Thursday, December 12, 2013

What Your Wrapping Paper Says About You

By this point in December, most people have already assembled enough gifts to begin thinking about wrapping them (unless you buy everyone e-vouchers, in which case, your soul should be with you in 8-10 days, non-priority shipping).

We like to disguise our gifts, mostly to keep our friends and relatives from guessing what’s inside them until they snap on Christmas Eve and have an uncontrollable fondle. But did you know that your choice of wrapping says a lot about you? Read on to find out what your paper reveals about your Christmas personality. See if you can spot yourselves!

Your paper: Has owls, foxes or similar trendy hat-wearing woodland animals on it
What it says about you:
This year, your wrapping material and most of your Christmas shopping was achieved in Paperchase. Your favourite thing about Christmas is the return of the festive lattes to the coffee shops. You probably own one or all of the following: a jumper with a fox face on it, button-up mittens, a File-o-Fax.
You’ll get everyone: Copies of the novel you finished this year.
You’d love: A new laptop carry case or a Starbucks gift card.

Your paper: Remnants from last year
What it says about you:
Wow, is it really Christmas already?! You are like, so totally swamped, what with work and things and stuff and parties and socialising and that. Thank God you found this lurking in the back of the airing cupboard. It’s slightly wrinkled, but if you pull it really taut around the gifts, people won’t notice, right? Right?! 
You’ll get everyone: It doesn’t matter – as soon as it’s wrapped, you can’t remember it.
You’d love: To wake up on Christmas Eve and find the wrapping done.

Your paper: Is traditional, festooned with bows and individually tagged
What it says about you: Your house looks like Christmas prematurely came (in both senses of the phrase). You planned your gift list in October, had it all bought by the first week in December, and everything was wrapped and under the tree by the time the first carollers came a-knocking. You made a ‘wrapping playlist’.
You’ll get everyone: A festive centrepiece, home-delivered
You’d love: A personalised 2014 calendar

Your paper: is tin foil
What it says about you: You saw the Christmas episode of Gavin and Stacey and thought Smithy’s foil-wrapped gifts were hilarious/a bloody good idea. You do all of your shopping on one day, preferably within your lunch hour, in one shop. Frankly, to do it any other way would be daft.
You’ll get everyone: Pretty much the first thing you see.
You’d love: Whatever you bloody well asked for. I mean, it’s not that difficult, is it?!

Your paper: comes in three complementary patterns
What it says about you: You and your partner give out cards with yourselves in silly hats on the front. You’re hosting the Christmas party, you’ve made sure there’s a nut roast for Joshua’s vegan girlfriend, and you get everyone to take their shoes off when they enter. You made your own Gingerbread house.
You’ll get everyone: Homemade jam (it’s a touch runny, but it’s OK, you wrote “Watch out, I’m a dribbler” on the cute label)
You’d love: a mug with a cosy on it.

Your paper: was whatever Boots had near the till
What it says about you: You have all the patience of a three-year-old with a full bladder. You have five rolls of the stuff left over due to buying so much to accommodate your habit of wrapping and re-wrapping. You dread Christmas prep and bought Gluhwein in abundance to prepare yourself.
You’ll get everyone: the most awkward shaped gifts, much to your own dismay.
You’d love: to regain feeling in your taping hand.

Your paper: has ruled grids on the inside
What it says about you: This year, the person you usually get to do your wrapping snapped and told you to ‘bloody do it your lazy self’. Any kind of decision panics you. You leave wrapping until the last minute and have to sleep under scraps of it in front of the tree to intercept the early risers.
You’ll get everyone: Something they can clearly see through the gaps where it doesn’t quite meet
You’d love: Stuff in posh boxes you can keep and recycle for next year

Your paper: has a comedy slogan/cartoon characters on it
What it says about you: On Dec 1st you tweeted a picture of you wrapping up your cat. You accidentally mix your drinks, and end up wincing and pushing away your Auntie’s hand when she offers you a Christmas Day Bailey’s. You can’t enter a room without screwing up your face and bellowing “IIIIIIIIT’S CHRIIIIIIIISTMAAAAAAS!”
You’ll get everyone: Novelty gifts, such as jellybean-pooping reindeer.

