Penny’s Birthday Grove

So, November is here, whether we like it or not. Which means it’s officially Autumn and Winter will soon be here (no, we’re not talking about the C word!)

November for me has always been greeted with a mixture of feelings; I dislike the fact it’s getting cold, I dislike that it’s getting darker at night and less hours in the day – although sometimes I don’t mind the early dark nights – but I love the colours on the trees.

But, there is one thing that is ‘personal’ about November…

November, is also the month I was born! It’s my birthday!

And this year, I’m doing something very different; I’m planting trees!

Okay, so, technically, I won’t be the one physically planting them. But after moving to Inverness (you can read about that here and here) I came across a great charity that is planting trees to re-wild the Highlands; Trees for Life.

Up on the Highlands of Scotland used to be a vast forest; the Caledonian Forest, spanning the right across, with only select areas now remaining. Trees for Life is an ambitious, award-winning conservation charity that is rewilding the Scottish Highlands, planting trees and encoraging wildlife to return.

So, rather than writing a wish list full of new books, DVDs, music, things for my new flat, tech, etc, for my birthday, I set up a website on Trees of Life for people to consider donating a small fee to this Grove to help rewild Scotland, restoring balance to the ecosystem and combating CO2 emissions. I have already paid to have one tree planted, each new tree is only £6!

Click here to donate to Penny’s Birthday Grove

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Don’t forget to like, reblog, share, comment and/or follow!
I also recently had my hair cut off for charity! Read about it here!

thegirlwhowhispered.com

facebook.com/TheGirlWhoWhispered
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twitter.com/penny_hoops

My Podcast Interview – Breaking the silence and becoming an author & activist – It’s Never Too Late

Hello my little demons!

For those of you who follow me on social media (see the links below if you’d like to follow), you may have noticed that I did a podcast interview recently and was waiting for it to air.

Well, it all started when I was approached by Megha on Twitter, asking me to do a podcast interview and I jumped at the opportunity. Not necessarily because I love supporting fellow authors and creative minds (which I do), and it’ll be good publicity for me, but because I will be getting out of my comfort zone HUGELY.

If you don’t know, I had Selective Mutism as a child, you can read my previous post on ‘Why “The Girl Who Whispered“‘ here, which explains more about it, and as silly as it sounds, talking is something I have always struggled with.

When we scheduled to do it, I was very nervous, I could literally feel my heart beating in my chest. Megha was so lovely though, so understanding and I eventually felt myself calming (okay, a little).

I’ve been waiting for it to go live with baited breath, although the hard part was over, I was still really nervous about it going live. All those years worrying about speaking and I was going public on the internet. But the podcast went live today at 14:30 BST and I couldn’t be happier. It came out great!

If you’re interested in listening, here it is on spotify:

Huge thanks to Megha for the opportunity, it was great to make such a lovely connection too, and thanks everyone who has already listened to it – I was told Megha’s listeners love it (I think it’s my British accent!)

If you’d like to support Megha and her podcast, please check out her links:

website: meghaupadhyaya.com
facebook: facebook.com/itsnevertoolatepodcast
instagram: instagram.com/takeitsleeazy/
twitter: twitter.com/Young_blackbird

If you’d like to support Megha’s podcast, you can do so here!

Here was a little teaser trailer (I sound awful, but here it is for completeness anyway!):

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Don’t forget to like, reblog, share, comment and/or follow!
I also recently had my hair cut off for charity! Read about it here!

thegirlwhowhispered.com

facebook.com/TheGirlWhoWhispered
instagram.com/thegirlwhowhispered/
twitter.com/penny_hoops

Catching out a Catfisher (Fake profile)!

Recently I was approached by a guy on Facebook, who turned out to be fake.

And why am I blogging about it? To raise awareness!

I tried to reach out to Twitter to find the real person behind the photos, and have since had at least one comment; “Why is it necessary to find the real guy?”

It’s not, really, but I wanted to the following:

  1. make sure the real guy knew what was going on, so he can report the profile and it have more chance of it being removed (he’s a real human being at the end of the day);
  2. have a real name so I can report the accounts – sometimes you need a real name otherwise you cannot report, I noticed this on Twitter!
  3. make a difference. I consider myself an influencer. I’m an author. I might not be popular, as I’m only starting my journey, but as such I want to use that rather small voice to make a difference. If even one person reads this, I feel like I’ve helped at least one person! Therefore, if I could get the real name of the lovely guy being the photo, it would make a bigger impact (although, because I haven’t got permission from the real guy, I have had to keep his identity private!)

