F is for Feminism

I always seem to start off my posts apologising for how long it’s taken me to get another one written, despite my promises to be more regular with musings. Problem is with me, I’m a bit all or nothing. I don’t like doing stuff for the sake of it. I write better when something has really pissed me off or when something has inspired me. Felt a bit of both of this lately so here we go.

With the Golden Globes the other week and the Me Too movement, the fact that this year is 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage or that generally you can’t seem to go a day at the moment without something in the press based around the way women have been treated, I feel now is the time to discuss how I who was once a very adardent (🙄) denier of Feminism became yet now proud to be feminsit. I’m sure much to the surprise of many people that have known me.

I guess there’s lots of reasoning around this. I don’t proclaim to know the answers or being the pinnacle of the movement but I can explain my own understanding and journey in regards to feminism and I hope it will maybe go a way to widen some understanding with people I know or people who had the same reservations as I did.

There’s two main points that used to hold me back. The fact that I felt I wasn’t really feminist enough to be welcomed in that movement and the demonisation of the movement itself. Here’s my viewpoint on both of those as I feel they do go a little hand in hand with one & other.

Feminism is completely demonised. By both men and women. It’s looked at with scorn. That it’s man hating, that it hates women who stay at home, hates mothers, hates wives, that it is weak and it is whiney. Just moaning about stuff that really isn’t “that big a problem.” The fact it is made out this way really highlights why feminism is needed. Why shouldn’t there be a movement that promotes women across all spectrums and simply wants equality. Equality?! I hear people say. You’ve got equality, be thankful you’re not treated like those “poor third world country women” Right ok then. Well that’s all bullshit. Women are without a doubt still treated differently on account of the simple fact that they are women. Want some examples that I know will resonate with many of my friends? Here I will give you two. Firstly I’ve made no bones of the fact that getting back into work has been a real struggle. I have yet to have an interview that hasn’t mentioned “what will I do for childcare” or even more brilliantly “how will I feel about leaving my child to work” 🙄 yet Chris, who has also had interviews never had any of this questioning. Because you know men don’t give a shit about their kids but women, well that’s basically our soul purpose isn’t it. Here’s another point, familiar with so many women in my life. Again around motherhood. So you decide to stay at home with your kids, you’re a sponger, lazy, don’t have a real job, you are just expected to get along with it, I mean you are a woman after all it’s your purpose. Then you decide to go to work and now all of sudden you’re selfish, you don’t love you’re kids, you’re neglecting them, they are missing out. For some reason we are literally defined by just our motherhood alone in a completely different way to what fathers are. You don’t even escape this if you don’t have children. You get judged for that too in a way that men never appear to be. You never see the press focus on a mans lack of children, yet women need to be defined and even described by it. Here’s the thing. That’s really not ok and we really don’t have to and shouldn’t have to put up with it.

Building on from this is the myth of having to be a certain type of women to be a feminist. Like you need to pass some kind of test. This test means you can’t enjoy watching Keeping up Kardashian’s or using fake tan because that’s not very feminist 😂 Again just in case you need it clarifying this is all bullshit. It all plays into that nice little rhetoric to turn women off feminism, because, you know feminists are big fat hairy kill joys who want to ban absolutely everything and remove men from the planet. Yep all of them. 🙄 A real good article on this was featured in the Pool. I credit it with firmly confirming that OF COURSE I AM A FEMINIST. You should read it too. https://www.the-pool.com/arts-culture/tv/2017/30/amy-jones-on-the-can-you-be-a-feminist-question# Slight case in point. Not so long ago I remember seeing a twitter post where a girl has been shamed because the picture she posted (of her incredibly toned stomach) had hair on it. Rediculious. Although it felt pretty good to see so many people come to her support about how stupid it is for someone to be shamed over body hair, I also noticed so many of her supporters started their tweets with “I’m not a feminist but…” and lots of the horrible anti comments started with “here come the femnazis” what a shame that feminism has become a dirty word. Why should quite simply put, supporting fellow women be seen as a bad thing. Feminism in my eyes has zero to do with hating men. In fact the actual idea that it always gets linked this just proves the need for feminism in the first place. It’s not about bringing others down to propel yourself. Lately we have seen a real rise of self love, self promotion, celebrating yourself as an individual. Does this get greeted with a chorus of “well you don’t care about anyone else then do you?” Very rarely. So why does a movement of sisterhood always seem to receive that exact sentiment. That you can’t love women and cheer them on with out hating men? It’s stupid. I could talk for hours about whataboutary but this post I read recently is the incredible. So I implore you you to read this instead. https://victimfocus.wordpress.com/2018/01/03/stop-asking-me-what-about-men/amp/?__twitter_impression=true I’ve watched Oprah’s speech from the Globes over & over again today. “What I want you to know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have” For too long I’ve cared too much about fitting in, about being laughed at, about not belonging, not being the brightest or being a fraud. I’m not making the excuses any more and I have someone else to think about. I might not amount too much, if anything but I will continue to ensure that my daughter always knows that she is not held by the bounds of being a “girl”. Should she want to be a scientist, a nurse, a doctor, a footballer or indeed should she want to stay at home and be a mother. The difference is the choice is hers. Not anyone else’s to decide or Pigeon hole her into. I hope as a Mum to show her that she can be what ever the bloody hell she wants to be. That, my friends, is my Feminsim and to damn with what any one else may think.


Girls Football Week ⚽️

I have been awful at getting some posts written and posted. Partly because I have actually been pretty busy and partly because I can’t really find that perfect topic that motivates me enough to get something out of that brain of mine and onto Word Press. Until this week that is. I’ve been involved in something pretty special and I really want to write about it and talk about something that’s always played a huge part in my life and that’s football.

This week is Girls Football Week. To celebrate, as part of my role as the Women’s team secretary for Hykeham Town Football Club, I decided to share stories from our female players each day. It’s hard not to be incredibly inspired and cheered by the stories that have been told and it’s made me not only rethink my own personal view on the women’s game but ignited a new found love and pride of it. So that’s special enough to write about I think.

Obviously it’s pretty clear how politically focused I am. For someone who is very politically active, the last few weeks have been pretty difficult. In fact socially, you must have your head buried in the sand if you’ve not noticed that things haven’t really been that fantastic in terms of the treatment of women of late. Stuff like this really impacts on me. Makes me feel sad, mad and fed up. So Girls Football Week has been the very best medicine for me.

I have to be honest now. As a football fan well as a female football fan should I say, I’ve always felt that you kind of have to conform to the “laddy” stereotype to fit in. Worst of all this made me kind of turn my back on the female aspect of the game. How wrong of me that was and what a shame that I’ve only just realised what I’ve been missing. I pretty much feel like I owe women’s football an apology. Hopefully this post and the work I hope to do in the future for the club will make up for it. Reading the stories I’ve collected from our players and from some of our players parents have made me realise that you absolutely do not need to conform to any kind of stereotype at all. Also it’s made me appreciate what a wonderful impact being involved in the game can have on a girl. It’s pretty bloody special.

