Thursday, 25 September 2014

A Blessed Life (A blog about death)

As part of my day job I am required to take a palliative care course. Palliative care is the care of a person in the last year of their life, and it's care of a person in their death. I've managed to dodge out of this for the last 4 years because I just knew with being the over sensitive creature that I am, it might just be too much for me to bear.

And it's true. I often talk about my dismal sex life and rarely talk about death. Upon finding out I had to have a (very minor) operation at the beginning of the year (that I still yak on about) I told my husband precisely what I wanted doing with my body and at my funeral. He didnt listen. I'm sure he'd have just shoved me in the ground and then I'd have to haunt him for eternity.

But our death is as important as our life.

I just want to quickly say, I am blessed. I might have been through a few shit situations in life and I'm not 100% happy with how everything turned out, but I know that I am blessed.

So much so that I would be totally fine if I were to be hit by a bus tomorrow. Honestly, I feel as complete as I think I should feel for this stage of my life and I firmly believe that I'd be back before long.

So, when I die, I want to be put in a wicker coffin wearing a white muslin dress. If whoever is dressing me cant get hold of that specifically, I'll be more than happy to be wrapped in white muslin fabric (as I would wrap a towel around me, so shoulders and arms uncovered). Theres loads of that in my sewing room so they can help themselves. Bare feet. No make-up, no jewellery. Daisies in my hair, hair curled.

I want flowers to be woven and threaded into the coffin.

Anyone can attend, but you will have to be in bare feet. If you insist on wearing shoes don't bother coming. Be prepared to hold eachothers hands. Burn me. Scatter my ashes wherever there are trees and flowers.

As trivial as all this sounds (and morbid, I'm sure), It's important to me that this is how my body is disposed of. This is my ritual. This will be my goodbye. And I will make sure each and every one of you knows how much I loved you in life. As long as you have bare feet.

Monday, 25 August 2014

When did Lingerie become so Blah?

Womens underwear has gone through such enormous transitions throughout history and thankfully, so have women. Society has embraced femininity allowing us to finally be who we want to be with little to nothing standing in our way (at least, thats what we are raised to believe).

So why on earth is something that is the epitome of femininity suddenly so boring and drab?

There are at least eight (count them!) lingerie shops or departments in Nottingham and yet I was still reduced to throwing a strop and declaring that I'd sooner open my own then buy from any of them(!!) Out of all of them, only one had lingerie I even considered purchasing and then they didn't have my size. Seems as though I'm not the only one with good taste as apparently, every other self respecting woman had got there before me.

I am going to tell you what the difference is between the tat and the not-tat.

When you put on your underwear you should actually have that split second feeling of empowerment. If you have time to spare you should most definitely spend it in front of the mirror basking in that feeling. That's your body and it looks awesome! That's your body and it feels magnificent. That's your body and yes, you can conquer anything life throws at you.

Now step away from the mirror.

That is the feeling you will have when you put that bra/knicker set on. Not just the first time, but every time.

If the feeling you get is an underwhelming exhilation and it has your shoulders dropping, you're wearing tat.

So, after you've had that mega moment of bliss, you get dressed and somehow your clothes look 40 times better than the time you wore them with that day-glo-chav-crap underneath. You suddenly walk a bit taller (and those heels are epic and somehow even your legs look tremendously endless thanks to those knickers you're wearing) and you know that should you get hit by a bus, you will look amazing when the paramedic is cutting off your shirt!

Will you have that same assurance with the fuchsia-pink-with-leopard-print-trim piece of rubbish? I saw one like that only yesterday and... HELLO ADMINISTRATION!

On a somewhat cattier note, I hope to actual god that these so called lingerie "designers" aren't getting paid more than minimum wage?! Because there is zero skill in taking the same design and pumping it out in 40 different colours.


And, before any of you roll your eyes in derision at my "expensive" (or pretentious) taste. A good bra doesnt have to cost more than £25 but certainly should cost more than £15.

And matching pants are a must.

Oh, and on a final note about these "free fitting services", it's all just a marketing ploy. They measure you into their sizing bracket and push every design in that size onto you  until you feel obliged to buy one-all while whispering in your ear that you just cant find the right size anywhere else...


