Tag Archives: body

Posting for inspiration

I have been trying to write this blog post for the longest time but I have struggled with the right way to approach it. And I guess this close to the New Year is a good time to do it!

As you may, or may not be aware, I have separate I.G account which initially started off as my personal account (away from my makeup posts) and have somewhat merged into a fitness diary of sorts.

20161208_173918

And my news feed had also become much more fitness orientated. But I don’t feel bad about my weight or body shape, fitness level when looking at my feed. Instead it inspires me. I daily see people pushing themselves, sharing their tips, tricks and fitness journey’s and see the physical rewards.

When you post photos of your own workouts, pre/during/post and garner positive comments which makes you feel great. But not only this, people tell you that you are inspiring them?

20161210_153329

Well this encourages you to continue posting on IG, because you are being rewarded with positivity and feel that you are also helping others. This in turn means that to get things to post, fresh photos, you need to get back into the gym. And that helps you move along on your fitness journey.

So when people comment on my IG news feed (which they do) or ask about the photos I upload… it is about accountability. As it is for many of us. It is a way of documenting our journey as once the photo is uploaded, it is date stamped. You can see where you are and where you were. And you also have a reason to keep posting. Because people are waiting to see what you are going to do, wear, they are waiting for your next post so they can continue a conversation. They are waiting for an inspiration. It can act as a motivator.

20161029_110305

So yes, of course the entire episode is self centered, self promoting, it is vain. I won’t argue with you about it. But I would counter argue that it is great, because it is a way of encouraging people to get out and work out and that can only be a good thing (although like all things, only when done in moderation) and it is a great resource, you can find like-minded people, you have access to lots of different people, companies, be it meal ideas, clothing, fitness tips.

20161217_171050

But at the end of the day, it is about accountability, to yourself. It doesn’t matter if someone you follow on IG who lives half way accross the world notices that you haven’t posted for a few days. It doesn’t matter if you are not eating the healthy meals you ‘liked’ when they appeared on your news feed, it really doesn’t matter if you don’t buy any of the cool workout gear that you see in every other photo when scrolling down your feed.

Because at the end of the day, fitness, like anything, is personal. You need to do things for yourself. Not for likes, not for publicity, not for any other reason that I could list. But if you want to use IG as a tool in your fitness journey, as a journal of sorts, it comes with a bunch of benefits!

20161222_175325

Advertisements

Asking for it

So, as an introduction to this blog post :

Myth: Wearing revealing clothing, behaving provocatively, or drinking a lot means the victim was “asking for it”.

Fact: The perpetrator selects the victim- the victim’s behavior or clothing choices do not mean that they are consenting to sexual activity

Two-thirds of rape survivors know their attacker; more than a third of rapists are a family member or friend of the victim. The statistics are even more extreme on college campuses, where 80 to 90 percent of sexual assaults involve students who know each other

Jaclyn Friedman, sexual assault educator and author of What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety, told Cosmopolitan.com via email. “There is evidence that rapists choose victims based on how vulnerable they’re perceived to be. Will they go along? Will they make a fuss? There is literally zero evidence that rapists choose victims based on how sexy or sexual they’re perceived to be. None. Not one study. If that old toxic myth were true, someone would have been able to prove it by now.”

