Monday, 31 December 2012

So Long 2012!

Now I honestly can say that 2012 has not been my greatest year ever. The highs have been amazing but fleeting and some of the lows have been so low I almost thought I'd never escape them. I'm already looking forward to next year because as long as all my family members stay as healthy as they are currently *touch wood*, it has got to turn out better than this one overall.
2012 was the year I got my heart well and truly broken when I got dumped in April, which didn't help me with what was left of my studies and generally made life a bit unbearable for a while. To compound matters my ex (who was still a good friend of mine) and another close mate got together and decided that I no longer fitted into their perfect lives any more and just cut me out of them, leaving me with a bit of a hole where I had previously had friends who cared about me. Judging by the endless stream of Facebook updates they are clearly happy together and any feelings I may have on the subject don't matter one jot to either of them.
2012 was the year that I had to move out of my beloved city and away from a lot of my close friends and the support network I had been relying upon to help me get back to myself. I've spent some of my loneliest days this year just sitting in my old childhood bedroom in my pyjamas with no-one to talk to and no money to do anything really missing having friends close by, if only for a hug. I was unemployed for some months and found out just how dull that is and how hopeless you start to feel about everything very quickly. I've left all my social activities behind in Sheffield too, and some times I didn't have anything to get dressed and leave the house for for an entire week, which isn't a fun realisation. In 2012 my birthday was terrible AND I was ill on Christmas day-basically all of the holiday periods have had a downer put on them some way or another.
But. Things seem to be on the  up again. I'm over the break up and actually almost starting to enjoy being a single person with no-one else to answer to, and being free to do anything. I'm employed, albeit only until the 19th of January, but I love my job and it gets me out of the house and socialising with people that aren't my parents which is something that I really needed. I'm not making a fortune but I am so much happier than I was in October, and it gives me the freedom to travel to Sheffield to see friends when I want to. My childhood bedroom is getting a much needed influx of new furniture and I might even slap a lick of paint on the walls too.
In 2013 I hope to get a "proper job", move out of my parent's house and into a space of my own and get my life safely back on the road to adulthood. I want to get back on stage and sing and do all the things I love again. Maybe even find a new boyfriend but for once it's not something I'm giving a high priority to. I'm going to have a kick ass awesome birthday to make up for this year's massive flop. I'm deleting the ex and the ex-best friend from Facebook because I'm drawing a line under the whole thing and moving on, rather than wasting my thoughts on them any longer. I'm pinning my hopes on you, 2013, don't you let me down.

But it definitely hasn't been all doom and gloom this year-I've laughed as much as I've cried probably. I played my favourite character ever in a show and got to stand in the middle of the curtain call for the first time. I travelled around the country and did some awesome things whilst I was working for my Student's Union. I graduated from university, surrounded by the friends who had done it all with me and though I was sad to be leaving, the day itself was awesome. I went to Rome with my besty and didn't melt despite the scorching heat, and laughed myself silly in the process. I went to the Edinburgh festival with some amazing people and performed a sell out show and had a really really good time. I've visited people around the country, seen shows and gigs and comedians and made enough good memories to tell me that this year was definitely not all bad. Not even half bad, really.

So I'll raise a glass to 2012, and cross my fingers to make a wish at midnight, surrounded by people that I love and who make me laugh enough to forget my cares about everything.
Hope your 2012 has been good, but hope your 2013 is even better.

Happy New Year!


Sunday, 23 December 2012

It's Behind You!

Dick Whittington Kid's Performance in 2011,
In which I get exuberantly pied in the fizzog.

Pantomimes, to borrow a phrase from Marmite, you either love em or you hate em. Me? Well, you can probably guess- I love a good panto. To be fair, I love a bad panto too. While I feel I have grown up a lot recently and grown out of a lot of things I used to love, I don't think I will ever lose my childish enthusiasm for going to/being in a Pantomime at Christmas time and having a thoroughly silly romp. I know that some people just cannot stand them, and it seems that (after talking to some of my colleagues) when you've seen one the general consensus is that you've seen them all because the jokes are always the same and there's always a happy ending. But that's why they're so good as far as I'm concerned, you know that the 'Butter face' and 'Sheepdog bra' jokes* will make you groan, and you know that the good guys will always win but that doesn't stop you from enjoying every thigh slapping, "he's behind you"-ing minute. In no other type of theatre (apart from possibly stand up comedy) can the audience join in with the show in such a way- in fact, the audience interaction is usually fairly integral to the plot. After all, how on earth would the good guys save the day if you didn't tell them that there was a ghost/bad guy behind them and to get out of the way/hit him with a sword? I honestly love everything about pantomimes, from the innuendos that go flying over the kid's heads to make the grown ups titter to the costumes and the sets to the plot-holes that are neatly avoided by sidestepping them altogether to the fact they're inexplicable to people who don't hail from Barmy Britain. "Well it's a fairy tale, right, and there's a man pretending to be a woman and a woman pretending to be a man and it's really very silly *trails off*" Believe me, I've tried to explain them to international students from my university and seen the baffled looks on their faces; I always just ended up saying "It's a very good example of British eccentricity."

My first USLES Panto...and a very good example of British Eccentricity! 

I think for actors as well, pantos are a different experience to any other type of performance. I've told people that I did pantomimes at uni and almost visibly watch them turn their noses up at me like they were too good for comedic theatre. But as an actor in a panto you have to be so much better at skills like not corpsing and being quick on your feet to respond to heckles as well as the usual facing the right way on stage and remembering which way round your lines come. You have to make the audience fall in love with you if you're a good guy, and hate you if you're a bad guy and be OK with being overly theatrical and silly about every movement. You have to not mind getting a plate full of shaving foam to the face, or getting water squirted down your trousers and try your hardest not to laugh/object when the dame sweeps in and steals the scene away from everyone. But they're really rewarding to be in as well- you have freedom like no other to make stuff up as you go along, to improvise, to heckle the audience back and to have as much fun as you possibly can. And you get constant feedback from the people who watch too- cheering for the goodies, booing at the baddies and shrieking "OH NO IT ISN'T" as loudly as they can-it's all such fun. I don't think you can go to a pantomime and not enjoy yourself, because you just get swept up in the merriment and frivolity of the whole thing and come out with a big smile on your face. And here's the thing, they don't need to have z-list celebs in to be a good show-you need local actors who come back time and again because they love to make a tit of themselves on stage so that people will get to have an awesome night out full of fun.

Pantomimes will always be up there with my favourite Christmas traditions, they're not just fun for kids but big kids too. As one of the older customers said to me the other day when I took her ticket "Yer never too old, are yer?" NEVER. Get yourself down to one and shout "IT'S BEHIND YOU!" to see how much fun you can have. Brill.

And so as it's Christmas Eve tomorrow and I shall be working and hopefully watching some of the show whilst I do, I will wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hope that whatever you get up to is full of fun and happiness and too much food.


