Tag Archives: lifestyle:MK

Revising Childhood

So it is that time of year, we are over the last year and all the trauma, we have either completely ignored or already forgotten our resolutions. We are realising the fresh new year is already nearing the end of it’s first month.

Have you noticed the nostalgic posts gathering steam? First FB photo versus current profile, memories, anniversaries of albums or lists of albums? I will freely admit I did a round of albums that meant something to me as a teenager. Which lead me to the following conclusion. I have really great taste in music. And I am old.

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You see, I totally understand looking back at what was, what might have been, could have been. And we are now far enough removed from 2016, but still close enough that we are reflective. We look at where we are, what we have managed to do, what have we changed in the last 12 months. Did you do anything we meant to do?

In our show this week (17th Jan) we were looking at age, and the question on what you would tell your teenage self. And what is age?

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One question that was asked on the show – perfect age. I mean you can totally over think this, look at your experiences at different ages or project where you wish or expect to be at a certain age. Me? 25 – I always default to being 25, I know, I know – you are all shocked to hear I am even that old. But why do I default to that age? Well to be perfectly fair it used to be 21, but I realised that I really couldn’t pull that off any more. I mean is there an age where you can honestly, hand on heart state that everything, EVERYTHING – and I mean the fucking planets aligned and angels sang a chorus, was perfect? Guessing the answer is no. But it isn’t really the question Audrey was asking. It wasn’t directed at our own experiences, but rather at the perceived age that we need to or want to be to gain what we need/want. So yes, I still stand by 25. Because it is long enough to get an education, and have experience. Although when I reflect at being back in a minimum wage job, I wonder at my life choices.

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Now when we look at what we would have liked to have known as a teenager, what life, experience, wisdom, age and reflection has taught us? Well.. nope. I wouldn’t. I may well be in the minority in this. But as much as there are several missed opportunities in my life, both work and love. I have moments, I am sure we all do, where we think about what might have been. But that is a fantasy and not reality. Because… and my not so inner hippy coming out now – life if a journey. The person we are today is a product of everything we have been through up to this point. So to change even one thing, will have a massive consequence. It sounds simple enough to say ‘be more confident’ ‘you will do the thing’ ‘don’t go out drinking instead of studying’ but actually… that all leads you to the person you are today. And by dwelling on what might have been, or what you should have done, you are missing a very important point. You are the only person who is responsible for your journey. And you need to realise, accept and understand this.

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Now something that I want to round this out with, perceived age, what you needed to or should have done, and actually dating. For me to say I will date someone younger than me. at my age? Not an issue. I have got to an age now that I would say that there are much more important things than age when looking at a partner. When you are say, 20 the issue is slightly more … obvious. So while we could white wash age, and state it is just a number, I think the point that we miss is that we need to have LIVED to be able to do that, and no amount of soul search, reflection or wishful thinking will help that. With age comes wisdom. We are able to make informed choices, we are basing them on experience not just our own, but experiences our peers have gone through and that we are able to critically analyse.

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What I am slowly getting at, in a way so round about you probably didn’t see it coming is that we need to stop assigning such importance to age. Age, like maturity, is not something easily assigned. There is no right time, no end time, no cut off point.Equally there is no point in looking back and wishing. All we can do is be flexible in our approach to all things and know that we are the architect of our destiny and journey. Blame can be placed no where else.

With that in mind – be at peace with what has been. It is in the past and has become part of the person you are today. But you can do nothing to change the past. You are though, in control of your future – ENJOY!

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A conversation of masculinity

So, it is something I have mentioned, and blogged about before. But it is something that deserved a wider conversation. Men, and the idea of masculinity what that means.

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We are almost through ‘Movember’ which is an effort to get men involved in both charity, but also to help raise awareness. The tag line is ‘stopping men dying too young’ and initially started as an idea in Australia. It was initially created to raise awareness of testicular cancer but has now grown to include prostrate cancer and mental health/suicide prevention. Because something we don’t talk about is men’s health.

Why is that? In this weeks show we did try and explore this – I will apologise for repeatedly suggesting that men ‘woman up’ – taken out of context I sound heartless. But I really only mean that the idea of ‘man flu’ is frustrating to most of the population. But that is detracting from the real issue here.

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Men are dying young. Young men are the highest statistic for suicides. Men still dying, dying young, from entirely preventable situations. At the end of the day, it is because we are not talking. Because men still need to prove something, they are still held responsible for being the strong one, the one that doesn’t give up or give in. In the next blog in my #Fighting Fight series looks at ways that this personality archetype can manifest.

Men, men are suffering. It can be as simple as the ideals that are put upon them in the working world, and expectations of even what they were to work and the double standards – I explored this in a previous blog Addressing Equality. Of course this may sound vain and shallow but it is merely a symptom of a larger problem.

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Men have not be allowed to change, evolve, roll with the punches. As women, as a feminist – I, we shout for equality. We shout to be heard. We want visibility. But men, men’s roles remain unchanged. How often are men looked at with a queer eye if they work with children, are the nurse and not the doctor, stay at home to look after the children. Men are expected to be strong, to provide, to protect. 

