It’s a scary statistic, but the World Health Organisation expects that 35 percent of women in the world will experience violence at some point in their lives and that estimate is comparable to the UK as well. The Crime Survey for England and Wales recently revealed that 30% of the adult female population, from the age of 16, has likely been subjected to some form of domestic violence.

Stock photo: copyright to Free Images.
To make the point even more salient, violence against women and girls aged 15 to 44 causes as much ill health and death as cancer.
What makes violence against women so common?
These types of cases are always complex, but violence often stems from an imbalance of power between men and women. In most places, rather than being condemned or demonised, violence against women is accepted as a normal part of life. Males grow up in cultures that make it seem socially acceptable and females are often conditioned to accept the abuse. In this, the cycle of violence is hard to break.
Trying to bring about change forces us rethink gender roles that have been in place for generations. These issues are sensitive, and are often difficult to discuss.
Bringing about change to end the violence
Change can happen, with a commitment to the following:
Providing services for women and girls - to help end violence against women, we need to have the services to help. Protection, financials and health-related are all need to help women recover form abuse
Education about proper gender relationships – there has to be a focus on improving awareness of the rights of girls and women. It begins by educating girls and boys in schools to help them understand healthy relationships
Creating national change – across nations, rights of women are often vastly different to that of men. To end the violence, we must protect the rights of women in law

Want to find out more about how you can support us in our work to violence against women? We all know that violence against women causes untold damage to individuals, families, communities and entire societies. It has to be addressed, both in the UK and abroad. At Plan UK, that is one of their many missions.

Top Tips For Driving Home at Christmas

by Jada, November 24, 2014
If you have a lengthy journey ahead of you ready for a visit home this holiday season, don’t underestimate the toll continuous driving can have on you.

It can be tiring watching those white lines whizzing by and your body will probably need a deep massage treatment before you know it.

It doesn’t have to be this way though. With a bit of planning, a long journey can be made into a pleasurable experience whether you are driving alone or with family and friends

Be Prepared

First of all, if you are travelling with other licensed drivers, make a plan to rotate driving duties.

Secondly, plan a few pit stops en route and, if you have time, even stop off somewhere interesting to make the trip more fun.

Thirdly, get a GPS device so that you have a cool and collected navigator with you for the journey. Top spec gadgets (such as Tom Tom sat nav for example) come with advanced lane guidance, life time maps and quick search amongst a host of other useful features.

Sat navs make driving safer because you worry less about missing a turn or overshooting a motorway exit. It provides the driving support that you’d normally have to be aware of yourself so enables you to focus on being safe behind the wheel.

The fourth tip is to listen to music, comedy or just your favourite radio show to add a little entertainment to the trip and also help keep you alert.

Chewing gum is also a great way of keeping your mind tuned in; mint flavours tend to keep you bright and bushy-tailed.

