Helping a partner recover from a mental health problem can be difficult and can place extra strain on a relationship. But what happens when you are both suffering from different mental health conditions? How can you learn to understand each other and recover as a team?
According to Mind – The Mental Health Charity, 1 in 4 people suffer from a mental health problem each year. If you’re in a romantic relationship, the chances are high that at some point you or your partner could experience a mental health issue.
Mind and Relate surveyed over 1000 people who experienced mental health problems in their romantic relationships. The impact can be serious, especially with regards to intimacy. 80% of people surveyed felt that their mental health issues had affected their sex lives.
When a romantic partner is suffering from a mental health problem, they can feel unattractive, self-conscious and experience a loss of libido. Sometimes the need for proof of commitment can also cause sex to become aggressive and pressurised, adding more strain to a relationship.
Peter Saddington, relationship counsellor for Relate, says that there are a few key issues seen amongst couples experiencing mental health problems. According to Peter, there has been an increase in adults reporting self-harm and suicidal thoughts. This can lead partners to think – If I say the wrong thing, will it prompt my partner to harm themselves or kill themselves? Peter says, “This is an increasingly common and difficult problem to deal with.”
There is also an issue with increased aggression in relationships where partners experience mental health problems. “Aggression can lead to domestic abuse,” says Peter. “It also leads to increasingly volatile arguments which can escalate situations.”
Drugs and alcohol are also an issue in these relationships. Peter says these are used as “self-medication and coping mechanisms, either by the partner who doesn’t have mental health problems as a way of surviving, or for both of them.” According to Peter, “Drugs and alcohol are used as a way to regulate and manage a relationship that is becoming increasingly stressful and difficult to manage.”
Another way of partners coping is to look for support outside the relationship. This can lead to infidelity. “Betrayal and a breakdown of trust can add another problem on top of all the other problems they are trying to manage,” says Peter.
Often, couples don’t have the tools in place to support themselves or each other during a mental health issue. But a serious problem comes into play when both partners in the relationship suffer from separate mental health conditions, at the same time. Especially where symptoms of their individual conditions clash.
Peter says, “One of the biggest problems is that they could both be in very different places. One partner could need more support and be struggling more than the other one.” According to Peter, partners can get “wrapped up in their own issues” which makes counselling problematic.
Couples need to be realistic about their therapeutic support. Sometimes individuals need to focus on their own therapy or medication adjustments first, in order to lift the situation. They may then be able to access some basic support from a couple’s counsellor. According to Peter this could help couples “manage on a day-to-day basis without making big changes.”
Peter believes that the key to recovery as a couple is hope. Couples need to talk about transition. “Just because they’re in a bad place now, doesn’t mean that it’ll be like that forever.” Peters says that couples need to feel hopeful that they can get to a place where their relationship will work again. “If you’re both motivated to stay in the relationship and work at it, we can work with you.”
Top Tips for Recovery
Establish Safe Conversations
Before you can start resolving your relationship issues, ensure that you have established a safe place, without fear or aggression, to start your recovery conversation.
Individual and Couple Therapy
Every couple’s situation is different, and the prioritisation of treatment might differ per situation. Relate offer specialised counselling for couples with mental health struggles. Consider talking with a therapist to support your relationship recovery.
Be Honest About Your Mental Health
Once you have established a safe place to talk, discuss your mental health condition honestly with your partner. This will help them learn more about it and understand your needs.
It’s easy to start raising your voice when you don’t feel heard by your partner, but shouting can have a negative effect on the thinking and behaviour of a person with a mental health condition. Become aware of shouting behaviour and try to take a step back before it escalates.
Set aside time for yourself each day. Even if that time is to have a shower, a cup of tea or a walk around the block. Built that time into your daily routine as self-care is essential for recovery.
Maintain Physical Contact (but not necessarily sex)
Talk openly about the impact of your mental health conditions on your sex life. Consider other forms of physical contact to build up your partner’s self esteem and re-assure them of your commitment. Hugging and holding hands are excellent forms of intimacy and provide a physical connection without the pressure of sex.
Recovering from a mental health condition can take weeks, months, years or sometimes a lifetime. Rushing a partner to recover will only cause more stress and pressure in the relationship. Find patience.
Although many mental health problems can increase risk of destructive behaviour, the illness itself should not be used as an excuse for abusive behaviour in a relationship. Emotional and physical abuse should not be tolerated, regardless of your partner’s mental health condition.
By Nikki Blissett
Nickki is a freelance journalist specialising in mental health. She also writes about her mental health experiences on her Digital Butterfly Blog.
When starting a family, there are a mind boggling number of factors to take into account. Financial implications, career breaks and local amenities are just a handful of things to consider when creating the ideal family environment.
The city you choose to raise your family in has a direct knock on effect on all of these factors. Soaring house prices are one of the top considerations driving families away. According to research from the Office for National Statistics, houses in London are a colossal 13 times higher than the average first time buyers salary. The result of which is many parents turning their attention to alternative, more affordable cities to raise their blossoming families within.
Parents are increasingly searching for ways to achieve a healthier work life balance, and the city you reside within is an instrumental component. Recent research conducted by YouGov found that a mere 6% of people in the UK work a 9-5 job, partially being put down to parents preferring to be increasingly flexible to fit work around their family lives. Along with working flexibly, in their downtime parents want to be in close proximity to outdoor areas and parks, for potential family socialising. Having both child-friendly amenities and ample job opportunities can be a tricky balance to achieve. According to an index created by Money Supermarket, a total of six different factors are taken into account when choosing the ideal family city. When combined, Bath made the top of the list, whilst Newcastle Upon Tyne came second and Wolverhampton third.
