Collaboration Opportunities

COLLABORATION OPPORTUNITIES

Hi guys!

So over the past couple of years I have been so lucky to work with some incredible companies. I’ve experienced a lot, I’ve learned a lot and I’ve worked so incredibly hard with everything I have done. I feel so lucky and so grateful for the opportunities I have been given. But now, 2018, I want to continue brand collaborations of course, but I also want to collaborate with some fellow bloggers and influencers.

Firstly, companies, brands, brand owners, PR companies etc, if you want to collaborate, I am open to all ideas and collaborations. So if you want to collaborate with me, I am able to reach an audience of over 70,000 people, if this is of interest to you please feel free to click on the ‘Work With Me’ tab at the top of this page and see all of the details regarding any possible collaborations.

Now, onto influencers… If you’re a social media influencer across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat etc and have any ideas of how we can collaborate, whether it be photoshoots, day trips or any other ideas then please contact me using this email address: zoesmith-x@hotmail.co.uk, please subject  it with your username on whatever platform it is you’d like to collaborate on as well as influencer collaboration, so for example ‘@zoelouisesmithx instagram influencer collaboration‘ so I am easily able to find the emails. In the email please include all ideas you have in ways we can collaborate, no matter how many followers you have, no matter what interests you have if you feel like we can collaborate then please do email me because I want to branch out and work with more people.

Thirdly, on to bloggers! I am looking for bloggers to collaborate with on my website. Whether it be collaborative posts, feature posts or anything else you feel we could work with then again please email me on zoesmith-x@hotmail.co.uk and subject it with your website name and blogger collaboration, so for example ‘zoelouisesmithx.com blogger collaboration‘. Please include what ideas you have, what you’d like to write about and why you want us to work together, whether it be to raise awareness for a mental health condition you’re passionate about, gain more experience in writing, gain more confidence, branch out to a wider audience or anything else. I want to work with more bloggers and work together and gain more blogger friends, if you’re interested, even if you’re unsure on what post you’d like to do then please email and we can discuss more information. I am only going to be working with bloggers that have a similar interest in myself and fit with my reading audience.

Now lastly, onto people in general, even if you don’t have a blog and you’re not an influencer then I still want to work with you. If you’re passionate about something, fashion, gaming, mental health awareness, make up, fitness or anything else then maybe we can work together! If you like writing, you like photography or anything else that we may be able to work together with then get into contact with me because we can definitely discuss and make something work out. For this then please email: zoesmith-x@hotmail.co.uk. Please subject it with your name and collaboration, for example ‘Zoe Smith Collaboration‘ and include in the email what you’d like to do, any ideas, any information you think is useful for me to know, your interests, if you’re passion is photography, any work you have previously done, any photos you’ve taken etc.

I am super excited to branch out more this year so if you fit into any of the above categories then please do contact me.

Thank you for reading.

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How my life has changed since meeting Ashley Day… A more personal post

How my life has changed since meeting Ashley Day... A more personal post

Hey guys!

Today’s post is a little different, something I wanted to share so I can look back on it personally as well as to show others that anything is possible so never ever give up.

Firstly I’m going to start by explaining some things you may or may not know about the last few years in my life. Back in 2016 I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. And throughout the weeks, months and year from then I was in and out of a very very dark place. I had been through so much and seen so much and experienced so much, I just gave up and didn’t see the point in living life really. I barely went out, I barely seen my friends, I just stayed in bed most of the day and most of the night. Then during 2017, again I was in a dark place and I was diagnosed with a third illness, borderline personality disorder. A disorder I had never even heard of until I was diagnosed by a psychiatrist during my visit to Canada. It was not the best trip due to multiple reasons, but the one thing I am grateful for is that precious diagnoses which explained how I was feeling perfectly. The psychiatrist explained that the anxiety and depression were still apparent but they were not the main things I should have been focusing on back home.

When I got home from Canada I ended up going out a lot, spending a lot of time drinking in nightclubs and honestly just drinking to forget I suppose you could say.

Then in December 2017 I was in hospital really unwell with meningitis when I received an Instagram message from a lad I had never spoke to before. It was a simple message but one that made me smile when I was feeling my lowest. I never replied to any Instagram messages because a lot of the ones I received were off lads who only wanted one thing let’s be honest. But for some reason I replied, I remember sitting in the hospital bed doing a little bit of stalking on his profile when he messaged me and all I could think was how hot he looked in his pictures so I ended up replying. From that day I haven’t looked back. The whole time I was in and out of hospital he would message me checking on me and making sure I was okay. First thing Christmas morning he messaged me wishing me a Merry Christmas, the little things he said and did before we had even met meant a lot to me.

