Feel Good Friday #9

When Glenn Buratti turned six earlier this month, his mum threw a party to celebrate, complete with birthday cake and bounce house, inviting the 16 children from Glenn's kindergarten class.

Not one guest showed up.

'From the minute he woke up that day he wanted to know how many minutes until his friends came. None of the kids’ parents RSVP’d, but I was still holding on to the hope that some of them would show up. It never crossed my mind that it would be zero', said Glenn's mum, Ashlee. 

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Annoyed and upset, Ashlee took to Facebook, writing on a locally run page with more than 10,000 followers: 'I know this might be something silly to rant about, but my heart is breaking for my son. We invited his whole class (16 kids) over for his 6th birthday party today. Not one kid came.'

She didn't need to be upset for long though, because, within minutes of reading her post, she started receiving messages from parents asking if they could bring their children over for the afternoon. In all, about 15 children and 25 adults showed up to Glenn's party. With epilepsy and a mild form of autism, Glenn is usually a little shy, but 'took to the group of new friends like he'd known them his whole life', said Ashlee.

And they weren't the only unexpected guests.


































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After reading Ashlee's post, local fire fighters and police officers started to show up at her house - with presents! As well as presents, the fire fighters gave Glenn a tour of their fire truck, and he got a shot of sitting on the town sheriff's motorbike. 

'I'm sure the neighbors were peeking out of their windows or taking cover', joked Glenn's dad, John, on Facebook.





























The sheriff's office even flew a helicopter low over Glenn's party so the pilot could wave at him.

This is pretty much the six year old party of dreams. Heck, I'm twenty five and I still think it would be pretty cool to get a tour of a fire truck (and not just because of the fire fighters). 

Well done, internet, you did good.


p.s. for all you eagle eyed folk out there, I realise I'm posting this week's Feel Good Friday on a Saturday, but I didn't find the time to post yesterday, and this story was just too lovely not to share!


























Seven things you didn't know about me



I consider myself a private person, which I realise might seem at odds with someone who has a blog and various social media accounts. I do try to strike a balance I'm comfortable with though - while I  might share snapshots of my life through Instagram or mention my boyfriend in a blog post, I doubt I'm ever going to lay bare my every fear, ambition or insecurity on the internet. While I might never be so open, I really admire bloggers who are brave enough to be: I understand why everyone wants to project the best version of themselves on the internet, but an intimate insight into the person behind the words and photographs is so much more interesting than the whitewashed veneer of "the perfect life of a blogger". 

I doubt I'll ever be brave enough to be so vulnerable on the internet (yet another reason why I can't even pretend I would have been sorted into Gryffindor) but I do want to get better at making my blog more personal. I love blogs for their writing, photographs and creative post ideas, but my favourites are those where I remember the person pressing publish as much as I remember the content. I know I'm not great at talking about myself on tartanmouth, so when the lovely Deimante nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to share a little bit more about me. 

Here are the One Lovely Blog Award rules:
  • Thank and link back to the person who nominated you;
  • Add the One Lovely Blog Award logo to your post or blog;
  • Share seven facts about yourself;
  • Nominate 15 bloggers you admire and inform nominees by commenting on their blog. 

So - to go against all of my natural instincts and talk about myself! - here are seven things you didn't know about me:
 

1. With a journalism degree and career in marketing, I hope one day to work in charity communications, but if I could have any job in the world I'd be an animator for Disney, or an illustrator for children's books.
2. I've been vegetarian for over ten years but I rarely talk about it because of how negative some people can be when they find out I don't eat meat. I would never tell someone what they should or shouldn't eat, but when you mention you're vegetarian you'd be surprised at how many people you know are suddenly fervent nutritionists! 
3. As of last summer I am officially a homeowner, but I still feel like the post is for my parents when it comes addressed 'To the homeowner'. 

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4. More than one 'Which celebrity do you look like?' app has said I look like Snoop Dogg. When I told my friend that, she looked at me, considered it for a minute, then said 'Well... actually... '.
5. I've been with my boyfriend, Sam, for more than five years, after meeting at university where we both studied English, Journalism and Creative Writing. He doesn't seem to mind my striking resemblance to Snoop Dogg.
6. I wrote my Honours dissertation on challenging rape myths. If you're at university and you want people to stop bugging you about your dissertation, mentioning rape will do it.