*If you don't know I'm not telling you.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Getting Back To It

Hello readers, it's been a while since I last said hello, hasn't it?
I haven't forgotten about you, I've just been a tad busy really. Plus I seem to be having a blog inspiration drought, can't think of anything to rant about, for once in my life. Since my last blog entry all the way back in November, I managed to finish my NaNoWriMo with 50391 words- hurrah! The story is nowhere near finished though, and I think it might even take another NaNo attempt to get it completed, though this is no bad thing because I really enjoyed the act of creating something awesome every day and wouldn't mind doing it again. I've also started my job ushering at the Nottingham Playhouse for their Christmas pantomime and I have to admit that I am really loving it. The rest of the staff all seem really nice folk, very willing to have a chat to all us newbies and include us in their tea breaks and the theatre has such a lovely atmosphere because, let's face it, you can't really be down in the dumps when there's a panto going on just the other side of the wall from you (OH NO YOU CAN'T). I'm in denial that I ever have to leave to be honest, because I really love it so far. I also appear to currently be experiencing reverse insomnia for no apparent reason- normally I really struggle getting to sleep but at the moment I am conking out the minute I get into bed but waking up almost every morning between 5 and 7am which leaves me exhausted by about 10pm. I also keep popping up to Sheffield to visit my friends up there and enjoy the delights of my favourite city at Xmastime. All of this is leaving me with little to blog about and not much time to blog in, but I am determined to get back to it properly soon. I'm really looking forward to my Christmas and New Year plans and hope you all are too!
So if I don't get around to writing another blog before then I wish you all a very Merry Christmas/Non-religious winter holiday/primary gifting window/Hogswatch and a Happy New Year/Hogmanay/Anything else you may be celebrating.


Monday, 5 November 2012

Autumnal Bliss

I know we're almost rocking on into winter and the dreaded C-word (Not that, I mean Christmas, you rude person) but we're still currently in Autumn, my favourite of all of the seasons. There's a million and one reasons why I love it and in lieu of a proper post while I'm still doing NaNo I thought I'd tell you why to brighten those dreary nights a little:

-It's so pretty everywhere!
I mean, PHWOAR Mother Nature kinda pretty.

-Hot chocolate with marshmallows
Nommity. Right now I'm drinking my current fave-
Whittard's Hot Choc with Chilli and Lime.
Sounds gross but it's totally delish. Swing by sometime , we can have a cup together.

-Snuggly warm clothes
I'm loving big chunky jumpers and my lovely warm chocolate brown cords atm.
And of course, my Doc Martens and thick socks to keep my feet snuggly too.

While I no longer collect them religiously like I did as a child,
I will always pick up one or two of the shiniest ones because they're hard to resist!

-Bonfire Night
Fireworks will never not be magical, plus bonfires smell amazing.

-Coming home to a house that's warm
Coming in from the cold night to a welcoming blast of central heating
is just a little bit lovely.
(Unless you're a student that is)

-Snuggling on the sofa to watch a bit of awesome tele
Autumn tele is usually pretty awesome, and sometimes when
it's cold and dark and rainy outside there's nothing better
than just staying in and keeping warm.

-Goose Fair
In the first week of October every year one of the world's largest
travelling fairs comes to Nottingham-it's been happening for well
over 700 years. For me it means a night of fun rides, candy floss and doughnuts,
spending too much money and having a fab time.

-And possibly the best thing about autumn:
Scrunching through piles of crunchy autumn leaves!
Never fails to make me smile, it's just one of life's little pleasures. Wonderful.

What about you? Do you have a favourite season or any things you love about autumn?


Friday, 2 November 2012

NaNoWriMo Has Arrived...

Source: NaNoWriMo

This is a short blog to tell you that I probably won't be blogging all that much this month. Why? Because I made the (probably very unwise) decision to take part in NaNoWriMo this year whilst suffering from a persistent yet creative bout of insomnia a couple of weeks ago. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days-it doesn't have to be the best quality novel in the world, it doesn't have to be edited as you go along, it's just trying to physically get words on the page and all the rest comes afterwards. After the first day, I have to say I'm looking forward to it, although I have only written 1546 words so far! There's a long way to go yet. I guess the reason I wanted to do it was because I've always been slightly in awe of those of my friends who casually go "Yeah, I've written a novel or two." I think it's really really cool. And then I realised that I could totally be one of those people with a novel or two on my computer, that other people thought were cool and all I had to do was take part in something that runs for a month-easy! (Ha Ha). Also I start writing stories a lot, I have a brilliant idea and I write the first chapter and then...nothing. I have never finished a single story I've started writing in my life, and sometimes I just feel the ideas deserve a little more than 500 words written in a train station*. If I want to finish on time (by the end of November) then I have to write another 1615 words each day-400 words longer than my longest blog post (so far) so I'm not going to have much imagination going spare for thinking of witty and amusing blogs. (They totes are...right? Oh who am I kidding, I just rant about shit =p)
In other news, I also got offered a job yesterday as an usher at the Playhouse Theatre in Nottingham (an excellent thing!) which puts more constraints on my time as well as NaNo leaving me less time than I would like for my dearest blog. But I'll be back eventually.
 If you are interested in following my NaNo progress then check out that little widget on the left hand side, and if you are interested in joining in then there's still time to register and get started and you're only a day behind! Just go to and sign up. Good luck!
Anyway, I am off to write my next chapter or two, tata!


*happens a little too often to me.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

The Darker Side of Am Dram...

(Source here)
OK. So perhaps the title is rather over dramatic but there is a nastier side to a bunch of people all wanting to get up on a stage together. Performers are inherently a bit of a diva (don't you deny it!) because people don't put themselves up on a stage unless you love the applause. I totally love it, I'm sure many people will agree with me-there's very little in life that feels as good as standing in the middle of a curtain call watching lots of people clap at you. But then there's the flip side of this, when you're stood at the back completely obscured by the row of principles in front of you and you want with all your heart to be in that line but know you'll probably never be offered a chance. Because Am Dram groups have a tendency to be rather cliquey and it's horrible. If you're not in with the "cool kids" then you will never be offered anything more than a couple of lines. I know from experience-I did 10 whole shows with my old drama group and probably had 10 whole lines too. Me and my Dad didn't go to the pub with the main bulk of the group, we didn't socialise with them after rehearsal or at weekends and therefore we were never considered for anything other than a very minor part. I'm not just being completely self absorbed and melodramatic either (I realise I am a bit)-we aren't complete clutzes on the stage who don't know stage left from stage right. My Dad has an amazing singing voice and yet was never given a role that had singing in it. I'd like to think I'm pretty good at slapping my thigh with the best of them but I never came close to my coveted principle boy role. Being in the chorus of a show is pretty damn fun, don't get me wrong, but sometimes you just long to be up there singing that solo or being the one who gets the happy ending, or at least I did. I longed for it with every bit of me, whilst I was standing in the back in the chorus line again. It creates this kind of horrible atmosphere where people start thinking that they're not as good as the people who are picked time and again for the solos, for the main roles, for their chance in the spotlight and it kinda broke my heart a lot. All I ever wanted was my chance to shine!
Which is why I am so glad that I stopped going when I did, coz this big old thing called university beckoned me with its wise old talons. And there I found, to my sheer delight, some Am Dram groups that WEREN'T CLIQUEY. Firstly, I found my USLES who have the motto 'Immature Dramatics' and care very much more about the people than about the quality of the show. While they look to put on as good a performance as they can (and there have been some absolute corkers!) they're much more concerned with everyone having a good time than making sure every line is perfect or that the cast have the ability to sway in time to music. It's a very excellent thing. Plus I fiiiiiiiiinally got to be a principle boy and perfect my thigh slap, which made my life to be honest.
Then in my 3rd year, I made the spontaneous (and probably unwise) decision to audition for a random drama group, simply because they were putting on a Pratchett play. I auditioned with low expectations-after all, if they were anything like my old drama group then the same people would get the lead roles each time and I would be lucky to get one of the small walk on roles. To my surprise and delight, I got offered one of the main roles in the show-the role of Agnes the witch, who is pretending not to be one by running away to sing opera.
This is Agnes. She's a tiny bit of a MASSIVE diva.
I love her.
I have to confess that Maskerade was my favourite show out of all the ones I've performed in over the years. Not only was it an awesome show with a really brilliant bunch of people, but it helped to reaffirm my confidence in myself. Yes, I can actually act and I am good enough to stand in the the centre of that curtain call, regardless of what previous experiences have taught me. It also made me realise that not every drama group chooses its next performance based on the person they've already selected to be in the main role, and that newbies can have a chance to steal the lime light too. It was all kinds of brilliant.