Within this feature, we would look to cover the following:
• Work life balance
• Job opportunities
• Outstanding schools
The 3 best cities for blossoming families to relocate to
When it’s time to pack up and head out to build a life of your own, choosing the perfect location to put down roots can be at once exciting and a little daunting. Add a budding family into the mix, and the number of things you need to factor into your decision changes immeasurably. Naturally, you want your little clan to have access to the best opportunities and brightest possible future, so you’ll be looking at everything from job prospects and schools to access to green spaces, cost of living, quality of life, and healthcare as top priorities. With all this on your shoulders, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of variables in play and the sense of responsibility that comes with raising a family.
Where you choose to live can have a significant impact on achieving that balance, and Money Supermarket’s interactive index comes in pretty handy when you’re drawing up a shortlist. Every year, the index tots up the best places to raise a family in the UK, factoring in considerations like education, green spaces, average salaries, housing costs, career opportunities, and crime rates. Here the top three most family-friendly cities in the UK according to the list:
Graduating from second place to the top of the league tables this year, Bath is the place to be for families just starting out in the world. This beautiful, historic city saw marked improvements across almost every single factor, with average salaries coming in at around £4,000 higher than the national average to boot. It’s also worth noting that Bath has seen a boom in its local job market, recording an average of 14 jobs available per 100 capita—so you’ll be spoilt for choice in terms of job opportunities.
Housing prices in this UNESCO World Heritage site are generally higher than other cities on the index, but that’s something you’d expect from a place boasting such incredible architecture and high standard of living.
Packed with parks and surrounded by stunning National Trust sites, Bath is a nature-lover’s dream and offers countless options for families looking for the perfect day out.
The Toon is often hailed as the entertainment capital, but that doesn’t make Newcastle any less of a contender for young families looking to build a life up north. The city saw a significant increase in number of top-quality schools and average salaries on offer; this, on top of very affordable housing options in and around Newcastle, make Newcastle an incredibly attractive option financially.
If your idea of a great family day out involves exploring museums, watching a show, or hitting art exhibitions, you’re in luck: Newcastle boasts a whopping 10 theatres and 68 libraries per million inhabitants, and when it comes to music, you’re never far away from a live gig.
Newcastle is a major city, but it’s also bursting with lush parks that’ll offer respite from the hustle and bustle of day to day life. The city is home to more than 20 parks, including the idyllic Jesmond dene. Newcastle is also a short metro ride away from the breath-taking North Eastern coastline, making it easy for you to take your little ones to the seaside in the summer months.
Wolverhampton is something of an up-and-comer on the list, with its fair share of regeneration projects making the city a great place for young families to get established before the rest of the UK catches on.
This city is ideal if job opportunities are number one on your list, especially if you’ve got that entrepreneurial spirit on your side. Wolverhampton has allocated over £3.7 billion to improvements all over the city, and that in itself has created loads of fresh roles in its already-robust job market. If you’re looking for a role in manufacturing, then you’ll be pleased to know that titans like Porsche, Jaguar, and Landrover have hubs here and regularly post job vacancies.
Cost of living is relatively low in Wolverhampton, with housing prices averaging somewhere in the region of £135,000. One of the biggest draws for young families has to be the city’s education offering, with over 85% of its schools consistently rated good or outstanding.
We’ve put the bleak winter behind us, and the eagerly awaited sunshine is starting to make its first appearances of the year. Just as the weather begins to change, so to do people’s mood. Sunshine acts as our one of bodies most essential ingredients, helping us to grow and ultimately maintain our physical and mental health. Vitamin D increases our vitality and energy levels, which as research suggests, can help us be more resilient to physical illnesses.
Seasonal Affective Disorder: What is it?
Said to occur when your body’s internal clock and your brain and body’s chemicals all change, Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD as it is more commonly known has the official definition of, “depression associated with late autumn and winter and thought to be caused by a lack of light”.
SAD, the NHS believes, will take have an effect on 1 in 15 UK residents between September and April, with December, January and February being the worst months for what people call the ‘winter blues’. The most common age group to suffer from SAD is those between 18 and 30 years old, with females the most likely to be affected, but it can begin at any age and to any gender.
How do you spot SAD, in yourself or someone you know?
SAD: How do I spot it?
The most common symptoms to be aware of include the following:
Sleep issues – normally oversleeping and struggling to stay awake
Overeating – particularly carbohydrates and sweet foods
Social issues, including withdrawal from social situations
Loss of motivation
A persistent low mood
Weakened immune system
Lack of interest in activities which were previously enjoyable
Does my Child have SAD?
If you happen to notice that your child’s school work is slipping, they tend to be quite irritable and they are generally uninterested, Season Affective Disorder may potentially be a cause. Remember, your child may not be able to realise they have this condition or tell you how they are feeling.
Contacting your local GP and arranging an appointment should be you first action if you notice these symptoms. This way, they will be able to thoroughly check your child over and rule out any other possible reasons for the symptoms they are experiencing. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends that the condition should receive the same treatment as other types of depression.
