How has body image changed over the years?

How body image has changed over time

In my last post I talked about a positive body image and what we parents can do to help our children (and ourselves.) While researching this topic I was surprised to see how the way we view the perfect body shape has changed over the years.

If you lived during the 1950’s then you might have come across an advert like this.

 1950's advert for body image too skinny
1950’s advert

Or this

1950's advert shows different body image of today
How to put on weight!

Being thin was not considered a good body shape and there were people (men in white coats!) who could show you how to change it using pills. How different to today when you are more likely to see adverts and programmes about weight loss not weight gain. Continue reading How has body image changed over the years?

Romance, bromance and womance. What do these words mean?

Womance and bromance - the new romance
Romance, bromance or womance?

Three things happened last week.

  1. Valentines day
  2. The film ‘Hidden Figures’ arrived in the UK.
  3. I met with my girlfriends in the park.

It was a culmination of these points that sparked this blog.

Let me set the scene. It was half term last week and Friday was a glorious day. With the kids in tow, I met up with three of my close friends (we have our own acronym so we must be close or mad!) As always, when we get together, we begin to chat, forget about the kids and generally have a lovely time. We discussed Valentines day which we all decided should just be called Tuesday (normal day, no romance) and the film ‘Hidden Figures’ which focuses on an amazing group of black American women who helped the US win the space race.

Whilst gossiping away, my daughter who was eavesdropping, pulled a face when I mentioned my ‘girlfriends’. When questioned, she said the word was like ‘lesbian’. Now there is nothing wrong with the word ‘lesbian’ apart from that it describes a friendship which generally involves sex. I love my friends very much but have never (to my knowledge) ever wanted or tried to initiate sex with them.

But they are my girlfriends. They are the friends I talk to, the friends I turn to, the friends who I need to get through life, who happen to be girls. My daughter said we could rename ourselves as ‘besties’ (too similar to beasties) or G’s. Apparently shortening the word ‘girlfriend’ to a single letter makes it all ok. Who knew!

It made me wonder what word best describes the relationship I have with my close friends.

Bromance

Most of us have heard of the word ‘bromance’. The concept of the bromance really took flight with the success of the Hangover trilogy films. And it’s been around for quite a long time. David Carnie, the editor of skate mag Big Brother first coined it – a portmanteau of “bro” and “romance” – in the ‘90s to describe the close friendships between pro-skaters.

There are many stories fictional and real of great male friendships: Sherlock and Watson; Lennon and McCartney; Ant and Dec; Batman and Robin. The Blues Brothers shows a great male friendship, while Reservoir Dogs shows what happens when they go wrong.

The word ‘bromance’ is in the english dictionary.

‘A bromance is a close but not sexual relationship between two men.’

The word ‘romance’ is also in the english dictionary. There are a few definitions.

‘A close, usually short relationship of love between two people.’

‘A feeling of excitement associated with love.’

So there must be a word for a close female friendship. There is but I bet you’ve never heard of it.

‘womance’

Womance

Yep, never heard of it until yesterday and then all of a sudden, like buses all arriving at once, there it is screaming out from the Sunday Times. It’s been around for a while but never really taken off which is probably why it’s not in the english dictionary. Maybe women are luckier than men. We can show our feelings and be tactile with our girlfriends without everyone thinking we are actually ‘girlfriends’. I’m not sure men can do the same.

We have a cultural problem, I think, where we’re scared by male friendship. A truly great friend feels like a brother or sister, someone you have actively chosen to be joined to and love no matter what they do. If two men love each other like that, we get all uncomfortable. Hence, the need for a word like ‘bromance’. This helps all men to know that they can describe their ‘non-sexual male friendship’ without reverting to mumblings and red faces or god forbid, having to talk about their feelings.

This still doesn’t help me though. I need a word that doesn’t belong to the pre-pubescent community or make my daughter and her friends pull sickening faces. Not ‘womance’. Anything that starts with the sound ‘wo’ can’t be good. We use it to tell an animal or person ‘woah’ (stop) or my life is full of ‘woe’. Neither define how I feel about the special women in my life.

But the words ‘soul sister’ do. Sisters because they are my family. And ‘soul’ because of the things we talk about at a deeper level, emotionally and intellectually.  A love of the whole person, including the hidden part you can’t see. That is the essence of a ‘soul sister’. And it’s also in the dictionary.