You’d love: Novelty gifts, such as jellybean-pooping reindeer.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Best of Christmas Yet to Come

After my shameful Bah Humbuggery in the previous post, I had a little think about how grumpy Christmas and all its irks and quirks made me feel, and would you believe it, I fell asleep at my desk.

I was awoken by the rattling of chains and the stomping of feet. In my groggy state I mistook it to be the ringing of choir bells, so I sat up and launched my slipper at the window, punctuating its dull thud with a hearty “PISS OFF!”

Then a spectral voice behind me called my name. “Wiiiiiiibs, Wiiiiiibs,” it howled, rattling its chains.

“What do you want,” I barked, picking up the remote and flicking the TV on.

Turn off the teeee veeeeee...

“What?” I snapped, over a deafening advert for the latest Transforming-Mega-Morphiniser-Bot-a-Tron, with laser night vision and new jack-knifing action.

The teeeee veeeeee...turn it off...

Turkey what?”

The remote was snatched from me by a clammy grey hand and the TV flicked off. I looked up into the ragged face of the spectre, and found it looked a lot like-

“Holy crap, you're me. Or me after three glasses of whiskey. And your roots need doing.”

My roooooots aren’t impoooooortaaaant!” Boomed the spirit, and thunder and lightning cracked outside. “I mean, my roots aren’t important. Look, have you got five minutes? I need to lay some truths on your fat ass.”

“Yeah, whatever, there’s nothing on anyway.” I shuffled over and patted the vacant side of the sofa. “And there’s no need to be personal. Ectoplasm or not, your ass is fat too.”

The ghost sat down, its chains rattling. “Ahh, thanks. The buses are a frigging nightmare at this hour.”

“What’s with all the bling-bling?” I gestured.

“Oh yes,” said the ghost. “Look, I’m the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Basically I’m the representation of you if you don’t buck your ideas up and stop being such a Christmas crank.”

“Wait, you’re the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come?” My eyes widened. “What a rip-off. Ebenezer Scrooge got three ghosts, and I just get the last one? And what’s more, you talk, and you’re not even a Muppet.” I slumped back in the sofa. “This sucks.”

“This is what I mean,” the ghost sighed, rolling its eyes. “You’re expecting too much of Christmas, setting it up for a failure before this one has even started.” The ghost got up and poured itself a whiskey from my decanter. “Look, you must have enjoyed Christmas as a kid.”

“I did not,” I lied unconvincingly. “I was a prim young lady who never once pulled any crackers or egged any nogs.”

“Oh please,” drawled the spirit, “You loved it. One year you even got a Barbie for Christmas. Your feminist friends would be shocked.”

“Fine,” I said, folding my arms. “Look, what do you really want from me? I was only poking fun in my last Blog. Nobody reads that shit anyway.”

“Do another post,” suggested the ghost, slumping against the liquor cabinet. “Only this time be honest about what you like about Christmas. And none of this Hallmark Cards family and hugs bollocks; tell me how you really feel.”

I raised an eyebrow. “And then you’ll fuck right off?”

Then I’ll fuck right off.”

“All right,” I sighed.



When I was a kid, both sets of Grandparents lived eighty or so miles away. We would make the trip down one year, and my Grandparents would come up to us the next Christmas. When my Grandad died, we still made the trips up and back. Then my Grandma died years later, and my Uncle made the trips down to us, and then I moved out and got married and now have a fledgling family of my own to organise at Christmas.

But one thing always remained the same: every Christmas morning, no matter which bed I woke up in, my brother and I would always have a full stocking sitting at the end of the bed. Sometimes it was Father Christmas’ doing, then my parents’, and then my husband’s, but it was the same every year. Then, my brother and I started doing them for my parents. Every year we’d comb the shops for little palm-sized gifts: lip gloss for Mum, a photo snow globe for Dad’s desk at work. It was so much fun putting them together on Christmas Eve, in my room while music played, trying to figure out if the snow globe would crush the satsuma or if the bath bomb had leaked glitter everywhere.

