Friday, 28 July 2017

Catch up Post on The Blog…

Sooooo, you may have wondered why I have not kept up this blog, where I have been and what I have been up to??

The answer to that is simple; life takes over.

Currently (and for some time) my time has been hugely occupied with two activities (Well, maybe three). I am sorting out the last of the jobs around my home, mainly gardening (not mega-excitement) to try and get an exchange so that we can move to be nearer my University which I return to in October, my eldest son is also at University so to us this makes sense.

Largely this has involved a fair amount of staying at home to take part in what is, frankly, more like garden clearance than gardening, and weather permitting I have been ‘doing a Jason’ in the Garden. That’s right, getting out my hedge trimmer and taking down everything in sight with the glee of a garden-serial killer!! I have also done this completely redneck-style with no visor just sunglasses, a vest and jeans that are not long enough and no gardening gloves (I kept forgetting to buy the gardening gloves when out). Cutting down HUGGGEEE brambles (think Snow White I shit you not) and a giant hedge is not an easy feat, but I am, nearly there!!

(yes that's Eminem with a chainsaw!!)

So, you may wonder the reason it got in this state in the first place? Well, two Summers where I worked from June to September to do ‘sits’ for a large body of my coursework and exams for my Degree (we are talking  between 65-70percent of the total work each year) left me no time to tackle the garden, hence, the garden was neglected.

What I have discovered is that being stuck at home has been an incredibly insular time, with its pros and its cons. I was never particularly good at being an indoors person - love it at night but in the day I mostly want to be out and about (call it reverse agoraphobia). Also, as I get older I find I hate closing myself in a small bathroom or toilet, turns out I’m a bit claustrophobic (I can thank my mother for that).

Now, of course, spending time alone to ‘get things done’ has its benefits. You witness how hard you can work and sometimes that alone time gets your head straight. However, nothing I think can prepare you for the inherent boredom of being stuck doing manual tasks continually and you find yourself thinking sometimes, has Twitter become a big part of life to break this up?? Well no it is not life I'm glad to report - but a means to an end!! Lol.

(face it you've done this too!!)

My other big task has also been obviously, to look for work. I have suffered since my early twenties with chronic daily headache and was signed off for a while to deal with this. Following this came a period where I could not lose weight (very bizarre) and I became constantly more and more exhausted. So, I visited the doctors to try and find out what the heck was going on - 
I am honestly so glad I did this.

 What I found out, with very little help from the NHS is that I am indeed hypothyroid. To put this frankly my thyroid is BROKEN at 38 and that I have all the main symptoms of Autoimmune Thyroiditis (or Hashimoto’s). Cue Mass Debate (no pun intended) with doctors and Hospital to try and sort this situation out for me. As a person who has always been quite slim and athletic looking I was wondering why the heck my weight had rocketed was very alien to me and extremely disconcerting.

 Anyway, to cut a long story short (which really is a different article altogether) I got this sorted (somewhat) and after much back and forth I have finally been put on a low dose of thyroxine which I find incredibly helpful. I am dieting now (except when I have my mega period) and that does seem to be helping somewhat and weight is coming off slowly bit by little bit. I have also largely removed gluten from my diet and am looking to make some further changes over the coming weeks.

Sooooo, the above left me in a difficult position when it came to looking for work but finally bit by bit I improved. Embarking upon looking for work itself has been ummmm, interesting. As a person who is looking to find a move very soon I have been rather limited in what I can and cannot take. Sales work has turned out to be a disaster, as employers are no longer prepared to take on women who need hours that will fit around school and after school club. The attitude frankly is ‘fuck you and your kids’ which is a shame as I am such a good salesperson and great at Customer Service. So, I looked to admin work. I have made a few applications here and there without success including to a local University who seemed far to snotty to take me on for a job I was clearly qualified for (if not overqualified). I have applied to the temping agency at my University and just missed out on one job (terrible shame). So, right now I will be looking for temping in my locality until October. Job search is obviously harder work then some assume especially going for any sort of half decent job and getting applications right takes up a lot of my time.

Finally, add in that I have been looking after the children, (which involves largely them, school, their homework a round of school trips and activities and also the social life I have around them, plus that of my own) and I’ve really had no time for anything. So, much as I really wanted to come on here and update it has not been an option.

