Friday, 30 November 2012

"Caged Bird" by Maya Angelou + commentary!

Now that blogger is co-operating (!!!) we will continue by following on from Oprah with  a little Maya Angelou and share her highly perceptive poem about the caged bird. Why does the caged bird sing? I think we have all spent time in cages of some sort or another  metaphorically speaking- domesticity placing major bars around us.

Maya is right, when there is nothing you can do to change something singing is a form of mental release making you feel better. I wrote a poem years ago about a prisoner I used to correspond with and was amazed that despite being behind bars he had mental freedom way surpassing the majority of us, his mind being free to pursue his ideas etc.

We do not live as nature intended, but then again nature has had to evolve and in the process we have managed to clip our own wings... can't go anywhere these days without your location being tracked online!! In a society of plenty, we have become caged birds and as the generations pass, today's children do not know of the freedom that existed a couple of generations ago... no playing in the streets- they are no longer safe... yet abductions have not actually increased. We are hemmed in by the press coverage on TV, our ever handy phone apps, the need to make money and even the freedom to bring up our own children which has been overtaken by the need to pay the mortgage, hence increased childcare provision.

The question becomes, what tune are we singing in free society? Do we only hear them on X-Factor? JOKE! Are we any more free than some of the African or Aboriginal tribes that have changed comparatively little over the years? What do we need to do to change our lives so that we sing for joy and not for freedom?  We have said before in our series 'Live Life~Love Life' that life is about choices. Making the right choices which suit your lifestyle is probably the closest you will ever come to finding true freedom & a song that comes from the soul!

Jaz McKenzie.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Powerful Lesson Maya Angelou Taught Oprah - Oprah's Lifeclass - Opra...

Instead of the ususal 'Be Braap~Be Inspired,' today we will look at something a little different, a direct lesson from Oprah which speaks for itself in an extremely powerful way. Behind every inspirational person is an inspirational person! This is a great truth and the greatest lesson Oprah learned is one that we can all learn... no matter what age you make those mistakes... learn to keep on moving. Press PLAY to find out the secrets!!

Jaz McKenzie

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Stop. Take a Look Around! Live Life~Love Life WK 48

Familiarity can creep up on us like a tiger stalking its prey. Imagine you are a deer, happily chewing a mouthful of grass; you may become temporarily unaware of your surroundings and before you know it- the tiger will pounce!

Similarly, we become used to our environments and may not place too much importance on them. This is a quite a common outlook, yet our environment can so easily reflect upon our ability to work well or relax fully. Good business people work in a clear environment; likewise it is easier to relax in a clean and tidy home. A well-organized area actually inspires us to work better because we know exactly where everything is when we need to get a job done. Whether you require your pen or a duster, an organized environment saves time and is user friendly.

Good organization calms the mind. If we are continually looking at mess our heads can become hot. We can’t stand it and may well end up in an argument... all those of you with messy teenagers, small children or untidy partners will be familiar with the feeling of permanent frustration when trying to create order out of chaos... OR having to nag others continually into doing the tidying up. At work, it can be difficult to prioritize when all the paperwork is in a muddle and important documents can get lost, making us appear incompetent- similarly, if you lose your passport or birth certificate at home it will create the need for a replacement.
ABOVE: Feng shui compass
The world of interior design has infiltrated our lives, to a very large degree, through the internet and a host of reality shows. Whatever the trends, you need to feel ‘at home’ in your home and comfortable at work. Trends come and go. Besides individuals who are famous for their designs and artworks example: Laura Ashley, one of the major trends during recent years has been Feng shui with its Eastern Origins. Feng shui sounds intriguing and is clearly popular, being founded on the balance between Heavenly time and earthly space. As with other Eastern religions and practices such as meditation, it has been well received worldwide. The origins and practices within Feng shui are very complex, having religious connotations giving rise to historical outcomes. Mostly people are familiar with the Yin Yang aspects and apply these when decorating their homes, following the basic belief that it will improve their health and well-being. Whether it is any more effective than decorating your rooms to suite personal taste in ways that make you feel happy and content may be considered questionable.