Now I'm back in Nottingham and my Dad recently asked me if I wanted to go back and audition for the next show by my old group. Despite the fact that I am really missing being in rehearsals for some show or other* I decided not to because I know that they haven't changed. I know that there's no point in me auditioning because they've probably already decided who their principle boy and girl are going to be even though they've only just finished performing their previous show. I just don't want to go back to that kind of atmosphere, where there's a definite segregation between the people who have been doing it for ages and the people who are new or not in with the crowd, it's really unpleasant. Instead, I'll bide my time, I'll carry on waiting to get back to Sheffield and get back to The Company and to USLES, the kind of groups where I feel appreciated and accepted regardless of whether or not I go for a drink with someone.

Here's a note for any producers or directors of Am Dram groups though. Next time you're auditioning for a show, why not consider someone new for a part rather than the same old faces? You might just make someone's life-it sure did mine.**


*This is the first time in about 10 years I haven't known what my next performance is going to be. I'm a bit lost, to be honest.
**And for all my Edinburgh friends, that's the Power of Love.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Ink Me Up, Baby

Tattoos. Everyone's got one. Well 1 in 5 of us at least. They're so commonplace nowadays that people don't even think twice when they see someone with one, and we do see them everywhere. I'm not about to start ranting on people who get tattoos (I hope) or start saying they're evil and ugly or anything like that-if I did I'd be a hypocrite because I have one, and I do love them as much as the next person. To an extent.
Here's mine, in all its freshly inked glory.
I think people don't really think about getting a tattoo any more, it's just not a big deal to pop into your friendly local tattooists and get them to draw something onto your skin. People say that it's addictive, and I can almost see why you would want to keep getting and getting them once you've had your first*. But the thing is, I don't think people consider that they're a  permanent addition. I thought about getting my tattoo for about 4 years before I actually went ahead and did it, and even when I booked my appointment in at the studio I had this massive sense of almost foreboding that I was doing something that would change things forever. Don't get me wrong, I'm totally in love with the end results and definitely don't think it's something I will end up regretting doing but I still recognise that it's a massive thing to do and would really consider it just as hard before I got another one**. I don't think it's something that most people my age really even think about before covering themselves in them. I also thought long and hard about where I wanted it-it had to be somewhere I could cover up if I wanted to but also somewhere I could see every day. I really like wrist tats, but would never get one coz I hate wearing long sleeves, same with neck tattoos and wearing my hair down. I want, some day, to be employed by someone somewhere, and recognise that visible ones could be problematic in that respect (plus I don't think my Dad would approve!).
Maybe I've just got a touch of middle age about me, but I just think people should really think a little more carefully over something as important as inking themselves for life. After all, what's that swanky chest piece going to look like when your cleavage starts sagging? What about those stars on your arm when you decide to stop being a hipster? The date on your neck to a potential employer? What about when your kids (/someone's kids/any kids) ask you what YOLO means and you have to explain it was a meme way back when you were a teenager? What if it's a private joke that's no longer funny or just something you end up plain old regretting coz you got it because tattoos were cool? 

Tattoos can be beautiful, or tell you life stories about the person who has them, or represent some memento of a personal triumph and a million other things, but I reckon they should be done in moderation and thought about a lot more than people seem to do it. After all, You do Only Live Once so why get something put on your body that you are going to regret when you're older? You have to be a grown up someday, folks.


P.S This is an interesting example of just how mad some people go with them.

*Even my tattooist said she hated getting them done (Newsflash: THEY HURT SO VERY MUCH!) but once she had one she could never wait to get another and another. 
*The fact that I originally typed 'get' instead of 'got' in that sentence tells me that somewhere inside I'm already considering having a second. Oh dear.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

All The Small Things...

Trust me, this'll make sense in a bit...maybe
Something weird I've noticed with my new single status is how much I haven't forgotten about the person I used to be in a relationship with. Sure, I don't know what he's doing day to day or what's new in his life or anything that really matters any more, but I can still remember all the silly little things about him that I feel like I shouldn't any longer. It feels really weird, like you know everything about a person but you don't even know them any more, it's like you've been listening at key holes and snooping through their lives like a ninja with a penchant for archiving. I can still remember what he looks like naked, I can still remember every scar (and how he got some of them). I remember anecdotes he told me that have no impact on my life and didn't involve me in any way (for instance, when he was 2 he was on the front of a jigsaw puzzle in France. Why do I need this information???) and my favourite photograph of him shown at his 21st birthday party when we had been going out for about 3 weeks. I'm really conscious of every time I mention his name in case people think I'm talking about him too much and that I'm still in love with him and maybe I just shouldn't talk about him at all if they think that but there's so many things I remember that seem to be pertinent to a lot of conversations and aaargh. I still automatically chop my veg up extra large because then he'd be able to pick it out easier, then I realise what I've done and feel silly (and cut it up so small it's almost tasteless). I remember 4 and a bit years ago we were sat on a bench in Nottingham city centre and his electric toothbrush turned itself on in his bag-stupid things that no-one in their right mind would bother to remember because they were entirely uneventful. I have always had a really good memory for silly little facts and titbits of information, which has never been a problem before, but in this instance I would rather not have a exceptionally good recall for everything and would rather be forgetful and really annoying when it comes to remembering dates. I don't want this stuff! This stuff should belong solely to his new girlfriend and therefore shouldn't live in my head any more-I shouldn't remember his birthday and his mum's birthday and his brother's birthday and the names of all his pets. She can have the title of his favourite song, and his favourite film and the name of his bloody plastic anatomical skeleton which cost £37 on ebay and came from Germany. If some magical hobbity thing came along and offered me a big red button or a pill or something to take away the memory of all these stupid things that fill my head up with their crap then I reckon I would take it and be done with the whole thing.
Except. Except if the side effect of the magical spell or foul tasting potion or weird mind altering experiment involving electricity was that I would forget him entirely, forget everything we had, I don't think I would. Because I don't want to forget him completely, and I don't want to forget all the good things we had together. I can recognise that I don't want them any more, but that doesn't mean I can't still enjoy the memory of them, right? Being with him was truly one of the best experiences in my life this far, and I still really appreciate everything that I got out of that relationship, regardless of how it ended-it made me a better person than I was at the time it began and I do feel like I've grown up a lot through its 3 years. So I guess if I have to take the memories of his favourite animal and the way he organises his DVDs and the side he parts his hair on and his middle name in order to keep the memories of every time he made me smile and all the time we laughed together then I shall. For we had something good together, he and I, something that has left its imprint on my life and something that (overall) makes me smile to think about it, which I do frequently.