Today, I am sitting on the laptop with period pain, it’s not too bad at the moment, but I know that soon I will face the pain that will rip through me with the force of ‘a thousand swords’ so, thought I may as well do something useful. Which is to catch up on this blog. So basically, this is my catch up, along with the post that will follow which will explain my current interests on Twitter and why things have been the way they have been.

So, I hope you enjoy this catch up post and that you are all well. Which just leaves me to say, Haare Krishna to all of you, hope you’re all doing well and that my next post is a political one explaining my current involvement in the Labour Party and why I am focusing currently on left wing issues.

Hope you’re all good!!!

Watch this space πŸ˜‰

Love SJ

NB: This post was written int retrospect approximately a month ago!! :)

Monday, 10 April 2017

The reason I don’t conform to the ‘Mum Image’ 



So first off I should warn you that this is probably going to be a bit of a self-indulgent post but this is a topic which I have thought about for a while and felt that it’s one which I would like to address. I don’t conform to being a Mum in my mid to late thirties; there I said it. Now I don’t know exactly what these standards of conformity are but all I know is that I don’t fit them and I shall tell you why! The answer is because I am not your typical Mum, that is that I am a ‘single’ Mum, now this is a bit of a gamechanger.

Being a single Mum you are not given a rulebook, the role itself does not come with a guide at all, it’s like we are literally making it up as we go along and that can be interesting but also slightly daunting. In a society where women face a backlash for first of all being a single parent and then for going against the grain in any way, the grain it appears is being in a family with 2.1 children or whatever it is these days, the biggest sky package, to have decking  and a hot tub in your back garden and to surround yourself with the biggest load of consumer crap a lot of which you don’t really need, to project an image  (especially through social media) of being like the Walton’s when actually many families have their moments when they are more like The Manson’s, that is not us and it isn’t me.

As I previously mentioned on here I left a relationship that didn’t work out (understatement he was abusive) and I had prior to this been in a relationship with someone which I was not happy in  (so that’s two relationships that did not work out)  I am someone who has had to effectively go from where I was and put the pieces of my life back together and start steering it in (hopefully) the right direction (trust me I could not have gone backwards). So, the normal Mum ‘image criteria’ I feel just does not fit me.

'Worst Nightmare!!'

 Anyhow, let’s look at what this ‘Mum’ image is that I mention. What is it exactly?? That one’s confusing, but to me, once women get into their thirties and fourties it seems to consist of wearing a lot of tan and beige, a lot of boho stuff (great way to go in your fifties to seventies but, surely we are allowed to wear something other than prints) and (to a large extent) for some ladies I find appearing downtrodden. Now let’s just take money out of the equation for a moment and see what I mean. I honestly feel no matter what a person’s budget we are all able to make decisions on how to present ourselves to the world. Now let me explain that I am not judging any lady in her choice of attire here, if that’s what you feel comfortable in that is entirely up to you. I understand the merits of wearing tan, mustard, burgundy and turquoise when establishing a school playground hierarchy and going to parents evening. I have also considered stashing away an oilcloth Cath Kidston, Radley or Orla Kiely bag to drag out to go alongside aforementioned ensemble to wear to meet new teachers (in order that I won’t have to be judged as a scumbag the second I meet and greet a new person involved in my child’s education) and adopting a false register to my voice. Then, when I am done with school meetings going home chucking it all off and descending back to chav status!! 😊 (South London girl here I’m a real chav I’m afraid πŸ˜‰) But, the fact is I just can’t bring myself to play ‘the game’. I can’t bring myself to pretend, and why should I??

"Standard Issue"

People do say they think I look younger than I am (which is nice) I’m still a bit of a kid at heart and I enjoy playing with my image. I know that one day I am going to be older and I won’t be able to get away with all that I can now so yes, I still want to have fun. This means that I still want to look sexy or playful, to wear my Nikes and my Converse and I dare say a nice pair of heels now and then and not fit into the boho/khaki/tan parade. My attitude is very much that you only live once. Further to this is my own unique take on this as a single parent - the word ‘single’ is a big clue here. I would at some point actually like to attract somebody. Believe it or not I am not adverse to the idea of having a loving relationship and I find it highly unlikely that I am going to do that in tan brogues and with a mass of roots and an unkempt mane and an oversized wax jacket.. you get the picture. The thing is that I know and I appreciate that everybody has completely different tastes but this is my taste, personally I would never judge what other women do and don’t want to wear as I know it is entirely up to them but I do sometimes feel bad for people and I am thoroughly unable to understand how you can even hope to maintain a loving relationship and a good sex life if you make absolutely zero effort with how you dress. I mean how do the two add up?? They don’t really.