Get yourself a tape measure (and get yourself undressed).

With the tape parallel to the floor measure your rib cage directly under your bust. If you are an even number add 4" and if you are an odd number add 3" (so if you measure 30" add 4" = 34" this is your band/back size)

As you can see, I'm 33", that's an odd number so I need to add 3" so my back size is 36". This number will change as you gain or lose weight.

Now take your tape measure and place it around the flat part of your chest, above your bust, over your breast bone and under your arms:


Finally, measure the fullest part of your bust, you might need to do this while wearing a bra, depending you where your breasts naturally lie, but here you can see I'm 38". Now for the math (dun dun duuuhhh!).

Take your bust measurement and subtract your chest measurement. My example would be 38"-35"=3"

Now for every inch it's a cup size 1"=A, 2"=B etc.

So three inches is a C cup. 36C is my size.

Now go try all the bras on that you can find and tell me that you aren't comfortable in them. I'll need proof of a bad fit. With pictures. 

Wasn't all that so tremendously difficult?! On a more serious note-does it make me a "fitting expert" because I know how to do that properly (thank you De Montfort Uni!!).

I'd like to make one last thing as clear as I possibly can to everyone who reads this, going up a cup size does not mean you can go down a band size. Bragging rights for big tits is only fun until you get sore or can't breathe from wearing tight elastic around your rib cage. Your bra shouldn't mark you. 

Love your boobs enough to be honest with yourself about your size.

I don't know how particular brands get away with it, I'll never forget the obnoxious sales assistant who, upon me pointing out my bust was too small for their brand (they start at a D cup), declared that I'd "be surprised!!" All while waggling her tape measure at me and having a plastic smile on her face. I still muster up the look of disgust that crossed my face on that very day every time I remember the unfortunate conversation. 

Own what you've got. 

*I should add, since we are women and all, breasts change. They never really stop changing, so don't use this measuring system once and decide that that will be your size for the rest of your life. Just always make sure you're comfortable and that your boobs are not squashed or rolling about loosely in too-big cups. Breast health is important, after all.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Modern Sexuality (and why it sucks 😉 to be a woman)

Having discussed this partially with Spadge and Heather, usually in the middle of Costa coffee, I've managed to get high enough up on my soapbox to write a blog post about it.

I like sex. I like sex three times a day at the very least and could easily match any mans sexual appetite with my own voracity and stamina. 

Since the trouble I had with my baby box at the beginning of the year I had to come off cerazette, which (I'm pretty sure) was the only thing that was controlling my insatiable sexual desires. 

Since entering this period of heightened awareness (I'm trying not to sound crass) I've been searching for reasons as to why I'm like this and whether or not I'm the only one?! 

I'm not the only one. Though I have discovered through some very awkward conversations with people that there is a plethora (smirk) of sexual appetites and they are wide ranging. One woman I talked to thought there was something wrong with her being happy with the Sunday morning sex she had weekly with her long term partner. What shocked me more was that he was ok with this. Another woman found it increasingly frustrating that her male partner didn't want sex at all when he had been away for a week. Then another woman who gave up waiting for her husband to satisfy her and started having one night stands. 

Looking for answers to my behavioural traits I thought I'd start where any self respecting pseudo-psychologist would. Not many people know about my up bringing (I don't even think Spadge and Heather know a great deal about it) but it was a boat load of paradoxes. Seeing my past through my adult eyes I can understand where my sexual appetite comes from and see how oppressed my sexual development was by my mother especially. Ironic, considering her sexual history. When I was a teenager, painfully shy and socially awkward, I was constantly reminded to not be a tart/slut and make up never touched my face until the day I walked out of the house and went to college. I didn't understand what was wrong with me feeling so strange all the time. It wasn't actually until I met Spadge and Heather that I started to come out of my shell and discuss this stuff. Now, ten years down the line I feel like everything has clicked into place. 

My concern isn't that I'm so sexually confident and demanding, but that so many other men and women are and are afraid to show it even to their partners. 

