• Editors Picks,  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…

  • Editors Picks,  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…

  • Editors Picks,  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,  Editors Picks,  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…

  • Speak Up

    The Apologetic Feminist

    For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to write. I trained as a journalist for that very reason but it turns out, I am far too passive for journalism. I have messed about with pieces of pretentious poetry. All self-conscious imagery that just baffles the reader. I wanted to be Sylvia Plath. I wanted to write something with real gravity. Something important that would win posh prizes. I wanted to be brilliant and decorated. I have tried to write novels – pompous and wordy, with all kinds of metaphors. Something grandiose like a Song of Ice and Fire. Only my ideas were stunted, and I lack the…

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