The other thing I have found is that it appears that if you are either very young or very slim or both then it is entirely acceptable to walk around in knee high boots (they must be brown mind) and skinny jeans and a fitted top but god forbid you have any curves (I feel this goes with the saying you can never be too rich or too thin and if you are both you have hit the jackpot) there seems to be something so absolutely offensive it seems about a Mum who is still fairly young (or just looks good for her age) has curves and embraces a sexy or youthful/fashionable appearance. I think that in examining this attitude we must consider whether there is something in society that makes us inherently misogynist as women towards our own sex also. Breasts are a particularly big deal. The perception can largely be (if you have big breasts you must be thick) I don’t know why as it does not mean I keep my brain in there and if I did it would be huggggge and like a double (siamese) brain. If you dress feminine, are curvy, have bleach highlights and are fashionable OMG forget about it. See the thing is this, I die my hair blonde as it is the colour I was born. Up until the age of about 11 I had white blonde hair and although now it is more of a medium blonde golden tone I enjoy mixing this up with highlights, as I know it’s a colour that suits me and how I am used to seeing myself. I have tried other colours but I know blonde suits my appearance and the tone lifts me, also I have spent such a fortune on dying it that I am hardly gonna be in a rush to throw my investment away.I actually don’t wear a huge amount of makeup as I like to be comfortable with my own face and like just a little enhancement. But, I personally think there are ladies out there who have their make up looking like it is airbrushed on (just very clever application) and look amazing, the whole mask thing is not for me but I salute their dedication and their creative expression and why not play and have fun with your image? As for being curvy there is absoluately nothing I can do about that – I am guessing this is how god intending me to be and if anyone has a problem with that well perhaps take it up with him??.



As for Selfies, well this can be a major thing, what I have found is that there seems to be a huge backlash on social media towards women taking pictures of themselves and looking good. I’m sorry but it does appear that if you are aged 30 or over society just cannot accept the idea that a woman should want to take pictures of herself, well, I have spent the last 4 years single saying bollocks to that! I have often been told that I’m pretty and I have reasonable self-esteem and body image so why the heck would I not??? It’s fun, it’s useful if you get a few that are really good and they can be used for social media or professionally to project an image and, it’s also to a large extent, the fashion. We live in a society where so much is both instant and throw away and selfies have almost become a way of keeping in with the trends. Personally, I draw the line at snapchat as it does not appeal but hey if it’s you bag!! The other point that people fail to grasp is that when it is only you then you only have yourself to please, which means sometimes you have spare time to do your make up (albeit ultra-speedy on my part) whack out your phone and take a nice pic, so why the heck shouldn’t you??

"ChΓ© happy and healthy and not caring less if Mummy pouted on SM or not!!"

If you are alone every evening with no partner) and you spend the clear majority of your time caring for your kids) then you may want to remind yourself and possibly the world that you still look nice because after all who else is telling you this? Or you may just be proud and want to show the fuck off- whatever. The one thing I know is this. I believe wholeheartedly (and especially with having had relationships where I was badly treated) that life is for living!! I only have a limited time on this earth and I want to live it as best as I can. So, I am damned if I am not going to make an effort (more often than not) put nice things on get out in the world and generally put my best foot out there. Young women know this, they are not stupid, they know there is merit and a sense of autonomy is being able to regularly change their image and record it and they know the healthy self-esteem and good exposure this can also give them. I really think that it’s time that women who are slightly older started taking on the attitude of their younger counterparts and making an effort. Have confidence and courage and dare not to give a fuck what anyone thinks.


Now to the women out there who bitch about a Mum especially a single Mum posting another selfie on Social Media, you need to check in and have a word with yourself! What one woman does with her time is absolutely none of your business, we really are not here to make judgements over other’s lives (okay with the exception of picking up a copy of Okay Magazine but you know) or think we have the right to dictate what others do! As an adult, I take on full responsibility for how I project myself to the world. Do I make mistakes? Sure, but by and large I am happy with how I do things and if another person is happy making their adult decisions focus on you and I think this feeds right back to the topic of women tearing each other down, it’s not clever it’s just sad, seriously do you!! You’ll be happier. As a wise woman (Marianne Williamson) once said “You do not shrink for others to feel better around you” or words to that effect, well no you do not. I will honestly tell you that being myself (in the aforementioned manner) has not always been the easiest path to take, but, to me it is THE only path. I feel that in throwing off restraints and continuing to be myself and true to me I am removing a burden. 

