A bad day in menopausal terms can be the pits, so what can we do to make it through in one piece? My menopausal First Aid kit helps me. It may help you too.

Menopause, at its worst for me, is like continually being plugged into the mains and shorting every few seconds. Sparks going everywhere. Some hitting my own body and mind, others hitting anyone or anything in proximity.

It’s like a street lamp flickering madly on and off, until finally it gives up the ghost and goes dark.

One power surge (a name several of my female pals call their hot flushes), followed by another, then another, then a sudden dip in power (like going from headlights on full beam to blackness).

It’s knackering, frustrating, infuriating, debilitating, tear inducing and so much…

Form filling is hardly a dangerous sport, so how can it leave me feeling so anxious? I’m betting my fellow drivers will understand.

MY hands are shaking. I can feel a dull headache coming on. My heart is racing. All this from filling in a form.

Yes, really.

Pathetic eh?

But it’s not just any form.

This form, or series of forms, represents everything to me.

My hopes, my dreams, my sense of adventure, and, most of all, my freedom.

And that’s something we can all relate to this past year, in this Covid-bruised world.

Filling in forms has never been a favourite thing to do.

But since being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2006, it’s taken on a whole new meaning —…

One of our first Pride marches in London when Section 28 was alive and kicking. Check out the sign behind us.

In April 2021 my wife and I celebrate 23 years together. We’ve lived and loved through an age of AIDS and Section 28, thanks to a quirk of fate missed a nail bomb attack, and have been subjected to homophobic bullying and verbal abuse. But through it all our love’s survived and thrived.

February is LGBTQ+ History Month. On the eve of my birthday, I’ve put together a very special timeline. One that reminds us all that #LoveIsLove

1968: At a Kent hospital I enter the world, kicking and screaming. A second daughter for Gwen and Alan.

1969: the Stonewall riots break out in New York City in protests against police raids on LGBT+ venue, the Stonewall Inn. Many see this as the birth of the modern LGBT+ rights movement.

1971: the Nullity Of Marriage Act passes, legally barring the marriage of same sex couples in England and Wales.

I’m a three year…

You know that enough’s enough moment? Imagine having that feeling for months and months and doing nothing about it. That was me. When MS came knocking at my door again, something HAD to change. It was my saving grace. Yes, really.

IT won’t work. I know it won’t work.

I tell the client it won’t work.

I explain why it won’t work.

I am a journalist. Some may say an ex-journalist.

You see, I went to the dark side.

PR. Public Relations.

The ultimate sin for a journo.

In this moment, as the client is on the verge of making a major U-turn on their PR, by playing it way too safe, I am still a journalist. Even in my role as PR consultant, journalism is in my veins.

And this journalist, working with the client to attract the positive attention…

Princess Diana shakes hands with the resident of an AIDS hospice in Toronto in 1991

When Diana, Princess of Wales, first shook the hand of an AIDS patient in 1987, it made global headlines, changed lives and attitudes. The most photographed woman in the world understood the power of touch. Do we?

I HAVE a confession to make. I have hugged. Several people. During Lockdown.

There, I said it.

*Looks around for blue flashing lights.*

*Breathes deep.*

A pause.

It felt amazing.

Like a supreme power prized open the rusty locks, opened my chest, unlocked my heart and let it fly freely.

Of course, I’m not suggesting you do the same.

Nothing’s worth risking your health.

But, you know what?

It’s what was needed. What I/we needed in that moment.

And it reminded me to go back to those basic truths of the human condition.

We need connection.

Physical connection.

The power…

Remember that feeling when someone you trust puts a big arm around you and says things will be okay? The UK needs that moment right now.

TODAY I’m grouchy. I’m finding it hard to settle to anything. My time blocking plan has gone out the window, along with my creativity.

So, I’m writing this.

Write it out and all will be well, I tell myself.

“Just write” — award-winning author, Sarah Waters said to me once.

I quote her words often.

Today is a day to put those words into action.

To be honest, any action is better than none.

So, I’m writing.

How am I feeling right now? Relieved.

There’s something strangely comforting about the sound and feel of fingers on a keyboard.

It’s like…

People talk about the stages of grief, but what about the stages of lockdown? How should we feel? Who should we be listening to? Where’s the truth?

WE often hear about the stages of grief:

Shock and denial.

Pain and guilt.

Anger and bargaining.


The upward turn.

Reconstruction and working through.

Acceptance and hope.

But what about the stages of lockdown? Could we apply the same principles?

Let’s see.

Stage 1: Shock and Denial

Shock for sure. Denial? Never. Maybe I’ve read too many dystopian novels and overloaded on disaster movies, but this was always going to happen, wasn’t it?

Whether you believe it’s one big master plan by the one per cent to cut the population and reap the profits for themselves or you think…

Legendary newspaper editor, Sir Harold Evans

Ditch the fake news and let’s get back to what good journalists do best. Report. Uncover. Challenge. Campaign. Give a voice to the voiceless.

When was the last time you slagged off news coverage?
Not too long ago, I suspect.

We are in the age of fake news, politically biased ‘news’, where often we have to search for grains of truth in the words we read, hear and see.

How many of us have been left confused, angry even at Boris’ press briefings, urging journalists to ask the questions we want answered?

Are the press doing their job, really challenging the Government on their Covid plans, simply playing at it, with the headlines already written or is there something else going on? …

When the princess lost her life in 1997 it triggered an outpouring of grief unlike anything we’d seen before, but what did it really mean for ordinary people?

I’d never met her. I’d never written about her. And yet here I was sitting in front of my TV crying for a woman I had no connection with.

Maybe it was the alcohol, (I’d just arrived home from a club after a boozy night) maybe it was something else.

As a visibly shocked newsreader broke the news, I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing and hearing.

In my world, journalists were supposed to be impartial. There to report the facts and nothing more. But this moment was something else.

The tremor in the announcer’s voice took every viewer…

Our Blue Peter heroes: (L to R): Peter Purves, Lesley Judd and John Noakes with Shep.

It’s easy to put our business marketing on the backburner when we’re gripped by a global health crisis, but we need to be doing the opposite. Now’s the time to be more visible than ever, not go into hiding. Asha Clearwater explains why we don’t need a Blue Peter badge — or sticky backed plastic — to make it happen!

I never got that Blue Peter badge I so desired in my childhood, but don’t worry, I’ve worked through my pain.

I’ve lit my joss sticks, I’ve sat cross legged and chanted, I’ve even considered wearing a Kaftan or knitting a jumper with the lentils I found in the back of the cupboard (no, hang on I might need those — but then what do I do if I need more loo roll?). It was all in a bid to help me work through my Blue Peter FOMO.

But, with or without a Blue Peter badge, life must go on…

Asha Thornton-Clearwater

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