‘A woman whose thoughts, feelings, and attitudes closely match those of another; a kindred spirit.’

Our quote is so much nicer than the men’s. Don’t you think?

So to my soul sisters everywhere. Below is a list of films which celebrate close female friendships and are fab films too! Get some of your soul sisters round and celebrate the romance. And maybe do it on a Tuesday.

  1. Thelma and Louise
  2. Hidden Figures
  3. Beaches
  4. Bridesmaids
  5. Steel magnolias
  6. Clueless
  7. The Help
  8. First wives club
  9. Calendar girls
  10. The Color purple

 

 

How do you chose your baby’s name?

Choosing a name

Your name is an important piece of information about you. Something you are given at birth and (usually) keep until you die. Your name can have a profound effect on you as you grow and can influence how you feel about yourself and how others feel about you. If you don’t like your name or are embarrassed, it could damage your self-esteem and affect your future success. Which is probably why most parents take such care when they choose a name. Or do they?

How do parents choose their baby’s name?

There are a lot of traditions and customs across the world which are used to help choose the baby’s name. Many years ago sons and daughters were often named after their fathers and grandfathers. This tradition still continues. Johny Depp is actually John Christopher Depp II and his son is John Christopher Depp III. Donald Trump named his son Donald Trump Jr and his son is named Donald Trump III. This naming can carry on in some families for a long time. Usher (the American singer songwriter) is actually Usher Raymond IV and he named his son Usher Raymond V.

Other traditions include naming babies after family members, saints, people from holy books and historical Greek and Roman stories. In Indian mythology there are 330 million gods and goddess names to choose from. Some countries use the horoscope and the map of the planets and stars at the time of birth of their child to choose a name. In Indonesia the order of your birth determines your name. For instance, if you are the first-born, your name will be Wayan or Putu and if you are the second, it will be Made or Radek. American red indians would observe the nature or events around their teepee when their child was born. Names included running water, sitting bull and little dear.

Sharing a name with a famous person

These traditions continue but the rise of the ‘celebrity’ and their baby name choices influence many more parents these days. On the ‘Humans of New York’ Facebook page, ordinary ‘not famous’ people tell stories of how they share their name with a famous celebrity. They include Donald Trump, Beyoncé, Serena Williams, Victoria Beckham, Julia Roberts, Kate Middleton. Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney to name just a few. I’m reading ‘Charlotte Street’ by Danny Wallace (see Book Recommendations page) where the main character is Jason Priestley (remember Beverly Hills 90210). The story illustrates this point perfectly and although the humour adds to the read, I’m sure it wouldn’t feel quite so funny in real life.

These people talk about how annoying it is to share a famous name. You can’t be found on a website and for those with their own businesses they often have to change their name. It can be embarrassing when people meet you for the first time and repeat the same comments you have heard many times before, either singing the songs of their famous moniker or saying lines synonymous with a character. There is also the disappointment factor when the person hearing your famous name, meets you for the first time and realises you’re not them.

Some of the ‘sharing a famous name’ people spoke about how it can be an ice breaker and for the lucky Bill Clinton Gates who works in HR, it’s actually a big selling point for him and he attracts people because of his name.

Other ways of choosing a name

And then we get to the other ways of choosing a name. We may choose a name because it’s unique or it’s actually a mistake. My husband’s grandmother was called Estranna.  A very unusual name for a child born in Wales at the turn of the century until you hear how she got that name. Her father went to register the birth of his daughter but not before he had celebrated in the local public house. In his drunken state he mouthed the words which sounded like Estranna but should have been Esther Anna.

A British study undertaken in 2010, Bounty.com, asked 3000 parents about the names they had chosen for their children. 20% regretted the choice they made, either because it was unusual or because it was spelt differently and it made it hard for their child and others to spell. It is obvious from a few forums that I looked at recently that there are quite a lot of people who don’t like their name and I can’t say I blame them. This list included Merry Christmas, Mayo Naise, Macarena Diab, Jack Haas and God Gazarov. Unique names, yes, but at a price.

Yet it seems that a lot of parents still want their child to have a name different to everyone else. Trying to find that unique name, the name no-one else has is not easy and even when you think you have found it, the chances are so has someone else. My sister-in-law named her son, Bailey. Very unique eleven years ago but even she commented that as soon she had named him she heard of another parent who had named their child the same. I wonder if this true for all names?

