Monthly Archives: June 2014

24 more Sleeps!


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That’s right!

Not long now until I run my first 5K race, with Inny and my friend Jen bringing up the rear (at a leisurely pace i’m sure).

I’m nervous. if I’m honest mostly about my time as I believe I can complete the race.

Impressively we are currently at 24% of the target amount we hope to face for Cancer relief!


Please visit our Just giving page below and donate if you can…………………. or pray  for our success if you can’t.


A big thank you to all who have donated so far!


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See It – Speak It

Today has started off badly. Work has been stressful for the last six months but I’ve been coping. The difficulties this morning are less about work stress and more about the effect last night’s BBC3 drama Murdered By My Boyfriend has had on my peace.

BBC3 Murdered By My Boyfriend

Murdered By My Boyfriend charts the four years leading up to the death of a 21 year old mother. It starts when the bubbly confident 17 year old Ashley (Played by Georgina Campbell) meets the older good-looking Reece (Royce Pierreson) who would eventually brutally beat her with his fists and an ironing board, while their toddler looks on before leaving her to die on their bedroom floor.

It is based on the true story of Casey Brittle who was murdered by Sanchez Williams.

Writer Regina Moriarty skilfully and knowledgeably charts how the fun and loving relationship moves through the various stages of domestic violence and emotional abuse. It was superbly delivered by the actors and resonated with my relationship with McDad so much that the perpetrator even said, word for word, some of the things that McDad has said to me from the other side of the sofa.

As I watched the show I followed the twitter feed for #MurderedByMyBoyfriend. I was so shocked by the lack of understanding and the amount of victim blaming. The demographic most likely to suffer from domestic violence are females aged between 16-24 but on the feed it seems to be the demographic most vicious in the blaming of the victim.

Tweets referred to Ashley as stupid, an idiot, weak and many said that love wouldn’t make them stay in a situation like that.

If nothing else what became clear was the complete lack of understanding and empathy in relation to the victims of domestic violence.

For a long time I have been ashamed of speaking out about the level of violence and emotional abuse that I suffered at the hands of McDad.

This is mostly due to victim blaming; and that was mostly from other women. When a woman says to me ‘I would have never have let a man treat me that way’ I understand how little they understand because before I met McDad I used to say that.

Just as in the BBC3 Drama, McDad never laid a finger on me until I was 6 months pregnant. Looking back the emotional abuse had started in subtle ways; unreasonable jealousy, movement checking, subtle put downs.

There was a moment where Ashley screams in her head. That was a moment I experienced but not in my head. I screamed and screamed and begged him to leave, to stop destroying not only me but the children, friendships and every waking day.

He hugged me and smirked.

He also referred to my body size and ‘insecurities’. He advised me to stop getting myself into these states.

Domestic violence happens everywhere. Household with domestic violence are not defined their pay packet, colour, culture, level of education or ages of the occupants. McDad and I are university educated, earned four times the national average wage combined, were senior NHS managers and I was in my 30’s.

I was confident, well travelled, intelligent and feisty. I had a lovely network of friends and was never short of money. McDad came along and eroded all those aspects of my life, slowly chipping away at my self esteem and confidence. By the time the first punch came I was six months pregnant, about to go on maternity leave and living with him.

And I was mentally exhausted.

Utterly spent.

Stages of abuse

Almost two years followed of being spat on, kicked, punched and strangled to the point of losing consciousness, quite often in front of the toddler.

Like Cassey Brittal, who called the police 11 times for help, ten years ago I just couldn’t find the support I needed to get out of that relationship. I called the police on 5 different occasions, I walked in to a police station twice with visible bruising and in a state of shock and distress while barefoot and carrying my year old baby.

I spent days frantically trying to find a refuge or help but was refused by five domestic violence charities because I would not give up my job at the NHS. It was the last thing he was yet to destroy and I wanted to be able to provide for my daughters as a single parent but I was told in no uncertain terms that if I did not cut all ties including my job I could not enter a shelter in case he followed me there.  It was on me to move from the home that I had built long before I met him, my job, my family and my friends if I wanted help.

There was no onus on him stopping; it was all about me escaping.

Finally I woke up one morning and decided that I had to get a better life for my daughters. When his next attack came I locked myself in the bathroom and called the police. When they arrived he was detained and arrested. I took the rest of the day to pack up all his things and asked the police to collect them. At the station I had to go through the ordeal of stripping down so that my injuries could be photographed. When I was examined by the police doctor she told me, that she could never understand why a bright ‘girl’ like me would be stupid enough to stay with a man like that. Had I not been at a point where I was determined I would probably have walked out of the station there and then fully shamed by her comment and perhaps not called upon the police for the next couple of incidents.

