Saying Goodbye

What started off as an exciting and promising 2018 soon took a turn for the worse, as we sadly lost my grandfather, Bill Todd. While we all knew grandad was no longer his young and vibrant self, nothing ever quite prepares you for another loss, no matter how old or sick an individual might be.

I’m lucky in the sense that it’s now been nearly 12 years since I last lost a family member, and while it still struck me hard, I know I’m much better equipped to handle a loss than my 11 year old self. I also take comfort in the fact that my grandad was a lucky man, having met my grandma when he was just 15, celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary and met his first great grandchild, Alexandra, just less than a year ago. And at the grand old age of 92, I think he would agree that it was a life well lived.

I was nervous to attend the funeral, after recalling painful memories from the two I attended as a child. But we all shared wonderful memories of grandad and I actually learnt a lot about his life that I did not know before. For me, it’s hard to imagine a young Bill Todd when I hold such fond memories of hiding his slippers with my sister and cousin and the feeling of his bristly beard when he kissed us on the cheek. Yet at the funeral, I heard stories about an adventurous sailor, a practical and passionate father and a liberal man and husband, who chose to look after his children so my grandma could pursue her dream of being a social worker.

I’m so grateful that I got to spend so many years with my grandad and share such special memories with him. It’s also been so wonderful hearing from other family and friends who had been so touched by him. I’d like to end this post with grandad’s favourite toast, which he used to give at every family get together:

Here’s to us, to all of us, may we never want owt, noan of us, me neither!


Cambodia: Monkeys, Dolphins, Ruins & Joss Shots

We made it into Cambodia through the most relaxed crossing we’d been through yet. There was no pushing from impatient tourists or queues of coaches, and I think the border crossing guard actually seemed happy to see two tourists crossing over such a quiet border on a motorbike!


We chose to head to Kratie first as we figured it would be an easier place to cross at than the capital city Phnom Penh. Kratie is a lively little fishing town, well known for their Irrawaddy dolphins. Of course we were excited at the prospect of seeing some wild dolphins, especially as it’s now thought that less than 100 of these dolphins currently inhabit this stretch of the Mekong river. 

And we saw them! I was sure that we would be waiting ages just to see one fin, yet as soon as we descended on the river, we saw a whole group of fins nearby. I have a feeling this might be because we were the only boat on the river, because as soon as more boats joined us, the noise seemed to scare most of the dolphins off!

The only decent picture I managed to get of a dolphin!

We ended the day by dropping into the Mekong Turtle Conservation Center, which looks after ‘one of the world’s rarest and largest freshwater turtles, Cantor’s Softshell Turtle’. The center looks after the hatchlings before releasing them safely back into the wild. Located within the grounds of one of Kratie’s temples, it was a lovely place to drop into.

A further highlight in Kratie has to be the Phnom Sombok, which hands down is my favourite temple of my trip. If it wasn’t for the odd monk walking about, the place feels completely uninhabited and overtaken by nature. Situated on the highest hill in Kratie the temple gives you spectacular views of the town and Mekong river. And if you’re lucky, you may even spot a few monkeys hanging about!

Some of the many stairs we had to climb!

Phnom Pehn

After a quiet couple of days it was time to head to the big city, where we were staying with one of my family friends who lives and works there. It came as a relief to stay somewhere a bit more homely and luxurious after so many nights in hostels and on overnight buses, and my friend Ged was eager to take us out and show us the sights.

Before coming to Cambodia, I was only vaguely aware of the Cambodian genocide, having heard of the Killing Fields from friends who had visited there. Visiting the Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum was a tough but interesting experience (as you’d expect). Both give you a very rich and detailed history of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. I particularly recommend using the headphones provided so you can learn more about the genocide and hear the testimonies of the victims and perpetrators. It truly is an eerie feeling at the Killing Fields when you’re sat by a pretty lake and learning about the monstrosity that took place there.

