Sunday, 24 February 2013

A Wonderful Thing

Yesterday I had a horrible evening but also a wonderful thing. Let me tell you my tale of woe: 

 Yesterday (and today) I had a training course in the art of phlebotomy so I can be a phabulous and phlamboyant phlebotomist now. This was held at a hotel that's near East Midlands Airport actually in the middle of smegging nowhere, meaning I had to get the airport bus into town so that I could get a bus home again. This is where all the fun started.
My course finished at 5pm and the next bus wasn't until 5.49 which was a teeny bit annoying but not much I could do about it. I set an alarm on my phone for 5.45 and sat in the lobby of the hotel doing sudoku, and enjoying the 90s music that was playing on the TV in the bar area.
 At 5.48 I checked my phone to realise my alarm hadn't gone off. I legged it outside to the bus stop (literally outside the hotel door, up 5 steps) to watch the bus pull away in a cloud of horrible smelling exhaust fumes. Slightly cross, I trudged back into the bar to resume my sudoku for another hour.
That was rather annoying, and I was now a little bit cross, but life was still bearable. Then this happened:
It was the rugby apparently.

Now I was annoyed. And by this time getting really rather peckish as I hadn't eaten since lunch. Wisely I had decided to spend my last £1 on 20 minutes of internet rather than something I could put in my face and so now my stomach was rumbling. Luckily, I found half of Friday's flapjack in my bag. Result.
So I sat and whiled away my time, constantly checking my phone, and at 6.45 I went to stand outside for the next bus. Which either didn't show up or was so early it hadn't stopped at my bus stop, and just so happened was the LAST BUS that went by that stop. By 7.05 I was cold, exhausted, hungry, really ill (have had a horrible cold since Thursday) and close to tears with the realisation that I might now have to go home via a whole extra city which would add another hour/hour and a half to my journey.
Another bus pulled up on the opposite side of the road, and I ran across so I could ask the driver what my best course of action was. In response to me running across in front of him with all the grace and dignity of a baby hippo, he looked me square in the eyes, shook his head, shut his doors and pulled away. I did what any sensible person in this situation would do; promptly burst into tears. After about 5 minutes of this, I realised that it was snowing, and it was so cold that my tears were hurting my cheeks. So I pulled myself together (read: wrapped my scarf around my face so no-one could see me) and scurried back inside the hotel to mop myself up in their loos.
No-longer tear stained and wretched, but still feeling pretty miserable, I plonked myself back in the lobby to wait for the bus that would take me to another city. Then I got out my phone and fired off this text to 5 lovely ladies:
"Darlings, if one of you is free please talk to me because I'm in major need of a cheerup right now"
which was probably the most sensible thing I'd done all evening.
This is where the wonderful thing happened. Over the next couple of hours, every single one of them replied to me with messages of sympathy, encouragement, concern and things to make me laugh. One of them completely filled my Twitter and my Facebook walls with things that made me smile and giggle like a loon when I saw them, whilst simultaneously repeatedly texting me the words 'Boobs' and 'Pants' to make me laugh (Don't ask. I'm not going to tell you even if you do).
No, really
One of them offered me a lift today so I didn't have to deal with the same horrendous bus issues and I was the gratefullest of grateful things. They all helped me feel better in one way or another so by the time I was finally, finally on a bus on my way home, I was feeling much more like myself and a lot less like I was going to just sob at everyone endlessly until someone took pity on me. I think sometimes I forget just how much we can rely on our friends for the little things, as well as the big ones, and I forget just how nice it is to have people who will try to make you smile just because you tell them you're having a sad. So thank you ladies, all of you, you were all wonderful  and exactly what I needed. I will buy you all a drink/tea/cake/awesome cocktail/toffee toffee flapjack pie/your poison of choice next time we hang out together because you're marvellous.

Oh and I did get home in the end. EVENTUALLY. These tweets were sent about 20 minutes apart:

MANGO is like an Oyster card but only for buses in Nottingham k?
And when I did get home I ate Ben and Jerry's because I felt like I'd earned it.

So yeah. Look after your friends, and they'll look after you. I'm looking after you all by sharing this video that was sent as one of my cheerups (it'll make you go gooey, promise):

And for future reference, this is my wish list for cheery things:

Oh and hugs are good too.



