Of Average Women and Toilet Cubicles

Jo Swinson at the launch of Debenhams size 16 mannequin range

This has been a very positive month for women in the UK with Debenhams introducing size 16 mannequins to represent not a plus-size women but the average women. However, I believe as a nation we still have one issue to address in the fight for female equality…toilet cubicles.


I ask you dear readers who is designing toilet cubicles?


Well…I assume many people design toilet cubicles seeing as almost all public and private buildings have a toilet or two. However are average sized women designing them? I think not!


Photo courtesy of D hughes
Photo courtesy of D hughes

The reason for my sweeping assumption is that many female toilets are not build to size. Once you’ve added the obligatory, and very useful, sanitary disposal bin there is no room left to sit down. When the average UK woman is a size 16 we can assume that the derrière of many women will not be comfortably accommodated with the sanitary bin squeezed against their closed legs. Heaven forbid you would want to open your legs even a slight bit to obtain some…access.


The only option to attain a comfortable visit is to move the obtrusive object, but with toilets being economical in both size and shape this option is sometimes an unachievable feat. Also surely the touching of sanitary bins goes against the nature of them. The introduction of touch free sanitary bins is called revolutionary and will protect women from coming into contact with harmful bacteria…but the point of this is lost when you consider the countless women who have to move the bacteria laden contraption every time they wish to use the facilities.

We spend on average three years of our lives on the toilet and I don’t think it’s too much to ask for an extra few inches to make time spent in the lavatory a bit more comfortable. Being British we do not speak of such things as toilets and sanitary bins but this issue is one I believe should be raised. If men were made to huddle together around a smaller than necessary urinals I’m sure we would all know about it.


So please architects of any gender, when you are designing that beautiful £20 million building spare a thought for the women who will use the facilities every day and make the toilet cubicles accommodating for the average woman.


Cubicle Size Guide
Cubicle Size Guide

Pretty Petty Pity – Poetry

Winning was never important to me

it’s the taking part that’s key,

but when I met you that all changed

playing scrabble makes you deranged.

You begin to sweat

I begin to fret

and when you lose we fall out,

you huff and puff and sometimes shout!

And even when it’s not a game,

you look at me like I’m to blame

when you are not at your best

even when its not a test.

It’s a good thing you are pretty

and I’m not petty

cause I let you win out of pity.

Hayley and I in hats
Hayley and I in hats


Winter Writing Poetry

Last Saturday I spend the day up at The Ciliau in Mid-Wales. I was there at the end of summer and we spent a wonderful day writing about the countryside and read poetry down by the river. This time you could definitely tell winter is on its way, the wind battered down the fields and the river was almost unrecognizable. Christina and Emma were facilitating again and they made it an amazing day with a beautiful range of winter poetry to read and inspire us. I wrote loads on the day and I am looking forward to going back over things and editing. Below are two pieces I am pretty happy with, the first piece was inspired by the prompt ‘winter from inside the house’ and the seconds one I was inspired by the poem ‘The Promise of Snow‘ by Esther Morgan to personify winter.

Beautiful changing colours of the coutryside
Beautiful changing colours of the countryside

Winter Woes

The toilet is always cold

Nothing heats the ceramic bowl

In the dead of night when I can wait no longer

With a heavy heart it’s there I wander

To be woken up with a chill to my ass

Oh, woe is me for being a lass

Winter Kisses

Winter has kissed many lips

Not bothered by sex, colour or creed

all lips are given the same attention

but some are kissed so hard they bleed and crack

The ones without home or fires

are favoured with an embrace

squeezed until their bodies become cold

and as stiff as their loving captor

Winter watches the people left behind

weeping in jealousy of those chosen for special attention

winter thinks if they were to pay them enough thought

he would not have to hold the ones we forgot.

In The Gay Bar – Poetry

I don't wanna be horrible

But I said and she said

And do you know what I said

And no one said

And nothing was said horribly about

I'm an 8 out of 10 if you ask me

And you know it's not that bad

It's so off colour it's not even real

I'm sorry I did that

And why are you texting me about tonight

Look at your eyes



This is a found poem made up of snippets of different conversations I heard in The Kings on Saturday night. I found them quite entrancing. These photos bellow are what was written on the toilet door I was looking at as I listened to the people around me. I thought they opitomised the tone of the conversations.


Fandom is Strange – Poetry


Obsession and impulsion are like an illness of the mind

driving people to think they know and understand people

they have never met.


claims of small incidences and coincidences

of tweets and cash exchanged

aren't the making of a beautiful friendships.


People build their lives around strangers

foundations built on fantasies

will be disappoint you in the end.


So live your life in the real world

the fantasy world will still be there

but let the real world shine.



I was considering Grad School…and then I saw this. HILARIOUS!

I am in the process of PhDing and this is a rather good portrayal of my the grad school life.


A new gift idea for your loved ones: Graduate School Barbie (TM).

Graduate School Barbie comes in two forms: Delusional Master’s Barbie (TM) and Ph.D. Masochist Barbie (TM).

Every Graduate School Barbie comes with these fun-filled features guaranteed to delight and entertain for hours: Grad School Barbie comes out of the box with a big grin on her face that turns into a frown after 2 weeks or her first advisor meeting (whichever comes first). She also has adorable black circles under her delightfully bloodshot eyes.

Comes with two outfits: a grubby pair of blue jeans and 5-year-old gap T-shirt, and a floppy pair of gray sweatpants with a matching “I hate my life” T-shirt. Grad School Barbie talks! Just press the button on her left hand and hear her say such upbeat grad school phrases like, “Yes, Professor, It’ll be done by tomorrow”, “I’d love to rewrite” and “Why…

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No Nonsense November (NoNoNo)

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Amazon, Netflix. I take these things for granted in my life. They are like chewing gum. I check my facebook page but I realise I am not actually reading it. I watch a show I have already watched on Netflix 3 times just…because.

It’s a habit. A compulsion. An addiction?

Social Media

So I have decided to have a No Nonsense November (NoNoNo). I pledge to the readers of my blog I am going to have the most productive November in history. Okay, maybe it won’t be that monumental but it will be good! I’m entering the third year of my PhD and obviously I have a lot of work to do. I am not going to lie (unless my boss reads this then of course I’m lying!) I am a procrastinator. I am easily distracted and lead astray by people, food and shiny objects. This is probably why I am still overweight and can’t kick the chocolate habit! I need to make myself focus. I work well on a deadline which is why my life is dictated in small self driven deadlines.

So this November I am giving up social media and on demand tv to help kick the procrastination and get the most out of Nevember. Bye bye to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest (don’t really use it so won’t be a great loss), LinkedIn (I can almost justify this as work but its going), BBC iPlayer, 4OD, Netflix, Lovefilm etc.

Part of me is really not looking forward to it. I almost don’t want to post about it because them I am actually going to have to do it. But on the other hand it is probably a good thing I give it up for a while. It will let me focus on my work and my social life. The real one I have away from the internet. I can phone people. Go out. I can focus on my experiments which will take up a great deal of time but will hopefully make up a large part of my thesis. Speaking of thesis, I plan to spend a good part of November writing my first results chapter as well as getting a good deal of reading done for my introductory chapter which is due at the end of January. Another draw to NoNoNo is this is National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. So I can link NoNoNo with NaNoWriMo.


Yes, reading this back it all does look a bit of a mountain to climb. A big experiment (plus lots of little experiments), a thesis chapter, reading for another thesis chapter and NaNoWriMo…plus you know normal things like talking to people, eating, seeking the LF, sleeping. Lets see if it happens…


3 days to go….