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Adopting a child is a beautiful thing and marks the beginning of a new journey for your family, yet many adopt for the wrong reasons. When adoption is chosen, and not because of necessity, the decision can be influenced by inappropriate choices. When the process does not work out, this outcome is incredibly tough on the child as well as those trying to become guardians. It is wise to think about the reasons why you may want to adopt and whether you are ready for a lifelong commitment. Here we will look at certain issues to be aware of when deciding to adopt.   Often people commit to adoption and follow through with it, even though they have serious doubts. The guilt that envelopes them because of their lack of desire to adopt causes them to continue with the plans and take in a child. Although bringing an infant into your home and offering them a better life is something to be admired, if it is not done for the right reasons it is not good for anybody. Sometimes when a child has been living in your home for a while or if you are fostering a child the guilt propels those looking after them to continue the legal proceedings for adoption. Many also feel pressured by family to become the child’s guardian. As well as this self-imposed guilt, adolescents can manipulate feelings and may attempt to guilt adults into adopting them. Foster parents may care for these children and don’t want to see them move homes again. However, if you are not 100% committed to the idea of adoption do not decide to do it. It does not make you a bad person if you don’t want to be their legal guardian. If it feels wrong do not proceed. Another common reason people choose to adopt is to save failing marriages. Unfortunately, this occurs a lot as couples think the new addition will bring them closer together. Although at the beginning it may provide a distraction from marital issues, it will not last. A child cannot fix a broken relationship and should not be asked to. They will be pulled into a messy situation while believing that they are at fault for the breakdown. Often, the adoptive parents will slowly begin to resent the infant subconsciously for not saving the relationship. Another flawed reason to explore is adoption solely because a spouse wants to. Couples must be on the same page and have an equal level of passion, or it simply will not succeed. It takes two to tango and two to raise a child. Speak with your partner, clear the air. Many chose to adopt due to their fear of an empty nest. Mothers are often concerned with the emptiness of the home and their own personal lack of direction when children grow up and move out. Their adult children are now independent of their parents and do not need much direction, often resulting in the mother’s decision to adopt. It is a suitable option for them as older mothers do not need to worry about their biological clock impacting their decision to have a child in this way. Sadly, when this is the primary catalyst for the decision to adopt, it normally does not happen. When choosing to care for a kid you must be there to provide for the child’s needs and to help them to grow in love in your home. It is not the opposite, where the child is fulfilling your needs. The work completed in adoption agencies centers on the child and the suitability of the home for them. It can seem overly thorough and strict but it is entirely necessary at moments like this when adults must study the impact the child will have in their lives and if they can deal with this to care for them effectively. Of course, not all adoptions are for the wrong reasons. Adoption agencies will assess you to see if you are prepared and suitable to adopt, but it is worth reviewing these points to ensure that you are in the right position to begin. You may want to help a child who is without a family and provide for them, which is amazing. Remember, you must accept their heritage, faith and who they are as a person. Respect their history. The child may grow to be different than what you wanted for a son or daughter, but you cannot alter someone’s personality. Don’t try to change them but instead offer them a helping hand whenever they need it. Similarly, the entire family should be on board with the adoption decision. For a child to come into a comfortable, safe home the family must be unified and enthusiastic about the process. They are gaining a sibling and must make their new brother/sister feel at home. If your biological kids aren’t on board with the idea, do not force it or proceed. If these things are not an issue, it seems like you may be ready to adopt. It is extremely rewarding to mould the little one into a better version of themselves while you pass on your life’s knowledge to them, knowing that you helped them gain a better life. They are the ones who will make your life better.
At the very beginning of a pregnancy, parents may prefer not to know their baby’s gender. In fact, they would like to be surprised during their big day. Nonetheless, just a few parents-to-be are actually able to wait for nine months in order to know the sex of their child.   Even though a surprise is what most of them would love to have, couples focus on making sure that the arrival of their baby will be perfect: without knowing the sex, there are several problems to solve though. For instance, the clothes to buy, the color of the room, the type of cake to cook: just a few small details which, nonetheless, make that day become the most special moment of their lives.   Regardless of sex, having a baby is always an immense joy. Once you make sure that your baby is healthy, you can’t stop thinking about how he will look like, the best name to choose and… his sex! Human sexual differentiation is the process that determines baby’s gender. This is actually determined by baby’s genes. While eggs contain an X chromosome, sperme can have an X or a Y chromosome. According to their combination, the sex of a child is determined: a XX embryo will be a girl, whereas a XY embryo means that you are expecting a boy! If differences are not so remarkable during the first weeks of pregnancy, after week 7 the baby starts producing hormones that stimulate the development of its sexual organs. As far as girls are concerned, ovaries develop between weeks 11 and 12. For boys, on the contrary, their sexual organs start developing by week 9.   We all agree with the fact that the health of our baby is more important than his sex. So why are we so obsessed with finding out his gender? According to Daniel A. Potter, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist at the Huntington Reproductive Center Medical Group in California, “”It’s human nature. A family without sons, whose job was to hunt and keep everyone fed, might not have survived. So offerings were made to the gods, and soothsayers were consulted. People passed on to the next generation the methods they considered most effective for guaranteeing a boy, and this inspired old wives’ tales.” Even though there are several legends aiming to help women discover their baby’s sex, just a few of them are actually true. In most of cases, it is very easy to predict the wrong sex, that’s why couples had better talk with a doctor instead of relying on popular myths. However, if you want to listen to your body and try to deduce your child’s sex, there are some tips you should know. Whereas mood swings are common to all pregnancies, other signs may tell something more specific about your baby’s gender. For example, women with higher cortisol levels are more likely to carry a girl, experts revealed. The same it goes with severe morning sickness, even though this research is still ongoing.     According to Dr. Potter, “By your fifth month, around week 18 or 19 of your pregnancy, a sonogram can show you the sex of your unborn child with about 95 percent accuracy. From a medical standpoint, we do an ultrasound to check the age, position, and health of the fetus, but most parents want to know the sex too”.   Even though these tests are never 100% right, they can help couples prepare their house for the new arrival. If the baby’s sex is very important, his health is an aspect parents-to-be should always pay attention to. Maintaining a healthy nutrition, checking the fluids you consume during pregnancy, and staying active are the best ways to go through a pregnancy. Your baby’s sex will be unveiled at another time!
