Thursday, 28 May 2015

Giveaway: Jewelled Persian Rice with Pomegranates, Walnuts & Parsley


One day this week, I was stood, mother-hubbard-style, in my kitchen panicking about what to make for dinner when suddenly there was a knock at the door (this sounds totally made up, but is pitifully true. I am really that disorganised when it comes to the weekly shop). Lo and behold, the lovely people at Amira had sent me a box of goodies so I could try out one of their recipes. Pretty good timing, no?

They sent me all of the ingredients I would need to make their recipe jewelled persian rice with pomegranates, walnuts and parsley. Ebony is always a fan of rice dishes so I was keen to try this recipe out. Traditionally made with butter, I just substituted this for vitalite so that the dish was vegan.

It took over an hour to make, but was absolutely worth it. I wasn’t chained to the kitchen the whole time, in fact, for most of those hours things were soaking or gently cooking so I was working upstairs and intently listening for the timer to beep.

The rice dish features cranberries and pomegranates so I knew it would be a hit with Ebony. Amira speciality rice is apparently the choice of Michelin Star chefs, and I can see why. The finished dish was flavoursome, fruity and delicious. It felt like a wholesome and healthy meal, but was also really tasty. We had it on its own, but thought it would be a really nice rice dish to have at a barbecue. Ebony finished it off for dinner today and cleared her plate which is a pretty rare occurrance. I’ll definitely make this recipe again. You can find the recipe on Amira’s website here.


Amira are offering one of my readers the chance to win a jewelled persian rice with pomegranates, walnuts and parsley kit with all of the ingredients (except the butter and parsley) so you can try the recipe for yourself. Four runners up will each win a 1kg bag of Amira speciality rice. To enter, all you need to do is fill in the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway ThePrizeFinder - See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/jewelled-persian-rice-kit-amira#sthash.bdIWNGan.dpuf

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The Clore Art Studio at Manchester Art Gallery




When Ebony was a baby, we would quite often head into Manchester for the day. She would happily sit in the sling, and we’d wander around the shops, stopping off for food along the way. At that age, she wasn’t bothered about getting down and exploring herself, and seemed perfectly happy people watching from the safety of the sling. As she got a bit older, however, she wanted to explore at will. So we started looking for places to visit that would keep her entertained whilst also then letting me do a bit of shopping or meet friends for lunch.

Manchester city centre is quite big, so while there are lots of places for kids, they aren’t always that accessible. This was especially true when Ebony started wanting to walk everywhere, so we weren’t able to cover as much distance. A trip to MOSI or Manchester Museum would end up taking most of the day, and I wouldn’t get much chance to do anything I wanted to do. There is a park on Piccadilly Gardens now, but that wasn’t around back then, so I’d quite often be at a loss for where she could run freely without worrying about getting in the way.

As we were heading to 1847 for a meal one day, I noticed the art gallery just down the road. I decided to take Ebony in for a look around, and was immediately relieved to have found somewhere central that she could play. Manchester Art Gallery has a whole studio dedicated to kids where they can experiment, explore and let off steam. The activities in the Clore Art Studio change regularly, so it’s different every time we go. The first time we went, there was a corner of the room dedicated to white boxes of varying sizes. There were art materials out so children could draw on the boxes, and then the boxes were being stacked, and toppled over, by the children. Ebony was entertained for a whole hour, just building big towers and knocking them over.

Now, whenever we head into Manchester, that’s our go to place for somewhere to visit. A few weeks ago, we spent the day in Manchester with some friends and decided to pay a visit to the art gallery. This time the Clore Art Studio had been transformed by patterns. There was a huge sheet of paper in the middle of the floor, and plenty of pencil crayons and stencils for children to use. There are always volunteers helping out too which is great because it means you can find out more about the activities. One of the volunteers taught Ebony how to use stencils, so she had fun drawing shapes and colouring them in on the floor.

They also had a huge peg board and various plastic shapes of different colours so the children could make patterns of their own. Or, you know, take all the plastic shapes off and put them neatly away in the containers… Ahem. In the far corner, there were lots of brightly coloured blankets and cushions laid out on the floor. And, hidden amongst them were lots of musical instruments. Ebony and her friend Lily had fun playing the instruments, but also mostly just hoarding all of the instruments they could lay their hands on.

