What Attitude Problem?

attitude problem


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I think I may have found a use for all the random scenery pictures I take.
What do you think?


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Blognonymous : He's Coming Back


Blognonymous
There is no introduction I can write for this Blognonymous post as I'm not sure what to say.  The author is a personal friend of mine and I just want to scoop her up and protect her myself.  I'm just glad that Blognonymous is here for anyone when they need it.

As always it would be great if you could offer any advice or support.  If you prefer to remain anonymous when commenting please sign out of Disqus (if you have used it before), write your comment, click "Post as..." and you will see "guest" appear as an option.

If you would like to contact any of the Blognonymous team please click on the image to the right for more details.

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A blog is meant to be a place where you can post anything right?  Be open about what’s going on in your life.  Share.  I mean, after all, that’s the whole point of an online diary, no?  Well you know what?  That’s bullshit.  There are things I’d never be able to talk about on my blog, primarily because if my family ever knew about what I’d gone through I don’t know what they’d do.  And, if I’m honest, because I like to think I’m a pretty decent person, I just don’t want to hurt them.

So what do you do when you have managed to cope with the most horrific of relationships, you’ve done your best to move on, to make a family for you and your kids – a home again … and then you get the news that leaves you feeling physically sick and afraid for your life?

All sounds rather dramatic doesn’t it?  It is I suppose.  But I’ve normalised my life for a such a long time now as a coping mechanism, because that’s just what I do. 

I got the news this morning that my ex partner has just been given bail and, as soon as the money hits the Judge’s bank account, the money that his family so very ‘kindly’ put together for him, he’s a free man again until his trial. 

Why is he in prison?  For rape.  For kidnap.  For things he did to a woman that are so horrific I couldn’t begin to tell you here.  And while he was in prison, was he such a good inmate that the courts saw him as no real threat were he to be released?  No.  He attacked another woman whilst in there and got put in solitary for 23 hours a day.

I know this because he rang me to tell me his back hurt because the mattress was so crap.

My life has been a nightmare and I’ve managed to keep it all under wraps for fear of judgement, for fear of hurting people who love me … I just hate the thought of people worrying about me … for fear that if I said it out loud it would make it real.

I am in fear of my life.  I cannot reiterate that enough.  I am sat at work and petrified that when I get home he’ll have ignored his curfew and tag and be stood lurking outside my house.  Waiting for me.

He’ll say he just wants to see his son.  That he loves him.  And his son loves him so much that the mere mention of his father reduces him to tears because at his age, he believes every single word his dad says.  His dad could never have done anything bad.

I’ve been left with crippling debts, no money, a fracture from when he beat me up at Christmas which is still a little painful because going to hospital meant I’d have to explain why I was battered black and blue.   I’ve been left with a hurt boy.  A fear of commitment.  An inability to sleep properly.  A fear that if he ever came back he’d snatch my precious boy in his sleep and I’ll never see him again.

I’ve spent the last six months getting my life back on track.  Working hard.  Repeating the ‘Mummy will never leave you’ mantra to my poor, poor son.  Reassuring him every single day that ‘everything’s going to be alright.’

I thought I would die at Christmas.  He choked me so hard I passed out.  Then he’d start again.  He gave me a black eye that lasted for three weeks.  I couldn’t leave the house for all that time. 

He raped me on numerous occasions. 

And I never told a soul.

The funny thing is, some of you know may me as we all know how small the internet is and to look at me, you’d never know the shit I’m hiding from the world.  Even now, as I feel like I’m freefalling again like I did at Christmas, I’m working hard at work, sniffing away my tears as best as I can because God forbid anyone would find out.

The thing I dread most is pity.  I don’t want people to feel sorry for me.  To look at me and think “Poor woman, don’t know how she copes.”  I am life’s best coper see.  It’s what I do.

I realise I’m rambling.  I am counting down the minutes before I can get home and hug my boys and pray that my ex isn’t there waiting for me. 

I will call my local police when I get home to tell them my fears.  And if the courts are anything to go by, the police will laugh, ignore me and go about their day.  Because the police and courts aren’t affected by my ex are they?  It’s not their life, it’s mine.  Why should they care?