First, let me explain what happened. I came across a Facebook page which shows tattooed men (I like tattoos and appreciate good ink!) and I came across a really cool back piece! I, with my silly sence of humour, said ‘Where can I get one?’ (and yes, I did mean the guy… although in real life, I am interested in more than just a guy’s good looks!)

A guy approached me and said ‘I’m here Penny. Hit me up!’ and had a profile picture of a guy next to a beautiful staffordshire terrier (a staff to us common people!), so I thought… hey, why not! So, I added him! (I’m a sucker for handsome tattooed men with dogs/cats!)

Basic RGB[image source: http://www.shibdenheadprimaryacademy.co.uk/e-safety/%5D

I knew instantly, when he accepted my request, he wasn’t real. At least not the person behind the photos. He kept repeating the words ‘sexy’ and then said he was US Intelligence. Yeah, pretty cool, but you don’t need to be too smart to realise that those who are in any form of Intelligence, whether that is the US, UK or otherwise, do NOT openly admit it to people they hardly know!

Not to mention, I absolutely HATE it when people judge me for my looks, I don’t think I’m exactly attractive; I’m not a model, but I respect people more if they are actualling interested in knowing about ME… not what’s on the outside! So, even if this guy turned out to be real, I instantly took a dislike to him.

The other scary thing is… he was emotionally manipulative. I unfortunately haven’t got access to the messages he sent anymore, as the profile has been removed since (unfortunately not my doing!), but he said things like ‘don’t scare me off you’, after I called him out whether he was real or not. I’ve been in an emotionally manipulative relationship before, I DONT take kindly to it, and do not tollerate it at all!

sydney-sims-521161-unsplash[Image Source: http://yourrelationshipspecialist.co.uk/gaslighting-and-emotional-abuse/%5D

So, I had one of two choices; block and ignore, or call him out.

I was really worried about vulnerable people, including young girls, coming across this guy. So, I put it upon myself to do some digging! Within a few hours, I found the real guy!

I have a few ‘acquaintances’ who are models, so I asked them if they recognised the guy in the photo, unfortunately no one did.

I also tweeted, with no success! (Including a few models, although I don’t follow models – I appreciate the male body, but I’m not interested in goggling – so I know absolutely nothing about the modelling world, so I had to find some ‘male tattooed models’ in order to tweet, gave up pretty quickly with that idea! No one’s going to listen to a crazy English chick, anyway!)

Luckily, however, one of my friends managed to reverse search the images the catfisher was using and we found a few websites where the photos were being used!

Ironically, I came across yet ANOTHER fake profile on Twitter, thinking it was the real guy, but found the same ‘person’ on Facebook and I realised this was yet another fake profile! Luckily someone else knew the real guy in the photo and called him out on Facebook! (The Twitter profiles have been reported!)

I finally found the real guy behind the pictures!

I was hoping for a lovely dramatic ending to this little adventure, by messaging the guy on Facebook and hoping to reverse catfish the catfisher or something similar, but unfortuantely the catfisher has since been removed from Facebook, and the real model hasn’t responded.

anticlimax
[Image source: https://thesaurus.plus/related/anticlimax/climax%5D

So, why am I telling you this? To raise awareness! I’m not suggesting everyone does what I did, it can be quite dangerous to do! Especially if the catfisher knows a lot about you already! If you think you’re being catfished, or it seems too good to be true, it probably is! Follow your gut! Block and delete! If you’re worried, talk to someone!

And yes, some catfishers are after money. But NOT ALL OF THEM! Some of them are predators… and they can worm their way into your life over MONTHS… just because you have known them for weeks/months, doesn’t mean they are genuine! PLEASE be careful!

I have deliberately kept the names of my acquaintances and the real model behind the photos hidden! I don’t have permission to use the model’s photos, and this model is in the public eye, it would be unfair for him getting negativity because of someone else.

This goes for both women and men, men can be just as much a target! If you think you are being catfished or are worried about the identity of someone online, talk to someone!

Stay safe, everyone. x