And another quirk is that men also do not like to be easily, goaded into things… nagging I think is the colloquial term. Never a truer quote – you can lead a horse to water. I am not going to change any minds with this blog. I don’t even know if anyone will read this blog. But I just want to get this out there. Men are important. Men’s health both physical and mental is important. 

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Men get stressed, work can be hard, challenging, men can have as much trouble, work loads, time pressure, colleagues, bullying, commutes, poor relationships with coworkers, financial worries, not having much time to relax, to wind down, not sleeping well. Stress. And not talking, not talking because they don’t know who to talk to, don’t want to be a burden, would rather brush it away because talking doesn’t help. Does it. Does talking help, or is it better to come to a logical conclusion to the problem. Because that is the practical solution. 

Does it sound like I have gone around in circles from ‘we aren’t talking’ and then suggesting men don’t want to talk. Well the thing is, men also have a lot of pressure on them. They feel that they need hold themselves up to impossible standards – although who is setting those standards will be a difficult thing to untangle. 

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We all need to make sure that men feel that they are in and have an environment that they can open up. That if something is troubling them, be it mental health or physical health, they know where to get the information and they know where to go to get help. They need to know that it is okay to not be perfect, that the macho ideal is anything but. That men can let their guard down.

With that, there are some numbers that you might want to use yourself or play forward in case someone you know has a need for them at some stage : 

doesn’t appear on phone bills : http://www.samaritans.org/news/samaritans-launches-new-free-helpline-number-uk

Mind UK with links for support and urgent care : http://www.mind.org.uk/

And CALM which is a charity dedicated to reducing suicide in young men who are the largest single group in the UK at risk : https://www.thecalmzone.net/about-calm/contact-us/

Moths and Glitter

So a couple of weeks ago on the show, I had the beautiful MothQueen Makeup speak to us – give a little background, and generally shed a little light into her life. This was not, I will be the first to admit, entirely altruistic. I am a massive fan of her work and have followed her on various platforms for some time. I was so happy when she agreed to start a You Tube channel – her tutorial on how to do the perfect smokey eye, for me just sealed the deal.

If you would like to hear what a MothQueen sounds like, and to get a little background on her – have a listen Lifestyle:MK Halloween special ft Mothqueen Makeup

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MothQueen Makeup is entirely relatable in a way that many artists on You Tube aren’t – she is polished, poised, her editing is fantastic. But she still manages to explain things, she is approachable and it is like listening to a friend walk you through makeup application. And of course, she uses products that are easy for most of to get our hands on.

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Now most of that shouldn’t be news to you – I have blogged about MQM before now – but I have got some updates for you – since we last spoken MQM has not only competed in the NYX UK Face Awards (and did amazingly well!) but she also represented ManicPanic UK at the recent Salon International convention in London. So she is getting her face out there – her skills are being recognised.

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But another… name that you will be familiar with if you follow this blog, and or any of my other social media outlets…. Oh My Glitter. Now the lady behind this company is working for and by herself currently and it is always exciting to see what she comes up with – I did a review on her products a couple of months a go and honest she has blow me away in the 3 months since that review!

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By I digress, and there is a reason that I am writing about these lovely ladies in the same blog – they make an amazing team! MQM did a fantastic bunch of videos for Halloween, and I based my halloween makeup on her Unicorn – although modified as I was going to be playing with a headset the entire time! And she extensively used OMG products to achieve her look. In fact if you take a look at her recent videos – including a stunning and rather gothic mermaid – OMG is all over her face!

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This isn’t a collaboration in the traditional sense, and like any of the times that I review or promote products, it is based on the product and not some sort of endorsement deal. The products are so good that they can easily be used for day wear, night wear and special effects. There aren’t many products that translate so well. Of course, I do love using drugstore products for SFX makeup. But they miss that… something… GLITTER. Of course there are other brands with glitter, pressed, loose, gel. But there are few options for an eyeshadow that is frankly just so versatile and so hardwearing. And that is why it works so well for MQM. It is a match made in heaven and I am so happy! (because it makes recreating or using her looks as inspo so much easier when I can use the same product!).

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So in a bid to help make this easier for you – here are some links so you can see what is making me all fangirly and giggly!

Moth Queen Makeup You Tube

MothQueen Makeup FB page

Oh My Glitter FB Page

Oh My Glitter website

Fighting Fit

So, last weekend I went to Combat Academy, I was invited along with my Lifestyle:MK co-host Audrey who had met the brains, and brawn behind the enterprise earlier that week on a T.V show. On a Sunday morning, in a unassuming part of Leighton Buzzard which on the drive there led me up the garden path quite literally. To find out more – please CLICK HERE

We finally realised that we had arrived when we spotted people standing around in camo fatigues – is that even the right word? Berets were also employed. It all looked very serious. And I am not a serious person (despite all the ranting blogs I throw around!) so I was genuinely worried that I would immediately find a clash of personalities. There were smiles and warm welcomes from everyone, we were then ushered into the porta-cabin that serves at the head quarters. It was open with plenty of room, and the people already in the room were again welcoming. Not long after we sat down, we had another group of girls join us – who were also invited, including the utterly inspiring Rozana McGrattan who has been through so much growing up on the streets in Sao Paulo – she has released a book titled Street Girl which you can pick up easily on Amazon by CLICKING HERE (although I am sure other booksellers carry it).

