Category Archives: Life

40 Acts of Kindness for Lent

Each year, during Lent many Christians choose to give things up for 40 days. Lent is traditionally a time of abstinence and many people give up chocolate, or wine, or bread even. Some people choose to take up something, such as doing an act of kindness, or giving a small amount to charity each day. I usually opt for giving up something, but also taking up some small acts of kindness. I’ve put together a list of 40 acts of kindness for Lent; something to get you started.

It can be difficult to think about just one thing to give up, or take up. I think small acts of kindness are the way to go, especially if you’re doing them with children. I think we all need a bit of kindness at the moment, and being kind to others is often a kindness to ourselves.

24 Acts of Kindness for Advent

40 Acts of Kindness for Lent

  1. Leave a nice online review for a small local business
  2. Write some notes telling people what you appreciate about them
  3. Make a donation to a small charity
  4. Be brave today. Do something that you found hard last time you tried
  5. Put some loose change in a tip jar
  6. Bake treats for your neighbours or co-workers
  7. Have a clear out and donate your unwanted clothes to charity
  8. Make someone you live with breakfast in bed
  9. Phone a friend or family member each day
  10. Do a beach clean, or street clean, or a litter pick in a park
  11. Organise a charity bake sale
  12. Ask somebody to tell you about themselves and really listen
  13. Donate to your local food bank
  14. Compliment other people
  15. Make a point of doing self-care every day, whatever that looks like
  16. Learn to say ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ in some different languages
  17. Make a log pile in your garden so the wildlife has somewhere to cosy up over winter
  18. Make and send Easter cards to the residents of your local nursing home
  19. Paint some happy rocks and leave them in your local park for people to find
  20. Turn off lights, TV and chargers when you leave a room
  21. Sellotape a bus fare to a bus stop
  22. Write a letter to your teacher saying what you appreciate about them
  23. Recycle any paper, plastic, tins or glass that you use today
  24. Make and deliver a meal to someone who might appreciate that
  25. Pass on some books you’ve enjoyed to others
  26. Be the first to say sorry to somebody
  27. Put bird feeders in your garden and make sure they’re topped up
  28. Tidy up your bedroom without being asked to
  29. Start telling jokes, watch something fun together, or whatever makes you and your family laugh!
  30. Be positive all day and try only to say encouraging things to other people.
  31. Think before you speak and make sure your words build people up today
  32. Make an extra effort to smile more at others, it really can bring joy to their day!
  33. Ask someone how their day was
  34. Surprise someone, in a nice way
  35. Say a prayer some someone or something that needs it
  36. Light a candle and remember someone special
  37. Think of three good things about yourself and write them down
  38. Make someone a Spotify playlist to cheer them up
  39. Send someone a care package
  40. Help someone take a photo

If you enjoyed this, you might also like these 40 ideas for things to do for Lent.

40 Acts of Kindness for Lent

40 ideas for things to do for Lent

Each year, during Lent many Christians choose to give things up for 40 days. Lent is traditionally a time of abstinence and many people give up chocolate, or wine, or bread even. Some people choose to take up something, such as doing an act of kindness, or giving a small amount to charity each day.

Over the years, following a feast of pancakes, I have variously given up chocolate, crisps and alcohol. I have done acts of kindness each day. This year I’ve been a bit stumped about what to do. I’m peri-menopausal now so the thought of giving up wine or chocolate for 6 weeks is a step too far for me.

40 things to do for Lent

My life feels too stressful right now to give up anything, or commit to doing something for six whole weeks, but last night I had an idea. Why don’t I just give up something or take up something each week during lent, committing to not eating chocolate for one week is doable, giving to charity daily for one week is affordable. The idea of doing six weeks’ worth of one week mini-Lenten promises is very manageable indeed.

I’ve not fully hammered out my plan for Lent. I’m finicky at the best of times, so I thought if I put a list together of suggestions for myself, then I can pick and choose what I fancy doing from one week to the next. Here are 40 ideas for things to do for Lent.

