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Monday, 26 May 2014

Just the way you are?

Have you ever had the joy of someone telling you that they love you "just the way you are", that you are beautiful "just the way you are?"
Have you then looked at that person and wondered if they have lost the plot? Have you looked in the mirror and wished that you also loved yourself "just the way you are"?

I have had those things said to me, by family members, ex partners and well meaning friends, and although, yes, it is very nice to hear those words which at times can be appreciated, I am afraid I will never be found saying the same sentiments back to anyone that I have in my life who I love (be it family, friends or spouse). It isn't because I don't love them "just the way they are", as I sincerely hope it is obvious that I do, with all my heart and soul. No matter what shape or size my loved ones are, no matter what hairstyle, look, or tattoo they are sporting, they will always carry a piece of my heart with them, regardless of outside appearances.
 The honest reason I wouldn't say those words to them is because they may not be happy with themselves "just the way they are". As a result they may have lost or reduced that sparkle that  makes me love them all the more. I would rather help them get that sparkle back, in which ever way I can, than fob them off with something that isn't really going to assist them.

We have all made the mistake, especially when we have been in a committed marriage or relationship, or if we have become stuck in a rut, or if the depression has decided it wants to join us for a tango. You look in the mirror, and you think to yourself  "This isn't me anymore, I'm not happy with what I see right now." And although, yes, hearing those words will initially make you feel better, lets be frank, it's only a quick fix. Give it a day or two, a crap day at work, an argument, whatever, and yet again you are looking at your reflection and feeling sad.

So, with this in mind, what would  I do with that person who is in that boat, hell what did I do to myself when I was in that boat? My suggestion is writing down the things that make you happy, that make you feel better about yourself, then putting those things into action. If you were happier being a few dress sizes smaller, then work on becoming a few dress sizes smaller again. If you like wearing a certain item of clothing, but only save it for special occasions, well guess what? I am going to tell you to get it out of that wardrobe right now and put it on, right now! So what if you are wearing your vintage dress (or whatever item it is) to grab milk from the store. If it makes you feel a million dollars, then that item should be the thing you wear the most. If you like wearing make up, painting your nails, doing mad things with your hair, getting your eyebrows done, wearing false lashes, then do it, even if it is to do the housework. If you like dancing to a certain song or playlist, play it loud my friends! If something makes you smile, and makes your world a happier place, then embrace it and make it a part of your everyday life.
I made the decision to get fit and healthy again, plus I wanted to be back in my slimmer clothes for my Birthday. I dusted off my neglected gym membership and gave it some welly. Even on the days I really didn't want to go I made myself, because I had a picture in my mind of who I wanted to be, plus I had a picture of who I had become, the person I didn't want to stay being. I also did a two week stint of slim-fast to kick start matters, and I made healthier food choices, e.g no more bread, very occasional take-away treats rather every couple of week take-away treats. I am now back into my size 10's and I feel a lot happier. I still eat and enjoy food, but I've also brought my old 'gym bunny' persona back to life. And now that part of me is back, I realize how much I have missed that fitness loving part of myself. I now hand on heart enjoy going, and I am starting to make a little small talk with some of the other regulars. This has also, as a result encouraged me to look after other aspects of myself, and I feel more comfortable with the woman who looks back at me in the mirror these days.

It may seem crazy but all these little things, no matter how minor, can make us who we are. They make us stand out, they make us feel good about ourselves. They give us a certain amount of individuality. The sad thing is, with day to day life, we can lose those things along the way, the things that make us smile. We then wind up looking in the mirror and wondering who the heck that person is staring back at us. I think as individuals, men and women, we need to remember those things that make us who we are. If it's doing 15k runs, or dancing badly to that cheesy Disney song with the kids. If it's singing at karaoke at the local pub, or mixing cocktails with your friends. If its hunting in the charity shops for a one off bargain, or using your designer bag when you go to the supermarket. If its spraying yourself with perfume, or or playing silly games with your children, which then makes them, as well as you laugh. If it's pounding your backside at the gym, or shutting out the world whilst listening to music. They all matter, and they are all important. So if, right now, that little something is not an aspect of your life, the last thing I will be saying to you is "I love you just the way you are". The reason I won't be saying that is because I want to see that spark, that thing that makes you 'you'. We can all lose our way and put out that light from time to time, every single one of us. But guess what, we can always get it back too. And that, my friends is exactly what I will be encouraging you to do, go and get it, and 'you' back. Be happy again.


Saturday, 10 May 2014

Bedroom Shoes??