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It was a lovely environment, we all talked about ourselves, that is, everyone in the room, staff, senior members, and of course, those of us hoping for a spa day (thanks Aud) and it was a really relaxed atmosphere. We felt a little closer to each other, breaking the ice. Once that was over, we had a little training session discussing common mistakes, issues and how to avoid, and what to do in certain situations. This was laying down the theory behind both predictor and prey and putting things into context before the laying of hands.

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Now, given the choice, I would have stayed out of the physical part of the day. I didn’t think I would be fit enough, that I would catch on, I was worried about my shape (I am squishy). Would I be able to do any of these things, would my leggings stay up? (the last is a legitimate concern!) And of course I didn’t want to make a complete prat out of myself in front of strangers, and worse, professionals who no doubt would be judging me.

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It got worse, after warming up, being show some simple moves, instead of being split into small groups, we would be going out in front of the rest of the group? KILL ME NOW! But the atmosphere was wholly supportive, cheers and clapping. And while you are in the moment, you actually do forget everything. It was fun, the first part of the training was about distance and how to keep the distance between you and your aggressor. Which reminded me of the boxing training I did all that time ago.

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As the training progressed, it got progressively harder, punches coming, remembering to block, and block well. Looking for openings and grappling with people who were making it harder and harder. Oh and did I mention that we also had to drop and pin someone? I am sure I am not using the correct terminology. But for those seconds (felt like hours) I wasn’t worried about what I looked like, I wasn’t pulling at my t shirt, shifting my weight, avoiding peoples stares. I was in the moment, I was doing my best, I was learning skills that I genuinely could use.

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During the time we were outside, there was a real sense of family, we cheered each other one, we congratulated each other. It felt like a group of friends, not people who to a degree had never met each other. We felt elated when we did well, we were not looking for our team mates to do badly, we were watching their techniques and cheering when they nailed it. At no point did it feel like we were being judged for anything other than how we implemented what we had learnt.

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Toward the end the session, we got to watch the instructors and regulars pitch against each other, it was interesting to see how simple techniques and ideas could be used in different ways. And inspiring, very inspiring! The day was finished off by a debrief where we all had a chance to chat and go over what we had learnt and how we felt about the day. Even though I initially had reservations about the boot camp, and given the choice, there are many, many things I would have chosen to do? I really, really enjoyed it! Four hours flew by, all preconceptions that I had when I first arrived were quickly, and thoroughly dispelled. There was no macho, regimented, army atmosphere.

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What you will find, and what I found, is a safe, supportive environment. You will learn a lot about yourself, about habits you have, what you may want to change. The thinking is based in fact, and practised. You come away with a lot to think about, and have the understanding of why, and not just how. And you feel like you made friends, and that everyone there wants to help, and support you, and for you to succeed. And you don’t get to go before a round of hugs. All barriers that may have been in place, any nerves, any apprehensions that you had when you first get out of your car…. all completely gone by that last hug.

And I am going back tomorrow for another round – wish me luck! 

The gift of chocolate

So this may not be the blog post you are expecting.

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A little back ground, I have worked within the NHS for around 7 years now – admin/customer service related in three different department. I currently work within a department which carries out procedures, it is not an emergency department but it is the first time there is a real possibility that a patient could be admitted following the procedure. Prior to this I worked in Sexual Health and Physiotherapy. I joke that I am working my way around as many disciplines as possible.

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So now back on track – I am now in the habit of carrying a couple of bars of chocolate in my bag. I am not a big fan of chocolate to be honest, I get the occasional craving for it but generally speaking it isn’t a big concern. But I am make sure that I don’t leave the house without a bar – and a magazine if I have time. And there is a good reason for this….

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This week, I called a ward to see if they could bring a patient down a little earlier for this appointment. I was treated abruptly by the member of staff on the phone (yes, it isn’t just the public) and told the patient had been discharged ‘days ago’. Which led me to calling the patient’s wife and confirming that they would be coming in later – I had had the presence of mind when making the appointment to send a letter to the home address as this is not the first time. Now I am the clinic co ordinator, so I don’t actually have a lot of direct patient contact and generally speaking, I am snowed under so I didn’t see the patient come in. But a couple of hours after my lunch break I became aware of fluttering and a lady who had been sat in our reception area since I had got back from lunch. It appears that a patient had taken a turn and it was suggested that he be admitted.

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It was at this point I put two and two together and realise that the patient’s wife was sat in our reception area and would have a long evening ahead. So I reached into my handbag and pulled out my bar of chocolate, and walked over to the patient’s wife. She started laughing and commented that with breasts as big as hers, did she really need chocolate. We got chatting, she started crying, I nearly started crying, we had a discussion about her children, and we even laughed. I felt bad leaving, I mean, I really felt guilty. Why should I be going home while her husband is still on a couch in one of our exam rooms?

