17 October 2017

Lets Talk About #MeToo

I wish I could stay that I was surprised at the allegations that have come to light in relation to Harvey Weinstein.  Disgusted yes, but shocked no.

I won't talk about the allegations made against him here given that there are potential criminal charges against him.  But I will speak about the culture that we have in society that enables, encourages and protects men like him.

A culture where women who speak out are called liars, whores; attention seekers and those that don't are blamed more than the perpetrator.  A culture where men who report abuse "Aren't supposed to talk about it, man up!" and those that don't, live in misery.

I'm a woman and as this predominantly happens to many more women than men, I am focusing on the women's side in this blog.  If you are a man who has experienced sexual assault or rape or wants to talk about the effects of what happens, write about it, I would read it, but your story isn't for this post.

The thing is, women do experience harassment, sexual  assault and rape at a far larger scale than men.  There are things that women are just supposed to accept, behaviours, actions and consequences.

We are supposed to keep silent.  

Reactions to reporting that you have been harassed or assaulted many times ends up with "It isn't such a big deal, why you making such a fuss!", "He is a lovely guy, are you sure? Maybe you misunderstood?" and the favourite of the MRA/MGTOW section of the internet: "Prove it or it didn't happen".

I'm sorry, but I do not carry a bodycam on me and cannot prove that the man last year fake tripped and fell into me, conveniently grabbing on to my breasts to "lever himself".  My life is not lived on CCTV.

When I was fifteen and two boys at school decided to wrestle me down at the bus stop after school every day for months grabbing at my breasts, my reporting it to a teacher received a look at my chest and a suggestion to wear a baggy shirt.

I stopped it myself.  How? I paid them.  I cannot remember the figure now, enough probably for them to buy a pack of cigarettes.  The thing that kills me now is that I stayed friends with them.  Society had already taught me that my large breasts were public property.  It was not their fault, it was "their hormones".

23 years later it only now strikes me that no one stopped to help me. Ever.  No one in the dozens of cars passing the grassy knoll next to bus stop on that busy road ever stopped.  People must have seen.  I guess they thought that I was "asking for it".

The hashtag #HowWillIChange was started today and whilst a few good and on the point comments were made, it was quickly overrun with angry men who missed the point completely and of course, as usual, those there just to throw vitriol at women.  Their daily game.

I have seen so many tweets saying "I have never assaulted a woman so I don't need to change".  Well done.  Have a cookie for never assaulting a woman.  But let me ask you this.

Have you ever had a friend or a family member hurl sexist slurs at a woman?  Have you been in a car and your friend has shouted out something sexual at a woman in the street?  Have you been there in a bar when a friend has grabbed at a woman's breasts for "a gag".  Have you been speaking to a male friend after a night out when he tells you that "she was totally passed out but I went for it anyway".  Have you?

If you have experienced any of these things and not said anything, not called out your friend or relative, let me tell you, you are complicit.  You are enabling the behaviour to continue.

Your silence is deafening.

 I was an early developer.  I remember being around 12 and going to a local playground.  I was on the roundabout when a group of older boys approached me.  The leader of the pack starting making sexual comments about my breasts and asking if he could "feel me up".  The other boys, whom I looked to in the hope that they would pull him up on his behaviour, looked uncomfortable, but ultimately, said nothing.

Would they have let him says those things about their sister?  I doubt it.  But whether teenage boys or older men, it still seems that a value has to be placed on a woman before she is seen as a human being.  If you have to think of a woman as someone you can relate to in order to see that someone's actions against them are wrong, you are also part of the problem.

So how do we ask men to help change this culture we live in?  Listen to us.  Take responsibility for your actions and own up to those people around you who behave in that way.  Just because he is your friend, your relative does not excuse him from common decent behaviour.

Women should not have to share their stories, like the couple of examples I have shared today in order to highlight that we have a big issue in society. 

We are not Hansel and Gretel, dropping the crumbs of our experiences on the floor until you find enlightenment.  