As we have said before, life is always about making the most of every situation. If you live or work in an environment that you don’t like and are not in a position to change, find time to go out to places of interest... shopping at lunchtimes, strolling through the local park in the evening. If the place is a mess and the thought of tidying up is overwhelming, set time aside and do it in realistic chunks AKA bite size pieces!! The sense of achievement one tidy cupboard creates should spur you on to the next area.

Final thought, your environment is an extension of you, so show it some respect!

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like to write articles or poetry for Its Braap contact:

Saturday, 24 November 2012

X-Factor UK... What an upset... the people Vote!!

ABOVE: Ella Henderson
WOW the X-Factor results last weekend shocked everyone and especially the judges when 2 of the hottest contestants- James Arthur & Ella Henderson, landed in the bottom 2, thereby having to compete against each other in the sing off. The judges were stunned and didn't really know what to say. Most of their comments went over my head however I do recall someone saying it was ridiculous and Tulisa expressed the age old view that the public were clearly voting for the wrong people and had made the mistake of assuming that their favourite contestant was safe; thereby implying that they had voted for the less obvious singers.

I am not so sure that this was the case and will use this opportunity to express a different opinion. Whilst watching Saturday’s show I was contemplating the fact that Christopher and Rylan were still performing and clearly had the public on their side. With regard to quality singing this is a surprising outcome. Over the years the trend for the British public to support the under-dog has become apparent leaving many people convinced that the voting is rigged. For arguments sake let’s assume that the vote is a true reflection of public opinion, the question then becomes, ’what opinion are the public expressing?’ We have witnessed many altercations amongst the judging panel, experts in the industry, who at times have succumbed to ‘playground talk’ making snide personal remarks towards one another that have no relevance to the competition. This does not create a good public impression. In my opinion the only judge who has maintained a good sense of decorum is Nicole who avoids engaging in conflict and has a positive approach overall.

This year I hold the view that Gary Barlow’s domineering approach and attitude towards the public vote has not worked in the programmes favour. Gary was furious when Louis saved Rylan in the early stages of the competition and the final result was decided as a result of the public vote. The public voted Rylan in and Gary could not believe it, becoming more enraged cleary ignoring the fact that the public pay to vote and tune in each week- therefore having a right to watch the people they support perform. If people love to watch Rylan put on a show rather than listen to a quality vocal rendition that is the public's choice for their Saturday evening viewing... even Robbie Williams loves Rylan's showmanship and Christopher was the wild card, the public clearly connecting with him.

RIGHT: Rylan performing on the X-Factor

Last week we lost the extremely talented Ella Henderson, very unfortunate as we now have an all male competition since Tulisa has run out of acts; never mind she won last year with all girl group 'Little Mix.'

Time to get real!! The X-Factor will only run as long as people are prepared to watch it and pump up the income through text votes and uploads, therefore it is time for the judges to show a little respect towards public opinion and reign their personal feelings in.

Ultimately there can be only one winner so even at this stage if the voting had retained the best vocal performances, quality singers would begin leaving the competition shortly. Next year the judges might need to give more consideration to the contestants who go through to the live shows, however there has to be an entertainment factor to grab the public interest otherwise the programme might fall flat becoming a forum for unengaging earnest hopefuls!

At this point in the competition the best singers will undoubtedly be offered recording contracts and have a future in the music industry so we will definitely hear more of 16 year old Ella. The probability is that James Arthur will make the final and I expect Jahmene and Union J will reach the final stages too... but just supposing by some twist of fate Christopher or Rylan actually win? To the public it’s just another year and to the music industry, a little spoke in its eternally spinning wheel. Final thought: why on earth should Christopher or Rylan feel guilty about anything? They are keeping their supporters happy and that is the exactly what we expect of them.

