Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Street and sexual harassment


Street harassment and Sexual harassment 

Lately I have been reading a lot of women's experiences on street and sexual harassment. It amazes me what I have read, some of the things women have had to put up with is just not on. It then lead me to think of my experiences. Before reading other women's experiences with street and sexual harassment, I myself never thought I had gone through it. But then I realised I had. The first time was when I was about twelve years old. I was with two friends and we were walking along the street. As we got ready to cross the road, a car pulled up very slowly beside us. There were two very big looking men sat in the front. Both of them leered at us, before the driver stuck his hand out of the window and proceeded to say, "shake my hand, be my friend." I don't like to think what would have happened if we had. Instead me and my friends just ran. At the time me and my friends didn't think much of it, as we were only young we didn't really know what to make of it. 

The second time I have been harassed on the street, is a culmination of four times by one man. The first time I was walking home from college and he crossed the road to get to me. He then asked me my advice on how to get back with his girlfriend and continued to follow me down the street. The second time he and another guy asked me for some money, and again followed me. The third time I was on my way to college and he was waiting at the end of the street, I could see him watching me but there was nothing I could do as I HAD to walk past him. As I got to him, he stopped me asking if I'd received any post that morning. The fourth time I had an encounter with him was probably the scariest. I was again walking to college and he followed me, purposefully crossing roads when I did. He followed me for twenty minutes, all the way to my local town. Each time I have come across him in the street I have always felt nervous and intimidated, always wondering if he'll ever go that one step further.

There was another time after that, that I was again harassed on the street, this time by someone else. I was walking to work one day and as I was walking off a bridge, there were two guys on the other side. One proceeded to walk behind me, saying something that I couldn't hear, but made his friend laugh as he looked at me. The guy behind me then grabbed one of my arms as his other hand held onto my waist. The second guy stood near, but didnt do anything as his friend tried pulling me down another street away from anyone. Luckily I was quite strong and was literally metres from my work, I managed to get away from him and run to the office where I worked. This time was most frightening for me, I had no idea what this guy was trying to do or hoping to do. But I'm thankful I managed to get away. That afternoon I reported it to the police and made a statement to them. A few days later I got a call back, saying they had looked at CCTV and could see the incident happening. But as I wasn't hurt or sexually assaulted, there was nothing they could do. Or rather, they wouldn't do anything. At this I felt failed. What if I hadn't got away? What would have happened then? I can only imagine. 

Each of these times I have been harassed in the street I have felt nervous, intimidated and even scared. I shouldn't have to feel like that when I walk down the street, no one should have to feel like that. After the last incident, where I was grabbed in the street, I was told I should carry an alarm. But why should I? I wasn't doing anything, I wasn't wearing anything that could be described as provocative, and even if I was, that doesn't give guys the right to touch me, or grab me, or pull me.  When I was grabbed, there were people around. I even saw another guy looking over, throwing me a questioning glance. But he didn't do anything. Neither did all the other people walking around that busy, sunny afternoon. I didn't have other members of the public on my side or the police. So I guess I do need to protect myself. Because no one else will. 

