Ghosts and Gouls

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It’s All Hallow’s Eve and there is great excitement in our house.

We have had two days of pumpkin carving, costumes bought, soup made, and the obligatory visit to the local farm for Instagram purposes done and dusted.

I love this time of year. Three of my babies are Autumn born, so it’s a busy few weeks, and memory evoking of cuddling up in front of a roaring fire with a newborn in arms.

With the clocks going back an hour last weekend, the evenings are drawing in much earlier, and although we all carry a personal alarm all year round, as way of routine now, I am even more vigilant during the colder months.

Trick or Treating is becoming more popular and a bigger event in the UK each year, and I instil our safety tips in my girls, so thought, while sitting here with my spiced latte, watching my youngest make her first Pumpkin Pie, I’d share them with you ahead of tomorrow night.

Stay in groups (no wandering off alone)
Costumes should be flame resistant
Always carry a personal alarm
Remember to look both ways when crossing the street
Examine all treats before eating

Stay on the pavements when possible
Avoid dark houses
Flashlights to see the way, and glow sticks to make children more visible
Enjoy!

The good news is there are still a few hours left of our Halloween Offer. 20% off all of our safety products. Just enter code Halloween at check out http://www.safe-girl.co.uk

Happy Halloween!`

Anyone Else A Hot Mess?

I’d love to say this isn’t a fairly typical story in the Clark household, but having spent years comparing, struggling, and trying to get a grip with life, I have succumbed to the hot mess that I am, and laugh. What’s the best thing for the soul? Laughter! So I thought I would share the events of just the past few hours with you.

It’s ‘bins out’ day today. Feeling extra tired last night, I thought I would go to bed early, and give myself a rare lie-in, by putting them out ready for the morning.

After a long soak in a hot bubble bath, I got into my fresh sheets and started to dose off. Only to be roused 30 minutes later by the rustling of rubbish bags outside.

Leaping out of bed and running to the window, I caught a fox scratching away at my refuse. I opened the window and hissed at it, only for the pest to lie down and gaze up at me, daringly.

To cut a very long story short, after a six hour stand off with said fox, and by now, too tired to sit by the window hissing and spitting, I lay wide awake in bed, with my keys in hand, clicking my car locked and unlocked whenever the rustling began. Determined not to give in, and go down and move the rubbish back into the wheely bins.

Having had less than 30 minutes sleep all night, I gave up early, and promised myself to make the most of the day, despite resembling some kind of zombie. I pulled my gym kit on, and car key still in hand, opened the front door, as I received this text.

Anyway, I am off to sell some personal alarms……

A Scary Incident

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Well it’s pretty well known now that my four babies carry a personal alarm with them everywhere, and have had safety awareness drummed into them from an early age.

We had an incident last month. Quite a scary one in fact.

My second daughter Jemima was travelling home from college on her regular 4.45pm train, when two young men got on the train and approached her.  One sat on her lap, and the other filmed the entire episode on his phone, along with Snaps to friends.

They were aggressive, and threatened to rape her, grabbing her phone and telling her boyfriend they were ‘taking his girl’ with them.

During the ten minute train ride, they touched her body, barricaded her in so she couldn’t escape, and made sexual, degrading comments and threats. A terrifying experience for a 16 year old!

There were a few other passengers on the carriage, and nobody did anything.

We were lucky. Jemima managed to jump over one of the man’s legs and make a dash for the doors as they opened.

It was only hours later, after making a police statement, and a hot bath, that we even remembered the rape alarm she had attached to her bag.  Unbelievable!

Would it have helped? Who knows. Studies have shown a safety alarm is more likely to deter an assailant than to attract help. Thankfully it didn’t matter this time that we hadn’t used it. But it has shown us that anything can happen at any time, and I don’t think we’ll be forgetting it again in the near future!

 

They’re Flying My Nest!

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I know it’s a cliche, but where does the time go? It only feels a short while ago I was excitedly stocking up on nappies and baby lotion.

As we sat nervously in the Nursery School welcome meeting, I still remember tearing up as the head made her speech about how excited she was at welcoming her new ‘gifts’ in the September, and spending the next three years ‘unwrapping them’.

And now we’re taking it in turns to view halls of residence and universities all over the UK. Two of my fledglings are off to uni already!

I seem to be a constant walking mix of two emotions at the moment – overwhelming pride, and complete anxiety. Reading up as much as I can so I am completely armed with knowledge for anything the events might throw at me, I came across a wonderful piece in The Huffington Post, by Marshall P.Duke, Professor at Emory University,

“It is a moment that comes along once in a lifetime. Each child only starts college once. …Such moments are rare. They have power. They give us as parents one-time opportunities to say things to our children that will stick with them not only because of what is said, but because of when it is said.

Here is what I tell the parents: think of what you want to tell your children when you finally take leave of them and they go off to their dorm and the beginning of their new chapter in life and you set out for the slightly emptier house that you will now live in. What thoughts, feelings and advice do you want to stick? “Always make your bed!”? “Don’t wear your hair that way!”? Surely not. This is a moment to tell them the big things. Things you feel about them as children, as people. Wise things. Things that have guided you in your life. Ways that you hope they will live. Ways that you hope they will be. Big things. Life-level things.”