We’ve visited the art gallery quite a few times now and have never been disappointed. There are always lots of different activities, and something suitable for every age group. I would definitely recommend it as a place to visit if you’re looking for somewhere central to explore. It’s only a two minutes walk from Piccadilly Gardens so is really to get to, and the main exhibitions are also well worth a visit. I once took Ebony for an explore round the gallery and we spent some time looking at a photography exhibition about war. It led to a lot of awkward questions about what bombs, war, tanks and prosthetic legs were, but it was really interesting and I think Ebony really enjoyed  being able to explore the main gallery for a bit.

Manchester Art Gallery is located on Mosley Street in the city centre. You can find out more about The Clore Art Studio on the website. They have a few different activities on during half term, so it’s worth checking out their events calendar here.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

A Visit to Chorlton Vegan Fair





Living in Romiley, we don’t really encounter many vegans so Ebony was pretty excited at the prospect of attending a vegan fair with other vegan children. Chorlton vegan fair happens every year, though we’ve never made it down before so didn’t really know what to expect. We thought we’d get there early to miss the crowds, but there was a queue when we arrived. There were lots of other children waiting in the queue so I was pleased Ebony wasn’t going to be disappointed.

The vegan fair is held at a pub, but most of the stalls are in the garden out back. It was a lovely sunny day in Manchester, and just perfect for lounging around and eating vegan food. As soon as we walked in I spotted an ice cream stall, so took Ebony over to get an ice cream. She never seems bothered when her friends have ice creams and she can’t, but it’s always exciting when she can have an ice cream cone when we’re out and about. Probably for the best that can't have it all that often though considering the gross dribble running down her chin in the photo.

Once she had a sufficient amount of ice cream smeared across her face, we walked over to the grassy area to see some friends. There were lots of circus toys lying around, and loads of vegan children fighting over the favourites. Ebony had a go on a unicycle, stilts and some other things I don’t know the names of. It was nice to see so many other vegan families enjoying the day. I think living where we do, it can sometimes feel a bit like Ebony is the only vegan child in the world. She kept pointing to kids and asking me if they were vegan.

We had a quick look round the stalls, but didn’t manage to find any burgers which was what I was really looking for. I really loved the bug hotel on one of the stores, I’ve been planning to make one with Ebony over the summer but all of the ones I’d seen were huge. This one is much smaller and looked quite easy to make so I think we’ll give it a go when we have a bit more time.

Ebony had been looking forward to having vegan cake all week, so after the ice cream, she decided she wanted a cake for dessert. A few years ago it seemed like every other stall at Manchester vegan events were taken up by cupcakes, but this year there weren’t quite so many. She managed to find one on the V Revolution stall, and savoured it while we waited in line for Teatime Collective. I’ve heard wonderful things about Teatime Collective but haven’t ever managed to make it down there. Hulme is just so far away; so I was excited to try out some of their food. Ebony chose a ‘steak’ and onion pie which she wolfed down, though I’m not really sure how she could possibly still have had room in her tummy for more food. The scones looked amazing but, in the end, I went for a cream slice and it was amazing. So good, I’ve been fantasising about it ever since.

Before we left, I went to see my friends over on the Palestinian Animal League Solidarity stall. The UK based organisation supports the Palestinian Animal League which is the only locally-run animal protection group based in the occupied Palestinian territories. They are working on some really exciting projects over there, and it’s all pretty inspiring. If you want to find out more about the ground-breaking work they’re doing, check out their Facebook page.

After we’d eaten our fill and finally managed to coax Ebony down from the stilts, it was time to leave. I was going back to Burnley for a friend’s birthday dinner party and needed to get a move on. When I got back to Burnley, I discovered one of my friend’s had made creme brulees for everyone for dessert, and she’d even made me a vegan one! Isn’t that lovely? So, all in all, it was a pretty good day food wise.

The only downside to the day was that Ebony really enjoyed seeing so many other vegan kids. A couple of days later, we found out she’s got a place at the local nursery, and when I told her she said, “Yay! Will there be other vegan children there?” Erm… No.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Upcoming Children's Theatre in Manchester

The first show I took Ebony to see at the theatre was What The Ladybird Heard Live. It was three months before Ebony's birthday, and I was slightly worried that she might not sit still for the whole hour. There was no need to worry, because she was completely infatuated throughout. It was an amazing performance, and remains one of the best things we've seen simply because the set design was so clever. The absolute best thing we've seen was the ballet, nothing will ever compare to that because Ebony's reaction was one of amazement and wonder the whole way through. 

