3 articles Tag models

BrightMinds – Educational Gifts for Kids

Being a parent at Christmas can be a tough job. If Burrito Baby had her way, all of her gifts would be things that Husband and I consider cheap, plastic tat which will probably be chewed up by Maureen before New Year because it all gets left on the floor! Also, as you’ll know if you read this post, Sausage is getting  to that ‘hard to buy for’ age, which makes buying presents even tricker. We’ve always tried to find a balance between three things:

  1. Stuff they actually really want.
  2. Stuff which is good quality and will last longer than a few weeks.
  3. A combination of gifts which are fun but are also educational in some way.

Both of the girls are really fascinated by science. Just a few weeks ago, Sausage came home from school absolutely buzzing because she’d used a bunsen burner for the first time and she seems really engaged by things she’s learning in her lessons. BB isn’t quite at bunsen burner level yet, but she’s developing a deep love of all things science, mostly anatomy and nature.

A while ago, BrightMinds got in touch and asked if we’d like to pick some things from the website for the girls for Christmas, and I realised that it’s basically a whole site, dedicated to things my kids would LOVE! BrightMinds specialie in STEM toys (science, technology, engineering and maths), as well as wooden toys, role play & board games that are fun to use but also encourage learning and development.

BrightMinds - Learning Resources Anatomy Models: Set of heart, brain, body and skeleton

We opted for the Learning Resources Anatomy Models which consists of a set of heart, brain, body and skeleton models, giving children gain a deeper insight to the workings of the human body. Children learn as they build each of the models using the step by step photo illustrated assembly instructions. It’s a bit like a puzzle, but taking it to a whole new level!

I just know that both girls are going to love these and that it will hopefully help to continue to foster their love of science. At the moment, BB is adamant that she’s going to be a doctor AND a vet (hello, tuition fees!) and these models might be the thing that inspire her to make a choice. I haven’t opened the boxes yet, as I want to save them for Christmas, but you can see them through the window on the front and the quality and level of detail looks excellent.

I think these make such a great gift for the scientifically-minded kids in your life and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them. The best part is, you can still place an order all the way up to 23rd December for next day delivery, which mean you’ve got plenty of time to get some things ordered before Christmas. Don’t forget to take a look around the WHOLE Brightminds site for other STEM toys, arts and crafts kits, books and a whole load of other educational gifts which are so vibrant and fun, kids will forget they’re learning!

What Men Want – International Edition

I was looking at a website recently which makes magazines available for download, issues from far flung lands that you wouldn’t be able to buy on British shelves and a certain percentage of those magazines are what you’d call ‘Lad’s Mags’. Whilst I’m in full support of the ‘No More Page 3‘ campaign, as I feel that bare boobs have no place in a mainstream newspaper, my feeling is that there’s a time and a place for topless modelling and a magazine aimed at 16-35 year old men is definitely it.

But I digress.

As I was scrolling through the pages of the website, I noticed that there was a distinct difference in what is considered ‘beautiful’ in different parts of the world. It got me thinking about how perceptions change when you factor in cultural influence and how it affects people’s attitudes, especially towards women. I also wonder if culture has more to do with it in the respect of what passes for common decency and what people will display on their shelves.

England

What do you see when you look at these covers? BOOOOOBS!

There’s clearly a trend in the UK at the moment for large breasts, full, pouty lips, a shit-load of make-up and long locks cascading over shoulders. Meh, what’s new? But what I do find alarming (and call me a hairy-armpitted feminist if you like) is the fact that the woman on the cover of the Summer Special doesn’t even have a face. The message that sends to me is “It doesn’t matter what her face is like, as long as she has tits like over-inflated zeppelins”. In fact, it’s not even that it doesn’t matter if she has a face, it’s that she patently doesn’t NEED one (although they do let you see just enough to ascertain that she has massive lips).

India

Here, we see something completely different. Both women are more demurely covered and clearly have natural breasts and lips. They both look like normal-sized women and are wearing fairly minimalist make-up. The woman in the orange exudes strength and is wearing shorts rather than skimpy knickers, while the woman in white looks rather more innocent.

