Tuesday, 9 August 2016

It's good to talk

This week I'm in the process of re-writing the end of Beyond the Lies and not because I didn't like the ending I had written. I have lost my favourite ending! Yes, LOST IT - vanished from my laptop! I wrote two endings and kept them saved separately from the manuscript, only now I can't find the ending I wanted! Typical! And the one phrase that sprang to mind – KISS – keep it simple stupid!!

Serves me right really! I should not have been indecisive – that's what happens when people plant doubt into your mind. 

I've also been working on The Nanny now for just over twelve months. Development takes time and so does the writing. I'm not going to rush anymore work – I admit, I did with the first novel because I was a desperate, single parent. I still am but much more chilled about it all now. Thank goodness my boys are totally supportive and not materialistic. It would be nice to not have to juggle money around. I look forward to the day when the bills are automatically paid without worry! We all have dreams!

PhD Update

Until then, I am going to keep going. If I don't, the last five year's struggle would have been in vain. I've applied for a part time job to complement the Masters I am about to embark on. This will give me a year to find funding for my PhD. As a single Mum, I need to be close to home – to juggle school runs, football, rugby, illness and education. The research council has confirmed my research falls well within their remit but I they won't fund it at my nearest University. The whole system needs an overhaul in my humble opinion. Research funding should be provided to the individual not the institution – the institution should act as guarantor. The system hinders equality and prevents development outside the 'clique' establishments. 

My PhD study will provide invaluable research for the future delivery of Computing in High Schools. All I would like is an opportunity to give our children greater chance of success in life. If my screenplay is taken up by a production company, I would fund my own study but until then the research councils are supposed to be there to provide funding. I won't give up – I am annoyingly persistent when I am right! Let's stop inequality.

Mental Health

As exam results days' loom, this time of year always makes me worry about mental health. Mine know exams are not the be all and end all.  I have written about this before. Suicide is the biggest single killer of men under the age of 45 and mental health has always been a big concern for me as a Mum.  I have always created a culture of open discussion with the boys, to the point that, as soon as they get into the car after a day at school, they naturally tell me their full day – warts and all. Sometimes, their honesty surprises me but it shouldn't. If you teach children from a very early age it is perfectly normal to talk about your feelings and create an environment where it is very easy to express their emotions, it becomes second nature for them not to bottle things up. 

I get so many parents telling me their children never tell them anything about their school day. It makes me so proud mine will tell me everything – I mean everything! More importantly, they are not afraid to show their true emotions. 

My determination to ensure a fully open relationship stems from not having anyone to talk to when I was being bullied at school. I have had to overcome so much alone and know, sometimes how close I came to giving up on life!

I am so passionate about mental health of my boys. When Sheffield Eagles decided to end their Reserves side, I was really worried how Wes would handle it. To his credit, he handled it really well. We talked a lot about it and his feelings. Just knowing someone is there to listen, means the world.


Even if my boys didn't have the support system in place, I would hope they had somewhere to turn. #AndysManClub is an initiative set up by rugby league player, Luke Ambler and his partner, Lisa Roberts after the tragic suicide of Andy Robert's, Lisa's brother.  Their initiative is to provide a safe space for men to go and talk about how they feel and what is worrying them. 

Luke is raising money through JustGiving to provide #AndyManClub across the UK. Please support this cause. Please click HERE.

Luke has worked tirelessly to promote on social media through the hashtag #ItsOkayToTalk. You can get involved by posting your 'OK Selfies' and nominating 5 of your friends. There has already been global interest including Ricky Gervais. You can follow all this on Twitter at @andymanclubuk.

I wish Luke and Lisa all the very best. It is such an incredibly important initiative and highlights as always, MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS.

Family Time

I'm taking some time off this weekend to spend some quality time with the boys. We have one week to go before the A level results and Uni prep and two weeks before Lucas' 10th birthday – TEN! TEN! Where does the time go?

No matter how busy life gets, spend time with your children – you are their greatest teacher and role model.

Labour Leadership

Okay, I tried… but I can’t get through a blog without mentioning this. We had our nomination meeting this week and I am pleased my constituency nominated Jeremy again. I wish we were not having this battle at all but we are. There are three lessons I've taught the boys that are totally relevant to this leadership campaign.

  1. Always check the motive and source of any information. You only have to look at the twitter accounts of some of the rebel MPs to see their vile language and their motives. There was never any intention to make the new leadership work in spite of a democratic vote.
  2. Don't suffer from hostile deafness – you'll never hear what is being said if you already hate the messenger – no matter how much these words and subsequent actions will benefit you. That's what I believe some MPs suffer from.
  3. Always make your decision based on what's best for those who will be impacted the most by your decisions. 
We have been consistently let down by central Govt. That won't change by voting for the 'same'. We have to be bold. I want a Labour Government that prioritises education, health, job security and decent pay. In addition, mental health will NOT be a priority unless we have a Government who listens, understands and funds proper care. More talk, more funding, more action!

Have a lovely week – the UK is supposed to be heading for another heatwave – translates to my overseas friends as a 'bit of sun'. Keep smiling and enjoy life. 

Much love

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