However if there are any magical hobbity things/Torchwood members with access to Retcon reading this, then I wouldn't object to you slipping a few my way, K?


Monday, 1 October 2012

Don't Feed The Trolls

Source: Thankyou Wikipedia

Thankfully, I have never (yet!) myself fallen victim to those most heinous cowards; the Internet Trolls, but I know of several people who have and heard about many unpleasant things that have been said and done to both my friends and total strangers. Tonight I followed such an incident on (where else) Facebook-one of those groups that are specifically set up to invoke rage in people. You know the ones- usually being very callous and heartless about a subject that many people will find inflammatory or hurtful such as (genuine example from the pit of the Facebook Trolls) "Cancer is funny coz people die, LOLS." The particular group tonight, much as I hate to promote them, was called "I Hate Teen Moms" and was basically doing a good job of what trolls do best-upsetting a group of people for fun by calling them all "immoral" and "a burden to society" as well as being "illiterate". Now don't get me wrong, everyone is entitled to have their own opinions* on a particular subject matter (and heaven knows I have been far too judgemental myself from time to time) but this group was specifically set up to troll-to cause offence just to get a reaction. When one young mum posted on their wall to say that she was finishing university that year and had completed GCSEs and A-Levels after giving birth at 16, she was leapt upon by the members of the group who began attacking her (all virtually, of course) in all sorts of disgusting ways-saying that she was "not mentally equipped to have a child at that age", that "95% of teen mothers are moronic and [she] was one of them", and that she was a "dumbf__k who couldn't keep her legs closed"** and on and on and on with this bile, all aimed at her because she tried standing up for herself against them. In the description of the group, it said that it was made for "satire and dark humour" but I could find neither in their personal attacks against her (and others-this was only reading just one comment thread of several!). I know that most people agree that you shouldn't 'feed the trolls' by giving them the reaction that they are aiming for, but when someone/the things they believe in are being assaulted then you can understand why they would try and fight their corner against them.
And the sad thing is is that this is happening in every crevice of the internet-anything that someone holds dear to them whether it be taste in music or sexuality, the way you dress or a disability, hair colour or a life style choice or horrible diseases that rob us of those we love and everything else you can think of. For every group created somewhere like Facebook to offer support, solidarity, friendship or a great chill out place for soft-cheese lovers there's at least one group of people going out of their way to (pardon my language) shit all over it just for kicks.
When did this become an accepted part of society? When did it become OK to just hurl abuse at people just to try and get a rise out of them. Since when did owning a laptop and an internet connection give someone the right to be a total dick to everyone they virtually encounter? I just can't imagine something like this happening outside of the virtual world where it's possible to be anonymous and hide behind a clever-dick screen name and offensive avatar. Outside of cases of prejudice-related violence and abuse, (which you will have to pardon me for not going into detail over today-another deplorable avenue of humanity for another blog post.) most of the judgements people make about people every day live in their heads and aren't used to bait people into a fury in the name of "satire and dark humour". Whether it's born from boredom, or cowardice or genuine malice, it sickens me sometimes to realise the lengths that people will go to just to upset other people. And whilst 90% of the time I will do what I always do, refuse to get inflamed by these groups and just click on the 'Report' button and wait for the group to be shut down***, sometimes you have to let it get to you,

Source: The Good Doctor
(Image created by me)

sometimes you have to notice how horrible human beings can be to each other in the name of a joke, and hang your head for the future of our species.

Source: Know Your Meme

Trolls, Cyber-Bullies, Flamers, Internet Dickheads, just fuck off and grow up will you? The world would be a much nicer place without you in it.


NB: I'm sure Facebook could do more than it does in stopping these troll groups from reaching as many people as they do-something similar to the Twitter-bots (who search for specific terms in tweets) could monitor groups with 'I hate' in the title for inflammatory content. If a group gets reported and shut down, the person who made the group should be banned from making any more groups or pages for a while. OR SOMETHING. I don't know. There must be more that can be done to make these hideous people take their poison to some other corner of the internet where no-one will find them, surely? Hopefully some day.

*The difference, I think, comes in how you express that opinion. A lively discussion between two parties that disagree is fine, but attacking every aspect of someone's personality for a belief they hold or the way they live their lives or whatever it is is just callous and pretty disgusting, especially when it's all for your own "fun".
**Spelling and grammar corrected here.
***Sadly usually to be replaced by several more on the same topic angrily swearing about the "frigid bitches who can't take a f__king joke" etc etc

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Awesome Things the Fourth

It's been a while since I've done one of these, but I've been feeling pretty good recently so I thought it'd be nice to appreciate some more of life's little awesome things coz life ain't all bad, y'know?

-Discovering new music and really liking it
Now I love my music collection as much as the next person and have a sizeable amount of stuff that I listen to on a regular basis. Sometimes though, I wish I could take my favourite stuff and erase it from my memory so that I could learn to love it again-the feeling of putting a new album on for the first time and listening to it non-stop for days is pretty cool, gradually learning the songs unconsciously just coz you've heard them so often.

-Picking scabs/Squeezing spots/Plucking a particularly stubborn hair
Everyone knows that you're not supposed to do it, but come on, everyone does, right? It's just such a satisfying feeling! *splat*

-When people tell you that they miss you (and the feeling you get when you see them again)
It's always nice to know that you're wanted and loved/missed by people isn't it? The simple act of someone telling you that they miss you and it's been too long since they saw you can really make your day, but when you see someone you haven't seen in a while and you get the big squeezy hug and the endless chatter about all the things that have happened since last time you saw each other it's definitely an awesome thing.

-Going into a shop and them having that thing that you want left in only your size
Well it's like fate is telling you to buy it then, isn't it?

I don't know about you, but I love baking. Every so often I get the urge and then my friends and family end up with cakes and biscuits to gorge themselves on. It's really fun and quite a gentle relaxing activity to do by yourself plus there's the bonus of cake lickings and cookie dough to enjoy. There's also the great aspect of giving the stuff you made away to people to eat too, then everyone's a winner aren't they? OM NOM NOM.

So there we are, until next time. Add yours in the comments!


