dodge tired eyes and crow’s feet, I think Monster is on a mission.

In other news, I am still a little befuddled why someone felt the need to toot their horn at me the other day because I was turning right in a dedicated lane and they were going straight ahead – it was a purple Ford Puma on the way to Charlton Lido. I feel I am not doing enough sit-ups, nor am I wearing the most heavy duty make-up I can find – and I feel I am repeating myself – as per above. But besides all of this, I discovered that Monster can swim, well doggy paddle, which I think is great considering Monster is a very energetic child. It means a little downtime for mummy.

People ask me, are you taking Monster outdoor swimming. Um, let me see, a five month old swimming outside in the UK. No, I don’t think so. In fact it is a pet peeve of mine to see parents taking babies and toddlers to venues such as the lido and then wondering why the poor kids are screaming their heads off because of the cold. Young children cannot regulate their temperatures like we can, and even in the warmer months; you are competing with sun exposure. Where you are able to cool down from the heat in the water, the sun reflecting off of the surface provides glare, and whatever the UV levels are, they are doubled in the water, increasing the risk of melanoma.  A good site to visit regarding the daily UV levels is Weather Online.

I was under the notion for years, like many others, that babies are born natural swimmers but apparently this is not the case.

According to several sources, babies are not born with the ability to swim, though they have reflexes that make it look like they can swim.

This ‎post derived from a swim session I had with Monster a few weeks ago. We go swimming once a week, I didn’t want to go down the swimming lesson route as being a competitive long distance swimmer, I think I am well equipped to teach Monster the basics. I am also a firm believer that with babies you need to just do it, you delay and water things down, so to speak, the baby picks up on this and if there is any anxiety, they will also reflect this.

When Monster was 15 weeks, mum, Monster and I went to the pool and just got in and it’s been fun since. I would have preferred Monster in the pool sooner, but there was a delay with the jabs.

I have always maintained that Monster will know how to swim, whether they wish to be a marathon swimmer like me is entirely up to them, I just want to school them with the skills so they can try their best to save themselves should they end up in a spontaneous deep water situation. I do recommend if parents are not good swimmers, or can’t swim at all, that lessons are a must. There is no need to be a martyr and there is plenty of help out there.

The other week however, Monster raised the bar. Bearing in mind that Monster is now four and a half months, Monster decided they didn’t want to float on their back this time round, instead they wanted to lay on their stomach. I found this out when a woman swam past us and Monster who I was holding facing outwards decided to all of a sudden dive forwards and copy. To which I swore in reaction while maintaining my grip. I then apologised to several sniggering parents around me and carried on with our session.

I should have known the wandering eyes meant that Monster was taking in all information and process it when ready. Monster has after all been several weeks ahead on the development scale.

So taking advantage of this, I allowed Monster to lie on the water’s surface stomach down with my hands securely underneath them. Monster then proceeded to doggy paddle with great force. Now Monster has always been strong for their age so the force of the paddling was quite extreme and I had to stop them a few times as Monster was becoming very excitable and it was hard for me to keep my grip.

‎In awe with my child’s latest development/achievement, I took to the Web to do some research. The reflex which mimics the doggy paddle happens up until around 6 months. Babies placed in water tummy down reflexively move their arms and legs in a swimming motion, which makes them look like natural swimmers.

“These reflexes don’t mean the baby can swim, though,” says Jeffrey Wagener, a paediatric pulmonologist in Colorado.

Another notion is the thinking that babies can hold their breath under water naturally so you can briefly submerge them. This is called the bradycardic response that makes babies hold their breath and open their eyes when submerged in water. Parents can cause this same reaction by blowing in their baby’s face, a response that disappears after about 6 months.

He went on to say that ‎babies aren’t old enough to hold their breath intentionally, or strong enough keep their head above water. In addition to the risk of drowning, it’s dangerous for an infant to swallow large amounts of pool water. In my mind it’s even worse during school holiday times – I’d hate to think the amount of chlorine in the pool. It’s like swimming in chip fat that burns the eyes.