sa1

 It is the myth that a woman dressing in a provocative manner, or one that drinks, or any other behaviours that might suggest in a non verbal way that she may have loose morals, will be a more likely rape victim. This is harmful in several ways, and I want to explore this in the hope that it might help further dispel the myth.
The first way that this is harmful is that it tells girls that if they dress in a certain way, they have to be expected to be treated in a certain way. This might be directly, through family and friends, or indirectly in society, via pop culture. This gives the girl low expectations but also might lead her to make poor choices for a number of reasons.
The second way is that it tells girls who are not dressed in a provocative way, or not drinking, not going out or generally behaving in a way that society dictates as ‘unladylike’ that she will be protected. That it will never happen to her. 
sa6
Now if you look at both side by side, it is equally destructive. In the first instance the rape or assault may go unreported because the victim doesn’t feel that anything wrong happened, or that she will not be believed. In the second instance, the victim may not have skills to protect herself, and may let it go unreported because she isn’t sure that anyone would believe her. On one hand, we have a victim who feels that she should have expected it, on the other a victim who feels she shouldn’t have expected it with exactly the same result.
And in both cases, society has trained the victim to accept that the reason she was attacked is through something she has or hasn’t done. Victim blaming, which is abhorrent but easily done, you list the things that led up to the attack. What were you wearing, what did you say, what did you do, did you drink too much, say too much? What could you have done differently? What would you do differently? And this is compounded by the treatment you receive at the hands of professionals (although they may be compassionate) but then you have society at large. The fact I even used the phrase ‘loose morals’ says a lot about how little society has not moved on. And because of this a victim will not want to say anything to family and friends, so there will not be the support network you might traditionally have. 
sa5
I know many women who have been attacked, assaulted and in extreme cases, raped. The worst thing is, the figured I quoted at the beginning of the post, they are not lying. In most cases, the victim not only knew the attacker. But knew them well. Not in a passing, barely know his name, but enough to trust him.
A friend recently recounted an episode that thankfully was a near miss as her partner called, but she got into a car with someone she considered a friend to get a lift home instead of getting a taxi. A friend who proceeded to drive in the opposite direction to her house although he knew exactly where it was. She was tipsy but she was not drunk, and has since questioned what happened. Why as she picked, what was he thinking, how can she possibly trust her friends? This was someone she had trusted enough to have in her house on several occasions.
sa4
Personally, I had a bad experience as a teenager which little experience of men. A friend, older, kept pushing boundaries, every so gently. Subtle even, to see what my limit would be. Thankfully, as inexperienced as I might have been, I did managed to extract myself from the situations with no physical damage (I can’t say mental as it has taken years to undo but I won’t go into it). But it makes me wonder how many other women, girls, might find themselves in a similar situation? And this was before the internet, mobile phones. So in a way I was less protected as I had no way of getting help if needed. But it also meant that I was able to cut him out of my life pretty easily.
Something that happened a couple of years ago, again makes me see a pattern of boundaries being tested. I was waiting to be served at a bar, suddenly a hand is touching my bottom. Not over my clothes, no, a man whom I hadn’t even noticed, let alone spoken to, had taken it upon himself to force his hands literally into my knickers. Why did he do it? I mean obviously it was because I was a little drunk, I was wearing a corset, full length tutu and pink wig, that must have been what made him think it was a great idea, or that I would be up for it. On my way to the bar, I was asked a few times if I was celebrating an impending wedding.. hen night maybe. Did this guy think that I was up for one last hurrah before getting married? (for the record, I wasn’t, I had dressed up for a themed burlesque show). He was drunk, he probably didn’t really think things through. My reaction was to immediately grab his hand and twist it up behind his back. Then calmly order my drink and take it back to my table. He spent the night stalking me. Because I was obviously a willing accomplice? 
Do you see what I did in that last explanation? I am trying to legitimise and justify the guys reaction. Because that is what you do when something, good or bad happens to you. You try and rationalise it, make excuses, explain it. 
sa2
This is not okay, there is no stereotype for what a victim of assault or rape looks like, there is no stereotype. The fact is, you are more likely to be targeted by someone you trust and because of that, your defences will be down. Of course many, many people are attacked by complete strangers, but again this is not dependant on time of day, area, activity. It is a crime of opportunity, like many crimes. So to try and work out what you did wrong or could do differently is unhelpful.
The fact is, what you wear, how much you drink, how you get home, who you speak to and in what way, will have no bearing on your potential to be a victim. So we need to bury the myth that the way you dress has any bearing on you as a person. We need to stop searching for visual clues and be more understanding. We need to make sure that we are opening our eyes, and listening, and stop being so judgemental.
For anyone who may have been a victim of a crime and isn’t sure where to turn, this website may be of some help Victim Support UK and it is worthwhile looking locally as there are often support services and groups organised by local charities and or NHS trusts.
One last thing…… simple words…. ‘I believe you’.

Fighting Fit part 2

Well, as you may recall in the first in this series of blog posts, I was unwillingly dragged to a combat training taster session by my co host and partner in crime. If you want a refresher on what happened and my initial thoughts you can read the first blog post here : Fighting Fit.

I have since been back for what should have been 5 sessions, although on my fourth session I had to take a step back as I was knocked sideways with a bad cold. But I did feel it was important to still go – rather than stay cooped up indoors. And it meant I got to snag some great photos and video.

