Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Men's Shaving Products: A Comparison Review

I recently reviewed some of Liz Earle for Men's products including their shaving cream. A friend saw my review and asked me to try out Elemis' shaving foam. My housemate and I decided to compare them both with Rock Face's shaving gel, a product we discovered on offer in our local Waitrose last year and to which we were quickly converted due to the really smooth shaves we both obtained.

So here are the three products:

© Liz Earle Sensitive Shave Cream 100 ml @ £11.50

© Rock Face Shave Gel 200ml @ £3.95

© Elemis Ice Cool Foaming Shave Gel 200ml @ £21.00

I tried the Elemis product on two days' worth of growth. I'm afraid to say I did not get as close a shave as with either the Rock Face or the Liz Earle, with patches of stubble remaining on my face despite a fresh blade in my razor. This was most likely due to the blades clogging. (I used to find this a major issue with Body Shop's shaving cream, which was so bad that I had to swap blades after every single shave.) My housemate and I use different razors and both encountered the same issue. Additionally my skin was dried out, as the foam did not seem to moisturise or at least do so effectively. One needs to take into account that we reside in an area supplied with very soft water, so I would anticipate even worse dryness in hard-water areas. There was however no razor-burn effect for either of us.

As well as testing after two days growth, my housemate also tried the Elemis product after one day's growth. He determined that this shave was much closer and smoother. This seems to suggest that as long as one does not have much stubble, the result is as good as with Rock Face's product. However, the latter shaving product in such circumstances represents better value for money, costing slightly less than one fifth of the Elemis gel.

We both consider that the Elemis product is no better than other popular shaving products we have sampled, for example from Gillette.

Recommendations - best buy: unless we discover a fresh product that surpasses it, the Liz Earle shaving cream is, as my housemate phrased it, a "quantum leap ahead" of other products. We are sticking with the Liz Earle. Our runner-up and recommendation as best budget buy is Rock Face's product.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Food-Banks: Shaming Our Nation

[Image description: ten bags of groceries]

A couple of weeks back I signed "Parliament: Debate UK hunger and rise in foodbank use" known as Jack's Petition (#jackspetition) after its creator Jack Monroe. The tally as I write stands at 142,688.

An hour ago I received the following email:
Today's the day!After 142,000 people signed our petition (142,000!) -- Parliament will debate why so many people in the UK are hungry and relying on foodbanks to feed their families this Christmas.
This debate is long overdue and it has been our sheer force of numbers that has made it happen, so thank you.
Hundreds of you have contacted your MPs to make sure they show up and stand up for hungry people in their constituencies -- people in work, out of work, living on their own, with children, without children, all struggling to put food on the table. I'll be in Parliament today to report back on which MPs turn up.
This debate is about finding out why so many people are hungry in one of the richest countries in the world. It is just the first step to tackling the issue but it is crucial. We need to understand the causes of hunger before we can address them.
Let's make sure everyone knows this debate is happening. Please send a tweet today using #foodbanks and #jackspetition. Tell people the reason you signed this petition. If you need inspiration of what to tweet, here are 20 facts about foodbanks in the UK. Pick one to tweet (or tweet all 20!):
Thank you for all you have done so far.
Jack Monroe
@MsJackMonroeP.S. If you are not on Twitter share these 20 facts about foodbanks with your friends on email and ask them to sign the petition at 

The notification arrived whilst I was out and about in my mobility-scooter. Co-incidently this morning is the only day my local food-bank, St Alban's Parish of Broadheath, Altrincham whose logo appears below, is open for receiving donations, so I was delivering my annual Christmas food package. I could not sit down in all good conscience to a gargantuan feast knowing others were hungry. By feeding others my scruples will not trouble me over Yuletide.

The helpers very kindly made me a cuppa as there is a biting Easterly blowing outside. Whilst sipping my tea and the volunteers awaited clients, we chatted about the current state of affairs in the country. The ladies recalled WWII and said they had known nothing like this back then in our wealthy area. Now there are four food-banks in our locality. Underneath the exterior of Haves are very many Have-Nots. One OAP volunteer spoke of her shock at encountering such poverty, the worst she had seen in her considerable life-span.