If you have a new born and plan on taking them swimming, it is advisable to wait until they have had at least their first set of jabs, while the chlorine in the water will kill off most things the biggest risk when swimming is actually to the mother. After giving birth we are at risk of infection so do not go into the water until you are absolutely ready. If you can get the baby into the water before 6 months then that is great. As time goes on fear of the water can set in and this then makes it difficult to take the child swimming. Of course not all children are water babies like my Monster.

One thing I will definitely be teaching Monster when they are old enough is the dangers of the water. This is incredibly important to teach children as soon as they understand as there is not enough awareness surrounding water safety in the UK.

I was on a water awareness panel last year and it was quite worrying how well versed the rest of Europe is on this topic in comparison to the UK.

The RNIL have launched a campaign promoting safety in the water. Please take a look at their website and find out what you should do if you find yourself in a bad situation in the water. The hastag on Twitter is #respectthewater.

When I told my friends about the above, they sent me a video of babies with water floats around their necks. This is not the same video but it is the same kind of water float. I find this very unsettling, what do you think?

Following the birth of Monster, I completed a 22 mile swim for Heart Research UK. If you would like to donate to their wonderful work, please click here. 

Before having my little Monster, certain things used to bother me. Now this is nothing new, things both people, but I remember being told that the little things will be less important once you have a child. I don’t believe this is true for everyone, I still get annoyed at the little things. While others may have welcomed a new tolerance when entering motherhood, I think this bypassed me. Overall I am not easily offended, but I do have my ‘pet-peeves’, some I have mentioned in previous blog posts. They tend to include those who inflict narrow-minded opinions (or judgements) on others, and those who knowingly cause offence but then refuse to take any responsibility. Other annoyances include those who text while driving. Why put your life and others at risk. No message is that important it can’t wait until you have pulled over. And of course those who choose to be glued to their phones in the ‘text neck’ position while walking, or should I say, bumping into people.

As Monster is now progressing to semi-solids I find my advanced qualifications in nutrition coming into their own and preparing carefully thought out meals not only for me but for the little human too. Although since having Monster I find that my nutrition is not great, methinks I will need to pull out the calorie monitoring book again, I have to remember that I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight 6 days after giving birth, I have just gone back to work and we are still adjusting to the ‘new normal’.

Baby nutrition

http://patymsnutritionworld.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/nutrition-pocket-guide-for-infants.html

Not my Monster but courtesy of another site catering to feeding monsters.

With babies it is very difficult to make them overweight when they are purely feeding on milk; however when they reach the semi-solids and then solids stage, this can shape them for life so this is the time to be careful.‎

No pressure then!

The recipes which I have been advised upon range from sweet potatoes to singular fruit and vegetables all of which are pureed. This is just the tasting and allergy finding stage, however Monster has been ahead of the game from the start so it is difficult to go slow at times and not give into the ‘run before we can walk mentality’.

One thing I have always found is that everyone has their triggers, and what agrees with one person will not agree with the other. This is the same with babies.

So far everything has been good but given that Monster has always been a formula baby they are getting absolute nutrition with all vitamins and minerals accounted for. Therefore we have to be doubly careful not to focus on a set of fruits or vegetables that revolve around a particular vitamin group for risk of overloading. So far we have found that singular fruits and vegetables are causing some trapped wind and griping pain, so we have been mixing them with formula and serving alongside a rusk or baby rice.

We are finding that multiple fruits or vegetables together seem to be fine and are best served in the morning so Monster can move around a lot during the day to alleviate any trapped wind. The meal before bed is going to continue to be baby rice for the foreseeable as this is very gentle on the stomach.

As with adults, if the child does not agree with something, it could be an allergy which can result in a serious reaction or an intolerance as it is commonly known. With ‘intolerances’ these are easier to treat as it can mean something as simple as trying the food again in 3-6 months’ time when the body has changed. With a more toxic reaction (i.e. problems breathing), this can mean an allergy which means the food would need to be excluded from the diet completely.

