Category Archives: General

Using Herbalife Helps Manage My Eating Disorder

I had been talking with a friend of mine about how I am struggling with my weight and want to loose some. She mentioned Herbalife to me in passing as her friends were running the business locally, but I didn’t really take much notice to be honest. However,  it wasn’t long before a chance meeting introduced me her friends Maria and Oskar who are also my local Herbalife distributors.  I was sceptical at first about trying it again because I had tried it in the 80′s and thought it was frankly disgusting, but I decided to have another go and I am very happy that I did.

When I was a child I was always questioning why I could not just take a tablet and not really worry about the whole eating thing, and I wanted to know that I have all that I need to keep me healthy.  It seemed logical to me that if I need xyz to keep going, then why can’t I have it in tablet form, random thoughts? Maybe not!!

I have suffered with an eating disorder for many years now, my weight fluctuates on a regular basis and as I have got older it has got far harder to shed it. I am an emotional eater, or not eater and I have recently seen my portion sizes creeping up and my clothes feeling tighter. I have another 30lbs to loose and I need help to shift it.  I have now turned 51 and really want to look my best and make the most of my life, and for me, that includes feeling and looking good.

So, I have embarked on the Herbalife eating plan and it is working for me.  It has taken a while to get to grips with as some of the products are quite sweet, for me that is not good, it triggers binging so I have had to be really careful and honest, it would have been so easy to say ‘yum, they are delicious’ and continue with them, but who am I kidding!  So, I now have a programme that works for me and the support of Maria and Oskar, who I have to say are amazing in working with me to get the best programme I can get.  Their willingness to listen and want the best for me also helps me to be honest and it works.

I have the vanilla shake, which I mix with soya milk and a banana or strawberries for example; the protein bar; the soup; fibre and herb tablets and multivitamins, and the tea, I have the original one which I prefer. I have the shake twice a day and a snack inbetween each one and then a healthy meal in the evening. I have already lost 5lbs and am looking forward to the rest coming off and feeling good as I do it, not starving myself or worrying about what to eat etc, it takes the pressure off for me. It is also balancing my sugar and I am working towards my optimum nutrition.  Being in recovery is a challenge and anything I can do to easy the stress is great for me.

I am going to be writing about his regularly so you can keep an eye on how it is working for me and then maybe have a go yourself.

If you want to learn more click the link above and see what you think, I am very glad that I did.

Dennis Waterman and his view on Domestic Violence

I have to say I was horrified by the comments made by Dennis Waterman during a recent interview with Johathan Ross, due to be aired within the next month! Domestic abuse is not only physical, it is also emotional and the scars stay long after the situation has ended.  I lived in a war zone in my head for years afterwards and still I see the effects on some of my behaviour.  It can take years to recover.

Having experienced Domestic Abuse myself, I find it really shocking to hear the other side of it.  At the same time, I have found it so helpful to hear the responses from so many people, the outcry on Loose Women yesterday was fantastic.

I made a series of documentary interviews with my Domestic Abuse Outreach Worker for West Surrey Domestic Abuse outreach worker.  Other support can be found at the Domestic Violence Charity Refuge.

I hope you find these videos helpful, I made them over 2 years ago, and feel it is so important to share them for people who, like me, had absolutely no idea what it was all about.

You can find the rest of this series at youtube/exploring domestic abuse.  Please pass it on if you know anyone who may find it helpful.

The Freedom Programme – Free from Domestic Abuse

I wanted to talk about my last few weeks, spent learning more and more about Domestic Abuse.  I have had experience of both physical and emotional/psychological abuse from childhood and guess what………I took it into my adult life and chose partners who would replicate my younger experiences.  It has taken me so long to make the connection and finally to get the help from a Domestic Abuse Outreach worker who very lovingly and slowly introduced me to what was normal and what was, infact, abuse, my normal.

It does not have to be physical abuse, it can be slow, emotional torture that can erode the soul, bit by tiny bit until you do not know who you are or what day it is or what is right or what is wrong, leaving you with no self esteem and rocking in the corner, that was almost me…….the scars of emotional abuse cut so deeply and erode the soul, this too is abuse, it is emotional abuse and it needs to stop.   Trouble is long after they have left, you are left with all their shit going round and round in your head, unable to break out of it, it becomes a living hell.

It has felt a bit like, actually a lot like re-programming and sometimes I still don’t get it, I have to have examples shown to me, little mini examples show again and again to really begin to get to grips with what is actually normal behaviour.  I have blamed myself, gone back again and again, believed whoever it was that it was all my fault and almost lost my mind.  It is programming and the earlier it happens, the more normal it feels.

The Freedom Programme is set out to slowly take you through the differences in all  aspects of Living with the Dominator is a book about The Freedom Programme that you can get on the website above, it is really insightful. Pat Craven has taken years of experience working in this field and turned it into a programme to help both men and women to break free from years of a cycle of abuse. Unfortunately I have acquired some of the really unpleasant characteristics and have had to have a good hard look at myself as well as looking at the men I have chosen, my relationship with my father, mother and step-mother to mention but a few.  I have been in therapy on and off for years, have had varying different support and still this stuff is so ingrained in my psyche, however, something is shifting.  In the book they also show you examples of what a good partner would do, a kind loving partner, not an unkind one, to me it has really helped me to see things differently and the patterns I have expected to just carry on.

