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  1. On being “normal”

    May 12, 2012 by admin

    As a child I probably wasn’t what some parents would call “normal” I was a bit of a loner, my parent’s used to encourage me to go see my friends, but not having too much luck. I have memories of being about 4 and telling my mum I was going to see my friend, but instead I hid behind the garage for an hour and played alone, then I went back and said I had been to my friends house. I used to hate kids birthday parties. This continued on when I was a young teen as well when my classmates would go to discos, instead of fighting with my parents about not being allowed to go, I would fight with them about the fact I wanted to stay home. But when I look back at my childhood, I was very happy, I wasn’t lonely just because I was a loner.

    When I started college I made friends with a girl who also was a bit peculiar, but the difference between us, was that she hated being called odd, she just wanted to be normal. Me I always used to see “normal” as a bad word. Something the cool girls at school were, you know the ones that stood outside and smoked and had a much older boyfriend, a great wardrobe filled of nice clothes and everybody was meant to want to befriend them.

    However now as a 34 year old I have come to think about normality in a different light. And this light is shining from a big 1000 watt bulb called Multiple Sclerosis. I wish I was normal. I wish I didn’t have turns at least twice a day of really bad fatigue. I wish my speech doesn’t become muddled because I can’t find the right words. I wish tasks wouldn’t take me longer than they should because I can’t concentrate. I wish I had never felt a MS hug, or vertigo, or dysaesthesia. I wish I had never felt like my body wasn’t my own anymore, like I was getting another person dressed as my torso had gone numb and touching it felt alien.

    I wish I was normal, yet I know I am very lucky. My MS is not stopping me from doing my job, I have no physical disabilities, you can’t see by looking at me that something would be not “normal”. Most days I just get on with it, and through my work at the MS Trust I am reminded daily how incredible lucky I am. Because MS can be awful, MS can destroy and MS can mess your whole life up. That is why it is so important to have support. Once again I am lucky because I work in a place where I can just walk into the information team and ask them about any MS questions I have. I know a lot of people that could do with that. That is why the MS Trust exist, they are there to give support to people with MS and their families by giving information. People might not be able to do as I do and walk into the info teams office, but they can pick up the phone and call 0800 032 38 39 with any MS related questions they may have. The Information service will try and help.

    I am incredibly proud of being a part of this organisation, they helped me when I was diagnosed, before I worked there, when I was alone with my questions. On May 20th  BBC Radio 4  will air the MS Trust Appeal at 07:55 and 21:26 or the following Thursday at 15:27. I hope you would tune in and have a listen to Chris Jones, the co-founder of the Trust, one of our Trustees, my friend, and another member of the MS club and listen to what she has to say.

    So anyway I guess I am not normal but hopefully I will get back soon to my former frame of mind, where I actually think that that is ok  not to be “normal”.


  2. Women who hate women

    May 2, 2012 by admin

    The book/film the girl with the dragoon tattoo’s Swedish title is “Men who hate women”. And for anyone that has read the millennium books, they will know there is a fair bit of hatred towards women there. Let’s face it for 1000′s of years women have probably been very badly treated by men, but I’d like to hope that we are on the right trail on that now, however I’d like to say “sisters are doing it for themselves” . I think women are women’s own biggest enemy these days. Women like Samantha Brick who writes articles about “women being to ugly for TV” saying things like

    While there is no denying that Ms Beard is a supremely intelligent and fiercely ambitious woman, there is absolutely no chance of her becoming a successful broadcaster in prime-time slots on flagship TV channels. The plain truth is that Ms Beard is too ugly for TV

    And editor’s of so called women’s magazine who makes a living of telling women they are not good enough. There are enemies walking among us everywhere. I used to read a lot of women’s mags back in the day when I worked for Getty Images, but since about 5 years ago I decided that it was just poisonous to the soul, everything ABSOLUTELY everything is so fixated with looks and the vain, an article about anyone be it an actress, a mother or a doctor, when it is about a woman they have to tell us what size she is. And what she eats to be this size. They makes tonnes of money of just papping celebs looking too fat/too thin and frankly it bores me shitless. One of my favorite artists, fad gadget said back in his song Lady Shave from 1981

    And stupid magazines
    Spread a social disease
    Oh worried girl

    And he was so right! Like I said in the start of this blog, I’d like to think women are not as oppressed by men like they were. Sadly the Samantha Brick and other’s like her are right in one way. TV is all about the vain, not about the merits. Would more people watch meet the Romans if it had Fearne Cotton running around shouting ” Wow look at these amazeballs gladiators, they were well cool dude” rather than Mary Beard who is very knowledgeable and a proper historian. Probably, but I know I wouldn’t want to watch it. But in a world where little girls grow up wanting to be glamour models I wouldn’t be surprised. Because if you get your tits out and marry a footballer you have clearly made it. Being pictured in the papers with an oversized hand bag and glasses, with a pout on your lips is clearly the ultimate goal of womanhood. Girls are wanting to be armcandy more than making a career for themselves and I find it so sad. Maybe it is because I grew up in the power 80′s where little girls dreamed to be lawyers or doctors or even car mechanics just so they could do a “mans job”.

    Would they ever say a man is too ugly for TV? Telly is filled with “ugly” funny blokes. In fact that dating show on living TV has a pretty girl and a fat jolly man. What does this tell us? I don’t think we can move away from this however if we work against our so called sisters, and at the moment that is exactly what we are doing.