Is football free from stereotyping? No of course not. Do you deal with being treated differently as a women in the game? Yes of course. I myself have had to deal with being told whilst watching a local game that I should “f**k off & play netball” and can recall more than a few instances when people have taken one look at me and assumed I wouldn’t have the first clue about the game. Even throughout the stories that we have shared as part of our clubs Girls Football Week celebration you can read that some players have had to put up with hearing “they’re just a girl”. It would be wrong of me to paint this post as the perfect antidote to the news at the minute. However, what I can share is how football is just as important and can have just the same amount of positive impact on your life, no matter your gender. If this week has taught me one thing it is what a fantastic sport football is and what it can bring to a girls life. That we don’t need to view it as a man’s game and conform to a stereotype. In actual fact it can have a positive reflection on all areas of life that women can benefit from. Not one story that we have shared this week speaks of being held back or having to adapt. Every single story talks of the positives playing football and being involved in the game can have

The women’s game is on the up. Female football has been named the fastest growing sport on the planet. I can’t help but feel it’s come a hell of a long way since my school days, when I picked football as a module for PE and had to spend a term sat on the sidelines, as I wasn’t allowed to play with the boys and there wasn’t enough girls to play a game with. You only have to see the spot light and success from 2017 UEFA Women’s Championship and the huge growth of registered female players to understand this is absolutely no longer a game for the boys. I think it’s important that now, with this focus and not to mention the funding that now goes into this growth of the females game, we really call out to the female fans. Actually just females in general. Let’s keep this momentum going and get more people involved. Whilst there is a huge growth in terms of females actively playing the game, the same can’t be said in terms of match officials and coaches. Grassroots football can only grow and thrive if it has an army of volunteers behind it. I speak from experience when I say what a pleasure it has been taking on a role with a women’s team. I might not play but that doesn’t mean I don’t get the buzz from seeing our team at the top league. At the minute I literally LIVE for getting our Girls Football Week posts published and shared. Being involved in the women’s game has reignited my love for football as a whole. You can’t really put a price on the friendships that have been built across the team and the sense of pride from our junior girls parents. It truly is a beautiful game. You get as much out as you put in. I hope this week reaches out to people who have always held back or felt they won’t belong. Trust me when I tell you that you’re missing out. Nows the chance to look at local clubs and see how you can join in. Be it as a player, a sponsor, a volunteer or just a fan. I promise you, you won’t regret it.

You can find Hykeham Town’s Girls Football week stories here: http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/hykehamjfc/news/girls-football-week-ellie-sleaford-2071207.html

Find out more about Girls Football Week:http://www.fagirlsfootballweek.com/

Find your local club:http://www.thefa.com/my-football/football-volunteers/Find/Find%20a%20Football%20Club


In a world that is getting more connected by the minute why do more people feel more alone than ever? Does social media, responsible for making people so connected within seconds across the world, have a lot to answer for when it comes to making people feel so alone? As unlike me as it is to bring in politics on a subject (👀) can cuts in community services also be an explanation for Britain being named the loneliness capital of Europe? Do any of us really consider the impact that feeling lonely can have on our health? I also wonder if there are more people out there than ever that are suffering from this “epidemic” and yet feel too embarrassed to ever admit it?

I always talk about things from a very personal point of view and this topic is no different and something very real for me.

At the moment I’ve seen quite a lot of focus and discussion on parenthood and unemployment. They are big subjects within this blog too. I feel like there is very little out there in terms of talking about how being out of work and being a parent of young children can result in you falling into a very lonely existence. This can have a very big impact on your health. More needs to be done and I hope I can not only speak out and raise a little awareness but one day campaign on this area both locally and nationally.

It’s such a shame that with the cuts that are happening throughout our country, community services are the very first to be snipped. Whether it be the closure of community centres and sure starts or the cutting back of the services that they offer. A friend of mine commented on how with their first child there was a huge timetable of classes and sessions available but this time around there seemed to be very few sessions left, often only one or two a week now, from the one or two choices a day that used to be available. Yes I do get it, there isn’t an infinite sum of cash to be used. Yet a study published recently states that loneliness costs £6000 per person in health costs and pressure on local services. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/loneliness-uk-cost-6000-per-person-study-lse-elderly-old-age-a7961146.html?
Can focus in terms of setting up schemes to combat loneliness be actually seen as an investment for the future? Also, where is the harm in restoring a sense of community out there in our towns and cities? Particularly at a time when society can feel more divided than ever.

As a new parent you can feel trapped inside. You no longer have the freedom or finances to be involved in the social side of life. If you mention this, people can criticise the idea that you would be so demanding as to want a little bit of socialising in your life. How dare you want a coffee or a day at a farm whilst complaining how hard it is to pay your bills! It fuels that stigma that loneliness is not something to speak out about. That’s really something that needs to be addressed. It’s ok to feel that way. Many others will feel the same way too. I’ve spoke openly of my anxiety struggles. Some days I would have have no interaction with any other ‘grown ups’ so I would sit and wallow. Making myself worse and feeling incredibly unhappy. Being involved in the community and joining in local groups makes all the difference. I’m lucky to have had some opportunities. I hope to fight to ensure other parents do too.

Further to this when we do talk of the impact of poverty on families we do seem to focus on the same areas such as food and education. There is very little discussion around the disappearance of that sense of community and the impact this can have on families. Centres for people to mix and enjoy time together, share problems over a cuppa and just feel like you belong, they’re disappearing from working class neighbourhoods and the impact can often be at the price of someone’s mental health. It’s a no brainier that happy and supported people will do much better in life.

When you have a child your life suddenly becomes completely different. It can be frightening. Your old life suddenly seems a very distant memory. Getting out and meeting people becomes a whole lot harder. For me this was amplified by the fact that I had only recently moved to a brand new city. How do you go about meeting and making new friends without the network of employment or the time to have a hobby? Sometimes I would find myself just pushing the buggy round the supermarket, not because I needed to buy anything but because I couldn’t face another day sat at home feeling alone. In the internet age and coupled with community closures, you don’t really get to know people where you live any more. It’s important that whilst a lot of the studies and articles of late speak of loneliness within the elderly, we don’t forget that this isn’t age exclusive. Many of us at some point will have a period when we feel very alone. No matter how many followers we might have on Twitter.

Personally I think it’s important not only to raise this issue but to suggest and fight for ways to combat it. Fighting cuts that will close lifelines in community such as Sure Start centres for a start. Let’s make the very most of our facilities that we do still have. Encourage groups to set up coffee mornings, or meets at local parks. It doesn’t have to cost the Earth it just costs the time of someone to care enough to organise. Arabella and I had the most wonderful time at a local Gala the other weekend, set up by a neighbourhood group. Can we make sure events like this are more common across the country, use them to connect people back together and feel like they belong. I found that I really wanted to get involved with volunteering but that isn’t really something that’s easy when you have young children. Let’s look at ways to create community projects that are not only accessible but welcoming of families. Let’s stop only focusing on the obvious when it comes to improving the lives of where we live. Loneliness is a problem that can be so easily be solved, I hope this encourages more people to lend a hand in it. Oh and if you ever see a slightly harassed looking, down beat mother aimlessly pushing her small around the supermarket, why don’t you stop and ask how she is? You really might be making a difference to her day.

Why don’t you just get a job?