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This isn’t isolated, a couple of weeks ago, a patient came in for a procedure and it was deemed clinically necessary for him to stay over night for observation. This is rare but happens. Unfortunately, as usual there was no bed available so he was left spending the afternoon in the clinic with his wife. After our last patient had gone, one of the nurses popped down the canteen to get him and his wife dinner. I made tea. It was a silly  little thing to me, just a cup of tea, but both the patient and his wife were so grateful. I then remembered I had bought a magazine that morning, so I gave it to the patient’s wife to read. Not her usual reading material but waiting around in hospital especially when you aren’t expecting it, can be long, and tiresome. Then just as I was packing up to go, I rememberer I had emergency chocolate (that is a thing, right? ) in my bag, and gave it to them as a desert. Again, they were both very grateful and it over whelmed me somewhat so I quickly beat my retreat.

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I am not suggesting that you all go out and start stuffing your bags with chocolate – unless you want to. What I am trying to say is that it is a multitude of small gestures and not always a grand gesture that makes a difference. When you help someone cross the road, pick up an item that was dropped, hold open a door or even smile at someone. Try and treat people the way you would want to be treated, I know it can be hard and at times challenging. People have a lot on their minds, they can be selfish and self absorbed. But not only does one good turn deserve another… it is also a positive for you. I always end up feeling happier when I have helped someone. And you don’t have to feel guilty about it – you are on a dopamine and Oxtocin, dopamine is released in the anticipation, and Oxytocin is released during social bonding. It is a reward situation, which is to say, when you anticipate something and get a good feeling, it strengthens your resolve to do it again.

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And I am getting all pseudoscience on you aren’t I ? I remember watching an episode of Friends, years ago, in which Phoebe was getting upset over her inability to preform an entirely selfless act. Because it is impossible. We are driven by a risk/reward in our own body. We do things because not only do we understand that it helps another person out, but because we feel good about it. So don’t ever feel guilty! Embrace it, if it makes you feel good and you want to do it again? That is fantastic, we all start doing a little more good and feeling a little better! 

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Two faced? No, I have many!

No secret, I don’t have one, I don’t have two, there are many faces that I show to the world. This really isn’t a surprise to many of you, as I have been fairly open, well, prolific in my love of make up, making up and changing the image you show the world. I have been equally vocal on my feelings toward body shaming of any type.

I have had comments directed at me over the amount of selfies I take, if you go onto my makeup page, and combine that with my IG … well it is the tip of the iceberg. I rarely take just the one and think it is perfect. In my defense, I am trying my best to capture whatever I managed to create with makeup. But you know, sometimes, like the last couple of days, I just feel fabulous and take a selfie. I have said it before and I will say it again, I often don’t recognise myself when I have put makeup on, and that is part of the reason.

There is nothing wrong with using makeup, wigs, extensions, corsets, padding, colour, anything that makes you feel good. Confidence is key, if it takes a dash of red lipstick, or a full contouring routine, it makes no difference. 

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So who hasn’t seen this MEME over the last few months? It has been shared, tweeted, copied, updated more times that I care to guess at. I will be the first to admit at commenting on someone else’s heavily/badly edited picture. Okay, so to me, it didn’t look so good. So what. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We have no real control over how we are perceived by others 99% of the time – no matter how hard we try, something may go wrong – I for example, ran into one of my consultants at work, looking bedraggled. I had just been swept in and he asked if I was okay. It wasn’t until 10 mins later looking in the mirror, that I realised that my hair gave the impression I had been dragged backward through a bush on the way to work. (as much as I normally love my short hair, not being able to tie it up into a pony tail is testing at times!)

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My current hair style with end of day makeup, so you might say, a little different from how i look in most of my photos. Et voila :

So this isn’t a vanity post, this isn’t a post asking you to bask in the glory that is my face. (although you are more than welcome to!)  This is just a post stating, it is okay to look how you want, wear as much paint, synthetic hair, layers of clothing. Don’t let others make you feel bad for doing it. Most of the time people won’t realise what they are saying is upsetting, it is just a thoughtless and throw away comment.

Born to be … in a tribe?

So a couple of weeks ago, on the show, we looked at what it means to be different, what are our differences, are we really all that different.

When I was a kid, 7/8 years old, my mother asked me to explain what makes men and women different. Having a younger brother, I have some rudimentary idea of the difference in anatomy. However, every one of my suggestions were shot down. She attempted to explain that there are no real differences between us, and that the difference between the sexes is not so easy to quantify. This was an early lesson that never left me.

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But we are different, we have to find non verbal ways of communicating our differences to others, to show which tribe we belong to. This can be to open up lines of communication but to also warn people. To show what you care above, what you love, to show where you come from or where you intend to be.