Last week it was in the news that more than a million pensioners are in food-poverty. In previous weeks we have heard of millions of children going hungry and many now being fed by teachers out of their own pockets. Today in the news are the details of the human rights breaches of the homeless including access to food. The United Kingdom is a full signatory to the United Nations various conventions. According to today's Guardian the ConDem co-alition has turned down emergency food aid from Europe. The Conservative Party of the last few decades has proven itself to be unconcerned and completely dégagé in its responses towards poverty. The Liberal Democrats used to boast about their social justice credentials. Well that halo has slipped, tarnished and rusted away. Alas for once great Britain, the other two main parties, Labour and UKIP are as doggedly neo-liberal and corporatist. So no change in the future however anyone decides to vote.

To paraphrase the Bard, something is distinctly rotten in the state of England!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Liz Earle Mens' Skincare Range (Part 1)

Recently I was chatting on facebook with several other folk and we all admitted to having issues with personal hygiene products causing us rashes and/or itchiness. A discussion ensued about products to avoid and ones to try. Even some certified 'organic' products still contain nasties such as SLS, sodium lauryl sulphate (sulfate). Two brands were mentioned as being beneficial, one of which was Liz Earle. I facetiously enquired whether the products were unisex or whether I had to embarrass myself and purchase wimmin's toiletries. Thankfully it transpired that there is in actuality a men's range. A weekend or so ago I was given a gift of a Men's everyday skincare set selection of the male products to try out.

[Image description: men's everyday skincare set; courtesy & © Liz Earle]

I have eczema in my ears and can develop patches on my feet, hands, knees and especially around my eyes. I am skin-sensitive to feathers and some wools. Hay-fever is another ailment from which I suffer. Some food-sensitivities and one full-blown food allergy also cause me hassle.

It should be made quite clear that neither have I received nor do I expect any kind of remuneration nor benefit-in-kind for this review.

My day-by-day account of the try-outs follows.

Day 0

Other than deodorant, I used no other personal hygiene product.

Several hours after my shower I experienced typical levels of rashes and concomitant itchiness.

Day 1

Utilising the face & body wash, I showered my body and hair, but used no other products.

Several hours later I experienced the worst itching sensation of my adult life. The irritation was so intense that it became painful especially around my lumber and coccyx.

Day 2

I again showered my hair and body using the relevant product, but again used no shampoo nor conditioner.

Several hours later I succumbed to my habitual skin rashes at typical levels.

Day 3

I ran the bath with no oils, bubbles or salts: just clean hot water.

As I intended to try the shaving cream and face-scrub, I opted not to wash by body or hair in anything other than the water with a clean face-cloth.

I had not shaved for a week, so before stepping into the tub, I trimmed the lengthy hairs with an electronic hair-trimmer, but not too close. The tiniest amount of the shaving cream with a little hot water lathered up to a surprisingly light creamy foam. (It should be noted that I reside in area that receives very soft water.) The razor simply slid over my skin. No clagging of the blades. No cuts. And no bleeding. As soon as I rinsed my face, I could not only sense but quite literally feel the difference. My skin was smooth and not a hint of razor-burn.

Next I applied the face-scrub all over my face, throat and neck but avoiding the eye area. Whilst the pumice gives the texture a grittiness the emollient was still creamy. After gently massaging my skin I rinsed off the detritus. My skin had a very soft warm glow and had retained its newly released softness.

After towelling off, I then applied the post-shave moisturiser. Normally after shaving at this time of the year (late Autumn cum Winter) my skin dries out rapidly and appears unsightly as if it has a dandruff problem. This time my skin found itself in better shape than before shaving.

Several hours later I experienced my normal skin rashes at usual levels. Additionally my face - especially my forehead, cheeks and around my mouth - was irritated more than I am used to.

Day 4

Another shower cleaning my body and hair with the face & body wash, but again used no shampoo nor conditioner. After drying I did also apply deodorant.

Several hours later I succumbed to my habitual skin rashes at typical levels, though my thighs, forehead and cheeks were itchier than normal.