Perhaps the most important thing is that you show support – this is not a behavioural and should not be taken lightly, it is a brain-chemistry issue. Taking a little more time with them so they feel loved as well as being patient with them is also important to the treatment, as is eating healthy and maintaining a regular sleep pattern. By looking after their lifestyle habits, you will cut their stress levels which will help to ease the pressure faced from SAD.
There’s no evidence to suggest that the light therapy used to treat adults is effective. Similarly, the side-affect of headaches caused by the lamps means it is not suitable for children. Instead, try to ensure that your children are outside in natural sunlight when possible. If your child is put on antidepressants, make sure you are vigilant for any changes in behaviour and keep in regular contact with your doctor.
Research in the area of vitamin D and depression is rapidly growing, with some studies highlighting a potential link between the two. It certainly appears to offer an alternative and provides further support. Vitamin D is vital for general health including immunity, muscle function and bone density.
Dr Cindy Gellner, a specialised paediatrician has advised parents and guardians to: “take their symptoms seriously. If your child has been diagnosed with SAD, talk about their feelings as they let you, and remind them that even though things may seem impossible right now, things will be better in the spring.”
The weather can have a detrimental impact on our children, therefore we must make sure that we are monitoring them as best we can. If you have any concerns, it is better to be safe than sorry, so take the time and visit your doctor.
Women UK have the pleasure in talking to Sharon D, the brainchild behind Irelands Got Curves. Supermodels are now coming in all shapes and sizes and why not? With stunning models like Ashley Graham gracing the covers of Vogue, Harper and sport illustrated to the likes of our own plusize models from Irelands Got Curves walking in London Fashion Week back in February.
Gillette’s recent campaign cause a complete online stir when they used Anna O’Brien (Glitter and Lasers) leaping out of the water in her bathing suit. Twitter went crazy.
Last Sunday plusize models were joined by other women for a body positive show by the Eiffel Tower braving the cold with the simple slogan “My body is beautiful “
Her.ie this week is trending the hashtag #MyBodyStory
Yes its a fact women are getting there curves back and beyond. Ireland has got curves this fact is screamed by former plusize model and the first ever Miss Curves Ireland SharonD. After modelling in London at the curvy convention in 2016 Sharon decide to launch Irelands first ever curvy convention here named Irelands Got Curves back in 2016. Now coming into its 4th event and growing stronger each show. But are shows like this encouraging obesity Sharon would argue no after struggling for years with weight issues Sharon claims it wasn’t until she started feeling good about herself that she
started a self love journey and in 2016 lost 4 stone a completed her first triathlon size 18.
“Looking at stunning models, modelling clothes that I couldn’t fit into made me turn for the comfort food. I would watch fashion shows on tv with a cup of coffee and a biscuit as the ideal just seemed to far out of reach. When I went back to modelling and saw how good I could look in the right clothes it set me on a path to improve my own health.”
Irelands Got Curves in the past has had guest stylist and speakers like Cathy O’Connor, Teena Gates, Paddy Cunningham (biggest loser Uk) , Daniel Euan Henderson (3 million social media followers promoting self love) to name a few. It’s a day of empowerment. Catwalks with models and fashion from a size 12-34, pop up shops, Bridal, Lingerie and Boutique. Demos, plusize business awards and much more. In less than 2 weeks on Sunday 12th May Irelands Got Curves 4th show will be coming to Ballsbridge. With 13 models walking in 5 shows , guest speakers inc – Social Media Guru Daniel Euan Henderson who will be flying in to be with us. Filling the room will also be pop up shops and a VIP area. Teaming this with Comps, demos and Awards the show is getting bigger and bigger. This is the 4th Irelands Got Curves and one not to be missed. Tickets are available from www.irelandsgotcurves.com from Eventbrite and from the Facebook Irelands Got Curves Ballsbridge priced from just €15 you can also upgrade to VIP for each show.
Sharon D says ‘ I run a event like a curvy convention. The models I use for the show some have never walked on a catwalk before. I train them in a bootcamp and they get to model on the day. They are paid and respected as models should be. I hate all this under valuing of people by companies I think that leads to false hopes and disappointment. I first modelled as a plus size model back in 1996, I needed money and it was good pay. I was walking down oxford street when I was stopped by a lady who became my UK agent on and off till 2016. In Ireland there wasn’t much happening in the plus size industry apart from a lot of work for free jobs. I turn 40 and was a mother of 7, I guess I had a bit of a midlife crisis and was looking to regain apart of me lost in motherhood. All that was around in 2017 it was the first ever Miss Curves Ireland Pageant ran by Ireland’s Pageants I entered on a whim not quite sure what to do, I had never attended a pageant before so I googled what it was and what to do. Well the pageant was open to anyone aged 18 and above and size 12 and up. I was the wrong side of 40 and size 18 but well I won and was crowned the first ever Miss Curves Ireland that year was fun from switching on Christmas lights, many fashion shows, MC-ing, Charity Shows, TV, radio, papers etc I met so many people. In the lead up to the pageant I decided to make a point and I did my first Triathlon size 18, I raised money for the Irish Heart Foundation and also awareness that you can take care of your health “even with your curves” it was hard people close to me would doubt I would do it this just made me more determined At first they will tell you you cant then they will ask you how you did. The day of the Triathlon when I was done I hopped straight on a plane and was off to London for a catwalk show the next day. Life was good I was feeling great buckling and tightening the plane belt. I had lost 4 stone that year because I felt good about myself. When I wasn’t feeling good about myself I would watch the beautiful models on TV and think I could never wear that it wouldn’t be in my size or it wouldn’t look as good I turned to food for comfort. It was only when I started to feel good about myself that I took care of myself. Self Love is so needed. I wanted to pass this on to others no matter where