Period poverty is in the news and rightly so.

Periods cost money

Did you know that British women spend around £19,000 on period products? This includes the cost of tampons, towels, pain relief and underwear.

If we take a woman who menstruates for 40 years that works out at about £475 which depending on your circumstances might not seem like loads of money. I would argue that sanitary protection is a basic need and that poverty should not stop you having it.

Let’s empathise

If you have ever started your period unexpectedly, you will know how embarrassing it is to have stains on your clothing or to leave a mark on a chair.

If we are honest we also know that sanitary products vary enormously in terms of efficacy and much of that is based on the price you pay.

Food or sanitary protection?

If you are mum and it is a choice between feeding your children or not having adequate sanitary protection, what will you do? We know the answer is probably feed the children but what if you need to work and have no sanitary protection and are on your period?

Earlier this year a pilot scheme in Aberdeen was launched to provide free sanitary products to women and girls from low income households, in a bid to tackle period poverty. Lucky Aberdeen but what about the rest of us?

We should be better than this!

It really gets to me that we seem to be no further forward than when my mother started her periods back in the Thirties. She told me she would try and make pads out of sheets of toilet paper.

It is great that food banks are now often encouraging donations of sanitary protection products from members of the public. A lot of us could afford two packets instead of one when we buy sanitary towels or tampons. It could make all the difference to the dignity of a woman and the emotional wellbeing of a family that is struggling. Should women really be reduced to using tissues, newspaper or socks in their knickers to mop up blood from what is a perfectly natural and important bodily function?

What about the girls who can’t go to school because they have no sanitary protection. Education if often the route out of poverty so that’s a real curveball. You want to go to school to escape poverty but you can’t because you are on your period and have no protection because you are poor.

Let’s take action!

Wouldn’t it be great if every blogger or blog reader that could buddied up with a woman or family affected by poverty to offer a monthly supply of sanitary product? As blogs so often give women a voice, it would be great to see bloggers coming together to do something on this issue.

In the meantime, check out Amika George’s #FreePeriods campaign and sign the petition unless you would ever love to be poor and have blood streaming down your legs?

What are your views on period poverty?

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The Modern Face of Marriage is of course very different than how marriage was in the past.

Marriage in the past

My Mum and Dad married in 1950 and as in many marriages of that era, it really was until death us do part. What an achievement to stick together for almost 60 years through good times and bad sharing the joys and the challenges. Dad was the main breadwinner and expected mum to stay at home at least until the children went to school.

Is romance dead?

It saddens me a little that people go up the aisle thinking already that they might get divorced if things don’t work out. Although I think it is great that people can escape an unhappy marriage particularly if violence or abuse is an issue, the romantic in me still yearns for the happy ever after for everyone.


When Mum and Dad got married their religions were different and that was an issue in a way that it would not be nowadays or I hope not anyway. Their wedding day was lovely but simple and not the huge ostentatious affairs that seem to be the norm these days despite so many in the UK being cash-strapped.

Living together

People often wait longer to get married these days both in terms of age and in terms of length of relationship. I was 10 years in to my partnership (and 3 babies!) before we got round to putting a ring on it. It is easier to just live together these days as people don’t bat an eyelid about that arrangement and are less judgemental.

Because divorce is readily available, more and more people have multiple marriages. I did not dream of marrying a man who had an ex-wife but that is how it turned out when Cupid decided to sling one of those arrows. If you are interested in reasons people decide to divorce, have the answers.

Modern Face Of Marriage

During our relationship, there have been times when my husband earned more and times when I did. I have worked, run a business and spent time as a stay at home mum largely due to the unavailability of reliable and affordable childcare.

Although I am a feminist, I often wonder if life was easier for wives when roles were more clearly defined. I can’t be the only woman who tries to combine income-generation, parenting and domestic goddess attempts often feeling the Jackie of All Trades and the Mistress of None.

Same-sex marriage

Of course there is one huge and welcome change in that same-sex couple can now express their commitment to each other in a public ceremony.

I think the real truth about the modern face of marriage is that it varies from couple to couple but thinking about the older couples I have known, I think that always applied really. We are individuals after all and have to navigate the ultimate partnership that marriage brings carefully.

There were 247,372 marriages between opposite sex couples in 2014 and 4,850 marriages between same sex couples in 2014. It appears that whatever the modern face of marriage, lots of us are still keen on the institution and the concept of our own Big Day.

Flight delays have the potential to wreck holidays and disrupt business plans. They can be under an hour or more than one day or anything in between. One delayed flight can mess up all the follow-up travel plans from getting a connecting flight to missing out on the public transport you had planned to get you nearer home.

Little things can make it less stressful depending on the causes and length of the delay. It might be that the airline offers you complimentary refreshments.

An apology helps but is so often not given in case it means admitting liability when often a sorry would make air passengers feel so much better about their plight.

It can be stressful whatever your circumstances but if you have children who get bored easily it can be an absolute nightmare. This is worse if your children are so young that you cannot really explain to them what is going on and that everything will turn out OK in the end. Couples often handle stress in different ways too so that might add domestic strife to an already challenging situation.

We all have lives away from our holiday period or business tasks. Sometimes we are juggling a lot of responsibilities. This might mean we have people who rely on us as unpaid carers to someone who is old and frail or someone with mental or physical health issues. Perhaps we left children at home with someone else who is only available for a limited period.