Day 5

I used no products at all: just water.

I experienced typical levels of rashes and itchiness, with just my face itchier than usual.

Day 6

In the morning I showered using the face & body wash. Despite having access to some of the softest water in the UK, I noted that the liquid does not lather up especially well. It makes me wonder how well or not it does so in hard-water areas of the country. The aroma is pleasantly and subtly masculine: although, to my admittedly less than perfect olfactory senses, it does have a vague hint of cannabis. Whilst washing I did not feel the product was cleansing me; after I had towelled myself dry, however, my skin felt soft and glowy. Furthermore, whilst not specifically formulated for hair, my coiff also felt silky to the touch.

In the early evening I repeated the regimen from Day 3.

Several hours later I had not experienced anything other than my normal skin rashes at usual levels.

Day 7

A repeat of Day 5's regimen, i.e. just hot water.

I experienced usual levels of rashes and itchiness and nothing more.

Day 8

I again showered using the face & body wash. Also again I noted the lack of foaming. I decided on a second wash. During the follow-up the liquid lathered up much better. Furthermore my skin was quite literally squeaky-clean. Whilst not specifically meant for hair, my hair was left feeling soft and silky, an effect that had not completely worn off by next morning.

I experienced less than typical levels of rashes and itchiness.

Day 9

Today I felt happy enough with the product to try consecutive days of using it. Once again I showered, although found on a first wash the liquid lathered up quite well - which rather suggests my skin's dirt and oils were adversely affecting it. Again my hair felt light & smooth to the touch.

I experienced typical levels of rashes and itchiness.

Day 10

Using the same amount of face & body wash I would have used in the shower, I ran the liquid under the tap for a bathe. I did not use any other product on my hair, but found my hair still soften by repeated immersion in the scented waters.

A few hours later I experienced my usual levels of rashes and itchiness.

Day 11

As I had no unexpected re-actions, I decided on a third consecutive day of using the face & body wash in the shower. Again I noted that it foamed up really well (although not as much as some products). My hide was left with a smooth texture and felt clean and cleansed.

A few hours later I experienced normal levels of rashes and itchiness.

Day 12

As in day 6, I repeated day 3's regimen. My skin felt more supple than ever and softer too. In fact, my skin has begun to retain that feel of softness and smoothness.

A few hours later I experienced less than normal levels of rashes and itchiness.

Day 13

I washed in hot water and then moisturised using the Liz Earle men's moisturiser. I then went off to Manchester's Christmas markets, going constantly into warmth and then back out into cold. My skin did not dry out, let alone crack whatsoever. My skin began to produce more oils but did not become greasy.

Additionally my house-mate tried the shaving foam plus the moisturiser. He too considers that it permits the smoothest shave he has ever known. Additionally, he used the moisturiser. Despite having much oilier skin than my own, his also did not turn greasy nor did it dry out. We both commented on how clean our respective skins felt after applying a layer of the moisturiser - no greasiness whatsoever.

A few hours later I experienced less than typical levels of rashes and itchiness.


The shaving-cream is the best I and my house-mate have ever tried. It does not clog up the blades of one's razor. A small amount is all that is needed for a single shave. It permits such a close shave, that a second round is not necessary.

The face & body wash has a subtle manly aroma, but more importantly cleanses without drying out the skin. Whilst not a shampoo, it leaves hair glossy, soft and silken to the touch.

The face-scrub is much less harsh than many and genuinely leaves one's hide with a sense of having been deep-cleansed and awakened.

The men's moisturiser is a must: a quantum degree better than products one can purchase on the high street or supermarket.

From a personal perspective, my skin issues were not aggravated by these products, save for initial usage. Ongoing use has actually seen my skin calm down.


[In part 2, I shall be using and reviewing Liz Earle for Men Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser]

We Didn't See Red!: Review

We selected the Chinese restaurant, Red Diner, from a plethora in Newcastle-upon-Tyne's Chinatown on the basis of it looking clean & presentable. We felt justified in our choice when a party of more than a dozen Chinamen arrived and settled down to dine.