you are on your journey you deserve to look and feel your best. By feeling good and loving yourself you are stronger when people try and knock you and they will you realise thats about them and there issues not yours. Everyone wears clothes so everyone should see clothes on a diverse range of models. We did Irelands Got Curves the Unlimited Edition back in Sept raising money for Special Olympics Ireland and we had some of the athletes on the catwalk with us two of which went on to bring home gold for Ireland in Abu Dhabi in the 2019 world games. At Irelands Got Curves as well as catwalk shows and pop up stands we also have guest speakers this year we have Layla Moroney who is on her own body transformation journey and Mr Positivity himself flying in from Scotland Daniel Euan Henderson ( 3 million social media followers) we have had feedback from people attending that they felt empowered motivated amongst other things. Models have said it has change there lives and in fact 4 models I trained and had at Irelands Got Curves walked this year in London Fashion Week. (reviews on facebook page) The industry has model as plussize from sometimes as low as size 10 I feel this is very damaging and puts pressure on women, bodies sometimes change as we get older and the message of keeping them as they maybe were in our twenties is only leading to unhealthy lifestyles the other way and maybe even going under the knife … anything sells. The same as women with petite frames I hate people body shaming anyone else everyone is beautiful and entitled to feel stunning. This leads to saying what is plussize? At Irelands Got Curves we showcase sizes 12-34 this year we have bridal which is amazing as a plussize bride trying to find a dream dress often leads to a shattered dream. We have lingerie, vintage and boutique as well as hats, jewelry , fitness , make up etc something for everyone of any size. I would like to invite everyone to come along to Clayton Ballsbridge Sunday 12th May 12-4pm and celebrate with us the beauty in all women. tickets are €15 from eventbrite or facebook Irelands Got Curves Ballsbridge
Women UK chat to Instagram Influencer about gaining that social media following so many strive for. In simple terms, Anne Welsh is a hard-working, fashion-driven mum, who shares her lifestyle and experiences of positive living on Instagram. But she is also much more than that. The former Chairperson of the UK Sickle Cell Society and Founder/President of ‘Arise Consult’ is a passionate advocate for people with chronic illness.
Anne influences many people with her fashion style, travel and lifestyle in general. But sharing content of her everyday life has resulted in her gaining nearly a million Instagram followers.
Prior to becoming a social media influencer, Anne had a formidable academic career focused on obtaining an Accounting and Finance Degree as an undergraduate and then attending the prestigious ‘Cass Business School’ in London to complete a further Master’s degree in Investment Management. Before founding ‘Arise Consult’, her career roles included Vice President at New World Capital and Senior Vice-Associate of Marketing at Investment Bank, Lehman Brothers and Neuberger Berman.
Being a mother has changed Anne in many ways, but especially in her views on ‘compassionate’ fashion for women. She shares her advice to future bloggers and reveals how she became an Instagram influencer.
Anne, how did you build up the huge following you have on Instagram? How did all start?
I must say it wasn’t an easy start. It was a journey that still continues every day. Firstly, I had an aspiration to be an influencer and role model for family living as well as for people who are challenged by chronic diseases; however, I was not exactly sure how to achieve that goal.
I researched multiple platforms and the right platform for me was Instagram. I have now been involved with Instagram for two years and the platform continues to improve in allowing users to post with more sophistication and gain more followers. I find that I can directly approach anyone in the community and learn from other people’s experiences.
A theme that has always permeated my story boards is to promote the awareness of sickle cell disease. As a sickle cell sufferer, I felt obligated to tell positive and uplifting stories that would inspire others to achieve great things in their personal lives. I also found out that this positive approach to life has been embraced by many people living ordinary lives, but who are looking for a ‘new spark’ or who may be facing personal challenges outside of their control.
Building my Instagram following was not something that happened over night. You must post regularly and gradually; through comments and likes, you become to understand what people like and prefer to see posted. Improving on the posting experience is an evolutionary story. Be patient, as success is unlikely to happen quickly.
What are your posts all about and how do you interact with your followers?
My posts are usually centred around my personal experiences; travelling, beauty, fashion and lifestyle, with an important focus on health. Fashion is almost always a part of my posts and I get to work with my children and family on these aspects. Styles & certain fashion looks become my form of communication, an expression of my femininity, a way to find new statements and rediscover myself. That is why I love to showcase fashion and beauty aspects.
Sharing travel destinations is typically another function of my job description. I am fortunate enough to travel to many places internationally as well as locally across the UK. London itself is a world class destination with so many great photo opportunities. When I am at a location it requires significant schedule and logistics planning so that I can fit in business meetings between getting to photogenic sightseeing locations. Sometimes this can be very difficult to accomplish, and discipline is the key.
I am also happy to show some details of my family life, specifically woven around those interesting moments I share with my kids, my nieces and nephews and the family’s daily routine. I have found this part of my postings to be very popular. I am sure my followers encounter many of the same challenges I do with having a family, so it is a common bond we share.
What is your partnering philosophy with different brands?
I am very selective with brands. I usually accept invitations from only a small percentage of the brands that approach me. The first hurdle for a brand that seeks collaboration with me is I must love the product or service. If I don’t hold that passion it will come across to my followers as not very genuine and this will not achieve the marketing results of the product. When I post something which includes a brand, it is because it is the best in the sector.