When driving a long distance it is important to ensure you have plenty to eat and drink in the car with you. By ensuring you are hydrated and not hungry you maintain your concentration for a longer period of time. Some energy drinks or coffee can also help drivers to stay awake although caution is recommended.
It is vital that you do not wait until your petrol gage is on red before you attempt to look for a nearby petrol station. Whilst a sat nav will be able to pick one up relatively quickly – you have no idea how far away it might be and no one wants to run out of petrol on a motorway.
New Year is well and truly approaching, but clearly, first we have to get December and Christmas out of the way! Why not get a head start over this time on your New Year’s Resolutions? You could at least get the plans in place – remember, there’s never a wrong time for a whole new you! Christmas is a time for fun and indulgence, but just make sure you’re not burning the candle from both ends!
Stop Smoking!
This is the old cliché, and yet it crops up for so many of us, time and time again! If you’re a smoker looking to stop, there are so many ways you can go about it. First stop, check the NHS special stop smoking sites. Next, consider getting some patches, and even some lollipops to keep your mind off it! The most important thing to remember is it needs to be the right time and you will need willpower!
Join The Gym
If this is one that interests you, you’ll want to do that sooner rather than later! The New Year rush is a right headache for gym buddies, as they find their safe space invaded by total newbies! Be on the sneering side this year as you prepare to roll your eyes at these people who’ll inevitably drop out before the end of January. Whether you will too doesn’t matter – if you get in there now, you can tell yourself it’s okay that the queues put you off your ‘beloved’ gym, and you’ll have a viable excuse.
Cut Down The Alcohol
This isn’t Alcoholics Anonymous – the majority of us can enjoy a drink without it leading to total and utter chaos, but that isn’t to say that a lot of us don’t have relationships or even waistlines that couldn’t benefit from a bit of a detox. Switching from drinking twice a week to just once or less can help, as can thinking of other activities that don’t always centre on drink. Remember, you can still go to the pub or clubs without getting drunk – yes, it might seem alien but you can still have fun, with the right people. Plus, no hangovers: bonus! If you are struggling for tips, check out Drink Aware.
Start Listening To Your Body
So many of us don’t do this. Whether we’re overeating, over working, or even overdoing it on the health kick stuff (yes, that’s a thing too, sorry!), you need to actually start LISTENING. What worked for you two years ago may not work now, and you shouldn’t push yourself harder than you can manage. Why not set a goal to treat yourself once a month to something relaxing? Massages can be great, whether you’re simply stressed, or actually injured from over exertion. Total Health Clinics offer the sort of services that could really help you get back on track.

Dear Paula, My Big Sister and Best Friend.

by Jada, November 22, 2014
Dear Paula,

I know we didn't get off to a great start when we first met, you was laying on the bed with mum when her waters broke, you unfortunately got a little bit wet from the waters surrounding me.

It had been just you for a very long time, you was extremely close to Nan and Grandad, mum and auntie Donna, you was the first born grandchild and first born to make Donna a auntie.

I can't remember much from our childhoods, but I do know we argued and fought furiously with each other. I remember you being allowed a blue fizzy drink, whilst I was only allowed squash, oh how the little things made me "hate you".

When you was a teenager things only got worse, stay out of my room you would scream at me. Have you been going through my stuff again you would repeatedly ask? The amount of times mum told us to stop arguing must of been at least three billion.

There was a few years that I can hardly remember seeing you, you worked, and worked hard from the age of 15, spent your hard earned wages enjoying yourself on every opportunity, and rightly so.

In time, I become a rebellious teenager, and had a lot of anger issues, often starting and re-acting over the most stupidest of things. I remember I once went to hit mum, a decision I regret and live with for the rest of my life. You jumped in front of mum, and took a nasty punch to the nose.

I left that day, and done the most stupidest thing of my life. I took an overdose, fortunately my lovely friend Jemma sought help, and I was admitted to hospital. It was in the A&E waiting room, Jemma bumped into you, you was there to see if your nose was broken as it looked as though it was. You come rushing to my side and called our parents, that day was most probably the worse day of my life.

I soon fell pregnant with Spud, and I changed, long gone was the angry Jade, but here instead was a mother, a loving mother who cared for nothing more then her beautiful child and her loving and supportive family.

I remember you coming to see Spud when he was not even a day old with my your friend Stacey. Actually it was thanks to you that I even made it to the hospital to give birth to Spud.

I woke up at 3.02am on the 30th of March 2006 with a awful belly ache. I went to the toilet but nothing was happening, despite the most awful pain in my tummy. I did manage a wee though, and it was then I noticed blood.

From attending my pregnancy classes, I knew this wasn't right, I woke up Spud's dad, who was staying in Jamie's room, and asked him to get dad for me. Dad was working at least six 12 hour shifts a week bless him, and told me to go back to sleep, it wasn't time for the baby.

Spud's dad went back to Jamie's room, and I got back into my bed, I was laid there alone, scared and in pain. I waited a whole hour before I got the house phone and tried to call mums house phone, but no one answered, It was gone 4am, I imagined you all to be asleep and I started panicking.