Friday, 19 October 2012

Cancer - The Effects

     Cancer.  The big C.  When you hear the word you immediately think of the worst.  You break down.  Your whole world is completely destroyed.  You think of what’s going to happen, you think of the future and the worst of it.  You immediately think of death.  You can’t help it.  I have my own experience with cancer.  I lost my Granddad to it when I was seven and I lost my great Nan when I was eight.  But I was most affected by the disease when I was told in October 2010 that my Grandma had throat cancer.  Everything from then on was just a blur.  She went through chemotherapy but it had already started to spread.  My auntie had to move her wedding forward by four months to make sure my Grandma was there. 
     When my Granddad and great Nan died, I was so young I only have a few memories of them and I’m lucky enough not to remember them being ill.  But I will remember my Grandma suffering from this disease.  She was given three to five months to live; she fought that and lived for a whole year after she was diagnosed.  We all knew she wouldn’t beat the cancer, it wasn’t going anywhere.  The tumour in her throat had been reduced by the chemo, but as soon as the therapy had stopped it got bigger again.  Meaning she could no longer eat solid food and everything had to be blended, which wasn’t pleasant at all. 
     In October 2011 her legs had swelled up making her uncomfortable and often causing her pain, this also meant she could no longer get upstairs.  Because of this our local hospital gave her one of their beds to put in her living room.  The first night she went to use it, her hip broke.  Luckily her sister was staying with her at the time and got her to the hospital.  From then on she spent just over a month in hospital.  She had one wish though and that was to not die in hospital or a hospice.  I prayed that we could uphold that wish, but I was slowly losing hope.  She spent two weeks in hospital and a further three weeks in a recovering unit next to the hospital. 
     Luckily she was able to come out, she spent the next week at home constantly with someone, either one of her sisters or one of her children.  She was at home for a week before she died.  She died at home, exactly where she wanted to be and for that I am so grateful.  Seeing her so ill and then seeing her slip away, it changed me.  Seeing death changes you as a person.  Something inside of you changes and you’re never the same again.  I don’t really know how to explain what death feels like, what it feels like seeing someone dying or what it feels like to lose someone. 
     All I can say is, it feels like your heart is literally breaking.  Like something is being ripped out from inside you and you’re not the same person again.  Even now, almost a year on, I miss her terribly.  There is not a day that goes by when I don’t think about her.  Ever since my Grandma has died, I have done all I can to raise money.  I ran the Race For Life, raising just over £200 for the charity.  I also donate to Macmillan as they are an amazing group who do brilliant things for people with cancer. 
     Cancer affects one in three people, meaning almost everyone will come across this awful disease in their life.  Death is a definite thing, no one escapes it.  But cancer is not the way to go.  I have seen how it can change someone, it takes away the person you used to know.  They become so different and their body is just a shell.  But with everyone’s help we can work towards finding a cure.  Please donate whatever you can to Stand Up 2 Cancer.  Thank you.               

Thursday, 18 October 2012

River Seine - Paris

I took this picture whilst I was in Paris in 2008. This photo was taken at the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Loss

Have you ever had someone in your life that you used to know, but you lost them.  And so many years have passed that you start to forget about them.  You try so hard to remember them, you try desperately to grab hold of a memory, any memory of them, but you can’t.  All the memories you had of them, what they looked like, what their voice sounded like, they all slowly slip away, until you’ve forgotten.  You know they were there, you know they existed, but you don’t know anything about them. 

There used to be a time when you’d talk to them, listen to them, see them smile and hear their laugh, but now you don’t and you can’t remember what it used to be like.  You get to a point where everyone around you knows them, remembers what they did and what they sounded like, and it’s like you’re the only one who doesn’t.  Even though you knew them, you met them; you don’t really know them, not like everyone else does.  You start to make up things in your mind, you start to make up little memories, and you think about them and think about them, until you truly believed they happened. 
That what you made up in your mind actually happened and is real.  You look at pictures and blurry images of the past come back, but it’s not real and they’re not there.  Years will pass and eventually most of the people who you lose in your life one way or another, you will forget about.  You’ll look at pictures and you’ll think about them, but you won’t remember what they sounded like, what you did together, and you won’t discover your memories. 
But that’s what happens when you lose someone.  You’ll have the pictures and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to keep a few memories, but you won’t remember everything.  But then you meet someone new, or someone different will come into your life and you just have to make some new memories.   

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Abortion - The Time Limit Debate

In the space of one week the Minister for Women, Marie Miller and the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, have both announced they back the reduction of the abortion limit. Maria Miller has said she wished the limit to be reduced from 24 weeks to 20 weeks, whereas Jeremy Hunt has said he wishes for a further reduction, all the way to 12 weeks. Jeremy Hunt has said he supports a 12 week limit as a result of “studying the evidence”, however he hasn’t cited any evidence for his decision.

