Review: Truprint prints

I wanted to copy my photos online easily and cheaply. I haven’t had photos printed for ages and need something to record my memories and post some to others. Using those online machines at Boots is expensive.

I tried to use Bonusprint but I had password problems and Bonus Print failed to contact me to rectify it.

I ended up using Truprint, which I remembered from 30 years ago. I was surprised that they are still going strong as I don’t see any Truprint envelopes anymore and don’t watch TV ads.

Each print was 14p which I thought was reasonable (though I didn’t shop around) and postage was fairly cheap. I bought the prints today (27th May 2017) and the product is expected to be delivered 6th June for standard delivery a
nd this is over bank holiday.

The website was easy to navigate though I never went for anything fancy like photo cards etc.

Note: Beaulieu did not receive any free prints from Truprint.

Advertisements

South London: I decided to hand out free ice creams in memory of the Manchester Attack victims #randomactsofkindness

image

PHOTO: An empty FAB packet.

We need to make change instead of just talking about it. So in memory of the Manchester victims I gave out free ice creams to random people in South London today, which was a very hot day. I gave out my favourite ones ie Fab and Solero.

These are the people who received them (and they all were very appreciative).

1) a window cleaner
2) a Co-op Funeralcare staff Member
3) Three builders sitting outside a pub, getting hot and bothered
4) And old man sitting all by himself
5) Two staff members at a Computer discount store

We need to end violence but we have to do this at grass roots level. Kindness goes along way. We need to engage in the community again. Hopefully this article will inspire others to do a random act of kindness.

NOTE: I paid for the ice-creams from my own money. I did not receive any freebies. You can get some good icecream deals from Tesco though.

Inexpensive ideas for a super budget 50th birthday

I was struggling to think up ideas for a boyfriend’s 50th, I wanted something special and meaningful, and a bit lastminute as I wasn’t well leading up to his 50th.

Here’s what I came up with:

1) A trip to Syon Park. I got a good deal from the South Eastern Railway 2 for 1 offers. A stately home they have never been though is great for ‘first time’ memories.You can get two tickets for £14.50 as long as you have a train ticket valid for the day of travel. To make it more interesting, make it a ‘mystery trip’. A lot of stately homes can be really expensive to visit. It has a bonus for me as I am related to the family that owned it.

2) Photo Frame – preferably one with several photoframes in it. I picked mine up from the poundshop. My theme of the birthday is ‘memories and making positive memories’

3) An office plant (my boyfriend has a fake one as he is rubbish with plants but it looks great and will last practically forever!). You can make it more ‘real’ with a bit of olive oil.

4) DVDS – thought provoking DVDS, and light humour. Being 50, could be depressing, let’s make it awesome

5) A trip to up to The Monument in London to make more memories and photos. At every major birthday, you make it a family custom to do this. The Monument has tons of local London history too. It is also cheap if you have a South Eastern Railway Offer (which is £5 per person).

6) Make a handmade cake. I made banana and date loaf and covered it in home made rum and poppy seed butter icing. If you can find a local cake shop which has fun decorations, that would be brilliant. I chose to make a ‘summery cake’ as his birthday is in May, and make it more football oriented with an Everton theme colours, his favourite team.

7) A book on Nostalgia (I found a look about the history of sweet wrappers) and when you are 50, you can often remember them all!

Below, just finalising my cake in the kitchen:

18557423_450082398674578_8444483318721686646_n

PS: If I could spend more I would but I couldn’t. I would say that his relatives are also taking him out for dinner too, that will be nice.

Love it! Traditional Chinese Baby bangles

I wanted to buy my new baby nephew something special, and something to hand down in the family. I didn’t want and ‘baby tat’.

So I bought a beautiful Sterling Silver chinese baby bangle. I have never heard of this concept (bear in mind I am never around babies). I was aware that some babies these days have earrings, but I thought that was dangerous, and a bit tacky. I was lucky to have strong Chinese connections myself, even though I am not Chinese, but I have always been very drawn and interested in their traditions, ideology and thoughtful idea.

I was lucky to find a local jeweller at a stall at the Surrey Quays, in Rotherhithe, London who sells wonderful, intricate and meaningful silver baby bangles.