I am a bit of an eBay addict. I am known for trawling though other peoples cast offs to bag myself a bargain on pretty much a monthly basis.
This month has been no different, well, bar the fact I hit the grand old age of 38 at the beginning of it! I've wondered though eBay in the mystical hope that a treasured item will materialize, and guess what, I hit the jackpot!
I was very lucky to receive nice gifts, money, cards, meals out and heartfelt well wishes for my birthday. It was definitely a case of good, happy times thanks to my lovely family and friends.
 I decided to put the money I was given to very good use. I wasn't going to be Miss Sensible and buy myself a pair of safe flat shoes, hell no! I wanted to be Miss Naughty and whack it up a notch, and let me tell you something, the shoes I bought take mischief to a whole new level.
 I've had my eyes on this particular style of Iron Fist heels for quite some time, and lucky little me found a pair on good ole eBay, my size, never worn (the seller claims they were an 'unwanted gift') for a mere score. Yes, I had to enter a bidding war, as they were originally up for a meager ten pounds, but luckily my competitor threw in the towel and the shoes went to their rightful owner.

I posted a picture of said sexy shoes on my Google+ account, to which one of my friends text and asked "Are those your bedroom shoes?"
 Now initially I was very confused by this question. Mainly because I live in a studio flat, so technically I don't have what is classed as a 'bedroom'. I also wondered, why would I hide these shoes away, only to be viewed by a bed partner when the time, ahem, arose? And being that at present, there is no 'bed partner' in my life (you work it out) these little beauties would never see the light of day.
So I answered the text with a big fat "No!" because, why should sexy shoes only be reserved for sex? Why should I limit the viewing pleasure to only one individual male? He (Whoever he may be) should be so damned lucky! Wear these shoes so only he can get his rocks off in private? No way! My shoes were bought so that I could get my rocks off, in public, on many many occasions. They may hurt after awhile, I may even twist my ankle, but hell these shoes were made for walking.

I know that my dear Mumsie will disapprove of these shoes (which she does with the other two pairs I own) and deem them as "slutty". But to be honest, if "slutty" can look this good, then I am going to cheerfully jump aboard the train of thought that claims the word "slut" is not actually a bad thing. There may even be a few other people who think I am nuts for buying a pair of sexy stilts, but let me come back with this, If you are having one of those dreaded 'fat days', guess what, the shoes will still fit. If you are having a 'hair from hell' meltdown, the shoes will draw the attention away from the birds nest above your head. If you feel a bit crap and want to rock up those jeans, take a wild guess what will take them up to a whole new level.
 I always say that a woman needs at least one pair of extravagant naughty heels in her life, the pair that once you own, you can never part with. And when it comes to these shoes, why on earth should they be reserved for the bedroom? Shoes have souls that should tread the ground. Those souls were not designed to face the ceiling. So for gods sake if you do have what is classed as 'bedroom shoes', well, just maybe, it's time to give them a new role. Take them out, show them off! Your lucky 'bed partner' has had enough privileges and private viewings, it's time for you to get your rocks public, on many many occasions!

Peace ;)

Monday, 16 December 2013

Alpha? Beta?

I have been doing a lot of reading about the whole Alpha and Beta Female thing recently, and it has made me wonder which one I am. Which heading do I come under?
Some of these articles paint Alpha females as aggressive bitches who will not take no for an answer, they have them pencilled down as Lawyers or CEO's who have minions running around after them, happy to be at their beck and call. They are independent women who fend for themselves.They are in the drivers seat and no one else is taking the wheel.
Betas on the other hand have been likened to that sweet nurturing family girl, who loves cooking a nice meal for her man, who is agreeable, soft, pleasant but also a bit of a doormat. She is creative, has imagination and flair and is also full of love. She is often in the care profession, working hard and earning little. This girl lets her man call the shots and she seems to know her place in the world.

 But lets look at this more realistically. Are there any woman out there that fall 100% under one catagory? Is it really that cut and dry? Are we all that stereotypical? Do you have to be a Lawyer to be Alpha, Do you have to be in the care profession to be Beta? Does Alpha = Bitch and Beta = Sweet.
If this is the case then I am definatly a Beta, as I work with children and am a caring individual. But on closer inspection I can also see some Alpha qualities thrown in. I live alone and am self reliant. I am the one in the drivers seat as my boyfriend is a non driver. I have had a more supervisory role within my profession once upon a time, and I am determined that one day I will climb that ladder again. If I want something badly enough I will go after it, but I wont become an aggressive bitch to get there. I am quite confident, look after myself and I generally know what makes me happy.
I do have some Beta qualities also thrown into the mix, such as the being creative, being close to my family, and earning peanuts. I love to cook too but this is mainly for myself, not because I want to fatten up my man. I can be afraid of confrontation and will often avoid arguments at all costs. I will help where needed and have been described as 'nice' and 'sweet' and 'lovely' on more than one occasion.

