the United State of mental health in the UK

society, Urban Living

Last month the UK government announced an increase in mental health funding by 1.3 billion.  This should be welcomed news, but I have my doubts.  The total disregard and intentional underfunding of the NHS means I can’t help but wonder whether this is just another tactic to stop us thinking about Grenfell or DUP rather then a true calling of the Conservative government…but on the positive, London  (Feel free to insert your town name here.) needs every extra penny it can get to tackle mental health issues.

You see London (Feel free to insert your town name here.) is a hotbed of insanity.  The fast pace, isolation, exhilaration, inequality, anonymity, poverty and riches make it a head fuck prime location.  Behind closed doors and touch screens people are falling apart.

If in any doubt, take an early morning stroll along Brixton High Street.  You’ll see that full blown, in your face, well recognised “madness”.    At the lights you’ll see Rough Looking Guy shouting at the top of his voice in the middle of the road, daring drivers to go on and kill him then.  Look to your left and see White Laydee (sic) a women in her fifties, with a white emulsion painted face perfectly colour matched to her white lace ballgown.  Hanging out on the corner you’ll see a lady I call “Elsa”, who, regardless of the weather, wears a bikini and so for most of the year must be frozen.

But when I think of the people above, I wonder whether there actions are a result of a clinical mental illness?  I don’t know their stories, or diagnosis’ but would there behaviour be classified in the DSM?  Or is it just that the pressures of life have been so traumatic that they just snapped and no longer wanted to play the game by the conventional rules?   The stresses and strains of living in London; (Feel free to insert your town name here.) with its austerity cuts, institutionalised racism, housing crisis, £7:00 coffees and food banks are immense.  With many Londoners struggling to “keep their heads above water”, are we always just one job restructure away from losing it?

So perhaps if the government is really dedicated to improving the mental health of the London and the nation as a whole,  it should look to healing a broken society crippled by uncertainty, fear, rising financial difficulties and debt.

 

 

 

 

 

#bye2016

Urban Living
When we work together amazing things can happen.

As the clock struck Midnight in Reykjavik…

#bye2016 seemed to sum up the general feeling towards 2016. From the heartfelt loss of celebrated creative spirits, the political Brexit and Trump disasters, to the alarming rate at which our society and enviroment are being bullied to the point of no return – 2016 has been quite shitty.

Although world affairs greatly angered me and personal breathements pained me, other all my year was filled with unforgetable travels, friendships and watching my son grow. That was until the last part of the year- then suddenly my world turned on it’s head… And then The Gods stamped on it….stabbed it with a rusty blade….and lit that bitch up like a bonfire as they threw their heads back and laughed.

But isn’t it funny how things work. The more disastrous things became, the more I became thankful for the positives in my life and gained indestructible inner strength each time that I refused to stay down.

So thank you 2016 for those incredible (and at times costly) life lessons which forced me to face my fears, accept past defeats, own my mistakes, embrace my imperfections and celebrate my achievements and blessings!

I walk into 2017 hopeful and free of the past.

True freedom.

 

Spread your wings and fly xx

 

 

 

How to Live in Beyoncé’s Shadow..

bedroom

Hello Guys,

My stats tell me that I haven’t posted for the whole of September… As a teacher, this is no surprise.  But it’s not just the new academic year To Do lists that have kept me at bay from my blog.  I have also been busy building a brand new website with one of my closest friends and inspirations.

We wanted to build a platform for women to come together and inspire each other to improve our lives and community.. Otherwise known as

www.thesisterhoodsupperclub.com

I have just posted my first official post (hence the title of this post and it’s linked HERE) Please read and give me some honest feedback! Thank you 🙂

BHxxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caribbean Food Week 2016

kitchen

So the Olympics are almost over (as is the Summer if today’s weather is anything to go by…)  but there are still plenty of reasons to smile this August in London.  Not only is it the Notting Hill Carnival next weekend – but on Friday 26th – Saturday 27th August, Grace Foods UK is holding its first ever Caribbean Food Week Food Festival at Windrush Square right here in Brixton!

Expect demonstrations, performances, and most importantly lots and lots of samples of delicious Caribbean cuisine.  Yup, taste dumplins, roti, jerk chicken et al til your heart’s content and then dance off all the calories during Europe’s biggest street party the next day.

What more could you ask for this Bank Holiday Weekend..

Okay besides good weather 😉

For more information visit:


 

www.gracefoods.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/caribbeanfoodweek

BH xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going Cray Cray in Stockholm 

Travel

Ahhhhh what a difference a break makes! The bubba and I escaped to Sweden for a week.

Housed in a beautiful summer house just outside Stockholm, our hosts brought the warmth and quirky humour of the Swedes to life.  


