Tuesday, 18 July 2017

When my boyfriend proposed, I said 'oh no!'

A recent article by Rosie Nixon in The Telegraph caught my eye, as I'm sure, many of us can relate to. It reads
It was a moment I had never dared to imagine - my boyfriend getting down on one knee. It happened in a stunningly picturesque spot in China , seven years ago, and I can still see it vividly. I had no idea it was  coming - I didn't even twig when he upgraded us to a beautiful boutique hotel the night before. Without realising I was talking out loud, I muttered the words, "Oh no." Why wasn't I gripped by the kind of elation this moment is meant to inspire, like it does in the films?
Undeterred, he pressed on, uttering those four words - words so little yet enormous "Will you marry me?" They hung in the air. "Can I think about it?" I said finally; it was probably only seconds later, but it felt as though half of my life had whizzed before my eyes. My words sounded pathetic, but I didn't know what else to say.
Callum and I first met outside a London pub on Valentine's Day the year before. He made me laugh and had a mischievous twinkle in his eye. I left the pub, but halfway down the street, goaded by my best friend, I dashed back, my phone number scribbled on a scrap of paper, which I thrust into his hand.
At 33, I had no dreams of getting married, I was too busy having fun and hanging out with my circle of single girlfriends. Dates were plentiful and life was one big party followed by a hangover. Callum had other ideas. On our first date we met at the Royal Festival Hall and it felt as though I had known him forever. We moved in together after six months and then, almost a year after we met, he proposed.
Looking back, Callum's reaction to my rebuff won him his bride. "Of course you can think about it," he said, confident as anything. "I just want you to know I'm in it for the long haul." And then the clincher:"But we never have to get married, if you don't want to." Immediately the pressure was off. And that, as any contrary woman knows, tends to make you want something. Badly.
We spent the next few days in Hong Kong. Never again did we mention the Asian elephant in the room.
But I couldn't help watching him with a renewed love: my boyfriend, this man who wants to marry me. But doesn't mind if we don't.
Gradually, the idea began to sink in. I asked myself a multitude of questions: what are you scared of? I was head-over-heals with this guy. He was perfect husband and father material. And I'd picked him out to begin with! Then the most alarming question hit me like a breeze block: what if he doesn't want to marry you now? A fire was beginning to burn. On the third morning post-proposal, I woke up knowing that today was the day I would ask Callum to marry me. The setting had to be perfect. It turned out that it was the anniversary of his mother's death, so we had planned to treat ourselves to a posh lunch at a beach restaurant on the island of Lantau. We got the perfect table, our feet in the sand. we ordered champagne and once our glasses were charged, we toasted his mother and then I asked if we could toast something else. "You asked me a question a few days ago," I said," and I haven't stopped thinking about it since - and, well, if you'd still like to marry me, then I'd love to marry you." We both burst into tears. It felt absolutely right - just like in the films.

 cinto tears. It felt absolutely right – just like in films.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Is marriage making men gain weight?

A recent article by Alicia Hrustic in Men's Health magazine comments on research by The
University of Bath, They examined data from 8,729 heterosexual couples who were asked to supply such information as their marital status, body mass index (BMI) and if they had had children. Information was gathered every two years between 1999 and 2013.
On average, married men had higher BMIs than those who were unmarried. They also weighed around 1.4 kilograms, or three pounds, more. Additionally, men were more likely to gain weight after they had become fathers.
The researchers also identified BMI dips for men just before and shortly after they divorced.
Study co-author Dr Joanna Syrda said that if people wanted to make informed choices about their health it was “useful … to understand which social factors may influence weight gain, especially common ones such as marriage and parenthood”.
Married men who want to avoid weight gain will have to be “mindful of their own changing motivation, behavior, and eating habits” she added.
Earlier this year, academics at the University of Arizona found that married women were also more likely to gain weight than single women. This claim was based on an analysis of data collected from over 79,000 women between 50 and 79 years old.
For more information click here