I do not believe in fussy children only fussy parents, and it is easy to inflict your opinions on them, they do after all follow your lead. For example, I don’t like mushrooms, so when the time comes I have to be careful not to inflict my opinion on Monster as they will naturally think mushrooms are bad.

The expert opinion for children is to try foods they do not like around 15 times before excluding them. If it is a case that the child does not like the food even after trying it this many times, then they can still change their tastes when they are older. For example, growing up I really did not like jelly and ice cream (children’s parties were great fun), but I have more than made up for it as an adult. I do not know why our taste buds change, perhaps we get used to a taste or perhaps it is because as we get older they dull, either through lifestyle or indulgence (coffee!!!!‎).

On the subject of dulling taste buds, how much coffee is too much?

I find that my life has taken a turn where I now order teething toys at 3am from Amazon, I also have my favourite coffee shops favourited in my phone maps, for fear if I let the caffeine run out, I might just drop down in a deep sleep, in the middle of a street somewhere and not get back up for at least 10 hours.

There are mixed views on the ‘dangers’ of coffee and the opinions tend to change as time goes on.

Apparently the most sensible approach is two cups of coffee per day, but if you are like me and work long hours, have a Monster or even both, you may need a little more help some days and that is when the quadruple shots come in.

And we have all been there.

During pregnancy the advised amount of caffeine in a day is 200mg. Now this means across all foods and drinks not just coffee or tea. 200mg of caffeine equates to two cups of instant coffee a day and that is it, no cola, no chocolate, no tea, just the coffee and the reason for this imposed limit is because a large quantity of caffeine while pregnant can encourage miscarriages mainly because it does speed up your metabolism and the heart of you and the baby.

If you are a cereal coffee drinker, like me, then when you find out you are pregnant it is best to reduce the intake gradually, rather than go cold turkey. You may also find that by the end of the pregnancy you naturally gravitate away from it, and stick to decaf.

Or if you have a sleepless Monster, then you may find you go back to it even more in which case try and wean yourself off. It is not only the heart that gets affected but you can experience digestive and intestinal distress too.

‎The same method can be used for everyone else too, the incentives are just a little harder to find especially when there are so many coffee shops around nowadays.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coffee_time_(2410222127).jpg

In an article I read recently, according to the University of Michigan Health Service, the stimulating effects of caffeine can start as early as 15 minutes after consumption and last up to 6 hours.

The Mayo Clinic state that consuming more than 500-600 mg of caffeine a day may lead to insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, an upset stomach, a fast heartbeat and even muscle tremors. Again any cereal coffee drinkers I am sure would have experienced this.

From a nutritional point of view, the intake of caffeine (in any form, not just coffee), is all about portion control. With food, a portion is the size of your fist, so drinks are a but more tricky to assess, so in my view it is best to go small for each drink. Also watch out for syrups and those wonderful added extras we like to put in our coffees. The reason for this is that they can encourage Type II diabetes. Try to limit these to a once or twice a week depending on how much you eat or drink.

Take everything in moderation then there are no food limits!

No Food Limits is coming soon. The idea behind the site is to give everyone assistance with their nutritional needs in quick and easy to follow bullet points, taking into consideration budgets, activity levels, food obstructions, long or erratic working hours and individual triggers. Watch this space. 

 

‎It’s a common enough phrase ‘Baby on Board’, most if not all drivers will know it and if not, it is only a matter of time before they see it in a car window indicating that there is a small human riding as a passenger.

Shortly after my small human was born, my mother recommended I put a sign in my car to stop people from parking too close to me so I could get the baby seat out of the car.

My response was “Well, they shouldn’t be parking ‎too close anyway.” Of course people do and my personal opinion is that I doubt very much a sign will rectify that in modern day ‘text neck’ society.

If we look at this from another aspect, would the surrounding cars of a vehicle holding this sign in motion drive more carefully because a child is on board? Perhaps we should ask the question would the other drivers, whether intentionally or not, ram another vehicle? Probably not, so why should the car with the ‘Baby on Board’ sign be the exception. Mistakes and careless driving happens but I doubt a driver behind the car containing the ‘Baby on Board’ sign is sitting there thinking “The car in front has a baby in it therefore I must not ram or crash in to it.” If there are drivers out there that think this way, well then I think your priorities need to be revisited.