We have been silent.  We will not be silent any more.  You make not like it, it may make you uncomfortable.  It may make you question yourself, your actions and those of people who you know.  But we are not going away and the wall of shame that women feel about what happens to them is coming down.

Don't be that guy.  Be better.  We can all be better.

What Do You Think Is Growing In Your Bathroom?

The toilet is the one thing in the bathroom that we all know is pretty filthy, even if time is spent cleaning it regularly. We now know that just because you can’t see bacteria, doesn’t mean they aren’t there. In fact, thousands of bacteria can be present at one time!

With these cleaning tips, you’ll be able to eat your dinner off the toilet (but you probably shouldn’t):

Make A Toilet Bomb
You know how bathbombs are all the rage these days? Well you’re going to make your own toilet bomb! Use baking soda, vinegar, and tea tree oil to create a toilet bomb that will leave the toilet clean and smelling fresh.

Clean Toilet, With Zero Effort
Want a clean toilet with minimal effort? Alka Seltzer is the answer. Simply dissolve in the bowl and leave for as long as you want. 15 minutes minimum is recommended.  

A Yummy Smelling Toilet
OK, a yummy smelling toilet may sound strange, but it can be achieved. Simply cut a grapefruit in half and then dip it in salt. Use this to scrub your loo and it’ll not only sparkle, it’ll smell great afterwards.  

Use Coke To Eradicate Toilet Rings
Some people even swear by coke to get their toilet clean! Pour in a can (not the diet kind), let sit for an hour, and when you flush those nasty toilet rings should be gone.

Do you want to know how dirty the toilet (and the rest of your bathroom) really is? Take a look at the infographic below - you might be surprised at how much bacteria is lurking.

credit to soakology

*Collaborative post

13 October 2017

The Modern Kitchen

The kitchen is often the heart of the home, and if you think of yourself as the next master chef, it is likely that you are forever buying new appliances to make life easier in the kitchen, and make your culinary delights even more fabulous. A modern kitchen is the perfect space for it. A streamlined, contemporary kitchen design, combined with integrated appliances, thoughtful lighting and a mix of levels that helps to keep your room clutter free whilst leaving you more space to relax and entertain might sound like a dream – but it can be a reality.

Clean lines                                                               

Handleless cabinets are all the rage right now, and they are perfect for creating clean lines throughout your kitchen. The in-frame construction gives it an edge on some flat fronted designs and makes it extremely durable. In smaller kitchen spaces, the absence of handles helps to make a room feel bigger, while in a kitchen with lots of cabinetry, it prevents an overload of steel handles. If you don't want to commit to all handleless doors then you can give a run of classic cabinets a modern edge by dressing them with sleek bar handles, adding modern built-in appliances and topping with cool composite worktops. For added contemporary chic, mix and match styles incorporating flat-fronted wall cabinets. 

Stay neat                                          

Clean lines continue with neat surfaces in modern design. The key to that is keeping your kitchen uncluttered. While we all might want that statement – and often used – KitchenAid mixer on show, that doesn’t necessarily work, alongside all the other kitchen paraphernalia it’s so easy to get untidy. Hiding kitchen clutter, particularly in open-plan kitchens is essential, so plan in plenty of storage with deep pan drawers, tambour units to keep small appliances, crockery and china out of site. Floor to ceiling handleless cupboards can hide a multitude of sins so if you have space, they’re a good investment. Remember, though, for your kitchen to work efficiently, you’ll want easy access to all these things when you do need them, so we recommend siting pan drawers by ovens, larders close to prep areas and china close to the dishwasher.


Worktops are your best friend when it comes to preparation – and for a modern look in your kitchen colour is important – you can include everything from pure brilliant white to zingy orange. Plain white worktops compliment modern cabinetry beautifully but if you want a slightly less clinical feel then manufacturers such as Silestone and Ceasarstone are now producing man-made composites that look like natural materials. Of course, while they can look just like marble or concrete, the real benefit of these surfaces is that they are much easier to look after than natural stones, particularly very porous ones such as marble. They’re also fabulous for creating feature splashbacks – for instance book matching a faux marble – with less of a financial outlay than, say, Carrara. 