Far East 

The covers in this section come from Japan and the Philippines and show something else altogether. I ummed and ahhed about including Esquire as it’s a slightly different class of magazine, but it still features a woman on the front who’s an example of desirability. The FHM cover is not wholly dissimilar to an FHM cover that you’d see in the UK, except it features Asian woman. Now, (and excuse the sweeping generalisation here) Asian woman often have a smaller frame than us Western gals and in turn have smaller breasts, so it’s interesting to see that none of the women here appear to have breast augmentations, or if they do they’re extremely subtle and certainly not out of keeping with their actual frames.

Last year, The Guardian reported that in 2011, over 10,000 women went under the knife in the UK to have breast implants, and although Japan ranked 6th in the world for cosmetic proceedures, most of them are liposuction or non-surgical proceedures. It’s also worth noting that British women have the largest breasts in Europe a well as the highest obesity rate.

There seems to be an element of dehumanisation with the UK covers – the women have been chopped and augmented to fit a certain ideal and they’re held up as faceless objects, rather than people to be admired. Both magazines fixate on breasts, or breast size more accurately, leaving little wonder as to why so many young girls feel the need to have implants. If this is what they see on our shelves, touting itself as an authority on what young men find attractive, what chance to us girls have?

The Indian and Far Eastern covers aren’t afraid to show women as they are (although there’s obviously the obligatory airbrushing) and whilst I’m not saying that either place is without it’s issues when it comes to the treatment of women, I do wonder how much damage this obsession with ‘unnatural’ beauty is doing to us as a nation?

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. What do you see when you look at these photos?

Weight Loss, Body Shape, Blah, Blah, Blah…

It’s an age-old debate that’s probably gone back for longer than we can imagine; the back-and-forth that surrounds what is considered to be aesthetically pleasing in a woman. For most of my life, it’s been targeted at fashion magazines and the media in general for touting ‘as-skinny-as-possible’ as the ‘ideal’. I’ve seen many a story about how this designer or that designer is using walking skeletons in their runways shows and how we’re creating generations of kids who refuse to eat.

Just recently, I’ve noticed social media getting in on the act with several photos doing the rounds concerning body shape and body image. Here’s a couple of them:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The image on the left is being posted with captions like “I wish I lived in a time when this was attractive” and the photo on the right speaks for itself. Another example of this latest trend is the focus on actresses such as Christina Hendricks who, if you don’t already know, looks like this:

The lady in the top left and Christina Hendricks are both gorgeous, there’s no denying it. But, do people really think that this is in ANY WAY more achievable than the skinny girls at top right? Let me tell you this – it’s not. Both of these women are voluptuous but that’s not down to diet or exercise (okay, it might be a bit down to diet and exercise). What you’re seeing here is GENETICS. Do you know how rare it is to find a true hourglass figure? Christine Hendricks and the lady above are both blessed in that they both have an ample bosom and a round bottom. Neither carries any weight on their face and very little on their arms or mid-sections. Unless they both spend hours in the gym doing only arm exercises or sleep with a facial Slendertone on, it’s doubtful that they managed to do this on purpose. 

Now, let’s talk about the skinny girls. How about, they’re just naturally skinny? Granted, the one in the middle is very thin, but there are people in the world who just are, no matter how much we bitch and moan about it. The problem here isn’t the fact that some people are skinny and some people are curvy, it’s the pedestals they’re placed on. I read recently that Christina Hendricks is so fed up with interviewers asking her about her body, that she actually has her assistant pre-warn them that she won’t answer any questions on the subject.

I haven’t seen any magazine stands in the past few days but I’d bet my last tenner that every single one aimed at women has a headline featuring some sort of ‘New Year, New You’ ‘How to Lose 15lb in 10 days’ diet and exercise plan, and I bet they’re all coupled with a photo of a 21-year-old model who’s been in hair, make up and styling for hours then airbrushed to within an inch of her life.

I supposed I’m thinking about all of this because I do have a lot of changes to make in the New Year. I need to lose a considerable amount of weight and, most importantly, I need to get healthy. But, no matter how hard I try, I’m not going to look like a 50’s pin-up. I’m not going to look like Christina Hendricks and I’m definitely not going to look like a runway model. I’m hopefully going to look like a slimmer, healthier version of me, a 28-year-old woman whose belly has carried a baby, whose hips have been used for balancing a toddler on, whose arms have lugged a million loads of washing, whose face has the beginnings of laughter lines and who would be happy just to be able to play netball again.

I’m not aiming for magazine perfection – I’m just aiming for a better version of me and I think if everyone did that and ignored the so-called ‘ideals’ we’d all be a lot happier.