Chinese bangles are a traditional custom for Chinese famillies to give to newborns which helps give them good luck. These bangles are adjustable and can fit a baby up to a child of five. In a world where things are more global, I think it is great to spread this idea to Western babies too.

The one I have in the photo has a message to give the baby which is ‘protection wherever the baby goes‘ and it is decorated with cherry blossoms. My nephew was born in the spring of 2017 so it is ideal. My own great-aunt gave me a chinese silver token when I was a child and I thought it was nice that I could carry on this one. It is really cute and the baby would love the jingly bangles.

I decided not to tell the family what the message was, but leave it up to them and the child to find out for themselves so it would add more fun and meaning. It will also be a talking piece. This are wonderful gifts for a baby shower and particularly by close relatives and special people.

image

A little world of caution: Some people can be allergic to silver, so you can try the bangle on a different arm and see what happens. This item would not be good for a baby who is teething.

For famillies (and expats) who are looking for Chinese baby gift ideas and inspiration, see http://www.chineseamericanfamily.com/chinese-baby-gifts/

Facepack Review: 7th Heaven, Strawberry Souffle (Self Care)

I bought this facepack from an independent chemist in Kent. It claimed to moisturise and soothe.

I love facepacks and I love to try out new ones. Facepacks are great for a bit of self-care in a crazy world, and it can be a bit silly too, as we can look ridiculous. It is even more fun, if you get your boyfriend to do it too! And even if your man feels that men don’t do this, all men love to feel pampered and do silly things sometimes.

So I tested on myself and on a man’s skin. He said it was fine ‘as long as no one saw him with it on’. The majority of the ingredients didn’t look too bad, although it had a few unnatural ingredients. It claimed to be cruelty-free.

When I looked in the packet, there didn’t seem to be an awful lot there but there was just about enough for a small adult face. The cream was a very pale pink colour, but when you saw it on the face, it looked white.

Both of us liked the strawberry aroma and we both have sensitive skin. Our skin felt fine- at first. The man’s skin had a kind of grubby London skin which seemed dry and covered in pollution. He had never had a faceback before!

We kept it on for 10-15 minutes and washed it off with a warm flannel.+ When it was all taken off, both our skin did look and feel great. Though my skin felt great, the man’s skin, which was more sensitive than mine, started to go mildly red and stung a bit. The man’s skin looked great at first and I think it knocked 5 years off his face, as it removed a lot of dry skin cells. His skin had a very light shine which made him a look much healthier. However, ten minutes afterwards his skin started to tingle and go mildly red. His skin did look much clearer which was great to see.

Verdict: Me – 8/10 (could do with more cream and fewer chemicals)
Him: 6/10 (only as it was mildly tingly, but he now loves facepacks, even if he does it in secret!) Personally I think all men should have facepacks, they will really see a difference to their skin. My male friend said he would try a more natural facepack though.

Would we use the product again: Yes (Me). The Man (No)

image

Mental Health Awareness Week: The Daily Mirror and the Duchess of Cambridge with the Anxious Child

I was disturbed to see the photograph of the young child who was seen suffering from anxiety whilst meeting the Duchess of Campaign.

When you see a child with lack of self-esteem, you need to ‘dig deeper’ and find out why and how he can be supported. There could be many reasons why the child experienced this condition, what was his home situation like, did he have pushy parents,what about his schooling, and how he gets on with teachers and fellow school kids. All sorts of things.

The Daily Mirror said he ‘was shy’ but there is a difference between being shy and having a social anxiety attack. And being ‘shy’ is ok, many people are shy. Why be humoured for being shy? Being photographed globally for being ‘shy’ as a ‘bad thing’ adds shame to people. Maybe the kid will deal with it ok when they get older, but many people are shy or have social anxiety for life. It is just a condition, and nothing to be ashamed of, despite our society being made for extroverts.

The close shot photo of the child, splashed over the pages, of the internet with his name would make things worse of a child with social anxiety, as humiliation is part of the condition. The media are often ignorant of mental health and often have no training in Mental Health First Aid.

As it is Mental Awareness Week the media and parents need to learn about social anxiety and how to manage it.

I suffered from social anxiety as a child so I see the photograph as ‘troubling’. If I was a parent or teacher, I would prefer to encourage self-esteem and confidence in a child. Sometimes they just need a bit of support. I would also get a child psychologist in.

