What can Strictly Come Dancing tell us about representing disability on reality talent shows?

Last month, Paralympian Jonnie Peacock appeared as a guest on Channel 4’s The Last Leg. Adam Hills, the host questioned the fairness of Jonnie being judged on the same criteria as the rest of the contestants on Strictly Come Dancing. In keeping with the show’s aims of challenging the representation of disability on television, Hills asked #isitokay? that in week three of the competition, Peacock was criticised for sticking his bottom out when such a posture is a common result of wearing a prosthetic leg?

In the interview Peacock agreed that it was difficult for him to dance in the desired posture. He suggested that his incorrect posture was potentially due to the way he has to distribute his weight when using his prosthetic leg. Although Peacock downplays any sense of being at a disadvantage, Hills raises an important question. If reality shows want to increase the visibility of disabilities to their audience, there are some factors they must consider. It is worth discussing whether disabled competitors should be judged on the same criteria as their able-bodied competitors. The type of disability and/or prosthetic could also be taken into consideration when scoring these contestants. And perhaps most importantly, does marking disabled and able-bodied competitors on the same criteria lead to equality or exclusion?

Who is Jonnie Peacock?

For those of you who do not know who Jonnie Peacock is, here’s a little insight. Jonnie peacock is a two-time gold medal winning Paralympic sprinter, finishing top in London 2012 and again at the Rio 2016 games. Jonnie Contracted meningitis at the age of five and lost his right leg because of the disease- undergoing an amputation below the knee.

Reality Talent Shows and Disability: Is it fair?

Although Jonnie Peacock is the first Paralympian to appear on Strictly Come Dancing, he is not the first disabled person to compete on a reality talent dancing show. The US version of the show, Dancing With The Stars  has featured an Iraq War veteran amputee, Sergeant Noah Galloway in 2015. Royal Marine veteran Lance Corporal Cassidy Little, who lost his leg in the Afghanistan War, appeared on The People’s Strictly in 2015. Each of these competitors have had a very different narrative constructed for them by the shows. Galloway and Cassidy were both presented as “wounded heroes”, with the shows’ narratives highlighting their veteran identities. In many instances their prosthetics were deliberately foregrounded in the routines. Their video introductions each week focused on the practical and emotional difficulties of training for each dance. Most importantly, the judges’ comments acknowledged the difficulties they faced in performing the dances and took this into account when scoring.

In contrast, although Jonnie Peacock has talked about his disability, he has generally downplayed any sense that it should hinder his performance. The only dance so far in which Peacock’s prosthetic has been visible is the jive, after which he was hailed as a “hero” by the media.

In his Huffpost blog, Peacock says:

“I love reading that my prosthetic has got households across the UK talking about disability. I’m on this programme to show everyone that there is ability in disability and that if you put your mind to it, and work hard, then anything is possible.”

 The double Paralympic champion is an inspiration for many, his never give up attitude backed up with the charismatic flair makes his a very popular public figure. Despite being the first Paralympic to part take in Strictly Come Dancing, Jonnie showed no signs of nervousness or discomfort. He took to the stage with great confidence, backed up by the beautiful Oti Mabuse who complimented Jonnies performance. Jonnies dancing is unique, exciting and definitely the crowds favourite.

 Jonnie Peacock praised by fans as an inspiration after appearing on the show. Victoria Jones/PA Images


Equality or exclusion?

Despite Peacock clearly setting up a narrative in the blog quote suggesting disabled people can achieve anything if they work hard enough, this has not been strongly woven into the Strictly story of his journey. Most weeks Peacock’s prosthetic has been hidden and unlike Galloway and Little, and especially in the early stages of the competition, Peacock has generally been able to pass as able-bodied.

Peacock’s ability to compensate for his disability has meant that the narrative set up by Strictly rarely refers to his disability and the judges don’t appear to take it into account in their scoring of his performances. After he was voted out of the competition in Sunday night’s show, Peacock thanked the judges for treating him the same as everybody else. But having repeatedly drawn attention to an issue caused by his disability without acknowledging the reasons, can the judges really claim to have treated Peacock equally?

Ignoring Peacock’s disability potentially puts him at a disadvantage in relation to his fellow competitors. Thus making it less likely that he will fulfil his hopes of demonstrating that if we work hard enough ‘anything is possible’.

Peacock’s inability to achieve the correct posture is a result of his disability, awarding him lower scores on this basis would inevitably result in him being unable to progress beyond a certain point in the competition. Indeed, his performance on Saturday night was greeted positively by the audience in Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom as they gave him a standing ovation. However, the judges’ comments repeatedly focused on Peacock’s inability to achieve the correct posture and his bottom sticking out. Consequently, he found himself voted off the programme.