40 things to do for Lent

1. Give up chocolate

2. Give up crisps

3. Give up alcohol

4. Give to charity each day

5. Give up TV/Netflix

6. Have a digital detox

7. Pray each day

8. Meditate each day

9. Do an act of kindness every day

10. Phone a friend or family member each day

11. No shopping/buying new things

12. Decluttering

13. Read more

14. Volunteer

15. Do a beach clean, or street clean, or a litter pick in a park

16. Find ways to reduce your plastic consumption

17. Use public transport instead of driving

18. Stop buying coffee on the go

19. Donate to your local food bank

20. Give up meat

21. Compliment other people

22. Walk every day

23. Give up swearing

24. Give up takeaways

25. Eat a family dinner at the table each night

26. Give up cake

27. Give up fizzy drinks

28. Give up sugar

29. Give up binge watching

30. Give up negativity

31. Turn lights and appliances off when not in use

32. Give up shopping online

33. Give yourself time for yourself

34. Make a point of doing self-care every day, whatever that looks like

35. Read the Bible, or a spiritual text of your choosing

36. Give up guilt – you’re doing the best you can do

37. Take up contentment – be happy, or happier with what you’ve got already in your life

38. Give up gossip

39. Give up smoking or vaping

40. Give up taking selfies/pictures of your dinner

What are you giving up or taking up for Lent? Please comment below and let me know!

40 things to do for Lent

The Top 7 2018 Tag with HodgePodgeDays

Thank you to Jaymee from The Mum Diaries for tagging me in the Top 7 Tag. Essentially it’s like ticky-it but for bloggers. I have a list of questions to answer and then I tag some more bloggers in so they have to answer them too.

This is what The Top 7 covers –

  • Your Favourite 7 Posts from 2018. They can be any posts at all that you are proud of.
  • 7 Things You Loved The Most About 2018 Whether you visited somewhere, or just had one of those moments you will never forget, if you loved it, list it!
  • 7 Things You Are Looking Forward to in 2019.Whether those plans are set in stone or you something you would like to do this year, share with us.
  • Tag 7 Bloggers to Take Part.Share the love and tag 7 others who would like to take part.
  • Say Thanks.Link back to the person who tagged you and/or myself so people know where to find the tag to join in too.

The Top 7 2018 Tag with HodgePodgeDays


This is a tricky one, some of my favourite ones are the ones which didn’t necessarily get the most views. I’ll start with three blog posts which have been huge in terms of the number of people reading them, the last four picks are the ones I’ve enjoyed the most. That seems fair, yes?

This recipe for easy, cheaty sausage rolls has been a banger (I’m not even sorry) since day one. We make these quite a lot, because they’re just so much nicer than anything shop bought!

I love Parma Violet Gin and it turns out that you do too. This really simple recipe is a winner.

Who can resist a cheery spring daffodil? Not you, that’s for sure. This simple daffodil craft tutorial has been perennially popular since I published it last spring.

The Top 7 2018 Tag with HodgePodgeDays

In July, during the heatwave we went to the first ever Timber Festival in the National Forest. It was brilliant fun and we made lots of wonderful, creative memories I will treasure for a long time.

September saw our first ever glamping holiday in a yurt. We loved sleeping next to the wood burner and being able to look up at the stars.

I’ve been a judge at the International Cheese Awards for several years now. It’s a day I take very seriously and I always, always learn lots of new things. It’s a fabulous day and always the highlight of the summer.

Oh mamma, it was an early contender, but one of my favourite bakes of the year; my Baked Guinness Cheesecake turned more than a few heads, and rightly so!

Recipe: Baked Guinness Cheesecake


I’ve had quite a few rough years lately. I tentatively took my first steps into 2018 with not a great deal of hope in my heart. Sure, there were a couple of rough moments. Friends came and went, but nothing absolutely awful happened. I survived the year reasonably unscathed and achieving most of the modest goals I’d set myself. If 2019 is no more or less dramatic that the last, I’ll be a very happy bunny indeed.

I’ll stop waffling now and rattle off 7 of my highlights from 2018…

I baked and baked and baked my socks off and now I’m fairly confident, I’ve learned a few things and baking is now something I really enjoy, rather than something to be terrified of.

I bit the bullet and joined the gym after procrastinating for, hmm 20 odd years.

We’ve had a great year as Merlin Annual Pass Ambassadors, visited a lot of very different attractions up and down the country and had a lot of fun together doing so.

Days Out: The Cornish Seal Sanctuary in Gweek, Cornwall

I’ve watched my son really grow and thrive this year. He’s starting to shake off his glue ear and he’s got into martial arts. He kicks ass, in more ways than one.