There are many tribes that you can belong to – when I was growing up, I would say that music was the strongest influence on me, and how I dressed. I spent most of my free time working with horses, and animals which meant that I was dressed in old clothes, and not easily identifiable. But I found myself becoming more and more interested in music, it had always been a strong influence in the home, and I fell hard for rock, and later, goth music styles. There are pretty broad and I won’t dissect the sub cultures within. Let us just say that because I wanted to be ‘different’ I found myself dressing in a way that would help people easily identify me as part of a culture. Of course, at the time I didn’t think so, at the time I was being utterly ‘non conformist’ by refusing to wear the fashions of Miss Selfridge and River Island. And yet again  my mother pointed out that by dressing in a certain way (band t shirts, leggings etc) I was conforming to another group. You will generally speaking always be conforming to a group no matter how hard or little you try. It is human nature to try and fit you into a box so you can understand that person a little better.

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But it isn’t always so easy, like Johnny Ruckus who I interviewed recently – he has been fairly open about the problems he has when he is in costume, and alcohol is in the mix (although not always) and shared recently how he had been picked on by a bunch of guys while wearing a Star Trek sweater (irrc) and therefore being a Geek… while they were wearing football t shirts. Because some things are more socially acceptable. 

There are so many horror stories, we all remember Sophie Lancaster, literally killed for looking different. If you don’t remember or want to learn more, please head to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation Here. They work hard to help promote understanding of subcultures – the aim that people will not be targeted for their self expression. 

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Now, if it feels as if I am spinning in several different directions, it is because I am – being different is something extremely difficult to quantify, because what if different for one person, is normal for the next. What you might consider weird, is just average for the next person. That is more that what people wear, it is jobs, lifestyle, hobbies, pursuits, where you live, who you live with. 

We should all appreciate each others differences and instead of making fun of things that we don’t understand, learn, ask questions, show an interest and who knows where that will lead. There is nothing wrong with the path you chose, you are no less of a person because you outwardly show your individuality, or if you keep a little bit of you inside. Be yourself, because it is the only you there is. And you are beautiful 🙂

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Visible mental health

I know, what am I even talking about! Mental health isn’t visible… isn’t that the problem? Or when it is something you notice… do you understand what the symptoms are, what the ticks, clues are. How to help or react? Is is something you worry about in yourself or a family member.

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I was tasked with looking at whether social media is good for mental health as my feature in this weeks radio show. I normally do a shout out for people’s comments or stories for the show amongst my friends .. but I stopped. This was one subject I just didn’t feel comfortable asking of people. And yet I am a campaigner for visibility in mental health. Why then would I not want to offer people a platform to discuss their own experiences.

Because often the reason I know that someone else even has a mental health condition who isn’t already pretty close to me, is because it is being discussed in a closed group, in a safe environment. I want to normalise mental health discussions and I want to help people talk about it. And being able to discuss it in a safe group is the first step. I have writen a blog with my own struggles, but I am also secure in the knowledge that many of you don’t know me. And that you won’t bring it up with me. Because frankly when someone tells you they suffer with a mental health condition you want to know how to treat them. Are they telling you because they need to share it with someone or because you have been treating them in a way that isn’t cohesive with their condition and they want to help you understand so you can change how your interact with them ? Do you know anything about the condition, are you going to research it. Do you ask questions?

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One thing I do continuously find myself battling with personally, is what do you share with people, I mean at what point to you stop being a little ‘weird’ or ‘quirky’ and start becoming a liability. When do people start looking at you with other eyes, when do they stop mentioning things, inviting you to things, at what point to you drop to the bottom of the list because you have ‘issues’.

Social media is a wonderful thing in this respect, because it stops you feeling so isolated, you can join groups, you can find people who understand, who have been on similar paths, who have words of wisdom or advice, somewhere free of judgement, or at least if there is, it isn’t from someone you need to interact with again. It can even just be a place to vent away from prying ears. Social media is fantastic as it has broken barriers, it has opened doors, it has meant that geography is just numbers on a map, that you don’t have to go out to talk to someone, that you have potentially people to talk to at a moments notice, if needed.

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I love social media for these reasons, but on the other hand, it is incredibly isolating, not only for you, but for those around you. While you are emotionally investing in your new friends, who may live thousands of miles away, you are increasing the distance with your friends and family, co workers, peers, who are in close proximity but feel as if they are in a different galaxy. And conversely, may be able to share some of those same fears, and hopes that you are pouring into your virtual friendships.

Now, I am the first to say that the internet is not evil, it is a great tool, and does good things, but it can’t and won’t replace being able to pick up a phone, and invite someone out for a coffee. There is nothing really that will replace that social interaction and sometimes you genuinely need that human contact. If you are feeling isolated, or have moved to a new area, friends have moved into different phases of their life and don’t have time to meet, social media can be a great tool to meet new people. There has long been jokes about it being a dating site. Have a search on local groups, activities, see if there is anything you can join, be it a hobby you already have, an exercise class, or new skills. Being on social media often means people involved can start communicating and then it feels a little less daunting when you actually go to the group. You make new friends and learn new skills, or pick something up you didn’t do before. 