Theresa May repeatedly tells us that the best way to get people out of poverty is to get them into employment. That people should be incentivised into working. You would think then that one of the best ways to do this would be through the Job Centre wouldn't you? Yet I fail to have seen or heard any policies regarding the reform of job centres. So my question is have you ever found yourself out of work Prime Minister? (Well very nearly recently I guess 😉) and have you or any of your ministers every been through that system and seen how it's works? Because here's the issue, from my personal experience it doesn't work one bit. Kinda ironic that isn't it?

This kind of post can really easily end up running off in different directions with all types of arguments and explanations as to why people aren't in work. I don't think this will be my only post on the subject but for now I really want to focus on the job centre and it's faults. Because I feel like the spot light isn't really on this area. I think it's somewhere the Labour Party should really look into. We all seem to go off and focus on the welfare state and the benefit cap and so on. Some of it positive and let's be honest here, a hell of a lot of it negative. This allows for a failing system to be ignored and this assumption that the unemployed don't want to work. Well I'm here telling you that I do. That I feel like a failure. That I'm at the point now where I feel so depressed and useless that I'm not surprised no one wants to pick me. The service that is there to get the country back into work is failing in my eyes. If those in power are so keen on the answer to "solving poverty" is simply that people need to get into work, then why is this failure being allowed to happen?

There are so so so many factors and issues on why people are out of work. There's different examples and experiences that impact your ability to get into a job. This is the first major problem with the job centre. There is no "one size fits all" approach to getting some one back into work and yet the job centre is basically a box ticking exercise with no real personal approach to the job seeker they working with. So people with no experience, to people with quite a niche working experience, those who are manual workers and those that are administrative, the young, the old and the inbetween, those who are not very motivated work and those that are desperate, to mums like me, who want to return to work after a career break. Yet we all treated the same. The same process and the support. How stupid is that? The approach by the job centre is all wrong. It's just focused on getting you signed on for your JSA and shoving you in a job. Some job, any job, get the boxed ticked, get your unemployment statistic down and crack on. Then you bloody wonder why people aren't successful, aren't getting the work and actually leave the whole process feeling less employable than when they started. Let's start off by treating people like human beings rather than numbers ay, then go from there?

For me I've found it tough to get back into work after having my daughter. My personal journey regarding returning to work isn't an easy one. I suffered from anxiety following a traumatic birth. My confidence was shot to pieces. I also feel the guilt of wanting to work to support my family but the fear of not being around as much to care for her. This isn't an excuse not to work by the way. As so many people seem to assume of the unemployed. Far from it. It's simply an example of how people have to be honest in the fact that they do need so help. Only there is no around to provide it. You're actually not removing barriers to get people working again. That's a huge problem.

My experience is perhaps slightly different as maybe I'm not seen as your "stereotypical" job seeker. I imagine people have an image, probably conjured up with help from the Daily Mail of the unemployed. That they are lazy. That they take drugs. They feign illness. They don't actually want to work and just want to sign on. I mean who doesn't want to just stay living off the grand sum of 73.10 a week? 😑I have good work experience, I don't have a bad career. My problem is having not worked for a while and having different priorities I feel like ok completely out of my depth when finding the right role.

People don't just want to work for money either. Shocking I know. But in my case after motherhood it's for a bit of independence, to feel like I have another purpose and be able to socialise with grown ups! New Motherhood can be a very lonely place sometimes. Having a work place where you can make new acquaintances and chat about something and nothing can have such a positive impact on a life. I wish people would actually start to realise how important getting into work can be to someone and drop the "lazy claimants who don't want to work" approach towards job seekers. Don't make it a stigma if you want people to have the confidence to get themselves back into working life please. Because trust me there's not a day that goes at the minute that I don't feel like I'm complete useless as it is. Ok.

So when you use the Job seeker service, you find there is no real courses. Unless you are under a certain age 🙄 The one group I got to go to, focused on writing a CV. This was of no use. I've had a friend in recruitment look at my CV. I don't mean to blow my own trumpet but it's decent. I had to sit in a group with people who didn't even know what LinkedIn wondering how this was going to help me. That was it. No courses in changing career. No courses for interview techniques. No courses on keeping your confidence up when you feel like an absolute waste of space. Nothing. We have so many sectors out there that are desperately under staffed. Nursing for example social care. How has no one thought that training unemployed people on areas the country has quite literally been crying out for, would be beneficial. I would love to be a nurse. The sad fact is I can't afford to train to be one.

Jobmatch. This is the job centre's online service. You have your profile on it and the home page will suggest job matches for you to apply for. It's Rubbish. How can we not have a better system than that? I mean if you actually want to get people into work it might a start if you don't suggest roles for them that are 90 miles away and they have zero of the qualifications required for the job. It kept suggesting I apply for a building site managers job. In Leeds. Great match that mate 👍🏽Even the people who work at the job centre tell you to ignore the job matches because they aren't any good. I mean if this common knowledge why isn't anybody doing anything to make it bloody better?

If you want to incentivise people getting back into work, why does the job centre process feel like it is entirely geared towards meeting the requirements of gaining your job Seekers allowance and little else? Your appointment is literally less than 10 minutes long. Every 2 weeks. How is that supporting anyone into work? It's basically just a few minutes to check you've applied for some jobs, filled in your job seeker section & signed on. You're sanctioned if you're late or don't prove you're doing enough to find work. It's literally all focused around the benefit payment with maybe 3 minutes advice on your job search if you're lucky! So what is the actual goal of the job centre?

You get assigned a job coach. That would be useful. Only you never see the same person twice, so you end up wasting half of your precious 3 minutes explaining your situation. EVERY time. You don't get to build a relationship and have a mentor who can support you on your journey. It was made even worse when they changed the system at my local job centre. So suddenly they had appointments that meant you would be given a time slot with 10 other people. Get a minute to try and squeeze in and looks at a "jobs board" (grey board with about 3 jobs pinned on them.) You then queue to be shown to the next random available person who checks you've met the requirements for your JSA. Signs you off then sends you on your way. That's not supporting anyone getting back into work is it? Basically it became a benefits cattle market. Would that be helpful in supporting you back into work? Why is someone given the title job coach of their job is literally to just check your meeting JSA requirements? That's not coaching anyone into employment trust me.

The over all set up and feeling of the Job centre is just wrong. It's stern, cold and frightening. I can't remember a time when leaving the centre I didn't burst into tears. Because I didn't feel coached or supported. I felt like a burden and a failure. That's not exactly the greatest frame of mind to be in when you're trying to be the bests candidate in an increasingly competitive job market.

There is zero focus on the right kind of work for you. It's very simple to just say to people well you just need to get a job. Without thinking of any further stipulations. The job centre told me that only full time work was acceptable. So that's me trying to look for a full time job that is worth it for the amount of childcare I would need to pay. Oh and don't even bother about asking for support around childcare. I was simply told "can't your parents help?" Like everyone who's my age has parents who are retired and have the financial ability to look after their grandchildren full time. Aye ok then. 🙄I mean I might be going out on a limb here but isn't it better all round if people are put into a job that lasts? If we just invest in time to get that right and get people into a life time career rather than a quick fix so your employment figures look ok.