A few days after Christmas, we finally arranged to meet for the first time. The night before he rang me and we spoke on the phone for the first time and immediately we clicked, we spoke and laughed for hours and ended up falling asleep on the phone. The next day, he was late, which I have now learned is completely normal for him. However we met and we went to Merryhill just to talk, spend time with each other and see if we connected in person just as much as we had over messages and a phone call and we definitely did. We ended up staying with each other for about 9 hours, knowing I had work the next morning didn’t bother me, I just didn’t want to go home so we ended up driving around, going to a 24 hour shop, just so we didn’t have to go home yet. That night I knew I was in love, I never believed in love at first sight but after that night I definitely did because it had happened to me. The next day in work I was so happy, the whole team around me knew something was up and kept pestering me asking me why I was so happy.

Two days later we met again, this time I went to his house and met his parents, who by the way, are so lovely and I feel so grateful to have them as my in-laws to be. Since that day we’ve pretty much been inseparable, me staying at his house almost every day, spending time with each others families and just growing closer and closer together.

Some people may say things have happened quickly and yes I would agree, however I have no worries about how quickly things have happened because I completely, wholeheartedly know that he is the person I am going to marry one day. People always told me that love happens when you least expect it and that when you meet ‘the one’ you just know instantly and I truly do believe that’s the case with Ashley Day. My feelings for him are beyond anything I could have ever imagined, beyond anything I have ever felt for anyone in my life before. Sometimes you think you’re in love and everything is perfect but then when you find the person you’re supposed to spend your life with it is a completely different feeling. We still bicker and sometimes argue but within minutes (sometimes hours if I’m being a bitch), we speak and laugh it off and move forward and I honestly believe that that’s the best thing about being in love. No matter what happens you always kiss and make up and rectify situations.

I am so glad I have found Ashley. As I started this post off with, I have had a terrible few years and I never imagined I would be in the position I am in today. I feel the most content I ever have, I feel the happiest I ever have and I feel ready to live life with Ashley Day by my side. My previous post is all about Borderline Personality Disorder, a disorder I had no idea how to deal with, I know it’s a horrible disorder that makes you feel so horrible sometimes, you react badly to situations and sometimes you’re just in a horrible place, but when Ashley and I first started talking I explained some of the things I had been through and everything I had been diagnosed with and unlike so many people, he didn’t judge me, he understood, he listened and he looked after me better than anyone I had ever known before. As time has gone on, as our relationship has progressed I have told Ashley even more than I had, I’ve told him things I have never told anyone before, I have told him some of the lowest points in my life and not once have I felt judged. He’s helped me, he understood me and most of all he’s took care of me so none of those things could happen again.

I never believed in love at first sight, or you ‘just know’ when you meet ‘the one’ or you can fall wholeheartedly in love with someone within hours/days or you can move quickly into a relationship and it work. But Ashley has made me believe all of those things. I fell in love so quickly, I knew he was the one immediately and even though we’ve moved quickly we are the happiest people in the world with every aspect of our relationship.

We’ve already been through a lot as a couple, thing I won’t go into, but we are so strong because of it all and I am so grateful to everything that has happened because it’s made me fall even more in love with him.

I believe that if you’re happy, you shouldn’t care what anyone has to say about it and that people will always judge you/your relationship, will always have things to say, will always try to drag happy people down because they’re unhappy themselves so enjoy life, move quickly if it feels right, fall in love and be happy because if there is one thing I’ve learned since having meningitis + 3 other severe illnesses and being told by a consultant most people would have died in my situation, life is so short and you never know what is around the corner, so do whatever it is that feels right and makes you happy.

I feel so lucky to have him walk into my life when he did, I now no longer go out drinking every weekend, saving myself money as well as not being ill and having hangovers, I much rather enjoy staying with him, baking, driving and experiencing new things. In the short 3 months we’ve been together we’ve already experienced so much new stuff together and we have so much more planned. This time last year I never would have imagined I would find the person I was going to marry, have children with and spend the rest of my life with, but I’m a million percent sure I have now.