Jaz McKenzie

We have a very good readership, so if you would like your work featured send your articles or poems to:

Friday, 23 November 2012

Robbie Williams ~ Candy (Live X Factor UK)

AND... here we have the genius, Robbie Williams performing his latest release 'Candy.' Carnival meets playground in this catchy bouncy number that has you singing along immersed in Robbie's charisma.... Hear the shout out for Rylan?  Well, tomorrow ~IB~ will be giving him a mention with reference to last week's result. Did you hear Robbie say that he was blown away by Ella? Shame that she's been blown away and is no longer a contender. Reality TV... don't you love it!

Jaz McKenzie

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Guessing the Odds!!

The only certainty in life is that we have periods of uncertainty... oh yes, mustn't forget the age old cliche which loosely interpreted means we don't live forever!! This poster is very challenging and I believe it embraces the idea that we need to take chances in life.

Odds are fascinating, so fascinating in fact that people spend hours calculating them; even betting on them and when fortunate can make good money or great decisions. Let's stay positive!

If you are unsure about calculating odds you can try the pragmatic approach- ultimately every single set of odds comes down to the same basic odd which is 50/50... you either get it right or wrong... when you bet on something there is no in between.

Even when not betting there are many instances where odds come into play and these are usually attached to choices, especially where serious medical decisions are concerned and these cannot be truly calculated leaving a tense period during post operative recovery. There are many factors to take into consideration when calculating odds but no matter how careful you are there are at least 2 considerations that are almost impossible to calculate- individuality and the element of surprise.

Soooo... the odds of our work syndicate winning the lottery are... nope, too huge a calculation but as I have already said, either we will or we won't... and the odds of you reading to the end of this article? Pretty good because it's quite short... however the odds are that I'll never know whether you did or not!

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like to write a short article contact:

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Rowan Atkinson - Invisible Drum Kit

A little humour is needed in the world right now and what better than one of the world's best loved comedians, Rowan Atkinson. Here we have a first class exhibition of the art of mime. Not only is the concept unique but the skill phenomenal. I don't know quite how the timing is so spot on or how many rehearsals it took to achieve this. Not only that, the number of comical elements woven into the sketch keep you focused throughout the entire 5+ minutes, quite an art. Incase you haven't seen it before I will not reveal the surprise element towards the end... suffice it to say- Pure Genius!

Jaz McKenzie

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Snap, Crackle & POP! Live Life~Love Life WK47

Why are we describing life as a bowl of cereal? Possibly because so much is going on in our lives at any one time, a mixture of ingredients all stirred up together and full of mini explosions. Inevitably some of this is down to our genes in the first instance as they are responsible for our basic characteristics... and let’s face it; physical appearance often does have a direct affect upon our personal experiences. It’s not only children who can be cruel, some of us will hold very biased views as adults and this often shapes our initial opinions of others and dictates the way we treat them. It is frequently the unexpected that causes life’s little explosions- the occasions when we haven’t had time to prepare mentally. If we focus on learning some coping mechanisms this may help with our overall communication especially with regard to stressful situations.

SNAP... we all reach breaking point at times. Ideally we need to use our internal barometer to measure stress and be careful not to take on too much. There are times when stress is unavoidably piled on top of more stress. You may need to be able to identify what makes you feel the most stressed and find the best strategies for coping. No action = increased stress. A problem becomes larger when it is left to its own devices, causing us to feel out of control which exacerbates the challenges. Certain situations in life are major stress factors and these are often life changing events. Changes in marital status, having children or moving home are all in this category. Where possible, try to plan changes in ways that cause minimal disruption and encourage ease of transition. Try to take whole family needs and feelings into account; it is worth remembering that young children are usually more adaptable than we give them credit for when it comes to changes such as school. Obviously there are children who require additional help to cope with change and routine.