I don’t know what advice anyone can give me that would make any sense to me right now.  My contact from the police was absolutely convinced that he’d never, ever get bail so I haven’t even thought about the possibility that he would.  Until now. 

The churning feeling in my stomach that I used to live with is back with a vengeance and all I can see now when I close my eyes is his fist raining down on my face.  It took me months to pluck up the courage to kick him out. 

And now he’s coming back.

Thanks for taking the time to listen to me waffle on.  I know I’m not the only person who’s been in an abusive relationship but it’s not something we really talk about is it? 

I hold on tight to the fact that I WAS strong enough to end this relationship and that I am a STRONG STRONG PERSON.  This, I know for a fact.  As scared as I am, I have to repeat this to myself. 

I don’t know how to keep him away.  He’s allowed to come to my house as long as he’s back at his father’s house by 7pm. 

I want to run away.  To go somewhere so remote that he’ll never find us. 

I can only hope that when his case goes to trial, he gets put away for a long, long time and my children and I do our best to move on.  Again. 

The courts are fucking arseholes though and time will only tell what will happen next.

Slow Cooker Recipe : Chilli Con Carne (with Crock-Pot® review)

Crock-Pot, Slow Cooker,
I was drooling over Aly's Union Jack Crock-Pot® a few weeks ago, mainly because of its unusual design (I'm a sucker for a Union Jack) but also because I've been hankering after a new slow cooker for a while now. Well, Aly is a bit of a cool chick and recommended me to Crock-Pot® who sent me this completely lush Crock-Pot® to try out (see the end of this post for the finer details).

I already have a slow cooker - it is really ancient and just has a basic on/off switch. It is enormously heavy as it has a good, old-fashioned ceramic pot but it does the trick, even though I've never really used it for more than chucking meat in to cook  ready for tea or for making a hotpot. I keep reading the 'Slow Cooker Sunday' suggestions (#scsunday on Twitter) and thinking "I must try that one day" but wondered about the High/Low settings suggested for a lot of the recipes.

So, killing two birds with one stone, I thought I'd try out the new slow cooker and attempt to make a something that I've never done before... a chilli con carne. I know - how on earth have my family survived over the past twenty-odd years without me cooking "proper" food?

I found a chilli recipe on All Recipes UK and I've changed it up a little (see below). It's gone down a storm in our house and looks like it could become a new family favourite. We have had ours with rice but it would be great as a jacket potato topper.

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Slow Cooker Chilli con Carne

(this will feed four hungry people with enough left over for a couple of jacket potatoes)


Slow Cooker Chilli Con Carne Recipe




Ingredients 

  • 1.5lb (680g) lean minced beef
  • 2 onions (finely cut)
  • 2 stalks of celery (finely cut)
  • 2 cloves of garlic or 1.5 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatos
  • 2 (400g) tins of red kidney beans (using the liquid from one tin only)
  • 1 (400g) tin cannellini beans (and the liquid)
  • 2 tablespoons of (mild) chilli powder
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper

Method 
  • Brown the mince in a large frying pan then drain off all the fat 
  • Put the mince into the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients and mix well 
  • Cook on "low" for 8 hours 

Notes

  • Brown the mince the night before, allow it to cool and store it in the fridge.
  • Chop the onion the night before and also store in the fridge in an airtight container

Watch out for more attempts at slow cooker recipes over the next few weeks.  The slow cooker is ideal for winter warmers and Aly's post (link at the top) has some great hints and tips as to why a slow cooker is a fabulous option for many different households.


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The other stuff that you need to know if you want one of these ace slow cookers. 


Each new design comes with a selection of recipes to kick start your home cuisine, expertly marrying ingredients to make sure your dish tastes as good as it smells. Once the ingredients are chopped up and in the pot, they’ll gently simmer away on either a low or high heat setting while you get on with your day, producing a delicious dish for you to settle down to when you’re ready.

As with every Crock-Pot®, cooking in the pot means nutrients are kept within the dish, intense flavours are locked in and you’ll use less electricity than conventional cooking.

The Crock-Pot® New Design range is available from June and can be found at Amazon.co.uk, RRP £34.99. For more information on Crock-Pot visit www.crockpot.co.uk.  This Crock-Pot came with full instructions, some complimentary utensils and some recipe ideas.  

As this is partly a review post, you can view my disclosure policy which details my review policy.

