The loneliness of the mainland

The feeling had been stirring for a few weeks. Not a crippling emotional pain but a nagging sense of discontent. Nothing was quite going to plan. Cancelled work, stretched finances. Tired children, nagging doubts. And above all else, the dawning realisation that nobody really cared. Trying to speak It was the ongoing battle that tipped the scales of doubt. Countless attempts to tell somebody. Subconsciously willing them to stop what they were doing. Wishing with every fibre that one of them would rouse from the preoccupation with their own problems and listen. Just a few minutes, maybe an hour. Long…

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When charitable donations aren’t as generous as they sound

A twist of fate, a wrong decision, a stroke of bad luck. All of a sudden, you find yourself face to face with an almighty struggle. One unpaid invoice leads to rent arrears and a mountain of debt. Then, a charity may be your only hope. A food bank, or an organisation that helps people to get back on their feet. The big corporation and the charity I know enough about life’s cruel blows to understand that destitution often arrives through no fault of its victim. And that charities can be a lifeline in such a situation. And yet, I received an…

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The posture of parenting

Within the daily struggle of parenthood, being me has become my biggest battle. Last week, I was looking at my children playing at my feet when I had a sudden moment of realisation. I spend an inordinate amount of time with my head down. Watching the girls, looking at my laptop or phone, preparing food. Always with my head bowed, hunched forward. A posture that, to an outsider, might suggest that I was sad, shy or lacking in confidence. The power of body language Years ago, a social psychologist called Amy Cuddy gave a TED talk on body language. It…

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What determines whether large organisations have a corporate conscience?

Waking in a panic in the early hours of the morning has become normal. The overdraft limit is looming yet again, as it does for freelancers everywhere. But this time, it’s different. It’s not about lack of work, because I’ve got plenty. A small company or an individual unable to pay hasn’t caused the problem. It’s the global conglomerates and their unwillingness to pay on time. Why do many large organisations lack corporate conscience? Well, I have this theory. Small companies tend to have one or two employees. The company owner plays a big part in keeping the business going.…

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Breaking down taboos and why it matters

Do you have one of THOSE friends? She’s the one who knows your darkest secrets. She’s laughed with you, cried with you and been there when it mattered. You tell her all your problems, but do you talk to her about things you’d rather keep quiet? Like that time when you were bouncing on a trampoline with the kids and… Breaking down the taboo of bladder weakness Bladder weakness is one of those things we’d rather not talk about. Actually, we’d rather it just didn’t happen. But it really shouldn’t be a taboo subject, because it impacts on so many…

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Taking time to relax with Go Binge

The girls cuddled up on the sofa under a blanket clutching their bags of popcorn. My concerns about spending the evening cleaning it up off the floor slowly dissipated. Their trusty dog lay at their feet, ready to hoover up any stray scraps before they became part of the carpet. And I realised we should have done this months ago. A late night, chilling together as a family. Watching crap on television and taking time to relax. Getting it wrong It’s rare for us to do nothing. During term time, we’re busy running from one activity to the next. Ballet,…

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How Ronald McDonald House keeps families together

We walked into the communal room and the children made a beeline for a playroom and some craft tables. Volunteers from a local company were running a Halloween event for residents to make masks and decorations. One of many opportunities for children to retain some form of normality during their family’s darkest hour. What is Ronald McDonald House? Every parent knows that sinking feeling you get when your child is ill. You see their suffering, but there’s nothing you can do to help them. And so you wait, helpless, for them to get better. That feeling must be multiplied hundreds…

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