As I finish writing this I've seen a piece from Dan Carden MP regarding job centre CLOSURES. So that's the governments answer to getting people back into work? You might be forgiven in thinking that having spent the last 10 paragraphs slating job centres, I would be overjoyed at them having their doors locked and closed forever. Of course I'm not. We shouldn't be closing them. Christ no. We should be investing in revitalising them. I know invest isn't actually a popular notion with our current Government , but if you're going to keep telling us that the answer to stopping poverty is through getting people into work. Would it not be an idea to actually invest in this? Closing job centres down makes an already very lovely process even lonelier. This is one area that would not be improved by moving services online. Take that from some one who sits on a computer night after night refreshing job websites.

So do you know what "incentivises" people to work Prime Minister? Support. Because sometimes when you're at the very bottom you need an extra hand to lift you back again. The job centre is not fit for purpose. Let's do something about that please.

Here I am stuck in the middle with you…

I had the title “can we just stop being dicks to each other” for this post, then when I mentioned writing it on Twitter, a random stranger informed me ‘my title was unlikely to appeal to anyone, still less convince them’ 😂 so yeah here we are. 

So the dust has settled after the General Election and I find myself needing something else to get wound up to the point of meltdown regarding the Labour Party. Because we all love a good moan and politics is fruitful for this. So here is the problem I found of late. I no longer felt really sure where I belong within the factional jungle of the party. As a result of this I’ve found myself being extremely close to people who (by the weird laws of the LW/RW divide) should be the enemy and then found myself taking flack from those who should be on “my side.” So what’s the crack with that? More importantally is it possible to just not take a side? Unless it involves sharing memes of T May in wheat related situations?

First things first. I get it. I completely understand Labour is a Broadchurch and that is actually a huge part of the appeal to me because my views seem to constantly evolve. They change as I learn and as I reflect on how my views have been shaped. This is a big the point for me, because fact is, I am still learning and I don’t claim to have this huge back catalogue of knowledge regarding the party and the factions and associated groups. I am still very new to this and the level of sneering directed at me doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Being new doesn’t automatically make you the enemy. It doesn’t mean we suddenly think we have a right to take over. So can everyone stop acting that way. Because ironically that’s really not very progressive. No I am not a genius, I’m not steeped in the history of the Unions or the Fabians. My campaign log is obviously not as big as yours, but I have a heart, I have real life experience and I’m told I have a knack for being quite engaging  when it comes to getting people to listen. So can you just accept me for that? The thing is for a party that’s meant to be this broadchurch of variety we don’t half seem keen to label people into boxes. More often than not having heard the smallest amount of information about them and I think it’s really not doing any of us any favours. 

I feel like I should do a slight disclaimer now. Because I understand, sadly from experience, the abuse and the awful treatment that does go on within the party. I’ve witnessed the vile antisemitism, the misogyny, homophobia and racism. It’s very real. It’s very much a problem and it very much needs calling out. This piece is not yet another denial of abuse that seems to be quite popular at the moment. I get some people’s experiences are enough to put them off a “group of people” and I respect that. This is just how I see things and what I’ve found.

It’s difficult to follow the rule of just getting along with people because they are “on your team” Particularly when you have to watch these people say things or do things that you don’t agree with. It’s a very simplistic point of view to just think that a factional position within a political party is all you need to get along with someone. If anything this fans the flames of the flames of the toxic atmosphere that goes on because you’d rather turn a blind eye to what your mate does rather than admit that “your team” can be a bit of an arsehole at times. The hatred of those from the other side can really blinker what I thought we were meant to be all about. 

Case in point I end up finding myself in certain social media groups having to justify campaigning for Labour at all. How on earth has it come to that? That there is accusations that you are accepting of antisemitism because you want a Labour MP? Yet I also get accused of being a right wing red Tory, on the very day my tax credits had been stopped with no warning (leaving me crying for most of the day in fear of how we would survive) because I happened to not agree with what a certain poster boy for the left had said on Twitter. Christ alive it’s ridiculous. Why have we suddenly reached a point where you are completely stereotyped into a label for the sake of a factional war that does no body any favours. 

I know it’s about so much more than this. I know it’s about control and the future of the party and what’s happened in the past. I get that. What I don’t get is why it has to poison absolutely everything. I’ve had to completely cut ties with people I once quite liked, well I quite honestly looked up to, because their hatred of the opposite faction made them completely incapable of discussing or understanding other points of view. I feel like for the extreme elements of both wings of the party there is a real tit for tat battle going on. It makes things really shit for people caught in the cross fire by the way. This hatred and need power will also mean my tax credits won’t be starting up again any time soon. It means more people like myself miss out on opportunities within the party as it continues to be about where you stand rather than who you are. I can hate elements of what a faction stands for. I can do that for both sides. I know people within those groups who can hate elements of it too. They can also call it out. The automatic assumption of a person you don’t know just doesn’t feel very Labour to me. Yet it happens. All the time. Had I of followed this narrative I probably would be pretty lonely right now as some of my greatest friends with Labour are members of Progress and members of Momentum. One of my inspirational mentors is a self proclaimed neutral. It’s her outlook on things that made me start to enjoy being part of politics again. I get the very best of all worlds I think.

So this is the thing. I don’t expect the disbanding of the groups. I don’t even expect them to get along. For me it’s about stopping with the sweeping assumptions of one another. We sure as hell wouldn’t stand for it in any other area of society so why do it in the party we love. I stick by my mantra of you’re either an arsehole or you’re not. I’m going to find that out then make my decision. Nobody is exempt from this rule. Including me. For now I just want to be Labour and focus on that. I hope people can understand. For every person who’s quite rightly proud of their team within the broadchurch there’s those who would rather not be pigeon holed. Those that know me know my drive is a personal one, because I need to be the change that I want to see and also I can’t afford my “principles” to force me to cut off my whole families nose to spite my face. The problems I face right now are very real and they are my driving force. There are many more out there feeling the same. Let’s not forget that.

 *removes splinters from Bum and gets comfy on my fence with a nice brew* 

The Journey of the Women’s Quilt – An update and what’s next! 

Back in February I first shared the story of The Women’s Quilt. A quilt born out of love from some of the very saddest stories you could hear. “The most beautiful project that shouldn’t exist.” The Quilt was inspired by the Femicide Census, alongside the Counting Dead Women Project by Karen Ingala Smith. My original post about the project can found here. https://wizardoflozblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/11/a-voice-for-the-victims-the-womens-quilt/

For those unfamiliar with The Women’s Quilt each square represents a woman killed by her partner or an ex. Five Hundred and ninety eight women, between 2009 and 2015. The square focusing on the life of the woman. Representing them as the life that they lived rather than just another unidentifiable number making up a statistic. Because that is the essence of what the project is about. As Roxanne Ellis who started the Quilt project up, said back in February, “Last year the Femicide Census was released and I just felt something needed to be done, a visualisation of all the women who have lost their lives. Something other than a number on a page that can be glossed over. Something that emphasised the names of the women, as so often it’s their names are forgotten”  so that’s why it’s important that this story is revisited. It’s a marathon not a sprint and there is a lot of work to do in order to keep the aims of the Quilt in focus and most importantly achieved so that we can fight for the women and make their voices the ones that are heard. 