Thursday, 21 February 2013

Stuck In The Middle

I was going to choose a much more sensible picture until
I saw this and knew it had to happen! (Source)
I recall a conversation with a friend of mine once regarding a comment I made about my (then) boyfriend, something along the lines of me not understanding why he seemed to have no ambitions to move out of a job he didn't really get treated very well in and didn't get paid enough for, why, even though he knew it was unfair, he didn't do anything about it. Her response was something like "Well it's coz all his friends are still in uni and therefore he's better off than us all. When we graduate next year and get jobs and move out he might get a kick up the arse because he'll no longer be best off any more."

Of course by the time my graduation rolled around he was no longer my boyfriend, so all of that is by the by and I am none the wiser about his life choices. The reason I bring it up though is because I think I'm experiencing something of that same effect only in reverse. As I mentioned, I graduated in July last year with no idea what I wanted to do with myself from that point. I still don't. In the seven months since that day, I've been employed for two of them in a temporary part time job and the rest I've basically bummed around for.
So many of my friends are still students, studying at the university I'd still be in if I could, living in the city that I love that I think some part of my brain refuses to accept that it has to be an adult about these things and continues to live vicariously though all my friends. I still don't consider myself an adult, not really, not compared to my friends who are getting proper jobs and getting married and having children, I still think I'm a student, and only need a part time job in a bar to get by. I'm 22 years old and I am living exactly the same way as I was when I was 16ish, only without the distraction of college 4/5 times a week.

I don't really feel confident that I'd get a full time, proper adult job if I applied for them, whereas I know I can get a part time, unskilled one easy peasy, and so I tend to apply for those, inside my little comfort zone of ignorance. I want to move out of my parents' house, I really want to move back to Sheffield but I'm not doing anything that will facilitate these dreams in any way, because I still think I'm a student inside and nothing really matters much. I'm in this limbo state (now you understand the Hoff reference...) between being a student in that weird world that only exists when you're at university and being a proper real grown up, responsible for myself and pushing myself to achieve all the things I want to. I know that my future lies squarely in my hands, but I'm too scared to do anything with it, so I just curl back up under my quilt and hide away from the world. I don't really think I believe I can achieve anything, and am constantly disappointing myself.

And who knows, maybe in a few months time when all the rest of my friends have graduated and got themselves swanky proper jobs, when I realise that I'm bottom of the pile, maybe that will push me to get a grip on myself and sort something out for once. I can only hope so because otherwise I'll remain this useless person forever, and I really don't want that for myself. I want to make myself proud of me, it's just really hard sometimes.


Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Why Don't Shops Sell Clothes in MY SIZE?

Used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi
So I went browsing in a shop the other day*, saw a couple of things I liked on the sale rale and took them into the changing room to try on. As you do, you know, like normal. Both of the items I had picked up were a size 18 which is what size I happen to be** and so I expected them to fit me. As you do. What happened was this: The lovely teal dress I tried I had expected not to fit me around the shoulder region. Normally size 18 dresses won't do up above about my bra strap level so I was expecting disappointment, but I could barely get my bum in it and it wouldn't zip higher than my lower back. The second item was more promising; a not-really-wool long T-shirt/short dress type thing. I did get it on but the sleeves were so tight that they hurt (which is definitely not something I look for in my clothes!) and the actual dress was also really tight. I could have worn it-it looked fine, but I wouldn't have felt comfortable in it at all. My conclusion is that these clothes were not really a size 18. I wouldn't have minded if they had said they were a 14/16 on the label but 18 on the hanger, then I would have realised my mistake and left it. Or even if they were sized differently in the first place-I wouldn't have tried them on then. But why go to the bother of making clothes in larger sizes if they're not actually the sizes they claim to be? Why go "Come and shop in our shop, we do lots of common sizes and we're awesome" when you really mean "we don't want to sell you clothes if you are bigger than a certain size!" Don't even get me started on Primark-whoever decided that the difference between a size 10 and a size 20 is simply about 6 inches in length but no other dimensions is a total idiot who has never met an actual woman.

More recently, I went shopping in the Dorothy Perkins online sale and treated myself to this lovely dress in a size 20, note a full size ABOVE my actual size (because dresses are weird shapes, basically!). I collected it from the store and took it to the changing rooms to try on. So far so good. Unzipping the dress, I tried to pull it on in the normal fashion-over the head. I couldn't get the waistband (which if you look at the picture you'll notice is quite tight) over my boobs. I thought this was a little odd but nevertheless continued undeterred. Thinking perhaps that you had to get into it in the more unconventional method of pulling it up over your hips, I tried this. This time I couldn't get the waistband over my bum. I thought perhaps I hadn't unzipped it all the way, but on closer inspection, I had, from neck to hip level. I tried again to get it over my head, thinking I had originally got the underskirt tangled up thus preventing my success. Nope, even with pulling the underskirt down first it wouldn't go on. I ask you this: why would a designer make a dress that was a size 20, when a size 18 woman can't even get it on because the designer waistband (which I'm sure would have made it look lovely on) is un-stretchy and ill-sized? Normally I don't have a problem with Dotty P's stuff, I own a lot of their clothes and regularly fit into a size 18 with no issues at all, so I can only conclude that this was a spectacularly poorly designed dress that can only be worn with people who don't have any body fat at all or who are made of elastic, and therefore can stretch themselves thinner to get into it. I'm sure it would have looked absolutely lovely on Mrs. Incredible.