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7. I was born in Northern Ireland and moved to Scotland when I was a little girl. I'm regrettably the only person in my family without a Northern Irish accent, which I hate because I love them! Whenever I meet a Northern Irish person I could listen to them for hours - hearing an Northern Irish accent is like coming home.

The bloggers I would like to nominate are:

I hope that you enjoyed my seven little facts. If you write your own post, please send me the link - fact number eight is I'm really nosey and love reading about other people!





Feel Good Friday #8

Quarriers is a Scottish charity dedicated to providing practical support to vulnerable children, adults and families, including providing support to adults living with a learning or physical disability and young people facing homelessness.

Braehead Clan are a professional ice hockey team, playing in the top British league.

Can you guess what the connection is? 

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Every year Braehead Clan hold a Teddy Toss at one of their games - asking fans to donate a teddy (or two) which is new, with tags and placed in a carrier bag. When the team score their first goal, fans send their teddies soaring on to the ice, ready to be collected for their new homes. The team pick a charity which the players will visit themselves to hand out the donated teddies.

Quarriers were the chosen charity for last December's Teddy Toss and several members of the ice hockey team visited Quarriers' Family Centre in Ruchazie this week to visit the children - and hand out hundreds of teddy bears!

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Alice Drife, Chief Executive of Quarriers, said 'Quarriers is thrilled with Braehead Clan's generosity in donating both the teddies and the players' valuable time. The people we support at Quarriers' Family Resource Centre in Ruchazie had a wonderful day and are extremely grateful to the players.'

While I'm all in favour of charities going out and shaking a donations bucket, it's always lovely to hear about more creative ways to raise money and awareness for a good cause. It's also wonderful to read about a sports team devoting time to charity - I think there can sometimes be a perceived idea of the type of person who works or volunteers for charity (think frumpy cardigans or hemp sandals), so to have a cool (sorry!) ice hockey team front a charity appeal is a great stereotype smasher.

Happy birthday, Cinderella!

Happy birthday, Cinderella, released on this day in 1950.

To celebrate the release of this beautiful animated film (and my favourite Disney princess) I thought I would share a handful of facts you might not know about Disney's 12th animated feature film.

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American actress Dolores Frere, better known by her stage name Helene Stanley, was the live action reference model for Cinderella (and her ugly stepsister Anastasia!) in Cinderella, Aurora in Sleeping Beauty and Anita in 101 Dalmatians. This does help explain why so many of the classic female Disney characters are so similarly tall, slim and graceful. You can watch Helene in action as Aurora here

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Similarly, American character actress Verna Felton, who provided the voice for the Fairy Godmother, also voiced Mrs Jumbo in Dumbo, the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, Aunt Sarah in Lady and the Tramp and both Flora and the Queen in Sleeping Beauty. I love that she managed to voice sweet characters people love and horrid characters people detest - it's bizarre to realise Mrs Jumbo and the Queen of Hearts are voiced by the same person!

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In the Brother's Grimm version of the story, the stepsisters cut off part of their feet - one sister cuts off her big toe and the other cuts off her heel - to fit their feet inside Cinderella's tiny golden slipper. This is one part of an older version of the story I'm glad Disney didn't adapt!

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There was another song, called Dancing on a Cloud, which was cut from the final film. You can listen to it here

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Speaking of songs, Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo was actually released as a chart song around the same time. The most popular was by Perry Como and the Fontane Sisters, which reached number 14 on the Billboard chart in 1949. A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes was the flip side of the single.

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The moment when the Fairy Godmother transforms Cinderella's dress into a beautiful gown is said to be Walt Disney's favourite piece of animation. It was drawn by artist and animator Marc Davis - who also designed and animated Snow White, Bambi, Aurora, Maleficent and Cruella de Vil, to name a few!

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Cinderella was the first Disney princess to marry into the royal family instead of inheriting the throne, leading the way for princess like Tiana, Belle and, uh, Kate Middleton.

Do you have a soft spot for Cinderella too? I've love to hear some of your favourite moments in the film - and if you're excited about the new adaptation being released next month or not! 

Favourite on-screen love stories

Valentine's Day seems to have a bit of a bad rap these days. It's gone from being a mildly embarrassing but fairly inoffensive day in February to a date some people love to loathe. I don't particularly see the romance in the day - I agree that you should make the effort to make your loved ones feel special all year round and not just on this one Hallmark holiday - but I still can't help but look at Valentine's Day as a silly, pink splodge in the middle of a few grey months. I'm never going to be the type who spends a fortune on cuddly toys and steak dinners just because it's February 14th (and, er, because I'm vegetarian), but I couldn't resist a bit of a lovey-dovey post to celebrate all things pink and love heart shaped.






