Lastly ladies who couldn’t care less about your appearance, I hear you and that is cool also, I mean if you are genuinely that happy and don’t give a stuff well nothing wrong with that either but I strongly feel that in my experience it is true that most women do want to make a little time for themselves to take care of their appearance and just to feel nice. My only hope for other women is that they live well and feel the best they can and for many women this means looking the best they can and as someone who has both worked in Fashion Retail and trained as a Beauty Therapist I think it’s natural for me to feel this way. However, as I am not able to make you all my dolly (I love a makeover) I will just have to leave this post here to hopefully inspire you to want to look and feel your best, as we all deserve to, right? So, I will leave this post by saying that I hope that people may start to think about what it is for a woman to be by themselves and how this might affect how they want feel about their image and how they wish to project themselves. It is not just single parents, with divorces remaining steady (especially for the middle-aged) this is a topic which affects many people. Additionally, of course we have no right to dictate how married women looks also. I am firmly of the opinion that it is high time that people stop imposing their views on how others present themselves. As for me, I’m not gonna ask for anyone’s permission I’m just gonna carry on.  :p :p

Sunday, 12 March 2017

The Women's Quilt; a Project: Commemorating the lives of 598 Women killed between 2009 and 2015 by their partners in England and Wales

Charito Cruz was 37 years old when her (then) partner Niazi battered the life out of her by smashing her over the head more than fifty times with a hammer. Having been alerted by concerned neighbours their landlord entered their flat to find Niazi sitting beside her dead body whilst  watching television with their two-year-old daughter. Following his arrest and trial Niazi (despite attempting to plead temporary insanity on grounds of depression) was sentenced to life in Prison with a minimum of 12 years. Charito is also the person who I chose to create a patch for to participate in the project which has now come to be known as ‘The Women’s Quilt.’

About 5 weeks ago, a young fellow Labour Party member on Twitter named Laura put up a post about sewing a patch for the project. I was intrigued by the idea of this ‘quilt’ and decided to investigate and find out what it was all about. Upon locating the group on social media and loading up the group’s Twitter page I was immediately met with the statement “598 women were killed by a current/former partner in the UK between '09 &'15. That's approximately 2 a week. We are creating a quilt - 1 women = 1 patch”

Despite being ran off my feet with two small children and with many other projects occupying my time I felt that I had to get involved and over a few days that feeling that I must ‘do my little bit’ would not leave me alone. In the end, I relented and told Laura I would join the group wondering where I would find the time as I know what a lengthy task sewing can be. Emotionally, there were two factors which came into play here: firstly, the powerful and simple statement that the group had made on their Facebook wall, that message alone appeared to have gotten under my skin and secondly like the 598 women who had died I too have been a victim of Domestic Violence. So, this was a cause whose victim’s I could not help but find some affinity with.

Now to begin to tell you Charito’s story. Charito was an immigrant who had emigrated to the UK from the Philippines, I don’t know her exact motivations for coming to live in the UK but I should imagine they were much the same as those of many people who come here from abroad: economic prosperity and the chance of a better life – a brighter future. She had met Niazi and been in a relationship with him for 3 years prior to her death and had a daughter with him. Friends of hers described her (in an article featured in The Surrey Comet) as a “hardworking woman” and a “devoted mother.” A private person she kept herself to herself and was even described by one person who knew her as “very secretive.”

 Sadly, it is not unusual for women in domestic violence relationships to be withdrawn and such behaviour if we consider the perils that they face in their day to day life should come as no surprise. One factor that would make a woman (especially a mother) extremely anxious of the abuse that they are suffering being discovered is (is aside from the ramifications if the abuser knows that they have been found out)  that if the authorities find out they could be judged as if the situation is their own fault. Additionally, many abusers if they became aware that their abusive deeds have been uncovered would not hesitate to use the children as a bargaining chip. Eventually, despite what must have been considerable fear Charito did manage to take steps to put an end to the abuse, she made contact with an organisation who sought to help her make her escape. What makes Charito’s case particularly tragic, is that had she lived another 3 days then she would have been able to meet the advisor who was looking to place her in a refuge 

For me Charito’s plight highlights just how terrible a fate the victims of domestic violence often face when seeking to liberate themselves from their abuser (and let’s not underestimate the term liberate here as domestic abuse is practically both physical and mental slavery and psychological warfare) and just how perilous it can be for them to try and put any form of escape plan into action. When we bear in mind that victims can be subjected to both extreme physical and horrific mental abuse then it becomes easier to understand why for many it is such a difficult situation to extricate themselves from. Once you understand the dangers and risks for a woman if she does try to leave - and additionally the mental processes which are involved - you can see why it is not so simple.