20161113_120912

Now, I am feeling reflective over what I have learnt over the last few weeks – you see no week is ever the same. The second session took place in the wooded area and was more conditioning and muscle memory, working with different instructors and basically drilling what we had learnt in the first session. It was good to do it in another environment as it stops you being able to get used to a terrain. Because frankly this is about defending yourself, so you won’t be picking your environment. Prior to this was going over the basics of the psychology and getting to know the people we were training with and their motivation for training. Because at the end of the day, what we are doing required a degree of trust. We need to know the people we are working with and against to be able to do it. We need to have some empathy and understanding of their journey and background. What led them to this place. Okay, so that might sound a little … ‘touchy feely’ for a combat environment but honestly, it works. And you do need it, you need to be able to trust the person throwing punches at you, to trust the person dropping you to the floor. It also gives you a little extra confidence – you need that to get out of the chair and walk into the field or woods.

20161113_122349

Now the third session, that session killed me. I guess the honeymoon period was well and truly over by this point. Kid gloves off and we were thrown into a beasting session which involved a 10 min warm up. Which damned near killed me. I don’t consider myself unfit. But there are different types and levels. And I just was not keeping up. Which made me kick myself. The session was more drilling and concentrating on the basics – but if you think for a moment that when I say drilling it was the same as the previous session, or the first? Not at all. For example I have had different instructors each time, and even rotated instructors while in training. And the same lesson can be taught in different ways. At no point are you allowed to get comfortable. Because, just in case between paragraphs you have forgotten, this is combat training. We are training so that we are able to defend, protect and remove ourselves from violent situations.

20161113_115735

I will also admit something here, I went out on the previous evening, and may have stayed out a lot longer than intended, and drank more than intended. So I did think that I was struggling because of this, and was also very glad I didn’t throw up. However, it was very, cold, windy a little wet and I wore just a t shirt after the warm up did a very good job. I spent the following week sick as a dog which led to last weeks having to sit out the session as I could barely breathe, or stand. So my advice, do not drink the night before, and wear a base layer to protect from the elements.

Like I said, last week, I missed out on training but I was able to see as a spectator what you are put through, and actually something that surprised me, most encounters from engaging to floor are about 30 seconds. There are longer encounters. And I am certain that as we progress we will be challenged more. But that most encounters will be over or rather, can be over so quickly is something to bare in mind. It is also surreal because I know that when you are drilling aspects, it feels like minutes because you are trying to remember what to do, what position to get into, how to safely get to the floor and what to do when you are on the floor – how to have the upper hand, how to do it all without expending too much energy and avoiding damage.

20161113_115749

Now, onto yesterdays training session. Well… it was actually grading for one of the instructors – in that it was the end of her instructor training so was being graded to see if she was at a level to become a full instructor. It was brutal. The day was brutal. I only experienced a small portion of what she went through but I was done. I was finished. My comfortzone was in a different time zone. I was spent, I was finished, I was left holding onto the fence at one point because I wasn’t sure  that I trusted my own body to hold me up.

Every part of me was soaked through, I spent more time on the floor than I every expected to – I wrested, bucked, pulled and pushed people of varying sizes around, dropped them, was straddled, gift wrapped them. I found that my body was not physically able to keep working at the pace required of me. Again, I don’t consider myself unfit, I know I am far from where I should be, and know I rely on a quick recovery time to get me through. But yesterday showed me that I need to up my game. I need to be much more physically fit. At no point was I told that I am unfit, not up to the challenge, that I should train more, or harder or that I was letting anyone down.

20161106_150400

I want to make that perfectly clear – the distress and upset is all me, I am letting down myself, and also the instructors who give up time and put a lot of energy and effort in to the sessions. You do need to be relatively fit to do these sessions, this is just common sense, these are not 45 mins in a sports hall. These are a couple of hours outside, running, punching, throwing down. It is very intense – and I wanted to go back to what I was saying about trust. You will get screamed at, you will get shouted at. It isn’t pleasant, you won’t like it, you might cry (hands up, I did) but this is why it is so important to have trust in your instructors. You need to understand why they are doing it, and where it is coming from. That they are not picking on you, they don’t dislike you, they aren’t judging you. They just need to make the situation as real as possible, to make you understand what it might be like, that being cute, or giggling won’t help you.