Blog-wise, I got myself organised. I’ve got a plan for each week and I blog Monday to Friday year round. It’s hard work, but I’m loving my blog right now. What do you think?

Friendships have been really extra important this year. There are a number of people who have really pulled me through, been there for me in good times and bad. I’m very lucky to have such especially special friends. I don’t go out much, but when I do, spending time in good company is a massive highlight.

Biting the bullet and just being a bit braver in all kinds of situations has helped 2018 be a good year. From tackling my anxiety to digging deep so I can pipe up and not let the world walk all over me, it’s all be good positive steps in the right direction.


Oooh do I have big dreams for 2019? The short answer is no. I try not to think too far ahead as it all gets a bit daunting. But I am looking forward to some things, namely…

Holidays with my boys, I’m hoping we will fit in a couple of family festivals, maybe go glamping again and it wouldn’t be us if we didn’t go down to Devon for a couple of weeks at some point.

Glamping at Inside Out Camping, Keswick

Being a bit more organised. My head has been a chaotic place for too long now. Over the year I’ve been slowly getting myself and my work organised and I really need that to continue.

I’d like to get a bit fitter this year. I’d like to go to the gym a bit more often and work a little less if I can. My work/life balance is shocking really.

I’m looking forward to small things, like my son’s reading is really improving and we are just tackling the first Harry Potter book. This year I imagine our reading will take us off on all kinds of literary adventures.

We are tentatively planning on growing some of our own veg again this year. Last year we grew some carrots, but I would love to be bit like Nigel Slater, just going into the garden and picking a few interesting things for dinner.

Ok so it wasn’t always popular, but I loved the heatwave last summer. It was so nice to be warm and feel the sun on my skin. I loved it and I loved going out in it. So more of that please!

I’m looking forward to seeing where my blog takes me this year. I’ve got a vague plan for seasonal blog posts, but we often go on blogging adventures. I’m excited to see just what happens this year. 2019, bring it on!

Days Out: Autumn at Warwick Castle

October Update – What’s going on with us?

It’s been a while since I’ve wrote any kind of personal update post. I guess you get an idea of the things we have been doing, reading, making and eating from my blog posts, but that’s not the same as an actual proper update post is it?

I’m good, I think. I’ve done the virtually unthinkable and joined a gym. With my terrible back I’m not allowed to run, jump, skip, hop, shimmy or bounce, so I do a couple of aqua classes a week and when I go to them I’ve started swimming too. I started on 20 lengths each time and I’m trying to add another two lengths each week.

October Update - What's going on with us?

I’m monstrously unfit and I’m pretty determined to get a bit fitter. I do feel stronger and I get such a buzz a couple of hours after I finish. I’m shattered though. Two mornings a week at the gym, a full time job around that and a busy family life are exhausting. I’m hoping that I’ll get used to it and I won’t feel quite so tired anymore.

Apart from that, Ben is good. He’s busy with school. He’s turning 8 next month and after half term he will be moving from Beavers to Cubs. I don’t think I’m ready for him to make that move, it seems so grown up. He is so grown up, he grew a whole inch and a shoe size over the summer. He makes me proud of him every day, in big ways and in small ways too. He’s the best thing ever.

October Update - What's going on with us? Ben

Matt my other half has just signed himself up for a couple more 10k races. It keeps him busy and he enjoys it. I’m glad he’s doing something for himself. He works very hard and does a lot for our family.

This weekend is our 18th wedding anniversary which I believe is porcelain. We don’t do presents really, though I might take him out for lunch somewhere.

October Update - What's going on with us? Jane and Matt

Me and him in 1995. It was a very, very long time ago.

And the dog, well she turns 2 this month, so I guess I’d better bake her a cake and buy her a new squeaky toy. She’s brilliant, lively, intelligent and a great companion for me. I don’t take her out as much as I’d like (she still gets at least two walks a day) but she worships me and one of my favourite things is taking her for a walk down the river and watching her bounce. I’m still convinced she is part kangaroo.

The main thing I’m struggling with at the moment is balance. I’ve got a lot going on and the things I want to do are not always the things I have to do. I need to think about what my real priorities are and move towards dealing with those.

About this time last year I made a decision that I would blog Monday to Friday every week during 2018. It’s been great fun and I’ve felt a lot more organised. I’ve not really struggled for content and I kind of feel like the people who regularly read my blog have appreciated the more structured routine of it.