Although not brave enough to take a full dip in the beautiful but very very cold lake, I took every moment to appreciate the beauty, tranquility and fresh air of our surroundings….

…the bubba literally discovered that food grew on trees and tried to appreciate (pronounced eat) every blue berry he could find! 

But of all the sights of Stockholm and peace of nature, my most cherished moment occurred after an arduous night time toddler tantrum.  My host sat me down and reassured  “We’ve all been there…” Then fed me Cray Fish and Cider. 

Life is good.  

Anyone in London in September should attend The London Crayfish party if you too need a little relief from daily life.  Be prepared for crayfish, vodka, and silly hats and Swedish drinking songs.  
And to get you in the mood…

3 quotes 3 days

bedroom, society, Wednesday writing prompt

On to lighten the mood a little.. I decided to accept the 3q3d challenge from the lovely Suze.  Full rules below X 

1.

img_2262

Once I understood this it changed my life and self perspective in ways I could never have imagined. 

 2.

img_2613

You have to be courageous to risk failure. This is something I realised only after failing and realising it wasn’t the end of the world, in fact it was just to the beginning. 

3.

Friendships. Relationships. Careers.  Whenever.  Thank you Nina xx

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3pscDRqkFro

 I nominate Voices Unsilenced

                        Broke Bella 

                        Dark Matters
                         

I look forward to reading yours! 
BH xx 
 

I just wanted to write a fun post….

Life Beyond The Kitchen Sink, Wednesday writing prompt

…But the world at the moment is playing out like a bad 90s disaster movie…  I mean Boris for Foreign Secretary? As in Mr Brexit Break It Don’t know How to fix it?  

And then we have the Labour Party trying to destroy the first true Labour leader (pronounced decent human) that it’s had in decades.  Apparently, democracy is only allowed if it supports the people on power..

FTS

Time to switch off..

If you need me, I’ll be here…


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qRC4Vk6kisY

Land of the free

politics, society, Uncategorized

Our world feels unstable at the moment. Brexit. Trump. Backstabbing. Resignations. Scapegoats. Uturns. New Laws. Innocents murdered. Victims villianised. Cognitive dissonance.

I can’t keep watching the news and hearing people talk of not being racist then proceeding to find excuses for condoning the murder of a black person by an officer sworn to uphold the law.

IMG_2440

But I’m not racist…

… the KKK hood wearing, Confederate flag waving, violent thug who loves nothing more than to hang out with his/her mates burning crosses, and killing black people- type of racist.

The extremely overt type of racist that frees society from the guilt of ignoring and benefitting from the inequalities and discrimination in our society, whilst proudly proclaiming..

I’m not a racist!

But unless you are actively making a stand against racism – you are supporting the institutionally racist society in which we all live.

I know I’m not saying anything new (and many have said it far more eloquantly than I ever could) but I will not stand at the side quietly: We must not stand at the side quietly.  We must bring about the change, we are change.

IMG_2444

BH xx

Links to articles who have said this far better than I:

 

http://occupywallstreet.net/story/explaining-white-privilege-broke-white-person

http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/11-things-white-people-can-do-be-real-anti-racist-allies

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/07/oscar-pistorius-sentence-an-homage-to-celebrity-and-white-privilege

http://mappingpoliceviolence.org/

https://aeon.co/essays/unconscious-racism-is-pervasive-starts-early-and-can-be-deadly

https://www.buzzfeed.com/michaelblackmon/17-harrowing-examples-of-white-privilege-9hu9?utm_term=.trlEZvWzX#.hkM27NkwZ

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/06/alton-sterling-address-police-violence

 

http://jezebel.com/a-black-woman-police-officer-calls-out-racist-cops-in-h-1783271684

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15796700-americanah

https://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2013/08/27/the-racial-empathy-gap/

Was there ever a time before Scapegoat Britain? Part 1

education, Life Beyond The Kitchen Sink, society, zerotohero

At first it seemed ridiculous to believe that people would believe that all of England’s problems were the result of the EU and of course those “terrible immigrants”.  

We laughed about it in the staff room.  The same staff room where for the past year, disgruntled colleagues have  viciously blamed and attacked the Head Teacher for staff cuts that are solely the result of Government cuts to education. 

I remember a boy at our school who was an amazing football player.  Even at the tender age of five he had incredible ball control.  
The problem was he was arrogant, rude and violent to children and adults alike.  But when reprimanded for his actions, it was never his fault.  Spurred on (particularly) by his mother, it was always another child’s fault or the teacher had a personal vendetta towards him. Rather than changing his behaviour, he changed schools.  

Unsurprisingly his misbehaviour continued.. So he moved back to our school, blaming the teachers and children at the previous school for the move back.  Of course, as soon as he got into trouble again he resumed into his usual routine of pin the blame.  


And that’s how it continued. 

