See below for an array of people doing wonderful things, various projects, and businesses and charities that make a positive difference.
Click the segment titles in the list below to ‘jump-to-segment.’ Hover over the titles and keywords in each segment, and click for web links to further information. Enjoy!
The excellent things you can find below are:
I am making Helping Hats, to support work at the awful crisis in Yemen, via Oxfam and Save the Children.
For more information about Helping Hats, and how to buy them to support this cause, see my blog post HELPING HATS
“A network of people who work with voice and song, and who believe that singing is everyone’s birthright, regardless of musical experience or ability.” A wonderful, life-changing network, of which I am a member. GLOW Choir Brighton is a Natural Voice choir, run with the philosophy, ethos and practices of the NVN at its core. Click here to read more about the Natural Voice Network.
GLOW choir Brighton is a Natural Voice Community Choir for LGBTQ+ people and Allies to come together in song. All voices are welcome! GLOW choir sings sumptuous songs from around the globe in many moods and genres, all taught by ear. You can find out more about #GLOWchoir Brighton at these links: GLOW Choirs Website . GLOW Choir Brighton Facebook page. All voices welcome, do come and join us for a sing!
Northern Harmonyis a high level performance group, formed mostly from Village Harmony alumni, which tours worldwide. If you want to hear some mindblowingly beautiful and diverse live music, do check out the Northern Harmony tour schedules and see if you can catch one of their concerts. Village Harmony and Northern Harmony have inspired thousands of people worldwide, many of whom have gone on to become professional musicians, performers, choir leaders, voice teachers, music teachers, and other related disciplines, thanks to the guidance and inspiration of the Village Harmony teachers. Wow!
MindOut is a Mental Health Charity which specifically supports LGBTQ+ people. They state that: “MindOut is a project run by and for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer people. Our staff, volunteers and board of trustees, are all LGBTQ. 100% of our team have lived experience of mental health needs, or caring responsibilities for a person with lived experience.” MindOut offers all sorts of support services, peer support groups, counselling, suicide prevention, training, information, advocacy, wellbeing projects, online support, and more, for the LGBTQ+ community and for those who want to become more aware of how to better support LGBTQ+ people.
Alexandra and Sjanie offer period-positive resources and learning materials, for ways to understand, embrace and work with the menstrual cycle. Their work was incredibly healing and informative for me, and they are part of a wider movement of “menstrual activism,” much of which aims to break taboos, stop period shaming, and improve resources and information worldwide for anyone who menstruates or knows someone who does. Their ethos and teachings also include menarche and menopause, and examine cultural attitudes to these under a careful light. Very powerful and important work!
If you’re aware of the environmental atrocities happening everywhere, and are looking for things you can do to reduce your negative impact, Cheeky Wipes are a great resource. They produce washable re-usable period products, and other such things. I love their washable pads, which are comfy and beautiful. Once you’ve bought some, you won’t need to buy any again for a very long time, nor will you need to buy and throw away disposable products again. It’s an investment initially, which saves money long term and reduces waste right away. This link will get you 15% off an order over £40. They also make re-usable make-up remover kits, re-usable baby wipes, mucky-boxes, bags for dirties and cleans, and other such things that make it easy to live more sustainably.
A charity which works to improve quality of life for bisexual people of all kinds; by challenging biphobia, increasing bisexual visibility, creating Bi Pride events, and educating the public through various media. See this link for their listing on LGBT consortium. You can also find them on facebook, and on twitter. I was involved in starting this off, and have been amazed to see how the wonderful Bi Pride team have taken it from strength to strength, with vigour, clarity and sensitivity. See the Bi Pride UK Website https://biprideuk.org/about/ for details about what they are currently doing to support those who experience attraction beyond gender / beyond one gender.
As their website states, THE CLARE PROJECT “is a self-supporting transgender support and social group based in Brighton and Hove, open to anyone wishing to explore issues around gender identity.” The website highlights the Clare Project‘s own activities, and also “gives quick and easy links to other trans groups and organisations.” A valuable resource.
“My Genderation is an ongoing film project focusing on trans lives and trans experiences. All our content is created by trans people, about trans people, for a much wider audience. We aim to show trans people in a realistic way, to combat stereotypes, myths and misconceptions.