Monday, 24 September 2012


When I was younger I was determined that I was never ever going to move out of my house-I was going to live in it forever and ever and bring up my family there and then pass it on to them when I died. My mum once mentioned in passing wanting to move house and I actually cried. I never wanted to think of anyone else living there in my space-in the attic bedroom that was built just for me and still has the eccentric paint choices 11-year-old me chose to put there. All of my childhood memories are there, and I've experienced some wonderful things during my time living in it. I recently realised  though that it no longer feels like home to me-it's not the place I want to be any more. For one thing it's full of small children and small children's toys and small children's mess. It's also because I've grown up and grown out of it-my bedroom is full of clutter that I have accumulated over the past 10 years or more, stuff that I don't want or need any more. I think if my parents decided they were going to move house tomorrow then although I would still be quite sad, it wouldn't be the heart breaking thing it once was to me.
It's also the city-much as Nottingham will always hold a special place in my heart, I don't really enjoy it any more. I know all of its nooks and crannies and secrets, I'm no longer taken aback with how pretty it looks in the summer time and it's just lost its sparkle for me a little.
Although I'm not denying that it does look pretty!
Whilst I know that I will always come back eventually, if only to visit the best chocolate shop in the world or pop in to my favourite theatre for a show, my heart's not set on living there any more. 
I realise that this has come about because of my student life-living away from my parents and gaining my independence has just been wonderful, and getting to know somewhere that was originally brand new to me equally so. I know not everyone understands how I can claim to have falling in love with a city-a little over a year ago I was agonising about leaving important people behind in one city by moving to another one, and someone asked me how there could even be a contest between people and a place.
I can't really explain it, only to say that sometimes places can just feel like home, it's like something within you recognises that here is somewhere that will give you everything you need. I remember back in 2009 on an open day here (actually my 2nd for relatively boring and complicated reasons) standing at the window in my university library looking over the houses and hills of Sheffield and thinking "Yeah, I could definitely learn to love it here". 
It was something like this. Only, y'know, not because
I totally screen-shotted this from a programme filmed in Sheffield...
Source: Prisoner's Wives, BBC
When I actually got to uni, I always made sure I chose computers that looked out over the city so that when I was working I could glance up and see it in all its beauty laid out before me. I love to get lost in a good view and have been known to spend a lot of time in a bathroom at the top of a tall building just drinking in the sights of my favourite city coming to life in an early morning. Every time I my train pulls into the station I feel like I'm coming home again. Sheffield still holds a lot of magic for me because there's still so much of it that I don't know-a new gorgeous view to discover or a beautiful old building or a shop selling various nick-nacks and wonderful stuff. 
A beautiful old building, and one of my favourites-Firth Court
Also this is the sight that greets me when I step off the train,
makes my heart lift every time.
It feels so different to me to Nottingham too, not only because I have experienced it through the rose-tinted eyes of a student and not a proper person but also because the two cities have completely different atmospheres when you walk around them. And while I don't think I'll ever learn to love Sheffield's massive hills, this city has really stolen my heart in a myriad of ways and I just can't imagine wanting to live anywhere else at this stage in my life...just as soon as I find a job here.

Sheffield, my love, I'm working my way back to you so I can be home again.


Thursday, 13 September 2012

I'm Grateful For...

This made me giggle a bit =)

It's weird, it's less than a year ago since I wrote the first one of these posts but so much of my life is different since then so I thought I really should make a new one. Of course, I have a lot to be grateful for at the moment-I have had a lot of help over the last few months at getting me back to myself and without it I'd probably still be floundering around not sleeping and watching endless episodes of Hustle until I go mad*. As I mentioned though, I'm definitely getting there.
So thank you. Thank you to the one who was there at the start with endless hugs and cups of hot chocolate and for every "You'll be fine, I promise" even if I didn't believe you. Thanks for every time you let me come and annoy you so that I didn't have to be on my own, for every time you let me cry on you and for generally everything. Thank you to the ones who came just after, who took me to do fun things so I could stop thinking about it and who basically put up with me being a bit mopey. Thanks for the distractions and the giggles, because they were really needed. Thank you to those of you who didn't ask about it when I didn't want to talk about it, thanks to the ones who had rather delectable bottoms or lovely smiles that started me feeling like a normal person again. Thank you to Two Shades of blue and everyone involved, going to Edinburgh was very good for me in a lot of ways (plus it was friggin awesome to do!). Thank you to my besty who's never not been there and has called him lots of names for me. Thanks to everyone who decided it doesn't matter who's going out with who and stuck around in my life despite me being in a different city. Thanks for every hug, every sympathetic ear and every piece of good advice-you've all been wonderful and helped me SO MUCH.

So yeah,
Thanks everyone, I've appreciated it. I'm grateful for my brilliant friends =)


*This is basically what happened at the start of the whole thing anyway.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

I'm In Repair, I'm Not Together But I'm Getting There.

John Mayer-In Repair
Which just about says it all really.

This is the 3rd or 4th time I have written something about the subject of being single over the last couple of months, but each time I do the tone of the piece changes depending on how I feel. I went from being hopeful and optimistic to despairing that I would never find anyone who would understand me as well ever again to pondering just what I was supposed to do with this alien experience*. Now I'm just trying to get back to myself, and according to one of my friends I "seem to be more me" so hopefully it's working.
I'd never been heartbroken before, not really, and I was completely unprepared for just how much it would hurt (seems silly considering its name, but I hadn't really given it much thought). I was totally blind-sided with a kind of grief that I'd never known-I spent 4 days not eating or sleeping much at all and just went a little bit mad for a while. It did, of course, start getting better, but I still failed to see how anyone managed to function normally ever again after the break up of an important relationship, and failed to see how I would ever be OK about it.

We still talked regularly, he and I, still met up from time to time and I had to, on occasion ,stop myself reaching out to touch him as I always had done. Still I thought somewhere in the back of my mind that it would all sort itself out, that it would all come good and we'd start again, although not all of me believed this would happen, and maybe some small part of me, even then, didn't want it to.
I let myself get upset time and again whenever he cancelled a visit to see me for a better offer when I really should have been listening to my friends who kept telling me just to forget all about him and get on with life. But how could I forget him when so many things just kept reminding me of him all the time and life kept finding new and unexpected ways to make me cry all over again? So many things still do remind me of him, but now I refuse to do any more crying-I've done enough. Instead, I'm making new memories over the ones that always make my heart ache a little bit-by myself and with other people I am reclaiming the things we used to do together. I know it won't work completely-my brain is very good at remembering odd things when given a trigger for a very long time-but it will push back the memories of him far enough for me to enjoy the experiences again. Just another reason why I really want to move out of my parent's house-if I live in a place that he has never been to then it will be that much easier to not picture him there with me.

Another thing I was completely unprepared for was how many friends would disappear from my life alongside the one I was losing in him. (We tried to stay friends for a while, but apparently it's just too weird so now even that has lapsed.) Friends I thought would be in my life forever have since just stopped speaking to me. My (then) closest friends and confidants started to become less close even before the break up. I know some of their reasons for this, but it still hurts to think that they felt the need to pick sides of our relationship and that I wasn't the one that they chose. I won't go chasing after them though-if they have decided they don't want me to be in their lives then so be it, even if I do not share their sentiments.

Now we're at the stage where he has moved on and is in another relationship and I am OK with that. 2-3 months ago, the very thought made me sob-to think that he could find happiness with someone that wasn't me, let alone imagining myself getting there too. But getting there I am, and while I don't have anyone specific to move on to in the same way, I have noticed certain changes in myself that tell me I don't mind any more. I've started noticing other guys again, and in some cases had a good, long notice. I've been flirting which has been really rather fun, and it's nice to know my skills aren't too rusty after 6 years of under-use. I've started just enjoying life again, smiling at strangers in the street and laughing until it hurts. It's been a strange and unpleasant journey to this point, but it feels good to be here.