I really love taking Ebony to the theatre. Our theatre trips are definitely some of my favourite days. She always wants to wear her party shoes, and we always stop off for lunch on the way. She's always excited on the way there, and then talks me through exactly what happened on the tram home. It's one of the times that I truly feel we are just like Lorelei and Rory. There is no such thing as a bad mood on theatre day. 

That's probably at least one of the reasons why I spend a small fortune on theatre tickets. That and the fact that I might be not-so-subtly trying to push my love of theatre onto Ebony. I feel like since we only have a few months left together before Ebony will be in nursery five days a week, we should make the most of this time by having as much days out as possible. And that means my bank balance is taking a hit. Since promising that I wouldn't buy anymore theatre tickets, I've already booked a few more. There are just too many things to see. Here are just a few of the things we've booked tickets to see so far this year:



The Journey Home
This is such a beautiful children's book. I first read about it about a year ago, and then finally tracked it down in my local Waterstones. There are few things I love more than a children's book with a moral message, and this one focuses on conservation as the characters try to find somewhere to live. The gorgeous book has now been adapted into a puppet show by Little Angel Theatre and is now touring the country. We're seeing this on Friday in Chorlton and I'm really excited to see how they bring the sweet illustrations to life. You can see tour dates and book tickets for The Journey Home here. It's on at The Edge Theatre in Chorlton on 25 May, tickets are £6-8 and can be bought here



Stick Man 
The following week, we're off to see Stick Man Live on Stage at The Lowry. If you haven't read it, Stick Man is a children's book by Julia Donaldson, and it's one of our favourites. We gave it Ebony for her second birthday and it quickly became a firm favourite. I'm looking forward to seeing how they turned it into a show. Stick Man Live on Stage is on at The Lowry from the 26th until 31st May. Tickets cost £6-13.50 and can be ordered hereStick Man Live on Stage is currently touring the country, you can check our tour dates and book tickets here



First Steps: A Child's Swan Lake

I'd never seen the ballet before I took Ebony to see First Steps: A Child's Copellia earlier this year. The production was amazing, I was totally in awe, and Ebony was even more impressed. She loved every second of it. After the show, the audience were given the chance to go and visit the ballerinas and I cannot emphasise how much Ebony loved this. I have the most wonderful photo of Ebony giving the lead dancer an unexpected cuddle, you can see it on my review here. In September, Birmingham Royal Ballet are coming back to The Lowry and putting on a child's performance of Swan Lake. I booked tickets as soon as I found out, and Ebony is absolutely thrilled to be going to the ballet again. First Steps: A Child's Swan Lake is on at The Lowry on 25th September. Tickets are only £10 each, and you can book here.

Mr Popper's Penguins
I'm not familiar with the children's book this show is based on, but have booked tickets to see this musical in December. The show uses puppets which I thought Ebony would love, and it's by the same company who devised What The Ladybird Heard Live so I have high hopes. We're going to see it a few days before Christmas, and I think it's going to be an exciting start to Ebony's Christmas holidays. It's on at The Lowry for a month starting on 10th December. Tickets are £17 each and can be booked on The Lowry website.


Snow Child
This show is based on the book The Snow Child. I read the book a few months ago and it is just beautiful. If you haven't read it, you should. It's a lovely story about a couple who wish for a child and a snow child appears before their eyes. I'm really looking forward to seeing this adaptation, and have no idea how they will turn this tale into a children's book. I've booked us all tickets to see this on Christmas Eve, and can't imagine a better way to spend the day before Christmas. Snow Child is on at The Lowry from 22nd December until 3rd January. Tickets cost £7-£10 and can be bought here.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Read All About It: Racist Beliefs Held by School Pupils

We live in a society where it seems to be accepted that newspapers will hold far right views, print misinformation, and scapegoat minorities. This culture of newspapers talking absolute bollocks is contributing to the racism that exists within our society. When newspapers describe children dying at sea after fleeing danger in their home countries as ‘migrants’, is it any wonder people fail to feel empathy towards them? Newspapers don’t focus on the fact that the people on board those ships are men, women and children fleeing from danger and persecution, just that they are ‘migrants’. And we have people with a public platform describing migrants as ‘cockroaches’ in one of the country’s best-selling newspapers.