When I first posted about The Women’s Quilt the project was still very much in process. Not all names had been represented, many still needed their patches made. A short amount of time after the publication of my post and similar post raising awareness of the project, all names had someone sewing for them. The Facebook group set up to organise the project now has over 1300 members. The GoFund me page raised over £800. Patches were made and sent in from across the county, even support from across the globe. People shared the stories of the women from their patch. Members of the project supported one and other. The project was featured in articles across the media, radio, television and had online campaign including support on Twitter from several MPs & celebrities such as Michael Sheen! Karen Ingala Smith (Counting Dead Women Project) talked of the Quilt when she was a speaker at the Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse Conference. Perhaps most bitter sweet of all was the contact made from families of the women featured in the Quilt. Their love and support for a project that focused on the life of the person they loved. The very meaning of what the Quilt is all about. 

So what happened with the Quilt? The plan was for it to be unveiled on International Women’s Day. With all the patches completed and with the hard work of the dedicated group of quilters who held several days and some very long nights of sewing bees the Quilt was completed and then on the 8th of March 2017, International Women’s day launched in New Palace Yard at the Houses of Parliament. Supported by so many MPs who came to look at, listen, talk and share the story of the Women’s Quilt.

The work didn’t stop then. The Quilt still needed the finishing touches and the project still had work to focus on. The amazing team continued their incredible and dedicated craftwomanship to completed spot repairs, putting on the wading and backing and tying the Quilt. As the work on the physical Quilt continued so to did the work with the project as a whole. New ideas for craft protects, decisions on what would happen with the Quilt and sharing the continuing horrifying stories of domestic violence and women losing their lives at the hands of a partner/ex.

So what happens next? Well for the Quilt it’s next journey will be to the Women’s Aid Conference at Warwick University. Where Roxanne shall be speaking about its story. The plan will then be for the Quilt to be displayed around the country so it’s story can be seen and heard far and wide. A scrap book is being made to travel with the Quilt to explain its tale. Stories are being written about the people involved in the project and those impacted by it. A real voice for the victims. The craft side of the project shall also continue, The Women’s Quilt will expand into providing lap blankets, small quilts, trauma teddies and similar to children living in refuges, so they can have something of their own that has been made with love. The next step is to set up The Women’s Quilt as a chairty organisation.  To make all this possible we need your continued help and support. You can follow the Quilts journey on Instagram and Twitter @thewomensquilt you are welcome to join us all in the Facebook group if you would like to help/support the project https://m.facebook.com/groups/WomensQuilt

Unfortunately the fight continues for the very real issues raised from The Women’s Quilt project. The fight on behalf of the victims as the media continues to ignore the life and voice of the victims in favour for gory details and excuses for the perpetrators. Every week in England and Wales two women are killed by their current or former partner. From January ti May this year 61 women have been killed by men. How many could you name? Let’s fight for them and fight for their families. To ensure that they report with the victim and the love ones they have left behind in mind first. That they focus on the women whose lives were worth so much more than getting  clicks to a news article and being just another number within a statistic. Let’s make sure no excuses are made for the person who stole that life. Don’t let the victim be blamed when their voice can no longer be heard to defend themselves. Help us campaign to change the way domestic murders are reported in the press. Best way to do this? Contact your MP, ask them to support The Women’s Quilt project and ask them to put pressure on the media to change. Together we can make the voices heard. The journey continues and thank you for your support. ❤️

Happy Labour Birthday Loz. 

Okay it’s been slightly over a year but I’ve had to take a break from writing about the party, because if I’m honest the social media side of politics is really dragging me down. On a positive note I’ve actually been quite busy out and about campaigning for my incredible local party. So actually life isn’t all that bad AND I get to leave the house for freedom. Winner.

I think I lost my way a bit when joining the party. Went on a journey and came out at the end feeling like I’ve been a member for 400 years. So hats off to you members with all those years under your belt. If I’m exhausted by it all you must be positively comatosed. Some days I want to be Labours number one activist, others I want to cut my card up and just go back to life PPM (pre party member *looks back misty eyed*) Is there any better way to learn what you’re made of than a rollercoaster of polices, leadership elections, featuring in the Daily sodding Express, changing “sides”, being trolled and making a whole load of friends? No. Nope. Nada. There really isn’t. So here’s what I think. 

I was incredibly naive when I first joined the party. In the fact that I had no real clue of the true spectrum of the Broadchurch it really is. Having always followed politics I felt like I had some kind of idea of what the Labour Party stood for. Upon joining I realised I didn’t have a clue. So here I am thinking I’m just joining the Labour Party, everybody has the same goals and ideas with no clue about the fact that, whilst yes people may have similar goals and clues, very many people have very different views on how they should be achieved. Quite literally polar opposite. From the off set it felt like I needed to pick a team. A choice I was quite literally unprepared for. Clueless me had never really heard of Momentum, or Progress, Fabians and Labour first. In the first week I had to google what exactly a Trot was 🙈Being a member of the Labour Party is an education on the different factions inside political parties whether you want it or not. 

I make no bones of my journey in deciding what camp I belong to. Since I started writing this post (I’m an absolute queen of procrastination, I can start a blog then complete it 3 weeks later) a General Election has been called and I’ve made an important vow not to speak ill of our leader and try not to feed any of the internal warring that has been going on whilst we all have a much more important job to be doing. So for the sake of that I did join because of Jeremy but in the leadership election I joined the other team and I lost. Luckily as a Birmingham City fan I’m really used to being the losing team so I brushed myself off and carried on. My point here is that there often feels this need within the party to pigeon hole and stereotype people according to how they may view certain things. I found this really tricky because I can find myself agreeing with a few of the quite differing views. Resulting in everyone hating me. (Joke) This meant I really struggled with the narrative of you having to automatically dislike someone because they are on the different “team” because that’s a real tricky one for me. I have too many other measures when it comes to deciding how fond I am of some one. The measure of whether they are a Blairite, a Bennite, A Brownite, A momentum member  and so on is really low down my list of priorities. Basically it can boil down to “is this person an arsehole to me or people I really like? Yes/No. ”

For the first part of my membership I got far too drawn in by what I call “social media a Labour” I allowed myself to get drawn into factional arguments. The negativity and the anger consumed me. It also made me completely forget what I actually joined for in the first place. At times it made me feel very unwelcome. When you’ve got people hounding you on social media, calling you a Tory and that you don’t care about people that need help. When in actual fact you’ve spent the majority of the day crying because you’re not quite sure how you’re family is going to make ends meet…yeah that makes you really question whether you’ve joined the right party. On the other side of things I couldn’t understand the sheer venom and accusations that centred around the new membership. Absolutely none of this is what I expected to be thrown into when I felt inspired to take the plunge and join the party last year. Thankfully I received a decent piece of advice from someone I now count as a great friend from my new found social media Labour network. Basically it was like get off here and speak to people in real life. I class this as a turning point.

Perhaps the biggest problem for me when I joined, was the timing. By the time I had mustered up the courage to leave my baby daughter and go meet new people, Labour Party meetings were suspended for the duration of leadership election. This cut off a bit of a source for me. I’m pretty certain had I joined at a different time when meetings were in full swing my first year would of been completely different and slightly less challenging. Meeting real life labour members and getting involved in real world Labour activities is really what a huge part of this is all about. I feel that I should take a moment to stress that not all parts of Labour Social media are awful. I’ve built up an incredible network of people from across the country who have shown me support and love and it’s about so much more than the party. We talk about our kids, our partners, families, work, hopes and fears. We talk about the best way to cook a roast chicken dinner. I count these people as real friends. I’m lucky enough to have met quite a few now and I look forward to meeting more as we campaign and socialise together in the future. So if I talk about the importantace of the world of the Labour Party offline, it’s really important to be clear that had it not be for the network and motivation of the people I met online I wouldn’t of had the bravery to venture off it. 

