As we enjoy copious amounts of food and wine over the festive season, and generally push the boat out and abandon ship where our diets are concerned, let us spare a moment to think about those less fortunate, whose only hope of a Happy Christmas is the generosity of a friend, neighbour or complete stranger.
Friends of mine who are very well off spent half of last Christmas day serving food to the homeless at their local Shelter, and said it was one of the best festive holidays they could remember. You don’t have to turn up in person to help, just donate what you can to the Charity as the money will go straight to a counsellor or family and could turn around a life in a heartbeat. If you go onto the Shelter website, there are numerous cases of how lives have been destroyed, often by unseen circumstances, but can be turned around by our own contributions and good will.
I have recently been aware of the food banks in my local supermarkets and am pleasantly surprised at the amount of food and gifts that generous shoppers have donated, but it isn’t enough – we could all be doing more. Perhaps like me in recent years, you have been so hell bent on a perfect family Christmas, you have forgotten to consider how others are suffering with little or no hope of any sort of celebration at all. Guilty as charged, but it is not too late to change.
I am not saying we should all take ourselves down to the local food bank, but remember what Meghan Markle used to do in LA with the leftover food from a film shoot – which was quite a pioneering gesture at the time. She even extended it to helping to support victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy by cooking with its charity members in their multi-cultural kitchen.
We all know that Princes William and Harry have carried on Princess Diana, their mother’s legacy, of supporting the homeless, and are regular visitors at Centrepoint in London.
It doesn’t even have to be someone who has lost their home, It could be an elderly neighbour who is too proud to tell you they will be lonely, or someone suffering from depression who could benefit from even a phone call, let us all give one minute of our time. So never mind Brexit or our own economy, the world would be richer and a far better place if we just paused for a moment amidst all the mayhem, and considered how we could help improve someone’s life this festive season and extend it well into 2022.
The Lotus Clinic is situated on the outskirts of Golders Green, and has the feel of a family run practice and the expertise of the best in cosmetic dentistry.
Dr Michael Frankl is the founder and at the helm of the practice, and has transformed the lives of the rich and famous and people from all walks of life in need of dental rejuvenation and aesthetics.
Dr Frankl qualified at The University of London in 1993, has a degree from the Royal College of Surgeons and is a member of the Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He has developed particular expertise in dental implants and cosmetic dentistry, CEREC (ceramic reconstruction) and laser dentistry. Dr Frankl has brought together an aesthetic medicine team comprising leading practitioners in each particular treatment. He has 25 years of experience in general dentistry, dental implants and cosmetic dentistry.
My first impression of the practice was formed by Greg Bewsher the Patient Co-Ordinator, who has worked with Dr Frankl for a number of years, and reassured me that in spite of my horror of the dentist’s chair, I was in good hands and would be pleasantly surprised by the experience and outcome. He also negotiated an attractive financial package for me.
I tentatively booked for my first appointment having urged to go by my own dental urgency, and was immediately impressed by Dr Frankl’s calm and professional approach, coupled with the practically painless first session.
I then went on to book several other treatments including implants which I had avoided at all cost, having had bad experiences of bruising and a terrifying encounter with a dentist who literally hammered an implant into my mouth.
Once again, Dr Frankl seemed to hold the secret of success with a completely painless session, coupled with a speedy and sensitive approach, reassuring me all the way. I had absolutely no bruising, and very little down time.
The Dental Receptionists are also clued up as to any after treatments and assistance, and are equally as supportive, offering drinks and TLC both before and after the appointment.
I have now booked and experienced several appointments with The Lotus Clinic and have to say they live up to their image of a Lotus Flower, without putting too deep a spiritual spin on it, regeneration and rebirth, which in my case it most certainly is, certainly where my dental wellbeing is concerned.
Would fully recommend and go as far as to say, are as good as it gets.
This is the first of a series of articles by Alex Shewan – a journey of discovery and a resonant voice for women everywhere.
Inspired by a conversation I had online, I was left asking myself what does it mean to be a woman in 2021? Why is this question so relevant? This led me to think, not about attitudes to women, but about my own place in society as a woman. What is my identity and is there such a thing?
For me, identity and society’s expectations of me has haunted me since my childhood. I was very fortunate in my upbringing. At home, being a woman was never considered to be a barrier to life. The concept that it might be did not exist in my head until I became older and ventured into the outside world. As I grew and began to forge friendships with other children, the pressure began and I found myself part of a societal thinking which was alien to me. The expectation that I look a certain way. The expectation that I dress a certain way. The expectation that I should have a boyfriend. The expectation that one day I would marry and have children; on the surface, all of this is perfectly harmless and innocuous. But the question this raises is what happens when these expectations are not met? What happens if life simply does not provide these opportunities? What happens if this is not the individual’s chosen path?
And this is what happened to me.
As a single woman in her forties with no children, I essentially go against society’s ideal. My life choices and experiences did not lead me down the path of social conformity. As a result, life can be difficult for me; the feeling of constantly having to justify myself or excuse myself. Almost apologising for who I am. The constant judgement and the feeling that I have failed. That I am not good enough. That I do not fit in. The result of this has the power to be damaging and devastating to the human soul. This raises the question as to how far this is a societal issue and how far is it something within myself? Is blaming society too easy? Do I have a choice?
Yes, society creates expectations, barriers and likes to define who we are and what we should be. Conformity is powerful and becomes engrained in our psyche and our culture which makes fighting against it very difficult and often very frightening. Going against the norm is difficult. It takes courage and strength, something which is within us all but is sometimes very hard to unleash.
Recently, I have come to realise that my non-conformity is my strength. The things I felt were my weaknesses and failures are actually my power. I have learnt that my mindset is a choice and that choice gives me empowerment. I have also learnt that I am not alone. The battle against conformity is one which individuals are fighting every day, the desire to fit in and the need for acceptance. After years of searching my place and yearning for that elusive feeling of “fitting in”, I realised that this is an illusion; a concept but not a reality. Fitting in is a state of mind, not an actuality. I have spent much of my life searching for my place in society, finding the box in which I could fit and feel a sense of belonging. Belonging to what? And eventually I realised that there is no such thing. The feeling of belonging and the feeling of fitting comes from within. It is to do with self-acceptance and inner peace.