Now, to Ashley. I know you’ll be reading this because you support my work and always take a cheeky read, I see you. I adore you wholeheartedly. I am so grateful for everything you do for me, I am so grateful you care, you support and you never judge me. You will never understand how much that means to me. Thank you for listening to me cry, get angry and feel shitty about my past without judging me, holding me hand, wiping away the tears and ensuring you’ll never let anything like that happen to me again. Thank you for making me understand what love looks like, feels like and is. I am a billion percent sure you’re the person I will spend the rest of my life with, grow old with, make a family with, race granny mobiles with.

I know this is a more personal post than I’ve posted before, but I was feeling soppy due to everything I’ve been through in the last twelve months and I’m so grateful how much he’s helped me through in a short time and I felt the need to share it. For girls and boys alike, never settle for anything less than someone who will look after you, never judge you, support your mental wellness and never leave you when things get rough. If your partner needs support, support them. If they need help with their mental well-being then help them, guide them and support them because it is so much easier to overcome when you have someone by your side pushing you and making you believe that it’s possible.

For anyone feeling low or suffering from a mental illness or disorder or who just feels like love isn’t for them, trust me I felt all of those things throughout most of 2017, but I now have someone in my life who’s changed everything for me, who’s made me the happiest I can ever remember. Never give up on yourself, on love or on your partner. Life is so short, make memories, be happy and never hold a grudge because you’ll never move forward and find happiness if you do.

I feel like I have rambled on enough now, but I just wanted to let out some feelings because it’s been almost a year since I was in the worst place ever and now I’m in the best place ever and I just wanted to share it and show the world how special Ashley Day is to me.

Thank you for reading and see you all in a more back to normal post very soon!

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Borderline Personality Disorder

bpd

Hey guys!

Today I  am writing about a mental illness/disorder that I knew absolutely nothing about until a psychiatrist diagnosed me with it last year during my visit to Canada. Borderline personality disorder or BPD as it is known is an illness/disorder that I was completely unaware of so when I was diagnosed I was petrified, I had no idea what it was, how you get it, is there treatment? If so how do you treat it? I had no idea whatsoever and I think it is so important for people to have the knowledge as on average 1 in 20 people will have this disorder and like me, they probably won’t know what it is.

So firstly, what are the symptoms?

  • Fear of abandonment: People with BPD are often scared of being abandoned or left alone. Even little things like a loved one being late home or going away for a few days can trigger an intense fear. It often leads to begging, being clingy, starting fights for attentions, being overly jealous, tracking your loved ones movements or even something like physically stopping you loved ones from leaving, ie; blocking a doorway etc.
  • Unstable relationships: People with BPD often have relationships that are intense but short-lived. You fall in love quickly, believing that each new person you fall in love with will be the one to make you feel whole, however you end up quickly disappointed. Your relationships either seem perfect or completely horrible with absolutely nothing in between. People around you often become emotionally confused from your rapid mood swings.
  • Unclear or unstable self-image: People with BPD often have an unstable sense of yourself. Sometimes you feel good about yourself, but sometimes you completely hate yourself or even can view yourself as evil. You don’t have a clear idea of who you are or who you want to be or what you want in life. As a result of this you may frequently change your jobs, friends, lovers, values, goals or even sexual identity.
  • Impulsive, self-destructive behaviours: People with BPD may engage in harmful or sensation-seeking behaviours, especially when upset. You may impulsively spend money you can’t afford, binge eat, drive recklessly, shoplift, engage in risky sex or overdo it with drugs or alcohol. The risky behaviours may seem like they’re going to help you feel better in that moment, but they hurt those around you over the long-term.
  • Self-harm: Suicidal behaviour and deliberate self-harm is common in people with BPD. Suicidal behaviour included thinking about suicide, making suicidal gestures or threats or actually carrying out a suicide attempt. Self-harm includes all other attempts to hurt yourself without suicidal intent. 
  • Extreme emotional swings: People with BPD commonly suffer with unstable emotions and moods. One moment you feel happy and the next you’re angry or upset. Little things that other people can easily brush off send you in to an emotional tailspin. These mood swings can often be very intense however they tend to pass fairly quickly, usually lasting just a few minutes or hours rather than long term like depression or bipolar disorder.
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness: People with BPD often feel empty as if there is a hole or void inside of them. With extreme cases you may feel as if you’re ‘nothing’ or a ‘nobody’. This feeling is uncomfortable and people with BPD often try to fill this hole with things like drugs, food, alcohol or sex but nothing feels truly satisfying.
  • Explosive anger: People with BPD may struggle with intense anger and short temper. You may so have trouble controlling yourself once the fuse is lit. You may yell, throw things or become completely consumed by rage. It is important to note that this anger is not always directed outwards, you may spend a lot of time being angry at yourself.
  • Feeling suspicious or out of touch with reality: People with BPD often struggle with paranoia or suspicious thought about others’ motives. When under stress, you may even lose touch with reality – an experience known as dissociation. You may feel foggy, spaced out or as if you’re outside of your own body.