For me personally it took the threat that my children at the (then) age of two would removed from me by their father (some sensible person decided to give fathers equal Parental Responsibilty when named on the birth certificate from December 2003  imagining that no man would ever use this as a weapon) to make me jump to action. He informed me that he would take the children out of Nursery and take them up to London and that I would have to fight to get them back whilst he would make up malicious lies about me. I can honestly say that (when I initially read his vicious messages over WatsApp) I have never had my blood run so cold, nor felt so terrified as that moment and then I snapped and felt nothing but rage, pure rage. Any love (and I use the term love loosely here as I realise this was not a healthy relationship) any modicum of warmth that I had felt for him dissolved in that moment. I had been stupid/blind/deluded/worn-down (delete as appropriate) enough to put up with his own vile behaviour towards me, but to threaten to take my children!!! I have never been spurred into action so quickly. Fortunately for me my expartner was careless enough to (in his rage) convey a lot of his threats over WatsApp (to this day I still have that log). Before you could say “threats, harassment and restraining order” I had reported all former incidents of Domestic Violence to the Police.

 Following this frightened and still concerned about any further threat of the children’s removal (and with my expartner telling me that he still had a set of keys to my house which he was refusing to return) I visited the Police Station once more to ask if I could get any help with changing the locks. It just so happened that whilst I was talking to the Police lady on the front desk a man interrupted me and told me he was a solicitor. He then gave me a card for the firm he worked for in Ashford and told me that I was entitled to an Emergency Domestic Violence Injunction and a Prohibited Steps Order, the two of which together stop the removal of the children.  I will also mention at this point that the Police when I went to see them (knowing the threats that I was being faced with) had given me no advice on this procedure what so ever. All I can say is that that day my guardian angel was clearly watching over me because had the timing have been any different I would never have known. That day and in that moment, that moment precisely I can pinpoint as the start of the rest of our lives. One fortnight later and not only had the orders been granted in court but the Injunction was extended for a year. I can honestly say that this was one of the most crucial and pivotal decisions of my life.

What many people fail to understand (when it comes to Domestic Violence) is two things, the first being that most victims of DV are suffering from a form of Stockholm Syndrome. Stockholm Syndrome is literally where a person forms a relationship with their kidnapper in order to survive. Once a woman has been in an abusive relationship for a period an abuse pattern will already be well established - a cycle if you will. The victim knows the situation is not right but finds it hard to mentally leave the situation due to a deliberate and ingrained pattern of abuse which goes something like this:

Actual physical or mental abuse which is overt – shock in response to the abuse – absolute sorrow/grief on the part of the victim – followed by numbness and apologies and exceptional kindness (largely feigned) on the part of the abuser – then the cycle starts to build up until it repeats all over again.

Also within the abuser’s mind there is a perverse pattern at play which accompanies this which consists mainly of valuing and devaluing the victim, the devaluation taking place to justify the unspeakable way in which they treat the victim. As this cycle plays out the victim is left so disturbed and traumatised that frankly they do not know if they are on their arse or their elbow. So, I can imagine how the situation must have been for Charito and whilst my partner was not physically as abusive as Niazi, psychologically he was capable of extreme manipulation. What  stands out particularly in Charito’s tragic tale, is that despite her best efforts to remove herself and her child from the situation she was not able to do this. I know that I am one of the lucky ones in that I could get away from my abuser and rebuild our lives.

Spending time on The Women’s Quilt Facebook group and viewing the posts that have gone up on the groups wall I have seen so many women from across the UK come together and tell their women’s stories. Not just how they came to a brutal end but also and very importantly trying to touch upon who these women were as people. Roxanne Ellis who founded the group has stated that her intention in the commissioning of the quilt was to place emphasis on who these women were as human beings and individuals and not just statistics, the aim being that in creating a square for each woman we are giving a voice to that woman as a person.