Adopting a child is a beautiful thing and marks the beginning of a new journey for your family, yet many adopt for the wrong reasons. When adoption is chosen, and not because of necessity, the decision can be influenced by inappropriate choices. When the process does not work out, this outcome is incredibly tough on the child as well as those trying to become guardians. It is wise to think about the reasons why you may want to adopt and whether you are ready for a lifelong commitment. Here we will look at certain issues to be aware of when deciding to adopt.   Often people commit to adoption and follow through with it, even though they have serious doubts. The guilt that envelopes them because of their lack of desire to adopt causes them to continue with the plans and take in a child. Although bringing an infant into your home and offering them a better life is something to be admired, if it is not done for the right reasons it is not good for anybody. Sometimes when a child has been living in your home for a while or if you are fostering a child the guilt propels those looking after them to continue the legal proceedings for adoption. Many also feel pressured by family to become the child’s guardian. As well as this self-imposed guilt, adolescents can manipulate feelings and may attempt to guilt adults into adopting them. Foster parents may care for these children and don’t want to see them move homes again. However, if you are not 100% committed to the idea of adoption do not decide to do it. It does not make you a bad person if you don’t want to be their legal guardian. If it feels wrong do not proceed. Another common reason people choose to adopt is to save failing marriages. Unfortunately, this occurs a lot as couples think the new addition will bring them closer together. Although at the beginning it may provide a distraction from marital issues, it will not last. A child cannot fix a broken relationship and should not be asked to. They will be pulled into a messy situation while believing that they are at fault for the breakdown. Often, the adoptive parents will slowly begin to resent the infant subconsciously for not saving the relationship. Another flawed reason to explore is adoption solely because a spouse wants to. Couples must be on the same page and have an equal level of passion, or it simply will not succeed. It takes two to tango and two to raise a child. Speak with your partner, clear the air. Many chose to adopt due to their fear of an empty nest. Mothers are often concerned with the emptiness of the home and their own personal lack of direction when children grow up and move out. Their adult children are now independent of their parents and do not need much direction, often resulting in the mother’s decision to adopt. It is a suitable option for them as older mothers do not need to worry about their biological clock impacting their decision to have a child in this way. Sadly, when this is the primary catalyst for the decision to adopt, it normally does not happen. When choosing to care for a kid you must be there to provide for the child’s needs and to help them to grow in love in your home. It is not the opposite, where the child is fulfilling your needs. The work completed in adoption agencies centers on the child and the suitability of the home for them. It can seem overly thorough and strict but it is entirely necessary at moments like this when adults must study the impact the child will have in their lives and if they can deal with this to care for them effectively. Of course, not all adoptions are for the wrong reasons. Adoption agencies will assess you to see if you are prepared and suitable to adopt, but it is worth reviewing these points to ensure that you are in the right position to begin. You may want to help a child who is without a family and provide for them, which is amazing. Remember, you must accept their heritage, faith and who they are as a person. Respect their history. The child may grow to be different than what you wanted for a son or daughter, but you cannot alter someone’s personality. Don’t try to change them but instead offer them a helping hand whenever they need it. Similarly, the entire family should be on board with the adoption decision. For a child to come into a comfortable, safe home the family must be unified and enthusiastic about the process. They are gaining a sibling and must make their new brother/sister feel at home. If your biological kids aren’t on board with the idea, do not force it or proceed. If these things are not an issue, it seems like you may be ready to adopt. It is extremely rewarding to mould the little one into a better version of themselves while you pass on your life’s knowledge to them, knowing that you helped them gain a better life. They are the ones who will make your life better.
Pregnancy is an amazing time in a woman’s life. Preparations begin for the new arrival and mothers do their best to give their baby the best chance of a healthy life. Sadly, prenatal disorders can sometimes occur during pregnancy, although they are present in a minority of cases. Women often worry about these developing during pregnancy, but what are they? Prenatal disorders are defects that occurs before the birth of the baby. Some birth defects like clubfoot can be seen at birth, yet other problems may not be recognised until later, like hearing issues. Doctors and midwives do their best to ensure the baby is healthy by scheduling regular check-ups and scans during pregnancy and performing tests to monitor any signs of potential irregularities. While in the womb babies can develop complications when their organs and bodies are forming. Often prenatal disorders occur as a result of genetic makeup that is passed from the parents. Others can be caused from chromosomal problems. A minority of defects are sometimes caused as a result of medications that the parent is taking or infections they may have picked up. The reality is that in many cases there are no known reasons why they are caused. Certain factors can increase the rate of prenatal disorders such as geriatric pregnancies (women over 35), women who have previously had a child with a prenatal disorder, have a family history of disorders, uses certain medication at the time of conception, abuses drugs or alcohol during pregnancy or has medical conditions like diabetes or obesity.     Unfortunately, not all prenatal disorders can be prevented, but there are many things you can do to decrease the risk of the baby developing them. If you are planning to have a child you should visit your doctor first. They will assess your health, risk factors and chances of having a healthy pregnancy. They will also give you helpful advice with any questions you might have about pregnancy or prenatal disorders. Speak with your doctor about any medications that you are on that could affect the pregnancy or medical conditions you have. Ensure that you have all of your injections at least one month before becoming pregnant. It is recommended to get a flu shot as pregnant women are more likely to suffer severe illness from the flu with many being hospitalised each year. Begin taking a prenatal multivitamin to improve your immune system before and during pregnancy. These are available from your local pharmacy and contain the specific amounts of vitamins and minerals that are essential at this time including vitamin A, C D, folic acid, and minerals like iron. However, do not exceed 10,000 units of vitamin A a day as overindulgence has been seen to result in complications during pregnancy. It is advised that 400 micrograms of folic acid ought to be consumed daily for the duration of a month before pregnancy and during pregnancy. This is a B vitamin that helps with neural tube defects such as spina bifida. It’s also important to avoid certain agents. It is good to limit Mercury intake, so avoid eating king mackerel, shark, tilefish or swordfish. You can however eat up to 6 ounces a week of white tuna. Many women believe fish should not be eaten during pregnancy, however it is nutritional for mother and baby. You can eat 8-12 ounces of low-mercury fish and shellfish per