So looking at all these stereotypes, I have no idea what I, or many other women in this world fall under. So let's ask ourselves, Is it in any way possible for us to be both? Alpha with a bit of Beta thrown in for good measure? Surely each woman has a different mix of both, some swaying more towards one or the other, some with equal amounts, some with hardly any of one in at all.
 I personally compare it to a cocktail mix, many different blends, with many different ingredients. All unique and all individual. It is fun to try different ones but once you find one that is right for you, you know it's right.

 Also in my experience people can change. That girl who is likened to a doormat may suddenly crack, and next thing you know she is taking nobodies crap. That Bitch Boss From Hell may walk in crying one day and announce she has split with her partner and has no idea what the hell she will do. The roles may change with little or no warning, and that mix that once worked well is now suddenly redundant.

So if and when you, or I, are asked which one you are, I personally would say "Both!" or maybe we could coin up a third catagory, such as "Alphabeta"...Then again, maybe not, I do not want to sound like a children's brand of spaghetti or like a dodgy translation of a word which describes where each letter in our language is contained.
One thing is for sure though, If I do come across someone who firmly describes herself as an Alpha, or meekly whispers that she is Beta, I won't believe her, well not 100% anyway.  I believe there is nobody out there who is 100% one or the other. We all have soft spots as well as stubborn streaks, it just depends where each ones are hidden in every one of us. It's what makes us all unique.

Anyway must run, I need to go cook my mans dinner then demand he does all the housework for me.



Saturday, 16 November 2013

No rest for the wicked?

I don't know about anyone else? But I have trouble relaxing. I often get told by my boyfriend, friends and family that I should slow down sometimes, but this is can be like the equivalent of suggesting I try to stop blinking, or stop getting my hair cut and coloured in the mad ways that I am often known for.
 I am the sort of person that has quite an active social life, who likes to see my friends as much as I can. I also like to keep in touch with my family to the best of my abilities. I have a full time job, which luckily I love. A gym membership I try to use, and a car that, although reliable, needs maintenance and care from time to time. I have debts (although in no way huge) that need paying, as well as the rent, bills, and groceries. I have a fella who likes to spend time with me on a regular basis, and I sometimes have a part time babysitting habit that can be a lifeline as well as a means to keep my cocktail cabinet stocked up.
 I also like to class myself as a person who is happy to muck in if the need arises, who can and will help if called to do so. If someone in my life is struggling because they can't get something done or need some assistance, I will often not hesitate to jump right in, even if I am tired or have planned a quiet night in for myself. I am not, as a result, very good at prioritising time to rest, relax and wind down without my active mind finding something to do or something to think about. I cannot have a night in watching my favourite box-sets without finding a chore, or checking my emails, or browsing though Facebook.

I am certain that this inability to relax is not borne from the fact that I hate my own company, as I often like to have time to myself in my little pad. Nor is it due to the fact I have a hyperactivity disorder (well as far as I know). The main reason I have such a busy lifestyle is because there is one word in the English language I have so much trouble saying, and that word is "No."
Now don't get me wrong, I am not a mug, but I am one of those people who have a fear of missing out. If I say "No" to that party invitation, will it be the best party ever? If I turn down that babysitting job, will another girl go, who is less qualified or experienced, who will then walk away with a gigantic tip and be adored by the family forever more. If I say "No" to my loved ones, will I then hurt their feelings and spend the next few weeks shadowed in guilt, saying "Sorry" a million times. If I say "No" to that person who wants my assistance or help, will it then make me a "Very bad person" who is totally selfish and inconsiderate.
Deep down in my heart I know these things won't happen, or that if they do actually occur, there will be other opportunities in the future that will come my way that will allow me to amend myself. But sadly that does not eradicate that fear, the niggle that the "No" will equate the missing out on something that could be really amazing. It does not make one of the shortest words in our vocabulary any more easier to say.

But another thing I have realized is that this problem is in fact quite common, especially in us womenfolk. As a gender we are known for our juggling and multi-tasking. We can hold a conversation on the phone whilst ironing, and usually whilst doing this we can have one eye on the TV or sort of listen to the music playing in the background without it causing a distraction. We can cook a meal for our family or friends, whilst chatting away to them and drinking a well deserved glass of wine. We can read a book whilst running the hoover around or tidying up the mess. We can easily make, and drink, a cup of tea whilst doing the washing up. Also we won't throw a hissy fit if someone is talking to us as we try to park or pull away in the car.

