What’s Happening in Syria? A two-minute summary and how to help.

Syria Crisis Oct 2013 - UNICEF, by Alessio Romenzi.
Photo courtesy of UNICEF, by Alessio Romenzi.

A week ago, I was contacted by UNICEF for a new blog project. The email title certainly stuck out from the others in my inbox, which are more typically “One Day Sale!” and “Next Seasons Hottest Trends!!”

I was asked if I could talk about the plight of children in the Syrian crisis and to suggest to my readers to donate to the Syria Crisis Appeal.

I don’t know much about the Syrian crisis, only that there is a civil war going on. And I don’t know much about UNICEF, only that they help children around the world.

So I said yes, as a kind of education for myself.

I dived into the research (feeling like a high school student working on an assignment!), reading dozens of articles, special features, photo journals, online videos…

And after spending about 3 hours working on it… I am sitting here in front of my computer, trembling with anger and helplessness, with tears uncontrollably running down my face.

Gaaah, there’s some bad stuff going on in this world.

So here are the major points, because I know your time is limited.

1) Syria is in the Middle East. It sits between Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon. It has a population of 22.5 million people. Capital city is Damascus.

Syria Crisis Oct 2013 - Image Google Maps

2) How did the civil war start? In early 2011, protesters against the government were met with violence. Subsequent protests resulted in massacres, and people were captured, beaten and tortured.

A group of Syrian army officers turned against the government and formed the Free Syrian Army. And since then, tanks and snipers have been used against protesters, air strikes have been made on hospitals, and chemical weapons have been used on civilians.

Syria Crisis Oct 2013 - Photo: AP / Aleppo Media Center AMC
Photo: AP / Aleppo Media Center AMC

3) Millions of innocent Syrians have been caught in between. The UN estimates 100,000 people have been killed. 4.5 million Syrians have been displaced and forced to move. 3/4 of refugees are women and children.

2 million have fled Syria to neighbouring countries like Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt, and these countries do not have the capacity to support them.

Syria Crisis Oct 2013 - UNICEF, by Alessio Romenzi.
Photo courtesy of UNICEF, by Alessio Romenzi.

4) Syrians are living wherever they can find shelter – sheds, stables, crowded apartments and makeshift camps and tents made from plastic sheets. Conditions are atrocious. Winter is coming.

Millions of children need water, food, medical supplies and warmth.

The pictures and stories on the internet jolted through my spine. Of course, I feel guilty, living in a country where my biggest drama for today was whether to cook chicken or lamb for dinner.

I also feel angry. This is wrong. This should not be happening to human beings. This is not fair. Not right.

I immediately want to help. But I feel so helpless and outraged at the same time.

I told my older children about all this – as a way to rant and clarify my thoughts. They asked big questions, like WHY would a government treat its people like that? WHERE will all the people live now? HOW will they survive? WHY do these things happen? WHY isn’t the rest of the world doing anything?

Good questions.

Now here’s a bit of info about UNICEF.

UNICEF is the United Nations Children’s Fund.

It is the world’s leading advocate for children and the largest organisation specifically focusing on children’s development and rights.

They work in over 190 countries to protect the rights of children. They provide vaccines, support child health, nutrition, clean water, sanitation, education and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and HIV.

Last year, UNICEF delivered warm clothes, blankets and other supplies like plastic mats and cooking stoves to more than 260,000 vulnerable people in Syria.

UNICEF provided food, medicine, immunisation, sanitation, child-friendly spaces, trauma counselling and schooling to Syrians living as refugees in neighbouring countries. And they need more money to help kids THIS WINTER. Like…NOW!

So, apart from telling you about this, obviously in hope you will donate. I have just made my own $100, tax deductible donation.

You can make a once off donation to the UNICEF Syrian Crisis Appeal here.

A few other articles you might like to read (that will put your own struggles into perspective).

Syrian Crisis Basics
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/29/syria-the-very-very-basics/

http://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/syria-dashboard/index.html

The Historic Scale of Syria’s Refugee Crisis
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/10/16/world/middleeast/syrian-refugee-crisis-photos.html?ref=syria&_r=0

Horrors and Violence against Women in Syria
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/26/syria-peace-talks-women-raped

Lebanon suffers under the strain of a refugee crisis now out of control
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/26/syria-refugees-lebanon-save-the-children

The Accessory Report – Necklaces

Hi everyone!

I’d love to introduce you all to my new blog sponsors, The Accessory Report.

With FREE international shipping, an AMAZING collection of drool-worthy jewellery, all at super-affordable prices (Around US$20-35)… I really hope you like their stuff as much as I do!

They asked me to pick out a few to try… and eeks, I didn’t know where to start! There were so many to choose from.

I had a good think about what I already have in my wardrobe. I have lots of statement necklaces that are better suited to wearing with cocktails dresses and evening gowns.

What I have been lacking… were necklaces that would go with “everyday outfits”… like a crisp white shirt, a grey t-shirt, a white tank top and jeans, a blue denim shirt. But the necklace would still have to look stunning and stylish.