I am just getting ready to go to the gym, I have bruises all over my legs, my thighs are agony. But I am glad I went, I am glad I am going, I am happy and proud to say that I am training to become an instructor and cannot wait to see where that journey will take me. I am going to make sure that I increase my cardio (clearly walking everywhere isn’t cutting it!).

20161113_131650

But I cannot express how supportive the instructors, and everyone else at the Combat Academy are – as much as the military aspect of the training is hard, and so against my own personality, it is necessary. But at the end of the day training is a small part of it, the psychology and theory is as important and helps you put everything in place. And the general support you get, your confidence grows with every hour you spend there. Every instructor having varying techniques. It is not standardised and this means that you are getting a much more rounded session each time. You are learning why people think a certain way, what leads them to a certain answer, it helps you make your own educated decisions and gives a broader understanding outside your own life experience. Every instructor is a different body type, height, training level  you name it – it means that you really don’t know what to expect and this again adds to the realism. And frankly I think the fact that everyone is so open, and caring makes the training much easier.

I will keep you updated on my journey – if you want to check out the academy here is their website : Click Here

20161113_132336

Nasty Gym Expectation

As some of you may be aware, I have a little bit of a legging obsession. Primarily WIld Bangarang leggings. And as I am trying to be more healthy, get fitter and generally spend more time in the gym, it was important to me to have work out wear that makes me feel good. Now that isn’t to say that I treat the gym list a fashion parade or that I feel that I am being judged, or care what other people think of me when I am working out. I may be vain, I may be shallow…. where was I going with this? 

20161029_110305

When I first started working out, I was wearing my full length leggings from Wild Bangarang but I quickly found that I was over heating very quickly – which is impressive as I really only do cardio to warm up and cool down. I concentrate on weights – and as much as I love getting a good sweat on, in this weather, when your legs just feel sticky? No thanks! Luckily, I am a member of my local DW Sports gym, which gives me a discount in their stores, so I shot upstairs and picked up 3 pairs of capri in pretty short succession and felt an immediate difference in my workouts. Including the need for shaved legs. Whoops. Yeah not so good! But like I have said previously and in this blog, Wild Bangarang are a firm favourite for me, comfort and design wise. So I was super pleased when I heard that they would be rebooting their fitness line, and every more impressed with the designs being added to the line. 

20161029_115627

So, yes, I had to go give them a go – I picked a ‘Gymnasty’ design that is a new, in house range that comes in 3 different designs currently. I also went for the ‘fit top’ to see how it stood up size wise, I haven’t managed to find one on the high street that fits. They all look so tiny! I wear a sports bra (for obvious reasons) and tend to customise my tops and i like to wear crop/sports tops over my sports bra, both as added support but also to break up the monotony/obvious bra-ness. 

The design is really bright, the photos do not do it justice, I love the graffiti effect, and that there is no real, repeating pattern on the legs or top. The capri are really comfortable. They went on easy, and have a drawstring waist which gives you additional security if needed. I was so pumped putting them on. They look fabulous! I initially picked up the top and worried that it wouldn’t fit over my double F’s but it did. A lot more comfortably when I got to the gym and popped it over my sports bra.

20161029_110532

I am writing this, after having worn it just the once, and doing a weight training session rather than cardio. So I can’t really tell you how they hold up when running, or sweating a lot, or much in the way of floor exercises. But I did a lot of moving around, bending, twisting, floor work – they didn’t budge. Unlike some of my other capri’s that I have felt the need to adjust or that sit really low on the hips? They sit quite high and you can easily flip over the waistband for comfort or preference. The material is easily comparable to others on the market, although I do find the material a lot smoother than some of my others. And this isn’t a complaint, I didn’t feel unsafe or slippy while wearing them. 

The sports top is another beast entirely, I was pleasantly surprised by the double layering on it. There has certainly been some thought in the comfort and design of this top. It isn’t your standard ‘sports top’ that is really a bralett in a lycra material. They are double layered and although not a perfect fit for a larger cup size (lets be honest, unless you go to a specialist shop, you are going to have to roll with it!) it really is comfortable and gives a much needed pop of colour to a gym kit. I would recommend buying separately and checking your back size when buying the top as it may not be the same size as the capri! 

20161029_115226

I am overall, really impressed with Wild Bangarang’s fitness offerings, and am going to have to have a look at the other designs, one thing that led me to the Gymnasty range in particular, is the fact that you can easily mix and match all 3 colour ways. Which I intend to do. 