If more participants with disabilities are to part take in the show, the programme will need to consider how this will work. Peacock hopes that his appearance paves the way for more contestants with disabilities to come forward and take part. As sporting organisations and academics begin to scrutinise the categorisation systems used in the Paralympics, perhaps it’s time for reality talent shows to consider how people with disabilities should be represented in order to ensure fairness and inclusivity.




Arguably the best game of IPL 2017

Looking forward to this game as the Sunrisers Hyderabad take on the Kings XI Punjab at The Rajiv Ghandi Stadium, both teams in need for a good team performance.

Sunrisers have been making changes after every game to this team to get the right balance, with players coming and out of the side. Winning their first two games at home against RCB and Gurujat Lions, but loosing away to the Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Kinght Riders. This game sees the first appearances for Mohamad Nabi and Sidhart Kaul.

Kings XI also making changes to the team that they put out against Kolkata and The Delhi Daredevils,  where the performance was not up to the mark. Ishant Sharma comes back into the side replacing Varun Aaron to maybe bring back the form the team started this season with.

Put into bat, SRH rode on two performances with the bat. An uncharacteristic 70 from the skipper Warner, and Naman Ojha’s 20-ball 34 were the top two scores in the SRH innings. Warner struggled at the beginning of the match; the ball seldom found the sweet spot of his bat and he struggled to find the gaps in the field.

But unlike his teammates, who perished in the face of some disciplined bowling by the KXIP bowlers or in an attempt to force the pace, Warner persevered and did not throw his wicket away. The SRH captain did not hit a boundary and had a mere 6 runs from 16 balls at the end of the powerplay overs, fending off the opening bowlers.

The left-hander broke the shackles in the seventh over when he reverse-swept the spin bowler KC Carippa and picked up the first of his seven boundaries. In the ninth over, he hit the spinner into the stands.

At the half-way stage, SRH were 54-3. That was when Naman Ojhas batting changed completely after a talk with David Warner, the pair collected a boundary each off Cariappa in the eleventh. In the twelfth, Ojha scored a boundary off Axar Patel, while Warner picked up a boundary through in the thirteenth. In the fourteenth, Ojha deposited the left-arm spinner into the stands. Ishant Sharma conceded 12 in the fifteenth, and SRH finally had some momentum to their innings; the hosts added 54 runs between overs 11 and 15.

Ojha was dismissed by Cariappa in the sixteenth, stumped by Wriddhiman Saha. Warner stayed at the crease, persistent; scoring 15 runs off six deliveries in the last two overs and remained unbeaten on 70, made from 54 balls, and studded with seven boundaries and two sixes.

For KXIP, Ishant Sharma was the most economical bowler, conceding only 23 runs in his four overs. Mohit Sharma (2-25) and Axar Patel (2-33) were complimented by Sandeep Sharma and Cariappa.

As the second innings is underway, Kings 11 have walked out with intent; the experienced  Hashim Amla and the explosive youngster Manan Vohra. Buveneshwar starts with great wind in his sales, it reqardes him with the wicket of Hashim Amla for a Duck.

Glen Maxwell walks out, the predictions are that he is much more useful 3rd in the lineup to lighten the mood after the first wicket falling early in the innings. Vohra is showing glimpses of what he can do with a wonderful cut over the cover/midwicket region.

David Warners wonderful tactics result in the Wicket of Maxwell falling, bowled Bueneshwar with him being rushed into a rash shot over midwicket into the hands of David Warner.

Eion Morgan walks out ,he has always been a wonderful asset to any team he has been a part of. He said in an interview said that IPL was what taught him to play international cricket with flair.

Nabi now is being introduced into the attack, his first time in IPL 2017. A bad start to the over as Nabi balls one just a touch short which gets dispatched down the ground by Morgan. Nabi shows his cool by not allowing any boundaries for the remainder of the over.

Rashid Kahn is now introduced into the attack, Nabi bowling in tandom; another tactical plan from David Warner. Morgan in a pre match interview was asked about how he would face Rashid Kahn, to witch he answered, “I have no idea, I think I’ll just close my eyes and swing. He is too good to predict”.

Henriques has had a benevolent start to this years IPL, being in good touch with his batting and his healty nack of picking up wickets has been a weapon for The Sunrisers this season thus far. Although he missed a game due to being unwell, he has bounced back and looks very skiddy and accurate in his first over.

Mohamad Nabi, joins the party as he is now very much back in action with striking the middle and leg stums to dismiss Ioen Morgans wicket. After being hit for a six early in his spell, Nabi has bounced back with a spring in his step, showing very good body language.

Another left hander bites the dust. Rashin Kahn bowles Millers leg stump down as he delivers a fast leg spinner into towards the stumps. Both the afgan bowlers showing how they are able to stay composed after being hit around the ground early in their spells.