If you have a child with similar symptoms to the little boy, please read the link on NHS link http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-anxiety/Pages/Social-anxiety.aspx#children

Estrangement: Life after going No Contact with your Family

When you first go No Contact it can be very hard. From my own experience I went weeks initially, then months and it got better. I got over ‘big family event’ days too.

I realised that the family was never there for you when you needed them and they were the last people I could trust. They assume that you will always be there, as ‘you’re family’. Even smaller things like supporting you when you do a charity ride by turning up at the end is something,but they don’t turn up or even ask when it is. I remember I created a huge community project, and they didn’t turn up on the Opening Day and they live two miles from the area. I really have the sense of ‘I can’t be bothered’ in my family. No Contact will give The Family one hell of a shake up.

They did some good things for me, but there are certain boundaries that I have of my own when they do things wrong. For me, their behaviour badly affected my mental health and wellbeing.

We are bombarded with the media saying that being in a family is a good thing which doesn’t help. Being in dysfunctional or toxic family, we have a different concept of what family is. Sometimes the best thing is to ‘get out’.

I have now created a whole new family, and a ‘proper’ one, by going to different clubs, meeting new people, catching up with people from my past, doing voluntary work, having more hobbies and focusing on creating a new life.

When I do have personal difficulties I can contact therapists, online support, the Samaritans, friends who understand and so on. Estrangalistas can even cuddle our dog or horse! We have to be creative. Is an ‘original family’ really necessary these days? We can create our own reality. The whole experience of being ‘family free’ is a new journey of discovery for me.

When you realise you only have family for birthdays and Christmas, particularly in a middle class and upper class family, you realise this is not a family at all. it is just a ‘facade’. Famillies shouldn’t take their clse family for granted, they can go at any time and leave a life completely away from them. Even so-called religious families can have members who are estranged, and sometimes even more so.

If ‘they’ do try to ‘hoover’ me back, there will have to be some changes, and it may mean family mediation, although I really can’t see that happening.

Things do get better and your mental health gets a lot better too, and even better when you change your will!

Famillies are being ripped apart by members with symptoms of Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD)

Numerous people, both men and women, are having to leave members of family who have symptoms of Narcissist Personality Disorder as they are unable to cope with domestic abuse, betrayal,lack of empathy and deceitful behavior anymore.

Many have tried to work out why they are their partners and sometimes siblings are the way they are but are coming to terms that there is nothing they can do as the condition is not curable, and that have to leave.Sometimes people with NCD ‘just get worse’ over time. Some family members just do not feel they are heard or loved. They are experiencing a lot of confusing mind games. One moment the Narcissist can be normal, but other times, they have a Narcissist rage out of nowwhere. People are constantly walking on eggshells with these people.

People with children, however, are ‘forced’ to have limited contact with their abusers. Many with no children are leaving their famillies entirely and going ‘No Contact’ whatsoever and building new and better lives without their family and ‘going it alone’.

Those who have been abused have felt depressed and suicidal. Some have committed suicide. The Narcissist wants ‘power and control’ over them.

Some desperate famillies have tried therapy but often it has been a disaster as the Narcissist generally says ‘it is all their fault’ and/or leaves therapy early.Most Narcissists do not accept they have a problem and won’t even go to therapy in the first place.

This isn’t just in family situations but it is happening also in the workplace too, where some Narcissists particularly target occupations where they can ‘control’ and have status, the police, military, security, management, community and religious leaders particularly popular occupations for Narcissists from seeing comments on various Narcissist Survivor forums. Some Pastors’ wives are having to leave their husband because of their behaviour, and this is often frowned upon in the church. Some Narcissists do not want their wives to work and keep them holed up with lots of children at home. If they work, this means the Narcissist has less control over them and the Narcissist will think they will meet other men at work.

Narcissist Personality is a Disorder of the Personality and is not a Mental Illness. There is no known cure.

Some symptoms of Narcissist Personality Disorder are:

1) They have a grandiose sense of self-importance.