CRACKLE... Sometimes we don’t quite know what’s going on in life. There may be covert agendas bubbling away that need to be brought out into the open. Quite often we are unsure when deciding our next move. Write your options and reasons for them down... find a way to score and make decisions! The usual battle here is head verses heart and getting the balance right is crucial. Decisions leaning too far in one direction are usually unsound however we must always listen to gut instinct and not ‘reason’ it away.

POP... Pop is a great way to describe achievement and celebration... sounds like releasing a champagne cork! When things go well how much attention do we pay to them? Why did they work? How can you apply this process to something that is not going so well? What rewards will you use by way of celebration? How does success make you feel? How does it affect family/friend relationships? Being pleased for others is a gift and is far better than being resentful of their achievements.

When children are young we are often very encouraging. Most of the things they are learning we are in agreement with. Problems may occur later, especially when a teenager wishes to follow a different plan to their parents mental map. It can be difficult celebrating achievements that do not match up with your expectations. If you wish your child to go to university and study engineering and they go off of their own accord and are offered an apprenticeship at a hairdressers you may feel deeply unhappy. Ultimately we recognize individual choice as a basic right and it is better for your child to enjoy their career choice. Flexibility in your approach shows understanding and openness making it easier for children to seek your advice.

Achievements can be regarded as retrospective carrots!! They should spur us on to the next step and are meant to be enjoyed. We often reward children with stars and adults with pats on the back! You can always manufacture a small reward for yourself based on the things you enjoy and it may be helpful to keep a record to act as a positive springboard.

Are you ready to wake up in the morning to the snap, crackle and pop of your life? If you take a more relaxed view of these ingredients and accept them you are more likely to stay afloat rather than feel as if you are riding and crashing the waves! A few minutes peace or meditation are good mental preparation for the day and simply a way of taking stock and seeing the overall picture.

Jaz McKenzie

If you wish to write an article of interest or inspiration please send to:

Friday, 16 November 2012

Puppy Love!

I wrote this poem back in the day when my son arrived home, puppy in arms, saying he had offered to look after it for a weekend!! He had always wanted a puppy however I am sooo not a doggy person. Having objected initially, here we have the inside story in just a few words!!

For Dolce

Cute little puppy... AND a pit bull at that!
Tell me...
How did you manage it?
How did you manage to reach out with that paw
and claw
your name through the sign
nailed to my heart
that said,
'Dogs are OK but they're not allowed here?'

2 days... 4 days... 6.5 weeks?
But all it really took
was that first little look!
... you were soooo sweet
cupped in the hands or my strapping great lad!
Nose twitching with curiosity
Eyes brightly focused on mine
while your tongue flickered swiftly across my hand
and I found myself stroking your neck
...WHAT... the heck happpened here?
I guess this is what they mean by puppy love!

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like your poems featured contact

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Be Braap~Be Inspired!!! Real Quotes from Real People!! #19

No squares in my circle~ only rectangular knots!!!

I am told this is a quote from AV J.O.E. - artist on the Break Bread record label.. check out their Reverbnation.

I love this quote... makes you stop and think as it is definitely out of the ordinary thereby setting a different challenge. Open to interpretation. So here goes!!

We all have circles within the different hemispheres of life – family, business, leisure- & mix with different people hence a range of personalities. Some people you might think of as pretty straight forward- square, but the reality is we’re all pretty twisted one way or another which leads us to the ultimate question... what’s NORMAL!! Sooo... all you have to do is enjoy living in a world of interesting people!

ABOVE: Gangster and A Gentleman!! ~ Owner of Break Bread Entertainment
Check out the website:

Jaz McKenzie

BE BRAAP! Send us your favourite quotes or sayings with a few words... you can include a photo of yourself (optional) to: These can be your own quotes or famous sayings and we will include them in this section: 'Be Braap~ Be Inspired.' NOTE: you do not have to be a great writer, simply send YOUR quote with YOUR thoughts in 10 or more words as the aim is to inspire others!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Jimi Hendrix - best ever live solo. He plays Red House live at the New Y...