I called mums mobile, the one time it was turned off was the one time I really needed some help. I called your phone, and you answered giggling, amazingly, you had been out to celebrate Stacey's birthday, you woke up mum for me, giggling and in a drunken state, but you done it!

Mum told me to call the hospital, who kept me on the phone for 10 minutes asking me to say whenever I had a contraction, every time I said now, they was amazed. The lady on the phone said you don't sound like your in labour, but come in for a check up. I asked about my bag and she told me to leave it at home.

I woke up dad, with mum waiting for him on the house phone, she told dad to call an ambulance but me and Spud's dad got a taxi instead. When I arrived at the hospital, shortly after 6am, I was 6cm dilated and Spud was born shortly after 9am, to what we now discovered was seven weeks premature at a very low weight.

You was never the maternal type, and even joked about before kissing him, asking if Spud had been washed before you kissed my juices, whereas no one else thought about that, and just kissed him anyway. You did end up kissing him, and my juices as he wasn't allowed to be bathed because of how early he was.

One Easter, either Spud, or our first born nephew big man, come towards you covered with a chocolate dribbling mouth, and you squealed, we all laughed and said we could never imagine you being a mum, the whole time none of us knowing you was pregnant with your first child!

You and nan came to visit me and Spud once at the flat. Whilst I was making us all a drink in the kitchen, I heard nan say to Spud, just think this time next year your have a cousin to play with, I run in the front room, armed with a tea spoon and repeated what I just heard. I then asked if you was pregnant, of which you and nan tried to get out of, but I wasn't having any of it! You ended up telling me and there was cheers all round!

You soon found out you was expecting a baby boy, and I left college early to go to town and buy you a balloon and other presents the day you had him. I fell in love all over again as I met little big man for the first time.

I didn't see much of little big man, but after the break up of my second relationship, I started to see mum more, she was living with you until her home was sorted, along with our little sister and mums partner of 15 years.

I can't remember how, I think when mum left she asked if I could help you for a day or something, and I come to your house alone for the very first time since you'd left home.

That day was the day our sisterhood bond started, and my new bestest, bestest friend role was made. I'd drop Spud off to school every morning, and take the short walk to your house, and would spend the day with you and little big man until it was time to collect Spud. We spent weekends apart, unless we met up as the whole family, but spoke a number of times each day on the phone.

We all started to notice things differently with little big man, like the way he couldn't talk, however he would make the most perfect animal noises. The way he would bang his ears with certain noises, how he didn't like loud noises what so ever, the way he lost his temper and the way he had to line things up in a rather OCD matter.

We was in town one day, stood outside the cake shop and you said to me that you think you might be pregnant, so we went and got you a pregnancy test, the next morning after dropping Spud off to school and arriving at your house, you said you was pregnant and I wasn't to tell anyone else! I was the second person to know and felt so so privileged!

In time, little big mans health visitor also noticed things in him, and then when he started nursery they did too. We still loved him, and still do now, it was just his way, that everyone soon got to know how to deal with.

I remember being at your house, and I asked him to say my name, and he said auntie Jade, I cried, I couldn't stop kissing him, oh how I love him! In time Baby Boo was born, another little boy, and oh my did he scream the house down!

In time Little Big Man was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, and you took it in your stride, being ever so maternal, that no one could of imagined you being.

Baby Boo got worse, and still continues to get worse, they're currently observing and testing him, but have already said what we all suspected, he may possibly have Aspergers or something else like ADHD, again, nothing would change, we all love them boys, and to us they're perfect!

A part of Little Big Mans condition means he had his eyes checked, he soon started wearing glasses and had regular appointments at the eye department. Earlier this year, the consultant looking after Little Big Man was concerned with something after looking at his eyes and referred LBM to Great Ormond Street Hospital for further test.