Another issue which the group have been keen to emphasise is that there is a balance that needs to be redressed in who the media treat as the victim in these stories. Often a newspaper article will be based around the idea that the death is a tragedy for the whole family (which it is) but also runs with a narrative of how decent or “what a nice man the perpetrator/murderer was before he killed his partner. Many members of the group feel that this is a mistake on the part of the press as these type of men  who abuse often come across as kind and charming to those that they know and can hoodwink those around them into thinking they are normal which is why the abuse goes unchecked and no doubt why these ladies met with the fate that they did. The press can also be viewed as exacerbating the issues around Femicide by portraying the death as a ‘one time event’ where the man went mad (and the female partner drove him there) when more often than not abuse would have been prolonged and systematic. What is needed we feel is more focus on who the victims were and what a terrible injustice it is that their lives have been taken as the loss of any woman’s life at the hands of her partner should be met with outrage.

One thing that particularly struck me about the project was the sheer feeling of love that emanated from this group of ladies in their efforts (and do not underestimate that it is love that can be witnessed here). If you haven’t viewed anything particularly moving lately then I suggest you head on over to the Facebook group page and have a look because I think it would take a heart of stone not to feel anything. The Group on Facebook consists of ladies (and some men also) who have all come together in their hundreds to physically make something to commemorate their chosen woman. These people have taken their time and many of them have put painstaking effort into their work whilst feeling a huge amount of responsibility towards those they are commemorating in the process. Every type of fabric appears to have been used, every style touched upon. I have seen patches that range from traditional Cath Kidston like creations to several that like my own are sewn in satin, there are buttons and rhinestone patches also and even printmaking appears to have featured on one. The message which the group admins convey is that you don’t have to be a pro, you can paint, stick or sew as long as you are taking part in the process.

Another feeling that resonated throughout the group is that none of us truly felt that we were doing our chosen women’s memories justice. It is incredibly touching to see so many so deeply concerned about whether their effort is enough when making something for a stranger, a person they have never even met.

There were many messages and pictures of patches posted on the group wall but amongst the myriad of fabric and messages one post stood out to me as the most poignant and that was both the post and patch made for Lily May Ryman. Personally, I can’t imagine the bravery and the scars it must open to make a patch and display it to commemorate your own mother; not that I suppose those scars were anywhere near healing. This post admittedly did have me in tears.

So, to move onto why I created my patch in the way that I did. Although I feel that my patch is pretty I understand that to Western taste it may appear a little on the extravagant side but there is a reason for this. Charito was a Filipino lady and given the difficulty I had in turning up anything about her character initially I felt that the only way to go with this project was to try and incorporate something of her ethnicity. Here was this voiceless woman whom the press had paid little attention to as an individual other than the fact that she was from abroad. I so wanted to say something about her but I was drawing a blank. So, I decided to go with Filipino dress as a theme.

When I researched this style of dress what I found is that it was very exotic and extravagant with such materials as lace, satin and sequins being used in abundance. Embroidery was also a strong theme and many Filipino dresses feature the most intricate designs. The vivid colours that are used clearly serving to highlight the natural beauty of these ladies who are a mixture of mainly Spanish and Eastern Asian in lineage. The other thing that I wanted to try and incorporate was Charito’s name, Charito literally translates as ‘Charity’ and looking at the descriptions of Charito as a person I have no doubt that this was the type of person that she was – undoubtedly, she was too kind and too charitable. Cruz means Christ on the cross. I thought of trying to incorporate a cross on my patch but it did not work. Now before the naysayers arrive accusing me of positive stereotyping I must remind you that this is literally all I that I had to go on at the time. Now, was Charito a person who couldn’t stand traditional Filipino dress or food and had a penchant for fish and chips and enjoyed nothing more than an episode of EastEnders? I hear what you are no doubt thinking but I don’t know and I just won’t know not without disturbing her family which would have been completely out of line and possibly fruitless.

So now fast forward at least two weeks from when I first became involved in the project and a Mammoth task has been underway as the good women of Nottingham have been sewing the quilt together. Many posts have gone up on Facebook and Twitter with pictures of the quilt coming into shape. Two days ago, the quilt arrived in London, where it was displayed in Westminster Hall at the House of Commons on International Women’s Day which was a real Coup for the organisers of the quilt and means that it should receive nationwide media attention, fulfilling its purpose of highlighting Femicide and awareness of Domestic Violence generally. The fact that it has made it to such a venue is real testament to the size of this achievement.