One day he was scouted by one of the big UK premier league teams.  Such a life changing opportunity.  

But he was dropped.  

He wasn’t a team player, couldn’t handle feedback and didn’t respect authority or his team mates.   But, of course, it was the coaches/team mates fault, “they didn’t respect him” enough.  

Such a huge opportunity lost because he had failed to take responsibility or learn from his mistakes.  


I saw him the other day working in a local shop.

Just imagine what could have been.

#scapegoatBritain

Scapegoat Britain

politics, society, Urban Living, zerotohero

Utter disbelief.

The results of the London mayoral elections lulled me into a false sense of security.   A belief that the British could not be fooled by racial propaganda or scapegoating.

I was fooled by common consensus in social and wider circles and the general sense of bewilderment at the hypothetical nature of the Brexit “political” arguments…and well common sense.

“Only in America could Donald Trump be taken seriously”

Cue terribly British laugh, smug face and amused shake of the head.

donald-trump-30

Only now we are leaving the EU.

Nigel Farage has successfully convinced millions of ordinary people that it is best for Britain to leave the European Union.

nfarage

We were all  in total shock in the staff room this morning; but this isn’t reflective of the situation across England.  I live and work in London and London like most other major cities is cosmopolitan. Immigrants (pronounced average human beings) of all skin colours and origins call London their home, living and working side by side us true Brits.

It is impossible to convince me that my “immigrant” colleagues are the reason that this government is dismantling the NHS, selling off our school system or destroying the Unions.  But to that slim majority that voted #brexit, that shadowy figure of the “immigrant”, who they have never met, is the perfect scape goat. A voiceless devil who is the reason for any misery and discomfort in their lives.  No need to look within (figuratively and literally), it’s much easier to blame the illusive immigrant.

meme

Except

Now we have left the EU, who will have to blame? Maybe, just maybe #teambrexit will begin to see the bigger picture and start to ask questions like: Who really is at fault for the state of our economy and public sector?

(Maybe this is why Cameron resigned?)

Or

Once #teambrexit realise that the dream of returning to the Glory Days was a lie, (Or as Farage declared on morning television a simple printing error) they will have to accept that the true fault lies much closer to home.

Or perhaps

We will just find the next shadowy figure to blame..

Anyway

Welcome one and all to Scapegoat Britain!

What would you do if you had two homeless people living inside your gas cupboard?

bedroom

What would you do if you had two homeless people living in your gas cupboard? 

Stepping outside of my front door this morning, I was greeted by a shiny Maserati sparkling in the early morning light.  As I drifted off, wondering which “new Brixton” resident was trying to muscle in on parking this time, the stench of rotting food and sweat dragged me back to reality.

It was the two men in their early twenties who are living in the external gas cupboard infront of our house.  It sounds like fiction, but this isn’t Harry Potter. 

It’s the daily co-habiting extremes of New Brixton…  New Peckham – Wilesdon    -Walthamstow.  New London.  

Many articles talk of the social cleansing of London: but neglect to mention those left behind or over looked.   This is what the growing disparities between rich and poor looks and smells like when you live in it.  

Ignoring the mice, rotting food, urine filled plastic bottles and beer cans – the stench will tell you that the two men live in squalor.  A lifestyle a million miles away from the owner’s of the car worth in the region of £60,000 which is parked less than 1 metre away from the makeshift bed of the homeless men. 

Although I’ve never been inside the cupboard, I know that it mirrors that of the one inside our home.  Maximum, 150cm wide possibly 300cm long.  Not big enough for the discarded mattress that they managed to fit in there, let alone two grown men.  One person’s closet is another person’s home.  Literally.  Again the disparities of London.  

But if only it was just a financial disparity.  When researching how to help the two men,  I stumbled across a homeless forum.  Battling opinions greeted me.   A homeless person was either seen as a victim or villian.

 “I’d just call the police and your building management company. The doorway is almost certainly private property.”

“I wouldn’t even feel bad. If he is sleeping in a doorway (of all places) he is knowingly antagonising the building’s occupants. My guess is that he is hoping for someone to give him a big bag of charity beddings and food (like has been suggested in this thread many times now), in exchange for leaving. DO NOT GIVE HIM ANYTHING. He will just move to another building. Contact a charity for him if you feel bad – but don’t enable what he is doing either.”

 The lack of empathy was astounding.   It seemed to contradict the public outcry condemning poor doors, homeless spikes and other designs aiming to segregate poor and wealthy residents in new housing developments across London.  I remember reading articles heralding “hipsters”* turning anti homeless spikes into libraries with comfy seating.

Hoorah for Hipsters!

But where did the “hipsters” involved actually live?  Would they have made such a stand on their own door step?