I remember how my husband found out about my appetite when I couldn't suppress it any longer. This is another area in which we aren't matched. He would be more than happy with twice a week and can handle it perfectly if we go for 4+ weeks without any sex. By week two I'll be pacing the landing in bare feet trying to ground myself. By week three I'll be on the porn sites routinely and by week four I'll be actively seeking another sexual partner. This is when he notices me looking at other guys (and girls) with that look in my eye and he will usually sort me out. 

But, why is it in this day and age, we can't be honest with ourselves about our needs as a person, an individual, regarding one of our most basic needs? Shouldn't it be one of the first things discussed with a new partner along with our other expectations; "I'd like someone who is kind and caring, willing to provide for his family and be able to satisfy me sexually x times per day/week/month". After all, how often are we told that sex is an important part of the relationship? And why is everyone still so prudish about it?

There is little point going into any relationship knowing your sexual fulfilment will be lacking, and the best way of knowing this is when you start to seek that fulfilment elsewhere. 

And women need to seriously step up and take control of their sexualities and expectations. Why compromise a vital part of ourselves for fear of being branded a tart/slut/whore? And there is a clear line between promiscuity and sexuality. 

I am proud of myself for finally realising that there is nothing wrong with liking sex just as much as there is nothing wrong with disliking it. The worst thing in this whole situation is being judged negatively (by women especially) for something that is mostly beyond our control, whichever way we are. 

There is no point in lying to ourselves about something we can't fight, so finding a way to accept it and embrace it is surely the most logical step?

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Timeliness and timeframes

I'm turning 26 this year. It's not going to be a good birthday for me. I know because I'm already getting depressed about it and the slightest thing is setting my brain off into the realms of crazy and to top it off, Kirstie Allsop has been sharing her over inflated opinion about what women should be.


Just...... Wow.

I'd love to be in a position to be popping out my first born! Truly! Only what the great and powerful Miss (will only get married for the tax breaks-wtf tax break would that be?!) Allsop fails to communicate in this article is the fact that not every woman at that age is financially stable enough to support herself, never mind herself-plus-offspring?! 

There is never a more heavy burden for a woman than the weight of time. Every year getting closer to being rendered barren by your own body whilst constantly being reminded of what you should have already achieved by now, but haven't. 

It's great that Kirstie is in such a position; supportive partner, successful career, head screwed on right. But the rest of us mere mortals have what we have, and it isn't always the right recipe to create children. If I were to become pregnant now (to my husband, obviously) I'm pretty sure he would support me... all the way to the abortion clinic. 

So yeah, I'm turning 26 and I'm just mightily pissed off at myself for not having a successful career, supportive husband or a stable enough home life to introduce kids to. Women can't wait until after they've had children to go through their education and find their place in the world of work due to that little tiny thing called ageism (and dare I say, whisper it, sexism), which is still rife in a lot of industries. And what is to say that the man they are with at 27 is the right man to spend the rest of their life with?

Time isn't on our side. Women have been pretty much cluster-fucked since the day they were allowed to vote. We will never be equal because the way the entire world works, is against us. 

Life is just a constant torment. Everything is always just that bit out of reach. 

I regret ditching uni, I regret marrying my "sweetheart", I regret most of my entire life and I hate that everything I need to change it is just too far gone. I'm exhausted from trying to make ends meet and devestated that I've had to let go of such massive parts of myself. I'm heart-sick. And so incredibly envious of other women, like Kirstie, who have their cake and wear it proudly on their hips. 

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Social media and why it's a massive pita

We're all guilty of having some form of social media addiction. I frequent Facebook and LinkedIn, Spadge is a regular twit and Heather is frequently ogling Pinterest. All three of us have Instagram and we all started ten years ago on MySpace (can you even remember those days?! 10 years?!).

Social media has become an inherent part of our lives and the lives of many others though, for the amount of trouble it gets me in, I find myself wondering if it's even worth it.

Before Sam and I were a couple, he spent the summer watching me on MySpace (should have rang ye olde warning bells then :p) but never himself had a MySpace and he hates Facebook with an ungodly passion. Despite his loathing opinions of social media, he regularly logs into my Facebook so he can spy on his friends. 

Generally, when I update my status on Facebook (rarely these days), I do the same as everyone else. Make an observation about something that has happened to me or something on the news, I might share a picture or a link to something I found interesting. 