You picked up the results yesterday Paula, and we all cried with you. They 80% suspect LBM to have Ushers Syndrome, a syndrome that effects the eyes and ears, with some sufferers sadly loosing all their vision and hearing, becoming both blind and deaf.

They're now arranging brain scans for Little Big Man, and are pushing things forward so they can test Baby Boo for the same thing also. 

I just want you to know how proud I am of you Paula, you're already an amazing mother to two boys who have extra needs, I'm with you most days, and admire the strength you have.

Baby Boo is now three, and I hate to say it but is getting worse and worse, a simple journey to the shop is the biggest of dramas but you deal with it, in such a calm and collective way, as usual taking everything in your stride. Whereas me, I'm like Paula, how do you deal with it, thinking of having another fag the minute one has been put out.

You don't get stressed and smoke (and please never do start!), or bite your nails, or eat a whole bar of Galaxy chocolate, or even vent to Facebook. You just deal with it, and that's what I admire about you.

You live off a few hours sleep each night, with the boys, mainly Baby Boo continuously waking in the night. Your full attention has to be on them boys, but you still manage to run a home, be a chef, a cleaner, a house wife and a fantastic mother.

You're one of the most kindest woman I know, with a heart of gold, you're always helping me and you're Spud's favourite auntie as he's told us many of times.

I want you to know Paula, that we're all beside you, not behind you, but beside you. I love your boys like they're my second and third sons, I love the bond you allow me to have with my nephews, even though they can be hard work.

I love everything about them, their syndromes and disorders, their flaws and their bad behaviours, they're the most beautifulest little cheeky boys, and together they make your sons.

We will deal with anything life throws at us together, and we will arrange things differently if we have too. You and your sons will never be a burden to any of us, like you are always there for others, we're there for you, ALWAYS.

You're superwoman Paula, and never forget how much we all admire your strength and determination. We praise you all the time, and love you more than words can ever begin to explain.

You're more than just my big sister, you're also my best friend.

Love you forever and always, Jade xxx
Remember, remember the 5th of November has already passed away in our diaries and calendars, so you'd think they'll be less fireworks doing its rounds wouldn't you? However, every day since mid October until currently there seems to be fireworks of some sort let off every night, sometimes even during the day of what you can only think is immature teenagers or even children.

A survey carried out by UKMedix asked 1,000 UK residents over the age of 18 ''Should fireworks only be sold to professional organisers and not the general public?'' To read the full story that I've read, you can find the article here. The survey found that overall, 53% of the survey participants would want no restrictions to who can buy fireworks, however the older generation were leaning towards restrictions, unlike the younger generation.

Spud at a professional display last year, with his ear defenders as he can't deal with the loud noises!
I didn't participate in the survey, however, if I would of known about it, I sure would of participated and would of been one of the participants backing the pledge. Fireworks are not toys, gadgets or just pieces of put together material to mess around from.

The results showed that:
  • 57% of over 45’s believe that fireworks should only be sold to professional organisers.
  • 44% of women wanted the same restrictions throughout all age groups.
  • 43% of 18-44 year olds did not want any restrictions on firework sales.
  • 60% of parents think that fireworks should only be sold to professional organisers and not to the general public.

There can be devastating consequences if fireworks get into the wrong hands, and this is only proved by the horror stories you see in the tabloids during this time of year. Those on the frontline such as firefighters and A&E staff have longed warned about the dangers of fireworks in the hands of amateurs, having seen the first-hand devastating and life changing injuries that can be caused by mishandling fireworks.

When I was a teenage, I helped volunteer at a local firework display, I was with my friend and her mum so my dad gave me permission to help out. Once the display was finished, and the bonfire started fading out, we started to walk around the park with black sacks and litter pickers collecting all the rubbish we could see, when we started hearing firework bangs that seemed quite close. 