There is often a debate over whether the media simply represents the views of the people. If you look at the anti-Muslim stance held by many papers, does that stance represent the views of the majority, or does the paper’s language and narrative influence the views of the people? I think our press can be quite a dangerous thing, where misinformation and hate is spread for profit. Of course, not all newspapers are like that, though many of the popular ones seem to be. Attention grabbing though misleading headlines. Statistics and facts that seem to have no bearing in reality.

And yet, many people accept news to be true. If the tabloids say something often enough and loud enough, many people accept is as fact. And now matter how many times other people try to share the truth, this falls on deaf ears. And so, there are lots of people wandering around who have very horrible beliefs, and some of these people have children.

A study of almost 6,000 secondary school children found that many of them held racist and anti-immigration views. This included anti-Muslim views, a distorted view of how many immigrants currently live in the UK, and blaming immigrants for potential future problems finding jobs. How have we gotten to a stage that people in full time education are already blaming their future unemployment on immigrants?!

The study found that over half of the participants believed that asylum seekers and immigrants were stealing our jobs. Whether they got this idea from tabloid newspapers or their idiot parents, it is terrifying. These young people will be voting in just a few year’s time. It is pretty clear from the latest election results and the popularity of UKIP that our current voters aren’t much better, but these people are out of full time education and so it is perhaps less surprising that these people have heads filled with nonsense.

I think it’s terrifying that people still in school to have a crooked view of the world. I really hope that now that the survey results have been announced, schools take a more active role in educating their students on racism, the truth about immigration and the fact that we have a right wing press.

What action do you think schools should take to tackle this problem?


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This is my (very late) post for Read All About It. This is a fortnightly link up (yep, I’ve just changed it to fortnightly so I don’t have to keep being late because I can’t stick to my own schedule) for any bloggers who want to take part. All you have to do is write a post related to news or current affairs. It could be in relation to something you saw in your local paper, or a reaction to some national or international news. It can be funny, serious or inspiring - it’s totally up to you. Any and all posts related to recent news are welcome, I’d love to read your submissions. This link will be open for just under two weeks, and then I’ll post again. All linked up posts will be shared on social media. Link up below by grabbing the linky badge, and then entering your details below. Thank you!



Read All About It

Thursday, 14 May 2015

A (very late post about a) Vegan Easter Egg Hunt in the Garden





To describe myself as a little behind would be an understatement. Clearly, from the fact that I'm writing about Easter weekend in the middle of May, I'm doing so great at blogging at the moment. I'm always too tired by the end of the day to sit down and start typing, and when I have time to write in the day I really need to focus on work. And as a result, I haven't been blogging as much as I would like. I really need an extra day a week I think, or at least a few extra hours sleep so I'm not as exhausted by 7pm. 

These photos are very outdated now, but I wanted to share them anyway because this post has been sitting in drafts for well over a month. I apologise for Ebony's crazy bed hair in the top photo, this is pretty much what she looked like for about three whole months. She would look totally normal from the front, then as soon as left the house she'd run ahead of me and I'd realise I had forgotten to brush her hair. Again. Since this photo was taken, she has had her first haircut and we no longer deal with this crazy backcombed mess every morning. Thank goodness. 

Ebony had her first chocolate Easter Egg this year, her carob days are now well behind her. I went for this Choices egg, and I got one too. They were quite small which I definitely see as a good thing, I don't really see the attraction in pumping kids full of sugar and chocolate, it only makes them harder to look after. I also got some of the Divine fair trade dark chocolate little eggs so we could do an Easter Egg hunt in the garden. Mostly because I'd forgotten about the state of our garden at the time which was covered in piles of mud, random bricks and huge concrete slabs. When I walked out of the house on Easter morning to hide the eggs, I had a 'duh' moment where I realised our garden was really not a suitable venue for an egg hunt. We managed it though, just about, and Ebony enjoyed scrambling around the precarious piles of rubble to find the eggs. 

I only hid 10 of the Divine eggs, thinking that would be more than enough chocolate for one Easter. But she shared them fairly with me and Laurie so really ended up with three. I wasn't expecting her to share them, but was really touched that she did. We spent the weekend soaking up some  much-needed family time after my trip to Amsterdam. It's always lovely when Laurie has a little longer off work, the weekends go far too fast. 