The spinners all over the Kings 11, Nabi and Rasheed now reminders them that 60 runs is getting further and further away. Warner with clever tactics, with a spinner operating at either end.

Henriques introduced into the attack once again continue his free wicket taking run, as he dismisses Axar Patel. All the overseas batsmen have been dismissed for Kings 11, it is now for the lower order batsmen to pull Kings 11 out of this slump.

Mohit Sharma walks out into the middle, dispatching his first delivery for a huge six. Sran bowls the next one wide, the pressure showing. Sran conceding two more boundaries in the same over.

Rashid Kahn bought back into the attack for his final over gets the Vohra treatment with two sixes and a four to finish, 21 runs conceded as Rashid Kahns bowls out his fourth.

Buveneshwar Kumar, he takes wickets with the new ball and now he comes back to and takes a wicket In the death. Mohit Sharma walks back to the dug out caught out deep.

Kaul only conceding only 9 in his two overs, comes back into attack to put a holt to Manan Vohras magnificent innings.

Cariappa at the crease, struggling to make contact with the ball. Kaul keeps him guessing and Buveneshwar steps in to deliver the final blow.

Buveneshwar Kumar, takes the wicket of the impressive Manan Vohra. Having played am absolute blinder of an innings with 95 from 50 balls.

Buveneshwar now with 5 wickets for 19 runs with 15 dot balls, an bowling performance to match Manan Vohras effort for Punjab with the bat.

Kaul now has the bowl in hand to keep his side in it with the last over.

First ball yields 2 runs

Second ball a wide just past the line

Third ball gives a way one run

Fourth ball is off target, vieering side down the leg side.

Fifth ball a good dot ball back into Kauls arms

Sixth ball, with 2 balls remaining and 6 runs to get.. A Yorker aimed at toes of Ishant Sharma, knocking the middle and leg stumps out of the ground! Sunrisers win by 5 runs, their home winning streak continues.



I love travelling. I feel like the more I travel, the better the story teller I become. My trip to India has given me one hell of a story to share with all of you. To be honest, it’s a collection of near death experiences. Driving in India is a task designed for the most fearless of adrenaline junkies. Even being a passenger is terrifying; countless potholes, the intense humidity, and not to mention that your life is in the hands of a driver who doesn’t even have a seat belt on. There are twice as many hazards on the road in India than anywhere else on the planet; and it’s not just other drivers you have to be wary of. Sometimes it’s like a zombie apocalypse – the zombies being clueless pedestrians incapable of telling the difference between the road and the pavement.  

While journeying home from the airport, six separate things happened, which if I was in the UK, would be my main topics of conversation for at least two weeks, but in India, no one seems to notice! In the UK, if I drove onto the opposing side of the M25 just to overtake a tuk tuk while furiously honking my horn and flashing my headlights at an oncoming lorry, funeral preparations would be made before I even got into third gear. By fourth I would be under the wheel of that lorry, and if I was still alive, I’d be in handcuffs when I regain consciousness.

In India, nobody even bothers to dilate their pupils at these sorts of things.

While on a two lane motorway during my trip from Kerala to Tamil Nadu, my driver would switch to the opposing lane of the motorway at 60mph simply because it was smoother to drive on. There was no indicators, no hand signals, just the relentless use of the horn and the driver’s confidence in his own reaction time. I appreciate him wanting me to have a comfortable ride, but I’m sure there’s  nothing comfortable about an oncoming vehicle colliding with ours. He’d stay in the lane until the car or truck heading right for us was close enough to read the time on the driver’s wrist watch. Only then would he calmly yank the car back into the proper lane.


I must admit, it is impressive how drivers in India manage to repeatedly escape such close shaves. The key is not to panic. While sitting in the passenger seat and observing my driver, I came to the conclusion that watching him drive made me feel more at ease than looking out onto the road.  Sure, drivers would honk their horns at each other all the time, but they’d do that whether they were trying to coax a cow out of the way or a two-ton tanker filled with petrol was barrelling at them. It was amazing how even at the scariest of moments, the driver’s facial expression remained the same.

I also noticed that flashing lights means the complete opposite of what it means in the UK. On an urban British road with parked cars spanning the length,  drivers often stop for each other. They flash their headlights as a  considerate signal for the the other driver go through. In India, when you flash your headlights it means, “I’m coming through whether you like it or not, so make way!”

Road hazards can be interpreted differently from an Indian drivers point of view.  With lanes (those pointless stripes on the ground), you either ignore them or you treat them with contempt. No one ever sticks to their lane in India. As for overtaking… it is a skill that takes time to master. Imagine the two sides of the road as two countries in conflict, and each time you cross the border to overtake a car in front, you put yourself at risk of being gunned down by vehicles travelling in the opposite direction.