It's bad enough that so many shops don't even make ranges in any sizes above a 16***, maybe an 18 at a push, like just because you're a larger person it means you can't shop in fashionable shops if you want to. Then the shops that do stock our sizes appear to be squeezing us out (pun totally intended) as well by making their clothes just a smidgen too small to be comfortable, or to do up correctly, or for us to fit in at all. Let's face it, clothing designers, Britain is getting fatter. If the UK average is a size 16 then if the rest of the data fits on a bell curve there are as many size 18 people out there as size 14, as many 20s as 12s (Yes, I'm dumbing all this down for the purposes of this post, don't focus on my [lack of] knowledge of statistics and averages, OK?). Surely then, you should be looking out for us larger ladies as much as your skinnier clientele, surely you should be wanting us to spend our money in your shops and look amazing in your clothes as a walking advertisement too, instead of driving us away by making ill fitting clothes that clearly aren't in the sizes you proclaim them to be. Here's a hint, when you're making them, GET PEOPLE TO TRY THEM ON IN EVERY SIZE. That way you'd know beforehand when you were making a dress that has a waistband rendering it utterly useless to anyone with lumps and bumps and could rectify this before rolling them out to the shops.
Instead, I'm complaining to Dotty P's and writing this blog post. HEY. I'm a size 18, not some magical made up size in your head, Mx. Designer. I want to buy clothes that fit me, thanks. Make it so.


*Disclaimer: The other day in this instance actually equals a few months ago now. I started writing this then ran out of steam in the middle.
**admittedly I am an 18/20 in dresses due to my gargantuan shoulders, but still.
***Don't even get me started on this, that's another blog post for another day!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Five Minute Fridays: Beloved

I realised something yesterday-that Valentine’s Day shouldn’t just be all about romance, it shouldn’t just be viewed as a day to spend in a couple reminding each other why you love each other, but it should be celebrated with everyone you love. It’s a day where you should take a little time to tell everyone that you love that they matter to you, that you think they’re amazing and that you care about them. I really enjoyed my Valentine’s Day and I didn’t do anything romantic or especially love-centric. I went to see 4:48 Psychosis with my friends-a play that is definitely not themed around Valentine’s subjects-it’s very dark and tells a tale of very severe depression. But it was very good, and I enjoyed the fact that I got to spend time in good company watching some theatre (one of my favourite things to do.)

 My best friend gave me flowers and came around to my house just to hang out with me-we didn’t do anything other than lie on my bed and veg out with each other but it was really nice to see her. People posted nice things on my Facebook wall, on my blog post, sent me texts that made me giggle. A lady commented on how fabulous my new Doc Martens were (let’s face it, she’s right there) and it really made me smile. | I discovered this website and it made me feel wonderful.

So to all my friends reading this, if I didn’t tell you yesterday; I love you. You’re brilliant. You matter. You’re absofuckinglutely amazing. You make me smile, make me laugh and fill my life with awesome things and I’m so glad that I know each and every one of you. And I hope you all had fantastic Valentine’s Days, whatever you did. 

NB:  |  denotes where my 5 minute alarm went off.

If you want to know what Five Minute Fridays are all about/take part yourself, more information can be found here:

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Dreaded V-Word.

So it's my first Valentine's Day as a singleton (in a while, at least), and I'm cool with that. I actually have always quite liked Valentine's Days myself, I've had some lovely ones and I don't feel like I can begrudge it to anyone who's still enjoying it now. I definitely don't hate the day, don't hate being "constantly reminded I don't have a significant other" as a lot of people seem to moan about, don't really mind it at all. And yes, I know it's completely commercialised, but then again what holiday isn't nowadays? The thing I've always liked is looking outside the hearts and flowers and chocolates to buy someone a gift they really want and will cherish, a gift that really says 'I Love You' or 'I like you' or 'I want to get naked with you and do the no pants dance together' or whatever sentiments you wish to convey. Regardless, this isn't what this post is about.