The Women’s quilt really is an entirely exceptional project, started by a few ordinary and pioneering women (who appear to be a lovely and down to earth group) it’s completion, the determination on the part of the participants to bring it to completion and the success that the group have attained in pushing the project forward is a both a reflection and personification of the statement that Roxanne makes on Facebook “if there is one thing this project has shown, it’s that when us women get together we can move mountains.” I also think that the finished piece makes a statement in itself, a visual protest, and even though the quilt is inanimate the fact that it is a riot of colour means that you can practically hear it. Additionally, the sheer volume of it means that it cannot be ignored. In viewing the quilt one can witness just how much time and effort has gone into it which in turn sends a clear message - that all of us came together thinking that Femicide and Domestic Violence are not okay and that we are going to take our time to do something about it. Thousands of collective hours have been taken to convey that message to the UK and possibly the World.

Now having discussed the issues beforehand and the journey of the quilt I want to leave you with a few statistics. Currently domestic violence accounts for 8 percent of crime. There are 100,000 women in this country in high risk domestic abuse relationships. 140,000 children in households where high risk abuse is taking place. 70-90 percent of contact cases that go through the courts feature domestic violence yet only 1 per cent of contact cases are refused – me and my children feature in that 1 percent - thank God. Furthermore, every 30 seconds the Police receive a call due to a domestic violence incident. Lastly in the time it took to write and publish this article another woman died in the South East. On the day of the quilt going to parliament 19 year old Shana Grace was killed by her partner.

In juxtaposition to the current Domestic Abuse crisis which the country is facing we have a situation where there is a real deficit in the funding available to victims and a lack of willingness on the part of the Government to improve the situation. The Guardian Editorial entitled ‘Domestic Violence Abuse; cuts cost lives’ states “[The impact of domestic law reform is] jeopardised by cuts to local government funding that have resulted in the slashing of domestic abuse services - 17 percent of specialist refuges have closed since 2010 – and reductions in the police budget".  In a society where cuts to services are constantly being made we need to drive home a message, a message about what is fundamental and what’s issues are vital. No woman should be losing their life to domestic violence even one death - Charito’s death - is far too many. With 25 percent of Women in a Domestic Violence relationship at any one time the problem is not going to go away. We owe it to our sisters, mothers, friends aunts and cousins, we owe it to women generally that we will put Domestic Violence on both the public and political agenda and make sure it does not go away. In this day-and-age, it is imperative that women can access Domestic Violence services and no woman should be dying because she could not get the help to escape.

I am SarahJane Goodwin. I am a recent Literature Graduate turned Blogger. You can find me on here and on Twitter @MissSarah_Jay (Twitter feed  and link to the right hand side of this blog) where I discuss both the smaller and the bigger issues and where I also talk a load of nonsense when it suits me. Discussion on here and on Twitter includes such themes as Single Parenting, Fashion Music and Art as well as Left Wing Politics.  If you like what you see please leave a comment. You can also contact me either via Twitter Inbox or at

Sunday, 1 January 2017

A Non Perfect Christmas

So the non-perfect Christmas started with a non-perfect Christmas tree. Here's a perfect looking Christmas tree...

Now here's our tree...

Spot the difference??? Lol

You see what we had this year was a Christmas that was a terribly long way from  perfect. As a matter of fact what we had was a Christmas that majorly sucked; in just about every way. Well maybe not entirely but you get the picture.

You see this Christmas actually fucked up so much that had it been National Lampoon or something it would have been funny. but it was not, it was just me and my kids.
You see it is currently just me and the babies and I have saved very hard to try and give them a decent Christmas. So I thought in order to try and provide that this year and in order to not buy them a load of shite which they already had I would save and buy them a Wii U - as I know this is what they really want.

So I trawled the net looking for a good price on a preowned one as I think it is not important if this thing is brand new or not it should last, they are only small that won't use it extensively but no!! Game where I wanted to purchase one were all sold out two weeks prior to Christmas. As i did not trust all retailers that sell secondhand and could not find a reasonable price elsewhere I thought I will buy the thing new. So I did... and it arrived and I assumed it was fine.

Then having decided in a snap decision pre-Christmas that I could no longer put up with what was my student desperation purchase of a television set I decided to buy a Smart TV, which today is still not appearing to be that smart and is struggling to pick up Youtube and I cant even sign into Netflix - smart stuff.