Monday, 19 June 2017

Californian couple celebrate 75th wedding anniversary

In these sad days of horrific news stories, I was delighted to hear of an elderly couple in California celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary this week.
Anne and John Whitman married on June 13 1942 at the height of World War Two. They are now 95 and 102 years old respectively.
The couple first met at a Halloween party in Manhattan the previous year, just five weeks before the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour propelled the United States into war. Anne recalls that she was not impressed and left the party early, saying John and his female friend were “so arrogant” and she was bored. But John was undeterred, claiming he knew the moment he met her that he wanted to marry Ann.
He wrote her letter asking her on a date and she reluctantly agreed. They enjoyed trips to the theater and local restaurants during their courtship.
Anne told The Signal:
“We found that we were compatible. We used to go out a lot.”
A lifetime later the couple have five children, seven grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Anne enjoys her role as the matriarch of her growing clan. She told the site:
“It’s great to have family. The secret of a good life is family.”
Neither are New York natives. Instead they come from neighboring states of New Jersey (Anne) and Pennsylvania (John). Later in their marriage the steadfast couple decided to leave the Big Apple and move to Las Vegas in pursuit of a drier climate, before continuing west and settling in California. They have lived in Santa Clarita near Los Angeles since 1965.
Their oldest child, Gerald, believes his parents’ marriage has lasted so long because they have a relaxed approach to life and a willingness to forgive.
“They have had a really successful marriage and I attribute that to the fact that they don’t take each other really seriously. The thing is, they never go to bed angry. They always made up and they were always happy the next day.”
The elderly couple are also noted amongst their family for a lively sense of humour and a willingness to joke with each other even in their twilight years.
Both have remained as physically active as they can. John continued to enjoy bowling until the age of 98 and did not stop driving until he turned 101!
Congratulations both!

Friday, 19 May 2017

Peak fertility increases satisfaction with ‘manly’ husbands....

Women feel more satisfied with masculine husbands when they are at their most fertile.
Psychologist Andrea L. Meltzer made this claim following her study of 70 newly married couples.
Each relationship represented the first marriage for both spouses involved. She asked the
participants to fill out a questionnaire every evening for 14 days. Wives were asked how happy
they were with their marriage as well as their “conception risk”. This risk was highest when they were ovulating. Meanwhile, the husbands were given questions about what extent they behaved in typically “masculine” ways. They were asked how powerful, assertive or dominant they had been during the course of each day.
The purpose of this research was to test a hypothesis Meltzer held about relationships. She
explained that previous research has shown that “women demonstrate ovulatory shifts in their
mate preferences in the context of short-term relationships”. Basically, this means that when a
woman is at her most fertile, she is most likely to find men who display manly qualities more
attractive. Meltzer wondered if this would carry over to long-term committed relationships –
specifically marriage – as well.
She found that women whose husbands displayed “behavioral masculinity” reported higher
levels of overall happiness with their marriage at peak fertility. Meanwhile, wives whose spouse
did not exhibit such traits did not see any significant change in their satisfaction.
Meltzer explained there was one caveat to her finding. As her study involved newlyweds it was
“unclear whether the results generalize to other populations of long-term couples such as dating
couples or couples who have been married for longer periods of time”. She suggested another
potential issue was that the men reported on their own levels of masculinity. As these claims
“may be subject to self-report bias, future research should consider using more objective
measures of men’s masculinity.
Now you know!
to read more click here

Friday, 21 April 2017

On the 20th April in 1534: Elizabeth Barton, traditionalist prophet, is executed for attacking Henry VIII's divorce

An article in yesterday's Telegraph caught my eye, Elizabeth Barton’s childhood is unknown. She was uneducated, and aged 19 was working in the household of Thomas Cobb, farm manager to the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Warham.
Barton’s fame increased when she prophesied her cure at a nearby chapel, then professed as a nun at St Sepulchre, Canterbury. Warham was closely involved, and even gave King Henry VIII a copy of her divine revelations.

At the convent, she became familiar with the visions of Saints Catherine of Siena and Bridget of Sweden, and perhaps started to see herself as similarly chosen. As news of her visions and prophecies spread, she received a constant stream of visitors eager for her guidance and intercession.

The stakes increased when Warham introduced her to Cardinal Wolsey, who was impressed by her, and met her several more times, before eventually arranging for her to meet the king. The two got on well, and Henry saw her on a number of further occasions.

When Henry began his programme of religious reforms, Barton came down strongly on the side of tradition, speaking out in favour of protecting the Church. Leading Protestants took against her.
Barton crossed a fateful line when she prophesied that disaster, war, plagues, and other calamities would afflict England if Henry abandoned Catherine of Aragon and married Anne Boleyn.

Her most serious statement predicted that if the annulment went ahead, “hys Majestie shulde not be kynge of this Realme by the space of one moneth after, And in the reputacion of God shuld not be kynge one day nor one houre.” Thomas More intervened, meeting her, and advising her not to stray into “thinges as perteyne to princes' affeirs, or the state of the realme”. However, Barton remained firm in her convictions, and even wrote to the Pope.

Thomas Cromwell and Thomas Cranmer, by now Archbishop of Canterbury, moved in to silence her. A number of Barton’s supporters were arrested, and by November 1533 she was in the Tower. Following numerous examinations, it was announced that she had confessed to heresy and treason. She was made to do public penance at St Paul’s Cross, and she then confessed publicly. The Spanish ambassador noted that the event was a pitiful comedy designed to lower her standing in public opinion. The spectacle was repeated soon after at Canterbury.