What this post is about is this: I found a cool thing and I want to share it. This is the cool thing: NaBloPoMo (sounds ridiculous, I know) which means National Blog Posting Month (I think)-encouraging bloggers to post every day for a month on a theme. I've discovered it too late to join in this month, but I might in the future if there's a theme that captures my inspiration. They have created a list of 20 prompts to help you along and I've decided as a Valentine's treat for you all (haha) to use the prompts to create a mini Q&A on the theme. Basically just because I can.

[NB: This post is loooooong. I won't be annoyed (or indeed know) if you skip to the end!]

Prompt 1: When was the last time you said "I love you"?
Honestly, I don't know. It was probably as an exasperated response to one of my parents to get them to finally hang up the phone. I definitely tweeted it at a friend earlier in response to a silly thing she did that tickled me, does that count?

2: Tell us about your first crush.
We were in infant school together, and I was his girlfriend and he was my boyfriend. We held hands and played kiss chase and he deliberately let me catch him so I had to kiss him on the back of his neck. He let me play with his Transformers toys and his Mum gave me Vimto for the first time. Ah the heady days of young love.

3: How old were you the first time you fell in love?
Sceptics amongst you won't believe me but I was 15. It was a very immature kind of love, but I definitely loved him. It was why I was so scared of letting him go for so long.

4: Do you remain friends with ex-boyfriends after you break up?
Apparently not, no.

5. Describe your ideal date night
Well for starters my ideal date night would be with someone I already knew well enough to talk to, because the idea of going on a date with a stranger scares the pants off me. I think maybe a trip to the theatre or even just a night on the sofa watching silly DVDs and eating takeaway-something relaxed and fun to take the pressure away from the fact that OMGTHISISADATEAAAH. Which is what would be happening inside my head.

6. Name the most romantic movie of all time.
Ugh, I dunno, I don't watch soppy love films. I'm going to go with Love Actually or Bridget Jones because they're ones I've actually seen (and they're funny too, which is a plus!)

7. What's your ideal Valentine's celebration?
Probably the same as the date to be honest, something fun and relaxed. As long as I got to spend a good amount of time with the person I loved being horrendously soppy and romantic and then later show him my (undoubtedly) new underwear, I'm all good.

8. What's your favourite Valentine's Day candy?
I'm a chocolate girl, milk if given a choice. I once got given a giant chocolate heart for V-Day, it was over a centimetre thick and about 20 centimetres tall. AND REALLY YUMMY.

10. (9 wasn't really applicable to a Brit!) How do you feel about Valentine's Day?
See above really. I happen to like it because I can ignore all the commercialised crap and just enjoy spending a day with someone where they're trying to be romantic if they wouldn't normally. It's a day I can have them all to myself without complaint, and no-one expects anything other than you to be totally engrossed in the person you love for a day. I think that's nice, really. I don't begrudge happy couples a happy day.

11. How did this Valentine's Day compare with previous ones?
Well. See this is a weird question to answer because due to the amazing powers of scheduling blogs and insomnia I'm writing this a week before the day itself (Hello from the past!) so I don't actually know how this V-Day has turned out. This year though, the big difference is that I'm single, so I probably won't be doing much apart from getting a card from my best mate that she'll pretend she had nothing to do with AGAIN.
Last year's was fun, me and my housemate both had our boyfriends over and acted like giddy schoolgirls all day because we were so excited. We made Exploding Chocolate Gateaux  which was really yummy and we cooked together and generally the day had a bit of a community spirit to it, which was rather fun-getting to share your happiness with someone else being happy is nice.

12. What's the most romantic book you've ever read?
Again, as with the films, I don't really read romantic books. I read books with murder and gore and tired policemen in, they don't really go in for romantic. I know I've read books where the protagonists fell in love and I felt it alongside them, the kind of books where you're just a bit too engrossed in the story and it's actually happening to you. But outside of that moment I am hard pushed to remember any.

13. Martin Luther King Jr. said "I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear." Which is easier for you to feel: love or hate?
I think it depends on the situation; I fall fast and hard when I'm falling in love and then it's difficult for me to feel anything else. However I think it's easier to hate someone than love someone, because hate is a much more simple emotion. You know you don't like someone for X, Y, Z reasons and therefore you don't want to spend time with them. With love, it's a bazillion times more complicated and can leave you feeling on top of the world or shattered into pieces depending on the situation. And who can ever really say with any certainty what made you fall in love with someone (unless you break it down to simple brain chemistry) and what keeps you falling in love with them every time you see them? Hating someone is simple, loving someone is much more of a mind-fuck.

