Aged 19 and 20 I was in an emotionally abusive relationship, and I constantly lived in terror of the emotional abuse spilling over into physical abuse.
I am lucky that I managed to get out, more or less intact, but I found out recently that my ex is in prison for physically abusing and harming his current partner.
As I read the newspaper article I was transported back to that world of abuse, that relationship, that time of my life when I lived in constant fear.
You might think I'm stupid or an idiot for getting myself into that situation, and I totally understand you thinking that. But read on so I can help you to better understand abuse.
Prior to that relationship I was an incredibly strong woman. I took shit from no one.
I remember hearing about women who were hit by their partners and either left them and then went back, or stayed with them.
I clearly remember saying "well then they're idiots if they're staying with a man who hits them".
For me it was black and white.
Recently I lost a dear friend to cancer. I met Sarah in 2013, in the first year of my mummy blogging journey. She was a fellow blogger and she took me under her wing. She made me laugh (so much), gave me incredible tips and advice, listened when I ranted and was just generally an incredible human and friend.
When we moved to Mauritius from London in 2015 our friendship went mostly online. But every time I went back to the UK she was one of the few people I made sure I met up with.
Sarah always had a theme for each new year which she blogged about. They are so inspirational and I urge you to read her themes here (they are in chronological order):
I usually have a word for the year. In the past I've had RISE, HAPPINESS, EXPERT, FEMININE, COURAGE amongst others.
Then just before the new year I received the news that Sarah was being moved to a hospice.
My vivacious, funny, live-life-to-the-max...
Let me start by reassuring you this is not an evangelical bid to turn you vegan.
In fact one month before I became vegan I couldn't actually imagine anything worse.
I just want to share my story with you. In case it could help.
Today I have been vegan for 2 years, 2 months and 2 days.
I never EVER imagined I would be vegan for even one day, but then a few things happened.
I have never shared my story before but with Veganuary just around the corner it feels like it's time.
Before becoming vegan our family ate meat at least 5 times a week, often more.
I would get pissed off if we invited someone for dinner and they were vegetarian, let alone vegan!
I had been lectured to before about becoming a vegan and it pushed me even further away.
Then in September 2019 I went to a day-long retreat, with only vegan food on offer.
I was gutted.
WHAT was I going to eat?!? A bunch of leaves and tomatoes?
When it was time for lunch my stomach sank.
I LOVE food, and mealtimes are my favourite times,...
25 years ago today I moved to a foreign country for the first time.
I was 20 years old and I was moving from the UK to Nice, France as part of my French and Spanish degree (that's a photo of me in Nice at the time.)
I clearly remember being at Heathrow with two of my uni friends, saying goodbye to my parents, feeling a mix of excitement and fear at what lay ahead of me.
It was the 6th October and we left a cold, rainy London to arrive in a sunny, balmy Nice.
Being driven down the Promenade des Anglais is engraved in my brain as I took in the BLUE sky and the BLUE sea (BLUE because they are just so blue!), and the palm trees that lined the road.
For someone who had spent the last 2 years of studenting in Liverpool it felt like I had somehow arrived in heaven.
I remember exactly what I was wearing that evening as I called my parents from a payphone to tell them we'd arrived safe and sound.
"It's 6 o'clock and I'm wearing a short-sleeved t-shirt!" I announced delightedly to my...
My first digital detox was in 2014, a few months after I diagnosed myself as a social media / smartphone addict.
I'd heard my husband and eldest daughter complain that I wasn't fully present. That I was permanently attached to my phone whenever I wasn't working.
I'd pick it up constantly.
I was always scrolling.
The last thing I did at night, the first thing I did in the morning was scroll my drugs of choice - Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
It was a horrible way to live. For me. For my husband. For our kids.
I knew it wasn't healthy but couldn't stop myself.
As I'm an "all or nothing" person I decided to go cold turkey whilst on a family holiday to France in August of 2014.