I am really lucky with my eldest. Meg will be renting a house with her boyfriend, who is an absolute hero and I know she will be well taken care of.

And my second is extremely independent and mature for her age. But as we concerned parents know, it’s doesn’t always matter how you conduct yourself.  If you’re anything like me, you will have conjured up images of everything from getting lost on the way home, and ending up on the Orient Express, to aliens invading and choosing only my baby to abduct.

We’re also lucky that thanks to SafeGirl, we know an awful lot about personal safety, so not wanting to be selfish, here’s a few tips to put your mind at ease a little:

I am actually a  huge advocate of the ‘why should women be told to act differently , dress differently, not wear earphones etc, and we should be telling men not to attack women’ philosophy, but the sad truth is that I personally would rather ensure my babies are a little safer, and we can all sleep a little better at night.

Make sure your mobile is charged and able to make calls when you go out, in case of an emergency or if you lose the people you are with.
Try to leave a pub or club with friends, keep money you need to get home separate so that you don’t spend it, and pre-book a licensed taxi or know the locations of official taxi ranks.

When you do go out, know how you will get home, and plan ahead if you’re going somewhere you don’t know. Let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to be back.
If you have to walk alone in the dark, try to avoid badly lit areas, parks, alleyways and underpasses. When alone on public transport, sit near the driver on a bus, and in an occupied carriage on a train or the underground. Avoid using your phone in isolated places, as it can distract you from your surroundings.
Carrying a personal alarm with you is a good idea – many men see these as female accessories, but figures show that male students stand a much higher risk of being attacked in the street.

Watch how much you drink
It’s easier to do something risky or foolish when you are drunk, and you’re more likely to lose your belongings. Eat before you drink alcohol, and drink plenty of water to help you not get drunk. Keep track of what and how much you’re drinking. Drinks do get spiked with drugs, so never leave your drink unattended or accept a drink from a stranger. Think about carrying some rape drug testing coasters.

Consider taking a student safety kit with you. Filled with a safety tips book, a door wedge alarm, a personal alarm, and much more, we can’t take away the tears as your baby birds flee the nest, but we can alleviate some of the worry….

 

 

 

Does Anyone Actually Like Valentine’s Day?

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I hate Valentine’s Day…and I’m a woman!

There I said it…and I bet many of you are breathing a sigh of relief, nodding your heads in agreement. Valentine’s Day is nothing more than a commercial money grab, a perverted holiday marketed by the greetings card companies that leaves most of us feeling lonely or inadequate.

It’s my second worst day of the year after New Year’s Eve. But at least Hogmanay is an excuse to get completely smashed and sob your heart out with others, singing about years gone by and drowning your sorrows with a whiskey and a god awful rendition of Auld Lang Syne as the clock strikes midnight.

On Valentine’s Day, however, the pressure is on to be that sweet, demure well-behaved love goddess who makes an appearance once every 12 months before reverting back to that normal foul-mouthed, badass trouble-making babe by mid-morning on 15th Feb.

If it wasn’t bad enough before (and it was), the bar has been raised further in this era of Instagram and Facebook. That endless competition for the most Insta-worthy gifts is so incessant, it has forced my daughter and her mates to come offline until it’s over.

And, of course, everything is so over-priced. Restaurants charge more (because they can) and the service is never as good as the rest of the year. We’re crammed in with other fake couples staring gooey eyed at each other, pretending they weren’t there, or arguing over him banging her best mate, or whose turn it is to unload the dishwasher later on.

It’s a shallow, rootless, artificial holiday; the facade is all romance but the reality is all capitalism. It’s a billion-pound industry. People in relationships buy each other expensive gifts, and single people buy themselves Haagen Daaz and a bottle of Malbec to commiserate (or secretly celebrate) singledom.

Okay, cynical rant over. Still, on the upside, my excitement for Pancake Day is starting to build.

I shall leave you with these gorgeous heart shaped sparkly personal alarms. If you do still have to purchase something for your loved ones this Valentine’s, you might as well make it something useful.

And they look fab on Instagram too…..

 

Do Personal Alarms Work?

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Personal Safety Alarms are designed to emit a loud noise when triggered. This alarm is a high-decibel noise that’s meant to warn other people that someone needs help.

The noise can register at up to about 130 dB. That’s a lot of noise if you consider that a train whistle only registers to about 90 dB.

Using this much noise against a potential attacker and you will cause panic or momentary confusion, as well as alerting others within earshot.

Crimes such as mugging and individual attacks are mostly  committed after dark, and given the natural curiosity of people, the attacker is immediately faced with the chance of being confronted by the public or a police officer.

Therefore, the chances of being left enough time to complete the attack are drastically cut.

As well as the practical safety reasons for carrying a personal alarm, most women report feeling safer and more confident just knowing they have one on their person. Because of this, we at SafeGirl have come up with some beautiful, stylish safety products any fashionable female would be proud to show off.