Time for some serious music!!!  This is a sit & listen blog... nothing else... Blues it is for a change so feel the vibes & enjoy. You could drown in these notes if that were possible and nothing in my book beats serious solo's... guitar & drum at the top of the list. Press play now & off you go!

Jaz McKenzie

Monday, 12 November 2012

Wild Things With Dominic Monaghan - Wild Things With Dominic Monaghan: S...

~IB~ has never shared an entire programme before however short clips from this episode are not available!
Dominic is known to many as an actor which, considering the amount of passion and theatricals displayed here is not surprising! I think Dominic was in his element searching Venezuela for the world's largest centipede; a carnivore shown here eating a bat. I was almost stunned by the way Dominic talks about what could happen throughout the episode, at one point casually picking up a tarantula and deciding to put it down before it becomes annoyed. The centipede on the stick was worse than a horror movie! We watch Dominic carefully switching the stick around so that the centipede walks from end to end and back again... at one point becoming angry and rearing like a cobra. Does Dominic put it straight back down? Of course not... he happily tells us how serious a bite can be and if I remember correctly there is no antidote.

You have to admire Dominic's total lack of fear hence his ability to handle these dangerous species. When it came to the ;Bat Poo' cave even the guide decided to sit it out... whilst Dominic enters the cave wearing safety trousers & breathing gear yet with only a t-shirt on his upper body... very cringe worthy indeed.

We need a few people like this in our world so that we can discover secrets of the wild and improve our own knowledge... and let's face it, most of us don't wish for a first hand view! It does make you wonder though, with Dominic in his mid 30's, what more is he going to do to fulfil his sense of adventure and need for adrenalin? Mountaineering and potholing come to mind but they are not really in quite the same league.

Well, I am looking forward to the rest of this series and It will be interesting to see how things  pans out... roll on episode 2!

Jaz McKenzie

Time for a challenge? Live Life~Love Life WK 46

Are there times in your life when you suddenly realise that every day is more or less the same?

It is so easy to fall into routines and habits- a comfortable place but all of a sudden, instead of feeling that familiar sense of contentment, instead we have a niggle of dissatisfaction that grows and grows until we find that there is an issue to address.

The times in life when everything is going well are to be treasured and it is good to keep everything flowing nicely. It is a good feeling to wake up everyday in keen anticipation of what lies ahead and this generates a drive of positive energy that inspires us further. Having said that, sometimes the best time to consider a new challenge aka 'change' is when things are going well and you still have more to give. This means that you will be clear headed and have plenty of time to consider options; especially if you are looking at changing your job or career path. When things are going well we are likely to maintain standards and lack the sort of desperation that people who have become tired of their job are likely to emanate.

There are many different challenges that we come across in life and especially our personal relationships are often challenging; familiarity easily breeding contempt as most of us know only too well. Taking others for granted is pretty much a universal occurrence because we become so settled in our ways and everything becomes a matter of course. Showing genuine appreciation is important and not the same as a quick thank you. Long term relationships hold different challenges in order to keep the spark alive. The point with relationships is that they are always a two way thing and sadly they can go wrong; it’s a real shame when a challenge is presented and refuted!

Sometimes we may become mentally lazy and stop using our intellect. It might be for a valid reason eg: we have small children to care for and put our own needs to one side. Exhaustion can also prevent us from applying our minds fully to different things. Sometimes we may just become complacent and not feel a need to extend our minds. Interestingly, once we kick it back into action- possibly undertaking training, the knowledge we gain spurs us on and we actually enjoy life more. The equation is that challenges create new challenges and from this we can derive an increased sense of satisfaction. Challenges do not have to be hard work. There are many challenging games available to stimulate us in different ways from general knowledge to improving our memories!