Something to bare in mind is that Borderline Personality Disorder is very rarely diagnosed on its own, it is often associated with depression, anxiety bipolar, substance abuse and eating disorders, however saying that it can still be diagnosed on its own, it is just very rare to do so.

Now onto the causes, how does Borderline Personality Disorder occur? 

There are many complex things happening in the BPD brain and researchers are still trying to untangle what it all means. But in essence, if you have BPD your brain is on high alert, things feel more scary and stressful to you than they do to other people. Your switch is easily tripped and once it’s on it hijacks your rational brain and makes you act in ways that aren’t always appropriate to the situation at hand. It may sound as if there is nothing you can do, after all what can you do if your brain is different? But you can in fact change your brain but training yourself with new coping mechanisms and self-soothing techniques. With time and dedication, you can change the way you think, feel and act.

Because personality is connected to identity, the term ‘personality disorder’ might leave you feeling like there’s something fundamentally wrong with who you are, but a personality disorder is not a character judgement. In clinical terms a personality disorder means that your pattern of relating to the world is significantly different to ‘the norm’. In other words, you don’t act in ways that people would expect and this causes consistent problems for you in many areas of your life, such as relationships, career and feelings about yourself and others.

Now onto three self-help tips.

  • Calming the emotional storm: You need to stop trying to fight, avoid, suppress or deny what you’re feeling, give yourself permission to feel the way you feel, no matter what those feelings are. Just experience your feelings without judgement or criticism. Let go of the past and the future and focus on the present moment. 
  • Reduce your emotional vunerability: You are more likely to experience negative emotions when you’re run down and under stress. That’s why it is important to take care of your mental well-being. You can take care of yourself by avoiding mood-altering drugs, eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, minimising stress and practising relaxation techniques.
  • Learn to control impulsive and tolerate distress: When you feel overwhelmed by difficult feelings, borderline personality disorder means you’re so desperate for relief that you’ll do anything for relief including things you know you shouldn’t be doing such as cutting, reckless sex, dangerous driving and binge drinking. It is important to recognise that these impulsive behaviours serve a purpose, they are coping mechanisms for dealing with distress, they make you feel better even if it’s just for a brief moment. Regaining control of this starts by learning to tolerate distress. It is key to change the destructive patterns. A key way to doing this is finding a quiet spot and sitting in a comfortable position, concentrating on your breathing, taking slow, deep breaths. Breathe in slowly, pause and count to three then slowly breath out and continue doing this for several minutesYou could also watch something on TV that you enjoy, throw yourself into work, calling a friend for a chat, exercise or do something you enjoy that keeps you busy.

Next, onto diagnosis and treatment. It is very important to remember that you cannot diagnose borderline personality disorder on your own. So if you think you or a loved one may be suffering, it’s best to seek professional help at some point. BPD is often confusing or overlaps with other conditions so you need a mental health professional to evaluate you and make an accurate diagnosis. 

The support and guidance of a qualified therapist makes a huge difference in BPD treatment and recovery. Therapy has the potential to be a safe space where you can work your way through your relationship an trust issues and try new coping techniques. You should feel safe with your therapist and feel as though you can trust them to help you and guide you through, someone who makes you feel accepted and understood. You must make a commitment to therapy, attend your sessions and work hard with the therapist.

I did a lot of reading and research into BPD when I was diagnosed because I had no idea what it was or how I had got it, but once I did the research I started to realise that it was not my fault, it’s just a part of my life and brain. I worked hard learning coping mechanisms and techniques to deal with things better than I used to and overall I am a lot happier now than I ever was. With the help of my parents and my boyfriend I am finally in a good place and a happy place. 