Have you ever walked into a “hipster” bar as a non-hipster? The inconvenience your presence causes stabs at your dignity almost as deeply as the bill for buzz word bar food hits your wallet.  But why does the presence of some make others feel so uncomfortable?  Because it is a reminder of the other side of London.

The side of London that is replaced every time a new luxury apartment development is built on hardcore made of the social housing which once stood on the same spot.  If you have purchased a new “luxury apartment” in inner London recently, it is very likely that your new pad displaced a low income family.   It is an uncomfortable truth.  A truth which taints the aspirational image sold with the luxury apartment purchase.  A truth preferably ignored and forgotten by wealthy residents and developers alike.

How would you feel if a homeless person slept in your door way?

BH xx

 

 

 *After researching the piece further I discovered the “hipsters” were actually a group of artists, who have also been priced out of housing in London.  So not actual “hipsters”but people who face and understand the financial pressures of housing in London.

Polite ways your friends tell you they think your baby is fat.

motherhood, parenting, pregnancy, zerotohero

How many times have you had to politely smile, nod your head or feign interest when the village (well meaning friends and family members) comment on your baby’s weight?   As I take him to get weighed regularly I know that he is perfectly within his “percentile”, tracking along nicely, but this of course is irrelevant, amateur expert opinions dominate conversation.

Annoying as it is at times, I have to admit hearing the creative multitude of euphemisms and round about ways villagers use to broach the tubby bubby topic makes me chuckle. (Very discreetly of course, as I nod my head and look concerned).  So being it’s a long weekend and I clearly have a lot of spare time on my hands today, I decided to order them on a scale of intensity from Mild Adoration to Severe Concern and share them and hopefully a giggle with you.

Do you have any to add to the list?

image

BHxx

 

photograph @Brixtonhousewife

The unapologetic mummy

motherhood, parenting, pregnancy, zerotohero

A tantrum in public is a WMD in a toddler’s arsenal in the battle of wills against mummy.  

The other day My Little Toddler (MLT) and I were meeting friends at the South Bank.  What is normally a jovial 15 minute bus ride became an arduous expedition:  a groundhog of a journey spent explaining and apologising.

MLT was exhausted but refusing to nap.  He had decided he wanted to walk to our destination.  Except he couldn’t decide between being adamant that he wanted to walk or inconsolable if he wasn’t being carried.  Oh and he didn’t want to walk-he wanted to run, especially across roads.  

So MLT had to go in his pushchair and as it was getting late, we took the bus. The two outcomes the tired toddler didn’t want.  You could almost hear him scanning through his weapons inventory and deciding to pull out the big guns.  

1:34pm  MLT put in the push chair and we get on to the bus.

1:34pm  The crying started. 

1:34pm and 3 seconds 

 “Why is your baby crying like that?”  

It was a mother who we knew from playgroup.  A mother of two toddlers. As I rolled off my explanation-“He hasn’t taken his nap and so he is exhausted but he has decided that he wants to walk to the river…”– I couldn’t help but wonder why a mother would ask such a stupid question.  What answer was she expecting? 

But it wasn’t the most ridiculous thing I heard.  I was informed by a concerned pensioner that my child was really upset.  As I rolled off my explanation-“He hasn’t taken his nap and so he is exhausted and he has decided that he wants to walk to the river…”– I couldn’t help but wonder if the kindly old gent really thought that I hadn’t realised that the child in my arms was in fits of (tantrum) tears.  

I appreciated the understanding nods of support, passing smiles and brief distractions that passengers offered MLT and they fuelled my continued need to apologise and explain. But when a women came and sat next to me and practically tried to take my child out of my arms- I became the unapologetic mummy.  I wonder, if I looked different (or even more similar to the her) would this complete stranger still have found it completely acceptable to infringe on my personal space uninvited?  

A couple of minutes more passed and MLT settled.  I had distracted him with a passing aeroplane and a remixed rendition of twinkle twinkle little star.  Interestingly the women’s (who previously was so desperately eager to help) expression had changed.  Rather than looking happy that MLT was now content she actually looked annoyed.  I had not needed her help.  

Toddlers throw tantrums over the most ridiculous things.  But it doesn’t sound like they are crying about not being allowed to wash their hands in the unflushed toilet or not being allowed to touch the naked flame on the hob or run in the road.   It sounds as if they are being maltreated by the evil overlord who is trying to soothe their cries… and I understand that.  But they are just having a tantrum because that’s how toddlers express themselves. So if there is a clearly concerned parent/carer trying calm the child you need not worry that the child is in serious danger.   

So please do not be offended if you see me and my toddler is throwing a tantrum and I don’t offer you an explanation as to why he is crying.  He is a toddler, he is throwing a tantrum that’s just what they do.

*rant over

*Supportive nod to all the parents of toddlers having tantrums in public places

BH xx

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYQ48Kpd3AM