29 December 2019

My End Of Year Post - Looking Back At My Decade

*Long post

A couple of months ago I was on Twitter when I saw someone pose a question.  "We are in the last month of the end of a decade, what have you accomplished?"

My initial thought was, nothing. How depressing.

That was because I was judging my life by the atypical milestones and accomplishments that most people have by my age.  House, marriage, children, successful career.

I don't have a house that I own, I'm not married and I don't want children.  People tend to judge a successful career as being doctor, a solicitor, a business owner etc.  That isn't my career; however I not only enjoy my job, but it is also worthwhile and I do, in a small wheel of the cog, make a difference to people's lives.

If you look at the list above, all the things that you are expected to have achieved and done, there are some that would say that you are failing in your life.  But life is not just about those things.

The truth is that I am a completely different person to the woman I was in 2010.  This blog may be anonymous but I think that I can share my story here as I think it is important for me to note it, remember it, remind myself of how far I have come.

2010 me hno confidence, no self worth, no voice, no opinions.  I needed validation from others as I could not validate myself.  The previous decade had been lost to depression and I was determined to change.  To find myself and be myself instead of trying to be what I thought others would like more.

The change was started by joining Twitter.  I joined to find fellow Formula One fans online and by chance, I came across a blog post, the first I had ever read.  She was a fashion blogger who wasn't the typical size 8, something I didn't know existed.  She had confidence in bounds and talked so well about not just confidence, but other topics and shared things from her life that I could associate with well.

I started my own.  I was terrified.  But slowly, I started posting more, working with brands, going to events, networking.  My wardrobe changed from a sea of black to colours, prints and many, many dresses.  I also started writing about what I felt, about subjects that I felt passionate about.  My love of writing that I always knew I had, allowed me to heal in so many ways.  My thoughts flowed through my fingertips on to the screen in a way that I could never truly express before.

Fast forward a few years and my writing was less about fashion and more about topics and opinions.  By then I was also working with brands and PR firms writing advertorial content which nicely topped up my full time job income.

But then.  Then the last couple of years happened and my world changed again.  On a massive scale.

By 2018 I had fallen into left wing politics and intersectional feminism.  I wrote about both a lot on my blog and I now felt confident in expressing my thoughts and opinions both off and online.

I have always wanted  to learn more and if I am interested in a subject, I research.  I look into both sides so that I can talk with some background knowledge.  I believe that life is about learning, whether academic or just becoming more knowledgeable about the world you live in.  Be it politics, feminism, different cultures, etc.

I came across an article about a cyclist called Rachel McKinnon.   A transgender woman who was beating biological woman on the track.  Not just beating, but winning races, creating record times.  Not surprising really.  That is what sent me, like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, into gender critical thinking.

I had always previously been of the opinion, and in the main still am, of let people be what they want to be.  What was the harm in respecting others?

But suddenly it was not just about respecting that some men identified as women.  It wasn't about respecting pro nouns of those people who went down that path.  The worm had turned, seemingly overnight but I suspect (and know) and that the topic had not come across my path until that point.

Suddenly, it was no longer just about respect.  It was activists saying that trans women were actual women.  That lesbians should accept "lady dick".  That 12 year old girls having double mastectomies was normal.  That immediate affirmation was more important that  making sure that someone was actually on the right path.  That self ID instead of the current GRA rules was the only acceptable way forward and to disagree, was to be a TERF, a transphobe.

I started tweeting a lot about the subject and quickly found that my views were not acceptable to the PR firms and clients I worked with.  I was advised to be more PC.  I could not do that.  I stopped writing on my blog, deleted my 9 year Twitter account and refused further work.  I could not and would not bend the knee.  I lost my part time income, but it was more than worth it.

The groups that I had previously been part of and helped me to find my confidence, were now shunning and banning me.  That hurt.  I was talked about and actively ostracized.  I was told that I no longer belonged in feminism, yet I never felt more a feminist in my life.

But what I lost, I gained in spades.  The gender critical community were massively supportive.  I felt, and feel, like I had found my people.  People who believed that women's rights were being lost and needed to be protected.  People who believed and knew, of course, that biological sex is immutable.  People who, like me, had to be anonymous now because of the waves of attacks from people who claimed to be on the left and the most progressive.

What they are, and I quote the amazing Magadelen Burns here, are people who are so woke that their brains fell out.

So where I am now ending 2019 in comparison to how it started?

I have confidence.  I have self worth.  I have a voice and am not afraid any more to say what I think.  If you follow my Twitter, you more than know the last one.

My depression and anxiety has been better than it has in the last twenty years.  My dysthymia, which for years I didn't even recognise that I had, is improving but that is a battle.  One I think that I am slowing winning.

I am part of an amazing community of people who fights back against trans activists and supports women and our rights.  They inspire me and teach me every single day.

I am, for the first time in my adult life, in a relationship with a man who is amazing. Some who not only treats me wonderfully but also encourages me to say the things I am scared to say.  To learn more.  To be braver.   To be the person I really am, without fear.

All in all?  I have had a bloody good decade.  Here's to 2020. 

1 December 2019

Retraining Your Mind

When you think about education, you think about high school, college, university.  Gaining the knowledge that you need in order to get the job that you want.  Learning the right information that will gain you the skills that you need.


Not everyone is able to learn in the same way and whether you go all the way through to gaining a degree, or just end your education when leaving high school; you have been left with tools which will help you move forward in life.  From the absolute basics such as learning to read and write, add up numbers to having the information you need to start a career as a lawyer, doctor, engineer.