Another key aspect of my personal brand, Anne Welsh, is that I interact with my followers. I work diligently to keep them updated and I personally respond to many of the questions I am asked. This level of interaction is actually a key requirement of the clients that approach me.
What is your best advice for people who want to become Instagram fashion or lifestyle bloggers?
My best advice for anyone who wants to be a lifestyle or fashion influencer is to be yourself. I think the only way to achieve success is to be original and at the same time be able to translate that originality into your own distinctive brand that companies can see as being useful for their business.
My passion for my family, the fact that I suffer with sickle cell disease and where I live have all been instrumental in developing my original offer. I would also follow-up that to say this is a very competitive market and clients are becoming much more savvy in how and at what level they pay Instagram influencers.
Using the fashion theme as an example, I consistently showcase my ‘Passion for Fashion’ and prominently display my latest looks on my website and on my Instagram page. You don’t have to have a million-dollar wardrobe, but you have to be thoughtful in what you purchase and research how these pieces can be recycled in unique ways.
Do you have any special projects coming up?
I have a very special project coming up, that is so dear to me. It has been my absolute dream for the last ten years to complete a book that improves the awareness of Sickle Cell Disease. My greatest influence will be to showcase to sufferers that your quality of life can be improved; that there is hope. The book is a memoir of my life, and the daily challenges that I have faced and how I have overcome them to be where I am today.
The book will be released on 19th of June to coincide with the United Nations Sickle Cell Day.
Women UK talk to Jess here from Thejoyofplants.co.uk (a consumer branch of the Flower Council of Holland). ‘With April being Stress Awareness Month, we’ve partnered with renowned author, psychologist and wellness expert Emma Mills to share some top tips for how houseplants can keep you feeling calm and help to reduce stress.’
Research shows a 37% reduction in tension and anxiety when houseplants are introduced into the workplace, so we have created a round-up of the top five houseplants to incorporate into your surroundings to help to create a space of zen – and what better time to create this space than the long Easter weekend!
Houseplants to help reduce stress and boost your mood
Stress is something we all experience from time-to-time, both at home and in the workplace, and can sometimes leave us feeling in need of an escape. However, there’s no need to book a holiday just yet, as we’ve got the perfect, green solution to tackle those blues that’s much cheaper than a round the world ticket: Houseplants.
Award-winning British author and consultant specialising in meditation and wellness, Emma Mills is passionate about the link between wellbeing and nature. Emma advocates the stress-relieving effects of houseplants and how creating your very own green sanctuary can help to create a sense of calm and positively boost your mood. “By bringing the outside in and enriching our indoor spaces with houseplants, this reminds us of a natural simple way of living. A pace of life that is slower yet still incredibly intelligent, beautiful and efficient.”
Existing research also supports this, with a previous study revealing a 37% reduction in tension and anxiety when houseplants were introduced into the workplace, as well as promoting wellbeing and performance. Through her own personal experience, Emma believes that simply adding a splash of green to your kitchen counter or office desk can considerably help to reduce stress. “I believe that small steps each day can make a big difference to your wellbeing and being close to nature has significant and wide-ranging health benefits. I have quite a lot of houseplants living with me at home at the moment, around 30. I have loved keeping houseplants over the years and have found they bring a sense of calm, optimism, purpose and mindfulness.”
Inspired by Emma’s philosophy, Thejoyofplants.co.ukhas created a list of five must-have houseplants to integrate into your life, whether that’s at home or at work, to create a space of zen.
With large, bold leaves, an eye-catching Monstera certainly makes a statement in our homes. By a bold injection of green amongst the plainest of interiors, this houseplant can help to balance energies in your space and even boost your mood – a necessity in rooms with little natural light and poor ventilation. Place in bright, indirect light and water moderately to watch your Monstera thrive and to feel the joy it can bring you.
Devil’s Ivy (Scindapsus)
Devil’s Ivy is not only renowned for bringing luck and good fortune to its owner but also a sense of peace thanks to its flowing, satiny, heart-shaped leaves, making it a perfect addition to your home or office. To give this houseplant this love it deserves, place it away from direct sunlight or draughts and keep it happy by misting with water spray. Their beautifully patterned and variegated foliage inspires our creativity, keeping us in awe of nature.
The delicate, green feathers of an Asparagus Fern make this houseplant a soft and elegant choice. With its light and airy demeanour, an Asparagus Fern brings a sense of calm to the busiest of days, proving a soothing and cosy addition to any space. Notoriously strong and easy to care for, this houseplant prefers a spot with plenty of daylight but our of direct sunlight and for extra green lushness, treat it to houseplant food each week from May to September.
Dracaena. An indoor classic with a flamboyant streak. The distinct beauty and character of this houseplant will add an exotic touch to any room, helping to take our minds away from the chaos that everyday life can bring adding wonder to our daydreams. Dracaena houseplants are easy to look after, although, remember to place it in a light spot away from direct sunlight and only water once the soil is dry, and also mist with water from time to time. These care routines are also fulfilling, helping to relieve stress.
With green foliage that elegantly tumbles down and dark red flowers adding a vibrancy that’s pleasing to the eye, introducing Aeschynanthus, aka the lipstick plant into your surroundings can help to elevate your mood. There’s certainly a sense of pure bliss seeing houseplants thrive under your care when their curious red flowers start to bloom. This houseplant will bring a smile to our mood in bright, indirect sunlight and when watered moderately without the soil being soaked completely.