14. Immature love says 'I love you because I need you.' Mature love says 'I need you because I love you.' How do you define mature love?
I don't know. Does anyone? Relationships are constantly evolving and changing and so is the way you love someone. I'm not sure I have experienced mature love yet, if there is indeed such a thing. Ask me again in 10/20 years.

15. Do you think people can live without love?
No. I mean in the short term, yes. But over a lifetime? No. Being in love is one of the best things, and I certainly couldn't go forever without feeling that again. I think it's one of the things we all live for.

16. Aristotle said "Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies." Do you agree or disagree?
Hard to say really. I think if I said I agreed then I'd have to admit to believing in the notion of soul mates, which is something I am still undecided on. I love the idea of soul mates, that person that's the other half of your jigsaw piece, and I also believe that they don't have to be romantic-that person could be your best mate, or even someone you can't stand. However, if I did commit to believing in that, I'd also have to admit to myself that I may have met mine (at the start we were like two halves of a whole, male and female equivalents of each other), gone out with him for 3 years and now don't even speak to him, which is a bit galling.
So I think I'm going to disagree with Aristotle. I'm going to say that love is a connection between two people that no-one else can experience, for every love is different and you won't love two people in the same two ways. It's two heartbeats beating the same rhythm, two brains thinking the same thoughts, two bodies matched perfectly together. The jury's still out on souls.

17. Do you think you would enjoy being a "sex symbol"?
Ha! Probably a bit too much. I'd certainly be an nontraditional one-I doubt I'm a lot of people's idea of "sexy". Still, I imagine it would be fun, for a while.

18. Do you think sex education should come from the parents, the school or both?
BOTH. (I rant about this here) This is really hypocritical of me but I think parents and children should talk about sex without it being awkward (hypocritical because I still basically run away if my parents mention it, and I'm 22!), and should certainly discuss contraception and how to protect yourself against unwanted babies and unwanted STIs. And personally, I don't care how religious the school is, I think it should be mandatory that all educational establishments have to teach Sex Ed, teach kids that Penis + Vagina often = Baby plus a host of other nasties, and Penis + Condom + Pill/other form of contraception + Vagina is a much more sensible way to go about things. I'm amazed how often people my age don't know about contraception, and wonder how this is possible/allowed, then proceed to fill them in on everything I know.  School kids need to know this people, 'coz they're going to start trying sooner or later and surely it's better they try safely than obliviously?? </endrant>

19. Mae West described sex as "emotion in motion." Discuss.
To be honest, this just makes me giggle a bit. I don't really think sex is that emotional, not right in the moment when you're all sweaty and enjoying yourself as much as you can whilst trying not to get cramp and still look alluring. Before/Afterwards, sure, it's a big snuggly mess of lovely emotions-and I acknowledge that it's a physical expression of your love for each other, yes. During though, not so much. During is for getting your rocks off and not worrying about too many emotions at the same time, and sure, you may get a huge rush of love as well as a huge rush of orgasm, but I definitely wouldn't describe it as 'emotion in motion', no.

And finally...When do you feel your sexiest?
On perfectly ordinary days, when I stick on clothes that make me feel amazing, and spend the day feeling awesome and wanting everyone to appreciate how damn sexy I look that day. Usually they're wasted on days where I have nothing to do and no-one to see though, unfortunately.
That, and those times when you're with someone who knows you completely and loves every part of you and they just can't stop touching you and kissing you and telling you how sexy you are to them, they're moments that make you feel pretty amazing too.

End. Well that was pretty fun, actually, dissecting some of those things I'd never normally think about, let alone blog about. If you've read this entire blog to this point then I suspect you're alone on this Valentine's Day too, so hello you single folk. Hope you're not spending your day locked inside to avoid all the happy couples and hating the world. And if you're not a single folk, stop wasting time reading my blog and go and jump on your someone (clothes optional)! This is your day afterall!

TL;DR-Happy Valentine's Day folks! Whether you spent it bumping uglies with your significant other, being vomit-makingly romantic or on your own and loving/hating it, I hope you had a good un!


