Today

I woke up feeling the literally the worst I’ve ever felt both in anxiety and desperation terms so we are going outside somewhere. I feel much better doing something. I’m lucky to have the children, otherwise I’m not sure I’d be able to get out of bed today. Goodness knows what’s happened to me, it’s terrifying how quickly it’s got a hold on me. Anyway I refuse to focus on negative as I’m feeling better for getting out of the bed. I’m determined to get through the day and smile at least once! 

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Fashion equality – we are ALL smugos! 

I’ve always loved fashion. I don’t wear it, I just like to look at it. I also love reading the predictions of what this seasons ‘look’ is. 

Today I’ve been conducting important research aka looking at Facebook whilst my children watch Frozen. For the First Time in Forever (even I can hear the tumbleweed) due to their obsession with How To Train Your Dragon. Anyway, I’ve been researching the hair and beauty seen on the catwalk this season. All the blogs have spotted the prevalence of the short fringe. Yes, this is now a thing.   

  

I’ve looked at lots of pictures of short fringes and for once  I am feeling pretty smug. I could never pull off this look but it’s ok, I’m actually fine with this because it looks bloody horrendous! Even the women in the pictures look faintly mortified that the stylist did this to them. I mean they look like French Exchange students circa 1995. As much as the 90’s are in, I’m pretty sure not one of the fashion designers actually have photos of said French Exchange students filling their inspiration boards. Actually, thinking about it, it looks so bloody awful I probably could pull it off with my grey / dull brown frizzy mess and look just as ‘good’. Hurrah for inclusive fashion, at last, a look that everyone can achieve and look equally crap! Well done Fashion Folk, you deserve a trophy for your efforts towards achieving equality! 🏆

And don’t get me started on the Choker Hair. Apparently this really is a thing now. No, really.

 I mean, FFS! Still at least I don’t have to embarrass myself by attempting to pull off this look in my mid 30’s. I plan on finding someone sporting this look and letting her know; it’s alright love, you can keep your short fringe and choker hair. Perhaps we could then arrange to meet in 5/7 years when she’s ready to laugh about it and I can tell her how I ruined my beautiful prom look by liberally smearing my fashionable hair tendrils (you remember that look where you pulled your hair back into the tightest possible ponytail but for some inexplicable reason left two tendril clumps loose either side of your face) with silver hair mascara. After all every generation needs a hair mascara scale error in judgement.

An ode to the library service 

My local Council are currently consulting on changes to the library service. There is talk of streamlining the libraries to make them more modern, efficient and suit the needs of their customers. Of course there are savings to be made, it’s the Tory way. 
I completed the consultation, I’ve encouraged friends and family to do the same but I pressed submit feeling saddened. Whatever the outcome, there will be a reduction in the service provided. And we all have to be prepared for this, the Conservatives have cut the Councils budgets and therefore they will be reducing services provided. Reading between the lines it looks like fewer paid staff and more volunteers staffing the libraries. Because volunteers are the Tory answer to everything. Quite who they think it is that has the time and willingness to basically do paid jobs for free I don’t know. The availability of retired people, the traditional volunteering demographic, is in decline. People are working longer and when they eventually do retire a large proportion are helping their children with childcare or enjoying their freedom. Back to the consultation, it also looks to be the end of the mobile library.
  

  
I’m lucky, I love books, my mum introduced me to books at an early age. My children are lucky, they have access to endless books which I have been shoving in their faces since the day they were born. Seriously, I read a book to my first born within hours of her birth. She didn’t want a story, she didn’t care whether the Lions tail was too fluffy, nor that his paw was too rough she wanted a boob, never to sleep and for me to hold her in the most uncomfortable position possible for the next 8-10months. Anyway, I digress. What about people who have not been introduced to books at a young age? Will they have less ready access? 
You don’t have to look hard to find extensive research which demonstrates a link between reading or ‘book sharing’ at home and an increased vocabulary and academic achievement. Of course anyone who has read Simon James’ Baby Brains can tell you that.  

 Baby Brains is a fully qualified doctor in the first week of his life through reading. Funny that my children didn’t seem to have the same ambition at that age…What’s interesting about this research is that it suggests as long as a child is read to, it makes no difference WHO the parent is (in terms of social class, ethnicity, income etc etc) as its all about WHAT the parent does. 

I would hate to think that the fantastic facility that is our libraries is in the decline. I would hate to think that children in years to come will have less access to books and reading. I get the modern world is changing and perhaps I need to embrace that more but I maintain there is nothing like a good book. Apart from the ‘That’s not my’ books aimed at young children. These books will send you round the twist. Forget Shakespeare, find me a parent of a young child who cannot quote the entire back catalogue of these books. And of course they do feature ‘That’s not my Santa’ who’s sack is too rough apparently. No one likes a rough sack Santa. 

New Year, New Me!

2016! Wow! This really is going to be your year! And mine! Possibilities are endless! The world is all of our oysters (hopefully there are enough oysters to go round, I don’t want to miss out).

Perhaps I’m unique here and missed out on the amazing change bestowed on every other human on the planet but when I woke up at 5.20am (thanks son) on 1st January 2016 I was exactly the same as I was on 31st December 2015. I know! I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it but turns out, despite 2016 being the new exciting future, I lived in the same house, with the same people, I even looked the same (and nothing like the futuristic being I expected). I had the same job, car and hopefully the same friends. I’m feeling pretty confident on that last one, I was ill over Christmas so had limited opportunities to accidently insult anyone after a few too many Baby Shams. But how can this be the case when every article I read tells me that I am now new?! 