I hope you will get something from it and if you do, please leave a message or e-mail me privately at I look forward to hearing from you.

The rest of this video documentary series can be found at

If you need support or advice the following details are very helpful.

South West Surrey Domestic Abuse Outreach Service 01483-577392 Mon-Fri and

The following books are apparently very good, I have not read any of them but they are available on Amazon or can be ordered in the local library if they do not have them.

Mothering through Domestic Violence; Talking to mum-ages 5-9yrs

Talking about Domestic Abuse – 9+ and When Dad hurts Mom.

I do hope something will help if you need it, I am so grateful for the day I approached the stand during Domestic Abuse week and said ‘can someone please tell me what normal is’.

Emergence-Where are you?

I was looking for various images this morning and came across this one and somehow it raised the question for me……….where am I on this journey of emerging?  I once said to a good friend ‘I am so sick of being a catterpillar I will be a butterfly, it is only a matter of time.  This came to me as I was looking through and I thought……so where am I?  I think I am begining to come out of the crysalis, not yet emerging, but restless and really begining to find the container a bit too tight and I am begining to realise that maybe, just maybe there is more to life that I have imagined.  My thoughts, my expectations and my programming have kept me a prisoner, things are changing and I am really begining to question things in a very different way.  Where are you?  Would love to hear any thoughts on this.  Just a random thought for the day, but one I am glad I shared. Where are you on the scale of breaking free from the chains of your past, whatever that may be for you.

Loose Women Monday’s Show

As always the Loose Women are a source of information and great discussion and have become part of my day when I am home.  I am particularly interested in what Carol McGiffin and Lynda Bellingham have to say and fortunately they were both on today.

The Loose Women were discussing Sarah’s Law which raised some interesting questions and the panel was split.  I personally think that it is a good thing and as it has already saved 60 children it can only be good.  However, there is the case of people being talked about and the public turning on them once they are found out.  It is a fragile debate, but I know that if there was someone in my street, with my son when he was young, I would want to know about it.  The thing that worries me is the ones that are not yet caught and I hope this will have another purpose, to give people who are being abused somewhere to go, to report it, get support and for that also I think this is a brilliant campaign

The other subject that struck with me was memories.  Carol was talking about how when she was writing her Autobiography  the memories were so different from that of her sibling and how they were clashing over it.  I know this one only too well.  I am really grateful to hear what she had to say, it helped me.  Nobody is right or wrong and they are your memories and that is that.  Each person has a right to their own experience of the situation and that is ok.  Lynda was also really helpful  because she was talking about how her and her sister remembered things so differently.  This is really relavant to me right now as I write my book at I have been spending some time with one of my brothers and we clash like hell the moment we get onto our childhood and there is the ‘no Penny it was not like that’ and I then become defensive or so does he and the memories are so different.  I am really glad I listened to the girls today and got a clear perspective of it and was reminded I have the right to  my memories, they are mine, real or imagined.  Thanks girls.

Should We Train Our Children Like We Do Dogs?

The debate this morning on Sunday Morning Live was facinating.  Unfortunately I tried to get the link on here for anyone who missed it but alas for some reason it cannot be viewed.

Edwina Currie, always an interesting character, says Yes, absolutely., children should be trained like we train our dogs. She believes that children need to know who the boss is and that they should do as they are told, without question in their early life.  This, according to Edwina helps them to feel secure and safe and to know that they do as she says.

It opened up a facinating debate and for me personally, I know that boundaries made me feel safer when I got them kindly put in place, not slapped on me for no apparent reason. My son is grateful that I stood by what I said and he knew, without me saying so, that I would be consistant in what I said and did. But we discussed it and he knew why, I did not just bark orders at him.

I also know that that almost sometimes victorian approach has led to my own personal lack of self esteem, because, I felt, when growing up, that sometimes my views did not matter and I felt confused and not sure what I did and did not do.

I personally feel that children need to explore within boundaries, be naughty, test themselves and push you as a parent a bit more and more to grow.  To know that, when I was growing up my ideas mattered, my opinion was heard and then things were explained to me as to why not, would have helped my cognition development far better than do as I say and that is that.

We had a father who listened sometimes, a nanny who did, a step-mother who did not listen at all and when we saw our mother, a mother who thought that her way was the high way and there was not space for discussion.  I was the most respectful to our father and nanny who eventhough we were disciplined, we were also able to discuss things with and listened to, on a good day. When it happened I felt loved, heard and that I mattered.  I felt that unconditional love that eventhough I was being naughtly I was ok and that they cared.  Unfortunately it was not consistant, but I did get a bit of it.