It’s like that Simpsons episode all over again – those old enough to remember it will know what I mean.

So far I haven’t had any trouble driving with Monster on board, and heaven help someone who does crash into me – if there is one thing I have learnt so far, it’s that motherhood enhances the protective streak by tenfold.

While I am not mocking the rationale behind the Baby on Board sign, it is still not something I will be investing in as I feel it does not make a difference. However I could be wrong?

babyonboard1

It has been a rather hectic couple of weeks again. Where I find myself trying to enter a blog post once a week, more realistically this is now happening once a month. This week has been no different. Where the monster is learning everything so quickly, I am having trouble keeping up with the days, let alone the latest trick my amazing little human has learnt.

I do find myself somewhat confused by nursery rhythms. When bathing monster the other evening I read from a book that was mine as a child, called the Gift of Nursery Rhythms. It included all of the ‘classics’ and of course it is only in your adult years do you understand what the rhythms really mean, and when you eliminate the rhythms with obvious entendre, the ones regarding hunting of animals and plagues there is not much left. So while I could be looking too much into this, I think we will be revising the reading material from now on.

Nutrition in any lifestyle is very difficult to maintain, post pregnancy seems to have been the most challenging in my opinion.

Monster is now 14 weeks old and from my understanding, most 14 week old babies are doing what monster was doing at 5-6 weeks. When I look back at the videos of monster, I see that monster is a lot more energetic, just when we thought they had reached their peak, now my little human is like ten chipmunks on caffeine – what do they put in baby formula nowadays?

Over the last few weeks, monster has learnt how to press buttons so my Blackberry is now off limits. It is very disconcerting while scrolling down the feeds on Facebook to find monster scrolling up at the same time on the same screen. Of course my heavily dermatitis ridden hands with ruined fingertips are no match on a touchscreen for monster’s perfect hands, and of course the little fingers glide through the posts and pages effortlessly.

On clothing, monster is now 3-6 months, mainly because the weather is so hot and I am now understanding what people said before about these times being so previous and how fast they go. The last three months have flown by.

In addition because monster is so energetic, milk is no longer filling them up (something my mother has also confirmed), my husband and I decided to move over (very slowly) to semi-solids. This was long thought out by my husband and I and we agreed that it would be the best move forward.

Given that the recommended age to begin semi-solids is 17 weeks onwards, 13 weeks is a little daunting for any parent I would imagine. But when your child is sitting there watching every mouthful you take and moves their mouths mimicking yours, and then goes to grab the jacket potato off of your plate, you know that perhaps it is time to move on. Monster began officially teething at 5 weeks and we have been using the Nelsons homeopathic sachets.

To get monster ready for spoon feeding, I have been giving the powder from the sachets on a training baby spoon mixed with water.

Upon recommendation from a friend, we tried the pure baby rice by Cow and Gate. It seemed sensible as monster has been on Cow and Gate formula from birth. The only problem we have is that we cannot get the spoon into monster’s mouth quick enough.

Monster has always loved their food, I joke with mother that I never leave the house without a bottle at the ready as heaven help me if I did. I have now found that if one drops a spoon while feeding monster lets me know with volatile verbal passion, so I now make sure I have a spare on standby.

What hasn’t helped is that now thanks to my mother who has successfully taught monster to poke out their tongue out and how to blow raspberries, as soon as monster receives a spoonful of food, they now blow the food out with a raspberry, enduring that the feeder is wearing said food.

With regards to child nutrition, with babies you cannot really over-feed them for the first six months. Following this when they begin weaning and going onto solid food, that is when we have to be careful.