Personally, I believe that education never really ends.  Even after you leave the formal institutions of learning, we do in the most part, learn something new every day that adds to our knowledge or helps us to improve.

We do in the ways that we interact with other people, the news that we read and see, the subjects that we are interested in.  When our interest is piqued, we want to know more.   One spark of interest can lead to everything from feeling more knowledgeable about a subject you enjoy, to even a change in career.

While formal education gives you the basics, certainly in high school, it is when we find the subjects that interest us when our brains are truly stimulated and in turn, we learn more effectively and  it does not feel like a hardship or chore as it is something that we enjoy.

As we all know, time moves quickly when you are having fun or doing something you enjoy.  Time seems to slow down the most when we wish it away (like the final hours of a Friday afternoon at work).

Just like educating your brain, you can also educate your mind, to motivate you and make the most of your time.  This can help in many ways and certainly in a work day.

Generally, if you are having a good day, you are more productive.  A bad mood can result in a slow day with not much work done which does not benefit you, or your employer come to that!

It can take a second to change a bad mood to a good one.  To change the path of your day from sluggish and unproductive, to motivated and active.  Like when your favourite song comes on the radio and suddenly, you feel happier and more upbeat.

More and more now businesses are turning to training courses to offer to their employees.  Everything from team building exercises to helping you motivate yourself to be more productive.

NLP Training Courses is one such company that businesses use to assist their employees with new ways of thinking and helping to change the way that you self influence your behaviour.  Learning techniques that will help you to change your day and mood, thereby increasing productivity which helps in both your work and personal life.

Learning to think in a different way can turn a "I can't" to a "I can".  It can push to believe that something that we believed was not possible, to become a reality.  

This is how the one minute mile was broken.  How imagined inventions become real.  How your interests, like in my life, writing, can become a career.

How do you think that changing the way you think could help in your life?

15 November 2019

Three Easy Ways to Boost Your Health When You're Run-off-your-feet Busy

Putting in place the necessary elements of a healthy lifestyle is vital to reducing your risk of chronic diseases and living a long life. But even with the best intentions, it can be bewildering to try to cram so many essential self-care habits into your busy schedule.

If you're doing well in your job and taking great care of your loved ones, but your own health is suffering, these tips will help you take back control and avoid burn-out.

Image Source: Pexels CC0 Licence

 Be Your Own “Health Boss”

These days, having a rewarding career often means it’s hard to prioritize your own needs, and you may even be hiding your mental health from your boss or your family. It’s natural to put work demands and family needs ahead of your own health, you have someone else depending on you. But when it comes to your own wellness goals, you have only yourself to answer to. Rather than letting your health slip, try to treat your health as a crucial aspect of your life. Make yourself accountable to yourself. Set goals, and set regular check-ins with yourself to ensure that you’re making time and space to look after your health.

Make Use of Online Healthcare Options

When you're already stressed to the max with work and family responsibilities, it can be hard to prioritise those essential health errands that demand even more time out of your busy day. Whether you’re overdue a visit to the gynecologist, or you need to drop in at the health store for your supplements, these errands are often the first to get bumped off the week’s to-do-list, if not neglected altogether. One way to ensure you’re getting the healthcare you need is to make the most of all the online health facilities available. For example, use an online pharmacy for any prescription needs, and buy your supplements online, too. You may not be aware, but nowadays you can access a range of medical services online—everything from flu medication to treatment for genital herpes—without having to make the trip to your GP’s office. Online assessments and consultations are the way forward if you don’t have time to go to the GP, or you prefer the convenience of getting things sorted on the run.

Image Source: Pexels CC0 Licence

Stay Hydrated

The key to fitting positive health rituals into your already busy schedule is scoring whatever easy wins come your way. Drinking enough water is the classic way to improve your health outcomes without spending money, time or energy. There’s no arguing with the science in the hydration department: drinking plenty of water is extremely beneficial to the body. Not only does it aid weight loss, but it also helps your body function in so many crucial ways. Remember, your body is made up primarily of water, so it's vital that you top up your hydration levels throughout the day.

But how much water should you drink every day? It's easy to get hung up on calculating the perfect quantity of water you should drink per day. This isn’t particularly helpful because we all have different bodies, and how much each of us needs depends on things like exercise, medications, and many other factors. Essentially, if you are listening to your body, it’s likely that you will end up drinking enough water. Remember, the first sign of dehydration is thirst.

But what if you spend your days so busy and distracted that you hardly notice when your body is signaling that you are dehydrated? Or you misread the “thirsty” signal and wrongly interpret it as hunger? Of course, when you first set yourself the goal of drinking more water, you may need to establish a hydration schedule of hydration that does not rely on thirst, just until drinking water regularly has become part of your normal life, and you naturally identify signs of dehydration. Start your day with a big glass of water, then fill up a large water bottle and challenge yourself to empty it several times before the end of the day. Setting times of the day to drink a glass of water can be helpful. For example, keep a glass on the basin and drink some water after washing your face, or glug a couple of glasses while you check your email in the morning. These minor but regular habits will have a major impact on your overall wellness.

Whether you’re a hard-working boss, or you spend your time and energy pleasing your boss, working hard can take its toll on your health. These tips will help you avoid burn-out by scoring some easy wins, health-wise.

17 October 2019

5 Essentials For A Romantic Weekend Away

Planning a romantic weekend away can be extremely exciting, yet incredibly stressful. With so many important things to consider before you set off on your weekend away, you need to be sure you’re being as organised as you can possibly be. From packing your suitcase to coming up with an itinerary of things to do, the more you plan in advance the better. With that in mind, here are 5 essentials for a romantic weekend away: 

- A Budget Set In Advance

One of the first things you need to do when planning a romantic weekend away is set yourself a budget in advance. Whether this means setting yourself a budget for your travel and accommodation or setting a spending money budget, you need to be sure you know exactly how much your trip is going to cost. For a guide to setting a budget for your vacation, you can visit this site here. 