So am I over him? Not completely, no. There's still a part of me that would immediately say yes if he turned around and asked me to come back. But it's a small part, and it's a diminishing one. Am I getting there? Yes, I definitely am. Clichéd though it is, I am finally starting to see THE BREAKUP as less of an ending and more of a new beginning. And while I'm still not great at being single (I think some parts of me will always be happier when I am in a relationship), I'm no longer comparing myself to all the happy couples that I know and feeling sorry that I don't have that any more/jealously wishing they would take their happiness elsewhere. I will get that again, it's fine, and I'll hold on to that for now, thanks. But hey, if anyone knows any nice guys with a heart-melting smile** and a good pair of legs, it won't hurt to send them in my direction, will it? ;)

So yes. Definitely not together yet, but definitely getting there.


*I've never really been single, not as an adult. I've been in two almost consecutive long-term relationships for the past 6 and a half years so I'm still really un-used to it-I did all my growing up and learning myself whilst being with someone so I have had to re-learn it all now that I am not.
** AC & MF: Oh Shush.

Monday, 3 September 2012

The Edinburgh Diaries: It's Showtime!

So on Wednesday I returned home from Edinburgh with an empty purse and a million memories, along with the company cold and a buggered left leg* and a hefty dose of exhaustion. It's fair to say that I had an excellent Fringe Fest with some truly wonderful people and that my life feels ever so empty now I'm not waking up to a flat full of them every day. It was a bit of a mad week, and an exhausting one, but it was definitely fun enough to make up for that. Didn't get to see as many shows as I had originally intended to, which was in part because I very rapidly ran out of money and also because I hadn't actually factored in that I would be unavailable across the peak time for shows each day (6-8pm) due to y'know, being on stage and all. I did get to see a few though, favourite of which was definitely The Vocal Orchestra which was a spontaneous last day decision. They were completely amazing-if you closed your eyes you wouldn't know you were listening to something being performed by only the voices of the 6 people on stage, and it was such a great atmosphere that you couldn't help clap and sing along. Also want to give mention to a wonderful performance of my favourite Shakespeare play, As You Like It, done by SEDOS. Despite the fact that it was cut down to be only an hour long, I still loved it as much as I always do and it was performed very well indeed.
The Baskervilles Cast warming up fabulously on the Mile.
(Techie, Frederick, Lady B, Holmes, Mabel, Director,
Watson, Watson's Moustache, Bellatrix, Marple, Lestrade)
Our shows ( were pretty damn fantastic too. I managed to see the other two shows (Sherlock Holmes and the Sound of the Baskervilles and Quantum Battlestar Deep-Space Voyager Tardis Wars: The Million Dollar Space Epic**) 3 times each and play the "Trying to make people corpse" game on the last night which was a little bit too much fun. They were really well done and so very enjoyable to watch every time and even though half of the casts were suffering with 'Fringe Flu', you couldn't tell by their excellent performances. And Back to the Future:The Pantomime? Well that was pretty awesome too.
(Stolen from Biff, who hopefully won't mind)
We sold out every night PLUS 2/3 of the seats for an extra charity performance that we added last minute and I just had the most amazing time performing it again and again. I danced, I sang my heart out, I jiggled (there was a lot of jiggling) and I finally finally got to use my crazy Welsh accent on a stage-something I have wanted to do for a good while. We pulled stupid faces at each other to make everyone corpse*** and I exuberantly pied Biff in the face every night whilst trying not to cringe at the Flux Capacitor. It was truly wonderful.
But what really made my Edinburgh experience was the people. Bearing in mind some of these guys I met for the first time in June (and some of them only in Oxford 2 weeks ago) I was trepidatious about spending two weeks constantly in their company and sharing a house with them and introducing them to Morning Jenni (Aka Sleepy Monster). Now, I'm not sure why I was worried at all. These are all LIGHT ENTERTAINERS, they're my people-the ones that properly get me, no questions asked. I have laughed so much over the last fortnight that I've probably toned up my stomach muscles to a level they've never toned been before. There were so many completely awesome people there, such a mesh of personalities that you couldn't help not find your home. If you're reading this guys, thank you. You made my Fringe in so many different ways.
And now I'm back at home in the real world, which is dull and much less fun/giggly/jiggly and gives me very little incentive to get out of my pyjamas each day. It feels very weird to think that it is only a week ago tomorrow that it was opening night-this time last week I was in Edinburgh learning how to flyer and trying not to get lost and it's all gone so quickly. I won't be forgetting it in a long time though, because it was really really really awesome. Here's hoping it won't be my last Fringe adventure!


P.S If I never hear 'The Power of Love' again, it'll be too soon. Just typing the words sets it off in my head, sigh.

* I managed to get it trapped between my train and its platform in Edinburgh by falling down the gap...don't do this folks, it's bloody and painful.
**Think how fun it was trying to say that when flyering
***For you non-theatrey people, corpsing is when someone breaks character and laughs on stage when they're not supposed to. Trying to make your co-stars do it whilst not doing it yourself is something of a talent. But of course, we're much too professional for that...*shifty eyes*

Monday, 20 August 2012

The Edinburgh Diaries: Part 1-Oxford

Huzzah! Finally finally packed! I have a ridiculous number of bags- 1 large suitcase, 1 holdall, 1 bag with bedding in it and 1 small rucksack. It's not like I have to carry them for miles or anything...oh wait. Going away for 2 weeks should not be this difficult!
On the train with a friend who has a similar number of bags-so that's alright then! We're on our way!
Train finally arrived in Oxford...late. Now to find where I am staying for the next couple of days. Decided to be brave and fearless and forego the taxi so I can prove to myself that I am not as pants as I think I am at following directions. Yeah, take that Pessimistic Me!

Well I found it OK, but WHY THE HELL DID I NOT TAKE A TAXI?? Past Me, you're an idiot. All of me is aching and sweaty. Why the hell have I brought so much shit? Anyway, I'm here, I'm all "checked in" and I have a bed to collapse into-it's such a relief to know that I don't have to sleep on the floor tonight. Mmm bed.
On that note, I think it's goodnight from me, the hard work starts tomorrow.

And what a long day it was. Only just got back in after leaving the flat at 9.30am! Spent most of the day learning dance routines for the show...I didn't even know there was going to be dance routines but there you go. It was good fun, although incredibly tiring after 5 hours of it! Ow my legs!
Sorted lots of props out too, and started making some of the ones that are missing. Having not left the flat where we ate dinner until gone 11pm, it's been something of an exhausting day! Must be bedtime now!!