If a child says no, there may be a very good reason for it, they are not you.  They have different likes and dislikes, they have their own set of feelings that if we are fortunate enough to listen to, we can learn a lot.  I have always said my son is my teacher and he is.  He tells me when he thinks I am out of order and I am able to listen and take it on board, for this I am really grateful.  He also tells me when I do good things as well and what he agrees with and disagrees with.  I have been told by many people that he is one of the most rounded people they have ever met, we talked, he explored and he learnt of himself within the boundaries.

One of the other panallists was Elizabeth, a Religious  Broadcaster and ex-nun.  She made a beautiful comment that children are our gifts, we do not own them, they are a precious gift.  That as parents our role is to be a midwife, to bring the beauty of the child within out………….I don’t think there is space for that if you are treating and training children like dogs.  Boundaries, yes, they keep us safe, and tough sometimes, yes, but love is the most important thing, with boundaries and listening and nerturing.

I know many many people, including myself, who were raised in the way Edwina is suggesting and it did not work, their self esteem is on the floor because they never felt their voice mattered and they never felt heard either by one or both parents, it is not conducive to intimacy, in my humble opinion.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Somedays are just better than others.  I am in the process of setting up a Social Enterprise and went for my first real meeting today to take a good look at the potential.  I went to visit Surrey Community Action they are so helpful with funding, advice and anyone who is thinking of setting up a business and needs to know where to start go and ask them, or your local equivalent.

Now  I need to sort out the nuts and bolts and believe that it will happen.  It is ok to talk about these things but to begin to see things come off the page is something else. It is that simple, and not so simple task of, believing that when I have done everything I can, if it is meant to happen, all the right things will fall into place, the right people, circumstances and all that is needed will come, if it is on purpose.  I simply let go and trust God and the universe to conspire………that sounds so easy.  On paper it may do but for me, it is one of the hardest things on a daily basis, I keep practising and it gets easier, the more I do the more I see it works.

If you are not familiar with Tyler Perry’s web-page, it is well worth a look.  He wrote a beautiful entry this morning called the Climb, the more I read of him, the more he inspires me.

Raising Questions

Raising Questions About Mental Illness

When I first heard about Raoul Moat running around shooting people, I must say I didn’t really know what was going on or take that much interest.  I had my own stuff going on and I was absorbed in that. A friend of mine, Sherry, called me up and we started talking about it. She mentioned that there was talk of him having asked for psychiatric help and not getting it. I asked her to send me any links and here they are, have a look and see what you think.

Slowly information filtered through and someone mentioned a bit more to me. I said I felt sorry for Moat, that he must be in a lot of pain to be doing what he was doing and what is being done to help him and those around him? Not a lot by all accounts.  The more awareness that is being raised about the lack of facilities for people with psychiatric, mental health isues, the better. The Raoul Moat story highlights what can happen when someone is not taken seriously. It is a tragic loss for everyone. I found this article very insightful

Little did I know the extent of his psychological problems and that he had been asking for help for a long time and not getting it.  He has been described as aggressive and in a way it is understandable.  I am not for one moment saying what he did was right, far from it, he clearly lost the plot. However,  I do want to respond to the distress suffered by so many people at the lack of support available when in dia need. How many people do loose the plot under such extreme stress and it is at high cost to themselves, their families and society. People can get so lost and so far gone they cannot see a way out and something just snaps.

I have also come across a website of a book by James Bartholomew who has written about this same subject, commenting on the fact that Raoul Moats last words were ‘I’ve not got a Dad, no-one cares about me’.  Here Bartholomew raises the question that Moat was abandoned by his father and then his mother met and married another man, leaving him alone and feeling unwanted.  I will be writing more about this subject for myself in a later blog, it is a subject very close to my heart.

I have been out of re-hab now since the 19th April.  Have been to see a psychiatrist who assessed me, then told me to come back a month later with no offer of support in the meantime, then telling me there is a community psychiatric nurse who can help me at which I freaked out, I had had one of them before 14 years ago and know they cannot help with assessing me, giving me therapy and moving me forward in that area. I was then offered lithium incase I had borderline personality disorder or bi-polar……I am still waiting for help.  I was told I was aggressive, I was asked to calm down, I was scared and there were no answers for me……….I then went to see my doctor who suggested I tried anti-depressants to see if there is infact a chemical inbalance in my brain, so I am trying them.  I feel wierd, tired, distant, a bit zoned out..apparently it takes a while to kick in, and I am still waiting to see what the community mental health team are going to do. I have been referred to a Psychologist, with only one in the area, there is a big waiting list, in the meantime, I wait.

There are hundreds of people out there who are being left to rot, drugged up to the eye balls with no way of getting help.  I would be one of them if it had not been for some help from a friend so I can get to see someone. I was desperate and I needed help.

In the next few months I will be starting a series of interviews to highlight this exact problem, what can be done.  It isn’t ok scapegoating people saying they are aggressive. When people need help and cannot get it,  ask for it, knowing there is a problem, it is sometimes little wonder they feel frustrated.  I know I felt very scared indeed.