One thing I would say if you think you could be suffering from BPD or if you know someone who could be, it is definitely push it with the doctor for a proper diagnoses. For 18 months I was put on anxiety medication and anti depressants in England with my regular doctor and therapists and it was only when I went to Canada and seen a doctor and psychiatrist out there that I was actually given a solid diagnoses and told I no longer should be taking the anti depressants or anxiety medication because it wasn’t needed and wasn’t helping me. I think the NHS is very special in our country, but sometimes the diagnoses with mental illness isn’t always accurate. In my case the doctor just threw tablets at me and assumed they would make me better and I have heard a lot of similar stories, so definitely push for a proper diagnoses if you think you have BPD, push for a session with a psychiatrist or therapist and don’t give up until you receive the help you actually need and not just tablets.

I, for one, am so grateful to the psychiatrist out in Canada for helping me to finally get a diagnoses to be able to work on because in the past 6 months or so I’ve worked on it all and I am now a million times better than I ever was. 

Another thing I would say is if you know someone suffering with BPD support them and help them through because it is honestly such a horrible place when you have something wrong with you but you don’t know why or what or how and everything just spins around in your head. I am fortunate enough to have a really strong support network around me, my parents, my best friends and my boyfriend have all supported me, listened to me and understood me, they’ve helped me through and I am honestly so grateful to each and every one of them for everything they’ve done for me.

Mental illness is something I am passionate about talking about and spreading awareness because so many people suffer in silence and are too scared to speak out in case they are judged and that shouldn’t be the case. Speak out, get help and don’t be scared to admit something isn’t right. Today’s post is something very close to my heart and I hope you have all at least learnt something from it.

Thank you for reading!

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Disclaimer: All information and facts were read and reworded from: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-disorders/borderline-personality-disorder.htm

 

Monkey Forest, Clue HQ + The Cheltenham Festival!

monkey forest

Hey guys!

If you follow my social media, you would have seen over the past few weeks I have been experiencing a lot of new things so today I am going to talk about the main three.

Firstly Trentham Monkey Forest. I was privileged to be given complimentary tickets for my boyfriend and I to experience the monkey forest and let me tell you, it was unreal! It is nothing like a safari park where the animals are caged, instead the animals are free to roam thousands of metres of land and enjoy the freedom of their natural habitat amongst the forest. Being able to see them walk around you, right next to you even, was incredible. We both thoroughly enjoyed every second of it and I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves animals and nature.

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The second place is Clue HQ Birmingham. Again, I was lucky enough to receive complimentary tickets for my boyfriend and I’s date night and let me tell you, it was the best date night I could have asked for. It was challenging, mentally and physically, it was entertaining and honestly I loved every single second I was in there. As discussed with the team I am unable to go into great detail regarding the whole game we played, however I can say we played their game called Hellevator and it was very hard but ridiculously fun. We didn’t manage to escape, but we are definitely going to visit again to try again to make our way out. There are different games with different difficulty levels throughout so everybody can take part from beginners to pros, it’s enjoyable for everyone. If you’re looking for something fun to do, for groups, couples, work groups or families it is definitely something I would highly recommend and to top it off, everybody involved gets a free HD photo taken at the end to remember the experience by and to me that is so so important to make memories and have the photo to remember it.

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The third and final experience was the Cheltenham Festival. If you read my previous post you’ll have seen how much I thoroughly love horse racing and I was lucky enough this year to experience the festival twice, the first day and the last day. Both days were absolutely incredible and I loved every second. A sell out crowd of 70,000 people and I can’t even describe how unreal the atmosphere was. I was lucky enough to walk away winning money instead of losing. Including Native River winning the Gold Cup, as tipped by jockey Richard Johnson exclusively on my website back in October. I was so proud of Native River and Richard, both of whom I have supported for a very very long time and I am so happy for the whole team. Overall I had an amazing experience and if you like horse racing I would say it is definitely something you need to experience, even if you don’t like horse racing I think you should still experience it all. So many people say horse racing is cruel but when you experience the Cheltenham Festival where millions of pounds worth of horses, training and work goes into, you would see just how well looked after the horses are and how well they are treated and you’d see that there is no animal cruelty in horse racing whatsoever. I was so happy experiencing the festival and I cannot wait until next years!

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Overall I’ve been having an incredible few weeks and I have so much more planned which I am super excited for. Today I finished work for 11 days and now I have nearly 2 weeks full of plans including a musical, Sam Smith in concert, Alton Towers, Safari Park and a trip to visit the Shakespeare houses, all of which I’m super excited for! I have some pretty exciting collaborations coming up also so I cannot wait for those.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and I’ll see you all in my next one!

 

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My Cheltenham Festival 2018 Picks and Tips

My Weight Loss Story + Advice and Tips! (2)

Hey guys!