What I'm saying once you scrape off the layer of sugar is that no matter where you are or who you celebrate with, sometimes you want to hang on to a ritual that makes your Christmas happy. Everyone has them, and everyone should.


Cold is under-rated. In the summer you can take off clothes if you get too hot, but you risk the threat of public indecency. And even if you can strip right off, what happens if you’re still too hot? You can’t take your skin off. If you’re cold in the winter, you can warm up by sticking on the heating or a sassy Christmas jumper. Or, rather brilliantly, our bodies will warm themselves up after a brisk walk through the town centre or at the seafront (the only time I will ever endorse any kind of physical activity).

The cold makes us all equal: absolutely nobody on the planet looks hot in Ugg boots. Sure, you may have amazingly toned abs, but jumpers make you look cuddly rather than chiselled. If you went out in the summer in paisley or candy stripes or with trees and deer and bobbles and glitter woven into your clothes, frankly people would faint from shock. In Winter, nobody looks twice. Unless you’re wearing a dinosaur-themed Christmas jumper, then they look because you’re AWESOME (Santa please take note).


I hate, hate, hate adverts, and I think it started when hubby and I got a TiVo. It meant I could fast forward through the fat opera-singing idiots and talking meerkats to get back to my choice of programme. Adverts wind me up so much, I believe that if I hadn't got a TiVo I would have put my foot through a lot of TV screens.

Christmas adverts, like the season itself, are basically amped-up versions of themselves, so by all means I should hate them. But sometimes, more often than not, there’s one or two miniature works of art garlanding the schedules. One year there was a memorable ad with a little boy waiting anxiously for Christmas Day to arrive, only to reveal he was urgent to give his parents the present he’d picked out for them. “Wait until you see it,” everyone had said to me, “You’ll cry.” Bah, yeah right, adverts make me dry-heave, not cry. But then it caught me by surprise during an airing of The Simpsons and I admit my heart grew a few times in size. Or maybe it was just indigestion.

Of course, there are the dreadful Christmas ads that blare annoying jingles and flash lights at you, but they are quickly forgotten. And if all else fails, you can make fun of the insultingly pretentious perfume ads. I've even made a fragrance ad bingo. Play along if you wish:

If the Brad Pitt advert comes on, drink until he shuts up.


I'm going to go a bit geeky on this one. Christmas just after new consoles are released must be like Christmas with a split-up family: each console releases flashier and fancier titles, hoping to win the love of its cosseted fans. It starts off in the summertime when the gaming expeditions start to premier their upcoming titles, and then launches into a frenzy in the Autumnal months with game after game hitting the shelves. There’s something for every gamer, whether it’s a big family play-fest guaranteed to get Grandma flinging the remote into the fish tank, the latest midnight release in a franchise, or that hot indie game that promised to “turn console gaming on its head”. Although games are now a lot more expensive, there is a much bigger range. Even if you’re a Grandparent who continuously buys an Xbox game for your Nintendo-mad Grandkids, you can now simply buy vouchers.

It’s similarly exciting for music fans. Artists start releasing ‘bonus editions’ of their albums: essentially the same one they released in January or February but with slightly different cover art and a few remixes or the latest single tacked on for good measure. Frankly why you’d buy the same album twice is anyone’s guess, but it must work, otherwise why would they keep doing it?

I'm more than happy for Uncle Ninty and Auntie Microsoft to keep fighting, because that means I get more shiny new gifts to tempt and toy with my heartstrings every winter. And what’s better than getting gifts?


Oh yeah, you didn't think I’d let you get away without another dose of seasonal diabetes. It sure is nice to get shiny new things: there’s nothing like being handed a present covered in shiny paper for you to rip open and squeal over.