So why my Facebook "friends" pick apart my status/link/photo and report my activities back to my husband/parents /grandparents, like I'm a petulant, misbehaving child is something I will never understand. 

The things that get misconstrued are unbelievable. I'm a slut for posting a picture if myself in underwear (if you knew me, you'd know how funny that is), I'm a lesbian because I enjoy spending time with my girlfriends and tell them I love them publicly (yes I touch their bodies, but it is not in a sexualised way - most of the time) and worst of all is when my husband comes home from work accusing me being an awful person because I was ranting about having 3 hour long nosebleeds, when his colleague has just lost his wife (all things out of my control).

Social media has changed society and social etiquette and I'm sure some people (myself most definitely included) struggle to manoeuvre through it successfully. But it doesn't help when the people you love the most in the world are the ones who are calling you the worst things. Because despite social media being an open forum for our lives, no one has the right to interfere and judge anyone else.

I now rarely update my Facebook. It became a laborious and time consuming task because I had to take what I wanted to say and adapt it to be husband/parent/grandparent friendly. I find myself not being able to be myself and therefore it loses it's point. 

Now, I am only ever my real self with my girlfriends when we are together. That's it. The rest if the world can't tolerate my over opinionated and crass views so I tend to keep them to myself anyway. I can't say in worse off for it. 

I do wonder what would happen if everyone stopped using their Facebook just for a day. In pretty sure the economy would collapse again.

Anyway. Back to work.

Friday, 25 April 2014

The basics of conversation (or why it's less painful to bang my headagainst a brick wall)

Number 1: it's better if you are with more than just yourself. Though I must admit I have several conversations with myself in a day, usually trying to rationalise an expensive or unecassary purchase. Having more than just yourself to converse with adds dimension with differing opinions, perspectives and experiences being drawn on.

Number 2: it requires effort. You need to actively listen to the viewpoints of others as it not only helps you understand the topic in a broader sense but it shows you value their input (even when you completely disagree!).

Number 3: it develops your connection with others. I bang on and on about "connecting" to people. This is largely in part to my spiritual beliefs but I think it is a fundamental part of human relationships on a very primal level. A conversation allows you to resonate with another individual or individuals over mutual interest or concerns. You can learn from one conversation whether that person is trustworthy, honest, kind, open and welcoming if the conversation is conducted sufficiently. 

Number 4: the ending is as vital as the beginning. Have you managed to tie up the topic with any strong solutions or have plans been put in place? Are all parties happy with the outcome? Is this a person you will likely converse with again? If so, has it been left on a happy note? 

People are shit at talking these days because most of us are staring at our phones, but it is a sad day when you can't even talk to another human being because you forgot how important it was to be heard.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Have you got a real job yet?

My previous post mentioned how excited and productive I've been since leaving my office job.

However, I almost forgot about the other side that came with working freelance - the question that makes my heart sink every time 'have you got a real job yet?'. It crops up far more often than I care to answer.

What do you mean a 'real job'? It's hard to explain to people that you are making more money that you ever have before, without leaving your house.

The internet is a miraculous thing, it means that I'm networking and opening up new work opportunities daily, from one seat. I can blog from anywhere, I can sell writing to magazines all over the world and I can do it all in my pyjamas if I want.

Unless it's Skype time, of course, then I dress smart from the waist-up ;).

Even if the work flow might not be as reliable, I am my own boss. I am smart with my money. I decide what I do and when I do it. I set a rate that I actually deserve. I don't stress myself out and I definitely don't shout at myself in front of a room full of colleagues when I'm on a power trip. Above all; I am very happy and the healthiest I've been in a long time.

I think a lot of that happiness is down to some of the feedback I've received from clients, since being able to choose who I work with. Never before have I worked with such fun and inspiring people. They're young, they're ambitious and they listen to me.

I've received messages saying my writing made a stranger laugh out loud on the tube. I've received messages from clients saying 'I want to shout from the mountain tops how good you are at your job.'

So, I'm sorry I haven't found a boring 9 to 5 office job with a reliable income, if that's what you think a 'real job' is. It would take a seriously fantastic company, location, director and salary to talk me into that.

I love what I do.