Another type of challenge is physical. You might like to undertake a charity leap out of a plane, or maybe take a short flight if you have a phobia of planes. Challenges will require mental stamina and nerve but might make life easier in the long run. You might set a simple challenge and build up from there, example: if you address a need such as too exercise more! There are other types of challenges which are hard to deal with including anxiety. Sometimes we need to take the first step and seek help either medical or counselling. Seeking help is a strength and not a weakness because it is a stepping stone to an improved future- a more confident YOU. Interestingly I was just watching a programme in which people managed to conquer their phobias with the help of an invented drug- Rumyodin, which was actually a placebo. Derren Brown, who instigated the experiment, said that sometimes all we need to do is to give ourselves permission to overcome our fears. We can recondition ourselves by tapping into our will power and the drug Rumyodin is an anagram of your mind! This is a challenge because it means that we know we can be in control when we choose.

Challenges keep us alert and make our lives richer whether achieving new heights, improving relationships or overcoming fear. The more challenges we seek the more we grow and stimulation and success are very important qualities. Try to make time to look at your life and seek out appropriate challenges to interest you and bring a little more light into your life! It is better to die reaching for the stars than to be in the passenger seat of life!

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like to write a short article send to:

Friday, 9 November 2012

Work Appraisals- ‘A Waste Of Time’ ... Or Maybe Not!

MSN Article + My views as a manager!

'More than one in three people believe workplace appraisals are a waste of time and do nothing for their career development, according to a new report.

A survey of 1,000 office workers found that 37% spent at least seven hours a year on appraisals, increasing to 15 hours for one in 20.

Recruitment firm Badenoch & Clark said appraisals were in danger of becoming 'tick box' exercises that wasted time and failed to help employees.

Managing director Nicola Linkleter said: "Many organisations adopt a once a year approach towards appraisals which means the process is scheduled and collation of employee feedback is often carried out through standardised forms or systems.

"Dedicating time to appraisals is only beneficial for organisations and individuals if they are effective in identifying and developing talent in return."


I find this article both interesting and in a way, sad. Personally I think the way that appraisals are often carried out does not do justice to the employee. If an appraisal is hastily scribbled in just before a pay review you can guarantee that little thought has gone into the process. The purpose of appraisals can be two fold, being used as an annual review and performance monitoring tool, sometimes in preparation for possible disciplinary situations to identify specific training needs.

I love motivating people and trying to get the best from them. In order for this to happen, people need to feel secure at work and able to discuss situations within their teams and with their immediate boss. The more you know your employees the better the groundwork for the appraisal. Why wait for a once a year meeting? It is far better to sit down with your employees every couple of months and keep up to date, not just with their performance but also their feelings about the team and the organization. If you do a good job staff will feel happy at work and volunteer their suggestions to improve the operation and share the company vision. Your staff are also your direct internal customers and should be treated with respect and courtesy at all times. Sadly bullying at work is a serious problem and people who are bullied should keep notes, save offensive emails and not be afraid to tackle the situation. You can always get advice from ACAS if you do not have your own union.

Disciplining staff is part of a managers’ job however keeping track of achievements is equally important.- nobody wants their appraisal to be a bunch of negatives! It is far better to look at the positives first and areas to expand in order to consider the negatives within a positive framework. By giving people their job descriptions and a carefully thought out appraisal form in advance, people can have a go at evaluating themselves. This system helps us to see how employees view themselves- some will be accurate and others totally off the hook! Whether people are under or over confident you will need evidence to back up your comments on their progress. You may have overlooked some of the contributions they view as important or that you were unaware of.

Appraisals should help identify strengths and weakness and the ways these can be addressed and put to use in the organization. Training might be required, promotion or more responsibility given: possibly help with acquiring more skills to enable the person to seek employment elsewhere. It is better to help people move on rather than holding them back and this will strengthen your company’s reputation as a considerate employer, drawing better job candidates in the future.

If you work well with your staff they will not live in fear of their appraisal and if these are implemented successfully they will be a great management tool that helps you to accurately assess the quality of your work force.