But then there’s also something so nice about giving. There’s something about going shopping with Mum and watching her finger something longingly, then sneaking back while she’s distracted and handing it to a winking shop assistant. Something magic about listening carefully to the little hints my Dad gives me and surprising him with something even he didn't know he wanted. Watching someone open a present they've probably already guessed you’re getting them; the glint of relief and gratitude in their eyes.

I groan when I hear Roy Wood belting that he wishes it could be Christmas every day, but then I kind of get his drift: if I could make my friends and loved ones as delighted without giving them something in a glittery bag, I’d be happy. So even though you don’t have to be happy or jolly or love everything about Christmas, be mindful of those around you and the things they give to you and what you might do for them in return.


“Is that good enough?” I asked, exhausted.

The ghost nodded. “Yeah, I think that’ll probably do. It’s not going to win you a Pulitzer, but it's fine.”

“So am I saved?”

“For now,” said the spirit, reaching for my decanter once more. I flung my remaining slipper and it passed through its stomach with a whoosh.

“What was that for?”

“You said you’d leave if I got all holly jolly,” I said, slinging my feet up onto the sofa. “Now beat it, before I call the Ghostbusters.”

The ghost smirked. “You’re still a hell of a Grinch,” it drawled, fading away. “But you’ve got good taste in whiskey.”

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Worst Days of Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! There’ll be screaming and yelling and everyone telling you “Fuck me, it’s November already?! Oh God, I haven’t done my card list, I’ve no clue what to get the in-laws, and is that bloody Pogues record on again? Give me strength.”

Well spotted: those aren't the correct lyrics, but they are an amalgam of what pretty much everyone I've spoken to recently has come out with. Christmas isn't one of those irritating jumpy holidays like Easter that falls on different dates every year, but it sure takes everyone by surprise. And it’s not always a pleasant surprise, much like your gift from the weirdo that drew your name in the office Secret Santa (“Aww, a comedy reindeer that poops chocolate-covered raisins? Lovely! I've always wanted to fake-eat faeces straight from a grinning cartoon animal’s bum-end!”) 

I've not been around forever but I like to think I've had a decent grab-bag of Christmases: good ones, naff ones, ones I’d rather forget, but by far the worst bit of Christmas is the run-up to the actual period. December 25th seems like a huge unconquerable beast leering at us from a distance, and you both know you’re going to have to fight it eventually. So what’s the worst bits of the Christmas lead-up? I've come up with a few of my own for you to enjoy; maybe while you’re writing out your Christmas card list because you just got your first one from a girl that wasn't in your department but you should probably send one back just to be polite and then you have to send one to the whole team or you look like a rude dick and then you AAAAAAAAARGH.


Every year it’s the same. The Pogues get voted “UK’s Favourite Christmas Song” once again, despite being more dysfunctional than the Osbournes, and the nation celebrates by playing it again and again and again. There are roughly twenty popular Christmas songs in heavy rotation, and you have to listen to them wherever you go. And God help you if you work in retail - you get sent a CD or tape from Head Office, and that tape goes live on Nov 1st and stays on, looping the same songs until Dec 25th. If you’re really unlucky that tape will contain less than an hour’s worth of songs, which means in the average working day you will hear the same set of songs nine or ten times!

You could argue that it’s not fair to single out Christmas songs for this behaviour. Most shops and radio stations normally play Hot 40 hits, so if you hate pop music while you shop, you’re screwed. But the problem with Christmas music is the greater lack of choice. Let me explain: think of twenty of this year’s biggest hits, right now. Now get your friend to do the same. I'm willing to bet that your lists differed quite a bit. Now both of you think of twenty Christmas songs: did you both get the same songs, more or less? Yeah you did, don’t even lie.

And the boring increases: top ten hits tend to be about love/sex or the absence of it, which is a hugely broad subject, whereas Christmas songs are And they tend to come in a very limited selection of flavours:

Not included: Songs with Winter/Christmas-Themed Music Videos, X Factor Winners, Novelty Bollocks, Religious Standards
Not included: Songs with Winter/Christmas-Themed Music Videos, X Factor Winners, Novelty Bollocks, Religious Standards

And just like a really exclusive club, the Christmas song clique is hard to break into, so anything new or not in those three popular categories doesn't tend to get any airplay. So it’s the same old same old, year in, year out. Hurrah!


