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Mental Health: Don’t bother telling me your door is always open

Posted on 6th May 2017 in #guestpost/ charity/ depression/ Mental Health

A lovely lady I know online recently posted the words below on Facebook and has kindly given me permission to share them.

She makes such a valid point, so incredibly well, I’ve always found the ‘type the colour of your underwear on your status for breast cancer awareness/share this heart for breast cancer’ posts quite infuriating. Surely sharing signs to look out for or advice for supporting a friend/loved one would be much more use.

The same applies to the recent flurry of posts stating that your door is always open and people can just pick up the phone – anyone who has ever suffered would know that is the very last thing you would be able/willing to do.

Anyway, Abi puts it beautifully:

“Do you know the problem with all this talk about mental health? I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want a hug. I don’t want cup of tea and someone to tell me it will all get better. What I want is to hide under the duvet and cry until I have no more tears. If you think the answer is to post that you are always listening it won’t help. I know you mean well but I’d never send you a Facebook message to say I’m losing my grip and I’m good at faking it.

To the person who stepped in front of a train, took an overdose, slit their wrists, hung themselves, all I want to say is I understand and I’m sorry we lost you. Sometimes what people need most is space and understanding, a cave we can run away to occasionally and not be questioned.

So yes let’s talk about mental health but don’t ever expect someone suffering from severe depression to come to you when they need you. I don’t have the answer, the only suggestion I have is that we stop communicating through technology and start using our eyes. When that friend makes excuses and can’t come out, ask them if they would like you to come over. When someone you love shouts and pushes you away, give them space, but do ask what’s wrong and if you can help. When you pass a stranger on the street, smile and say hello, you may be the only person they speak to all day and it may break their thoughts and help them smile.

Sometimes it’s the silence that gives us away. I won’t ever tell you what goes through my mind but you can help distract me and that goes a long way. I’m just trying to stay in control so don’t push me. Just reach out and touch someone the edge is closer than you think.

Speaking as someone who has lost 2 dads to suicide and having attempted myself I can tell you that it’s release that we need. To stop the nightmares, the paranoia and the overwhelming fear of failure. It really doesn’t matter how real those things are. They are in our mind. So don’t tell me it will get better or that I’m loved, I know that but when?

Do you know my biggest fear? That my girls think it’s an acceptable choice. That one day they may contemplate the same. I really don’t think I could survive that so I will always watch and love them.

PS if you post that you are stuck in traffic or the train is delayed because some “idiot” has decided to end their life, I will unfriend you. They didn’t get there lightly and they won’t bother you again. You will get home and your life will go on so shut the f*ck up. They will be gone forever and the only thing that will follow is devastation but don’t worry that won’t affect you just their family and friends.

Thank you all for all of your support.”


One last thing from me. Did you know you can email the Samaritans? It IS hard to pick up the phone sometimes, but even the act of writing your fears, worries, feelings, in an email can help to lift the burden. The Samaritans will email you back, doesn’t matter if your worry is trivial – if it is important to you, it is important to them.

Contact Samaritans

Classic American Family Getaways

Posted on 26th June 2012 in #guestpost/ Travel

This is a guest post with all words and images supplied by Alexandra Jacobs.

The United States boasts many cities that offer excitement, fun and a lifetime of memories for families. In fact, there are so many fabulous U.S. destinations, deciding on one can be difficult. Check out the details of these all-time American favorites to help you chose:

Orlando, Florida

For families with young children who watch Cinderella with stars in their eyes or who dream of swimming with dolphins, Orlando, Florida is legendary. Home to Disneyworld, Sea World, Discovery Cove and Universal Studios, parents can count on a vacation without once hearing the words “I’m bored”.

Perfect accommodations for families can be found at Floridays Resort Orlando, which has earned top honors with travelers. Families love it for its clean, well decorated two and three bedrooms suites, equipped with full kitchens. The resort features a fantastic pool area with children’s playscape, a restaurant and small market for grocery and toiletry needs. A stay at Floridays averages around $170 per night for a two bedroom suite.