Jaz McKenzie

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Barack Obama's Victory Speech Full - Election 2012

Congrats to Barack Obama and wow... what a speech! Definitely have to blog it as a source of inspiration and oneness. When it comes to speeches Obama gets it right, playing to people power and pulling everything out of the bag. A well deserved victory and reassuring because it shows how much the average person accepts changes in society and I really like the graceful acknowledgment bringing the opposition into a very positive light. When we feel sorry for ourselves let's just be grateful for our losses compared to Mitt Romneys!
There is a great deal to be learned in the art of public speaking here and let's hope that despite the tough political climate the majority of promises made will be fulfilled,

Jaz McKenzie

Monday, 5 November 2012

Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot

Remember, Remember the 5th of November~Gun Powder, Treason & Plot... so what are we remembering & why? Here's a quick history lesson with some excellent detail to brush up your knowledge of olden day goings on in London Town. All of you who are off to the fireworks... Enjoy!!

Jaz McKenzie

Sunday, 4 November 2012

What's In A Promise? Live Life~Love Life WK 45

There was a time when a person’s word was their bond, probably going back to the days when only the rich were literate. A person’s word was everything and interestingly if you offer someone a job strictly by word of mouth that still holds as a verbal contract here in the UK- strange when you think about it; the way we need to reinforce so many things by having a witnesses to the fact.

We really should take our word seriously so that others know they can rely upon us. Many hearts are broken, not just romantically, due to unfulfilled promises and we do not wish to cause disappointment to others and let ourselves down in the meantime. Everybody knows how essential it is to think before we speak, particularly in stressful situations were an immediate reply is required; yet how often do we promises things without considering the consequences? It can be a good idea not to make instant promises but to come back to people later with a reply, especially when making a commitment before checking our schedules! If you promise to help out at an event and later find that you cannot manage it, the person is not only let down but may have lost other possible offers of help in the meantime.

Being reliable is a great asset to have in your personal specs! People will view you in a positive light and want to be on your team because those who fulfil their promises tend to achieve results more often than those who don’t. If we need something important done we need to consider the best person for the job and that is not necessarily the person with the most time on their hands. People with loads of time often delay doing the necessary whereas busy people will be more likely to schedule everything in.

There will be times in life where we are genuinely unable to fulfil our promises so it can be helpful to say things such as, ’I’ll try to fit that in later if I have time,’ when we hope to do something but are not sure what else might crop up. After all, there are many unexpected surprises in life ranging from running into an old friend or catching the latest virus! Both will take up valuable time one way or another. Sometimes we are given priority work unexpectedly or have deadlines brought forward which will need to be attended to and may leave us playing catch up.
Little Red Riding Hood who broke her promise & the rest is history!!

Promises consist of words- during our lifetimes we waste many, many words; some in idle gossip, some in anger but a promise is one area where we can make good. Promises are so often made to smooth over a situation and we start quite young... how many times do we hear young children promising not to do something again? Sometimes all a promise amounts to is a guarantee of good intention but sometimes that is good enough. As adults we should be able to discern how much importance to attach to a promise and have an idea of what to expect.

Sadly, the greatest lottery of promises is that of marriage vows. Most people undertake these vows following a great deal of consideration however others get married on a whim. With marriage being so easy these days following the introduction of the civil ceremony and with our current attitudes in this throw away society, it is not surprising that vows are broken and divorce is on the increase. We expect so much from our life partners along with an increased expectation in every area of life- is it little wonder that we have such a sense of discontent with our lives and our partners?

Next time you go to make a promise do a quick mental check to see whether you are being realistic. With the New Year on the horizon we will all be making some resolutions which highlights the need for self control and determination. Some of us will succeed and some of us will give in! Whichever way it goes, ultimately a promise is a promise until it’s fulfilled or broken.