- A Suitcase Filled With Clothes

Once you’ve set your budget and worked out where you’re going, you need to ensure you’re packing all of the essentials. From two-three day time outfits and toiletries to comfortable walking shoes and coats, it’s important you’re thinking of absolutely everything. If you’re unsure, you might want to consider finding a weekend packing list online. 

- Something Special For The Evenings

As you’re going to be going on a romantic getaway, you might want to pack something a little extra for the evenings. Whether that means packing some incredible sexy underwear or packing a stunning dress for a nice meal, you need to think about how you can make your romantic weekend away memorable. If you’re looking for incredible underwear for your trip, you can find sexy thongs and g strings here

- An Itinerary Of The Most Romantic Spots To Visit 

Another important thing to consider when it comes to your romantic weekend away is whether or not you have a plan of where you want to go. Although some people prefer to take things one day at a day, most people like to make a plan of the places they like to visit beforehand. Not only will this allow you to visit all of the most romantic places but it will also help ensure you don’t miss anything. For a guide to setting an itinerary for vacation, you can visit this site here. 

- A Sense Of Adventure

Finally, you need to be sure you have a sense of adventure. Although you’re heading away to spend time with your partner, you also want to ensure you’re exploring as much as you can. Whether this means spending the day wandering through a new city or booking yourself onto an incredible excursion, the more you experience on your trip the better. 

Are you heading on a romantic weekend away soon? What essentials do you need to ensure you're packing? Did we miss anything off the list? Let me know all of your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.

15 October 2019

Storing Your Life

Sponsored post

Whether you are the type of person who never throws anything away or you ruthlessly have a cull every few months, storage is something that is key to having a tidy life.  

Storage is an important part of family life, but what we often forget to do however is think outside of the box when it comes to solving the problem of where to store items that you don't want to throw away, but don't have the room for.  

Having a cull of items you don't have room for may end up with a tidier home, but if you are anything like me, inevitably you will discover soon after are things that you wanted to, or should have kept but didn't.  

Not just objects, but memories.  Treasures that you did not realise that you treasured, until they are at the tip or have been donated.

Books that you decided you would not read again and then miss.  Photographs of events from long past that you want to reminisce with, but have been thrown them.  Furniture that you didn't need in your old house, but would have worked perfectly in your new home.  Even things like those winter coats that are past their best and don't fit in your cupboard, but would have been perfect for walking the dog.

Your attic, if you have one, is one solution, but damp, moths and who knows what else always eventually take their toll.  So what to do?

One option and an option that I use on a regular basis is renting a storage unit.  Specifically for my locality, I use Shurgard Self-Storage Woolwich

The reason I chose Shurgard was firstly because of easy to use website.  You can choose the size of the unit that you want and reserve online, paying only a pound for the first month and then a fixed amount each month, depending on the size of the unit.  There is also no minimum contract.

Renting a storage unit can solve so many problems.  When renovating your home and you need to store your furniture or box up everything while you decorate, renting a secure place to keep them is ideal.

If you are the kind of person that regularly culls your home of items, a storage unit can be the place you put things until you make your final decision.  It gives you time rather than having to decide whether to throw something away in the spur of the moment.

A storage unit also gives you the option of long term storage.  If you are looking to upsize your home and want to buy pieces gradually for it, a storage unit can be the place where they can be ready and waiting for your new home.

You don't have to rent a large space, you can get a 15ft square unit for less than £14 a month to store things like necessary documents that have somehow filled a filing cabinet as well as the odds and ends that you have accumulated over the years that you don't want to throw away.  Your child's old toys for example that are no use to you when the child has outgrown them, but the memories are irreplaceable.  

Have you ever thrown anything away that you have regretted.  I bet, like me, you can think of many things.  This is a possible and workable solution at a reasonable rate.

Why not try it out?   

9 October 2019

Man, You Do Not Feel Like A Woman

As a woman, I will never know
what it is to be a man.
  How it feels to grow through
puberty as a boy, experience male teenage hormones; how their bodies change;
what it feels like to deal with all of that.

Likewise, men will never know what
it is to be a woman.  To experience our lives and live as we do.

How it feels when our periods begin
and we start to grow breasts.  How it
feels when the world starts treating you differently because of it.  How our emotions run riot.

The experience of being a man or
woman can be described to you, but you will never truly know or understand,
because it was not your experience.  You
have not felt it.  Lived it.  So how can you truly know?

This is why I can talk about how
it feels to be a woman.   Because I am one. 

Yet now in 2019 we are told that
men can now be “actual born women”. 
Because they feel like or identify as a woman, they are now women.  How can you feel like something you have
never experienced?  That you have no true
knowledge of?

When a transgender woman gets breast augmentation, they see it as way to express their femininity.
Quite frankly though, it is nothing but fakery and bullshit.  Breasts have nothing to do with how feminine you are or feel.

The way that transgender women think about breasts, is how men see and think about breasts.  As sex objects.  They make them feel sexy.  They slap them on their bodies and pretend that this makes them a woman.  They have no idea.

Trans women will never know how it feels to grow breasts at twelve years old and suddenly men are ogling you in the street.  How growing breasts changed you to become something is now regarded as “available”.  On the market.  An object.  Except on the inside, you are still a child who doesn't understand why grown men are whistling and catcalling you in the street.