I have six qualifications in nutrition, the main being sports nutrition, but I do have qualifications in child nutrition too. I know my methods work and I have never had to diet because of it. I set myself an eating plan several years ago, and amend it accordingly so instead of taking in 1800 calories per day, I would drop down to 1500 calories. I amend the plan on a daily basis depending on if I exercise and how much I exercise but I never miss a meal. Sometimes I am delayed because of having a baby but I never miss a meal.

If you miss a meal here and there, it is not a problem, but if you constantly miss meals thinking it will make you lose weight then, you affect your metabolic system and over time this will become severe as your metabolic system includes energy, brain power and so on. Also if you miss meals you are most likely to eat the bad foods when you do get around to eating as normally the ‘bad food’ is quicker to gain access to, it serves as a comforter and by extension it is cheaper.

I do have a new project and book coming out soon detailing nutrition and how it can work for everyone to assist with any goal, so watch this space, more details to follow soon.

http://studentswithlearningdifficulties.blogspot.co.uk/2008/09/healthy-eating-1.html

 

 

This post coincides with another that I wrote a few months ago about the reliance on technology, it also ties in with recent events.

The UK decided it no longer wanted to be a part of the European Union on Friday 24 June 2016 in an incredibly close 52% to 48% vote. Every social media outlet found itself inundated with discussions from honorary self-appointed politicians for the day. While politics have never been so exciting in my mind, whether you voted to leave of remain, it was an unsettling turn of events. I did not campaign for the side I voted for as I felt that this time, it was too personal and we in the UK are in a democracy so why try and influence others. Many, along with the politicians of course did campaign in an aim to sway the majority to their side and at that point it should have been obvious that there would be an outrage at the result.

Now whether there would have been an equal indignation if the results were different we will never know, but I am sure I am not the only one who was equally as shocked at the responses by some people. Not only did I see the reactions from friends of friends but some of my friends, who I considered to be upstanding individuals, resorted to name calling and bullying.

I will say that yes, people have a right to be angry, no one is taking that away from anyone but to call people ‘thick’, ‘wa*kers’, ‘c*nts’ and so on just because they did/do not agree with another’s opinion, is in my mind down right disgusting. This referendum vote was extremely important to us all in the UK, but there has been a lot of disappointment for many years. The people of this country have been at a disadvantage for some time and I think this election was a forum for people to vent their anguish.

While I do no condemn anyone for the way they voted, whether the outcome was right or a mistake remains to be seen; only time will tell. The one thing I will say is that rather than look at this outcome as negative, let’s look at this with a positive view, while change can be very scary, there is no going back from this. The UK will be independent, it will have the opportunity to stand on its own two feet. I do not believe our ability to trade will be severely affected, nor do I believe the country will be in dire straits, but again I cannot predict the future, so we will see.

Following the aftermath of the result, over a million people from the ‘Remain camp’ have flocked to the online petition sites to campaign for a revote. While I understand peoples’ frustrations as it was an incredibly close vote, where does this end? What will happen if there is a revote and then people chose to remain, will the ‘Leave camp’ then petition too?

One thing is clear though, 52% of people in the UK do not have faith in the system and the need for change is a must.

So the title of this post is that nowadays with mobile devices we have the wealth of information at our fingertips yet we still rely on the tunnel vision approach. While the stoke for this was going to be on other topics, I think the referendum vote captures the need for people to do their research because they either speak or post adequately.

In other news, I have now decided that I am going to manufacture a line of square shaped baby bottles with large flat bases and lids, so they can be stood up securely. I have found with bottles that either the bases or lids are too narrow which means that when you pause to wind your little one you end up dropping the bottle or the lid on the floor. At the same time, when this happens, as if by magic either will roll away from you and in your less than awake state, it feels like the bottle or lid is mocking you by continuing to roll as you repeatedly try to pick it up.

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2202/2218103017_aae3fdd016.jpg

Following my debut into parenthood I am currently swimming 22 miles over a maximum of 12 weeks for Helping Hearts. If you would like to donate, please visit my JustGiving page.