Meeting Labour people makes me feel so happy. I soak up their stories and experiences like a sponge. It makes you realise why people feel so passionate about the party and gives me an understanding of why there is a sense of tribilism. For many the party is their life. I was lucky when I spent the day in Mosborough to give a hand in the by election and I got to speak to people who had over 30/40 years to the party. It’s not a hobby it’s a complete lifestyle. You really can’t help but understand why they might be a little weary of someone like me who has been around all of five minutes. This alongside the day I spent campaigning for the NHS started to reenergise me. 

A huge thing I have learnt about Labour is the focus on earning your campaigning stripes. I reckon that’s pretty fair too. I understand for some people that knocking doors just isn’t physically possible but you soon find out there is a whole selection of things you can do to support the party. Unlike other parties Labour can’t rely on huge donations from indivuals and businesses. A lot of the hard work comes from party members giving up their pennies and giving up their time. You honestly will never realise how hard this work is till you get involved yourself. It can be back breaking! I remember really losing my temper when some dared to tag me in a post they had written stating that the “keyboard warriors would take Labour to victory” personally I think that completely disrespects the hard work of those on the ground. Trust me, when it comes to trying to get the vote out in a local ward election no amount of hashtagging is going to match the forces of physically knocking on the door and getting that person down the polling station. I’m embarrassed that before I became so involved I stupidly thought that social media was the winner. I’m big enough to say I was wrong. I understand it’s not easy either and it’s often not thankful work but there is no real comparison of sitting behind a screen with your cuppa writing a blog on a campaign, to trying to leaflet in the freezing cold, bribing the one year old you’ve brought with you with chocolate buttons whilst trying not to have your fingers removed by a dog who sees anything that appears at the letter box as fair game. No it is not much harder to start a Twitter storm than it is knocking on the door of a complete strangers house not knowing how you will be received, what you will be called or how many times you’ll be mistaken for a door to door sales person. So yes of course in this modern era social media is an important campaign tool but no, it is not in any way shape or form a replacement for the good old fashioned canvass. 

In complete honesty there have been so many times in my very short tenure as a member that I’ve felt like jacking it in. Some of the social media arguments and the infighting, coupled with some nasty abuse I personally received made me miserable. When your mum is meant to be having a proud moment of watching you deliver a speech via Facebook live and she sees each and everyone of the venmous comments, it gets to you. Yet everytime I have this wobble over my membership I can guarantee one thing. The fantastic group of people I’ve come to love, always pick me back up again. When you get to meet and see the dedication from Labour Party members it’s impossible not to be enthused. When you meet Labour MPs in real life you feel proud, not to mention how incredible some of the hugs from them are (😂) and just how normal they end up being. Don’t know what I was expecting really but any question of not feeling like there are any MPs you feel represented with as a person can in my case be completely erased with 10 minutes in the company of Jess Phillips MP. Then you start campaigning for the local county elections and become completely inspired by the candidates your working for. They give you an education. Watching them work so hard for the area you live in and seeing the record of what they’ve achieved is a powerful motivator. I’m proud to play my part in helping them with reelection. I can talk passionately about them to the residents because I believe in them. Cllr Rosie Kirkand, Cllr Geoff Ellis and every single member working with them, they have sparked the drive up in me again and reminded me why I joined in the first place. To make a difference in the community. There are no better people to look up to than them when it comes to that. The last month helping out on both their campaigns has had an incredible impact on me. I’m much happier in my self. My anxiety is having less of an impact. There is no better medicine than going out with the team and just laughing my head off with them. I finally feel included. I belong. Too finish this on something I tweeted the other day but something that summarises this year in the end for me. Being a new mum, having moved to a new city can be quite isolating. I can honestly say the Labour Party has made me feel so included ❤ I know people have this poor view of politics but since I’ve been involved with the Labour Party I’ve felt a lot less lonely ❤#LabourFamily

Thank you all for having me. 

The Parent Trap

Oops. Here I am writing about my kid again. Sorry not sorry. I really didn’t want this to be like a “mum blog” Now don’t get me wrong there’s absolutely nothing wrong with them and if anything it seems to be quite “on trend” at the minute to have a big old bitch about how shit it is being a parent 👀 *pours saucer of milk for ones self, miaow*  All jokes aside it really can be shitty & I think it massively helps how open we all are about it now. It makes things easier knowing you’re absolutely not the only one who has days when they literally hate their life Any way as I was saying…firstly I don’t think I’m in any position to blog about parenting I’m winging it myself so zilch chance of me guiding others and secondly I did want to focus on politics. It’s just at the moment thinking about the state of politics makes me want to ram my head repeatability into a wall. Sooooo here I am after my last post, talking about my kid again. Which leads me on to thinking we all swear when:if we have kids we will be the different ones. We all probably hardcore eyeroll at parents from our smug world of  the freedom that is being a non parent but here’s the thing, all that stuff you swear you won’t do? You will do it. You will do it times a billion and then you will do a whole load of other shit, that you didn’t understand until the exact moment you are handed a human being that depends entirely on you. (When it feels like only yesterday the only thing dependable about yourself was waking up every Sunday with a hangover of epic proportions) so today’s post is exactly that. If it was a buzz feed article I guess it would be called 10 things you swore you wouldn’t do as a mom (yet here you are doing them) 

Baby spam. If you know me you know I’m so guilty of this I’m genuinely shocked people still remain my Facebook friend. (You’ve all unfollowed instead probs so thanks for thinking of my feelings) So sorry for every time I moaned about people always posting pics of their kids. I get it now you literally have nothing else to take pictures of.

Having 90% of all conversations based around your off spring. I get that now too. You literally have nothing else to talk about. (Because they take over your WHOLE LIFE)

A strange obsession with bowel movements. Honestly I think I talk about poo at least once day. This never happened Pre parenthood. Dunno what it is but you have a kid and you just talk shit. Literally. 

 As much as you can’t stand it when you’re on the receiving end you will judge other parents. Any one who denies this is a big fat liar 😏 It doesn’t mean you’re actually any better or worse it’s just the natural reaction to the fact that parenting is not a one size fits all topic. Visit any Mumsnet thread for futurer confirmation of this 😬🙄

Further to above everyone will suddenly have an opinion (or five) to share with you whether you asked for it not. Just practice this face 😊😊😊

Birth stories are badges of pride. The bigger the better. Always best shared with someone in the final trimester of their first pregnancy, trust me they will love to hear it. “Yep so they just cut me open with what can only be described as gardening shears, whilst I wailed like a wild rhino then shit myself”  (ffs see! Poo talk)

If you don’t get the above then you get the other end of the scale. The birth queens. “Drugs, oh no. I got through it with a warm flannel on my forehead and a packet of Werther’s original for pain relief whilst listening to the soothing sounds of pan pipes. Took 8 minutes.” 