In the months leading up to the court case, he would ring my phone and be abusive or turn up and try to kick in my door. He pleaded not guilty but changed his plea to guilty after seeing that I did turn up to give evidence.

He and his lawyer were sure I would drop out.

The guilty plea meant that I never got to stand up in court and my voice was never heard. The police managed to lose the photographs of my injuries and despite assurances from the police of a custodial sentence he received a fine and was ordered to stay away from me.

I received no compensation and so had to find the money to put a door frame back in, replace the front door and repair all the damage he had done to the flat.

Clearly the beating he gave me (despite his previous convictions for violent assault on other people), the jewelry and precious things he stole, destruction and damage he did to the home of myself and the children, was not enough for the courts.

He would have to hurt me to the point of more permanent damage before they would really deal with it seriously.

Of course he was in my street as I walked home from work less than one week after sentencing. I reported the breach of his bail conditions a further 3 times that month but he was never arrested and brought to account.

As time went on he would used the excuse of wanting to see his daughter to try to excerpt control over myself and her.

I’ve spent my time rebuilding myself to the point where if he so much as calls me a name I now call the police. But even so he was still threatening to kill me as recently as May 2013 in the very public forum of my daughter’s school hall.

This started for me at the age of 32 and I was bought so low that I thought of suicide.  The police had no powers and some awful attitudes toward the victims of domestic violence and ultimately a man who already had a string of violent offences was convicted of aggravated assault, breaking and entering with violence and criminal damage still walked off with a slap on the wrists.

I have found that family and friends don’t really want to hear about it. People find it uncomfortable and that leave the victim feeling ashamed and afraid to speak out. apparently after all this time I should no longer be angry or dwell on it, I should be over it by now. I have even been told that I should forgive him.

As if he is no longer an abuser.

These attitudes go along with the victims fear of the abuser and works well in the abusers favor. It aides the victims isolation.

I cannot imagine how a 17 year old can see a way out of such abuse.

How can someone who has never experienced the slow chipping away at their sanity, confidence and self worth understand? If twitter users are to be taken seriously most people cant and don’t want to understand.

I count myself lucky, even though McDad still has moments of trying to control,as I’m still alive, if he had held his hands around my neck a little longer i may not be, if he had hit me over the head with the bottle………. The bruises and breaks have healed and I worked long and hard on repairing my emotional stability.

But 2 women in the UK are killed every week.

Every single week.

Why is this not given the focus it deserves?

Casey Brittal was not so fortunate. May she rest in peace.


If you are a victim of domestic violence please seek help, speak to someone.



McDad- The Bully

McDad – Still An Abuser;

McDad – Asserting Himself;

McDad- A Tweet- A decision;

McDad; Twisted Logic;

McDad 6 months on;

Murdered By My Boyfriend Trailer; 





So I listed all my lists……………… except one.

And what should I call it;

The anti-list?


Miss it list?


This is the list that contains all the things I want to avoid in my day to day life. I roll it over in my head sometimes in the hope that it will remind me to be a better person. Some things on it are hard not to do but ultimately when I lay my head on my pillow each night I want to be able to rest easy about who I am as a person and how I’ve interacted with other people.

It currently looks like this;

  • Untruthful friendships; frenemies. I’m not the kind to tell a person what I think they want to hear. Be gentle but be honest.


  • Lateness; being late distresses me as I think it’s a rudeness to agree to a time and then keep someone waiting. Everyone’s time is precious. If I’m meeting one of the kids, a friend, a date or the cleaner I make sure I make it on time.


  • Balloons; big, small, latex, rubber. There about one of the only things on this earth I come close to hating! They are squeaky and smelly and my fear is irrational……. I know!


  • Ill health; so work out and eat well. I haven’t loved myself enough to treat my body better in the past but I’m remedying that.


  • Drawn out sadness; we love and lose, live and die, feast and famine.  Sadness is a part of living, it comes but just make sure it does not out stay too long


  • Boredom; travel, read, exercise or meditate; just do things to stave off boredom its demotivating and depressing.


  • Bitterness; it’s okay to be angry about things or events but bitterness is sapping and ugly. Be angry; express it; let go and move on!


  • Whinging; ooooo pet hate, as my children well know because this especially relates to them! Don’t whinge or whine near me. All children in my care get asked to stop and come back when they can put their point across properly. I ask anyone who’s whining to leave the room I’m in. Simple as that. Feel free to complain, just not in a voice that no one can understand what on earth you on about! Fortunately my children have never taken to moaning……………………….


  • Lies; straight out lying or lying by omission it’s all the same to me….. cowardly. More often than not we lie because we can’t face the consequences of our actions. It takes strength to tell the truth. My failing is over exaggeration and I’m working on that!