Trans women can never know or experience what it is like to be told "boys will be boys"when you are sexually assaulted.  In school. Daily.  At fifteen years old.

Trans women are nothing but parodies of what they think women are.  Fake breasts and clothes that look like they are living in a 1980s bordello. 

If trans women actually knew the way that women think, had lived our experiences and had had our bodies, they would not be waltzing into our bathrooms, our changing rooms, our hospital wards and our refuges.  They would understand the fear.  They would understand how unsafe this makes us feel.  Not just how unsafe we feel, but how unsafe we are when put in that situation.

But they don't.    Because they think like men.  They cannot understand that fear.  Because they have never lived it in the same way that women have.

What they are is narcassistic men, who only see what they want and trample over everyone and everything to get it.  All the while sporting a pair of plastic tits and calling themselves a "real woman".

Don't make me laugh.

4 October 2019

Are We Being Played By The Patriarchy?

"The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist"

I am not one for conspiracy theories.  I laugh at the flat earthers and shake my head in disbelief at the people who don't believe that we landed on the moon.  

But something has been rolling around in my head for some time now and it has been building up momentum.  So here is what I have been thinking.

In keeping with the quote above from The Usual Suspects, I am starting to think that the greatest trick the patriarchy have or will ever pull, is convincing people that men can become women.  Because it suits their agenda perfectly. 

I believe that the patriarchy is neither left nor right wing.  It exists at a higher level than politics.  The patriarchy is ingrained in the way that people think and what they believe.  It is a state of mind and is a set of beliefs that is not easily changed.  For some, that way of living is what they are brought up with and know.  They still live in it and some women, sadly, embrace it.  For others, that way of living is something that we fight against still.

No matter where you live in the world the patriarchy is there.  Sometimes out in plain sight, sometimes lurking in the shadows.  This can be when they are most dangerous.

So what is it that they want?  Ultimately, they want control of women.  Specifically taking control back.  They cannot (yet) take the vote away from us.  They cannot (yet) take us out of the workplace.  Society cannot function without two incomes in a household and they therefore pick their battles wisely.  Mothers for example are both encouraged to work but are also derided for leaving their child.

So what battles can they win?  What control can they take away from us?  The first answer is that it has already started.  You just haven't noticed.  If you have, chances are that you are gender critical.

Transgender women are a gift, perhaps the largest gift that the patriarchal system has received in a very long time.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels

Think about it.  I cannot think of another time in history where a minority has had such a quick rise to acceptance and normality.  Not just normality, for the first time, a taking over of one group's rights and taking them as their own.

Gender dysphoria is a real thing.  There have always been transgender people.  But what is happening today is not just about transgender people and their rights.  This is also about power.  Over the past few years this has no longer just been about acceptance of transgender people in society.  It is becoming a takeover.  Supported, I believe, massively, by the patriarchy.

In 2018 the UK government estimated that trans people made up between 0.35 and 1% of the population (source).  For those who say my source is biased, here is the Government link, page 82.  Stonewall's estimate is 1%.  So let's go for ease with 1%.  Around 600,000 people.

Of those 600,000 people, according again to Stonewall figures, less than 5000 people have the Gender Recognition certificate.  Less than 1%.  Three quarters of those people are transgender women.

According to statistics, only around 11% of trans women go on to have gender reassignment surgery and 12% of trans men.

So let's use those figures and compare.  Of the 600,000 people who identify as trans, using the top end figure, less than 1% go for the certificate.  11-12% of trans people have gender reassignment surgery.  So basically around 530,000 people of the trans group who neither apply for the GRC or go for surgery.

So please can someone explain to me why the Government, all of the political parties, the NHS, the left etc etc are going with the party line that trans women are women and visa versa?  Why are we being told that someone needs to do NOTHING MORE than identify as a woman in order to be one?

How did we get to a place where a bearded man in a skirt who claims he is a lesbian and is on zero medication, can be called a real actual woman?  How did we get to a place where lesbians are being called immoral bigots for not wanting to have sex with men with penises who decide they think like a woman and therefore "are women".  How did we get to a place where (some) men are advocating for this?  Who are threatening, doxing and harassing women who disagree (I'm looking at you woke bearded bros).

One of the answers for me is the patriarchy.  Trans people are benefiting from the aims and wants of the patriarchy.  They are the perfect vehicle to deny and take away the rights of women.

Just look at what women are losing.  Our changing rooms, our bathrooms, our refuges, our hospital wards, our prisons.  We are no longer being called women.  We are "non men", chestfeeders, front holes.  The consequences, vast and far reaching.

Because it is no longer real transexual people who can access these areas and places.  It is anyone who "identifies".  Woman are becoming less safe every day.

Trans rights activists did not achieve this on their own.  They did it, I believe, with the support of the patriarchal system that wants to roll back the rights of women and put us back in the home, in the kitchen, where they think we belong.

Prove me wrong.

30 July 2019

Removing The Labels That Bind You

I took a long time to find my voice.  To become the having a thousand thoughts and opinions a day kind of person.  

Joining Twitter and starting to write my old blog were both an avenue and arena that I had never experienced before and were in part the catalyst for releasing my voice.  As a result, many thoughts and opinions began to form.  It took a bloody long while to get there, but one thing to know about me is that I can and never will be pushed.  I come to things in my own time.

When I finally found my voice, "the left" seemed to be a natural home for me.  I happily joined the camp of lefties and refused to listen to anyone with the slightest inclination of right leaning thought.  Feminism was another world where I felt at home.  Pro women, pro choice, an easy decision.