Now, I did share a picture of my, wearing the capri and top combination on I.G – although I haven’t had the guts to wear it to the gym without a vest covering my modesty. I doubt it will be long though, because honestly, I feel so good wearing this combination I will want to flaunt it. I would encourage every one of you to go out and grab a pair, you will see why I am so happy I took the plunge, it does wonders for your self confidence! 

Now before I share that photo, a couple of links for you! 

CLICK HERE for the Wild Bangarang Fitness Range

CLICK HERE for the Wild Bangarang Fitness FB Page

And if you want to follow my fitness journey, as well as other weird and random posts, I am on IG as Anythingbutthegirl 

20161027_111344

Fighting Fit

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

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

ca4

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

ca3

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

ca7

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

ca6

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

ca5

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

ca2

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

ca1

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

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

Shower like an Aussie

So, who here hasn’t used Aussie hair products? They are cute, funny, the suggestions on the back of the bottle on how to use the products are a much needed change from the usual ‘wash, rinse and repeat as necessary’. The philosophy is simple, natural ingredients from Australia that help you become the Goddess you always knew you could be. Or something along those lines. 

In the late 90’s there was an influx of hair products endorsed by celebrity hairdressers and we were slowly becoming more used to and happier to spend a little more money on our product. We were starting to come out of recessions and the idea that we needed to save every penny and wanted to be able to spend our hard earned cash on a little affordable pampering. This is the environment that Aussie Hair came in, we were ripe for a product that was new, different, that wasn’t preaching from an Ivory tower, and that was appealing to our new sensibilities that meant we wanted fresh, natural, organic. We wanted to get away from the things our parents used, from Head and Shoulders, Wash and Go and even from washing our hair with bubble bath or washing up liquid. We wanted to avoid unnaturally bright colours and chemical smells. 

hair3

And now, who hasn’t used their hair products? They smell great, they do great! Use it little of often there must be a handful of people that have managed to avoid using the shampoo and conditions or at least been confronted by them in the bathroom.

So, here we are in 2016, and Aussie Hair have released shower gel. I don’t even know if it was really advertised, I am the sort of person that puts Netflix on and watches an entire series as background noise. I am assuming some advertising was done. And as usual, the philosophy behind them was sound, mimicking the hair products, four different types were released and CLICK HERE to see them on their website. The ingredients again are for the most part found in Australia and all have very different properties, be it moisturising or energising.

hair2

Being the part time fan of the Aussie Hair products that I am, I was curious to see what they would be like, so when I was on my weekly shop, I had a look and found that, at £3.00 I would give them a miss. I am a big fan of looking after my skin, I moisturise religiously. But there is a limit to what I will use while standing in the shower, I just won’t buy into anything promising moisture while standing in water. So I gave it a miss, I always have plenty of shower gel on standby, and I was sure I wouldn’t be missing anything.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the body wash had gone down to £1 each. I grabbed one of each, I mean who doesn’t want a bargain. It was a weird situation, oh look I am getting a great deal. By spending the same amount I usually spend on the same product. I can’t really review the individual products as I have only started on one of the 4. It smells lovely though and does have a similar consistency to the shampoo. The only real different is the size of the bottle which is smaller than their hair range at 250 ml which is good for people like me who are blind as a bat. But then it is unfortunate as it is an average size for body wash/shower gel, it is significantly smaller than their more well known products and we are pretty visual by nature. The bottle looks smaller than my other gels. Because it is round and not flattened so even though I know it is the same nett weight… and the other issue is that it was over £3 standard price. You are being asked to spend the same amount of money on a smaller amount of product, that you spend on either washing or conditioning your hair. 

wash

I went shopping the following week. The price had reduced again to 75pence and only 2 varieties remained, so I popped one of each into my trolley. This week? nothing left. I had a quick look over the shelves as they had been replaced by another product but couldn’t see them. It seems that the store, like me, felt that although the product showed willing and had the best intention, it failed to deliver.

Like I said, the product itself is okay, I use it to wash my body. As long as I smell okay and feel clean, while avoiding an allergic reaction… I am happy. Do I expect to be more awake… yes, that is why I have a shower in the morning. Do I expect to feel moisturised, well that is what I rely on my body butter from the Body Shop to take care of. Body Wash to me is just that. I really don’t expect much from it, I wish I could afford to use something from Neal’s Yard, but I can’t so I don’t. I feel that it was a failed experiment, it was an idea, but actually when it comes to premium body wash, others got there sooner, and did it better. The shampoo came in at a time that we needed and were looking for something new and is firmly now in our beauty vocab for great smelling, and beautifully conditioned hair.