If you are nerdy with your appliances, and have your heart set on a range cooker, then choose one of the more modern steel models from Mercury, Smeg or Rangemaster. Integrate as many appliances as you can and if possible, place items such as washing machines and tumble dryers in utility rooms. Keep sightlines clear by installing simple below cabinet, in-ceiling or pop-up extractors rather than fancy hanging pendants, keep fridges and freezers behind closed doors and invest in good-looking, hardworking built-in cooking appliances and a sleek glass zoned induction hob. Finish off with a few modern day luxuries such as a boiling water tap offered by Quooker, pop-up power points and cool lighting. 

Modern design tips

Pick simple surfaces 

Choose glass or composite splashbacks and large-format floor tiles with a matching grout to keep your kitchen looking sleek.                   

Play with levels                                             

Think about adding a high breakfast bar to an island for relaxed eating or create several levels on a peninsula with a raised area to hide the washing-up from dinner guests.

Go fine 

Opt for ultra-thin worktop profiles that will help your units to look more like pieces of furniture. Or wrap a composite work surface in a contrasting shade or material around cabinetry on islands and at the end of runs.

Trip the light fantastic

Creative lighting is a great investment, and can set the mood or atmosphere for any occasion. Use plinth lights to make base units look like they are floating or adding LED strips to the interior of wall cabinets or shelves to highlight favourite accessories. They can create the perfect mood in the kitchen whatever the occasion.

11 October 2017

Doctor Doctor

I am not the kind of person who enjoys going to the doctors. Who does right?  I try to avoid going if at all possible; choosing to just deal with issues myself and look for remedies online.

It probably doesn't help that my doctors have the same answer for any of the issues I have presented anytime I have gone.  Got a migraine?  Lose weight.  Hurt my ankle after tripping?  Lose weight.  Depression?  Lose weight you won't be sad any more.  I'm not sad dude, my head hates me sometimes.  There is a very major difference.

That last one was the one that made me turn away from my doctors.  I am a body positive person and a generally very happy one.  I know what my triggers are and they are nothing to do with what my weight happens to be that day.

I think this may have been my expression.

My other little foible is that I don't really like to take pills.  You get prescribed x, y and z at the doctors but you don't actually know what is going into your body.  You don't know what side effects will be or what others have experienced with the medication.

For this reason, when I have a minor issue such as the odd migraines that I get, I use an online pharmacy*  For each item that you wish to purchase, you complete an online doctor assessment to see if it is suitable and after a go head from their doctor, you are sent the medication. 

You get much more information about the medication you are taking, the possible side effects and also customer reviews about what they have experienced.

It is also useful to check out things that your regular doctor has suggested for me.  For instance, I asked my doctor about something that could delay my period whilst I was on holiday next year.  He suggested that I use a period delay pill.

After looking it up with my online pharmacy, I was shocked to see some of the side effects and on researching further, the side effects experienced by many (such as terrible stomach pain when you stop using it!) made me decide not to use this pill at all.

When it comes to your health, it is really worth doing your research and looking at all possible options.

*Obviously I am not advocating boycotting your doctor or suggest that you do so.  I use an online pharmacy for minor things such as my occasional migraine, travel sickness etc.  Anything that is not a minor condition or is persistent and you should always consult your doctor

10 October 2017

Grassington 40s Weekend

Last year was my first attendance at the Grassington 40s weekend.  You can read about my day here

Having such a good time last year, this year I decided to dress up with the red dogwood patterned Isabel dress from Lindy Bop.  I have added a link as the dress is now on sale for £17.00! (I haven't been asked to promote Lindy Bop, I just wanted to share a bargain!)

Here are some of my photographs from the day.

9 October 2017

New Season, New Handbag!

August.  The time when the temperature starts to drop (not that we had that much of a Summer!), the nights start to draw in and we begin to pull out our jumpers and warm coats.

