The Smell of Bullshit, part 67: 10 Items or Less*

*I know it should be fewer, not less, but the signs always say less.

The Bournemouth Echo reports that Lush refused to allow a woman to buy products to take back to her family in China. She wanted to take approximately 30 soaps and shampoos back to China as gifts, but Lush said she couldn’t have any more than ten. The Echo says ‘Hilary Jones, ethics director at Lush, said: “Like so many other brands, we have a no resale policy so if we think someone’s buying multiples of something our staff are empowered to say no.” ‘

No resale policy? Really? Then why haven’t they clamped down on ebay sales and sales on the Lush forum? And let’s not even get started on “we don’t trust the Chinese not to test our products on animals and this woman’s Chinese so she can’t have them.”

Check out the comments below the article, especially the one from the woman who says her sister stopped working at the Lush factory when she started coughing up blood. Eek.


Personal Reading Recommendations – Terra

As already mentioned, Edinburgh Libraries offer a personal reading recommendations service. This week I finished one of their recommendations for me, Terra by Mitch Benn.

An alien makes an unauthorised visit to Earth to study native species, accidentally frightens a couple into running away from their car leaving their newborn baby behind. He takes the baby back to his home planet and brings her up, as much like his own as possible given that on his planet, she’s the alien.

The first two thirds of the book are pretty good, but when the inevitable peril arrives, the resolution is trite and predicable. It feels a bit like the author knew he had to finish it and had run out of original ideas. There are loose ends left unfinished which suggest an opening for at least one sequel. The tone is uneven, there are some inconsistencies in the plotting (the Fnrrians don’t know about fiction? really?), and it’s definitely more of a young adult book, but it’s enjoyable with some very funny bits, and I would read a sequel if one were forthcoming.

Next – Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun

Reading for a healthy mind

Tales of One City

Whether it’s anger, anxiety, diet or stress, mental health issues affect us all.

Experts at NHS Lothian’s Mental Health Service have come up with this essential list of books for children, young people and families which deal with topics such as depression, Schizophrenia, OCD and bereavement.

You can also download the book list as a pdf.

You can also search Your Edinburgh to find more sources of advice such as useful web sites, charities and other organisations.

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Sarah Ditum


I learned to make lace when I was small, solemnly winding my bobbins with white thread then working over the pillow with deepest concentration – twisting and crossing the splints of wood, carefully weighted with scavenged beads, never learning so well that my hands could work without stumbling, but working all the same. I made my first few pieces, slack-tensioned and a little sloppy. My older female relatives and family friends inspected them indulgently but unimpressed. They were Bedfordshire women who had learned the needle arts at school, women who had been educated for domesticity, women who could not believe that I would leave school at 16 unable to knit, sew or make pastry. “I could make this,” my grandma would say, plucking the unhappy hems of my Topshop jumpers. “Didn’t they teach you anything?”

Their lives didn’t stop at what their education had fitted them for, though, because this…

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Personal Reading Recommendations Update

In this post I talked about Edinburgh libraries‘ personal recommendations service. I’ve read a couple of the recommendations they made for me now, so time for an update.

The first one I tried was I Laughed, I Cried: One Woman, One Hundred Days, The Mother Of All Challenges by Viv Groskop. I’d never heard of Viv Groskop before, but I have seen her name pop up now and again since I read the book. She wants to be a stand-up comedian and believes that doing 100 gigs is the best way to find out if she can really do it. 100 gigs at one or two a week will take a long time, so she decides to do 100 gigs in 100 days – this means having to do 2 or 3 some days to make up the for the days when she can’t do any.

I think if I’d had more interest in Groskop and her ambitions I would have enjoyed this book more, but it’s hard to get involved in the career aspirations of someone you’ve never heard of. It’s not a bad book, and wannabe comedians might benefit from the lessons she learns about gigging. My overwhelming feeling throughout this book was how incredibly selfish she is, pursuing something with such a tiny chance of success regardless of how it affects her family. And then I had to ask myself if I would feel the same if this book was about a man doing the same thing, and I decided yes I would.

The next one I tried was The Room by Jonas Smith Karlsson. What a strange book. It’s narrated by Bjorn, who is moved to a new office job for reasons we’re never quite clear about. He finds a room in the new workplace which only he can see. It doesn’t appear on the plans of the building, and when he’s in it, all his colleagues see is him standing in the corridor. I enjoyed this book very much but I really didn’t understand it!

Currently reading Terra by Mitch Benn…

Bad Week, Better Saturday

Work has been a struggle this week, working with a person who has had a lot of trauma, and lots of additional work with no additional time to do it in. I was so tired last night (partly because of staying up too late watching election stuff) that I decided not to go to swimming class.*

Today I went into work for a couple of hours, did some stuff that needed to be done, sorted out a massive pile of papers and left feeling slightly more able to cope next week. I could have stayed later on Friday to do it but honestly, I was done. I got home from work, spent some time with the cat, and then went for a swim. Today was the first weekend in months I’ve had the motivation to go for a swim. I even did a couple of sprints.

*Note to self: either take the next day as annual leave and stay up all night watching the election, or go to bed at your normal time and find out in the morning. Don’t stay up several hours past bedtime and go to bed having seen only three results then feel shit all the next day. Although let’s face it, we’re all going to be feeling shit for the next five years.