Despite everything the Cambodian people have been through, Phnom Pehn continues to be a vibrant and lively city, and we enjoyed exploring the temples and central market. A personal highlight for me has to be watching the locals dancing in the big square every night and I’m gutted I didn’t catch it on film!


We decided to head to Kep before Kampot after finding out some of our friends Beth and John we’d bumped into at the beginning of our trip were currently there. It was great to meet up for food and drinks in the little town that is Kep.

While there isn’t a great deal to do there, we enjoyed a nice little hike in the national park, where we even spotted a family of macaque monkeys!

Baby macaque who popped out to say hello


Just down the road from Kep is the wonderful town of Kampot. After reading a few good reviews about it, we decided to stay in a ‘tent’ at a hostel, which was significantly cheaper than a dorm room. This actually consisted of just a raised mattress underneath a mosquito net outside in the garden. Although the view of the stars at night was beautiful to fall asleep to, the noise and bugs in the morning were quite a shock!

The main attraction in Kampot has to be Bokor Hill Station which I was desperate to explore. The eerie ghost town was once a luxury resort, before being abandoned in 1972 as the Khmer Rouge took over. The resort is big, so is definitely best explored by motorbike. Although everyone raves about the big abandoned hotel, I actually found the smaller, abandoned houses and the church to be way more interesting. Overgrown by nature, I’d find myself looking around one, before spotting another through the window, completely lost in the jungle! (See pictures here).

We spent the rest of our time in Kampot exploring the town markets and enjoying the cheap pizza and beer at a delightful new family-run restaurant which our friends had recommended.

The abandoned church at Bokor Hill Station


By the time we reached Sihanoukville, we’d managed to catch up with our friends Stacey and Joel from back home, who had been travelling the same route ahead of us. They were working at Utopia hostel for free board, so we turned up and surprised them. The hostel is known for being a bit of a party hostel, and every night they have fire performers and cheap drink deals. It’s here where we tried the infamous Joss shot – a mixture of Vodka and Joss energy powder, which is apparently illegal everywhere but Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines. It’s safe to say that we had enjoyed a few eventful nights partying on the beachfront after a few of them!

There isn’t a great deal to explore in Sihanoukville, so it was nice to finally enjoy some relaxing beach time. We also paid to go on one of those inflatable obstacle courses on the sea, which I’ve always thought looked really easy from afar. Turns out – they’re not! Me and my friend Stacey spent most of the time sliding off into the sea while Joel and Edd raced their way around the course several times. Needless to say, it was a hilarious day.

After a few days together, Stacey and Joel left and headed to Siem Reap, where we’d agreed to meet up again in a few days. Me and Edd then heading to the port to visit Koh Rong island.

Koh Rong

We’d heard amazing things about Koh Rong; rumours of untouched white sand and wild raves in the jungle. So it’s safe to say we were pretty damn excited to head there. As the island is so small, all the food and goods, (including ginormous blocks of ice), are carried over on the boat along with the passengers.

It’s hard to imagine that the island was once uninhabited, and you feel almost guilty as a tourist when you see the strip of restaurants, bars and hostels all built just for our use. But once we trekked through the jungle to Lonely Beach on the other side of the island, we could see what all the fuss was about. The sand is the palest sand you will ever see and the sea is crystal clear. I truly felt like I was in paradise. We decided to buy some snorkels, and we saw many different types of fish without even having to swim out far.

My favourite beach has to be 4k Beach, which is quite a walk down from where we were staying. There were hardly any people around, giving you a good feel for how the island may have looked before it was inhabited.

However, about two days in, I was finally struck by the dreaded traveller’s food poisoning! So instead of enjoying my last couple of days snorkeling and partying, I was spending them being sick and lying in bed. Apparently 8 out of 10 people get ill on Koh Rong, so I wasn’t entirely surprised. It’s a shame that I didn’t get to see the bioluminescent plankton, which appear in the sea at night around the island. It’s meant to be an amazing experience, so I’ll be sure to try and swim with them if I visit again.