Jaz McKenzie

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Aliens (playlist)

This new Argos advert really put a smile on my face. The aliens clearly have a semi-understanding of life on earth  but in some ways they are not far from the truth! Having watched Super Nanny in the USA having to intervene to stop the children racing around the garden with machetes ... gasp-horror- I guess even intelligent adults find it hard to draw the line sometimes! The most alarming aspect was the mother who felt sorry for the children being told not to do something they have been allowed to do for years!

Working a nursery I have seen some strange things arriving with the children from time to time and the most amusing of all was a teapot. 'Why's he carrying a teapot?' I asked... 'because he wouldn't leave home without it,' came the reply... sigh, who's the parent around here?

Children do need to play with natural materials and safe household items so there is a definite place for small pans, wooden spoons, nail brushes and yes, the all important cardboard box, especially in times of recession when high street toys are so expensive. It is even better when parents join in with their children's games and help them stretch their imaginations.

Back to these adverts- very clever way of looking at everyday life from a new perspective. There's some great information too if you keep watching.

Happy Shopping!

Jaz McKenzie

Thursday, 1 November 2012


Once upon a time there was a nice TV presenter called Jeremy Kyle who hosted a reality show here in the UK -along the lines of the Jeremy Springer show in the USA. It was such a refreshing change watching Kyle’s understanding manner, the way he listened and spoke to his guests, treating them all in a decent manner whilst displaying empathy. Having watched shows in which the presenter was undoubtedly biased, leaving you feeling sorry for the people whose stories were presented on national... now international was a relief to witness... Soooo what went wrong?

I am guessing fame combined with the power to stand in front of an audience and play God. Having watched Jeremy Kyle in the States I was horrified to witness his whole manner. Jeremy Kyle is God of the stage without a doubt and has come to resemble the type of people he previously helped... maybe a form of natural evolution... if you live with a certain behaviour for long enough there’s a good chance you will replicate it!

Jeremy no longer appears to have an understanding of personal space... instead he literally sticks his face in peoples’ faces and almost shouts at them. It is obvious whose opinion he favours by the length of time he allows people to speak. Heaven help you if he’s not on your side ... far from listening, Kyle cuts people off before they can explain their position and makes snide comments to them or downright nasty remarks about them, ‘ of course we can’t believe a word you say, those are the most shifty eyes God ever gave anybody.’ Not necessary- just adding a touch of 'below the belt' showmanship!

It’s a fact that Kyle’s behaviour has seriously deteriorated. This is the man who is supposed to be some sort of authority in human relationships and yes, he’s often a very good judge of the situation. Unfortunately, besides his acquired aggressive stance he also addresses people in a threatening manner. On several occasions he has told people that if they don’t behave as agreed they won’t be able to get away from him and has said more than once that he would follow them home! I find it scary that Kyle is allowed to ‘threaten’ people publicly and that it is deemed acceptable on TV- despite the fact we know it's an empty threat.

The other thing Kyle does regularly is to bring his personal situation into the public arena... as a father of 4 I would move heaven and earth for my children... yes Jeremy but despite your brother being a drug addict, you didn’t have such a bad life as this poor guest, nothing drove you to start using drugs aged 15... and if you did have a difficult upbringing you were blessed with inner determination to overcome. No wonder this poor guy couldn’t just give drugs up and no, he wasn’t just making excuses for his previous behaviour, facts are facts. The man admitted to his past and expressed his wish to change. WORK WITH IT KYLE!! No point knocking him for his past. Sometimes you have to start from the here and now regardless of how painful the past has been, making the present situation a mesh of hope and fear. Obviously the guy wants to change- why subject yourself to the ‘wrath of Kyle’ otherwise!

Maybe this type of chat show host should undergo regular psychological assessments to make sure that their personalities are not gradually being overpowered by that of the guests! Poor Jeremy Kyle... maybe you need a real holiday away from the extremes of life and take time to redefine your personality.

Jaz McKenzie

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