week. Exposure to lead is suggested, which is present in old paint and construction resources. Certain infections can increase the threat of prenatal disorders. Many people are vaccinated against these, so infections are not a huge risk. Rubella is one such infection which symptoms include rash and fever. It’s a virus that during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, deafness, blindness, heart issues or learning difficulties in a newborn. Toxoplasmosis is another, caused by a parasite from the soil. People catch this by eating undercooked meat, unwashed vegetables or animal faeces, particularly from cats. This often causes deafness, blindness and intellectual issues. Only consume meat that is cooked through and wear gloves when gardening, handling unwashed vegetables or animal faeces. Cytomegalovirus is an extremely common virus that causes no real issues in an average person, but can infect the foetus of a pregnant woman. Most of the time it is not harmful but in a minority of cases it has resulted in babies developing problems with vision, hearing and intellectual disability. This can be spread through a child’s urine or body fluids. Pregnant women who are in regular contact with children should wear gloves when changing nappies and wash hands regularly. Sexually transmitted infections also cause prenatal disorders. During gestation it’s advised to maintain a healthy weight as obesity can cause complications. And of course, avoid all alcohol, drugs or prescription medication for nonmedical purposes. Alcohol passes to the baby through the umbilical cord and can have huge implications on an infant’s growth rate as well as causing lifelong physical, intellectual and behavioural problems. It is worth noting that there is no official or recommend ‘safe’ amount of alcohol to consume during pregnancy. Drug use can also cause prenatal disorders and miscarriage. In the final stages of pregnancy drug abuse often stunts the growth of the foetus, causes preterm birth or even fetal death. Babies who are born to mothers who used drugs during pregnancy often need special care and can be addicted to narcotics. Smoking cigarettes has also been linked to disorders such as cleft lip, cleft palate and even infant death. The mere presence of tobacco around a pregnant lady can put her at risk. If you have high risk factors your health care professional or obstetrician-gynaecologist (ob-gyn) may perform additional tests to attempt to reduce your risk level. If you have concerns about a family history of prenatal disorders you can consider genetic counselling or screening to examine your baby. This allows mothers to gain all the information they can before delivery in order to make decisions and prepare.
We cannot die the love we have as a society for our phones. They give us moments of peace from our beloved children in order to maintain our sanity. However, it is not just us that use them. Children are having more and more screen time from phones, iPad, laptops and TVs. This does not solely concern children, as toddlers and even babies are turning to technology for entertainment. Although this can be beneficial for kids, what with the many educational videos and games there are today, kids can do with some time away from the screen. As we mature throughout life, our digital consumption increases. We maintain friendships digitally and our work-life is centered online. We should try to reduce our children’s use of these forms of technology while we still can. Here we have some easy activities for your little one to do without a screen! Colouring Pages Colouring may seem mundane and unexciting, when in reality it’s of benefit to children and adults alike. There is something therapeutic about taking time to partake in the simple act of colouring. Placing your sole focus on colouring or trying to avoid getting marks outside the lines without anything concerning on your mind relaxes the whole body. It helps the brain to concentrate in a way that is similar to meditation. It is even said to help sleep patterns. Enter your local bookstore and you will see colouring books designed for adults perched on the shelves. In children, it helps nurture their creative side, and allows them to experiment with colour and expand their artistry – even if their art looks nothing like the Mona Lisa. A great way to get the kids excited about colouring is by asking them what they would like to colour. A quick google search will show you that most cartoon characters have colouring paper uploaded which you can print for them. This allows the children to feel involved and is more current than a colouring book that they have used a million times before.   Homemade Science Experiments Why not perform a homemade science experiment? Experiments can be super fun, easy and involve household items so that you don’t need to pop to the shops in order to do one. Anything that is educational but fun is a massive win for their young minds, and they won’t even realise they’re learning! There are many easy experiments you can make that are relatively clean and mess free. You don’t need to be Einstein to pull this one off. The colour changing milk experiment uses food colouring to show the amount of fat present in different types of milk, turning the beverage into a rainbow that the kids will love. You could also make slime with a few basic items including glue and water. Learning through play is fundamental in a child’s development and this is also a great way to get your child thinking positively about science, or at least how things are made. They will also see that learning is not just for school. Just imagine of how cool and smart your kids will think you are!   Build A Fort Building a fort is a great way to pass the time for the kids. This provides hours of entertainment as they lose themselves in the make-believe worlds of their imaginations. Simply supply the blankets, sheets, pillows or boxes and away they go. From a development point of view it helps their motor skills as well as teaching them about construction, but really it’s just plain fun. It’s pretty entertaining to see your child in their plush den, or to watch them fight an imaginary army from the safety of the sofa. Be warned, it can get loud! If they are very young you can get involved and show them how you build it, but don’t think that this means they will let you in without the password! Throw in some sleeping bags or duvets to lie on and make it cosy for them to have some downtime after all the chaos. Go For A Nature Walk This is a great excuse to get the kids to stretch their legs and get some fresh air. Let their curiosity lead the way as you investigate plants, puddles and lakes or streams. Is there any animals or wildlife they can see? This can be done in a park or even a patch of grass. Take a mason jar and try to catch insects for them to see close up. It’s a great way to bond with them while they learn about the outdoors using all five senses. Kids from 3-6 in particular will love this and become mesmerised by these everyday things. This is a great activity for sibling bonding as older children can help teach the younger siblings about their surroundings. It’s also a great opportunity for parents to get back to nature as well as a reminder of how we overlook these things on a daily basis which are awe-inspiring to these young minds. Build An Obstacle Course Obstacle courses are an ideal solution to get your child moving and are easy to make. Go through your garage and you will be sure to find a few items that will look great in your garden course. These could be anything from hula hoops, footballs, cones, skipping ropes or play tunnels. Tell them to pretend they are a soldier or a champion athlete and watch their competitive side emerge. This is also a cheap activity where you don’t have to spend a penny! Healthy alternatives like this work perfectly to replace screen time. We need to put these practices into play while the kids are young and are influenced by our every move. While they might moan at first for having to go outside, they will thank you in the long run! It’s also amazing for tiring them out. A win-win for all!