Experts have even disparaged Maria Miller’s decision to lower the time limit, with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) announcing that there is in fact no medical evidence to suggest such a cut would be a good idea. They have also criticised Jeremy Hunt’s suggestion of 12 weeks. Their spokesperson Kate Guthrie spoke to The Times and has said:

“The politicisation of women’s health is absolutely shocking. Politicians talk about putting patients at the centre, which is quite right.
How is the woman at the centre of her healthcare with something like this?
If everybody had to have abortions by 12 weeks, my worry would be that women would be rushed into making decisions: ‘I have to have an abortion now or I can’t have one.’
That’s an absolute shocker. You will absolutely create mental health problems if you start dragooning women into making decisions before they have to.”

Of course abortion is a sensitive issue for most people, but importantly it is an issue which should concern the women who are experiencing an unintended pregnancy. We women deserve the right to have autonomy over our own bodies, and we are entitled to make the decision to end or continue a pregnancy if that is what we want; it should not concern anyone else.

Abortions happen for many different reasons. A teenager, who is na├»ve and knows nothing about contraception, ends up getting herself into an awful situation. A woman who is raped and is left behind with a daily reminder. A woman who is in an abusive relationship and gets pregnant by her boyfriend/husband. Should these women be made to carry on with this unwanted pregnancy?  

If the abortion time limit is reduced, this does not mean fewer abortions will be carried out. It will only mean that women who rely on the NHS will be forced to make a difficult decision with very little time to make it. It is estimated that 47,000 women around the world die each year from illegal, unsafe abortions. Is this that we want for women in the UK?

These unwanted pregnancy rates need to be targeted by the government, but not by reducing the time limit. People need better access to contraception, even if teachers have to hand it out at schools. I have four nieces and a nephew; I would prefer them to be given contraception at school than for them to end up being a parent. Also improving pre-natal testing for genetic abnormalities would highlight any issues with a pregnancy well before the 24 week mark.

If these two ministers were interested in reducing unwanted pregnancies, they would begin by looking at access to contraceptives and drastically improving sex education. And I don’t mean explaining the facts of life, but actually talking to teenagers about relationships, contraception and how bloody hard it is to take care of a child. Teenagers are going to have sex, giving them contraception won’t encourage them, they’re going to do it anyway, but it will keep them safe. 

Maria Miller is Minister for Women and describes herself as “a very modern feminist” it would be great if she was on our side and actually trusted women to make the right decisions about our own bodies and futures. Jeremy Hunt also needs to understand that by lowering the abortion limit will not mean fewer abortions, it just means fewer documented abortions will be taking place and more women will be putting their lives at risk in order to end a pregnancy that they either cannot or will not continue with for all kinds of reasons. Abortions that take place after the 20 week mark are very rare and only account for less than 2% of the 200,000 abortions carried out in England and Wales in 2011.  

The tory government has made many cuts to the NHS since being in power. By reducing the limit they ultimately want to protect these babies lives, but they’re cutting the funds that the NHS is being given and they’re getting rid of more and more midwives. If they want to save babies lives, where are they going to be born and who is going to deliver them?   

The government needs to tackle this sensitive issue, but not by punishing women who have an unexpected or non-viable pregnancy.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Email to my local MP on the abortion limit.

My local MP has recently been made Women's Equality minister, she has also recently expressed her views on wanting to lower the abortion limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks, so I wrote her an email expressing my views on the subject.

Dear Maria Miller,
 
I have recently read in the news that you believe the abortion limit
should be lowered from 24 weeks to 20 weeks.
 
First of all I cannot believe you think this is the right thing to do.
 
For one the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG)
have said there is no medical evidence to justify such a cut.
 
Women deserve the right to have autonomy over their own bodies, we are
entitled to make the decision to end or continue a pregnancy if that is
what we want to do.
 
The decision to have an abortion is a difficult one, and is influenced
by many factors, not least by the existing time limits.
 
If you have your way, women will be rushed into making decisions on
whether to have an abortion.
 
It is estimated that 47,000 women around the world die each year from
illegal, unsafe abortion. Is this what we want for women in the UK?
 