Taking care to avoid a trial, in March 1534 Cromwell arranged for Barton and six of her supporters to be convicted of treason by act of attainder.  On 20 April, they were all executed. Barton was hanged and beheaded.

Possession of any of Barton’s writings was made an imprisonable offence, and most materials relating to her life and proclamations were destroyed, so it is difficult to reconstruct the real person. Writers of the period enjoyed extremes. Protestant authors portrayed her as a cunning, manipulative, and dishonest charlatan. Catholic writers saw her as a sincere mystic and a martyr. All that is certain is that she was an English mystic who profoundly impressed many, including Henry VIII, Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas More, and Archbishop Warham.

In other circumstances, she may have ended up remembered alongside other medieval and early-modern women visionaries and mystics like Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, St Catherine, St Bridget and St Joan of Arc.

As it is, she is remembered as the only English woman ever to have had her head skewered on a spike on London Bridge.

How things have changed...

For more information click here

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Former Spice Girl Mel B claims estranged husband Stephen Belafonte brutally abused her, got the nanny pregnant

Clearly all that glitters is not gold, as reports in the press today reveal that the latest marriage of spice girl, Melanie Brown was abusive and controlling.

Yet on Sunday on Instagram she claimed "My hubby never would lay a hand on me."

The former girl band member who was known as Scary Spice, detailed the alleged abuse in a bombshell court filing that won her a temporary restraining order Monday against Stephen Belafonte.

She said Belafonte's brutal attacks often coincided with her career success, such as her finale 
on "Dancing with the Stars" and her judging work on the UK and Australian versions of "X Factor."

Brown, 41, said it was shortly after she placed runner-up on the fifth season of "DWTS" in 
November 2007 that Belafonte — her husband of only five months at that point — pounced on her 
minutes before a live television interview.

He was in a rage and I had no idea why," she wrote in her statement. "He placed both of his hands
around my neck and began choking me. He then slammed me down onto the hardwood floor."

She said Belafonte punched her with a closed fist in July 2012, causing her lip to split and 
swell, after she and recording artist Usher taped a promotional segment in New York for the 
Australian version of "X Factor."

She said Belafonte accused her of triggering his furor by flirting with Usher and threatened to 
release sex tapes if she reported him.

"He told me that no one would believe me because everyone thinks I'm crazy. He called me a 
'f---ing monkey,' told me I was dumb and said that I was a 'derelict,'" 
she wrote.

For more information click here

Friday, 3 March 2017

PC brigade declare the end of mankind: University bans lecturers from using series of phrases that could be deemed sexist

A step too far perhaps?
An article in The Mail this morning informs us that Lecturers have been banned from using the
phrases ‘mankind’ and ‘man-made’ as part of a university’s clampdown on ‘gendered language’.

Cardiff Metropolitan University says the ‘politically correct’ words should be used to ‘promote
an atmosphere in which all students and staff feel valued’.

The rules are laid out in the institution’s Equal Opportunities Policy, which warns
contraventions could result in disciplinary action.

It says ‘inclusive language’ must be used throughout all academic programmes to comply with the
Equality Act as gendered words could be considered discriminatory.
Other rules include using ‘forename’ instead of ‘Christian name’ to avoid offending people of a
diverse range of faiths.

And staff should avoid using the phrase ‘wheelchair bound’ because it is ‘patronising and
pitying’, while ‘wheelchair user’ is ‘empowering’.

The document states: ‘Should individuals consider that in the course of interaction with
students or staff that this code has not been adhered to and that further action is required,
there are two courses of action.
‘For students please refer to the Bullying and Harassment Policy. For staff members the
Disciplinary procedure applies, as it does in the event of students talking inappropriately to

It says that ‘politically correct terminology can change’ but lists a range of examples of words
and phrases which staff should avoid.
These also include ‘best man for the job’, ‘forefathers’, ‘housewife’, ‘man in the street’,
‘manpower’ and ‘right-hand man’.

Even terms such as ‘headmistress’ and ‘headmaster’ as well as Mrs and Miss are considered
offensive, according to the guide.
It also says staff should avoid ‘falling into the trap of making assumptions based on your own
cultural background.’

And it advises alternating the order of the genders when talking about women and men, he or she,
mother and father so that neither are given undue importance.
It adds: ‘If the gender of the person is unknown, don’t make an assumption, but use “he or she”
or, where appropriate, use the plural “they”.

‘Sexuality can be a minefield too, according to the policy, which advises against the terms
‘homosexual’ and ‘heterosexual’ because they are ‘laden with the values of a previous time’.
The new words to use are ‘same-sex’ and ‘other-sex’ relationships, the documents advises.

For disability, ‘the disabled’ is advised against and instead staff should refer to ‘people with

I think I may be lost for words!

To read the full article click here