Since the last entry, the little human (known as Monster) is moving around a lot more, and is contributing to a lot of conversations, in fact monster tries and ‘over talks’ most people and you can see people’s faces cringe when this happens – yes I am now the woman with ‘that child’. However there is a difference between ‘talking’ and whinging and I think that most people recognise this. In recent days one side of the line still holds the 0-3 month clothes, while the other side now has 3-6 month clothing. Where did that time go?

Speaking of baby clothes, I am astounded by the price of baby swimwear. For a normal 3-6 month swimsuit this can set you back £16.99. My swimwear costs slightly more and that is designed for sports and endurance training – have babies starting swimming marathons now? Also, like with most babies clothing, it is hard to know how much is too much. For example, do you just keep it to normal swimwear such as a swimsuit, or add a warmer over the top. Given that I will only be taking Monster to indoor swimming venues for the time being, I think we will just stick to a normal swimsuit for now.

With regards to my kit, for those that don’t know, I have swum for over 30 years, this of course is most of my life, but in the last decade I have incorporated more events and worked on my endurance swimming. Swimming has always come naturally to me, so it only makes sense that I take advantage of my ability to swim long distance, both for the fitness and wellbeing aspects, but also it fuels my competitive side and the need for personal goalsetting – Urg corporate phrasing much!

As one can imagine, swimming for long distances can be both time-consuming and it can make your mind wander. An example of this was last year when I did a 12 hour overnight swim. For the first time in an event, I actually suffered boredom with the swimming. As time went on through the night, it became more challenging due to fatigue, seeing where one was going, and the other drawbacks that can come with such an event, such as chaffing and if in salt water, the salt will irritate even the smallest of wounds you have.

To relieve any monotony when training I use aids such as an underwater MP3 player. I have used several makes and models over the years, all of which will have their pros and cons, and all will have an element of endurance themselves. My favourite was the Speedo Aquabeat, which unfortunately is no longer in production. I had one of the first models and as soon as the upgrades began for Windows 7 the Aquabeat would no longer connect to a computer as it would only run on XP. While the device was still useable, this meant that I could not change the music which soon became boring – thus the circle was complete. So it was time for a new device.

My latest device took a while to get to grips with, I couldn’t get it to work in the pool, the earphones were unsuitable (for some reason since pregnancy I have only been able to use particular earphones), and when I managed to get the thing working (which in the end took several weeks), I then accidently wore it into the showers after the swim and got shampoo in it. Oops. Anyway it still works so all is right with the world.

Over the years when using devices such as this and my Swimovate Poolmate watch (which I love), it has got me thinking do these devices hinder the swim more as opposed to their original purpose which is to aid motivation and performance? In which case would it not be more productive using the time to swim and train rather than, for all intense purposes, faff around with reinserting headphones, changing the track on said MP3 player, adjusting state of the art goggles, realising your watch which was supposed to start counting five lengths ago isn’t switched on and so on….

Most of the time, given the distances I swim, I feel like I need an aid as even though most of the time my mind is going a mile a minute, if on the rare occasion my mind is blank, or I am not having a great swim, or I experienced road rage on the way to the lido, then I need something to either distract or destress me while the swim works itself out.

All in all, I would really like a new and improved Speedo Aquabeat or alternative given that they are no longer in production. For now my new one will do the job, but I feel the search will continue for as long as I swim.

http://alexnld.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/4GB-Waterproof-MP3-Player-for-Swimming-Sport-Surf-Free-Lanyard-and-Protective-Pouch-Black_nologo_600x600.jpeg

Following my debut into parenthood I am currently swimming 22 miles over a maximum of 12 weeks for Helping Hearts. If you would like to donate, please visit my JustGiving page.

Life is interesting at the moment. Since the appearance of my little human, one would think that I wouldn’t have time to breath let alone check my notifications on Twitter, but it seems that every few weeks I do get the chance.

So in the last few weeks, I have got back into the pool more and am back to my pre-pregnancy speeds, I have been helping my husband with his 365 day photography project of said little human (because he got bored of trying to find a new picture everyday), and somehow I got talked into helping him damp proof and paint the outside of the house.

No, I don’t know how that happened either.