Well that's it! No more rehearsals now! Tomorrow we journey up to Edinburgh and then it's on with the show-hurrah! In these last 3 days we've learned 3 different dance routines, done our first (disastrous!) prop run through, changed the songs, got our costumes and run through the show enough times to almost make us sick of the finale song. Almost. We still have a few kinks that need ironing out, but we're very nearly almost there. And it's excellent.
Tonight was our preview night, which meant we got to see how the other half perform and see one of our sister shows (Sherlock Holmes and the Sound of the Baskervilles) for the first time. (The other one is still a mystery to the majority of us, for now.) It was pretty flabbergasting to be honest, everyone was just absolutely brilliant, it's completely hilarious and very very well done! It did make some of us in the Back to the Future:The Panto cast worry ever so slightly that we couldn't match them in terms of brilliance, but we needn't have fretted! While BTTF:TP is a little more rough and ready in places than Baskervilles, it's still a fantastic watch (I reckon) and SO MUCH FUN to be in. We're an explosion of neon and noise to contrast with the Baskerville's Victorian costumes and brilliantly worded songs. We bounce up and down like an excited puppy while they are much less raucous but not less fun. Plus they have a truly epic sword fight whereas we go for the pie-to-the-face comedy fist fight.
I really really enjoyed myself tonight, both laughing myself silly at Baskervilles and also frolicking around on stage too.
SO. Here's the plug, but I truly now can say you will be missing out if you don't get to see at least one of these shows (plus Quantum, which I know will be just as brilliant even though I haven't seen it yet!) So yeah...if you're around Edinburgh this week, come and see why I am having SUCH a brilliant time with this fantastic bunch of people: I can guarantee you'll leave with a smile on your face!!!

Back to the Future: The Pantomime, Paradise in Augustine's-Venue 152, 18.50
Sherlock Holmes and the Sound of the Baskervilles, Paradise in Augustine's-Venue 152, 14.20
Quantum Battlestar Deep-Space Voyager Tardis Wars: The Million Dollar Space Epic, Paradise in Augustine's-Venue 152, 22.25

Monday, 13 August 2012

Hello, and Welcome To This Blog...

I was re reading a few blog posts of a friend of mine's the other day and she mentioned how cringy it was to read blogger's first posts because they had invariably not found their blogging style yet and they were very awkward to read: "I hate reading bloggers' first posts on their sites. They're always so embarrassing and make me cringe a little, because, mostly, they're their first ever blog posts." (Hoping she won't mind too much me quoting her there!). It occurred to me that this blog never really had a first post, because it was born off the back of another one that I was using at the time which has now since been abandoned. My first post on this blog (discounting the ones that I imported over) just sort of began, with no real preamble, and at the time I hadn't even worked out where I wanted to go with this blogging malarky. So I thought I should probably give it a proper introduction at some point, because this is now my official proper blog like, and I do really enjoy blurting out my stuff to the internet for people to read.
So then. This blog: The Life and Times of an Ordinary Girl/My Every Day Adventure/OrdinaryExtraordinaryLife. Basically, I write about stuff that happens in my life. I range from writing about my every day activities to ranting about all the things that annoy me in life/are wrong with the world in what I hope is a slightly humorous and enjoyable way. It's all true and honest, and mostly there to serve as a record for my life. I'm glad that it gets read though, makes it all the more worth while. I aim to keep my labels user friendly so that all the similar blogs get grouped together in one place; my favourite blogs (to write) usually fall into the 'Musings' category or the 'Love Yourself' category, and occasionally (Let's be honest, frequently!) fall into the 'A Little Bit Ranty' one too. If you want to know more about who I am as a person then read some of those, because they're very good indicators to how I think about the world.
So yeah, that's it really. I'm just filling these blog posts up with life, and am grateful to everyone who takes the chance to give them a read too. If you like what you see then follow me somehow, I try and post quite regularly and wouldn't want you to miss out! =p

Hi, my name's Jenni. Welcome to my blog.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Edinburgh Rehearsal II

Last weekend the entire cast of Back To The Future: The Pantomime assembled in Harrow for rehearsal number 3 (Technically my 2nd as I didn't get to the first one).  It was really good to finally meet everyone and get a full rehearsal under way, and more so because since the previous weekend one of my closest USLES friends has joined the cast. We basically spent the weekend bouncing off each other (literally, in some of the fight scenes) and making everyone else think we were a little bit odd, which is saying a lot considering the cast is made of mostly Light Entertainers. Oh but I had fun, I always enjoy the rehearsal process of a show, almost as much as I enjoy being on the stage itself. To say that I am in the chorus, I've got a lot of stuff to do which is excellent-there's nothing worse than spending the majority of a performance stuck in the dressing room just because you're not an important character.

Homework from last time:
  • Learn lines/songs Check!
  • Perfect an American accent that doesn't sound Australian Passably, for the 10 lines that I have. As long as there are no real Americans listening. (Sorry G-man...)
  • Learn to fall over without injuring myself or overbalancing Mostly. I only have to do it once and it seems to pass inspection, and I didn't hurt myself. I call that a success.  
Things that I still have left to do:
  • Learn my cue lines. Knowing what to say isn't much help if I don't know when to say it. Doh.
  • Practice the fight scenes so that it feels more natural to be fighting people rather than going through the motions.
  • Find costume bits and bobs so that I don't have to be naked on stage (ooer!)
  • Pack for rehearsal week!
We've now done our first show run through (albeit without songs) and it's starting to come together and feel like a show! Always an exciting moment in any rehearsal process. And now rehearsal week proper starts in about 5 days-we have 3 days of intense rehearsing and then a preview performance in Oxford. Then it's up to Edinburgh and the show opens on the 21st August. 
You should definitely all come along if you're around the Fringe in the last week: details for all three Two Shades shows are here and they're all promising to be corkers. I shall hopefully be keeping the blog updated whilst I am up there as I will be taking my laptop. I'm also hoping to get to see as many shows as I possibly can, because, after all, it is the biggest arts festival in the world-and you'd be a bit mad to pass up on an opportunity to experience it properly.
Basically, I'm just really looking forward to getting up there and getting involved with everything and just having a whale of a time. Not so looking forward to having to share a house with lots of people again, but I will just have to cope with that. I'm taking lots of books and I'm just hoping that my ridiculous brain will let me sleep more than it did over the rehearsal weekend. I'm sure it'll all come good. Most of all I am looking forward to treading those boards and doing the show for 7 straight nights with some wonderful people.

Here's to that then!


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Sex Education; is it really working?

Found in lots of places but I got it from here
(No-one references the source any more!)
For a long time I have wondered why, if the sex education system in the UK is relatively good (compared to some) we have so many  teenage pregnancies. I've always assumed that these kids just haven't bothered to use any form of protection, in a fit of stupidity, rather than simply not knowing enough about it to help. 
Personally, I've never felt inadequately prepared for sex after sex education. Perhaps this is because I was a bit of a geek and liked to actually listen to authority figures when they spoke, perhaps it's because I had to start thinking about it from a youngish age (when you get your first serious boyfriend at 15 you sit up and take notice of these things) or perhaps it's because I had the helpful insights of a book named 'The Period Book'-I can't remember if it mentioned contraception or not and now I can't find it to confirm this.* Vivid memories of my sex-ed experience include when we got to chapter 7 (Reproduction!) in the Spotlight on Science textbooks we were allowed to move from our boy-girl seating plan and sit where-ever we liked(!) which I'm sure was more interesting than seeing how many of the sperms had faces drawn on at the time. I remember the school nurse telling us about how the 'clinic in town did some lovely passion fruit flavoured condoms' and the whole group of girls mentally going "EWEWEWEWEW!" at the thought of our slightly overweight middle aged nurse STILL HAVING SEX. (Sorry Nurse. I'm sure you were lovely and perfectly entitled to a full and active sex life. I was only about 14!) I also have a horribly accurate memory of being in college studying reproduction and fertility (more from a biology perspective than an sex ed one, mind) and having to watch that video. That video where someone thought it would be a good idea to put a camera on some poor woman's cervix and film her being ejaculated into by, what was at the time, a giant wide-screen penis. Even for someone who was sexually active by this point, it was still far too much information. Especially when it also went on to show (presumably) the same woman giving birth in graphic detail too. Bler. I feel sorry for that kid: teenagers across the country have watched them being conceived, and pushed out of a vagina and subsequently been scarred for life. Or is that just me?
However, I digress. The sex-ed I got at school certainly gave me enough information to begin to choose what I would like to happen to my own body when I got around to contraception myself. I knew the different choices and that some suited other people better than others and, possibly more importantly, that I would never feel safe having sex with only a condom between me and an unwanted pregnancy. Now, of course, I am a lot more clued up, but I think I was pretty all right back then too.