The thing about all this newness is that 99.6% of the population are now on a diet.  I am. And on the dawn of this diet, when the Christmas ‘indulgence’ (I like this word, it’s nicer than the alternatives which mainly feature pigs) has done it damage I am really beginning to regret buying m scales that tell you your % body fat. Not helped by my emergency vehicle loving son soundtracking each step onto the scales with a harmony of bloody sirens. Most of us are  on a diet to get us back to the weight we were one week / month / year / decade (delete as appropriate) ago.  So really it’s New Year, Old Me. Plus, let’s face it we are all probably remembering that time we weighed 8 stone*. You know that time after you’d had Norovirus and had consumed minus calories for a week. So really, it’s New Year, Slightly Unachievable Old Me. And do you know what, I’m quite happy with that. I mean Slightly Unachievable Old Me was a bit of a twat but I’ve heard New Me is a right dick so I’m sticking with what I know. 

* I am not remembering the time I weighed 8 stone due to it being so far back in the mists of time. In fact, I cannot hand on heart say there ever was an 8 stone. I’ve always been an over achiever in weight terms so perhaps I skipped 8 and went straight to 12? 

Having nothing to say

When I started my blog I was bubbling over with excited enthusiasm, visualise a blog puppy if you will.  I wanted to share my thoughts and it probably was going to be the most successful blog in the world (blog puppies aim high). 

Then in August my friend died. She had cancer. She was young, it was terribly terribly cruel and from that moment on I had nothing to say. Because everything felt so meaningless compared to the bitterly unfair death of my friend. I don’t want sympathy because I had a friend who died. People suffer worse. And I would be furious with anyone who pitied me or her, she was the last person you’d pity. But there was a void. It’s a bit like a cancer bomb has exploded and everything needs to be rebuilt but nothing can ever be the same again. 

Life goes on of course, it always does. I could say that she wouldn’t want me to stop blogging because she has died but actually she’d wonder why the fuck I was bothering with a blog that no one reads. She’d think it was ridiculous. I quite like ridiculous and in some ways so did she. 

What makes Britain British (part one)

Garden shows and Summer Fetes. To me, a British summer isn’t complete without attending at least one rain soaked fete or gardening show. 

A successful fete needs to contain the following;

  1. Lucky dip
  2. Bric-a-brac 
  3. Hook a duck
  4. Tombola
  5. Raffle

Of course now I have children the only safe activity is the Bric-a-brac stall which boasts both an element of choice (child) and control (adult). The uninitiated would be forgiven for thinking that a lucky dip would also fall into the safe category what with being prize every time and all but no. The risks here are two fold;

  1. Your delightful offspring releases their inner ungrateful little shit. The lucky dip prize is declared rubbish and abandoned. Or they throw themselves to the floor with disappointment that it’s not the most expensive garish toy they’ve seen in the Argos catalogue. Either way is followed by sulking all round.  
  2. Jealousy. This only applies if you have multiple children. One gets something shit and the other the best toy ever. I’m not going to give examples as let’s face it, if one child’s lucky dip prize was the Crown Jewels and the other a tub of cat vomit they’d still argue. 

  These days I have to start preparing my children that they *might* not win the Tombola / raffle at least a week in advance. The last fete I attended I spent 45 mins calming my slightly older one when she didn’t win the giant Winnie the Pooh cuddly toy that was bigger than her (both a blessing and a curse) on the Tombola. Fate smiled on me when I decided to leave before I throttled her as who should we see on the way out? Yes! The proud winner of the aforementioned Winnie the Pooh. As you can imagine, having it waved in her face by an ecstatic child really improved my daughters mood.

Garden shows are safe though. Apart from the risks associated with my son aka The Destroyer of all Things. I particularly like a miniature garden. I think it’s the random scaling that I like most. You know, a teeny tiny cabbage next to a cat the relative size of an elephant. Or in this case, acorns as large as the lawnmower. Think of the size the squirrels must be in this frankly terrifying alternate reality! 

 It was my mum that made me think of how much I enjoy a good Fete / gardening show and how unique they are to Britain. She’s a craft judge at gardening shows. This week, in the ‘any other craft’ class of a show she was judging she had to choose between a patchwork quilt, a photo, a painting and a taxidermy hamster wearing a chefs hat and holding a tray of toffee apples. FYI The hamster came third. Apparently it was very well made.  I 💙 Britain. 

Why anxiety rules my world

Often I find that my life is a finely tuned balance and if that balance shifts just ever so slightly, anxiety finds its way in. It shouldn’t do but it’s like a fog and before you know it, you are emerged in it and can’t see a way out. The nights are the worst for me, I lay in bed subsumed by a feeling of panic. It stops me from sleeping, from functioning. I feel as if I’m going to burst from the anxiety, that my heart is going to explode from racing so much. 

I so wish I could take a paracetamol and it be gone but I can’t. 
One day anxiety will be viewed in society just like a broken leg, or an ongoing physical medical issue but right now it’s not. It’s not because there is a still a stigma surrounding mental health. I don’t talk about my mental health outside my close friends, and perhaps that’s how it should be but. I’d still like to feel that I could have a chat about it with a colleague whilst making tea, just as I would if my arm was in a cast. After all, for those of us suffering from any health issues, the worst thing is feel you have to suffer alone.