My Genderation was created shortly after founders Fox Fisher and Lewis Hancox starred in My Transsexual Summer (C4) and felt that their stories weren’t being told authentically. My Genderation is fully committed to making diverse content, inclusive of trans people from different backgrounds and experiences.
This award winning project, currently run by Fox and Owl, recognises the importance of working from an intersectional perspective, often creating bespoke content for national and global organisations, for training and campaigns. To date, My Genderation has produced 80+ films, shown at film festivals worldwide, on Channel 4 (My Trans Story), the BBC (New Genderation) and online.”
The wonderful Jude Murray has made an e-book out of some thoughts I shared recently. Thank you Jude! It’s a free book of encouragement and food for thought, for yoga teachers. Enjoy! https://healing-space.teachable.com/p/warning-contains-advice-free-e-book
Comedian Sofie Hagen makes thought provoking, delightful, hilarious, healing, badass podcasts.
Made of Human involves a variety of guests, talking deeply and wittily about life. Sofie writes on the website: “The Made of Human Podcast – also called MohPod – is about connection. I sit down with a lovely person and we talk about life. I want to find out how to cope with being an adult person. I want to find out how to deal with all of the confusing bits of life. All of the hurtful bits of life. I want to sit, for just an hour, with a great person and learn from them. And – if they have no idea how to ‘adult‘, then that will be absolutely okay – at least we will have an hour of feeling like we’re not the only ones in the world.”
Secret Dinosaur Cult is “A Podcast About Dinosaurs And Daddy Issues,” and a million other things, by comedians Jodie Mitchell and Sofie Hagen. I highly recommend both these podcasts! I found them on the podcasts app on my phone, but I think you can listen to them via their websites and elsewhere too. Enjoy!
[Text adapted from E&C website] Educate & Celebrate are experts in transforming schools and organisations into LGBT+ Friendly places, creating a safe environment for staff, students, governors and parents to thrive and achieve, and enabling everyone to be themselves without fear of discrimination. All the Educate & Celebrate trainers are experienced teachers who have made their own schools LGBT+Friendly. The trainers are from all over the UK and have made positive institutional change in a variety of school settings and organisations. Increasing visibility around Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity changes and saves lives. E&C‘s approach is preventative, proactive and accessible to all. They believe every conversation is important to move forward with breaking down the barriers to LGBT+Inclusion.
I love The Vegan Kind. It’s a great place to go for affordable Vegan products, which has a wide ranging online supermarket and also does regular ‘boxes’ of vegan products you can subscribe to. It’s run by a really friendly team, and it really does seem like a company that has its ‘heart in the right place.’ TVK makes it much easier and more convenient for people with busy lives to go vegan or try vegan. TVK helps to reduce and put an end to animal cruelty. Unlike some major health, wellbeing and eco companies, TVK’s prices are decent, and the ‘rewards schemes’ and offers are genuinely helpful and easy to use. Whether you’re vegan or not, I recommend trying it out! Click here to visit The Vegan Kind!
Who doesn’t love gardens, flowers, plants and nature? Binsted and Walberton nurseries, created by my grandparents Rosemary and David Tristram, grow impressive numbers of plants every year, and are now both led by my father, Mike Tristram. To read more about the ethos, output, opportunities and family history of Tristram Plants, see the website, http://www.tristramplants.co.uk/ You can also follow the progress of the beautiful plants they are growing etc. on twitter at @TristramPlants
Ecosia is a search engine that PLANTS TREES as you search! Help save the planet, replace your standard search engine with Ecosia.
Short & Girlie Productions run 10-week improvisation workshops for women. They provide a fun, supportive learning environment where participants can grow skills, build confidence and make friends. They offer low-cost bursary places and their ethos is to provide accessible, inclusive events. The core team also perform improv shows in Brighton and London. I’ve been on their courses & found them fabulous, refreshing and fun! Check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheShortAndGirlieShow/
Mike South is a Brighton based photographer who loves to capture people’s passion in both digital and film formats, and to create lasting memories of those special events. Mike also provides landscape and architectural photography services, and has antique film cameras for some unique photo opportunities. Mike has kindly made most of the GLOW choir videos, helping capture wonderful community music memories.