Monday, 11 February 2013

No Make Up Monday No-No

At the start of the year one of my favourite websites-Operation Beautiful launched a new campaign-No Make Up Mondays. To quote their site, 'The mission of Operation Beautiful is to post anonymous notes in public places for other people to find. The point is that WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL. You are enough... just the way you are!', which is something I really support. It may be cliched, but I know that if you're having a rubbish day and you find something nice written somewhere it can really make you smile. In my life, I've found 2, both at my student's union. One of these was shortly after my breakup, tied to a door handle, put there by the Women's Committee. I picked it up and put it in my purse because it made me feel slightly better in a time where I really needed the little things. It's still there. So while it might not change the world, if it makes one person feel better when they really need a smile, I'm all for it-I've even posted an anonymous note or two in my time.

This new idea though, No Make Up Mondays, I have mixed feelings about. While I do agree with some of the points it raises, I don't agree with the idea completely. Yes I do believe that young girls and women should be encouraged to feel happy in their own skin. I agree that the idea that you don't have to wear make up to be beautiful is something that more people should talk about and take to heart more than they do in our current climate. People should definitely be shown more that you don't need make up to be happy, to be loved, to be beautiful, that you don't have to rely on make up to get you where you want to go in life. But, even saying all that, I don't see make up as the enemy. In previous blogs, I've mentioned that I believe that before you change something about yourself because you don't like it, you should change the way you think about it. Make up, for me, falls rather more into the latter camp than the former. If you feel unhappy with the way you look, but when you put a bit of make up on feel completely satisfied and beautiful, then it's probably doing your self confidence more good than harm. I know people who don't wear a full face everyday, but do wear a layer of foundation to even out their skin tone, or mascara to make their eyes seem bigger or lipstick to add a little colour or whatever it is, and I know that some of these people would feel very uncomfortable going out in public without any make up at all. It's not that it's a barrier, or something to hide behind, but it's something that makes them feel more normal, less self conscious about their looks, more beautiful, and I don't-and won't-begrudge them it. I do think people can wear too much make up-if it's taking hours to put on every morning, even just to go to the corner shop and buy milk, and they have to sleep in it too because they can't let their boyfriend see them without make up on then they have a pretty serious (psychological) problem, but taking their make up away won't cure it.

I think No Make Up Mondays are, overall, a positive thing, but something that's going to be different for everyone, simply because of the nature of it. For people like me, who regularly do No Make Up Monday-Sundays (either because I don't get dressed for a whole week, or because I forget, or simply because I can't be arsed!) it's meaningless. If you're someone who uses make up just to gain enough confidence to feel good about the way you look then the thought of going without it is going to make you uncomfortable, and may be pretty terrifying for some. If you're someone who is already wondering if you wear too much make up, or want to set yourself a challenge, or want to see if anyone would notice, or just want to see what you look like without it then it's definitely something you should try-and I hope it makes you feel beautiful. If it doesn't though, then just don't do it again. While I definitely agree that no-one should feel like they have to wear make up in order to feel beautiful, to be successful, to get a boyfriend or any other reason, they should also never be made to feel like they have to do without too.
Whatever works for you to make you feel brilliant about yourself works for me too.


Saturday, 9 February 2013

Five Minute Fridays

In my insomniac madness the other night when I was searching the corners of the internet for solace in the blog of a stranger or two I happened upon something wonderful-the Five Minute Friday project. Described (rather accurately) as a 'writing flash mob' by the person who came up with the idea, the challenge is to write for 5 minutes only, unedited, unscripted, inspired only by a prompt word posted at midnight on Friday mornings (which is unfortunately 5AM for us Brits!), simply for the joy of writing. Then everyone who's participated link all their efforts to a post and take the time to read and comment on at least one other person's. I think it's lovely-it really unites people in blogging together regardless of the wildly different topics their blogs may normally be on, and there's so many different and interesting posts all inspired by a single word. Some are fictional, some are true to life and some are beautiful, and this is something I want to get involved with. I'm not going to stay up until 5AM every Friday morning so I can do it live with the other participants but I am going to try and devote five minutes of my life every Friday to writing 200 words or so. I'll post some of them, not others, depending on what the prompt is and the post that results from it.

This week, for example, the prompt word is 'Bare'. I've read a few-there's a lot of religious posts about laying yourself bare before God etc etc, there's some about the bare trees of winter, some just about feeling bare without a certain person/object in their lives. Me? I wrote 215 words about being naked, in my usual uncompromisingly honest way. I wonder what they're going to make of me? I definitely don't fit into this community made of mothers and religious folk, I am neither of those things and I am unlikely to ever be. I've read a lot of the 'Bare' entries and not read a single swear word yet-I can only imagine that my posts are going to be heavily disapproved of. But I still want to do it, more because I really like the idea than anything else, it's fresh and it's different and a tiny bit wonderful. Whether my posts go down like a lead balloon or are enjoyed with the humour they're intended to have, it's going to be interesting, that's for sure.