If you find it on offer, I would go for it, they all smell really lovely. I just wouldn’t suggest it is worth the price tag at full price. If you want to spend a little more money and be sure of using natural, organic products, The Body Shop, Lush and if you have a few more coins, Neal’s Yard are all excellent places to go.

If your hair needs TLC and you want it to smell great, Aussie Hair is a great place to start 🙂

wash1

CLICK HERE for Neal’s Yard, CLICK HERE for The Body Shop and finally CLICK HERE

 

An Aborted conversation

Massive trigger warning – clue is in the title. Do no continue reading this blog post if you feel that it might upset you.

Now, a beautiful friend of mine, based in America, shared a post last night. It was beyond upsetting. I was swearing before i even opened it up to read. Now, it is only fair that I share the article with you if I am basing a blog on my reaction to it … well if you want to see if Click Here.

This is the opening stanza of the article :

On Thursday, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed one of the most vicious anti-abortion bills in the country into law. It forbids women from getting abortions in cases of fetal disability, requires women to inter or cremate fetal remains, and a whole host of other fucked-up things.

Now, at the risk of spending the remainder of this article swearing again and not being entirely eloquent, I want to look at abortion. I want to discuss what is wrong with the attitude that has made this law possible.

To do that, I will give you some background. I have had an abortion. I was … 23 years old, in a relationship, using contraception , it was an accident. But lets go back a little further. My own mother had a rather… relaxed attitude to abortions, how they effected people. Watching Sex and the City and it was repeatedly implied that abortions were used as a form of birth control, and speaking to people working in hospitals again, implied that abortions are widely used, and repeatedly, by women as a form of birth control as others might use a condom or implant. So you will have to forgive me for thinking that, I would be okay.

I was pretty stubborn about being pregnant. Missed periods aren’t always the best indicator. I guess the fact that I was in deep, physical pain if I didn’t eat when hungry could have been an indicator. As it was, I did buy a pregnancy test, and discussed it with my partner. We were sensible in our discussion, not having our own house, I was at college waiting to go to Uni (mature student… what a joke), we realised that we were just not ready to be parents. I quickly made an appointment with my G.P and was seen the next day (Tuesday) by one of the senior partners. And WOW. I have been belittled, felt small, stupid, insignificant many, many times in my life. But I have been bought up to think of the family doctor as someone to trust, to turn to in times of need. But I have to be honest… rude doesn’t cover his attitude to me. I felt like I was dirty, a whore, cheap, a slut. Did I know who the father was (after explaining my living situation etc with him) and had I discussed it ‘with the father’. Now this was a while ago, I am sure things have changed, but at the time, you had to see two doctors in the practise to sign off on the abortion. I was lucky that the next doctor was a completely different story and treated me with dignity and respect. Although I found out I was approx. 11 weeks gone and was referred to the hospital for … well… again this was all new to me, I had gone by myself and suffered a horrific questioning already, I thought it was an out patient’s appointment, before an abortion date would be organised. I really didn’t understand how these things worked and didn’t have anyone to turn to. (more on that to come)

So when i rocked up at the clinic, I was there… maybe 5 mins, nervous doesn’t begin to cover it. I am not good in hospitals. So I was hoping for reassurance, help, understanding…. no. Big bag of no. I was in and out in 5 mins, I was told to come back the following morning, and to bring a pair of PJ’s and slippers. So.. as quick as all of that. When I came back the following morning,  I was told that my partner couldn’t wait, but they would call when I was ready to leave. No ETA, no nothing (this resulted in my begging that he wait anyway). He was shipped off, I was asked to change and sit in a waiting room with other women, who I had to assume were all there for the same reason. But we were not even making eye contact, let alone conversation. No member of staff to speak to, until I was called in to see the doctor. Great, I thought I would be able to have a conversation with the doctor, have an explanation… nope, a quick overview of stats, and a rather unpleasant experience later, I was back in the waiting room. None of us had a way to pass the time, no one to talk to, to offer comfort. We were called in one, after the other. No way of really telling the time. Finally, I was called in, and because of the medication it gets super hazy around this point. But a nice man stabbed a needle in my hand without explanation and then told me he was going to put me to sleep, could I count back from 10. Being me, I suggested he sing a lullaby.. and BAM i was gone.