Unwanted pregnancy rates need to be targeted by the government, but not
by reducing the abortion time limit.
 
Improving access to contraception would help deal with the issue.
 
The Tory government has made many cuts to the NHS since being in
government.
 
You want to protect the life of an unborn child, but you're getting rid
of the wards for it to be born in and you're laying off the midwives
that will deliver that child.
 
Where is the sense in that.
 
So you’re Minister for Women, please be on our side; you describe
yourself as “a very modern feminist” so trust women to make the right
decisions about our own bodies and futures.


If anyone has any views or opinions on the matter and would like to add them, please feel free to leave a comment here or on my twitter. Thanks for reading.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Thank You and Goodbye

Author's note: This is an article I wrote on the News of the World phone hacking scandal, which I had to do in a creative writing course I took in college. This was finished in February earlier this year.
 
 
There were many people whose phones were hacked by News of the World, celebrities and politicians, but the most shocking was the allegation that the newspaper had hacked into murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s phone. The News of the World has given compensation and have apologised profusely to the general public for what they did, but the demise of the newspaper still came.

Two editors of the newspaper at the time of the hacking, along with the Murdochs, have all said they knew nothing about it, which makes us wonder what really happens behind closed doors at their offices. Do all journalists acquire their stories without telling their editors what they’re doing, and when they put these articles into the paper, doesn’t their editor proof read their articles and question how they obtained their information? Then again maybe it’s just about selling newspapers and making money.
   Sunday 10th July 2011, the last day News of the World provided what they thought was in the public interest. When the newspaper came to a halt, many things came to light, most of which no boss should be proud of. As everything about this particular newspaper came to light, it made the public sit back and think about what they had been reading, or rather what the News of the World, and in turn News International, had been drip feeding them. When Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson said they knew nothing about what was going on, the public turned to each other and scoffed. Of course the editors knew, but of course they were all passing the buck.
   What’s most astonishing about the newspaper Rupert Murdoch owned was how much he was able to influence the public. In December 2010, Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, had the responsibility of deciding whether News Corporation could take over BskyB. However, he was stripped of his role on Tuesday 21st of December, after telling undercover reporters at The Daily Telegraph that he was “declaring war” on Rupert Murdoch. Less than 48 hours later there was a meal at the home of Rebekah Brooks, the then chief executive of News International. The event was attended by James Murdoch, his wife, the Prime Minister David Cameron and Jeremy Clarkson amongst others.
   Everyone now wonders what will happen next. Will it come out that other newspapers have also hacked into people’s phones? And what are the government and the Press Complaints Commission going to do to prevent something like this happening again?
   It became clear that something needed to be done. The government and the public had to find out how a newspaper could get away with something like this for so long, and the government had to find out what they could do to prevent something like this happening again. On the 13th July 2011, after being pressurised into questioning the journalists and editors of News of the World, Prime Minister David Cameron announced a two-part inquiry, named the Leveson Inquiry.
   The actress Sienna Miller was one of the people to be questioned at the inquiry: “I felt like I was living in some sort of video game with people kind of pre-empting every move I made as a result of accessing my private information.” She went on to say: ‘‘I would often find myself, at the age of 21, at midnight, running down a dark street on my own with 10 men chasing me. And the fact they had cameras in their hands made that legal.”
   JK Rowling was another celebrity who had her phone hacked by News of the World and has been questioned at the Leveson Inquiry. She told how her daughter once came home from school with a letter from a journalist found in her backpack: “I felt such a sense of invasion,’’ Rowling said: ‘‘It’s very difficult to say how angry I felt that my five-year-old daughter’s school was no longer a place of complete security from journalists.’’  
   One question on the country’s lips, will be what will happen now. At the moment newspapers and magazines are overseen by the PCC; however, the PCC has no legal powers and all newspapers and magazines voluntarily adhere to the rulings of the commission, making the industry self-regulating. The PCC has received criticism for its lack of action in the News of the World hacking scandal and many people including MPs and the Prime Minister David Cameron, have called for it to be replaced with a new system.
   On Tuesday 29th November 2011, Paul McMullen, a former News of the World Features Editor, hit out at his former employer, accusing Andy Coulson of introducing phone hacking at the paper. Paul McMullan was questioned at the Leveson inquiry, Lord Justice Leveson had to warn him several times, as he risked incriminating himself as he spoke about alleged criminal wrongdoing during his time at the paper. When asked whether his News of the World Editors, Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, knew voicemail messages were being intercepted, McMullan said: “Yes... I could go a bit further than that.”
   He added: “Andy Coulson brought that practice [phone hacking] wholesale with him when he was made Deputy Editor. They should have had the strength of conviction to say, ‘Yes, sometimes you have to stray into black or grey illegal areas’... instead they said ‘we didn’t know they were doing it’. They’re the scum of journalism for trying to drop me and my colleagues in it.” He then added: “For 21 years you have a culture of illegality of phone hacking. What you have is a future prime minister cosying up and being moulded by the arch-criminal, Rebekah Brooks, the criminal-in-chief.”
   He later said that hacking into murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s phone was “not a bad thing for a well-meaning journalist to do”, claiming that they were trying to find the schoolgirl while she was still missing because they had such little faith in the police to do the job.
   When Hugh Grant was questioned at the inquiry in November, there was one thing he said which could determine whether something like this could happen again. “What is in the public interest, and what is of the interest to the public?”
   As they are still currently in the midst of the inquiry, one question sticks in everyone’s minds, who will now make sure something like this doesn’t happen again. When the Leveson inquiry opened on Monday 14th November 2011, Lord Justice Leveson said: “The press provides an essential check on all aspects of public life. That is why any failure within the media affects all of us. At the heart of this Inquiry, therefore, may be one simple question: who guards the guardians?”