Another nuisance on the Indian battlefield/road are motorcycles. They are extremely common, and by that I mean, they are literally everywhere. If they are not on the road, they are parked in an inconvenient fashion to the side of it,  preventing traffic from flowing. But they are the perfect vehicle for low-demand tasks, like getting a single person to and from work and maybe running quick errands. Or, say, transporting a couple of propane gas cylinders, or maybe carrying a family of four with one child wedged between two parents and the other propped happily on the gas tank.    

The trick to facing oncoming traffic in India is to stay calm. Just don’t worry about it. Driving right into the path of another driver is fine; just make sure to do an action movie escape at the last minute to keep things exciting. A series of close shaves is, after all, what keeps the traffic flowing in India.

In terms of road rage, I can honestly admit that Indian drivers are THE calmest. If any of the stuff I saw happened in the UK, there would be constant shouting, angry forehead veins, and fists plunging into yielding flesh. In India, no one seems to get worked up about the countless near misses.

A good Indian driver beeps his horn while attempting to carry out a dangerous manoeuvre, such as driving anywhere at any time. I have wondered whether Indians actually communicate with each other by honking horns, because no one ever complains, in fact they honk back as if to reply to each other. Horns can also be very deceiving; on the county roads of Wayand, every corner is a blind one. You can imagine the fear in my mind when I heard a train horn while we were going into a corner at 60mph, only to be met by a motorcycle with an abnormally large horn.

My friend describes Indian buses as machines developed by Indian military researchers to prowl the streets and destroy anything in their path, or to even hunt down smaller vehicles and eliminate them. A small flaw in their design means people can get inside them for rides around town. The hatred that cyclists in London have towards red buses is very similar to how everyone in India feels about buses on Indian roads.  

On many occasions, I was a pedestrian; or at least I thought I was. Even to be a pedestrian, there are many rules in India. Many have no concept of speed; they will happily walk in front of a car doing 50mph without thinking twice. At pedestrian crossings, you should not stop your car to let pedestrians cross, because they won’t, that’s too predictable. In fact, just as you are about to move off, they run across, giving you yet another mini heart attack.


My thoughts after leaving India are that Indian drivers are simultaneously the best and worst drivers anywhere on Earth. They are good in the sense that the high frequency of near misses would be very difficult to maintain if you didn’t have the experience. On the other hand, creating situations where you are literally staring death in the face, such as an old tractor barrelling towards you, could be avoided. Even with the high accident rate in India, I am convinced that number should be much, much higher. Yet somehow, they pull it off, and they do so without fear.

With this in mind, I predict that someday there will be a new breed of amazing Indian racing drivers. But this can only happen once they get adjusted to the calmness of a race track.  

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No Fur Fashion protest along side London Fashion Week.

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London Fashion Week is back for 2017 with the Autumn Winter collections, meaning that fur is going to be deemed more ‘essential’ than ever by pro-fur designers. Despite many big labels like Armani, Stella McCartney, Calvin Klein and Vivienne Westwood denouncing animal products in fashion, London Fashion Week continues to provide the largest platform for fur in the UK.

To raise awareness about the obscene nature of the fur industry, a variety of different events have been set by various organisations campaigning against animal rights in the fashion industry. Groups such as Surge aim to reveal the reality of what happens to animals in fur farms.

Surge is an activism organisation using non-violent direct action to hold corporations and businesses to account for their mistreatment and negligence towards animals. Their aim is to spread awareness about the use of fur in fashion, educate people about the reality of fur obsession in the fashion industry and to encourage more members of the public to stand up against animal exploitation.

Protesters gathered outside the main entrance of London Fashion Week with banners, costumes and megaphones to make their voices heard. If cows could talk, we bet they’d ask you to “wear your own skin”, said a protester who was passionately chanting. The activists had previously been at London Fashion week in September campaigning against the use of fur, so for them this was the second opportunity to gain more support.

Many campaigners were impassioned by the fact that they were situated outside the entrance, watching fashion fanatics walking in, unaware of maltreatment to millions of animals for the sake of what a niche percentage of them consider “fashionable”. Chants such as “shame on London Fashion week” and “Fur isn’t fashion, where is your compassion” were shouted repeatedly by campaigners throughout the day.

One protester, Josh Spencer spoke out about the use of leather in the fashion industry, explaining, “First of all, leather is the skin of an animal who suffered. Before animals are turned into belts and shoes, they are forced to live in crowded, filthy conditions on factory farms.

“They endure painful procedures like castration and dehorning – without so much as an aspirin for the pain.

After being crammed into trucks and carted off to the slaughterhouse, many animals are still unconscious when they’re hung upside down and their throats are slit”.