Matilda is a preschool animation writer, an author and an illustrator, based in London. She makes wonderful, funny, moving comics about the lovely and the awful things in life, some of which you can read on her website.
She’s done lots of brilliant writing for children’s TV, published a graphic novel about being diagnosed with cancer while she was pregnant, written picture books for children, and comics and drawing guides for adults. She also teaches some lucky people.
To read her comics and find out more, check out http://www.mmaattiillddaa.com/
I’m also very proud to say that she’s my sister!
Rosie is a yoga and meditation teacher. I know a lot of yoga & meditation teachers, but Rosie is somebody I particularly want to feature here because of her down to earth, respectful, questioning, compassionate and unique attitude.
Rosie’s classes, workshops and retreats are nourishing, fun and explorative. She draws on a variety of Yoga styles and movement disciplines, so her sequences are creative and designed to take you on a journey. Rosie aims to make Yoga accessible, but it’s always a good idea to email her first to discuss your needs.
To see where and when you can ‘Do Your OM Thing’ visit Rosie’s website
Rosie also makes brilliant podcasts, in preparation for which I had the honour of having her as a voice coaching student. I love Rosie’s ‘Yoga Pose Podcasts’, which contain much wit, wisdom and guided meditations. You can listen to them for free, here. Enjoy!
Need a hand with your essay, thesis, dissertation? Novel, brochure, website? Let us proofread and edit your work – we’ll help you get your message across.
FLM are “three professional sub editors/copy editors with decades of experience working for magazines, newspapers and book publishers. If you need someone to proofread your thesis, report or website, we can help! We can correct your grammar, critique your novel or help you write an effective CV.” [text quoted from website.]
Family link – one of the brilliant FLM editors, is my aunt! For more information, follow this link.
Health At Every Size, and other Fat Positive & Body Positive Resources.
If you’re interested in social justice, respect and equality; in having a better relationship with your own and other people’s bodies; in understanding the effects of ‘diet culture’; in exploring cultural attitudes to fatness and thinness and different body types; if you’re interested in both physical and mental health, check out these resources!
Health At Every Size Movement* Excellent slides explaining some of the HAES principles, and why so may of the prevalent ideas about weight and health are damaging and false * Sofie Hagen – Danish comedian, amazing human, brilliant source of fat positive info and spirit * Sofie Hagen’s TED Talk, ‘you can be fat and happy’ * The Made of Human Podcast * Sofie Hagen’s book ‘Happy Fat: Taking Up Space in a World That Wants to Shrink You’ * Secret Dinosaur Cult Podcast* The Militant Baker’s Body Positive Resource List
* Book by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor, ‘Body Respect, What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight.’ * Adipositivity * Plus Equals UK Clothing, Sizes 14-32 or Made to Measure; Vintage & hand upcycled pieces available sizes 14-26 * Your Fat Friend – anonymous essayist, twitter presence and podcast contributor. https://www.yourfatfriend.com/ * https://twitter.com/yrfatfriend * https://www.facebook.com/yrfatfriend/ * https://www.instagram.com/yrfatfriend/ *
Gem Kennedy, Body Liberation Coach * Dismantling Diet Culture* She’s All Fat Podcast * Fat Positive Facebook Groups (get your search on!) * Health, Not Diets facebook page * Sixteen47 clothing * Oxfam Online – search for second hand clothing by size, price and other factors. * National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance NAAFA * Dances With Fat Blog * If you think any other fat positive resources should be added to this list, or that any on the above list should be removed or have their listing edited, please let me know, explaining briefly why.