But what comes with finding your voice and having a thirst to learn more, is that you begin to question the worlds that you have chosen.  The boxes you have placed yourself in and the boxes that people have put you in.

If you had spoken to me in September last year, I would have described myself as a uber leftie.  An intersectional feminist.  Accepting of all.  The kool aid had been drunk and I was on the party message.

But then.   I began to question the rhetoric.  Ask questions.  Object.  Seeds of doubt about what I thought I believed were planted.

I wonder if Rachel McKinnon realises the amount of people that turned away from intersectionality as a result of them (yes I am being careful) winning that bike race.  The photograph of them standing on the top of the podium.  Clearly male bodied.  Clearly advantaged over the two women who came second and third.  That was the start.

From there, I was like Alice falling round the rabbit hole.  My fall was akin to falling off a cliff and while I grabbed at points of information along the way, by the time I found my feet again, I was a different person; again.

I became irritated by the left who seemed to be becoming more self righteous and controlling by the day.  As I have said in a previous blog post, the presumption of the public and the persona surrounding them has always been that the left are always on the moral side, the side of the people, the right side of history.  The right was always wrong.  So why did I become to feel so stifled?  So controlled?  Wasn't it the right that wanted to control us?

Feminism also began to irritate me.  Specifically the holier than thou way that some went about it.  I cared about women's safety, women's rights, not what a fucking sandwich was called or whether a man opened a door for me was a sign of the patriarchy.

I reached a point where I was no longer a leftie, I was a centrist.  I wasn't sure whether I was still a feminist.  I was gender critical.  That I was certain of.

So from last October when I first started to question everything to know, I was in a state of flux.  I became politically homeless as more and more parties swallowed and spouted out the line that trans women were women.  They are not.  They will never be.

I joined the club of being blocked by Owen Jones (we need a badge of pride I think at this point).

Whilst listening to and learning from many gender critical women, I was also told however that certain people within the movement were not to be listened to.  That they were extremists that would ally themselves to anyone.  But I wanted to listen and make up my own mind.

I was tired of the labels I had both chosen and had been given.  My voice was not being censored, but I was conscious that some of the things I thought were again, would not be acceptable.

I wanted so much to go to the Woman's Place meeting in London.  To see Sharron Davies who I think is fantastic and unafraid in what she says and thinks.  Unfortunately timing issues were not on my side.

But then I saw Make More Noise were holding an event in Manchester.  Talking about the elephant in the room of feminism.  What we did not talk about/enough.  Posie Parker was one of the speakers.  One of the people I had been told not to listen to.  But I wanted to make up my own damn mind.

I really enjoyed her speech.  I also loved the talk by Sarah Phillimore which I understood more from my line of work.

But I was scared to admit that I had attended a talk with Posie involved.  Then I got angry.  I am tired of limiting myself and my experiences.  Who I listen to.  What information I should take from people.

So today, I am removing my labels.  I am politically homeless. Not left, not right, not centrist.  I will viewpoints from all and discard what I don't agree with.  But only after I have listened.  Supporting women, their sex based rights and the rights to their own bodies will always be the line I will stand on.  But I'm taking off the word feminist too.

I am label free other than my biologically fact based description of being an adult human female.

I think I will end my (very long, sorry) blog post with a few things that I believe and all, are a hill I would stand up for and die on.

  • Every person is entitled to the same human rights.  No person or group need or deserve more than that.  We don't (yet) live in the equivalent  of Animal Farm.

  • Lesbians do not have penises.  

  • Biological men do not belong in women's spaces.

  • No one under the age of at least 18 should be on hormone altering medication or undergo gender altering surgery.  It is child abuse.

  • The state should not be telling parents what sex their child is.

  • If you think that you are circumgender trans, you need psychological help, not affirmation.

  • If you believe that putting on a dress, having a beard and calling yourself a lesbian is right, again, you need psychological help, not affirmation.

  • If you believe that a woman saying no is not allowed because it may hurt your chosen identity feelings, you can frankly, fuck off.

Think I had better stop here.  For now.  More posts to follow.  Thank you, if you got this far, for reading.

4 July 2019

How Social Media Killed Innocence

I have heard it said, and in most parts it is true, that adults forget what it is like to be young.  That society moves on, technology evolves and teenagers grow more worldly by the hour. It isn't the same as in "your generation".

But while the generations before us have worried about bullying, underage sex, teenage pregnancies, getting drunk in the park and "falling in with the wrong crowd", the obstacles that teenagers face today can be far more dangerous.

I would not want to be a teenager today, particularly a teenage girl, if you paid me.

Image from Pexels

Let's focus for the subject matter of this conversation on 15/16 year old girls.

When I was this age, I was the chubby girl in high school, known for having large breasts.  That was my label.  Cones, the boys called me.  My best friend was naturally very slender and she had her own nickname, which isn't mine to share.

There was bullying, as goes on in every school in one form or another.  In my case, there was also sexual harassment, passed off by teachers as "boys will be boys, they have hormones" and "buy a bigger shirt Kitty".  But that is another story.  

Bullying when I was 15 was limited to school grounds and waiting outside at the bus stop.  It was not being invited to parties and being excluded from conversations.    You were made to be an outsider.  But, the bullying stopped when you entered your home. When you were not in the presence of your bullies, you had some respite.

Mobile phones for the mass market did not come along until around 5/6 years after I left school (this makes me sound 190 years old I realise).   Social media only really started to become popular when Facebook appeared and started to gain significant followers.

I for one am wholly grateful that my teenage years was pre social media.  Because I do not think I would have survived it.  I truly don't.  Because if you are bullied or fall out of favour, it never stops and there is no escape.