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Cornwall

This is a photo I took of a beach in Cornwall, called Harlyn Bay. I changed it on Photoshop. This is one of my favourite places in the world!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

New Job!

I got a job! Finally I have a new job! I haven’t had a job for about two months now and I have hated it. Not that I haven’t been doing anything, I’ve been doing my diploma in journalism and I’ve been writing. But I’ve hated not having a job. I’ve hated not being able to earn money. But now I can.

My last job I quit because it did my head in. I worked for a debt management company. It was there that I worked on phones calling people up during the day. It was pretty much cold calling and people hated me, but I didn’t exactly like it either. My job was to help people with their debt, so if people had credit cards and loans they were struggling with, I put them through to other companies who would help them pay them off. It was quite intense, having to talk to people about their debt everyday was a bit heavy.
But then we moved onto payment protection insurance. I called people up who were eligible to claim back money from their banks, and then again put them through to companies who were able to do that for them. I worked there for a year and a half until I eventually had enough. All day every day I got people swearing at me, some even telling me to get cancer and die. I completely understand that me calling them was annoying, but it was my job and I didn’t really appreciate being called a c**t and told to die.
I also stopped getting on with the people I worked with. My boss began to get on my nerves, he would pull me into the office by myself, pressuring me to work extra hours. I always felt intimidated so felt like I had to. I also worked with two boys around my age, and with them I felt like I was back at school, they annoyed the hell out of me. I hardly ever got any pay slips either and in the end I’d just had enough.
So I just quit. I finished work one Thursday and the following Monday I told my boss I wasn’t going back. It felt good and I’m glad I did it. Though I have missed having a job. But now finally I have one. I can finally learn to drive, buy clothes again and I might even get a tattoo.   

Monday, 20 August 2012

My Email To Star Magazine

Three days ago I emailed Star magazine as I wasn't happy with them putting Gary Barlow on their front cover and talking about his loss. As a fan of his, I don't want the press putting him and his family all over their cover pages. He and his family have asked for privacy right now and that should be respected. I have yet to receive a response from Star; this was my email to them.

Dear Mr/Mrs or whoever it may concern.