NB If you want to take part in Five Minute Fridays then all the details are here:
The prompts are updated every Friday morning at 12:01 EST/5:01 GMT but the link stays open for the whole week, so you can complete it at any time. If you do, send me a link, I'd love to read your take on it. 

Thursday, 7 February 2013

The 4am Blues

So it would appear that my insomnia is back again, and this time it bought a friend along for the journey-a hefty dose of paranoia and worrying. Which is, y'know, fun. You know those little, niggly things that if you thought of any other time of day you'd swat away like an annoying insect intent on feasting on you? Have you ever noticed how if they sneak up on you when you're trying to go to sleep they become the biggest things in the world? They circle around and around in your brain getting bigger and bigger and suddenly you definitely aren't going to sleep because this is all you can think about and you have no idea how you're going to solve the problem and it's really rather worrying. So I gave up and tried to get out of bed. In the process of doing this I managed to whack my knee pretty hard on* the side of the bed which left me writhing in agony and swearing like a sailor for a while. Once this had subsided from a raging fire to a dull ache (and a lovely bruise), I again attempted to stand up. Bearing in mind that I live in an attic, bearing in mind that my writhing had left me in a slightly further back poisiton than I thought I was and bearing in mind I have low beams at just about head height you can probably guess what happened next. By this point I was already over tired and emotionally frought and the bang on the head was enough to tip me over from in control to emotional wreck. It didn't even hurt that much, but I was fighting back the tears all the same, and just felt a bit shitty about everything.
This time last year I would have had a friend on another continent who would put up with me being miserable at her for a bit and then generally make me feel better by balancing things on her head. It was the only time when the time difference between here and Australia wasn't a bitch to navigate, when I was having a 5am meltdown and she was calmly sitting there in the middle of the afternoon just being strange to me to make me smile. Nowadays she's back residing in RightWayUpLand and so is currently asleep like most normal people are at this time of day, which is wonderful, most of the time, but leaves me bereft of a cheerer upper at times like this**.
So what's an emotional, close to tears and in need of a friend girl to do at 4am when everyone else is slumbering? Answer: Turn to the internet.
Somehow I stumbled upon some wonderful blogs. And I read them, and they made me giggle a little (especially this one) and then I felt better. Much better in fact. It's like there's this whole network of people all talking to each other-maybe not directly, but through their blogs. Whatever problem you're having, someone else has had it too, and written about it in their own little corner of the internet just so you can read it and feel relieved that you're not alone, that there is a solution, that it's really nothing to worry about really. It's a really supportive and awesome community, that of the blogging peeps, whether they are directly talking to you on Google+ (I Google+ now, Google+ is cool.) or whether it's just putting out awesome blogs designed to put a smile on your face. Either way, I'm pleased that I am a tiny little part of it.

And to all my fellow bloggers,


*I'm glad I proof read this. There was originally no space between hard and on. I would just like to clarify that I did not knock my knee on a hardon-there's scarce few of those in my life at the moment and if one came along I probably wouldn't take my knee to it. Well...not straight away anyway.
**Something which I don't attribute any blame to her for, because I can almost guarantee I've just made her feel guilty about it. If so, sorrysorry. It wasn't meant that way, I'm tired and it's silly AM and I'm writing a blog post coz that's what I do now.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

How Rude!

Have to confess to a slight confession with the Cheezburger sites,
but when I saw this I knew it was perfect for this post!
People nowadays no longer seem to care that manners are important and that it's courteous to other people existing around you in the world to not just consider yourself in everyday situations. I mean I know we all have bad days where we just completely hate everyone else in the world, but even then, when I'm striding down the street eminating fury out at all the people around me, if I bumped into someone (for example) I'd still instantly and instinctively apologise to them simply because it's rude not to. If someone is walking behind you through a doorway and you don't hold it but allow it to slam back in their face then you're a bit of a nob unless you were genuinely oblivious to their presence.

I think it's worse in the work place-I was lucky enough not to experience this at the theatre but if I get the bar job I applied for last week I almost certainly will do-when "the customer is always right" attitude becomes "the customer is going to be rude to you because you're merely there to serve them and they're always right". Another of my favourite internet procrastination sites is and it has a lot of stories of customers being uneccesarily rude to the people who were serving them, which seems to be a sad fact of life now- if you work in any job that involves dealing with the public then at some point someone is going to be discourteous to you just because they can. It's so uneccesary-what do you get out of being rude and insulting to someone when you could have smiled and been polite? The people who work behind the till are just as deserving as a kind word and a grin as anyone else, and if you do something stupid or rude then an apology is surely always warranted. 