For me, I have an August ritual that I have carried out every year since I started working.  When it comes to work wear, I like to invest in a good, warm but stylist coat that is going to last me through the Autumn and Winter months.  I typically will wear the same coat every day to work so by the time Winter has finished ravaging us, it usually needs replacing.  I just bought this fit and flare coat from SimplyBe.

Same goes for my work handbags.  I typically use a large handbag that I can throw everything into, but over the course of the months wear and and tear does start to show and it needs replacing.  Autumn is the perfect time for me to shop around and find myself a bargain.

What I tend to use is Love The Sales where I can check out all my favourite brands and designers in the same place and everything shown is from their sales line.  I have narrowed my choices down to four handbags now.  Help me choose?

Boden £96.00

Versace Jeans £152.00 

Dune £38.00

Radley £94.00 - half price!!

The Wedding Industry And The Digital Age

The majority of retailers are operating online these days, or at least keeping up a strong online presence. Some stores, such as Amazon and ASOS, do not even have any physical stores. However, the wedding industry has maintained a strong offline presence — with brides needing to try on their wedding gowns before they buy, grooms having several suit fittings, and of course, who would want to miss out on the opportunity to have a tasting session at your venue for your wedding breakfast? But with new technologies and social media apps, is it time for the wedding industry to make a transition into the digital world?

To put the rise of online shopping into perspective, in the last twelve months it was reported that around 87% of UK customers have purchased at least one product online. From the year 2016, digital sales have increased by 21.3% and are forecast to increase by 30% by the end of 2017. But does this mean that wedding vendors will have to make the transformation online too? Retailers of tension setengagement rings, Angelic Diamonds, investigates further.

What does the future hold?

As companies increase their online presence, it will be interesting to see whether the wedding industry follows suit or remains successful offline.

New technologies, particularly social media, has already affected the industry and how customers are shopping. With apps such as Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook; brides and grooms can find so much inspiration for their big day with just a few clicks. Modern couples are now using new technology when wedding planning. In fact, 42% of people use social media to plan their wedding — with 41% of brides following photographers on social media, 37% of brides following venues and 14% following florists.

The internet is helping brides search for dresses and vendors too – TheHuffington Post reported that 61% of brides search for gowns through their mobile (up from 27% in 2011) and 57% search for wedding vendors in the same way (this figure was 22% in 2011).

Social media is not only useful for customers, but it is beneficial for companies in the industry, too. The apps provide a platform for wedding planners, venues, florists, and other wedding suppliers to showcase what they have to offer. Instagram and Pinterest, which is used by 64% of brides, have now become a couple’s go-to platform for all their inspiration, a digital alternative to a wedding fair. 

Suppliers who have not yet invested time into creating a social media profile for their business could be missing out on free exposure.

27% of modern couples suggested said that they would create a hashtag for their special day, too.

Digital exposure

It appears that the future could remain promising for wedding vendors. Whilst it is likely that companies will need to go digital at some stage to stay up to date with the latest technologies, and keep their head in the game, there might always be a place for them offline within the industry.
In fact, it is likely that the industry would struggle if many of the companies became digitalised. 
Wedding fairs have been around for centuries, and there is a reason for that; whilst modern couples use social media for visual inspiration, wedding fairs are still a great way for suppliers to engage face-to-face with potential customers. For most people, their wedding day is the biggest day of their lives so it’s important that they can speak face-to-face with suppliers, and physically see what they have to offer.
There is no escaping the digitalisation of shopping, and it is suggested that the wedding industry will have to conform to the trend in some way. However, it appears that it is during the inspiration stages of the wedding planning process that the internet is most useful. The industry is definitely not yet ready to wipe out all traditional methods of wedding planning. There’s no question that there is still a demand for the physical processes. Maybe, it’s just time for suppliers and other industry professionals to use digital as a means to extend their business and gain more exposure. 