[Image description: inside the restaurant; courtesy & © Red Diner]

I chose a starter of dumpling soup (comically misspelled "Dumping Soup") followed by monkfish & bean-curd with boiled rice. Additionally, I partook of duck pancakes. The duck was not at all greasy as it can be in some restaurants, but contrariwise it was a tad on the dry side. Our ten-year-old guest was quite correct when he suggested it needed "more sauce"! Everyone loved the pork-meat dumplings though and they were quickly demolished. The soup was little more than a weak broth, inoffensive but unremarkable. My main on the other hand was tasty with rhomboid slices of ginger and an unobtrusive chilli spiciness.

At the end of the meal we were all quite sated with not one of us having space to pack in a dessert.

All in all: soup for four; pancakes for four; five mains; three beers; and, five soft drinks. The bill was £85. At £17 per head for two courses plus drinks, this did not work out too badly.

Recommendation: we shall return for a second try!

Humber Royal Hotel & Brasserie, Grimsby: Review

My ex-partner and I have several friends in Grimbsy and environs. We used to stay in national chains, but found them to be extremely noisy. A few years back via we discovered the Humber Royal in Great Coates, a suburb now of Greater Grimsby, and have stayed there four or five times.


From Little Coates Road, the edifice resembles a 1960's telephone exchange. Do not be put off! Inside is a fresh, designer, Scandic interior. There is disabled parking outside the main entrance; although this is generally quickly taken, there are plenty of nearby spaces. There is a separate flat-entry entrance for those in wheelchairs or who have difficulty with steps. There is a lift (elevator) which reaches all floors of the hotel. However most folk seem to take the stairs as the lift does seem to take a long time from being called to opening its doors for entry.

We normally arrive after dark and are warmly welcomed by the ever amiable Kim, but arriving in daylight we met the other friendly receptionist. We quickly fulfilled the bureaucratic requirements and headed off to our room. Unfortunately someone had had a secret smoke and the air smelled stale. There was no issue with swapping accommodation and, whilst we waited for our beds to be made up, were given a complimentary and delicious coffee.

Settling into the room after unpacking, we lay on our respective beds: I caught up with updates on social media; my assistant viewed the news updates. Whilst the wifi at times streamed much faster than in my home, at other times it completely stalled and one had to switch to one of the other of the hotel's three links.

We quickly determined that my assistant's over-bed light-switch was broken.

Our next unwelcome discovery was the shower that squealed in a high-pitched tone whenever switched on to any flow above trickle!

Nonetheless, what is most satisfactory about the rooms at Humber Royal are the panoramic windows that look out onto views of the neighbouring golf-course.

[image description: panorama from one of the windows]



My assistant went off to meet up with his friends for dinner; I had arranged for a couple of my friends to join me in the brasserie for dinner. Surprisingly for a Monday evening in a hotel restaurant every last table was taken during our meal and there was no special event or offer. Furthermore, not all diners were guests of the hotel. Non-guests in attendance does rather suggest the brasserie is a dining experience worth trying.

[image description: the Brasserie; courtesy & © Humber Royal]

Mains (Entrées)

My two fellow diners and myself decided we would forgo starters in order to have afters. My guests both ordered the haddock, coated in what was as light as a tempura yet was traditional batter, with chunky chips and very lightly minted peas. The plate of one guest was vacuum-cleaned; the other's only had the detritus of a substantial dish. I ordered sirloin steak @ £20.95 cooked 'bleu' and requested boiled potatoes instead of the chips that came with the meal. No problem. At the same time I ordered a green salad and made the waitress aware of my food allergies. My smallish steak whilst extremely tasty and succulent was served medium rare on one half and rare on the other: certainly not blue. Additionally, despite my drawing attention to issues, my plate was garnished with foodstuffs which could have had me in hospital. I was offered a free drink for the issues; but I said I would prefer that the chef was reminded to be more careful.