I am writing to inform you I have a complaint about ISSUE 445, dated 20th August 2012, over your cover content.

On this cover there is a picture of Gary Barlow titled, "Devastated. Grieving Gary. He'll Never Get Over Losing Baby Poppy."

I am very annoyed and upset at the fact that you have put a picture of a heartbroken man on the cover of your magazine, after he has asked for privacy for him and his family.

He, his wife and their family have just gone through a devastating loss, yet you have put him on your front cover.

They asked for privacy and you have disrespected that.

They also have children, children who can read what you have written, which could upset them further, which would also upset Gary further.

I also question whether this is of the public interest, as we fans don't wish to read this, as we wish to respect his privacy.

I look forward to hearing your response.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Star Mag - Insensitive

I seriously cannot believe Star magazine. They’ve only gone and put Gary Barlow on their front cover, with the headline, “Devastated, Grieving Gary. He’ll never get over losing Baby Poppy.” No, of course he won’t. Say the obvious why don’t you. On the front page also, is a picture of Imogen Thomas holding her baby bump. Of course she’s very happy at the moment as she’s doing well in her pregnancy.

But for Star magazine to put a picture of Gary on the same page as a happy pregnant woman is, in my eyes, very insensitive. I don’t know why the press won’t just leave him alone, stop writing articles on him. Right now he and his family are going through a very tough time, the last thing they need is that tough time splashed all over the papers and mags.
The press don’t seem to understand the fact that Gary has children, children who can go on the internet or read the newspapers, and see what is being written about all of them. They don’t need that right now. Fans have respected the Barlow’s privacy, we don’t want to read it. It would be nice if the press could understand that too. Rant over.

Trolls

So I was on twitter a few days ago, and everyone was talking about some horrible tweets they’d seen about Gary. I myself didn’t look at them, I couldn’t. I had read some tweets about him from two other vile people, and I couldn’t understand what would make them say it. Literally within hours of him announcing he’d lost his child, there were nasty tweets all over twitter. Particularly from one evil person, who I will not mention the name of.

I have no idea what possessed him to say it, Gary and his family was going through a terrible loss, a loss which no one should have to go through and people were making jokes about it. Maybe it was to get lots of attention or maybe he just wanted to be hated, whatever the reason, the things he said were disgusting.
I don’t understand these “trolls.” I don’t know what satisfies them about having a go at celebrities or people like themselves. Where do they get off on it? They’re hated for what they’re doing. Their days are literally filled with making people feel like crap. And I don’t know why. Yeah I find a lot of people on twitter who annoy me, but I don’t start an argument with them and I don’t send horrible tweets to them. I let them get on with it, I have much more important things in my own life to worry about, than what they are tweeting about.
However, there are people in all walks of life, whether it is at school, college, work, or just the people around you, that do your head in or do things you don’t like. But to have a go at them about it, or to say horrible things to them, is just not on. You wouldn’t go up to a stranger on the street and say something horrific to them, so why do people do it on the internet.

It seems that they think they can hide away behind their computer and say what they want, that’s not the case anymore. Like technology allows them to say what they want, it has also allowed the police and internet providers to find these people, and persecute them. There’s freedom of speech and then there’s just plain going too far. Whatever you do, don’t confuse the two.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Paris - Eiffel Tower


This is a photo I took of the Eiffel Tower when I was in Paris in 2008, I edited it on Photoshop. Please no stealing.

My Life - A-levels

So today was A-level results day and I was one of those who got my results. I got C’s in Creative Writing and Media, and D’s in English language and Photography. I was pleased with the C’s, but very disappointed with the D’s. For the last two years I have worked extremely hard at my A-levels, and today it kind of all felt like a waste of time. I know I still have A-levels and like everyone else says, it’s not the end of the world. But when you don’t get the results you wanted or hoped for, it does feel like the end of the world, and right now I feel extremely disappointed.

