Thursday, 22 February 2018

Suicide Facts & Figures **Trigger Warning**


I've been trying hard over the last few days to get this post written but I was struggling to find the right words. I've lost two lovely friends in the past year to suicide, both male and both gone far too soon, one of which sadly took his own life just last week.

I'm no stranger to Mental Health issues or indeed Suicide, I'm 31 and have tried to end my own life twice, once when I was 16 and again when I was 21. I'm incredibly grateful that I failed and that I got to live another day, in both instances I regretted my actions as soon as I took them.

I've noticed in the news and on social media that suicide rates in men are on the rise and it got me thinking as to why this is. Our society as a whole tends to view Mental Health as this big taboo that we shouldn't open up about, especially not if you're male. Men I guess grow up with the belief that they're supposed to be strong, they aren't meant to cry and good god they should definitely not talk about their feelings. Sadly I can't help but wish my lovely friend had reached out and openly talked about his struggles before hanging himself.


  • There are roughly more than 6,000 suicides in the UK each year
  • Suicide is the main cause of death in people aged between 20 and 34 in the UK
  • Those that are at a higher risk are Men aged between 40 and 44 years old
  • Statistics show that 72% of people who had committed suicide between 2002 and 2012 had not been in touch with their GP in regards to how they were feeling.
  • Men are more likely to commit suicide as they are less likely to seek help in regards to how they are feeling compared to Women. 
  • These insights simply show that more needs to be done to end the stigma attached to Mental Health issues.
For a deeper look at the above facts click on the following link: 

I think  more needs to be done in ending the stigma surrounding Mental Health and perhaps then people wouldn't feel the need to hide their pain away and turn it inwards on themselves.

The 'Time To Change' movement run by 'Mind' and 'Rethink Mental Illness' has been working tirelessly since 2007 to bridge the gap between sufferers of Mental Illness and their friends/family/co workers. Their current campaign entitled 'It's The Small Things' is trying to encourage people to share the little things they've done to help or support friends or family suffering from a mental health condition.   Follow the link below for more information.

Obviously there are hundreds of different factors that can lead to someone wanting to end their own life, however the main one is linked to underlying mental health issues. 

 If you're worried about a loved one and you fear that they may try to end their lives then I urge you to reach out to them, show them that you care, that you will listen to them, help them to understand that they aren't alone and that life can and will get better. The following link is to an incredibly insightful list of Suicide warning signs from the Health Guidance website. A couple of things to look out for are previous Suicide attempts and a change in their behaviour. 

And, if you are someone who is debating whether or not to continue living then please seek help, call the Samaritans on 116 123 or reach out to a friend or family member, you may feel hopelessly alone but I promise you that there are people out there who love you. Hold on. Please.

In loving memory of Andy and Jamie....
Rest Easy.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Small World Play

I've always been a firm believer that learning through play is incredibly important and beneficial for our children and small world activities are a great imagination boost and give them a sense of control over the scenario they're creating. You can incorporate books and set up a scene from the book for your children to act out, it's a fantastic bonding experience.

My children thoroughly enjoy Small World Play especially when we incorporate different textures for tactile stimulation which are incredibly beneficial to children who are also on the Autistic Spectrum.

The following small world activity was set up for my dinosaur loving boys, we also incorporated diggers because who doesn't put diggers and dinosaurs together right?!

We used cloud dough as the sand/rubble and rabbit food pellets as dinosaur eggs, The boys had so much fun using the diggers to scoop up the dinosaur eggs and rubble, the good thing about cloud dough is that it's easily mouldable and then you can just crumble it back up to play with all over again. 

For an easy to follow cloud dough recipe follow this link:

Another really fun small world play idea is a farmyard....we used artificial grass samples purchased from Ebay and different types of rice for gravel, we filled up a plastic take away tub with lukewarm water for a duck pond and incorporated stones and leaves from the garden and used mixed dried berries as flower bushes. Lot's of sensory fun to explore and the children loved touching the different textures.

There are no rules where it comes to Small World Play, just get stuck in and have some fun sensory play with your little ones, check out pintrest and Instagram for more fun Small World Play ideas.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

My Top 5 Female Singer/Songwriters

I'm a little rock chick at heart and a fan of both Male and Female artists, the music industry is one that is full of incredibly talented and wonderfully unique and inspiring people, so with that in mind I decided to do a little mini blog series on my favourite artists.

First up is my Top 5 Female singer/songwriters and the reasons why I bloody idolise them:

1) Amy Lee from Evanescence

Amy Lee is the 36 year old lead singer of Rock/Metal band Evanescence and pretty much my original girl crush! Her voice is seriously like no other, she can hit notes you've only ever dreamt off. She's undeniably stunning and her talents go beyond just singing, she can also play various instruments including the piano and harp, she even designs and makes the majority of her on stage and music video outfits. She has a unique sense of style often merging both gothic and Victorian influences together.