There is a clear parallel between the rise and popularity of social media and the rise of teenage depression and suicide.

It is more than just a coincidence that rates of depression in teenagers aged 14-17 has increased by more than 60% according to an American study. 

Unsplash image

These days I am addicted to Twitter, checking the site and messages many times a day, having continued and ever increasing conversations with many people.  There are internet trolls of course and people who can target you on your views, but the block button is your friend and you can remove yourself from conversations which give you stress or cause anxiety.

I regularly have anxiety and the fact that I can sign out, have a break and come back refreshed is something that I do regularly, though not as much as I should.

You do not get to do that as a teenager.  You lead as much of your life online as you do offline.  Probably more.

Telling a teenager to remove themselves from social media when they are being bullied or excluded is ridiculous.  It would take a very, very strong person not to want to know what their fellow pupils are saying about them and talking about them behind their back.

If you removed yourself from the multiple social media sites, many of which I probably haven't even heard of would only cause more bullying.  More worrying about what people are saying about you; and planning.

That is before you even consider what porn has done to teenagers.  With porn accessible with merely a click on the internet, the expectations of boys on teenager girls (not all boys, yes I know) are horrendous.

When I was that age, your first experiences of sex was generally two people who didn't really know what they were doing, but generally having a damn good time experimenting.  The thrill of an hour kissing session.  That look the first time your boyfriend felt/saw your breasts.  The first time of sex.

Now, teenage boys have had years to watch internet porn and their expectations of porn star women are projected on to their female peers.  Hairless vaginas, porn style blow jobs, anal sex.  The presumption that this is the norm.

The expectations on teenage girls to do and perform these acts is massive and peer pressure ways heavily.

While the internet and social media has given us many things, it has also taken away more.  A respite from bullying.  Safe spaces. Normal experimentation and most importantly, innocence.

19 June 2019

How to Surround Yourself With Positive Vibes

If you would like to make the most out of your femininity and improve your mood, your first task should be to find what works for your personality and your looks. No matter if you are curvy, funky, a hipster, or a tomboy, you can find what works for your style and your personality. Below you will find a few tips on how to surround yourself with positive vibes that your soul resonates with. 

Shopping for Unique Items
Fast fashion is for the masses. You need to work on finding things that suit you down to the ground and make you feel good about yourself. You can go on a shopping trip and go to boutiques that offer individual designer items. You might even visit charity or thrift stores where you can find your style and experiment with different materials and looks, until you develop your own personal appearance that will make you unique.
Creating Your Signature Style
Once you have found the items that you love and the ones that make you smile, you just have to find a way to combine them in a unique way. There are some amazing unusual combinations that you can try. A riding boot with jeans and a floral top might be your daytime look, while you can go all romantic and add some natural stones and crystals for the night. 

Your Signature Perfume 

Image via Flickr
If you haven’t tried perfumery yet, you might be missing out. Don’t just go for the name; find out what really makes you happy and what helps you connect with your soul. A perfume can give you confidence, help you express yourself better, and compliment your style. You might want to check out https://thehippiehouse.com.au/ for some unique creations that will connect you with the true purpose of your soul.
Your Bedroom
Positive vibes can also come from your environment. It is important that you surround yourself with things that make you feel safe and supported. Focus on your bedroom, as what you see before you go to sleep and when you wake up has a huge impact on your mood and your dreams. Look for unique items that will help you relax and put a smile on your face. A crowded and disorganised bedroom is likely to knock you out of balance.
Colours that Resonate with Your Soul 

Colour therapy is less known than aromatherapy, but it is a great way of helping you stay balanced. Find out what the colour of your aura is, and the best way to support your mental and emotional health through all the right shades. Whatever you wear, the colour of your walls, and even your accessories will affect how you feel about yourself. Do your research and find what works best for you. 

If you would like to make the most out of your looks and how you feel about yourself, you will need to surround yourself with positive vibes. Pay attention to your interior decor, the colours and smells that surround you, and you can learn to connect with your soul.

29 May 2019

Changing History for Inclusivity?

I am
not a gamer.  I think that the last game I played was Mortal
Kombat back in the 90s which mainly consisted of hitting a lot of
buttons with no idea what I was doing.  (Worked for me though, I
had a good success rate!)

guy I am dating is a gamer.  I was interested to see how games
have progressed over the years, in terms of graphics, how realistic, what they were like to play now etc etc.  My first introduction was the new Spiderman game and I
was amazed at how far games have come along.  You could actually learn your way around New York just by playing the game and the quality of the animation is as good as and in some cases better than film quality.

Then he showed me Battlefield V.   I wasn't sure a first
person shooter game was going to be something that interested me, but he showed me the advertisement video as a taster and I was shocked to see
that one of the first people I saw was a woman.  On the front
line, in a WW2 game.

were not on the front line in WW2

Photo Credit

Russians, I agree, had women in active duty, such as Lyudmila
Pavlichenko, the famous Soviet  sniper.  But were there
American and British women on the front lines of battle in hand to
hand combat against the Nazis?  No.  

women on the promo posters and showing them predominantly in the game
for me, is an insult to both the men who actually served on the
front, but also, the women who contributed to the war effort, many
dying in the process.

we reached a place where inclusivity prevails over historical

in 2019 women can serve in any branch of the military as a man. 
 If you can pass the same physical tests that men undergo, there
is no reason to stop a woman who wishes to serve her country and be
at the front line of battle.  Women are already doing this now
and have died doing so.

in WW2 this was not on the case.  Not in battle.  This is
where EA DICE have fundamentally screwed up.  Including women in
this game is completely historically incorrect and to me, is so

women were not subject to the draft and were not called to the front,
women did contribute to the war effort, some sacrificing their lives
in the process.  They worked in munition factories.  They
drove ambulances.  Ferried planes.  Nurses joined the war
effort in their thousands, stationed close to the front and helping
wounded soldiers.  Some died in the process.

were recruited for and joined the resistance, became spies and
operatives; risking their lives to share information and derail the
Nazis.  They fought.  They shot and just like the men who
they fought along side, some were captured, tortured and died.  

like Irena Sendler, a Polish social worker who saved over 2500 Jewish
children from the Nazis in Warsaw.  She was captured, tortured
to the extent that her legs and feet were broken, yet she refused to
provide information.