I have only been under general (or in a surgical situation) twice that I know of, and I don’t stay down long. I came around to the nurses laughing about my asking of a lullaby… I guess that gave them something to talk about for a couple of days at least. I was offered squash and dry toast, and told to get dressed. So, drug induced sleep to getting dressed in under 10 mins? I made it groggily to the waiting room, saw my partner, and ran past him to the toilets. Threw up. At this point, I am feeling thoroughly miserable. The only other person I had told was my manager to explain why I couldn’t work that weekend (working as a bar supervisor, I felt it best I take the weekend off work) but I suddenly needed to see my mother, which was massively out of our way home. And of course she wasn’t in. I must have thrown up 5 more times on the journey home. Pretty undignified, having to pull over, to throw the door open and carry on a moment later.

I was in pain,not so much that I couldn’t move.. more that moving was pretty uncomfortable, and stayed on the sofa for the weekend. I didn’t go to my follow up appointment with the doctor, and my GP neither asked, or followed up either, although I went in for a change of contraception shortly after. Now, I have never wanted children, that is a story for another blog. I will be honest, I was a little upset. There is something about being pregnant that changes everything. I would have happily taken that baby to term. But it was right for me, my situation. I don’t begrudge the abortion as such. But what I do begrudge is the taboo surrounding the subject. If I am honest, out of all the health care professionals that I saw during the ordeal, it was the second doctor that signed off my application for the abortion. To everyone else, I was cheap, nasty, a number, cattle. I was not human. I was not worthy of basic dignity and respect.That, that is what I take away from the situation.

Now, I realise that I have rambled on quite a bit about my own experience. And I thank you for sticking with me. I went back to work, and was honest with my co-workers about my time off. My boss was lovely, and understanding. My co-workers, shocked and curious. I worked in a student bar and I guess this was part of the rich fabric of their education. And yet, not even a month later,  I realised what a taboo an abortion was (if you recall earlier, my view was formed on open conversation and pop culture references so I assumed it was open season). I hadn’t really mentioned it to people because of time, and I didn’t really have any close friends as such at the time. So when a co-worker came to me and said he had been told off for mentioning my abortion… I was shocked ? It was … public I guess. In the way, it is now. Because I am transcribing it ready to go live on line. So I felt strange that he was being told not to talk about something, like it was a dirty secret when I hadn’t presented it as such. It was just something I did. And then having another co worker, a year later, swear, loudly, to my face about how disgusting I was. Then I started to realise being open about abortions, free and open debate.. not the best way to play it.

And so, it has continued, I mention it generally speaking in context, but when i feel it safe to do so. Not long ago, a FB friend threw up a Pro Choice article, I saw red and went on the offensive. It resulted in not only us connecting via messages, opening up in a way neither of us had, but the resulting thread was a forum for women to be open and express themselves in a way that they maybe felt they couldn’t or shouldn’t.

AND THIS MY FRIENDS IS WHAT IS WRONG.

Having an abortion is not something we should be ashamed of, of course we shouldn’t view it as a form of birth control. But there are reasons, many, many reasons women chose to go through with it. It is not a simple choice, not one anyone takes lightly or goes through unscathed.

As I said on my friends post last night, Pro Choice, we have the right to chose. It is not saying one is better than the other. It is just saying that many have fought hard, and in many cases, died for our right to chose. And that choice is actually – because I am a facetious cow, the same right to choose to go to Whole Foods to pick up dinner over MacDonalds. It is about our right to make informed, educated choices about our lives, and our bodies. To take control about what we do, say, think, our actions. And be RESPONSIBLE for the outcome.

And so we come back to the start of this blog. It is a disgusting and not especially subtle dig at Pro Choice. Let us not get bogged down in the arguments surrounding abortion, wrong sex, disability  – no different than my own reasoning when you come down to it. If that is really the concern, tackle it head on and don’t make families, who are emotional and vulnerable, feel any worse than they already do. It is a cheap trick and a low blow. We need to talk about this. We need to have conversation, we need to bring it out of the shadows, be honest. Stop making women feel like shit for even considering it. Only then will this stop happening.