PR Win or PR Fail?

When you get something like this through your letterbox surely it is going to spark a reaction?  I'm a naturally inquisitive person so immediately had a quick search on twitter for part of the hashtag to see what was going on. 

I wasn't impressed by what I found... a lot of "huh" type tweets interspersed with some positive and some negative comments.  In between the tweets I found the FlubIt official account and checked out their website (which is exactly what they wanted me to do, obviously).

In these times of mass produced online marketing, brands have approximately 3 seconds to grab your attention before you move on to the next webpage.  Clicking the red X in the corner of the screen to get rid of unwanted web content is far too easy.  To take marketing back to traditional sources (such as snail mail) does make you stand out in the crowd.

Something was niggling at me with this campaign though.  I am used to PR's emailing me (and, boy, do I sift through some shit day after day) to request my postal address to send me a sample of their latest and greatest.  Sometimes I know what's going to arrive, sometimes I don't.  However, I do keep a record of who has my address.  I'm a bit of a spreadsheet freak.  A quick Google search of "flubit pr agency" takes you directly to their LinkedIn page where it is easy to see their marketing is done in-house. A drill down of my email and my spreadsheet showed that no-one on their books had contacted me for my postal address.

There are two places where my personal information is held online.  If you know where to look, you'll know where I'm on about.  I know for a fact where my information is not held so it was interesting to be part of this unfolding conversation.

Flubit Twitter Conversation

Flubit Twitter Conversation


Flubit Twitter Conversation

Flubit Twitter Conversation

Flubit Twitter Conversation

Flubit Twitter Conversation

Flubit Twitter Conversation


I was starting to smell something and it wasn't roses.  As this was taking place in a public arena a number of people were tweeting me or joining in the conversation.  Many were as confused as I was with regards the gathering of postal addresses, others were just watching from the sidelines egging me on.  I was told by the Flubit representative that they would check their marketing details in the morning as they couldn't be sure how they acquired my address.

Many people A grand total of two people came forward to support Flubit.  One was very certain that I was "angry" and "obsessive".  He included Flubit in all our twitter exchanges and suggested that Flubit will have found my personal address from the WhoIs directory.  Immediately, Flubit came back, thanked the other tweeter and said, "Yes, that's where we got your address from" and then proceeded to suggest that they found my Geekalicious website through GoDaddy (hosting and web domains) and were redirected to WhoIs.

Firstly, Geekalicious is a .co.uk address and I have opted out of providing my personal information via WhoIs.  For my one and only .com address (this blog) I have my personal information on record because it is a requirement.  The only other place that my personal information is available is the electoral register.  I don't have a problem with that.  What I do have a problem with is when marketeers circumnavigate terms and conditions displayed on public searches.

With thanks to two Twitter friends of mine (who have legal backgrounds) who pointed me in the direction of the correct place to look, may I present this section of WhoIs to you which is clearly displayed at the bottom of every search that is made:

The Data in this WHOIS database is provided for information purposes only, and is designed to assist persons in obtaining information related to domain name registration records.  It's accuracy is not guarenteed. By submitting a WHOIS query, you agree that you will use this Data only for lawful purposes and that, under no circumstances will you use this Data to: (1) allow, enable, or otherwise support the transmission of mass unsolicited, commercial advertising or solicitations via e-mail(spam); or (2) enable high volume, automated, electronic processes that apply to this WHOIS or any of its related systems. The provider of  this WHOIS reserves the right to modify these terms at any time.   By submitting this query, you agree to abide by this policy.

Just because any information is public it doesn't mean that anyone is entitled to use it.  The Data Protection Act requires that data controllers inform chosen subjects of the purproses for which they will use their information (i.e. they don't have to request your public information, just tell you that they may use it for a certain purpose).  Transparency is key and WhoIs make the information available for issues relating to your website, not for marketing.

I'd say that Flubit have seriously breached this request and overstepped the mark, wouldn't you?

As many PR's will tell you, I am open to working with a number of brands on amazing and ground-breaking campaigns.  I have given over my blog to cancer and meningitis awareness drives, participated in a full day of radio appearances promoting healthy breakfasts for Princes and totally believe that my strong and individual voice is what makes me stand out from the crowd, whether you think that is for good or bad reasons.  I've seen some seriously innovative marketing which didn't involve scraping WhoIs for addresses.  

