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Personal blog - get to know me better and then join in the chat on social media!

· Over Coffee,Personal Blog

I wanted to start a personal blog on here, for you to get to know me better and hopefully for me to get to know you better too! So each fortnight I will be posting about my life, things I like and inviting you to join me on Facebook to talk about you! Jen x

This fortnight in my world

Studying - back at uni

In the Summer I was blessed to be given a scholarship to study a short course at London Metropolitan University called: Violence Against Women: Issues, Research and Policy. It's part of the MA Women and Child Abuse which I hope to enrol on in the next few years. Ending violence against women and girls is a lifelong passion of mine from campaigning to volunteering and fundraising.

This fortnight was the final part of the course and the focus was on the globalisation of violence against women.

On this course I learnt so much. It forced me to look at some of the shadows in my own life and confront some stubborn demons. It's been incredibly hard studying research papers and statistics looking at the violence that happens all over the world to women because they are women. As a women and a survivor myself it's made me angry, upset but also hopeful. There are so many people doing incredible work all over the world to help end the violence. It was inspiring. It feels like there is no going back now, as if I've seen the Matrix and I can't go back to 'real life' but it's also armed me with the questions to ask and ways to help.

NaNoWriMo - as of today I'm on 43,000! Three days left and 7,000 words to go. I'm feeling confident and excited. It's been tough and there have definitely been days that I could only come up with 200 words but I have loved every minute.

I'll be writing a separate blog about my experiences soon so watch out for that next week.

Sugar Paste Flowers

I love baking and learning new things. It was my Nan's 90th birthday last week and I really wanted to make her a cake. So I bought some sugar paste and tried my hand at sugar paste flowers. Considering I've never done it before I think they went rather well and most importantly - she loved them!

I'm in a magazine!

So this was exciting! In the December issue of Spirit and Destiny there is a four page article about my spiritual journey and the retreat which changed my life. I hadn't realised it had come out until I received a beautiful email from a woman who took the time to say how much she enjoyed the article. I was so touched and so excited to see it for myself!

In the kitchen - What have I been cooking and eating?

Taking lunches and knowing my propensity for spending money on sugary snacks, I made it my mission to create and take healthy lunches whilst I was studying.

I'd recently gotten Deliciously Ella's cookbook 'Every Day' and made some mason jars salads. Carrot, beetroot and sesame salad with lemon quinoa. And overnight oats with cinnamon pears, honey and a few raspberries thrown in for good measure. A few squares of Green and Blacks dark chocolate and a hand full of almonds - I was set!

Super quick and easy and so so delicious!

In my house - what's going on in my world of inspiration?

Watching: The Good Place

Holy Mother Forking Shirt balls is this good! Hilarious look at morality and what happens after you die.

Listening:

Music - BBC Radio 3

A recent stint of commuting lead me to Radio 3 and I love it! Classical music, interviews with conductors, musicians and critics. Jazz, Choral music, live concerts - heaven!

Podcast - Guilty Feminist

An amazing podcast for feminist who get things wrong. Starting each episode with "I'm a feminist but..." it's such an accessible way to enjoy and engage with feminism.

http://guiltyfeminist.com

Reading:

Fiction: Witch Light

I'm really enjoying Witch Light. Themes of religious persecution, womanhood and what it means to be a good person. The writing is eloquent and beautifully descriptive. A great read.

Non-Fiction: Cut

As part of my short course, I chose to focus my assignments on FGM/C (Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting). This was something I knew nothing about and had so many perceptions which were shattered as soon as I started reading survivor stories and reports. 'Cut' is an incredibly honest memoir documenting Hibo Wandere's own journey to understanding what had happened to her at 6 years old, to her amazing activism of today. Deeply moving and wonderfully written, I highly recommend it.

In others words.... quotes, poems and awesome stuff someone else said!

This beautiful, yet heart wrenching poem was read out on my course. It moved me so much. I'll be completing my coursework on FGM this semester and the more I learn the more I know this practice needs to end.

The Journey

The journey of my life
Begins from home,
Ends at the graveyard.
My life is spent like a corpse,
Carried on the shoulders of my father and brother, Husband and son.

Bathed in religion,
Attired in customs,
And buried in a grave of ignorance.

Attiya Dawood quoted in Goodwin, J. (1995). Price of Honour: Muslim Women Lift the Veil of Silence on the Muslim World London, Penguin.

Journal prompt - what am I contemplating this week?

What can I do?

This fortnight I really wanted to focus on what actions I can take to help others. I think we often become apathetic, not out of a lack of concern but a lack of direction. So I wanted to really think about what actions I could take. This ranged from signing petitions, to opening doors for people, looking at ways to volunteer and fundraise and check three articles on the same subject in order to get a broad view. I also worked on waking up and saying 'Thank you' to my bed and my body for a good nights sleep.

Sign the Petition to repeal a government decision which assumes animals have no sentience therefore cannot feel pain. Clearly, a measure to allow animal testing and move away from humane treatment of animals - I can Bull Shirt on that (I've been watching a lot of The Good Place recently).

Come on over to Facebook and Twitter tell me about you!

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