The past two years at college have been pretty hard for me. During the summer between leaving school and starting college, I began to drift away from my friends and within the first month of starting college, we had drifted apart. The month after my Grandma was diagnosed with cancer. Throughout the first year of college, my Grandma underwent chemotherapy and I didn’t really have any friends to share it with. To go with that, I pretty much hated college and I skipped a lot of my classes, so much so, I was almost kicked out.
When I started my second year I turned things around, I went to every class and I worked SO hard. I worked really hard on my coursework and I revised loads for my exams. However a few months into my second year at college, my Grandma died. That made things harder. I got quite depressed and I didn’t want to do anything, let alone go to college and work. But I persisted for her. So now, after having worked REALLY hard for my A-levels and not getting what I’d hoped for, it makes it all that more harder. However I am still going to persist and work hard.
A little while after I started college I decided not to go to university. All through school I did want to go, but I really didn’t like college, and I couldn’t see myself being in education for another three to four years, or being in thousands of pounds of debt. I decided it just wasn’t for me. So instead I decided to either get an apprenticeship or go straight into a job.
At the start of my second year I started contacting places and companies to try and make this happen, but they each said one thing. If I wanted a job in journalism I would have to have an NCTJ Diploma in journalism. So I searched everywhere to find out how to get this. I applied at a few places and got in, but I then found a place where I could do this diploma online so it was cheaper, I worked independently and could do it in my own time. So that’s what I’m doing now. I didn’t need certain results to be able to do the course and I can earn money whilst I’m doing it.
So even though right now I feel disappointed and a bit down about my results, I’m not giving up. I will get my dream job of being a journalist and writer.
I’ll keep you updated on how I get on.

My Blog - My Life

My name is Louise and this is my blog. I am eighteen years old and I live in a town an hour away from London. For the past fourteen years I have been in school and college. I have now left college and have started a journalism diploma, this is my story.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Take That At The Olympics

On Sunday morning I was still not so sure whether Take That would actually perform at the Olympics or not. And I wasn’t so sure that they should. It’s not that I didn’t want to see them, I had been looking forward to seeing them perform for AGES and I got butterflies just thinking about it. But that was before Gary’s sad loss. I know from sad personal experience that it takes a long time to get over something like that, in fact you never actually do.

The Olympics closing ceremony was only a week after Gary’s loss, and I wasn’t sure whether he was ready or not. Despite that fact, I was really looking forward to seeing them, even if I was apprehensive. That night I sat through the whole ceremony, not getting my hopes up on whether they would perform. I know there were pictures circulating on twitter from their rehearsals, but they could still pull out at any time, and they’d have every right too. I waited for what felt like forever, until finally they came on stage.

The first few opening lines Gary’s voice wavered, you could hear the emotion and pain in his voice throughout the whole song. I’m not ashamed to admit I cried, I felt the pain with him, like every other fan. I am extremely proud of Gary for getting up onto that stage and singing his heart out; we all know he sung it for his wife, his children and his Poppy. He didn’t have to do that, he had every right to turn around and not to do it. But he did. Apparently he said he didn’t want to let Britain or his fans down, but there was no way he would have down that.
He stood on that stage with his head held high, singing his heart out. The whole world saw how amazing he was and how brave he was. One thing I am most proud of is the fact that the boys weren’t just a band that night. They were a unit, a band of brothers. They supported Gary and helped him through it all the way. Mark with his caring and comforting looks. Jason was his wacky, individual dancing. And Howard helping him through the vocals.
Sunday I was proud to say I was a fan; I was proud to say I have supported them and followed them for years, through everything. They are my band, and many other people’s band. Now when I talk about my favourite band, people won’t be asking who they are, because of that night, they will know.  

Monday, 13 August 2012

My Pain For Gary

Last week, on Monday the 6th of August 2012, there was a statement released saying Gary Barlow and his wife Dawn had sadly lost their fourth child. Their daughter Poppy was stillborn. Upon hearing this news I began to cry. Some may find this strange or stupid, on the fact that I don’t know him and have never before met either of them. But being a Take That and a Gary fan, I feel as if I do know him, maybe not personally but from afar.