At the very beginning of a pregnancy, parents may prefer not to know their baby’s gender. In fact, they would like to be surprised during their big day. Nonetheless, just a few parents-to-be are actually able to wait for nine months in order to know the sex of their child.   Even though a surprise is what most of them would love to have, couples focus on making sure that the arrival of their baby will be perfect: without knowing the sex, there are several problems to solve though. For instance, the clothes to buy, the color of the room, the type of cake to cook: just a few small details which, nonetheless, make that day become the most special moment of their lives.   Regardless of sex, having a baby is always an immense joy. Once you make sure that your baby is healthy, you can’t stop thinking about how he will look like, the best name to choose and… his sex! Human sexual differentiation is the process that determines baby’s gender. This is actually determined by baby’s genes. While eggs contain an X chromosome, sperme can have an X or a Y chromosome. According to their combination, the sex of a child is determined: a XX embryo will be a girl, whereas a XY embryo means that you are expecting a boy! If differences are not so remarkable during the first weeks of pregnancy, after week 7 the baby starts producing hormones that stimulate the development of its sexual organs. As far as girls are concerned, ovaries develop between weeks 11 and 12. For boys, on the contrary, their sexual organs start developing by week 9.   We all agree with the fact that the health of our baby is more important than his sex. So why are we so obsessed with finding out his gender? According to Daniel A. Potter, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist at the Huntington Reproductive Center Medical Group in California, “”It’s human nature. A family without sons, whose job was to hunt and keep everyone fed, might not have survived. So offerings were made to the gods, and soothsayers were consulted. People passed on to the next generation the methods they considered most effective for guaranteeing a boy, and this inspired old wives’ tales.” Even though there are several legends aiming to help women discover their baby’s sex, just a few of them are actually true. In most of cases, it is very easy to predict the wrong sex, that’s why couples had better talk with a doctor instead of relying on popular myths. However, if you want to listen to your body and try to deduce your child’s sex, there are some tips you should know. Whereas mood swings are common to all pregnancies, other signs may tell something more specific about your baby’s gender. For example, women with higher cortisol levels are more likely to carry a girl, experts revealed. The same it goes with severe morning sickness, even though this research is still ongoing.     According to Dr. Potter, “By your fifth month, around week 18 or 19 of your pregnancy, a sonogram can show you the sex of your unborn child with about 95 percent accuracy. From a medical standpoint, we do an ultrasound to check the age, position, and health of the fetus, but most parents want to know the sex too”.   Even though these tests are never 100% right, they can help couples prepare their house for the new arrival. If the baby’s sex is very important, his health is an aspect parents-to-be should always pay attention to. Maintaining a healthy nutrition, checking the fluids you consume during pregnancy, and staying active are the best ways to go through a pregnancy. Your baby’s sex will be unveiled at another time!
It’s known now: during pregnancy we eat for two, so our diet changes as well. But what is best to eat for the baby and ourselves, doubts always remain. Here is a list to guide you through your pregnancy.   Raw/Undercooked meat We should all cook well our meat but especially pregnant women. Toxoplasmosis lives in raw meat and this parasite can be bad for your baby. To avoid any risk, avoid undercooked meat like sausages or mince meat, but also raw cured meat like salami.   Unpasteurized milk and dairy products  Milk we find in supermarkets are pasteurized, but the ones you can find in farms aren’t. So avoid them or boil them to suppress any risk of toxoplasmosis, listeriosis and Campylobacter. Liver and foods containing vitamin A All liver products should be avoided by pregnant women (liver pâté, sausage,etc…) because of the high level of vitamin A it contains, harmful for your baby. It goes without saying then that multivitamins, fish liver oils, food with added vitamin A are prohibited as well. Pâté Yes, this is very sad but pâté is not good when you’re pregnant. And to add to this, it’s not only valid for meat pâté, but also vegetable pâté. Why? Because pâté may contain listeria, causing an infection called listeriosis, very bad for the baby during the pregnancy but can also cause severe illness when he.she will be born.   Some cheeses Another very sad news… But don’t despair, they’re aren’t all prohibited, just a few! Because of listeria, mould-ripened soft cheeses like brie or camembert are banned, same for soft blue-veined cheeses like Roquefort and gorgonzola. Probably the sadest news you’d have as a pregnant woman… Undercooked ready meals Another risk of listeria is present in ready meals. That’s why it’s very important to be sure that the meal is piping hot before eating it, be even more careful with the ones containing poultry. Raw eggs or undercooked eggs If you’re craving for eggs, make sure yolks and whites are solid when you cook them. In cooked recipes, eggs are safe, but not used raw like in mayonnaise or mousse. You’ll avoid salmonella infection this way, really bad for your baby but also you. Bye dear deviled eggs… Some fishes Even if you’re not pregnant you need to be careful about fishes. You should avoid shark, swordfish and marlin, because of their high levels of mercury, very bad for your baby’s nervous system. Same for tuna, this one is known for its high level in mercury, so try to stick to two fresh steaks or four mediums cans of tinned tuna. Oily fishes are also to limit,such as salmon, sardines or trout: you should eat no more than two portions a week because of the pollutants they contain. And last but not least, you should avoid eating raw shellfish like oysters because of the risk of food poisoning ! But don’t worry, cooked shellfish are authorized, such as pre-cooked prawns. Alcohol This one is pretty obvious but there’s some info you might not know. Like that you can have one or two glasses once or twice a week maximum after the first three months of pregnancy! We told you that was some breaking news! Joke aside, experts are still not sure that any amount of alcohol is safe, so technically, avoid to drink for your baby’s safety. Caffeine Limit your consumption of tea, coffee, cola and other soft drink, but also chocolate! You shouldn’t have more than 200mg a day of caffeinated food or drink. It can happen quickly, so be very careful as caffeine can cause miscarriage and low birth weight! If you have any of these foods/drinks and you don’t feel ill, that’s a good sign, and don’t worry, but a doctor’s advice is always good!
