• Feminism,  Speak Up

    The Gender Identity Debate

    If you are a follower on my social media platforms, you may have seen my children. I have a daughter, who is nearly 5 and a son, who is nearly 2. Both, I guess, are very gender stereotypical. Cora loves pink, glitter, dresses and “putting on shows” and Cassi, well, he loves anything with wheels, wings, an engine and a siren. My husband and I had a recent chat about the children’s preferred play things and questioned if maybe we had a part in the choices they were making. In today’s modern world, we see nearly daily in the media of the recently birthed celeb’s declaring that they will not…

  • Feminism,  Speak Up

    Getting Down With The F Word

    Yeah ok, so the title might be a bit of click bait but as we look to celebrate International Women’s Day I feel it only right we have a look at the ‘F’ word ( yep thats the one FEM-IN-ISM) and celebrate it too! My journey to calling myself a feminist has been a bumpy one. Brought up by a single Mum who came out of a relationship marred by domestic abuse I always felt an affinity to strong women…. I learned from an early age we didn’t need men and quite frankly from my experience and listening to the tales of my Mum and her friends they caused little…

  • Editors Picks,  Speak Up

    My Mother Taught Me To Hate Other Women

    For as long as I can remember, my relationship with my mother has been complicated. As a child, I was told continually by both her and everybody else around me how fortunate I was to have a mother like her. I was spoiled in many ways. Showered with gifts constantly. My birthdays were always extravagant affairs celebrated with big lavish parties, and expensive presents. Anything I ever wanted, I could usually have. Christmases were much the same. There was never a time when my wishlist to Santa went unfulfilled. I had the bedroom of dreams. All of the latest toys. The most adorable outfits. I was the envy of my…

  • Mental Matters,  Speak Up

    The S Word

    So many are afraid to say it, aren’t they? That word. That whispered taboo. Why do we dance around it? Why don’t we just talk about it? What exactly is it that are we so afraid of? Why are we so afraid to hear of it and so afraid to open up about it? Suicide. It steals so many lives. Every day. Every minute. It devastates families, seizes lives yet to really live, leaves children motherless, women as widows, friends feeling the blame and questioning why they didn’t see the signs. Why is it after someone has taken their life that we begin to pour out support and preach about…

  • Speak Up

    Brexit: A Lesson In Being Ill-Informed?

    In the wake of yesterdays no confidence vote result, I have started to wonder if we, as a nation are rather ill informed and much more indoctrinated by certain media outlets than we realise. I see nonsensical stuff banded about on Facebook with venom and purpose but little true understanding of the facts. It seems almost everyone is happy to share a meme, if it looks good on the surface but is anyone actually examining the evidence to support them? How did we ever let ourselves get into a situation where the DUP called the shots yesterday? None of us voted for their input, they weren’t on any of our…

  • Mental Matters,  Speak Up

    There Is No Age Limit On Self Harm

    The first time my mum saw the angry red welts on my arms she walked away from me, her head held down and tears in her eyes. I guess she didn’t understand the whys and to be honest, neither did I. I don’t remember the first time I drew a blunt pair of scissors (my favoured instrument of pain) across my arms or legs. I knew that to make sure I didn’t need medical attention I’d have to use something that wouldn’t necessarily cause the skin to open and bleed but the pain and the raised red welts it left was enough of a satisfying outcome for me. I didn’t…

  • Speak Up

    The Ways Body Positivity Has Changed My Life BEYOND Improving My Confidence

    If you’re not familiar with the #BoPo trend on social media right now, where have you been?! You can’t scroll through social media these days without stumbling across a Body Positive post, and I for one am not complaining. Because as much of a cliché as I know this, body positivity has changed my life…and in more ways than you might expect! Incase you’re unfamiliar with it, let me give you a little background. The Body Positivity movement officially began back in 1997 with its roots going back much earlier, but with the rise of social media and – in particular – Instagram, the movement has enjoyed more publicity than ever…

  • Speak Up

    #VentYourRent

    I stumbled across the VentYourRent hashtag on Twitter last week. It was started by Generation Rent in an effort to raise awareness of the appalling state of private renting in the UK and reading through the tweets from disgruntled tenants is eye-opening to say the least. They include countless photographs of mould-covered walls, stories of landlords completely disregarding the law and all manner of other horror stories. Reading through them got me thinking about my own experiences as a private renter. I’ve been renting since I first moved out of my family home 15 years ago. The first flat I moved in to was quite honestly a renters dream – reasonably…

  • 5 WHYZ,  Parenting,  Speak Up

    5 Reasons Why Being The Parent Of A Disabled Child Sucks

    1.     We Spend Far Too Much Time In Hospital. We have hospital appointments in several different hospitals for my 2 disabled children, plus emergency A&E visits where my baby, more often than not, is admitted for the night. We have had so many hospital admissions, all the children’s nurses at the hospital recognise my baby. They know her bedtime routines, what brand of formula she likes to drink, the lovely people who bring round her food know exactly what she likes for breakfast and that she’d rather eat a cheese sandwich than a cooked meal for lunch. 2.      Life Can Be So Isolating I once had a…

  • 5 WHYZ,  Speak Up

    5 Reasons Why I Stayed In An Abusive Relationship For 7 Years

    It’s a Friday evening as I write this. I’m sitting on my sofa, half-watching a feature about Duran Duran on Top Of The Pops 2, sipping on a can of 7 up and hoping my 3 children sleep through the night (spoiler: they definitely won’t…) I’m wearing mismatched pyjamas. My other half is in the kitchen washing the dishes and listening to the radio. We’ll probably ignore each other for another hour or so while we do our own things, then we’ll head up to bed and ignore each other there too… but in a nice way. It’s that comfortable kind of ignoring…the kind where you both just want a bit…