Within a few seconds we was all running around like headless chickens as a group of teenagers was setting off fireworks from the side of the hill, so instead of the fireworks shooting up into the sky, they was heading down to the bottom of the park, right in our direction! Luckily, all of us escaped harm and the teenagers run off, however, their actions could of been horrifying.

The video above shows a firefighter getting attacked by fireworks that a group of teenagers have let off as they try to attend to a small fire. Imagine if one of those fireworks would of hit one of the firemen in the face?

I'm backing the 60% of parents who want to see fireworks sold to professionals only. I know home displays are personal and more convenient for many, however, I would much rather see more money invested into professional displays!

Jada x

Simple ways to keep your neighbourhood safe

by Jada, November 21, 2014
Keeping our neighbourhoods safe is something we dream of and work hard to achieve. For most of us, the place we live is generally pretty safe and we’re happy bringing our families up there. However, there are a number of simple things we can do to keep our neighbourhoods even safer.

Security systems
Installing alarms and CCTV from Big Brother Systems Ltd can make your home and neighbourhood safer. If anyone looking to break in sees these, they’ll think twice about trying it. CCTV cameras are easy to install and are a great tool in the fight against burglars and vandals. Or you could install infrared beams linked to alarms or outside lights that only come on when activated by someone crossing them.  Fit alarms on sheds where you keep valuables like tools and bikes too.  

Common sense measures
Make sure you always lock your doors and shut your windows when you leave the house. A lot of burglaries are opportunistic, so making it difficult for unwanted guests to get in your home will deter them. Having blinds and curtains up at windows will present another barrier for would-be burglars getting in too. It’s also important to keep fences and gates around your property in good condition so they can’t be climbed or broken easily making access more difficult.

If you have any ladders and tools, keep them locked away in a shed or somewhere secure. They can be used to climb up to open windows or to smash the glass in them.

Neighbourhood Watch
Having your street and surrounding areas join a Neighbourhood Watch scheme is another way to keep them safe. Schemes like this encourage people to look out for one another and also run youth workshops and local clean-up projects if needed. Being a Neighbourhood Watch area makes your neighbourhood safer as the signs showing you are one often deter criminals.

Getting to know your neighbours will help keep your neighbourhood safer as people who know each other tend to keep an eye out on what’s going on. Let each other know when you’re away on holiday and get spare keys cut so you can close curtains at night and switch lights on to make houses appear as though someone’s in.  Neighbours who know each other’s habits will be able to spot when something’s wrong and act accordingly. Burglars depend on people keeping themselves to themselves so if they know your neighbourhood is a close one, they’ll be less likely to come to yours.

Social media
Careful use of social media is important too. Encourage others in your neighbourhood not to post details of when they’re away from their homes on Facebook as you never know who’s reading it. If criminals see a home is empty, they may be tempted to pay a visit.

And, of course, always lock your car when it’s on the drive or street outside your home and keep keys out of sight and away from the front door so they can’t be grabbed from the outside.

Keeping your neighbourhood safe isn’t difficult. Just follow these tips and help yours stay that way.