One of my guests selected strawberry cheesecake, the other chocolate torte. Both were well presented. Each was wolfed down! I should say that meant they were delicious. I ordered the cheese slate @ £7.95. I was served three small slices of cheese, three green grapes, four thin stalks of celery, one halved cherry tomato and three slices of stale fruit bread (no butter). The cheese was straight from the refrigerator (as was the bread) and so the flavours could not be fully savoured. It was the only dish I would say was truly poor value for money.


We started with aperitifs in the bar area: one cola; one surprisingly fruity Pinot Grigio; and one Tanqueray & cucumber were ordered from the affable barman. Eventually the order was changed to two wines as they had run out of gin (I don't count Gordon's as it is almost flavourless).

With the meal I requested a bottle of Ponte Prosecco (crisp & fruity with a hint of citrus), but was advised there probably was none left, although there were possibly small bottles available. These drinks took a good fifteen to twenty minutes to arrive with no explanation nor apology for the delay.

At the end of the meal my guests ordered coffee and I a glass of port to accompany my cheese course. Instead I was served a pot of tea and was made to feel it was my fault that there had been a mix-up.


Throughout the meal we were made to wait with no explanations nor apologies from any of the staff. At no point were we asked whether everything was okay or how we were enjoying our meal. However, I noted that others were asked.


Food & drink

The Humber Royal prides itself on sourcing locally, so nigh everything that can be sourced in Lincolnshire is so. I was able to have what I would have consumed chez moi: cereal, fruit and juice; this was eventually followed by coffee and my selection off the cooked breakfast menu - two rashers of perfectly cooked bacon and two spot-on poached eggs. To this point I had kept to my diet. Then I treated myself to a slice of white bread toast with butter and clear honey. Delish! The breakie cannot be faulted.


On the other hand the service was dilatory. The serving staff were more interested in catching up on their very audible gossip. So much so, they forgot to take our drinks and cooked breakfast orders, which on previous occasions had been taken as soon as we had settled down at table. The maître d' did apologise however.

Recommendation and (per a plaque outside the main entrance) some English tourism site both rate Humber Royal as four-star. Compared to Staybridge Suites Newcastle in which we stayed the previous night and also rated four-star there was a great difference, with only the latter seeming to me to be worth the 4*.

Nevertheless, if one finds oneself visiting Greater Grimsby, I do wholeheartedly recommend Humber Royal, if but for the vistas and the food. %)

Staybridge Suites, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Aparthotel)

I have friends in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Over the years I have tried various different hotels in and around the city. None have ever proven truly satisfactory, most usually due to lack of noise insulation. One hotel in Jesmond even refused (despite such being against the Law) to install a hand-rail up a flight of three steps, when I pointed out that this would be of assistance to some disabled and/or mobility-impaired folk.

On this occasion I used to search out accommodation that would cope with my disabilities and have somewhere for the car to be parked securely. A boon was that it also included (limited) free wifi in one's room, sufficient to check emails, social media and the news-feeds.

[Image description: the external façade; courtesy & © Staybridge Suites]

I selected an aparthotel named Staybridge Suites Newcastle. It consisted of: a fully equipped kitchen, including 'fridge-freezer, microwave, hob, extractor hood, dishwasher and all the accoutrements one might need for cooking up a tasty repast; a sitting-room area with sofa and two chairs, a flat-screen television-set and various pouffes; the bedroom had a second flat-screen TV plus one of the most comfortable beds I have ever had the delight in which to sleep; a bathroom with full-sized tub, pulsing shower, W.C., sink, etc. One even had access to a laundry room fitted with washing-machines.

Finding the hotel at night was our first difficulty. We found Buxton Street with no difficulty, but we could not spot the hotel amidst all the student accommodation blocks. The hotel had no lit sign, although one can spot it in daylight. We only had to go up and down the street twice. However apparently the arrival prior to myself had spent twenty minutes attempting to locate. Alas sat-navs only help one reach a post-code which can be a whole street, so they are generally no help.

Our next problem was entering the gated car-park. Well, it certainly reassured us that it was reasonably secure. The very affable Pratik apologised for the failing of the intercom and quickly helped us gain access and check in. He made us aware of The Pantry from whence one can obtain provisions and toiletries. He even advised us that my friends in Newkie were more than welcome to come and join us for a complimentary breakfast. One cannot get much more welcoming than that!