Whether or not you consider yourself to be an art aficionado, you have most likely heard of Banksy. The graffiti artist who made street art mainstream. He is also famous for being infamous. Despite being active since the 90’s, his identity remains a mystery to this day. Recently Banksy found himself the centre of media attention once again, when a piece of his artwork, ‘Girl With Balloon’, sold at auction for $1.4 million. As soon as the hammer had fallen on the sale, the piece began to shred itself, using a hidden shredder inside the frame. Over the years, many of his pieces have caused a great deal of controversy. Here, we take a look at some of his most controversial works to date.   Love Is In The Bin On October 5th 2018, at Sotheby’s Auction House, a crowd looked on in horror, as the Banksy piece ‘Girl With Balloon’, began to shred itself. The piece had just been sold for $1.4 million, and it is now thought, that the half shredded piece is now worth an awful lot more than that. Art critics have said that this was a commentary on the fact that that art is being chocked to death by money. The decadence and hedonism of the art world is completely contrary to what lies at the heart of street art. Pest Control – Bankus Militus Vandalus In 2004 an employee of the Natural History Museum in London noticed something strange as he was walking around the museum. This little taxidermy rat, complete with all of the tools of a graffiti artist, had been installed overnight without anyone’s knowledge. It remained in place for two hours before finally being removed. The piece has been shown at other exhibitions since, and has a small inscription underneath it which reads: “Recently discovered specimens of the common sewer rat have shown some remarkable new characteristics. Attributed to an increase in junk food waste, ambient radiation and hardcore urban rap music these creatures have evolved at an unprecedented rate. Termed the Banksus Militus Vandalus, they are impervious to all modern methods of pest control, and mark their territory with a series of elaborate signs. Professor B. Langford of University College London states: You can laugh now… but one day they may be in charge.” Banksy At The West Bank Wall In 2005 Banksy went to Palestine. While there, he managed to create 9 different illustrations on the controversial West Bank Wall, without detection. The wall is extremely heavily guarded so this must have been no mean feat. The West Bank Wall separates Palestine and Israel and is 425 miles long. The pieces he painted are provocative and striking. Whilst in the middle of creating one of the pieces, Banksy was approached by an old Palestinian man. The man told him that his painting made the wall look beautiful. Banksy thanked him, but the man responded with: “We don’t want it to be beautiful, we hate this wall. Go home.” The paintings were designed to highlight the fact that the wall is considered illegal under United Nations rulings. Banksy has said that the wall: “Essentially turns Palestine into the world’s largest open prison.” Di-Faced Tenners In one of his many public stunts, Banksy notoriously printed one million pounds worth of what he termed: ‘Di-Faced Tenners’. In them he replaced the Queen’s head with Princess Diana’s. The counterfeit cash also had the words ‘Banksy of England’, in stead of ‘Bank of England’, and ‘I Promise to Pay the Bearer on Demand the Ultimate Price’ printed on it. The back of the note had an image of Charles Darwin along with the slogan: ‘Trust No One.’ The notes were scattered at the Santa’s Ghetto Exhibition, The Reading Festival and at the Notting Hill Carnival. This act was hugely controversial due to the notorious rivalry between the people’s princess, Diana, and the Queen. It’s also, obviously, illegal to produce counterfeit currency.  
While the aesthetics of Anime and Manga lends itself well to a younger audience, many TV shows and movies that are animated in that style are far from kid friendly. Many are violent, gorey, and deal with very adult themes. Many would also just fly above the head of the average youngster. Visually stunning, most anime is a joy to watch with intricately woven storylines and stunning imagery throughout. Here, we take a look at some of the best anime movies and TV shows with dark, adult themes that you should not miss. But be aware that these are not for younger viewers. Cat Soup What a peculiar, surreal joy this movie is. Cat Soup is the perfect example of Anime as an art form. The story essentially follows that of a little boy and girl cat as they go on an odyssey to reclaim their souls from the land of the dead. The movie, however, is full of surreal, sexually suggestive imagery and vulgar suggestion. Paranoia Agent The second entry from Satoshi Kon to this list, Paranoia Agent, was Kon’s one and only attempt at episodic TV. This is a masterclass in suspense, paranoia, and mounting tension, that any live action director could seriously take notes from. It tells the story of ‘Little Slugger’, an urban legend about a mysterious, rollerblading kid, who can put you out of your misery if your life’s falling apart.  After a vicious attack on a young female as she makes her way home from work, two detectives are called in to investigate. They discover that Little Slugger may be more than just a rumour, and soon, more and more people fall victim to his attacks. But more than just thuggish attacks, as the detectives dig deeper, the reality they thought they knew begins to crumble around them.  Full of violence, with just a smattering of sex, Paranoia Agent takes you in the kind of paranoid, surrealist trips that only Satoshi Kon could deliver. Wicked City This absolute gem of a movie flies under the radar for some strange reason. It is a neo-noir detective drama set in a futuristic city. It tells the story of two worlds that have existed in harmony for centuries, Earth and the Black World. The Black World is a realm of supernatural beings that most humans are unaware of. A military group called the Radicals are intent to breaching the peace and returning men to their former heritage : as slaves. Two special agents, Taki, a human, and Makie, a supernatural, are called in to prevent the Radicals from seizing control. The two form the Black Guard who must protect a 200 year-old man named Giuseppi Mayart, the only man who can keep the peace from being broken by the Radicals. This smart, stylish and eerie Anime is one of the early Manga greats. Dead Man Wonderland When the sole survivor of a high school massacre, Ganta,  is framed for the crime, he is incarcerated in Deadman Wonderland, a strange and sinister private prison. This prison has a perverted and insidious take on incarceration, and what inmates must endure. During the massacre, the real killer embeded a red crystal inside Ganta. This crystal imbues him with powers, and he soon learns that all of the prisoners at Deadman Wonderland must entertain the public, by performing in dangerous games, in exchange for privileges. All of it is televised, and performed in front of a live audience. Ganta soon forms alliances within the prison and soon develops a rag-tag band of misfit friends. Together they must fight for survival, and find out what is really going on in the prison.  