Virginia Hall, called "the most dangerous of the Allied spies"
by the Nazis.  Despite only having one leg, she helped to train
the French resistance and caused chaos for the Nazis with cutting
supply lines and gathering vital information, all the while being
hunted by the SS/

Zealander Nancy Wake aka "the white mouse" as she was
called by the Germans who on occasion, killed Nazis with her bare

Szabo, who worked as a British operative and resistance fighter and
fought against the Nazis.  She was ultimately captured and
despite several escape attempts from the concentration camp, was
ultimately executed.  She was the second woman to ever be
awarded posthumously the George Cross. 

are so many more.

point?   EA DICE did not need to pander to inclusivity by
including women in the game, featured in places where they did not
fight.  Because although not at the front lines, women served
their countries in many ways, dying in the process.

want to include women in WW2 in a game?  Make a game about the
resistance, about spies in WW2, where women served alongside men. 
Don't just include them in a game to appease gender equality. 
Women played their own, active and vital part too.

Celebrate that.  Don't put women where they were not and do not insult in the process the war heroes who fought on the front lines and died for our country.  Both men and women deserve better than this.

1 May 2019

Celebrating The Quiet Ones

Six years ago, practically to the day, I wrote about the shiny people that pass through your life.

You know the kind of people I mean.  The ones that shine so bright in your eyes that they seem to attract the sun itself.  They sparkle (in a non Twilight vampire kind of way). They are the ones who flit around, directly their "in favour spotlight" on person after person, who each falls in love with their shine, only to then be left in the cold.

You can spend years without realising with these people in your circles, having once or twice experienced that glow and (most of the time unconsciously) seeking it out again at all costs, like an addict craves heroine. 

They are the human equivalent of Fool's Gold.  They do not provide you with real love or friendship other than what they want to offer.

I have had two of those shiny kind of people in my life, one of whom broke my heart and inspired my original blog post.  Looking back in retrospect, I broke my own heart.  He was never mine and he never loved me.  He loved my love for him.  I wasted far too many years pining for something that didn't exist.

Today however, I want to talk about the quiet people in your life.  

You do not  have to have the loudest voice or the biggest personality to have a major impact on someone's life.  Sometimes it is the quiet, unassuming people that are a constant in your life that you will always carry in your heart.

Four years ago today, we lost my wonderful step dad.  He was more than I could ever have hoped for.

When I lost my own dad at eight, I knew that no one could ever replace him.  When my mum married a year later to this nice man with the kind eyes who seemed to adore my mum, I was still understandably wary.

Yet he never tried to be my dad.  He just immediately and forever treated me like his own daughter.  He was a quiet man with not too much to say.  He was laid back, so much so we used to joke he should have wheels on his head.

He would have done anything for me and I knew that I could always count on him.  I never called him dad.  He understood why.  But I loved him like he was.  He was my H and I knew he would have stepped in front of a truck for me. 

What I remind myself of constantly now is to remember the people that stay with you.  They quietly walk by your side and stand by you.  They are the most important people that will be in your life, when all the glitter and sparkle is put aside.

We must always remember not to take advantage of their good nature, and take the time to thank them.

Thank you H.  You meant the world to me.

12 April 2019

Raising Money for Women In Need - Jean Hatchet Interview

A figure that I think that we are all aware of, or should be, is that 2 women are killed by their current or ex partner every week in the UK. 

Whenever I see a story about domestic violence or a woman being murdered by her partner in the news, one thing that I always see people saying is “Why didn't she leave him if he was violent?” yet facts show that the most dangerous time for a woman suffering domestic violence in when she is in the process of, or has already left her partner.

Even in 2019, domestic violence is still something that is swept under the carpet.  Hidden.  Not talked about.  Something that happens to other people but could never happen to you.  You are too strong, too independent, more educated, more worldly.  You would not let this happen.  Until it does.

Statistically, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. A lot of things happen behind closed doors and apparent happy facades.

On average, it takes someone suffering from domestic violence 7 attempts to leave. This is a time when support from others is needed most. From both a support and practice side, but also, safety. Sadly, due to Government cuts, help from charities and women's refuges is not always possible; at a time where the need for them is paramount.

Funding for refuges in the UK has been dropping steadily for the past 9 years, to the tune of over 7 million pounds. Two thirds of Local Authorities have implemented major spending cuts, with refuges all over the country being forced to close due a lack of funds.

One of the Councils in my local area for example has cut funding to its refuges by a staggering £620,000.

Help for victims of domestic violence is in nothing short of crisis.  1.3 million women reported experiences of domestic violence in 2018 
(source) which is a 100,000 increase from year before.  Domestic violence crimes are also up a further 27%.

Due to the lack of funding available and the shortage of refuges, woman are constantly being turned away, often resulting in forcing them back to their abusers as they have nowhere else to go.