[Image description: the reception area with Pantry behind the check-in desk;
courtesy & © Staybridge Suites]

My room was on the ground floor which meant no need to use lifts (escalators) nor stairs. One of the two lifts was out of order, but actually had a notice on it which stated what the problem was, confirmed that the engineer had been summonsed and the time s/he was expected to arrive.

The apartment allocated was actually partially underground due to the edifice having been built into the slope. With drawn curtains this was irrelevant. However, one might feel a tad claustrophobic were one to stay for any length of time.

I and my assistant do not travel light. There was plenty of space for all our luggage, baggage and paraphernalia. Furthermore, our guests were able to spread out and relax whilst we sorted ourselves out.

After returning from dinner in Chinatown (see my review if Chinese food appeals), we were quickly to bed and snuggled down to an undisturbed and uninterrupted slumber.

In the morning we helped ourselves to breakie. There were choices of cereal; fruits; pastries; conserves; yoghourts; a whole plethora of coffees & teas; juices; and, heated foods. One would have to be extremely fussy not to find something one liked. Nothing was stale, dry or overcooked. Completely sated, after sampling a bit of just about everything, we did not require luncheon for that day, but waited until dinner to eat again.

On checking out, the lovely Natalie was able to send an electronic receipt so we did not have to mess around with paper as well as giving us the friendliest of salutations and a genuinely sincerely expressed hope that we would return. I shall of course be staying there again. Now I have found somewhere where I know I can get a good night's rest, I can stay longer in Newcastle. Looking forward to my next visit already. %)

Saturday, 7 December 2013


My blog has notched up its first visit from someone on Réunion. Frankly, I have to admit, whilst I had heard the name, I had no notion as to where the island is to be found. So as ever I had to look it up on Wikipedia. It is situated in the Indian Ocean, East of Madagascar.

[Image description: flag of Réunion; courtesy Wikipedia]

What is particularly interesting, is via colonialism Réunion is classed as an Outermost Region of the European Union and as such the currency is the Euro (€).

[Image description: map of Réunion; courtesy Wikipedia]

Thanks for visiting, whoever you were. And how exciting to continue discovering parts of Europe one knew nothing about!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

BBC's Irresponsible Article on Electric Blankets

[Image description: electric blanket & control; courtesy Wikipedia]

In an article, entitled Use electric blankets to keep warm, says Conservative peer, the BBC has recklessly publicised a peer's comments on using electric blankets without providing any alternative perspective and omitting to give any safety advice whatsoever. The article on this occasion also does not allow for comment so firefighters, HSE personnel or others with an interest in this tale cannot qualify the item nor add alternative perspectives. Note also that the Government (here referred to as Downing Street, the residence of the UK Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, head of the Treasury) also failed to add any further comment - including safety advice.

'The government should encourage people to use electric blankets as a "simple, practical" way to cut down on heating bills, a Conservative peer has argued.
Baroness Rawlings said this was also environmentally friendly as blankets required little electricity.
Her comments came after the government announced a deal to alleviate increases to energy bills.
'The answer'

In the House of Lords, Lady Rawlings, a former government whip, asked Lady Verma: "Have the government considered as a simple, practical measure encouraging people to use electric blankets?
"They are the answer to many of the government's aims. They are very green as they use little electricity and they reduce the need for so much heating in the home.

A Downing Street source said No 10 had nothing to add to Lady Verma's response.'

According to The Electric Blanket Institute (red text is my iteration):

Who Should NOT Use Electric Blankets?
Just as with any electrical appliance, things do occasionally go wrong with electric bedding. For example, a control may not work properly, a blanket may become bunched up which might cause an overheated condition or a heater wire might break. Therefore, it is foolish to allow infants or small children to use these products. Likewise for the same reasons, anyone who is helpless, paralyzed, insensitive to heat or incapable of understanding the control’s operation should never be allowed to use these appliances. Some elderly people with one or more of these conditions sometimes insist on having their electric blanket. Be strong and refuse them. Show “tough love” or you may regret it.

