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The french airport passport challenge (Pt 1)

I’m about to be very dramatic. It can’t be helped really, as I found out the hard way that having a Caribbean passport in some countries, doesn’t give you a leg up at customs.

This stage-play unfolded as I made my way from Barbados to England. New country, new life, new terrifying experiences.

Okay, let me back up and bring you up to speed. In late March I decided to quit procrastinating about moving to jolly old England, and just do it. What resulted was a flurry of activity, saving and absolute madness – but sure enough I was on a plane to Martinique by August. I can almost hear you ask – Martinique? Thought you said England? That brings me to part two of this backstory.

I’m a lover of deals and in this case, all I had to do for a cheaper fare was find my butt in two other airports before ever setting eyes on balls of fluff – sheep – from above the British countryside. Caught up? Okay, moving on.

After nearly missing my connecting flight in Martinique, as Air Antilles was late, I enjoyed a welcome respite on my XL Airways flight to France. So innocent then, I believed transitioning from flight to customs would be a breeze.

Wrong.

In the past while I’ve travelled on my British passport, I’ve never had any problems and gave no thought that it could be different on the Barbadian blue.

After heading into the security check line for what would be my first challenge, I took my passport out and shuffled on until it was my turn.

The officer took a long, puzzled look at my Barbadian passport, then me, before inquiring about my business in France. I chirpily explained I wasn’t staying and would be leaving in a few hours. He continued to stare at the passport, before asking me where Barbados was, and wondering aloud if I would need a visa to continue. Nonetheless, I managed to pass the inquisition and was promptly off to baggage claim.

Note, I had one piece of carryon luggage and my handbag . . . that’s it. As I approached baggage, I saw people flashing passports and rolling on through. From the looks of it most were British or European (EU) and I figured it’d be the same for me, so I flashed mine like I was on a cop show.

Denied.

This massive officer stopped me in my tracks and carted me over for a more intense check. To be fair, the guy who unpacked everything was pretty nice, even with the added difficulty of the language barrier, since I did not speak French nor did he speak English.

He did a thorough check and all was well, until he came to my makeup brushes. The moment he took them out I knew I’d have another problem. Following a discussion – in French – with his colleague, he went over to the X-ray machine to check my brushes one by one. So I’m standing there, praying to the makeup gods that the manufacturers didn’t have any suspicious-looking substances in the handles for better balance or whatever. I look serene as ever, while in my head I’m like – it’s okay, YOU’RE OKAY!  and explosions of fear are detonating within my stomach.

He didn’t find anything, and after making a bad joke that he didn’t understand, I hurriedly repacked and trotted off – finally -into the main airport area where I almost ended up being lost in translation.

Part 2: Nosey sniffer dogs, men with guns, and you just might have to stay in France.

 

 

 

Please use a real pregnancy test — not an Ikea ad

I can’t believe this needs to be said: Don’t rely on an Ikea advertisement to determine if you are pregnant. Use a legitimate pregnancy test from a pharmacy, or see your doctor.

Ikea released a new magazine advertisement that encouraged women to pee on a page within the publication to determine if they were pregnant. If the results are positive — those women get a discount on a crib.

The Swedish magazine reads: “Peeing on this ad may change your life.” Watch the instructions here:

IKEA – Pee Ad from Ourwork on Vimeo.

The advertisement was created by Swedish agency Åkestam Holst in collaboration with Mercene Labs, and uses the same technology found in a pregnancy test. They told media customers don’t actually have to bring in a urine-covered magazine to receive the discount (members of the Ikea Family program are all elligible), which means the advertisement is essentially a very weird and glorified pregnancy test. In this case – it is literally no different than taking a legitimate, trustworthy test provided by a doctor. So, why is it that people are freaking out about this Ikea ad?