How do we help victims of domestic violence when the Government increasingly does not care?  

Well if you are Jean Hatchet (pseudonym), you step up and find a positive way to help.

Two years ago Jean came up with the idea of raising money for women’s refuges (in particular Wearside Women in Need) by going on 10 mile plus bike rides, with each ride being completed to honour a woman that had died at the hands of her partner or male family member.  To date, she has raised nearly £19,000.00.

Hopefully after reading my post today, you will consider donating to her Go Fund Me campaign too.

Jean has kindly allowed me to send over some interview questions to her, which I share below:

You implemented the idea of bike rides two years ago this April in order to raise women for women's refuges; riding at least 10 miles each time for a woman who had been murdered by her partner or male family member.  How many women have you now ridden for to date? 

I’ve ridden for 232 women now and over 5500 miles. Some of the women I rode for were at the request of their friends or family. I usually ride a lot further than 10 miles. I always ride up a hill and take time on the way up as it begins to hurt to remember the pain and suffering of each woman.  I always smash down on the pedals a bit harder as I think of the man who killed them.  

Image from Pixabay

For many women (and who can blame them), escaping domestic violence is feat enough.  For others, it gives them a strength that they never knew that they had.  You have escaped domestic violence, experienced a stalker and are battling cancer; where do you get your continued strength to be that loud and strong voice for women every day?  What drives you more than anything to do this?

I was lost within my marriage. I dreamed of ways I could live free of abuse. I used to escape into my own head. Sometimes when he was just calling me vile names as a way to pass the time and telling me how stupid I was I would dig my nails into my arm to help focus away from his words as they battered into me.

If I can help another woman to escape that feeling of dying within your own life. I will do it. An abusive man is worse than cancer.

Domestic violence is not just physical.  It also encompasses emotional and financial abuse.  I once read that one of the most important things for a woman to have when moving in with a significant other is a secret escape fund.  A "just in case this all goes wrong" fund.   It is something that I have implemented.  

Is there any similar "future proofing" advice that you would you give women going into relationships today? 

Plan. Plan. Plan. According to the UK femicide census a third of women are killed by ex partners after separation. A third of them are killed in the first month after leaving. Three quarters are killed within the first year. Leaving a man is the most dangerous thing you will probably do in your life.

Be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. Know where your passport and bank card are if you have them and make them easy to access and grab. Make sure you don’t tell him. Don’t confront him. Get out quickly and go to a refuge or the police or a safe place with a friend he doesn’t know. Stay alert. He’s looking for revenge and he’s looking for you.

Really – the advice I would give to women in abusive relationships is – don’t believe he loves you. Don’t believe he will change. He never loved you. He can’t change. He has shown you who he is. Believe him.

For women going into a relationship with a man look for the signs. Check out his background in any way available. How does he speak of his last partner? If he hates her be suspicious. If he doesn’t have access to his children? Be suspicious. Look for him criticising you for your appearance. Look for him isolating you from friends. Read about coercive abuse. Check if he does any of these things. Read everything you can. Be alert for the signs. Tell your friends EVERYTHING that worries you and listen to any concerns they have early.

Women entering relationships with men do a very risky thing given the statistics that one in four women will be abused between 16 and 64. Set a high bar. The good men won’t be too angry to meet it. If it happens that he is abusive and you didn’t spot it – you haven’t failed. He has.

Gender self identification has been the hot topic of the moment with the proposed change to the GRA and most recently, sports women getting involved and commenting on the issue; making the topic more "mainstream". 

Many women, myself included, feel it is very important that women are able to have their own safe spaces, especially in refuges where safety is paramount and places are minimal.   Can you ever see a compromise to this in the future?

There can be no compromise on this. Women will die if there is.

I don’t even see this as an area of debate. Women in recovery who are trying to stay alive do not have to consider the needs of trans women or anyone else at that time. Those women have endured enough at the hands of men and those women have a right to recover among women. Women need those protecting them in refuge space to keep their space free of men.

The law provides for this within the Equality Act 2010 and no woman should be afraid or ashamed of using the law provided to protect her.

In addition to your ongoing campaign to raise money for Wearside Women in Need, you also started a successful Go Fund Me for the complainant in relation to the Ched Evans case.

The circumstances of the case were unusual in that the conviction was appealed after the sentence served.  What made you decide to start the campaign to raise money, knowing the abuse that you would receive from the angry men and parts of the internet?  Does the success of the campaign outweigh the hate and negative publicity that it brought?

When Ched Evans was acquitted on appeal, women throughout Britain felt the pain of the woman who had just endured her ordeal over and over again in a court room. Women felt around the edges of their own pain from their past sexual abuse and it was still raw. Women were hurting and angry and vulnerable and I could feel that. It made me angry.

Section 41 makes me angry. It makes me furious that there has still been no amendment to the law that allowed her past sexual history to be used against her.

I did what I could do. I asked women to help another woman. We do it all the time. We call it “rallying round” and I oh how we rallied! We showed that young woman exactly what we thought of her and exactly how we cared for her and it was one of the things I am most proud of in my life. I loved the women who poured money in to that fund.

I raised £27,000.00 which was split between the complainant and Rape Crisis England and Wales.  When I handed it over I felt we had really achieved something. It wasn’t justice we handed her. It was love.

I know for my part, when I saw Jean’s campaign and donated at the time, it really meant something to me too.  It was a virtual hug and “we got you” to the complainant and an acknowledgement to all other women out there that have pain of their own.

I really appreciate Jean taking the time to ask my questions and I hope that it will encourage you to donate to her Go Fund Me campaign too.