Women UK look at how romantic are the nations men. Does your mans name contribute to how romantic they are? Keeping the spark alive, 94% of UK men send gifts for Valentines Day
Local Romeo’s across the country are celebrated this Valentines Day as those who shower their loved ones in the most romantic way are named.
FEBRUARY 2019, UK: A recent study by Serenata Flowers, one of the UK’s leading online florists have uncovered traditional romance is still very much alive, with 94% of men in England choosing flowers as their first choice for Valentines Day.
The Local Romeo Name Calculator unveiled that David in London, Craig in Scotland and Andrew in Wales all came out on top, whilst Richard, Tom and Jim sent the least flowers. Of flower senders, a heart-warming total of 96% of men in London buy petals for their valentine, leaving only 4% of women admitting to sharing their love in this way.
Further findings revealed that men in the UK chose to give flowers over any other gift type.
Poet Geoffrey Chaucer linked St Valentines with romantic love in the 14th century and ever since the nation has showered loved ones year after year on the 14th of February. Red roses instantly convey romance and continue to pull at the heart strings of many, so it comes with little surprise that in the UK nothing says “I love you” more than a fresh bouquet of flowers.
There’s no need for heartbreak if cupid’s arrow accidentally left you with nowt on the day of Saint Valentine, maybe it’s time to take matters into your own hands as your Local Romeo may be closer than you think.
With an increase in digital gift giving, the UK floristry industry has taken note continuing to adapt to the ever-changing digital demand. This study shows that traditional gift giving is still a viable option for many across the UK with buying and sending flowers now easier than ever. Find out who the most romantic person is in your area with the Local Romeo Name Calculator by Serenata Flowers.
Whats your favourite flower? We would love to hear your comments?
Women UK talk to fashion blogger Eileen from http://www.secretcrushonline.com Eileen is a fashion and style lover with a degree in fashion design. If she’s not blogging or working on her YouTube channel she loves to design costumes, read up a storm or travel the world. She’s also obsessed with all things sparkly. Her blog “Secret Crush On Glam” is an interesting mix of brand introductions, style ideas, and fashion related tips and tricks. Here is her take on all things vintage! We love it!
‘Media might tell us otherwise, but slow fashion is not only coming, it’s already here – and has been for decades! Vintage is hip! Vintage is in! And now you can even shop it by weight! The weight of your chosen fashion pieces, that is, not your own. And considering the true cost of fashion, going vintage is an amazing way to make a point and do something good.
Interesting enough the first time I came across a vintage kilo store was not in London (maybe I just didn’t pay enough attention there because it certainly seems there are aplenty), but in Munich on a weekend trip. And now I stumbled upon several in Berlin. In fact, their business card tells me that they got a whopping 9 (in words: nine!) stores and they sell everything from leather jackets to boots to dresses to outer wear. All in superb condition, all previously loved and all looking for a new, loving home.
How it works is that their security tags are color coded. You take the garment of your choice to a scale, punch in the color of the security tag attached to the item and voilà, the glorious machine tells you how much your item costs (hence the “buy by the kilo”). Sadly they don’t buy vintage in store, so you can’t make any cash there.
I must admit that I don’t own much in terms of vintage. I love shopping in fast fashion stores as much as the next girl but I still love the 50s. Circle skirts, petticoats, diners, rock ‘n roll? Sign me up! And when I laid eyes on all those vintage kilo stores let me tell you that I was totally over the moon and spent hours browsing their inventory! Sadly I was a bit short on cash and also didn’t feel like carrying several pounds worth of clothes around Berlin while sightseeing, so I stayed strong and refused to let my credit card take over.
If you’re curious now and want to give some of their items a new home, you can learn all about the store and their locations in Berlin, Munich, Cologne and Hamburg on their website. Sadly they don’t seem to have an online store, but if you have a trip to Germany planned anyway, it’s worth incorporating a stop at one of their locations into your sightseeing plans’
Thank you Eileen! Check out Eileen’s blog for more great info. We have and we love it!
Fancy a Career Change? How About Becoming a Tree Woman?
For the last 2 decades I’ve worked in an occupational sphere where science meets visual aesthetics, where nature and civil and structural engineering co-exist, where caring for the green environment and full-on project management productively overlap – It’s called arboriculture; and most women have never heard of it.
My name’s Jacqui Waring and, among other things, I look after trees on development sites. From large scale housing developments, to geographically remote pipeline routes for hydro schemes, rationalizing the needs of trees is my mission when construction has the potential to deliver damaging impact. As far as rewarding jobs go, I can’t imagine anything better. But it’s not an exaggerration to say that arboriculture – the cultivation, study and management of trees, shrubs and woody plants – is currently the province of men.
Arboriculture’s professional uk body, the Arb Association, has an 89% male membership. Figures obtained by LANTRA (National Training Organisation for the Land Based Industries) suggest an 81% male dominance across tree and timber organisations including admin roles, and in recent years the Forestry Commission in Scotland has earmarked an extra £300,000 toward addressing the gender imbalance.
So should women be daunted by the stats? Or are there reasons why we should look at the arboricultural sphere with excitement as a place where we can and should make our mark?