  • Name calling; McDad was a champion at throwing out all manner of foul language and name calling. The more grotesque and demeaning the better. Sadly I let him drag me down to his level on many occasions. Now it’s out of my home and head I never want to be party to that again.


I know that this is but a fraction of the things on my anti-list but it’s not a list to want to pin on the fridge and I mostly want to be sure that I’m not the person doing these things……cast as few stones as possible.


Most of the things on this list will stay on it forever. I guess everyone has this list in their head because most of the things are negative experiences. Maybe not balloons.


That said I don’t expect to never encounter some of this stuff; I just want to try hard not to be an instigator of negativity.

Tick it

to-do-listI like lists.

I take pleasure in writing lists for everything. It helps me to visualise and plan what I’m doing.

It alleviates my stress regarding events or tasks.


Here’s a list of my most frequent lists;


  1. Shopping list
    1. Weekly I write little shopping lists. I quite often forget to take them to the supermarket but that’s okay. I can usually visualise what was written.


  1. To Do List
    1. Each day at work I write things to do list before 08.30 and work my way through it. I add things as they come up and tick things off as I achieve them
    2. Every year I write a ‘to do’ list for the year. This unfortunately is my least successful list. I put this down to the one thing that turns up on this list every time……get a UK driving licence. As I live in the centre of London and am surrounded by excellent transport links I always put this off. Maybe it’s just not that important to me.


  1. School Holiday List
    1. My girls are unimpressed with the first part of the school holiday list as it details a chore for each day while they have little else to do. Chores range from putting a load of washing on and hanging it out on sunny days to cleaning the skirting boards on rainy ones. Each day a domestic task must be achieved as a contribution to home maintenance while I’m working to pay the bills
    2. Part two of the holiday list is the fun part. It contains the theatre trips, park outings, holidays and movie dates planned. I usually put 10 or so items and ask them to be ranked in order of preference and promise to get through at least 5 things. Everyone’s a winner!


  1. Camping List
    1. Once a year we attend Camp Bestival and I write equipment and food lists which I supply to the group with actions attached. Who’s bringing what food, the train times and meeting points all distributed a good month before the event. Right now it’s a mere 64 days until Camp Bestival 2014! There are 12 of us going this year and a planning lunch is imminent. Phase 1 of the preparations are about to kick off!


  1. Manufacturing List
    1. This is a live list that gets daily attention from most of the 80 people I work with. I compile a list and schedule of manufacture for up to 130 products, cross referencing shelf life, expiry dates, staff availability and machinery. It’s an ever changing list and required daily examination and communication.


  1. Travel List
    1. This list is a thing of joy. In 2013 I went to Thailand with my then 10 year old daughter for three weeks needless to say, together, we had lots of lists! The travel list morphs into a multiple strained list! We had a packing list, transport and connections list, a gift list. The best of all travel lists is the sight-seeing list! Together we did quite a bit of research on the best palaces and temples, tiger and elephant sanctuaries, places to eat, markets to visit, beaches and lakes to swim in. we started this list as soon as we booked the tickets and it was three months before the list was finished; I’m please to say that we managed to make it to about 80% of the places!


  1. Christmas list
    1. My giving list! I start this list in October. I list all my family and friends and then think of gifts for them. I change the gifts from black to green as I buy and store them. This list gives me great pleasure to know that I’m getting Christmas in hand and I can see that my gift giving is fair and appropriate.
    2. My feeding list. This is where I plan the Christmas and Boxing Day meals. The most I’ve cooked for on Christmas day has been 14 but on Boxing Day I have had up to 25 people pass by my dining table! I even go as fair as plan the cooking schedule starting a midnight on Christmas Eve to put the turkey in the oven, waking at 3am to check and turn it round then again at 6 am to take it out and replace it with a leg of lamb! (Maybe I should invest in a second oven!)


  1. Party List
    1. Let’s call this my speciality! I love arranging birthday parties, thinking up themes and making invitations. Parties for my daughters have ranged from pirates & princess, fascinators & tea party, bowling, movie night sleepovers and even a live animal show!
    2. My own birthday is usually celebrated in some way. For my 30th I had a three pronged affair starting with a ‘bring a dish’ party from 6pm to 10pm at a bar close to my house. From there 20 of us moved onto a different venue for a couple of hours then this was followed by 30 of us moving on to a club night where we danced until 6am! My 40th was a more sober affair where I hired a bar, catered African food and my daughter found a couple of great DJ’s. Over 40 friends and family danced until 3 in the morning



It may be that my list making is a little over the top for some and I confess that I take real pleasure in it but it’s not all consuming. My world doesn’t come crashing down if someone surprises me with a last minute trip. I can just throw stuff into a bag and go……………..though I prefer not too!


It’s hardly surprising that I’m a planning manager!


Tell me……….how many lists do you make regularly?


Which one is your favourite?