'Thanks for the adventure - now go have a new one!'

I can't even think about Carl and Ellie without feeling like I've been punched in the stomach - every time I watch Up! I wish more than anything that they could have a baby and make it to Paradise Falls. These two are without a doubt my favourite Disney Pixar couple. I love the Adventure Club, I love their plans to travel, I love that they both work in a zoo. They're just the best. I think Carl and Ellie are so special because Disney Pixar have managed to create a 'normal' couple who so many people can relate to - there are no fairy godmothers and knights in shining armour in Up!, just two regular people, with dreams and disappointments, who love each other very much.

























'It was real, wasn't it? You and me. Such a long time ago, we were just a couple of kids. But we really loved each other, didn't we?'

I'd hate to be in a relationship where we argued even half as much as Noah and Allie, but I love the fire these two have in their bellies for each other. Yes, the arguments might be explosive, but you know the sex would be too ('You gotta be kiddin' me. All this time, that's what I've been missin'? Let's do it again'). I'm a sucker for their 'against all odds' romance (especially because it sticks two fingers right up at her snooty mum) and their 1940s style and mannerisms. I know it's shallow to like a couple more because of their clothes and hairstyles, but Rachel McAdams is vintage perfection in this film.




























'That's my girlfriend, you numpties!'

I still want to cheer every time I see Ron and Hermione finally kiss at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. These two are so frustrating to watch because they're obviously crazy about each other, but neither are brave enough to admit it. After years of reading the books (and then watching the films) there is an enormous amount of satisfaction when they finally admit their true feelings for each other. The chemistry between the characters is also wonderful to watch - every exchange, from every sarcastic dig right through to that kiss, seems so natural (unlike another Harry Potter couple I could mention...). 





'My prince, my soulmate, my friend.'

While I've spoken about being a cheerleader for Ross and Rachel before, if I could have a relationship like any of the characters in Friends, it would be, without a second's hesitation, Chandler and Monica. There are no big fights, break-ups or dramas, because they just seem to 'fit'. I think Chandler sums them up as a couple when he says 'No, it felt right. You know, it felt like... I can't believe we haven't been doing this the whole time.' Whether they're making fun of each other, making out with each other or proposing to each other (oh, that proposal scene!), their relationship is full of intimacy, friendship and romance. 












'And I'll know he's the one when he makes me laugh.' 

I can't talk about my favourite on-screen couples without mentioning the ultimate couple. Yes, I am a Disney fanatic and to me Mickey and Minnie are the ultimate couple: you simply can't have one without the other! With Mickey and Minnie there's that old fashioned romance I can't resist - you know Mickey would do anything for his best gal Minnie.

And I wanted to mention a few extra love stories, because love isn't only for couples:




'It's hard to find people who would love you no matter what. I was lucky enough to find three of them.'




'Baby mine, don't you cry. Baby mine, dry your eyes. Rest your head close to my heart.'

























'I love you, Bro Montana.'

Feel Good Friday #7

White House Kids Club is an organisation in Derby which provides a safe place for children to spend time after school and during the holidays. The organisation accepts children between the ages of two and fourteen and offers a wide range of equipment and activities to keep everyone happy. 

Millie Flewitt is an eleven year old who attends White House Kids Club and wanted to get the other children involved in raising money for the British Heart Foundation. Millie picked the charity because she has a younger cousin, five year old Taylor Tranter, who has Down's syndrome and suffers from a heart defect.

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Aware of the difficulties which Taylor faces, the other children were happy to help and each donated £1 to help Millie's fundraiser. Millie tucked the £40 raised inside a red box which was locked away inside the White House Kids Club - until the club was broken into last weekend.

The thief used a screwdriver to force access into the building and stole hundreds of pounds from the organisation, including Mille's donations for the British Heart Foundation. Sarah Flewitt, deputy manager of the White House Kids Club, said 'What they have done is absolutely terrible... Millie feels disheartened and feels she has let people down but she really hasn't. I've told her it's not her fault this has happened... The thieves would certainly know we're a children's club. There are signs at the front of the building and we have children's things inside.'