After an uncomfortable boat journey and motorbike ride, we made it to Battambang where we were stopping off for two nights on the way to Siem Reap. As I was still ill, I didn’t manage to explore the city the city as much as I would have liked.

But I did manage to get out of bed one evening so we could head to the bat caves, which Ged had told us about in Phnom Penh. Every evening at about 5.30pm, tourists gather around this huge cave to watch millions of bats emerge. This goes on for about an hour and it’s truly mesmerizing to watch all these bats flying over the paddy fields against the sunset.

All my photo attempts were terrible, so here’s a picture of the bats taken by Our Epic Adventure:

Photo Credit:

Siem Reap

One motorbike trip later, we had reached our final stop in Cambodia: Siem Reap, home to Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world.

We met up with Stacey and Joel again, and enjoyed a relaxing day in a nearby swimming pool. I also bought some antibiotics, which thankfully eased my symptoms straight away!

Our friends rented a motorbike to join us exploring a local temple and the floating village in Siem Reap. However, we couldn’t find a way of accessing the floating village without paying for further transport, and so we decided to head back. Unfortunately Edd and I crashed the motorbike after skidding on a truck’s water spillage and we soon found ourselves getting bandaged up at a local health center!

But we didn’t let the cuts and braises stop us from enjoying Edd’s birthday the following day, which we spent visiting Angkor Wat. Ask anyone who’s been and I guarantee they will have chosen to visit the temple at sunrise, as it’s meant to be the most amazing view you can get. We got up early, getting there just before 6am and the view was absolutely phenomenal. So if you’re planning on visiting, it’s worth dragging yourself out of bed early in the morning!

Angkor Wat at sunrise

Angkor Wat consists of several temples spread out across a massive complex. We took our motorbike, which was really handy for getting between the temples, but you can also hire a tuk-tuk which will wait for you outside each temple before taking you to the next one. Our personal favourites include Bayon, also known as the Temple of Faces and all the jungle temples overtaken by enormous trees. I also love how there are so many monkeys roaming free around the temples; it really makes you feel as though you’re lost in the wilderness.

We finished off an amazing day celebrating Edd’s birthday on Pub Street; Siem Reap’s version of Khao San Road, where we met up with some friends we’d made in Koh Rong.

And then it was time to say goodbye to our trusty companion Sydney the Scooter, as we headed back to Thailand to do some island hopping!

Winning NaNoWriMo 2015!

So I’ve just finished taking part in National Novel Writing Month, more commonly known as NaNoWriMo, and I can proudly say that I am a 2015 winner! The challenge requires you to write a 50,000 word novel in the 30 days of November, which equates to 1,667 words a day to reach the daily target. It’s safe to say that I have NEVER written such a lengthy piece in my life – the closest thing probably being my 10, 000 word dissertation in my final year of university. NaNoWriMo was introduced to me by my friend, who has taken part in previous years before. We decided to motivate each other to hit the target, and ended up getting quite competitive! We’d often reach way over the target word count for the day after checking each other’s word counts on the NaNoWriMo site before quickly slamming out another 1000 words to beat them.

In the first few days, I was already worrying about reaching the daily word counts and the final goal of 50,000 felt unachievable and just incomprehensible to me. However, I soon found the daily ritual of writing weirdly addictive. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I would often wait around like Isaac Newton for inspiration to hit me on the head like an apple. The main thing I have learnt first-hand from taking part in NaNoWriMo is that writing should almost be treated like a 9-5 job. To quote Stephen King:

‘“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

When I first read this in On Writing I wasn’t sure that I fully agreed with King; surely all writers have to wait for some inspiration or the next grand novel idea to hit them like the apple? However, I’ve since realised that ‘waiting for inspiration’ was always just an excuse that I would give myself for not keeping up with writing. I started NaNoWriMo with just a brief novel idea, and a small amount of planning. Previously, I have always just jumped straight into the writing once I have an idea, and this usually results in an incomplete piece of fiction that I never return to. So for NaNoWriMo, I decided to take the time to plan properly, so that I wouldn’t risk the feared writer’s block! Using the forums for some ideas, I decided to use Lazette Gifford’s ‘Phase Outline’ technique which involves writing little bullet point ‘phases’ that are usually around 20 words long. In these phases, you simply outline whaNaNo-2015-Winner-Certificate-Fullt is happening in that section. When it comes to writing the phase up, you then add in all the detail and dialogue etc. so a phase that’s 20 words long, soon becomes 200-500 words and so forth. I found this to be a really effective technique for someone like me, who always gets a sudden writing block after jumping in too early and then struggles to see where the story is headed. Using this technique even led me to discover that I’d put in a red herring unknowingly, which then tied up the end of the novel perfectly!

Clearly, writing in such a quick amount of time has no doubt left me with a hefty amount of editing to do once I’m ready to face the words again, but hopefully this will all be part of the fun! It’s safe to say that NaNoWriMo has changed my ability to write for the better. Although the standard is nowhere near up to scratch yet, this challenge has flung me face-forward into writing again, and for this I am so grateful.



My Response to Farage’s Thoughts on the NHS

In 2012, a video was leaked staring UKIP leader Nigel Farage telling UKIP supports his views on the NHS and UK healthcare. He is quoted to say “I think we are going to have to move to an insurance-based system of healthcare. Frankly, I would feel more comfortable that my money would return value if I was able to do that through the marketplace of an insurance company, than just us trustingly giving £100bn a year to central government and expecting them to organise the healthcare service from cradle to grave for us.” (The Independent).

The belief that the UK would benefit from a privatized healthcare system is extremely problematic. A minority of UK citizens may have had the fortune of never having needed to use the NHS for any long-term illness, suffered by themselves or close friends or family. I on the other hand, have had experience with the NHS and all their valuable services for the majority of my life. When I was 10, my mother died of breast cancer at 47 years old, having battled with the disease on and off for several years. At one point, we were even told that she was clear of cancer, before it sadly returned and tragically took her life. Throughout her years suffering with cancer, I distinctly remember numerous trips to Nottingham City Hospital, where she often had to spend a few nights or get chemotherapy treatment. As well as the upsetting memories I possess of her in hospital, I also have memories of caring, wonderful staff, who my mother was always fond of. My family have always struggled to meet ends financially, but through the NHS we were rewarded with a few extra years to spend with my mum, even enjoying fantastic holidays to Spain and Cyprus when her cancer was in its better stages. Without the NHS, it’s likely that we would have lost her a lot sooner due to the cost of health insurance and treatment.

Ten years later, and I’ve now been revisiting the same hospital, where my dad has been recovering from a stroke he had on Christmas Eve. Yet again, the staff have been incredible. Despite having to work on Christmas Day, the staff at the hospital were friendly and cheerful, supplying the patients with a Christmas-style dinner and crackers (much to our delight) to keep everyone’s spirits up. The hospital even featured a ‘League of Friends’ who delivered presents to the patients; my dad received aftershave, a tie and a Christmas card! This gesture may sound like a small one, but for my family, who had all our Christmas plans sadly disrupted, it really meant a lot knowing that the staff were going out of their way to look after my dad. During the time my dad has spent at the hospital, he has made countless friends with the staff, including a favourite nurse who puts up with his repeated jokes, and his physio. His physio even took the time to find myself and my dad’s partner to show us how we could perform a massage on my dad’s hand (which he had lost all movement and feeling in) to help regain some movement. My dad also told me how the physio took a moment to enjoy a coffee and chocolate with him – his favourite part of the day! It’s little acts like this that make me truly realise how valuable the NHS is for many families and individuals. It is a unique part of British culture that makes me proud to be part of a nation that can help people from any background to prolong and save lives.