Sounds of animals being tortured was played on repeat to emphasise the pain animals have to endure for the fashion industry to thrive. Animals killed for their skin and fur endure miserable lives and nightmarish deaths, but they don’t have to. With so many luxurious non-animal alternatives available, animals don’t have to be a fashion statement; instead we must bring out these injustices to make a difference.

Protesters claimed that designers who use fur are exploiting customers, models, and spectators at London Fashion Week by importing very cheap fur and selling them to retailers and customers at expensive rates. Anti-fur activists blame the IFF for promoting the increased use of fur in the fashion industry and have promised to step up their campaign. Elisa Allen, PETA’s associate director, said: “There is nothing stylish or creative about fur. A TNS poll showed that 95 per cent of British women wouldn’t touch it, and 80 per cent of designers at London Fashion Week AW15 did not use fur in their collections.”

The group of campaigners managed to influence many onlookers on the high street as they passed the demonstration. Many stopped to read the different plaques and signboards held by the protesters, which read “fur is worn by beautiful animals and ugly people” and “whose skin are you in?”. The campaigners wanted those running London Fashion Week to see the reality of what they are promoting obliviously.

As high fashion drips down into high street fashion, the relentless promotion of fur by high brow designers is culpable in the normalisation of cheap high street fur items that have been brought back into shops and market stalls. No doubt imitations of the fur items featured in London Fashion Week this year will soon be seen donned by members of the public.

A petition was set up two weeks before the protest on Facebook to gain support from all over the world. They made a short video to highlight the brutality in fur farms and juxtaposed them with images from London Fashion week. The video got more than 300,000 views and there were over 90,000 signatures on the petition.

Animals killed for their fur and skin are slaughtered in gruesome, cheap and cruel ways. Many of the most common methods used to kill animals for their fur- such as gassing and electrocution via the anus or vagina- aren’t always lethal, and some animals regain consciousness while they are being skinned. Much of the world’s fur comes from China, where animals are routinely skinned while they are conscious, struggling desperately to escape. One investigator recorded video footage in which a skinned raccoon dog on a heap or carcases has the strength to stare into the camera.  

As there are only a handful of companies in the fashion industry which are ethically aware of their use of fur, it makes you wonder why the remainder of them are still oblivious to the presence of fur farms and their harsh treatment of animals. It also makes us wonder why more companies are not raising awareness of the immoral trends.

But despite its controversial status, consumers appear to be embracing fur with renewed enthusiasm. Retail analysts reported that there has been an increase by 117 per cent in real fur products released into the fashion market in the past three months, compared to this time last year. The real issue is that many people do not realise that they are buying real animal fur. The fur farms in Eastern Europe export fur at very low prices and these get sold in bulk to market stalls in high streets, making it very cheap and easily accessible to customers.

Sponsors that fund LFW are next to be targeted by the group in order to stop the use of fur in fashion. By stopping funding of such events, it means that companies will not be able to promote fur to their customers. More measures need to be taken to make the fashion industry more morally legitimate as there are other aspects of it that are also unethical, such as size zero models putting their life on the line to “look good” for the designers.



A Strong Independent Woman


Emma Paveley is a 25 year old fitness fanatic, competitor, and personal trainer from Essex. She has been representing the UK internationally for the last three years and competes in the women’s category, wherein she must perform a fitness routine showing strength, flexibility, and agility, before getting judged on her figure.

She has three British champion titles and just won the Arnold Classic Europe and IFBB Diamond Cup. She also has three bronze medals in the 2014, 2015, and 2016 world championships. Having recently won her IFBB Pro card, she will be moving onto the professional stage later this year.



It was during a photoshoot with a sports photographer.  He told me I had a really good figure and asked if I had ever considered bodybuilding. I hadn’t. I just knew that I loved being in the gym and always had.

Shortly after this shoot, I looked into the sport and tried to find a category that included body building, fitness routines, and gymnastics. And it immediately felt like the perfect thing for me… almost as if it was tailor made for someone like me.

Working on my body for the last five years and being someone who is very much about promoting feminine muscle are two of the reasons I pursued it, but I became even more interested when I realised that lifting weights would give me the ability to shape my figure however I wanted it.

When I first started, my family weren’t supportive.  For the first two years, they didn’t understand what exactly I was doing. They didn’t want me to look like a stereotypical body builder, and they were very worried about my dieting. It wasn’t until they saw me on stage at the British Championships that they realised how passionate I was.  

Once I’d proven this is what I do, this is what I look like, and stayed stubborn, they started to accept what I do. They know now that I’m not putting myself at risk with my diet or exercise. It was just a matter of making them see it through my eyes.

I started at just the right time. It was the year that the federation introduced a wider range of categories by separating women’s body building into aesthetically pleasing categories, like the “Figure” category and the “Bikini” category.


