Opinion · Personal

How Are Women Supposed to Trust the Police?

How Are Women Supposed to Trust the Police?As a white English woman, I’ve always tried to be aware of my privilege. I don’t get profiled by the police for crimes because of my skin colour or religion, I’ve never had to teach my kids strategies for dealing with overly aggressive law enforcement and I’ve largely felt that the police were on my side and could be trusted. I could be pulled over in my car and not have to worry about it.

Sure, there’s been a long-running culture of police protecting their own, but closing ranks isn’t unique to one profession. I’ve got good friends in the police force, people who I’d trust with my life and I know I’m lucky to have been in this position.

Since hearing about the Sarah Everard case earlier this year, my feelings have started to change. I live in the sticks and I’m the only driver, so I spend a lot of time driving along quiet country lanes by myself. Just this week, I had a police car driving behind me at night and I felt very unsure. If I were to be pulled over, what should I do? I’m the last person who’d engage in a high-speed chase with the police, but at the same time, would I feel safe being pulled over at night on a deserted country lane? Not any more.

Sarah Everard’s killer abused his privilege in every way imaginable. He used his police credentials to stop her, he got her into his car under the pretence of an arrest and he had the chance to destroy evidence ahead of being arrested because he knew there were colleagues of his posted outside his house.

His colleagues also failed. Stories have emerged that not only was he reported for indecent exposure on more than one occasion and was never properly investigated, his fellow officers at the station where he worked branded him “The Rapist”. If you had a colleague about whom you had serious concerns like this, a colleague with powers to allow him to control other people, what would you do? Probably go to the authorities, right?

Oh…oh dear.

So, what do I tell my kids to do now? Husband and I are probably bordering on the psychotic when it comes to the safety of our kids, but that’s how we’ve always done things. When we’re out in public places, the lesson has always been “find a policeman” if we get separated or something bad happens. We’ve brought our kids up to trust the police and go to them in times of trouble.

I legitimately don’t know if I can do that anymore.

I’m aware that one “bad apple” (and I’ll be honest, I hate that phrase and really don’t think it does justice to refer to a murdering rapist in such louche terms) doesn’t mean that every police officer is untrustworthy, but the whole system of ignoring criminal behaviour and turning a blind eye for fear of alienating colleagues really does not do much for my faith. I don’t think I would be so quick to tell my daughters to be totally trusting of the police anymore, that’s for sure.

Since I started writing this, the Metropolitan Police released some guidance on how women should react if they’re stopped by a lone police officer – their solution is for women to try “shouting out to a passerby, running into a house, knocking on a door, waving a bus down or, if you are in the position to do so, calling 999.” – they also said that women should feel able to challenge an officer and ask to see their credentials. I really fail to see how this would help, given the fact that Sarah Everard’s killer HAD police credentials and she trusted his actions in arresting her. This also is completely useless if you’re in a secluded location.

I’m not trying to say that I understand what it’s like to be part of a marginalised group of society like the BAME community does, not by a long shot. However, being a woman can make you feel incredibly vulnerable at times. There are already things I can’t do, places I can’t go and certain times during which I should be safely locked indoors, but without feeling like I can put my faith in the police, that window of opportunity feels EVEN smaller to me.

But, the point I’m making in a very roundabout way is this – if I don’t feel safe telling my daughters to go to the police for help and put 100% of their faith in them, what the hell do I tell them now?

Mental Health · Personal

Summer’s Here – It’s Time For A More Positive Outlook

There aren’t many people who can say they’ve enjoyed the past year. The pandemic has been hard, and has had a huge impact on most people’s mental health and wellbeing. 

But with things looking more positive at the moment, it’s also time for you to start looking on the brighter side, ready to enjoy a great summer and get your health back on track.

Shake off the past year with the following tips for ensuring a more positive outlook this summer.

Image Credit: Unsplash under Creative Commons

Make plans

After a year of not being able to make many plans, it’s time for plans to come back on the menu! Keeping busy ensures you don’t stay at home moping, and instead gives you the chance to go see friends and family as well as enjoy different experiences. Spend time with positive people who make you feel good about yourself. Check out some great things to do this summer and start making plans!

Get outdoors

Spending time outdoors is good for your mental health. It can help you feel a lot more positive after spending a long, wet winter indoors. From going for walks to dining al fresco, there’s a lot to love about spending time outside. If you want to boost your fitness this summer, you can also check out some outdoor workout ideas to keep you busy. Get that vitamin D and spend some time in the sunshine – don’t forget your sun protection!