Blogging at least five times a week is quite tiring and hard work, I don’t know if I should carry it on through next year too or if I should go down to four times a week or what. I’d love your thoughts on that. I don’t want to do an official survey with a clipboard, but it would be really helpful if you had any thoughts about what you liked or didn’t like so much and what you’d like to see more of.

So that’s me, or us. Nothing ginormous to report, we’re just cracking on with life, as usual.

How we encouraged and protected our child’s dreams

My son Ben has the most wonderful, vivid, lively imagination. He creates fantastical worlds for us to live in. One day we’re slaying dragons, the next we’re farmers with 1,100 horses, most of which are named after his friends at school. I love his imagination, I think it’s something to be nurtured and encouraged; who knows, I might have the next Roald Dahl on my hands!

With his big imagination comes big dreams. Dreams of being a train driver, a cowboy, a farmer or a ninja. Sometimes a combination of things, like being a ninja scientist – there’s probably a need for at least one of those in the world right? I have no idea what he will be when he grows up, I just want him to be happy and to love what he does. He’s wanted to be a ninja scientist for a while now, so a few months ago we started sending him to “ninja school”, learning mixed martial arts. He really likes training and learning the moves, and he sees it as a step towards becoming a real ninja.

Post Office Life Insurance How we've helped our son reach for the stars, and beyond!

I see my role as a parent as being one of the people to guide him towards good things in life; teaching him to be independent and capable so when he’s grown up or I’m gone, he can carry on doing the good things and being the best Ben he can be. To me, parenting is about providing motivation, leadership and inspiration to my son. I’m confident that should I be beamed up by aliens tomorrow, there are enough good people around him to love and support him in this way, right through to adulthood and beyond.

The Post Office asked us to find out what Ben’s hopes and dreams were. Surprise surprise he wanted to become a ninja… (wait for it) …dog walker. Yes, you heard. Find out what some of his other dreams and ambitions are in this short but incredibly adorable video.

I do know that if he truly wants to move to Japan and devote his life to becoming a ninja, he will probably need more than a few weeks’ pocket money to see him through. Training ninjas cannot be done on the cheap. Should anything happen to me or his Dad, our Post Office Life Insurance should step in to meet all his ninja training needs and give us some peace of mind too.

As for being a dog walker, that’s a dream which can very easily be fulfilled, starting with our own pup, Penny.

Post Office Life Insurance - How we've helped our son reach for the stars, and beyond!

Being a mum, there’s so much for me to worry and fret about, although I try and be as laid back as I can so he doesn’t inherit my worries. Having life insurance is one less thing for me to worry over. Having life insurance which will help my son to follow his dreams is even better. Super ninja, or super dog walker, whichever dream he chooses to follow, I know he will be the best Ben he can be.

This post is in collaboration with the Post Office.

My Life Changing Heatwave Life Hack!

Dear Reader, It’s impossibly hot out there and whilst we are trying our very best not to complain about the lovely weather, sometimes, just sometimes it’s just too much to deal with. Short of spending my day lurking in the freezer section of my local supermarket; I have turned to an unconventional way to keep myself cool; a Chilli Paws pet mat given to me by my friend Bob.

Bob is a freelance copywriter and like me spends his days slaving over a hot desk. Even with every window in the house open, the temperature can at times be a bit much. He spotted a Chilli Paws mat in B&M and bought it for the cat who occasionally visits his house to eat all the Dreamies they can get out of him. Typically the cat was not interested in the Chilli Paws mat. Bob, realising the cooling properties of the mat, stuck it under his desk and now rests his feet on it while he works. Genius!

I have turned to an unconventional way to keep myself cool - a Chilli Paws pet mat given to me by my friend Bob.

Bob was so impressed with his new chilled out feet, he bought me one to try for myself. Admittedly it was for my overly hairy dog to lie about on; but in an almost cat-like display of disdain she rejected it and I claimed the Chilli Paws mat as my own. I’ve had the most comfortable feet in South Manchester ever since. It is a godsend. Seriously.

I bet they’re also great for hot dogs and cats too, the trick is getting them to sit on it. My dog will just not listen to reason.