So for me, being in the sport hasn’t been difficult. The stereotypes associated with it are changing. People are more accepting than before and that makes both the sport and the athletes more popular.

Participation in female bodybuilding has increased tremendously as a result. There were a total of 800 athletes, male and female, in the last British Finals. A few years ago there were only around 200.

More and more girls are working out and lifting weights because they want to compete in competitions; and this comes when you start to see your body as an art form that you can sculpt to your liking.

Of course, the problem of drugs never goes away. A lot famous bodybuilders have been associated with drugs at one point or another in their career, but body building isn’t an exception. It’s an issue faced by sport in general.

Personally, I don’t want to look hugely muscular so I don’t feel the need to take them, but if an individual wants to take drugs, they should just be honest about it.

But with the new categories introduced, the figures can be achieved naturally, and because of that, they are aesthetically more pleasing –  because it’s a natural human body, just with a lot of hard work put into it.

A lot. Bodybuilding is opinionated sport. There are no set guidelines on how to perform or how to make the judges like you. You’ve got to go on to the stage for your own reasons and be confident in your ability no matter what happens.

As for the future, there is a long way for me to go in the sport. I have to compete and win many more competitions to be classed above the amateur stage, but I am hoping to make it to the pro stages in the near future.

Also, as it’s not an Olympic sport, I do still have to work part time and it can be a real struggle to find a balance. I’ve just launched my personal training career, which goes hand in hand with my own training, and I’ve also got a new sponsor to support my advancement to pro shows.  It’s all a step by step process, hopefully leading to me getting into the sport full time.

For me, bodybuilding was a personal journey. I wanted to do it for me because I enjoyed it.

Now I just want to be the best I can be.



Yoga might be what you need…

Yoga is a journey, one that connects us to the inner core of our being. The techniques allow us to unite the body, mind and soul by releasing our earthly worries and becoming at one with our positive spirits.

Spending time being at one with yourself is often hard because of our hectic daily lives but it is essential for a healthy mind.

It offers so much more than just an alternative option for exercise. Here are a fews reasons why you might need Yoga in your life…

Do you worry about your future?
Practising yoga is a sure-fire way to forget your worries and stay in the moment. All your attention is directed at the poses and your breathing, so you don’t have time to worry about what you’ll be doing tomorrow or in the future. It allows you to be in spiritually safe place, wherein you don’t have to worry about what has happened or is about to happen. Through yoga, it becomes clear why living in the moment is the only way to ensure a happy future.

Do you find it hard to concentrate?
If you find yourself starting 10 things at once and not finishing any of them, yoga will make interpret time in a different way. Time is seen as a limitless entity during a session, preventing us from feeling restricted about how long we have left or when a deadline needs to be met. Meditation gives an individual the opportunity to concentrate on a subject without any distractions.

Is it hard for you to sleep at night?
If you’ve had enough of tossing and turning all night, yoga could be the solution. It helps to calm your mind and body, preparing you for a good night’s sleep. A peaceful slumber can be achieved through the use of simple mental exercises to relax the body and the mind and visualisations to evoke information stored in the subconscious mind.

Do you feel alone?
Yoga is a discipline that can strengthen your awareness of divine nature and help you to tune in to your psychic abilities and the world around you. When committing to yoga practice on a regular basis, yogis seek to experience and become aware of the spirit, or the energy, within and without. We’re not talking about ghostly spirits or some supernatural being, but rather a higher consciousness; a driving force, a motivation, a reason behind everything we think and everything we do. Being aware of this energy is something spiritual. Therefore, awareness is critical to yoga as a spiritual practice.

Yoga as a spiritual practice is not about changing your life so you can earn more money, be a ‘better’ person, or get a job you love. Yoga is not about getting rid of the negative by controlling your mind and your environment. Rather, practising yoga reminds you that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect life’. There will always be dangers, heartaches and sadness. Developing a spiritual side with yoga is about holding your pose regardless of your circumstances. This can only be achieved by an awareness of yourself and your experiences.


Summon Your Spirit Guide In Four Simple Steps

Spirit guides are ethereal beings assigned to us before birth. While they can help us dodge life’s obstacles, it’s often easy to forget their presence. Here are four simple ways to re-connect with your helpers…

Look for signs and symbols

Spirit guides mainly use signs and symbols as a form of communication. Their messages can be easy to miss, such as seeing a certain number repeatedly in different places or hearing a particular song lyric that resonates. If you need advice from your spirit guides, be specific about what it is you’re looking for – you’ll be surprised at the amount of symbols and positive omens you start noticing.

Listen to you intuition

Our spirit guides are always trying to get through to us, so it’s important that we find ways of letting them in. Often our lives can be so stressful and chaotic that it can be difficult to hear them, or to listen to the small voice in our head that pops up when we have big decisions to make. Learn to listen to your intuition more and you’ll soon notice how much of a helping presence your guides can be.