I switched the WiFi and mobile data off on my phone as I boarded the plane in London. And I didn't switch it back on until I got back home over 2 weeks later.
I did a complete digital detox.
And I learnt so much about myself. About this dirty habit. About the life I wanted, for myself,...
It was going to be perfect. A two week family holiday to switch off and reconnect. Everything was planned down to the last meal, board game and walk.
Until the one thing I hadn't planned happened.
International travel is still tricky so August 2021 saw us taking another local holiday. But I can't really complain as we live on the tropical island of Mauritius and, even though this was the peak of winter, the weather was still preferable to a UK summer!
We booked the first week as a winter / mountain break in the hills of Chamarel. Our cottage was in the middle of nowhere, with a 360º view of nature and greenery all around.
The second week was a "summer" / beach break on the coast in Pointe aux Biches. Our apartment was right on the seafront and had the most stunning ocean views.
I had figured out meals, indoor games and outdoor games, places to visit, things to do.
I decided to do a complete digital detox for the full two weeks and warned friends, family and...
A couple of days ago Ben and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. That's right, our marriage is now old enough to buy its own bottle of champagne to celebrate ;-)
And it got me to thinking. If our marriage is now 18 years old and an adult, what has it - and what have I learnt - about being married?
Not only have I been married for 18 years, but I've also been helping women all over the world with their relationships for over 3 years (via my Life Reboot Camp online programme).
Living together. Sleeping together. Potentially raising babies or fur babies together. Sharing finances. Sharing household chores. Eating together. Spending spare time together. Dealing with each other's friends, family, job / business / career.
Marriage is a whole ton of pressure to put on two people without any training or manual.
So I decided to share with you the 5 things no one told you about marriage, in the hope it will help you have a happier and better marriage.
I’m guessing that when you were a teenager, at school maybe, you received careers guidance. Maybe you had to fill in a questionnaire. Or had an interview with a careers counsellor.
All this when you were what? 15 years old? 16? And then I’m guessing that you were probably left to figure it out after that.
Maybe you said you wanted to go into medicine so you were advised to study maths and the sciences. Or you said you liked the idea of journalism so you went off to study English at university.
But since then you’ve had little to no advice on what to do in your career.
No one to help you when your dream job turned out to be the stuff of nightmares.
No help when you realised you wanted to do a complete U-Turn.
Which means most of us don’t end up changing. We end up staying with whatever job our school careers counsellor told us to do when we were a spotty teenager.
The recent pandemic and changes to the way we work have really shone a light on what we...
There I’ve said it. And not just in my head.
I mentioned this recently to a close friend of mine and she was shocked that I should feel this way.
But you see pretty much all of us are feeling not good enough at one point or another.
I’m in a couple of online business groups and it never ceases to amaze me that these incredible women could also be crippled with self-doubt too.
I’m talking women who run their own successful 7 figure businesses. Women who others look up to for guidance and inspiration.
Which made me realise - we all go through the whole “I’m not good enough” negative self-talk at one point or another.
Maybe yours is “I’m not good enough at my job” or “I’m not a good enough mum” or “I’m not a good enough wife / daughter / friend / sister”.
For me it varies from day to day, but my most common ones are:
I physically shuddered as my 13 year old daughter's teacher accused me of bad parenting.
Because I told her I would rather my daughter failed academically than destroy her mental health by spending all her waking hours on school work.
Apparently I was not doing a good job at parenting because I refused to let my 13 year old (who is only in Year 9) spend 2-3 hours on homework every day.
Bearing in mind her school day starts at 6.50am when she leaves for the bus, and ends at 4pm when she gets home.
I set a top limit of 1.5 hours a day to maintain balance and avoid burnout.
Yet this makes me a bad parent.
(We have since changed our schooling set-up for our daughter as this was a recipe for breakdown.)
It still astounds me that we are in this situation with everything we know and have experienced over the last few years.
Suicides, burnouts, breakdowns, cutting, increase in alcohol and substance dependency, eating disorders and other mental health issues.
Why are we...