So before I start a little disclaimer: I am not encouraging betting, I am not a professional and these are just my own opinions from what I have seen and read about the horses, the races and the trainers so I am not responsible for anything that may happen if you choose to copy my tips. If you choose to gamble over the festival period, please only bet money you can afford to lose, do not gamble more than you can afford to, please remember that betting is supposed to be fun. Thank you.

So now the serious part is out of the way, let’s get into my tips for the festival! Disclaimer: The prices I have put are correct at the time of writing this post via the Ladbrokes iPhone app, all horses are currently down to run, however this may change as the festival gets closer.

Tuesday 13th March:

Supreme Novices’ Hurdle: Kalashnikov – 4/1

Arkle Chase: Footpad – 11/8

Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase: Singlefarmpayment – 8/1

Champion Hurdle: Faugheen – 9/2

Mares Hurdle: Apple’s Jade – 8/13

National Hunt Chase: Dounikos – 7/1

Close Bros Handicap Chase: De Plotting Shed – 5/1

Wednesday 14th March:

Ballymore Novices Hurdle: Samcro – 4/6

RSA Chase: Black Corton – 7/1

Coral Cup: Bleu Et Rouge – 10/1

Champion Chase: Min – 9/4

Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase: Tiger Roll – 5/1

Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle: Nube Negra – 10/1

Champion Bumper: Rhinestone – 8/1

Thursday 15th March:

JLT Novices’ Chase: Invitation Only – 10/3

Pertemps Network Final: Sort It Out – 10/1

Ryanair Chase: Un De Sceaux – 7/4

Stayers Hurdle: Yanwork – 5/1

Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate: King’s Socks – 10/1

Mares Novices Hurdle: Laurina – 8/11

Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase: Squouateur – 6/1

Friday 16th March:

Triumph Hurdle: Apple’s Shakira – 3/1

Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle: Max Dynamite – 8/1

Albert Bartlett Novices; Hurdle: Duc Des Genievres – 5/1

Gold Cup: Native River – 5/1 (If you haven’t already go check out my EXCLUSIVE interview with Richard Johnson who’s top Cheltenham tip was this horse back in October: https://zoelouisesmithx.com/2017/10/20/worcester-races-exclusive-interview-with-richard-johnson/ )

Foxhunter Chase: Pacha Du Polder – 12/1

Martin Pipe Cond. Jockeys Handicap Hurdle: Flawless Escape – 8/1

Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap: Don’t Touch It – 10/1

So there you have it, all of my picks for the festival! As I previously stated, I am no professional, I just love the horse racing so decided to write up a post with my picks and tips for the festival because it’s any horse racing fans favourite week of the year. If you are having a bet this year I wish you the best of luck, be sure to message me with any tips and picks you may have and if you have any winners because I can’t wait for next week to start.

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you’re not a horse racing fan, don’t worry I have plenty of posts to come that will interest everybody.

See you all very soon!

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Life Update

life update

Hey guys!

I think I am possibly the worst blogger ever! No post in 3 months ahhhh! But I am back and ready to start writing again. Back in December I was rushed into hospital and I was diagnosed with meningitis, sepsis, dangerously low blood pressure and severe dehydration and the midwife told me I was lucky to be alive as my blood pressure had dropped so much that my body started to stop functioning and my organs had stopped working, so with all of that, a month of being severely ill and a week of being in hospital, I decided I wanted to take some time out to focus on myself. I took some time working on getting my health back, enjoying more family time, seeing my friends more and just enjoying my life because it really made me realise just how short life is and how you never really know what is around the corner so you need to enjoy yourself and live life to the full.

So in the last 3 months of being less active online a lot has happened. Firstly I decided to go to university, then decided I wasn’t sure and now I’m stuck with what to do. Secondly I completed dry January successfully! I wasn’t advised to, but I decided I would drink less and work on being healthier after being in hospital as I lost over a stone in the 3 weeks I was ill and I didn’t want to be unhealthy so decided to get myself sorted. And thirdly, most importantly, I got myself a boyfriend. 

Ashley Day, where do I start? When I was ill and I needed people around me, he had my back and cared more than most. We made things official on the 30th of December and I can honestly say I’m the happiest I have ever been. I never really understood people who said you’d ‘just know’ when you find ‘the one’ but now I really understand it because now I’ve found the person I want to spend my life with the feelings are a million times different to anything I’ve felt in the past. He’s not only my boyfriend but he’s also my best friend too and I am honestly so in love it’s mad.