So anyway it is only me and the babies this year, which was the same situation a couple of years ago also when we went to Winter Wonderland around the 22nd or 23rd or so and I came back with the complete shivers and felt violently ill over Xmas and could barely eat. 

Also the day that I rescued a businessman's Ipad on the train and returned it to him Pre-Christmas (everyone said to get his number - but he was a bit old for me and wore sensible shoes; terrible shame as he was minted) so anyway I think that this Xmas I will actually get to spend some time with the little ones properly. Now it's not always easy being a single parent and whilst we have friends and may or may not have received invites (and had I angled that way I probably would have got some) I did not want to make a fuss and resigned myself to the fact it was just us. But that's okay as I will spend my time having fun with the kids and we will play this new console. The one I have killed myself saving for and we won't need a new DVD player even though ours had just broken down as the Wii will play DVD's. 

Cue the fact that come Xmas day I got the Wii out and the fucker broke down on install. Now the sodding tele will not play a single smart thing. I cant login to Netflix (piece of shit) nor put on a DVD. I piss about and piss about with the Wii, I even do an adaptor reset (piece of piss) out of desperation but no it has gone off and refuses to come back on. So what do I end up doing?? Well not a lot. I spend the whole day cooking the Xmas dinner in half an oven (as the element has gone and although I can get it sorted cheap as a favour it was just too close to Christmas ask such a favour) and consequently spending very little time with the kids... So I had a look on Facebook...

all I see is

And happy comments such as "the boy done good" and "Oooh look what he bought me", cue pics of Ugg Boots - I love Ugg boots no one is fucking buying me any

Pics of Michal Kors' watches etc.. I fucking hate Michael Cors anyway - boring clothes and bags
and just happy families generally. So none of them are sitting here having as shit a time as us. Now I don't care how much you say Facebook is a facade and it clearly is a facade - that was fucking evident!!!

So what did I do.. Well partly fuelled by Xmas pissing me off, reminders of lack of boyfriend/partner (see BridgetteJoneseque loneliness) and feeling like an inadequate human being and also lack of working technology to entertain children (or even a working oven) i did what all good people would do lost my fucking rag and made a cunt of myself on Facebook, with the words

Shockingly a few people liked this!!???

I then sodded off to twitter where people do not know me so well and made a bit of an arse of myself... and you know what I found out about myself????
That this made me happy!!! Not ecstatically happy but that I felt relieved and you know what??? I don't regret it... I don't feel one bit bad for making a prat of myself. You know why? Cos life was taking the fucking piss!!!

And there and then I learnt something about myself. That's it's okay to not put on a brave face and admit that you are having a sodding awful time and that if people are truly your friend then they should be there for you; end of.

Because I can tell you now that were it my friend that were miserable I would not want them to sit and feel miserable I would want them to express it. So I guess that my lesson was in the end that if I am having a shit time then I shall allow myself to say "you know what this is really fucking shit and NO I AM NOT HAPPY" and that's a GOOD THING, as I consider that as a person who always seems to have taken on way too much responsibility it is okay to say " no this just won't do!!"

So I guess in the end that's what I learnt  - I started to think about what is and isn't good enough, what I will and won't accept and my boundaries. Now as for the Wii U, well the retailer has offered me 15 pounds in vouchers on top of exchange. So far I have failed to get to their store once yesterday which cost me all of twenty quid as they chose to put it in the middle of nowhere and I could not get to it on  bus train and foot (yeah shit location). So this is currently an ongoing saga which I hope will be resolved by the end of the week and hopefully my children will forget about what they termed as "the worst Christmas ever."

As for Christmas itself well it has always been quite a painful time for me, for reasons which I do not really care to divulge here and now and this year has not improved that, so I am half considering next year to re-term the whole thing "Chill Out Week" and celebrate the thing loosely but go about it with little adherence to convention and avoid Facebook altogether. Also, after the debacle of Christmas day cooking I may just fuck it all off and do what I say I'll do every year "order a takeaway" and believe it or not I am serious. Christmas means many things to many people but for me it has always been a highly ambivalent period emotionally and in the end it just got me thinking about what I will and won't put up with; what I do and don't deserve and that in future I will test all electrical products thoroughly the moment I get them :))) - as it turns out that apparently they do have the capacity to make one happy or sad..

Hope yours did not suck as much as ours... which we are now attempting to spend our holiday period making up for.. Love and Light.. SJ x x x