Based as I am in the Highlands of Scotland, a big part of my job involves travelling to stunning wild locations, remote windy Islands and uninhabited tracts of forest. The weather can be challenging – working Highland winters out of doors requires some stamina not to mention the very best goretex-lined waterproofs and an appetite for adventure. I’ve had to relocate temporarily to the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, to Kinloch Castle on the isle of Rum, to Ardtornish Towers and plenty of remote bandbs with a remit to prepare sites for development and then constrain construction works to leave as much of the natural environment undisturbed as possible. As a self-employed consultant in a niche occupation, I not only enjoy being my own boss but simply couldn’t have raised my 2 sons alone without the flexibility this work-style has afforded me. All-in-all I’d have to say the combination of focus on the green environment and the potential to self-direct make the Arb sphere well worth investigation.
In addition the last 20 years has seen our national requirement to retain and protect trees increase dramatically driven by a growing awareness of the relationship between the benefits of tree cover and the threats of climate change. In 2015 alone, the UK’s vegetation provided air quality regulation with an economic value of £1.1 billion and averted 1,900 deaths from pollution.* Trees are a natural part of flood alleviation solutions, improvements in urban living and, with an ability to store carbon, a direct defence against global warming.
Jobs in arboriculture are becoming ever more necessary and more varied – all Local Authorities need Tree Officers, there are many fascinating fields of research (the symbiotic relationship between trees and fungi is still quite a mystery for example). Nurseries and tree planting outfits need both dedicated staff and capable management; they also need experts in fields such as biosecurity as our tree stock continues to be threatened by biological invaders such as Ash Dieback and Oak Processionary Moth. Even Arborists, the operators at the cutting edge of the tree care field (no pun intended – it’s a fully descriptive observation) can benefit from the increase in valuable ‘soft-skills’ associated with a more gender-diverse workforce.
Having operated solo for the last 12 years, working outside the mainstream in a beautiful yet remote location, I finally became a Professional Member of the Arboricultural Association in January 2018. I must admit I’d pictured the Association as a cohort of elderly, pipe-smoking gents with an in-built reluctance to countenance female participation in their man-realm. What I discovered was something different. The organisation is determined to open its ranks and move as rapidly as it can towards full inclusivity – which makes it a very exciting time to be a Woman in Arboriculture.
The momentum for change is reflected in the goals of an initiative established last spring. The Women in Arboriculture Working Group are looking to raise awareness through any and all forms of media, to visit schools and sow seeds of Arb ambition, to put their own stamp on what has been an almost exclusively male profession and to prompt institues of higher education to do more to encourage female interest. The WiA is comprised of managers, training specialists, biologists, researchers, consultants and yes, female arborists, skilled at climbing and chainsaw use. Turn’s out women can really cut it in arboriculture!
There’s an entire profession out here asking for women to make their way into it’s ranks, to invade like ivy and make arboriculture in all its forms their own. If I’ve managed to inspire you, take a look at the Arb Association’s website www.trees.org.uk, and at it’s careers section where you’ll find info on the Women in Arb Working Group. If you just want to follow up on your interest by getting in touch, you can come talk to me via my website www.treeplanning.co.uk and I’ll help steer you if I can.
*Author RHS – Oxford Economics for the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group Report
Kensington Palaces’ announcement of the pregnancy of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, has had the world guessing as to the Duchesses possible due date and the new royal baby’s gender. Arguably however, the impeding birth has mostly sparked speculation about potential baby names.
The betting public and Bookies may wait with baited breath for the announcement of the royal baby name- but beyond their interest, is the naming of a royal tot really that significant?
Linda Rosenkrantz is Co-founder of the popular name site Nameberry. Linda says, “In a word, yes. Especially since many classic names are now being dusted off and revived. Charlotte, for example, was already growing in popularity before the arrival of the princess, but it is now #7 in the US and #1 in Canada. But while George is #3 in England and Wales, it has not caught on in the US at all. We’ll have to wait and see about Louis.”
When a royal baby name is designated, the impact can be felt across the globe. Sabrina Rogers-Anderson is a renowned journalist and author and is known as a baby-name expert in Australia. Sabrina attests, “Charlotte has been topping the list of most popular names for years in Australia and the royal baby has only made it more popular.”
While royal parents may be strictly confined to selecting names which are historically regal, many non royal families do still encourage the selection of traditional family names. Linda Rosenkrantz explains “Although the tradition is not as strong as it once was—there are far fewer Juniors around today, for example—many parents still want to pay tribute to a relative or friend with an honor name.” Khloe Kardashian, for instance, bestowed the name True upon her baby daughter, as it was a family name on her mothers’ side.
Parents can however face a dilemma when it comes to naming their offspring after ancestors. Some may find themselves in a quandary when they may not love their loved- ones name. Sabrina Rogers- Anderson says, “Family naming traditions can be a joy to some and a burden to others. It can be a lovely way to pay tribute to a relative, but if it’s forced upon you and you don’t like the name, you’re in a tough spot!
For those who find themselves in such a predicament, Linda Rosenkrantz identifies potential compromises. “There are countless ways to play with the name and find a variation you like. Perhaps with a foreign version, a nickname that can be used in full (eg Millie for Mildred) or something that references that person in a less obvious way, such as a place name or even a flower that you associate with them.” If all else fails Sabrina Rogers Anderson suggests, “Use their name as your child’s middle name – inked on the birth certificate and never to be used again.”