It can be nerve-wracking if you are the victim of a longer flight delay worrying where you are going to spend the night. You might have limited funds available at the end of a holiday.

Claiming compensation for flight delays takes a little time and effort but if you have suffered in some of the ways above, a successful claim might make you feel a whole lot better.

My Dad worked in Bradford so I became very familiar with the iconic Little Germany which has been used in a number of films and TV productions over the years including ‘Wall of Tyranny’, ‘The Red Riding Trilogy’, ‘L.A. without a map’ and more recently ‘The Syndicate’. It used to be fun seeing shop fronts and street signs change from time to time to meet the needs of a particular era.

Of course Yorkshire is very diverse and I have lived in all the sections of it except South Yorkshire over the years. In fact, my husband and I moved to North Yorkshire about a year after getting together and started our family there.

My baby and then toddler sonwas obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine and developed a real interest in trains. In fact, he was most put out at about the age of 3 when somebody we met referred to trains as “choo-choos” in his presence.

We would regularly take trips to Grosmont which is like stepping back in time in many ways with its quaint shops and tearooms and of course, the steam trains. I love how old railways don’t stay closed for long often brought back to life very quickly by volunteer train enthusiasts.

After Grosmont, we would go the smaller station at Goathland which has been used as Hogsmeade Station in the Harry Potter films and Aidensfield in the popular sixties drama Heartbeat. Harry Potter kept my children happy and Aidensfield kept my husband happy. I like any historic sites so enjoyed myself too especially if a visit to a tea shop was on the agenda.

It really is a thrill to see locations we know and love transformed on screen.

I have enjoyed revisiting some fond memories for

Are you following #SeenonScreen?

You may be wondering how your social calendar will alter if you decide to stop smoking but deem yourself as a socialite — with Nicotinell’s smoker profile quiz perfect for discovering if you are indeed a social smoker.
Fortunately, help is at hand. The following guide will set out how you can remain to be a socialite without having to smoke:

Are there links between alcohol and smoking?

Before we delve into how you can socialise while enjoying a smoke-free lifestyle, first we will explain the close link that is seen between drinking alcohol and smoking.
This is because government data has established that up to 90 per cent of people who find themselves addicted to alcohol also smoke. Furthermore, smokers have been found to be more likely to drink and have a 2.7 times greater risk of becoming dependent on alcohol than non-smokers do.
There’s also scientific links, in that alcohol and nicotine both act on common mechanisms found in the human brain. When it comes to nicotine, the chemical compound will enter the bloodstream as soon as you smoke a cigarette and rapidly get transported to your brain. Once there, the nicotine will stimulate the brain by creating receptors which release chemicals that give a feeling of pressure. These receptors will increase in number as smoking becomes prolonged and your brain will become reliant on nicotine in order to release these feel-good chemicals.
Within 72 hours of deciding to stop smoking, the nicotine supply found in your bloodstream will drop. Those receptors won’t disappear that quickly though, so your brain’s chemistry will react to cause powerful cravings and strong emotional reactions. Persistence is key, as nicotine receptors will go away with time and your brain chemistry should be back to normal within three months of a quit.
Researchers believe that alcohol fosters the feeling of pleasure as well. If true, this reinforces the effects of nicotine on the brain. There are suggestions that nicotine and alcohol will moderate each other’s effects on the brain due to the fact that nicotine stimulates while alcohol sedates.

How to socialise during your quit-smoking journey

Early on in your quit-smoking journey, you’re likely to be faced with a situation where you will be invited to socialise in a scenario where you would have previously had a cigarette. Here’s how to stick to your goals and still have a good time:

Choose a social get-together where there’s no smoking

Invite friends to your house instead of heading to a place where people are likely to be smoking. You can celebrate your smoke-free success with them. You’ll be able to control what is served too, which can help stop those triggers and completely avoid cigarettes in your smoke-free home.

Bring a quit buddy along to your social events

No matter if it’s a friend or family member, a quit buddy will be a great person to have join you at whatever social event you’re heading along to. A quit buddy is someone who supports your quit. Should you encounter old smoking friends who ask you to join them, make sure they are aware of your situation so they can be respectful. Not only that, you’ll also have your quit buddy to hang out with.

Hang out with non-smokers

You’ll receive plenty of help from non-smokers and friends who are keen to support your decision to quit smoking. Who you choose to hang out with can help support your ex-smoking status. Slip-ups can occur when quitters are in the company of other smokers who may not be aware of how to support their quit attempt.

Give yourself a pep talk

Smoking cravings may be trigged as you head out for a drink. Before leaving the house or in the car, be mentally prepared by saying aloud, “I’m a former smoker.” Or try, “I don’t smoke. I’m healthier and happier without cigarettes.” The main point is to remind yourself that you’re a former smoker and that you don’t need to light up anymore.

Don’t delay socialising

Just because you’re having doubts, that shouldn’t give you the excuse to cancel social plans. Everything you did as a smoker, you can do as a former smoker. Holding off too long from social drinking after quitting can create a sense of intimidation. Plus, socialising with friends is an important part of your life. The sooner you teach yourself how to enjoy a drink or two without a cigarette, the sooner you’ll feel like your life is back to normal.