As well as benefiting my family greatly for the illnesses suffered by my parents, the NHS has also provided myself and my sister with mental health care. Back when we were in school, my sister and I were both diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and we both had difficulty coming to terms with our mother’s death. For this, we were offered counselling services and treatment, which has helped us both tremendously. We are both now happy and confident, and have rediscovered our love of studying, resulting in us both studying at university. Without the counselling, who knows if either of us would even have continued to stay at school, let alone enroll at university. At my university now, I am still able to see a doctor regularly for check ups on my mental well-being; something I truly value when university and family life gets stressful.

Overall, the NHS benefits the lives of countless people and families across the UK. Without it, who knows where our lives would be, or who wouldn’t even be in them. If it wasn’t for the chemotherapy my mother received, we may not have had our memorable holiday in Cyprus just before she died. If the ambulance hadn’t arrived in time for my dad, and if he wasn’t able to stay in the hospital for as long as he has, who knows what state of health he would be in now. I know that it is not just my family that is extremely grateful for the invaluable care provided for the NHS, and I only hope that this fantastic service continues, free of charge.


Are You A Beaver? Cos Dam – Tinder Tales.


I’ve recently made the mistake of getting the ‘app’ ‘Tinder’ again. I say again, as I had this app briefly during my second year of university, but soon deleted it after my friends caused mayhem on my account. For those who don’t know, Tinder is a dating app, self described as ‘the fun way to connect with new and interesting people around you. Swipe right to like or left to pass. If someone likes you back, it’s a match!’ Sounds simple enough.

I first heard about this app at the beginning of 2014, after seeing a couple of my housemates swiping to and fro in front of the TV most evenings. We would often go on each other’s accounts, unleashing witty and crude comebacks to cheesy pick up lines from males, usually along the lines of ‘Are you a beaver? Cos dam’. It seemed harmless enough, and so I decided to get it myself. I soon realised that I didn’t quite get the point of this app, after constantly swiping right just because someone had a pet in their picture or had dressed up as the nerdy character Moss from the TV show ‘The IT Crowd’. This, in addition to my friends deciding to swipe ‘yes’ for everyone that popped up one drunken night, led to over 100 matches and a phone that never stopped going off. We eventually all got bored and the app was soon deleted.

A few days ago however, I decided to get it again, after hearing a friend having talked about using it recently. They also told me that they knew couples who had successfully met and started dating through Tinder. Why not try using it properly this time? I thought, you never know. So I tried to be pickier this time around, and I only swiped right for a couple of people before starting a conversation with someone. Let’s call him Tim. Tim seemed nice enough, had similar interests and we kept a conversation up for the rest of the day. Suddenly at the end of the day, he started asking me to send him photos so he could ‘see what it is he’s dealing with’. Although I knew that Tinder had a reputation for being a ‘sex app’, it’s safe to say that this is not what I was expecting on my first day of using it. I politely declined, and made excuses about going to bed, planning to end the conversation for good. However, the next day I woke up to a blunt message from Tim: ‘Guess we’re not talking anymore then’, before stating that he ‘was looking for something physical and nothing long term’. I responded telling him that I didn’t even know what I was looking for yet, as I’ve only had the app for one day, but it all felt a bit much what he was asking me, and that I was sorry, but wasn’t interested. This is when things took a turn for the worse. Tim started to get really angry at me, accusing me of ‘leading him on’, and telling me that I ‘should have been honest from the beginning’.

As well as being extremely baffled as to how I led him on, I was also now pretty angry. Why do some guys feel that they have the right to ask girls they have never met to send them explicit photographs of themselves? And why then do they feel that it is acceptable to have a go at the girl because it is thrown back in their face?

This is pretty much how I responded to Tim; I told him I was sick of guys expecting girls to do things for them and thinking it’s okay to then harass and insult them once they are denied. I blocked him after this, so fortunately I don’t know what torrent of further verbal abuse he had in store, but I’m gad to be rid of him.

