Something has changed within me, something is not the same.

About a year ago I was in a very bad place.  I hated my job; I felt like a complete failure because I hated my job.  I felt like I was imposing on my friends by staying with them.  I felt like I had no good options ahead of me. I was sinking into one of the worst bouts of depression that I have ever experienced.

A year later I have part time work, I’m off medication, the doctor doesn’t want to see me regularly any more.  I’ve made friends and I’ve settled into the city.  I feel calm and almost contented, which is something I’ve not felt for a very, very long time.  I don’t feel guilty about as many different things as I once did.  I speak to myself more kindly in my own head.  I can recognise my worth again.

There are little things that help me recognise my improving mental health.  When I am at the worst of my depression, I cannot laugh, I cannot sing, I cannot dance around the kitchen like a loon.

I am stupidly busy, but going out and working, even odd shifts and hours, feels much better than sitting with a Netflix binge (although that’s still a big draw now and then).  Spending time with people, talking about everything and nothing helps me as a person.  I don’t have to feel guilty about having a bit of a social life, despite being poor.

And now I feel like I’m on the verge of something new and different.  Something that could be quite special, but even if nothing really comes of it, it will still have been a positive boost.  Usually, this is when I would feel nervous and awkward, but instead there is this calm radiating inside me, a hitherto unknown confidence and sense that actually, everything is probably going to work out alright. I’m actually quite excited by the unknown for once!

I guess I’ll just have to wait and see…


Inspiring Women: Jen Gale

Name: Jen Gale

Age: 37


Company Name: Make Do and Mend-able

Company Description:

Make Do and Mend-able is an online resource to promote Making Do and Mending as an alternative to buying new, and to facilitate the learning of new skills. On the site you will find tutorials, and inspiration for all things Make Do and Mend, as well as a nationwide Directory of classes, workshops, repair and re-use events, and pre-loved and ethical craft supplies.


I live in Wiltshire, but the site is nationwide!

Contact Details

Make Do and Mend-able

Twitter: @makeandmendable

Instagram: @makedoandmendable

FB: Make Do and Mend-able

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Words matter.  Carefully chosen words can be beautiful, caring, compassionate, descriptive, elegant and stirring.

Words matter.  Carefully chosen words can be deceptive, cutting, hurtful, vicious, selfish, offensive, bitter and damaging.

How we speak about people matters because people matter.  People live around the world in desperate circumstances, often not of their own making.  Referring to people fleeing from war, from persecution, from mutilation, from the constant threat of injury or death as migrants is doing them a disservice.  Referring to it as a migrant crisis sounds like the problem is ours and that people risking death to escape war are somehow putting us out.  Referring to people as swarms leads to connotations of plagues, pestilence, being over run by unwanted pests.

The way that our politicians and media are talking about desperate people trying to protect themselves and their families from wars that we have had a hand in physically disgusts me.  We have newspapers that promote nationalism and xenophobia.  The same newspapers will have marked the recent anniversary of VJ Day and stirred up the ideas of Britain saving the world during the war.


People are dying. People, not ‘migrants’, not ‘swarms’. Humans. People. Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, sons and daughters.  All of these people have loved and been loved.  These people matter.

We need to care.  We need to show compassion.  We need to help where we can.  We need to give a shit about something other than X Factor, Kardashians and Celebrity Big Brother.

It would be easy to turn off the news and ignore what is currently happening in the world, what is always happening somewhere in the world, but I can’t do that.  I hope that you can’t ignore this humanitarian crisis either.

I know that this blog is read all over the world, so where ever you are, please read up on what you can do locally to help prevent children from drowning on European seas trying to escape a war they had no part in.  Please read up on what you can do to stop people dying of dehydration in the backs of lorries in tiny concealed spaces.  Please see what you can do to stop desperate people from being exploited by human traffickers preying on the vulnerable.

Check in twitter, check on facebook, donate clothes or toiletries or cans of food.  Hold your politicians accountable for the way that they speak about people, for denying access to fellow humans in need.  Get in touch with groups supporting refugees and asylum seekers.  Go and have conversations with people to improve their new language skills.  Make it personal to you, because it should be personal.  We should all understand that just because it isn’t happening here doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.  It could happen here and we would want help and support from other human beings.

In Sheffield we are a city of sanctuary for refugees and asylum seekers. There is a group collecting donations to take to Calais to the people who need them.  There are other groups around the UK doing similar things to help out however they can, please see if there is one near you and if there isn’t perhaps you could start one.


There is a facebook group you can join here:

“A quick word on donations:

The list of recommended donations to the camp in Calais change on a regular basis, so we’ll aim to update this list as much as possible. We request that all donations be in good condition and hardwearing – no holes or tears and where appropriate unused. Where possible please bring and buy new items.