If you want an example of positive "snail mail" marketing, also from this week then let me introduce you to PeerIndex.  PeerIndex does exactly what it says on the tin; it measures social media interactions and allows you to see who you influence and who influences you.

Occasionally PeerIndex promote a 'perk'.  Just off the top of my head, two recent perks that I have applied for have been for a James Palumbo book called Tancredi (weird and wonderful) and for a set of Ministry of Sound headphones (L.U.S.H.).  These were both received through a game of Twitter tag - passing on the perk to another Twitter user.

This week I received an email inviting me to participate in another perk.  I was offered free milk and curly straws.  I don't have to do anything for it - just enjoy the product but, as a direct comparison, they have grabbed my attention with something relevant to me and something that was delivered to my door (after I provided my own personal information) within two days.  My only concern is that Cravendale (the company working with PeerIndex to provide the fun freebies) believe that 8 litres of milk is a month's supply.  In this house it will just about cover us for a week if I'm lucky.  But it's USEFUL!

I was determined not to "do a Mumsnet" with this blog post.  I don't think I can handle that again.  I know I'm hot-headed and a bit blind-sighted with my viewpoints when it comes to blogging and social media, and maybe life in general, but I'd be really interested in your input on this.  The comments section remains open and you can comment anonymously if you prefer.  My comments policy is displayed on my Disclosure page.

She Talks To Rainbows

We've been having some CR-AZY weather over in Lancashire this week.  I've gone from wearing a loose, floaty top that lets air waft around my armpits to wrapping up in a hat and scarf to stand in the street almost ankle-deep in rain water (work related... don't ask).  

Anyway, the weird weather has actually brought beautiful rainbows day after day although it's always at a time when I haven't got my big camera with me so these were snapped on my phone.  

And I still haven't found that post of gold, either.  Look how close I was at one point!

three pictures of rainbows





Title reference... "She Talks To Rainbows" by Ronnie Spectre and covered by The Ramones  Such a beautiful song about someone who appears to be happy but is troubled by something.  

26 Bands From The 80's : Where Are They Now?

The other day, whilst out with my husband, I was listening to some UB40 in the car and wondered what they were up to now.  Then I saw this post from Buzzfeed and realised I totally needed to steal that idea.  BUT the problem with doing a "Where Are They Now" of the 80s is that they are either dead, accountants (dead accountants?) or in their mid 50's and, having realised they have snorted their pension up their nose, are dragging themselves onto the Reunion Tour concert circuit.

So here are my chosen few that form my A-Z of 80's 'Where Are They Now?'  
Do you fancy adding any of your own?


art of noiseArt Of Noise.  Last seen looking for Peter Gunn and desperately hoping that Tom Jones tells a "I know Art Of Noise" story about them on The Voice.


billy idol
Billy Idol.  Currently setting off airport alarms all over the world after having a steel rod inserted into his leg following a motorbike accident in 1990.  Practicing Rebel Yell on Guitar Hero in case needed for the next Downpour [sic] Festival.


cameo
Cameo.  Polishing his red jockstrap... just in case...


dead or aliveDead Or Alive.  Pete Burns the First (Dead)...  Peter Burns the Second (Alive).
enyaEnya.  Sat in a white room on a white chair having Orinoco Flow piped into her headphones 24 hours a day.
falcoFalco.  Died in car accident in 1988 and is currently in the world beyond discussing use-of-name royalties with Wolfgang (Rock Me) Amaddeus Mozart.  Yes, that's his real name.  What?
go westGo West.  Peter Cox is still attempting to overcome the embarrassment of forgetting the words to his song on Reborn In The USA.  Richard Drummie is nearing the end of the royalties acquired from the Pretty Woman OST.
Harold FaltermeyerHarold Faltermeyer.  Serving time in jail for cruelty to music after allowing Jamster (the ringtone company) to create the Crazy Frog campaign.

Isaac HayesIsaac Hayes.  Hip-swiveling his chocolate salty balls somewhere in Soul Heaven.
Johnny Hates JazzJohnny Hates Jazz.  With more break-ups and get-back-togethers than JR and Sue Ellen, they are probably reminiscing their Shattered Dreams right now.