Greet them in meditation

Meditation is also an effective way of finding your guides. As you prepare to unwind, start your session by showing gratitude for everything your spirit guides have done for you – this can be by offering a small prayer of thanks or lighting a candle. While meditating, focus your thoughts on inviting your guides to assist you in answering whatever area of your life you want help with. Spirit guides often come to us in symbols – think of the qualities that these objects represent such as strength, guidance and inspiration.

Summon them in your dreams

Dreaming is also a great way of accessing your spirit guides via your subconscious. As you drift off, let your thoughts tune into your inner being. Allow yourself to fall deeper and deeper into a more relaxed state of awareness as you focus on meeting your spirit guide. We recommend keeping a dream diary and taking notes of what happens in your night-time visions – while their meaning may not be obvious at first, certain encounters or circumstances could reveal more meaning in the future.




The environment and groups campaigning for the protection and preservation of the environment have embraced social media wholeheartedly. Social media is now used extensively for campaigning and connect with people with like minds locally and cross-nationally. Social media also opens up channels for new support for campaigns and ideas.

The environment is shared by all organisms on the face of this planet; therefore as the most advanced organism, we as humans have the responsibility to take care of it. The environment has increasingly been threatened by rapid expansion of extractive processes to keep up with the demands driven by consumerism and capitalism. IN recent times, technology has adapted to be more environmentally friend. The example of “green” business can be used. However, the adaptations we make are not quick enough to cover up the amount of damage being done to the environment. Although the changes can be argued to be simultaneous, the reality is that far more damage is being done than what is being planned to implement to prevent further damage.

Social media has become an important tool for providing the public with a voice and a means for public to participate in influencing or disallowing environmental decisions made by governments and corporations. These decisions may affect us all therefore it is essential that social media provides the medium for us to voice such concerns.

Social media has allowed people to form as a collective crowd with the same visions and opinions. This organisational feature available through social media has means people are able to stay highly connected through social media, to support and spread environmental messages in a rapid, dynamic format. However, a problem that arises is maintaining this support for long periods of time. Due to the rapid changes that take place, it very easy to loose attention from individuals, they may move on to something they find more interesting or funny as people often do on social media. This is a trend seen in every area of activism, and is not just particular to the environment sector.

Social media has propelled the rise of the independent activist. The term citizen journalist is used more and frequently in current times. Due to everyone having access on social media and the internet as they are mobile, it allows them to upload the news on to their various social media platforms. For instance, during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Gulf Coast residents used Facebook and Twitter as platforms to share their personal stories and provide independent or alternative new sources and media that was captured by their communities. Since people now look to their social media streams as primary sources of news and information, this type of independent vocalization can be both positive (encouraging alternative streams of information) and problematic when information isn’t verified or trustworthy.

Social media can also be used to raise support and to create pressure on specific campaigns. An example is this is when Greenpeace targeted Shell Oil operations in the Arctic Circle using a YouTube video named “Everything is Awesome” to indirectly influence Shell partners, including Lego. This tactic has worked as Lego has ended its contract with Shell after this Greenpeace campaign.

Hardware sensors and personal wearables have started enabling individuals to track information about themselves and their surroundings in real time. They’ve given people the ability to track their own personal health through wearables and apps that act as digital fills-ins for the odour and symptom logs of old. Sensors are becoming more widely applicable, as people can now set up networks that independently monitor environmental concerns such as air and water quality. The ability of citizens, journalists, government and even corporations to use sensors, wearables and apps to monitor the environment is a promising but still emerging field and one in which verification, calibration and access to tools has yet to fully determine the effect it will have on environmental regulation and enforcement.

Similar to sensing hardware and app development, geolocation and hashtags on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter have created a way for people to share stories about their local environments, connecting them to larger environmental topics. An example of this was people geotagging images in the 2015 California drought that were in close geographic proximity, and linking them back to the larger context of long-term effects of the drought using hashtags such as “#californiadrought,” “#drought” or “#droughtshaming.” The Divest/Invest movement started by students that used the simple “#divest” and “#climate” tags to link local campaigns, wins and issues to the wider movement of society divesting itself of dependence on fossil fuels, investing in renewables and calling attention to the effects of climate change across the world is another successful instance of a small group using hashtags to link local movements to larger environmental questions.

Despite of all this, it is still impossible to grasp the reality of environmental concerns unless you are on the front line experiencing them first hand. On the other hand, Social media and sensors that connect with online networks have the potential to change the way that the environmental sector and all stakeholders involved — public, corporate and government — interact, share information and make decisions. Social media furthers the reach of the public, allowing members to influence shifts in the environmental sector on every issue from moving away from fossil fuel dependence to renewable energy or changing the dynamic of current conversations on climate change. Another important trend is that social media has the potential to influence the circular economy, a concept that goes beyond biomimicry to identify ways that both our physical and material assets and our economic ones can match the earth’s cycles of use, reuse and rejuvenation.