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Read All About It: A Call For Electoral Reform



This post is late. I sat down on Sunday to write it but still felt so miserable about the election result that I couldn’t force myself to say anything useful. So here it is, a day late, and still pretty damn miserable.

On Thursday night, you could almost smell the hope in the air. People on Twitter were talking about what they were doing in 1997 when the news broke that Labour had won the election, and the Tories were at long last out of power. I was a bit young to remember the exact moment, but I can certainly recall the atmosphere of that time. My mum was actively involved in the Labour Party, and worked at the local MP’s office. When Labour won the election, my parents threw a big party to celebrate. I was in charge of the playlist, Spice Girls, obviously. I can remember how excited and happy everyone seemed. And I can remember feeling that myself, though I didn’t really know much about why I should dislike John Major, I can definitely remember feeling glad he was gone.

As I was reading the tweets, I could feel the excitement growing. I’m not a Labour Party member, I’m Green all the way. But I was happy with the thought of Ed leading a minority government with the help of the Greens and other parties. I definitely didn’t think the Tories would end up staying in number 10 for another five years.

And yet, at 10pm, that’s exactly what the exit polls predicted. I’m not exaggerating when I say I felt physically sick. The thought of another five years under the Tories, and without even the Lib Dems to prevent some of their more damaging manifesto pledges, is just awful. We stayed up for most of the night, watching depressing result after depressing result until it became clear that the exit polls were spot on. We would have a Conservative government. And all that comes with that - fox hunting, the privatisation of the NHS, even more welfare cuts, and tax cuts for the wealthy. Because, you know, it makes sense that the most vulnerable in society should be pay the price and help to keep the bank accounts of the wealthy looking good.

One of the most frustrating things about the election, was that I knew going in just how unfair it all was. I’ve always known politics was a bit skewed, and that a lot of people were essentially forced to vote tactically in order to keep less desirable candidates out, but now I know just how unfair it is. In 2011, we had a referendum on the voting system. The proposed change was to the Alternative Vote system, it’s not perfect, and probably isn’t the one I would choose, but I do feel it would have been an improvement on the current First Past The Post (FPTP) system we currently have in place. After a turnout of just 42.2%, the results dictated that people had voted against AV. I think this was largely thanks to the huge No2AV campaign funded by wealthy Tory party donors who obviously didn’t want a fairer voting system that might actually reflect the views of the people (and thus not let the Conservatives into power). After a lot of confusing misinformation and scaremongering, the campaign was successful and we were stick with the FPTP system for a while longer.

To give you an idea of how unfair our voting system is, here are some facts:

Only around one fifth of the eligible population voted for the Conservatives, and yet they now have a five year term ahead of them.

The Conservative’s 11 million votes secured them over 300 seats. The Greens received over a million votes (so about an eleventh of the Tory’s total votes) and now have Just One Seat.

Thanks to the way our voting system works,each Tory seat is worth just 34,348 votes. For The Greens, a single seat was worth over a million votes. And for UKIP, almost four million votes were worth just one seat.

The SNP didn’t get many more votes than The Greens, and yet they now have 56 seats in parliament and the Greens have just one.

Now, I’m not saying I want to see UKIP with more power. I don’t, obviously. But, if 12.6% of the population voted UKIP, then this should be represented in government. People often use far right parties as an excuse for keeping FPTP. But, the current system is pushing all of the parties to the right anyway. As the fight each other for votes, all of the mainstream parties are moving further and further to the right in pursuit of UKIP’s votes. You only have to glance at the immigration policies of the major parties to see that they aren’t a much more compassionate option anyway. And, it’s important to remember that if we had a fairer voting system in place, people would vote differently. People wouldn’t need to vote tactically, or use their votes to rebel against parties, instead people would be free to choose the parties they actually want to vote for. Doesn’t that sound like a better system?

And while we’re at it, why do we have a House of unelected representatives who get to make decisions about how the country is governed? This is ridiculous, no?

If you think we deserve a fairer voting system, please sign the Electoral Reform Society’s petition calling for one. You can find the petition here, also check out their website when you get a minute. I think I’m going to join. Electoral reform might be unlikely under the Tories, but that means it’s more important than ever before.