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So what I am trying to say, is that talking about mental illness is great, the only way to ‘normalise’ it in our society is to ensure that talking about it no no longer something we avoid, or find odd, difficult, or other. When we don’t talk about it, we never learn about it. Shutting it away makes it seem like a bad thing, something that should be covered up. And the internet is not only a powerful tool allowing you to seek advice, and find people who are empathise with you, to make connections. It is also a tool for people to educate themselves on mental health. We literally have all the information at our finger tips. We can and should educate ourselves. Be positive in all things.

Peace.

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Dispelling the myth – pregnancy

So in a recent show we discussed pregnancy, childbirth, children. I asked for stories from people who had gone through it as this was a topic non of the presenters on the show could really talk about with any personal experience. I wasn’t sure what sort of response there would be to the question, which I put quite bluntly but I was really impressed with how open people were on their experiences, both good and bad. One friend commented on how it felt therapeutic to open up about things that she had experienced. So this blog is really, sharing what was shared on FB with me, and hopefully will help people with their own experiences.

I want to say, thank you again to everyone who contributed, it really means a lot to me and it was really eye opening to hear what you went through x

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J.B :

It took us two years for me to fall pregnant, with us trying pretty much every day. I was so excited that we were having a baby but hated being pregnant. 9.5 months is just way too long, not that I had a difficult pregnant it was fine, usual sickness and tiredness but I just didn’t enjoy it. Then felt guilty as a few people I knew lost their babies and I knew I was privileged to be able to carry to full term (plus a couple of weeks). Loved feeling the kicks that was the only positive I felt
Labour – worst pain I have ever felt! Was due to be induced st 8am on new years day, my contractions started naturally at 2am so had a bath, phoned the hospital and they advised I go in at 8am as planned. When I got there they examined me, I was only 1cm dilated but they stuck a hook in me to break my waters – found baby had a poo inside me so was rushed down to the delivery suite to be monitored. My contractions got 10 times worse and was on gas and air. At 2pm I threw it on the bed and said this ain’t f’ing working so they went to get the doctor, an hour later they gave me an epidural and I didn’t feel another contraction. But I got an infection due to the poo in me and was burning up even though I felt freezing so was put on antibiotics drip along with a hormone drip to speed up labour. Still going at midnight when they told me I could start pushing when I had a contraction – well I didn’t feel them as I had an epidural so had to rely on the midwife to tell me when I was having them (they could tell on the monitor I was hooked up to). It didn’t take away the pressure of the baby pushing down on my pelvis though, the only way I can describe it was someone shattering my pelvis with a baseball bat! After an hour I got cramp in my left leg which was worse than the pressure pain, and every time the head came out a bit I kept straightening my leg and he would go back in so made it tough for myself! They then got the doctor in and they put my legs in stirrups which helped, another hour of pushing and little man arrived! 10lb 1oz little chunk, got 2nd degree tears which took an hour to stitch up and the midwife felt faint after 45 mins and another lady had to finish stitching! But they put my baby on me and you really do forget it all as soon as you look at them – felt an overwhelming rush of love and was so relieved to have my baby in my arms!

J.B: Just thought of something….apparently breastfeed babies can go 5 or 6 days without a poo…I didn’t know this and Daniel went 12 hours without a dirty nappy so I phoned the health visitor who said when he does finally go there will be a massive poo explosion – an hour later I heard the loudest noise coming from his bum…… it was everywhere, all down his legs up his back – where the hell do you start to clean that up! I just dunked him in the bath! No one tells you the unglamorous stuff about motherhood beforehand!!

No one is ever really honest when you are pregnant and ask someone what it’s like to become a mother – everyone says oh my baby is perfect/doesn’t cry/sleeps through the night etc. Well no baby is perfect and it definitely is not easy, it’s the hardest thing I have ever done but also the best decision I have ever made is to have a child. I just love him so much, even when he’s screaming his little head off I just want to cuddle and kiss his pain away and I do, we sit for hours just cuddling on the sofa or when he’s sleeping I will just stare at him and hold his little hand thinking he’s just so bloody beautiful. People used to say sleep when he sleeps, or when he sleeps do the housework – well no thanks, i haven’t hovered for a month, i keep the kitchen clean and ive done washing but that’s about it, theres no way I’m missing a second of him being this little – savouring every moment. I love him so much it makes me want to cry and sometimes I do cry and it’s ok to cry (another thing I’ve learnt)!

R.B : All I can say is my pregnancy was horrible. I loved feeling my baby kicking and wriggling around but that’s it. I was sick everyday, I had SPD, I was poorly all of the time I had group b strep and cried for weeks over being told and the ad thing is they only tested me because I kept getting thrush and having high temps. When he was born I had to have a c section. I loved him but not as much as I expected and found I had post natal depression. I couldn’t handle it all. I have this constant struggle between being a loving mummy and not wanting to be a mummy it’s weird. I love my boy so much but I constantly thing I’m doing the wrong things. He’s a good kid but he’s been through his rough patches of being really naughty. He’s also been really poorly since he was born. I became a single parent when he was 1 and a half and that broke me. I know people always say they don’t understand how mothers can complain about having kids but some people just don’t tell the truth or they are living in denial because being a parent is the hardest and most selfless thing you will ever do. No child is the same. You are exhausted all of the time, you don’t have any guidelines to follow apart from feed and love your child lol. You are judged if you work and if you don’t. People will look at your child and what he/she is wearing a rend judge you on it. If you look young people judge you for being a rend young mum and the same if you lol older. It’s madness. I could go on forever. I’ve only put a snippet of it in here x

J.B :  Other mothers are rarely honest about their own experiences which I find weird as all I want to do is be honest and say it’s so bloody hard – my happy smiling pictures on instagram are just minutes out of our whole day!

