19 September 2013

The What I See Project

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

That was the question I was asked by the What I See Project.

The What I See Project was set up by Edwina Dunn to give women a voice. It is a not-for-profit global project exploring female perception and self-expression.

I was honoured to be asked to be one of the hundred communicators adding their voices this month.

Here's me, pulling faces and bearing my soul in my video:

You can see my video (and all the others) on the site What I See Project.

Some of my friends are also taking part. Becky from Baby Budgeting and A Beautiful Space made me sob with her video. You must watch it. Also Penny from A Residence's (and Parent Shaped) video is excellent. I'm looking forward to catching up with them at the film screening on 1st October. I've loved watching the individual voices and can't wait to see them (and myself) on the big IMAX screen at the Science Museum.

You could also win a ticket to the Science Museum on 1st October by taking part on the What I See Project. full details are on the WISP website. Add your voice to the many.

I'm delighted to be able to the pass the baton onto Magda Knight at www.mookychick.co.uk who is in the spotlight tomorrow.

So, what do YOU see when you look in the mirror?



18 September 2013

Monkeys will wreck your car

My Dad would never take us to Woburn Safari Park. He said,

"I'm not having those f***ing monkeys wrecking my car".

He was quite precious about his cars. You'd have thought he'd got over that when, aged four, I suffered from car sickness all the way from Bedfordshire to Cornwall. Not so. No monkeys on our car, ever...

Fast forward thirty-nine years, and when a friend suggested taking the children to Woburn Safari Park I jumped at the chance.

The entrance fee was £50 for myself and two children. We took a picnic, that we ate on blankets next to our cars, and spent the day at the Park.

We started our foot safari by swanning about on the lake in pedalos. This was the right thing to do, as there were huge queues later in the day. We loved the new meerkat enclosure. The foot safari is best punctuated by feeding times and animal talks. We adored the penguins and sea lions, and the Birds in Action display. You can venture in with lemurs and squirrel monkeys and stroke the goats. There are plenty of places to play, including a bouncy castle for the little ones and soft play for the more adventurous.

After a train ride, and the obligatory visit to the shop, we headed back to our cars for the Big Safari.

The car safari takes a leisurely hour. You drive through herds of rhino, zebra and giraffes, before going in with the big cats and the bears. There is so much space for the animals, but we were able to see everything. I absolutely LOVED it. I tried to convey to Presley and Cash just how awesome it was to see these animals this close.

Finally we got to the f***ing monkeys.

This part of the safari is optional, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world. One inquisitive chap jumped from car to car until he got to ours. He then stayed on for slow ride, much to the delight of the boys, before leaping over to the next car. He didn't do any damage to our car - of course, and we knew better than to try to feed him.

We loved our day at Woburn Safari Park and give it the Baby Baby Thumbs Up.



10 September 2013

Finding a Cure for Cancer. The Saatchi Bill for Medical Innovation

I was invited to attend a meeting at the Houses of Parliament to hear more about the Medical Innovation Bill, also known as the Saatchi Bill.

Once I'd got through security... I found my way, past the entrances to the House of Commons and the House of Lords, to one of the Lords' committee rooms. I was one of several bloggers in attendance, all with a story to tell about how they have been affected by cancer or serious disease. Instead of a regular press conference, Saatchi wanted to explain the Bill to the storytellers. He wanted us to tell you about the Bill in the hope that you will tell your friends about the Bill. If enough people make enough noise then Parliament will listen.

Why was I there?

In November I lost a dear friend, Amanda, to cancer. I am lost without her.

I wrote about my loss on Annie's blog, as part of her cancer series, in Adrift. I would love it if you could take the time to read my story and the other stories in the series. It is one of the best pieces I have written and should adequately explain my interest in this Bill.

Another day at the office for Chris Mosler

What is the Saatchi Bill?

The Medical Innovation Bill will allow doctors to deviate from standard medical procedure without fear of litigation. Using multi-disciplinary peer review, and fully-informed patient consent, it will enable doctors to find new treatments for cancer and other diseases via innovation.