Any donations that are not suitable to take down to Calais will be donated to refugee and asylum seeker charities in Sheffield.

Please drop off all donations at the Moor Theatre Delicatessen (The Moor, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S1 4PF), which is open every Thursday to Saturday, 11am – 4pm.

Please note we can only accept donations during these times. Can we please ask that you do not leave donations outside on the doorstep.

**A note on clothes: must be clean and wearable**

Toiletries – unopened
Socks – hardwearing new pairs
Nails, screws and rawl plugs
Wind-up torches
Rolls of Bin bags
First aid kits – unopened and unused components
Salt, pepper, spices, condiments – unopened and in-date
Tea bags, sugar – unopened and in-date
Duct tape
Playing cards
Plastic/wooden cooking utensils
Stackable/foldable items
Stackable / foldable plastic storage boxes
Hard-wearing shoes and boots.”

This is Craig:Morgan:Robson singing Ralkp McTell’s Peppers and Tomatoes.  Please have a listen, have a think about how you can get involved and go and do it.

Song of the week: Drumming Song – Florence + The Machine #InspiringWomen

I had an amazing time in the sun and rain at Towersey Festival this week and there were brilliant performances from so many musicians.  I am working on my write up of the festival which will include links to videos from some of the performers, but in the mean time I needed a genre change.

This morning I needed something really loud in my earphones to get around the supermarket.

What better than #InspiringWoman Florence Welch?

I had a full album playing by the time I’d got my veggies in the basket (I’m picky and indecisive) but this was on repeat and there’s probably people who were shopping today who think I’m really odd for dancing in Morrisons!


You make me wanna throw my pager out the window

I’ve been on online dating site for about a year now.  I had one site recommended to me by a friend who had met her husband through it.  I’ve not had any luck with it, perhaps because of its matching procedure – people’s answers to questions are sometimes prescribed and sound really tired and annoying.  It might be because I’m picky or because I don’t put myself across well online, who knows?

So I’ve signed up to another site which I got quite excited by initially – so many attractive men nearby – hooray!  (I’m also reading their profiles, not just focusing on looks) I’ve sent out a good number of messages to people, a couple have replied, so that’s nice.  I’ve also had a number of messages from guys I’ve not replied to yet.  I feel a bit bad about that, but I don’t want to lead people on, nor send a message that basically says ‘Yeah, not so much thanks…’ because that seems harsh.  Perhaps that’s better than not doing anything, I’ll have a think.

The worst message I’ve received so far is ‘Hey babes, I’d let you domm me anytime.’ 

Firstly, we’re going with a pet name, a plural at that and secondly, no small talk?  No light hearted chatting to get to no someone? Straight into a rubbishy come on.  He’s been blocked. 

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Into the Woods: in search of bluebells

As a person who grew up in a reasonably small market town, I love being in a city.  There are so many more things to see and do, places to explore than there were back home.  But, I grew up with Summer holidays spent searching for bullhead fish and sticklebacks in the river, climbing the ruins of the viaduct before I knew what a viaduct was, playing on a broken down, abandoned digger in a field, sitting on fences watching the sun start to set, heading out on scavenger hunts for rose hips and different grasses.

So much as I love twisting, turning streets, brick and steel buildings, roads filled with buses, trams and terrible drivers, sometimes I just need some grass, trees, leaves and flowers.

I’ve now lived in Sheffield for a year and I’ve barely explored its magnificent green spaces.  I have made a concerted effort to get out and about a bit more.

A couple of months ago, I packed a bottle of water, a scotch egg, a penguin biscuit and some crisps, got on the 85 bus heading out of town from Hillsborough to go exploring.  I was headed for Wheata Woods, in search of bluebells.

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This year I have officially joined the WI.  Having dabbled in finding a suitable group for a few years, I am now apart of Steel Belles WI in Sheffield, a very new group full of great ladies.

2015 is the centenary of the formation of the WI and as we are entering the week of the centenary celebrations I’ve been thinking about the women who inspire me and why they do.  So here’s a top 4 women (in no particular order) that I think are awesome.  They are all people I’d like to be when I grow up please, or at least steal aspects from…

Tina Fey

tina fey fashion beauty

I bought ‘Bossy Pants’, Tina Fey’s autobiography and it’s hilarious.  I’ve read a huge number of funny books, but I’ve rarely laughed aloud to one as often as I did with this.  In my eyes, Tina Fey can rarely do any wrong – she wrote Mean Girls, she wrote 30 Rock, created ‘The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’, she turns up in all sorts of things and is a breath of fresh air; I even really like Baby Momma and Date Night, I know I’m somewhat in the minority with the last two.

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