29 Dec 2013

10 Random Reasons to be Cheerful in the UK in 2014

(and even slightly proud and pleased)

1.  'The Bridge' is Back

Sofia Helin and Kim Bodnia
as Saga Noren and Martin Rohde

From 4 January 2014 on BBC4 another 20 episodes of the Danish/Swedish/German funded police procedural, 'The Bridge'. The British love watching people in woolly jumpers clutching torches in their teeth, gun in hand, staring glumly through a perpetually dark, rainy drizzle. Other than the gun (replace with wellies) it is much like attending any summer music festival in the UK.

The title music from The Choir of Young Believers ‘Hollow Talk’ is magical as well.

2.  And the Weinstein Company have Bought Peaky Blinders

So I have two more seasons of staring into Cillian Murphy’s eyes wondering what non-Englanders will make of a ‘brummy’ accent. I’m hoping Sam Neill returns too as his Northern Irish accent was superb, as was his portrayal of a sadistic policeman.

3.  Chiwetel Ejiofor and Steve McQueen may win Oscars/BAFTAs/Golden Globes for '12 Years a Slave'

Opening here on 10 January 2014. I have never seen a 96% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes! I'll be up until the early hours in party frock and dangly earrings cheering them on during the awards months. In fact why not wear the outfit permanently (once again adding those wellies). Both actor and director so mightily talented.

4.  And Talking of Awards ... the MTV Europe Music Awards (EMAs) are Being Held in Glasgow

The MTV EMAs will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2014 at Glasgow's brand new, state-of-the-art venue, The SSE Hydro.

Plus the BAFTAS open up to programmes watched online in the UK, and we will have the first year of the Man-Booker opened up to all English speaking nations ...bring it on.

5. The Vikings are Coming (and not just on TV!)

The new exhibition at the British Museum will open in March - and is on loan from its home in Oslo - the 37 metre remains of the largest warship ever found.

6.  The Very Lovely ‘The Minimalists’ Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus

Are touring America-and arrive in the UK in October. Being an Organisational Goddess I already have my ticket booked!! You can ‘buy’ tickets online (they are free, you are simply saving a place) and Joshua’s new book 'Everything that Remains' is published on 14 January 2014. They also have a FABULOUS blog out on - 'How to Start a Successful Blog Today'.

The 'Mins' are funny, obviously love and care about what they do, are far less saccharine than most American bloggers and give masses of sound help and advice for free.

If you can like people just from their writing then these boys seem to have a very giving sensibility, alongside sound common-sense. I honestly can’t wait to go to their talk.

7. English Common Law Will be Used by Children from Colorado

As the basis for their legal fight against fracking in one of the most heavily fracked states in the USA. Children from all 50 states, under the auspices of +Our Children’s Trust, have become plaintiffs in a class action suit against their state governments. A petition was delivered in November in Colorado and will be considered on 27 January 2014. The legal principle is that water (and air) are within the public domain and not 'owned' by anyone.

A small digression ...
English common law is amazing! The most obvious example is the 'common-law wife'. It you have lived with, given birth to children and supported each other in a way that an average person (terminology; a reasonable standard person) would assume was a marriage - then even without the license you are regarded as a common law wife.

Not as well know is the 'moron in a hurry' terminology first used in 1978 and gradually gaining credence. So much so that Apple computers used it in 2006 in a trading standards dispute with Apple records - see full explanation here.

8.  The National Curriculum in the UK

From September 2014, the UK Government implement their new curriculum with rudimentary coding being taught to children from age 5 upwards.

The hugely inspiring +Code Club, a voluntary-led organisation of children’s after-school clubs aid 9-11 year olds in coding. They have grown from 700-odd clubs six months ago to 1608!! Which makes the UK world leader in teaching computer science to kids (yey). Find your free club here.

We also still teach our children cursive writing, whereas most states in the USA no longer have this as a national standard  ...

Last but by no means least:

9.  The ex Mayor of NYC and 10. the soon to be wed Kanye/Kim and baby North West will be moving to Londres in 2014.

Watch that tabloid space ...

Happy New Year and have a great 2014 everyone.

The Organisational Goddess

12 Dec 2013

How to Stop Junk Phone Calls

The Organisational Goddess Guide to a Lighter Life

Only receive phone calls from those you wish to contact you - yes really!

A friend mentioned to me the other day that she had been receiving a huge number of cold phone calls - selling everything from payday loans, to making PPI (personal payment insurance) claims, joining gyms or monthly charity donations. We all receive masses of junk emails, but somehow doesn’t a junk phone call seem more personal?

And surely our phone numbers should be safely restricted to friends, family and those whom you wish to have it?

The problem is that my friend, unwittingly, had been the one who handed over this very valuable (to any company) piece of information.

We all use the internet nowadays to book theatre, film and music event tickets. We also shop online, and have innumerable accounts whenever we sign up to a newsletter or blog we like. All of this data can be sold to a third party unless we tick, or untick the appropriate boxes when signing up - to not allow our information to be passed on to a third party.

Craftily some companies automatically have boxes checked stating you agree to have your details passed on - and you must actively de-register; whereas some have check boxes that must be ticked for your information not to be included in their data sales base. Generally most people don’t realise that ALL their personal information is allowed to be sold if the appropriate box is not checked or unchecked. A list of 6,000 names and addresses can typically be worth £10,000. So you are actually giving away your details to a company that will make a great deal of money from it- let alone the nuisance calls!

There are a number of companies online who claim to be able to block nuisance calls, for a price.  


You will be wasting your money. The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is the only official opt-out service that companies are required to abide by under UK law, and it is the only one regulated by OFGEM. This service is free and it will take 28 days from registration for your number to become effective. Staggeringly by November 2013 19.48 million people had done so!

T: (0)20 7291 3320

Many companies also sell 'phone call blockers'. Small units that plug in - between your phone and the phone socket. However these block all phone calls from overseas, or those with unknown or withheld numbers, and many of us have relatives, friends or business contacts whose phone calls we do want to receive. As an example the Police and GP doctor’s surgeries legitimately use withheld numbers.

The TPS are unable to stop silent phone calls, phone calls from overseas, scam or fraudulent phone calls, or market research phone calls - which is why it is incredibly important you do not accidentally give away your phone number in the first place!

To Stop Silent or Abandoned Phone Calls
Complain to OFCOM (https://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/tell-us/webflow/silent-calls/) - completing their online form or phone the consumer contact team:

T: 0300 123 3333

To Stop Overseas Nuisance Phone Calls

Report these to the Information Commissioners Office - they can investigate and fine companies very heavily. 

T: 0303 123 1113

To Stop Scam and Fraudulent Phone Calls

Can be reported to your local trading standards office. Find your local contact number at www.tradingstandards.gov.uk.

Telecoms Providers Offering Alternate Solutions

British Telecom offers a phone it claims to block 80% of unwanted calls costing between £44.99 and £109.99 dependant on the number of handsets ordered. You can bar up to 10 specific numbers on these sets.

Talk Talk offers a new call blocking service for those buried by nuisance phone calls, but the phone calls have to be classed as 'excessive' for the company to be reported, investigated and blocked.

An all-party parliamentary group have published a report with its recommendations on how to tackle nuisance phone calls and proposing to make it easier to report unsolicited phone calls.

I hope the above works well for you - do let me know.

The Organisational Goddess