Jada x

The large number of contraceptive pills on offer these days might leave your head in a spin. With so much choice available, it can be hard to know where to even start your search. However, by getting to grips with the basic facts, you should be able to narrow down your options and find the perfect pill for you - taking into account your age, health, lifestyle and preferences. Bear in mind there may be a little trial and error involved too. Lots of women test a number of pills before they find one that they’re completely happy with.
Combined pills
The most popular option is the combined pill. Unless you’re over 35, are breast feeding or have a medical condition such as a history of blood clots, the chances are your doctor will start you off on one of these pills. They contain a mixture of synthetic forms of the hormones progesterone and oestrogen. The pills either come in packs of 21, like Cilest, or packs of 28. If you got for the latter option, you will take seven inactive pills after finishing each course of 21 active pills. The advantage of this is that you won’t get out of the habit of taking a daily contraceptive.
Most combined pills are monophasic, meaning all of the 21 active pills in each pack contain the same level of hormone. However, some contain pills with different levels of hormone in. If you opt for one of these, you’ll need to make sure you take your pills in the correct sequence.
Combined pills are associated with a range of advantages. For example, they can help to make your periods lighter and less painful and they usually lead to regular bleeds. They can also reduce premenstrual symptoms. In addition, research suggests they may cut the risk of cancer of the uterus, ovaries and colon.
On the flipside, it’s important to be aware that these contraceptives can lead to temporary side-effects at first, including nausea, headaches, mood changes and breast tenderness. They can also lead to a rise in blood pressure. Meanwhile, if you have a history of blood clots, migraines or heart or liver disease, combined pills may not be suitable.
Low dose
Low-dose combined pills are another option. These contraceptives contain less oestrogen, meaning they can limit a range of side effects associated with the hormone, including nausea, sore breasts and headaches. However, bear in mind that they cause a higher rate of irregular bleeding.
Mini pill
If you’re 35 or older, you smoke or you’re overweight, a mini-pill may be a better option. Also called progesterone only pills, they don’t contain oestrogen. This contraceptive is taken every day without any breaks. One of the major advantages of the pills is the fact that they don’t raise blood pressure. They can also be taken if you’re breastfeeding.
However, most of these pills have to be taken within the same three-hour window each day. Also, the pills don’t tend to regulate periods as effectively as combined versions. Around four in every ten of the women who use this form of contraceptive experience irregular bleeds.
Pills that treat acne and hair growth
There are also pills intended to clear excessive hair growth and severe acne. For example, the contraceptive Dianette can be taken for this purpose. However, this shouldn’t be used as a long-term birth control option. The pills are usually only taken for six months or until the acne or hair growth has cleared.

Upcycling in the Bathroom

by Jada, November 18, 2014
Once you’ve got you bathroom fixtures and fittings installed (there are some great offers over at, you can save money on providing some stylish accessories by upcycling a range of your old household products and transforming your bathroom with them. Here are some simple ideas for inspiration or to try for yourself.

Quirky Mirrors
There’s a variety of old products that you no longer have any use for to transform into a cool mirror. Here are a couple of ideas…

Tennis Rackets
The heads of old wooden tennis rackets make great mirror frames. Simply remove the strings from the racket, cut the mirror (you will need a wheel cutter, or find a local craftsperson) and secure inside the bevelled rim.

For a smaller mirror, an ex-jukebox record (with the centre cut out) makes a great looking frame for a bathroom in a musical or retro household.

A cabinet to hold your toiletries, either above the sink or freestanding, is a must for any bathroom.

Old Suitcase
An old suitcase is perfect for this re-purposing. The top of the suitcase already acts as a door and the compartments in the suitcase make great shelves for little bottles.

Towel Rail
This one is an easy one as any long thin piece of wood, plastic or metal can act as a rail for drying your towels.

Rolling pin
Old school rolling pins look great, simply secured away from the wall with a specially made bracket.

Chair back
A chair back with multiple spindles can act as a great rail for a number of towels.

This is another area where it is possible to get very creative using a whole host of pieces of furniture and products which are no longer good enough for their primary function.

Take the back off a guitar and secure to the wall front-first. Add shelves into the compartment with small pieces of plywood.

Ironing Boards
This quirky idea looks great if you spray paint the boards first or decorate with a nice pattern. All you need is brackets to put them up.

Step ladders or old wooden ladders provide great looking shelves for anywhere in the house.

You will also need somewhere to put you toothbrushes, soap and other essential toiletries…

Mason Jars
The ever reliable (and cheap) mason jars can be upcycled to give them the style you want. You just need imagination and some glass paints.

Old tobacco tins, large shells and old ash trays can make great soap dishes if re-styled in the right way.

Another neat idea is using all your old ties (or buy a collection from a charity shop) to make a rug.

If you have any idea's you'd like to share, please do leave a comment below!

Jada x