After working up an appetite at Orlando’s theme parks, check out Yellow Dog Eats at 1236 Hempel Ave. This café has something for everyone. Kids will love the fun décor of the historic building and the cheeky names of menu items. Parents will be pleased with the gourmet sandwiches (think orange-Cointreau mayo and smoked gouda) and extensive wine list. Yellow Dog is also a wine shop, so take a bottle back to the resort for after the little ones are asleep.

The multitude of theme parks that have put Orlando on the map has encouraged other notable attractions to make the city home. Gatorland, which features over 3,000 alligators and crocodiles as well as many species of birds and snakes is sure to thrill any young adventurer. For mini-golf enthusiasts, Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf is a sure bet; it’s surprisingly well done and slightly scary pirate theme will delight the whole family.

New York, New York

The Big Apple has long been a favorite of jet-setters, celebrities and artists but it’s a great destination for families too. New York City gives parents an opportunity to enjoy their children while giving them a valuable, hands-on learning experience. No city in the Unites States offers more cultural diversity and historical richness.

Stay at Grace, a swanky family-friendly property by Room Mate. Kids will love the pool with DJ and bunk-style beds in some rooms. Parents will appreciate the sophisticated décor, internet access and room service. Grace is a cut above the rest with at a moderate price point (average nightly rate of $250). This New York City rental won’t disappoint.

After settling in to the ultra modern at Grace, go back in time for a bite to eat at Lexington Candy Shop at Lexington and 83rd. The whole family will enjoy this old fashioned diner’s handmade milkshakes, grilled cheese, burgers and jerk-poured specialty sodas.

No visit to New York would be complete without a visit to Liberty Island and Ellis Island to see the Statue of Liberty and learn about the history American immigration. Also be sure to make time for a walk through central park. Kids will be thrilled at the chance to strap on ice-skates at Wollman or Lasker rinks if visiting during the winter. During more temperate months, head to the Central Park Zoo instead.

San Antonio, Texas

photo by flickr user stuseeger

A jewel of Texas, San Antonio exemplifies Tejano culture – an eclectic blend of Mexican and cowboy lifestyles. A vibrant city that pulses with color and life, San Antonio is certain to bring families back again and again.

Without a doubt, a lodging must in San Antonio is the Westin La Cantera Resort. Around 15 minutes to the city center, La Cantera is close enough to allow visitors to explore the city’s downtown and Riverwalk areas while still taking in the quiet and beauty of the Texas hill country. Westin has a record of excellence and La Cantera is no exception. The resort offers children’s activities daily throughout the summer, a kid’s club, a fabulous pool area with poolside bar and café service, nightly outdoor movies and s’mores at dusk. Average cost is $250 per night.

Go to San Antonio hungry – from street vendors to the hottest gourmet cuisine, this is a city of feasting. One restaurant not to miss is the iconic Mi Tierra at 218 Produce Row. Mi Tierra has been around since 1941 and offers standard Tex-Mex fare in an anything but standard environment. The funky décor and Mariachi singers will be a hit with the kids and parents will love the opportunity to pick up gifts, candy and pastries from the restaurant’s shop.

While in San Antonio, visit the Riverwalk – a destination on its own. The miles-long walkway along the river offers some of the city’s best shopping, dining and nightlife. History buffs won’t want to miss the Alamo and other missions along the San Antonio mission trail. Kids will swoon for the wax museum and Ripley’s Believe it or Not next to Alamo square.

Washington D.C.

photo by flickr user Rob Shenk

Perhaps the best destination in the country for families with older, school aged children, Washington D.C. offers endless opportunity for kids to learn about not only their country, but their world.

A top choice for lodging in Washington D.C. is Hotel George (as in Washington) from the Kimpton portfolio. The George goes a long way to make children comfortable, even including them in the rating process with their own comments cards. Even better than the animal print bath robes, trendy décor and milk with cookies is the hotel’s fabulous location. The George is walking distance from Union Station (consider going by train to add another level of excitement to the trip), the national monuments and museums. Average nightly cost for a room at Hotel George is $200.