So after two attempts at ‘tindering’, it’s safe to say that I’ve given up, yet again. As I’m aware, many people are successful on this dating app, and maybe it is possible if you persevere. Maybe this app is also for the thick skinned, who are better at ignoring or shooting down the idiotic, egotistical males. I don’t know whether I ‘led’ Tim on or not. Maybe I should have been more explicit in saying ‘no’ rather than skirting around the subject and trying to ignore him. However, I still stand by the fact that no one deserves to be shouted at simply for refusing to expose themselves to a complete stranger.


From Writer’s Block to Creativity Overload

For the past few years I’ve experienced a huge writer’s block; an excruciating experience that I’m sure has befallen many aspiring bloggers and writers. It started when several stories I was working on a few years ago accidentally got wiped from my laptop, and despite my sister and I trying to retrieve them, we had no luck. Although none of these stories were even close to be considered readable yet, this was still a frustrating situation which led me to become too unmotivated to begin anything new. Since then, I’ve written little bits here and there, but nothing that I’ve yet felt passionate about pursuing.

Until now. I’ve had an idea for a novel floating about in my head for a while now, but have struggled to begin writing it. After my first ever blog post the other day however, I began writing – and lo and behold, I managed to squeeze out over 1000 words of this new story. Now that may not seem like a lot to some people, but for someone who has not written more than a few sentences of fiction for years, this was a miracle. Now I thought I’d share a few ideas that may have contributed to this sudden burst of creativity, and an escape from the dreaded writer’s block!

1. Stephen King’s Novel On Writing: I finished reading this a few weeks ago, and it is amazing. King provides many useful tips for ‘good’ writing in this novel, drawing from his own feedback from editors, publishing companies and other writers. The book also acts as an autobiography of his writing life; taking us on a journey from his first short story publications in local magazines, to publishing his first novel Carrie, and finally up until the writing process of On Writing. He even includes a short first draft of fiction at the end, before showing us the editorial process with all his annotations. King also recommends that aspiring writers read The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr and E. B. White, (also a very useful book, but not as much of an entertaining read)! On Writing therefore was an inspirational book for me, and got me itching to get back into writing straight away. A highly recommended read.

2. Read a guilty pleasure/something fun: As a current undergraduate English Literature student, I read a wide variety of books, many of which are often a challenge, and not something that I would usually read by choice. Over the last few years, I’ve been attempting to work my way through many classic works of literature, most of which I do enjoy. I often do get a bit bogged down with reading, as I’m required to read so much for my course, that it often takes time away from reading something fun. Now that it’s the summer however, I am planning to read a few guilty pleasures, or more enjoyable books. I’m currently reading the first book in the Game of Thrones series, having been an avid fan of the television series for a few years. This is a perfect example of an enjoyable read for me, as I don’t often read many books of the fantasy genre. Sometimes therefore, it’s nice to just relax and read something pleasurable, and a bit different to previous reads, to get the creative cogs moving again.

3. When you find something you feel passionate about, take advantage of it straight away: I recently watched Murdered by My Boyfriend, and was reduced to both anger and tears. This motivated me to reach for my laptop immediately after and write a blog post, something that I’ve never done. There have been so many times when I’ve felt strongly about something and felt that I could write an entire essay on the subject, but then I let it slide and forget about it before writing anything down. By the time I remember it again, it feels too late to step back into the shoes of that moment, where emotions were at a high. It is essential therefore to write down these ideas as soon as they appear.

4. Have a good cry! This is a bit of a silly suggestion, but it weirdly helped me yesterday when I started working on my novel idea. I was feel guilty about having an unproductive day, and was generally just feeling overwhelmed by everything. I had a little cry with my dad however, complaining that I wasn’t good at anything and about how I never write anymore, and next thing I know, I’m writing! Which leads to my final point:

5. Cut yourself some slack: I’m sure many of you feel the same as I do sometimes, and you beat yourself up because you’ve not done everything you’d set out to do that day, or you’ve perhaps had months of unproductive activity. Whatever the situation, you need to just forgive yourself and stop beating yourself up about it. Instead, sometimes you need to just accept that the day hasn’t gone so well, but that there will always be inspiring days around the corner!