Kenny LogginsKenny Loggins.  The "King Of The Eighties Movie Soundtrack" doesn't have to have done anything else.  He might be runner-up in a Michael McDonald look-a-like competition though.

LL Cool JLL Cool J. The Ladies might have Loved Cool James (yes, that's really what LL Cool J stood for) but I can't remember a single song that he had out.  I do remember him simulating shagging a settee whilst singing on some awards show once though.  Multi-tasker!
Musical YouthMusical Youth. I really hope they're spliffed up somewhere, passing the dutchie kouchie to the left hand side *sits cross-legged and waits turn*
New EditionNew Edition.  THIS is the band that gave us Bobby Brown.  Make of that what you will.
OMDOMD.  Britpop killed Electro.  Therefore, Oasis and Blur killed OMD.  The ending result was the formation of Atomic Kitten.  And that, my friends, is why things should never change.
Pepsi & ShirliePepsi & Shirlie.  Some people are just meant to be backing singers.  This pair of backing singers went from supporting Wham to attempting to make it on their own.  Their punishment was to sing backing for Geri Halliwell's "Bag It Up".  Let that be a lesson to you.
Q-TipsQ-Tips (thanks @gruntledwampa for the reminder).  Some of the original members are still trying to work out where to put the vowels in SYSLJFM (The Letter Song) and the rest of them are still hunting for Paul Young in their 1982 game of Hide and Seek.
SinittaSinitta.  After building a career on a "Is she or isn't she shagging Simon Cowell?" non-story, she can now (apparently) be relied upon to 'leak' X-Factor information when the show needs a ratings boost.  
Tone LocTone Loc.  Wild Thing.  Funky Cold Medina.  The End.
UB40UB40.  Where ARE they now, indeed? Kiss and make up, lads.  This country needs your vibe.  (A "Lame To Fame" moment here... a friend's brother worked on the production of "Wear You To The Ball".  Such a cool job.)

Van HalenVan Halen.  The epitome of "greatness" in music.  Also the innovators of the 'rider' (pre- or post- performance 'wish list') and the M&M's story is apparently the truth, m'lud.
Weather GirlsWeather Girls.  I wonder if they'd have had more success if they'd have kept their original name of "Two Tons o'Fun"?
XTCXTC.   Sorry, I had to cheat on this one.  I've read their Wikipedia page and I'm still none the wiser.  Anyone?  Anyone? 

YazooYazoo.  Five songs CAN make you memorable if they are the right five songs.  And the 80's bred fantastic 'mean and moody' keyboard players, didn't they?  

ZZ TopZZ Top.  Every person should be made to enact their surname, if appropriate.   Still touring apparently.  ZZ Imerframe?

Blognonymous : Where Do I Start?

Blognonymous
Blognonymous is always here for bloggers who want to talk about something that won't fit on their own blog.  Sometimes it is advice that is needed, sometimes it is so that they have somewhere to "write" about an event in their lives; there are many reasons and we, the Blognonymous team, never question the need to publish.

This post is an emotional one - and one that a number of readers will find hard to read for many reasons.  There is an important question at the end and one that I'm not sure can be answered but it would be amazing if you could offer any advice or support.  If you prefer to remain anonymous when commenting please sign out of Disqus (if you have used it before), write your comment, click "Post as..." and you will see "guest" appear as an option.

If you would like to contact any of the Blognonymous team please click on the image to the right for more details.

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About three years ago, shortly after the birth of my son, I opened up to my mother about the fact my stepdad had sexually abused me as a child. It was a very difficult thing to do, and a very difficult time - but my motivation was twofold. Firstly I wanted to protect my son - I didn't want my stepfather to come into contact with him. And secondly I knew that I wouldn't be as good a mother as I should be if I left this issue hanging over my head and preoccupying my thoughts. I hadn't really thought through what I wanted to get out of telling my mother, beyond wanting my stepfather out of my life. I didn't want revenge for the years of pain he had caused me, I didn't want him to go to jail, I didn't want him to lose his job over it - I just wanted him gone.