Bob bought my small Chilli Paws mat from B&M and it cost him £4.99. I know this because he left the price on it. I’ve had a look on their website and it’s not on there, but they have a lot of stock which never makes it to the website, so it might be worth popping in to B&M to see if they have any in your local store. If they do buy one for everyone you know.

I have turned to an unconventional way to keep myself cool - a Chilli Paws pet mat given to me by my friend Bob.

If B&M are out of stock they are available on Amazon for quite a few pounds more than the B&M price. The small one (which I’ve got and which is perfectly adequate for my under desk needs) is about £12.

This isn’t a review; I’m not being paid anything to say my friend Bob bought my dog a present and I kept it for myself. I’m just passing on a genius solution to the hell of hot feet. One small thing, they’re probably not designed to have humans standing on them or walking on them; so do be careful not to do this because you might pop it and then you’ll be miserable with hot feet again.

My Life Changing Heatwave Life Hack

A little catch up – March 2018

Last month I wrote a little catch up post and I really enjoyed writing it and I think people liked reading it too, so here I am again with all our news from March.

On paper March was supposed to be quite a peaceful month with not much going on. By the end of the month I was wishing it would all be over soon and hoping someone would let me find a dark room to lie down in for a few days.

It’s not all been bad, in fact most of it has been lovely. Mother’s Day was a peaceful affair. We just chilled out at home, I got a card and some flowers and that’s all I wanted and needed. The boys know I’m a woman of simple tastes, thankfully.

After a year of mostly hibernating and hiding from the world, I booked two social events which I knew would be good for my old soul. The first was an afternoon at the Gin Festival at Manchester’s Victoria Baths with my good friends Karen and Jen. It was a really lovely afternoon of good food, good gin and great company. It was just what I needed.

A little catch up - March 2018

The second trip out was an evening at an embroidery workshop at a new craft shop in Didsbury. It’s called Crafts and Makes and is on School Lane. I made a really cute Scandinavian Fox and learned lots of things about embroidery – something I’ve not really done since school. It’s a great little shop and one I hope to visit again very soon. I do love a good craft workshop!

So that was the good, now for the not so good. Last weekend my son who has glue ear woke up in lots of pain, soon after one of his eardrums perforated and he was really quite poorly. We tried to get him antibiotics but the GP wouldn’t prescribe them.

Two nights later his other eardrum perforated, the infection had spread and he started vomiting; he had an aversion to light and his skin went all grey and mottled. We instantly went from quite worried about our poorly son to OH MY GOD LETS GET HIM TO HOSPITAL. The Doctor was brilliant, we were seen pretty quickly too. He was given a really good check over and we were sent home with a list of red flags to watch out for and some antibiotics.

It’s been four days since our hospital adventure and his infection seems to be clearing up. I am glad we’re off school for the next two weeks, he’s absolutely shattered. He’s sleeping 14 hours a night and too tired and weak to do very much at all during the day. It’s hard seeing my normally bouncy boy like this.

One thing which has cheered him up was a visit from the Easter Bunny. Like most things with us, Easter was a pretty low-key affair. My boy was too ill to be dragged about doing stuff and a quick Easter egg hunt in the garden was about as much as he could manage.

A little catch up - March 2018

I’d spent most of the previous week inside looking after the boy, so I took the chance to escape to church for a really special Easter service in the church yard. It was well worth the 5am alarm and creeping out of the house in the dark. I got home again about 7.30am and grabbed the dog and took her for a really long walk. I was loving the fresh air, the bright, clear spring day and the fact that there was no one else around. We walked for miles and I managed to tire her out, a virtually impossible task. I felt so much better for getting out and having a bit of space to myself.

So that was March, a gin filled, crafty little month. I think in time I’ll look back on this month mostly remembering my heart being in my mouth when my son was being checked over by the Doctor. Lets hope April shows significant signs of improvement!

What have you been up to this March?

A little catch up with HodgePodgeDays – Spring 2018

Hello there. I don’t feel like I’ve been writing much about the things we’ve been doing and what we’ve been up to lately, so I thought it might be about time for a little catch up.

The last month has been a bit of a whirlwind really. We went away for a week in Devon with some friends for February half term. That seems like it was a million years ago now, but in reality it was just over a fortnight ago. We had a brilliant time. It was so good for my son, an only child, to share some space with other children. To have the more lively companionship of people his own age, rather than just his boring parents who want to sit down with a brew every hour or so.