  3. Eat Scandi!

    April 29, 2012 by admin

    Seems the interest in Scandinavian is just growing and growing, gone are the days of thinking it is all IKEA meatballs and pickled herring (but not to forget those too are some cornerstones of the scandi kitchen after all!) and now newspapers are raving on about the deliciousness of it all. Seems the world best restaurant is a Danish one and it is coming to London. Warburtons are making bread that looks suspiciously like tunnbrod and small honokakor. Castello cheese have brought over prast and herrgard cheese, as well with the ever popular Danish blue  So surely not since the Vikings have there been so much of Scandinavia in the UK.

    If you want a piece of the action I suggest a trip into London and visit Scandinavian Kitchen and have some fika  or well if you want fika why not go straight to Fika in Brick Lane. Ok let me stop here and explain fika before you think it is a rude word

    Fika is both a Swedish verb and noun (pronounced “fee-ka”) that roughly means “to drink coffee/tea/squash,” usually accompanied by something sweet

    There is also a shop in west London called Totally Swedish, which used to be where I got my Swedish kicks from when I used to live in London. So if you want to eat scandi, why not visit those places armed with the cookbook from Scandilicious  or read her blog  pick out some recipes and try it yourself. She is now working on a book on baking.

    I try to do my part; so I shall share another very easy recipe that is brilliant to make with your kids as there is no oven involved and a lot of mess


    Chocolate coconut balls
    75 gr butter
    1 ½ cups sugar
    1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
    4 cups rolled oats
    2 tablespoons cocoa
    3 tablespoons strong cold coffee
    Mix everything except the coffee that you stir in the end, roll them in desiccated coconut. Or if you have indeed been to a scandishop roll them in parlsocker. Then put them in the fridge for a few hours or if you are greedy in the freezer for 20 mins
    Enjoy!


  4. In a twitterverse far far away

    April 28, 2012 by admin

    Twitter is amazing. Really I love it, I’ve met several great people through it both in person and online. Someone said that the difference between facebook and twitter is that on Twitter you follow people you want to get to know, on facebook you befriend people you already know. But in this MTV generation world, the short message style communication Twitter has just seems to fit in so brilliantly. I remember during the London riots the updates on there were more timely than on the news. Traditional media really is behind social media.

    Through Twitter I decided to set up my hat shop. Through twitter I established a little local hub of mums (follow me on letchworthmums). Through twitter I got to know lovely people such as Helenfrench and Emfrid .  But through twitter I got to meet a lot of other people with MS, both through the work I do at the MS Trust, but also through my personal account when I spotted people that I started following. I read their blogs and have a bit of a chat, and I admire how involved in the twittervese some of themt are. And how close many of them are, even without meeting each other in person. When I went to MS Life I had the pleasure of meeting some of them and it was lovely.

    This evening something really caught my eye, it was some people tweeting about this page  Pay-It-Forward Spoonie Style. Ok before I continue, maybe and explanation of the word Spoonie? It comes from Christine Miserandino’s Spoon Theory.

    “Spoonies are people that live with chronic illness; theoretically measuring personal daily abilities much as one would measure the proper amount of spoons needed for an event or occasion… sometimes having an abundance, other times coming up short.”

    Anyway…back to my story. I  ame across the page Pay-It-Forward Spoonie Style. A girl called Vanessa  is pledging to get money for a new second hand wheelchair for fellow spoonie Margo, as her wheelchair has broken and would cost lots to repair  I have followed Margo on twitter for a good while now, and I read her blog, she even guest blogged for us at the MS Trust blog. And in the same way as I would sponsor a friend running a race for chairty I felt like I wanted to contribute also.  She has raised over £500 so far. So twitter really does create a twitterverse a little universe of likeminded people who find each other whatever locations they may live at. I love it, but then again I would. I met my husband on an IRC channel when I was living in Sweden and him in the UK back in the 90’s…but that is a different story!

    My Twitter necklace from twitter entrepreneur @AlyssaJewellery http://www.alyssasmith.co.uk/


  5. Hyperism Ememy #1…the buggy storage room

    April 25, 2012 by admin

    Every weekday there are a few stress elements I always go through, those moments when my heart-rate starts ticking away faster and I grind my teeth. Yes I didn’t even knew I did that, but my husband has pointed it out a few times.  Stress moment number 1 actually is around him. He likes sleeping, and is very hard to get out of bed in the morning. So I feel like I have two children to get up in the morning. Once when my alarmed failed to ring, we both were delayed because he just turned his off and continued sleeping. My son is pretty much the same. Apart from on weekends of course…then he wants to get up.

    Stress moment #2 is getting out of the office on time and get to nursery before 1, as if you pick up late you might get fined. This stress is my own fault as I often loose track of time and suddenly see that I have 3 mins to finish up  what I am working on and dash out the door.

    Event #3 is by far the worst one, and one where often brings me into a swearing mode; the buggy storage cupboard at Mr T’s nursery.

    This little room is never empty, it has Christmas decorations and all sorts of randomness, and when I show up just before lunch time it is stacked full with buggies, and as I have been one of the first people to put mine in, our buggy is almost always at the bottom of an evil pile-up. Every morning I fold the buggy up and try to tuck it away, hoping others will be doing that too, but no, several people just seem to roll it in, or throw their on top of the others, so I have to dig dig dig. It is not even the biggest buggies that are a problem, far from it, mostly it is an unfolded buggy that ends up blocking the door that ends up falling down so no-one can even get in. Quite a few times I have had to go get staff to help me get into the room, as the door has been totally blocked. So combining moment number 2 of rushing and number 3 of chaos in the buggy room, quite often gets me into swearing mode. To be standing outside a nursery swearing is not so good, I know. So I try to only do it in Swedish. But still…grrrrrrr