Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Cervical Cancer Awareness Week 2013

This week (10th-15th June) it's Cervical Screening Awareness Week (CSAW), a UK-wide initiative lead by the charity Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust. The aim of the initiative is to highlight the importance of attending regular cervical screenings (or 'smear tests') and to raise awareness of how this can help to prevent cervical cancer.

In England, cervical screenings are offered free on the NHS to women over the age of 25 (until the age of 64). In Scotland and Wales, it starts slightly lower at 20. Since 2008, the NHS have provided vaccinations against the human papillomavirus (HPV) to girls aged 12 to 13, which helps to protect them from developing cervical cancer in the future. If, like me, you missed the HPV vaccine, attending regular cervical screenings is your best chance to catch any cell abnormalities that could develop into cancer. 

We are very lucky in this country to have these services available to us. Yet 20% of women still do not attend their screenings. As young women, many of us believe we're too young to get cancer. Cervical cancer in young women is very rare, but it's certainly not unheard of - tragic stories such as Jade Goody's and, more recently, Becky Ryder and Gemma Marsh really bring the importance of regular testing home. 

I turn 25 in November, but received my invitation to attend my first screening just over a month ago. I attended my screening last week and am currently awaiting the results. For me, there was no question in my mind that I would go as soon as I could. For others, I appreciate there are many reasons it might not be that easy. 

Either way, this is the week when we should take the time to think about it a bit more, to educate ourselves and to encourage each other to get tested. To find out more about cervical screening there's a lot of great information on the NHS website here.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Artwork of the Week #8

Over the last bank holiday weekend, I visited an old school friend who lives in Wakefield near Leeds. As mentioned in a previous post, I've been dying to get there ever since The Hepworth gallery opened a couple of years ago. Hepworth is one of my favourite artists, and I'd just kept reading such great things about the collection and building. Although my friend isn't an art-lover like me, she very, very kindly (and with a bribe of coffee and cake) agreed to tag along with me. 

I actually really love going to visit museums and galleries with people who wouldn't usually choose to go by themselves. I find that explaining things and answering questions just reaffirms by own enthusiasm for it all!

The Hepworth Wakefield houses works by British artist Barbara Hepworth and from the Wakefield art collection itself, but also hosts a series of contemporary, temporary exhibitions, in its impressive purpose-built spaces. I have to admit I didn't particularly enjoy the temporary shows that were on when we were visiting. One featured an artist responding to works found in the permanent collection - personally, I think the original objects he was responding to were interesting enough on their own without the addition of flashing lights and droning noises... The other exhibition featured more traditional painting and drawing and was much more my cup of tea. However, my friend didn't agree and there was a lot of 'I could have done that', 'how is that art??' or 'it looks like a 5-year-old did it...' as we journeyed through those rooms. You win some, you lose some eh!

The permanent collection itself was really fantastic. A great and unexpected mix of British modern sculpture and beautiful paintings spread across bright and spacious rooms. There aren't hundreds and hundreds of objects, which I liked. It was possible to take everything in in less than an hour and a half, but there was also enough text and information to keep you occupied should you want to be there for longer. 

On top of all that, entry to the entire gallery (including temporary exhibitions) is completely free - bonus!

Here are a few of my favourite pieces in the collections. The gallery is open 10am - 5pm, Tuesday - Sunday and is definitely worth a visit if you're in the area! 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Primark online?!

Long time no blog post...I've been in a bit of a rut inspiration-wise over the last couple of weeks, but saw this article today that I just felt the urge to share!

Primark has finally joined the world of online shopping (at least for a trial period, and with very limited stock, anyway) on ASOS. I think it's about time it caught up with the rest of the market, and I'm very happy I might soon be able to leave behind the traumatic shopping experience of the Oxford Street branch! Let's hope the cheap(ish) prices and YouTube Primark hauls don't get left behind too though!

What do you think? Is an online presence for Primark going to be a good thing?