So basically, an organisation representing the interests of electric blanket manufactures/retailers does not think the elderly should necessarily use them, contrary to the peer's idiotic notion. In other words, the very folk the uninformed and frankly stupid Baroness suggests should use electric blankets are the very folk who should not.

Shame on the Baroness, the BBC and the UK Government for not highlighting the very real dangers to using electric blankets.

Please use electrical appliances with care dear reader! %)

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2013 (REVISED)

This is a revised version of the blog I published a week too early due to my dyscognition!

Today is International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December 2013. The theme for this year is “Break Barriers, Open Doors: for an inclusive society and development for all”

This is what the United Nations Enable site has to say:
"It’s time to effectively implement the Outcome Document of the High Level Meeting and to break barriers and open doors: to realize an inclusive society and development for all!
 The commemoration of this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities provides an opportunity to further raise awareness of disability and accessibility as a cross cutting development issue and further the global efforts to promote accessibility, remove all types of barriers, and to realize the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in society and shape the future of development for all!"

One might have thought that this would be an important and newsworthy event. Well if Google is anything to go by, it looks as if there has not been a single UK main-stream media news story about it in the last twenty-four hours. Though stories have appeared in inter alia Kuwait, Oman, India and New Zealand.

I have also ploughed through my feedly newsfeed for the past twenty-four hours. Not a hoot from the BBC nor ITN.

So maybe one might expect the UK Government's department, the Office for Disability Issues (ODI) [which incidently is run within the notorious DWP] specifically set up to look out for disabled people's interests to cover the day, even if it does not wish to celebrate disabled folk. Well, I first of all checked out their news page - [as at 10.42] it has not been updated since July 2013 - see the screen-shot below.

However, to give the ODI their due, I did find a link on their home-page. It reads:

21st International Day of Disabled People – 3 December 2013Every year the International Day of Disabled People is used to promote an understanding of disabled people and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being.The United Nations chooses a different theme for the Day and in 2013 it’s going to be: ‘Break barriers and open doors: to realise an inclusive society for all”.We know that the barriers that disabled people face can take a variety of forms. They might relate to the physical environment or to information and communications technology (ICT) which are not accessible. They could result from legislation or policy. Or they might be the result of attitudes in society, or discrimination.The International Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements of disabled people and their contribution to society. This year’s theme offers the opportunity to highlight barriers, and how they have been successfully challenged and overcome. This year on 3 December, ODI will be publishing the second edition of Aspire 2, the online magazine which aims to inspire young disabled people to get involved with disability issues. The magazine’s theme will be Attitudes and it will include articles by the Minister of State for Disabled People, Mike Penning;  Channel 4 presenter Alex Brooker; and Paralympian Louise Hunt.Find more information about the International Day including how the United Nations encourages it to be commemorated, and the themes adopted in previous years.We are encouraging disabled people and their organisations to celebrate the Day. We want to help share information about what is going on, and think how we can collectively make an even bigger splash next year.So if you are planning an event, you can let us know by emailing ODI head your email: International Day of Disabled People.

Interestingly, despite the glib spin, the ODI does not acknowledge its part nor it's parent department's huge influence in actually creating barriers to independent living. Nor do they confess to starving the disabled of funds to pay for the essentials of quotidian life: vital food, heating, medications, transport, education and jobs, due to the incompetence, negligence and in some cases deliberate actions inspired by their harmful ideological policies.

In the UK two hashtags are being used on Twitter. As far as I can tell the main ones are #IDPD and #IDPwD, but some are using #IDPD2013. The latter has a more international flavour.

I have been connected with the WoW Campaign for more than a year now. We are fighting for rights and in many cases the right to live. The WoWpetition has just nine days before it expires. It has already garned the 100,000 signatures needed to ensure the petition is considered for debate in the House of Commons (the elected part of the UK Parliament).

If you are a UK citizen resident at home or abroad, you are entitled to add your electronic monicker here:

Signing the petition might lead to governmental barriers to independent living being removed. Thanks. %)