I think in life, us women have to be able to do at least two things at once, or otherwise things would not get done at all! Asking your reluctant fella to do the washing up whilst the football is on would be like getting blood out of a stone! Doing the washing up whilst your favourite TV programme is on, well I am certain we have all done it on more than one occasion. Now I am not taking this opportunity to put down men and their lack of juggling skills, but I am using this as a chance to applaud to us women who have made it an art form. It to us, is as instinctual as breathing. Luckily it comes naturally and we don't even have to think about it. So let's give ourselves a clap. And also whilst we are here I want to give the loudest round of applause, a cheer, and take off my hat, to those women who do it all with children thrown into the mix. I don't have children myself, although I do work with them, so know how challenging they can be. I can honestly say, from the bottom of my heart, I do not know how you do it, you deserve the biggest medal that there is!


Monday, 14 October 2013

I am a party animal, so sue me.

Regular readers of my blog and my friends will know that I have a bit of a reputation for liking a drink. It is also well known that I can throw rather epic cocktail parties at my little pad from time to time. Now considering this statement I would not class myself as a neighbour from hell, nor would I call myself a nuisance. But it seems my dear next door companion has other ideas!

In our block of flats we have a single occupancy rule that means we can't have another person living with us. This includes parents, other halves and children. But that does not in any way mean we can't have guests, sleep overs or parties.
 Without sounding like a big head or a cocky individual, I have a fair few friends and a rather good social life . These friends and I sometimes like to socialize within my flat, as I have quite an impressive cocktail cabinet contained inside it. It can also make for a relatively cheap night out as the requirements to attend my parties are just to bring a spirit and a juice as well as a happy persona. Things can get quite lively quite quickly, and it is always nice to know that people come away with hazy happy memories as well as funny stories to tell. Admittedly things can get a little loud when I do have a gathering, as my small portable stereo is pumping out the tunes from my ipod, and my guests are chatting and laughing quite animatedly. But you also need to consider that my flat is quite small, so the maximum amount of people I can have in it is ten at a push. Also I know there is the issue of thin walls, but unfortunately there is not a great deal I can do about that.

So should these factors be enough for me to stop throwing my parties? Should I give in to the woman who likes early nights and silence on a Saturday night? Do I bow my head down like a condemned woman who needs help because her idea of a good night does not always consist of staring at a TV screen whilst wearing her pyjamas and slippers? In the words of Diamond Head (epic rock band fyi) am I evil?
I personally don't think so, and I would also like to point out that the lady in question who resides within our block of flats is of a similar age to me, she also doesn't have to keep irregular or unsociable hours, nor does she have a small child living with her. Now I know that this in no way justifies me grumbling, nor does it make her choice to embrace the quiet life wrong, but surely from time to time I should be allowed to cut loose at the weekend, yes? And before anyone starts spouting out the law that states noise should be reduced by 11pm, my parties are usually wrapped up by midnight, and I always make a concious effort to turn things down at a certain time. I don't exactly throw them on a weekly or monthly basis, as my finances and liver could not handle that, but I do openly admit I throw a good handful of parties a year, especially during the summer months. But I would also like to admit that I am human, and that mistakes can be made from time to time and that yes, nine times out of ten I end up being a drunken hostess. But does this make me a bad person who should be shamed for being such a party animal? I think not.
I also want to point out that when other occupants throw parties (and trust me, once upon a time it was a regular occurance) I was never found banging on doors or making complaints to the landlord. If it was that noisy after a certain time I might have had a quiet word (and I think this only occured once, at 4am!) but most times I just put my chill out playlist on and wished I could join them. I understand that people have stressful lives from time to time, but surely how they choose to wind down is their business. It may be a quiet night in or it may be having a few friends round for a gossip and giggle. It is not always financially possible to go to the bars or clubs, and that sometimes having a gathering in your own home is cheaper and safer. You should not feel shamed or bad for doing this, and as long as you keep within the law, I think there is no harm in letting your hair down with your mates. I would totally understand if your neighbour was banging out the bass at 12am on a Wednesday night or had a habit of blasting the guitar on a regular basis, but is it such a crime to have your friends round on a Saturday night for a few drinks and giggles when you know for a fact there are no little ones or elderly folk in your building? I may be putting the cat amongst the pidgeons as I say this but I think not. And I think us party animals need to stand together. Yes you quiet souls are entitled to your peace, but surely we are entitled to our fun from time to time too? So next time you hear a neighbour having a party, think before you complain, is it really that unbearable? Honestly? Also you may want to remember that there is always another tactic you could employ, if you can't beat them, join them! You never know, you may just have fun!