Considering I had little human just over 7 weeks ago I must have dislodged a few brain cells to be up a ladder. Then again, I am also trying to work out how I was the fastest in the pool the other day, but that is a different story.

I also found out this week that my coordination has still yet to return to normal, mainly because when opening a coffee jar, the suction of the glass lid was clearly too much for me as the granules that would probably make 2-3 cups of coffee ended up on the floor. I not only did this once, but again the following day, and I found out that when you spill coffee granules on a rug the most intriguing thing happens, unless cleared up quickly moisture sets in and embeds the granules in the rug/floor surface. If the surface is smooth then it gets stuck like glue, if it is a rug then the wet granules implants into the rug and takes for what seems like forever to get back out again. If only I knew a carpet cleaner (Rugged Carpet Cleaning anyone).

I am tempted to write an email to Douwe Egberts regarding their choice of storage jars and said super suction lid, however, I would feel stupid as I can’t imagine anyone else having this trouble. Of course these spillages happened when the little human had given me five minutes to myself, which soon ended when I was frantically trying to clean up and then little human decided they also wanted to eat and proceeded to scream the place down. Cue me trying to clean the carpet and prepare a bottle at the same time.

Anyway, to the point, while going through my Twitter notifications, I saw that someone had ‘liked’ some posts for a conversation I participated in back in October. The campaigns I get myself involved in (for my sins it seems at times), are without a doubt marine conservation, gender equality and animal rights in general.

The posts in question were regarding Emma Watson’s He for She campaign  and the comments on my posts were made by an individual that you always get in a campaign, the troll!

http://www.hdwalls.xyz/images/the-trolls-tongue-norway

Troll Hunter – an awesome film

Trolls in campaigns are always present and I unfortunately have been on the other end of their posts on numerous occasions. They like to distract from the point, and try and veer the debate into meaningless and irrelevant deliberations bordering on arguments. Why they do this I do not know, I have always been open to the fact that everyone will campaign for something different so normally I tell these individuals that unless they are going to contribute something constructive go elsewhere as they are just wasting their time and everyone else’s.

When posting on Twitter during the He for She campaign conversation, I came across one who I thought was a troll but I am still a little confused as to why he was posting. I am not sure he was for the campaign, neither am I convinced he was against it either, but he did come up with some interesting comments directed at me, namely:

“You’re opinionated just like the rest of us. Based most on your life experience.”

“So you are 100% impartial when researching? I don’t believe you.”

These comments came about when he said that I was opinionated (as you can see above), I responded that I do base my campaigns on impartial research, that is what one does when they have been trained in law. You are trained to find every facet of information before making a judgment, you are also taught to never assume as, to put it bluntly, assumption is the mother of all f***-ups, and if there is one thing that annoys me it’s those that tell me, or assume they know what I am thinking.

This got me thinking, could one possibly campaign without having an opinion? Realistically I think the answer is no, as you need to be drawn to a campaign in the first place. For example, I follow Sea Shepherd and the Marine Conservation Society as I have a marine biology qualification and know the importance of all of the marine life in our oceans.

Additionally, I have also campaigned for gender equality as in this day and age I do not think one gender should receive more benefits over the other, whether they are male or female it shouldn’t make a difference. This has not been based on my life experiences, even though many would find that hard to believe because I am a woman, and we are still considered to be at a disadvantage with regards to pay etc. Also the media always like to give us a good bashing, but genuinely I have not experienced any negativity or disadvantages from being a woman in society (aside from not being able to delegate pregnancy and childbirth to my husband). This however does not stop me from campaigning for those that do. Why do I campaign about this, because I see men and women as equals.

I suppose the only campaigns I do have personal ties to and do not facilitate based on the ‘greater good’ is when I have swum for Macmillan Cancer Support and the British Heart Foundation as well as Helping Hearts as both diseases have affected members of my family.

So can one really have an opinion in a campaign? Yes of course they can, but in my experience it is better to fight a campaign with facts rather than assumption, and one thing I can assure people of is that my sources are properly researched, and my comments are based on said research rather than a whim.