In 2011 Maurice Saatchi lost his wife, Josephine Hart, to ovarian cancer. He was frustrated by the lack of progress in the treatment of most cancers, and decided to use his grief to make a difference.

Maurice described cancer as relentless, remorseless and merciless and the treatment of cancer as medieval, ineffective and degrading. The standard procedures of surgery and chemotherapy are decades old. We've been handing out the same treatments for years, knowing that they are not a cure, but not being able to deviate from those procedures to make any progress. He called it the endless repeat of a failed experiment.

We keep doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome.

An Act of Parliament can't cure cancer, but it may enable the man or woman who can. It will do this by clarifying in law what is responsible innovation.

Professor Andy Hall filled in some of the background to the traditional treatment of cancer. In the 1950's childhood leukemia was not treated at all, now it has some of the best survival rates of any cancer. This is because some doctors were bold. We need to make those kinds of leaps now.

Debbie Binner spoke beautifully about her daughter, Chloe. Chloe was just 15 when she felt a pain in her leg. It turned out to be bone cancer. Debbie said that Chloe was not one of the lucky ones. She could not have an amputation. Debbie fought to get her daughter the best treatment, but found doctors too willing to accept the status quo. Chloe died in February, aged 18.

Michael Ellis, MP for Northampton, will present the Bill to the House of Commons for its first reading tomorrow. He explained that the Bill has cross-party support and will give doctors the tools they need to make a difference.

At the end of the presentations we, and those joining us via G+, had the opportunity to share our reason for being there and to ask questions. I asked about another barrier to innovation, lack of money. I asked about the role of drug companies and their lack of investment where they could not see a quick profit being made. Debbie responded that she had found that huge publicity can focus a spotlight on the drug companies. If enough people make a fuss it is their corporate social responsibility to respond. Lord Saatchi added that this Bill is focused on changing a risk-averse culture. Lack of money alone does not block innovation. Barrister Daniel Greenberg, who drafted the Bill, made the point that this Bill give doctors freedom to innovate, not drug companies. He also reminded us that medicine is not just about drugs.

I found the meeting moving and informative, and the setting was spectacular. The law does need to change. I hope I am a tiny part of history being made, it certainly felt like it being sat in a committee room in the Houses of Parliament.

What can you do?

Talk about the Bill, on social media, on blogs, at the water cooler, at the school gate.

Let's have a debate about it.

Ask questions.

Follow @SaatchiBill on Twitter and use #SaatchiBill

Write to your MP and ask them to support the Bill. It amused me that the politicians were trying to move with the times and harness the power of social media, yet when we asked what they would like us to do they suggested writing to our MP's. Old-fashioned it may be, but in our democracy this is the way to influence the person who represents us in Parliament. I sent my MP an email, it took just minutes.

Further Reading

The Medical Innovation Bill
Cancer 52. 52% of cancers are rare forms of cancer.
Maurice Saatchi, talking in the Telegraph.


9 September 2013

So, I tried to take a knife into the Houses of Parliament...

Yes. I did.

I tried to get through security at the Houses of Parliament with a knife.

I've never liked Smarmy Dave, I've made no secret of the fact, but I wasn't planning to stab him or anything like that.

No. I'm just a doofus. 

I had this Swiss card in my handbag, you see, and it has a knife on it.

There is a good reason why I always carry it - there was that unfortunate incident in the supermarket toilets for a start - but I usually try to get myself out of sticky situations with it... NOT INTO THEM.

After a thorough search of my bag I was allowed in - without my Swiss card. They didn't throw me in the Tower or anything, but I still felt like an idiot.

Here's the evidence that I was actually allowed into the building:

Just a quick snap as I was on my way to a meeting regarding the Saatchi Bill. I'll tell you all about that in my next post. Do please check back.


5 September 2013

Slimming World Ice Cream

Fat free yogurt

Put it in the freezer for a couple of hours

Okay, so it's not technically ice cream.

A little ice may form at the top, but underneath the frozen yogurt is creamy and tastes like ice cream.

It's syn free at Slimming World too.

You're welcome.

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