*Collaborative piece

3 October 2017

5 Tips to Improve Your Reproductive Health

Whether you have an interest in conceiving with your partner or you want to live a healthier lifestyle, it is important to take care of all aspects of your health. Often times people think about weight loss, becoming fit, or eating healthier but there are many other aspects to one’s overall wellness that can positively or negatively impact one’s quality of life. This article will focus on how you can take care of your reproductive health so that when you are ready to bear a child, your body will be able to do so.

  1. STD Testing. Regardless of your relationship status, if you are sexually active, you should get tested for STD’s at least once a year. If you are a woman, getting tested can be as easy as asking your doctor to do an extra swab during your annual obgyn appointment. If you do not have annual check-ups, you can still get an STD test from your doctor or even online. Checking for diseases can alert you to potential problems that you may have while trying to conceive. Some diseases do not have symptoms so they can be around for a long period of time without you knowing. Clearing up any potential diseases can help you conceive quicker.

  1. Track your cycle. Knowing your cycle can help you feel connected to your body and will allow you to be in tune with yourself in a way that is empowering. Knowing your cycle will help you pinpoint certain parts of the month where you may feel tired, crave chocolate, or experience an acne breakout and help you prepare for these times in your cycle. Not to mention, when these things happen you can practice self-compassion instead of passing judgement on to yourself as to why your body is acting the way that it is.

  1. Choose a birth control method that works well for you. At your annual appointment with your doctor, be sure to discuss your birth control method and how it working for you. If you take an oral contraceptive, be sure to ask about the latest prescriptions and share any side effects you have experienced from the one you currently take. Perhaps there is a new release that could be a better option for you. By talking to your doctor, you can learn about new birth control options so that you can always make the best decision for today and your future.

  1. Drink water. Hydrating your body is imperative to living a healthy lifestyle. Believe it or not, drinking enough water can also help you stay lubricated during sexual activity and will help with conceiving if that is your goal.

  1. Take care of yourself. Yes, it is important to visit your doctor annually and participate in STD screenings from time to time, but it is also important to practice self-care and have high standards of hygiene. Keeping yourself clean and fresh is important to staying healthy and free of illness.

Hair Regrowth after Alopecia: What to expect

Alopecia is a very broad term for hair loss. There are many different types of alopecia you can end up with, all with different symptoms and signs. Some of the most common types of Alopecia include Male (and female) pattern baldness, Anagen Effluvian, and Scarring Alopecia. 

Pattern Baldness is the most common type of hair loss, and effects most people over the age of 50. In some cases, Pattern Baldness can affect people before this age. Signs that you have this type of hair loss include a receding or “horseshoe” hairline. It’s thought this type of hair loss is hereditary, meaning it runs in the family. 

If you’re hoping to regrow your hair with this type of hair loss, there are some treatments out there that could help you, which are outlined below. This type of hair loss is completely natural, and means that your hair is less than likely to grow back once it has been lost.

If you are suffering from Anagen Effluvian, you can expect hair loss nearly everywhere on the body. From the top of the head to your face and arms, this type of hair loss is completely widespread and is caused by treatments such as Chemotherapy and other cancer treatments, such as Radiotherapy. This type of hair loss is temporary; you can expect regrowth once you have completed your treatment. 

When your hair grows back after experiencing this type of hair loss, it can be a different colour, texture and feel to the hair you had before your illness. It isn’t entirely understood why this happens to those who experience Anagen Effluvian, however there are still ongoing studies.

Scarring Alopecia is a result of another complication, either illness or accident. In this type of alopecia, the hair follicles are completely destroyed, and hair will no longer grow from the affected area. This type of hair loss is rare, and will only affect 7% of those with hair loss issues.

Other types of hair loss diagnosis from which your hair will grow back includes Telogen Effluvium, and Alopecia Areata. If you are worried about your hair loss, and it’s affecting you, you can speak to your GP about options available to you. In some cases, treatment can be administered in order to stimulate hair follicle growth. Finasteride and Minoxidil are two examples of this. If you’re too embarrassed to visit your doctor, or you would like to deal with your hair loss on your own terms, you can buy treatments for yourself online with sites such as Minoxidil2U.

Guest Article written by Gina Kay Daniel