I won’t ramble on about that though, I just wanted to post a quick update. Next week I am going to the Cheltenham Festival, which for those who don’t know is one of the biggest horse racing events in this country, I have tickets for two of the four days so I will be posting about those next week and my experience of the Cheltenham Festival for the first time. Over the next few days I will also be making a post of my top tips for the festival. I’ve bet on the Gold Cup winner the past 3 years so I’m on a roll, I can’t pick a winner every single time but the festival is the most exciting time of the year for any horse racing fan so I will be posting multiple posts over the next few days so keep your eyes out for them.

I also worked with Trentham Monkey Forest last weekend so I will have a post up about my experience with them, I am also working with Clue HQ Birmingham this weekend and West Midlands Safari Park in the next few weeks so I have a lot of exciting posts to come! Ash and I have also booked our first holiday together to Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria in June so I will be posting about that also. If you haven’t already click the social media tab at the top of the page and follow my social media accounts so you can keep up to date with all of the exciting things I have planned.

I am keeping it short and sweet, but I will be working harder to start writing more now I have the feeling of writing back! 

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Domestic Violence

domestic violence

Hey guys!

As part of a project close to my heart, I am researching Domestic Violence. It is not only a part of my job to safeguard people, but as I have previously experienced it and someone close to me has also told me her story of domestic violence I am going to be writing about that today. I have done a lot of research into it and some of the facts and figures I have discovered are honestly heartbreaking, but I feel like it is something that needs to be spoken about more and something people need to be aware of so you can come forward if you’re in a situation similar to anything I describe in this post.

So firstly the Home Office definition of Domestic Violence is as follows: 

Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are of have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality. 

Physical abuse includes:

  • Shaking
  • Smacking
  • Punching
  • Kicking
  • Tying up
  • Stabbing
  • Suffocation
  • Throwing things
  • Using objects as weapons
  • Genital mutilation

Physical effects are often in areas of the body that are covered and hidden.

Sexual abuse includes any situation in which a person is forces to participate in unwanted, unsafe or degrading sexual activity. Forced sex, even by a spouse or intimate partner with whom they also have consensual sex, is an act of aggression and violence. 

Psychological abuse includes:

  • Intimidation
  • Insulting
  • Isolating a person from friends and family
  • Criticising 
  • Denying abuse
  • Treating them as an inferior
  • Threatening to harm children or take them away
  • Forced marriage

Financial abuse includes:

  • Not allowing a person to work or choose their own career
  • Undermining efforts to find work or study
  • Rigidly controlling their finances
  • Restricting them to an allowance
  • Withholding money or credit/debit cards
  • Asking for an explanation of how every penny is spent
  • Withholding basic necessities (food, clothes, medication, shelter)
  • Stealing from them or taking their money
  • Gambling
  • Not paying bills

Emotional aims to chip away at a persons feelings of self-worth and independence, this includes:

  • Yelling
  • Swearing
  • Name calling
  • Blaming
  • Shaming
  • Undermining confidence
  • Making racist remarks
  • Making a person feel unattractive 
  • Calling them stupid or useless
  • Isolation
  • Intimidation
  • Controlling behaviour
  • Additionally throwing threats of physical violence or repercussions if you don’t do what they want

Domestic abuse occurs across the whole of society, regardless of race, age, religion, sexuality etc. It really can happen to anyone in any scenario. Here are some facts and figures I have found:

  • On average, 2 women a week, in the UK alone, are killed by a male partner or former partner; this contributes to around one third of all female homicide victims. 
  • 20% of women have been victims of sexual abuse since the age of 16. 
  • 75% of domestic violence cases result in physical injury or mental health consequences to women. 
  • 30% of domestic violence cases start during pregnancy. 
  • 75-90% of domestic violence incidents happen with a child/children in the same or next room.
  • The cost of physical healthcare treatment resulting from domestic violence (including hospital, GP, ambulance and prescriptions) is £1,220,247,000 per year.
  • 54% of rapes in the UK are committed by a woman’s current or former partner.
  • The police in the UK receive one call to stop domestic violence every minute.

All of the above facts can be found on the Woman’s Aid website.