K.R :  It’s true it’s the hardest thing to do

baby6

D.H : REFLUXREFLUX. 

Silent reflux or normal reflux.

No such thing as a fussy or needy or colicky baby which screams all the time for all the days… Nightmare.

And/or

Divarification of diastasis recti. When the tummy muscles don’t go back! Horrendous! Many people don’t know about it. I had to pay privately to get it repaired. A lot of money. It’s “cosmetic” apparently but I couldn’t even manage my son. Debilitating. Yet all the reasons you can get surgery to get it repaired are cosmetic!!!

D.H : Think acid burning your oesophagus, bringing it up, swallowing it down until your tubes burn. The milk is quite thin and watery which doesn’t help. The valves in the baby’s tummy aren’t strong enough to keep it down. Sometimes they feed for comfort (constantly) which caused more liquid and more burning. Some kids throw it up. Some then refuse to eat at all! Food aversions. Milk allergies are an issue too.

Can’t lie them flat for 30 mins after a feed. Or go in car seat. Can’t do tummy time. They hurt and can be delayed in progress. Can be underweight and can be overweight. There’s always sick and you can smell the acid. They say wean early (thickens the stomach content). Doesn’t always work. Then when They’re sitting upright (gravity). Doesn’t always work. Then when they are standing. Doesn’t always work. Then when they’re older and the muscles are stronger.. Awful. Sleep is non existent (hurts them lying down). They just want to be carried (soothing and upright…)

Can get meds if the GP listens… They can’t really help.

D.H : If I could summarise feelings. And others I know would say the same. It stole our lovely new baby time…

D.H : Still only feel numb when I look back at those photos…

baby5

Rhesus Negative in pregnancy

S.S : Anti-D injections…….I’m rhesus negative which means I don’t have something in my blood that rhesus positive people do……anyway because of this I require anti-d injections for my pregnancies to stop my body from treating the baby as an infection and attacking the baby…..with all 3 of my pregnancies I’ve had to have these injections….It also has caused my last pregnancy to end in the early stages because I am able to be pregnant and it not show on a pregnancy test for many months into the pregnancy that and endometriosis and a history of pelvic inflammatory disease

L.B : I am rhesus neg too!!

S.S :It’s horrible I lost 2 babies because I didn’t show positive on a test and my body basically did it’s job. Nearly lost avary because my midwife was being useless even though she was the same lady for my other two she just didn’t give a crap

S.S : I changed her she was also a midwife that refused to help me with breastfeeding and lied to me about being able to breast feed with piercings. Me I know now after finding groups by myself and I tried with my girls and when I thought I was doing well considering I had no clue the health visitors made me feel like utter crap

l.b : It’s what what led to my miscarriages too. I’ve had 14 pregnancies now that we’re confirmed

S.S :Yeah it’s frigging horrid and you’d think they would make it more known about the dangersThat’s why I went for the blood type thing hundreds as it’s hardly mentioned anywhere and it effects around 15% of women

K.R :  OMG anti D worse than labour. …exactly like larva being injected into you….and as I had a placenta bleed at 29 weeks with oliver I had to have a lot of anti D. ….. ..really really horrible.

V.G : I hope no ones minds me adding to this thread, there’s some amazing and heart breaking stories I’ve already read so would like to briefly add mine: never been pregnant although using no contraception. Got to the age of 36 went to NHS for help, NHS wrote me and my husband off as he had children from previous relationship (no free treatment for us) so we saved up. Ended up having 8 months of acupuncture, (I’m a reflexologist so treated myself for months) finally went for a course of IVF at Harley st and fell pregnant! Pregnancy was mostly fine, SPD at the end. Went 10 days over due. I desperately wanted a natural birth but my BP ended up at 199/100 so had to be induced. After 3 days of drugs midwifes unable to break my waters etc baby had to have copper coil inverted into her head (while still in womb) as she wouldn’t keep still for long. Eventually had failed induction and had emergency c section at 2am on fourth day (Thursday) was totally exhausted but hospital aftercare was crap. I bled badly and nurses were mostly uncaring very little support. Maybe because I was an old mum? I saw my baby as a screaming creature, in incredible pain and no idea what to do. Breast feed for 10 weeks then Lizzie (baby) lost ability to latch. After all that, I ended up with Post Natal Depression. Felt a total failure. Then one day whilst I was holding this screaming creature whilst silently crying to myself she looked up and me reached up to my face and smiled. I broke my heart that day but but I also began building myself and our bond back together again. Now, she’s 9 months and I’m fine – in fact I want to do it all again. She is my world my little munchie Lizzie xxx