Think about your future and your goals

The past year might have meant that some of your plans have been put on hold, but that doesn’t mean they have to stay on hold forever. Start setting some goals for yourself that will help give you motivation, serving as a positive way to move forward. You might want to consider going down a more spiritual route with Psychic Lights and see what your future holds. If you’re feeling particularly lost or unsure of your future, you could also consider speaking to a life or career coach, who could help you think about things differently.

Prioritise your mental health

Your mental health is important, but like your physical health, it needs taking care of. Find ways of reducing stress so that you can enjoy life, and making sure that you don’t bottle up your feelings. Don’t put pressure on yourself and make sure you take enough opportunities to relax – isn’t that what summer is all about?

If you are struggling with your mental health for whatever reason, make sure you speak to someone or seek help.

Summer is when a lot of people will feel more optimistic and hopeful. The longer, brighter days can work wonders for your wellbeing, as well as help you get out and about more. Give more time to yourself and let go of all of your negativity so that you can really make the most of the summer months.

Health · Personal

Feel Good Contacts (review and discount code)

Last year, when I started going to the gym a lot, I quickly became aware that wearing glasses and lifting weights were not very compatible – there’s nothing quite so precarious as positioning yourself under a bar to do some heavy squats, only for your glasses to slide down your nose. You have the choice to either re-rack your bar and push them up (only for it to happen again as soon as you lift) or try to hold the bar with one hand while balanced on your shoulders and push them up. Trust me, neither are good options, and I realised that I’d need to give contact lenses another go if I wanted to carry on lifting.

For me, the best option was to have my eyes tested and have a contact lens consultation at a high street optician, and then use my prescription to buy my lenses online, which is what I’ve now been doing for over a year, however the lenses I’ve been using have been getting progressively more uncomfortable, so I knew I needed a change. As luck would have it, the guys from Feel Good Contacts got in touch as asked if I’d like to try some lenses from their range, so I jumped at the chance!

Feel Good Contacts packaging

Feel Good Contacts is the cheapest online retailer of contact lenses on the market and due to their Price Match guarantee, customers will not find their lenses cheaper anywhere else online, or on the high street. Feel Good can save customers up to 50% on their contact lenses. They also offer a ‘matching service’ which helps you to find an alternative to the lenses you already wear, giving you options. They also offer Next Day Delivery when you order before 7.15pm, which is amazing service!

The lenses that Feel Good Contacts originally wanted me to trial turned out to be unsuitable because I have an astigmatism in one eye and need a toric lens, but they were able to recommend some lenses for me (Coopervision Biofinity and Biofinity Toric) and they were absolutely spot on! I’ve been wearing them for almost a month and they’re the most comfortable lenses I’ve ever worn. Feel Good Contacts sent me a lens case and some solution with my lenses too, making it a perfect little package with everything I need. Delivery was really fast and everything was beautifully packed to fit through a letterbox so you don’t have to worry abut not being around when they’re delivered.

I have enough lenses to last me until the beginning of April, but I will 100% be using Feel Good Lenses to buy my contacts when I need to get some more as the combination of the price, the delivery and the customer service has all been amazing. If you’re thinking of making a change to your contact lens provide, I can highly recommend Feel Good Contacts and as an added bonus I have a discount code for Mum’s the Word readers to use, giving you an additional 12% off of – just enter STAYCOMFI12 at the checkout. Oh, and do come back and leave me a comment to tell me what you think of Feel Good Contacts, too!

Personal

You’re The One! Easy Ways To Feel Confident Again!

The way that we talk about confidence can often be kind of weird. We talk about it as this “thing” that you either have, or you don’t. As though it’s something that you can just pop to the store a pick it up on your way home from work. In reality, confidence is an incredibly fluid concept, and for a lot of people, it’s something that they struggle with every single day. This can be especially tough for those who might once have been very confident, but something has happened that caused you to lose it. This could be a change in your appearance, having a baby, a bad break-up, or any number of things. No matter what the cause, losing your confidence can be one of the most demoralising things in the world. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing that you can do about it. The truth is that confidence is a skill that can be learned just like any other. It’s not some magic quality that only a select few were born with. The truth is that if you’re willing to put in the time and effort required, you can often find yourself feeling far more confident and open than you ever even thought possible. With that in mind, here are a few simple ways that you can go about getting your confidence back.

Smile!

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We’ve all heard that old cliche about how smiling actively improves your mood. Whether or not there’s any real evidence to back that up, it is definitely true that smiling has a big impact on the way that people around you perceive you. It’s a simple fact of life that people are more likely to engage with someone who is smiling than someone with a scowl on their face. Smiling is like yawning: it’s infectious. If you walk into a room with a great big smile on your face, then that can have a big impact on the way that everyone in it feels. Of course, there are those who aren’t particularly happy with their smile, in which case you have access to everything from whitening gel to Invisalign that can help you embrace your pearly whites again. Remember, smile and the whole world smiles with you!