Peace, especially to my fellow party animals ;)

Monday, 2 September 2013

I don't want to grow up!

I have been doing a lot of reading lately about the 'Peter Pan Generation', a group of 20-40 somethings who
refuse to grow up. It has also been likened to a mature adolescence and can be looked at as a sad state of affairs.
Someone who is in the grips of Peter Pan doesn't dream of getting married, doesn't desperately want children, and also doesn't see going out and enjoying oneself as something that can only be done in your actual teens or on high days and holidays.
Some Peter Panners still live at home, but some have flown the nest and have their own places, be it rented or mortgaged. Some live alone, some with friends, some with partners. Peter Pan wannabes are male or female, and they are more common than you think. I know a few that had children young and have decided to reclaim their youth now that said children are older.

I think people need to think why an individual may be a Peter Pan Generation member. Maybe when they were actually young, a freedom of choice may not have been theirs. Maybe they had a bad experience and do not want to risk the same thing happening again. They may have seen marriages around them fail and believe that it is not worth the trauma. They may have the attitude "Been there, done that, I don't want another go on the merry-go-round." They may have just decided that it is not for them.
I personally think all of these reasons are justified, and that people who live this way don't need judgement or well meaning advice from others. We need to think, are we put on this planet solely to be wed, reproduce and find joy in early nights, earlier mornings and Disney movies? Are we freaks of nature if we don't hear the biological clock, or turn into a pile of goo when a wedding procession goes past. Are we crazy if, as is the case with some of us, we have done it once, and really don't want to do it again. I honestly don't think so.

Marriage is a huge responsibility, and also a legal binding contract that means going to solicitors and courts if you want out. A child is something that can never be taken lightly, and can never be given back if you change your mind. As well as bringing untold joy, there is also untold responsibility, risks, sacrifice and compromise that makes up the whole package. Someone who has decided that it isn't for them should not be subjected to peer pressure, or made to feel abnormal for not choosing that path.
 It is not easy to go against the norm, and for some of us, it is more than a refusal to grow up. So if you do come across a Peter Pan Adult please don't treat them as if they are weirdos from another planet, because trust me, we are not! Most of us don't pass judgement on our 'married with children' counterparts, and all we  want is for them to be happy, so please find it in your hearts do the same for us, because everyone deserves to be happy surely?
Ok must dash now, Tinkerbell is waiting for me and my fellow Panners. I'll be back from Neverland soon, when inspiration strikes!



Sunday, 18 August 2013

Is apart?

I recently heard about a trend in couples that seems to be catching on, where they technically don't live together. It was phrased as LAT or Living Apart Together, and I have to be honest, I am intrigued.
 I have always valued my own space, and as difficult as it can be in this day and age, I will try to snatch a few moments of alone time when I can. The couples I have read about that have adopted this lifestyle seem happy, and from what it seems, it keeps the romance alive if you are not bickering about the washing up and the overflowing bin that needs taking out.

I  have the advantage of my fella living upstairs from me, so it isn't a case of having to traipse across London with an overnight bag and a pair of matchsticks to keep my eyelids from drooping as it's been a mad day at work. We also have the added advantage of our almost adjacent flats having the bills included in our rents, so although it is in no way cheap, it is nice to (sort of) be able to afford to live this way for the time being.
But I also read that living this way can in the long term be a disadvantage, as then you never learn about compromise, adapting and moving forward with your life. You get so used to doing things your own way that in time it almost becomes impossible to change.
It has definately given me food for thought, as I have tried the whole cohabitating thing before and it obviously didn't work out. Would we be better off in society if we didn't live with our partners? Would relationships last longer if there wasn't the crazy need to coup up and settle down. Would my boyfriend despair of my bookworm tendancies, or would I wage war on his Playstation if we shared our living space. Or is this just borne from something selfish or from the refusal to grow up? Are we in the midst of a Peter Pan Generation trend? Are we so desperately clinging to our independence that we fear letting go will mean losing ourselves in the process?

As it stands at the moment, I am not sure which camp I am on. I will be honest and say it is nice to shut the door on the world from time to time, be surrounded by my own things and not have to worry that some of my little quirks will drive my fella to distraction. But at the same time I am not sure this is what I want for the whole rest of my life, living in a studio flat, with a neighbour (who isn't my fella on this occasion or we would have serious issues) who complains if I have a party on a Friday night. But for the time being the situation seems to suit, and as long as the rent doesn't sky rocket anytime soon, I suppose we should just enjoy this luxury. Once this time has passed we won't get it back, and there are not hundreds of 'bills included' flats out there for us to choose from. So all I can say on this matter is that for now... watch this space.......