A little catch up - Spring 2018 Devon cottage

We were incredibly lucky with the weather too. It wasn’t wet or miserable, it certainly wasn’t warm, but for the most part it was clear blue skies and sunshine. We returned home just before the “Beast from the East” made itself known and we were treated to a week of snow. We didn’t have drifts of it, but enough for the boy to go to school on his sledge on a couple of days. I don’t like snow, so I spent most of that week looking out of the window wanting it to go away so I could go out again.

I always worry a little more about some of my neighbours when the weather is bad. So I did force myself out to visit a neighbour who I am very fond of. I took her a cake I’d baked, had a chat with her and fussed her dog for a bit. It was nice to get out and I felt a bit better about seeing her. It put my mind at rest that she wasn’t starving or shivering to death and that she wasn’t too lonely.

A little catch up - Spring 2018 snow

Then I had some bad news from my husband. He’d broken my favourite chair. This really is bad news, because of my ruined spine (I have constant pain and my legs are always a bit numb and prone to going completely numb) this is the only chair I can sit it comfortably. The problem is, it’s a vintage g-plan saddleback armchair made in the 1960s. They don’t make them anymore and they’re very hard to come by. I’m hoping my original chair can be repaired, but in the meantime we’ve managed to find a replacement in Glasgow and hopefully that should arrive this week.

I was a bit cross about it, but if my chair can be repaired and my new one reupholstered, then I will have two good chairs in the house which I can sit on in comfort. I work in my favourite chair, with a plank of wood resting across the arms with my laptop on. It sounds weird, but ergonomically it’s the best set up for my back. In the meantime (and as I type this) I’m working for my bed. Three days into this working arrangement and I can’t feel the soles of my feet anymore. Hurry up new chair, hurry up!

And then it was Mother’s Day. I don’t want anyone in my life to feel like they need to make grand gestures to make me happy; so Mother’s Day is always a low key affair. I was woken with a card and a cuddle. He toasted me a hot cross bun which slid off the plate several times on its way to me before dog ate it. It’s the thought that counts!

A little catch up - Spring 2018 Devon

We hung out together for the day, none of us were feeling particularly amazing. I think we are about to simultaneously come down with colds. I even managed an early night. I’d like to say I woke up feeling refreshed and wonderful, but I woke up with a sore throat and a snuffle. And now we find ourselves in mid March.

Shall I do a little catch up post on a more regular basis? What do you think?

Me Too: I was the victim of sexual assault

I think everyone, or almost everyone must have a Me Too story. I know men and women who’ve been touched up, harassed, stalked, assaulted or raped. It’s never been a case of asking for it, or dressing provocatively; it’s about power, intimidation and a distinct lack of understanding about boundaries.

I have several Me Too stories, but the one which affected me the most and gave me PTSD happened in 2009. At the time I was working in a hospital. I was assaulted by a mentally ill man who I was trying to get to a different hospital where he could get the help he needed. Instead he trapped me in a clinic room and put his hands all over me, whispering filth and intimidation into my ear. My flesh crawls just thinking of it.

It was a couple of hours of my life I’ve tried very hard to forget. I speak about it infrequently; it’s not a secret but it’s an incident I tend to talk about in a nonchalant way, to try and make the horror of that afternoon much less than it was.

The incident was very much brushed under the carpet. He was whisked off by security and deposited in an ambulance, never to darken our door again. I was made a cup of tea and told to fill in a report. Nothing was ever done about it, I was encouraged not to take it further. I was told things like this happen all the time to nurses so I was making a fuss about nothing. They told me to put it to one side and get on with my life.

I tried to forget but I couldn’t.

Over the next few weeks and months I developed PTSD symptoms. I swallowed them down, ignored what I could and tried to normalise the rest. All of which were the worst things I could have done.

When my husband and I got pregnant some months later, every instinct I had to protect the life inside me kicked in and my PTSD and anxiety went into overdrive. I’d walk through the corridors of the hospital measuring my breath to keep the panic down. I’d be physically ill at the thought of being duty manager that day and putting my unborn baby at risk if I was attacked again. I was hyper vigilant and scared the whole time at work.

I sometimes wonder what I could have done differently. Was I dressed inappropriately? I don’t think so. My work wear would usually make Pauline Fowler look glamorous. Did I encourage him? No, I was friendly and helpful but it was my job to be friendly and helpful. I stepped back, moved away, did what I could to indicate his attentions were unwelcome. I said no, I said stop. He didn’t.