Chocolate button bribery. You start off all organic and shit but you try to get through a food shop on just an hours sleep, in a busy Aldi on Monday whilst your child is trying to throw themselves head first out of the trolley seat because you won’t let them eat a packet of raw bacon, and you think you’re going to appease them with a carrot stick organically grown in Wiltshire. Yeah good luck with that. 
Parent blogs, parent memes, parent banter all becomes really funny. So funny that you’re hysterically laughing at them at 3 am whilst doing the nightfeed. God bless you Mum Probs and Hurrah for Gin (Personal faves, other parenting blogs available just not even half as funny) 

Germs. For a good while you will fear them. Your house will be something akin to the bio hazard rooms set up in an episode of 24. You no longer have finger prints as they have been filled in my by layer upon layer of hand gel. You lay awake at night wondering about that 0.01% of germs your anti bac wipes can’t kill. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to request that all visiters must wash their hands (twice) before holding child. I honestly can’t pinpoint what happens but almost over night your watching your child eat an Ella’s kitchen fruit puff,they’ve discovered under the sofa whilst muttering something about it being good for their immune system. It’s one of life’s little mysteries for sure. 

The lack of Handbooks. No they don’t leave you with an instruction manual to take home when you leave the maternity ward. Trust me I’m as shocked as you are about that. You literally have no idea what the rules are and they are just send you off on your way with this baby thing. I mean even Pets At Home give you a fact sheet when you buy a guineapig for Christ sake. 

(Image Hurrah for Gin) 

You not only suddenly understand why there is a need for parent & toddler spaces but you become the parent & toddler space  police.  “Nice kid you’ve got there” as you death stare the childless arsehole in the BMW who’s nicked the last p&t spot whilst you have to apply advanced physics undo a car seat, remove, child, change bag, buggy, child and yourself out of a space the size of a postage stamp. 

Talking of physics you will probably need a degree in that and building science after having a child. Because you will now be the owner of at least 20 pieces of apparatus that not only do you have to set up in the first place but then have a krypton factor challenge of pullies, straps and levers you have to complete EVERY TIME YOU USE THEM.

“Oh we will only have wooden/classic toys.” Ha ha ha ha ha. I guarantee your living room will have more gaudy coloured plastic it in than your local recycling plant faster than you say Iggle Piggle. 

Trust me we might all swear we won’t ever plonk our kids in front the tv but if you want to drink a whole cup of tea whilst it’s still warm then you wanna be praising the Lord for CBeebies. Plus sometimes Tom Hardy reads stories on there and we deserve that. 

Baby on board signs in cars. I used to see this and just think wanker. Now I am that wanker because I’ve realised it might be useful to explain to people why I’m driving like a learner on a Sunday afternoon. Plus I read it makes the emergency services aware you have a baby in the vehicle if you have an accident and obviously that’s now scared the bejesus into me so much that I’ve displayed my little yellow diamond with pride. 

You will suddenly discover the 234 other uses for baby wipes. 

If you’re a couple you will argue about anything from night feeds to the number of vests your kids should have on. Some days you’ll literally despise the sight of each other. That’s ok. Because you ask any one else and they will admit the same happens to them. You’re tired, stressed and anxious it’s human nature to take it out on the ones close to you and you do love each other really. 

Continue to refer to yourself as mummy or daddy hours after the kid’s in bed. Or in public. When you haven’t even got a kid with you. 
You’ll have all these grand plans for the baby clubs, trips and hobbies you’ll get up to. I class a triumph these days as being washed & dressed by 12pm. 

A star fishing kid taking up all the space in your king size bed will happen. No matter how much you swear it never will. 

Obviously some people are sensitive to things they read, watch and hear (I cry at anything involving dogs without fail) but honestly I can’t even cope with situations now involving harm or upset to children. It’s just too close to home. I’m sure I wasn’t dead inside before the small one was born, but I could manage the VTs on comic relief with a few tears. Now I have to turn it over. Because I can’t cope with the idea of being in that position myself. How very lucky I am to not be in the situation so many mothers face in some other counties.

Any sense of prudishness or self consciousness when it comes to your body/self will be ERIDCATED. There is nothing dignifying about a stretch and sweep or nearly drowning your midwife when she breaks your waters. Honestly you don’t have the time to be embarrassed and from what I’ve heard it’s pretty bloody tricky to give birth if your going to insist on hiding all your lady bits behind the sheets. One day I will disclose the full unedited story of my childbirth experience and that will fully explain this part. Let’s just say it involved me waving the gas an air about like it was a cigarette, whilst discussing the types of pornography the Tories banned, in a room full of people that included my mother. WOW. 😂

Being in absolute awe of every day actions you wouldn’t bat an eye lid at before. Laughing. Eating. Walking. Putting bricks on top on each other. Incredible. You will record every second of it it.

Your phone will forever be at maximum storage level. 🙄

A sudden frightening awareness of your own mortality. For some this might be fleeting for others it really causes serious anxiety and upset. All I can say is you are not alone and this is very very common. I wrote a post a while ago on Post Natal Anxiety. It’s very real and very scary but there’s help out there so don’t suffer alone.

Fact is, everyone has the best intentions and ideas. Nothing wrong with that. Also nothing wrong in knowing that when your life literally completely turns upside down you’re allowed to just quietly forget all those things you swore you’d never do for the sake of 5 minutes of peace. It’s ok no ones judging you 👀😏 sod it. 

Dear Arabella…

I haven’t posted in a while. I have 3 posts on drafts that are half finished and that I just don’t feel like posting. It’s a pretty divisive world out there right now, subjects are easy to come by but having the passion and drive to not only write the post but have something you want people to read, is pretty tough.  I knew I wanted to do something for International Women’s Day but I just couldn’t think what. So I sat down and I wrote this. Hope you all enjoy it and if you don’t well who cares, it wasn’t written for you any way 😉

Dear Arabella,

Today is International Women’s Day. Yeah you’re one and you have no idea what this means but just so you know, to me, you’re already the most inspirational female in my life. Having you set me on a journey to a much better place. So I’m writing you this to tell you why and what I hope for you in the future. Because there is no one person I want to celebrate more than you.  I can already see the qualities that will take you to great  places and hope that sharing my mistakes will shield you a little. 

You made me get my priorities straight. There is nothing like suddenly having this tiny person who is completely reliant on you, to make you realise what’s actually important in life. 

One look at your face was worth every stretch mark, scar and change to my body. I honestly can’t believe we made you. 

You’ve made me one million percent become “one of those mums I swore I wouldn’t be. I one million percent don’t give an F.

Every tiny little progress you make has me in complete awe. You’ve made me appreciate the small and very important things in life that so often pass me by.

Baby spam. So much baby spam. You’re my world and sometimes that world is too good not to share. 

Yeah I do talk about you lot. You’re probably one of biggest topics of conversation and I see no shame in that. You’re my greatest achievement to date. 

Sorry I’m still learning. I don’t know everything and I won’t always get things right. Just know I always have the best intentions at heart and this life is a learning curve for all of us. 

Embrace failure. Don’t be frightened or embarrassed by it. Use it to drive you to a better place. Sometimes you’ve got to reach the very bottom before you find your way back up to the top. 

There is no problem in life that can’t be helped by having a cup of tea with your mum. (Trust me from experience on this one)

Learn to let things go. Moving on can be one of the hardest things you might ever have to do but it will eventually return the greatest rewards. You are the biggest testimount to that. 