In a way similar to the Divest/Invest movement, creating a circular economy would require the full participation of all stakeholders, from consumers to manufacturers. This is the type of participation campaigns that rely on social media are encouraging in order to assist the translation of movements from local economies to a larger scale.



Will You Miss BHS? An Ipswich Inside Story


Troubled high street retailer British Home Stores (BHS) has filed for administration.

Follwing the adminisration of BHS, Essex Journalism visited the Ipswich store to hear what shoppers had to say.

BHS had operated from a site on the corner of Tower Street and Tavern Street. It occupied an art-deco building purpose built in 1937. BHS arrived, and since has been an integral part of the Ipswich retail site. The store occupies a key position opposite the new Buttermarket centre from one facade, and a prominent high street position next to The Ancient House on the other.

Sally Green, a local from Ipswich describes that “BHS had its peak” but is no longer as popular on the high street as it once was.

It is fair to assume that many of the Ipswich locals have an emotional connection with the store, having grown up with it all their lives.

Another local from Ipswich, Jane Collins, 63 said “I will miss it, we need some middle-brow shops which have very expensive or very cheap products for people my age”.

When BHS was established in the 1920s as a rival to Woolworths and Marks and Spencer, British Home Stores had food departments in most of its shops to offer a unique shopping experience to their customers.

But in the 1980s it closed many of them – although some, like the flagship store in Ipswich, continued to sell takeaway food and operate a restaurant, which till today remains very popular.

However many locals don’t see the recent events as a surprise, Margaret, a local from Ipswich explained that its “Sad but I’m not surprised, they should have kept up with the times”. Many have criticised the company for its outdated fashion products that have seen a decrease in popularity. Shoppers have turned instead to rivals such as Marks and Spencer.

Sally, a regular shopper at The Buttermarket said “It dosent bother me one bit, I don’t go in there at all”

The defunct BHS store in Colchester Town shows the harsh reality of trend BHS are experiencing.

Last year Sir Philip Green sold the company for £1 to Retail Acquisitions led by Dominic Chappell, writing off £215m of debts in the process.

The retailer had recently divided its 164 UK stores into three groups – depending on their profitability.

The company’s turnaround plan called for the rents at 77 stores to remain unchanged, while for another 47 stores the company was “seeking a reduction in rent to market levels.”

The local government and the store representatives refused to comment on the topic.

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“Views On The Six”get clearer as Friday approaches

Drake continues to tease fans before the release of his new album on Friday 29th April 2016.

Views On The Sixth Trailer

The release date for the album is in relation to Drake’s age, as the rapper turned celebrated his 29th birthday in October earlier this year.

Drake’s first full-length album in nearly three years, “Views On The Sixth”, is almost upon us – and after teasing fans with a cryptic 30-second trailer for the project earlier this month, he has now released his cover art.

The much awaited album’s cover was posted on Twitter earlier this morning. The image shows the rapper sitting on top of Toronto’s iconic CN Tower.

The image reiterates Drake’s Canadian upbringing, the caption reads: “To the city and the people in it… Thank you for everything #VIEWS”.

The long wait for the album and its cover means that there can be many interpretations to what it may symbolise.

The dark clouds and the various shades of grey set a somewhat dejected atmosphere. In comparison to previous album covers such as “Nothing was the same” which was visibly more colourful with a blue sky in background, “Views On The Sixth” may imply a change in tone by the rapper.

NWTS                          Nothing Was The Same- Album cover 2013

After staring at the image more intensely, more and more implications can be made. The tower may symbolise his fame, as the CN Tower is one of the tallest buildings in Toronto.

Looking down on the city of Toronto, Drake realises that being so high up from the rest of the city may not necessarily be what he desires; hence the grey clouds in the background.

However, the microscopic detailing and bland “stock photo” aesthetic may highlight the isolation experienced by the rapper. At first glance, it’s hard to notice Drake sitting on the tower at all.  Feeling lonely while having the world at your feet is not an alien concept in the music industry.

Despite all this, it is not possible to assume the nature of the album until listening to the songs; it will be interesting to see if the interpretations correlate with the tone of music.

That said, the image is strikingly meme-able: which is a recurring theme in Drake’s in recent times.

Given all the gifs that were spawned from the rapper’s similarly ‘bad’ video for “Hotline Bling”, it almost feels like this lo-fi look is a conscious decision from the star.

It’s only a matter of time now until all is revealed: Is he just playing us all? Could he actually be a genuine marketing mastermind?