C.L : Well as a Daddy I saw the full thing from the outside. The strangest thing is realising how much you have changed as a person. Suddenly its not just about you any more. Late nights and going to work like a zombie are suddenly normal. Georgia was an Ix baby ( a form of test tube baby) and we were lucky to fall pregnant first time. Georgia was one of five, she was the only one that made it. That plays on my mind, so much, But my little girl makes me smile at least a dozen times a day. I never thought I would be a good daddy, I still question myself day in day out. But we waited so long for her and we cherish every day. Then of course like a flippin bus James came along (you wait so long for one!) and he is so different. Scarily fast and growing like a weed! I love my little menaces and cant imagine my life without em, which is odd, five years ago I couldn’t imagine my life with them. Sorry for the ramble
This is an insanely long blog post, even for me, and I have another post as I couldn’t fit everything into one realistically. I hope that if you have read this, it helps, it might give you insight, or give you the encouragement to share your own experiences. I will be posting 2 blogs on this subject so I hope you have enjoyed reading this – if you want to share your experiences or talk to someone please feel free to drop me a line. I will be adding links to the second blog post.
Here is a link to the show : Oh Baby
And the FB Page : Lifestyle:MK

Cosplay by Beth

In a recent show, I talked about Cosplay, I love cosplay, and embrace the fact it has become more mainstream. I follow a few cosplayers on line – I love seeing the process and the costumes they come up with. There is a different level of interaction with different artists, and I approached a couple to gain some insight to their experience of cosplay and the community. One of the cosplayers I approached was Beth Yuka. Beth is a British cosplayer, the only one in this line up! Sorry guys, next time I will drag some more local artists into the love in! Beth is cute as a button, and so sweet! We met through wigs – but I really love her attention to detail and the fact that she shows the entire process. It gives you a glimpse into what it takes and the skill involved.

Beth is a really sweet person, go give her Facebook page a like for gorgeous costumes, some great art work and possibly posts dedicated to noodles. I can’t promise poetic dedications to noodles… but I am sure if you ask Beth nicely! Anyways, enough of my waffling, this is what the lovely lady herself had to say !

 

  1. How did you first get started in cosplay
  2. Why do you cosplay?
  3. What are your favourite aspects of cosplay
  4. How do you find the community
  5. How do you select a costume – do you go for ease, comfort, do you consider your body type
  6. Do you design and create your own costumes? And do you stay true to the source material or ‘inspired by’ designs?
  7. Have you ever faced any negativity while in costume or in the wider community?
  8. Have you ever faced or found yourself in an unsafe situation?
  9. Tips for staying safe and having fun while in cosplay?!

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  1. I first got into cosplay back when I was 12 years old, I didn’t fully know about cosplay at this time but I was a textiles student and I had begun making bags and pillow cases ect and I was getting really into video games, anime and sci fi at this time too. I remember when I was around 14 planning out to dress at Princess Peach for Comic con in London but because I was 14 I wasn’t allowed to go.
  2. I cosplay to become awesome characters. To leave behind boring Beth and bring to life Korra, Lady Loki, Thor or whoever I want to be. Also it gives me a pretty good reason to own a load of wigs.
  3. My favourite aspects would be a majority of the community. They’re very loving and welcoming and accepting of anyone. I also love the fact that there are companies out there who have pre made costumes for people who don’t sew or build/craft like me. It means it’s available to everyone.
  4. The community for the most part is great, there are a lot of people who are very supportive of you and the costumes you make/wear and will give you advice if you need it. However there is a side that’s become more apparent as cosplay ha gotten more popular and that’s the ugly side of it. There are a lot of people who will put others down for no reason and that can be really off putting for a lot of new comers but it’s all a game of just ignoring the haters (lol). You need to be tough and prepare yourself because there are people who will be dicks for no reason.

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  1. I don’t really have a process of selecting costumes. I mainly just fall in love with a character and want to be them so I go ahead and make that costume.
  2. I sew/build all of my costumes, I’ve never bought one. I also like to stay true to the source material however I do enjoy seeing steampunk versions or armoured version and even mashups too, I’ve just never gotten around to making one.
  3. I personally haven’t faced it yet but I feel it’s inevitable. At one point I think someone will start following my page and sending messages telling me I’m ugly and my skills are bad but I don’t care. I do it for me not to please them.
  4. I haven’t found myself in bad situations before but I’m also a very safe and cautious person when it comes to conventions and what not.
  5. Be part of a group, and make sure that the group are your friends. Whenever I’ve been in costume to a convention I have been in a group with people who care about me and help keep me safe. Also never send pictures to people over facebook, tell them that if someone wants to do business so photographing/doing a shoot then make sure you use email as it’s more professional and you can keep emails as proof just in case something bad happens. And something that every cosplayer in general should know is to always carry a bottle of water with you. If you’re in heavy armour it can get hot and in the summer it can only get worse so drink water and keep yourself hydrated. ❤

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