While sightseeing on Capitol Hill, be sure to drop by Good Stuff Eatery at 303 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. An inexpensive, classic burger and shake joint, Good Stuff has a few surprises such as thyme French fries. This sure bet will leave everyone satisfied without too much wear on the wallet.

The best part, by far, of Washington D.C. is the opportunity to visit any and all of the local Smithsonian museums for free. That’s right – all museums in the Smithsonian collection are free every day. Sixteen of these in all, including the National Zoo, make Washington D.C. one of the most budget friendly destinations around for families. Also free is access to the National Mall where visitors can view several historic monuments.

Alexandra is a travel enthusiast who loves to write about tourism, beaches, food, and the wonderful things in the world.  She provides her own insights on vacationing to the blogosphere.  If you would like to learn more about her, follow her @alexsjourneys or visit her blog

Routines Make Life Easier; Talk Your Child Through It – #GuestPost

Posted on 20th April 2012 in #guestpost/ parenting/ routines

I’m a firm believer that children need routines and boundaries to make them feel safe and protected. Here follows a #GuestPost from @TheRealSupermum explaining how you can bring routines into in your daily life and make life easier as a result!


Draw up your routine into a plan, an easy step by step guide of what is going to happen at what time each day, then attach your plan to your fridge so it is in clear view of all the family.

Sit your child down and talk them through it, explaining that the plan shows what is going to happen each day, if they are old enough they can follow the plan too, if they are too young then you will need to constantly give warning to what is coming next and refer back to the routine plan.

“Look the plan says we eat lunch at 1pm, we have 15 minutes until then, can you play nicely while mummy goes to make you lunch?”

You can use an alarm clock to time those 15 minutes, when the alarm rings – its time for lunch. You have prepared your child for what is going to happen next.

A routine will only work if you stick to it, be consistent and don’t start changing things, or you will leave your child confused. You may start resembling a parrot as you will need to keep repeating yourself over and over.

“It will be time for bed in 15 minutes”, set the alarm for 10 minutes time.

“It will be time for bed in 5 minutes, when the alarm rings next time we say goodnight” – you are preparing your child for bed, they know when the next alarm rings it is time for bed.

The alarm works a treat in my house, I am not just making them tidy their toys away and scooping them up and saying bedtime, I am allowing them to learn to accept that they have a certain amount of time left, before they are going to bed. They know when the next alarm rings its time to say goodnight, they are prepared for what is coming next and accept it much better.

Talk your child through the day with an excited tone, let’s make every task we do fun, even if it is boring, your child doesn’t think it is.

“If you put your shoes on we can go to the park” – Here you are giving your child the choice, it is not a choice, you are going to the park.

“Can you put your shoes on, so we can go to the park” – Here you are asking them can they do it? You know they can do it, but they may just want to be awkward today and decide not too.

Instead you say “ In 5 minutes time we are going to the park, let’s get your shoes”.

Don’t give a toddler too many choices as you are putting them in charge, don’t you know if it’s a snow boot or sandal day?

Stop bribing your child, if you do this we can go there. You are telling your child where you are going and that’s it, there is no reasoning, it’s on the routine plan, so you follow it.

Organising your day into a routine is a great way to relieve some of the daily stress and you will find your child reacts quicker and easier to tasks. Children know when mum is stressed and they play up even more, when mum is relaxed, calm and in control, the child responds and behaves much better.

Comment Editing Etiquette #GuestPost

Posted on 10th October 2011 in #guestpost/ blog comments/ comment etiquette/ Editing/ Grammar/ Her Melness

Is It Wrong To Change Someone’s Comment On Your Blog?

This is not as wicked as all that but, while I make mistakes with the best of them, I do have a ‘thing’ about grammar and spelling. I don’t go as far as to correct a commenter’s grammar per se, but I do occasionally…once in a while…all the time change a spelling mistake if I catch it. Now, one of the members of The Gibberish Generation who is related to me thinks this is outrageous. Something about human rights and the long struggle for the right to misspell words. Not sure, since I stopped listening after the second “OMG, Mum!!”