This post is for the Read All About It linky. The idea is that each week bloggers link up their news related posts here, and then we can read, comment on and share each other’s posts. I’m always looking for new blogs to read, and especially love reading news posts so please do link up. I’m guessing quite a few bloggers will have written about the election results this week! Your posts don't have to be about the election though. They can relate to absolutely any news story from this week or last. It could be local, national or international news.

To link up, all you need to do is grab the linky badge (below) and feature it at the bottom of your post. Then link up your post using the form below, and have a read of the other posts too if you have time. I’m looking forward to hearing what others made of the results!

Read All About It

Thursday, 7 May 2015

A Little House & Garden Update



We’ve been living in our house for a year now. It’s hardly new anymore, but I still think of it as our ‘new house’. It felt like home straight away, I think houses do when you have small children running around them pointing out their bedrooms and playrooms.

When we first moved in, the house needed quite a bit of structural work doing, and we still have a couple of plastered walls that we haven’t quite got round to repainting (it’s fine, we never entertain people in the utility room). After that we sorted out the kitchen. I can’t explain how awful the kitchen was when we moved in. The cupboards were rotten, the drawers had collapsed, everything was brown and the whole thing, no matter how much I scrubbed, just felt unclean. Having the old kitchen ripped out was really satisfying, and I really love the kitchen as it is now. It’s still not fully finished, there’s still a layer of kitchen paint to go on the walls (hint hint, Laurie), and one of the barstools needs painting (that’s on my to do list), and there are still extra bits to be bought, but it’ll do for now.

A lot of the rooms have different light fittings meaning we have to have about a million spare bulbs in at any time (or, more likely, live in the dark for ages when a bulb goes), so I’ve been looking for better lighting options. LampCommerce has a good selection, so I’ve been having a nosy through some of their pendant lights. Ebony’s room has been decorated (in fact it was featured in this roundup of children’s rooms here), and Laurie’s office is done, but there are still plenty of rooms painted in magnolia that are crying out for a lick of paint.

One of the major problems for me at the moment is working out exactly how we should use the house. Both the playroom and living room are untouched at the moment, so we could quite easily switch them, but it’s difficult to decide which room works best for which purpose. At the moment the playroom is a walk through room, and it’s also a messy room which isn’t really a great combination. Both rooms need quite a bit of work, so it’s not something I need to decide right now. Though I would like to start thinking about things like paint colours, layout and floorings. I can’t wait to rip up the horrible brown carpets that cover the floor and have a peek at the floorboards beneath.

After spending all of our money on structural work and a kitchen last year, I thought it would be better to focus on the garden this year. It’s hard work, but doesn’t cost that much to do. So I’ve been digging out beds, laying turf and painting sheds (well, shed) for the past month or so. It’s not finished yet, partly because I ran out of paint, and partly because I need the turf to fully take before I can move onto my next jobs, but it’s already looking loads better. When we moved in, the garden was totally overgrown and looked more like a (very tiny) meadow. Now it’s looking more like a family garden.

I was pretty surprised to discover that I actually really enjoy gardening. We’ve spent hours in the garden so far this year, Ebony playing next to me whilst I’ve been busy lugging mud and stones about. I hope the weather picks up soon so that I can finish it off, because one thing I’ve learnt is that gardening in bad weather is no fun at all. Especially with a three year old in tow. I hope we get it finished in time for summer (assuming we get one) so that we can spend lots of time out there as a family.

It’s weird to think we left our old home a whole year ago (you can read about that here). And though I know there’s still plenty (and plenty) of work to be done, I already love the changes we’ve made here.


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

10 Reasons Why I'm Voting Green Tomorrow



I've been meaning to write this post for ages, but, as always, timing is not my strong point. So here we are, the eve of the election, and I am finally sitting down to spell out exactly why I’ll be voting for the Green Party in the general election. If you’re interested, I’ll be voting Green tomorrow because:

  1. I can
For the first time ever, I can vote Green in a general election. Long gone are the days of choosing from three crappy and one racist party on the ballot sheet. Tomorrow I’ll be able to march into the polling station and vote for a party I actually like. The Green Party has candidates in over 90% of constituencies for this election. And this means, for the first time ever, most voters will actually have the chance to vote Green.