Christmas time is family time, and no, I'm not talking about that when I mean ‘obligations’ - I genuinely find family time a great thing about Christmas and don’t feel pressured to be all up in my family’s grille as of midnight December 24th.

What I mean by ‘obligations’ is this: the little things that are forced upon us at Christmas time. Since when did it become a prerequisite that you have to be cheery at Christmas, because it’s Christmas? Bah humbug. And please don’t tell me that you’re the kind of person who pressures others into going to church. By all means go if you want to go, but don’t guilt-trip people into participating in something that is no more a tradition to them than stuffing pickled eggs up your arse is to you. Nowadays people have different ideas about what Christmas means, so have a little festive tolerance.


If you want to go out shopping in December for anything non-Christmas related: pint of milk, pair of knickers, AA batteries, you can forget it. As soon as Halloween has been cleared from the shelves, gift sets and novelty items rule, and people are flocking into town to grab what they can. I work in the town centre and quite often have to pop into town to grab supplies or lunch, and it suddenly becomes a blood sport. Kids run everywhere like shin-seeking missiles, harried men clutch fluffy slippers, mothers tear each other’s faces off over the last Moshi Monster on the shelf.

I suppose I should be thankful that I live in an age where there really is something for everyone. In fact, there’s more than just one option, which makes shopping for that awkward friend or relative a little easier. Plus, what with online shopping, I only have to brave the High Street when I've forgotten tags or run out of paper. And if you really can’t find something for everyone, there’s always...


The delightful aforementioned chocolate-shitting reindeer is a prime example of this. Seasonal crap, the likes of which you are going to wear/eat/display for approximately half a day before your tolerance wanes to nothing, festoon the shelves at Christmas like never before. I don’t mean useful things like Christmas lights; I mean 100% flimsy plastic, singing, jiggling or otherwise gimmicky rubbish that you would never in your right mind give to anyone, were you not still desperately shopping at 4:45 on Christmas Eve. I hate having to feign delight and enjoyment when I unwrap something like this (and thankfully all of my best beloveds are thoughtful, so I haven’t had to do this for years). But every year I see the shelves of Jingle Bell Rock-singing chipmunks and I feel sorry for all of the poor people who will be forced to coo “Aww, so it sings every time you come near it? That’s not going to get annoying at all!”


I am a terrible yo-yo dieter. Don’t get me wrong, I'm not one of those people that’s always on the South Beach this or the 5:2 that, I mean I am always losing six pounds and then gaining eight. I now know exactly what to do to stop putting the weight on: stop eating whatever I like and start doing a little more exercise.

Christmastime is not the friend of exercise. But it is the friend of sausages wrapped in bacon, and stews, and chocolates in the break room, and lush German biscuits and gingerbread and whiskey and custard. It’s everywhere! And it’s all massive, American-sized portions, drenched in butter and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon! And then there’s the excuse: “It’s Christmas!” What the Hell, everyone. Because nobody tucks into a whole cheesecake washed down with a pint of cream, saying, “It’s Vernal Equinox!”

Saying “We’re going to have a trim Christmas” is like the captain of the Titanic putting down his binoculars and saying “We’re miles away, it’s just going to graze us.”

Tune in next time, where Wibs is visited by a familiar Seasonal spirit...

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

2013 is the New 2012

Have you taken a look back over my New Year archives recently?

Although I try to actively encourage you to read my blog, I'm going to have to ask kindly that you don't have a look back at any entry dated around December 26th or so. Everyone has an old shame - mine are my three-tone pink poncho, my dating history from age 18-21, and these old New Year blogs.

I'm not saying I was wrong to post them, and in fact I didn't always have the nicest start to quite a few new years. But now, with my impending wedding, my improving health and a job I love, it's a lot easier to see in the New Year.

