Lauren Laverne posted this article over the weekend titled "Time to Make Emotional Abuse a Crime", following news that a new domestic abuse law could criminalise perpetrators of psychological and emotional abuse, as well as physical abuse. The description she gives of her own emotional abuse was particularly resonant for me: "...it’s like being put in a box. How you end up in there is the biggest trick...Maybe you think it’s a treasure box at first: you’re in there because you’re special. Soon the box starts to shrink. Every time you touch the edges there is an “argument”. So you try to make yourself fit. You curl up, become smaller, quieter, remove the excessive, offensive parts of your personality – you begin to notice lots of these. You eliminate people and interests, change

your behaviour. But still the box gets smaller. You think it’s your fault. The terrible, unforgivable too-muchness of you is to blame. You don’t realise that the box is shrinking, or who is making it smaller. You don’t yet understand that you will never, ever be tiny enough to fit, or silent enough to avoid a row..." Emotionally controlling or abusive behaviour is defined as “a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.” This includes "accusing you unjustly of flirting or of having affairs, repeatedly…

This week was my birthday (21 again!) and to celebrate my friend took me to the British Library's latest exhibition - Comics Unmasked. Here's the description from the British Library website: Comics Unmasked is the UK’s largest ever exhibition of mainstream and underground comics, showcasing works that uncompromisingly address politics, gender, violence, sexuality and altered states. It explores the full anarchic range of the medium with works that challenge categorisation, preconceptions and the status quo, alongside original scripts, preparatory sketches and final artwork that demystify the creative process. Enter the subversive and revelatory world of comics, from the earliest pioneers to today’s digital

innovators. I was early so had a wander round beforehand and took a few pictures of the library. I used to work in the Last Word cafe, so it's always nice going back and seeing what's changed. Above is the courtyard out the front and below are two of the big promotional posters in the foyer. When you book, you are given a set time to arrive, so that it doesn't get too crowded. We had the 6.30pm slot and it was pretty busy. Often we had to queue and shuffle along in a line to get to see anything.…

Letter writing seems like a pretty archaic activity nowadays. And it is, really. The process is long-winded and reeks of effort, which us Millennials are prone to avoid. I had a pen pal from between the ages of about 10 to 13. He lived in Buenos Aires and his name was Pedro. He was really religious and once sent me a fridge magnet of the Virgin Mary. I also used to write to my friend Charlotte who moved away, but my letters (apparently) mostly consisted of pages of spelling and grammar corrections from her last letter. I was a blast. Since then, writing letters has all but disappeared from my life, and I'm not counting the things I've been forced to send to the utterly backwards Student Loan company. BUT... Letter writing is back, baby! Well,

maybe. Brad and Angelina are doing it (they were both filming WWII movies and wanted to experience the romance of that era, apparently) and many bloggers have started sending each other letters and parcels in order to share products that they wouldn't normally be able to buy, and to provide each other with new things to write about. I just did a similar thing myself, actually: A Snail Mail Swap organised by the previously mentioned Charlotte. I wrote a letter to Antonia and received a lovely one back from Beverley. It was really cool to get an actual handwritten letter in the post for the first time in years, and I'd love to keep doing it, but I have to admit that going through the motions of…

On Sunday I attended Feast - A food festival at Tobbacco Dock in east London. I was kindly invited along as a plus-one by my friend Charlotte who got given free tickets. Thanks Charlotte! I guess this now makes me one of those annoying bloggers who swans about getting stuff for free... Anyway, I had a great afternoon. We arrived at around half twelve and it was fairly quiet, so we didn't have to queue for anything. The event ran from Thursday night until Sunday night, so I expect the Friday and Saturday were much busier. There was a really wide range of different food and drink

stalls, including a fair amount of gluten-free options, so I was a very happy bunny. After arriving I went straight for the booze. We both got this peach and vodka cocktail from Pontoon Cocktails, which was supposed to come with a lanyard so we could hang it around our necks like high-class alcoholics, but unfortunately they'd run out. Follow them on Twitter here. Then we were enticed to a stand by a moustachioed man in braces, where we sampled a cinnamon liqueur called Fire Eater. It's great mixed with apple juice apparently, and we thought it tasted rather Christmassy. They also…

*No plot spoilers, but some details about the structure of the story.* Gone Girl is described as "the thriller of the year" and a book that "you'll force your friends to read so you can talk about it with them", so I had pretty high expectations of it. As it turns out, these descriptions are spot on. I finished this book last night and couldn't wait to write a review, which I suppose is my version of talking to people. The story revolves around a man (Nick) whose wife (Amy) goes missing, leaving him the prime suspect for her disappearance and murder. Just in case you didn't read the blurb

(or the title), though, the first page reads "Part One: Boy Loses Girl" and chapter 1 is titled "The Day Of", so straight away you know something big is going to happen pretty quickly. The chapters alternate between Nick and Amy's points of view. Amy's are written as a diary and start from when she meets Nick, but Nick's read more as if he's narrating and start from the day she disappears. The first few chapters are spent setting up the characters and the history of their relationship, which is risky. As soon as you start reading you are anxious…