Murdered By My Boyfriend


I’ve just finished watching BBC’s shocking drama ‘Murdered by My Boyfriend’, which tells the true story of a seventeen year old girl, who becomes a victim of domestic violence. This sixty minute drama gives us an insight into Ashley and Reece’s four year abusive relationship; from their very first meeting right up until Reece brutally murders Ashley with his fists and an ironing board. Poignant and gripping, it’s safe to say that this drama left me feeling emotional and physically sick, and spurned me on to write my first blog post. At the end of the programme, we are left with the words “It took 4 years for Ashley to die. In that time, at least 229 other women in Britain were murdered as a result of domestic violence.” This shocking statistic reiterates just how common domestic violence continues to be, and highlights how it can often go on unnoticed for years. In this drama, Ashley’s friends continuously beg her to leave Reece, and the police are frequently called by neighbours, friends, and Ashley herself. Yet her death was still not prevented. So why was this case? And why are so many women still being murdered as a result of domestic violence?

Women’s Aid suggest that one reason for this is because domestic violence is still a ‘hidden crime’, with many women often attempting to hide signs of abuse from their friends and family. They propose a possible list of reasons, including self-blaming and fear, both of which are portrayed in ‘Murdered by My Boyfriend’. At several points during this drama, Ashley tells her friend that she provoked Reece, and continues to defend him because he’s a ‘good father’ to their daughter. This therefore raises a major issue of domestic abuse, that leads to many cases going unnoticed, or being unreported.

In particular for me, it was scary how much this drama resonated familiar moments from past relationships. Fortunately, I have never been a victim of physical domestic violence, however I have been a victim of verbal abuse by an ex boyfriend, which often made me fearful for my physical safety. According to, “verbal domestic abuse is one of the most serious forms of domestic violence”, and can have damaging psychological effects for the victim. During this one relationship, I was constantly criticized by my boyfriend, and was subjected to name calling, swearing and disrespect. As is common with most victims, I blamed myself for everything, and would continue to focus on the positives of the relationship, despite feeling utterly miserable. One example in particular of my ex boyfriend turning his bad behaviour around onto me, was when he would flirt and meet up with other girls behind my back. Understandably, this led me to become more paranoid, and I would go through his phone where I continued to find inappropriate messages from girls and I would bring it up with him. He would then shout at me, and made the argument about me going through his phone, which is still a violation of privacy yes, but does not justify his bad behaviour. This situation was mirrored exactly in ‘Murdered by My Boyfriend’, when Ashley found texts from another girl on Reece’s phone, informing her of his affair. Yet, similarly to my ex boyfriend, Reece turned the situation onto Ashley, and reminded her how ‘well he treated her’, bringing to light a further issue experienced by victims; feeling guilty. During this moment, Reece constantly interrogates Ashley, asking her ‘do I give you money?’ ‘Do I babysit while you’re out?’ before arguing that he treats her ‘like a princess’. Chillingly, this reflects my past situation with my ex, with him using the exact same line ‘I treat you like a princess’, in an attempt to prove how well he treated me when I accused him of treating me badly. Therefore a major problem felt by all victims of domestic abuse is that of self-blame and guilt, caused by a cruel psychological entrapment from the perpetrator.

Thankfully, as I said, I was never subjected to abuse on a more serious level, and I can only empathise to some extent with the poor women who become victims to domestic abuse, and frighteningly, death. This drama was very powerful in its message of domestic abuse, as it demonstrates the harmful effects of both verbal and physical violence; which according to The Guardian, “More than 1.1 million or 7% of women and 720,000 or 4% of men have been victims of…in the past year”. Shockingly, domestic abuse is still one of the most commonly reported crimes in the UK, and not everyone is lucky enough to escape from an abusive relationship. Ashley was only 17 when she met Reece, a hardworking college student with her whole life ahead of her. A life that was painfully cut short by someone she loved. How many more victims will there be?