With that in mind, I thought about resolutions. The end of December becomes a bit like a weird game of musical chairs; each chair is etched with hopeful slogans such as "Lose Weight" or "Quit Smoking" and when the music stops at midnight on the 31st everyone rushes for their pre-picked chair.

Like the desperate rush for the last seat, maybe we are treating our resolutions as a mad dash to an achievement. All of my resolutions fizzled out by roughly January 15th - when I failed to keep them in the first week, I pretended that I was 'against' resolutions anyway, or I sulked and gave up. Not the best start to any year.

With this in mind, I decided to look through my greatest hits of resolutions past, and have a re-shuffle. Who knows, it may help. Maybe it'll help one of my readers too.

"I Must Lose Weight"
Replace with: "Get Body Comfortable"

Pressure is never comfortable, and pressure to lose weight isn't going to produce a lasting result. It may be the catalyst for a drastic change, but if we rely only on stress as a motivation, it will disappear as soon as your target is reached and will only return when you put weight on again.
Think about who or what is pressuring you to lose weight. Is it a person - your friends, your partner, a doctor? Is it coming from a good place ("I'm worried about your health") or a controlling place? Sadly, I can't tell you how to deal with negative peer pressure simply because everyone's situation is different.
Do you have a wardrobe full of clothes you can't quite fit, or an event coming up that you want to look and feel confident at? Whatever your destination is, aim to be "comfortable", not "three stone lighter" or other such high-pressure goals. "Comfortable" might be 7lbs, a stone, a dress size. It's up to you to find that out.

"I Must Stop Smoking/Drinking/Spending"
Replace with "What Could Help Me Quit?"

As a fervent non-smoker, I don't know many of the reasons why people smoke - I understand it can be a social thing, or a habit, or a means of appetite suppressant.
I do know a lot of people who have quit, or are looking to quit. The first step that all of my successfully smoke-free friends took was to seek information. Do you think you'll miss the social aspects, or the ritual of lighting up? Maybe e-cigarettes are your thing. Even if you just visit a help site or speak to a friend who faced a similar struggle, you've already achieved your resolution.

"I Will Try Something New" aka. The Bucket List
Replace with "Figure Out What I Want To Achieve"

'Bucket Lists' make people feel different things: personally I find them a little bit tricky. I'd feel bad if my list ended up 'unfinished'.
Long-term goals are fine, but nobody knows what could happen. Swapping a list of ten things out for a shorter, one-item-at-a-time goal system might work better - for example, if you want to go travelling, break that down into smaller items such as 'head to the travel agents on my day off' or 'use ten minutes of my lunch learning a new phrase in a new language'.
If you want to do a Bucket List, my advice would be to keep it down to 10-15 items and leave it open-ended. This takes off the time pressure aspect which will stop you blaming yourself when life gets in the way.

Resolutions in General

If you've had a bad year, the easiest thing to do is look back over the gone months, picking out the worst things that happened and basing your resolutions around prevention methods - that's what I've done, and it's made me less happy come end of January. It's where all the negative words like "Stop" and "Quit" and "Don't" come from: closed-end words with no room for wiggle or evolution when your situation changes. What happens you vow to lose weight, and then you start a new job that takes up a lot of time and energy? If your resolution is 'Lose Weight' and you stay the same throughout January, you're going to see it as a failure.

Whatever your resolution is, make sure to steer clear of these words: "stop", "don't", "avoid", "quit", "give up". Instead, rework your resolutions so they contain more positive notions. If something seems like a mammoth task, chop it up into more bite-sized portions - break it down into stages and give yourself a proportionate amount of time to complete each task. For example, if you're dying to write a novel, make your first goal something like "Plan my Novel" or even "Search the internet for planning ideas".

When You Fail Your Resolution

Firstly, did you fail to keep your resolution,  or was your resolution inpossibly hard to keep? Re-evaluate your goal over time and figure out whether you can start right over from scratch or if you need another couple of days/weeks/months. You needn't be ashamed of your efforts.

And finally, have a happy new year. Do something that makes you glad - January can be a long month!