Interactivity goes a long way in marketing. While urinating on an advertisement doesn’t seem like the most dignified form of interaction out there, it is quirky enough to entice people to try it, especially if they think a discount is waiting for them. It also has the media, Women’s Post included, intrigued enough to write about the campaign. That’s free advertising for Ikea (although the campaign is only available in Sweden, sorry Canada).

Typically, interactivity in advertisement is conducted through technology; a mobile app, a touchscreen, or a URL that allows a customer to insert a coupon name, play a game, or scan a barcode for a chance to win a discount at a store. Magazines have frequently used scent as a form of interactivity, but the use of bodily fluids is a new idea.

On a side note: is anyone else wondering how these ladies manage to do their business on a specific section of a magazine? The video shows the use of an eyedropper, but I foresee a number of accidents.

As much as I don’t like to admit it, this advertisement will most likely be successful for Ikea Sweden. Is it gross and really weird? Definitely! But, I imagine many women out there will be tempted to try it out, just to see if it works.

But please, don’t use it as an official pregnancy test! Don’t trust a company that can’t seem to make bookshelves with all the pieces. Take a real test — and then you can try this weird magazine advertisement.

Would you pee on a magazine for a discount? Let us know in the comments below!

Blake Shelton named People’s Sexiest Man Alive??

People Magazine revealed their cover choice for Sexiest Man Alive… and they chose Blake Shelton.

Not to sound disappointed— but I am. And it seems like I am not alone. The People Magazine Sexiest Man Alive edition is one that always makes the news, with the big reveal used to send women to the grocery stores just to pick up a copy. Anyone remember Johnny Depp’s 2009 cover or Channing Tatum’s heart stopping  2012 photo when all the women were going crazy for Magic Mike? Good times.

Blake Shelton is a relatively good looking guy (for someone with a dad-bod) and, from what I’ve seen on The Voice, he is very funny, talented and always in joking competition with his other co-star Adam Levine, who was named Sexiest Man Alive in 2013. When Shelton’s cover was revealed, it felt like a prank. I was waiting to hear, “Just kidding folks!”  Blake and Adam’s playful relationship was even highlighted in the promotion of this cover issue, as People TV revealed a short and funny video of Shelton displaying cue cards, similar to that famous romantic scene in Love Actually, that poked fun at Levine’s cover title.

It makes me wonder, is this an extension of their funny-frenemy-relationship extended from outside of The Voice. Will Levine respond to this? I have so many questions. What I do know is that previous cover holders are normally Hollywood heartthrobs — stunning and attractive men that make you swoon. Shelton…well, he doesn’t exactly cut the bill. And I’m not the only one who thinks so

The 41-year old country music singer brushed off most of the negative chat and thanked people on his twitter for his ‘sexy’ cover. Sheldon tweeted “thank you @people!!! don’t hate me because i’m beautiful…” He then continued to make fun of his sexy title for the rest of the night. And maybe that’s just it. Shelton is fun. He’s charming, cute and humorous, but does that make him sexy? Most would say no.

There were a few fans who supported Shelton, who say that sexy doesn’t mean a good body and abs. While this may be true, most of the previous titles by People always featured hollywood steamers. It’s kind of what everyone expects.

Here are some of the previous cover holders and even some double winners.

  • 2016- Dwayne Johnson
  • 2015- David Beckham
  • 2014-Chris Hemsworth
  •  1995 and 2000-Brad Pitt
  • 1997 and 2006- George Clooney
  • 2003 and 2009- Johnny Depp
  • Youngest cover- 1988- The late John F. Kennedy Jr at 27
  • Oldest cover- 1989-  Sean Connery at 59
  • Unusual cover- sexiest couple edition 1993- Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford
  • ‘What is should have been’ cover – 2017- Idris Elba

Revealing Sheldon as the Sexiest Man Alive 2017 felt like an insult. Like, are you even real 2017 ? But this is all fun and games, because there is nothing we can do about it.

Photo provided by: Disney Channel/Image Group LA

So what determines the sexiest man alive? Comment below.