The Accessory Report

So I picked out these two, and I can’t stop wearing them! They are fantastic! They seem to go with everything. And it’s funny, because I would have never thought of buying styles like these in a shop.

Left is the Victoria Necklace in Navy (it is currently sold out, but you can put yourself on a waiting list for when they are restocked). The Grey version is still available though.

On the right is the Odelia Necklace.

If you follow my Instagram and Facebook, you may have seen me wearing them in the last couple of weeks. They are just soooo easy to wear and add a fantastic pop to my outfits.

The Accessory Report

The is me wearing smart casual outfits with the Odelia Necklace. See? It doesn’t look too over-the-top or too blingy!

It looks great and add a finished and polished touch to my outfits.

The Accessory Report

These two outfits are very simple and just a little more dressed up for a night time occasion.

Once again the Victoria Necklace adds the perfect finishing touch.

These are some other necklaces that caught my eye… and have made me very tempted to buy :)

The Accessory Report

This is the Collette Necklace and the Emili Necklace.

The Accessory Report

This is the Monroe Necklace and the Eleanor Necklace.

The Accessory Report

And yes, these are a lot more sparkly, statement and stunning!!

Left is the Petite Kaleidoscope Necklace and the Ruxena Necklace (approx US$30-40).

As for the quality, they match the costume jewellery sold in Diva, Lovisa, Collette, and high street fashion stores like Forever New, Zara, Topshop, and Sportsgirl.

They also stock pretty earrings, bracelets and clutches.

Free international shipping on all orders makes online shopping very sweet indeed :)

Hope you find something you like!

Happy shopping xxx

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Women’s Online Fashion Shopping Guide.

The Sandbar at Point Walter

Hi everyone!!

My husband and I took the kids out for a little adventure. The stormy weather had cleared up and we were keen to soak up some of the delicious sunshine.

We headed over to Point Walter Reserve, in Bicton, where there is a sandbar that stretches out for about 1km into the river.

It’s a good walk for the kids. And my big bigger boys and I took the opportunity to run too.

Point Walter Oct 2013

The sandbar is only a couple of metres wide, so it was very cool to have water splashing on both sides.

We stopped to build sand castles, pick up shells, dig a trench from one side of the sand bar to the other, and examine the slight difference in water temperature on either sides.

Point Walter Oct 2013

There were even parts of the of the sandbar that were covered with water.

We gave the kids a big lesson about the rising and falling tide… and possibly getting stuck “out at sea”. Always check the weather radar and tide charts before heading out on “sea adventures” kids!

However, my 4 year old took our lesson the wrong way, and decided that WE WERE ALL GOING TO DIEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!

WAVES WERE GOING TO SWALLOW US ALL UP AND WE WERE GOING TO SINK TO THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN.

Naturally, my two older children couldn’t help themselves and made up stories about terrible disasters that could befall them while out at sea… like giant squid monsters with sticky tentacles that wrap around the ankles of little children and hold them down underwater so they can’t escape.

They were actually very funny, entertaining, and they delivered the stories with theatrical flair. Like a duo comedy act.

However before I could stop them, the damage was done. My 4 year old was suddenly terrified of the double-beached sandbar.

He threw a HUGE TANTRUM and refused to walk. He demanded to be carried! He demanded that we all turn around and go home! He demanded that we all stop having fun!

It took a long time for him to calm down.

Point Walter Oct 2013

Anyway, after all that, I took my two comedians for a run in the sand… and we swished happily through the water and reached the end of the sandbar.

Look at my boys lifting up their shorts to wade in the water! That image alone sums up much of my childhood. As a kid, I too would tuck my skirt into my knickers when I was playing at the beach.

We all finished the morning walk with takeaway coffee and ice cream.

We didn’t get swallowed up by the ocean. And we didn’t meet any giant squid monsters. It was a good day.

Hope you all have a fantastic week ahead!

xxx

Holster Hotness in Turquoise

I’m a big fan of Holster Sandals!

I already own one pair of “glam” Holsters. I wore them whilst holidaying in Singapore and spent up to 8 hours in them, walking around Sentosa, with no pain to complain of at all.

Holster Sandals

I was sent a new pair from Holster’s latest collection to try out – these Seychelles Jelly Wedge in Turquoise.

I love LOVE the sparkly bling!

I also love that they can get wet and dirty, and you can just wash them lightly and they still look amazing.

I used to dislike “jelly sandals”. I owned a Melissa pair, but when I walked on hot pavement, they would get sooo hot and sticky and felt gross on the soles of my feet.

Holster Sandals

But these are super comfy, they don’t get sticky or make my feet feel gross. They are SO much more affordable. Plus they look fantastic :)

Head on over to The Iconic to check out the latest Holster range, and feel free to use my special discount code!

Use this code at your checkout: ZAN15KQ
15% off full priced items (excluding G-star and Jets)
Expires: Nov 5th. 2013

Happy shopping!

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Women’s Online Fashion Shopping Guide.