(As a side note, I'd like to say that one of my resolutions is to tweak this blog until I am happy with it. Changes will be occurring over the next month,  and as always, LADYBLOG appreciates your feedback.)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I'm An Animal, Get Me Out of Here

        “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

        Gandhi’s words imply, then, that Britain is not particularly great or noble, because we as a nation are more than happy to poke, prod, annoy and distress our merry way through the animal kingdom.

        For many people, the start of ITV’s stalwart reality show I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here is a depressing time, with animal rights champions such as Chris Packham of BBC’s Autumnwatch and charities such as RSPCA repeatedly criticising the show. OFCOM received massive numbers of complaints in 2009 when camp mates caught and killed a supposedly wild rat - so why can’t they treat all of the animals with the same respect?

        I’d like to clear two things up. Firstly, I consider myself to be an Animal Activist. I’m reclaiming that word as of now, and re-defining it to mean “a person whose chief concern is the welfare of ALL animals, domestic and otherwise, in ANY situation.”

        Secondly, without naming names, not all charities are as morally upstanding as they seem. In my opinion, any charity that uses scare-mongering to brainwash children,  chases down high-profile names such as Game Freak or Ben and Jerry’s ice cream with ludicrous, headline-grabbing stunts and ignores the real plight of animals, even to the point of neglecting or even culling animals in their own care, is NOT for animals. I am sure that there are people affiliated with these companies that feel the way that I and many others do about animal welfare, but unfortunately they appear not to be in charge.

        So tell me this: if it’s not acceptable to catch and kill a live animal on TV, why is it acceptable to force a young woman into a room with a live ostrich, especially when you consider that ostriches are classed as a ‘dangerous animal’ here in the UK? In other ‘Bushtucker Trials’, spiders and snakes have their fangs removed and alligators have their mouths bound (don’t even get me started on that) but there was no way to ‘weaken’ the ostrich - bind its legs together, perhaps? Then we’d have had trouble. If an animal is not safe to be near a human, don't place it in a bloody great box on top of their head.

        In other trials, contestants thrust their hands into covered boxes to retrieve small star tokens that guarantee them and their camp mates luxury food items, but are also filled with various lizards, snakes, spiders, scorpions and certain other animals that would make the average viewer cringe. I’m told that these animals are very well taken care of during the time that they are not in the boxes. Emphasis on the last part of my sentence there. So because the handlers take care of them during the many hours they are not in the box, it's OK to have someone grab at them? You cannot sit a lizard down and explain it's all for entertainment purposes and they won't be hurt - the majority of them will be terrified when a groping hand comes into their enclosure suddenly. Is it really acceptable to stress them out for twenty minutes if we treat them with respect for the rest of the time?

        I know people don’t really care as much about non-domestic animals, and it’s not everyone’s fault. We’ve been conditioned to think that puppies are adorable and spiders should be killed on sight. But is that really the way a person or in this case a TV programme that claims to have ‘all animals’ in mind should behave? You can’t claim to be kind to all creatures if you overlook the vast majority of them. It’s like that famous saying that begins with “I’m not racist, but...”*

        There are plenty of other tasks that the camp can do that don’t involve animal cruelty - they’re in Australia, for crying out loud. Get them cooking an authentic Aussie dish, or working together to create some Aborigine art, or crossing a stream without getting wet. But then it wouldn’t be sensationalism, would it? And sensationalism apparently makes good TV. What a shame that we’ve regressed back to nothing more than bear-baiting.

        They say every dog has its day, and I think that I’m a Celeb’s day has definitely long gone. I really hope that next year, ITV will come up with a new format...but I don't hold out much hope.

*I would like to explain - I am likening the idiotic attitude of believing that you can deem yourself ‘100% not racist’ and then follow that up with a racist comment to claiming to care for all animals when in fact you only care for one or two. If you think I am implying anything else by that statement, think again RIGHT NOW.

^ "Chris Packham Attacks 'I'm a Celebrity's' "disrespect" of Animals", The Mirror Online, 22 Nov 2012. Retrieved 25 Nov 2012