It's not just at work though-more and more I seem to notice people being really rude in daily life, in various situations:

Example 1: I was at Derby train station, trying to find a seat in the waiting room to get out of the cold. All the seats were taken bar one, which a woman was using as a resting place for her carrier bag which had two books in. When I asked her to move the bag I got such a look of contempt from her, as if I'd just done her a huge injustice by asking if I could sit on the seat rather than continue to allow her to use it as a table. Admittedly this isn't too inconsiderate because she did move them for me, but the very fact she seemed to resent me for asking felt a little rude to me. They're BOOKS. They definitely don't need a seat to themselves.

Example 2: I was lucky enough the other day to be catching a bus at school kick out time, which was FUN.  Normally I'm content enough on buses with my headphones in and a good book, and this was the case here too, until some teenage (not by much, they were probably 12/13ish) lads got on and sat on the back seat behind me. One of them pulled out his mobile and a SPEAKER and proceeded to play his (IMO awful) music very loudly for the whole bus to hear. I took my headphones out and turned around to him and said (these are almost my exact words): "Look, I can hear that through my own music, can you turn it down please? Have a little respect for the other people around you."
What I got back was basically a mouthful of abuse so I stuck my headphones back in and tried to ignore him. Luckily he got off a couple of stops later after giving me the finger and then pressing every bell he passed on the bus just to piss the driver off. A really pleasant young lad, I can tell you. 

Example 3: This one actually happened to a friend of mine, who related it to me through angry text messages later that day. She was at work and there was a woman on the phone in front of her, although standing slightly out of the queue. She called the next person forwards and a man stepped up to her, at which point the woman on the phone started yelling angrily that she was next, not him. He responded with "well you were on the phone so I assumed you weren't waiting" before letting her take his place at the counter. Apparently she remained on the phone throughout and was incredibly rude during the time which my friend was serving her, before storming out and slamming the door so hard that apparently the whole building shook. 

And what purpose does it serve? All it does is make people who are just trying to do their jobs or go about their daily lives upset or angry because no-one gives a shit any more. It makes me sad that we live in a society where this is OK, or even normal. What's wrong with being nice to each other, what's wrong with treating people with a little politeness and courtesy every now and again? Just because you don't know someone personally doesn't mean you shouldn't treat them like a person

What do you think?


Friday, 1 February 2013

30 Posts of Truths


I came across this list of blog post ideas on and it really struck a chord with me-a while ago I said I wanted to make my blog posts more honest, more personal and this seems like an interesting way to do it. Sometimes I can't think of anything to write about but still want to write something, and this is a way of feeling inspired. Plus a little introspection now and then can't hurt, can it?

The List

Part 1 - Something you hate about yourself.
Part 2 - Something you love about yourself.
Part 3 - Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Part 4 - Something you have to forgive someone for.
Part 5 - Something you hope to do in your life.
Part 6 - Something you hope you never have to do.
Part 7 - Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Part 8 - Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.
Part 9 - Someone you didn't want to let go of, but just drifted.
Part 10 - Someone you need to let go of, or wish you didn't know.
Part 11 - Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Part 12 - Something you never get compliments on.
Part 13 - A band or artist that has got you through some tough days (write a letter).
Part 14 - A hero that has let you down (letter).
Part 15 - Something or someone you couldn't live without (because you've tried it).
Part 16 - Something or someone you definitely could live without.
Part 17 - A book you've read that changed your views on something.
Part 18 - Your views on gay marriage.
Part 19 - What do you think of religion or politics?
Part 20 - Your views on drugs/alcohol.
Part 21 - Something that changed your life and at the time you didn't know how.
Part 22 - Something you wish you hadn't done in your life.
Part 23 - Something you wish you had done in your life.
Part 24 - Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs.
Part 25 - An honest letter to your younger self.
Part 26 - What's the best thing in your life right now?
Part 27 - What's the worst thing in your life right now?
Part 28 - What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant. What would you do?
Part 29 - Something you hope to change about yourself and why.
Part 30 - A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself.

I almost certainly won't do them all and I might not do them all in the right order but I will try and do most of them because sometimes I need to think about these things more than I do. The eagle-eyed amongst you will noticed I've already changed a couple from the original list because the originals didn't really fit well with me. You, my dear readers, are not obliged to read them, but if you do you'll probably find out things about me you didn't already know. That's what I hope to discover, at least- a new side to myself.