A couple other interesting facts are that 32% of women who have ever experienced domestic violence did so 4,5 or more times and 11% of men who have ever experienced domestic violence did so 4,5 or more times. (Ref: Walby + Allen, 2004)

Now onto the effects of domestic violence on adults. Firstly the physical effects:

  • Bruising
  • Recurrent sexually transmitted infections
  • Broken bones
  • Burn or stab wounds
  • Death
  • Gynaecological problems
  • Tiredness
  • General poor health
  • Poor nutrition
  • Chronic pain
  • Miscarriage
  • Maternal deth
  • Premature birth
  • Self-harming behaviour

But of course, not all domestic abuse effects can be seen physically, in fact the list of psychological and/or behavioural effects is longer, they include:

  • Fear
  • Increasing likelihood of misusing drugs, alcohol or prescribed anti-depressants
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Poor mental health
  • Wanting to or actually committing suicide
  • Sleep distrubances
  • Post traumatic stress disorder
  • Anger
  • Guilt
  • Loss of self confidence
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Low self-worth
  • Panic or anxiety attacks
  • Eating disorders

So many people suffer domestic violence in silence because they’re too scared to come forward and talk about it, from personal experience I understand how hard it is and how scary it is. You think people will judge you, you think it’ll make things worse, you think people won’t believe you, you think it’ll make you seem weak. So many thoughts rush through your head and you decide actually, no I won’t tell anyone. You believe them when they say it ‘won’t happen again’. You believe that they ‘didn’t mean it’ because that’s what they told you. You believe that they’ll ‘change’ like they say you do, but then you end up in the same pattern and the same cycle over and over again and each time you’re taken in by the words they say. But if there is one thing I cannot stress enough it is that you need to speak out. You need to say something because if you don’t, one day it could go too far and it might be too late like it was for Linah Keza or Julie Sahin or even Sashana Roberts.

Domestic violence can be a taboo subject, people thinking you’re saying it for attention, people judging you, people saying you’re lying or making it up or it’s ‘in your head’ but that is not the case. If you feel you’re in a situation classed as violent, whether that be physically, emotionally, financially or anything I have described in this post, speak out. Talk to a friend, a parent, a family member, your doctor, speak to someone, because the brutal reality is, if it goes too far, you could end up dead. And if it isn’t you who ends up dead, it could be the next person they start a relationship with, or as some of the articles I linked above show, it could be someone’s child that gets killed. Innocent people lose their lives almost daily, I mean 2 women per week in the UK alone are killed by their partner or ex partner and 54% of rapes are by a partner or ex partner those statistics shocked me and upset me because it’s not something we hear about on mainstream news and it should be. We should be talking about it and making more women aware that there is help out there before it becomes too late for them.

Here are a few links of some charities that do amazing work and if you want more information or you need help then definitely check them out:

Woman’s Aid

Refuge

Men’s Advice Line

The Hide Out

Another point I want to make, is safeguarding. In the job I do, I have to keep safeguarding at the top of my mind on a daily basis, if you don’t know what safeguarding is here is the definition:  Safeguarding means protecting people’s health, well being and human rights, and enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect. If you know someone or suspect someone is in a violent relationship, say something, even if it’s not your job to do so. It’s my job to report it to the authorities and I’m not telling you to call the police if your friend has a bruised arm or something, I’m saying have that conversation. If your friend has continuously got bruises or is continuously panicking when their partner calls or messages them or they’re just not themselves, ask them if they’re okay, tell them you’re there for them, make them feel secure that they can open up to you and you won’t judge them but you’ll help them. By having that simple conversation, you could find out it’s nothing and that they’re clumsy and bang into the desk at work daily or you could find out they are in fact being abused and they need help to get out of that situation. It’s hard to judge a scenario and know when to speak out, but sometimes you have to take that risk because it could result in you saving a life simply by asking someone if everything is okay.

Recently, someone very close to me spoke out and came forward after years of abuse and I felt horrible, I felt ashamed that I hadn’t picked up on it, but that is one thing I realised when I experienced it myself, you become very good at hiding what you’re going through, especially if you live with that person, nobody will know what happens behind closed doors if you don’t tell them or show them. I am 100% against abuse, whether it be to animals, children, to woman or to men, abuse is not okay, emotionally, physically or anything, it is never okay.

I find posts like this so hard to write because it really hits me when I research facts and figures just how horrible it can be and how bad things can get for people. I have listed some charities above which are good for women, men and children who have been or are being effected by violence and abuse and I urge anyone who is reading this to take a look. If it does effect you, seek help and if it doesn’t, take a read and find out more because one day it could effect you or someone you know and by doing that little bit of reading and research it could save a life.

Thank you for reading.

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