As I researched this, I found a list of ‘celebrities’ that have recently given their children unusual names. We have all heard of Apple and North West but what about these.

  • Bear – Kate Winslet (actress)
  • Sailor – Liv Tyler (actress)
  • Cricket – Busy Philips (actress)
  • Fox – Mark Owen (singer)
  • Sparrow – Nicole Ritchie (daughter of Lionel)
  • Striker – Nicola McClean (glamour model)
  • Audio Science (I’m not joking!) – Shannyn Sossamon (actress)

So is it true that you can name your child something unique and no-one else will have thought of the same? Well, it seems even the celebrities can’t make this happen. Sam Worthington (actor) and Jamie Oliver (chef) both chose the same name for their sons. What was it? Rocket. Either the lettuce variety or the thing that goes into space. You decide. After all it’s only a name.

 

Why it’s good to be a woman-the rise of the ‘superwoman’!

It’s good to be a woman! Those are words I wasn’t sure I would ever say. For most of my life I have thought that it would have been better to have been a man.

Superwoman by clipart Panda
Superwoman!

 

Why? Mainly because they get to concentrate on one thing at a time. From the moment a man gets on the career ladder (and providing he doesn’t become a stay at home dad) he can pretty much concentrate on his job and his career. Women on the other hand tend to have to think of everything. Not only do they have jobs but they are predominately the main child provider, the payer of bills, the food shopper, the cook, the babysitter organiser, the holiday organiser, the schedule organiser when kids are sick, taking part in numerous clubs and attending gazillions of social activities and parties, the taxi driver, the nurse, the therapist and local community representative (e.g.. neighbour) and they’ve had to take a break in the middle of their career to have a family and get back on the career ladder afterwards.

But, as new scientific evidence has shown this week, there may be a reason for all of this. Women are indeed the stronger sex!

Continue reading Why it’s good to be a woman-the rise of the ‘superwoman’!

A christmas present – new children’s eBook to download

New children’s ebook to download to any tablet, iPad, phone or Kindle.

Only 99p/99c special introductory offer. Available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com now. Read the synopsis below.

Secret in the Sea
The Secret in the Sea – children’s ebook

 

What’s the story about?

Hannah is just an ordinary girl with ordinary problems but with an extraordinary talent. When she plays the violin, something magical happens that changes Hannah’s life in a way she never knew possible. This chapter book captures the magic of the sea and the violin and is based on a true story.

Hannah loves her violin. Lost in the music, she can escape the problems of her parents divorce. She also likes to go to the Bay and dangle her feet in the water. One day she discovers something that will not only change her life but the lives of all the people who live around the Bay. The only thing is, she will have to make a commotion and be noticed and that’s not something Hannah is comfortable doing. She often hides behind friends or her violin but this time she can’t do that and if she wants to stop a building project which is about to start, she will have to do something and quickly. Will she have the courage? Will anyone listen? Will they come and hear her?

Continue reading A christmas present – new children’s eBook to download

The cold virus – facts about the rhinovirus and ways to prevent catching it.

Did you know that the most common cause of the cold is the rhinovirus? 

Rhinovirus

The rhinovirus – Wellcome Trust

  1. The rhinovirus (unlike its name) is very small. It is 1000 times smaller than a human cell.
  2. 1350 billion rhinoviruses can sit on a 1 pound or 1 euro coin.
  3. A cold virus is not alive. It comes to life by occupying another host.
  4. A cold virus survives best in cold, dry weather.
  5. You can’t catch a cold virus by kissing but you can by shaking hands!
  6. Viruses love eyes and noses.The yellow mucus sometimes produced from your nose during a cold is actually white blood cells.
  7. Cold viruses don’t make us feel ill. Our immune system response makes us feel unwell.
  8. The velocity of a sneeze is the same as a professional baseball pitcher, 150 km per hour. That’s fast!
  9. More children than adults catch colds ( not surprising when you see what children do when they sneeze!)
  10. Your race, gender, education and shape of your body does not make a difference whether you are more likely to catch a cold or not.

Continue reading The cold virus – facts about the rhinovirus and ways to prevent catching it.