  1. Tactical voting is bullshit
I’m from Burnley, I was pretty much raised on tactical voting. Choosing Labour to keep the BNP out is as much a part of my being Northern as curry sauce, long vowels and the word ‘brew’. I have always voted tactically, believing it was my job to rectify our broken electoral system by giving up my vote to save the world from the BNP. But, you know what? No more. We were given a referendum on changing the voting system, and after a long campaign of misinformation by the major political parties, the country voted no. Fine. The major parties got what they wanted, and we’re still stuck in an unfair voting system. But don’t expect me to pick up the pieces anymore, I’m voting for whoever I want (spoiler alert: it will be the Greens).

  1. I’m not voting for myself
I don’t think we should be voting for the party who will see us, as individuals, better off after the election. This isn’t about individuals, it’s about society. To decide which party will take care of our society better, we must look to the most vulnerable members of society and how they will be affected by the policies of the future. How will the policies affect the children living in poverty? How will they affect the elderly who can’t afford to heat their homes? How will policies affect future asylum seekers looking for refuge? All of these questions are way more important than how my own bank balance will look after the election. I’m not voting Green for me, I’m doing it for all of us.

  1. I’m voting for myself
And yet, I am also being selfish by voting for the Green Party. Becoming a mother has totally changed the way I look at the world, and I automatically consider how politics can and will impact on my daughter’s future. She may only be three now, but in the not so distant future she will be heading to schools. Do the standardised testing and long hours favoured by other parties fill me with a warm and fuzzy feeling? No. I prefer the focus on learning through play, the later school starting age and the abolishment of SATS suggested by the Greens. I want my daughter’s education to be free, and I’m voting Green because they support free university tuition. I want my family to have access to the NHS, not a private healthcare system, and I believe the Greens are the only ones really willing to protect that.
  1. They are proposing real change
I find the back and forth of politics to be pretty tedious. One government takes two steps to the right, and the next takes two steps back to the centre right. Real change doesn’t really happen, and yet that is what we so badly need. Our education system is failing. Our public transport system is failing. Small changes aren’t going to fix that. What we need is for somebody to come in and totally revolutionise the way things work. We need to pick the country up, give it a big shake and then set it back down to see how we get on. That’s the only way we’re really going to improve, by being radical.

  1. I want to vote against austerity
Austerity is not working. Under the cuts introduced by this government, people are really suffering. And for what? So companies can continue to avoid paying tax, so bankers can continue to get bonuses, so MPs can enjoy pay rises? It’s simply not fair. And though other parties may be moaning about the cuts, they simply don’t seem willing to promise an end to austerity. The Greens have promised that, and so they have my vote.

  1. It’s not all about the next five years
One of the most frustrating things about politics, is that politicians seem to make decisions based only on their time in office. Long term goals are rarely reached, because it’s simply more important to please the people whilst in power. Who cares about what happens fifteen, twenty years from now? I care. The politicians may not be in office anymore, but I’ll still be here. And the decisions they make affect my future. I don’t want a politician who only cares about getting re-elected. I want politicians who are in this for the long game. The Green Party are working towards something real, a fairer and more compassionate society, and I want to be a part of that.

  1. We need a push to the left
With right wing parties like UKIP and the BNP winning votes in recent years, there has been a definite shift to the right in UK politics. All of a sudden, the major parties are fighting over each other to come up with right wing policies that will appeal to that electorate. If there is a surge in support for the Green Party, then the major parties will need to take a couple of steps back over to the left and come up with some better policies.

  1. Caroline Lucas
Caroline Lucas has been such an amazing MP. Where other MPs fail to turn up, fall asleep and chatter through debates, Caroline does her constituents proud. I have seen her speak in Parliament and she is nothing short of inspiring. She does her research, argues coherently and always makes her arguments well. She is the sort of MP I would love to have representing me in government. She is engaged, passionate and committed. She isn’t a career politician, she’s in politics because she wants to make a difference. She is compassionate, she attends demos, she supports public sector workers at the picket line, she is everything a politician should be. And I think we need more like her.

  1. I like their policies
This may sound like a stupid point to make, but I actually think a lot of people vote for political parties without knowing much about their policies. If you haven’t already, take this quiz to find out which party’s policies are most aligned with your views - https://voteforpolicies.org.uk/

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Read All About It is late this week, my apologies, but it was my birthday so I hope you'll forgive me. Don't forget you can link up any news related posts here. Hopefully there will be a few of you writing about the election this week which will make for an interesting read. 

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