But is it wrong to change a commenter’s spelling on your blog to maintain the quality standards you might have set for it? I don’t think so. Unless it is obvious the misspelling is there for a purpose, I am very happy to change the word ‘complement’ to ‘compliment’ when the clear meaning is to give someone a polite expression of praise or admiration. (Don’t worry, my children call me a ‘saddo’ later on this post, so don’t feel bad that you just thought it.)

However, I am being told it is far better to not print the comment rather than change the words of someone else. Now, that doesn’t work for me as I tend to print all comments I receive unless they are particularly offensive for the sake of offence. Even then I might change the gratuitous use of the word fcuk to, say, duck and publish away, but mainly to piss off the spammers sending me fcuk clothing adverts all the while.

When I make the odd spelling mistake on another writer’s blog, I am grateful when they correct any misspelling in my comments. It keeps the quality of their blog alive and makes me look less like a fool who cannot maintain her own standards. I find this far less stressful than posting a second comment correcting the first comment and then making a mistake in the third comment which was correcting the second comment. By the time I get to the fourth comment correcting the third comment, I’m a sweating, gibbering idiot who can’t remember if it’s ‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’, or should that be accept it’s ‘i’ before ‘e’ and not after ‘c’? Oh, God! Who cares?

Well, the point is, I do, and as ‘saddo’ as that makes me (thanks kids for the new word to add to my vocabulary), I am a saddo who freely admits she would prefer to split hairs on this subject rather than split infinitives. How sad is that?

Guest post from HMS HerMelness Speaks (@HerMelness)

E&OE ~ Errors and omissions excepted…or should that be expected?

Two Minutes? #GuestPost #CharityTuesday

Posted on 13th September 2011 in #charitytuesday/ #guestpost/ LEPRA Health in Action/ leprosy

For #charitytuesday, please see below a Guest Post from Nicolette Dawson, Communications Officer, LEPRA Health in Action. Please note one of the images is quite graphic.


Two minutes? “NO! Surely not!”

What a lovely surprise to come in to a twitter request for a #CharityTuesday guest post from fellow Colchester girl @CoffeeCurls.

First thought for me of course, how do I make what we do relevant for CoffeeCurls readers? I cast my mind back to the first day I drove past the imposing red brick building that is now my workday home. I looked up at the sign as I passed thinking, “What does ‘LEPRA’ stand for? Surely not ‘leprosy’? In Colchester? What’s that all about?”

Now, two years later, when I talk about where I work I find people are often surprised to hear (as I was) that leprosy even still exists. Let alone that every two minutes, somewhere, someone, like teenager Seema is diagnosed with leprosy.

The question people tend to ask (once they have picked themselves off the floor and finished saying things like “NO! Surely not!” – in response to the two minute statistic) is, is it curable?

Leprosy has been curable since the 1980’s with drugs available free to governments through the World Health Organisation; if diagnosed early and treated properly, as in Seema’s case; leprosy should leave no lasting damage.

But still, in too many cases it has and continues to do so. Despite this, there are no major funding sources for preventing the transmission of the disease and the disability it causes. (That’s where you and I come in)

So what’s the issue?

So then they ask, “If the drugs are free why does leprosy continue to be such a problem?”

The answer? The fight against a disease like leprosy goes beyond the availability of a cure. A lack of specialist skills, referral services and laboratory testing facilities in endemic countries and fear of repercussions means that too many people don’ get the early diagnosis they need.

This means that despite it being curable leprosy is still leaving children and adults blind, visibly disfigured or unable to use their hands or feet. In addition to this millions of people have been left permanently disabled and require specialist services that may not be available.

LEPRA is committed to reducing the burden of leprosy. It costs around £21 for us to change the life of someone affected by leprosy. It is only with help from people like you that we can continue to prevent and reverse the needless damage it still causes to individual lives and livelihoods.

P.S. did you know that every two minutes someone is diagnosed with leprosy?

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