While some parents may strive to honour a family member in their baby’s name, others are more reticent. Kim Kardashian West indicated in an interview on the Ellen Show that she was reluctant to name her youngest baby after her deceased mother in law because she felt it was, “so much to live up to.” Sabrina considers this dilemma, “Parents need to feel comfortable with the name. If the mother feels that it carries too many pressures, expectations or negative connotations, she has every right to refuse it. That isn’t so easy when family naming traditions are steeped in thousands of years of history however, such as with the Royals. But Kim certainly has the right to say no to her mother-in-law’s name.”
In another tradition, many religious parents- to- be, may feel a deep longing to select a name which reflects their spiritual beliefs. This was evident when a Papal visit, to Ireland inspired a trend which saw one in ten Irish baby boys named John Paul during 1980. Despite these trends, some parents may still be apprehensive about placing such a weight on a new baby, as to carry the name of a Pontiff. Linda assures however, “I think it’s fine to give an aspirational name, with a lot to live up to, especially naming a child after someone you highly respect.”
In a similar vein some parents bestow upon their child a name which embodies their cultural background. Sabrina Rogers-Anderson says, “Giving your child a name that honours your cultural heritage is a beautiful tradition and many people choose to do it.” This was apparent when Hollywood Actress, Eva Longoria- Baston named her son, Santiago Enrique Bastón. This traditional name reflected Longorias pride in her Mexican ethnicity.
Ultimately, aside from religious or cultural factors, it is of paramount importance that parents select a name that they adore, regardless of others expectations. Linda says, “Parents should never use a name they don’t love. Many people these days don’t publicize their choices beforehand just to avoid such pressure and discussions. They should bear in mind that parents’ and in-laws’ ideas are several decades out of style and they are often clueless about current naming norms. You can try to educate them via an excursion to a playground.”
While some parents may aim to keep family customs alive by choosing a traditional family name, others may go to the opposite end of the spectrum and give their child a name that will be certainly unique during roll call in school.
Many A- list Celebs bestow unusual and unconventional names upon their children. Jason Bateman and Amanda Anka, for instance, called their child Maple. Jim Toth and Reese Witherspoon named their baby girl, Tennessee . While Frank Zappa’s daughter goes by the name, Moon Unit.
Linda Rosenkrantz considers the motivation behind the selection of original and oftentimes eccentric names: “I think it varies by individual. Frank Zappa was one of the first and itlreflected what kind of an outrageous character he was and it happens that his kids, particularly Moon Unit, like their names. With Reese Witherspoon, Tennessee has real meaning for her, as her mother’s birthplace. Maple is not all that unusual—parents in general are turning to nature names—such as flowers, and even trees.”
Sabrina Rogers-Anderson explores this vogue: “It’s a long-standing tradition in the celeb world to choose unconventional names. I believe it’s because their upbringing and everyday lives are generally unconventional, so a bit of a wacky name doesn’t faze them. And when everyone else around you is doing it, why not? It doesn’t seem that strange.”
It is undeniable that celebs have in turn, inspired many mere mortals to bestow unusual and quirky names upon their offspring. Linda Rosenkrantz agrees, “Definitely. The whole naming landscape has changed as parents feel free to be more imaginative.”
Sabrina Rogers- Anderson considers “For a long time, regular people would sneer at strange celeb baby names, but in the past decade it’s become increasingly popular to give children wacky names inspired by celeb baby names. It’s just important to remember that if you’re kid isn’t in the showbiz world, for example if he works at the post office, a name like Deziel-Honeycomb might be a hindrance.”
That said, the bulk of parents do still give their children traditional names. Linda Rosenkrantz says, “The majority of parents have always chosen conventional names. Parents are turning back though to familiar, though long dormant vintage names like Alice and Evelyn. William and James are still #3 and #4 on the national (US) popularity list.”
Sabrina Rogers-Anderson verifies; “If you look at the top 10 names in all English-speaking Western countries, they’re all traditional names. The wacky name trend is still a minority even though it gets a lot of press. The Royals certainly help to keep traditional names alive and in the top 10.”
While there may be disagreements about preferences for baby names, there is a broad consensus and understanding that naming a baby is a huge responsibility. Linda shares this sentiment, “Yes of course, and that is why today’s parents invest a tremendous amount of time and energy in seeking the ‘perfect’ name for their baby, aware that the name becomes the child’s lifelong identity and influences how the world sees him or her.
Sabrina Rogers-Anderson explains, “There’s a huge body of research that shows that unusual names are linked with juvenile delinquency and that people with unusual names are less likely to be hired by employers than people with traditional names.”
Sabrina continues, “Parents should follow their hearts when naming their baby. But it’s important to remember that your child needs to live with their name their whole life, so it’s a good idea to take social expectations into consideration. Studies have shown over and over that people with unusual names aren’t as successful as those with more traditional names. It might not be fair, but it’s the way it is and it’s worth taking into account.”
From a practical perspective carrying an unconventional name can be problematic when it comes to issues such as spelling and pronunciation. This can impact a person their entire life and make everyday tasks such as ordering ones favourite coffee, a minor tribulation. A name may also have negative connotations and inspire nick-names that are difficult to carry in the playground, including abbreviating William to “Billy-No-Mates.” While more unpleasant children may label a Mary, a “Moaning Minnie.” Alternatively bearing the name of a Religious or cultural icon or indeed a beloved family member, can serve as an ideal for a person to aspire to.
Whatever your title and whoever inspired it -carry it with pride and confidence- assured that what is truly vital, is not the name that you are given, but rather, the name that you make- for yourself.