2) They requires excessive admiration

3)Have a very strong sense of entitlement

4)Is exploitative of others

5)Lacks empathy

6)Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

Frequently they also have these too:

7) Lying and making things up to manipulate you

8) Being Emotionally abusive

9) Physically Abusive

10) Financially Abusive

11) Spiritually abusive

12) Notorious for having a ‘Honeymoon Period’ in a Relationship where things are ‘perfect’ to start with. Things change once the relationship gets more serious, they marry and start to have children. There is an element of ‘control’. Many Narcissists have a poor relationship history, with many divorces and abandoned children. They will provide ‘plausible excuses’ or perhaps withhold background information, and that goes for convictions. The Police in the UK can help people who want to find out more about their future partner if they have domestic violence convictions.

13) Betraying Trust

14) Smear Campaigns

16) Stalking

17) Manipulation

18) Reproductive Coercion

19) Birth Control Sabotage

20) Treating children and partners as extensions of themselves. (Some say they are ‘treated like property’)

21) Trusting strangers rather than their own family

22) Addictions

2) Being friendly with strangers and hostile to close relatives, and sometimes close neighbours. They appear to ‘act’ with others, who think they are very nice people and would not believe that they can even be abusive.

Words Associated with Narcissists are (though these are not used in Counselling)

1) Love Bombing (attempting to influence a person by lavish demonstrations of attention and affection) in particular to get what they want

2) Gas Lighting (Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or members of a group, hoping to make targets question their own sanity)

3) Projecting (blaming something on you, when he or she caused the problem. This is another tactic to bring confusion to the Target. They will not admit to doing anything wrong.

4)The Supply – the Target of the Narcissist. The Narcissist gets his or her ‘fuel’ from an empathic person who they will try and manipulate and control.

5) Flying Monkey – their friends or those who support the Narc

Get Help:

IAPT Counselling: http://www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/Psychological%20therapies%20(IAPT)/LocationSearch/10008. Ideally, try and find someone who specializes in NPD. Narcissists are notorious for not seeking any help, and if they do, they will blame it on others. It is helpful for the Target to get counseling for themselves and undertake plenty of self care and ask their doctor for help.

Relate: https://www.relate.org.uk/ (They provide counselling, and they have free online counselling but it can be busy

Police: Dial 999 in an Emergency /Dial 111 if not. (You maybe able to get a restraining order

There are also a number of Narcissist Abuse sites on Facebook (though it is safer to use a different name) as they can be stalked by members of the family and the Narcissist themselves.

Women’s Aid: http://www.womensaid.org.uk

A tip:

If you call someone a Narcissist, it is most likely that they will deny it and start further anti-social behavior targeted on you.  The best advice is to recognize what a Narcissist is to Leave, some say to ‘Run!’ though this may not always be easy to do.

Coping Ideas

1) Leave if you can!
2) Join a Mental Health/Wellbeing Support Group
3) Do something creative – art, singing, music of various sorts
4)Go and so some Voluntary Work and meet positive people
5) Walk in nature
6) Do something for animals
7) Raise awareness. Many people have never heard of Narcissist Personality Disorder
8) Ignore Narcissists – they hate to be ignored. Go ‘Grayrock’ – just speak in a general vague way that does not upset ‘the Narc’ on some way
9) Make your kids have love and praise
10) Leave and get a pet if you can. Learn to cope on your own. It is not necessary to have a partner. Learning to cope on your own is real empowerment
11) Do some Self-Care
12) Go on Self-Esteem and/or Self Defence Classes
13) Learn to be Yourself Again
14) Get a job
15) Learn new skills
16) Get new qualifications
17) Have Me-Time
18) Reward yourself when you have done something difficult

Beaulieu has experience of Narcissist Personality Disorder being in the family, and is currently estranged (No Contact)

Contribute to ‘Soul Relics’, an Online Mental Health Art Project

Soul Relics – Museum of the Psyche, Objects, and Personal Stories

This is an online platform on storytelling, objects and mental health as often we neglect our relationships with ourselves, and to tackle the huge stigma that is attached to mental health.

This is an “online museum” showing photos of any objects (with people’s short personal stories/ messages attached to the objects) that remind you of…

(1) a difficult time your lives (ie. A period of mental ill health)
(2) and/ or something that helped you work towards recovery.

That object can be anything that is related to your personal life, or/and institutional barriers to mental health care, etc.

To contribute please go to http://soulrelicsmuseum.me/Contribute.html