It was not me, it was him.

Did he do it because he fancied me? No, I don’t think so. He did it because he could and because I was new and unsure and easy prey and he was very ill. I can almost forgive him. Almost.

Ultimately it was my employers responsibility to protect me and they didn’t. It was their job to give me aftercare and make sure I was ok. They didn’t. There was a lot of wrong and not much right about the whole situation, which is a shame.

There should have been a slightly happier ending for me, but there wasn’t. After I finished my maternity leave I went back to work. The daily panic attacks returned but were much worse. I went off sick with stress and knew working there would be impossible. I had an incredibly unsupportive new manager who bullied me out of my job, and that was it, my once promising NHS career was over. Over because a man put his hands on me and triggered a course of events I couldn’t control.

So yes, me too.

Me Too: I was the victim of sexual assault

What does being kind to yourself look like?

When my Dad died (a year ago today) everyone said I needed to be kind to myself. I don’t really know what being kind to yourself looks like. I guess self kindness is a form of self care. Doing things you like doing and which make you feel good, cutting yourself some slack and giving yourself time to come to terms with things and to heal.

For the last year I’ve been in a bit of a fug. I feel a bit like I’m in a plastic box and I can see and hear the real world going on around me; but it’s all muffled and I feel slightly apart from everything. It would be easy for me to just let the loss of my Dad overwhelm me, but I have my son and I don’t have the time or the space to indulge in intense grief. I just take it in small bite sized chucks. I nibble at it every day; like a giant cake of grief, just eating a few crumbs at a time. This grief cake will take a lifetime to consume.

Last night as I lay sleepless in my bed, I was thinking, when I’ve lost other family members I was broken hearted. I grieved for them and I still miss them and probably always will, but losing my Dad has really felt like losing a limb. He was such a big, important part of my life, not in an unhealthy way, we just really got each other and he was one of my best friends.

“Be kind to yourself Jane”

What does being kind to me look like? I’ve worked a little bit less. I’ve turned some things down I knew would stress me out or I wouldn’t enjoy. I have made more of an effort; not just to spend time with my son, but to spend quality time with him. I’ve just booked a holiday for the two of us in August. We are going on a family holiday with my husband too, but he can’t get the extra time off work and I just want to spend time with and have fun with my boy.

We got a dog to distract us from the grief. She’s here to keep me company at home when I’m working and to give me an excuse to stop working and go out for a walk with her. She’s also a pretty good listener and gives great cuddles.

Going away seems to feature quite strongly in my being kind to myself plan. Before Christmas I went on a spa weekend with some friends and we enjoyed it so much we are going again this weekend. I’ve a few other breaks booked in for the rest of the year. Having something to look forward to seems to help me get through the difficult days.

Despite my frequent weekends away and other holidays I’ve got booked, I feel like I hardly go out. My social life has almost ground to a halt and I hardly see friends or go out and have fun. This is partly because a lot of my friends don’t live locally, and those that do are busy people with busy lives. I’m also finding it hard to climb out of my shell. I’m slightly worried about how infrequently I see and speak to people in the real world.

I don’t know how I feel about my lack of a social life; it’s probably one of the reasons why I feel less like me than I have done in a while. Life is fairly humdrum. I’m busy being a wife and a mother. I hardly ever leave the house. I hardly see my friends. If I think about it a bit too hard I realise that I’m losing some of the colour and vitality from my everyday life.

I’m not sure where that all fits with the being kind to myself thing. I know at some point I need to start going out again and having a good time. Maybe I’ve only just got enough emotional energy to get me through the day and not enough to power me through the evenings too. Is hibernating being kind or cruel to myself? I’m not sure.

A year on I’m more determined than ever to be kind to myself. I need to find whatever makes me happy and to do more of that. I think we all need to learn how to be kinder and more considerate of ourselves.

How can you be kind to yourself?

How can you be kind to yourself? What does being kind to yourself look like today and what will that kindness look like tomorrow? Why does it take a death or something seriously life changing for us to stop and be kind to ourselves? Do me a favour, do something nice for yourself today. Treat yourself to whatever feeds your soul and makes your heart glad. You deserve it.

What does being kind to yourself look like?