Morbid fascination is an intrinsic part of the human condition. It could be argued that it is this curiosity that heightens our sense of suspicion and prudence, and serves to make us more vigilant in dubious situations. As a result of this proclivity, vicious evil doers, like Ted Bundy and Charles Manson, have found their way into the collective psyche, and everybody knows their names, and are familiar with their crimes. A 2014 study estimated that, at any given time, there are between 25 and 50 active serial killers in operation in the United States. Serial killers seem to be as much a part of our society as the law makers, and the peace keepers are. With this in mind, who, aside from the Bundys’ and Mansons’ are you aware of? If you are interested in whetting your macabre appetite, read on. We have compiled a list of some of the most barbarous, perverse and brutal serial killers ever caught, but who failed to achieve the infamy of the aforementioned psychos and sociopaths. Be warned, what you are about to read is both 100% true and 100% unsettling. Readers should continue on with caution, this is not for the faint of heart, and definitely not for younger readers. Robert ‘Willy’ Pickton Canadian serial killer Robert Pickton is described as being one of the worst serial killers in the world. He was a pig farmer based in Port Coquitlam, in British Columbia, and his crimes are known as The Pig Farm Murders. Outwardly quiet and introverted, Pickton was harborouing a terrible and savage secret. By the time of his arrest in 2002 he had viciously butchered 49 women on his farm, before grounding their remains into mince, at a meat rendering plant. Most of it was fed to his pigs, however, he sold some of it for human consumption. The depraved killer was arrested in 2002, after items belonging to a number of missing women were found on his farm. Officers made the discovery after a chance visit to the farm, in search of illegal firearms. Following his arrest, DNA of at least 26 women who had been reported missing were found at the property. Many of these women were thought to be prostitutes who Pickton had picked up in Vancouver’s Red Light District. It is alleged that he brought them back to his farm to have sex, before brutally murdering them. He unintentionally confessed to the murders after he was put in a cell with an undercover police officer. Irritated at being caught, he complained to his cellmate: “I made my own grave by being sloppy. Doesn’t that just kick you in the ass now. I was just gonna [expletive] do one more, make it even, I wanted one more to make the big 5-0.” Alexander Pichushkin Alexander Pichushkin is a Russian serial killer nicknamed The Chessboard Killer. He was caught in 2007, in Moscow, and convicted of killing 48 people. During the investigation, detectives found a chessboard with dates on all but two of the squares. These dates were connected to the murders Pichushkin had already committed. Pichushkin said he wanted to kill one person for each of the 64 squares on a chessboard, and crossed out a square for every kill, earning him his nickname. At the time, Russian authorities considered reinstating the death penalty, due to the gruesomeness and number of murders. Pichushkin targeted the weak, elderly and hopeless. He would lure his victims to a local park, to reportedly drink with him at his dead dog’s grave. He would then wait until his intended victim was drunk, then he would begin his attack. He would hit them repeatedly with a blunt object until they were dead or lost consciousness.  He would then, often, throw his victims into a sewer pit. On occasion, some of his tragic victims were alive when thrown in, and died from drowning, rather than from blunt force trauma. Over time, Pichushkin’s attacks grew even more savage. He began leaving a broken vodka bottle, protruding from the skulls of some of his victims. He also became more lackadaisical when it came to disposing of the bodies. He left many of them out in the open, without bothering to try to conceal them. Authorities finally caught up with Pichushkin in June 2006, after he murdered a female colleague from his job at a supermarket. She had left a note for her son to tell him that she was taking a walk with Pichushkin. Chillingly, Pichushkin’s confession was aired on Russian television. In it, he went into great detail about his need to kill, he said: “For me, a life without murder is like a life without food for you.” He also later claimed that there were in fact more than 48 murders. He said that he had in fact killed 61 or 63 people, (his story varied), On this he said: “I thought it would be unfair to forget about the other 11 people.” Donald Henry ‘Pee-Wee’ Gaskins Donald Henry Gaskins, known as Pee Wee Gaskins, has gone down in the annals of serial killer history as the most prolific killer South Carolina has ever known. He was executed in 1991 by electric chair, after being convicted of 9 murders, however it is thought that he murdered far more people than that. His own claims bring his death toll to over 100 people, and a litany of other vile and depraved crimes can also be attributed to this seemingly unassuming man. Up until 1968, Gaskins spent most of his life in and out of prison for various crimes, from theft to gang rape. In 1969 he moved to the town of Sumter in South Carolina, and it is here that he would begin his true reign of terror. His first murder in Sumter was a hitchhiker that he picked up, tortured, and murdered, then sunk her body in a local swamp.  In the book he wrote in prison, detailing his life and crimes, he wrote: “All I could think about is how I could do anything I wanted to her.” This woman was the first of many in what Gaskins referred to as his ‘coastal kills’. He would  torture and mutilate his victims, while attempting to keep them alive for as long as possible. He confessed to killing these victims using a variety of methods including stabbing, suffocation, mutilation, and even claimed to have cannibalized some of them. He would go on to confess to over 80 of these types of murders, although none of these claims have ever been corroborated.  