I have also empathised with their loss, as my auntie and uncle went through the same thing five years ago. They had struggled for years having children, but in 2007 they were expecting a baby. This baby was one of twins, however earlier on in the pregnancy one of the twins sadly died. Everything was going well, until five days before the baby was due it stopped kicking. My auntie rang the hospital but they said this was normal, however have since been told it’s not, by the next morning the baby had completely stopped kicking. The hospital told her not to go in until the afternoon, once they had got there they again had to wait two hours before anyone saw them. By that time the doctors couldn’t find a heartbeat and their baby had died.

Now I’m not saying that the NHS isn’t good, and doctors and nurses aren’t amazing, but I really do believe if my auntie was told to go into hospital as soon as the kicking had slowed down, I believe my cousin would still be here, but that’s a what if. You can’t spend your life thinking of what ifs, because it’ll just end up destroying you.

Two days later my auntie gave birth to a boy named Jamie, yet unlike other babies when born, he didn’t move, he didn’t cry and he didn’t open his eyes. A few minutes after his birth, my auntie and uncle had to sign a birth certificate and a death certificate. I don’t know what it’s like to go through losing a child, but I saw how it was for them. It is the most painful experience anyone can go through, whatever stage of pregnancy and however age your child is, no parent should lose their child. I had been so excited and so looking forward to meeting my cousin, but when I was told he had died, I broke down.
I have never cried so much and I have ever felt so much pain, I got seriously depressed and I have never truly got over it. No one should ever have to bury a child, I remember seeing the coffin and thinking how small it was, I know Gary and Dawn will go through the same kind of pain when they have to bury Poppy. It isn’t nice, I wouldn’t wish that kind of pain on my worst enemy, let alone Gary, Dawn and their family.
Even now, five years on, I still cry for my cousin and I still feel the pain, no one gets over something like that, but it does get easier. That’s something I’d like to tell Gary and Dawn, they will get through this. They have a strong relationship and have been through a lot together, with each other, their children and their families, they will get through this. It will get easier for them. One day, when they think of their beautiful baby Poppy, it will be with a smile.

Loves...

I love...first of all I LOVE Take That. I am a huge fan and have been for a few years now; I have seen them live four times, once on their Beautiful World tour in 2007, once on their Circus tour in 2009 and twice on their Progress tour in 2011.
I love...Paris. I went to Paris in 2008 and loved it. It was the most beautiful City I've been to, and I would love to go back. I went up the Eiffel Tower, saw the arch De Triumph, and went to two art galleries. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and one that I would gladly repeat.
I love...I also love London, the shops, the people, the hustle and bustle, the lights. When its night and you go somewhere like Halfords where the whole place is all lit up, it's beautiful. It's especially beautiful at Christmas. I also love Covent Garden, it's another beautiful place.
I love...Cornwall. I've been going to Cornwall every year for my holiday in the summer for the past 10 years. I met a friend there on the first year I went and we've been friends ever since, and continue to meet up each year. Cornwall is another place I find beautiful. The beaches, the little harbour villages. I go to a place near Padstow every year, and I could walk around that place almost every day and never get bored. They sell great ice cream there and pasties, and they also have this really nice tea room that has really nice food. The harbour is also really nice to walk around and it's peaceful, I will definitely continue going there.
I love...probably the most important of what I love, my nieces, nephew and little cousin. I have 4 nieces, one 12, another 10, the other 7, and the last one 4. My nephew is 13 and my cousin is 3. I love them all so much and would do anything for them.
I love...writing. I used to write for a magazine in my secondary school, and in college. In my spare time I also write stories. I hope when I'm older to be writing for a magazine or newspaper, and another one of my dreams is to have a novel published.
Last but not least...I love photography. I've loved to take pictures ever since I was little and have had a camera since I was a kid. I have a GCSE and A-level in it. I really like just taking pictures, of anything really. But I also like the process of producing those photos, whether it is in a dark room developing a film, or in Photoshop developing digital photos. I would like to someday also include Photography in my career.
So that concludes my loves.