I read a blog post recently titled "Being in your Twenties is Like a Friendship Massacre". The general gist is that upon becoming a Proper Grown Up with a job and a life outside of the various learning establishments, we will automatically weed out the good friends from the bad. This is because we simply won't have the time or inclination to make plans with those people who we only remain in contact with for habitual reasons, like doing the same course at university or the fact that your parents were next door neighbours once upon a time. The article, though, only really focuses on those friendships which are lost, and doesn't mention the new friends we pick

up when we move jobs or houses or go through a significant life change. I think our twenties are less of a massacre and more like a garden. Some friendships die - either from us choosing to dig them up and chuck them out, or from natural causes - but some flourish and grow, and new ones spring up from nowhere(1). But friendships don't just change when you're in your twenties. I've seen many friends come and go, and I think there are a few different periods in our lives where friendships inevitably meet turbulent times. Primary School Primary school…

This study was floating around the internet last week, claiming that people nowadays would rather inflict physical pain on themselves than be left alone with nothing but their thoughts. The first part of the study involved students being left in a room without phones, books or writing implements, and told to think. They were then informed they would be alone for anything between six and fifteen minutes. The only rules were they had to stay in their seat and not fall asleep. Unsurprisingly, most of the subjects hated it. Some of them found it so difficult that they cheated by getting up and checking their phones. The researchers

then repeated the experiment but, this time, hooked the subjects up to a button which would administer a mild electric shock when pushed. Twelve of eighteen men shocked themselves, as did six of twenty-four women. Okay, this study has a load of flaws. Firstly, I think the morbid curiosity of wanting to see how bad the shock would be probably had more than a little to do with the results. Secondly, the article above states that, when instructed to 'do nothing', the students: "struggled to concentrate. Their minds wandered even with nothing to distract them. Even giving…

The new ad from Always and their #LikeAGirl campaign has caused a bit of a stir, with huge numbers of people taking to Twitter to say that it made them cry and re-think the way they use the statement "you run/throw/fight like a girl" as an insult. Now, I wouldn't be a very good Feminist Marketing Person™ if I didn't write a post about it, would I? If you haven't seen the ad, here you go... I like it. It has issues of course, (like sounding overly scripted), but I think it's a step in the right direction. Plus, anything that pushes this message in

front of people is a good thing. Some people, though, seem to have got overly worked-up about it. Namely, the person who wrote this article for The Vagenda. They complain that the positive message this ad promotes is essentially worthless because it was created by Proctor & Gamble, who are just trying to peddle lots of patriarchal crap like *gasp* tampons and sanitary towels. To be fair, she's mainly talking about specific 'scented' products, which she claims are not great for girls' self-esteem as they promote the idea that the female body is unnatural or disgusting. I pretty…

Don't worry, I won't do this every month, I just had a particularly eventful one this time. June started off with me running the Colour Run with my mum at Wembley Stadium. It's a 5k run around the not-very-picturesque industrial estate that surrounds Wembley, where powered paint is thrown at you at regular intervals. The only rule is you have to wear white. We ran it last year as well, and it was so much fun, we decided to do it again. We walked round, as my mum hasn't run in a thousand years, but it wasn't an issue because it's not timed and there

were people with little kids and prams and such ambling along with us. Plus, we got to enjoy the paint-throwing madness for longer. If there's one in your area, you should definitely get involved. The following weekend I went on holiday to Lisbon for a long weekend. I was pretty annoyed when we arrived because it was pissing it down with rain, but the rest of the weekend was gloriously sunny, so I soon perked up. I ate nothing but seafood and did the obligatory sightseeing bus tour. I stayed at the Epic Sana hotel, which was a bit of…

So, some footballer bit another one. I didn't see it. Football is boring. As punishment, he got a four month ban (which equals 9 matches) and a piddly fine. To me, this is a pretty crappy series of events, but apparently it was really amusing to a lot of people. So much so that some companies decided to try and use it to push their completely irrelevant products to us. Snickers: Hey @luis16suarez. Next time you're hungry just grab a Snickers. #worldcup #luissuarez #EatASNICKERS pic.twitter.com/3RAO537HjW — SNICKERS® (@SNICKERS) June 24, 2014 Aldi: Four months? That’s got to sting, @luis16suarez. Take the bite out of the ban with our #Specialbuys

#Suarez pic.twitter.com/L7HsKumI3g — Aldi Stores UK (@AldiUK) June 26, 2014 Specsavers: Fair play to Specsavers advertising people .... #Suarez pic.twitter.com/EeCoRP7Scs — Brilliant Ads (@Brilliant_Ads) June 26, 2014 Rosetta Stone: Italian -something to get your teeth into! #Italian is a tasty language, here is a better way to try it;) #LuisSuarez pic.twitter.com/kARNojlf6x — Rosetta Stone UK (@RosettaStoneUK) June 25, 2014 Philips: @MarketingUK Making jokes about a serious issue is the British way, saw this ad today & thought it quite humorous pic.twitter.com/GzjxqqYTR8 — dad~DA! (@WhatRicSaid) June 26, 2014   I don't really understand this. If he…