I think the reason I so heavily idolised her in my mid to late teens is that her music came along at a time when I was hurting, My baby sister had passed away when I was 13 and after that I found myself grieving and hurting in ways I'd never experienced before, I turned to self harm in a bid to release the pain that was inside and her voice and the entire 'Fallen' album spoke to me and helped me to understand that I wasn't alone, Amy herself lost her younger sister too as a child and I could completely understand the weight of the words on the tracks 'hello' and 'Your Star' both written in memory of her sister. 

Even now as an adult I still idolise this women, for all that she is and all that she stands for. I was lucky enough to see Evanescence live at Wembley in 2012 and my god they were incredible. Her voice sounds even better live!

If you haven't listened to Evanescence before then I highly recommend 'My Immortal' and 'Lithium'

My Immortal:


2) Shirley Manson from Garbage

Shirley Manson is the Scottish 51 year old lead singer of alternative rock band Garbage! This band are simply incredible, they've been on the rock scene since the 80's but reached mainstream attention in 1994 with their self titled debut album. Shirley Manson is known mainly for her outspoken attitude and quirky sense of style and has remained a true icon over the years.

At 51 she's the eldest person on my list of idols but bloody hell she looks just as incredible now as she did in the 90's. 

She has a Bond theme under her belt for the film 'The World is Not Enough' and also appears in the short lived TV series 'The Sarah Conner Chronicles' as a T-1001 Terminator, adding a unique blues/rock spin on the gospel song 'Samson and Delilah' for the series. (Awesome TV series definitely check it out!)

I adore Shirley Manson, she is a proper Rock 'N' Roll legend and paved the way for many other female rock singers including Amy Lee. She's very vocal across all social media platforms and never shies away from saying exactly what is on her mind. I adore Shirley's fierce personality and her drive and determination.

If you haven't listened to Garbage before then I seriously suggest the songs ' Cherry Lips' and 'Only Happy When It Rains'

Cherry Lips

Only Happy When  It Rains

3) Maria Brink from In This Moment

Maria Brink is the 40 year old lead singer of Metalcore band In This Moment. Maria had a tough childhood looking after her drug addict mother after her father walked out on them, at age 15 she fell pregnant and worked in a Launderette to pay the rent and worked hard on getting her mum off drugs, after that her and her son moved to LA where she took any job she could find and sang in bars and coffee shops until she finally hit it big time in 2005. 

She has several awesome tattoos including the word 'Believe' across her knuckles. She reinvents herself with each new album, she is pretty much a Rock 'N' Roll chameleon. Her voice is beautiful, she can sing and scream in equal measure. Her live performances are dramatic and theatrical, and not only is she a gifted singer but she's also an incredibly talented artist who sells custom paintings online. 

I love this women's raw energy, she gives everything her all. Her songs are the perfect blend of melody and energetic screaming. She's sexy, fierce and in complete control.

If you haven't listened to In This Moment then go check out 'The Fighter' and their cover of the Phil Collins classic 'In The Air Tonight'

The Fighter

In The Air Tonight


P!nk (real name Alecia Moore) is 38 and one hell of a bad ass! The first song of P!nks that had me hooked was most definitely 'Most Girls' she came across as fierce and feisty and a teenage me desperately wanted to channel that. With her vivid pink hair and tom boy style she was worlds away from the likes of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, she made it clear that you could be who you wanted to be and you didn't have to just be another clone or sheep.

18 years on from her debut album 'Can't Take Me Home' and P!nk is still a bad ass! She takes no shit from anyone and has maintained her unique style and can do attitude without selling out and becoming too mainstream.

Her live performances are just visually incredible and she is on my list of Artists I wanna see live!

I can't imagine anyone hasn't heard any of her songs but my personal favourites are 'Just Like A Pill' and 'Most Girls'

Just Like A Pill

Most Girls

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga (real name Stefani Germonotta) is 31 years old ( we share the exact same birthday) and love her or hate her you can't deny she's bloody talented. She has a highly provocative style and huge and varied vocal range. Before hitting it big singing she worked as a songwriter for Sony. Her sound is very pop orientated with electronic rock influences, She's another singer who sounds just as good live as she does pre recorded. With each new album comes a new Gaga, she chops and changes her style constantly and despite suffering from Fibromyalgia she still works incredibly hard behind the scenes, she's an activist for LGBT rights and she set up a non profit organisation called 'Born This Way Foundation'  for youth empowerment to help fight back against bullying and social stigmatisation. 

Not only can she sing but the girl can bloody act! She won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Miniseries for her role as The Countess in the fifth series of American Horror Story. 

This women is empowering. She works hard and she plays hard and her belief that we are all entitled to be who we want to be and to love freely who we want to love is a belief that I feel we should all buy into. 

Her top 2 tracks that stick in my mind are 'Born This Way' and 'Bad Romance'

Born This Way

Bad Romance

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my little list of favourite female singer/songwriters. I'd love to hear who your top 5 would be.