Three years on, I've achieved that, but only in part. I wouldn't say that I never think about my stepfather or the abuse, because I do. Of course I do. It has shaped me as a person - in good ways and bad. It has made me hyper aware of the boundaries between myself and my own son, and made me determined to never ever cross them - I want him to always feel he has complete control of his own body and to know that he can always, always say no. But I am definitely a happier person than I was three years ago. It is no longer a black cloud over my head. I no longer have nightmares. I no longer dread family occasions or feel sick in my stomach at the thought of having to see my stepdad.

The situation between my mother and stepdad is more complicated. I hadn't realised just how complicated until a recent conversation with her. They no longer live together - they separated a few months after I spoke to her - she has bought a flat with her savings and he rents one, about 50 miles away. But she is still almost entirely financially dependent on him. She has a chronic illness that leaves her in pain and with little energy, and while she occasionally makes small amounts of money through arts and crafts, she feels unable to hold down even a part time job, so she has no income other than what he provides her with. They are also in regular contact - she says that whatever happened with me and him, he is the person that knows her best and accepts her, so when she has days of feeling too ill to go out, he is the only person she feels she can call on to bring her shopping round, or help her with housework. They recently went away for a weekend together.

I feel enormously conflicted about all this. I know that I have no right to dictate to my mother how she should live her life. But I can't help feeling shocked that the man who caused me so much hurt and pain is still such a big part of her life. Since I told her, she has never put me in a position where I've had to see him or speak to him, but I feel uncomfortable knowing that he will still know so much about my life, that he will spend time in her house and see the photos of me and my family that are on her walls. I know that he reads my blog.

Her illness and financial situation undoubtedly complicate things - she admits herself that she is very low in confidence, that she feels she has little to offer, and finds it hard to contemplate making new friends or entering a new relationship. I try as much as I can to boost that confidence and remind her of all the wonderful things about her, how attractive and warm and talented and kind she is. But I still feel somehow betrayed. It took me ten years to find the courage to open up about what happened - and I feel that by keeping my stepfather in her life she is belittling what I told her, and what happened. She says that even if money wasn't an issue, she'd want to keep my stepfather in her life in some way. 

The way that she describes it is that she is living her life in compartments - the stepfather compartment, and the grandson and daughter compartment - and never the twain shall meet. She doesn't want to jeopardise the relationship with me and my son, but nor can she live without my stepfather in her life. She is very aware that it's not a sustainable solution - it cannot go on like that forever, and at some point a choice will have to be made. 

Our most recent conversation was very difficult. She says that she feels resentful that the abuse was 'nothing to do with her' and yet she seems to have been the one who is now suffering most as a result of it. She can't understand why I didn't tell her earlier - when I was a child - because then it would have been more clear cut and easier to deal with. She says that she gave me 'ample opportunities' to speak to her about it, because she knew that the relationship between me and my stepfather was strained, but when she asked me why at the time I didn't say anything. I don't think she realises how hard it was to tell her - and why that had to happen when I was ready to say it, rather than just when she was ready to hear it. I was left with the strong feeling that she resents me for telling her about the abuse at all, and wishes it had all been left unsaid. It has perhaps been made harder because - with the exception of this - we have always had a very good, strong and open relationship. 

The other thing that I find very difficult is that even when they were together, before this came out in the open, they had a very unhappy relationship. He was drunken, manipulative and controlling  - and she was constantly telling me that she was going to leave him. She says now that she half-wishes that I'd waited for her to leave him before I'd opened up about the abuse - but I had listened to her say that she was going to do that for a good five or six years without acting on it. She claims that now, in a strange way, their relationship is easier because she knows about what happened. She says it has 'cleared the air' now that now she knows the very worst thing there is to know about him, and that she has to remind herself of how unhappy she was when they lived together. 

I am very confused. I feel uncomfortable, hurt and upset - but without really knowing if I have any right to. If I am not there caring for my mother, can I really object if he is? As I don't live near my mother, I cannot be her main carer. Nor can I offer her financial assistance. I love her dearly, but I find all this very hard to understand. Obviously you never know how you will react until you are put in a situation yourself, but if I found out that someone had hurt my son, I cannot imagine for a minute that I would want them to stay in my life. I would like to offer her some practical support - in terms of her emotional processing of the bombshell that I dropped on her. She admits that she no longer trusts her own judgement after letting this man in our life. And yet he's still there! She has spoken to a couple of friends about it, but not widely. I wonder if some external perspective would help her see things differently. I also wonder if there's anything I can do to provide support with regards to her illness. I understand that it must be incredibly isolating and lonely to feel the way she does without having a big network of support. 