Below are some things I have learnt (learnt altogether, and/or learnt to articulate) from various resources. If any of these ideas/facts interest you, please read on at the resources above, to help learn more what it’s about. Also, if you are pro fat activism, and you think I’ve got something wrong here, please let me know so I can improve it. Please don’t contact me with fat hate, ‘concern trolling’, nastiness, or questions I can’t answer. I am not an expert – I’m just somebody who believes in compassion, respect, learning, sharing good resources, and questioning the status quo if it’s not serving the greater good. Thank you! Stuff I’ve learnt (and/or learnt how to articulate):
Weight does not equal health. Health does not equal worth. Weight does not equal worth. Weight does not dictate health. Health, mental and physical, comes in all shapes and sizes, and a person’s current levels of health do not make them more or less worthy of respect, decency and human rights. Mindsets prevalent in ‘diet culture’ that frame fatness as bad and thinness as good, or frame any one body type as better than another, are supremely damaging to the psyches of everyone. The stigma surrounding fat bodies is much more damaging (physically and mentally) than any potential health ‘pros and cons’ of being in any particular body size. People in EVERY body size, and at EVERY ‘level’ of physical and mental health, are deserving of respect, representation, and celebration. Nobody’s body type is a problem to be fixed.
The diet industry is a multi billion dollar industry that profits from body shaming and bigotry. BMI is ‘bogus’ as it doesn’t actually tell you anything about the health and wellbeing of the person the ‘equation’ is being imposed upon. The BMI equation, already bogus, is also sometimes changed, arbitrarily, rendering some people suddenly ‘overweight’ overnight. ‘Overweight’ and ‘obese’ are problematic and inaccurate terms, that pathologise a body type, and are often used to reduce respect, to scaremonger, and to justify treating people without the basic dignity and rights that all humans deserve. Weight is not determined by exercise and diet alone – a person’s shape and size is determined by many factors, a lot of which are outside of their control. Diets don’t work. Diet culture, framing some body types as good and others as bad, and equating weight with worth, contributes to the forming and prolonging of eating disorders. Fat stigma, diet culture and disordered relationships with food, create unhealthy paradigms that greatly reduce quality of life.
Medical fatphobia can be fatal. What is good for one person, mentally and physically, may not be good for another person, mentally and physically. Weight does not equal health. Health does not equal worth. No single body type is worthy of glorification above all others, or of ridicule. Fat positivity and body positivity are great starting points to divorce yourself from damaging and outdated (maybe never actually in date) culturally widespread ideas, and to learn about alternative ways for relating to your body, other people’s bodies, and the world around you.
I could go on! But if anything in the above paragraphs grabs your interest, it’s definitely time to get stuck in, and explore some of the resources linked to above. Enjoy!
If you found any of the above ideas/facts triggering, or if you think that you, or someone in your care, may be suffering from an eating disorder, please seek appropriate professional and personal help; and also make sure that the help you accept, is actually helping you/them! Two intial resources to help if so:
Beat Eating Disorders https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/
Samaritans 116123 – call anytime, any day, any hour, to talk about anything at all.
Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race, by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Everyone should read this very important and informative book, by Reni Eddo-Lodge. I highly recommend it. Relevant to everybody.
About Balance is a unique yoga and wellbeing studio, run with community values at its core, and with an emphasis on affordable holistic wellbeing. I taught various kinds of yoga there for some years as well as offering vocal sessions, and the studio is run by my friend Effie Love. Click here to check it out! About Balance has a Karma Card which helps make things more affordable. As a way of supporting friendly local business, I offer Karma Card holders their first ever GLOW Choir session at half price (£5 instead of £10/£9/£7). Please note this applies only to someone’s first ever GLOW choir session, and they must bring their Karma Card with them.
If you are a sexually active adult, it can be expensive getting protection to avoid STD’s and/or pregnancy. There are some bulk-buy options at this website which can help keep down the cost of keeping safe. Also don’t be afraid to ask your partner(s) to split the price of protection – it shouldn’t only be one person’s responsibility. For clear instructions on how to make a condom into a dental dam, see this nifty student-advice page. Consent is also an important part of keeping sex safe – psychological as well as physical safety – see this brilliant video “Tea Consent” for a fantastic explanation of consent, via tea.
Nature’s Healthbox sells ‘free from’ foods, and natural, organic, eco-friendly health and beauty products. It is a small, family run internet business based near Brighton University. The website is user-friendly, and works on tablets and mobiles as well as computers. Parcels are packed using eco-friendly materials wherever possible, and deliveries are reported to be pretty speedy within the UK. This company strives to be as environmentally friendly as possible, and to provide opportunities to purchase natural healthy products at good prices. Definitely worth checking out!