Change your style

One of the things that has a serious impact on a lot of people’s confidence is the way that they dress. It can make you feel frumpy, outdated, and boring where you once felt vibrant and exciting. Well, there’s nothing to say that you shouldn’t be able to find a new style that you find a bit more fun and interesting. No matter what stage of life you’re at, you always have the chance to try new things and experiment with your wardrobe a little bit. Whether it’s a subtle change that only you can notice, or something serious drastic like a total wardrobe change or a radically different hairstyle, mixing things up can make a huge difference to how you feel on a day to day basis.

Change your surroundings

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It’s a sad fact of life that there are going to be people around you who don’t want you to feel good about yourself. This could be because they are unhappy with their own lives and want to bring you down to their level, or it could simply be that they’re petty and cruel. However, just because these people are always going to exist doesn’t mean that you need to keep letting them impact your own life. If there are toxic people around you who make you feel worse about yourself, then it’s totally okay to cut those people out of your life. You simply don’t need that kind of negativity, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to walk away from it in order to feel better about yourself.

Get to know yourself

One of the main reasons why many people end up lacking in confidence, especially when it comes to their physical appearing is because they have a skewed image of themselves in their minds. Of course, there are extreme cases where this can be seriously harmful, but many of us struggle with some form of this distorted perspective on the way that we look. One of the best ways to combat this might also be one of the most unlikely: selfies. One of the best things about selfies is that they allow you to get to know your appearance in a way that you might never have been able to before. They can help you get away from the things that you dislike and focus more on the things that you do like.

Fake it til you make it

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Of course, there’s one simple secret to being confident that most people rely on to get by on a daily basis: fake it! You would honestly be very surprised to see just how many people who seem extremely confident in public are actually a lot more shy and insecure that they let on. The reality is that presenting yourself in a confident way is often a great first step on the road to actual confidence. “Fake it til you make it” might sound like an annoying platitude but it really does have some truth to it. You should treat confidence like a habit. Sure, it’s something that you may have to put a lot of effort into at first, but over time it becomes more and more natural until you’ve spent so long pretending to be confident that you actually become confident in reality as well! This is something that takes time but is absolutely possible for just about everyone.

Of course, doing these things isn’t going to suddenly provide you with endless amounts of confidence that you’ll never lose. The truth is that there are always things that have the potential to knock it back down again. But hopefully, by taking this advice to heart, you’re going to be able to get yourself back up again rather than ending up back at square one.

Personal

Jayne’s Addiction…to the Coffee Machine!

Back when I started trying to get my weight in check and live a healthier life, I realised a few things. Firstly I realised that I had a fairly serious addiction to food, which might sound like a cheesy way of saying ‘greedy’ but it was more than that. Buying and eating food gave me a buzz like nothing else, so kicking the habit was going to be hard. However, giving up carbs seemed simple compared with the prospect of giving up my other love – COFFEE!

Coffee is something that I would seriously struggle to give up. I usually get at least one latte per day from the coffee machines at my local Waitrose, as well as using our drip coffee maker at home all day. I’ve recently also looked into buying a milk steamer so that I can have my own lattes at home, but the market is huge and I’ve struggled to work out which one would be best for me. The beauty of my diet, however, is that coffee is positively encouraged, so I’m okay!

As I’ve got older, I’ve got more of a taste for strong, properly brewed coffee from a machine; in the past, instant was okay, but I blame that on working in a lot of offices where freeze-dried coffee was the only thing that got us through the day! Now that I work at home, I’m able to be a lot fussier about it all. There are so many different blends out there and I do look out for the stronger ones. I’ve even been tempted to look for a Sage coffee machine as I know they’re one of the best you can get, but they are a little pricey.

The funny thing is, even though Burrito Baby is only 3 and a half, she already loves coffee! Just the other day, her lunch request was “plain toast and a cup of coffee” – I joked in Facebook that it was like having another 33 year old in the house! Obviously, we make her decaffeinated coffee because, you know, we do like sleep sometimes, but having coffee from a young age is pretty normal in other parts of the world. Husband’s family is German on one side and they think nothing of letting their little ones have a milky cup of coffee each day.

Coffee is proven to be beneficial in many ways. As well as being packed with antioxidant, which fight off disease and the ageing process, it’s also shown to be good for digestion and studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of several serious diseases. All of this seems like a perfect reason to continue my coffee consumption with gusto – I almost wonder if my lack of broodiness is because I never want to go nine months without caffeine again!

Are you a coffee lover? Do you use a proper coffee machine or is instant good enough for you? I’d love to hear from any fellow coffee addicts out there, so do leave me a comment below!