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So far, so sad.

But, after reading about the theft, local teacher, Jane Sherratt, decided she wanted to help put things right. This incredible woman has now stepped forward to donate £100 to help replace the money which was stolen. Jane said 'It's appalling that this girl has gone to all this trouble just to have it stolen. How anybody can break in to a children's club and then steal money as well - it just makes me cry.' 

As well as wanting to replace the donations for the charity, Jane wanted to help for Millie's sake, saying 'She's done something off her own bat and she really deserves the money back, and a little bit more as well.' While it's disgusting that the money was stolen, I really hope the thoughtful actions of a stranger have helped cheer Millie up - and taught her that, even though bad things do happen, there is a lot of kindness out there too.

Feel Good Friday #6

When a businessman from San Diego spotted a homeless man, Paul, reading the same book over and over he remembered that he had his Kindle in his bag and handed it over. The man travels to Las Vegas regularly for work and had spotted Paul reading the same worn book every time he passed. He asked Paul if he liked to read and he said 'he loved to but that he had been reading that one book over and over for a while now'. The San Diego businessman said he makes good money but has been at the bottom in the past and tries to help others when he can.

The Kindle is loaded with over 300 books including work by Ernest Hemmingway, Cormac McCarthy and James Joyce. Speaking to the press, the businessman, who has chosen to stay anonymous, said he gave Paul 'a charger... [and a] rundown of my favourite books on the device... He does have a place where he can charge it, which he won't need to do often as the Kindle's battery can last for a month or more. He was really excited about reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin - the series Games of Thrones is based on'.



The photograph of Paul was actually taken a few days after he was given the Kindle. The businessman said he gave it to him 'knowing he might sell it, which I wouldn't have blamed him for - people have to eat... but he wouldn't even look up when I or anyone else walked by unless I got his attention. It made me tear up after the first time I saw him using it the next day after giving it to him - I was so happy to see someone get so much out of something I really took for granted'. 

The businessman took the photograph but hasn't shared any other details about Paul so he can maintain some privacy - however, he did say that there are people out there who miss him and he's going back to where he's from in the summer. 

This story reminded me of the importance of small gestures. The businessman even said that he 'couldn't just go on having the Kindle in my bag knowing someone could get so much enjoyment out of something that, to me, costs so little'. While we can't all afford to hand out Kindles for free, it's wonderful to remember how much small gestures can make a difference. Whether it's donating money, possessions or time, we can all make a big difference by doing something very little.

9 things you didn't know about Harry Potter

Happy Harry Potter Book Night!

February 5th 2015 marks the very first Harry Potter Book Night, a special event organised by Bloomsbury to give readers the opportunity to celebrate the, ahem, magic of Harry Potter. Bloomsbury Children's Books is encouraging schools, bookshops, libraries and community groups to host special events to celebrate Harry Potter - you can even download a free Harry Potter Book Night Event Kit over on their website

In celebration of this, as Ron would say, bloody great idea, I thought I would share 9 things you might not know about the wonderful world of Harry Potter. This was tricky as so many of the bloggers I follow on Bloglovin and talk to on social media are enormous Harry Potter fans, but I hope I've managed to feature a few to surprise even the biggest Potterheads!























1. The Hogwarts school motto is 'Draco dormiens nunquan titillandus' which is Latin for 'Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon'.

2. J. K. Rowling was the first person to become a billionaire from writing novels.

3. When Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released in the UK, the publisher asked shops not to sell the book until after schools closed for the day to prevent truancy.

























4. Four baby girls in England and Wales were called Bellatrix in 2010 - and six more were given the name across 2012 - 2013!

5. The Harry Potter novels were the first children's books included on the New York Times bestseller list since Charlotte's Web in 1952.

6. Five million copies of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix sold within 24 hours of being released, climbing to nine million for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and eleven million for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Imagine writing a book so popular that it sold eleven million copies within 24 hours!

























7. The Malfoys' last name comes from the Latin 'maleficus', which means evil doing.

8. Ron originally swore a lot but Rowling's publisher cut this as they felt it was inappropriate for younger readers ('Follow the spiders? Follow the fucking spiders?!').

9. At least 13 colleges have taught Harry Potter themed courses, including Swarthmore (Battling Against Voldemort), Yale (Christian Theology and Harry Potter) and Oregon State (Finding Your Patronus).
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