Green Bay is a fabulous vegan online supermarket. Green Bay sells and delivers a wide range of vegan products, including non-food items such as vegan pet supplies, skincare, magazines, toothpaste, cleaning products, candles and more! The food & drinks sections are very well stocked, including a variety of hot&cold drinks, store cupboard essentials, substitutes for meat&dairy products, spreads, ready meals, sweets, snacks, sauces, and all sorts! A fantastic range of items, all vegan, with free delivery for larger orders, an easy to navigate website, and an appealing news section with blog updates about vegan matters. Enjoy!
So why all the vegan supermarket links on my recommendations page? Well, lots of reasons! But most strongly, I believe there is no need to kill or harm intelligent creatures who don’t want to die or be harmed, in order to live a happy and healthy life. Taking responsibility for not supporting cruel practices is important. Spreading the word about other options, and supporting the businesses that are doing their best to provide those options and make them easy and convenient for people, is something I’m passionate about.
It’s mainly ethics that make me passionate about veganism. Veganism isn’t about food-policing (though it can be hijacked and used as such. Sorry if any vegans have been a dick to you. That’s about being a dick, not about being a vegan!). Veganism is about compassion. Veganism is about facing up to the cruelty and suffering at the source of animal based products, and asking if there’s anything we are able to do to avoid or reduce contributing to it.
In terms of diet, veganism is not all salads and soya beans (though those can be great). Want to bake a vegan cake? Can do! Plenty of plant based ingredients around for fabulous baking. Fancy some chocolate / a hearty meal? There are SO many delicious vegan options out there! Want something meaty tasting and full of protein? There are plenty of high protein, satisfying and tasty plant-based options that you can buy ready made or make for yourself, that don’t involve killing animals or exploiting them. Love cheese? Enjoy milk? Vegan food-producers and recipe writers have all the delicious plant-based alternatives covered! Check out The Vegan Kind and other Vegan Supermarkets (see above) for inspiration and easy purchases. Don’t turn a blind eye to cruelty – it’s not necessary. Enjoy exploring all the options!
This company (which calls itself Procoal – I’m not sure the reason behind the name, maybe because Charcoal features in some of their products?) has some innovative products to help people feel good, whilst reducing their impact on the planet. For example, shampoo bars that can do the job of three traditional plastic 250g bottles of liquid shampoo, but without the plastic problem, and are vegan and cruelty free. Their website also includes various other products made with care from natural ingredients, and a compelling blog. Procoal are against animal testing. I’m fairly new to them at present, so if I’ve got any of this wrong, please let me know! Check them out and let me know what you think.
This Is A Voice
This is a Voice: 99 exercises to train, project and harness the power of your voice A book of vocal exercises, facts and wisdom from well renowned vocal experts. In conjunction with face to face lessons, books such as this can help you develop your vocal skills and understanding, and keep up a beneficial home-practice if desired. Click the above link to access the book resource, and see the homepage for information about booking lessons.
If you’re anything like me, you love giving your dear ones carefully chosen cards for special occasions, and to show them you care. It can also be really fun to browse through funny or beautiful cards – it can feel a bit like visiting a virtual art gallery, reading a joke book or scrolling through social media (but without the stress of, er, social media!). This website sells a variety of cards and gifts, from very silly to beautiful and artistic. The humour isn’t always to my taste, but sometimes it is, and it might suit yours! It is an easy to navigate, well categorised website, which includes an LGBTQ+ section, and has a range of quite specific ways to search the site. They also have a physical shop, in the Lanes in Brighton! And quite an interesting blog on the website – thought provoking! Enjoy.
Slow burning scented candles & melts made from 100% renewable & biodegradable soy, a natural plant based wax. Candles are hand poured in small batches to order. Rich fragrance oils are squeezed in at just the right moment, and sealed in for maximum freshness. Get hand made candles to order, or sign up to a subscription box… May your lights burn bright! [Text adapted from website]
I enjoy making art. If you enjoy looking at art, have a gander at this cluster gallery of some of my personal creations. You can currently expect to see in there: religious symbols, owls, snakes, cats, nudes, blood, words, apples, hands, wings, swords, sigils, sun/moon, and other such things. I’m not a pro, I just enjoy the flow of creating. Enjoy!