Then, in 1970, Gaskins committed the first of his so-called ‘serious murders,  which were people  he knew and killed for personal reasons. Some of these victims included his own niece, Janice Kirby, aged 15, and her friend Patricia Ann Alsbrook, aged 17. He beat both of the girls to death, after attempting to sexually assault them. One of his most shocking murders was that of two of his neighbours, Doreen Dempsey, who was 23 and pregnant, and her two year old daughter. He drove Doreen and her little girl out to a secluded, wooded area, and violently raped, sodomized, and killed both her and her little girl. Gaskins was eventually arrested in 1975, and was found guilty in 1976, and sentenced to death. However, this was later commuted to life in prison when the South Carolina General Assembly’s 1974 ruling on capital punishment was changed to conform to the U.S. Supreme Court guidelines for the death penalty in other states. On September 2, 1982, Gaskins committed another murder. While incarcerated in the high security block at the South Carolina Correctional Institution, Gaskins killed a death row inmate named Rudolph Tyner, he was tried for the Tyner’s murder and sentenced to death. While on death row, Gaskins told his life story to a journalist named Wilton Earle. He claimed to have committed between 100 and 110 murders, however, law enforcement sources found his claims impossible to verify. Patrick Kearney, ‘The Trashbag Killer’ In Los Angeles, in the mid 70’s, Homosexual men were being murdered and dumped in trashbags along the highways between LA and the Mexican border. The investigation centered around Patrick Wayne Kearney, an electronics engineer from LA. Kearney would eventually end his murder spree, when he walked into the Redondo Beach police station, and gave himself up. He plead guilty to killing three men, and was sentenced to life in prison, however, police knew there was much more to Kearney’s story than met the eye. They offered him a no death penalty deal, in exchange for a complete list of victims. Shockingly, it was worse than they had imagined, and Kearney initially confessed to eighteen more killings. He would later admit to a further eleven murders, which would bring his total to 32 killings. Kearney’s first known murder victim was an unidentified 19-year-old man, in 1962. Kearney claimed that he took the young man to a secluded area on his motorcycle, shot him in the head, and proceeded to engage in acts of necrophilia with the man’s corpse. Kearney would mostly pick up male hitchhikers, or homosexual men from gay bars. He would almost always shoot them in the temple, above the ear, with a .22-caliber derringer.  After murdering them, he would take the bodies to a secluded place, and engage in acts of necrophilia, then take them home, where they would be sodomized with X-Acto knives. They were then mutilated, and dismembered with hacksaws. He would dispose of the bodies in various ways, including, dumping them in trash bags, earning him his nick name. He would also leave them out for wild animals to eat, throw them off cliffs into local creeks and would even drain some of the bodies of all their blood, to eliminate odors. Kearney, now 79, continues to serve his life sentence at Mule Creek State Prison, California. Danny Rolling, ‘The Gainesville Ripper’ Known as the Gainesville Ripper, Danny Rolling murdered four University of Florida students and a Santa Fe Community College student in their apartments in 1990. He is known to have decapitated one victim, posed with the bodies, and removed skin and body parts and arranged the murder scenes using props that included broken mirrors. Rolling’s reign of terror began when he broke into the apartment of 17-year-old university freshmen Sonja Larson and Christina Powell. They were found mutilated and stabbed to death. He had raped both women, one after she was dead. The next day, Rolling killed Christa Hoyt, 18. Her body was found propped up, sitting on her bed bent over at the waist. Rolling had sliced off her nipples and left them on the bed next to her, and police discovered that her torso was sliced open, from her chest to her pubic bone. Her severed head perched on a shelf across the room. Two days later, Rolling killed roommates Tracy Paules and Manuel Taboada, both 23. Rolling remained at large until September 8, when he was arrested after a botched robbery in the central Florida town of Ocala. He was later linked by DNA to three more killings in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1989. He was not charged in the Gainesville slayings until 1992, while serving a life sentence for armed robbery and other crimes. He pleaded guilty to all five murders as the jury was being selected for trial in 1994. He attributed his behavior to abuse by his father, a police officer, and to an evil alter ego. In prison, he drew disturbing pictures and wrote a graphic book, ‘The Making of a Serial Killer’, with a woman who was his fiancée for a time. Rolling was executed by lethal injection at Florida State Prison on October 25, 2006 Arthur John Shawcross Arthur John Shawcross was an American serial killer who was in operation  between 1972 and 1990 around Rochester, New York. Shawcross is known to have killed at least 14 people, as well as being a known cannibal and mutilator. He was also known as, ‘The Genesee River Killer’  and ‘The Rochester Strangler’, all due to how he would carry out his murders and where he would frequently dump the bodies of his victims. In 1967 he was drafted by the US Army at age 21. He served one tour in Vietnam, and loved to brag about the  violent, gruesome atrocities he committed, like raping and cannibalizing children and, according to a police interview: “beheading mama-sans and nailing their heads to trees as a warning to the Vietcong.” After his release and discharge from the army, Shawcross and his second wife would move to Clayton, New York, where Shawcross would terrorize the surrounding counties, until his final arrest. In the Spring of 1972, 10-year-old Jack Owen Blake disappeared after going out to play near the Cloverdale apartments, where Shawcross lived. Shawcross had gone fishing with the boy a few days earlier, but denied knowing where he was. When Jack’s body was eventually found (after Shawcross’s arrest) months later, he had been suffocated, mutilated, and molested. Shawcross would later admit to luring the boy into the woods, forcing him to strip naked and run, before murdering him, and consuming his heart and genitals. Months after Jack’s murder, 8-year-old Karen Ann Hill disappeared, while on a Labor Day vacation with her mother. Her body was found under a bridge near the Black River, and she had been raped, mutilated and strangled. After reports surfaced detailing that Shawcross had been seen with Karen before she disappeared, and he was later seen eating ice cream cones, on the bridge where the body was found, Shawcross was brought in for questioning. After being arrested for both children’s murder, Shawcross confessed, and agreed to reveal the location of Jack’s body, in order to have his charges dropped from homicide to manslaughter. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison, but would only serve 12. Unfortunately, staff and social workers made the call to grant him parole, stating he was: “no longer dangerous”, despite numerous psychiatrists warning that he was a schizoid psychopath. His parole officer would later be quoted as saying: “At the risk of being melodramatic, the writer considers this mant to be possibly the most dangerous individual to be released to this community for many years.” These words would ring tragically true when in 1988, Shawcross began a bloody, depraved murder campaign, that would claim 11 victims. Most were prostitutes and all were strangled and battered to death. They were also posthumously mutilated, and sexually assaulted.  After the last victim’s body was found in January 1990, the police decided not to remove it and instead keep surveillance on the area. Based on a psychological profile that suggested the killer would return to the scene of the crime, police figured this would be the best way to catch their killer. Sure enough, Shawcross was spotted masturbating as he sat in his car, on a bridge over the creek in which the body of his final victim was floating. He was arrested and eventually confessed in custody. In November 1990, Shawcross was tried for 10 murders in Monroe County. He was found guilty and sentenced to 250 years imprisonment. On November 10th, 2008 Shawcross complained to officers about a pain in his leg. He was taken to the Albany Medical Center where he went into cardiac arrest and died that night. Louis Garavito In 1999, Luis Alfredo Garavito Cubillos was arrested in Colombia and he confessed to murdering 140 children. He was charged with killing 172 altogether, but some of the cases are still ongoing. It’s thought he could have been responsible for hundreds more deaths, with the number potentially estimated as being higher than 400.  Better known as “La Bestia” or “The Beast”, Luis Alfredo Garavito Cubillos was one of the most ruthless serial killers of all time. Garavito’s victims were poor children, peasant children, or street children, between the ages of 6 and 16. He would  approach them on the street or countryside and offer them gifts or small amounts of money.  Once he had gained their trust, he would take them for a walk, and as soon as they began to get tired, he would pounce. He would rape them, slit their throats and dismember the corpses. As if this wasn’t bad enough, he would often mutilate the corpses, and many of the bodies found showed signs of prolonged torture and abuse.  In 1997, police uncovered a mass grave. Suddenly, a widespread investigation into the missing children began. In February 1998, the bodies of 2 naked children were discovered lying next to each other on a hill in Genoa, Colombia. The next day, another child’s naked body was found, just a few meters away. Garavito was captured on 22 April 1999. He confessed to murdering 140 children. However, he is still under investigation for the murder of 172 children in more than 59 towns in Colombia. During his imprisonment, Garavito helped police to find the bodies of his victims. This, along with his confessions, allowed him to win a reduction in sentence by 8 years, thereby making the effective sentence 22 years. Colombian law does not have life imprisonment or death penalty options, and the possibility of serial killings was completely ignored in Colombian law. However, with increased public unrest, the law was revisited, and the maximum sentence for murder was increased to 60 years of imprisonment. Joseph James DeAngelo, ‘The Golden State Killer’, and ‘The East Area Rapist’ The Golden State Killer is a serial killer, rapist, and burglar who committed at least 13 murders, more than 50 rapes, and over 100 burglaries in California from 1974 to 1986. What was initially a search for the East Area Rapist, ended up being a 40-year manhunt for a killer, rapist and home invader. The reawakening of this cold case decades later led to the April 2018 arrest of suspect Joseph James DeAngelo, now dubbed as the Golden State Killer. DeAngelo was born in New York but went to Folsom High School, in suburban Sacramento, and was a former California Police Officer.  In 2016, around the 40th anniversary of the first known attack, the search for the culprit of a suspected 12 homicides and about 50 rapes was renewed. Thanks to the advancement of DNA techniques and databases, DNA from a discarded item, and genetic information on a consumer genealogy website, guided police to the missing piece with DeAngelo as the suspect. DNA evidence linked the Golden State Killer to eight murders in Goleta, Ventura, Dana Point and Irvine; two other murders in Goleta, were lacking DNA evidence, but were linked by the killers usual modus operandi. His initial modus operandi was to stalk middle-class neighborhoods at night, in search of women who were alone in one-storey homes, usually near a school, creek, trail or other open space, that would provide a quick escape. He was seen a number of times, but always successfully fled; on one occasion, he shot and seriously wounded a young pursuer. Although he originally targeted women alone in their homes or with children, he eventually evolved to attacking couples. He would break in through a window or sliding glass door and awaken the sleeping occupants with a flashlight He would then begin threatening them with a handgun. Victims were bound with ligatures, and gagged. The male victim was beaten and left in a different room, while the female victim would be raped repeatedly for hours. In 1979, he moved on from rape, and began to murder his victims by gunshot or bludgeoning. After 1986 the case would go cold, until April 24, 2018, when the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department arrested 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo in connection with the crimes. DeAngelo, was charged with eight counts of first-degree murder. On May 10, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s office charged DeAngelo with four additional counts of first-degree murder. Unfortunately, DeAngelo cannot be charged with rapes due to the statute of limitations expiring for those offenses. Identification of DeAngelo had begun four months earlier when officials uploaded the killer’s DNA profile from a Ventura County rape kit to a personal genomics website. The website identified 10 to 20 distant relatives of the Golden State Killer, from whom a team of five investigators working with genealogist Barbara Rae-Venter, constructed a large family tree. They identified two suspects in the case (one of whom was ruled out by a relative’s DNA test), leaving DeAngelo the main suspect.