Stay fearless. When the stairs you’re so determined climb become mountains keep that motivation and you can reach the top. 

Don’t let any one ever take your kindness for weakness. There is nothing wrong with wanting to live a life where you consider everyone’s feelings. People use this as such an insult these days but snowflakes are beautiful and unique kid, don’t let any one tell you otherwise 😉

Be what ever you want be. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Don’t conform, don’t be stereotyped and never ever let go of your dreams. There is no time limit when it comes to succeeding…mummy’s still working on her goals right now. 

Never lose your voice when it comes to the things you care about. Even if everyone else is sick of hearing it. If you care about it then you talk about it.

Always make friends with every dog you meet 🐶 Dogs are better than people sometimes. It’s okay to admit that. 

Image isn’t everything. If I’m honest I worry a little for you. The pressures of looking good seem bigger than ever these days . I dread to think what pressures there will be for you in the future. Just try not to let it consume you, or obsess over it. Mummy loves a selfie as much as the next person but sometimes there’s more to life than looking good. It took you coming along to make me realise that (it’s either the house, you or mummy that gets to look presentable, I haven’t got my shit together enough for it to be all three) 

Laugh. There is honestly no better sound.

Dance when ever the mood takes you. Don’t grow out of that. You’ve loved music since the moment you were born. Find happiness in your favourite songs. 

Wear what ever you want. Seriously. 

Love whoever you please and don’t be scared to. 

The opinions of strangers on the internet are not worth giving a single second of your time too. Particularly those who are that cowardly they hide behind a fake account. 

I’ve wasted far too much precious time and energy on hate. Don’t do the same. Dislike something for sure but never let it consume you because it doesn’t solve a single thing.

Keep playing with cars and trains. I would be just as happy if you wanted to become a mechanic than I would if you became a nurse. There’s no “jobs for boys” or “girl jobs” just jobs for YOU. 

Embrace the sisterhood. Try not to see other women as competition. “When women support each other, incredible things can happen.” 

There is no need to apologise for supporting the cause of powerful women. It does not for one moment mean you don’t care for the rights of men or hate them. No more than donating to the British Heart Foundation would mean you have no care for  those with cancer. It’s a shame I have to even tell you this, such is the world we live in today.

Be you for you. No one else should tell you otherwise. Know your own mind and follow it to the exact letter.

Read. There’s no better comfort than curling up with a good book.
In all honesty I really don’t care who you’ll vote for, just as long as you vote at all. 

No matter where you go or what you do, I will always be beside you. It’s just important that you be you’re own biggest cheerleader and don’t let anyone take away your love, drive and determination.

Love Mummy ❤

A voice for the victims ~ The Women’s Quilt 

Kay Diamond was 52 years old when she died. Battered to death by her boyfriend within hours of him being released from prison for domestic violence offences. Kay had been punched, kicked & attacked with a weapon that was believed to have been a dog chain. Left with extensive bruising from head to toe and whilst a police officer fought to resuscitate Kay, Anthony Blye stood there and rolled a cigarette. Two months after Kay’s death, her daughter Rachelle Owen took her own life on the rail tracks near Hoylake Station, Wirral. She was just 16. 
As tragic and heartbreaking as this story is, the chances are you’ve probably not heard of Kay, Nor her daughter. The case may not be a familiar one. Nor is this story and the issues involved with it an isolated one. 598 women were killed by a current or former partner in the U.K. between 2009 and 2015. That’s an average of two a week. Two grandmothers or mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, friends, neighbours. They’ve left holes in people’s lives that can’t be replaced. These woman are more than just another statistic and their names deserve to be remembered. I’ve recently discovered and become a part of a project that hopes to do that. 

This week when scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed a post stopped me. It was a beautiful patch for a quilt. With an accompanying post that really pulled me in. “I have finished my first patch for The Women’s Quilt, in memory of Sylvia Rowley-Bailey, who was attacked as she sat at her computer and whose body was found with 23 knife wounds. Her killer was only sentenced to five years for manslaughter (raised to 7.5 on appeal) because she was deemed to have ‘nagged him’. ” Adele’s post led me to join the Facebook group to find out more and so I became a part of The Women’s Quilt. 

The aim of the group is to create a quilt made of patches decorated with the names of the women who have lost their lives between 2009 & 2015 at the hands of a partner or ex. Ideally the quilt will be put together in time for International Women’s Day on the 8th March this year. The project is not just for those who can sew. You can paint the patch or glue. Not just strictly for women to be involved either! Anyone is welcome regardless of gender.

The idea came from Roxanne following the release of the Femicide Census, a database containing information on women killed by men in England and Wales since 2009. It was developed by Karen Ingala Smith and Women’s Aid working in partnership, with support from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and Deloitte LLP. The census aims to provide analysis that can provide a clearer picture of men’s fatal violence towards women.  The information pulled together into a report published in December 2016.

Roxanne told me: “Last year the Femicide Census was released and I just felt something needed to be done, a visualisation of all the women who have lost their lives. Something other than a number on a page that can be glossed over. Something that emphasised the names of the women, as so often it’s their names are forgotten, like with Reeva Steenkamp. When these things get to court the emphasis is on the man, not the woman. For instance one of the men had his sentence reduced because “she nagged”. So the project started with me adding friends, who added friends and from there it just exploded. We have quilting groups around the country who have put aside their normal work to make patches and people who have never quilted before learning. Even people who have said they have never sewn before.This project has really brought people together and for many it has been cathartic. One of the women murdered was the cancer nurse for the woman who made her patch’s husband. And another provided student support for the woman who made her patch and actually talked her out of quiting college three times.” 

That’s one of the incredible things that strikes me about this group. The love & warmth I feel from it. The admin team  along with Roxanne do a fantastic job in running the project.  You see a real care from the people who are members and a constant reminder of the groups purpose and a drive to succeed. I’ve posted on this blog before about that feeling of the “sisterhood” I’ve never felt it stronger than within The Woman’s quilt group. I’m enjoying watching people post pictures of  the progress of their patch, passionately share the story of the women they have choosen to represent, explain their own experiences and post pictures of the completed patch and just like the women who’s voices their stand for, each patch is beautifully  unique. 

The Women’s Quilt now has the support of the wonderful Jess Phillips MP and together with those who run the project will work to get the quilt displayed. This is not a political group I may add. This is about the women themselves and ensuring they are at the very heart of this. No longer just a number but a realisation of a women lost. 

I don’t ask much from the people that read my blog. The fact that you take the time to read my musings is more than enough. With this post though I am going to ask.  The names have now been completed but the work goes on to get the project funded so the Quilt can be displayed around the country.

If you can donate even the smallest amount then please do by the following: https://www.gofundme.com/the-womens-quilt
The group can be found through this link 

For future information regarding the Femicide Census: https://www.womensaid.org.uk/what-we-do/campaigning-and-influencing/femicide-census/

0808 200 0247 Freephone National Domestic Violence Helpline. 
Finally this is dedicated to Kay. The much loved mother to a daughter and a son. Younger sister and aunt. Beloved daughter. A woman who travelled the world in her twenties and was described as bright, clever and quick-witted. For Kay and for her daughter Rachelle. May they both be rembered and rest in peace ❤

Thank you for reading.