Having talked to some friends and read a couple of wonderful blogs on the subject (over at the Vagenda) it seems that this is not the case with everyone. Friends who went to more religious schools than mine (Mine was C/E but still taught helpful things like Evolution and Sex Ed!) were basically taught not to have sex rather than how to protect themselves. (And of course, being teenagers, if you tell them not to do something they want to do the exact opposite!) Another friend said "If you hadn't got pregnant by year 8/9 in my school you were in the minority." This is clearly a MASSIVE FAILING. (And more worryingly is still a massive failing-1 in 4 pupils apparently still receive little to no sex ed at all.) The way people view it also needs to do a turn around-it's not stripping kids of their innocence and it's not more likely to make them go out and start having sex with everything. And even if it does, they would do so armed with greater knowledge about contraception and keeping themselves safe, how can this be a bad thing?
Kids need to have an open and frank discussion about sex because they're so curious and there's not a lot of places they can get their answers from that aren't going to skew their mindset a little.
Kids need to be taught more than just the ins and outs (pun completely intended) of sex too. They need to be taught that straight, gay, bisexual and transgendered people are all normal and natural, plus all the other inbetweens. They need to know that there is a whole spectrum of relationships they can have and that not all of them just boil down to which part goes in who and where. They need to be encouraged to explore the emotions surrounding sex-they need to be told that sex and love often get tangled up in messy, complicated ways (and that's fine!) but that sex doesn't necessarily equal love. They need to be shown that it's not about gaining notches in the bedpost but a shared experience between two consenting people that they should only enter into when their emotions are ready as well as their bodies. They need to be told that wanking won't make you go blind and yes, girls can get in on the action too. It should be impressed upon them that they shouldn't have a baby without being emotionally, financially and physically ready for it, and that if they're not any of those things they should be given advice on abortion and why it doesn't make you a murderer or any less of a person if that's your decision. They should be told that if you choose to sleep with lots of people it doesn't make you a "slag" or a "stud" and that everyone's sexual experiences are different and that is definitely OK. And they should be given details on all types of contraception, regardless of religious belief or not-it should be a mandatory thing. These kids can be in charge of their own futures but only if they're given all the right information to begin with. 

And, to be honest, I'm not really sure what to do with this. It's obvious kids need more information to get a proper handle on the big issues of SEX AND RELATIONSHIPS and it's obvious that not many people who are in charge seem to know (or indeed care) about this. Television shows like Channel 4's The Sex Education Show have been trying to make people more aware about these issues and it's a start, albeit a slow one. I've also signed this petition because I think every little bit helps. 
Let's encourage our kids to grow up to enjoy sex, but enjoy it responsibly with a full grasp of all the things they need to know about it first.
It's time to stand up for Sex Education, who's with me?


P.S This says it all really

*I do remember it leaving me with a sense of foreboding about my 18th birthday where I expected to receive a letter summoning me to a cervical smear in enormous 6-ft high letters and the whole thing would be horrendous. Never happened, thankfully. 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Rome Adventures II

Day 3 dawned bright and early. We had already decided that we were going to get breakfast from a little café/bar we had found the previous evening, which was definitely a good choice. For only €1.60, we both got a couple of croissants which had melty chocolatey goo in the middle of them and were absolutely delicious! Far superior to the disappointing €10 hotel breakfast we had had the day before.
We then headed on another €1.50 bus trip to get us to the Colosseum which is just magnificent.
I've always loved coming face to face with history, even as a small child so to get to walk around something  and run my fingers along the stones that have stood in the same place for so long was a pretty incredible experience. It's almost impossible to imagine what it would have been like full of 50,000 people cheering on their favourite gladiator: loud and smelly and chaotic and wonderful. 
After the Colosseum, we took a dawdle up to the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II because we had been past it a couple of times and wanted to see it close up. It stands out rather well because it's MASSIVE and also made of white marble, against the bricks/stones of most of the other buildings around Rome. 
Pretty impressive, no?
We didn't go in and look at the Italian Military museum but we did climb up inside to the viewing terrace (on the back of the building) because it gave us a particularly good view over Rome and the Vatican City and it was nice to stop and just look for a while.
Italians love a good dome!
After lunch in the park (at the bottom of the photo there) we carried on our foot-tour of the city with thanks to the handy map we'd picked up at our hotel on the first day. Our next stop was the Trevi Fountain which is the famous fountain in Rome that according to legend guarantees your return to Rome if you throw a coin into it. The nice thing is that nowadays the money generated from this old tradition is collected and donated to the Red Cross and other local charities, rather than it just sitting in the bottom of the fountain forever or getting stolen. 
Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the whole thing
so this is the best I can do.
After the Trevi Fountain, we trekked onwards (with a gelato, of course) to find the Spanish Steps which are a popular meeting point for locals, and a rather impressive way of traversing between two of Rome's Piazzas. 

We didn't walk up all 138 of them as by this point we were flagging from the heat and the walking around all day, but I did take a moment to dangle my feet in the deliciously cold Fontana della Barcaccia at the base of the steps-wonderfully refreshing after a long day's walk. 
After another long walk back to the hotel, the evening progressed much as before. I had to have a McDonalds for dinner, due to the fact that I was running out of money unfortunately, but Rara had another lovely pizza from the place we went to on the first night. After a few games of cards back at the hotel, we settled down for our last night in Italy.

Day 4  
After a late morning morning start and checking out of our lovely hotel, we ate lunch sat on the wall by the Termini station. Then we went to find the Pantheon-the last of the touristy bits we had wanted to see. It's a big old church with an oculus (big hole!) in the roof to let in the light. (and, I would imagine, the rain!) Of course, this being a church in Italy, it was really beautiful inside, decorated in marble with lots of gold detailing and was definitely worth seeing for ourselves.
One section of the inside-lit rather nicely by the sun through the roof
After the Pantheon, we went on to do some souvenir shopping from a lovely little shop selling bits and pieces, as well as some Italian foodstuffs which Rara indulged in. I, sadly, had too little money and no space in my bag to put them otherwise I would have got some too.
Back to Termini Station then, for an iced coffee for Rara and a NUTELLA McFLURRY for myself. It was terribly exciting.
Then it was a bus, a plane and a car journey back to home. I really had enjoyed Rome (in spite of the Relentless heat/having to shower twice a day!) and do hope to go back someday and catch up on all the bits I had missed, but no matter where I go I always love coming back home again. I don't think anywhere could steal Britain's place in my heart, I just adore this rainy little isle. 
So that was my holiday this year...already planning where to go next!