In the longer term - if her illness progresses or she just gets older and needs a live-in carer, and that person is my stepfather - I don't see how I can continue to have contact with her. I love my mother dearly, as does my son, and I would really like to avoid it getting to that stage if possible. 

Where do I start?

Dynamic Outfit Ideas

A lot of events and instances in life have certain clothing etiquettes.  For instance turning up to a job interview in a pair of jeans is a big no-no; but there are other times like a networking event or even a blogger gathering, where etiquettes still exist yet aren't as easily defined.

If you want to dress to impress, but don’t want to dress as if you are going to a job interview then consider the dynamic outfit option. A dynamic outfit is a mix between a business appropriate outfit, and a style conscious one. Here are some ideas on how to create a dynamic outfit:

ASOS

This Sister Jane skater dress is both smart and dynamic due to its interesting white and black contrast. As it is a little short for a networking event, consider some black leggings or tights to accompany it. The shoes selected are flats, as you’ll be on your feet a lot, and will need to be pain free, if you want to shine. The colour was chosen to draw attention and spice up the black and white look up a bit. The handbag matches the shoes, to tie in the outfit and get the balance between professional look and expressing your own style.

ASOS


This maxi dress in oriental bird print by BA&SH is dynamic and bold, but also makes you approachable. The outfit is more suitable for a blogger event, as although you still want to impress with your outfit, you don’t want to look too corporate either. Heels work best with this dress, but make sure that they are comfortable ones, and not too high for you. The ruby red satchel compliments the bold red you’ve gone for, and is a useful size for notepads, as you’re bound to be exchanging a lot of secrets with each other. 


ASOS

A white suite is often a big taboo for a job interview, as it’s seen as too flash, but it’s perfect as a dynamic outfit. It gives a professional look with a sense of fun and personal style, too. The shoes are ballerinas, so flats once again to make sure that you can be at your best from the start of the event until the end, and the handbag is a sleek little black one by Tory Burch Robinson to add an elegant touch to it all. 


ASOS

This last dynamic outfit is more suitable for a blogger gathering, as it has a more relaxed feel to it, while still radiating elegance and style. The vintage look is very in right now, and you can be on trend with the polka dot pencil dress. Regarding shoes, well the choice is yours, as white heels, white flats, and even turquoise heels would all work well with this dress. The red handbag with the heart clip further highlights the vintage look, but you can tone down the vintage feel with a different choice of handbag.

These are just some ideas for creating a dynamic look suitable for blogger and networking events. For more blazer, shoes and maxi dresses, visit the ASOS website for inspiration.


This article was written by Sarah Oxley on behalf of ASOS UK, online retailers for all things fashion. 
This post contains a sponsored link.  For more details please see my disclosure policy.



A Day Out With My Husband

"Fancy a ride out, love?" my husband asked this morning.  I had a think for a couple of minutes and accepted, wondering if we're going to have a drive over to Yorkshire to see a friend who got married a short while ago.  

I'm normally cooped  up in the office or delivering training sessions up and down Lancashire all week so I togged up in my nice jeans, my favourite Muppets t-shirt and my be-YOU-tiful boots from Zalando.  I wondered if I should pack a picnic for the journey.

Here's where we ended up... (click pictures to enlarge).  Lucky, LUCKY me.

scrapyard wars scrapyard wars

Scrapyard WarsScrapyard Wars

Things I learnt today:
  • My be-YOU-tiful boots from Zalando have a hole in them somewhere as I ended up with a wet foot
  • Scrapyards do not have the cast of Top Gear or Robert Llewellyn and Lisa Rodgers running round them making exciting TV shows
  • You shouldn't laugh when your husband drops a teeny tiny spanner under a car
  • Holding spanners makes your hands oily
  • It is easy to steal a small indicator light for the wing of a Saxo by putting it in your pocket and walking out nonchalantly
  • Scrapyards make for interesting photo opportunities
  • You can walk for miles up and down the rows of cars and not find what you want
  • Toyota appear to make the best cars to finish life is a scrapyard


I wonder what we'll get up to tomorrow?